Hello, McFly: Get that damn hoverboard off the T

The MBTA announced today it's banning hoverboards on T property - all trains, buses, boats and stations - effective immediately.

The T says the things are just too much of a risk and menace, mainly because of their tendency to burst into flames, but also because riders can easily fall off them, tumbling to the ground - or onto train tracks:

Due to a string of recent injuries, fires and explosions associated with hoverboards nationwide, the MBTA conducted an assessment of the devices and determined that they are a safety risk. As a result, they are banned from MBTA property. The assessment incorporated findings, recommendations, and corrective actions that are in line with other transit systems throughout the country.

Hoverboards can catch fire. Failures in the Lithium-ion battery that powers such devices are the root cause of the self-combusting fires. Battery failures are caused by issues ranging from external abuse to cell manufacturing. Currently, there are no safety standards regulating the design and manufacturing of these devices in the United States. MBTA rules do not allow articles of an inflammable or explosive nature to be carried into any station or into or upon any passenger vehicle.

A potential fire ignited by a hoverboard can expose customers to smoke and toxic gas, which can result in injury or death. They also increase the risk of personal injury to riders due to falls, collisions, as well as the possibility of falling into the train pit.

Expect to have the no-hoverboard message drilled into your brain in the coming weeks via MBTA signboards, placards and, of course, social media.

City will use funds from developers to preserve affordable housing

Mayor Walsh today announced a $7.5 million loan fund to help "investor owners" buy multi-family units - with the condition they maintain at least 40% of the units as "affordable" for 50 years.

The money comes from the city's "inclusionary development" fund, into which developers of new residential buildings pay if they don't want to set aside their own units as affordable - aimed at people making up to 70% of the area median income.

To participate in the program, a developer or owner must agree that a minimum of 40 percent of the units will be restricted for low and moderate-income families. In addition, funding preference will be given to developments that have either a higher number of restricted units or have units restricted to lower incomes.

The program will also prevent displacement of tenants threatened by the forces of gentrification by ensuring that their apartments will not become unaffordable over the long term. To ensure this, the program is only available for investor-owned rental properties that are either fully or partially occupied. To participate, developers are required to agree that no tenant in good standing will be displaced from their unit.

In conversations with the community, affordable housing developers and nonprofits, the City found affordable housing developers can be outpaced in the housing market because private investors often have access to capital and cash that may not be as readily available to affordable housing developers. The Acquisition Opportunity Program offers a solution to this challenge by offering developers the opportunity to pre-qualify for a set amount of funding. This pre-qualification will enable potential buyers to be more nimble and competitive in Boston's fast-moving real estate market.

Man remains in induced coma three weeks after brutal attack at Fenway bar

Sun, 05/01/2016 - 01:05

A man found unconscious and covered in blood outside the Baseball Tavern early on May 1 is slowly getting better, but remains in a medically induced coma, a homicide detective investigating the case said this morning.

Sgt. Det. Richard Daley spoke at a hearing of the Boston Licensing Board, which will decide Thursday whether the bar, at 1270 Boylston St., could have prevented the attack that sent Robert McLaughlin, 27, of Swampscott, to Brigham and Women's hospital. It was one of two hearings the board held today on violations at the sports bar. Read more.


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Roslindale school playground destroyed in arson fire

UPDATE: The Boston Fire Department reports somebody set the Sumner School playground on fire.

Kasey Davis Appleman videoed some of the fire that destroyed the playground behind the Basile Street school in Roslindale Square (she also posted photos) - a month after somebody tried to set the playground on fire.

A Boston Police detective responded to the scene, along with Boston Fire investigators.

The Boston Fire Department reports the fire, called in around 9:50 p.m., spread into trees and from there to electrical wires, which caught on fire and began to arc.

Adam Rogoff photographed the aftermath of the fire:

Sumner School playground fire
Mon, 05/23/2016 - 21:50