Meeting set to answer questions on Boston's Verizon FiOS deal

City officials and Verizon reps hold a meeting next week on the $300 million deal that's supposed to usher Boston into the next generation of communications greatness, or at the least provide an alternative to Comcast in the roughly 70% of the city not already served by RCN.

The session, which will feature city CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge and Verizon representatives begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the Bolling Building, 2300 Washington St.

This meeting will discuss Verizon's partnership with the city and its plans to implement the new network. The meeting is open to the public, and residents are encouraged to attend and share their feedback about the project.

Boston now in severe drought

The latest Massachusetts drought map, released this morning, has extended the Massachusetts "severe drought" zone to include the city of Boston.

Some 75% of the state is now considered to be having a a moderate to severe drought - and 40% of the state is considered to be having a severe drought. The rest of the state is considered "abnormally dry," except for Nantucket, which remains OK. On Jan. 1, none of the state was in severe drought.

As of July 1, the Quabbin was at 90.1% of its peak capacity.

The National Weather Service says we could get some heavy rain Friday, mostly south of the turnpike.

Court ruling could put garden shops just a stone's throw away from lawsuits

A woman who says she slipped on a stone and broke her hip on a sidewalk at a Cape Cod garden shop will get to make her case to a jury that the store should be made to pay for her pain and suffering.

A Superior Court judge had tossed Linda Bowers's claim against Agway of Cape Cod, saying she failed to show either that the store put the stone there or knew it was there before she slipped on it - under traditional rules of "premises liability."

But in its ruling today, the state's highest court said garden shops are subject to another method for considering blame in such incidents, known as "mode of operation," in which injured people can make the claim that the stores should have known that something about the way they run their businesses could lead to injuries.

The Agway shop had a small gravel area next to the walkway to its entry on which it sold landscaping items, and from which the store knew that stones would sometimes be kicked onto the walkway - the store manager testified in a deposition that workers going outside were told to look for any stray stones on the sidewalk and kick them back into the gravel area.

The court ruled the "mode of operation" would ensure stores could not get away with neglecting safety issues. But it cautioned Bowers will still have to prove the store was negligent in her case:

If a jury were to conclude that Agway's maintenance of the gravel area was a mode of operation that created a foreseeable risk that customers would dislodge stones onto the walkway, which, according to its manager, Agway viewed as a potential tripping hazard, there would be a further question of material fact whether Agway's efforts to protect customers from the presence of stones on the walkway were reasonable in the circumstances. The jury then would have to determine whether Agway's policy of informal but periodic inspection of the walkway by employees, approximately every fifteen minutes, was a reasonable means by which to protect customers from the risk created by the migrating stones.

Developers spend $1.6 million on Codman Square building that last sold for $55,000

Bldup.com reports that developers Yijie Dai and Jin Yue Zhang this week purchased 493 Washington St. in Codman Square for $1.6 million. The seller, the Full Life Gospel Center, paid $55,000 for the building in 1999. The single-story building sits on a 9,000-square-foot lot.

If you don't want the street trees on your block to die, grab a bucket, fill it up and get to work

Responding to a complaint about street trees dying in this heat and drought on Columbia Road from Mass. Ave. to Quincy Street, Boston Parks and Recreation says:

The BPRD only waters newly planted trees and not existing established trees.

Boston film-festival name battle now playing in federal court

The Independent Film Festival Boston is suing the Boston International Film Festival for trademark infringement, charging the latter is intentionally confusing both movie makers and ticket buyers.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, the Independent Film Festival Boston, which also goes by IFF Boston, said that not only has the Boston International Film Festival moved its screening week closer to the IFF's week, it's taken to calling itself Boston IFF - even in its Web-site URL.

The Somerville group's complaint gives some examples of the confusion that's caused:

In addition to numerous people tagging the incorrect Twitter handle when tweeting about the IFF Boston and Boston IFF Festivals, several film producers and/or directors have mistakenly submitted their movies to BI Film Festival thinking that it was the IFF Boston because of the nearly identical Boston IFF name.

Indeed, indicative of confusion within BI Film Festival itself, in 2015, BI Film Festival retweeted a tweet by Alexie Gilmore, lead actress in "Willow Creek" (a movie that premiered at IFF Boston), which she mistakenly tagged with the @bostoniff handle. Thus, using the handle @bostoniff, BI Film Festival tweeted a picture promoting a film that premiered at IFF Boston.

Or, in other words, IFF Boston charges:

BI Film Festival’s actions demonstrate an intentional, willful, and malicious intent to trade on the goodwill associated with the IFF BOSTON Marks to the great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff.

The group asks a judge to rule the confusion was deliberate and that the Boston International Film Festival be prohibited from calling itself either Boston IFF or BostonIFF. Also:

BI Film Festival be directed to send and make public, within 30 days of the granting of this Order, curative statements approved in advance by Plaintiff, including a formal retraction by means of a national e-mail campaign and a direct mailing to all of BI Film Festival's customers, and a full-page advertisement in the appropriate publications, or other corrective action approved by Plaintiff, to ensure that consumers are not further mislead by BI Film Festival's claims.

The group also seeks payment of any profits the Boston International Film Festival has made because of the confusion, plus treble damages and attorneys' fees.

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