How Boston officials are trying to keep this year's St. Patrick's Day parade 'safe and enjoyable'

Spectators watch last year's St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Spectators watch last year's St. Patrick's Day parade in South Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While local Catholics normally aren’t supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent, the Archdiocese of Boston is granting a corned beef exemption today — just this once. (And remember, parking meters in Boston are free today.)

The weather this weekend looks cloudy but cooperative with this weekend’s festivities. So, let’s start with the big one:

Local officials in South Boston have been working to avoid a repeat of last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, when an outside neo-Nazi group hung a “Keep Boston Irish” banner on a barricade along the parade route. State Sen. Nick Collins told WBUR’s Amy Sokolow that state and local agencies are coordinating a “rapid response plan” this weekend to prevent public assets from again being used to display hateful messages, which he said amounts to a violation of state law. “Anybody caught violating the law by using these public assets to promote their hateful propaganda will be held accountable,” Collins said.

  • Zoom out: According to a report last week from the Anti-Defamation League, “white supremacist propaganda activity” in New England is at an all-time high. The group found that there were 465 such incidents in Massachusetts last year — a 96% increase compared to 2021 and second only to California for the most in the nation. Examples include white supremacist public gatherings and flier distribution. The ADL’s Peggy Shukur told WBUR’s Fausto Menard that such behavior is intended to stoke fear and intimidate people from engaging in their own community.
  • Zoom in: Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn has also asked the city’s Human Rights Commission to be on high alert this weekend. He noted the city has seen other incidents of white supremacist propaganda over the past year, like a large downtown march and a protest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
  • Collins emphasized the parade Sunday should be a “safe and enjoyable” day for all residents, families and visitors — though there is another persistent issue they’re trying to get a hold of: excessive public drinking. City officials said this week that bars and liquor stores in South Boston have agreed to close early on Sunday at 4 p.m. Collins added there will be an increased police presence around MBTA stations to try to stem drinking on trains and along the parade route.
  • Read here for more information on the logistics of the St. Patrick’s Day parade, from the route to parking and transportation details.

Heads up: National Grid customers could see a big decrease in their electric rates this spring. After a winter of sky-high electricity prices, WBUR’s Miriam Wasser reports that the utility is proposing a 58% cut to its basic supply rate beginning May 1. That translates to about $115 less per month for the average customer.

  • The proposed drop — which still needs to be approved next week — is because the cost of natural gas has fallen, partly due to our warmer-than-normal winter, Wasser reports.
  • To the Eversource customers wondering, “What about us?”: Don’t worry. Your twice-a-year rate change is on the way, too — albeit a bit later — on July 1. (Read more here about why electricity rate changes can be so uneven across New England.)

After the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last week, the biggest financial institutions in the country are rallying together to shore up another bank with a big local footprint. The group is putting in $30 billion to rescue First Republic Bank, amid worries that the California-based bank was vulnerable to a similar run on its deposits.

  • WBUR’s Beth Healy reports that First Republic is the sixth-largest retail bank in Massachusetts. It has five branches in the Boston area and nearly $18 billion dollars in deposits – much of that from wealthy clients and business owners, as well as nonprofits.
  • Boston-based State Street Bank is part of the rescue group, along with other giants like Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Massachusetts’ first-ever undersecretary of environmental justice and equity started work last week. María Belén Power, a former community organizer for Green Roots, spoke with WBUR’s Morning Edition host Rupa Shenoy, saying her job is to elevate the voices of communities of color who have been long overburdened by environmental harms. This comes as the state makes its clean energy transition and confronts other issues.

P.S.— Boston Public Schools proposed a new contract this week. Do you know who it would be with? Then take our Boston News Quiz.


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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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