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Hope you enjoyed the weekend — whether you spent it reveling in the joyous return of Boston’s Pride parade, enjoying the summer-like weather or figuring out how to cobble together enough cash to put a bid on Steve Pagliuca’s house.
We’re starting this week with a deep dive underground:
They don’t look much different than manholes. But under their unassuming green covers, three 600-foot-deep holes in Framingham mark the beginnings of the country’s first utility-run geothermal project. As WBUR’s Miriam Wasser reports, Eversource is building a so-called “networked geothermal system” that will eventually use a series of deep wells, underground pipes and pumps to both heat and cool 37 buildings in the MetroWest city. Advocates have big hopes for the project — and they’re officially breaking ground today.
- The big picture: Networked geothermal systems are incredibly reliable and several times more efficient than fossil fuels for home heating — not to mention emissions-free. Many environmentalists hope the two-year Framingham test can serve as a viable model for gas utilities in the future.
- How it works: Deep below the surface, the earth’s temperature is a constant 55 degrees, so Eversource is using the holes to exchange heat with the earth, warming buildings in the winter and cooling them in the summer, according to program manager Eric Bosworth. Once complete, the project will include 113 bore holes and a mile of underground pipes circulating hot and cold water. (This video from the Department of Energy explains more.)
- So far, so good: Eversource has already drilled the first three holes to test the ground quality. Wasser reports all three went as planned. Now, they’re beginning work today on the other 110 holes so they can start laying the connecting pipes.
- What’s next: Bosworth says the goal is to have “everybody up and running this year before the cold weather comes.”
History on stage: Lynn native Alex Newell, in a sparkling gold dress, became the first nonbinary actor to win a Tony award last night for their role in the musical “Shucked.”
- “Thank you for seeing me, Broadway,” Newell said during their speech. “I should not be up here as a queer, nonbinary, fat, Black little baby from Massachusetts.”
- Go deeper: Here are six takeaways from what NPR called a surprisingly entertaining Tony Awards.
Massachusetts regulators want to make it easier for military veterans to join the state’s medical marijuana program. As the Boston Herald reports, the Cannabis Control Commission is considering making medical marijuana cards free for veterans and adding PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions.
- Why? Cannabis may be a safer pain-management tool for veterans than opioids. However, federal prohibition of the drug means VA doctors can’t recommend medical marijuana cards, which CCC officials say has a “chilling effect” for veterans.
At long last: After an additional six-month wait (and maybe a little early trespassing), the Somerville Community Path Extension officially opened over the weekend. And people in Somerville — including the city’s official Twitter account — were pretty pumped.
- Why Somerville residents care so much: The new, off-road path runs about two miles along the Green Line Extension to Cambridge Crossing, making a bike ride (or walk) to downtown Boston from Somerville and beyond much more direct and safe.
- Why non-Somerville residents should care, too: The path also finally links a nearly 50-mile network, including the multi-use Charles River paths and the Minuteman Bikeway. Want to bike from Bedford to Boston? It just got a lot easier.
- Psst: A small stretch of the path remains closed due to construction by Somerville High School and there is some lighting work left, but officials say both should be wrapped by this fall.
As for the Green Line itself: Service between North Station and Government Center will be suspended for the next two weeks, starting today due to Government Center Garage demolition work. It’s basically a one-stop stretch, so the MBTA won’t be deploying shuttles. Here are two ways to get around it:
- Option 1: Switch onto the Orange Line (which will also bypass Haymarket station due to the garage project).
- Option 2: Walk. It’s three-quarters of a mile — or about a 13-minute walk — to go between North Station and Government Center. But beware; the garage demolition project is already causing a bit of a bottleneck for pedestrians on the sidewalks.
P.S.— It’s summer arts guide season! We’ll be publishing new guides every day this week, starting today (summer music). Be sure to bookmark this page to stay in the know on all of our arts and culture team’s summer recommendations, from shows to movies to books.