Boston visitors bureau pushes back on DeSantis' claims about migrants displacing Army-Navy game attendees

An aerial view of Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which is hosting the annual college football game between Army and Navy on Dec. 9. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
An aerial view of Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, which is hosting the annual college football game between Army and Navy on Dec. 9. (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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It’s World Smile Day, but let’s try to contain any grinning for now about those Shohei Ohtani rumors. Let’s get to the news:

About that DeSantis tweet: Boston’s visitors bureau is pushing back on the notion — promoted by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other right-wing commentators — that veterans and others planning to attend this December’s Army-Navy football game at Gillette Stadium “cannot find anywhere to stay” because some local hotels are using rooms to house immigrants in the state’s family shelter system.

  • For the not-online crowd: DeSantis, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, bashed Massachusetts on Twitter earlier this week, after the Boston Herald reported that some service academy graduates and families were “scrambling” to find hotel rooms for the historic Army-Navy game in Foxborough because their reservations were taken back by the hotel management company to provide housing for recently arrived refugees. “Our veterans and service academy graduates cannot find anywhere to stay for the Army-Navy Game because hotels are housing illegal aliens on the taxpayers’ dime,” DeSantis tweeted.
  • While it’s true hotels in Foxborough (and also across the state) have been contracted by the state to house people in the shelter system, the local hospitality trade group Meet Boston suggested the impacts were being overblown. “Recent attention has focused on an isolated situation, at specific hotels, in the area around Gillette Stadium which has created a false notion that widespread hotel displacement is happening without solutions in place,” the group said in a statement, noting “much of the activity” around the game is centered in downtown Boston.
  • The big picture: Massachusetts has seen the number of families in state-funded shelters more than double this year to over 6,700 families, as WBUR’s Gabrielle Emanuel recently reported. The increase is driven by the rising number of newly arrived immigrant families, many of whom have fled unrest in Haiti. As a result, the state — which has a unique right-to-shelter law — has run out of room in its shelter system and is paying for nearly 3,000 families to stay in overflow hotels and motels.
  • What’s being done now? The company that operates several hotels in Foxborough told the Herald they will “seamlessly relocate” displaced guests to other nearby hotels, and Gov. Maura Healey has also directed her office to help. Meet Boston officials also say they’re working with the MBTA to offer discounted transportation deals to any displaced veterans staying in Boston-based hotels.

Dim the lights: Boston-area theaters will pay tribute tonight to Spiro Veloudos, a long-time figure in the local theater scene, by dimming their marquee lights. Veloudos spent more than two decades at the Lyric Stage in Boston, as artistic director.

Just in time for boot season: L.L. Bean’s newest store opens this morning at 9 a.m. in Peabody. The new Northshore Mall location comes less than a month after the South Shore got its own new L.L. Bean store in Hanover.

  • Zoom out: The Maine-based company now has a total of 11 brick-and-mortar locations in Massachusetts, the most of any state.

Save the date: The U.S. Open is returning to Brookline… eventually. The U.S. Golf Association announced yesterday that the men’s U.S. Open will circle back to The Country Club in 2038. The Brookline club will also host the U.S. Women’s Open for the first time in 2045. So you can probably wait a little before you put your house back on Airbnb.

What’s all that noise? It’s probably the HONK! Festival. Dozens of brass bands are descending on Cambridge and Somerville today for the expanded, three-day musical celebration. The music begins tonight with performances around Union Square, with lots more scheduled tomorrow in Davis Square and Sunday in Harvard Square. Check out the schedule here.

P.S.— What city is NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist Jrue Holiday newly calling home? Take our Boston News Quiz to see if you know the answer and compare how well your knowledge of this week’s stories compares with other WBUR readers.


Headshot of Nik DeCosta-Klipa

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



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