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Lydia Edwards talks Methadone Mile and free MBTA with sights set on State House

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Lydia Edwards talks Methadone Mile and free MBTA with sights set on State House

City Councilor Lydia Edwards is looking to shed City Hall for Beacon Hill, where she would be a big progressive ally to Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in the quest for a free MBTA, but says the two are at odds on other issues.

“On some issues we’ve disagreed,” Edwards said during a Sunday appearance on WCVB’s “On the Record,” pointing to the 2020 police budget, in which she backed then-Mayor Marty Walsh’s plan slashing $12 million in overtime funding from the Boston Police. Wu voted against the budget.

Edwards has been endorsed by progressive allies of Wu including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, but in Sunday’s interview attempted to distance herself from lockstep politics.

“When it comes to the police budget, I have been very clear. I believe in fiscal responsibility. One of the biggest reforms we’re pushing for is overtime reform,” Edwards said.

The city councilor from East Boston said she wants to “bring to scale” programs that already exist, like street outreach teams to reduce the reliance on public safety in all situations.

Specifically, she pointed to the addiction crisis at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard as a place where alternative resources are needed.

The area disparagingly referred to as “Methadone Mile” has become a hotbed of drug addiction and homelessness in recent years and reached crisis proportions amid the pandemic as a major tent encampment popped up.

“This needs a regional response, not pass the buck,” Edwards said, emphasizing that communities around Greater Boston need to work together to solve the issues there.

“We don’t have a choice but to come together and come up with resources that we all share,” Edwards said.

If she makes the step from City Hall to the State House, Edwards said she would continue to fight for a free MBTA — carrying the Wu campaign issue. Democratic opponent Anthony D’Ambrosio has bucked the idea.

“The best thing we can do is make sure that public transportation is free,” Edwards said. “That is going to make sure that people have access to jobs, access to homes and that there’s a sustainable model that we can look to.”

D’Ambrosio, a Revere School Committee member, faces off against her in the special primary election on Dec. 14.

The general election takes place on Jan. 11, next year. No Republican candidates are running.

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Former CSU Rams football commits search for new opportunities after Jay Norvell pulls scholarship offers

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Former CSU Rams football commits search for new opportunities after Jay Norvell pulls scholarship offers

Bryce Johnson went to Colorado State last summer on a football recruiting visit and left Fort Collins with a dream scholarship offer to play for the Rams.

“It was Division I football and a full ride in your home state,” said Johnson, a star two-way player for Lutheran High School, and a finalist for The Denver Post’s annual Gold Helmet Award. “That’s a huge opportunity. I jumped on that right away.”

Johnson’s dream turned into a nightmare six months later.

That’s because Johnson’s commitment became null and void in December after the program hired former Nevada coach Jay Norvell to replace fired Steve Addazio as head coach. Johnson is not alone. Norvell’s re-evaluation of the Rams’ 2022 recruiting class led to offers being pulled for a handful of local commits seen as improper fits.

Among those taking their spots: previous Nevada commits and transfers.

“Their staff came in with an entirely different scheme on both sides of the ball. They had a lot of changes that needed to be made. So, they ended up pulling my scholarship to use in the JUCO and transfer portal,” said Johnson, who is now considering New Mexico State, South Dakota State and others. “They talked to me about blue-shirting and getting me in the 2023 class. But they said that wasn’t approved by their compliance.”

Norvell didn’t hide from that uncomfortable truth when speaking to reporters last month during the early signing period.

“It’s not a thing that people like to hear,” Norvell said back on Dec. 15. “That they had a scholarship, they had committed (to CSU) and you’ve got a new coaching staff and you kind of have to start all over again. It’s unfortunate. But it is the reality.”

Where do those former commits go from here? CSU’s 2022 sendoffs are scrambling for new opportunities. Highlands Ranch tight end Jade Arroyo — with 107 career receptions for 1,515 yards and 16 touchdowns — pledged to the Rams back in July. He’s now considering multiple Ivy League programs.

“It’s kind of hard right now. Most schools have already filled up their class for this year,” Arroyo said. “Especially with COVID, there are limited scholarships. I’m just talking to schools with coaches (direct messaging) me on Twitter. I’m just trying to build relationships at the moment.”

The list goes on: Arapahoe outside linebacker Jareb Ramos is also no longer committed to the Rams but recently picked up a scholarship offer from Penn. Addazio’s staff stayed close to home offering scholarships at Fort Collins High School to wide receiver Dorion McGarity and safety Dontay Johnson. Neither player signed with the Rams and their college destinations are still undetermined.

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Tensions rising in Boston over mask mandates as pizza manager gets punched by maskless customer

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Tensions rising in Boston over mask mandates as pizza manager gets punched by maskless customer

In the latest disturbing escalation of tension over COVID-19 mandates, a Regina Pizzeria employee who asked a customer to wear a mask got punched in the face as a response, police reports show.

The maskless suspect entered the legendary pizza restaurant in the North End about 9 p.m. Sunday night and was stopped at the entrance, according to Boston Police.

The suspect pushed his way in, then pushed the victim, a male store general manager, against the register before getting off a punch to the employee’s left side of the face, police reported.

The suspect, a white male believed to be in his mid-20s, fled down the street and has not yet been apprehended, but Boston Police are investigating.

The victim told police that the suspect “stated that he was from the neighborhood” and refused to put on a mask before pushing his way in.

A spokesman for Regina Pizzeria confirmed the assault took place because of the city’s mask mandate but would not give any further details.

“It’s a police (investigation) and we can’t make any comment,” the spokesman said.

The victim experienced “swelling to (his) left cheek” but refused medical treatment at the scene.

This is the second COVID mandate related incident in a Regina Pizzeria in the last few days.

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Brookline remains unbeaten, holds off late Cambridge surge

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Eastern Massachusetts high school scoreboard from Friday

CAMBRIDGE – There were no answers for Brookline’s deep lineup last night, as the Warriors had nine players find the scoresheet in a 68-61 road victory against Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

It was sophomore Andrew Alekseyenko who got Brookline (8-0) off to a hot start in the first quarter, racking up nine points, including three buckets from the paint and a made three.

Alekseyenko also nabbed four boards in the first quarter, while senior Devani Perez was instrumental in feeding him the ball, collecting four assists to go with four points during an 18-4 run to open the game.

In the second quarter, Cambridge (5-5) would close the gap, but Brookline senior Zach Solem (eight points) would heat up in the final minutes before the half assisting on three of the last five buckets and draining his second three-pointer of the night to end the frame with the Warriors up 38-23 midway through.

Perez and Alekseyenko would each tack on seven points to help extend the lead to 57-34 by the end of the third quarter.

Alekseyenko, who celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday, finished the game with a double-double, registering 20 points and 11 boards.

“He’s been typically doing that all year, the kid’s pretty solid,” said Brookline head coach Courtney Valentine. “He gets hacked all over the place, but he plays through it, he’s a young kid, lot of energy, good footwork and a lot of skill sets.”

Perez would finish the night with 13 points and seven assists.

The depth scoring is what helped the Warriors pull away, with Jaylen Haynes contributing nine points and Jaden Mazzara pointing up seven off the bench.

“When you play us you gotta pick your poison,” Valentine said. “We’ve got a lot of players that can play and the guys fill up the stat sheets.”

Cambridge would make a remarkable final push, going on a 18-0 run during the fourth quarter, led by senior Aidan Olivier Louis (20 points) who drained three from long distance in the fourth quarter alone.

The Falcons would cut the deficit to as little as six points, but it was too little, too late, as the clock would run out on their comeback effort.

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