January 26, 2023

Another gray Thursday.

Today's weather: Rainy, stormy, but warmer pretty much all day.

Situational awareness: There will be no MBTA Orange Line service between North Station and Ruggles this weekend to complete work on slow zones the agency had claimed were already fixed.

Today's newsletter is 939 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: A holographic story of heartbreak

Holocaust survivor David Schaecter sits in front of a green screen waiting to be interviewed. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

Long after he's gone, 93-year-old Holocaust survivor David Schaecter will live on in holographic form in Boston — educating the youth about the horrors he endured in the hope they'll be inspired to rid the world of bigotry, writes Axios Miami's Martin Vassolo.

What's happening: The Miami resident's life story, including his escape from Nazi captivity at 15, will be turned into a holographic video display at the planned Boston Holocaust Museum on Tremont Street, which is slated to open in 2025.

  • Schaecter's interactive display will be able to receive spoken questions from museum visitors and respond in real time with pre-recorded answers about topics relevant to the Holocaust and Schaecter's personal life.

Why it matters: The number of living Holocaust survivors continues to dwindle, and future generations will lose out on the opportunity to hear directly from a survivor about their experiences.

  • The video testimonies, which make two-dimensional images appear three-dimensional, provide an intimate history lesson that may resonate more with young people in this digital age than black-and-white textbook photos.
  • "When we talk about millions, that's a statistic. When we talk about one person, that's a story," Jody Kipnis, co-founder of the new Boston museum, told reporters.

How it works: Schaecter will spend this week at a TV studio surrounded by green screens and cameras answering up to 1,000 questions as part of the five-day interview process.

  • The questions, compiled by a research team, delve into every aspect of Schaecter's life but also include questions that students may ask, like "What is your favorite color?"

Catch up quick: Kipnis and her partner Todd Ruderman, who are Boston-area residents, bought an $11.5 million space for the museum across from the Park Street Church last year.

  • The 30,000-square-foot facility will be the city's first indoor Holocaust museum.
  • The museum will be funded privately by Kipnis and Ruderman and later by donations.

Background: Kipnis and Ruderman got the idea for the museum after Schaecter, a business partner of Ruderman’s, invited the couple to tour Auschwitz, where Schaecter had been imprisoned.

  • “The reason why we’re bringing this to Boston is we see that some of these inner-city kids can’t afford to go to all these [big holocaust museums in places like Washington, D.C. and Dallas] and they’re really missing out," Kipnis said.

2. 🏗 Wu ices out the BPDA

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston's planning agency will soon lose its authority over most city planning, Mayor Michelle Wu said last night in her first State of the City address.

Driving the news: Wu said she'll sign an executive order today establishing a new advisory council as a precursor to a new department that will take over many of the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s responsibilities.

What they're saying: “Our vision is for Boston to sustainably reach our peak population of 800,000 residents with the housing and schools, parks and public transit to support that growth," Wu said last night, according to the Dorchester Reporter.

How it works: The new department will be closer to city hall’s purview and will coordinate with Wu and city urban designers.

Wu also pledged to end the use of fossil fuels for housing projects, city-owned construction and renovation projects.

  • The mayor offered housing developers free city-owned land if their projects benefit the surrounding community.

The bottom line: Wu's move makes good on her campaign promise to upend planning and make it a central responsibility of the mayor's office.

3. Back that Mass. Up: 🩺 New state health chief

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Boston Medical Center president Kate Walsh will become Gov. Healey's top health care lieutenant as the new secretary of Health and Human Services. (SHNS)

⚽️ Epilepsy researcher, Weston native and MIT soccer player Karenna Groff is the NCAA's Woman of the Year. (CBS Boston)

👟 Pregnant and postpartum athletes who qualified for the Boston Marathon will now be able to defer to future years under a new Boston Athletic Association policy. (GBH News)

4. 🏆 Massachusetts's Beard-caliber restaurants

The Dungeness "crab fried rice" with ginger scallion vinaigrette at Nightshade Noodle Bar. Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Greater Boston and Massachusetts at large are well-represented on this year's list of James Beard Awards semifinalists.

  • Twelve local chefs and restaurants are among the nominees for the 2023 awards.

Why it matters: The James Beards are the Oscars of the food world, with an annual ceremony at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Here are the local semifinalists:

  • Outstanding chef: Rachel Miller of the Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn.
  • Outstanding restaurant: PAGU in Cambridge and Red Rose Restaurant in Lowell.
  • Emerging chef: Vinh Le of Cicada Coffee Bar in Cambridge.
  • Best new restaurant: La Royal in Cambridge.
  • Outstanding wine/beverage program: Rebel Rebel in Somerville.

Keep reading ... Boston had six nominees for best regional chef

Now hiring: New job openings

🔥 Hot and fresh local job listings.

  1. Customer Experience Associate I or II at Salem Five.
  2. Senior Technical Consultant at Unanet.
  3. Multi-Unit Team Leader at H&R Block.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

5. 🤑 Bet like a Bostonian

One of several areas with sports betting kiosks at Encore Boston Harbor. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

So you want to place a bet?

What’s happening: In five days, Massachusetts residents and visitors can start betting on football, hockey and even the Oscars.

  • Encore Boston Harbor and WynnBET are preparing for a mix of novices and veteran players.

The big picture: The state expects tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue from sports betting, starting with the in-person launch at 10am on Jan. 31.

State of play: The Everett casino will have 10 betting windows and 120 kiosks.

  • Some of those kiosks are next to Encore’s sports bar, On Deck, and in Encore’s “park and play” area next to the parking garage.

Alan Berg, vice president of trading at WynnBET, tells Axios he expects two of the most popular wagers to focus on Boston’s pro sports teams.

🏒 The Bruins’ chances of taking home the Stanley Cup

🏀 The Celtics’ chances of winning the NBA Finals

Plus: 🏈 There’s no question the casino will see all kinds of bets, including wagers on the 2024 Super Bowl.

🌤 Deehan wants to see the sun again at some point.

🤔 Steph wonders what Oscars-related bets people will be making come Tuesday.

This newsletter was edited by Fadel Allassan and copy edited by James Farrell.