Here's a look at some of the top stories from Medford this week:
Three city councilors spoke out Tuesday against a proposed $8 million parking garage on Governors Avenue and a $2 million grant the state is offering to help fund it. "In my opinion, the mayor is using this to put heat on the council," Councilor Michael Marks said of the grant. Lt. Governor Tim Murray announced during a visit to Medford earlier in February that . The four-level garage would provide Medford Square with about 200 new parking spaces. But not all councilors are on board. Marks, Breanna Lungo-Koehn and Robert Penta have all been critical of the garage proposal, demanding the city implement a parking enforcement plan in Medford Square before funding a garage.
For the second time in 11 months, Rep. Ed Markey stood in front of the gas pumps at a Medford filling station and called on President Barack Obama to use the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat rising gas prices. "While some of the Republican presidential candidates call for an attack on Iran, it is the American consumers who are currently under attack from OPEC, from the Saudis from Iran and from oil speculators," Markey said before a gaggle of news cameras Wednesday afternoon. The sign behind him at Medford Gas on Main Street read $3.67 per gallon of unleaded gas, and prices are expected to climb as much as 20 cents per gallon in coming days. Markey blamed the rising prices on oil-rich nations and the oil industry. Iran won't sell oil to Great Britain and France, and Saudi Arabia cut its oil production in December by 237,000 barrels per day, Markey said. "In their view, the welfare of the global economy is secondary to keeping oil prices up," he said.
A Medford man was indicted Wednesday on a charge alleging he planned to rob a Norwood check-cashing business with two others in January. John Salvucci, 65 was indicted by a Grand Jury in Boston's Federal District Court Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, according to court filings. Also indicted on the same charge were James Chambers, 53, of Stoneham and George Whalen, 55, of Winthrop. The three men allegedly planned to kidnap the owner of Norwood-based Forest Hills Check Cashing then make him help rob the store. But another person Salvucci attempted to involve in the plot tipped off the FBI, who arrested the trio on Jan. 25.
As candidates for the Republican nomination for president debated Wednesday evening, Cornell West spoke to a packed auditorium at Tufts University. “I've travelled this country every year for the last 32 years, I see magnificant intelligence, imagination and creativity among the American people,” West said. “How did we end up with these chaps? Something is wrong. Something is wrong.” West, a professor, scholar and activist, spoke to students and other members of the Tufts at Cohen Auditorium Wednesday as part of the Faculty Progressive Caucus American Democracy in Crisis Series.
The MBTA's General Manager Jonathan Davis has been hearing it from riders the last few weeks, and he says he's listened. The Boston Globe reported Davis prefers fare hikes over service cuts to the transit system, which needs to address a $161 million budget deficit. Since announcing two possible scenarios to address the shortfall - one that included massive service cuts and the other with hefty fare hikes - Davis and other MBTA officials have been touring the state, sitting in on public hearings where T riders weighed in on the offers. Davis's endorsement of fare hikes over cuts comes with little surprise. Following a , Davis said riders had clearly told him they would prefer to pay more than to lose service.