Few former ink-stained denizens of the newsroom have become winning political operatives in the stratosphere of American politics. David Axelrod is probably the most famous, having transitioned from Chicago Tribune scribe to trusted voice in Barack Obama’s ear. Fehrnstrom wants to be next. The Boston native, schooled in politics as a reporter for the Boston Herald and as spokesman for former Governor Mitt Romney, is a senior advisor to Romney’s run for the GOP nomination, and a strategist plotting Scott Brown’s path to reelection.
Friendly Ice Cream Corp., which opened its first shop during the height of the Great Depression, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday, shuttering 63 stores overnight and laying off about 1,200 workers - half in Massachusetts. The move calls into question Friendly’s ability to survive the tough economic times that have already claimed many other dining chains. The family restaurant business, known for its burgers and ice cream, said it was the victim of a challenging economy, high commodity costs, and changing customer preferences. About half of the store closings are located in Massachusetts, including shops in Brockton, Charlestown, Hanover, Leominister, Needham, Quincy, Stoughton, and Wareham. Friendly’s will keep open 424 stores in 16 states.
For more then 75 years, Friendly’s has been a New England Institution, and the closing of some 60 restaurants - and the possibility that many more might follow - spurred memories of eggs over easy, tuna melts, and Fribble shakes shared with friends and family. In Bridgewater, mention of the chain’s name elicited smiles as residents and local workers reminisced about hot summer days cooled by a Friendly’s double-dip cone, and late nights highlighted by ice cream runs.
Earvin “Magic’’ Johnson Jr., managing director of Canyon/Johnson Urban Funds, is part of a development team trying to reinvigorate the $2 billion NorthPoint project in Cambridge after a lawsuit and the economic downturn stopped its construction. The developers said they intend to begin construction on about 350 apartments next summer. That work will create 250 jobs, with thousands more to be created as building activity picks up over the next several years.