Under normal circumstances, the biggest story coming out of New England this week would be the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Thursday decision to allow commercial operators to bid for a casino license in the Southeast region. But these are far from normal circumstances. Living just west of Boston, it’s hard not to be preoccupied with the coverage of the manhunt that developed late last night for the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects. With one dead and one still at large, these are scary times here. But it’s a tribute to the power of the people, and the power of images, that law enforcement officials were able to track them down so quickly following Monday’s attacks. I hope everyone stays safe as the search continues.

Meanwhile, the Gaming Commission will set a timetable to accept Phase 1 applications for casinos in Southeastern Massachusetts, which establish bidders’ suitability. Site-specific Phase 2 applications will follow. All the while, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe will continue down its own path for a casino in Taunton, attempting to secure various required federal approvals.

When the region’s application process is complete, expected to be sometime in late 2014, the Commission will at that time decide whether or not to issue a commercial license based on the latest tribal developments. The Commissioners felt that by going down two parallel paths, they could ensure that the Southeast region would be able to benefit from the same economic stimulus and jobs creation as the other regions in the state.