Keller at Large

Last stop for the higher-ed gravy train

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller says the higher-education industry is headed for tough financial times as a result of recent campus closures and only schools that rethink their missions are going to survive the coming carnage.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

SJC hears signature-gathering case, Senate Revenue Working Group and more

Senate Revenue Working Group plans to hold a virtual 90-minute meeting, 10 a.m.

— Former state and national security advisor Juliette Kayyem plans to discuss the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and what to expect in the months ahead in a Zoom conversation hosted by the Alliance for Business Leadership, 11 a.m.

Elder Affairs Committee holds a virtual hearing on Rep. Balser’s bill dealing with long-term care facility and elder housing COVID-19 reporting, 1:30 p.m.

— The Supreme Judicial Court hears from three campaigns seeking emergency relief from the signature collecting requirements to qualify for this year’s ballot, 2 p.m.

Common Cause holds a virtual town hall on how COVID-19 will affect the spring and fall elections in Massachusetts, 5 p.m.

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The numbers: 151 new deaths, 1,108 total deaths, 1,755 new cases

MassLive has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts, including the highest daily number of deaths yet recorded in the state.

The new local numbers: Chelsea and Brockton getting hammered and so is … Williamstown?

The state began releasing town-by-town statistics yesterday of confirmed coronavirus cases across the state – and Chelsea has the highest COVID-19 rate by far, reports Universal Hub and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky. But the statistics also show that Brockton has emerged as a virus hotspot, along with other largely working-class communities. There is one community that stands out: Williamstown, the “bucolic town in western Massachusetts.” CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl takes a look at what’s happening in Williamstown. One explanation being cited by many publications: Outbreaks in nursing home are driving up numbers in many small towns.

Separately, Mayor Marty Walsh yesterday released the city’s own coronavirus statistics, with more information, and they show what many had already stated and/or suspected: There are clear racial disparities among those who are contracting the virus, with black Bostonians suffering disproportionately, as WGBH’s Paul Singer reports.

Baker: ‘We are in the surge’

Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday officially declared what many had already unofficially declared: “We are in the surge, yes.” SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report on the governor’s surge pronouncement, coming on the same day that the state reported the highest number of daily coronavirus-related deaths yet in Massachusetts (151). The total death count in Massachusetts also surpassed the 1,000 mark yesterday.

So how severe will it get? State and local officials see a continued upward trend in deaths and cases, but they’re pushing back on a new University of Washington forecast of a “much gloomier outcome” ahead for Massachusetts, as the Globe’s Mark Arsenault reports.

‘All those people who aren’t going to have a chance to say goodbye’

As the coronavirus death count surpassed the 1,000 mark yesterday in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker became noticeably emotional when talking of all those who have died alone – and of the need for people to reach out to those who are most vulnerable. In Baker’s case, it’s his father, who is in a long-term nursing home. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and Colman Young, who talks of the sad and lonely burial of his sister-in-law, have more. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi would like to see more such emotional moments from the usually “drama-free” Baker.

Coming soon to Massachusetts? New York orders all residents to wear masks in public

If New York is indeed a trend-setter when it comes to anti-coronavirus measures, then it seems probable, perhaps likely, that this may happen here, to wit: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all New Yorkers to “wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible, including on public transport, in stores and on crowded sidewalks,” as the NYT reports.

Locally, some are already ordering mandatory face masks, such as in Brookline, Universal Hub reports. And from MetroWest Daily News: “Masks required in essential businesses in Framingham, per local order.” And from the Gazette: “Northampton orders use of face coverings at essential businesses.”


Nursing-home updates: Eight die at Brockton center, mobile testing, daily updates bill

Nursing homes continue to hammered by the deadly coronavirus. From Mina Corpus at the Enterprise: “Eight residents at the Brockton Health Center nursing home have died and nearly 50 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus or are awaiting results.  Executive Director Ken Ruthinoski said Wednesday that the facility had its first positive COVID-19 case at the beginning of last week and that the deaths occurred in the past two weeks.”

Meanwhile, from MassLive: “Mobile testing program now available for long-term care facilities where no one has COVID-19 symptoms.” … And from SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Bill Requires Daily Virus Reports From Long-Term Care.”


Meanwhile, more than 150 test positive for COVID-19 inside jails and prisons

Speaking of crowded facilities, prisons and jails aren’t suffering nearly as much from the virus as elderly group homes, but they’re indeed suffering. From WBUR’s Deborah Becker: “The coronavirus appears to be spreading quickly in Massachusetts jails and prisons, with more than 150 positive cases reported among prisoners and staff.”


Finally: Beacon Hill lawmakers reach deal on evictions bill

Technically, the bill could still be blocked by a lone lawmaker under current social-distancing voting rules – and there reportedly is one unhappy GOP member. Still, the Globe’s Tim Logan and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski report that lawmakers have finally reached a deal that would block most evictions during the coronavirus emergency – and they’re hopeful about getting the bill to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk as soon as today.

Landlord relief?

They have bills to pay too. From Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times: “A bipartisan proposal, filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, would allow landlords to request temporary relief from their mortgage obligations if tenants fall behind on the rent. To be eligible, property owners must show they’ve received less than 50% of their rental income from tenants.”

Gloucester Times

Final straw: Coronavirus seals fate of struggling parochial schools

The Fall River Diocese says the coronavirus pushed it to close two Catholic schools in the SouthCoast area that were already suffering from lower enrollment, Charles Winokoor reports at the Taunton Gazette. 

Taunton Gazette

Ready, set, no: Hopkinton tells runners to steer clear of marathon starting line Monday

Officials in Hopkinton want to get the word out that runners who normally would have been stepping off Monday morning for the Boston Marathon to resist the urge to show up and run the now postponed race on their own, and it will put parking restrictions and other measures in place to keep crowds away, the MetroWest Daily News reports. 

MetroWest Daily News

Desperate times: Eagle-Tribune to eliminate print editions on Tuesdays and Saturdays

The coronavirus crisis is forcing major changes at the Eagle-Tribune, Lawrence’s daily newspaper that temporarily will no longer be a daily newspaper. Owner North Shore Media Group says the 150-year-old paper will no longer produce print editions on Tuesday and Saturdays in a cost-saving move.  

Eagle Tribune

MassLive staff faces furloughs, wage cuts

Yet another local media outlet is feeling the coronavirus crunch. From Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine: “The owner of Springfield-based MassLive notified employees on Wednesday that many of them will be furloughed and have their wages cut.” The reason: The nationwide and local plunge in ad sales.


Government updates: RMV extends expiring licenses, school construction woes, Healey launches portal

Some quick summaries and headlines. … From Jeanette DeForge at MassLive: “Registry of Motor Vehicles extends expiring licenses, inspection stickers, more for 60-120 days.” This is the second time RMV has extended deadlines. … From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Sales Tax Hit Could Affect School Construction.” … From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Pandemic Leaves New Normal on Beacon Hill.” … From MassLive: “AG Maura Healey launches website aimed at helping health care workers, first responders on frontlines of pandemic.” … The BBJ’s Gintautus Dumcius (pay wall) reports that local airports are starting to receive federal relief money, with Logan Airport getting the lion’s share of local funds. … And from the Boston Globe: “Lack of available police prompts Springfield to reinstate five officers who had been suspended without pay.”

Economic updates: Walsh sees slow reopening, Mass Mutual offers free policies, GE and Fidelity execs on council

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that Mayor Marty Walsh delivered ‘sobering’ news to the Boston business community yesterday: Any reopening of the economy will be slow and gradual. … The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft isn’t the only local person who will be giving advice to President Trump about reopening the economy. Executives from GE, Fidelity, Raytheon, Biogen and Thermo Fisher Scientific will also serve on task forces. … Meanwhile, from John Karalis at MassLive: “MassMutual offers $3 billion in free life insurance to health care workers on COVID-19 frontline.” … From the Berkshire Eagle: “Essential or not? Pittsfield, state officials disagreed about operations at Pine Cone Hill.”

Norman Rockwell, reimagined: Town Meetings may get drastic makeovers on Cape

One thing id for sure: This won’t be your father’s town meeting. Wellfleet officials are floating a plan to allow a town meeting run completely by mail-in voting so that next year’s budget can be finalized, Mary Ann Bragg reports in the Cape Cod Times. 

Yarmouth, meanwhile, is weighing a number of novel solutions, including holding its annual meeting on a football field, Chrstine Legere reports at the Cape Cod Times. 

Cape Cod Times

After endorsing Biden, Warren says she’d accept VP spot – if offered

As expected, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren yesterday endorsed Joe Biden for president, the NYT reports, and last evening MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow got Warren to acknowledge that, “yes,” she’d accept an offer by Biden to be his VP running mate, as MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports. We have a hunch an offer isn’t forthcoming. Just a hunch.

The Globe’s James Pindell writes that Warren’s somewhat tardy endorsement proves once again that she has a bad sense of political timing.

New state rules to double solar-power capacity

From SHNS’s Colin Young: “The Baker administration on Tuesday filed updated regulations for a solar energy development program that double the program’s capacity and expand eligibility criteria for low-income solar projects.” In an updated piece (pay wall), Young reports the plan is largely being praised, but not by everyone.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Parting gift? Fire boat purchase takes Fall River by surprise

He’s long gone; his handiwork is not. Members of the Fall River City Council say the first they heard about a new, $600,000, custom-made fire boat that former Mayor Jasiel Correia ordered purchased was when they got the bill. Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News has all the details. 

Herald News

Conference with Greg Sullivan of Pioneer Institute: Study on MA Unemployment Predictions

MassFiscal will be hosting an online video web forum with Greg Sullivan, former MA Inspector-General and the current Research Director of the Pioneer Institute.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Aniesia Williams

Join us as we discuss the emergence of new leadership styles and importance of keeping connected and managing your social media platforms. Aniesia will also discuss how she became a social media influencer.


Making a Digital Marketing Strategy for Unpredictable Times

Entrepreneur Melinda Emerson shows us why marketing and social media are essential in difficult times—and how to be ready when those times are over.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Technology trends to help your small business stay the course

71 percent of small- to medium-sized businesses are addressing the forecasted slow growth by making long-term plans, taking into account anticipated technological, demographic and economic changes over the next 5-10 years*. A secure, sustainable approach to technology and innovation will help business owners combat future challenges.

Boston Business Journal

2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs Lecture featuring Christiana Figueres

Each year, the Robert C. Wood Professorship brings a distinguished public leader to campus for a lecture and conversation to engage students, faculty, and community members in discussions of public policy and public service. The McCormack Graduate School is pleased to announce Christiana Figueres as the 2020 Robert C. Wood Visiting Professor of Public and Urban Affairs.

McCormack Graduate School

Jewish Social Justice Study Session

Join JALSA for a weekly Jewish social justice themed conversation, facilitated remotely every Thursday evening at 7:00 PM. This Thursday, we’ll be discussing food justice and equity: how we can make sure all members of our community have what they need to grow and thrive.

Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Public Health Update w/ Dr. Ashish Jha

Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss will speak again with Dr. Jha, Newton resident, physician, and Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute for a COVID-19 public health update.

Newton City Councilor Jake Auchincloss

Graduate Student Conference 2020

The John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies hosts a Graduate Student Conference 2020 on Policy and Global Studies. The conference includes several panels and flash talk presentations on the theme: “Policy and Politics Across Public Spaces: Building Communities from the Local to the Globa

McCormack Graduate School

Art Happy with Katie series

Join Art Happy with Katie for fun, stay-at-home activities for the family!

Art Happy with Katie

Today’s Headlines


In another abrupt change to coronavirus plans, Cambridge homeless will go to hotel outside city, not Alewife – Cambridge Day

Local Nonprofits Distributing Food See Unprecedented Need, Challenges – WGBH


Motor homes to house health care workers at Franklin County fairgrounds – Greenfield Recorder

Season lost, Old Sturbridge Village to furlough some employees – Telegram & Gazette

Councilors want to cut Framingham spending in response to coronavirus – MetroWest Daily News


Trump’s call with Wall Street didn’t go as planned – Politico

California teen asks Obama to deliver virtual commencement to class of 2020 – The Hill

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