Happening Today

Unemployment data, Revere Beach restrictions, Holyoke Soldiers’ Home ceremony

— Massachusetts labor officials today release unemployment data for the month of April, the first full-month covering the state’s economic lockdown.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh participates in an ‘Ask the Mayor’ segment on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo joins Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of the executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and others to outline the public health measures in place along Revere Beach throughout the Memorial Day weekend, Markey Bridge at Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere, 2 p.m.

— Former Gov. Jane Swift along with media analyst John Carroll and senior political reporter Anthony Brooks appear on ‘Radio Boston Week in Review,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m.

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home livestreams a virtual Memorial Day Observance, 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: 82 new deaths, 6,148 total deaths, 1,114 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

DeLeo outlines long list of House recovery priorities

Now that the first coronavirus wave has passed and the partial reopening of the economy has commenced, Beacon Hill lawmakers, who have largely stood in the background as Gov. Charlie Baker has issued daily emergency orders over the past two months, will soon be stepping into the policy-making limelight. And yesterday House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced the formation of a new House Recovery Committee and signaled that his priorities moving forward include child care, restaurants, liability, transportation and the state budget, among other subject areas.

MassLive’s Steph Solis, SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) and the Globe’s Jon Chesto have the details on the new House priorities.

Nearly 116,000 self-employed and gig workers filed for jobless benefits last week in Massachusetts

Approximately 38,328 more people applied for traditional unemployment benefits last week in Massachusetts, down from about 45,000 claims in the previous week and yet “still huge compared with historical filings,” reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.

But Ryan also reports that nearly 116,000 people in Massachusetts filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week through a separate program meant to cover those ineligible for traditional unemployment benefits, i.e. the self-employed and gig workers. And it all points to an economy that may be in far rougher shape than even the gloomiest have imagined.

Btw: Beacon Hill lawmakers yesterday sent a bill to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk that’s “aimed at helping employers and claimants during the coronavirus pandemic,” reports SHNS’s Sam Doran and Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall), who have details of the technical legislation.


Berkshires suffers another ‘body blow’ as Kripalu lays off 450

Just one example of the economic carnage out there. Already facing the prospect of unemployment as high as 30 percent, the Berkshires region got another heavy dose of bad news Thursday when the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge said it would shut down entirely for the rest of the year and lay off 450 workers. Tony Dobrowolski at the Berkshire Eagle has the details and the “stunned” reaction from one local lawmaker.  

Berkshire Eagle

And with unemployment comes … hunger

As the state and nation hemorrhage jobs, another problem is inevitably rearing its head in Massachusetts: Hunger. The Globe’s Janelle Nanos has the startling findings of a report on hunger in the state – and how it’s expected to grow only worse amid the ongoing coronavirus and economic crises.

Boston Globe

Confirmed: No beach volleyball. And no large-gathering holiday barbecues, says Walsh

He’s a killjoy, but he’s a scientifically-backed killjoy. Some sample headlines emanating from Boston City Hall, starting with CBS Boston: “Walsh: ‘You Certainly Shouldn’t Be Going To Cookouts’ This Memorial Day Weekend.” … From Universal Hub: “Walsh: Walk on the beach, but no playing volleyball this weekend.”

And, finally, the Globe’s Matt Stout and David Abel provide a statewide beach-going angle: “Mask tan lines, here we come: Mass. beaches open in age of coronavirus.”

T’s passive-aggressive reopening plan: Borrowing a page from Sweden?

The MBTA is pushing ahead with COVID-19 ridership policies that “strongly encourage but don’t mandate social distancing and the wearing of face coverings,” reports CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl. Hmmm. Its passive-aggressive nature sort of reminds us of … OMG … socialist Sweden! Normally, we’d expect a strong anti-socialist reaction to this from the Herald’s Howie Carr, but Howie’s already gone full Swedish social democrat. … Ah, the abundance of ironies these days.


Baker: Supply-chain problems holding up more testing

WGBH’s Zoe Matthews reports that Gov. Charlie Baker hopes to vastly expand COVID-19 testing across the state in future months. But Baker says there’s a major obstacle to overcome: Supply-chain problems. He explains.


Slam dunk: Celts legend Bill Russell rips Trump over mail-in-voting opposition

Matt Vautour at MassLive reports that former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell is slamming President Trump’s opposition to mail-in-voting during the coronavirus crisis. “I don’t want to risk my life to #vote,” tweeted the 86-year-old Russell.

In other mail-in-voting news, Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t opposed to mail-in-voting per se. But he sees no reason to rush a vote on the matter on Beacon Hill, reports SHNS Chris Lisinski (pay wall).


Kraft’s Super Bowl ring nets $1 million at coronavirus relief auction

Speaking of sports stars during these coronavirus times, New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft’s auctioning off of a Super Bowl ring has netted $1.02 million for virus-related causes. Which ring? NBC Sports Justin Leger reveals.

Meanwhile, a certain ex-Pats isn’t exactly covering himself in glory these days. From MassLive’s Matt Vautour: “Tom Brady tarnishing his legacy with TB12′s misleading ‘immune supplement’ during coronavirus pandemic.”

NBC Sports

Unelected local health boards: The real power moving forward?

With Gov. Charlie Baker giving local authorities some latitude to implement stricter social-distancing rules than the state, the focus now turns to what individual towns and cities can and will do regarding reopenings. And that means, for many local governments, unelected public health boards making major decisions moving forward – and that concerns businesses, reports Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune.  

Eagle Tribune

Cross-state spillovers? What cross-state spillovers?

Speaking of fragmented approaches to coronavirus policies, the Globe’s Kay Lazar and Felice Freyer report on the lack of coordination between states on reopening policies – and how it can easily lead to virus spillover effects.

But the intrepid Matt Szafranski of Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight bravely ventured over the Massachusetts-Connecticut border, into the partially reopened Enfield, Conn. zone, and found … not much worth crossing over to, unless you enjoy eating al fresco under a tent pitched on a shopping-mall parking lot.

More than a third of nursing homes fail COVID-19 precautions audit

From Mariam Wasser at WBUR: “Of 360 nursing homes audited by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health earlier this month, only 228 were in compliance with a mandated COVID-19 infection control checklist.”

But CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports that it’s difficult to draw conclusions about whether the infractions led to more suffering at individual homes, since “some nursing homes passed (the audit) easily and yet have suffered a significant number of COVID-19 fatalities at their facilities.” And the opposite is true too.


Pressley doubles down on reopening criticism, saying lives are at stake

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is not letting up in her criticism of Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to very slowly reopen the state economy, saying that moving too quickly to reopen will only cost lives.

Meanwhile, in other Pressley-related news, SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports the Boston congresswoman and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan are pushing a bill making undocumented immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses, saying it’s now a coronavirus public-health issue.

Boston Herald

Teed off: Driving range owners want the golf course treatment

They have golf balls, golf clubs and golfers. But they’re not golf courses. Driving range owners are asking why they were left out of Gov. Baker’s decision to allow the state’s golf courses to be among the first businesses to fully reopen, Bill Burt reports in the Eagle-Tribune.

Eagle Tribune

Lori Loughlin and hubby give up the fight, agree to plead guilty in ‘Varsity Blues’ case

The feds wore them down. From WCVB: “Former ‘Full House’ actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, have agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with the college admissions scandal, the Department of Justice announced Thursday morning. The couple was accused of participating in the scheme to get their two children admitted to the University of Southern California under the guise of athletic recruits.”


Boston’s Tinker Tailor Scholar Spies

They may be everywhere. And U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office is determined to find them. We’re talking Chinese-government industrial spies with possible links to local higher-education and scientific institutions. Catherine Elton at Boston Magazine has more on the post-Charles-Lieber-arrest hunt for spies in Massachusetts.

Boston Magazine

Herald loses another longtime editor

It lost its top editor late last year. Now this. From Don Seiffert at the BBJ: “Jules Crittenden, the Boston Herald’s managing editor and one of the daily newspaper’s last longtime journalists, left his role at the company on Thursday. Crittenden had been with the Herald, the city’s second-largest daily, for 27 years, and in a text message to the Business Journal he said his years at the tabloid ‘were the best years of my career.’”


Massachusetts to hold virtual Memorial Day commemorations

Due to the coronavirus crisis, most traditional Memorial Day events have been cancelled in Massachusetts. But NBC Boston and the Herald report there will be plenty of virtual (and not-so-virtual) holiday commemorations, from live-streamed Facebook events to a military flyover in Boston on Monday. 

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend – and see you on Tuesday

We’d like to wish all our MassterList readers a happy – and coronavirus safe – Memorial Day weekend. MassterList will be taking the holiday off on Monday, but we’ll be back first thing on Tuesday.

Sunday public affairs TV: Elizabeth Warren, Bill Keating and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8: 30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who talks with host Jon Keller about how President Trump is handling of the coronavirus crisis, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s criticism of Gov. Baker reopening plan, why she said yes to the idea of possibly becoming Joe Biden’s running mate, and whether or not she’ll campaign for Ed Markey.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Wendy Northcross, CEO of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, talks about the Cape’s coronavirus-era preparations for the summer; Tim Murray, head of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, discusses the central Mass. economy; and Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe on the top business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Women Leading the Way, featuring Deborah Hughes, president and CEO of Brookview House, and Dr. Yvette Cozier, associate professor at Boston University School of Public Health, among others.

State Representative Candidate Joe Gravellese to host virtual town hall on supporting small businesses with Daniel Takash of the Niskanen Center

State Representative candidate Joe Gravellese (MA 16th Suffolk District – Revere, Chelsea, Saugus) will host a Virtual Town Hall with Daniel Takash, regulatory policy fellow at the Niskanen Center, a nonpartisan Washington DC think tank. Gravellese and Takash will discuss ways to reform and modernize regulations to allow small businesses to flourish, especially in the post-COVID-19 environment.

Committee to Elect Joe Gravellese

Webinar: What Harvard Taught Me But My Kids Made Me Learn with Bea Wray

With grace, insight, and humor, Bea shares of her six year “break” on Daufuskie Island raising three children – and how it taught her that parenting is a breakthrough… not a break from a career.

Harvard Business School Association of Boston

The Electoral College

Mary Sarah Bilder, Boston College professor of law, Edward B. Foley, Ohio State University professor of constitutional law, and Jesse Wegman, author of Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College, discuss the history of and contemporary challenges to the Electoral College.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Free Virtual Seminar with a Google Certified Speaker

We’re helping you amplify your business presence to Narrow the Search: Get in Front of Customers Right Now.


US Foreign Policy and China

Lucy Hornby, a fellow at the Nieman Center for Journalism and former Beijing deputy bureau chief for the Financial Times, and Yasheng Huang, MIT professor of international management, discuss US foreign policy challenges and opportunities with Anthony Saich, Harvard professor of international affairs and director of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Michael Douglas.

Senator Ed Markey

Today’s Headlines


Boston high school seniors to graduate in virtual ceremony broadcast on TV – Boston Herald

A park, a playground and a steeple among the Dot projects to get CPA help – Dorchester Reporter


Barnstable County suspends AmericaCorps program – Cape Cod Times

Framingham State postpones commencement until 2021 – MetroWest Daily News

UMass Memorial lost up to $70 million in March, April – Worcester Business Journal


Reopening reality check: Georgia’s jobs aren’t flooding back – Politico

White House adviser uncertain about economic rebound – Washington Post

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