Happening Today

Expanded rail service, UMass-Lowell virtual commencement, and more

— U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern and Attorney General Maura Healey hold a Facebook live discussion about COVID-19, with plans to talk about environmental justice and employee and employer rights, 11 a.m.  

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a virtual press conference to unveil legislation to expand passenger rail service in Western Massachusetts and New England, with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer participating, 11:15 a.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg hosts a webinar titled ‘A 529 Day Conversation: Learn more about the BabySteps Savings Plan,’ the college-savings program launched by her office in January, 12 p.m.


Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development is accepting testimony through the end of today on two bills granting emergency paid sick time during states of emergency to all Massachusetts employees, deadline 5 p.m.

UMass Lowell holds a virtual commencement ceremony to recognize its more than 4,400 graduates, 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: 93 new deaths, 6,640 total deaths, 675 new cases

MassLive has the latest confirmed coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

From Heartbreak Hill to just heartbreak: Boston Marathon canceled

For the first time in its 124-year history, the Boston Marathon, which earlier this spring was rescheduled from April to September due to the coronavirus outbreak, has been canceled. Mayor Marty Walsh’s explanation: It was simply “not feasible” during a pandemic. The Globe’s David Abel and Travis Anderson and WBUR’s Roberto Scalese and Callum Borchers have more. The story is getting the national treatment at the NYT.

That quick V-shaped recovery? Not going to happen, say budget watchdogs and economists

State budget watchdogs and local economists now seem to agree: It’s likely going to take Massachusetts – and the nation – years to recover from the coronavirus economic carnage, despite the optimistic predictions of the Trump administration. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) report that the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is now forecasting a likely very slow economic and state budget recovery.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Larry Edelman provides this reality-check slap in the face: “It took five years to recover the 8.7 million jobs lost in the Great Recession and its aftermath; in April 2020 alone, employers cut 20.5 million positions.” MassLive’s Jim Kinney reports on the slight decline last week in the number of people filing for jobless benefits in Massachusetts, but it’s still a large number by historical standards.

And, finally, from the Globe’s Matt Stout: “With state revenues crumbling, Massachusetts took out a $1.75 billion credit line.”

Summer tourism season: Well, there’s always next year

From the Berkshires to the Cape, tourism officials are trying to salvage this summer’s hospitality business. But they don’t sound too optimistic. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Chamber Chief Hopes Cape Will Get June Jolt/Northcross: ‘Everything’s Been Thrown Up In The Air.’” … From the Cape Cod Times: “Provincetown bans cruise ships, whale watch excursions.”… From Kiernan Dunlap at the Herald News: “Tourism industry in Bristol County stands to take $256 million hit.” … Mayor Marty Walsh told WBUR’s Morning Edition yesterday that he doesn’t expect a very heavy tourist industry this summer. … From the Patriot Ledger: “South Shore tourism takes a hit this summer.”

When the chips are down, Encore stops paying part-timers, furloughs some staff

More from the gloomy economic front: With reopening likely still weeks away, Encore Boston Harbor says it will end its practice of paying some 850 idled part-time workers and furlough 10 percent of its full-time staff in Everett, Andy Rosen at the Globe reports. 

Boston Globe

Call-ahead praying: Reservations required as church services resume in Fall River

Reserve your pew now: Catholic churches in the Fall River area are preparing to gradually welcome parishioners back to Sunday Mass, starting with limited services this week for which advance reservations will be required, Liam McDonald at the Herald-News reports. Other changes include a ban on hymn singing and elimination, for now, of donation collection. 

Herald News

Long-time ban on wearing masks in banks gets a pandemic change

Just don’t say ‘stick ‘em up.’ WCVB’s Doug Meehan reports that the need to wear protective masks during the coronavirus crisis has led Massachusetts banks to rethink the long-time ban on wearing masks inside banks. Now customers will be asked to briefly lower their masks, smile to the surveillance cameras and then cover their faces again, the head of the Massachusetts Bankers Association says.


Nursing-homes updates: Skepticism over Holyoke chief’s defense, Baker on ‘enormous tragedy,’ calls for reform

A lot on the nursing-home/long-term-care front this morning, so we’ll just go with the headlines, starting with a piece from the Globe’s Hanna Krueger: “Relatives, employees at Holyoke soldiers’ home skeptical of e-mails released by suspended superindentent.” … From CommonWealth magazine’s Shira Schoenberg: “Spotlight on Urena in Soldiers’ Home scandal.” … From SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Baker Reflects on ‘Enormous Tragedy’ at Nursing Homes.” … From the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts nursing homes show need for reform, advocates say.” … From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “More than 100 residents dead from coronavirus at Hebrew Senior Life facilities.”

‘Herd immunity’: We all have a long way to go

The NYT has an interesting graphic package showing how far cities across the world, including Boston, must go before reaching so-called ‘herd immunity,” or the point at which the coronavirus can no longer spread widely.  


BPD’s Gross blasts judges for releasing inmates: ‘Let them stay at your house’

From WCVB: “After multiple people were shot in Boston overnight, Police Commissioner William Gross again took aim at the judges who are releasing violent prisoners from incarceration because of concern about the coronavirus spreading behind bars. ‘If you feel so comfortable releasing them, let them stay at your house,’ Gross said.

Universal Hub has more on Gross’s challenge, including comments from many readers unimpressed with the commissioner’s view on matters. Meanwhile, as if on cue to further torment Gross, via MassLive: “ACLU seeks release of more prisoners at Federal Medical Center in Devens.” 

And, finally, SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has a good story on the difficulties facing Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian these days: “Turnover in Jail Population Creates Constant Challenge.”


Baker: The ‘vast majority’ of jobless claims checked out so far are not fraudulent

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and MassLive’s Steph Solis report that Gov. Charlie Baker, whose administration earlier this week warned that jobless claims could be delayed due to a massive nationwide fraud scheme, said yesterday that the state has reviewed 150,000 UI applications and only found a fraction of them suspicious in nature.

CDC alert: ‘Aggressive rodent behavior’ as rats seek non-restaurant food sources

MassLive’s Jackson Cote is all over this breaking story: “A new cause for concern has arisen amid the coronavirus pandemic – one that is furry, dirty and hungry. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of ‘aggressive rodent behavior’ as the ongoing public health crisis has left rats without their normal source of food: trash from restaurants and other businesses.”


A truckload of food for Chelsea … all the way from Utah

On a more serious food-shortage note, CBS Boston reports on a much-appreciated truckload of food (40,000 pounds of it) that was delivered all the way from Utah to hard-hit Chelsea, courtesy of the Mormon church. 

In related news, we missed this story from the other day (and shouldn’t have), via WGBH: “Baker announces $56 million to combat food insecurity in Mass.” While we’re at it, via Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News: “State seeks waiver to continue emergency meals for students.”

CBS Boston

Double whammy: WBZ TV takes combination merger-and-virus hit

Not to be confused with the WBZ Radio layoffs announced earlier this year, WBZ-TV is now facing staff reductions in Boston, as an apparent result of the recent Viacom-CBS merger and the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The Globe’s Jeremy Fox has the details. No layoff numbers at the station were available.

Boston Globe

The greatest lockdown innovation yet: Sicilian-style to-go pizza with Harpoon beer

Ooo … ooo … ooo. … During the coronavirus lockdown, Boston’s Harpoon Brewery is now offering to-go Sicilian-style pizza with its beer. Check out the photo accompanying the MassLive story. It’s pure marketing torture.


Youth movement: UMass freshman to challenge state Rep. Dooley in fall

A UMass Amherst freshman who interned on Beacon Hill last summer has launched a bid to unseat GOP state Rep. Shawn Dooley in the 9th Bristol District, Stephen Peterson at the Sun Chronicle reports. As the only Democrat to declare, Hunter Cohen will advance to the November election, where Dooley will be seeking a fourth term. 

Sun Chronicle

Healey reaches settlement with firm accused of falsifying minority-business ties

From Paul Singer and Chris Burrell at WGBH: “Attorney General Maura Healey has reached a $380,000 settlement with a Canton-based building contractor accused of falsely claiming they had hired minority- and women-owned subcontractors as required on a $15 million dollar state project.”


Sunday public affairs TV: Jon Hurst, Jim Rooney and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Jon Hurst, president Retailers Association of Massachusetts, who talks with host Jon Keller about what he says is unfair treatment for retailers in the governor’s reopening plan and the toll the pandemic is taking on retail stores.

This Week in Businesss, NECN, 10 a.m. Bright Horizons chief executive Stephen Kramer talks about the new safety protocols in place within the childcare industry; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute chief executive Laurie Glimcher MD talks about cancer care and research amid the pandemic; and the Globe’s Shirley Leung of Globe looks at the topic business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Jim Rooney, chief executive of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 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 topic: Muslims in Boston, with guests including Shamso Ahmed, owner of Shamso Hair Studio and Spa, and John Robbins, executive director at the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Massachusetts.

Representative Katherine Clark Visits Malden Bread of Life Food Pantry

Representative Katherine Clark will visit the Malden Bread of Life Food Pantry to thank volunteers and staff for their essential work and to help with the distribution of grab-and-go pre-bagged groceries for Massachusetts residents. Bread of Life is a nonprofit, nondenominational faith-based organization serving the communities north of Boston.

Representative Katherine Clark

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

JALSA Activist Monday 50K Challenge

Monday night, join your JALSA Impact community on Zoom to write postcards and hang out with your social justice friends.


US Senate primary debate between Sen. Ed Markey, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III

Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joseph Kennedy III will debate. The debate will be moderated by Dave Madsen, Western Mass News anchor; Bob Oakes, host of WBUR’s Morning Edition; Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker; and WCVB On the Record anchor, Janet Wu.

WCVB, Western Mass News, The Boston Globe, WBUR and UMB’’s John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies

Tech Adoption for Small Business through Covid-19 and Beyond

Ramon Ray hosts Shelly Palmer, advising how your small business can adopt new tech to help you pivot for the future.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

JALSA Schmoozefest with Joan Venocchi

Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe Associate Editor, discussing the impact of COVID-19 on journalism; Clark Ziegler, MA Housing Partnership, on the challenge of affordable housing; with Music from Chava Mirel, internationally touring folk, world music, and jazz musician


Virtual Coffee with Governor Baker

Join ABLE’s CEO, Marian Walsh, and our Board Chairperson, Lydia Greene, as they salute Governor Charlie Baker for his leadership, voice of calm, and clear guidance throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Operation ABLE

A Virtual Conversation with Michael Douglas & Senator Ed Markey

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

Senator Ed Markey

The Future of Work: Pivoting Your Business for a Strong Reopening

The health and economic crisis caused by the COVID pandemic requires our businesses to adapt and transform the way we operate. In this session, learn from business experts and resource partners on how you can pivot your operating model, integrate technology tools and enhance your marketing strategies to operate successfully in the new normal.

Amplify Latinx

MassHire Central Region Career Center Virtual Job Fair

It’s Central Massachusetts “Back to Work” Day! More than two dozen employers from diverse industries will participate in the Central Region Career Center’s Virtual Job Fair on June 4th from noon – 4:30PM. The Virtual Job Fair is FREE for all job seekers and employers; no pre-registration required for job seekers.

MassHire Central Region Career Center

Virtual Author Talk with Honor Moore

Virtual Author Talk with Honor Moore, Moderated by Claire Messud

American Ancestors and NEHGS together with the Boston Public Library and the State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Lynn seeks input for housing plan through virtual open house – Lynn Item

City focus is on helping, not fines – Dorchester Reporter


Worcester will drop criminal complaint against Pastor Kristopher Casey, Adams Square Baptist Church says lawsuit remains ‘until we hear from them’ – MassLive

Framingham finance panel recommends cutting senior adviser to Spicer – MetroWest Daily News

Review of MCC’s Mabry panned by several trustees, union head – Lowell Sun


Millions relying on pandemic aid can see its end and they’re scared – New York Times

Nevada Sen. Cortez Masto removes herself as a candidate for Biden’s vice president – Washington Post

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