Happening Today

Relief fund deadline extended, bottle redemption resumes, and more

— The deadline has been extended from June 5 to June 12 for Massachusetts cities and towns to submit applications for a share of the $502 million in federal relief funds distributed by the Baker administration.

— State Sen. Eric Lesser hosts a live stream with Food Bank of Western Massachusetts executive director Andrew Morehouse, 12 p.m.

METCO plans an event with 33 superintendents, legislators and public officials to “call for justice in the murder of George Floyd (and) to speak out against racial discrimination, McGann Playground, 309 West Street, Hyde Park, 1 p.m.

Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities will hold a virtual hearing on legislation authorizing the Department of Transitional Assistance to administer a $50 million local food fund to provide financial assistance to food pantries severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, 3 p.m.

— Department of Environmental Protection and the attorney general’s office will resume enforcement of beverage container redemption requirements at retail locations that utilize bottle return machines.

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

More protests, more history in the making

Think the widespread street protests over George Floyd’s death aren’t historic? Think they’re all organized by a small group of radical and violent antifa types? Think again. A five-reporter team at the Boston Globe and the Herald’s Rick Sobey report on all the peaceful protests around the region, including small, medium and large gatherings in Woburn, Newton, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Milton and Wilmington.

But they may have missed some, such as gatherings in Fall River (Herald News), Westfield (MassLive), Framingham (MetroWest Daily News), Mashpee (Cape Cod Times), Bourne (Cape Cod Times), Northampton (Gazette) and the list goes on and on. Where this is all taking us, no one knows. But we do know this: Unlike other dime-a-dozen “historic” protests, this movement is different. It’s truly historic.

Walsh: It’s time for everyone to listen to black neighbors’ concerns about racism

Mayor Marty Walsh, Police Commissioner William Gross and others yesterday observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence in memory of George Floyd’s death, CBS Boston reports. Meanwhile, Walsh had another message to convey yesterday: It’s time to “listen and learn” from black neighbors who have been impacted by Floyd’s death and racism in general, CBS Boston also reports.

Universal Hub typically cuts to the chase: “Walsh: White residents need to be quiet for a moment and listen to their black neighbors.”

Groups knock MBTA for post-protest station closures

From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Transit experts and advocates, including one member of the MBTA’s oversight board, slammed the agency for its response to protests against police violence, arguing its leaders are ‘failing to rise to the occasion.’” When you think about it, closing down stations doesn’t’ exactly help in dispersing crowds.

Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “The MBTA’s oversight board has asked the T to stop moving police on buses. But the T won’t say if it will.”

Second National Guard soldier removed from active duty after controversial anti-protesters post

Yet another National Guard member is in trouble for lusting on social media about banging heads of protesters when deployed. Except he now won’t be deployed. Michael Bonner has the details on the “slamming” comments.


Somerville declares racism a public health and safety emergency

The Globe’s Jeremey Fox reports that Somerville Mayor Joe Curatone is declaring racism a public health and safety emergency. With more specifics, from WBUR’s Bob Shaffer: “Somerville Mayor To Create Civilian-Led Police Oversight Structure.” 

Meanwhile, from CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt: “Healey seeks more power to investigate police misconduct.”

FBI: ‘Rioters’ seeking police officers’ home addresses and may be trying to seize control of protests

From MassLive’s Scott Croteau: “The FBI Boston office issued a warning to Massachusetts police departments this week warning that individual officers could be targeted, sources confirmed to MassLive. … The concern was (also) that the peaceful protests could be taken over or disrupted by people looking for the opportunity to cause violence, sources told MassLive.”


Then again, the antifa threat is sometimes just a phantom menace

Universal Hub links to a Twitter photo of graffiti scrawled on a West Roxbury retaining wall about an Antifa threat to the neighborhood – a threat that has never materialized. All of which tends to lend credence in general to this NBC News headline: “White nationalist group posting as antifa called for violence on Twitter.”

Universal Hub

Pressley throws support behind Rollins in police union fray

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is making it clear she’s siding with Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins in the latter’s ongoing rhetorical battle with the Boston police union, which thinks Rollins’ recent rhetoric about cops has been over the top. Mayor Marty Walsh’s reaction: “There’s no right side.”

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) have the details.

Here’s a radical idea: What if we just eliminated policing in general?

David J. Harris, managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, doesn’t really hate individual police officers. He just hates policing in general – and he’s floating the radical idea at CommonWealth magazine of just eliminating policing in general.

Here’s a possible compromise plan somewhere in between keeping and eliminating policing: Moving the U.S closer to the U.K.’s largely unarmed bobbies model of policing. Just throwing out an idea.


Free pass: 125 lawmakers will likely face no opposition this fall

Switching to non-protest matters, this isn’t how “elections” are supposed to go, at least not in a democracy, i.e. only one person on the ballot per election. But that’s the case in the Massachusetts Legislature, where 125 incumbent lawmakers will be running unopposed this fall, unless write-in candidates step in to contest races, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski. That represents 62.5 percent of seats in the legislature.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The coronavirus numbers: 50 new deaths, 7,202 total deaths, 471 new cases

And now to the pandemic news. CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Phase Two reopening, here we come

Confused about what will open and not open — and when — regarding Gov. Charlie Baker’s Phase Two reopening plan? You’re not alone. The governor will detail his plans tomorrow. But, thankfully, the Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss has a good summary of what’s likely to happen, starting next week, including the partial reopening of retail shops, restaurants, day-care centers etc.

Meanwhile, CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports on a sort of reverse-reopening reopening, to wit: “DCR cancels all state campground reservations./ Starting over, season will now start July 1.”

Boston Globe

As Walsh says Boston is hitting reopening benchmarks, coalition says: Not so fast

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) report that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, looking at the city’s declining coronavirus case numbers, is now seems to be more optimistic about reopening the economy. 

But a group of physicians, community activists and others yesterday “demanded the administration ensure that at-risk populations, including people of color, are adequately protected,” reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall). They outlined what they think really needs to be done for a reopening to truly work for everyone.

House approves vote-by-mail bill, but town clerks question if they can handle the deluge

Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine reports that the Massachusetts House yesterday approved legislation that would greatly expand voting by mail in the state, a move driven largely by the current pandemic. But Schoenberg also reports, separately, that town clerks are mighty nervous about the expected flood of mail-in ballots.


Rutland Detective John Songy laid to rest

Keeping their social distance, police officers and dozens of residents lined Rutland’s Main Street yesterday for the funeral of Detective John Songy, who died after a long battle with coronavirus. MassLive’s Melissa Hanson has the sad details.


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.

Reports of the death of the Weymouth gas compression station are greatly exaggerated

Opponents of the under-construction natural-gas compression station in Weymouth plan to hold a “celebratory car parade” tomorrow after a key court decision earlier this week. But SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and the Patriot Ledger’s Jessica Trufant report that the court action probably won’t halt construction of the controversial facility.

Healey: We need an orderly transition away from natural gas

SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl report that Attorney General Maura Healey has submitted a detailed petition asking the DPU for details about how the state plans to wean itself off of natural gas to meet the state’s goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Environmental Super PAC to spend $200K supporting Markey

We somehow missed this story from the other day. From the Globe’s Jeremy Fox: “An influential state environmental group plans to spend $200,000 this month on print and digital ads supporting US Senator Edward J. Markey in his primary fight against challenger US Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, the organization’s state director said Wednesday.”

Boston Globe

Zoom boom: 500 virtually turn out for Amherst council meeting

It was a marathon, not a sprint. The Amherst Town Council virtually met for nearly seven hours Wednesday, as some 500 residents logged onto Zoom to observe or take part in a discussion about the town’s police budget, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette.


Steep drop: Berkshire Community College says enrollment down 25 percent

It could be worse. Berkshire Community College says enrollment for the fall semester is off at least 25 percent, but says the situation could be much worse with some comparable schools around the country seeing decreases twice as large, Amanda Burke reports at the Berkshire Eagle.

Berkshire Eagle

Developer shelves ‘Pleasure Island’ plan due to unpleasant reception

A business owner’s plan to resurrect an island community known as Pleasure Island in Swansea appears to be all but dead after running into a familiar foe: The need to get a two-thirds majority to change local zoning rules. Jeffrey Wagner at the Herald-News reports Al Monte is walking away from his multi-million dollar plan to turn the site into a family-friendly mixed-use project. 

Herald News

RIP, Joseph Corcoran: Built Columbia Point, thousands of apartments

Developer and philanthropist Joseph Corcoran, who transformed the Columbia Point housing projects into a modern, mixed-income neighborhood in the 1980s and went on to build communities nationally, has died at 84, according to the Dorchester Reporter. A Dorchester native, Corcoran chaired the Corcoran Jennison Companies and was an active philanthropist.

Dorchester Reporter

How do you screw up a Little Boy’s Special Haircut? Easy

And, finally, after a hectic and tense week, here’s a story that should bring a smile to your face: An 8-year-old Belmont boy has won a contest for the “funniest” pandemic-quarantine hair style, earning him a free year of haircuts. He can thank his mom, who cut his hair and sent in a nomination photo with an admission of guilt: “I did this to my son!”

CBS Boston

Sunday public affairs TV: Scott Brown, Marty Walsh and Tanisha Sullivan

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Scott Brown, former U.S. senator and current U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, who talks with host Jon Keller about the George Floyd case and fallout, how New Zealand coped with the pandemic, and U.S. trade relations.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak on the ‘new normal’ at the MBTA; WPI president and Mass. Higher Education Working Group member Laurie Leshin on reopening college campuses; and Doug Banks of the Boston Business Journal on the top business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a political roundtable discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Protests, Unrests, What’s Next?; Tanisha Sullivan, president of the NAACP Boston Chapter, and Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program for the ACLU of Massachusetts, are among those featured.

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

Protecting Cystic Fibrosis Patients from Discrimination by ICER Through COVID-19 & Beyond

Pioneer Institute and the Boomer Esiason Foundation will host an educational webinar, Protecting Cystic Fibrosis Patients from Discrimination by ICER Through COVID-19 & Beyond, on the importance of protecting patients with cystic fibrosis and any other complex condition from the harms of ICER and other one-size-fits-all value assessment methodologies both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pioneer Institute and the Boomer Esiason Foundation

How do We Avoid Another Foreclosure Crisis?

Please join MassINC and The MassINC Polling Group for a virtual discussion exploring the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Massachusetts housing markets. Juana Matias will lead the conversation along with Steve Koczela and Ben Forman. We will unpack findings from a new MassINC public opinion poll and consider how state & local leaders can act to stabilize families and keep communities intact.

MassINC and The MassINC Polling

A Virtual Conversation with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, & Senator Ed Markey

Join Senator Ed Markey for a virtual conversation with Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin.

Ed Markey for Senate

Today’s Headlines


UMass Boston faculty union objects to using Dot campus as police staging area – Dorchester Reporter

Lynn lifts curfew as Covid-19 cases decline – Lynn Item


Community spread of virus in Worcester remains high – Telegram & Gazette

DCR cancels all state campground reservations – CommonWealth Magazine

Web Industries will hire 125 people in Holliston, invest millions in Covid-19 test – Worcester Business Journal


With White House effectively a fortress, some see Trump’s strength — but others see weakness – Washington Post

The electoral map is tilting badly against Donald Trump right now – CNN

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