Relief fund deadline, COVID-19 updates and more
— Cities and towns have until today to submit their applications with the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services for fiscal year 2020 coronavirus relief funds.
— Edward M. Kennedy Institute and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation host virtual discussion with activists and experts on COVID-19 and HIV pandemic outbreaks, with guests including Victoria Reggie Kennedy of the Institute, 10 a.m.
— Senate President Karen Spilka and other senators hold a listening session on the state’s economic recovery, reinvestment and workforce, with Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta among those participating throughout the day, starting at 11 a.m.
— In a virtual event hosted by the New England Council, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley will update New England business leaders on federal COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus efforts, 11 a.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.
Reform demands: The list grows
CBS Boston reports that the local NAACP and civil rights groups have issued their own police-reform demands following weeks of protests over the killing of George Floyd and against police brutality in general. At the top of the reform list for Tanisha Sullivan, president of the Boston Branch of the NAACP: “A civilian review board, with subpoena power, which we believe is critically important to bring about greater policing accountability.”
Meanwhile, the Boston Police Department is adopting an “8 Can’t Wait” list of reforms, though the department does say it already has in place rules dealing with half of the reforms, as WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning reports. The Boston Globe’s Danny McDonald reports that City Councilor Lydia Edwards is going beyond just police reforms. She wants the Boston Planning & Development Agency to prioritize racial and economic equity when it comes to development in the city.
But with all the reform proposals out there today – including forthcoming ideas from Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, among others – the Globe’s Hanna Kruege has a reality-check piece this morning looking at the reform record in other cities – and she finds the results are mixed.
Republicans ignore Trump, side with Warren on stripping Confederate names from military bases
We had to re-read these stories a few times to make sure we were reading them right, i.e. Roll Call and CBS Boston report that a GOP-led panel yesterday approved a plan by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat and progressive’s progressive, to strip the names of Confederate figures from military bases – and defying President Trump in the process. Yes, actual bi-partisan agreement and Republican defiance of the president.
Still, Nik DeCosta-Klipa at Boston.com reports the name-change fight is far from over.
Just a tie? Hodgson denies neckwear in 2003 portrait is a nod to confederacy
A grassroots group pushing to oust Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is calling attention to an official portrait from 2003 in which he wears a necktie that some historians say could be seen as a nod to the Confederate flag, Shannon Dooling at WBUR reports. Hodgson says he’s just being targeted because he’s a die-hard Trump fan and he’s staying true to the necktie brand, saying he’d wear it again today even knowing it might upset some people.
Red Sox on racism at Fenway: ‘This is real’
Shira Springer at WBUR reports that former MLB player Torrii Hunter was subjected to so many racial slurs at Fenway Park that he demanded, and got, a no-trade clause in his contract barring him from ever being traded to Boston. The Red Sox have reacted by admitting that, well, it does have a problem with racist fans at Fenway: ‘This is real.’
In other sporting news, from Liza Neisloss at WGBH: “In Walpole, A Decades-Long Split Over Team Name ‘Rebels’ Reopens.” And, no, it’s not a stretch to connect the name to the old Confederacy, since it was only 25 years ago when Confederate flags used to be routinely waved at school sporting events.
The coronavirus numbers: 38 new deaths, 7,492 total deaths, 519 new cases
Switching to pandemic news, WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Pandemic profiteers: The shady characters the state and hospitals are turning to secure PPE supplies
WBUR and the Globe this morning have dueling stories on the sometimes shady cast of characters who have emerged during the coronavirus pandemic to provide badly needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to medical authorities. And sometimes the supplies aren’t exactly top quality, as the New England Patriots recently discovered the hard way.
Bad bet? Massachusetts casinos longingly eye June 29 for reopening
Even though the reopening of the state’s three casinos doesn’t appear to be a top priority of the Baker administration, MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park are hoping to reopen, on a limited social-distancing basis, by June 29, reports MassLive’s Jim Kinney. The odds seem stacked against that date, but we’ll see.
Btw: SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) takes a look at the health protocols state regulators and casino operators are now reviewing in anticipation of an eventual reopening.
Food insecurity stalks many during the pandemic
Maeve Duggan, research director at MassINC Polloing Group, says a recent poll by his outfit shows that 24 percent of Massachusetts residents have “either struggled to provide enough food for their family or have gotten food from a food bank since the coronavirus crisis began.”
As if on cue, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday rolled out a new program to combat food insecurity, acknowledging hunger and fear of hunger is now a major problem in Massachusetts, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky.
Ivory Tower rebellion
Local colleges have vowed they won’t reopen campuses this fall unless it’s deemed safe for students. But what about faculty members? WBUR’s Max Larkin and CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas report on a small professorial rebellion brewing at Boston University, where faculty members are concerned about resumption of in-person classes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Major milestone: Berkshires marks first day in months with no Covid-19 hospitalizations
For the first time since March, Berkshire County on Thursday had no patients hospitalized due to the coronavirus, a significant milestone for a region that was one of the earliest hotspots for the virus outbreak e, Larry Parnass and Caroline White at the Berkshire Eagle report.
Moderna to start vaccine tests next month on 30,000 volunteers
CBS Boston reports that Moderna, a Cambridge biotech company, is preparing to move to Phase 3 in its development of a potential vaccine against the coronavirus, saying it now plans testing on 30,000 humans, starting next month.
Baker stands by timeline of when he first learned of Holyoke Soldiers Home tragedy
MassLive’s Steph Solis reports that Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday reiterated he didn’t learn of the growing death count at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home until the night before the state intervened, even though WBUR’s Marian Wasser reports that phone and email records suggest top administration officials were warned about the unfolding tragedy 24 hours earlier.
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.
Lawmakers are so close, yet so far, on T oversight deal
SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) reports that the Senate yesterday approved a $300 million allocation for a municipal road and bridge repair program, matching the amount backed by the House and pleasing local authorities.
But tucked in the Senate bill, as Lisinki reports, was a proposal to create a new board to oversee the MBTA – and that’s where it may get complicated. CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports it comes down to the Senate and House disagreeing over who gets to appoint the future T general manager.
Rage against the machines: Attorneys want breath testers tossed after new flaw revealed
Here we go again. Some defense attorneys want the state to stop using its current generation of breath test machines for good after the head of the state crime lab acknowledged a new problem had emerged, Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports. Thousands of past drunken driving convictions have been tossed because of an earlier problem with calibration; the new flaw has machines sending results to the Registry of Motor Vehicles without required certification from police.
Payment pending: MCC Trustees not happy with consultant’s work
The check is definitely not in the mail. Trustees of Middlesex Community College say they’ll withhold the final payment of a $75,000 contract with a consulting firm that was supposed to evaluate the job performance of President James Mabry, Emma Murphy reports at the Lowell Sun. Trustees say the report fell short of the mark and didn’t shed any new light; Mabry announced his intention to retire next year just days before the report landed.
Brockton has you beat, Boston: Fireworks complaints soar by 2,837 percent in City of Champions
Mayor Marty Walsh reported early this week on a 2,300 percent increase in fireworks complaints in Boston. But Cody Shepard at the Enterprise reports Brockton can top that number, with a 2,837 percent spike in complaints.
Suddenly, feds seem a little more upbeat about offshore wind
Federal regulators have finally released a long-awaited environmental study of offshore wind along the East Coast – and there’s even talk of eventually thousands of wind turbines in coastal waters. But … but don’t hold your breath for the Vineyard Wind I project to proceed soon. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have more on the recent regulatory action.
UMass-Dartmouth chancellor stepping down later this year
From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson, the first African-American chancellor at that school, will resign effective Sept. 4, following a three-year tenure, and is moving on to a role where he believes he can make greater contributions. … The university did not announce Johnson’s next steps or a reason for his planned departure, but his statement suggests he’s moving on to a new job. “
Sunday public affairs TV: Ed Davis, Seth Moulton and more
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Former Boston Police Commissioner and WBZ TV security analyst Ed Davis, who talks with host Jon Keller about calls for ‘defunding’ the police, the role of Antifa in the protests, and the prospects for police reform.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. State Street Corp. Chief Diversity Officer Paul Francisco talks about new dialogues in the ongoing effort to combat racism and inequality; Provincetown Director of Tourism Tony Fuccillo on PRIDE and the reopening of restaurants and hotels; and the Globe’s Shirley Leung shares her conversations with Black business leaders and reviews other news issues.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.
CityLine, WCVB-TV 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Post-pandemic, protests and police reform, with Nia Grace, owner of Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen, Stephanie Tavares, a senior at Boston University and president of student organization Umoja, and Nate McNichols, a member of the Center for Teen Empowerment in Boston.
Massachusetts 4th District Congressional Candidate Forum On Energy and the Environment
Join ELM and sponsoring partners today for Part 3 of a virtual MA 4th Congressional District Candidate Forum on Energy and the Environment. The forum will be divided into three one-hour Zoom sessions (at 12PM on June 9, 11, and 16) to allow 10 candidates to respond to crucial questions on environmental and energy policy. June 16: Jake Auchincloss, Dave Cavell, Natalia Linos
Individual Homelessness in a COVID-19 World virtual event
Join the Massachusetts Housing & Shelter Alliance for a panel discussion of lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need for Massachusetts to transform the way we address homelessness among adults as we move forward.
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