Keller at Large

Forecast for the fall: No school, all schools

In his latest Keller at Large at MassterList, Jon Keller says reopening university campuses this fall is akin to “turning colleges into state-run casinos where staff and students are invited to play roulette with their health and that of the broader community.”

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Cannabis Commission, 4th Congressional District forum, and more

— The Cannabis Control Commission plans to meet, 10 a.m.

— MassEcon hosts a panel to talk about the future of transportation in context of COVID-19, with Massport CEO Lisa Wieland, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver and others expected to speak, 10:30 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III discusses PPE production and economic recovery with Merrow Manufacturing CEO Charlie Merrow, Fall River, 10:30 a.m.

— Democratic candidates for the 4th Congressional District participate in a virtual forum ahead of the Sept. 1 primary, hosted by Newton Democratic City Committee and Brookline Town Committee, 6:30 p.m.

— The U.S. Census Bureau starts outreach efforts to households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census in Boston, Lawrence and East Bridgewater.

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 coronavirus numbers: 2 new deaths, 8,438 total deaths, 338 new cases

SHNS has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Boston’s Hybrid Hopscotch Hybrid School Reopening Plan

It’s described as a “first draft.” We have a feeling a second draft will be forthcoming soon. The Globe’s James Vaznis and WBUR’s Carrie Jung and WGBH’s Tori Bedford all take a stab at trying to describe the preliminary reopening plan outlined yesterday by the Boston Public Schools. Warning: It gets a little confusing.

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports on a simpler option out there: “Boston City Councilors push for all-remote schools.” And it seems Worcester is also going for a more simplified plan, via MassLive’s Melissa Hanson: “Worcester Public Schools considering remote learning for first term of new school year.”

Two more colleges have an epiphany: Reopening campuses is probably not a good idea

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes reports that two more local colleges, Smith College and Regis College, have decided to reverse course and are now going full-remote this fall, rather than partially reopening campuses. We expect more colleges to follow suit, willingly or unwillingly. See Keller at Large item above.

But Universal Hub reports one university is doubling down on its reopening plans, damn it: “Boston University goes to 24-hour ventilation, finer filters and lots of fans to reduce coronavirus inside its buildings.” Meanwhile, there’s always the hotel option. Also from Universal Hub: “Emerson to rent most of the W Hotel for student housing.”

Boston Globe

New Hampshire up in arms over Mass.’s plan to tax remote workers

N.H. Gov. Chris Sununu and lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans alike, are almost beside themselves at the thought of Massachusetts actually taxing residents who have escaped the Bay State to remotely work in the Granite State, where there’s no income tax. The Union Leader’s Michael Cousineau has the outraged details.

Union Leader

Rhode Island: Alone, so alone

Speaking of our New England neighbors, Rhode Islanders are slowly coming to grips with the fact the rest of the nation, or at least their Northeast neighbors, don’t want anything to do with them. The Boston Globe and the Providence Journal report on the effective quarantining of Rhode Island due to its rising coronavirus numbers.

We will say this about Rhode Islanders: At least they can, and do, laugh at their own foibles. Cynicism is part of their endearing and ingrained nature.

For Fauci, telling the truth is a dangerous career hazard

If he isn’t getting hazardous pay, he should. From Marilyn Schairer at WGBH: “Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, said Wednesday that he and his family have received death threats because of his high-profile role in battling the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean it’s amazing,” Fauci said during a virtual forum at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”


The calm before the storm?

The Globe’s Felice Freyer and Kay Lazar report hospital officials are nervously, very nervously, monitoring rising coronavirus case numbers, fearing a second surge may be on the way. It’s still too early to go to red alert but …

Boston Globe

Newton’s third law confirmed: As hospitals lose money, Blue Cross plans to give away money

Newton’s third law that for every action (“Massachusetts hospitals bleeding money” – CommonWealth) there is an equal and opposite reaction (“Blue Cross Delivering $101 Mil in Refunds” — SHNS) has been curiously confirmed during the pandemic. The former, btw, is the result of non-virus patients forgoing elected medical procedures during these COVID-19 times.

Isaias’s aftermath: Tens of thousands still without power, Springfield declares an emergency

As of earlier this morning, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency reported that about 42,000 customers, most of them in western Massachusetts, were still without power as a result of widespread damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias.

And it’s not just in rural areas. From Douglas Hook at MassLive: “Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announces emergency declaration due to power, cell phone and water outages.” The storm has also hobbled Amtrak’s service between Boston and NY, as Universal Hub reports.

‘Tremendous irony’: Boston police paid $5.8M in overtime to handle anti-police protests

This isn’t how defunding was supposed to go. From SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk: “The City of Boston delivered nearly $5.8 million in overtime pay to police in connection with shifts associated with the wave of protests in May, June and July where thousands gathered to object to police brutality and systemic racism, the News Service has learned.”

Btw, another irony (sort of), via Stephanie Leydon at WGBH: “Activists Demanding Police Accountability Have An Unlikely Ally.” Meanwhile, from SHNS Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Senators Protest Elimination of Rarely Used SWAT Unit.” 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Long memory: Moulton’s Pelosi challenge becomes debate flashpoint

They remember. It’s been nearly two years since U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton briefly took part in an attempted coup against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but his challengers in this year’s Democratic primary sure haven’t forget. Ethan Forman at the Salem News reports the issue arose during a debate Wednesday when the question of encouraging women to pursue careers in politics was asked. 

Meanwhile,  the Patriot Ledger’s Mary Whitfill reports U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and his primary challenger Robbie Goldstein covered plenty of ground in their own socially distanced debate. 

Salem News

‘Sabotage?’ Galvin, others slam decision to curtail Census count

They just got started. Secretary of State William Galvin is among state officials slamming a decision to cut short the door-to-door part of the 2020 census count, Christian Wade reports at the Eagle-Tribune. Live counting just commenced in the state last month and will now end on Sept. 30, a month earlier than originally planned. 

Eagle Tribune

Survey: At least 315,000 teetering on the brink of eviction

If and when eviction moratoriums expire, it’s going to be a mess if the economy hasn’t improved. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “More than 315,000 Massachusetts tenants have little to no confidence that they will be able to pay rent in August, according to survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, a figure that one group said indicates as many as one in three renter households could soon face eviction.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Good enough: Foxboro board backs Gillette plan for Patriots home games

Let ‘em in. Foxboro Selectmen say they’re comfortable with the plan that the Kraft Group have laid out to allow as many as 14,000 fans into Gillette Stadium during Pats home games this fall, Jeff Peterson at the Sun-Chronicle reports. Of course, in the end, the final call will come from the governor. 

Sun Chronicle

Harvard Square landmark Mr. Bartley’s Burgers is up for sale

Owner Bill Bartley says the pandemic isn’t entirely to blame, but the pandemic is clearly partly to blame for his deciding to put Harvard Square mainstay Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage up for sale. Boston Restaurant Talk has the details.

Boston Restaurant Talk

The pandemic has helped at least one local company: Wayfair

The BBJ’s Lucia Maffei reports on one local company that’s doing well during these pandemic times: furniture e-retailer Wayside Inc., which, for the first time ever, has posted a profitable quarter. It’s lucky it did. Wall Street was all set to pounce if it had reported a loss during a lockdown almost tailor-made for e-retailers.

BBJ (pay wall)

Media meltdown update: Boston Magazine and NBC Sports Boston slash staffs

Back to pandemic-era economic casualties, the Great Media Meltdown continues, with Boston Magazine (BBJ) and NBC Sports Boston (Globe) the latest media outlets cutting their payrolls amid tough advertising times.

Moderna confirms: It’s going to charge a heck of a lot for its Covid-19 vaccine

Assuming it develops an effective COVID-19 vaccine, Cambridge’s Moderna has confirmed it’s miracle product won’t come cheap. In fact, it could be one of the most expensive vaccines out there, reports the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis, who has the numbers.

BBJ (pay wall)

T eliminating plastic-vs-paper fare differentials

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that the T, which has seen its ridership plunge during the pandemic, plans to eliminate the different fare prices passengers are charged when using reusable plastic CharlieCards versus paper CharlieTickets or old-fashioned paper cash. Two words: Good riddance. The confusing fare system made one almost pine for long-ago tokens.

Btw: Boston Magazine’s Spencer Buell has a confession to make: He’s buying a car. And it’s partly because he and his wife just don’t feel safe on public transit these days.


ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Wallace Johnson

Wallace Johnson, author of “20/20 DIVISION,” discusses Building Community


Getting to the Point with Larry Tye

New York Times bestselling author Larry Tye will join Lisa Mullins, host of WBUR’s All Things Considered, and the Kennedy Institute for a discussion on his new book, “Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator McCarthy”, and the parallels to today’s political leadership.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Radical new ideas, for the new normal.

Peter Shankman, best-selling author and entrepreneur, joins us to share exciting new ways to approach customer service and answer your questions in an interactive Q&A. Learn how your small business can create a customer experience that surprises, delights and rises to the challenges of today.

Verizon Small Business Webinar Series

Beyond Recovering: Preparing your business for new directions and growth

It’s impossible to ignore the long-lasting effects Covid-19 will have on your business. Small- to mid-sized businesses are working twice as hard to adapt for the rest of 2020 and the unforeseeable future. But you don’t have to do it alone. Understanding the difference between temporary disruptions and fundamental changes is key to planning for what’s next.

Boston Business Journal

Maximizing your chamber membership

Whether you’re a new member, new employee of a member business/nonprofit, or a prospective member wanting to learn more about us, join this information session to get to know the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber. Learn what being a member entails and how the chamber can work for your employer and for you.

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

COVID Impact on the Massachusetts Latino Community: Developing a Path For Recovery

MassINC and the MassINC Polling Group will present the results of a survey of public opinion among Latino residents of Massachusetts. The survey covered a range of policies questions, including voting, the Census, impacts of COVID-19, remote learning experiences, and the pandemic’s impact on family financial security.


Getting Back to Work: Keeping Your Staff and Customers Safe

Looking for guidance reopening your business? Join us for a program from experts at Newton-Wellesley Hospital designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses reopen their facilities in the safest way possible for employees and customers.

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

Lawn vs. Leary: A conversation with the state rep candidates

Join us for a conversation with the two candidates competing for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Middlesex District House seat: incumbent Rep, John Lawn and challenger, Newton City Councilor Alison Leary.

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

Is Retail Really Open for Business? What our Merchants are Telling us

Back in April, when the COVID shut down had just begun, we assembled a panel of local merchants and asked them to share their thoughts about survival and the future of retail. It’s been four months and we’ve decided to call back our panel to see how their businesses are holding up and to share current concerns and challenges.

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

Join Senator Ed Markey for a Virtual Event with Ken Burns

Filmmaker Ken Burns and Senator Markey will be discussing some of the lessons learned from our country’s stories explored in Ken’s documentaries and how they inform our response to today’s challenges including addressing civil rights, achieving racial equality, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and combating the climate crisis with the Green New Deal.

Ed Markey for Senate

Rally: Black Ribbon Day – Rejection of Extremism, Intolerance, and Oppression

Black Ribbon Day is an international day of remembrance for victims of totalitarian regimes, specifically Stalinism, communism, Nazism and fascism. It is observed on August 23rd and symbolizes the rejection of “extremism, intolerance and oppression.”

Boston Broadside

Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards

Join the Boston Business Journal for our annual Corporate Citizenship Awards.

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Attorney hired to investigate workplace environment, racial division at Brockton library – Brockton Enterprise

Emerson to rent most of the W Hotel for student housing – Universal Hub


Broadcast crashes as Lowell school committee discusses reopening – Lowell Sun

Travel order increases demand on Cape virus testing sites – Cape Cod Times

Fall River survey lists crime as city’s top issue; COVID-19 comes in sixth – Herald News


Democrats launch probe into $765M Kodak loan – Politico

Professor Allan Lichtman, who has accurately predicted elections since 1984, says Biden will win – USA Today

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