Happening Today

Drive-in DNC, new virus metrics, renaming Faneuil Hall, more

The Department of Transportation’s Board of Directors Finance and Audit Committee holds its first meeting since June, 9:30 a.m. 

MassHumanities hosts a forum with Northeastern University professor Martin Blatt and David Harris, managing director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard University, to discuss their call to rename Faneuil Hall. 2 p.m.

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate holds a virtual discussion on proposals to lower the voting age moderated by MassVOTE’s Cheryl Crawford. 5:30 p.m.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party hosts a drive-in viewing party at Suffolk Downs showing the third night of the Democratic National Convention to watch U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris speak. 8 p.m., Suffolk Downs. 

The Department of Public Health is slated to release an updated version of its new color-coded COVID-19 risk assessment metrics, based on each community’s rate of new cases per 100,000 residents, as part of its weekly Wednesday data report.

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: 6 new deaths, 8,617 total deaths, 175 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts. 

Blame game: Kennedy, Markey spar over who went negative first in ‘low brow’ debate

It wasn’t pretty for either candidate. That sees to be the consensus after the third and final debate between Sen. Edward Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III before the Democratic primary. 

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl calls the face-to-face a ‘low brow’ affair, with both candidates doing their best to avoid tough questions. WBUR’s Callum Borchers reports the clashes over how the primary race turned negative highlighted the fact that the policy differences are scant. And Benjamin Kail of MassLive reports Kennedy was pressed on whether he is “a hypocrite” for slamming Markey’s embrace of PAC money while allowing an outside group to spend in support of his candidacy. 

The bottom line, according to the Globe’s James Pindell: Neither candidate had a shining night and it’s anybody’s guess what impact the debate will have as many voters have already sent back mail-in ballots. 

As for issues: The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports the candidates finally differed when it came to the sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber and MassLive’s Kail reports the way back machine was activated when Kennedy hit Markey over his support of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which Kennedy argues is keeping parts of the state from getting the broadband service needed amid the pandemic. 

Undaunted: Mass. voters embrace mail-in ballots amid chaos over postal service

They’re confident-ish. Secretary of State William Galvin says nearly 1 million mail-in ballots have been sent to voters, Chris Van Buskirk of State House News reports, with about 150,000 already submitted to city and town clerks for counting. 

The data points suggest Bay State voters have confidence in the mail-in approach amid a national uproar over changes at the U.S. Postal Service. Brad Petrishen of the Telegram reports U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern was among the Bay State lawmakers to call for the resignation of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. 

DeJoy has been summoned to Capitol Hill by both chambers of Congress and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren went a step further and called for the launch of a corruption investigation into DeJoy after reports emerged he had recently purchased Amazon stock, Dan Magan of CNBC reports

Meanwhile, more municipalities say they’re being flooded with ballot requests. Julie Manganis of the Salem News reports election officials are hiring part-timers and tapping volunteers to help dig out while George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports 6,000 ballot applications have surged into Attleboro City Hall–nearly 20 percent of the town’s total registered voter pool.

Over at WBUR, meanwhile, Quentin Palfrey and Mike Firestone lay out some steps the state should take to ensure all mail-in ballots are counted, including those postmarked on Election Day. 

No worries: UNC scare doesn’t deter Boston colleges

At first blush, the on-campus coronavirus clusters that prompted the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to abruptly send students home this week seemed like a red flag for colleges and universities preparing to welcome back students themselves. But Travis Andersen of the Globe and Rick Sobey of the Herald reports colleges are staying on plan–at least so far. 

Still, as both papers note, Tufts remains locked in a bitter battle with its host communities, with another round of socially-distant protests slated for today. And neighbors of several campuses continue to press colleges to commit to ensuring students in off-campus housing follow the rules as much as those living in dorms, the Globe’s Laura Krantz and Felicia Gans reports. 

Meanwhile, new cases of coronavirus have been reported at Boston University and Emerson College in recent weeks, according to Jackson Cote of MassLive

Mixed opening: Most districts will bring back some students in fall

Welcome back. Katie Lannan of State House News Service and James Vaznis and Felicia Gans of the Globe report 70 percent of the state’s school district plan to return students to physical schools at least part of the time, with many embracing a hybrid approach. The mixed bag allows those who pushed for schools to reopen to help the economy  claim victory, even as many districts are offering fully remote options and keeping their options open if the coronavirus trends take a turn for the worse. 

Meanwhile, teachers in Amherst are continuing to pressure local officials to switch to an all-remote model, Scott Merzbach of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. And WGBH’s Isaiah Thompson reports Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says Boston still hasn’t decided how it will return to school. 

Old school: Kerry slams Trump as Biden officially nominated at DNC

It was a blast from the past at the virtual Democratic National Convention Tuesday night, with former Secretary of State John Kerry delivering a rebuke of President Trump’s foreigh policy, Axios reports. More Bay State headliners coming up Wednesday night, which is slated to feature a keynote from Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Meanwhile, Geoff Spillane of the Cape Cod Times checks in with delegates from the Cape who thought they’d be in Milwaukee this week to find them making do with the virtual alternative. 


Just in case: Baker says state will take Trump up on extended unemployment

The offer might not get better. Hedging his bets that Congress will remain, well, Congress, Gov. Charlie Baker says the state will work with federal officials to implement President Trump’s plan for a limited cost-shared extension of federal unemployment benefits sweeteners, Erin Tiernan of the Herald reports.

Boston Herald

Shut out: No fans at Fenway this season, Gillette holds out hope for fall

Get used to the empty stands. Erin Tiernan of the Herald and the Globe’s Peter Abraham report state officials and team leaders have agreed there will be no fans in the seats at Fenway this season, ending the slim hopes the Red Sox had held out for a late season revival. Meanwhile, Gillette Stadium will have to wait until at least October to welcome fans through the turnstiles. 

Tom Reilly of the Sun-Chronicle reports the Gillette shutdown means two Patriots’ home games and three New England Revolution matches will be fan-less. But team officials continue to refine a plan to let nearly 14,000 fans in once restrictions are lifted. 

After 34 years, Honan faces primary challenge from fellow progressive

Allston-Brighton state Rep. Kevin Honan has represented the 17th Suffolk District since 1986 and is finally facing a primary challenge, Michael Jonas of CommonWealth reports. The race has both Honan, 62, and his 29-year-old challenger Jordan Meehan, brandishing their progressive bona fides ahead of the Sept 1 primary. 

CommonWealth Magazine

No thanks: Former Bay State woman receives unwelcome presidential pardon

President Trump used the anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification to issue a posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony for her 1872 arrest for violating laws limiting voting to men. But the Berkshire Eagle’s Larry Parnass reports historians believe the Adams, Mass. native would have said ‘no thanks’ to the chance to have her record cleared. 

Berkshire Eagle

No more warnings: Brockton says fines are coming if parties don’t stop

They’ve had it. Brockton officials say they are done warning and ready to start issuing fines amid a rash of raucous parties in a city that has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, Cody Shepard of the Enterprise reports. Along with giving a green light to city police to issue fines, Mayor Robert Sullivan said he will ask the State Police to help patrol the streets and help Brockton cops break up parties.

Brockton Enterprise

Holyoke Birthing Center Wins Reprieve From DPH

Not so fast. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has put the brakes on a plan by Holyoke Medical Center to close up a maternity ward and obstetrics services center in the Western Massachusetts city, MassLive’s Elizabeth Roman reports. In an Aug. 12 letter, DPH ruled the services of the 13 bed Obstetrics Service and 10 bassinet Well Infant Nursery were necessary for the community’s health, asking Holyoke Medical to address concerns raised by opponents of the closure plan. 


Slow and not steady: NAACP report raps New Bedford on school hiring diversity

Not so great. The New Bedford chapter of the NAACP says that city’s school system has made little to no progress toward diversifying its workforce over the last 13 years, Jack Spillane of the Standard-Times reports. 


Driving blind: Globe takes on bad drivers, bureaucratic snafus with Spotlight report

It’s here. After a couple weeks of teasing, the Globe’s Spotlight Team has unveiled its latest project: A deep dive into the bureaucratic failings that allow dangerous and even deadly drivers to stay on the road based on 11 months of reporting and sparked by a deadly New Hampshire crash. 

Boston Globe

Lowering the Voting Age: Then and Now

A virtual conversation on the movement to lower the voting age and the power of coalitions to push for change from both a historical and modern perspective. Participants include an original member of the Youth Franchise Coalition that was instrumental in the passage of the 26th Amendment and current activists working on voting rights and lowering the voting age to 16 years old.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

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

Jewish Voices, Jewish Values: Keeping the Faith in Our Democracy

In every generation there is a moment when we are called to fight against bigotry and anti-Semitism, to fight for democracy and our social justice values. This is our moment (and our movement). Support JALSA Impact — Engaging the MA Jewish Community in the fight to Hold the House, Flip the Senate and Win the White House!


Virtual Author Talk with E. Dolores Johnson

Virtual author talk with E. Dolores Johnson, author of Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love

Boston Public Library and American Ancestors/NEHGS, together with the State Library of Massachusetts and the Museum of African American History

Creating Equity in Education in the Age of COVID: New Data on Early College

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequality in Massachusetts, particularly in educational opportunities and outcomes. Join us for a presentation of compelling new Early College outcomes data prepared for the Early College Joint Committee, and a discussion with state policymakers and program leaders about how Early College is driving greater equity in education.

Mass Business Alliance for Education & MassINC

Virtual 2020 Corporate Citizenship Awards

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

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Bicyclist is dead after Harvard Square crash involving tractor-trailer – Cambridge Day

Why East Boston’s coronavirus rate is so much higher than the rest of the city – Universal Hub


Outside chief pick quits as Lowell firefighters protest – Lowell Sun

Brookfield official Stephen Comtois fined $20,000 for conflict of interest – Telegram & Gazette

In Plainville, Plainridge reports promising revenue for a shortened July – Sun-Chronicle


Democrats officially nominate Joe Biden for president – Washington Post

Senate Report: Former Trump Aide Paul Manafort Shared Campaign Info With Russia – NPR

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