Keller at Large

God Save Us from the Back to Campus Sham

In today’s Keller at Large on MASSterList, Jon Keller takes on the idea of thousands of college students returning to the state with COVID-19 cases still simmering in many cities. Empty campuses are incompatible with schools’ business models, he says, and another semester or two without the usual revenue flow won’t lead to anything good.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Codman Yards update, 4th District forum, more

The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds its weekly media call, with plans to discuss the status of COVID-19 cases in the region, school reopening, and the Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod’s efforts to support those affected by the pandemic, 9 a.m. 

Middlesex DA Marian Ryan hosts a virtual Opioid Task Force meeting, 10:30 a.m. 

Both branches of the legislature hold informal sessions , 11 a.m.

All 10 Democratic and Republican candidates for the Fourth Congressional District participate in a Facebook forum moderated by Karen Holmes Ward of WCVB. The event is sponsored by nearly 20 organizations including MassVOTE, All Aces, Inc., Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance, and Chelsea Collaborative, 6 p.m.

MBTA staff host a virtual meeting to discuss planned expansion work at Codman Yard in Dorchester. The project will add six tracks to boost train capacity and prepare for rollout of new Red Line trains, 6 p.m.

Dig Boston and the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism hold a discussion of police reforms under consideration in Massachusetts and their potential impact. Guests include Bay State Banner Editor Yawu Miller. 8 p.m.

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: 28 new deaths, 8,645 total deaths, 262 new cases has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts. 

Her turn: Warren touts Biden policies as Harris takes center stage

With a Springfield preschool classroom as a backdrop, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren used her prime time speaking slot on the third night of the Democratic National Convention to slam President Trump and tout the policies of her party’s nominee–many of which happen to be her own policy frameworks, Benjamin Kail of MassLive and the Globe’s Jess Bidgood report. “I love a good plan, and Joe Biden has some really good plans,” Warren said, reviving a common refrain from her policy-forward campaign. 

WGBH’s Saraya Wintersmith reports Warren’s speech was a hit with the Bay State delegates who attended a drive-in watch party at Suffolk Downs. Not impressed: The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, who writes that Warren’s brief speaking window came in the shadow of former President Barack Obama’s own speech slamming Trump and the formal Vice Presidential nomination of Kamala Harris.

Meanwhile, the New York Times’ Lauren Hirsch restarts speculation about what role Warren might play in a Biden administration, asking whether her anti-Wall Street rhetoric will damage her chances of a high-profile role such as secretary of the treasury. 

Frenzy in the 4th: Crowded Congressional race lurches toward start of early voting

By most accounts, the eight-candidate Democratic primary race to succeed Joe Kennedy in the 4th Congressional District is going down to the wire, but the field sure treated Jesse Mermell as a frontrunner during a debate Tuesday, Nik DeCosta-Klipa of reports. 

Another candidate forum is slated for tonight, with the two Republican hopefuls joining the eight Democrats in what will be one of their final chances to sway voters, George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports. 

Separately, fellow Democrat Becky Grossman followed through on her promise to sue over mail-in ballot restrictions, asking the Supreme Judicial Court to allow more ballots to be counted amid concerns that Postal Service slowdowns will keep some from arriving in a timely manner, Matt Stout of the Globe and Lisa Kashinsky of the Herald report. 

Meanwhile, the 4th District race is drawing attention from as far away as Israel, where Donna Rachel Edmunds of the Jerusalem Post reports there is growing concern among the district’s significant Jewish population about the candidacy of Ihssane Lecky, who has openly supported a push to boycott Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

Deleo dishes: At delegate breakfast, House Speaker recalls 2016 result

He doesn’t want a repeat. House Speaker Robert DeLeo recalled the sinking feeling he got at the election of President Trump in 2016 and sought to rally Democratic operatives to do all they can to avoid a repeat, Colin Young of State House News Service reports. DeLeo’s comments came during a DNC delegate breakfast, events that the party reopened to the press after keeping them closed earlier this week. 

State House News Service

Still pushing: Teachers’ unions say fight for all-remote start not over yet

It’s not a done deal, not by a long shot. That’s what Massachusetts teachers’ union officials are saying about heir push for a fully-virtual start to the school year amid the ongoing threat from Covid-19. Shira Schoenberg of CommonWealth Magazine and Chris Van Buskirk of State House News Service report all three of the major teachers unions in the state rallied outside the State House Thursday to emphasize that districts still must get buy-in from teachers unions to move forward with reopening. 

Underscoring the point: The local teachers’ union in Southbridge has filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Labor, saying hybrid back-to-school plans in that city are not safe, Brian Lee of the Telegram reports. 

All this comes as researchers at Mass General Hospital say young children may be “silent spreaders” of coronavirus, Alexis Cohan of the Herald reports. 

Mandatory: State to require flu vaccines for students, with few exceptions

Is this a preview of what’s to come when a coronavirus vaccine makes it to market? Virtually all students in Massachusetts schools–including post-secondary institutions–will be required to show proof of vaccination against the flu before the end of the year, The Globe’s Felicia Gans and Melissa Hanson of MassLive report. The Bay State already has the nation’s highest rate of flu vaccination among K-12 students, at 81 percent, but getting full compliance and figuring out how to handle international and out of state college students could pose more of a challenge.

Too little, too late? Kennedy’s message coalesces in closing days of campaign

The votes aren’t in, but the second-guessing has already begun. The Globe’s Victoria McGrane reports U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III seems to have found his groove on the campaign trail, at least when it comes to criticizing Sen. Ed Markey, but wonders if his earlier stumbles in explaining the reasons for his run will haunt him in what appears to be a nail biter of a race. Kennedy will get plenty of chances to further develop his pitch Thursday, when he plans to spend all 24 hours on a tour of the state. 

Boston Globe

Blocked: Council rejects Walsh ZBA picks as standoff continues

Right on cue. As expected, the Boston City Council rejected four of Mayor Marty Walsh’s Zoning Board of Appeals nominees, with a majority of the divided council agreeing with Councilor Michelle Wu that the candidates lacked expertise in how development impacts climate change, Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub reports. 

More on the standoff and what it might mean for a potential mayoral face-off between Wu and Walsh from the Globe’s Danny McDonald and the Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter. 

Universal Hub

Games on: Some high school sports to proceed in fall

There will be high school sports in Massachusetts after all this fall. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s board has approved a plan that gives a green light for “low and moderate risk sports,” Meredith Perri of Masslive and Mike Moran of the Daily Hampshire Gazette report. Football, unified basketball and cheerleading, which are considered higher risk, would be allowed to practice in the fall, but games won’t be held until a “floating season” slated to be wedged in between winter and spring sports next year–if the pandemic allows.

Fewer students, more tests: UMass Amherst lays out covid screening plan

The state’s flagship university is ramping up its Covid-19 testing capacity as it prepares to welcome back a relatively small cadre of staff, professors and students.Officials at UMass Amherst say they are prepared to conduct 10,000 Covid-19 nasal swabs a week, with plans to test everyone on campus twice every seven days, Ron Chimelis at Masslive reports.

Meanwhile, Scott O’Connell of the Telegram reports the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester recently broke up a large off-campus party last weekend that is now tied to at least one confirmed case of coronavirus. 


See you in court: Brookfield official plans to appeal $20K fine over $200 property buy

Jim Russell of MassLive reports former Brookfield Selectman Stephen Comtois will appeal the $20,000 fine levied by the State Ethics Commission. At issue is Comtois’ 2017 purchase–for $200–of a half-acre piece of property valued at $40,000.  


Triple threat: Third case of EEE confirmed in Halifax

The Great Outdoors has been a pressure release valve for more than a new people across the state as the battle against Covid-19 drags on, but with the state’s third confirmed case of Eastern equine encephalitis virus, even the outdoors has become a source of potential risks. A Halifax man in his 90s has tested positive for the potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease, with Cody Shepard of the Enterprise reports, citing the state Department of Public Health. 

Brockton Enterprise

Frank endorses Neal in race racked by scandal

Former Congressman Barney Frank has endorsed U.S. Rep. Richard Neal in his tough re-election battle with Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and is dismissing suggestions that Neal’s campaign amped up allegations that Morse engaged in inappropriate relationships with UMass students because he is gay, Patrick Johnson reports at MassLive. Frank, of course, was the first openly gay member of Congress. 


AG rules against tweaks to Westport Right-to-Farm bylaw

The office of Attorney General Maura Healey has rejected changes to Westport’s Right to Farm bylaw that sought to limit local authorities’ ability to require registration or inspection of livestock, Jeffrey Wagner of the Herald-News reports. The town’s sizable farming community rallied to press the changes through Town Meeting back in February but it now appears a local animal registry that sparked the pushback will remain in place. 

Herald News

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


Dan H. Fenn Jr., founding director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, dies at 97 – Boston Globe

Brockton now a red, high-risk Covid-19 community – Brockton Enterprise


10 New Bedford court employees test positive for coronavirus – Herald News

Pandemic helping Greater Boston’s life science industry, including outlying areas – Worcester Business Journal

Will outdoor dining save Berkshires restaurants? – Berkshire Eagle


Harris sets off Democratic donor stampede – Politico

Mail-order chicks are arriving dead, costing Maine farmers thousands of dollars – Portland Press-Herald

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