Happening Today

9/11 observances, SJC hearing on emergency powers, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Mayor Marty Walsh and others participate in the Massachusetts 9/11 Fund’s 19th Annual 9/11 Commemoration Observance & Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery presentation, held earlier this morning. Other communities across the state are also holding 9/11 remembrances.  

— The Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in a lawsuit over whether Gov. Charlie Baker’s executive orders during the pandemic have overstepped his legal authority, 9 a.m.

TogetherFUND holds an online kickoff event hosted by former Gov. Deval Patrick for their latest partnership with the Movement Voter Project, the Together We Win Fund, 12 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Bakker participates in the annual ceremony to honor firefighters added to the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial, with today’s ceremonies held virtually, 5 p.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.

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: 20 new deaths, 8,957 total deaths, 363 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Outbreak: BC reports 46 students have now tested positive this week alone

The Herald’s Rick Sobey and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin report that Boston College is now confirming that 46 of its students have tested positive for COVID-19 this week alone, for a positive test rate of 3.7 percent, well above the state’s seven-day average of 0.8 percent.

BC’s disclosure appears to have been forced by a Boston Globe report that 13 members of Boston College’s swim and dive team had tested positive for coronavirus — and how the outbreak “raises concerns about BC’s decision to field athletic teams this fall.”

Just in case: State set to ramp up contact tracing again now that college students are back

Speaking of the pandemic and college campuses, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that the state’s contact tracing program, which was scaled back this summer as the number of coronavirus cases fell, is ramping up again. Why? Partly because of an expected ramp-up in cases tied to colleges and universities. A wise move. See BC item above.


Parents of suspended Northeastern students rattle the legal swords

Another higher-ed pandemic story, from the Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes and Laura Krantz: “The parents of two Northeastern University students who were dismissed last week without a refund of their $36,500 tuition as punishment for breaking the rules on socializing have hired a lawyer and plan to challenge the school’s decision.”

Boston Globe

Hitting home: Warren, who lost brother to COVID-19, responds to Trump tapes with ‘deep down fury’

She’s taking it personally. And well she should. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Thursday she feels “deep down fury” after hearing Bob Woodward’s tapes of President Trump acknowledging he knew of the danger of COVID-19 while still publicly playing down the risks, Zack Burdyk at The Hill reports. Warren’s brother is among the 190,000-plus Americans whose deaths have been blamed on the coronavirus. 

The Hill

New orders allow arcades to reopen and ease outdoor dining restrictions

The state may be concerned about sporadic virus outbreaks across the commonwealth. But it’s also pushing ahead with various reopening plans, including the reopening of indoor and outdoor arcades, as reported by MassLive’s Steph Solis, who notes the action comes soon after an arcade owner sued the Baker administration over its emergency closure orders.

Meanwhile, Mike Deehan at GBH reports the administration wants to extend outdoor dining for as long as the weather permits – and it’s providing funds and taking other steps to help restaurants make that happen.

Regulators lift license of Weymouth bar whose owner once declared coronavirus BS

Speaking of restaurants and bars, UH’s Adam Gaffin reports the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission has yanked the liquor license of a Weymouth bar whose defiant owner apparently had no intention of following any stinkin’ government rules.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Howie Carr is busy going after Barnstable County health inspector Norman ‘Spanky’ Sylvester Jr.

Universal Hub

State unveils $140M package for hard-hit nursing homes

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl report that the Baker administration yesterday unveiled a new $140 million package of aid, reforms and incentives for the state’s struggling nursing-home industry. The package includes short-term funds in the event of another COVID-19 surge.

Judge refuses to lift eviction ban, but warns Baker the pandemic is not a ‘blank check’

Consider it a warning-shot ruling. U.S. Judge Mark Wolf yesterday refused a request from landlords to lift the state’s temporary ban on evictions and foreclosure. But he also warned the state that the pandemic is not a “blank check” to maintain the ban indefinitely, reports CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt and MassLive’s Steph Solis.

The key quote from Wolf: ““What is constitutionally permissible for a limited period of time may become unpermissible at some point.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Marty Walsh, writing at CommonWealth magazine, is calling for new tenant legal protections once the ban expires, as seems likely.

Red light, green light: Some schools forge ahead despite case spikes

Communities that have only recently been designated by state officials as high-risk for coronavirus are not letting the red on the map slow down progress on school openings. Monomoy Regional School Superintendent Scott Carpenter says a cluster that appeared in Chatham appears to be contained and schools will be opening Monday as planned, Cynthia McCormick of the Cape Cod Times reports.  In New Bedford, students have already begun to trickle back into school buildings even as that city was moved to the high-risk category over the weekend, Tim Dunn at the Standard-Times reports.

A different story on Nantucket, where 14 confirmed cases in two days was enough to convince school leaders to shift to an all-remote learning program until the start of October at the earliest, as reported by Joshua Balling at the Inquirer & Mirror.  But the good news in Boston: School officials and teachers have reached a reopening agreement, the Herald’s Rick Sobey reports.

Public Health Commissioner Bharel takes medical leave

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who earlier this year contracted COVID-19 and had to be quarantined, is taking a medical leave until early October due to an unexplained medical reason that officials say is not related to the pandemic, reports SHNS’s Colin A. Young (pay wall).

‘I don’t trust them’: Galvin threatens legal action over possible/likely census undercount

Secretary of State Bill Galvin doesn’t trust U.S. Census officials, not one bit, when it comes to them telling the truth about preliminary census counts in Massachusetts – and he’s already threatening legal action over a possible undercount of people in some Bay State communities. MassLive’s Jim Kinney and SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) have the details.

Pushing back against Mass. Bail Fund: Administration files legislation to make it easier to hold defendants without bail

It’s a simple, if controversial, approach to counter those who oppose bail in general. From the Globe’s Andrea Estes: “The Baker administration on Thursday asked lawmakers to make it easier for prosecutors to jail people charged with violent crimes before trial, citing the recent case of an accused rapist who allegedly committed another sexual assault after a nonprofit group bailed him out.”

Boston Globe

Boston task force calls for a new police oversight office with real power

WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning reports that a much-anticipated report by a task force headed by former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd is recommending a number of changes at the Boston Police Department – and at the top of the recommendation list is creation of an independent office “with broad investigatory and subpoena powers that could review and resolve civilian complaints and assess Boston police policies.”


‘Fire Season: Not So Normal, exclamation, exclamation, exclamation’

We’re no California (NYT). But the state’s forest fire warden is nevertheless concerned about fires in Massachusetts due to drought, the fireworks craze and various pandemic-era conditions, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall). He’s right to be concerned. From GBH’s Daniel Ackerman: “Western Mass. Blaze Serves As Reminder Of State’s ‘Rich History’ Of Wildfire.”

West Nile virus update: Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown and Newton deemed ‘high risk’ areas

Just what we need in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. From SHNS’s Colin Young; “The number of human cases of West Nile virus in Massachusetts this season more than doubled to seven and public health officials designated Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown and Newton as being at high risk for the mosquito-borne disease.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Too close? Some Democrats question choice of Jacques to investigate Morse allegations

And you thought the Democratic in-fighting over the First District primary was over. Michael Connors at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports at least 70 members of the Democratic State Committee want the party to re-think the choice of former state Sen. Cheryl Jacques to oversee an inquiry into whether the party helped amplify claims of inappropriate behavior leveled against Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse in the midst of a heated primary race.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Sunday public affairs TV: Dan Kennedy, Maura Healey and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Journalism professor and media critic Dan Kennedy, who talks with host Jon Keller about the Bob Woodward’s new book, whether cable news should carry dishonest White House briefings live, and Mark Zuckerberg’s state of denial about Facebook content.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Greater Boston Chamber CEO Jim Rooney explores why the Massachusetts jobless rate is so much higher than the national average; EverBridge CEO David Meredith on the critical event management company and the work it is doing on natural disasters, Covid-19 and the elections;  and Shirley Leung on the top business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Attorney General Maura Healey, 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 Channel 5, 11 a.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Mental Health, featuring Jhilam Biswas, M.D. of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, motivational speaker and blogger Ivy Watts and others.

Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats

Please join us at 12pm on September 15 for a Priorities Primary Debrief: 2022 & The Future for Massachusetts Democrats. This event will feature a legislative primary overview, a look at some polling we’ve conducted on the 2022 gubernatorial election (campaigns are likely to start as early as November!), and a discussion of voter attitudes.

Priorities for Progress

Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America

Senator Sherrod Brown discusses his new book, Desk 88: Eight Progressive Senators Who Changed America, which explores the careers of senators who have also sat at Desk 88 on the Senate floor, including Hugo Black, George McGovern, and Robert F. Kennedy. Senator Jeanne Shaheen moderates.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual Open House #3: Boston Common Master Plan

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department, in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden, announced a series of virtual public events to gather feedback on the proposed improvements to the Boston Common, as part of the Boston Common Master Planning Initiative.

Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of the Public Garden

Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy

Award-winning journalist Larry Tye discusses his new book Demagogue: The Life and Long Shadow of Senator Joe McCarthy with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Boston Globe columnist Eileen McNamara.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Virtual 2020 Best Places to Work

The BBJ hopes you can join us as we celebrate the Best Place To Work!

Boston Business Journal

Faith and the National Elections: A discussion of how faith informs our voting

Join us for a discussion with faith leaders and the media to discuss: How faith shapes the issues that matter most to us; Balancing issues, political party and personal attributes when deciding how to vote; Accurate and reliable reporting in the age of social media; and The impact of a candidate’s own faith.

A Faith That Does Justice

100th Anniversary Virtual Awards Gala

We will stand together, virtually, to celebrate our 2020 Health Care Stars who, while deserving the utmost praise and recognition pre-COVID-19, have maintained their commitment to improving and protecting the lives of MA residents since the outbreak began. We are planning a showcase of celebration and resilience and ask for your sponsorship support of our 2020 honorees and of MHC’s work.

Massachusetts Health Council

Today’s Headlines


South Boston Edison power plant project moves forward – Boston Herald

Roxbury gets a drive-in theater for the next month – Universal Hub


Worcester City Hall, other buildings to open to public starting Monday – Telegram & Gazette

9/11 ceremonies on Cape feel effects of pandemic – Cape Cod Times

New Bedford church fined for Covid-19 violations – Standard-Times


GOP worries rise as Trump campaign pulls back from TV advertising – Washington Post

The children of 9/11 are about to vote – Politico

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