Happening Today

Unemployment numbers, Internet access for students, and more

— With Massachusetts experiencing one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, labor officials today release closely watched state-level employment and unemployment rate data for August.

— Undersecretary for Environment Daniel Sieger and Office of Coastal Zone Management Director Lisa Engler join state and local officials for an announcement related to grants to support coastal resilience projects in Massachusetts, 9 a.m.

— Attendees at the third day of the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival can, among other things, tune in to an anti-racist empowerment workshop, a session on cannabis and equity, and a performance by the Josiah Quincy Orchestra, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey joins Boston Teachers Union president Jessica Tang and political director Johnny McGuiness to call for $4 billion in the next COVID-19 relief package to fund internet access for students at home, 10:30 a.m.

— Mayor Marty Walsh joins Dr. Karilyn Crockett, chief of equity, and John Barros, chief of economic development, to kick off the NAACP Boston’s CEO Perspectives Roundtable to discuss the role of the private sector in tackling systemic racism, 2 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: 15 new deaths, 9,052 total deaths, 419 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Rodrigues: State may be facing $5B budget hole

This sure sounds like a worst-case state budget scenario. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy: “Despite signs that the state’s finances have not completely cratered during the pandemic, the Senate’s top budget official said this week he anticipates tax collections in fiscal 2021 to be down $5 billion from last year, and said lawmakers will need to dip ‘deeply’ into the state’s $3.5 billion ‘rainy day’ fund unless new federal aid arrives from Washington.”

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues says that “some major announcements” on the budget will be made in coming weeks. Here’s one reason why state budget estimates seem to be in such flux, via the BBJ’s Greg Ryan (pay wall): “Mass. retailers defy expectation, report sales growth.” Huh? What?

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Who would be first in line for a vaccine? Baker has his priority list

We’re a little surprised this hasn’t gotten more attention, i.e. Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday outlined, in very rough terms, his priority list on who would get a COVID-19 vaccine, if and when a vaccine is developed, and those at the top of the list include health-care workers and people in communities of color, NBC Boston reports.

Of course, it probably didn’t get a lot attention because no one really knows when a vaccine might become available, if ever. From the Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman: “Moderna CEO: Company expects to know in November whether COVID-19 vaccine works.” And if a vaccine is indeed developed, there’s always this cautionary note, via CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt and Shira Schoenberg: “COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to be a silver bullet/Experts rein in expectations; long process ahead.”

No matter what, make sure you get some sun. From the Herald’s Alexi Cohan: “Vitamin D can help reduce coronavirus risk by 54%: Boston University doctor.”

NBC Boston

Baker: Colleges are actually doing rather well in combating spread of coronavirus

The headlines say one thing. The stats say another. And Gov. Charlie Baker is going with the latter, saying yesterday that preliminary data shows a very low positive rate of college kids testing for COVID-19, reports SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall).

But from a three-reporter team at the Boston Globe: “Colleges race to close gaps in coronavirus tracing systems.” And a certain mayor seems to be pointing in the direction of college campuses, via the Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter: “Boston coronavirus cases now driven by people under 30, Marty Walsh says.”

Northeastern now says suspended students’ tuition will be credited to next spring

One more college-pandemic item: Northeastern University now says the tuition of the 11 students suspended for breaking campus gathering rules will be credited to the spring semester, not outright forfeited as originally planned. But there’s a catch or two. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell and MassLive’s Tanner Stening have more.

Some jury trials to begin next month in Massachusetts

This is the court system’s version of a Phase 1 reopening. Stephanie Barry at MassLive reports the Supreme Judicial Court has issued new guidelines that call for a limited number of six-person jury trials to begin on Oct. 23, partially ending a jury-trial ban imposed during the early days of the pandemic.


State stocks up on flu vaccines as governor urges everyone to get their shots

The last thing the state needs is a major flu outbreak in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic this winter. So the state Department of Public Health has boosted its orders of flu vaccine doses by 28 percent and Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday encouraged everyone to get flu shots ASAP, reports MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall). 

SJC hands down major rulings on racial profiling tied to traffic stops and fleeing scenes

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and CommmonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report on a Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling yesterday that effectively lowers the bar for minority drivers to prove they’ve been subjected to racial profiling when their cars are stopped by police. The decision is being hailed as a major victory for advocates for racial justice, as Schoenberg writes, who adds the court made another key ruling regarding  people fleeing police after they believe they’ve been racially profiled.

The Globe’s Gail Tziperman Lotan and John Ellement have more on the high court’s rulings on the issues of “systemic and implicit bias” against Black people.

Hope springs eternal: Is the bottom really falling out on Trump in 2020?

You know we’re living in a blue-state bubble when an analysis piece by the Globe’s James Pindell – headlined “Early signs the bottom might be falling out on Trump in 2020, just as it did for McCain this same week in 2008” – is the most-read story as of earlier this morning at the Globe. You can almost hear the praying by the many: Please, please, please make it true.

Of course, one could also argue there are distant reminders of overconfidence by Democrats, just as there were for Clinton this week in 2016. Who knows?

Boston Globe

Walsh: US citizenship isn’t only for the rich

In an opinion piece at WBUR, Mayor Marty Walsh explains why Boston is taking a leading role in opposing a plan to boost the fee to become a U.S. citizen from $725 to $1,200. CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt has more on the growing legal opposition to increasing the citizenship charge.


‘New model’: Globe signs subscriptions-for-events deal with Biogen

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So even though this ‘new model’ deal is rife with conflicts-of-interest concerns, it’s still an intriguing revenue-raising idea for the Globe, i.e. In exchange for roughly 4,000 paid digital subscriptions for Biogen’s employees, the Globe will host “two town-hall style discussions around topics of Biogen’s choosing,” reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. And we assume that part of the first-ever ‘new model’ deal includes hyping and providing coverage of the events.

Quickly, let’s do some back-of-the-envelope calculations: 4,000 X $200 (the publicized price of an annual digital subscription) = $800,000. Obviously, discounts may be involved. But it does fall into the rough “six-figure” range reported by Chesto.

Boston Globe

Just a reminder: The Reminder keeps expanding its news coverage out west

While the Globe experiments with its “new model” revenue stream, Matt Szafranski at Western Mass. Politics & Insights reports on the latest expansion of local news coverage provided by Reminder Publications, one of the very few media companies actually expanding, not retrenching, these days.


A week after emergency shutdown during tests, Enbridge asks to officially start up Weymouth compressor

For some reason, the word ‘chutzpah’ springs to mind. From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Less than a week after workers vented an unspecified amount of natural gas as part of an emergency shutdown, energy giant Enbridge asked federal regulators for the green light to start up a Weymouth compressor station in two weeks.” 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Police chief: DA Harrington sent on way before suspended license came to light

Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn says the officer who stopped Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington let her drive away before dispatchers informed him her license had been suspended, Heather Bellow at the Berkshire Eagle reports. Wynn defended the officer’s decision to issue just a verbal warning and said the cop knew who the driver was. 

Well, of course the cop knew who she was. Isn’t that what the whole issue is about — and letting her go before police got all the routine traffic-stop information?

Plymouth and Bristol counties now experiencing ‘extreme’ drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor has determined that parts of Plymouth and Bristol counties are now dealing with “extreme” drought conditions that call for tougher water conservation measures. SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more on the deceptively dry conditions out there. 

HBO show spotlights ‘sundown’ towns in Massachusetts

It’s the type of spotlight Massachusetts doesn’t like. But it’s a spotlight aimed at exposing a reality, i.e. old racist “sundown” laws/ordinances/practices meant to keep Blacks out of towns across the northeast, including Massachusetts, and now HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” is “peeling back the veneer of New England’s seemingly open-minded society and revealing the racism that lurked in the region in the 1950s,” reports Christian Burno at WBUR.  


Taking credit: Attleboro’s Heroux touts quick action for budget surplus

It’s going to come in handy very soon. The city of Attleboro ended the last fiscal year with what is likely a record-setting $8.2 million budget surplus and Mayor Paul Heroux is crediting his quick decisions to curtail spending as the coronavirus pandemic first struck, George Rhodes at the Sun-Chronicle reports.

Sun Chronicle

Fighting words: Salem councilors accuse mayor of ‘bullying’ on housing votes

If she’s a bully, she’s not a very effective one. Members of the Salem City Council say Mayor Kim Driscoll has pressured them to vote favorably on proposed zoning bylaws changes meant to boost housing production, but so far are offering few details to back up the claim, Dustin Luca of the Salem News reports. 

Salem News

Sunday public affairs TV: Marty Walsh, Julie Hall, Michael Curry

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Mayor Marty Walsh, who talks with host Jon Keller about college campus virus issues, the looming city budget crisis and Michelle Wu’s mayoral challenge.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Chris Himmel, owner of Himmel Hospitality Group (Grill 23, Post 390, Bistro du Midi & Harvest) on the uncertainty in the restaurant industry; Rebekah Salwasser, Red Sox Foundation executive director, on COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter; and Doug Banks of the BBJ on the top local business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Julie Hall, the Republican candidate for Congress in the 4th District, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Virginia Buckingham.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s subject: Man Talk, with attorney Michael Curry, a member of the Naitonal NAACP’s Board of Directors, among other guests. .

Envisioning Equity Part I: Equitable Education through the Crisis

This fall, MassBudget is hosting Envisioning Equity, a series of community conversations examining how our state budget can help build economic and racial justice in Massachusetts.


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


Boston officials warn North End restaurants over complaints – Boston Herald

Citing Covid-19 economic impact, Red Sox announce more layoffs – Boston Globe


Worcester proposes task force for city-owned broadband service – Telegram & Gazette

Lawsuit could disrupt real estate market in 2 Cape towns – Cape Cod Times

Polar Park capacity reduced by 5 percent as corporate sponsors carve out their places in ballpark – Worcester Business Journal


Biden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states – The Hill

Deal reached in New Jersey for ‘millionaires tax’ to address fiscal crisis – New York Times

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