Happening Today

Mail-in voting update, U.S. Senate debate, and more

Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in cases that include several regarding inmate medical parole requests, 9 a.m.

Commission on Judicial Conduct holds a hearing regarding its recommendation for discipline of Worcester Probate and Family Court Judge Paul Sushchyk, who allegedly ‘engaged in willful judicial misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice,’ 10 a.m..

— Secretary of State William Galvin hosts a media availability to discuss mail-in voting in Massachusetts ahead of the Nov. 3 general election, 10:30 a.m.

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets virtually to discuss the T’s fiscal 2021 budget and continue dialogue about how to prepare for an impending budget deficit, 12 p.m.

— U.S. Senate candidates Edward Markey, the incumbent Democrat, and Kevin O’Connor, the Republican challenger, will spar in a debate moderated by GBH News’ Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, GBH News, 7 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: 3 new deaths, 9,295 total deaths, 626 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Frenzied speculation over Trump’s health’

Let’s clear up one thing: Presidents of the United States of America have a long record of not keeping the American people informed about their health problems. We’re talking Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Dwight Eisenhower, JFK, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes, etc. There’s even been a book on the general subject (Wikipedia). So it should come as no surprise that the White House is trying to paint a rosy picture about President Trump’s recovery from COVID-19 in the middle of a presidential campaign.

And it should come as no surprise the media is in full they’re-not-telling-the-truth mode, led by the formerly restrained NYT (“Trump’s Treatment Suggests Severe Covid-19, Medical Experts Say” and “The American People Need the Truth”), despite a video of the president looking and sounding relatively (repeat: relatively) well etc. Who knows what the truth is at this point?

Because of all the conflicting news coming out of the White House and all the hyper-ventilating headlines, this Washington Post editorial definitely caught our attention: “Frenzied speculation over Trump’s health only feeds the misinformation mess he created.” Bingo!

Btw: We happen to think this TMZ photo is more damning than any health-update issued by the White House or NYT. Think about it: These are the people leading our country in the middle of a pandemic. Look how many of them are not wearing masks or trying to keep social distances. 

Cam Newton, too?

It’s amazing how this story – postponement of Sunday’s Pats game due to Cam Newton and another player contracting COVID-19 – was relegated to just background news over the weekend. NBC Boston has more. Btw: Tom Brady won again yesterday (NESN).

NBC Boston

‘Trump Train’: The president’s supporters remain undaunted

Back to the presidential race: The latest poll shows President Trump’s numbers tanking (NBC News)– and that was before news he had contracted COVID-19. But debate debacles and coronavirus be damned. Local Trump supporters are undaunted. WBUR’s Quincy Walters reports on a “caravan of ardent supporters” traveling from Plymouth to Londonderry N.H. over the weekend. And here’s our early nomination for best local headline of the week, via Beth Treffeisen at the Cape Cod Times: “Military-style truck with a fake machine gun in Sagamore leads Trump rolling rally to N.H.”

Meanwhile, from the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi: “Among loyal New England Trump voters, resolute support and no doubts.” And from the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky: “Trump campaign pledges ‘full speed’ ahead as coronavirus diagnosis upends already chaotic presidential race.”

In Massachusetts, the dead really can vote

Is it only a matter of time before President Trump tweets about this? The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that under a temporary pandemic-era law passed this summer, voters “who legally submit an absentee ballot and then die before Election Day will still have their votes counted.” Note: The “legal quirk” only applies to the 2020 elections.

Boston Globe

Close contact: Legislative hopeful Xiarhos self-quarantines after meeting with Trump

Steven Xiarhos, a Republican candidate hoping to claim the open 5th Barnstable state representative seat, says he has received a clean Covid-19 test after meeting with President Trump at the White House last weekend, Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times reports.

Xiarhos, who is seen in a video shaking hands with the president, was on the campaign trail early last week – but then entered voluntary quarantine after Trump’s positive tests results were revealed on Friday. 

Cape Cod Times

Holyoke Soldiers’ Home superintendent resigns before he can be fired again

From MassLive’s Jim Kinney: “Embattled Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Bennet Walsh resigned Thursday, acting a step ahead of ongoing efforts to fire him following a coronavirus outbreak at the state run facility that left dozens of elderly veterans dead.”


Hospitals brace for winter surge as medical experts question Baker’s latest reopening moves

Some medical experts are looking well beyond the November election when it comes to the pandemic. Specifically, hospital officials are digging in for a potentially long and busy winter as the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in Massachusetts, reports the Globe’s Kay Lazar.

Meanwhile, a three-reporter team at the Herald reports on growing calls for Gov. Charlie Baker to hold off on new reopening plans, scheduled to start today, amid a spike in virus cases. 

Exhibit A on the spreading virus: School districts report 97 coronavirus cases among students and staff

As the daily number of reported coronavirus cases jumps in Massachusetts, they’re closely monitoring case counts in school districts. The numbers aren’t huge. But they’re there, as Carrie Jung at WBUR reports. Also, from GBH’s Meg Woolhouse: “Local School Officials Criticize Baker’s Pandemic Performance.”


Exhibit B on the spreading virus: Outbreaks reported at Middleton Jail and DOC substance-abuse center

They’re also closely monitoring what’s happening in crowded jail and prison settings – and the news isn’t good. From CBS Boston: “25 Inmates, 21 Employees From Middleton Jail Test Positive For Coronavirus.” Meanwhile, CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports that 28 of 97 civilly committed men at DOC’s Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center in Plymouth have tested positive for the virus.

DeLeo: We need more fed money, please

House Speaker Robert DeLeo told WBZ’s Jon Keller over the weekend that he’s “very concerned” about the lack of federal coronavirus aid coming out of Washington, as the state grapples with potentially multibillion-dollar budget deficits this and next fiscal years. In other news, DeLeo also said he hopes to hold a vote on proposed police reforms by the end of the year.

CBS Boston

Don’t forget: There is a U.S. Senate race (and debate) this year

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and GBH’s Adam Reilly have previews of tonight’s U.S. Senate debate between Democratic incumbent Ed Markey and GOP challenger Kevin O’Connor, who’s running a more spirited campaign than many expected, considering practically no one gives him a chance of beating Markey next month. Reilly goes over the “daunting structural hurdles” facing O’Connor.

Not all DAs are issuing police watch lists these days

Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins and Middlesex DA Marian Ryan may be publicly issuing updated police watch lists on cops facing criminal or administrative charges that could tarnish their courtroom testimony in cases. But the Telegram’s Brad Petrishen reports that five state DAs aren’t releasing so-called ‘Brady lists,’ including Worcester DA Joseph Early, who apparently opposes the idea as potentially unfair to police.

WBUR’s Walter Wuthmann had a similar story a number of weeks back.


Fuzzy flag finances: Hingham spent almost $6K on mysterious investigation after thin-blue-line flag flap

It’s all a bit fuzzy. Hingham officials say they paid an attorney more than $5,700 to investigate a firefighter in the wake of the town’s Thin Blue Line flag-flying controversy, but aren’t revealing any details about what was being looked into, Wheeler Cooperthwaite at the Patriot Ledger reports. 

Patriot Ledger

In the crosshairs: Worcester city employees targeted by unemployment scam

Some 400 employees of the city of Worcester have been the targets of a scam involving false unemployment claims, and officials are scrambling to figure out how it happened, Melissa Hanson at MassLive reports. Officials say that the scam first appeared in April but has seen a recent surge and that Worcester is not the only community to have its workers targeted.


Grid operator pushes modified carbon-pricing plan to ease political concerns

A new and improved carbon pricing plan? CommonWealth magazine’s Bruce Mohl reports the head of ISO-New England, which operates the region’s electric grid system, is proposing a “net carbon pricing” plan that he thinks may allay political fears of massive energy price spikes associated with more traditional carbon-pricing proposals.


Lynch: FBI needs to investigate possible cyberintrusion at compressor station

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski report reports U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch is talking about possible FBI involvement in the investigation into recent gas leaks at the controversial new Weymouth compressor station. The reason: Faulty electronics may be the cause of the problems and therefore the FBI needs to rule out “possible cyberintrusion.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

2020 Annual Conference

Attendees will hear remarks by Governor Charlie Baker about issues facing the nonprofit sector, pandemic recovery, and the road ahead. The workshops will cover a variety of topics for every stage in a nonprofit career, from fundraising to strategies to address equity, diversity, and inclusion in a nonprofit organization.

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network

Envisioning Equity Part II: Housing to Build a Just Recovery

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. The state budget, passed by the Legislature every year, is a statement of our Commonwealth’s values.


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

Getting to the Point with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Stephen Breyer will join the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate to participate in a moderated conversation about the increasingly vital role the Supreme Court plays as one of our three branches of government.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Virtual Author Talk with David Michaelis

Virtual author talk with David Michaelis, author of the new biography Eleanor

American Ancestors/NEHGS together with the State Library of Massachusetts and Porter Square Books

Fighting for Survival – Small Businesses, Restaurants & Retail

While tactics to safely reopen stores and restaurants continue to evolve, discussions are turning to how to adapt to phased reopening orders while building consumer confidence and coming up with new ways to secure financial viability. With uncertainty abound, how are restaurants, small businesses and retail charting the future?

North Shore Chamber of Commerce

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


Beth Israel Lahey discloses 175 job cuts in recent months – Boston Business Journal

After filing for bankruptcy, Boston Sports Clubs quietly closes many of its gyms – Boston.com


Sheriff: Covid-19 cluster grows at Middleton Jail – Gloucester Times

Sterling ready to put her toolkit to work as executive director of the Mass. black and Latino caucus – Berkshire Eagle

Westport town meeting prohibits recreational marijuana sales – Herald-News


Trump’s celebrated economic rebound fizzles out – Politico

House approves measure condemning QAnon, but 17 Republicans vote against it – The Hill

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