Keller at Large

Hey! Let’s read my hate mail!

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller bemoans the inferior quality of hate mail (or Twitter posts) these days, compared to the good old days when haters actually took the time to hate, writing gripes on actual paper, putting correct addresses on envelopes, and even adding bonus insults on the back of envelopes. No longer. 

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Education Committee, Soldiers’ Home hearing, and more

— The Education Committee holds an oversight hearing to explore observations from K-12 school reopenings, with testimony by invitation only, 10 a.m.

Mass. Lottery Commission meets to hear an update on sales and to vote on two contracts, including one for cybersecurity consulting, 10:30 a.m.

Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke COVID-19 Outbreak holds the first of two more hearings this week to take testimony regarding the death of 76 veterans during the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year, Holyoke Community College, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka speaks at the Massachusetts Legislature Manufacturing Caucus’ 5th annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony, 11 a.m.

— UMass Lowell hosts a virtual discussion on the presidential election, featuring political science professor Josh Dych and assistant professor John Cluverius, with UMass President Marty Meehan moderating, 5:30 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: 17 new deaths, 9,657 total deaths, 1,216 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Poll: Question 1 headed for passage, Question 2 a toss up

A new WCVB/UMass poll shows, not surprisingly, that Joe Biden holds a huge lead over Donald Trump in Massachusetts. But what we found interesting is the poll numbers for the state’s two ballot questions. Seventy-five percent of those surveyed say they’ll vote ‘yes’ on ‘Right to Repair’ (Question 1), but only 48 percent say they’ll vote ‘yes’ on ranked-choice voting (Question 2) while 43 percent say they’ll vote ‘no’ on Question 2. Nine percent are unsure about ranked-choice voting.


At least the Herald, Leicester and Acushnet have Trump’s back in Massachusetts

Speaking of next week’s elections, the polls continue to show Joe Biden holding leads in key swing states, as well as in Massachusetts, as MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports.

But fear not, Trump fans: The Boston Herald, proving we’re still in a two newspaper town, has endorsed the president. The paper’s argument is a perfect encapsulation of the modern conservative/Republican mindset: It’s not about what they stand for, but about what they’re against. In the Herald’s case, it’s the lurking shadows of … Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and other ‘social justice warriors.’ Meanwhile, Trump also has a slim majority of campaign donors in Leicester and Acushnet at his back in Massachusetts, the only two towns where Trump donors outnumber Biden donors, reports’s Nik DeCosta-Klipa

Security tightened around ballot drop boxes after weekend fire incident

It turns out an ‘emotionally disturbed’ man was allegedly responsible for setting a Copley Square ballot drop box on fire over the weekend, as the Globe’s Matt Stout reports. But the incident definitely put a scare in officials who fear copy-cat attempts to destroy ballots before election day. CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports Secretary of State Bill Galvin, among others, is calling for heightened security surrounding ballot drop boxes.

Meanwhile, from Universal Hub: “No more 24-hour voting in Cambridge as city seeks to secure drop boxes.” From the Patriot Ledger: “Milton closes ballot drop box at night.” This appears to be more than mere coincidence, via Universal Hub: “Postal box with burned mail found about a block down Boylston from flamed ballot drop box.” 

Super PAC tied to Baker is spreading the dough around … except to Dean Tran

SHNS’s Matt Murphy and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl report that a super PAC affiliated with Gov. Charlie Baker is throwing big bucks around in local elections, mostly to Republican candidates, except to state Sen. Dean Tran, who’s facing his share of ethical questions as he tries to fend off Dem newcomer John Cronin.

Speaking of Democratic newcomers, Kip Diggs has been endorsed by Attorney General Maura Healey, the Barnstable Patriot reports, as Diggs tries to unseat Republican Rep. Will Crocker, who has received more than $3,000 from the Baker-tied PAC. Also, from the Cape Cod Times: “Crocker, Diggs square off in 2nd Barnstable District.”

21st Century elections, 19th Century election-news results?

Maybe reactivating the Pony Express will help speed things up? It couldn’t hurt, considering we may have to wait until 2021 to learn the results of next week’s elections across the nation, from Alaska to Maine. The Globe’s James Pindell has more on the mail-in ballots and ranked-choice delays the nation could be facing in coming weeks and months.

Boston Globe

Call it a comeback: Kerans runs again for House seat, after 23 years away from politics

Just like riding a bike. Anne Marie Tobin at the Lynn Item checks in on the candidacy of Sally Kerans, who is running for the 13th Essex District state representative seat being vacated by Ted Speliotis — after a 23-year absence from electoral politics. Kerans represented the district for three terms in the mid-1990s. 

Lynn Item

The evidence mounts, Part II: Mass. coronavirus cases continue alarming rise

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the Globe’s Martin Finucane report that the number of daily coronavirus cases rose to 1,216 yesterday, the third straight day of the count exceeding 1,000 cases and prompting yet more warnings of a coming second urge in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, from MassLive: “New Covid cases nearly double in Springfield.”

But … but read the Rick Sobey’s separate piece at the Herald about how the state seems to be in good shape in terms of hospitalizations, supplies, policies in place, etc. Granted, the daily percentage of tested individuals who are positive continues to remain alarming high, yet it’s not all doom and gloom.

Two parents charged after underage drinking party in Wilmington forces all-remote learning

First Sudbury. Now Wilmington. From Arianna MacNeill at “Wilmington High School has gone completely remote after roughly 25 to 30 students attended a party held in the basement of a home in town, and a couple of parents are being charged.”

Pandemic-era enrollment decline worries Amherst-area school officials

Speaking of school issues, we suspect this is going to be a problem for a lot of other school districts moving forward, i.e. fewer students, big troubles. The superintendent of the Amherst-Pelham regional school district is warning that drops in enrollment could bring a host of financial and educational challenges going forward, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Enrollment has dropped more than 4 percent in the district as more families opt for in-person learning at private schools.

The news comes amid reports of big enrollment spikes this fall at Catholic schools across the state, fyi.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Lawrence the latest city to cancel trick-or-treating on Halloween

Lawrence made it official yesterday: No trick-or-treating on Halloween because of you-know-what. WCVB has more on Mayor Dan Rivera’s announcement. In case you’re wondering, both MassLive and have town-by-town lists, albeit incomplete town-by-town lists, of trick-or-treating policies across the state.

Thousands to get extra $1,800 in jobless benefits under new law

They’re starting to stir at the State House. From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “An extra $1,800 is headed into the hands of 17,000 Massachusetts unemployed claiming less than $100 in weekly benefits who were cut out of the last round of federal bonus benefits. The cash is coming thanks to legislation passed by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday.”

Boston Herald

MassDevelopment’s Liss leaving at end of 2020

MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public development agency, is on the hunt for a new chief executive following Lauren Liss’s announcement she’s leaving for unspecified reasons at the end of 2020, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.


Oh, just another 200 cases dropped due to Sonja Farak’s antics

Another day, another batch of cases dropped due to the Sonja Farak drug-lab scandal. This time it’s 200 drug cases in Norfolk County, according to a report at WBUR. At least it wasn’t in the thousands, the past norm for Farak-related case dismissals.


New England NAACP chapters condemn Springfield’s removal of critical police chaplain

They’re united across the region, not just the state. From Nick Stoico at the Globe: “NAACP chapters throughout New England on Monday condemned Springfield police for removing Bishop Talbert W. Swan II as a chaplain for the department, arguing that the move was a response to Swan’s criticism of the department.”

Boston Globe

No limits: Study says lifting liquor license cap yields positive economic results

The more, the merrier. A new study suggests that Worcester and 24 other communities that have done away with caps on liquor licenses have reaped the rewards: More restaurants and bars opening and more vibrant downtowns, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. 


No kidding: $1,000 reward offered for goat gone missing in Norton

They really love this goat. The Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary in Norton is offering a $1,000, no-questions-asked reward for the return of a 4-year-old female goat named Blossom that staffers suspect was smuggled out of the sanctuary in a baby carriage, David Linton of the Sun-Chronicle reports. 

Sun Chroncle

EdVestors’ 15th Annual School on the Move Prize Ceremony

EdVestors to make surprise announcement of prestigious $100,000 Thomas W. Payzant School on the Move Prize at LIVE Virtual Event. Mayor Martin J. Walsh and BPS Superintendent Dr. Brenda Cassellius will speak and present awards to the three finalist schools for outstanding progress.


Advocating for the Rights of People on the Move: A Conversation with the Refugee Community Leaders

Join us for a conversation with refugee community leaders on economic justice and migration. Speakers are Abid Shamdeen, co-founder of Nadia’s Initiative which brings aid to internally displaced Yazidis in Iraq, and Sharifah Shakirah, co-founder of Rohingya Women’s Development Network which believes gender equality is key to lifting the Rohingya community.

Harvard Kennedy School/Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Virtual 2020 Power 50: Extraordinary Year, Extraordinary People

We often look from a different lens each year as issues as circumstances shift. 2020 is truly an outlier and a year like none other in recent memory. This year’s Power 50 will take on a different title and goal, as we look to recognize those people whose influence, innovation, commitment, and courage are making a difference in the community during an extraordinary time.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Challenges and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy Over the Next Decade

Please join Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government for a Regulatory Policy Program seminar featuring Michael Fitzpatrick, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Google. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

Energy Policy Seminar: John Holdren on “Thawing Permafrost: A Local and Global Disaster”

Join us for an Energy Policy Seminar featuring John Holdren, Teresa and John Heinz, Professor of Environmental Policy at HKS. Professor Holdren will speak on “Thawing Permafrost: A Local and Global Disaster”. The seminar will be hosted by HKS Professor Joe Aldy.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business

ICP – Breaking the crime-poverty cycle

Panel Debate – The event will feature an overview by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Director, Center for Crime, Justice and Policing, University of Birmingham, a quick historical recap of antiquated laws and contributions by the panelists.

ESRC IAA – University of Birmingham

Philanthropy and Inequality

Please join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy for its signature weekly series this fall, The Fierce Urgency of Now, featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color scholars, activists, and community leaders, and experts from the Global South.

Harvard Kennedy School

Tamara Payne on The Dead are Rising: The Life of Malcolm X – Central Library Author Talk Series

Join the Boston Public Library together with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Museum of African American History, and the GBH Forum Network for another virtual event in the American Stories, Inspiration Today author series. Learn about the epic biography produced from 30 years of research by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Les Payne.

Boston Public Library

Critical Conversations: Racial Justice and the Immigrant Rights Movement

The Binger Annual Immigration Law Forum brings together lawyers, students, advocates and community members to learn from each other and develop tools to continue the struggle to protect human rights, basic dignity, and the rule of law.

James H. Binger Center Annual Immigration Law Forum

Virtual Discussion – Women Who Lead: Navigating the Challenges of 2020 and Beyond

Join us for a virtual live-streamed panel discussion with four female business leaders moderated by Carolyn Jones, publisher of the Boston Business Journal. Women have unique perspectives to offer on leading through these current turbulent times from how to build organizational resilience to how to advocate for themselves in a politically charged environment to maintaining a work/life balance.

Boston Business Journal and Santander Commercial Banking

Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

Join the Boston Public Library and the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library for an online talk with Amy D. Finstein, author of Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America.

Boston Public Library

Managing Change to Grow Business – Part II: Growing Your Business in a Virtual World

Please join Middlesex Savings Bank and the Boston Business Journal for this conversation about managing business change in our new normal.

Boston Business Journal and Middlesex Savings Bank

The Future of Higher Education

As schools around the country plan, react, and adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidents of Greater Washington’s top universities will gather virtually to discuss health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and budgeting and development of the future of higher education. Join the Washington Business Journal for a look behind the scenes with the decision makers.

Washington Business Journal

2020 Women Who Mean Business

Join us as we celebrate outstanding women at our fourth Women Who Mean Business awards program. These women represent the scale of business in Greater Boston and have demonstrated significant growth in their companies.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Defense Project Series: Civil-Military Relations during a US Election

The atmosphere around the national elections to be held on Tuesday, November 3, has brought to the fore many important issues of how the US military interacts and is viewed by the public and civilian leadership in government.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


How we’re staying afloat at the New England Aquarium – CommonWealth Magazine

BC delays start of spring 2021 semester, cancels spring break – The Heights


Crocker, Diggs square off in 2nd Barnstable District – Cape Cod Times

Two adults charged with giving minors alcohol at party that led Wilmington High School to move to remote learning, police say – MassLive

Framingham police chief finalists explain how they would lead department – MetroWest Daily News


Supreme Court rejects Democrats’ bid to reinstate mail-in ballot extension in Wisconsin – The Hill

Bonuses before bankruptcy: Companies doled out millions to executives before filing for Chapter 11 – Washington Post

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