Happening Today

Georges SJC hearing, Kennedy bids farewell, Baker and Cuomo honored

— Gov. Charlie Baker later today is expected to provide more details on his administration’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. 

— U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy plans to give his farewell speech on the floor of the U.S. House after serving four terms in Washington, 10 a.m.

Governor’s Council meets and is expected to confirm Boston Municipal Court Judge Serge Georges Jr. to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court, 12 p.m.

— Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and Massachusetts Competitive Partnership hold a virtual discussion on reinventing teaching and learning following the COVID-19 pandemic, with panelists including Secretary of Education Jim Peyser and former Gov. Jane Swift, 2 p.m.

— The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate awards Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, the 2020 Inspired Leadership Award ‘in recognition of their steadfast guidance during the global COVID-19 pandemic,’ 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: 40 new deaths, 10,833 total deaths, 3,627 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Reopening rollback: Baker orders new restrictions amid spike in coronavirus cases

He clearly didn’t want to do it. But he did it. Gov. Charlie Baker, faced with soaring coronavirus cases across the state, yesterday ordered new restrictions on gatherings and businesses, effectively dialing back some of his prior reopening measures, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan and MassLive’s Steph Solis.

The new restrictions aren’t nearly as severe as last spring’s near complete lockdown of the state’s economy, but they will impact a wide variety of businesses, in terms of capacity limits and/or outright closures. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reviews what is and isn’t impacted by the return to ‘Phase 3, Step 1.’

Needless to say, not everyone is happy. From GBH’s Craig LeMoult: “’I give it a golf clap’: Critics Say Baker’s Reopening Roll-Back Isn’t Enough To Combat Rise In COVID Cases.” From a Globe editorial: “Indoor dining isn’t worth it.” But from Avi Nelson at the Herald: “New coronavirus restrictions in Massachusetts unreasonable and excessive.” And yet from WBZ’s Jon Keller: “Poll Shows Strong Support For COVID Restrictions In Mass.”

Latest poll shows Mass. residents are ready and willing (sort of) to get vaccinated

Well, this is more encouraging than a poll released last week by the Western New England University Polling Institute, to wit: A new MassINC survey finds that an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts residents are willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine, though many want others to go first. WBUR’s Laney Ruckstuhl has the details.

Fyi, from the Globe’s Robert Weisman: “COVID vaccines could reach senior care sites this month, but daunting logistical challenges lie ahead.”


Elected officials say they’ll get vaccinated to set an example

Boston’s Michelle Wu says she’ll do it. Ditto Salem’s Kim Driscoll, Brockton’s Robert Sullivan, Somerville’s Joseph Curatone and other elected officials around the state. Do what? Get vaccinated to show others it’s safe. GBH’s Saraya Wintersmith has more.


Baker: No need for another evictions moratorium. We can handle it

Amid a rise in eviction filings and a rollback of reopening measures due to the second surge, MassLive’s Steph Solis reports a return of the eviction moratorium isn’t in the offing, with Gov. Charlie Baker saying the state should have enough resources to help both tenants and landlords.


In-person remote learning? The Boys & Girls Clubs are making it happen

CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt has an interesting story on how the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs are now running programs in which kids are dropped off at centers, where they can socially-distance interact with others while taking remote online classes. Sen. Eric Lesser has pushed to funnel more state money to the programs, which are apparently quite popular with parents.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Naomi Martin and Stephanie Ebbert tackle the issue of whether in-person classrooms indeed lead to the spread of the virus. Answer: They do. But to what extent is the big question. And one more education item, from SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk (pay wall): “Digital Gaps Underscore Need: ‘Tech Para Todos.’


Testing inequities of the income, racial and geographic varieties …

The Globe’s Kay Lazar and Laura Krantz report on the persistent coronavirus testing inequities across the state, such as Wellesley’s robust school testing program funded by wealthy donors while Dorchester residents have to stand in long lines to get tested.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Lisa Kashinsky report that, despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s recently announced expansion of testing in so-called “testing desert” areas, officials on the Cape and in western Massachusetts are “taking coronavirus testing into their own hands.” And from George Rhodes at the Sun Chronicle: “Lawmakers decry governor’s leaving Attleboro area off list for Stop the Spread sites.”

Coronavirus updates: Agawam mayor tests positive, R.I. is No. 1, lawmakers press DOC on inmate releases

There’s a lot happening on the coronavirus front this morning, so we’ll go with quick headlines in this post, starting with MassLive: “Agawam Mayor William Sapelli tests positive for COVID-19.” … From SHNS (pay wall): “Need for Heating Assistance Grows During Pandemic.” … From the Globe: “Rhode Island leads the country in rate of new COVID-19 cases.” … From SHNS again (pay wall): “Baker Urges Congress to Extend Expiring Jobless Benefits.” … From WBUR: “Mass. Lawmakers Want The State’s Prisons To Move Faster On Pandemic-Related Releases.”

Report: State AGs and feds to file antitrust lawsuits against Facebook today

The Washington Post reports that more than 40 state AGs and the U.S. government are preparing to file antitrust suits against Facebook today, with the former alleging that Facebook’s purchase of Instagram and WhatsApp was designed to neutralize competitive threats.

There’s no mention of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in the article, but you have to almost presume her office is part of the suit. If not, she’ll be answering questions about why not, assuming the suits are indeed filed today.

Washington Post

Bigger than potatoes and blueberries? Marijuana is now Maine’s most lucrative agricultural crop

This doesn’t exactly fit Maine’s cute-as-a-button image. The Portland Press Herald’s Penelope Overton reports that marijuana has now become Maine’s most valuable agricultural crop, beating out potatoes, blueberries and milk. Marijuana has a way to go before it overtakes Maine’s lobster industry, but give it time.

Press Herald

Losers strike back, Part II: Judge blasts GOP candidates’ suit to overturn state elections, calling it ‘terribly unfair’ to voters

A federal judge isn’t impressed with a lawsuit filed by five failed Massachusetts Republican candidates for Congress and the Legislature seeking to overturn the state’s Nov. 3 election results, questioning why the suit was filed so late and saying it’s “just terribly unfair to all the people that showed up to vote,” reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin.

Greater Boston’s long history of housing segregation: It didn’t happen by accident

At Boston Magazine, Catherine Elton explores the Boston region’s long and infamous history of housing segregation along racial lines. And, no, our convoluted roadway system and out-of-the-way geographical quirks don’t explain the phenomenon. Think restrictive covenants, zoning laws, and outright racial bans. Elton explores some possible remedies.

Speaking of housing discrimination, from the Globe’s Tim Logan: “Boston may weigh housing discrimination when it considers development proposals.

Boston Magazine

First step: Amherst moves ahead with plan for reparations for Black residents

And speaking of racial injustices: The foundation has been laid. Now comes the tricky part.  Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the Amherst Town Council has unanimously adopted an anti-racism resolution that sets the town on a path toward paying reparations to its Black residents. Supporters of the move are eyeing as much as $10 million future cannabis tax revenue as the source of potential payments. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

She’s a no: Warren says she won’t vote to grant waiver for Biden defense pick

This complicates things for the president-elect. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she won’t vote to grant a waiver to enable Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary to be confirmed, reports Jordain Carney at The Hill. Nominee Lloyd Austin retired from the Army in 2016, meaning both chambers of Congress will have to approve a waiver from the requirement that picks for the post be retired from the military for at least seven years. 

The Hill

No regrets: Kennedy looks back, forward as time in Congress ends

As he prepares to give his farewall speech today in Washington (see Happening Today item above), outgoing U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III talks with Ted Nesi at WPRI and said he doesn’t regret launching a primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Ed Markey or the way he ran his campaign.

Meanwhile, Kennedy’s successor in Congress, Jake Auchincloss, tells Julie Cohen of the Herald News that he’s eager to get to work on Capitol Hill and wants to co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s legislation to give $1,000 to seed savings accounts for every new baby born in the country.


Not just Worcester: Pittsfield city workers latest to be targeted by unemployment scams

They’ve got plenty of company in Worcester. Pittsfield officials say a number of its school and municipal employees have been victims of fraudulent unemployment claims, forcing the city to spend months sorting fake claims from real ones, Amanda Burke at the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Berkshire Eagle

Why the T’s new battery-powered buses won’t move the carbon needle much

The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that the MBTA’s new 35 battery-powered buses won’t reduce carbon pollution very much. The reason? They’re mostly replacing older electric-powered buses.

Boston Globe

The State of Innovation: Electrification presented by Analog Devices

Across the network, Innos State of Innovations meetups focus on a specific industry, category, theme or individual and will feature a keynote, fireside chat, panel, pitch, demo or a combination of the five. Join us for a conversation with local innovators and experts.

The Boston Business Journals

Living Room Conversations: Coronavirus: Life in the Time of Corona

Covid-19 has touched all aspects of our personal and community life. Our health, civic, social, work, academic, and financial systems are struggling to cope with uncertainty and the need for rapid readjustment. We are physically distancing ourselves from our friends, family, co-workers, and other people to prevent being infected or spreading the infection. Registration is required.

Boston Public Library

Author Neal Gabler with Catching the wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975

Join the Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Neal Gabler, author of Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975. BPL President David Leonard will moderate this program, which is part of the Arc of History: Contested Perspectives series.

Boston Public Library

Schism 2.0: China and America’s Trade Conflict in the Next U.S. Administration

This seminar is part of the Special Series on Japanese Economic Statecraft. Moderated by Christina Davis, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations: Professor of Government; and Susan S. and Kenneth L.Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

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

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

Empowering Women in Business Conference

Join us for an inspirational virtual conference, the annual Empowering Women in Business Conference, hosted by Nichols College. We invite you for a day of inspiration and education. Be inspired by our keynote speaker Valerie Weisler the founder and CEO of The Validation Project.

Nichols College

Kay Ulanday Barrett Performing and Answering Questions at the Intersections of Disability, Trans and Racial Justice

LexPride is thrilled to welcome the one-and-only Kay Ulanday Barrett (they/them) to Lexington. Kay is a poet, performer, and educator, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance, and laughter. They are the author of When the Chant Comes and More Than Organs. Kay will perform and answer questions from the audience.

LexPride. Co-sponsored by Boston Pride, Cary Memorial Library, and the Network for Social Justice.

WBJ Webcast: Cybersecurity: Protecting Your Business from Cyber Threats

The Covid pandemic has exposed a whole new range of obstacles for businesses, including new risks with cybersecurity. With cyber crime and fraud on the rise, it is vital that businesses of all sizes take their cybersecurity seriously. Protecting systems, networks, devices and your employees and customers is critical in the fight to protect our businesses.

Worcester Business Journal

Data & Donuts (Virtual)//Melissa Jones on Data Visualization of Racial Disparities During Covid

Melissa Jones is an undergraduate at Harvard and a member of the Coronavirus Visualization Team. As this session, Melissa will present her work and lead a discussion around data visualization of socioeconomic and health disparities within marginalized communities.

Harvard Kennedy School

Living Room Conversations: What is Essential?

Essential workers, essential services, essential travel. The global pandemic has affected all areas of our lives and has invited a shift in what we believe to be essential. What is essential to our lives, to our community and for our planet? What adjustments are we making in the short term and for the long run for our personal safety or for the welfare of others?

Boston Public Library

INSEAD Workshops: Venture Capital, Business Angels and Start Ups

In the workshop, we look at Venture Capital, Business Angels and Startups. The workshop is for people who are active in the domain of venture capital, business angels and startups. The workshop is free to attend.


Smart Work-X: Japan’s Transformations in the New Normal

Speaker: Hirotaka Takeuchi, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School. Moderator: Christina Davis, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Professor of Government; Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

Harvard Kennedy School

James Snyder in Conversation: Antique Inspirations, Fresh Creations

James Snyder in conversation with award-winning Palestinian-Israeli architect Senan Abdelqader on the influence of Arab culture across time on art, architecture, and design in Israel, Palestine, and the world today.

Harvard Kennedy School

Coping with Covid-19: The Role of Telehealth Services

Moderated by Grant Welker, News Editor, Worcester Business Journal. Join us for this special session as we explore the role of telehealth during the Covid-19 outbreak, its astounding level of adoption and what the future of technologies like it hold for the future of healthcare delivery.

Worcester Business Journal

Healthcare in Retirement

Healthcare concerns increase as we reach retirement age, and ensuring you have the right healthcare coverage can make a huge impact on your financial health. In this session, we will learn about Medicare and how you can put it to use to help cover rising healthcare costs during retirement. Join Dabney Baum, Baum Wealth Advisors with Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC., for this important presentation.

Boston Business Journal

The World of Maple Sugaring (Live Webinar)

Kyle Jacoby, Manager of Adult Education at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, will walk you through the history of maple sugaring, how syrup is made today, the differences in maple syrup types, and tips for starting to make it at home. This webinar is perfect for both those who want to learn about this special treat and those who want to begin their own maple sugaring journey.

Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Today’s Headlines


Boston’s Revere Hotel fires more than 100 workers, union says – Boston Globe

Quincy pub ordered closed after Covid violations – Patriot Ledger


50 people won Massachusetts lottery jackpot on the same night, setting new record – MassLive

Andover residents get mortgage, rent relief – Eagle-Tribune

Comerford holds Town Hall ahead of second term in office – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Democrats signal early opposition to Biden’s defense pick – Politico

FireEye, a top cybersecurity provider, says it was hacked by nation state – New York Times

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