Happening Today

Cape pandemic update, Holyoke Soldiers’ hearing, and more

— The Cape Cod Reopening Task Force holds its weekly media availability and plans to review vaccinations at congregate care sites, with Fred Chirigotis, CEO of the congregate care facility Chip’s House, among those joining the call, 9 a.m.

Massachusetts Municipal Association holds its two-day annual meeting, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito set to deliver opening remarks at 10:40 a.m. and Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer speaking at a 3 p.m.

— A special legislative committee convened to investigate a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home holds a virtual public hearing to receive testimony about potential staffing and labor-related issues at the facility, 1 p.m.

— Members of the Asian American Commission are sworn in virtually by Treasurer Deb Goldberg, 2 p.m.

— A task force appointed by Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey holds the first of three virtual forums for members of the public to provide comments on child support guidelines, 4 p.m.

For the most comprehensive list 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: 78 new deaths, 13,547 total deaths, 3,987 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Collective sigh of relief’: Biden sworn in as president, Trump gone, no violence

Amid tight security, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in yesterday as the nation’s new president and vice president – without any violent incidents at inaugural festivities, as the Washington Post reports.  

Many local politicians “breathed a collective sigh of relief” that President Donald Trump is finally gone, as SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk reports (pay wall). And they were breathing a largely bi-partisan sigh of relief in Washington too, even though some weren’t admitting it, reports the NYT.

NBC Boston and WCVB have more on local reactions to yesterday’s transfer of power in D.C.  And then there was this local bright spot yesterday, via WCVB: “Recent Harvard graduate Amanda Gorman read her original poem at President Biden’s inauguration.”   

‘Meanwhile, up at the State House …’

Except for a ferocious looking pooch lurking on Beacon Street, Universal Hub reports all was safe and sound yesterday at the State House, despite pre-inauguration concerns over possible violent right-wing protests at state capitals around the country. But some lefties did protest yesterday on Boston Common, peacefully so, reports WBUR.

Universal Hub

Biden’s immediate impact on Massachusetts: Immigration, energy, pandemic

Through executive orders and new legislation filed within hours after his inauguration, President Joe Biden yesterday set in motion new policies that likely will be felt far and wide in Massachusetts. CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports Biden’s first-day immigration moves that will impact thousands of people here.

Meanwhile, MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement and other steps could end up changing energy policies nationwide and boosting jobs in Massachusetts. Then there’s the coronavirus crisis, via WCVB: “Dr. Rochelle Walensky, former MGH physician, takes the helm at CDC amid COVID-19 pandemic.”

And more is likely on the way soon. From SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall): “Biden Eyes Eviction Moratorium Extension Through March.” The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld warns Biden’s early policies blitz may undermine his call for unity. 

Two state GOP leaders, two different inaugural messages

One message was from Gov. Charlie Baker, the other from state GOP chair Jim Lyons. One conveyed congratulations to the new president and vice president, one praised the outgoing president. Can you guess who said what? SHNS’s Matt Murphy has the exciting answers that show yet again we have two parties within a party in Massachusetts.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The Trump Pardons: The New England connections

What? No Massachusetts pardons? MassLive’s Jackson Cote reports on the New Englanders who received pardons in the last hours of the Trump presidency, including a Maine developer who pleaded guilty to illegally donating more than $20,000 to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. But .. no Bay State pardons to report.


Staying power: Some Trump merchandise stores in Mass. to stay open

President Trump may be gone, but the Trump brand remains. The owner of a chain of stores selling Trump-branded merchandise says his shop in Easton will remain open, citing continued demand for the paraphernalia. But Mina Corpuz at the Enterprise reports not all his Trump stores will stay open.


New rule allows more students to administer vaccines but …

SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that the state, anticipating the day when mass vaccinations get under way in Massachusetts, has changed its emergency rules to allow students training to be pharmacists or physician assistants to deliver shots.  

But CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt reports the Baker administration has gone silent on whether to once again allow foreign-trained doctors to help out during the pandemic.

So how do you give shots to millions of people in an orderly and efficient manner?

Speaking of vaccinations, it’s not going to be easy to eventually give shots to millions of people in Massachusetts, no matter how well organized the campaign, reports GBH’s Craig LeMoult, who lists all the logistical problems that lie ahead for the state. And it’s made even harder when the federal government can’t get its act together in distributing vaccine doses in the first place, as the NYT reports.


When good news could be bad news during the pandemic …

First, the good news: Domestic violence homicides are down during the pandemic. Now for the possible bad news: It could be a function of victims staying in violent relationships because they have nowhere else to go during the pandemic, as Shira Schoenberg reports at CommonWealth.


Coronavirus updates: Second variant case confirmed, Quincy and New Bedford mayors recover, pandemic gun laws

We’re going with just headlines and summaries in this post, starting with Mary Whitfill’s report at the Patriot Ledger that Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has returned to work after his bout with COVID-19. … And from New Bedford, via South Coast Today: “Covid hasn’t slowed down Mayor Mitchell.” …Meanwhile, from MassLive: “Second case of the highly contagious COVID strain confirmed in Massachusetts.” … The SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall) reports that Rep. Joe McKenna, a Republican, has refiled a bill that would make it easier for people to buy guns during the pandemic. … From the Globe’s Alex LaSalvia: “Amid COVID-19, city borders complicate some responses.” … From Zane Razzaq at MetroWest Daily News: “All Framingham Public Schools staff expected to return to school buildings on Feb. 1.”

What do a former boxer, actor, third-grade teacher and activists have in common?

Answer to the above question: They’re all new “lawmakers to watch on Beacon Hill,” and the Globe’s Matt Stout and Victoria McGrane take a look at the rookie representatives and senator.

Boston Globe

Whenever it happens, Janey pledges smooth transition from Walsh

She’s ready, willing — and waiting. With no firm date set for Mayor Marty Walsh’s departure to D.C., soon-to-be-acting-mayor Kim Janey says she is already working with the Walsh administration, key department heads and community leaders to ensure a “seamless transition,” reports Bill Forry at the Dorchester Reporter.

But what will Janey’s actual powers be once she becomes interim mayor? The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports she’ll have power, but not all the powers.

Dorchester Reporter

Boston isn’t the only city with a wide-open mayoral race

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that, in addition to Boston, the cities of Lawrence, Holyoke, Northampton and Newburyport also have wide-open mayoral elections this year. Interesting factoids from Lannan: There are nine former state lawmakers currently serving as mayors across the state, seven of whom are up for re-election this year.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Racist road-rage incident turns deadly in Belmont

Road rage, racist slurs and a death in Belmont. Wicked Local and the Globe’s John Ellement and Matthew Lee report on an incredibly ugly and tragic racial and road-rage incident in Belmont that led to the death of a Black man from Boston. And they’re throwing the book at the accused.

In other disturbing news of intolerance, the mayor of Cambridge is condemning the scrawling of “KKK” on a city roadway (MassLive), while a school superintendent in Fall River is under fire for calling a disabled staff member a “retard” (Herald News). File it all under: Sigh.

Major milestone: New Worcester semi-pro basketball team to be named after Black cyclist

The city has decided. The new American Basketball Association team planning to make its debut later this year will be called the Worcester Majors–a nod to the city native and history-making Black cyclist Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor, Monica Busch at the Worcester Business Journal reports.

Worcester Business Journal

Lunch Hour Live — A Look Into The Biden Administration With FRONTLINE’s Michael Kirk (Virtual)

You saw FRONTLINE’s “The Choice” before the 2020 election, but now that the votes have been cast and the winner selected, FRONTLINE is back with a closer look into the life and mind of President-Elect Joe Biden.


Alex Zamalin – Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility

Join the Boston Public Library in partnership with the Museum of American History for an online conversation with author Alex Zamalin moderated by MAAH Direcror of Education and Interpretation L’Merchie Frazier. This program is part of the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Defense Project Series: Dr. Peter Mansoor Discusses, “How cultural biases influence success or failure in war”

Join us as Dr. Pete Mansoor Mason Chair of Military History, The Ohio State University, discusses the influence of culture on U.S. and international militaries and the resulting impact on war strategies and the prospects for success.

Harvard Kennedy School

Light, Land, and Water; Native and non-Native Visions of New England

This lecture will attempt to honor diverse definitions of :landscape” by examining Wabanaki baskets and beadwork alongside canvases by New England painters such as Fitz Henry Lane and Martin Johnson Heade, It will raise questions about depictions (or embodiments) of natural resources, relationships between humans, and the environment and entanglements of Native non-Native histories.

The Courtauld Research Forum

Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Every Monday

ROAR Webinar Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Dr. Lisa Coleman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation, New York University. The series is on Mondays at 1:00 p.m. It is inspirational and aspirational. Leaders will discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership in trying times.

ROAR Daily Webinar Series

Human Trafficking 101

The Key2Free is committed to education and increased awareness with the goal of preventing trafficking before it starts. Across all states, victims of sex trafficking are enslaved every day through force, fraud, or coercion. Together, we can call attention to and fight the shocking realities of the injustice happening right here in our communities.

The Key2Free

The History of the Big Dig with David Kruh

David Kruh returns with another exciting talk, this time on a history you might remember – the Big Dig. Get the scoop on one of the country’s most expensive and ambitious construction projects, from a former spokesperson of the project. Brought to Cary Library in partnership with the Lexington Historical society.

Cary Memorial Public Library

Mindful Tuesdays with Josefina Bonilla & Daniel Gutierrez

How To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life. Daniel Gutierrez, Mindful Leadership Expert/ Owner, Catalina Retreat Center Peru, Speaker. The ROAR Webinar Series on Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. is inspirational and aspirational. Leaders discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergency of new leadership in trying times.


Live Chat with fmr Netflix Senior Product Manager

Join in and get all your Product Management questions answered during our online event with Johnny Chang, Product Manager at Netflix. Chang is a Senior Product Lead who focuses on users, bringing leadership and vision and simplifying the chaos and chunk vague problems. He was passionate about computer software from a young age and studied computer science in college and grad school.

Product School

Lindsay Peoples Wagner – The Pandemic & Black Lives Matter: How Young People Are Building A New Normal

The Boston Public Library welcomes Editor-in-Chief of New York Magazine’s The Cut, and former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard.

Boston Public Library

Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19

Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.Malcolm Gladwell and the New Normal after COVID-19 JAN 27 2021 12:00 PM Hosted by: Arent Fox LLP Online Event www.eventbrite.com/e/malcolm-gladwell-and-the-new-normal-after-covid-19-tickets-132113604347?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch Join Arent Fox for a one hour virtual event with Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated journalist and best-selling author of Tipping Point, Outliers, and Talking to Strangers, who will talk about life after COVID-19. There will also be a Q&A with Arent Fox Partner Anthony V. Lupo.

Arent Fox LLP

ROAR Web Series with Josefina Bonilla and Special Guest Evelyn Brito

Guest Speaker Evelyn Brito, Founder, Bodega Makeover. Following Your Passion and Dreams. The ROAR Webinar Series is inspirational and aspirational. Join industry leaders as we discuss innovation and leadership, definition of success and the emergence of new leadership styles in trying times


Condition of Education in the Commonwealth

Join the Rennie Center for a conversation on the state of learning in this unprecedented time, including a panel discussion with all three MA education commissioners—Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley, Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, and Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago—and remarks from Secretary of Education James Peyser.

The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

lo T in Sports: Changing the Game

Join us as we hear from industry experts about the integration of lo T in the world of live sports, how major leagues like the NFL are utilizing wearable technology and connected devices, what features fans can expect from stadiums as they become more connected, and how 5G & MEC are changing the game for years to come.


Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings & James Dale – “We’re Better Than This”

Join the Boston Public Library for an online talk with distinguished political expert, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings and longtime non-fiction writer James Dale, co-authors of We’re Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of our Democracy, primarily authored by the late Elijah Cummings.

Boston Public Library

Community Read Book Group: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Let’s read together! Join your friends, family and fellow Yearlong Reading Challenge participants at the Boston Public Library as we discuss the January Community Read for adults: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The discussion will be moderated by a librarian and will take place on Zoom.

Boston Public Library

Global Mobility and the Threat of Pandemics: Evidence from Three Centuries

Researchers at the Center for Global Development test predictions across four global pandemics in three different centuries: the influenza pandemics that began in 1889, 1918, 1957, and 2009. They find that in all cases, even a draconian 50 percent reduction in pre-pandemic international mobility is associated with 1-2 weeks later arrival and no detectable reduction in final mortality.

Harvard Kennedy School

Human Rights and the Future World Order

Speakers include Hina Jilanni, former United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders; Samuel Moyn, Henry R. Luce Professor of Jurisprudence, Yale Law School and Professor of History, Yale University; Zeid Ra’ad, Perry World House Professor of the Practice of Law and Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Social Media for Government Agencies and the Public Sector: Everything You Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask, a Digital CP

Come learn the basics of the Social Media platforms and how you can use them effectively to achieve your goals. Whether you’re a Tik Tok influencer or just learned that the symbol # isn’t a “pound sign”. This workshop is open to all levels.

Harvard Kennedy School

Today’s Headlines


In Boston, activists warn against complacency with Biden in office – MassLive

What would Kim Janey’s powers as acting mayor of Boston be? – Boston Herald


All Framingham public school teachers, staff expected to return to school buildings Feb. 1 – MetroWest Daily News

Weymouth council upholds moratorium on new billboards – Patriot Ledger


Investigators already have Trump’s tax records, as outgoing president faces losing legal protections – Fortune

‘A total failure:’ Proud Boys now mock Trump – New York Times

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