Happening Today

Local unemployment numbers, Baker at Municipal Association

— Labor officials today release the monthly state-level unemployment rate and jobs figures for December. 

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association hosts a virtual forum discussion on affordable housing goals under the incoming Biden administration, with panel speakers including MassHousing executive director Chrystal Kornegay, Beacon Communities LLC CEO Dara Kovel and Massachusetts Housing Partnership executive director Clark Ziegler, 10 a.m.

— The Boston Foundation and Tufts University‘s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement host a virtual forum discussion on improving civic engagement and preparing young people to participate in democracy, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker speaks during the business session of the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting, 1 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: 75 new deaths, 13,622 total deaths, 4,821 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Night moves: Baker lifts curfews on restaurants and other businesses

Citing slowly improving coronavirus case numbers and the rollout of vaccination programs, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday announced the state is lifting, starting next week, nightly curfews on restaurants and other businesses and the stay-at-home advisory for everyone else. But capacity limits within establishments remain. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan, MassLive’s Steph Solis and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the details.

But will the city of Boston budge on its local business restrictions? The Globe’s Shirley Leung has the brutal stats on how bad it’s been for local eateries and other firms. And it’s way too late to help one local restaurant, reports Adrian Ma at WBUR.

The encouraging numbers – locally and nationally

Some of the data that Gov. Baker is basing his pandemic decisions on these days? The number of ‘high risk’ virus communities in Massachusetts dropped to 222 last week, down from 229, reports the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and MassLive’s Tanner Stening. It’s not a big decline, but it’s a decline.

Then there’s this, also from MassLive’s Tanner Stening: “Massachusetts saw 27% drop in new COVID cases last week.”  And, nationally, from NPR at WBUR: “Current, Deadly U.S. Coronavirus Surge Has Peaked, Researchers Say.” 

Phase 1 nearly complete. Next up: Phase 2

Phase 1 of the state’s vaccination program is nearing an end with yesterday’s announcement that all remaining state health-care workers – including dentists and home health/hospice workers etc. – can now get COVID-19 shots, report the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall).

And Gov. Charlie Baker indicated yesterday he’ll be making an announcement next week on when Phase 2 vaccinations will start. Hopefully, they’re prepared. From CBS Boston: “NH Expects ‘Unprecedented’ Volume Friday As Residents 65 And Older Can Register For COVID Vaccine.”

‘Contractor unplugs freezer and there goes 1,900 doses of Covid-19 vaccine at the Jamaica Plain VA hospital’

It really happened, just as Universal Hub’s headline says. CBS Boston has the details of the apparent major debacle in Jamaica Plain.

Convicted ID thief and ex-state unemployment insurance worker accused of … filing fraudulent jobless claims

Gee, you couldn’t have seen this one coming. MassLive’s Michael Bonner reports on the arrest of a husband-wife team accused of submitting fraudulent unemployment assistance claims – claims that were apparently filed after she was convicted of aggravated identity theft, released from prison and landed a job at the state’s unemployment insurance office.


Coronavirus updates: Walsh gets vaccinated, Holyoke Home’s ‘complete collapse,’ DCU charges rent

We’re going with quick summaries and headlines in this post, starting with CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas: “Walsh gets COVID-19 vaccine as cabinet nominee.” … From MassLive: “302 Massachusetts schools and districts have expressed interest in weekly pooled COVID testing program.” … From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “Staff Study Was Underway Before ‘Complete Collapse’ at Holyoke Home.” … From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Boston University rejects calls for only online classes amid raging coronavirus pandemic.” … From the BBJ: “UMass launches student volunteer ‘vaccine corps.’” … And we’ll bet UMass doesn’t like this, via the Telegram: “DCU Center to start charging UMass rent for field hospital.”

Pollack leaving state government for Biden transportation post

We assume she’s leaving with a gubernatorial transportation wish-list in hand. CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl and MassLive’s Michelle Williams report that state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack is headed to D.C. for a top post at the now Biden-controlled Federal Highway Administration.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Pollack’s departure is “incredibly bittersweet.” The bitter part is her leaving. The sweet part is she’s leaving for Washington, where she might be able to help the state with certain money matters, as SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Michael P. Norton report (pay wall).

Reeling him in: Buttigieg accepts Markey’s invitation to visit Cape bridges awaiting replacement

Speaking of the state’s long transportation wish list, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is trying to reel one in for the hometown team. During a confirmation hearing, soon-to-be U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg accepted an invitation from Markey to visit the Cape Cod bridges that are awaiting federal replacement approvals – replacements that might, just might, need lots of federal funding. Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times has more.

Cape Cod Times

Pleasant surprise: General local aid would rise by nearly $40M in Baker budget

Remember the dire pandemic-era warnings of falling state revenues and thus falling state local aid? Never mind. General local aid next fiscal year would rise by $39.5 million under the Baker administration’s proposed state budget, thanks to better-than-expected tax collections, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy. 

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Judge to accused U.S. Capitol rioter: Stay away from State House

Mark Sahady, the ‘Straight Pride Parade’ organizer charged with playing a role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, has been released from jail with a number of restrictions, among them: Stay away from the Massachusetts State House. WCVB has more.


Globe launches its own version of ‘right to forget’ scrubbing of names in archived stories

This is interesting. Saying it’s part of the newspaper’s broader effort to rethink its criminal justice coverage, the Globe has announced a new ‘Fresh Start’ initiative that will allow people to apply to have archived stories reviewed for possible exclusion of their names if those references have lasting negative impacts on their lives, i.e. mentions of minor crimes, past mistakes etc. 

It’s similar to “right to forget” programs launched elsewhere, the Globe’s Zoe Greenberg reports. Here’s a Globe FAQ review of the program.

Boston Globe

Cabral: Rollins’ road-rage incident will indeed hurt her U.S. attorney chances

Speaking of forgetting, Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins probably wishes at least one controversy would be forgotten. Andrea Cabral, the former Massachusetts secretary of public safety, says a recent road-rage allegation against Rollins certainly won’t help her prospects of becoming the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts. GBH’s Zoe Matthews has more.


Is it a racket or not? SJC takes up local control of marijuana licensing

The Supreme Judicial Court next month will hear a case over the thorny issue of how far local governments can and can’t go when it comes to negotiating “host community agreements” with pot companies. Some have described the licensing process as nothing more than a legal shakedown of companies. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has more.


In Wenham, lone selectman working on special election to replace colleagues

The only remaining member of the Wenham select board is working toward calling a special election after the board’s two other members abruptly resigned, Julie Manganis at the Salem News reports. Selectman Gary Cheeseman also indicated he’ll hold the board’s next meeting as planned even though no votes can be taken. 

Salem News

Credit rating agency: Mass. jobless picture worse than it appears

Fitch Ratings isn’t very impressed with the state’s economic recovery, saying its unemployment rate is actually much higher than 6.7 percent if you were to count those who have simply given up looking for work in Massachusetts, reports SHNS’s Colin Young.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Trump bump’: UMass among nation’s fastest-growing law schools

The University of Massachusetts School of Law and New England Law Boston are among the nation’s elite law schools when it comes to enrollment increases since 2017, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan. Attribute the bump to the ‘Trump bump.’ Ryan explains.


Sunday public affairs TV: Mark Leibovich, Karen Spilka and Rev. Liz Walker

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Mark Leibovich, national correspondent for New York Times Magazine, who talks with host Jon Keller about the turnover of power in Washington and how it will and won’t affect the status quo.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. CIC Health founder and CEO Tim Rowe discusses COVID-19 testing and vaccinations; King Boston executive director Imari Paris Jeffries on the potential social justice impact of the new Biden/Harris administration; and the Globe’s Shirley Leung reviews the top local business stories of the week .

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate President Karen Spilka, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable political discussion with analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Vaccines, featuring the Rev. Liz Walker, a member of the Governor’s Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, and Dr. Adolpho Cuevas, assistant professor of community health and director of the Psychosocial Determinants of Health Lab at Tufts University, among others.

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


Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience

This seminar will be given by Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts, speaking on her book, “Race, Work, and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience”. It is part of Mossavar-Rahamani Center for Business and Government’s webinar series, Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School

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

Art & Culture in Public Life Symposium

The Arts & Culture in Public Life Symposium is hosted by the Arts & Culture in Public Life Caucus, a student organization of Harvard Business School. The event will bring together high profile art leaders and policy makers to discuss the potential of the arts to create meaningful change in the world. Moderator is Ping Wang, MPA 2021

Harvard Kennedy School

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


Pressley calls for better coordination in getting vaccine shots to city neighborhoods – Dorchester Reporter

Developer eyes another million square feet of labs, offices, and apartments for Harvard project – Boston Globe


Two Pittsfield councilors opt out of next election after decade – Berkshire Eagle

Legal opinion: Sue Ianni must be removed from Natick Town Meeting if convicted and incarcerated – MetroWest Daily News

Middlesex Community College faces drop in enrollment due to pandemic – Lowell Sun


Trump starts taking second impeachment seriously – Politico

Rep. Marjorie Greene files articles of impeachment against Biden – The Hill

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