Happening Today

Fenway Park vaccination site and more

— Department of Revenue’s Tax Expenditure Review Commission is expected to meet via video conference to possibly vote on suggested tax expenditure evaluation ratings, with members including DOR Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and legislative budget writers, 10 a.m.

— Boston mayoral candidate and city councilor Michelle Wu holds virtual press conference for Boston reporters to discuss neighborhood issues, 10 a.m.

Fenway Park hosts a media tour of the stadium’s new mass vaccination facilities under the operation of CIC Health, 2 p.m.

— MASSCAP and community action agencies hold kickoff event for Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for low-income families, with participants including U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, state Sen. Joanne Comerford, Rep. Natalie Blais and others, 10:30 a.m.

— Today is the deadline to submit public comment to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on emergency amendments to regulations dealing with student learning time.

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.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

The coronavirus numbers: 43 new deaths, 14,056 total deaths, 4,222 new cases

WCVB has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

‘Maze of links’: Baker sets up call center as criticism mounts over vaccination sign-up rollout

Gov. Charlie Baker’s rough week went from bad to worse yesterday amid mounting criticism, much of it coming from Beacon Hill lawmakers, over his administration’s rollout of an online vaccination-registration program in Massachusetts. Acknowledging the frustrations, the governor announced the state is setting up a new call-center to help people, mostly seniors, sign up for vaccine shots.

But … let’s just go with some sample headlines from around the state, starting with SHNS (pay wall): “Vaccine appointment site knocked as ‘maze of links.’ … From MetroWest Daily News: “‘Mind boggling’ process: Local seniors frustrated over vaccine sign-up.” … From the Enterprise: “Brockton, Taunton lawmakers call for more COVID 19 sites.” … From the Cape Cod Times: “Vaccine Chaos: Falmouth clinic fills up ahead of state’s online booking tool.” … From former Worcester Mayor Raymond Mariano, via the Telegram: “Massachusetts’ inadequate vaccine rollout has been a Titanic shipwreck.” … From MassLive: “Western Mass. to get 3,000 more COVID vaccine doses per week as legislators demand ‘fair share.’” 

Healey: What we have here is a failure to communicate

Count Attorney General Maura Healey among those who think the state’s vaccination registration process is “way more complicated than it needs to be” and she suggests the Baker administration needs a new priorities-list communications strategy. Zoe Matthews at GBH has more. And let it be know we made no specific mention of 2022.


Communities: How are we supposed to give vaccine shots if there are no vaccine shots?

Forget the convoluted vaccination registration process. Massachusetts communities are sounding the warning bells that they’re nowhere near ready to start giving actual shots, largely because they have no vaccine dosages to give shots. The Globe’s Hanna Krueger has more.

Boston Globe

Don’t make those summer plans quite yet …

Even if the state gets its vaccination act together soon, it may take a while longer than expected to get everyone inoculated across the state and country. We’re talking about late summer, folks. The reason: Lack of vaccine dosages. The Globe’s Robert Weisman and Jonathan Saltzman have more. The report by the Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo isn’t quite as dire, but summer still looks in peril.

Lori Trahan tests positive for COVID-19, the state’s first Congressional member to get infected

From the Herald’s Erin Tiernan: “U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan is self-quarantining after she tested positive for the coronavirus, making her the first member of the Massachusetts delegations to be officially diagnosed with the highly infectious virus. … Trahan said so far she is asymptomatic.”

Boston Herald

So who’s been vaccinated so far? Here are the numbers

The Globe has a lot of interesting stats on who and how many people have already received vaccine shots in Massachusetts. Note the number of people who have already gotten second shots. Makes us wonder: Are some of the dosages now sitting unused in freezers earmarked for second shots? And is that what the state wants?

Oh, great: Three virus variants are ‘probably’ already in Massachusetts

First, the encouraging news about the pandemic: The number of communities listed as ‘high risk’ for COVID-19 in Massachusetts continues to fall, reports MassLive’s Tanner Stening. Now the bad news: The three new coronavirus variants, including the much feared South African variant, are “probably” already in Massachusetts, according to a John Hopkins expert, reports the Herald’s Rick Sobey.

Massport lays off 200 as airline industry remains mostly grounded

The BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that the Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs Logan International Airport, is laying off about 200 employees as it attempts to cut its overall payroll count by 25 percent. It appears those $20,000 one-time lump sum payments to encourage employees to retire didn’t work so well, so out came the axe.


Impressive: State’s GDP rose by a hefty 7.9 percent last quarter

The airline industry — and thus Massport — may be among those still suffering from the pandemic-caused economic downturn. But the state’s overall economy seems to be recovering quickly, expanding last quarter at twice the pace of the nation’s economy, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan and SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall).

Take Two: Lawmakers send climate bill back to amendment-ready Baker

As expected, the Democratic-controlled Legislature yesterday approved a new climate-change bill, the same version of which Republican Gov. Charlie Baker previously vetoed. Though the legislation was passed by veto-proof majorities, Baker can still put lawmakers on the spot with suggested amendment changes to specific provisions in the bill, so the battle isn’t over. SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Sam Doran and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have more.

Too much Crimson? Harvard paper says White House overrun by too many alums

Too much Cambridge? Ten members of President Biden’s new cabinet and 53 other top advisers hold Harvard degrees — and that’s too many. Who says? The Harvard Crimson, which in an editorial decries the concentration of Ivy League degrees in the West Wing. 

Harvard Crimson

Welcome back: Fall River Capitol rioter’s store hit with fines from city and state

The owner of a Fall River grocery store, who posted videos of himself storming the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, has been hit with local and state fines for failing to comply with Covid restrictions at his grocery store, Jo C. Goode of the Herald-News reports.

Herald News

BPD’s Bill Gross suddenly retires, says he won’t run for mayor

Well, there goes our initial dubious conjecture that he’d make a formidable mayoral candidate. Boston Police Commissioner Bill Gross abruptly announced yesterday that he’s retiring, effective today, and that he won’t be running for mayor. He says the timing of his resignation is tied to Mayor Marty Walsh’s planned departure for D.C., as a three-reporter team at the Globe reports. The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter and Lisa Kashinsky have more on the unexpected move.

But WBZ’s Jon Keller speculates Gross may have seen the writing on the wall about his own future at the BPD – and he got out before he was shoved out by a new mayor, whether it be an interim mayor or permanent mayor. 

Jumping in: Swampscott select board wants charges tossed against counter-protester

Two members of the Swampscott Select Board are calling for the Essex County DA to drop all charges against a man accused of assaulting an elderly Trump supporter at one of the many protests the community saw this past fall, usually outside Gov. Charlie Baker’s home, Guthrie Scrimgeour of the Lynn Item reports. Officials say failing to drop the charges would “further compromise the public’s confidence in our legal system.”

Lynn Item

House delays rules debate amid demands for more transparency on Beacon Hill

Here’s one way to handle demands for change: Kick the can down the road. SHNS’s Matt Murphy and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report that the House has delayed a debate on parliamentary rule changes that advocates say are needed to make Beacon Hill proceedings more transparent. Speaker Ron Mariano says the delay will give lawmakers time to explore changes .

Wild turkeys: ‘Don’t let them intimidate you’

We got a kick out of this story by MassLive’s Heather Morrison in which police tell the good citizens of the commonwealth not to let territorial wild turkeys intimidate you. On the other hand, avoid them when you can, officials add.


Another pot plaintiff backs off

The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett reports that another lawsuit challenging pot delivery rules – this time delivery rules in Cambridge – has been dropped amid pushback from those trying to make the cannabis industry more racially inclusive.


Details, details: Reading the fine print in Worcester’s contract with Red Sox

Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal goes deep into the weeds of the city’s contract with the Worcester Red Sox and finds some nuggets: Free tickets for all Worcester school students, a less-strict deadline to deliver the stadium and the requirement that the stadium host 55 events every year in addition to the 70 home ballgames. 

Worcester Business Journal

Sunday public affairs TV: Bruce Tarr, Charles Anderson, Katherine Clark

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Senate Minority leader Bruce Tarr, who talks with host Jon Keller about Baker’s State of the CommonWealth speech, the vaccination rollout, coastal erosion issues and future of the GOP.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Charles Anderson MD, chief executive of the Dimock Center, talks about the COVID vaccine rollout and the challenges in the Black and brown community; Gabrielle Clemens, a private wealth manager, shares advice on financial planning and socially responsible giving; Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks reviews the top local business stories of the week.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, who talks with host 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 topic: Education Matters: Beyond the Classroom.

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

Defense Project Series: The Future of U.S. Forces in Europe

Come join us to hear LtGen (Ret) Ben Hodges discuss the benefits of U.S. Forces remaining in Europe, his insights on the NATO alliance and the value of the U.S. and allies keeping forward presence with troops in the Baltics and Black Sea region.

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

McCormack Graduate School Racial Equity Task Force (MRET): Racial Justice and Defunding the Police in Massachusetts – Planning for POST: Peace, Officers, Standards for Training Bill

Join the McCormack Graduate School Racial Equity Taskforce (MRET) for a conversation with MA State Representative Nika Elugardo. Find out more about MRET here: https://mccormack.umb.edu/special-projects/mccormack-racial-equity-task-force-mret

UMass Boston: McCormack Graduate School

Safe Harbor: Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad

During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Did you know that many of the fugitives escaping from enslavement came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports? This program explores the untold stories of men and women making daring escapes to freedom through Boston Harbor.

Boston Public Library

Today’s Headlines


At least for now, Fenway is the people’s park – Boston Magazine

Walsh leads city’s annual homeless census – Boston Globe


Worcester Covid numbers down for third straight week – Telegram & Gazette

Bill inspired by case of Plainville’s Michelle Carter refiled on Beacon Hill – Sun Chronicle

State regulators expect casino crowds to return with 24-hour operations – MassLive


Democrats Prepare to Move on Economic Aid, With or Without the G.O.P. – New York Times

The GOP has a growing Marjorie Taylor Greene problem – The Hill

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