Happening Today

Baker and Clark at chambers, and more

Newton-Needham Regional Chamber hosts U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark for a virtual conversation on her experience in politics and her path to serving as the fourth highest ranking member in the U.S. Hous, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker offers his annual address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce membership, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Ed Markey visits the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home to thank health care workers, 12:30 p.m.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate hosts the second ‘Stone Social Impact Forum’ featuring Catherine Coleman Flowers, founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, with Rolling Stone contributing editor Jeff Goodell moderating, 6:30 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: 55 new deaths, 15,312 total deaths, 1,322 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Ready or not: Residents 65 and older can now register for vaccines

It’s going to be the pandemic equivalent of the Oklahoma land rush. The Baker administration announced yesterday that people 65 and older, as well as those with specific medical conditions, can now register to get available appointments for COVID-19 vaccine shots, starting today. We’re talking an estimated one million people or very like more – and it could take a long time to get through this latest vaccine rollout phase. WBUR’s Martha Bebinger, SHNS’s Katie Lannan and MassLive’s Tanner Stening have more on the big news.

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that, yes, asthma sufferers have been added to the list of medical preconditions that entitle people under the age of 65 to get shots early.

‘Honor System’ will be used to prove medical conditions for COVID shots

No doctor’s note will be needed. Instead, the state is relying on the old-fashioned ‘honor system’ when it comes to younger people who claim they have two medical conditions that qualify them for getting early vaccine shots, Gov. Charlie Baker said yesterday. CBS Boston has more.

CBS Boston

Time for a vaccine equity czar?

SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk and the Herald’s Alexi Cohan report that a new coalition of civil rights, social justice and medical organizations are harshly criticizing the state’s vaccine rollout in hard-hit communities of color – and they’re demanding changes. Among the demands: A new vaccine equity czar.

Geographic fault lines: Cape, Western Mass. and Merrimack Valley plead for more vaccines

Intrastate civil war isn’t about to break out. But there does appear to be growing geographic-based competition and clamor for more vaccines. Some of the stories to make the point, starting with MassLive: “Cape Cod officials urge state to increase COVID vaccine doses.” But from SHNS (pay wall): “Under fire, Baker says Cape vaccine collaborative ‘performing well.’” From the Globe: “Merrimack Valley health officials criticize state’s move toward large, regional COVID-19 vaccine clinics.”

MassLive reports U.S. Rep. Richard Neal is pressing Baker to help Western Mass. And from the Sun Chronicle: “Attleboro officials angry over governor’s latest plan to distribute vaccines.”

Lawmakers to Baker: Time to answer some questions

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski and Michael P. Norton and CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt report that Beacon Hill lawmakers are gearing up for a legislative oversight hearing on the Baker administration’s handling of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and other pandemic matters. Put it this way: They aren’t happy with what they’re seeing.

Nursing-homes update: The vaccine rollout is working and saving lives

What’s this? Good news on the vaccine front to report? Yep. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “The virus death rate and case counts at nursing homes have significantly declined, a ‘very encouraging’ trend that shows the vax working for the high-risk group that received it first, doctors tell the Herald.”

Boston Herald

Holocaust survivor: ‘Life is a gift. Even when it’s poorly wrapped’

Don’t be too discouraged about the rollout. Read the above item if you haven’t already. Then read this piece by Shira Stoll at NBC Boston on local Holocaust survivors who have gotten vaccine shots, one of whom says: “Life is a gift, even if it’s poorly wrapped. It is a gift.” And it is.

NBC Boston

Tufts report: State can’t put off UI-funding action for much longer

Sooner or later – and preferably sooner – the state is going to have to tackle the huge multibillion-dollar deficit facing its pandemic-ravaged unemployed-insurance fund. And that means raising the unemployment tax rate, according to the head of Tufts University’s Center for Policy Analysis. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Warren on student-loan debt relief: ‘Send a note to President Biden’

The Washington Post reports on a growing rift between President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren et friends over Biden’s rejection of a proposal to cancel up to $50,000 in debt held by federal student loan borrowers. Warren’s response last night at a local town hall meeting, via Benjamin Kail at MassLIve: ‘Send a note to President Biden.”


Impressive: Downing raises $100K in one week after declaring he’s running for governor

Benjamin Downing, the former state senator, solar energy executive and apparent progressive darling of the week, raised $100,000 in his first week since launching his campaign for governor, reports SHNS Matt Murphy (pay wall).

The Globe’s Yvonne Abraham is impressed with Downing’s early campaign-trail words and performance – and she senses political blood in the water. Charlie Baker’s political blood, so to speak.

Former-FBI agent Connolly to be taken care of by ex-convention center chief after release from prison

This is interesting. John ‘Zip’ Connolly, the disgraced ex-FBI agent serving time for his grisly ties to gangster and convicted mass-murderer Whitey Bulger, has won release from prison on medical grounds – and Francis “Franny” Joyce, the former “lifetime” convention center boss and Bulger family pal, says he will be taking care of the terminally ill Connolly and paying all his medical bills, reports the Herald’s Joe Dwinell. Joyce earns $82,598 a year in pension from Massachusetts, Dwinell reports.

Boston Herald

SJC to Cambridge in eminent domain case: Pay the land owner, pronto

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin reports that the state’s high court has ruled that the city of Cambridge must pay the owner of land taken away by eminent domain even as he legally fights to get the property back. Sounds fair to us. If the city has taken control of the land, it’s taken control.

Universal Hub

‘Blue flu’? Worcester investigating whether cops coordinated sick-out as protest

Were they sending a message? Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus says the city is actively investigating whether as many as 15 police officers staged a coordinated ‘sick-out’ to protest another officer’s suspension, Steven H. Foskett Jr. at the Telegram reports.


Everett mayor vs councilor, Round 2: DeMaria strikes back

Everett Councilor-at-Large Gerly Adrien had her say the other day on GBH. And now Mayor Carlo DeMaria has his say in the ongoing feud between the two over whether DeMaria has treated Adrien, a Black woman, unfairly in the past. GBH’s Aiden Connelly the mayor’s counter blast.


Big-bucks bills: $10B climate legislation and early-ed proposal to get legislative reviews

The indispensable State House News Service has two stories this morning regarding two big-bucks proposals now on Beacon Hill. First, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall): “$10 Billion Bill Offered to Power Climate Legislation/Carbon Pricing Eyed to Drive Green Infrastructure.” And from SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall): “Revenue Chair Invites Early Education Funding Ideas.” The latter could cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

For sale: 4,000 butterflies, curator included

You won’t even  have to wing it. The owners of the Magic Wings butterfly conservatory in South Deerfield are actively seeking to sell the venue and its 4,000 domestic and exotic butterfly species and say their expert curator will stay on under new owners, Mary Byrne at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

New women’s prison: To build or not to build?

The state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance is pushing ahead with preliminary plans to build a new women’s prison in Norfolk despite objections from prisoners and advocates, reports Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth.


‘Roaring Kitty’ hit with class-action lawsuit

The Bay State’s Keith Gill, aka ‘Roaring Kitty,’ is not only scheduled to get grilled today by members of Congress over his role in the GameStop trading caper (Globe), he’s also now facing a class-action lawsuit that charges him with trying to manipulate the market for personal gain (Bloomberg at Globe).

‘Wait and see’: Taunton won’t press Tribe on $1 million owed for casino land

They’re cooling their heels. The city of Taunton says it will take a ‘wait and see’ approach to the more than $1 million it is owed by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe under an agreement tied to the tribe’s halted casino project, Susannah Sudborough at the Taunton Gazette reports. 

Taunton Gazette

Fighting words: Salem residents say no thanks to gun shop proposal

They’re up in arms. Salem residents have flooded the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals with letters opposing a planned gun shop — and at least two city councilors have expressed doubt about allowing the shop in what is largely a residential area, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports. 

Salem News

NASA’s Perserverance Rover Mars Landing

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover is nearing its new planetary home. The spacecraft has begun its approach to the Red Planet and on Feb. 18, 2021, Perseverance will blaze through Mars’ atmosphere at about 12,100 mph (19,500 kph), toughing down gently on the surface about seven minutes later.


Poet of the People: The Greatness of Langston Hughes

Join Brent Hayes Edwards, Director of the Schomburg Center’s Scholars-in-Residence Program and Rafia Zafar, Professor of African-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, for a conversation about Hughes’s greatness and about his centrality for American literature and the culture of the global African Diaspora. Featuring readings by poets Kevin Young and Tuehimba Jess.

Library of America

Stone Social Impact Forum featuring Catherine Coleman Flowers

Acclaimed environmental activist, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, and author Catherine Coleman Flowers, founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, will headline the virtual 2021 Stone Social Impact Forum.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Mother Tongue: The Philosophy of Malcolm X

Explore the influence of Malcolm X’s mother’s lessons of liberation and resistance and examine his philosophical system. Each year, the Schomburg Centers celebrates the life of Malcolm X during Black History Month, coinciding with the anniversary of his assassination on February 21, 1965.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 1: Zionism & The Civil Rights Movement (Joshua Washington)

]APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Zionism & The Civil Rights Movement (Joshua Washington).

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

One Health Approach for Infectious Disease Outbreaks

This virtual meeting from the National Academies’ Forum on Microbial Threats will examine ways to systemize and integrate the One Health Approach as part of outbreak prevention, detection, preparedness, and response efforts.

NASEM Health and Medicine

Cyber-Security and Fraud Protection with Financial Advisor Bradley Baskir

Join Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Bradley Baskir for this online webinar. This seminar discusses how cyber-crime occurs and how you can protect yourself both online and offline. A Zoom webinar link will be emailed to registrants the morning of the event.

Boston Public Library

How Will Brexit Be Remembered?

Join The Spectator’s political editor James Forsyth as he speaks to Robert Tombs, historian and author of This Sovereign Isle, about the historical context that led to Brexit and how the decision to leave will be remembered.

Spectator Events

Eradicating Systemic Racism in the Government’s Pandemic Response

The webinar is part of the Rothenberg Health Care Law & Policy Speaker Series. The event is free, but registration is required.

Law & Health Care Program at Maryland Carey Law

Virtual Author Talk with Anna Malaika Tubbs

Virtual author talk with Anna Malaika Tubbs, in conversation with L’Merchie Frazier, on Tubbs’s new book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation

The Boston Public Library, the Museum of African American History, American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the State Library of Massachusetts

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 2: Ancient Friendship: Africa & Israel (Olga Meshoe-Washington)

APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Ancient Friendship: Africa & Israel (Olga Meshoe-Washington)

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Webinar Series “Africa, Israel, and Their Descendants” Part 3: Combatting the Anti-Zionist Blaxploitation & How We Move Forward (Dumisani Washington)

APT is proud to co-sponsor an up-coming webinar series on the closely intertwined history of blacks and Jews. Combatting the Anti-Zionist Blaxploitation & How We Move Forward (Dumisani Washington)

Americans for Peace and Tolerance

Future of Health Care

How will the events and economic impact of 2020 shape what health care looks like in the future? Hear from top industry leaders regarding the changes brought on by the pandemic and who will share their views of the road ahead. What is the prognosis for this key piece of our economy? How is the delivery of care impacted? How will the cost structure change?

Boston Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Harvard Law Students Call on School to Refuse to Hire Former Trump Officials – Harvard Crimson

Architectural firm Sasaki offers three concepts for Copley Square’s redesign – Boston Globe


Some students to return to Amherst elementary schools next month – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Pittsfield bid to reform trash system tabled with plan to revisit in 2022 – Berkshire Eagle

Residents say they don’t want gun shop in Salem – Salem News


Pandemic cut U.S. life expectancy by a year during the first half of 2020 – Washington Post

Biden signals he’s flexible on immigration overhaul – New York Times

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