Happening Today

Business re-openings, SCJ hearings, and more

— With coronavirus cases declining, the state today shifts to the next reopening phase that will allow many businesses to partially open for the first time in months and others to operate with larger capacity restrictions. 

Supreme Judicial Court meets with five cases on its docket, 9 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker holds a private conference call with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, Speaker Ron Mariano and other legislative leaders 2 p.m.

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— A coalition of residents and local officials rally in opposition to a planned 3.6 million square-foot Amazon distribution center in North Andover, with Rep. Tram Nguyen, Chris Brennan of Merrimack Valley Construction and Building Trades Council, Tom Mari of Teamsters Local 25 and Steve Tolman of the AFL-CIO among those planning to attend, North Andover, 3 p.m.

— Political science professor Danielle Allen, who is exploring a run for governor in 2022, holds a listening session for residents of Cape Cod, 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: 52 new deaths, 15,796 total deaths, 1,428 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Today’s business re-openings: ‘Charlie, you’re making a big mistake’

Mayor Marty Walsh is balking at the Baker’s administration’s decision to further loosen pandemic business restrictions, opting instead to delay some of the Covid-related reopenings outlined by the state, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan. In other words, the city is erring on the side of caution, despite falling coronavirus-case numbers.

Many public health officials say Gov. Charlie Baker should have also been more cautious before announcing the next phase of re-openings, reports the Globe’s John Hilliard and Lucas Phillips. “I’d say, ‘Charlie, you’re making a big mistake,’” says Dr. Robert Horsburgh, a Boston University professor of epidemiology. Needless to say, many business owners are pumped about the loosening of rules, reports the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and Lisa Kashinsky.

‘Whiplash’: Local health boards scramble after latest administration pivot

The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports that local board of health officials are suffering from a bad case of policy whiplash, after being included, then excluded, and then re-included in the state’s vaccine distribution plan – with the latest emphasis now on new “regional collaboratives.” 

Boston Herald

Finally: Cape Cod to get its own mass-vaccination site

They’ve urged, demanded and lobbied for one – and now they’re finally going get one. I.e. a mass-vaccination site on Cape Cod, specifically focused on getting shots into the arms of the elderly, reports Cynthia McCormick at the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

‘Supply-side vaxonomics’: Dems aren’t impressed with Baker’s rollout explanations

Four days after last week’s legislative COVID-19 oversight hearing, they’re still talking about Gov. Charlie Baker’s explanations/excuses for the state’s “lumpy and bumpy” vaccine rollout, also known as “supply-side vaxonomics,” as SHNS’s Matt Murphy calls it.

Meanwhile, WBUR’s Angus Chen has three takeaways on last week’s hearing. And Zoe Matthews at GBH reports on Attorney General Maura Healey’s latest criticisms of the rollout.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Federal coronavirus relief package: $8.2B headed our way

The Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports on the U.S. House’s approval of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package cobbled together by the Biden administration and Congressional Dems – and how the Bay State is in line to nab $8.2 billion if the package is approved in the Senate.

Turco’s shot: Was it justified?

The Globe’s Matt Stout reports that Thomas A. Turco, Gov. Charlie Baker’s public safety director, was officially designated as a “first-line responder” and therefore got an early COVID-19 inoculation. Some are grumbling at the move, but not grumbling too much. He is in charge of first-line responders, after all.

Boston Globe

Take a bow, Beth Israel Deaconess

WCVB’s Peter Eliopoulos reports on the FDA’s approval over the weekend of a third coronavirus vaccine, this one by Johnson & Johnson, and, of course, there’s a Massachusetts life-science research angle.

WCVB

Think our vaccine rollout is bad? The E.U. barely has a rollout

No matter how bad the vaccine rollout gets here and elsewhere across the nation, we can always take comfort in knowing we’re not a member of the European Union. The NYT has an excellent piece explaining how the E.U. blew it when it came to advance purchases of vaccines – and how it’s now every-country-for-itself in the alleged union.

NYT

Relentless: Bogus unemployment claims hit $19 billion (and counting)

To put it into perspective, it’s as if bandits attempted dozens of Great Brinks Robbery heists each and every day over the past year. The Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance says it has now snuffed out more than $19 billion worth of attempted fraudulent unemployment claims in the past year, but continues to see organized efforts to defraud the system, Christian Wade of the Eagle-Tribune reports.  

Eagle Tribune

The race for DeLeo’s seat: It’s all over the ideological map (sort of)

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan and the Globe’s Emma Platoff reeport on the crowded special-election race for former House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s 19th Suffolk seat, in what’s turned out to be a surprisingly diverse field of candidates and a Dem primary that’s attracted the attention of national political players. The Globe’s Marcela Garcia has a favorite candidate.

Us too: Holyoke to ask lawmakers to nix special mayoral election

If it’s good enough for Boston … Just hours after Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse officially accepted the job of Provincetown city manager, the city council he is leaving behind started the process of seeking a home-rule petition from the state legislature to allow it, like Boston, to skip a charter-mandated special election to fill Morse’s seat, Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Battle over exam school admissions: The white and Asian backlash

It’s about race. It’s about education. It’s Boston. It never ends. Universal Hub reports that a group of white and Asian parents are suing the Boston Public Schools over new exam-school admission policies, saying they discriminate against whites and Asians. Of course, others counter that the new policies were instituted to end discrimination against Blacks and Latinos, as the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi reports.

The Globe’s Adrian Walker has more on the decades-old battle over education and equity in Boston. Meanwhile, not much in education is going to improve as long as this is a reality, via the Globe’s Naomi Martin: “40 percent of Boston high school juniors and seniors are chronically absent, raising concerns about their futures.” It’s an incredible number. 

Universal Hub

Bi-partisanship is not dead: Massachusetts Republican chosen as next OCPF chief

This is interesting. After a long and sometimes contentious search for a new director of the Office of Campaign and Political Finance, a search panel has selected Woburn City Clerk William Campbell, who ran as a Republican against Secretary of State Bill Galvin, a Democrat, in 2010. And it was Galvin, a member of the search committee, who moved to offer the job to Campbell, reports SHNS’s Colin Young.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Worse than Archie Bunker’: Lowell School Committee member resigns after using anti-Semitic slur

Lowell School Committee member Robert Hoey has resigned, or plans to resign (it’s not quite clear), after recently using an anti-Semitic slur on a live cable TV show, reports Amy Sokolow at the Lowell Sun. As awful as the slur was to hear on live TV, we have to admit Hoey’s apology and shame seem genuine, even as he brought up the N-word to explain why he used the K-word, as Universal Hub reports.

Lowell Sun

The f-word: Police tell angry neighbors expletive-laden Trump sign break no laws

Speaking of word-usage controversies, Michael Cronin at the Gloucester Times reports a group of Rockport residents are fired up over a pro-Trump sign display that now includes one bearing the f-word. But local police say the signage is protected by the First Amendment and local politicians are so far steering well clear of the controversy.  

Gloucester Times

Flack attack: Should taxpayers foot bill for South Shore towns’ PR firm of choice?

“They should be embarrassed.” That’s the reaction of one journalism professor to news that more than a dozen South Shore cities, towns and school districts are spending thousands of dollar each year to outsource their media relations to a local PR firm. Wheeler Cowperthwaite and Joe Difazio at the Patriot Ledger report 14 entities have paid out nearly $400,000 to John Guilfoil Public Relations since 2018.

Patriot Ledger

Setting the bar? Bay State’s facial recognition law seen as national model

For now, at least, it’s the gold standard. Kashmir Hill at the New York Times reports on how the facial recognition technology guardrails contained in the Massachusetts police reform legislation that takes effect in July could become a national model because it manages to balance the demands of law enforcement and civil libertarians. 

NYT

Trucking company leaders indicted over horrific N.H. motorcyclists crash

The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi reports that a federal grand jury has indicted the leaders of a Massachusetts trucking company that employed the allegedly sober-challenged Volodmyr Zhukovskvy, who’s accused of plowing into a New Hampshire motorcyclist procession, killing seven and sparking a huge uproar over motorist-violation recordkeeping at the RMV.

Boston Globe

An Evening with Kazuo Ishiguro

In his first global in-conversation event, Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro will talk about his much anticipated new novel, Klara and the Sun.

The Guardian Live

The Woman’s Era Club: A Story of Black Women’s Activism

In 1893, a group of Boston women founded the Woman’s Era Club, one of the first women’s clubs in the country led by African American women. In this talk, Student Conservation Association Public History Intern Katie Woods will explore the stories of several women behind this little-known yet influential club and publication.

Boston Public Library

Housing: The Only Thing to Really End Homelessness, A Virtual Discussion with Special Guest Dr. Sam Tsemberis

Ultimately, only one thing ends homelessness . . . housing! Join MHSA and our member agencies and supporters for a lively virtual discussion with Dr. Sam Tsemberis, CEO of the Pathways Housing First Institute. The discussion will focus on national and international strategies around the implementation of housing to end homelessness.

Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance

Annie McKay and the Untold Story of Boston Public School Nurses

Join author Dorothy M. Keeney to hear the story of Annie McKay, Boston’s first school nurse, and the early Boston school nurses prior to their becoming the professionals that we know today. Explore how they managed the 1917-1919 Spanish flu, contagious diseases such as diphtheria, scarlet fever, and many polio epidemics that occurred during the 20th century.

Boston Public Library

The Mapping Inequality Project

The Mapping Inequality Project created a foundational resource for unprecedented research, education, organizing and policy advocacy on redlining and current environmental challenges. It provides publicly accessible digitized versions of redlining maps for about 200 cities.

EPA Office of Environmental Justice

MIT Sloan FinTech Conference 2021

The 7th annual FinTech Conference is a student run event that brings together over 1,000 leaders, companies, and students dedicated to transforming and innovating the FinTech space across the globe. Join us in understanding what this critical juncture means for FinTech’s trajectory over the next 10 years.

MIT FinTech Conference

Dr. Esther Choo – Racism as a Public Health Crisis – Lowell Lecture

The Boston Public Library welcomes physician and popular health and science communicator Dr. Esther Choo for an online conversation moderated by BPL President David Leonard. This program, presented in partnership with GBH Forum Network, is part of both the Lowell Lecture Series sponsored by the Lowell Institute and the BPL’s Repairing America Series.

Boston Public Library

Heroes Breakfast

Honoring the Heroes Among Us. Join us and become part of this history making event. Help us honor these unsung leaders who exemplify the humanity and volunteer service of the American Red Cross. The Heroes Breakfast will be a marquee gathering in Boston for years to come. The momentous virtual launch of this event will take place on the one-year anniversary of the Coronavirus pandemic. If there were ever a time to honor heroes, this is it.

American Red Cross

The Biden-Harris Administration: International Policy

Join the McCormack Graduate School for the third of three panel discussions that explores the implications of the Biden-Harris Administration: International Policy.

UMass Boston: McCormack Graduate School

The South End Then and Now: See your neighborhood with new eyes.

With Michael Cox, historian, artist and tour guide, we will walk the Silver Line bus route along Washington St. from Massachusetts Ave to Berkeley St., stopping at every SL bus stop to learn what was above and below ground right there when the EL carried riders to Nubian Square. We’ll check out the South End Burying Ground and many other great sites.

Boston Public Library

Be an Agent of Change: Achieve Health Justice

Join A Faith That Does Justice and Healthcare for All for a conversation about the actions you can take as an individual to work towards justice, equity, and inclusion in health care.

A Faith That Does Justice

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Ayanna Pressley to ‘keep pushing’ Biden administration for $15 minimum wage, more pandemic relief – Boston Herald

New investor reportedly is ready to buy into Fenway Sports Group – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

Contact tracing collaborative laying off 170 – CommonWealth Magazine

Former Easthampton High students settle racial lawsuit against school and city – MassLive

Civil trials to resume in Pittsfield after nearly year absence – Berkshire Eagle

Nation

Virginia joins 15 other states in legalizing marijuana – Politico

The five Trump amendments to the Constitution – The Atlantic

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