Happening Today

SJC hearings, Governor’s Council, housing law

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

Governor’s Council meets three times today, the first for hearing on the elevation of Michael Hogan to a lifetime clerk magistrate appointment at Lynn District Court, the second to interview James Murphy for a Newton District Court judgeship, and the third to possibly vote on the nomination of Sharon Frances Lalli for a Falmouth District Court judgeship, 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively.

— Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy and Chris Kluchman of the Department of Housing and Community Development provide an overview of the new housing production law, including implementation, available guidance, and what the law means for real estate development at a virtual webinar hosted by NAIOP Massachusetts, 9 a.m.

Metropolitan Area Planning Council meets, with staff presenting research on how the pandemic has influenced trends affecting the region’s workers, including wage polarization, unequal opportunity and industry shifts, 9:30 a.m.

— The Feed Kids Coalition, led by Project Bread, and bill sponsors Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Andy Vargas, hold a legislative briefing on universal school meals legislation that seeks to address childhood food insecurity in Massachusetts, 11 a.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: 37 new deaths, 15,859 total deaths, 980 new cases

CBS Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Turco claims victory over progressives in 19th Suffolk primary

GBH’s Tori Bedford and the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky report that Jeffrey Turco is claiming victory in yesterday’s special Dem primary election to fill former House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s legislative seat – and Turco is rubbing it in the faces of progressive rivals, proclaiming his win was a win for moderate Dems. Turco now face Republican Paul Caruccio and unenrolled candidate Richard Fucillo Jr. in the March 30 special election.

Biden, Spilka and unions apply the pressure to get teachers vaccinated ASAP

It’s now Charlie Baker versus Joe Biden, Karen Spilka and Massachusetts teacher unions. The Globe’s Emma Platoff and Felicia Gans, the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Erin Tiernan, and MassLive’s Melissa Hanson have more on the mounting pressure on the governor to get teachers vaccinated ASAP in Massachusetts.

Surprise: Two Massachusetts hospitals receive first J&J doses

We thought they wouldn’t be arriving until next week. Wrong. The first batch of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dosage COVID-19 vaccine arrived yesterday at Tufts Medical Center and Boston Medical Center, each getting 2,000 doses that will be administered starting today, reports NBC Boston.

And more good news on the vaccine-supply front, via the Gloucester Times: “Danvers manufacturer hiring 400 to help with Covid-19 vaccine.” Finally, we all know this is coming, but it’s still news, via the Herald: “Boston considering moving mass vaccination site out of Fenway.”

NBC Boston

Baker administration: Half of all state workforce may go hybrid telework permanently

If the state is thinking along these lines, what are private employers thinking? And what does it mean for office buildings across the state? CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg has more on Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan’s estimate that more than half of executive-branch employees may continue with some form of telework after the pandemic.


Lawmakers want a greater role in divvying up federal funds

SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports that lawmakers on Beacon Hill want more say moving forward on how billions of dollars in federal relief funds are allocated by the state. In other words, Gov. Baker’s emergency-powers days appear to be approaching an end.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

They just happened to have hundreds of leftover vaccines

The state either did a lousy job managing how many vaccines it would need to administer on given days – or this was deliberate. The Globe’s Matt Stout reports the state offered hundreds of civilians “leftover” vaccine shots originally intended for first-responders on three separate days in January and February.

They say all the shots went to people 75 and older. OK. But … but that’s a big miscalculation of how many vaccine bottles were needed. And it does seem to point to a broken vaccination system that we all know is riddled with old-fashioned insider-ism.

Boston Globe

Household PPE of choice: Home deliveries of alcohol have spiked 300 percent during the pandemic

We’re surprised it’s not higher. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski reports there’s been a 300 percent surge in home deliveries of beer, wine and liquor of all sorts during the pandemic, according to sales data from Treasurer Deb Goldberg’s office.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Another Dr. Seuss controversy: Six books dropped from publication over ‘hurtful’ images

Three years after a controversy over a mural at the Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield, another Dr. Seuss controversy has erupted over what many consider racially offensive images in his children’s books– and now six of his books that contain “hurtful and wrong” portrayals of people will no longer be published, the NYT and MassLive’s Michelle Williams report.

Massachusetts GOP to Mariano: Slow down on mail-in voting

They’re not quite embracing the Trump line that mail-in voting automatically equals corruption, but they’re certainly hinting mail-in voting equals corruption. MassLive’s Steph Solis and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report on state Republicans’ efforts to slow down Speaker Ron Mariano’s push to make mail-in voting permanent in Massachusetts.

Galvin: Give me the resources and I’ll give them census-count hell

Secretary of State William Galvin sounds like he’s getting pumped up for a take-no-prisoners challenge to the final U.S. Census population count, saying he has “grave concerns” about a possible/probable undercount in Massachusetts, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall). He’s also worried about a late count in general and wants more resources to take on the feds.

Becker on the brink: Halt in admissions puts Worecester college on death watch

This sounds eerily familiar. Becker College in Worcester says it has been unable to find a merger partner, has stopped actively recruiting new students and is working with state regulators on a contingency plan in case it needs to close for good. Mike Efland and Kim Ring at the Telegram and the Globe’s Deidre Fernandes and Laura Krantz have details on efforts to save the small college — including talks to have it absorbed by the UMass system.  

Hampden County’s politically-stacked retirement board: Are the good times over?

They’re abandoning ship in Hampden County – or at least one ex-state senator is abandoning ship – following a devastating audit that portrayed the county’s regional retirement board as a “poorly managed trough for political insiders,” as MassLive’s Stephanie Barry puts it. And critics are calling for resignations in general following the “absolutely scathing” audit, as MassLive recently reported.


Katherine Clark: ‘Aggressively normal’

Tom McGrath at Boston Magazine profiles U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, the recently elected assistant House speaker who has gotten ahead largely by acting in an “aggressively normal” manner, as opposed to aggressively seeking to get on cable-TV news programs as often as possible.  

Boston Magazine

And catching up with Majority Leader Claire Cronin

Switching from the U.S. House to the Massachusetts House, CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg talks with yet another rising-star female leader in Massachusetts – Majority Leader Claire Cronin, who says she’s “absolutely not” eyeing the speakership and who rejects the notion the chamber is a top-down, non-transparent institution.


Don’t pick on Springfield, Tucker

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the former bow-tie wearing preppy turned right-wing populist, last week referred to Springfield as a place “famous for burned-out buildings and murders,” and U.S. Ed Markey and others are strongly objecting to the characterization, reports Shannon Larson at the Globe.

Boston Globe

Pushing back: Accused New Bedford priest sues diocese for defamation

A New Bedford priest permanently removed from the ministry after an external review tied him to allegations of possible sexual abuse is suing the Fall River diocese for libel, Anastasia Lennon at the Standard-Times reports. The attorney for Daniel Lacroix, 61, says he wants only to have his position restored and is not seeking monetary compensation in the action.  

Standard Times

Police reform updates: Resistance to the resistance?

We could have nearly filled today’s newsletter with just police-related items, but we’ve opted to go with quick headlines instead in one post, starting with Ally Jarmanning at WBUR: “Boston police, City Hall leaders are no shows at council hearing on rollout of police reforms.” … From the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “Councilor pushes for info about BPD probe of Capitol insurrection.” … And SHNS: “State misses Another deadline in policing reform law.”

Moving on up: Northampton city council president to run for mayor

She’s first out of the gate. Northampton City Council President Gina-Louise Sciarra announced plans to run for mayor, making her the first candidate in the race since incumbent David Narkewicz said he wouldn’t seek another term, Greta Jochem at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

For first time in 25 years, state to boost fees for fishing and hunting licenses

It’s going to cost you more to fish and hunt (legally) in Massachusetts, under a proposal by MassWildlife to boost annual license fees for the first time in a quarter century, SHNS’s Colin Young reports (pay wall). The fishing fee hike is relatively modest, but not so the license to hunt bear, deer, turkey, pheasant, waterfowl, etc.

Out of cluck: Push to allow backyard chickens in Holyoke derailed by city council

And speaking of critters, it was so close. A 10-year quest to allow residents across Holyoke to raise chickens in their yards fell a single vote short of approval at a city council meeting on Tuesday, Dennis Hohenberger at MassLive reports. 


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

1000 Women Leaders: A Global Movement for Peace & Equality

The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, together with the Conrad N. Hilton and Starbucks Foundations, is launching a global campaign to support 1,000 Women Leaders working to build a brighter, more peaceful and resilient future. Join WPHF on International Women’s Day to rally support for the critical work of women leaders on the front lines.

The United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

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

Recover Boston: Workplace Reimagined

As our region continues the road to recovery, join us as we look at strategies for the return to the workplace. The Covid-19 crisis has created tremendous change in how we live, work, and do business. Hear from our panel of business leaders who will discuss both the opportunities and challenges for the transformation of the region’s workforce in the months ahead.

Boston Business Journal

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

Hemingway the Author

The Kennedy Library and GBH partner for a preview and discussion of Hemingway, a new documentary series directed by award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Writers Abraham Verghese and Tobias Wolff join Burns and Novick to discuss Hemingway’s life, craft, and legacy. Kennedy Library Director Alan Price moderates.

The Kennedy Library and GBH

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


Boston considering moving mass vaccination site out of Fenway – Boston Herald

Roller World in Saugus shut down for violating Covid-19 precautions – Lynn Item


Danvers manufacturer hiring 400 to help with Covid-19 vaccine – Gloucester Times

Worcester Red Sox season will be pushed back a month – MassLive

Natick has one final shot to strike deal with local developer for downtown project – MetroWest Daily News


Tanden withdraws as budget nominee in Biden’s first Cabinet defeat – Washington Post

The Supreme Court could deal a major blow to minority voters – The Hill

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