Happening Today

House and Senate votes, MBTA meeting, Fauci at Tufts

— Gov. Charlie Baker plans to return to Massachusetts after traveling Thursday to Florida where he met First Lady Lauren Baker, due to a death in the family.

— The Massachusetts House and Senate meet today, with the House possibly taking action on bill imposing additional reporting requirements on the Department of Children and Families and adding protections for foster parents and with the Senate possibly taking action on legislation extending pandemic-era voting reforms, 11 a.m.

MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meets with plans to discuss and possibly take votes on transit service levels for the summer and fall, 12 p.m.

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— National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci participates in a virtual discussion hosted by Tufts University, 4 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.

They’re out: St. Vincent nurses make good on strike threat

After weeks of fraught negotiations and threats of a job action, some 800 nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester went on strike early this morning, Mike Elfand at the Telegram reports. The strike is the first at the facility since 2000 and comes after two years of negotiations between the Mass. Nurses Association and Tenet Health Care over staffing levels at the facility. It also comes while the state grapples with the ongoing pandemic.

Benjamin Kail at MassLive reports Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern both expressed their support for the nurses and urged the hospital to improve its staffing and safety profiles. 

Telegram

Body armor and pepper spray for politicians? Strange times

Has it really come to this? We’re moving this one up due to its extraordinary nature. From the Globe’s Matt Stout: “In a move with little precedent, Massachusetts campaign finance regulators say they will allow the state’s elected officials to use campaign funds to buy bulletproof vests, gas masks, and other gear to protect themselves and their staffs following the January attack on the US Capitol.”

Boston Globe

Looming confrontation: State orders elementary schools to fully re-open by April 5

Now to pandemic-related news, starting with WBUR’s Carrie Young: “Public schools in Massachusetts will have to begin offering in-person learning to elementary school students five days a week next month. It’s the first decision education Commissioner Jeff Riley made under new authority approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Friday afternoon.”

Needless to say, teachers aren’t happy, as Arun Rath and Matt Baskin report at GBH. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more on the looming in-person-classes showdown.

WBUR

Special category: Unions push for separate vaccinations of educators

Teachers got what they wanted: Bumped up on the state’s vaccine priority list. Now teacher and firefighter unions are pushing the Baker administration to effectively vaccinate educators and school workers separately, perhaps by firefighters, rather than have them scramble with others for appointments at the jammed and cumbersome VaxFinders site etc., reports John Hilliard at the Globe. Senate President Karen Spilka thinks teachers should get vaccinated by local boards of health, according to CBS Boston.

In other words: Educators would get special higher vaccination priority.

Special category, Part II: Legislation would award frontline workers with retirement credits

Some 75 state lawmakers have signed onto legislation that would award police officers, firefighters and other essential public workers with up to three years of additional retirement credits as a thank you for their work on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic, Christian Wade at the Salem News reports. 

Salem News

What about us? Other ‘essential’ workers want vaccines too

If teachers get ‘em, they want ‘em too. A three-reporter team at the Herald report that workers previously classified as “essential,” such as veterinarians and domestic workers, are now lobbying to get bumped up on the vaccine eligibility list. Meanwhile, from the Daily Hampshire Gazette: “Farm to vaccine: Some agricultural workers getting shots early.”  

Our reaction: The Maine age-based vaccine system is looking better by the day. Somehow, we’ve drifted – and are drifting farther – from the original goal of first vaccinating the most vulnerable. And, right now, that means the elderly. But look at the numbers in this Globe summary of vaccinations. So far, young people far outnumber elderly people getting vaccinated – and the vaccinated age gap is about to grow wider due to professions-priority policies.

Boston Herald

Gift cards? Time off? Companies offer incentives for employees to get vaccinations

They’re not asking that their employees get bumped up on the vaccine eligibility list – at least not yet. But the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that employers are offering various incentives for eligible employees to get vaccinated, pronto.

BBJ

On the spot: Assumption promises instant admission decisions amid pandemic lag

They’re doing away with the waiting. Assumption University in Worcester is expanding its instant-decision admissions option, giving high school seniors the option of getting an on-the-spot, in-person decision on their applications. Scott O’Connell at the Telegram reports the move is a response to lagging application numbers — a problem being experienced at many other colleges. 

Telegram

Two in one: Janey rolls out new mayoral transition website — and starts fundraising off of it

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that Kim Janey, on the cusp of becoming Boston’s interim mayor, has started a new “transition website” – and she’s using the site to raise campaign cash at the same time. Not very subtle when it comes to connecting the old governmental and political dots. Then again, neither are all those funds established by others to pay for political inaugurations, etc.

Rep. Robertson fined $2,000 for campaign-fund misspending

Speaking of campaign funds, state Rep. David Robertson, a Tewksbury Democrat, is paying the price for paying for things he shouldn’t have been paying for out of his campaign fund. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has the details.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Andrew Card: Trump was partly responsible for Jan. 6

Andrew Card, the former GOP state lawmaker, gubernatorial candidate and chief of staff to President George W. Bush, says he had “tears in my eyes” when he watched the U.S. Capitol being stormed by right-wing rioters and he believes the “insurrection was motivated in part by the language used by Donald Trump.” 

WCVB

SJC: No, faculty members are not all ministers exempt from anti-discrimination laws

In a case involving Gordon College in Wenham, the Supreme Judicial Court last week ruled that a college can’t just classify all its faculty members as ministers and then – presto – claim they’re exempt from anti-discrimination laws under the First Amendment. CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg and Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin have more on a decision that may, or may not, impact other religious colleges.

‘Adultism’ explained: Students subjected to counseling inspired by L. Ron Hubbard

We initially rolled our eyes when a student member of the Boston School Committee suddenly quit last week, citing, among other things, “adultism.” We’re not rolling out eyes anymore. The Globe’s Laura Crimaldi reports the student and other young student advisors were subjected to controversial counseling/therapy methods that encouraged them to cry. “Re-evaluation Counseling” was established in the 1950s by Harvey Jackins, who was inspired partly by L. Ron Hubbard theory of Dianetics. Just follow the Wikipedia links, as they say.

Boston Globe

Dealing themselves in: Cheating scheme broken up at Encore Boston Harbor

Card dealers? Really? Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has announced the indictments of three people for allegedly running a baccarat betting scam at the Encore Boston Harbor. The scheme reportedly involved a card dealer, a former casino dealer and a third individual, report the Globe’s Travis Andersen and MassLive’s Scott Croteau.

The top 5 political speeches of all time? Lend them your ear

At the Fox Top 5 podcast, local political analysts Mary Anne Marsh and Colin Reed review their top 5 political speeches of all time. It’s a friendly conversation about great speeches, not a cable-TV like debate, and there’s a few surprises in there.

Fox Top 5 podcast

‘Is this the end of French intellectual life?’

Because we have so many brainy people working in the intellectual realm in Massachusetts, we thought readers would be interested in this NYT opinion piece by Christopher Caldwell about how France’s intellectual establishment, largely leaning left, has been overwhelmed by “American-style social-justice politics” – and what was once considered “left” is now considered “reactionary” etc. Long-time leftists are in a state of shock, to put it mildly.

NYT

Poll: Home energy upgrades could get politically tricky

Maeve Duggan, a research director at the MassINC Polling Group, reports that residents support the general idea of home energy upgrades to reduce carbon emissions but … they do like their current home-heating systems. And, we’d add, they’ll like them even more when they get the cost estimates for switching over to non-fossil-fuel home-heating systems.

CommonWealth

Timber, Part II: Charlestown housing revamp has 250 trees on chopping block

Call back the Lorax.  Not long after residents rallied to save scores of trees along Melnea Cass Boulevard, would-be tree huggers may have another cause célèbre in the city of Boston: Developers working on upgrades at the Bunker Hill public housing complex say some 250 mature trees have to go to make the work possible, David Abel at the Globe reports. 

Boston Globe

Thanks, Oprah! Lawrence student lands celebrity scholarship

When she’s not interviewing former royals (Globe), Oprah Winfrey is handing out scholarships, including $15,000 that is helping a Lawrence resident put himself through UMass Lowell. Allison Corneau of the Eagle-Tribune has the details. 

Eagle Tribune

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

A Year Apart: How COVID Changed Us

GBH News will dedicate March 10, 2021 to looking back at A Year Apart: How COVID Changed Us, and to looking ahead to a post-pandemic future. Throughout the day across our airwaves, website, social media and in a special live streaming event, we will explore the myriad ways COVID has changed us: how we teach our children; how we grieve and celebrate; how the business landscape has changed; how the arts community hopes to rebound; how we remember those we have lost.

WGBH

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

Lucy Stone: Make the World a Better Place

This program explores the lifelong fight of Massachusetts’ own Lucy Stone to win equal voting rights for women and African Americans. Despite leading both the women’s rights and abolitionist movements, Stone’s name is often absent from history. Join us in examining why this historical titan’s work was so integral to the nation’s evolution.

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

Metro

Kim Janey rolls out new Boston mayoral transition website and starts fundraising off of it – Boston Herald

Dorchester youth collaborative shutdown a tough blow – CommonWealth Magazine

Massachusetts

Innovative zoning package advances in Northampton; would allow two-family homes by right – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Four vie to be next Wampanoag tribal chairperson – Cape Cod Times

Conservative Taunton teen announces run for city council – Taunton Gazette

Nation

Schumer leads Dems to messy but major win – Politico

Kanye’s Zombie Campaign Attracts Teen Donors—and Feds’ Scrutiny – The Daily Beast

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