Happening Today

One-year anniversary of COVID-19 emergency, Public Health Council, and more

— Today marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 state of emergency declared by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Public Health Council meets remotely to possibly take action on a plan for a Steward Health Care System LLC change in service and a vote on new regulations setting standards for long-term care facilities, as well as get updates on housing stability and new results from the COVID-19 Community Impact Survey, 9 a.m.

 — Massachusetts Trial Court hosts a New Legislator Welcome Event virtually, with Senate President Karen Spilka delivering remarks, 10 a.m. 

— State Sen. Adam Gomez and Rep. Carlos Gonzalez host a virtual information session with the Caring Health Center to discuss and answer questions about the center’s COVID-19 resources and support, 11 a.m. 

 –Former U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Groundwork Project hold a virtual discussion on redefining political power in Massachusetts with Cheryl Crawford of MassVOTE, Beth Huang of Mass Voter Table, and Eitan Hersh of Tufts University, 6 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: 20 new deaths, 16,123 total deaths, 1,006 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Thinking ahead: 250,000 permanently lost jobs in Mass.?

On the one-year anniversary of Gov. Charlie Baker’s declaration of a pandemic state of emergency, SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has this sobering news, despite all the positive vaccination and lower case-count numbers out there: the Baker administration is projecting that a “quarter of a million workers will endure permanent job losses as a result of the pandemic-fueled recession.” Let’s hope they’re wrong.

The possibility/probability of a long economic recovery is one of the reasons why lawmakers want more  say in how billions of dollars in new federal relief money is spent by the state, as the Globe’s Emma Platoff reports. Of course, there’s also this, via the Globe: “$588 million lost. 30,000 jobs impacted. A new report shows the damage done to the arts industry.”

Thinking ahead, Part II: How the pandemic has changed so much – forever

How much has changed as a result of the now year-old pandemic – and how much has permanently changed as a result of the pandemic? Think mail-in voting, telemedicine, teleworking, tele-education etc. They’re all here to stay, in some form or another. GBH’s Mike Deehan and NBC’s Marc Fortier report on Gov. Charlie Baker’s attempt to understand the “new normal” moving forward. Meanwhile, CommonWealth has asked 12 people how they think the pandemic will shape the future, covering fields such as education, health care, cities, and politics, campaigns and civic life etc.

Lawmakers challenge Baker’s emergency powers – and it’s not just Republicans doing the challenging

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Gov. Charlie Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency due to the pandemic – and more than a few lawmakers say enough is enough. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports on various bills now on Beacon Hill that would end or limit the governor’s emergency powers. “This is not a dictatorship,” says state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen.

Boston Herald

Riley’s reopening timelines: April 5 for elementary schools, April 28 for middle schools, no date yet for high schools

Parents, pay special attention: In addition to his previously set goal of reopening elementary schools by April 5, Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeff Riley is now eyeing reopening of middle schools by April 28. But no date has been set yet for high schools. SHNS’s Katie Lannan and the Globe’s Felicia Gans and Nick Stoico have more.

But – and there’s always a but these days – MassLive’s Melissa Hanson reports that Worcester public schools are already seeking a waiver to delay a full-time return to classes. 

Lawmakers: Grocery workers should be next on priority list

The Baker administration is under yet more pressure to switch from a (largely) aged-based vaccination priority system to a (largely) occupation-based vaccination priority system. The Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky and Sean Philip Cotter report “nearly three dozen state lawmakers are joining unions’ calls for Gov. Charlie Baker to prioritize grocery workers for coronavirus vaccines.”

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Deanna Pan has an update on how various essential-worker groups want to get vaccinated ASAP. Then there’s this, via the Globe: ‘Enough is enough’: Boston school bus drivers picket, calling for COVID-19 vaccines and testing at bus yards.”

As state sets single-day vaccination record, its vax-rollout grade remains stuck at a ‘B’

Despite all the glitches and frustrations, vaccine shots continue to be administered across Massachusetts – and a new one-day record was set yesterday, with 85,690 new vax doses, reports the Herald’s Rick Sobey. At a cost of $10 million, the max-vax program had better be working. MassLive’s Steph Solis has more.

But what’s this? The state’s grade for its vaccine rollout remains stuck at only a “B,” despite its improving performance compared to other states, according to a Globe editorial. The reason: The state’s COVID-19 death rate remains high.

Mariano and Spilka get their shots

As SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports, House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka have taken their shots at the state’s vaccine rollout program, but they did manage to recently get their own vaccine shots. We have no problem with this. Unlike certain federal lawmakers who butted to the very front of the vaccination line way back in December (Post), Mariano and Spilka admirably waited their turn.

Btw, also from SHNS (pay wall): “Baker tests negative after visiting Florida.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

No joke: St. Pat’s Day breakfast to return in virtual format

Mayor Marty Walsh is urging fellow Bostonians to take it easy on St. Patrick’s Day, largely by avoiding crowds during the still-ongoing pandemic, as the Herald reports. And it looks like local pols are practicing what Walsh is preaching by organizing a remote version of the annual St. Pat’s Day breakfast in South Boston. SHNS’s Matt Murphy has more.

Details, details: Lawmakers reveal more in state relief package

SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more details on what’s in a pandemic relief package that Beacon Hill lawmakers hope to vote on shortly, including a tax credit for unemployed workers with household incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level and 40 hours of emergency COVID-19 paid sick leave for full-time employees.

CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg also has more on the emerging legislation that, as previously announced, also includes UI and PPP rate and tax relief measures.

Northeastern planning a ‘normal’ fall semester

Northeastern University isn’t waiting for Harvard to confirm its intentions. Instead, Northeastern is plowing ahead with plans to fully reopen its campus next fall, amid generally positive news on the pandemic front, reports Universal Hub.

Universal Hub

Courting in style: Resorts, wedding venues eyed for jury trials

This might change how some people feel about jury duty.  Barnstable County court officials say the Cape Codder Resort and Spa is being considered to host jury trials later this year as officials look for ways to work through a massive backlog of pending trial cases, Ethan Genter at the Cape Cod Times reports. 

Elsewhere, Joe DiFazio at the Patriot Ledger reports state officials have signed an agreement to spend $368,940 to rent space at Lombardo’s — a popular wedding and prom spot — in Randolph for the same reason. 

Cape Cod Times

Mariano sees ‘value’ in driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

SHNS’s Chris Liskinski reports Beacon Hill backers of issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants are pumped over House Speaker Ron Mariano’s remarks yesterday that that he sees “value” in the idea.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Not done yet: Third Berkshire resident arrested in siege of US Capitol

More than two months after the storming of the U.S. Capitol, a third Berkshire resident has been arrested on charges connected to the riot, the Berkshire Eagle reports. Troy E. Sargent, who regularly showed up at pro-Trump rallies in the Bay State, was arrested Tuesday on six charges–thanks in part to his own social media posts about that fateful day in D.C.  

Berkshire Eagle

So how did Santa Claus become an issue in Newton’s special election?

Newton is holding a special election next week to fill two city council seats, as the Globe’s John Hilliard reports. Normally, we wouldn’t pay too much attention to Newton council races. But when Santa becomes an issue, well, it has our undivided attention. The Globe’s Marcela Garcia explains.

‘Red herring’: Judge dismisses claims against John Fish over $1B tower

From the BBJ’s Catherine Clark; “A Massachusetts Superior Court judge has dismissed two counterclaims from real-estate development firm Weiner Ventures that alleged former business partner  John Fish ‘committed intentional fraud and negligent misrepresentation.’ The judge went so far as to call some of the arguments ‘a red herring, a mere distraction.’ “


Carl J. Shapiro, major philanthropist, RIP

Carl J. Shapiro, a major regional philanthropist whose family name is now forever associated with Boston area hospitals, universities, cultural institutions and Jewish and health-and-welfare causes, has died at 108. The Globe’s Beth Healey and Bryan Marquard have more.

Boston Globe

The millionaire’s tax: Who would it really benefit?

The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports on a new Pioneer Institute study that questions whether proceeds from a proposed millionaire’s tax would really flow to education and transportation like proponents say. More likely, the “blank check” surtax revenues would merely flow to state government in general, the study asserts.

Boston Herald

Running tab: St. Vincent Hospital has already paid $5.4 million to replace striking nurses

St. Vincent Hospital says it has already spent $5.4 million on replacement nurses and that more than 100 nurses have crossed picket lines to show up for work despite the strike that began early Monday morning, Michael Bonner at MassLive reports.  Meanwhile, Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram reports another union–this one representing techs and housekeeping staff–is expressing frustration over the status of its own contract talks. 

Worcester’s future: It has arrived

SHNS’s Colin Young and MassLive’s Michael Bonner report on a panel discussion yesterday on Worcester’s future, which, right now, looks rather bright, considering all the development projects currently under way in the city. We liked this line from City Manager Edward Augustus Jr.: “We’re the second-largest city in New England and we’re acting like it.”

Priority one: Koch uses state of city to pledge support to save Quincy College

He’s all in. Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch used the bulk of his Covid-delayed State of the City speech to outline steps the city is taking to help save Quincy College from closure, Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger reports.

Patriot Ledger

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

I Dissent: How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Became the Notorious RBG

Award-winning journalist Irin Carmon, co-author of the runaway bestseller Notorious RPG, tells the intimate story of a remarkable Jewish woman who transcended divides and describes how to carry on her legacy.

Jewish Public Library

“The Black Lives Matter Protests: An Early History” with Chad Williams

The U.S. has been rocked by the murder of George Floyd and the widespread recognition of violence against Blacks. These events have re-awakened us to our racist legacy. Across the nation and globally, Black and white people have protested policy brutality and the continued inequalities in our society.

Cary Memorial 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


Northeastern plans return to ‘normal’ semester in fall 2021 – Boston Globe

South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast returning as virtual event – Boston Herald


Moonscape to prime real estate? PIttsfield gets $1.1 million to help redevelop William Stanley Business Park – Berkshire Eagle

Northampton school committee to vote on Confederate Flag ban – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Salem State imposes furloughs for faculty, librarians – Gloucester Times


Alaska makes vaccines available to those 16 and older, becoming first state to remove eligibility requirements – Washington Post

The Biden blitz is coming – Politico

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