Keller at Large

A plea for some overdue linguistic housekeeping

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller has some linguistic pet peeves he hopes pols and pundits, left and right, can resist using in the days ahead. Remember: “You only lose what you cling to.”

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Variants hearing, Spilka at chamber, and more

COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management Committee holds an informational hearing jointly with the Committee on Public Health to discuss the COVID-19 variants that have been gaining steam here in recent weeks, 10 a.m.

— Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Andy Vargas, Project Bread and the Feed Kids Coalition host a panel discussion on ‘School Meals for All’ legislation, 10 a.m.

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development holds a virtual hearing on a proposal for an amendment to the constitution that would establish a right to employable skills training, 10:30 a.m.

— Acting Mayor Kim Janey discusses public safety efforts in Boston and provides an update on the implementation of police reform and the creation of the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, 1:30 p.m.

— Senate President Karen Spilka addresses the government affairs forum of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and is expected to touch on some of the challenges facing the child care industry and the families it serves, 2 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: 19 new deaths, 17,061 total deaths, 1,376 new cases

NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Under pressure: Janey to release internal records of accused child-molesting ex-cop

Since the Globe first broke the big Patrick Rose-revelation story, we’ll let the paper’s Dugan Arnett and Danny McDonald have first crack at this one: “Facing mounting criticism from lawmakers, Acting Mayor Kim Janey vowed Monday evening to release records from a 1995 Boston police internal investigation, documents that could shed light on why the department allowed an accused child rapist to remain on the force for two decades prior to his arrest last year for the alleged rape of six children.”

CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas has more on the Rose controversy engulfing the BPD – and Janey. Remember: She wanted to be acting mayor. Btw, from the Globe’s Joan Vennochi: “Wanted: A Boston mayor who stands up to police and for the public’s right to know.” 

Boston Globe

Meanwhile, Janey’s other cop problems

As Acting Mayor Kim Janey deals with the fallout from the ugly Patrick Rose case, WBUR’s Ally Jarmanning looks at the other controversies now engulfing the BPD — and Janey.

Of course, there’s also the tragic fatal shooting of a grandmother while she sat on her front porch in Dorchester over the weekend (NBC Boston). The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says residents want action, not defund-police platitudes. From the Rev. Eugene Rivers: ““The model is prevention, intervention and enforcement, not defunding. … Defunding is absurd.”


‘Jaw-dropping,’ Part II: Jehlen vows action on surprise UI rate hikes

State Sen. Patricia Jehlen, co-chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Workforce Development Committee, is more than a little upset over news that many employers are getting socked with huge unemployment-insurance rate increases despite recent passage of legislation meant to curb such spikes, reports SHNS’s Chris Lisinski.

Besides vowing legislative action, she also wants to know why the Baker administration didn’t tell lawmakers about the “solvency fund assessment” now hitting many employers.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Baker: RMV vendor expected to ‘compensate’ gas stations for vehicle-inspections debacle

Does the vendor know this? Gov. Charlie Baker said he and other officials “fully expect” the RMV’s vehicle-inspection vendor to compensate service stations and dealers that were “horribly inconvenienced” by the nearly two-week shutdown of the car inspection system in Massachusetts and elsewhere. MassLive’s Michael Bonner has more.


Breaking news: Feds call for pause on Johnson & Johnson shots after clotting cases

Switching over to the pandemic, this is a huge blow to vaccination efforts nationwide, not to mention a huge shock for those who have already received a J&J shot. From the NYT: “Federal health agencies on Tuesday called for an immediate pause in use of  Johnson & Johnson single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination.”


Massachusetts approaching 2 million fully-vaccinated mark

Before this morning’s big J&J news, it looked so promising on the vaccination front, with Gov. Charlie Baker saying yesterday the state should hit the 2 million fully-vaccinated mark by the end of this week, as MassLive’s Steph Solis and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg report. We’ll probably learn more today how the vaccine rollout is impacted by the J&J announcement.

Never mind: BMC cancels vaccine appointments after sign-up blunder

Can you imagine finally scoring a vaccine appointment – calling relatives with the great news, breaking out the champagne, bragging to friends etc. – only to be told later that the appointment had been cancelled and it’s back to VaxFinder and CVS hell? Universal Hub reports on the mother of all letdowns, courtesy of Boston Medical Center.

Universal Hub

The hunt for variants: They’re looking even under manhole covers

It’s an all-out variant hunt. GBH’s Craig LeMoult reports on public health officials’ attempt to track where exactly coronavirus variants are concentrated and spreading in Massachusetts – up to and including collecting wastewater samples flowing under street manhole covers.


From A to F: Parents hand out the grades on schools’ pandemic performance

The Pioneer Institute, via Emerson College Polling, has issued a new survey of parents that’s a sort of parental report card on how schools have performed during the pandemic. Though 40 percent would give their school system an A or B grade, the other 60 percent are handing out a lot of Cs, Ds and Fs. SHNS’s Katie Lannan, NBC Boston’s Mary Markos and Diane Cho and CommonWealth’s Shira Schoenberg have the non-curved grades and data.

T updates: Orange Line service resumes, means-tested fares, restoring services

We could have filled a third of this morning’s newsletter with T-related items, but decided it might be best to just put them all in one post, starting with this piece by CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl: “T board gives boost to means-tested fares/ One member proposes fare-free week in fall.” … From SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “Orange Line Service Resumes, But With Old Cars Only.” … From the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro: “MBTA plans to spend $2 billion on upgrades, repairs next year.” … From Christian Wade at the Eagle Tribune: “MBTA shopping list criticized as being off track.” … And from SHNS again: “Labor Challenges Slow MBTA Effort to Restore Service.” … And from CommonWealth again: “Scrambling for electric trains.”

Cracking down on tax breaks: Easier said than done?

From the Globe’s Emma Platoff and Matt Stout: “As an uncertain budget process kicks off on Beacon Hill this week, the stage is set for a debate over how Massachusetts hands out $17.8 billion a year in tax breaks, heralding the possibility of major changes to state tax law even as lawmakers have largely taken broad-based tax hikes off the table.”

The key word above is “possibility,” since there’s an interest group behind every one of these tax breaks. And sometimes the interest groups are simply just average people, such as … oh, look, there’s George Clooney filming in Worcester! You get the idea.

SJC: Juvenile judge overreacted after being called a ‘dumb, white bitch’ by teen

From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell: “A landmark SJC decision wipes away a finding of criminal contempt against a juvenile who called a judge a “dumb, white bitch” — along with other salty words — during a hearing in Brockton.”

Not everyone is happy about this decision, even though the insults did spill out of the mouth of a 16-year-old and her sentence did seem unfair.

Boston Herald

Power broker: One island, one precinct, one voter

The Globe’s Danny McDonald has a fun story on Laurel Wills, the lone registered voter in Boston’s Precinct 15 of Ward 1, i.e. the Boston Harbor islands. Just call her Boss Wills.

Boston Globe

Is there a spring edition? Regulators to launch online catalog of marijuana products

L.L. Bean has product catalogs. Why not the Cannabis Control Commission? SHNS’s Colin Young reports that state regulators plan to launch a first-in-the-nation online catalog of retail and medical marijuana products to help consumers, parents, police and even regulators to determine what products are legal or not.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Now what? Neighbors hope, worry about what will happen to Becker College’s campus

When it closes for good in a few weeks, Becker College will leave behind 36 properties, including several historic structures it restored, and residents and business owners in Worcester’s Elm Park neighborhood and city leaders alike are hoping for a careful ownership transfer in coming days, weeks, months, etc., Marco Cartolano at the Telegram reports. 


Frozen out: UMass student group urges trustees to skip out-of-state tuition hike

Everyone should get the freeze. That’s the position of a UMass Amherst student group, which has launched a campaign to convince the university’s board of trustees to reject a proposed tuition hike for out-of-state students and fee hikes for all students when it meets on Wednesday, Scott Merzbach atf the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Rick Sobey at the Herald report. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

In charge, for now: Holyoke council taps Terence Murphy as acting mayor

Two months, three mayors. The city of Holyoke again has a new leader after the city council wielded authority recently granted by the state legislature to appoint Councilor Terence Murphy to serve as acting mayor until the November election. Dennis Hohenberger at MassLive reports Murphy succeeds Council President Todd McGee, who took over for now Provincetown City Manager Alex Morse last month.  Matt Szafranski at Wester Mass. Politics and Insight has more.


Nero’s Law: Giving police K-9s the emergency medical services they’ve earned

SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports on legislation that would allow injured police dogs to be transported via ambulances to animal hospitals. Sponsored by Rep. Steven Xiarhos, the legislation has been dubbed “Nero’s Law,” in tribute to the police canine who was wounded three years ago while trying to protect fatally shot Police Sgt. Sean Gannon in Yarmouth. Xiarhos has a very personal interest in the case, as Murphy explains.

Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl

Virtual Author Talk with Tobey Pearl, Author of Terror to the Wicked

American Ancestors/NEHGS, Boston Public Library, and the State Library of Massachusetts

Escaping Unfreedom: How Cuff Whittemore used his Military Service to Claim his Freedom

Cuff Whittemore of Arlington fought with his military company at Lexington, Concord, Bunker Hill, then seven more years in the Continental Army. Why did this African-American man choose to join the rebellion then re-enlist over and over after it had blossomed into a war? This online program, co-presented by the National Park Service, will happen over Zoom. Registration is required.

Boston Public Library

“I am a daughter of liberty”: Women in the American Struggle for Independence

The American Revolution brought the sudden and radical entrance of women into political life. Women actively participated in, and ensured the success of the boycotts of British goods that forced the repeal of oppressive legislation. When the war began, women took over the management of farms and shops, served as spies, saboteurs, messengers, and even soldiers. Their stories are worth telling.

Cary Memorial Public Library

MassEcon Forum: Massachusetts Business Incentives Primer

Massachusetts knows how to compete. On April 14, as the Red Sox take on the Twins, the Celtics get ready for the Lakers, and the Bruins prepare for the Islanders, join MassEcon and its Team Massachusetts partners as they explain the business incentive programs that enable Massachusetts to win global competitions for employers looking to invest in facilities and create new jobs.


How Snowflake’s Data Capabilities Increased Profitability for a Fortune 500 Retailer

Hear from Steve DiPietro, VP of Data Analytics Practice at Focus and former Snowflake customer, discuss how Snowflake’s near zero management ecosystem positively and profitably impacted his workflow at a global Fortune 500 retailer. He will be joined by Jonathan Tao, System Engineer and Andrew Fleming, Partner Manager at Snowflake to review top workload/focus areas for Snowflake’s users.

Focus Technology

The Earth Convention – Sustainable Cities

In this session of Earth Convention, we will explore examples of cities across the world that are taking the lead on green initiatives. How can we design and plan urban infrastructure to be more sustainable? We will look at how citizens are organizing and working in partnership with city governments, civil society and businesses, and at how transport is changing.

5 x 15

Inaugural David Cooper Lecture – Dr. Anthony S. Fauci

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in the USA, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has remained a voice of authority and reason, bringing scientific evidence to the fore. He will sit down with Tegan Taylor, co-host of the ABC’s Coronacast, to discuss the past, present, and the future – from what we learned from the HIV/AIDS epidemic to what the ongoing impact of Covid-19 will be.

UNSW Centre for Ideas

Project PhaEDRA and Star Notes – John G. Wolback Library Center for Astrophysics

Project PHaEDRA is an initiative to catalog, digitize and transcribe over 2500 logbooks and notebooks produced by the Harvard Computers, a group of women astronomers. The Star Notes project provides an opportunity to transcribe the notes of the Harvard Computers and accentuate their legacy and contribution to the field of astrophysics.

Boston Public Library

Today’s Headlines


Brockton Area Transit Authority reopening bus station – Brockton Enterprise

MBTA plans to spend $2 billion on upgrades, repairs next year – Boston Globe


Ipswich River on most endangered list – Salem News

Proposed Braintree school budget would cut 30 to 40 jobs – Patriot Ledger

Springfield reports rise in new Covid cases – MassLive


In bipartisan meeting, Biden makes his case for infrastructure package – New York Times

Republicans pray for truce after Trump attacks on McConnell – Politico

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