MCCA board, Earth Day announcements, and more
— Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Board of Directors meets virtually, 10 a.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey joins Springfield City Council President Marcus Williams, Rep. Bud Williams and Sarita Hudson of the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts to announce a new air quality monitoring program in the city, 11 a.m.
— Senate Democrats plan to meet privately for a caucus, 12 p.m.
— Boston Councilor Michelle Wu, a mayoral candidate, holds Earth Day press conference to call for electrification of the city’s school bus fleet, 1 p.m.
— Acting Mayor Kim Janey, a mayoral candidate, and Health and Human Services Chief Martinez hold COVID-19 press conference, with Janey also planning to speak about the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, 2 p.m.
— Young organizers with Project 9 plan to hold a climate strike outside the State House as part of a nationwide initiative calling for climate action during Earth Week, 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.
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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: 13 new deaths, 17,151 total deaths, 1,370 new cases
NBC Boston has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.
Bucking the trend: Mass. community colleges reject mandatory vaccinations for students
This is interesting. From the Globe’s Travis Andersen and Deirdre Fernandes: “Arguing that a vaccine mandate would create an unnecessary burden, the state’s 15 community colleges on Wednesday announced they would not require their students to get COVID shots this fall to access the campus, bucking the trend in higher education.”
They do have far more commuter and part-time students compared to other higher-education institutions, such as Emerson (WCVB) and Smith (WWLP) colleges, which yesterday announced they would indeed require vaccinations.
Fake vaccine cards: Healey and other AGs sound the alarm
We’re probably going to see a lot more of this in the months ahead. From the Herald’s Rick Sobey: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and 41 other AGs are sounding the alarm about fake COVID vaccine cards being sold on a third-party website, and demanded the site immediately stop the sales.”
Fed report: Economic stress not geographically proportionate to actual virus impact
In a new report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is basically saying that rural New England areas took it on the economic chin even though they didn’t take it on the coronavirus chin during the pandemic. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski has more on the fed report that raises an obvious question: Should lockdowns be imposed on a geographic-by-geographic basis? It’s easier said than done, granted. Recall this CommonWealth piece from last year about ‘ancient borders in a modern pandemic.’
The rest of the state has opened up. But noooo … not Somerville
Speaking of geographic lockdowns, the Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that towns and cities across the state have loosened their COVID business restrictions as more and more people get vaccinated. But not in Somerville, where the restaurant and small-shop clampdown continues. … And, of course, we can’t resist (YouTube).
Are J&J shots still being administered in Massachusetts?
It may well be the result of a lag in reporting. Still, SHNS’s Colin Young reports that Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses reported as administered in Massachusetts has continued to climb each day since the feds and state officials put a pause on J&J shots due to health concerns. And the state hasn’t exactly been forthright with information about any post-pause J&J shots, Young writes.
Baker among governors urging Biden to ban sale of carbon-spewing cars by 2035
Gov. Charlie Baker is the lone Republican among a group of 12 governors who are asking President Biden to ban the sale of cars and light trucks that emit greenhouse gases by 2035, reports Scott Neuman at WBUR. In addition to Baker, the governors of Connecticut, Maine and Rhode Island also signed the letter to the president.
In other climate/environmental news, from SHNS’s Colin Young: “Climate-Resilient Construction Targeted in New State Tool/Municipal Leaders Praise Accessible Design Standards.”
The Rose scandal: Ex-police commissioner Evans blasts Janey, demands release of full child-molestation file
Acting Mayor Kim Janey is on the defensive this morning, after former Boston police commissioner Paul Evans defended his handling of the Patrick Rose child-molestation case in 1995, criticized Janey’s recent remarks that police ‘neglected their duty’ years ago and called for release of the full internal Rose file that he says will show he did everything possible to fire the accused child molester. The Globe’s Andrew Ryan and Dugan Arnett are all over the story, including how the Janey administration has released only 13 pages of the 105-page Rose file.
Fall River police share and then quickly delete post criticizing George Floyd
Switching to the other big police-related story of the week, from Audrey Cooney the Herald News: “The Fall River Police Department posted and then deleted a post on Facebook appearing to criticize George Floyd, a Black man whose death at the hands of a police officer sparked massive protests last year and whose killer was convicted of murder yesterday.” And, yes, it was disrespectful toward Floyd and respectful toward his convicted murderer.
Speaking of the Chauvin case, from the Globe: “Emboldened by the Chauvin verdict, protesters marched against police brutality in Boston.”
Rep. Domb: Is it asking too much to be informed when and where National Guard troops are deployed in Massachusetts?
State Rep. Mindy Domb of Amherst has filed legislation that would require the governor to notify local legislators in advance when and where in their districts National Guard troops are deployed, saying the legislature wasn’t notified about a recent deployment tied to BLK-related protests. SHNS’s Chris Van Buskirk has the details.
Pushing back: New Bedford police say racial profiling report is flawed
Still on the same approximate subject: The numbers, they say, don’t add up. Officials in New Bedford and the city’s police union are pushing back hard against a recent report from a juvenile justice organization that claims the city targets minority youth disproportionately. Anastasia Lennon at the Standard-Times has more.
Worcester police shoot and kill man reportedly wearing a fake bomb, wiring and timer
One last police-related item: the Telegram’s Mike Elfand and Craig Semon report that Worcester police ended a standoff yesterday by shooting and killing a man they say was armed and threatening to detonate a bomb. And, according to MassLive sources, the suspect was indeed wearing a fake bomb complete with wiring flares and a timer.
So is Pressley going to say anything about her own rental property?
The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is going after U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley this morning, saying she’s sponsoring legislation calling for cancellation of rents and primary home mortgage payments during the duration of the pandemic – and yet she silent about a rental property she owns (or did own) right here in Boston.
Banned in Boston: SJC upholds Massport’s right to kick car-sharing firm from Logan curb
The Supreme Judicial court has handed Massport a major legal victory by declaring that the car-sharing company Turo is indeed a car-rental company – and that Massport has every right to ban it at Logan Airport. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan has more.
To pot industry officials, bank legislation can’t come soon enough
The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that marijuana industry types are pumped over new federal legislation that would finally allow pot shops and others access to routine banking services in the U.S. Right now, most banks shy away from pot-related business due to federal anti-marijuana laws.
Salvage operation: Kerry on a mission to restore US leadership on climate
As the Biden administration convenes a global climate summit on Earth Day, Matt Viser and Brady Dennis at the Washington Post trace climate envoy John Kerry’s path to his current role and his attempts to restore the alliances that led to the Paris climate agreement later undone by President Trump. Kerry, for his part, says the work “has nothing to do with me and legacy,” but instead is all about the future.
Shot down: Salem board sides with residents, denies gun shop permit
Not here. The Salem Zoning Board of Appeals has denied a would-be gun shop owner permission to open, citing concerns about the shop’s proposed location near schools and a neighborhood that has experienced a recent rash of gun violence, Dustin Luca at the Salem News reports.
Finishing touches: Polar Park construction wraps up as opening day looms
It’s not unfinished — it’s a ‘rolling opening.’ Worcester Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino says Polar Park will be mostly finished when it throws open its gates to the public for the WooSox’s first game on May 11, Grant Welker at the Worcester Business Journal reports. The pandemic is being cited as a reason why the park isn’t fully finished yet.
If the FBI calls demanding money, hang up
The FBI says scammers have bilked $3.2 million from Bay State residents who thought they were talking by phone with fed agents demanding money – and the FBI has some advice: Just hang up on such callers. They’re not the feds. The Herald’s Joe Dwinell has more.
Webinar on Climate & Economy
Join ELM on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22 from 12:00-12:45PM for a webinar on Climate & Economy moderated by Bethany Patten with Ivan Frishberg, Secretary Michael Kennealy, and Lauren Jones.
Forum: The Decisive Decade for Climate Action
As we begin this critical decade for climate action with growing momentum for protecting and restoring our global commons, the intensity of this moment makes it a uniquely compelling and privileged time to be alive.
Anthony Amore, Author of Stealing Rembrandts
Anthony Amore is currently Director of Security and Chief Investigator of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where he is charged with the ongoing efforts to recover 13 works of art stolen from the museum on March 18, 1990. He will talk about his 2011 true-crime bestseller Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists.
How are Landlords Managing the COVID-19 Rental Crisis? Evidence from a Large Cross-Site Survey
In this session, Elijah de la Campa will present preliminary findings from a recent Center-supported survey of landlords in a dozen U.S. cities. He will offer findings on the magnitude of the rent arrears crisis, the steps landlords have been taking in response to loss of income, and their willingness to participate in public and non-profit rental assistance programs.
The National Antiracist Book Festival
Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research will host the 2nd annual National Antiracist Book Festival virtually. This is the first and only book festival that brings together, showcases, and celebrates the nation’s leading antiracist writers and helps to prepare the writers of tomorrow. Panelists are topically organized with two authors and a monitor.
The Color of Covid: Reflections on Pandemics Past and Present
Dr. Paul Farmer will share stories of the transformative effects of healthcare for people in global hot spots, and he will inspire us with his continued commitment to solving the most intractable of medical problems. A medical anthropologist and physician, Dr. Farmer has devoted his life to improving health care for the world’s poorest people.
From Citizens United to Bots United: Reinterpreting “Robot Rights” as a Corporate Power Grab
Towards Life 3.0: Ethics and Technology in the 21st Century is a talk series organized and facilitated by Mathias Risse, Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights, Global Affairs, and Philosophy. Speaker is Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School
Exploring Trees and Equity in Boston through Literature
In collaboration with Speak for the Trees, Boston, we will be presenting resources to help you learn about tree and nature equity, environmental justice, and the natural world that exists throughout the city of Boston. We will be highlighting literary, scientific and art collections and other resources available through the Boston Public Library that are of interest to adults teens and children.
Leadership During Crisis Featuring Carmen Yulín Cruz
Join UMass Women into Leadership for a conversation with Carmen Yulín Cruz, former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, as she discusses her thoughts on leadership during crisis.
Transportation Tech Trends: 3 Perspectives on the Future Direction of Mobility
Between now and 2030, policymakers and regulators will need to guide deployment of new technologies, including connected vehicles, advanced driver assistance systems, and micromobility, to maximize benefits while minimizing harm for all road users. This conversation will feature three fellows working at the intersection of technology and transportation policy.
Monuments and Memory: A Confederate Marker in Boston
In October 2017, Massachusetts officials removed one of the only markers in the state dedicated to the Confederacy from Fort Warren on Georges Island. This program will explore the history of the marker, the organization that erected it, and the broader national dialogue abut how we remember the American Civil War.
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