Happening Today

Committee hearings, Markey on jobs, Boston ballot position drawing, and more

10 a.m. | Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management hosts virtual listening session focused on metro Boston communities in the Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition (HMCC) Geographic Region 3 and Region 4ab.

10:30 a.m. | Auditor Suzanne Bump joins state and local elected officials for a tour of several sites in Franklin County that demonstrate the impact of the state’s payments in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) program for state-owned land on smaller communities, as outlined in a recent report from Bump’s office.

11 a.m. | U.S. Sen. Ed Markey holds a livestreamed discussion on the job-creation potential of a Civilian Climate Corps.

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12 p.m. | Boston Election Commission holds ballot position drawing for the September preliminary municipal election

4 p.m. | MIRA hosts celebration of immigrant contributions and call for pathway to citizenship for all undocuments immigrants. Attendees: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone; Regina Bertholdo of Somerville Public Schools, and Ben Echevarria of The Welcome Project

Today’s Stories

Looking back on shakeups, voting, and gambling

It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Where did it even start?

Well, if you can remember all the way back to Sunday evening, there was a mountainous shakeup at the Republican State Committee. Vice-Chairman Tom Mountain stepped down from his post, citing an “effort to immediately clear my name.”

While the situation was really vague, Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff and others pointed out that turtleboysports.com published a story including screenshots of what it said were Mountain’s comments with the headline: ‘Vice Chairman Of Mass GOP Leaves Tons Of Creepy Comments For Women On Facebook Including Underage Girls, Claims He Was Hacked.’

And that was before the work week even began.

As last week ended, Democratic leaders signaled they were ready to extend voting by mail measures for cities and towns through mid-December. They followed through on that Wednesday sending Gov. Charlie Baker a spending bill that included the mail-in voting extension and also established a new MBTA Board, reported WWLP’s Jodi Reed.

And while politicians were playing politics, the coronavirus decided not enough people were paying attention to it. That’s a really bad way to say that COVID-19 cases are on the rise again and health officials say the highly contagious Delta variant and Fourth of July gatherings are all playing a part in the increasing infection numbers, which include breakthrough cases among the already vaccinated.

But government officials are holding steady in Massachusetts: Read on for Baker’s take on requiring masks in schools.

The stressful days of the pandemic may not be over, but you know what? Maybe we can eventually blow off some the steam that builds up over the week by making a small wager on the local team.

That’s looking like it actually could become a reality after the House passed a bill yesterday legalizing the measure in Massachusetts, and Sen. Eric Lesser, the co-chair of the Committee on Economic Development and a sponsor of sports betting legislation, believes his colleagues on the other side of the State House might actually be ready to consider the issue.

The bill still has a long way to go, as State House News Service’s Colin A. Young reported.

But those Red Sox sure do look like a good bet these days for October.

Real concern for virus case growth

There’s real worry surrounding the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Boston Herald’s Alexi Cohan reports that the former head of the Massachusetts Medical Society is “incredibly concerned” about case growth in the past month. More from Cohan: “Massachusetts coronavirus cases had hovered below 100 per day in late June and early July, but now case counts have been upward of 300 in recent days.”

Boston Herald

Mask up in Cambridge, officials urge

You should probably mask up in Cambridge. That’s what officials in the city are urging residents to do — whether they or vaccinated or not — after a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, reports Nick Stoico at the Boston Globe. 

It follows a comeback trend of advisories and guidance across the state that had largely gone away as cases dropped and vaccinations climbed. But as the fall approaches, the Delta variant continues to spread, and more breakthrough cases are being reported, a potential surge in infections is making local government and health officials worried.

Boston Globe

Baker: No plans for changes to mask guidance for schools

Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker said he doesn’t plan to reinstate mask mandates for schools this fall even as over a dozen lawmakers sent a letter to the governor asking him to revive the policy, reports State House News Service’s Chris Lisinski.

More from Lisinski: “In a letter to the governor on Wednesday, the representatives and senators noted that children under 12 years old remain ineligible for any of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines and that ‘case counts are increasing here in Massachusetts and nationwide.’”

State House News Service

Vax rate disparities narrowing, experts say

With nearly 4.3 million people vaccinated in the state, gaps in vaccination rates along racial and ethnic lines are persisting, reports Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune. Health officials say progress has been made on narrowing the disparities. 

More from Wade: “Public health experts say Massachusetts has made progress to narrow the disparities. They blame the gaps on a lack of focus on hard-hit communities as vaccines were first available, suggesting that minority communities were an afterthought.”

Eagle Tribune

Worst way to face a grizzly bear? Alone and nearly out of ammo in Alaska

Almost out of bullets. Running on little sleep. And all alone in the remote Alaskan wilderness. That’s not where anyone wants to find themselves when trying to stave off a grizzly bear. But New York Time’s Neil Vigdor reports one man was in that exact situation last week. And who else to come to the rescue than Massachusetts own Lt. j.g. A.J. Hammac, a 35-year-old Coast Guard helicopter pilot who, with the help of his crew, saved the man. Hammac is based out of Cape Cod and is spending a couple weeks in Alaska for the Coast Guard.

New York Times

There’s no ‘I’ in mayor: Janey won’t be listed as incumbent on Boston ballot

No such luck. Boston election officials say acting Mayor Kim Janey will not be listed on the September preliminary ballot as ‘incumbent’ mayor but will instead be identified as a ‘present city councilor,’ Sean Phillip Cotter of the Herald reports. The names of all the mayoral hopefuls will be drawn from a hat Friday to determine the order they’ll appear on the ballot.

Boston Herald

Eight-figure club: Five Bay State restaurants landed $10 million in relief funds

More than 2,500 Massachusetts bars, restaurants and caterers scored just under $1 billion in relief funds from the federal Restaurant Revitalization Funds, including a handful of companies that each landed $10 million or more, Michelle Williams of MassLive reports.

MassLive

Scrapped tax credits: The several that didn’t make it into the state budget

While much focus was given to the controversial film tax credit that was approved in the state budget, Christian Wade at The Daily News reports that three other tax credits were scrapped for medical device user fees, vessel owners, and a tax exemption on income from sale or transfer of patents for energy conservation.

Daily News

Here’s what you can spend a few extra million on

Have $3.2 million laying around? Dumb question, we know. But on the off chance you do and want to buy an apartment with incredible views of the State House — not to mention access to a dog spa, children’s play room, and conference rooms — then Boston Business Journal’s Catherine Carlock has the story for you.

Boston Business Journal

Powder keg? Counter protest planned at Auburn fundraiser for Jan. 6 transgressors

If nothing else, they have different definitions of what a hero is. An event planned for this weekend in Auburn billed as the “Refounding Fathers Festival,” designed to raise funds for Bay State residents who face charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection, is drawing ire and promises of a counter-protest from progressive groups, Craig Semon of the Telegram reports.

Telegram & Gazette

Repulsive: Brockton city councilor target of racially tinged attack

Brockton City Council candidate Marlon Green said one of his children was the first to come across gallon jugs full of urine and covered in racial slurs in the driveway of his home, an attack he says is a direct response to his candidacy for office. Mina Corpuz of the Enterprise reports police are investigating the incident and looking for possible surveillance video.

Brockton Enterprise

Sunday public affairs TV: Mass Port CEO, Geoff Diehl, CCC Chairman, and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Journalism Prof. Dan Kennedy of Northeastern discussing his annual New England Muzzle Awards spotlighting local offenses against free speech and freedom of the press.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. This week: Mass Port CEO Lisa Wieland giver her first television interview since the COVID pandemic began to talk about travel and changes at Logan Airport; Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman on how the industry managed to keep growing during the pandemic; and Boston Globe’s Shirley Leung on the Delta Variant, Jeff Bezos going to space, and traffic on I-93.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guests: Republican candidate for governor Geoff Diehl talks to hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu  followed by a political roundtable with Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker and Republican Political Analyst Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Daren Bascome of Proverb Agency and Martha Sheridan of Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau on Boston’s rebranding;  Natalia Urtubey, director small business in the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, and Michael Mazur of Colu Technologies talk about benefits of a new app that earns you “Boston Points”; and Cynthia Mead of Zoo New England and Jessie Li of Tianyu Arts & Culture Inc. talk about the “Boston Lights: A Lantern Experience.”

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Janey names two Latina education activists to School Committee – Universal Hub

N.L. town of 30 people is connected to Boston 4th graders after rescue of tiny boat – Toronto Star

Massachusetts

Attleboro mayor plans to hire 13 firefighters – Sun Chronicle

EcoTarium receives $1.1M in federal pandemic aid – Worcester Business Journal

Funds for forests: Campaign ramps up to improve state’s rural lands payments – Berkshire Eagle

Nation

Florida reports highest daily COVID-19 cases since January – The Hill

Mississippi asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in upcoming case – Washington Post

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