Happening Today

Boston-Cambridge Tourism district, Raskin fundraiser

9 a.m. | The legislature’s Civil Service Subcommittee meets and will hear from members of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, Boston Firefighters Local 718 and representatives from the town of Burlington. 

11 a.m. | House and Senate meet in informal sessions. 

1 p.m. | The Boston City Council’s Committee on Government Operations and Committee on Arts, Culture, and Special Events will hold a joint hearing to discuss the creation of a Boston-Cambridge Tourism Marketing District, which has already been approved by officials in Cambridge. 

5 p.m. | U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland is the featured guest at a fundraiser in Wellfleet hosted by state Sen. Julian Cyr and Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila Lyons

Today’s Stories

Boston road show: Biden officials make local push for masks, vaccines for back to school

The top health and education officials in the Biden administration came to Boston Friday to help frame their recommendations for safely returning students to school this fall, a message that leans heavily into both mask usage and vaccinations. 

Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky, who was joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in her return to the Bay State, argued it is important to “keep our schools masked right now” even in high vaccination-rate states such as Massachusetts, Martin Finucane of the Globe andMax Larkin of WBUR report. 

Unsettled? Senate president says Baker should mandate masks in school

The CDC push comes as the state’s own internal debate over masks in schools remains unresolved. On Friday, Senate President Karen Spilka added her name to the growing list of state lawmakers Friday calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to require masks in school. 

The Baker administration is urging school districts to implement their own requirements, but has so far declined to issue a statewide mandate, or even to say if he still has the legal authority to do so now that the state of emergency has lapsed, Mike Deehan of WGBH and Lily Robinson of CommonWealth report. 

“Our children deserve to learn, grow and thrive in a safe and healthy environment, free from the disruption, anxiety and fear of a COVID-19 outbreak in their school,” Spilka wrote in a statement. 

Party time: Obama birthday confab draws celebrities, calls of hypocrisy

When is a birthday party not just a birthday party? When it is hosted by former President Barack Obama in the midst of a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 44th president welcomed a supposedly scaled-back crowd to his Martha’s Vineyard manse after some pols, including Gov. Baker, rapped the event last week. Other Republicans piled on over the weekend, with U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik hammering the hypocrisy of “hundreds of maskless liberal elites” gathering together without proof of vaccination being required, Jon Levine of the New York Post reports.  

So how was the party? Politico has a rundown of what was revealed on social media about the shindig, from the guest list and the swanky pre-party to an epic post-party traffic jam. 

Blurred lines: St. Vincent hires permanent replacements after latest offer rejected

Now we know what happens after the ‘last, best offer’ is rejected. Worcester’s St. Vincent Hospital has hired more than 100 nurses to fill a staffing void left behind by the ongoing nursing strike, which is entering its sixth month. Hospital officials made the move after viewing a schedule for the strike that has events listed through December, Kim Ring of the Telegram and Gazette reports. The strikers are demanding the hospital hire more staffers to increase its nurse to patient ratio. 

Telegram & Gazette

New challenges target UMass vaccine mandates

A Quincy woman is asking a federal judge to halt UMass Boston’s mandate that students planning to return to campus this fall be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Wheeler Cowperthwaite of the Patriot Ledger reports Cora Cluett claims her request for a religious exemption was rejected by the school earlier this year and says her lawsuit was matched by another targeting the mandate at UMass Lowell. 

Patriot Ledger

Should Fall River just have one representative in Congress?

Two is too many. Some advocates in Fall River want lawmakers poised to complete redistricting based on new Census data to reunite the city under a single Congressional district, Audrey Cooney of the Herald-News reports. Most of the city is currently represented by both 4th District Rep. Jake Auchincloss but part falls into U.S. Rep. Bill Keating’s 9th District–a situation that some argue dilutes local political power.  

Herald News

Worth it? Taunton says preliminary election cost $60K–and eliminate just one candidate

With no challenger for Mayor Shauna O’Connell and 19 candidates for nine seats on the City Council, Taunton officials say they will spend as much as $65,000 to run a preliminary election next month that will eliminate just one candidate ahead of the final vote in November. Chris Helms of the Taunton Gazette has the details. 

Taunton Gazette

Full disclosure: Families of 9/11 victims press Biden on document release

With the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks just over a month away, some families say they don’t want President Biden at commemoration events unless he declassifies and releases government documents many believe show Saudi Arabia supported those who carried out the attacks on the U.S. that day. Henry Schwan of the Telegram finds mixed feelings on the issue among Bay State 9/11 families. 

Telegram & Gazette

Getting results: Harvard project exceeds target on minority investors

With Harvard University poised to break ground on its $1 billion research campus expansion, Ira Boudway of Bloomberg reports a mandate from the school that lead developer Tishman Speyer find at least $25 million worth of equity from Black and Latin investors has resulted in a new network of investors being tapped and $31 million being directed to the deal.


Steady progress: Boston City Hall Plaza construction halfway finished.

The ongoing construction that has fenced passersby out of Boston’s City Hall Plaza for the last year is halfway finished. Officials hope to complete the project in May, Boston.com’s Marcus E. Howard reports. Former Mayor Marty Walsh announced groundbreaking on the $75 million project, which aims to transform the barren brick plaza into an accessible venue for events, in July 2020. 


Saving their trees: Advocates hope to throw a wrench in plans for Hyde Park apartment complex

Advocates are decrying a plan from a local real estate company that would transform 14 acres of wooded land in Hyde Park into an upscale apartment complex, complete with 270 apartments, a private pool, and a clubhouse. Environmental justice advocates want to save the small stretch of woods, noting that Hyde Park lost more tree canopy than any other Boston neighborhood between 2014 and 2019, according to the Boston Globe’s Julia Carlin. 

Boston Globe

Soothing effect: As promised, Kelley Square redesign reducing crashes

So far, so good. It appears the $15 million redesign and redevelopment of Worcester’s Kelley Square–part of the public-private partnership to the area ready for Polar Park traffic–is helping to provide much-needed calm in what has long been one of the state’s most dreaded and least understood intersections. Katherine Hamilton of the Worcester Business Journal reports MassDOT data show crashes in the area are down more than 50 percent so far this year compared to the year before work began. 

Worcester Business Journal

Today’s Headlines


Without an Official Vaccine Mandate, Boston Bars and Restaurants Are “Taking Matters into Our Own Hands” – Boston Magazine

Boston Globe sues City of Boston over public records – Boston Globe


Concord Democrat running for Tami Gouveia’s state rep seat – MetroWest Daily News

Neal supports new eviction moratorium, wants protections extended to Franklin, Hampshire renters – Berkshire Eagle

High Times is bringing its Cannabis Cup competition to Massachusetts for the first time; here’s how you can be a judge – MassLive


Biden’s infrastructure bill on cruise control to Senate passage – Politico

Amid Investigations, Trump PAC Still Using Prechecked Donation Boxes – Forbes

How to Contact MASSterList

Send tips to Matt Murphy: Editor@MASSterList.com. For advertising inquiries and job board postings, please contact Dylan Rossiter: Publisher@MASSterList.com or (857) 370-1156. Follow @MASSterList on Twitter.

Subscribe to MASSterList

Start your morning with MASSterList’s chronicle of news and informed analysis about politics, policy, media, and influence in Massachusetts. Plus, get an inside look at Beacon Hill’s hottest new job postings.