Happening Today

Boncore farewell, ARPA hearing, mayoral forum, and more

9:30 a.m. | Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, A Better City, and CommonWealth Magazine hold forum for Boston mayoral candidates focused on the economy, equity, and quality of life challenges.

10:30 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets. Commissioners will get updates from staff on operations at the three gaming facilities and from staff on the agency’s return-to-work planning. A matter related to benefits for horse racing jockeys and drivers is up for a vote.

11 a.m. | Senate holds a formal session where Sen. Joseph Boncore is expected to deliver his farewell address. House holds informal session.

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11:30 a.m. | Following its August recess, the Legislature returns to its series of hearings related to spending the remaining roughly $4.8 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money in the state’s coffers. Joint Committee on Ways and Means and House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight hold a virtual hearing focused on economic development through the lenses of transportation, arts and tourism, climate, and infrastructure.

11:30 a.m. | Marblehead resident Virginia Buckingham will help the North Shore Chamber of Commerce kick off a new series designed to empower women by discussing her experience as the former head of the state agency in charge of Logan International Airport on the day two hijacked planes out of Boston crashed into the Twin Towers in New York.

Today’s Stories

Back to the debate over what to do with federal funds

They’re back at it.

This morning legislators will return to trying to figure out how to parcel out billions of federal aid dollars that flowed into the state as part of the American Rescue Plan. The Joint Committee on Ways and Means and House Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight plan an 11 a.m. hearing focused on economic development in transportation, arts, tourism, climate, and infrastructure.

How, where, and when to spend the funds has become a heated debate between the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker. Lawmakers have pushed for hearings on the funds that they say will increase transparency while Baker has argued that they need to be distributed quickly to communities hardest hit by the pandemic.

And the subjects of Thursday’s hearing are certainly among those hardest hit.

Tourism to Massachusetts all but stopped during the height of the pandemic, leaving many businesses who rely on the swarms of visitors struggling to survive. Expect stakeholders to discuss just how much their industry has suffered over the course of the last 18 months and how funds could help them rebound.

This week’s hearing won’t be the last either. Legislative officials have signaled their intent to continue holding similar meetings throughout the fall with no clear timeline to finalize a plan to spend the money and the Delta variant posing a continued threat to the recovery progress that’s been made in the state.

‘Buy a law’

There’s probably arguments on both sides of whether or not someone can really “buy a law.” But U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren at rally Wednesday in support of gig economy workers accused large technology companies of attempting to “buy a law here in Massachusetts” that boosts profits by squeezing workers, reports Boston Business Journal’s Lucia Maffei. Warren is referencing the ongoing effort by Uber and Lyft to successfully push through a 2022 ballot question designating app-based workers as contractors rather than full employees while offering some benefits.

Boston Business Journal

‘Never known a world without terrorism or a war on terror’

For people born in 2001, there was no “before 9/11.” WBUR’s Dan Guzman reports on how one generation of kids grew up in a world shaped by a catastrophic event that they never witnessed. One student from Tufts University born on Sept. 11, 2001 told WBUR that they have “never known a world without terrorism or a war on terror.”

WBUR

Emails show Joint Base Cape Cod official worried about review of machine gun range

A top officer at Joint Base Cape Cod told congressional aides that he was worried a more careful environmental review of plans to build a machine gun range on the base would stop the project, reports WCAI’s Eve Zuckoff. The emails, dated from late 2020 to summer of 2021, were released on Tuesday to WCAI and the Association to Preserve Cape Cod after several public records request and an appeal to the secretary of state’s office.

More from Zuckoff: “That email and about 100 others released Tuesday reveal escalating tensions between Gen. Christopher Faux, executive director of the base, and the office of U.S. Rep. William Keating, a Democrat whose district includes the Cape. In one, Faux accused aides to the congressman of ‘deliberately deceiving me and my colleagues” and said the result was ‘a false sense of trust.’”

WCAI

COVID-19 Numbers: 1,362 new cases

Massachusetts state health officials reported 1,362 new cases, a 2.38 percent positivity rate, and 15 deaths.

How do today’s numbers stack up against neighboring states?

Vermont reported 105 new cases and a 2.9 percent positivity rate.

New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services reported 339 new cases and a 5.5 percent positivity rate.

Maine reported 403 new cases.

Connecticut logged 935 new cases and a 3.51 percent positivity rate.

Rhode Island reported 405 new cases and a 3.1 percent positivity rate.

Department of Public Health

Boston mayoral candidates face off in first debated

The first televised hour-long debate between the Boston mayoral candidates went about as smoothly as it could with little tension except for a few clashes over policing and the situation at Mass and Cass, reports Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter. Boston Globe’s Danny McDonald and Jeremy C. Fox report that it was a mostly “genteel affair” where the candidates looked to make their pitch to voters less than a week before the preliminary election.

Boston Herald

Taking aim: Union ad compares Baker to Nixon over Soldiers’ Home fallout

They’re going way back. The National Association of Government Employees has produced a 30-second ad that seeks to keep the heat on Gov. Charlie Baker over his handling of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID outbreak, MassLive’s Stephanie Barry reports. The ad pokes at Baker for hiring an “incompetent” administration and ends with Baker’s face morphing into that of former President Richard Nixon while a voice-over talks about “coverups.”

MassLive

Not yet: DA says staff won’t return to reopened courthouse without further testing

The Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse in Springfield is set to reopen today after a two-week closure to address a mold outbreak, but Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni says he and his staff won’t return to their offices until an independent assessment determines it’s safe. Stephanie Barry of MassLive has the latest details.

MassLive

Downing rides the rails to Worcester to promote transpo plan

Gubernatorial candidate Ben Downing rolled through Worcester Wednesday to promote a transportation plan that doubles funding for regional transit authorities and establishes regional transportation commissions, reports Telegram & Gazette’s Marco Cartolano. Downing is on a two-week tour and arrived in Worcester after traveling from Boston’s South Station to Worcester’s Union Station.

Telegram & Gazette

Stepping out: Somerville’s Curtatone exiting politics — for now

Cross another potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate off the list. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone says he will become president of the Northeast Clean Energy Council when his term ends in January, putting an end to speculation that the vocal critic of Gov. Baker would toss his hat into the 2022 governor’s race. Emma Platoff of the Globe and the Herald’s Erin Tiernan report Curtatone, who led Somerville for 18 years, is not ruling out a future run for office.

Amount due: Government says Correia’s tab is over $500,000

Federal prosecutors have done the math and want a judge to order convicted former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II to pay $566,740 in restitution, Dan Medeiros of the Herald News reports. Most of the money is tied to fraudulent investments in Correia’s SnoOwl app, while about $150,000 worth came, prosecutors say, from Correia’s extortion of would-be pot shop licensees.

Herald News

New recommendations for Springfield Catholic Diocese on how to handle abuse

A task force released recommendations Wednesday on how the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield can better respond to allegations of sexual abuse by clergy and church workers, reports Anne-Gerard Flynn for The Republican.

More from Flynn: The report “calls for a trauma-informed, timely approach and response, education down to the parish level on this approach and oversight by an advisory committee that the report’s far-reaching recommendations are implemented.”

MassLive

Zooming to the rescue

Zoom is zooming to the rescue. An official from the company is in contact with West Stockbridge police after a threating “Zoom bombing incident,” reports Berkshire Eagle’s Heather Bellow.  A person hacked into a Select Board on Tuesday ad hurled racial slurs and threats at the owner of a Vietnamese restaurant, town officials, and others. Zoom is looking into how the meeting was hacked and for any identifying information.

Berkshire Eagle

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Boston acting mayor doesn’t attend Medal of Honor Convention ‘Mayor’s Welcome Reception’ – Boston Herald

Five mayoral hopefuls meet in first debate before Sept. 14 election – Dorchester Reporter

20-story hotel, residential tower proposed for Ross Lot in downtown Quincy – Patriot Ledger

Massachusetts

Local reps introduce bill for COVID-19 Remembrance Day – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Sen. Markey questions proposed Nantucket shooting range – Inquirer & Mirror

Western Mass Job Trail has underwhelming response as businesses struggle to find workers – MassLive

Nation

Justice Department planning to sue Texas over abortion law – Politico

White House asks several Trump appointees to resign from military service academy boards – Washington Post

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