Keller at Large

Keller: The House GOP’s Plunge Into Insanity

On this week’s Keller at Large, Jon Keller takes a look back at last week’s debate in the House on vaccination mandates for members. Keller’s take: “The last institutional island of Republican sanity in Massachusetts has slipped underwater. After all, their friends are all doing it.”


Happening Today

Rodrigues at MTF meeting, Lottery Commission, and more

8 a.m. | Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michael Rodrigues is the guest speaker at a Mass. Taxpayers Foundation trustees virtual meeting.

9 a.m. | Rep. Jeffrey Roy and Sen. Eric Lesser, co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, present awards to manufacturers from around the state as part of the Massachusetts Manufacturing Mash-Up. Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy will also speak.

10:30 a.m. | Mass. Lottery Commission meets to get an update on August and year-to-date sales, and to take a series of votes related to contracts and collective bargaining agreements.

10:30 a.m. | Bills related to gender neutral bathrooms, Indigenous Peoples Day and gender neutral designations on state documents are up for a hearing before the State Administration and Regulatory Oversight Committee.

1 p.m. | Drawing Democracy Coalition releases its proposed “unity maps” for state legislative districts.

Today’s Stories

More masks in Massachusetts

Kids in public school will have to keep their masks on for a little bit longer.

State officials announced Monday that a mask mandate for students and staff in Massachusetts public schools has been extended through at least Nov. 1. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education previously mandated masks for students age 5 and up until at least Oct. 1.

Boston Globe’s Sahar Fatima reports that the rules are the same — students and staff must wear masks while indoors at school except while eating, drinking, or during a specified mask break. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said they would revisit the requirement in “the near future to revise it as warranted by public health data.”

Education Commissioner Jeff Riley said he made the decision to extend the requirement with the best interest of students and staff in mind, reports Boston Herald’s Todd Prussman. The mandate does include exemptions for students who can’t wear masks as a result of medical conditions or behavioral needs.

And there is a way out of the requirement: if at least 80 percent of students and staff are vaccinated then middle and high schools will have the option to lift the mandate by turning in an attestation form to the Department of Education, reports MassLive’s Heather Morrison.

So if you have kids, make sure they have a mask in their back pocket as they head off to school each morning.

More ‘breadcrumbs:’ $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser Baker points to re-election bid

Tea leaves and breadcrumbs. As the state’s political universe awaits word of whether Gov. Charlie Baker will seek a third term, some observers say a $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser at One Dalton Tower is just the latest hint that he’ll eventually announce he’s running again, the Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports.

Boston Herald

‘Horrific’ scene at MBTA station

An escalator malfunction led to a bloody and horrific scene at the MBTA’s Back Bay station over the weekend. Boston Globe’s Emily Sweeney and Steve Annear report that witnesses described a chaotic experience as an escalator started to speed up in reverse. Nine people were taken to hospitals with not life-threatening injuries.

Boston Globe

Head of Boston Fed Bank announces earlier retirement date

The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is moving up his retirement date to take care of a medical condition that “significantly” worsened during the pandemic, reports State House News Service’s Colin A. Young. Eric Rosengren was already looking at a mandatory retirement when he turns 65 in about nine months.

More from Young: “It will open up a powerful position that has been held by two people for nearly 30 years at a time when the Fed is engaged in steering the economy through a pandemic. In his resignation letter, Rosengren said his kidney function ‘declined significantly to the point that I qualified for the kidney transplant list in June of 2020.'”

State House News Service

Operation Varsity Blues: Former USC soccer coach says she faked athletic profiles

A former University of Southern California soccer coach said she regularly faked athletic profiles with false photos or exaggerated accomplishments to help kids get into college. Associated Press’ Boston Bureau reports that Laura Janke testified in U.S. District Court in Boston in the Operation Varsity Blues case, which includes a number of payments to get kids into elite universities with false test scores or fake athletic accomplishments.

Associated Press

Two Afghan families arrive in Massachusetts

A family of three and a family of five from Afghanistan landed in Boston late last week and are expected to resettle in Worcester. Telegram & Gazette’s Anoushka Dalmia reports that the families were welcomed to the state by the Office for Refugees and Immigrants and the Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center. Over the course of the next few months, about 250 Afghans are expected to settle in Central Massachusetts.

Telegram & Gazette

Wu’s name will appear first on Boston’s November ballot

Does it matter who tops a ballot during any given election? We’re sure there’s a debate to be had there. In any case, GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith reports that Boston mayoral candidate Michelle Wu’s name will appear first on the Nov. 2 ballot. Annissa Essaibi George will appear second.

GBH News

Mass General Brigham plans to hand out COVID bonuses to staff

Get ready for some cash if you work at Mass General Brigham. The hospital system announced that it will give up to $1,000 in bonuses to essentially all of its workforce, reports Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett. Mass General Brigham plans to spend $75 million to hand out bonuses to 80,000 employees who worked in fiscal 2021 — not including leadership positions.

Boston Business Journal

From the WBUR and GBH radio waves

Missed out on radio shows from today? Here are some interesting segments that aired on Monday.

From WBUR’s “Radio Boston:” Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell reflects on her run for mayor of Boston in one her first public interviews since losing the preliminary election nearly two weeks ago.

And on GBH’s “Boston Public Radio:” Revs. Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III talk about several racist incidents that have occurred recently including at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a Roxbury Prep-Georgetown football game. 

Another exit: Clarksburg town accountant latest to call it quits

Not helping. Clarksburg Town Accountant Angela Garrity resigned from her part-time post, the latest in a string of departures as the community struggles to get to the source of bookkeeping issues tied to the town’s 2020 budget, Greta Jochem of the Berkshire Eagle reports.

Berkshire Eagle

Fourth time the charm? Prosecutors will try again after murder conviction tossed

Hampshire County prosecutors say they’ll take their first-degree murder case against Annamarie Cochrane Rintala to court once again after the Supreme Judicial Court tossed out her conviction because testimony from a paint expert at trial should have been excluded. Stephanie Barry of MassLive reports two earlier trials ended with deadlocked juries before Rintala was found guilty of killing her wife in 2010.


Above and beyond: Hamilton police deliver food after Uber eats driver arrested

First they protected, then they served. After Hamilton police arrested an Uber Eats driver on an outstanding warrant on Sunday, a sergeant who arrived to assist grabbed the bag of food and delivered it to its destination. Dave Rogers of the Salem News has the details, but no word on whether there was a tip.

Salem News

Today’s Headlines


In the race for Boston mayor, Wu and Essaibi George are focusing on a crucial part of the electorate: Black voters – Boston Globe

Some advocates and experts push back against sheriff’s Mass. & Cass proposal – Boston Globe


Racist emails sent to UMass’ Black student groups spur responses from university leaders, but some students say it wasn’t fast enough – MassLive

Key flashpoints in debate over ‘supervised consumption sites’ – CommonWealth

Pittsfield residents got to chime in on a survey on spending coronavirus relief money. Here are the highlights. – Berkshire Eagle


FBI: Killings soared nearly 30 percent in 2020, with more slayings committed with guns – Washington Post

John Hinckley, Who Shot President Reagan, Wins Unconditional Release – NPR

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