Happening Today

Today | As Massachusetts hospitals contend with the highest number of COVID-19 patients since May 2020, they will begin reporting the breakdown of patients hospitalized because of their COVID-19 infection and those hospitalized for something else who test positive for COVID-19 once already hospitalized.

Today | Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins plans to take the oath of office as the next U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, and Sex Offender Registry Board Chair Kevin Hayden will take over as DA.

10 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu holds a press conference at City Hall to provide updates regarding the city’s response at Mass and Cass.

2 p.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, House Speaker Ronald Mariano, and other legislative leaders hold a closed door meeting. A media availability follows.

2 p.m. | Transportation Committee holds a hearing on bills dealing with tolling, MBTA issues, licensing and identification matters, and passenger rail service between Boston and Pittsfield.

Today’s Stories

Rollins to be sworn in as U.S. attorney today

Later today, Rachael Rollins will become the first Black woman to serve as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts.

The Suffolk County district attorney is set to take her oath of office Monday as Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board Chairman Kevin Hayden takes over in the DA’s office. U.S. District Court Chief F. Dennis Saylor will swear Rollins in at the Moakley Courthouse in Boston.

Rollins will take office without a federal security detail even though she’s received recent threats, reported Boston Globe’s Andrea Estes, who notes that the district attorney has asked federal marshals for a full-time security detail in recent weeks amid racist online comments and death threats.

Boston Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports that Hayden spent roughly a decade as a prosecutor in the Suffolk County DA’s office under former DAs Ralph Martin and Daniel Conley. He’ll serve the remainder of Rollins’ term after which voters will head to the polls to choose another Suffolk County district attorney.

Tiernan writes that Hayden hasn’t said whether or not he’ll launch a campaign for a full term.

BPD places head of Boston First Responders United on leave

The head of a group of first responders in Boston opposing a vaccine mandate was placed on leave by her employer, the Boston Police Department. Boston Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that the department placed Sgt. Shana Cottone on leave as a result of an open internal affairs investigation. Cottone told the Herald that officers came to her house Saturday morning to retrieve her badge and gun.

Boston Herald

Looking at a future where COVID is endemic

The COVID-19 virus may never truly leave us. But as the years go on, a sense of normalcy could return. Boston Globe’s Hanna Krueger and Mark Arsenault report that top health experts view the virus entering an endemic state — meaning it may not disappear — though the protection of regular vaccines and immunity may decrease the negative effects.

More from the Globe duo: “The virus will no doubt still pose potentially grave threats to the elderly and medically vulnerable, but the scale of suffering could be much lower, closer to what we endured in the worst flu seasons before COVID’s arrival.”

Boston Globe

DPH issues booster shot requirement for nursing home workers

The Department of Public Health set a Feb. 28 deadline for nursing home workers to get a booster shot or be at risk of losing their jobs. WBUR’s Amanda Beland reports the head of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association supports the mandate and said getting shots in peoples’ arms has been a priority.


Walsh and Healey boast millions in campaign cash

Gubernatorial candidates in Massachusetts have already amassed millions in campaign dollars. But the two with the most have not yet said whether or not they’ll take a shot at the state’s top office. Associated Press’ Boston Bureau reports that U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey are rolling in dough.

More from the AP: “Walsh began the year with more than $5.1 million in his campaign account, compared to more than $3.6 million for Healey. The two announced Democratic candidates — Harvard professor Danielle Allen and state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz — reported far less.”

Associated Press Boston

Wellness check: Warren, Markey want ICE to review Plymouth jail condition

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are asking the Biden administration to look into the conditions experienced by detainees held on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at Plymouth County Jail, Wheeler Cowperthwaite and Joe Difazio of the Patriot Ledger report. The jail is the only county-level facility in the state that still holds detainees on behalf of ICE, and the lawmakers are seeking information on access to meals and health care and how language barriers are handled.

Patriot Ledger

New regulations take aim at truck emissions

Truck emissions are the target of new regulations the state is preparing to put in place. Eagle-Tribune’s Christian M. Wade reports the Department of Environmental Protection unveiled the new regulations last week and said they would require manufactures to increase zero-emission truck sales from 30 to 50 percent by 2030 and 40 to 75 percent by 2035.


Second thoughts: New Wampanoag leader promises fresh look at casino ambitions

Brian Weeden, who just began his first full year as chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, says the tribe will go “back to the drawing board” as it considers whether to move forward with its East Taunton casino plans now that federal officials have cleared the path, Phillip Marcelo of the Associated Press reports, via WCVB. Weeden suggests everything is on the table, including building a scaled-back facility and walking away from the casino plan altogether to focus on other opportunities that could be available given the formal recognition of the tribe’s sovereignty.


This day in history … Patrick’s prescient cautious optimism

On this day back in 2008, then-Gov. Deval Patrick told the State House News Service he was “cautiously optimistic” about Barack Obama’s chances in the next day’s New Hampshire Presidential primary. Patrick turned out to be spot-on: Cautious because Obama would finish behind Hillary Clinton in the Granite State; and optimistic because Obama would soon regain front-runner status after the primary in South Carolina, where Lisa Wangsness of the Globe reported Patrick served as a key surrogate.

More airline cancellations this weekend as icy weather impacts Boston

At this point, we’re no stranger to delayed or cancelled flights. The past month has been brutal in that regard. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports that about 7,000 flights across the world were delayed this weekend, including nearly 80 at Boston’s Logan International airport as a result of icy weather and COVID-related staff shortages.


Worcester City Council slated to hold first meeting of session on Tuesday

Worcester City Council plans to hold its first meeting of the 2022-2023 session Tuesday night, and a number of orders are already on the agenda. Telegram & Gazette’s Steven H. Foskett Jr. has the full rundown of what councilors will consider during the meeting, including the selection of a new Board of Health member.

Telegram & Gazette

Hingham Board of Health issues indoor mask advisory

Hingham officials issued a new mask advisory for public indoors spaces as the state experiences a surge in cases. Patriot Ledger’s Wheeler Cowperthwaite reports the town’s Board of Health held an emergency meeting Friday morning to issue an advisory encouraging — but not requiring — people wear masks at indoor public spaces.

Patriot Ledger

That’s rich: Luxury sales set records on Nantucket, in Berkshires

No doubt 2021 was a banner year for real estate and the bigger, the better. On Nantucket, real estate sales set a new record, topping $2.3 billion in total value and crushing the previous record of $1.9 billion set just the year before, Joshua Balling of the Inquirer & Mirror reports.

Meanwhile, Tony Dobrowolski of the Berkshire Eagle reports the Berkshires region saw 94 properties sold in 2021 for $1 million or more – more than three times pre-pandemic levels.

Freezing temperatures on deck for Berkshires this week

Sure, no major snowstorms are forecast this week for the Berkshires but temperatures are going to get close to zero. Berkshire Eagle’s Clarence Fanto reports a “polar-vortex” — an Artic deep-freeze — is expected early this week. An get ready for this — the high for Tuesday is 5 degrees.

Berkshire Eagle

Today’s Headlines


At Mass. and Cass, word of a cleanup, housing, has begun to spread – Boston Globe

Michelle Wu calls for more flexibility for remote learning amid coronavirus surge – Boston Herald


Massachusetts’ top Trial Court Security Department official resigns in the wake of report outlining assaults at training academy – MassLive

Package stores pushing ‘compromise’ ballot question – CommonWealth Magazine


Jan. 6 panel ramps up investigation into Trump’s state-level pressure – Politico

A five-alarm fire in the Bronx has left 19 people dead, including 9 children – WBUR

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