Today | Mass. Gaming Commission is due to report December gaming revenues and their implication for state tax revenue, though the Monday holiday could delay their release to Tuesday.
11 a.m. | City of Cambridge hosts an event to celebrate and remember the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. The program will feature remarks from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, according to the city, and will be followed by a 12:45 p.m. informal lunch and community gathering.
2 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Boston University President Robert Brown and New England Conservatory President Andrea Kalyn are among the speakers at “A Celebration of the Lives and Legacies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King,” an event hosted by the city of Boston in partnership with BU and the New England Conservatory.
Rollins sees “Mass. and Cass” role for feds
Happy Monday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Enjoy the day off if you have it, if not we hope the workday goes smoothly.
Freshly minted U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins sees a potential role for her office to play in the situation at Mass and Cass in Boston. It’s an issue that reached an important milestone last week when the Wu administration and public health officials cleared tents from the area where many homeless and struggling with addiction had been living.
During a Sunday appearance on WCVB’s “On The Record,” Rollins said she’s seen situations where human and drug trafficking have occurred in the area, adding that both crimes top her priority list as she takes over as the region’s top federal prosecutor.
“It’s important for us to see whether we can bring the full weight and resources of the federal government into the conversation that…now includes not only law enforcement, but public health, mental health, housing specialists,” she said.
Last week, Mayor Michelle Wu said more than 150 people in the area had been moved into transitional housing as winter weather bore down on New England and public health concerns mounted as omicron raged through the state.
It’s a work in progress, Wu has said, and addressing root causes of substance use and homelessness will take time. Rollins said her office and the federal government may be able to help out.
“Certainly those pharmaceutical companies that are pumping opioids into communities or doctors that are prescribing them, we can be helpful,” she said. “We can be helpful in assisting with things like that.”
Other notes to start your week…
– Senator-elect Lydia Edwards is scheduled to be sworn in during a Senate formal on Thursday after she claimed victory in an uncontested general election last week.
– The House is scheduled to hold a formal Wednesday, though it’s not yet clear what votes leadership has planned.
-The Governor’s Council has scheduled hearings to consider Gov. Baker’s recommendation that the life sentences of William Allen and Thomas Koonce be commuted to second degree murder. Koonce’s hearing is up first on Jan. 26, followed by Allen on Feb. 2. Both men are serving life sentences without possibility of parole.
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Behind the curtain at City Hall
The early days of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration have been no walk in the park. Wu and her advisers have been faced with challenge after challenge. Boston Globe’s Emma Platoff takes a deep dive into the mayor’s first few months in office, describing in detail how she has dealt with a resurgence of COVID and related issues.
Hospitals in Massachusetts stretched thin
Hospital in Massachusetts are once again facing a shortage of critical bed capacity as they also contend with COVID-related staffing shortages. USA Today’s Hadley Barndollar reports hospitalization rates are already passing previous pandemic records. When combined with ill and exhausted employees, health officials say they are facing an uphill battle.
NYC-to-Pittsfield rail service deal still in progress
A deal to finalize New York City-to-Pittsfield passenger rail service is still in the works. Berkshire Eagle’s Danny Jin reports Amtrak still needs to finalize terms with CSX Corp., which said it had agreed to certain terms.
More from Jin: “Amtrak, however, has yet to agree to those terms. Amtrak views the letter from CSX as ‘a new proposal,’ it said in a statement. ‘We are awaiting the details of CSX’s proposal, which will be reviewed by Amtrak and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, our state partner,’ Amtrak said.”
Boston mayor defends vax mandate
The day a new vaccine mandate for City of Boston employees and a proof-of-vaccination requirement for some indoor spaces took effect, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu defended her “B Together” initiative. Boston Herald’s Marie Szaniszlo reports said without a clear policy, small businesses will experience burdens as they try to navigate the world of the vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Thousands of flights canceled this weekend
Thousands of flights were canceled across the country over the weekend as winter storms bared down on the Northeast and COVID-related staffing issues continue to plague airlines. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports nearly 100 flights were scrapped at Logan International, as well as three dozen at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport.
City of Boston employee vax deadline extended by a week
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu extended by one week the deadline for city workers to provide proof of at least one COVID-19 shot. GBH News’ Saraya Wintersmith reports the extension follows a court victory for the Wu administration in which a judge declined to block the mandate.
Here’s what the city’s Office of Labor Relations said in a memo: “In a show of good faith, the City is announcing that between January 15 and January 23, 2022, no employees will be disciplined nor placed on administrative leave and instead will be allowed an additional week to get into compliance.”
Students walk out of class to bring attention to COVID safety
High schoolers in and around Boston staged a walk-out on Friday in an effort to signal a need for more COVID-19 safety measures in the classroom. Dorchester Reporter’s Seth Daniel reports students left class at 10:30 a.m. Friday, including kids at Henderson K-12 School on Croftland Avenue, Madison Park, and John D. O’Bryant high school.
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