Happening Today:

8:30 | Congressman McGovern attends a ceremony for the Small Business Administration's 70th anniversary — Mount Wachusett, 499 Mountain Rd., Princeton.

10:30 | Lt. Gov. Driscoll hosts a press conference to announce $31.5 million in Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program awards, which support cities and towns with climate resiliency investments. The event will also "highlight the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans' historic reclaiming of their homeland," the governor's office said. At Stockbridge Town Hall, 50 Main St., Stockbridge.

12:00 | Reps. Dylan Fernandes and Kip Diggs hold press conference to announce a bill to expand commuter rail access to Cape and Island residents. They will be joined by Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir. At the Hyannis Transportation Center, 1 Transportation Ave, Hyannis.

12:00 | Boston City Council meets. Mayor Wu's proposed ordinance allowing Boston police to take down tents, tarps and other temporary structures around Mass. and Cass is slated to be introduced.

2:30 | Gov. Healey attends a tour and media availability ahead of the reopening of the Sumner Tunnel. Transportation Secretary Fiandaca, Undersecretary Tibbits-Nutt, Highway Administrator Gulliver and MBTA General Manager Eng also participate. Media must RSVP by Wednesday at 10 am to marshall.p.hook@dot.state.ma.us. To be held at the North End exit of the Sumner Tunnel.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu knows that abundant and effective communication is critical in managing a metropolis, which explains her new role as an author — and so far, a prolific one — on the Substack platform. Why let the media muddle the message when you can go directly to the people?

Her latest missive is something of a history lesson and policy paper on the stubbornly difficult Mass & Cass issue, and an argument for her new initiative to enhance police oversight at what has become, as the summer winds down, an open-air drug market and a crime-ridden zone that has compelled some social service groups to exit out of safety concerns. Her fundamental argument: The unsheltered population at Mass & Cass is small compared to the larger element that has populated the area, and police need to clear the encampments promptly to curb illegal and dangerous activity. She urges the City Council to pass her Unlawful Camping ordinance, which she sent to the Council earlier this week. There’s been blowback to her plan, especially the creation of a “safe sleeping space” on Mass. Ave., a move Wu said would be temporary.

Mayors joining Substack seems to be a trend. Texas has a Substack featuring a group of 18 bipartisan “Big City” mayors combining to voice policy opinions. There are several small-city mayors as well, including the mayor of Bend, Oregon. Wu promises to be a regular correspondent – already providing four posts a one-week stretch. With school starting, a sudden spate of youth violence, and her rent control proposal in limbo, there will be plenty for the mayor to write about in coming weeks.

Speaking of Mass & Cass, is Wu’s new ordinance really necessary?

No, says the Boston Globe’s Rachelle Cohen, who writes: “…The ordinance is less about giving police and public officials authority they already have than offering up a feel-good bill of rights for tent dwellers.” And it also would provide the mayor more political cover, Cohen adds.

Boston Globe

And what about Widett Circle?

Is a nearly abandoned industrial space hidden in the middle of the city the answer to public safety chaos at Mass & Cass? The Globe’s Shirley Leung explores the possibilities of installing a homelessness services campus at Widett Circle until the Long Island bridge is restored, an idea being championed by business leaders in the nearby Newmarket area. The land is now owned by the MBTA, which has plans to eventually use the space, but as Leung notes, that could take some time.

Boston Globe

City drops gender from marriage certificates

As part of new policies to bring more inclusiveness to Boston city services, gender identity will no longer be included as a requirement when applying for a marriage certificate. The new policies also include instructions for how and when city employees can ask about gender and sexual identity, GBH reports.


They want their tax breaks and they want them now

Two business groups — the Great Boston Chamber and the MassCPAs — issued a statement yesterday expressing impatience with the unresolved issue of tax breaks for individuals and businesses, Sam Drysdale of the State House News Service reports. The Legislature left a $581 million tax break placeholder in the current fiscal year budget, but exactly what those breaks will be has yet to be resolved — for the Legislature effectively gave itself an incomplete and will have to hand in its homework in due course.

State House News Service

Harvard pushes back time frame for report on human remains sales

It will likely be October before Harvard Medical School releases the results of an outside panel’s review of the college’s Anatomical Gifts program, an inquiry started after the college’s morgue manager was indicted for stealing and selling bodies and body parts donated to help advance research. Jade Lozada and Neil Shah of The Crimson report the med school had said a report on what went wrong would be out by summer’s end.

The Harvard Crimson

New England Law settles over improper federal student loan claims

New England Law-Boston is one of five law schools nationwide that have agreed to pay $2.9 million to settle claims they improperly issued federal student loans to students. In addition to repaying loans issued to students not in accredited programs, New England Law is one of three schools that will also pay a $25,000 fine to the U.S . Department of Education.

Boston Business Journal

Colleges say they’re adapting after Supreme Court nixed Affirmative Action

As campuses in the Pioneer Valley spring back to life, Alexander MacDougal details how both public and private colleges alike are trying to keep diversity front and center as they adapt to the summer Supreme Court ruling striking down affirmative action policies. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Mansfield police chief once deemed ‘unfit’ will soon be back on job 

After more than two years away from his post, much of it spent on paid administrative leave, Mansfield Police Chief Ron Sellon will return to work after Labor Day. David Linton of the Sun-Chronicle reports the town isn’t explaining the timing of the change, which comes less than a year after the town released an outside investigator’s finding that Sellon was ‘unfit’ to serve because of his workplace behavior.


Leominster mayor latest to blast UMass Memorial over birth center closure

Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella says UMass Memorial Medical Center “failed miserably”in how it handled the decision to close the birthing center in his city and asked the Department of Public Health to reject the closure slated for the end of next month, Chris Liskinsky of State House News Service reports.

State House News Service

Fall bummer: Berkshires orchards say they can’t offer pick-your-own this year 

Now what’s everyone going to do on the Patriots bye week? The owners of two of the largest orchards in Berkshire County say they won’t be able to offer pick-your-own apples this year, the key revenue generator just the latest fallout for farmers from the surprise mid-May frost.

Berkshire Eagle

Water woes postpone first day of school in Westport

Westport public schools abruptly canceled the planned first day of school because of problems with the water systems in two buildings and some parents are frustrated at the last-minute decision-making, the Herald-News reports.


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.

Keith Regan is a freelance writer and local news junkie who has been on the MASSterList morning beat since the newsletter’s earliest days. A graduate of Northeastern University and Emerson College, Regan lives in Hopkinton with his wife, Lisa.