We should all be angry about this
Our Beacon Hill lawmakers failed Massachusetts this week.
The House and Senate just adjourned for the year without an agreement on a $4 billion plan that could have provided a boost for our economy, trained desperately needed new workers and addressed our housing crisis, among other initiatives.
It’s not like they didn’t have enough time.
Gov. Charlie Baker put forward his plan for ARPA funds and excess tax revenue seven months ago.
Baker delivered his proposal in June. It would have put $1 billion into housing and home ownership and hundreds of millions of dollars into job training, water and sewer infrastructure and other priorities.
But lawmakers ignored Baker’s call for urgency and said they'd get to it after their summer recess.
Finally, this fall, they vowed to put forward a plan before Thanksgiving -- only to adjourn on Wednesday for the rest of 2021 without a compromise between House and Senate versions. (There’s still a slim chance something could be approved this year but the rules make it difficult.)
“The Legislature made a commitment to get it done before they went home for the holiday season and I can’t tell you how frustrated I am,” Baker told reporters yesterday. “Not just for me but for all the mayors and small businesses and folks who are looking for an opportunity to do something other than what they were doing before, and getting the skills that would be required to do that.”
Medical groups have some advice for employers
The American Medical Association and more than 60 other health care associations are advising employers to voluntarily adopt President Biden’s vax-or-test mandate, and not wait for the courts to rule on legal challenges, reports the Washington Post.
“We — physicians, nurses and advanced practice clinicians, health experts, and health care professional societies — fully support the requirement that workers at companies with over 100 workers be vaccinated or tested,” the organizations wrote in a joint statement.
H.R. types think you should do so too, for a different reason
Many employment experts also recommended companies start preparing for the mandate now but for a different reason: So policies are in place if the court challenge challenges fail.
That includes deciding who will pay for required weekly testing starting Jan. 4 for workers who decline vaccinations.
Employers are not required to cover those costs.
But you may want to anyway, especially in such a competitive job market, writes Ty West for the Business Journals.
Then again, even if the cost was $50 per test, the weekly expense would equate to $1,250 for a business with 25 unvaccinated employees.
Even if your current on-site staff is fully vaccinated, you’ll need to decide what happens when you bring on new employees.
The vax-or-test rules only apply to employees who are working in person.
And soon there will be three
Three years ago this month, Newton voters resoundingly approved a series of ballot questions that allowed for eight marijuana shops to open in the city.
Three years later, the city’s third cannabis dispensary is about to open and predictions that these businesses would unravel the fabric of our community have yet to materialize.
Ascend, will open at 1089 Washington Street in West Newton next month, joining Garden Remedies, also on Washington Street, and Redi on Elliot Street near Route 9. Ascend also joins Garden Remedies in offering home delivery.
Still pending in various stages of the permit process are: Union Twist at Newton Four Corners, MedMen in Chestnut Hill, Green Lady in Newton Centre, Verilife in Auburndale and Nuestra in Newton Upper Falls.
Other need to knows
- Eighteen individuals representing a cross-section of the community have been selected to serve on Wellesley’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. The volunteer group was selected from a pool of close to 40 interested applicants.
- Workbar will be awarding one minority-owned or operated Massachusetts small business a boost with a $5K grant and a free year of Workbar membership. Details. Deadline Dec. 3.
- Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller has allocated $75,000 of ARPA funds to establish a grant program called Revitalize Creative Newton in support of Newton’s nonprofit cultural organizations as they respond to and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The program is organized by Newton Cultural Development and applications close Nov. 30.
- The Needham Channel’s Yuxiao Yuan interviewed the two candidates -- Karen Calton and Kevin Keane -- seeking to fill the vacant select board seat on Dec. 7.
- Former Newton City Councilor and candidate Jim Cote is calling for Councilors Julia Malakie and Emily Norton to resign following what he is calling an "illegal smear campaign," Newton Patch reports. The controversy was first reported by Village 14 and was the focus of a must-read Globe oped.
You get a booster. You get a booster. You get a booster.
All adults in Massachusetts are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Find a clinic here.
Toy drive helps kids and local merchants
The chamber’s Young Professionals Group is once again coordinating efforts to benefit kids in need through Newton’s Holiday Gift Drive while also supporting local merchants in the city.
The 14th annual Gift Drive (in partnership with The Village Bank, Newton Rotary and the City of Newton) directly assists Newton families with toys and gifts for children newborn to age 10.
You can help support the effort by donating online (we’ll spend your dollars locally); by shopping at Henry Bear’s Park in Newtonville and Just Next Door Toys and Gifts in Auburndale where there are collection boxes; or by attending our year-end networking event at Davio’s in Chestnut Hill on Dec. 8. Details here.
Coming and going
- Two new pop ups shop have opened in Wellesley just in time for the holidays. POP (featuring home accessories, jewelry, faux floral arrangements and more) and Tyed with Love (selling tie-dye apparel and offering classes for kids and adults) are both located at Linden Square near Wellesley Tavern.
- Bettina’s Bakery has opened in Newton Upper Falls. Owner Bettina Scemama is German. Her partner Naun Rivera is from Honduras. So we get to enjoy a mix of German and Latin treats. (B.C. Heights)
How to not let supply chain woes ruin your holidays
Worried that all those container ships stuck off the coast of California will wreck havoc on your holiday gift giving?
There’s a solution and it's just a few blocks away.
First you'll need to stop asking friends, family, colleagues (and favorite newsletter writer too, perhaps?) what they want for the holidays, suggests Margaret Renkle in the New York Times.
Instead make a commitment to surprise them.
“The supply-chain snarls may be giving us the nudge we need to putter about in our favorite shops again, looking for something that would make a loved one’s eyes light up,” she writes.
“But if you’re hoping to find something unexpected and delightful, you’ll need to go to the little local shops that have survived in the age of online shopping by being quirky and brave, and by knowing their customers well enough to say, ‘I think you would love this.’”
Need some help getting started? Begin here.
That’s today’s need to knows unless you need to know how many cars a Florida dude had to pogo over to break a Guinness World Record.
Enjoy the weekend, be back Tuesday.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
Charles River Regional Chamber