Monday, May 31, 2021
Memorial Day was established so we would remember those who died in service to our country. Today, and every day there are men and women around the world serving our country in uniform. Each makes a contribution to the nation and our world, each deserves our recognition. They and those who have served before them represent the American spirit that makes us great.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Friday, May 28, 2021
Governor Baker Issues Order Rescinding COVID-19 Restrictions on May 29 and Terminating State of Emergency Effective June 15
“With restrictions ending tomorrow and continued progress towards our vaccination goal, Massachusetts is on a path towards renewing our economy and returning to normal,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We look forward to working with communities across the state to help them get their main streets and downtowns back up and running and for a sustained recovery ahead.”
Effective May 29, all industries will be permitted to open. With the exception of remaining face-covering requirements for masks in public and private transportation systems, hospitals and other facilities housing vulnerable populations, all industry restrictions will be lifted at that time, and capacity will increase to 100% for all industries. All gathering limits will also be rescinded.
To continue certain public health requirements, like requiring face coverings in certain settings, to remain effective past June 15, Governor Baker today issued a modified declaration of a public health emergency under the public health statute.
Under this order, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health will be proposing to the Public Health Council the continuation of some public health orders in the coming weeks to maintain flexibilities and policies for vaccination, testing and other critical operations.
Earlier this week, Governor Baker filed legislation to extend certain emergency measures currently in place via executive orders that are set to expire on June 15 with the end of the State of Emergency. The bill would extend measures providing for a temporary suspension of certain open meeting law requirements, special permits for expanded outside dining at restaurants, and surprise billing protections for COVID-19 patients.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Greater Cape Ann Community Collaborative Forms to Host Local COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics GCACC to Hold First Clinic Thursday
The Commonwealth has agreed to provide the GCACC with doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. GCACC clinics will be open to all Massachusetts residents ages 12 and older.
The organizers wish to acknowledge the efforts of State Senator Bruce Tarr, who has been instrumental in the creation of the clinic, acting as a key supporter and resource as the group worked to come together and seek state approval for their operation.
“Vaccination is one of the most powerful tools we have to combat COVID-19, and it's important that vaccines be delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Sen. Tarr. “The powerful collaboration of these communities will put local knowledge, access, dedication, and convenience to work so that everyone in our region can become part of the fight against this evil virus. I have been pleased to play a role in facilitating this remarkable regional initiative."
“We thank Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Public Health for approving the Coalition, and Sen. Tarr for his leadership and assistance,” said Ipswich Town Manager Anthony Marino. “We will be able to marshal the power of Cape Ann’s community health-care professionals, who are known to be trustworthy and reliable sources of the most up-to-date vaccination information.”
Appointments for the clinic are encouraged, but not required. To schedule an appointment, click here.
A clinic also will be held on Thursday, May 27, from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Building at the Topsfield Fairgrounds. Pre-registration for Thursday’s clinic is also encouraged, but not required. To pre-register, click here. For additional information, contact the Topsfield Board of Health at 978-887-1520.
Moving forward, clinics will be held weekly for the foreseeable future at the following locations, on the following days:
Clinics will continue to be held at Coolidge Hall in Topsfield on Thursdays following this week’s clinic, from 2-3:30 p.m. each week.
Drive-thru clinics will be held on Saturdays beginning this June at Rockport Elementary School at 34 Jerdens Lane, Rockport. The start date and times will be announced when available.
Clinics will be held weekly on Mondays beginning June 7 at Our Lady of Hope Parish at 1 Pineswamp Road, Ipswich. Times will be announced when available.
The GCACC is also authorized by the MDPH to administer vaccines in other public spaces, and in targeted spaces such as businesses, schools, and houses of worship. Local organizations looking to partner with the GCACC can contact Hamilton Public Health Nurse Rachel Lee at 978-290-9618. The GCACC will publicize dates and times of open clinics when they are finalized.
"With the MDPH's approval of the Greater Cape Ann Community Collaborative, ten local boards of health now have the ability to bring outreach, education and the vaccine to visitors and residents in the Cape Ann area,” said Hamilton Public Health Nurse Lee. “Every person who gets vaccinated makes a difference as we work to protect ourselves and our communities from COVID-19. Let's stop this virus, and make Massachusetts and the Cape Ann region a safe place for all of us to spend the summer.”
As the Senate continues to work on the budget before us, we need to think about helping folks get back to work and helping folks who can't. That situation relates to the pandemic and there's another situation happening in Massachusetts that also demands our attention - the economically devastating impact on those engaged in the fisheries. We know that in the U.S. and particularly New England we have some of the most heavily regulated commercial fisheries in the world.
This amendment is designed to support families and all of the people affected -- from south of Cape Cod all the way to the New Hampshire border. We need to act and find a way to support these folks who have been precluded from earning a living.
Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Monday, May 24, 2021
The Senate will begin debate on our $47.6 billion General Appropriations Act - otherwise known as the state budget for Fiscal Year 2022. Senators have offered more 900 amendments to the budget bill and we are scheduled to start the first of several days of debate in the morning. You can watch my livestream of the debate on my Facebook page at 10AM: https://www.facebook.com/SenatorBruceTarr and access all the amendments and budget here: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateDebate
The Commonwealth has expanded the Homebound Vaccination Program today in support of in-home vaccinations for all eligible residents who are unable to get to a vaccine site. This expansion will support continued vaccination of hard-to-reach populations and supports the Baker Administration’s goal to make COVID-19 vaccines readily available. The Administration launched the Homebound Vaccination on March 29 for individuals who met specific federal criteria, such has requiring significant supports to leave the home for a medical appointment.
Beginning May 24, any individual who has trouble getting to a vaccine site is eligible for the homebound program. Individuals can call (833) 983-0485 to register for an in-home vaccination. The registration phone line is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM and has representatives who speak English and Spanish, as well as translation services available in 100+ languages. After registering, individuals will be called within five business days by the state’s Homebound Vaccine Provider, Commonwealth Care Alliance, to schedule an appointment. It may take some time to get an appointment, and the quickest way to get vaccinated remains to schedule an appointment at a vaccination site by visiting VaxFinder.mass.gov.
Molly Bish was a 16-year-old Warren, MA resident when she was abducted from her lifeguard post in 2000. The agonizing search for Molly ended in 2003 when her remains were found five miles from her home and from where she was abducted.
As a lifeguard, Molly took responsibility for the safety and protection of others. In 2004, John and Magi Bish collaborated with Anna Maria College to create the Molly Bish Center for the Protection of Children and the Elderly in memory of their daughter. Today, at Anna Maria College will host Missing Children’s Day from 10-11 A.M to advocate for the lives of missing and murdered children in Massachusetts and encourage the passage of laws aimed at bringing justice for them and their loved ones.
The event will feature speakers from the Molly Bish Center and those involved with prosecuting these cases at the state and local level, while bringing attention to those still missing or falsely categorized. A livestream of this morning's event may be viewed here: https://malegislature.gov/Events/SpecialEvents/Detail/377
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Exceptional turnout for an exceptional organization - The Open Door's Empty Bowl To Go. We had a great group of volunteers to support the Open Door's 20th Anniversary of this annual event. This drive-thru experience offered ticket holders a beautiful handmade bowl, homemade soup—chowder, chicken, vegan or gluten-free meals, bread, cookie, and bottled water.
The Open Door Online Bowl Auction, you can bid on mine or any of a number of Cape Ann artists' bowls. Auction open through May 31. https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/home.cfm?auctionID=17920&CFID
The Open Door is working to alleviate the impact of hunger in our communities across Essex County, advocate on behalf of those in need, and engage the community in the work of building food security.
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Recently, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a state budget proposal for the next fiscal year. The Fiscal Year 2022 budget bill does not depend on any broad-based tax increases, shows sensitivity with regard to its withdrawal from the stabilization fund, and provides significant resource increases for cities and towns and local school districts.
Senate members have proposed amendments to that bill and we are scheduled to debate those amendment - more than 900 were filed, next week. You can read the budget and the amendments by clicking this link: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateDebate
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Many Cape Ann residents have stepped through a doorway to get to a dory over the years, and now, in the new Cape Ann YMCA, the dory is inside the doorway.
When the final phases of construction of the new Y were underway at the Gloucester Crossing site, Tim Flaherty, the Executive Director of the Cape Ann YMCA, invited me for a tour. On that tour, we talked about the space above the front doors - a perfect spot to feature something that speaks to the character of Cape Ann. I immediately thought that the right thing to put there would be a dory, the type of rowing vessel used for decades by Cape Ann fishermen, and now used in the International Dory Races between Gloucester and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
To me, the dory is a perfect manifestation of the true character of Gloucester as a fishing port. Ted and I started a search that brought us to the local and legendary dory builder Geno Mondello. David McKechnie of Beauport Financial Services LLC and his wife Elaine acquired the dory as a gift to the Y. Next, we recruited a crew to help move and successfully navigate the dory to its perfect place.
Monday, May 17, 2021
Baker-Polito Administration to Lift COVID Restrictions May 29, State to Meet Vaccination Goal by Beginning of June
Friday, May 14, 2021
The Senate Ways and Means Committee released a state budget proposal this week. Today, Senate members filed more than 900 amendment proposals before a 2 PM deadline. We will have our annual debate of the bill and the amendment beginning on Tuesday, May 25. Here is a brief preview of what's in store.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Because somewhere, someone's bowl is empty...and you can help! Online Auction featuring Cape Ann Artists' Bowls! No matter where you live, you can browse and bid on the beautiful bowls created by some of Cape Ann's most beloved artists. Check back for new additions! Empty Bowl events are held nationally to generate awareness concerning hunger and to raise money for local hunger-relief programs. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs.
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Baker-Polito Administration Awards $1.3 Million to Support Recycling, Waste Reduction for Communities and Regional Groups
“Supporting and encouraging the proactive environmental protection efforts happening at the local level is one of the most effective measures we can take to reduce waste in cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By reducing the waste stream with a combination of recycling, diversion and materials re-use, we are able to work closely with our municipal partners to improve the health of communities throughout Massachusetts.”
“Massachusetts residents are committed to protecting the environment and these local recycling initiative grants play a major and important role in diverting the state's waste stream to recycling sustainability,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “I am delighted that communities in our area and across the state are being recognized and supported for their efforts.”
The SMRP, created under the Green Communities Act and administered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), offers funding for recycling, composting, reuse and source reduction activities that will reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills and incinerators. Waste prevention and recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing the embodied energy in every-day product and packaging waste and converting these sources into new products with a smaller carbon footprint.
MassDEP awarded funds in several categories, including start-up incentives for Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) programs, wheeled-carts for curbside collection of recyclables, large containers for collection of target materials at municipal transfer stations, school recycling assistance programs and innovative waste reduction projects.
A mattress recycling incentive grant, now in its sixth year, has been awarded to 19 communities across the state. The grants will pay for the cost of recycling residential mattresses that are collected and recycled by one of four mattress recycling companies on Massachusetts state contract. About 75 percent of a mattress’s components are recyclable. Recycling is a preferred management method since mattresses are bulky and costly to dispose of in landfills and incinerators. MassDEP has allocated up to $438,000 to pay for recycling of mattresses in the coming year and expects the increased supply will help drive a stronger recycling market.
“I’m pleased to see that Rockport is benefitting from the Sustainable Materials Recovery Program and will be able to offer incentives that will promote recycling, reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and incinerators, and help to create a greener Cape Ann and Commonwealth,” said State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester), Vice Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
An alphabetical list of the cities, towns, regional groups and non-profit organizations that have been awarded a grant, as well as more information about the SMRP program, can be found here. https://www.mass.gov/doc/list-of-2020-second-round-municipalregional-grant-awards-may-2021
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.