Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas Meals Made With Christmas Spirit

Fantastic group of volunteers at the Gloucester American Legion Post #3 Christmas meal gathering. The meals were prepared and packed at The Open Door in Gloucester and delivered to seniors, veterans, and others in need by members of Post 3 and other supporters. I helped put the meals in to-go containers, Ted Costa a member of my office was one of the delivery drivers. We prepared and delivered more than 500 meals. 

With Adam Curcuru Capt. Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3



Shriners Hospitals for Children Boston Wish List

The holiday season is a great time to think of children and those who take extraordinary measures to care for those in need. Shriners Children's Boston is such a place and that is why I would like to ask you to consider supporting them this year. They support so many kids and all of their care is provided regardless of a family's ability to pay. They would be grateful if you can make a donation from items on their Wish List Search ‘Shriners’ or ‘Child Life’ and select MA in the state drop down menu; then select the Shriners Child Life Wish List 2021. Include your name, email, or mailing address in the Gift Message box at checkout so they can thank you for your generosity. 

You may send your donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, 51 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114. 

  • • Infant (ages 0-1) & toddler (ages 1-4) toys/items - Brands they like are: Fisher-Price, Fat Brain Toys, Little People, Battat, Playskool, Little Tikes, Duplo  o This includes teethers and pacifiers 
  • • Gift cards (Amazon, Target and Whole Foods) 
  • • Room decorating items • Headphones (both in-ear and over-ear) 
  • • Colored pencils • Individual washable tempera paint sets & Martha Stewart brand acrylic paint 
  • • Multi-ethnic children’s books (especially board books) and dolls 
  • • Magnatiles & stickers • Adult/teen coloring books 

Due to COVID, ordering from the Amazon Wish List is the most beneficial option as these items are shipped directly to the hospital and do not require a quarantine. Shriners Hospitals for Children Boston is a pediatric specialty hospital, research, and teaching center and it is the only burn center verified by the American Burn Association in New England and New York that’s just for kids. 

Contact Ashley Loveless at 617-371-4941, with any questions



Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas To All

Christmas is a special day - the anticipation, the culmination of weeks of planning and preparations, and then - it is here. Even in these challenging times, we have much to be thankful for - our families and all of those we care about, and the joys that we share. Christmas reminds us that the gifts that we give and the gifts that we receive are truly exceptional because each is an expression of kindness. In that spirit, it is my hope we will all take a few moments today to acknowledge our men and women in uniform who are currently on duty and away from family as well as our first responders and medical professionals who are helping keep us safe and well. Their service on our behalf is also a gift. 

On this very special Christmas day from the North Pole to the South Pole or any point in between, wherever you are, I wish you peace, good health, and happiness. May the blessings of Christmas be with you and your family always.



Thursday, December 23, 2021

Massachusetts RMV Extending Use of State-Owned Vehicles for Road Testing into 2022

Applicants with scheduled Class D road tests appointments will receive an email from the RMV notifying them of the use of state vehicles 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is announcing the agency will continue with the use of Commonwealth-owned vehicles for Class D road testing services through April 30, 2022 and has delayed the return to the use of private passenger vehicles for road tests.

Due to the pandemic and health and safety protocols, since June of 2020, the RMV has deployed a fleet of Commonwealth-owned vehicles for road tests which are cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. Plans to return to private vehicles have been delayed and existing protocols will remain in place:

All occupants of a vehicle used in a road test, including the applicant, sponsor and examiner will continue to be required to wear a face covering.

Windows will be open for ventilation.

All vehicles will be cleaned prior to each test beginning.

Applicants with scheduled Class D road tests appointments in the new year will receive an email from om the RMV notifying them of the use of state vehicles. Applicants are given time to become familiar with the state vehicle they will be using in Class D testing. Applicants for a Class M, or Motorcycle license, will continue to supply their own motorcycle for testing. Road test applicants scheduled for testing through a driving school should confirm they have access to their school’s vehicle.

The RMV reminds all customers this winter season to visit Mass.Gov/RMV in inclement weather to ensure locations are open and honoring appointments and walk-ins. Cancellations and closures are posted on Mass.Gov/RMV.

The RMV has launched a new webpage to help applicants locate all information related to their road test, Mass.Gov/RoadTest. The page includes information on what to expect, videos to help prepare for the road test, links to checklists and applications to increase an applicant’s chance of passing their exam.



Holidays Together: COVID-19 Vaccinations Available

Sadly, by Christmas, our state will likely surpass 20,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. New case counts are up by 23% over the three-day total reported one week earlier. A gift you can consider giving yourself- with benefits for your family, friends, and community is a vaccination. The Greater Cape Ann Community Collaborative ( offers regular - free of charge vaccination clinics throughout the Cape Ann area. People aged 16+ who are fully vaccinated are eligible for the COVID-19 booster at any of our sites that are offering Pfizer! Walk-ins will be accepted while supplies last at each clinic. However, all are encouraged to register for an appointment in advance by clicking -


Ipswich: Our Lady of Hope rectory, lower level, 1 Pine Swamp Road, Mondays, 2-6 p.m., through January 2022. Clinics will not be held on Monday, Dec. 27, or Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day). Register for the Pfizer vaccine here


Hamilton-Wenham: Hamilton Senior Center, 299 Bay Road, from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Register for a dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen (J&J) vaccine here


Essex: Town Hall Annex, 30 Martin St., from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (No clinic is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23.) Register for a dose of the Register for Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen (J&J) vaccine here Topsfield: Town Hall, second floor, Nov. 18, 2-3:30 p.m., Register for a dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen (J&J) vaccine here


Essex: Essex Town Hall Auditorium, 30 Martin St., 3-5 p.m. This is a pediatric clinic for children ages 5-12. Only Pfizer doses will be available. * The Friday, Dec. 24 clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. * No clinic will be held on Friday, Dec. 31. Children scheduled to receive a second dose on this date will receive their dose on Saturday, Dec. 1, in Hamilton. This is a pediatric clinic for children ages 5-12. Only Pfizer doses will be available. Masks must be worn. A parent or guardian must accompany their child. A children’s movie will be shown in waiting area. Children will be offered a lollipop treat at end of waiting period. Parents and guardians may sign up their child here


Rockport: Community House, 58 Broadway, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Register for a dose of the Pfizer, Moderna, or (J&J) vaccine here Hamilton-Wenham: Hamilton Senior Center, 299 Bay Road, 2-5 p.m. This is a pediatric clinic for children ages 5-12. Only Pfizer doses will be available. No clinic is scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day. Children scheduled to receive a second dose on this date will receive the dose at the Essex clinic on Friday, Dec. 24. Masks must be worn. 

A parent or guardian must accompany their child. A children’s movie will be shown in waiting area. Children will be offered a lollipop treat at end of waiting period. Parents and guardians may sign up their child here. All clinic attendees must wear a face mask, with limited exceptions. Attendees who do not have a mask will be provided one.



Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Complete Streets Funding Program Awards

Two municipalities in the Senate district that I represent are receiving Complete Streets Funding Program funds to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel for users of all ages and abilities. These grants to #Groveland and #Ipswich put major improvements within the reach of communities with good management and planning, but limited resources. Now, through the partnership of the Baker - Polito administration, roadways will get the attention they demand, and all of us will get safer and more reliable transportation infrastructure.

Groveland received $400,000 to reconstruct and make safety improvements to the current sidewalk along the west side of School Street and add buffered bicycle lanes where appropriate. 

Ipswich received $264,990 for pedestrian improvements at High Street/Lord Square and Linebrook Road, including the construction of new sidewalk along the northern side of Linebrook Road between the current sidewalk terminus near Maple Street to the terminus just west of Lord Square as well as the installation of crosswalks, new granite curbing, and a landscaped buffer zone to provide separation between vehicles and pedestrians. 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation today announced the grants. A “Complete Street” is one that enables safe, convenient, and comfortable travel for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Administered by MassDOT, the Complete Streets Funding Program aims to teach communities about Complete Streets and encourage the integration of Complete Streets into regular local planning practices. 

 “The Complete Streets Funding Program has now awarded $69.5 million in total funding through 214 grant awards since 2016 to support municipalities in their ongoing efforts to improve their transportation infrastructure, build safe, convenient and easily accessible transportation networks,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This program continues to advance mobility, connectivity and economic development opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.” 



Wreaths Across America Remembering The Fallen And Honoring Those who Served

This weekend I attended ceremonies to remember the fallen - those men and women who served our country. Volunteers in Rowley and Newbury took part in a service that involves placing wreaths on individual veterans' graves. 

As a component of the national Wreaths Across America - Official Page Day, which now coordinates more than 2,500 events, we assembled to pay our respects and honor those no longer with us. Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization from Maine which set out in 1992 with a trailer load of wreaths, decorated by volunteers, to lay at the graves of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Thirty years later their mission - to Remember, Honor and Teach, continues to grow.



Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day

On this long and dark night please join me in taking a moment to consider that this is the first day of Winter and there are people in your community who are homeless. Today is Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day - a way to remember homeless people who lost their lives. This video by Action Inc. commemorates 100 of our friends, family who have lost their lives on Cape Ann due to homelessness. Please visit Action Inc. for more information. 



Baker-Polito Administration Provides COVID-19 Update on Mask Advisory, Hospital Support

Governor Baker Activates National Guard 

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced additional measures to address a recent rise in COVID-19 cases and to ensure acute care hospitals have sufficient capacity to care for both COVID and non-COVID patients.

The Commonwealth’s healthcare system is facing a critical staffing shortage which has contributed to the loss of approximately 500 medical/surgical and ICU hospital beds since the beginning of the year. Hospitals are also seeing a high level of patients, many due to non-COVID related reasons.

Residents are reminded that getting a vaccine and booster remain the best way to protect against serious illness or hospitalization from COVID. The Department of Public Health (DPH) released updated COVID breakthrough data this week showing that 97% of COVID breakthrough cases in Massachusetts have not resulted in hospitalization or death. Unvaccinated individuals are five times more likely to contract COVID than fully vaccinated individuals and 31 times more likely to contract COVID than individuals who have a booster.

Massachusetts is a national leader in COVID-19 vaccinations, with over 94% of eligible residents having received at least one dose. Over 89% of the entire Massachusetts population has at least one dose, and 74% of the entire population fully vaccinated. Massachusetts also leads the nation in vaccinating communities of color, with 68% of all black residents and 67% of all Hispanic residents receiving at least one dose, compared to 42.0% of black residents and 51.7% of Hispanic residents nationally.

National Guard Activation

Governor Charlie Baker today will activate up to 500 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to address the non-clinical support needs of hospitals and transport systems. Up to 300 of these Guard members will begin training this week and will support 55 acute care hospitals, as well as 12 ambulance service providers across the Commonwealth.

DPH surveyed all hospitals and ambulance service providers, and in concert with the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, has identified five key roles that non-clinical Guard personnel can serve in support hospital operations for up to 90 days:

Non-emergency transport between facilities: driving ambulances used to transfer patients between two healthcare locations such as when patients are discharged from a hospital and transferred to a long term care facility.

Patient observers: providing continuous or frequent observation of a patient who is at risk for harm to themselves. Security support: helping to maintain a safe workplace. In-hospital transport: bringing patients via wheelchair or, if needed, stretcher, from their patient room to tests such as x-ray or CT scan, or from the emergency department to their inpatient floor. Food service/tray delivery support: delivering patient meals to their rooms

Guard personnel will be deployed to the field beginning December 27th, 2021.

Elective Surgery Guidance

DPH released updated guidance to hospitals concerning nonessential, elective invasive procedures. To preserve health care personnel resources, effective 12:01am on December 27th, all hospitals are directed to postpone or cancel all nonessential elective procedures likely to result in inpatient admission in order to maintain and increase inpatient capacity.

Patients are reminded to still seek necessary care at their hospital or from their health care provider. To read the guidance, click here

Mask Advisory

DPH released an updated mask advisory today, recommending that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering in indoor, public spaces.

DPH particularly urges this recommendation for individuals who have a weakened immune system, or are at increased risk for severe disease because of age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in their household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.

All people in Massachusetts (regardless of vaccination status) are required to continue wearing face coverings in certain settings, including transportation and health care facilities. Please see here for a complete list of venues where face coverings have remained mandatory since May 29, 2021

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s current mask requirement and Policy on Vaccination Rate Threshold issued on September 27th, 2021 is not impacted by this advisory. 



Monday, December 13, 2021

Brookline Bank Ipswich Makes A Difference In The Lives of North Shore Children

Brookline Bank Ipswich hosted us on Friday for the final leg of the Toy Drive and I was delighted to talk with the bank staff and meet new Manager Heidi Von Asch. Stopping by to support the efforts were State Rep. Lenny Mirra, newly elected State Representative Jamie Belsito, Ipswich Fire Department's Chief Paul Parisi, Laurie Carlson of Ipswich Caring, Charity Lezama Executive Director Salem YMCA, Mary Mayo, Director of Operations Ipswich YMCA 

And North Shore 104.9's Erika Hemingway and Jay Foss kept us all energized.



Grab And Go meal at Essex Council On Aging

Thanks to the Friends of the Essex Council on Aging, the great folks at the Essex Senior Center, and a helpful group of Boy Scouts from Essex. The Scouts not only helped pack the meals into paper bags they also brought the bags of food out to the cars containing the seniors that ordered a meal. A good time was had by all. 




Baker-Polito Administration Announces 2.1 Million At-Home COVID Tests for 102 High-Need Communities

 State also announces initiative to make purchasing tests easier for municipalities

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced plans to increase access to at home COVID-19 test kits for residents across the Commonwealth. The Administration has secured 2.1 million iHealth Labs over-the-counter (OTC) at-home rapid antigen tests that will be delivered to 102 towns with the highest percentage of families below the poverty level. These free tests will be available for distribution to the public by each municipality, with an emphasis on increasing access for individuals and families who are facing financial hardship.

“With the holidays approaching, we encourage residents to utilize rapid tests as a convenient way to keep family members and friends safe at gatherings,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While these tests are widely available at many pharmacies and retail locations across the Commonwealth, we are making it even easier for residents to get free rapid testing through these initiatives.”

“Massachusetts has developed a nation-leading testing infrastructure, with free testing available across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Increasing access to these free OTC rapid antigen test kits will serve as another tool to combat COVID-19.”

While the initial 2.1 million OTC rapid antigen tests will be distributed to 102 high-need communities across the Commonwealth, the Administration is finalizing plans to allow municipalities and other public entities to directly purchase tests from test manufacturers at fixed, state-negotiated prices. The Administration posted a procurement opportunity on Friday, December 10 for manufacturers, and municipalities will be able to order in January 2022. The Administration will provide more details on how municipalities can procure these tests later in the coming weeks. Municipalities are able to utilize American Rescue Plan Act funding, as well as Federal COVID-19 Relief funding to purchase the rapid antigen test kits.

At-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test kits are a fast, easy and convenient way to test for COVID-19.  In addition to the Administration providing iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen test kits and allowing municipalities to directly purchase tests, residents can visit local pharmacies or order online to purchase rapid test kits on their own, as needed.

Massachusetts performs more COVID tests than almost any other state in the country thanks to the hundreds of existing testing locations across the Commonwealth, including 38 free state sponsored Stop the Spread testing sites.  Residents can continue to access these COVID testing sites during the holidays. All testing sites are listed here:

How these communities were selected:

The 102 municipalities in the Commonwealth with the highest proportion of families at or below the poverty level are receiving iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen test kits in this initial distribution. All twenty of the Commonwealth’s most disproportionately impacted equity communities were included by these criteria. In total, the 102 municipalities account for nearly 3.7 million Massachusetts residents.

iHealth Labs OTC at-home rapid antigen test kits will start to be delivered to the eligible communities this week by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, in partnership with the Massachusetts National Guard. Tests will be distributed proportionally across the 102 communities based on the proportion of families living at or below the poverty level within their respective communities.

While each city or town will be able to determine how best to distribute tests within their community municipalities are asked to prioritize those most in need, allocating equitably and at locations accessible to individuals and families who are determined to be in high need and as quickly as possible during the holiday season.

The Commonwealth is paying $5 per test. All tests come in packs of two. The tests can be completed in 15 minutes without the need to send a sample to a laboratory; a mobile phone or computer is not needed for any part of the test. Individuals 2 years of age and up can use the tests regardless of vaccination status or whether or not they have symptoms.

CDC last week issued guidance on self-tests like the iHealth tests, with information on when to consider self-testing, how to complete the tests, and how to react to a positive or negative result. Visit here to view the guidance.

COVID-19 rapid tests are one of many risk-reduction measures, along with vaccination, that can protect individuals by reducing the chances of spreading COVID-19.

For detailed information on testing, visit


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Friday Schedule For The Final Day Of The North Shore Toy Drive

9 AM – 11 AM: Aubuchon Hardware - 50 Enon St, Beverly

Nonprofit: Beverly Bootstraps

See Santa & Mrs. Claus and the Beverly High School Vocal Ensemble.

11:30 AM-1:30 PM Brookline Bank - 31 Market St, Ipswich

Nonprofit: Ipswich Caring / Ipswich YMCA

2 PM-4 PM: Rockport – Dock Square

Nonprofit: Cape Ann Kids Holiday Fund

See Santa and Mrs. Claus enter on a fire truck.

4 PM – 6 PM: Cape Ann Savings Bank, Gloucester – 38 Rogers St, Gloucester

Nonprofit: Cape Ann Kids Holiday Fund

Featuring the music of Alan Estes & Fly Amero and the

Manchester/Essex Acapella Group.



Bliss Bites Café at the Glen T. MacLeod YMCA in Gloucester Ribbon Cutting

Dick Curran of my State House staff presented an official Senate Citation in recognition of the opening of the new Bliss Bites Cafe at the Y at the Cape Ann YMCA in Gloucester. and has quickly gained a following! Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce helped promote the event to invite you to come to the lobby of the Cape Ann YMCA and try some excellent food. including, locally roasted coffee, smoothies, daily rotations of protein snacks, fresh baked goods, salads, panini, sandwiches, and more! You do not need a YMCA membership to visit the cafe.



Newburyport Delivers For Chilren

Verani Realty in Newburyport was the location of our second Toy Drive location today. Sponsored by The The Maids of NE all who came, and many did, were greeted by a party of elves - and even the Grinch who, some say, smiled momentarily.... 

A big thank you to Maids President Matt Donnelly and the staff for their generous support. They and Verani Realty made donations to local non-profit organizations today. 

 Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday helped straighten that Grinch out and show him what the true holiday spirit is all about. Patty Hoyt of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center updated us about the programs at the center and how they are available to help individuals and communities end domestic violence. 

You can learn more here:



Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Toy Drive Update: Teresa's Italian Eatery in Middleton

Nick Yebba, owner of Teresa's was a great host for the Toy Drive- he's welcomed us before too. We all say "Thank You Nick" for not only his hospitality but also for the financial donation to this charitable endeavor. 

We talked with my good friend House Minority Leader State Representative Brad Jones, Andrew Sheehan, the Town Administrator, Fire Chief Tom Martinuk, Flint Public Library Director Melissa Gaspar, Judy Gallerie with Neighbors In Need our non-profit organization for #Middleton, Boy Scout Lorenzo Butler of Middleton Pack 19 with Master Tristan “TJ” Butler and Ted Butler. 

A big thank you to Bill Sacchetti of Cash For Gold in Middleton for gifts of toys and cash donations. Fuller Meadow Elementary School 2nd Graders contributed mellifluous songs to bring us all cheer.