'A false sense of security': Critics question Mass. COVID testing program in schools

A few weeks ago, Boston parent Mei Elansary asked her daughter how many students in her kindergarten class received the routine coronavirus testing that the state offers schools for free. “And she was like, ‘Well, its me,’ and she named three other students,” recalled Elansary, a pediatrician and mother of two students in Boston Public Schools. The principal at her daughters school — West Zone Early Learning Center — told Elansary that, in the school overall, about 60% of students had...

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Regional News

Massachusetts State Sen. Jo Comerford, who writes a monthly column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, speaks outside the paper's headquarters in Northampton on December 6, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

Daily Hampshire Gazette columnists strike to support paper's union

A group of monthly columnists for the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Massachusetts, said they're not writing any more columns until the company that owns the paper agrees to a contract with its employees.

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Uyghur organizations applaud the U.S. diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics

Uyghur rights organizations are applauding the U.S. government's decision not to send any diplomatic or official representatives to Beijing for next year's Winter Olympics. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the diplomatic boycott was prompted by the Chinese government's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and other human rights abuses," referring to the region in southwest China with a large population of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, such as...

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Connecting Point

Robert Masla’s “Gratitude” pandemic series inspired by essential workers

The Massachusetts Statehouse dome.
Fogster / Creative Commons

Massachusetts lawmakers last week quietly passed a bill divvying up about $4 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money. It was months in the making.

Students in 2018 at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
Pittsfield Public Schools

A Pittsfield, Massachusetts, public school is the latest to get rid of its Native American mascot.

Vaccination surge could cut hospitalizations by half, says Mass. Gov. Baker

Dec 6, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
State House News Service

If every unvaccinated person in Massachusetts got their COVID-19 shots, the state's COVID-19 hospitalization rate would drop by 50%, Gov. Charlie Baker said Friday.

On a recent weekday at Whites Christmas Tree Farm in Essex, longtime employee Mark Tourville was easy to spot amidst the trees in his neon yellow waterproof coat and big work boots. Tourville took a 9-foot Frasier fir from a customer and loaded it into the tree shaker, a machine that shakes off snow, dead needles and other vestiges of the forest.

Audio for this story will be posted.

"You’ll find small critters in there, and that’s why we like to shake ‘em down," he explained.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo's office today announced that he will step down due to health reasons.

Lembo's resignation will take effect at the end of the month. His office says he "a serious and debilitating cardiac condition that has recently been worsening in intensity and severity."

In a statement, the office says doctors recommended that Lembo stop working. Lembo expressed appreciation for voters who "took a chance on a gay, vegetarian nerd that had never run for office in his life."

He has three children with his spouse Charles Frey.

More Regional News

These moms overcame homelessness. But the fight for a better life is far from over

There are more homeless families in the United States than in any other industrialized country. The main cause is the lack of affordable housing. Nearly 172,000 families experienced homelessness in 2020, making up about 30% of the homeless population. Many of those families comprise single women with young children who have no choice but to seek family homelessness services: emergency shelters, transitional housing or permanent housing placements. Some women remain stuck in the system. Others...

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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Baker, Polito bow out of 2022 Massachusetts race for governor

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a two-term Republican who at his peak was one of the most popular governors in the country, will not seek a third term, throwing wide open the 2022 race for the state's top political office after close to two years of managing through a global pandemic.

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