LYNN NEWS ROUND-UP
AUGUST 25, 2020
See our other COVID-19 related posts by clicking here.
Read about early voting & info. on MA State Primary candidates on our 2020 Election section by clicking here.
Massachusetts Approved For Lost Wages Assistance Grant
Massachusetts’ application to receive grant funding to pay an additional weekly unemployment benefit to claimants under the federal Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance (LWA) program has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The application was submitted late last week by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in coordination with the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).
Per FEMA’s authorization, the grant will fund an additional $300 weekly payment to those who are eligible for the three weeks ending 8/1/20, 8/8/20, and 8/15/20. The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has already begun work on the technology requirements necessary for this program and anticipates being able to quickly deliver retroactive funds to eligible claimants for those weeks by Sept. 15. Eligible claimants currently receiving benefits do not need to take any action because the Commonwealth will automatically add LWA to their weekly benefit payment retroactive to the dates they are eligible.
Visit MA Dept. of Unemployment Assistance’s COVID-19 & Unemployment section of their website by clicking here for more information.
Special Education update from Superintendent of Lynn Public Schools Dr. Patrick Tutwiler
Interview with Senator Crighton
Yesterday we were able to conduct an interview with State Senator Brendan Crighton. Senator Crighton talked with us about the reopening process, designation of Juneteenth as an official state holiday, budgets, and more. Watch the interview from our website below.
Salvation Army Food Pantry changes coming in September
From The Salvation Army of Lynn: Please be aware that the Salvation Army Food Pantry will be closing for 1 week, from September 7-11, both due to a shortage in resources & to allow our staff & volunteers a break. We will resume the pantry beginning Monday, September 14th.
When we resume on Sept. 14th the hours will change from 1-4pm. We are making this change for our staff, volunteers, & clients who have children at home & need to be home with them during school hours for remote learning.
Please like our Facebook page for updated information. Question: 781-598-0673.
For other food resources in the Lynn area see the Greater Boston Food Bank website or call 211.
All Care VNA, Hospice & Home Care Services is running their Hospice Card Drive through the end of September. Mail cards using the information above, or arrange a safe contact-free pickup by contacting June at Jrichardson@allcare.org.
Updates from state government
- As of Monday night, DPH reported a total of 116,421 cases of COVID-19. The state has now confirmed a total of 8,717 deaths from the virus.
- The House moved along bills dealing with the charters of Chelmsford and Plymouth, as well as a bill dealing with a specific service time case in Barnstable County.
- The Senate approved a trio of Northampton bills Monday morning. The upper chamber also gave initial approval to a beach capital improvement fund for Yarmouth and final approval to new gender-neutral charter language changing Chelmsford’s Board of Selectmen to a select board.
- Lawmakers are still hashing out deals on several major bills in conference committee on topics like policing reform, economic development, and transportation spending. The House and Senate meet again in informal session on Thursday at 11am.
- Lawyers presented oral arguments Monday before the Supreme Judicial Court in a lawsuit brought by a Congressional candidate Becky Grossman, who is asking the high court to order Secretary of State William Galvin to direct local election officials to accept and count all mail-in ballots postmarked by Sept. 1. Plaintiffs raised voting rights issues Monday in calling for a 10-day extension of the period allotted for counting mail-in ballots, but the state’s top elections official argued the relief sought to count primary ballots would interfere with people’s rights to receive general election ballots.
- At least 1 million registered voters in Massachusetts requested mail-in ballots this year, elevating the importance of counting the mail vote at a time when controversy is swirling about the U.S. Postal Service operations and whether the agency will be able to move ballots in a timely manner. Under a state law approved earlier this year to widen voting options during the pandemic, voters have until Wednesday, Aug. 26 to return vote-by-mail ballot applications, and local election officials must receive mail-in ballots by Sept. 1 to count them.
- A federal court judge said Monday that three landlords who have sued the state over its moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to prevail on their claim that the law unconstitutionally infringes on their lease agreements with tenants. The preliminary finding by U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf came at the end of a long day of arguments in a case brought by landlords seeking to overturn the four-month-old law on multiple constitutional grounds in both state and federal court.
- Those landlords argue that the moratorium on evictions breaches the contracts clause of the Constitution and violates their right to petition the judiciary, their First Amendment right to free speech, and their right to compensation for unlawful land taking under the Fifth Amendment. Wolf said that in cases like this the Legislature is afforded broad “deference,” as long as its actions can be defended as “reasonable and appropriate means” to accomplish a significant public purpose.
- Fare hikes, layoffs and other budget-balancing strategies are all in play at the MBTA starting next fiscal year as the agency embarks on an effort to close an impending budget gap of at least $308 million stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. MBTA officials will also seek board approval Monday to launch an unusual two-year budgeting process, linking the agency’s ongoing fiscal year 2021 spending plan to fiscal year 2022 preparations. Depending on how much ridership returns, MBTA budgeters project the agency will face a deficit between $308 million and $577 million in fiscal year 2022 and potentially subsequent deficits through at least fiscal year 2025.
- The Baker administration announced that the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal will be the primary staging and deployment base for the construction of both offshore wind developments that are expected to generate renewable power for Massachusetts. Work to bring commuter rail service to New Bedford and other communities well south of Boston cleared another major hurdle Monday when the MBTA agreed on a nearly $404 million contract rounding out the South Coast Rail project’s first phase. The Fiscal and Management Control Board awarded a $403.5 million contract to SCR Constructors to construct signal and communications systems for Phase 1, build the New Bedford Main Line and upgrade the Middleborough Secondary Line.
- Department of Transportation overseers signed off Monday on a $15 million contract to repair about 12 miles of Route 24 between Raynham and Brockton and to rehabilitate six bridge decks, a project that will shut down some travel lanes overnight. The MassDOT Board of Directors approved a $15.3 million contract with Aggregate Industries of NE Region, Inc., tapping the company to handle the resurfacing and maintenance project.