Morning Rundown: Revere & Boston Don't Agree On Approach To Opioid Crisis; It's 'Peak Week' For Asthma
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Hope you're cruising through this week like Watson, a good boy who likes long bike rides through Allston in "doggles." Here's some local news to kick your morning into gear:
- Former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday. He was convicted of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana businesses that wanted to operate in the city. The judge particularly criticized Correia for his “absolute lack of remorse.” He'll turn himself in to begin his sentence later this year.
- Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo is not too pleased with Boston and acting Mayor Kim Janey. Boston recently released a plan to tackle problems on Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, which is considered the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Boston. But Arrigo says Boston health officials never told him about their intention to turn a Revere hotel into a transitional homeless center, according to The Boston Globe. Janey says she thinks a regional approach is necessary.
- This comes as the state health department reports that the first three months of this year saw almost a 2% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, compared to the same time last year. For context, last year, at least 2,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses across the state.
- The MBTA is looking to fire the driver involved in the July 30 Green Line crash that injured 27 people. An investigation into the crash near Boston University found that the driver put his trolley's controls into a "full-power position" before hitting another train from behind. The driver is a seven-year MBTA vet who'd been on leave since the crash, but, as of Monday, was suspended without pay.
- Congress members from Massachusetts are pushing to reinstate a national eviction moratorium to help protect renters from being kicked out of their homes during the pandemic. One big-name supporter of the bill: Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
- ICYMI: Johnson & Johnson says its booster shot provides much stronger protection from COVID-19 than a single shot. That finding was part of the company's phase three trial. J&J has provided all that available data to the FDA, as the agency decides on the necessity and safety of boosters.
- PSA: The third week in September generally creates the perfect storm of dangerous conditions for people with asthma and allergies. It's often the biggest week for asthma attacks, so please be careful and take precautions if you're affected. Peter DeMarco, of Boston, lost his wife, Laura Levis, to asthma during Asthma Peak Week in 2016. DeMarco has turned his grief into action by warning others of the dangers around this time. I highly recommend reading his essay about Laura's story.
P.S.– Sometimes the memory flashbacks on social media are somewhat mortifying, but other times they remind you of awesome things that happened, like this time our Endless Thread podcast got a Jeopardy mention. So cool!
1. Is The Worst Over? Modelers Predict A Steady Decline In COVID Cases Through March
The modelers developed four potential scenarios, taking into account whether or not childhood vaccinations take off and whether a more infectious new variant should emerge. Read more.
2. Essaibi George, Wu Court Black Voters In Race For Boston Mayor
A spokeswoman for Essaibi George says good government includes listening to people from across the city. Wu's campaign says it hopes to work with community leaders in predominantly Black neighborhoods. Read more.
3. Inaugural State Prison Ombudsman Placed On Paid Administrative Leave
Seth Peters, the first person appointed to the new position of ombudsman for the Department of Correction, was suddenly placed on paid administrative leave after WBUR inquired about whether he is the same Seth Peters who was involved in a wrongful death lawsuit that UMass Memorial settled nine years ago. Read more.
4. 'It Didn't Need To Happen': UMass Memorial Chief On Bed Shortage And COVID Surge
Dr. Eric Dickson says the Worcester area has almost 20 times more COVID patients hospitalized than in June, and that as of Tuesday, there is not a single intensive care hospital bed available in central Massachusetts. Read more.
5. Congress Is Locked In A Familiar Standoff That Could Have Big Economic Consequences
Congress has fewer than 10 days to pass legislation to prevent another partial government shutdown, and Democrats hope to use the deadline pressure to force Republicans to help them pass a critical suspension of the federal borrowing cap. Read more.
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This newsletter includes reporting by the WBUR newscast team.