UPDATES FROM STATE REP. KATE HOGAN


State Rep. Kate Hogan, 3rd Middlesex District
Bolton Hudson Maynard Stow
Dear Friends,

I hope that you – and those you care about – are healthy and well.

This week our district is going back to school. Nashoba Regional, Hudson and Maynard public schools are reopening after six months for what is sure to be a unique school year. Whether instruction is virtual or a mix of remote and in-person, our administrators, teachers and staff have worked incredibly hard to start the 2020-2021 school year safely. While there are sure to be a few mishaps – and technology that doesn’t work the way we expect it to – we are thrilled that students are back to learning and hope that everyone has a productive and successful school year.

The State House is also getting back to work. As you may recall, the end of our traditional legislative session was extended so that we can finalize critical legislation on climate change, healthcare, policing reform and an economic development bill. I have heard from many of you with thoughts and perspectives on these issues and I am grateful for your input.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact me at kate.hogan@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2199. This email and phone number are the most efficient ways to contact me right now and the best way to ensure a prompt response to your inquiry. I also post updates daily on Facebook.

Best,
Signature
Kate Hogan
State Representative
Third Middlesex District
(617) 722-2199
MASSACHUSETTS UPDATES &
NEWS FROM THE STATE HOUSE
Our fight against the coronavirus and COVID-19 has not ended. Please continue efforts to curb the virus’ spread by continuing to practice social distance, wearing face masks in public, and washing your hands. 

As of September 15, there are 123,425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported 9,016 deaths from COVID-19. 3,075,812 tests have been administered by the State Public Health Laboratory, hospitals and commercial laboratories. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health shares updated numbers on its website each day.

Across Massachusetts, the weighted average of positive molecular test rates is .8%. A report and map of Covid-19 data by community is available here and includes a breakout of the average daily cases per 100,000 and the average percent positivity (last 14 days) for towns in the Third Middlesex District:

Bolton – 0 average cases per 100,000; 0% positivity
Hudson – 4.43 average cases per 100,000; 1.49% positivity
Maynard – 1.37 average cases per 100,000; .36% positivity
Stow – .99 average cases per 100,000; .22% positivity 

West Nile Virus and EEE Update
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) shares weekly arbovirus updates on West Nile virus (WNV) and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus activity. This week, MDPH reported four additional WNV cases in Middlesex and Bristol Counties. To date, MDPH has identified seven WNV human cases and 87 WNV mosquito samples in 2020. Check risk levels throughout the season by visiting our interactive site.

Significant Drought Conditions Continue Across Massachusetts
Four months of below-normal rainfall, combined with above-normal temperatures, has led to a Level 2 – Significant Drought declaration in all seven regions of the Commonwealth. At a Level 2 – Significant Drought, conditions are becoming significantly dry and warrant detailed monitoring of drought conditions, close coordination among state and federal agencies, emphasis on water conservation, more stringent watering restrictions, and technical outreach and assistance for the affected municipalities. Additionally, wildland fire risk continues across the state. Fire officials remind the public to be very aware of this situation, and to be careful with all open burning and disposal of combustible materials. For further information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ drought page

Help for Restaurants
As we move into cooler weather, our local restaurants must prepare for a challenging season. Governor Baker extended outdoor dining from Nov 1 to 60 days past the State of Emergency and restaurants that continue to serve outdoors are considering tents, heaters, blankets and other creative solutions. 

Governor Baker also announced a doubling of the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program from $5 million to $10 million. The grant program is aimed at helping cities and towns rework curbs, sidewalks, streets and parking spots to create areas for socially distanced walking, commerce, dining and other outdoor activities. Applications will be accepted until Sept 22, and the money comes from both the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and federal CARES Act funds. For more information and to apply for a grant, go to: https://www.mass.gov/shared-streets-and-spaces-grant-program

The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) has launched a state-wide campaign to showcase the Commonwealth’s greatest assets and "lift-up" hotels, restaurants, and retail. Managed by MOTT, the program is funded via hotel tax. More information about this campaign is available at www.findmylocalma.com

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association shares industry resources and updates, including resources for reopening, links to webinars, and government and legislative updates, at https://www.themassrest.org/

The Independent Restaurant Coalition helps local bar and restaurant owners around the country band together and secure protections from the coronavirus and economic downturn. Find out more at: https://www.saverestaurants.com/mission/

Mass Restaurants United is a coalition of independent restaurants advocating for solutions to survive, repair, and rebuild during COVID-19. Learn more at: https://www.marestaurantsunited.com/

Grants – Recent Awards and Upcoming Opportunities
Maynard Secures Funding - As mentioned above, Governor Baker announced a new round of the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program to help cities and towns rework curbs, sidewalks, streets and parking spots to create areas for socially distanced walking, commerce, dining and other outdoor activities. The latest funding, totaling $3.9 million, includes $31,525 for Maynard to temporarily extend outdoor dining on private property, in a parking lot, and in a municipal parklet, and also calm traffic with the installation of speed radar signs and speed humps.

Bolton, Hudson and Stow Receive Climate Change Funding - The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The popular grant and designation program provides communities with funding and technical support to identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. The towns of Bolton, Harvard and Devens received a $250,000 Action Grant for Apple Country Ecological Climate Resiliency and Carbon Planning Assessment. An Action Grant for $154,000 was awarded to Hudson and Stow for Assessing the Health of Lake Boon. 

Funding for School Tech – The Baker-Polito Administration announced the opening of the sixth year of the Community Compact IT Grant Program which will provide a total of $3 million in grants for municipal and school district projects designed to modernize and improve technology systems. The Community Compact IT program will be accepting applications through October 15, and will provide each municipal recipient up to $200,000 in funding. For more information and to apply: https://www.mass.gov/community-compact-it-grant-program
 
Local Law Enforcement Grant - The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s (EOPSS) Office of Grants and Research (OGR) has made available approximately $3,000,000 from the Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program for local Police Departments to competitively solicit up to $40,000 in one-time federal funding to address their public safety law enforcement needs. Submissions are due Sept 28. More information is available at: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/justice-and-prevention-grants

State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) is intended to offset international business development and marketing costs. There is a broad array of projects that can be covered, from attending an international trade show, to developing marketing materials. A match is required, and grants range from $6 to $12K. A free webinar is scheduled for 9/16. Application deadline is 9/30. More information available here.

Taxi/Livery/Hackney Support Grant - The State charges 20 cents for every Uber/Lyft ride in MA, and hence, has raised $12M to fund this program. Grants cover a broad spectrum of opportunities, but favor programs that improve competitiveness and/or safety. Grant deadline is 9/21. More information available here.

IRS Extends Non-Filer Deadline - Most eligible U.S. taxpayers have already received their Federal Economic Impact Payments. Anyone who is still expecting an Economic Impact Payment, but does not normally file a tax return, has until October 15 to provide information to the IRS using its Non-Filer Tool at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here. People should do this if they:
  • receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments;
  • did not file a 2019 or 2018 tax return;
  • have a qualifying child under age 17; and
  • did not already enter information in the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool for themselves and at least one child.
For more information, please visit https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/.
 
Eviction Moratorium Extended - Governor Baker declared an additional 60 day moratorium on evictions. The moratorium, originally set to expire Aug. 18, now remains in place until Oct. 17, and puts a pause on "non-essential" eviction cases against residential tenants and small businesses in housing court due to COVID-19. That includes no-cause evictions, those for non-payment of rent, those resulting from a foreclosure or for a cause other than allegations of criminal activity or lease violations threatening public safety. Landlords have filed a legal challenge to the eviction moratorium.
Unemployment Benefits -- Massachusetts received funding from FEMA to pay an additional weekly unemployment benefit to claimants under the federal Lost Wages Supplemental Payment Assistance (LWA) program. This will include supplemental unemployment of $300 for any employee who receives $100 of unemployment from MA, for a total of six weeks—weeks ending 8/1, 8/8, 8/15, 8/22, 8/29, 9/4, and 9/12. More information is available here.

Health Insurance Benefits - In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its associated impacts on our economy and health coverage landscape, the Health Connector is taking steps to reach, assist, and enroll people who may be losing job-based health coverage. On Thursday, September 17, from 10 – 11 am, the Health Connector is hosting a live webinar to help Massachusetts residents who have lost employer-sponsored health insurance learn about their health coverage options through the Health Connector as well as how to apply, enroll and get health insurance coverage through the Health Connector. For Registration & More Details: https://bit.ly/insurance-options-091720
 
RMV Offers Special Hours for Seniors – The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is offering dedicated service hours for customers who are 75 years of age or older and are required to renew their Massachusetts driver’s license in person. The new designated service hours will be by appointment only and will be offered on Wednesdays through the month of September at select service center locations in Watertown, Danvers, Leominster, New Bedford and South Yarmouth. For additional information on RMV service offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.mass.gov/rmv or https://www.mass.gov/info-details/rmv-covid-19-information
MAIN STREET UPDATES
Welcome New Stow Town Administrator – We extend a warm welcome to Denise Dembkoski, who joins the Town of Stow this month as the new town administrator. Denise replaces long-time Administrator Bill Wrigley, who retired in August. She has 25 years of municipal experience. Most recently, she served as the finance and personnel director for six years for the town of Groveland. Prior to that, she served for 14 years as treasurer/collector and director of information technology for the Town of Swampscott.



Rep. Hogan stopped at Backyard Bolton Farmer's Market to chat with Catherine Pfau and sign-up for updates from Nashoba Neighbors.
Drinking Water Study in Bolton and Stow - RCAP Solutions recently announced the launch of the North Central Massachusetts Private Well Program, http://www.rcapsolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/NCM_Private_Well_Flyer_V11.pdf which is aimed at improving the quality of drinking water from private wells. Private wells can sometimes be contaminated with substances such as arsenic, radon, and uranium, which can have both short- and long-term health impacts. The program is a community partnership funded by a $196,150 Synergy Initiative planning grant from the Foundation, and partnering organizations include MassDEP, Massachusetts Environmental Health Association, Montachusett Public Health Network, and Nashoba Associated Boards of Health.

RCAP Solutions is currently seeking private well owners in eligible communities in the North Central area, including Bolton and Stow, who are interested in participating in the first phase of this project, which includes a needs assessment and a limited number of complimentary water tests, which will inform this project as it is being developed and piloted. Additional details can be found on the program webpage.  https://www.rcapsolutions.org/ma-private-wells/

ArtSpace Maynard’s “METAL-ITY,” a dynamic year-long outside public art exhibition, opens Saturday, Sept 19. The ongoing and revolving installation of 50 or more metal artworks on the surrounding ArtSpace grounds will be open through Nov 1, 2021. The work pays homage to the vital role the ‘ores of the earth,’ have played in the evolution of human culture. Also honoring Maynard’s past as a mill town shaped by the Industrial Revolution to be illustrated by industrial, public art in the new urban landscape. Artists from all over New England and many local sculptors will be represented in the exhibit.



Rep. Hogan celebrated the official opening of 110 Grill in Maynard with a Ribbon Cutting and socially distanced tour. Located at the entrance area of Maynard Crossing, 110 Grill currently offers patio and indoor dining, as well as take out. 110 Grill has also recently been featured by AllergyEats as one of the Top 10 Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Brands in the US for the third year in a row.
Drive-in Movie in Maynard The Maynard Sesquicentennial Committee invites you to join us for a Drive-In Movie on October 3 at 7 pm at the Fowler School parking lot! We are excited to offer a free, socially distanced viewing of Back To The Future on the big (outdoor) screen. The event – sponsored by the Committee and the Maynard Fine Arts theater, and in partnership with the Maynard Cultural Council and the premier launch of the Maynard Film Festival – is a free event to celebrate the town of Maynard and offer a fun, safe community activity. Questions? Email: Lindsayhm@gmail.com. If you plan to join us, please take 20 seconds to add your name and number of attending cars to the list here.

Plastic Bag Ban in Hudson As of September 10, Hudson stores will no longer be allowed to give out plastic bags at point of sale. Paper bags will be available and customers are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags, or to purchase them at most grocery stores. Plastic bags will still be used for produce, meat, dry cleaning, newspapers and a few other products. If you would like more general information or information on how to clean your reusable bags please visit: https://sites.google.com/greenhudson.org/home/initiatives/plastic-reduction Any questions, email Green Hudson at info@greenhudson.org or call the Conservation Commission at (978) 562-2948.
Local Libraries Update
Our local libraries have dramatically changed their service offerings over the past months. When their doors were closed in March, libraries pivoted to online services and gradually to curbside pickup of materials. As they begin to reopen more fully, here’s an update from around the district:

Bolton Public Library -- Starting Sept 12, the entry of the Bolton Public Library will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Contact-free pickup is now available for our full schedule of pre-pandemic hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 10-8, Fridays 10-5, and Saturdays 10-2. The Library is always closed Sundays and Mondays.

Hudson Public Library – Hudson Public Library offers curbside pickup service, Monday-Thursday from 10 am – 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm.

Maynard Public Library - Curbside pickup is available 2-5 pm M,W,Th, F and 2-7 pm on Tuesdays.

Randall Library, Stow – Curbside pickup is available Tuesday 3-6 pm, Wednesday 10-3 pm, Thursday 10-3 pm and Friday 10-1 pm.
Where to Get a COVID-19 TestThe most comprehensive information regarding COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts is provided by the Mass.gov website.  https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-testing This web page suggests and offers an "Interactive testing map" to find a testing site near you. Contacting the site before arrival is recommended. Many sites may also require pre-screening, a referral and/or an appointment. Find the testing map here.

In August, Governor Baker launched the "Stop the Spread" strategic testing program to provide low barrier, free, and easy to access testing to all Massachusetts residents. Details of the program and testing sites are available at:  https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread