Like the rest of the world, Boston, and specifically Jamaica Plain is greatly being affected by COVID-19. Here are just some of the events and ways the Coronavirus is affecting our area:
Egleston Square Main Street canceled their annual meeting and networking breakfast for March 13. "We will miss seeing you, eating Exodus Bagels, Third Cliff Bakery treats, and Coco Verde Vegan mangú with you; drinking Ula Café coffee with you; and hearing DJ MACHO emcee with you. In the meantime, it’s now more important than ever to support all of those and other great local businesses in Egleston Square. So visit, call, order, and book.
Massachusetts ban on the use of any hand-held devices while driving begins on February 23. And here are things that you should know about the ban. The ban means you will have to voice to text, use speakerphone, use BlueTooth, or another hands-free way to talk or text while driving -- like ask a passenger to do it -- or get a well-trained dog to help out. So you can't scroll, swipe, type, check apps, check in via Facebook, tweet, and all the other things we do with our phones. The new law does allow the use of electronic devices if they are being used in response to an emergency, such as for first responders to do their jobs.
Governor Charlie Baker was joined by a host of local and state officials on Heath Street to announce that two Jamaica Plain projects are among 16 state projects receiving more than $2.6 million in Brownfields Redevelopment Funds. Baker made the announcement on Jan. 23 at the Hattie Kelton Apartments at 61 Heath St., in JP, which is Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation's (JPNDC) newest building. Brownfields Redevelopment Funds help transform vacant, abandoned, or underused industrial or commercial properties by providing money to pay for the environmental assessment and remediation of the sites in “economically distressed areas” in Massachusetts. The JPNDC is receiving $250,000 for its housing developments at 25 Amory Street and 250 Centre Street.
Boston's Human Rights Commission had been inactive since 1996, but seeing the challenging times we live in, Mayor Marty Walsh decided to reactivate it. "As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we're committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities," said Mayor Marty Walsh via press release. "I'm proud to appoint these seven members to the Human Rights Commission. Their backgrounds and experiences make them uniquely qualified to serve in these roles, and they will make a real difference in the lives of our residents." Walsh specifically asked the commission, which was established by a city ordinance in 1984, to pay special attention to Boston's immigrant communities.
Rents have skyrocketed through the years in Boston, much of Massachusetts, and across the country. Unfortunately, salaries have not kept up with rising rents, and a state bill proposed by state Rep. Nika Elugardo wants to allow local municipalities the ability to reenact rent control in the Commonwealth. A hotly contested statewide ballot question banned rent control, 51 % to 49% across Massachusetts in 1994. At the time only Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge had rent control. "The current Rent Control Prohibition Act prohibiting rent regulation 'policy is based on the belief that the public is best served by free market rental rates for residential properties,'" said Elugardo in closed door testimony on January 14 (Rep. Elugardo, D-15th Suffolk, provided her talking points to Jamaica Plain News.