Chamber News

June 18, 2020 Likes Comments

A new chamber resource

Need help creating a workplace that’s more diverse and inclusive?

Thanks to the chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, we’ve just created a new resource page we hope you’ll find helpful. If you know of a resource you think should be added to this ever-evolving list, let us know.
 
Next week, we'll also begin creating a directory designed to help members locate local minority-owned, immigrant-owned, woman-owned and LGBTQ-owned businesses. We’ve had quite a few requests for this lately and will need your help identifying businesses, with the hope that you will look to direct some of your spending with these companies.
 
Finally, I hope you will make time to join me next Wednesday (June 24), when I’ll have the honor of speaking, via Zoom, with three prominent Black CEOs (all members of our chamber) about an op-ed they published in the Boston Globe exploring how CEOs, companies and nonprofits can support racial equality and create an inclusive economy in Massachusetts.
Darryl Settles, president of Catalyst Ventures Development, Colette Phillips, president of Colette Phillips Communications and Quincy Miller, president of Eastern Bank, will discuss how the state is uniquely positioned to harness its financial, intellectual and philanthropic might to heal the deep divisions in our society, as well as the risks of not living up to this moment.

Chamber supports letter seeking Duncan investigation
 
The chamber’s Board of Directors voted yesterday to support a letter long-time housing advocate Josephine McNeil wrote to Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and the City Council last week.
McNeil’s letter calls for an independent investigation into the “circumstances surrounding the racial profiling of Tim Duncan,” a Newton resident who had a gun pointed at him by a Newton police officer after being misidentified as a murder suspect, who was also Black.
 
Her letter also requested “a study of all the institutions in the city charged with each aspect of the city’s governance and operating structures” through a “racial equity” lens.
 
At a time when Fuller and many others have appropriately stressed the need to listen to the voices of Black Americans, our board believes it is critical to listen to this call from McNeil, a Black resident of Newton for 36 years who was the recipient the RL Tennant Award last fall, the chamber’s highest honor.
 
The vote by the chamber’s board to support McNeil’s call for greater accountability and transparency was unanimous.
 
Could this help Green Line crowding?
 
As the economy slowly reopens, we’re seeing more cars and the MBTA is reporting an increase in ridership as well.
 
But could a pilot program about to launch in Lynn also help mitigate overcrowded Green Line trains?
 
For two months starting July 1, the $7 commuter rail fee for passengers boarding at the Lynn and Riverworks stations will be slashed to $2.40 one-way; the same amount as a subway fare. That’s a savings of more than $9 per round trip, WGBH reports.
 
If the Lynn experiment successfully entices T riders to switch from the subway to the commuter rail, MBTA officials say, the program could be replicated elsewhere, helping the MBTA encourage social distancing.
 
In another initiative, the T is introducing a new ticket program that allows passengers to space out a limited amount of rides over a 30-day period, rather than buying full monthly passes, according to CommonWealth.
 
As you begin to think about your own future needs, the MassINC Polling Group would like to hear from you. Please participate in this online survey about commuting and working from home. Share it with colleagues and employees too. The survey closes on Monday.
 
End of the road for club at the end of the road?
 
Wells Ave. in Newton has seen a lot of changes over the years. But for decades one constant has been the fitness club at the far end of the circular loop.
 
I remember first working out there when it was the Wellbridge Center decades ago. Since then, the site at 135 Wells Ave has rebranded and changed owners several times and, frankly had been showing a lot of wear and tear.
 
But the end may be near.
 
The owners of Boston Sports Clubs say they may declare bankruptcy and close some locations permanently – including Wells Ave., Newton Patch reports.
 
The company laid off most of its 7,000 employees across more than 200 clubs in March and stopped paying rent, according to a regulatory filing. The filing comes just days after a former employee at the Boston Sports Club on Wells Avenue in Newton said staff were notified that their location will not be reopening, along with at least two other clubs in Greater Boston, according to reporter Jenna Fisher.
 
Earlier this year Attorney General Maura Healey intervened when BSC members accused the company of breaking the law by continuing to collect monthly fees, even though the chain closed all its gyms in mid-March because of coronavirus.
 
The owners of the parcel, which abuts conservation land, has been on and off the market for several years.
 
SBA unveils new PPP forgiveness application
 
I’m sure we’ll cover this during this morning’s Paycheck Protection Plan webinar, but yesterday the SBA released a revised application for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.
 
Actually, there are two new applications. One is a “borrower-friendly” application and a separate form, dubbed by the SBA as the “EZ version.” The BBJ has an explainer here.
 
The SBA published a new Interim Final Rule yesterday to reflect changes made to the PPP by the PPP Flexibility Act. The IFR provides some guidance on how to calculate owner compensation, employee compensation and non-payroll costs for forgiveness purposes.
 
Still don’t know when to fold 'em

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Wednesday adopted this set of reopening guidelines for the state’s casinos, which are scheduled to reopen – with lots of modifications – under Phase 3 of the reopening plan,
 
“No craps. No roulette. No poker. But there will be nearly six-foot-tall plexiglass dividers at blackjack tables separating dealers from players — and players from each other — under new rules meant to keep casino patrons from gambling with their health along with their money,” MassLive reports.
 
Some slot machines would be shut down to provide social distancing. Casino bars will stay closed under the governor’s guidelines, which moved bars to the fourth phase of reopening.
 
No reopening date has been set for Phase 3, although earlier this week Gov. Baker said he would probably be making an announcement by the end of the week about the next rounds of reopenings.
 
DCFU surprise!
 
We love it when our members share stories with us about ways the chamber brought them together. We consider every member-to-member collaboration a success story.
 
Back in “the before” when the chamber was holding our popular monthly Women in Networking lunches, Laurel Sgan and Gail Harris from member nonprofit ThreadED met Jessica Glezellis from Direct Federal Credit Union.
 
At a follow-up coffee date, Laurel and Gail learned about DCFU’s grant opportunity to recognize worthy community individuals who would “significantly benefit” from a $500 gift. ThreadEd nominated its very deserving intern Nathan Warner-Dorval who received a surprise check presentation at the Newtonville CVS where he works. The $500 will help him as he heads off to the University of Rhode Island this fall.
 
Let us know about ways you’ve worked together with a chamber member – connecting our members is an important part of what we do.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.

 

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