Chamber News

June 30, 2020 Likes Comments

Theater to racists: We don’t want your money

Businesses and nonprofits on the Phase 3 reopening list (and everyone else in the Bay State) have to be encouraged by our continued improved health trends.

But we're all watching with dread what’s happening in other parts of the country. NYC just delayed some openings. New Jersey, Arizona and California too.
Theater to racists: We don’t want your money

Earlier this month, New Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Michael J. Bobbitt led the staff, board, and community of the Watertown-based company in publicly expressing solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
While the message generated mostly supportive responses, some New Rep patrons reacted negatively, sending replies ranging from “Unsubscribe me immediately” to descriptions of protesters as “racist scum.”
Bobbitt didn’t mince words in response.
“I told them they were no longer welcome in our space,” Bobbitt said in an interview with Wicked Local. “I further advised the staff to do the same to anyone who responded inappropriately.
“We don’t need or want their money. We absolutely will not tolerate racism in the New Rep community,” he added.
While New Rep (a chamber member) may have lost some supporters (difficult for a nonprofit at any time, but particularly during the COVID shutdown), the company may have gained others.
“We have received much more support for doing so, and have already gained new patrons and donors in the process, “Bobbitt wrote on Facebook.
“New Rep's mission is to produce plays that speak powerfully to the vital ideas of our time. Just because we're not able to produce plays right now does not mean that we can't speak powerfully,” he said on Broadway
“We can't rely just on diverse programming or casting. [Black and Indigenous people of color] need to know that they are welcome and safe in our space, and have voices in every aspect of the company, and New Rep is committed to walking our talk.”
PPP we hardly knew ye
Let's not let this morning pass without noting that today (June 30) is the final day to apply to the Paycheck Protection Program; a subject discussed more here than other item in this newsletter. (Even Forbes noticed!)
That’s not to say there won’t be a lot more to write about. (Or maybe even a fourth “P" in our future.)
  • First, there’s all those PPP lawsuits.
  • Then there’s the billions that remain unspent and a proposal in Washington for the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program which would allow some small businesses to apply for a second one (and give that letter just to the right of the "O" on my keyboard an extra workout.)
  • PLUS there’s still tons of questions on the minds of PPP recipients who want to be sure that they spend their loans properly so they can exercise the forgiveness features and not have pay the loan back.
And here’s the answers to 82 questions chamber members submitted to the SBA following that presentation. (I have to say, I'm impressed that the local SBA team took the time to respond.)
If you still have questions, contact SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email . You may also try the SBA District Office email at: .
And watch for another chamber Zoominar with lots of P's in the title soon.
MBTA adding bus crowding data
As of this weekend, bus passengers on nine MBTA routes are able to check their phones or computers ahead of time to get a sense of what crowds they will face during their travel.
Crowds will be described in three tiers: "crowded," "some crowding" or "not crowded," all of which are based on the lower counting thresholds the T implemented amid the pandemic.
Buses that will offer the new feature at the start of the pilot are Routes 1, 15, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 109 and 110, and T officials said they will make similar information available on additional routes throughout the summer.
If you try it out, let me know how it works.
Cumberland drops beer and wine ballot question
Independent package store owners across the state must have been relieved to hear that Cumberland Farms has dropped its planned ballot initiative that would have expand the number of food stores that can sell beer and wine in Massachusetts.
The decision wasn’t a change of heart. Cumberland said it needed to focus on the impact COVID-19 is having on business now.
As CommonWealth reported last year, passage of the question would not only expand beer and wine sales but the number of allowed recreational marijuana shops.
Needham biotech gains FDA approval
Four years after a Needham-based biotech had hoped to launch a drug for the rare hormone disorder that afflicted actor and professional wrestler Andre the Giant, the drug has finally been approved, the BBJ reports.
Chiasma Inc., which is headquartered at 140 Kendrick Street, received FDA approval Friday for the oral treatment, called Mycapssa. The drug is the company’s first commercial product. Chiasma originally hoped to launch the drug in 2016, but the FDA rejected its first application.
Remembering David S. Tobin
Our condolences to the family and colleagues of David S. Tobin, Needham’s longtime Town Counsel. Tobin became special counsel for Needham in 1983 and was appointed Town Counsel in 1985. After practicing law in Wellesley for many years, Tobin and former Needham labor counsel David Grunebaum founded the law firm Tobin & Grunebaum.
“David was an outstanding attorney and friend to all of us here in Needham,” said Select Board Member Dan Matthews. “He was extraordinarily knowledgeable in all aspects of municipal law, and his experience and insight were valued on matters large and small. He was a trusted and effective advisor over decades of service, and we miss him.”

Be back tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
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