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Chamber News

Stay up-to-date with local business news and events in Watertown, Newton, Needham and Wellesley and the State House with our Need to Knows e-newsletter delivered Tuesday and Friday morningsSubscribe for free here.

The Boston Marathon is also an important time for dozens of small and midsized nonprofits in Newton and Wellesley. Every year both municipalities receive invitational entries, also known as runner bibs, from the Boston Athletic Association for being among the eight communities to host the race...Read more

Greg Reibman

Thanks to the more than 40 local restaurants and 500 chamber members and guests, who celebrated the sold-out grand return of “Spring Seasonings: A Taste of Our Towns” last night at the Newton Marriott Ballroom. Added appreciation to our presenting sponsor NBC10 Boston, the Marriott crew, scores of volunteers, and the chamber team who made it possible. It was the second epic event of the day...Read more

Greg Reibman

Should office building owners in our suburban communities be sending Boston Mayor Michelle Wu a thank you-note? Just as downtown office building owners are struggling with high vacancy rates (and remote job postings are reportedly on the rise again), Wu wants Beacon Hill to grant her permission to hike property tax rates on commercial properties beyond the already existing tax shift. How could that not make our suburban properties more competitive?...Read more

Greg Reibman

A wide cross-section of Needham's business leaders spoke at a packed meeting at Town Hall last night, each saying more housing is needed in order for them to keep providing great customer service, attract and retain workers, and remain competitive. They all spoke in favor of the town’s “Neighborhood Housing Plan,” a proposal that unlocks more housing opportunities for young families, downsizing seniors and workers than is mandated under the state’s MBTA Communities Law...Read more

Greg Reibman

A wide cross-section of Needham's business leaders spoke at a packed meeting at Town Hall last night, each saying more housing is needed in order for them to keep providing great customer service, attract and retain workers, and remain competitive. They all spoke in favor of the town’s “Neighborhood Housing Plan,” a proposal that unlocks more housing opportunities for young families, downsizing seniors and workers than is mandated under the state’s MBTA Communities Law...Read more

Greg Reibman

HONE, the committee of town officials, businesses and residents that’s been meeting for months to develop Needham’s MBTA Communities compliance plan is gearing up for one final big community meeting this Thursday (March 28). They’ve developed two complimentary proposals, with the hope of passing – ideally both -- at Town Meeting this fall. (FAQs here) The first, the Base Compliance Scenario, simply meets the requirements of the state law and won't likely help create many new homes...Read more

Greg Reibman

Four years ago tomorrow, Gov. Charlie Baker ordered all non-essential businesses and organizations to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public. So many things haven’t been the same since. Although arguably some things are better, right?...Read more

Greg Reibman

Our least productive Legislature in decades, is once again dilly-dallying on a decision it could have easily made months, or years, ago. We’re talking about the decision to extend, or make permanent, legislation allowing restaurants to provide cocktails-to-go rules, set to expire March 31...Read more

Greg Reibman

A new survey released this week confirms something many employers have known -- and been worrying about -- for some time now. Hiring and retaining young workers is growing increasingly harder. One-out-of-four young residents say they're planning to leave Greater Boston over the next five years, due in large part to the high cost of rent and the challenges of purchasing a home...Read more

Greg Reibman

The battle over how restaurant workers are paid moves to Beacon Hill today. On one side is the labor group One Fair Wage, which is trying to eliminate the tipped wage in Massachusetts and about ten other states this year. On other side are most (but not all) restaurant operators who say the proposed ballot question would lead to higher menu prices and force many out of business.

Greg Reibman

Finally this morning, a GBH News analysis of all of Maura Healey’s major speeches delivered during her first year in office found that the governor mentioned Boston by name 18 times, more than any other city or town. Runner-up was Salem (7 times), where Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll used to be mayor. Healey mentioned Newton and Wellesley once each, according to the analysis of her 67 big policy speeches.

Greg Reibman

April 8 event at Newton Marriott to showcase 40 local restaurants

The Charles River Regional Chamber’s most anticipated community event, Spring Seasonings: A Taste of Our Towns, is returning to the Newton Marriott Ballroom on April 8 after a four-year hiatus. The popular tasting event will bring 40 local restaurants from across Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley, with each restaurant sharing a signature dish, beverage or dessert.

Theresa Fitzpatrick

A page one story in the Globe Monday documented the growing revolt in some municipalities against complying with the state’s MBTA Communities Act. It’s a disturbing trend. But it's not really that surprising. Massachusetts has a decades-long history of resistance to zoning. This was never going to be easy. Still -- given the continued exodus of workers from the state largely attributed to our housing supply and affordability shortage -- this law is really important...Read more

Greg Reibman

You've probably heard that Maya Angelou quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” A few years back, Max Page showed us exactly who he is. I'm referring to when the then-new Mass Teachers Association President pretty much declared war on every employer and parent looking to our schools to provide the skills workers need to fill jobs...Read more

Greg Reibman

Here’s a riddle for you. When is a transit-oriented district, not very transit oriented? How about when you would need a swim suit -- or perhaps a canoe -- to get from your “transit oriented” apartment to the nearest train in less than a mile...Read more

Greg Reibman

A team of folks from Needham Bank took a chartered bus to the Big Apple yesterday to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market Closing Bell. They were celebrating their successful public launch as NB Bancorp (Nasdaq: NBBK)...Read more

Greg Reibman

Milton voters resoundingly rejected their town’s MBTA Communities Plan on Wednesday, dealing a blow to a state law that will only truly be a success if all 177 communities in Eastern Massachusetts each do their share to combat our region’s housing shortage. I worry this week's outcome will contribute to another shortage too: Courage. As in the courage local elected and appointed officials must muster; a willingness to put careers on the line in order to reverse decades of exclusionary zoning laws and make...Read more

Greg Reibman

We’re using the occasion of today’s winter storm to announce that we’re bringing back “Spring Seasoning: A Taste of Our Towns,” April 8 at the Newton Marriott. The annual tasting event -- featuring 40 of our region’s best restaurants and beverage purveyors -- has always been the most popular community event we host.

Greg Reibman

Newton is still recovering from a polarizing and reputation-damaging teachers’ strike that ended one week ago today. And somehow the Globe decided this was a good week to look back at last fall’s polarizing and reputation-damaging MBTA Communities Law housing battle. You know the one where Newton City Councilor Deb Crossley (in photo) and some of her colleagues were unseated for trying to make Newton more welcoming and vibrant.

Greg Reibman

What a relief it was to have Newton Public School students back in class yesterday and parents back at their jobs, following a tense 11-day strike. I’m giving Gov. Maura Healey an assist for getting this settled. Did you notice how less than 24 hours after Healey jumped in, the deadlocked sides magically found middle ground?...Read more

Greg Reibman

Application deadline is March 29, 2024

The Charles River Regional Chamber is offering scholarship opportunities for up to four deserving students who either live in Needham, Newton, Watertown, or Wellesley and/or who attend school in Needham, Newton, Watertown, or Wellesley and who plan to attend an accredited program, community college, college or university in the next academic year.

Greg Reibman

We already knew that Gov. Maura Healey’s economic development plan calls for major investments in the life sciences sector. And this week Lt. Gov. Driscoll confirmed at a MassBio event that the administration’s forthcoming economic development bill will include a reauthorization of the life sciences initiative first started by Gov. Deval Patrick and continued under Gov. Charlie Baker...Read more

Greg Reibman

This is the winter of Newton’s discontent. Last spring voters rejected an operating tax override. Last fall, voters ousted city councilors who favored a city-wide plan designed to generate more housing, economic vitality and tax revenue. That was just the preamble...Read more

Greg Reibman

Gov. Maura Healey came to Newton yesterday to urge businesses to stop requiring minimum levels of education when they look to fill most open positions. And she's practicing what she's preaching. Speaking at an Associated Industries of Massachusetts event at the Newton Marriott, the governor announced that she just signed an executive order that eliminates including degree requirements in most state job postings, preferring instead that hiring managers use a "skills-based" approach.

Greg Reibman

Gov. Maura Healey promises there will be no new taxes in the proposed fiscal 2025 budget she releases tomorrow. But Healey has proposed allowing cities and towns to raise taxes, including hiking local meals and hotel taxes, as well as motor vehicle excise taxes. Under Healey's bill, local meal taxes could increase from 0.75% to 1% (on top of the state meals tax). The local hotel, motel and other rentals tax could rise from 6 to 7%. (There would also be a new 5% local option motor vehicle excise surcharge.)...Read more

Greg Reibman

During her first State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday, Gov. Maura Healey called housing “the biggest challenge we face” and her No. 1 legislative priority. The governor doubled down before lawmakers yesterday, testifying in support of her $4.1 billion plan to supercharge housing production with investments and policy changes, saying she was "going big by proposing the most ambitious housing bill in state history.,,Read more

Greg Reibman

Our suburban communities aren't always good at sharing. That’s especially is true when it comes to sharing our land, sharing our streets and sharing our neighborhoods. Last week, the Wellesley Select Board signaled it opposed a proposed multi-family, transit-oriented development off Route 9 that would have created 40 new homes, including nine affordable units (down from the original 60 units) in walking distance to restaurants, shops and the commuter rail...Read more

Greg Reibman

The chamber has joined a coalition of Newton arts and business leaders who are proposing establishing a Cultural District along Washington Street between West Newton and Newtonville. If approved by the state, the designation would provide access to funding and resources that could be used to help market the area to visitors and provide support to artists and cultural organizations. We believe any effort to amplify and nurture the arts and artists will also benefit our restaurants, shops, hotels, and overall economic

Greg Reibman

A coalition of Newton arts and business nonprofit leaders are urging Mayor Ruthanne Fuller to apply to the state to have a portion of Washington Street and adjoining streets designated as one of the Commonwealth’s Cultural Districts.

Newton Community Pride

Heart-broken customers packed Just Next Door Cards and Gifts in Auburndale on Saturday, just hours after owner Amy Shih announced she's closing after 42 years of having that perfect something for generations of shoppers. Amy Shih owned the neighborhood favorite for 19 years and spent five years before that working there for the original owner, reports at Lauren Berman at All Over Newton. "Coming back from COVID’s impact on commerce has not been easy," but Just Next Door was a viable business, Shih says. But she’s been

Greg Reibman

In the spring of 2021, Marcus Nelson made history when he became the first Black person elected to Needham’s Select Board. Just 34 years old when elected, Nelson also was decades younger than most of the guys (and until recently it's been mostly guys) who served on that board for as long as anyone can remember...Read more

Greg Reibman

Larry David’s statute of limitations expires EOD. But I’m a believer in wishing everyone I see a happy new year right through most of Q1. In fact, look for an announcement shortly about our big annual new year party -- happening in February. Noise makers optional. Needham Bank IPO a big success...Read more

Greg Reibman

When Russo’s closed its doors in 2021 after being in the produce business for more than 100 years, the loss was felt deeply not just in Watertown but across Greater Boston. A similar deep loss will be felt when Freddy Farkel’s Upholstery & Fabric Showplace, on Walnut Street in Watertown closes after nearly a century. Billed as New England’s largest custom upholstery shop, the family-run business has been that special go-to place for designers, decorators and do-it-yourselfers, with claims of having had more than one m

Greg Reibman

WS Development just unveiled 14 of the nearly 25 new retailers, restaurants, offices, and other tenants that will move into the missing middle of The Street in Chestnut Hill this coming spring and summer. The now under-construction 90,000 sf project at 27 Boylston Street will finally complete WS Development's process of transforming the stodgy old Chestnut Hill Shopping Center, first built in 1950. Click to read more...

Greg Reibman

In a move that surprised pretty much everyone, the House approved legislation yesterday requiring Massachusetts employers give workers paid time off to vote in person. The bill passed, without discussion, about 90 minutes after the House Ways and Means Committee released it, reports Alison Kuznitz at State House News. Employees who don't have enough time to vote at the polls outside of their working hours can request time off and give their bosses three business days' notice, according to the bill.

Greg Reibman

The average U.S. student's lifetime earnings are projected to be six percent lower than they would have been otherwise due to learning disruptions due to the pandemic. The picture in Massachusetts is even bleaker. Bay State students are projected to have their lifetime earnings drop by nearly eight percent. Read more...

Greg Reibman

Watertown just completed an engaging and well-attended three-day charette exploring ideas for reimagining and reinvigorating Watertown Square. Tops on pretty much everyone's priority list was redesigning the square itself; making the downtown more welcoming, vibrant and multi-modal;

Greg Reibman

Last night, the Newton City Council passed the city's most significant zoning reform in seven decades. Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, Waban, West Newton, Newtonville and Auburndale were the big winners. All six villages should benefit from the opportunity to welcome young adults, new families and seniors looking to downsize, into smaller, multi-family homes near transit, shops and restaurants.

Greg Reibman

Wellesley officials unveiled their proposed approach to complying with MBTA Communities Law last night and it was, well, disapointing.

Greg Reibman

The Newton City Council is jogging to meet a New Year's Eve deadline to comply with the state’s MBTA Communities Upzoning Law. Major concessions and compromises have already been made by supporters since the Village Center Overlay District proposal was approved 5-1 by the Zoning & Planning Committee just last month. That plan looked to enhance all of the city’s village centers by gradually allowing for more middle market multifamily housing city-wide. Read more...

Greg Reibman

A reminder that the big three-day charrette where we all get a chance to weigh in on the future of Watertown Square begins Tuesday evening. It’s not necessary to attend all the events to bring value to the conversation. It's also not necessary that you live in Watertown to share ideas, hopes, likes and dislikes about Watertown Square. In fact, it’s important that business owners and anyone who works, shops, dines, travels though, or might want to one day start a business, work or live there be heard too.

Greg Reibman

Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network

Are you headed over the river and through the woods this week? Here’s how to avoid hitting a deer. Leaving the state? Here's what kind of pie you might expect, or should bring. Do your travel plans involve flying? This may be the nicest thing you can do for your host. Finally, going shopping this Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and in the weeks to come? Follow our Hierarchy of Shopping. Click to view the guide.

Greg Reibman

On the same day that the full city council began debating zoning, the Healey-Driscoll Administration delivered a warning to Newton. Failure to abide by the MBTA Communities Law could lead to the loss of millions in state grants, Housing Secretary Ed Augustus reminded Mayor Ruthanne Filler in a letter.

Greg Reibman

When the Retailers Association of Massachusetts surveyed small business owners across the state, 70 percent said they would be looking to sell or retire within the next decade. Consider what that means. If seven out of ten of small business owners hope to step away from their livelihoods in ten years, where will the next generation of owners in our downtowns and village centers come from?

Greg Reibman

Dirty tricks, misleading lawn signs, and data manipulation aside, Newton voters made it very clear Tuesday that they didn't like (or perhaps understand?) the city's proposed approach to the MBTA Communities Upzoning Law. The Newton Beacon called it "a bloodbath." It was...

Greg Reibman

We began this morning with hopeful news for retailers and end with good news for working women, The share of American women working for pay is at a record high, writes Claire Cain Miller at the New York Times (free link). Most interestingly, "the surge has been led by an unexpected group: mothers of children under 5," especially those who are married with college degrees.

Greg Reibman

A fellow who owns several parcels in Watertown -- including properties he rents to a burger joint, a tire shop, and other small businesses -- called me yesterday. It was Nov. 1st. His quarterly taxes were due. So, just as many other taxpayers do at the last possible minute, he headed to City Hall with his checkbook. That’s when they hit him with the bad news.

Greg Reibman

Finally, I mentioned earlier that Newton’s municipal election has taken an ugly turn. Here’s what happened: A few weeks ago, I announced that our chamber was teaming up with a coalition of civic, housing and climate activists, and clergy supporting the proposed Village Center Overlay District currently under consideration by the Newton City Council.

Greg Reibman

The Newton City Council committee that's been shaping a plan designed to gradually add less expensive, smaller homes close to public transportation and, in turn, bring more vitality to its village centers completed its work Monday. The three-years-in-the-making upzoning (approved by the Zoning & Planning committee with five in favor, one opposed, one abstention, and one absent) now goes before the full Newton City Council for approval.

Greg Reibman

Larry Gennari, curator and moderator of the annual Authors and Innovators: Business Idea Festival, has a knack for finding thought-provoking, entertaining and inspiring authors. The finale event next Thursday (Oct. 26) at Watertown’s awesome Mosesian Center for the Arts boasts all three.

Greg Reibman

If you own a home in one of our west suburban chamber communities, you’re in luck. But if you’re an employer hoping to lure an outstanding job applicant from another state to move here, you may be out of luck. That's because there's a good chance your new potential hire may very well turn down your offer -- even if you offer a nice salary bump and moving expenses -- once they start house hunting.

Greg Reibman

Rather than the sounds of scientists developing life-changing cures, it will be thwack, thwack, thwack. That’s according to the Real Reporter’s Joe Clements who says the Bulfinch Company is backing away from plans to build life science labs at the former Neiman Marcus store at the Natick Mall. Instead, the home of the former luxury retailer will become a giant indoor pickleball court.

Greg Reibman

Abutters to the Sisters of Charity property in Wellesley Hills continue to dig in against a zoning change headed to the fall Special Town Meeting, even though it could be 30, 40, or even perhaps 50 years before the property might be redeveloped. Even then, any changes or expansions would require a special permit, requiring an extensive public process, and multiple approvals. The Sisters (average age 83) are looking for an opportunity to control their destiny and finances by selling their 125 Oakland St property to a buy

Greg Reibman

A mere 550 days (but who's counting? Oh, I guess I am) after it was first proposed, both the Senate and House have passed the long-awaited, and needed, compromise tax relief bill. The bill, which awaits the governor’s signature, would provide $561 million in tax breaks and credits this year and grow to about $1 billion once fully implemented in 2027. The bill includes provisions the Massachusetts Chamber Policy Network (our chamber is a member) called for to improve Massachusetts’s competitiveness and help retain

Greg Reibman

Three percent. That’s the total amount of land area that would be affected by a plan now before the Newton Council to update the zoning code in the city’s village centers. Just three percent. Which means 97 percent of Newton won’t change.

Greg Reibman

If it’s Friday it must be time for another episode in our four-part mini-series designed to promote visiting our Charles River Chamber communities. We launched two weeks ago, exploring old and new attractions that make Watertown special. Last Friday, we visited shops and restaurants that are helping spark a Wellesley Square renaissance.

Greg Reibman

Our chamber signed onto a letter this week to the Biden administration expressing “strong support” of efforts by Gov. Maura Healey urging swift federal action on processing of work authorizations for migrants and allowing for provisional work authorization while the administrative process unfolds. The letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is signed by 21 Massachusetts business associations – representing more than 10,000 businesses collectively employing more than 1,000,000 people – concerned abo

Greg Reibman

Last Friday, we took a Trip up the Charles to Watertown. This week: Let’s "Get to Know Wellesley." Think of it as episode two in a four-part mini-series designed to support our local economy by highlighting the scenic, historic, cultural, recreational, lodging, dining, and retail destinations that make our Charles River communities unique...I have one more video to share. It's from Tuesday's Fall Real Estate Forum focused on the housing crisis. Watch the recap here.

Greg Reibman

With forecasts projecting small winds and heavy rains ahead of Hurricane Lee’s movement north later this week -- and with an overall increase in general of storms overall -- we wanted to share the following emergency preparedness resources.

Greg Reibman

Keolis Commuter Services, the company that operates the commuter rail for the T, is preparing to expand service this fall, adding late-night departures from Boston and adding more trains during peak periods on select lines, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. Among the changes set to start Oct. 2, the Worcester Line (which runs through Newton and Wellesley) is shifting from hourly service to 45-minute intervals at peak periods.

Greg Reibman

As has become our tradition, today we remember 23 individuals who died 22 years ago today as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who are known to have had a Newton, Needham or Wellesley connection. (We're not aware of anyone from Watertown who perished from the attacks.)

Greg Reibman

The Boston Globe made a smart– and important -- announcement this week. Five years after the paper pulled the plug on Globe West and other regional editions, and nine months after ending the Newton Report, they're planning to ramp up coverage of Greater Boston's burbs again. The move makes great business sense. After all, the burbs are where many (quite possibly most) of the Globe's subscribers actually live, work, and play.

Greg Reibman

The Charles River Regional Chamber is joining eight of the largest chambers of commerce from across the Commonwealth to urge the Legislature to finalize tax relief, ensuring that businesses and employees are recognized as pillars of a strong economy.

Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network

Dwight Eisenhower was president when that gorgeous neon Bigelow Cleaners signs in Newton Centre first lit up the corner of Langley Road and Sumner Street in 1957. The business itself is even older. FDR was president when the dry-cleaner first opened just down Beacon Street in 1933. Tomorrow -- after nine decades -- Bigelow Cleaners is closing forever.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll were in Wellesley Hills yesterday to launch MassReconnect, the new program that provides free community college for residents 25 and older that is hoped to help address workforce shortages statewide."Backing these folks is the most important investment we can make for our workforce, for our economy" and for making the Bay State more affordable and equitable, Healey said while on the MassBay College campus.

Greg Reibman

If the countdown clock on their website is reliable, we’re 36 days away from the christening of the Wada Hoppah. The planned water shuttle would ferry riders between the Galen Street Dock at Watertown Square to the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.

Greg Reibman

The state's new housing law just got tougher, while also doing more to protect our small businesses and downtowns at the same time. The 2021 law -- the most consequential housing bill in half a century -- requires 177 communities (including the four served by your chamber) to rezone parts of each community to make it easier to build more multi-family housing near public transit.

Greg Reibman

Back in person for the first time since 2019, Needham Night brought 150+ local business professionals, residents and civic leaders together for a summer BBQ celebration at TripAdvisor HQ presented by Needham Bank and BID-Needham. Honored at the event were four outstanding Needham organizations/individuals for their contributions to our community.

Greg Reibman

It took Northland three years to get its mixed use development project on Needham Street approved by the Newton City Council. Then the company spent a half year defending its vision all over again when some unhappy types forced a ballot referendum. (Turned out the majority of Newton voters resoundingly supported it!) So it's nice to see the project now getting accolades.

Greg Reibman

Our west suburban communities are requiring developers of multi- family projects to build more parking than is needed. Or used. And that's driving up housing costs and supply. That’s the conclusion from a new report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council after monitoring parking usage at dozens of developments in Watertown, Newton, Needham and neighboring communities.

Greg Reibman

If you’ve driven through Newton lately you may have seen some of those “Save Our Villages” lawn signs cropping up. If I’m not mistaken the folks behind those signs are opposed to the Fuller administration’s proposed rezoning overlay plans which would allow for greater density and height in some places, while also making it easier to build more small, multi-family homes by right and add affordable housing.

Greg Reibman

Yes, it’s not always easy finding what you need locally. But in the spirit of supporting what we love (and maybe sending fewer trucks down our streets and eliminating forests of boxes and piles of plastic mailers) try adhering to the "Hierarchy of Shopping," suggestions from the talented team at Love Live Local in Hyannis (with a few modifications from me):

Greg Reibman

Remember that seemingly endless barrage of ads last summer and fall in support, or opposition, to the Millionaire’s Tax? Among the claims from the "Yes on 1" campaign was an ad that told voters: “Anyone who makes less than $1 million a year doesn’t pay an extra cent.” Other campaign materials from the Yes campaign touted that the new tax would be based on “a person’s annual income” and only “those who earn more than a million dollars in a single year.”

Greg Reibman

Four outstanding recent high school graduates have been selected to receive scholarships from the Charles River Regional Chamber. This year’s recipients are Alex Kotkin (Needham High), Gabriela Dos Anjos (Newton South), Daniela Alejandra (Newton South), and Zuhayr Masud (Watertown High).

Maxime Isaac

Greg Reibman, president of Charles River Regional Chamber testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy in support of S2104 and H3676, an Act to expand the bottle bill on June 28, 2023.

Greg Reibman

Our hearts ache for the family, friends and community that loved Gilda (Jill) D’Amore, 73, Bruno D’Amore, 74, and Gilda’s mom, Lucia Arpino, 97. We struggle to make sense of this senseless act of violence, discovered at their Nonantum home early Sunday, the morning after the D'Amores had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Greg Reibman

Newton's deadline is end of December. But Wellesley, Needham and Watertown don't have to be in compliance with the MBTA Communities Law until the end of 2024. But if you're looking for a preview of the difficult conversations ahead, check out last week's three hour community meeting in Wellesley about a proposed condo development at the intersection of Cliff Road and Rte. 9 that's in walking distance of the Wellesley Hills train station and a number of little shops and restaurants...

Greg Reibman

Business groups across the country are stepping up the fight over credit card swipe fees with another attempt to convince Congress to reform the system. Proposed legislation would require banks with more than $100 billion in assets that issue credit cards to allow their cards to be processed on at least two unaffiliated networks — Visa or Mastercard plus at least one competitor, writes Andy Medici for the BBJ...

Greg Reibman

Many offices, including the chamber, are closed today in recognition of Juneteenth. But it's an appropriate moment for all of us to consider how we can make our workplaces and communities more diverse, equitable, inclusive ... and welcoming. Here’s the video replay from our recent panel program focused on our workplaces featuring three of the honorees from our Business Leaders of Color project in collaboration with our partner Colette Phillips from Get Konnected!

Greg Reibman

Massachusetts' 41-year-old bottle bill does not apply to noncarbonated beverage containers such as sport drinks, ice teas, fruit juices, and, yes, water -- all drink options that have gained popularity over the decades and far too often end up as litter on our streets, parks and in our favorite river. But a report last year found that Massachusetts could cut down on plastic litter, create less garbage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and save cities and towns millions of dollars annually by expanding the bill and...

Greg Reibman

It’s an act of vandalism that’s hard to fathom. Late last week, vandals snuck onto the grounds of the nonprofit Newton Community Farm, uprooting hundreds of plants from the city’s only working farm.“Someone, or multiple people, took basil, scallions, eggplant, and cucumbers planted in the field and trays of cucumber, tomato, kale, corn, and other seedlings from the new greenhouse,” writes Sue Bottino, the nonprofit’s executive director...

Greg Reibman

The Massachusetts Chambers Policy Network, of which the Charles River Chamber is a member, is deeply concerned that a routine audit found that the Department of Unemployment Assistance’s (DUA) wrongly used $2.5 billion in federal money to fund state unemployment benefits during the previous Administration. The Healey Administration is now working with the federal Department of Labor on how to rectify the error...

Greg Reibman

Newton is just under six months away from a deadline to comply with the new law that requires communities to make it easier to build multifamily homes close to transit. Cobbling together a plan hasn't been -- and won't be -- easy in a city where housing has long been the third rail of politics...

Greg Reibman

We’re waking up to some news that could potentially be devastating for businesses statewide. A routine audit has found that Massachusetts mistakenly used about $2.5 billion in federal money to fund jobless benefits during the pandemic -- payments that should have been made by the state, reports Larry Edelman and Jon Chesto at the Globe...

Greg Reibman

When Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll joins us Friday at our Spring Business Breakfast, she will, no doubt, emphasize the priority she and the Healey administration have placed on addressing our housing crisis. Here’s hoping Driscoll will inspire all of us (including the many elected local officials who will be joining us at the Needham Sheraton) to follow the lead set by Lexington and rezone for more transit-oriented housing than required under the MBTA Communities Law...

Greg Reibman

The Charles River Regional Chamber has chosen Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange to be the nonprofit beneficiary of its 32nd Annual Golf Tournament happening in conjunction with its first-ever Pickleball Outing at Wellesley Country Club on Monday, Aug. 7. This year, the committee was moved by MARE’s mission to find permanent adoptive homes for children and teens waiting in foster care...

Greg Reibman

Today (May 25) marks the three year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. We all remember that video. We also all remember how employers across our region and across the nation stood up in the aftermath and pledged to support diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace. But this week, the ADL released an alarming report that found Massachusetts had the nation’s second-highest rate of white supremacist propaganda in the nation last year.

Greg Reibman

We just put the finishing touches on our list of the “50 Most Influential Business Leaders of Color” in Greater Boston’s western suburbs, created in partnership with our friend Colette Phillips and her team at Get Konnected! Our honorees will be unveiled at the Charles River Chamber and Get Konnected! websites one week from today, Friday, May 19. We'll also be distributing a print edition at our June 2 Spring Business Breakfast and at other upcoming events.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Greater Boston’s inner western suburbs aren’t often celebrated for their diversity. But on May 19 the Charles River Regional Chamber in collaboration with Colette Phillips, and her companies Colette Phillips Communications and Get Konnected! will shine a spotlight on the often unnoticed and overlooked business people of color and the companies that are making a difference there.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The COVID-19 public health emergency officially ends Thursday. Most federal, state, and local restrictions, regulations, mandates, and benefits that were still standing will expire. But please don’t mistake that for thinking our economic challenges are also behind us. Please don’t mistake that for thinking we no longer need to support our local businesses and nonprofits and embrace measures to grow and keep companies, workers, and jobs here.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Do you work for a large company that wants to help small businesses? Pay your bills promptly. Late payments have always been a challenge for some small companies. The situation accelerated during the pandemic when more than half of small suppliers experienced late payments from large companies, according to a 2021 survey.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The clock is ticking on a December deadline for Newton to change its zoning laws to comply with the MBTA Communities Law. Last week the Fuller administration released a new series of maps designed to do just that in concert with efforts that could help small businesses by rezoning the city’s village centers. On the first blush, Version 2.0 looks pretty good.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It was a gut punch -- and not surprising -- at the same time. I’m talking about Alexandria Real Estate Equities' announcement that it is abandoning plans to convert Riverside Center in Auburndale into lab space. The California-based life science development firm will instead sell the three-building complex at a loss.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Watertown is about to lose what was once one of the city's marquee employers and commercial property owners. Athenahealth is moving its headquarters at Arsenal on the Charles about two miles down the road to Boston Landing in Brighton, according to Joe Clements at the Real Reporter. “Watertown has been Athenahealth’s home for nearly 20 years, and we thank the community for all of its support as we grew from a start-up to one of the largest employers in the Boston area,” CEO Bob Segert said in a statement.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Happy Patriots Day Weekend, one of the best weekends of the year to be in our chamber communities. Leading up to the 127th Boston Marathon on Monday, go here for suggested places to dine, shop and visit in Newton, Needham, Watertown, and Wellesley. And this video from the Chronicle documents some of the history along the route in Wellesley. (While the Swellesley Report talks about this guy who doesn't like hearing one of the things in the video.)

Charles River Regional Chamber

A plan to temporarily reopen Hotel Indigo at Riverside Station to provide emergency housing for local families is moving forward, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller announced last night. Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development is negotiating a contract with Catholic Charities of Boston and Mark Development, owner of the currently closed Indigo, for families experiencing homelessness with children (under 21) and pregnant women. Under the two-year contract, Mark Development would renovate portions of the h

Charles River Regional Chamber

Transportation advocates, employers, employees, residents, and shoppers have long talked about creating an alternative way to travel between Newton and Needham that doesn’t involve driving along Needham Street and Highland Ave. The logical way to do that would be to connect the Upper Falls Greenway (a 12-foot wide former rail trail that runs parallel to Needham Street) over the river and then over I-95 (yes we’ll need a big, expensive, new overpass to replace the one torn down) to the abandoned right of way rail trail c

Charles River Regional Chamber

Needham voters go to the polls one week from today (April 11) to fill two seats on the Select Board and one seat on the Planning Board. It's fair to say that the Planning Board contest, between incumbent Adam Block and challenger Rob Dangel, is the most contentious and consequential of the contests. In fact, the fate of future commercial and residential developments could possibly swing depending on the winner.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Nearly one out of every ten workers in Greater Boston either holds a tech-related job, or works in a non-technical job at a tech company. That places us 8th nationwide among metropolitan areas, the Globe’s Aaron Pressman reports. And even though there were a wave of layoffs at tech companies large and small last year, the number of people in Greater Boston employed in the industry – more than 272,500 people -- rose slightly (1%) last year, while hiring remains a problem.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Massachusetts residents lost the ability to deduct charitable contributions from their state taxes years ago. But the Massachusetts donation deduction is back this year. It can even be used for filers who don’t itemize their federal deductions. The change, effective Jan. 1, 2023, was overwhelmingly passed by voters in 2000 but put on hold by state lawmakers during a revenue crunch.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Beacon Hill lawmakers finally agreed yesterday to allow municipalities to continue holding remote public meetings and offer an expedited outdoor dining permit process. They also agreed (on the eve of National Cocktail Day, turns out) to allow restaurants to continue offering mixed drinks, beer, and wine for both take-out and delivery meals. All three provisions were set to expire one week from today.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our chamber is teaming up with nine other regional chambers to form a statewide policy network; the Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce Policy Network. Led by the presidents and CEOs of the ten chambers, we plan to use our collective voice to advocate for policy and business issues that will strengthen the quality of life and economy in the Commonwealth.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Several times a week someone asks: “Say, Greg, what's that they're building next door to Tripadvisor?” That would be Boston’s Children’s Hospital's new outpatient surgery center. In 2020 Needham Town Meeting approved rezoning to allow Children’s to eventually construct up to three buildings in the office park, as well as an expansion of the adjacent parking garage.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Charles River Regional Chamber is teaming up with nine of the state’s largest regional chambers to form a statewide policy network; the Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce Policy Network. Led by the presidents and CEOs of the participating chambers, the Chambers Policy Network aims to use its collective voice to advocate for policy and business issues that will strengthen the quality of life and economy in the Commonwealth.

Charles River Regional Chamber

This past weekend was one hour shorter than usual. But that still left plenty of time for many local CEOs, tech and biotech workers, entrepreneurs, and private investors to freak out. They were panicked, of course, about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, along with some added worry about the First Republic, which like SVB has a significant Massachusetts presence. And while the immediate crisis was averted even before the Oscar ceremony ended (at least I think it ended, I tuned out at 11 p.m.), ever

Charles River Regional Chamber

We began this morning writing about angry participants at public meetings. We end with some perspective for restaurant, hotel, shop service, or other business owners who are experiencing an uptick in bad Yelp reviews and other complaints. It’s not just you. The number of customers who seek “revenge” on a business after they feel they’ve been treated badly has tripled since the start of the pandemic, according to the annual National Customer Rage Survey.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Hiring continues to be a problem for many retailers But a new Harvard Business School study identifies another challenge for merchants: Employee lateness and absenteeism. Researchers examined 25.5 million employee shift time cards covering more than 100,000 employees across more than 500 U.S. retail grocery store locations over four years.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Later this month the Newton City Council will consider banning the sale or distribution of more than one dozen plastic items and limiting the availability of many other items. Most of the proposed rules would change the way our restaurants do business. Many retailers would be impacted too. Among other things, the ordinance would forbid the sale of plastic water bottles, plastic floss sticks, plastic ear swabs, cosmetics containing plastic glitter, non-recyclable plastic containers, and packing materials. I can tell you

Charles River Regional Chamber

Major League Baseball just introduced a series of rule changes designed to make the game more competitive in an era of changed attention spans and attrition to other sports. And Gov. Maura Healey just introduced a series of tax reforms designed to make Massachusetts more competitive in an era of high costs and attrition to other states. MLB is making the bases bigger, hoping to encourage more stolen bases and give players more room to operate and avoid collisions.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Is it time to dust off the old “Taxachusetts” label when discussing Massachusetts? Could be. We were the only state to raise personal income taxes last year, according to the annual report from the Tax Foundation. As a result, our marginal state income tax rate has jumped to 7th highest in the nation, reports Christian M. Wade at the Eagle Tribune.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our thanks to the Newton City Council for approving a measure last night to make outdoor dining in public spaces permanent. Also thanks to the Fuller administration for spearheading the long process. Of course, there may never have been a less controversial zoning change in history, with nearly 2,000 people signing a petition in support. Still, without this approval, Newton's outdoor dining season would not have been able to resume on April 1 when state provisions expire.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Back in 2013, the last time the City of Newton asked voters to raise property taxes, the chamber’s board of directors carefully reviewed the proposal and endorsed all three override questions. On March 14, the city is again looking to raise property taxes by approximately $15 million in the form of three new Proposition 2 1/2 override questions. But economic pressures on our businesses, particularly on our smallest businesses and small commercial building owners, are different now........

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Charles River Regional Chamber’s Board of Directors has listened carefully to the mayor, other city and school leaders and to our members. Ultimately, we’ve concluded that while the city’s need for revenue is genuine, we cannot fully endorse the mayor’s requests because of the financially devastating impact a tax increase could have on many of our businesses and commercial property owners.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our condolences to the family, friends, and former colleagues of Michael Driscoll, who served Watertown’s municipal government for 45 years, including close to three decades as Town/City Manager. Driscoll, 70, passed away Saturday after receiving treatment for cancer over the past year, according to the city. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy, overseeing so much of the change, development, and progress Watertown enjoys today, including building three elementary schools and a new high school without a debt exclusion o

Charles River Regional Chamber

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow last week, suggesting that we’re in for six more weeks of winter. But don’t tell that to Malden Mayor Gary Christenson who declared this week that "winter is over" as he lifted his city's winter parking restrictions. Winter parking bans ostensibly seem to exist these days so snowplows can clear streets of snow that ostensibly doesn't exist. At least lately.

Charles River Regional Chamber

There isn’t a business in Newton that’s more iconic, or well loved, than Cabot’s Ice Cream & Restaurant. For generations it’s been a place where memories were made. Where birthdays, graduations, Little League wins or losses, first dates, reunions and countless other milestones and rites of passage were celebrated. And over the decades there hasn’t been a more generous, gentle or humble small business owner than proprietor Joe Prestejohn.

Charles River Regional Chamber

New York City’s war on rats is getting an assist from a Needham company. The city has signed a contract with Bigbelly Solar to place the company’s newest product --- new smart composting bins – across all five city boroughs. Read more of today's Need to Knows to find out more on the Bignbelly's new innovation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Parents in Middlesex (that includes Newton and Watertown) and Norfolk (Needham and Wellesley) counties pay the third highest childcare prices in the nation, according to new data from the Department of Labor. Infant center-based child care in both counties was more than $26,000, eating up nearly 20 percent of median family budgets, reports Christina Prignano in the Globe. Read today's Need to Knows to find out on a solution that faced challenges in Needham for this problem.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Charles River Regional Chamber is launching a month-long campaign in February designed to support the restaurant community in Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley, while also helping those in need. The Love Local: Supporting Our Restaurants & Our Community campaign is designed to encourage dining locally at a time when restaurants continue to struggle in a challenging economy.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Remember back in the darkest days of the pandemic when we all rallied to support our independent restaurants? We still need to do that. Between a labor shortage that just won’t quit, wage inflation, rising food (consider the price of eggs alone), utility, and many other costs, our restaurateurs are still struggling to make ends meet. And now comes news that consumers are "starting to freak out" amidst fears of a recession. Read today's Need to Knows to find out what's new with this year's Love Local campaign.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Maura Healey -- and most of her cabinet -- came to Newton yesterday to deliver what was billed as her first formal address to the business community. It was a frank, and familiar, assessment of the challenges we’ve been hearing from our businesses: from labor shortages and unreliable transportation services to high taxes to competition from other states. Read more of today's Need to Knows to find out more about what Gov. Healey said in her address.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton's aspirations for the Washington Street Corridor suffered a setback in December when the feds rejected a $136 million grant application to rebuild the city's three inaccessible commuter rail stations. Our region was dealt a second, wider-reaching, blow yesterday when we learned that the US Department of Transportation is also passing on a $1.2 billion request for the Mass. Turnpike realignment project along the Charles River in Allston. Read today's Need to Knows to find out how there could be a possible comeback

Charles River Regional Chamber

Back in the summer of 2020, Dr. Errol Norwitz jumped with both feet into the middle of the pandemic. Ever since, the president and CEO at Newton Wellesley Hospital have been there for our communities, providing steady and calming leadership at a time of so much uncertainty and amidst so many changes and challenges in health care. Read today's Need to Knows to learn more about Dr. Norwitz's departure from Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Mostly, we do that by spotlighting unique locations in our communities, hoping attendees will say something along the lines of: “Wow. I never knew about this!” We heard that a lot last summer, for example, when we held our summer Members Celebration event in the Italianate Garden at Elm Bank. And everyone who was there will recall our parties at the Saco-Pettee Mill Building or -- when it was brand new -- Tripadvisor. Now we can’t wait to show you the Nathaniel Allen House in West Newton -- the site of our annual winter

Charles River Regional Chamber

The holidays weren't so jolly for many of our small retailers. That’s according to the Retailers Association of Massachusetts which reports a November and December seasonal dollar increase of 1.2% over holiday sales in 2021. Read today's Need to Knows to find out more about this report for small retailers.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Is biotech in Boston about to go bust? Not according to some of the region’s top bio billionaires interviewed by Bloomberg. Read more about what was discovered during interviews by reading today's Need to Knows.

Charles River Regional Chamber

“Let me speak directly to the business community.” That’s how Maura Healey began a key section of her inaugural address yesterday after being sworn in as the 73rd governor of Massachusetts. “You help drive our economy and you will help build our future. In me, you will have a partner every step of the way,” she continued.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A one-time Needham newspaper delivery boy who later went on to pump gas in the town center and eventually became governor of Massachusetts will take that final "lone walk" down the State House steps this evening. Here’s what Charlie Baker said yesterday on his way out. Click to read more.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If there was a 10-acre contaminated asphalt heat island in your community you’d think the local planning board would want to move quickly to replace it with something much better -- especially if doing so came with millions of dollars in local benefits and good-paying jobs. Finally, yesterday (nearly two years after the property was rezoned and after many, many, long, late, agonizing meetings) the Needham Planning Board unanimously approved Bulfinch Company’s proposal for the old Muzi Motors site along I-95 in Needham.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Wall Street Journal is warning that a “decline in office building values is likely to become a growing problem for the budgets of cities, schools and other jurisdictions that depend heavily on property taxes from these building owners.” And yet a majority of Newton’s City Councilors were more than a little cavalier this month when they overwhelmingly (21-2) rebuffed a proposal by Mayor Ruthanne Fuller to give commercial property owners a bit of a break on property taxes, with several councilors suggesting business

Charles River Regional Chamber

Wells Ave welcomes the WSYMCA; linkage fees playing a big role in site selection for future projects; the Newton tax override; and a hugely successful toy drive.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We've received a third round of funding for the program we’ve been running in Newton and Wellesley since the darkest day of the pandemic; don't lose sight of the societal contributions of life science companies; updates on the West Newton project and catalytic converter law; and why not everyone loves that holiday music playing in stores.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Employers are using all sorts of approaches to attract top talent: Generous comp packages. Remote work opportunities. Flexible schedules. And, no doubt, some of the items on this 11 Terrible Job Perks Nobody Really Cares About list. But Harvard Business School research suggests that many companies fail to promote a key draw for many prospective employees today, particularly young people: the diverse, inclusive workplaces they’ve worked hard to develop.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Knowing a federal match was critical to fully funding the stations, Baker stressed the urgency of approving his $85 million request in a letter to the Legislature. "We cannot lose additional time by waiting to appropriate funds for these projects,” Baker warned. Want to guess what our lawmakers did?

Charles River Regional Chamber

Economic headwinds – most notably rising construction and finance costs -- are indeed delaying Mark Development’s efforts to transform the Riverside MBTA station into a vibrant mixed-use development, the developer confirmed yesterday. As I wrote last week, this project was originally conceived more than a decade ago and revived in 2018.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller tried to give Newton’s commercial property owners a bit of a break on property taxes last week. But Newton’s City Council overwhelmingly turned Fuller -- and our businesses -- down.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s safe to say that were it not for the slow-turning wheels of government, that transformative project to create a mixed-use, transit-oriented development at Riverside Station would be well underway by now. The project dates back at least to 2011. It was approved in 2013 but only after it was scaled back to appease neighbors so far that it proved unviable financially.

Charles River Regional Chamber

With so much at stake this holiday season we should all be shopping as if jobs, livelihoods and even our downtowns depend on it. Because they do. Here’s one way you can help: Avoid the temptation to turn to Amazon for your holiday shopping and shop locally.

Charles River Regional Chamber

In an effort to increase attention and support of small businesses throughout Needham this holiday season, the Needham Business Alliance has organized a “Holiday Spirit Contest” for Needham businesses taking place from December 10-17

Charles River Regional Chamber

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday -- a day when consumers will be reminded to show their support for independent merchants in our downtowns, village centers, and commercial districts. Here’s hoping it’s a record-breaker for all our local retailers. But I’ve never been a big fan of Small Business Saturday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Massachusetts retailers are forecasting a 10% increase in sales this holiday season. Sounds great until you factor in an 8% inflation rate, leaving “little margin for error or increased profitability” according to Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst. The prediction, based on a survey of RAM members, contrasts with a forecast calling for a 6 to 8 % increase in holiday sales nationally, writes Michael P. Norton at State House News.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Last year at this time, Olena Reshetnyak was manager of a Marc Cain store in Kharkiv, a city of 1.4 million on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. When the Russian attack on Ukraine began, Reshetnyak, like so many others, fled her country with her children. (Her husband, Michael, has been unable to leave permanently because of Ukraine’s wartime policy requiring most men to serve in the military or other capacities).

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s midterms Election Day. Or more accurately, it’s Election Deadline Day, the last day of Election Month, since voting in many states began weeks ago. Here in Massachusetts, Election Month voting ends when the polls close at 8 p.m. So get out there, if you haven't voted yet.

Charles River Regional Chamber

“The economy -- notwithstanding the terrible headlines, inflation, interest rates, Ukraine, all the things you know -- is in better shape than you think.” That’s how economist and real estate guru Spencer Levy began his talk with our chamber yesterday. Levy -- who's with the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm CBRE -- spent the next hour painting a refreshing, mostly optimistic, view (rooted in strong growth trends and low unemployment) that was, frankly nice to hear amidst all the ongoing anxiety and j

Charles River Regional Chamber

Ninety-five days after it was due, lawmakers announced yesterday that they had reached an agreement on a $3.8 billion bill that could be on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk by the end of today. The bill includes many things businesses and nonprofits across many sectors have been urgently waiting for, including funds to support small businesses, workforce development, housing, climate resilience, EV rebates, MBTA safety, broadband access, public parks, and conservation land.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Most of us try and do the right thing by recycling water bottles, take-out containers, and other plastic packaging. And in Newton, Watertown, and other communities, many of our restaurants have scrambled to find (costly) white or clear plastic takeout containers after residents were told (less expensive) black plastic containers can’t be recycled. But turns out that the majority of the plastic we put into recycling bins ends up in landfills, according to a report from Greenpeace.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our suburban communities still aren’t doing our part to help address Greater Boston’s housing crisis. That's one of many takeaways from yesterday’s release of The Boston Foundation’s annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card. The good news? New housing construction across Greater Boston has slowly increased. Around 15,000 new housing units were permitted in 2021, up about 2,000 units over the previous pace.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The pandemic had a devastating impact on learning and well-being. And a return from isolation has reminded us what happens when we neglect our public transit, roads, and bridges. But raising taxes through a poorly-constructed amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution on the hopes that Beacon Hill will dedicate the revenue to education and transportation is not the solution.

Charles River Regional Chamber

But after much deliberation, we're choosing not to issue a recommendation on Questions 2 and 3, primarily due to a lack of data in the first instance, and a faulty approach in the other. Question 2 seeks to remedy a real-world challenge: Providing affordable dental care to our employees and their families, while fairly compensating dentists.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s "complicated." That’s what state Senate President Karen Spilka told reporters yesterday when asked about the $4 billion economic development bill that's still unresolved -- 79 days after lawmakers formally adjourned for the rest of 2022. "As you all know, it's very complicated. There were a lot of things that came up. So we are in constant communication about it," Spilka said Monday after meeting with House Speaker Ronald Mariano and Gov. Charlie Baker, according to Colin A. Young at State House News.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Board of Directors of the Charles River Chamber is recommending a “yes” vote on Question 4, the statewide ballot question that asks voters if they want to keep a new Massachusetts law that allows unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. First and foremost, the chamber sees this as a public safety issue. So do the multiple studies, police chiefs, and public safety officials we consulted.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Nearly two-thirds of our state Legislature will be reelected this November in an uncontested race. But one of the more interesting competitive contests is happening in one of our towns. That would be Rep. Shawn Dooley’s (R-Norfolk) efforts to oust incumbent State Sen. Becca Rausch (D-Needham) from a seat that includes (for the first time due to redistricting) all of Needham, plus ten other communities to the south of us.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Not paying attention to the generational differences in our workplaces can be detrimental to success. For employers looking to retain and attract Gen Z workers (those born between 1997 and 2012) that could mean providing mental health support and a more traditional work experience, according to one recent study published by Axios. Check out these results from a survey of recent graduates who were asked what they’re looking for in their future workplace.

Charles River Regional Chamber

After the cost of labor, the fees credit card companies charge restaurants, retailers, and other merchants are often those businesses’ second-highest operating costs. And those credit and debit card “swipe fees” have more than doubled in the past decade, soaring 25 percent last year alone to a record $137.8 billion.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Has the new head of the state’s largest teachers union declared war on every employer (and parent) looking to our schools to provide the skills workers need to fill jobs? It sure feels that way. Here’s what Mass Teachers Association President Max Page told the state ed board this summer: “The focus on income, on college and career readiness speaks to a system … tied to the capitalist class and its needs for profits," Page said. “We, on the other hand, have as a core belief that the purpose of schools must be to nurture

Charles River Regional Chamber

During the years-long run-up to getting the so-called Fair Share or Millionaires’ Tax on the ballot, Attorney General Maura Healey has been supportive of the effort. But yesterday Healey -- now a candidate for governor -- offered a nuanced view of Question 1, the proposed constitutional amendment that would add a 4 percent surtax to household income above $1 million.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Close to half of all working Newton residents --a whopping 43.9 percent -- worked remotely last year. That's nearly twice the state rate, where 23.7% of Massachusetts workers primarily worked from home in 2021. And the Bay State had one of the highest work-from-home rates in the nation, writes the Globe’s, Dana Gerber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Yet another survey confirmed this week what most business owners already know: Inflation, supply chain, and hiring remain back breakers, But then there was this disheartening statistic from the MassINC Polling group survey: More than half (53%) of small businesses in Massachusetts are making less revenue than they did before the pandemic, including 23% that say revenue is down by 25% or more.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Malls are dying. Retail is fading, right? That's what makes the transformation at Arsenal Yards all the more remarkable. It was just nine years ago when Boylston Properties and the Wilder Cos. paid $70.5 million for the long past its prime Arsenal Mall and the adjacent Harvard Vanguard building in Watertown. And it’s been less than five years since the companies started what’s become a head-turning retail transformation which will ultimately feature 50 carefully curated retail and restaurants, a hotel, plus 432,000 sf l

Charles River Regional Chamber

Forty-six days after our Legislature split for vacation without completing a critical Economic Development Bill, leaders signaled that they’re ready to cobble together some form of the shelved bill. The logjam was loosened yesterday after State Auditor Suzanne Bump certified the state does indeed have to return $2.94 billion to us, taxpayers, due to record tax collections and a 1986 voter-passed law that lawmakers apparently forgot about until the folks at CommonWealth magazine reminded them about it.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The roughly two-mile-long renovation -- from Webster Street in Needham to Route 9 in Newton -- will widen sidewalks, improve intersections, add raised bikes lanes and synchronized signals and rehabilitate the bridge over the Charles River. These are much-needed, welcome improvements. But we’re now looking at the fall of 2024 before completion.

Charles River Regional Chamber

As has become our tradition, today we remember 23 individuals who died 21 years ago today as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who are known to have had a Newton, Needham or Wellesley connection. (We're not aware of anyone from Watertown who perished from the attacks.)

Charles River Regional Chamber

By choosing Trump-backed legislator Geoff Diehl over Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty for governor, Republican primary voters likely made Maura Healey’s path to the corner office easier than it was already going to be. They also likely eliminated any opportunity to have a substantive debate about economic issues, sustainability, and other matters.

Charles River Regional Chamber

By now most of us have become sensitive to just how hard it is to operate or work at a restaurant these days. As customers, that means exercising patience for our food to arrive from potentially short-staffed kitchens; expecting to pay more to cover increased food and labor costs; and becoming more generous tippers.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Ready for some good news about the MBTA? The T's is moving forward with plans to invest $811 million to replace the 1980s-vintage, two-car Green Line trains with 102 new vehicles.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A few years ago, we were nothing but a "brown banana." But just like Albert Pujols, break dancing and Legos in the office, the 'burbs are back baby. That’s the word from the Globe, which declared this week that a “real estate renaissance is underway” in Wellesley and other west inner suburban communities.

Charles River Regional Chamber

In Tuesday’s newsletter I invited you to share stories about how inflation was impacting your operation. Here’s part of what the owner of a recently-closed restaurant told me:

Charles River Regional Chamber

The rising costs of just about everything has put our businesses and nonprofits in a difficult position. In fact, when we surveyed our members earlier this month, three out of four respondents told us inflation was their No 1 business concern heading into the fall. For business owners raising prices is always a gamble.

Charles River Regional Chamber

These past few years have been brutal for our businesses, right? Between lockdowns, quarantines, labor shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, and on and on and on -- it would be easy to understand if employers felt defeated. They’re not. At least that’s not what our most recent online poll suggests

Charles River Regional Chamber

The $85 million covers half of the commuter rail project's cost. Our thanks to Baker, Sen. Cindy Creem, Rep. Kay Khan and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller, among others, for getting us this far. The next step is for Congressman Jake Auchincloss (who has been advocating for this project going back to his days as a Newton City Councilor) to secure federal matching funds from the federal infrastructure bill for the other half.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Baker administration is hailing its HireNow program as a success, saying the $50 million initiative helped spur the hiring of thousands of workers across the state. I’ve heard from quite a few frustrated employers who aren't nearly as enthusiastic.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The small but mighty brick building on Needham Street that had been home to our chamber for at least two decades (as well as AAA and, long ago, a Strawberries record store) came tumbling down yesterday. Also flattened was the former Marshalls store on the other side of the parking lot that served shoppers since the late 70s, along with the rest of the old Marshalls Plaza.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Four outstanding local students have been selected to receive scholarships from the Charles River Regional Chamber. In a highly qualified and deserving pool of close to 50 applicants, the chamber’s Scholarship Committee has selected Chaerin Lee, Grace Campbell Maillet, Theresa Cabral and David Fils-Aime for this year’s awards.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our Legislature had 18 months to complete the people’s business. But, as usual, most of its work was mostly completed in the final weekend, and hours, of the session which ended early Monday. Bills allowing sports betting, expanding mental health access, an infrastructure bond bill (including $85 million to rebuild Newton’s commuter rail stations!), gun-licensing laws, cannabis reform (allowing cannabis cafes) and a new version of a climate bill were all sent to the governor, mainly in the last 23 hours.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Ten years ago this fall, WS Development rebranded the stodgy old Chestnut Hill Shopping Center as The Street. With that began a process of transforming the old school plaza (first built in 1950) into an engaging destination featuring an eclectic mix of over 40 restaurants, retailers and pop-ups, along with public spaces, free outdoor yoga, kids activities and other events.

Charles River Regional Chamber

When our chamber expanded into Wellesley in 2020 we had a feeling this was a community in transition. Sure enough, in the past year Town Meeting lifted a series of archaic dining and liquor laws that's bringing in new businesses and vitality. Wellesley is also experiencing what has to be an unprecedented transition in its long-static office market.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Legislature sent a climate bill to Gov. Charlie Baker last night that -- among many other provisions -- would allow Newton and nine other municipalities to ban the use of fossil fuels in new homes, commercial construction and major renovations. However the city may not be able to participate in the pilot program, even though the ban has unanimous support from the Newton City Council and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The storied West Newton Cinema is embarking on an effort to potentially turn the venue into a non-profit visual arts and culture center. As a first step, cinema co-owner David Bramante has entered into an agreement to sell the property at 1296 Washington Street to Newton's Mark Development. Under the agreement, the Bramante family will continue to operate the six-screen cinema for the next 18 months to two years while it explores opportunities to transition leadership and operation to another entity.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Under the headline, “Newton Restaurants Bouncing Back,” Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller published the chart below in her email newsletter yesterday. The graph tracks revenue received by the city though the 0.75% excise tax on sales of restaurant meals. And as you can see, things do look pretty bouncy.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Today is Prime Day. But stop right there. And step away from that browser. Before you order some stuff you may not really need anyway, remember that every purchase you choose to make locally instead doesn't just help that individual business: It lifts our entire local economy.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Low wage workers got theirs, they say. Now it’s middleclass taxpayers’ time. Unless you’re married. Then you may not get as much. You’re not alone if you’re scratching your head over a proposal to emerge from Beacon Hill yesterday that would provide a one-time $250 rebate by October (just in time for, you guessed it, Election Day) to help offset the rising cost of living.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Proponents of the so-called “Millionaires Tax” constitutional amendment that will go before voters in November generally portray the new surtax as something that will only impact the “super rich.” But a new Pioneer Institute survey conducted in collaboration with two state business groups, explores how many small business owners may also find themselves subject to the surtax.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Looking for things to do for yourself, your family or guests, this holiday weekend? You’ve come to the right place. Our Take a Trip Up The Charles website lists nearly 300 restaurants, close to two hundred retailers and dozens of destination ideas inside our four chamber communities.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It's nice to be back in your inbox after a week off, but not good that we're stepped back 50 years in time while I was out. Oh, yeah -- and after two-plus years of telling you all what you need to know about COVID -- I tested positive yesterday. I'm boosted. I feel lousy. I expect to be fine.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If you’re an MBTA bus rider in Newton, chances are you’re already alarmed by the many of T’s plans to eliminate routes and frequency across the city. But those of us who never -- or rarely -- step on a T bus should be alarmed too. Here’s why:

Charles River Regional Chamber

Remember this when you're dealing with traffic, road closures and parking restrictions this week due to the U.S. Open. Our short-term inconveniences can be a difference maker for many of our businesses. Upwards of 175,000 fans are expected to descend on our region this week. About 35% of those in attendance will be traveling from afar to attend the event at the Country Club in Chestnut Hill, according to the USGA. Another estimated 1,000 or more workers will also travel to the area.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Millions of Americans quit their jobs or retired in what came to be known as the Great Resignation during the pandemic. But a new CNBC survey finds that nearly two-thirds (68%) of those retirees would now consider coming back to work. The survey found that 33% of retirees left jobs for health reasons, 27% retired due to COVID-19 concerns, and 19% simply no longer wanted to work.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Reforms to estate and capital gains taxes are critical to our state's long term competitiveness, especially in an era of remote work. But those -- or any other tax relief ideas Baker has proposed, or the House and the Senate may get around to -- won't kick in until a year from now.

Charles River Regional Chamber

How well do you know our communities? This morning, the Charles River Regional Chamber is launching a multi-media campaign to promote visiting Newton, Needham, Watertown and Wellesley to visitors. We’re calling it “Take A Trip Up the Charles.”

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s been a month since the last ever edition of the Newton Tab landed on lawns across the city. But it’s been years since the city has had any consistent news reporting, making Newton the biggest city in Massachusetts without a local newspaper, according to the Globe. Finally there’s a plan to do something about Newton's news desert.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Charles River Regional Chamber has chosen the Ellie Fund to be the nonprofit beneficiary of its 31st Annual Children’s Charitable Golf Tournament happening at Woodland Golf Club on Monday, Aug 1.

Charles River Regional Chamber

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced plans to retire yesterday. He's not leaving until next summer, but when Subbaswamy (better known as “Swamy") departs he’ll leave a legacy that includes improving the university’s graduation rate, making the campus more diverse, increasing innovative research, navigating a pandemic and being a very popular selfie get.

Charles River Regional Chamber

This is a big week for your chamber. First, watch for an announcement later this morning about our first big social event in, you know, years. It’s happening July 12, 5:30 p.m. outdoors at one of the prettiest spots along any part of the Charles River. We've missed you and hope to see you that evening.

Charles River Regional Chamber

And that’s the names and faces of the 21 victims of the 27th school shooting this year, the 213th mass shooting of 2022. And it’s only May. Just days after a white supremacist slaughtered ten Black people at the Buffalo supermarket; two years after the cruel murder of George Floyd; and a decade after the Newtown school massacre, we feel furious and we feel helpless.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’ve all heard the arguments for getting workers to return to the office. It fosters innovation. Encourages collaboration. Supports teamwork. Allows for those informal conversations. Nurtures careers, mentoring and professional development. And on and on. But here’s one more selling point for in-person work that most employers likely aren’t touting but may still be on some employees’ minds:

Charles River Regional Chamber

A plan that would transform public transit on Newton's north side just took a big step forward. Gov. Charlie Baker has included $85 million toward the reconstruction and expansion of the MBTA commuter rail stations in Auburndale, West Newton and Newtonville as part of his $1.7 billion supplemental budget.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Looks like we need to flatten yet another COVID curve. And -- once again -- things feel unsettled. But not, perhaps, the uncertainty surrounding whether or not workers will one day be returning to the office. Here's why:

Charles River Regional Chamber

A study out of Texas A&M found evidence that employees who spent time outdoors before and after work were in better moods when they arrived at work, which fueled higher work effort later in the day. “Contact with nature improves people’s moods, sharpens people’s cognitive abilities, makes them more cooperative, reduces burnout and enhances employees’ productivity,” writes Anthony C. Klotz professor of business administration at A&M's Mays Business School in the Wall Street Journal.

Charles River Regional Chamber

When I talk with business owners these days, there seems to be one common thread: Nothing makes sense right now. There’s so much uncertainty. Once predicable business trends are unpredictable. It’s never been harder to forecast. COVID is common. Inflation is rampant. The stock market is setting the wrong kinds of records. An untethered dictator has ignited a global conflict. Baby formula and other things we’ve long taken for granted are scarce. Millions are voluntarily quitting the workforce. Basic human rights are unde

Charles River Regional Chamber

Restaurants are packed. Customers are back. So life is rosy again for our restaurants, right? Not exactly. While a recent spike in COVID cases doesn’t seem to be keeping customers from dining out, the two-and-a-half-year struggle for survival in the hospitality sector has far from abated.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller was on Beacon Hill yesterday, urging lawmakers to adopt Gov. Charlie Baker’s $3.5 billion economic development bill. And it’s easy to see why Fuller and other municipal officials support Baker's bill. In particular, they like the bill's emphasis on providing funds to revitalize local downtown commercial districts.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The April jobs report is due out today. It's expected to show that more workers continue to rejoin the workplace, although the pace is slowing. As of March there were still nearly two available positions for every unemployed person. One major area that contributed to the labor shortage was the loss of millions of older Americans who stopped working during the pandemic.

Charles River Regional Chamber

You know that old quip attributed to the late Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois: “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” Dirksen was discussing the federal budget. But right now, it applies to Massachusetts.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Newton Tab, Needham Times, Watertown Tab & Press and nearly two dozen other weekly Massachusetts newspapers will be landing on front lawns for one final time this week. And with that, an era that began at least as early as 1870 in Watertown; 1874 in Needham and 1882 in Newton will come to end. It’s all part of a plan announced in March by the papers' publisher, Gannett, to transform to online news sites only.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Finally this morning, thanks to Steve Kaufer, founder and outgoing CEO at Tripadvisor, for spending time with us at the chamber’s annual Needham Night celebration. We covered a lot of ground in 12 minutes -- from when he founded the company 22 years ago above Kostas Pizza -- to the company’s eventual decision to locate its HQ in what at the time was an empty office park in N-Squared District.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The price you're paying to haul away your trash may be going up soon. That's because Maine Gov. Janet Mills has just signed legislation prohibiting the importation of out-of-state trash and construction debris. Each year we send about 2 million of the 5.5 million tons of trash generated in Massachusetts on a one way trip to Vacationland, writes the Eagle-Tribune's Christian Wade.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If there was any doubt as to why we need Massachusetts’ newest housing law, all you needed to do was read the Globe on Sunday. I’m not just referring to the special “Top Spots to Live 2022,” magazine section which pointed out just how far one needs to travel beyond Route 128 to find anything close to affordable.

Charles River Regional Chamber

With only a few hours advance notice on Wednesday, the state shut down the portal that allowed businesses and nonprofits to register for Gov. Charlie Baker's HireNow grant program. Due to "very high demand...no new employer preregistrations are being accepted," reads a notice posted yesterday. "If additional funding is made available for the program, preregistrations for new employers will reopen at a date to be determined."

Charles River Regional Chamber

Two Florida anti-vaxers (including one who's also worried about the “globalist war on testosterone”) managed to overturn two years of federal mask mandates this week. As a result of their lawsuit, face mask rules fell like dominos yesterday, not just at airports but also on the MBTA, Amtrak, Uber and Lyft (but, so far, not on steamships). “Feel free to burn them at will,” a train conductor told cheerful New Jersey commuters, according to AP, even as the parents with children too young to be vaccinated, or masked, worrie

Charles River Regional Chamber

It's the most visible, undeveloped parcel in any of our communities. And now we’re getting a look the Bulfinch Companies' vision for the former Muzi Motors dealership along Route 128 in Needham. The proposal includes two lab and office buildings (one five stories, the other three stories) connected by a two-story glass atrium, reports Catherine Carlock at the Globe.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Is the world at war with Vladimir Putin, or the Russian people? Tom Friedman at the New York Times has argued persuasively that if here’s ever going to be a chance to “set in in motion forces inside Russia that topple Putin from power,” the distinction matters. The world needs “to broadcast daily and loudly — in every way we can — that the world is at war ‘with Putin’ and ‘not with the Russian people’ — just the opposite of what Putin is telling them,” he adds.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Wellesley had 3.6% fewer total homes (owner-occupied and rentals) in 2020 than in 2010. Over the same decade, the median home price for owner occupied homes rose nearly 36%, according to the Globe. Both statistics could begin inching in a better direction if Town Meeting approves a proposed zoning amendment on Monday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Might it be possible to one day take the Green Line to Needham? A newly-funded feasibility study will explore the idea of connecting the Eliot MBTA-stop to the Newton Upper Falls Greenway, across the Charles River, over I-95 and on to Needham Heights. The $200,000 earmark, sponsored by Sens. Cindy Creem and Becca Rausch, had been pending for months and was finalized in a supplemental budget signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Back in 1953, a 20-year-old Navy vet who had just returned from the Korean War was standing in his grandfather’s hardware store in Revere when a supplier asked him if he’d be interested in taking over a paint-and-wallpaper store he had acquired in Needham. "Sure," replied Harvey Katz. "Where's Needham?"

Charles River Regional Chamber

Since late January, Liz Tavares and Alie Mahar with the Rotary Club of Newton have been coordinating deliveries of over 400 meals weekly to those facing food insecurity. It was all part of our Nourishing Newton program, made possible through two grants secured by our state Sen. Cindy Creem.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Wellesley is poised to join our west suburban bio-boom. Beacon Capital Partners has applied to convert part of its office complex at 93 Worcester St. (intersection of Route 9 and I-95) into life sciences space, according to Greg Ryan at the BBJ. About 40,000 of the 273,00 square-foot complex (the former HQ for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care) would become labs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The latest Census data illustrates just how bad the housing crisis has become and how our suburban communities have failed to address the problem. The bottom line: Housing production has not kept pace with population growth. Massachusetts' housing stock grew 4.5 percent between 2010 and 2020 while population grew 7 percent, the Globe reports.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker’s hiring incentive program is two days old and it's already drawing criticism. Called HireNow it sets aside $50 million to help business offer training, or hiring bonuses, or both, to employers who hire job candidates who may need some extra training or skills.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Still struggling to fill open positions? Gov. Charlie Baker wants to give you $4,000 to offer that job to a candidate who doesn't quite have the skills, degree or experience you're looking for. Then he hopes you'll spend that money training your new hire to get them up to speed.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Returning to the office requires all kinds of adjustments. Including expectations about the cost of lunch. Lunchflation is causing sticker shock for workers and the another challenge for restaurants.

Charles River Regional Chamber

“There’s a big misperception out there that there’s a big hole in local journalism, and I think that narrative’s been created by people who aren’t sitting in local markets. That’s what Mike Reed, CEO at Gannett, told the New York Times last month.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Local newspapers aren’t dying. They’re dead. The Newton Tab, Needham Times and Watertown Tab & Press will stop publishing in May, their parent company Gannett quietly announced yesterday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Could the days of applicants scheduling job interviews just to qualify for unemployment benefits be behind us? In order to qualify for UI in Massachusetts, applicants are required to schedule interviews with prospective employers and report their interviews weekly to the state.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The vast majority of American business run by Russians and other Eastern European immigrants have been loudly declaring they stand with Ukraine and denouncing Putin’s invasion. That hasn’t stopped harassment at some of those business -- including in Newton, as Annie Probert at the Globe reported earlier this week -- and across the nation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Two years ago today, Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak of COVID-19. On that day, March 10, 2020, the number of cases statewide had spiked to 92, up from the 41 cases announced 24 hours earlier.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Northland Investment Corp. will be submitting plans for a 410-apartment complex located on seven acres directly behind the Marshalls store on Needham Street in Newton. The eight-story building will be proposed under the state’s 40B law and could enable the city to -- at long last -- be in compliance with the law’s 10 percent affordable housing mandate.

Charles River Regional Chamber

By the end of this year, 175 communities across Massachusetts (including the four served by our chamber) must have in place a plan for complying with a new housing law that aims to make it easier to build smaller, multi-family homes close to public transit. The new MBTA Communities Law could go a long way towards untangling the local zoning restrictions that have contributed to a housing crisis that undermines our region’s competitiveness and diversity and contributes to traffic, sprawl and carbon emissions.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Let's do our part to pressure Vladimir Putin. But let's not hurt any local immigrant-owned businesses, individuals and families in the process. That was the message shared by Gov. Charlie Baker and Sen. President Karen Spilka yesterday amidst steps taken by several other states to stop doing business with Russian companies or selling Russian-made products.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled two new small business grant programs this week. The grants are modeled on a program Baker says were "a life saver and game changer” for hundreds of small businesses last year. He's right they were. And this week's announcement was good news. Here’s the less good news:

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to make an announcement at 10 a.m. today about a new round of small business grants to be once again administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. Unlike the program run by MGCC last year, which provided millions in support to hundreds of small businesses, the grant pool this year will be smaller and more limited in scope.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Local news operations serve as our government watchdog. They help us make informed decisions at the ballot box. They tell the stories of the people, the places, the businesses, the nonprofits, the decisions, the indecisions, and the events that define who we are. And now, it seems, the Newton Tab, Needham Times, Wellesley Townsman and Watertown Tab & Press along with dozens of other weekly news operations, may be taking a final step away from what remained “wicked local” about them.

Charles River Regional Chamber

This morning the Globe published an exit interview of sorts with Steve Kaufer, the outgoing CEO and cofounder at Tripadvisor, who is stepping down 22 years after starting the company above Kosta's Pizza & Seafood in Needham. The article looks back at how Kaufer built Tripadvisor and reinvented how we make our travel decisions.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our goods friends and frequent collaborators at Colette Phillips Communications and Get Konnected! are looking to honor white males. You read that right. Building on a tradition Phillips began in in 2014, when Get Konnected! honored and celebrated 12 of Boston’s most committed white male allies under the banner ‘White men who can jump,’ she’s looking to publish a new list of male allies "who walk the talk."

Charles River Regional Chamber

In 2022 -- as we fortify our regional advocacy, rebuild and recover -- we’re very fortunate to have added six extraordinary new members to an already rock solid board. Please join me, somewhat belatedly, in welcoming six new directors who been elected to three-year terms to represent you at your chamber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

According to the Baker administration, there was no clear-cut way to determine who worked in person, or who worked remotely, writes Shira Schoenberg at Commonwealth. Instead, an estimated 500,000 low income workers will receive a check in the mail in March if they earned at least $12,750 in employment income in 2020.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Under the proposal before the Public Facilities Committee, all new residential properties and small commercial buildings (more on that below) would be required to be all-electric (with the exception – perhaps -- of allowing gas cooking).

Charles River Regional Chamber

More than half of all 18- to 29-year-olds lived with their parents during the pandemic, surpassing the previous peak in the 1940s during the Great Depression era, according to Pew. Now, thanks to the labor shortage caused by the pandemic, young workers' paychecks are growing and they're looking to move out again.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Teachers are finding they have high-demand skill sets in today's tight labor market. New senior housing proposed in Newton; sad news for happy hours in MA; new tenants for Linden Square in Wellesley; and the Love Local dining campaign is off to a great start.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our “Love Local: Support our Restaurants” campaign starts today and you can help in two ways. BC expands, updates on the cannabis industry, Newton's electrification rules get another look, and why people are turning to eye laser surgery.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Don't stuff those N95s away just yet; the considerable cost of not rezoning in Newton; Wellesley welcomes several new restaurants with new bylaws; and making our roads safer with newly licensed drivers.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A new state law may be part of the affordable housing answer; Gov. Baker's final annual budget impacts; David Mugar's Watertown roots; and the dos and don'ts of snow blowing this weekend.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Nearly 6 in 10 employed Americans said they trusted what they heard about COVID from their employers. Small business COVID relief initiatives, local restaurant nourishing program returns, an affordable housing plan for Needham and Wellesley's downtown on the upswing.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton Wellesley Hospital President Errol Norwitz, M.D. answers employers frequently asked questions about navigating the latest covid-19 guidelines in the workplace.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The latest wave of COVID-19 may have crested but quarantine guidelines and vax mandates in the workplace remain under discussion. An at risk dam and a big new development in Watertown, and the T proposes a couple new service and pricing changes.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Plans for the Watertown Mall; an investigation into the Needham COVID testing site; Boston's vax mandate begins; and get your FREE home testing kit.

Charles River Regional Chamber

No more free COVID testing in Needham; Supreme Court's mandate ruling; no slowdown in lab space; and Newton loses one of its finest.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The chamber asks Needham and Wellesley for temporary mandatory mask mandates; more info on COVID testing and guidelines; an Export Expo; and a new owner enters the Wells Avenue office park.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Be sure to thank your H.R. team. A vaccine and/or mask mandate...or not? A Needham start-up for vax tracking and a state passport system. Reimbursement for rapid tests. And more.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Customers, employers, employees and local government - they're all tired of this surge. Plus the latest on expiring COVID-19 emergency measures and possible new federal relief dollars hanging in the balance.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our members had A LOT to say about vaccine mandates - check out the results from our member survey. The latest on COVID self-testing kits. And comings and goings in our region.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Employers are facing a new staffing crisis; employees are facing their own illness and child care crises; and the vax or test rules go before the Supreme Court. Take our survey and share your thoughts.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanking our members who are celebrating milestone anniversaries for their decades of support.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Everything you need to know about wearing a mask in our four chamber communities...and then some. DC lawmakers to the rescue? And more on that Muzi sale.

Charles River Regional Chamber

219 new chamber members...and counting! Love these updates but don't have a local business or nonprofit? Become a Citizen Member.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Biden’s vax-or-test rules are back (for now); there'll be eggs and bacon for breakfast in the New Year; and how do you really feel about a mask mandate?

Charles River Regional Chamber

Everything stays local - the Muzi legacy is in good hands; you may be eating anything other than eggs & bacon for breakfast; and get us your good ideas of what to present in 2022.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker has no plans to reinstate a statewide mask mandate despite what several medical experts and lawmakers say; PPP forgiveness and possible new dollars for SBA programs; Needham shops local; and restaurants are trimming their menus as they make do with supply chain and labor shortages.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Lawmakers have yet to hatch legislation they’ve been sitting on for months that could lead to an entirely artificial egg shortage come Jan 1, 2022. Baker outlines his plan to distribute 2.1 million free rapid COVID tests to 102 cities and towns across the state starting today and signs that $4 billion legislation allocating ARPA and surplus tax revenues for a wide variety of programs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

You know that $500 million state program that’s supposed to offer bonus payments of up to $2,000 to those essential workers who were there for all of us during the pandemic? Watertown life sciences boon continues; toys, toys, toys; and a long-time select board member exits in Needham.

Charles River Regional Chamber

One in four retailers in a national survey said they could face financial failure in Q4 unless consumer shopping habits change dramatically. And many retailers and small businesses are still having trouble paying rent. Also, the MBTA announced cuts due to driver shortages, Needham and Wellesley election results, rapid tests and best places to work.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Will Newton’s recently enacted ban on nips mean less litter, as intended, or just the consumption of more alcohol? And the first deadline for President Biden’s workplace rules to protect private sector employees and customers from COVID-19 came and went yesterday. Plus local comings and goings.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The essential workers on your team who were there for the rest of us during the pandemic’s darkest days may soon qualify for a one time bonus. Plus, just before Thanksgiving, Watertown’s City Council approved creation of a Watertown Affordable Housing Trust. And Newton Council leadership to return.

Charles River Regional Chamber

State House and Senate leaders announced late last night that they had struck a deal to spend $4 billion in American Rescue Plan Act and state tax surplus funds, ending a two-week negotiation that spilled over into the Legislature's end-of-year recess, according to State House News’ Matt Murphy.

Charles River Regional Chamber

That sound you heard last Wednesday was Wellesley residents rejoicing because the select board just approved a sweeping array of changes to its alcoholic beverages regulations.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Shop like jobs depend on it. Because they do. That was the message delivered by Gov. Charlie Baker and others yesterday as the governor returned home to Needham to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our Beacon Hill lawmakers failed Massachusetts this week.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’re forever going to be engaged in a delicate balancing act of moving on with our lives with an evolving mix of precautions, politics and medical advancements.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Ahead of the holiday shopping season, the Town of Needham in partnership with the Charles River Regional Chamber are encouraging residents to support local retailers and restaurants by shopping and dining locally this holiday season.

Charles River Regional Chamber

I wish we were meeting in person tomorrow at 10 a.m. for our our annual Fall Business Breakfast.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Banks don’t bring a lot of foot traffic to our commercial districts. But that doesn’t mean they don’t add immense vitality and benefits to our communities.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Wellesley’s downtown shopping district keeps getting hammered.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Tripadvisor CEO Steven Kaufer will step down from the company he cofounded next year.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Contrary to fears that vax mandates might lead to mass resignations, 78% of respondents in a new BBJ/Seven Letter poll say they would prefer to work at a company the requires vaccines.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton voters signaled that they're satisfied with the way their elected leaders performed during the pandemic as well as the overall direction of the city.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Watertown has been awarded $3.4 million from the Commonwealth to enhance the Arsenal Street Corridor, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced Tuesday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

On Nov. 17, serial entrepreneur and inventor Dr. Robert Langer will be the featured speaker at our chamber’s Annual Business Breakfast.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our businesses and nonprofits are desperate to hire. There's just not any candidates out there, they say.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s time to stop waiting for some hypothetical future "safe" date to return to the workplace and reopen offices.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Many of the frontline workers who showed up to take care of us and wait on us during the COVID-19 state of emergency might soon be eligible for a bonus.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) has upgraded Newton to a Platinum BioReady Community, the highest designation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The loss of local news is a threat to our democracy and economic vitality.

Charles River Regional Chamber

While many of the nation’s largest employers have expressed support for President Joe Biden’s vaccine-or-test mandate, many execs are worried about one aspect of the forthcoming regulations: Who’s going to cover the expense of workers who choose weekly testing over rolling up their sleeves?

Charles River Regional Chamber

Life sciences spaces are 99.9% occupied in Boston. And that lack of availability has sent rents to never before seen heights.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Yesterday the president announced a new effort to speed up the movement of hundreds of thousands of containers

Charles River Regional Chamber

Where’s the one place in Massachusetts where you are statistically most susceptible to contracting COVID-19? At home. It was true early in the pandemic. And it’s

Charles River Regional Chamber

Looking for silver linings from the pandemic? How about the fact that we’re scheduled to host not one, but two, Boston Marathons running through two of our towns in the next seven months?

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’re proud to announce today that a chamber-run program that provides financial support to independent restaurants in Newton and Wellesley -- and healthy meals to those facing food insecurity -- has been funded for a second cycle.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A program run by the Charles River Regional Chamber that aims to provide financial support for struggling restaurants and healthy meals to those facing food insecurity has been funded for a second year.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Watertown Dam along on the Newton/Watertown line over the Charles River hasn’t served any functional purpose for decades. And it could create calamitous flooding if it failed.

Charles River Regional Chamber

That's the general consensus across the nation, even as we read of instances -- including in Massachusetts -- of union push back, lawsuits and workers quitting.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The MBTA is committed to a redesign of Newton’s three commuter rail stations that would dramatically improve access along the Washington Street Corridor and Auburndale.

Charles River Regional Chamber

After six months on the Needham Select Board, Lakshmi Balachandra has stepped off the board after determining that her elected position was in conflict with a new fellowship she had secured with the National Science Foundation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

For starters, you should develop a process to comply with medical and religious exemptions that won't running afoul of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or civil rights law, recommends Ty West for the BBJ.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s not your imagination. Your afternoon commute along the Mass Pike is taking longer than it did before the pandemic.

Charles River Regional Chamber

After a year hiatus, the Needham fall Harvest Fair will be returning to the Needham Town Common on Sunday October 3 from noon-4 p.m.

Charles River Regional Chamber

About 40% of small business owners are worried the debt they’ve accumulated during the pandemic will hinder their ability to recover.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to these businesses and nonprofits for their continued support. Happy Member Anniversary!

Charles River Regional Chamber

Biden’s announcement last week the federal government will mandate weekly testing for unvaccinated workers at companies with 100 or more workers sent the market for fake vaccine cards soaring.

Charles River Regional Chamber

That was the message Newton-Wellesley Hospital President & CEO Dr. Errol Norwitz delivered to the city’s Economic Development Commission Monday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The biggest thing that happened for employers last week was President Joe Biden’s announced new vaccine rules for workers at companies with 100 or more employees, among others.

Charles River Regional Chamber

As has become our tradition, today we remember 27 individuals who died as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who are known to have had a Newton, Needham or Wellesley connection.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Not knowing who is -- or isn’t -- wearing pants is one thing. But do you know what else your coworkers might be doing during your Zoom, Teams, or other virtual meetings?

Charles River Regional Chamber

We're not quite seeing shortages like we did early in pandemic, when panicked customers cleared shelves of paper towels and toilet paper at least not yet.

Charles River Regional Chamber

About 45% of restaurant owners could not pay their August rent on time or in full, up from 40% in July.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A total of 363,882 people in Massachusetts were collecting unemployment benefits as of Aug. 14.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We're just days away from the expiration of a series of jobless benefits some observers believe will bring thousands of Massachusetts residents back into the workforce.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A reminder that The Watertown Board of Health has issued an order mandating the wearing of face coverings indoors throughout Watertown effective today Weds. Aug. 25.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Shortly after the FDA granted full approval yesterday to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shot for Americans 16 and older, President Joe Biden called on the private sector to “step up” and implement more vax mandates.

Charles River Regional Chamber

I don't want to let this week end without thanking the literally dozens of chamber members who made our change from the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber to Charles River Regional Chamber possible.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Welcome back to Need to Knows, the first edition of our three times a week newsletter since we changed our name to the Charles River Regional Chamber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has changed its name: It’s now the Charles River Regional Chamber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Devastating news that A. Russo’s & Sons in Watertown will close this fall, as owner Tony Russo retires after 70 years.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We surveyed our restaurants this week about masks and vaccines. We had 44 responses to our email poll from restaurants in Newton, Needham, Wellesley and Watertown.

Charles River Regional Chamber

There were 10.1 million unfilled job opening in the U.S. at the end of June.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton employers scrambling to find workers have a new marketing tool.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Without local journalists we have no one watching to make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It's sad that during the week when we saw the rarest of rare occurrences in Washington -- a bipartisan agreement -- the opposite is happening on Beacon Hill.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Beacon Hill lawmakers have an opportunity to hand a lifeline to the state’s nonprofits while also – finally -- complying with the will of an overwhelming majority of voters.

Charles River Regional Chamber

With the delta variant gaining traction and some employers reconsidering reopening schedules, vaccine mandates are gaining traction.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If you’re thinking the current labor shortage is all about getting workers to renter the job market amidst COVID fears, child care challenges, or enhanced unemployment benefits, think again.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Like me, you’re probably feeling anxious about the rising numbers of COVID cases on the Cape and across the nation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’ve all heard about how employers are struggling to fill restaurant, retail, child care, health care and other hourly wage jobs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Every state in the nation is seeing a spike in COVID cases.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The center of gravity is shifting to Greater Boston’s suburbs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Greater Boston’s hotel market has the dubious distinction of being the second worst in the nation.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The city of Salem and the MassHire North Shore Career Center are partnering on a new program to help local employers fill local jobs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

For the first time, commuter rail trains are now running between Needham and Boston on Sundays.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Love it, hate it, or both, Zoom kept a lot of enterprises functioning through the pandemic.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If your small business or nonprofit received a PPP loan in 2020, the deadline to apply for loan forgiveness is right around the corner.

Charles River Regional Chamber

This week I had the privilege to attend a modest – but joyful – celebration, marking how far we’ve come and honoring a few of the many who got us there.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Three outstanding local students have been selected to receive scholarships from the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to these businesses and nonprofits for their continued support. Happy Member Anniversary!

Charles River Regional Chamber

Every week, it seems, another suburban life sciences project gains approval. Except in Newton.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It was infuriating this week when top Democrats instantly dismissed Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed two-month tax holiday without even pausing to ask shop owners how they felt about the idea.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It appears it’s going to be a while -- if ever -- before we’re seeing crowds of workers returning to our office buildings.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Here’s five pieces of actual good transportation news that represent steps in the right direction to help workers and customers get to our workplaces without single occupancy vehicles.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Is there a silver lining to the pandemic? It depends on who you ask.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Just weeks after approving strict new zoning rules that will make it nearly impossible for a firearms business to open in Newton, the city council will hold a public hearing Monday on a second proposal that would impose an outright ban on gun shops.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The ability to hire and bring back workers is the single biggest hurdle standing between our employers and having a successful finish to 2021.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The sound you didn’t hear last night was Gov. Charlie Baker signing legislation extending a series of emergency orders that, for the most part, everyone agrees should be extended.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’re now four days away from the expiration of pandemic policies that allowed for remote public meetings, provided eviction protections, health care flexibility, drinks to go and other measures.

Charles River Regional Chamber

After 15 months of mostly working remotely we’re thrilled to announce that the chamber has found a new home at the Workbar in Needham.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Welcome back! These past 15 months have been challenging on so many levels, for us, for you, for everyone.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Senators have until this afternoon to offer any amendments to the emergency order extensions, followed by deliberations tomorrow.

Charles River Regional Chamber

As we return to offices, restaurants, gyms and, pretty soon, in-person chamber networking events (true!), not everyone is in the same place when it comes to personal contact.

Charles River Regional Chamber

One of the initiatives we're proudest of was our program that purchased meals from our local independent restaurants and delivered them to those facing food insecurity our communities.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to the more than 450 people who responded to our 2021 Business Outlook Survey.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Rebuilding and rebounding won’t be quick. It won’t be easy. It’s not certain. Together as a community we have a lot of work to do. Let’s get started.

Charles River Regional Chamber

On Tuesday, I wrote about how the MBTA is now offering a free circulator bus that loops between the Newton’s three commuter rail stops and the Green Line.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Newton’s City Council will meet at 6:30 tonight to consider a proposal to ban the sale of firearms anywhere in Newton.

Charles River Regional Chamber

With the reopening of the economy, the MBTA will increase frequency on the Green Line and other routes, along with more than two dozen bus routes starting June 20.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to these businesses and nonprofits for their continued support. Happy Member Anniversary!

Charles River Regional Chamber

The latest and possibly best COVID-19 test also enjoys playing frisbee.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Imagine working alongside someone for a year without ever having seen the bottom of his or her face.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Massachusetts is reopening in 11 days! Break out the Champagne! Toss those masks in the trash! Get a commemorative tattoo!

Charles River Regional Chamber

Our long-awaited return to pretty much everything is one dozen days away.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Massachusetts indoor mask mandate has not been lifted, even though the CDC now says fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face coverings in most indoor settings.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Starting Monday, you will be able to ask the state to send a mobile vaccine clinic to your workplace.

Charles River Regional Chamber

I’ve lost track of how many of our business owners have told me that their biggest impediment to a robust economic recovery right now is filling jobs.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Baker also loosened some capacity and sector restrictions effective yesterday. And the state revised sector-specific guidance for the retail, restaurant and other industries.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A state grants program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation made its final awards to businesses this week.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s not possible to overstate how essential the Paycheck Protection Program was to so many of our businesses and nonprofits.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The MBTA's recent changes to the commuter rail schedule seems like a creative way to rethink mass transit. Unless you work or live in Newton. Then you are getting stranded.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Town Meeting overwhelmingly approved new zoning last night for the parcels currently occupied by Muzi Motors, the car wash and Channel 5.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Needham just lost its claim to fame as home to the world’s best pickles.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Join us tomorrow (Friday) at noon for “Seizing the Moment Against Racism: What Allies Can Do,” a frank discussion about the role companies, executives, employees and customers must all play when we witness acts of injustice or bigotry in our places of work and our communities.

Charles River Regional Chamber

On Aug. 1 – or possibly sooner if health metrics improve quickly – all COVID-19-related restrictions on businesses across Massachusetts will be lifted.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Gov. Charlie Baker is promising "some announcements" this week, presumably about reopening and perhaps about outdoor mask mandates.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to these businesses & nonprofits for the continued support!

Charles River Regional Chamber

It appears plans to restore charitable donations as a state income tax deduction will be punted for another year -- just when nonprofits and charities could especially use it.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Happy taxes are not due today day. I’m guessing we won't be so lucky with another delay next April 15th.

Charles River Regional Chamber

In yesterday’s email I noted that Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, gave what he called a “a really optimistic talk” about the prospects for our economy during his presentation to our chamber.

Charles River Regional Chamber

“This is going to be a fairly optimistic talk.” That’s how Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, began his presentation to our chamber yesterday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

The reviews are in and critics say yesterday’s launch of the SBA’s Shuttered Venue Grant Program was a flop.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Century Bank has agreed to merge with Eastern Bank, a “blockbuster” deal that brings together two of the largest Boston-area community banks.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Last week I wrote about how we have a golden opportunity to rebuild our economy, expand our commercial tax base and bring good paying jobs to our region by establishing a life sciences cluster along our part of I-95. Today that opportunity looks even more promising.

Charles River Regional Chamber

You know all that disinfecting you’ve been doing at your place of work or at home? You can stop doing it, the CDC said yesterday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

I had the opportunity to tour the vaccine clinic at Tripadvisor with Congressman Jake Auchincloss, state officials, Newton-Wellesley Hospital President Dr. Errol Norwitz and others yesterday.

Charles River Regional Chamber

It’s Opening Day! It’s April Fools Day! It’s even National Burrito Day. And today marks the long-awaited debut of Newton Al Fresco 2.0, the City of Newton’s enhanced outdoor dining program.

Charles River Regional Chamber

As discussed at our chamber event Monday, Newton has a golden opportunity to get a slice of the life sciences real estate boom, thanks to a proposal by Mark Development to revise its Riverside T station project.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to an anonymous donor a meals assistance program that has been running in Newton and Wellesley is expanding to Needham.

Charles River Regional Chamber

CDC director – and Newton resident -- Dr. Rochelle Walensky pleaded with Americans yesterday “not only as your CDC director, but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter,” to “hold on a little while longer” and continue following public health advice, including wearing masks and social distancing.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Thanks to these businesses and nonprofits for their continued support. Happy Member Anniversary!

Charles River Regional Chamber

As the economy reopens, vaccines accelerate and stimulus checks arrive, consumers are buying — or at least browsing for — clothing and shoes, signaling growing optimism as life begins inching toward normal, reports the Washington Post.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Yesterday I had a chance to stop by the Newton Food Pantry with Sen. Cindy Creem and Seana Gaherin from Dunn-Gaherin’s to thank the crew at the pantry and Newton Rotary for collaborating with us on our program that feeds families in need and supporting local restaurants.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it you thought you were doing everything you could to get a vaccine by pre-registering on the state’s vax sign up site, think again.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Anti-Asian hate incidents occur at places of businesses more than anywhere else. That’s according to nationwide survey released last week by Stop AAPI Hate.

Charles River Regional Chamber

On Tuesday, the Needham Planning Board held a public hearing to collect input on a proposal to rezone the parcels along I-95 where Muzi Motors and Channel 5 are presently located.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Monday will be a big day in our long, slow, slog back. That’s because Monday marks the beginning of Phase 4 of the state’s recovery plan.

Charles River Regional Chamber

As the economy reopens, many of our restaurants report that business is picking up. That’s great news. But keep in mind that our restaurateurs need to recover from a year of lost revenue as they took on debt and depleted saving.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Bob Luz of the Mass Restaurant Association describes at "the peanut butter without the jelly." I tend to think of it as the glass without the Guinness. You know, sadly empty.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Yesterday’s signing of the $1.9 trillion federal COVID relief bill is having an immediate impact on the travel and tourism. Major airlines are canceling tens of thousands of planned layoffs. Amtrak just announced it will restore long-distance trains in May.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Anyone under 65 who has not lived the frustration of trying to score a vaccine through the state’s mass vax sign up system, may never have to.

Charles River Regional Chamber

At least some of our cultural organizations -- those that operate performing arts venues -- will receive relief from the $1.9 trillion federal coronavirus relief package that is expected to be approved by the US House today and signed this week by President Joe Biden.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Widett Circle isn’t likely on the minds of most of us out here in the western burbs. But it should be.

Charles River Regional Chamber

If it’s Thursday, it’s vaccine roulette day; the day when next week’s appointments are loaded into the state mass vax web site, which in recent weeks has been overwhelmed with demand, but underwhelming in performance.

Charles River Regional Chamber

One year ago today, Newton residents voted decisively in favor of the Northland Newton project.

Charles River Regional Chamber

For at least ten months now, people have been second guessing Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plans. But his latest loosening of some restrictions is drawing criticism from an impressive array of heavy hitters.

Charles River Regional Chamber

NPR's Ari Shapiro aired an interesting story last night about a debate inside the Biden White House where they're asking; should our COVID messaging focus on hope or caution?

Charles River Regional Chamber

If you’re 65 years or older, or have certain medical conditions, grab your luckiest lucky charm, stop reading this and log on ASAP to vaxfinder.mass.gov.

Charles River Regional Chamber

President Joe Biden ordered some important changes to the Paycheck Protection Program this week that aim to make the federal relief program more accessible to the smallest of our small business, sole entrepreneurs and independent contractors.

Charles River Regional Chamber

What Biden’s PPP changes could mean for your business.

Charles River Regional Chamber

“We should know better than any state, with our incredible health care system, how to do this and how to do it well.” That was Congresswoman Katherine Clark speaking yesterday at our annual Women in Government event (watch her here).

Charles River Regional Chamber

Hopefully you didn’t just pull an all-nighter waiting for today's 65-plus vaccine registration to open.

Charles River Regional Chamber

A new program that aims to provide financial support for struggling restaurants and healthy meals to those facing food insecurity, will launch next month in Newton, Wellesley and Brookline.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We have some exciting news this morning. The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has been selected to administer a state program that aims to provide financial support for struggling restaurants and healthy meals to those facing food insecurity in Newton, Wellesley and Brookline.

Charles River Regional Chamber

We’ve been telling ourselves that everything will be better soon. And for many of us, it seems, like it will.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Can a state-mandated shutdown absolve a business from paying rent?

Charles River Regional Chamber

No, a vaccine chaser is not something you order at O'Hara's to celebrate getting an appointment.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Late last year, 22 chamber member businesses and individuals donated more than $8,000 to create a fund to support independent restaurants, retailers and other small chamber member businesses and nonprofits that may be struggling to pay their chamber dues due to the pandemic.

Charles River Regional Chamber

Human resources professionals and employment law experts have been busy making sense of the state's new paid family and medical leave pro