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An investment in our workers and economy

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An investment in our workers and economy

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.

About 8,000 people are expected to take advantage of MassReconnect in its first year. Overall it could potentially give 1.8 million Massachusetts residents who have a high school diploma or GED the opportunity to get a degree.

That includes 38-year-old Danita Mends. The former Needham Public Schools graduate told NBC10 she missed out on career opportunities because she could never afford to finish college. This program, she said, “is going to be life-changing for me." 

Each of the state's 15 community colleges will receive $100,000 to promote and administer the program.

Judge: Daycare project can pull building permit

Developer Matt Borrelli’s Needham Enterprise is “entitled to apply for a building permit without further action” for his plans to build Needham Children's Center a new home at 1688 Central Ave., reports Peter O’Neil at the Needham Observer.

Tuesday’s Land Use Court judgment hopefully ends an embarrassing (read what I wrote last week: final item here) three-year process during which the Needham Planning Board sought to impose about 40 restrictions and requirements on Borelli’s project.

But Judge Jennifer Roberts determined that under the Dover Amendment, a child care facility is a “protected use” and tossed out those restrictions.
 
Here's hoping the Planning Board and the four members who voted on the application don’t file for an appeal. That way the town can put this ordeal behind it. And a respected 40-year-old local business can finally have its new home.

Candidate wants Newton to have its own zoning rules

It appears that Newton City Council candidate Peter Bruce doesn’t believe Newton should follow the same MBTA Communities Law rules that 176 other municipalities must follow.

Under the law, Newton must update zoning regulations around local transit stations to allow for up to 8,330 multifamily housing units by-right. (And it’s important to keep repeating: This doesn’t mean that's how many new homes will be built because many upzoned properties will likely remain as is for decades, or longer.)

But in an interview with the Newton Beacon this week, the Ward 2 candidate said Newton’s allocation is unfair because the city’s north side (which has commuter rail stops, but no rapid transit) should be subject to the same rules as other commuter rail communities, which are being required by the state to rezone for only a 15% housing unit increase, rather than the 25% required of Rapid Transit communities.

“And yet, all of Newton is being required to up-zone for 25%,”Bruce said. “If I get elected, I’ll be protesting that aspect of it."

It's a cockamamie argument. Truth is Newton is fortunate to be served by both the Green Line and commuter rail (plus many bus routes). Nether line is perfect. But you can bet other communities wish they had as many public transit resources as Newton does.

What the other candidates say

The Beacon also has profiles of the other two candidates -- Dan Gaynor and David Micley -- running against Bruce in the Sept. 12 runoff.

However, Fig City News one-ups the Beacon by having not just profiles of the Ward 2 candidates, but of the Ward 6 primary as well.

´╗┐And they're all asked about MBTA Communities.

Friday grab bag

  • A new Turkish-inspired restaurant called Halva is moving into the former home of the New York Diner in Watertown Square. A victim of the pandemic, New York Diner closed in 2020 after being in business since the '70s. (Boston Restaurant News)

  • Need a place to meet for breakfast or lunch near the intersection of Routes 9 and I-95? The Swellesley Report recently paid a visit to the two new cafeterias at Beacon Capital's Gateway and Park 9 campuses. Both Craft Food Halls restaurants are operated by the gregarious Gardy Desrouleaux’ (a Business Leaders of Color honoree) and are open to the public. Details.

  • Chapel Bridge Park in Nonantum continues to be a desirable destination for biotechs and other companies. Sparkling water company Spindrift renewed and expanded its lease to over 20K SF. Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents signed a lease renewal for 8,500 SF. GlycoEra AG signed a lease for 4K SF. And Auron Therapeutics inked a sublease. (Bisnow)
 


  • Mark Barrocas, CEO at Needham-based SharkNinja believes the potential expiration of China tariffs exemptions next month will not have a "material impact" on its household appliance business due to the company's efforts to diversify its supply chain. (BBJ)

  • She's going from one chamber community to the next: Needham Free Public Library Director Kim Hewitt is leaving that job to become the new director of the Watertown Free Public Library.

Did you find yourself a little short-staffed yesterday?

Or were you the one hanging out with Ferris Bueller on what was a spectacular summer day?

Yesterday, Aug. 24, is reportedly the most common day of the year for employees to call in sick. Because life does move pretty fast.

A taste of the island

Women’s clothing retailer Erin Hielle, currently operating on Nantucket, is opening a second shop in Wellesley Square at the former Dellaria Salon (Swellesley Report).

And already arrived from Nantucket: Green Lady Dispensary opened its second location last week in Newton Centre. (Fig City News

Study warns of remote workers drifting apart

Finally today, one of many managers’ worst fears about employees who work from home full-time is borne out in a new survey.

Gallop found that remote workers’ connection to the mission and purpose of their organizations has deteriorated to a record low, with only 28 percent saying they feel connected to their organization’s mission and purpose.

In contrast, one-third of full-time office workers reported a sense of connection, nearly the same as last year. Most interestingly, hybrid workers clocked in highest, with 35% saying their companies’ mission made them feel their jobs were important.

“This does not mean that remote work cannot work -- but it requires exceptional managers,” the authors write. “The manager must now hold one meaningful conversation per week with each employee -- 15 to 30 minutes at a minimum."

Here are suggestions for improving all employee engagement.

That's what you need to know for today, unless you need to know about the apartment lease that includes one free pizza every week.

Have a great weekend.
 
Greg Reibman (he, him)
President
617.244.1688

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