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But wait, we want to save our villages too!

But wait, we want to save our villages too!

The Healey administration is scrambling to open more facilities and provide assistance for migrants arriving daily in need emergency shelter and support.

You can follow just how many families the system is serving on this tracker, which as of last night reported 1231 families in motels, up from 388 when Healey took office in January.

The challenge is enormous. And the cost significant and not fully transparent.

But often lost in the outcry are the voices of economists and social scientists who point out the lasting economic benefits of migrants who go on to pay taxes, buttress our labor force, start businesses and generally lift the communities they join, write Christopher Maag and Raúl Vilchis in the New York Times (free link).

“Yes, for a little while, maybe some of them need a little assistance,” said Giovanni Peri, an economist at the University of California, Davis.

“But if you take a deep breath, you see that American cities will benefit from these people who are coming to work.”

“Immigration is integral to the nation’s economic growth,” according to a National Academy of Sciences report published by 29 of the nation’s top economists and demographers.

But wait, we want to save Newton's villages too! 

Save Our Villages

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.

But as far as I’m concerned, adding more smaller homes, making it less onerous to open small businesses, and other proposed changes would actually be saving Newton’s villages by adding vibrancy and customers for our restaurants and retailers.

Perhaps opponents picked the wrong slogan?

Or else, there's more common ground than we think? If we all want to save our villages, let's make this conversation about how to achieve that.

Anyway, the next opportunity to weigh in on the village center proposal will be the July 24. 6:30 p.m. Zoning and Planning Committee meeting (either in person at Newton City Hall, or virtually).   ZAP will take additional public comment in September.

You can also submit comments to and cc (cc me too, I'd be interested in seeing it)

Over 600 participants were present for the three-hour hearing last monthRelive the whole megillah here.

Have a say in state economic policy

The Healey-Driscoll administration’s Executive Office of Economic Development
has been hosting a series of planning discussions across the state to gather public input about the state’s economic development economic needs.
Input will be used to create a strategic plan to guide Massachusetts economic development policy over the next four years.
The final event of the series -- and the one that’s been closest to our communities -- takes place this Monday (July 17) from 2-4 p.m. at Framingham State University in Framingham.
Business and community leaders, elected officials, stakeholders, and members of the public are urged to attend. RSVP. See you there!

Report offers options, insights, to help with child care 

One of the top reasons employers struggle to hire is the lack of affordable and accessible child care.

´╗┐In 2022, the labor force participation rate for mothers was 72.9%. For fathers it was 92.9%, according to a new Mass Taxpayers Foundation report.

The report can be a useful tool to help both employers and policy makers address the problem.

It begins by providing an update on legislation introduced in Massachusetts related to employer-provided child care. There's also a summary of federal tax incentives designed to promote employer-provided child care services as well as common child care benefits that employers could, and often do, provide employees.

The final section highlights how other states have incentivized employers to create child care solutions for working families.

Download your copy here.

And here's a related request ... 

The Massachusetts Business Alliance For Education (or chamber is an affiliate) is looking for employers to participate in a survey regarding workforce, our education system and the state’s economic competitiveness.

It would be super helpful if you’d participate by completing this survey.


Friday grab bag 

  • Needham Police are warning against using outdoor blue U.S. Post Office bins after thieves were seen stealing mail by mailbox fishing. “Please bring your outgoing mail directly into the post office during office hours,” police said in a statement issued July 6. (Needham Observer)

  • Watertown biotech startup BAKX Therapeutics has shut down its Dexter Ave lab. The company launched three years ago. (BBJ)
  • Just Salad is opening what appears to be its first Massachusetts location at the former 3 Squares Location on Highland Ave in Needham. Turns out they have a lot more than just salads. (Needham Restaurants FB). 
  • As part of National Disability Employment Awareness month in October, the Permanent Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, a new, independent state agency, is holding a celebration at the State House to recognize businesses that strive to create and sustain authentic inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace. Nomination form. Deadline is Aug. 4.

  • And tomorrow (Saturday) is your last chance to submit nominations for the Needham-based businesses and individuals who've had a special impact in town in the past year as part of our Needham Night event happening Aug. 16.

Festa to honor family 

Sunday afternoon’s procession at the 87th St. Mary of Carmen Society Festival in Nonantum will honor the lives of three residents who were murdered in their home last month.

The procession will stop in front of the Hawthorne Street house where the family of Lucia Arpino, her daughter Gilda (Jill) D’Amore. and Jill’s husband, Bruno D’Amore once lived.

The band will play “Ave Maria,” as is the custom when a community member has died.

“This neighborhood needs to be together to celebrate their lives and a sense of community,” Chuck Proia, chair of the St. Mary of Carmen event tells Fig City News.

Watertown Council nixes petitions but says 'we hear you' to petitioners 

Watertown’s City Council voted down two citizen petitions seeking to change city zoning rules.

One petition called for reducing the floor area ratio allowed for new buildings in Watertown Square area. The second called for more protections for residential neighborhoods located next to areas where large commercial or residential projects could be built.

Watertown News relays what councilors had to say to the supporters of the petitions.

Please help us share this graphic 

Finally this morning, thanks for all the positive feedback in response Tuesday’s newsletter about the Hierarchy of Shopping.”

It's a road map of sorts (inspired by the folks at Love Live Local in Hyannis), suggesting how and when to shop locally and when to decide to turn elsewhere.

Thanks also to Teri Volante Boardman at Volante Farms who had a great suggestion to turn the list into a chart for sharing on social media.

Right click to download and share as you see fit on your preferred social media platform, newsletter, hang on your company bulletin board, etc.

And remember: Shop with your values. Vote with your wallet. Shop locally, today, and every day!

That’s what you need to know for today – Bastille Day -- unless you need help falling asleep. 

Enjoy the weekend! 

Greg Reibman (he, him)

P.S.. We'd love to see you next Thursday night at our Summer Celebration on the Wellesley College Campus. Details here 
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