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Housing, climate, clergy & chamber folks team up

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Housing, climate, clergy & chamber folks team up

Companies struggling to fill jobs may want to look to a pool of some 106,000 underemployed, foreign-born, Massachusetts residents who received college degrees outside of the U.S.

The most common occupations for foreign-educated business degree holders include janitor and cook.

For social science degree holders, cashier and taxi drivers are near the top of the list, writes Greg Ryan at the BBJ citing a new report from the Massachusetts Business Roundtable and Tufts University.

The study found that the Massachusetts economy is losing $2.3 billion in earnings and productivity annually because of the disconnect between employer need and foreign-educated worker skills.

Coalition forms to support 'Newton for Everyone'

Newton For EveryoneOver the next few weeks, the Newton City Council will be making final revisions to a proposal that would allow for the creation of smaller, multi-family homes close to village centers and eliminate some of the onerous regulations that have made it hard to open a business here.

And the chamber is partnering with housing and climate advocates, civic leaders and clergy in support of passing the proposed Village Center Overlay District, which will also allow the city to be in compliance with the state’s MBTA Communities Law.

Our new group, Newton For Everyone, has created a website and is distributing lawn signs to help the public understand the plan and dispel some of the misinformation that's been circulating regarding the proposal.

Hybrid workers, cyclists will benefit under tax bill

Steve OwensThe $1 billion tax relief bill signed this week by Gov. Maura Healey includes an largely underreported provision that expands commuter tax benefits to more than just car drivers and frequent MBTA riders, according to the Brookline News.

The bill shepherded through the State House by Watertown Rep. Steve Owens (in photo), Brookline Rep. Tommy Vitolo and Quincy Sen. John Keenan, will expand commuter tax benefits to include occasional MBTA riders, cyclists Bluebike users and regional transit riders.

As to whether the business-backed provisions of the bill can help improve the state’s economic competitiveness, I recommend this article by the Globe's Jon Chesto.

Sisters of Charity win a key endorsement 

At first, they weren’t so keen on it. Now they support it.

We're talking about the Wellesley Planning Board which unanimously voted this week to endorse Sisters of Charity’s request to amend the zoning on their Wellesley Hills property which would allow the Sisters to more easily sell and live out their lives on their 14-acre property.

The board previously voted against sponsoring the request, agreeing only to place it on the November Special Town Meeting warrant so the Sisters (average age 83) wouldn’t need to stand on street corners to collect 100 signatures to put on the warrant themselves.

The Sisters' proposal has been modified over time to placate neighbors as the Swellesley Report details here and the latest revisions helped persuade the board.

So did a passionate 10-minute presentation (watch it at the 2:16:20 markby head sister Mary Margaret Fitzpatrick.

In spite of numerous concessions (and the fact that it would likely be decades before any change in use might be considered) some abutters and other residents continue to oppose the item.

Pumpkins aren’t just for lattes and the Charles isn’t just for kayaks 

A Reddit poster is looking for a lift – literally – to fulfill a dream to row a giant pumpkin down the Charles River.

It seems the plan is to hollow it out and take the pumkin' hoppa down river. Hope they know where the dams are.

I suggest they get out of their gourd and try these ideas instead.

BC acquires 23 prime acres in Newton

It appears 23-acres of prime land just outside of Newton Centre will remain as an educational use now the Boston College has purchased the Mount Alvernia High School’s campus.

The Catholic girls school, at 790 Centre Street, stunned many students, parents, and alumnae when it announced in March that it would close due to a lack of enrollment.

BC says it intends to use the property for educational and administrative purposes.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller told the Globe's Shirley Leung in March that the city was possibly interested in acquiring the property. But calls to Mount Alvernia were never returned.

This week Fuller told the Globe: "We look forward to hearing more about their future plans.”

Needham leaders at odds over housing/open space plan

Castle FarmNeedham Town Meeting members will be asked this month to support a non-binding resolution that could ultimately preserve 34 gorgeous acres of open space along the Charles River.

The proposal would allow Northland Residential to develop 70 age-directed townhouse units along 28 acres, while the town would be acquire conservation land at a deep discount.

The Needham Channel's Yuxiao Yuan explains the complicated Castle Farm Property arrangement and Peter O’Neil at the Needham Observer explores why the Select Board supports it and FinCom opposes it.

Friday grab bag
  • What ideas do the two candidates for Watertown City Council have to help the city's businesses and nonprofits? Watch our virtual debate between Mark Sideris and Clyde Younger next Thursday (Oct. 12) at 9 a.m.
  • The Mass Black Expo 2023, a three-day event that brings together Black-owned businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals, opens today with over 2,000 attendees and 100 exhibitors. Register.
  • The third annual Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration happens Monday (Oct. 9), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Albemarle Field in Newton. I was there last year and really recommend it.
  • The Wellesley location of New York Sports Club (formerly Boston Sports Club) is closing Nov. 19, with company citing its inability “to secure a satisfactory lease agreement” A NYSC spokesperson tells the Swellsley Report the location will be turned over to Babson College. But Babson tells Swellesley it's evaluating potential options.
  • Massachusetts restaurants, retailers, grocery stores and other food establishments would be blocked from providing containers made from polystyrene starting next August under a proposal being considered by state lawmakers. (State House News
  • Watertown has been awarded a $100,000 federal grant to help Watertown assist with new tree planting. Only nine Massachusetts communities received a grant. (Watertown News)
  • The Uganda Diaspora New England Business Expo & Cultural Festival is also this Saturday and Sunday at the Newton Marriott. Details
  • Newton’s affordable housing menschesEngine 6, are celebrating its tenth anniversary, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. at Baramor. RSVP
A note to our members

We’ve recently became aware of a company that's been offering to sell our members' and event attendees' email addresses.

Please know that we never share, or sell, your email addresses to third parties (or even to fellow members). We have no reason to believe this offer, or vendor, is legitimate.

Needham setting arts and culture goals

Needham received a technical assistance grant last year to create an Arts & Culture Action Plan.

Now, after months of community engagement through surveys, focus groups and interviews, the plan will be outlined at an event Weds (Oct. 11), 6-8 p.m. at Town Hall.

The family friendly event will provide an opportunity to review proposed goals and strategies, offer feedback on the proposal and even enjoy a few live performances.

I’ll vote for whichever one will be faster

It's not as exciting as the Fat Bear competition, but the MBTA is asking the public to vote for their favorite of three proposed paint schemes for the future Green Line cars.

The new Type 10 cars will be 40 feet longer than current Green Line cars and feature wider door openings, low-floor boarding, closed operator's cabs with better visibility, along with state-of-the-art technology and enhanced communication systems, according to NBC10.

Welcome to our 44 -- yep, that's 44 -- new members!

Finally this morning, please join us in welcoming our latest new (or returning after a lengthy absence) chamber members from August and September,
Want to see your company on October's new member list? Here's how.

That's what you need to know for today, unless you’re interested in working for an employer that's going to provide employees with suits designed by Prada.

Have a great holiday weekend. Shop and dine locally, please!

Greg Reibman (he, him)

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