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 .
Newton ranked 17th overall among cities nationwide with the highest share of remote workers.
Newton's pre-COVID work from home rate was only 10.50%, according to the US Census.
Across Greater Boston 26.9% of respondents identified as home-based workers — compared to 5.6% in 2019.
Extracting details on dental insurance ballot question isn't easy
Confused by the proposed Ballot Question 2 which would require dental insurance carriers spend at least 83 cents of every dollar they collect on dental procedures?
I know I am.
I also didn't know how the question made it onto the ballot until I read Jon Chesto's Globe article this morning digging into the "slugfest" behind the whole thing.
Insurers, say if Question 2 passes, it could cause some smaller insurers to leave the market, leaving consumers with fewer choices.
And an analysis from the Tufts University's Center for State Policy Analysis, says the proposed law would likely do that.
But the Tufts report also says the ballot question is “built on relatively thin information” and that it’s not clear how much insurers currently spend on dental work or how much they retain for administration or profit.
The law also may not result in lower costs to patients, as proponents argue it will.
“Insurers could meet the 83 percent loss ratio in a number of ways, including by covering a wider range of procedures or by allowing dentists to charge higher prices for dental services. Some price increases might then pass through to patients,” which would cause patients to more quickly hit their annual caps and wind up paying more out of pocket.
“The precise impact of this change is hard to assess," the study concludes, "both because we would be the first state to introduce a uniform rule and because we lack detailed information about the current finances of dental insurers.
"Based on the limited information we do have, it seems likely that insurers will be able to meet the new standards with a mix of operational changes that includes somewhat increased prices for dental care.”
Boylston Properties had been scheduled to go before the Watertown City Council tonight with a proposal to install an illuminated sign on top of a life science building currently under construction at Arsenal Yards.
“We understand that many folks believe that it is inappropriate, and while we may disagree, we have long listened to the responsible voices in Watertown, which collectively have made our several projects in town better,” Founding Principal Bill McQuillan wrote in a letter to council.
Watertown councilors say they received more letters opposing the zoning change than for any issue in recent memory, even though the sign would not have been visible from any residential properties in Watertown.
Boylston indicated it might revisit the sign in the future, but not this calendar year.
Newton to vote on 'unconstitutional' tree cutting moratorium
Newton’s full City Council will vote Monday on a proposed moratorium on cutting down trees on private property-- even though the city’s law department believes the proposal is unconstitutional because it violates landowners' property rights.
The council's Public Facilities Committee voted 5-2, with one abstention, last week not to support the moratorium. But the committee agreed to move forward on reviewing two dueling proposals to revise the city's tree ordinances. Fig City News has details.
Other need to knows
A reminder that the City of Newton is looking for your input related to the density, building heights and parking requirements in the city’s villages. Completethis interactive survey to participate. And watch this video with City Councilor Deb Crossley to learn more.
Watertown is hosting a second interactive workshop at the Middle School to continue developing the city’s next comprehensive plan on Thursday (Sep. 29) at Watertown Free Public Library. I attended last week's session and thought it was fascinating. Details.
Wellesley’s Select Board has already authorized free holiday parking in 2-hour meters across town from Nov. 21 through Jan. 2.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has begun designing a short but crucial missing link in the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail to connect existing and under-construction segments of the trail in Weston and Waltham by bridging Interstate 95. (Streets Blog). Can we do that over I-95 heading from Newton to Needham too?
Our friends at Anna's Taqueria are opening a location in the Longwood Medical area to the former b.good location (Boston Restaurant Talk)
Lawmakers' vacation entering second month
Today marks the 58th day since the Legislature left for vacation without passing the Economic Development Bill.
Yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker said he hoped lawmakers would revisit the bill in October. But at this point any bill could not legally include nearly $1.4 billion in bonding that had been targeted for municipal infrastructure, tech and innovation sector growth and housing production, State House News reports.
Speaking on GBH radio, Baker added that if lawmakers take up the bill during the current lame duck session he would “most likely”veto the proposal to remove the state’s ban on happy hours which was in the Senate version of the bill.
“Maybe this is just me being an old fuddy-duddy, but I think most places do just fine based on the current rules as they are," Baker said.
Far and away, the greatest source of increased business applications has been seen in retail. From 2019 to 2020, new retail businesses alone accounted for 59% of the total increase in applications received by the IRS.
However, the great majority of these applicants are sole proprietorships, likely retailers without a brick-and-mortar store selling their goods online, according to Camoin Associates.
Program helping restaurants and residents at time of high food costs
Finally this morning, thanks to volunteers Anne Smith, Linda Grazer, and Nancy Dutton, the Watertown’s Community Fridge is being stocked every Monday and Friday with restaurant meals from local Watertown Restaurants.
It's all part of the chamber's Nourishing Watertown program, funded by donations from TripAdvisor and private citizens. The program purchases meals from Watertown restaurants for the Fridge, a free community resource for those facing food insecurity.
Since the Spring, The Diner at 11 North Beacon, Deluxe Town Diner, Shiraz Cuisine, Demos, Gerry's Italian Kitchen, Cha Yen Thai Cookery, Number 1 Taste Chinese Food, and India Kitchen have all participated – supplying close to 400 meals in total.
The program is a win-win to support our businesses and our community at a time when all are struggling with rising food costs.
We've run similar programs in all of our chamber communities and are committed to continuing the initiative as funding permits.