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This time the kids have advice for the grownups

This time the kids have advice for the grownups

We begin this morning with big news in our local banking world.
After 131 years as a mutual bank, Needham Bank has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.
According to the filing, the bank plans to use proceeds from the offering to in part to support increased lending, grow its commercial real estate portfolio, increase branch expansion, and to pursue mergers and acquisitions, the BBJ’s Meera Raman reports.

The bank will also be establishing a charitable foundation, giving the foundation $2 million in cash and 4% of its common stock.
Needham was the 22nd largest bank in Massachusetts last year, according to the BBJ, ending the year with with $2.7 billion in the state.

They're also an essential partner and friend to the chamber and so many other businesses, nonprofits and individuals in our communities. We look forward to their continued success.

This time the kids have advice for the grownups 


Are you old enough to remember the scene in the film “The Graduate” where Mr. McGuire gives a young Ben Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) advice about plastics?

This time -- as the Newton City Council considers a ban on the sale of plastic water bottles and other objects -- a group of students at Brown Middle School have some advice for us grownups.

“This type of rule should apply state-wide, not just in Newton,” they wrote in a letter to Rep. Ruth Balser. “If the bill doesn’t apply to all businesses, customers will leave Newton to go to cheaper stores and restaurants [in neighboring communities]. “Not implementing this ban would harm local businesses in Newton, while a state-wide ban would make an even playing field for all businesses,” they added.

A second group of Brown students wrote to Sen. Cindy Creem: “We have a different solution to the plastic ban to propose to you: In response to the harsh environmental impact caused by plastic, we believe Massachusetts should establish a state-wide bottle deposit for single-use plastic bottles.” The letters to lawmakers came out of an 8th grade civics program which encourages students to engage with local government and community organizations about a problem or concern. This year some classes at Brown were interested in the studying the council’s plastic waste ordinance, according to social studies teacher Sam McGraw.

Turns out, these kids are onto something 
Massachusetts' 41-year-old bottle bill does not apply to non carbonated 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 modernizing the way it recycles beverage containers, according to WBUR’s Miriam Wasseer.
The Brown students actually have an ally in Creem who has been championing expanding the bill for years to include non carbonated beverages and to also double the deposit from five to ten cents. 
“I agree with the students, which is why I’m the lead Senate sponsor of An Act to expand the Bottle Bill,” she wrote in an email, adding that she has invited them to testify with her on June 28 when hearings are scheduled.

Fuller has concerns about proposed bottle ban 
Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller told me yesterday that she was also supportive of the students’ suggestion and said she’d be happy to testify on Beacon Hill too. (Balser tells me she supports the bill as well.)

Fuller added that she was “concerned” about the city council’s proposal to ban the sale and distribution of plastic water bottles (and boxes) in Newton, in part, because it could lead consumers to choose less healthy drink options.

The plastic ban ordinance before the city council, also includes bans on certain categories of takeout containers, helium balloons and plastic floss sticks, among other restrictions. The proposal is still in draft form. One possible revised version that may go before the Programs & Services Committee drops the bottle ban.

“It's clear that banning plastics is a good idea, but the economic impact on smaller businesses is too high,” the 8th graders wrote. “The ban is a good idea, but the execution needs work. Please consider exploring ways to alter the ban so that small businesses won’t be harmed.”

High fives! 
  • Another Age Productions in Newton just won a Boston/New England EMMY Award for “Best Arts/Entertainment Program - Long Form” for its super interesting program “Boston Blind Kitchen” The quirky food competition series puts local chefs to the test to recreate each other’s signature dishes. The catch? They can only determine the ingredients using their senses of taste, touch and smell. Do check it out.

  • Dr. Regina Wupresident of the Newton Food Pantry, received a $10,000 community service award — the Myra Kraft Community MVP Award — from the Kraft Family and the New England Patriots Foundation (Fig City News)
  • And the chamber’s Young Professionals Group Kickball Team made it to the playoffs this season, winning six out of its eight games and placing second in the finals.

Watertown adding economic development muscle 

Watertown will be hiring a new economic development director focused on supporting small businesses as part of City Manager George Proakis’ first annual budget, which was approved by the city council this week.

The $194 million spending plan also adds a planning director focused on long term planning, an additional building inspector and a senior open space planner.

There’s also $200,000 for a study of Watertown Square and $50,000 to update the zoning code and plans to restructure the DPW and other city departments.

Watertown News has more.

Friday grab bag
  • Super sorry to hear that Bloomberg Radio has pulled the plug on “Baystate Business,” the afternoon program devoted to dissecting the region's top local business stories. Hosts Tom Moroney, Joe Shortsleeve and Kim Carrigan always kept the conversation moving and interesting. (BBJ)

  • Today is World Refill Day, a global campaign to fight plastic pollution and support those trying to live with less waste. And there's a chamber member business, Fulfilled Goods LLC, that sells non-packaged personal care items, cleaning products, and bulk dry goods.  You bring your own containers and fill them as full as you want. Check it out here.

  • Thinking about selling your business? The nonprofit Mass Small Business Development Center host a free virtual webinar on the topic on June 22 at 2 p.m. RSVP
  • MassHire’s next virtual Multi-Industry Job Fair happens June 22. Open to employers with multiple, immediate openings. Employers register here by June 21.

  • Needham’s Pride Rally, March and Party is this Sunday (June 18) 2-4 pm. Details.

  • Federal officials have told carmakers not to comply with Massachusetts' updated right-to-repair law. The law was approved overwhelmingly by voters in 2020. (WBUR)

  • Save these dates: Watertown host its first Multicultural Fest, Aug. 3 from 4-8 p.m. The Watertown Arts Market comes to Filippello Park, Aug.19, from 12-5 p.m. And Faire on the Square is set for Sept 23 at Saltonstall from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Don't forget this resource

Finally, this morning as we head into the weekend and Juneteenth on Monday a reminder that our chamber recently published a list of the 50 Most Influential Business Leaders of Color and 20 Emerging Leaders of Color in the Charles River Metrowest Region.
We hope our lists will be a resource when you are looking for business partners, looking to hire, looking to fill seats on boards, looking for places to dine, and looking expand your personal networks and horizons. 

And remember: Every individual on these lists have a network of their own to tap into.

That’s what you need to know for today, unless you need to know about the Massachusetts guy who got his dad to help him return a stolen Picasso.

Have a great weekend and happy Father's Day.
Greg Reibman (he, him)

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