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MA Lawmakers urge Trump to fully fund COVID-19 response for Massachusetts Tribal Nations

United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with Representatives William Keating (D-MA-09), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07) sent a letter to President Trump requesting that he direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to waive the traditional cost-share requirements for all COVID-19-related assistance for the Commonwealth’s two federally recognized tribal nations, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

The lawmakers’ letter comes after President Trump declared COVID-19-related emergencies for both tribal nations and follows a similar request for the Commonwealth made by the Massachusetts lawmakers last week.

“The response to the pandemic is unlike anything the Commonwealth or our nation has experienced in modern times, and the need for additional resources to combat this crisis grows with each passing day,” the lawmakers wrote. “These needs are also felt acutely by the two federally recognized tribal nations in Massachusetts, which are being stretched extremely thin in order to provide crucial services to their citizens.”

In early April, leaders from both tribal nations wrote to President Trump to request waivers from any cost share and to request that FEMA increase its federal cost share from 75% to 100%, citing the financial hardship caused by the pandemic. Unlike states, the two tribal nations do not have a tax base to help cover the cost of services to their citizens and as a result, they have not been able to implement fully all the emergency measures they would have been able to take if they did not bear a significant share of the cost. In addition, the federal government’s trust and treaty obligations require that tribal nations not be left to suffer severe hardship from an emergency.

“The federal government ought to provide COVID-19-related assistance while allowing for the tribal nations to endure as little hardship as possible,” the lawmakers continued. “Granting the requests of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and waiving the traditional cost share requirements for all COVID-19-related assistance to them, will better empower them to address this pandemic.”

2020.04.22 Letter to President re. FEMA cost share for Massachusetts tribes

Senator Warren has been very active in working to ensure Indian Country has the resources it needs and is owed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. She introduced the Tribal Medical Supplies Stockpile Access Act (S. 3514), legislation that would guarantee that the Indian Health Service, tribal health authorities, and urban Indian organizations have access to the Strategic National Stockpile, a federal repository of drugs and medical supplies that can be tapped if a public health emergency could exhaust local supplies. Senator Warren cosponsored Senator Udall’s CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act (S. 3486), which would enable tribal nations and tribal organizations to apply directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for Public Health Emergency Preparedness program funds. She joined Senator Udall’s letter to Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus, urging him to engage meaningfully with tribal leaders and Native communities. Senator Warren also joined colleagues in urging President Trump to ensure that COVID-19 relief is implemented in a way that upholds the federal trust and treaty responsibilities, respects tribal sovereignty, and provides for meaningful government-to-government consultation with tribal nations.




New Massachusetts jobless claims in coronavirus pandemic now exceed 650,000

Chris Lisinski
Stat House News Service

Massachusetts labor officials reported another wave of surging new unemployment claims Thursday, bringing the total in Massachusetts over the past five weeks to more than 650,000, largely ex-workers whose employers are in forced shutdowns.

Between April 12 and April 18, 4.4 million more Americans and 80,345 more Massachusetts residents filed initial unemployment claims, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Both new figures were the lowest increases since late March, but still several times higher than any pre-pandemic record.

Weekly initial claims in Massachusetts during the coronavirus era peaked at 181,423 between March 22 and March 28. New Massachusetts claims over the past five weeks alone represent more than 17 percent of the state’s labor force. Before the COVID-19 outbreak struck and prompted officials to close schools and non-essential businesses as a public health protection, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was about 2.9 percent. Nationwide, nearly 26.5 million Americans have filed for jobless aid since March 15.




13,480 of 22,952 people no longer quarantined in Massachusetts

“More than 13,000 people in Massachusetts have completed official quarantine periods and are no longer being monitored for symptoms, the Department of Public Health reported Wednesday.

The latest weekly update showed a total of 22,952 people who are or have been subject to quarantines — 9,472 who are actively under quarantine and undergoing monitoring, and 13,480 who are no longer quarantined.” – Katie Lannan, State House News Service

Massachusetts Coronavirus Update

On April 22, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 1,745 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 41,199. This is an increase from Tuesday’s 1,556 reported cases and is the first increase after five days of decreases. 221 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported since yesterday, up from 152, bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 2,182. 221 is the highest single-day death total in Massachusetts yet, topping 161 deaths on April 15.

As of 4 pm today, 180,462 people in Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19.

Massachusetts school buildings will remain closed to students for the rest of this school year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday, a dramatic step aimed at preventing a rebound in COVID-19 transmission once the state emerges from the worst of the outbreak. Full details here.

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers. Full details here.

New Bedford Coronavirus Update

Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported 61 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Bedford Wednesday morning, bringing the total positive cases in the city to 339, up from 278 on Tuesday. On Monday, Mayor Mitchell reported that the City of New Bedford’s COVID-19 count was more than 33% higher than the Massachusetts Department of Health count for New Bedford. Full statement here.

New Bedford added one more COVID-19 related death on Tuesday bringing the total to 10. No specific details (age, sex of the patient, etc) is available.

Sadly, Teresa Maria Raposo Cordeiro, New Bedford Police Chief Joeseph Cordeiro’s mom, passed away on Saturday to COVID-19. She was 84 years old. Full details here.

New Bedford’s Zeiterion stage will be dark through August 2. Full details here.

While New Bedford’s Cape Verdean Recognition Parade and Memorial Day parade have been canceled, and Fall River’s Day of Portugal has been postponed, the 2020 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford is still moving forward as planned. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 30-31 and August 1-2. Full details here.

New Bedford’s 2020 Memorial Day parade, scheduled for Monday, May 25, has been canceled due to social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Full details here.

Fall River Coronavirus Update

Due to similar lab reporting issues that other cities and towns have encountered, the City of Fall River now has 267 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, with 124 cases that have cleared isolation. The Fall River Health Department is in contact with the individuals who have tested positive as well as their contacts. These individuals are in isolation and quarantine.




Massachusetts reports 221 COVID-19 related deaths, highest one day total yet

Massachusetts Coronavirus Update

On April 22, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 1,745 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 41,199. This is an increase from Tuesday’s 1,556 reported cases and is the first increase after five days of decreases. 221 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported since yesterday, up from 152, bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 2,182. 221 is the highest single-day death total in Massachusetts yet, topping 161 deaths on April 15.

As of 4 pm today, 180,462 people in Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19.

Massachusetts school buildings will remain closed to students for the rest of this school year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday, a dramatic step aimed at preventing a rebound in COVID-19 transmission once the state emerges from the worst of the outbreak. Full details here.

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers. Full details here.

New Bedford Coronavirus Update

Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported 61 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Bedford Wednesday morning, bringing the total positive cases in the city to 339, up from 278 on Tuesday. On Monday, Mayor Mitchell reported that the City of New Bedford’s COVID-19 count was more than 33% higher than the Massachusetts Department of Health count for New Bedford. Full statement here.

New Bedford added one more COVID-19 related death on Tuesday bringing the total to 10. No specific details (age, sex of the patient, etc) is available.

Sadly, Teresa Maria Raposo Cordeiro, New Bedford Police Chief Joeseph Cordeiro’s mom, passed away on Saturday to COVID-19. She was 84 years old. Full details here.

New Bedford’s Zeiterion stage will be dark through August 2. Full details here.

While New Bedford’s Cape Verdean Recognition Parade and Memorial Day parade have been canceled, and Fall River’s Day of Portugal has been postponed, the 2020 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford is still moving forward as planned. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 30-31 and August 1-2. Full details here.

New Bedford’s 2020 Memorial Day parade, scheduled for Monday, May 25, has been canceled due to social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Full details here.

Fall River Coronavirus Update

Due to similar lab reporting issues that other cities and towns have encountered, the City of Fall River now has 267 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, with 124 cases that have cleared isolation. The Fall River Health Department is in contact with the individuals who have tested positive as well as their contacts. These individuals are in isolation and quarantine.




New Bedford COVID-19 cases rise by 61 since Tuesday, deaths still at 10

Mayor Jon Mitchell’s office reported 61 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Bedford Wednesday morning, bringing the total positive cases in the city to 339, up from 278 on Tuesday. On Monday, Mayor Mitchell reported that the City of New Bedford’s COVID-19 count was more than 33% higher than the Massachusetts Department of Health count for New Bedford. Full statement here.

New Bedford added one more COVID-19 related death on Tuesday bringing the total to 10. No specific details (age, sex of the patient, etc) is available.

Sadly, Teresa Maria Raposo Cordeiro, New Bedford Police Chief Joeseph Cordeiro’s mom, passed away on Saturday to COVID-19. She was 84 years old. Full details here.

New Bedford’s Zeiterion stage will be dark through August 2. Full details here.

While New Bedford’s Cape Verdean Recognition Parade and Memorial Day parade have been canceled, and Fall River’s Day of Portugal has been postponed, the 2020 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford is still moving forward as planned. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 30-31 and August 1-2. Full details here.

New Bedford’s 2020 Memorial Day parade, scheduled for Monday, May 25, has been canceled due to social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Full details here.

Fall River announced 5 more confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. According to Mayor Coogan, Fall River has seen 189 total positive cases. Full details here.

On April 21, the Massachusetts Public Health Department reported that the state added 1,556 more positive cases of COVID-19 bringing to total to 41,199. This is a slight decrease from Monday’s 1,566 reported cases. 152 new COVID-19 related deaths were reported since yesterday, up from 103, bringing the total deaths in Massachusetts to 1,961. As of 4 pm today, 175,372 people in Massachusetts have been tested for COVID-19. Full details here.

Massachusetts school buildings will remain closed to students for the rest of this school year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday, a dramatic step aimed at preventing a rebound in COVID-19 transmission once the state emerges from the worst of the outbreak. Full details here.

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers. Full details here.

Governor Charlie Baker signed a housing security bill on Monday to put a pause on evictions and foreclosures until after the coronavirus pandemic abates, finalizing an effort that took weeks for the Legislature to negotiate. Full details here.




Warren calls for investigation of Trump administration’s COVID-19 response

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and nine of her Senate colleagues today called for investigations into the Trump Administration’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, including whether political expediency rather than the country’s urgent public health needs has driven the Trump Administration’s distribution of life-saving medical supplies and equipment and other key public health and economic decisions. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Warren in her letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Offices of the Inspector General. Senators Warren, Blumenthal and Markey also called for the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC), the new entity established by the CARES Act and given broad authority to oversee the COVID-19 response, to investigate the partisan and political nature of the White House’s actions.

The Trump administration has been unable to deliver urgently-needed medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, and has created confusion and distress among states by seizing equipment orders and providing little transparency about decision-making. The Trump Administration appears to have made decisions about distributing life-saving supplies based on the electoral concerns of President Trump and his political allies rather than the most urgent public health needs. The senators also raised concerns about Jared Kushner’s involvement in Project Airbridge and evidence he may have fast-tracked shipments at the requests of donors and other friends.

“This confusion has been exacerbated by President Trump’s public statements suggesting that governors’ political support for his administration could influence how much support they receive from the federal government,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter to HHS and FEMA Inspectors General. “This obfuscation underscores the need for clarity as to how decisions regarding the seizure and redistribution of supplies are being made, and whether or not they are tainted with political interference.”

In their letter to the PRAC, Senators Warren, Blumenthal, and Markey also raised additional concerns regarding reports that (1) the Trump Administration may have delayed payments to American taxpayers in order to attach President Trump’s name to their checks, solely for either vanity or political benefit; and (2) President Trump inserted crass political propaganda into his public briefings, which, if created during employee work hours, could be in violation of campaign laws, like the Hatch Act.

“(T)hese incidents appear to indicate that the Trump Administration has infused political and partisan interests into its response to both the public health and economic crises,” Senators Warren, Blumenthal, and Markey wrote in their letter to PRAC. “Americans should not have to wonder whether their lives are being put at risk by the President’s concern for his political prospects amidst a public health and economic calamity.”

2020.04.21 Letter to PRAC re politicization of covid response 2

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Senator Warren has pressed the Trump Administration to respond effectively to deliver the robust set of resources needed to address this public health emergency. Senator Warren’s calls for the PRAC and HHS and FEMA Inspectors General investigations today follow numerous letters urging the Trump Administration to establish a clear chain of command following the Trump administration’s handling of the Diamond Princess cruise ship evacuation; a March 9th letter raising concerns President Trump has used his press conferences to spread misinformation; and her March 11th letter urging Vice President Pence to protect the coronavirus response from political interference.

2020.04.21 Letter to FEMA and HHS OIG re Distribution of Medical Supplies




Massachusetts to provide relief to student loan borrowers

The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers.

Through this initiative, DOB has secured relief options with 15 private student loan servicers to expand on the protections the federal government granted to federal student loan borrowers. These new options stand to benefit over 182,000 Massachusetts borrowers with privately held student loans.

This response builds on the federal CARES Act, which provided much needed relief for students with federal loans, including the suspension of monthly payments, interest and involuntary collection activity until September 30, 2020, as well as the recently announced Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s deferment of payments in its No-Interest Loan Program until August 1, 2020.

Under this initiative, borrowers with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are struggling to make their payments due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be eligible for expanded relief. Borrowers in need of assistance must immediately contact their student loan servicer to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances. Relief options include:

– Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance
– Waiving late payment fees
– Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting
– Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days

Working with borrowers to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income based repayment.

Additional information and resources, including a full list of participating private student loan servicers, are included in the Division’s Consumer Advisory.




New Bedford Police Chief Joe Cordeiro loses mom to COVID-19

Sadly, Teresa Maria Raposo Cordeiro, New Bedford Police Chief Joeseph Cordeiro’s mom, passed away on Saturday to COVID-19. She was 84 years old.

Funeral arrangements will be private due to the Corona Virus protocols. A celebration of her life will tentatively be held on June 20th. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a kind gesture, or donations to Teresa’s Patron, Santo Cristo c/o Albert Cordeiro at 380 County Street, New Bedford, MA 02740

You can read her full obituary and sign the guest book here.




New Bedford’s Zeiterion stage will be dark through August 2

We cherish the traditions at The Z, from the annual The New Bedford Folk Festival to the summer Broadway musicals by New Bedford Festival Theatre. But unfortunately, the next several of months will mean a change in some long-held traditions. We are committed to keeping our city and each other safe, and have decided to cancel or reschedule all performances through August 2.

This is a time of immense shared loss, throughout our city and the world. The Zeiterion and its resident companies, The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and New Bedford Festival Theatre, will bear financial losses, reductions in staffing, and most heartbreakingly, the loss of our ability to gather and share in the magic of live performances.

Though our stage will remain dark through early August, our commitment to our mission will burn brighter than ever. We will work tirelessly to bring you glorious work by incredible artists, and continue to find safe ways to connect until we can be together again. Thank you for all you do to keep the magic alive at The Z. Be safe. We’ll see you soon!

With this pause in revenue from performances and programming, your support plays an even bigger role. How can you help? You can become a member, buy a gift card or make a tax-deductible donation to support the non-profit Zeiterion Performing Arts Center during this time of uncertainty. Thank you!

Samantha Johnson’s performance will help raise money for Southcoast Health’s Covid relief efforts! Find out more about this special event here.

Performance Update
For the health and safety of our audiences, artists, volunteers, and staff, we have postponed or cancelled all performances through August 2. Stay tuned to The Z’s Facebook, Instagram and web site for the most current information. We know, like us, you believe the show will go on!

• A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN April 6 screening cancelled
• BOSTON COMEDY JAM rescheduled to August 20, 2020
• BUSTER KEATON DOUBLE FEATURE rescheduled to Sunday, August 30, 2020
• COLIN & BRAD: SCARED SCRIPTLESS rescheduled to Saturday, April 10, 2021
• DOO WOP XVIII: THE HITMAKERS rescheduled to Saturday, August 22, 2020
• EMISUNSHINE – Stage Door Live! reschedule pending
• FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF June 1 screening cancelled
• GRACE MORRISON – Stage Door Live! rescheduled to September 17, 2020
• HE NAMED ME MALALA March 18 screening cancelled
• HOWIE MANDEL LIVE rescheduled to Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 8PM
• INTERNATIONAL PORTUGUESE MUSIC AWARDS April 25 performance cancelled
• LLAMA LLAMA – LIVE! April 5 performance cancelled
• MARIZA reschedule pending
• MARK BITTMAN May 30 appearance cancelled
• MAX HATT AND EDDA GLASS – Stage Door Live! May 28 performance cancelled
• MONICA LEWINSKY presented by the NB LYCEUM May 15 appearance cancelled
• NATALIA ZUKERMAN – Stage Door Live! March 19 performance cancelled
• NB FESTIVAL THEATRE’S ANNIE reschedule pending to summer 2021
• NBSO: BREAKING BOUNDARIES March 14 performance cancelled
• NBSO: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUDWIG! rescheduled to Friday, August 21
• NBSO: HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUDWIG! – matinee April 19 performance cancelled
• NBSO: THE FINNISH LINE May 23, 2020 performance cancelled
• NEW BEDFORD FOLK FESTIVAL July 11 & 12, 2020 rescheduled to July 10 & 11, 2021
• ON A WINTER’S NIGHT rescheduled to Friday, February 5, 2021
• ONE FUNNY MOTHER rescheduled to Friday, October 23, 2020
• RAIN: ABBEY ROAD rescheduled to Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2PM and 7PM
• SCHOOLTIME performances through June are cancelled
• SELENA May 11 screening cancelled
• SEVEN April 2 performance cancelled
• STAR WARS MARATHON May 4 screening cancelled
• THE BEACH BOYS rescheduled to Tuesday, March 30, 2021
• THE COLOR PURPLE May 16 performance cancelled
• THE PEKING ACROBATS rescheduled to Friday, October 9, 2020
• ULTIMATE 70’S TOUR rescheduled to Thursday, October 2

Ticket Options
Do you have tickets for any of these recently rescheduled or cancelled performances? Let us know if you’d like to keep, exchange, donate, or refund your ticket here.




New Bedford’s Portuguese Feast still on schedule for this summer

While New Bedford’s Cape Verdean Recognition Parade and Memorial Day parade have been canceled, and Fall River’s Day of Portugal has been postponed, the 2020 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford is still moving forward as planned. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 30-31 and August 1-2.

The following was sent out last week by Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc President Michael Canasta:

“Good afternoon Fellow members of Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc., family and friends, residents of our great City of New Bedford and Feast patrons from close and afar,
 
I hope that at the time this message gets out to you, that you and your families are all healthy and safe knowing what our city, state and country are going through dealing with this life threatening COVID-19 virus. At this point and time our Club and grounds have been temporarily closed, resulting

In the cancellation and postponement of all events scheduled at Madeira Field, presently up to the end of May. However, this was done for the safety of our members and their families, organizations renting our grounds and the public. Just a reminder that our organization has extended the deadline for applications to both the academic scholarships and the vocational awards to June 1st, 2020.
   
I hope I put you at ease knowing that I am in constant touch with our Club’s Executive Officers as well as our Club’s Board of Directors, meeting as often as needed each month, as we all strive to get through this period of time of home confinement to beat the COVID-19 virus.
    
In my opinion, our Club is the best at what we do, with each year learning and growing to give you all the best and safest Feast possible as we enter our 106th year. Feast President Richard Fernandes and the 2020 Feast Committee are presently moving forward with their plans for the 2020 Feast of the Blessed Sacrament. As always and even more so now with what our society is dealing with, the safety and well-being of everyone is our primary concern, not just for our members and their families, but for all our volunteers and all you people that support our organization and the Feast, year after year, during our pride filled celebration of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament.
    
Now that we have recently opened the door to spring, I know that there are many of you that are getting fidgety with cabin fever, especially since we have been asked to implement home confinement and social distancing. As the President and leader of our amazing organization, I can only ask that we all remain positive and to please listen and adhere to what our government officials are asking of us. The goal of Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc. is to bring all our Feast families back to Madeira Field as soon as it is safe and as soon as we can. Remember, www.feastoftheblessedsacrament.com

We will get through this together.
Be safe and God’s Blessings to You All.”

Do meu coração para o teu,
Have a Blessed Easter!

Michael R. Canasta, President
Club Madeirense S. S. Sacramento Inc.

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