Last spring, when the full weight of the pandemic slammed down with rising infection rates, widespread business and school closures and severe limits on our daily lives, many people were cheering the nurses, doctors and other medical personnel who bravely went off to work to care for those f…

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Some days it’s hard to tell if progress is being made toward getting large numbers of people vaccinated against the coronavirus. If you’re in the “phase 3” portion – the general public – then April through June, as noted on the state Department of Public Health website, feels like a long way off.

Should lawmakers and state officials accept pay raises they were automatically granted at the beginning of the year? The state Constitution provides for raises for top elected officials that are tied to changes in the state's median household income. Gov. Charlie Baker in December certified…

No matter how deep her love of Andover Public Schools, Claudia Bach might’ve been forgiven a decision to stay in retirement rather than pick up her old job, as the town’s superintendent, pending the search for someone to replace Sheldon Berman.

Is the state moving quickly enough to administer the COVID-19 vaccine? More than 141,100 doses of the vaccine had been administered in Massachusetts as of last Thursday, while some 328,000 shots had been delivered to the state. The first rounds of vaccines went to health care workers. This…

With each new year comes a crop of familiar resolutions: Exercise more and eat less. Spend less time in front of the TV and more time with your friends. Travel more, and really see the world.

When do you take down your Christmas tree? Just as the Andover Youth Services tree lot springs up behind West Middle School to usher in the Christmas season, the days after the holiday find the leafy yuletide leftovers tossed to curbs around Andover. The timetable of the great tree removal…

The memory of Leonel A. Rondon is enshrined in a couple of public places in his hometown. There’s the square in his old neighborhood, at Jackson and Chestnut streets in Lawrence, dedicated a year after his death. At his old school, the Phoenix Academy charter, there’s an art room and a mural…

The Baker administration last week announced a new round of grants to support businesses affected by the pandemic. New grants were expected to be available as soon as this week to help pay for workers’ wages and benefits, rents and mortgages, as well as debt for businesses such as fitness ce…

Superintendent Sheldon Berman is leaving the Andover schools at the end of 2020 to move to Oregon, where his wife has taken a new job. In a recent letter to students, parents, teachers and staff, Berman reflected on a host of initiatives over the past five and a half years. Which of these a…

This is among the biggest questions you'll face this holiday season: Which Christmas tree do you choose? Holiday traditions and choices are about as personal as individual preference gets. Most people are loathe to deviate from what they've always known. Are you the kind of person who strin…

President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force boasts a number of impressive names, from former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and former FDA Commissioner David Kessler to Rick Bright, the former head of the vaccine-development agency BARDA, and Celine Gounder, a physician with long expe…

Should the state be more aggressive about closing businesses and public venues to stop the spread of COVID-19? Some public health experts and city and town leaders have criticized Gov. Charlie Baker for being slow to cinch down restrictions on businesses, restaurants and other public venues…

High school football hasn’t survived this pandemic intact. Nor have elementary school chorus concerts, middle school plays, field trips, school lunches or really the entire academic schedule. But education leaders in Massachusetts are grasping onto one vestige of the school year, the standar…

What do you think of the MBTA’s plan to suspend commuter rail service on weekends? Planners at the regional transit agency predict a $579 million budget shortfall next year, which they aim to offset by cuts to bus lines, subways, ferries and the commuter rail. Among the steps being weighte…

What do you think about the return of carpool lane restrictions on Interstate 93? The state resumed limits this week on the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on I-93, including the lane for inbound traffic from Medford to the Zakim Bridge in Boston. The state Department of Transportation had su…

Education leaders in Mahwah, New Jersey, are resolved to preserve a childhood institution at risk due to the confluence of a pandemic and technology. That institution is the snow day, of course.

The Scout Oath's vow to help other people at all times applies even during a pandemic, as some local kids are showing.

Do you think mail-in voting should be used again? Millions of Massachusetts voters took advantage of voting by mail or early voting hours during the presidential election, in hopes of either avoiding crowds at the polls on Election Day, avoiding exposure to COVID-19, or both. Some lawmakers…

If you work in the town clerk’s office or showed up as a poll worker at the primary in September or for the general election that culminated a week ago Tuesday, this process was like none you’ve ever seen. 

If money is tight and you’re having trouble affording your rent, you’ll take help pretty much anywhere you can find it. If you happen to live in an apartment owned by companies such as Avalon Communities and Wingate Management, you can breathe easier through the holidays knowing you won’t ri…

What are your plans for the Feaster Five? This year’s race, the 33rd installment of New England’s largest Thanksgiving Day road race, will be completely different from its usual running. For one thing, it will be virtual. That’s to say runners can take off on their 5 kilometer or 5 mile ra…

How many people will be on your Thanksgiving dinner list? Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday instituted a new cap on indoor gatherings, not to exceed groups of 10, along with other emergency orders meant to stem the quickening spread of COVID-19. Even before that, families were already reconsider…

It’s easy to paint a state representative with the broad red and blue strokes used to define his or her party. But a legislator’s work often has as much to do with duties back in the district — the letters, phone calls and advocacy on behalf of individuals in need — as it does political deba…

Are you confident in the state’s plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine? The Baker administration recently sent plans to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for how the state will distribute its allotment of vaccine, once it’s available. Health care workers will be among the…

It will be strange watching the U.S. Women’s National Team play hockey without Meghan Duggan in sweater No. 10. The team’s captain announced her retirement from skating last Tuesday — a milestone on the order of Mia Hamm putting away her shin guards, or Flo-Jo hanging up her spikes.

Should the state downgrade North Andover as a “red community” on its COVID-19 transmission map? Town officials across the border have been smarting from the designation, which was driven by an outbreak of COVID-19 cases at Merrimack College’s Monican Centre. The dormitory is physically be l…

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