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Here are details of the Oct. 17 Massachusetts vaccine mandate

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‘Chump change’ fundraising continues as Charlie Baker, Maura Healey hold off on 2022 Massachusetts governor’s race decision

Gov. Charlie Baker instituted a vaccine mandate for all Executive Branch employees Aug. 19 with a deadline of Oct. 17 to be fully vaccinated. The order only granted exemptions for those who have medical or religious grounds to reject the vaccine.

Here’s the mandate:

  • For managers, a five-day suspension without pay
  • “Continued non-compliance” will get you fired
  • For union members, also a five-day suspension first with a 10-day unpaid leave to follow and then dismissal.

Republican candidate for governor Geoff Diehl is taking shots at the mandate as he runs against Baker — or possibly Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito — even before any news lands on a re-election run among the Republicans.

Baker has repeatedly said his decisions around coronavirus restrictions and mandates “follow the science” and are based on advice from myriad public health experts.

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Tensions rising in Boston over mask mandates as pizza manager gets punched by maskless customer

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Tensions rising in Boston over mask mandates as pizza manager gets punched by maskless customer

In the latest disturbing escalation of tension over COVID-19 mandates, a Regina Pizzeria employee who asked a customer to wear a mask got punched in the face as a response, police reports show.

The maskless suspect entered the legendary pizza restaurant in the North End about 9 p.m. Sunday night and was stopped at the entrance, according to Boston Police.

The suspect pushed his way in, then pushed the victim, a male store general manager, against the register before getting off a punch to the employee’s left side of the face, police reported.

The suspect, a white male believed to be in his mid-20s, fled down the street and has not yet been apprehended, but Boston Police are investigating.

The victim told police that the suspect “stated that he was from the neighborhood” and refused to put on a mask before pushing his way in.

A spokesman for Regina Pizzeria confirmed the assault took place because of the city’s mask mandate but would not give any further details.

“It’s a police (investigation) and we can’t make any comment,” the spokesman said.

The victim experienced “swelling to (his) left cheek” but refused medical treatment at the scene.

This is the second COVID mandate related incident in a Regina Pizzeria in the last few days.

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Brookline remains unbeaten, holds off late Cambridge surge

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Eastern Massachusetts high school scoreboard from Friday

CAMBRIDGE – There were no answers for Brookline’s deep lineup last night, as the Warriors had nine players find the scoresheet in a 68-61 road victory against Cambridge Rindge and Latin.

It was sophomore Andrew Alekseyenko who got Brookline (8-0) off to a hot start in the first quarter, racking up nine points, including three buckets from the paint and a made three.

Alekseyenko also nabbed four boards in the first quarter, while senior Devani Perez was instrumental in feeding him the ball, collecting four assists to go with four points during an 18-4 run to open the game.

In the second quarter, Cambridge (5-5) would close the gap, but Brookline senior Zach Solem (eight points) would heat up in the final minutes before the half assisting on three of the last five buckets and draining his second three-pointer of the night to end the frame with the Warriors up 38-23 midway through.

Perez and Alekseyenko would each tack on seven points to help extend the lead to 57-34 by the end of the third quarter.

Alekseyenko, who celebrated his 16th birthday yesterday, finished the game with a double-double, registering 20 points and 11 boards.

“He’s been typically doing that all year, the kid’s pretty solid,” said Brookline head coach Courtney Valentine. “He gets hacked all over the place, but he plays through it, he’s a young kid, lot of energy, good footwork and a lot of skill sets.”

Perez would finish the night with 13 points and seven assists.

The depth scoring is what helped the Warriors pull away, with Jaylen Haynes contributing nine points and Jaden Mazzara pointing up seven off the bench.

“When you play us you gotta pick your poison,” Valentine said. “We’ve got a lot of players that can play and the guys fill up the stat sheets.”

Cambridge would make a remarkable final push, going on a 18-0 run during the fourth quarter, led by senior Aidan Olivier Louis (20 points) who drained three from long distance in the fourth quarter alone.

The Falcons would cut the deficit to as little as six points, but it was too little, too late, as the clock would run out on their comeback effort.

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How will we eat in 2022? The food forecasters speak.

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How will we eat in 2022? The food forecasters speak.

Last year at this time, optimistic trend forecasters predicted that the cork would burst from the bottle by summer. With vaccines in arms, food culture would vibrate in a robust economy. American menus would be full of innovation driven by waves of international travel, and a new generation of digital-native cooks would rewrite the rules.

Clearly, the prediction game can be a losing one. But so what if things didn’t turn out like everyone thought they would? Trying to forecast food trends is still fun and sometimes even accurate. (Kudos to those professional prognosticators who in recent years nailed the mainstream rise of quesabirria, soufflé pancakes, delivery-only restaurants and CBD. And a special citation for those who saw early on that those ripples of veganism would become a plant-based tsunami.)

So, how are things looking for 2022? Not great. The year is starting with a surge of a highly contagious variant of COVID-19 that is only adding to the economic uncertainty. Social justice concerns remain top of mind for many, as does pressure from a fast-changing climate. All of it will affect how food is grown, cooked and packaged.

But don’t despair.

“Constraint breeds innovation,” said Anna Fabrega, a former Amazon executive who recently took over as CEO at the meal subscription service Freshly.

She and other food industry leaders in the United States say 2022 will be another pragmatic, roll-up-your-sleeves kind of year, shaped by the needs of people working from home and by the culinarily-astute-but-fickle Gen Z, whose members want food with sustainable ingredients and a strong cultural backstory, prepared without exploitation and delivered in a carbon-neutral way — within 30 minutes.

With that in mind, here are some potential developments, big and small, that could define how we eat in the new year, based on a review of dozens of trend reports and interviews with food company executives, global market researchers and others who make it their business to scour the landscape for what’s next.

Ingredient of the Year

Mushrooms have landed on many prediction lists, in almost every form, from psilocybin mushrooms (part of the renewed interest in psychedelics) to thick coins of king oyster mushrooms as a stand-in for scallops. The number of small urban farms growing mushrooms is expected to bloom, and mushroom fibers will start to proliferate as a cheap, compostable medium for packaging.

Drink of the Year

Even in the age of no-alcohol cocktails, all those 1980s drinks you can barely remember (for obvious reasons) are coming back. Look for Blue Lagoons, Tequila Sunrises, Long Island iced tea and amaretto sours re-engineered with fresh juices, less sugar and better spirits.

“We all need things that are sweet and colorful and joyful and playful, especially now,” said Andrew Freeman, president of AF & Co., the San Francisco consulting firm that for 14 years has published a popular food and hospitality trend report. (A corollary to the cocktails: the rise of ecospirits, made with ingredients from local farms or food waste and packaged and shipped using climate-friendly methods.)

Chicken, Re-hatched

Meat grown in laboratories from animal cells is on its way to winning federal approval as soon as the end of 2022, and chicken will be one of the first products to become available. But plant-based chicken from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have recently arrived in groceries and restaurants, and the battle is on to determine which substitute will dominate the market.

And in the real-chicken world, a shortage of wings has restaurants trying to persuade the masses to love a different part of the chicken. The Wingstop chain, for instance, has expanded its brand with Thighstop.

Seaweed to the Rescue

Kelp grows fast, has a stand-up nutritional profile and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and nitrogen from the ocean. As a result, farmed kelp will move beyond dashi and the menus at some high-end restaurants and into everyday foods like pasta and salsa.

Candy Nostalgia

Nostalgic childhood favorites from China (White Rabbit candy and haw flakes) and South Korea (the honeycomblike treat ppopgi, aka dalgona candy, and Apollo straws) will work their way into American shopping carts and recipes for desserts and drinks.

Robusta Rising

The third-wave coffee movement was built on arabica, the world’s most popular coffee. But climate change is threatening production and driving prices up, said Kara Nielsen, who tracks food and drink trends for WGSN, a consumer forecasting and consulting firm. Enter robusta, the bitter, heavily caffeinated workhorse that is less expensive and easier to cultivate. It is the predominant bean grown in Vietnam, where coffee is made with a metal filter called a phin and sweetened with condensed milk and sometimes an egg yolk.

A new style of Vietnamese coffee shop is popping up in many U.S. cities, promising to take the robusta right along with it.

Tasty Tableware

The quality of edible spoons, chopsticks, plates, bowls and cups is going up and the price is going down, signaling the start of a full-fledged edible-packaging revolution aimed at reducing single-use containers and plastic waste.

Sugar and ‘Swice’

Mash-ups like “swicy” and “swalty” will join the linguistic mania that brought us unfortunate nicknames like char coot and Cae sal (charcuterie and Caesar salad, that is). The new phraseology reflects an even wider embrace of flavor fusions that marry savory spices and heat with sweetness. Nene, a South Korean-based fried chicken chain that is just starting to move into North America, has even named a sauce swicy. Its flavor profile mirrors what would happen if gochujang and ketchup had a baby.

Flavor of the Year

Yuzu has its fans, but the even money is on hibiscus, which is adding its crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor to everything from cocktails and sodas to crudos and yogurt.

A Focus on India

With COVID limiting international travel in 2021, U.S. cooks explored regional American food. In 2022, regional foods from India will get a lot of attention, with deep dives into dishes from Gujarat, Kerala, Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and the Awadh area.

Vibe of the Year

With the supply chain in tatters and restaurant staffs stretched nearly to the breaking point, demanding shoppers and diners are out, and patience is in. A growing interest in the historical and cultural nature of food and its impact on the climate will only add to what forecasters (optimistically) say will be a new emphasis on kindness and understanding.

As Jennifer Zigler, associate director of food and drink at the research firm Mintel, put it, “We’ve all gone through this stressful, anxious couple of years, and there’s that willingness to have some empathy and understanding.”

A Buffet of Other Bites

Beyond the big trends are a long menu of smaller ones: the growing popularity of Koji bacon, the Chinese spirit baijiu and the noodle soup laksa. Jollof rice will appear on menus and in the frozen-foods section. Seeds will muscle in on nuts as an alternative protein source, in products like butters and ice creams. And look for a burst of new interest in animal-free cheese, potato milk, moringa, Taiwanese breakfast dishes, high tea and olives.

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