Chickity Check It! “MIT CSAIL upgrades its self-driving boats to actually transport passengers”

MIT CSAIL upgrades its self-driving boats to actually transport passengers

By Rowan Walrath – Inno Associate EditorOctober 26, 2020, 02:40pm EDT

It’s two meters long, it drives itself, and is capable of carrying passengers. Meet the “Roboat II,” the second iteration of an autonomous boat developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.

The first Roboat floated onto the scene four years ago — a smaller version of the new Roboat II that MIT CSAIL announced on Monday. The team is now working on another, even larger vessel with the aim of carrying four to six people.

Read entire story here

Quarry Dance lX Premiere is here this week!


Dancers: Gary Champi, Jessica Cipriano

Live streaming the film on:
Thursday, October 29th from 8:00pm-9:00pm and
Sunday, November 1st from 6:00pm-7:00pm  (daylight savings time)

Meet the Team:

Quarry Dance lX Producer: Lisa Hahn, Executive Director of Windhover Performing Arts Center
Choreographer: Dušan Týnek of Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre
Composer: Russ Gershon
Videographer: Anders Johnson
Dancers: Alexandra Berger, Gary Champi, Jessica Cipriano, Elizabeth Hepp and Dušan Týnek.
Moderated by Maureen Aylward and Streamed live

The Quarry Dance lX film is 35 minutes in length. This premiere of the film will be followed by 15 minutes of questions from the audience with answers from the Quarry Dance team which includes some of the dancers as well. This will be moderated by Maureen Aylward.

Please sign up for free on Big Marker: CLICK HERE BELOW:

Thursday, October 29th at 8:00pm OR Sunday, November 1st at 6:00pm

Dancer: Alex Berger

Photos by Peter Van Demark and David Watts Jr.

Here is a 60 second trailer preview of the Quarry Dance lX, with new music composed specially for it by Russ Gershon. Just click here: 

Windhover Performing Arts Center, located in Rockport, MA, is proud to partner once again with NYC-based Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre to present Quarry Dance IX. This year’s Quarry Dance takes the form of a 35-minute film capturing the natural elements surrounding three different private and stunning Cape Ann quarries.

The Quarry Dances are the result of a vision by Windhover’s founder, the late Ina Hahn. The aim was to marry the art of dance with the pristine granite landscapes of the quarries of Cape Ann. (for more information, please visit “It has been a great privilege of mine,” says Lisa Hahn, Executive Director of Windhover, to continue working with the critically-acclaimed Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre (, who have been integral to the conception and execution of this film, since the inception of the Quarry Dances nine years ago in 2012.”  The Quarry Dances have become synonymous with the dance company’s summer presence on Cape Ann over these many years. This performance was choreographed on site by Dušan, in collaboration with his dancers (two at a time), using these selected private quarries during one week in August 2020. 

Lisa Hahn is the Producer of Quarry Dance lX, carrying these inspiring dances forward, mindful of bringing attention to the natural world and the beauty of the Cape Ann landscape. Utilizing the quarries as natural amphitheaters for dance is a unique and uplifting perspective.

An original score was composed for this quarry dance by the talented Boston-based composer, multi-instrumentalist and frequent Quarry Dance collaborator Russ Gershon. (

The videographer, Anders Johnson, filmed from canoes, rowboats and even an inflatable swan to capture creative perspectives.

Primary funding was provided by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, along with assistance from the Rockport and Gloucester Cultural Councils.

Please consider donating towards this project as well as future performances by visiting the Windhover website and using the PAYPAL button to DONATE. WINDHOVER is a 501©3 ORGANIZATION SO ALL DONATIONS ARE FULLY TAX DEDUCTIBLE. Thank you.

 Lisa Hahn, Executive Director
Windhover Performing Arts Center

P.O. Box 2249
(257 rear Granite Street)
Rockport, MA. 01966

Old Sloop Coffeehouse presents a virtual, all-request concert with John McCutcheon November 13.

Old Sloop Coffeehouse great music, affordable prices, and a friendly welcome First Congregational Church • 12 School St • Rockport, Mass • 978-309-9667
Our host church is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Old Sloop Coffeehouse is not presenting in-person concerts. Our remaining 2020 concerts have all been canceled, and it looks like it will be a while before we are back in our hall. We plan to present occasional virtual concerts, and we hope those will help to satisfy our thirst for musical performances and provide some semblance of gathering in community. a virtual, all-request concert with John McCutcheon Friday, November 13 at 7:30pm For more information and tickets, visit the concert page.

John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers. John McCutcheon was scheduled to appear at Old Sloop Coffeehouse this fall, and we are delighted to present this virtual concert. The concert will be presented on the Mandolin streaming platform. Mandolin is designed for concerts and offers superior sound and video. You will be prompted to create a free Mandolin account when you buy tickets to receive your streaming link. There will be an opportunity to make song requests through Mandolin after you purchase a ticket. And you will be able to send questions and comments through chat during the concert. Tickets for this concert can be purchased through Mandolin here. See for more information. Send email to or call (978) 309-9667 with questions.

Dinner at the Studio

We were able to sneak in a last dinner at the Studio on Saturday night. Unfortunately they have now closed for the season, but we wanted to thank them for their work and diligence to their customers safety during these weird times. Dinner was delicious, my pumpkin martini was phenomenal, and listening to the live piano music was a much needed respite from the every day normal.

Gloucester Elks Kids Halloween Fun

The Gloucester Elks are trying to make this Halloween a little more fun this year by hosting a pumpkin decorating contest for children. Here’s the information copy and pasted from the Elks Facebook page:

Kid’s Halloween Fun
Decorating Pumpkin Contest
Ages 3-12 Welcome to Participate

Decorate your pumpkin at home and drop your decorated pumpkin to the Gloucester Ellks Lodge
between 10am-12noon on Saturday 10/31”

Judging begins at Noon

Winners will receive
1. $50 Gift Certificates to Toodloos prizes award to each age group below
3 – 6 years
7 – 9 years
& 10 -12 years

Due to Covid 19 only Judges will be allowed to stay and all participates will drop of wearing a mask.
Please give a volunteer an idea card with your child’s name – age and parents contact number in case you win

Images also borrowed from Elks Facebook page.

***The Elks are also seeking a short order cook*** Also copied from their Facebook page:

Elks Kitchen Help Needed
Now hiring 20+hour week position
Hours increasing very soon
Please email resumes to
Don Ressel

A Statement from Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken

The following is a statement from Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken regarding the alert sent Monday evening to cellphones in communities at high risk for COVID-19:
“A Wireless Emergency Alert was sent to cellphones in the Gloucester area tonight regarding COVID-19.
“We want residents to know that this alert does not indicate an additional rise in cases in Gloucester. This is a standard, routine alert that is sent by the state to those in “Red” high risk communities as a reminder to follow the proper health and safety precautions.
“Though Gloucester is designated as a “Red” high risk community according to public health data released on Thursday, Oct. 22, our case counts have decreased significantly and have continued to decline since the first spike. We had 79 active cases one week ago to now 32 today.
“As of Monday, the status of positive COVID-19 cases in the City of Gloucester were as follows: 32 active cases; 449 overall cases (402 confirmed and 47 probable); 391 recovered; and 26 COVID-19 related deaths.
“Our current active case count has dropped significantly as cases continue to be released daily from quarantine. Even with five days of free community testing, we are not seeing an additional uptick in cases.
“The City also uses Biobot Analytics as another tool to track COVID-19 locally and wastewater virus levels have come down this past week as the count of new active cases have also declined.
“Gloucester is trending in the right direction and we are encouraged by this news. Residents must continue to practice social distancing, wear facemasks whenever out in public, practice proper hygiene and avoid gathering in large groups. With these measures, we are hopeful that Gloucester will be able to transition out of a high risk designation soon.”

October 22 Legislative & COVID-19 Update

News from the office of Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante

October 22 Legislative & COVID-19 UpdateNews from the office of Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante

Today, the Commonwealth announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. This plan begins today by directing $115 million in new funding to small businesses and Main Streets hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and for workforce training efforts. Additionally, the Commonwealth is aligning multiple funding sources, both existing and proposed, to appropriately respond to the crisis.
This plan supports five key recovery efforts: supporting small businesses, getting Massachusetts back to work, revitalizing downtowns, supporting housing equity and stability, and fostering innovation.
Small Business Grant Program Details
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) is administering the Small Business Grants program, with $50.8 million available beginning today. Grant awards range between $25,000 and $75,000. Eligibility criteria and applications are available here.
As part of this grant program, preference is given to small businesses whose owners are women, minorities, veterans, members of other underrepresented groups, or focused on serving the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts, who have been unable to open and those most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preference is also given to applicants that have not been able to receive aid from other federal programs, including PPP and other relief related to COVID-19.
The program has two distinct funding “doors” based on business size, with different eligibility criteria, which is available online. Applicants must review the information to determine which program to proceed with applying.

Getting People Back to Work
In order to get people back to work, new investments are being made to build workforce skills, growing training programs and pathways, forging new partnerships between employers and workers, and supporting internet connectivity to facilitate remote work and online career advancement. The more than $25 million available now includes:$10.4 million to engage Massachusetts employers by expanding workforce partnerships with large employers in target sectors to create aligned statewide training-employment pathways;$9.2 million to subsidize internet for low-income populations, and to expand hot spots in unserved and underserved communities;$3.2 million to modernize MassHire virtual pathways to assess and connect UI claimants to appropriate services and supports;$2 million to bolster manufacturing training by purchasing a standardized virtual training program to increase workforce for the manufacturing sector; and$300,000 to supplement $8.4 million toward Career Technical Institutes in H.2 to help close the skills gap for skilled technician jobs and align training to industry needs.An additional $54 million is available to support workforce recovery efforts through existing programming such as the Skills Capital Grants program, the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, and the Workforce Training Trust Fund.
Direct Support to Small Business and Main Street
To generate economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and support Main Streets across Massachusetts, the Commonwealth is investing $322.8 million in direct support of small and diverse businesses and local communities. This funding includes grants to the hardest hit small businesses, especially small businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, or members of other underrepresented groups. These grant awards will allow small businesses to cover expenses such as rent, payroll, and utilities as they get back on their feet. Additional funding will support small businesses through hands-on and personalized technical assistance, including targeted support for women- and minority-owned businesses around digital and online technology as their business model pivots away from a brick-and-mortar location.
Many communities have seen their Main Streets and downtown districts hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and new funding aims to help cities and towns plan for short-term innovations and long-term recovery. A new $10 million round of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program will continue to help cities and towns quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities. Separately, local recovery planning grants will soon be available to cities and towns to assist with long-term planning for their business districts. A total of $10 million is available for this program.
To support the museums and other cultural facilities that have faced a particularly challenging reality this year, but remain a cornerstone of what Massachusetts offers to visitors, these institutions will be eligible for $10 million in Cultural Facilities Operating Grants. This funding will help these organizations to make safety improvements and other upgrades to allow them to continue to offer their unique attractions and exhibits.
Small Business and Main Street Highlights (new funding):$50.8 million in Small Business Grants to help the hardest hit businesses$10 million to continue funding the Shared Streets and Spaces Program$10 million for local recovery planning grants to support cities and towns$10 million to support cultural facilities such as museums$8.3 million in small business technical assistance to help businesses access grant programs and loans, as well as help build business management skills, resilience, and other support in navigating pandemic impactsIncluding $2.3 million to provide personalized technical assistance to woman- and minority-owned businessesAdditional Investments
In order to keep people safely in their homes during the pandemic and support small landlords with expenses, the Commonwealth recently announced $171 million in support of the Eviction Diversion Initiative. This comprehensive strategy includes funding to help to cover housing costs such as rent and mortgage payments, invest in new programs around mediation and legal representation, and provide repaid rehousing when a tenant is evicted. Additionally, the Commonwelath continues to invest in Massachusetts’ stock of affordable rental housing with $121 million in direct subsidies.
Massachusetts has long been a hotbed of innovation and creativity in science and technology, and sectors such as the life sciences and advanced manufacturing are not only critical to the innovation economy, but also continue to contribute to the response to COVID-19. To ensure we continue to lead in this space, $62 million in existing capital funding through the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and MassVentures is available to support recovery and growth.
Please read on below for new, updated, and important legislative updates and information surrounding the COVID-19 crisis and see our past newsletters if you haven’t had a chance to read them already for more relevant guidance and directives following Governor Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency on March 10th. Visit for complete information, check the municipal websites for GloucesterRockport, and Essex for local guidance, and text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 to receive COVID-19 text message alerts straight to your phone.Free COVID-19 Testing on SaturdayEarly Voting is Open NowEarly voting for the November 3rd general election has started! You can cast your ballot early through October 30th. If you didn’t request a ballot by mail, don’t miss the opportunity to cast your ballot ahead of time when it is convenient for you.

If you wish to see what will be on your ballot ahead of time to familiarize yourself with your options, please visit the Secretary of State’s website, enter the appropriate information, and click “My State Election Ballot” on the next page.

Early voting is taking place at the respective city or town halls of Gloucester, Rockport, and Essex. Please see the schedules below for upcoming early voting hours for your community. If you requested a ballot by mail and wish to drop it off in person, each community also has a secure ballot drop box at their city or town hall.

GloucesterFriday, October 23, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PMSaturday, October 24, 2:00 PM – 7:00 PMSunday, October 25, 8:15 AM – 1:15 PMMonday, October 26, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PMTuesday, October 27, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PMWednesday, October 28, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PMThursday, October 29, 8:30 AM – 6:30 PMFriday, October 30, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PMRockportFriday, October 23, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PMSaturday, October 24, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMSunday, October 25, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PMMonday, October 26, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PMTuesday, October 27, 8:00 AM – 6:00 PMWednesday, October 28, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PMThursday, October 29, 8:00 AM – 4:00 PMFriday, October 30, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PMEssexSaturday, October 24, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PMSunday, October 25, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMMonday, October 26, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PMTuesday, October 27, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PMWednesday, October 28, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PMThursday, October 29, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PMThursday, October 29, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PMFriday, October 30, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
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