Category Archives: Animal Issues

From The AP – great article!


National Anthem has been a channel for protests since song’s origins

By JEFF KAROUB
Today

DETROIT (AP) — When football players kneel during the national anthem, Mark Clague sees the continuation of a tradition as old as the song itself.

The University of Michigan musicology professor and expert on “The Star-Spangled Banner” said the song has been a channel for protest since at least 1844, three decades after Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics during a pivotal battle against the British in the War of 1812.

Since that time, the lyrics have occasionally been rewritten or expanded to push for the end of slavery, for women’s rights and to call attention to other social issues that shaped a growing nation.

“The song becomes a vehicle for commenting on what it means be American,” he said.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began taking a knee during the anthem in the 2016 preseason to make a statement about social inequality and police treatment of blacks in the United States. After President Donald Trump suggested that NFL owners should fire athletes who protest during the song, more than 200 players knelt or took other action during last weekend’s games. Some fans booed in response.

The players’ actions were “very much in keeping with past protests,” Clague said. In the days of slavery, the words were changed to begin with “Oh Say, Do You Hear” as an abolition song. During the civil rights movement, the anthem was sung by protesters alongside “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the black national anthem.

Other versions were tailored to advocate for women’s suffrage, Prohibition and labor rights.

The durable yet mutable nature of the song is among its more intriguing aspects. The slower, statelier version performed today started life as a more upbeat victory song, Clague notes, and the tune synonymous with American patriotism came a few decades earlier from a musician’s club in England. The tune had been married to many other lyrics even before Key’s.

Click here to read entire article!

The South Worcester Neighborhood Center

By Kate Grady

Executive Director of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center (SWNC) Ron Charette recently finished wrapping up the Days of Summer kids camp, six weeks of reading, playing soccer, acting, and learning about nutrition. …

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Ron Charette oversees an amazing year ’round food pantry, in the basement of his neighborhood center, located on Camp Street. It is open to anyone and everyone – folks who need a little help putting dinner on the table. pics: Rose T.

The College of the Holy Cross sends students through their federal work study program to the center on Camp Street to help facilitate the youth program, which is funded through the Worcester Community Action Council. The students work the duration of the camp’s six weeks.

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A Holy Cross student helping at the neighborhood center. The college, located in South Worcester, has worked closely with Ron through the years. A real neighborhood partner!

The SWNC is checking off their 15th year running this program offering kids ages six to 12 the opportunity to score a goal in the field and read The Hardy Boys in a quiet room.

Hannah, age 11, left the SWNC on the last day of summer camp with armloads of books. Charette believes that her new-found passion for reading will open many doors for her in the future. This program remodels traditional summer school practices with a new blend of summer learning. Daily at 12:30 p.m. each student is required to read. A star chart, certificates, and written reports make up the remains of the program’s “read it, write it, or recite it” curriculum aimed to encourage recreational reading practices outside of the classroom.

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One of SWNC’s super terrific volunteers!!

During their long summer’s most children forget the lessons they’ve learned in school. Warm months pose an extra academic obstacle for lower income families who do not have the time or money to participate in educational summer opportunities for youth.

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This summer neighborhood kids read and kept up their math skills in the main room of SWNC – with the help of Holy Cross college student volunteers.

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Against the back wall in the main room there’s a table with clothing for poor families …

Low-income students fall 2.5 to 3 years behind by the time they reach the 5th grade (NSLA). Summer camp offers a clean slate for most children, serving as more of an anecdote rather than a continuation of their days at school.

The mission at the South Worcester Neighborhood Center has always been the same, says Ron: “To help people in need.” In the summer this organization serves 70 children from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting the morning with their first important lesson in health and nutrition, eating breakfast. Charette believes this camp is important for the wellbeing of this neighborhood’s youth. He says, “I keep the program going so that the youth in the area have a place to go to in summer. Many would remain alone or watching siblings. Also, since the schools are closed, many would not have a breakfast or lunch without our program.”

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The Ronald McDonald [Health] Care Mobile is at SWNC for anyone who doesn’t have a doc. Visit. The health professionals will treat you. They will also help with health insurance info and connect you to health centers in the area so you have a primary care physician!

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The RM Care Mobile parked in front of the SWNC on Camp Street.

It is becoming more apparent that camp is no longer just about building bird houses and playing kickball but maintaining reading levels, ensuring they get their first meal, and providing free childcare for working families.

At the end of the program the “super readers” were given a $20 gift card to Wendy’s and a $10 starter savings account with TD bank. While rewarding students for successful reading practices can encourage those behaviors to become habitual, it becomes sticky with the types of rewards given. By only rewarding the students who are “super readers” with these tools, we are habituating a belief that only children who excel academically can secure stability in their lives, starting with core essentials like funds and meals…

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The food pantry downstairs was just painted and its shelves prettied up with colorful shelf paper. Thank you, volunteers!

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Canned goods in the food pantry. Ronny feeds hundreds of Woo folks each year!

Low-income students lose at least two months’ worth of reading achievement during the summer, while middle-class students tend to make gains in their reading proficiency. This type of reward system further exasperates the gap between these peer groups within the South Worcester community. However, organizations like the College of the Holy Cross, and Ronald Charette at the SWNC help their schools and students further, by addressing the summer learning loss through the support of strong programs that incorporate equal learning opportunities for all children!
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One of Rose’s late mom’s fave books when she was young – and a HUGE Red Sox/baseball lover!

Iditarod Forced to Cut 2018 Prize Amounts After Outrage Over Deadly 2017 Race

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Jett is a lot like his distant cousins! pic: R.T.

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From PETA.ORG:

Iditarod Forced to Cut 2018 Prize Amounts After Outrage Over Deadly 2017 Race

By Katherine Sullivan

Five dogs died in less than a week during the 2017 Iditarod.

After PETA contacted State Farm, Guggenheim Partners, and Wells Fargo and our supporters wrote to the companies, they ended their sponsorship of the Iditarod shortly after the race concluded in March.

This summer also saw the release of Sled Dogs — a documentary by director Fern Levitt — which exposed the ugly behind-the-scenes cruelty in the dog-sledding industry.

So it comes as no surprise that only a few months later, organizers of the cruel race have announced numerous budget cuts — including cutting next year’s purse by $250,000.

According to Iditarod CEO Stan Hooley, the Iditarod has depleted its reserves and is attempting to rebuild its savings through the budget cuts. In addition to cutting the deadly race’s prize winnings by roughly 30 percent, he said that its communications budget will see a 17 percent reduction. Cuts will also be made to compensation as well as checkpoint supplies and operations.

Forget Budget Cuts — It’s Time to Cut the Whole Iditarod

Although this recent announcement is a welcome sign of changing public sentiment against the use (and abuse) of animals for cheap human entertainment, it’s not enough.

The Iditarod Trail Committee may be suffering from financial hardship, but it’s nothing compared to the pain, agony, and even death endured by the dogs forced to race.

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photo: SLED DOGS

You can find out more about the ways in which dogs suffer for the Iditarod by checking out SLED DOGS.

What You Can Do

Dogs deserve far better than a lifetime of cruelty and suffering — and even death — just to train for and run in the Iditarod.

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This is how sled dogs were warehoused for 40+ years in the mountains of Colorado.

PETA and compassionate people everywhere are calling for a permanent end to this dangerous, deadly race, and you can, too. You can help these dogs by asking corporate sponsors to drop the deadly Iditarod. Already, numerous companies have severed ties with the abusive race, but a handful — including Coca-Cola — continue to sponsor it.

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Photo of a dog chained up at a facility run by Joe Redington Jr., the son of Iditarod’s founder Joe Redington.

ASK JACK DANIEL’S TO STOP SPONSORING THE IDITAROD

URGE ALASKA AIRLINES TO STOP SPONSORING THE IDITAROD

Encourage the Iditarod Trail Committee and the mayors of Anchorage and Nome — the start and end of the race, respectively — to celebrate Alaskan huskies and protect them from suffering and death by replacing them with willing human cyclists, cross-country skiers, or snowmobilers.

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PLEASE HELP THE SLED DOGS!!

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Every pup deserves a loving home!

On National Lobster Day, let lobsters live … and more!

But first …

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On National Lobster Day, let lobsters live

By Paula Moore

One would think that federal lawmakers have enough on their plates tackling hot topics like DACA, health care and tax reform, but the U.S. Senate still found time to unanimously approve a resolution designating September 25 “National Lobster Day.”

The best way to celebrate this rare show of unity is to leave lobsters in peace. No matter which side of the aisle we’re on, surely we can all agree that boiling any animal alive is cruel in the extreme — including lobsters.

While lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans may seem very different from us, in the ways that truly matter, their similarities to us might surprise you.

Lobsters are “marvelously complex,” according to lobster biologist Anita Kim, and ”quite amazingly smart animals,” according to researcher Michael Kuba. They use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They carry their young for around nine months, have been known to travel great distances and can live as long as 100 years.

And can they feel pain? You bet your sweet pincers they can.

We’ve known for years that crustaceans feel pain. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that they’re capable of experiencing both pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering whenever possible.

In 2009, Dr. Robert W. Elwood of Queen’s University Belfast, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, published papers on this issue in the journals Animal Behaviour and Applied Animal Behaviour Science. “With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans,” he wrote.

Anyone who has ever seen lobsters in the process of being boiled alive can attest to the fact that when they’re dropped into scalding-hot water, they struggle frantically and claw at the sides of the pot in a desperate attempt to escape.

Scientists have confirmed that such reactions are panic and pain responses. And what’s worse, the lobsters likely suffer for every second of the three long minutes that it takes for them to die.

But you don’t need to be an animal expert to recognize that lobsters suffer when they’re boiled alive—you just have to be honest. In his classic essay “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace wrote, “[A]fter all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain.”

Despite all this evidence, the U.S. and Canada kill an estimated 250 million lobsters every single year.

But we don’t have to. This National Lobster Day — and beyond — we, like Wallace, can pause and consider the lobster and all the other animals upon whom we casually inflict violence (or pay others to) for a fleeting taste of their flesh. And then we can stop eating them. It’s really that simple.

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Cece’s back in the saddle! pics: R.T.

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RIP, The Village Voice, the MOTHER of alternative rags!!!! The times, they are a changin’!!

So Sad!!!

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Clark U
950 Main St.

Oct. 12 at Clark: Public lecture by noted political ‘spin’ scholar, author, journalist
David Greenberg

Greenberg to present ‘History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump’

Political historian David Greenberg will explain the origins and development of presidential communications — from the Progressive Era to digital media, talk radio, Twitter, and more — in a free, public lecture titled, “History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump,” beginning at 4:30 Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Higgins Lounge of Dana Commons, Clark University.

Greenberg is professor of history, and of journalism and media studies, at Rutgers University. He is author the prize-winning “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image” and the “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency,” which won the George Orwell Award, the Goldsmith Book Prize, and the Ray and Pat Browne Book Prize.

Formerly an acting editor of the New Republic, Greenberg has been a regular contributor to such publications as Politico, The New York Times, and Washington Post.

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The holidays will be here before you know it:

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SNAP BIRTHDAY PARTY!

There is a different kind of birthday party being thrown on the steps of the Massachusetts State Capitol.

Food bankers, anti-hunger advocates, and legislators are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the modern food stamps program on the State House steps.

Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was signed into law on September 29, 1977.

The Food Stamp Act had significant bipartisan support and is a testament to successful public policy making.

The event will feature everything a classic birthday party should have; including cake, balloons, birthday songs, and a photo booth.

The public is welcome to stop by to celebrate the program’s success in lifting people out of poverty by snapping a selfie in the photo booth or by recording a testimonial of their connection to the program.

WHAT: 40th Birthday Party for SNAP

WHEN: Tomorrow! Tuesday, September 26, 12:30 pm – 1 pm

WHERE: State House Steps, Massachusetts State Capitol

WHO: The Food Bank Coalition of MA, Mass Law Reform Institute, Mass Public Health Association, Project Bread

About the Food Bank Coalition of Massachusetts:

The statewide Food Bank Coalition, made up of The Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank and The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and serving a network of 850 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, providing emergency food for the one in 10 food insecure people living in Massachusetts.

About the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI):

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide nonprofit poverty law and policy center. Its mission is to advance economic, racial and social justice through legal action, policy advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach. MLRI specializes in large-scale legal initiatives and systemic reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability and mobility for low-income individuals, families and communities.

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For Donald Trump:

The Greenhill Neighborhood Association Fifth Annual Picnic!

By Edith Morgan

For the first time in five years, the weather did not cooperate, and the picnic had to be shifted to its announced rain date, Sunday, August 6th, 2017. But then the skies smiled upon us, temperatures stayed reasonable, and the wind kept the air mild and clean. And so, at 1:00 p.m, in Grant Square Park, the picnic got under way. Neighbors and friends, families and children came, got their raffle ticket (free) and stopped to chat , greet others, and of course eventually lined up for the food and drinks.
The grillmaster, Alva Gilkes, fired up the gas grill, and stayed with it till the end, cooking a huge assortment of hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, and Kielbasa. He sautéed a big aluminum pan of chopped onions and green peppers – a proper accompaniment for the sausages… Plates were filled with salads of several kinds, chips, watermelon slices, and a selection of breads and rolls, both sweet and plain. And all this was FREE, donated by many more businesses than I have time or space to enumerate. This event has been very fortunate in experiencing the generosity of so many!

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Once the food and sodas and water were well distributed, we could see what else was available; Musical sounds reached the participant from a grassy area just above the food tables: the D.J Joe Cora ( Joe Corrazzini) set up under a canopy loaned by Park Spirit; across the basketball court, against the fence, , Ann klump, our clown and face-painter, set up her canopy and materials to entertain the younger visitors. Scattered around the outer fence, various agencies, and of course our police safety officer Annie Pickett, set up their displays.

Despite the changed date, some of Worcester’s elected representatives did come, as well as our police chief and several of his men. But of course in a park, it would not have been complete without the appearance of two of our new “mounted police” who spent a good bit of time wandering about on the grassy slopes of the park, to the great admiration and enjoyment of all.

All in all a good time was had by all – and with the help of many hands, the park was left clean and picked up.

It was not always this way: I remember that less than ten years ago, athis spot was a weed-infested, unloved and uncared for piece of city property, home to trash and drug transactions. How did athis miraculous transformation take place?

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Like so many changes, the story begins with Winifred Octave, whose home overlooks the park. As so often happens, she was appalled by the neglect of this park, and chatted about it – to one other person in particular: Debra Bolz, who lives nearby. To make a long story short, these two then formed the Greenhill Neighborhood Association, and began monthly meetings moving eventually to one of the classrooms at St. Bernard’s church , where the group had bas been meeting with the support of Father Jonathan. So we have gotten to know Michael Duggan from Code, Officer Higgins from the police department, and of course our District Councilor, Candy Carlson, who helped do the ppaperwork, getting permits, etc.

So far, this is a pretty standard story of the beginnings of a neighborhood group. But there is an unusual twist to this particular story: While many neighborhood practice NIMBY (not in my backyard), this group has from the beginning opened its arms to members of the social service agencies residents around the area. Having noted that our area is second only to Main South in the number of such facilities, This group has worked hard to integrate the residents of these houses – and they have responded by attending, helping, and sharing ideas. ( I have always believed that we should extend the hand of welcome, as “..there but the grace of God go I” should be foremost in our hearts) AS Deb said” We embraced them instead of fighting them”, and it has worked.

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And so, the group has continued to thrive, with representatives from the police, code, Parks, and other city departments in attendance, listening to residents’ problems, and offering solutions where possible, and informing us of what to do also.

The idea of the yearly picnic was really the “brainchild” of Representative Mary Keefe, who first suggested we should have a picnic. And from there it grew. This year, the group gave an award to the members of the Linda Fay Griffin House, in recognition of their help and faithful attendance.
WE also recognize the ;hard work of Danielle Brewster and Jonathan Horatio Rosa – there are probably many others who deserve mention, but since I am not a professional reporter, I am certain I massed some helpers and supporters.

The park is now well used year around: REC has helped to build and maintain community garden plots ( I was impressed by the size and vigor of the vegetables and flowers growing there –and by the great playground equipment available there). The basketball court is much used, but so far still in mint condition. And most of the area is fully handicapped accessible, even though it is on hilly terrain. And gradually a rather neglected section of our city is coming into its own, and receiving amenities for its children and residents. The picnic gives residents a chance to meet informally with not only the police, fire, and other departments, but also with elected officials, and this year, with some who are running. Mayor Petty always comes, and past and present city councilors as well as one or two school committee members and one candidate also greet the crowd.
This year there were 300 hundred expected – and despite the changed date, the crowd was large. Next year, who knows. It is a success story , which will continue to grow.

Bald eagles are dying, and hunters are to blame

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Cece, unfortunately, would be a tiny snack for a bald eagle. pic: R.T.

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By Craig Shapiro

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? If so, you’ll know that even the most exceptional photograph or exquisite painting pales in comparison with the sight of it firsthand.

That’s what it was like seeing a bald eagle in person.

We were heading to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on a perfect fall morning when one of the guys spotted him perched high in a grove of pines. He was absolutely still, and his regal snow-white head and chocolate-brown body seemed to stand out in relief against the trees’ spindly needles. Everyone in the car was quiet as we watched him surveying his domain.

He bore little resemblance to the eagle who died at a wildlife center in Oregon earlier this year.

Sitting on his haunches, talons clenched and head twisted so painfully that it was almost upside down, he was all but paralyzed. Paralysis isn’t unusual in bald eagles who are dying from lead poisoning. Blindness, brain damage, organ failure, difficulty standing and loss of appetite are also common.

He was the third bald eagle to die from lead poisoning this year in northeast Oregon alone. Wildlife officials in other states have also raised red flags: The number of fatal poisonings is increasing in Minnesota, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where at least five eagles died during a two-week span in August.

Most of them were killed by hunters.

The eagles weren’t blasted out of the sky. They died because hunters like to load up on cheap lead bullets and buckshot when they make believe that they’re sportspeople. The birds ingest the lead when they feed on animals who’ve been gunned down and abandoned or from the “gut piles” that hunters leave behind after shooting deer, bears or other animals who’ve wandered into their crosshairs and then hacking up the carcasses.

A sliver of lead the size of a grain of rice is enough to kill a bald eagle within 72 hours. Now, consider this: Every year, hunters fire off an estimated 3,000 tons of lead in pursuit of their senseless blood sport. Another 80,000 tons are used at shooting ranges.

Anglers are also complicit in the death toll: They pollute ponds and streams with some 4,000 tons of lead lures and sinkers every year.

The consequences are alarming. As many as 20 million birds and other animals are killed each year by lead poisoning.

Which raises the question: How can hunters have the gall to defend their sick notion of “tradition” when they’re killing one of the country’s most recognizable icons?

Some states and environmental organizations have called for the use of lead-free ammunition, but that won’t save eagles’ lives, because a federal ban on using lead ammunition and fishing tackle in national parks and wildlife refuges was repealed in March. On the same day that the ban was overturned, a bald eagle in Washington state died after battling severe lead poisoning for a week.

Whichever type of ammunition hunters use, suffering and death are the inevitable result of their bloody pastime. Hunting disrupts wildlife migration and hibernation patterns, destroys families—male and female bald eagles build their nests together and stay with each other until one mate dies—and leaves many animals to endure a slow, agonizing death after bullets or arrows tear through their flesh but don’t kill them outright.

Hunters often claim that the reason they hunt is to enjoy the outdoors. If that’s true, they should hang up their guns and instead go bird-watching, set out on a hike, climb into a kayak or visit a national park.

They might even get to see a bald eagle.

Love Ezra, love Vox! Hate having no coffee!

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Fuck!!! Rose just woke up and there is no coffee in her shack! Any where, in any form. Not even the Walgreens instant flakes she’ll ingest in a pinch! Her shack is totally caffeine-free!! A first in a decade+. Ugh. pics: R.T.

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Her crew is unmoved…

This will wake her up! This kid is brilliant! Great American political writer, editor, thinker! But he goes better with her a.m. java!!!!

Check our his terrific Hillary interview:

So intellectual – and non-bull-shitty! Says it all – describes our national political debacle to a T!!

Check out his website, too: Vox.com: Click here;

Watch their videos – they’re fun and you learn new stuff!

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Rose is still in a mood…

Pray for Rose, Saint Theresa:

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One of Rose’s late mom’s old penny prayer cards

Just 4 you

Health Care Advocates Push to Close Gap in Oral Health Access in Massachusetts

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler, House Chairman Smitty Pignatelli, and House Chairwoman Kate Hogan rallied a crowd of supporters behind joint legislation aimed at bridging the Commonwealth’s dental health gap.

Health Care For All, Dental Care for Massachusetts and a congregation of passionate advocates representing more than 55 community groups convened before a State House press conference in support of S.1169/H.2474, An Act authorizing dental therapists to expand access to oral health.

“Dental therapists are mid-level providers, similar to a nurse practitioner, that provide preventive and routine care under a dentist’s supervision. They fill a major gap in access, helping people in schools, health centers, nursing homes, and other community settings get high-quality care,” said Amy Rosenthal, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “Dental therapy combats the striking disparities in oral health. It also provides opportunities for well-paying, stable employment, generating economic growth in the community while serving the needs of residents.”

“Hopefully, in the year 2017, when we use the term health – it encompasses physical, behavioral and oral health,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. “The creation of a mid-level dental therapy program will improve oral health care access while generating savings for the Commonwealth.”

“It cannot be stated often enough: too many people are deprived of dental care,” said Senator Chandler. “This legislation gives midlevel practitioners the freedom to work flexibly and efficiently, to ensure that the best care is delivered to the greatest amount of people. Our bipartisan coalition agrees that with this legislation we have a solution – and after nearly four years of debate, it’s time for this solution to become law.”

Importantly, under this legislation, dental therapists are free to offer their services to the open market – they are not restricted to treating only those who are enrolled in MassHealth.

“Proper dental care is as much a human right as proper medical care and Massachusetts needs true midlevel providers who can deliver safe, cost-effective dental care to those who most need it,” said Representative Pignatelli. “The legislation Senator Chandler, Representative Hogan, and I introduced will expand access not just for people on MassHealth, but also for the uninsured, seniors, and others struggling to get to a dentist or afford costly dental services. The time has come to make quality, affordable dental care accessible to everyone who needs it.”

“A visit to the dentist is something many of us take for granted, but for thousands of Massachusetts residents who are either low-income, elderly, or live in rural parts of the state, routine dental care can be impossible to access,” said Representative Hogan. “The health impacts this lack of access creates are far-reaching, as untreated dental issues can contribute to additional, more serious medical conditions down the road. By authorizing dental therapists who can reach these vulnerable populations, this bill brings us closer to ensuring that all Massachusetts residents – from every income bracket and corner of the Commonwealth – have access to the care they need to lead full and healthy lives.”

Other states have already implemented similar legislation. In Minnesota, Advanced Dental Therapists are already connecting vulnerable populations with the oral health care they need.

“I see children, seniors, a large immigrant population, and people with disabilities all from an incredibly diverse population. Over 90% of my patients are on Medicaid/state based insurance or uninsured. I do exams, restorative work including fillings, stainless steel crowns, baby teeth extractions and emergency care. All while in constant contact with my supervising dentists. All diagnosing is made by one of my collaborating dentists,” said Katy Leiviska, a licensed Advanced Dental Therapists from Minnesota. “Dental therapy will not solve every problem facing our dental care delivery system but it has made a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people that come through our doors at HealthPartners by simply increasing access to care.”

In Massachusetts, many could benefit from this initiative, as 530,000 people in the state live in areas with a shortage of dentists and almost half of all children on MassHealth did not see a dentist in 2015.

“Scores of poor and working people throughout the Commonwealth, through no fault of their own, are held hostage by the dental profession simply because of their economic situation. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are denied access to care simply because doctors don’t like their insurance coverage, and as a consequence long term health care needs are ignored and exacerbated because of their condition,” said Horace Small, Executive Director at The Union of Minority Neighborhoods. “The enactment of dental therapist legislation will provide quality care to those in need and improve the long-term health care prospects for all citizens in Massachusetts. The legislature can’t enact this legislation fast enough.”

www.hcfama.org is a Massachusetts nonprofit advocacy organization working to create a health care system that provides comprehensive, affordable, accessible, and culturally competent care to everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us.

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Fall Finds at Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop at 1329 Main St., Worcester.

Located at the corner of Main and Henshaw streets.

Best prices in town!!

Open Mon – Sat, 2 – 8 p.m.

Buy: Vinyl (lps, 78s, 45s) – neon signs – vintage – antiques – industrial – tableware – vintage toys – electric and folk guitars – signs – vintage books and mags – jewelry – collectibles – CDs – record players

Prices: FREE and up!

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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma remind us: Disaster plans must include animals

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

The scenes from the Texas Gulf Coast — where Hurricane Harvey caused unprecedented flooding and devastation — are harrowing: homes and businesses destroyed, roads turned into rivers, entire neighborhoods submerged, senior citizens trapped in a flooded assisted-living facility and terrified residents fleeing for their lives through murky, chest-deep waters.

But there is at least one sign of hope in this disaster: More than ever before, rescue efforts are including animals. Many emergency shelters are allowing people to take refuge along with their animal companions; evacuees are carrying their dogs, cats, birds and other animals to safety; and teams are rushing to the area to save stranded animals.

PETA’s rescue crew is on the ground in Port Arthur with a boat, food and supplies and has already rescued several families, dogs who were stranded in water up to their necks and even an armadillo.

The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is a reminder that it’s vital to make an emergency plan now that includes all members of the family. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, fires and other disasters often strike with little to no warning, so preparation can mean the difference between life and death both for us and for our animal companions.

Start by mapping out possible evacuation routes and compiling a list of places where you can stay with your animals if you must quickly leave your home. Ask family members and friends if they would be willing to accommodate you and your animals for a few days, and call around to campgrounds and hotel chains — many hotels will waive their no-animals policies during emergencies. Keep a list with the addresses and phone numbers of all your lodging options or save them to your phone.

Even if you have no other option than to sleep in your car temporarily, your animals will be safer with you than they would be if left behind in an empty house. But use caution — never leave them in a parked vehicle during warm weather, as the interior temperature can quickly reach deadly levels.

Next, ensure that you’re ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice by assembling an emergency kit for each animal. Include a carrier, a leash, bowls, towels, a favorite toy or blanket and enough food, bottled water and medication to last at least a week. Have your animals microchipped, and make sure they’re wearing collars with legible identification tags.

Once you’ve completed these steps, take a moment to think through a variety of emergency scenarios. Whatever the situation, the most important point to remember is to keep your animals with you at all times. If you can’t evacuate, or choose not to, keep them indoors. Never leave them chained or penned outside, where they can drown in rising floodwaters or be killed by falling debris.

If you do evacuate, transport small animals in secure carriers and keep larger dogs leashed or harnessed, as frightening sights and sounds and unfamiliar surroundings can cause them to bolt.

Never leave animals behind: As we’ve learned from other disasters, downed power lines or impassable roads may prevent you from returning home for weeks, leaving them stranded.

If authorities force you to evacuate without your animals, leave them indoors with access to upper floors. Do not crate them. Provide at least 10 days’ worth of dry food, and fill sinks, bathtubs and large containers with water. Put signs on windows and doors indicating the number and species of animals inside, as rescue workers may be able to save them.

And be sure to watch for other animals in trouble, including any who may have gotten loose or been left behind by your neighbors. If you see any animals in distress and can’t help them, note their location and call authorities immediately.

Animals can’t dial 911, row a boat to safety or open a can of food. They count on us to protect them. Taking time to plan now will help ensure that our animal family members stay safe when — not if — the next disaster strikes.