Tag Archives: MA

Childhood Hunger

By Rebecca Fanion

With more than 300,000 low-income children struggling with hunger in Massachusetts, Project Bread is fighting hunger with its new Healthy School Food for Kids Initiative. This initiative takes the struggle against childhood hunger into schools. With the support of a $1 million grant from the Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation, Project Bread will fund healthy menu development in schools, culinary skills training in school cafeterias, and effective “healthy food” presentation with the ultimate goal of providing children with healthier food that they will eat.

Healthy school food is vital for a child’s growth and wellbeing. Since school meals provide more than 50 percent of a low-income child’s nutrients and calories, school breakfast and lunch programs are a critically important way to combat childhood hunger. Children who are food insecure are members of families that struggle to put food on the table. Being food insecure prevents children from reaching their full academic and physical potential, increasing the likelihood that they will remain trapped in the poverty-hunger cycle. Paradoxically, low-income children in Massachusetts are also two to three times more likely to be overweight and suffer other food-related diseases, such as diabetes and hypertension, because high-fat, high-sugar, and high-sodium foods tend to be more affordable for families on limited incomes. Obesity can lead to chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and type II diabetes.

“When a child has to struggle with these serious physical conditions, he or she is not learning and growing,” explained Ellen Parker, executive director of Project Bread. “And, beyond the human tragedy, all of us will pay the price for a low-income child’s medical care down the line.”

The Healthy School Food for Kids Initiative will involve training school food staff on healthy cooking techniques, educating families and students about healthy food choices, evaluating what children eat and do not eat, and setting up smart lunchrooms that promote healthier eating behaviors. Each part of the program will be subjected to rigorous evaluation by the Harvard School of Public Health.

Project Bread will test a “train the trainer” model to teach scratch cooking methods to school food service staff throughout public schools in certain districts. Many people do not realize that in a lot of schools, scratch cooking has given way to food that can be warmed up and served quickly. To date, Project Bread’s chef-in-residence, Kirk Conrad, has trained the kitchen managers at Salem High School, who are training, in turn, the middle school cafeteria managers. Similarly, Project Bread will provide an additional chef to several schools in Boston to help teach their kitchen staffs culinary techniques that make the most of commodity food.

In conjunction with the Harvard School of Public Health, Project Bread will test different behavioral strategies to determine how food presentation impacts what children select and actually consume. These so-called “smart lunchrooms” employ marketing techniques that require, for example, students to walk past a salad bar before reaching a cashier — a practice that is known to be successful. Given the health implications for these students, Project Bread’s goal is not simply to have the student take the healthy salad, but to evaluate how much of it is actually eaten.

The program will undergo a rigorous evaluation by the Harvard School of Public Health. The findings will serve as the basis for recommendations of how to expand the program across Massachusetts. The Harvard School of Public Health recently performed a study on a precursor to this program, which was called Project Bread’s Chefs in Schools Initiative. This program sought to determine what it would take to make school food healthy, given its reliance on commodity buying and limited budget, and whether or not schoolchildren will eat it. For this study, an evaluation was performed by comparing two Chefs’ schools with two control schools that served traditional meals.

The results indicated that students at Chefs’ schools ate healthier foods in larger quantities than students eating a traditional lunch. For instance, more than three times as many students at the Chefs’ schools ate their delicious, well-presented vegetables as compared to students at control schools. Says Chef Kirk Conrad, “think of it as the difference between making canned corn into a delicious corn medley by including chopped red pepper, a little olive oil, and maybe some sautéed onion, and plopping a spoonful of canned corn on the student’s tray: which would you prefer?”
Through these new initiatives, Project Bread strives to make hunger relief and good nutrition a part of everyday life for children who struggle with hunger.

“People ask if the schools can afford to serve healthier food,” Parker said. “We believe they can’t afford not to.”

The Humane Society of the United States Releases 2011 Ranking of State Animal Protection Laws

Massachusetts Ranks Fourth in Country, Ties with Illinois

WASHINGTON―The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, has released its third annual “Humane State Ranking,” a comprehensive report rating all 50 states and Washington D.C. on a wide range of animal protection laws, including animal cruelty codes, equine protection standards, wildlife issues, animals in research and farm animal policy.

Earning the highest scores are California (first place), New Jersey and Oregon (tied for second place), and Illinois and Massachusetts (tied for fourth).

“Massachusetts has a proud history of animal protection. The Commonwealth was the first state in America to pass animal cruelty legislation. We hope that the current state legislature will continue to lead the nation when it comes to animal protection by joining the eight other states that passed farm animal welfare reforms in recent years,” said Alexis Fox, Massachusetts state director for The Humane Society of the United States.

Earning the lowest scores are South Dakota (last place), Idaho (50), North Dakota and South Carolina (tied for 48), Mississippi (47) and Alabama and Missouri (tied for 45).

“Our Humane State Ranking provides a big-picture look at how states are faring on animal-protection policies, and how they rank in the nation,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “There are some states that are adopting innovative and strong policies to protect animals, while others are lagging badly. Animal protection is a serious matter for tens of millions of Americans, and we hope state lawmakers fulfill their moral responsibility and help us crack down on abuses.”

California tops the list for the third year in a row in the Humane State Ranking, and is in a category all by itself after lawmakers and the governor worked to enact nearly a dozen new measures. Thanks both to strong citizen support for ballot measures and robust and consistent efforts by the state legislature, California law protects pets from being sold along roadsides, antifreeze poisoning and continuous chaining; prohibits use of steel-jawed leghold traps to take wildlife; bans the shark fin trade, horse slaughter and mountain lion trophy hunting; and protects farm animals from extreme confinement and tail docking.

South Dakota ranks last with a score of eight out of 66. Idaho, North Dakota and South Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only three states in the country with no felony penalty for egregious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota voters also rejected a ballot measure to stop captive hunts for mammals on the November 2010 ballot, keeping the state near the bottom of the state rankings list. Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia are also the 11 states that do not have felony-level penalties for cockfighting. Mississippi did, however, enact felony penalties for certain malicious acts of cruelty.

Several states showed strong upward movement. Ohio moved to 36 from 45 after the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board adopted standards to phase out veal and gestation crates and tail docking of dairy cows and barred new battery-cage egg facilities and required humane euthanasia of downer cows. The state will be under close scrutiny this year as it considers vital legislation to ban the private ownership of dangerous exotics, to make cockfighting a felony, and to set up humane standards for large-scale commercial dog breeding operations―all elements of an eight-point agreement worked out between The HSUS, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and other agricultural commodity groups.

Texas (tied for 25) moved up from 36 the year before, after passing legislation to upgrade its anti-cockfighting law and to pass humane breeding standards for dogs and cats. Hawaii (tied for 38) climbed from 45 because it strengthened its anti-dogfighting law, just a year after it banned the sale and possession of shark fins. Maryland (tied for 15, from 19) worked to improve the state’s puppy mill law. Oregon (tied for second place) surged from 10 a year earlier after another set of solid policy-making advances. Both California and Oregon, along with Washington state (tied for sixth place), enacted legislation to prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins.

In 2011, The HSUS helped pass 90 new laws and regulations to protect animals and helped to defeat more than a hundred harmful measures.

The ranking was based on 66 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; puppy mills; use of animals in research; equine protection; wildlife abuse; factory farming; fur and trapping; exotic animals; and companion animal laws. The HSUS ranking provides a different frame of reference than the recent report published by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which are focused on the broad range of provisions that are included in state and territorial anti-cruelty statutes. Together, both the HSUS and ALDF ratings provide important yet distinct measures of how states are dealing with a broad range of animal welfare problems in society.

Does D-4 candidate Sarai Rivera stretch the truth?

By Rosalie Tirella

… Or fib? Or bull-shit? Or pad her resume?

District 4 voters need to know.

Incumbent District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller has so much integrity. She works tirelessly – at everything. Her relationship with the Main South CDC goes back years. She and director Steve Teasdale are friends who have worked on countless projects together through the years.

So why did her challenger, Sarai Rivera, attach a doctored Main South CDC logo to her campaign literature? Why did she bull shit the community and make it seem like the Main CDC was endorsing her candidacy, when, according to Teasdale, it was most clearly NOT. The CDC was shocked that Rivera would do such a thing.

Sarai gave a weak excuse.

This kind of bull shit must stop.

Another example of Sarai Rivera’s “stretching the truth”: during the recent debate between the two District 4 candidates a few nights ago, the daily reported that Sarai said something like to the crowd: I am already doing all the work of a city councilor and I will continue to … .

No, Sarai, you are not doing ALL the work – especially all the work that City Councilor Barbara Haller does for her district. Pretty much from the morning to night – all the time. For years …

Let’s stop stretching the truth, Sarai Rivera. Voters don’t want to elect liars.

Of course, creepy rabble rouser Keven Ksen is running Rivera’s campaign. The 40-soemthing Ksen does not even have a job – living off his parents bucks/trust fund, no doubt. And – of course – he is not getting paid by Sarai. More “volunteer” work for Kev! Keven was pretty much fired by the City of Worcester from his Common Ground CDC job after an incident with the Worcester police over his camera. Ksen, whose short fuse makes him scary-mean, saw the funds for his job at Common Ground magically disappear after that incident – years ago. He hasn’t made traction since – but he always makes it a point every election cycle to try to destroy Barbara Haller. Every election cycle Ksen throws his weight behind Haller’s challengers – any challenger really. Which is what a few biz owners/property developers on Chandler Street do, too. Cynical moves, really.

So now it’s Sarai for Kev. Or Kev for Sarai!

But not for District 4 – we hope! Because they are playing the election game a little dirty.

Another question: Sarai claims she is a pastor and then claims she is a social worker. Which is it? What does she do?

Voters need to be respected. Not finessed.

Please, Governor, help! (or: National Grid and Illyrian Gardens, home to more than 70 elderly folks …

By Rosalie Tirella

… and my mom. They are without power. Which means my mother, 84, and her friends (60ish to late 80’s) have no heat, light, hot water, stove, etc. It is the equivalent of placing Massachusetts’ most vulnerable citizens in a meat locker.

It is day 2, heading into night. I am afraid … .

My mom, Cecilia, like many of her I. Garden friends, can’t negotiate stairs. Since the elevator is down, she cannot walk down her (dark) corridor and walk down (in the dark) a flight of stairs to my car. Besides, Mom, like many of her Illyrian Garden (545 Salisbury St., Worcester) pals – many of whom are Albanian immigrants and speak very little English and are certainly not connected to anyone in power (no pun intended!) anywhere – does not want to stay with relatives or be evacuated to Forest Grove Jr. High.

So I visit my mother each day and bring hot food and coffee – carbo loading for the cold. Her homemaker and PCA come and do what they can. Her I. Garden friends will give her donuts. All the food in her fridge is spoiled. Yesterday I brought her some nice hot carbs: mac and cheese and mashed potatoes and thick pizza. Today it is apple pie and coffee and meatloaf. “Eat,” I tell her. “It’s will keep you warm.” I bundle her up, set her meal out and curse National Grid and executive director of I. Gardens, Mark Doku. Doku, who has been at the helm for more than two years and seems to bungle everything AND doesn’t even seem to like old people, has been told by me that I. G. needs a back up plan! A community room that will stay warm or cool depending on the season – run by a generator! I have also called Elder Services to complain. These people are utterly pointless! The Elder Services guy (last time) told me I was being a good daughter, advocating for my mom. Then nothing happened! I have called 911 – the Worcester police. I have talked with city leaders. NO response! How can this place – Illyrian Meatlocker – continue to get hundreds of thousands of dollars in HUD funding if the residents of I.G. are in peril (and they are today/tonight) everytime we have extreme weather!
(and with global warming we will have more of it)

Shame on National Grid. I buttonholed a National Grid guy in his truck right outside of I. Gardens. He was just staring into space. Probably on break – with scores of big, gnarly tree branches down around him. I told him what was happening with my mom and the other seniors. He seemed surprised – but not concerned. I pointed at the tree tops. He looked at them and said “That’s the one!” I said: “Good! There are very old people in there! Can you call a truck so that they can fix this up soon?”

He said he would. I left and he was still sitting in his little white Natonal Grid pickup truck, still staring into space.

Surreal …

My mom, is a frail 84. Besides being a pigheaded ol’ Pole, she is sweet, easy to talk with, hopeful and very friendly. She loves all animals and the Red Sox. She is also MY MOM. I adore her because she has always adored me (hard to do, sometimes!).

To see Ma like this. To see her firends like this. To see the spoiled food … Please Governor Patrick, National Grid, anyone …. please help the seniors of Illyrian Gardens, 545 Salisbury St., Worcester.

Suffolk University to host free career seminar for veterans

EOLWD, DVS and Suffolk University to Host Free Career Seminar for Veterans: “Marketing Your Military Service”

Boston – On Wednesday, November 2, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) will partner with Suffolk University to host a free Career Seminar for job-seeking veterans.

The full-day seminar, “Marketing Your Military Service,” will provide the advice, resources and tools necessary for job-seeking veterans to properly maximize Massachusetts’ resources available for veterans entering or returning to the workforce.

Secretary of Veterans’ Services Coleman Nee as well as Suffolk University’s Acting President and Provost Barry Brown will be on hand for opening remarks. Secretary Nee will then lead the first panel of the day.

A Resource Expo will take place in the afternoon. Highlights include: Asian American Civic Association, Helmets to Hardhats, Home Base Program, Suffolk University Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Suffolk University Office of Graduate Admissions, Suffolk University Law School Office of Admissions, There & Back Again, Veterans Upward Bound, Vet Center, Veterans Training School: New England Center for Homeless Veterans, and Vocational Rehabilitation Program: VetSuccess.

The day will conclude with individual resume reviews facilitated by representatives from EOLWD, the state’s One Stop Career Centers and Suffolk University human resources professionals. Participants are encouraged to bring resumes and cover letters for review.

Refreshments and a complimentary lunch will be provided.

For more information, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/eolwd/vetseminar

Dozens of Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates demand answers from Senator Scott Brown

editor’s note: Scott Brown needs to be dumped by the voters this fall. Brown is nothing more than a smooth-talking opportunist. He puts his finger in the wind and decides how to vote based on: WILL THIS GET ME RE-ELECTED? No character. No moral code. No beliefs worth fighting for – so unlike our late, great Teddy Kennedy. Brown is just an empty vessel wearing a barn jacket.

We miss Kennedy now more than ever. He would be the voice of reason, the voice of compassion, the wind beneath our wings.

– R. Tirella

Dozens of Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates demand answers from the commonwealth’s junior senator as national debt deadline looms!

BOSTON – As politicians continued their high-stakes horse trading over the national debt in Washington, dozens of Massachusetts residents directly affected by the negotiations rallied Thursday to demand answers from their own US Senator, Scott Brown. The broad coalition of local Medicaid recipients, service providers and independent living advocates gathered to ask Brown: “Will you choose Medicaid or Millionaires?”

“Because of my disability, I depend on Medicaid funds to live and work independently,” said David Sandison, a local Medicaid recipient who relies on in-home assistance. “So I have a question for Scott Brown: will you vote to save Medicaid, or will you support tax breaks for oil companies and billionaires?”

Questions from constituents and journalists on debt-related Medicaid cuts have gone unanswered for weeks, as Brown and his staff continue to avoid taking a position on more than $500 billion in proposed cuts to federal health care programs.

Stacy Hart, a consumer advocate with the Boston Center for Independent Living, explained that for many families – including her own – the funding of Medicaid programs is a matter of life and death. “Medicaid saved my husband’s life. He was in a coma for several months until the doctors could address a very serious medical condition,” said Hart. “Without Medicaid, my husband never would have woken up, rejoined his family, or come back to work as a member of the community. We need to know where Scott Brown stands on these cuts.”

Joseph Rotella, a successful business owner from Waltham, called on Brown to do the right thing for the most vulnerable in Massachusetts – even if that means raising taxes.

“I’m a beneficiary of the Bush-era tax cuts. But as someone fortunate enough to be in the top income bracket, I’m fully able and willing to make my contribution to society,” said Rotella. “So I have to ask Scott Brown to take a hard look at where his priorities lie. Will he stand up and protect Medicaid funding for those who need it most? Or will he cut those funds to protect tax breaks that aren’t really necessary?”

Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care for All, put the decision before Brown in the starkest of terms, calling on the senator to set partisanship aside and take a stand in support of his constituents.

“I know it’s tough for Senator Brown to balance serving his party and serving the people of Massachusetts – but there should be no choice between maintaining the health of our state’s elderly and disabled residents and cutting taxes for the most wealthy among us,” said Whitcomb Slemmer. “Hundreds of billions of dollars in health care cuts, and millions of lives, are at stake. We call on Senator Brown to show leadership by supporting health care for our state’s most vulnerable populations.”

As of press time, Brown has offered no additional clarity on his potential support of the $500 billion health care cut – or tax breaks for the wealthiest of Americans – that remain at the center of ongoing debt negotiations.

MA adds 15,400 jobs in February; unemployment rate drops to 8.2%

Boston – The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported recently that the total [Massachusetts] unemployment rate in February was 8.2 percent, down 0.1 of a percentage point from the 8.3 percent January rate.

The rate remains below the national rate of 8.9 percent and is 0.6 of a percentage point less than the 8.8 percent rate in February 2010.

The preliminary February job estimates show 3,210,800 jobs in Massachusetts, an increase of 15,400 jobs, with the largest gain in Education and Health Services.

Job gains were also posted in Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Other Services; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities and Financial Activities; while Manufacturing, Construction, and Government lost jobs. The February job gain follows a revised 1,600 jobs gain in January, previously reported as a 5,600 job gain. Over-the-year, jobs are up 33,500 (+1.1 percent) with private sector jobs up 37,000 (+1.4 percent).

The three-month average seasonally adjusted total unemployment rate was 8.3 percent as was the six-month average.

Over-the-year, the unemployment rate is down 0.6 of a percentage point with 29,900 more residents employed and 17,200 fewer residents unemployed. Trends for the labor force, unemployed residents, employed residents, the unemployment rate and jobs continue to indicate improvement for the Commonwealth’s economy.

Employment Overview

The Education and Health Services sector gained 6,500 jobs (+1.0 percent) due to Educational Services’ 5,200 seasonal job gain (+3.2 percent) and Health Care and Social Assistance gained 1,300 jobs (+0.3 percent). Over-the-year, Education and Health Services jobs are up 16,100 (+2.4 percent) as Health Care and Social Assistance added 11,500 jobs (+2.3 percent) and Educational Services added 4,600 jobs (+2.8 percent).

The Leisure and Hospitality sector added 4,300 jobs (+1.4 percent). Accommodation and Food Services was responsible for the gain with 4,500 jobs added (+1.7 percent) while Arts, Entertainment and Recreation shed 200 jobs (-0.4 percent). Over-the-year, jobs in Leisure and Hospitality are up 9,000 (+3.0 percent) as Accommodation and Food Services gained 6,300 jobs (+2.5 percent) and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation added 2,700 jobs (+5.6 percent).

Professional, Scientific and Business Services gained 2,800 jobs (+0.6 percent) following a revised gain of 4,700 jobs (+1.0 percent). Within this sector, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services gained 2,600 jobs (+1.0 percent); Management of Companies and Enterprises gained 500 jobs (+0.9 percent); and Administrative, Support and Waste Management Services, which includes Employment Services and Services to Buildings and Dwellings, lost 300 jobs (-0.2 percent). Over-the-year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 6,600 jobs (+1.4 percent) with the largest gain in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services which added 4,200 jobs (+1.7 percent).

Other Services added 2,200 jobs (+1.9 percent). Over-the-year jobs in Other Services are up 400 (+0.3 percent).

Trade, Transportation and Utilities gained 1,300 jobs (+0.2 percent), the fourth consecutive monthly gain. Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities gained 900 jobs (+1.1 percent) as Retail Trade gained 300 jobs (+0.1 percent) and Wholesale Trade gained 100 jobs (+0.1 percent). Over-the-year Trade, Transportation and Utilities jobs are up 7,700 (+1.4 percent) with Retail Trade accounting for most of the growth.

Financial Activities added 1,100 jobs (+0.5 percent), the fifth consecutive monthly gain. Within this sector, Finance and Insurance gained 600 jobs (+0.4 percent) while Real Estate and Rental and Leasing added 500 jobs (+1.3 percent). Over-the-year, Financial Activities has gained 100 jobs (0.0 percent).

Information employment remained unchanged. Over-the-year, jobs are up 700 (+0.8 percent). Since September 2010, Information employment has added 2,000 jobs.

Mining and Logging employment remained unchanged. Over-the-year, this sector has lost 100 jobs (-8.3 percent).

Manufacturing sector jobs were down 1,100 (-0.4 percent) with jobs in Durable Goods down 600 jobs (-0.4 percent), and Non-Durable Goods down 500 jobs (-0.6 percent). Over-the-year, Manufacturing jobs are down 500 (-0.2 percent) as the 1,500 job gain (+0.9 percent) in Durable Goods was offset by the 2,000 job loss (-2.3 percent) in Non-Durable Goods.

The Construction sector lost 1,000 jobs (-1.0 percent). Over-the-year, this sector lost 3,000 jobs (-2.8 percent).

Government lost 700 jobs (-0.2 percent) in February. Local Government gained 1,000 jobs (+0.4 percent) and Federal Government gained 300 jobs (+0.6 percent) while State Government lost 2,000 jobs (-1.6 percent). Over-the-year, Government has lost 3,500 jobs (-0.8 percent) with 2,100 jobs (-0.8 percent) lost in Local Government, 1,000 jobs lost (-0.8 percent) in State Government and 400 jobs lost (-0.8 percent) in Federal Government.

Labor Force Overview

The February estimates show 3,213,400 Massachusetts residents were employed and 288,200 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,501,600. The labor force decreased by 500 from 3,502,100 in January as 2,100 more residents were employed and 2,600 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.

The labor force is 12,700 above last year’s level with 29,900 more residents employed and 17,200 fewer residents unemployed. Since the rate peaked at 8.8 percent in October 2009, there are 45,000 more residents employed and 16,200 fewer residents unemployed as the labor force expanded by 28,800. Totals may not add exactly due to rounding.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households, while the job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different trends.

Latest job and unemployment estimates for MA

BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the January seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were up in all twenty-two labor market areas reflecting seasonal trends. Statewide, the January seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate was 9.0 percent, an increase of 1.0 percentage point from the revised December rate of 8.0 percent.

Over-the-year, unemployment rates were lower in twenty of the twenty two areas. The Amherst and Tisbury rates were up. Over-the-year, the state unadjusted unemployment rate was down 0.6 of a percentage point from the 9.6 percent rate in January 2010.

In January seasonal influences resulted in over-the-month jobs losses in all twelve areas for which job estimates are published. However, over-the-year job gains were realized in nine of the areas while three had a loss. Job gains occurred in the New Bedford, Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Worcester; Barnstable, Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Haverhill-North-Andover-Amesbury, Pittsfield, Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner and Springfield areas. The Peabody, Framingham, and Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford areas lost jobs.

The statewide seasonally adjusted jobs estimate released on March 3rd showed a 5,600 job gain. The Commonwealth has added 33,800 jobs since December 2009. The seasonally adjusted statewide January unemployment rate of 8.3 percent was unchanged over-the-month and down 0.5 of a percentage point from the 8.8 percent rate in January 2010. The Massachusetts statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 9.0 percent.

The unadjusted unemployment rates and job estimates for the labor market areas reflect seasonal fluctuations and therefore may show different levels and trends than the statewide seasonally adjusted estimates.

NOTES: The local area unemployment rates and labor force data have been revised for 2010; the revised estimates for 2006 through 2009 will be published on March 29, 2011. The labor area jobs data have been revised for 2009 and 2010.

The February 2011 unemployment rate, labor force data and jobs estimates for Massachusetts will be released on March 17, 2011; local unemployment statistics will be released on March 29, 2011.

Attention, all political candidates! WCCA TV 13 will host a Candidates Open Mic Night this Wednesday! Free! Sign up today!

Dear Political Candidates:

WCCA TV 13, “The People’s Channel” at 415 Main Street, Worcester, is hosting a Candidates Open Mic Night. Wednesday OCT 13, starting at 6 PM ending at 8 PM.

Each candidate will be given five minutes to inform the viewers about their agenda/platform and qualities and criteria worthy of voters consideration. Time slots are available on a walk in, first come, first serve basis.

Upon your arrival you will fill out a release form printing your name clearly. Each candidate will begin by stating their name, party affiliation, and office they are running for and proceed accordingly from there to fill the remaining five minute block.

Each recorded block will be produced for cable and web casting on WCCA TV 13 channels. And will be played numerous times throughout the month until the November election.

For further questions, contact Mauro DePasquale, Executive Director, at 508-755-1880.

Looking forward to seeing you on WCCA TV 13, The People’s Channel – “Channeling Community since 1986”!