News Briefs

RYBS to Host Pitch, Hit and Run Contest

On Saturday, July 23  at noon all athletes between the ages of 7-14 are invited to participate in the annual pitch, hit and run contest. This event is sponsored by the Revere Youth Baseball and Softball League.

Registration is required and can be done online or that day at the field.  Online pitchhitrun2022.leagueapps.com.

Two Statewide Candidates Are Certified To Receive Public Campaign Funds for Primary

Two candidates for statewide office have qualified for matching public funds for their primary election campaigns.

Democrats Tami Gouveia for lieutenant governor and Quentin Palfrey for attorney general submitted the necessary qualifying contributions and were certified by the Office of Campaign and Political Finance to receive funding in the following amounts:

Tami Gouveia:

 $143,994

Quentin Palfrey:

$165,412

Under the public financing law, M.G.L. Chapter 55C, a statewide candidate who is opposed, has agreed to observe a statutory spending limit and submits the minimum amount of qualifying contributions is eligible to receive public matching funds. Gouveia and Palfrey may submit additional contributions to receive matching funds for the primary.

 The State Election Campaign Fund contained $1,002,490 as of June 30, according to the state Comptroller’s Office. That amount was split in half – $501,245 is available for the Sept. 6 primary election and the same amount for the November 8 general election. The law calls for candidates for governor to be funded first, with any remaining funds to be distributed to candidates for the other five statewide offices who are eligible to receive public financing. Because no gubernatorial candidates were certified to receive funding, funds were made available to Gouveia and Palfrey.

 In order to be certified as eligible to receive public funds, a participating candidate must submit a minimum amount of qualifying contributions from individuals (only the first $250 of an individual’s contribution is considered as a qualifying contribution). The minimum amount for lieutenant governor is $15,000, and the threshold for attorney general is $37,500.

After the primary, all remaining candidates who have not agreed to limit spending and who are opposed in the general election by candidates who have agreed to limit spending will have to declare their self-imposed limit by September 9 for the final general election campaign (September 7 through November 8). Unenrolled candidates must file statements by August 30 declaring whether they will participate in the public financing program.

Public financing for campaigns has been in place for every statewide election since 1978. The sole source of funding for public financing in Massachusetts is the State Election Campaign Fund, which allows taxpayers to direct $1 from their tax liability on their annual income tax returns to the fund.

CHA Named to Newsweek’s List of Best Maternity Hospitals 2022 

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a community health system serving Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities, has been included on Newsweek’s list of Best Maternity Hospitals 2022. This prestigious award is presented by Newsweek and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider. This honor reflects CHA’s extensive efforts to reduce pregnancy risk, including adoption of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative model and low Cesarean section rates. 

Newsweek and Statista developed a complex methodology to ensure the quality and validity of the ranking. Three data sources were used for the evaluation:

• Nationwide online survey: hospital managers and healthcare professionals with knowledge about maternity processes e.g. Midwives, neonatal and OB/GYNs were asked to recommend leading maternity hospitals in the US

• Medical KPIs on hospitals with a focus on indicators relevant to maternity care 

• Results from patient surveys

To reduce pregnancy risks, Cambridge Health Alliance adopted key elements of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative model, which is proven to reduce death during or after childbirth. “It’s more than bringing departments together – it’s about having a toolkit in place that we practice regularly,” explained Kathleen Harney, MD, CHA’s chief of OB/GYN. “We now identify patients at higher risk before there’s a problem, allowing us to be better prepared to respond quickly. Our OB/GYN team worked very hard to put this system in place and we’re saving women’s lives.”

Newsweek and Statista invited more than 10,000 medical professionals to participate in the survey. Only 350 winners were recognized on the Best Maternity Hospitals 2022 list, which can currently be viewed on Newsweek’s website.

MBTA Issues Update on Safety Work Progress

The MBTA reported on its progress to address ongoing safety concerns raised during a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Safety Management Inspection (SMI) last month. Over the last several weeks, the MBTA has implemented safety plans to address track conditions and maintenance, updated safety trainings and directives, and has addressed staffing shortages.

“Following the FTA’s initial safety review, the MBTA was asked to implement changes to the system to improve the way it is run and operated,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “I am pleased that the MBTA has completed many of those updates and continues to make progress on many more. These recommendations will make the T safer and more reliable for both our riders and our employees. Over the coming weeks, we will continue to work closely with these safety experts to improve the MBTA system.”

 The MBTA has met all the FTA’s deadlines and requirements to date in response to the four special directives issued and continues to develop Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) to address them. As part of these CAPs, the MBTA has taken the following actions to date:

• Issued a new series of safety directives, trainings, and polices for operators regarding train movements in the MBTA’s yard facilities and car houses.

• Ensured all active rail transit employees are certified (completed in June). The MBTA is developing an improved internal tracking system and policies for ensuring recertifications are up to date.

• Prioritized track projects that address track conditions in need of most repair and that currently have substantial speed restrictions. This work is being coordinated with current construction activities already underway and service diversions already scheduled to take place to improve rider experience. For example, on Sunday, July 10, the MBTA’s Track Department installed approximately 500’ of rail on the southbound tracks between Back Bay and Massachusetts Avenue stations. This rail is a specific kind of rail that is used in sharper curves. This track replacement work allowed the T to lift a speed restriction that was approximately 1500’ long from 10 mph to 25 mph, speeding up trips by about one minute. When all track work is completed in this area, the speed will be able to be increased to 40 mph.

• Updating procedures for accessing track areas to safely increase the time crews have to perform work on the tracks during the overnight hours when subway service does not operate in order to make the Orange line, Blue line, Green line, and Red line safer.

• Launched an aggressive hiring campaign to attract qualified candidates as drivers, dispatchers, and inspectors to improve safety and rider experiences, and updated work rules to allow for more manageable shifts and necessary rest time. Newly hired dispatchers will soon begin a rigorous 10-week training program prior to being assigned to the Operations Control Center (OCC) in the coming months. The T has rehired three former dispatchers (who are currently supervisory employees) to temporarily work in the OCC.

The MBTA also has several ongoing initiatives underway as part of these CAPs, including:

• Exploring ways to accelerate the maintenance of its existing rail construction equipment.

• Developing a PPE compliance checking program.

• Increasing staffing at rail yards.

• Developing a pilot program for Blue Flag procedures on rapid transit. A codified standard in railroad operations, Blue Flag procedures are clearly distinguishable blue flags/lights by day and blue lights by night that indicate workers are on, under, or between rolling cars or equipment. The purpose of the Blue Flag procedure is to protect workers from the movement of rolling equipment.

The four special directives received by the MBTA involve delayed critical maintenance, train movement operating procedures, staffing within the OCC, and the employee safety recertification process. The CAP to address delayed critical maintenance is due to the FTA on July 15. The CAP to address train movement operating procedures was submitted on time to the FTA on June 30. The CAP to address staffing issues within the Operations Control Center was submitted on time to the FTA on July 5. The CAP regarding employee safety re-certifications is due to the FTA on July 20.

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