News Briefs

Patriot Senior Club to Meet March 8

The first meeting of the Patriot Senior Club for 2022 is Tuesday March 8 at 12:30PM. There is a change of meeting place. Now it is at Knights of Columbus Hall, 29 Central Ave, Revere. Parking next door. Please bring dues to this meeting.

MVES Holds Free Virtual Workshop Series:

Mystic Valley Elder Services will present a FREE Virtual chronic disease self-management workshop series My Life; My Health, beginning Wednesday, March 16 to April 20, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Learn how to connect virtually thru a Zoom platform and take the class from the comfort of your home. You don’t want chronic disease, pain or discomfort to limit the activities and life you enjoy.

 The series is for anyone living with an ongoing medical condition, such as arthritis, asthma, chronic back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, COPD, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, or stroke. Topics will include managing and controlling pain, beginning (or improving) an exercise program, handling stress and learning to relax, increasing energy, and eating for your health and wellbeing. 

Class size is limited, so reserve your spot today. To register or if you have any questions about the program, contact Donna Covelle at [email protected] or call 781-388-4867.

Coalition Calls for Swift Action On Low-Income Fares

In the wake of the failure by the MBTA board to create a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders, a popular proposal that garnered overwhelming support in public testimony, the Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls for swift action on providing a Low-Income Fare for MBTA riders.

Despite long-standing calls from environmental justice communities, labor groups and others for a low-income fare, the MBTA has refused to advance the Low-Income Fare program, citing budgetary constraints. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition calls on the MBTA to use a portion of the $500 million it recently reallocated for use on a range of one-time uses to fund a low-income fare pilot. We estimate a year-long pilot would cost $42 million dollars.

“The idea of a Low-Income Fare began for a simple reason: folks were struggling to pay the cost of riding,” said Collique Williams, an organizer with Public Transit Public Good Coalition, convened by Community Labor United, in his testimony to the Board. “The fare had gone up in 2012, in 2014, in 2016, and in 2019. People needed some help to pay the fare and some assurance that the spiraling costs would not continue. Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit, bringing new economic hardships and health risks. The power to bring riders relief lies here with this body.”

“We know that T can afford a Low-Income Fare and it’s a matter of will to support the low-income riders who have been carrying the burden of T funding. We know that this board can make it happen,” said Karen Chen, Executive Director of the Chinese Progressive Association, a member of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition, in her testimony to the Board. 

While delaying action on a low-income fare, the MBTA is rushing to a decision on a new $3 fee on the Charlie Card. The proposed surcharge is part of a move to the controversial, expensive, and much-delayed ‘automated fare collection’ system outsourced to billionaire corporations Cubic and John Laing. The MBTA is set to pay close to a billion dollars, including $288 million in profit and overhead, for this privatized fare collection system. 

“MBTA staff could not answer Board Chair Taylor’s question as to when the new fare collection technology is expected to come online,” said Williams. “Before deciding to impose new fees on riders, the MBTA should re-examine its fare collection contract, and adopt a Low-Income Fare that would save low-income people millions. We also call on the Massachusetts Legislature to advance legislation that would create a Low-Income Fare at the MBTA and provide assistance to RTAs to do the same.” 

Goldberg Announces Interim Lottery Exec. Director Following Departure of Sweeney

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg announced that Michael Sweeney, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, is departing from the agency for a new role outside of state government.

“I want to thank Michael for his countless contributions to the Massachusetts State Lottery over the last seven years, and am grateful for his prior service at the State Treasurer’s Office,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg. “ I wish him well in all his future endeavors.”

The Treasurer has appointed Mark William Bracken as interim Executive Director. Bracken is tasked with leading the strategic business operations of the Lottery and its five regional offices as the Treasurer begins the search for a permanent Executive Director.  

Bracken has worked for the Massachusetts State Treasurer’s Office since 2011. He is currently an Assistant Treasurer and Director of the state’s Unclaimed Property Division. He attended St. Anselm College and Suffolk University Law School where he received his JD. Bracken has also served as the President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

The Massachusetts State Lottery was created in 1972 to generate local aid revenues for the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.  Since its inception, the Lottery has returned more than $29 billion in net profit to the Commonwealth. For more information about the state Lottery, please visit www.masslottery.com.

Girls on the Run Greater Boston Spring Season Registration Now Open

Girls on the Run (GOTR) Greater Boston’s registration for the spring season is now open. Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based, positive youth development program that inspires girls in third through eighth grade to be joyful, healthy and confident. It is more than a running program. 

“We are incredibly excited to be launching our largest season ever, with over 1,000 local girls slated to participate,” says Olivia Mathews, the Executive Director of GOTR Greater Boston. “Having heard from school administrators that Girls on the Run was truly needed for girls over the past two years due to the isolation of the pandemic, it is urgent that we reach out and engage girls who may be reluctant to join and allow then to experience the transformational benefits of being part of a GOTR team.” 

Girls on the Run Greater Boston has inspired girls in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Plymouth counties for 11 years and has impacted the lives of 8,500 local girls. This season, Girls on the Run will be offered at over 75 diverse locations throughout the area. The life-changing program has research-based lessons that use dynamic discussions and fun running games to teach life skills. The season will culminate with a 5K event on Saturday June 11th in Medford, Massachusetts,  that brings together family, friends and community members to celebrate the girls’ growth throughout the season.

The Spring 2022 season will start the week of March 27th for most teams and the twice weekly meetings are generally held after school and outdoors, often led by a school’s own teachers and community volunteers. A program fee includes an individual girl kit with a team shirt, water bottle, cinch bag, practice materials and an activity journal. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.  More information about the program, locations and registration can be found on the Girls on the Run of Greater Boston website at girlsontherunboston.org.

Girls on the Run Greater Boston is an independent nonprofit organization affiliated with Girls on the Run International, which has nearly 200 chapters across the United States and has served over 2 million girls in its 26-year history. Over the course of the program, girls in 3rd-8th grade develop social, emotional and physical skills to successfully navigate life experiences. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K event. Girls on the Run is included as a top research-based program in a Social-Emotional Learning Guide developed by researchers at Harvard University and has been recognized by the National Afterschool Association (NAA) as one of the most influential after-school programs.

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