Archive for January, 2010

House of Representatives Passes School Nutrition Bill

January 29, 2010

State Representative Sean Garballey joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing legislation that would ban the sale of unhealthy competitive foods and drinks in Massachusetts public schools.

The bill – modeled after the recommendations of a 2007 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report – calls for a ban on unhealthy competitive foods and beverages that do not meet scientifically based nutritional standards and are not part of federal meal programs. It would also require schools to sell non-fried foods and vegetables at any location where foods are sold.

The bill’s provisions will apply to public elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. The legislation does not prohibit high school students from purchasing food sold off school ground during breaks. Additionally, parents will still be allowed to give their children any type of food to bring to school.

Other provisions of the bill include: continuing education of school nurses, nutrition and exercise instruction in schools, collection and reporting of obesity trends and the establishment of a farm to school program developed by the Departments of Elementary and Secondary Education and Agricultural Resources.

The legislation establishes nutrition standards as set by the IOM’s April 2007 report, “Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth.” This groundbreaking report was commissioned by Congress and was written in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in order to make recommendations for the appropriate nutritional content of foods sold in competition with federal meal programs. 

The American Heart Association has confirmed that childhood obesity is one of the most critical public health issues facing our nation today, threatening to reverse the last half century’s gains in reducing cardiovascular disease and related deaths. One-third of children aged two to five years are either at risk for being overweight or are already overweight. In Massachusetts, 29% of middle school students are overweight or obese. Studies show that these children are more likely than their peers to be absent from school, experience low self esteem and become obese adults.

Obesity-related diseases such as Type II diabetes and heart disease will ultimately require life-long chronic disease management that can significantly reduce quality of life while increasing health care costs. In fact, from 1979 to 1999, obesity-associated hospital costs tripled for children and youth.

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Governor releases FY2011 Budget Recommendations

January 27, 2010

Below is a chart that gives some insight into the local aid numbers.  You can find the source of the info here for FY2010and here for FY2011.  This is only a small look at a very large budget.   A number of resources and the proposal can be found here.  Please let us know what information you are interested in!

MBHP’s free apartment listing service connects tenants and property owners

January 26, 2010

MBHP is announcing the release of a major upgrade to its unique, free online apartment listing service. Located at www.mbhp.org, the service now includes the ability for property owners to post photos of their apartments and to include mention of more amenities. Additionally, addresses will be linked to an online map service so prospective tenants can see the location of the properties.

The improved online service provides the Greater Boston region with a unique, free, real-time option for searching for affordable housing.

Listing an apartment is easy. Property owners and managers can submit their information via an online form and have it posted within 24 hours. Enhancements to the site allow property owners to include photos of their units, give owners more choice in describing amenities, and automatically link the apartment’s address with an online map service.

Enhancements give tenants and housing search specialists more options when looking for an apartment. In addition to searching by location, searches by bedroom number and rent amount – or a combination of the three – are now possible. The maps make it easier for tenants to see the locations of available apartments, and the photos can provide additional information on each unit.

In accordance with MBHP’s mission, the free, online apartment listing service connects prospective tenants with affordable housing options in MBHP’s region; postings are within government-set affordability ranges and are within MBHP’s 30-community service area.

MBHP is the state’s largest regional provider of rental housing voucher assistance. We serve homeless, elderly, disabled, and low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Our region spans Boston and 29 surrounding communities: Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Braintree Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Newton, North Reading, Quincy, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Wilmington, Winchester, Winthrop and Woburn.

For more information, you can contact Beth Wagner at (617) 425-6691, or log onto www.mbhp.org.

Census Job Fair tomorrow (1/27) in Medford

January 26, 2010

Due to the large number of people needed to conduct the 2010 Census, the US Census Bureau is hiring people looking to work in their community.

Whether you are a student, retiree, job seeker, or a full time worker looking to make additional income, the Census is a tremendous opportunity to help your community and gain valuable experience.

Come and meet the hiring managers, learn more about the US Census and discuss current job opportunities.

• Pay ranges from $16.50 – $23.50 per hour based on geographic location
• Flexible hours
• 20 – 40 hours per week

Positions Available:
• Census Takers
• Office and Field Clerks
• Crew Leader Assistants
• Crew Leaders

Applications and basic skills assessments will be conducted at this job fair for those interested.

Applicants are asked to bring either a valid Passport or a Drivers license and a copy of their Social Security Card or a Birth certificate.

Questions? U.S. Census Medford Office 781-497-9710

The job fair will be held at Medford City Hall, 85 George Hassett Drive, it will be held from 11 a..m to 6 p.m..

NH House passes Hearing Aid Legislation

January 13, 2010

New Hampshire’s House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would require insurers in the state to contribute up to $1,500 once every three years toward the cost of hearing aids.   That bill will now head to their Senate.

Rep. Garballey is currently the sponsor of H910, which was mentioned on this blog following a November 4th hearing last year.  H910, An Act to provide coverage for hearing aids for children, pushes insurers to help cover the cost of hearing aids for children under the age of 19.  The bill has yet to make it to an executive session of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.  We are hoping for the committee will rule H910 as “ought to pass” in the coming months so it can be voted on on the floor of our House of Representatives.  Supporters of the bill can contact the chairs of the committee to encourage a favorable report.   Their information can be found at mass.gov/legis.