Showing posts with label commonwealth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label commonwealth. Show all posts

Monday, July 12, 2021

"Franklin teen honored as a Commonwealth Heroine"

"Speaking up, and making a difference. Franklin teen honored as a Commonwealth Heroine"
Not so long ago, Ndoumbe Ndoye would never have imagined herself getting up in front of a crowd to talk about issues of social justice and racism, and to share her own personal encounters.

Now she can't imagine NOT talking about these things — ever since she steeled herself to get up in front of a crowd on the Franklin town common last year as people rallied following the death of George Floyd.

There, she gave an emotional speech that brought tears to her own and others' eyes. And since then she has been actively working to promote racial understanding and justice.
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

The announcement of Ndoumbe's recognition

Franklin Senior Ndoumbe Ndoye is a determined and passionate youth activist. Photo used with permission from Ndoumbe Ndoye (Pantherbook image from Jason Beckett )
Franklin Senior Ndoumbe Ndoye is a determined and passionate youth activist. Photo used with permission from Ndoumbe Ndoye (Pantherbook image from Jason Beckett )

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Boston Globe: “We’re not going to solve it by just having one tweak”

"Massachusetts is undertaking a massive shift in how it distributes money for affordable housing, pumping tens of millions of state dollars into building new owner-occupied homes after years of focusing almost exclusively on rentals.

The efforts, led by a new program to build homes for below-market sale in Boston and other cities, are an explicit recognition of the enormous racial wealth gap in Massachusetts, which has been fueled by a similar chasm in who owns homes here. Yet the program’s limits also illustrate just how hard that gap will be to close.

At an event this month in Haverhill to highlight the effort, Governor Charlie Baker pitched his plan as one way to remedy decades of US housing policy that created the divide, and said he wants to spend as much as $560 million to boost homeownership among historically disadvantaged groups in Massachusetts, particularly Black and Latino families. His goal is to jump-start progress with a huge windfall of cash from stimulus funding and other sources."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

On Wednesday nights, Arlene Cribbs watches her 3-year-old grandson Aaron Gillenwater. She rents a two-bedroom apartment in Jamaica Plain and has been trying to buy a two- or three-bedroom single-family house. PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF
On Wednesday nights, Arlene Cribbs watches her 3-year-old grandson Aaron Gillenwater. She rents a two-bedroom apartment in Jamaica Plain and has been trying to buy a two- or three-bedroom single-family house.PAT GREENHOUSE/GLOBE STAFF

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

State of the Commonwealth - Jan 26, 2021

Via Gov Baker
"Join us tomorrow (Tuesday) night as I provide an update on the state of our Commonwealth.

This year's address will look different, but I look forward to sharing some thoughts about the resilient people and communities of Massachusetts. #MASOTC"


Shared from Twitter:

State of the Commonwealth - Jan 26, 2021
State of the Commonwealth - Jan 26, 2021 - 7:00 PM

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: state guidelines “confusing and disappointing”

 From CommonWealth Magazine we share articles of interest for Franklin:

"UNDER NEW STATE GUIDELINES issued Tuesday night, Somerville should be preparing to bring students back to school in person next month. It isn’t.

Somerville, a dense urban area outside of Boston, is ranked as “green,” or low-risk, on a new state map measuring COVID-19 rates. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education says green communities should have full-time in-person learning, or at least a hybrid model if there are extenuating circumstances. 

Somerville already decided to start with fully remote learning, and Mayor Joe Curtatone called the new guidelines “confusing and disappointing.” “To look at a color-coded map and say that should be a bright line as to whether to bring back students, staff, teachers to school really disregards all the other variables we must analyze…when we make these decisions,” Curtatone said."

Continue reading the article online

"Baker said Trump’s proposal is credible, but it takes money that states are already counting on to cover their COVID-19 costs and uses those funds to pay for the enhanced unemployment insurance benefit.

“That FEMA money, as far as most states are concerned, is what’s there for us to apply to be reimbursed for the costs we incurred in March, April, and May during the original emergency,” Baker said.

The same goes for using CARES Act funds to pay for the state’s share of the enhanced unemployment insurance benefit, Baker said. The governor said the CARES Act funding in most cases has already been designated for other needs. “It’s using most of a pot of money that’s already designated for a very particular purpose,” he said.

Baker said he would prefer that Congress step up and pass a comprehensive stimulus plan. “It’s really important that there be a fourth [stimulus] package,” he said."

Continue reading the article online

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: "Globe ed page editor grills House candidate the paper endorsed"

 From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"THE INTERVIEW Boston Globe editorial page editor Bina Venkataraman conducted with Jake Auchincloss had all the feel of a standard quizzing of a candidate as a newspaper weighs an endorsement, as she grilled him on past statements and asked him to explain aspects of his record. Except for one small detail: The Globe already endorsed the Newton city councilor in the nine-way Democratic primary for the Fourth Congressional District seat. 

The unusual spectacle that unfolded Monday afternoon on Zoom came after the paper’s July 31 endorsement drew fierce blowback from other candidates, Globe readers, and Newton residents who decried past comments Auchincloss made on race and religious issues as well campaign finance matters.  Last week, four days after the endorsement, Venkataraman announced that she would interview Auchincloss publicly as part of the Globe’s “Op-Talk” series in order to probe more deeply concerns that have been raised about his record and the paper’s endorsement.

“It is an unusual Globe Op-Talk,” Venkataraman said, kicking off a conversation in which she was far more skeptical inquisitor than cheerleading booster of the candidate she and her editorial board colleagues concluded rose to the top of a crowded field with impressive backgrounds. “Our readers have been raising all kinds of concerns about your candidacy, frankly, and a lot of those concerns are legitimate concerns,” she told Auchincloss in a tone that seemed to convey a hint of buyer’s remorse. "

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Commonwealth Magazine: "Globe ed page editor grills House candidate the paper endorsed"
Commonwealth Magazine: "Globe ed page editor grills House candidate the paper endorsed"

Monday, August 10, 2020

Commonwealth Magazine: "Parents turning to ‘pandemic pods’ and ‘microschools’"

 From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"WHEN NORTH ANDOVER SCHOOLS closed in March, Jennifer Quadrozzi’s family formed a quarantine pod with three other neighborhood families. 

Quadrozzi’s seven-year-old daughter now had eight other children, ages two to nine, to play with. The kids would learn at their respective homes in the mornings, then play together in the afternoon.  

Now, the families, who are worried about coronavirus exposure if their children return to school in person, have started talking about forming a learning pod this fallThe mothers would rotate as proctors, and students would get together each day to do the work assigned by the school district. Quadrozzi works from home selling skin care products so she has a flexible schedule. Another mother would have to take time off work.   

Weve been together since March, made sacrifices to make sure our families are safe and healthy,” Quadrozzi said. “Whats changing in September? Nothing.”

 Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Malia and Sam Owens learning together. Their mother Davina Owens plans to homeschool them this year. (Courtesy Davina Owens)
Malia and Sam Owens learning together. Their mother Davina Owens plans to homeschool them this year. (Courtesy Davina Owens)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Two updates on the climate "Roadmap bill"

350 Mass' email newsletter has this update to summarize legislative action on the Roadmap bill.

On Friday night at 9 PM the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed The 2050 Roadmap bill. Introduced by Rep Meschino, this bill updates the Global Warming Solutions Act and commits the state to create a roadmap to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 
This bill is the House’s response to the Senate Climate package passed in January of 2020. Both houses passing overarching climate policy demonstrates the power of grassroots organizing and coalition building. 
In this legislative session that began January 2019, 350 Mass and our partners in the Mass Power Forward coalition and beyond have been advocating for a commitment to 100% renewable energy, environmental justice, and equitable investment in green infrastructure. 
Bills with strong provisions, explicit 100% renewable goals, and a shorter time-line among other desirable provisions were not allowed to pass through committees. However, the Roadmap bill, with a focus on planning, was allowed to come to the floor. When it did, 350 Mass and our allies pushed for improving amendments, several of which passed. 
For all its shortcomings, the Roadmap Bill does provide a foundation for future efforts. And it is a step forward for a Legislature that has not passed significant climate protection laws for years— we can thank our representatives who have tirelessly championed our bills, and we must continue to push for policies that go further."
Continue reading the newsletter online[UNIQID]&u=bdf4df04ee1ca59ba335a7699&id=6731641fd7

Subscribe to get your own copy of the newsletter here

Two updates on the climate "Roadmap bill"
Two updates on the climate "Roadmap bill"

Commonwealth Magazine also summarizes what is in the Roadmap bill:
"ON WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN the last day of the 2019-2020 legislative session, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a Roadmap Bill, helping to lay the foundation for a slightly more ambitious – and much better planned – decarbonization of the economy. Crucially, the final bill also included an amendment around environmental justice, which would codify into law protections for low-income communities and communities of color which face disproportionate burdens of pollution due to decades of environmental racism and the systematic undervaluing of black, indigenous, immigrant, and poor lives. 
Both the roadmap bill in general and the environmental justice component specifically deserve our praise and gratitude, particularly when the House could have used the guise of the pandemic to swear off climate action. Following the Senate’s “Next Generation” climate bill passed earlier this year, it is clear that both House and Senate leadership have over the course of this session tried to answer the question of how to respond to climate change with an authentic, thoughtful response."
Continue reading the article online

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

"The six-member conference committee negotiators have four days to get the consensus bill to Gov. Charlie Baker"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:
"TWO MEMBERS of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus will be part of the group that will hammer out differences between the House and Senate versions of police reform legislation. 
Springfield Democrat Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, who chairs the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, will be joined by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain, who is the sole member of the caucus in the Senate. The other four participants are Sen. William Brownsberger of Belmont and Republican Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, along with Reps. Claire Cronin of Easton, who co-chairs the Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Timothy Whelan, a Brewster Republican who voted against the bill. The Senate bill passed 30-7, and the House bill was approved by a margin of 93-66."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

The House bill

The Senate bill

Sunday, July 26, 2020

"Unfortunately, the need is likely to be still greater"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin.

"WITH COVID-19 DEATHS and infections remaining low here, enhanced federal unemployment benefits continuing through July, and the state’s emergency freeze on evictions still in effect, it’s possible to believe that Massachusetts is rebounding better than the rest of the country. 
But this is only the eye of the hurricane. The second half of 2020 risks becoming an unfolding catastrophe unless state leaders take decisive action before the end of July. 
The key is to stabilize housing, now. 
So far, the 30,000 undocumented workers in the state who were laid off during the pandemic have borne the brunt of the crisis. Without access to federal assistance, their families have been in dire circumstances. They are scraping by through the heroic efforts of friends, families, neighbors, charitable groups, and churches. 
But on August 1, the problem escalates exponentially, when enhanced federal unemployment benefits end for hundreds of thousands of workers. Even with most employees returning to work, perhaps 120,000 households in the state will have trouble making their housing payments. A survey from the MassINC Polling Group revealed that 29 percent of all renters surveyed had already missed a full or partial payment by the end of May. Young people, communities of color, service workers, and part-time employees have been hit particularly hard."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

“Massachusetts has a historic opportunity to lead on this issue"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin. The article provides a comparison of the police reform legislation currently in process at the State House highlighting the common points and differences between the Senate and House versions.

WITH THE END OF the legislative session fast approaching, the House and Senate are trying to hammer out a bill dealing with police reform. In the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, there is tremendous momentum to pass a bill, but significant differences are emerging between the two branches. 
The Senate passed its bill last week and the House is scheduled to take up its version on Wednesday. Both measures share common ground. They require fellow officers to intervene in situations of excessive force. They ban chokeholds, the use of tear gas, and most no-knock warrants. The latter became a spotlight issue following the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a woman who died when Louisville, Kentucky, police executed a no-knock warrant at the wrong address, killing her in her own home.

The two branches also appear to be in general agreement on eliminating the municipal police training committee – a little-known entity within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security – and replacing it with a new Massachusetts Police Standards and Training Commission with the power to investigate misconduct claims against police officers and decertify those officers found to violate standards. The decisions of the commission would be open to the public and shared with a national database of decertified police officers.
The House and Senate are not totally on the same page with regard to the commission. They differ on who would serve on the commission and the House bill would require that complaints about police misconduct not include a nondisclosure or non-disparagement agreement unless the complainant requests that provision. That would mean that police officers couldn’t ask their accusers to avoid speaking publicly about their conflicts if settlements are reached.

Continue reading the article online

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

CommonWealth Magazine · Spilka makes a case for substance over process (audio)

Via CommonWealth Magazine we share this interview with Senate President Karen Spilka

"IN A WIDE-RANGING INTERVIEW on the CommonWealth Codcast, Senate President Karen Spilka kept returning to the theme of substance over process when it comes to legislation dealing with the state’s many pressing needs.

She applauded the House, Senate, and governor’s office for working collaboratively on a budget for the coming fiscal year rather than following the traditional path of each branch of government doing their own spending plan.

“Unprecedented times require unprecedented solutions,” she said. “We need to work together for the people of Massachusetts.”

She also used the same substance over process argument in talking about a feud between the House and Senate chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing that harkens back to a fairly bitter dispute between the two branches in 2015. The House chair of the committee is insisting all health care legislation should go through the panel, while the Senate chair, frustrated with the slow pace of law-making, is pulling bills filed by senators out of the committee and steering them to the Senate for action."
Continue reading the article online at Commonwealth Magazine

Audio link:

Senate President Karen Spilka. (State House News file photo.)
Senate President Karen Spilka. (State House News file photo.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

"Retail association says 30% of members fear going under"

From the Commonwealth Magazine, ab article of interest for Franklin:
"The Green Bean’s experience is not unique. Many businesses are beginning to reopen with new safety standards and reduced capacity, but there are many others that may not be able to reopen at all. And those closures could have a ripple effect on Main Streets across the state.

“Businesses have made decisions where to locate around amenities,” said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber. “If we’re losing amenities, that has a whole domino effect.”

The Retailers Association of Massachusetts recently surveyed its members and found that 30 percent of respondents were somewhat or extremely concerned that they would not survive the pandemic. President Jon Hurst said many businesses are at the end of their financial rope. They have had to pay for leases and inventory they could not sell. A clothing store might have a large stock of unsold winter coats – but it needs to buy summer clothes to reopen in June. Federal business loans can only go so far.

“It’s the reality of just not having the wherewithal to do that outlay for buying the inventory when you’ve had no income coming in,” Hurst said."
Continue reading the article online

The news of the British Beer Company closing is not the only retail operation we'll hear about. We do need to support our local businesses, all the time. This pandemic is going to have some significant impact on many operations.

Commonwealth Magazine
Commonwealth Magazine

Saturday, February 15, 2020

"these programs are really a win, win, win"

Via Commonwealth Magazine, we find that the State is suspending the HIP program as of Feb 24. The Farmers Market today in Franklin is not affected but the next markets in Mar and Apr will be.

"AT A MONTHLY WINTER FARMERS market run by Roots Rising in Pittsfield, shoppers can buy apples, canned tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, and winter squash. A shopper using SNAP benefits can spend $1 to buy $2 of produce under the state’s Healthy Incentives Program, or HIP.

But as of Feb. 24, shoppers on public benefits will no longer get that extra money. The state is suspending HIP for the winter, with plans to restore it May 15. State officials say the program – which doubles the impact of SNAP benefits when produce is bought from a participating farm – is a victim of its own success and has outgrown its budget.

Without a temporary suspension of the program, state officials say its $6.5 million state appropriation would run out quickly and no money would be left during the busier buying and growing season this summer.

Advocates for farmers and low-income individuals say the loss of HIP will hurt shoppers and sellers. Recently, 89 legislators wrote to Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Amy Kershaw protesting the suspension, and the lack of notice."
Continue reading the article online

Winter Farmers Market
When: Sat, February 15, 10am – 2pm
Where: Fairmount Fruit Farm, 887 Lincoln St, Franklin, MA 02038, USA (map)
Description: A winter farmers market where local farms and crafters/vendors can gather together to sell products and network within their community
"these programs are really a win, win, win"
"these programs are really a win, win, win"

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"State of the Commonwealth" - Livestream - Jan 21, 6:30 PM

What are you doing at 6:30 PM Tuesday, Jan 21?
"On Tuesday, January 21st - watch Governor Baker’s 2020 State of the Commonwealth address streamed live on the homepage. #MASOTC"

Shared via Twitter

The page info

"State of the Commonwealth" - Livestream - Jan 21, 6:30 PM
"State of the Commonwealth" - Livestream - Jan 21, 6:30 PM

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Online Academy Selects New Abbreviation to Simplify Its name

The Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School is adopting 'GCVS' as its new abbreviation and 'nickname' to simplify administrative tasks and focus more clearly on its identity as a Commonwealth Virtual School. For the past several years, the school had used 'MAVA' as an abbreviation.

The school will call itself 'GCVS' on most references to emphasize its mission of providing comprehensive online education to students anywhere in Massachusetts.

"We want people to look at our name and immediately think - virtual education for any Massachusetts student," said Executive Director Dr. Judith Houle. "GCVS neatly expresses both our heritage and offerings as a full-service school offering an outstanding public school education in a 21st century model. Any student whose needs don't fit in a brick-and-mortar classroom has a place at GCVS."

GCVS is the state's first virtual K-12 public school of choice. It offers flexible, self-driven online learning programs and support services to any Massachusetts student. GCVS students are independent learners who need a different model than brick-and-mortar classrooms to accommodate their learning styles and individual interests.

GCVS' 2017-18 academic year starts when classes open on Aug. 30. Class opening will be followed by a series of picnics across the state on Sept. 8 to give students, families and educators a chance to meet and form connections face-to-face.

Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School
Greenfield Commonwealth Virtual School

Massachusetts Virtual Academy at Greenfield, the Commonwealth's first virtual K-12 public school, delivers a transformative education with unique strengths and flexibility perfectly suited for the modern world. 
Our approach encourages critical thinking and an independent learning style that meets the key needs of diverse learners by providing educational resources that cultivate curiosity, exploration and inquiry.

Note the DESE profile for the school can be found here

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"The opportunity to lead is a privilege that is earned"

The Milford Daily News reports on the Project 351 'Day of Service' that was held on Saturday. 8th grade students from around the Commonwealth gathered at the State Capital where Governor Deval Patrick was quoted as saying:
"I think having a sense of community is vital to solving every issue facing us, our commonwealth and our country," he said. "It's the notion that we have a common cause, a stake not only in our own struggles, but those of our neighbors as well." 
Ashland ambassador Julia Sicard asked Patrick if, as a youth, he thought he could be governor. Patrick said he had not, but was driven to politics by a desire to stop short-sighted policies. 
Project 351
Project 351
"I think the way we make government better is to make hard decisions now, which will pay off over time," he said. 
Rebekah Redwine, of Franklin, was among the students who led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

See more at:

For more information about Project 351 visit their webpage here