Category: Press

From The Director’s Desk: Reducing Hunger Among Neighborhood Seniors

February letter from Maria Stella Gulla, Director of ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center.

This month I would like to focus on senior hunger and the ways in which ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) works in the community as well as with its neighborhood partners and elected officials to reduce hunger among North End, West End, and Beacon Hill seniors. The NE/WE NSC envisions a community in which everyone has access to sufficient nutritious food. Through the support that we leverage from cash and in-kind donations, we create new ways to fight hunger and provide food to seniors in a fun and creative way.

For example, our community partner, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, has conducted food demonstrations onsite at our center. Their food rescue coordinator set up a food demonstration station and cooked a mouthwatering meal of crisp vegetables and pasta, all with spices that are easy on the waistline and low in sodium! Meanwhile, Head Cook Franco Palopoli duplicated the meal in our kitchen, and dished it up to NE/WE NSC seniors, volunteers, and staff. Guests at lunch took home bags of fresh produce, also from the Lovin’ Spoonful donation and Greater Boston Food Bank, to make the meal at home, also enabling them to stretch their food and food dollars further until they dine with us again.

We deliver direct services in the form of weekly congregate meals; two food pantries in the North End and West End neighborhoods; and application assistance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

1. Congregate meals: The NE/WE NSC prepares hot meals on Mondays and Fridays in the North End at 1:00PM, with monthly holiday celebrations, including Thanksgiving, the December holidays, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and so forth. We offer a meal one Wednesday a month in the West End, alternating between the Amy Lowell Apartments and Blackstone Apartments. The center includes the seniors’ elected officials – our friends Senator Joe Boncore, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Representative Jay Livingstone, City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Senator Sal Di Domenico, and City Councilor Josh Zakim – in these gatherings and the celebration serves as an opportunity for them to see their constituents and speak to and address issues that are of importance to our clients. The meals serve as a welcoming, nurturing environment for seniors to socialize with their peers; speak one another’s native languages; and disclose to staff problems that they are having (lack of heat or medical insurance, for instance).

2. Food pantries: The NE/WE NSC operates two food pantries, one in the North End open Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays 12:30PM-3:00PM and one in the West End, thanks to our collaboration with the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library and Head Librarian Helen Bender. The West End Pantry has hours Mondays and Wednesdays 11:30AM-1:30PM and Tuesdays 4:00PM-5:45PM. Our North End and West End pantries combined have given out over 32,000 lb. of food. Last year we gave over 130 turkeys during the Thanksgiving season.

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP provides nutrition education and monthly monetary benefits for designated food items. A senior or caregiver can find out if they might be eligible by calling the NE/WE NSC at 617-523-8125. A lot of seniors are missing out on SNAP right now. NE/WE NSC staff is available to help connect and enroll any eligible person in need for this program.

How can all of us make sure that older adults do not go hungry? Advocate, donate, and volunteer! The NE/WE NSC and your local community organizations are always in need of donated time, resources, and new friends! We especially need volunteers to cook for our twice-weekly hot meal program.

Until next month!

Maria Stella Gulla, Director
ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center

ABCD’s mission is to empower disadvantaged people by providing them with the tools to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential. The North End / West End NSC offers a wide-range services to our community. To learn more, read the February 2018 Newsletter ABCD North End West End NSC.

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Letter to the Editor: Pushing for a clean energy future

Last Wednesday, more than 30 student activists from seven campuses around the state joined Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG students to advocate for a 100 percent renewable energy future. Students met with over 20 legislators at the State House to support legislation that would set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy for Massachusetts.

As an Environment Massachusetts Direct Outreach intern, I had been planning this student lobby day for the last three months. I had set up and confirmed meetings with state representatives, reached out to student organizations and department heads across the state, put together informational packets for both the students and legislators — all in the name of clean energy. And it absolutely paid off.

When we arrived at the State House, students began to head to meetings of the legislators in their district. I started the day attending meetings with Sen. Brownsberger’s chief of staff and Rep. Livingstone. Initially, I was nervous — I had never directly engaged with senators or representatives before, and I thought to myself, “Will these legislators actually take me seriously?” Coming out of those meetings, I felt a new wave of accomplishment and inspiration. It was pleasantly surprising to hear how supportive my representatives were of clean energy, and their plans to continue implementing it in legislation.

BU has a wide variety of environmentally-focused organizations on campus, as well as clubs that include the environment as one of the many issues they focus on. Last December, the Boston University Board of Trustees approved a Climate Action Plan, which included extremely ambitious clean energy solutions. BU has committed to purchasing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, while also working toward reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2040.

While BU is on the right track to sustainability, Massachusetts as a whole needs to do much more, and at a much faster speed to achieve a safe and sustainable future. Our generation has the most to lose from the health and climate impacts of fossil fuels, so it is critical that we urge our state leaders to commit to 100 percent renewable energy and accelerate our progress toward that goal.

Momentum is building for decisive climate action and ambitious renewable energy leadership. Along with BU, several campuses and communities across the state are stepping up to embrace a visionary goal of 100 percent renewable energy. Seven cities and towns, from Amherst to Cambridge, have already committed to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy. MassPIRG students and Environment Massachusetts student activists have been organizing for bold clean energy plans on campuses around the state, and now they are pushing for statewide legislation.

But there is good news: Massachusetts has just taken a big step toward 100 percent renewable energy when a Senate committee signed a clean energy bill.

The Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, led by Chairman Marc Pacheco, released legislation that would put Massachusetts on a path to achieve 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and power other sectors of the economy, like heating and transportation, with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The bill, entitled “An Act to promote a clean energy future,” is the first major piece of clean energy legislation to move forward in the 2017-2018 legislative session.

The Senate global warming committee’s bill aims to address obstacles to clean energy development and accelerate the growth of solar, wind, and energy efficiency. The bill includes most of the provisions of the 100 percent renewable energy act, filed by Senator Eldridge, last January.

This winter, Massachusetts’ coastal communities experienced record high tides and unprecedented flooding, underscoring the ways that climate change is already affecting our communities and the impacts we can expect to see in the future, unless we move quickly to reduce carbon pollution. According to a recent report, sea levels could rise seven to 10 feet in the Boston area by the end of the century if global warming continues on its current trajectory. BU’s own Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering, the new state-of-the-art research center, was created with rising sea levels in mind, housing the mechanical and electrical necessities for the building to run on the second and third floor instead of the basement. While it’s smart to prepare for the worst, why not also try to prevent the worst?

We need to go beyond incremental progress and embrace a vision of 100 percent renewable energy. We have the opportunity to tackle the climate crisis while building a healthier, greener future and a strong economy. Bills like “An Act to promote a clean energy future” and the 100 percent renewable energy act will help us do just that.

During the meetings with representatives, students also shared the findings of Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center’s new report with state legislators. The report, “Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind,” finds that Massachusetts could produce more energy from offshore wind than any other state.

According to the report, Massachusetts’ offshore wind potential is equivalent to more than 19 times the state’s annual electricity consumption. If all heating and transportation in Massachusetts were converted from fossil fuels to electric power, offshore wind could still produce eight times as much energy as the Commonwealth consumes each year. So it’s not a question of if we will power Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy, it’s a question of when. Offshore wind will play a critical role in our clean, renewable future. The sooner we can tap into our offshore wind potential, the better off we’ll be.

In August of 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker committed Massachusetts to purchasing 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind. After the passage of this bill, several other states adopted similar measures in their efforts to commit to renewable energy resources. Make no mistake, when Massachusetts makes a step toward progressiveness, other states will follow.

Massachusetts should get back to first place for renewable energy and fulfill our potential. We will continue raising our voices to call for a future where our environment is protected, our communities are safe, our air is healthy and our state is leading in renewable energy technology. A transition 100 percent clean energy is crucial in leading our country toward a sustainable, healthier future for us all.

Samantha Delgado

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State Senate primary is today; DA race widens

Updated April 3, 2018 — A milestone is looming during a busy election season in Suffolk County. State Rep. Nick Collins will be unopposed in the April 3 Democratic primary as he seeks to fill a vacancy in the First Suffolk Senate seat.

The Tuesday election has Collins alone on the ballot, next to a write-in option, and the Republican and Libertarian slots will be write-ins. Polls open at 7 a.m. for the district, which includes broad swaths of South Boston, Dorchester and Mattapan.

While Collins will need to face off with unenrolled candidates Althea Garrison and Donald Osgood, Sr. on the May 1 final election, the South Boston representative enters the primary in strong shape. He has some $160,000 in his war chest and the endorsements of politicians including former state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, state Rep. Dan Hunt, and most recently Suffolk County Sheriff Steven Tompkins.

Several have already pulled papers for the general election race later this year for the First Suffolk: Collins, Osgood, Duckens Petit-Maitre (D), and unenrolled candidates Garrison, Jesus Rosa, and Elciana M. Ogunjobi. Garrison, however, announced at a Reporter-moderated panel that she plans to run for the First Suffolk only in the special election, and instead run in the fall for the Fifth Suffolk seat, which she represented for one term in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the field to replace Dan Conley as Suffolk District Attorney widens still further. Lawyer Linda Champion pulled papers on March 9 to seek the post, after Conley announced last month that he would not run for re-election.

Champion is the fifth Democrat openly seeking the seat: state Rep. Evandro Carvalho, of Dorchester, who is an attorney and a former prosecutor in Conley’s office; Greg Henning, of Dorchester, who led the Suffolk district attorney’s office gang unit and has worked in the office for about a decade; and Shannon McAuliffe, of the North End, who was director of Chelsea-based Roca, which works with gang-involved youth; and Rachael Rollins, of Roxbury, former chief legal council for Massport and former Assistant US Attorney.

Boston City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty, of South Boston, announced Monday night that he would not seek the seat.

“While I have long been interested in the DA’s position, and greatly enjoyed my time spent as a prosecutor, I will always put my home life ahead of career interests,” he said in a statement. “We have been working through a family medical matter and, while the prognosis is good, my full attention is on what is most important to me, my family. Now is not the right time for me to take on the immense obligations of a countywide campaign.”

Mayor Martin Walsh’s chief legal counsel Eugene O’Flaherty, of Charlestown is reportedly still mulling a run.

Candidates for all state and district races have until May 1 to file nomination papers.

Henning turned in over 1,600 signatures at City Hall in mid-March, his campaign said. Carvalho this week touted endorsements from state Reps Jay Livingstone of Beacon Hill, Liz Malia of Jamaica Plain, Mike Moran of Brighton, Jeffrey Sanchez of Jamaica Plain, and Chynah Tyler of Roxbury a week after former US Attorney for Massachusetts, Wayne A. Budd, was announced as Carvalho’s campaign chair.

In the Fifth Suffolk state representative district, up for grabs after Carvalho decided to seek the district attorney post, seven interested parties have pulled nomination papers, though not all are still hoping to claim the seat.

Community activist Elizabeth Miranda jumped into the race on March 22. Darrin D’Wayne Howell, a Dorchester resident and former staffer for then-City Councillor Chuck Turner and a political organizer at the 1199SEIU healthcare workers union, pulled papers on March 12, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Howell sought the Sixth Suffolk seat, won by state Rep. Russell Holmes, in 2010. In an interview with the Boston Globe in March 2017, Howell said he may seek elected office again.

Other names in contention for the Fifth Suffolk include Democrats Brad Howze, and Roy Owens, and unenrolled candidates Garrison and Steven A. Wise. Ceferina Murrell, former chief of staff for state Sen. Forry, initially pulled papers to run, but confirmed on Tuesday she would no longer be running.

State Rep. Dan Hunt, running unopposed for his 13th Suffolk seat, has submitted some signatures already, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. State Rep. Russell Holmes is also presently unopposed in his re-election bid for the Sixth Suffolk rep’s seat. Only one person— Ryan McGoff—has so far pulled papers to fill Collins’ open Fourth Suffolk seat in South Boston and parts of Dorchester.

In the 12th Suffolk House district, representing Mattapan and parts of Dorchester and Milton, incumbent state Rep. Dan Cullinane may face a second challenge from Jovan Lacet, who has pulled papers for the House seat. Cullinane faced Lacet in 2016, winning the race and defending his seat in 2016 with 54 percent of the vote to Lacet’s 34 percent.

https://www.dotnews.com/2018/state-senate-primary-set-tuesday-da-field-widens

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Rep. Fernandes Seeks to Save Threatened Federal Sea Grant Program

BOSTON – A local legislator is defending the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution-based Sea Grant College Program, which could lose funding as part of proposed Trump Administration budget cuts.

Barnstable, Dukes, Nantucket State Representative Dylan Fernandes co-sponsored a resolution which passed through the House that urges level funding for the program which began in 1966.

The network of 33 Sea Grant programs throughout the country promotes sustainable economic development and oceanic conservation.

 

“The Sea Grant Program has helped our communities guard against natural disasters, promote our blue economy and develop our oceanic resources in a sustainable way,” said Fernandes.

“The program has been an indispensable asset to our region and eliminating it is unacceptable.”

The resolution was introduced with State Rep. Jay Livingstone, whose district is home to the Sea Grant College Program housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Woods Hole Sea Grant program’s history traces back to 1971 and has since worked with towns to build sustainable aquaculture programs, promote coastal resiliency and educate the public on environmental issues.

An initial budget proposal from the Trump Administration last month would completely eliminate the program.

Fernandes said the program generates about $142 million in economic activity each year.

A copy of the language used in the resolution will be sent to all the members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation and the White House Office of Budget and Management.

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Charlesgate Alliance Moves Forward with Plan to Reclaim Forgotten City Neighborhood

March 23, 2018

By 

The Charlesgate Alliance is energized and optimistic as the spring equinox approaches, according to a press release from the group established with the goal of piecing back together a forgotten Boston neighborhood that abuts the Back Bay and Fenway and runs adjacent to Kenmore Square and was lost more than half a century ago to construction of the Bowker Overpass.

And building on this growing momentum, it will hold another public meeting in Room 545 of a BU building at 545 Bay State Road on April 9 at 7 p.m., with representatives from Somerville’s Landing Studios on hand to present their latest designs. Light refreshments will also be served.

“We want as much public participation and feedback at that meeting as possible because both Landing Studio, and [the Alliance] are doing our best to develop these designs in a manner that will serve the public interest,” wrote Parker James, who co-founded the Alliance last in February of 2017 with neighbor Pam Beale. “Please attend and let us know what you think and want.”

The Alliance has also two events scheduled for April 28:  starting at 9 a.m., the group will sponsor the Charlesgate portion of the Muddy River cleanup and, later that day, its fundraising committee will host “Charlesgate in Bloom,” an upscale early evening gathering in the lobby area of the Bradley Mansion at 409 Commonwealth Ave., with themed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Committee members planning this event include Lisa Hazen, Maddy Segal, Tina Sykes, Rachel Bakish and George Lewis.  Tickets, which are limited and cost $75 each, can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/charlesgate-in-bloom-tickets-43795821481.

Meanwhile, James extended the Alliance’s gratitude to Sen. Will Brownsberger; Reps. Jay Livingstone and Byron Rushing, and City Councilor Josh Zakim.

“The ongoing support and practical advice we receive from these individuals is valuable beyond description, and we will never forget their contributions to our effort,” James wrote. “We would also like to thank the following for their invaluable effort, advice, and support: Karen Mauney-Brodek of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, who is our greatest ally; Patrice Kish of [the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation,] who is a national leader in historic parks and an expert on Olmsted’s designs; Fran Gershwin of the MMOC, a tireless advocate for water quality improvements in the Muddy River basin; and others who are too numerous to name at the moment.”

While the Alliance has yet to sign a memorandum of understanding, James said both DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) “have been very forthcoming and seem willing to partner and collaborate with us in [these] efforts.”

James wrote, “We have very high hopes that we can develop a formal partnership with them to ultimately realize a tenable, community-led solution for this long-neglected part of the city. Our gratitude goes out to all of our supporters, especially to our Leadership group, who contribute so much of themselves to this effort. Anyone can join our group at any level of interest, although the Leadership group is the best way to get involved actively.”

Leadership meetings are typically held at 7 p.m. on the first day of each month at the ENC’s Shattuck Visitor Center at 125 Fenway. No R.S.V.P. is necessary.

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