Koch Co-Chairman Of Prevention Trust Coalition

The Massachusetts Public Health Association announces Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch have been named Co-Chairs of the Prevention Trust Coalition. The mayors immediately called upon the House of Representatives to take action during this week’s debate on the state budget to continue the groundbreaking work of the Prevention Trust.

“The Prevention Trust is making a difference in Quincy as we work to improve health outcomes for everyone in our community while tackling rising health care costs,” said Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. “We ask our legislative leaders to stand with us to protect the investment in this important program, and more importantly, to protect the hard-won health improvements for our residents.”

Mayor Tyer and Mayor Koch asked Representatives to support a budget amendment from Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke and Representative Tackey Chan of Quincy (amendment #24) that would continue the work of this successful program. The amendment is supported by a bipartisan majority of the House, with 85 co-sponsors.

“I’ve seen the impact of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund firsthand for seniors and other residents in Pittsfield and across the Berkshires” said Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer. “Our regional health system delivers top notch clinical care – the Prevention Trust allows us to extend that care beyond the clinic walls into the neighborhoods, cities, and towns of our region.”

The Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund is a first-in-the-nation effort established in 2012 to support evidence-based community interventions that can keep Massachusetts residents healthy, avoid preventable health care costs, and reduce health disparities. An independent evaluation of the program has shown positive impacts on costs, health outcomes, and systems innovation – and recommended further investment. The program was funded at $60 million over four years through an assessment on health insurers and large hospital systems; the program does not require any state funding. The program will sunset on June 30, 2017 without action from the Legislature.

“The Prevention Trust must remain a central tenant of our health reform efforts – we can’t retreat now,” said Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke. “In Holyoke, we’re making progress on many fronts, including reducing the devastating impact of pediatric asthma. This means kids breathing easier, missing fewer school days, and staying out of the emergency room – that’s the human face of this program and why it’s so important to me.”

Harvard Catalyst conducted a rigorous independent evaluation of the program and found results on positive impacts on health outcomes, cost effectiveness, potential for cost savings, and systems innovation – and concluded that the program warrants further investment. (The executive summary of the final report may be viewed here. The full report is here.)

“This is a smart investment,” said state Rep. Tackey Chan of Quincy. “This program is getting results for the residents of my district, and we should be expanding the model to more communities to have an even bigger impact.”

“All residents of Massachusetts should have opportunities for good health no matter what their background or zip code,” saidMaddie Ribble, Director of Public Policy at the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “In 2012, the Legislature came together with a large coalition of health, community, and municipal leaders to take an important step toward this vision through the creation of the Prevention & Wellness Trust Fund. It’s vital that we keep this vision and this program alive in 2017 and beyond.”

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Volunteers Sought For Neponset River Cleanup

Join the Neponset River Watershed Association and the Department of Conservation and Recreation on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to noon for the Annual Neponset River Cleanup.  The river cleanup is part of DCR?s Park Serve Day, a statewide volunteer service day.

Last year, over 200 people volunteered their time at the cleanup, and produced incredible results.  According to the DCR Operations Coordinator, the 2016 cleanup culminated in 6 tons of debris and another 140 bags of trash being removed from the river.  That’s enough trash to fill 3 @ 30 yard dumpsters!

Volunteers are encouraged to preregister at www.neponset.org/volunteer. While pre-registration is helpful for planning purposes, volunteers will not be turned away on the day of the event if they have not pre-registered.

The focus of the cleanup will be on three sites along the Neponset River Estuary, and volunteers may meet at the following locations:

Quincy RiverWalk:  Meet at the Neponset Landing Pier, next to Neponset Landing Apartments at 2 Hancock Street. Park under the Neponset Bridge, between the Adams Inn and Neponset Landing Apartments.

Granite Ave. Marshes and Neponset Greenway Trail in Dorchester: Meet at the far end of the Shields MRI parking lot at 161 Granite Ave., near the Neponset Greenway Trail.  Park in the Shields MRI parking lot, or across the street, at the Neponset II Park on Hill Top St.

Baker Dam/Small DCR Park/Boat Ramp/Neponset River Greenway Trail: Meet in the small park next to the Baker Square Condominiums on Adams Street. We will have groups focusing on the boat ramp at Central Avenue, the bank near the Baker Dam on the Milton side of the river, and the stretch of the Greenway between Central Avenue and Adams Street.

Wear long pants and clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, along with appropriate closed toe footwear.  Don’t forget hats, work gloves, sunscreen, and water.

Questions should be directed to Nancy Mahon at mahon@neponset.org or 781-575-0354 x304

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Study: Young Millennials Top List Of Worst Behaved Drivers

A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers.

These dangerous behaviors ― which increase crash risk ― included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. These findings come as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than 7 percent, the largest single-year increase in five decades.

“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

By rank and by age group, the percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red light running or texting behind the wheel in the past 30 days include:

  1. Drivers ages 19-24: 88.4 percent
  2. Drivers ages 25-39: 79.2 percent
  3. Drivers ages 40-59: 75.2 percent
  4. Drivers ages 16-18: 69.3 percent
  5. Drivers ages 75+:    69.1 percent
  6. Drivers ages 60-74: 67.3 percent

Texting While Driving

  • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to report having read a text message or e-mail while driving in the last 30 days (66.1 percent vs. 40.2 percent).
  • Drivers ages 19-24 were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving (59.3 percent vs. 31.4 percent).

Speeding

  • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
  • Nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to less than 5 percent of all drivers. 

Red- Light Running

  • Nearly 50 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported driving through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.
  • Nearly 14 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive through a light that just turned red, when they could have stopped safely, compared to about 6 percent of all drivers.

The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

 

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 61 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.

 
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BBB Offers Tips For 2017 Tax Season

By PAULA FLEMING

With another tax season underway, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI, & VT (BBB) is encouraging taxpayers to take their time finding and selecting a tax preparer they can trust to avoid mistakes that could result in additional fees or even tax identity theft.

According to BBB Scam Tracker, BBB received more than 7,880 complaints against tax return preparation businesses across the United States and Canada in 2016. Common complaints state that the tax preparer made errors in their return which resulted in fines and fees. Other complaints allege customer service, billing and contract issues.

“Filing taxes is a major financial transaction for not only consumers, but businesses as well,” said Paula Fleming, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for the local BBB. “With the tax season underway, the findings in our investigation are beneficial for the community. Taxpayers should be aware of the best practices they can take to make the process as stress-free as possible.”

BBB recently ran an industry investigation on tax preparers, asking BBB Accredited tax service businesses what advice they have for taxpayers. The following tips will help consumers search for reliable tax preparers and avoid certain issues that can arise from choosing an unreliable tax preparer.

Use Your Resources:

“Resources available to locate credentialed preparers are the IRS, NATP, and NAEA websites.” – Thomas P. Levins, Jr., Owner of Thomas P. Levins Jr. Tax & Business Services.

“Receiving referrals from friends, family or professional advisers you trust can be very helpful when choosing a new tax preparer.” – Megan Smith, Director of Marketing of Costantino Richards Rizzo, LLP.

“Look out for pop-up businesses that open in January and are gone in April. They probably will not be available to help you if the need arises.” – Jeffrey E. Simpson, Owner of America’s Hometown Tax Service, LLC.

Check Registry & Licenses:

“Be sure the tax preparer is registered with the IRS and can represent clients whose returns they have prepared and signed.” – Lucia Mezzomo, President of INSTAnT Agency.

“First and foremost, we recommend that the person preparing the returns (not just the principle owners) have a valid license as an Enrolled Agent or CPA.  If a preparer does not have one of these licenses, the preparer will not be culpable for preparation errors to their respective policing agencies (Department of Treasury, State Accounting Boards, etc.) nor will they have proper Errors and Omissions insurance.” – Kenneth L Allen, Owner of Tax Resolution Specialists, Inc.

Understand The Refunds:

“Be wary if they promise you a bigger refund, before even looking at your tax records. Be wary if they want you to sign a blank or unfinished return, or offer to you to deposit your refund into their personal bank account.” – Michael Kisembo, President of Multi Professional Consultants.

“You should never hire someone who charges percentages of your refund for their fees.  Fees should never be based on what is rightfully yours for refund, it should be based on the amount of work and professionalism included in that work provided.” – Igor Gomes, President of  Genesis Tax House.

Click here for more information and tips on handling the 2017 tax season from your local BBB. Check us out on Facebook or follow us on Instagram.

Paula Fleming is Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT.  Find Paula on Google+.

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Telecommunications Founder Keynote Speaker At Chamber Of Commerce Meeting

Granite Telecommunications Co-Founder and President Rob Hale will be the keynote speaker at the Quincy Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Thursday, March 9 at the Boston Marriott Quincy hotel, 1000 Marriott Dr., Quincy.

Rob Hale

Rob Hale

The doors to the business showcase open at 4 p.m. and the event is open to the public. The event will continue until 8 p.m. Hale is expected to speak around 7 p.m.

The business showcase traditionally attracts over 400 attendees.

Granite Telecommunications, LLC, is a communications company headquartered in Quincy. Founded in 2002, Granite now has over 1.5 million business telephone lines under management, annual revenues exceeding $1.2 billion and employs over 1,700 employees.

The company provides voice and data communications products and services over two thirds of Fortune 100, including 18 of the top 20 retailers in the United States. Granite has been recognized as one of the most philanthropic companies in Massachusetts.

Hale has been recognized as a leading entrepreneur by several organizations and publications. He has been recognized by Boston Business Journal-Power 50, which salutes the 50 most powerful people in Boston. For his long-time commitment to the lifesaving mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, Hale was awarded the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award. He has also received the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and has been saluted as one of the 25 most influential people in American telecom multiple times.

Hale also owns FoxRock Properties, a Boston-based real estate firm with over 2 million square feet of commercial space. He also founded Copley Equity Partners, a private equity firm that invests in small and middle market businesses with significant growth prospects.

Hale is an owner and director of the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association and owner of the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse.

Hale has held or holds leadership roles at Boston Children’s Hospital, The Massachusetts Soldier’s Legacy Fund, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Deerfield Academy, Connecticut College and Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he currently co-chairs the $1.5B Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. Campaign.

Hale and his wife Karen were honored by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation with the Inaugural Carolyn Lynch Humanitarian Award last month. Hale lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children.

Tickets are $40 per person and includes access to the business showcase as well as the keynote speaker presentation. There will also be a light buffet and cash bar.

To purchase tickets call 617-471-1700 or visit TheQuincyChamber.com.

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