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Monday, June 30, 2014

波士頓市長七月一日在市府廣場辦第二次世界杯看球派對

3:30PM
Mayor Walsh will host his second World Cup Viewing Party, featuring USA against Belgium. 
City Hall Plaza, Boston

COAKLEY WILL WORK TO REQUIRE COMPANIES THAT CONTRACT WITH THE STATE TO OFFER EMPLOYEES INSURANCE THAT COVERS CONTRACEPTIVE SERVICES

COAKLEY WILL WORK TO REQUIRE COMPANIES THAT CONTRACT WITH THE STATE TO OFFER EMPLOYEES INSURANCE THAT COVERS CONTRACEPTIVE SERVICES

BOSTON - Monday, June 30, 2014 - In light of today's Supreme Court decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius that ruled that for-profit corporations are not required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, Attorney General Martha Coakley, candidate for governor, today issued the following statement:

"I am deeply disappointed by Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that puts at risk the right of women to access affordable contraceptive services.  Healthcare decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, not based on the views of a corporation or employer. As Governor, I will do everything in my power to ensure that women in Massachusetts have access to affordable contraceptive services, no matter where they work.  As a first step, I will work to require any company that contracts with the Commonwealth to offer employees insurance that covers contraceptive services.  I will also look at ways for the state to make these services available for women no matter the views of their employer."

MA Legislature Passes Balanced FY15 Budget

Legislature Passes Balanced FY15 Budget
Focuses on Reforms and Enhancing Support for Commonwealth’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Legislature today enacted a $36.5 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) focused on economic growth and increased government accountability and oversight.

The spending plan makes important investments in local aid, education, and human services including substance abuse treatment and prevention and mental health care. Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to combatting the recession, the Legislature’s budget contains multiple measures to achieve sustainable economic growth and provide essential services that support the Commonwealth’s citizens.

“This budget reflects and extends the fiscally-prudent, targeted and inventive initiatives that have led to Massachusetts’ recent economic growth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “The Legislature continues to invest in key areas like education and local aid that strengthen towns and businesses and benefit residents. We propose strong measures to care for the state’s most vulnerable residents, including increased resources for DCF and funding to improve mental health and substance abuse programs. I thank Senate President Murray, the conferees and my colleagues in the Legislature for their thoughtful work.”

“I am proud of Chairman Brewer and the entire Legislature for all the hard work and collaboration that went into this budget process,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “While we took care to remain cautious in our spending, we were still able to significantly increase support for some of our most critical services and programs – both on the state and local levels. The result is a comprehensive and fiscally-responsible final budget for the 2015 fiscal year that reflects the many and varied priorities of the Commonwealth.”
“Our FY15 budget agreement strikes a careful balance between making vital investments in our Commonwealth and continuing our practice of fiscal responsibility, which has served us well through challenging financial times,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey (D-Haverhill), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. “This year, we support and strengthen the services that are most vital to our fellow residents – services like child welfare, higher education, and substance abuse treatment – while ensuring that the implementation of those services is efficient and comprehensive. Accomplishing this task required judicious spending based on sustained principles as we continue to prioritize the well-being of citizens across the Commonwealth.”

“This is a conscientious budget that promotes long-term investments and provides critical services throughout the Commonwealth,” said Senator Brewer (D-Barre), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “As Massachusetts continues to improve from the Great Recession, we continue to invest in needed services, such as local aid, substance abuse relief programs, and mental health funding, all while maintaining the highest bond rating in state history.”

“This budget’s strong focus on local aid, particularly the significant investment in Chapter 70 school funding, positions the Commonwealth for sustainable growth,” said Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington), House Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. “Additionally, the full funding of the Special Education Circuit Breaker, and the major increase in funding for Regional School Transportation to a 90 percent reimbursement rate, will allow our schools to continue to improve as Massachusetts distinguishes itself as a national educational and economic leader.”

“I applaud Chairman Brewer on a fiscally responsible and sustainable budget which invests in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “This budget is a commitment to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse addictions, to the safety of children throughout the commonwealth, and to the protection of the state’s most vulnerable populations. Strong investments in our communities, education of our children, and the health of our economy will assist and support residents throughout Massachusetts.”

This budget enhances the Commonwealth’s partnerships with cities and towns through numerous funding streams including $945.8 million to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA), a $25.5 million increase from FY14 and $4.4 billion for Chapter 70, a record funding level. The spending plan provides $257.5 million for the Special Education Circuit Break, ensuring full funding for the third consecutive year and $70.3 million for Regional School Transportation to reimburse municipalities at 90 percent, marking the highest rate in the program’s history.

In addition to educational investments through local aid, this year’s budget extends Massachusetts ongoing commitment to strengthening its educational systems to foster equality and provide residents with a competitive edge. The budget allocates $15 million to expand access to early education and funds a grant program at $9.1 million to support Early Head Start and Head Start programs. The budget also prioritizes higher education through investments in state universities, community colleges and the University of Massachusetts and includes $519 million for UMass which will enable a freeze in tuition and fees for the second year. In addition, the budget dedicates money to implement the STEM Starter Academy, an initiative created in the FY14 budget aimed at strengthening and expanding STEM programming in community colleges.

This year’s budget emphasizes the importance of enhanced fiscal predictability and sustainable investments, a practice that has raised Massachusetts bond rating to AA+, the highest in the state’s history. In an extension of this fiscal prudence, the spending plan makes the lowest draw from the Stabilization Fund in four years and contributes about $1.79 billion to Massachusetts’ unfunded pension liability to accelerate the timetable for full funding. Additional economic development measures include:

·      Codifies the Massachusetts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council;
·      Travel and tourism is one of the state’s largest industries, generating almost $17 billion in travel related expenditures and supporting 124,700 in-state jobs. The budget allocates $18 million for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and$7.5 million in regional tourism funding to promote statewide initiatives and increased international travel;
·      Supports the Massachusetts Cultural Council with $12 million in funding;
·      Provides $18.8 million for local libraries, representing an increase of $2.4 million from the previous fiscal year;
·      Establishes a process for all in-state and out-of-state direct shippers to receive a direct wine shipper’s license from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) and allows for the collection of state taxes; and,
·      Provides $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership that will benefit programs designed to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers.

To heighten accountability and streamline operations, the budget establishes the Massachusetts Office of Information Technology (MOIT) to be administered by a Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Commonwealth. The CIO will be responsible for supervising all IT services of state agencies and will review any proposed IT expenditure costing more than $200,000. The Massachusetts Health Connector Authority will be considered a state agency for the purposes of MOIT oversight.

This budget reflects the Legislature’s pledge to combat the alarming rise in mental health problems and substance addiction. It allocates almost $18 million in new spending to help combat substance addiction including $10 million for the Substance Abuse Services Trust Fund to provide substance abuse services to an additional 10,000 individuals in need of treatment. The spending plan also includes the following investments in substance abuse services and treatment:

·      Creates a multi-year grant program at $5 million to fund mental health and substance abuse counselors within schools;
·      Increases funding for specialty courts, including drug courts, to $3 million;
·      Places addiction specialists in the Brockton, Plymouth and Quincy courts;
·      Funds training and purchase of Nasal Narcan™;
·      Creates a voluntary accreditation program for sober homes; and,
·      Provides additional funding for the Prescription Monitoring Program to prevent the over-prescription of medications.

To improve quality of care for people suffering from mental illness, the budget provides $10 million for the expansion of community-based placements for at least 100 discharge-ready patients in the Department of Mental Health system, while maintaining sheltered workshops for those individuals who wish to remain in a residential setting. It also creates a Behavioral and Mental Health Special task Force to identify impediments to the delivery of comprehensive treatment.

The budget includes numerous additional health and human services provisions including $60 million in MassHealth investments and:

·      $47.5 million for nursing homes to reduce the gap between Medicaid payments and uncompensated care;
·      $35 million for Disproportionate Share Hospitals;
·      $3 million in funds for employments programs for clients of the Department of Developmental Services;
·      Requires the implementation of a hearing process for long-term facilities before there is any intent to close;
·      Creates a legislative and executive working group to examine and make recommendations concerning Bridgewater State Hospital; and,
·      Maintains 45 beds at Taunton State Hospital and funds the opening of two additional wings at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital.

Building on the continued leadership in reforming and strengthening the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the budget provides $185.6 million to reduce social worker caseloads. It also includes initiatives to improve communications, IT and record keeping practices, and ensure initial medical screenings of all children entering DCF care within 72 hours. Background checks will now be required for all current and future foster parents. Individuals will be precluded from becoming foster parents if convicted of serious crimes, including those involving violence or sexual in nature.


The budget also:

·      Provides $65 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program and permits for unexpended FY14 funds to carry forward, allowing hundreds of new families to access safe and permanent housing;
·      Expands the Veterans Motor Vehicle Excise Exemption to include leased cars;
·      Places a moratorium on the issuance of a Chapter 91 tidelands license permitting the development of rail lines or rail facilities for the transportation of ethanol to storage or blending facilities in the cities of Cambridge, Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Somerville and East Boston until January 1, 2017; 
·      Establishes a permanent commission on the future of metropolitan area beaches;
·      Establishes a memorial to honor Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes; and,

·      Reestablishes the Water Supply Protection Program to promote the safety and purity of the Commonwealth’s water supplies and the protection of watershed lands.

中華藝術協會辦舞展慶三十週年

藝協第廿八屆舞展舞蹈謝幕。(張筱義攝)
中華藝術協會(ACAS)六月廿八日在波士頓大學蔡氏表演中心舉行第廿八屆中國舞蹈節,昨(廿九)晚在傅萊明罕喜來登酒店慶祝成立三十週年,讓數百人欣賞到多彩多姿的舞蹈表演,見證了陳玉律,林艾迪對舞蹈,對彼此的“愛情故事”。
            中華藝術協會是陳玉律,林愛迪兩夫婦1984年時創辦的非牟利組織,最初著眼於在海外發揚中華文化,獨唱,合唱中文歌,演歌劇,奏樂器,跳中國傳統舞蹈,樣樣都來。
1996年他們在麻州屋本市(Woburn)買下一棟陸軍大樓(army building),並由熱心家長們協助翻修得煥然一新後,中華藝術協會才從此有了個永久的家。
這些年間,順應著整體社會的經濟發展,世界局勢的中華崛起,中華藝術協會順應著陳玉律對舞蹈的熱愛,奉獻,從兼顧各項文化活動轉型成以舞蹈為專一項目的機。陳玉律本人
也因她對舞蹈的熱愛,奉獻,在2009年成為大波士頓地區獲得僑委會最高榮譽“海華獎章”的第一人。
廿八日晚,中華藝術協會以陳嘉琪、馬嘉、楊夢希等三名老師編排的十三支舞蹈,以及陳玉律編排,敍說山地酋長與公主戀愛故事,全長二十六分鐘的“台灣山地組曲”,展現該會的舞蹈傳授成績。
小品方面有陳嘉琪編導的漢族舞蹈「小丫頭」,排練的「土家女」、藏族舞蹈「萬物生」,以及「貓鼠之夜」; 馬嘉老編導的「花與蜜蜂」、排練的「春江花月夜」、「魚兒」、 「阿咪子」與「船歌」; 楊夢希老師編導的「堅韌旳花朵」與排練的「茉莉花」等。
由於今年是中華藝術協會的三十週年慶祝會,五名舞團畢業生及十八名舞團家長特地依序排練了「楚腰」,「夢裡想她千百度」,聊表他們的祝賀心意。
當晚擔任司儀的普林斯頓大學畢業藝協舞團團員陳鳳喬指出,其中的舞團家長,有許多人還是第一次上台,心意可圈可點。
今年跨入八十大壽的林愛迪,廿八日晚坐在表演廳前段最後一排,頭載耳機,手撫錄影機,眼望螢幕,專心的做現場錄影。中場時間,遠從洛杉磯趕來的蔡瑞月二嫂,蔡盧錫金來打招呼,祝賀,掀開了當年陳玉律為舞追夢,林愛迪“情意相挺”的故事。
林愛迪透露,當年陳玉律家兄弟姐妹多,她父親無力照顧子女們的所有期望,要求陳玉律在音樂與舞蹈之間選一樣,陳玉律才先進師範大學音樂系主修鋼琴。畢業,結婚後,在林愛迪的支持,接送下,追隨蔡瑞月,在中華舞蹈社進修十七年,直到1990年來美國紐英崙音樂學院進修為止。
蔡盧錫金指出,蔡瑞月當年是台灣唯一的從日本留學回台舞蹈老師。蔡瑞月的教舞場地,有木地板的“玫瑰古蹟”已成為台灣第一個因藝術家成就所指定的古蹟。當年她在舞社做會計,那時就已經看到陳玉律是其中最好的學生之一。
            中華藝術協會這一路走來,該會許多家長的熱心支持,也功不可沒。包括現任董事會秘書周一男,董事陳翠玲,儘管子女早已從藝協畢業了,仍然匡助不遺餘力。
            子女還在舞團中學舞的東海集團董事長梁國忠,黃綺夫婦,前任新英格蘭中文學校協會會長王月娥,李文成夫婦等許多人,也是藝協的當然義工,在表演活動中當帶位,招呼一應事物。
            中華藝術協會舞團今年的新團員招收截止日期為七月廿日,第十六屆夏令營訂八月十日至十六日舉行,查詢可洽617-332-5376。 

圖片說明:

            中華藝術協會創辦人林愛迪(右一),陳玉律(左二)夫婦,迎接駐波士頓臺北經濟文化辦事處處長洪慧珠(右二),波士頓僑教中心主任郭大文(左一)到會,介紹掛在牆上的藝協三十年舞展照片,一張五十元。(菊子攝)

            蔡盧錫金(右起)遠從洛杉磯來恭賀陳玉律,林愛迪夫婦在舞蹈借的三十年持續不懈努力。(菊子攝)

            陳翠玲(左起),李台牙醫師夫婦,都是藝協舞團當年,現在的家長。(菊子攝)

            山地組曲舞之一。(菊子攝)

            “貓鼠之夜“這舞蹈還加了點劇情,數度惹得觀眾爆笑。(菊子攝)

            藝協的舞蹈服裝,也有很多變化。(菊子攝)

            

Saturday, June 28, 2014

MIT-CHIEF 展示項目太陽能板凳將登陸波市公園

波士頓新市長馬丁華殊(Martin Walsh)擁抱科技,廿六日才宣布新聘Jascha Franklin-Hodge資訊長,昨(廿七)日就傳出,波市將推出“聰明沙發”,利用太陽能,改善人民的生活環境。
            這計劃是要採用“改變環境”公司的太陽能板凳“Soofas“,讓市民們在公園,街頭遊逛得累了,坐在路邊,公園中的板凳上休息時,還能順便利用板凳吸取的太陽能,免費給手機,電腦充電。
            馬丁華殊說,人們不只用手機來打電話,為什麼板凳就只能當座椅?
              “改變環境”是麻省理工學院媒體實驗室委瑞森(Verizon)創新項目孵化成立的公司,研發出這高科技板凳,並製成產品,今年四月拿到麻省理工學院中國創新創業論壇(MIT-CHIEF)展示日中參展。
          “改變環境(Changing Environments)”的共同創辦人,Sandra Richter和趙楠,在麻省理工學院中國創新創業論壇(MIT-CHIEF)展示日中,介紹這太陽能板凳項目時,指出他們和波士頓市長辦公室的新城市機械(New Urban Mechanics),MIT媒體實驗室,以及蘿斯甘迺迪綠路合作,從2013年起進行研發
            上週,這些太陽能板凳在白宮舉行的創新創業者會議中,處女亮相。
            這些板凳可以利用委瑞森網路無線上網,上傳與所在地點有關的環境資訊,諸如空氣品質,噪音程度等數據。波士頓市府官員表示,設置在波士頓市的第一批太陽能板凳,將由發展智慧城市解決方案的領導者之一的思科系統(Cisco System)資助,不花波士頓市府的錢。
            下星期,波士頓市的數個公園,將安裝這些板凳,試試這新做法。安裝板凳的地點將包括南端(South End)的泰特斯麻雀公園(Titus Sparrow Park),波士頓廣場(Boston Common),以及蘿斯甘迺迪綠路(Rose Kennedy Greenway)。
波士頓市府官員籲請市民在七月十一日前建議,還有哪些公園應該安裝這些太陽能板凳“Soofas“。民眾可上網bit.ly/bosbench,上推特 @newurbanmechs提意見,也可以透過推特@mysoofa,或網站soofa.co,提供各個公園內的這些Soofas該叫什麼名字的意見。

圖片說明:

            Sandra Richter()和波士頓市長馬丁華殊(右)討論太陽能板凳計劃。(圖由波士頓市府提供)

            Sandra Richter(右)和趙楠(左)今年四月在麻省理工學院中國創新創業論壇(MIT-CHIEF)展示日中介紹太陽能板凳項目。(菊子攝,檔案照片)