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Tuesday, October 11, 2022 

 

Dear Commissioners,

 

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the heartbreaking news that our friend, colleague, ally, and leader on disability rights, Paul Spooner, passed away unexpectedly over the weekend.

As a member and treasurer of the Commission on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, Paul was instrumental in creating a vision for our Commission that would modernize accessibility rights in Massachusetts. He was driven, passionate, and strategic in his advocacy, where his voice impacted policy and programs that improved the lives of countless individuals with disabilities.

We extend our thoughts to his life partner, Wini McGraw, and the countless individuals whose lives were touched by Paul.

Here is a post from the MetroWest Center for Independent Living, where Paul served as Executive Director.

 

Denise

 

 

District Updates 

 

The walls in my office are looking a bit bare, so let’s get creative! We’re looking for you to submit a drawing of what you love most about your town. Submissions are open to all residents in the district and will be displayed in my office. To submit your drawing, click here.

The temperatures are dropping and many of us are thinking about turning on the furnace. I share your concern about high heating costs this winter and would like to share with you information that may help ease the financial burden of paying heating costs this winter. For more information and resourcesclick here.

  • In Needham, the Anya Tipnis Foundation is holding its Annual Gala on Thursday, October 13th at 6 pm. The foundation gala raises college funds for first-generation and low-income students. The gala will include dinner, music, a silent auction, and special guests. To learn more about the event and purchase tickets, click here.
  • In Needham, Nehoiden Street Films is holding its Black Ice | Next Shift fundraiser on October 15. The event will raise funds to produce a high-quality mental health educational feature film to capture the attention of students, athletes, educators, school counselors, health professionals, families, and anyone who is currently battling mental illness. The fundraiser will include dinner, a live performance by Boston Levi, an auction, and a mental health panel. To learn more about the event and purchase tickets, click here.
  • In Dover, Powisset Farm is holding family fun autumn activities every Saturday and Sunday. The farm will feature hayrides, apple cider, live music, hiking trails, barnyard animals, and a variety of food options. To find more information, click here. 
  • In Medfield, the Medfield Energy Committee and Medfield Environmental Action are running a lawn sign project to spread the word about clean energy. The town of Medfield has taken steps to lower its carbon footprint with small sustainable actions such as recycling, composting, or installing solar panels. Host a lawn sign and welcome conversation with neighbors to make the switch to clean energy. If you are interested in hosting a lawn sign, emaimeamedfield@gmail.com

 

 

Statewide Updates

 

  • The Opioid Recovery Remediation Fund (ORRF) Advisory Council met on Tuesday, October 5th to discuss updates on the fund from settlements secured by the Attorney General’s Office and their distribution. The ORRF is expected to receive over $526 million in settlement funds over the next 18 years, with $182 million to be distributed to 150 different municipalities throughout Massachusetts. These funds will be used to mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis and provide treatment options to those struggling with opioid use disorder.
  • Recently, my office attended a virtual briefing hosted by the Arc of Massachusetts, where they described their legislative priorities. These include advancing bills in areas such as healthcare, housing, education, and family support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Massachusetts creates change for the disabled community, to learn more about The Arc’s advocacy and work, click here.
  • Massachusetts received federal approval and $67.2 billion to expand and extend the Medicaid (Masshealth) section 1115 waiver through December 2027. The newly approved section 1115 waiver goals include investing in primary, behavioral, and pediatric care, addressing health-related social needs and disparities, and integrating food insecurity into health care. To learn more about the MassHealth section 1115, click here.
  • Fall People’s Law Firm Outreach Day, hosted by Attorney General Maura Healey will be held on Wednesday, October 12. Fall People’s Law Firm Outreach Day will be held virtually from 10:30 am to 12 pm. The virtual summit will discuss housing assistance, landlord responsibilities, tenant rights, rental assistance, and energy delivery and assistance. To register for the event, click here.
  • The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a dedicated phone number to serve anyone 65 years of age or older. The phone number is (857)368-8005. Massachusetts law requires drivers who are 75 years of age or older to renew in person. The RMV has dedicated hours on Wednesdays at certain RMV service centers, for assistance, call the number provided. For more information for older drivers, click here.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has approved updated COVID-19 boosters. The updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components which restore protections from previous vaccinations by targeting more transmissible variants. To find locations offering the vaccine, click here.
  • The Department of Public Health (DPH) has shared resources for protecting yourself, your family, and your community from COVID-19. The best protection against COVID-19 and getting vaccinated and staying up to date on your vaccine, DPH also recommends six other tools you can use for protection. To view this resource, click here.