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Thursday, January 18, 2024

2024 Report to the Community

Happy, healthy new year to you and yours!

Please join me for my annual “Representative’s Report to the Community”. I will share the work for constituents, our Towns of Needham, Dover, and Medfield, and the Commonwealth. Most importantly, I will listen and learn as we discuss your issues and concerns and plan for

the work of 2024.

See you soon!

District Updates

 

Needham

  • The Needham Housing Advisory Group will host a second community workshop on Thursday, January 18th. The workshop will be held at Powers Hall from 7 to 9 pm with a virtual option via Zoom. Community members will have the opportunity to review the Town’s proposed zoning districts and provide input. Registration is required to participate via Zoom. To register to attend virtually, click here. To learn more about the multi-family zoning initiative, click here.

 

  • Tickets for Needham Community Council’s fundraiser event “Party for the Pantry” are now available. The fundraiser will be held on Saturday, March 23rd at 7 pm at Powers Hall. Proceeds from ticket sales will help the food pantry continue to serve and meet the needs of food-insecure individuals and families in Needham. Tickets include food, an open bar, and entertainment. To purchase tickets, click here.

 

  • Plugged In is hosting a free Pathways to Music monthly Open Mic on the third Thursday of every month from 6 to 8:30 pm at the Center at the Heights. The monthly event launches on Thursday, January 18th. All ages, all abilities, and all music skills are welcome. There will also be free pizza, along with puzzles and crafts to encourage collaboration and conversations. For more information, view the flyer here.
  • The Needham Police are asking residents to stop using mail drop boxes. Suspects have been entering stand-alone mailboxes and stealing its contents. All mail should be brought directly into the post office during hours of operation. If you have used the mailboxes, it is suggested that you monitor your bank statements. You do not need to contact the police unless there are irregularities in your bank account. For more details, click here.

 

 

Dover

 

 

  • Tickets are now available for Open Fields Theater’s performance of Grease on January 20, 21, 26, and 27. Shows will be held at the Dover-Sherborn High School Mudge Auditorium. The musical will feature the talents of young performers from grades 2 – 12 from the local community. For more details, click here.

 

  • Persons over the age of 65 may qualify for tax relief exemption programs. Property Tax Exemption for Person Over 65 (Clause 41c) administered by the Assessor’s Office may qualify seniors for an exemption that discharges a taxpayer from the legal obligation to pay a part of the tax assessed for the fiscal year. Other property tax relief exemption programs are available. Applications are due April 1, 2024, for fiscal year 2024. Contact the Assessor’s office at 508-785-0032 ext. 241 for an application or additional information.

 

 

Medfield

  • Sustainable Medfield will be offering a fun and informative event, Sustaining Your Health in the New Year, on Saturday, January 20th from 4-5:30 PM at the United Church of Christ. Sustainable Medfield is an initiative of The Medfield Foundation, Inc. During this event, specialists will share two ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle through food and drink. For more details, click here.
  • Nomination papers for the Annual Town Election are now available at the Town Clerk’s office. Nomination papers are due back to the Town Clerk’s office by February 5th at 5 pm. The Annual Town Election will be held on Monday, March 25th. To view open positions, click here.
  • The Blue Moon Bagel Cafe and Medfield Lions Annual Coat Drive will continue through February! Bring your new or gently used coats to Blue Moon Cafe and drop them in the collection box located just inside the front door. Coat donations will continue to be accepted through February 28th. For more information, click here.

 

 

Statewide Updates

 

 

On Tuesday morning, Governor Healey announced her intention to expand funding for early childhood education in Massachusetts. This included plans to continue to fund the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants for early childhood education facilities, increasing the eligibility threshold for the Child Care Financial Assistance program from 50% of Area Median Income up to 85%, and expanding the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership for universal Pre-K to every Gateway City in Massachusetts. As House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, I look forward to working with the Healey administration and my colleagues in the Legislature to support the vital work of early childhood educators in this year’s budget. To learn more, click here.
  • Governor Healey delivered her first State of the Commonwealth address since taking office one year ago. The Governor commits to passing the Affordable Homes Act, launching a transformative early literacy plan, reauthorizing life sciences initiative, making new climate-tech investments, and historic funding for roads, bridges, and the MBTA. To learn more, click here.
  • The Healey-Driscoll Administration has proclaimed January as Braille Literacy Month in Massachusetts. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of braille as a means of literacy for people who are blind or have low vision. Braille literacy enables those who use it to read and write independently and creates pathways to academic success and employment possibilities. To learn more, click here.

 

  • A Climate Science Advisory Panel was launched through the new Massachusetts Office of Climate Science (OCS) to provide expertise on statewide climate science and future projections used to inform state and local climate adaptation planning and projects. The Panel is comprised of experts within Massachusetts and across the region who will advise OCS on the latest advances and applications in climate science related to hazards such as extreme heat, flooding, sea level rise, and health impacts to inform the state’s climate adaptation and resilience strategy. To learn more, click here.

 

  • The new Massachusetts Application for State Financial Aid (MASFA) is now open. This form will allow currently enrolled undocumented college students in Massachusetts to apply for state need-based financial aid for the first time. The MASFA is an alternative form that provides students who cannot complete the Free Application for State Financial Aid (FAFSA) due to their immigration status a way to apply for state need-based financial aid. To access the application, click here. To learn more about MASFA, click here.

 

  • The Board of Early Education and Care unanimously approved changes to how the state reimburses early education and care providers who accept state child care financial assistance, known as rates. These rate increases are vitally important to recruit and retain quality early educators. The early educator workforce is integral to the development of our youngest, most vulnerable learners and helps to stabilize the ability of many families to work in Massachusetts’ economy. To learn more, click here.
  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has drafted updated procedures as part of its continuous efforts to improve its system of General Supervision under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and is seeking public comment on these drafts. The draft procedures include school monitoring procedures and Problem Resolution System Office procedures. Links to the draft procedures are posted on DESE’s special education webpage. The public comment period will close on Friday, January 26th.
  • The Biden administration continues to offer up to four free tests per household in anticipation of a potential increase in COVID cases during the fall and winter months. At-home testing is essential to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of new cases across the Commonwealth as the weather gets colder and more events move indoors, increasing the risk of transmission. To place an order, visit COVIDTests.gov.
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