Friday, February 17, 2017

Trump proposes gutting key aspects of health-care system


From: "Jack Shapiro, OFA" <info@ofa.us>
Date: February 16, 2017 at 7:14:35 PM 
Subject: I can't make this up
The administration put out a proposal clearly aimed at undermining Obamacare. Here's something you can do right now:
Organizing for Action
Bill --

The folks who are pushing to repeal Obamacare day-in and day-out are having trouble, as it becomes increasingly clear that tearing away their constituents' health care is tremendously unpopular -- not to mention cruel and irresponsible.

So they're trying to do it through the back door.

First, Obamacare opponents pulled outreach efforts that were already paid for right before January's enrollment deadline -- effectively barring hundreds of thousands of people from getting coverage -- in an attempt to weaken the insurance market. Now they've gone a step further.

Today, the administration put out a proposal clearly aimed at sabotaging the law at the expense of the people who depend on it. They are proposing that next year's enrollment period be cut in half. They're proposing giving insurance companies free rein to raise deductibles, narrow people's choice of doctors, and put up restrictions for people from getting covered mid-year when they have a child or lose their employer-based insurance.

I am not making this up. The proposal literally admits the new rules will result in "a transfer from consumers to insurers." That is to say, more of your money will be forked over to insurance companies.

Fortunately, we're still governed by some rules in this country, so this proposal, by law, has to allow the public to have their say. So that's exactly what we're going to do.

We're gathering public comments on this outrageous proposal. If you agree we should strengthen insurance coverage and consumer protections -- not weaken them -- speak up and add your comment now.

Obamacare opponents have spent years complaining about this law -- even as it's driven the uninsured rate to an all-time low and given more than 20 million Americans and their families the peace of mind that comes with having health care.

It looks like they can't stomach the repercussions they'd face from repeal, so instead they're taking this cowardly tack -- sneakily gutting the law and desperately trying to pin the blame on someone else.

We will not let that happen.

Your voice matters. By law, this administration -- who is deliberately creating chaos and uncertainty -- has to consider every comment, so don't wait to add yours.

Speak out

Thanks,

Jack

Jack Shapiro
Director of Policy and Campaigns
Organizing for Action













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Monday, February 13, 2017

Williamstown selectmen to disuss "broadband" at tonight's meeting

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2017 15:58:23 -0500
From: Ben Greenfield <ben@cogs.com>
To: Bill Densmore <wpdensmore@gmail.com>, Tela Zasloff <jzasloff@adelphia.net>
Subject: Broadband I won't pretend to understand....

Hey All,

Well now the Williamstown is ready to talk about broadband. It would be great if we can run a quick blurb to try to get people to the Select Board meeting on Monday where Andy Hoagland will reveal the questions or the answers or something. I don't really know what but he says now we can consider it.

I want to get something up but I don't know how the statement below is so if you wan to offer advice or edit it that would be fine.


The whole county is buzzing with the slow realization that the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) has invested great sums of money to improve our broadband infrastructure. Williamstown's demographic (we have at least one broadband provider) means that we have to fund on our connection to the MBI investment. A group of Williamstown residents and town officials have been informally meeting with all sorts vendors, consultants, and entrepreneurs for the past year and we think we now know the questions.

On Monday February 13th at 7PM the Williamstown Select Board meeting will contain a short presentation kick off what I hope will be town-wide conversation on how to approach broadband access in Williamstown.

The range of possibilities probably extend from do nothing to Williamstown wide fiber optic installation. The critical factor on what sort of plan we pursue is how many town residents want to participate in such an effort.

If you have something to say regarding broadband access in Williamstown Monday February 13th's Select Board meeting is the place to say it, and be heard.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Public invited on Saturday to unveiling in Northampton of public broadband Internet proposal from WiredWest

SOURCE: Tim Newman, WiredWest, tdnew555@gmail.com / (413) 229-2212
"WiredWest Cooperative to Present Regional Broadband Solution"

WiredWest, a Municipal Light Plan Cooperative made up of 27 member towns in western Massachusetts, will hold a workshop for interested town officials on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. at the JFK Middle School, 100 Bridge Road, Florence (Northampton) MA. The organization will present, for the first time, a regional solution for operation of a broadband fiber-to-the-home network in any of the unserved towns in western Massachusetts that choose to join. WiredWest will also inform town officials what the actual costs to their subscribers will be under the plan.

Over the past year, as our member towns have worked their way through the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) Readiness Assessment process, WiredWest has explored options to operate those networks on a regional basis. While MBI policy states that each town must own its individual network, many towns have made it clear that they want and need their networks to be operated on a regional basis in order to achieve cost efficiencies, provide customers with affordable rates for services, and assure their long-term sustainability. They simply cannot proceed on their own. We also know that many of these same towns have little or no interest in running these operations due to lack of resources, expertise and institutional knowledge of the telecommunications industry.

WiredWest has consistently maintained that the lowest cost to subscribers will be achieved through a regional management structure that takes advantage of the inherent cost savings gained through regionalization. The plan to be presented at Saturday’s workshop is a prime example of inter-municipal cooperation, collaboration, and regional service delivery as is prescribed in Sections 240 & 241 of the Municipal Modernization Act of2016.

The WiredWest regional solution is designed to allow for essential services (Internet Service Provider, network operations, billing, customer service, maintenance etc.) to be provided by and contracted with an existing entity already engaged in providing these services here in Massachusetts under a WiredWest umbrella. The organization is in negotiations and is close to finalizing an agreement with an established regional vendor. In addition to providing essential services to towns and subscribers, the WiredWest cooperative will be responsible for handling other Municipal Light Plant (MLP) responsibilities for member towns, including pole licensing, rental and insurance.

Based on our negotiations and cost estimates for other MLP costs, the WiredWest Board of Directors has unanimously approved a new pricing plan that will be both attractive to consumers and competitive with what they have today. Towns will only be individually responsible for debt incurred in building their town-owned infrastructure and for their depreciation reserves. As such, each town will have the option of adding surcharges to subscriber bills in their town to cover some or all of these costs should they choose to.

The meeting on January 28 will be the first opportunity to present our solution to town leaders in a public forum. Towns will have the opportunity to calculate the actual costs to their town’s subscribers at the workshop. Each town will also be provided with documentation and spreadsheets for further study and follow-up questions. Copies of all materials will also be available to the media. We hope that you or representatives from your office can join us. We are also happy to speak with and/or meet with you at your convenience.

WiredWest is a Municipal Light Plan Telecommunications Cooperative made up of 27 member towns in western Massachusetts whose mission is to – as expeditiously and prudently as possible – plan and operate a community-owned, fiber-optic network that enables the provision of comprehensive, affordable, reliable and high-quality internet, phone, video and ancillary services to all residents, businesses and institutions who are interested, in participating WiredWest towns.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Williams College invites public to free sustainable-investing symposium on Wednesday and Thursday

SOURCE: Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.​ -- ​A two-day symposium on sustainable investing will take place at Williams College on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 18-19. The symposium, which is free and open to the public, is part of the college's Confronting Climate Change year of inquiry.  All events at the symposium will be held in Griffin Hall, room 3.

 In a series of interactive discussions, experts and practitioners from a range of disciplines will offer perspectives on trends and opportunities in sustainable investing and will share successes and highlight emerging opportunities in green finance. The symposium is designed to bring leaders in the field together with students, faculty, and administrators to learn about emerging best practices in responsible capital deployment and the issues faced by investors who have a duty to deploy capital responsibly.
 The symposium gets underway at 2 p.m. Jan. 18 with Williams President Adam Falk speaking about the importance of educating the community about positive responses to climate change, followed immediately by a "keynote conversation" with Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, chair of the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation; and Jameela Pedicini, director of asset management at Perella Weinberg Partners.
 Other sessions offered on Jan. 18 include a panel discussion on intentional investing at market rates and a panel on sustainable investing for endowments and foundations.
 Starting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19, there will be panel discussions on emerging investment opportunities, green finance, and investment strategies for renewable energy. Speakers include Jigar Shah, founder of Sun Edison and Generate Capital; David Hang, Senior Vice President of DE Shaw; Eron Bloomgarden, a partner with Encourage Capital; and Sarah Kearney, CEO of Prime Coalition. The event concludes with a dinner discussion on healthy land and food featuring alumni Elisabeth Keller '79 of Inglewood Farm, Jacob Israelow '01 of Dirt Capital Partners, and Reggie Hall '98 of The Conservation Fund.
 The event was organized by a group of faculty, students and alumni led by Don Carlson '83, adjunct faculty in Environmental Studies, and T. L. Guest '17, student co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility.
 The symposium is part of Williams' Confronting Climate Change year of inquiry. Throughout this academic year the college will host a series of speakers, events, and programming planned to shed light on the issue of climate change and how we should respond to it as individuals, as an institution, as a nation, and as a member of the global community.

For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

-

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Town of Adams and Adams Arts Advisory Board receive state-wide award, Kolis says

SOURCE: Bill Kolis (wkolis@wickenslaw.com

 ​Bill Kolis writes by email that on Dec. 15 that the town of Adams was informed by  the Massachusetts Municipal Association that on Jan.. 21  at a ceremony in Boston it will be  awarded the "Kenneth P. Pickard Innovation Award" for the its formal recognition and endorsement of the self-funded, private sector based, all volunteer Adams Arts Advisory Board ("AAAB").
​Kolis reports:

​"​This award in many respects acknowledges the effectiveness of the AAAB in fulfilling its stated goal of "Using the arts to advance the vitality and economic prosperity of the Berkshires."  More importantly, it stands as a testament to the ability of a town's citizens--through hard work and selfless dedication--to dramatically alter not only the quality of life in their community, but also fundamentally alter and improve its basic economy.
 ​"​The background facts leading to the issuance of this award are both intriguing and entertaining.  In several short years, Adams, a town which seemed to have long ago missed the opportunity to jump onboard the cultural economy bandwagon, has not only done so, but given its size has truly become the "mouse that roared."  In the past few years  a group of "creatives" for one reason or another decided to make Adams their home.  Not long thereafter they found one another,  got together and started to share their thoughts regarding the art they love and the town they had made their home.


  http://www.btaconline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/July-2016-BTAC.pdf   
 ​"​Eventually some members of the group wandered across Park Street  and into the Adams Town Hall to meet Tony Mazzucco, the new Town Administrator.   Over time and  little by little magic started to happen.  To preserve and promote this magic the creatives--under the auspices of the Town of Adams--formalized their ad hoc group into the Adams Arts Advisory Board and the magic sprouted wings and took to flight. ​"​




The Berkshire Mountains Faerie  Festival.



   

                                                          n                                      


Art on the trail.



                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                 


The Old Stone Mill
(December 2016, awarded a $325,000 grant by ArtPlace America to "help drive community development change.")
           
            https://oldstonemillcenter.org/

   


There were many other successful projects undertaken this past year by the AAAB, both large and small, too numerous to mention here. But, as shown above, the creative members and affiliates of the AAAB stand as an example of what—in this time rampant with unproductive partisan bickering—co-operative collaboration can accomplish.


Kick-off of the Art on the Trail                                                         


               

The AAAB's meeting last Wednesday morning in the back room at Izzy's Diner  

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE AAAB, BEST WISHES AND GOOD LUCK IN 2017.   
TAKE TIME TO ENJOY AND SAVOUR THE AWARD.
BUT ALSO, KEEP COLLABORATING AND KEEP THOSE FAERIE WINGS FLAPPING!                            




​SOURCE: 



William F. Kolis, Jr.
Attorney at Law
35765 Chester Road
Avon, OH 44011
Direct: (440) 695-8048
Fax: (440) 695-8098
WKolis@WickensLaw.com
www.WickensLaw.com


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

PRINTABLE: The latest edition of the South Williamstown Community Association newsletter

SOURCE: Bette Craig, president, South Williamstown Community Association

The link below will allow you to print and read the latest edition of the SWCA newsletter:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B87Bd6VlF6wbMHhIdVdOeUs5ejhrRDhTV1F5MXN5T1lsakU4 

State Sen. Adams Hinds office provides photo and statement about his Beacon Hill swearing in

SOURCE: Bethann Steiner, Sen. Hinds office: 617-722-1625 

BOSTON – Today State Senator Adam G. Hinds (D- Pittsfield) joined his colleagues in the historic Senate Chamber on Beacon Hill to take the Oath of Office and begin serving as State Senator of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District. 

(Photo Credit: Antonio Caban / State House News Service)


"It was a profound honor to be sworn in today, during the opening proceedings of the 190th session of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Hinds. "What a privilege it is to start the work of representing all citizens of the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden District."

Hinds cast his first vote during this morning's session, in support of the candidacy of Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg (D- Amherst), who was unanimously reelected to serve as President of the Massachusetts Senate. 

"This is a humbling way to start this new year, a year that must be one where we do all we can to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive. I couldn't be more proud to do that work with all of you," said Hinds.

Senator Hinds' and his policy staff can be reached at the State House by calling (617) 722-1625 Monday through Friday during normal business hours.  His temporary office suite is located in Room 413-F of the State House.   His official Senate email account is Adam.Hinds@masenate.gov.

A full staff list, as well as the Senator's district office locations and phone numbers will be announced shortly.

 

 


Howard Dean, ex-Vt. gov and Demo prexy candidate speaking Jan. 11 at Williams

Dean (source: Wikipedia)
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., January 4, 2017—Former Vermont governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Howard Dean will speak on political leadership at Williams College at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs., Jan. 12 (corrected date). 
Dean's talk, which is open to the public, will take place in room 3 of Griffin Hall. Dean was governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003, serving five two-year terms, making him the longest-serving governor in Vermont history. 
He unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president in 2004, and then served as chair of the DNC from 2005 to 2010. His successful 50-state strategy as head of the DNC is credited with Democratic congressional victories in 2006 and 2008, as well as President Barack Obama's victory in 2008. 

He is the author of You Have the Power: How to Take Back Our Country and Restore Democracy in America (Simon & Schuster, 2004), Winning Back America (Simon & Schuster, 2003) about his life and the people and events that shaped him, beginning with his upbringing in New York, through his medical career, his service as governor of Vermont, and his presidential campaign. Dean pioneered Internet-based fundraising and grassroots organizing, which is centered on mass appeal to small donors, and is seen as more cost efficient than the more expensive contacting of fewer potential larger donors, and promotes active participatory democracy among the general public. He used these methods when founding Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee, in 2004.

Leadership Studies is sponsoring this event. For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

​SOURCE: 
Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant
​, Williams College​
; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New York Times lawyer David McCraw to speak Jan. 10 at Williams College on press freedom in Trump era


(photo courtesy NYU Law School)
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., January 3, 2017—The New York Times Vice President and Assistant General Counsel David E. McCraw will speak at Williams College on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 7:30 p.m. McCraw will speak on "Freedom of the Press in the Age of Trump" in Griffin Hall, room 3.
 McCraw authored The Times' response to a request from an attorney for Donald Trump to retract an article printed on Oct. 12, 2016, in which two women accused Trump of touching them inappropriately years ago and issue an apology. McCraw declined the request on behalf of The Times, saying, "It would be a disservice not just to our readers but to democracy itself to silence their voices."
 Responsible for newsroom legal issues and litigation, McCraw has been at The Times since 2002. He is a member of the executive committee of the New York City Bar and the former chair of the City Bar's Communication and Media Law Committee. He also serves on the Vance Center Committee. An adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, he is a graduate of Albany Law School, Cornell University and the University of Illinois.
 The Leadership Studies program is sponsoring this event.
 For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

SOURCE: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant, Williams College / (413) 597-4277; email:Noelle.Lemoine@williams.edu