Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dean Cook Resigns From Board Of Health

By Brian Lee 
Telegram & Gazette Staff 

After cursing at a Southbridge resident during a heated meeting about the municipal landfill, Board of Health member Dean Cook has resigned from the five-member panel, Town Manager Ronald San Angelo said Thursday.
Mr. Cook, a 55-year-old computer programmer with a degree in chemistry, who once worked at Clean Harbors and ran for governor as a Libertarian candidate twice during the 1990s, resigned in an email to Mr. San Angelo's assistant. A signed and dated letter of resignation is still required, Mr. San Angelo said.
During an April 14 health board meeting, resident Erin Cummings-Lapriore, accompanied by her children, ages 2 and 5, accused officials from landfill operator Casella Waste Systems of affecting the health of area residents by contaminating groundwater and polluting private wells. 

U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to Lowest Level Since 1973

Bloomberg News

You gotta hate those "failed" Obama policies,
right a**holes?
Jobless claims unexpectedly decreased to the lowest level since 1973, indicating the U.S. labor market remains a pillar of support in the world’s largest economy.

New applications for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 247,000 in the week ended April 16, data from the Labor Department showed Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 265,000 claims. The number of Americans already on benefit rolls declined to a more than 15-year low.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Recycling is a Feel Good Activity, But Not for Workers Hurt or Killed on the Job

“…garbage and recycling collectors had the fifth-highest fatality rate among the dozens of occupations analyzed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Workers at a recycling sorting plant in Brookhaven, N.Y.
Courtesy TBR News Media)
Darkness had enveloped the Newell Recycling yard by the time Erik Hilario climbed into a front-end loader on a cold evening in January 2011. Just 19 years old, Hilario, an undocumented immigrant, had followed his father from Mexico to an industrial park in East Point, Ga., near Atlanta, where they worked as low-skilled laborers amid jagged piles of scrap metal bound for the smelter.

Hilario drove to a paved section of the nine-acre yard known as the defueling or car-processing area. Here, according to witnesses in a court case, gasoline was removed from junked cars through a crude process employing a 30-foot crane and a long spike welded atop a metal trough. A claw attached to the crane would pick up cars and smash them, gas-tank first, onto the spike, spilling gasoline into the trough. The crane then would swing the cars across the pavement and drop them onto a pile, dripping gas along the way. Hilario was using the loader – which Newell later would say he was not trained or authorized to operate – to scrape up bits of metal left behind.

State Official – Landfill “Likely Source” Of Well Contamination

Mark and Melissa Widing attend Charlton
Board of Health meetings regularly to ask
for help with their contaminated well water.
Credit: Rupa Shenoy
For months, lead leached into the Flint, Michigan, water supply – and no one did anything about it. In the wake of that crisis, the nation is re-examining its water supply. But some families in central Massachusetts are wondering why the increased scrutiny hasn’t helped them.

Those families have been living on bottled water for months because their water supply is contaminated. State environmental officials say the only possible source they’ve identified is the biggest active municipal landfill in the state, just west of Worcester. But the operator of that landfill, Casella Waste Systems, Inc, says its safe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Trump’s Impact On School Children

According to a new report by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center titled “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools,” the race is stoking fears and racial tensions in America’s classrooms.

As the opening line of the report says, “Our report found that the campaign is producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”

If you would like to read the summary of the report, click here. If you would like a .pdf version of this report, please click here. If you would like to read the full comments from the survey, please click here.