DiDomenico,Colleagues Pass Bill to Improve Traffic Safety

DiDomenico,Colleagues Pass Bill to Improve Traffic Safety

Sen. Sal DiDomenico and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate recently voted to pass legislation that aims to create safer streets for all road users. Developed in collaboration with a coalition of bicycle, pedestrian and transportation advocates, S.2570, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities, includes several measures to improve road safety, lessen the severity of crashes, and standardize the collection and analysis of crash data.

“This bill is an important next step in our efforts to create safer streets for all road users, especially cyclists and pedestrians,” said Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “We must ensure that our roadways are safe and accessible for everyone, and I am confident that this legislation will go a long way towards achieving that goal and reducing traffic fatalities in the Commonwealth.”

“We need to keep working year after year to achieve a future in which traffic fatalities get as close as possible to zero,” said Sen. William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. “This bill will help us move in the right direction.”

“This legislation updates basic protections for pedestrians, cyclists and others who may be on the road, and is a common-sense policy to ensure safer roadways for pedestrians and drivers alike” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “I am very happy the Senate has passed this legislation.”

“This bill takes an important step in encouraging the use of multimodal transportation to relieve the congestion and reduce our state’s carbon footprint,” said Sen. Joseph A. Boncore (D-Winthrop), who serves as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, which advanced the legislative measure forward with a favorable recommendation earlier this year. “Ensuring that pedestrians and cyclists have more protections on shared roads is vital to that end.”

The bill classifies several groups, including pedestrians, utility workers, first responders and cyclists, as “vulnerable road users,” and requires motor vehicles to apply a “safe passing distance” of at least three feet when traveling 30 miles per hour or less with an additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour over 30 miles per hour. Current law only requires motor vehicle operators to pass at “a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.” The bill would further require a vehicle that is overtaking a vulnerable road user to use all or part of the adjacent lane, crossing the center line if necessary, when it cannot pass at a safe distance in the same lane and only when it is safe to do so.

The bill would also require certain large vehicles newly purchased, leased or operated pursuant to a contract with the Commonwealth to be equipped with lateral protective devices to eliminate a vehicle’s high ground clearance and the extraordinary risk posed to vulnerable road users, who are susceptible to slipping underneath large vehicles during accidents. Such large vehicles would also be required to utilize convex and cross-over mirrors to increase a driver’s ability to see around their vehicle. These provisions would apply to vehicles purchased or leased by the Commonwealth after January 1, 2019 and to vehicles operating pursuant to leases entered into January 1, 2020.

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security would be required to develop a standardized analysis tool to report crashes and incidents involving a vulnerable road user and maintain a publicly accessible database of such reports to help inform further efforts to reduce traffic fatalities.

The bill would establish a 25 mile per hour speed limit on an unposted area of state highway or parkway inside a thickly settled or business district within a city or town that has accepted the 25 mile per hour local option, as lower vehicle speeds reduce the severity of crashes. While current law requires persons riding bicycles at night to use a front white light, this bill would also require use of both a red rear light and a red rear reflector when riding at night to improve the visibility of bicyclists.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration

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RMV Announces Temporary Closure on March 23, 24, 25

RMV Announces Temporary Closure on March 23, 24, 25

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has announced that all RMV services, with the exception of law enforcement, will be unavailable from 7 p.m., March 22 until 8 a.m. March 26 due to the RMV changing over a new computer system that will allow the RMV to comply with federal and state mandates. In addition inspection station locations will be unable to conduct motor vehicle inspections on March 23, 24 or 25, RMV on-line services will be unavailable, and RMV service locations will be closed.

 The Registry’s new computer system will enable the Commonwealth to issue federally mandated REAL ID credentials to members of the public who will need a REAL ID credential.  REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of the increased federal security measures after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The new computer system will also have enhanced customer-centric features and more efficient process elements for access by law enforcement, the insurance industry, government entities and professionals who need to engage the Registry.  The current RMV system is more than 30 years old.

Between March 22 and March 26, the following services will be unavailable:

  • Beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 22, motor vehicle inspections will be unavailable at station locations in Massachusetts until the start of business on March 26, at 8 a.m.
  • Beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26, Registry on-line services will be unavailable.
  • Registry service locations will be closed on Friday, March 23, and will reopen on Monday, March 26.
  • AAA branch locations which offer Registry services to AAA members will be unable to do so beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26.
  • Law enforcement officers will continue to have access to RMV data at all times from March 22 to March 26 through the use of a back-up data file.

For more information regarding RMV service suspension, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/alert-no-rmv-services.

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Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

By AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Association of Mature American Citizens

Dear Rusty: I will be turning 62 in 2018; birth date 9/24/1955. My husband is 77 and receiving Social Security.  Longevity runs in my family. I have been self-employed all my life. I am still working and my husband collects a pension, Social Security and RMD from a traditional IRA, so there is no need for additional monies under my current circumstances. When should I start taking Social Security?   Signed:  Thinking about Retirement

Dear Thinking: The question of when to take Social Security normally gets an answer of “It depends on your health, your family history of longevity, and your need for the money”.  You’ve already addressed those items so I’ll focus on your main question – when should you start taking Social Security?

Even though you’ll be eligible to collect Social Security when you turn 62, if you do so you will only get 74.17% of the retirement benefit you would be entitled to at your full retirement age (FRA). Whenever you apply, you will be deemed to be filing not only for your own retirement benefit but also any spousal benefit you may be entitled to from your husband’s work record. Similar to your SS retirement benefit, your spousal benefit would also be reduced because you took it early; instead of being 50% of your husband’s benefit at your FRA, you would only get 35% at age 62 (if that is larger than your own retirement benefit). The point I’m making is that by claiming SS early, any benefit you’re entitled to will be reduced from what you would get at your full retirement age.

Just as you are penalized for claiming before your full retirement age, you are rewarded for waiting beyond it to claim Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, for each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be 8% higher than it would be at your FRA. That will continue up until you are 70 years old when your retirement benefit will be 30.67% higher than it would have been at your FRA. You stop earning additional credit at age 70, so there’s no reason to wait beyond that to apply. Let’s use an easy example to illustrate: If your FRA retirement benefit is $1000, by applying at age 62 you would only get $741 per month instead of $1000. But if you wait until you are 70 to claim benefits, you would get $1306 per month, nearly twice what you would get by applying at age 62.

There are two other factors you should incorporate into your thinking:

1) At your FRA, you will be entitled to ½ of your husband’s benefit at his FRA.  If your spousal benefit at your FRA is substantially more than your own retirement benefit, then applying at your FRA may be a good strategy, as opposed to waiting and earning delayed retirement credits.

 2) Once you have reached your FRA you will be entitled to 100% of your husband’s benefit amount if he should predecease you. If your eventual survivor’s benefit would be more than your own FRA benefit amount, you might be better served by claiming your retirement benefit earlier than age 70.

As you can see, most of the answer to your question depends upon whether your benefits as a spouse or a survivor will be more than your benefit based upon your own work record. If not, then waiting beyond your FRA up to age 70 will yield you the maximum retirement benefit. But if your spouse and/or survivor’s benefit will be more than your own retirement benefits, then applying at your full retirement age may be the best strategy. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to www.ssa.gov and set up your personal “My Social Security” account which will give you access to your currently estimated retirement benefit. Comparing that to your potential spousal and survivor benefits should give you the answer you’re seeking.

The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.org.

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AMAC: Aging is a Disease and Science is Determined to Find a ‘Cure’ for It

AMAC: Aging is a Disease and Science is Determined to Find a ‘Cure’ for It

Is old age a disease?  Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], says a significant amount of scientific research indicates that aging is, indeed, a disease.  “More important there are many who believe it is a disease with a cure.”

Weber cites the work of Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a well-known biomedical gerontologist.  His focus is on extending life spans by intervening at the cellular level, repairing damaged cells and in turn extending life.

Some call de Grey a “mad scientist” but there is lots of independent study being conducted by those in the scientific mainstream to indicate that he is on the right track.

Most recently, researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Brighton in the UK released the results of a study that showed aging cells can be repaired.  They used naturally occurring chemicals to treat aging human cells with remarkable results.

“When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn’t believe it.  These old cells were looking like young cells.  It was like magic.  I repeated the experiments several times and in each case, the cells rejuvenated.  I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research,” according to Exeter’s Dr. Eva Latorre, one the principal authors of the research report.

Meanwhile, notes Weber, the New York Times reports that the study of the human aging process has evolved to the point where the focus is now on what are called “supercentenarians,” individuals who live longest of all.

“It used to be that a person who reached the ripe old age of 100 was a rarity.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, recently reported that the number of Americans over the age of 100 has grown by 44-percent since the year 2000.  The U.S. today is home to more than 72,000 centenarians,” says the AMAC chief.

But the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University, a leading medical investigative group concentrating on how we grow old, believes healthy aging is all in the genes, particularly the genes of the very, very old.  The study says on its Web site “the genetic influence becomes greater and greater with older and older ages, especially beyond 103 years of age.”

Whether the cellular approach or the genetic approach is ultimately successful in increasing the life span of more people in the future, Weber points out that living an extra long life can be fraught with financial danger.  It will require a whole new way of thinking about retirement.  Modern medicine has already extended longevity and that has resulted in fewer of us being able to retire.  Many more people these days have given up on the notion of full retirement at the traditional age of 65.  We stay in our jobs longer than we might like or we find ways of supplementing our incomes.

But for many elderly Americans, finding work to supplement their incomes is not an option.  Social Security is what puts food on their tables.  It’s their principal source of income, meager as it might be, and they would face cruel hardships if their monthly checks were cut.  For them, the fact that Social Security faces major fiscal challenges in the coming years is a scary prospect.

“We need to focus, as a nation, on how the less fortunate of us will cope in the brave new world of centenarians and supercentenarians.  How will they cope with their everyday lives?  For them, it is not a benefit-it is a necessity and it is imperative that our lawmakers find and enact the fixes that will keep Social Security viable for the long term.  For our part, AMAC remains relentless in its pursuit of solutions in our ongoing meetings with Congressional leaders.  We’ve vowed never to give up and we won’t,” says Weber.

The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.

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Chelsea Fire Secures Major Federal Grant

Chelsea Fire Secures Major Federal Grant

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea Fire Department announced this week that they have secured a major federal grant to pay for the hiring of eight new firefighters in this year’s budget – with Chief Len Albanese saying the new recruits could hit the streets by Thanksgiving.

The Homeland Security grant provides $1.4 million of federal funding over a three-year period, covering 75 percent of the salary and benefits for two years. The third year of the grant will cover 35 percent of the share of salaries and benefits.

In the fourth year of the grant, the City would be responsible for 100 percent of the costs associated with the new hires.

Albanese said that in the end, concerns about not getting the grant due to Chelsea’s Sanctuary City status did not factor into whether the City did or did not get the grant as the application was put in last year.

Overall, the big news is that the Fire  Department will go over 100 members for the first time in decades.

The grant will put the contingent up to 102 member.

“We’ve had 92 members for quite a while,” said the chief. “Prior to my arrival and when I got here and that’s a situation I assume goes back to the 1990s – post-receivership. (Last year), we added two members to get up to 94 and with the intention to add more. With the SAFER grant now in place, we can add eight new members and that brings our staffing up to 102…Having 102 is what we consider to be a really good staffing level for the Fire Department.”

He said that Revere’s contingent is at 98 and Everett – which also has a SAFER grant- is at 111.

He said adding the new members won’t eliminate overtime, but he believes it will bring it down to a reasonable number – eliminating what has been many years of controversy surrounding overspending on overtime.

“The purpose is to not just decrease overtime,” he said. “There’s always overtime in a 24/7 business…This will control overtime and put boots on the ground. It will stabilize overtime and increase staffing.”

Already, Albanese said he has identified the eight recruits from Civil Service, having been confident of getting the grant and taking early action. That will mean they get in the Station very quickly.

“We have eight recruits identified and they preparing to attend the Brookline Fire Academy on Sept. 5,” he said. “That means if all goes well, we will have these additional firefighters on the street by Thanksgiving.”

Along with this grant and another recently received, the fire department has garnered $2 million of federal funding from the 2016 DHS/FEMA programs.

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Training Was Key, Union for Calls More Equipment Immediately

Training Was Key, Union for Calls More Equipment Immediately

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea Fire Department union is calling on the City and Fire Chief Len Albanese to immediately outfit the members of its union with ballistic helmets recommended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of the active shooter incident on Warren Avenue.

President Anthony Salvucci said the union, Fire Chief and City Manager Tom Ambrosino have been in discussions over the past several weeks to get funding for the new ballistic helmets, which would have protected the heads of firefighters as they moved in.

So far, Salvucci said the City has deferred on the expense, and want to include it in next year’s budget. According to Salvucci, that is no long acceptable.

“We sat down with Tom and the Chief and they said, ‘When will we ever use this,’” said Salvucci. “Well, here we are two weeks later. At the end of the day, we want what’s best for the community. We’re not looking to stop this or to stop any training or drills, but we want what is best practice. We want the equipment that is recommended by DHS. We’re not opposed to this. This is a very real thing. The world is changing and we want to change with it.”

Already, the City has invested recently in some active shooter training and in ballistic vests, which Chief Albanese said were actually put on the apparatus earlier this month.

The time for those vests was perfect.

“We trained with them through the month of April and put them on the apparatus May 5, and now here we are already using them,” he said, noting that grant money paid for the vests.

The training that was recently engaged in included tactical training to prevent hemorrhage, Warm Zone entry with force protection and command staff coordination.

He said all of those trainings were directly applicable on Monday night.

“Utilizing the training and preparation for Active Shooter incidents, we were able to adapt quickly to this dynamic scene,” he said. “Once the house was heavily involved in fire, our firefighters made a cautious exterior attack, with ballistic protection, under the cover provided by Police and SWAT. The communication between Police and Fire was excellent.”

Salvucci said they agree that the situation played out well, but they also believe that it was a red flag for making sure that the right equipment is in their hands.

He said it would cost about $7,000 to $15,000 to outfit the entire department with ballistic helmets. He pointed to a $34 million Free Cash fund and about $2 million available in the Stabilization Fund.

“When you’re standing next to a SWAT guy and you’re fighting a fire and he’s wearing that helmet, you want to have the same protections that he has in that situation,” he said. “We’re not talking about big money here so I don’t think we should have to wait until the next fiscal budget. You wouldn’t send a firefighter into a burning house with half of his or her equipment.”

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May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

By Sheldon Bycoff

One problem of modern life is social isolation.

Described in journals as a person’s “perceived social isolation,” i.e., a subjective belief that they are socially isolated, another way of summarizing this condition is simply “feeling lonely.”

The opposite feeling – that you have a network of supportive relationships – provides numerous psychological benefits, including a sense of belonging, an increased sense of self-worth, and a feeling of security.

Thankfully, there are actions people can take to reduce a sense of isolation (discussed below).

 

  • Causes of Isolation

Many circumstances can lead one to feel isolated, including: a job loss; a divorce; injury or illness; the death of a loved one; having a family member with an illness that requires extensive care; etc.

  • Implications of Feeling Isolated

Besides negatively affecting one’s mood, feeling isolated and lonely is a risk factor for many medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, depression, and impaired executive functioning.

In fact, the influence of social relationships on the risk of death is comparable to well-established mortality risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceeds the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.

  • Ways to Reduce Isolation

Numerous authorities, including the Mayo Clinic, have suggestions for increasing one’s social network, such as:

Take a weekly class, whether at a gym, a local college, or as part of adult education, so that you will have regular contact with the same people and be more likely to establish friendships.

 

  • Volunteer.  

Join a lecture series.

Consider getting a roommate.

Change your housing situation to one where there are more opportunities to be a part of a community.

Go online (especially helpful for people who are homebound).

Options abound: join a chat room for people who share one of your interests, e.g., writing, cooking.

Keep in touch with out-of-state friends and family thru Skype, Facebook (or FaceTime on an iPhone).

Visit sites designed specifically for people going through stressful times, such as a divorce, or the arrival of a new baby. Expand your social sphere through social networking sites such as Facebook.

  • Primer on Building and Nurturing Friendships

Respond and Reciprocate. Answer phone calls, return emails, and reciprocate invitations in order to let people know you care.

Don’t compete. Be happy (not jealous) when your friends succeed.

Be a good listener. When someone is talking, really listen to what they’re saying (as opposed to formulating in your mind your next response).

Don’t overdo it. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family with phone calls and emails.  In addition, be wary of “oversharing” with new or casual acquaintances and on social networking sites.

  • Summary

Taking the time to build a social support network is a wise investment in your mental well-being and physical health.  Research also shows that those who enjoy high levels of social support live longer.  Whether you make more friends or improve the quality of relationships you already have, you’ll reap a plethora of rewards.

By Sheldon Bycoff is President, Mental Health Programs, Inc.

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Early Death of Firefighter Kannler A Wake Up Call to Firefighters Everywhere

By Seth Daniel

Carrying the fire helmet of late Firefighter Peter Kannler, Firefighter Janine Romano led the procession of firefighters and police officers to Woodlawn Cemetery.

Carrying the fire helmet of late Firefighter Peter Kannler, Firefighter Janine Romano led the procession of firefighters and police officers to Woodlawn Cemetery.

The death of Chelsea Firefighter Peter Kannler, which happened way too fast and way too young, while on active duty and from a cancer that is recognized to be a result of his work as a firefighter, has been a wake up call for the Chelsea Fire Department – as union leaders and management leaders in the Department are calling for a change in the way the job is done nationwide.

Kannler, 37, who left two young children and a wife, fought a battle with stomach and esophageal and liver cancer for about one year before passing away on Saturday, Sept. 3. Before his death though, firefighters in Chelsea said he participated in research studies to help prevent ‘active duty’ firefighter deaths from cancer, and like in his life, he wasn’t quiet about what was happening to him.

“He wanted people to know about his cancer and the way it’s affecting our firefighters in Chelsea and beyond,” said Lt. Brian Capistran, president of the local union. “He wanted to prevent as many as possible, no matter what age or gender, from dying of this disease. The way we’re going to honor Peter is our members are going to take a careful look at our operations. Our safety is going to come first. We are going to make a point of decontaminating our equipment after a fire. The days of the macho old firefighter coming out of a burning building covered in soot are over. We have to think differently. A house fire nowadays is a hazardous material situation.

“Pete is going to be missed,” he continued. “I greatly respected him. He and I were built the same way – telling it like it is and dealing with things later. It’s going to take a while for all of us to get over this.”

Added Firefighter Dave Asci, who served for years on Engine 2 with Kannler, “He really put himself out there to do those studies. It was important to him that people know what firefighters are risking.”

Remembering Kannler has brought on a lot of great memories in the firehouse, especially on Engine 2 – likely the busiest engine in the nation per capita, where Kannler worked. He wore a mohawk all the time and was covered with tattoos, including a tattoo of a mustache on his finger that he used to hold on his upper lip – another example of his constant practical joking nature.

He was famous for elaborate practical jokes, including wallpapering the mechanic’s office and repair manuals one night with hundreds of pictures of Justin Bieber.

Asci said Kannler was the type of firefighter that didn’t seek the spotlight and shunned away from commendations or awards, but certainly was a guy you wanted next to you in a dangerous situation. Beyond that, Asci said that despite Kannler’s rough look and “tell it like it is at all costs” personality, he was a caring man – a family man – who was ready to drop everything for his wife and kids and brothers in the fire service.

“I had a rough year last year and in the middle of it, as sick as Peter was, before I could tell him fully what was happening, he wanted to know what he could do to help me,” said Asci. “He was so sick and he just wanted to help other people. That’s the kind of guy he was.”

But there was a serious firefighter side to Kannler as well, and as an instructor at the Mass Fire Academy and a firefighter with great interest in getting equipment and training from Homeland Security, Kannler brought Chelsea Fire into a new era by advocating for resources the Department had never concentrated on. He attended numerous regional meetings and was responsible for securing grants for safety equipment and training.

With that spirit, Deputy Chief John Quatieri and Chief Leonard Albanese have pledged to change their operations and the culture within the firehouse – particularly around safety and decontaminating equipment upon returning from an incident.

“From a command perspective, we need to rotate our firefighters in and out more often and be thinking about their safety,” said Quatieri. “We can’t leave them in a burning building as long as we’ve been doing. They’re getting beat up and exposed to too many of the carcinogens in a modern house fire. We’ve been making do too long and that needs to change.”

Already, the Department has invested in four hydrogen cyanide meters to measure air quality inside a fire, and they will have one member of the crew responsible for monitoring those meters during a fire. If conditions inside are toxic enough, they will remove firefighters from those dangerous conditions – something that many departments are not yet thinking about.

“It’s affecting every department,” said Quatieri. “You just don’t hear about it as much. When firefighters die in a fire, that gets a lot of publicity, as it should, but with the cancer, it happens every day and doesn’t get much publicity.”

Capistran said firefighters are 60 percent more at risk for certain cancers like Kannler had than the normal civilian. That is a little known fact outside the fire service, but even within the fire service the reality of that has been slow to sink in as old habits die hard.

Chief Albanese shared statistics about firefighter deaths, noting that, since 2000, a majority of firefighter deaths have been due to occupational cancers. In 2014, nationwide, nearly 70 percent of deaths were due to those types of cancers rather than direct firefighting work.

“Today’s fire, a lot of what burns is plastics and foams and flame retardants,” said Capistran. “It burns faster and hotter and it’s a silent killer. A lot of what burned back in the day, when firefighters like my dad were on, was wood. We may not have as many fires as back then, but these fires are deadlier and the conditions are more toxic.”

All four Chelsea Fire members said they plan to take Kannler’s message not only to their own crews, but also to the departments around them and those as far as their message can reach.

“Pete left enough information to help the researchers find a cure,” said Capistran. “His message was that he wanted to protect us more, to smarten us up, prevent exposure, decontaminate our gear and, importantly, he wanted it to be a wake up call for everyone.”

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Sensible Gun Control is Needed

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. — The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution

The issue of what, if any, gun control laws are appropriate in a civilized society once again is in the forefront of the news after the tragic shooting in Orlando two weeks ago.

There is no question that among all of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the most archaic, both in terms of its language and its intent.

The amendment appears contradictory on its face. It contains the phrase “well-regulated,” implying that the government has the right to make rules and regulations, but then concludes with the verb phrase, “shall not be infringed,” which suggests that there should not be any governmental rules or regulations.

In terms of the substance of the Second Amendment, the notion of a militia has no practical meaning today relative to what that term meant in the late 18th century. We are long past the days when farmers left the fields to become de facto soldiers, or when posses were rounded up to chase outlaws, or when settlers were on their own in a hostile environment.

But some pretend that a lifestyle that no longer exists still has meaning in the America of the 21st century.

However, it was only a few years ago that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court resolved some of the ambiguity in the Second Amendment when the court declared that the right to bear arms applied to individual citizens, not merely to a government-organized militia.

But tellingly, the same majority acknowledged that the local, state, and federal governments have the authority to make regulations pertaining to that right. As is the case with all of our rights as Americans, none of them, including freedom of speech, is absolute, and the right to bear arms is no exception.

Some, led chiefly by the National Rifle Association, are opposed to gun regulation and registration laws of any kind because of their belief that even the mildest regulations will lead us down the proverbial slippery slope and ultimately will result in confiscatory gun laws.

However, that position of absolutism, while convenient for the NRA, simply is not the way our country works.

Henry Clay said it best, “Politics is the art of compromise.” Compromise is what our American system of government is all about. The Founders created a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government to ensure that compromise must take place.

No gun law will be a silver bullet (no pun intended) that forever will prevent every shooting, of which there are tens of thousands every year in this country that murder and maim us in numbers of epidemic proportions. Although ISIS-inspired terrorism has grabbed the focus of our attention, more Americans are killed and wounded every few days by our own citizenry in incidents of gun-related violence than have been killed by terrorists in all of the past 15 years combined.

To sum it up succinctly, we have met the enemy — and it is us.

Senator Ed Markey and others have proposed sensible gun regulations that will not deprive or unduly burden any law-abiding citizen of his or her Second Amendment rights, but which will greatly reduce the carnage that occurs in our nation on a daily basis.

We urge all of our lawmakers to undertake the work necessary to enact the laws we need to make America as safe as possible from those whose hearts and minds are filled with hate and criminal intent.

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Police Briefs 07-30-2015

TRENCH TRAINING FOR CFD

Ten Chelsea firefighters completed trench rescue training last week at the Boston Fire Academy on Moon Island. The trench rescue training was sponsored by the Metro-Boston Homeland Security Region and is part of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Search and Rescue Unit training. This training prepares firefighters to operate safely and effectively during rescue operations of entrapped persons by using specialized equipment, emergency shoring systems and rescuer constructed retrieval systems.

“This training is beneficial to the department, especially with the numerous construction projects ongoing throughout the city” said Deputy Chief John Quatieri. “There are construction crews working in trenches all over the city, the fire department would be responsible for rescuing those workers should something go wrong.”

IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER IN DOG JAM

On Saturday July 25, shortly after 6 p.m., officers responded to corner Broadway and Parker Street and spoke to a male victim who was walking his dog. He told officers he just had an altercation with a male who was also walking a dog. Apparently, their dogs got tangled up in the leashes and it infuriated the suspect.

During the time of trying get the dogs separated, the victim stated that the male, later identified as Glen Turczyn, 45, of 64 Parker St. became irate and lifted his shirt up exposing to the victim what he believed to be a black firearm. The victim also noticed what looked like a police “walkie talkie.”

He alleges Turczyn to have stated that he was a Chelsea Police Officer and Turczyn gave the victim a made up badge number. The victim states that the subject then threated to do harm to his dog with the firearm. Fearing for his safety, he left the area and was able to observe a partial license plate of the subject. Chelsea Dispatch Center was able to do a query of the partial plate, which led to the subject’s address.

Officers then placed Turczyn under arrest without incident.

No firearm was recovered.

SIGNIFICANT ARREST ON WASHINGTON AVE.

Chelsea Police and federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) officials made a significant drug and weapons arrest on Wednesday, July 22, at a home on Washington Avenue.

The long-term investigation was the result of a cooperative effort and led to the arrest of one man, Roberto Jimenez.

Roberto Cristian Jimenez-Heyer, 18, of 102 Washington Ave., was charged with trafficking in cocaine and felony firearms charges.

He is being held in federal custody.

CHARGES IN CRASH JULY 19

Police have filed charges against a 58 year old motorist who turned over his car on the Parkway near Webster Avenue on July 19.

There were two injuries in the crash, but non were life threatening.

The crash happened around 8:45 a.m.

David Pezzulo, 58, was charged with operating with a suspended license, failure to stop and operating an unregistered vehicle.

One Arraigned, Another in Custody, in Deaths of Two Dogs

A Swampscott man was arraigned Tuesday in Chelsea District Court in the killing of two dogs whose bodies were found behind a Revere gas station late last year, while a second man in New York has been taken into custody on a warrant issued in connection with the case.

Jason Gentry, 35, of Swampscott, was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on two counts each of malicious killing of an animal and animal cruelty. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Vincent DeMore, Gentry’s bail was set at $1,000.

A second man, Dominick Donovan, 51, of Long Beach, New York, has been taken into custody in New York and faces arraignment at a later date.

DeMore told the court that the bodies of two dogs were discovered in a trash bag behind a Revere gas station on Nov. 22. A necropsy performed by the Animal Rescue League of Boston determined that the dogs – one female and one male – were both approximately 20 weeks old and had been in good bodily condition when they were killed.

The dogs were determined to be Donovan Pinschers – a breed created by Donovan.During the course of their investigation, Revere Police detectives learned that at the time of their deaths, both dogs had been in Gentry’s care at the training facility he operated, Alpha Canine Performance of Lynn. Donovan arrived at the location in November to transport the animals back to New York. In a post-Miranda interview with police, Gentry made statements indicating that on Nov. 2, the dogs were hung at the facility until they stopped breathing because each failed to meet the standards for the breed, prosecutors said.

Gentry was represented by Eric Stone. He returns to court Sept. 3.

SAFETY SERVICE FOR ELDERLY RESIDENTS

A new service for elderly residents called SafetyNew Service is being debuted by police.

The service helps police find and rescue people who wander and get lost in the city. SafetyNew by Lojack aims to protect residents with autism and Alzheimer’s Disease. The CPD has been trained and certified on the SafetyNet service. Officers are equipped with search and rescue equipment so they are able to locate anyone who signs up for the program and goes missing.

Lojack provides emergency support 24-hours a day.

The service uses bracelets for the wrist or ankle that emit a signal. Chelsea Police can detect the signal from the bracelet within a one-mile radius during searches.

To sign someone up, called the CPD at (617) 466-4855.

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