THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2024 Page 15 END VETERANS’ HOMELESSNESS – Secretary Jon Santiago of the Executive Offi ce of Veterans Services and Secretary Ed Augustus of the Executive Offi ce of Housing and Livable Communities met with staff and residents of Brighton Marine to discuss the Healey administration’s goal of ending veterans’ homelessness by 2027. Brighton Marine, according to its website “supports uniformed services members, retirees, veterans and their families by providing US Family Health Plan, wrap around support services and case management for the greater Boston community.” The Healey Administration said the End Veterans Homelessness campaign is a multipronged partnership to identify all homeless veterans in Massachusetts, develop and implement comprehensive and evidence-based strategies to prevent and intervene in veterans’ homelessness and bring it to functional zero. The campaign will coordinate eff orts across federal, state and the nonprofi t sector to address veteran homelessness and support providers who are working daily to improve veteran care and housing. “No veteran should ever be homeless,” said Secretary Ed Augustus. “Since Day One, Gov. Healey and Lt. Gov. Driscoll have prioritized housing. Our shared vision for an aff ordable Massachusetts means every veteran not only has a home but is getting the support services they deserve.” MORE BICYCLE LANES (H 3350) – The House gave initial approval to a bill that would require that any city or town that has received state funding for transportation development, conduct a study to expand the number of bicycle routes on its local public roadways. The measure mandates that the city or town report back to Legislature in six months with a report including its fi ndings and proposals to increase the lanes. Sponsor Rep. Daniel Hunt (DDorchester) did not respond to several requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him to comment on his proposal. NO PENALTIES FOR CANCELLING AN AUTO INSURANCE POLICY (H 1102) – The House gave initial approval to legislation that would allow auto insurance policyholders, if they cancel a policy or change companies, to be entitled to a prorated rebate for the exact number of days paid for in the policy without any surcharge of expenses beyond the exact days the policy was in eff ect. Rep. James Murphy (D-Weymouth), the bill’s sponsor, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him to comment on his proposal. QUOTABLE QUOTES “It’s almost impossible for individuals and families to thrive and live healthy, productive lives when they are not adequately and safely housed. Affordable, accessible housing allows people to prioritize their health care needs and the needs of their families, while also creating vibrant, healthier, safer and more productive communities across Massachusetts.” ---?Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh during a meeting with health care leaders to discuss the impact of the high housing costs on public health, as well as the industry’s ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce to provide care. “The countdown is on for REAL ID federal enforcement and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, and its partner AAA Northeast, have successfully been issuing REAL ID credentials and are prepared for interested residents prior to the May 2025 deadline. We want Massachusetts residents to know they can upgrade to the REAL ID driver’s license or identifi cation card during their normal renewal process for the same cost as a renewal.” ---Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie reminding residents that beginning May 7, 2025, anyone traveling by plane domestically or entering certain federal building areas will need a Registry-issued REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or ID or a valid passport. “As a fi fth-generation dairy farmer, I understand how demanding and stressful farming can be. Our farmers have always been resilient and resourceful in tackling the challenges of their work, but it’s important we provide resources to prioritize their mental health. Our priority is letting our farmers know that there are people who care and are ready to listen, and there is a network of farmers across Massachusetts available to discuss their challenges and work with them to improve their mental well-being.” --- Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Ashley Randle raising awareness of the Mass Grown Wellness Program that was launched in 2023 to promote mental health and wellbeing among members of the farming community. “We are committed to ensuring that every city and town has the most advanced tools to protect against cyberattacks. Given the enormous importance of cyber resiliency, we are working around the clock to empower local leaders, strengthen our workforce and upgrade technology to keep our communities safe.” --- Secretary Yvonne Hao of the Executive Office of Economic Development announcing the Cyber Resilient Massachusetts Grant Program, a $1.4 million initiative to help local governments improve their cyber defenses. The program will provide municipalities with grants to fund narrowly focused cybersecurity technology upgrades identifi ed through vulnerability assessments. HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been fi led. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session. During the week May 6-10, the House met for a total of 28 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 36 minutes. Mon. May 6 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:17 a.m. Senate 11:05 a.m. to 11:10 a.m. Tues. May 7 No House session No Senate session Wed. May 8 No House session No Senate session Thurs. May 9 House 11:00 a.m. to 11:12 a.m. Senate 11:07 a.m. to 11:38 a.m. Fri. May 10 No House session No Senate session Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall.com Bob founded Beacon Hill Roll Call in 197 Ways to Make Gardening Easier as You Age Dear Savvy Senior, What gardening tips can you off er to older seniors? I love to putter around and work in the garden, but my back and knees have caused me to curtail my gardening activities, which I miss greatly. Older Gardner Dear Older, There’s no doubt that gardening can be hard on an aging body. Joints stiffen up, kneeling for prolonged periods hurts, and bending and reaching can strain muscles. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobby. You just need to garden diff erently, add some special tools and know your limits. Here are some tips that may help you. Limber Up With gardening, good form is very important as well as not overdoing any one activity. A common problem is that gardeners often kneel or squat, putting extra pressure on their knees. Then, to spare their knees, they might stand and bend over for long stretches to weed, dig and plant, straining their back and spine. To help protect your body, you need to warm up before beginning. Start by stretching, focusing on the legs and lower back. And keep changing positions and activities. Don’t spend hours weeding a fl owerbed. After 15 minutes of weeding, you should stand up, stretch, and switch to another activity like pruning the bushes or just take a break. It’s also important that you recognize your physical limitations and don’t try to do too much all at once. And, when lifting heavier objects, remember to use your legs to preserve your back. You can do this by keeping the item close to your body and squatting to keep your back as vertical as possible. Get Better Tools The right gardening equipment can help too. Kneeling pads can protect knees, and garden seats or stools are both back and knee savers. Lightweight garden carts can make hauling bags of mulch, dirt, plants or other heavy objects much easier. And long-handled gardening and weeding tools can help ease the strain on the back by keeping you in a standing upright position versus bent over. There are also ergonomic gardening and pruning tools with fatter handles and other design features that can make lawn and garden activities a little easier. Fiskars and Felco make a number of specialty tools that you can buy online or at local retail stores that sell lawn and garden supplies. Also check out Gardeners.com and RadiusGarden.com, two online stores that sell specialized gardening tools and equipment that are very helpful to older gardeners. Make Watering Easier The chore of carrying water or handling a heavy, awkward hose can also be diffi cult for older gardeners. Some helpful options include lightweight fabric or expandable hoses instead of heavy rubber hoses; soaker or drip hoses that can be snaked throughout the garden; thin coil hoses that can be used on the patio or small areas; a hose caddy and reel for easier hose transport around the yard; and a selfwinding hose chest that puts the hose up automatically. There are also a variety of ergonomic watering wands that are lightweight, easy to grip, and reach those hard to-get-to plants. To find these types of watering aids check with your local lawn and garden supplies stores or visit Gardeners.com. Bring the Garden to You If your backyard garden has become too much to handle, you should consider elevated garden beds or container gardening – using big pots, window boxes, hanging baskets, barrels or tub planters. This is a much easier way to garden because it eliminates much of the bend and strain of gardening but still provides the pleasure of making things grow. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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