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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Take One for the (Rescue) Team

 

If you’ve always wanted to jump out of an airplane—under controlled conditions, of course—you can do it for a good cause by signing up for the Orange Fire Department’s third annual Public Safety Skydive July 28.

The cause is raising money to get an underwater radio system for the Northfield Dive Rescue Team. The team, composed of 32 volunteers, gets no government funding; it relies on fundraising events and donations. Its mission is water rescues and, when necessary, recoveries in Franklin County and southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

The Team needs underwater radios because now its divers have to return to shore if they need to change course or get other vital information. What it wants is $12,000 to buy a system that would connect four divers to shore so they could get their cues without have to interrupt their dives.

The Skydive was only open to emergency responders in the past, but for the first time, members of the public can join in. The dives are tandem dives; each civilian diver will be harnessed to a professional parachutist and an EMT will be close at hand. The price per diver is $205, including a $50 deposit to be paid when he/she registers at publicsafetyskydive@gmail.com. Registration deadline is July 25; the deposit is payable to Jumptown Skydiving Center at 10 Airport St. in Orange, and divers should be at Jumptown at 8 a.m. on the 28th.

 

Worth Quoting:

Before a Florida jury exonerated George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, Talbert Swan, president of the Springfield chapter of the NAACP, made this statement:

“If Mr. Zimmerman is acquitted, we will rightfully be upset. However, we will find avenues outside of violent protests to show our dissatisfaction. Whatever our response is regarding the verdict, it should be long-term and focused on ending racial division, fostering racial unity and racial justice and ending unjust laws such as Stand Your Ground.”

 

McDonald’s McMentors McWorkers

McDonald’s has partnered with VISA and Wealth Watchers International to produce a budget journal designed to help its workers manage their money. The result is worth a look.

In the first place, the budget assumes that the worker will have a second job. Then there’s the fact that it has no entry for food or transportation, unless those are supposed to be paid for from the $100-a-month “Other” item, the $750 “Spending Money” or the $100 a month the worker is supposed to be able to save—all three of which, the budget evidently assumes, will be paid for by the second job, without which there would be no money for them.

Then there is the monthly allotment for health insurance: $20.

“You’ll reach your savings goals sooner than you thought possible,” the writers of the journal assure their readers. What the budget really seems to show, however, is that it’s impossible to live on an entry-level McDonald’s wage without that second job. In the meantime, food service workers for the Smithsonian, where an eating concession is run by McDonald’s, are striking in Washington, D.C. for higher wages.

To view the sample budget as it appears on McDonald’s “Practical Money Skills for Life” site, check http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/mcdonalds/budget/budget2.php.

***
The top five infectious diseases reported in Massachusetts in 2011, as reported by GoLocalWorcester, using recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
1. Chlamydia (22,764 cases)
2. Lyme disease (2,476 cases)
3. Gonorhhea (2,353 cases)
4. Salmonellosis (1,049 cases)
5. Syphilis (770 cases)

Organically Speaking
Atina Diffley will be the keynote speaker at the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s annual conference, held Aug. 9 to 11 at UMass Amherst. She’ll speak at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 9. For information about the conference, go to www.nofasummerconference.org. Here’s a sample of Diffley’s writing from her 2012 book Turn Here Sweet Corn (University of Minnesota Press) about her life as one of the first certified organic vegetable farmers in the Midwest: “Farmers are often annoyed when nonfarmers romanticize our lives. Many of us falsely believe that we have a monopoly on tough ways to make a living. The work is physically hard and endless; we are at the mercy and vagaries of the weather, the market, and seed breeders. What’s so romantic about that?
“But it’s like a good trip. The glow comes in retrospect.”
A Better Wage
This Wednesday, July 24, is a national day of action to raise the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour.
“While millions of workers struggle to live on $7.25 an hour, CEO pay has increased by 725 percent during the past 30 years,” says Interfaith Worker Justice, one of the groups organizing the event. “A raise in the minimum wage would put more money in the pockets of working people and boost consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of our economy.”
In Massachusetts, a bill pending at the Statehouse would raise the state’s minimum wage from $8 to $11, through gradual increases over three years; starting in 2016, it would be tied to the Consumer Price Index. The raise would have broad benefits by injecting $720 million more a year into the state’s economy, says Progressive Mass, one of the groups advocating for the bill.
This week’s day of action will focus on large employers who pay low wages, as well as on elected officials and political candidates. In the Valley, actions are planned at several Dunkin’ Donuts as well as the Hadley Walmart.
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