Paul working for you.

Friday, March 31, 2017

How the opioid epidemic became America’s worst drug crisis ever, in 15 maps and charts

How the opioid epidemic became America’s worst drug crisis ever, in 15 maps and charts

Drug overdoses now kill more Americans than HIV/AIDS did at its peak. These maps and charts tell the story.

Updated by


America is in the middle of its deadliest drug crisis ever.

With all the other news going on, it can be easy to lose track of this fact. But it’s true: In 2015, more than 52,000 people died of drug overdoses, nearly two-thirds of which were linked to opioids like Percocet, OxyContin, heroin, and fentanyl. That’s more drug overdose deaths than any other period in US history — even more than past heroin epidemics, the crack epidemic, or the recent meth epidemic. And the preliminary data we have from 2016 suggests that the epidemic may have gotten worse since 2015.

This situation did not develop overnight, but it has quickly become one of the biggest public health crises facing America. To understand how and why, I’ve put together a series of maps and charts that show the key elements of the epidemic — from its start through legal painkillers prescribed in droves by doctors to the recent rise of the highly potent opioid fentanyl.

1) Drug overdoses now kill more people than gun homicides and car crashes combined


To understand just how bad the opioid epidemic has gotten, consider these statistics: Drug overdoses in 2015 were linked to more deaths than car crashes or guns, and in fact killed more people than car crashes and gun homicides combined. Drug overdoses in 2015 also killed more people in the US than HIV/AIDS did during its peak in 1995. So just as HIV/AIDS lives in the American mind as a horrible epidemic, the current opioid epidemic should too.

2) Drug, painkiller, heroin, and other opioid overdose deaths are still on the rise


It took years of increasing deaths to get to this point, but the opioid epidemic has only gotten worse over time. The result is horrifying: Between 1999 and 2015, more than 560,000 people in the US died to drug overdoses — a death toll larger than the entire population of Atlanta.

The epidemic has by and large been caused by the rise in opioid overdose deaths. First, opioid painkiller overdoses began to rise, as doctors began to fill out a record number of prescriptions for the drugs in an attempt to treat patients’ pain conditions. Then, people hooked on painkillers began to move over to heroin as they or their sources of drugs lost their prescriptions. And recently, more people have begun moving to fentanyl, an opioid that’s even more potent and cheaper than heroin. The result is a deadly epidemic that so far shows no signs of slowing down.

3) Opioid overdoses are one reason US life expectancy declined for the first time in decades


In 2015, US life expectancy dropped for the first time in decades. There are many causes behind the drop, including rising rates of diabetes, obesity, and suicide. But a big reason for the decrease was the rise in alcohol poisonings and drug overdoses.

4) The epidemic is much worse in some states than others


Not every state in America has been equally impacted by the opioid epidemic. States like West Virginia, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Ohio have been hit particularly hard, suffering far more deaths than even their neighbors on an annual basis. And the epidemic has generally been concentrated along the Rust Belt and New England — due in large part, it seems, to the enormous number of painkiller prescriptions that doctors doled out in those areas.

5) By and large, the drug overdose epidemic has hit white Americans the hardest

WikiLeaks Reveals "Marble": Proof CIA Disguises Their Hacks As Russian, Chinese, Arabic...

WikiLeaks Reveals "Marble": Proof CIA Disguises Their Hacks As Russian, Chinese, Arabic...


WikiLeaks’ latest Vault 7 release contains a batch of documents, named ‘Marble’, which detail CIA hacking tactics and how they can misdirect forensic investigators from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to their agency by inserted code fragments in foreign languages.  The tool was in use as recently as 2016.  Per the WikiLeaks release:
"The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages."

The latest release is said to potentially allow for 'thousands' of cyber attacks to be attributed to the CIA which were originally blamed on foreign governments.

WikiLeaks said Marble hides fragments of texts that would allow for the author of the malware to be identified. WikiLeaks stated the technique is the digital equivalent of a specialized CIA tool which disguises English language text on US produced weapons systems before they are provided to insurgents.

It’s “designed to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation" as "string obfuscation algorithms” often link malware to a specific developer, according to the whistleblowing site.

The source code released reveals Marble contains test examples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

“This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion,” WikiLeaks explains, “But there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.”

The code also contains a ‘deobfuscator’ which allows the CIA text obfuscation to be reversed. “Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA.”

Previous Vault7 releases have referred to the CIA’s ability to mask its hacking fingerprints.

WikiLeaks claims the latest release will allow for thousands of viruses and hacking attacks to be attributed to the CIA.

Fluoridation remains a complicated matter for Worcester

Fluoridation remains a complicated matter for Worcester

Dr. G. Robert Evans said he was always determined his kids wouldn't have any cavities.
As a dentist, he had his children use fluoride drops, fluoride tablets and fluoride gels, especially his son, a budding actor.

"Then his permanent teeth came in," said Dr. Evans, who runs a holistic medical and dental practice in Groton. "And I thought, 'Oh my God, what have I done?' "

The enamel was severely mottled, blemished by unsightly brown and white spots.

"This was a kid who grew up on stage acting. He can't have ugly teeth."

The dentist says he no longer uses fluoride in his practice, nor does he carry any fluoride products in his office. He said his son uses veneers to hide the mottling.

You may have heard of his son. His name is Chris. Some people know him as Captain America.

Dr. Evans was convinced the mottling occurred because of the fluoride treatments his son had, something considered by many to be a dental staple. He began to do some research and his findings floored him, launching his anti-fluoride crusade. He is an especially staunch opponent of community water fluoridation, which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. He has traveled to different communities in Massachusetts since, including Worcester, to speak out against it.

A report released Feb. 8 by the Massachusetts Health Council and the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Center for Health Law and Economics strongly supports community water fluoridation, an opinion not everyone shares. It is a biennial report the health council puts out called the Common Health for the Commonwealth on social determinants of health and preventable health conditions.

Worcester has a long history when it comes to community water fluoridation. Despite the strong endorsements by the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Public Health Service and the World Health Organization, Worcester remains one of the few Massachusetts communities that remains non-fluoridated, along with Barnstable, Brockton, Chicopee and Springfield. Worcester's voters have rejected ballot questions to fluoridate the local public water supply four times since 1963, with the last referendum in 2001.

Janice B. Yost, president and CEO of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, which led the 2001 pro-fluoride campaign, does not think Worcesterites will change their minds any time soon.
"Every time there's a movement to do it again, and the resistance rises up again with a little more fervor," she said. "I think Worcester has probably voted it down as much as anybody in the state has. They're sort of leaders in that."

Yost's organization spent $400,000 on pro-fluoridation ads and education efforts during the 2001 referendum, but voters still rejected fluoridation 56 percent to 44 percent.

According to the CDC's Division of Oral Health, community water fluoridation is a cost-saving, effective way to prevent and reduce tooth decay in both children and adults. 

"The nice thing about fluoridation is everyone benefits," said Dr. Myron Allukian Jr., president of the Massachusetts Coalition for Oral Health and former president of the American Public Health Association. "While the teeth are growing, the fluoride becomes part of the tooth and gets stronger, but there's also a topical benefit ... as it flows over the teeth and the ions get into the saliva and the plaque."

"One of the most beneficial effects is in low-income communities because they tend to have poor diets, heavily laden with sugar," said Dr. Raymond K. Martin, president of the Massachusetts Dental Society.

He acknowledged that fluoride can cause enamel mottling at high levels. "But down at the right concentrations, it's very effective and very cost effective," he said.

Most of the arguments against fluoridation cluster around consent, autonomy and the idea that fluoride is toxic.

For Deirdre Healy, a Worcester attorney who does not support community water fluoridation and campaigned against it during the 2001 referendum, much of her opposition centers around the right to refuse medical treatment.

"It really is an issue of ethics," she said. "It's an infringement on our personal liberties, our constitutional liberty interests."

She sees fluoridation as the government medicating the public water supply. "We have no informed consent over whether we consume that medication or not," she said.

Dr. Deborah E. Moore, who led the anti-fluoride push in 2001, speaks for many who believe that fluoride can cause more than just enamel mottling.

"There is great reason to be concerned about the health effects," she said in an email interview, citing studies that examine the adverse effects of fluoride.

"It is a toxin that affects all systems of the body," she said. "It is a potent synergistic agent for other chemicals both inside and outside of the body."

While there are studies showing a correlation between adverse health effects and high levels of fluoride in water, or fluorosis, the majority of medical professionals and peer-reviewed literature agree that controlled low levels of fluoride confer a public health benefit.

At the same time, the National Toxicology Program, which is headquartered at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and evaluates agents of public health concern, examines the work that indicates there may be adverse effects to higher levels of fluoride.

"There is a body of evidence that is suggestive of learning and memory issues (in animals), but the studies are generally not of very high quality," said Dr. John R. Bucher, the associate director of the National Toxicology Program. "We identified some data gaps and are carrying out some studies of our own in the institute to try to do a better job."

He acknowledged people's concerns about fluoride's possible adverse effects. "Until we finish our evaluations, I can't say one way or the other. The literature on fluoride is diverse," he said.

He agreed with the president of the Massachusetts Dental Society that there is a public health benefit to fluoridation.

"There's reasonable evidence that fluoridation improves dental health, particularly in areas of low socioeconomic status where individuals aren't getting the dental care they would get if they had access to dentistry and a higher level of care," he said.

"We want to make sure that if there is a benefit, it far exceeds the potential downsides," he said. "That's why we are doing what we are doing."

Under Massachusetts law, the local board of health has the jurisdiction to order fluoridation, Dr. Allukian noted. However, if 10 percent of a community's registered voters sign a petition within 90 days of the publication of the order, it must be placed on the ballot for a vote at the next city, town or district election.

Worcester's Board of Health, which was primarily an advisory board for many years and only had its regulatory powers restored in 2014, does not have any plans to do that, said Karyn E. Clark, the director of Worcester's Division of Public Health and the Central Massachusetts Regional Health Alliance.

"The fluoridation issue is not something they have even discussed at this time," said Ms. Clark, whose agency works with the board in a research and advisory role.

"Most of the data that we've seen and that is typically discussed in the public health community and medical community shows that it is beneficial," she said. "But it's not something that we are having a conversation about."



New Law Could Eliminate Informed Consent for Human Experimentation With Vaccines and Drugs

New Law Could Eliminate Informed Consent for Human Experimentation With Vaccines and Drugs

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Snow Time!

Snow Time!


Death At Your Door: Knock-And-Talk Police Tactics Rip A Hole In The Constitution

Death At Your Door: Knock-And-Talk Police Tactics Rip A Hole In The Constitution

Worcester County ranked among least healthy in state

Worcester County ranked among least healthy in state


A new set of national health rankings puts Worcester County among the least healthy counties in Massachusetts.

Created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the eighth annual "County Health Rankings" lists Worcester 9th out of the 14 counties in the state in health outcomes and 11th in health factors.

Coming in below Worcester were counties like Suffolk, Bristol and Hampden. Populating the top of the rankings were Norfolk, Nantucket and Middlesex counties.

Worcester County didn't perform badly in all categories; it was ranked 6th in the state for clinical care services, for example, and 8th in social and economic factors like high school graduation rates, unemployment, and childhood poverty rates. The county also had the 8th highest length of life ranking in the state.

But Worcester is worse off in the quality of life and health behaviors – ranked 11th apiece – as well as the region's physical environment, which came in 12th in the state, according to the rankings.

Janice B. Yost, president & CEO of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, said those results aren't surprising, considering health is determined strongly by socioeconomic factors like level of income and educational attainment.

"It allows you to live in good housing, afford fresh foods," she said, which in turn help determine how healthily a person is able to live.

Say It Aint So! SNOW!

Say It Aint So! 

From: BOX Operations - NOAA Service Account []
Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:37 AM
To: _NWS ER Taunton TVMets; _NWS ER Taunton Additional Email; _NWS ER Taunton_EM_Call
Subject: Update on Wintry Weather Potential Early Fri - Sat

Good morning everyone,

We continue to monitor for accumulating snow Friday which then looks to transition to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain especially along and north of the Mass Pike Friday night into early Saturday. 

It is looking more likely that precipitation may begin as an initial period of snow late Thursday night into Friday morning. This will change to rain and a wintry mix from south to north through the day on Friday.  Cooling temperatures Friday evening will then bring the more significant potential for snow and ice Friday night. Timing remains uncertain with this update.  We will include a first cut at snow totals through Saturday morning, but these are likely to change some as we approach.

What: Accumulating Snow/Sleet Possible. Low risk for a bit of freezing rain across highest terrain.
·  Accumulating snow/sleet possible early Friday morning into Friday night.
·  Precipitation is most likely to remain snow all day Friday in the high terrain and northern portions of Massachusetts.
·  Uncertain if snow will accumulate on roadways outside the high terrain.

When and Where: Friday and Friday night with a focus on the high terrain north of MA Turnpike.
·  Snow may develop across most of the region early Friday morning.
·  The Friday AM rush hour may be impacted.
·  Snow may change to sleet and rain across much of the region through the day on Friday, and into Friday night.
·  Bulk of precipitation should come to an end Sat morning. 

From Weather Underground for Baldwinville:


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FY 18 Budget (draft)

FY 18 Town Budget  (Draft)

Blood Drive March 31st

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Shocking Surprise!

A Shocking Surprise! 

Toward the end of the selectmen meeting last night, shocking news was delivered regarding the budget for FY 18.

The estimated increase for the NRSD budget for FY 18 was projected at $380,000. The figure of $380,000 was factored into the preliminary budget figure for the town.

BTW, the increase in local revenue (2.5 %) for FY 18 is $330,000- kiss that goodbye! 

The NRSD school committee will have a budget hearing on Wednesday to increase the $380,000 figure for Templeton to $575,000 an increase of 9.21% to Templeton's portion of the NRSD  budget.

Anyone else see a problem here? The Town can only raise taxes by 2.5% each year. The NRSD traditionally, over many years, - look in the annual reports -has increased Templeton's assessment by 6%, 7% 8%, 9% or more. EVERY YEAR!

Give credit where credit is due. Chairman John Caplis stated:
 "This is not good news at all." "Services will have to be cut."

In other news -
the Templeton BOS held an executive session last night. The interim Town Administrator's contract has been extended until June 30, 2017 with an increase in pay.


To Your Health

A Norfolk doctor found a treatment for sepsis. Now he's trying to get the ICU world to listen.

  • The patient was dying.

    Valerie Hobbs, 53, was in the throes of sepsis – an infection coursing through her veins that was causing her blood pressure to tank, her organs to fail and her breathing to flag.

    “When you have a person that young who’s going to die, you start thinking, ‘What else can we pull out of the bag?’ ” said Dr. Paul Marik, who was on duty that day in the intensive care unit of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

    In this case, he reached for Vitamin C.

    Marik, chief of pulmonary and critical care at Eastern Virginia Medical School, had recently read medical journal articles involving the vitamin, and decided to order IV infusions of it, along with hydrocortisone, a steroid, to reduce inflammation.

    Then, he went home.

    The next morning, Hobbs had improved so much she was removed from four different medications used to boost her blood pressure. Her kidney function was better. Her breathing eased.

    Three days later, she left the ICU.

    That was in January 2016. Today, Hobbs is back at her home in Norfolk.

    “At first we thought it was a coincidence, that maybe the stars aligned just right and she got lucky,” Marik said.

    Ten days later, another patient, a paraplegic, arrived in the ICU with sepsis, and Marik prescribed the same thing. That patient improved as well.

    A third patient, a man so sick with pneumonia he was on a ventilator, also received the treatment. The results were the same.

    Marik’s response: “What just happened?”

    He suggested changing the protocol for patients who arrived with sepsis. He also added another ingredient to the concoction: thiamine, which is Vitamin B.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Officials say state must address runaway MassHealth costs

Officials say state must address runaway MassHealth costs

As Gov. Charlie Baker faces increasing backlash to his proposal to levy a new assessment on employers who do not meet certain health insurance requirements, some are saying the state must find ways to address runaway MassHealth costs and enrollment.

Baker's proposal to impose a $2,000 per employee assessment on companies with more than 10 full-time workers that fail to offer "adequate" health insurance has run into stiff resistance in the business community. The administration is reported to be discussing an alternative to impose a smaller cost on a broader range of employers.

"We have to change the system, which means we have to change the way health care is paid for," UMass Memorial Health Care president and CEO Eric Dickson said. "I do support the governor starting a conversation around that."

"We lose a lot of money on Medicaid," he said. The UMass Memorial system includes several community "disproportionate share hospitals" that see a higher number of public payer patients, under its umbrella.

When the proportion of MassHealth enrollees goes up, the health care network suffers financially. "This is true for any health care provider," Dickson said. "The only thing that is profitable to us is the commercial (payers)."

There were 1.93 million people enrolled in MassHealth in fiscal 2017, an all-time high. In an effort to temper enrollment rates, and with MassHealth taking up 40 percent of the state budget, the Baker administration proposed a $2,000 per employee assessment on companies with 11 or more employees that do not offer health coverage or do not insure at least 80 percent of their full-time employees.

The proposal, filed in January with his fiscal 2018 budget plan, was met with almost immediate resistance from business groups and leaders.

John Stowe, president of Lutco Inc., a Worcester-based manufacturing company, said his firm offers its employees a good health plan, but some choose MassHealth instead.

Thursday Humor: Medicare Part G

Thursday Humor: Medicare Part G
 Now that you have solved your senior Long-Term Care problem, enjoy the rest of your week!

Meetings the Week of March 27, 2017

Meetings the Week of March 27, 2017

Monday  3/27/17
Liars Club                     PCS Town Hall*                6:30 pm
Tuesday  3/28/17
Scout Hall                    PCS Town Hall*               6:00 pm
Planning                      PCS Town Hall*               6:30 pm
Historical                    Boynton PL                        7:00 pm

Wednesday 3/29/17
Adv. Com.                 PCS Town Hall*                6:00 pm     

Thursday 3/30/17
Library Trustees        Boynton PL                        1:00 pm

* Pauly Cosentino Sr. Town Hall

Sunday, March 26, 2017

“Revolution for Truth” Vaccine Rally in Washington D.C. – March 31, 2017

“Revolution for Truth” Vaccine Rally in Washington D.C. – March 31, 2017

If you live within driving distance of Washington D.C., you should plan to join the Revolution For Truth rally on March 31st.

Speakers at the rally include Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Dr. Paul Thomas, Dr. Judy Mikovits, Del Bigtree, Dr. Brian Hooker, Minister Tony Muhammad, Dr. Toni Bark, Barbara Loe Fisher, and Jennifer Margulis, all of which were interviewed for “The Truth About Vaccines.”

Charlene Bollinger and Brianna Bollinger will be there and will be covering the event for TTAV, posting photos, filming interviews and doing Facebook “Live” videos as the event unfolds in an effort to help bring awareness to the critical topic of vaccine freedom and awareness.

Ty Bollinger, Michelle Ford (Revolution For Truth), and Charlene Bollinger
Above Ty Bollinger, Michelle Ford (Revolution For Truth), and Charlene Bollinger
If you can’t make it to the rally in person, no worries! You can still participate. A national call-in day for vaccine safety and reform has been announced by Revolution For Truth, in partnership with the World Mercury Project and other organizations seeking to protect the lives of children.

I encourage you to join the call-in efforts on March 30th (see call-in numbers below) or join the live march in Washington D.C. Click here for the rally schedule.

Here’s the full announcement with call-in instructions, courtesy of Catherine J. Frompovich via Activist Post.

Revolution for Truth, Washington, DC

The National Call-in-Day in Support of Vaccine Safety and Reform
on March 30 and 31, 2017.

–  Catherine J Frompovich

National Call-in Day in Support of Vaccine Safety and Reform

On March 30th, please do the following:
  1. Contact President Trump and say “Vaccine injuries are real and devastating. One in 68 children now has autism. Autism should be declared a national emergency and a higher priority. I support an independent vaccine safety commission.”
  2. Contact your Senators and member of Congress (see below for contact information) and say “I want Congress to subpoena CDC whistleblower Dr. William Thompson and I support a vaccine safety commission.”
  3. Lastly, sign the petition to President Trump asking him to implement comprehensive reforms of vaccine safety policies. (Please note that after you sign you will receive an email asking you to confirm your signature. Please confirm your signature or your signature will not be added.) March 31st is the last day to sign this petition and we must reach 100,000 signatures for the petition to reach President Trump.
To call the President:
Comments: (202) 456-1111
Switchboard: (202) 456-1414
TTY/TTD Comments: (202) 456-6213

Lyme disease preventable by taking steps to avoid tick bites

Lyme disease preventable by taking steps to avoid tick bites

Lisa M Faust is seen with her Lyme medicines at home in Charlton [ T & G Staff/Christine Peterson]

Pest control experts who began seeing ticks in early February because of a warm winter and an abundance of acorns now say this will be one of the worst tick seasons in years - which may lead to an increase in Lyme disease.

While that may be true, health experts point out that in Massachusetts and other parts of the Northeast, where Lyme disease is endemic, every year is a bad tick season. Their advice is to not focus on how many ticks there might be this year, but instead, become educated on how to prevent tick bites.

Dr. Catherine M. Brown, deputy state epidemiologist and state public health veterinarian with the state Department of Public Health, said she's not sure if the prediction is helpful because there are always thousands of cases of Lyme every year.

"We're considered endemic for Lyme, which means we have it all over the Commonwealth, and we have it all the time," she said. "I want people to be aware and to take steps to prevent tick bites, not just in the year when people say it might be bad."

Chris G. Ford, president of Ford's Hometown Services on Grove Street in Worcester, said he and other pest control folks learned of the hearty rodent population at the Central Massachusetts Pest Control Association's seminar in Sturbridge last month.

Some small animals, particularly the white-footed mouse, carry the bacteria that causes Lyme. When a tick, usually in the nymph stage, attaches to the carrier for a blood meal, it becomes infected and passes the infection on to humans and other animals.

Mr. Ford said the number of phone calls from people signing up for the company's four-application tick protection program spiked during the warm spell in February when people began seeing ticks. April through September is when the greatest risk of being bitten exists. But, adult ticks are out in search of a host in winter when temperatures climb above freezing.

"We've had multiple calls coming in already regarding people's pets and children getting ticks on them," he said. Mr. Ford, who is also president of Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals, said mosquito and tick control has grown to be the largest segment of the 75-year-old family company.

Massachusetts ranked fourth in the nation (behind Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York) in the incidence of Lyme cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, the last year for which the data is available. Ninety-five percent of the confirmed cases of were reported in 14 states - including all of New England - where the black-legged tick is found. There were 2,922 confirmed cases and 1,302 probable cases in Massachusetts in 2015.

Notice ...Town website is down

Notice ...Town website is down

It appears the Town of Templeton's website is down.

Working group hears plenty of pros, cons on rattlesnake colony

Working group hears plenty of pros, cons on rattlesnake colony


Thursday, March 23, 2017

WARE — The Rattlesnake Review Working Group has the thankless job of recommending what the state should do about the timber rattlesnake, an endangered serpent some revere as a New England symbol but nonetheless gives others the shivers.

On Wednesday, more than 100 people showed up at the Knights of Columbus hall here for the third of four public meetings to discuss the issue. About 30 of them spoke during public comment.

The working group — a gathering of state wildlife personnel, elected officials, in-the-know citizens and scientists — is supposed to offer recommendations to the state Fisheries and Wildlife Board about how the officials should manage the endangered species in general.

But public comments mostly centered around a now-shelved plan to establish a colony of the venomous snakes on Mount Zion, an island in the Quabbin Reservoir.

Second in line for public comment was Sue Grant of Northampton.

She spoke — sang? — against the Mount Zion plan. An excerpt of her song, sung to the tune of the old hymn “When I Reach That City on The Hill”:

“Oh that refuge on Mt. Zion,
The citizens, of course, will foot the bill,
There’ll be plenty of venom on Mt. Zion,
When the rattlers reach the refuge on the hill.
No walls can confine them in that refuge,
They may leave it by swimming if they will,
The fishermen will watch the ripples spreading
When the rattlers leave the refuge on the hill.”

Others were less graceful, and more forceful, in their opposition to ideas floated by wildlife officials. One idea is increasing the population of an established colony of rattlesnakes on Mount Tom, which straddles Easthampton and Holyoke.

“Don’t you dare put these snakes on Mount Tom,” said Martin Fedor of Easthampton. “Snakes bite people. We put dogs down that bite people. You people want to save all these snakes? Fine! Put ’em in Vermont, where they’re not near people!”

Protection owed

Laura Cunha, of Easthampton, said the Mount Tom idea, something to which the Holyoke City Council has preemptively voiced its opposition, is attracting less attention than the Quabbin proposal.

“It’s a far cry from putting them on an island at the Quabbin,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who go up on there — a lot of hikers, a lot of children — my daughters, myself, people with pets.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

I spy....

47 hard drives with over 600 MILLION pages of information and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.