Too much road salt

Dear Editor:

Could you please make a big deal about the excessive use of salt on the roads?  Are they trying to fix a budget gap? Kill everything in the pond and all bodies of water affected by JP’s streets?  Kill anything not wearing weatherproof foot coverings?  Dogs be damned.  Where do they thing the inches of salt goes?  Oh!  Dead end into pond?  Oh!  Storm drains? 

It is inconceivable, irresponsible, and wrong. 

Please do an investigative piece on almost anything to raise the bar on this.  We’ve been writing and calling the city for 22 years with no moderation in their practices.

Thank you so much.

Alexandra Rollins

The Healthy Youth Act

Dear Editor:

It was wonderful to be among the hundreds of organizations and individuals converging on the Massachusetts State House during Sexual Health Lobby Day on January 17th. Student peer educators, doctors, activists, parents, LGBTQ youth, and all sorts of interested citizens gathered to emphasize the importance of passing The Healthy Youth Act during the current session of the legislature.

This law would ensure that school districts will offer comprehensive sex education that provides age-appropriate, medically-accurate, and LGBTQ-inclusive information to their students. The advantages of a comprehensive sex education program are substantial. Students who learn from these programs delay the initiation of sex; have fewer sex partners and instances of unprotected sex; have higher use of condoms and contraception and lower rates of STIs; and experience lower incidences of bullying due to their LGBTQ identity.

As the longest-running LGBTQ speakers’ bureau in the nation, SpeakOUT Boston has been telling the truths of LGBTQ lives in the greater Boston area for over 45 years. Our speakers often share their personal stories in middle and high school health classes, allowing for open and honest dialogue about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, coming out issues, how to be an ally to LGBTQ people, and much more. Our motto is “Ask Us Anything,” and that lays the groundwork for forthright conversations to unfold.

Educators know that our youth need more information—not less—in order to make safe and sensible choices for themselves in their relationships and sexual lives. It’s also crucial for youth to feel seen, represented, and understood when they are learning about information that will help shape their future adult lives. Sex education class is one of those spaces where sensitive conversations can help remove taboos and stigma, in particular around LGBTQ identity.

SpeakOUT Boston witnesses the power of these conversations when we step into the classroom and we encourage people to take the time to pressure their lawmakers to pass The Healthy Youth Act in order to establish a much more inclusive and comprehensive standard for all sex education classes in the Commonwealth.

Ellyn Ruthstrom

Executive Director, SpeakOUT Boston


[email protected]

Make the choice to quit today

Dear Editor:

February is American Heart Month.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is a leading cause of heart disease.

Smoking can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels and high blood pressure and quitting smoking greatly improves heart health.  So, make a resolution for a healthier life for you and your family. If you’re a smoker, quitting is the most important step you can take to protect your health, decreasing the risk of lung disease, cancer, and even early death.

If you want to quit and tried in the past, don’t give up. It often takes several tries before you can quit for good. However, with planning and support, you can become tobacco-free.

The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline offers both telephone and online support 24 hours a day, seven days a week (with some holiday exceptions) by calling 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or through KeepTryingMA.org.  Online support includes quit planning tools and chatting with others who are trying to quit.  Free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are available to eligible users.  The combination of coaching and quit-smoking medication can make you nearly three times as likely to quit for good!

Quitting smoking can be hard—here are five ways to make it easier:

1. Set a quit date. Choose a quit day this month. Give yourself about two weeks to prepare.

2. Tell your family and friends you plan to quit. Share your quit date with important people and ask for their support. Daily encouragement and planned activities can help you stay on track.

3. Anticipate and plan for challenges. The urge to smoke is short—usually only three to five minutes. Those moments can feel intense. Before your quit date, write down healthy ways to cope with cravings so you can get past them.

Healthy choices include:

· Drinking water

· Taking a walk

·  Calling or texting a friend

4. Remove cigarettes and other tobacco from your daily routine. Throw away your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays. Clean your car and home. Old cigarette odors can cause cravings.

5. Talk to your doctor about quit-smoking medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medicines can help you quit for good; your quit coach and pharmacist can provide guidance.

For more information, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit KeepTryingMA.org. 

Make the choice to quit today, making February, American Hearth Month, the beginning to a smoke-free and healthier you!


Edgar Duran Elmudesi, MSW

Metro Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership

What is wrong with this country

Dear Editor:

 The Miracle of MAGA is that  it keeps failing on all fronts, but somehow its chief proponent and his party still have supporters. In most countries, a smarter citizenry would have figured out how to rid itself of such a corrosive government, but not here. Too busy focusing on a wall — not education, not infrastructure, not making our children safer by ridding the country of assault rifles, and definitely not providing a  meaningful healthcare program for all.

Question is this. With all the corruption and ineptitude presented daily by the media, how have we not coalesced as the 99% to take matters into our own hands. Probably because even those representatives who purport to have our interests at heart are too focused on getting reelected or seeking higher office, protecting the interests of their special interest backers, and keeping their very protected/sheltered lives intact to really do a damn thing for their constituents. They’ve got their health coverage and pensions. They’re all set.

Meanwhile, MAGA supporters are wondering why their temporary tax cut is not panning out to be anything more than sleight of hand!

Michel L. Spitzer

Jamaica Plain

I am encouraged

Dear Editor:

I am encouraged by Senator Markey and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolutions. The Sunrise Movement may be one of young people, but as a 40 year old mother of four- year old twins, I am behind them with all my heart and am lending my support any way I can.

The Green New Deal is the first proposal that is actually meeting the scale of the climate challenge with an appropriately scaled response. The latest climate report from the UN led to many a sleepless night for me: we have only 12 years to transform our economy to preserve the stable climate human civilization has depended on for millennia. We need a massive mobilization of every sector of society on par with what science and justice demand. We need it so that our youth have a fair shot at a liveable future.

There is precious little time to act and yet this Green New Deal is already being picked apart and mocked as unrealistic. But the truth is that not acting at scale and at speed is tantamount to suicide.

Stephanie Cardon

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