FREE Tax Assistance

Get help filing your State & Federal taxes at no cost to you!
Volunteer assistants trained and tested in IRS tax law will help identify the Earned Income Tax Credit
Quick returns through the IRS e-File electronic filing system.
Fast. Accurate. Secure. Simple.
To learn more, find out if your household is income-eligible and set up an appointment for free, fast filing, call Laura Hart at 978-282-1000 x 122
Please note: Tax assistants are unable to prepare certain forms, including those related to self-employment and investment income. For a full list of forms which can and cannot be prepared, call Laura at
ACTION Man Office, 180 Main St., Gloucester, MA 01930 www.actioninc.org

Is Clutter Creating Chaos In Your Life and Home?

THE DE-CLUTTERERS’ GROUP can help.

Is clutter: Taking over your home or work space? Creating safety problems in your home? Making you ashamed of your environment? Affecting your life and relationships?

Join our 10-week group meeting in March – April 2012 Receive information and support from others.
Learn strategies for de-cluttering your home and life. For more information, contact: Michele Martindale at 781-586-8621 or  e-mail mmartindale@glss.net by February 15, 2012.

Greater Lynn Senior Services 8 Silsbee Street, Lynn www.glss.net

LGBT Elders in a Changing World

AN INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE AND POLICY CONFERENCE FOR WORKING WITH LESBIAN, GAY,BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER OLDER ADULTS AND CAREGIVERS
Friday March 16, 2012, 8:30 am—4:00 pm, Salem State University School of Social Work Marsh Conference Center, Central Campus, Salem, Massachusetts
Keynote Speaker: Judith B. Bradford, Ph.D Director of the Center for Population Research in LGBT Health at The Fenway Institute
Keynote and Topics will include:  Programming and Direct Service,  HIV and Aging,  LGBT Bereavement, Transgender Aging,  Screening of Gen Silent – Over 15 workshops planned! C.E.U.s are available.
For more information on travel or accommodations: (978) 624-2261
Cost: $95 includes conference and lunch, $45 for seniors (60+) and students with current student ID
$30 for 4.5 Social Work CEUs. Registration: www.lgbt2012.eventbrite.com
Presented by LGBT aging project,  North Shore Elder Services and Salem State University

ACTION ALERT: Damaging MBTA Fare Increases and Service Cuts Threatened

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) proposed a mix of fare increases and service reductions that could eliminate numerous critical bus routes
(including the 450, 451, 456, 459, 465, and 468 buses) cancel some weekend rail service and increase fares across the board from 35 to 43%.
The fare hikes and service reductions are an attempt to close the agency’s $161 million budget gap and will be the subject of over 20 public meetings being
held between mid-January and March. The fare increases will most hurt those riders who can least afford it, particularly students and seniors who could see
an even steeper increase in bus fare passes. We need your help in asking all of our Senators and Legislators in the Statehouse to craft a long-term funding plan for the MBTA that does not balance the budget on the backs of riders.
Take action today!
1.  Look up your elected Senator and Representative in the MA Statehouse

2.  Call them both and tell them why public transit is important to you, and what choices you would be forced to make if the fares were increased and services you use cut. Ask them to attend a hearing in your area on Wednesday January 25 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Salem at the City Hall Annex,120 Washington Street, and in Lynn Feb 7 at Lynn City Hall, 3 City Hall Square.
3.  Attend the hearing yourself and ask for alternative solutions from the MBTA and state legislature!
To request translation, please contact Trish Foley at MBTA: 617-973-7073
Fare hikes and service cuts are unfair and short-sighted!  They place the burden of the T’s deficit on the backs of T riders, who are traveling in ways that benefit the environment. Fare hikes & service cuts harm those who can least afford it!  The highest proposed fare increases are for seniors, students, and people with disabilities.  The T has proposed eliminating weekend commuter rail service and bus service in the North Shore. Fare hikes & service cuts are not the best answer! Any fare increase or cut in service should be part of a plan that considers funding from other sources, such as federal and state government or an increase to the gas tax.
MBTA Fare Hikes/Service Cuts Proposals – January 2012
SUMMARY OF SERVICE CHANGES
In summary, the two scenarios include the following service changes:
Scenario 1
• Bus: Eliminate routes that fail the cost standard (greater than three
times the system-wide average net cost per passenger):
o Weekday Routes: 4, 48, 52, 170, 217, 275, 276, 277, 325, 351, 354, 355, 436, 439, 448, 449, 451, 465, 468, 500, 554, 555, and CT3
o Saturday Routes: 33, 48, 52, 72, 78, 136, 171, 211, 230, 245, 275, 276, 277, 436, 451, 465, 504, 553, and 554
o Sunday Routes: 18, 37/38, 43, 59, 78, 136, 137, 171, 201, 202, 211, 230, 245, 275, 276, 277, 431, and 436
• Subway: Eliminate weekend service on the Mattapan High-Speed Line and the E Branch of the Green Line.
• Commuter Rail: Eliminate all service after 10:00 PM and all Saturday and Sunday service.
• Ferry: Eliminate Commuter Boat Program (Charlestown, Hingham, Hull, and Quincy routes).
• Private Bus: Eliminate routes that fail the cost standard (greater than three times the system wide average net cost per passenger):
o Private Carrier Bus Program in Canton and Medford
o All Suburban Bus Program subsidies (Bedford, Beverly, Boston [Mission Hill], Burlington, Dedham, and Lexington)
Scenario 2
• Bus: Eliminate and revise routes for approximately $60.0 million in savings, based on a consideration of both geographic coverage and average net cost per passenger; improve frequencies of remaining bus routes by 10 percent. [This includes the 451 and 465 buses that have service in Peabody, Danvers and all of Beverly.]
• Subway: Eliminate weekend service on the Mattapan High-Speed Line and the E Branch of the Green Line.
• Commuter Rail: Eliminate all service after 10:00 PM and all Saturday and Sunday service.
• Ferry: Eliminate Commuter Boat Program (Charlestown, Hingham, Hull, and Quincy routes).
• Private Bus: Eliminate all routes:
o Private Carrier Bus Program in Canton, Hull, Medford, and Winthrop
o All Suburban Bus Program subsidies (Bedford, Beverly, Boston [Mission Hill], Burlington, Dedham, and Lexington)

In short, both proposals significantly increase fares for everyone, with the biggest hit on students, seniors, and low-income communities that cannot afford the increase and include:
– Eliminating E Line and Mattapan trolley service on weekends
– Eliminating bus service in low-income communities and communities of color
– Reducing RIDE paratransit options for the disabled
– Eliminating MBTA-run ferries

HELPFUL TALKING POINTS
1.  The proposed fare hikes of 28-40% and service cuts scenarios are unacceptable
•    These proposals will drive people off the MBTA system, increasing congestion on our roads and pollution in our air.
•    These proposals put the entire burden on people who ride the T, and will especially harm those who have no other option but to rely on the T to get to school, work, doctor’s appointments, and other places. It will hurt the local economy.
2.    The MBTA’s current budget problems are the result of long standing problems resulting from the law governing T finances and will not be fixed by the proposed service cuts/fare hikes scenarios.
•    Next year the MBTA will have the same problem of meeting its growing operating deficit.  The scenarios also do not close the T’s maintenance deficit.
•    A long-term solution is needed; that will require the administration and the Legislature to work together to develop funding mechanisms that consider a bigger picture than just the MBTA’s operating debt for the year.
Equity
•    The proposals hit the most vulnerable populations, yet still do not solve the long-term problem of funding the MBTA.
Economy
•    The proposals not only hurt the household budget of people that use public transportation, but the legislature’s failure to address long-term operation and maintenance issues represents a threat to the region’s economic well-being.
Environment
•    The proposals will discourage use of public transit and promote more vehicle trips, which contribute to increased fuel use, increased traffic congestion, and more air and climate pollution.

Please take some time and let your voice be heard. – Thank you.

Beverly Police Domestic Violence Unit Fundraiser Dance

Saturday February 4th, 2012, 7pm -11pm, Franco American Club, 44 Park Street, Beverly, Ma. $10/person – Raffles, Music, Dancing and more! For tickets call 978-922-1155. 100% of Proceeds will go directly to the victims we serve.  The domestic violence unit provides free comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault within the community of Beverly.  Please help us empower victims of violence in our community and thank you in advance for your support.

Beverly Police Department, Domestic Violence Unit, 191 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA

Service Dog Etiquette

We are reprinting this information from www.deltasociety.org

Service Dog Manners:
When you meet a person with a service dog, please remember that the dog is working. Don’t do anything to interrupt the service dog while it is performing its tasks. Some Rules for Interacting with People with Service Dogs.
1. Speak to the person first. Do not aim distracting or rude noises at the dog .
2. Do not touch the service dog without asking for, and receiving, permission.
3. Do not offer food to the service dog.
4. Do not ask personal questions about the handler’s disability, or otherwise intrude on his or her privacy.
5. Don’t be offended if the handler does not wish to chat about the service dog.
What if you don’t like dogs or are afraid of dogs?
Place yourself away from the service dog. If you are a business person, discreetly arrange for someone else to wait on the person. You may ask the person to have the service dog lie down if it does not interfere with its work.
What if the service dog barks, growls, or otherwise forgets its manners?
Find out what happened before taking action. Was the service dog stepped on, poked, asleep and dreaming, performing its job (some alert their owners to oncoming seizures by barking once or twice)? If the dog’s behavior is disruptive or destructive, you may ask the person to remove it from the premises.
What if other people complain about the dog being present?
Explain that the service dog is medically necessary and that federal law protects the right of the person to be accompanied by the service dog in public places.

Thank you for adhering to these guidelines of service dog etiquette.

MBTA PUBLIC HEARINGS ON SERVICE CUTS AND FARE INCREASES

The MBTA is proposing a series of service cuts and fare increases.  Public transportation is a very important topic in terms of independent living, advocacy, and the disability community. Get more information here:

2012-mbta-fare-and-service-public-information-booklet

The MBTA is holding a series of public hearings from January 17 through March 6 to collect feedback.
Two local meetings will be held in Lynn & Salem – find more info and more meeting locations: http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/?id=23567
SALEM:  Wed., Jan 25, 6:00-8:00 PM    City Hall Annex, 120 Washington St, 3rd Flr Conference Room.
LYNN:  Tues., Feb 7,  6:00-8:00 PM  City Council Chambers, 3 City Hall Square
Meeting spaces are accessible to people with disabilities. American Sign Language interpreters and assistive listening devices will be provided. If you need an accommodation in order to fully participate in the meeting (e.g. alternate format of handouts, language translators, etc.),  please contact Trish Foley 617-973-7073 or fareproposal@mbta.com, at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.