Catching up on the Little Stuff

Lottery-Is a $10 lottery ticket too much? Are we encouraging Baystaters to gamble? The state's first ten dollar ticket was so successful they've printed a new one, and they're predicting it will bring in twice as much money as the last one. This one is the $400,000,000 Spectacular.

O'Brien-Shannon O'Brien, state treasurer and Easthampton native, says you should be able to spend your dollars anyway you want. "My philosophy is from ancient times, whether it was building the aqueduct in Rome or Washington's Continental army, or Harvard and Brown building their campuses, selling lottery tickets has been a longstanding way to give people a voluntary way to pay for the public goodI'm of the opinion that adults have the right to spend their money as they see fit."

Bedding-Your tax dollars at work. Noise from Big Dig construction is rattling the beds of some of the folks in the construction area. Solution? Buy $2,000 bed frames for the residents to reduce the quaking and shaking. I am not kidding. They have to use their own mattresses.

Voters-We're at an all time high in Massachusetts. Some 4,000,218 of us have registered to vote. Two-thirds of the state's population. Of new voters signed up this year, 55 percent are unenrolled, 25 percent democrats. Republicans stayed at 14 percent.

Trash-Governor Cellucci says cities and towns are to blame for not meeting recycling goals. They collect the trash, not the state, he points out. The state's municipalities failed to meet the state's goal of recycling 46 percent of trash by this year. By about 10 percent.

Spending-Want to know how much I collected in campaign contributions last year? From whom? And how I spent the money? You can find out by accessing the state's Office of Campaign Finance page and find the latest finance reports from all candidates, winners and losers. Just go www.state.ma.us/ocpf/images/imagestart.html

Abuse-As many as 109,000 Massachusetts women experienced some form of abuse over a one year period, according to the state's public health officials. Most at risk are women aged 18 to 24. And, the incidents had nothing to do with race, income or education.

Keeping Track-Like all other states, Massachusetts public health officials have to keep track of a lot of things, by Federal mandate. For instance, consumption of fruits and vegetables, incidences of HIV and AIDs, weight control, exercise, health care access, tobacco, chronic disease. On its own, the public health department also keeps track of statistics on domestic abuse, calcium intake, osteoporosis, quality of life, oral health, asthma and disabilities.

Pregnancies-From those statistics, the state has found out that 31 percent of pregnancies are unplanned.

Overall, however, 72 percent of sexually active women in Massachusetts use birth control. This state ranks second in the nation in mammography screening and fourth in pap smear screening.

Safety belts-Massachusetts has compiled statistics on highway fatalities for 1995-1998. During those years, 1,198 were killed on our roads and highways. If all of them had buckled up, almost 600 of them would have survived. Massachusetts last year had an average safety belt use of 52 percent-46th in the nation. And, one of only three states to experience a decline in safety belt use in 1997 and 1998.

Just some of the things I learn, that you might like to know, as I work in the State House as your representative.

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