Monthly Archives: September 2008

8 posts

Reach Out and Read: Improving Childhood Literacy

CAMBRIDGE – Windsor Street Health Center, 119 Windsor St. #1 map
Cambridge Chronicle blog post: “Rep. Toomey reads to children at Windsor Street Health Center”
Reach Out and Read official website

Reach Out and Read (ROR) is a fantastic national children’s literacy program that focuses on young at-risk children who so often enter school unprepared to learn. By encouraging parents to read with their children from a very early age, and by providing developmentally and culturally appropriate books to children when they visit their pediatricians, Reach Out and Read addresses the very route of the problem of the gap in childhood literacy. Studies have shown that by exposing children to books at earlier ages, ROR has given many two-year-olds as much as a six-month head start developmentally, putting them on a course to be active, productive learners and members of their communities.

From Reach Out and Read

On Thursday September 25th I visited the Reach Out and Read affiliated Windsor Street Health Center in Cambridge to read aloud to a group of young children from the CAAS Head Start program. The three books that they had selected for me to read, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and David Gets in Trouble, were perfect for the occasion and for the age-group. It seemed like many of the children were familiar with the stories, and they chimed in to help me with some of their favorite lines.

From Reach Out and Read

It was a great experience, and I think that I probably had just about as much fun as the children did. I’m proud to have been able to participate in and to support this outstanding program, and I look forward to making many more visits like this one in the future.

2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session Update

At the end of July, the House and the Senate wrapped up the 2007-2008 formal session with a list of legislative accomplishments that will help to significantly improve our state’s economy, environment, health care system and aging infrastructure.

The extent of our broad-reaching achievements in the legislature is in part thanks to our new Governor Deval Patrick – it is great to again have a democratic partner in the executive office to help us work towards a better Massachusetts for all citizens across the state.

The following sections detail highlights of important bills and spending initiatives passed and signed into law during the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session:

In the increasingly difficult and unstable fiscal climate, it is now more important than ever to the residents of Cambridge and Somerville that their elected officials on Beacon Hill are working to ensure their safety, the quality of their schools and hospitals, their economic stability, the sustainability of their environment and their quality of life. I’m proud to say at the end of the 2007-2008 formal legislative session that we have taken significant steps to address each of these areas, and that the productive efforts of the legislature will have a positive and meaningful impact on the citizens of our communities for many years to come.

From the Green Communities Act to the Child Abuse and Neglect Bill, from the Environmental, Housing and Transportation Bond Bills to the Municipal Partnership Act and increased local aid and Chapter 70 school aid, the wide range of initiatives signed into law over the past year and a half will benefit children, families, taxpayers and municipalities throughout the commonwealth.

I would like to thank the hundreds of people who called, emailed, and wrote in over the last year for making your voice heard on these important issues in the state and in our district. Please feel free to look through this legislative update and contact my office if you have any further questions or to let me know about your priorities going forward into the next session.

Local Bills

Cambridge:

Public Salaries to Municipal Employees Serving Overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan:
This landmark local Home Rule bill authorized the City of Cambridge to pay full salaries and benefits to municipal employees serving in theaters of combat overseas such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill also ensures that any such employee will not lose any seniority or accrued vacation leave while serving our country.
Chapter 153 of the Acts of 2007

Somerville:

Establishment of a Municipal Hearing Officer:
The creation of the position of Municipal Hearing Officer in the City of Somerville provides a venue for residents to dispute citations for violations of local ordinances without being required to appear in district court.
Chapter 106 of the Acts of 2008

Updating the City’s Charter:
This expansive piece of legislation provided for many simplifications and modernizations of Somerville’s Charter and the Department of Public Works: it created divisions of highways, engineering, waterworks, and buildings within the Department of Public Works; it allows for the mayor, with the approval of the board of aldermen, to eliminate existing divisions and create new ones as deemed necessary by the city; it created the position of superintendent for each new division of Public Works; and, it mandates the annual appointment of the superintendent of each division by the mayor subject to the approval of the board of aldermen.
Chapter 112 of the Acts of 2008

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Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session: