New Public-Private Partnership Will Provide Jobs to Local Disabled Veterans

On the heels of this coming Veterans Day, the Methuen Home Depot and Career Resources Corporation (CRC) have announced they will join in a public-private partnership to provide jobs for disabled veterans across the Merrimack Valley who are seeking employment.

CRC, which is based in Haverhill, is a nonprofit that serves communities across the Merrimack Valley. For 47 years, it has worked to empower individuals with disabilities and other barriers to be successful and self-sufficient. The organization’s partnerships with Valley Works Career Center, the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center and the City of Haverhill Veterans’ Services have provided area veterans with comprehensive support to seek and maintain employment.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), who secured $125,000 in the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget toward CRC’s initiative to help disabled veterans find jobs, facilitated the recent meeting between CRC and the Methuen Home Depot that led to the partnership. The Methuen Home Depot will work with CRC to identify disabled area veterans in need of employment and potentially hire them for Home Depot jobs.

“Giving back is personal to The Home Depot,” said Carmen A. Fulchini, store manager of the Methuen Home Depot. “It is a part of our core values. More than 35,000 associates at The Home Depot have served or are currently serving in the military. Partnering with CRC allows us to give to those who have made the sacrifice for our country and also to let them be part of a productive and fun environment and to continue to have that feeling of contributing to make a difference. I want to thank Diana and the CRC for being dedicated to this and for allowing us to be a part of something that can help those in need”

“We are very excited to partner with the Methuen Home Depot to assist more veterans with disabilities in becoming employed,” said Brad Howell, chief executive officer at CRC. “Home Depot is a great example of a company that is willing to commit to making a difference in the lives of veterans. We are very appreciate of Representative DiZoglio who has supported CRC’s veteran’s program right from the beginning and continues to keep the needs of veterans foremost in her legislative and community work. ”

“As we approach Veterans Day, it is so important that we work together to address unemployment among our veterans, which remains high comparative to the overall population,” said DiZoglio. “These are men and women who have put their lives on the line for us and we need to do all we can to help them transition back into the community. I am grateful to CRC and the Methuen Home Depot for their commitment to joining forces in helping to put our unemployed disabled veterans back to work.”

DiZoglio Launches Parkinson’s Disease Caucus at State House

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), pictured alongside members of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Massachusetts chapters of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) and American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA), recently hosted a kick-off of the Massachusetts Legislature Parkinson’s Disease Caucus at the State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), pictured alongside members of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Massachusetts chapters of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) and American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA), recently hosted a kick-off of the Massachusetts Legislature Parkinson’s Disease Caucus at the State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) hosted a kick-off of the Massachusetts Legislature Parkinson’s Disease Caucus at the State House on Wednesday, November 4.

The purpose of the caucus, which will meet again in the spring, is to provide legislators an opportunity to come together with experts and advocates to learn more about Parkinson’s and consider legislative steps to address the neurological disease, which affects between 500,000 and 1.5 million Americans and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that 60,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with Parkinson’s. The exact cause of the disease remains unknown.

Co-hosting the Caucus kick-off were the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Massachusetts chapters of the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) and American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA). Among those in attendance for the caucus were the Offices of State Senators Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport) and Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover).

This past April, DiZoglio hosted Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day at the State House and sponsored a resolution, co-sponsored by 50 other legislators, proclaiming the month of April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in the Commonwealth.

“Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disease without a treatment to slow or halt its progression,” said DiZoglio. “I was honored to host the kick-off of the Parkinson’s Disease Caucus and look forward to continue raising awareness about the disease with citizens from the Merrimack Valley and across the Commonwealth. Thank you to North Andover’s Charles Brown, Massachusetts state director of the Parkinson’s Action Network, for his inspirational comments at the kick-off and for helping to launch the Caucus.”

“Representative DiZoglio has been a true friend to the Parkinson’s community here in Massachusetts,” said Charles Brown, Massachusetts state director of the Parkinson’s Action Network. “This caucus gives the Parkinson’s community a tool to communicate needed services to improve the quality of life for us, our caregivers, and family and friends. I don’t know where my future journey will lead me, but it’s full of hope that there will be a cure.”

House Passes Funding to Move Women Addicts Out of Prison, into Treatment Beds

Included in the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ FY16 supplemental budget, passed on October 28, was $5.8 million toward moving women, civilly committed under Section 35, out of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution (MCI) in Framingham and into a hospital facility for treatment.

Under Section 35 of the Commonwealth’s General Laws, persons battling substance abuse may be involuntarily committed at the request of a family member, doctor, guardian or police officer if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others. They are ordered by the court to undergo detox and treatment at a licensed facility.

Given the lack of treatment beds, however, women committed under Section 35 are often sent to MCI-Framingham, the only prison for women in the Commonwealth. Men are sent to the prison in Bridgewater but, unlike women at Framingham, receive treatment under medical supervision. Women at Framingham are strip-searched, given prison uniforms and housed with pretrial detainees.

At the very beginning of this year, in January, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) filed legislation to move Section 35 patients out of houses of correction and into hospitals. That legislation, House Bill 1790, An Act relative to safe in-patient alcoholism or substance abuse treatment, had its public hearing before the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse in September.

“Addicts deemed a danger to themselves or others need counseling and treatment, but the Section 35 law needs to be updated,” said DiZoglio. “That is why this past January, I filed legislation to move addicts committed under Section 35 out of prisons and into hospitals.”

On account of the increase in opiate addiction, Section 35 commitments have been rising dramatically in the Commonwealth. According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, there has been a 67 percent increase in Section 35 commitments since 2006.

“When there are no treatment beds at licensed facilities remaining, women committed under this statute have received unsatisfactory treatment while suffering the trauma of imprisonment,” said DiZoglio. “We must provide these women with comprehensive treatment, not jail time.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Charlie Baker also filed legislation to prohibit women from being civilly committed at Framingham.

“I am grateful to Governor Baker for his prioritizing of this issue as his administration addresses the Commonwealth’s opioid epidemic and also want to thank House Ways and Means Chairman Brian S. Dempsey for his leadership in ensuring these critical funds were included in the House supplemental budget,” said DiZoglio.