Faculty at a Massachusetts high school have canceled “USA Day” from its spirit week activities this year because they wanted to “avoid politics,” local outlets reported this week.
In a letter to the school community, Wellesley High School principal Jamie Chisum explained that school staff canceled the patriotic-themed day to avoid a topic that had become “politicized.”
“USA Day” was slated to be held on the last day of the high school’s festive week, allowing kids to dress up in their patriotic gear and celebrate America. The theme was replaced by “Fitness Friday,” though students were still invited to wear their patriotic apparel.
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Student Unification Program member Olivia Spagnuolo spoke to local Boston 25 about the school’s decision, saying it was not open for debate. “The administration was not going to let this happen. It wasn’t a topic for discussion,” she said.
Spagnuolo’s group had been tasked with coming up with the daily themes for this year’s spirit week, which included “Throwback Thursday” as well as “Wild West Wednesday.”
The week of festivities has always been part of building up school spirit leading up to the school’s annual Thanksgiving football game.
Spagnuolo explained the administrators’ decision, saying, “They said it was not allowed because it separated people at the school.” The Student Unification Program also noted that this is not the first year that the idea for a patriotic spirit day has been vetoed.
Chisum’s letter provided more detail on the move, stating, “The high school Administration decided not to go forward with that spirit theme because it felt really different than the other themes kids came up with for the week. We felt that the topic has been politicized beyond our school and we wanted to avoid politics.”
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“We’ve had Mismatch Monday, Tropical Tuesday, Western Wednesday, Team Jersey Thursday and today was Fitness Friday. Monday is Monochrome Monday and Tuesday is Pajama day. Spirit Week is intended to be a light and fun way for our students to get excited about our pep rally and Thanksgiving Day football game,” he added.
The principal also apologized for the decision creating controversy and frustration among the community.
“We acknowledge that the impact for some people has been just the opposite of our intention and that we have inadvertently politicized this activity. I am definitely sorry for any negative effect this has had on kids and families.”
A local parent told local reporters that the decision is “absurd,” adding, “I think it’s sad and depressing we’re at this state that celebrating the United States is political.”
Chisum did not immediately reply to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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After complaints, speed limit reduced on stretch of Massachusetts Ave. in Md. – WTOP News
The speed limit has been reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph along a busy stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in Maryland between Sangamore Road and Westmoreland Circle.
The speed limit has been reduced from 35 mph to 30 mph along a busy stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in Montgomery County, Maryland, between Sangamore Road and Westmoreland Circle.
Erich Florence, deputy district engineer for the Maryland State Highway Administration’s District 3 office, told WTOP the change came after a review of speeding patterns and years of complaints about speeding along the four-lane stretch of the road.
The X account Cordell Traffic was the first to report the change in speed limit.
The agency, Florence said, initiated a study of the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in 2019, but the pandemic delayed any changes. It launched a spot-speed study, in which engineers used radar guns or speed strips to determine speeding patterns in both directions.
Then, the agency used the 85th percentile, which Florence said is the most popular speed, to determine what changes in speed limits should be made.
Changes are generally made in increments of 5 mph, Florence said. It’s rare for there to be a 10 mph change, whether it be an increase or decrease.
“A lot of this feedback we received was just basically speeding,” Florence said. “Speeding because we have several schools in the area, several businesses, we have several marked crossings.”
Over the last three years, Florence said many people have been using the agency’s online feedback system to complain about speeding along the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in Maryland.
Since the speed limit was changed, which Florence said happened within the last month, the agency hasn’t received any feedback. However, he said the speed limit has been changed with success on other major roadways, such as Georgia Avenue.
The agency often uses what it calls a “post-study analysis” to determine whether a speed limit change is altering driving behaviors, Florence said.
“We make sure the speed limit matches the character and the type of the roadway,” Florence said.
Elizabeth Dietel, who lives nearby, said she and her neighbors had been advocating for a change to the speed limit for several years, with little success. But when a new neighbor, who walked her kids to local day cares, recently expressed similar concerns, she started the process of calling for a change again.
Many drivers, Dietel said, speed up when driving down the stretch of Massachusetts Avenue.
“My street is the first street after the circle, and I have to make a left turn to get to my house,” Dietel said. “I’m surprised I haven’t been rear-ended, because cars come zooming around and switch lanes to avoid me. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
There’s heavy traffic during the morning and evening rush hours, Dietel said.
“I don’t know whether [the speed limit change] is going to help, but it’s a start,” she said.
Massachusetts budget approval allows utilities to recoup added cost of hydropower corridor
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A budget signed by Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey this week will allow utilities to raise rates to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs to complete a transmission line to bring Canadian hydropower to the New England electricity grid.
The head of Central Maine Power Co.’s corporate parent Avangrid has said the cost of the $1 billion project grew to $1.5 billion as litigation delayed construction and inflation caused prices to creep upward.
Legislation included the supplemental budget adopted Monday allows transmission service agreements to be renegotiated and additional costs to be passed along to Massachusetts ratepayers to cover the added costs.
Avangrid provided the increased costs to Massachusetts’ electricity distribution companies to adjust the rate in the parties’ transmission services agreements, which would be subject to Department of Public Utilities review and approval, Avangrid spokesperson Leo Rosales said in a statement Tuesday.
He praised Healey and lawmakers for taking action to “deliver this critical project and needed clean power to benefit the entire New England region.”
Avangrid partnered with Hydro-Quebec on the New England Clean Energy Connect to supply 1,200 megawatts of hydropower to meet green energy goals in Massachusetts. That would be enough electricity to power about a million homes.
The 145-mile (233-kilometer) transmission line will stretch from Lewiston, Maine, to the Canadian border.
It received all regulatory approvals but was plagued by delays, litigation and a referendum in which https://apnews.com/article/election-2021-maine-hydropower-line-54dea1a948e9fc57a667280707cddeb7
It was allowed to move forward after a Maine jury concluded that the developers had a constitutional right to proceed despite the referendum.
Construction resumed in August on a transmission hub that’s critical to the project in Lewiston. But it’s unclear when other work will restart.
Workers had already begun removing trees and setting utility poles on a disputed portion of the project, a new 53-mile (85-kilometer) section cut through the woods in western Maine, before the project was put on hold.
The project was envisioned to meet Massachusetts’ clean energy goals, and the cost is fully borne by ratepayers in that state.
However, supporters say electricity would lower energy costs across New England as well as reduce carbon pollution.
Three Massachusetts hospitals ranked among best in US for maternity care
BOSTON – Three Massachusetts hospitals rank among the best in the country for maternity care, according to U.S. News & World Report.
The magazine gave a “high performance” ranking to Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
How U.S. News determined the best maternity hospitals
Hospitals were ranked in a number of categories, including cesarean section rates, newborn complications and breast milk feeding rates.
U.S. News collected data from 680 hospitals, and determined 311 are “deserving of recognition for offering high quality maternity care.” The ranking focused on “uncomplicated” pregnancies, as opposed to those that are high-risk.
The magazine provided maternity scorecards for Mass General, Beth Israel and UMass Memorial. Beth Israel stood out for being “excellent at minimizing avoidable C-sections.” And at UMass Memorial, reported newborn complications were the rarest among the three.
Click here to see the other Massachusetts hospitals evaluated for maternity care.
Boston-area hospitals have long been recognized among America’s best. Mass General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital made the U.S. News “Best Hospitals Honor Roll” earlier this summer. And in June, the magazine named Boston Children’s Hospitalfor pediatric care.
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