Monday, October 31, 2016

Attention Massachusetts Residents: Do you need to purchase or change your health insurance plan?


Open Enrollment for Health Insurance 
November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017 

Massachusetts Health Connector
  • Visit the Health Connector website to buy a commercial health plan and receive financial assistance if you qualify
  • Information you will need before you start your application:
    • Social Security numbers for all people who are applying (if they have one).
    • Immigration documents for all non-U.S. citizens who are applying (if they have one).
    • A copy of your federal tax return from last year. If you did not file taxes last year, or your income has changed since last year, have information about your current income ready (such as recent pay stubs or an unemployment award letter).
    • Home address or mailing address (if applicable) for everyone in your household who needs insurance, unless they are homeless.
    • If you are found eligible for coverage through the Health Connector and you plan to make a payment online, you will need your banking institution routing number and account number for either your checking or savings account (if you have a premium).
    • If you are found eligible for coverage through the Health Connector and you plan to make a payment by mail or in-person, you will need a personal check or money order to make a payment for your first month’s premium (if you have one).
    • If your employer offers health insurance, ask your employer these questions:
      • Do any of the health plans that the employer offers meet the “minimum value” standard?
      • What is the employee contribution to the lowest-cost health plan offered by your employer for an individual?
      • How often?
        • Weekly
        • Every 2 weeks
        • Twice a month
        • Monthly

___________________________________________

Below is a list of trained and certified Enrollment Assisters in Worcester who can help you from the application through the enrollment into a new health insurance plan. Call ahead to make an appointment.


Health Connector Walk-in Center
146 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Family Health Center of Worcester
26 Queens Street
Worcester, MA 01610
508-860-7700

Spectrum Health Systems
10 Mechanic Street, Suite 302
Worcester, MA 01608
Margaret Milani
508-752-2590 ext. 5341

Rebecca B. Asare,
Independent Broker
340 Main Street Suite 511-512
Worcester, MA 01608
508-981-3318

Saint Vincent Hospital
123 Summer Street
Worcester, MA 01608
508-363-5000

Edward M. Kennedy
Community Health Center
631 Lincoln Street
Worcester, MA 01605
508-854-3260

Edward M. Kennedy
Community Health Center
19 Tacoma Street
Worcester, MA 01605
1-800-853-2288

Trang Pharmacy Inc.
456 Park Avenue
Worcester, MA 01610
508-799-7979


Community Healthlink
72 Jacques Avenue
Worcester, MA 01610
508-373-7818

Community Healthlink
Outpatient Clinic
Thayer Building
12 Queen Street
Worcester, MA 01610
508-860-1260

Community Healthlink
162 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 016107
74-312-2727

UMass Memorial Medical Center
Memorial Campus
119 Belmont Street
Worcester, MA 01605
508-334-1000


UMass Memorial Medical Center
Hahnemann Campus
281 Lincoln Street
Worcester, MA 01605
508-334-1000

UMass Memorial Medical Center
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01605
508-334-1000

* information adapted from https://www.mahealthconnector.org/

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 2016 Staff Book Recommendations

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
By Jazz Jennings 


Who do you think of when you hear the word “transgender?” A drag queen? A radical liberal? Someone who's just confused? Who hates themselves? If there's anyone who defies the trans stereotype, it's Jazz Jennings. 

16-year-old Jaron "Jazz" Jennings knew she was a girl ever since she could remember. She transitioned from male to female at the tender age of five, and if you think gender reassignment surgery for children is a controversial decision now, there were perhaps twice as many objections to this issue a decade ago. But her parents never had any doubts, and it's largely the infinite support from her family that has led to her positive outlook on life. Soon after the transition, an interview with Barbara Walters sparked her role as one of the most visible and prolific representatives and advocates for the transgender community. 

From then on, her life has been in the public eye: from interviews to her YouTube channel, and most recently the TLC documentary series I Am Jazz. Jennings gives a refreshingly optimistic perspective, acknowledging how fortunate she's been to have experienced so many unique opportunities instead of dwelling on the adversities she has faced. She discusses at length her public life with a sense of awe, as if even after a decade of fame she's still--excuse me--jazzed about her life in the spotlight. I would have liked to learn more about her brief bout with depression, the haters she's crossed and the criticism her parents have received, but I can't complain too much because the book lifted my spirits. Before she was introduced to Obama, she'd been forewarned that time would not allow for much more than a handshake and a photo, but Obama deliberately "broke the 'no talking' rule." This is the effect the effervescent Jennings has on everyone she meets: you can't help but like her. 

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen is a great read for grades 6-12, and a great addition to LGBTQ literature. The end of the book includes an interview with the Jennings family as well as many additional resources (related reads, websites, and depression outreach services).

--Helen

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders 
By Joshua Foer, Ella Morton, and Dylan Thuras 

Do you ever want to explore far-off lands and places, and wander off the beaten path without leaving home? Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Ella Morton and Dylan Thuras offers a look at some of the more obscure places and objects throughout the world. Adapted from the popular website of the same name, Atlas Obscura chronicles over 600 of the world’s most obscure and intriguing tourist destinations, items and sites of interest. 

From the ancient, to the modern, Atlas Obscura lists and describes such places, objects and events as the Museum of Counterfeit Goods in Thailand, the World Elephant Polo Championships in Nepal, an ancient flooded city in China, and a lightbulb that hasn’t burnt out since it was installed 115 years ago in California. Along the way, Atlas Obscura also details other lists such as a selection of bizarre street-food eggs, and a catalogue of giant sculptures across Australia. 

The book itself is laid out well, with entries separated by country, and the entries also tend to feature good photographs or illustrations of the subjects. One issue that I had with the book was that many of the entries were interesting enough to warrant more information than the brief paragraphs included in the book. As I was reading, I found myself often pulling out my phone to look for additional information on many of the places listed. It would have been nice if more of the entries could have gotten at least a multiple page description. As a starting point for research, or to spark travel ideas, however Atlas Obscura is great. I also appreciated that the entries in question are actually obscure. I was familiar with some of the places and objects the book described, but most were new information for me. I would recommend this one for anyone interested in travel, history, or the obscure.

--Alex

A Promise of Fire
By  Amanda Bouchet 


A Promise of Fire is a fast-paced adventure containing elements of fantasy, romance, and suspense. One of the main reasons I decided to read this book was because of the marketing ploy on the inside cover that read: “If you like…cool world building, a kick-ass heroine, pulse-pounding adventure, snappy banter, and an uber-alpha warlord hero: you’ll love the Kingmaker Chronicles.” I wish all books had this unique feature! 

For the most part, this book delivers what it promises: “kick ass-heroine” Cat (Catalia Fisa) is pretty cool. She is the perfect companion to walk with through a back alley in a seedy town; she packs knives which she can throw with incredible precision, she can become invisible within seconds, and she can steal magic from others, such as Dragon’s Breath, which will obliterate anyone in her path. She can also communicate with Gods such as Poseidon, and Hades’ slobbery sidekick, Cerberus. 

In addition to Cat, we get to meet Griffin (also called Beta Sinta), the “uber-alpha warlord hero,” who is massive, commanding, and could cut someone with one look. In spite of his size and power, however, Griffin is very understanding and patient towards Cat even though most of the bruises and attacks he receives in the story are by her hand. These two strongly developed characters make this book a real find, but I also greatly enjoyed the scenes with the plethora of fleshed-out secondary characters, like Griffin’s rough and tough yet goofy fellow soldiers Flynn, Kato, and Carver. 

Even though this book is extremely well written and engaging, there are a few things that somewhat diminished my enjoyment of the story, namely, the love scenes. While scorching and very detailed, they are full of anguish and are exhausting to read. Throughout the story, Cat reveals snippets (mostly in the form of nightmares that plague her) of having a very tough childhood. While it is understandable why she carries so much angst and distrust towards others, at the same time, it is frustrating to witness her apathetic, and at many times, violent behavior towards those who are on her side.  Another drawback was that I was so far on the edge of my seat waiting to see if I was right about a big plot twist...and it was never revealed! 

The good news is there is a sequel in the making (Breath of Fire is due out next January) so hopefully The Kingmaker Chronicles will just keep getting better.

--Cara

The Passenger
By Lisa Lutz

If you ever find yourself considering life on the lam, read The Passenger by Lisa Lutz. From this book you will be able to create an impressive checklist of necessary supplies (hair color in every shade) and things to worry about when you make your great escape!

The thriller opens with the line “When I found my husband at the bottom of the stairs…” and doesn’t slow down much from there. Tanya Dubois, from whose point-of-view the action unfolds, pours herself a bourbon and ponders:  Should she call the cops to report her husband’s accident?  This would surely cause them to look closely at her and there are good reasons for her reluctance on that score. Unraveling those reasons will take the reader through eight chapters, each named after Tanya’s latest identity, on a road trip that gives new meaning to the term “reckless abandon.” 

In Tanya, Lutz has created a pragmatic, resilient, preternaturally independent protagonist reminiscent of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, and also crafts a few memorable characters, most notably, Blue the world-weary bartender from Austin, TX. Together Tanya and Blue embark on a Thelma and Louise-esque adventure that leaves the reader unsure of Blue’s true motives, despite Tanya’s impressive ability to size people up in an instant. Ultimately, it’s a combination of her intuition, quick thinking and keen observation of human behavior that ensure Tanya’s survival in every situation.

Readers will relish the vicarious thrill of Tanya’s devil-may-care life on the edge, while rooting for her happy-ending redemption at the same time. Lutz’ dry humor and storytelling acumen can also be enjoyed in her Spellman series.

--Christina

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Morningstar Investment Research Center--Online!

Did you know that Morningstar is available online at www.mywpl.org? All you need is your library card to access comprehensive financial information on New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, and NASDAQ stocks, find comprehensive financial information on thousands of mutual funds, including the Morningstar star rating, view information on hundreds of exchange-traded funds with up-to-date information on returns, reports and Morningstar ratings, and get return information on various investment indexes, types, sectors, and styles. You can also test drive easy-to-use portfolio tools and calculators to determine what your asset mix should be and how your investments are working together, access the newsletter archive, and take advantage of free monthly financial literacy training webinars listed under the “Help & Education” section.  Visit our homepage, click on Online Databases and select Morningstar.  It’s that easy.