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Afternoon Briefs: Blood Donation Plea | MBTA Labor Seat | “Endangered” Manatees .: The State House News Service

Afternoon Briefs: Blood Donation Plea | MBTA Labor Seat | “Endangered” Manatees

  • Region's Hospital Heads Issue Plea For Blood Donations
  • AFL-CIO Gives Baker Three Options For MBTA Board Seat
  • Manatee Deaths Cited in New Push For "Endangered" Species Protections

Region's Hospital Heads Issue Plea For Blood Donations
Heads of the hospital associations in the six new England states, representing hundreds of hospitals and health care organizations, are teaming up to draw attention to what they describe as severe blood shortages facing providers. Steve Walsh of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, Steven Michaud of the Maine Hospital Association, Teresa Paiva Weed Hospital Association of Rhode Island, Jeff Tieman of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Jennifer Jackson of the Connecticut Hospital Association and Steve Ahnen of the New Hampshire Hospital Association jointly recorded a video encouraging people to donate blood to help hospitals perform life-saving procedures, treat emergency room patients with traumatic injuries, and otherwise care for some of their sickest and most vulnerable populations. "This is no ordinary decline in supply," Paiva Weed said. "It is unlike any shortage we have seen in years." Walsh says in the video that the groups are "uniting with a simple ask -- please make an appointment to donate blood today." The video directs viewers to the Red Cross website to make an appointment, and says they can also contact their local hospital about donation drives. On July 27, the American Red Cross said it had an "emergency need for lifesaving blood amid the ongoing severe blood shortage." The Red Cross was distributing about 12 percent more blood products to hospitals across the U.S. compared to the same time last year, and said it needed to collect more than 1,000 additional donations each day to meet current hospital demand an end the severe blood shortage. - Katie Lannan/SHNS

AFL-CIO Gives Baker Three Options For MBTA Board Seat
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO on Monday named three regional labor leaders to a shortlist for a spot on the new MBTA board of directors, the first names to emerge ahead of the panel's official launch. Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman tapped Robert Butler of Braintree, Northeast regional council president for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers union; Craig Hughes of Wilmington, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' Grand Lodge representative for the eastern territory; and Darlene Lombos of Boston, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, Tolman said all three "represent the Labor Movement's values and members who rely on the Commonwealth having a safe, reliable and equitable public transportation system." Baker must select one person from the trio of AFL-CIO nominees to serve on the new, seven-member MBTA Board of Directors, created in a law he signed last month to succeed the now-dissolved MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board. The governor will appoint four other board members: one with safety experience, one from a transit operations background, one with experience in finance, and one who is a rider from an environmental justice population. The secretary of transportation will serve in an ex officio role, and the independent MBTA Advisory Board that represents cities and towns will select the final member. Baker said last week that he expects to name members to the board "sometime in the next four to six weeks." - Chris Lisinski/SHNS

Manatee Deaths Cited in New Push For "Endangered" Species Protections
With Florida seeing a record number of manatee deaths this year, two Florida congressmen have introduced legislation that would designate the sea cows as an "endangered" species. The proposal by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Democrat U.S. Rep. Darren Soto would upgrade the status of manatees under the Endangered Species Act from "threatened," offering more protections. "Manatees are beloved, iconic mammals in Florida," Buchanan said in a prepared statement. "This year’s record-breaking number of manatee deaths is staggering and extremely concerning, which is why upgrading their ESA (Endangered Species Act) status is absolutely critical. We must do everything we can to protect these gentle giants and Florida's official marine mammal." Citing Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission statistics, a news release about the legislation said 890 manatees died during the first seven months of 2021, breaking the annual record of 830 manatee deaths in 2013. Many of this year’s deaths have occurred in areas of the East Coast where water-quality problems have caused a significant loss of seagrass, a key source of food for manatees. The animals were reclassified in 2017 as no longer being endangered. - News Service of Florida/SHNS


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