Stop & Shop union workers on strike
Around 30,000 Stop & Shop workers are on strike and encouraging people to boycott the 240 stores in the area. Stop & Shop is the largest grocery chain in New England and is also one of the last unionized grocery chains. The last contract with workers expired after three years on February 23 and now workers are protesting what they deem to be unfair wages and high health insurance premiums. The chain is owned by Dutch company Ahold Delhaize, which reported over $2 billion in profits last year. Ahold Delhaize is offering a pay increase of $0.50 an hour, not enough to counteract the $2-4 increase on insurance premiums. The workers have been on strike since last Thursday, April 11.
Boston Marathon ends in dramatic finish
Despite a rainy start and end, Marathon Monday, or Patriot’s Day as it is officially called, saw a large stretch of beautiful weather. This meant that signs at the Wellesley Scream Tunnel did not disintegrate and that fast runners finished dry. Exactly 20 kilometers from Wellesley College’s campus, the finish line was a source of great excitement, but for two very different reasons. Worknesh Degefa, who is 28 years old and hails from Ethiopia, won the women’s race by a landslide coming in at 2:23:31, 42 seconds ahead of the runner up. In fact, she was ahead for practically the whole race. In contrast, Lawrence Cherono from Kenya won by only 2 seconds. He and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia were neck and neck down Boylston street but in the end Cherono won by mere footsteps. The finish was the third closest in race history. It was both Degefa’s and Cherono’s first time running Boston while Desisa has won before.
Framingham study finds trees provide city with $400,000 economic boost
Using a grant and an economic model from the U.S. Forest Service, the city of Framingham found that its trees provide the city with services worth a significant amount of money. The study, called the South Framingham Urban Forest Inventory and Management Plan was done in South Framingham because the grant requires the study to be done in an environmental justice areas and the neighborhood has a high concentration of low income, non-English speaking and minority communities. The 3,500 trees in the area provide $169,000 in heating and cooling costs alone. They also help raise property values. The study, contracted out to the Davey Resource Group of Ohio, did not find all good news. It found that 19 percent of trees are Norwegian Maple, an invasive species and experts say no one species should make up more than 10 percent of the canopy cover. There are also not a lot of old trees. Most trees are maturing so if the old trees are lost, the benefits could go down dramatically as old trees provide the most services.