Arbella raises $62K for hunger relief
QUINCY — The Arbella Insurance Group Charitable Foundation ("Arbella") has announced that the fourth year of its Let's Drive Out Hunger campaign has raised $61,775 to help combat New England's growing hunger issue. The initiative centers on a matching gift program in which Arbella matches donations from any of its nearly 500 independent agents on a 2-to-1 basis. This year, 88 agents participated in the campaign, one of several that the foundation supports to help alleviate hunger across the state.
More than 60 food pantries across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire received donations this year from the campaign.
"Arbella's Let's Drive Out Hunger program is helping to nourish the bodies and souls of those truly in need," said Charles Nahatis, an agent at Cape Anne Insurance Agency Inc., who donated to The Open Door food pantry in Gloucester. "We are proud to be involved in this initiative and are grateful for the unique opportunity Arbella has given us to help fight hunger within the communities in which we live."
A 2010 Greater Boston Food Bank study, updated every four years, reported that one in nine residents of Greater Boston is at risk of hunger. Moreover, the agency reported a 23 percent increase in requests for food assistance since 2005.
Gas prices up another 3 cents
BOSTON (AP) — The cost of a gallon of gas in Massachusetts has jumped three cents in the past week, but remains well below the national average.
AAA Southern New England reported Monday that self-serve, regular is now selling for $3.76 per gallon, eight cents more than a month ago.
The price is 13 cents below the national average of $3.89 per gallon.
A year ago at this time the state average was $3.46.
AAA found self-serve, regular as low as $3.63 per gallon and as high as $3.89.
Prices on Cape Ann on Monday ranged from $3.77 to $3.86 a gallon. To check prices on a daily basis, visit http://www.gloucestertimes.com/gas.
AG: Case would not affect health law
BOSTON (AP) — Attorney General Martha Coakley says the requirement that Massachusetts residents purchase health insurance is unlikely to be altered by any ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on a similar federal provision.
The high court began hearing arguments Monday on the constitutionality of the individual mandate contained in the 2010 federal health care bill.
Coakley told reporters in Boston that even if the Supreme Court were to strike down the federal provision, she did not believe it would affect the first-in-the-nation state law signed by then-Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006.
Coakley also noted that there had been no challenges to the Massachusetts law in the state courts.
In an earlier brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the so-called mandate, Coakley said it had been successful in expanding health care in Massachusetts.
State Senate to tackle energy bill
BOSTON (AP) — State senators plan to take up a multi-faceted energy bill later this week aimed at controlling electricity costs in Massachusetts while continuing to promote growth in renewable power sources.
Senate President Therese Murray has scheduled a vote for the bill on Thursday.
The measure, endorsed last week by a legislative committee, requires competitive bidding for long-term renewable energy contracts and increases the percentage of so-called green power that utilities must purchase.
Backers of the bill also say it will end "sweetheart" deals by reducing from 4 percent to 1 percent the guaranteed investment return that utilities receive from renewable energy contracts.
The legislation also calls for more frequent rate reviews by state regulators and, if necessary, would spread out rate increases over longer periods of time.
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