Volume 4, Issue 9 | September 30, 2022
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this finds you healthy and well. I enjoyed seeing so many of you at events in the district this September, from Hull's Endless Summer to the Hingham Council on Aging's 50th (+2) Celebration to my regular office hours at our libraries and senior centers. This newsletter includes some resources for the months ahead, highlights from a selection of recent events and announcements relevant to the district, and a brief public health update.

As always, constituent service is our top priority. In October, I will host four in-person office hours. If you cannot attend scheduled office hours, you are welcome to contact my staff to schedule a meeting.

Very truly yours, Joan
MA Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy Shares Resources for Months Ahead
To help manage increases in utility bills this winter, the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy has compiled a list of resources that can help. Please find these resources below:

Utility Payment Plans

Massachusetts' investor-owned utilities offer flexible payment plans, regardless of income, and potential balance forgiveness. Enrolling in a payment plan may protect you against shutoffs for up to 12 months with most utility companies. Please refer to the list at the bottom of this section for information to contact your utility.

Income-Eligible Assistance Programs

For customers with a household income not greater than 60 percent of the state median income, Massachusetts utilities offer a discount on a customer's total utility bill as well as individualized payment plans known as arrearage management plans (AMPs) where a customer can have some or all of their outstanding balance forgiven.* These customers can also apply at any time throughout the winter season for fuel assistance through the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Community action agencies can help walk you through the process of applying and answer any questions you may have.  

If you fall between 60 to 80 percent of the state median income, I encourage you to see if you may qualify for financial help from the Good Neighbor Energy Fund

Winter Heating Shutoff Protections

You are protected by Massachusetts law (MGL c.164, § 124F) from having your gas or electric utilities shut off from November 15, 2022, to March 15, 2023 if those services are used for heating. You will still be responsible for any unpaid bills when the shutoff ends. The Attorney General's office encourages customers to enroll in a utility payment plan, which also provides shutoff protections and avoids accumulating debt. As stated above, most utilities offer payment plans for up to 12 months. 

Energy Efficiency Audits

The nation-leading Mass Save energy efficiency programs run by the Massachusetts investor-owned utilities can provide you with information about how to reduce your energy use. This should lead to lower bills over time. In addition, income-eligible customers can participate in Mass Save's low-income offering, known as the Low-Income Energy Affordability Network.

*If your gas or electricity is provided by a municipal light plant, contact the plant to determine whether these programs are available to you.

Investor-Owned Utility Contact List
  • Eversource in Eastern Mass: 866-861-6225 
  • National Grid: 800-322-3223  
  • Unitil: 888-301-7700 
  • Liberty: 800-544-4944 
Representative Joan Meschino Joins Officials to Celebrate Smithsonian Exhibit Coming to Hull
On Friday, September 23rd, I joined colleagues, representatives of Mass Humanities, and members of the Rural Policy Advisory Commission to celebrate a successful kick-off of the Smithsonian Museum on Main Streets (MoMS) traveling exhibit “Crossroads: Changes in Rural America” at the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum (EHSSM).

MoMS began at the EHSSM and Essex Town Hall on September 10 with programming continuing through October 22. The next stop on the tour will be at the Hull Lifesaving Museum (10/30/2022 – 12/10/2022) followed by stops at the Rutland Free Public Library (12/18/2022 – 1/28/2023), Great Falls Discovery Center, Turners Falls (2/5/2023 – 3/18/2023), Bushnell-Sage Library, Sheffield (3/26/2023 – 5/6/2023) and Athol Public Library (5/14/2023 – 6/24/2023).

Be sure to plan your visit!
Representative Meschino (second from left) joins officials and legislative colleagues in Essex on September 23rd.
Marking 50 (+2) Years of the Hingham Council on Aging
Two years and a global pandemic after the original event was scheduled, I celebrated the Hingham Council on Aging's 50th Anniversary alongside colleagues and local officials. Many thanks to the Council for its ongoing efforts to support our seniors, and congratulations on 50+ years!

The Council on Aging serves in an advisory capacity to Hingham's Department of Elder Services, which provides programs, services, activities, and transportation for all residents 60 years of age and older. Elder Services also serves as a wealth of information to families, friends, and neighbors who may find themselves caring for an older person.
Representative Joan Meschino poses with Karen Johnson during the Hingham Council on Aging 50th + 2 Celebration.
Enjoying an Endless Summer
This year's Endless Summer celebration in Hull was one to remember! Congratulations to the organizers for a successful event; it was great to see so many of you by the beach before summer ended.
Left: Representative Meschino joins Congressman Stephen Lynch during the Endless Summer festival.

Right: Members of the Hull Garden Club and Representative Meschino pose for a photo.
Hull, Scituate Receive Funding from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' Dam and Seawall Program
On September 8th it was announced that Hull will receive $3 million for the reconstruction of the Nantasket Avenue seawall, and Scituate will receive nearly $6 million for the reconstruction of two segments of the Oceanside Drive seawall. These awards are part of $19.2 million in total grant funding awarded this year through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Dam and Seawall Program.

As sea levels continue to rise and storms intensify, our coastal infrastructure must be strengthened to protect our towns. This funding to repair this infrastructure is critical to our ongoing efforts to combat the climate crisis and invest in our coastal communities' resilience.
Announcing Office Hours

Constituent services are our top priority. My Chief of Staff and I continue to work remotely on Mondays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, a staff member will be present in the State House. I also host in-person office hours in the district.

If you would like to reserve a time slot for virtual office hours or outside of the times listed, please call the office at 617-722-2320 or email my Chief of Staff.

  • Monday, October 3, 10:00 - 11:00 am, Linden Ponds, for Linden Ponds Residents
  • Monday, October 3, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Hingham Public Library, 66 Leavitt St, Hingham
  • Monday, October 17, 10:00 - 11:00 am, Hull Council on Aging, 197A Samoset Ave, Hull
  • Monday, October 24, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Scituate Library, 85 Branch Street, Scituate

To learn more about our constituent services, please visit our website.
CDC Authorizes Updated Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Shot
The CDC has now endorsed the use of booster shots that are specifically reformulated to combat the two most prevalent Omicron subvariants. The CDC recommends that everyone 12 and older who has not received a vaccine within the past 2 months should get the updated booster. However, people who have recently had a COVID infection may consider delaying the booster by 3 months from symptom onset or positive test (if the infection was asymptomatic) according to the CDC’s vaccine advisers.

Updated boosters for kids younger than 12 will likely be made available later this fall. The push for the updated boosters comes at a good time, as health officials are warning that another spike in COVID-19 transmission is likely this fall as people head back indoors once again. The updated boosters are currently available in Massachusetts.
Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster
Here are the steps to find a convenient location to get a COVID-19 vaccine and booster:

  1. Visit the VaxFinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of locations. Residents are able to narrow results to search for locations that are offering vaccines and boosters, with appointments available now for booking.
  2. For individuals who are unable to use VaxFinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM-2 PM) is available by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts for assistance. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish. Translators are available in nearly 100 other languages.
  3. Parents who prefer to have their adolescent vaccinated by a primary care provider should call their provider’s office directly.

Vaccines are widely available in Massachusetts. Getting vaccinated is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves, their families, and the community.

The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. People do not need an ID or health insurance to get a booster shot and do not need to show a vaccine card when getting a booster. Additional information on the COVID-19 booster, including FAQs, can be found at mass.gov/COVID19booster.
General Resources

COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Tests, Cases & Treatment

Town-Specific Information on COVID-19
Basic Needs
  • Tool to find healthy foods
  • Free outdoor Wi-Fi map through the public libraries
  • Eviction Diversion Initiative website with resources for tenants, landlords, and others needing housing assistance
  • SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 877-785-2020
  • Mental Health Resources:
  • MassSupport for free mental health support resources
  • HandholdMA.org for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts concerned about their child's mental health
  • 24-hour Parental Stress Line at 1.800.632.8188, offered through Parents Helping Parents
  • Utilities:
  • The AGO website has a utility FAQ page and consumer flyers with details about available programs to manage bills and prevent shutoff
  • Boating Safety/Vessel Examination:
  • Contact United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 12 Commander Matthias Mulvey
Constituent Questions | 617-722-2320 | Office Contact Information
Contact my Campaign Team | Volunteer! | Donate

You are receiving this email because you signed up for our newsletter, or contacted us about a policy issue. We are pleased to share updates and other news with you. 
You can unsubscribe at anytime. Simply click the link below.