The Best Ways to Play The Games of The Massachusetts State Lottery

Instant Win Scratch Tickets

Have you ever been to a corner store and witnessed an unusual flood of people there, many in and out of their cars, some just sitting mesmerized in a trancelike state, and wondered, 'what on earth is going on here'? What you have just witnessed is the result of a new release of an Instant Win Scratch Ticket from the Massachusetts State Lottery. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that it's all about entertainment and money. There really is only one thing capable of generating that type of excitation at corner stores and 'quick stop gas stations' throughout the state so, there's also no wondering why the state holds a 'legalized monopoly' on the industry.

You may however, have wondered, 'how do all those people know when a new instant win game is released'? The answer is, they watch for new release announcements on the New Lottery Instant Game Tickets page of the Massachusetts State Lottery Official Web Site. In this way they are always apprised of new opportunities to hit the jackpot.

As for the mysterious furor of it all, it can be explained simply with what's well know through the 'scratching community', in an attempt to gain popularity for a game, each new instant games release is scheduled with winning tickets.

So, now a week as gone by and the crowds have dissipated at the 'scratching posts' and you have some former candidates burning a hole in you pocket. Short of a cold shower, you decide what to do, buy yourself some instant win lottery tickets! Now comes the dilemma, which games tickets to buy? Before extinguishing those fiery historical figures, refer to the Instant Prizes Claims page of the Massachusetts State Lottery Official Web Site. Additionally you may want to check the Instant Prizes Under 1,000,000 page.

What you are looking for is the claimed vs. total columns on the right side on both of the listing pages. By scanning those two columns you can easily see how many prizes are both available and claimed. Now at this point it becomes perfectly obvious that you only want to purchase tickets for games that have more unclaimed prizes than claimed prizes. After all, why throw away your hard earned money on a 46 claimed prizes out of 50 available prizes game ticket when you can purchase a 28 vs. 66 or 18 vs. 80 and have something on the order of 30 to 60 more chances of winning the grand prize amount! Granted though, all those winners will not be in circulation at the time of your purchase.

This begs the question of how much money to spend on your instant win ticket purchase. Most "professional 'scratchers'" remark, you must spend at least $ 100 on one game at one time to have any real chance of winning a jackpot, claiming, you really need some full fresh sheets of tickets in order to better your chances of your scratching revealing that jackpot. However conviction dictates you can only buy as many scratch tickets as your budget will allow. So, if spending $ 100 simply is not in your budget today, sometimes over time, putting some money aside for a 'new instant win release treat day' would be an acceptable way to both play by the 'rules' and, make it relatively' affordable 'to do so.

Cash WinFall

A 'one wheel' game, Cash WinFall, being the Massachusetts State Lotteries newest game, has an interesting twist on its jackpot. The money is rolled down to lesser winners! If no grand prize has been won before the jackpot pool reaches $ 2 Million, that $ 2,000,000.00 or more then gets dissipated through to all lower level wins of that draw. Meaning, if the jackpot is $ 2 Million or more, and there is no jackpot winner, that $ 2 Million goes to all the prize winners in that drawing. Pretty neat! Now it's quite obvious when to play Cash WinFall!

Mega Millions

A two wheel game, Mega Millions is the Massachusetts version of the highly popular multi state game PowerBall. Being a 2 wheel game, the odds are quite high against picking all 6 winning numbers. In fact they are quite a bit higher than PowerBall odds. One would naturally assume because the odds are higher, there would be less frequent winners with higher jackpots. That simply is not the case. PowerBall has jackpot winners, on average over the past year, approximately once every 6 weeks (8 winners) with 9 figure jackpots numbering 4. While Mega Millions has jackpot winners, on average once every 4 weeks (14 winners) ) with 9 figure jackpots also numbering 4. One can reasonably assert that those figures are a result of the participation states population and economic demographics.

So how do all those people win? The Official Web Site of Mega Millions states quite clearly on its Winning Picks page [] that 'Lottery games such as Mega Millions are random and it is impossible for anyone or any lottery analysis software to predict exactly what will be the next drawn balls. However, patterns can still be observed from the balls that are randomly drawn for different periods of time ' . That being said, you can obviously have a better chance of winning through a lottery related form of Statistical Analysis . For more information on Statistical Analysis and how it applies to the Massachusetts State Lottery, visit So, when should you play this game? You should really only play Mega Millions about the 4th week after every jackpot winner!

The Numbers Game

A 4 wheel game and the oldest of the Massachusetts State Lottery Games, The Numbers Game has been in operation since 1975. More than 10,000 drawings have made players the happy winners of tens, hundreds and, thousands of dollars every day. Number odds being quite reasonable, one would assume winning this game to be reliably easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, the way you are forced to play this game aids in stacking the odds much farther against you than you may think. With it's all 4 any 4, first 3 last 3 any or exact, 2 digit combinations, .25c, .50c, $ 1, $ 2, and $ 5 play options, coupled with payouts less than $ 10,000, playing this game is a real challenge, as too is it's worthiness of being played. What the designers of this old lottery game looks to have overlooked is, it's not how to play but what you win, something the newer games embrace fully. That being said, The Numbers Game does have its merits. There are lots of people out there who only want to bet .25c or .50c and, not even Keno offers that option. What this game really needs is a simple 'any 3' option including a '$ 5 only' bet and a maximum $ 500 payout. That alone could catapult the popularity of The Numbers Game to stratospheric levels. So what's the best way to play this game? .25c and 50c bets only, any combinations you want. The layman perspective is, pick 4 out of 40 on The Numbers Game and maybe win $ 10,000. Pick 5 out of 35 on MassCash and definitely win $ 100,000, spending $ 1 or more should be saved for MassCash.


An older 'one wheel' game that, since its inception in 1991, has paid its $ 100,000 jackpot to more than 2500 winners! With its reasonable odds and reasonable payouts it's easy to see why this older game continues to be popular. With jackpot winners nearly every drawing, and multiple winner too, you can play this game whenever it's drawn!


An older 'one wheel' game that, since itsception in 1982, has paid more than 1700 winners varying prize amounts totaling about $ 2.5 Billion. A fairly tough game to win, jackpot winners are, on average, paid out every 10 -12 drawings. So, naturally you only play this game every 10 – 12 draws after a jackpot winner.


A 'newer one wheel' computer driven game and a masterpiece of modern gambling Keno, is designed for people with a lot of time on their hands. After all, where else can you have a chance to win $ 1 Million every 5 minutes 21 hours a day, 6 days a week, and 13 hours on Sunday! When should you play this game? Whenever you've had just enough to drink to think you can actually pick 12 of the 20 numbers drawn from a pool of 80. Seriously, Keno is a very fun game and, when played correctly, can create hours of enjoyment for little to no money spent. In fact people have been known to play all night and leave no poorer than when they started! How is that? Keno allows you to win if you do not pick any of the winning numbers! Amazing! Well, maybe not all that amazing as Lottery Officials have obviously figured out that it's harder to not pick any of the winners than to pick 1, 2, 3 or 4 winners when playing a 12, 11 or 10 spot game as you do not win anything for picking less than 5 winning numbers. But, if you are the unluckiest person around you could win all night long! So how do you play this game? The odds are just as good winning a prize on the 7 spot wager as the 1 spot wager so play the 7 spot although the best over all odds are on the 2 spot wager. Simply show up, pick you numbers, pay for however many games your visit will cover and, cash out when you leave.

Source by Jim Corbett

Developing the Next Generation of School Leaders in Massachusetts

Call it what you will: building management capacity, growing a new crop of potential leaders, or just planning ahead. However you want to describe it, there's a real need for it in Massachusetts.

Fact: In recent years, school districts have found it increasingly difficult to fill many top positions. In some cases, few (or no) qualified candidates even apply.

If you accept the promise that the teachers of today are the school administrators of tomorrow, we need to redouble our efforts to develop more leaders from within the teaching ranks. We need to do so immediately.

Granted, some positive efforts are already underway. To help fill the gap, professional organizations such as the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association (MSSAA) and the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) have established their own programs to train teachers to enter management. MSSAA runs a Leadership Licensed Program (LLP) and a Leadership Licensation Program – Superintendent (LLPS). MAVA runs a Leadership Academy for Middle Managers (Leadership Academy I) and a Leadership Academy II to train future Principals and Superintendents.

The Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials (MASBO) runs a licensing program for would-be School Business Managers. The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS) runs an Induction Program for newly-appointed Superintendents.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) helps fund many of these programs.

These are all commendable efforts, but more must be done.

As a veteran school administrator, I believe that school districts and the leaders in them have an obligation to help fill this management gap. And I think we can do it, with little cost or effort.

Here are five specific ideas for school superintendents to consider:

Idea # 1: Annually enroll at least one staff member in an MSSAA or MAVA leadership program.

• Advantages: Steady buildings management capacity, at a reasonable annual cost of $ 2,000- $ 8,000. May be eligible for funding through one of the district's federal entitlement grants.

• Possible negatives: There's a cost. Teachers who receive the training may leave the district.

Idea # 2: Establish in-school internship programs to get more teachers licensed to take administrative jobs.

School districts already have mentoring programs for teachers. Simply expand yours to include an internship program for aspiring administrators. In a formal program, team up aspiring administrators with current administrators who are willing to share insights with their protégé and guide them through a series of practical projects.

• Advantages: There's little or no cost to the district. And it's easy to get such programs approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Education. Upon successful competition, teachers earn administrative licenses.

• Possible negative: You need mentors for each of the teachers. Teachers need to put in hundreds of hours of work to obtain a license. Teachers may encounter confidential information. Teachers who receive a license may leave your district.

Idea # 3: Allow teachers to take part in the budget development process.

• Advantages: No cost to the district. Simple way to train teachers to develop annual spending plans. Many would-be administrators have no experience in this key area.

• Possible negative: Teachers may get access to confidential information. Current administrators lose some measure of control.

Idea # 4: Let teachers take part in real planning, on important topics to the school.

Including teachers in self-studies / and planning for Coordinated Program Reviews and visits by regional accreditation teams.

• Advantages: No cost to the district. Gives teachers practical experience in areas of planning that administrators actually encounter regularly.

• Possible negatives: Teachers are likely to avoid problems within the school of which they were previously unaware. Current administrators may feel loss of control.

Idea # 5: Let teachers do some of the real "heavy lifting" in the school.

Do not isolate them. Involve them. Ask them to do substantive presentations to the School Council or School Committee. Have them make presentations to Town Meeting or the City Council.

• Advantages: No cost to the school. Hones public presentation skills. Many would-be administrators, while comfortable in a classroom, have no experience making presentations to large public bodies. This is a key skill.

• Possible negatives: Teachers are likely to avoid problems within the school of which they were previously unaware. Teachers may make errors in public. Current administrators may feel loss of control.

Sharp-eyed superintendents will notice that these ideas cost little or nothing. They do not require a tremendous amount of work by the district. And they do not require added personnel.

But they have a big payoff: They help would-be administrators develop key skills. And they help build management capacity in the teaching ranks.

Source by Steven C Sharek

What Happens to Client Files When a Collaborative Case Fails: The Massachusetts Rule for Lawyers

You have represented a client in a Collaborative Law case. Your whole professional team has done its best. At the end of the day, though, the parties have decided in good faith that they are no longer willing to negotiate and need a court to provide them with clarity. Your client pays you in full, but then requests for a copy of her files. What documents do you need to turn over? Do they include the analysis of the parties' rights and obligations you prepared for an offline conversation with the other lawyer? Does it not seem inconsistent with the whole notice of a Collaborative process to turn over a roadmap for a lawsuit to the next professional in line? You are especially mindful of Standard 5.5 of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals' Ethical Standards for Collaborative Practitioners, which calls on you to avoid contributing to the conflict of the client.

There are two new developments to give us guidance. On July 1, 2015, the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility released Formal Opinion 471, "Ethical Obligations of Lawyer to Surrender Papers and Property to Which Former Lawyer is Entitled." On the same day, a new version of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct became effective, which preserves a deviation from the ABA Model Rules.

The ABA opinion notes that there are two lines of cases, the more common "entire file approach," under which a lawyer must turn over the entire file with only a few commonly recognized exceptions, and the "end product approach," in which a client is entitled to the end product of a lawyer's work but not necessarily all the documents that lead up to it. The opinion then explores some of the nuances of these definitions. For instance, documents often do not need to be disclosed under the entire file approach if disclosure would violate a duty to a third person, such as private attorney form files used in drafting documents.

Massachusetts follows a version of the minority rule, the end product approach, which is embodied directly in the text of the Commonwealth's variation of the Rules. Rule 1.16 (e) is a holdover from the former Code of Professional Conduct. It states that a lawyer must turn over the following to a client at the end of representation:

"(1) all papers, documents, and other materials the client provided to the lawyer.

"(2) all pleadings and other papers filed with or by the court or served by or upon any party. The client may be required to pay any copying charge consistent with the lawyer's actual cost for these materials, unless the client has already paid for such materials.

"(3) all investigatory or discovery documents except those for which the client is then subject to pay under the fee agreement but has not paid, including but not limited to medical records, photographs, tapes, disks, investigative reports, expert reports, depositions , and demonstrative evidence. The lawyer may at his or her own expense retain copies of any such materials.

"(4) if the lawyer and the client have not entered into a contingent fee agreement, the client is entitled only to that portion of the lawyer's work product (as defined in subparagraph (6) below) for which the client has paid.

"(5) if the lawyer and the client have entered into a contingent fee agreement, the lawyer must provide copies of the lawyer's work product (as defined in subparagraph (6) below) The client may be required to pay any copying charge consistent with the lawyer's actual cost for the copying of these materials.

"(6) For purposes of this paragraph (e), work product shall consist of documents and tangible things prepared in the course of the representation of the client by the lawyer or at the lawyer's direction by his or her employee, agent, or consultant , and not described in paragraphs (2) or (3) above. Examples of work product include without limitation legal research, records of witness interviews, reports of negotiations, and correspondence.

"(7) notwithstanding anything in this paragraph (e) to the contradiction, a lawyer may not reflect, on grounds of nonpayment, to make available materials in the client's file where retention would prejudice the client unfairly."

In other words, if the client has paid for "work product" in a Collaborative matter, the lawyer must turn it over. However, even though the definition of "work product" broadly includes "documents and other tangible things" produced by the lawyer in the course of representation, the examples include only end-product items. What does this mean? You must turn over:

-A written analysis you have prepared at the client's request, whether you have previously sent it to the client or not; and

-Legal research you have done as part of your analysis

The Massachusetts rules do not specifically address a lawyer's personal notes, drafts or internal memoranda, although the Opinion notes that other these items need not be disclosed in other jurisdictions that follow the end product rule. It is unclear which line of reasoning the Supreme Judicial Court would follow. In the absence of specific direction, the better approach may be to tread lightly: consider carefully what you put in writing, since you may need to turn it over to successor counselor.

Source by Jeffrey N Fink

A Limousine Trip To Plymouth Massachusetts

One is never restricted as to how a limousine can be chartered – whether it is for your business or pleasure use. Whether it is going to a long journey or a short trip, hiring a limousine for your travel needs in Plymouth, Massachusetts is never a bad idea.

When you book a limousine for your trip to Plymouth, you can be rest assured that you will be able to enjoy your holiday with your friends and loved ones without having to stress yourself out driving and asking for directions to the places that you want to go , looking for a parking space, or having to get done in a bad traffic, as these are all taken care of by your limousine driver.

Once you have gathered all your friends for that special trip to Plymouth, your limousine driver is more than ready to pick all of you up and start your journey. Perhaps if you and your friends are into some sight seeing on the waters, you may want to tell your limousine driver to take you to Mayflower II State Pier, for you to cruise Plymouth Harbor in comfort on the Pilgrim Belle, which is a Mississippi- style paddlewheeler. Due to the protected nature of Plymouth Harbor, you and your limousine friends will have a smooth ride on Pilgrim Belle.

On the Pilgrim Belle, you and your limousine friends may choose to sit outside on the spacious sundeck while sipping your favorite drinks, or enjoy some food and cocktails (for those 21 years and older only) at their galley. Do not forget to ask the bartender about the Paddlewheel Punch! Taking a cruise aboard the Pilgrim Belle is definitely a perfect way to get acquainted with Plymouth and the cruise takes just over an hour.

Next, you and your limousine friends may want to experience some whale watching and you will find that at Captain John Boats and they have now expanded its education program for both public and charter whale watches. You will also get to listen to your naturalist who will describe historic points to you and your limousine friends. When you pass Gurnet Light and leave Plymouth Harbor, take a walk down below inside the main cabin and join the naturalists for a short introductory video – that features sequences of the most common whales, dolphins and porpoises that migrate to New England waters to feed through the season. This is not just a whale watch experience, but a marine wildlife cruise that you will remember for a long time to come!

After that, you can ask your limousine driver to take you to Hearth 'n' Kettle at the John Carver Inn for some unique dining experience in an attractive Colonial setting. When you and your limousine friends finally climb back into the limousine to head home after dinner, you can have a peace of mind knowing that your limousine driver will send you home safely.

Source by Marsha Maung

Massachusetts Loan Officer Licensing

Massachusetts just recently passed legislation making additional requirements for prospective licensees. Among those changes were audited financial requirements, increased bond requirements, and other minor changes. This has made it difficult for smaller mortgage brokers to get licensed since they do not have they time or money to complete audited financials. Audited Financials often can cost between $2,000 to $10,000 to complete and weeks of gathering paperwork for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Massachusetts has now passed another bill requiring loan officers to be licensed. Details have not been released about exactly what the timeframes will be for licensing, but with the US Senate looking at a bill to require Loan Officer licensing in every state, we may see more of this soon.

New licensing requirements should be coming out very soon. I am expecting the state of Massachusetts to require fingerprint background checks, tests, continuing education, and a hefty fee between $200 to $300 per Loan Officer.

Massachusetts Senate Passes Homeownership Protection Legislation

The Massachusetts Senate passed House Bill 4306, a bill protecting and preserving home ownership on October 25, 2007. The bill, which the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed on October 18, will be returned to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

Highlights of the legislation include:

o New requirement for loan originator licensure;

o 90 day right to cure to borrowers of owner-occupied family homes who default on a mortgage payment;

o Felony or misdemeanor offense for mortgage brokers or lenders operating without a license;

o $3 million appropriation to fund staff at the Division of Banks to implement and enforce mortgage loan originator licensure; and

o $2 million appropriation to fund at least 10 foreclosure education counseling centers through the Division of Banks.

The legislation also offers incentives to lenders to revise adjustable or variable rate home loans to fixed terms.

Source by Steven Sheasby

The Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law

In Massachusetts, a Habitual Traffic Offender is someone who, in any rolling 5 year period, has three or more convictions for operating under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident; or twelve or more convictions for other reportable violations such as speeding, failure to stop for a red light or stop sign, failure to stay within marked lanes, etc,

When determining whether someone qualifies as a habitual traffic offender, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles uses conviction dates and not the dates upon which the motor vehicle offenses were committed. Also, out of state convictions are counted just as if they had occurred in Massachusetts. Once someone is declared a Habitual Traffic Offender, the accumulation of any new qualifying violations will generate additional Habitual Traffic Offender license revocations unless and until the older violations drop outside of the rolling 5 year HTO look-back period.

It is possible to become a Habitual Traffic Offender overnight, in a single incident. For example, suppose a driver is convicted of operating under the influence, which is commonly referred to in Massachusetts as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. This is a common scenario where a driver is alleged to have crashed into something and left the scene, because he or she had been drinking. In addition to the license suspensions associated with the DUI and the 60 day suspensions for leaving the scene and negligent operation, the driver will automatically be declared a face a Habitual Traffic Offender and face four (4) year revocation of his or her license or right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.

Someone could lose their license for four (4) years, as a Habitual Traffic Offender, by accumulating minor violations such as speeding tickets over any rolling 5 year period. It is for this reason that drivers should not only drive carefully, but they should also consider appealing traffic citations within the 20 appeal period. Once labeled as Habitual Traffic Offenders, many people regret not having appealed their tickets. Once the 4 year license revocation is triggered, it is too late to appeal.

The good news for Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offenders is that both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance can consider you for a limited 12 hour hardship license, after you have served 1 year of the 4 year mandatory license revocation. It is important not to have any recent charges showing that you were driving on a suspended license, to receive favorable hardship consideration, which is completely discretionary. This means that there is not automatic right to a hardship license, even in the case of a 4 year HTO revocation.

Source by Brian Simoneau

Regionalizing of Emergency Dispatch Services in Massachusetts

The regionalizing of emergency dispatch services is a hot topic in many Massachusetts counties as of late. Grants are being given, committees are being formed, and studies are being conducted. Why all the time and effort, when, if you simply look to the rest of the country, it seems like a worthwhile trend?

As a matter of fact, Massachusetts is one of the only states that has not, for the most part, regionalized its dispatch services. Granted, it takes years, investment and dedication to accomplish such an undertaking. Case in point: the State of Oregon worked for 16 years to regionalize the dispatch of its state police services, but it was worth it. Now, there are two command centers that act as primary points of contact for all state police needs across the state – instead of 26. Tax payers’ money is saved, scales of economies are realized, and updated technologies are enjoyed throughout the state.

These are the emergent themes from all around the country – taxpayer savings, efficient dispatch processes, more dependable higher-tech technologies. According to Thomas Dubas who runs a dispatch center in Lackawanna County, Pa, and was hired to advise on the regionalizing proposal, “The level of expertise, the level of training, and the level of service that a regional center can provide is just so much more responsive for the communities,” he said. Why, then, hasn’t Massachusetts followed suit?

It’s not that the ideas haven’t been presented. In the last three years, Essex, Plymouth and Worcester counties have all brought up proposals for regionalizing emergency dispatch services. And with any Massachusetts proposal, there have been dissenters. Those opposed to the combining of services, site possible layoffs, lack of presence in overnight facilities to greet visitors, and varying degrees of dispatcher familiarity with towns involved, as main reasons to veto.

It’s not that they don’t see the financial and procedural benefits of such a project, but those opposed do not want to rush into something without looking at it from every angle. The reason to regionalize emergency dispatch services should not be for finances alone. There is an obviously-human element to the work performed by dispatch personnel. A large degree of the work the dispatchers perform now is to walk-ins, as well as monitoring late-night activities. If towns combined dispatch efforts, those high-touch elements would be eliminated.

However, it is hard to overlook the hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money that could be saved, especially in a time where agencies are expected to do less with more, and budget cuts are forcing every department to look more thoroughly than ever at its expenditures. And when you get right down to it, almost every other state is already combining emergency service management – and doing it successfully. If nothing else, then there are plenty of case studies to show us the way to regionalize emergency dispatch for our own success.

Source by Jennifer K. Harris

Adding More Vocational Seats in Massachusetts: Three Short-Term Solutions

Let's accept the promise that we need to increase overall state capacity to deliver high-quality vocational education to more students. Short of building more vocational schools – sometimes we should consider that, too – what do we do in the short term to create more opportunities for students?

Here are three ideas to actually guarantee increased voluntary opportunities:

o The state needs to assign sufficient staff to expeditiously review and approve Chapter 74 applications . Chapter 74 of the Massachusetts General Laws governs vocational education. One of the many reasons why voluntary education is so successful in Massachusetts is that Chapter 74 and its implementing regulations have strict standards for program approvals. To ensure integrity in the system, these standards need to stay in place. However, if a voluntary school can demonstrate a clear labor market need for a program and can satisfy all of the other criteria outlined in the law and regulations, why should it wait years to get a program approved? It simply makes no sense. DESE needs to readjust its staffing pattern to focus its efforts on things that count. Approving new high-quality voluntary programs counts.

o The state should develop a grant program to pilot new and innovative approaches for providing additional high-quality vocational education in Massachusetts . As part of the grant application, it must require collaboration between voluntary schools and their academic counterparts. The state needs to put an end to the "us versus them" approach to solving this problem. Vocational schools and non-voluntary schools can – and must – work together to jointly solve the problem. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) can use existing Perkins grant funds – federal money – to create this new grant program. I am not a big fan of throwing money at a problem and I'm not suggesting that we do it in this case. But the voluntary and non-voluntary systems need an incentive to work together. Let's give it to them.

o The state needs to expand and refocus its existing voluntary equipment grant program . At the urging of former Lt. Governor Timothy Murray, the state set aside $ 1 million per year to fund the purchase of equipment for voluntary programs. This equipment grant program has been very successful, but it's too small. It needs to be doubled or tripled in size. And the state needs to change its focus. It needs to give more "weight" to applications that support the creation of new Chapter 74 programs or increase enrollment in existing Chapter 74 programs. Funding to maintain existing programs is fine, but it does nothing to help solve the underlying problem: finding more capacity.

Source by Steven C Sharek

Massachusetts Food Allergy Training Certification

Those people who do not have any food allergies are free to eat what they please and do not have to live in fear that their next meal might be their last. This however is not the case for those people who do have allergies to certain foods. People with food allergies constantly struggle with knowing whether or not the food that they are about to eat is going to make them sick or even lead to their death. This fear is made worse when they eat out at restaurants. At restaurants they have little control over the preparation of the food they are about to eat. In some cases servers are not sure how to correctly convey the allergy related preparation instructions to the person cooking the food. Also, in many instances the person cooking the food does not have the proper allergen awareness training to prepare the food in a manner that is safe for the person with the food allergy to eat. It is a very dangerous game that restaurants knowingly or unknowingly are taking part in. Granted it is the responsibility of the person with food allergies to inform the restaurant that they do indeed have a food allergy but that is in no way guaranteeing that the food they are about to eat is safe.

One state however has decided to get smart about food allergies and has passed a law aimed at keeping those people with food allergies safe when they eat out. Massachusetts recently passed M.G.L. c. 140, which requires all restaurants to have a person on staff that has been certified as a food protection manager. This regulation is aimed at educating food preparation staff of the dangers of food allergies and how to make sure that food being prepared for a person with food allergies is safe for them to eat. The law also states that the training needs to be completed by February 1, 2011. Those who do end up taking the training will be certified for five years. After the five year time period the food protection manager will have to take the course over again so that they can become re-certified.

But this raises the question of how people in the food service industry are supposed to go about getting certified as food protection managers? The state of Massachusetts has approved only three vendors to provide the food allergen awareness training. These vendors either provide the required training via a video and certification process or through a classroom training course and certification process. The courses are designed to provide food service workers with information about various food allergies and celiac disease related food intolerance. It also includes information on celiac disease, crucial food allergens, and the types of allergic reactions people can experience due to food. Lastly, the course informs food service workers on how to educate patrons about food allergies and what they should do if someone does end up having an allergic reaction while in their establishment. Overall the food allergen certification process is designed to make it much safer for those with food allergies to eat in restaurants in Massachusetts.

Out of the three vendors providing the food allergen certification training I have found that CompuWorks provides the easiest and best option for completing the training. Their training consists of a video that can be easily watched from any computer and at the successful completion of the course they provide you with the ability of instantly printing your certificate. Some of the other vendors do not provide this convenience and make you wait up to 10 days to receive your completion certificate. When it comes to proving compliance it is much better to choose the option that offers instant proof as opposed to having to wait and rely on the mail for delivery.

Source by Clark D Anderson

The Massachusetts Homestead Act and Bankruptcy

I. The Homestead – A Product of State Law

The Massachusetts Homestead Act allows a homeowner to acquire an estate of Homestead to the amount of $ 500,000 with respect to a home owner’s primary residence. This allows the owner to claim the first $ 500,000 of equity in his or her home above the mortgages that the owner has placed on the property. Homestead Declarations are for primary residences only and do not apply to vacation homes or investment property.
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The following are exempt from the Homestead Law:

1. federal, state and local taxes, assessments, claims, and liens;
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2. mortgages used to purchase the residence, and in the case of the Elderly Homestead, first and second mortgages held by financial institutions or others;
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3. an execution issued from the Probate Court to enforce its jurisdiction that a spouse pay for the support of a spouse or minor children;
4. upon an execution issued from a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce its jurisdiction based upon fraud, mistake, duress, undue influence or lack of capacity;
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5. debts contracted prior to the acquisition of the Homestead
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There is also no protection for recovery of expenses for nursing home care paid for by the government.
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Therefore, if you have a Homestead and you’re in an automobile accident and your insurance is insufficient your home will not be exposed to the amount of $ 500,000. The same is true of dog bites, drowning in pools, slip and falls and professional liability claims.
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It is important to note, that Homestead protection is not a substitution for home insurance or any other type of liability insurance. These are separate and distinct types of protection. The Homestead protection will be effective after any liability insurance is used to pay for any judgments that are related to liability incurred under that particular insurance policy (eg, home, automobile, etc.).
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There are actually two sections of the Homestead Act. Under Section 1 all individuals may obtain a Homestead. Section 1A applies only to the elderly (more than 62) and disabled. A key difference between the sections is that Section 1A mentions obtaining a Homestead in manufactured mobile homes, while Section 1 does not.
State courts have not yet interpreted whether the right to claim a Homestead in a mobile home is limited to the elderly and disabled. Also, Section 1 extends protection to the declarant’s spouse and children, while Section 1A protects only the declarant’s interest in the home. Where a declaration is filed under Section 1, only one owner may file. Under Section 1A, all owners more than 62 should file a Declaration to protect their interests.
All Homesteads must be filed in the county in which the residence is located. To acquire a claim of Homestead for a mobile home under Section 1A, you must file at the city or town clerk’s office in the city or town in which the mobile home is located. Massachusetts Homesteads are not automatic. A Declaration must be recorded to obtain Homestead rights.
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II. Bankruptcy

In a MA Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is an asset liquidation proceeding, a homeowner is allowed to claim certain exemptions which function as asset protection allowances. If a Homestead Declaration is in place, and the state exemptions are claimed, a homeowner would be permitted to retain a much greater portion of the proceeds from a liquidation sale of the home ($ 500,000) than she or he would be allowed to keep under federal bankruptcy law exemptions ($ 20,200). This factor in turn decrees or eliminates the possibility that the homeowner would be required to sell his / her home as part of MA Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. The state exemptions in other categories are low compared to the federal exemptions. For example, the state automobile exemption is $ 700 and the federal $ 3,225.
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The goal of a MA Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out (“discharge”) your debts. In exchange for having your debts erased, you must give up all your nonexempt property to your creditors. You need only give up your nonexempt property. For most people, once the proper exemptions are applied, this amounts to nothing. In many cases, much or all of your property may be exempt. The debtor and their attorney elect to use state or federal exemptions prior to the MA bankruptcy filing.

If an individual has more property than can be protected by available exemptions, or their income is too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 case, or if they are delinquent in a debt secured by property they wish to retain, a Chapter 13 case can be filed. In MA Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, the court will require a homeowner to repay some or all of the unsecured debts over a three to five-year period required to a plan. The debtor is required to repay a percentage of that debt at least equal to that which the unsecured creditors would receive were a homeowner required to proceed under Chapter 7 liquidation regulations. By increasing the amount of the home’s exemption, the Homestead Declaration decrees the procedures which would have been available for repaying unsecured creditors through the Chapter 7 alternative. This may decrease the percentage of the unsecured debt the homeowner would be required to repay through a Chapter 13 plan.

A MA Chapter 13 bankruptcy is much less attractive than a MA Chapter 7 filing since a Chapter 13 requires you to pay into a plan, whereas a Chapter 7 just wipes out your discharge debts without any payment. In most cases a Chapter 7 filing will be more advantageous. However, Chapter 13 does have many benefits. It can save your home from foreclosure, allowing you to satisfy unsecured mortgage or tax bills over time while your lender is claiming that you pay in one lump sum in order to stop foreclosure. Additionally, under the new bankruptcy law, Chapter 13 bankruptcy also applies to your credit report for three fewer years (7) than Chapter 7 does (10).

Remember that the Homestead Declaration protects a homeowner only from unsecured creditors. It will not offer protection from first or second mortgage lenders and / or equity lenders who possess a security interest in a home. If payments are not current on these types of secured credit, a homeowner runs the risk of losing the home to foreclosure proceedings. When delinquent in these debts, a Chapter 7 filing is not available unless the real estate will be surrendered. A Chapter 13 filing will stop foreclosure proceedings and implement a plan for the debtor to come current, thereby saving the property.

Given the high values ​​of real estate in Massachusetts, the Homestead is of great value to bankruptcy attorneys as a tool to protect debtors. Debtors must choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and the exemptions arising under Massachusetts and federal non-bankruptcy laws. This is a key decision that is made in consideration of the nature and value of the debtor’s property and when it was acquired. There are provisions in the 2005 Bankruptcy Act limiting the state Homestead to $ 136,875 if the property was bought or otherwise acquitted within 1215 days of the petition date. An addition might be considered an acquisition. There is an exception to the 1215 day rule in circumstances in which you buy a home in the same state and roll your equity into your new home. The trigger for reduction of the Homestead amount allowed in Bankruptcy is the date of acquisition of the property and not the date the Homestead is recorded. In re Lyons, 355 BR 387 (Bkrtcy D. Mass, 2006).

III. Interpreting the MA Homestead

There is little state court case law establishing the Homestead Act in Massachusetts. However, there have been a number of cases that have been determined by the Bankruptcy Court which makes rulings based upon what it presumes the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would say if it were presented with the case. These federal court decisions are not binding on our state courts. These cases are the only guides available in the absence of state cases and they will be followed by other bankruptcy cases until the Supreme Supreme Judicial Court takes a contrary position. The Massachusetts Homestead Statue is poorly drafted and contains many ambiguities leaving many questions unanswered.

Bankruptcy Judge Henry J. Boroff recently expressed his frustration when he included dicta in an opinion that addressed a Homestead issue. He wrote: “This Court fees compelled to express at the sunset it’s growing frustration with the application of the Massachusetts Homestead Statue. While it is well settled that the statute’s purpose is to protect the family home … the statutes of ambiguities have proven to be legion and its benefits 1) appear to be available only for those with the legal training or resources necessary to locate a registry of deeds and record what is, for a layperson, a relatively complex document, and 2) may be easily and inadvertently lost by statutory language and conditions that are hyper-technical and often counterintuitive. ” In re: Edward R. Szwyd, —– BR —– (Bkrtcy D. Mass., 2007).

A. Pre-existing debts

The language of the Massachusetts Homestead statute says that it does not apply to debts existing before recording the Homestead. Therefore, one would believe it is important to file it as early as possible. However, one of the early bankruptcy cases involving Homesteads held that under federal bankruptcy law the Homestead did apply to pre-existing creditors. Federal law pre-approved state law. In fact, debts can be incurred over a period of years and a Homestead successfully utilized which is filed minutes before the bankruptcy petition. In Re Whalen-Griffin, 206 BR. 277 (Bkrtcy D. Mass., 1997). Court ruled that the federal bankruptcy laws preempted Massachusetts Homestead exemptions. Effect is to protect Homesteads from liens, even where debts are incurred prior to Homestead recording.) In Re Weinstein, 217 BR 5 (Bkrtcy D. Mass., 1998) supports the decision in Whalen-Griffin and goes on to include both unsecured and secured pre-homestead debt under bankruptcy protection.

Bankruptcy cases often involve a debtor who has a judgment lien against their real estate. The bankruptcy law provides that if the mortgages on the property and the exemption excludes the value of the home, then the judicial lien can be “avoided” in whole or in part on a motion filed by the debtor. For example, if a home was valued at $ 790,000 and the home owner had mortgages on the property of $ 300,000, the court would avoid a judicial lien because the mortgage of $ 300,000 plus the Homestead of $ 500,000 totals $ 800,000 and, therefore, would be in excess of the value of the home. Any judicial lien on the property would have been released by the Bankruptcy Court Order recorded in the registry of deeds. NOTE: I’ve found some bankruptcy attorneys believe the mere filing of the bankruptcy petition is sufficient to dissolve the lien. It is not. A conveyancer will require more. The motion must be filed, allowed and recorded.

Certainly, a different result would have been reached by the Massachusetts appellate courts considering the order of recording the Homestead and a lien. A recent state trial court case, Walsh v. Yarossi, Mass. Land Court, December 5, 2006, held that a prior attachment filed before a Homestead Declaration is a valid preexisting lien, negating the Homestead protection, even when the sentence is obtained after the Homestead.

B. Termination of the Massachusetts Homestead

A major cause of concern is the incidental termination of Homestead protection. The terms of the Homestead statute make clear the estate or claim of Homestead will be terminated upon the sale or transfer of the real property or mobile home during the declarant’s lifetime, upon the death of the declarant and the remarriage of the declarant’s surviving spouse and upon each child reaching the age of majority or a release of the Homestead estate duly signed, sealed, and acknowledged by the owner and the owner’s spouse, if any, and recorded at the Registry of Deeds, or when the property ceases to be the principal residence. In addition, the Bankruptcy Court has ruled that the filing of a consequent Declaration of Homestead acts to discharge a prior Declaration.

It is unclear how other transfers might be grateful under the state statement.

In the recent case of In Re Hildebrandt, 313 BR 535 (2004), an unmarried couple purchased a home and one of the two filed a M Homestead Declaration. Thereafter, the person who did not file the Homestead transferred her interest in the property to the Homestead declarant. The Bankruptcy Court ruled that the transfer terminated the pre-existing Homestead. In this case there was an acquisition of an interest that caused the termination of the Homestead.

Existing state law on the effect of refinancing a mortgage on an existing Homestead is unclear. On August 31, 2004, Judge Henry J. Boroff, of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that the Homestead Exemption is subordinate to a mortgage. Real estate practitioners always assumed that the exemption was subordinate to a pre-existing mortgage, but believed the Homestead otherwise remained valid when a new refinance mortgage was recorded after the Homestead. Judge Boroff clarified the law in this area by ruling that, in case of refinancing of a mortgage, the exemption will be rendered null and void. Essentially, as a homeowner, a Homestead Exemption is not valid after refinancing unless you re-file it after the time of the refinancing, or otherwise reserve it at the time of refinance. In Re Desroches, 314 BR 19 (2004) (Homestead protection was denied where the mortgage was filed after an earlier Homestead Declaration and mortgage did not specifically reserve the debtor’s Homestead rights).

Homesteads are often inadvertently terminated during estate planning changes. The estate planner must be careful in implementing a plan to not terminate the Homestead. Situations to consider include:

Selling or transferring of the property;

Selling or transferring the declarant’s interest in the property;

Acquiring a new interest in the property, as was done in the Hildebrandt case;

Deeding the property including to reserve a life estate without reserving the Homestead exemption;

Filing a new Homestead Declaration;

Refinanced debt on the home.

C. Proceeds from Sale

In Re Cunningham, Not reported in BR, 2005 Bankr. LEXIS 2419, 2005 WL 3348861 (2005). Land subject to debtor’s Homestead exemption was sold and the exemption applied to the sale proceeded. The debtor was able to keep the proceedings of sale.

D. Multiple Owner’s Recording Homesteads (Stacking)

In Re Garren, 338 F. 3d 1 (2003). Deborator was not allowed to “stack” two Homestead exemptions in order to avoid judicial lien on his property. If fact, where one Homestead is recorded and another recorded immediately after it, only the second is valid, the first having been terminated by the recording of the second. It should be noted, multiple valid Homesteads may be recorded under Section 1A (Elderly / Disabled), but the value is still only $ 500,000.

E. Children of Declarant

In Re Vasques, 337 BR 255 (Bkrtcy D. Mass, 2006). Daughter who co-owned residential property was a member of same “family” as mother and therefore protected by mother’s Declaration of Homestead without either the obligation or ability to file a declaration of Homestead on her own even though she was not a minor. The Court decided that the provision of the statute relative to minor children mean that Homesteads remain in effect after the death of a declarant-parent only while the children are minors, and that the provision had no other limiting effect.

F. Manufactured Mobile Homes

In Re Kelly, 334 BR 772, 2005 Bankr. LEXIS 2365, 2005 WL 3293309 (2005). Debtor may not claim a Homestead exemption, pursant to MGL. Ch. 188, sec. 1, in a manufactured mobile home. Although MGL Ch. 188, Sec. 1A provides for such protection, Section 1 does not. The Court noted “The most persuasive argument that subsection 1 does not include a manufactured home, however, is the fact that subsection 1A does provide for such a Homestead.” So only the elderly or disabled may have this right. Other Judges have disagreed.

G. Property in Trusts

In re: Edward R. Szwyd, —– BR —– (Bkrtcy D. Mass., 2007). Property held in trust is not eligible for Homestead protection. Only individuals may claim a Homestead. The Court allowed the Homestead to stand in this case since the debtor was the sole trustee and beneficiary and no trust implemented under Massachusetts law.

H. Owner-Occupied Multi-family Homes

As long as the property is the primary residence of the declarant a Homestead will be valid as to the whole.

Source by David Lima