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Archive for October, 2011


RELEASED TODAY

Whole Foods Market® opens its doors in Jamaica Plain

Store features include expansive bulk offerings, pizza oven and prepared foods

Jamaica Plain, Mass., (October 31, 2011) – Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM), the world’s leading natural and organic supermarket and America’s first national certified organic grocer, opened the doors of the newest location, in Jamaica Plain, today.

The store, which spans more than 13,700 square feet and employs 104 full and part time team members will offer the Jamaica Plain community access to the freshest and healthiest local, natural and organic products at an affordable price.

“We are so pleased to open our doors in Hyde Square. We have created a beautiful store that will be a great match for the Jamaica Plain community,” says Store Team Leader, Mike Walker. “It is particularly exciting for us to have the chance now to really show our neighbors what Whole Foods Market offers as responsible, active community partners.”

The new store, located at 413 Centre Street is the result of a complete renovation of the interior of the existing space. Modeled for energy efficiency, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain boasts a number of green technologies, including LED lighting and state of the art refrigeration systems. The parking lot, which offers 68 spaces, also has an electric car charging station as well as racks for 15 bikes and a self-service bike repair station.

No two Whole Foods Market stores are alike. Each store is designed to reflect the community it serves. Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain was designed to echo the vibrant culture of Hyde Square, while paying homage to the Googie style of architecture that makes the building so unique.

The products carried in Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain are also a reflection of the community. From locally produced to ethnically influenced selections, the shelves are stocked with affordably priced products that meet the company’s strict quality standards.

Along with the grocery, produce, meat, seafood, specialty, bakery and Whole Body departments, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers an expanded bulk department featuring a wide selection of beans, grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits.

For customers looking for convenience, Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain offers a great variety of prepared foods, including a large salad bar and hot bar, as well as a pizza oven and Panini station.

“Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain is unlike any of our other stores,” says Walker. “We are so excited for longtime Whole Foods Market shoppers and the folks who haven’t ever had the opportunity to shop with us before, to come see what we have created just for them!”

Jamaica Plain Store Information:

Whole Foods Market Jamaica Plain

Address: 413 Centre St. Jamaica Plain, MA

Phone: 617.553.5400

Hours of operation: 8:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. daily

 

 

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So it appears that if you cover Puerto Rican politics on Facebook and blog about it, you run the risk of getting blocked and censored. This summer, the office of the current Resident Commissioner censored this blog from their Facebook page, but then sent out an apology and allowed us to participate in their community again, after we asked for valid reasons as to why we were being blocked from the page. They had none.

Now, after posting news about the upcoming the 2012 gubernatorial elections in Puerto Rico on his official Facebook page last week, the Facebook administrator of PPD (Popular Party) gubernatorial candidate Alejandro García Padilla blocked us from their page. We really need to remind Puerto Rican politicians that freedom of expression is actually a right and we said nothing on that page to harm or hurt anyone, but we guess that on the island of Puerto Rico, if you don’t agree with someone, just block them and don’t let them voice an opinion.

Remind us to see Puerto Rico a lesson in US civics.

In the meantime, we have emailed García Padilla’s people to give us a reason as to why we were blocked.

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Add sweeping panoramas of Puerto Rico, along with a soundtrack that could have been written by Aaron Copland. Edit images of Raúl Juliá (as the dad from The Addams Family movie), Dallas Maverick star JJ Barea, and the great Clemente. Instead of having adults speaking, just bring out some kids and spread a message of hope that tugs at the heart-strings. Add an iPad, too. That is the very grandiose ad by the campaign of PPD (Popular Party) gubernatorial candidate for Puerto Rico Alejandro García Padilla has produced.

The result? A message the promises everything but offers nothing.

Here it is:

As the island faces a historic economic crisis caused by the policies of both major parties (PPD and the pro-statehood PNP), the García Padilla campaign continues the “politics as usual” track of a colony nation that has failed miserably in reaching its maximum potential. Give the people their populism and all will be well. The ad reminds us of what President Obama successfully achieved in 2008, although it is clear that a message of ambiguous hope no longer plays so well in 2011.

García Padilla is clearly the front-runner as he challenges Republican and pro-statehood incumbent Luis Fortuño, an opportunity that we think he is clearly missing out on. Instead of being a little stronger, a little bolder, instead of finally trying to think outside the system and provide real progress for the island, Puerto Rican voters will be getting the same PPD rhetoric that has sustained the party’s leadership for decades.

With more and more frustration coming out of the island when it comes to its political systems, when will the island wake up? When will voters demand real solutions that put their interests first, both from an economic one as well as one to finally resolve the island’s colonial status? Unless the voters demand something different, the grandiose ads will continue and the populace will still depend on the inaction of politicians. And inaction only perpetuates the status quo, one that has done little to bring Puerto Rico into the 21st century.

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The pro-statehood party of Puerto Rico, the New Progressive Party (PNP), seems to be operating from a position of convenience. When it demands the fact that Puerto Rico should become the 51st state of the Union, it rallies behind American flags and the US Constitution. But when it disagrees with US law in order to please their own conservative and predominantly Catholic base, in the end the PNP will do whatever it wants, even to the point of rejecting federal laws that they will so quickly defend.

The latest version of this Puerto Rican paradox is the issue of abortion. Last week, the Puerto Rican Senate approved a penal code that would prohibit abortions on the island. Yes, you read that right. If a woman in Puerto Rico has an abortion that does not harm her health or life, she should go to jail.

Here is the report from The Catholic News Agency:

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct 26, 2011 / 06:10 pm (CNA).- The Puerto Rico Senate passed a new penal code on Oct. 24 that keeps in place the territory’s prohibition against abortion.

The code will now be sent to the House of Representatives for debate.

Article 99 of the penal code stipulates that “any woman who procures and consumes any medicine, drug or substance, or who undergoes any operation, surgery or any other procedure for the purpose of causing an abortion, except in order to save her health or her life, shall be punished with a fixed prison sentence of two years.”

Abortion supporters argue the new code would be unconstitutional because it would violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade (1973) and the Puerto Rico Supreme Court’s ruling in Pueblo v. Duarte (1980), which legalized abortion.

If passed by the House, the code would be sent to Governor Luis Fortuño to be signed into law.

Governor Fortuño is a Republican as well as the leader of the PNP, and the latest news from the Puerto Rican Senate confirms that the PNP is practicing a conservative right-wing legislative experiment that flies in the face of a federal ruling that is now over 40 years old. It is clear that if Puerto Rico falls under federal jurisdiction (which, technically, it does, although this latest move by the PNP leadership reeks of political convenience and hypocrisy), this proposed abortion law would be deemed unconstitutional under the federal umbrella.
So, the PNP: praise America and all its institutions and its Constitution when it is convenient for it to do so, but when it is not, just pass your own laws that goes against the US Constitution. Which one is it, PNP?

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As a reporter, I place great emphasis on facts and accuracy, so when I make a mistake on my blog, I tried to quickly correct it. It has happened to me just one or two times since I started this blog in 2009, and this weekend was just one of those times.

The story had to do with the fact that I was doing research on Rafael Cox Alomar, the PPD’s (Popular Party) candidate for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. I had erroneously reported that Cox Alomar was a staffer for the congressional office of former Resident Commissioner Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, as I tried to prove the fact that the Cox Alomar had indeed had some form of congressional experience in Washington DC and that he was free of “political ideology,” as was stated by the person who nominated him, PPD gubernatorial candidate Alejandro García Padilla. A reader kindly informed me that Rafael Cox Alomar did not work for Acevedo Vilá, but it was his brother Pedro.

I apologize for this reporting error and have already updated the previous blog post to reflect this error. Just what a newspaper would do, but the fact does remain (and I have been consistent in my blog about this): the current political system of Puerto Rico is highly dependent to the United States government, and the PPD’s decision to still play “within the system” when the island is facing a historic economic crisis is faulty at best. Here’s hoping that Rafael Cox Alomar, if elected Resident Commissioner, does not become yet another Commissioner who comes to Washington to beg and ask permission like a lost child. Puerto Rico deserves action now, and it deserves better.

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The political games in Puerto Rico continue as PPD (Popular Party Resident Commissione Candidate Rafael Cox Alomar’s positions on the Puerto Rican status question are still finding partisan criticism by  other of the island’s major political parties. Yesterday, the Puerto Rican Independence Party’s candidate for Resident Commissioner, Juan Manuel Mercado, wrote that the selection of Cox Alomar by the PPD is an action that confirm the PPD’s belief in the political status quo (Puerto Rico has been a Commonwealth of the United States for over 50 years and has been a territory since 1898). As Mercado says:

“Cox Alomar’s positions picture him as yet another diplomat who pretends to go to Washington, and does not demand for the immediate decolonization of Puerto Ricom, but instead to perform public relations in a city that has no interest in fulfilling its obligation to decolonize Puerto Rico.

Mr. Cox wants to go to Washington to do the same thing that his PPD and PNP (pro-statehood) predecessors have done: to say they are sorry and to ask for permission, but above all, to pick up the crumbs from the floor that reflect the hypocrisy of an entire nation.

Although the PPD spin says that Cox Alomar is a new voice in the PPD because he has never held elective office, the message from PPD gubernatorial candidate Alejandro García Padilla and Cox Alomar’s own writings suggest that the PPD would rather maintain the current political system on the island than try to take bolder actions to change it.

UPDATE: We inaccurately reported that Cox Alomar was a congressional staffer for former Resident Commissione r Aníbal Acevedo Vilá. The information we listed was for Pedro Cox Alomar, Rafael’s brother, and not Rafael Cox Alomar.

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This information originally appeared in Spanish in Puerto Rico’s Vocero newspaper. While politicians on the island from all political parties play the partisan game, according to the US Census, Puerto Rico is facing worsening economic and social conditions.

Puerto Rico has become a poor country, that is more dependent, with more disabled people. The working age population is now the minority, their participation in the labor market is minimal and they are less educated.  A quarter of the population lives in poverty, according to 2010 Census.

Here are some facts:

  • There are 311,000 people who live alone. That equates to one in five of all 1.319 million Puerto Rican households 1,319 million. The average number of people in other households is 3.2.
  • Half of the families in Puerto Rico are married couples, and 43 percent of them have children. A third of households are headed by women. There are now 700,000 thousand children. There are more people over 65 in Puerto Rico than children, creating a dependent population.
  • Each year there are 17,000 marriages, while there are 15,000 divorces. Almost half of couples who have a home are not married.
  • 52 percent of the population are women.
  • 15 percent of the population is over 65 years old.
  • In 42 percent of the families, there is a person over 65 years old, which means that this elderly population does not have sufficient income to live alone.
  • In the area of ​​education, a quarter of the island’s total population, one million people, is comprised of students, including adults, adolescents, and children. However, the majority of the adult population has attained a high school education. The level of education is 22 percent, which suggests that the poverty rate has increased.
  • 80 percent of teachers in the public school system are not in English, while 63 percent of university students do not graduate. 60 percent of public school students do not master basic skills in Spanish.
  • Only one in five Puerto Ricans have mastered English skills, thus reducing the bilingual labor market.
  • There are 2,444,000 people who 25 years or older. 20 percent of  this population has ninth grade education or less, 11 percent complete Grade 11, while only 25 percent have completed fours years of high school.
  • 63 percent of the population have a college education or lower education.
  • On the island there are 400,000 people with college degrees, or 16 percent of the population. Only 6 percent if the population or 154,000 people have a graduated degrees The total number of people with undergraduate or graduate degrees is only 22 percent of the population.
  • There are 113,000 veterans Puerto Ricans living on the Island
  • Meanwhile, there are 726 000 people with disabilities, or 20 percent of the population. 52 percent of people over 65 has some form of disability, and children represent 7 percent of the disabled population. There are 67,000 students in special education. Disabled adults and children account for 1.5 million people, or one third of the population.
  • There are 200,000 Puerto Ricans born in the U.S., or 5 percent of the population. Another 304,000 were born outside the United States, while the rest of the population was born on the island.
  • In terms of economics, the study revealed that a 250,000 families (with 3.2 members per household) live on less than $ 10,000 annually, or $ 800 per month, which equals $ 240 a month per household member.
  • Women are discriminated against by receiving less pay and have worse working conditions, while the average monthly income of retirees is $ 668 from Social Security.
  • The labor force is 1.2 million, a quarter of the population. The participation rate is one million, less than 39 percent of the total population. Only 39% of older people who work.
  • Almost half the population lives below the poverty line: 45 percent of 3.7 million.Less than 40,000 families have incomes more than $ 100 000. 37 percent of the population depends on the federal Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP).
  • In the last decade has been over half a million Puerto Ricans have left the island, which results is a fleeing of knowledge from the island.
  • 40 percent of the population receives 8 percent of the country’s income, while the remaining 92 percent goes into the hands of 60% of the population, which implies an unequal distribution of wealth.
  • On issues related to the population of all Puerto Ricans in the United States, there are now 4.2 million Puerto Ricans living in the United States. This signifies a greater diaspora, when compared to countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan and Palestines.
  • The population of people under 18 years old fell to 17 percent.
  • Puerto Rico has become a nation without a working class, with poor, dependent, disabled and marginalized people.

The island has been in decline, according to data that could be classified as the worst since the first census conducted in 1950. Is it the lost decade?

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