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Relocating Northampton VA hospital would make it nearly impossible for many impaired vets to receive essential medical care, advocates say. For veterans across Western Massachusetts, the possible closure of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Northampton would cause hardship and create for some an almost insurmountable barrier to receiving basic, veteran-specific medical care.

But for the mostly older

mostly medically-fragile veterans who have found stable housing near the hospital after struggling through addiction, physical disabilities and homelessness, the prospect of backyard medical care moving to Springfield or Connecticut — as recommended by federal officials — presents an overwhelming obstacle, according to those who work closely with the former service members.

Western Massachusetts businesses, churches and people step up to support Ukraine; tens of thousands in cash and tons of supplies donated

Churches, civic groups, businesses and individuals across Western Massachusetts are responding to the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine by helping out in any way they can.

housing Donations of clothing

medical supplies, food and cash are being collected across the region to aid as the Russian invasion stretches into its fourth week.

The growing push to make Daylight Saving Time permanent forces Americans — who are largely tired of switching clocks twice a year, polling shows — to consider a trade-off: more sun in the evening for less light in the morning.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday unanimously backed a bill long supported by Sen. Ed Markey to make Daylight Saving Time permanent — a bipartisan push that could end the tradition of “spring forward, fall back” and give Americans more year-round daylight starting next November.

If approved by the House of Representatives and signed

by President Joe Biden, Daylight Saving Time, from March through November, would be the new permanent standard time going forward next year.

But the proposed change — which now goes to the House Energy and Commerce Committee — would keep it darker a bit longer for those who wake up early in late fall and winter.

For instance, sunrise on Thanksgiving — Nov. 23, 2023 — would not be until about 7:45 a.m. as opposed to the standard 6:45 a.m. in Worcester. But sunset would be 5:21 p.m. instead of 4:21 p.m.

Many mornings over early January would see sunrises as late as around 8:15 a.m. across Central and Western Massachusetts, if the law as proposed becomes law. But some sunsets in late January would be after 6 p.m., and sunsets between Feb. 15 and Feb. 28 would be between 6:20 p.m. and 6:36 p.m., respectively.

Lawmakers argue many Americans would benefit from more light at the end of the day.

“Pretty much everybody in Rhode Island experiences the same thing on that unhappy day in early November … when suddenly an hour of your day, an hour of your daylight disappears and dusk comes an hour earlier,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a cosponsor of the Sunshine Protection Act, said in a Senate floor speech Tuesday.

He argued the process of changing clocks “does darken our lives in a very literal sense.”

“No more switching clocks, more daylight hours to spend outside after school and after work, and more smiles — that is what we get with permanent Daylight Saving Time,” Markey said in a statement after Tuesday’s vote.

The current system, stemming partly from the Standard Time Act of 1918 and mandated by the feds in 1966, was “preceded by adoption of daylight saving time in Europe during World War I … first conceived as a way to conserve energy during wartime. It’s time we update it. But our states can’t do it without enacting federal legislation,” Markey and Sen. Marco Rubio, a cosponsor of the latest bill, wrote in a joint op-ed in CNN.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says Daylight Saving Time actually saves energy, with more sun reducing the need for household lighting and appliances, while adding that it “saves lives and prevents traffic injuries.”

But the proposal causes some concern for early risers — particularly for schoolchildren who may have to wait for a bus before the sun comes up for a few months.

“Making daylight saving time permanent overlooks potential health risks that can be avoided by establishing permanent standard time instead,” the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said in a statement.

The AASM added “there is ample evidence of the negative, short-term consequences of seasonal time changes,” but they argue that current standard time, with earlier sunrises and earlier sunsets, “aligns best with human circadian biology and provides distinct benefits for public health and safety.”

About 63% in an AASM survey said the want to eliminate the semiannual clock-switching.

An Associated Press poll from last October showed only 25% of Americans want to switch clocks between standard and daylight saving time. Forty-three percent would prefer standard time for the full year, while 32% said they’d prefer permanent daylight saving time.

or veterans across Western Massachusetts, the possible closure of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Northampton would cause hardship and create for some an almost insurmountable barrier to receiving basic, veteran-specific medical care.

But for the mostly older, mostly medically-fragile veterans who have found stable housing near the hospital after struggling through addiction

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