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Page2 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 4, 2013 .i Stirpe by Prof. Edmund TurieUo Nos-tra Aweeklycolumnhighlightingsom---- of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. The history of ancient Mesopotamia, also called the West Asiatic or the Tigro- Euphrates country, was actually composed of three major periods. These were known as the Babylon Period, the Assyrian Period and the Persian Period. They all occupied the territory that was part of the "Bible Lands." Mountains in the northern portion O f the country reach heights of seven thousand feet but further south the country slopes downward to form a broad central alluvial plain which occupies the val- ley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The pre- vious column noted that history marks this as the lo- cation of the "Garden of Eden." The name "Garden of Eden" implies that this was an.ar, ea where climate, s0il and rainfall were ideal. The Old Testament calls this area "Shinar, Babel and The Land of the Chaldees." It was one of the richest and most THE BIBLE LANDS fertile districts and supplied one third of the grain pro- duced in all of Western Asia. A magnificent system of artificial irrigation was in- troduced by a network of canals. The greatest of these canals was called the "Nar Malka." It connected the Tigris with the Euphrates and was still in use as late as 700 A.D. During the Babylonian period, the people main- tained a c|yilizatioxa which has not been properly appre- ciated until fairly modern times. The discovery and deciphering of many thou- sands of inscribed tablets from some of the oldest cit- ies of Babylonia give a very accurate account of their ancient life in details which are clearer than most other nations except Egypt. Their laws were adminis- tered by judges and supreme judges. Punishment was handed out in the form of fines, loss of civil rights, imprisonment and at times even death. Appeals could be made to the king. They used a form of silver currency, with denominations named "talents, maneus, shekels and paras." Taxes were levied for the improvement of their roads and canals. They were also required to pay a "king's tax" (property tax), and an "army tax." All Chaldeans of free birth were educated. Slaves were protected by law against harsh treatment from their masters; they could own property; and in fact were often taught trades by their owners. Women occupied a favorable position in their society, especially after marriage. They could own property and engage in busi- ness ventures. Motherhood was especially respected and offences against any mother were severely pun- ished, sometimes even by mutilation. NEXT WEEK: Babilu Burlington Sons of Italy to Offer Italian Classes The Burlington Sons of Italy, Lodge #2223 is offering Italian language classes to any- one inl(erested in acquiring levels of profi- ciency wifla the language or learn about Italy. The classes, in addition to the language, will expldre the x}ultue, the terrain, the people arid" edt UTry' art  of 'Italy: ......... A ten-week course will be offered in Beginner 1 & 2; Intermediate 1 & 2 and Advanced. The ten-week session will begin on Wednesday, January 23 , 2013. Registration takes place on Wednesday, January 16 th from 6:00-7:00 pm at St. Margaret's School. Our policy mandates that the registration fee is non-refundable. For more details, contact Phil D'Alleva, Director of the program, at 781-272-4305 or e-mail at dalleva@comcas t. net. If you are unable to register in person, complete the Registration Form online at (www.burlingtonsonsofitaly.org) under "Ital- ian Classes" and mail it with your check to the Burlington Sons of Italy Lodge #2223 to Phil DAlleva, 15 Edgemere Avenue, Burling- ton, MA 01803. No registration will be accepted after the class start date of Janu- ary 23 rd. Be sure to register early as space is at a minimum. Our representative will be available to: • Accept payments. (Check or money order only-no cash, please.) • Process elderly or disabled persons discount forms. • Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. • Resolve billing or service complaints. • Review water consumption data for your property. • Explain BWSC customer programs. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Avenue • Boston, MA 02119 • www.bwsc.org Res Publica by David Trumbull Disabled Persons Will Need to be Recertified for the RIDE under New MBTA Rules According to the FAQs (frequently asked questions) posted on the website of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, disabled persons using the MBTA's RIDE service will need to be recertified under new procedures. All exist- ing RIDE customs will be notified and recertified within three years. Certification will be done via an in-person assessment conducted by trained mobility coordinators. Here are some things that disabled RIDE customers should be aware of: • A diagnosis of disability from your physicians will not be enough to get you certified. According to the MBTA, many medical practitioners are ill-equipped to make a determi- nation that is based on functional ability to use the MBTA fixed route transit system. In addition, the MBTA says it cannot rely on an applicant's doctor to always be fully objec- tive in making this determination, given that they may well be motivated to secure as many services for their patient as possible. • The MBTA estimates the 95-99% of current RIDE customer who apply under the new system will be found conditionally or fully eligible for THE RIDE. • However, they also estimate that a significant percent (perhaps 15-25%) of current RIDE customers will choose not to apply for certification under the new system. If 15 to 25 of current RIDE customers drop off, as expected, because they don't want to go through the new certification proce- dure, this represents a significant cost savings to the MTBA. • While the MBTA recognizes that there are many dif- ferent certification processes that people with disabilities complete already in order to receive benefits or services, the MBTA maintains that those certifications do not spe- cifically pertain to the individual's ability to ride transit. We all, I am sure, want to see THE RIDE and other ser- vices for the disabled go to those truly in need of such ser- vices and the MBTA appears to have done a thorough job of identifying weaknesses in the current certification that may have let some questionable cases slip through. How- ever, I suspect I am not the only one concerned that this new requirement for an in-person interview with an MTBA mobility coordinator, may intimidate some truly needy disabled persons and may discourage them from seeking recertification for the vital RIDE service. I am pleased to see that you may bring a famil3r member,, companion or translator to the interview. I hope that the senior and dis- ability advocates in the area will ictively reach out to RIDE customers and help them understand their rights so they can go through this recertification as smoothly as possible. No one should be denied needed service just to save money for the MBTA or because they are intimidated by the recer- tification process. INCOME TAX PREPARATION • Financial Services • Professional Tax Consultant • Personal & Business • Year Round Service M.P. & Co. TAX & F00ANClAL SERVICES GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: gmagoon@aol.com CELEBRATING 75 YEARS IN BUSINESS All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei Bistro • Beer • Wine Page2 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 4, 2013 .i Stirpe by Prof. Edmund TurieUo Nos-tra Aweeklycolumnhighlightingsom---- of the more interesting aspects of our ancestry.., our lineage.., our roots. The history of ancient Mesopotamia, also called the West Asiatic or the Tigro- Euphrates country, was actually composed of three major periods. These were known as the Babylon Period, the Assyrian Period and the Persian Period. They all occupied the territory that was part of the "Bible Lands." Mountains in the northern portion O f the country reach heights of seven thousand feet but further south the country slopes downward to form a broad central alluvial plain which occupies the val- ley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The pre- vious column noted that history marks this as the lo- cation of the "Garden of Eden." The name "Garden of Eden" implies that this was an.ar, ea where climate, s0il and rainfall were ideal. The Old Testament calls this area "Shinar, Babel and The Land of the Chaldees." It was one of the richest and most THE BIBLE LANDS fertile districts and supplied one third of the grain pro- duced in all of Western Asia. A magnificent system of artificial irrigation was in- troduced by a network of canals. The greatest of these canals was called the "Nar Malka." It connected the Tigris with the Euphrates and was still in use as late as 700 A.D. During the Babylonian period, the people main- tained a c|yilizatioxa which has not been properly appre- ciated until fairly modern times. The discovery and deciphering of many thou- sands of inscribed tablets from some of the oldest cit- ies of Babylonia give a very accurate account of their ancient life in details which are clearer than most other nations except Egypt. Their laws were adminis- tered by judges and supreme judges. Punishment was handed out in the form of fines, loss of civil rights, imprisonment and at times even death. Appeals could be made to the king. They used a form of silver currency, with denominations named "talents, maneus, shekels and paras." Taxes were levied for the improvement of their roads and canals. They were also required to pay a "king's tax" (property tax), and an "army tax." All Chaldeans of free birth were educated. Slaves were protected by law against harsh treatment from their masters; they could own property; and in fact were often taught trades by their owners. Women occupied a favorable position in their society, especially after marriage. They could own property and engage in busi- ness ventures. Motherhood was especially respected and offences against any mother were severely pun- ished, sometimes even by mutilation. NEXT WEEK: Babilu Burlington Sons of Italy to Offer Italian Classes The Burlington Sons of Italy, Lodge #2223 is offering Italian language classes to any- one inl(erested in acquiring levels of profi- ciency wifla the language or learn about Italy. The classes, in addition to the language, will expldre the x}ultue, the terrain, the people arid" edt UTry' art  of 'Italy: ......... A ten-week course will be offered in Beginner 1 & 2; Intermediate 1 & 2 and Advanced. The ten-week session will begin on Wednesday, January 23 , 2013. Registration takes place on Wednesday, January 16 th from 6:00-7:00 pm at St. Margaret's School. Our policy mandates that the registration fee is non-refundable. For more details, contact Phil D'Alleva, Director of the program, at 781-272-4305 or e-mail at dalleva@comcas t. net. If you are unable to register in person, complete the Registration Form online at (www.burlingtonsonsofitaly.org) under "Ital- ian Classes" and mail it with your check to the Burlington Sons of Italy Lodge #2223 to Phil DAlleva, 15 Edgemere Avenue, Burling- ton, MA 01803. No registration will be accepted after the class start date of Janu- ary 23 rd. Be sure to register early as space is at a minimum. Our representative will be available to: • Accept payments. (Check or money order only-no cash, please.) • Process elderly or disabled persons discount forms. • Arrange payment plans for delinquent accounts. • Resolve billing or service complaints. • Review water consumption data for your property. • Explain BWSC customer programs. Need more information? Call the Community Services Department at 617-989-7000. Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Avenue • Boston, MA 02119 • www.bwsc.org Res Publica by David Trumbull Disabled Persons Will Need to be Recertified for the RIDE under New MBTA Rules According to the FAQs (frequently asked questions) posted on the website of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, disabled persons using the MBTA's RIDE service will need to be recertified under new procedures. All exist- ing RIDE customs will be notified and recertified within three years. Certification will be done via an in-person assessment conducted by trained mobility coordinators. Here are some things that disabled RIDE customers should be aware of: • A diagnosis of disability from your physicians will not be enough to get you certified. According to the MBTA, many medical practitioners are ill-equipped to make a determi- nation that is based on functional ability to use the MBTA fixed route transit system. In addition, the MBTA says it cannot rely on an applicant's doctor to always be fully objec- tive in making this determination, given that they may well be motivated to secure as many services for their patient as possible. • The MBTA estimates the 95-99% of current RIDE customer who apply under the new system will be found conditionally or fully eligible for THE RIDE. • However, they also estimate that a significant percent (perhaps 15-25%) of current RIDE customers will choose not to apply for certification under the new system. If 15 to 25 of current RIDE customers drop off, as expected, because they don't want to go through the new certification proce- dure, this represents a significant cost savings to the MTBA. • While the MBTA recognizes that there are many dif- ferent certification processes that people with disabilities complete already in order to receive benefits or services, the MBTA maintains that those certifications do not spe- cifically pertain to the individual's ability to ride transit. We all, I am sure, want to see THE RIDE and other ser- vices for the disabled go to those truly in need of such ser- vices and the MBTA appears to have done a thorough job of identifying weaknesses in the current certification that may have let some questionable cases slip through. How- ever, I suspect I am not the only one concerned that this new requirement for an in-person interview with an MTBA mobility coordinator, may intimidate some truly needy disabled persons and may discourage them from seeking recertification for the vital RIDE service. I am pleased to see that you may bring a famil3r member,, companion or translator to the interview. I hope that the senior and dis- ability advocates in the area will ictively reach out to RIDE customers and help them understand their rights so they can go through this recertification as smoothly as possible. No one should be denied needed service just to save money for the MBTA or because they are intimidated by the recer- tification process. INCOME TAX PREPARATION • Financial Services • Professional Tax Consultant • Personal & Business • Year Round Service M.P. & Co. TAX & F00ANClAL SERVICES GRACE PREVITE MAGOON, EA 617-569-0175 146 Maverick Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ESTABLISHED IN 1938 e-mail: gmagoon@aol.com CELEBRATING 75 YEARS IN BUSINESS All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei Bistro • Beer • Wine