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March 26, 2010     Post-Gazette
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Page4 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 26, 2010 kin MARKET SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT, The Federal Reserve maintains a vow to keep rates low as the economy rallies. Businesses are spending, but reluctant to hire. The economy is stabi- lizing and the Fed presidents voted 9-1 to keep the Fed funds rate at a record low .0%-.25%. Most analysts ex- pect the Fed to keep rates low for an extended period of time to make sure the eco- nomic recovery stays on tract. They expect the Fed to wait until next year to raise rates. Building permits, an indicator of future activity, fell 1.6% to a rate of 612,000 units. The Fed noted that investment in nonresiden- tial structures is declining and that "housing stats have been fiat at a depressed level." The National Asso- ciation of Home Builders said its sentiment index fell two points in March, to 15 as bad weather and heavily dis- count foreclosed homes dented sales. The six month outlook also fell as readings below 50 signal pessimism. New home sales fell 11% to a record low. The Feds Cen- tral Bank reiterated its $1.425 trillion program to buy mortgage backed secu- rities and debt this month. The purchases have helped keep mortgage rates low, boosting the housing mar- kets and the overall econ- omy. They also swelled the $2 billion, more than double the pre-recession level. The Fed also boosted its discount rate on loans to banks and halted its energy lending programs amid improve- ments in credit markets. Wholefoods did a lot to keep healthy in an ailing economy. Management did a sweeping overhaul, laid-off staff, improved margins by managing earnings with tighter cost controls. They went after every expense line on the P&L, and slowed their new store openings adding 15 new stores rather than 30/year, and laid-off 100 team members, 50 from headquarters, and worked on controlling inventories. They got a 5% decline by improving its systems. They pushed value by launching a 365 "Whole Deal" in-store guide to money saving tips and budget recipes. Analysts polled by Reuters, see earn- ings for September 2010 rising 46% to stay brisk to $1.24/share. They expect a 14% rise in the 2010 fis- cal year 2011. However, the Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply in February. It's still a challenging environ- ment as the consumer is not as strong as hoped, and same share sales will get more difficult later this year. The economic recovery is still moving up. The Feds Manufacturing Index rose 1.3 points in March to 18.9. The consensus forecast was for 18. Improved manufac- turing activity signaled slow grov~th, but tlae job index hit Au uet 2007. New claims for jobless benefits fell by 5,000 in the week ending March 13th to 457,000, the third straight decline, according to the BUT MIXED Labor Department, but it's too high to suggest sustained hiring. It's hoped that the economy will be able to grow on its own after government stimulus stops in the second half of this year, but analysts say actual job growth must resume soon for a stable expansion to take root. Con- sumer prices were flat in February as gains in auto prices, medical and educa- tional expenses, affect de- clines in gasoline and cloth- ing prices the Labor Depart- ment reported. Wall Street had expected a 1% increase. Core prices such as food and energy costs rose 1.3% as predicted, the lowest in six years. The stock market was mixed on the news. The NYSE fell .4% and the S&P fell fractionally, as the Dow rose .4% and the NASDAQ rose . 1%. Hiring should be better in March and unemployment will improve by year end. The economy needs to add 150,000/month to keep un- employment from rising due to new and returning work- ers. After more than two years of job losses, there are signs that hiring is resum- ing, economists predict. They expect gains in March employment figures. Again a gain of 150,000 and this pace of job gains will pick up from there to 200,000 jobs/ month by year end_ /krnerica a ltm t6 tg r0- verse the 4 million lost jobs since December 2007. It's time to call your financial advisor or call me at 617-261-7777. Breast Cancer Rates Hig by Sal Giarratani Until quite recently, mam- mograms at 40 were the standard for women. His- panic women in the United States are getting more ag- gressive forms of breast can- cer. According to a study at the Arizona Cancer Center, Hispanic women are getting cancer at an earlier age. Hispanic women are getting it in their late 40s or early 50s; other women in their 60s. Says Elena Martinez, co-director of the cancer pre- vention department, "The question is: If Hispanic women are getting cancer earlier, i.e., before their 50s, is this (the new age recom- mendation) going to be worse for them? We don't have the answer yet." However, according to the US Prevention Services Task Force, evidence shows mamm0grams on women 40 to 49 result in false posi- tives. However, once again if Hispanic women are com- ing down with breast can- cer in their late 30s, shouldn't this ethnic popu- lation be tested earlier? When is someone too young to get a mammogram? Re- cently, there was a news story on Josefina Iturralde The Agency for aft your Insurance Coverages AUIO HOM[OWNERS IENANIS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference SPECIALIST in RESTAURANT and BUSINESS POLICIES CALt TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 - Fax 617-723-9212 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Conveniently located with Free Parking who reportedly was told by her doctor she was too young for a mammogram at 38, de- spite pain in her left breast. That advice was a mistake. She had cancer, needed both breasts removed and now the cancer is in the liver. According to Josefina, "If I had gotten a mammo- gram, maybe my cancer would not have metasta- sized. Maybe I wouldn't have had to lose my breasts." This is a debate worth getting involved in. When should women first start getting mammograms? What age is right? Is there really a wrong age? Are we just trying to save money here? The buck should always stop with the patient's health. Period. Vazza Funeral Homes 262 Beach St., Revere 781-284-1127 11 Henry St., E. Boston 617-567-0955 Louis R. Vazza - Mark A. Tauro Funeral Directors www.vazzafunerals.com by Sa....ll Gi__arrata__ ni Joe Pantoliano Says Stop the Stigma!!! Hollywood actor Joe Pantoliano is pretty well known mostly as a support- ing actor in a variety of mov- ies. He looks quite Italian and, as such usually plays Italian characters. In 2003, he won an Emmy for his por- trayal of Ralph Cifaretto on "The Sopranos." However, he's one of those actors we often see but can't quite re- member his name. Pantoliano is candid about coming back from clinical depression. The actor said that in 2007 while working on a movie called Canvas, in which he played a guy struggling to hold his fam- ily together after his wife develops schizophrenia, he started becoming agitated and had several angry out- bursts. He was tired all the time but couldn't sleep. He felt full of sadness and lost all the joy for life. He thought something had to give. Either he got better or he died. It isn't easy for Italian Americans to admit to psy- chological issues. The idea seems foreign to the cul- ture. Italian Americans back in my grandparent's day thought all bad things came into someone from outside, My grandmother used to cure neighbors of the Evil Eye with a soup to die for or as my father once put it, -Ei- ther it cured you or it killed you." People didn't develop mental illness: someone else threw a curse on you. Things however have got- ten better with Italian Americans becoming more Americanized about mental illness. Where once few Italian Americans ventured into the field of psychology or psy- chiatry, today the ranks of these professions have seen growing numbers of Italian American men and women. Pantoliano like many other Italian Americans was not afraid to face the prospect that he needed help with his feelings. When he had his annual checkup, he told his doctor how he felt and his doctor recommended a psychiatrist who eventually told him he was suffering from clinical depression. He finally was given a name for that feel- ing of walking life through sand and being unable to get out of bed in the morning. He had a disease caused by a chemical imbalance and it was fixable if he worked on it. After admitting to his dis- ease, he also didn't hide it but spoke aloud about his di- agnosis. He would share his story with others and found out he was far from alone. He started a foundation, No Kidding, Me Too (nkm2). He did this to stop the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness which he called "brain-dis-ease." Men- tal illness needs to be treated like any other dis- ease, such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or colitis. After learning his disease was genetic, he sees his doc- tor regularly, takes his medication, eats right and exercises. Pantoliano also feels better knowing that thanks to a new law, the brain has parity with other body parts. Under most health insurance plans to- day, enrollees are entitled to mental health services if needed. Last summer, Pantoliano spent 12 days in Iraq doing his "Stop the Stigma" tour to education the troops on de- pression because of the high rate of suicide in the mili- tary. Said Pantoliano to those young men and women serving their coun- try, "Your feelings won't kill you. Emotional intimacy -- the ability to express your feelings to others -- is the way out of suffering." There is a website to check out at www.nkm2.org. The actor noted there are blogs and conversations going on all the time about ways to get help and he said, "I want to make getting help cool." As an Italian American, I think it is okay to say you need help. Living in denial can be painful. Drinking those God awful remedies of yesterday are history too. Welcome to the 21st century where it is okay to say you need help and not afraid to receive it. f COMMITTED TO QUALITY DRY CLEANING SERVICE WITHIN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD Shirts Laundered * Leather & Suede Expert Tailoring by Nina & Mario EAST BOSTON 24 Porter Street Tel. 617.567.9850 NORTH END 306 Hanover Street Tel. 617.742.0800 J WWW.BOSTON POSTGAZETTE.COM