The 5th Hampden District is comprised entirely of the City of Holyoke.

The City of Holyoke is one of the first planned industrial cities in the world. A 57-foot drop in the Connecticut River proved to be an ideal location for capturing the power of the River when investors dammed the River in mid 1800s. The power from this dam fed reliable and inexpensive power through a network of canals to immense complexes of mill buildings.

The resulting combination of inexpensive power, reliable transportation and a steady influx of workers allowed Holyoke to become the global center of paper production. For more than a century, the City’s economic center was tightly linked with the Connecticut River, as can be observed in the City’s historical manufacturing core. The Connecticut River and Mount Tom/East Mountain range frame Holyoke, which can be found midway between the Vermont and Connecticut state borders.

The City is the third largest community in the Greater Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, after Springfield itself and Chicopee. Holyoke is on the west bank of the Connecticut River, with South Hadley and Chicopee across the river to the east and Easthampton, Southampton, and Westfield on the City’s western boundary, and West Springfield on the City’s southern border. With its topographically and naturally defined borders, Holyoke exists as geographically distinct community. Holyoke is a densely populated city of 22.44 square miles (14,367 acres).

Most of its 39,880 residents live east of Mount Tom, in the historical urban, industrial, and commercial portion of the City. In contrast to the urban core, West Holyoke, located on the west side of East Mountain, is a small, mostly rural/ agricultural section of the City. In addition to its considerable Connecticut River frontage and the dam, Holyoke has two other major regional environmental resources: Mount Tom and the Barnes Aquifer. Mount Tom and its southerly extension, East Mountain, create the western half of the striking mountain range that bisects Massachusetts’ Connecticut River Valley; the Holyoke Range is their eastern side counterpart.

Today, Holyoke strongly reflects its industrial and cultural history, with many of the mills and associated housing still standing in and near the downtown. The City still follows, in large part, the original plan proposed by the developers of the City. More recent development has filled in much of the area between the downtown and the mountains, leaving the City with a dense urban Core and a less densely developed mountain range and western half of the City.

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Good news on the public health front here in the Commonwealth but there are still deep inequalities by region and overall access to quality health care that need to be addressed.

Massachusetts is the healthiest state in the nation, a new report finds

State previously No. 2 in national rankings behind Hawaii

BOSTON (December 12, 2017) Massachusetts is the healthiest state in the nation, according to America’s Health Rankings 28th annual report released today. Among the state’s strengths are its low percentage of uninsured people, low prevalence of obesity, and high vaccination rates. The 2017 report also ranked Massachusetts No. 1 for the health of women and children.

“This report highlights the notable progress that our state is making to improve the health and well-being of every individual living in the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is proud to have the lowest number of uninsured residents in the country and robust public health efforts, and our administration will keep working across all levels of government to ensure quality health care and a safe, healthy environment for our residents to live, work and play.”
The 2017 report analyzed 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data. The report serves as a benchmark for states – and the nation – to measure progress, identify emerging trends, and drive action for improving public health. Last year, Massachusetts ranked No. 2, behind Hawaii.

“This year’s findings demonstrate that our focus on improving health outcomes is making a real difference in the lives of Massachusetts families and communities,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. ``Today’s news is a testament to the hard work and dedication of many people working across state and local government, health care providers and at the community grassroots level to make Massachusetts healthier.”

Among other categories in which Massachusetts was ranked No.1 were:
Immunizations of children ages 19 to 35 months
Immunization of adolescents ages 13 to 17 years with Tdap vaccine, a combination vaccine that protects against three serious and even potentially life-threatening bacterial diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).
The percentage of the population that is uninsured
The number of dentists per 100,000 people
The number of mental health providers per 100,000 people

``The rankings are an important indicator of the significant progress we’ve made in critical public health areas, such as tobacco control, increasing vaccination rates and reducing obesity,’’ said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. ``We will continue to strive to address persistent health disparities and create conditions which allow all of us to live long, healthy lives.’’

Other good news for Massachusetts contained in the report included:
In the past five years, smoking decreased 25 percent from 18.2 percent to 13.6 percent of adults
In the past five years, cancer deaths decreased 4 percent from 190.3 to 183.6 deaths per 100,000 people
In the past 10 years, air pollution decreased 41 percent from 10.5 to 6.2 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter

America’s Health Rankings, the longest-running assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis, is the product of a partnership between United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association.
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