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Reports: Walmart to offer domestic partner benefits next year

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Walmart will begin offering health insurance and other benefits to unmarried domestic partners, including same-sex partners, next year, according to published reports.

According to an internal memo obtained by the LGBT blog Towleroad, the retailer cited 30 of its competitors, noting that all but two — Publix and Stop & Shop’s union plan — already offer domestic partner benefits. Benefits included in the new Walmart plan include health, dental, 401k and others.

"We operate in 50 states, hundreds of municipalities and Puerto Rico, and as clarified under the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), each of these states are developing different definitions of marriage, domestic partner, civil union, etc.," the memo read. "By developing a single definition for all Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to ensure consistency for our associates in various markets."

Gay-rights groups have often criticized Walmart in the past for policies considered anti-gay, but the Human Rights Campaign’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index, gave the retailer a 60% rating, citing anti-discrimination and other policies favorable to gay and lesbian employees.

 

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Mineral Fusion develops new Beauty Balms, Gray Root Concealers for hair

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Natural beauty brand Mineral Fusion is ramping up its hair care portfolio with new packaging for its existing products, as well as new offerings.

Leveraging the BB cream craze, Mineral Fusion has introduced its first natural Beauty Balm for Hair collection, a range of multi-tasking styling essentials to revitalize and strengthen the follicles from root to tip. Available in four formulations, Mineral Fusion Beauty Balms for Hair are designed to provide maximum performance and nourishment in one step.

The formulations include:

  • Curl Care: Designed to enhance and define curls with a natural hold with the added benefit of murumuru butter;
  • Hair Repair: Infused with sea kelp, the combination of nourishing ingredients hydrates and repairs hair;
  • Vibrant Shine: An extra boost of panthenol and minerals gives hair shine and eliminates frizz; and
  • Volumizing: Formulated with barley protein, this lightweight formula gives hair lift and added dimension for voluminous style.

Mineral Fusion Beauty Balms for Hair are gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, 100% vegan and cruelty-free.

Also new is the Gray Root Concealer for Hair, a natural, quick fix to maintain hair color in between appointments. Infused with pure mineral pigments, Gray Root Concealer instantly camouflages gray hair to create a fresh look. Packaged with dual-ended components, the concealer provides blendable coverage from roots to end, allowing women to cut down on long, expensive trips to the salon while still achieving a flawless look.

The Gray Root Concealer is available in four shades: black, dark brown, medium and light brown.
 

Both the Beauty Balms for Hair and the Gray Root Concealer for Hair are priced at $12.99 each and are launching in October. They will be available at MineralFusion.com and Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
 

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Pharmacy Choice and Access Now pushes for passage of Pa. vaccination bill

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — A consumer group is urging the Pennsylvania state legislature to increase access to vaccines for children and teenagers.

Pharmacy Choice and Access Now said Wednesday it was encouraging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to support House Bill 776, which would pharmacists to help increase immunization rates among children ages 7 years and older, with parental consent. The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Seth Grove, has received support from educators, healthcare professionals and students.

"Being vaccinated is critical to staying healthy at all ages," University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy dean Patricia Kroboth said. "Expanding pharmacists ability to administer vaccinations would be a big step toward correcting this and improving the health of people of the commonwealth. Pharmacists are trained and ready to help ensure that all school-age children and teenagers are properly vaccinated, and this legislation would give them the ‘go-ahead’ to fulfill that mission."

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual flu shots for everyone ages 6 months and older, and state law requires all children entering seventh grade to receive vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, parents can face many obstacles when getting their children vaccinated. For example, annual visits to the doctor may not coincide with the need for a vaccine, and it may be difficult to get vaccinated in areas with physician shortages, while work schedules may make doctor appointments difficult to schedule. By contrast, pharmacies are usually open in evenings and on weekends and often offer vaccinations on a walk-in basis.

 

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