Quinsig Village’s Step in Time day care builds a fence

Written by admin on April 24th, 2014

The workers were working hard on the fence this morning. I told them, after I took these photos: GOOD JOB!

Then a big broad snorted to them: Is that the lady? And rushed into the building, I presume, to whine to the owner …

Yup, lady. I am the lady who reported you and wrote about you. You have zero maternal instinct if you think YOUR RIGHTS were “stepped” on! … Children. The easiest people to exploit and hurt …    I wouldn’t send my dog to your Step in Time day care!

By the way, is it legal to run a day care center in this windowless store-front space on Greenwood Street???? This whole enterprise seems fishy …       – R. Tirella

Here’s Jean Ritchie’s recorded version …

Written by admin on April 24th, 2014

… of the tune I posted yesterday – the one I played (over and over again!!) in my jalopy! So beautifully written! Mesmerizing! … We need to support unions and workers who do the toughest jobs in America! – R. Tirella

Good news from Jett’s hill country! If you think black lung disease …

Written by admin on April 24th, 2014

… is no longer a health issue for the coal miners of Appalachia, read this news story, just published in The Guardian.  The songs Johnny Cash and Jean Ritchie were singing (see several posts below) are as timely as ever!  So sad! America moves so slowly when it comes to workers’ rights!           – R. Tirella

Obama administration tightens coal dust rules to reduce black lung cases

Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where dust particles accumulate in the lungs

Wednesday 23 April 2014 15.53 EDT

Coal mining
While this is a big step forward, it is by no means the end of our fight to eradicate this scourge of coalminers,” said Senator Rockefeller. Photo: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian

The Obama administration said Wednesday it is cutting the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines in an effort to help reduce black lung disease.

“Today we advance a very basic principle: you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your life for your livelihood,” Labor Secretary Thomas E Perez said. “But that’s been the fate of more than 76,000 miners who have died at least in part because of black lung since 1968.”

Perez was one of several top government officials to announce the long-awaited final rule Wednesday at an event in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Black lung is an irreversible and potentially deadly disease caused by exposure to coal dust, where the dust particles accumulate in the lungs.

The rule by the Labor Department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration lowers the overall dust standard from 2.0 to 1.5 milligrams per cubic meter of air. For certain mine entries and miners with black lung disease, the standard is cut in half, from 1.0 to 0.5. The rule also increases the frequency of dust sampling, and requires coal operators to take immediate action when dust levels are high. In addition, coal mine operators will be required to use new technology to provide real-time dust levels. The requirements will be phased in over two years. …

To read entire story, click here!

Spring garden festival and plant sale on Oread Street!

Written by admin on April 24th, 2014

Hooray! REC’s Spring garden festival and plant sale – 63  Oread Street, at the YouthGROW FARM – will brighten Main South! And you! Be there!


Sat., May 17

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

63 Oread St. (Main South)

ORGANIC VEGETABLE seedling sale, Free gardening workshops, food, music, cooking demos, veggie mobile, exhibitors, kids activities and more!

What will I do with the kids this summer?

Written by admin on April 24th, 2014

By Terri Fedonczak

Flowers are blooming, and birds are chirping. Bare legs are blinding us with their unearthly glow. This can only mean one thing: summer is on its way! Remember when thoughts of summer were filled with ice cream and lazy afternoons? Not anymore. Now it’s, “Mother of Pearl, what am I going to do with my kids?” That lazy afternoon turns into a horror movie, with zombie kids following you around the house whining that they’re bored. Or worse, latchkey kids calling you at work to see if they can dry the cat in the microwave. Since we can’t take off work for the summer or work in the house with screaming kids, what do we do?

When I googled Summer Child Care, I got 33,600,000 hits. Good Grief, how do we make the perfect choice? First of all, lose the idea that you can make the perfect choice, because there are no perfect choices. Parenting is a job where you’re building the plane as you fly it. That being said, here are a few tips for making the right choice for YOUR family.

  1. First, calm yourself: This decision produces fear, because there are so many options—or your options are limited. Both stories produce stress in the thinker. Remember, they are just stories. You will make much better decisions from a place of calm. When you feel the stress levels rising, take three deep belly breaths. Right now, put your palm on your belly button and breathe slowly and deeply so that you make your hand move outward. Then do that two more times. Feel your pulse rate drop and your shoulders come out of your ears. Doesn’t that feel better?
  2. Treat the problem like a puzzle or a mystery with you as lead detective: We make much better decisions when we engage our creative mind to help us sort through options. When we are stressed out, we are in fight or flight mode. All of our blood is in our extremities, preparing us to do battle or to flee, so our brain can’t work properly. If you can treat this decision like a puzzle with a solution that you just can’t see yet, then you can get creative without feeling overwhelmed. Assemble the clues or pieces of the childcare puzzle, and then put on your creative hat to find the solution that works best for your family.
  3. Ask for help: This is where your friends and co-workers can step in to help. Ask them what they are doing with their kids this summer. If they aren’t knowledgeable, go to your school’s guidance counselor or your church’s child care program to ask for recommendations. Ask your boss about the possibility of summer hours; you will never know until you ask. Go in armed with a plan that benefits your boss as well, and then release the outcome. Your boss will be more open to options if you’re not needy and desperate when you ask.
  4. Use baby steps: This is a big decision, and it may seem overwhelming. Use baby steps to acquire the necessary information to make an informed choice. A baby step is the most ridiculously easy step you can take in the next 5 minutes. Set your phone alarm for 5 or 10 minutes while you search for “summer child care options” on the internet or make a phone call to a friend. When the alarm goes off, bookmark or jot down the options, and then stop. You’re done for this baby step session. When any task feels too big, break it down into smaller steps.
  5. You determine when it’s okay to leave them home alone: Just because the law says that your 11 year old can stay home alone doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for you. Every kid is different. I used the guideline that when my kid was old enough to responsibly handle baby-sitting jobs with ease, then they were ready to stay home alone.  For my eldest, this was at age 11 (she could also have held down a job and planned a dinner party at 11! That’s why she now holds a big-time production job; the kid is a rock). With my middle child, it was 14, with lots of telephone supervision from me. If you’re leaving your kids at home, make sure you have a plan for check-in times as well as activities/chores for the day. Make the plan together, so that they take ownership of the decision. This will teach them independence and accountability; two things all parents want for their children.
  6. Use your own family values to guide you: Don’t feel pressure to be just like everyone else; do what feels right to you! If your family values are centered in creativity, sending your kid to a structured math camp is not the best choice for you, regardless of how prestigious it is. Maybe an afterschool program that focuses on art would be a better fit. Figure out what’s important to your family values, and make a decision that feels right in your gut.

If you follow the above steps, you will make the right decision for you and your kids, regardless of their age and your circumstances. Keep gathering information and asking for help, until you reach a decision that feels good to you; then accept it and move on. Waffling on a decision produces stress and wastes energy that you could be using for a higher purpose. We only have so much energy every day; wasting it by worrying is counter-productive. All we can do as a parent is to make the best decision right now given the information that we have. It won’t be perfect, because nothing ever is, but if it’s made from a calm loving place, then you and your kids will be just fine.


When you adopt a dog at the animal shelter …

Written by admin on April 23rd, 2014

… you really do “rescue” them. Take my husky-mix Jett. He’s originally from Appalachia – Kentucky. When I got him four years ago at the Worcester Animal Rescue League, he was eight months old, beautiful and high-spirited –  but terrified of men. Damaged. If a guy went over to pet him, Jett would start trembling and then pee all over himself (and my floors and carpets!) Out came the carpet cleansers! In came my “BE EXTRA NICE TO JETT! I think he was abused by guys!” warning to male pals.

Jett had no problems with women, loved young ladies and (this sounds weird) heavily perfumed ladies. Inexplicable but endearing tastes! Were these the folks who, when he was roaming wild in Kentucky, gave him bits of food and affection?

Jett has a scar on his snout. It was there when I made him mine. I often wonder how he got it.

The good news: Jett no longer shakes and pisses when he meets a guy (submissive urination, the dog gurus call it). And he has always loved the Old Injun Fighter, who has a way with dogs. He loves to play with other pups – I think that’s the coyote in him. (A vet I know said right off the bat: He’s a coy-dog!) They out breed in hill country to get good hunting dogs – and coyotes often find their way into the gene pool. If Jett were still in Kentucky, he’d be known as a Mountain Feist – a squirrel hunting dog.  

Jett is still protective of me when a man crosses my apartment threshold, but he can be won over with a slice of cheddar cheese!

While driving around Worcester late this afternoon, I was listening to tunes from Jett’s home country! These two struck a chord!

If you want to check out the dogs ready for adoption at the Worcester Animal Rescue League, click here! – R. Tirella

The fantastic Worcester Technical High School

Written by admin on April 23rd, 2014

By Edith Morgan

What do Mechanics Hall, Union Station, Green Hill Park, and Worcester’s Vocational Technical High School have in common? All involved over ten years of unrelenting effort on the part of citizens to save them from ruin. Mechanics Hall is now one of the foremost performance venues in America, saved from years of neglect and misuse ; Union Station, a falling down ruin in the 1970’s, is now a functioning and shining hub; and Green Hill Park, after decades of being dumped on and neglected, is now the city’s crown jewel, as the Green family envisaged when they made it over to Worcester in 1905. And so it was with our newest High School, Worcester Technical.

When I moved to Worcester in 1967,” vocational education“ was the province of the city council, who administered the vocational school down by the armory. It seemed to be a dumping ground for (mainly boys, as Fanning trade catered to girls, I believe) . While many dedicated shop teachers in fact tried to teach a trade to their students, the school under the tutelage of the city council was believed by many with whom I talked to be a haven of patronage.

Then , vocational education was taken over by the School Department. And like the other projects I mentioned, Worcester went from the bottom of the pile to the top – not just here in the city, but statewide and even nationally. I have come to the realization that this is how we accomplish big things here in Worcester . And so, after well over ten years of planning, hearings, gathering support, revisions, and getting funding, Worcester opened its top-of-the line Technical High School.

Visitors from everywhere come here to learn, admire, and praise the school, its facilities, its leadership, its accomplishments Just recently, Arne Duncan, the president’s Education Secretary, visited, along with other notables, to see for themselves what has been accomplished. And the school’s principal Sheila Harrity, has been recognized as the 2014 National Principal of the Year by MetLife/NASSP.

“The School That Works” opened in 2006, at 1 Skyline Drive, with a 400,000 square foot campus, situated on the site of the former city-owned Belmont Home, and 5 acres of what was part of Green Hill Park (for which the city gave the park 6 acres of land facing Belmont Street – a win-win all around). Originally to cost $72 million, delays and changes in the plan (due to the presence of vernal pools in the area, that required moving the footprint to preserve these pools) the building was completed at a cost of $90 million. Another win-win deal enabled Worcester to properly cap the old quarry which had long been used to dump construction materials and who knows what else, and create athletic fields for the school, while remaining part of the Park, and enabling city children to play soccer and other sports when not in use by the school – with funding provided by the state.

I urge all Worcesterites to become acquainted with this jewel in their midst: this school, which this year serves1,400 students, with opportunities to study and practice in 23 technical programs, if very welcoming to the public, and offers services as part of the education of their students: During the school year, you can get an excellent lunch, between 10:30 and noon at the beautiful “Skyline Bistro”, where I have enjoyed meals with friends, enjoying the wonderful view, and the professional service by students learning about restaurant management and food preparation with all the latest equipment – under the watchful eye of their teachers. If you just want coffee and a pastry, those are also available. If you need a little pampering, there is a beauty shop. Should your car also need some work, the school has an-up-to-date automotive and collision shop – and students who are studying graphics and printing will design things for the school s well as for outside (city) persons and organizations. And there is a real bank, with an ATM , and a place to spend your money aq the school’s gift shop , or at the school store, if you need sweatshirts or school supplies. It is almost like a city within a city, with all the amenities that students will need when they get out into the real world.

And lest you think that with all these career and vocational opportunities, that academics might be neglected, here are the amazing facts: In the five years of its operation, 77% of Worcester Tech students scored at the advanced/proficient level, while in Math. 74% did so . and 96% of this year’s 10th and 11th graders passed in Science. And they graduate in huge numbers: presently, the school has 95.4 graduation rate – with only a 1.1% drop-out rate.
And just so you think it is not all work and training, the schoo also offers many sports, including cross country, football, basketball, baseball, track, volleyball and others. The school mascot is the eagle.

The student body demographics is amazing also: of its1400 students, 51 are female, 49% male; 65% qualify for free or reduced lunches, and 21% are special needs students. Walk down the halls, and you will see that the student body reflects the ethnic backgrounds of the city’s residents.

All these things have not escaped the notice of national groups and organizations: in 2006 School Planning and Management Magazine rated Worcester Tech “The #1 Public Education Facility in the Nation”. In 2011, the school was selectees one of just five high schools in the nation as MetLife/NASSP Breakthrough School – and it was the only New England School selected, and the only vocational technical school in the country

As a retired educator, I have to greatly admire what is accomplished at this school: a tremendously well-equipped facility, excellent leadership, fantastic faculty, beautiful location, with a student body that achieves great things daily – in other words, what every school should be able to offer every child. And it pays off: In 2012, Worcester Tech graduates left the school with all academic requirements met, and with industry-recognized certificates. 77% went on to higher education, 18% went directly into the world of work, and 3% joined the military.

But the school is not resting on its well-deserved laurels: the drive to constant improvement is always on and in evidence everywhere. In a rapidly and constantly changing world, constant re-examination of curriculum, facilities, and student needs, are a must. And while that can at times be costly, not doing is far more expensive: Even the most expensive school does not cost per pupil what one year of incarceration costs: upward of $ 40,000 a year, not to mention the awful waste of lives.

On a personal note, I am very happy that this great facility is within our neighborhood, gracing the entrance to our greatest park, and providing so many opportunities to so many of our children. I realize that there is a waiting list, and while the school opened with 1,100 students and now has 1,400, we c not accommodate everyone who wants, or needs the opportunities it offers. But I am hopeful that sometime in the future, there will be place for all those of our young who want and deserve a top-notch education with a vocational technical twist.

Worcester offers many great choices at its 5 high schools, and there is a place for all. Thanks to the many who have worked diligently to create and support an excellent public school system, in these difficult times.

On the road, running my biz, listening to the CD Worcester native Roger Salloom just mailed me!

Written by admin on April 23rd, 2014

How great is it to have my old Providence Street Junior High School English teacher remember me now and then? LA  Te DA. La te da … Here’s a fun song from the CD!              - R. Tirella

Get on the seat of the buses leaving Worcester for the Jobs Not Jails rally!

Written by admin on April 23rd, 2014

Rally for Jobs NOT Jails, April 26

1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Boston Common

Organizations: Please take along your banners!

Unless otherwise noted, there is parking available at each bus stop.

Bus #1 — Brockton Julie Aronowitz, Brockton Interfaith Community– 857-272-9872
1 bus, 2 stops:
Departs “Stairway to Recovery”(142 Crescent Street) at 12:00 (No parking available here)
Departs Our Lady of Lourdes Church (439 West Street) at 12:15 (Parking available)

Bus #2 — New Bedford – Rachel Mulroy, Coalition for Social Justice 508-718-9845
1 bus
Departs Shaw’s Supermarket parking lot (15 State Road, Dartmouth) at 11:00

Bus #3 – Lynn – Daniel Lesser, ECCO 781-479-9080
1 bus
Departs St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church parking lot at 12:30

Bus #4 and Bus #5 — Worcester – Delia Vega, EPOCA 508-713-8420
2 buses

Depart from in front of Worcester City Hall at 12:00

Bus #6 — Fitchburg / Worcester – Amanda Williams, Cleghorn 978-766-2746
1 bus
Departs Cleghorn Neighborhood Center (18 Fairmount Street Fitchburg) at 11:15

Departs Worcester City Hall at 12:00

Bus # 7 and Bus #8 — Springfield Donnelle 413-563-8714 / Ellen 413-519-5964
2 buses
Depart from Northgate Plaza Parking Lot (1985 Main Street) at 11:00

Bus # 9 Greenfield / Holyoke
1 bus
Departs: 68 Federal Street “The Recover Project”, Greenfield at 10:30 Don 413-727-2407
Departs: K-Mart Plaza, Rt. 5, Holyoke at 11:00 Carlos Rodriguez 413-210-4030

Bus #10 Amherst / Northampton
1 bus
Departs Amherst (Haigis Mall bus stop) at 2 Conz St #2b at 10:30 Jeff Napolitano: (413) 320-6099
Departs 2 Conz St #2b, Northampton (AFSC Office) at 11:00 Pepper Neff: (509) 592-5493

To find out more, call EPOCA at 508-410-7676 or visit jobsnotjails.org.


Written by admin on April 23rd, 2014

From The Guadian. – R. T.

Hollywood stars to ‘put human face on climate change’ in ambitious TV series

By Suzanne Goldenberg
A star-studded cast of Hollywood actors will for the first time “put a human face on climate change” in an ambitious new US television series, the show’s executive producer says.
Years of Living Dangerously begins in the US on the Showtime cable network at 10pm on Sunday night. The first episode, which features Don Cheadle travelling to Texas to talk about drought with climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe and her evangelical preacher husband, can also be watched free online.
The project is the first big take on climate change in popular culture since Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth in 2006.
It has generated a huge amount of attention from environmental groups who have struggled to find a way to connect with ordinary Americans over climate change, and the response has been almost entirely positive.
TV series Years of Living Dangerously : Arnold Schwarzenegger
Years of Living Dangerously on Showtime Networks features Hollywood’ stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, pictured here among Californian firefighters.
Dan Abbasi, the executive producer, says he has come up with a winning formula: dispatch big names from Hollywood and the media to visit ordinary Americans living with heatwaves and drought and interview scientists about the human causes of climate change.
The idea he said was to dispense with experts, and get down to emotions. …

To read entire story, click here!