The schedule of Department of Justice hearings on race and Worcester

ALL OF these public hearings are scheduled for:

Mondays ………. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


May 18:

Overview of dialogue process and setting the stage for dialogue

YWCA of Central Massachusetts, 1 Salem Square

June 1:

Representative Government

Quinsigamond Community College, 670 W Boylston St.

June 8:

Public Safety

Belmont AME Zion Church, 55 Illinois St.

June 15:

Youth and Education

Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive (tentative)

June 22:

Media and Online Social Networks

JCC – Jewish Community Center, 633 Salisbury St.

June 29:

Economic Development

Friendly House, 36 Wall St.

July 13:

Report back and next steps

Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St.


SPEAK UP! Speak out!!

For more information, contact or call 508-799-1152.

Worcester girl


By Rosalie Tirella

As Worcester, my hometown, the city in which I work, live and love grows dirtier, more violent, more gun-ridden, more drug-addled, more … un-(old)Worcester every day, I still find it surreal to read about the bad changes that we all experience as we make our way through our city: the daily shootings; the daily cache of guns or drugs found in cars, homes, apartments; the daily car crashes with pedestrians – old people, a mother and her two little children!, being hurled into the hinterlands; the plastic bags, garbage bags, ramshackle furniture, the refuse strewn all over our city streets; and the streets themselves, upon which everyone drives like they’ve just snorted a kilo of cocaine.


How did we get here ALL OF A SUDDEN, it seems? Who’s to blame? In the words of Marvin Gaye: “Who really cares? Who’s willing to try/to change our world …”

I have my answers. Poverty is reason #1 and its deadly tentacles many. No good paying jobs for our unskilled, of which we have thousands. A minimum wage that is still a joke. Apartments whose rents are too high and developers who exploit the exploited. The families: under the gun, sometimes hungry, sometimes angry. The abandoning, the confusion …

The state of our city and the future of our city …

The kids.

The young ones.

They are growing up here, experiencing the Worcester of 2015.

They will continue to grow and learn here and most likely stay here.

So as Worcester seems to degenerate right before our eyes, we see the direct results and can look into the crystal ball.

This past December I saw a little girl – she may have been 9 or so – getting off a big yellow Worcester school bus and walking home in one of our neighborhoods. She walked apart from the other kids, her long thin hair unwashed and whipping in the wind, her flimsy jacket open and flapping wildly around her. Scrawny skinny. Not an ounce of baby or kid fat on her. She seemed oblivious to the cold as she plodded down the street. I could see she was BEAUTIFUL. To see such a beautiful young face pinched from the cold, sallow from hunger or illness is to cry for Worcester.

So I did!

I made sure to turn my head away, so she or her school mates wouldn’t see me crying. But I need not have worried. She marched on stoically, oblivious to the cars idling as they waited for the bus to pull in its STOP sign. She walked by, her mouth so serious, sad. Her world – THE WORLD! – unnoticed. She looked so unsteady in the wind and cold, I feared she’d collapse on the pavement! I wondered if her teachers sent her to the school nurse that day, gave her more food to eat at lunch, filled out the DCF social work paperwork to support/help a little girl like this. Probably not. There are so many in the Worcester Public Schools these days! She’s like all the rest … only more so! And she seemed so ephemeral, NOT THERE, alone and to herself. So easy to slip through society’s cracks, if you’re a quiet little girl …

And so this beauty walked home alone (I stopped the car and watched), with no friends bopping along side of her to gossip about the day, no waiting parent to take her by the hand and whisk her into a warm automobile, the way it is for some kids when the school bus drops them off at one of its designated stops, no older sibling waiting at the end of the street keeping a watchful eye on kid sis.

Nope. This child – one of the most beautiful children I have ever seen! couldn’t the world see this?! – walked on alone in a flimsy dress, knobby knees to the wind, opened jacket, closed heart … like a condemned prisoner walking to the gallows. Like a pint-sized Christian walking into the Coloseum to meet the starved and lashed lion, Romans leaning forward on their seats, waiting for the show to begin.

But “the show” was for me.

And I wondered: Where is this

Worcester girl’s childhood????

Downtown Worcester unfolding …


Monday, April 27, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern will join representatives from New Garden Park (NGP), the 501(c)3 entity of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC), Worcester State University (WSU), and state and local officials to officially open the Innovation Center of Worcester at 20 Franklin St., in downtown Worcester.

What:   U.S. Representative Jim McGovern to Join Local Officials to Celebrate Launch of Innovation Center

When: Monday, April 27

9 am – 10 am

Where: 20 Franklin Street, Worcester

Be there!

All-you-can-eat ice cream festival June 2, 3 and 4

33rd annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl!

BOSTON – The 33rd annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl® presented by Walgreens will take place at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on June 2, 3 and 4

noon to 8 p.m.

Dozens of flavors will be served by top ice cream and frozen yogurt companies, including: Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Friendly’s and more.

The Scooper Bowl – the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival – will be held rain or shine.

All proceeds support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Since its inception in 1983 the Scooper Bowl has raised more than $4.5 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and care.

Scooper Bowl general admission is $10, $5 for children ages 3-9, and free for children under three. A three-day Scooper pass is $20.

Tickets are available online at and also at the door.

Main South: Clark University’s Relay for Life raises $16,000

On April 10-11, Clarkies Against Cancer held their annual Relay for Life event on the Clark campus in the Kneller Athletic Center.

Approximately 200 people participated and raised $16,000 for the cause.

In many ways, the event mirrored Relays of the past, only this year, the organizers and participants made a concerted effort to remember a very special young woman who was one of the reasons the event is held here in the first place.

On March 2, Cassandra McCann (Class of 2011), a passionate and devoted cancer crusader who, along with her friend Emily Corbett, brought Relay to the Clark campus in 2009, lost her own battle with a gastrointestinal cancer.

Clark senior Emma Weiner, current president of the student organization, made sure McCann’s spirit was celebrated and remembered this year.

The Relay Committee and club officers promoted the event. Friends and fellow alumni Rose Kamsler and Rachel Monge (both Class of 2013) who chaired the Relay in 2013, spoke about Cassandra during the Luminaria ceremony that evening. Kamsler even created a video from photos of McCann’s undergraduate years.

“I am happy we were able to do something meaningful for Cassandra and all of her loved ones, to show that we still care so much about the club she brought to Clark and the cause that she fought ‘til the very end,” said Weiner.

Maureen Hession, managerial secretary in Clark’s Philosophy Department, was a friend of McCann’s and shared an office with her when she served as a work study in the department.

“Cassandra landed her dream job in the film industry in Los Angeles in October 2013.  She was on her way to stardom, when, in December of 2013, she learned she had stomach cancer,” she said. Hession hung on to hope that Cassandra would win her battle, and was devastated to learn her cancer was terminal.

“I prayed and prayed that Cassandra would prove them wrong.  I guess God had other plans for our sweet Cassandra.  Now, we are left trying to learn acceptance.  My heart will mend but it will always have a scar on it for our dear Cassandra.  She was a beauty; the world lost an angel,” said Hession.

When it came to raising funds to fight cancer, Hession said “Cassandra was relentless in her mission to raise funds for Relay.”

The American Cancer Society created a special plaque to recognize Cassandra’s devotion to Relay. It will hang in Beck House where she spent many hours as an undergraduate.

“She made her mark here in Philosophy and we are forever blessed to have known her.  It is still so hard to think that she is gone.  Gone but never forgotten!” said Hession.

Clark alumnus Yannah Preta, who also served as a work study with Cassandra, was one of several Clark alumni who returned to campus to participate in the event in memory of her friend. And, as in previous years, Clark undergraduates embraced and supported the event.

“Cassandra’s passion for Relay for Life and [for] participating in the Clark community really inspired us,” said Clark sophomore Roisin Henry, team leader for the Outing Club Team.

Even though the theme of this year’s Relay was “games” and in spite of the fact that there were ample opportunities to socialize and have fun at the event, Henry said Relay was a solemn event.

“There were lots of tough moments but they were made a little easier surrounded by so many awesome and compassionate Clarkies,” said Henry.

Six reasons why big cats don’t belong in circuses!

We’ve poured our hearts into the elephants-don’t-belong-in-circuses crusade. Progress!

NOW IT’S TIME TO SAVE THE BIG CATS WHO SUFFER in Ringling and other traveling shows. LIONS, TIGERS, PANTHERS, COUGARS … all of these MAGNIFICENT AND MAJESTIC wild cats have captivated humankind’s imagination for millennia. Because they are so big, so beautiful, so exotic. All the more reason to let them BE FREE IN THE WILD, WHERE THEY BELONG.     – Rosalie Tirella


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made headlines when it announced that it was phasing out its cruel and dangerous elephant acts by 2018. However, many circuses, including Ringling, continue to exploit and abuse big cats, and, for those animals, there is no end in sight yet.

Here are six reasons why big cats do NOT belong in circuses:

1. In circuses, big cats are often forced to live intiny, cramped cages.

Caged Tigers in Caravan

Circuses routinely cart animals from town to town in barren cages that deprive lions and tigers of opportunities to fulfill their basic needs to exercise, roam, socialize, forage, and play. Many big cats are forced to eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate in the same place. The only relief that many are given from this nearly perpetual confinement is during their brief performances, when they are subjected to whippings and roaring crowds. As a result of captivity, many big cats are overweight, while others suffer psychologically. The stressful, unnatural environment can cause some to pace back and forth or even mutilate themselves.

2. Their maternal bond is broken.

Tiger in Cage

In the wild, young tigers grow up with their mothers, but animals used in circuses are often separated long before they would naturally part, causing emotional distress for both mothers and cubs.

3. Their basic social and physiological needs are denied.

Tigers are naturally semi-nocturnal and love the water. In circuses, they’re carted around and forced to perform in the daytime and denied access to any kind of watering hole.

Adult tigers are solitary animals, but circuses ignore this fact and make them live in unnatural and often incompatible groups, sometimes resulting in fights and injuries.

CLICK HERE to read more!

Wouldn’t it be great if the City of Worcester could do this every Saturday?


From the City website:

Saturday, May 2

noon to 3 pm


The Worcester Common will host the 1st Annual Spring onto the Common!

… to prepare everyone for warm weather and healthy living – Saturday, May 2, 12 PM to 3 PM

… on the Worcester Common Oval.

Join the City of Worcester, City Manager Ed Augustus and dozens of local organizations on the Worcester Common for a day of springtime fun!

Bring the kids and let’s celebrate everything spring, with garden demonstrations … plant swaps, scavenger hunts for kids, composting demonstrations, tree plantings, giveaways and more!


A lively downtown Worcester!

Breads! … To life!

ICYumYums-final-for website



Chef Joey made all the breads pictured here for his friends and family! From top to bottom: Italian bread, dinner rolls, Focaccia, Sweet bread! Go, Joey, go!!!!

Text, recipes, photos by Chef Joey 

Wonderful spring is upon us and, as with all holidays, food is involved.  Main courses vary for this Holiday, as it is the end of Lent, and meat is usually on the top of the list, and depending on your heritage, lamb is right up there.  But there is one staple food that is widely known and on just about everyone’s table, and that is Bread.

In many European countries, many traditions exist with the use of bread during Easter/spring. Traditionally, the bread is sweetened.


I was curious to learn that “Communion” bread traces its origin back to Byzantium and the Orthodox Christian church. However, the recipe for sweeter bread – sweetened with honey – dates back as far as the Homeric Greek period! Many classical texts mention a “honey-bread.” It is also widely known that sweetened bread desserts similar to today’s panettone, were always a Roman favorite.


The Easter holiday is one where “sweet” bread brings itself into the symbolic realm. The Sweeter breads indicate Easter Sunday and the rising of Christ. Although bread is significant for religious purposes, it is also symbolic for life. A peasant proverb mentions, “Chie hat pane mai non morit — one who has bread never dies.”

Throughout history there have been many shapes of Easter breads. One usually contained two points, and an egg covered with a cross. The egg and the points that recall birds in flight speak of fertility, sexuality, and procreation — basic themes in Easter and its pagan origins.  This was most likely the influence of today’s braided bread.

The second bread was designed to have no general shape, but was rather baked to encircle an egg, with the initials BP put on it. The initials BP stand for buona Pasquaor “Happy Easter.”

Romania and Moldova also have a traditional Easter bread called Pasca.  Ukrainians call it Paska, and they tend to decorate it with symbols, crosses, braids and other designs as a tribute to Eastern Catholic and Orthodox faith. The term Pasca is “Easter” in the Eastern Orthodox faith, similar to Pâques in French. It is derived from the Hebrew pesah, who have their own sweet Challah Bread. The Romanian Pasca bread, however, is made with cheese (and may also include fruits, nuts, or chocolate for decoration). It is usually be found alongside another traditional sweet bread which Romanians and Bulgarians make for Easter and Christmas called cozonac.


Babka is also a Ukrainian, Polish and Belarusian bread also made at Easter. Rather than being broad and round, like Paska, Babka typically is tall and cylindrical, like panetonne. It frequently contains raisins, may be iced on top, and is much sweeter than Paska. Babka usually is only made, like Paska, to celebrate Easter Sunday and the rising of Christ.

Here is a simple basic spring bread recipe – you can adjust the sweetness as you like.  It is extremely delicious!! Monday morning toasted with butter – just sayin’!


This is a basic sweet bread recipe my Greek and Italian family used with a few modern touches.

You can place colored pre-cooked, hard boiled eggs in your braid, and there is no limit, usually one egg per household member was incorporated into the bread.  FYI: My Greek family used to boil the eggs in red onion skins to color them, the Italians used red wine instead of water. Try 4 cups blueberries in water, and boil your eggs for lavender. Curry for yellow!  The list goes on!


1/2 cup whole milk
10 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/4 envelope active dry yeast
4large eggs, room temperature
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1  cup (2 stick) unsalted butter, cut nto 1″ pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers n more than 110°F

Transfer milk to a bowl;

stir in 1 tablespoon sugar.

Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend.  If the milk is too hot, it will kill the yeast.

Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

Combine remaining sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture.

With mixer running, add the room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

If kneading by hand, have the flour in a separate bowl and add the milk mixture and butter so it incorporates.

Take a bowl double the size of the dough and wipe the inside with some melted butter;

place dough in bowl.

Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap.

Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Then divide each piece into 3 equal pieces.


Dust your hands with flour and roll out to about a foot a half (18”).  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.


Arrange ropes side by side lengthwise on prepared sheet.

Pinch top ends together.

Braid dough.


Pinch bottom ends together to secure (braided loaf will be about 12″ long).


If adding hard boiled colored eggs, tuck them between the braids, spacing evenly.


Loosely cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until puffed but not doubled in size, 45-50 minutes.

Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°F.

Whisk remaining egg with 2 teaspoons warm water in a small bowl. Avoiding dyed eggs, brush dough all over with egg wash.

Bake until bread is golden usually about 20 – 25 minutes and a thermometer inserted into center of loaf registers 190°F.

Let cool on a wire rack so moisture does not make the bottom wet.

Serve warm or at room temperature!