All-American (vegan!) apple pie …

… from PETA! Yum, yum, yum, yum …. – R.T.

For the Crust: 
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening

For the Filling: 
1 3/4 lbs. Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced
1 3/4 lbs. Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. unbleached flour

3 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine, diced
1 Tbsp. soy milk
1 Tbsp. Florida Crystals sugar
Large pinch of ground cinnamon

For the Crust: 
• In a bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Mix the water with 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to make a paste. Set aside.
• With a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the vegetable shortening into the remaining flour mixture until the texture is “pebbly.” Add the paste and mix well. Shape into a ball and divide into 2 parts.
• Lightly flour a clean countertop and rolling pin. Roll 1 portion of the dough at a time. Roll from the center out, lifting the roller at the end of the dough (rather than rolling back and forth). Roll to a 1/8-inch thickness.
• Have an 8- or 9-inch pie pan ready. The rolled dough should be at least 2 inches larger than your pie pan. Loosen from the rolling surface, fold in half, and place in the center of the pie pan. Unfold and gently work into the pan, pressing lightly. Trim any excess dough with a knife.

For the Filling: 
• Preheat the oven to 400°F.
• In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Let stand for approximately 15 minutes, or until juices form. Add the flour and mix.

To Assemble:
• Spoon the filling into the bottom crust and dot with margarine.
• Roll out the second ball of dough to form a 13-inch round circle. Drape over the filling.
• Seal the top and bottom crust edges together and trim any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under and crimp decoratively with a greased fork.
• Brush the pie with the soy milk. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pie.
• Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven.
• Immediately reduce the temperature to 375°F. Bake for approximately 2 hours, or until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender, and the filling is thick and bubbling. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover with foil.
• Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings

Read more: http://www.peta.org/recipes/american-apple-pie/#ixzz3E04F99W7

Make sure BACK-TO-SCHOOL isn’t BACK-TO-CRUEL for your dog

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

The end of summer’s carefree days and a return to classes, schedules and after-school activities is an adjustment for everyone in the family—including our dogs. Being left alone while their families go to school or work is especially difficult for dogs because they are highly social pack animals who need and thrive on companionship. But by doing our “homework” now, we can help our canine companions beat the back-to-school blues.

Dogs can become anxious, depressed or withdrawn if kept isolated from the people they love for very long. That’s why, no matter how crazy our schedules are, it’s important to prioritize quality time with our canine family members.

If back-to-school means that your dog will be left alone during the day, come home on your lunch break to give your friend some much-needed attention, exercise and a chance to relieve him- or herself. If that isn’t an option, consider hiring a dog walker or a trusted neighbor.

Daily walks are like recess for dogs. They’re essential to dogs’ health and happiness because they help them burn off pent-up energy, give them a chance to see new sights, sniff the “news” on the fire hydrants and socialize with other dogs and people. Games of fetch and opportunities to run, bark and dig in a safe, fenced-in area are also important to dogs’ well-being.

A sense of predictability and having things to look forward to help dogs feel secure and cope with changes, so maintain a consistent schedule for feedings, outdoor breaks (a minimum of four times a day), playtime and walks. Dogs’ active minds need something to do, so giving them “puzzle” toys – which require them to work to dislodge a treat — and a variety of chew toys will help fill the long hours until your return.

Whatever you do, please don’t ever lock your best friend in a crate. Forcing dogs to spend every day in a box is like detention that never ends, and it’s extremely harmful, both physically and psychologically. According to animal behaviorist Paul Loeb and Suzanne Hlavacek in their book Smarter Than You Think, “Your dog is a social creature and doesn’t want to be isolated in a box any more than you would want to be isolated in a box. You see, dogs want the same things that we want: love, attention, good company, and good food. Not solitary confinement.”

Many dogs who are “crate-trained” develop separation anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and other behavioral issues. As Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinary behaviorist at Tufts University, explains, “For [some dogs with separation anxiety] crates are an imposition, a misery, and an obstacle to be overcome at the expense of broken teeth and fractured claws. Owners return home to find these dogs bug-eyed, in a frenzy, and salivating profusely, and may even come home to find the crate splattered with urine, feces, and/or blood.”

Some people lock up their pup in hopes of speeding up housetraining, but that’s like expecting a kindergartener to ace an algebra test on her first day of school—and then punishing her when she fails. Puppies can’t “hold it” for long because their bladders don’t fully develop until they are 4 to 6 months old, so accidents are inevitable. Dogs who repeatedly soil their crates often lose the urge to keep them clean, which prolongs the housetraining process. It’s much kinder (and more effective) to set puppies up for success by keeping a regular schedule of feedings, playtime and potty breaks and making sure that someone is there to let them out every few hours during the day.

Even if you haven’t been a perfect dog guardian in years past, it’s never too late to learn ways to take better care of your canine companion. By following this advice, you’ll be sure to ace Compassionate Dog Guardianship 101 this school year.

From the Worcester NAACP branch …

The next Community Meeting of the Worcester NAACP is scheduled for September 29 @ 6:30pm.

It will be held in the upstairs Board Rm. of the YWCA Salem Sq.

On November 24, the Worcester NAACP will be holding elections for the officers of the Executive Committee. 

The officers of the Worcester NAACP include:  President, Vice President(s), Treasure/Finance Chair, Asst. Treasurer, Secretary, Asst. Secretary and Member(s) at Large. 

During the September meeting, we will be electing a Nominating Committee and will review the election procedures. 

The Election Supervisory Committee will be elected during the October 27th meeting.  

All members whose memberships are current as of April 1st, 2014 may be nominated for officers of the Executive Committee.  All those who wish to vote, must be a member in good standing of the Worcester NAACP 30 days prior to the November election (October 24, 2014).

If you are not a member, this is the time to join and help us build a leadership team that will lead Worcester in fighting for your civil rights and advocating for social justice.

Thank You!

Free! Music, dance, art, food, fun! Tomorrow – START ON THE STREET arts festival

In Worcester!

I loved it when it was in the hood – in Main South – years ago! What a great gift to an inner-city neighborhood!

But this is just fine! – R.T.

****************

TOMORROW! – Sunday, September 21

11 AM – 6 PM.

On Park Ave. between Pleasant & Highland streets.

More than 250 artists and crafters displaying unique, handmade goods.

A youth market filled with wares by our creative kids under the age of 18!

Area non-profits showcasing the area’s great causes.

A variety of food trucks! Plenty of vegan and vegetarian dishes!

Street performances, dance troupes!

Bands set to perform on two stages!

Don’t forget: hands-on kids’ activities!

FREE!

Cost = only $15. I wish I knew about this conference when I …

… was the primary care giver for my 83-year-old mom! She had mild/moderate (at the end) Alzheimer’s Disease. She died a little over two years ago. The last year caring for her – she wanted to live in her little studio apartment at a Worcester seniors housing complex and I honored her wish – was especially stressful/heart-wrenching. – R.T.
 *******************************
Respite and Relaxation for Family Caregivers 
HESSCO 10th Annual Family Caregiver Conference
Sept. 23 – Wrentham, MA
$15
 
HESSCO Elder Services, Inc. will hold its 10th Annual Caregiver Conference at Lake Pearl Luciano’s in Wrentham on Tuesday September 23, 2014. Doors will be open from 9am to 2pm.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Donna White RN, CS, CADAC II. She will provide practical tips on how to manage stress. 

In addition, caregivers have the choice of six break-out sessions spanning from advice on how to approach the topic of driving, how to hold a family meeting, how to communicate effectively, how to access benefits for care recipients and how to balance work and caregiving.

There will also be a support group for male caregivers.

Over 50 professional organizations and service providers will take part in an exposition offering valuable information and resources to caregivers.

Throughout the event, caregivers can find relaxation by observing a water color demonstration and/or taking advantage of a reading corner or meditating.

They can learn how to arm-knit and complete a scarf in just 30 minutes.

On the day of the event, participants can sign up for a choice of relaxing treatments such as a satin hand pampering, a chair massage, energy healing, or acupuncture.

Caregivers in the US provide an estimated $450 billion worth of unpaid care. The conference is HESSCO’s way of thanking them for their valuable contribution.

The fee to attend is $15 per person, which includes admission to the conference, the relaxation room, continental breakfast and a buffet lunch. There will also be a raffle with many wonderful prizes. 

To register, please contact Kristin Heuwold, Family Caregiver Specialist at kheuwold@hessco.org or 781-784-4944 x 253 or register online at www.HESSCO.org.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author at Clark University

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz will speak at Clark University at 7 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 30, in Daniels Theater in Atwood Hall on Woodland Street, Worcester. This free, public lecture is sponsored by the Clark University President’s Lecture Series.

Díaz is the author of many critically acclaimed works, including “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and “This Is How You Lose Her” (2012), a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist. Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey, he is a graduate of Rutgers College. Díaz received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award. For more information on Díaz’s work, please visit his website.

“We are extremely excited to have an author of Diaz’s stature visit Clark,” said Paul Posner, director of the University’s Latin American and Latino Studies concentration and faculty organizer of the event. “His work deals with issues – colonialism’s legacy in Latin America, cultural identity and language, immigration and gender relations, among others – that are of central importance to many of our students and faculty.”

Díaz lives in New York City. He is a fiction editor at the Boston Review, the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and serves on the board of advisers for Freedom University, a volunteer organization in Atlanta that helps provide post-secondary directive to undocumented immigrants. Díaz also co-founded the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA), whose mission is to develop emerging writers of color.

A book signing will follow the lecture.

From the Repeal the Casino Deal folks …

After headlines that read “Panel sees flaws in both plans for Greater Boston casino,” the Massachusetts Gaming Commission unveiled its final decision ahead of the November election, awarding the Boston area license to Wynn Resorts in Everett. The decision was but the latest installment in the ongoing casino mess.

Charlestown residents will rally in Sullivan Square today in protest of the MGC decision and in support of casino repeal. Denied a right to vote and denied a surrounding community agreement, the neighborhood has become a touchstone for the larger concerns about Question 3.

Increased rates of crime, gambling addiction and drunk driving don’t stop at city lines. This fall, all voters across Massachusetts will choose on whether to keep or repeal the law, banning casinos, slot parlors, and greyhound simulcasting from the state. Repeal the Casino Deal is organizing forums, debates, and grassroots canvassing and phone banking throughout the state.

Have an event where you’d like us to speak? Let us know.

How else are we spreading the word? Through the Yes on 3 website! Give it a look, and share it with your friends, family, and neighbors. It’ll be an ongoing source for the latest news and facts about casino repeal.

Join the campaign to stop the casino mess. Please donate, volunteer to help, and follow us on social media. This fall, it’s a Yes on Question 3.

Together, we’ll defeat the casino industry.

John Ribeiro, chairman
Repeal the Casino Deal

A strong-mayor-for-Worcester proponent …

By Rosalie Tirella

… just left me a voicemail. The person, pretty close to the strong-mayor powerbrokers, said the movement now “appears to be dead.”

Pathetic.

This means the folks behind the strong mayor form of government push were lying to the public when they said: IT’S NOT ABOUT US. IT’S NOT ABOUT THE CITY MANAGER SEARCH. IT’S NOT ABOUT SPECIFIC PEOPLE. OR GETTING OUR GUY (it’s always a guy) in.

They told us the peeps: It’s about letting Worcesterites decide for themselves what kind of government they want. It’s about making government more responsive to the people. Making Worcester leaders more accountable to the people.

They even went so far as to insist, because they said they were so fair-minded!, that their drive for a strong mayor government for Worcester not even be described in those terms. They wanted us all to call it/see it as THE PEOPLE OF WORCESTER DECIDING HOW WE WANT TO BE GOVERNED. Blah, Blah, Blah …

What a pile of crap.

Now we see this group of Woo movers and shakers was exactly like the infamous LETTER WRITERS movers and shakers group, who threw a huge monkey wrench into – and bungled – the Woo city manager search.

This strong mayor group was also going about fucking up the Worcester City Manager Search. But their method was different: They were gonna gum up, null and void, the City Manager Search by changing Worcester’s form of government! They wanted THEIR GUY IN, not the other guy. And they were gonna put him in this way!

Fuck the people. Fuck the process. Fuck whatever form of government that’s giving us the guy we don’t want, they were saying.

Let’s all play games with government and laws to get what we want: Tim Murray or Jim McGovern or Joe O’Brien or their assistants, good friends, or proteges in the corner office!

And you’d know they’d get all their people out to change it all … only to re-install Tim Murray or someone from his camp. But new Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus,one of their guys, is now at the head of the Worcester table. From their camp!

So … never mind.

They got what they wanted all along …