What to do if you spot wildlife babies this spring

Reposting …      R. T.

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Chances are good this spring that many of us will encounter young wildlife. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to scoop up a vulnerable-looking fledgling bird or squirrel pup, but well-meaning people often hurt—rather than help—animals’ chances for survival by “rescuing” baby animals who are perfectly fine and whose parents are foraging for food nearby.

Baby birds often turn up in backyards. If you see a bird on the ground with a half-inch or more of tail feathers, the bird is a fledgling who is learning to fly, and his or her parents are likely keeping a watchful eye from nearby. Leave the fledgling alone, unless the bird is in a dangerous area or there is a cat or dog nearby—in which case, place the bird on the lowest branch of a tree or shrub.

Featherless birds are nestlings and cannot fly. Place them back in the nest, if you can reach it, or make a new one from a berry basket or other small container with holes punched in the bottom and filled with shredded tissue. Hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest, and watch for the parents to return. Don’t worry—parent birds will not reject their babies because a human has touched them. Birds have a poor sense of smell and are more likely to be bothered by human noises than human scents.

Young squirrels are often found after their nest has been blown down by a storm.. The best way to reunite them with their mother is to place the babies in a box containing a hot-water bottle at the base of a tree. The mother will usually retrieve her young and move them to a safer location, but only if she feels safe—so be sure to stay away from the box and keep dogs, cats and children away, too.

People who see a solitary fawn or a nest of rabbits without their mother nearby often mistakenly assume that the animals have been orphaned. But mother deer nurse and attend to their young only a few times per day, and fawns spend most of their time alone—quiet and almost motionless—in open fields. Similarly, mother cottontail rabbits usually visit their nests to feed their young only twice a day, at dawn and dusk, because it decreases the chance of alerting predators to the nest’s location. If you don’t know whether the mother will come back, try placing a string over the nest. If the string has been moved by the following morning, the mother has returned.

If you find a baby animal who is clearly injured (e.g., has a broken wing or leg, is bleeding or is unconscious); has been caught by a cat, dog or other predator; is weak and shivering or emaciated; is in immediate danger; and/or is definitely orphaned and not being cared for, place the animal in a safe, warm, well-ventilated, newspaper-lined box and contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately. Never try to care for injured or orphaned wildlife yourself. In most cases, it’s against the law to keep wild animals without the required permits, even if you plan to return them to nature. Attempting to raise wildlife yourself will likely result in frustration and sadness—baby animals require specialized care and do not fare well when raised by humans.

When it comes to baby animals—and wildlife in general—a hands-off approach is often the best one. Knowing when to take action and when not to interfere makes all the difference and can save a life.

Springtime … new beginnings for Green Hill Park … and humankind?

By Edith Morgan

On March 20th, the calendar said that spring begins in these parts and, after a winter to remember, we watched as the mountains of snow slowly melted down;  again the roads were wide enough for two cars to pass, the pavement showed gray and black and passable, crews were out filling in the cracks and potholes left by the winter.

I live two houses down from Green Hill Park, and for over two weeks I heard the roar of heavy equipment: sawing and chipping and hauling away the wooded cover on the hill, leaving a few skinny trees, with daylight filtering through where before there was dense forest growth.

Muddy ruts and stumps mark the hillside, making the area look like a war zone.

But I have lived near the park long enough to know that Mother Nature is not so easily stopped.

While the habitat of this generation’s wildlife (the voles, skunks, squirrels, coyotes, wild turkeys – myriad other animals, small and large) have lost their homes and their cover, in two or three decades, the devastated hillsides will once again sport trees.

The old meadow on Denmark Street where we picked wild blueberries and strawberries so long ago, which was overrun by trees, is now once again nearly bare. But spring is here, and nature abhors a vacuum and will soon replant itself. Hopefully, the birds and wildlife will return, as they have so many time before, despite human depredations. And so, I am hopeful, and will go out and look for signs of life when the last snow is gone and the mud dries.

This is the season of spring holidays. We celebrate Passover and Easter at this time: both are festivals of new beginnings, celebrating the coming of the new and hopefully better beginnings for humans, at a time when nature is also coming back to life all around us.

Worcester does a big cleanup called Earth Day on Saturday, April 18!

Spring housecleaning is a yearly ritual. Jews clean for Passover, remove leavened foods, change to special dishes and, in a great many ways, remember and celebrate the exodus from slavery in Egypt three millennia ago by recalling the suffering of those days and celebrating the ultimate arrival in the promised land.

Christians celebrate the return of Jesus risen from the grave, and everywhere are seen the symbols of rebirth – the eggs, the flowers, chicks and bunnies for the children, and a spirit of renewal and hope pervades us all.

But as I look around our country, our world, I see too many people still mired in the winter of war, poverty, hatred and fear. Too many are still enslaved by their addictions, their hatreds and their irrationalities. How great it would be if this season of hope and appreciation for what we have could spread like a great contagion and envelop our world. Could the dove of peace have a chance to survive the constant assault of the hawks, eagles and vultures filling our skies?

I wish all our InCity Times readers joyous beginnings at this time! Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all!

The old Worcester Courthouse, fair labor practices, CM Ed Augustus and government transparency

By Gordon T. Davis

The old Worcester courthouse, near Lincoln Square, has been tentatively sold by the City of Worcester for $1.2 million dollars to Brady Sullivan, a New Hampshire developer.

The announced plan for the building is a mix of dorms and apartments, with some retail space.

At first I thought this to be good news for Worcester.  The complex would be associated with the New England College of Pharmacy and the college would be getting a new building. Based on pioneering and iconic urban planner/city lover Jane Jacobs’ theory, this would eventually mean a more vibrant and growing downtown Worcester.

Before the ink could dry on the contracts/agreement between the City of Worcester and Brady Sullivan, questions were being raised by the Worcester Community Labor Coalition (WCLC).

I know that the  WCLC has some long time activists, union members and politicians: Kevin Ksen, Frank Kartheiser, Manny Gines and state rep Mary Keefe.  This group has some influence, especially in a City Council election year.

The WCLC demanded that Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus provide a copy of the contracts and agreements between the City and Brady Sullivan.

The group stated that it had concerns about the employer’s compliance with State labor laws. It was also concerned that few if any substantive jobs would go to Worcester residents. WCLC alleged that Brady Sullivan and at least one sub contractor was not in compliance with Massachusetts Workers Compensation laws. The group also said the Brady Sullivan project in Boston had mostly workers from Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Now my question: What is the hurry?

Why didn’t the Worcester City Council subcommittee and the WCLC review the contracts BEFORE they are signed?

Why can’€™t the review be done now?

Why were the negotiations done previously to the drawing of the contracts and not subjected to scrutiny by the public at large?

I can’t think of a reason.

I know Brady Sullivan has sent an ominous letter to the City of Worcester, implying that it might back out of agreements, if there is more public scrutiny.

In many ways, these events are similar to the agreements with Worcester State University and the expansion of the parking lots near Chandler Magnet School. The City Manager and the University drew up what seemed to be a good plan for parking. Neither the City nor the University involved the public in the planning. The public, in a panic, desperately opposed the plans for an expansion of the parking lot.

The similarity is that City Manager Augustus tried to present the public, not so much as a fait acompli, perfect plans that he assumed no one would oppose.

Worcester politics are such that the public would rather have a less than perfect plan and MORE INPUT.

So I applaud the WCLC for questioning the agreements between the City of Worcester and Brady Sullivan. These agreements should get a thorough vetting by the public, as should the balance of the City Square project.

Hopefully, the Worcester courthouse project will move forward with more input from the public.

And, hopefully, there will be fewer scare tactics by Brady Sullivan, a developer with a less than stellar reputation when it comes to hiring local workers, relations with subcontractors who pay laborers cash and don’t take out workers compensation to protect their men and women on potentially dangerous jobs, and other illegal labor practices that could cost people their lives, as well as money they are owed in unpaid overtime.  

To exploit workers is to exploit Worcester. 

Saturday, April 18! Worcester Earth Day clean-ups! City-wide! Pitch in! Have fun!

From the Worcester Regional Environmental Council (REC), based in Main South:

Get involved in this year’s 26th Annual Earth Day Clean Ups!

In Worcester! 

Saturday, April 18!

REC invites you to join us in our 26th REC Annual Earth Day Clean-Ups, Saturday, April 18, to commemorate Earth Day.

With your help we can do even more this year to make our city a better place to live and work!

We are always looking for new sites to clean up and more volunteers to lend a helping hand.

If you know of a Worcester neighborhood/site and would like to spearhead the clean-ups, we encourage you to sign up as a site-coordinator.

But if you are looking for ways to just get involved that day, please sign up as a volunteer.

Become an Earth Day Site Coordinator!

Become an Earth Day Volunteer!

The cleanups are truly a community-wide event; last year marked our 25th year of joining together with local businesses, neighbors and friends to clean a record number of Worcester streets, neighborhoods and parks.

We are only able to achieve the amazing results we do by the sponsorship of local businesses, in-kind donations and the volunteerism of MORE THAN 1,000 VOLUNTEERS! 

If you would like to give a financial contribution to our 26th REC Annual Earth Day Clean-Ups, please sign up as a sponsor.

For more information or, if you have any questions, please contact:

Hanh at 508-799-9139 or office@recworcester.org.

We look forward to working with everyone this year to make Worcester a cleaner, safer, and healthier city. We couldn’t do it without you!

To learn more about REC farmers markets, community gardens, youth internships and fun activities for EVERYONE in our city, CLICK HERE

Go, Lieutenant Michael Batcheller, go!

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Lieutenant Michael Batcheller   

FROM THE U.S. NAVY:

By Lt. j.g. Christopher Hanson, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO – Lieutenant Michael Batcheller, a 2002 Grafton High School graduate and Grafton native, is serving aboard USS New Orleans (LPD 18), one of the Navy’s newest and most advanced amphibious ships, designed to deliver Marines and their equipment to and from war zones.

Batcheller is a dentist aboard the San Diego-based San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The ship is longer than two football fields at 684 feet, 105 feet wide and weighs more than 24,000 tons. Four diesel engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph.

USS New Orleans is the fourth Navy ship to be named for the city of New Orleans, and is the second vessel in the San Antonio-class of high-tech amphibious assault ships.

As a 31 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Batcheller said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He added that it is an exciting time to be in the Navy, and serving aboard a ship has truly made him a better person. “The Navy has taught me to hone my leadership abilities and develop a great attitude in dealing with all issues that arise. My Navy experiences will help me throughout life,” said Batcheller.

He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the New Orleans’ 427-member crew, protecting and defending America on the world’s oceans. “Our forward presence helps to neutralize any threats to our national and economic security,” Batcheller explained.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS New Orleans. Approximately 46 officers and 381 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. Another 700 or so form the deployable Marine Corps battalion and New Orleans is capable of transporting the battalion and landing them in hostile territory via helicopters, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft and air-cushioned landing craft.

“New Orleans is truly a fine warship and it is our duty to bring her to life,” said Capt. Doug Verissimo, the ship’s commanding officer. “Our Sailors have been working very hard bringing her from a post-deployment repair period to our upcoming tactical integration with our Marine teammates. I feel an unparalleled sense of pride working alongside our nation’s finest.”

Collectively, the San Antonio-class ships will functionally replace more than 41 ships providing the Navy and Marine Corps with modern sea-based platforms. Amphibious transport dock ships are warships that embark, transport, and land elements of a landing force for a variety of expeditionary warfare missions. These ships support amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions and can serve as secondary aviation platforms for amphibious ready groups. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s high-tech amphibious assault ships, Batcheller and other New Orleans sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“I enjoy meeting the different people in the Navy and around the world,” Batcheller said. “Our junior Sailors keep me feeling young.”

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

“Why Being There Matters”

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times. 

Thank you very much for your support of the men and women in U.S. Navy, deployed around the clock and ready to protect and defend America on the world’s oceans.

Main South community activist/writer Ron O’Clair runs for Worcester City Council

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Ron, outside the rooming house he manages in Main South. He is a Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate. (photo R.T.)

From Ron O’Clair:

To the registered voters of Worcester, Massachusetts, and those not registered currently who would like to register to vote to support my candidacy for Worcester City Councilor At-Large:

I hereby formerly announce my intention to gather the required signatures on the nomination papers for a seat on the Worcester City Council, here in the City of Worcester.

I have long been involved with citizen activism, having worked with all of my former District 4 Worcester City Councilors since I purposely established myself as a resident here on Main Street in the 700 block, where I have had a bird’s eye view of the goings on in the public streets since the 3rd day of July, 1996.

I worked first with District 4 City Councilor Janice Nadeau, her successor Barbara Haller and, after a time, Barbara’s successor, Sarai Rivera. I have found all three of these women to be tireless workers trying to make the quality of life here in District 4, and the City of Worcester in general, better for all who live and work here.

Over the years I have even sponsored petitions to the Worcester City Council in my attempts to improve living conditions here in the City of Worcester, specifically Main Street, where criminal activity had been allowed to prosper to the point that life in my district became intolerable.

I have always been an ardent supporter of the rights of the people as outlined in the United States Constitution since signing on the dotted line when I became a noncommissioned officer with the United States Air Force Reserve program at Westover, AFB in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.

I have attended and participated in numerous Worcester crime watch meetings, authored many articles to bring attention to the problems facing our city, and most of all, observed with a critical eye the root causes of what I perceive to be the decline of Worcester since the time of my youth, until the current time we live in now where disrespect for authority seems to be on the rise, and a sizable percentage of Worcester residents are involved in  illegal activities that stem directly from the sale and use of illegal narcotics.

I was initially educated in the Worcester Public School system – one of the finest in the nation – and have credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science with the Community College of the United States Air Force. I left formal education early to enter the workforce, due to a pressing need within my family, earning a G.E.D. through the Worcester Night Life program in order to qualify for entrance into the military with a high school education or its equivalent. I never stopped seeking knowledge and have the accumulated wisdom learned the hard way, by practical experience.

I have a strong desire to help transform the City of Worcester back into a place where anyone can succeed on a basis of equality. There will be many people who will try to discredit me, something I have been dealing with since I was 25 years old, and a victim of the old “good ole boy” corruption then in power in Worcester County. Throughout the entire ordeal, I never gave up being an ardent supporter of law enforcement, which is essential to maintain a Democracy, such as the one we live in.

I will run my campaign like my idol John F. Kennedy did, meeting and greeting as many voters as I can in a grass roots effort to secure enough signatures on the nomination papers to get on the ballot in the upcoming election.

My record of service to my City of Worcester, and my country, speaks for itself, and will withstand any challenges made upon it, despite my having been diagnosed with bi-polar. Winston Churchill was said to suffer from the same malady, and it did not affect his ability to help govern Great Britain to victory during the Second World War. Truth be told, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see firsthand how the criminals and those diagnosed mentally ill are treated within our institutions, and society in general. I will advocate on the behalf of those afflicted, as I have met some of the best people in the strangest places.

If elected to the position that I seek, I will faithfully execute the duties of the office that I enter, and work ceaselessly to make the City of Worcester a better place to live for ALL of its residents, regardless of any labels put upon them based on race, handicap, religion, sexual orientation, gender, illness or age.

Please consider voting for Mr. Ronald L. O’Clair, City Council At-Large in the next election.

Thank you, and may the God of your understanding bestow upon you many blessings.

Ron O’Clair, Worcester

Want to contact Ron? Please email him at ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

When three years feels like an eternity

By Delcianna Winders, Esq.

Feld Entertainment, the private company that owns Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, recently announced that it plans to phase out its use of elephants in performances by 2018. But why does this billion-dollar behemoth need three years to do what it should do immediately?

A company spokesperson acknowledged that the decision was reached because the public has made it clear that it no longer supports forcing elephants to perform. More and more people have come to learn that in circuses, baby elephants are taken from their mothers, beaten into submission with bullhooks and shackled for the rest of their lives. A bullhook is a heavy baton with a sharp metal tip and hook on the end used to keep captive elephants submissive and afraid. The company’s CEO, Kenneth Feld, admitted that the bullhook bans being passed or considered in cities throughout the country contributed to the decision.

So why force elephants to live in fear of being hit with these weapons and to spend days on end confined to fetid boxcars for another three years? If the company is serious and sincere about evolving, then it should make this change now.

Transported from venue to venue almost year-round, elephants used by circuses spend most of their lives shackled and confined. These animals, who are genetically designed to walk many miles every day, must eat, drink, sleep, defecate and urinate in a world measured in inches. This prolonged chaining is linked to deadly foot disorders, arthritis and “stereotypic” (neurotic) behavior, such as constant swaying.

At least 11 elephants with Ringling have tested positive for tuberculosis (TB)—and that’s no laughing matter. TB can be deadly and is highly transmissible from elephants to humans, even without direct contact.

According to Kenneth Vail, the Animal Welfare Act compliance officer for Feld Entertainment, TB is “probably going to be the downfall of Feld’s elephants.”

Many elephants did not live long enough to benefit from Ringling’s change of heart. It’s too late for an 8-month-old baby elephant named Riccardo, who was destroyed after he fractured his hind legs when he fell from a pedestal during a training session; 4-year-old Benjamin, who drowned while being pursued by a handler with a bullhook; and 3-year-old Kenny (Kenneth Feld’s namesake), who died shortly after he was forced to go on stage despite the fact that he was bleeding from his rectum and having difficulty standing.

While Ringling’s decision will provide some relief to elephants forced to perform, let’s not forget that at its Florida compound, elephants are shackled and handled with bullhooks, so a serene retirement does not await them. They are also used as breeding machines, even though captive elephants are dying at a faster rate than they are breeding. Ringling has failed to make any meaningful contribution to the protection of wild Asian elephant habitat and has been unabashedly uninterested in furthering conservation of wild elephant populations. When asked why it doesn’t redirect its efforts from captive breeding to wild habitat conservation, Ringling’s national media representative responded, “Habitat is another thing. We’re not a conservation organization.”

Instead of breeding more elephants who will spend their lives in chains and in forced breeding regimens, Feld Entertainment could transform its Florida facility into a genuine sanctuary—modeled after the successful examples of California’s PAWS and Tennessee’s The Elephant Sanctuary—where elephants could form social groups of their own choosing, swim in ponds and roam over large areas to forage and explore.

Feld Entertainment is on the cusp of a new business model. The company just needs to go further—and faster.

Delcianna Winders is deputy general counsel for the PETA Foundation. Please check our ICT circus FB page, run by Deb Young, on this website (click on text by baby elephant) for updates on elephants and other wild animals in traveling shows and roadside zoos. Thank you!