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Good news from North High School

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

It is the nature of society that the only news to make the press is doom and gloom. I want to reverse that trend and let you know good things are happening in our schools.

Despite the recession, budget woes and many other problems that plague the current school climate, our talented and dedicated Worcester Public School professionals have once again risen to the challenges facing them and demonstrated their worth.

As reported last year in InCity Times, North High School was part of the Mass Insight and Research Institute project. This independent non-profit organization works with public schools across the nation Continue reading Good news from North High School

Ask your legislator to help elephants by supporting S. 1870

Dear InCity Times readers,

In July 2009, PETA released the findings of an undercover investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that spanned several months and took place in more than a dozen U.S. states. Our investigator documented routine abuse of elephants and tigers at the hands of Ringling workers, including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer.

One of the implements that Ringling employees routinely use is a bullhook—a heavy, hard-handled device with a sharp, steel hook at one end that trainers use to beat elephants on the head, the ears, the trunk, and other sensitive areas. The use of bullhooks is standard in the circus industry, and its use on elephants results in pain, suffering, and trauma, including lacerations, puncture wounds, and abscesses. While an elephant’s skin appears tough, it is actually so sensitive that the animals can feel a fly land and the pain of an insect bite. Trainers typically embed the hooks into the elephants’ skin and soft-tissue areas. Continue reading Ask your legislator to help elephants by supporting S. 1870

A change of heart

By State Senator Robert L. Hedlund, minority whip

I didn’t consider myself an “animal protection” person. I wear a leather motorcycle jacket. I sometimes eat meat. And I oppose forming a union for pigeons that “act” in movies, as one of my colleagues is pushing for.

Yet, I am now and have been for several years, one of the Legislature’s leading advocates against cruelty to elephants, and other animal protection issues.

I owe it all to members of the South Shore Humane Society, who brought to my attention one day the physical and mental abuse leveled against non-domestic animals that are forced to perform as part as circuses or traveling exhibits. Continue reading A change of heart

Give ’em shelter!

To most of us, the start of winter means that our warm clothes come out and the heater gets switched on. We can cope comfortably with the coming chill. But to neglected “backyard” dogs, the change of seasons means that they must endure many months of long, cold nights with nowhere to go to get out of the wind and sleet. It means aching joints and uncontrollable shaking—no matter how small a ball they try to curl into.

You can change that.

For many of these animals, a sturdily constructed doghouse can make all the difference in the world—it can sometimes even be the difference between life and death. Continue reading Give ’em shelter!

Massachusetts Senate resoundingly passes CORI bill

The Massachusetts Senate resoundingly passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill yesterday – including almost all of our CORI priorities!!!

After 64 months of grassroots struggle and a day at the State House that sometimes felt like the Twilight Zone, the bill passed by a vote of 26 to 12.

Here are the key provisions of the bill that passed the Senate:

CORI Reform

· It would be illegal to include any criminal history question on applications for housing or employment throughout the state of Massachusetts!

· CORI would be eligible to be sealed after ten years for a felony and 5 years for a misdemeanor! Continue reading Massachusetts Senate resoundingly passes CORI bill

Worcester’s new Center for Nonviolent Solutions

By Michael True

In praising Gandhi, recently, President Barack Obama said that the effort to remain nonviolent in a polarized world “is still a work in progress.” Worcester’s new Center for Nonviolent Solutions, recently announced at the Saxe Room, in the Worcester Public Library, has committed itself to that effort.

The Center opened an office at 901 Pleasant St. in late October. It will cooperate with other local organizations devoted to de-escalating violence and building a peace culture, It will encourage public understanding of nonviolence as a way of life that rejects the use of violence by developing skills to construct peace in the family, the neighborhood and the schools. Continue reading Worcester’s new Center for Nonviolent Solutions

Reach Out and Read supplies Worcester docs with books

By Matt Ferraguto

Doctors and nurses at 15 of Worcester’s hospitals, health centers, clinics, and practices are sending home their youngest patients with brand-new children’s books and important advice for their parents: “Read to your child every day.” That’s because they’re all participating in Reach Out and Read, the national nonprofit early literacy initiative that gives young children the tools they will need to learn to read and succeed in school.

Reach Out and Read is research-proven, with more than a dozen published studies documenting its impact on the children and families it serves, and it’s cost-effective, because it only costs $40 to provide the full, five-year program to one child. Continue reading Reach Out and Read supplies Worcester docs with books

Alleged pedophile is now a Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

By Rosalie Tirella

How awful! Got a note from an ICT reader. He/she wrote: “Thought you might be interested in this. Dear God!”

Attached to the note was an ad, an ad for Paul Giorgio – Massachusetts’ newest Justice of the Peace. Justice of the Peace!? You’ve got to be joking!

This time it was my turn! “My God!” I screamed. Why would anyone want Paul Giorgio, an alleged pedophile, to marry them, to say the words that make two people one, to help consecrate such a special day?

I’ll go one step furthur: why would anyone want Giorgio at their wedding – period?

The newspapers, including InCity Times, covered the Giorgio case: In a 2003 civil suit, Marcos Arroyo claimed that Giorgio twice had sex with Arroyo in 1986 when Arroyo was under the age of 16. Continue reading Alleged pedophile is now a Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Quinn Bill cave-in

So, OK, the cops ARE going to pay 25% of their health insurance premiums. This “concession” was probably made so that they could keep robbing taxpayers via Quinn Bill payments – $5 million for Worcester, since the state is no longer paying half the bill.

$5 million!

Worcester needs to STOP funding the Quinn Bill – just like the state of Massachusetts has.

(Just a thought: Will the WPS teachers follow suit? Will they pay 25% of their health insurance premiums? Or will they be the only municipal employee hold-outs?)

– R.Tirella

Our teachers MUST pay their fair share!

By Rosalie Tirella

Well, here it is: crisis time again. Last week the Worcester City Council and School Committee met to discuss finances. Next fiscal year’s municipal budget looks grim, with a $26-million gap projected for the Worcester Public School system.

Right off the bat, City Manager Mike O’Brien needs to: CONVINCE THE WPS TEACHERS’ UNION TO EMBRACE REALITY!!!! Embrace reality and join the majority of working Americans and our other municipal unions and start paying (immediately) 25% of their health insurance premiums. Plus higher co-pays.

Teachers! This simple step – paying 25% of your health insurance premium – will save the City of Worcester $3 million! Like I said, the 25% contribution is something that’s been accepted by workers in the private sector for a while now, and the City of Worcester’s clerks and other groups have joined the rest of America. Continue reading Our teachers MUST pay their fair share!