Category Archives: InCity Feature

Boys and Girls Club of Worcester special event!

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A blast from the past!  Boys playing checkers at the old club house on Ionic Ave. Today, thanks to the Main South CDC, Clark University and the City of Worcester,  city kids have a beautiful, new, state-of-the-art club house on Tainter Street in which to play, swim, box, learn, get homework help, make life-long friends, make life-long memories!!      – R.T.

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Please support this inner-city gem!!

ARTS IN THE EVENING

Saturday, October 18

at the Boys and Girls Club of Worcester

65 Tainter St.

5:30 p.m – COCKTAIL PARTY

Enjoy listening to the Linda Dagnello Jazz Quartet

Shopping at local boutiques

and viewing Club kids’ artwork

7:30 p.m. – CELEBRITY FASHION SHOW

featuring Worcester City Councilor Sarai Rivera and many more!

Tix: $25 in advance

$50 at the door

To purchase tickets or for more info, please contact Liz at lhamilton@bgcworcester.org

I haven’t eaten pork since I was 17 years old …

… living with my Ma and sisters on Lafayette Street in Green Island. Went away to college and dumped meat, Catholicism, authority, being a “nice” girl – everything that society tells you is good for you. … It’s been a great ride!!!!

Please! Dump the Sunday breakfast staples like bacon strips and sausages! Save a pig’s life! They’re just grand! …Remember piggies in America lead horrendous lives!!

Learn more…From PETA.ORG.

– R. Tirella

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The Pork Industry

Like the beloved characters in Charlotte’s Web and Babe, real pigs are intelligent and sensitive, each with his or her own unique personality. But pigs raised for food in real life are treated far more cruelly than their fictional counterparts in these tales.

Almost all of the millions of pigs killed for food in the U.S. every year are raised on extremely crowded, filthy factory farms. These intelligent social animals are deprived of natural sunlight and the feel of grass beneath their feet, until the day when they are shoved and prodded onto a truck bound for the slaughterhouse.

Mothers Abused

Most mother pigs in the U.S. spend their entire adult lives confined to cramped metal crates. They never feel the affectionate nuzzle of a mate, and they are thwarted in their natural desire to build a cozy, comfortable nest. Instead, they are surrounded by cold metal bars and forced to lie on wet, feces-covered floors.

When they are old enough to give birth, these sows are artificially inseminated and imprisoned for the entire length of their pregnancies in “gestation crates,” cages that are just 2 feet wide and too small for them even to turn around or lie down comfortably. The pigs often develop bedsores from lack of movement.

After giving birth, mother pigs are moved to “farrowing crates,” enclosures similar to gestation crates, with only a tiny additional concrete area on which the piglets can nurse. One worker describes the process: “They beat the shit out of [the mother pigs] to get them inside the crates because they don’t want to go. This is their only chance to walk around, get a little exercise, and they don’t want to go [back into a crate].”

Gestation and farrowing crates are so barbaric that they have been banned in several U.S. states as well in the U.K. and Sweden.

This intensive confinement, loneliness, and deprivation often causes mother pigs to go insane, which is manifested in repetitive behaviors such as neurotically chewing on their cage bars or obsessively pressing on their water bottles. After three or four years, their bodies are exhausted (despite the fact that the pigs are still quite young), and they are shipped off to slaughter.

Torn From Their Mothers and Mutilated

The piglets are taken away from their mothers when they are less than a month old. In nature, they would stay with their mothers for several months. The mothers are impregnated again, and the cycle of forced breeding and imprisonment continues.

The male piglets have their testicles cut out of their scrotums. Both males and females have their tails cut off, many of their teeth clipped in half, and their ears mutilated, all without any pain relief. They are crammed into pens crowded with many other piglets, where they are kept until they are deemed large enough for slaughter. The animals are given almost no room to move, because, as one pork-industry journal put it, “[O]vercrowding pigs pays.”

Awaiting Slaughter

Impeccably clean by nature, pigs on factory farms are forced to live amid their own feces and vomit—and sometimes even amid the corpses of other pigs. Extreme crowding, poor ventilation, and filth cause rampant disease. By the time they’re sent to slaughter, many pigs on factory farms suffer from lung lesions caused by pneumonia. At any given time, more than one-quarter of pigs suffer from mange. They are fed antibiotics as a growth promoter, but many pigs still die from infections.

Because of illness, a lack of room to exercise, and genetic manipulation that causes them to grow too large too quickly, pigs often develop arthritis and other joint problems. Many pigs on factory farms are forced to live on slatted floors above giant manure pits. Smaller pigs often sustain severe leg injuries when their legs get caught between the slats.

Many farmers simply kill sick animals instead of giving them medicine or veterinary care in order to save money. A PETA investigation found that a manager at an Oklahoma farm killed pigs by beating them with metal gate rods, and others were left to die without food or water. Unwanted “runts” were killed, as they are on most farms, by “thumping,” or slamming their heads against the floor.

You can help put an end to this cruelty. Read PETA’s free vegetarian/vegan starter kit online or order a free hard copy and start switching to delicious pork-free foods, such as veggie dogs, mock riblets, and tempeh bacon. We’ll send you all the tips and recipes you’ll need to help you make the transition to animal-friendly eating.

19-Oct Vote Now for peta2’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges Round 1
27-Oct Vote Now for peta2’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges Round 2
3-Nov Vote Now for peta2’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges Round 3
10-Nov Vote Now for peta2’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges Round 4
14-Nov Vote Now for peta2’s Most Vegetarian-Friendly Colleges Round 5



Read more: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/pigs/pork-industry/#ixzz3Fws2068d

Hearty autumn warm-ups!

Savory soups, stews and other rib-stickin’ fare! You don’t add meat to any of these tasty autumn warm-ups. So many meals and soups taste great and have no animal fat in them! For instance, the best “meatballs” I’ve ever eaten in my life are vegan, made by pal Kathy. As I wolf ‘em down, I always ask her: Are you sure these are totally meatless? You didn’t slip a little meat in?   … They have flavor, texture, mmmmm … they are amazing. They are totally meatless.

Soups/stews are a yummy ways to ease yourself into a diet with less/no meat. – R. T.

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From PETA.ORG

There’s no better way to welcome the cooler months than with a hearty vegan stew but it’s important that the dish not only warm your soul and please your palate—it should also nourish your body with nutrients, minerals, protein, and fiber.

In her new book, Superfood Cuisine: Cooking with Nature’s Most Amazing Foods, natural-food chef Julie Morris shows us how to use nutrient-dense superfoods that will heal and energize the body and promote radiant good health.

Today we’re sharing from Superfood Cuisine . The recipe is a filling stew made with kale and black-eyed peas—a fitting tribute to the bounty of fall. Bon appétit!

Kale & Black-Eyed Pea Stew

1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 cups diced white onions (about 1 medium onion)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. chipotle powder
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 Tbsp. wakame flakes, ground or crushed into fine pieces
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
1 head kale, stems discarded and leaves chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

  • In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the celery and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes longer.
  • Stir in the oregano, thyme, chipotle, and paprika and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the vegetable broth, water, wakame flakes, and black-eyed peas.* Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, adding more water if needed.
  • After the soup is cooked through, stir in the kale* and keep over the heat for a minute longer—just long enough to wilt the kale.
  • Add the lemon juice and turn off the heat. Top with parsley and serve.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

*Variation: Add 1 cup of diced smoked tofu when you add the black-eyed peas.

*Adding the kale at the end of the cooking process ensures that it’s softened enough to be enjoyed without destroying all its nutrients through heat.

Superfood tip: Using smoked ingredients like chipotle powder and smoked paprika add an impressive depth of flavor to recipes without compromising nutrition through overcooking.

Check out Julie’s blog for more tips and recipes, or download a free superfood booklet!

Other superfood recipes posted on PETA Living:

This just in …

Boston area firefighters to be honored at Sunday’s National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service

Boston – John T. Austin of of Quincy, Mass., David A. Brier of Middleboro, Mass., and Richard D. Mingolelli of Boston, Mass. will be among 107 fallen firefighters to be honored at the 2014 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service, which is this Sunday, October 12.

The service begins at 10 a.m. (EDT) at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, M.d., and the event is open to the public.

Live streaming information—including satellite coordinates—is available at http://media.firehero.org.

Additional information on these firefighters can be found below:

John T. Austin http://www.firehero.org/fallen-firefighter/john-t-austin

David A. Brier http://www.firehero.org/fallen-firefighter/david-a-brier

Richard D. Mingolelli http://www.firehero.org/fallen-firefighter/richard-d-mingolelli

This annual tribute is sponsored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration.

More than 5,000 people are expected to attend, including members of Congress, senior-level federal officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, and families, friends and co-workers of the fallen firefighters.

Additional details on the service and a complete list of fallen firefighters being honored is available at http://media.firehero.org

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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders and to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. … 

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Fire Prevention Week live fire safety demonstration …

Saturday, October 11

11 AM – 3 PM

7 South St.,  Westminster

This week is National Fire Prevention Week, and in an effort to help educate MA residents and legislators, the National Fire Sprinkler Association will conduct a live Side-by-Side Burn Demonstration at 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 11,  at 7 South Street, Westminster.

Dave Lafond, fire safety expert and NFSA regional manager will be in attendance and available for questions.

The fire in one rages out of control destroying the entire room, while the fire in the other room (containing a fire sprinkler system) is extinguished.

REC Mobile Farmers Market van – days and times! ‘Til Nov. 1

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Hooray!! This cool blue REC food van is all over Worcester! From it you can buy fresh veggies and fruits and more! SNAP, WIC and senior citizen farmers market coupons accepted! Until Nov. 1, 2014!  Thank you, REC, for caring about the folks who may not always have access to great, healthy food at low prices!   – R. T.

DAYS AND TIMES of the REC van:

Tuesday

  • WORCESTER SENIOR CENTER

128 Providence Street

9 am – 10:30 am

  • Elm Park Towers (WHA)

426 Pleasant Street

11 AM – 12:30 PM

  • Family Health Center of Worcester

26 Queen Street (Behind Building)

1 PM – 2:30 PM

  • Lincoln Village

Parking lot between 40 & 50 Pleasant Valley Drive

3 PM – 4:15 PM

  • Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center

19 Tacoma Street

4:30 PM – 6 Pm

 Wednesday

  • LINCOLN TOWERS

11 Lake Avenue

8 am – 9:30am

  • Webster Square Towers

1050 – 1060 Main Street (Behind Building)

10 AM – 11:30 am

  • Seven Hills Foundation*

81 Hope Avenue

  • S even Hills Foundation**

12 PM – 1:30 PM

799 West Boylston Street

12 PM – 1:30 PM

  • St. Vincent’s Hospital

Corner of Mercantile & Foster Street

Across from UNUM & DCU

2 PM – 3:30 PM

  • YWCA

1 Salem Square

3:45PM – 5:00Pm

 Thursday

  • SEABURY HEIGHTS

240-244 Belmont Street

9 AM -10:30am

11 AM – 2 PM

  • Crompton Park

Corner of Canton & Harding Street

2:30 Pm – 3:30 PM

  • Belmont Towers & Plumley Village

16 Laurel Street

4 PM – 5:30 PM

PREVENT INFANT SLEEP DEATHS!

Patrick Administration Proclaims October as Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month

BOSTON – Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz today announced an infant safe sleep campaign focused on the importance of infant safe sleep practices and promoting ways to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between the ages of one to 11 months and often associated with unsafe sleep practices.

 “Unsafe sleeping among newborns is a public health issue here in Massachusetts and across the country,” said Secretary Polanowicz. “The good news is that it is often preventable. By providing public education and targeting training and resources, we can give parents, guardians and caregivers the tools they need to reduce the risk and promote positive brain activity that comes with safe sleep.”

 This summer, HHS Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families Kathleen Betts, convened an interagency Task Force on Infant Safe Sleep to take direct action to educate the public, parents and caregivers about infant safe sleep practices and find ways to collaborate across state agencies, and with medical associations and hospitals, to reduce the risks associated with unsafe infant safe sleeping practices. The Task Force is comprised of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Public Health, the Office of the Child Advocate, the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Housing and Community Development.

 “This heartbreaking and sometimes preventable condition can happen in any family regardless of income, education or community,” said Assistant Secretary Betts. “Working together, through this Task Force and with public and private partners, we can give all who come into contact with infants a consistent message about simple, safe sleeping practices, and help families create a safe sleeping environment.”

To ensure safe infant sleep:

Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs, alone in their own crib or bassinet, with no bumpers, pillows, quilts, comforters or other soft surfaces in the crib.

Parents and caregivers should not bed-share with their babies

Anyone under the influence of drugs, alcohol or if they are smoking, should not rest with a baby.

SUID affects 30 – 50 newborns each year in Massachusetts.

Throughout the month of October, the interagency Task Force on Infant Safe Sleep will launch a robust campaign to educate the public about the importance of infant safe sleep practices and to help families, caregivers and all who interact with infants to create a safe sleeping environment.

 Mass.gov/SafeSleep: Health and Human Services launched a new website with information, fact sheets, training and downloadable posters on safe sleep practices for parents, caregivers, health care providers and others who are involved with infant care.

 A Book for Every Baby: Partnering with the Baystate Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Cambridge Health Alliance and Boston Children’s Hospital, the Task Force is providing every new parent in Massachusetts during the month of October with a copy of “Sleep Baby, Safe and Snug,” which gently reminds caregivers of best practices while putting baby to sleep. Working with publishers at the Charlie’s Kids Foundation, the Task Force will distribute more than 6,000 copies of the book in both English and Spanish directly to 46 maternity hospitals and, through Reach Out and Read, close to 5,000 copies to pediatrician offices and health centers.

   Resources for Physicians: Through the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Task Force will share information about available resources with doctors, pediatricians and other health care professionals encouraging them to talk with parents about this issue.

 For more information or resources on infant safe sleep, please visit: Mass.gov/SafeSleep.  

Worcester’s magnificent Bancroft Tower: come and see!

By Edith Morgan

Is the glass half-full or half-empty? In Worcester,  the “City that Reads,” surely I do not have to explain the literary allusions when I speak of the Pollyannas and the Cassandras.

In the middle of a political campaign, the Cassandras have the floor, as dire predictions and warnings are thought to be more effective than emphasis on achievements. The media salivate at the expectation of bad news and endlesly repeat all kinds of scary tidbits – following their belief that “if it bleeds, it leads.” So, having an oppositional streak, I choose to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”  (How many of you out there remember that song?!)

The Cassandras, for a long time,  outnumbered us optimists in Worcester, always full of criticism and moaning about what is wrong with our city.  But I have noted over the decades that it is rarely the Cassandras who roll up their sleeves and work to improve things. So I am especially pleased that our new city manager is one of the “glass is half full “ group, and upbeat about Worcester’s ability to continue to build, improve, create, and move forward .

A small example: I ran into our city manager on Sunday, October 6, on a beautiful  sunny morning, around 10 a.m., climbing the 81 steps going to the top of Bancroft Tower. It was during the first of four Sunday openings , from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for the general public to enjoy this unique structure in Salisbury Park, one of Worcester’s 60 parks.

Park Spirit, Inc., under the leadership of  its president, Dorothy Hargrove, with help from Newton Hill founder Rick Miller, and Preservation Worcester, with councilor Moe Bergman acting as one of the docents, spearheaded this effort to bring our attention to another of our unique monuments.

The view from the top is truly breathtaking – the whole city lies at the feet of this fortress-like building – and I was amazed that after more than a century, the building was still intact: the cement between the great stones, the huge granite slabs, the iron spiral staircase up into the turret – all were in perfect shape.

I had to admire the ingenuity and creativity of the builders and the power of whatever equipment was available at that time – to move those great stones up there and place them in their permanent home, for future generations to enjoy.  I overheard many of the visitors reminiscing about their many enjoyable times in the surrounding park, as children. Many visitors brought children and pets, and young and old marveled at the sights.

I do hope that those who did not get a chance to experience this wonder will come one of the remaining October Sundays [10 a.m – 2 p.m. – free!] and clamber up the steps to take in the view.

Thanks to students from Assumption and WPI, who weeded, removed mosses and debris from the open areas at the top, and cleaned them up.  Thanks also to Brittany Legasy for the flyers and the great poster displayed at the entrance. There are many other activities that take place at this site; I am told that after I had left, a wedding party came up to take pictures, and I have in the past participated in a sunrise service.

The more we use this facility, the less vandalism occurs.

Come and see …

InCity Yum Yums! Make your own pies this autumn!

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PIE TIME! 

Text, recipe and photo by Chef Joey

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Chef Joey (pictured above) made these yummy “pies in a pan”!!!

Why is it that in the fall seems to be the time to make a plethora of pies? Albeit Pumpkin, Apple, Blueberry or America’s favorite Strawberry Rhubarb.

Pies have existed since the Ancient Egyptians started making them and drawing them.  Romans also make pies…maybe Cleopatra’s chef gave out the recipe, but the Greeks also made pies or as we now call them Pitas.  The first actual published pie recipe was a Roman rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.

Old England pies or Pyes as they wrote appeared around the 12th century and predominantly meat filled and had very thick crusts that were called “coffyn”.  Then in the 1500’s along came and fruit pies or tarts and pastries were born and the British take credit for the 1st cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth the 1st.

Pies came to the States with the settlers and the crust was seldom eaten and just the filling was consumed.  It was around the time of the American Revolution that the word coffin was changed to “crust” – we sure showed them who means business.  Pies nowadays are “the most traditional American dessert”. Pie has become so much a part of American culture throughout the years, that we now often use the term “as American as apple pie.”

Now that the trivia part let’s get to the basics, everyone has a pie recipe and quite frankly they are as easy to make as toast – weather it is an open pie like the Skillet Blueberry in the picture, lattice top or crusted on top – it’s an inexpensive and wonderful desert that goes with everything.  Here is my favorite and easiest crust recipe – they are basically all the same – I only use butter in my crusts as I am not a fan of shortening.

For 1 crust combine 1 ¼ cup flour – add ¼ tsp salt then take ½ yes ½ pound of butter and cut it into tiny pieces and mix (cut) it in with the flour until it is sandy like – add up to ¼ cup COLD water form into a ball and refrigerate until ready to use – roll it out and fill it up! Double the recipe for 2 crusts.

Any fruit will do for the filling or even puddings – bake the shell first – a couple other things you can do – substitute orange juice for the water to add a zing to your pie  – and for the flakiest crust – whip up some egg whites and paint the top shell of your pie then sprinkle a little sugar to the wet surface – it comes out awesome!!!

For a regular apple pie – peel and core 8 or so apples and cut into small pieces (the smaller the pieces the faster they cook) toss 3 tbsp sugar and 4 tbsp flour (you can add raisins too- Just soak them first so they don’t dry up and stay plump) put the apples in the shell – dot with butter – place the top crust seal it and bake 375 for about 30 mins depending how you cut your apples – use a long thin skewer to test the pie – if you feel chunks it is not done – it should go in smooth.  You can substitute just about any fruit for the apples – ENJOY!

Our federal government fails to safeguard wild animals in circuses …

 From PETA.ORG …

By Jennifer O’Connor

The PETA Foundation’s Captive Animal Law Enforcement (CALE) division tackles cruelty to animals used in entertainment at local, state, and federal levels.

For example, CALE representatives met with top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials to make the case to take action in behalf of an aging and likely arthritic elephant named Nosey.

Despite abundant evidence that Nosey is suffering, along with the support of more than 165,000 compassionate people, the government officials showed up unprepared to address concerns about Nosey and refused to commit to enforcing the Animal Welfare Act to protect her.

Immediately after the meeting, we asked supporters to contact the USDA’s inspector general to condemn the agency’s outrageous lack of response. Video footage shows that Nosey, who is used for rides and forced to perform tricks by Liebel Circus, has been struggling to get around week after week.

Not only is arthritis extremely painful, it can also be deadly for elephants. In fact, experts report that foot and musculoskeletal problems are the leading reasons why captive elephants in the U.S. are euthanized.

But Nosey may still have many happy years ahead if she is placed in a reputable sanctuary.

Here are some other recent CALE actions:

  • CALE sent a complaint to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Augusta, Maine, asking the agency to hold Hope Elephants accountable for the death of the facility’s cofounder Dr. James Laurita, who was crushed to death by an 8,000-pound Asian elephant while he was in the animal’s pen. The agency confirmed that it is investigating. Allowing Dr. Laurita to come into direct contact with captive elephants was a fatal mistake. In the protected contact system of managing elephants, ropes, chains, and bullhooks are not used and barriers such as a metal screen, bars, or a restraint chute always separate elephants and handlers.
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has mandated that elephant-care providers at all AZA facilities absolutely minimize the amount of time that elephants and keepers share the same space because of the serious dangers to workers. Direct contact with elephants has resulted in 17 human deaths and more than 135 injuries to humans in the U.S. since 1990.
  • CALE wrote in support of a bylaw prohibiting the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling circuses in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and after the local Kiwanis Club launched an effort to get the Town Council to rescind the bylaw, we posted an action alert for local residents to voice their support of the ban. Seeing the growing tide of opposition to cruel animal acts, the Kiwanis Club conceded. This means that the Cole Bros. Circus, which the club had previously hosted, will have to leave the animals behind or skip the town altogether.

 What You Can Do!

Contact us for materials to help you launch your own campaign to get wild animal circuses banned in your area.


Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/feds-ignore-165000-plus-appeals-nosey/#ixzz3FYJxjCib

Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme DELIVERS

By Barbara Haller

Everybody’s got an agenda.  Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme’s agenda is Successfully Making & Keeping Worcester a Safe City.

I have worked with Police Chief Gary Gemme since he was hired as Worcester’s Police Chief in 2004, most of this time as the District 4 city councilor (2002-2011) and in the last 3 years as a local resident and active community member.  While chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee we met nearly every month one-on-one to discuss community problems.  I also met many times with him and key staff members and neighborhood constituents to discuss specific problems and strategies.

I also know Worcester for many years in many capacities.  I went to school in the City (Worcester Junior and WPI), have worked in the City (NGRID), had a small business in the City (Gilrein’s).  I own my home in the City (Main South).  My daughter and her family live in the City (Newton Square); my grandchildren attend Jacob Hiatt.  My partner owns and manages rental properties in Main South.

I know the struggle to get community policing to work.  I know about problem employees, difficult people.  I know about guns, drugs, and rock and roll.  I know about partisan politics.  I know about agendas – hidden and public ones.

Here’s what I know about Gary Gemme:

  • Chief Gemme is the real deal when it comes to commitment and honor.
  • Chief Gemme is a professional in all the positive ways – in touch, engaged, informed, pro-active.
  • Chief Gemme has made and is making a significant impact on controlling and reducing crime.

When he agreed to be hired as Chief, he made it clear to then City Manager O’Brien that he would not compromise on his vision for the Department.  The Manager agreed to support his efforts to change the Police Department culture and our community engagement in solutions to crime.  The 2004 city council was delighted with Manager O’Brien’s success in hiring Gary Gemme as our Police Chief.

The Chief delivers.

He reorganized his department using the split force model allowing for effective reaction to crime and pro-active prevention.  He put together a leadership team with targeted responsibilities and expertise.  He takes action on firing ranges, gun permits, porn houses, knives, officer discipline, technology, party houses, street crime.  He improves and grows partnerships with youth and youth-serving organizations, religious leaders, ethnic groups, athletic organizations.   He works with the Office of Human Rights to improve officer training.  He, working with Manager O’Brien, broke barriers among city departments to successfully develop inter-departments teams to address persistent problem properties.

The Chief’s commitment to neighborhood crime watches, foot beats, along with rapid response to data-driven hot-spots and developing crime trends is nothing short of great.  Last week at my local neighborhood crime watch meeting, our community impact officers were engaged – giving updates on progress for previously reported problems, listening to neighbors’ concerns.  Rather than standing up and telling us what to do, they sat with us and brainstormed possible solutions.  The feeling of partnership was strong.

All this being said there are always those who look for opportunities to criticize. For those of us who are not dogmatic in our beliefs or who feel uninformed, these people cause us to pause and reconsider if we are going in the right direction.  And sometimes they are right.  And sometimes we change our views.  And sometimes needed change comes.

And then there are always those to look for opportunities to misrepresent, demean, and incite.  My experience is that these people have some grudge, a need to see their name in the media, sell papers, get elected, and/or feel obligated to always act against authority and position.  There is an agenda and some ulterior motive.  They too cause many of us to pause and consider.  But we are mistaken if we allow them to lead us to change.

My experience with Police Chief Gary Gemme comes over many years and in many situations.  His commitment to his job and Worcester runs deep.  His motivation is honor and justice.   We don’t have to always agree with him; we don’t have to like him.  But we should respect his knowledge, expertise and professionalism.

We are fortunate to have Chief Gemme in service to our City.  Those who are attempting to misrepresent his accomplishments, demean his character, and incite others to do the same are not acting in Worcester’s best interest.   We would do well to ignore them.