Category Archives: InCity Feature

Halloween is just 3 days away! Let’s look at this “spooktacular” day’s origins …

CAM00454By Chef Joey

Well, it’s that time of year again!  This, of course, can mean a plethora of things: Beautiful leaves, cold-, or like this year, warm-weather spurts.  With Columbus Day behind us, we look forward to events like Halloween, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving … dare I mention the “Holiday Season” that launches that Friday?

Let’s go to a fun spot!! Mine is Halloween! I threw parties back in the 80’s with DJ’s prizes galore, and every year they got bigger and bigger and more creative.  I used to transform my house into Kansas corn fields, of the Sputter Inn from Moby Dick.  I had carnivals, pirate themes, even ancient Rome … so much fun.  Then there are the creative costumes:  I had a swarm of Bees – Do Bees, Don’t Bees, Spelling Bees – even one with “Double D’s.” Memories for a lifetime.

So I know what you’re thinking … What’s Halloween really about?  Glad you asked!  It’s a centuries-old tradition that was originally called Allhallowtide, basically encompassing the Western Christian observances of All Hallows’ Eve (Hallowe’en), All Saints’ Day (All Hallows’) and All Souls’ Day, which last from October 31 to November 2 every year.   Allhallowtide is a time to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints.  The word Allhallowtide was first used in 1471, and is derived from two words: the Old English word halig, meaning saint, and the word tide, meaning time or season Oh Yuletide! DUH.

So real old stuff here, folks, and our now a days Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (Nov 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy.

The custom of wearing costumes and masks at Halloween goes back to Celtic traditions of attempting to copy the evil spirits or placate them, in Scotland for instance where the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white.  Go back to the late 1800’s where this was  called “Guising” – this practice was recorded in 1895, where masqueraders in disguise were carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.

The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, reported children going “guising” around the neighborhood.

The term “Trick-or-Treat” has traces back to 1927, Aland just about all pre-1940 uses of the term “trick-or-treat” are from the western United States and Canada.   Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, but was seriously stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.

Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given that year in the October 1947 issues of the children’s magazines Jack and Jill and Children’s Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948.  Trick-or-treating was depicted in the Peanuts comic strip for the first time in 1951. So all this made the custom become firmly established in popular culture by 1952.

Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to rechannel Halloween activities away from vandalism, there are very few records supporting it.  Back in the late 40’s children often had to explain the tradition of trick-or-treating to baffled parents, not the other way around.  Post war was tricky too – some families looked at it like extortion, and others were embarrassed to be “begging.”

Well it took off!! The National Confectioners Association reports that there will be $2.5 billion made in candy sales this year!! Statistically, it is people 60 and older passing out the candy.  In addition, shoppers in the Midwest will hand out more candy than any other region, as 79 percent plan to par take in the activity compared with 76 percent in the south, 74 percent in the west and 71 percent in the northeast, according to the Association. IBISWorld estimates retailers will rake in $7.6 billion from the spooky holiday this year, with $1.4 billion going to adult costumes alone!

Well, there you have it, folks!  Insight on Halloween and its origins.  No matter how you celebrate, do it responsibly – and take lots of pictures!!  For some really neat Halloween snacks for parties visit: – lots of easy ideas and healthy things to make!

Go meat-less this holiday season!

Holiday time doesn’t have to be turkey-, pig-, or chicken-killing time! Besides, why gain all the extra holiday weight by eating animal fat?

Since I’ve pretty much stopped eating meat/animal fat, I’ve lost weight, feel “lighter” … and last week my yearly physical results came in: This old broad’s cholesterol level, BMI, blood pressure, sugar level, thyroid, iron, vitamin D, etc, etc normal to excellent!!

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Rosalie – old vegetarian broad!

Everyone’s always amazed that my blood pressure level is excellent, what with InCity Times, Jett and my screwy life in general. I say to them: GO VEGGIE and you can do ANYTHING!

I really believe vegetarianism/MUCH LESS ANIMAL meat and fat is the way to go for all us middle-aged folks! It keeps us trim and healthy! Without all that much work!

Here are protein sources to be wolfing down if you go meatless!

 – Rosalie Tirella



Vegans are constantly asked where they get their protein, when, in fact, protein is one of the easiest nutrients to find! These are just some examples of foods with a high protein value but no cholesterol or cruelty to animals. Not only are these foods easy to find and affordable, they’re also delicious!

1. Black beans

Black beans can be served alone or as a side. They also taste great in burritos, enchiladas, homemade patties, soups, or chili. They can even be added to baked goods!

Try these black-bean veggie burgers.

2. Tofu

You can marinate it, sauté it, grill it, mash it, bake it, and even blend it. Tofu will absorb any flavor that you put on it, which makes it suitable for many recipes. Add it to tacos, sandwiches, salads, or baked goods. It can also be used to make sauces, creams, or smoothies.

Try these Thai tofu lettuce wraps.

3. Nuts

There is a large variety of nuts, and they are all versatile and delicious. You can make vegan cheese sauces, nut milks, nut butters, and even faux meats from different types of nuts.

Try this nacho recipe using cashews.

4. Tempeh

Tempeh absorbs any flavor, just as tofu does. It can also be fried, baked, sautéed, or grilled. Tempeh can be used in pastas, sandwiches, tacos, chili, and many other dishes.

Try this tempeh Reuben sandwich.

5. Garbanzos

Garbanzo beans or chickpeas are a versatile legume. Add them to salads, soups, or wraps. You can mash them to form patties or blend them to create hummus.

Try this sandwich with mashed garbanzo beans.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is a lean, green protein. You can add steamed broccoli to stir-fries, salads, or pastas. You can also add it to soups whole or blend it for a healthy green soup.

Try this tofu, rice, and broccoli dish.

7. Quinoa

You can use quinoa anywhere that you would use rice—as a side dish, mixed with veggies, inside a burrito, or on a salad. It can also be used to form faux burger patties.

Try this quinoa salad.

8. Lentils

Lentils can be added to tacos, burritos, soups, stews, and salads and can also be used to form faux meats, such as lentil burger patties. They’re quick and easy to make, too.

Try these lentil cakes.

9. Potato

Potatoes get a bad rap, but they can actually be good for you because of their high protein content. Dice them, and add them to your burritos, tofu scrambles, tacos, and stews. Or you can cut them lengthwise and bake them for a healthier version of French fries.

Try this creamy dill potato salad.

10. Mushrooms


There are various types of mushrooms, and they can be sliced or served whole. Use them in pastas, stir-fries, or tacos or on pizzas or serve them in a burger.

Try this mushroom risotto.

These are just 10 of the top protein sources, but there are many more! The number of recipes that you can make with these foods is endless, so get creative!

Read more:

My inner-city neighbors are the best!!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Sure the Canal District and surrounding area seems to have become a dumping ground for garbage galore and shooting gallery/stabbing/gun hot-spot! I am  on the horn almost every day with city officials and state reps asking for the garbage to be removed, the extra Worcester Police Department foot patrols to be deployed  …

But then there’s this HEAVEN-SENT stuff happening …

… A wonderful garden in my back yard (right where I found the used junky syringe!). Here’s Jett getting nosy with a lovely squash!! We’ve got tomatoes, too! And (had) sunflowers!


… My downstairs neighbor is the sweetest! She gives me her cool clothes and pocketbooks! She’s quite the fashion plate and gets bored with her stuff real quick! So … Here I am several days ago, heading out the door to run InCity Times, wearing one of her pretty blouses!  Now mine! Thanks, in-city gal pal!

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My other downstairs neighbor came upstairs and gave me some Halloween cupcakes and cookies, along with this BEAUTIFUL card! I love the message PEACE FOREVER EVERYWHERE… This was after I went down to her place and gave her and her roommate a thank-you gift for a gift they had given me! How awesome are these people? Right in the middle of all the shootings and stabbings … all this love!


And today I am making a Halloween fun gift for the kids across the street because they helped my roundup a homeless street kitten that needed a good home! These boys were the best! Here is Jett back at my shack being nosy (again) with their pumpkin I am about to fill with candy!



The time to make up your mind about the hood is – NEVER!! 

Vegan Halloween candy? You’ve eaten a ton of it!

Why eat cows’ bones (in gelatin) this Halloween (now that’s scary!) when you can indulge your sweet tooth with this junk?! From PETA.ORG: –  R.T.

25 Vegan Candies for a ‘Spooktacular’ Halloween!

Don’t forget to check the following list when you stock up for trick-or-treaters. It’s the perfect mix of classic and contemporary vegan candy, and each of these treats is sure to hit the sweet spot this Halloween season. When in doubt, beware of these three cruelly obtained ingredients: gelatin (cow’s bones), carmine color (crushed beetles), and confectioner’s glaze (made from female lac beetles).

1. Airheads

Vegan Halloween Candy Airheads

2. Bottle Caps

Vegan Halloween Candy Bottle caps

3. Chick-o-Sticks

Vegan Halloween Candy chick o stick

4. Cry Babies

Vegan Halloween Candy cry baby

5. Dots

Vegan Halloween Candy dots

6. Dum Dums

Vegan Halloween Candy dum dums

7. Fireballs

Vegan Halloween Candy fireball

Read more:

Main South: FREE cool events at Clark U

ALL FREE!! … GIFTS TO OUR COMMUNITY from Clark University, Main Street, Worcester!!

For Halloween! Fright Night in the Higgins Lounge!

7 pm

Wednesday, October 29

Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons

Clark University Professors Gino DiIorio, Jay Elliott, and Jennifer Plante will offer readings of their favorite scary stories and explore the power of narratives that play upon our most basic fears and vulnerabilities.

Poetry and History: An Evening with Natasha Trethewey

7 pm

Tuesday, November 4

Atwood Hall, Downing Street

United States Poet Laureate (2012-2014) and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey will read poems from Thrall, Native Guard, Bellocq’s Ophelia, and other works.

In May 2014, Trethewey concluded two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States. She is currently the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi. She is the author of four collections of poetry and the recipient of numerous fellowships. Trethewey also contributed to “Where Poetry Lives,” a feature on the PBS NewsHour.

This event is part of the Higgins School’s African American Intellectual Culture Series and is co-sponsored with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost at Clark University.

Fragile Fatherhood: What Being a Daddy Means in the Lives of Low-Income Men

7 pm

Wednesday, November 19

Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons

Across the political spectrum, unwed fatherhood is denounced as one of the defining social problems of today. But does the narrative of the “deadbeat dad” tell the whole story? Kathryn Edin, one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, uses ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews and mixed method approaches to go beyond quantitative research and uncover deeper truths.

Edin is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Margaret Mead Fellow at the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences.

This event is co-sponsored with the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise and the Urban Development and Social Change Program at Clark University.

In addition to the Symposium offerings listed above, the Higgins School of Humanities will continue its examination of storytelling during the following events in the fall …

“DEFAMATION” A Play by Clark Alumnus Todd Logan ‘75

7 pm

Tuesday, November 11

Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts, Downing Street, Worcester

Race, class, religion, and law collide when an African American businesswoman from Chicago’s South Side sues a Jewish real estate developer from the North Shore for defamation in this thought-provoking courtroom drama by playwright and author Todd Logan.

Logan has written several plays that have been performed in Chicago in recent years. He also is a filmmaker and humorist whose works have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Writer’s Digest.

This event is co-sponsored with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clark University.

Slavery on their Minds: Representing the Peculiar Institution in Contemporary Children’s Picture Books

4 pm

Thursday, November 13

Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons

A growing number of children’s picture books recount the history of American slavery and are making their way into classrooms and libraries. Professor Raphael Rogers will explore the connection between these texts and the historical scholarship about the “peculiar institution.”

Rogers is visiting assistant professor of education at Clark University. In addition to teaching in Massachusetts public schools, he has served as a literacy coach, consultant, and university supervisor of student teachers in a number of urban schools.

This event is part of the Higgins Faculty Series.


Worcester County student interns: they make your biz shine – and learn!


By “Jolleen,” owner of Shear Dimension, Greenwood St., Worcester

Shear Dimension strives to be not only a place that is warm and welcoming for new and existing clients, we want to be on the cutting edge of education and technology. I find it very important to invest in the future of cosmetology as the new owner of Shear Dimension, I want to grow students, new cosmetologists, and professionals to build not only my salon, but send successful, hard working, well-rounded professionals into the industry.  It is an investment that pays, not necessiarily financially, but is emotionally gratifying.

I have an extensive background in color education.  I am also a licensed cosmetology instructor and spent over 5 years teaching and traveling to schools and salons all over New England and have also worked closely with vocational schools in the past.  I was on the advisory board with Tri-County and was a judge for both Rhode Island and Massachusetts Skills USA.  Teaching is not only in my blood it is a passion that I hold close to my heart.

I spoke to the Worcester Vocational school about their vocational program over the summer.  This will be my first time working with this particular apprenticeship program and I am very excited.   With school starting this past week, I can’t wait to start the process working with department head Arlene Thompson and her students.  The process, while intense, is worth the pay off.  After speaking to the department, a representative will come to the salon, verify that we are up to standard, leave the necessary paperwork, and the school will determine the best student(s) to fit our salon.  This program is great for both the business and the student, the student has the opportunity to see the day-in day-out workings of salon life, a chance to see if the salon is a good fit, can ask questions, gain valuable knowledge from working professionals, and participate in education offered at the salon. 

I had similar mentors when I was a new stylist and attributes those managers and salon owners with the success and drive that has built our salon and staff.  The teachers and mentors I had in my formative years taught me the value of hard work, showed by example how to lead a successful team, and shared their passion for the beauty industry with me.  I could only hope that I can translate those lessons to others.

Shear Dimension employs student assistants, future professionals (as reception), and new licensees as junior stylists. We currently employ one future professional, one assistant, one junior stylist and 4 senior stylists.  Our future professionals work in reception, learning the ins and outs of inventory, scheduling, telecommunications, and customer service. These skills are invaluable as a stylist and student in cosmetology and are a great place to start for any future professional to get a feel for the salon business and how it runs.

Essential to all cosmetology students is the accumulation of 1,000  in field and education hours, learning the ropes in a salon and/or classroom setting.  Shear Dimension is one of few places that offers hours in a salon setting. Makayla, an assistant, who has less than 200 hours left until licensing, gets the benefit of classroom and practical experience while working at Shear Dimension.  She also furthers her knowledge with consultations, color formulation, classes geared toward her problem areas and one on one teaching with senior stylists to go over client retention, re-booking, and how to better serve each individual.

 Makayla says, “Jolleen was my educator at school and prior to her coming to Cosmix in Marlborough, MA it is safe to say that there was not much structure.  When Jolleen started, she was very hands on and always available.  She made me feel comfortable to ask questions, was very instructive.  When she made the move from Cosmix to owning Shear Dimension I was also looking for a job with a salon atmosphere while still in school. The staff is very helpful and Shear Dimension was a great career option for me. 

“The hands on learning has been great and I love the education.  The instructors are very personable and make sure everyone understands not only how to do the techniques but why to do them. 

“My advice to any up and coming students/stylists that are thinking about becoming assistants would be to keep busy and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Our junior stylist who is a recent grad of a vocational school, not only assists our senior stylists and receptionists while building her own clientele, she receives free education from industry professionals and platform artists monthly (as do all of the Shear Dimension staff), she also has the added benefit of having her work assessed and critiqued for the trial period while she is still learning.

William, our newest senior stylist says, “Working at Shear Dimension has taught me the tools I need to grow my business.”  He adds, “My boss was so patient with me while I was learning certain techniques.”  William continues to add new trends and techniques to his arsenal and has become a well-rounded, well versed stylist that is capable and coveted by his clients. 

Leah, a senior stylist that started as an assistant at Shear Dimension over a decade ago, was brought up through the ranks and is now one of the top earning stylists in the salon.  She is a great mentor, talented stylist and her work is flawless.

Shear Dimension is a salon that . I find it very important to invest in the future of cosmetology as the new owner of Shear Dimension, I want to grow students, new cosmetologists, and professionals to build not only my salon, but send successful, hard working, well-rounded professionals into the industry.  It is an investment that pays, not necessiarily financially, but is emotionally gratifying.


Save $$! Special offer! with this GROUP ON COUPON for Shear Dimension! CLICK HERE!



Fall Hair Color and Maintenance Trends

 By Jolleen

In the summer hair tends to get dry due to over processing, over exposure and water damage.  In the fall however, we often find that can get dry for a slew of other reasons.  Whether it is from lack of moisture, change in diet, or lack of maintenance, Shear Dimension is here to let you know just how to care for your hair this fall.

 In-Salon Treatment:

At Shear Dimension, we recommend that you get a trim every 6 to 8 weeks to maintain your style and avoid split ends.

For color reds, deep chocolate brown, and subtle ombre are right on trend for fall.   Pair it with a deep conditioning treatment and you will be ready right up until holiday season!

To beat the frizz we are booking a deep keratin treatment.  These treatments have 4 options depending on your level of commitment and hair care needs.  It will cut your styling time in half and leave your hair feeling silky smooth for up to 3 months!!

 What you should be using at home:

For a take home we suggest Awapuhi Intensive Treatment to beat that fall dull look.  It will infuse the hair with keratin, and moisture to beat the cool dry weather.

To keep those colors vibrant we suggest Ultimate Color Repair Triple Rescue.  This treatment will infuse the hair with Quinoa and keep those reds looking red for up to 6 weeks!!

To pair with your keratin treatment and color make sure you using a sulfate free shampoo.  The favorites of our stylists are GK Moisture Shampoo, Forever Blonde (not just for blondes ), and Double Hitter.

Want to share your Farm-to-Cafeteria experience?

Apply to present a workshop at the Massachusetts Farm to Cafeteria conference this January, 2015!

Share your experience as a member of the farm to school community by presenting a workshop at the conference. We encourage collaborative workshops that bring together multiple perspectives. We are seeking workshops that represent a variety of program approaches and reflect the diversity of our state. We have provided some suggested topics below. These topics are priority areas, but we also welcome additional workshop topics that highlight your particular expertise with farm to school.

To submit an application for a workshop, please complete the online application form.  Applications are due by November 1st. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  We will confirm the selected workshops later in the month.

  • Policy and advocacy opportunities in Farm to School
  • Farm to institution procurement – beginning and advanced workshops
  • Local procurement within food service management companies
  • Building support for your farm to school program (Fundraising, Organizational structures, Volunteer development, Community partnerships)
  • Teaching food justice
  • Cultural diversity and Farm to School
  • School gardens
  • Classroom-based agricultural education
  • Curriculum and farm field trips
  • Cooking demonstrations, creative local foods menu ideas, and kid-tested recipes
  • Harvest of the Month
  • Farm to School evaluation
  • Early childhood initiatives
  • Farm to College/University – Student farms, CSAs, and other initiatives
  • State and Federal regulations – how they impact the garden and school meals programs
  • Working with the whole school community i.e. wellness committees, parent organizations
  • School-based farmers markets
  • Beyond produce: sourcing and menuing local meats, seafood, dairy, grains
  • Local, state, federal grants and loan programs that support farm to school efforts

We’d love to hear from you!!


The Mass. Farm to School Staff and Conference Planning Committee!

InCity Yum Yums! Celebrate Hispanic Heritage month!


Stuffed breads!

Text and recipe by Chef Joey

When Latin comes to mind, most of us older folk picture a stern professor in circa 1960 glasses with a ruler reciting strange words that, to me still, go with Algebra. In reality Latin opens a plethora of doors today: culture, food, destinations, celebrations etc.

Let’s face it: The American Melting Pot is still a pot, and what’s melting are the walls that were built by our forefathers. What’s in the pot still is cultural in many ethnic households and remains a strong staple at meal time, from starters to sweets.

This period just happened to be “Hispanic Heritage Month.” It is not an actual month, but a 4-week period starting September 15 to October 15 every year. So now your wheels are turning …”Why September 15?”

Glad you asked! September 15 is the Independence Day for five “Latin” South American countries. Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and of course Nicaragua. Then let’s add Independence Days for Mexico (September 16) Chile (September 18) Belize (September 21). Someone did their homework!

Ok, now I hear you ask:  “When did this happen?” Well, it just so happens that President Lyndon B. Johnson, oh you remember LBJ,  approved a week-long celebration years ago, but it was Ronald Reagan who changed it to a 30-day celebration back in 1988!

… other important “Latino and Hispanic” things happened…October 12, 1492 – I feel like I was there with Columbus when he discovered the Americas – I can’t even remember an anniversary but THAT date I can remember!

Additionally, there are maps dating back to 1776 that depict outposts in California from Alta and San Francisco to Texas, then all the way to the Fortress in St Augustine, Florida, that started in 1692. By the way, the first continuous European settlement was founded in 1565, way before Jamestown Virginia, or even Plymouth Mass in 1620. I guess you could say there’s history!

So … history brings company and company bring food! What does one bring to a Latin celebration during this 30 day festive period? Common threads are Rice and Beans, then there are Tamales, Papussas, Meat pies, and Empanadas, all basically “Stuffed breads.”

There are many different types of stuffed breads, this empanada – which is sort of a Chilean one, is the easiest one to make for beginners.

It can be made with ground beef or you can substitute cooked lentils for vegetarian and eliminate the eggs for vegan. It’s delicious because everything is chopped by hand and flavorful!


– 2 tblsp oil – 2 # chopped beef or (4-6 cups cooked lentils) – ½ tsp paprika cumin & oregano – 1 tsp salt & Pepper each – ½ cup warm water – 1 Onion chopped and 1 Tbsp Flour

Beef: In a large frying pan, heat oil at medium to high heat**. Sauté the meat for 3 minutes without mixing. Then flip it and brown for another 3 minutes – or add the lentils and heat through.

Add paprika, oregano, salt, pepper and cumin, and mix well.

Add water and the chopped onion.

Cook for 30 (until onion is nice and soft) minutes on low heat. Add flour and mix well, modifying the seasoning if you like. Turn off heat, leave to cool off.

SWEET STUFFUNG – 20 black olives – ¼ cup raisins – 2 hard-boiled eggs (Optional use cooked tofu for vegan) – Olive oil for brushing on top …

DOUGH RECIPE – Take 2 tsp Salt -4 cups all-purpose flour-1/4 cup oil- ½ cup milk (soy milk for vegan). Make a brine with milk, water and salt.

Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.

In a separate bowl, add the flour and oil and knead for a good 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. If it is too dry, add a little more water or milk. NO SALT!

Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate dough into 10 portions, shape into a ball and roll out on a floured surface until the size of a small plate (about 8 inches) – fill each circle with 2 tbsp beef, ¼ egg or tofu, 2 olives and some raisins.

Fold over the circle and remove any trapped air before closing.

Lightly brush edges with water to seal them pressing firmly – you can roll the edges for effect or crimp. Brush the top with oil so they brown nicely.

Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes – keep an eye on them if the swell or bubble make a small hole with a toothpick so they won’t split.

Serve hot or warm.

Make them in advance and have a healthy lunch!! See you next issue!!

Love Shouldn’t Hurt! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Parlee and Athena 2

Parlee Jones (left) – a woman of beauty and consequence! Thank you, Parlee, for all your great work in Worcester and beyond!

By Parlee Jones

Peace,  Worcester people!

In my position as Shelter Advocate at Abby’s House, some of the bravest women I have met are the women who are fleeing a Domestic Violence situation.  They are willing to walk away from everything they own, with the clothes on their back, going into the unknown.  Some willing to meet unknown folks at a train station or bus station to go to a new place, a new home.  Some with children, some without children.  Some very young, some middle aged, some older women.  Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all folks.  Trying to get away from the one they love and who is supposed to be loving them.  Willing and ready to start over again.  Just worried about finding a place to stop the pain.

On September 15, 2010, the National Network to End Domestic Violence did a 24 hour Census of Domestic Violence Shelters and services reported the following information.  1,746 out of 1,920, or 91%, of identified local domestic violence programs in the United States and territories participated in the 2010 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. The following figures represent the information provided by 1,746 participating programs about services provided during the 24-hour survey period.


70,648 Victims Served in One Day

37,519 domestic violence victims found refuge in emergency shelters or transitional housing provided by local domestic violence programs.  33,129 adults and children received non-residential assistance and services, including individual counseling, legal advocacy, and children’s support groups.

23,522 Hotline Calls Answered

Domestic violence hotlines are a lifeline for victims in danger, providing support, information, safety planning, and resources. In the 24-hour survey period, local domestic violence programs answered 22,292 calls and the National Domestic Violence Hotline answered 1,230 calls, resulting in more than 16 hotline calls every minute.

Despite helping over 70,500 people on September 15, 2010, domestic violence programs were unable to meet 9,541 requests for services because of a lack of funding, staffing and resources. Although programs have historically struggled to find resources to provide comprehensive services, funding cuts, reduced donations, and dwindling community resources are severely straining programs’ ability to help survivors get back on their feet.

If you are a domestic violence victim, let the people who care about you help you.

1. Confide in someone you trust. If you have a friend or relative who cares about your safety, tell them about the abuse. Sharing a burden with someone makes it lighter. If you’ve left your abusive relationship and are feeling lonely and tempted to return, talk it out with a friend who knows the situation.

2. Don’t let others talk you into taking action that doesn’t feel right to you. You are the only one who knows if you’re ready to leave your relationship, go to the police, or seek emergency shelter. Make your own decisions, based on your own comfort level.

3. Leave an “emergency kit” with a friend. This could include extra money, a set of car keys, a change of clothes and copies of important documents (driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card, health insurance records, documentation of abuse) that may come in handy in an emergency. Think of what you might need if you have to leave your home in a hurry.

4. Ask a friend to accompany you to important appointments. If you have medical appointments, are going to the police, to court, or to see a lawyer, take a friend along for moral support.

5. Make sure a friend knows about your Personal Safety Plan. Start making your own Personal Safety Plan Go over it with a friend and give that friend a copy of the plan.

A safety plan is a personalized, practical plan that includes ways to remain safe while in a relationship, planning to leave, or after you leave. Safety planning involves how to cope with emotions, tell friends and family about the abuse, take legal action and more.  A good safety plan will have all of the vital information you need and be tailored to your unique situation, and will help walk you through different scenarios.

In Worcester we have been acknowledging the national awareness of this terrible epidemic with quite a few events. [Still to happen]:

October 27 ~ Daybreak Breakfast:  7:45 – 9:30 am Holy Cross Hogan Campus Center (more info 5608 767 2505 x 3009 $35)

October 29 ~ 6 pm to 8 pm ~ Spoken Word and Music Honorary Concert at the Worcester Public Library. This is going to be an incredible event, with some of Worcester’s most amazing poets and singers! Please join us! 

All month long the Empty Place at the Table Exhibit will be showing at different places including Worcester City Hall, Worcester Public Library, Heywood Hospital, MWCC Student Lounge, Leominster City Hall, Health Alliance Hospital, Holy Cross, Fitchburg State, Quinsigamond Community College Student Life Center, UMASS Hospital and the Worcester Police Department.

For more info on these events you can call Daybreak at 508 767 2505.

National Network to End Domestic Violence

Jane Doe (Mass. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence


Halloween treat!! “Pecan spiders” recipe!

Yummy!! From PETA.ORG

Written by PETA |

My Halloween spread includes caramel apples and chocolate-covered apples, eye canapés (made from pesto, pie dough, and olive slices), spinach dip that comes oozing out of a sourdough “head,” and pecan spiders. I had to omit the vegan candy corn from the feast because my candy ended up as a pile of sugar crumbles that were certainly not edible. But that’s O.K.—there’s always next year. Enjoy!

Pecan Spiders
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup MimicCreme or non-dairy creamer
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. margarine, in pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 oz. thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies (optional)

  • Line two baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Place the pecans on the baking sheets in small mounds, spaced a couple of inches apart.
  • Warm the MimicCreme over low heat and keep warm while cooking the sugar.
  • Put the sugar and corn syrup in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and simmer for approximately 7 minutes, or until the sugar reaches the “hard-crack stage,” about 305°F on a candy thermometer.
  • Whisk the margarine and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the warm MimicCreme and the vanilla.* Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches the “soft ball stage,” about 2407°F on the thermometer. Immediately remove from the heat and let cool for a minute.
  • Ladle a couple of tablespoons of the warm caramel over some of the nut clusters to make the spider bodies. Press six pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs. Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. (It’s helpful to have an extra hand here, since the caramel can set quickly. If the caramel hardens, warm over very low heat.) Let the spiders cool for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put the semisweet and dark chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir and then continue heating until completely melted, about 2 to 3 minutes more.)
  • Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate on top of each spider. Sprinkle with the jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.

*Note: The mixture will bubble up, so be sure to add the MimicCreme a little bit at a time.

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