InCity Feature browsing by category


Did you forget to buy your seedlings at REC’s Spring Garden Festival? Wanna learn proper planting techniques, succession and companion planting, and general garden care? Then stop by Oread St. this week!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

No worries, just come on by to our SPECIAL Farm Booth Seedling Sales and Planting Week!

From today until Friday, May 23!

Join us for a week of Seedling Sales on the Farm from Tuesday May 20th – Friday May 23rd!

This is going to be a fun and exciting week, where we will not only have an on-the-farm Market Booth selling all of our beautiful seedlings, but we are also going to be planting the rest of the Farm!

Volunteer for a whole hour and get a free seedling or more! Have a hand in planting and take home seedlings to create your very own home garden! Or come down just to buy seedlings for $1 each or 6 for $5!

Plus, if you help out you can learn the basics of proper planting techniques, succession and companion planting, and general garden care!

See schedule below:

Tuesday, May 20 – Thursday, May 22

Oreanic Farm (63 Oread St.)

3-7 pm


Friday, May 23

Grant Square Park (Corner of Northampton and Windsor St.)

12-5 pm

For more information please contact the REC at 508-799-9139 or

Seedlings for sale at REC Spring Garden Festival – tomorrow, Sat., May 17! Oread Street! $1/plant or 6 for $5. We have grown over 15,000 seedlings for sale this year!

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Please join the REC at the Spring Garden Festival & Plant Sale on Saturday May 17, between 10:00-4:00 to kick off the growing season and celebrate spring!

The event will be held at the REC YouthGROW farm on 63 Oread St., Main South.

Enjoy free gardening workshops, music, food, and a fun assortment of children’s activities.

Libby the Library Express and an interactive mural project made possible by the Worcester Arts Council will team up with the REC Mobile Farmers Market to provide lots of hands on learning opportunities for both kids and adults.

We have grown over 15,000 seedlings for sale this year available for $1/plant or 6 for $5. Cash, Credit, Checks and SNAP are accepted!

To pre-order seedlings before the event, visit

For orders of 100 seedlings or more (think company give aways, group purchasing) we will deliver within Worcester on your schedule!

Also! become an REC member for a 20% seedling discount!

For more information:



Call: 508-799-9139

Winchendon native serves aboard USS Columbia

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

Seaman Angelo J. Cosentino is a sonar technician (submarine)

By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Sunday Sawyer, Navy Office of Community Outreach

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A 2011 Murdock High School graduate and Winchendon, native is serving aboard a U.S. Navy attack submarine, the USS Columbia (SSN 771).

Seaman Angelo J. Cosentino is a sonar technician (submarine) aboard the Hawaii-based boat, a Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, and was specifically named in honor of Columbia, S. C., Columbia, Mo., and Columbia, Ill. Measuring 361 feet long, 33 feet wide, weighing 7,000 tons when submerged and with a complement of more than 130 sailors, USS Columbia is one of the most versatile weapons platforms ever placed in the world’s oceans, capable of long range Tomahawk strike operations, anti-submarine and surface shipping operations, surveillance and intelligence gathering, and special forces insertions.

Attack submarines are designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships using torpedoes. They also carry cruise missiles with conventional high-explosive warheads to attack enemy shore facilities. They also conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, mine laying and support special operations.

As a 21 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Cosentino said he is learning about himself as a leader, sailor and a person. He added that he joined the Navy for submarines. “I joined the Navy already having subs in mind,” said Cosentino. “My dad was in the Navy and worked on submarines and he really gave it to me straight, the good and the bad and I still really wanted to work on them. I like the idea of doing a job that means something and also has the thrill of it being a secret.”

Columbia, along with all other U.S. Navy submarines, is manned solely by volunteers from within the Navy. Because of the stressful environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

Although it is difficult for most people to imagine living on a submarine, challenging submarine living conditions actually build strong fellowship among the crew. The crews are highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

Cosentino said he is very proud of the work he is doing as part of the Columbia’s 130-member crew, protecting America on the world’s oceans. Imagine working and living in a 361-foot long, 33-foot wide, three-story building with no windows and surrounded by technology. Then lock the doors, submerge beneath the surface of the ocean and travel silently underwater for months. This requires a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge, personal discipline, and teamwork.

“I’m very proud of all USS Columbia sailors and equally impressed with the type and quality of work that goes aboard the submarine each day,” said Cmdr. J. Patrick Friedman, Columbia’s commanding officer. “Our team is filled with highly qualified young adults, reliable, flexible, and ready to respond worldwide at any time. Their work ethic, enthusiasm, and esprit de corps are second to none and they are the backbone of the Navy’s undersea warfighting capability.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Cosentino and other USS Columbia sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.

“I think the Navy really streamlines your life and gives you structure,” said Cosentino. “You really learn to put your priorities in the right order.
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.

Does that baby bird need help? What to do if you spot wildlife babies this spring!

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

As surely as April showers bring May flowers, spring brings baby animals. Chicks are hatching, rabbits are digging dens and fawns are meandering through meadows, so chances are good 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.

On Passover

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

By Edith Morgan

It’s all about freedom: the yearly renewal of our memories of coming out of slavery, and the celebration of all that it means to us.

Freedom is not automatic, nor free, nor easily handed down from generation; every generation has to re-affirm its value, sometimes fight to retain it, or to regain it. That is why Passover, for the Jewish people, is both a festival of remembrance, as well as of celebration of another years of enjoying the freedom that our forefathers passed down to us.

Passover is a very family centered holiday, and encompasses much of the ritual that is also associated with preparations for spring. In many homes, there is a great cleaning going on, and in the case of the more orthodox, all traces of leavened bread are sought out and removed. During the seven (some celebrate for eight) days Matzoh is eaten – as a daily reminder of the deprivation and suffering of the Israelites under the yoke of the Egyptian Pharaohs.

The story, familiar to most of us, begins in ancient Egypt, where the Israelites were enslaved, and made to work hard for their masters. Like most of us today, they wanted their freedom, and when a leader named Moses was able to bring them out of Egypt and into “the promised land”, they were able to escape, but very quickly – so there was no time to let their bread rise – so they took with them the bread and flour flat bread that we now know as Matzoh. Every child is familiar with the story of the ten plagues which were visited on the Egyptians, to convince them to “let my people go”. It was only after the first born sons of Egypt died, while the angel of death “passed over” the homes of the Israelites and spared their first borns, that Pharoah finally let them go. And so, we celebrate “Passover.” Click to continue »

Vernon Hill: Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home Summer Writing Series

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Series Objective: to examine poems of Stanley Kunitz in the setting of his boyhood Vernon Hill home, with the purpose of generating new writing. Workshop facilitators will lead discussions of Stanley Kunitz’s poems that relate to specific themes and involve you in writing activities designed to help you create new work. Bring pen, paper and your love of writing to his boyhood home, designated as a Literary Landmark© by the American Library Association.

Selected Saturdays from 1 – 5 p.m. Refreshments served. Registration fee  - $20 per workshop Limited enrollment! Registration required: complete our online form or contact Carol Stockmal by telephone at 508-756-4407 with questions

2014 Schedule of Events at 4 Woodford Street

Saturday, June 14th Writing Workshop #1

The Poet’s Quest for the Father

Join Karen Sharpe for an insightful writing journey. One does not need to have lost a father to understand the quest for identity and the impact of loss. A look at poems such as “Father and Son” and “The Unquiet Ones” will build a bridge to new writing that leads in new directions.  Registration deadline – June 7.

Saturday, July 12th Writing Workshop #2

Here and There, Now and Then in Kunitz’s Poetry – and Yours
Join Susan Elizabeth Sweeney and move through poetic space and time. A discussion of poems, such as “The Testing Tree” and “Halley’s Comet,” will open the door to movement, architectural details and urgency in your own writing.  Registration deadline – July 5.

Saturday, August 16th Writing Workshop #3

Revision, Research, and Poetry: Exploring the Work Behind Stanley’s Words
Join Kristina England for a look at earlier drafts of Stanley Kunitz’s poems, such as “My Mother’s Pears” and “Three Floors.” Participants must bring one copy of a poem currently in the works and be ready to apply Kristina’s tips and tricks for revision. Registration deadline – August 9.

Additional Events – Free and open to the public!

Sunday, July 27th – 2:00-4:00 p.mStanley Kunitz Birthday Celebration Join us at 2 p.m. for the 109thanniversary of Stanley Kunitz’s birth. Bring poems to share during the Open Mic and then enjoy birthday cake. A docent-led house tour will begin at 3:15!

Sunday, September 21st Annual Open House
Join us on this day, which  is devoted to a celebration of the Stanley Kunitz’s poems and the stories surrounding his relationship to Worcester and with the Stockmals. Docent tours: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30. Open Mic at 3:30. Refreshments.

Consider the lobster? That’s the least we can do!!!!

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

By Paula Moore

It’s not normally considered newsworthy when animal shelters rescue abandoned animals. That’s their job, after all. But the Lincoln County Humane Society in Ontario, Canada, made headlines in April when it came to the aid of an animal who was found inside a cardboard box that had been left in a restaurant parking lot. The animal in question just happened to be a lobster.

Although most of us would recoil at the thought of intentionally harming a cat or dog, we seem to have a blind spot regarding the suffering of animals who are killed for our plates. Lobsters are routinely boiled alive. Live crabs have their claws ripped off and are tossed back into the ocean. If you wouldn’t do such things to a cat, you shouldn’t do them to a crustacean, either. Both can feel pain and distress, and both deserve our consideration. As Kevin Strooband, the Lincoln County Humane Society’s executive director, said regarding his agency’s decision to rescue Mickey the lobster, “All creatures deserve to be treated with respect and appropriate care.”

Lobsters and crabs may seem very different from us, but in the ways that matter the most, they’re more like us than we may care to admit. Dr. Robert Elwood, a professor of animal behavior at Queen’s University Belfast who has studied crustaceans for decades, has demonstrated that these animals can feel pain. When prawns and crabs are exposed to acetic acid or a brief electric shock, for example, they show many of the types of pain-related behavior seen in vertebrates, such as rubbing and grooming the affected area. When crabs have a claw removed—a common practice in commercial fisheries—they rub and pick at the wound. Click to continue »

George Street Bike Challenge at Main and George streets!

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

George Street Bike Challenge for Major Taylor!

July 27, 2014

Main and George streets


2013 PHOTOS (Pete Banach/

See how fast you can pedal up George Street, a two-block quad-buster that was a training ground for 1899 world champion Major Taylor.

It’s one rider at a time against the clock in this steep uphill time trial in downtown Worcester, presented by Barney’s Bicycle and the Seven Hills Wheelmen, on the fourth Sunday in July.

The distance is 500 feet, and the average grade is 18 percent.

The contest is open to riders age 12 and up. Helmets are required. Entry fee is $20.

Proceeds benefit the Major Taylor Association, Inc.

Register online

Bike raffle! Win a Raleigh Revenio 1.0 road bike from Barney’s Bicycle, and other cool stuff, in the George Street raffle. Click here to see the prize list and get tickets. To donate raffle prizes or goods or services, e-mail Lynne or call Peter at Barney’s, 508-799-BIKE.

Click here for information on last year’s event.

Where is George Street? Click here for a map.
How steep is George Street? Click here for a profile.
Who’s the fastest rider? Click here for the course records.

Worcester County gets an A!!! in American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report 2014. Report shows less particle pollution but more ozone in Mass.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report 2014 Shows Less Particle Pollution but more Ozone in Massachusetts

Five Massachusetts’ counties receive failing grades for ozone

(Trend charts and rankings for metropolitan areas and county grades are available at

(Worcester County improved its grade for ozone from an F to a D, with 7 orange days, 3 fewer than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county is among the cleanest in the Northeast for particle pollution, maintaining its A grade.)

Waltham — The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2014” report released today shows that all eight counties in Massachusetts with particle pollution monitors cut year-round particle pollution (soot) levels compared to the 2013 report and the Boston metro area had its lowest year-round levels of particle pollution to date. This is in keeping with a trend seen across the nation of lower particle pollution levels. No county with a particle pollution monitor had more days when short-term particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. At the same time, five Massachusetts counties experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone (smog) while six experienced fewer days. And while the Boston metro area’s ranking on the list of most polluted cities for ozone improved from 68th in 2013 to tied for 69th in 2014, actual ozone levels worsened.

“With the Northeast and Massachusetts being the tailpipe of the nation, it’s not surprising that the grades we’re seeing for ozone remain a mixed bag,” said Casey Harvell, Massachusetts Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While we applaud the efforts the federal and state governments have made to protect the health of our air so far, our job is far from done. We need to see continued efforts and innovative policies particularly during budget season, to lessen the burden of unhealthy air on our most vulnerable populations, including children with asthma.”

“I’m pleased to see that Massachusetts continues to make progress to improve air quality, but this State of the Air report shows there is still much to be done to combat the hazardous effects of climate change,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture as well as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Climate change impacts the environment and our public health, but it also poses grave threats to our economy, our public safety and our national security. We must accept the reality of global climate change and do everything we can to limit air pollution to protect our planet and our posterity.”

Of the 12 Massachusetts’ counties with air pollution monitors, three –Berkshire, Hampden and Worcester – improved one letter grade for ozone pollution. Four counties, Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes and Hampshire received an F for ozone pollution. While there are the same number of F’s in the 2014 report as in 2013, Barnstable was added to the list after worsening ozone caused its grade to drop. At the same time, reduced ozone levels caused Worcester’s grade to improve moving it off the list of failing counties for ozone.

Ozone (smog) is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources. When ozone is inhaled, it irritates the lungs, almost like bad sunburn. It can cause immediate health problems that continue days later. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death.

Massachusetts’ counties received all A’s and B’s for short-term particle pollution (soot), which comes from car exhaust and coal-burning power plants. This microscopic dust can get trapped in the lungs or pass into the blood stream, increasing the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and triggering asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Worcester and Plymouth counties again received A’s for short-term particle pollution and were among the cleanest counties in the Northeast for the pollutant. Every county with a monitor saw its levels of annual particle pollution improve.

Particle pollution, called fine particulate matter or PM 2.5, is a deadly cocktail of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols that can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end. The body’s natural defenses, coughing and sneezing, fail to keep these microscopic particles from burrowing deep within the lungs, triggering serious problems such as asthma and heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and even early death. Much like ozone pollution is likened to sunburn on the lungs, exposure to particle pollution has been compared to rubbing sandpaper on the lungs.

“While we can celebrate the continued reduction of year-round particle pollution in Massachusetts, much of the Northeast and the nation thanks to cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants it’s clear that we’re going to need to do even more to reduce ozone pollution which is a tremendous health threat to all of us but especially to people with lung disease,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association. Click to continue »

The Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts serves and celebrates in Greater Worcester!

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

By Anh Vu Sawyer

In 1998, a group of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese youth decided to reach out to their community by forming the United States Cross-Cultural Center, Inc. In 2001, this initial effort became the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEAC), Inc. SEAC is located in the Denholm building, at 484 Main Street, Suite 400, directly across from City Hall.

Throughout their history, SEAC has been seeking opportunities to contribute and be more engaged in the larger diverse community of Worcester. Since its inception, SEAC has been tackling the challenges of mobilizing a community with many unique needs. SEAC was the first — and continues to be the only — organization in Worcester and Central Massachusetts operated and administered by Southeast Asians who understand the culture, the conditions, and the background of the Southeast Asian community.

SEAC’s mission is to help Southeast Asians in Central Massachusetts become productive and successful citizens while maintaining their unique cultural identity, and to promote and encourage civic engagement. SEAC achieves this mission by:

• Providing assistance in the areas of education and job training, as well as emotional, social and cultural support to enable Southeast Asians to succeed;
• Linking the Southeast Asian community to other communities and resources;
• Supporting and promoting the cultural heritage of the Southeast Asians in the Greater Worcester community;
• Facilitating a healthy integration of Southeast Asian Youth in the public school system at all levels of learning.

SEAC accomplishes these goals through assisting Asian immigrants, refugees and long-term residents, who have severe language and cultural barriers, to meet their basic needs and offering them other crucial services to help them integrate and thrive. SEAC offers English As A Second Language classes and translation and interpretation services to make sure the Asian community members obtain their daily social service needs. SEAC also assists their clients through programs in education, civic engagement, access to Healthcare, and after school and youth leadership development programs which serve children from ages 12 to 19.

SEAC takes pride in providing a safe and welcoming environment for Southeast Asians in Worcester County. The majority of SEAC’s clients are from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. As most of SEAC’s clients come from war-torn countries with traumatic backgrounds, they often feel displaced, lonely and fearful for their family’s well being and future. The Coalition strives to provide services to help meet their basic needs and organize events that also help alleviate the daily stress compounded by the severe lack of English language skills. SEAC’s intergenerational events provide opportunities for elders and youth to interact and enjoy doing things together, such as the much-loved and much-participated quarterly birthday parties for elders, who are served by the youth. SEAC’s Youth Effect also performed their Lion Dance during the Lunar New Year at the Worcester Senior Centers. SEAC’s staff have created in their office an area similar to a large family room, with a library stocked materials in languages appropriate for their clients, and activity areas for children, youth and adults, seating for conversation and games, and a kitchen where, most weeks, SEAC’s elders gather to cook and share stories.

In recent months, SEAC has become a meeting place for other new refugee groups from Bhutan, Burma and Nepal.

There are more than 12,000 Asians in the City of Worcester and more than 30,000 in Greater Worcester. Even though the Southeast Asian community has been a part of Greater Worcester for over 30 years, and in spite of being a hard working and resourceful people with many who have become store owners, factory workers, nurses, teachers, etc., the SE Asians in Worcester remain the most isolated population, according to the Worcester Research Bureau report.

In the past 10 years, SEAC has supported and promoted cultural awareness by bringing Asia to Worcester’s doorstep with its annual Asian Festival and Moon Festival. This year, SEAC’s Asian Festival will be held on Sunday, June 29, 2014 from 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM at the Italian-American Cultural Center, 28 Mulberry Street Worcester, MA 01605. SEAC’s annual Asian Festival is a free to the public event with performers, arts and crafts and foods from more than 12 national groups of refugees and immigrants, and has drawn a crowd of thousands of attendees and families from the greater community to celebrate Worcester’s great diversity.

Over the past decade, SEAC has become a trusted organization in the community. SE Asian community members have turned to SEAC for support with a broad range of issues: from citizenship to access to health care, as well as a broad variety of basic needs issues such as housing and employment. As a result, SEAC has built a strong network of relationships that help our community access important programs offered by the City. Moreover, SEAC has increasingly engaged in community collaborations to reduce health disparities, improve environmental justice in our neighborhoods, and build stronger families and community. At the same time, members of the SE Asian community have continued to successfully integrate into the greater Worcester community. In the past four years, the rate of Vietnamese voter participation has increased by 40%.

In 2013, SEAC received more than 8,000 client visits and organized more than 2 dozen community outreach events. There’s much work to be done for a small organization with 3 full time staff, 2 part time staff, and an executive director, but SEAC takes pride in helping to build a thriving Southeast Asian community to build a thriving Central Massachusetts.

Anh Vu Sawyer is the executive director of SEAC.