Category Archives: InCity Feature


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. 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:  

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!



Text, recipe and photo by Chef Joey

photo 2

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:

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.

A note from filmmaker Michael Moore

One of my favorite films! Funny, heartbreaking … prescient. WATCH IT AND WATCH THE BETRAYAL OF WORKING CLASS AMERICA. (love how  Moore used the Beach Boys’ WOULDN’T IT BE NICE!) … I’ve made some sentences bold.    –  R. Tirella



[Today] is a big day for me. Warner Bros. is releasing to you, the public, the completely restored, newly-remastered 25th anniversary edition of my very first film, ROGER & ME. It’s the first time this has been done for any movie of mine, a full 4K digital restoration from my original 16mm negative. The result is a mind-blowing version that now should live on for, well, for as long as the planet lets us stick around.

In addition to supervising this restoration, I’ve recorded an all new director’s commentary track to go along with it. It’s completely uncensored and straight from the gut. I do not talk about “how I lit” the little bunny rabbit. I do name names and candidly tell you about the unlikely history of a film that should never have gotten made.

There are three ways you can see this newly-mastered version of ROGER & ME:

1. Purchase the Blu-ray from a site like Amazon today.

2. Download it from iTunes (available tomorrow).

3. See it in a movie theater this fall. It played in NY and LA last week and will play other cities. Ask the local theater owner in your area when it is coming. Also, you or your group can arrange a special one-night screening in your town by contacting

ROGER & ME is the movie, as many of you know, that began my career as a filmmaker. It is, shockingly, every bit as relevant today as it was when it came out in 1989. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it foretold the systematic elimination of the American middle class and, in its wake, the so-called American Dream — the dream that promised if your hard work made your boss rich, you would be rewarded with a few simple comforts like your own home, a college education, affordable medical care, and a nice, long paid vacation.

ROGER & ME, through my telling of the story of GM and my hometown of Flint, warned that the wealthy had other plans for you in the 21st century — the crux of which was “no more sharing of the pie.” A few would still get to be rich, I predicted; the rest of the citizenry would fight over the remaining crumbs when not distracted by inflated fears of foreign threats or scary domestic events like gays marrying or a President who faked his papers at birth.

And what has happened since ROGER & ME? Well, Wall Street’s wealth multiplied three times over — while workers’ wages remained stagnant or decreased, and benefits and pensions became nothing but fond memories of a bygone era.

Twenty-five years ago I saw the beginning of this, and instead of screaming from the mountain top, I made ROGER & ME. It (along with “Do the Right Thing”) was the most acclaimed film of 1989. As one critic wrote, “It has ignited a modern-day documentary movement.” It was the first nonfiction film shown in mainstream multiplexes and shopping mall cinemas — 1,300 of them. This had never happened before with a documentary. ROGER & ME set the all-time box office record for a doc (a record that was later broken by “Bowling for Columbine” and then again by “Fahrenheit 9/11″).

Two years ago, Lincoln Center wanted to have a special night honoring ROGER & ME. They discovered — to their horror and mine — that all the existing prints of my film had been ruined by time and the elements. That set me and Warner Bros. into motion and, after the Library of Congress designated ROGER & ME a “national treasure” last December (which placed it on the federally-mandated list of films that must be preserved), Warner Bros. spent tens of thousands of dollars not just to preserve my film, but also to bring it into the digital era. The results of their restoration are nothing short of stunning. I sincerely hope you get your own copy of it.

Thanks again for your support of my work over the years. I hope I can continue to live up to your faith in me and the movies I make.

All my best,

Michael Moore

P.S. Any and all profits that may come my way from this 25th anniversary release will go to helping other filmmakers preserve and distribute their films — especially those facing “extinction.”

Hooray Fitchburg!

Fitchburg man is finalist in PETA’S “SEXIEST VEGAN OVER 50″ contest!

Fans Can Help PETA Choose Winners by Voting for Their Favorite Meat-Free Man and Woman on PETA Prime’s Website


JOHN METCALF: a very cute Fitchburg guy! Let’s all vote for this vegan-loving guy so he wins the grand prize!

 Fitchburg  — It’s no secret where sexy celebrities Ellen DeGeneres, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Cromwell get their energy—they all attribute it to going vegan! And it’s their example that inspired PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—to launch its annual Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest.

This year, PETA has narrowed the field down to seven men and seven women—and 62-year-old Fitchburg resident John Metcalf is among the finalists. The contest is sponsored by PETA Prime—a resource for baby boomers who want to live a healthy, humane, and rewarding life.

 “While many baby boomers have had to reach for pills to fight high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and impotence, older vegans tend to be slim, healthy, and energetic,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “One look at PETA’s finalists makes it clear that the only thing sexier than being passionate is being compassionate.”

 Metcalf has both brains and brawn—this mechanical engineer is an avid hiker who tackles New England’s Mount Wachusett twice every day. He also enjoys biking, canyoneering, technical climbing, and anything else that gets him outdoors.

He says that he’s “a lot happier” since he went vegan and eagerly shares with friends, family, and neighbors how factory farming takes a toll on animals as well as human health.

 Visitors to can see photos of all 14 finalists and cast their votes through October 19.

Two winners (one male and one female) will be announced on October 22.

PETA will select the winners based on several factors, including vote count, and each winner will receive a three-night stay for two at the beautiful Guatemalan eco-resort Laguna Lodge, a PETA photo shoot in Los Angeles, and a selection of goodies from the PETA Catalog.

See the full contest details here.

 For more information, please visit

Traumatized circus elephants head to the Elephant Sanctuary – Worcester lawyer reports from the sanctuary!

I’m re-posting one of several InCity Times articles written for us by Worcester resident and lawyer Deirdre Healy on the Elephant Sanctuary. The circus is coming, and the Telegram and Gazette will run the lies, misinformation about wild animals in circuses that Ringling will shrewdly feed them. Plus their heartbreaking photos!  The T and G photographers degrade the wild animals, degrade their subject matter when they – photo-journalists! –  photograph lions in wash tubs, as they did last year. They degrade the truth!  The Telegram and Gazette photographers create more  publicity stills for Ringling!

This article is to counter the crap Ringling will lay on the T and G and the T and G , without questioning ANYTHING, will foist on Worcester.

Lies, lies, lies.

Telegram and Gazette  editorial page “writer”Chris Sinacola should google editorials that THE BOSTON GLOBE, THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE LOS ANGELES TIMES have written about elephants and other wild animals in circuses. He should read them, too. Maybe he’d learn something from these first-rate newspapers.

The T and G’s editor Karen Webber should read the articles reporters on these three great American newspapers have written on wild animals in circuses. She should educate herself!  Look at the issue through a contemporary lens, the lens of SCIENCE, ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, EVOLUTION … It’s 2014, not 1914!

–  Rosalie Tirella

By Deirdre Healy

October is Elephant Awareness Month in Tennessee because of the efforts that the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald has made toward improving the lives of elephants throughout the world.

Interestingly enough, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the sanctuary in October. The Tennessee sanctuary has volunteer days about once a month. Kathy, Marissa and I traveled from Massachusetts to Hohenwald, TN for a long weekend so that we could work outdoors one Saturday for the benefit of “the girls,” as the elephants are lovingly called.

The sanctuary houses 15 female Asian and African elephants. Most are Asian elephants. There are only 2 African elephants. Apparently it is natural for female elephants to live together. In the wild, they live in matriarchal herds. Male elephants, by the time they reach the age of 20, spend most of their time alone.

Elephants are highly social, sensitive, playful, intelligent animals. There are about 600 elephants living in captivity in the United States in zoos, circuses and sanctuaries. The majority are used to provide entertainment in circuses and zoos. The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been developed specifically to provide a place where traumatized elephants can recover from the debilitating experience of captivity.

Circuses can be grueling for elephants. Their sensitive skin is hit with bull hooks to “train” and control them. They endure long trips in small, confined spaces which can cause long-term problems with their feet and legs. Wild elephants normally walk close to 20 miles a day. Being cramped in small zoo enclosures or daily trips in small containers for the circus is torture for them.

Coming to the Sanctuary is a blessing for the elephants and the caregivers. The girls, after living in very difficult conditions that are not natural for them, come to this Sanctuary comprised of 2,700 acres. They are free to roam; something they had not experienced before. Elephants communicate very well. The caregivers, while working hard throughout the day for the girls, report that they often have heart-touching communication with them. The girls communicate through noises such as squeaks and rumbles, as well as their actions.

Since this is a Sanctuary for elephants, freed from the abuse they suffered at the hands of humans, they are not there for our entertainment. The volunteers will only see an elephant by accident. We spent our volunteer day moving about 300 bales of hay in the enormous barn and doing barn clean-up. Other volunteers painted and caulked a barn. Sometimes volunteers paint the fences or remove barbed wire from some fencing.

The day before we worked at the sanctuary, we toured through the National Park in the area and went to the Meriwether Memorial (for Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame). As we approached the memorial’s log cabin, we discovered a dog that was clearly in distress. We took him to the veterinarian and got him fixed up (shots, neutered, etc.). He was healthy and the only long-term issue he had was blindness in one eye. We named him Meriwether. With 27% unemployment, there is a lot of poverty in rural Tennessee. The local shelter was full and if we did not take him, the only option was to have him euthanized. We took him home to Massachusetts with us. He was here for less than a week when we found his new adoptive family.

Animal abandonment is a big problem in Hohenwald. Cats and dogs are left at the elephant sanctuary. In fact, if you get the chance, go to and search on “Tarra and Bella” where you’ll find a variety of video clips on the relationship between Tarra the elephant and Bella the stray dog. They became friends several years ago. Bella had been abandoned and was discovered guarding a bulldozer. Bella liked guarding large noisy things and became attached to Tarra. Tarra was very happy about her new friend and they have been inseparable ever since. Even when Bella was injured, Tarra stood outside of Bella’s recovery room every day (Tarra had never stood outside that building before) until Bella was able to return to the sanctuary!

The Elephant Sanctuary is a wonderful place with a worthwhile mission helping this endangered species. For more information, go to


Please visit the InCity Times Circus Page on our (this) website. Click on the text by the elephant photo!    - R. Tirella

Do we need to buy leather jackets, etc this autumn? The leather industry is a BRUTAL industry! Buy pleather, instead!

It looks good on! All depends on how you wear it! – R. T.



14 Things the Leather Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

1. Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals.

Cows on Feedlot

2. If you’re wearing leather, it probably came from China or India.

Indian Leather Cows on Truck

In China, there are no penalties for abusing animals on farms.


Testing, testing, testing …

By Edith Morgan

School has started – parents heave a sigh of relief, and the Damocles sword of mandated testing programs hangs heavy over teachers and students. And the purveyors of the tests are laughing all the way to the bank at the prospect of yet another very profitable year of ripping off the taxpayers, gaining control of what and how we teach our children, and generally playing into the hands of the privatizers and dehumanizers who are increasingly getting control over us in so many ways.

“No Child Left Behind” – left so many behind! –  and its illegitimate offspring,  “Race to the Top” (or more correctly, “Race to the Bottom”) both require standardized testing . How do you suppose mandatory standardized testing was included? How many palms of elected officials in Washington, D.C. were crossed with silver to make sure the testing companies made out like bandits every year in every school?

I was in education at all levels for more than 40 years and have kept up since then. I have never yet met or heard of a teacher who does not test students regularly. Weekly, or sometimes even daily, students have to prove that they have learned or mastered what is being taught.

Remember the spelling tests, the math tests, the essays, the many ways teachers check to see what is being learned, what needs to be re-taught, what has to be taught a different way if too many in the class did not “get it”? The tests reflected accurately what had been taught and enabled the classroom teacher to assess what students had “gotten”  and what they still needed to know. So, if there was a clear understanding of what the curriculum required, it was always up to the teacher to make certain that those things were taught and learned. Good teachers also applied a variety of ways to learn, adapting their methods to the learning styles of their students.

Standardized tests pretty much throw all that out the window.

Their form does not take into consideration the most important things that American schools traditionally valued: Their job was not simply to make kids “marketable” but to grow a new generation of good citizens, informed enough to participate ALL THEIR LIVES in their families, communities and nation – and to make intelligent and thoughtful choices all along. There is NO standardized test which even considers these goals, as they are not amenable to multiple choice bubbles.

We are fortunate in Massachusetts to have in Cambridge an organization called “FairTest,” which has for many years monitored and reported on testing throughout the nation. Every administrator, teacher, parent and citizen interested in securing the best education for ALL our children should at the very least read their report, “How Standardized Testing Damages Education” – updated July 2012. It details how this testing does NOT provide accountability, measures very little and is not accountable to our parents, teachers, students and community.

To learn more google FairTest. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.