Category Archives: InCity Feature

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.

West Side: Bancroft Tower at Salisbury Park open to the public! Hooray!

Park Presentation: Salisbury Park Tour the Tower! 

Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc. is pleased to announce the reopening of Bancroft Tower at Salisbury Park to the general public:

Free of charge!

Starting this Sunday, October 5!

10 A.M – 2 P.M

In an effort to draw awareness to one of Worcester’s most historic landmarks, Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc. – in collaboration with Preservation Worcester, the Worcester Historical Museum, the City of Worcester Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Department and the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity at Worcester Polytechnic Institute – will ‘present’ Bancroft Tower and Salisbury Park for all to enjoy for four successive Sundays in October:

Open 10 AM 2 PMOctober 5

Same times on: October 12

October 19

October 26

  Park Spirit’s public reopening of the Tower is part of a four weekend ‘Park Presentation’ of Salisbury Park, where Bancroft Tower and Salisbury Park will be cleaned up by the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity at WPI and informational ‘tours’ will be provided by docents from Preservation Worcester and Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc.

Within the Tower, historical displays created by Park Spirit in collaboration with the Worcester Historical Museum will trace the landmark’s past as individuals make their way to the turret to take in one of the best views of Worcester and enjoy the fall foliage.

Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc.’s mission statement is to protect, promote, enhance and advocate for Worcester city parks and the nonprofit organization is seeking to do all of those things in regards to Salisbury Park and Bancroft Tower.   

The ‘Park Presentation’ was designed “to promote” and to draw awareness to Salisbury Park, which will be furthered by the #Selfies4Salisbury challenge – where the group will challenge notable Worcesterites to go to Salisbury Park, take a picture or ‘selfie’, post that picture on a social network with a short description of how they support Salisbury Park and Bancroft Tower, tag Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc. and then challenge others to do the same. In the same fashion as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, individuals who receive a

#Selfies4Salisbury challenge would be given the option to take the challenge or make a donation to support Salisbury Park and Bancroft Tower.

 The Salisbury Park ‘Park Presentation’ and public reopening of Bancroft Tower are a reflection and growth upon the free, public events that Park Spirit has hosted or collaborated on this year: the Bird Walk and Park Presentation Series at Elm Park/Newton Hill, Dodge Park, Green Hill Park, Cookson Park and Hadwen Park (supported by Mass Audubon and the Friends of Newton Hill); Elm Park Summer Concert Series; the ‘Flash Beautification’ of the pocket park on the corner of Mulberry and Shrewsbury Streets; Hot Night in the City (hosted by the Worcester Center for Crafts); and the Park Stewards summer work program.   

Bancroft Tower was built in 1900 by Stephen Salisbury III to honor George Bancroft a Worcester born historian, statesman and diplomat who went on to found the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and to become Secretary of the U.S. Navy.

“Blessing of the Animals” (God loves them!)


Fr. Barry Langley, OFM, Assistant Director of St. Anthony Shrine and the Franciscan Friars invite the community and their pets to the annual “Blessing of the Animals” for the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. St. Francis saw animals as his brothers and sisters because they were God’s creatures, just like people. He said of animals: “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it.”

So Francis prayed that God would work through him to help animals as well as people.

 St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center, “The Church on Arch Street,” will hold a Blessing of the Animals ceremony on Saturday, October 4 at 2 PM. 

In celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, The Patron Saint of Animals, Fr. Barry Langley will lead a brief ceremony and bestow a blessing on the dogs, cats, and other domestic pets in attendance.  

Each animal will also receive a certificate and be blessed individually by name.

 The ceremony will take place outside, directly in the front of the Shrine at 100 Arch Street in Boston’s Downtown Crossing.

WHEN:           Saturday, October 4 at 2 PM

WHERE:         St. Anthony Shrine & Ministry Center

100 Arch Street


From PETA-LATINO!! To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month …

… try these cool recipes! (If you scroll to bottom of post, and click on the link, the recipes are in Spanish!) – R.T.

Did you know that in 1988, the United States dedicated an entire month to honoring Hispanic heritage? It’s true: Hispanic Heritage Month goes from September 15 to October 15. Celebrate by making these traditional recipes with a vegan twist and sharing them with your friends and family!

1. Pupusas with curtido


2. Vegan Albondigas Soup

albondiga soup

3. Colombian Potato Empanadas


4. Mangú with Tempeh 


5. Vegan Cheese Arepas


6. Mango Ceviche


Read more:

Hands up! Don’t shoot!

By Parlee Jones

“Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter” … Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace, Worcester people!  As I sit down to write this article regarding the murder of Michael Brown and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, my heart is heavy. It’s heavy with sorrow, anger, fear, dismay and doubt.  You see, I am a single mom. I am raising a young Black Man and young Black Woman. Right here, in America. Not in a “third world country,” right here in America – Worcester, Massachusetts. Land of the free and the home of the brave. … or is it the land of the thief and the home of the slave????

By now we all know what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, August 9.  It is easy to see that this was an UNJUST shooting.  An unarmed 18 year old is dead.  Shot 6 times in the upper body.  2 times in the head.  We can go back and forth with what he did prior to being executed, but does that really matter when Officer Darren Wilson wasn’t aware of any alleged behavior?

Bottom line: Michael is not here to defend himself or tell his side of the story.

It seems to me that many people, here in Worcester, too, are trying to make it okay that if he did take cigars, it justifies his murder.  IT DOES NOT!

It is not okay for a lot of people in this country to agree with the slaying of this young, Black man.  He should not be dead. The officer that shot him didn’t even know about the incident at the store which is still in question as to if it was Michael Brown.  One witness states that there was a verbal altercation between Michael and Officer Darren Wilson.  How did Michael end up dead?

The trouble in Ferguson, Missouri, has been brewing for many years.  Just knowing that 63% of the population there is Black and there are only three Black police officers on the town police force speaks volumes.  The fact that the U.S. Justice Department may actually investigate the whole police department because there is a pattern of abuse also speaks volumes.

Where you get your news from will also tell a lot about how you look at the world.  Needless to say, FOX News Channel will have you believing lopsided reporting.  In the words of Malcolm X, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers [news channels] will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Reading the comments that appear at the end of articles and stories surrounding this story, you can clearly see a racist thread. The people who are dancing around the word are either blind, in denial or racist.  Unfortunately, the history of Amerikkka has shown a blatant disregard for the lives of Black men.  Many will deny this, but if you are not living the experience as a Black person, you cannot judge or even speak on it.  Your experience is not the same.  If you have never heard of White Privilege, look it up.  Or maybe that will be my next article.  I am a community builder, so, please do not try to twist my words.  I love all people!

On August 14, I had the privilege of standing with about 50 other residents in a peaceful rally on Worcester’s City Hall Plaza.  We joined Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and many other cities in support of the people of Ferguson.  Many people spoke of their experiences with Worcester Police.  Unfortunately, there were too many stories.  I have one of my own.

.. If you wish to discuss any of my views, please contact InCity Times! Peace!

Autumn make up – e.l.f. cosmetics cruelty-free-pretty-me!


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3 cheers for Wet n Wild and e.l.f. make-up!! I always have the e.l.f. blush/lip tube jammed into the pocket of my blue jean jacket!  Have their creamy eye-shadows at home … . Use their mascara in the a.m. before I head out the door to run ICT!  Wet n Wild has great thick tubes of tinted lip balm. SPF, too! Used their cherry balm all summer. Price tag? For e.l.f. products a buck at the buck store! A bit more $ at Target and Burlington Coat Factory. Wet n Wild make-up: $2, $3 and $4/$5 at Walgreens or CVS. My point is: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy good, on-trend make up THAT IS NOT TESTED ON RABBITS JAMMED INTO CAGES getting high “doses” of product squirted into their eyes over and over again …  Cruel, cruel, cruel. Pointless.
- R. Tirella
When we heard that e.l.f. (eyes lips face) company was selling cool cruelty-free cosmetics for a buck each, we couldn’t believe it. But it’s not a fairy tale—e.l.f.really does exist, and you can easily find its products at your local Target and Kmart. It just doesn’t get any easier than that when shopping for cruelty-free makeup!

Operating under the belief that “[e]very woman should have the opportunity to participate in innovation, without sacrificing her budget,” e.l.f. offers a wide variety of high-quality beauty products that look and feel fantastic. But don’t just take our word for it—major magazines such as GlamourAllure, andSelf can’t stop raving about them, either!

While e.l.f. has loads of must-have mascaras, lip glosses, blushes, bronzers, brushes, and much, much more, we can’t help but be partial to its“PETA” tweezers. After all, e.l.f. has created these special tweezers just for us!

Emblazoned with the slogan “Fur Free,” these tweezers come in a case that sports PETA’s cruelty-free bunny logo and reads, “e.l.f. Professional Supports PETA in the Fur Free Campaign:” Pretty cool, huh? So now you can extend your “fur-freeness” beyond your wardrobe. What’s even cooler is the fact that 50 percent of the proceeds from sales of these tweezers go straight to PETA!

For an even more customized shopping experience, create your own online beauty profile. Just enter your stats, habits, and preferences, and the experts at e.l.f. will not only recommend the perfect products for you but also save your favorite picks in your very own personal account. You can purchase your “customized just for you” cosmetics online or cruise down to one of these convenient locations near you!

With such a huge variety of sensational cruelty-free stuff at such low prices, who wouldn’t be ecstatic about e.l.f.? PETA sure is. That’s why we’re proud to honor company CEO Joey Shamah with a Trail-Blazer Award for his compassion and commitment to never testing on animals.

To learn more about cosmetics testing on animals, go here.

This holiday season don’t jiggle all the way! Jingle all the way …

… with low-fat vegan holiday fare! Here are some yummy recipes to get you started! Leave the belly to Santa! Leave the turkey-killing behind you … – R.T.


Sage- and Pumpkin Seed-Encrusted Seitan With Roasted Garlic-Pumpkin Sauce

Side Dishes


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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus beats, punches and whips its animals! Former employee speaks out!

Archele Hundley, a former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus employee, recently teamed up with PETA to make a moving plea to potential circusgoers.

Hundley, who witnessed elephant beatings during her time with Ringling, urges people to stay away from the circus.

“I saw handlers deliver a beating … for 30 minutes. She was covered with bloody wounds. I’ll never forget her agonizing screams,” says Hundley. “Please, never take your children to a Ringling Bros. circus.”

Hundley worked on Ringling’s animal crew for two months.

During that time, she witnessed incidents of abuse, including the following:

In 2006 an elephant in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was beaten with bullhooks so severely that she bled profusely and cried out in pain. A trainer viciously whipped a camel and punched a miniature horse in the face.

Trainers jabbed horses with pitchforks and gave them extremely painful “lip twists” to force the animals to obey commands.

An elephant with painful arthritis was kept on the road.

“The abuse was not just once in a while—it occurred every day,” says Hundley.

She continues: “The elephants, horses, and camels were hit, punched, beaten, and whipped by everyone from the head of animal care down to inexperienced animal handlers hired out of homeless shelters.”

Archele says that she repeatedly complained to circus management about the abuse but to no avail, prompting her to quit in disgust.

Archele teamed up with PETA because she wanted others to learn about the cruelty involved when animals are forced to perform in circuses.

You can help spread the message by boycotting the circus and telling everyone you know about circus cruelty.

The circus comes to Worcester in October …

… We are hoping Worcester Mayor Joe Petty and City Manager Ed Augustus follow the great example set by former Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien when Ringling circus came to Woo on his watch: his office accepted ZERO Ringling tickets, O’Brien declined to be photographed with elephants outside city hall in a cheap publicity stunt , and the wild animals were not allowed to be used as cheap publicity for the circus by being forced to march to city hall. O’Brien told me, when a few of us came to visit him at city hall to discuss the wild-animals-in-circuses issue, that he GOT IT. We thanked him!

A year or so later Worcester city councilors Sarai  Rivera, Barbara Haller and Konnie Lukes took a courageous, compassionate stand against animal cruelty by coming out against wild animals in circuses in the City of Worcester.  They joined O’Brien and the always on-board Woo city councilor Mike Germain. These city leaders acted like LEADERS! Yes!

Last fall Worcester city councilor Phil Palmieri valiantly joined their ranks and voted AGAINST shows with lions, tigers and elephants being allowed to parade their suffering animals through our city.

We needed 6 votes on the city council to end the cruelty in Worcester. After the November election newbie councilor Mike Gaffney, in a cynical move, forced a city council vote to end our campaign and stifle public discourse on the issue. We got 5. (Gaffney really is an asshole!)


We thank them them for their good, brave hearts! And … the fight continues!

- Rosalie Tirella


Please!  Learn more! The following information comes to you from the barrier-busting, amazing folks at PETA:

Wild animals in Circuses

Wild animals don’t jump through rings of fire. They don’t perform these and other difficult tricks because they want to; they perform them because they’re afraid of what will happen if they don’t.

For animals in circuses, there is no such thing as “positive reinforcement”—only varying degrees of punishment and deprivation. To force them to perform these meaningless and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bullhooks, and other painful tools of the trade.

In the Ringling Bros. circus, elephants are beaten, hit, poked, prodded, and jabbed with sharp hooks, sometimes until bloody. Ringling breaks the spirit of elephants when they’re vulnerable babies who should still be with their mothers. Unsuspecting parents planning a family trip to the circus don’t know about the violent training sessions with ropes, bullhooks, and electric shock prods that elephants endure. Heartbreaking photos reveal how Ringling Bros. circus trainers cruelly force baby elephants to learn tricks, and it’s not through a reward system, as they claim.

Cruel Training

Circuses easily get away with routine abuse because no government agency monitors training sessions. Undercover video footage of animal training sessions has shown that elephants are beaten with bullhooks and shocked with electric prods, big cats are dragged by heavy chains around their necks and hit with sticks, bears are whacked and prodded with long poles, and chimpanzees are kicked and hit with riding crops. Carson & Barnes trainers have even been documented using blowtorches on elephants.

Constant Confinement

Constant travel means that animals are confined to boxcars, trailers, or trucks for days at a time in extremely hot and cold weather, often without access to basic necessities such as food, water, and veterinary care. Elephants, big cats, bears, and primates are confined to cramped and filthy cages in which they eat, drink, sleep, defecate, and urinate—all in the same place.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus boasts that its three units travel more than 25,000 miles as the circus tours the country for 11 months each year. Ringling’s own documents reveal that on average, elephants are chained for more than 26 hours straight and are sometimes continually chained for as many as 60 to 100 hours. Tigers and lions usually live and travel in cages that provide barely enough room for the animals to turn around, often with two big cats crammed into a single cage. In July 2004, Clyde, a young lion traveling with Ringling, died in a poorly ventilated boxcar while the circus was crossing the Mojave Desert, where temperatures reached at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Clyde likely died a miserable death from heatstroke and dehydration. Previously, two tigers with Ringling injured themselves while attempting to escape from their cages in an overheated boxcar.

Public Danger

Frustrated by years of beatings, bullhooks, and shackles, some elephants snap. And when an elephant rebels against a trainer’s physical dominance, trainers cannot protect themselves—let alone the public.

In 1994, an elephant named Tyke killed her trainer and injured 12 spectators before being gunned down while running terrified through downtown Honolulu (she was shot almost 100 times). In 1992, Officer Blayne Doyle was forced to shoot and kill Janet, an elephant who charged out of the Great American Circus arena with five children on her back.

In more than 35 dangerous incidents since 2000, elephants have bolted from circuses, run amok through streets, crashed into buildings, attacked members of the public, and killed and injured handlers.

In speaking before members of Congress about the dangers of elephant rampages, Doyle lamented, “I have discovered, much to my alarm, that once an elephant goes out of control, nothing can be done. It is not a predictable or preventable accident. The only thing that can be done—and even this is a danger to the public—is to get a battery of police officers in with heavy weapons and gun the elephant down.”

Circus Bans

Because of concerns about animal mistreatment and public safety, a growing number of communities are banning or restricting the use of animals in circuses.

Animal-Free Circuses

We applaud trapeze artists, jugglers, clowns, tightrope walkers, and acrobats, but let’s leave animals in peace. The Latest Shows on Earth—Cirque du Soleil, the New Pickle Family Circus, Cirque Éloize, and others—are exciting and innovative circuses that dazzle audiences without animal acts. Click here for a list of animal-free circuses.

What You Can Do

  • When the circus comes to town, organize a demonstration to inform the public that demeaning stunts performed by animals in the ring are the result of behind-the-scenes bullhook beatings and other abusive training methods. Let your local news outlet know about the suffering of animals used in circuses.
  • For detailed information about specific circuses, including U.S. Department of Agriculture citations and dangerous incidents, click here.
  • Start a campaign to amend the cruelty-to-animals ordinance in your community so that it includes language forbidding the use of bullhooks and other manual, mechanical, and chemical devices intended to cause pain and suffering.
  • Most importantly, boycott all circuses that use animals and choose animal-

Read more:

The circus is coming to Worcester! Be prepared!!! 12 Things Ringling Doesn’t Want You to Know

PLEASE! Let Worcester’s city manager and city councilors know that you are AGAINST Ringling coming to Worcester! That wild animals do not belong on train box cars, are not supposed to be wearing head-dresses or saddles, should not – it’s morally reprehensible! – be forced to be anything but themselves. Wild animals!

Wild (exotic) animals, such as chimps, can NEVER be domesticated. Cute little chimps mature into adult chimpanzees  that can (and have) done real damage to the addle-brained humans who, stupidly, think they are our “pals.”  Wild animals are not domesticated dogs or cats or goats or cows or chickens! THEY have not been domesticated – genetically speaking! You can not BEAT, TRAIN a wild animal’s genetic NATURE out of it! Humans never have! We never will! For ex: Cute, captive polar bear cubs will attack and do serious damage to the very same people who have bottle nursed them and snuggled them and smooched them up when they are just a few months older! Why can’t we “get” this? Cuz the animals are so GORGEOUS and AWE-INSPIRING and we are so selfish.

PLEASE click on the CLICK HERE at bottom of this list to LEARN MUCH MORE!  OR visit the InCity Times cirucs Facebook page on this website (just click b y the elephant photo to the right on this screen)                      – Rosalie  Tirella


12 Things Ringling Doesn’t Want You to Know

If there’s one thing Ringling Bros. circus has proved over the years, it’s that it’s the cruelest show on Earth. Here are 12 things that Ringling Bros. doesn’t want you to know:

1. The circus tears babies away from their mothers.

At around 21 months old, baby elephants are dragged away from their mothers, who have to be restrained. In the wild, males stay with their mothers until they’re teenagers and female elephants stay with their mothers their entire lives.

2. “Breaking” elephants really means “breaking their spirits.”

Baby elephants are forced to stand on a concrete floor for about 23 hours a day for up to six months, unable to lie down or even turn around.

3. Trainers use bullhooks, ropes, and electric prods.

Baby elephants learn to fear bullhooks from a very young age.

4. Training goes unmonitored by any agency of any kind.

The elephants cry out, but there is no one there to help them.

5. Elephants spend most of their lives in chains.

When they aren’t performing, elephants are confined.

6. Elephants travel in boxcars like these for up to 100 hours straight.

The doors are barely bigger than they are.

7. Elephants are beaten for the slightest disobedience.

8. The wounds on this elephant are plainly visible.

Trainers usually cover them up with “Wonder Dust” so that inspectors can’t see them.

9. Ringling paid a $270,000 fine for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

10. Ringling’s abuse lasts a lifetime.

11. Protests are organized almost everywhere that Ringling goes.

12. Even kids know about Ringling’s abuse.

The sheen around “the cruelest show on Earth” is nearly gone, as more and more people speak out against Ringling’s barbaric practices every day!

Read more – click here!