Category Archives: InCity Letters

Please, Please, PLEASE be there!

From the City of Worcester:

The Worcester City Manager’s Dialogue Series on Race has opened many hearts and minds to the idea that racism hurts us all, but leaves people wondering how to move forward– what are the next steps?

0ne option for those new to the topic is to join us for a facilitated monthly workshop series.

Worcester Witnessing Whiteness Series 2015-2016!

The Witnessing Whiteness series is a nationally-recognized series of 11 sessions designed to:

·        Build a community with a shared understanding of privilege, whiteness, and racism

·        Increase your group’s ability to support and implement diversity and racial justice initiatives

·        Develop leadership capacity around issues of diversity and race

Join us as we read and explore together the ideas and exercises included within Shelley Tochluk’s book Witnessing Whiteness.

The full workshop curriculum is free and available online, so people who can’t attend one session can easily follow along at home.

Session 1: Why pay attention to race?

Monday, August 17, 2015, 6-8:30 pm @ YWCA of Central MA

To build from the energy of the community dialogues and the growing national Moral Monday movement, these sessions will be held on Mondays – specifically the third Monday of each month…

from 6 pm – 8:30 pm

with a light supper offered from 5 pm – 6 pm, as the city has done this summer.

To get involved in the planning or to sign up as a participant for the series, please contact Heather-Lyn.Haley@umassmed.edu or at 774-441-6366.

This workshop series is co-sponsored by: Worcester Partnership for Racial and Ethnic Health Equity
YWCA of Central MA

Congressman McGovern, Mayor Petty Statements on Worcester Shooting on Everett Gaylord Boulevard

WORCESTER – Congressman Jim McGovern and Worcester Mayor Joe Petty released the following statements in response to the shooting of a mother and her 2-year-old child Monday night in Plumley Village on Everett Gaylord Boulevard in Worcester:

“I am heartbroken by last night’s tragic shooting of a mother and young child in Worcester,” Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Worcester) said. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family. I am grateful to the medical professionals who have helped to stabilize the condition of the mother and child and to the law enforcement officials working tirelessly to bring the perpetrator to justice. I am shocked by this unthinkable violence. Now is a time for Worcester to come together as a community to understand how this happened and how we can prevent this violence from happening again.”

“This kind of violence cuts our City to the core, particularly when the victims are a toddler and mother—the very definition of innocent bystander. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their family tonight,” Worcester Mayor Joe Petty said. “Every incidence of violence should shock us and outrage us. Every time we hear about another gun victim we should stop in our tracks and ask how we as a City can do better. We owe it to our neighbors to take this outrage and join together and say, enough. We will work together at all levels of government to ensure that our public safety officials have the support and resources they need. To be clear, the full weight of the Worcester Police Department will be put behind finding the shooter and taking them off the streets.”

Got this nice letter from Worcester’s former park commissioner …

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The Crompton Park opportunity center (building on right, behind the tennis courts) is run out of the old field house at the park. Tom’s idea!

Great recent issue

Congratulations on your 14 yrs of publication. This issue [of InCity Times] hit home with me, as I was instrumental in getting both the South Worcester Neighborhood [Center] and the Crompton Park Opportunity Center in the park buildings when I was [City of Worcester Parks] Commissioner and my idea as I could get federal funds to fix them up through park grants.

I worked closely with Ron [Charette] and Lorraine Laurie to make this happen and give them a home. Still working out great and gives me great satisfaction.

Tom Taylor

Ron Charette, on left, director of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center, outside the center. The center’s housed inside the huge park building at Maloney Field.DSCF0943-1

Stop the violence that is tearing up Worcester! SOS! Save Our Streets!!

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S.O.S.
Save Our Streets

City Hall Common

July 26

5 pm

Peace Rally and March

Please come join us in a peaceful gathering to build community and start a movement of non-violence in this city.

The violence touches everyone but ESPECIALLY the mothers, and fathers, and other family members who have to bury children.

Come out and support one another.

Come out and support a community that so desperately needs peace.

There will be marches beginning in various locations to converge on City Hall Common at 5 pm.

We will hear from family members and have a balloon letting to honor those killed on ALL sides of this tragedy.

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Happy 14’th Birthday, InCity Times! … A paean to a free press

By Edith Morgan

InCity Times has survived and thrived for 14 years – as a free, independent publication, in times when the print press has suffered so many retrenchments, mergers, takeovers, and other indignities.

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ICT’s Rosalie: “Rose” – the nickname she got as a student at Burncoat Senior High years ago, from her biology teacher! … and kept because she liked it so much!

So, a vote of thanks for hanging in there to ICT editor and owner Rosalie Tirella, for her tireless efforts to keep her paper going despite all the challenges entailed in this effort. In a time when corporations have it all, InCity Times is still a privately owned, individually run, truly free publication. More power to you, Rosalie! Here are my wishes for success and long life!

There is always much talk about freedom in America. We have just celebrated the Fourth of July and remembered how our freedom was fought for and refined over the years to include more and more categories of human beings.

We have learned about the four freedoms – those of us old enough to remember FDR’s presidency; and we have seen re-interpretations of these, in new laws and customs.

One freedom that is always included in these enumerations is the very precious freedom of the press. Because it is so crucial to the survival of democracy, we particularly pay attention to its preservation and protection.  We would never agree to give it up without a great battle – and yet, as I look around today’s America, it troubles me that we have given up so much of our previous freedom, not to some outside dictatorial force, but to the lure of the almighty dollar, and to the concentration of power in the hands of those who have the money to buy and  control our press.

When I came to America in 1941, there was still at least one independent newspaper in every small town, several in larger towns and cities, often publishing morning and evening editions, with “nosy” reporters deployed to gather information and disseminate it to readers.

Worcester had a morning and evening paper, and while they were both owned by the same family, at least they differed somewhat from each other, and had different columnists and somewhat different features. And they had something of interest for all of us.

The advent of TV “news” ( I put “news” in quotes, as it is not really news – mostly  it has justly earned the name of “infotainment,” as its main purpose is not really to inform, but to keep you glued to the set from commercial to commercial ). The same corporations that own our press, for the most part, now also  own the other media of communications. Why does it matter? Because the only legal duty a corporation has is to its investors – the bottom line, in other words.

Why did I go into all that ancient history?  Because InCity Times is truly and unarguably FREE, in all senses of the word: It is provided free every two weeks to anyone who wants to pick it up. I, as a contributing ICT columnist, have had total freedom of expression, and enjoy the kind of freedom of choice as to subject matter and length that would not be available to me in any other print communication. I appreciate that freedom greatly, and I appreciate the challenges that Rosalie’s paper surmounts to survive in the present climate. So, this is a hurrah for freedom of the press – may it survive and thrive!

Chandler Street: at Worcester State University

EFN POSTER 7.5.15

350 Massachusetts – Central MA Node is co-sponsoring …

an Environmental Film Night …

at Worcester State University, 486 Chandler St.

Sunday, July 26

5 pm – 8 pm

Ghosh Sci-Tech building, Room 102

The evening will begin with several selected short films, including Forest Man, an award winning short!

Our feature film is Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Watch as a team of photographers deploys revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic, capturing a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers — and undeniable evidence of our changing planet. This movie is not to be missed!

The night will include refreshments, door prizes and plenty of opportunity to hear more about the growing environmental movement in Massachusetts and beyond!

Fashion shouldn’t really be ‘to die for’

Editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold.   – R.T.

By Paula Moore

It seems ridiculous to have to point this out, but animals are not just fashion accessories. Yet so often, that seems to be how they are viewed by the industries that make money off their fur or skins.

Rabbits on angora farms in China scream and writhe in pain as workers tear the fur right out of their skin.

Sheep used for wool are left battered and bloody as workers in shearing sheds punch and kick them and cut off wide strips of flesh, causing gaping wounds.

And cows are often skinned alive for leather, kicking and crying out in terror, because slaughter lines move so fast.

It’s tempting to blame such cruelty on consumers’ apparently insatiable demand for “fast fashion,” which forces suppliers to produce the greatest volume of fur and skins in the cheapest way possible.

But as a new PETA eyewitness investigation reveals, even on the other end of the fashion spectrum—the so-called “luxury” market, in which handbags sell for tens of thousands of dollars each—animals are treated as nothing more than commodities, forced to live in filth and senselessly killed.

PETA investigators in Texas and Zimbabwe documented the appalling conditions in which animals are raised and killed for “luxury” bags, belts and watchbands.

In Winnie, Texas, there’s an alligator factory that sends skins to a tannery owned by Hermès, which makes the famous Birkin bags. PETA’s investigator found alligators there kept in fetid water and dank, dark sheds without sunshine, fresh air or even basic medical care. At just a year old, they’re killed and their skins are sent to France and made into “luxury” items such as watchbands.

As PETA’s investigator documented, sometimes the slaughter process was badly botched. Workers  repeatedly shot alligators in the head with a captive-bolt gun and stabbed conscious alligators to try to dislocate their vertebrae—even though a manager had admitted that “reptiles will continue to live” through that.

Some animals were still conscious, kicking and flailing, even minutes after workers tried to kill them.

After they were cut into, the alligators were briefly bled and then dropped into a bin of ice water. But because some alligators had survived the attempts to slaughter them, they may have instead drowned or died of hypothermia in these bins.

In Zimbabwe, at the facility of one of the world’s largest exporters of Nile crocodile skins, tens of thousands of crocodiles are confined to concrete pits from birth to slaughter. They are never given the opportunity to engage in natural behavior, such as digging tunnels, protecting their young or searching for food as they would do in the wild.

They are stunned and then killed by having their necks cut, a wire rammed down their spines and their brains scrambled with a metal rod.

If left alone, not killed for fashion, Nile crocodiles can live to be up to 80 years old. But at this facility, they are slaughtered when they’re only about 3. That’s when their belly skins are the optimal size to be used for handbags.

It takes two to three crocodiles to make just one bag.

Most of us will never buy a $50,000 Birkin bag or even a $2,000 watch. But whenever we choose any fashions made of skins, fur or wool, animals are the ones who pay the price. The only way to ensure that we’re not buying into cruelty is to leave all animal skins out of our wardrobes and choose animal-friendly vegan fashions instead.

Grill smart this Fourth of July!

Watch What You Heat!

Start the Summer Right with Grill Safety!

Planning to grill on the 4th of July? While gas grills, portable fire pits, and patio heaters make outdoor spaces comfortable places to gather… it’s important that they are used properly.

Before bringing out portable appliances and firing up the propane grill, the Propane Gas Association of New England (PGANE) offers the following tips to help homeowners get the most from their outdoor appliances safely:

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions. Whether it’s assembly, use, maintenance, cleaning, or storage, make your grill manufacturer’s instructions your go-to resource for safe grilling.

Position the Grill in a Safe Location. Keep your grill outdoors and at least five feet from the house on a level surface that is clear of outdoor furniture, overhead trees, or other potential fire hazards.

Check for Leaks. Use a soapy water solution to check connections for leaks. Expanding bubbles indicate a leak. Follow this procedure at the start of each season and every time you replace a cylinder.

Follow Proper Lighting Procedures. Follow the manufacturer’s lighting instructions. With all grill models, keep the lid open and don’t lean over the grill when lighting it.

Follow Proper Relighting Procedures. If your flame goes out, turn off the gas and refer to your owner’s manual. At a minimum, with all grill models, keep the lid open and wait at least 15 minutes before relighting.

Be Present. Stay close and never leave your grill unattended.

Safety for Kids – The grilling area should also be designated as a “No Play Zone,” keeping kids and pets away from the equipment.

From Preservation Worcester …

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MASS. HISTORIC PRESERVATION CONFERENCE
COMES TO WORCESTER AUGUST 14

The 2015 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference, the preeminent statewide conference for historic preservation professionals, will present over 60 top industry experts on Friday, August 14.

Presented by Preservation Massachusetts with local host Preservation Worcester, and with the support of the Massachusetts Preservation Coalition, this event allows attendees to share ideas, network, discuss challenges, and learn from each other to strengthen our collective preservation efforts across the state.

An expected crowd of 400 attendees will begin the day at Mechanics Hall, host for the opening plenary activities for the conference. Keynote speaker Theodore (Ted) Landsmark, Boston Redevelopment Authority Board member, will set the tone of the day with his opening address on the theme of “resiliency.”

More than 60 speakers and panelists will carry that theme throughout their interactive discussions on topics that include: How to Finance Your Project, When to Hire a Professional for Added Value, Preservation Techniques and Technologies, Protecting Heritage Landscapes, Gateway Cities Program, and Preparing for Climate Change.

Presentations and panel discussions will take place at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Worcester campus at 10 Lincoln Square.

In addition, attendees can join one or more of six guided tours of historic preservation sites, including Lincoln Square, Crown Hill local historic district, Canal District, Hope Cemetery, Washington Square and Union Station, and Hanover Theater.

Attendees get the chance to see up close the results of local preservation projects, talk with some of the architects and planners involved, and ask questions relating to their own preservation projects.

The conference will come to a close with an entertaining networking reception at Mechanics Hall at the end of the day.

The 2015 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference is made possible by the contributions of the Keen Charitable Fund, conference venue hosts Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences as well as Mechanics Hall, the City of Worcester, and our many generous sponsors.

It is with great pride and appreciation that we look forward to hosting a comprehensive and meaningful historic preservation conference on the 14th of August.

Registration is now open for attendees. General admission: $50 ($65 after July 31). Students: $35 (with valid ID).

Visit the conference website to register, learn more about the schedule and sessions offered, speaker biographies, and our sponsors and donors. www.mapreservationconference.org

The 2015 Massachusetts Historic Preservation Conference is presented by Preservation Massachusetts with local host Preservation Worcester, with the support of the Massachusetts Preservation Coalition.
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Preservation Worcester is a private, not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation of the buildings and sites that represent the culture, history and architecture of Worcester.  The organization, comprised of concerned citizens, believes that promoting the cause of preservation and good urban design will encourage community pride in our cultural and architectural heritage as well as continued use of Worcester’s valuable resources.  Preservation Worcester works with neighborhood groups, developers, city departments, schools and state and local historical commissions to support revitalization of unique and irreplaceable buildings and their neighborhoods.

Hooray!!! US Supreme Court clears way to strike down Worcester anti-begging ordinance!

BOSTON – Today, the United States Supreme Court vacated a 2013 First Circuit Court ruling that had preliminarily turned aside an American Civil Liberties Union challenge to anti-begging ordinances in Worcester.

The decision clears the way for federal courts in Massachusetts to strike the ordinances down, based on the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this month in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, which confirmed that laws regulating speech are subject to the strictest scrutiny when they hinge on speech content, as well as last year’s McCullen ruling concerning speech buffer zones.

The following statement may be attributed to Matthew Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts:

“Following Friday’s landmark ruling on marriage equality, this morning the Supreme Court struck a blow for speech equality. By vacating the First Circuit’s ruling on our challenge to Worcester’s anti-begging laws, the Supreme Court has given federal courts in Massachusetts an opportunity to say what the ACLU of Massachusetts and Goodwin Procter LLP have long argued: the First Amendment is for everyone, not just for the wealthy.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert confirms that laws regulating speech are subject to the strictest scrutiny when they hinge on the content of the speech. And the Supreme Court’s decision in McCullen v. Coakley holds that buffer zones banning speech are rarely if ever constitutional.

“How, in light of those decisions, can Worcester enforce hundreds or thousands of buffer zones that prohibit begging but do not prohibit other kinds of speech? The answer is that Worcester absolutely cannot do that.”

In May 2013, the ACLU and the firm Goodwin Procter LLP filed suit in federal court in Worcester on behalf of three Worcester residents to block two anti-begging laws enacted by the City of Worcester, claiming the laws are unconstitutional and violate the right to peacefully solicit donations in public and to engage the public in political and other speech. In November 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit granted an injunction against part of the ordinance. Judges ruled that the ordinance’s ban on “soliciting any person in public after dark, which shall mean the time from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise” could not be enforced, but did not strike the measure down.

The ACLU has also challenged Lowell’s anti-begging ordinance.

For more information about Thayer v. City of Worcester, go to:

https://aclum.org/cases-briefs/thayer-v-city-of-worcester

For more information about the ACLU of Massachusetts, go to:

http://www.aclum.org