Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Piedmont and Elm Park neighborhoods! Two new community orchards for Worcester!

By Derek Lirange, Assistant Program Coordinator, Worcester Tree Initiative

EAT Center Orchard and Gardens on Jacques Ave

The first was planted on Jaques Ave on May 27th and the whole affair was a huge success! Several groups collaborated in support of the orchard. TD Green Streets gave a grant which funded the fence built around the open lot to protect the trees from vandalism and ultimately to allow for a full harvest by the farmers tending the lot. The grant also paid for the trees that were planted and a translator who will work with the farmers. Worcester Common Ground purchased the lot at 7 Jaques from the City of Worcester, which abutted a lot they already owned, 9 Jaques. The whole site is being designated as an EAT Center site by the partners who collaboratively manage the EAT Center Initiative: Worcester Common Ground, Lutheran Social Services and the Regional Environmental Council. The orchard and future gardens will be tended by two families from Bhutan who come to the project from Lutheran Social Services’ New Lands Farm.

The day couldn’t have been better; despite dire weather forecasts the rain held off for the most part and gave us wonderful conditions to plant in. The volunteers from TD Bank and our friends, Buddha and Ganesh, refugees from Bhutan who will ultimately be tending the lot with their families, arrived early to get the planting started with WTI staff. We were able to plant all 19 trees (a variety of apples, pears, peaches, plums, and cherries) before 2:30 PM, when our guest speakers arrived.

The ribbon cutting ceremony featured speakers Congressman James P. McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, City Manager Ed Augustus, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Tim Murray, TD Bank Senior Vice President Rob Babcock, Worcester Tree Initiative’s own Mary Knittle, Worcester Common Ground’s Yvette Dyson, and New Lands Farm’s Ashley Carter. It was noted that this site is another landmark in Worcester’s progress toward integrating agriculture into its landscape. This is not the only place one will find fruit in Worcester but it is among the first orchards of its kind.

Besides the trees, one of the most joyous sites of the day was at the end of the ceremony, as students from Chandler Elementary School across the street were released from school and shared cupcakes with us. The kids were so excited to see the new space and eat some sweets. Thanks to Worcester Common Ground’s donation of the cupcakes, every face left with frosting around their mouths, the first of many sweet treats that will come from this wonderful grove.

Edward Winslow Lincoln Memorial Grove on Newton Hill

The second orchard planted was at the top of Newton Hill on June 5th. The orchard was planted for the benefit of the community and as a memorial to Edward Winslow Lincoln, a longstanding Commissioner of Parks in Worcester who tirelessly worked to better Elm Park and Newton Hill in his 30 year tenure. The memorial grove was conceived by Rick Miller and the Friends of Newton Hill with the assistance of Worcester Tree Initiative. Worcester Tree Initiative staff and Doherty High School Environmental Science students and teachers planted the trees in the rain and not one complaint was heard from anyone! We planted apple, pear, plum, peach, and cherry trees around the perimeter of the open space at the top of the hill and have two more to plant in the fall. The trees were provided by the Worcester Tree Initiative and will be maintained by the Friends of Newton Hill led by Rick Miller, and by Doherty High students supervised by their teacher, Stacie Hill.

The Friends of Newton Hill and Worcester Tree Initiative would like to extend their thanks once again on this occasion to Congressman James P McGovern, Senator Harriette Chandler, State Representative John Mahoney, City Manager Ed Augustus, Asst. Commissioner Rob Antonelli, and our own Co-Chair Mary Knittle for speaking at the memorial ceremony at Doherty High School in celebration of this community orchard. Their tone was set by an introductory history of Newton Hill given by Brittany Legasey and a gracious welcome from Rick Miller who personally introduced each speaker as a friend.

The fruit on Newton Hill will be available for harvest by anyone who comes to the park so be sure to make the walk up for a visit!

REC Farmers Gala! In downtown Worcester!

Save the Date!
REC Farmers Gala
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 
6 pm- 9 pm
New name, new theme and new venue!
 The food justice movement is growing and going strong and so are we at the Regional Environmental Council!
We invite you to come celebrate our roots as well as our bright future at our 8th annual fall fundraising gala, this year with a new name, new theme, and new venue! 
We invite you to celebrate with us at the all new Farmers Gala onThursday, October 23rd 2014, 6pm-9pm, at the Citizen Wine Bar located at 1 Exchange Street in downtown Worcester.
We’ll still highlight the delicious flavors of New England’s fall bounty but with a more interactive feel including an opportunity to meet and talk with the farmers who grew the food for each dish.
Guests will also be treated to live music, a silent auction, awards for local food justice leaders, and a chance to learn more about Worcester’s leadership and innovation in the national food justice movement!
For more information please contact the REC at or

Primp your pit!

Do the healthy thing for your pet! Get your Pit Bull fixed for just $20 this August because unplanned litters create millions of pets with no place to call home. 

PLUS your pet will experience these benefits:
No more yowling for days on end SHE is in heat
No more of HIS inappropriate marking
No more desperate attempts to go outside to find a boyfriend or girlfriend!

This promotion is available to new clients during AUGUST, but our space is very limited.
Once our allotment of appointments has been met, we will not be able to accommodate any more. So call today!

You must mention PRIMP YOUR PIT when you call to book your
male or female pit bull for a spay/neuter surgery to receive the discount.
Your dog or cat must be at least 3 months old/3 lb. and under 100 lb.


Primp Your Pit spay/neuter appointments are not refundable.

Eligible for new appointments only and limited availability;
appointments for this special offer are NONREFUNDABLE.

Please call us at 203-690-1550 for more information

Will Mo. governor’s sending in the National Guard …

… to Ferguson quell the violence? Tamp down the pain? Change laws? Make things better?

We think not.

Just adds gasoline to the fire.

Where are today’s Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Public Enemy, Warren Zevon, Lucinda Williams, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon? Isn’t there anyone out there young and brilliant who can sing about the Olympian happenings still happening in America?

Must be.

- R. T.

Why isn’t President Obama heading out to Ferguson, Mo., to DEAL WITH …

… this CANCER on the AMERICAN soul? Racism.

We can only truly feel it if we are a person of color. If we are white, maybe feel how people feel if we are married to or in love with a person of color and live with their experiences every day.  Sometimes, if we are white, we can try to understand through the great American art of blues music. We can hear – be awed by – the pain/joy in that music. But there’s no substitute for being black or brown skinned…

President Obama knows exactly how it went down in Ferguson.

He KNOWS, but he’s gone all politician on us.

Equivocation ain’t gonna save this day! Our president DOES look gaunt and careworn. He’s got a tough job …Easy to slow down, ease up a bit at the end…Forget the poetry, the vision, the POWER OF A PRESIDENT’S WORDS. Especially this one’s.

DISENGAGEMENT IS NOT AN OPTION! Especially when so many people need you!

We wish MLK, Jr., were here! In his prime! He really was the King! He’d be down in Ferguson!

Screw Al Sharpton!

President Obama needs to go down to Ferguson! He needs to speechify. He needs to get eloquent. He needs to speak TRUTH to ugly reality.

He needs to tell HIS people – cuz they are HIS people – that what happened was evil. That he knows their pain and that the American machine is rigged to PRODUCE AND PERPETUATE THEIR PAIN. He needs to say: I hear you and you break my heart…

- R. Tirella


Tomorrow! Saturday, August 16! INCREDIBLE LIVE MUSIC at Worcester’s Latin American Festival!

Hooray, for Dolly V! She puts on the best fest every year!

In downtown Worcester! A whole new world of music for you to discover!

FREE!  Check out the performers! Click here! to see it all!

 A Worcester tradition!

Noon – 9 p.m.

City Hall area, Main Street

Live Latin music on stage!

Latin American cuisine!

Beer garden!

Children’s tent and crafts!

Information tables!

Don’t miss Woo’s best fest!

For more information, please call 508.798.1900

- R. T.

Crompton Park – Green Island’s “jewel”


By Lorraine Michele Laurie

The Green Island Neighborhood or “The Island” as longtime residents call it, has a jewel in its midst. It’s not a diamond or a sapphire or an emerald. It’s not something that you can wear or just admire. It’s something that everyone can visit and enjoy – a little piece of country in the city. It’s Crompton Park located in the southern part of the neighborhood and boarded by Endicott Street, Harding Street, Canton Street and Quinsigamond Ave.

Crompton Park is not a new park. Its history goes back to 1888 when the City of Worcester purchased 12.73 acres from Mrs. Mary C. Crompton for $44,350. The property was named Crompton Park in honor of its original owners. Mary Crompton was the widow of George Crompton, the world famous loom maker, who had his Crompton Loon Works on Green Street. The building is still there and is now known as “Crompton Place.” The family lived on Union Hill overlooking the “Island” in their estate named “Mariemont.” We know this land as the former location of St Vincent Hospital.

Crompton Park has undergone many improvements over the years. There was a wading pool affectionately known as the “mud hole,” a tennis court, a basket court with lights named in 1963 in honor of basketball great Bob Cousy, playground equipment and softball fields. For many young Island residents, it was a real treat to slide down the “hill” in the winter. How the hill got there is still a mystery. It may be from the dirt from the digging of the Blackstone Canal or the earth from the cellar holes of the nearby 3-deckers or the molasses from the nearby brewery. Whatever it was, the hill is as historic as the park itself. There was also the Crompton Park Sanitary and Bath House which was completed in 1925. You could go there for 5 cents and take a shower and when you returned the towel, you would get your 5 cents back. This building was renovated in the early 1980’s and became the home of the Green Island Neighborhood Center on September 27, 1984 and the Center continues to call it “home.”

Other improvements were made in the following years such as walkway lighting, parking areas, new playground equipment and a state of the art pool. The $2.7 million pool complex was dedicated and opened on Friday, July 1, 2011. New playground equipment followed shortly after on the corner of Harding and Canton Streets.

In November of 2010, a planning session was convened to discuss future renovations.   As with the planning sessions held in the early 1980’s, the meetings were well attended.   Suggestions were made regarding new playground equipment , improvement to the ball fields, parking areas, enlarging the community building and providing bathroom facilities. The plans were approved by the Parks Commission on March 31, 2011 and by the Worcester City Council on February 28, 2012. What makes this planning session so special is that the master plan is available for viewing on the City Parks Department web site.

During a recent conversation, Assistant Commissioner for Parks Robert C. Antonelli, Jr. spoke about the next steps. Initial electrical design work is now underway especially for lighting. A PARC grant has been resubmitted to the State Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for $400,000. The City of Worcester will match the grant with $600,000. If awarded the PARC grant, the scope of work will involve moving the tennis courts to near the corner of Canton Street and Quinsigamond Ave. The vacated space will become a new entrance and parking area. The present parking area and driveway will be shut off and turned into a grassy area that will be ideal for picnic tables and more play area. If the City is successful with this grant, work will begin in May 2015 and be completed in August of 2016.   Assistant Commissioner Antonelli pointed out that work would be done according to the park schedule so it would not interfere with the operation of the pool or the office hours of the Green Island Neighborhood Center.

State Representative for the 16th Worcester District Daniel Donahue offered his support to this worthwhile project. He summed it up this way, “I am happy to see the City re-applying for the PARC grant to fund renovations to Crompton Park. Crompton Park is a well used and well loved City park that is in need of infrastructure investment and improvements. We have seen recently the success of the new pool and playground and continuing with this work and investment, we will keep Crompton Park as the great resource it is to our neighborhoods and residents well into the future,’

ICT letter to the editor: No casinos for Mass!

Good afternoon,


The house of cards is collapsing. Atlantic City’s newest casino, Revel Atlantic City, announced this week it will be closing within the month-after only two years in operation. That’s the fourth Atlantic City casino shuddering operations this year alone.

“Casinos are a mistake we don’t have to make.”


Reflecting on the industry’s broken promises … former Mass. Attorney General and casino opponent Scott Harshbarger reminded us on Tuesday that Massachusetts can do better, we already are.


We’re being sold a four year old argument. The fact is, Massachusetts is doing better than casino states: more residents employed, businesses growing, and construction projects increasing.


The casino industry and its supporters are now online, in the news, and will soon be on the airwaves. While they will portray this vote as inevitable, we know better. But it’s going to be a David v. Goliath battle, and we need your help!


Please join us online, donate to our growing campaign, volunteer to help and join us on social media.


Together, we’ll defeat the casino industry.


John Ribeiro


Repeal the Casino Deal