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Jett and the Giant Blue Easter Chick!

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

When I saw this gloriously tacky HUGE Easter chick at the Christmas Tree Shops store in Shrewsbury ($2), I just had to have it! The dog is terrified of his new, true-blue pal!   – R. Tirella

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And two songs for this week …

From Main South community activist Barbara Haller, re: THE KNOCK OUT GAME

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Please share!   – R. T.

The violent “Knockout Game” has come to Worcester.

In what has become a national – and sometimes deadly – phenomenon, randomly-selected victims are punched in the head by an assailant who is usually traveling in a group.  In most instances, the motive in these attacks is pure violence and not robbery.

Four recent incidents have been reported in various parts of  Worcester:

1.      Friday – April 4, 2014 @ 707 Main Street

2.      Monday – April 7, 2014 @ Richmond Ave near Big Bob’s Package Store

3.      Sunday – April 13, 2014 @ 85 Millbury Street

4.      Monday – April 14, 2014 @ Chatham Street heading toward Main Street

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Worcester Police  are asking all to pass this information along to their communities:

Safety Suggestions

Keep your head up.  Always be extremely alert and attentive as walking along urban settings.

At 10 feet – Pay Attention

*   Be visually aware of your surroundings.  Pay attention to any group that is either approaching or has just passed. Watch their hands, body posture, eyes, and the distance they keep.

*   In “Knockout Game” incidents, most groups allow their victims to pass, and then attacks from the rear.

*   When at all possible, allow an approaching group to pass you first by stepping to the side.

*   If walking past a group and there is a wall off to your side, stay shoulder close to the wall. This limits the approach angle of a potential attacker and can give potential victims additional time to respond.

At 5 feet – Keep Hands Free, Listen & Look

*   Remove your hands from your pockets. Purses, bags or backpacks should be on your non-dominant side.

*   Listen to what is being said – or note any silence – within the group; in some attacks, the group wages a “silent storm” and stops talking as they get closer to their target.

*   Watch eye contact from the group – some will look away as if they are trying to ignore their potential victims. Many times an attacker(s) will try so hard to  blend in, they actually stick out.

At 2 feet – Manage your Positioning

*   When possible, walk close to the right side of the person approaching you – in this “game,” most assailants like to take a big swing, and this physical  positioning limits the strength of their hand movements, and/or causes them to have to make sudden adjustments to their movements, giving potential victims additional time to respond.

*   Do not walk with your head down – attackers choose victims who they believe to be UNAWARE.

*   Be prepared to block, duck, dodge, slip, cover and even defend yourself – if one punch fails, an attacker – or another member of their group – may follow  with another.

Interesting city story …

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

We love our city!

… on gentrification. From The New York Times.   – R. T.

ROOM FOR DEBATE

There Goes the Neighborhood

April 13, 2014

Gentrification “has become shorthand for an urban neighborhood where muggings are down and espresso is roasted,” wrote Times reporter Andrea Elliot. A Salon piece described it as the result of “sweetheart deals” between the public and private sectors “that never pay off for the public.” And don’t even mention the word around Spike Lee.

However one might feel about the topic, most everyone would agree that the process benefits the wealthy more than the poor, and tends to erase socioeconomic diversity. Are there ways to curb its effects?

New Yorkers, Take Back Your City

By Jeremiah Moss

Jeremiah Moss is the pen name of the author of the blog Vanishing New York.

The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. Today, however, what we talk about when we talk about gentrification is actually a far more destructive process, one that I prefer to call hyper-gentrification.

Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods, in hyper-gentrification the change comes from city government in collaboration with large corporations. Widespread transformation is intentional, massive and swift, resulting in a completely sanitized city filled with brand-name mega-developments built for the luxury class. The poor, working and middle classes are pushed out, along with artists, and the city goes stale. Urban scholar Neil Smith wrote extensively about the phenomenon, calling it “a systematic class-remaking of city neighborhoods.” …

To read more, click here!

ASPCA applauds Massachusetts lawmakers for passing law to protect people with pets in disasters

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

This is April. She used to live with ICT editor Rosalie’s mom (for 10 years!) . When Mrs. Tirella died, Rosalie adopted April, a very pretty Maine Coon cat indeed!

Mass governor urged to sign measure allowing pet owners to bring their pets with them to emergency shelters

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) commends the Massachusetts House of Representatives for passing S.1172, which would require local governments to include strategies in their emergency operations plans to support the needs of people with household pets or service animals in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The Senate passed this bill in 2013, and it now heads to Gov. Deval Patrick to be signed into law.

“Many pet owners will deliberately place themselves in grave danger rather than abandon their pets if advised they cannot bring their pets to a shelter,” said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “More than 50 percent of Massachusetts households have pets, so we strongly urge Governor Patrick to sign this legislation to protect these pets and their owners, as other Northeastern states like Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey have done by enacting laws to make local governments stronger partners in disaster planning.”

In 2006, the U.S. Congress enacted the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act, which requires state and local governments to include how they will accommodate households with pets or service animals in their respective disaster preparedness programs. These provisions factor into a given state’s application for reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Despite the PETS Act, many local emergency management directors have not included animals in their disaster plans or established mutual aid agreements with animal response agencies, making the state legislative action necessary.

“In most situations and in most states, the animal response is initiated and controlled at the local level,” said Dr. Dick Green, senior director of disaster response for the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response Team.  “Poor or non-existent local planning for pet owners has resulted in human casualties, compromised response efforts and ultimately a more costly recovery, and this bill will help to limit the effects of these unexpected events on the pet owners of Massachusetts.”

The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response (FIR) team frequently responds to hurricanes and other natural disasters around the country, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Joplin tornado in 2011, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in addition to being called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations.

Meeting today! MURALS need to be painted on the old Telegram and Gazette building!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

BE THERE!

TODAY! … WED, APRIL 16!

Art comes to our dowdy downtown!

Attend this PAWG (Public Art Working Group) meeting at 5:50 p.m., City Hall, Main Street.

We need two murals painted on the old T and G building! We hope the artsy fartsy brigade in Woo really opens up the process! Several years ago one of our contributors, PITO –  a talented Latino kid who painted the COW JUMPING OVER THE MOON mural on the Corner Grille on Richmond Street – wanted to paint murals for the city of Worcester. He called City Hall folks. He was told to fill out a lot of forms.

Pito is a painter, not a writer/application-filler-outer!!

Pito was overwhelmed with all the writing for the application. We talked about it. He seemed so sad – missing out on  the chance to work with the city of  Worcester painting murals. BEAUTIFUL murals!

I called the arts lady for the City of Worcester and told her PITO was amazing. She said he needed to fill out all the paperwork.

I said the paperwork was overwhelming this kid who is an excellent artist.

No movement on her part.

I told her to drive around Worcester and look at PITO’s murals! She would see the work!

She was cool to the idea.

Pointless person.

Not nearly as hands on as you sometimes need to be!

So the painting opportunity most likely went to a person who could really APPLY for the mural painting job! A white, upper-middle class person who was an expert at applying for arts grants, perhaps????

LET’S KEEP THE PROCESS OPEN and ACCESSIBLE.

Lots of folks, especially our kids, especially folks who are not upper white middle class artistes are LOCKED OUT when the rules aren’t tweaked to accommodate them.

JUST GO  OUT AND LOOK AT THEIR ART!!!!

- R. Tirella

 

 

Half a sofa on Winter Street in Green Island!

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Just took this photo! Our inner-city neighborhoods deserve R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!!!!!   – R. Tirella

Quinsig Village’s Step in Time Day Care center up date

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Here’s the EMAIL thread re the day care center on Greenwood Street, Step in Time, that I blogged about last week. Just took a photo of the play area (below). Looks like they are building a dog kennel! NO FENCE erected!  No windows that open in the building, either – just a front and back door. Store front windows meant for shops! … Is it legal to stick a day care center in the building???      - R. Tirella

EMAIL THREAD:

*****************
[District 3 City Councilor] George [Russel],

A fence will be installed this weekend and we will go by the beginning
of next week to reinspect.

_______________________________
John R. Kelly
Commissioner of Inspectional Services
25 Meade Street
Worcester, MA 01610
Phone: (508) 799-1198
Fax: (508)799-8541
kellyj@worcesterma.gov

—–Original Message—–
From: Russell, George
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:23 PM
To: Kelly, John
Subject: Re: Greenwood St day care

Thank you

George Russell
Worcester City Councilor
District 3
508 963 6320

On Apr 11, 2014, at 2:00 PM, “Kelly, John”
wrote:

One of my inspectors is going out right now.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 11, 2014, at 1:48 PM, “Russell, George”
wrote:

John

A constituent of mine called me to complain about what she believes
to be a major safety issue with a daycare at the former location of
Squire Whites on Greenwood St next to the Post Office at the Rt 20 end
of Greenwood St. She says the children are in an open area that should
be fenced so they are not hurt by near by vehicle traffic.

George Russell
Worcester City Councilor
District 3
508 963 6320

Summer shouldn’t mean hunger for our nation’s children

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

By Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

As a child, I always looked forward to the carefree joy of summertime. I remember the long days of playing outside at a nearby park until I needed to come home for lunch.  Unfortunately, many of our nation’s children do not experience the simple joys of summer.  In fact, far too many are left worrying where their next breakfast or lunch will come from when schools are dismissed for summer break.

During the school year, about 31 million American children receive school meals through the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program every day. About 21 million of those children receive meals at a discounted rate or for free, based on their family’s income.  When summer rolls around, though, only about 3.5 million of these children participate in USDA’s summer meals programs.

That means millions of eligible low-income children are at risk of going hungry during the summer months. And we know that to thrive and reach their highest potential, children need good nutrition all year long.

USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is working to fill this hunger gap for children who qualify for free and reduced price meals during the school year. The program serves free healthy meals to eligible children ages 18 and under, and is made possible through the efforts of national, state, and local partners, including a cadre of energized volunteers.

While USDA has worked to increase access to summer meals for low-income children for many years, SFSP began receiving priority attention in 2013.  Last summer, USDA employed a new tactic of working with partners to deliver intensive, targeted technical assistance on SFSP in five states.  The result was a historic increase in the number of meals served, nationwide—7 million more than the previous year!  We hope to continue building on last year’s successes with our state and local partners in 2014, and move closer to closing the summer hunger gap.

The key to success this year will be expanding the number of sites open for summer meals. We must spread the word to schools, parks and recreation departments, libraries, and faith and other community organizations across the nation; their participation is critical for the continued success of SFSP. The deadlines to become Summer Food Service Program sponsors vary by State, and begin as early as April 15. Program sponsors oversee and provide meals to summer sites.  In return, USDA, through the States, reimburses program sponsors for the meals served to children.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say that galvanizing hundreds of faith-based groups, civic groups, recreation centers, food banks, schools, other non-profit organizations, and volunteers takes time, effort and commitment on all sides.  For any community that treasures its youth (and I haven’t met one that doesn’t), we must organize now to fight hunger this summer.

If you or your organization is interested in helping us reduce the risk of hunger among our nation’s youth, visit our website,www.summerfood.usda.gov. The summer meals outreach toolkit includes sample outreach plans, templates, customizable flyers, door hangers, letters to parents, examples of site activities, best practices, and more.  State representatives are also available to answer questions and facilitate sponsor enrollment and site registration.

This year, let’s work together to make sure every child in our great nation has a hunger-free summer.

April 26 thousands will rally on Boston Common, calling for “Jobs Not Jails”!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
Jobs NOT Jails
End Mass Incarceration, Fund Job Creation
 

April 26th Thousands Will Rally on Boston Common, Calling for Jobs Not Jails

WHAT: On April 26th, an estimated 4,000 voters will gather at the Boston Common Bandstand to call for an end to prison expansion in Massachusetts. The Jobs Not Jails coalition, including over 100 organizations from across the Commonwealth, are demanding that $2 billion be put into creating meaningful, long-term, living wage jobs. The coalition is bringing together organizations of formerly incarcerated people, organized labor, faith-based communities, LGBT organizations and youth groups among others.

WHY: The Patrick Administration estimates that if current criminal justice policies are not changed dramatically, Massachusetts will spend $2 billion in the next seven years to build 10,000 new prison and jail units and $150 million more each year to fill them.

Massachusetts is behind most of the nation on pushing forward criminal justice reforms.  According to a recent report published by MassINC , the incarceration rate in Massachusetts has tripled since the 1980’s and the impact of racism within the Massachusetts system is even worse than in other states.  According to the report, “The most recent data, published in 2005, revealed that incarceration rates for African-Americans in Massachusetts were eight times higher than for white residents. For Latino/a residents, the state’s incarceration rate was six times higher than for whites”.

Here are details of the event

Go to: www.JobsNotJails.org  and  #JobsNotJails for more information
WHEN: Saturday, April 26, 1:00pm – 4:00pm

WHO: Speakers will include: Warren Tolman, candidate for Attorney General; Rev. Paul Robeson Ford, Union Baptist Church; CeCe McdonaldManny Gines, Carpenters’ Local 107.  Musicians will include: Revolutionary Snake Ensemble; Second Line Brass Band; Local Hip Hop artists TBA.

VISUALS: 4,000 people, banners, signs, speakers. musicians

WHERE: Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common

On remembering … and the greatest newspaper on earth – The New York Times – wins photography Pulitzer for images of Boston Marathon bombing survivor’s recovery

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

We want to remember … we want to honor … we want to mourn together … we want to heal together … People need rituals, people need anniversaries … to re-remember, re-honor, re-mourn and heal, recover. Look around you. There are churches galore, photos of your parents or husband/wife, mementos, talismans. My apartment is filled with sacred statues … not sacred because they depict Jesus or St. Theresa – sacred because they remind me EVERY DAY of my late mom, whom I miss EVERY DAY. Sometimes when I am low, I will pray to her Infant of Prague statue (below) that I have – believe it or not! – in my kitchen. It is huge! When I pray to the statue, I don’t pray: God, please give me strength. I pray: Ma, please give me strength.

The Old Injun Fighter lost his beloved wife of 28 years to adrenal cancer – she died in 11 days. He still has her clogs in his bathroom – sturdy and strong, just like the love of his life was. He has her wrist watch, slender and pretty, on his bureau, next to – touching – his wristwatch. I know he did this on purpose.

You move on, you adapt, your recover, you love again … but the crisis/the passing/the recovery has changed you. NEVER FORGET. We must NEVER FORGET what happened at the Boston Marathon one year ago.    - R. Tirella

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Jeff Bauman rested during occupational therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston less than a month after having his lower legs amputated because of injuries sustained in the first of two pressure-cooker bombs that exploded at the Boston Marathon.   JOSH HANER/THE NEW YORK TIMES

By James Estrin

April 14, 2014

The New York Times has swept the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes for photography. The staff photographer Tyler Hicks won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news photography for his coverage of a terrorist attack at an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left more than 60 people dead. Josh Haner was awarded the Pulitzer in feature photography for his images of the slow and painful recovery process for asurvivor of the Boston Marathon bombing. …

To read entire story, click here!

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To see more photos – The NYT also won a Pulitzer for Tyler Hicks’ coverage of a terrorist attack - click here.