Tag Archives: CECELIA

Yes!🎵🎶New Jersey is First State in US to Ban Traveling Wild-Animal Acts!

Let’s go, Massachusetts!!


By Zachary Toliver | January 8, 2018

Around the world and right here at home, there’s a growing resistance to circuses that chain, beat and jab animals in order to force them to perform confusing tricks — look no further than New Jersey for evidence of this as the Garden State becomes the first in the nation to ban traveling wild-animal acts.

First introduced as “Nosey’s Law” by Sen. Raymond Lesniak, the legislation prohibits the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling acts.

It overwhelmingly passed the Senate by a vote of 31-0, just as the 2017 legislative session closed and is now on its way to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk for approval.

The legislation is named in honor of Nosey, an elephant whose freedom has been the focus of a bitter lawsuit between authorities and infamous animal handler Hugo Liebel.

When authorities seized Nosey — who is lame and currently residing at an animal sanctuary while awaiting a decision on her fate — she was found tightly chained, confined in her own waste, and without proper shelter.

“Nosey is an elephant who is virtually crippled by arthritis, and who is forced to travel the country to give rides at fairs, flea markets, and other events,” wrote Sen. Lesniak when he first introduced the bill. “The arthritis has likely caused Nosey unnecessary suffering and permanent disability, and reports indicate that Nosey has been denied necessary veterinary care. … Nosey’s owners continue to use her in shows. This bill would prohibit such shows in New Jersey.”

Last year, both Illinois and New York banned all traveling elephant acts, but New Jersey is the first state to go further and prohibit all animal shows.

The Garden State just showed that it won’t be long before we bid goodbye to all animal acts and circuses.

No living being exists simply to be a spectacle or to perform tricks for human entertainment, yet all circuses and traveling shows that use animals treat them as mere props, denying them their freedom and an adequate standard of living.

Elephants, tigers, bears and other animals in circuses are forced to perform under the threat of punishment with sticks, bullhooks, whips and electric prods — by businesses that claim to offer a good time for the whole family.

Torn away from their homes and subjected to beatings, isolation, and neglect, these animals will continue to pay the price for human greed as long as people continue to pay the admission fees to these performances.

PETA thanks Sen. Lesniak and the animal rights advocates of New Jersey, who proved that if we work hard together, we can restore the freedom that all animals exploited by circuses deserve.

Oprah! 👠🇺🇸👠 Puppies! 🐩🐩 Kitties!🐈🐈

Oprah in 2020! Brilliant!!

“President Winfrey!” We like it!


Happy 2018!, straight from the coyote heart of the J-dog!   pics: R.T.

7 gifts your animals are  wishing for in the New Year!🐶

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

The decorations have come down, kids are back at school and gyms are packed with people trying to keep their New Year’s resolutions: Another holiday season is a wrap. But did your animal companions get everything on their wish list? Sure, squeaky toys and catnip mice are fun, but if dogs and cats could send letters to Santa, their lists would likely include a few items that we’ve overlooked. Are your animals still wishing for these things?

A new outfit: That old choke chain, prong collar or shock collar isn’t just unsightly—it’s insufferable. These collars can cause all kinds of harm—from thyroid injuries to neck damage to fear and anxiety. Your pups would love a humane “wardrobe refresh” of a simple nylon buckle collar and a comfortable harness for walks. And make sure that your cats wear a breakaway safety collar that allows them to escape if it becomes snagged on something.

A vacation: You don’t have to book a trip to Tahiti to satisfy your dogs’ desire for a change of scenery. Visiting a local dog park, beach or hiking trail a couple of times a week, in addition to daily walks, can lift your dogs’ spirits and provide the mental and social stimulation that they need. Spice up your cats’ lives with a window perch for watching the birds and squirrels (“cat TV”), or treat them to a “catio”—an outdoor enclosure just for felines. Some cats also enjoy exploring the outdoors safely on a harness and leash after being introduced to them gradually and patiently. Just be sure to supervise your animals closely whenever they’re outside.

Housecleaning service: OK, not really, but what cat wouldn’t appreciate a tidier litterbox? Felines are fastidious. Having to tiptoe through a dirty box is detrimental to their well-being and can lead to house soiling. Keep your cats’ bathrooms squeaky clean by scooping them at least twice daily and providing at least one box per cat.

A beauty treatment, in the comfort of their own home: Grooming isn’t a luxury—it’s essential for animals’ health. Regular, gentle brushing will keep their coats mat- and tangle-free. Frequent nail trims are vital, too, in order to prevent painful overgrown nails and to keep cats from shredding the couch. And don’t forget dental care: Put a dab of specially formulated animal toothpaste on your finger and gently rub it along your animals’ teeth. Once they accept this, try using a soft toothbrush, moving in gentle circles.

Better health: No one enjoys feeling sick, and dogs and cats can be masters of disguise when it comes to hiding illness and injuries. So if your pals haven’t been to the veterinarian recently, schedule a checkup, and have them spayed or neutered, too—it protects them from several types of cancer of the reproductive system and prevents them from bringing more animals into a world that’s already short on good homes.

Cece’s most fun “toy”?  Look directly behind her!

A surprise: Skip the pricey subscription boxes and use an empty cardboard box to create a fun kitty toy. Cut several holes in the top and sides, insert a rolled-up ball of foil or a catnip toy and tape it shut for hours of feline entertainment. Or thrill your cats with free finds from the outdoors, such as fallen feathers, crunchy leaves (nonpoisonous, of course), dried seaweed or other bits of nature.

Mommy cat-dog!☕☕☕

Time with the ones they love most: Dogs and cats are social beings who crave attention and interaction with their families. So set down the smartphone, put your chores on hold and make time every day to play with, cuddle, walk, groom and dote on your animals. It’s a gift for you, too.

Go, Jim, go!!!!

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Jim, right, at an event to raise awareness about hunger in our communities.

Congressman McGovern Condemns Trump Move to End Protected Status for Immigrants from El Salvador

Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and leading voice on U.S. foreign policy on Central America, released today the following statement condemning the move by President Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to end Temporary Protected Status for more than 200,000 immigrants from El Salvador who came to the United States seeking safety:

“Today’s move by President Trump to end the protections for these immigrants is sadly just his latest attack on these American communities.

“The Temporary Protected Status program has helped to provide refuge to thousands of immigrant families from El Salvador and throughout the region desperately fleeing warfare and disaster.

“El Salvador is the second most dangerous country in the world, and there are few immigrants more deserving of this essential protection.

“America has a proud legacy as a beacon of hope to the world, welcoming those who seek a better life.

“This decision by President Trump and Secretary Nielsen is a shameful and cynical move to punish these innocent families just to score political points with the extreme right wing Republican base.

“I am angry and dismayed at this cruel decision. It a deliberate and narrow interpretation of the law, which provides flexibility to weigh current realities and not just the effects of the 2001 earthquake in El Salvador.

“I helped draft the TPS law, and I know that it is more concerned with protection than with duration. We must never play politics with people’s lives.

“America is better than this and I will do all I can in the next 18 months to fight this terrible decision and work with my colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to help regularize the residency status of long-term TPS holders.”

An Ounce of Prevention

Elizabeth Street School Baseball (May 13, 1947) GC36
Worcester: Elizabeth Street School baseball – 1947. From the Worcester Historical Museum collection.

By Edith Morgan

Prevention is always better and cheaper than trying to cure the disease, after the trouble has really begun. But, unfortunately, we seem to be reactive rather than preventive. That mindset is pretty evident when one looks at our budgets on the State and Local levels and it is worse at the National level.

As a retired school teacher, I can remember how, in Kindergarten, I could pretty accurately predict which students would have trouble mastering the basic skills needed to transition from “learning to read“ to “reading to learn,” which happens after fourth grade. And those children who do not make that transition at that time, seem doomed to years of remediation and often, ultimately, end up not graduating or in the “school-to-jail pipeline.” Remediation and jail are expensive for the taxpayers – and often go on for many years.

So it makes sense to try a variety of things to get our children started right, early. We now have full-day Kindergarten for all our Worcester public school pupils. That should help give many a good, early start. But there is still a great divide even that early between those children who have gone to pre-school and those who have not. Since pre-school is quite expensive, it does not take a genius to figure out who is able to take advantage of the early learnings offered by pre-school. (It is true that if a child has a disability, special education is available from age three on.)

There is now proposal before the Worcester Public Schools Administration to create a combination K-1 grade, which would enable those needing more time to master the skills needed to get into grade 2 to remain in this class another year and get a good foundation.

This proposal is in the hands of the school administration for study and will be presented to the Worcester School Committee for approval.

Whatever comes out of that study, we know it will mean additional costs at the beginning of school. This means that the State of Massachusetts will have to appropriate money for this plan, if accepted. We expect to be told that there is no money (what else is new?!), but there is always lots of money for remediation, and for jail …

Many years ago, when I was still active in the public schools north of here, the director of special education and I used to discuss just what could be done to avoid the great and increasing burden of special education and remediation. We both agreed that if every child entering our schools were to have an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) we could be ready to teach each child at the level he/she is upon entering school.

As it is now, we expect the student to be ready for school. What if the school were to be ready for the child – knowing at what level his/her skills were, and begin teaching there?

No failing, no repeating, just learning at the student’s comfort level, and no moving on until the child is ready. That, of course, would require drastic changes in the way we do things. But meeting each child at his/her level, teaching to the proper learning style, and not rushing things.

Many years ago I heard this conversation: Question: What is the best education system?
Answer: Mark Hopkins on one end of a log, the pupil on the other.

Yay! Now that D 2 City Councilor Candy Carlson landed the coveted …

By Rosalie Tirella

… and tres influential top spot on the city council’s Economic Development subcommittee, we’re expecting great “developments”! We’re expecting Candy to stay true to her moral code and advance the working guy and gal’s economic we’ll being!


Cuz Candy is in love with/married to union leader and worker-political heavyweight Joe Carlson! True to her life, Candy has advocated on the city council floor for a living wage of $15/hour for ALL City of Worcester workers! The newest newbie, bottom-of-the-totem pole City of Worcester garbage guy or office clerk or teacher’s aide or substitute teacher must be able to AFFORD to live and shop and flourish in Woo!

As Worcester District 2 City councilor, Candy represents the city’s vibrant, always bustling restaurant row – Shrewsbury Street – and a good chunk of our ever evolving downtown. We know Candy’s smart on the economic development front, but we now have a new subcommittee head who is a bull dog (the Carlsons love and have always owned bull dogs😊) on workers’ rights and will push push push for the WORKERS who are literally rebuilding, brick by brick, our downtown! She knows their struggles and will not disappoint them. Candy WILL WORK TO GET LOCAL LABORERS, CONTRACTORS AND COMPANIES on all our city redevelopment projects! For GOOD WAGES for workers! She’s for union shops. NO EXPLOITATION OF DAY LABORERS! CONTRACTORS must have apprenticeship programs so our city kids can learn on the job and join our middle class!

Remember the days when unions were such a big part of Worcester and company heads worked with them so folks here, many immigrants, could realize the American Dream?

Local factory prez – a lady! circa 1950. pics: Rose T.

It can happen again!

Rose’s Bapy’s family… wedding picture keepsake

We have a great and compassionate mayor, Joe Petty, and his trusted city manager, Ed Augustus, leading the way into the future! We are a huge fan of the smart but modest, inclusive, no-frills, GOOD-GUY Joe Petty. We are not close to the Augustus office, but we do know Ed works hand in hand with Joe, his life long friend. So we are hopeful …

Here’s to 2018! Cheers to a diverse, cool Worcester City Council that will reflect our unique …



… city, filled with so many good people!

Here are the rest of Mayor Petty’s city council member subcommittee assignments:

Economic Development: District 2 Councilor Candy Mero Carlson (chair), District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera, District 5 Councilor Matt Wally

Education: At-Large Councilor Moe Bergman (chair), At-Large Councilor Khrystian King, At-Large Councilor Gary Rosen

Municipal Operations: District 1 Councilor Sean Rose (chair), At-Large Councilor Kate Toomey, District 3 Councilor George Russell

Public Health and Human Services: Rivera (chair), Rose, Toomey

Public Safety: Toomey (chair), Bergman, Rivera

Public Service and Transportation: At-Large Councilor Konnie Lukes (chair), Russell, Rosen

Public Works: Russell (chair), Wally, Carlson

Rules and Legislative Affairs: King (chair), Bergman, Toomey

Traffic and Parking: Wally (chair), Carlson, Lukes

Veterans and Military Affairs: Bergman (chair), Lukes, Rose

Go, Worcester, go!

Extreme winter weather and animals🐶🐾🐾

Cece. Cats should always be safe, indoors. Average life span of an outdoor cat? 3 yrs. pics: R.T.


Urgent message from PETA:

As you make your way through Worcester County, please remember the risks to animals during EXTREME WINTER WEATHER: they can suffer from deadly frostbite and exposure, become dehydrated when water sources ice over, and die.

Already this winter, at least 24 animals have died after being left outside in the cold — and these are just the death’s that were reported in the media. Most are not.

Rose’s beloved ol’ Jett – always safe with her!

Please share this information – you may save a life!

These are some of the numerous dog deaths across the U.S. that have been reported:

· In Butler County, Ohio, while responding to a complaint, the local dog warden found a German shepherd dead inside his doghouse. Although there were four bales of straw on the owners’ front porch, they hadn’t put any straw bedding in the doghouse.

· In Hartford, Connecticut, officers responding to a complaint from a concerned neighbor found a chained pit bull mix who had died of hypothermia. He was also found inside his doghouse.

· In Lynchburg, Virginia, an animal control officer performing a welfare check found a chained dog who had frozen to death inside his doghouse.

Keep animals indoors. Freezing temperatures spell extra hardship for “backyard dogs,” who often go without adequate food, water, shelter, or veterinary care.

If you see animals left outside without shelter from the elements and are unable to help, note their location and alert authorities immediately. Worcester Animal Rescue League: 508.853.0030; Worcester Police Department – Animal Control: 508.799.8606

In cold weather, you can provide birds and other animals with access to water by filling a heavy nonmetal water bowl (tongues can freeze to metal) and breaking the surface ice twice a day.

When weather improves, be sure to remove any food offerings to encourage animals to move on to warmer areas.

Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted!🚔👮

Thank you very much for helping to protect animals during this wind-chill warning and throughout the winter!
Wild turkeys in Quinsig Village! Huge!!!!

…and their young uns!!

Coffee with Cece …


Fair Trade🐦🐦 Green Mountain🌄 coffee. 💜K cups!

…Then to work on CECELIA. We hit stands next week!

My 2018 wish for Worcester: the Worcester Public Schools instructional aides AND substitute teachers are paid a LIVING WAGE BY THE CITY OF WORCESTER. One of our aides was homeless! Our “subs” can barely pay their bills! Both groups of educators make little more than minimum wage – and they love kids, schools, education, Worcester! Why exploit them, City Manager Augustus and Woo School Committee?

Needed now! Respect for Worcester County’s working men and women (like in the bad old good old days!). Some photos of my uncles/aunts and grandpa’s work lit:







GOOD-PAYING JOBS FOR WORCESTERITES START AT CITY HALL! City Councilor Candy Carlson is RIGHT ON!: ALL City Employees must be paid at least $15/hour by the city! Worcester County Food Bank’s Executive Director Jean Murray and so many in the social services are also FIGHTING FOR $15!


How can we be great, if our citizens are sick from hunger?

In the Canal District, homeless youth…

– pics+text by Rose T.

P.S. My immigrant grandparents came to Worcester with the clothes on their backs and big tin and wood trunks (one per family) filled with everything they loved in the world. They believed in America and her promise to the forsaken of the world. They built good lives here in the Woo…


Wedding photo – so young!!

They got hard but good-paying, union factory jobs; sent their kids to our once solid, no-nonsense public schools; lived in affordable housing they could even buy (three deckers)!!! This city built them, they built the city!

Rose’s relatives aspired to the Denholm’s Dream, the American Dream!

As Frigid Temperatures set in, Congressman McGovern and Massachusetts Delegation Call for Immediate Release of Vital Home Heating Assistance Funding

JPM montes march 2017 a
Jim at Monte’s March Against Hunger – Western Mass

200,000 Massachusetts families depend on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) each year!

As a brutal winter storm bears down on the Northeast, Congressman Jim McGovern and the Massachusetts Congressional delegation today called for the immediate release of as much as possible of the remaining 10 percent of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for this fiscal year.

Nationwide, LIHEAP helps low-income households, veterans and seniors pay their energy bills during the cold winter months.

The Department of Energy forecasts that consumers across the Northeast will have to pay significantly more to heat their homes this winter.

Families heating their homes with heating oil are anticipated to pay 21 percent more this winter. In the Northeast, families using natural gas or propane are projected to pay roughly 10 percent more than last year, and it will cost families heating with electricity nearly three and a half percent more.

Worcester three deckers. pics:
Rose T.

“Families in our state are in desperate need of the remaining LIHEAP funds to combat the deadly combination of sustained cold weather and high fuel prices,” write McGovern and the lawmakers in their letter.

They continue: “No family should have to choose between paying their energy bills or paying for other necessities, such as food or medicine during dangerously cold days, but a lack of additional LIHEAP funds means that thousands of families may soon have to face these terrible choices.”

Joining McGovern on the letter are Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Representatives Richard Neal, Michael Capuano, Stephen F. Lynch, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Joseph P. Kennedy III, Katherine Clark and Seth Moulton


Full text of the letter:

January 4, 2018

Mr. Eric D. Hargan, Acting Secretary and Deputy Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Acting Secretary Hargan:

We are facing a home heating crisis in Massachusetts and the Northeast this winter. As families in Massachusetts face sustained low temperatures and high fuel prices this winter, we write to urge you to immediately release as much of the remaining 10 percent of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds for this fiscal year as possible.

LIHEAP funding is indispensable to families in Massachusetts and across the United States during these frigid winter months, including seniors, children and individuals with disabilities. The program provides a crucial public safety and health service for millions of households across the country and hundreds of thousands in Massachusetts. Families in the Commonwealth will soon confront a home heating emergency as LIHEAP funds are exhausted while extreme cold weather continues to strike the region.

Families in the Northeast are also facing heating fuel prices that are significantly higher than last winter. No family should have to choose between paying their energy bills or paying for other necessities such as food or medicine during dangerously cold days, but a lack of additional LIHEAP funds means that thousands of families may soon have to face these terrible choices.

Because of the frigid cold combined with higher fuel prices, the Department of Energy (DOE) forecasts that consumers across the Northeast will have to pay significantly more to heat their homes this winter. Families heating their homes with heating oil are anticipated to pay 21 percent more this winter.

In the Northeast, families using natural gas or propane are projected to pay roughly 10 percent more than last year and it will cost families heating with electricity nearly three and a half percent more.


LIHEAP funds are quickly running out in Massachusetts. Families in our state are in desperate need of the remaining LIHEAP funds to combat the deadly combination of sustained cold weather and high fuel prices.

We urge you to immediately release as much of the remaining funding in the LIHEAP account as possible to help families in Massachusetts and across the country as we approach a home heating emergency this winter.


Worcester Historical Museum – always in style!

From the Worcester Historical Museum, 30 Elm St.
p: (508) 753-8278
… and their Salisbury Mansion, 40 Highland St:

Due to the impending snowstorm,
Worcester Historical Museum and Salisbury Mansion will be closed today, January 4.

We ask that you call prior to arrival on Friday to make sure we are shoveled and ready to open at 10 AM.

We hope you enjoy the first snow of 2018!

Shoveling snow near Worcester Common (1939)
Shoveling snow near Worcester Common. From the Worcester Historical Museum photo collection.

WHM Special Events, Celebrations and Workshops💜💜💜

Whitney Valentine Card

Valentine Making Workshops

January 6, 13 and 20

10 AM – 4 PM

Just in time to mail to our brave men and women who have served us and our country!

Thank you Veterans!

Howland Valentine (2001.FIA.06.1.8)


Worcester Youth Orchestra Concerts

January 27, February 3, March 10 and May 5

2:30 – 3:30 PM

Enjoy beautiful music by the Orchestra’s Honors String Quartet & Wind Quintet.


A Little Black Dress Cocktail Party and History

by exhibit director, Vanessa Bumpus

A February date and time will be announced shortly!

More fun February events will be announced soon!


Family Histories – Digitized

Look for fun and informative workshops this spring as we work with WPI to host a portal for YOUR family history!


Appian Way Pizza Party

Coming this April, we will be celebrating Worcester’s own Appian Way boxed pizza mix.

A “Top Chef” competition will reveal Worcester’s best pizza maker!


Check out this EXHIBIT before it’s too late!


… through February 28, 2018

Wonderful 💜💜💜 speech, Mayor Joe Petty!🎆🎺🎉

Sex Ed helps… pic: R.T.

Mayor Joseph Petty’s Inaugural
speech – Mechanics Hall, 1/2/18:

Good evening everyone.

Thank you to the Worcester Youth Orchestra.

RECOGNIZE ELECTEDS. Recognize City Manager Augustus and Superintendent Binienda.

THANK you to my family.

I first stood on this stage twenty years ago. I am proud to be here tonight and of all the accomplishments that we have made over that time. The names and faces of those behind me have changed, but every class of city councilors and school committee members gives of themselves, takes hard votes every year, and sacrifices for this city to be where we are today. It’s not easy to be an elected official and every person on this stage and at every inauguration before that, deserves the recognition of everyone here tonight.

Today we greet a new year and a new legislative session with the most diverse and promising city council in recent memory and a new school committee; and the state of our city has never been stronger.

As elected officials, we have done our part and worked shoulder to shoulder with City Manager Augustus and his team, the department heads, the business community, and hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals and that work to move this city forward.

You see it in a new hotel in Washington Square and a new ice rink in the Canal District.

You see it along Main Street, where new restaurants are opening and old buildings are being given new life.

The word about Worcester is spreading. It is spreading across the Commonwealth and across New England.

As we look forward to what is next for our city it’s important to recognize how far we have come.

Much has been accomplished in the last two years but the ground breakings and ribbon cuttings were all years in the making. In my first inaugural six years ago, I called for a new Nelson Place Elementary School and last year we opened it.

In my first inaugural six years ago I announced the formation of the Route 20 Task Force that called for sewers in the last unserved part of our city. Because of the work of our state legislature and city administration and the Governor’s office, construction on this twenty million dollar project is underway leading to increased property values and cleaner water.

In 2012 Congressman Jim McGovern brought the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood to Worcester and first discussed the CAT THREE landing system at Worcester airport.

This May, because of this new thirty-two million dollar system, we will be able to take daily roundtrip flights from Worcester to New York City.

Almost twenty years ago, Ed Augustus started working on the Blackstone Visitors Center and Gateway Park and this June we will be cutting the ribbon on that project.

After fifteen years the South Worcester Industrial Park is now full, every parcel sold and being developed. The old courthouse on Main Street, closed for almost a decade, will soon see over fifty-million dollars in investment, creating housing and retail space.

In 2003 Mayor Tim Murray envisioned the demolition of the Worcester Galleria and a mixed use development in its place. This year, fifteen years later, we will see the opening three-hundred-sixty apartments and the AC Marriot Hotel at City Square.

The courthouse project, along with the City Square apartments, and the Central Building will bring over five-hundred units of NEW housing online in our downtown core.

We have done all this while being fiscally responsible.

Our bond rating, property values, and graduation rates are at historic highs today even as our crime rate is at a historic low.

The state of our city is strong because we have stayed the course over many years. We have been conservative in our budgeting and prudent in our judgment. We move forward because we move forward together.

Beyond the growth that we’ve seen, the most noticeable change to our city has been the culture change from one of pessimism to positivity. The progress we have made is evident and undeniable.

The growth we have seen across our city must be a shared renaissance. We must ensure that we are not just creating jobs but good jobs. Not just building housing, but good housing because at the core of our city’s strength is strong families and strong neighborhoods.

As a city we need to have a conversation about housing.

We know this because of our seniors who are looking to downsize. We know this because of the growing number of young professionals who want to live, work, and play in our city.

With average rents in the city approaching the cost of average homeownership, now is the time to stabilize our families and build our neighborhoods through home ownership.

This is not just about affordable housing but about appropriate workforce housing. This is about giving our citizens the tools to build equity, stabilize families, and get some skin in the game. By moving families to homeownership we can free up units in the rental market for those who need them most.

Tonight I am calling for a comprehensive plan to address the disinvestment and deterioration in our triple-decker neighborhoods. In every city across the Commonwealth, triple-deckers are the most problematic properties for public safety, fire safety, public health, and code violations.

Our downtown core is coming to life, but our triple-decker neighborhoods have not seen a corresponding increase in investment. While the resale market for these properties is strong, there is no comprehensive program in place to encourage owner-occupancy, beautification, nor requirements around energy efficiency.

The goal of this plan is to build safer, more walkable and livable neighborhoods. We should focus on the creation of work-force housing as well as improving existing housing stock through incentives, to stabilize families and our entire city.

This will require a whole-of-government approach and the weight of our community and private sector partners to create these tools. I am confident that we can bring our strengths to bear and imagine smarter, cleaner, and more vibrant neighborhoods.

From the high point of over two-hundred thousand in 1950, our city’s population declined until 1980, increasing until today. And it is likely that in the 2020 census, our city will once again break the two-hundred thousand mark for the first time in seventy years.

Make no mistake, we are growing as a city. The question we need to ask is where and how we are growing.

City Manager Augustus and his team will be starting work on our city’s first master plan since the 1970s. This plan needs to include an element of architectural and design review.

We must beautify our city not just through cleaner streets, better trash collection, and investment in our parks but through the way our city appears.

The most valuable asset that a city has is space. We must be proactive in how that space is utilized and consider the impact of future development has on our neighbors and neighborhoods.

We have seen in our parks how smart investment creates positive activity. Our parks are more utilized and beautiful than ever.

I want to see continued investment in Green Hill Park, a true jewel in our park system.

This park already sees thousands of visitors every year but greater amenities will only attract more people to a public space that we should all be proud to call our own. I would like to see improvements in pavilions and the petting zoo to serve the hundreds of families who visit it every year.

I want to see the recreation offerings in our parks expanded to not just our children but our families and young professionals. This will include everything from making it easier to utilize these public spaces to improving our parks with amenities like canoes and kayaks as well as programmed activities.

We will continue to invest in our community policing. Our crime rates are at historic lows as we continue to see the benefits of a police department that builds bridges, not walls with the community. Chief Sargent and his team has been a more visible presence in our city, working to raise money for numerous organizations like the Boys and Girls Club that give our city’s children ways to stay safe and active after school. This is what true community policing looks like.

Our Chief knows that an afterschool basketball league or dance class not only keeps our kids active and healthy but safe and out of trouble.

In my last inaugural I announced the Blue Space Initiative that called for a refocused attention on our rivers, ponds, and Lake Quinsigamond as recreational, environmental, and economic resources that have been long gone ignored.

We’re seeing how we can enhance our blue space at Stearns Tavern on Coes Pond and at the Blackstone Gateway Park and the Visitor’s Center.

We cannot stop here. The great untapped resource for our city is the shore of Lake Quinsigamond. It is known across the country as the finest natural body of water for rowing sports. Every year our lake attracts tens of thousands of rowers, sailors, water skiers and boaters. We currently have plans for the Linear Park that provides jogging and biking paths from Brownie Beach to Lincoln Street and I want to see it finally funded.

Tonight I am calling on our state legislature to fund a master plan for Regatta Point to fully realize the recreational and economic impact that this truly special state park can provide for our city.

Programs like, Recreation Worcester and the Blue Space Initiative, are examples of how we can reimagine our public spaces.

A year and a half ago I spoke at a press conference in Boston about cultural investment in our cities and said that:

I said, for the continued success of our cities and our great institutions, we must turn them inside out and show the true value and great economic impact that these assets have on a city and on a region.”

We need to move arts and performances into our public spaces: our parks, our alleys, and our streets. All of these spaces are public and should be opened to the arts community for performances. We must move art out of the traditional cultural institutions and meet the public where they truly are every day.

The definition of what we consider a cultural asset is changing. I believe our city has a culture of work and of industry and this can be seen in our commitment to building newer and better schools that can educate our students for the next economy.

We will be building a new South High Community School and a new Doherty Memorial High School in the coming years and I will continue to push for a new Burncoat High School and Worcester East Middle School.

As we work to improve our facilities so too we should be expanding what is done in the classroom itself.

I would like to see expanded access to Worcester Technical High School during the after school hours for students who want to learn the trades but are unable to attend because of the long wait list. We need to open this school to not only more students, but to adults who are looking to be certified in the trades like HVAC and automotive repair.

We must care for the whole of the child. If we care about their time in school, we must care about the parks where they play, the homes where they live, and the safety of their neighborhoods. We must equip them with the tools necessary to succeed beyond the school day and beyond graduation.

While across the country teen pregnancy is at an all-time low, citywide our teen birthrate is almost double the state average. For our Latina students the birthrate is over three times the state average. Tonight I tell you that for a school system to have onsite daycare yet requires no comprehensive sexual education across the high schools, does our students and our city a disservice.

We are rightly proud of our academics, having the highest graduation rate of any urban school district. Teen mothers however are less likely to graduate and attend college than their peers and I will not let these girls think that their education and their success is worth less than those of other students.

I will not allow our students to go into the world ill-equipped because we are too embarrassed to have a tough conversation. I will not allow a young woman to forego her future because we did not give her the tools to succeed.

This issue has persisted because of the discomfort of some and has gone unaddressed by half-measures and the politeness of the well intentioned. And it stops now.

In closing I am calling on my fellow elected officials to join me and focus on the long term solutions to the problems that affect our city. We need to craft a vision of what we want our schools and our city to be now, and for decades to come. This is the work that is ahead of us.

The problems that face our city are not new. The problems that we face today are shaped by the forces of geography, of history, of industry and technology, and the actions and inactions of city, state, and federal governments. In short, there is no quick fix to the problems that affect our city. It can take years of work to do even a small amount of good.

The work we do is slow; it is methodical and it as long as our city’s history. Today and every day forward, we must build the city we want to leave to our children and our grandchildren.

Our city is changing and growing and the work that is ahead is how we will improve the City of Worcester. As long as I am the Mayor, Worcester will remain a welcoming city that provides opportunity for everyone willing to work.

We will build schools that are cathedrals of learning and our children will see around them a city whose history of industry and innovation is their birthright.

We will work on these issues and many more in the coming years and we will make progress no matter how small or how slow. We will move forward, working together.

We will work to build a city that lives up to our highest ideals.

I first stood on this stage in 1998 and for the last twenty years you’ve always known where I stand.

I am proud of our city and I am still proud to be your mayor. Now let’s get to work.