Tag Archives: InCity Times

Chef Joey – 🎵🎶🎵🎹 to our tummies!

It’s back-to-school time! Cheers, parents!


Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey

Woo Drivers! Please SLOW DOWN WHEN YOU DRIVE THRU OUR INNER-CITY neighborhoods – there are many Worcester Public Elementary Schools in these neighborhoods! pic: R.T.

Well, it’s that time of year, sort of like January 2 when students are off for their winter break and parents are jumping for joy. Yes, we have the anticipated “Back to School” media blitz and all those school supplies and clothing ads.

Joey’s Gigi starts preschool soon!

Here she is with her cousins!

The mumbles of “We used to go back in September!!” and “Why August?” are heard among the people. The start date, does not really matter because the length of the school term is the same.

So we all know that education has been around for years. During the early beginnings of our country, the settlers would designate someone to teach kids, but it was more about survival techniques. It wasn’t until after the American Revolution – between 1750 and 1870 – that parochial schools appeared – thanks to the efforts by parishes. Generally, these “parochial” schools were just for the elementary grades. Open to all children in the parish, being of course mainly Catholics but also Lutherans, Calvinists and Orthodox Jews.

“Nonsectarian Common Schools” started opening up in America, thanks to the late, great Massachusetts State Rep. Horace Mann. His reason for promulgating public schools? “Universal public education was the best way to turn the nation’s unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens.”! The principle was to teach the Three “R’s”: Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. But ALSO with a side serving of geography and history!

Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law making education mandatory in 1852. It wasn’t until 1917 – in Mississippi – that a second state passed the same law!

In the 1890s high schools were starting to emerge and, by 1910, more than three quarters of American children were in school. During this time teacher accreditation and creating standards for exams and course requirements were established – still prevalent today. Moving closer to 1930, there was 100% student enrollment – except disabled or medically challenged children. Then there was a plunge due to World War II.

Post-WW II-America is where the food aspect came into our schools. The National School Lunch Act was created in 1946 to provided low-cost or free school lunches to students via subsidies for the “full stomach” idea.

The awful part about all this was that in some states, school lunch was not offered to African American students. They were literally banned from the school lunch programs!

It wasn’t until the late 1950s that things started to change: Great strides! We are fortunate enough to have coalitions for just about everyone/everything, but we still as educated adults tend to fight the road to the future … That’s another column.

School lunches have come full circle to nutritious well-balanced and ethnic pleasing menus! But there are still those students who like to bring their own lunches. In today’s world of ready to go food, lunches are a breeze to put together!

Here are a few school lunch ideas to spruce up your child’s lunch break!:

Cold Pizza – Wrapped in foil it warms up by lunch time. And who doesn’t like cold pizza??

No pizza? Pizza wraps! Fast and easy and you can add all kinds of toppings! Take 2 tortilla wraps and spray with vegetable spray on both sides and place on a cookie sheet. Place in preheated 400 degree oven. Toast for 5 minutes. Remove and top with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and whatever else you like: olives, peppers, pepperoni etc. Put back in the oven and bake 5-8 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and, using a spatula, flip over each side making an envelope of sorts. Let cool, wrap in foil and refrigerate. Place in fridge and place in kids’ lunch bags the next day. Easy to make and fun to eat. Healthy – and inexpensive!

Hummus Lunch – lots of protein

Veggie sticks and some fresh fruit. Make a small container of hummus, carrots and celery, or a small bag with fruit for dessert: cherries, plums apples… Yummy and Fun!😄😄😄


Yogurts are a great protein and don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, as it is already cultured. Two containers have plenty of protein, and with fruit, it is like dessert!

Try and stay away from pre-processed meats and lunches!!

The sodium alone is brutal!

Get back to basics, with salads, berries, nuts, citrus slices … and cheeses, chick peas or beans for protein to break it up!

You know your child better than anyone – take their favorite yum yums and make ’em portable!

Papa Joey to the lunch-time rescue!!!!


Sunday wrap up …🍒starring Edith!🌻🌻

Donald Trump👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎👎



photo: Ron O’Clair

Healing from War, Trauma and Torture Workshop

This workshop will take place on Monday, October 16th from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM.

RSVP by October 1st to zaza@zsakhattherapy.com.

This October I will be facilitating a workshop that will involve group work with children who are refugee survivors from Middle Eastern countries.

It is crucial for clinicians, who work with immigrant and refugee children and families, to understand and empathize with the trauma survived by war.

This program has been approved for 4 Social Work Continuing Education hours.

Hope to see you there!

Zaza Sakhat, LICSW
Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychotherapist


🎶Stone Soup Block Party and Cooperative Festival🎶

Musical and poetry performances

💐 Featuring: 4 Elements, Lucelia de Jesus and others!

🌷Free food

🐹Kids activities

❤Speakers, exhibits and local market promoting cooperatives and other community groups

Want to table? Contact us: stonesoupworcester@gmail.com tables are sliding scale / donation.
WHEN: Saturday, September 16th, 2017. 3-7pm
Rain date Sunday, Sept. 24th, 2017. 3-7pm

WHERE: Stone Soup Community Center, 4 King St.

WHO: Organized by Stone Soup Artists/Activist Collective and Community Resource Center – and Worcester Roots – a non-profit that sprouts up cooperatively owned and green initiatives for social and environmental justice.

Stone Soup’s mission is to build grassroots power by connecting and enriching groups and individuals in our communities who are working for social justice in Worcester. We are building community and economies based in cooperation and creativity while resisting oppression and gentrification.


Worcester Interfaith presents The Beggar’s Bowl

12th annual fundraiser and arts event

Tuesday evening, October 10

5:30 to 7:30 pm

At First Baptist Church, 111 Park Ave., Worcester, corner of Park Avenue & Salisbury Street

Come enjoy artisan bread and a bowl
of homemade soup, served in a hand-thrown stoneware bowl which you get to take home!

Donation: $50

For more information, call Worcester Interfaith at (508) 754-5001





Walking the mutts …

photos+text: Rose T.

… a surprise!



She let me photograph her while she was lunching!

Her orange outfit was so much prettier than mine!


With my lil’ Cece, the flower-puller-and-pee-pee-in-the-flower-pot girl, around this summer …

... I’ve had to be very strategic re: plant placement. Out of Cece’s sight …




… Out of Cece’s mouth and paws! (hopefully)


Edith M. is the queen of urban gardeners!🌷:

pics: R.T.



Here’s her gardening column:

How Does your Garden Grow?

By Edith Morgan

Edith and her husband, Guy

Remember the “Victory Gardens” Americans cultivated during World War II? Or, if you’re not old enough to remember the Victory Gardens, do you know about the community gardens scattered all over Worcester?

Or maybe you knew about the vegetable plots by the homes of Italians on Shrewsbury Street …

… or perhaps you have Vietnamese or Cambodian friends who raise giant cucumbers, almost bush-high oregano, and other herbs?

Or perhaps you have driven down Pleasant Street and noted that some single-family homes have eliminated their lawns in favor of Japanese gardens of sand, rocks and spaced plants? Or maybe they have just let Mother Nature fill in the area with a variety of flowers and herbs?

And maybe you have noticed that it does not take a single-family house with a large yard to do amazing things with flora. Every day I get pictures from various friends and acquaintances showing off their beautiful flowers, garden projects, and often close-ups of single spectacular blossoms.

There is not a single one of us who can not accommodate some kind of growing plant! The amazing thing is that plants are so very versatile that they will grow almost anywhere, given water, soil, and some sunshine. For these very humble demands, they give so much back!

Depending on the amount of time, energy and space you have, you too, living in a small space and on a limited budget, can become an urban gardener! Many Worcesterites are already very savvy about urban gardening: we have a plethora of community gardens scattered throughout Worcester, in our parks, on median strips, adorning monuments and in cement or ornamental pots on sidewalks. In recent years, they are surrounding our schools, which, to my great sorrow, when I first came here in 1967, were mostly devoid of color and plantings. What a difference a few years have made: with the replanting of our city trees, and with the efforts of so many home-owners and renters to “green up” our city!!!

If you are just getting started, here are some Starter Ideas.

Are you in a small apartment or a single room?

Do you get any sun at any time during the day?

Our house, unfortunately, faces North, and the neighboring houses are close by, and we are surrounded by very tall trees. Those are not ideal growing conditions, but there are plants that LIKE a bit of shade: there are so many different kinds of hostas, with small or large leaves, fancy or plain, and they like my northern exposure. And, best of all, they are perennials – coming up every year in greater profusion than the year before. And, they bloom!

If you love multi-colored displays and do not mind annuals, coleus leaves come in wonderful arrays of colors and sizes (I am always amazed that this plant comes in so many shapes and shades – the display at Tower Hill Botanical never ceases to amaze me), and for my taste they do not require beautiful blossoms because each leaf is almost blossom-like in its variations and beauty.

I am sure all of us remember the classroom plants: the sweet potato in water, sending out its tendrils and twining around on the windowsill; and the spring experiments with growing seeds (usually something fast germinating, like radish seeds) so we could see their day-to-day development.

Those lessons were especially important in urban schools, where often students were not exposed to growing things, nor taught how to care for plants (do we still take time for these things, amidst the horrors of testing?) If we recall these experiments, it is easy to replicate them, in more sophisticated forms: fruits and vegetables that have not been waxed or chemically treated will send out shoots: try yams, potatoes and avocado pits (be patient, they take six months to really get going!). I try out all sorts of seeds and pits to see if they will grow! I do not really hope to grow an orange or lemon tree here, but I have planted seeds from some that I have eaten and watched a few come up.

Salads are all the rage now, and you can easily grow the fixings. Lettuce is tricky outdoors; my friends tell me that there are various “nibblers” around – like rabbits – who feast on them. But I have noticed that they do not bother my garlic, chives and onions (all the same family), and those plants are easy to grow just about anywhere, and mine seem to survive the winter.

Two other plants that thrive on being cut down also and are great fresh in all kinds of dishes, are parsley and cilantro. And of course you need mint, which will take over your garden if allowed; depending on what your culture of origin is, you will want mint (there are many kinds), basil, oregano, onions, and garlic. These plants and herbs seem to be universal – I have found some or all of them in recipes from Europe and Asia. And if you have limited space, they can be grown in pots on your windowsill.

Try a variety – I have found that not all my experiments work out perfectly, but it is fun trying different things. Once you begin, all sorts of interesting things will occur to you. I rely a lot on the legendary Paul Rogers and books and magazines I have collected, plus ideas from friends and neighbors – and the little hints attached to vegetable purchases at the supermarket.


To get the novice started: how about making your own pesto?

Cut some basil leaves, some parsley sprigs and some garlic.

Use 1 cup of crushed basil leaves, 1/2 cup of parsley sprigs, cut up a garlic clove …

… and then add what you prefer: olive oil, cheese, your choice of either pine nuts (they are expensive!!), walnuts or almonds and follow your favorite recipe. Get creative, use what you have, and make enough for your serving and to freeze some for future use.

The main thing is to grow what you like, enjoy watching it thrive, eat it, and expand your interests! Nature is truly amazing and so very thankful for any attention!


We’ll say goodbye with Freddy Fender:

SPEAK OUT! 💐🎶 … Congressman McGovern Joins 75+ House Democrats in Censure Resolution Against Trump for Charlottesville Comments … and … from America’s sharpest and funniest political provocateurs!❤❤❤

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Go, Jim, go!

McGovern, Democrats call Trump’s Charlottesville remarks a “moral outrage”

Demand Congress send a clear message by censuring the President for his comments


(editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

Congressman Jim McGovern joined yesterday Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) in introducing a censure resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives against President Donald Trump for his comments blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and excusing the behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

The censure resolution condemns the President for failing to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist, Ku Klux Klan, and neo-Nazi groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville over the weekend, and for doubling-down on his comments by attempting to create a moral equivalency between white supremacists and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally.

The resolution, which was cosponsored by 79 Members of Congress, offers an official censure by Congress of President Trump for his remarks, and calls for the President to fire any and all advisors who have urged him to cater to white supremacist movements in the United States.

“President Trump’s remarks in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville are outrageous. His refusal to completely and totally denounce white supremacist groups and all who enable their bigotry is unacceptable. America’s leaders must send a clear message to President Trump that these comments are not just wrong, but they insult the moral convictions and ideals our country was built on,” Congressman Jim McGovern said. “This is a moment history will remember. Americans need to know their leaders have the courage to stand with them. We must not only condemn the President’s remarks, we must censure the President for the unacceptable way he has represented our country in this critical moment.”

In addition to Representatives McGovern, Nadler, Watson Coleman, and Jayapal, the following Members have signed on as cosponsors: Joe Crowley (D-NY), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Bill Foster (D-IL), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Scott Peters (D-CA), Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Al Lawson (D-FL), Rick Larsen (D-WA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Tim Walz (D-MN), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), David Loebsack (D-IA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Al Green (D-TX), Mark Takano (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Don Beyer (D-VA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Norma Torres (D-CA), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Donald McEachin (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), James Langevin (D-RI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Alma Adams (D-NC), Robin Kelly (D-IL), and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA).


The full text of the resolution:

H. RES. __

Censuring and condemning President Donald Trump.

1st Session
August 18, 2017


Mr. NADLER, Ms. WATSON COLEMAN, and Ms. JAYAPAL submitted the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on _______;


Censuring and condemning President Donald Trump.

Whereas on August 11, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a gathering of white supremacists, including neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members, and other white nationalist groups, marched through the streets with torches as part of a coordinated ‘Unite the Right’ rally spewing racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred;

Whereas on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, a car driven by James Alex Fields, Jr. rammed into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others;

Whereas President Donald Trump’s immediate public comments rebuked “many sides” for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and failed to specifically condemn the ‘Unite the Right’ rally or cite the white supremacist, neo-Nazi gathering as responsible for actions of domestic terrorism;

Whereas on August 15, 2017 President Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower where he re-asserted that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and attempted to create a moral equivalency between white supremacist, KKK, neo-Nazi groups and those counter-protesting the ‘Unite the Right’ rally;

Whereas President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with, and cultivated the influence of, senior advisors and spokespeople who have long histories of promoting white nationalist, racist and anti-Semitic principles and policies within the country;

Whereas President Donald Trump has provided encouragement and little to no denunciation of white supremacist groups and individuals who promote their bigoted, nationalist ideology and policies;

Whereas President Donald Trump has failed to provide adequate condemnation and assure the American people of his resolve to opposing domestic terrorism: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) does hereby censure and condemn President Donald Trump for his inadequate response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017, his failure to immediately and specifically name and condemn the white supremacist groups responsible for actions of domestic terrorism, for re-asserting that “both sides” were to blame and excusing the violent behavior of participants in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally, and for employing people with ties to white supremacist movements in the White House, such as Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka; and

(2) does hereby urge President Donald Trump to fire any and all White House advisors who have urged him to cater to the white supremacist movement in the United States.

And FYI …

☎BANNON’S OUT! Next WH madman who must GET THE BOOT:☎☎☎

Chef Joey – always in style!

Chef Joey says: To life! To garlic!

GARLIC!❤❤ Love the sheer madness of the flavor!❤❤

Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey

Garlic – an epicurean’s love or a dater’s nightmare… and on first dates it’s not even an option! Think about it: Garlic is involved with just about every meal that is not served at breakfast. The sheer madness of the flavor it personifies makes it a staple in everything! It can be candied, roasted, boiled, baked, sautéed – and its power in volume is better than a splat of hot sauce!!

Go for garlic!

Garlic is a wonder seasoning. It helps what ails you, has been linked to cancer survival, hair growth, lowering blood pressure and, for centuries, a cure for the common cold.

But you do not have to wait for the occasion to use it. Start now! Make garlic a part of your tasty meals, curries and sauces!

Garlic + olive oil = ❤

It’s good and delicious and, when cooked properly, it does not linger on the breath. (ok, maybe a little disguised as a bruschetta!)

Recently, I made a simple bruschetta, without the toast, in this case on a chicken cutlet.

The recipe:

Take your raw garlic and chop it fine …


Add fresh basil, fresh chopped tomatoes, …



… salt and some balsamic vinegar and a splash of olive oil.

Mix and it’s a topping!


For Bruschetta, take an Italian loaf of bread or a baguette for smaller servings, cut into slices …



… and toast. Rub the toast with a piece of garlic and add the tomato mixture. You have an instant app!

More yumminess:

I sauté garlic with some sunflower oil (stands up to heat) and a little water so the garlic does not burn.

Add 1 cup of chopped tomatoes per serving and sauté

After 20 minutes, add fresh basil that is sliced thin

Serve over fresh pasta

Easier than opening a jar! For real!

Feel free to use diced tomatoes from a can – they work great.


Garlic soup is a quick dinner and a tasty broth.

Chop 5 or 6 cloves of garlic …


… and sauté briefly in a little sunflower or vegetable oil

add 2 cups of water and let simmer

add ¼ cup of vermicelli (angel hair pasta)

and add any veggie you like: squash, peas, carrots etc – about a cup, diced up.


When the pasta is cooked, your meal is ready! (you can substitute rice for the pasta.)

Garlic as a spread?

Make your own garlic paste! I buy whole, peeled garlic all the time! It keeps for a month!

Take several cloves of garlic, chop fine and sprinkle generously with kosher salt.

Take a large knife and, as a spatula, spread the salt into the garlic and make a paste. Turning the knife side to side and blending them together.

If the garlic is not breaking, add more salt.

This spread can be made in batches and refrigerated to use for garlic bread, steak rubs, chicken seasoning, a base for salad dressings, sofrito with cilantro added – and anything you can think of! It’s like pesto – just that it is all garlic!

So go out and conquer!


Buy garlic and enjoy! And don’t forget to kiss the cook!❤🍸


CM Augustus in the blue shirt

Photos by Ron O’Clair

THANK YOU, WORCESTER MAYOR JOSEPH PETTY and CITY MANAGER ED AUGUSTUS for joining the hundreds who gathered on the Worcester Common to denounce the murder last week of the civil rights activist at the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.




Worcester Honor Roll of Colored Veterans Update

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

In an ongoing and seemingly exceedingly lengthy process, the long awaited restoration of the Worcester Honor Roll of Colored Veterans that was taken down from its perch at Belmont and Clayton streets entered another period of debate and delay this week.

The time taken to make this happen seems excessive to supporters like myself.

Here are some photographs of a few of the many people who spoke on the delay in honoring our Veterans of Color at a recent public hearing at Worcester City Hall – the Veterans Subcommittee meeting.

The first two pictures show Marine Veteran Mr. Toney of the Toney family of Worcester which was actually reduced by the loss of three of Mr. Toney’s brothers in World War II, in the ultimate sacrifice for their city of Worcester and the Union itself.

I commend the Toney Family for their commitment to our continued prosperity and freedom by virtue of those unfortunate and untimely deaths. May they be honored for eternity, Amen.

Mr. Toney

Next up was the “new and improved” (he lost a lot of weight – great job, Billy!) Bill Coleman, urging the earliest possible action, as there are only two surviving WW II Veterans of the original Honorees.

Bill Coleman

Bill said he and other people don’t want the old veterans exposed to harsh weather if there are more delays and a winter re-dedication of the memorial is planned.

The next photo is of Holy Cross college Professor Thomas Doughton who was the first to speak and had a lot to say about the issue.

Thomas Doughton

His passion was obvious! He wanted the delays resolved quickly!

The last photograph actually is unrelated but shows the early work of Esther Howland who invented the Valentine Card in Worcester many years ago. Aother Worcester contribution to world peace and love …


A City Hall Chamber is named after her❤.

Woo news for you🍒… and …our thoughts on Trump and Woo’s Trumpistas!😱


We did it – thank you!

With your help, we were able to raise a grand total of $5,040 and earn a $5,000 matching gift from the Cahn Fund for Social Change to help support our move!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped to spread the word and made a donation – every dollar has a tremendous impact on our students!


Join us for our Annual Meeting and Open House on August 30th!

We are thrilled to let you know we have finished moving into our new office space – Suites 350 and 355 of the Denholm Building in downtown Worcester.


We would like to invite everyone to our Annual Meeting and Open House to be held from 6-8 pm on Wednesday, August 30th.


Join us for our Annual Fall Fundraiser on October 12th!

Tickets are now on sale for our Annual Fall Fundraiser to be held from 5:30-9 pm on Thursday, October 12th at UMass Medical School.

The evening will be filled with African food, drumming performances, inspiring speeches from our students and alums, and, of course, silent and live auctions filled with items including African art, jewelry, pottery, and much more!

Purchase Fall Fundraiser Tickets!
Thank you for all of your support during these busy and exciting times. We are so grateful to have so many generous and thoughtful proponents of ACE. We look forward to seeing many of you soon!

All the best,
The ACE Team

Our mailing address is:
African Community Education
24 Chatham Street
Worcester, MA 01609





Go, badass women, go!💐🌺🌻


Impeach Trump! Worst POTUS eva!!!!!!😱


Trump and Woo’s alt-right brigade

By Rosalie Tirella

Pres Donald Trump is a blip on our political scene, a big fat, dangerous transitional figure in American politics. The world has changed. America, too! The global economy has raised some up – but hurt others (read: under-educated Americans). The world grows more diverse – in 20+ years America will be a majority minority country. Lots of Americans can’t embrace these seismic economic and cultural changes! Out of fear, confusion and ignorance, they embrace  and endorse racist acts, classism, hatred for refugees, free speech and a more diverse and egalitarian America.

On the Worcester front, we don’t have a Mayor Trump, but we do have our alt-right figures:

Worcester City Councilor and mayor wannabe Michael Gaffney;

his political (but keeps it a secret) clone, wife Coreen Gaffney, District 4 councilor  wannabe;

local rogue lawyer Margaret Melican;

and Melican’s social media BFF, Turtle Boy hate blogger Aidan Kearney;

and Paul Collyer,  FaceBook pages “owner”/author of CHANGE WORCESTER and WORCESTER’S DIRTY SECRET.  

This group of peeps may think itself forward looking, but with all their blogging, comments, repostings and postings you get THE MOST RACIST, Worcester-harming political rants and political strivers this side of Steve Bannon’s office.

They are Worcester’s alt-right movement and Breitbart News rolled into one! Far right strivers hawking ideas that do not fit the Worcester of 2017.

But fear not! Like Trump, they are political flukes, too. Look around you! Don’t you see? This bunch cannot get any kind of political traction here, in Worcester. They are leaving our city/disappearing. Worcester is too racially and socially progressive for them…too willing to bring EVERYONE UP. We don’t traffic in their welfare queen and prince cliches, their “Petty” bashings etc.

Out they go!

For instance, by trashing our recent Worcester City Common anti-racism rally a la Donald Trump, Collyer, Gaffney and Turtle Boy show us how they have outlived their ability to thrive in Worcester. They have been called out by Worcester, they have been put on notice: they are Woo’s political old guard uttering their last, desperate syllables.

Like Trump, their “ratings” in Woo are low:

Paul Collyer has lost clout ever since his buddy former City Manager Mike O’Brien left his job, after HE realized he was no longer a good fit for a diverse, challenging, wonderful Worcester. Collyer is moving to the beautiful Hudson Valley in New York – miles and miles away😄 – with Susan to run a bowling alley. This permanent move will be good for Collyer and GREAT for the new Worcester!😄 Truly evolving cities go way beyond the installations of beer gardens and the scarfing down of fancy food and patronizing over-priced boutiques. That kind of economic development is just a small piece of the Woo puzzle, focusing on and catering to our upper-middle class. What we and most WORCESTERITES are talking about is SOCIAL JUSTICE, THE LIVING WAGE, POLITICAL MOVEMENTS WHOSE ARC BENDS TOWARDS OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL – not just the moneyed or politically connected.

City Councilor Mike Gaffney is, for Woo, a political anomaly. He is smart but duplicitous and a fraud. He will never become mayor of Worcester – even though he’ll try any DIRTY trick in the book to win, which usually entails lying about present mayor, Joe Petty, and shredding our community to bits as he throws wedge after wedge into sensitive city issues.

His wife Coreen knows how to be polite, but she’s dead in the political Woo waters, too. She’ll be another Mike Gaffney vote on the city council – no one will go for that. She has no chance of winning in majority minority, ever complex District 4. The best Coreen can hope for is a job with the DPW on its grounds maintenance crew.

Turtle Boy has moved to Jefferson because Worcesterites loathe him so passionately – and he’s got two kids to raise. They would be pariahs here – just like their daddy Aidan is. Aidan’s toxic Turtle Boy blog can no longer handle local stuff, so he Jerry Springers all of New England. It’s an emotionally ugly ride – his Turtle Boy blog. No one will publicly come out in favor of this racist, far right wing nut and his blog – except for Collyer, the Gaffneys and Melican who push the TB toxicity out into the community via their FB pages, etc…

It was great to see Mayor Petty and City Manager Ed Augustus at the anti-racism, anti-white-supremacy rally on the Woo Common a few days ago! They stood with the good folks at Charlottesville – not the Neo Nazis. They stood on justice’s side! Former CM Mike O’Brien would have tried to shut the rally down! Social justice is too messy and un-pretty for O’Brien, Collyer and crew. That’s why O’Brien’s gone, and his compadres will soon follow in his footsteps …

News you can use🍇🍒

Cuddly couple❤: Cece washing Lilac. pics: R.T.

Living beings should never be treated like luggage

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Air travel snafus are never fun, but for one 4-month-old infant, a delayed flight nearly turned fatal. When the plane that he had boarded with his mother was delayed on the tarmac at Denver International Airport on a 90-degree day in June, temperatures reportedly became unbearably hot inside the cabin.

The plane remained on the runway for nearly two hours, and despite his mother’s attempts to cool him down by placing bags of ice and wet wipes on his skin, the baby became overheated. “His whole body flashed red and his eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming,” his mother said. “And then he went limp in my arms. It was the worst moment of my life.” Thankfully, the baby survived — but his terrifying ordeal could easily have ended in disaster.

If the plane’s cabin got this hot, just imagine how high the temperature must have been inside the cargo hold — an area that typically isn’t ventilated or climate-controlled. Yet living beings are routinely transported in cargo as if they were luggage. Many dogs, cats and other animals have suffered terribly, and some have even died as a result.

A 5-year-old dog named Lulu was reportedly found dead on arrival in the cargo hold after her recent flight from Houston to San Francisco was delayed for two hours on the runway. Her distraught family posted on Facebook, “There were significant problems with the air conditioning in the main cabin where we are sitting, so we are deeply concerned about the conditions in cargo.”

Earlier this year, a rabbit named Simon reportedly died after a breeder shipped him in cargo on a flight from Heathrow to O’Hare, as did a dog named Jacob after he was reportedly flown in a cargo hold from Michigan to Oregon and the plane had an unexpected, extended layover.

Other animals have escaped after their carriers were damaged, and many have gotten lost inside airplanes and hangars. Some have bolted, never to be seen again, after airline employees let them out during layovers. Mix-ups and carelessness have caused some animals to be separated from their guardians and even put on the wrong flight.

Recently, the rap artist ScHoolboy Q was traveling with his dog, Yeeerndamean, from Missouri to California, but during a layover, there was a mix-up and Yeeerndamean ended up miles away, in Chicago.

Even without delays, escapes and mix-ups, animals are traumatized when they find themselves far from their guardians, tossed among the luggage in a loud, dark, strange place with fluctuating air pressure.

A recently published study by the University of Illinois found that for dogs used in search-and-rescue missions — who presumably fly more often than the average canine and could be assumed to be more accustomed to it —vair travel is so unsettling that “[t]hey showed behavioral stress, their gut was completely turned upside down, [and] their bloodwork showed significant effects.”

If you must fly with animal companions, always take them in the cabin with you. Use a sturdy, well-ventilated carrier, preferably one with wheels, that is designed for animals and will fit under the seat.

Plan ahead: Well before your departure date, set up the carrier and put a blanket and toys and treats inside so your animal will want to check it out, and make sure that it’s large enough to allow him or her to stand up and turn around in comfortably.

If you have animals who are too large to fit under the seat, don’t risk putting them in cargo. Instead, drive to your destination or leave them in the comfort and security of their own home with a trusted caretaker — it’s far less stressful and dangerous.

You’ll be glad you did. Lost or damaged luggage can be replaced, but living beings can’t.




… We all need to stand in solidarity.
Please let me know that we can count on you!

August 31

5:30 pm at Worcester City Hall Common, Main Street

Please join our families and friends who have lost a loved one to this opioid epidemic.

Losing a loved one is a lonely experience and we would love your support and prayers during this time to help our community heal.

Around the world on this day, events are held to support families and to bring awareness to this public health, public safety crisis.

See you there,
Matilde Castiel MD
Commissioner of Health and Human Services

City of Worcester


See-Saw: A Group for Children of
Substance Using Parents/Caregivers

A 10-week group for children (ages 7-11) of adult substance users, who are in, or currently working toward, recovery

Group will focus on:

· Education about substance use

· A safe space to process guardian substance use

· Prevention for at risk youth

· Supporting youth to develop and practice healthy

When: Tuesdays 4 -5 p.m. starting September 26

Where: 81 Plantation St.

To make a referral call: Central Referral at 1-855-4YOUINC

Rolling Admission: members are accepted throughout the group

For more information contact: Kristen Birch, MA director of Substance Abuse at 508-849-5600 x 408




Buy these zippity-doo-dah specials at Webster Square’s Unique Finds Antiques and Vintage gift shop

Located at 1329 Main St., Worc

Open Mon – Sat, 2 – 8 p.m.


🌻Vinyl – vintage – retro – antiques – industrial – tableware – vintage toys – electric and folk guitars – neon signs – signs – jewelry – collectibles🌻



















By Rosalie Tirella

Hello again?
Yesterday Cece spied someone outside my apartment window.      pics: R.T.

It was former ICT scribe Ron O’Clair, in the St. Mary’s church parking lot, in a red convertible, with white interior! Ronny was wearing his big black hippy sombrero and (I think) sporting a beard. He was looking up at me, while I parted the curtains in my fourth-floor shack to admire the sight and snap a pic. Then he gave me a wide smile and a big thumbs up and sped off! Quite the sight!


Ahhh, Ronny! On a high! Feeling good with the sun shining on his sombrero and a new shiny red toy! Here’s a guy who’s been knocked down by life from day #1 (childhood poverty, death of a parent when he was a little kid, then foster homes, depression, the murder of his brother, discharge from the military, alcoholism) and come back from the brink so many times (STILL brilliant and articulate, a TERRIFIC writer, in recovery for 30+years, a cool street social worker who’s helped hundreds of people find food, solace, housing, AA meetings as the live-in manager of a Main South rooming house ) that “resilient” is too weak (and serious) a word to describe Ronny. “Come backs” doesn’t fit either because the phrase makes Ronny seem old – which he sorta is, at 55!❤ – and a has-been, like a member of the Herman’s Hermits🎵 – which he is  most definitely not! (Sorry, Peter Noone!)

For me, Ron O’Clair is more Dylan than Noone. More Byron than Seuss. He never goes out of style … But his bipolar illness makes him disappear from the scene now and then, leaving his friends worried and sad. His condition makes him see things so intensely! The perfect writer for ICT! Ron can be deep – deeply sad, deeply wise, deeply sensitive. He can also be deeply wound-up, loud, revved up,  ecstatic. Manic.  Ronny has always offered his friends his kaleidoscope of feelings – and experiences –

… often powerful. When in his emotional “troughs,” though, Ron  pretty much hunkers down in his two rooms in Main South – for weeks. This breaks my heart. You can call it mental illness. But why put a complicated brilliant person like Ronny in a box? Still, his emotional vales break his momentum, whether it be his running for Woo City Council or following through on a marriage proposal that he made to a lovely – I mean lovely both spiritually and physically – hooker that he rescued outside his Main South building. … I think back to that time: Ronny was in love! But his complicated brain waves brought it all to a halt! It made me cry! I was rooting for the pair: Ronny bought “Sandy” a beautiful ring, rented a car one Christmas eve so she wouldn’t have to sit in his crap-cluttered vehicle on the trip to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner – to meet the family.❤ Ronny got Sandy clean and sober, took her to the doctors, the dentist, NA meetings. A gal pal gave Sandy bags of cool  vintage clothing. I planned their wedding with our gal pal: she would provide the vintage wedding dress and I’d dress up my apartment. I’d make the mostly veggie meals, served on my late Mom’s china, turn  my dining and living rooms into an inner-city chapel with all my candles placed on an altar I’d fashioned from headboards I had found on the side of the road. I’d board Jett for the day… Then boom. Ron shut down, so did Sandy  …

… and that was the end of that. Ron dismisses the whole love affair as a non-love affair. A pain in his butt. But I know he’s lying.

Ron has shared many of his experiences with you in ICT. Like the time he was a boy in foster care in rural Maine and bonded with a buffalo on the farm he was living on. The buffalo was like a big pet for Ronny, and he visited him in the field next to his foster parents’ house every day. But one Christmas Ronny unwittingly ate his best friend in the world. The buffalo was the main course for his foster family’s Christmas dinner! Ron tells the story with a chuckle, but you hear the real pain in the story he wrote for InCity Times. ICT – the conduit for Ronny’s dreams and schemes – realized and/or crumpled. If you meet Ron in Main South or at any of his haunts in Worcester – at a Worcester diner eating a killer breakfast, at a junk-yard buying parts cheap for his cars that he collects like jewels – you would think he’s kinda glib and … a jerk. Incapable of the stories he writes. But if you read his columns – which I have with so much joy, through years  – you’d soon realize Ron’s the brightest guy in the room. But his poverty, his living on the edge in the rooming house in Main South, his sometimes too enthusiastic emotional style, his physical SIZE! have left him the perennial outsider, here in Worcester, the hometown he adores. You all discount him and his intelligence and goals. It’s  a kind of prejudice. Not racial. But economic. And maybe just maybe your version of mental well-being skews a little to the left or right of Ronny’s state of mind! Shame on you!

In this life: so many people crossing each other’s paths, so many good people shunted to another road or handcuffed into silence by the in-crowd, the money crowd, the politically connected crowd. The hit brigade wallowing in their version of Wasp happiness.

What about WOP happiness?


Wikipedia says: “WOP stands for WithOut Papers. Many Italian immigrants had no papers to identify themselves and were branded as WOPs.”

My grandfather Sabino was a WOP.

He was also a NANG: Not A Nice Guy!


I’ve told you all about him: Unlike Ron, Sabino took his outsiderness, his otherness and used it to become a pretty successful entrepreneur. But he was an asshole in every other aspect of his life: cheated on his wife who gave him 10 children, beat her, beat my father, was a bootlegger. I mean, the guy was BAD!

Ron – and this WOP! – aren’t bad: we WRITE, we try to do the right thing for our city and this makes us happy and proud! Forget about moi for a second, let’s focus on Ron. Over the years Ron has:

given me a million rides when the jalopy I am driving breaks down.

delivered gallons of gas to me when I’ve run out – usually at night in the inner city. How comforting it was to see my friend pouring the gas into my gas tank, wearing his fake-lamb-skinned-lined bedroom slippers. In the middle of a Woo winter night. He wasn’t smiling, made no small talk and walked away with a huge huff after he finished his AAA call, but he ALWAYS came, always came through for me.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to the food pantry to get food so they could eat.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to AA, Al Anon, NA meetings – often joining the group as he is in recovery and never gets complacent about the fact!

helped strangers when they needed help

befriended lots of Woo characters – including this one! I remember the night Ronny came to my house with an old ex-boxer from Boston who just got a room at Ronny’s place. I had called Ron frantic – my late Mom’s cat April had just become diabetic and I did not know how/was afraid to use the needles to inject the insulin into April. Well, Ronny brings the boxer over to my house to help – the guy is BALD, HUGE, covered with tattoos, standing at my door, with Ronny. It is close to midnight. I am distraught. April needs her medicine. I don’t want her to die. I say…OK, come in. The boxer comes in, fills up half the entry-way but … picks April up, talks oh so softly to her, takes one of the skinny needles out of her needle box (filled with about 1O0 needles), shows me how to poke the needle into the little insulin bottle (always shake it beforehand), measure the amount of insulin. Then he lifts a bit of April’s fur on her shoulder, making a little tent, and gently gives her her shot. Then the boxer gently massages the spot where he inserted the needle. He told me and Ronny his grandmother had been a diabetic and, as a little boy, he used to give her her insulin shots. Every day. He said it all so beautifully. I could tell he had really loved his grandmother. Maybe she had raised him… I felt like shit for having been afraid of the Boston boxer and hesitating to let him into my home. As he turned to leave, I hugged the boxer – and Ronny -and said THANK YOU, GUYS! They lumbered down the stairs that lead up to my 4th floor apartment. Noisy as hell. I loved them both!

A night I will never forget, courtesy of Ronald O’Clair.

Lilac and the late, beautiful April

Ronny has also:

supported his landlord who was overwhelmed with his rooming house.

worked with the Worcester police for years to make his neck of the woods – the corner of Main and Charlton streets – much safer and quieter and a little less heroin-infected, especially when the PIP wet shelter was still open (across Charlton Street!)

So naturally it enraged me to see my friend’s hopes dashed when he applied for a slot on a City of Worcester Board/Commission and  was turned down by a City Manager toady. Not the commission who does the vetting but by one of former CM Mike O’Brien’s (an ICT detractor for sure) employees. This was about five years ago, when Ronny was on a huge UP and had all his i’s dotted and t’s crossed. He had applied to sit on a City of Worcester health or zba board – for no pay, as the job is a volunteer position. I had encouraged him to apply. Ronny, living the life he’s lived, KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT INNER-CITY HEALTH ISSUES. And what he doesn’t know – he’ll read up on. He’s a brilliant guy! Also, so compassionate! Hell, he’d be down in the trenches with Dr. Mattie at a homeless camp, talking to the folks, driving them to job interviews! I mean, he would be all in – give 100%. But CM O’Brien hated ICT, so Ron got screwed.

A few days ago I called Ronny. We were talking about city boards and commissions when I urged him to take another crack at the HEALTH commission. “The city needs lots of people from District 4! On lots of city boards!” I said.

Ronny was hesitant. I said: GO FOR IT, RONNY! YOU WILL BE GREAT – on that city board or any city board!

He laughed. Then I asked him to cover an inner-city health clinic’s health fair for me, to run in the next issue of CECELIA. Ronny said YES, attended the event for me and sent me some pics he took a few hours later. Here is one for you!

Ronny O’Clair: gotta love the man!!
Baby in Piedmont. photo by Ron O’Clair

The Vietnamese Secondary Language (VSL) 2017 Summer Session is Here!

By Boa Newgate

The purpose of the South East Asian Coalition’s Vietnamese Secondary Language (VSL) class is to bridge the gap between different cultures and generations, as well as between children and their parents.

Learning together! photos: Boa Newgate

In today’s world, many Vietnamese-American kids are not really fluent in their second language, which hampers their ability to communicate with their parents and elders who may not find it easy to speak English.

When the previous Vietnamese generation came to the United States, they joined the workforce immediately, hoping to achieve the American dream and to build a better future for themselves and their children. Because they were working such long days, though, they didn’t normally have the time to enroll in ESL classes and improve their English.

Boa leading a group at SEAC, based in the Denholm building, downtown Worcester

When they have children, they spend even more time providing them with the best opportunities they can offer them, leaving little time to impart the culture and language of their motherland to their offspring. Because of this, their children have trouble clearly conveying their thoughts and opinions to their elders, resulting in a lot of misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

My mission was to create a bridge for children and their parents to meet each other half way in establishing good communication and learning more about their culture. Even though most people here are Vietnamese, other people who are interested in Vietnamese culture and want to pick up a second language are very welcome, too!

Learning Vietnamese to better communicate with parents and elders

We’re looking forward to another great session for the summer of 2017. Last year’s summer session was a huge success! We have gotten a great reaction from the Worcester community: classes are packed, and we often don’t have enough volunteers to help out with teaching!

The success of our VSL program has also reached the ears of National Public Radio (NPR)! Recently, they came to Worcester to do a story on us and our program! We decided to make the VSL a year-round program in response to all the community interest!

Go, VSL, go!!!

This year, we’re also introducing a new pen pal program for the VSL program. During my trip to Vietnam in the spring, which was the inspiration for the Youth Effect International program, I collected handwritten letters from the Vietnamese youths in the schools that I visited. I plan to give these letters to the VSL students in our classes and have them write back to the kids in Vietnam – in Vietnamese!

Next year, when I go back to Vietnam, I’ll be giving the students there the letters from the Worcester youths, and I’ll be collecting their responses in English. I hope we’ll be able to create a community that spans oceans and generates many meaningful relationships, all the while helping everyone improve their second language.

If you’re fluent in Vietnamese and would like to be a part of our growing community, we hope to see you as a volunteer in our VSL program!


If you want to help with the program, all of us greatly appreciate any and all donations.

If you’d like to donate specific items, we’re also currently looking for school supplies.

Thank you for your time!

Please visit our website to learn more: www.seacma.org