Tag Archives: InCity Times

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!

Why?

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 dogs๐Ÿ˜Š) 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?

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

It can happen again!

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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 …

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… 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 animals๐Ÿถ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

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

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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 โ€” and these are just the death’s that were reported in the media. Most are not.

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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:

ยท 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.

ยท 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.

ยท 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

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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!๐Ÿš”๐Ÿ‘ฎ

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

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…and their young uns!!

Coffee with Cece …

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Cece.

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Fair Trade๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ Green Mountain๐ŸŒ„ coffee. ๐Ÿ’œK 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:

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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!

This $$$๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜˜ is key to REDUCING POVERTY IN WORCESTER! ONE IN FOUR OF OUR CITY’S KIDS IS FOOD INSECURE, social-worker-speak for HUNGRY!!

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

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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…

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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!

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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

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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.

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Worcester three deckers. pics:
Rose T.

โ€œFamilies 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,โ€ write McGovern and the lawmakers in their letter.

They continue: โ€œNo 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.โ€

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

โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„โ„

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.

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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.

Sincerely,

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 Workshops๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

Whitney Valentine Card
Valentines…WHM

Valentine Making Workshops

January 6, 13 and 20

๏ปฟ10 AM – 4 PM

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

๏ปฟThank you Veterans!

Howland Valentine (2001.FIA.06.1.8)

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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.

๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ 

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!

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Family Histories – Digitized

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

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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!

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Check out this EXHIBIT before it’s too late!

CITIZEN SOLDIERS: WORCESTER IN WORLD WAR I

… through February 28, 2018

Wonderful ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ speech, Mayor Joe Petty!๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽบ๐ŸŽ‰

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Sex Ed helps… pic: R.T.

Mayor Joseph Petty’s Inaugural
speech โ€“ 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. Itโ€™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 itโ€™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 Governorโ€™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 weโ€™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 cityโ€™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 cityโ€™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 cityโ€™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 cityโ€™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.

Weโ€™re seeing how we can enhance our blue space at Stearns Tavern on Coes Pond and at the Blackstone Gateway Park and the Visitorโ€™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.โ€

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 cityโ€™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 youโ€™ve always known where I stand.

I am proud of our city and I am still proud to be your mayor. Now letโ€™s get to work.

๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ to our souls!๐Ÿ’œ

WPI Fraternity Brothers and WPI Campus Coming Together for Change!

By Daniel Page, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Civil Engineering 2018

โ€œHowโ€™s it looking Robbie?โ€ President Conor Hoey asks Brother Robbie Lederman, this yearโ€™s โ€˜Battle of the Baldโ€™ Event Coordinator.

Thereโ€™s hesitation, anticipation, hopefulness that plans are progressing. โ€œItโ€™s good. Weโ€™ve got a few barbers, weโ€™re calling a few more, weโ€™re still looking to see who we can have there – hopefully Colleges Against Cancer will be there, Phi Kappa Thetaโ€™s all set for their Movember Fundraiser, Sigma Pi wants to make a team, it should be good, weโ€™re getting there.โ€

The whole executive board is gathered around the large mahogany table in the living room of the chapter facility where they hold their biweekly meetings. Everyoneโ€™s ready to make sure this yearโ€™s event goes off without a hitch โ€“ bigger and better than it ever has before.

Say hello to WPIโ€™s Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and its third annual Battle of the Bald event.

The event is part of a nationwide head-shaving competition between colleges, all teaming up to see who can raise the most money for childrenโ€™s cancer research. The proceeds from each event go to the St. Baldrickโ€™s Foundation, the nationโ€™s largest non-profit foundation exclusively supporting pediatric cancer research.

The event was first hosted on WPIโ€™s campus three years ago. The brothers of the Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) felt there was a hole in the fundraising on campus, that there was more that could be done, and they felt they fit the bill.

Thatโ€™s when it all began, says senior Brother Dan Page. โ€œThe house really felt like there was more we could do, like the couple hundred dollars here and there from on-campus fundraising for different causes wasnโ€™t enough. We wanted to do something bigger. We wanted to really make an impact.โ€

The first year SigEp hosted the event, it was modest โ€“ a group of thirty or so brothers, in the common area of a few freshman dorms, shaving each otherโ€™s heads over a tarp on a Tuesday afternoon โ€“ still raising $6,000 nonetheless. After a few years of the same turnout, the fraternity again felt there was more they could do.

โ€œWe really wanted to beef it up, to make it more of a trademark event, something that would extend beyond our house and really involve the whole campus, not just our little corner,โ€ says President Conor Hoey.

So this year the Brotherhood did just that. Planning began months in advance, at the beginning of the calendar year. Brainstorming how to involve other organizations, dedicating a five-member team of passionate brothers, collaborating with other houses on campus to make the event bigger and better than ever before.

And this year those efforts paid off. At WPIโ€™s event more than 60 people braved the shave raising more than $13,000 – making the event the second largest college-hosted event in the nation to date this year.

Four different fraternities came together to make teams to raise money for the event, local barbers from the community volunteered their time to shave participantsโ€™ heads, there were news crews in coverage โ€“ it was truly a celebration of the fight against cancer.

โ€œTo see such a small campus come together to make such a big difference has really been inspiring to everybody,โ€ says Hoey.

It is with that spirit of inspiration and hope that the Brothers of SigEp, and the members of the greater WPI community remember the chilling facts: every two minutes, a child is diagnosed with cancer. One in five of those children wonโ€™t survive. Those who do often suffer long-term effects from treatments too harsh for their developing bodies. These fraternity brothers and members of the WPI campus teamed up with the St. Baldrickโ€™s Foundation in hopes to change this reality, and they still cling to hope that one day the memory of pediatric cancer will be no more than the memory of a bad haircut, trimmed from our minds and swept away forever.

๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต
… Because we listened to this ๐ŸŽต๐ŸŽต when WE were in college๐Ÿซ (UMass Amherst)!!๐Ÿ˜‰

Yeah, 2018! You’re gonna be a stupendous year for animals!๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿ•๐Ÿ…๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ–๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿญ๐Ÿง

Kicking off 2018 with this ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’™ from PETA!

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๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ’ฎ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒท๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

New film can’t whitewash the sordid story: P.T. Barnum exploited animals and humans!

By John Di Leonardo

Make-believe is Hollywood’s stock-in-trade, but the producers of The Greatest Showman are spending $84 million on a lie โ€” that the life of P.T. Barnum, the con man who ushered cruelty to animals in to American circuses, is something to celebrate.

Who are they kidding?

A movie sanitizing Barnum’s sordid legacy won’t fool anyone who cares about animals, and although Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has been consigned to its rightful place in the dustbin of history, other circuses still adhere to the business model that he created more than a century ago: Chaining, caging and beating animals until they perform.

That’s one reason why I won’t go see The Greatest Showman and why I’ll urge my family and friends to skip it, too. The other is that Barnum would stoop to any level to fatten his wallet, including exploiting humans. It was all in a day’s work.

Before waking up to the suffering of nonhuman animals and joining People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, I managed programs for people with developmental disabilities on Long Island, New York. I was drawn to psychology because one of my best friends since kindergarten has cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. We met on the playground one day, when I saw some bullies knock him down and kick sand on him and I made them stop.

Nearly all of my clients had multiple disabilities. Most were autistic, and many also suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or a combination of mental illnesses. In other words, had they lived in a different time, they could have been fodder for P.T. Barnum’s exploitative shows.

Although the movie tells a very different story, P.T. Barnum was more like the playground bully than the hero that Hollywood is making him out to be.

Here’s what didn’t make the final cut: Using the tagline “What is it?” and hyping him as “the connecting link between man and monkey,” Barnum, who also performed in blackface for minstrel shows and exploited African-Americans, exhibited a caged human with microcephaly, in addition to exploiting conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker and even a distant cousin who had dwarfism, General Tom Thumb, who was 25 inches tall and accounted for nearly a quarter of the 82 million tickets that Barnum sold in his lifetime.

He had the same disdain for animals.

After chartering a ship and abducting nine elephants, including a calf, from their families in Sri Lanka, he imprisoned them in the cargo hold for four months.

The elephants got no fresh air, and it was so crowded they couldn’t take a single step in any direction. One elephant reportedly died.

To break their will and make them complacent, handlers shoved a hot poker up their trunks.

Barnum didn’t stop there: He was known to have beaten elephants with sharp, metal-tipped bullhooks until they cried out in pain.

Circuses still use bullhooks today.

Barnum also confined animals to the basement of his New York museum, including two beluga whales who were boiled alive in their tanks alongside other trapped animals during a fire.

P.T. Barnum was no humanitarian, and for a movie to try and portray him as anything other than what he was โ€” a cruel manipulator whose sole motivation was cold, hard cash
โ€” is outrageous.

Don’t buy the lie.

Daddy New Year!

By Rosalie Tirella

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Daddy

When I was a little girl growing up in Green Island, New Year’s Eve was the one holiday my father, “Daddy,” celebrated with my mother and my two kid sisters and me. And Bapy, our Polish immigrant granny!

My father was a rover, an Italian Romeo, who my poor minimum-wage-working mother fell in love with cuz she felt the magic with Daddy (lust!), after dutifully going with a dutiful, church-going Pole from the neighborhood for years. “Stan” had loved her, was romantic: he gave my mother an engagement ring. Heย once took off his coat and laid it over a big mud puddle so my mother could walk on it and not through the puddle!ย  He was a furniture delivery kid for Millbury Furniture on Millbury Street, who went on to become a school teacher.ย 

But “Ma” chose foolishly: she dumped good boy Stan for bad boy Daddy, the hot Mediterranean with killer profile – Daddy’s high, red pompadour (his moniker when he was a kid? “Red”!), his long elegant Roman nose! Swoon-time! – and attitude. Daddy came with the complete bad boy package: a big-boned German German Shepherd dog named Heidi (tougher than the American breed), a big dump truck where Heidi sat in the passenger seat and hard, calloused, workman hands that had caressed many a’ ghetto-girl breasts and hot rod tires, and a true rock n roller outsider stance. Daddy was taciturn, even gruff, kept his demons close to his chest. He didn’t talk to us kids, his children! – or any kids, for that matter.ย What was the point? He was in and out of our lives but always managed to make a pit stop at our Green Island flat when he needed to recover from whatever shit he had stirred up around Worcester.

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Above: one of Daddy’s pitstops; below: Ma’s First Holy Communion pic

I remember: Daddy walking into our Lafayette Street tenement after days or weeks or MONTHS away from home, MIA, looking like the January winds had blown him into our poor flat! His pale hazel eyes red and teary, his now auburn hair wild and swept-up. He had axl grease on his hands and under his fingernails and on the front and back of his blue work shirt. Seeing this junkyard dog of a man, Ma would (to our consternation) … melt!! Like goo. Get all flustered and start running – running!! – to their closet to get Daddy a clean tee shirt, run to another closet to get Daddy a clean white hand towel. And as the Prodigal Daddy washed his dirty face and dirty hands in our kitchen! sink, Ma pulled out the big T Bone steak from the refrigerator (her pretty round ass filling out her snug house coat) she had bought special for Daddy at Supreme Market on Millbury Street. Just for him alone – an entire steak! We kids never got steak! Neither did Ma, who only allowed herself toย  gobble up Daddy’s leftovers – the steak’s “tail” – all fatty – after Daddy had finished eating. I remember seeing her eat the tail end by the kitchen stove, stealthily, her pretty mouth shiny with its fat – only after clearing the TV stand on which she had served Daddy his big meal, in their bedroom,ย where he lounged on their bed, solitary as a lobster. He couldn’t be botheredย with or by his three little girls…. Today I make the same special salad dressing Ma once made for Daddy:ย a saucer of olive oil; add one clove of garlic, finely diced …

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… a teaspoon of vinegar and pinch of salt.ย  Stir with a salad fork and voila!

We kids would stay in the “front” room quietly watching The Carol Burnet Show on our black and white Philco while Daddy feasted on his steak in the bedroom.ย  We were 8 and 7 and 7 (twins) and expected nothing. “Good little soldiers,” as Ma used to call us. We kids, Maย  – and, of course Bapy, who got Daddy’s number from day #1 and hated his guts – had grown accustomed to Daddy’s ways: no birthday gifts on our birthdays, no candy Valentine’s hearts on Valentine’s Day, no Christmas gifts during the holidays. Daddy was a cheapskate who kept his money to and for himself; he had zero interest in making his little girls smile during their birthdays or the holidays.

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Rose went to her aunt and uncle’s house for the best birthday parties; above: her cousins, pre-birthday party sugar-and-salt blast!

Except during New Year’s Eve, a time when something magical stirred in Daddy. For two or so years he was a night watchman at the Worcester Country Club. Night time was his time, and he worked the holidays at the country club for time and a half pay. So… Daddy worked his shift New Year’s Eve and, way past midnight, after watching the club, but also watching (or hearing) Worcester’s well-heeled drink champagne, dance past midnight to a local big band, ring in the New Year with party favors that cranked, whirred, buzzed, twirled and honked… After the big ball room New Year’s countdown, after the big night, after all the Merry makers had departed for their nice homes in Burncoat or the West Side, the ones with big back yards and flowers trimming front lawns, so quiet in the moonlight…only then would Daddy stoop and pick up all the spent favors, the discarded tin foil caps, the popped poppersย on the dance floor and take them home to us. He’d even take the ceiling and wall decorations off their perches! The big tissue paper silver balls and the big crepe-paper New Year’s bells that hung from the country club’s ballroom ceiling were not safe from Daddy’s nimble fingers!… And the big cardboard New Year’s Babies that had hung from the ceilings and had floated above all the dancers and party goers in their top hats and cute diapers, like the champagne bubbles… floating off to happy land… would float right into our third-floor Lafayette Street tenement, in Green Island!

So much fun to hear Ma yell to us: “Look what Daddy brought you from the Country Club!” It was past 3 in the morning but no difference! Ma wanted us up! My two sisters and I jumped out of our beds and, in our pajamas, ran into our big kitchen where Daddy was gingerly placing (on the kitchen floor) our New Year’s treasures. We squealed and picked up the used party favors and streamers and began running in big circles on our big kitchen floor. We took the white big paper bells and lifted them high over our heads into the air and yelled: HAPPY NEW YEAR! We ran with the streamers – our New Year’s Eve’s kites – all over the apartment! I grabbed a big cardboard New Year’s Eve baby! Tomorrow Ma would help me tape my diapered little prince on my bedroom wall!

Ma made sure silly Belle, our English Setter mix …

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Belle!๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

… was on her dog pillow, an old chair cushion bestowed to her by Bapy, her true mistress!, away from all the tinsely temptations!

Daddy’s New Years Eve was as fun to me as another winter tradition in our flat: when Ma hung the laundry to dry in our kitchen! On two long ropes she had strung up from one wall to the opposite one! We were too poor to have a clothes dryer, so Ma always hung our laundry outside on the back porch clothesline. Except for below freezing days like today when she brought the operation indoors and my kid sisters and I would clap our hands and giggle and hug each other as Many hung the big white sheets out to dry. We’d run under them touching them with our hands, our little faces, screaming!, Ma smiling. They smelled so nice, our make-believe snow mountains, drowsy and deep and white in Green Island!

So News Year’s Eve at our house was just as exuberant! Ma smiled as she watched us play and Bapy, sitting in her over-stuffed wooden easy chair at the head of the kitchen table, sipped her cup of Sanka instant coffee and sang a Polish nursery rhyme while tapping our little butts with the palm of her old hand as we ran by her giggling, glitter on the soles of our feet!

Bapy loved music and encouraged us to sing and make joyful noise year ’round! Our house was filled with music 24/7, except for nighttime when we slept. But during the days the radio blared Bapy’s polkas and Ma’s Beatles and Herman’s Hermits and Top 45, Wolfman Jack, baby! On special occasions I cranked up Bapy’s Victrola and played Ma’s old 33s, from when she was a maid in the Bishop’s house in Springfield: Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney …

… The Dorsey Brothers, even Al Jolson! I used to love to belt out, with Al: “Hallelujah, I’m a bum again!!”!

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Rose leading her two-kid band (her sisters) in the big Green Island kitchen!

Come January 2, Daddy was a “bum” again, as Bapy sputtered into her cold Sanka, cursing him in Polish (“Dog’s Blood” spoken in her native tongue sounded deadly). He was gone from the flat, our lives, once more. With feeling. He had made his getaway early in the morning, while we kids were still sleeping, as was his custom, usually around 5:30 a.m. Ma would wake up at 5 to make him his breakfast and fresh coffee. See him off!! My sisters and I got to keep our New Year’s Eve paper regalia, but the bells and streamers now sat crumpled in a corner, on the kitchen floor. Except for my cardboard New Year’s baby which still delighted me and, like I said, Ma would help me tape to my bedroom wall later in the day.

Looking back, I now see that our peripatetic Daddy was almost as poor as we were. Once he was beaten up by a goodfella for a Shrewsbury Street loan shark who didn’t get the dough Daddy had borrowed from him – and still owed him. I remember Daddy coming through our backdoor (of course), sheepishly – so unlike his usual entrances. I remember Ma putting her hand to her mouth, which had fallen open, then running to Daddy to examine his big cauliflower ears…

So, today, I catalog some of the gifts a poor Daddy gave to his poor daughters. At the time, I considered them more his plunder than our gifts, but still… He always placed them on our big kitchen table or big ol’ kitchen floor, like sacred junkyard offerings (when they weren’t too cumbersome):

1. A Frank Sinatra album

2. Two Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons albums (one of them double!)

3. Barbershop equipment – all the mirrors, stand up and wall, which he picked up somewhere in his truck – got paid by the shop owner for hauling them away. I remember running downstairs to see all the mirrors in his truck, glinting in the sun, and helping him lug them all upstairs, to our third floor tenement!

4. A cast iron baker’s rack, which I also helped him lug upstairs! It became my plant and ceramic animal stand. For years!

5. A rusty old Maxwell House Coffee can, filled haphazardly with dirt and in the middle of the dirt: a lovely pink lady slipper, puffy in full bloom! My sisters and I rushed to the old coffee can when Daddy placed it on the kitchen table. We ooohed!! and ahhhed!! at the lovely flower, touching its velvety, prickly hot pink petal. We had never seen a lady slipper in our lives! Not even pictures of them in our school books! I was mesmerized….Daddy had picked it during one of his many walks in the woods up by West Boylston. We didn’t walk in the woods, like our father. And he’d never dream of taking us – especially three GIRLS! – along with him, though I remember one of my sisters, the Tom Boy and his favorite, always pleading with him to accompany him.

I never asked to go along…

And those are all the birthday and holiday gifts my father gave to me and my two sisters. Ma got squat. But she kept her costume jewelry from Springfield, gifts from Stan, in a box lined with purple crushed velvet and wore her twinklers to our schools’ Parent Nights where she was told what good girls she had. And Rosalie! So smart! All A’s again!

My gifts to my mother!

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… I still have a few of Ma’s earrings. She used to let me wear them around the house when I had a cold and was too sick to go to school or play outside. They were a quick pick-me-up! But I never wear them these days – I don’t want to lose them, lose the memory๐Ÿ’œ.

These days, I live in Green Island, again. I see on my old Millbury Street the new old Millbury Street…today’s poor …

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… walking, as once my sisters, mother and I had walked, sometimes trudged, during winter in the inner city: wearing layers of cheap clothing, heads down, heading home with treasures like a bag of bread, a fish sandwich, a scarf or two from friends more comfortably off…And I look up to see the snowman, angel, snowflake or Santa decals pasted to the frozen-shut crap windows above the storefront windows. And my heart flies straight up to meet those windows’ Santa’s and snowflakes! I love them so much – best of all! I see my Green Island childhood in them: poor families making the best of things, making things Merry and Bright in spite of the fact! The decals pasted up by poor kids or their mothers or fathers or their uncles or aunts. Or big brothers, sisters … cousins. No matter! It’s all done with the same love! And hope!

These Green Island Christmas windows will stay decorated through January, and I will look up at them every time I go by them!

Happy New Year’s Eve!

P.S. We remember Maggie Roche, who died this year. ๐Ÿ’œ you, Roche Sisters!