Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Proper care of rabbits



Rescued rabbits!

By Franny McKeever

As a volunteer with the House Rabbit Network, a rabbit rescue organization based in Woburn, Massachusetts, that rescues and adopts out well over a hundred bunnies each year, I have seen the post-easter/spring flood of abandoned bunnies, dumped in various locations after the novelty of a cute bunny wears off and the reality of the care involved sets in.

This flood continues year round.

The luckier ones get rescued and survive.

Domestic bunnies do not belong outside any more than a pet Yorkshire Terrier does. They are not suited or accustomed to extreme temperatures. They are easy prey for a variety of animals. How is a white bunny with black spots going to blend in and hide outdoors? So while some people unthinkingly assume they are giving a bunny it’s freedom others will simply leave the bunny in a box somewhere or worse.

Some bunnies will be left off at shelters to possibly await euthanasia if not adopted soon enough because space is limited.

The problem is that a bunny is treated as a novelty pet, sometimes described as a starter pet.

The truth is a bunny is  high-maintenance pet.  A house rabbit is a pet that requires research and understanding. This is assuming that the person does know that a rabbit is an indoor pet that does not thrive in an outdoor hutch, cowering in the corner near the garage.

A bunny must have time to roam in a bunny proofed area of a home, as a cat or dog would, surrounded by those who love him.

So this is the destiny that awaits a huge population of bunnies, irresponsibly bred by breeders and sold to the public or pet stores, perpetuating this cycle of unwanted rabbits at Easter time and throughout the year. Pet stores advertise young bunnies for easter, often not quite weaned. Even the most experienced vet would have a hard time identifying the gender of these young bunnies and yet they are sold off sometimes in pairs causing yet more unwanted bunnies.  Reckless, but well meaning adults buy these bunnies for their children, who understand even less about interacting and caring for a bunny.

As a prey animal, a rabbit needs to have space to trust that they are safe and should not be bombarded by the high activity of a child. They have fragile bones that can easily break if dropped by a child, who doesn’t know that rabbits don’t really want to be held in the first place, but rather feel safer when their feet are on the ground. Parental supervision is critical with small children.

More knowledge is required in regard to feeding. Rabbits are prone to digestive issues and they can easily develop GI symptoms, which can worsen quickly if not tended to correctly. Therefore dietary understanding is extremely important. Bunnies must have fresh hay at all times and also be correctly fed the right fresh vegetables.  Most treats found in pet stores are not actually good for your rabbit.

Pet store owners and breeders may also neglect to tell you that rabbits must be spayed and neutered at 3-5 months of age to prevent certain cancers as well as make them happy and well behaved house pets.

Otherwise litterbox habits will generally go out the window as bunnies start marking your house up with territorial droppings. There can be personality changes as well. This is very often the time when uneducated bunny owners decide to abandon their bunnies.

Adopters know that you save the cost of this very expensive operation when adopting from a shelter and at the same time give a former Easter bunny or unwanted bunny a home.

So before you consider surprising some family member with a rabbit, take into consideration an entirely bigger picture. Be sure you are totally committed to caring for one of these wonderful and entertaining animals for the next 10-12 years. Take the time to research bunny care and decide if this is really the right pet for you.

A bunny should never be an impulse buy. It is a very affectionate, social but also high-maintenance pet that deserves to be treated respectfully and not as a commodity.

The schedule of Department of Justice hearings on race and Worcester

ALL OF these public hearings are scheduled for:

Mondays ………. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


May 18:

Overview of dialogue process and setting the stage for dialogue

YWCA of Central Massachusetts, 1 Salem Square

June 1:

Representative Government

Quinsigamond Community College, 670 W Boylston St.

June 8:

Public Safety

Belmont AME Zion Church, 55 Illinois St.

June 15:

Youth and Education

Worcester Technical High School, 1 Skyline Drive (tentative)

June 22:

Media and Online Social Networks

JCC – Jewish Community Center, 633 Salisbury St.

June 29:

Economic Development

Friendly House, 36 Wall St.

July 13:

Report back and next steps

Worcester City Hall, 455 Main St.


SPEAK UP! Speak out!!

For more information, contact humanrights@worcesterma.gov or call 508-799-1152.

Downtown Worcester unfolding …


Monday, April 27, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern will join representatives from New Garden Park (NGP), the 501(c)3 entity of the Worcester Business Development Corporation (WBDC), Worcester State University (WSU), and state and local officials to officially open the Innovation Center of Worcester at 20 Franklin St., in downtown Worcester.

What:   U.S. Representative Jim McGovern to Join Local Officials to Celebrate Launch of Innovation Center

When: Monday, April 27

9 am – 10 am

Where: 20 Franklin Street, Worcester

Be there!

All-you-can-eat ice cream festival June 2, 3 and 4

33rd annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl!

BOSTON – The 33rd annual Jimmy Fund Scooper Bowl® presented by Walgreens will take place at Boston’s City Hall Plaza on June 2, 3 and 4

noon to 8 p.m.

Dozens of flavors will be served by top ice cream and frozen yogurt companies, including: Baskin-Robbins, Ben & Jerry’s, Friendly’s and more.

The Scooper Bowl – the nation’s largest all-you-can-eat ice cream festival – will be held rain or shine.

All proceeds support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Since its inception in 1983 the Scooper Bowl has raised more than $4.5 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and care.

Scooper Bowl general admission is $10, $5 for children ages 3-9, and free for children under three. A three-day Scooper pass is $20.

Tickets are available online at www.scooperbowl.org and also at the door.

Main South: Clark University’s Relay for Life raises $16,000

On April 10-11, Clarkies Against Cancer held their annual Relay for Life event on the Clark campus in the Kneller Athletic Center.

Approximately 200 people participated and raised $16,000 for the cause.

In many ways, the event mirrored Relays of the past, only this year, the organizers and participants made a concerted effort to remember a very special young woman who was one of the reasons the event is held here in the first place.

On March 2, Cassandra McCann (Class of 2011), a passionate and devoted cancer crusader who, along with her friend Emily Corbett, brought Relay to the Clark campus in 2009, lost her own battle with a gastrointestinal cancer.

Clark senior Emma Weiner, current president of the student organization, made sure McCann’s spirit was celebrated and remembered this year.

The Relay Committee and club officers promoted the event. Friends and fellow alumni Rose Kamsler and Rachel Monge (both Class of 2013) who chaired the Relay in 2013, spoke about Cassandra during the Luminaria ceremony that evening. Kamsler even created a video from photos of McCann’s undergraduate years.

“I am happy we were able to do something meaningful for Cassandra and all of her loved ones, to show that we still care so much about the club she brought to Clark and the cause that she fought ‘til the very end,” said Weiner.

Maureen Hession, managerial secretary in Clark’s Philosophy Department, was a friend of McCann’s and shared an office with her when she served as a work study in the department.

“Cassandra landed her dream job in the film industry in Los Angeles in October 2013.  She was on her way to stardom, when, in December of 2013, she learned she had stomach cancer,” she said. Hession hung on to hope that Cassandra would win her battle, and was devastated to learn her cancer was terminal.

“I prayed and prayed that Cassandra would prove them wrong.  I guess God had other plans for our sweet Cassandra.  Now, we are left trying to learn acceptance.  My heart will mend but it will always have a scar on it for our dear Cassandra.  She was a beauty; the world lost an angel,” said Hession.

When it came to raising funds to fight cancer, Hession said “Cassandra was relentless in her mission to raise funds for Relay.”

The American Cancer Society created a special plaque to recognize Cassandra’s devotion to Relay. It will hang in Beck House where she spent many hours as an undergraduate.

“She made her mark here in Philosophy and we are forever blessed to have known her.  It is still so hard to think that she is gone.  Gone but never forgotten!” said Hession.

Clark alumnus Yannah Preta, who also served as a work study with Cassandra, was one of several Clark alumni who returned to campus to participate in the event in memory of her friend. And, as in previous years, Clark undergraduates embraced and supported the event.

“Cassandra’s passion for Relay for Life and [for] participating in the Clark community really inspired us,” said Clark sophomore Roisin Henry, team leader for the Outing Club Team.

Even though the theme of this year’s Relay was “games” and in spite of the fact that there were ample opportunities to socialize and have fun at the event, Henry said Relay was a solemn event.

“There were lots of tough moments but they were made a little easier surrounded by so many awesome and compassionate Clarkies,” said Henry.

Worcester’s DCU center and animal cruelty

January 29, 2015


It’s a shame that organizers of the Kids Fun Fair and Zoo [at the DCU center] are offering camel and elephant rides.  Such cruel animal exploitation should be condemned, not condoned.

Elephants forced to give rides are controlled through fear.

Elephants obey or know they will be hit with bullhooks, heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on the end – picture getting whacked with a fireplace poker.

Handlers strike elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies – behind the ears, their face and feet.

If we look at what life on the road means to elephants compared to their place in nature, we can see how far we have degraded these complex and keenly intelligent animals.

There is nothing more important to an elephant than family. Births are joyous celebrations; deaths of loved ones are mourned. Youngsters are nurtured in close-knit family units in which aunts babysit, grandmothers teach youngsters life skills such as how to use different kinds of leaves and mud to ward off sunburn, and siblings roughhouse and play.

Elephants have the largest brains of any mammal on Earth and think, plan and remember. Elephants truly never do forget; their memories are extraordinary.

Young camels used to provide rides are often ripped from their nurturing mothers when they are only days old so they can get “used to” public contact.

Camels are naturally free-roaming animals and fare very poorly when kept continuously in transport trailers and small pens. They can be skittish and unpredictable.

Both Bactrian and Dromedary camels have a poor tolerance for rough handling. This presents a potentially hazardous situation for both the riders and the animals.

Please think about the poor quality of life for these animals, who are hauled around in trucks and forced to plod in endless circles all day long.

There’s little respite between events, and when not working, they spend their lives in cages and chains.

Renting animals out for rides does nothing to foster respect. Children learn that animals can be exploited for their fleeting distraction and amusement.

The Kids Fun Fair and Zoo should stop supporting cruel animal displays.

Yours truly,

Jennifer O’Connor
Senior Writer
PETA Foundation
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

From the editor:

PLEASE BOYCOTT THIS DCU EVENT! Exotic animals NEVER BELONG IN TRAVELING “SHOWS”!   To be EXPLOITED, WHIPPED, HAVE THEIR SKIN TORN BY BULLHOOKS! Please!  Don’t take your kids to this “fun” event.      – R. Tirella

Ending child poverty in America

From The New York Times.

“… surely we can all agree that no child, once born, should suffer through poverty. Surely we can all agree that working to end child poverty — or at least severely reduce it — is a moral obligation of a civilized society.

“And yet, 14.7 million children in this country are poor, and 6.5 million of them are extremely poor (living below half the poverty line).

“Today, the Children’s Defense Fund is releasing a report entitled “Ending Child Poverty Now” that calls this country’s rate of child poverty “a moral disgrace.” ” …

CLICK HERE to read entire column.

Vernon Hill: 2015 events at Stanley Kunitz house

By Carol Stockmal, Owner & Curator, Stanley Kunitz boyhood home

Happy New Year! 2015 promises to be another rewarding and creative year at 4 Woodford St.

Did you know?

Poet Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006) was born in Worcester and went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal of Arts, and to become Poet Laureate of the United States (1974,

Stanley Kunitz lived at 4 Woodford Street from 1919 until 1925. Powerful memories from this time found their way into his poems, several of which directly reference the house, garden and the surrounding neighborhood. When he walked into our home after a 60 year absence, he wrote, “There was no mistaking, the moment I stepped inside, that this was indeed the house of my childhood, the one I still dream about.”

In 2009, Clark University Archives and Special Collections accepted The Stanley Kunitz-Stockmal Collection of correspondence, memorabilia and ephemera, which documents our twenty-year friendship.

4 Woodford Street was designated as a Literary LandmarkTM in 2010 by the American Library Association.

Between June 1st and September 30th, my home is open for free, one hour docent-led tours, which can be arranged by appointment.

Groups can learn about Stanley Kunitz’s life and poems, as well as see early 20th century architecture and furnishings. Tours can be tailored to the interests of your group.

During 2015, I will host several events at 4 Woodford Street that honor the legacies of Stanley Kunitz and my husband, Greg Stockmal. All events are co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

Season Three of the Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home Summer Writing Series

The series has been scheduled for June 13th, July 11th, August 15th, and September 12th. Look for complete details in April.

The Annual Open House on Sunday, September 20th will offer five house tours, an open mic and refreshments.
I look forward to personally welcoming you into my home to honor the poetry of Stanley Kunitz.

For more information go to http://kunitzhome.org