Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Overweight people, overweight pets

CAM00827-1Jett got lots of doggy snacks for Christmas, and he indulges, like I do, when we’re on the road! Now we’ve both got little pot bellies that “weigh” us down!     – R.T.

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

As many of us begin to make good on our New Year’s Resolutions to get in better shape by exercising more and losing weight, let’s not forget that our animal companions may be fighting the battle of the bulge, too.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight or obese. Even if your furry family member isn’t tipping the scales, he or she could probably benefit from moving more—and January is a good time to get started on healthier exercise habits.

Just as humans do, dogs and cats need daily exercise to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity lowers an animal’s quality of life and can lead to serious health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Being fat can shorten an animal’s life by years.

Walks are vital to dogs’ happiness and well-being—and January happens to be National Walk Your Dog Month. Daily strolls help dogs burn off excess fat and energy, and the outings provide dogs with mental stimulation through investigating new smells, sights and sounds. For friendly and outgoing dogs, meeting new humans and dogs along the way is also a welcome social activity. And of course, walks are good exercise for the one holding the leash, too.

Dogs need exercise even when the weather outside is frightful. A warm sweater or coat will help keep short-haired, young, elderly and small dogs comfortable, and boots can help protect dogs’ feet from snow, ice and snow-melting chemicals. In very cold temperatures, opt for multiple short walks instead of long ones and take your dog indoors immediately if he or she starts shivering. Always wipe off dogs’ legs, feet and undersides once they’re indoors, because salt and other chemicals can sicken animals who ingest or absorb them.

Make walks enjoyable for your dog by using a comfortable nylon harness (never a painful choke or prong collar) and letting your pup stop and sniff the “news” on the trees, bushes and fire hydrants. Put away your cell phone, remove your ear buds and pay attention so that you don’t accidentally jerk your dog along.

In addition to walks, many dogs love to chase Frisbees or balls in a fenced area, romp with other dogs at a dog park or swim at the beach or in a pool, but this should only be done under your constant supervision.

Cats are safest and healthiest when they live indoors with their human families, but they can enjoy fresh air and exercise outdoors under supervision in a securely fenced yard or walked on a leash with a harness.

There are plenty of ways to give your kitty indoor exercise, too. Multistory cat trees with scratching posts and perches encourage cats to jump, climb and stretch. Interactive toys that you bring to “life” by dangling and dragging them along the floor or furniture—such as the Cat Dancer and Cat Charmer—will get your cat’s heart and mind racing.

Many cats love to chase after laser pointer lights or flashlight beams—just be sure never to shine the light into your cat’s eyes. And you should always give him or her a “real” toy to bite and scratch afterward. Motorized “mice” are big hits, too.

Toys don’t have to be expensive or complicated. Rolled-up balls of paper and empty boxes or paper bags (with the handles removed) can provide hours of heart-pounding feline entertainment. To keep your cat interested, rotate toys weekly and sprinkle them with fresh catnip.

Taking the time to walk and play with our animal companions every day will help them be their healthiest and happiest—and it will do our own hearts good, too.

ACLU extends Worcester police documentation initiative

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts today announced an extension of its police documentation initiative in Worcester.

As part of ongoing ACLU work on police practices across the Commonwealth, the Worcester initiative will now include street outreach as well as several listening sessions to be held throughout Worcester, at which residents will be invited to share their experiences of encounters with the Worcester Police Department.

The ACLU will hold the first listening session this Saturday, January 17th, from 12-3pm, at Stone Soup, 4 King Street in Worcester.

The ACLU of Massachusetts documentation project will also allow area residents to describe their experiences trying to report issues to the WPD’s Bureau of Professional Standards.

Submitting documentation takes just a few minutes, and the identities of participants can be kept anonymous.

The ACLU of Massachusetts plans to release aggregate data about complaints against Worcester police later in 2015.

“Though we have been hearing complaints about a serious and ongoing problem with misconduct and abusive police practices in the Worcester Police Department for years, I expect that this additional documentation will tell us some new things,” said Chris Robarge, the Central Massachusetts Field Coordinator operating out of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ Worcester office. “It may also corroborate concerns that the WPD’s self-investigation and citizen complaint processes are woefully inadequate.

“Contrary to assertions by [Worcester Police] Chief Gemme that Worcester residents only began to complain about police misconduct to the ACLU and others after national controversy flared, for over a decade we have received citizen complaints about the Worcester Police Department nearly every day. We want anyone who feels that they cannot go to the Worcester police with a complaint, or that doing so will do no good, to know that they can come to us.”

The ACLU police documentation initiative comes in the context of a variety of complaints of Worcester police misconduct, as well as a lack of transparency and accountability.

Last year, a Worcester jury in federal district court awarded $15,000 to Wakeelah Cocroft, finding that Worcester Police Officer Jeremy Smith violated her Fourth Amendment rights and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act. A number of local media outlets have also fought to obtain copies of public records pertaining to the Worcester Police Department, including many about complaints of WPD misconduct.

For more information about Wakeelah Cocroft, go to:

Did you know gal pal Jolleen sells only CRUELTY-FREE …


… hair care products at her hair salon SHEAR DIMENSION in Quinsig Village? Jolleen – a lovely person inside and outside! – adopted one of my homeless kittens for her daughter’s second birthday! She cares about animals and Mother Earth. She believes getting beautiful tresses doesn’t have to entail cruel tests on rabbits jammed into cages. She sells only cruelty-free hair care products, including an array of Paul Mitchell goodies. The Paul Mitchell company is as progressive as companies get! Their shampoos, conditioners, etc are gentle but do the job! (and they all have such soothing fragrances!)

Stop by Shear Dimension today and talk with Jolleen. She’s got a new PM color-enhancing line she’d like to show you! 

Plus she’s got a great 50% off coupon for you (see details below).

Visit Jolleen today at 347 Greenwood St. to use your SHEAR DIMENSION GROUPON COUPON

…  or call 508.799.2051 for more info!

– R.T.

From hair-care pro, Jolleen:

“Products for winter dryness:

“Ultimate color Repair – made with Quinoa

“Instant Moisture – made with jojoba oil and wheat protein

“With my GROUPON coupon you get half off shampoo, condition and optional color, high lights or Keratin treatment.” 

CLICK HERE for 50% OFF coupon!

The Worcester City Council and its ping-pong-ball sized balls

By Gordon T. Davis

Once hidden or papered over, the open conflict of the duties of the Worcester Police Department, the policy obligations of the Worcester City Council, and the demographic changes in Worcester will be like an open sore for all to see at tonight’s – January 13 – Worcester City Council meeting (7 p.m., City Hall, Main Street).

The Worcester City Council will pass a resolution supporting the Worcester Police absolutely and attacking the growing number of people, especially the so called minorities, who protested against police misconduct in Ferguson, Missouri, and in Worcester.

It is a foregone conclusion that the resolution written by Worcester City Councillor Konstantina (Konnie) Lukes will pass unchanged, its tone still provocative. There were some who thought City Councillor Ric Rushton would revise Luke’s resolution so it would be less provocative and leave open the door for dialog.

Many people are angry, disappointed, and feel betrayed by the actions of the Worcester City Council. Not one City Councillor has said that he/she will vote against the resolution tonight.

There is discussion among the opponents of the resolution about how to respond to what we consider another in a long line of racist disparities disguised as neutral policy.

Communities United is planning a MLK Potluck Dinner on January 19 to win support for their efforts and to reclaim the passion of Martin Luther King Jr. and infuse it into a new civil rights movement.

Communities United and others have taken a lead in the protests at City Council.  Their efforts have put the City somewhat on the defensive. Worcester Police Chief Gary Gemme has come out in the press with a “Black on Black” news story. The number of shootings in Worcester has increased. The statistics and the police’s policy is hard to know, as the City Council has no policy regarding the police actions and Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus is mum, pretty much letting Chief Gemme do as he sees fit. This issue should be addressed, but the fact that it came out hours before the City Council meeting is evidence of its pretext.

The Police Department has put the pressure on the City Council by alleging that the delay of Councillor Lukes’ resolution has caused morale problems among the ranks.

City Manager Augustus, who is the supposed boss of the police, is nowhere to be found on these issues.  How is it possible the Police Chief can speak for the City department and the City Manager says nothing?

Evidence of racism disguised as neutral policy has been the elections of Councilors. No male person of color has been elected to the Worcester City Council in my almost 50 years living in Worcester as an adult! Lenny Cooper, Bill Coleman, Juan Gomez could not get elected, although Juan Gomez was appointed when a councillor resigned.  Women of color have been able to win elections and their elections are well deserved.

2015 is a City Council election year and no one councilor wants to be seen soft on crime. The City’s demographics are changing. We shall see who votes against Luke’s resolution tonight and his/her fate in the fall elections. Playing the neutral, non-racism card seems to be getting harder to do in Worcester.

Today! WPD on prostitution

Worcester City Hall, Main Street

Levi Lincoln Room

5:30 p.m.

Joint Meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women & the Human Rights Commission

Join us for a discussion with the Worcester Police Department on prostitution.


The Worcester Community Action Council is offering….


HiSET Classes (formerly known as GED)

Classes begin immediately!

484 Main Street, 2nd floor, Worcester

For more information, call 508-754-1176 x146 or 181



Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc. announces it is accepting applications from Veterans, Active Duty Military and Gold Star Families for 2 Homeownership opportunities through its Project Homefront Initiative, a collaborative effort to recognize the significant contributions made by men and women in the armed services.

12B Beach Street in Millbury

31 Blithewood Avenue Unit 205 in Worcester

For more information or to apply, please contact Olivia Cepeda at 508-799-0322 or ocepeda@wchr.org   or visit www.wchr.org

Make Valentine’s at the Worcester Public Library and GBV branch with the Worcester Historical Museum!


Tomorrow and Thursday!

Come to one of the Worcester Historical Museum’s Valentine-making workshops and learn about historic Worcester Valentine styles and techniques!

Get a chance to make your own Valentine to enter into the museum’s Valentine Contest or make cards for family and friends!

Parents, bring kids in grades 3 – 6

Wed., January 14

4 pm – Children’s Room, Main Library at Salem Square


Thursday, January 15

4 pm – Great Brook Valley Branch Library

For more information, please call 508.799.1671


The Worcester Public Library offers hundreds of FREE workshops for adults and kids! All year long! At all its branches! Craft classes, language classes, career workshops, computer workshops! Plus movies, reading groups, puppet shows, etc. FREE! Fun for the whole family!

For more information go to their EVENTS PAGE on their website worcpublib.org or … CLICK HERE 

“Orange Is the New Black” star Uzo Aduba running 2015 Boston Marathon® to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Boston-area native joins Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to raise funds for cancer research

BOSTON — Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actress Uzo Aduba will run the 119th Boston Marathon® on Monday, April 20, as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team to support cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

A Medfield native, Aduba is best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” (2013-present), for which she won the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

Aduba will join more than 500 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates from across the United States and the world to run the historic route from Hopkinton to Boston, with a goal of raising $5.2 million for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber.

“Running the Boston Marathon has been a lifelong dream, and I am proud to be supporting Dana-Farber as I make this dream come true on April 20,” said Aduba. “As someone who grew up outside of Boston, I’ve always respected Dana-Farber’s groundbreaking work in cancer research. I’m honored to be a member of their team, helping to raise money to further this work so that one day we may all live in a world without cancer.”

This year marks the 26th annual running of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. One hundred percent of the money raised by the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team funds Dana-Farber’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research. The Barr Program supports cornerstone science research in its earliest stages, providing researchers with critical resources to test their leading-edge ideas. Findings from Barr Program research can provide the results necessary to seek additional federal funding as well as novel clinical insights. Since its inception in 1990, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $69 million for the Barr Program.

“We are thrilled to welcome Uzo Aduba to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge this season,” said Jan Ross, senior director of Running Programs at Dana-Farber. “It’s an honor to count Uzo as one of our dedicated DFMC teammates who commit to making a difference by supporting cancer research at Dana-Farber.”

Dana-Farber was among the first charity organizations to be recognized by the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), which organizes the Boston Marathon. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team offers its members extensive fundraising support, training guidance from 1976 Boston Marathon men’s champion Jack Fultz, and team training runs, plus volunteer opportunities for non-runners. Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners who are not time-qualified for the Boston Marathon receive an invitational entry into the race.

Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners include cancer survivors and patients, and family and friends of those who have been affected by cancer. Runners of all abilities participate with the goal to help put an end to cancer.

To contribute to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, go online to www.RunDFMC.org or contact the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge office at 617-632-1970 or dfmc@dfci.harvard.edu. 

The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is one of multiple ways runners can support the lifesaving mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  Participants can run on the official Dana-Farber team in the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. 5K, the Falmouth Road Race, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon, or run in any race, of any distance, in any city, while raising funds for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.  For more information visit RunDanaFarber.org. 

About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is world-renowned for its leadership in adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), it is one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of NCI and National Institutes of Health grant funding. www.dana-farber.org