Tag Archives: Piedmont neighborhood

An amazing Festival Celebrating Black Culture!❤ … Plus, a block party in Piedmont!💗

Parlee for Rosalie
Our Parlee!🌺🌺🌺🌺

By Parlee Jones

There are plenty of ways to celebrate this summer here in Worcester at Institute Park, along with all the other festivities throughout our city. Hope to see you around the town!!! Peace and Blessings!

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Beats & BarBeCue: Hip Hop and Food Festival

Hosted by Boom Bap Heroes

Saturday, May 20

Institute Park

12 pm to 6 pm.

This is the first year for the Beats & BarBeCue Crew to do their things. Lead by a young brother named Cyrus whose inspiration came from the Brooklyn HipHop Festival founded by one of his idols, Wes Jackson. “I loved the aesthetic and the positive vibe of everything. I told myself that I’d love to bring something like that to my city.” And he has.

The Inaugural Beats & Barbecue: Hip-Hop Music and Food Festival is upon us! This event is sure to be the livest grass roots Hip-Hop Festival in the Northeast. Modeled after the “Park Jam,” Beats & Barbecue marks a return to the essence of Hip-Hop. Aside from the incredible live performances, a multitude of Food Vendors will be on deck. Between the #GoodMusic and the #GoodFood, this event will be EPIC.

Headlining Beats & Barbecue will be none other than Kanye West protege, and GOOD Music/Sony recording artist, Cyhi The Prynce. With the forthcoming release of his debut studio album, No Dope On Sundays (dropping Summer 2017), CyHi is ready to take the game by storm, and we are honored to be a part of his campaign to reinstate the realness back into the culture.

Co-headlining the event is the young prodigy, Ralph Weah performing songs off of his EP, Noise. Rounding out the Festival line up are other MC’s such as : Ghost of the Machine, Qwan?, Danny Fantom, C.Rose, and TyShawn Dion, as well Producers such as: Cyrus Tha Great, TROX, Asethic Beatz, G-Whiz, Motif Alumni & Kas & DJ Manipulator.

Tunes Spun by DJ Prince AKA Wifi OG. Hosted by SPNDA
Beats & Barbecue will be an event for the ages, so #PullUp!

If you are interested in vending or volunteering please reach out to cyglobaltv@gmail.com .

Cyrus says, “People can expect a great hip-hop show, with positive vibes. This will be the first of it’s kind in the city!” Our city!! I hope you will come out and support this brother and his vision!! Sounds like a good time. There is a fee to get into this festival. $10 in advance and $15 the day of. Rain or Shine Event.

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/582744161928681/

💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙💙

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The Worcester 4th Memorial Day Block Party

Sunday, May 28

2 pm to 9 pm

Mason & Winfield Streets near Suney’s Pub (Chandler Street)

Free food and games for the kids

Refreshment and Grilled Food on Sale for the adults

Music by Storm International, Urban Fire, Black Knight, Satalite and Jack Frost.

Sponsored by WCACA, FLAVA Radio, BKE and Eddie’s Plaza. Hosted by BKE, Suney’s and Flava Radio.

“Saint Dorrie”!👼🌷

By Rosalie Tirella

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photos by Rosalie Tirella

Today, Palm Sunday, as I watched my pets play with each other, I thought of my Worcester gal pal Dorrie Maynard. Not because Dorrie had justed gifted my brats with the dog and kitty snacks they love so dearly, but because it is day #1 of Holy Week – the week before Easter – and Dorrie is, for me, the Easter Story told in 2017.

Let me begin at the beginning: When I first started InCity Times💗💗💗 years ago (can you believe it?!💗), I hit Highland Street in search of advertisers for my brandy new feisty rag. Back then Highland Street was THE artsy, sophisticated, cool, student hot spot of Worcester – a kaleidoscope of restaurants (high- and low-priced, classic and ethnic), funky shops, artist nooks, WPI and Becker student hangouts. I walked into each arresting store determined to sell some of the biz owners ads for my paper. Jewelry, clothing, futons, clam chowder, books, brunch, artists’ prints, bottles of wine … A stroll down just two blocks of Higland Street and you could procure it all! The businesses belonged in ICT!

Back then, Dorrie owned and ran the street’s funky vintage clothing and decor store – Treasures Unlimited. She had bought the little shop on the corner when it was the iconic Shakey Jake’s (as a college grad I used to go to Shakey’s for 1950 vintage boy shirts!) and kept the magic flowing as the new proprietor.  Dorrie re-christened the space and brought her own artistic eyes and sensibilities to her biz: display cases, choice of goods, etc. It was  all so  beautiful!  I loved to visit Dorrie just to see her new arrivals and displays!

At this time, when I first got to know her, Dorrie was at her peak gorgeousness: model-tall, willowy, beautiful face, soft blond hair … the kind of woman lots of women fear because of all that blatant loveliness. And let’s be honest: lots of  beautiful women  are off-putting/can be competitive, manipulative, narcissistic … . Once people get to know them, they hit the road, despite the Venus vibes!

Dorrie was the opposite. She was a goddess wrapped in hard-won truths and down-to-earthness.  A regular person: hard-working, real, open, thoughtful, honest, no games. Never games! I could talk about anything with Dorrie  – discuss family, men, personal challenges … and learn that I was not alone in my disappointments and victories. Life had been rough for Dorrie, starting in Rochester, New York, where she was born and raised, and yet here she was, on Highland Steet, awesome in every way. I immediately glommed on to Dorrie! (and her pals and little dog that she rescued and brought to the shop every day – always adorned in teeny silk scarf collars). Being a good woman who wanted to help out another good woman and maybe give her own biz an extra boost, Dorrie took out ads in ICT. Truth be told, I would have given the space away to Dorrie, so enamored of this cool chick was I.

So every couple of weeks, I’d traipse down funky Highland Street to visit and sell ads to my funky biz pals: the cool Tom Cat at Wormtown Trading (miss you/love you, Tom Cat!💚), the elegant and perfect Elizabeth of the Futon Company (ditto, Elizabeth!💚) and vintage artiste Dorrie Maynard.

Over the first year or two of our friendship I figured out Dorrie had some writerly gifts – and I wanted her to share them with ICT readers. I decided to take her under my zippy writer wings – nurture her talent as she had nurtured my biz.

Dorrie began writing InCity Times columns and then penned a cover story that really knocked my socks off: Dorrie getting pregnant as a kid and deciding to give her baby up for adoption. Then, years later, reconnecting with her son. Dorrie’s baby was all grown up! – and now he was looking for his birth Mom. Dorrie opened her home to her long lost son and shared the whole experience, honestly and gracefully,  with ICT readers.  Our troops loved the read! My respect for Dorrie blossomed.

Then we had a fight. I forget what it was about! It happened about seven years ago…I think it had something to do with dogs and cats and animal shelters. New to social media, Dorrie figured screw InCity Times, FB would be enough.

Obviously, it wasn’t because she’s back in the ICT fold writing good stuff. Animals, of course, brought us together again! About a half year ago – I forget who called whom – but we began to talk about Dorrie’s latest urban endeavor – feeding the cats and dogs of the homeless, very poor, even drug-addicted of Woo.

I was fascinated! Dorrie was always great but she was never Mother Theresa. She was not the homeless population’s biggest champion. When she owned Treasures Unlimited she felt they brought Highland Street down, took a bite out of business and street attractiveness. And, I’ll be honest, Dorrie could be a bit of a party gal and, because she was so damned pretty, guys painted the town with her – always on their dime. Once, home from a trip to Las Vegas with her latest beau, she showed me a photo of herself go-go dancing in a huge cage. The red lights shining on the mini-skirted Dorrie looked lurid. Her go go boots were not thigh high but they may as well have been.

I never judged my friend because, like me, she was looking for true love. Just in all the shitty places.

Right before our fight, Dorrie had just been dumped by the guy I think she truly truly loved and wanted to marry: “Fred” a hippy carpenter/architecture maven. THE ONE. Tall, lanky, thick black hair that framed his lean handsome face and made me go: WHOA!!!!! every time I saw him. Fred was movie star hot. I once spied the two love birds talking together, leaning on the big farmers table in Dorrie’s kitchen: the lust and love between them were palpable. They looked so beautiful together!

I drove away thinking: She found THE guy. I was so happy for my friend! Then Fred fell in love with Dorrie’s best friend – get this – at a party Dorrie threw in her own home.

Oh, shit, I thought to myself when Dorrie told me the horrible news. Dorrie is deep and sensitive. I hoped she wouldn’t do anything crazy and rash the way I would…

She did: To make a long story short, Dorrie fell into about a half million$$ in cash and assets and quit her job and … well, the whole fucking shebang. She drowned her heartache in global travels! She hung out in Paris and  Italy – alone or with a gal pal – where she drank the best champagne, slept in the finest hotels. Art. Food. The world was her oyster. For three years.

Then the half million$$ ran out – heart broken Dorrie burned through it all – to kill her heartache. Only she didn’t – she came home and now had nothing: no life with the dreamy Fred, no business, no future plans…no happiness. All that money, all those great cities with iconic architecture and amazing grub hadn’t made her happy!

Then, back living at her big wonderful Victorian home off Highland Street, no longer the busy owner of Treasures Unlimited, she adopted a couple of street pups – teenie toy dogs with runny eyes and matted fur. She also, a lapsed Catholic, made her way to St. Paul’s cathedral downtown. To help hand out food to the poor. She then hooked up with Abby’s House – a  women’s shelter – and worked miracles with their thrift store. Made it sparkle! Just like Treasures Unlimited – all proceeds going to homeless women!

Dorrie began to feel happy again. Her life grew … meaningful. She began to work more closely with the homeless and the hungry. An animal lover, she began to work wth local animal shelters…Today her paid job is at Abby’s House where she serves homeless women. Then after work she drives all over the city of Worcester giving out free pet food and pet supplies to Woo’s neediest and most downtrodden. Many of them homeless or on the edge of homeless – still good dog and cat owners.

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Dorrie in her SUV loaded to the roof with pet food and supplies … and love.

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Dorrie outside the Mustard Seed in Piedmont, giving out free pet food and other goodies to the poor.

As a super dedicated volunteer of Central Mass Kibble Kitchen Dorrie dives into the ‘hood to hand out pet food to the high, the lost, the struggling, the working poor – anyone who owns a pet and needs food for their “baby.” Through her weekly pet stops at the Mustard Seed soup kitchen in Piedmont and the St. John’s church food distribution center on Temple Street, Dorrie has come to know and love hundreds of Worcester street and poor people – and their pets. They make her smile. She brings them joy. I have never seen my pal so happy and fullfilled! Some of her Kibble Kitchen “customers”:

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Last week I spent an afternoon with Dorrie volunteering outside the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street…

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I saw the whole Dorrie Kibble Connection scene: the despair, the joy, the greed, the thankfulness, the crappy three deckers, the skinny men and women, the pale little kids, the strung out, the faces flushed from booze – or the cold, the tentativeness of men without jobs, family, home; the women in bedroom slippers and the happy pups who came out with their owners, trotted down Piedmont Street, little happy wiggle butts, to get their dog treats and new chew toys. The angry became less bellicose as soon as they saw Dorrie. Hello, Mama! tney said to her, cueing up for the pet food and supplies at the back of Dorrie’s big SUV – stuffed to the gills with bags of dog and cat food and pet supplies.

A few “customers” took too much stuff. But most were wonderful – took just the right amount of stuff: 5 cans of cat food for their cat, a small bag of dog chow for their small terrier mix, a harness for their pit bull, a collar for their princess pup…Dorrie’s love for these people and their pets, the elegant way she treated each and every one of her “customers” and the respect they showed her, was an inspiring sight to see in the ‘hood where so much sorrow and violence lurks. Tne good manners, the thank you’s, Dorrie’s love mixed with her saleswoman know-how. The little niceties provided by Dorrie. The little special touches. Here on Piedmont Street, with the police cruisers driving by!

Rose to Dorrie: You are blowing my mind, girl!! It’s like you’re running Treasures Unlimited in the ghetto! Aren’t you afraid someone is gonna pull a knife? One bad apple high on drugs, with a gun?

Dorrie to Rose: Rose a few of them are high on K. I swear sometimes I go home high just from standing next to them! It’s the K. But it is OK.

Rose: What the hell is K? My God, Dorrie, who are you?! … What if something bad happens?

Dorrie: No… I’m safe. They’d protect me. They love me. I give them what they need. And I give them the extras. They call me Mama – it’s a sign of respect…

Dorrie was right. After spending an afternoon outside the Mustard Seeed with her, watching her fit Chihuahuas with collars, give huge rawhide bones to families with pitbulls, talk about the fussy eating habits of one person’s cat, ask one lady how her pregnancy is going, give another lady a beautiful bed spread special for her – taken off Dorrie’s very own bed!!…

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…listening to all the polite THANK YOU, DORRIE!s, SEE YOU NEXT WEEK, MAMA!s I became convinced that no harm will ever come to Dorrie on this inner-city street – a street rife with guns and heroin and people on the edge.

Jesus said: Love the dispossessed! … The first shall be last! And the last shall be first! …And the criminal and the homeless and the crazy and the downtrodden followed Jesus, and they loved and trusted him and talked of their worlds of pain and cried to be cured and Jesus made them well again and they threw palm fronds before the hooves of the mule on which he rode into tneir town preaching the Good News, a new way to live…LOVE ….that was/is the answer.

Jesus came to them for them and their histories and stories. Jesus offered them hope and compassion. Knew their lives were hard but didn’t play the blame game like society did. HE LOVED THEM. AND CAME FOR THEM. TO SOOTHE THEIR WANTING AND  PAIN. Just like Dorrie does in Piedmont and on Temple Street …

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… Dorrie is up to her neck in suffering…She is digging in her SUV (KIBBLE KITCHEN, a 501 C nonprofit, NEEDS A VAN!) for love, a big bag of high protein dog kibble!  For one man’s pit bull – he always gives her a little gift back! – an old dog collar his pit bull has outgrown, a box of Entemann’s chocolate chip cookies. Dorrie loves their gifts. I see Dorrie’s smile, I see tne joy spread over her face! Her love radiates out of her finger tips and the points of her running sneaks!

I tell her as she digs in her van for bags of cat food and three cans of special cat food for some lady who lives in the hood – she brought an old empty baby carriage to load up – Dorrie, I don’t understand! You’ve changed! In such a big, deep way! In a way I can’t understand! But it is AWESOME!

Still, I am made slightly uncomfortable by the people outside the Mustard Seed. I am no Dorrie! She is serving them – like some high end Macy’s personal shopper! I wanna go home! Dorrie wants to interact with her precious customers. She knows what kind of pet food to give each person! She also gives folks goods they have requested: a pair of blue jeans, size 32. A pair of ear buds. She gave one homeless guy and friend her VERY OWN CAMPING TENT!!

Rose: What are you doing, Dorrie?! Giving away all your stuff!!

Jesus said: If you want to be with me, leave your house, mother, children, wife, husband. SHAKE THE DUST OFF YOUR FEET!

Jesus was one unique dude – the powers that be in Jerusalem saw him swimming in poor/crazy people, society’s rejects, and thought he was totally bonkers! An enabler and rabble rouser. But when Jesus preached to the thousands they CHANGED. At the end,  the crowds that came to see him were HUGE – thousands gathered at his feet. That’s why the Roman’s crucified him, they feared this weird guy who owned nothing – not even the robe on his back – was changing their world, their society. They would lose their grip on power and wealth.

Jesus said: Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me…

Dorrie gives a poor lady an extra bag of cat food for her kitten. She has so much to give…the donations come to her and Kibble Kitchen by the scores …bags and bags of Purina cat and dog chow keep on coming …

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Did you know at Christmas time Dorrie made 30 “Blessing Bags” for the homeless and poor who meet her every Wed at the Mustard Seed/Kibble Connection? Dorrie’s mom helped her pay for the new blankets, new hats, mittens, scarves, boxes of cookies, bars of soap, bottles of shampoo and conditioner, pairs of socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc that Dorrie lovingly put into each holiday gift bag. She gave to the Piedmont folks who no one remembers during the holidays – many have no family.

They have Dorrie!

So do I! Last week she made me a special blessing bag: She filled it with cherry jam and high-end chi chi soaps I love …

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… and facial moisturizers, too, knowing I can’t splurge on cosmetics and facial care products even though I covet them! She gave my pets – Jett, Lilac and Cece – beautiful gifts, too!

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Jett, before eating some high end dog food Auntie Dorrie gave him and Lilac.

When Dorrie met Cece …

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… she was moved. She said I was giving all my rescued critters “a good life.” I felt so proud!

At the end of my little trip to the Mustard Seed, I turned to Dorrie, looking a bit anxious because folks outside the soup kitchen were starting to get boistrous. Dorrie was busy, all smiles, in her Dorrie Zone, still passing out pet stuff to street people!

Dorrie! I shouted. It’s getting late!! Let’s not push our luck…I wanna go home!

Dorrie looked at me and began to pack things away…

Once in her SUV, driving down Pleasant Street, she said: It always feels so good to get home…to my clean bed.

Funny, after Dorrie drove me home and I collapsed on my big bed with my dogs, I felt, for the first time in a long time, GRATEFUL. Despite my problems and challenges.

I still cannot wrap my brain around my friend’s transformation. Lots of her friends don’t understand her epiphany and her new life. Her mom calls her Mother Tneresa and tells her she finally, in middle age, found her TRUE CALLING. But she worries about her daughter’s safety. So do I. Hundreds of thankful, nice and polite people at the Mustard Seed and St. John’s food pantry … but all it takes is one high on drugs crazy guy. One rapist. One knife blade. One bullet.

Dorrie couldn’t care less what we all think and say of her mission, her new loves, her goals, her looks … She is beyond it…this world we greedy losers jockey through…For what end?????

This Palm Sunday I see my friend walking with Jesus, not a casual follower, a woman who came to hear him preach. No. I see Dorrie walking side by side with Jesus, one of his apostles…the Mary Magdalene to his Peter and Paul…the beautiful party girl who lay with the rich men and pleasured so many…and now it is different.

Jesus and Dorrie are both so good looking and fearless! I am in awe as I watch them walk handin hand through Webster Square, to Coes Pond. Jesus dips his toe in the water and reaches out for Dorrie’s slender hand. Dorrie takes it again, her other hand is waving free against the sunset. Then Jesus and Dorrie do a little hippy dance by the water, kinda sexy too as Jesus dips her…Dorrie’s blond hair is wet. No matter! Appearances mean nothing! They don’t have a stitch of self-consciousness – or a stitch of clothing on! Tney threw their clothes off on the shore of Coes Pond. Now they are skinny dippin’ wiggling under water, over and under the cool currents like a couple of little kids! Or fish!

Then Jesus stands up in the water and places his high-arched foot on the pond’s surface and stands upon on it. He looks around, 360 degrees. Dorrie wants in! Beautiful in her nakedness, she gets up onto the surface too, and Jesus and Dorrie walk on the water. They are holding hands. They are both laughing …

Happy Palm Sunday!!!

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February ramblings!💐🌸🌻🎂

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Go, Dorrie, go!

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Dorrie does NOT wear fur – she just models it! 🐯🐶🐵🐸

By Dorrie Maynard

First, I would like to talk about my vehicle. I call it the bat mobile. Others sometimes refer to it as the Giving Van. It is beginning to be known around Worcester as the vehicle that hands out pet food on some days and necessitates to the less fortunate on other days.

It is a vehicle that is hard not to miss – a 2007 Black Toyota FJ Cruiser. I was the first person in Worcester to own one. I happened to be driving by
HarrToyota and they had one on
display. I went in with a few
friends. We had all decided that I
wasn’t buying, just looking. After I took it for a test drive, I asked: “Where do I sign?” I filled out the paperwork and waited for my “special order” to come in. It was the first new car I had ever purchased! I was so excited and, because it was so unique looking, every time I drove it, people would look and point! I vowed to keep it clean always!

Well, to those who know me, you know that never happened! My “truck” is always filled with things that are either coming or going. Almost every family member of mine has cleaned and/orsorted that vehicle out at least once. My nieces have done it several times. To people who don’t know me: if you ever happen to walk by my truck, you will think that someone is living in there
or living out of there! There are bags of bread, pet food, blankets, hats/gloves, “blessing bags,” chargers, and just general “stuff.”

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Dorrie’s cutie pies!

People call me all the time and tell me that they have things they need to get rid and ask if I could come and
get them, as they know I will always find homes for whatever they are getting rid of. I drive regularly to Shrewsbury and have driven to Auburn a few times in
the past month. I love sorting things and making gift packages of items that are going to various locations. I
bring things to Abby’s House for women, the Mustard Seed soup kitchen, …

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At a fund-raiser outside the glorious Mustard Seed for Dorrie’s CENTRAL MASS KIBBLE CONNECTION!!!

… WARL, a private, in-home cat rescue, a dog shelter in Connecticut. I also give to people that I know personally who are in need.

I am very fortunate that people who know me, know that I have this ability to “spread the love” or “share the wealth.” I hate to see things end up in the
trash or at the side of the road when I probably know someone who can use whatever is being re-homed.

I am considering starting a small non-profit that would enable me to pick up items from people and give them tax donation slips for their goods. At home I have a very large basement – I could start to warehouse items. I would run a free service to those in need and free pick up or drop off to people who want to just pass along their good, useable items.

Items would include but not
be limited to: household items, small furniture, linens, pots/pans, clothing, small appliances, etc. Of course, stipulations would have to be made: all items would need to be in clean, workable condition, as I would not
want to have to end up having to hire a dumpster to remove items that I could not pass on. … Just something
that I am thinking about as the 2017 begins.

Some other thoughts that are dancing in my head: all the pets that were adopted over the holidays that hopefully won’t end up back where they came
from or worse!

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Dorrie adopted these beauties …

… and has given Rose’s little Cece so many cute toys! Thanks, Auntie D!

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pics: R.T.

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Like Craigslist “free” to a good home. I
am confident that most animal rescues and shelters do their best to make sure these “failures” are few and far between, but I am sure there are some that cats and dogs that slip through
the cracks.

Several years ago,I had been looking for another dog after my first dog passed away, so I put it out there to all my friends that I was on the hunt. I was looking for an older, small female to be a companion to my other dog. A friend emailed me about a craigslist ad, “free to a good home.” The dog seemed perfect other than they described her as “protective.” I remember calling the
woman and begging her to keep the dog until I could get there to meet her. She mentioned that she had had several other calls that said they would just “take the dog.” I wanted to bring my current dog for a meet and greet to see if they would be comptable.

It was a Friday night drive to Dorchester in the middle ofrush hour. It took me 2.5 hours to get there. I got
lost several times and was ready to give up when the very kind woman offered to start walking to meet me. She described what she was wearing and I described
my “bat mobile” to her. We eventually met up and she directed me to her
house. When we arrived, I walked in and Princess attacked me, nipped my pants and practically lunged at my dog. I thought: This isn’t good, but I was patient and kept trying to get Princess to come near me. She was so attached to her owner and her kids, but they were moving and could not take her as their new lease did not allow dogs. I ended up saying, “What the heck, I’ll take
her and make it work!” I did give the woman $100 as she looked
like she could use it to help with moving expenses.

I brought Princess into my house and she has lived up to her name ever since!

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Princess is still “protective” and does not like strangers, especially men, but once guests are in my home and she knows the are “safe,” she does come around. I have no idea what her past was like, I know that I am her third and final owner, that she had been
“bred” and had had several litters. I guess that is why she gets along so well with my 3 year old dog that was
another rehoming find. They play like puppies even though Princess is 11 years old! They sleep together, play together, and eat together. I have found my pack!

Last and final rant. The streets of Worcester then and now. Many people know that I owned and operated a very “iconic” store on Highland Street. It was once known as the famous Shakie Jakes. I was there and loved
every minute of my owning my own business for 10 years, directly across the street from the Sole Proprietor.

It was a perfect spot for my business. I had always dreamed of running a resale shop but always found a million reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t. However,
when the opportunity came my way of following in the foot steps of such a landmark store, I had no more reasons
why I couldn’t.

However, owning and operating a small business is not all it is cracked up to be. Times change, my life
changed, other responsibilities became more important and, eventually, I decided to close shop. I will never regret following my dream of owning a resale store!

Unfortunately, the neighborhood changed, and the clientele started to become less and less desirable. Living in the
area, I found the same to be true as well. The small local businesses of Highland Street have all turned into a barber shop, a packaging/mail business, a nail and eye brow salon and a money exchange business. I am not saying they aren’t good for the neighborhood, but they are certainly not the Highland Street businesses that most remember, supported and loved to visit.

And with all that said, I will end my rants for early 2017 and look forward to sharing more stories and interests with you in the future!🌸🌻🌷

If anyone would like
to reach me for comment or questions, please feel free to email me at djmbytheelm@aol.com. All best to all!

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Jett 💙 the dog treats Dorrie gives him (and Lilac)! Dorrie passes out free dog and cat food to pet owners in need at the Mustard Seed, in Piedmont, every month.

Happy Holidays from the “babies” belonging to our animal rights scribe – Dorrie!

Photos and text by Dorrie Maynard:

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One of my “backyard finds,” Pumpkin.

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My dogs, Princess and Gingy.

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Buddy, lounging in his sweet suite!

I am the other half of CENTRAL MA KIBBLE KITCHEN! We go to the Mustard Seed on Piedmont Street to give out free pet food for people who are struggling and need some help feeding their pets.

Come down to the Mustard Seed if your pet needs dog or cat food OR IF YOU NEED TO SPAY OR NEUTEUR YOUR PET OR IT NEEDS VACCINATIONS.

WE WORK WITH TUFTS VETERINARY SCHOOL!

We will bring your pet to Tufts and return to the Mustard Seed for pick up.

Right now Ma Kibble Kitchen needs the following donations:

canned and dry cat food

canned dog food

Always nice: clean blankets, kitty litter, pet bowls …

Donations can be dropped off at at 139 Holden Street – the Worcester Animal Rescue League. In the 3rd garage bay.

Arrangements for pickup of large dona-
tions can be made by calling 978-496-9364.

Monetary donations are extremely helpful, and can be made securely via
Youcaring.com.

More information is at centralmakibblekitchen.org, or on their Facebook page. CMKK is 501-c3 organization, so all donations are tax deductible.

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“This holiday season be both Human and Kind!” – Dorrie

Dorrie – always in style! … ‘Tis the season for helping the less fortunate – people and animals!

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Dorrie says dropping off clean, warm clothing and blankets at the Mustard Seed soup kitchen on Piedmont Street is the giving thing to do this Christmas!🐺🐶🐕🐺🎄🎄🎄🎁

By Dorrie Maynard

Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Meilleurs Voeux, Felices Fiestas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and any others that I may have missed!

As we all go on about with our busy preparations for the festivities this season with family and friends, please take some time to remember and acknowledge those who don’t have people to spend the holidays with. There are many out there who don’t even have a safe and warm place to sleep at night.

I know there is a fine line between enabling and helping, but just for this season we can all try to not judge others until we have walked in their shoes or know their battles. Some are out there because they are drinking and/or drugging and choose to continue to do so, and others are out there because of circumstances that they may have contributed to or had no assistance to handle.

A place like the Mustard Seed on Piedmont street is a great place to start giving back to your community! You can drop off gently used, clean, warm clothing, groceries, toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets, pairs of socks, or even offer to prepare and serve a meal to the sometimes more than 100 hungry people who visit daily.

The Mustard Seed is open Monday through Friday, 4 pm – 6 pm.

Other local places to consider: Abby’s House, the Veteran’s Shelter, St. John’s Feeding program, your local senior center, the Boy’s & Girls Club of Worcester, the Friendly House, the Salvation Army, just to name a few.

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Children at the Friendly House Annual Christmas Party, held this past Sunday at FH, 36 Wall St., met Santa, got a holiday gift, had fun and were treated to entertainment because of the efforts and love of volunteers – and FH Executive Director Gordon Hargrove! Donations of gently used (or new!), warm, clean clothing and blankets are always needed this time of year at the Friendly House!

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I don’t like to give money to pan handlers, but I do try to always have some granola bars in my car to hand
out. There was one man on a corner I recognized from working at a local food pantry, and I offered him a bar.

He said, “No thanks. I don’t have any teeth.” And then he smiled at me.

I didn’t have have anything else to give him, but he was gracious when I offered something.

I also try to have on hand: a pair of gloves, mittens, hat, scarf this time of year to give out to folks on street corners. I know it might be their attempt to look cold, thus making people
feel more sorry for them, but at least I feel better knowing they have something warm as I drive off.

If you are more into helping animals, as some are, for various reasons, another suggestion is to give to your local animal rescue league/society. They are always in need of used, clean blankets and towels, rolls of paper towels, bleach, cat litter, pet food, etc. You can always call ahead or look on line at their wish lists to find out what they truly are in need of, as things change daily, depending upon what they have or have run out of.

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Help animals who may need food, shelter or a forever home!

I always believe it is best to donate to small local rescues, as they help animals in your area. I don’t like to donateto the places that you see ads for on TV as they are paying for those ads, and those “free” t-shirts or bags
that they are willing to send you for your donation aren’t “free” either.

Something else that people can do this holiday season and throughout the year: Volunteer!!! Pick a passion! Get involved in your community! It may take some time to find the perfect place where you feel like you belong, but there are plenty of places out there
that are in need of regular volunteers.

So with all this said, I would like to wish everyone a very warm, safe, happy and healthy holiday season. All the best in the coming New Year! In this very difficult world that we live in, try to have a little compassion in your heart and empathy for others. Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All!

From Worcester Common Ground … and Clark University

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Worcester Common Ground a Winner in KaBOOM! $1 Million Play Everywhere Challenge!

Competition will fund play spaces in unexpected places in cities across America

This week, Worcester Common Ground (WCG) was selected as one of the winners in the Play Everywhere Challenge, a $1 million national competition that will award innovative ideas to make
play easy, available and fun for kids and families in cities across the U.S.

The Challenge is hosted by
KaBOOM!, a national non-profit dedicated to bringing balanced and active play into the daily lives of all kids, particularly those growing up in poverty in America.

Worcester Common Ground created an arts-based placemaking intervention made up of three components:

The first is “Project
Tire Makeover,” a series of school workshops and community paint days to paint tires with playful
character designs
(magical creatures, superheroes, animals, etc).

The second component is a community
chalkboard at our Tot Lot playground. This will be a long-term installation with rotating prompts, including: “What is your superpower?”
and “Design your dream neighborhood.” The final component will be chalk spray painted pathways connecting the playful tires and the community chalkboard installations
with prompts such as jump like a frog, fly like a plan, spin three times, etc.

Our program Piedmont Plays:

A Campaign to Love Your Neighborhood was selected as one of 50 winners out of a pool of more than 1,000 applications nationwide. Other winning ideas include outside-the-box play opportunities like pop-up parks, laundry mat theaters, and running tracks with speed displays.

The Challenge, developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Target, Playworld,
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Endowment for the Arts, attracted an outpouring of creative ideas to spark kids’ imaginations and get their bodies moving.

“Ultimately, we hope to see our program increase opportunities for playful imagination, and empower our
youngest residents to think in creative ways about improving their community,” said Charise Canales, Community Organizer at Worcester Common Ground.

Research shows play is vital to healthy brain development and is pivotal to how kids learn problem-solving, conflict resolution, and creativity – in other words, the skills they need to succeed as adults.

Yet today, too many kids, especially those growing up in poverty, are missing out on opportunities for play
because of families’ time pressures, the lure of screens, and a lack of safe places to go.

“It’s an exciting time for our agency to see such energy building for arts-based placemaking in our city! This summer, we finished our Project Comic Style mural at our 133 Chandler Street property with our youth artist group, Urban Revival BlaQ Ink’d; we saw POW! WOW! Worcester transform the downtown area with a series of stunning murals; and now we are fortunate to have been awarded a grant with KaBOOM! to involve our city’s youngest residents in the beautification of their public spaces.

For us, it’s so rewarding to let our kids take the lead in reimagining and transforming their communities into a
fun, funky place to make their own. We can’t wait to see what they do!” said Charise Canales.

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Dialogues with Mother Earth

Clark University to host artist talk, mural exhibit

Clark University

950 Main St.

FREE!

Clark University will host artist Erica Daborn for a presentation, “Dialogues with Mother Earth: The Murals,” at 12 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the Higgins Lounge in Dana Commons.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Daborn has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1995. Her work explores our interconnectedness and mutual fate as citizens of a shared planet — a finite, fragile, and ever-changing “home.”

Her series of mural-sized narrative drawings in charcoal record fictitious historical events related to climate change as seen from the year 2051.

“I consider the project to be a response to accelerating and irrefutable evidence of climate change. My goal is to provoke a reflection on the relationship between our 21st century societal values and the ways in which they have contributed to the degradation of our environment,” wrote Daborn.

The murals will be on display in Clark’s Schiltkamp Gallery (in the Traina Center for the Arts, 92 Downing Street) and in the Higgins Lounge at Dana Commons from Monday, Sept. 26 through Thursday, Nov. 17.

An opening reception and gallery dialogue will be held at 4 p.m. on Wed., Sept. 28, in the Schiltkamp Gallery of the Traina Center for the Arts.

This exhibit is part of the Higgins School of Humanities’ fall dialogue symposium, “Home (De) Constructed.” It is co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities, the Schiltkamp Gallery, and the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

A Worcester Public Library card – always in style!

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A Library Card is the Coolest Card! See the “cool cats” across the street from our library when you get your library card! pics:R.T.

The YWCA, right next door, has more public art that will WOW! you! CHECK OUT THE AMAZINGLY LOVELY MURALS!

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Near the library’s front entrance, the City of Worcester is puttin’ in benches, trees, flowers! Pow! Wow!

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month!

The Worcester Public Library celebrates Library Card Sign-Up Month during the month of September! Stop by and get your free library card and see all the things it can do for you!

For one month only, the library will also be giving out replacement library cards. If you have misplaced your library card and would like a new one just visit any branch during the month of September, and we will replace it free of charge.

Today’s libraries are about more than books. They are creative educational spaces for learners from birth to high school and beyond. This annual observance occurs at the start of the school year.

During this Library Card Sign-up Month, the Worcester Public Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most important school supply of all – a free library card.

Librarians provide important resources to families whose children are at the earliest stages of development, by teaching parents and caregivers the components of early literacy, which help children develop the basic tools for school readiness. In 2015, the One City, One Library Branches held 1,760 class visits through its partnership with the Worcester Public Schools. These visits helped students access the library and the educational materials available right in their own schools.

Older students can access high-speed Internet, digital tools, and the opportunity to work with trained professionals on how to use them.

Librarians provide guided training in digital media and help to grow digital literacy skills. Libraries also provide equity of access to digital tools and media, which has become increasingly important in high-poverty areas where students are less likely to have a computer or internet access in the home.

Libraries are also a training ground for students of all ages to expand their knowledge and explore creative pursuits. Resources at the Worcester Public Library are available to anyone who has a library card. Students can turn to the library for materials, programs and knowledgeable library staff that support academic achievement, including book clubs, STEM related programs, and summer reading activities.

“Our library provides access and programs for students of all ages,” said Geoffrey Dickinson, Head Librarian. “For preschool age children we offer early literacy and storytimes to encourage school readiness, for older children and teens we supplement education with hands-on programs and fun activities, and for nontraditional students we offer language and citizenship resources, resume help, and so much more. There’s really something for everyone, and it’s all free with a library card.”

Throughout this month, the library will host a number of activities, including:

Maker Mondays with the Learning Hub

Cooking classes

A volunteer fair

Cultural performances

… and much more!

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit the Worcester Public Library in person or visit the library online at mywpl.org.

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P.S. Spotted yesterday afternoon at the Peace Park Piano Playground in Piedmont!:

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pic: R.T.

Hallelujah!!!

Gospel Festival

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And some “Rose” religion for you!:

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ICT editor Rosalie has this beauty in her kitchen, blessing all who enter her home. Her Polish immigrant grandmother bought this Jesus, Mary icon with holy water bowl from a traveling icon salesman in Green Island decades ago!

In the early part of the 20th century salesmen went door to door in Worcester’s Roman Catholic immigrant neighborhoods selling all kinds of religious items to the Poles, etc. The immigrants were deeply religious, some praying, like my Bapy, hourly! She went to her little Polish church on Ward Street daily for Mass, and she made all the Novenas (the Catholic church has a ton of them)! Bapy lived on Bigelow Street with her family; she bought this statue on a kind of layaway plan, giving a nickle a week to the traveling salesman, who would come right to her tenement door for payment, until the statue was her own. I think it cost her $3 or $4 or so. A pretty penny for Bapy!

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Here she is, with part of her family, wearing her ubiquitous apron – the lard-stained, body-covering apron that never came off her body! She was always cooking and baking for everybody – her family, my grandpa’s friends from Dudley – all meals from scratch! She made rabbit stew in a big white porcelain pot – it contained the rabbits that my grandpa raised on their back porch (he used to take their furry feet before skinning them to eat and make lucky charm rabbits feet key chains for my mom!). Bapy made cabbage soup with cabbage, onions and all the peasant foods – filled with healthy goodness – she bought at the open air market on Water Street.  She chopped up the mushrooms that my grandpa had dug up for her, along with the blueberries he picked!, in the wilds of Worcester!

Meals were religion to my Bapy, too!

Always begun with a prayer of thanksgiving!

Once my grandpa, who worked in the mills in Dudley, brought home a friend from work for lunch – a Black guy he used to go fishing with. They had gone fishing that day, had caught some fish that my grandfather wanted my Bapy to cook up for them. In Poland, their homeland, there were zero Blacks! My Bapy had seen few in America – and was afraid of them!

Grandpa would have none of her nonsense! This guy was his pal and she would welcome him at their kitchen table and make them a tasty meal! My grandpa, a sweet guy who never had sharp words for anyone, shouted in Polish to Bapy: WOMAN! SEE OUR FISH?  COOK THEM UP! WE WANT TO EAT!! … GET US SOME BOTTLES OF BEER!!

My grandmother, who was adored by my grandfather who let her boss him around in the house and was content to sit at the kitchen table nursing his beer while watching his feisty little wife (Bapy was 4′ 11″ inches tall!) cook and fuss about, was SHOCKED at his command!  She was never ordered about! She was indulged by grandpa!

Slack jawed, looking back at her frowning man, Bapy went to the icebox, got grandgather and his pal their two bottles of beer and put them on the kitchen table. Then she went to their pantry shelves and got two glasses and put them on the table. She took the fish they had caught, still covered with that film that live fish have as they swim in the water, and went to the pantry to prepare them.

She made the guys a most excellent lunch! She really did love to cook!

My grandpa’s Black fishin’ buddy visited often.

“He was a nice guy,” my mother once told me.

AMERICA!!!!!!

In the above pic the family is on the roof of their Bigelow Street building. It was called The Block cuz it was a huge BLOCK of tenements – specially built for poor immigrants. Large families were crammed into small drab rooms – made lively (and sometimes foreboding!) with their religious icons and the saints calendar pictures they cut out and framed like this one my grandpa made and gave to my mom who gave it to me …

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The family portrait, above, was taken during World War II when Bapy’s son, my Uncle Joe, was home on leave from the U.S. Navy. My auntie is wearing his hat; my mom is next to her, to the left. Grandpa is in back, in neck-tie and cardigan, so proud of his American son – fighting for his country!

Text/pics: Rosalie Tirella

Thank you, Mayor Petty!

By Rosalie Tirella

Three or so weeks ago I was driving by the Chandler Elementary School playground in Piedmont – watching the little kids scramble all over the colorful little slide and play-scape Worcester Mayor Joe Petty had installed after I called him last winter and told him the kids in Piedmont, an inner-city neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of green, open space, could use a little something fun in their ‘hood. The playground was all concrete and kinda bleak.

Well, as soon as spring had sprung, not only was a playground installed by the city, but a mini-community garden had sprouted up as well! Such a joy to see the tall sunflowers in their raised flower beds swaying in the summer breeze! In June and July you could see Dads sitting on the new benches installed around the colorful slides and ladders watching their little kids play.

As I drove by the school a few weeks ago and watched the little kids and their parents enjoying the playscape in early, but mild, wintertime, I saw this: A boy, about 12, a few yards away from everyone on the playscape, bouncing a basketball. He was too big for the playscape but HE WANTED TO PLAY! The little kids had no interest in hoop, he had no interest in little twirly slides. He was a solitary little man, nursing big dreams! We all know 12-, 13-, 14- and 15-year- old boys (and girls!) love to play basketball! My kid sister adored the sport and played girls varsity basketball for St. Mary’s High School on Richland Street, grades 9 to 12! My mom never missed her games – home or away! GO, TRINA, GO, TRINA! she’d yell from the bleachers during the games, standing up with the crowd, cheering!

But here, in Piedmont, there was no basketball hoop for this tween to WOOSH his basketball through! No backboard to use as a backdrop for a wanna-be hook shot. No crowd or even a few pals to watch the action, CHEER HIM ON. Where could he dribble his basketball to???!

So there the boy stood, bouncing his basketball on grey concrete in the winter sun during one of our unseasonably mild winter days.

My God!!! I thought to myself, this kid would love a pick up game of hoop with the neighborhood kids! He’s just itching to practice his foul shots! I can tell!

And what boy couldn’t use a good, brisk, get-your-cheeks-ruddy run around his neighborhood school yard!?

So I called Mayor Petty! I have him on mental speed dial cuz he’s so good when it comes to caring about inner-city kids!

Joe! I said, totally in the moment … . We need you!!!!!

I told him what I just told you: I SEE THIS BOY, JUST BOUNCING A BASKETBALL. HE’S TOO BIG TO PLAY ON THE PLAYSCAPE. HE WANTS TO PLAY HOOP! I BET A LOT OF THE OLDER KIDS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WANT TO PLAY BASKETBALL, TOO. CAN YOU PUT IN A HOOP FOR THEM?

Petty is Worcester’s QUIET MAN – our John Wayne: understated, modest honorable and honest. He gets things done. THE RIGHT THINGS, with ZERO gabbing, backslapping or phony politician-speak. Refreshing!

Yes, is what he said to me. We’ll work on it.

That’s all!

I knew he’d come through! And drove by the Chandler Street School playground smiling!

Then I drove by once a week to check on the progress. Yesterday I saw this:

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Brandy new!

Shining bright!

A beacon of fun in a tough urban environment! For our city kids!

I’m amazed that Worcester doesn’t throw a parade in honor of Petty. He’s our Tom Menino: he’s got THE VISION FOR A GREAT CITY and SWEATS THE SMALL STUFF, the basketball hoops, the playscapes, the little improvements that make a big difference in neighborhoods – especially the poor and working class.

A thousand tweaks, scores of playgrounds, dozens of murals, one more neighborhood celebration, PLEASE! – this is what gives a city its complex beauty!

Yes, it’s only a basketball hoop.

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But not to the 12-year-old boy bouncing his basketball.

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(Now, maybe some wonderful volunteers can paint in a foul line and/or make all that concrete a mini basketball court?)

Yay, Piedmont neighborhood! As I was zipping around Worcester yesterday …

… I was delighted to see something new “blooming” at Chandler Elementary School, the Piedmont inner-city school we got city officials to put a slide set/play-scape in (see it, in the background?) earlier this year:

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… raised garden boxes!

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Three of them!

Folks in this urban neighborhood are raising their own veggies! Just one more way to keep our kids healthy and strong!

As InCity Times celebrates its 14’th birthday, it’s victories like this spiffed-up school yard that make ME HAPPIEST OF ALL!

So break out the vegan ice cream! Buy a ton of Kettle Corn at Main South’s REC Farmers Market!

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Run a couple of laps around Maloney Field outside with Ron Charette (on left in pic, below) and his South Worcester Neighborhood Center crew on Camp Street!

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Celebrate with us! I am SO PROUD OF MY NEWSPAPER AND ALL THE WONDERFUL WRITERS AND ARTISTS who’ve made InCity Times so unique! Thanks to our wonderful advertisers and, most of all, READERS LIKE YOU!

You are my family!

– photos/text – Rosalie Tirella

(kettle corn and Ron Charette photos by Ron O’Clair)