I have to give all the credit to my husband, Bill, for adopting Tyler, our retired racing greyhound, seven years ago. We wanted to get a dog, but with both of us working, I was concerned about how much time we could devote to a pet. Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton was having their semi-annual Open House and before hand my husband visited their website (www.greyhound.org) and immediately fell for one red brindle greyhound named Tyler.
It was the type of press Worcester Mafia boss Frank Iaconi abhorred.
Iaconi’s picture appeared on page one of the November 5, 1946 Worcester Telegram under a headline, “Three sued for $57,300 as a Result of Horse Bet Losses”. There was also a photograph of Ward 3 councilman Philip F. Sullivan.
Jules Vohlgemuth was a Belgian immigrant who had saved $19,000 from stock market investments and his wages as a diesinker. George Trudell had gotten Vohlgemuth to lend him the money under false pretenses, and then lost it betting on horses in an Iaconi Franklin Street gambling den. Vohlgemuth sued Iaconi, Sullivan, and Irving Zabarsky under a state law that allowed for the recovery of triple damages for gambling losses.
Nicholas D. Braniff of Webster Massachusetts had a dog named Rowdy. One night in February 1938 Rowdy began living up to his name, barking loudly, furiously and incessantly. It was the beginning of an incredible chain of events that would destroy the political career of Massachusetts Governor Charles F. Hurley, lead to the impeachment of Governors’ Councilor Daniel H. Coakley, and spark an internecine Mafia gang war.
Braniff was convinced that Rowdy’s nonstop barking was being provoked by burglars inside the next door United Optical plant, which manufactured gold eyeglass frames, and where $8,000 in gold was stored. Braniff summoned patrolman Armand Tourangeau, and headquarters was contacted for reinforcements.
On May 8, 1983, Louise Coleman, a rehabilitation counselor for the United States Department of Labor, visited Wonderland Race Track in Revere, Massachusetts, at the urging of an acquaintance who knew that a discarded racer was due to be killed shortly. With no previous experience with greyhounds, Louise adopted Boston Boy, who received a new name Shadow and another chance. Shortly after the adoption of Shadow, Louise Coleman, with the help of several volunteers, started the work of Greyhound Friends, a small non-profit organization dedicated to saving racing greyhounds, The organization was incorporated in Boston, Massachusetts two years later, and since that time more than 7,000 retired racers have found good and caring homes. The dogs were originally housed in Louise’S home and at the Brookline Animal Hospital, but in 1987 the organization received funding from the Ahimsa Foundation to rent a kennel in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. This remains the main adoption center of Greyhound Friends, and it is here that the dogs are prepared for their new lives.When they are received, they are groomed, treated medically, nourished with high quality food, waled and reassured, and outfitted with as new collar an leash. They respond almost immediately to kind treatment and most dogs are readied for adoption in just a few days.Greyhound Friends has many volunteers who help with all aspects of the work.
Worcester critics often point to a lack of airline service at Worcester Airport as unique to the city. Yet it’s a problem other municipalities are facing as well.
“Financially strapped airlines are cutting service, and nearly 30 cities across the United States have seen their scheduled service disappear in the last year,” the New York Times reported in a May 21, 2008 article entitled ‘Airline’s Cuts Making Cities No-Fly Zones’. “And the service cuts are far from over, as jet fuel prices rise, airlines shut down and companies consider mergers, like the Delta-Northwest deal.”
In honor of Worcester’s annual Get Your Pride on Celebration, InCity Times interviews Jeese Pack of AIDS Project Worcester. Jesse made the courageous (he’d say natural) decision to “transition” from a young woman to a young man at the age of 19. Here’s his story.
Rose: Let’s talk about the event [the Get Your Pride On celebration – see our “ad”] on Water Street, Worcester Pride and the role your group is going to play.
Jesse: First, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I encourage anyone who’s going to be in Worcester to come to it. … There is going to be a pretty strong transgendered presence there. … Gunner Scott, who is the current director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, is going to speak during the political rally. There’s going to be a Mass Trans Political Coalition booth and table at the event, and they’re going to be passing out information about legal rights and needs of trans people. AIDS Project Worcester, as usual, is going to be a very strong presence there, with outreach workers. We’re gonna have our own table.…
The question of civil service protection for local police departments has emerged as a sleeper issue in the state senate race between Douglas A. Belanger and Michael O. Moore. Belanger in 2004 proposed removing civil service protection for the Leicester police chief. Moore is a steadfast supporter of civil service.
Removing civil protection requires a charter change, or home rule petition to the state legislature. Generally, the legislature does not approve home rule petitions if they are opposed by the local state representative or state senator. If elected, Belanger or Moore would be in a position to kill any proposal to remove civil service in their districts by home rule petition.
Civil service laws govern the Worcester police and fire departments when it comes to the hiring and firing of personnel. Recently the Massachusetts Civil Service Commission ruled in Worcester’s favor in two cases that show how well the system works.
Civil service requires police and firefighter applicants to take a competitive written exam. The state then supplies the city a list of aspirants ranked by score results, with favorable preferences for veterans. The city conducts background checks of solicitants before deciding whether to hire the high scoring achievers on the list. Factors other than test results can be taken into consideration.
If a qualified candidate believes he has been passed over in favor of a less eligible hireling, the aggrieved party can appeal the hiring decision to the Civil Service Commission. If the commission believes unfair practices were used, it can take action ensuring the more qualified supplicant eventually gets a job. The system creates a level playing field for all, ranking job seekers using a standardized test. For that reason it is detested by politicians, because it inhibits venal practices like nepotism and patronage.
The proposal to remove Civil Service protection from the police chief, fire chief, and their deputy chiefs was hailed by the mainstream media as a progressive advance. But in reality, it’s a textbook example of a power grab.
Civil Service originated in the late 19th century, when corrupt political machines packed city governments with unqualified cronies. Civil Service evolved to ensure that public office holders were appointed based on qualifications, not political connections.
The Massachusetts Civil Service System is overseen by a five member Civil Service Commission. Generally, when Worcester fills the police or fire chief positions, a “departmental promotional exam” is held in which candidates from within the department test for the position. A list of the top three scorers is then forwarded to the City Manager for a choice.
As I stroll through the many streets and pathways that I once skipped, ran and walked through so many years ago, I feel joy and love for the place I called my neighborhood and home. I look back and know I was one of the fortunate ones, a child from a modest Irish family, one of six children raised in this unique place. My mother was also a native of this special place called Quinsigamond Village. She was born in 1906 and lived all her 98 years in the village. The oldest of four children, she attended Quinsigamond School and later was one of the original members of theMother’s Club that would meet once a month. Most of the other mothers were from the Swedish population. I remember, while in school, when the moms would meet and we students could smell the aroma of fresh perked coffee and homemade pastries.