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Worcester’s senior citizen gardeners

Some serious gardening is going on in our city!

By Josie Shagwert

Are you a community gardening enthusiast? Do you wax poetic about how, way back in the day, New England’s urban centers grew much of their own fresh food in Victory Gardens? Or do you just really dig how a tomato from your backyard tastes better than your supermarket-variety tomato (and it didn’t have to get trucked in from god-knows-where!)? Well, you’ve met your match in Worcester’s senior gardeners. It is possible that their unbridled enthusiasm for urban gardening is matched only by that of another group of gardeners; the teen participants in REC’s YouthGROW program.

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When does dumber become dumbest?

By Jack Hoffman

During the 1992 presidential campaign, papa Bush criticized the then Governor Clinton about a few anti-war opeds he wrote for the British press while he attended school in London. Bush said if the governor wanted to state his anti-war views publicly, it first should have been done in the U.S.A. It’s the old adage: keep your dirty laundry in Arkansas.

Now comes junior Bush with his characteristic swagger strutting across the stage about to address the Israeli Knesset in the heart of Israel’s capital of Jerusalem. Just a few minutes into his canned rumblings, he begins a tell-tale lecture on America’s politics, always considered to be a no-no, an unwritten law that presidents, when speaking in foreign countries, leave our politics at home. Never mind his usual BS, insinuation and misrepresentation of what Obama has said. This time he crossed a line, what the major media dared not touch – a direct insult to most Jews. Something no American politician has ever dared cross – comparing appeasement during the Hitler years to the Democrats’ idea of negotiating with our enemies.

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Our fathers, ourselves

Billy’s girls

By Rosalie Tirella

Billy Fredette calls his two daughters “my girls” with the accent on “my.” They are the loves of his life. They ARE his life. So much so that he’ll get choked up just telling you!

In their Lafayette Street apartment he has shoe boxes filled with their awards – certificates for perfect attendance at Chandler Street Elementary School. Letters and cards created by them. He has been on the cover of the MSPCC newsletter, a Dad worthy of cover photos and laudatory articles.When money was tight several years ago, the teachers at Millbury Street Head Start loved his little family so much they pooled their resources and gave Billy’s girls a sleigh-load of Christmas gifts.

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Sex and the City rules!

By Rosalie Tirella

You live in Worcester and are a middle-aged, single woman. You didn’t watch the Sex and the City television show when it ran on cable TV from 1998 to 2004 because 1. you didn’t have cable, 2. you didn’t have a TV and 3. you didn’t believe all that cultural icon hyperbole that had been heaped upon … a freakin’ TV show! You had your own life to live – to hell with Carrie Bradshaw’s!

But when Sex and the City went off the air four years ago, and you read all the accolades written by some very smart people in some very smart magazines and newspapers (hello, New York Times), you figured, what the hell, you’d take a peek and see what all the fuss was about. You now owned (were given) a 20-year-old television set that wasn’t hooked up for cable but was hooked up to a 10-year-old VCR (also a handy-me-down), and you knew the public library had all six seasons of Sex and the City on videocassette. So you borrowed some SATC videos, asking the librarian at the check-out desk (a bit cynically): “Did you watch the show? Is it any good?”

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City company offers commuters way to cut gas costs

By Steven R. Maher

[Editor’s Note: This story was submitted in May 2008 and not published for space reasons.]

Fuel costs are skyrocketing. Motorists are paying $40 to $50 to fill up their cars at the gas pump. Worcester Airport Limousines is offering some travelers a more affordable and convenient alternative mode of transportation. Whether you’re going to Logan Airport or a Red Sox game, there is money to be saved.

Hates Boston traffic
This writer was asked to go on a business trip to Bangor Maine. The plan was to fly out of Logan Airport at 10:15 AM, visit a company facility, and then fly home from Bangor on the 5:00 PM flight.

This writer truly dislikes navigating the Boston traffic. Equally detested was leaving the car in airport parking garages, where bad things sometimes happen. A co-worker had mentioned catching a shuttle on a business trip. So your humble writer decided to see if there was much of a cost difference between taking a shuttle and driving oneself.

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Worcester Poets: a sampler

Some of America’s greatest poets were born right here in Worcester! Meet them – see our city in their poems!

By Michael True

The literary history of Worcester over the past three centuries continues to be enriched by successive generations of poets, novelists, essayists, and children’s authors. The poems of Stanley Kunitz, 1905-2008, Elizabeth Bishop, 1911-79, David Williams, b. 1953, and Mary Fell, b. 1948, quoted and referred to below are representative of work informed by the people and geography of Central Massachusetts. In some instances, as W. H. Auden said of W. B. Yeats and Ireland,Worcester “hurt them into poetry.” At other times, their art is informed by the pleasures and quality of lives of its residents. In either case, these lyric poems of exceptional quality deserve an appreciative audience among readers locally and in the wider community. — Michael True, co-founder ofWorcester County Poetry Association, Inc., wrote Worcester Area Writers, 1680-1980, 1986.

Stanley Kunitz, Elizabeth Bishop, and Charles Olson, all born in Worcester, are internationally known, each of them claiming a place in American literary history.

In recent years, a younger generation of Worcester writers has made itself known, having received national awards for their writing: the late Chris Gilbert, the Walt Whitman Award; Mary Fell, the National Poetry Series; John Hodgen, the Donald Hall Award.

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A letter to City Manager Mike O’Brien: What the hell were you thinking?! (or:A lobotomy for Mikey)

By Rosalie Tirella

Dear Mr. O’Brien,

You have been the City Manager of Worcester for quite some time now, after the Worcester City Council, during their now infamous St. Valentine’s Day massacre, threw former City Manager Tom Hoover to the wolves, pushed him over the cliff, flushed him down the crapper. You pick your metaphor. That is, then Mayor Tim Murray and city council allies decided Hoover was no good for Worcester (mostly because they couldn’t boss him around and probably because he was from Ohio) and forced him to resign (or they would fire him). Hoover left Worcester after more than a decade of service to Wormtown (basically living and breathing Worcester for years), landed himself another city/town manager job in another part of the country and promptly had double or triple (we can’t remember) by-pass heart surgery.

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Spring fashion at Abby’s House!

It’s May in New England and the heat is still on in my house! No wonder people move south. It’s kind of difficult to gear up for the hopefully upcoming warm weather when it’s been so grim lately, but I will attempt to write about spring fashion – with Abby’s House volunteers as models. (All outfits courtesy of the Abby House Thrift Store.)

So here goes!

I know people think that it’s a talent to be able to put outfits together and accessorize them in just the right way so that you look like you just stepped off the runway but that is not necessarily the truth of the matter.

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Can America ever regain its greatness?

By Jack Hoffman

Just a few days ago I was driving home with a former classmate and friend from our 50’th reunion at Worcester Academy. After the oldie but goodie stories ran out, it was inevitable the conversation would turn to politics. Let me first explain: At times Hank can have this cynical and negative persona. In any case, he admitted that he once was a liberal Democrat and then a short-lived conservative Republican. Now he is an Independent who refuses to vote. Why, I asked? – Hoffman, nothing is going to change. It’s all lost. “You were always this Don Quixote, who instead of searching for some romantic love, you were the dreamer in search of a better world.” A world that would be led by some idealistic President who would put together and pass the more populist (liberal, for short) views. And be greeted on the world stage as some great moral leader.

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The Telegram and Gazette’s Dianne Williamson trolls for readers!

By Rosalie Tirella

You know the spaghetti’s hit the fan at the Telegram & Gazette when T & G columnist Dianne Williamson writes a column begging T & G readers to … keep reading the T & G!

In a recent column, Williamson manages to be more creepy than funny when she 1. calls her readers stupid. She writes: “As most of you know – or maybe you don’t because you’re watching ‘American Idol’ rather than reading this newspaper …, ” and 2. not-so subtly threatens them as she grovels: “… we’re so desperate to hang on to our readers,” she writes, “that we may soon resort to blackmailing anyone who cancels his subscription.”

We suspect she’s only half-kidding.

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