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We don’t want the Circus in this town!

Take a stand for elephants and other wild animals! Boycott Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus!

By Steven Baer

After five years of staving off the legal system, and countless years of denigrating the valid concerns of animal advocates, the big-top tent is about to blow over on the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus revealing the atrocious behavior and animal-abusive activities of their circus, and all circuses in general.

Circus in Court
In August 2007, Federal District Court Judge Sullivan issued a ruling rejecting a last-ditch evasive attempt by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus to sleeze out of a pending trial over a lawsuit that charges the circus with harming and abusing Asian elephants – that’s a serious violation under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

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Do the right thing, Worcester!

By Rosalie Tirella

When I was a little girl, my mom took me to see a traveling circus. I don’t know in which parking lot/hall the circus had tamped down its stakes and put up its tents, but I do recall it was in Worcester. I remember walking into the saw-dusty smelling circus tent. I remember running over to see a camel – excited about seeing an exotic animal I had read about in school. But low and behold! The camel was chained – his head in shackles – close to the ground. Blame it on my sweet mom, who once freed a “flying” grasshopper I had caught and tied a red string to (with her new manicure scissors she gingerly cut the thread I had wrapped around its skinny brown body and up it “flew” over our third-floor porch railing, back into our yard). Or blame it on the Old World Catholicism that seemed to envelop the Green Island apartment I grew up in – a household run by my Polish immigrant grandmother, “Babci,” who (to me) seemed as formidable as Moses. Whatever the reason, killing, tormenting, even chaining animals was definitely forbidden in my world.

So, it should have come as no surprise to my sweet mom that her little girl would burst into tears and run straight out of the circus tent, screaming her head off at the sight of the distressed camel. My mother never took my two sisters or me to see a live animal act again.

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The Hunger issue

Help feed your neighbors

By William S. Coleman III

The words “Hunger in America” can attract the eye of any reader; could Worcester have a hunger crisis? There are many families in Worcester who do not have the basic food essentials in their house. Times are tough, and many folks are just getting by. If you can open your refrigerator and see the abundance of food, you are lucky.

Hunger in Worcester means more than just a few soup kitchens and food pantries providing bags of good quality food to single people and families in need. Hunger means that one has to hold back the pain, hurt or embarrassment of asking for food from a pantry or distant family member or friend.

Each night in Worcester someone goes to bed hungry. Be it the elderly living alone and depressed or a child who is hungry in a house with no food. There is a hunger crisis before our eyes in our community.

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A tale of two cities (or: I’ve got the sucky sidewalk blues)

By Rosalie Tirella

Years ago, I lived on Dewey Street. It wasn’t a great time in my life, and my environment seemed to echo my dire straits – down to the beat-up street and sidewalk. Bumpty, bumpety, bumpety … bump. I got minor whiplash driving down Dewey Street back then.With all its potholes and patch-jobs and tornup sidewalk – especially the stretch from Oberlin Street to Chandler Street – I wondered how kids in the neighborhood safely walked to school (you had to spend a good deal of your trek on the street that lies behind Park Ave and skirts through Main South/Piedmont).To make matters worse, the dumpy street seemed to be an open invitation to slobs of every stripe. People threw away lots of trash on Dewey Street. One Christmas morning I awoke to a dumped sofa and soiled pampers on the sidewalk in front of the three-decker next door. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Well, here it is decades later and a drive down the same stretch of Dewey Street – no doubt named after Worcester’s famous Dewey’s – is still a depressing experience. Look at the photos I took! The street is still busted up, the sidewalk is still torn up and trash is king.

Continue reading A tale of two cities (or: I’ve got the sucky sidewalk blues)

Know your health insurance rights when switching jobs

By Steven R. Maher

Health insurance is a big issue when switching jobs. The story of Mike is instructive when dealing with insurance companies.

Mike (not his real name) started a new job in September 2007, moving from a large corporation to a larger corporation, both companies having the same health insurer. In his early fifties, Mike was in good health except for soreness in the arms brought on by aggressive weight lifting, which had been diagnosed prior to starting his new job. Mike started physical therapy for this condition shortly after his new employer’s health insurance kicked in. It was then that Mike received the letter.

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Going bananas in the new Worcester Courthouse!

By Jack Hoffman

Recently, I had to travel to Worcester to retrieve some probated documents. I thought it might be a great opportunity to see the new Courthouse, since it’s been awhile since I visited the old place down at Lincoln Square. And I could save a little on the legal bills.

I was told in advance I could park at the Centrum Parking lot – sorry, you know it’s been a long time. It’s now the DCU.

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Can’t we all just get along?

Rodney King and the four-letter word we don’t want to talk about

By Jack Hoffman

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the brilliance and eloquence articulated by Barack Obama in his recent speech on race – a speech, even acclaimed by many of his detracters. And criticized by those who for one reason or another never heard parts of the entire speech and already had some pre-conceived agenda. Oh, sure you can grab a line or two and have some questions about its meaning, but to actually change the political winds from a few outtakes out of thousands of sermons by a former pastor I find quite shallow.

Before the ink was dried, the speech was on the hate mongers script to define Obama’s credibility by comparing him with the incendiary remarks of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright: A potential president who showed us honesty, bravery, and courage on a hot and dangerous topic called race, but just as important he showed character and loyalty by not throwing someone under the wheels who had so much meaning in his life and thousands of others.

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Worcester’s foreclosure crisis: what it can do to you, your extended family, your colleagues, your neighborhood and your city

By Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara G. Haller

Hardly a day goes by without a media story on the foreclosure crisis and its trickle down and up effects. The crisis is real and growing and many analysts are saying that it will easily be two years, and perhaps several more, before our economy restabilizes.

There are many contributing factors – predatory lending, greed, denial, small margins for making ends meet, quickly escalating costs of living (property taxes, gasoline, heating fuel, insurance, health costs, and just about everything else we pay for). The other side of the coin is that there are some opportunities too as property values sink to more affordable prices – but buyer beware, as there are often liens, code violations, and financing traps associated with these properties.

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It’s all over now

By Jack Hoffman

I know the following might piss some of my loyal women readers including my editor and publisher. Hillary you have got to get out of this race now. You are endangering any chance the Democrats might have in recapturing the White House.

In the words of the infamous sportscaster Len Berman, lets roll the video back two weeks before the March 4th elections. The media buzz at that time was, including the words of Billy, was Hillary had to win Ohio and Texas to continue her candidacy. The polls at that time were showing Obama with a high single digit lead in Texas and he was closing in on Hillary’s margin in Ohio. In order to stop the Obama momentum it was decided that a change within the campaign had to be made. So added to the vernacular of the Karl Rove negative political thinking was “kitchen sink politics” throw whatever you can out there and see how it flies.

It first began with a photo of Obama dressed in a native Kenyan outfit, something that is customary that all foreign dignitaries usually wear- the why is obvious- a subliminal message to keep the Muslim rumors alive.

Continue reading It’s all over now

I love a parade!

By Rosalie Tirella

So there I was at Worcester’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, with the boyfriend and trusty dog, Bailey, when it hit me: this is the real Worcester, the Worcester I love. Worcester, the place where I was born; Worcester the place where I will most likely die. Home, sweet home! Home to me and the people I’ve met and known throughout the years. People who will pass before my mind’s eye when I am 85 years old and sweetly reminiscing in my Lazy Boy, somewhere in one of the Webster Square “tower” apartments: my neighbors, my friends’ children, former colleagues at old jobs, community volunteers, even a nemesis or two. They are all part of my life – part of me! To honor, love, respect (and sometimes diss). To have and to hold (sometimes a tad too tightly). ‘Till death do us part!

My life felt perfect on that brittle sunny day, the day we Worcesterites choose to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day (always a week before the real date, in deference to Worcester politicians who want to schmooze in/be a part of the Boston celebration). There was a melding of my heart and aluminumsided three-deckers. Because on parade were a city’s – my city’s! – aspirations and history. All decked out in Kelley green boas, bow ties, beads and baubles!

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