Category Archives: Fashion

Jim Coughlin – always in style! Jim’s first column of 2022!

Inauguration of the newly elected members of Worcester’s city council and school committee

By Jim Coughlin

IMG_0655001
Jim!🇺🇸

The historic Mechanics Hall on Main Street in Worcester on Monday, January 3, was the scene for the Inauguration of the newly elected members of the city council and school committee from the municipal election that was held on November 3.

The overriding theme of the evening that was mentioned by three of the evening’s speakers which included Massachusetts United States Senator Edward J. Markey and Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg (both of whom appeared on video via a remote broadcast) along with our long-time Mayor Joseph Petty was that the new city council and school committee are the “most diverse” elected bodies in the city’s history.”

DSCF7447-494-
Mayor Joe Petty is enthused about the diversity of our elected officials. File photo: Ron O’Clair

Elected to the city council in November was Thu Nguyen, a first-time candidate Asian American candidate who identified themself as “non binary” to either gender. Joining them on the council is Etel Haxhiaj who won the District 5 Council seat in the wake of Councillor Matt Wally who held this seat for two terms deciding to seek an at-large council seat this election cycle – and losing to Nguyen.

In the District 5 contest Haxhiaj defeated George Stratman, a retired Massachusetts State Trooper 2,585 to 2,206 capturing 53.96 % of the vote to Stratman’s 46.04%. The election of Haxhiaj is historically significant because she is the first Muslim ever elected to the city council.

My memories of the Worcester City Council go back to the early 1970’s when it seemed like forever that the council would only consist of “9 white men.” Then came the city election in 1973 when three women were elected to the council: Barbara J. Sinnott, Mary Scano and Barbara C. Kohin. At the time, it was considered a radical change because prior to this, no woman had never been elected to the city council! And then came the election two years later in 1975 when the voters summarily defeated all three women councillors.

Now, in 2022, the membership of the city council consists of a majority of six women city councillors. Besides newly elected councillors Nyguen and Haxhiaj they are incumbent city councillors Candice “Candy” Mero-Carlson, Kathleen Toomey, Sarai Riveria and Donna Colorio. In addition, Worcester’s Vice Mayor is Colorio who is currently serving her second term as Vice Mayor.

The collective election of Worcester’s three women city councollors came about 13 years after what was called “second wave feminism” of the women’s (liberation) movement that began in 1960. “Wikipedia” tells me that “Second wave feminism was a period of feminism that began in the early 1960’s and lasted for roughly two decades ”

According to my sources, when I was in my 20s, things were not always easy for Worcester’s first women city councillors. To make my point about this is a story involving the city’s legendary former city manager, Francis J. McGrath, who served from 1953 to 1984. There was a meeting of McGrath and the trio of women councillors that made them feel a little uncomfortable serving in city government during this time. It goes like this: shortly after their election in 1973, the women councillors were invited for an informal meeting with the City Manager. What the women councillors were expecting was a discussion about various public policies for the city. However, what the City Manager engaged with them for discussion at the time was about the “domestic side” of City Hall and, unfortunately, what that was about was the draperies and curtains that had adorned the City Manager’s inner office – and NOT about substantial city issues involving city policy.

This story was once relayed by Councillor Sinnott on the floor of the city council when City Manager McGrath was present during a city council meeting!

Unfortunately, the women councillors had to gently speak up to the Manager and tell him that they were there to discuss city issues and not “the size and nature of City Hall’s interior decorating.”

IMG_8889
Go, Thu!

The sum of this story and message particularly for councillors Haxhiaj and Nyguen is to just be aware of what some of your previous women colleagues had to endure back then in order to pave the way for a much easier time that both of you will now have in being taken seriously by your male colleagues.

Another “breakthrough” to validate the point made about Worcester’s “new” city council and school committee being the most diverse in the city’s history was made and underscored by the election at the Inauguration ceremonies for newly elected School Committee member Jermaine Johnson becoming not only the first African American man to ever serve on the Worcester School Committee, but he also made political history when his colleagues on the school committee at the Inauguration ceremonies uniamously chose him to become the first African American Vice Chair of the Worcester School Committee for the next two years. Now that’s progress for the Worcester School Committee to elevate a newly elected member to immediately ascend to the Vice Chairmanship of the school committee immediately after being elected in November.

In a telephone interview after the Inaugural ceremonies, Jackson verified that this was “never done before.”

And perhaps with Mr. Jackson becoming the committee’s Vice Chair it was one way of his colleagues on the school committee sending out the clear and unmistakable message that he will, indeed, be taken seriously as a freshman member of the Worcester School Committee.

Thankfully, Jermaine will be taken seriously by his colleagues on the school committee for the second largest city in Massachusetts when the school committee has its first meeting on January 20.

I can almost guarantee that there will be no insignificant discussions in the future between School Committee Vice Chair Jermaine Jackson and Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. when the time comes, as there was between the newly elected women city councillors and City Manager Francis J. McGrath back in 1973, nearly 50 years ago!

This future scenario when (and not if it happens), will shows that Worcester City Hall has become more diversified in both words and actions for our representatives on the city council and school committee that previously were NOT even elected to either the council or school committee, much less even taken seriously after their election.

Councillor Krystian King, when asked to comment on the new diversity on both the city council and school committee said, “It’s a new beginning on the city council and school committee, and I look forward to an increased diversity of perspective.”

Resized_20211013_191147
Councilor King and his daughter. Photo: J.C.

In an interview with Jackson’s mother, Mary Ann Jackson, after she saw her son make political history being Inaugurated as the first African American man ever to serve on a previously all-White European North American membership of the Worcester School Committee she said, “My son has always been a go-getter in putting his mind to accomplishing something. … I am very proud of my son.”

IMG_1500
School Committee Vice Chair Jackson with his mom, Mary Ann, and family. photo: J.C.

And lastly, I cannot forget two other historical elections of note: First, there was the election of Jermoh Kamara as the first immigrant African American woman to the Worcester School Committee that undoubtedly has made many members of Worcester’s growing African American community very proud of her.

image0
Worcester School Committee member Jermoh Kamara will make her community – and all of Worcester! – proud! photo submitted

Secondly, there was the election of Thu Nguyen as the first Southeast Asian non binary candidate to win a seat on the Worcester City Council.

Everyone in Worcester should be enthusiastically proud of the newest members of both the Worcester City Council and School Committee because they will add their voices and votes to more adequately represent the growing diversity of the body politic at Worcester City Hall.

Edith Morgan – always in style!🎉❄️🎉

The Games We Play

By Edith Morgan

IMG_1573
Edith🎁🎁🎁

It was all the rage this Christmas – and boxes were snapped up quickly. I had not really expected to get a copy, as I stay away from crowds due to OMICRON and generally wait until prices and availability are in my range.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I received a brand new, sealed copy of the Worcesdter Edition of Monopoly. I had been following the controversy about what and who was included in this pay to play Monopoly game. I was curious about the details. All of us have probably played the regular Monopoly at some time in our younger years, but I never thought about why this game and its form.

What do the choices of games tell about a people or its culture? I got to thinking about that when “Trivial Pursuit” swept out nation. Do the games we play really say anything about us?

Games involve considerable time sitting around a table with others. We can learn much about the strategies our opponents use to win the game – winning, after all, is the main idea of most games.

But does it make a difference whether you play checkers, which involves planning ahead a limited set of moves, versus Chess, which can involve planning many and intricate maneuvers, to trap your opponent’s King? And which can involve international contests with world champions?

I imagine by now some university has studied the relationship between a nation’s values and the games played there. What does it say about us that our games are such as “Trivial Pursuit” and “Monopoly”? Is “Trivial Pursuit” a comment on the way many of us spend our lives? And is “Monopoly” a commentary on our brutally acquisitive economic system? Both are partially games of chance but also of strategies to acquire your opponents’ wealth or property.

As children we played simple card games like “Hearts,” Old Maid, Fish, UNO and, even before that, we did interminable “tic-tac-toe” until we always ended up without a winner. Playing games begins so early in a child’s life; many teach them and us adults so much. But it also says something about us, as we develop preferences.

I fear some of that information and the skills in both strategy and socialization are being lost as so many of our children pursue the constant lure of computer games with all their flash and excitement and their constant pursuit of ever higher levels of achievement. Often that “achievement” is the destruction of others.

So, if your life is a “Trivial Pursuit,” how about making a 2022 New Year’s resolution that this year your life will take on more important meaning? And, if you are involved in cut-throat competition, trying to achieve a “Monopoly” in your field, how about working for cooperation and peace in your pursuits?

What’s YOUR game for 2022?

Holiday Cheer at the Pickle Barrel – always in style!🎄📬 Kids! Mail your letters to Santa at this Piedmont restaurant!

⛄❄️🎅📬CECELIA CHRISTMAS CONTEST FOR CHILDREN!🎄📬🐧

IMG_20211216_152049_01
A Santa’s Mailbox awaits all children at the Pickle Barrel, located in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood! photos: R.T.

The Pickle Barrel Restaurant and Deli in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood has the cutest SANTA’S MAILBOX! Perfect for the Letters to Santa from your kiddos!

Let them drop them into this cool working mail box! We’ll publish the sweetest letter in our January CECELIA – and award the child a $25 prize$. And don’t forget the young at heart, as seen here!

IMG_20211211_053911
The Pickle, at night …

– Rosalie🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

🎄🦌🕊️Edith, always in style! … Bringing nature indoors🦌

By Edith Morgan

IMG_1573
Edith🦌🦌🦌

We had our first frost and we had an almost imperceptible layer of snow. So we know winter is coming. We brought in our potted plants, got our leaves swept up, drained our rain barrels and our outside faucets, and prepared to welcome winter.

No more bouquets of fresh flowers and decorative grasses – but that does not mean that there are not potential bouquets’ out there, though they wil not be as colorful as their summer cousins.

I love the dried flowers of our hydrangea bushes: some are round, but some are large oval, grape-like clusters of dried blossoms that have gone from pink to purple to brown and have dried and retained their shape. And the tall seed-pods of many flowers, as well as many weeds, dry and keep their shape.

Gray-Wolves-768x511
You can see grey wolves in Worcester out by the Holden line. Coyotes are a frequent sight, too – as are foxes! All beautiful!

We used to call it “Nature Morte” (dead nature), and many famous paintings have been inspired by these remnants of summer. In their own way they are beautiful, even if the palette is more limited. But there are so many shades of yellow, tan, brown and white that you can put together impressive arrangements of many shapes! The wonderful part is that they will stay just as they are, not needing water or any attention.

IMG_20211128_122728
Hawks on Salisbury Street

As the various holidays come, I add some timely extra decorations, and so these winter bouquets are always up-to-date with the most recent holiday.

Flower Mandala
♥️

Of course, we have our “real” flowers: my amaryllo bulbs are seeing in the basement, ready to come up and bloom. And my daughter’s Christmas cactus has already formed buds and should be covered with blossoms in time for the holidays.

I am an incorrigible optimist and never let a seed go to waste: I save all kinds of seeds, stick them in the nearest flower pot, and hope that something will come up (sometimes it actually does!).

And often, if you do not use fresh potatoes or yams soon enough, they will sprout and maybe grow. I figure if they are willing to try to make it under such difficult conditions, they deserve a break. I plant them to see what will grow.

So, enjoy “indoor nature” all winter long, and adapt to the subtleties of the seasons!

IMG_20211202_135609
Jett in autumn leaves… November 2021.

🕎🕎Hanukkah 2021🕎🕎🕎🕎

By Edith Morgan

IMG_1573
Edith🕎🕎🕎

The celebration season is upon us, and this year the holidays seem closer one upon the other than usual. And in one way or another, most major religions are observing holidays – joyful events, with lights and candles.

And so, on the eve of Sunday, November 28, Jews around the world will light the first candle of the eight day observation of Hanukkah.

This holiday is not one of the major observances, unlike Passover and the New Year and Yom Kippur, but it is an extended occasion for joy, feasting, family get-togethers and free enjoyment of food, games, wine and entertainment.

Hanukkah celebrates the occurrence of a minor “miracle” over 2,000 years ago when once again the Jews recaptured that Temple in Jerusalem and set about removing pagan idols, restoring walls and floors, bringing back some of what had been stolen or destroyed and preparing the Temple for worship again.

IMG_4034
Celebrate Hanukkah!

As the legend goes, when they tried to burn the oil in the Temple, there was only one day’s worth of oil left, but miraculously it burned for EIGHT days – hence the eight-day-long celebration. The holiday commemorates the regaining of the Temple, and therefore is one of great joy and celebration. Coincidentally, it comes around harvest time and at the beginning of winter for those of us who live in zones where there are four seasons and where we like to have fun before winter sets in …

20141214_155053
Yummy potato latkes!♥️♥️♥️

The traditional eight-armed candelabra, known as a Menorah, also has one extra arm, for the servant (the Shamash) who is used to light all the other candles, one more each night, until all eight are lit. (A fun math problem is to ask the children how many candles it will take for all eight days). While there is no real gift exchange, there is “gelt” (money) which nowadays often takes the form of chocolate-filled gold or silver coins.

Vegan-gelt-chocolate-coins-602x462-1449269456
Dreidel … and gelt, chocolate coins

There are some traditional foods associated with Hanukkah: probably the best known is “latkes” (potato pancakes), usually served hot with sour cream or apple sauce. Today some variations also include latkes made with sweet potatoes.

I have a whole collection of “Dreidels,” the four-cornered top that is the source of a lot of the games played at Hanukkah. They usually contain a Hebrew letter on each side, spelling out the first letter of the Hebrew saying that ”A miracle happened here.” In some homes children and adults make their own dreidels, and you can get quite skilful at spinning them like tops and winning games.

There is also music associated with this holiday, most commonly sung is the one to the tune of the well-known hymn, ”Rock of Ages.” As a child I knew several verses in German we sang at home as we lit the candles.

So, enjoy this holiday and its many fun days, and eat and be merry!

Worcester’s Veterans🇺🇲🇺🇸 – always in style🇺🇸♥️!

Celebrating Worcester’s Veteran’s Day Breakfast and Events

Text and photos by James Coughlin

IMG_0655001
Jim!

It has been said many times that Worcester is a very special place to live. Some of those who say that liken Worcester to living in city that also geels like a town where everyone knows everyone else.

20211111_111841_001 (2)
The Marines, the US military’s elite

One overwhelming and indisputable fact is that people who live here, in my experience and in the experience of many people who live here, is that we care a lot about each other. And that caring attitude and understanding was very much on display yesterday as Worcester bheld its commemoration of Veterans Day.

20211111_103515
Vets at the special breakfast on Grove Street

A lot of wonderful things happened; it was a celebratory time: the events included an 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the Worcester Shelter for Homeless Veterans on Grove Street (at the site of the former Worcester Armory), a short parade to Lincoln Square and another ceremony later on in the day at the site of the Massachusetts Vietnam Memorial at Green Hill Park.

20211111_124513
The ceremony’s attendees were diverse …

What perhaps was most beautiful to see was that everyone who was there mingled freely with everyone else. Moreover, and what was most gratifying, it was held at a homeless shelter. And that was not a barrier in the least for top ranking city officials of such as Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus, Congressman James P. “Jim” McGovern and members of the Worcester City Council to mingle freely with our homeless and disabled vets, along with other members of the public: their constituents, the people whom the late U. S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neil of Cambridge called, “His Board of Directors.”

20211111_111713
Staff of the Worcester Homeless Veteran’s Shelter march in the city’s Veteran’s Day parade.

Among those in attendance at the Veterans Day Breakfast was Richard “Rick” Cipro who is a Sergeant in the Worcester Police Department and who also is a veteran of The Iraq War. Not only that, he was deployed to Washington, D. C. back in January of this year in the wake of the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol Building on January 6. He ran unsuccessfully for Worcester City Council in the recently held election for district One City Councillor. He ran against popular incumbent City Councillor Sean Rose. To his credit, Cipro did not bury his head in the sand after his election loss: he came out on Veterans Day to be with his brother and sister comrades to celebrate Veterans Day.

20211111_102143
The crew at the shelter served up a tasty breakfast!

City Manager Augustus, who has provided excellent leadership and has presided over a building renaisance of the city, was happy to tell this reporter how proud he is that the city this week opened at UMass/Memorial healthcare in conjunction with the U.S. Veterans Administration, VA, a health clinic for veterans in the area needing medical care so they don’t have to travel all the way to Boston, Providence or Springfield to get proper medical care.

20211111_101655
At the vets shelter: health care advocates do outreach

This is what leadership and Worcester is all and that’s about helping each other out as newly installed Director of the Worcester Veterans Department, Alex R. Arriaga himself an Army Veteran of Iraq, said at a brief ceremony that was later held at Lincoln Square. “We are family,” he said.

And that’s what Worcester is all about in the final analysis – and don’t you forget it !

Vegetarianism – always in style! 🌽🫑🍞🥦Especially during Thanksgiving!🍠🥔💚🥬🫑🍆🥕💚🌽🥦

November is World Vegan Month!

By Heather Moore

Happy World Vegan Month! Every November, vegans and vegan-curious folk — those interested in trying more healthful, humane foods —bcelebrate the ever-growing popularity of vegan living. Journalists estimate that there are at least 79 million vegans in the world, based on the numbers recorded in Australia, India, the U.K., the U.S. and other nations with a blossoming vegan population. A 2020 study found that the number of vegans in the U.S. alone increased by 300% — about 9.6 million people — between 2004 and 2019.

PETApaulturkeyAD300
This Thanksgiving go for the TOFURKEY vegan holiday roast with stuffing – available at TRADER JOE’S IN SHREWSBURY, rt 9, right over the bridge.

If you haven’t already, why not pledge to go vegan for World Vegan Month? You’ll be in good company, and you’ll have plenty of options. Experts forecast that the global vegan food market will mushroom to over $24 billion by 2026, and analysts at Barclays bank predict that the global vegan food and drink market will expand by more than 1,000% by the end of the decade.

Vegans are sprouting up left and right because of mounting concerns about cruelty to animals, the climate crisis and health problems. I went vegan 28 years ago, primarily for ethical reasons. I was vegetarian for several years before that, until I realized that I was still supporting cruelty to animals, albeit unintentionally.

I knew that cows killed for their flesh are branded with hot irons, their horns are cut or burned off, and the males are castrated — without pain relief — but I didn’t understand that cows forced to produce milk suffer just as much, if not more.

On dairy farms, cows are repeatedly and forcibly impregnated so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for human consumption. When they give birth, their calves are taken away from them — the males are often killed for veal, and the females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers. Eventually, they all end up at the slaughterhouse, dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.

PETA-Decalf-Coffee-Dairy-Sleeve-Artwork-400x157
Today!

And while I knew that it’s cruel to cram chickens raised for meat — smart, sentient birds who grieve when they lose a loved one — into filthy, severely crowded sheds before cutting their throats and often scalding them to death, I wasn’t aware that similar abuses are inflicted on egg-laying hens.

Most egg-laying hens spend their lives confined to a space the size of a standard file cabinet drawer with up to 10 others, unable even to lift a wing. A portion of each bird’s sensitive beak is cut off with a hot blade. Male chicks are useless to hatcheries — they don’t produce eggs, and they aren’t bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry — so they’re usually suffocated or tossed into a grinder while they’re still alive.

pcases_broiler_chickens_transport_1200dpi_001-1024x665
Beaks are removed when they are alive; they are scalded in hot water!! EAT LESS MEAT!!!

Chickens-in-Battery-Cages-on-Egg-Farm
Abuse, abuse, abuse … EAT LESS MEAT AND FEWER EGG DISHES!

Since animals are routinely killed by both the milk and egg industries, being vegetarian wasn’t enough for me. Fortunately, vegan options are now easy to find. Vegan foods not only taste great, they’re cruelty- and cholesterol-free and generally low in saturated fat. Vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and vegan foods don’t cause animal-borne diseases, such as bird flu, swine flu and COVID-19. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll be pleased to know that producing vegan food uses up fewer resources and generates a lower volume of greenhouse gases than producing animal-derived foods does.

Animal-Agriculture-Source-Greenhouse-Gasses-PETA-602x401
Save the planet, make more of your meals plant-based!

When you consider the many benefits of going vegan, it makes sense that millions of people are celebrating World Vegan Month this November.

Will you be one of them?
cowspeta2-602x402
Do it for the planet, your health and the beautiful, sentient animals!

🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌🦌

And … Vegan baking cheat-sheet for your holidays!♥️💚🍃:

infographicVeganBaking_PETA_REVISED72

New Worcester column by Jim!

Ol’ Worcester Boy Returns to New Worcester Scene!

By Jim Coughlin

IMG_0655001
Jim. photos submitted.

20211001_083913_012
Jim’s family puppy!

I was born in Worcester in the mid-1950s, and whenever I travel to the city of my birth, I must say I am unquestionably impressed by how she has progressed in so many ways over the fairly recent past.

Worcester has over the years been the recipient of much unworthy criticism from those who not
only were born and raised here, but also from those who have no history of being here.
If I can go back in time to the much heralded debate on the proposed Worcester Civic Center
from the late 1970’s and early 80’s, this was a time when a casual visitor to our city would say that Worcester was stuck in the past and that she was not going anywhere. And it was during this time that even the New York Times had picked up on the belief held by many and actually opined that Worcester was a dying city in Massachusetts. A newspaper article dubbed Worcester THE UTILITY CLOSET OF NEW ENGLAND.

The best way to describe this view would be to say that “Worcester was stuck energy: politically, socially and spiritually.” They would say that those in power were not open to change or any new ideas or energy. But then, the civic center came to our downtown Worcester area and brought all kinds of political and social energies to bear upon those who live here. Young people who previously would say they couldn’t wait to get out of Worcester were now giving that idea a second thought. In short, they began to see hope for not only themselves, but also for their kids.

In the mid 1980s, just after the time that the civic center was coming into its own energy, I witnessed that people here began to think differently, in that doing things or thinking in different ways would not be such a bad idea.
This was at the same time that there were pioneers and pioneeresses among the citizenry who came forward who were women who tried to join the ranks of both the Worcester Fire and Police Departments. They raised the question about themselves as prospective members of these Departments. Although they were not successful in their quests, they were successful in thinking differently, and more importantly in trying to have those in power think, perhaps if only for a time, that things could be done differently, here in Worcester.

Principal among the leaders on the Worcester City Council who through their legislative efforts successfully sought charter change was the late District 4 City Councillor Janice “Jan” Nadeau. Councillor Nadeau came to the council as a former Main South/South Worcester political activist and community organizer for
many years with Worcester Fair Share. So, when she wanted something done on the floor of the
city council, she knew exactly how to do it.
This change directly resulted in the city council placing before the voters a binding referendum to look at changes in Worcester’s municipal charter, the “Magma Carta” of our city government. Jan held office hours at the Pickle Barrel in the Piedmont neighborhood. She was famous for wearing her petite polyester pants suits!

Well, the voters gave their approval to the idea of looking at changes in how Worcester had operated since the 1940’s when we had a Board of Aldermen, a little different from a city council.

One transformational change that the Charter Commission that was appointed by then City Manager Francis J. McGrath enacted was to provide for the election of five district city councilors in addition to the Councilors at Large. This change by itself was directly responsible for the city council becoming
more diversified in that candidates of color would have an easier time being elected in a district race for city council, rather than running “at large” throughout the entire city.
Separate and distinct from councilors being elected in districts, the voices of women were finally being heard at Worcester City Hall.

For whatever reason or reasons, the policy makers in Worcester did hear these women when they said they wanted to join two departments that previously had been complete male bastions.

Now, Worcester to her everlasting credit, has 11 women on the fire department and, I think,
20 women police officers. To his credit, former City Manager Thomas R. Hoover should be
acknowledged for the crucial role he played in making the appointments of women fire fighters in Worcester in 2000.

These are just two examples of positive political and governmental changes in the city.
And there are more changes to be sure: the Union Station of my youth and until the 1990’s is no longer the dump that it was for far too long. Downtown Worcester has expanded with new
hotels and a pharmacy school and other areas that had previously existed as open barren spaceis now thriving with vitality in areas and neighborhoods, too numerous to mention.
One more than obvious change in this area has been the relocation of St. Vincent’s “St Vs” Hospital to downtown Worcester from Vernon Hill on Providence Street that sadly has had its nurses out on strike, for over six months days demanding better ratios of nurses in providing care to patients.

On the side of public secondary education, the city has just completed the construction of the
newest South High Community School and construction on the “new” Doherty High School on Highland Street is well under way.

Many years ago, before this new building and economic Renaissance came to Worcester, a local
parish priest privately told me that many people in the city looked extraordinary depressed.

However, based upon my many visits to Worcester over the past two years as a reporter for the
Worcester In City Times, I can say with 100 % certainly that those depressed energies are no
longer visible on the faces of Worcester residents as I travel throughout the neighborhoods of our city.

But despite my saying how Worcester has improved in so many ways, there will still be the city’s critics who choose to be either a “Debbie Downer” or a “Tommy Downer.” Quite frankly, some people will even complain if the sun comes out on a bright day in Worcester. So, kudos to Worcester and her citizenry for making all the positive, transformational changes that have happened over the period of the last 30 years!

Jim! Always in style!

A former Woo political activist hoped for more political, racial and gender diversity on the Worcester City Council – and got it!

By Jim Coughlin

20210914_153215
Worcester City Hall – our City Council reflecting our city these days. Finally. photo: Rose T.

I was born and raised in Worcester. Our family originally lived in the area of Worcester known as “Crown Hill.” We originaly lived on Chatham Street and later moved to Chandler Street, right next to both Beaver Brook Park and Foley Stadium. My father was a long-time community organizer in Worcester’s sports and athletic community and shortly after his death in 1986, Worcester State University, (WSU) named the athletic field in back of the university “The John F Coughlin Field.”

IMG_0655001
Jim Coughlin. He’s a Boston boy now but often takes the train into Worcester to visit friends and report on Worcester events and people for CECELIA. Photo submitted.

By introduction, for those readers who don’t know me, let me say that I was a long time political activist in Worcester, going back to the mid 1970s. When I was only 19 and 21 years old, I served as the campaign manager for the late Mrs. Elizabeth L. “Betty” Price in her two successful campaigns for the Worcester School Committee in both 1973 and 1975. For those of you who don’t recall “Betty,” she was the first African American woman ever elected to the Worcester School Committee when the percentage of people of color in the city was only about 5%, much lower than it is today.

Bill and James Vets Homor Roll 4-28-16(2)-1
Bill Coleman, right, and James Bonds spearheaded the drive to build the monument to Worcester’s Black soldiers of World War II, located at Lincoln Square. CECELIA file photo.

I clearly and vividly remember the “old Worcester,” along with the old Worcester City Councils of decades ago. During this time, I regularly attended city council meetings in the 1970s and ’80s when the legendary Francis J. McGrath served as City Manager. I remember 1973 as somewhat of a “revolutionary year” at the time in Worcester politics because this was the year that the voters elected not one, but the first three women EVER elected to the Worcester City Council: Mary Scano, Barbara Sinnott and Barbara Kohin.

But their terms did not last long. In 1975, all three women councillors were defeated by the voters. Of the trio, only former Councillor Kohin is still living.

For those of us who observed these changes, we thought we would never see a woman, any woman, break the sex barrier and join the ranks of the Worcester City Council. But they were all excellent public servants for the people of our city. By comparison, the city and, yes, the City Council over time also has become more diversified.

Thank goodness.

By comparison, to the older Worcester City Councils of the earlier days, the current council is no longer “9 white men” as it was back then, but rather it is far more representative of Worcester’s demographics in 2021. Now, on the current city council there are four women city councillors: Donna M. Colorio, Candy Mero Carlson, Kathleen Toomey and Sarai Riveria. Additionally, there are three councillors of color: Khrystian King, Sean Rose and Sarai Riveria.

It is no longer a big deal or even a surprise that the demographics of the city council has changed in both the racial and gender departments. This is a good step forward for the city council in being more representative of the entire city. And whatever happens in contested race for council in District Five between Etel Haxhiaj and George Stratman, the council will either increase by one more councillor of color or a woman councillor.

Running for Councillor at large is Peter Stefan, a Main South funeral home director and long-time community activist. Stefan has buried Worcester’s homeless for free for years and helped the city’s poor and seniors for decades – helping them pay for food, their prescription medicines and utility bills . He served on the board of directors of the PIP homeless shelter for many years and was an advocate for the work they did. He also supports homeless veterans and promises to donate all his City Council paychecks to local food pantries and food banks throughout Worcester County.

20210926_165137
Today: the old PIP, on the corner of Main and Charlton streets, in Main South. For years PIP board member and current city council candidate Peter Stefan would drive to Nissan’s Bakery by Crompton Park, buy a ton of sweets and bread and bring them down to the PIP for the homeless to enjoy at supper time. Photo: R.T.

William S. “Bill” Coleman III is also running for councillor at large. Coleman has run for city councillor at large many times before and has been a very active petitioner before the city council for over 30 years on a wide range of public policy initiatives.

For me, as a former Worcester political activist who only hoped for more political, racial and gender diversity on the city council when we were out in the neighborhoods of Worcester organizing for Betty Price in the mid-1970s, I am grateful that the electorate of Worcester has summoned itself to answer the call of many of us back then who actually wondered aloud and to ourselves if there ever would be these changes in the faces of our public servants at City Hall.

Kudos to Worcester for diversifying the make-up of the Worcester City Council!

9/11. 20 years later.

By Rosalie Tirella

VIETNAM WAR DOG
Another American hero! Our troops worked hard these past months to evacuate US canine soldiers, their partners and beloved friends … out of Afghanistan!

I remember, too, President Biden! That day and the days and months ahead when everything changed: War and more war. The surveillance state on steroids. Anti-Muslim sentiment. Gitmo. Water-boarding. “Rummy is Yummy” (and a liar)! Judith Miller reporting LIES in America’s premier newspaper. Beheadings and more beheadings. Filmed for all the world to see! Some great reporters lost in the fog of war – one beheaded on film, another’s Jeep riding over a homemade bomb. Those homemade bombs were hidden everywhere! Our soldiers had their legs and arms blown off. Seeing these young people on the TV news shows with their new, bionic limbs made me cry. Dick Cheney = Darth Vader = Bush’s Brain! Bush, so unyielding, so righteous in his folly. Condy Rice! She was beautiful and played the piano beautifully…as our boys and girls were warped by war. A volunteer military where only 1% of us serves. So we’re clueless about war, personally and as a country. … Sadam Hussain’s human meat grinders, his gold statues toppling … his tons of porn. Finally captured! Hiding in a tiny hole, underground, begging – arms raised as he surrenders – to live another day! Begging for mercy after he killed and tortured the “other” for decades. After he murdered thousands. After he urged his soldiers and followers to die rather than capitulate to America! He surrendered with bells on his toes! We did not blow his brains out. He was arrested and had a fair trial – and his people executed him.

It’s been a terrible 20! All the changes changing us!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae) US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021. Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA - 23 Mar 2021
Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021.
Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA – 23 Mar 2021

I remember, too, President Biden!

Here’s to peace! Tranquility. Trumpless times! Pristine lakes and rivers. Big fat Polar bears with chubby cubs! Blue skies and clean air, here we come! Let’s embrace free community college for our working poor and universal Pre-K. We’re out of Afghanistan – let’s wallow in peace!

iStock_24290090_George-Clerk-400x208
Let’s save our planet!

https://youtu.be/raIUKhwQ-6s