Category Archives: Green Island Grrrl

Did you hear about Ed Murphy, Dino and Allen Fletcher’s new Discriminatory Canal District Bus?!🚌☹️

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Everyone on the Canal District Bus!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

We woke up a little while ago …
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… to sad news. The prejudices of small people …

This just in:
THE NEW CANAL DISTRICT SHUTTLE BUS IS NOT HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE!

ADA – the Americans with Disabilities Act – activists have gone to Worcester CITY HALL to make some noise – and remedy this DISCRIMINATORY bussing situation!

Sure, Fletcher and pals’ new lil’ bus is not public transportation, but all private businesses open to the public – shops, big-box stores, grocery markets, restaurants, playhouses – all businesses open for business in any American city or town – MUST, per the ADA, MAKE THEIR BUSINESSES open and accessible to ALL – that INCLUDES people with physical disabilities! Folks can be in wheelchairs, wear braces on their legs, have artificial limbs, walk with the help of a cane, be very old and frail … and they must, like every other customer/visitor, be accommodated. They must be ABLE TO GET IN AND OUT OF DOORS, SIT AT RESTAURANT TABLES, ENJOY MUSIC OR PLAYS IN CONCERT HALLS OR ARENAS, USE THE BIZ BATHROOM – or BOARD Allen Fletcher and friends’ Canal District Shuttle Bus!

The Canal District shuttle bus is FINANCED BY CORNERSTONE BANK – but it’s THE BRAINCHILD of Canal District money$$$ guys/developers Ed Murphy, Fletcher and “Dino” L. who run their shuttle bus all over Kelley Square and Green Island – to pick up the CD customers. Then to tote them back to the Canal District’s chi chi businesses where folks can buy and eat a lot of trendy crap. These three “visionaries” have created this special, elite bus service – no regular bus riders allowed – for their trendy, white, upper-income customers. Why? Because the Paw Sox, their Stadium and ancillary services/buildings are moving into Kelley Square (my old neighborhood) within a few years. Construction has already begun! All the activity – stadium building, hotel erecting, market-rate-apartment-complex digging, street reconfiguration – is sucking up all the area’s convenient, often free parking spots … and you know Worcesterites.

But Fletcher and his pals are all in! Their urban entertainment oasis is coming to fruition! Their Canal District, without a canal! Who needs what Lowell has? – A Canal District with their REAL, ORIGINAL canal – water flowing, huge scary locks. MAJESTIC. Canal history MUSEUMS, BUILDINGS and displays and art that really teach people about the original neighborhood and its Industrial Age workers. I’ve been there – none of it is a lame afterthought, like what we have in Worcester’s Canal District.

Ed Murphy and gang pretty much own the entire trendy Canal District – and the Paw Sox means more growth for them, more of their ilk. Less of mine, of course. Now they’ve created their Canal District Shuttle Bus to make life even easier for their entitled customers … The three of them bought several parcels of land on the other side of Kelley Square to create parking lots for their precious customers/ilk. So now their Canal District shuttle bus stops and picks up their elite people at their special parking lots to ferry them across Kelley Square. A 6-minute walk. The bus rides are for free. These guys are now on my side of Green Island – the iconic, blue-collar Worcester neighborhood that the City of Worcester promised would not be gentrified!

Liars!

This is what happened to our Native Americans – to any “natives” who don’t have money, gold, etc to rescue themselves. Equipped with just their trusting hearts! WE GREEN ISLANDERS DON’T EVEN HAVE A SIGNED CBA – a Community Benefits Agreement!

A CBA promises the locals (usually the poor, often people of color) a piece of the urban renewal action, such as hiring the locals and paying them a living wage, and preserving affordable housing. The Paw Sox and the City of Worcester’s “community” leaders still have not signed the already drafted CBA!

How sneaky … despicable multi-millionaires!

Why is Ed Murphy and Co’s asshole-ness so blatant?

Their urban renewal movie: You’re a Canal District customer/visitor, you’re in a wheelchair, you’re in one of their exclusive Canal District parking lots with your fellow Canal District visitors/customers. You want to board the Canal District shuttle bus to go shopping in the Canal District buildings. THEIR BUILDINGS. But YOU LITERALLY CAN’T GET ON THE BUS! You literally can’t climb its stairs … you can’t roll your wheelchair into their bus, can’t park it in the shuttle, like you can with the WRTA fleet. How depressing, how heart-breaking. The other Canal District customers board the Canal District shuttle bus and drive off …
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… without you.

You’re sitting in your wheelchair, alone, in a dirt lot.

Sometimes I think Ed Murphy and crew aren’t just being dismissive, rich-white-guy insensitive. … What if they’ve done this ON PURPOSE? To signal to anyone who isn’t one of them or their “beautiful people” – Fuck Off! We don’t want you here! We want our typical customers: female, white, well dressed, upper-middle-class, thin, blond-haired. Older, as well as nubile! The “Oldies” are now middle-aged women whose bodies are well toned at the gym or track and whose faces are botoxed and “peeled” to look “refreshed.” They dye their hair warm blond tones, and they are still fashionably thin and wearing cool clothes! Skinny jeans, even! Ed and Allen and guys still want them! It all makes such a pretty picture in their Canal District! Instagram-able! Marketable! $$$$$. Often sex.

The “right” ladies are really just another accessory to sell Ed and Dino and Allen property. They are like the $90 linen ladies blouses in their buildings’ boutiques! Trophies! For being well off! Here, in the Canal District, we have a million trophies … including trophy girlfriends, mistresses and wives! Yipee! Why have a guy in a wheelchair bust up the party? Why include a guy who will slow down the Canal District Shuttle Bus? Slow down its scheduled stops as it rolls to trophy stores and eateries? Why wreck rich, able-bodied bus riders’ experience? Why spoil their scenery, aesthetics? Why put a crimp in their day?

I HOPE SOME SAVVY CHICK IN A WHEELCHAIR SUES THE PANTS OFF ALLEN, DINO AND ED!!

I hope the City of Worcester Human Rights Department gets off their collective butt and DOES THE RIGHT THING!

FREE THE CANAL DISTRICT SHUTTLE BUS!

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P.S. Allen and friends: I bet you can get volunteers to buy or supply the necessary materials – and to install the new stuff – boarding ramp/s in the front area of your bus – making it capable of accommodating an electric wheel chair or two … And don’t forget the seatbelts! I’m sure there are federal and state laws you will have to follow:

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.”

Saturday wrap-up💛🍎🇺🇸🎶

From Beto for America:

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Beto marching for gun safety

From presidential candidate Beto🇺🇸 O’Rourke🇺🇸:

I see more clearly now than I did two weeks ago that the 390 million guns in a country of 320 million, especially weapons of war, are an existential threat to this country. These guns, including the AK-47 variant that the El Paso terrorist used, are meant to be on battlefields, not here in El Paso. They’re meant to kill as many people as efficiently as possible. We cannot sell assault weapons anymore, and we need to get them off our streets.

I see more clearly than ever that we must address our failure to provide the dignity that every American deserves in their lives — from preventing economic isolation to ensuring that everyone realizes their right to health care. If we don’t, we are providing fertile ground for fascism and nativism.

I see more clearly than ever that we must be constantly telling our story — of how we got here, of who we are, of who and what makes this country great — or it will be told by those who will lie and provoke fear.

I see more clearly than ever that we must not just defend immigrants — but elevate them, speak with truth and pride about their accomplishments, and make sure no one in this country — regardless of immigration status — ever has to live in fear.

I see more clearly than ever that when we stand up against Trump and for what we believe in, we are stronger.

Moving forward, I will fight with urgency and clarity. I will speak as honestly as possible about the challenges we face and run a campaign that meets this moment.

When Trump terrorizes communities, like we saw last week with his ICE raids in Mississippi, we will be there. We will show up anywhere there is suffering, anywhere people are crying out to be heard. I don’t care if it’s an early state or the last state on the calendar — we will show up.

On the campaign trail, we will be a voice for communities like El Paso which have borne the brunt of Trump’s racism, hatred and division. We will carry El Paso’s strength, kindness, warmth and pride with us at all times.

Ultimately, we will campaign on the belief in an idea of America that has never fully been realized — an idea we know can only be true when all of us come together.

From the very start, we’ve funded this effort with that idea in mind. All our money has been raised from people coming together to chip in what they can. And now we need your help to make our campaign stronger than it’s ever been.

It’s game on. Not just for this campaign, but for this country. … Our country is in grave danger. And in this democracy, there are no sidelines to stand on. We either fight to protect America or we lose what this country means to us — and the world — forever.

I’m ready to get after this. I’m ready to fight for our future. But I can’t do it without you.

Thanks for being with us.

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I’ve spent the last 24-hours in Mississippi following one of the worst ICE raids in the history of this country …

By Beto O’Rourke

… Here’s what I saw:

In Canton, a small community about a half hour outside of Jackson, I met with about 25 women, a couple of men and their very young children.

The women are undocumented.

Most of the kids are U.S. citizens.

Their husbands were all apprehended in the ICE raid and they now have no idea when or if they are going to see them again. They also don’t know how they’re going to pay the rent, afford an attorney, or pay for school supplies. Of those needs, money for rent is most important. All of them mentioned it repeatedly.

An amazing local store owner seems to be the hub of the immigrant community — everyone trusts her, everyone looks to her for help. It was in her store that I met with the affected families.

One woman, wearing an ankle monitor or grillete said to me, “We have never been a burden. Some people claim that immigrants take public services. I’ve never taken assistance or help in my life. I came here to work, and every day I work. My husband works the night shift, I work the day shift. Now that he’s detained and I’m not working, I have nothing, no way to support my family. I don’t want anyone’s help, I just want to work.”

A young woman, 18 years old, told me about her parents. She told me that they luckily both left the chicken processing plant just before the raid took place. She started to cry when she told me that they are still working, because they have no other choice. She told me she was crying because she doesn’t know if one day when she’s at school she’ll come home to find that they’re gone. They’ve lived here and worked here for her whole life, they’ve raised a strong, smart, caring woman — a U.S. citizen, someone who should be able to focus on her studies, her career, her future instead of worrying about whether her parents will be deported for the crime of working in a chicken processing plant for $12 an hour.

Nearly 700 families were broken up in these raids. Hardworking, family-focused people.

I went to the home of a young woman who lived on the outskirts of town. She used to sell tamales to the workers at the chicken processing plant. She arrived in this country four years ago seeking asylum, and has been wearing an ankle monitor ever since. It’s heavy, gets hot, irritates her skin, but she’s had it on every day for four years. She’s raising four beautiful children, the oldest of which sometimes helps her to sell tamales. Now that that the immigrants have been rounded up and are no longer working in the chicken processing plants there’s no one to buy the tamales.

She’s worried that she’ll be deported back to Guatemala or, with no income and no ability to pay the rent, that she will have no other choice but to return. She showed us her scars from stab wounds she suffered when she lived there, and said she had received a call recently from a gang leader in Guatemala who told her that her husband had been murdered for outstanding debts and that the gang wanted her children as additional payment. She is certain that if she returns she will lose them.

We went to a Catholic church in Forest that was providing help for families torn apart by these recent raids. In addition to the priest and nuns who were tending to the children, there were a number of attorneys from Arizona who had flown in to provide free legal help to the families. They were also helping to take care of the kids. People willing to do this work are my heroes. It doesn’t pay, it’s tough mentally, it’s tough emotionally, but it is so necessary.

One of the families they were helping was really struggling. I met a dad of a four-month old and a very sweet, polite 11-year old. The father told me that his wife was picked up in the raid and that she is having a hard time in detention. She is depressed, and her breasts are painful and swollen, as she was still breast-feeding when she was picked up. She can’t bond out — I don’t think they’ve even set bond for these families.

I met another woman at the church. She was in detention for the last week and was only released yesterday when ICE realized that they had also detained her husband at another facility, leaving her children on their own without either parent. She told me about the conditions in the facility, the depression that she felt while she was there, missing her family, not knowing how they were doing. She talked about the day of the raid, one of her co-workers punched in the face by an agent (“he was scared and he started to run, so they ran him down and punched him”). She talked about workers being cuffed and their cuffs tied to ankle restraints, like you’d tie a hog. I asked her how she felt now. She told me “I’m just happy to be with my son. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

This cruelty, this terror felt by this community of hardworking immigrants, is the policy of Donald Trump. His hope is that he can inflict enough suffering for these immigrants to get them to leave, or perhaps go back to the countries they fled in the first place. He’s trying to show he’s tough by preying upon the vulnerable and the defenseless.

I came to see it for myself. I am disgusted that we could treat people like this in a country of immigrants. But I’m inspired by the way that people have come together to help these families.

My hope is that the more America learns about this the more we as Americans will do to change this. As hard as this is to see, I’m glad I came here — glad to be able to bear witness to what is being done in our name to immigrants in this country. And I’m more determined than ever to help lift up the stories of those who are suffering, and the stories of those who are rising up to meet this moment.

If you’re wondering what you can do, please make a donation to the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance.

  1. CLICK HERE to donate💵!

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MONDAY: Congressman McGovern To Visit Highland Valley Elder Services, Highlight Importance of Meals on Wheels Program

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Go, Jim, go!

NORTHAMPTON – This Monday, August 19 at 10:45am, Congressman Jim McGovern will visit Highland Valley Elder Services in Northampton, a local not-for-profit corporation that serves 24 communities in Hampshire and Hampden Counties, for a tour of their Meals on Wheels Program.

The visit will start at the Walter Salvo House cafeteria in Northampton, which serves as a staging ground for the Meals on Wheels program. Next, McGovern will accompany a volunteer to help deliver meals to nearby seniors. Both the program tour and the meal deliveries will be open to the press.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration released a budget which proposed drastic cuts in federal funding to the Meals on Wheels Program. Over 5 million seniors deal with food insecurity and hunger in America, and seniors make up nearly 20% of people who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

🍎WHAT: McGovern Participates in Tour of Meals on Wheels Program with Highland Valley Elder Services

🥒WHERE: Walter Salvo House, 81 Conz Street, Northampton, MA

🌞 WHEN: Monday, August 19th – Walter Salvo House Cafeteria Tour Begins at 10:45AM

🍓WHO: Congressman Jim McGovern; Highland Valley Executive Director Allan Ouimet; Nutrition Program Director Nancy Mathers; Volunteers

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After church services, Quinsig Village:

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🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 pic: Rose T.

FYI:

Woodstock, Golden Anniversary. America! What happened to  peace, love, environmentalism , a woman’s right to choose, equality, America on the Move, Rebellious American youth, Literary America, the Kennedy’s?

Most of all: I miss the BRILLIANT MUSIC EVERY WHERE ALL THE TIME!

No dough? IT WAS FOR FREE! On FM and AM! Transistor radios were cheap and good back then! I had a passel!

Just pull up the antenna and press the little white, gray or black box to your ear – they were no bigger than a package of cream cheese – and walk down your neighborhood street IN THE KNOW, ya know?      – Rose T.

🇺🇸New book review by Steve M. … 🍎lessons in kindness🐶 for school teachers🍎…+ more!

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CECELIA BOOK REVIEW

“First: Sandra Day O’Connor” by Evan W. Thomas, Random House, New York (2019, 476 pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Yet in the grand scheme of history, O’Connor will likely be remembered less for that, than for her disastrous vote to make George W. Bush President of the United States during the 2000 Florida recount imbroglio. It is unfortunate that a judge who made so many wise decisions from the bench will be remembered for creating one of the worst Presidencies in American history.

The Lazy B

Sandra Day O’Connor, known to many in her circle by the acronym SOC (like those using AOC for “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”), was born and raised on the family ranch, an eroded wedge of property named “The Lazy B.” It was a hardscrabble existence, with prayers for rainwater directed to God by O’Connor and family. The O’Connors installed makeshift water pumps around the Lazy B that would save every precious drop of rainwater. Patched together with whatever kept the pumps running, it was an emergency whenever one of the pumps went off-line; whoever was working nearest a damaged pump had to drop everything they were doing and immediately get the water flowing again. If not, the cows on the farm would start dying of thirst within two days.

Like many who grew up on a farm, SOC learned the value of hard work, self-reliance and self-confidence. By age 10 she had been taught to fire a rifle and brand a calf. SOC graduated first in her class at Stanford University, where she completed her undergraduate and law degrees in six years. Yet none of the 45 major law firms in Arizona would deign to give SOC a job interview! The only inquiry from the legal community was when one firm said that with good typing skills, O’Connor might get a job as a secretary. O’Connor was shocked by this treatment.

State Senator

Eventually, O’Connor went into politics and became a State Senator. In 1972 she rose to become the majority leader by her strong diplomatic and political skills. She knew pending legislation inside and out. When men made loutish sexual advances to the now married O’Connor, she ignored them and acted like she was not upset at all, but Evans portrays O’Connor as very angry at these episodes.

“Sexual harassment was the order of the day,” recalled one lobbyist. “What women had to put up with was amazing.” O’Connor made it clear that she was not interested in cheating on her husband. She had a glaring look for the occasional horny male she ran into that was enough to communicate her disinterest. “You’d have to be a real weirdo to think you could hit on her,” commented former Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt.

In a section of the book that recalls Donald Trump’s attack on Megyn Kelly, Thomas writes: “There were ugly mutterings about the “f—ing bitch,” recalled one state legislator who served with SOC, and “a reference to her menstrual cycle.”

SOC was not a loud feminist. She handwrote on seven pages of yellow legal pad paper a list of Arizona state laws that discriminated against women: Incredible as it may sound, in Arizona women could not buy a car or a share of stock in an Arizona company. Her actions, however, were more effective than many other feminists’ pronunciamentos. O’Connor worked quietly to undo some 400 laws which allowed discrimination against Arizonans based on their gender. She began to repeal these a few at a time, eventually getting many of them off the books or rendering the statutes gender-neutral.

“Female politicians were not new to Arizona and O’Connor cleverly maintained a low political profile and picked her fights carefully,” writes the author. “It also helped that she tended to be smarter, better organized and tougher than the men around her.”

Judicial Career

Eventually, as SOC grew tired of the legislative treadmill, she ran for a judgeship in 1974. Being a judge is one of the most difficult jobs in existence. O’Connor found herself having to make rush courtroom judgments on evidentiary matters, factual issues and legal conclusions. She was particularly tough on lawyers who flouted the rules, delaying litigation, or otherwise acting against their clients’ own best interests.

In 1981 Ronald Reagan needed to shore up his base among female voters. He promised to appoint a woman to the Supreme Court. After Reagan was elected president and an opening came up, he appointed O’Connor. The book made this into a fairy tale setting, with wealthy and powerful men paying heed to the woman from the Lazy B. SOC had an exemplary career as a Supreme Court Justice up until the 2000 election.

But what happened in 2000 was no fairy tale: It was an American nightmare from which America will need several generations to recover. Faced with allowing a state-wide Florida recount (required under the Florida constitution) which would likely make Al Gore President, or ending the vote recount with Bush holding a 500 margin of victory, the five conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices took a vote that guaranteed Bush’s election. From that decision flowed a long list of American catastrophes: the war with Iraq and thousands of American dead; the financial breakdown of 2008; the explosion of public debt and hugely imbalanced budget deficits; and finally, the piece de resistance, the 2016 Presidential Election of the most racist demagogue in American history: Donald J. Trump.

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From PETA.ORG:

Teachers!!: How to Incorporate Animal Issues into Your Elective Classes!

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Lilac!♥️♥️ Dogs love toys and meandering walks! pics: R.T.

In some schools, elective course subjects extend beyond the standard art or foreign language classes. More and more schools are incorporating a wider range of electives or bonus classes to help diversify student skills and knowledge. Some schools refer to these as “exploratory classes,” and the subject matter often diverges from the typical K–12 academic regimen and instead reflects specific teacher or student areas of interest.

If your school offers teachers the opportunity to create their own elective or exploratory classes, take advantage of it by putting together a curriculum that centers on animal rights. Children are naturally compassionate toward animals, and for older students, social justice issues (such as animal rights) are of major importance, so an animal rights–themed course has a good chance of sparking their interest. And teaching students to have compassion for animals can be done in many different ways, so you can propose a course topic that aligns with both your interests and those of your students. TeachKind also offers teachers free classroom materials that cover a wide range of issues with age-appropriate language and images, and they’re perfect to use in conjunction with any animal-friendly curriculum.

One great example comes from middle school math teacher Kasey Brown of Alameda, California. Kasey — who was one of the fabulous runners-up in TeachKind’s 2016 Teacher Appreciation Contest — created a full elective course on the topic of animal welfare and care, which she taught at her school. The class was offered three times a year to groups of more than 20 students, and the curriculum included hosting guest speakers such as veterinarians and members of animal rescue groups; creating bulletin boards on animal issues such as vegan eating, animal testing, and preventing cruelty to animals; working with local animal shelters; and having students create their own animal-themed lessons to present to younger students.

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This a.m: breakfast with Cece.🎶

❇️🌸We’ve put together a few topics for elective or bonus courses that will teach students about animal rights, give them a new appreciation for animals, and help build a kinder future for all sentient beings.

And if your school doesn’t offer much flexibility with regard to elective classes, you can always start an animal issues club that meets at lunchtime or after school to help get students involved and create a space for discussing animal issues! 😊

♥️1. Caring for Animals and Helping Those in Need:

Many students have companion animals at home, and all students face the possibility of unexpectedly coming across an animal in need. Teaching students the basics of companion animal care (including the importance of spaying and neutering to help curb the severe overpopulation crisis) can be life-changing both for students and for the animals in their homes, as many families may not recognize the needs of their animal companions.

🐕A course on animal care is also a great way to discuss the best course of action to take in an animal emergency. Almost everyone has come across an animal in need at one point or another — whether a lost dog running through the neighborhood or a bird who’d hit a window and couldn’t fly — but not everyone knows how to handle such situations. Explaining why students should always tell an adult if they come across an animal in need and suggesting other ways they can help can get them on a path toward becoming a hero for animals.

🐕Suggested Resources:

🐩A Dog’s Life Comic Book

😢What Winter Is Like When You’re a ‘Backyard Dog’ Lesson Set

🌞Debate Kit: Should All Companion Animals Be Spayed and Neutered?
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💝How to Handle an Animal Emergency

♥️How to Make Your Own Animal Rescue Kit

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FYI:

DONALD TRUMP, you waste of presidential flesh! STAND UP FOR FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY!:

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Steve M. on Clive M. and Worcester’s incredibly shrinking mediascape📰

WORCESTER TELEGRAM LETS CLIVE MCFARLAND, PETER COHAN GO IN LATEST ROUND OF CUTBACKS

By Steven R. Maher

The Worcester Telegram laid off, on August 13, 2019, longtime columnist Clive McFarland and business writer Peter Cohan. Their layoffs are part of the latest round of cutbacks to hit Worcester’s only daily newspaper, the Worcester Business Journal (WBJ) is reporting.

“I was unceremoniously shown the door today by Gatehouse, deprived even of the long-established protocol of allowing a columnist to bid farewell to his readers,” McFarlane wrote on his Facebook page. “So I’ll say it here. It has been a long, rewarding trip, during which my life was made richer by so many of the people I’ve had the pleasure to write about.”

Merger

Roughly one week ago two major newspaper chains in the United States, GateHouse Media and Gannett, linked up when Gatehouse bought Gannett and became the largest chain in America. Gatehouse owns the Worcester Telegram and Worcester Magazine.

The newspaper industry imploded in the 2008 recession, with magazines shutting down, newsrooms devastated by layoffs or buyouts. Consolidations then took place, as several large chains metastasized across the United States, gobbling up independent dailies and, more often then not, closing them as the advertising pie continues to shrink. Competition from the Internet made it nearly impossible for many newspapers to find independent sources of revenue to finance their publications.

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A TALE OF TWO ALTERNATIVES

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The latest issue of CECELIA – on stands now! pic: Rose T.

By Steven R. Maher

And then there was one. The only surviving, independently, locally owned alternative newspaper in Worcester is CECELIA and its Internet incarnation, the still robust InCity Times website (new stories posted daily)-incitytimesworcester.org (I will refer to them both in this story as the “InCity Times.”)

The history of alternative newspapers in Worcester Massachusetts is a long one. For this city’s generation of Worcesterites, the most recent sustained alternative (begun in 1976 by the iconic Dan Kaplan – I wrote for Dan back then) is Worcester Magazine, an alternative weekly. Today – after the WoMag and T and G merger – Worcester Magazine is less alt rag and more lifestyle, now running the columns of longtime T and G lifestyle columnists after shedding most of the WoMag staff. It’s an insert in the Worcester Telegram – replacing the family’s thin lifestyle insert.

It was an ignominious end to a proud tradition.

Fresh Air!

But back in 1976 the just puts the gate Worcester Magazine was met with loud hallelujahs by Worcester County’s liberals and arts community. The paper stressed investigative reporting of the city’s mostly Irish-Catholic political establishment. Columnist Ken Moynihan won many plaudits as Worcester Magazine’s political writer. But as the years went by, the iconic paper was sold in 1992 to Allen Fletcher, a scion of one of Worcester’s most prominent families: the Stoddards founded, and at times controlled, the Worcester Telegram. They also owned much of the stock of the the Wyman-Gordon industrial plant.

Worcester Magazine in its earliest incarnation – pre-social media, Internet, cell phones, cable TV – soared as a journalistic voice.

In the early 1980s, some of the papers were distributed Wednesday morning at the Worcester Center Galleria. They were usually gone by Wednesday night. People went out of their way to pick up a copy.

As the years went by Worcester Magazine underwent a decline, and then depressing stagnation. Speaking in a Worcester Magazine interview, Fletcher commented: “I’ve seen us have a succession of editors. I’ve seen a whole succession of reporters. A whole succession of graphics people. A whole succession of salespeople. And it’s great to see this sort of parade of people coming through. I’ve made some bad choices of editors. The sort of strength and esprit of the team concentrates and accentuates and dissipates and then it accentuates again and it’s great to see all the Womag alumni who are out there for whom the magazine means an enormous amount.”

Fletcher is right about one thing: He made some questionable appointments of editors.

Worcester Magazine had grown into a city institution, with a large following among a populace sympathetic to its left-of-center politics and investigative reporting. Under the new management, readers saw less investigative reporting of the city’s leadership. Editorial stances on many issues were the same in Worcester Magazine as in the Worcester Telegram.

Worcester Magazine had stopped being an alternative and was just another establishment echo.

By the time he sold Worcester Magazine, Fletcher’s Worcester Magazine had taken root in a no-man’s land of indifference, largely ignored by the public, with stacks of Worcester Magazines sitting unread and ignored in newspaper bins around Worcester County.

Now in Worcester, there is only one alternative left: Rosalie Tirella and the InCity Times crew. We’ve outlasted the Fletchers, Worcester Magazine and all the other half-hearted attempts to publish an alternative rag!

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If Rose were religious, she would have done a ton of praying to her saint behind the glass as she put out InCity Times for 14+ years, a biweekly alt rag … and now her beloved CECELIA and its website. But she’s not a joiner! This statue is just a huge memento, from her late mom, Cecelia! Rose’s secret? She is tenacious as hell, smart and a wicked hard worker who’s in love with Worcester, her hometown, and all the cool stories her city has to tell. Plus she has GREAT WRITERS! text+pic: R.T.

Tuesday wrap-up🍎 … and so much more!🦅🎶🇺🇸

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Rose says: Our Worcester Public School students return to classrooms on MONDAY, AUGUST 26! To ALL EDUCATORS: DURING THESE FIRST FEW WEEKS – HAVE FUN! AND TEACH KIDS TO HAVE COMPASSION! TOWARDS KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS!

TOWARDS ALL ANIMALS, TOO!

Parents do your part!

From RespectAbility.org:

Tips for Parents of Children with Disabilities – Help your Kids Succeed in School!

By Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

As someone with a disability myself, and who also knows what it means to parent a child with multiple disabilities, I’ve become an advocate for my children on so many fronts, including their education. After all, when it comes to disability and inclusion, despite good intentions, many schools don’t even know what they don’t know. Also, only 61% of students with disabilities get a high school degree — so it is up to people with disabilities, and their loved ones, to educate and advocate for disability inclusion and success. This is especially true when enabling children with disabilities to have full access to education. While today on average only 1-in-3 working age adults with a disability have a job, studies show that 70% of young people with disabilities can get jobs and careers. But we have to do our part. Here are some tips I’ve used in the past that may be helpful to you:

🍎1. Know you are not alone.

Fully 1 in 5 Americans has a disability. While parenting a child with differences feels lonely at times, seek out other families with similar experiences. Peers can offer good advice, and may become your new best friends. They reside in your local community and online.

🍎2. Research which schools in your area have real experience and success working with children with disabilities.

While all public schools are required to accommodate students with disabilities, some schools may have magnet programs specifically for your child’s educational needs. In other cases, you may want to resist when your school district wants to bus your child across town to a school for other kids with disabilities, when accommodations can be easily made at his or her neighborhood school.

Call your local disability groups to see what resources and leads they can offer. Ask other parents of children with disabilities about their experiences with different schools.

Go online to look at the school’s website. Does it say they welcome and serve people with disabilities?

🍎3. Write an “all about how to succeed with my child” letter.

Yes, you should also prepare a file with your child’s Individualize Education Plan (IEP), including suggestions for success from any speech, physical, occupational, mental health or other therapists that works with your child. But don’t expect all teachers to be knowledgeable enough to understand some of the technical material. Your letter should be easy to read.

🍎Provide a toolkit for working with your child. Put things into simple language with bullets of information that the school needs to know to make your child’s experience safe and successful.

🍎Remember, as a parent, you have unique insights about your child that can help your child’s teacher understand his/her strengths and needs. Your candor, experience and advice will be much appreciated. Depending on the age of your child, you may want your child to help write the memo.

🍎4. Request a meeting with your child’s teacher and team.

Yes, everyone is busy. However, if you miss out on having a real substantive conversation, you may create a situation that turns your child off to school and learning.

🍎Additionally, it is not enough to meet with the school principal. You need to sit face-to-face with teacher who will be in the classroom with your child, as well as the school leaders who support that teacher. If appropriate, bring your child’s therapists. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to bring them to this meeting.

🍎Before the meeting, you should send your memo about your child to all the meeting participants. Bring copies of it to the meeting as well, and have your “elevator pitch” about your child ready to go. You may want to practice it in front of someone who can offer constructive criticism. It is important to get your points across quickly so they can ask questions. Teachers will really appreciate your efforts, resources and transparency.

🍎Once the teachers learn about your child, the school may want to put an extra aid in the classroom to support your child’s needs. Alternatively, they may want to match your child with a different teacher who is more experienced. If so, do your “elevator pitch” and Q&A with that teacher as well. The school may benefit from having your child’s occupational or physical therapist meet with them, or join the class for a day, to give the teacher some tips.

🍎5. Ask the teacher and team about their preferred method of communication.

Mutual respect and trust are important to all relationships. This includes the relationship you want to cultivate with your child’s teacher. That’s why it’s important to find out which method of communication suits them the best. Many prefer emails.

🍎6. Be fully transparent with your child’s team.

If your child has tantrums, be sure the staff understands what causes the tantrums, and how to prevent them. If your child needs notification before a transition, or has a tick or expression that they use to indicate he or she is anxious, the team needs to know, so they can best serve your child. This is not the time to worry about privacy – you need to focus on safety and success.

🍎7. Be upbeat. Teachers want proactive parents.

A positive relationship with your child’s teacher will help your child feel good about school. Before you hit “send,” look over emails, making sure they’re respectful of the teacher’s time and also of their efforts to help your child.

🍎8. Share your enthusiasm for learning with your child.

Talk with your child about what they will be learning during the school year and why it is important to you. Let your child know that you have confidence in their ability to master the content, and that you believe it will be a positive part of their life. 🍎Reinforce the natural progression of the learning process that occurs over the school year. Learning skills take time and repetition. Encourage your child to be patient, attentive, and positive.

🍎9. Slow down and take the time to do it right.

Transitions are often difficult for children with disabilities. There will be a few bumps in the road. Your child will have a successful year at school in spite of difficulties. As we move into the first few weeks of school, stay calm and positive. 🍎Remember to take care of yourself. Know your limitations, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. 🍎Make sure your child has enough sleep, plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school.

🍎10. Familiarize yourself with the other professionals.

🍎Make an effort to find out who it is in the school who can be a resource for you and your child. 🍎Learn their roles and how best to access their help if you need them. 🍎This can include the principal, cleaning and kitchen crew, front office personnel and others who may work with kids with disabilities on a daily basis.

🍎11. Reinforce your child’s ability to cope.

🍎Give your child a few strategies to manage a difficult situation on his or her own, but encourage your child to tell you or the teacher if problems persist. Maintain open lines of communication with the school.

🍎12. Help your child make at least one real friend there.

🍎Arrange play dates. Try to arrange get-togethers with some of your child’s classmates during the first weeks of school to help your child establish positive social relationships with peers. Go to holiday events with other children and help facilitate actual friendships for your child. Parents of other children both with and without disabilities who are friends with your child can become your new best friends as well.

🍎13. Listen to Your Child’s Feelings.

🍎When your child shows any anxiety about going back to school, the worst thing you can do is brush it off with a “don’t worry about it” response. Listen and be responsive to your own child and empower them to advocate for themselves as well. Show them your love. Sometimes you need to take a little step back in order to move forward.

🍎14. Enjoy their childhood.
It goes way too fast!🍎🍎🍎🍎
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… AND ANIMALS!

Please! WPS! LET’S OFFER – ESPECIALLY IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS! – VEGAN OPTIONS IN ALL CAFETERIAS! More veggies, less meat is good – for kids and the planet!

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Teachers, Ask Your Students: How Did Your Animal Companions Spend Their Summer?

From stargazing at the park to soaking up the sun at the beach, adventures and memories await. But what about your animal companions? As humans, we can hop into our cars and spend our days as we please. Our animal companions, on the other hand, rely on us for mental stimulation and physical activity. This is especially important to remember when we’re away from home for long stretches.

No matter what kind of animal companion you or your students have in your lives, there are a few universal must-haves for them.

Read over this list and make sure that you and your students know how to be the very best friend to your animal companions.

Important tips to share with your students:

It’s imperative that your animal companions have constant access to a refreshing water supply at all times. Talk to your students about making sure that they stay on top of this.

Fleas and ticks are harmful and can be deadly for animals. Help your animal companions stay free of them by routinely grooming your animals. Flea and tick preventatives are highly recommended as well.

Make sure that your students know never, ever, to leave their animal companions outdoors in the heat – or cold.

Leaving an animal in a hot car is never acceptable. If your animal companions aren’t able to come with you into your destination, leave them at home in a comfortable temperature with plenty of toys to keep them busy until you return.
Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs: On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

If a student planned an all-day adventure at an amusement park or another fun place did they have someone check in on their animal companions and let them outdoors, give them attention and affection, clean their litterboxes and water bowls, and provide any other needed care????

If your students are planning trips this fall, ask them to make sure that they have plans for someone to keep their animal companions company. It helps to have someone that the animals are familiar with, because they’ll miss their guardians and being with someone they know will make this easier on them.

Keep in mind that at no point during the year should animal companions be made to live outdoors.

All animal companions deserve an endless amount of love and affection from us. Make sure that your students know how important it is to spend quality time with their dogs, cats and other animals!

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Lilac rollin’ in the grass!
pic: Rose T.

Exercise Idea! Set an alarm for a daily morning or evening walk around the block. Avoid walks during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its hottest. Remind students that if it feels too hot for them, it’s too hot for their animal companions!

Encourage your students to take trips to the library and note that they can even borrow a book or two to read to their animal companions!

😢😢😢😢😢😢😢:


America’s iconic animals cannot disappear from our landscape because Trump couldn’t care less about them!!!

McGovern Condemns Trump Administration’s Attack On America’s Endangered Species Act!

Congressman James P. McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee, issued yesterday this statement following the Trump administration’s move to dramatically curtail enforcement of the Endangered Species Act:

“The Endangered Species Act is one of America’s most powerful success stories.

“Passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by a Republican president, it serves as a model for what we can accomplish when Washington sets aside political differences and works together for the good of our country.

“Countless species – including the American bald eagle – have been brought back from the brink of extinction thanks to the robust set of tools provided by the Endangered Species Act.

“Unfortunately, President Trump and Interior Secretary Bernhardt – a former lobbyist for Halliburton– couldn’t care less about conservation and environmental protection.

“They are trying to undermine and dismantle this landmark law as a favor to corporate special interests, big oil lobbyists, and others who want to exploit our land for their own gain. We will fight tooth and nail to protect the natural resources America is blessed with and stop this unbelievably shortsighted and destructive rule change.”

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Go, Jim!🦅🐺🌞

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From Health Care For All:

New ‘public charge’ rule would shut out working-class immigrants and harm millions of families
The rule, which goes into effect Oct. 15, would deny green cards or immigrant visas to anyone deemed ‘more likely than not’ to use one of several safety-net programs someday, unless they earn over 250% of the federal poverty line.

Tomorrow the Trump administration will publish a new rule that would curtail legal immigration by vastly expanding who can be denied a green card or visa because they are deemed at risk of becoming a “public charge.”

The rule, which goes into effect on Oct. 15, would redefine “public charge” – a person who depends on government benefits and thus may be turned away – to include not only immigrants who receive cash benefits or need long-term care, but also people with disabilities, those deemed to have limited earning potential, and participants in many “safety net” programs used by millions of working Americans. Overall, it would make it much easier to shut out anyone earning less than 250% of the federal poverty line ($64,375 for a family of four).

“This rule is a perfect example of the wanton cruelty and bigotry that drive this administration,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “It accomplishes two hateful goals at once: to keep out immigrants who are not wealthy on arrival – mainly people of color – and to sow fear in immigrant families and deter them from accessing ‘safety net’ programs that help keep their children safe, healthy, nourished and learning.”

The Trump administration has been seeking to redefine “public charge” since 2017, and issued a formal proposal last October. News about the rule change fueled widespread fear in immigrant communities, and advocates, educators and health care and social service providers have seen many families drop out of programs. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of advocates and individual citizens submitted public comments warning about the severe harm that the rule could cause.

The final rule unveiled today by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security adds exceptions for Medicaid coverage received by anyone under 21 and by pregnant women (including 60 days postpartum), and it removes Medicare Part D discounts for seniors from the list of programs to be considered. It also continues to exclude benefits received by U.S. citizen children of immigrants. However, it still includes Medicaid coverage, housing assistance and nutrition programs. Most important, because the “public charge” test focuses on applicants’ income, if they don’t earn enough, whether they receive benefits may be effectively irrelevant.

“This is a cruel, reprehensible attempt by the Trump Administration to use access to health care, food, and housing to further its war on immigrants and immigrant communities,” said Georgia Katsoulomitis, executive director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). “The published rule will punish low-income, low-wage working immigrants seeking permanent residence in the U.S for accessing assistance for basic human needs. This subverts the nation’s long-standing immigration laws and family unification policy, because new immigrants will not be able to meet this radical new income test. Great nations bring together and strengthen families trying to get ahead; they do not tear them apart. MLRI will work with its many partners nationally and locally to protect the rights of our immigrant families and limit the damage to the Commonwealth that will result from this destructive and shortsighted policy change.”

The rule is not retroactive, and there is a 60-day grace period after the rule is published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. This means that the earliest that immigrants would need to withdraw from programs to avoid being penalized would be Oct. 15, but they should consult with their immigration counselors or attorneys before making a decision.
In the meantime, Massachusetts advocates will continue to work intensively to inform immigrant communities about the changes and their legal rights, and reach out to social service and health care providers to ensure that they have the tools they need to advise their clients and patients.

“This policy is immoral and unjust and does not align with the values of the Commonwealth,” said Amy Rosenthal, executive director of Health Care For All (HCFA). “The best way to build a strong community is to ensure that everyone who lives here has the food, medical care, shelter, and other basics they need to thrive. HCFA has fought for three decades to ensure that individuals and families in the Commonwealth have access to the health care coverage they need and we are proud that we lead the country with the lowest uninsured rate – 97% of our residents have health care coverage. This rule takes us back in time.”

One in five workers in Massachusetts is an immigrant, including over 59% of medical and life scientists, but also 72.1% of housekeeping employees, 49.4% of taxi drivers, and 48% of nursing, psychiatric and home health aides. At all levels of education, immigrants earn less, on average, than their native-born counterparts, reflecting the challenges of getting started in a new country. Nevertheless, immigrant households in the Commonwealth pay an estimated $8.4 billion per year in federal and $3.5 billion in local and state taxes, plus payroll taxes. Existing policies sharply limit immigrants’ access to public benefits.

MIRA, MLRI, HCFA and HLA are part of the national Protecting Immigrant Families campaign, which was launched to oppose any “public charge” expansion that harms families. Leaders of the campaign, starting with the National Immigration Law Center, have vowed to challenge the new rule in court.

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The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition is the largest coalition working to advance the rights and integration of our Commonwealth’s 1.1 million foreign-born residents. Its more than 130 organizational members include grassroots community organizations, refugee resettlement agencies, service providers, faith-based organizations and civil and human rights advocates.

Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a nonprofit poverty law and policy center. It provides statewide advocacy and leadership in advancing laws, policies, and practices that secure economic, racial, and social justice for low-income people and communities. MLRI advances its mission through legal initiatives and policy reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability for low-income individuals, families, and communities.

Health Care For All is a non-profit advocacy group that envisions a Massachusetts in which everyone has the equitable, affordable, and comprehensive care they need to be healthy. Health Care For All promotes health justice in Massachusetts by working to reduce disparities and ensure coverage and access for all.

Health Law Advocates is a nonprofit public interest law firm that provides pro bono legal representation to low-income residents experiencing difficulty accessing or paying for needed medical services. HLA is committed to ensuring universal access to quality health care in Massachusetts, particularly for those who are most at risk due to such factors as race, gender, disability, age, or geographic location.

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Monday wrap-up!💝

From Steve Maher:

INTERNET EXPLODING with CONSPIRACY THEORIES about alleged pedophile, child-rapist and -sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein:

It would be difficult to tabulate the proliferation of conspiracy theories about the death of Jeffrey Epstein while in federal custody. Listed in the Wall Street Journal on August 11, 2019, and Wikipedia, some of the more prominent theories being floated:

– Jeffrey Epstein is still alive! Perhaps he’s rooming with Elvis Presley. Given his wealth, this was probably going to arise at some point.

– Some Trump supporters say Bill Clinton is behind the “suicide.” (Trump himself prefers this explanation. On Saturday August 10, 2019, Trump tweeted that “Mr. Epstein had information on Bill Clinton and now he’s dead.”) This is not the first time Trump has made such charges; he linked President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz’s father during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

– Some Clinton supporters say Donald Trump is behind the “suicide.”

– One observer theorized that Epstein “was able to bribe guards to ‘look the other way’, thus allowing him to commit suicide.”

– “It has been postulated that some of Epstein’s closest associates, who would likely be prosecuted as co-conspirators if Epstein went on trial, perpetrated Epstein’s death. Epstein reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to co-conspirators during an investigation in the 2000s in order to influence them. Under the 2008 plea deal, these unknown co-conspirators were immunized.”

– “Cable news host Joe Scarborough theorized that the Russians killed Epstein to protect Trump, as part of the larger Trump-Russia connection. He commented, ‘A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives ends up dead in his jail cell. How predictably … Russian.’”

– “Florida Senator Marco Rubio alleged that Russian bots were spreading Epstein conspiracy theories to create their own narrative and divide Americans.

– “A spokesperson for [U.S.] Senator Mark Warner claimed that spreading conspiracy theories was ‘doing Russia’s dirty work for them.’”

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Never leave your dogs unattended in your backyard! pics: Rose T.

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Cece♥️! … Cats should be INDOOR PETS! – with plenty of toys to play with and window perches from which to watch the world go by – and nap in the sunshine!

It’s Too Hot for Spot!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Temperatures were so oppressive during the heatwave that gripped much of the country recently that many people even found it difficult to breathe. Yet while humans can head for air-conditioned buildings, pools or beaches — or sit in front of a fan — to cool off, countless dogs were left chained or penned outdoors with no way to escape the sweltering temperatures. And not all of them survived.

A dog in Boynton Beach, Florida, died after being left outside in a tarp-covered crate; two dogs died of heatstroke after being left outdoors in Ross County, Ohio; a dog named Sadie who was left outside in Raleigh, North Carolina, with no access to shelter, food or water fell victim to the heat; and a chained dog with no access to shade was found dead in Indianapolis.

These are just a few of the deaths that have been reported. Most aren’t. With plenty of hot weather still to come, dogs need caring people to watch out for them — and help them.

Throughout the heatwave, PETA’s fieldworkers rushed to bring relief to dogs who were left outdoors. Some didn’t even have a drop of water or a sliver of shade to provide relief from the blazing sun. One dog, Dee Dee, was so thirsty and dehydrated that she drank nonstop for over four minutes when they gave her a bucket of fresh water.

Another dog, named Blue, had it even worse. PETA’s fieldworkers found him dead, next to his doghouse, with blood seeping from his nostrils. His chain had become tangled in the warped wooden boards that his doghouse sat on, and he couldn’t reach water, shade or even the hole that he had dug for himself earlier in a desperate attempt to stay cool. A necropsy confirmed that he had died of heatstroke.

Hot temperatures are even more dangerous for dogs than they are for humans. That’s because they don’t sweat as humans can, and they cool themselves primarily by panting. Without protection from the sun and high temperatures, heatstroke can occur in minutes, causing brain damage or even death. If you know of dogs who are kept chained or penned, make sure they have water in a tip-proof container, all-day shade, food and shelter. If they lack these necessities, notify authorities immediately.

But it’s not just neglected “backyard dogs” who are in danger. Many other dogs have been severely injured or even died after being walked or forced to run during the heat of the day.

Hot surfaces reflect heat onto dogs’ bodies, increasing their risk of deadly heatstroke, and can fry their feet — literally. One dog, Olaf, suffered painful burns on all four of his paw pads earlier this summer after being walked for a mile on a hiking trail in Washington.

Dogs depend on us to protect them, so always test the pavement by placing your hand on it for 10 seconds before setting out. If it feels hot to you, it’s too hot for Spot. Walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, bring water along and take frequent breaks in shady spots. Never force dogs to run in the heat or make them wear muzzles that restrict their breathing — they will collapse before giving up, but by then it may be too late to save them.

And if you’re tempted to leave your dog in a parked car for “just a minute” while you run an errand — don’t. Just don’t. Hundreds of dogs have died this way, in mortal terror and agony. If you see a dog in a hot vehicle, consider it an emergency — call 911 immediately and have nearby businesses page the vehicle’s owner. Don’t leave until the dog is out of the car.

If you see signs of heatstroke — rapid panting, bright red tongue, dizziness and vomiting — move the dog into the shade or air conditioning; wrap a cool, wet towel around his or her neck; and head to the vet right away.

By taking precautions with our canine companions and watching out for other dogs, we can help prevent the “dog days of summer” from turning deadly.

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FYI:

Main South farmers market 🍅, vegan🌷 recipes + more 🎼

Ron O. visited a Worcester farmers market yesterday and emailed us these pics:
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photos by Ron O’Clair

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Lilac💜, what are you doing in this post?! pic: Rose T.

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And remember! FREE MEALS FOR KIDS AND TEENS, HERE!:
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Yum! Make ’em:


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Tomorrow! Buck Owens’ birthday🎂

New book📚-review by Steve M., pics from Ron, the dear ones … + more🌏

CECELIA BOOK REVIEW

“The Sopranos Sessions” by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall, Abrams Press, New York (2019, 471 pages)

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

If you were addicted to the pop culture hit “The Sopranos,” then this recently (2019) published book will be an enjoyable read for you. The book does a detailed micro-analysis, season by season, of every episode of this gangster chronicle, the psychological impact of events on all participants, usually three or four pages at length per episode. There are dozens of meaty footnotes in some of the chapters, cramming even more detail until the most die-hard Soprano fans can’t help but be impressed by the authors’ devotion to detail.

“The Sopranos Sessions has three main sections: essays on each episode; seven new long form interviews with series creator David Chase, covering all seven seasons of the Sopranos;” and selections from the New Jersey Star-Ledger (New Jersey’s main daily newspaper) written by the authors while the Sopranos was broadcast.

For those few reading this review who have not yet seen an episode of the Sopranos, I’m going to summarize the main characters. Tony Soprano is a North Jersey mobster who sees a psychiatrist (Dr. Melfi, played by Lorraine Bracco of Goodfellas fame) after panic attacks leave Soprano susceptible to fainting spells. Over seven seasons we are introduced to a galaxy of Dickensian characters: Tony’s wife Carmela, to whom Tony is serially unfaithful; the psychologically important mother Livia, whom Tony tries to kill in one scene that outraged Italian-American groups (really, an Italian- American male trying to kill his mother was a bit beyond the pale); Tony’s Uncle Junior, a rival for leadership of the New Jersey mob; Tony’s daughter Meadow, a mob princess; and the last of this remarkable line, Tony’s son A.J., who was deeply conflicted by his father’s mob status. The mob appears as a group of colorful characters who love their children, have colorful nicknames, and only kill each other, to paraphrase Bugsy Siegal’s description of the syndicate.

The show ends on an inconclusive note. After winning a gang war against New York mob boss Phil Leotardo, Tony plans a quick meal with his family at a neighborhood steak joint. While he awaits Meadow’s arrival, the television screen suddenly goes black and silent.

This was interpreted by many Sopranos’ fans as Tony Soprano being assassinated; there were references in prior episodes to death bringing a sudden blackness. Fans of the show ever since have argued whether Tony survived the series ending.

Throughout it all, the book is an “exploration of the show’s artistry, themes, and legacy, examining its portrayal of Italian Americans, its graphic depictions of violence, and its deep connections to other cinematic and television classics.”

One Flaw

The printed version of the book is flawed. Recently I reviewed for the InCity Times “Syrian Jihad,” where I noted: “This book was a tough read … For one thing, it was printed in an 8-point font. It is exactly 500 pages long. Even the most dedicated reader would have difficulty getting through this. It looks like [the author] was told to fit his text into a 500-page limit, and shrinking it down to the point of being almost unreadable was the solution.”

The same can be said of Sopranos Sessions. The font is incredibly small, giving this reader headaches after reading it for an hour. You might want to order the book on Kindle or some other platform where the reader can expand the size of the font to make the book readable.

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This a.m. Ron O. picked up a box of produce at St. John’s Church Saturday Morning fresh veggies and fruit community giveaway:

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The church’s community Food Center, Temple Street. pics: Ron O.

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St. John’s blessings 🌷🌷🌷

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He approves! pic: R.T.

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FYI:

From BETO FOR AMERICA:

This week, tragedy struck El Paso – a community that has opened up its doors so graciously to Team Beto and welcomed us in as if we’ve lived here our entire lives. The strength and courage we’ve seen from people across this city, and our binational neighbors in Juárez, have shown that this community will not be defined by division or hate – but by love and compassion.

We are honoring those lost and the acts of heroism and resilience we’ve seen across El Paso.

On Saturday, we lost 22 innocent lives. We have the power to end this epidemic. Let us do better for them, for ourselves, and for the next generation:

Javier Rodríguez. 15. Javier was getting ready to start his sophomore year, a soccer player ready to start another season. His whole life ahead of him. His sister says she “lost my everything, my best friend.”

His classmates organized a vigil for him. No student should ever have to do that. We must not accept this epidemic as a new normal or the status quo. Let’s do better for this generation and the ones that follow.

Jordan Anchondo. 24 years-old. She went to Walmart to buy school supplies—and decorations for her daughter’s 6th birthday party. When the gunman entered, she shielded her 2-month-old son. Jordan didn’t make it, but her son did.

Andre Anchondo. Jordan’s husband. 23 years-old. They married last year. He’d just finished building their family a home. Saturday was going to be the first time family & friends would see it. But he, too, was killed—while shielding his wife, who was shielding their son.

Arturo Benavides. 60 years-old. An Army veteran and a bus driver—he spent his life serving our community and our country. His wife was with him in Walmart. She made it out. He did not.

David Johnson. 63 years-old. When hatred entered Walmart on Saturday morning, David responded by protecting his wife and his 9 year-old granddaughter. He passed away, but they survived.

Jorge Calvillo García. At 61 years-old, Jorge passed away this weekend while he was protecting his granddaughter. He was from Torreón, Mexico. His son, Luis Calvillo, was shot as well. They were outside of Walmart on Saturday, raising funds for EP Fusion, a local girl’s soccer team.

María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe. María is from Chihuahua, Mexico—and was only here so she could be at the El Paso airport when her daughter arrived. She was 58 years-old.

Teresa Sanchez. At 82 years-old, Teresa bore the brunt of evil on Saturday. She was from Mexico as well.

Luis Alfonzo Juárez. 90 years-old. His wife, who he’d been married to for almost 70 years, was also a victim of Saturday’s shooting. He didn’t make it—but thankfully, she did. Beto was able to meet their family at the hospital, and they’re showing this community’s strength.

Gloria Irma Márquez. A mother of four and a grandmother, Gloria was from Juárez — part of our binational community. She lost her life at 61 years-old because this country failed to protect her.

Iván Manzano. Like Gloria, Iván was from Juárez, where so many of our neighbors live. He was 46 years-old when he lost his life in our country.

Elsa Mendoza Márquez. 57 years-old. Elsa lived across the border in Juárez, where she was a teacher. When she ran into Walmart on Saturday to buy supplies for her students in Juárez, her husband and son waited outside in the car. They survived the shooting. Tragically, she did not.

Sara Esther Regalado. 66 years-old. Adolfo Cerros Hernández. 68 years-old. They, too, were from Mexico — and are remembered as being loving parents. “I don’t know how long it will take for my soul to heal,” their daughter wrote.

Alexander Gerhard Hoffman. Alexander also wasn’t from the United States. He was from Germany—but he lost his life visiting our country at 66 years-old.

Maria Flores and Raúl Flores. The couple went to Walmart on Saturday morning and never came home. They were 77 years-old. Both of them.

Angie Silva Englisbee. 86 years-old. This wasn’t the first time Angie experienced tragedy. Her husband died at 38 years-old, leaving her to raise seven kids by herself. Her grandson called her “the hero of our family.” She, too, was killed.

Leo Campos. 41 years-old. Maribel Hernandez. 56 years-old. They went to Walmart after leaving their dog to be groomed. When Maribel’s brother heard they never came to pick him up, he feared the worst. Soon, it was confirmed: Leo and Maribel had both lost their lives.

Margie Reckard. 63 years-old. “I’m like a puppy run away from its momma,” said Antonio Basco, her husband of 22 years. “But my wife, she’d say, ‘Get up off your rear end.” He continued: “I know she’s looking down and she’s smiling.”

Juan de Dios Velázquez Chairez. Juan and his wife, Nicholasa, shopped together every week. Juan was from Zacatecas, Mexico, but had lived in El Paso for two years. Nicholasa was injured in the shooting. Juan lost his life at 77 years-old.

Courage. Strength. Resilience.
This is Chris. He is a hero. He was at the Walmart on Saturday with his mom. When he heard gunshots, he made sure his mom was okay, then he ran towards the killer and threw bottles of apple juice at him to distract him. Even though he knew it meant he would be in the line of fire. We are so glad Chris is recovering and honored that he calls this community home.

This is Gilbert. He was working at Walmart on Saturday. When he heard shots in the store he led nearly 100 people out of a back door, then ran back inside to help more people. El Paso will not be defined by Saturday’s attack. It will be defined by heroes like Gilbert.

This is Glendon. He was at the Cielo Vista mall when the attack occurred. He was exiting the mall when he saw a number of children at the mall without their parents. Without taking a minute to think, he ran towards the kids and tried to carry as many as he could to safety. We are honored, grateful and inspired by his bravery.

This is Tinkerbell. Beto met her at University Medical Center in El Paso, where she was providing support and love to family members of victims and survivors of the El Paso attack.

“We are the sun city and no darkness will be able to dim our light.” – Mari, Student Body President, El Dorado High School, El Paso, Texas

********

Note from Amy O’Rourke:

“Over this past week, Beto and I have met survivors and their families at the hospitals, attended vigils, donated blood — anything that seemed like it would help. As I write this, we’ve just returned from going to the makeshift memorial outside the Walmart. It has been full of people all day, every day…

“We are a beautiful city, full of beautiful people. It has been clear to me since I moved here 15 years ago, and it shined through so powerfully following the shooting. The outpouring of love, support, and strength could be seen everywhere and from everyone. But we are not insulated from the rest of the country. That much became clear to us last Saturday.”

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FYI:

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More 🎼 from AR:

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pic: R.T.


George💙💙💙💙 …

Worcester’s Q-Village remembers … Congressman🇺🇸 Jim McGovern writes … and more🎧🌺!

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Fri-yay!! Rose, today.

While walking Jett and Lilac in my Q-Village today …
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… I noticed someone created something beautiful on Blackstone River Road, for our fallen heroes: mowed the lawn, picked up all the litter and prettied up …

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… this neighborhood pocket park that holds the huge tomb-stone with dead soldiers’ names on it, the small American flags stuck in the dirt in front of the tombstone, the big American flag on its flag-pole, the neon orange and pink plastic flowers forever in full bloom. Some newly planted greens, too, in the huge cement planter next to the bench. The bench so clean (power-washed?) today. A neighborhood tribute to its boy-soldiers in the wars for world peace … its blond, raw-boned Swedes and more who decades ago met God in a hail of machine-gun fire, or at the bottom of the sea, or in their flaming, falling fighter planes, His arms outstretched, ready for them.

Q Village remembers!!

pics+text by Rose T.

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From Congressman Jim McGovern’s office:

US Intervention helped Destabilize Central America — Now, We Have a Moral Obligation to Help!

By Rep. Jim McGovern

Too often, our debate on immigration in this country takes place in a vacuum, removed from the violence and poverty which too often have been exacerbated by America’s own history of intervention and destabilization in Central America.

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Jim and a congressional delegation visit this summer US refugee detention centers to fight for the children in cages, separated from their parents, and humane treatment of the adults. This disaster was created purposely by THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION – Steve Miller and Co. CRASTED EXTREME, ABUSIVE immigration policies to PLAY TO TRUMP’S BASE. So Donald Trump wins re-election! An evil, cynical move! – R.T.

This weekend I am once again traveling to Central America to see and hear firsthand the daily realities that drive families north. I want to shine a bright light on the on-going need for us to help rebuild and reinvest in these nations.

I believe that given our history in the region, America has a moral obligation to help those who flee the conditions created by many of our own foreign policy decisions.

This isn’t an idea I’ve just developed recently. My first visit to El Salvador was in the early 1980s. While there, I saw firsthand how the United States government supported the brutality of the Salvadoran government and military toward its own people.

I discovered we were an apologist for a military that massacred a thousand people, including scores of children, at and around a village called El Mozote.

I learned that during the 12-year civil war, over 75,000 civilians were killed and an unknown number, likely in the thousands, were forcibly disappeared, mainly at the hands of state actors.

And towards the end of the war, I watched as some of the highest officials of my country conferred medals on Salvadoran military officers even after we knew they had given the orders to murder six Jesuit priests and two women, including the rector and faculty Members of the University of Central America.

Over the past 35 years, I have returned to El Salvador many times, and traveled throughout the region, including in Honduras and Guatemala. I have learned that to make the best policy decisions and investments in U.S. aid, we need to confront and learn from our own history and mistakes.

Under Republican and Democratic Administrations alike, the U.S. has made bad judgements and miscalculations that have had real and adverse consequences in the lives of real people.

As former Senator Frank Church correctly wrote in 1984, in Central America too often we supported a “selfish property-owning minority” and “indifferent middle class intransigently protecting their privileges” and ignored the “limitless misery” of a majority that often “lives on the margin of subsistence.”

I have learned that we are more generous with our purse strings in times of war than in times of peace. We have contributed to wars, even been a major actor. In backing governments that we saw as ideologically friendly, we have helped crush legitimate dissent and the need for radical change, supporting economic interests and institutions indifferent or hostile to the rule of law and the suffering of their own people.

We have ousted democratically elected governments and accepted the results of politically convenient but illegitimate elections. As long ago as 1954, the CIA helped organize a coup in Guatemala, overthrowing the democratically elected government, an action that scarred democracy and development for decades and led to civil war.

In the 1980s, a Guatemalan military that received U.S. support carried out scorched earth campaigns that massacred upwards of 200,000 mostly indigenous people.

As recently as 2017, when the Organization of American States (OAS) argued that polling place irregularities required Honduras to carry out a new election, the U.S. accepted the result and recognized as the winner incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez, sparking a spiral of state violence against protestors and dissent that is still on-going.

We decry corruption and human rights abuses, yet partner closely with the political, military and economic actors who commit such crimes with impunity — and directly undermine efforts to combat impunity, as the Trump Administration has done with its attacks and withdrawal of support for the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

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Jim cares!

I have seen how past and current U.S. immigration and deportation policies directly contributed to the establishment of violent gangs in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Beginning in the 1990s, we deported tens of thousands of gang members, many for minor infractions, back to the region, seeding the ground for today’s gang violence.

We supported and encouraged the most hardline military and police crackdowns on gang members inside these countries — the result was an explosion in prison populations where local gang cliques met and formed powerful and coordinated national networks. We failed to make sustained, timely investments in each of these countries when internal conflicts ended in the early 1990s. In El Salvador alone, where a peace accord ending a 12-year civil war was signed in 1992, U.S. aid was cut from nearly $200 million annually to $30 million in 1994. Those two decades of neglect are now coming home to roost, literally.

For many years, the Northern Triangle countries have been cited among the most violent and dangerous in the world, and U.S. guns help fuel that lethal violence.

While many factors contribute to the violence in each country, guns have played an outsized role in escalating the levels of lethality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), many of these guns originate in the United States. From 2014 to 2016 — the only years for which ATF has made data publicly available — 49 percent of crime guns recovered in El Salvador were originally purchased in the United States. Similarly, 45 percent of crime guns recovered in Honduras and 29 percent of those recovered in Guatemala have U.S. origins.

Yet if you turned on the TV on any given night in America, you would never hear a single word about how many of our own economic and foreign policies helped contribute to the violence and poverty driving today’s migrants out of their homes.

The bottom line is that no one decides to leave their home overnight or on a whim. People escaping threats or seeking opportunities move from one marginal neighborhood to another neighborhood, or from one part of the country to another, or sometimes to neighboring countries before violence, hunger and the lack of any sense of safety or future exact their final toll.

Climate change has contributed to droughts, coffee rust, and agricultural problems that have plagued the region, hurt small producers, and increased hunger, child malnutrition and food insecurity. Economic policies, many supported by the U.S., have led to small farmers being forced off their land, especially indigenous people.

Multinational companies have taken over land for industrial farming, mining and tourism; wealthy landholders expand their holdings to produce sugar, palm oil, soybeans, corn and other biofuels; none are reluctant to use violence when families and communities resist. In Guatemala and Honduras, environmentalists and land rights activists have been threatened and targeted for violence and assassination, often with the support of state police and security forces.

If America truly wants to get serious about dealing with the crisis on our border, then we must study the past so that history does not repeat itself. We must acknowledge our share of the blame for the conditions these families face.

To be sure, the problems confronting Central America and the flow of migrants to our southern border are not all due to U.S. foreign policy.

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Briefing …

Poverty, injustice, violence, murder, corruption, inequality and impunity in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala are homegrown. But history shows, with too few exceptions, that when local officials and activists have stood up for basic human rights and dignity, the U.S. too often failed to help them, sometimes standing by when they were threatened and harassed, and at worst, intervening on behalf of those who would bury dissent.

We don’t have to imagine what might happen if we looked to solve these problems instead of demonizing immigrants and asylum seekers once they arrive at our border. I have seen what U.S. aid and our diplomatic missions can accomplish, even with modest resources.

I have seen the many positive results when the U.S. collaborates with local communities, addresses the causes of youth violence, invests in community-designed development, helps professionalize security forces, facilitates safe and orderly migration for those most at risk, and supports institutions that strengthen judicial independence and an end to corruption and impunity. Policies that prioritize a better quality of life and respect the dignity of ordinary people and the poor give people a sense of control over their own lives, hope for a better future for their children, and a reason to remain in their own countries.

Last year, on Sunday, October 14th, Oscar Romero was canonized in Rome. As archbishop of San Salvador, he was an advocate for the poor and worked for peace amid an escalating civil war.

I have visited his humble home, attended Mass at the chapel where he last spoke, and prayed at his tomb.

When he was assassinated on March 24, 1980, he was celebrating Mass. Moments before an assassin’s bullet stole his life, as he was concluding his homily, he said:

“I beg you all, dear brothers and sisters, let us look at these matters at this moment in our history with this hope, with this spirit of giving, of sacrifice, and let us do what we can. We can all do something, at least have a sense of understanding.”

I believe the United States has the capacity to do great good in Central America. We have a moral responsibility to rebuild and reinvest in these nations. We have a moral responsibility to be compassionate to those who flee. And, as a nation of immigrants, with a population of 320 million people, we have the capacity not only to welcome but to benefit from the presence of our Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran brothers and sisters. We can make a difference for good in these countries, in this region, and yes, here in America, too.

We are a special country not because of any one race or religion or political party — we are special because of our people. We are a kind, generous, compassionate country. We are a country with a conscience.

We need only look to our own hemisphere to see what happens when our policies and the leaders who design them don’t live up to our highest ideals. And now, it is incumbent upon all of us to right these wrongs, show compassion to those who are fleeing, and help create a better quality of life for all.

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Happening NOW!:

McGovern Joins Pelosi on Congressional Delegation to Central America

Congressman James P. McGovern, chairman of the House Rules Committee and co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, is traveling with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a four-day congressional delegation to Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and McAllen, Texas.

The delegation, which left today and includes 11 other members of Congress, will hold high-level meetings with representatives from government, the judiciary, civil society, community and faith-based groups, the private sector and human rights organizations.

“Our delegation is traveling to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras because we need people in Congress to understand the rampant violence, corruption, and poverty that drives families north to the border,” said McGovern. “Too often, American intervention and destabilization has created or exacerbated the problems that we see in these countries, and I believe the United States has a moral obligation to help those who are fleeing from the consequences of years of bad policy decisions.

“I’m thankful to Speaker Pelosi for inviting me on this important trip, and I look forward to a productive series of meetings that will help inform our lawmaking when we return to Washington.”

In conjunction with the visit, McGovern published an opinion piece on Medium [above] explaining why he felt it was important to travel to the region at this time and detailing the history of U.S. intervention in the region.

After concluding their visit to the Northern Triangle countries, the delegation will travel to McAllen, Texas to see detention conditions for migrants from Central America and to meet with faith-based and community leaders, as well as with asylum-seeking families.

McGovern is the only Member of Congress from Massachusetts to join the delegation.

In addition to Speaker Pelosi, Jim is accompanied by Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-American Samoa), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Katie Hill (D-CA), Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL).

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FYI:


BETO FOR PRESIDENT!

♥️🎸🎧🎹🎼📻🎙️♥️🌷🐈

Happy 50th, AR!

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Are you listening to your copy♥️, too?😃🎙️ pic: R.T:

Worcester♥️ Photo📸 Wrap-up💝!! + more👕

This morning. A shopping cart sullies our Blackstone River Road driveway😢😢😢:
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pics + text by Rose T.

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This does the neighborhood no favors …

But for the YES!!! HOORAY! file …
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we were thrilled to see all the over-growth cut down on this side of Blackstone River Road! Sidewalk clear – and walkable!

Of course, the landlord was annoyed that he/she had to step up for THE URBAN GOOD, so now he/she is selling the HUGE PARKING lot! Maybe the multifamily next to it … There were for-sale signs with a phone number posted. Another slumlord on the way? Or an oblivious-to-the-locals gentrifier who sees the future galloping towards Blackstone River Road – Canal District Part 2?

Yesterday to see this – the FREE BUS FOR SOME FOLKS$!! Of course, their windows are painted over!
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FOR SHAME!!

Worcester is turning into a 2-tier city on this side of Park Ave! The Canal District money $people and the poor folks of the neighborhood/city who are NOT ALLOWED ON THE BUS:
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CD developers ALLEN FLETCHER, ED MURPHY AND “DINO”‘s bus! They also bought land for parking lots to pick up CD shoppers EVERY 10 MINUTES!!! on MY SIDE of Green Island, anticipating even more gentrification – even more displacement of poor residents!

They create OTHERNESS in our community!!!

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A positive: Ron O’Clair walked down his street, Main, a few days ago to attend the neighborhood’s WPD-sponsored National Night Out. The city’s beloved community leader Brenda Jenkins organized the huge Main South block party! There was music, dancing, BBQ, kids games, visitors from the WPD mounted unit, politicians … and good vibes between Worcester police officers and the neighborhood folks:
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WPD Chief Steve Sargeant – good guy. LET’S GET THOSE WPD BODY CAMS on our officers, Chief! For the community’s welfare – and your guys’/gals’! photos: Ron O’Clair

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Enjoying the fun night! 300+ people attended! cutlines: Rose T.

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Kids dunk tank!

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Lots of info for folks and a BBQ tent where yummies were cooked and served!

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D 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera and friend!

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“The lineup”!!

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WPD’s finest! So beautiful!

Worcester’s longest-serving mayor – Joseph Petty:
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He’s well-loved because he’s a UNITER! Mayor Petty is modest, honest, real, direct, caring – never hogs the lime-light! He brings us all together – cares about city kids, their education, our urban neighborhoods, small biz folks. He’s fair and, best of all, a genuinely GOOD PERSON!

🇺🇸🇺🇸 Hero:
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Thank you! We so ♥️ your bravery and dedication – your love of country … your service to America!

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FYI:

Wonderful Toni Morrison interview: