Category Archives: InCity Feature

Vegan food fuels record-setting race across Appalachian Trail!

By Heather Moore

It takes the average hiker between five and seven months to travel the length of the Appalachian Trail (actually, the average hiker never even finishes it). Ultramarathoner Scott Jurek recently completed the 2,189-mile journey from Georgia to Maine in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. Beef jerky didn’t pass his lips once. Jurek thinks of food as fuel and only fills his tank with plant-based nutrition. And he’s not the only competitive athlete to champion a vegan lifestyle. Many popular athletes—from baseball and football players to boxers and bodybuilders—are taking advantage of performance-enhancing animal-free foods.

Plant-based foods provide athletes with the nutrients they need without the artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol they don’t. Vegans tend to have a lower body mass index than nonvegans, and studies show that plant-based foods can help reduce blood pressure, improve blood flow and boost athletic performance. An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that a plant-based diet is “compatible with successful athletic endeavor.”

Vegan foods have propelled sports figures quite far. Jurek won the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run seven years in a row, setting a course record, and he’s represented the United States’ winning teams in overseas races.

His accomplishments are impressive—and so are those of other vegan competitors. Ultrarunner Patrick Sweeney recently raced from Los Angeles to Boston in 114 days—that’s more than a marathon each day. Ironmen Jason Lester and Rich Roll, who in 2009 was named one of the 25 “fittest guys in the world” by Men’s Fitness, completed five Ironman Triathlons—each on a different Hawaiian Island—in one week. Not to be left in the dust, vegan runner Fiona Oakes ran marathons on all seven continents and the North Pole, where she set a course record by 44 minutes.

These vegans are following in the footsteps of some true sports greats. Carl Lewis, Sports Illustrated’s “Olympian of the Century,” says that his best year of track competition was the first year that he ate a vegan diet, and Fauja Singh, who, at age 101, finished a 6.25-mile race in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds, credits his stamina and longevity to plant-based meals.

Ultramarathoner Dom Repta, who has run 100 miles in just under 20 hours, jokes that “vegan power” has turned him into a cyborg who suffers no injuries. While that may not be entirely true, vegan foods can protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other debilitating diseases. That’s why former triathlete Brendan Brazier, the author of the Thrive book series and creator of the award-winning line of plant-based Vega nutritional products, says that whole plant-based foods are “proactive health insurance.” And since vegan athletes power up with healthy protein sources such as beans, lentils, tofu, pumpkin seeds and almonds, they have all the energy they need to be at their best.

Many other athletes thrive on vegan foods as well, including MLB pitcher Pat Neshek, NFL players Griff Whalen and Brandon Flowers, hockey great Georges Laraque, basketball stars John Salley and Salim Stoudamire, free-climber Steph Davis and Ultimate Fighting champ Mac Danzig.

In fact, some of the strongest athletes in the world are fueled by fruit, vegetables and other plant-based foods, including Patrik Baboumian, who broke the world record for the most weight ever carried by a human being, and all the bodybuilders on the PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team.

So, if you want to succeed in sports—and save animals to boot—pick a healthy vegan role model and follow his or her example. And even if sitting in the cheering section is more your style, you can still look and feel your best by eating vegan foods.

Summer style! Tom’s sunglasses!


The following article was written by peta2 youth marketing coordinator Helena Soh.

If you need an excuse to add another cute pair of sunglasses to your summer collection (don’t we all?), here it is. TOMS has just released a collection of three classic, go-to styles—perfect to wear on sunny days spent frolicking in your vegan TOMS shoes. Check ’em out:

Pretty fabulous, right? Sporting the company’s signature One for One striping, these sunglasses show that TOMS is a friend to both animals and people.

For every TOMS product purchased, the company donates products and services to people in need. To learn more, CLICK HERE! 

The bonus to you is how cute these glasses are—once again proving that shopping with compassion is always in fashion.


FREE trees!

Oak Leaves After Rain copyOak leaves after rain

By Ruth Seward

The Worcester Tree Initiative has a new project that will get free trees to people in Quinsigamond Village and Main South.  In partnership with the Blackstone Headwater’s Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency  and the City of Worcester, we will be planting trees in the Main South and Quinsigamond Village neighborhoods to help reduce flooding problems in those areas and to restore our waterways and the Blackstone River to  healthier conditions. Both Quinsigamond Village and Main South will receive 50 public or private trees.  These trees will be given away to residents to be planted at their homes, planted in front of businesses with space or planted in other public places in the community that might benefit from having new trees.

If you are interested in a tree please contact the Worcester Tree Initiative by emailing us at or leaving a message on our office phone @508-752-1980.

Worcester Tree Initiative has taken on several new projects this spring that have benefitted the residents of Worcester.  The first was our seven week long Worcester Boys and Girls Club educational program where we taught youth principles of stewardship, leadership, and advocacy in the urban forest thanks to a grant provided by the Alliance for Community Trees. The second was the Arbor Day Celebration at Green Hill Park where we partnered with the American Chestnut Foundation, the City of Worcester, the Green Hill Park Coalition, and the Worcester Garden Club to plant 15 blight resistant American Chestnut trees.  We have also planted another community orchard at Ascentria’s New Lands Farm where many Worcester refugee families farm their own food.  These projects along with the newest project in Quinsigamond Village and Main South, help keep a healthy urban forest in and around Worcester.

Trees are important in both a forest and a city.  They give off oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide in our air.  Studies show that urban areas with more trees have lower crime rates and better health.   More trees in a city mean increased property values, increased health benefits, decreased air pollution and decreased energy usage.   People linger by stores and restaurants that are surrounded by trees so business increases in establishments on tree lined streets.   Residents go outside more when more trees are part of the landscape.  Trees are a low maintenance alternative, once they have been established. They also reduce storm water runoff, or rain water that does not soak into the ground.

Storm water runoff is a big problem in cities because we have so many impermeable surfaces like rooftops, roads, parking lots, and sidewalks. Water can’t soak through these surfaces so it runs off somewhere else sometimes causing floods.  Streets close as they become waterlogged and impossible to drive through.   Basements can fill with water when there’s a crack in the foundation. Because of the massive amounts of impervious surfaces the urban environment can be overloaded by water of large storms and we get left with a big mess.

Besides creating flooding conditions, stormwater runoff carries with it pollutants and road debris as it travels to city drains.   Pollutants like excess fertilizers and pesticides, pet waste, bacteria, grease and oil, and heavy metals from brakes and rusts infiltrate our water treatment system or in some cases, drain directly into our natural waterways.   Over time such pollution accumulates and becomes a major problem for anything that lives in, drinks, or swims in that water.

All of the water in Worcester eventually finds its way to the Blackstone River, the head of which sits in Quinsigamond Village. Pollution of Worcester’s waterways has been a major contributor to pollution of the Blackstone River since before the Industrial Revolution. That pollution, along with contributions from every other smaller watershed along the way, has led to the devastation of Narragansett Bay.

More and more, urban planners and urban engineers throughout the United States are looking to set the urban equation straight by utilizing green infrastructure wherever they can. Parking lots no longer need to be impenetrable solid roads where pools of water and ice create hazards for pedestrians and drivers.  Instead they can include drainage options and vegetation components to eliminate surface pooling. City landscapes can include plants and trees, which enhance the beauty of the city while creating places for storm water to go thereby reducing  flooding in our streets and pollution in our waterways.

Trees are a big part of storm water interception. They absorb gallons of water through their roots systems.  Tree canopies capture and store rainfall then release water into the atmosphere, preventing it from becoming waste water.  Tree roots and leaf litter also create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil. The closer we can get to imitating nature in the city, by reducing impermeable surfaces and letting water soak into the ground, the cleaner and healthier our waterways will be. In fact, some of the cleanest water in the world comes from the Quabbin Reservoir, which is the water supply for Boston. The water that the trees and soil naturally filter goes into the Quabbin and when it gets to Boston it needs little filtering before it goes to people’s sinks!

A great way to get trees into the city landscape is to plant them in people’s yards.  Even small yards can be good places for small trees. Trees thrive when planted in areas where they have room for their roots to grow and where they are treated with care.

The Worcester Tree Initiative in partnership with the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition, the Environmental Protection Agency and the City of Worcester, is looking for 100 tree planting sites in  Main South and the Quinsigamond Village throughout the spring and fall.  We are looking for 50 spots where people want city trees planted in their front yard or in the grass strip along the sidewalk and 50 spots where people would like to plant a tree somewhere else in their yard.  So far – close to 50 locations have been identified and we are eager to finish our project by mid June.  Please contact the Worcester Tree Initiative by email: or by phone: 508-752-1800.  We are happy to get trees into your neighborhood!

This project has been made possible through the partnership of the City of Worcester, Worcester Tree Initiative and the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition and has been funded through a Healthy Communities grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.  The purpose of the project is to plant trees to make the Blackstone River healthier and to reduce flooding after storms in Worcester.

Join Worcester Park Spirit for Summer Fun!

By Lorraine Michele Laurie

Parks have been a part of Worcester’s history since the City’s founding.  The Worcester Common was the first land set aside by the town for common open space in June of 1669.  Today there are more than 60 Worcester parks and playgrounds and four City of Worcester beaches that cover 1,250+ acres of land!


One of the cool sculptures at Elm Park, one of Woo’s loveliest public spaces! The Elm park Concert Series is held here! The FREE concerts are attended by hundreds of folks! They showcase local bands every Thursday evening during summer time! Sponsored by Park Spirit!

Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc. was founded in 1987 to “protect, promote, enhance and advocate for Worcester City parks.”  It was the brainchild of Thomas W. Taylor who was the Parks Commissioner at the time.  Because of dwindling funds for parks on the whole and the ineligibility of some parks for Community Development Block Grant Funds, Mr. Taylor felt that an advocacy group was a means of keeping the parks in good shape.  Joined by distinguished Worcester leaders such as Bob Bowditch, Ed Simsarian, Joan Bagley and Phil Reid, the ground work was laid for a strong citizen’s group.  Soon neighborhood leaders from all around the City joined in “Preserving the Parks.”  The group lent support to the creating of the” Parks Gift Catalogue” and “Artworks in the Parks.”

Park Spirit is still flourishing in 2015.  Besides its own activities, it also serves as a fiscal agent for smaller groups that want to work on activities in certain parks.  One such group is The Friends of Newton Hill, headed up by Rick Miller.  As a member organization of Park Spirit, it is composed of neighbors, students and local business volunteers.  This group is also dedicated to advocating and maintaining the natural beauty of its trails and paths.

One of Park Spirit’s signature events is the Annual Elm Park Summer Concert Series which began Thursday, July 9, and runs every Thursday evening through August 13.  The opening concert was the Beatles Night with “Union Jack.”  The next concert, a swing soul night, took place on July 16 and featured the “Love Dogs.” It was country night on July 23 with Nashville Recording Artist Mychael David and the “Help Wanted Band.” 

Up for July 30: Classic pop night with the Dinosaurs!

A 20 piece swing band, “The Milford Jazzy Machine Orchestra,” will entertain on August 6. 

The final concert of the summer series will take place on August 13 with the maximum rockin’ rhythm of the “Silverbacks”!

Admission is FREE for all concerts!

Dorothy “Dottie” Hargrove, President of Park Spirit, encourages everyone to enjoy a fun-filled evening of music and camaraderie in beautiful historic Elm Park.

To join Park Spirit of Worcester, Inc. go to and become a “friend of Worcester’s Parks.”

Congressman Jim McGovern hosts 2nd annual Summer Food Rocks Tour!

McGovern Tour Supports USDA Summer Food Program to Provide Healthy Meals to Low-Income Students During Summer Break From School 


Congressman Jim McGovern hosted last Friday his 2nd annual Summer Food Rocks Tour to bring attention to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) national Summer Food Service program and highlight how it assists low-income students in Massachusetts.

The Congressman was honored to be joined on the tour by USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon as well as numerous local, state, federal and not-for-profit partners.

The tour included stops in Ware, Orange, Leominster and Worcester.

“A child’s need for healthy, nutritious food doesn’t just end when the school year does,” Congressman McGovern said. “With our second annual Summer Food Rocks Tour, I’m excited to be working with our national, state, local and not-for-profit leaders to ensure that every eligible family that requires access to food this summer knows that this program is available. Helping all of our students have a healthy and productive summer is so important.”

He continued: “We should do everything we can to ensure that no child goes hungry simply because school is out. I’m proud to see this program continue to make a big difference for our communities.  I hope that through this tour, eligible families who do not participate will decide to give it a try.”


“Children are particularly vulnerable to hunger and poor nutrition, especially when school is out,” said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition & Consumer Services. “That’s why this summer, we’ve set a goal of serving 200 million meals nationally; it was encouraging to see the great work being done in Massachusetts to help to reach as many children and teens as possible. USDA is happy to see strong partnerships work diligently to ensure no child goes hungry.”

The USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

This summer, USDA plans to serve more than 200 million free meals to children 18 years and under at approved SFSP sites.

·         In addition to USDA Under Secretary Concannon, Congressman McGovern was joined on the tour by national, state, local and not-for-profit leaders including; USDA Regional Administrator Food and Nutrition Service Kurt Messner; Acting Director for Nutrition Health and Safety Programs for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Rob Leshin; Director of Child Nutrition Outreach Programs for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Ashley Krebs, EOS Foundation Director Christy Mach Dubé, representatives of Share Our Strength, Project Bread, the Leominster Spanish American Center, the Montachusett Opportunity Council and The Worcester County Food Bank, as well as numerous state and local elected officials, educational leaders, and food service managers from across Massachusetts.


Below is a brief description of each event on Friday’s tour and the state and local leaders who attended:

WARE: Tour of Summer Food Service Program at Kaziol Elementary School in Ware

In Ware, the Congressman and his guests served breakfast to youngsters and spoke with family members about the importance of the SFSP program.  Share Our Strength distributed sunglasses to the children which were enjoyed by all.

ORANGE: Tour of Summer Food Service Program at Fisher Hill Elementary School in Orange

In Orange, the Congressman and his guests had the opportunity to spend time with children attending camp at Fisher Hill Elementary School who had enjoyed a SFSP breakfast before taking to the basketball court and playing outside with bubbles provided by Share our Strength.

LEOMINSTER: Roundtable Discussion of Summer Food Rocks Program and Tour of Spanish American Center in Leominster

In Leominster, the Congressman and his guests were hosted again this year by Neddy Latimer, Executive Director of the Spanish American Center.  Participants discussed the successes achieved by, and the challenges to be addressed by, the SFSP program.  The group then toured the newly constructed kitchen at the Spanish American Center and served lunch to an enthusiastic group of children. See photos.

WORCESTER: Roundtable discussion of National Standards for School Lunch Program and Tour of Worcester Public Schools Food Truck:

At the Goddard School, Congressman McGovern hosted a roundtable discussion of national standards for the school lunch program facilitated by USDA Under Secretary Concannon.

During the discussion, guests were treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the Worcester Public Schools Nutrition Department.  After the roundtable, participants were able to tour two Worcester Public Schools food trucks and discuss the successes achieved by this innovative program.

Community Development Block Grants – Worcester shows off its CDBG-funded neighborhood “stars” to mayors throughout Mass!

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

Mayor Petty starts off the meeting

There was a meeting today at Clark University’s Lurie Conference Room in the Higgins Building on the Clark Campus about the Community Development Block Grants given by the government through H.U.D. (Housing and Urban Development) and the success that has been achieved through these grants in the Kilby/Gardner/Hammond section of Worcester.

This meeting was attended by several dignitaries, including:

Dan Donahue, State Representative 16th District

Bill Carpenter, Mayor of the City of Brockton

Setti Warren, Mayor of the City of Newton

Joseph Petty, Mayor of the City of Worcester

Daniel Rizzo, Mayor of the City of Revere

Mary Keefe, State Representative 15th District

Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director of the Friendly House

Robert Shumeyko, H.U.D. Regional Director

Tony Sousa, Director of Planning for the City of Everett

Jeremiah Thompson, from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office

Laurie Ross, Clark University

and many of the heads of the City of Worcester Community Development office

After opening remarks from Mayor Petty and Mayor Warren, there was a power-point presentation by Steven Teasdale, executive director of the Main South C.D.C., followed by a bus tour of the Worcester neighborhood that was the focus of the redevelopment that the CDBG money helped make a reality.

The WRTA bus getting ready to depart on the tour

The bus, a regular WRTA bus, toured the Kilby Street area, stopping at the new Boys and Girls Club and traveled over to Hollis Street to see the former factory at 93 Grand St. that has been renovated and is nearly ready for occupancy. It was once owned by the Main South C.D.C. but was bought and developed by a private entity.

The people riding the tour bus got to see first-hand the difference made in the area, as was obvious to all from having seen “before” photos of the neighborhood in the power-point presentation .

There was a discussion period after the tour back in the conference room.

We learned much of the progress made in Worcester’s Kilby-Gardner-Hammond area would have been impossible without funding from the CDBG program.

Beautiful shoes = BANNING the leather! Cruety-free sandals+ in which you can strut thru your summer!

No animals had their skins ripped off while they were still alive to make these summer stunners!

A style for EVERY one of YOU!

CLICK on the brand names to buy shoes/visit the companies’ websites.       – R. T.


Amelia Sandal


This cobalt blue shoe is bright and summery, and the material is durable, high-quality Italian faux leather. Bourgeois Boheme also has a large selection of men’s shoes.

2. Sydney Brown Flat Sandal


Sydney Brown is a Los Angeles–based designer. Her shoes are handmade and free of animal products. Instead, they contain materials such as coconut insoles and “reclaimed wooden soles, aiming to create every pair of shoes with a ‘cradle to cradle’ life cycle.”

3. PETA x M4D3 Limited Edition Espadrille


M4D3 stands for “Make a Difference Everyday,” and by purchasing these animal-free espadrilles, you’ll be doing just that.

4. Beyond Skin

Beyond Skin metallic shoes

Metallic flats, penny loafers, and Oxfords—oh, my! This U.K.-based brand leaves us speechless.

5. BC Footwear Tuxedo Flatform

Moo Shoes

These sandals are available through the cruelty-free vegan retailer MooShoes, which, in addition to shoes, carries belts, wallets, handbags, and other goodies for both men and women.

6. Timberland x Pharrell Williams’ Bee Line Boot


Pharrell Williams owns an eco-textile company called Bionic Yarn, and this collaboration between him and the Timberland boot company does Mother Earth a good one by creating unisex boots made from a blend of organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. The boots feature two designs to choose from: honeycomb and blades of grass.

7. Nicora Johns 2-in-1 Copper Flat

Nicora Johns better

This shoe is awesome because you can wear it as a ballet flat or add the strap if you’re in a Mary Jane sort of mood.

8. Bhava Sara Asymmetrical Slip-On


This shoe is made with Japanese recycled ultrasuede (a microfiber that’s not animal-derived), organic ayurvedic dyed cotton, and reclaimed wood heels.

9. Report Neeley Heels*

Report Neely heels

If you’re looking to get dressed up a bit, these strappy heels, available throughZappos, will go a long way. They also come in three colors. …


I visited the Worcester Animal Rescue League …

… at 139 Holden St. (Worcester), yesterday afternoon. They have so many adorable KITTENS looking for LOVING FOREVER HOMES! I had to snap some pics!

Stop by WARL today and cuddle these beauties!  Maybe take one home with you … .WARL is open to the public SEVEN days a week! – noon to 4 p.m. All cats (and dogs) up for adoption are spayed/neutered and vaccinated!

pics + text – R. Tirella







It’s music to our ears! Free Worcester music – all styles, for all tastes!

CAM00194Worcester’s  “Out-to-Lunch” concerts on the Worcester Common – every Thursday this summer,  from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – feature live music! Local rock bands, oldies bands, salsa bands, they’re all behind City Hall, Main Street  …. FREE FUN! Plus: there’s also a local FARMERS MARKET and artists selling their art! Plus: great umbrella-topped picnic tables at which you can eat your lunch, while listening to the music! Best of all: There’s room on the plaza for dancin’! pic – R.T.

By Edith Morgan

Music is said to be the universal language – we all respond to it from the moment we were born (some think we even appreciate it in utero).  It is said to soothe the savage breast and, for teachers, it is a great mnemonic device (a lot of us learned the alphabet by singing it).  And stutterers miraculously can sing without hesitation. We all respond to rhythm in various ways, but we all DO respond.

So, as the days get warmer and longer, and many of us enjoy a bit of leisure time, we look for opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors while we listen to all kinds of music.

Worcester offers something for everyone! I will focus on some of Worcester’s great free concerts, available this month and in August, in some of our beautiful parks.

If you like to be out in the midday sun, you can attend the ten “Out –to-Lunch” concerts on the Worcester Common on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Now until August 20th there will be concerts by the Sonic Explorers, Boombox, Dale LePage and the Manhattans, Farmers Union Players, Grupo Fantasia, Matthew Sanchez y su Orquesta, and the Drunken Uncles.

And while you listen to the music  there is the Farmers’ Market, where you can buy fresh, homegrown produce!

In the evenings, you can attend the Newton Square Concert series, on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., now through August 11th. Here you can buy refreshments and enjoy the scenery.

On Thursdays, in Elm Park, beginning at 6:30 p.m., Park Spirit, Inc. will present its iconic concert series, featuring Country Night with MYCHAEL DAVID and the HELP WANTED BAND (Nashville recording artist) on July 23rd; Classic pop night with THE DINOSAURS on July 30th; the 20 piece swing band THE MILFORD JAZZ MACHINE ORCHESTRA on August 6th, and finally, Maximum Rockin Rhythm with THE SIVERBACKS ON August 13th.

Sunday evenings at Institute Park, the Central Mass Symphony began more than six decades of performances on July 13th, at 7 p.m. when  Maestro Myron Romanut presented works by a wide variety of classical composers, among whom are Bizet, Strauss, Rossini, Schubert and others.
If you can’t make it every week, there are “one-shot” events!

On Saturday August 15th, there will be the yearly Latin-American festival, with music from all over the world, and of course dancing, food, and activities! FREE!

Sunday, August 30th, at Institute Park, beginning at noon, the Caribbean Carnival will start with a parade beginning at 305 Chandler street and proceed to the Worcester Common (behind City Hall). Again, there
will be vendors, music, local and international stars.

There are many more musical celebrations going on in Worcester! Our city is rich in resources which charge from very minimal fees to some more expensive venues. Whatever your resources are, whatever your tastes run to, there is something for you –from rock, to classical, folk, ethnic … . Whatever suits your fancy – you can find it and enjoy it in Worcester this summer!

Yay, Piedmont neighborhood! As I was zipping around Worcester yesterday …

… I was delighted to see something new “blooming” at Chandler Elementary School, the Piedmont inner-city school we got city officials to put a slide set/play-scape in (see it, in the background?) earlier this year:


… raised garden boxes!


Three of them!

Folks in this urban neighborhood are raising their own veggies! Just one more way to keep our kids healthy and strong!

As InCity Times celebrates its 14’th birthday, it’s victories like this spiffed-up school yard that make ME HAPPIEST OF ALL!

So break out the vegan ice cream! Buy a ton of Kettle Corn at Main South’s REC Farmers Market!


Run a couple of laps around Maloney Field outside with Ron Charette (on left in pic, below) and his South Worcester Neighborhood Center crew on Camp Street!


Celebrate with us! I am SO PROUD OF MY NEWSPAPER AND ALL THE WONDERFUL WRITERS AND ARTISTS who’ve made InCity Times so unique! Thanks to our wonderful advertisers and, most of all, READERS LIKE YOU!

You are my family!

– photos/text – Rosalie Tirella

(kettle corn and Ron Charette photos by Ron O’Clair)