Category Archives: InCity Voices

WFD Fireman Lt. Jason Menard procession from St. John’s Church …

Photos+text by Rosalie Tirella

Worcester – Thousands of firemen and firewomen from all corners of America lined Temple and Green streets this early afternoon – six deep – to bid farewell to WFD fireman Lt. Jason Menard who died going above and beyond the call of duty last week while saving two lives in a fire on Stockholm Street. An American hero, he gave his life for theirs.



The hundreds and hundreds and hundreds!! of firemen honored their Lt. Menard through music, pageantry – and by bussing into Worcester to stand for two hours in the raw New England cold, a hint of drizzle always in the air, waiting, waiting for the casket set atop the fire engine, a casket covered in blue to solemnly pass before them to give the final salute … Yet their spirits were high! They were strong! – together!! – mitigating their loss through bonhomie! And sometimes swigs of beer from the bottles they got at the barrooms that line Green Street!


Before the procession came through, a gaggle of firemen (fire chiefs?) walked all the way down Green Street, in the middle of the street, inspecting their men who stood on the sidewalks on either side … and to order the men, in clipped tones of voice: “LOCK IT UP! LOCK IT UP!” The hundreds of firemen immediately fell into silent attention at the barked commands. They stood looking American: black, white, Latino, Italian, Vietnamese, Irish, gray haired, long locks, male, female, heavy, skinny …


Men in their navy blue dress firemen uniforms and white gloves hugging each other in the thin gray sunlight, slapping each others’ shoulders in the cold. The badges sewn on the sleeves of their coats and jackets signified where they were from: New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Millbury, Shrewsbury, Rhode Island, Washington state.


The final salute … crisp, in unison, to shout to Jason as he rode atop his wreath-bedecked fire engine: WE ARE HERE FOR YOU, brother! Thousands of us! You did not die in vain!!

























On the new Worcester School Committe the old Worcester rolls on! Tracy O’Connell Novick, don’t be a hypocrite! Push for WSC DISTRICT REPRESENTATION!

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Lots of minority WSC candidates on the ballot yesterday – and voters came out for them! … A new Quinsig Village polling spot – the new Blackstone River Visitors Center/museum…

How ironic that ol’ incumbent – Tracy O’Connell Novick- got reelected to the Worcester School Committee yesterday (all the Irish surnames running for Worcester School Committe did), and the first phony sentences out of her mouth were:

The community will be the priority!!!…

And…Strong outsider campaigns run, but incumbency is a tough nut to crack!!!

OF COURSE IT IS, YOU NUT Tracy!!!! Who better to know than you? When you were on the Worcester School Committee last go around and then Worcester Mayor and School Committee head Joe O’Brien WAS PUSHING FOR DISTRICT REPRESENTATION ON THE WORCESTER SCHOOL COMMITTEE, you voted against it!!

TRACY O’Connell Novick, YOU VOTED AGAINST CRACKING THE INCUMBENCY NUT! All the school committee members at that time did! No one joined Joe O’Brien in making the School Committee more inclusive, more representative of the people of our city! Reflecting minorities, folks – children – from our working class and poorer neighborhoods. People who see up close: the child hunger, teen pregnancy, health challenges, domestic violence and abuse, the lack of resources … AND ALL THE GREAT STUFF … ALL THE POTENTIAL! Let’s make the Worcester School Committee mirror our Woo City Council: 5 district members and 6 at large members.

Tracy, you live on Olean Street – on the city’s West Side. An added perk: you also live at the nature nook – Cascades – so you LIVE RENT FREE COURTESY OF THE TAXPAYERS, IN THE CUTE HOUSE THERE! Now you can make almost $15,000+ a year as a member of the Worcester School Committee, courtesy of the Worcester taxpayer

Why would you give up some of that entitlement by pushing for District Representation on the school committee – even though you said incumbency is a tough nut!

Doing the right thing means you may be off the school committee next time – it means new city candidates, new city voices, Woo folks from under-represented Worcester neighborhoods and communities WILL HAVE A CHANCE … It means they will get elected to the school commityee. The numbers, as you know, are there.

Why is running in a district make it easier to get elected? Because people are running in their neighborhoods and surrounding neighborhoods – folks know them, and they know up close and personal the challenges/issues of their communities. AND running a district campaign DOESN’T COST AS MUCH MONEY as city wide because you are running in your DISTRICT – not ALL of Worcester. Fewer signs, flyers, letters, etc.

DR is a great way to bring minorities … working moms and dads … the working class and poor – NEW VOICES – into our public school conversation – making CHANGES, VOTING FOR REAL CHANGES in our Worcester Public Schools. Most likely these new voices will be THE FOLKS WITH KIDS OR GRANDKIDS IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

So stop giving cheap politician lip service to what you denied the city schools, and the voters, several years ago, Tracy O’Connell Novick! You help stop STRONG, OUTSIDER/MINORITY SCHOOL COMMITTEE CANDIDATES from serving on the Worcester School Committee!


Inside my neighborhood’s visitor center/polling site – a history of the disenfranchised!! Working to/demanding they get their FAIR SHARE!


Worcester, go vote!☑️🇺🇸 TODAY!😊

Yes, Blackstone River Road/Greenwood Street can get a little dirty…but ya gotta look beyond the refuse and dumped carpets to … read the signs! New places to vote today in my neighborhood – not at the church, which used to be the old QV Community Center:

We are asking you to vote for Joe (Petty):
Re-elect Mayor Joseph Petty

And we are urging you to vote for the diverse and progressive City Council candidates we have been shoving down your electoral throats for two months!

SPECIAL NOTE: We are begging you to reject – NOT VOTE FOR – candidate DONNA COLORIO – the woman behind Worcester’s re-elect Trump cabal and a member of the nefarious Tea Party, Worcester branch. A candidate who can see good in President Donald Trump – a devil who should be in prison, not seated behind the Resolute Desk – must not be elected to help lead a diverse, urban, often challenging city like ours!

Donna Colorio is THE WRONG CHOICE! The scary thing: she could win a seat on our city council – sit in that big ol’ chair in the Levi Lincoln room soon to be vacated by long-timev City Councilor Konnie Lukes (who chose not to run for re-election)! During the preliminary election Colorio ran neck and neck with candidate/former city councilor Tony Economu. She could overtake him! … PLEASE, WORCESTER VOTERS! We are urging you to VOTE FOR neither candidate – VOTE FOR ETEL H! A NEW VOICE THAT WE NEED! Tony is nice but pointless. DONNA COLORIO IS CRAZY CONSERVATIVE – AND WILL HURT OUR CITY! VOTE ETEL! NEW, YOUNG, ENERGETIC, COMPASSIONATE! Etel is member of MOTHERS OUT FRONT, a grassroots women’s group that has clamored for safety, re: gas leaks by our city schools and in our neighborhoods. They have gone up against the behemoth gas co – and won! Etel is a mom who wants safer, more diverse Woo public schools! And neighborhoods! She CARES ABOUT OUR POOR AS WELL AS MIDDLE CLASS TAX PAYERS! She wants to include everyone in the city’s rebirth! VOTE ETEL for Worcester City Council!

– Text and pics by Rosalie Tirella

This World Vegan Month, let healthy, humane eating habits take root!

By Heather Moore

Every November — World Vegan Month—compassionate, health-conscious and environmentally friendly individuals revel in the growing interest in vegan living. And this month, there’s even more reason to celebrate. Both The Economist and Forbes predicted that 2019 would be the Year of the Vegan, and their proclamations have pretty much been on the mark. Vegans have been sprouting up all over, as more and more people become aware of the ethical and ecological ramifications of animal agriculture, as well as the health hazards of eating animal-based foods.

According to Veganuary, a charity that inspires people to go vegan for January and throughout the year, a quarter of a million people in 190 countries pledged to go vegan in January 2019.

If you weren’t one of them — or you’re not already vegan — why not pledge to go vegan for World Vegan Month? You’ll improve your health, help stop animal suffering and combat climate change, all while expanding your culinary horizons. Researchers from Oxford Martin School believe that if everyone went vegan, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds, avoid 1.5 trillion dollars’ worth of climate-related damage, and save up to 8 million human lives (not to mention billions of animals) by 2050.

And you won’t be on your own if you give meat, eggs and dairy foods the boot. In 2017, 6% of Americans identified as vegan — an increase of 600% in just three years — and the number is likely even higher now. The new generation of “beefy” veggie burgers has been flying off supermarket shelves and restaurant griddles like the proverbial hot cakes. Americans spent $670 million on vegan meats from 2017 to 2018, and the food industry organization Dining Alliance found that sales of vegan meats in restaurants have increased by 268% over the past year. Sales will continue to skyrocket, according to UBS, a financial service company, which forecasts that the vegan meat market will grow by 28% a year and reach $85 billion by 2030.

A growing number of young people — including those who may be paying for their own meals by 2030 — have reason to rejoice this World Vegan Month. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the nation, began serving vegan meals in all of its schools in the 2018 – 19 school year. Other California schools, as well as schools in New York, Florida and Maine, have recently started offering vegan options, too.

Eating animal-based foods is old school. Even meat companies, including Hormel and Smithfield Foods—the largest pig-killing company in the world—have launched lines of vegan meats. There’s a vegan fast-food war going on, too, with well-known companies trying to win customers over by introducing meat-free meals. And it’s working. KFC sold out of Beyond Meat vegan chicken, which it recently tested at a KFC near Atlanta, in just five hours.

Subway offered a Beyond Meatball Sub (made vegan by forgoing the cheese) at select locations in October, Mexican food chain Del Taco recently joined Chipotle in offering vegan meat options, and UNO Italian restaurants just added a vegan menu, complete with the Beyond Burger and Daiya vegan cheese on its pizza.

And that’s not all. Las Vegas-based vegan butcher NoButcher opened its first brick-and-mortar store on October 19. It offers vegan turkey, bacon and pepperoni along with vegan pulled pork and Mediterranean grilled vegetable sandwiches.

America is clearly hungry for change. Heck, thinking about all these vegan foods has left me famished. I plan to plant myself at a vegan-friendly restaurant (or two) this month. How about you?


Praying for Peter Stefan!🙏🙏

By Rosalie Tirella

Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home, located in – and serving – inner-city Worcester! For decades! CECELIA file photos: Rose T.

Peter Stefan, owner of Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home in Main South, is being crucified by the City of Worcester and the State of Massachusetts for bodies left untreated in his funeral parlor! (AND BEING LAUDED BY THE COMMUNITY – ALL the Worcester County folks who have been helped by Peter – for his compassion!)

I mean no disrespect, but these CITY AND STATE LOSERS, through legal loopholes and general disdain for good deeds and kind hearts, HAVE NOT ALLOWED PETER TO DO HIS JOB – to JUST CREMATE THE REMAINS!, already! City of Worcester’s lawyers, led by head-hack DAVID MOORE, have sat on the paperwork they need to sign off on so Peter can cremate the bodies. The State of Mass keeps playing games with Peter, too – inspecting his funeral home and slapping him with injunctions BUT NOT ALLOWING HIM TO CREMATE THE BODIES! Just let Peter do his job! – lay to rest the unclaimed, probably homess, family-less, dead who have, sadly, been decomposing in body bags at the funeral home, for months. Governor Charlie Baker: Stop dismissing the tribulations of the poor – and help a man WHO IS TRYING TO HELP the indigent!

Remember the 1980s and the AIDS epidemic? When no one knew what the AIDS virus was all about? Well, none of the city’s funeral directors would touch the AIDS victims! Too afraid of catchin’ sonething from the bodies! ONLY PETER RESPECTFULLY EMBALMED AND BURIED/CREMATED the victims, the dead. Only he looked at them – and saw their suffering. And he welcomed their grief-stricken boyfriends, lovers and family members – into his funeral parlor for lovely, loving wakes and ceremonies. Filled with love – not hate. … The men (and women) who died of this new, scary illness, AIDS, were treated WITH DIGNITY and GRACE by Peter!

Remember all the homeless folks who have died in Worcester’s abandoned railroad box cars, with exploded propane containers by their sad, forgotten, burned beyond recognition bodies?! Well, Peter went down to the bowels of our city in the middle of winter and picked up the lost ones – and laid them to rest – with dignity and respect!

REMEMBER PETER’S charitable ways, WORCESTER CITY SOLICITOR DAVID MOORE👿👿?! And city council members!

WHO HAS PAID FOR the free podiatry clinic at the Worcester Senior Center? Year after year? “SAINT” PETER!

Who has helped Worcester’s lost, downtrodden and homeless for YEARS? Peter Stefan!

Who used to go to Nissan’s bakery and buy A TON OF DONUTS, BREAD, PIES AND OTHER GOODIES for the downtrodden and drunk/high homeless of the old PIP wet shelter, in Main South! And was best buds with exec. director Buddy B? For YEARS!! Worcester ICON Peter!! He is OLDER AND STILL NOT WISE to the scum-bag Worcester and Boston bureacrats’ games – head and paperwork shenanigans!

Peter has been the poor man and woman’s guardian angel for decades! Living Jesus’s gospel for decades – in a God-less world! But don’t worry! All of Worcester has rushed to Peter’s side! To defend him! They are: Singing his praises! Telling their Peter stories!

Worcester and Boston – sign the proper papers already so Peter, sensitive and compassionate, a city legend, can continue doing Jesus’s work for his community!

I know what you did last Halloween!🎃🎃

By Imalay Guzman

Imalay, her hubby and their children! photo submitted

As the holiday season approaches, many of us get ready to get into our end of the year routine. It’s almost religious the last three months of the year: we repeat what we do, usually taking out winter clothes while looking through last year’s holiday decorations.

Almost everyone celebrates Halloween, and there are people like myself who decide that the month of October isn’t just about Halloween. I guess in the eyes children Halloween is that one night where they can dress up as their idol or favorite hero to hunt for free candy. As for high school kids, the fun of Halloween comes from enjoying the thriller with friends attending haunted attractions or parties – candy is the last thing in a hormonal teen mind.

As a kid my mother used to get us our costumes ahead of time just to black mail us to be behave for the whole damn month of October!

As a kid, the month of October is just Halloween time. Once you become an adult, you realize that there are other things that get celebrated, like breast cancer awareness. The month of October celebrates many things from fluffernutter to hookah; most recently the nation has made progress on renaming Columbus Day into indigenous people day. It’s been a slow progress and many people are hoping as these changes occur that they are also made in the history lessons in our schools.

I’m stuck in a dilemma where I don’t see the point of celebrating a satanic holiday. But because it has become commercialized, I feel obligated to participate for the sake of my kids not feeling left out.

Reading this you’re probably thinking: she must be a Jehovah witness. But I am not! I say satanic because as the world keeps changing we have to recognize that Satanism is now known as a religion. Anywho!? I just see it as a waste of money to buy costumes for three kids that will only wear them once – and those costumes run up to $20 per costume! Coming from a mom of three I feel like the $60 I’m willing to give to a store can be more beneficial for my own debts.

What has been working for me is making a family movie night – having our own candy and snacks, taking the concept of costumes and making them into warm PJs. I have younger children so this has worked for me, but as they get older things change. Having a curfew or a good idea of your kids Halloween plans can be helpful for the older kiddos.

Have a safe and warm Halloween … Happy Candy Hunting!

New 📚Book Review by Steve!

Collusion” a novel by Newt Gingrich and Pete Earley, by Harper Luxe, New York (2019, 512 pages).

Reviewed by Steven R. Maher

When I first saw this book, I was drawn to the title (“Collusion”) and to one of the names on the byline: Newt Gingrich. I thought it was a defense of Donald Trump during the Mueller investigation. When I saw the words “A Novel” and, upon the strong recommendation of the librarian, I decided to take a chance and checked the book out.

Newt Gingrich is not my favorite politician. He approaches issues from the Trump right – I am on the other side. Yet Gingrich here has written a fantastic novel about a conflict between U.S. and Russian intelligence services. I couldn’t put it down. It is truly amazing that someone who supported Donald Trump could write a book like this!

The name Trump doesn’t appear in this book. The President is not portrayed here as a raving lunatic, sitting in his sun tanning booth, tweeting out insults at 3 a.m, and given to making bizarre statements.

This is a novel about a Russian secret police effort to set off a chemical weapon inside the U.S. Capitol building, with the help of a domestic American terrorist organization called Antifa. If you like spy versus spy stories, this novel is for you. Gingrich weaves into the tapestry of this counter-intelligence tale a surprising number of current issues: the ongoing war against terrorism, the opioid epidemic, and other issues fresh out of the daily newspapers.

But Gingrich’s mind appears to be mired in the 1980s cold war, an era seen by Republicans as the golden age of Reaganism, peace and prosperity. He dedicates the book to the journalists killed by Vladimir Putin; quotes Putin on the first page as saying the Cold War never ended; and concludes the novel with long lists of Putin’s victims who were killed since Putin emerged as a Russian strongman in the early 2000s.

Gingrich’s background as a former Speaker of the House and Congressman, as well as Washington DC insider, equipped him with the knowledge of how the intelligence agencies work, and he was able to draw into the novel an understanding of opioid addicts, cyber-warfare, and other modern technologies incorporated into the computer age. The reader can learn a lot from this book.

The White Hats

The Good Guys:

• Former Navy SEAL Brett Garrette. The supposed hero of this novel, Garrette became opioid-dependent when he was treated with pain killers after he was badly burned while conducting a raid into Cameroon to free hostages held by Boko Haram. He becomes an opioid and then heroin addict. He is depicted as putting suboxone tabs under his tongue while on stake-out. Nonetheless, Garrette’s disease surfaces at the worst times: he is often fighting both the Russians and his withdrawal symptoms from opiates simultaneously.

• CIA Director Harold Harris, who lies about Garrette’s episode in Cameroon. This leads to Garrette being dishonorably discharged after serving an 18-month jail term.

• U.S. Senator Cormac Stone, whose son was killed during the Cameron raid. Because of the way Harris misrepresented Garrette’s actions, Stone holds Garrette responsible for his son’s death. Stone is out for revenge, which clouds his judgment.

• Thomas Jefferson Kim, a cybersecurity expert who provides critical assistance to Garrette during the effort to stop the weapons of mass destruction event.

• Antifa member Aysan Rivera. This is the one thing I take issue with Gingrich on this book. There has been no credible evidence tying the real Antifa to the Russians. That Gingrich is portraying Antifa as useful idiots and Russian assassins speaks more to Gingrich’s fears than to his knowledge.

The Bad Guys

The bad guys are General Andre Borsovich Gromyko, the Russian President’s chief adviser; Russian President Vyachesian Leninovich Kalugin; and Deputy Russian foreign minister Yakov Prokoyevich Pavel.

The story starts off with Pavel’s daughter and son-in-law being assassinated by the Russian secret police using a highly toxic poison, supposedly by Gromyko acting through the FSB, the Russian secret service. Pavel then announces to the CIA his desire to defect with his grandson; the grandson is his only remaining family member. What follows is a nail-biting book of twists and turns sprawled out over 500 pages. Never once did the reviewer feel bored by what he was reading. The book ends on a surprising note that I am not going to reveal here!😉

In Green Island! Sign the CBA, Madison Properties🧢 – and fellow Woo Sox⚾ developers!

Hit a Home Run – Sign the CBA!



Last week marked 15 months that the Worcester Community-Labor Coalition (WCLC) has been working to secure a Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) for our community.

👏🧢⚾“HIT a HOME RUN, SIGN the CBA!” Press Conference⚾👏🧢

9 a.m – Thursday, October 24

at the Corner of Madison and Washington streets
(123 Washington St), Worcester

We former Green Islanders never got fancy crosswalks with signs, lights, freshly painted lines, orange safety barrels! pics: R.T.

The CBA is a road map to ensure that Worcester’s renaissance is through both community and economic development. Join the WCLC at 9am Thursday 10/24/19 for a press conference at the corner of Madison St and Washington St, (123 Washington St), Worcester, amid the construction as we request that we “Hit a home run, sign the CBA.”

The six-person Worcester Community Labor Coalition negotiating team is in positive negotiations with the City Manager and The Worcester Red Sox. At this press conference we are requesting that Madison Properties come to the negotiating table. We have reason to believe that they will come to the table, but they have not sat down with the WCLC yet. WCLC believes that the community deserves to have a face to face conversation on the CBA with the developer to outline the issues the community seeks to address.

This side of Kelley Square is where we seek social and economic justice!

The Worcester Community Labor Coalition lent its support to the ballpark project through community testimony at numerous City hearings on the subject. Our testimony not only lauded the potential for good economic development that the project could bring but raised the idea of negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement directly with the community to ensure the maximum benefit possible from the project.

The Worcester Community Labor Coalition works to ensure that economic development is community development. Our coalition represents a broad array of labor and community interests in Worcester and Central Massachusetts.

Harding Street

As community groups, religious congregations, businesses, neighborhood associations, labor unions, and their partners we are proud to represent the community’s interests in economic development projects.

This coalition has formed a community benefits agreement supported by over 40 community organizations to ensure that the ballpark and surrounding development center our community in the process.

Worcester goes plastic bag-FREE this spring!

Yay!! So … get ready to bring your canvas tote bags to all your fave supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores and more – in Worcester😊! Can you believe it?! Thank you, out-going City Councilor Konnie Lukes, for pushing for this new city ordinance year after year! The rest of Woo finally caught up to yoo! … In the meantime, I saw this info-box in Better Homes and Gardens mag: HOW TO REUSE ALL THOSE PLASTIC BAGS! Help save our city … our planet🌎♥️🌎!
– Rose T.
pic: Rose T.🌎🌎🌎🌎





These great companies don’t test their products on bunnies🐰!


Your voice! Your vote! 🇺🇸🇺🇸

From Congressman Jim McGovern’s office🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸:








😊11 AM😊😊😊😊








Be there!

Then go out and VOTE NOV. 5