Category Archives: InCity Voices

Under the Green Street Bridge …

By Rosalie Tirella

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Under the Green Street Bridge. photo: R.T.

When I was a kid growing up in Green Island, we never saw this scene, walking under the Green Street Bridge, on our way downtown to Woolworths or the Mart: photo below – of a gaggle of young, attractive homeless YOUNG people. People in their 20s or 30s with their whole lives ahead of them – zonked out, high, sprawled out before garbage pails overflowing with refuse. In the chi chi Canal District a 2-minute walk from the gourmet cupcake shop and organic makeup vendor and doggie speciality shoppe. …

On Lafayette Street, when I was a little girl, we had a few homeless people in the neighborhood, but they were usually guys – older guys, hardcore alcoholics suffering … from aloneness, hunger, DTs. They were, heartlessly, called bums or winos back then. No one talked about addiction or mental health or physical health problems. These guys were considered weak, “losers” – failures at life. No one expected them to ever get a job, get married and live with a wife in a home or even sober up, stop drinking. Lafayette Street, especially Millbury Street towards the Crompton Park side, was lined with crumby dank uriney smelling bars where these guys drank and drank for cheap and then stumbled to Hotel Vernon or some other Millbury Street flophouse to sleep it all off. As a teen, I once counted 24 stinking hole in the wall barrooms on Millbury Street. So Worcester’s Canal District was once Worcester’s Skid Row! … You saw the “bums” walking to school or catechism class at St. Mary’s

… There they were, sleeping it off, hunched over, disheveled and smelly in various and sundry Millbury Street doorways. The guys could be a little scary when they were awake – rush up to a little kid to demand a quarter. Many a day my kid sisters and I RAN past those Millbury Street bars on the way to visit our mom at work at the cleaners or grab a hamburger at Messiers Diner after school. The bums didn’t stop us from enjoying the real pleasures of Green Island – we just had to run down Millbury Street to get to them!

I suppose, despite the phony political correctness nowadays and new Canal District moniker and dreadful gentrifier Allen Fletcher STILL squatting on our Ash Street – THINGS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE IN MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD. Instead of just a handful of winos sprawled out on the Canal District streets, there are a ton of heroin-addicted, glue sniffing YOUNG PEOPLE there! Street kids who have no flophouses to give them shelter from the storm – or a place to temporarily sober up. … Nope. Worcester is TEEMING with alcohol- and drug-addicted YOUNG PEOPLE – you see them by the train tracks outside the new Blackstone Visitors Center, a stone’s throw from Holy Cross College. You see them on Cambridge Street, Webster Square, Vernon Hill. Backpacks on tight, maybe walking with another pal from the streets. With the pandemic forcing many of us to curtail our activities, some days, driving around Worcester, that’s all I see is homeless people! Some days I will see MORE HOMELESS PEOPLE THAN average Woo working peeps. It is heartbreaking. It is bleak. It is the New Woo Normal. Encampments in our woodsier city parks or green nooks. Right before the last storm, I saw a guy, in his 30s, over stuffed backpack on back, casually walking into the woods on Greenwood Street – going home, to shelter in maybe the tent he set up.

WHY DO WE AS A CITY ALLOW THIS? WHY CAN’T WE HELP? GIVE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE SAFE, CLEAN, DRY PLACES TO SHELTER …or just to sleep it off? 50 years ago flophouses served a purpose, as did SROs, as did the PIP: to keep the lowliest among us from suffering in the gutter. Dying in filth. To GIVE ALL AN AFFORDABLE HOME. We have lost our way as a society. Our Worcester city councilors and city managers leading the march to NO EMPATHY LAND. We thought by eradicating these cheap cots/hots we would eradicate addiction, human pain, hopelessness from our city. But there is no limit to human suffering, and when the Red Sox AAA stadium is built the homeless kids under the Green Street Bridge will be pushed out … to a new Worcester bridge or underpass, with their used works, beat up cell phones and overflowing shopping wagons in tow.

There, but for the Grace of God, go I …

Worcester Woke?

By Rosalie Tirella

I was thinking about this American WOKE MOMENT and how many sins – murder, theft, rape, pedophilia – does it take to bring a “historic” statue down in America? To send a book tumbling off our library’s bookshelves and into the recycling Dumpster. To relegate all the perpetrators to hell. General Robert E. Lee, Christopher Columbus, actor John Wayne, the movie GONE WITH THE WIND … the kid book I am holding right now on “Indian Crafts” – written in 1968, a previously WOKE time in America – by an Italian-American! couple. …

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I grew up honoring Columbus in our Worcester Public Schools …

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Rose’s Prov Junior High on Vernon Hill

… We were taught he was a great explorer …I learned that at Lamartine Street Elementary School where before every Columbus Day, in our art class, we made Columbus’s three ships, the Nina, Santa Maria and I forget the 3rd, out of white paper plates we colored with our Crayolas – three different sized paper plates for his three different sized ships.

Brave, stalwart, believing that the earth was round when everyone else swore it was as flat as a Monopoly Game Board – Columbus was unafraid to fall off earth’s edge if he sailed too far. Columbus dared to go too far.

In college – the ultra liberal UMass/Amherst – I read (for my essay writing class) a terrific essay comparing/contrasting Civil War generals Lee and Grant. Both brilliant. One, Grant, leading the Union soldiers, the other, Lee, leading the Confederate side – and on the wrong side of history. Still, in the essay Lee was described as a brilliant general. He was as interesting as Grant.

“Gone with the Wind” – a horrifically racist movie by any metric – but I watch this famous Selznick film for the great soap opera between MOVIE STARS/ICONS Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh! Rhett and Scarlet – forever falling off the true love boat! Why can’t Scarlet love Rhett? Why does she throw her beauty and passion on the pale, insipid Ashley Wilks? Why can’t Rhett just dump Scarlet and hook up with the Lil’ the town prostitute and savvy bordello owner who HAS A HEART OF GOLD AND HAS ALWAYS LOVED Rhett? To see Clark tinkle Bell’s gold bell earring as he leaves her “parlor” … to see him rage and weep at his little girl’s tragic fall from her little show pony … to watch Scarlet throw herself at the weak, vascilating, unattractive Ashley Wilks is to BE ENTERTAINED by this super soap opera. And Hattie McDaniel, the amazing Black actress who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Mami in the film, once famously said: It’s better playing a maid than BEING a maid. … I LOVE McDaniel’s acting in this movie – better than Leigh’s! … and I love that famous scene where Clark, as Rhett, sweeps Vivien – Scarlet – off her feet and carries her up to their bedroom skipping every other step of their miles-long, sweeping, red-velvet-covered spiral staircase. I WON’T BE TURNED OUT TONIGHT, SCARLET! Rhett says – as Scarlett struggles to free herself from his arms, taffeta and red velvet dressing gown all a flutter. WHAT A SCENE! AMAZING WHEN SEEN ON THE BIG SCREEN – with an audience. So good that movie houses – pre-pandemic – used to screen the film – so we movie goers could see that scene.

And American actor John Wayne … His statue removed from his hometown square. The Duke!! An acting legend! John Ford’s exquisite tool Ford used to paint a MAGNIFICENT portrait of the American West – the men and women, the landscape – think Monument Valley – and late in his career the Native Americans he used in his films …WHY KILL THE DUKE, STAR OF Ford’s THE SEARCHERS, an American masterpiece. I have watched this film at least 10 times thru the years – it is haunting and beautifully, sensitively acted by AMERICAN ACTOR John Wayne! Watch it tonight – then tell me if you want to pull down the John Wayne statue!

The kid book I am flipping through was deemed, at some point, culturally insensitive – Indian crafts that kids can make. But I am reading it – and the crafts are explained, if not drawn, pretty sensitively … a kid could learn about the various tribes in different regions of our big country … and how their natural environment shaped their lives: what they ate, if they hunted or grew crops, what kind of homes they built for themselves. The map of the tribes is interesting … the craft projects are doable. Kids would learn and have fun!

Why pull the book from the library shelf?

Worcester will continue building monuments honoring our history, …

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… but let’s put us – US – in historical context, too, as we re-interpret our books and our Christopher Columbus statue in our WASHINGTON (a slave holder) Square.

Here are some excerpts from my evaluation of Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda … + more🖋📚

First, some pics of the Vernon Hill School – major repairs atop roof!
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The Vernon Hill Elementary School, today. For decades it was the Providence Street Junior High School. pics: R.T.

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This school has beautiful WPA murals in its main entrance hall, painted by artists commissioned by President Roosevelt’s administration during the Great Depression.

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By John Monfredo, Worcester Public School Committee

This week the Worcester School Committee, as part of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education evaluation process, submitted our end-of-the-cycle evaluations of WPS Superintendent Maureen Binienda based on her goals, performance and the state’s Model Rubric process.

Her evaluation from all members was summarized by Mayor Petty. The Superintendent came away with high marks from most members, receiving mostly proficient marks for her performance.

Here are some excerpts from my evaluation of the superintendent:

When Superintendent Binienda applied for the position about four years ago, after having been an exemplary principal at South High, in an interview she referred to herself as an “urban warrior,” … an individual who will go above and beyond to educate and support our students. Five years later one can say that she has lived up to that title. In addition, she has continued to do all that she can to make decisions that are in the best interest of ALL students.

This past year our superintendent and her staff had to “step-up” to meet the pandemic crisis and have been important team players with our Mayor and our City Manager. This crisis is new, but the idea of “One City Working Together” to provide the best education for our students has been ongoing during the tenure of Superintendent Binienda.

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At-home school work – now more than ever during the global pandemic! pic: Joey Cancelmo

As part of the evaluation process under instructional leadership, more in-service opportunities have taken place for all staff members. Thanks to her leadership, we were more prepared to fight this pandemic crisis by improving our technology programs.

We have had students engaged in meaningful opportunities in and outside of school.

There has been an expansion of the College and Career Opportunities at the high school level with such programs as an expanded AP Capstone, an expanded College application Celebrity Day, more students received the Seal of Bi-literacy on their diploma, and additional training for students on their PSAT and SAT testing has continued.

Chronic absenteeism has been reduced, as well as suspension rates.

Under Management and Operations, she has placed safety within the schools as a high priority that emphasizes positive relationships, respectful interactions, acceptance and caring for one another. During this pandemic crisis she continues to review and implement changes as to how we can best meet the needs of families. She has brought to the district many nationwide speakers, as the district emphasizes the importance of sharing information with staff on bias, discipline and social and emotional learning.

Family and Community engagement has always been a major strength … throughout her career she has continued to lead by example. The time commitment has been exemplary, for one could see her helping families at Andy’s Attic on a Saturday morning, bringing cheer to our immigrants at various community functions at Adult Learning events, or bringing food to the homeless, families in need and attending student sports or musical events at their schools.

She is a leader who motivates others, is a good listener, and is a skillful communicator. Her qualities of commitment, passion, honesty and integrity make up her character. Many families within the city talk about her passion for education, her high energy, outstanding work ethic and her eagerness to do all that she can to make a difference in the lives of students.

The community has embraced her positive approach to making those difficult decisions daily. Parents have appreciated her commitment in reaching out to them and giving them a chance to articulate their opinions. She has continued to employ strategies to deal with conflict and has constructively worked to resolve problems that have surfaced. As stated, she is a leader with outstanding skills and an independent thinker who puts students first.

In summary, every student deserves a champion, someone who will never give up on them, who understands the importance of connections and is adamant that they will become the best that they can possibly be … Our champion in this community is Superintendent Binienda.

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FYI:

Who Killed Worcester’s Travis Monroe?

By Christi Berry

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Travis as a little boy. photos submitted.

People know what happened. They know the favor they asked to have done and yet, as a parent, I ask you: What if it was your child dead? Would you like the idea that someone could cash in a chip on your life?

October 1, 2006, is a day beginning with disbelief that the knock on the door was to inform me that my son was dead. Not my son, Travis! He was not a child of high risk to be found dead in the road.

Thirteen years since his death, and facts that I learned have left me shocked. To learn the issues of how the systems, have a save space of lead way to hide behind, filled with loop de loops to help them not do their jobs properly: it is called “Administrative Issues.”

Administrative Issues has been the key points of loopholes to ensure no accountability and arrests in the death of Travis is my true feeling, and there are some issues that an inexperienced mother is able to find in sanitized files. So imagine what one would be able to uncover and correct, if they wanted to address the miscarriage of justice?

This case has disclosed issues of chain of custody, failure to follow protocols … and prejudice statements circle the wagon early on – blaming the victim and ready to lay this case to rest as a hit and run before the medical examiner ruled the manner of my son’s death.

How come a system can protect their own agenda, mistakes, mis-justice – to protect one another, as they express no value for Travis’s life.

Travis’s life mattered! Abd I am here to ensure that his life brings out Progressivism in the mistakes and rebuilding, as I did with the Abby Foster Kelly Charter School. Travis’s Monroe life has made change toward Civil Rights … equality. In his death, the movement is going to move forward until we can get accountability. This is my gift from God and my purpose, and for that I was blessed with the gift of my son Travis.

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Mother and Son

Facts: the police knocked on the door and told them they knew it 99.9% because someone else, (a substitute teacher) had made an Official Identification of my son. I know I went to the hospital to identify Travis and still in disbelief it was my child. Seeing ink on his hands – knowing he had been fingerprinted and remember how sad that made me feel. Wow it took his death to still allow them to put his prints in the system.

Travis was a young Black Male, that in his life fingerprints were not in the system – but in death they are – what a double slap to his character as a good kid. At least in his death they could not take away the fact of his choices. His toxic screen showed he made all the right choices: no drug or alcohol in his blood or system. Those are the facts that can never change. My Travis made all the right choices, and yet he lost his life, as if had no value to the city of Worcester.

Facts: on 10/16/2006 UMass Medical Center had to make a Late Entry to Travis’s medical chart: Diagnosis: 1: Presumed pedestrian VS MVC and head trauma 2: death. One should ask why this was done and at whose requests. I believe the reason for this is to blame Travis and help the friend cash in a chip to no legal responsibility to liability.

That was the first Red Flag that the ducks were lining up to protect someone with the wording of “Collision” to remove any responsibility for the driver of the vehicle.

The second one was on December 16, 2006, the Police Department went up to meet with the Medical Examiner Officer to show her what they had to help her determine the manner of death. They were hoping that she would change the death certificate to Motor Vehicle. Facts: this is not a common practice, unless the medical examiner requests it, which she did not.

The outcome from the visit prompted the Worcester Police to write a report to favor what they wanted to have the report say. The Medical Examiner never changed Travis’s Death Certificate. It still legally says the manner of death is Undetermined.

The black and white facts are that Travis did not have to die. There were many encounters with Travis, stumbling within 30 yards – from multiple people see he needed help and that he was stumbling and looking disorientated. Instead, they claimed they feared for their own safety.

Seven people between the hours of 3:30 a.m. and 5:35 a.m. had a chance to make a difference to the outcome of my son’ss life and they did nothing! Instead a teacher driving down the street was the first to called 911 at 5:49 a.m. – report that there was a body in the road and the Fire Department dispatch at 5:49 a.m. and arrived at 5:58 a.m. to find a fracture to Travis’s skull, visible blood from ears, nose, mouth … and his pupils were fixed and dilated. The time from when “Lesperance,” drove away according to his statement at 5:35 and the fire department arriving at 5:58, that 20-minute window cost Travis his life.

My question would be: Why would a person drive away with Travis in the road? to be a risk to the public as well as to his own life?

I know there are young adults who confronted Travis that night and knew he needed help but drove away. I plea with you “Tony’s”: COME FORWARD and tell what you saw that night while you were outside with the girls.

Believe me when I say this: for me, justice is taking responsibility … accountability. These are the principles and fundamentals of how Travis was raised.

What I have seen since District Attorney Joe Early taking office in January of 2007: Travis’s case is no longer being handled as a homicide.

We have been able to show all the loopholes of administrative issues since February 2007 and how his DA office sat on a request to run the DNA found on Travis. Instead, they politely met with me and played the merry go round game to answers to the question that have come up in my internal audit of Travis’s case.

Under the law, I have received a sanitized file of records to most of Travis case file from the police.

However the District’s Attorney Office is not releasing anything.

I do know for a fact that they have not given me the complete file. There has been a lot of finger pointing and no one taking responsibility, and Travis’s case staying in Traffic and listed unofficial CLOSED.

What I would say is there is a lot of good people in the uniform and in the system. However, the systems work on favors, deals and pleas, and sometimes justice is not blind or fair.

Still parts are caught up in a broken structure that needs to be fixed. We must calibrate the scales of justices. Travis did not get scales of justices.

This case has proven to have a conflict of interest and should have been moved out of this Jurisdiction. We know the name of the City employee coming up in the investigation that were given different treatment. The Officer came with prejudices, attitudes and discipline issues – put in the traffic unit to finish out their time to retirement. A lot of the Officers who did the initial investigations have died, moved, retired or made it clear there were a lot of things wrong but they will not speak against a one in ”The Blue Line.”

I been through the chain of command asking and pleading for help.

I have appealed to the Attorney Generals Office, the local FBI office, the State Crime Lab, the Worcester Police Department and District Attorney Joseph Jr. Early’s office. Everyone is aware of the issues in Travis’s cases. Instead, no one wants to do anything, and placing the burden of proof upon me as if I am the defendant in a court case of Monroe Estate verse the Commonwealth.

All I want is for people to correct the mistake and right the wrongs and, with that, make justice for Travis’s life.

The mis-justices do not start or stop at the Police Department “Administrate Issues.” It is deeper rooted, and the roots are woven into the State and federal connections. While each department issues cross cancel out each other failure to follow procedure. This technique was a great plan to dispose of a lot of vital evidence and allows it to be almost impossible to prove each other’s actions – as the time clock to race against a statute of limitations.

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Travis’s mom hopes the new racial awakening in America and Worcester brings her truth and peace of mind.

Travis’s case has reached the statute of limitations, if his death was a hit and run in 2011. What I don’t understand is why we have a system that is designed and structured with the power to do the right thing, and yet they all protect each other and not the people they are sworn to protect. Travis death and the death of others are just another reason why our social system of inequity needs to change.

We need to change the scale of justice and the process to justice. It is time that the truth comes to light and we must help shine a light to breaking the cycle to social injustice to all.

Again I ask you: What if the shoe was on the other foot and someone killed someone you loved?

It is time to do the right thing, step up and Speak Up and give Travis a voice.

He would have stepped up for you.

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Travis

New column from Ronny🇺🇸 …+ more🗽

Ancillary “Costs”

By Ron O’Clair

An 18-year-old youth by the name of Bryan Beras apparently was lying in wait for two victims of a street shooting in front of my Main South building, The Charlton, the other day …

All the while being under constant video surveillance, which was used to help secure an arrest after the fact of a double shooting. You could see in the video that the first shooting victim had walked by the van the shooter was in and was apparently called back by the shooter.

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Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent. file photo R.O.

When the victim walked over to the open door of the van, he was immediately shot in the chest, whereupon the shooter ran after his walking companion in the opposite direction, firing more shots as he did.

It was quite apparent from the video images that there was some bad blood between the two victims and the shooter.

What is not seen in the videos is the damages that were caused to other people.

People not involved in the dispute between the victims and the shooter, such as the lady who is struggling to survive running the Beauty Salon at 711 Main Street. She has been informed by the owner of the building that, as a business operator, she is supposed to carry insurance to cover such damages to the property. As a consequence, she will be required to replace the plate glass window that got shot out.

This is not the first time that plate glass windows have been shot through in that location, and sad to say, probably will not be the last either.

So here is this struggling hair stylist nearly wiped out in the closings because of the corona virus, struggling to make a living who has to come up with money to pay for a window that never should have been broken in the first place.

The way I see it, this woman is as much a victim of street crime as are those who actually got shot.

Therefore, I called up the District Attorney’s Office to see if she could qualify for funds set aside for crime victims to help compensate them for being victims of street crime.
Hopefully, the D.A.’s Office can find the funds to pay for the shot-out plate glass window for this struggling small business owner who is lucky she or one of her own customers were not in the line of fire.

On top of the shot-out window, the building was vandalized with graffiti after the incident, on the front of the building and also on the Charlton Street side where they loaded the shooting victim into the car to take him to the hospital.

I don’t know if it is associates of the shooter or the victims that “tagged” the building and one of the businesses out front, but I highly doubt that it is just coincidental, coming as it did immediately in the aftermath of the news footage I released being shown on the media. Another ancillary expense that will require someone not involved in the dispute to pay out of pocket to repair the damage done to private property. As the building’s superintendent, if I fail to remove the graffiti, the City of Worcester will issue an order compelling me to remove it within 7 days or face fines and further court actions.

I am sure that young Mr. Beras will not even spend a dime on restitution having caused all of this by his selfish act of cowardice using a firearm to settle what should have been done with his fists like a real man would have. Any idiot can pull a trigger and ruin their entire life by doing so like this boy has done.

Everyone should know by now that everything is recorded 24/7/365 by video camera in this whole area of Main South because of all the previous trouble with street crime. Maybe he was not aware of the video camera coverage. It is possible, but these days, people should assume they are being filmed and act accordingly in public.

So here is this 18-year-old BOY, who most likely has a “baby momma” with at least one child of his out there somewhere. He undoubtedly has a mother and father who will miss him and his company as he spends the best days of his young life behind bars for attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Some more ancillary victims affected by this senseless act of rage. Committed in anger over something inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

All in all, Worcester is very fortunate that we still have concerned and caring neighborhoods that help look out for the people that live here. We are also fortunate to have a competent police force that continually strives to become better and more reactive to the community concerns raised at neighborhood crime watch meetings held throughout the City of Worcester. I have attended many of these meetings myself (where I met the present chief) over the years of being tasked as “building superintendent” of a commercial/residential property on Main Street, and I have been an active citizen activist for change within the Worcester Police Department since 01 October 1986 when I was 25 and had valid reason to be concerned due to events that befell me at that time.

Many people don’t see it, but we have made considerable progress since that time. Help us make it even better – Attend your next scheduled community crime watch meeting and bring up your own points at it regarding your own experiences with the WPD and crime in your own neighborhoods. This is a much more effective way to make change than “protest marching.”

If you have an area that is a hot spot of illegal activity, the addition of surveillance cameras can help reduce crime in that area like it did in my own little section of Main Street. Once the criminals realize they are being observed, they will find somewhere else to be, or wind up jailed for their own actions caught on camera.

Of course, you have to be willing and able to stand up for what is right in the face of numerous threats of violence and retribution from the criminal elements that try to intimidate people. Scare you into not following through with your own civic duty. To assist the police in maintaining order in your community. It is your civic duty to call the police if you see a crime and be willing to show up in a Court of Law to prosecute the guilty who continually try to destroy our communities with illegal drugs and criminal activities of all kinds.

When the citizens/police stop helping each other, what you end up with is like what you find in places like Chicago, Illinois, where there are more and more murders being committed each year. Don’t let Worcester become another Chicago. Do your part as a citizen and help your community thrive.

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FYI:

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New column by Edith📚! 🌺 + more🗽🎶

Challenging Our Assumptions

By Edith Morgan

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Edith taught elementary school in Shrewsbury for many years and served on the Worcester School Committee – and was a foster mom for many years.

In a month, we will be trying to return our WPS students to some sort of education – whether in school, at home in “virtual” classes, or a hybrid. The main purpose of all this jockeying is to keep our children safe from the novel coronavirus, at least until it is abated enough and until we have a tried, tested and trustworthy vaccine, which is available to all, at affordable prices.

This month should be a great opportunity to question our basic assumptions and see if there are some major changes which we ought to consider, in answer to these questions.

The truth is that for many working parents, the school day is a safe and trusted place to park our children while we work. So our first priority should be to ensure that we have ALL children under our care from about 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m.

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WPSchools may be open to students two or three days a week. pics: R.T.

Second: What situation in adult life requires us to sit for hours in groups, where we can not talk to others, the seats and desks being all the same size in each grade, and now to be six feet apart?

What do we learn under these conditions? Is this an optimum learning environment? Is there any evidence that this is the best way to acquire skills and information? Or is that just the cheapest and easiest way – regardless of how inappropriate that is?

Third: This is the 21st century, and we are still, for the most part, using curriculum materials that are, if they ever really were, appropriate for the last century.

Our children are woefully unprepared to think clearly for themselves, to understand how their city, state and federal government work … and what their rights and responsibilities as citizens are. Is a mandated civics class really enough?

Fourth: Since we are no longer mostly farmers, why are we still on the old farm schedule, with time of when the crops have to be brought in – what is the magic about 180 days of school? What are we supposed to specifically learn in that period of time? And what research tells us that all our children learn the same things at the same speed and efficiency, at the same chronological age? Why do those students who take longer have to be failed, with that failure following them all their lives?

Fifth: If we are creating lifelong learners and citizens able to function in a democracy, are our schools structured so that our students have less freedom to make decisions as they get up in the grades? Kindergarten classes are far less restrictive than high schools! And the students learn a lot more!

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For hundreds of Worcester kids, school is the safest and healthiest place to be!

Sixth: If we are to have charge of all the children all day, why do we not use all the great facilities the city offers and get the students out of the classroom? Even outdoors for early autumn … Could we work out a schedule where we use our city parks, libraries, Audubon sites, theaters, monuments, etc to teach in Real Life?

Bag lunches could be given to all students, as well as face masks and hand-washing materials …

Most of us learn SO MUCH outside the classroom – and continue to do so!

A long time ago, someone asked what would be the ideal educational system, and the reply was ”Johns Hopkins on one end of a log and the student on the other.” Think about that.

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FYI:

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Column from Dorrie!🌼🌸 …+ JFK🇺🇸♥️

My Tinker Bell Project

By Dorrie Maynard

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Please support Dorrie’s nonprofit! Every Wed she is outside Piedmont’s Mustard Seed soup kitchen giving out free pet food and supplies to Worcester’s homeless and poor. They have dogs and cats, too! And love them!

Editor Rose asked me to try and write about something hopeful. That is a stretch these days, but I will try. I am going to write about my latest little “pet” project named Tinker Bell. I call her Bell for short. She is my cutest lil’ pup! Her story:

I had been giving pet food to a woman in Winchedon (through my Central Mass Kibble Kitchen, Inc.) for a few months. She had mentioned that she was willing to give up three of the pups her dog had had three years ago by accident. I said I would be interested in the only female – the boys went to Leave No Mutts Behind Rescue League.

I was a little shocked that the woman, clearly overwhelmed and unable to properly feed and care for all her dogs, had agreed to give them up. But I think they were just too much for her – and she still has five dogs and several cats! She has started having health issues of her own and was not addressing them because she didn’t want to be away from her dogs for long enough to have her treatments!

I got Bell this spring … She is very shy and very fragile, frightened of everything, probably even of her own shadow. She had never been socialized or been around anyone other than her owner. She was fine with my dogs but growled at them to give her her space – which they allowed.

She is coming around, slowly but surely. I had been feeding her in my bed, as she refused to move, even gave her water out of a little bowl while she was lying down on my bed. I decided enough is enough: not babying her anymore … I have to walk her down the stairs (not sure she knows how to use them) and put her in the backyard. Today – Success! Bell did her business outside for the first time!!

Ma Bell doesn’t like to be outdoors and “unprotected” – she hides underneath chairs and behind the broom. The first time I put her outside in my fenced yard, not knowing how she would react. It took me 20 minutes to catch her, she kept running from me, she was that afraid.

Bell has a healthy appetite but needs to gain several pounds. Leave no Mutts behind will be helping me to get her vetted and spayed as soon as she is healthy enough or they are able to get her in. Her brothers and her dad are under their care. So if you are interested in adopting a sweet little pup, you can go to their website for information and adoption fees.

I know with time Bell will become more confident and know that she doesn’t have anything to be afraid of. Her new life at my house with me and all my pets is a huge change for her little life, the life that she was so used to.

I put a collar on her and tried to put her on a leash. For a nice walk! I thought she was going to strangle herself she was so terrified! Bell had no idea what I was trying to do or what she was supposed to do. I will try again in the future, as she gains more trust.

I guess I am always up for a challenging “dog” adoption situation as that is how I have adopted all my others! I call them my problem children with a past! But love unconditional love prevails. Somehow we always seem to figure things out and we all live happily ever after!

I got rid of my king sized bed and went to a queen sized. I really miss the space – my lil’ dogs couldn’t care less. They pretty much sleep where ever they want!
That is how we roll!

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Now it’s time to write about something that is happening all over the city, illegal fireworks, M80’s, cannons and whatever else that is being lit every night for the past several weeks.

The city management issued a statement that they will not be tolerated and was going to start to fine people. But if you call the WPD police and actually give them the exact address where this is all happening, the WPD police dispatcher tells you that the police are busy handling life and death situations and fireworks are a low priority.

I have not had a full night’s sleep in weeks! Every time I think it is over and fall back asleep another huge fireworks boom shakes my windows, and my dog lunges at the window screaming, panting and shaking! It takes 5 minutes or more to calm her down. And just when she is calm again, another boom!

Does the City just not care about law abiding citizens and the quality of life that they are subject to or having to deal with? People that have PTS, dogs, cats, babies, children, people that actually have to work for a living and get up in the morning? I pay taxes to this city and I am entitled to a peaceful night! What is it going to take to enforce the quality of life law in Worcester? If the city issued a statement because of the hundreds of complaints nightly, what are they doing about enforcing it? I am so sick of it, as are many that I know!

If you hear illegal fireworks and such, please call the non emergency police number 508.799.8606 and report it to a dispatcher – press 1!

The more people that complain on a regular basis, the more the police will do something about it!

There is so much insanity in this world today, and everyone is on high alert to begin with. Worcester fireworks is an issue that the city needs to take seriously and do something about it! If you would like to change how this city handles issues and the management team behind the decisions, get out and VOTE! The same old same old people gives us the same old results! When citizens are calling and complaining about an issue that has a huge impact on their lives and nothing is being done about it, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

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Leaving everyone with my favorite quote by Max Ehrmann:
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noise confusion of life, keep peace in our soul.”

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WATCH THIS NEWS CLIP!♥️🇺🇸. So opposite the Trump era(error)!!:

Chef Joey recipes🕶, Rose posts … + more🌱🎼

Zucchini or Summer Squash Cakes!

Text and pics by Chef Joey!

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Joe Joe!!!!😊

Yummy Marinade!

Try it on mock meats and tofu, too!

One of my favorite marinades is the everything one: fresh parsley, cilantro, rosemary – even mint. Put it all in a blender, with some oil and lemon juice. It is great on chicken or fish! It is really tasty – my favorite summer dressing!💙

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Lets face it – you are home and need snacks! Especially healthy ones! These “cakes” topped with a dollop of sour cream are delicious – and nutritious. And easy to make!

You need:

1 zucchini, shredded

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3 eggs

1 cup flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup or slightly more (depending on zucchini size)

A HANDFUL OF CHOPPED MINT OR BASIL!!!!

Directions:

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Mix everything EXCEPT the zucchini and mint or basil. Your mix should have the consistency of a thick pancake mix (which it is … less vanilla – double recipe!)

Then add the zucchini.

In a fry pan, heat a 1/4 inch of high heat oil – like sunflower. Drop large tablespoons in the pan (don’t splash!). They will level out – and like with a pancake it will bubble.

Flip it over and cook until golden – place on a paper towel.

Then arrange on a platter and serve with a little sour cream for dipping. Enjoy!

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During the pandemic, Chef Joey does the right thing and always wears a facial mask when shopping for groceries – or when he’s in crowded public spaces where social distancing is challenging!

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We Need a New PIP – and the ol’ Buddy!

By Rose T.

I took these pics yesterday:

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Worcester’s Canal District: the Green Street Bridge’s homeless folks

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Heading into the Canal District from Downtown Worcester

We’ve got 10, 15 homeless folks under the Green Street bridge in the Canal District every day. All summer. … Some wear facial masks – some don’t. …

Former Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller once said she was the only “legitimate” person in the PIP/Main South neighborhood (she lives on nearby Castle Street) … And so a 10-year battle to close the PIP began. Babs and her allies, esp Billy Breault, won: Worcester’s wet shelter closed. But the social ills didn’t go away. The city is now filled with homeless camps, homeless panhandlers, homeless hot spots by railroad tracks … We have THE HIGHEST HOMELESS POPULATION IN THE STATE – 13% – and we don’t have a comprehensive homeless shelter like the PIP – which had a great support staff: nurses, social workers, a doctor/saint, a cafeteria that served two meals a day – and catered City of Worcester events – and a compassionate executive director – Buddy Brousseau. I miss Buddy.

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And with all the Green Island Gentrification …

Text+pics by Rose T.

… My old Green Island streets are being repaved like never before! I mean, like never! Bigelow, Lafayette, Harding, Endicott, Washington … and with freshly painted crosswalks, too:

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Bigelow Street

Capped off by a total redo of the Crompton Park basketball courts and park entrance/walkways! … They say gentrification – when not actually removing the poor people of the ‘hood – improves the cosmetics of their surroundings: We get new sidewalks, street lights, benches … curb-cuts … trees are planted:

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Crompton Park, yesterday

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More police presence:

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We’d love💓 to see this guy💓 in our neck of the woods!

But the neighborhood people are still poor, the kids are still hungry, the rents are still too high, the good factory jobs gone, opportunities squelched. So no big societal change here, folks. More glaring inequity, when you think about it.

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IMPORTANT!!!! From CNN.COM:

Following the Trump administration’s decision to reroute coronavirus hospital data first to the administration, instead of sending it to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some data is no longer available on the CDC.gov website.

https://e.emailalerts.cnn.com

🎼🎼💓🎼🎼💓🎼:

Edith on the Worcster Police … WPD reforms: let’s think this through … + more🎶

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🖊

We here are “action” people, and we are always ready with quick solutions to complex problems. We are at it again.
Before we make major changes to some of our oldest institutions, let’s use the time we have in coronavirus quarantine to reason, get facts, and THINK – something which seems to be much out of style nowadays.

We are under some pressure to change the Worcester Police Department. There are calls to defund the WPD, to move some of its funding to other city programs or to change the way in which services are rendered. It is not only the police who are under pressure to change; schools, voting and many other governmental services are also under attack. The
U.S. Post Office is under scrutiny, too, and our health care system (which is actually a sickness care system) is also under attack – often just to save money or to make sure that all are equally served.

All institutions and organizations suffer “hardening of the arteries”: they really need to be reviewed and revitalized periodically and brought into the present. That is why we hear about term limits. We have limits on licences for various professions, as new techniques and new knowledge become available.

Right now, here, we face demands to make major changes to our police department – primarily to make sure that minorities are treated respectfully and fairly. Everyone agrees those are noble and doable goals. But achieving them will require a number of serious changes, not only in our police department, but in a number of other organizations involved in these changes.

We need to ask ourselves some serious questions and to get answers that will enable us to still have protection in many areas now performed by the police. Over the years, more and more of the tasks usually done by others are being done by the police (the same is true of the schools).

So let us first ask ourselves: What functions are the police fulfilling now? Ask them to list all that they do: safety, CPR, domestic interventions, chasing down wanted persons, traffic control, community policing, election supervision, etc. … What functions do we want our police department to perform? Which of their functions are better done by other organizations? What training and education, and how frequently, should we require of police officers so they can be up-to-date and fully informed in the performance of their duties? How do we pay for any new services? If money is short, what do we cut for these new services?

When we have really answered all these questions, involving all the “stakeholders,” then we can form a plan and make some intelligent and long-term changes.

And above all, in a free society, it will be the responsibility of us all to continually monitor what goes on, keep our elected representatives in the loop, and exercise the responsibilities of citizenship all the time.

The new technologies can help, but so far, there is no substitute for a real human on the scene. I have been disappointed in the pictures from body cams. There is still no substitute for trust, for good training, good will – and, for all of us who work for and are paid by the public, to remember at all times that we (police officers, teachers, nurses, all government employees and elected officials) are PUBLIC SERVANTS.

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FYI:

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Happy Birthday, Linda💙
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New column by Edith!🌸🌸 … What do we owe Columbus?

By Edith Morgan

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Edith🌷🌷

Disclaimer: I am not Italian, nor Catholic. I am simply a resident of Worcester, here since 1967.

So how do I feel about the vandalizing of the statue of Christopher Columbus outside Worcester’s Union Station?

Worcester is home to a great multitude of statues, military markers, war memorials and other statuary. We have seen the Burnside statue – or “Turtle Boy” – in downtown Worcester; the Major Taylor statue outside the Worcester Public Library … the Vietnam War memorial in Green Hill Park, the Korean War memorial, The World War II memorial at Brittan Square, the Citizens of Color World War II Honor Roll by Lincoln Square – all on public property.

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The Citizens of Color World War II Honor Roll

We also have religious statuary on various religious properties and some statuary on private properties.

Worcester is replete with sculptures of all sorts, with different meanings and histories.

In my own home, I have a small replica of Michelangelo’s Moses and a brass Buddha, both gifts. My own religious tradition forbids making “graven images,” and so I have naturally looked at these as works of art, or expressions of the beliefs of others.

But I was also raised in the belief that we must respect what others value and that if these things represent imperfect or even evil lives and beliefs, it’s my job to try to educate people – or at least get them to see how others see them. It was never my assumption that if something offends me, I could simply decide to deface or destroy it.

The Christopher Columbus statue outside Worcester’s Union Station was recently defaced with a can of red paint. City workers power-washed it (almost) clean. Columbus statues, all over America have been toppled or defaced after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police and America’s ensuing reckoning with systemic racism and subjugation of peoples.

So, let us look at Christopher Columbus: for me, he was a historical figure who believed, against most of the people of his day, that the earth was round, and he could find a shorter way to India by water. Remember: it was the royal family of Spain, not Italy, that funded the voyage that led him to these shores. (That is why we still mistakenly call our indigenous peoples “Indians.”)

Voyages of explorations were common in those days – many triggered by the desire to get to the spices and other riches of Asia. Actually, we are not named Columbia, but America, after Amerigo Vespucci. So I am not sure what the defacing of Columbus really means, except that someone, or some group, feels a need to express hatred for whatever they think Columbus represents. I personally do not believe this is the way to express that, as there is no educational value to this behavior, and there are numerous better ways of opening conversations with the descendants of this particular historical figure. We might all find out that the genocidal behavior of the early settlers here was not peculiar to Italians, nor was it unusual for the time (or even for our time!).

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Slaves built the White House

Holding just white people responsible for slavery is really a very narrow view of history: it seems that we humans, every time we achieve power over our fellow humans, set about enslaving them. And many of our greatest monuments and works of art were created by the captives of the rulers: the pyramids were built by slave labor, the great cathedrals of Europe by serfs and peons, and I do not think the Great Wall of China was built by the Emperor’s own hands. Look anywhere in the world, and you will find the great creations commissioned by the rich and powerful, but not made by them.

We have only very gradually crept out of the grasp of the rich and powerful and the idea that all men (and lately, also women) are created equal. How many millennia did THAT take?

So, I do not believe in defacing or destroying what may be works of art, unless their creators see that they are inappropriate. I do not want to see a repeat of what my family left in Europe in 1933 – the book burnings, the vandalizing of Jewish stores, our synagogues and homes and, finally, the attempted extermination of those deemed “inferior.”

Let us think carefully about what history REALLY teaches.

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“Turtle Boy” during the days of March For Our Lives!

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FYI: