Category Archives: InCity Voices

New Edith Column: In praise of Worcester City Govt!😀😜

The City of Worcester at Work!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

These days I get up late because I have turned my day around: I stay up very late, so naturally I get up very late, too. This past Tuesday, before I was really awake, I heard a very loud thump outside my window (I sleep on the third floor of my Victorian). Within minutes my doorbell began ringing furiously. I ran down in my pajamas, and found my neighbor with his umbrella, telling me there had been an accident.

And sure enough, at the intersection, two cars, and lots of people were there. Within minutes the Worcester fire truck came, WPD police and ambulance soon thereafter. I got a good look at the damage: one car “totaled,” one with its driver’s side caved in – and my car, parked on the street where I always park, perilously close to the totaled car.

After I got dressed and got my umbrella, I found that seemingly the only damage to my car was minor: a broken headlight cover and some “bruises” on the front bumper. Tow trucks came … All the usual events that accompany accidents took place, and soon things returned to some semblance of quiet and order.

I go into all this detail, as this is a frequent happening on this corner in our neighborhood, and we (my neighbors and I) had already petitioned the City of Worcester/City Council to make this intersection a four-way stop. We detailed the reasons which we thought were convincing, and today our petition was taken up by the City Council subcommittee chaired by City Councilor Donna Colorio. I had seen her driving down my street, looking over the site, in preparation for today’s hearing about our petition.

It is a revelation to listen to all the other petitions from abutters who have many of the same problems we were having – and it was a great insight into how our complaints are heard, in this age of COVID19.

I am “technologically challenged” so my grandson came by to help me phone in my testimony – and I was able to hear and see the other petitioners. I am still somewhat frustrated at the way we are heard, but little by little, I am getting used to this way of communicating without being physically in the room.

Four of us from my area testified. Now we wait, for the next stop. But we got heard and not seen … It may be that we will have to follow this up, but we took the first step And I got a chance to see what kinds of street and parking problems others in Worcester were facing. It was enlightening!

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🌼🌼🌼YUM YUM!😍😍😍😍:

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Recipe from Chef Joey: Tarts!

By Chef Joey

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Chef Joey

I am giving you a recipe today that is simple to make, it is referred to as a “rustic” tart, this allows it to be misshaped and non the less delicious. It does not have to be apples – you can bake the crust add some pudding and top with fresh
berries, kiwi, pineapple, or any other fruiit as well. That’s the fun of these beautiful snacks – and the fresh fruit is also glazed with watered down apricot jam for shine and keeping the fruit looking fresh.

🍎For the crust you will need:

1 ½ cups all purpose
flour

½ tsp salt

12 ounces of unsalted butter – stick and ½ (you can use salted just don’t add more)

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup or less water

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🍎Toss everything in a food processor with out the water and pulse until grainy add water little by little until it gets stuck together take it out, flatten it and chill it. If you do not have a food processor let the butter get a little soft and in a bowl again without the water – use your hands and mix it all together to get a sand like feel – add water until you achieve the pie crust consistency. Roll it out and chill.

🍏Now take this chilled crust put it on parchment paper and roll it out to about 9 or 10 inches – or make it square like the pictures – round is easier …..

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🍏Take 3 or 4 apples, peel them, cut them in ½ and use a spoon in the middle and remove the seeds making a ½ circle hole. Place cut side down and slice super thin – take the slices and arrange them on your crust leaving ½ to a 1 inch border and basically fan them out in a large circle then an inner circle and finally fill the middle gap. Overlap them with a small space – bigger space makes a stingy pie. Flod the edge over the sides.

🍎Take a jar of cheap apricot jam, take out half and add the same amount of water to it. Heat it up in a pan and when it’s all blended – does not have to boil, cover and bake.

🍎You can egg brush the crusts if you want – or use a pastry brush and “paint” butter or sunflower
oil on it – bake at 350 degrees for about 45 to 55 minutes – when the apples are soft. Reglaze the pie as soon as you take it out with the apricot mix (make more if you need to – don’t be stingy but do not drown the pie either!

❤Let cool slice and serve and enjoy!

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Nov. 3 vote for write-in candidate Peter Stefan – Governor’s Council, District 7!!

By Rosalie Tirella

Abhorrent – my neighbors. After yesterday’s crazed cupcake incident, then the WHITE-PAINT-all-over-Rose’s car catastrophe, I guess it’s time for my nemesis to vacuum her car! No heart.

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Peter has always helped Worcester’s homeless. ICT file photo.

The opposite of my friend, Main South community activist and one-man social service agency Peter Stefan, owner of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home at 838 Main St. Peter’s the Heart of Worcester’s Main South neighborhood!!

Peter saw my paint-covered-car photo and called me to say: MOVE OUT! THEY’RE GONNA GO AFTER YOUR DOGS! I’LL PAY FOR YOUR CAR TO BE WASHED AT THE CARWASH! COME DOWN FOR SOME MONEY!!

You know, my friend Peter is ALL HEART, no matter what some folks at City Hall may think! Injustice of any kind moves him – even though he’s seen a lot in his 80+ years and he’s been in the middle of so many great battles for social justice here in our city, often on the vanquished side. Yet, he never despairs, his heart never grows cold, never turns away, unmoved, by people in need. Peter’s never dismissive of poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, animal cruelty.

Peter is running for Mass Governors Council, District 7, – you should vote for this good, unpretentious man! … Today, you’d think he’d be calling me for a positive political story. Ingratiating himself with this writer and inner-city newspaper owner. Pushing for some pretty prose. Nope. Peter called me this afternoon because he was moved by my car pic and plight – got in touch with me to HELP ME, offer real feelings about my dogs, my life, the safety of us all. And expressing real dismay at the actions of bad actors.

This is the Peter Stefan I’ve known – Worcester has known – for years and years. The guy who gives food to the hungry, helps indigent seniors pay for their prescription meds, helps another elderly person pay his heating bill, buries Worcester’s unwanted: the scrawny homeless guys found in train box cars, dead in the dead of winter … the murdered gang members … little babies tragically mute, their sweet breath stopped cold…their parents too poor to pay for their caskets (so small!) and their burial sites and funeral services. No one cares about these people. They have no clout. Peter has always cared for them … loved them.

If you write Peter Stefan’s name on the ballot line where it says governors council and fill in the oval next to his name on November 3, if you elect Peter to Governors Council, we will ALL GET A FIERCE LOVER OF SOCIAL JUSTICE, RACIAL EQUALITY, COMPASSION FOR ALL – especially the state’s most vulnerable. He will make Massachusetts courts MORE JUST – racially balanced, lots of women judges/clerk magistrates, less incarceration and more community service/true rehabilitation.

A bonus: Peter will also donate his entire Governors Council salary – a $36,000 a year salary – for two years – to Worcester County Food Pantries and Homeless Shelters: from Fitchburg and Gardner to Southbridge and Webster. The Worcester County Food Bank in Shrewsbury, too. And the Veterans Shelter and Pernet Health food pantries, right here in Worcester. Milford and Athol, small towns but also struggling with hunger, especially during these days of COVID and job layoffs/economic landslides, will get money, too. Most likely Peter will visit the food pantries to check out the operations for himself! He was a board member and a HUGE advocate of the now gone PIP WET HOMELESS SHELTER down the road from him, in Main South, at the cusp of downtown. Peter would go every week to Nissans Wholesale Bakery on Quinsig Ave and buy a ton of freshly made pastries, rolls and more for all the homeless people at the PIP. Every week. He’d then drive down to the PIP, deliver them to the wet shelter on the corner of Charlton and Main and talk to the people there, visit with the staffers, buck up PIP Executive Director Buddy Brousseau, who loved Peter. Peter used to say: “I’m the PIP’s junkyard dog!” He was right! Whenever the PIP was in the news and it was bad, Peter was all over the situation asking newspaper readers, rhetorically: WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR MOTHER OR DAUGHTER OR SON OR FATHER? He always saw THE HOMELESS PERSON as a person first and foremost. A human being, God’s child.

🦋 During the COVID 19 pandemic Peter doesn’t spread the novel corona virus – he wears his facial mask and social distances – but he still spreads love. Always has. As the owner of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home, he cleansed and cared for the bodies of AIDS patients when no one would touch them. It was in the 1980s and no other funeral homes wanted to wash, embalm, respect the bodies of deceased HIV patients; funeral home owners were fearful of the relatively new virus – thought they could catch it through body fluids. Plus, many funeral home directors were just plain old homophobic and didn’t want to deal with gay folks and their friends and families.

Peter led the way – became an advocate for people with HIV BEFORE ANY ONE ELSE IN HIS BUSINESS. This decision, I will never forget, because it was so selfless and fearless.

Classic Peter.

Please vote for our Classic Peter (Stefan) on November 3!!

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Happy Birthday, John!❤🦋❤

By Rosalie Tirella

A week ago, when I went to Family Health Center for my EKG, I brought along … John Lennon. An old broad with a trembly ticker and a dead Beatle making their way through Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood. How strange!

At the time I thought: I’ll be at FHC for awhile, let’s bring some reading material …

But why John Lennon? I’ve got a ton of books and mags in my shack. Why did I grab a 10-year-old copy of a truncated ROLLING STONE (owner/publisher Jann W. had just shrunk his once iconic magazine) that was buried on a book shelf buried behind a clothes rack stuffed with my favorite tee shirts and blouses? A magazine I hadn’t read since the day I bought it, a decade ago?

Simply put: JOHN LENNON. He made me feel safe, protected. John would watch over me as I trembled under my hospital johnny. I would close my eyes and squeeze tight my Rolling Stone as my old heart-beat was recorded …


A friend had prayed over me that week, put his pudgy hand on my shoulder and asked God for a healthy heart and tranquility, then promising he’d buy me a new Bible – one with PINK covers! For girls! I said to him: I’ll try a new take on this God thing – “Whatever gets you though this life!” A few days earlier the pastor of Woo’s premier Catholic church had come through for me with grace and a deep comprehension of the hungry heart. But maybe not mine. Pre-EKG test, the heart monitor that gets the sticky squares and wires all tangled in the beginning, as I looked mortality square in the puss and the FHC EKG technician complained about her old EKG machine … I closed my eyes and eschewed my friend’s Pink Bible verses, forgot the Jesus hanging from the cross and chose BEATLES instead. John’s Music. Amazing harmonies. The real God, for me.

John Lennon, the beautiful. The perfectly human deity I’ve been praying to since I was 14 years old in my Green Island bedroom with those ugly green painted walls and brown metal bed! It’s always been John! – Beatles and post-Beatles. You choose what MATTERS as you are wheeled in and out of the hospital and sit naked on the examination table.

LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS. NOWHERE MAN. IN MY LIFE. STRAWBERRY FIELDS. All John Lennon masterpieces. John: the sarcastic Beatle, the angry Beatle, the intellectual Beatle, the Beatle in restless search of his mother who had abandoned him. The Beatle of lullabies, ocean tides, harmonicas, fists and honesty. The Beatle who played his guitar in that sexy bow-legged stance. The Beatle who’s seen my less-than beautiful smile (a gap between my two front teeth since I was 9!) – and still loved me enough to sing his beautiful songs to me!


The God my late Mom, Cecelia, loved so much she worshipped him on the Ed Sullivan Show and wore him on her Keds! A pair of white Keds with the faces of John, Paul, George and Ringo stamped all over them. All the kids wore ’em back then. As a two-year-old I sat at my mom’s feet, mesmerized by the cute mop-top boys on her Keds, the boys she sometimes danced to in the kitchen, turning the volume up on her white plastic radio sitting atop our old refrigerator, singing with them: I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND! TWIST AND SHOUT!! HELP! Ma polka-ed, jitterbugged, waltzed around our big kitchen floor – she loved to dance and knew all the dances from the 1940s and ’50s – but she also free-formed grooved to the new rock n roll. Because she had rhythm and was a joyful person, despite – maybe because of – her hard life. THE BEATLES AND THEIR MUSIC AND THEIR IDEAS MOVED HER. Our Lafayette Street tenement was our concert hall, dance hall …


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Our youngish Ma, raised in and oppressed by the Catholic church, loved the Beatles gorgeousness, their FREEDOM, CREATIVITY, YOUTH. She, along with millions of young people all over the world, had caught the YOUTH WAVE of the 1960s! And ever since then, America’s worshipped youth, everything young.

I am rewatching the Beatles classic movie, their best in my opinion, A HARD DAYS NIGHT, starring John and his (soul)mates … and feeling Peace and Love (God). It’s an early ’60s Dick Lester film that truly captures the Beatles, their off-beat humor, their wit, their spirit and their early music. Plus, the times: Beatlemania and the ascendancy of youth culture, the out with the old and in with the YOUTH vibes, the soft poking at the nose of society: 1940s/50s music, middle-aged people, old time-y TV variety shows, public relations marketing schemes, teams and offices filled with pr flaks AT THE MERCY OF YOUTH they can never understand because they aren’t young. … Pointless charts, mundane surveys and fake trend-setters. ALL TO BE UPENDED BY THE FAB FOUR AS THEY TAKE OVER – by the sweetest of storms – STODGY OFFICES, BORING TV SHOWS, POINTLESS TV PRODUCERS, CLUELESS OLDER FOLKS, EVEN FAMILY and WOMEN (they call women “birds”). The Beatles are their own family – close to each other in their Beatle bubble. John in love with Paul – and vice versa. They make their own intimate magic – but share it with the world. How lucky we are! Free and truly themselves only when out of the clutches of their wild girl groupies, insistent managers, nagging director, boring TV producer. FREE in their beautiful songs:

This film still holds up for me – not like their HELP! flick, made a few years after A HARD DAY’S NIGHT, or their goofy Christmas radio mini-shows. I love their animated YELLOW SUBMARINE but not as much as their kinetic A HARD DAY’S NIGHT! It’s in black and white and feels very off the cuff, very Beatles … The guys say things in the movie they WOULD HAVE SAID IN REAL LIFE. But it was all scripted, all in the movie script! Great writing!!

For me, as an old lady in 2020, the thrill of the flick is STILL WATCHING THE BEATLES PLAY THEIR MUSIC. STILL WATCHING JOHN LENNON PICK HIS GUITAR. STILL THE SIGHT OF PURE HAPPINESS – GOD – AS GREAT, GIFTED FRIENDS GRAB THEIR GUITARS AND DRUMSTICKS … to sing their song.

❤Happy Birthday, John Lennon – October 9. We love you and still miss you!❤

Let’s Hear it for the Apple!!🍎🍏🍎

By Edith Morgan

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Edith tending her urban garden. pic: R.T.

It’s apple-picking time, and our local orchards are full of Worcester County apple pickers, whole families, filling bags with fragrant, perfect apples! Not since Eve succumbed to the temptation of the serpent and got Adam to take a bite of that fatal apple, has this fruit played such an important part in our lives.

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You can make roasted apple squash soup!

When you stop to give it some thought, apples play a big part in many areas of our lives: in our language (“You are the apple of my eye!”); in our folk lore (“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”) and in the vernacular – “As American as apple pie,” “Motherhood and apple pie,” to name but a few of the most common.

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Bake your own this fall! pics: Chef Joey

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Whether we stop to think about it, we use apples in so many ways: apple sauce for babies, apple cider vinegar, apple butter to spread on our bread, apple juice, apple cider and hard cider to drink. And a close examination of the various juice drinks will show you that apple juice is added to all the other juices (probably because it is cheaper than the other fruits mentioned on the label).

We are very fortunate to have so many choices in our supermarkets: Macintoshes, Galas, yellow and red delicious, Green Granny Smiths and innumerable other varieties. Some tiny and almost round, others large and more oval. And with Halloween just around the corner, it will be “apple bobbing time“ soon. Socially distanced, of course …

The apple is infinitely versatile, and can be used in breads, pies, cakes, cupcakes or just wrapped in pie crust and baked. Fancy dishes like apple strudel are around most of the year, and of course caramel apples make their yearly appearance this time of year. Apple-filled puff pastries are among my favorites. And apples get along with nearly every other kind of fruit, blending in or as fillers.

Apples are enhanced with cinnamon, honey, and nutmeg, or any other spices you favor.

I like to experiment with the different kinds of apple, as each variety has its own flavor, sweetness and reaction to heat: some disintegrate and are great for apple sauce, others stay firm and crisp even when baked. There is an apple for everything you may want to cook!

One of my own favorite quick snacks? A nuked baked apple! Just clean out the apple core, put a mixture of honey, a bit of lemon juice, some cinnamon into the cavity, and microwave it for 3 to 5 minutes – the time depends on the type of apple you are using. You might want to top it off with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Enjoy!!!

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Edith and family at one of Edith’s birthday dinners🌸

Yom Kippur 5781

By Edith Morgan

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Edith❤

Rosh Hashanah has come and gone, the 10 days of repentance are ending – the culmination of all that soul-searching is Yom Kippur, which falls on the tenth day of Tishri in the Jewish calendar. All Jewish holidays begin on the eve before, a tradition that has survived in Christian tradition on Christmas: Christmas Eve.

Preparing for Yom Kippur involves remembering and repenting for the errors and sins of the past year and resolving to do better in the coming year. Most Western religions have some version of these rites. There is confession among Catholics and the universal New Year ritual of making resolutions.

The actual preparation for fasting begins with a hearty meal just before the evening of the start of Yom Kippur – in preparation for the whole day following when we are enjoined to give up pleasurable activities. The Torah enumerates them as follows: 1) no eating or drinking; 2) no bathing; 3) no anointing the body with oils; 4) no wearing of leather shoes (this is a reference to the fact that leather shoes long ago were much more comfortable than going barefoot; and 5) no sexual relations. These were the activities that were considered pleasurable at that time. I think we could probably add to that list, as we have far more self-indulgences available to us now …

There are, of course, services … and this highest of holidays is treated as a Sabbath service (the Sabbath is the highest holiday).

Because I had moved around so much while growing up, my family never really got bonded with a particular congregation. But my parents, as much as possible, observed the holidays, though my father came from a Reform Jewish background and my mother was a convert to Judaism. So we practiced an interesting mix of traditions in our home!

The beginning evening service in the synagogue is called “Kol Nidrei” – and I still have recollections of a chant by that name which we heard on that evening. I think its sad and haunting melody helps to put us in the right frame of mind – to begin the day of fasting and repenting.

Without the daily distractions, we can then spend the day putting our spiritual and physical house in order: making plans for an improved year, creating an improved self and making certain that our word is good. This is a time also for re-examining our relationship to God and remembering what it is that is expected of us.

I would like to close with a quote from Michael Strassfeld’s book “The Jewish Holidays”:

“Open for us the gates of light, blessing, joy, knowledge, splendor, confession, merit, compassion, purity, salvation, atonement, kindness, forgiveness, solace, pardon, assistance, sustenance, righteousness, healing, peace and repentance.”

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From John: COME NOVEMBER👪, CAN OUR MOST VULNERABLE WORCESTER STUDENTS❤ RETURN TO SCHOOL🏃?

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

It’s hard to believe that we are in the throes of a global pandemic, with over 200,000 people in the United State dead – passed away due to the novel coronavirus. This certainly has frightened many people – and rightly so.

Guidelines from the CDC have been posted just about every day, and the importance of wearing a facial mask has been articulated by every health official across our nation.

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Back to school … BUILDINGS?? pics: R.T.

When it comes to starting school, there appears not to be any right answer, other than to make decisions on the side of safety. In Massachusetts, using the data, each city has been placed in a catalog of green to go and red to stop when moving forward with decision making of returning to schools in person.

In Worcester, remote learning for the entire school population was the course of action agreed upon by the Superintendent and the Worcester School Committee. At this point in time WPS students will continue with remote learning until the end of the first semester, which ends around the first week in November. Based on data from the medical professionals and where we are as a community, a decision will be made on whether part of the student population will go back using a hybrid model of going to school one or two days a week or continue with the present remote learning model. Also, parents will have the option of staying with the remote model.

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So many great DVDs to watch and discuss with your history teacher: HARRIET..

The other unknown factor is the air quality in each school building and whether the work being done now will allow some students to return to their buildings. The projected finished air quality project has been estimated to be completed sometime at the end of December.

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The Vernon Hill School was once Providence Junior High School. It has scores of HUGE windows, but is it Covid-safe during winter?

Come November, depending on those factors, perhaps we will be able to bring back our most vulnerable students: our special education children and our English Language learners on a four-days-a-week schedule first.

Another group worth mentioning that I am extremely concerned about is our Pre-K to Grade One students. These students need a teacher in front of them!! There is no substitute for real interaction from a teacher in any grade, but especially one in early education.

How does one learn to read remotely? Distance learning within this subset is most difficult for children who need the classroom teacher in front of them. With online learning there is no engagement or sense of community that exists for these young ones.

It is most unfortunate that these children are starting their school career with a computer, and their first school experience in school is behind a screen and devoid of the environment that students absolutely need.

What is most important in learning are the people, the nurturing and the relationships between teachers and students.

My advice at this stage of the pandemic is to do all that we can to get our early learners, SPED students and ELL students back in school. However, with distance learning taking place now, we need to understand that RELATIONSHIPS are essential for the school district. We may not be together, but we can stay in touch and show that we care. We need to keep in mind that children require strong connections with adults to thrive. I would encourage teachers to check in one on one with each student via Zoom as frequently as possible and send a class-wide email every day to the parents.

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Little learners need their teachers in-person!!

Also, teachers will need to reach out to the parents on how to support their child’s learning and actively solicit parent feedback weekly. We are in difficult times, but everyone needs to give their best effort. Let’s hope that in the near future we can find a way to return our neediest students back to school!

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FYI:

New column from Chef Joey!🇮🇹😉

Back to School Snacks!

By Chef Joey

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Chef Joey!

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Having a 5-year-old (Gigi❤) …

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Miss Gigi eating Papa’s home-cookin’! pics: Chef Joey

… I have created a snack space in my refrigerator. These snacks are usually what Gigi picks for herself from the fresh fruit section. Right now, it is cherries, bananas, grapes, oranges and apples. Right next to that are squeezable oranges – and the only drink option is water. Soda and juice is havoc on young teeth – not to mention sugar is not healthy for growing bones. The fiber and natural sugar in fruit is key to having a healthy child.

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Frozen veggies sometimes contain more vitamins than veggies in your supermarket produce section! … And plenty of VEGAN options in your Trader Joes freezer aisle.

While your little one is sitting at the table doing lessons, …

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… slice up an apple and squeeze a little lemon juice and toss the slices in there – it will stop the apple slices from turning brown. Have healthy snacks at the ready … even celery with peanut butter versus crackers with empty calories are a good snack with protein. Gogurt yogurt sticks frozen are a great snack too in moderation.

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Joey’s fresh fruit bin

The bottom line is you can snack on carrot sticks for $2 for a couple of days, celery and peanut butter too … and a dish of raisins satiates a food craving. Use your intuition and take it back 50 years ago when there was not all this processed stuff in the grocery store! You will feel better and save more money than you thought possible.

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Sweet potato sticks – healthier than French fries!

Since you are at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic use the time to bake your own cookies, quick simple, healthy – and a $2 bag of flour yields about 200 or more cookies and pancakes!

Here is a quick pancake mix that costs peanuts. Society makes us think we must buy it boxed – nope you make it fresh!

PANCAKES

Mix:

1 cup flour

1 tsp sugar

pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder in a bowl

Add 2 tbsp of oil and then ¼ cup of milk of your choice, for lighter milks (like almond etc.) add a bit more.

Add a beaten egg for extra protein and that’s it.

Make sure your pan is nice and hot and have it pre-greased with a high heat oil (like sunflower) rubbed with a paper towel. And there you have it! Instead of syrup, use fruit. This also works in a waffle maker.

Have fun, and you can turn the pancake mix into a home economics class!

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Zucchini pancakes made by Chef Joe!

New column by Edith!📚📙🖋🐾🐾

Back to School!

By Edith Morgan

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Edith and family on Edith’s 88th birthday! photo submitted.

After all the hand-wringing about how much our children are missing being out of school since March 2020 and how this hiatus will stunt their growth, we are finally going to resume some kind of schooling, first virtually, then in a ”hybrid” system (part on-line and part in person). Finally, when all is more or less back to “normal,” back in the old schoolhouse full time, though probably in smaller classes.

There has been incessant attention to the physical safety of students and staff and to making our school buildings and equipment as virus-free as possible.

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Kids still need school supplies! Donate pens, notepads, scratch pads and more to the Friendly House, Girls Inc and SWNC! These nonprofits serve poor Worcester families. pics:R.T.

But somewhere in the rabid pursuit of the CORONA 19 virus, we seem to have lost sight of the main reason our children are in school: to become fully capable, well-functioning members of American society. That means acquiring the language, basic math and the basic knowhow to be a competent family member, a member of a neighborhood, of a city or town, a state and the United Sates of America.

For that, ability to read, understand, and use the English language fully and comfortably is absolutely basic.

A knowledge of basic math is vital, also, as we all become tax payers, workers, consumers, credit card users, savers and home buyers or renters.

So our graduates need to understand how our financial system works and to have practice in navigating the various forms in use – registration forms, license forms, contracts of all kinds (especially the tiny print designed often to evade responsibility or even mislead).

Not all our children have two parents who are adept at navigating these pitfalls, nor do the parents always have the time.

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Joey’s Gigi working on her homework. Chef Joey is an excellent Papa! pic: Joe C.

With our planet under great stress, a good understanding about the environment and our responsibility to that, should also be taught.

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A clear understanding about how government functions at all levels, and each student’s responsibility in the scheme of things is important! Science – especially the scientific method and how hypotheses are formed, how evidence is collected, and how conclusions are reached, need to be emphasized throughout high school!

Needless to say, every branch of science has its own vocabulary, so that terms need to be carefully taught.

Our language has suffered a real degradation of meaning (as happened in Germany under the third Reich), and emotionally loaded words are bandied about without careful attention to their meaning. Our students should be taught to think critically about “alternative reality” as well as the 3 “P’s”: puffery, propaganda and prevarication!

Our kids will grow up totally surrounded by advertising, political pressure – and just plain lies. They must know how to identify these lies, while still maintaining their own opinions.

Our schools need to be the bulwark standing in defense of democracy. That means our students should be familiar with the Constitution, state and local laws, and customs. Democracy is fragile, and must be protected in each generation – it can not be merely handed down.

The achievement gap between minority and white students may widen, but with a life expectancy of 80+ years, that can be made up. I see many already working hard to close that gap. Technology is not sufficiently widely available in poorer homes, or in the homes of new arrivals, but much is being done to try to provide these tools.

But let us not fool ourselves into thinking that technology can or will solve the real problems facing America – skills and general information can be gotten, but those things that make for a full-adult and decent human being, an asset to this country, to family, neighborhood, city and state, can not be acquired from a screen. Parents, teachers, friends – all are role models, and they can not be replaced by a machine! Nor are they learned in large groups!

So it may be a blessing in disguise that we are forced to have smaller groups of students, enabling teachers and aides to better see when bullying and harassment occur. So, whatever form our children’s education takes, let us keep our eyes on our main duties, not the latest techy toy!

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FYI:
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That’s a Wrap! Republican National Convention column by Edith!🇺🇸🇺🇸

The 2020 RNC Convention Show

By Edith Morgan

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Edith

I did not know what to call it: after a very brief and perfunctory convention that did the real business of a true party convention, but without any attempt at giving voice to other possible views or candidates within the party, with no platform (since whatever Trump decides in the moment will be it), the evening RNC SHOW began on Monday and ran for four days, through Thursday, August 28. At which time Donald Trump brazenly accepted the nomination, in front of the White House, the American people’shouse. That was merely the crowning, in-your-face portion of this show’s violations of the Hatch Act – Trump’s thumbing his nose at the public and its laws, to let us know that the laws do not apply to him or his family or cronies.

I found particularly offensive the naturalization ceremony, not only for its inappropriateness during a political campaign, but also because if the extended and unusually long and inclusive swearing–in, which included an oath to serve in the military or to do public service, etc… none of which are usually included in such a ceremony. It was, like the rest of the RNC SHOW, a carefully orchestrated rainbow of five persons, including a member of all those excluded by the Trump administration during real life at the White House.

I listened carefully to every word and watched gestures and facial expressions – and had to admire the speech writers for all these presentations, for their skill in creating this four-day long paen of praise for all Trump’s accomplishments, describing an America I could not recognize.

Of course the Trump family spoke in full force and could not say enough GREAT things about the great love, caring, empathy and generosity of dad or hubby President Trump. Every time I see the women of Trump, I am reminded of “The Stepford Wives.“

In this four-day performance of “unreal TV”!!, we were treated to a constant barrage of warnings about what the “Trojan horse Joe Biden” would cause to descend on us Americans: our cities, our economy, our families, our jobs, all in ruin. To be saved by another four years of Trump!!!

We are all going to be great again – again. Much lip service was given to the additional funding of military objectives, to promises to end our foreign wars, to bring our troops home, to getting our allies to pay for their own defenses, and to bringing jobs back, as well as to continue to cut taxes. Most of the claims of accomplishments can not stand close scrutiny, and even the first few media fact checks done around the time of the presentations proved that the entire RNC Zshow was a compendium of “ alternative facts.” It was all a well orchestrated show, a glossy show, featuring infinitely the carnival barker about whom it all revolved: Donald J. Trump.

We heard from Tiffany Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, and finally Melania Trump, who advertised her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign. Ha ha. Karen Pence, Larry Kudlow, Joni Ernst, Rep. Crenshaw, and Billy Graham’s granddaughter, as well as Kentucky’s Rand Paul – every one full of praise for what Trump has accomplished, invoking God and the flag, giving some standard American history and supporting the second Amendment – while properly demonizing the “Democrat –run cities” which were described as being overrun by rioters and looters. They supported, in various ways, a “law-and-order” regime and tried to scare suburban dwellers into fearing the invasion of low-cost housing. Read: Blacks and Other Minorities.

Occasional chants of “Four more years!!” erupted, but since most venues were virtual, that only happened at the two outdoor events, where there were many people, not masked and close together. What global pandemic?! All emphasized the duty to vote – and to give their Donald another four years.

Let’s not.