Category Archives: InCity Voices

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



By Steven R. Maher

Donald Trump never ceases to amaze. In an October 9, 2019, letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump wrote: “Let’s work out a good deal. You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy – and I will. History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen. Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

A BBC report claimed Erdogan angrily threw the letter into a waste basket after reading it, USA Today reported.

If there’s one person on this planet I wouldn’t want advice from about not making a total fool of myself in public, that’s Donald Trump. One conservative commentator said the letter sounded as if it had been written by a nine-year-old with a crayon. This will go down as Trump’s version of Richard M. Nixon saying, “I’m not a crook.”

Richard Nixon was a crook, and no one would want his advice about successfully handling a scandal. But even Nixon would know better than to confess to an impeachable offense on television. That would be like taking advice from Donald Trump on how not to make oneself look like a total imbecile in public.



Fourth Democratic Presidential Debate had no Huge Gaffes, Surprises …

By Steven R. Maher

The October 15, 2019, fourth Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio, featured 12 contestants. There were no career-ending gaffes. Some candidates performed better than expected, some did not. A few obsevrations:

Former Vice President Joe Biden didn’t do a convincing enough job explaining what his son did for the $600,000 he was paid for that consulting position in the Ukraine.

It is likely we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Biden campaign. Given that Trump is now facing impeachment for trying to destroy Biden’s campaign, his efforts to engineer Biden’s destruction seem to have been accomplished. Whether it was worth the damage done to Trump’s presidency is another question.

Trump simply could have made public that Hunter Biden had profited $600,000 from what has all the characteristics of what former Tammany leader George W. Plunkitt used to call “honest graft” – i.e., it wasn’t illegal but had all the appearance of a payback in exchange for a favor. Hunter Biden seems like the exact type of “swamp creature” Trump campaigned against in 2016.

Warren big winner

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been declared the big winner by most pundits. With the “frontrunner” target emblazoned on her back, the other Democratic candidates came after her like a pack of coyotes.

Warren won because she didn’t become rattled during the debate, but gave cogent answers to questions by the debate moderators or in response to interjections by her opponents. She stood her ground and fought. Warren asked why her fellow Democrats “[T]hink it is more important to protect billionaires than to invest in Americans.”

After weeks of media reports putting him on his death bed, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) came across as energetic, eloquent and definitely not on his death bed. This was the Bernie Sanders of 2016, not the tired, disheveled 2019 version.

Buttigieg v. Beto
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg had two shinning moments at the Ohio debate. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) had argued that Trump was waging a “regime change” war in Syria. Responded Mayor Pete, hitting the nail on the head: “Respectfully congresswoman, I think that is dead wrong. The slaughter going on in Syria is not a consequence of American presence, it’s a consequence of a withdrawal and betrayal by this president of American allies and American values.”

Buttigieg also shined when he disagreed strongly with Beto O’Rourke’s plan to confiscate high powered-military weaponry like AK-47s and AR-15s. While that might sound good on a bumper sticker, implementation of such a plan could lead to disastrous violence, inflaming the very problem O’Rourke is claiming he wants to resolve.

Worcester’s finest 🎃shindig – the ANNUAL FRIENDLY HOUSE HALLOWEEN🎃 PARTY🎃! Oct. 31 – be there! 🍥🥤


♥️Or: donate your time, candy, refreshments for this sweet, HUGE FHouse party for East Side city kids!🥤🍥



🍁Times: 4:30 – 5 p.m. – 1 yr to 7 yrs 😊

🍂5 p.m. – 7 p.m. – ALL AGES!😊

All children must be accompanied by their parent or guardian!

It’s the biggest Halloween party on the East Side! Trick or treat stations, cool homemade games, prizes, wonderful costumes, music and more!🎃👏🎃👏All for Woo city kids and families. Friendly House Executive Director Gordon Hargrove wanted to give Grafton Hill kids and families a SAFE and fun Halloween nite! He’s been hosting hundreds of trick or treaters at the Friendly House for years!

Thank you, Gordon!

Some Friendly House pics from spooktacular 🎃🎃parties past♥️!:
photos courtesy of Friendly House







Gordy, seated, at a community leaders meeting! CECELIA file photo by Ron O’Clair

In case you missed it: Steve’s most recent political🇺🇸 column🇺🇸


By Steven R. Maher

In April 2019 this author wrote a column for CECELIA newspaper saying, “Donald Trump isn’t worth a civil war.” I argued that Trump’s supporters would be unwilling to see The Donald ejected from office unless it was done at the ballot box.

Then Trump recently published a Tweet saying there would be a civil war if he was impeached and removed from office for trying to get Ukraine and then Red China to investigate Democratic presidential candidate front runner Joe Biden.

I wrote in my April 2019 column: “Trump supporters are unlikely to stand by while their hero is stripped of his office without the electoral process being involved. At a minimum, millions of Americans would be so turned off by politics they would likely abstain from further political activity. It’s sort of how Democrats feel when the electoral college awards the Presidency to candidates (George Bush and Donald Trump) who failed to win a majority of the popular vote.

“Americans must learn to trust the democratic process again. We will be a healthier democracy if Trump is repudiated in the 2020 elections, especially in the electoral college.

“Trump isn’t worth shorting the Democratic process and risking a civil war. The Democrats and the country will be far better off if Trump is administered a stinging defeat at the ballot box. Or, as Abraham Lincoln reputedly put it: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

This is Different

But this time Trump has directly used the power of his office and the U.S. government to smear his main political opponent. Trump has painted the Democrats into a corner where they have no choice but to impeach. Trump seems bent on personal self-destruction.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reportedly plans to have an immediate Senate vote on any impeachment bill presented by the House. That’s the smart thing for the Republicans to do. Vote as quickly as possible and get it behind them before the New Year.

Then the American people will have the chance to remove Trump from office through the ballot box. And, along with them, many of the spineless acolytes in the Senate who seem willing to follow Trump off the cliff.



In Woo and Q-Village we’re having a heat wave …🌞🌞

By Rosalie Tirella

… a tropical heat wave 🎶!

… In Worcester’s “historic” Blackstone River Road neighborhood, too!🌞🌞

My hot dogs🌭🌭😉 yesterday!:

pics: Rose T.


Then … there are the crass folks who – when the sun dips just a smidgen and the neighborhood cools down just a few degrees – well, they just have to BLAST THEIR MUSIC FOR ALL OF BLACKSTONE RIVER ROAD TO HEAR – TO BE SUBJECTED TO!:
Blasting from the ‘hood! Their song goes: 🎶🎶MIRA! MIRA! MIRA! MIRA🎶🎶!🎶🎶!!


We are looking!!!

And this is why Sally, owner of the florist’s two doors down, met with long-gone Worcester landlord/developer Paul Collyer 5 or 6! years ago to ask – HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS DUMP? – how can we bring in the money? And the money people? How can we (essentially) gentrify this neighborhood?

Never mind that Sally has her own slummy Blackstone River Road property, is money-grubbing (they say she basically stole the flower shop from kind old Herb – that she worked for him and bought it out from under him when he was ancient and very weak) and cares not a whit for the poor kids living in the dumps right across the street from her shop. Dumpy apartments seldom fixed by City-of-Worcester-regulation-flouting slumlords! She gives these landlords a pass cuz they are fellow money people.

Sally, what about the good parents here who are trying to do the right thing by their families?! What about the kids who bop down Blackstone River Road in the summer’s pale early morning light – walking to the QV elementary school right down the road – going to the school’s summer program?

Here’s Sally’s dumpy looking rental property… (she sold the right-hand side apartment to the welder next door, who did a great job fixing his half up! But look at her side of the building, her rental apartment to the left😢😢:
Sally’s rental property, left

Mira! Mira! Mira!

Look! Look! Look!

Attention must be paid!

Shame on Sally. Yet she considers herself a neighborhood leader$$$$ and sold her old Worcester fire station that she’s been sitting on for years … to contractors. Will they flip the grand old building once they redevelop it? Create expensive condos? Move in???

So this little neighborhood is next.

Thank you Blackstone Canal!

… and all the federal money the City of Worcester leverages for crap! Cosmetics for the ‘hood to attract millennials and money! City Leaders do not focus on the people already living here! They do NOT HELP THE PEOPLE in real, substantial ways – BUT DEVELOPERS LIKE SALLY.

Thank you, City Manager Ed Augustus, for turning Worcester into a new mini Boston – half rich, half really poor people. No working class/regular middle folks. Screw the worker bees and the working class! So what if one in four of Worcester kids is food insecure/hungry??? – the real indicator of the city’s poverty level. They and their families are all the people who will never eat or shop in the Canal District or care even a little bit about the Woo Sox. They’ll be struggling with urban noise, guns, opioids, homelessness, glue sniffers, lousy fathers, domestic abuse – you know, the problems our city leaders just play at but never really try to solve!

Now my neighborhood has:

🌭the new Blackstone Canal museum a two minute drive away!

🌭our streets and sidewalks are primed for newbies – painted and widened

🌭we now have bike lanes (hardly ever used), too …

No difference.


The trendy restaurants who open up across the street always go out of business cuz the neighborhood folks can’t support$$$ the eateries

We’ve still got the noise

the guns

the glue sniffing

the domestic violence

the police cruisers

and the ambulances tearing down Blackstone River Road, sirens blaring.

The City of Worcester is so self congratulatory these days! But the City of Worcester does not have UNIVERSAL PRE-K for our public school students OR FREE PUBLIC COLLEGE at Quinsigamond Community College or Worcester State University. The State of New York has this state-wide program! So does the City of Boston!!!

Nope. So Sally, one of the last Swedes in the city’s old Swedish neighborhood, and a senior citizen herself!, and her senior citizen allies are calling all the shots here! They have the city manager and city councilor’s ear.

Screw the future. The children. Little soldiers we’ll lose if they can’t read by grade 3! And city leaders know this …

Do we want developers and dismissive city leaders determining the fate of the neighborood? So much depends on the people living here! NOW! To do the right thing. To live right and demand things that should come to them: Go to Meade Street for tenants’ rights, go to the school committee meetings and demand Pre K, free community college (really high school part 2 in 2019) for your kids … because gentrification is coming this way. SOONER RATHER THAN LATER!

Right now it’s all happening in my old neighborhood, Green Island and the Kelley Square area. But after the Paw Sox move there, destroy that area with the city and state building them a new stadium in Kelley Square for practically FREE!, the money people will look a few streets down and move to Blackstone River Road. HERE. Sally and her ilk have been waiting and planning for this for years!!!

The new streets are here, the new museum has been built, the trails on McKeon Road have been cut into the small beautiful river forest, killing and displacing my beautiful deer, yearlings and brown-tailed hawks whose wing spans were wider than I am tall – 5’51/2″! With a slow, heavy whoosh whoosh they flew from the tree branches above me as Jett, Lilac and I trotted beneath their perch, quietly, fast, with blissed out respect!

That’s all gone now.

Did you know a pal of mine who owns and lives in his beloved three decker on Lafayette Street – MY BELOVED CHILDHOOD STREET!!! – got a knock on his first-floor front door a little while ago. It was a developer/money man/gentrifier. He said: I want to buy your house. How much $$$???


Some people can’t be bought.

Some people can. My old landlord on Ward Street couldn’t handle the drug dealers and gun thugs in his three and two deckers, so he sold ’em – to a slumlord who raised everyone’s rent by hundreds of dollars because she knew they all were (except me – that’s how I ended up in Spencer!) all Section 8 tenants and that the federal government would foot the bill – pay the new higher rents.

This is why Trump got elected President of the United States😢! Working class resentment. Rightfully so in the eyes of many white working class (especially older men) folks!

And guess what? My old Ward Street downstairs neighbor, Mary Paradise, on Section 8, went below and beyond the usual scam! She actually rented out rooms in her big apartment, for $$$ under the table! She, thanks to the federal government, was a successful landlord! A federally subsidized small biz person!!! And she made a good chunk of cash FOR YEARS off her apartment. Vacationed for weeks in Florida every winter! While I and others worked our asses off to run our small businesses, hold jobs, … . I haven’t seen Mary’s car in the old Ward Street parking lot in a while – but her relatives’ vehicle. Mary may still hold the apartment – get the Section 8 subsidy – but live with her creepo boyfriend now – allowing her to RENT OUT her big flat for even more money$$$!!! Like it’s her property! The real landlord, like most, turns her head, looks away. She’s getting her rent money! A millennial millionaire!! The system IS SO BROKEN.

But Donald Trump is not the answer.

Democratic mayors and managers in cities all over America are the answer. And the selectmen in rural America. They must support the folks in their cities/small towns through TERRIFIC EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR YOUNG AND A LIVING WAGE FOR THEIR WORKERS. The factories and mills are gone. Forever. Educational opportunities and a living wage are a good place to start in places like Blackstone River Road.
Blackstone River Road