By Rosalie Tirella
Worcester Animal Rescue League’s Dorreen LaPorte was driving in the Webster Square area last summer when she saw something that broke her heart: a young pit bull dog – younger than 1 year – was straining to pull three gray cinder blocks in the summer heat. The cinder blocks (weighing about 45 pounds each) were attached to three heavy chains and the chains were attached to the dog’s collar. Pit bulls are – believe it or not – crazy about people! They were bred to bait bulls and later used to fight dogs. Without their desire to please their masters, they could not endure the insanity of the bloody dog-fighting pit or tortured bulls. Also, a less sociable dog woud not allow himself to be extricated (by his master) from the pit, in the middle of a fight. (Hence, the relatively light weight of the turn-of-the-20th century pit bull dogs – 45ish pounds).
Combine the pit bull’s fierce loyalty, love of their master/mistress, innate intelligence, stamina and steely will and you have the scene LaPorte witnessed: a pit bull on Webster Square, who when his owner says “mush,” mushes. In 90-degree weather. All heart . LaPorte, who has been the executive director of WARL for more than 10 years, knew what the owner was doing – training his pit bull for dog fights.
“There’s a [pit bull fighting] dog ring on Southbridge Street,” LaPorte says. She has called the Worcester Animal Control Officers – and their bosses – and they have done nothing about breaking up the ring and rescuing the dogs. LaPorte believes there are “multiple” dog fighting rings in Worcester. Continue reading Worcester’s Pit Bulls
By Rosalie Tirella
(editor’s note: This column is dedicated to the late George Carlin; he recently passed away – shortly after performing in Worcester – one of his last gigs. This column was inspired by Carlin’s comedy routine “A Place for My Stuff.”)
I never thought I cared so much about stuff until I started moving stuff, losing stuff, accounting for stuff … seeing people’s stuff! It all began four months ago, when I decided to forsake my inner-city apartment of 11 years for the Worcester ‘burbs. I was burned out from the inner-city noise, the crowdedness of my street, the pain-in-the-ass teenager who lived downstairs and played loud music at night. His music was his stuff. But his stuff was my shit!
So I decided to take all my stuff and move it to a new place in a nearby town. My boyfriend “Mario” (he asked me to give him this silly pseudonym) said, “Rose, it’ll be a brutal move – you’ve got a ton of shit!”
I said, “Mario, it’s not shit! It’s my stuff!”
Continue reading Where’s my stuff?!
Hopefully, Worcester City councilors will do what they need to do to close a projected multi-million dollar municipal budget deficit. So what can Worcester do to save itself from itself?
* How about getting all unions to agree to have their members pony up 25% – instead of 20% – $$$ for municipal employee health insurance? If City of Worcester employees – including the school dept. side – agree to pay 25% of their insurance bills, that relatively small concession (that’s what everyone contributes in the private sector) could save Worcester hundreds of thousands of dollars.
* City of Worcester employees need to say “to hell with Blue Cross Blue Shield” (what they can get if they stick to City of Worcester health insurance plan) and join the state insurance group. It costs a lot less money – and you get a ton of health plans to choose from, many just fine.
* PILOT – Payment in Lieu of Taxes. Get the nonprofits – especially the bigger ones and the colleges – to start making monetary contributions to the City of Worcester for doing business in Worcester for gratis. That’s right – they pay no property taxes and yet get fire trucks, police protection, DPW support, etc, etc. We know their endowments have taken a hit with the market in free fall, but they can – especially Holy Cross and WPI – give us something. City policy wonks say PILOT will only net the city about $1 million. We say – GO FOR IT! It’s a beginning, which is why the collecges are so resistant. And don’t worry, they’ll still be sending us their kids, asking for internships (precious experience for the kiddies).
* Get the freaking Worcester cops off roadway details! Only one other state uses cops to direct traffic while digging, road work is going on. Let’s join the rest of the country and hire flagmen and women. With the Worcester police, you have to hire them for a minimum of four hours. Their pay rate starts at $50/hour. Flag guys and gals get around $30 per hour. That’s saving some serious dough! Also, it gets the police doing what they should be doing: preserving the peace; chasing robbers, drug dealers, etc.
This is the tip of the iceberg. Let’s all put our thinking caps on to save our city!
– Rosalie Tirella
By Rosalie Tirella
It’s the end of 2008 and the apocalypse is here: U.S. banks are the bunk, folks are trading their foreclosed homes for corrugated shacks, America’s car companies are being towed to the scrap heap, the arctic ice caps are melting, everyone is poor (except for the rich), George Bush is as oblivious as ever, a New England ice storm has decimated Northern Worcester, along with the Asian longhorn beetle. And, last but not least, a recent news report states that within five years, the U.S. will most likely be the target of a nuclear or bio-terrorist attack.
So what better time to critique Worcester’s City Council? Mayor Konnie Lukes, City Councilors Gary Rosen, Bill Eddy, Joff Smith, Phil Palmieri, Barbara Haller, Ric Rushton, Paul Clancy, Mike Germain and Kate Toomey will probably be with us when the world comes to an end. My question to all Worcesterites: Are these the folks we want to have leading the city when the sky opens up and the hand-wringing, chest-beating and self-flagellation begin?
Continue reading Armageddon and the Worcester City Council