Tag Archives: CECELIA

Jim! Always in style!

A former Woo political activist hoped for more political, racial and gender diversity on the Worcester City Council – and got it!

By Jim Coughlin

Worcester City Hall – our City Council reflecting our city these days. Finally. photo: Rose T.

I was born and raised in Worcester. Our family originally lived in the area of Worcester known as “Crown Hill.” We originaly lived on Chatham Street and later moved to Chandler Street, right next to both Beaver Brook Park and Foley Stadium. My father was a long-time community organizer in Worcester’s sports and athletic community and shortly after his death in 1986, Worcester State University, (WSU) named the athletic field in back of the university “The John F Coughlin Field.”

Jim Coughlin. He’s a Boston boy now but often takes the train into Worcester to visit friends and report on Worcester events and people for CECELIA. Photo submitted.

By introduction, for those readers who don’t know me, let me say that I was a long time political activist in Worcester, going back to the mid 1970s. When I was only 19 and 21 years old, I served as the campaign manager for the late Mrs. Elizabeth L. “Betty” Price in her two successful campaigns for the Worcester School Committee in both 1973 and 1975. For those of you who don’t recall “Betty,” she was the first African American woman ever elected to the Worcester School Committee when the percentage of people of color in the city was only about 5%, much lower than it is today.

Bill and James Vets Homor Roll 4-28-16(2)-1
Bill Coleman, right, and James Bonds spearheaded the drive to build the monument to Worcester’s Black soldiers of World War II, located at Lincoln Square. CECELIA file photo.

I clearly and vividly remember the “old Worcester,” along with the old Worcester City Councils of decades ago. During this time, I regularly attended city council meetings in the 1970s and ’80s when the legendary Francis J. McGrath served as City Manager. I remember 1973 as somewhat of a “revolutionary year” at the time in Worcester politics because this was the year that the voters elected not one, but the first three women EVER elected to the Worcester City Council: Mary Scano, Barbara Sinnott and Barbara Kohin.

But their terms did not last long. In 1975, all three women councillors were defeated by the voters. Of the trio, only former Councillor Kohin is still living.

For those of us who observed these changes, we thought we would never see a woman, any woman, break the sex barrier and join the ranks of the Worcester City Council. But they were all excellent public servants for the people of our city. By comparison, the city and, yes, the City Council over time also has become more diversified.

Thank goodness.

By comparison, to the older Worcester City Councils of the earlier days, the current council is no longer “9 white men” as it was back then, but rather it is far more representative of Worcester’s demographics in 2021. Now, on the current city council there are four women city councillors: Donna M. Colorio, Candy Mero Carlson, Kathleen Toomey and Sarai Riveria. Additionally, there are three councillors of color: Khrystian King, Sean Rose and Sarai Riveria.

It is no longer a big deal or even a surprise that the demographics of the city council has changed in both the racial and gender departments. This is a good step forward for the city council in being more representative of the entire city. And whatever happens in contested race for council in District Five between Etel Haxhiaj and George Stratman, the council will either increase by one more councillor of color or a woman councillor.

Running for Councillor at large is Peter Stefan, a Main South funeral home director and long-time community activist. Stefan has buried Worcester’s homeless for free for years and helped the city’s poor and seniors for decades – helping them pay for food, their prescription medicines and utility bills . He served on the board of directors of the PIP homeless shelter for many years and was an advocate for the work they did. He also supports homeless veterans and promises to donate all his City Council paychecks to local food pantries and food banks throughout Worcester County.

Today: the old PIP, on the corner of Main and Charlton streets, in Main South. For years PIP board member and current city council candidate Peter Stefan would drive to Nissan’s Bakery by Crompton Park, buy a ton of sweets and bread and bring them down to the PIP for the homeless to enjoy at supper time. Photo: R.T.

William S. “Bill” Coleman III is also running for councillor at large. Coleman has run for city councillor at large many times before and has been a very active petitioner before the city council for over 30 years on a wide range of public policy initiatives.

For me, as a former Worcester political activist who only hoped for more political, racial and gender diversity on the city council when we were out in the neighborhoods of Worcester organizing for Betty Price in the mid-1970s, I am grateful that the electorate of Worcester has summoned itself to answer the call of many of us back then who actually wondered aloud and to ourselves if there ever would be these changes in the faces of our public servants at City Hall.

Kudos to Worcester for diversifying the make-up of the Worcester City Council!

Worcester’s homeless scattered throughout the city because the City has no PIP

By Rosalie Tirella

SMOC HEADQUARTERS- SMOC: Worcester’s premier homeless social service agency – located on the corner of Chandler Street and Park Ave at the end of the Piedmont neighborhood:

SMOC is housed in the old MLK building. It used to be run by Clarence Thomas who could never get his Black business empowerment center off the ground. SMOC and SMOC’s Chris Orcutt have also let this grand old Worcester building lie fallow. Pics: R.T.

The MLK building could use some real revitalization!

The homeless sleep on the Worcester Common BECAUSE WORCESTER HAS NO HOMELESS CARE PLAN.

Run by Chris Orcutt, the son of the late great PIP hero – PIP cook George Orcutt, who even got his mom to volunteer at the wet shelter’s kitchen in Main South. Now, all gone, died, retired, the PIP closed, thanks pretty much to former Main South activist Billy Breault and his old partner in crime former D4 city councilor and fellow Main South resident Barbara Haller.

Worcester City Council and City Manager Ed Augustus have dropped the ball when it comes to compassionate care of our homeless …

Worcester is still coping with the fallout of the PIP’s closure. Twenty years ago the truly chronically homeless- drug-abusing etc – folks of Worcester County had a real HOME. PIP Director Buddy Brousseau brought in social workers, a Saint of a doctor, volunteers, cooks, and more to CARE for everybody. These days Chris Orcutt and SMOC have dropped the ball and Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has, in his own oblivious way, sanctioned HOMELESS CAMPS/HIDEAWAYS for our suffering, the ones who need love and care most of all. They’re sleeping under the Green Street bridge, in the woods by the railroad tracks before Greenwood Street, the signage pointing them to the trees and bushes that will shelter them.

George Orcutt / the PIP used to cater City of Worcester events and parties. For free – a gift to the City from Buddy – for understanding. Having a heart.

That’s all changed.

For two weeks SMOC was shut down to clients: Chris Orcutt got COVID and shut his entire brick complex down. And the week before that he was on vacation. Chris had no plan B for his staff to fall back on. It was vacation time for all his staffers, as everyone stayed home! Homeless folks had no one – no Buddy Brousseau to advocate and care for them. No George Orcutt to cook them dinner. No PIP building (the first floor) with cots and blankets for shelter from the elements. No doctor to dress their wounds, no social workers to help them fill out referral forms.

Now Worcester’s homeless are in the woods, in their cars, under bridges, in the Canal District …

The beginning of Quinsigamond Village, site of the relatively new visitors center and hiking trail/park …

The old PIP – a scourge to Haller and the folks on Charlton and Sycamore streets – DID SERVE A PURPOSE. Now we realize it HELPED the city more than it hurt …

The PIP WAS ABOUT COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR THE HOMELESS. IT KEPT THE HOMELESS POPULATION PRETTY MUCH IN ONE PLACE – THE PIP. Now that the PIP is gone, there’s no one to really wrap their arms around the homeless. No Buddy or George. No Angel Doctor. Now there are STREET CORNERS for panhandling, under the GREEN STREET BRIDGE for fellowship and sleeping, PARKING LOTS in which to rest or relax, LOCAL PARKS/WOODS to camp out/sleep. Heck, one morning I saw a couple roll up their sleeping bags after a night spent sleeping on the Worcester Common, yards away from Worcester City Hall. No one bothered them. They seemed ready to face the day together. It was a compassionate scene.

But we can do better, Worcester. We can move beyond SMOC!

We “slipped” up!

By Rosalie Tirella

Rose’s slip

You know America is falling apart when you visit a major discount department store in Worcester, walk into the ladies “intimate” section and ask the pretty young sales clerk: “Where are your half slips? Or slips?” and she says, “What’s a slip?”

You say, incredulously: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT A SLIP IS?!!

She says: NO.

You say, it’s something silky women wear under their skirts and dresses so the sunlight or a car headlight doesn’t reveal the crotch area when you’re walking past the light …it’s made of thin material, usually nylon or polyester.

She looks flummoxed.

I say: Don’t you wear a slip when you wear a dress or skirt?

She sweetly stares at me.

It’s like I’m talking to a box of dog biscuits.

So I move onto the next pretty sales clerk in the discount department store and ask her sweetly, because I think the other young sales clerk is the exception to the rule, WHERE ARE YOUR SLIPS?

She says: WHAT’S A SLIP?

Disoriented, befuddled, I walk to the underwear racks and rifle through ALL their intimate apparel: bras, panties, thin “shape wear” – today’s girdles – and their sporty camisoles … several long racks of ladies intimate apparel. No slips. One of the store managers walks by me, curious. I shoot him an angry look but do not ask him for help, ask him if he has any slips. He’s a guy.

I leave the discount department store and drive to another discount department store in Worcester to buy my two half slips. Being on the road means my slips (most given to me by gal pal Dorrie who knows what a slip is and has given me some very pretty ones through the years) are in storage or were chucked in some motel room or pal’s place as my dogs and I search for an affordable apartment in Worcester and Chris Orcutt at SMOC shuts his building down on Chandler Street because he has COVID. This development after his week-long vacation. So my search for housing – and hundreds of other folks’ – is interrupted because Chris is a pointless paper-pusher who doesn’t serve SMOC’s clients. Chris probably doesn’t know what a slip is either.

But I digress. Like I said: It’s been an interesting journey! I’ve lost a lot these past months – antiques, a fake fur coat I planned to send to my sister who has Parkinson’s, a ladies electric razer kit, a bottle of witch hazel … and my half slips. Dorrie’s stepped up but is exasperated. BUY THEM! she texted me, when I texted her: Dorrie, I NEED SOME SLIPS! Large!

So here I am at Marshall’s looking for half slips. Everything looks so classy and put together here. Surely, the attractive young sales clerks will be able to help me. I walk over to one and ask her: WHERE ARE YOUR SLIPS?

She says: WHAT’S A SLIP?

I tell her and she is still stumped. I say: Just point me to your intimate apparel section. She does. It’s the same story here: nylon body shapers, bras, bikini panties, hip hugger panties… but no slips. I decide to buy some panties: cotton, high waisted. Basic. Functional. No go. Everything is polyester! I want cotton! Cotton breathes! Everything is way below the belly button. I want waist-high panties! Fuming, I tear through the five long racks of underwear and, finally, land on some thin cotton hip hugger panties. Large. There are five panties artfully hanging from little clear plastic hangers. They are ugly. I buy them anyways and leave Marshall’s where you can purchase gorgeous on-trend rugs, poofs, furniture and even exotic coffees BUT NO SLIPS.

Dorrie suggested that I go to Good Will. They’d probably have slips there. Just wash them before you wear them! Dorrie instructed me. A new day, a new hunt. I drive to Good Will on Park Ave. I throw caution to the wind and run straight to the Latino kid working the cash register and ask him: Where are your half slips?

He says: What’s a slip?

I crumple on his cash register. Practically in tears, I say: Why don’t you kids know what slips are?! What is wrong with this country?! Your mom probably wears them! Or your older sister! This is unbelievable!!!! This is too much!!

The Good Will kid was a guy but he was sympathetic. I explained to him what a slip was and told him of my quest for TWO FREAKIN’ HALF SLIPS IN THE CITY OF WORCESTER and almost cried. “PLEASE!” I pleaded. “I am so tired!! I just want to buy two half slips. I don’t care about their color. I DON’T EVEN WANT TO GO LOOK FOR THEM!!!

The young Latino kid smiled sympathetically at his distraught customer and walked out from behind his cash register and went into the miles and miles of Good Will clothing racks and knick knacks and electronic shelves and shoes on stands and came back with TWO HALF SLIPS! Nylon. Large. One was black, the other white.

I said, “WOW!!”

He said, “My grandmother buys hers at Walmart.”


When did American ladies – with slips in their hospital overnight bags – give birth to babies who would grow up to wonder aloud: What’s a “slip”?

When hospitals kicked you out hours after you gave birth! When America got cheap and plastic and distracted and half slips were lost to plasma TVs, a 7 dollar minimum wage, MCAS tests, empty churches, millions of guns and not enough unions!

When my mom had me she spent one week – ONE WEEK!! – like all new moms – at Memorial Hospital on Belmont Street recovering from childbirth. For one week she was spoiled by the nurses, visited by her obstetrician. She was served breakfast in bed. Wore pretty pink quilted bed jackets. Visitors came to her bedside with flowers. AND SHE HAD A SLIP FOR UNDER HER DRESS WHEN SHE WAS DISCHARGED FROM MEMORIAL HOSPITAL!

America has changed since I was a kid – the days every girl grew up learning what a slip was! And wore them! Worcester moms bought our slips – and theirs – at Woolworths, Denholms, The Deb Shoppe, The Mart, depending on your economic class. And we girls wore them under our First Holy Communion dresses, prom dresses, school uniforms if we went to Catholic school, first date dresses, Easter dinner outfits for Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary’s …When we took home the leftovers in TUPPERWARE MADE IN THE GRAND USA!

When did we slip up?

Rose Buds

By Rosalie Tirella

He could have been Kane’s monkey …

We’ve all seen the movie 100 times; so I’m not giving anything away … For years, while in my 30s, CITIZEN KANE was my # 1 movie. I think that’s because I was embarking on a newspapering career in earnest, and CITIZEN KANE is, on one level, about a newspaper man: his love of politics and power; his early, crusading journalism; his defense of the hoi poloi/populism, his … hubris. How does a man – or woman – make his/her mark on society? I wondered as I watched this Orson Welles masterpiece. You’re in your prime! You feel unstoppable! Capable of toppling worlds! But Charles Foster Kane showed me you can fu*k up. Royally. You can trash your biz, betray your lovers … grow so full of yourself you end up alone, isolated in your personal castle with … a bunch of jigsaw puzzles. Sure, you call all the shots, but as Jededia (Joseph Cotten) Kane’s best friend and early biz partner and confidante once told Kane, “you’ll just lord it over the monkeys.” Xanadu, Kane’s “pleasure palace,” did, in fact, have a zoo filled with caged, constrained, sad monkeys and other exotic animals …

Older (I’ll be 60 next month), these days when I watch CITIZEN KANE, I focus on the snow globe Kane is clutching on his death bed, then releases when he expires. “ROSE BUD,” he whispers as he dies. In wicked close up, you watch his fingers release the globe, watch it roll away and smash up… This happens in the first few minutes of the movie – the rest of the film is Kane’s life. … you ask: What’s ROSE BUD? Where is ROSE BUD? You spend the rest of the film looking for it …

ROSE BUD was Kane’s childhood sled – the make, the rose bud decal, stained to the top of the sled where you sit. There’s a teeny sled in the snow globe Kane clutches then releases. If he shakes it the teeny plastic snow flakes coming down on the snow globe sled looks exactly like the day Kane’s mom give Kane away to a banker/caretaker. He’s a millionaire now: his mom wants him away from the poverty and his abusive father. His over seer lives in a big city, he’ll grow little Charlie’s fortune, send him away to boarding schools, try educating him at Harvard and Yale … The mine a poor boarder left Mrs. Kane was sitting on oil. Or coal? Doesn’t matter. Little Charlie Kane won – and lost – that day. He won elitism, ease, cosmopolitanism, sycophants… He lost nature, real love, his mom, real play…HOME. The snow globe is worth a penny but encapsulates everything Kane knew was TRUE. Old, alone, dying, Kane holds onto what really mattered to him. He carried it around with him in his castle long before he died. It’s all in that dime store snow globe.

We all have our ROSE BUDs.
Green Island/my late mom/Lafayette Street are my ROSE BUDs. I dream them, as do my sisters. One called me: she had dreamt of our old grey, back door on Lafayette Street, the small panes of glass held in place with grey modeling clay our Jaju had pushed in. And still we were cold in winter. My Jaju’s blocks of clay, our talismans. They bring such comfort today! They meant LOVE. I’ve been longing for them for years, would give anything to see them again …


By Rosalie Tirella

This summer: the upper part of Lafayette Street is a bit more residential than the strip that runs into Millbury Street. That section is car-clogged thanks to an autobody shop run amok. Pic: R.T.

My beloved Green Island Grrrl – as in Girl – street: Lafayette Street. The street I grew up on years ago before it all became the Canal District. My Ma’s street. And Bapy’s. And my kid sisters’. And Rich Gedman’s childhood stamping grounds, too! A five-minute walk to the old Lamartine Street School from our three decker; a 10-minute walk to Millbury Street and its scores of mom and pop shops. Today – I should have snapped a few photos as City workers slapped lime green warning stickers on a ribbon of cars – Lafayette Street has become the personal street of an African autobody business that treats the street like its personal garage/junkyard. These guys have taken over half of Lafayette Street – a pretty long city street! Literally! The neighborhood has the look and feel of a chop shop on steroids, thanks to these morons.

Yes, Lafayette was always zoned residential and industrial but this is nuts: every day 30 or so
cars – in varying degrees of disrepair – all illegally parked onto Scott Street, too – hog every square inch of Lafayette Street streetscape. Engines rev. Car doors open into the middle of the street. Smashed Caddy’s wait in the wings on Scott Street. To drive down Lafayette Street is to think like a trapeze artist whose tight rope is frayed…all the African car guys and their customers walk boldly in the street going from car to car chatting and you drive down your tight rope …fuming.

They talk cars, you quietly curse in your vehicle and wonder why the City of Worcester – Code is on Meade, the next street over – enables these neighborhood polluters and defilers. The source of the street’s ugliness, noise … selfishness.

I grew up on Lafayette Street – it’s what inspired me to start InCity Times two decades ago. Memory upon memory…the people, the pets, the shops, the school teachers…the collective unconscious for so many Eastern European immigrants and their offspring…our ghetto…our American story, rich and instructive and inspiring.

Today? Forget it, kids! You can’t even walk down your own street because the African business guys – immigrants with no respect for other newcomers? – are so greedy, so oblivious, they’ve trashed an entire city street! Its residents deemed worthless by guys who’d brook none of this is their “nicer” Worcester neighborhoods.

The physical company is located in a small two-bay garage – what used to be the old Murhall Sign shop of my childhood. Decades ago it was always neat and self-contained (work never even spilling out onto the sidewalk!) with the sign guys – three or so – going about their work inside. We kids walked to school or church and sheepishly looked inside as their big garage doors were always rolled open. The guys inside quietly went about their sign making- the lettering easy to read – the font basic and often fire engine red. Murhall, along with Leader Sign, was one of the first sign companies in the city. Tony Hmura of Leader knew and respected the Murhall guys.

Now it’s all dirty, noisy…the new workers and their customers are bold. They’re dismissive of the laws, common courtesy and common sense – most important, the people in the neighborhood! They think they own Lafayette Street – a public thoroughfare! They’re living proof of an America dumb-downed, greedy and garish.

Enter Donald Trump.

Primary election fall out!

By Jim Coughlin

Richard Cipro who began his challenge to District 1 Worcester City Councillor Sean Rose as an underdog several months ago when he began his campaign, last night in the city’s preliminary election topped incumbent city Councillor Sean Rose by 157 votes, coming in first place in 8 out of the districts 10 precincts and capturing 1,384 votes to Rose’s 1,227 votes and a third candidate, David Shea was a distant third with 95 votes.

Victorious – for now. Pic: J.C.

This reporter spent his time on primary night just shortly after 8 p.m. when the polls closed until about 11 o’clock with Cipro and his supporters who were gathered at Glendale’s Restaurant on West Boylston Street where his campaign manager kept a close watch on the election results on a computer screen as the were released from the city’s Election Commission at City Hall.

We’re betting a new kind of Worcester City Council will be elected this November to represent and serve a new kind of Worcester!

When I arrived at Glendale’s, Cipro was huddled with his campaign supporters and was seen greeting his more than 50 supporters as they arrived to the restaurant.

Shortly after 8:15 when I had arrived, Cipro said, ” We beat (Sean) Rose in eight of ten precincts and I am waiting for more official results before I actually declare victory.”

Then at about 9, Cipro who was introduced to the gathering by one of his supporters told the crowd, ” Everyone contributed to where we are today,” in referencing his win over the two term district Councillor.

In announcing his win over Rose, he called it “awesome” and “huge.”

“We ran to make change,” he said.

With a beaming smile he said, “We beat out the machine.” His words cannot be underestimate because Rose is married to the daughter of former Massachusetts State Senator Thomas P. “Tommy” White and many of the insiders on the political scene here were openly backing Rose, including Massachusetts 2nd District U.S Congressman James P. McGovern.

Earlier in the day, McGovern was observed campaigning alongside Rose outside a polling precinct in the district.

In an interview with Cipro, he said he had no endorsements during this campaign.

” I only had the endorsement of the people,” he said.

When asked to comment about his victory, he said “I’m very excited about my win, tonight. Our message is resonating. It is time to bring true leadership back to the city council.”

He said in his serving as a long-time member of the Worcester Police Department for 27 years, and currently as a Sergeant, “I am not just a police officer. I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a police officer. I am not a ‘one trick pony.’ I have proven leadership, ability, education and experience to be a District One City Councillor.”

In his campaign literature, he pledged to support the lowest residential tax rate for homeowners, tackle the Opioid, homelessness and mental health issues in District One, safeguard our vibrant lakes, parks, trees and open spaces and support law and order by firmly rejecting the misguided ideals of the ‘Defund’ (the police) movement.

Among those in the audience at Glendale’s to celebrate Cipro’s victory was George Stratman who was also a successful candidate in the District 5 contest where he finished in second place in that contest in which he edged out fellow candidates Yelli Desroches and Michael Quist, in which he garnered 569 votes to top vote getter Etel Haxhiaj who received 1,215 votes.

Stratman, when asked to comment on Cipro’s win over the incumbent Councillor Rose, he said he was very happy Cipro won, calling him “a dynamo who gets things done.”

Echoing Stratman’s support for Cipro in his win over Rose was his wife, Elaine who works as “a ventilation nurse.” She said, “I am so happy about the direction that Worcester is taking” with both Cipro’s and her husband’s second place finish in the District 5 council race.

In echoing Cipro’s position regarding the movement to “defund the police ” Elaine said, ” We need to support and defend the police, and not to defund the police.”

Stratman is also a colleague of Cipro’s in the law enforcement community having served for 27 years as a Massachusetts State Trooper. Back in 2015, Stratman on the day of the Boston Marathon Bombings in Boston’s Copley Square, (April 15, 2015) was on assignment in the Charleston section of Boston after the bombings took place earlier in the day.

” After the bombings took place, and one of the suspects had carjacked someone on Memorial Drive (in Cambridge, MA) and were headed towards Watertown, I was part of the support team for that effort. The actual apprehension of the (bombing) suspect was done by the Special Operations Team, that day.”

“It was an eighteen hour day for us, Stratman said.

Cipro, in savoring his victory on primary night warned his supporters not to become complacent over his first place finish over Councillor Rose.

In addressing his supporters at Glendale’s Restaurant, he said, “We can’t rest on tonight.”

Both Cipro and Rose will face each other in the final municipal election on November 2nd.

In the meantime, Cipro said there are three one on one debates planned between him and Rose before the final election. They are before the Worcester Research Bureau, the Worcester Area Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA.

It’s time to cut out dissection

By Samantha Suiter

Pencils, check. Notebook, check. Backpack, check. Scalpel … wait, what?

In high school – and college – students can “dissect” virtually via terrific biology software programs.

If you think knives don’t belong on a school-supply list, you’re in good company: Studies show that as many as 25% of secondary students object to dissecting animals. Yet this antiquated teaching method will still be on the syllabus for many middle and high school students as they return to classes this fall. As an adjunct professor of biology for over a decade, I know that teaching life science by killing and cutting up animals is not only counterproductive but also cruel — and for many students, it’s a barrier to learning.

Animals used in dissection were once alive, and most suffer terribly before they end up on a science lab tray. Millions of frogs are taken from their natural habitat every year, further diminishing these species’ already declining populations. They are stuffed into bags without food or water, and many are crushed, injured or killed during transport over long distances.

Many other animals are obtained through dissection supply companies. PETA’s undercover investigation into Bio Corporation — a Minnesota company that sells animals to schools across the U.S. — revealed that workers injected live crayfish with latex, joked about turtles coming “back to life” after being frozen and submerged crates full of live pigeons in tubs of water to drown them. The company also purchased cats from animal shelters. Workers hung up their collars — all that remained of animals who may once have been cherished family members. “I know it’s … morbid,” one worker admitted, “but we think it’s funny.”

PETA’s investigations into other biological supply companies have revealed similar horrors, including cats being embalmed while they were still alive and struggling. Formaldehyde, used to preserve dead bodies, is a severely caustic substance that causes an excruciatingly painful death. It’s a health hazard to students and teachers, too: Classified as a human carcinogen, repeated exposure to even low levels of the chemical can cause respiratory difficulty, eczema and skin sensitization.

Slicing and dicing animals’ bodies can cause desensitization, too. For disturbing examples of this, look no further than the videos that have surfaced in recent years of a teacher juggling with dead frogs and students using cats’ intestines as a jump rope in a science classroom.

Most students, though, care about animals and don’t want to harm them. For some — particularly female students — their ethical objections to dissection cause them to turn away from science classes and pursuing careers in biology and medicine. This is a loss on many levels. We should be fostering and applauding compassion in students — a crucial attribute for anyone entering the medical field — and we need more women in STEM fields, not fewer.

Piglets are dissected in some high school biology classes!

There is no need to force students to compromise their ethics in order to learn science. Interactive software programs such as The Digital Frog and the eMind tutorial series let students dissect frogs and other animals virtually and allow them to practice and repeat the lessons until they become proficient. For a more hands-on approach, SynFrog is a hyper-realistic, dissectible frog model that can replace the use of frog cadavers completely in K–12 and college classroom dissection exercises. It has received rave reviews from students and teachers alike.

Peer-reviewed literature confirms that students who use advanced, non-animal dissection methods like these perform better in learning assessments than those who dissect animals. In fact, not a single U.S. medical school — including Harvard, Stanford and Yale — requires students to cut up dead animals. If doctors in training don’t need to dissect, surely teens and pre-teens in general biology classes don’t need to, either.

It’s time to evolve — as science always does — and teach tomorrow’s doctors, biologists and leaders in science by using non-animal methods that are truly cutting-edge.


Companies that don’t test their cosmetics and personal care products in labs on rabbits, mice and other animals:


9/11. 20 years later.

By Rosalie Tirella

Another American hero! Our troops worked hard these past months to evacuate US canine soldiers, their partners and beloved friends … out of Afghanistan!

I remember, too, President Biden! That day and the days and months ahead when everything changed: War and more war. The surveillance state on steroids. Anti-Muslim sentiment. Gitmo. Water-boarding. “Rummy is Yummy” (and a liar)! Judith Miller reporting LIES in America’s premier newspaper. Beheadings and more beheadings. Filmed for all the world to see! Some great reporters lost in the fog of war – one beheaded on film, another’s Jeep riding over a homemade bomb. Those homemade bombs were hidden everywhere! Our soldiers had their legs and arms blown off. Seeing these young people on the TV news shows with their new, bionic limbs made me cry. Dick Cheney = Darth Vader = Bush’s Brain! Bush, so unyielding, so righteous in his folly. Condy Rice! She was beautiful and played the piano beautifully…as our boys and girls were warped by war. A volunteer military where only 1% of us serves. So we’re clueless about war, personally and as a country. … Sadam Hussain’s human meat grinders, his gold statues toppling … his tons of porn. Finally captured! Hiding in a tiny hole, underground, begging – arms raised as he surrenders – to live another day! Begging for mercy after he killed and tortured the “other” for decades. After he murdered thousands. After he urged his soldiers and followers to die rather than capitulate to America! He surrendered with bells on his toes! We did not blow his brains out. He was arrested and had a fair trial – and his people executed him.

It’s been a terrible 20! All the changes changing us!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae) US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021. Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA - 23 Mar 2021
Mandatory Credit: Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (11827661ae)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 23 March 2021.
Biden Remarks on Boulder Shootings, Washington, USA – 23 Mar 2021

I remember, too, President Biden!

Here’s to peace! Tranquility. Trumpless times! Pristine lakes and rivers. Big fat Polar bears with chubby cubs! Blue skies and clean air, here we come! Let’s embrace free community college for our working poor and universal Pre-K. We’re out of Afghanistan – let’s wallow in peace!

Let’s save our planet!


Worcester’s District 5 Candidate Forum

By Jim Coughlin

Outgoing City Councillor at Large Gary Rosen co-hosted a candidate’s forum September 9 at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers AFL-CIO newly renovated office on Mill Street for the four candidates who are competing in the preliminary election for the District 5 City Council seat.

The candidates. pics: J.C.

The district 5 candidates are Etel Haxhiaj, Yenni Desroches, Stephen Quist and Gregory Stratman. The seat is being vacated because the current occupant of that seat, Councillor Wally, is now a candidate for councillor at large in the November 2 final election.

The candidates, when responding to questions, did their very best to define themselves for the roughly 75 members of the audience that also included At Large City Councillors Khrystian King, Donna Colorio and Maurice “Mo” Bergman, along with former District 5 City Councillor Wayne Griffin.

Quist said he is “moderate centrist” candidate on more than one occasion and took aim at both Haxhiaj and Desroches, saying that they both “want to defund police,” while Desrochers called herself, “a technology focused candidate.” Stratman, for his self described attribution, called himself a “moderate candidate.”

Quist took aim at Haxhiaj for her failure to support an increase in the number of Worcester Police Officers to the complement of 450 officers.

Haxhiaj, in responding to Quist’s criticism on policing, said not every phone call asking for police assistance needs to be responded to by the police. She said other kinds of first responders could be used for some of the calls that are regularly made by city residents requesting police intervention.

Also in attendance at the forum was Evan Corrigan, age 25 who himself was a candidate for councillor at large in the election two years ago in which he placed “tied for 12th and thirteenth place.” Corrigan, who does not live in District 5, when asked to comment on the evening’s forum said what he liked most about the program was the portion that was devoted to the candidates, asking each other questions on various public policy questions or their campaign positions.

Also echoing Corrigan’s point was Councillor Colorio who also added that one of the best things that came out as a direct result of the night’s discussion was that it showed “the differences between the candidates and that was good.”

After the discussions had ended, one undecided voter in the audience was former District 5 City Councillor Griffin who once held the council seat back in the 1990’s during the time that former Worcester City Manager William J. “Jeff” Mulford occupied the City Managers’s office. In my interview with him, he described the time during which he had served on the council as “the Mulford era.”

The top two vote getters in the preliminary election on Tuesday, September 14 will compete in the general election on Tuesday, November 2.

Gary Rosen!

New! 1 column from PETA; 1 from Rose

In the Canal District Talkin’ Trash!

By Rosalie Tirella

You’d think with thousands of people in the Canal District DAILY, the City of Worcester would have A PLAN TO EMPTY CD GARBAGE CANS DAILY … and maybe even hose down the streets a few times a week. There’s nothing quaint or easy peasy about the situation: It’s not a few paper cups tossed into a few trash receptacles. It’s heaping – we mean heaping – trash cans at the end of each and every day, overflowing onto Millbury, Water and Green streets’ sidewalks BECAUSE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE VISIT THE NEIGHBORHOOD DAILY! Thousands on weekends.

Outside Bobby’s Hotel Vernon, Kelly Square! pics: R.T.

Wah Wah Water Street!

Millbury Street – outside the old Vernon Drug Store. Bring us a drugstore, CD poo bas! I remember my late mother buying us kids hot fudge sundaes at Vernon’s soda fountain! Bring us an old fashioned ice cream counter, CVS!!

Outside the old Oscar’s Cleaners – now a laundromat but still owned by the Asadorian family.

Millbury Street – outside the old Steeple Bumpsted’s. Remember their iconic tee shirts?

Why should it be on the Canal District’s small biz folks to do major garbage removal? THIS MESS IS SOMETHING FOR THE City of Worcester DPW department to tackle! – people with garbage trucks carrying working men/women with big muscles wearing those protective gloves. IT’S A JOB, not an afterthought. The biggest slob of them all: Bobby Largesse’s Hotel Vernon. He never empties the trash …


Americans deserve better: It’s time for new leadership at NIH

By Dr. Alka Chandna

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is our nation’s foremost medical research authority, charged with the lofty and admirable goal of seeking scientific knowledge to “enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.” But under the leadership of Director Francis Collins, the agency has repeatedly failed in this mission and squandered tens of billions in taxpayer money.

Stop needless animal testing! Hundreds of monkeys in labs, alone, isolated – living HORRIFIC LIVES!



Collins’ apparent lack of interest in fostering scientific excellence and his inability to steer the agency toward innovative, cutting-edge research makes him ill-suited to lead NIH, and his continued occupation of the captain’s chair threatens to torpedo this country’s position as a world leader in scientific research.

It’s time to fire Francis Collins.

Collins’ reign at NIH, beginning in 2009, has been marked by an acute lack of vision. Inexplicably choosing to mine the dusty defeats of the past for future success, Collins has directed nearly half the agency’s taxpayer-funded budget of $41 billion toward cruel and senseless animal experimentation, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that animal studies seldom result in effective treatments and cures for human diseases.

Ninety percent of basic research — the kind that Collins loves and most of which involves animals—fails to lead to treatments for humans. A whopping 95% of pharmaceutical drugs that test safe and effective in animals are unsuccessful in human clinical trials. And in its strategic plan for 2016 through 2020, NIH actually acknowledged that “animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans.”

Yet, in spite of these clear failures, NIH just can’t seem to quit animal experimentation. At a workshop earlier this year, the institute discussed the well-documented difficulties of applying results from animals — including dogs, cats, monkeys, mice, rats, and rabbits — to humans. Its solution? Continuing to chase the unicorn, it settled on “better” animal experiments.

But Collins’ loyalty isn’t even to science or the health of Americans — it’s to the old methods and to his constituency, which is largely made up of animal experimenters. So our tax dollars are helping to prop up the animal experimentation industry. Myriad animal breeders and suppliers as well as companies that make everything from lab cages and equipment to kibble have found a good friend in Collins, who continues to provide for them with $19 billion a year.

That’s not just a waste of money and a waste of precious lives — it’s also a wasted opportunity. It’s endless suffering for those who desperately need new treatments that are left undiscovered. It is, at its core, poor leadership.

Collins has also refused to curb, or even acknowledge, the rampant negligence, cruelty, and repeated violations of federal law in his agency’s own animal laboratories.

From January 2018 to June 2021, 75 cases of serious animal welfare violations were documented in NIH’s Maryland laboratories. Animals suffocated, starved, and died of dehydration. They were injected with the wrong drugs and subjected to unapproved procedures. They became entrapped in parts of the equipment and died while frantically struggling to escape. One mouse burst into flames — yes, you read that right — when experimenters failed to notice that alcohol fumes had built up during a heat-generating surgery.

But not a word about any of that from Collins, who either doesn’t know or doesn’t care. Either way, it’s an indictment. That’s not how a leader leads.

NIH should be the world leader in cutting-edge scientific research. Squandering billions looking for solutions to this century’s problems with cruel 20th century methods is not leadership. Just the opposite. NIH needs a leader with vision, one who embraces the advancement of human-centric methods that can produce real-world remedies for human maladies. It’s what we deserve, and quite frankly, it’s what we’ve already paid for. Collins has had more than a decade to move NIH into the future. He has proved himself incapable. It’s time for someone new.

Alka Chandna is vice president of laboratory investigations cases at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.