Tag Archives: CECELIA

Parlee writes: On Taking a Knee

Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee Jones

By Parlee Jones

9/28/17
(my Sun’s birthday. He is a Black Man)

Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem at a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers in August, 2016. After the game, Kaepernick stated his decision to choose not to stand for the anthem saying, “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed.”

Colin’s silent protest hit a nerve within me. Since that time, I, myself, and my children have not stood for the national anthem or pledge. I will continue to sit in silent protest for Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and all the other victims of murder by police that look like my sun. I am also tired of police brutality, the school to prison pipeline and other abuses under white supremacy and the present systems that control America.

I am an American. My ancestors on my dad’s side kidnapped and brought to America under the guise of slavery long ago. My mom’s people migrated from Italy.

I understand that some people may have a hard time separating peaceful protest and “disrespect of a flag and song,” but that is not a concern of mine.

Those folks are telling me that they see the value of a piece of cloth and words to a song mean more than the life of a Black man, woman or child. Kind of like a vote for Trump really says to me you are a racist. White folks may see this differently, but trust me when I say a majority of People of Color see you as racist if you voted for Trump. Regardless of your reasoning.

I know many that feel they live in two worlds. Many people of color have two lives. Myself included. Their time in the “business / work / corporate / professional” world (with white folks) and time at home w/ family and loved ones where the “social norms” are not expected and they can be free to live their true culture and way of life. Many people do this unconsciously.

W.E.B. Du Bois wrote over a century ago:

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

There are many videos online with Fannie Lou Hammer, Marcus Garvey, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and many others that speak on why Black Folks have been torn with their experience in America.

Some People of Color try to assimilate into “white society” and unfortunately, they are always reminded that they are not white. Some children / people who are “mixed” struggle with this dynamic. But that is another article for another time. One drop of Black blood made you Black back in the day … I’m just saying.

I will end saying this. If you are not a person of color, please do not try to tell People of Color what racism feels like or looks like, how they should react and how you think they should do something. You are not walking in our shoes and really have no idea of what you are talking about.

I say this with love and sincerity.

Peace & Blessings

The South Worcester Neighborhood Center

By Kate Grady

Executive Director of the South Worcester Neighborhood Center (SWNC) Ron Charette recently finished wrapping up the Days of Summer kids camp, six weeks of reading, playing soccer, acting, and learning about nutrition. …

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Ron Charette oversees an amazing year ’round food pantry, in the basement of his neighborhood center, located on Camp Street. It is open to anyone and everyone – folks who need a little help putting dinner on the table. pics: Rose T.

The College of the Holy Cross sends students through their federal work study program to the center on Camp Street to help facilitate the youth program, which is funded through the Worcester Community Action Council. The students work the duration of the camp’s six weeks.

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A Holy Cross student helping at the neighborhood center. The college, located in South Worcester, has worked closely with Ron through the years. A real neighborhood partner!

The SWNC is checking off their 15th year running this program offering kids ages six to 12 the opportunity to score a goal in the field and read The Hardy Boys in a quiet room.

Hannah, age 11, left the SWNC on the last day of summer camp with armloads of books. Charette believes that her new-found passion for reading will open many doors for her in the future. This program remodels traditional summer school practices with a new blend of summer learning. Daily at 12:30 p.m. each student is required to read. A star chart, certificates, and written reports make up the remains of the program’s “read it, write it, or recite it” curriculum aimed to encourage recreational reading practices outside of the classroom.

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One of SWNC’s super terrific volunteers!!

During their long summer’s most children forget the lessons they’ve learned in school. Warm months pose an extra academic obstacle for lower income families who do not have the time or money to participate in educational summer opportunities for youth.

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This summer neighborhood kids read and kept up their math skills in the main room of SWNC – with the help of Holy Cross college student volunteers.

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Against the back wall in the main room there’s a table with clothing for poor families …

Low-income students fall 2.5 to 3 years behind by the time they reach the 5th grade (NSLA). Summer camp offers a clean slate for most children, serving as more of an anecdote rather than a continuation of their days at school.

The mission at the South Worcester Neighborhood Center has always been the same, says Ron: “To help people in need.” In the summer this organization serves 70 children from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting the morning with their first important lesson in health and nutrition, eating breakfast. Charette believes this camp is important for the wellbeing of this neighborhood’s youth. He says, “I keep the program going so that the youth in the area have a place to go to in summer. Many would remain alone or watching siblings. Also, since the schools are closed, many would not have a breakfast or lunch without our program.”

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The Ronald McDonald [Health] Care Mobile is at SWNC for anyone who doesn’t have a doc. Visit. The health professionals will treat you. They will also help with health insurance info and connect you to health centers in the area so you have a primary care physician!

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The RM Care Mobile parked in front of the SWNC on Camp Street.

It is becoming more apparent that camp is no longer just about building bird houses and playing kickball but maintaining reading levels, ensuring they get their first meal, and providing free childcare for working families.

At the end of the program the “super readers” were given a $20 gift card to Wendy’s and a $10 starter savings account with TD bank. While rewarding students for successful reading practices can encourage those behaviors to become habitual, it becomes sticky with the types of rewards given. By only rewarding the students who are “super readers” with these tools, we are habituating a belief that only children who excel academically can secure stability in their lives, starting with core essentials like funds and meals…

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The food pantry downstairs was just painted and its shelves prettied up with colorful shelf paper. Thank you, volunteers!

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Canned goods in the food pantry. Ronny feeds hundreds of Woo folks each year!

Low-income students lose at least two months’ worth of reading achievement during the summer, while middle-class students tend to make gains in their reading proficiency. This type of reward system further exasperates the gap between these peer groups within the South Worcester community. However, organizations like the College of the Holy Cross, and Ronald Charette at the SWNC help their schools and students further, by addressing the summer learning loss through the support of strong programs that incorporate equal learning opportunities for all children!
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One of Rose’s late mom’s fave books when she was young – and a HUGE Red Sox/baseball lover!

Taking a knee …

By Rosalie Tirella

When NFL players began “taking the knee” during the National Anthem before their football games – broadcast on TV and sundry media before millions of folks – to protest police killings of unarmed Black men – What gets me, said a pal, is when they just keep pumping bullets into the guy! – I immediately thought of my late Mom. …

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photos: R.T.

Unlike her sports-oblivious (yawn) daughter, my pretty little Ma was a lifelong, rabid classic New England sports fan: the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics – she adored them all. In her “golden years,” she watched all the games on TV, her teams’ schedules (home and away) printed on the back of little Dunkin Donut wallet cards, parked right next to her rosary on her TV table.

Ma was obsessed with her sports teams! She prayed for them! She cheered them on, as she watched their games on her old Zenith, hollering in her teeny studio apartment in the seniors housing complex: GO!!!!! GO!!! And she would shout YESS!! in delight when her boys hit that ball over the Green Monster or made that Hail Mary Pass. She’d walk right up to her TV set, in one of her flower-covered Building 19 dusters I had bought for her, whistling her approval and  “blessing” herself in thanks to God – making the sign of the cross, just like she did in church or when, in my childhood, in our kitchen, kneeling on one of our old ugly green wooden kitchen chairs – the ones that gave me “slivers” –  before her big Infant of Prague statue in its big glass case (now in my kitchen!) …

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… In thanks. To honor God for that home run or that amazing Tom Brady! Acknowledging God for the wind that caught that ball just right and set it sailing into the sun or the magical swivel of a sinewy or chunky! hitter’s hips.

Sometimes, when visiting Ma mid-game!, I’d see many of the Black football and baseball players, blessing themselves, too, just like Ma. Or even kneeling. Right after they did something grand on the field. Thanking God for their little miracle, just like Ma had thanked Him! Feeling the same happy feelings as Ma had felt! So  grateful – and humble. For the smooth glove or solid trusty bat God had given them or maybe just the day itself: warm, crisp, cool, sunny or drizzling… Nature was God, too.

Tiny old Ma, old school religious to her core (but cool and liberal like Jesus would be today) and the big mountain players were simpatico. She’d say to me, smiling: See, my Rosalie?! See him bless himself! If the hit or touch down won the game, Ma would walk up to her TV set in her big white walking shoes that all the old people wear and kiss her index and middle fingers and touch the player on the TV screen and make a blessing over him and then walk back to her easy chair.

Voodoo. Momma love!!

Lots of the NFL players came/come from backgrounds similar to Ma’s: Poor,  up against it all, strong church backgrounds, resilient church lady mothers or grandmas raising/teaching them, single parent homes, a belief in a real, human-like God who sits with the angels on puffy cumulous clouds in a real Heaven dispensing his favors, rewarding those who acknowledge His omnipotence: people like Ma and  the Black football players.

So when the NFL players took the knee during the National Anthem, I knew Ma would understand – and approve. Maybe even going up to her TV and taking the knee with them. The guys were not committing blasphemy, hating America, as stupid demagogue Donald Trump bellowed before a WHITE ALABAMA crowd, during a campaign rally where he threw good men, Ma, prayer, grace and America under the bus.  For votes. Nope, the NFL players were honoring God, their country and asking America and God, in the best way they knew how: WHY?????????

Iditarod Forced to Cut 2018 Prize Amounts After Outrage Over Deadly 2017 Race

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Jett is a lot like his distant cousins! pic: R.T.

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From PETA.ORG:

Iditarod Forced to Cut 2018 Prize Amounts After Outrage Over Deadly 2017 Race

By Katherine Sullivan

Five dogs died in less than a week during the 2017 Iditarod.

After PETA contacted State Farm, Guggenheim Partners, and Wells Fargo and our supporters wrote to the companies, they ended their sponsorship of the Iditarod shortly after the race concluded in March.

This summer also saw the release of Sled Dogs — a documentary by director Fern Levitt — which exposed the ugly behind-the-scenes cruelty in the dog-sledding industry.

So it comes as no surprise that only a few months later, organizers of the cruel race have announced numerous budget cuts — including cutting next year’s purse by $250,000.

According to Iditarod CEO Stan Hooley, the Iditarod has depleted its reserves and is attempting to rebuild its savings through the budget cuts. In addition to cutting the deadly race’s prize winnings by roughly 30 percent, he said that its communications budget will see a 17 percent reduction. Cuts will also be made to compensation as well as checkpoint supplies and operations.

Forget Budget Cuts — It’s Time to Cut the Whole Iditarod

Although this recent announcement is a welcome sign of changing public sentiment against the use (and abuse) of animals for cheap human entertainment, it’s not enough.

The Iditarod Trail Committee may be suffering from financial hardship, but it’s nothing compared to the pain, agony, and even death endured by the dogs forced to race.

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photo: SLED DOGS

You can find out more about the ways in which dogs suffer for the Iditarod by checking out SLED DOGS.

What You Can Do

Dogs deserve far better than a lifetime of cruelty and suffering — and even death — just to train for and run in the Iditarod.

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This is how sled dogs were warehoused for 40+ years in the mountains of Colorado.

PETA and compassionate people everywhere are calling for a permanent end to this dangerous, deadly race, and you can, too. You can help these dogs by asking corporate sponsors to drop the deadly Iditarod. Already, numerous companies have severed ties with the abusive race, but a handful — including Coca-Cola — continue to sponsor it.

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Photo of a dog chained up at a facility run by Joe Redington Jr., the son of Iditarod’s founder Joe Redington.

ASK JACK DANIEL’S TO STOP SPONSORING THE IDITAROD

URGE ALASKA AIRLINES TO STOP SPONSORING THE IDITAROD

Encourage the Iditarod Trail Committee and the mayors of Anchorage and Nome — the start and end of the race, respectively — to celebrate Alaskan huskies and protect them from suffering and death by replacing them with willing human cyclists, cross-country skiers, or snowmobilers.

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PLEASE HELP THE SLED DOGS!!

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Every pup deserves a loving home!

Main South: the block party at Stone Soup!

Text and photos by Ron O’Clair

I was pleased to have been able to attend on September 16 the block party at Stone Soup at 4 King St., in the rear parking area of the renovated and fully functional building that had nearly burned to the ground some time ago. It was a long process of renewal that saved that building from the wrecking ball. It took a lot of time and a lot of effort to secure the funds needed to make this happen. It was a Herculean effort that has paid big dividends for the neighborhood …

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… with its programs being housed there.

Stone Soup is the headquarters for Earn-A-Bike, which is a really cool program that teaches children how to repair/build bikes, and the kids who volunteer end up with a free bike. It teaches kids the importance of hard work and saving for what you want in the world. There are many life lessons taught here, as they instruct the lucky recipient children in the art of making something whole again from a bucket of parts scavenged from other bikes that have been donated in various states of disrepair. They learn how to fix their own bicycles, too, and that can have an advantageous effect on their future development because they get to see what makes things work and understand a bit about how to make them work with a little effort. Plus they learn skills that can be applied at work or future jobs. It really is a unique program, one that should be emulated across the country, if you ask this author. It is a great program that, unfortunately, is being underutilized.

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Woo Rides at the block party!

There is also the EPOCA organization, which advocates for removing roadblocks put in place that prevent ex-felons from gaining employment and housing in their attempts to re-integrate back into the community after their release form prison. I support this organization fully due to my own oldest brother John Jr. having been killed in August of 1973 when I was 12 because he COULD NOT get a job in an economy where they were so plentiful you could quit a job in the morning and have another by that afternoon, starting the very next day.

That was 1973 Worcester, with factories running three shifts around the clock, such as Robinson Thread, Worcester Knitting and many more in the Industrial Parks that dotted the Worcester Landscape.

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Folks learning at the Stone Soup gathering

My brother faced the challenges the EPOCA folks face today, where after release from prison, and having paid for their crime with their time, they find they face a monumental obstacle that prevents them from obtaining employment and housing based upon their criminal convictions with a bad CORI report.

EPOCA works to address these issues so that the recidivism rate will drop. It is a truly worthwhile effort, as I believe in rehabilitation for all!

In the accompanying photographs, you will see the crowd that showed up for the burgers, hot dogs, Table Talk pies, Polar Soda’s, and other goodies – all free to the neighborhood …

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It was a good time to be had by all. You had a chance to mingle with your neighbors!

Parlee Jones, our own CECELIA/InCity Times writer had a spot at the table with her goods for sale which appealed to the women present (there was nothing there that interested me as a man). It was good to see my friend and colleague Parlee Jones …

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Parlee at the podium! ICT file photo

… whom I have a great respect for – and also a Bob Marley oversized cigarette lighter (she doesn’t smoke – it is for her candles). I wish I had known Parler was going to be at the event so I could have given it to her. When I got it, I said, Oh, Parlee would love this, she LOVES Bob Marley (and puts on the city-wide celebration every year at the WP library) … so I picked it up at the yard sale I was at for her. (This was like 2 years ago, I really need to get my gift to her pronto!)

There is a gentleman who is the owner of the “Woo Rides” who came by on his Pedi-cab to offer free rides as an inducement to generate some business for his fledgling enterprise of carting people around Worcester.

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There was a sound truck in the next driveway over that was used to carry the message of various speakers to the crowd. It was provided by an on call 1 hour notice D. J. service that I failed to get the name of, but if you need that type of service I am sure the good people of Stone Soup can tell you how to get in touch with the D.J.

It was a great time at Stone Soup! More than 200 people celebrated! I support all they do in our community, and I know there are other groups that I have not listed here that work out of that building as well.

I hope you found this article interesting and that you support Earn-A-Bike with donations of bicycles in any state or condition. Don’t throw your used bike out! Please donate it for the children of Worcester at Earn-A-Bike.

I also hope you support the EPOCA 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports ex-offenders who are trying to reintegrate into society and face challenges that, if not removed, lead to higher rates of recidivism. It is in the best interest of all to get people the help they need to STAY out of prison and become productive tax payers once again!

Please email Ron O’Clair – Ronaldoclair@hotmail.com – with any comments.

On National Lobster Day, let lobsters live … and more!

But first …

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On National Lobster Day, let lobsters live

By Paula Moore

One would think that federal lawmakers have enough on their plates tackling hot topics like DACA, health care and tax reform, but the U.S. Senate still found time to unanimously approve a resolution designating September 25 “National Lobster Day.”

The best way to celebrate this rare show of unity is to leave lobsters in peace. No matter which side of the aisle we’re on, surely we can all agree that boiling any animal alive is cruel in the extreme — including lobsters.

While lobsters, crabs and other crustaceans may seem very different from us, in the ways that truly matter, their similarities to us might surprise you.

Lobsters are “marvelously complex,” according to lobster biologist Anita Kim, and ”quite amazingly smart animals,” according to researcher Michael Kuba. They use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships. They carry their young for around nine months, have been known to travel great distances and can live as long as 100 years.

And can they feel pain? You bet your sweet pincers they can.

We’ve known for years that crustaceans feel pain. In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority concluded that they’re capable of experiencing both pain and distress and recommended that steps be taken to lessen their suffering whenever possible.

In 2009, Dr. Robert W. Elwood of Queen’s University Belfast, a leading authority on the subject of pain in crustaceans, published papers on this issue in the journals Animal Behaviour and Applied Animal Behaviour Science. “With vertebrates we are asked to err on the side of caution and I believe this is the approach to take with these crustaceans,” he wrote.

Anyone who has ever seen lobsters in the process of being boiled alive can attest to the fact that when they’re dropped into scalding-hot water, they struggle frantically and claw at the sides of the pot in a desperate attempt to escape.

Scientists have confirmed that such reactions are panic and pain responses. And what’s worse, the lobsters likely suffer for every second of the three long minutes that it takes for them to die.

But you don’t need to be an animal expert to recognize that lobsters suffer when they’re boiled alive—you just have to be honest. In his classic essay “Consider the Lobster,” David Foster Wallace wrote, “[A]fter all the abstract intellection, there remain the facts of the frantically clanking lid, the pathetic clinging to the edge of the pot. Standing at the stove, it is hard to deny in any meaningful way that this is a living creature experiencing pain.”

Despite all this evidence, the U.S. and Canada kill an estimated 250 million lobsters every single year.

But we don’t have to. This National Lobster Day — and beyond — we, like Wallace, can pause and consider the lobster and all the other animals upon whom we casually inflict violence (or pay others to) for a fleeting taste of their flesh. And then we can stop eating them. It’s really that simple.

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Cece’s back in the saddle! pics: R.T.

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RIP, The Village Voice, the MOTHER of alternative rags!!!! The times, they are a changin’!!

So Sad!!!

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Clark U
950 Main St.

Oct. 12 at Clark: Public lecture by noted political ‘spin’ scholar, author, journalist
David Greenberg

Greenberg to present ‘History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump’

Political historian David Greenberg will explain the origins and development of presidential communications — from the Progressive Era to digital media, talk radio, Twitter, and more — in a free, public lecture titled, “History of White House Spin: From the Bully Pulpit to the Age of Trump,” beginning at 4:30 Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Higgins Lounge of Dana Commons, Clark University.

Greenberg is professor of history, and of journalism and media studies, at Rutgers University. He is author the prize-winning “Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image” and the “Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency,” which won the George Orwell Award, the Goldsmith Book Prize, and the Ray and Pat Browne Book Prize.

Formerly an acting editor of the New Republic, Greenberg has been a regular contributor to such publications as Politico, The New York Times, and Washington Post.

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The holidays will be here before you know it:

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SNAP BIRTHDAY PARTY!

There is a different kind of birthday party being thrown on the steps of the Massachusetts State Capitol.

Food bankers, anti-hunger advocates, and legislators are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the modern food stamps program on the State House steps.

Food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), was signed into law on September 29, 1977.

The Food Stamp Act had significant bipartisan support and is a testament to successful public policy making.

The event will feature everything a classic birthday party should have; including cake, balloons, birthday songs, and a photo booth.

The public is welcome to stop by to celebrate the program’s success in lifting people out of poverty by snapping a selfie in the photo booth or by recording a testimonial of their connection to the program.

WHAT: 40th Birthday Party for SNAP

WHEN: Tomorrow! Tuesday, September 26, 12:30 pm – 1 pm

WHERE: State House Steps, Massachusetts State Capitol

WHO: The Food Bank Coalition of MA, Mass Law Reform Institute, Mass Public Health Association, Project Bread

About the Food Bank Coalition of Massachusetts:

The statewide Food Bank Coalition, made up of The Greater Boston Food Bank, Worcester County Food Bank, Merrimack Valley Food Bank and The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and serving a network of 850 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, providing emergency food for the one in 10 food insecure people living in Massachusetts.

About the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI):

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) is a statewide nonprofit poverty law and policy center. Its mission is to advance economic, racial and social justice through legal action, policy advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach. MLRI specializes in large-scale legal initiatives and systemic reforms that address the root causes of poverty, remove barriers to opportunity, and create a path to economic stability and mobility for low-income individuals, families and communities.

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For Donald Trump:

Chef Joey parked in Rose’s space …

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Chef Joey to the culinary rescue!

Economical eating!

Text, recipes and photos by Chef Joey

Quiches are an easy and economical dinner or lunch, with a healthy salad. It all comes together in under an hour!

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Chef Joey makes sure his Gigi, right, eats super healthy! Tasty, healthful meals and desserts can be a reality for all families, including the working poor.

I like to use a sheet of puff pastry for the crust. You can use a regular pie crust and skip the pre-cook part. However, it helps keep the crust drier and less soggy.

Basically, take the puff pastry (thaw it first, if frozen), dust your pie plate and roll out the dough.

Place in a pie pan that has been dusted with flour and trim.

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Chef Joey’s latest little rescue!

Use a fork and prick several holes in the dough.

Cover the crust center with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with a bag of baking beans (dried beans that you use over and over – about 80 cents a bag). Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 15 minutes.

Remove it from the oven, remove the beans and seal them in an air-tight jar.

Remove the parchment.

You now have a quiche-ready crust!

Another way to make smaller quiches is the same step, except you take a cupcake container with 6 or 8 crusts depending on the size, perfect for a family or luncheon or a weeks’ worth of quiches. And you can make each one different!

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Chef Joey’s Abby gets homemade dog treats!

Asparagus Quiche

½ pound of asparagus, trimmed (basically snap off the bottom white section)

1 cup grated Swiss cheese

3 eggs

½ cup cream

2/3 cup milk

Salt and pepper

All-purpose flour for dusting

Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for about 20 minutes until tender.

Drain the water, then cut into bite sized pieces, leaving the tip whole.

Turn your oven up to 400 degrees, place the asparagus evenly inside the pie crust, top with the cheese.

In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk and cream.

Season with salt and pepper and pour carefully into the pie crust.

Some people like to add a pinch of nutmeg for additional flavor.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm.

You can basically make any kind of quiche by placing whatever you want onto the precooked crust: smoked salmon, mushrooms, broccoli –
whatever!

Yummy Veggie Casserole!!

One last recipe for you. It is so easy, especially with summer veggies, and you can modify it each time by adding additional herbs.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup uncooked long grain white rice (or brown or wild rice works too)

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds zucchini or summer squash or both, cubed

1 cup sliced scallions

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt

5 or 6 basil leaves, sliced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon oregano – fresh is best

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes – plum are best or minis cut in half

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese – divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 1 ½ quart casserole dish and set aside. Cook the rice in the water, bring to a boil and simmer covered. If using brown or whole grain follow the package directions.

In the meantime, in a sautee pan, add everything from the oil to the paprika. Sautee 5 minutes.

Add the rest and 1 cup of the cheese.

Place into the casserole dish and cover with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until hot.

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Autumn road trip?

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No thanks, we’re homebodies…

SEAC’s Marc is DACA!

By Boa Newgate

This is Marc. …

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Marc is serving his second year in the Army Reserves. Marc spends most of his time working and volunteering at the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts (SEAC).

Anh Vu Sawyer, the executive director at SEAC, has often said: “It’s because of Marc and all the staff, SEAC has been able to serve the more than 9,000 clients who visit a year, in addition to reaching out to more than 5,000 individuals during outreach events to assist them with many of their needs.”

Marc’s contribution in the community and at SEAC leading the youth program has certainly helped SEAC to be recognized as a trusted non-profit organization serving immigrants and refugees. It was given numerous awards for the work it has been doing for the community – Community Hero, Humanities Award, Best Small Nonprofit Award to name a few.

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Through his work with mental wellness programs and the suicide prevention program, and as a mentor to other youth, Marc has saved lives. He is a positive role model for many youths in and outside of Worcester. As a US military reserve, Marc aims to protect this country. He is loved by all he serves and works with: students, colleagues, friends, family and many members of his community. Marc is an everyday hero in the eyes of all who know him.

But Marc has a secret: one that has kept him in the dark. This secret gave him anxiety and great agony for many years, but he finally got the courage to share his story to me. He doesn’t want to live in fear anymore. He wants to empower others like him. Marc is a Dreamer … protected by DACA.

President Obama created DACA in 2012 in an executive order to help the children of immigrants, covering more than 800,000 people.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was drawn up after Congress failed to pass the DREAM (Development, Relief, Education for Alien Minors) Act.

There are certain qualifications for DACA: one must have arrived in the US before 2007 and be under the age of 16 with no criminal record. This ensures that those under DACA have a good purpose and that they are people who have earned and deserve their part in it. DACA recipients are given temporary legal status in America. They are given a Social Security card, given the ability to obtain a work permit – but they cannot apply for citizenship.

They pay their share in taxes and also pay $500 every two years to renew their status.

Tom K. Wong, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, oversaw a national survey of 3,063 DACA holders last month and found that “on average [these people] were six and a half years old when they arrived in the U.S. Most of them — 54 percent– were under the age of 7″ (factcheck.org).

100% of DACA recipients have no criminal record and 91% have jobs, but they have limited term.

They get nothing for free in this country.

They have dreams and aspirations just like everyone here. This is their home, they have no fault of their own when they arrive here. They are children of immigrants that came from very dangerous places. Their families risk their life to be here, seeking protection, freedom and a better life for their families, just like the original settlers of America.

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On September 5, 2017, the Trump administration began its efforts to rescind DACA. The Trump administration gave Congress six months to come up with “a fix” before the federal government officially stopped renewing permits.

At this point, if I didn’t convince you that rescinding DACA is inhuman, here’s an economic perspective: “Ending DACA would hurt the U.S economy!” We could lose hundreds of thousands of jobs, more specifically we would lose “$460 billion in economic output over the next decade, as well as $24.6 billion in contribution to Medicare and Social Security” (Progressive Advocacy Group Center for American Progress and FWD.us).

Marc and the other Dreamers were brought to this country by their parents at a young age, meaning that they had no say in the decision of living here. But they have considered this country HOME –
the only country they have ever known. This is the only place they know of, have roots, with most of them residing here for the majority of their childhood.

If the Dreamers lose DACA, they’re potentially losing all they know and love. They have their culture in their hearts, but America is their home they love, and they will do their best to take care of and protect it. It’s cruel to kick people out of their homes.

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Thursday wrap-up, starring Dorrie!

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Dorrie’s kitty luxuriating…
pic: D.M.

Fall Musings

By Dorrie Maynard

Autumn will be officially here tomorrow, even though, as most of we New Englanders know, it could still be hot and steamy in October – or it might just be snowing! Either way, New England weather is always something that people like to talk about and have a common interest in, especially when it comes to excessive heat or lots of snow!

I always look forward to the fall: I love the cool breeze, my wind chimes chiming away on my back porch, and putting on sweats when coming in from being outdoors. I keep my windows open as long as possible and always keep the one behind my bed open year round, if only a crack. We can never get too much fresh air!

The smell of fires burning in fireplaces/fire pits and picking out a pumpkin are all things I look forward to in autumn. Oh, and I can’t forget the changing of the leaves, mother nature’s way of displaying beautiful colors on your basic green leaves.

On one of my journey’s to Vermont in the fall, I saw a bus load of Asian people stop at a bridge and take photos of the water and the leaves, and when I had some Asian college students stay with me, they were so excited to see the colors in the leaves. It never occurred to me that some people have never had the NE experience! I guess growing up in Rochester, New York, and living on Lake Ontario has made me a lover of the seasonal changes and all its glory – the good and the bad!

There are many folks I know who look forward to heading South before the cold and snow start flying around here. I just could never live some place where the seasons didn’t change and you have to live in air conditioning year round. People who know me well, know that I am so not a lover of the heat and humidity. Give me a cool, breezy day and I am happy as clam! Throw me a hot and humid day and I feel like the wicked witch of OZ, “melting away!”

I guess if you decide to stick out the seasonal changes of NE, whether you love it or hate it, you own it! NE has so much to offer when it comes to the weather! And like I always hear: if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute – it will change! Rain, hail, snow, sleet, hot, humid, thunder showers and lighting – it is all just nature’s way of keeping us all connected!

Stay happy, friends;

Comments or questions can be directed to djmbytheelm@aol.com

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FYI:

Smile:

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Rose in Piedmont, yesterday: She had a doctor’s appointment at Family Health Center, on Queen Street…
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pics: Rose T.

… and saw this Father and Son walking home after their visit to Family Health. Their love for each other overwhelmed Rose! The little boy curious and cute! The man protective and proud of his son.

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And the day before she spotted one of the infamous yellow bikes in the ‘hood.

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Utilitarian and decorative! She wishes they came with bike helmets – Woo drivers are the worst!

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Rose lovin’ her music:
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So beautiful:

The Greenhill Neighborhood Association Fifth Annual Picnic!

By Edith Morgan

For the first time in five years, the weather did not cooperate, and the picnic had to be shifted to its announced rain date, Sunday, August 6th, 2017. But then the skies smiled upon us, temperatures stayed reasonable, and the wind kept the air mild and clean. And so, at 1:00 p.m, in Grant Square Park, the picnic got under way. Neighbors and friends, families and children came, got their raffle ticket (free) and stopped to chat , greet others, and of course eventually lined up for the food and drinks.
The grillmaster, Alva Gilkes, fired up the gas grill, and stayed with it till the end, cooking a huge assortment of hot dogs, hamburgers, sausage, and Kielbasa. He sautéed a big aluminum pan of chopped onions and green peppers – a proper accompaniment for the sausages… Plates were filled with salads of several kinds, chips, watermelon slices, and a selection of breads and rolls, both sweet and plain. And all this was FREE, donated by many more businesses than I have time or space to enumerate. This event has been very fortunate in experiencing the generosity of so many!

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Once the food and sodas and water were well distributed, we could see what else was available; Musical sounds reached the participant from a grassy area just above the food tables: the D.J Joe Cora ( Joe Corrazzini) set up under a canopy loaned by Park Spirit; across the basketball court, against the fence, , Ann klump, our clown and face-painter, set up her canopy and materials to entertain the younger visitors. Scattered around the outer fence, various agencies, and of course our police safety officer Annie Pickett, set up their displays.

Despite the changed date, some of Worcester’s elected representatives did come, as well as our police chief and several of his men. But of course in a park, it would not have been complete without the appearance of two of our new “mounted police” who spent a good bit of time wandering about on the grassy slopes of the park, to the great admiration and enjoyment of all.

All in all a good time was had by all – and with the help of many hands, the park was left clean and picked up.

It was not always this way: I remember that less than ten years ago, athis spot was a weed-infested, unloved and uncared for piece of city property, home to trash and drug transactions. How did athis miraculous transformation take place?

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Like so many changes, the story begins with Winifred Octave, whose home overlooks the park. As so often happens, she was appalled by the neglect of this park, and chatted about it – to one other person in particular: Debra Bolz, who lives nearby. To make a long story short, these two then formed the Greenhill Neighborhood Association, and began monthly meetings moving eventually to one of the classrooms at St. Bernard’s church , where the group had bas been meeting with the support of Father Jonathan. So we have gotten to know Michael Duggan from Code, Officer Higgins from the police department, and of course our District Councilor, Candy Carlson, who helped do the ppaperwork, getting permits, etc.

So far, this is a pretty standard story of the beginnings of a neighborhood group. But there is an unusual twist to this particular story: While many neighborhood practice NIMBY (not in my backyard), this group has from the beginning opened its arms to members of the social service agencies residents around the area. Having noted that our area is second only to Main South in the number of such facilities, This group has worked hard to integrate the residents of these houses – and they have responded by attending, helping, and sharing ideas. ( I have always believed that we should extend the hand of welcome, as “..there but the grace of God go I” should be foremost in our hearts) AS Deb said” We embraced them instead of fighting them”, and it has worked.

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And so, the group has continued to thrive, with representatives from the police, code, Parks, and other city departments in attendance, listening to residents’ problems, and offering solutions where possible, and informing us of what to do also.

The idea of the yearly picnic was really the “brainchild” of Representative Mary Keefe, who first suggested we should have a picnic. And from there it grew. This year, the group gave an award to the members of the Linda Fay Griffin House, in recognition of their help and faithful attendance.
WE also recognize the ;hard work of Danielle Brewster and Jonathan Horatio Rosa – there are probably many others who deserve mention, but since I am not a professional reporter, I am certain I massed some helpers and supporters.

The park is now well used year around: REC has helped to build and maintain community garden plots ( I was impressed by the size and vigor of the vegetables and flowers growing there –and by the great playground equipment available there). The basketball court is much used, but so far still in mint condition. And most of the area is fully handicapped accessible, even though it is on hilly terrain. And gradually a rather neglected section of our city is coming into its own, and receiving amenities for its children and residents. The picnic gives residents a chance to meet informally with not only the police, fire, and other departments, but also with elected officials, and this year, with some who are running. Mayor Petty always comes, and past and present city councilors as well as one or two school committee members and one candidate also greet the crowd.
This year there were 300 hundred expected – and despite the changed date, the crowd was large. Next year, who knows. It is a success story , which will continue to grow.