Tag Archives: Chandler Street

TC! TC! (Or: So go the bikers, so goes the city)

By Rosalie Tirella

A motorcycle guy gets his chest blown away on lower Chandler Street this past Saturday night. His soul is thrown off his bike and floats to Heaven like some inner-city feather. And that is the end of his dream called life. His Saturday night, all Saturday nights. No more bodegas, pizzerias, BBQ chick, cell phone shacks, dreamy sunsets, kisses, or cold cheap beers with friends on a summer night.

photos: Rosalie Tirella

The beauty of life in the here and now, in Worcester, gone forever. Poof. Like magic it disappears from him just as mysteriously as it came to him.

His 46-year-old body, however, is no feather. It dies a horrific death from massive internal hemorrhaging, crushed bones … the blood must be washed from the cement … physical and emotional shock. The pain keeps coming no matter how hard the EMT kids work on him.

A Honda plows into him on Chandler Street, and he plows into a Nissan. 2,000-pound hunks of moving metal.

What could he do? How could he win?

A slow motion dream for the dying man, this accident on the corner of Wellington and Chandler streets, but not for the gawkers. The witnesses know it is over – in seconds – at one of Worcester’s most deadly intersections. An urban space where many cars  often speed up as they race to the tony West Side of the city, drivers pretending not to see all the poor Latinos, Whites and Blacks who live in the crummy three deckers and apartment buildings that line the street. They criss cross it every day – at all hours. They walk, run, stagger across the wide 4 -lane Chandler Street. Sometimes they’re on bicycles or pushing baby carriages or holding the hands of their little kids – the 5 year olds holding on to Papa or Mama tight with one small hand and covering their ear with their other soft little hand.  The traffic is too loud for them!

The poor cross their busy street to get to the  street’s local restaurants, Chandler Elementary School, the Family Health Center inner-city clinic/urgent care, Community Health Link mental health center, a homeless shelter, the several storefront Pentecostal churches, friends’ houses. As a driver, you have to go slow, you have to be AWARE at all times cuz life comes out at you from all angles on Chandler Street. Four or so years ago, I was the center of mayhem as I rescued a stray cat at the exact intersection where the biker was killed. It was a young cat, really an older kitten like my Cece (black too!),


and I almost got us both killed running out of my car into traffic, scooping up the kitten and running back to my car with the kitten clasped to my chest. But it was OK. The neighborhood folks – the community – were good and had my back as I navigated the stream of cars.

If only I could have saved the biker – but how?

They called him T.C…. Family, friends, the community, prayed TC did not suffer long. Of course, he did. A bunch of biker kids and men and their friends rode up to the site of his death a few days ago to mourn …


… They left their not so pretty neighborhoods to gather at the not so pretty intersection of Wellington and Chandler streets to say GOOD BYE, TC!  To pay tribute to a fellow biker. To connect with him – and each other.

If you read my columns, you know I love these outsiders, inner-city bike guys and gals who cobble together these unlicensed, unloved sometimes kooky sometimes cool urban motor babies. They take their lives into their hands when they ride them. But it’s all they’ve got on a lovely summer day in the ‘hood. They want to feel free like the wind. Can you blame them? You were young once too! Their motto? Bikes Up! Guns down!

The bikers are loathed by Woo’s conservative crew … people like Paul Collyer (the Somerville-based political gadfly who runs FB pages CHANGE WORCESTER and WORCESTERS DIRTY SECRET where he posts Turtle Boy/City Councilor Mike Gaffney racist rants) and his toxic political allies, the always race baiting Woo City Councilor Mike Gaffney and Turtle Boy-Aidan Kearney who always gets the ugly ball rolling with a post that fires up people’s racial and socio economic prejudices and fears. Collyer, Turtle Boy, Gaffney AND PREZ DONALD TRUMP, cannot accept a global, often poor, always multicultural America, Worcester…a world that is messier than they’d like to see. These guys want to shut voices down … or they do not understand…know how to listen to the new global urban landscape.

The Worcester Police force knew how to listen to the TC crowd! The Worcester police officers who went into the big crowd on that summer day and talked softly and dispersed the group without so much as raising their voices understood the community’s pain. They did not fan the Collyer/Gaffney/Turtle Boy flames of hatred, racism, ignorance. Nope. THEY WERE OUTSTANDING police officers who did an excellent job of keeping the situation from blowing up. They got traffic moving again, kept everybody calm and, best of all, respected the bikers’, outsiders’, pain, feelings. They smiled, chatted, WORKED smart so the situation did not escalate…THEY DEFUSED THE SITUATION. Kudos!

Watch the videos. They make me sad. A bunch of bikers, people of color, mostly poor, mostly cut off from the mainstream…scores of them gathered  at lower Chandler Street and riding their bikes up and down where TC died. They did “burns” in his honor and chanted TC !TC! TC! and made more videos on their cell phones to share, to tell the world TC MATTERED – ALL LIVES MATTER! In a video you see one big black guy looking choked up, confused, softly muttering TC, TC … and shaking his head. Not the face of violence.

Not at all.

The TC “wake” was political, was peaceful, was REAL. It was a statement. It was a love song. Like a bird on the wing.

Yay, Piedmont neighborhood! As I was zipping around Worcester yesterday …

… I was delighted to see something new “blooming” at Chandler Elementary School, the Piedmont inner-city school we got city officials to put a slide set/play-scape in (see it, in the background?) earlier this year:


… raised garden boxes!


Three of them!

Folks in this urban neighborhood are raising their own veggies! Just one more way to keep our kids healthy and strong!

As InCity Times celebrates its 14’th birthday, it’s victories like this spiffed-up school yard that make ME HAPPIEST OF ALL!

So break out the vegan ice cream! Buy a ton of Kettle Corn at Main South’s REC Farmers Market!


Run a couple of laps around Maloney Field outside with Ron Charette (on left in pic, below) and his South Worcester Neighborhood Center crew on Camp Street!


Celebrate with us! I am SO PROUD OF MY NEWSPAPER AND ALL THE WONDERFUL WRITERS AND ARTISTS who’ve made InCity Times so unique! Thanks to our wonderful advertisers and, most of all, READERS LIKE YOU!

You are my family!

– photos/text – Rosalie Tirella

(kettle corn and Ron Charette photos by Ron O’Clair)

Piedmont: The people hanging out at the corner of Chandler and Queen streets … From my point of view

By Barbara Haller

There have been multiple conversations going on – in various print media, social media, crime watches, business association meetings, and around the coffee table – about what to do about a few places where a group of people have laid claim to hang out all day (sometimes night too).

One site presently getting a lot of play is the corner of Chandler/Queen streets where the gathering is pretty non-stop.   The green space there is controlled by Community Healthlink (part of UMass) and has become an enclave for sitting, sleeping, socializing.  Grocery carts of belongings are often there.  The group spills over to the public sidewalk where there is a bench and a tree – both part of the Chandler business corridor revitalization effort.  The bench is used exclusively by the group and the tree pit is their trash receptacle.  Public drinking is frequent, fights occasional.  Public use of the sidewalk there is pretty difficult.  Sometimes one of the group will enter a nearby business seeking a handout, a bathroom, or a place to sleep.

A group of business owners are determined to stop it.  They see this behavior as anti-business and bad for Worcester.  They also see this situation as a violation of the partnership agreement with the City over closing the PIP shelter and siting of the homelessness Triage Center just up the street at 25 Queen Street.  Conversations among elected and administrative city officials, business owners, residents, Community Healthlink officials so far have led to “more of the same.”

And that is a shame.

As a long time Main South activist (1990 – 2002), 10-year District 4 City Councilor (2002 – 2011) and a 20-year neighbor to the area around Chandler and Queen (I live at the top Castle Street, near the top of Queen) I have deep knowledge and experience with these types of challenges.  Tempers can get hot, words can be twisted, and people can look the other way.  But, something needs to change at the corner of Chandler and Queen before these behaviors become more deeply entrenched.  Inch by inch is how it happens.

There are many attractive corners in our urban core for people to drink, drug, deal, fight, sleep, litter, vomit, and do personal hygiene.   I spent many hours working on such hot spots, starting with the front of my own business, Gilreins.  Here is what works:

1.       Engaged property owner(s).  This means a property owner or her/his hire that will be at the property nearly always, at least at the start of reclaiming the spot.

This person must tell people that the property is privately owned and ask the people to move on – kindly and respectfully.   By being physically present and clear in what is expected, much of the behavior will in fact move on.   This may take a while, especially when the site is long-standing.

2.       Partnering with the Worcester Police Department.  This means explaining the problem and the strategy to end it to the appropriate police officer.  A great place to start this is with the Community Impact officer assigned to the area.  This officer will see that the rest of the WPD is on board.  The officer will also serve a vital feedback role as to what is working, etc.

This may require posting the property – No Trespassing.    The police will take notice and stop to move people along for the times when the property owner(s) are not present.

Again, the message needs to be consistent and repeated.

3.       Public gathering on public property is legal.  However, public consumption of alcohol is not legal.  Nor is littering.  Nor is blocking the sidewalk.

Police are key for enforcement against these behaviors.   Police may not feel arrests are appropriate in many of these violations but they can confiscate alcohol, make people pick up their litter, tell people to keep the sidewalk open.

When citizens see these behaviors and have a developed partnership with the police, these behaviors must be reported consistently.  If someone appears unconscious call 911 and request medical attention.

4.       Recognizing and respecting people’s rights to gather on public property.  This means that we can’t just tell people to move off the sidewalk or a bench just because we don’t like the way they look.   This is important to understand.  Disrespecting people will escalate most situations and only makes solution more difficult.

If (when) we step over the line into disrespect, apologies need to be given while returning to the consistent message.

Many times over the years we have used these best practices to clear up problem sites.  It takes time and sincere commitment.  The longer we wait the more difficult it is.

In the case of Chandler and Queen – the enclave is established and occupies both private and public properties.  Worcester Police Department is doing some focused work for the short haul but a longer term strategy is needed and that should come from Community Healthlink – they control the green space that is the center of the activities.  Community Healthlink must be frequently present at the site, explaining that people cannot loiter there and that WPD will be called on any illegal behaviors.  They must closely partner with WPD for consistent messaging and enforcement.

Especially because of the elevated status of UMass in our city, elected and administrative officials should insist that UMass develop a long term strategy to correct the behaviors at this corner.  As the parent organization to Community Healthlink and because Community Healthlink has not been successful in this area, the burden of solution falls to UMass directly.

This is not rocket science.

TODAY! Community HealthLink protest! Workers’ efforts to improve security stonewalled by CEO Deborah Ekstrom

Safety Concerns, Pay Inequities Prompt Picket by Human Service Workers, Allies at Community HealthLink

In wake of attack, workers’ efforts to improve security, address compensation imbalances stonewalled by CEO Deborah Ekstrom and CHL management

WORCESTER  – Human service workers and community leaders are poised to stage an informational picket at 5:00pm today – Tuesday, October 8 – over safety concerns and gross pay inequities at Worcester-based Community HealthLink (CHL). The delegation will elevate its demands for improved security in the wake of an August attack on a front-line CHL worker – as well as concerns over significant compensation deficiencies for those who provide direct care to clients. Human service workers will be joined by local elected officials and community leaders for a drive-time event outside Community HealthLink’s HOAP Office at 162 Chandler Street in Worcester.

Since the tragic attack on a Community HealthLink worker this summer, human service workers and support staff have pressed for concrete security improvements in CHL facilities and transportation services. Yet CEO Deborah Ekstrom and her management team have refused to implement commonsense proposals to add security staff and address stagnant wages for CHL staff who provide direct client care. The issues have come to a head in negotiations over a new contract for front-line workers at CHL, whose previous agreement expired September 30.

Front-line staff at Community HealthLink provide a variety of vital services to at-risk and underserved populations throughout Worcester County and North County – helping children, adults and entire families recover from the effects of mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness. Tuesday’s informational picket will call on CEO Deborah Eckstrom and the CHL management team to take immediate action to settle safety and compensation conflicts at issue in current contract negotiations.

WHAT: Informational picket calling for action on workplace safety and compensation imbalances at Community HealthLink

WHO: Human service workers, local elected officials and community advocates urging prompt action in the wake of August’s attack on front-line CHL staff

WHEN: TODAY – Tuesday, October 8 – 5:00PM

WHERE: Outside Community HealthLink’s HOAP Office

162 Chandler Street – Worcester

The Austin Corridor II Project! The Worcester Common Ground CDC celebrates!


Worcester Common Ground CDC has some exciting news and an invite for you and everyone in the community:


Please join us for WCG’s ribbon cutting ceremony and cook out in celebration of our Austin Corridor II Project

Date: Tuesday, July 16

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Worcester Common Ground Tot Lot on the corner of Austin and Newbury streets.

Food and drinks will be provided at our cook out, as well as walking tours. So please join WCG and the neighborhood in this special occasion!

RSVP to jluyando@wcg-cdc.com

Worcester Common Ground – 508.754-0908


Among the activities to fulfill our mission, Worcester Common Ground owns and manages 76 affordable rental units and has developed another 71 units of affordable housing that have been sold to first time homebuyers. We have recently completed construction of 12 units focused on individuals including persons with disabilities in an accessible, affordable new building at 1-7 Piedmont Street (now 5 Piedmont) (View Map). We have also completed another 46 units of affordable rental apartments through the restoration of an historic factory building at 9 May Street (View Map). To learn more about these most recent projects please go to our “In the Works” page. The following is information about all our completed housing projects:

Rental Units Listing – 69 Units, 5 Business, 1 Office Total
1992 – 6 Florence Street, 8 units, Details
1992 – 60 Providence Street, 6 units, Details
1994 – 7-11 Bellevue Street, 5 units, 4 business, Details
1999 – 90-94 Chatham Street, 6 units, Details
1999 – 108 Austin Street, 2 units, Details
1999 – 124-128 Canterbury Street, 10 units, Details
2002 – 17-23 Dewey Street, 12 units, Details
2003 – 98 Austin Street, 5 units, Details
2003 – 102 Austin Street, 4 units, Details
2003 – 133 Chandler Street, 5 units, 1 business, Details
2006 – 300 Pleasant Street, 6 units, 1 office, Details
2008 – 9 May Street, 46 units, Details
2010 – 5 Piedmont Street (formerly 1-7 Piedmont Street), 12 units, 1 office, Details

First-Time Home Buyer Listing – 68 Units Total
1996 – 25 King Street, 3 units, Details
1996 – 55 King Street, 3 units, Details
1997 – 97 Bellevue Street, 1 unit, Details
1997 – 99 Bellevue Street, 3 units, Details
1997 – 35 Cedar Street, 2 units, Details
1998 – 7 Newbury Street, 2 units, Details
1998 – 9 Quincy Street, 2 units, Details
1999 – 48 King Street, 3 units, Details
2000 – 139 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2001 – 21 Preston Street, 3 units, Details
2002 – 11 Jacques Avenue, 3 units, Details
2002 – 12 West Street, 3 units, Details
2002 – 19 Bancroft Street, 3 units, Details
2003 – 99 Chatham Street, 1 unit, Details
2003 – 30 Bancroft Street, 3 units, Details
2003 – 22 Bluff Street, 3 units, Details
2004 – 130 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2004 – 132 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2004 – 134 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2005 – 141 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2005 – 143 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2005 – 147 Austin Street, 3 units, Details
2005 – 26 Bancroft Street, 3 units, Details
2005 – 17 Preston Street, 3 units, Details
2012 – 161 Austin Street, 3 units



Candidate Franco flubs up! AND: Community Health Link workers fight for fair wages!

Franco Flubs up!

John Mahoney, a small businessman and candidate for state representative in the 13th Worcester District, called on his opponent, personal injury attorney Paul Franco, to reconcile his position on growing businesses in Massachusetts with his decision to send campaign business to Minnesota.

Mr. Franco’s lawn signs, an expenditure of nearly $1,400, have been manufactured by a Minnesota company.

“I am the owner of a small business and I know that every dollar counts,” said Mahoney. “It is inexplicable to send campaign money out of state. I believe in investing in our people. We need to grow businesses right here at home and help them create jobs.  As state representative, that will be my top priority.”

In his platform, Mr. Franco calls on the state to adopt more business-friendly measures so that businesses will expand here – rather than in states with more “business friendly” climates.  Continue reading Candidate Franco flubs up! AND: Community Health Link workers fight for fair wages!