Tag Archives: InCity Times

What if aliens treated us the way we treat dogs?

By Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid, founder and president of PETA, has changed the world … for the better.

The Pentagon’s long-awaited report on UFOs — or UAPs, unidentified aerial phenomena — was disappointingly noncommittal when it comes to the possible passing presence on Earth of alien beings. However, if anyone remains unconvinced of the warnings by Stephen Hawking and other astronomers that making contact with extraterrestrials could be to our disadvantage, for they may kill us or, at the very least, make “pets” of us, we have only to look at how humans treat dogs.

Lilac and Jett at the dog park.❤

Around the world, “man’s best friend” is probed, poisoned, electro-shocked, mutilated and killed in experiments. In Asia, dogs are eaten. In China, they are bludgeoned and killed for their skin, which is exported globally and finds its way into our homes as belts and even chew toys for other dogs.


In the U.S., we acquire dogs for various reasons such as to keep us company and give us something to do during the pandemic lockdown but may dispose of them when they no longer suit us. Millions of them every year end up unwanted and are often destroyed or dumped on the streets — where they are no match for traffic, starvation, diseases, injuries and abuse. Others are relegated to a chain in someone’s backyard for the rest of their lonely, bleak lives.

Even in “good” homes, dogs have lost that which is most precious to all living beings: the freedom to make choices. It’s “sit,” “stay,” “down” and “no!” Humans control every aspect of their lives. While dogs can no longer run free and dig a den, find a mate, raise a family and find their own food, they still yearn to do these things. They want to explore, investigate scents, dig, bark and interact with others of their own kind. But domesticated dogs can’t even relieve themselves without permission from a member of the dominant species with the power to open the door for them. Many dogs are made to wait long hours for that “privilege.”

We compel dogs to abide by our rules, punish them for uttering a peep in their own language, fit them with collars that stab or choke their sensitive necks, yank them along when they try to sniff the “news,” and lock them down in solitary confinement for hours every day, even crating them like crockery.

Perhaps if we resist behaving in the ways Professor Hawking feared aliens would behave toward us but instead show consideration for dogs’ interests, interplanetary visitors might follow our lead. That would certainly make dogs’ lives less stressful and monotonous.

We can start by rescuing a second dog from the shelter, not only saving a life but also allowing them to keep each other company when we’re away and giving them someone of their own kind to relate to. We can make sure we come back home on our lunch breaks or hire a trusted dog-walker so the dogs, who are flesh and blood and bladder like us, aren’t forced to “hold it.” And we can slow down and allow them to set the pace on walks — the highlight of their day! — and to sniff as long as they please without being pulled impatiently along. It’s not much to ask, but “consideration” should be the universal watchword that extends to all others, no matter what they look like or what planet they come from.

Chef Joey’s mom ties her apron strings …


By “Natacha”

Chef Joey’s mom gets ready to work her magic! Skillet for sautéing the veggies, pot to cook the soup.

My son “Chef Joey” is in France, so I’m giving you a recipe for this issue of CECELIA: MY FATHER’S LENTIL SOUP. I learned this recipe decades ago as a teen from watching my Greek father make it from scratch with dry lentils – never lentils in a can. My father made this soup often because it is so good for you. Lentils – you can live on lentils! – they have all the nutrients. You can live on dates, too – they are just as nutritious. In France, where I live part time, everyone eats lentils. They cook them up and make lentil salad, which you dress with oil and vinegar and vegetables and eat cold.

My immigrant mother did not like America – she called it “polar bear country.” But my father had his business here and was always working at his shoe factory … he was a very busy and there was no time to be distracted by us kids and our silly problems.

Natasha’s dad and mom.

An ad for the shoe factory

He was strict and expected his children to do the right thing and think for themselves. We had to show him our hands – no finger-nail-biting allowed. Posture was essential – slouching was not allowed. We had to sit up straight always. I was trained so well that one day the teacher at elementary school told all the kids in class to look at me sitting at my desk: SIT CORRECTLY LIKE NATACHA! she said.

When it came to lentil soup my father was just as strict: REMEMBER, he said, ALWAYS CHOP UP YOUR VEGETABLES FINE. …and never forget a quarter spoonful of crushed red pepper for flavor.

So here it is, my father’s lentil soup recipe…Mediterranean style!

You’ll need:

1 lb lentils, dry

1 stalk celery

2 medium carrots

2 cloves of garlic

1 medium onion

1 can of stewed or crushed tomatoes

1/4 tsp crushed red peppers

Optional: salt pork
Or bacon – 2 slices



Soak your dry lentil beans in cold water. If they’re fresh that’s 2 hours. If you get them at most supermarkets that’s overnight.

Chop your vegetables into very small pieces. Get a skillet…

Sautee your vegetables in olive oil or vegetable oil until soft, not brown. But before you do that, sautee your bacon or salt pork. Then add the vegetables, chopped fine, of course.

Add your crushed tomatoes and cook 3 – 5 minutes.

Drain lentils and put them in a stock pot. Add your sauteed veggies and bacon/pork mixture. Add water to cover. Cook on medium-low heat on your stove top, adding water as needed to make a soup. At the very end, if you wish, add sliced hot dogs or kielbasa.



By Jim Coughlin

Polar Park on Madison Street, just outside of Kelly Square, on Tuesday, July 2, was the scene of a fundraiser for the family of the late Worcester Police Officer Emanuel “Manny” Familia who tragically died on June 4th after unsuccessfully trying to save a young man from Virginia, Troy Love, from drowning. But he also drowned at Green Hill Park.

The event featured a line-up of some national, New England and Boston comics, along with Cambridge comedian Lenny Clark who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

Todd Angell

The event was billed as “A Night of Comedy for Familia.” Besides Clark, other comedians who performed at the fundraiser were Boston comedian Tony Viveiros whose stage name is “Tony V,”Dave Russo, Frank Santorrellia and Christine Hurley of Plymouth who was introduced to the 2,000 spectators at the event as the “Queen of Comedy.”

Tickets were mostly sold on line for line, starting at $30.

The event was organized by retired Massachusetts State Trooper John Fraioli who is a member of the security staff for the Worcester Red Sox at Polar Park. The fundraiser began with a singer, Todd Angell of Lynnfield, who sings at the opening of hockey games for the Boston Bruins at the TD Center in Boston. He brought the entire crowd to a rousing standing ovation after he completed the National Anthem. Angilly, whose day job is as the Assistant Super indent of Re-entry for Essex County Sheriff Kevin Carpenter in an interview said, “It was an honor to be here to join with the Worcester Police Department who just lost a brother.”

In referring to the police, Angell said, “These are the people who keep us safe.”

Manny Familia’s wife, Jennifer, as well as his 7 year-old daughter and 13 year old son were in attendance at the event. Off duty members of the Worcester Police Department, wearing blue tee shirts with the logo “Comedy Staff” on the back and the police department’s logo on the front served as advance people for the comedians going onto the stage and helped provide security for the event as the comedians came and left the stage.

The range of humor was about ordinary every day things such as marriage, relationships with members of your family, and there were even some comic lines about the legendary traffic problems at Kelly Square.

Those in attendance were a combination of present and former members of the Worcester Police Department and their families. Among those in the audience was a policewoman from the Holden Police Department who only identified herself as “Janet.” She is an 18 year veteran of the Department and said she worked with Manny as a member of the Oakham Police Department prior to his becoming a member of the Worcester Police Department. Janet saluted her fallen brother as “an awesome police officer who always had a joke.”

Also attending was Alex Owen of Worcester who did not know Manny personally, but she said she “has friends who knew him.” She described herself as a 2008 graduate of Holy Name High School in Worcester and called the fallen police officer as “an incredibly nice man, an amazing police officer and an excellent father.”

“People only have nice things to say about him,” she said.

Another attendee was Shawn Grimes of Sterling who said he came because he read the story in the newspaper and friends of his told him they were going to attend the fundraiser, so he decided to come, also. Perhaps the one interview that I had after the event that best summed up the event for the fallen police officer was the one I had with Ralph Capaldi, a resident of Auburn who called the fundraiser, “a great show of love.”

I guess that was what the event at Polar Park was all about, in the final analysis. As a reporter who covered Familia’s wake and funeral Mass at St. John’s Church on June 10, I can personally attest to the greatness and the emotional strength and stamina exhibited by the members of the Worcester Police Department, both individually and collectively, as they came either alone or with their spouses to say goodbye to their fallen comrade who unquestionably was loved very much by his colleagues in the department.

Worcester has had a number of tragedies and traumas over the years: the 1953 tornado, the 1996 Worcester Cold Storage Fire that claimed the lives of six members of the Worcester Fire Department, and there was the tragic death of Worcester Firefighter Jason Menard shortly after that, and of course the latest of these tragedies was the death of Manny Familia. But Worcester is a great city and we, as a community, will overcome the loss of Manny.

The members of the Worcester Police Department need to know that the small minority who unfairly criticize the entire department do NOT speak for the entire community, although they may somehow think that they do. The police need to be called their proper title, and I just don’t mean properly addressing them as “officer” as a simple matter of showing some modicum of respect to them as law enforcement officers. But rather what the Worcester Police need to be recognized for is what they truly are and that is “Blue Angels.” As the singer for the fundraiser very appropriately said about the police, “they are the ones keeping us safe.”

For those whose battle cry is “defund the police, I have one question: when someone is shot in your neighborhood or your home is burglarized, who are you going to call: the critics of the police? I don’t think so.

The pain of the loss of Manny Familia is still fresh in the hearts of the women and men in blue who keep us safe. In the wake of Manny’s tragic death, one wish for our city could be that we be spared any more tragedies like the one that took police Manny Familia from us, far too soon. Undoubtedly, the death of Manny has been a difficult one – not only for his fellow police officers but for the entire City of Worcester. …

Rest in Peace, Blue Angel.

Chef Joey! Always in style!


By Chef Joey


A clafoutis is probably the easiest dessert on the planet to make, and often times it is cooked while you are eating dinner.

The joy of this recipe is that you can add any fruit to it – blueberries, blackberries and, most popular, is cherries – with the pits!

Strawberry growing in the Vernon Hill School garden!

It’s all ingredients most people have at home – just get the fruit!

You’ll need:

1 1/4 cup milk

Vegan milk options

3 eggs beaten, first add 1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (if the fruit is sweet, use less sugar!)

Vegan cooking tips …

and a pinch of salt – not much at all!

And a couple cups of berries.

Usually the cake is sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving.

In a bowl use 1/2 the sugar amount – say 1/4 cup – add the beaten eggs (with the vanilla – milk – flour and pinch of salt).

Use butter …

… to cover an oven-proof pie plate.

Coat well … pour in half the mix.

Cover with your fruit, and sprinkle the rest of the sugar directly and evenly on the fruit. Then top with the rest of the batter.

Bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes, and use the toothpick method – it should come out clean – to test if your dessert is done.

Bon appétit!


Vegan bakers …

Free! WCCA TV is presenting world class jazz musicians at 3 venues in August! It’s the CMJazz Fest!

From Mauro DePasquale:

Worcester Community Cable Access – WCCATV – is presenting world class musicians and local notable jazz performers at three different venues in August as part of the Central Mass Jazz Festival (CMJF). All events are being offered free to the public.

Go, Mauro!

“Musicians took a substantial loss of performance opportunities in 2020, due to Covid” said Mauro DePasquale, Executive Director of WCCA TV and Founder of the Central Mass Jazz Fest. This year’s “Hybrid Fest” will be a true celebration, a reawakening of live music, and the freedom for all to travel out of their homes into fun venues to hear and share the fun of live music.

Central Mass Jazz Fest Main event will be virtual and broadcast on WCCA TV channels Sept 6 through 10, however, CMJF, thanks to sponsors and donors, will present three live “JAZZ POP UP” Concerts beginning August 3 through August 19th.

Tuesday, August 3, from noon to 2:30 p.m., at the Worcester Beer Garden on Franklin Street, CMJF will feature “JAZZ SOUP Pop Up jazz jam” featuring a collection of local jazz artist, including:

Al Vaudreuil, a popular local jazz guitarist and teacher; Joe Reidy and Peter McNeaney who are both well respected big band notables and perform with the Wachusett Jazz Quartet and Mike Girard’s Big Swing Thing; and Jazzed Up Trio.

Al Vaudreuil
Al Vaudreuilbill-fanning-slideshow-1
Bill Fanning

The final Pop-Up performance will be at Chashu Ramen + Izakaya on Franklin Street Thursday, August 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 featuring the JAZZED UP Trio with special guest Bill Fanning.

“There will be performers on stage here that literally travel the world as well as perform in the local area. We also have a group of local young musicians – Isosceles Groove – who will be entertaining and demonstrating they too are world class with a great music career ahead of them,” noted WCCA Executive Director, Mauro DePasquale.

“The hybrid part of our festival actually began with performances recorded in our studio as part of what we called “Spring Swing. It was live streamed on the cable channel 194 and on social media in mid June. The live stream was recorded and is currently being packaged to run as a series of performances which is slated to air in full sets of amazing world renown jazz acts September 6 through 10 along with interviews with the artists”, DePasquale added.

Mitch Siedman

The acts recorded at WCCA’s studios on June 14 include Triangulation with Mitch Seidman who Just Jazz Guitar reviewer, Brandon Bernstein called “fearless, letting his solos go where it needs to go musically, crossing barlines and building intensity throughout”; The Greg Abate Quartet, featuring internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist, flutist, and composer Greg Abate who will resume his world tour traditionally playing 225 days on the road;

The Bill Fanning Trio whose leader performs concerts and conducts clinics in the U.S. and internationally as a member of the Jeff Coffin Mu’tet and has toured with the Arte Shaw Band, the Benny Goodman Tribute Band, Max Carl and the Big Dance Horns featuring Glenn Frey; the JAZZED UP trio who are multi award winning local favorites who play the sweetest music this side of heaven and will leave you feeling great; Donna Byrne Quartet, who Tony Bennett described as, “one of the best young jazz singer in the country today. She’s the Real McCoy”. These performances can be seen on WCCA TV Worcester cable channel 194, wccatv.com, Facebook live and on Roku (Worcester TV).

Donna Byrne
Donna Byrne

DePasquale added, “All events are free to the public thanks to the generosity of the sponsors who are making this possible. I would like to acknowledge the generosity of the Worcester Arts Council and the Mass Cultural Council, David French Music, Berkshire Bank, Thermalogic, Berkshire Bank, Worcester Family Eye Care, the Kirby Foundation as well as host venues, The Worcester Beer Garden, Belmont A.M.E. Zion Church and Chashu Ramen + Izakaya, and also individual donors. Thank you.”

It’s time to rethink medical research

By Dr. Emily Trunnell

Animals suffer in labs…most are monkeys. Hundreds are dogs – beagles and retrievers. Photos: PETA

Do sex and power make for effective advertising? The National Institute of Mental Health — a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — used our tax dollars to fund a cruel experiment on monkeys to try to answer that burning question, which will help … well … no one. In the study, monkeys were intentionally kept thirsty to coerce them into cooperating with the experimenters. They were then shown images of brand labels paired with monkeys with higher and lower social status and sexually receptive female monkeys. The monkeys would use a touch screen to select the brands associated with the images they liked best — in exchange for a few drops of juice.

Why torture a living being?

This study was as ridiculous as it sounds — a textbook example of the frivolous ends to which animals are thoughtlessly used in experiments and an insult to good science. Monkeys, mice and other animals are not just small human beings, and continuing to cling to this archaic method of research wastes precious time, resources and lives. NIH has the power to — and should — change this.

Consider this: 95% of new drugs deemed safe and effective in animal experiments fail when they reach human trials. This sobering statistic comes from NIH itself. COVID-19 vaccines reached the market in record time precisely because lengthy and misleading animal trials were bypassed.

Animal toxicity studies — which are supposed to keep us safe from harmful chemicals — are frequently unreliable and lack relevance to humans. Some are difficult to reproduce, so the same chemical tested twice in the same kind of animal can give different results. Many tests are the same as those first used in the 1950s and ’60s, as if science has made no progress since then.

Hideously cruel basic research techniques, such as opening up monkeys’ skulls in order to insert electrodes or making mice swim for their lives, are still being used to investigate chemical changes in the brain, even though technological advances now allow scientists to use human brain imaging, epidemiological studies and clinical research to learn about human—not monkey or mouse — brains without causing any pain or harm.

In many cases, taxpayers are footing the bill for these pointless experiments. In the 1960s, Congress instituted the NIH Primate Research Centers program, charged with importing and breeding monkeys and other primates for experimenters and developing supposed primate “models” for human disease. The primate centers receive tens of millions of taxpayer dollars via NIH every single year. But 60 years and tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of monkeys later, they have failed to produce the promised cures and treatments for human illnesses.

Another example: Government experimenter Elisabeth Murray intentionally inflicts brain damage on monkeys, locks them in small cages, and terrifies them with fake spiders and snakes. Afterwards, she kills them. Murray’s laboratory has been performing these pointless experiments since George Bush senior was president, squandering millions of federal tax dollars in the process. In those 30 years, the experiments have produced exactly zero data beneficial to either monkeys or humans.

Without a firm commitment to ending wasteful animal experiments, animals will continue to suffer and human patients will continue to wait for much-needed medical advances. But PETA scientists have mapped out a better path forward. We can optimize our nation’s investment in research by ending funding for useless experiments on animals and investing in research that’s relevant to humans. PETA has already presented its proposal, the Research Modernization Deal, to NIH and other federal agencies.

We must take advantage of the momentum provided by new and innovative research techniques. Instead of repeating past mistakes, the federal government should ensure that the U.S. becomes a world leader in medical research — and that means eliminating the use of animals.

From Edith: a book review … and a column

Book Review

By Edith Morgan

STOLEN by Richard Bell

Edith, in her garden. CECELIA file photo.

With all the discussion and reaction to the proposal to teach CRITICAL RACE THEORY – CRT – in our public schools, I felt the need to put in my two cents, as I have always been troubled by the lack of serious teaching of civics and history I our schools. For years I was an elementary school teacher, employed by the Town of Shrewsbury. In elementary grades, we teach some hero-worship and glance over the less attractive events of our American past. And in order to hang on to our vision of ourselves as “exceptional” in all areas, we have glossed over much of our history, and we have spent precious little time and thought on realities.

But there are now numerous groups who are insisting that their stories and experiences be told, fully and truthfully. That is behind the push to teach about the Black experience in America. And, I might add, we should also be learning about how the human race has mistreated its members in other places – those of us who have experienced the numerous attempted genocides in our lifetimes (i.e., the Holocaust in Germany and Europe, the Armenian genocide, the mass killings in Cambodia, the on-going attempt at extermination of the Yuighurs in China, etc., etc., etc)

So when my brother-in-law gave me the book STOLEN to read, after he had finished reading it, I got into it. The book seems very timely, as it is the non-fiction description of the kidnapping of five young Black boys, between the ages of 11 and 17, in the early 1800’s in the area where Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania meet.

We here in Massachusetts know about the ”Underground railroad,” but how many of us know about the “Reverse Underground Railroad”?

There was a thriving trade in human beings, kidnapped from their families and enslaved down South. It was a lucrative business before the Civil War and was maintained by terror and brutality. The families of the kidnapped got little or no help from authorities when they attempted to trace their missing loved ones.

I will not give a way the ending, but the odyssey of five boys who escape makes great reading – and gives us an insight of what life was like in early America for so many. … I could have hoped that we here in America would really have been exceptional, but it seems we too have a cruel past that we need to explore and expiate. Our cruelty to one another is nothing new, and even a cursory reading of our history is replete with examples. Knowing and admitting it does not destroy our love of our country, America: It should just act as a guide for doing better now and in the future.


Are we back to normal yet?

By Edith Morgan

Ever so gradually, the gates to some sort of normalcy are creaking open – and we can get a glimpse at the NEW “normal.”

We can eat out, either inside the restaurants or outside – on sidewalks or in parking lots. And we can be mask-less if we are vaccinated or still masked if not. But it seems a number of the previous wait staff of restaurants have not returned, so often service is slower – and “help wanted “ signs are everywhere. The abysmal pay rate – especially for the “back of the house” – has been exposed during the pandemic, along with so many other inequities in America: health care, child care …

But there is optimism, and some of the old familiar restaurants that have folded are being replaced by new, ethnic ventures. The grocery shelves in our supermarkets are slowly being replenished, although there are still pockets of emptiness …

Mother Nature has been on a rampage everywhere in our country due to climate change but again, now that we are getting out more, we can see we have been spared the fires and deadly high temperatures of the West. But, as always before, the weather remains unpredictable and everchanging, as we in New England are so accustomed to note.

But it is not the same world we are opening up to: whether some people want to admit it, irreversible changes have taken place. Those who keep track of these things have been warning us, and at last we have a President and an Administration in Washington D.C. that seems to get it. The polar cap IS melting, our glaciers are disappearing, and the air we breathe to stay alive too is threatened. In many parts of America and of the world, species of familiar animals and plants are disappearing … dying out.

But I have always believed that “to be informed is to be forearmed,” and I am heartened by the many small but significant moves to re-use, recycle, reverse and renew. Worcester has been for sometime planting and replanting public trees – though not very many in Vernon Hill or Green Island and in our other inner-city neighborhoods. Worcesterites who have yards are planting and caring for trees in their yards.

I have looked into environment-friendly surfaces to use instead of the tar and cement on our parking area. And of course now the big car manufacturers are all featuring hybrid or wholly electric cars. And I go shopping with several permanent shopping bags to fill – far fewer of the old transparent and disposable bags.

So, we are gradually getting back to “normal” – but it is a “new normal,” rekindling the old that was good and changing for the better that which needs much improvement.

Meet Worcester District Attorney Joe Early, Jr

By Jim Coughlin

Event outside Worcester City Hall – justice for all in our city! ICT file photo.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early invited this reporter into his office to spend a few hours with him and to catch up on all the news with his office and any developments on either old or new cases that his office is prosecuting.

When the DA met with CECELIA/InCity Times, he said the police were very active in their on-going investigation of the Bell Pond lifeguard stabbing incident and are reportedly looking for a fourth suspect in this incident and declined to comment any further. However, according to the Worcester Patch, the announcement of the fourth arrest in this case came on Wednesday, July 14th when police said over the weekend of July 10th and 11th they had arrested and charged Pedro Felix Camacho, 21, of Queen Street with armed assault to murder. After a court hearing on Monday, July 13th, Camacho was ordered held without bail.

When asked about another high-profile case that has been investigated by his office, the Molly Bish murder of a 16-year-old Warren lifeguard that occurred 21 years ago, Early said that a special crime task force established by his office several years ago, in June named a “person of interest” in the case. The individual was Francis “Frank” P. Sumner. Early said that Sumner died in 2016 and was born in 1945 and was active in the Central Massachusetts area from 1960 to 2016.

Bish had resided in Warren. The announcement from Early’s office was made on June 3, 2021and came just two weeks shy of the 21st anniversary of Bish’s disappearance on June 27, 2000.

Although Sumner is deceased, Early said police are still trying to gather information from his associates in the hope of gathering more information about Sumner and his possible involvement in Bish’s murder.

When Early opened his office to this reporter, he was seen meeting with Derrick Kiser of Worcester who introduced himself to me as “the president of former gangs in the city (of Worcester) 25 years ago.”

Kiser now heads his own consulting business, “Fresh Start Wellness” in the Worcester area. He speaks to students at schools from elementary up to high school, as well as before prison audiences, about his former life of crime, in an attempt to dissuade young people and all of his audiences from making the kind of bad decisions he made which brought him afoul of the law in his earlier years. Kiser, 49 understandably speaks with a great deal of passion because he does not want anyone, regardless of their age, background or station in life, to end up in the unfortunate circumstances that he did 25 years ago on the streets as he said, “the president of a gang in Worcester.”

Early, in his role as District Attorney, had nothing but praise for the work that Kiser is doing in trying to dissuade others from making many of the wrong decisions that he made in his youth. Early said, “We’re proud to support Derek Kiser and Fresh Start 508’s latest program, “Your Health is Your Wealth” which focuses on bringing together law enforcement and youth who’ve experienced trauma to address mental health issues.

“Derek has done incredible work and he’s great at bringing communities together to address difficult but important topics,” Early said. “We also collaborate with a diversion program that prevents individuals from joining a gang or experimenting with substance abuse.”

In my meeting with the District Attorney, he broke for a few minutes to swear in the newest Assistant District Attorney to join his office, Alex Milone of Worcester. Milone said he is looking forward to serving in the office. “It is a great public service,” he said. ” I was happy to apply and make a difference.”

Early, is the son of the late and very popular United States Congressman Joseph D. Early who represented the Massachusetts Third Congressional District in Washington from 1975 to 1995. His father was a close friend of the late Senator Edward M “Ted” Kennedy with whom he served in Congress. I grew up in the area of Beaver Brook Park on Chandler Street and remember back when the District Attorney’s father served as my state representative prior to being elected to Congress in November, 1974. I distinctly remember having a conversation with the DA’s dad in the early 1970’s when he told me, “Robert F. Kennedy, (RFK) would have made a great President.” Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 4, 1968, after winning the California presidential primary.

The legacy of both his father and the Kennedys’ is not lost on DA Joe Early. In the conference room of the DA’s office is a memorable quote from JFK hanging in a picture frame on the wall. The quote is JFK’s 1960 campaign slogan: “Everyone can make a difference and everyone must try.” Early, when asked to explain his more than obvious passion for government service, quoted JFK’s statement that “government is an honorable profession.” So it came as no surprise to this reporter when Early, asked to name his heroes, without hesitation he said his father, along with the late U.S.Congressman John Lewis, (D-Georgia) who died last year of cancer. The DA told me that he met the late Georgian Congressman, an icon in the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the early 1960s.

Understandably, Early came from a very high-profile political family in Worcester. I remember his father’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the fall of 1974. In particular, I remember a campaign brochure that was distributed featuring a picture of his parents along with his seven brothers and sisters. When asked if his political family was like a Worcester version of the legendary Kennedy clan, the Worcester DA flashed a wide smile, and said, “Yes, but without the money.”

Spencer and Woodstock, take note: It can’t be business as usual at the county fair this summer and fall!

By Jennifer O’Connor

After a year and a half of staying home and with lockdowns now receding, most of us have an almost visceral need to get back to normal. But if the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it’s that the ways we once did things can — and sometimes must — change. That mindset should also apply to animal displays on the state and county fair circuit. Petting zoos, big-cat photo ops, pony turnstiles, elephant and camel rides and others must be retired to the history books.

Now that state, county and local fairs are resuming, animals face months of debilitating transport in stifling tractor-trailers and an exhausting onslaught of interaction with fairgoers. Animals who naturally shun human contact are forced to engage with the public over and over again. Their every move is controlled by those who view them as nothing more than property used to make a profit. Weeks-old tiger cubs — who should be with their mothers, nursing — are used as photo props.


Elephants are smacked with bullhooks — heavy batons with a sharp steel hook on the end — to keep them plodding in endless circles and giving rides. Sea lions are jammed into traveling tanks barely any larger than their own bodies and forced to put on “shows.”

County and traveling fairs …THE FINAL ABUSERS IN AMERICA … Many states have banned elephants, and Ringling has retired theirs.


Then there’s the midway, where the value of animals’ lives is reduced to a buck as people fork over a dollar to see the “world’s largest rat” (usually a shy South American mammal called a capybara). Goldfish given away as ping-pong prizes often die before they even make it to the parking lot.

And pity the poor “farm animals.” Instead of the comfort and privacy they deserve, cows are placed in stanchions and forced to give birth in front of raucous crowds. Ponies are excluded from protection under the federal Animal Welfare Act, so they can be hooked up to turnstiles and forced to work until they drop. Smart, sensitive pigs are covered with grease or mud and then grown men try to “wrestle” them into plastic barrels.


After being poked, picked up, raced, ridden and mishandled in one location, the animals are loaded up and hauled to the next venue. The logistics of getting from place to place on a tight schedule doesn’t permit downtime to let them rest and recuperate. Veterinarians don’t travel in these caravans. Animals who are ill or injured may go untreated.

Is anyone in authority keeping an eye on these traveling displays? The simple answer is no. The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees animal exhibitors, but because these shows are constantly on the move, it’s impossible to know how many animals suffer and die along the way.

By all means, bring back the Beach Boys and the deep-fried Oreos, but it’s high time that cruel animal displays made way for fresh and innovative exhibits that appeal to a generation that cares about animals and our planet.

Woo Sox stadium open house

By Jim Coughlin

Youth Baseball Game (April 17 1949) GC145 2
Old school Worcester. Photo courtesy of Worcester Historical Museum.

The Worcester Red Sox, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, July 9, hosted an Open House to the public at Worcester’s Polar Park in Kelley Square.

Hundreds of fans attended the event, during which residents were free to roam throughout the park and take photos. While not an identical replica of Boston’s Fenway Park, the Woo stadium has some similarities to Boston’s Red Sox arena. Charles Steinberg, owner of the Worcester team, who previously owned the Baltimore Orioles, the San Francisco Padres and the Boston Red Sox, was on hand to greet fans and talk with them informally.

In a prerecorded video message played during the open house, Steinberg said: “Today is a ‘Saturday Suggestion Day.’ ” He asked fans for suggestions as to how they would like him to improve the ballpark. Park staffer Bridget Sands, 19, of New York, a student at Harvard University in Cambridge, is currently serving as a paid intern for Sales and Service Internship. A math major, Sands said fans she has talked to on Saturday said, “Polar Park is the best thing that has happened in Worcester for the past 100 years.”


Fans’ suggestions included more signage indicating where various concession stands were located. Among those at the park on Saturday were Rebecca Zash of Worcester who attended with her two children and other family members. “I’m excited to see what Polar Park looks like,” Zash said. “And I am excited to have the park in Worcester.”

Mike Perkins of Hopkinton, attending with his two young children, said he was also excited about the new baseball diamond. Perkins’ 3-year-old son grinned broadly when asked if he liked baseball.

Ashley Brown of Sturbridge, who came with her son, Bentley, 4, and daughter, Bailey, 5, said Bentley plays t-ball and the family members are “big Sox fans.”

Costumed mascots of the Boston Red Sox, Tessie and Wally, along with Smiley, mascot for the Worcester Red Sox, were also present at the event and mingled with guests.