Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org – CECELIA website

Sweet🐾 column from Edith!🐹🐀🐿🐾

🐿Turnabout is Fair Play!🐀

🌻By Edith Morgan🌻

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Edith is a great gardener!

We humans have pretty much invaded and taken over most animals’ habitats. Many species just gave up the ghost before the advancing human hordes. They gradually died out, or moved, until there was nowhere else to go.

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Cute squirrel. pics: PETA

But there are the survivors … They have adapted beautifully and are thriving in the city surroundings.

My best friends have a big yard, and work very hard to raise fresh vegetables and herbs which they consume and also share. I have enjoyed many a bag full of tomatoes, cukes and even plums and peaches, until their trees gave out.

But this year they are having to share their garden with some unwelcome visitors: the one or two rabbits that used to visit them in years past have done what rabbits are so well known for: they have multiplied and were eating to the ground every bit of green they could find.

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Adorable chipmunk!

In desperation, our friends erected a high mesh fence around their second planting, figuring the rabbits could not get over or under that. But word must have gotten out in the animal world, because, while the fence seems to have slowed down the rabbits, it seems to have been less of a deterrent to the chipmunks, who can squeeze through most any opening. And to add insult to injury, a ground hog found its way to their garden, requiring a much bigger “have-a-heart “ cage to be transported far away to a new home in a park.

I have been lucky so far this summer. I do fed the squirrels daily, and I notice now that there are bids also eating the peanut-bread treats I put out. But so far they have left my newly constructed garden alone. I feel we have a deal: I feed them beside the porch, and they leave my tomatoes, peppersand herbs alone.

I don’t have a problem sharing my food with wildlife; after all, we invaded the animals’ territory. It only seems fair to let them return and get a little of their own back!

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FYI:

Edith, always in style: … Hey, Fellow Americans! We’ve been robbed!! + more🎶

By Edith Morgan

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Edith!🌿🌻🌾🌺🌸🌹🌷🍎

Once upon a time (last century, actually) we Americans were all very rich. Of course, most of us did not know that, so let me tell you:

We,the people, owned so much public property, so many publuc buildings, so many public facilities, so many great American services … Actually, I had an old inventor friend who, when the national debt ballooned, suggested that we could wipe it out by mortgaging our public properties to ourselves – and pay it all off.

What did we own? Millions of acres of beautiful parklands, canyons, lakes, forests, natural wonders.

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Save the planet – EAT LESS MEAT!

We built libraries, federal buildings, bridges, interstate highways, cross-country railroads and wonderful national services (the U.S. Postal Service is one).

We, the American public, also owned the airwaves, which we rented out in three-year terms to providers, to be renewed after they had proved that they were serving the public good: education and entertainment.

Much of this public wealth was acquired after the Great Depression of 1929 – as the Roosevelt administration saved the capitalist system by implementing “the New Deal.” Millions of Americans were put to work, building up America: we built – for much needed paychecks – libraries, bridges, public buildings, parks, schools, playgrounds – and services. By mid-20th-century, we had a postal services that went daily to EVERY city, town, suburb, village and rural address in America – and to our troops overseas! And connected us to every other nation with such a system.

Many of us took these great assets for granted, and used them, and sometimes abused them. But they were equally available to all – and our taxes maintained them. So we have the Grand Canyon and all the surrounding gorgeous parkland, Mount Rushmore, all our great national parks throughout our states, and many of the schools and other buildings still standing from that time.

But for several decades now there has been a concerted effort (a plot, really) to “privaaaaaaaaaaatize” our assets, to take them out of our hands and put them into the hands of profiteers who will keep us out, or charge us to use them – or destroy them in a hundred ways for short-term profit, while destroying them for future use.

What has happened to our airwaves is especially disturbing: we no longer have any criteria about service. Now the only criterion is: do you have enough money to run programs on the frequency assigned to you? And so this noble property now runs 24 hours a day, filling the space with mostly advertising and reruns in summer, with a rare space given to quality, artistry, and education. And every year the time soaked up by interminable ads, one following upon the other, without pause.

There are, out of the hundreds of channels, two or three still supported by a small amount of public funding and donations. But increasingly making money dominates the airwaves, leaving us, the American public, with only the choice of changing channels, or turning it off.

Our public lands are under attack: deforestation, grazing in our parks, mining fracking, selling off huge pieces of land, over-use by an ever-growing population – polluting rivers, lakes, and even the ocean.

And, of course, lest we get wise and vote in a government that will preserve these great bounties for us and future generations, there is now a concerted effort to wreck our postal service, so that not enough of us can vote comfortably by mail! President Trump is the tip of the sledge hammer …

WHEN WILL WE WAKE UP????

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FYI! Love PBS’s FRONTLINE:

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Still haven’t bought SHOOT OUT THE LIGHTS! Must own this classic! – Rose

Who Killed Worcester’s Travis Monroe?

By Christi Berry

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Travis as a little boy. photos submitted.

People know what happened. They know the favor they asked to have done and yet, as a parent, I ask you: What if it was your child dead? Would you like the idea that someone could cash in a chip on your life?

October 1, 2006, is a day beginning with disbelief that the knock on the door was to inform me that my son was dead. Not my son, Travis! He was not a child of high risk to be found dead in the road.

Thirteen years since his death, and facts that I learned have left me shocked. To learn the issues of how the systems, have a save space of lead way to hide behind, filled with loop de loops to help them not do their jobs properly: it is called “Administrative Issues.”

Administrative Issues has been the key points of loopholes to ensure no accountability and arrests in the death of Travis is my true feeling, and there are some issues that an inexperienced mother is able to find in sanitized files. So imagine what one would be able to uncover and correct, if they wanted to address the miscarriage of justice?

This case has disclosed issues of chain of custody, failure to follow protocols … and prejudice statements circle the wagon early on – blaming the victim and ready to lay this case to rest as a hit and run before the medical examiner ruled the manner of my son’s death.

How come a system can protect their own agenda, mistakes, mis-justice – to protect one another, as they express no value for Travis’s life.

Travis’s life mattered! Abd I am here to ensure that his life brings out Progressivism in the mistakes and rebuilding, as I did with the Abby Foster Kelly Charter School. Travis’s Monroe life has made change toward Civil Rights … equality. In his death, the movement is going to move forward until we can get accountability. This is my gift from God and my purpose, and for that I was blessed with the gift of my son Travis.

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Mother and Son

Facts: the police knocked on the door and told them they knew it 99.9% because someone else, (a substitute teacher) had made an Official Identification of my son. I know I went to the hospital to identify Travis and still in disbelief it was my child. Seeing ink on his hands – knowing he had been fingerprinted and remember how sad that made me feel. Wow it took his death to still allow them to put his prints in the system.

Travis was a young Black Male, that in his life fingerprints were not in the system – but in death they are – what a double slap to his character as a good kid. At least in his death they could not take away the fact of his choices. His toxic screen showed he made all the right choices: no drug or alcohol in his blood or system. Those are the facts that can never change. My Travis made all the right choices, and yet he lost his life, as if had no value to the city of Worcester.

Facts: on 10/16/2006 UMass Medical Center had to make a Late Entry to Travis’s medical chart: Diagnosis: 1: Presumed pedestrian VS MVC and head trauma 2: death. One should ask why this was done and at whose requests. I believe the reason for this is to blame Travis and help the friend cash in a chip to no legal responsibility to liability.

That was the first Red Flag that the ducks were lining up to protect someone with the wording of “Collision” to remove any responsibility for the driver of the vehicle.

The second one was on December 16, 2006, the Police Department went up to meet with the Medical Examiner Officer to show her what they had to help her determine the manner of death. They were hoping that she would change the death certificate to Motor Vehicle. Facts: this is not a common practice, unless the medical examiner requests it, which she did not.

The outcome from the visit prompted the Worcester Police to write a report to favor what they wanted to have the report say. The Medical Examiner never changed Travis’s Death Certificate. It still legally says the manner of death is Undetermined.

The black and white facts are that Travis did not have to die. There were many encounters with Travis, stumbling within 30 yards – from multiple people see he needed help and that he was stumbling and looking disorientated. Instead, they claimed they feared for their own safety.

Seven people between the hours of 3:30 a.m. and 5:35 a.m. had a chance to make a difference to the outcome of my son’ss life and they did nothing! Instead a teacher driving down the street was the first to called 911 at 5:49 a.m. – report that there was a body in the road and the Fire Department dispatch at 5:49 a.m. and arrived at 5:58 a.m. to find a fracture to Travis’s skull, visible blood from ears, nose, mouth … and his pupils were fixed and dilated. The time from when “Lesperance,” drove away according to his statement at 5:35 and the fire department arriving at 5:58, that 20-minute window cost Travis his life.

My question would be: Why would a person drive away with Travis in the road? to be a risk to the public as well as to his own life?

I know there are young adults who confronted Travis that night and knew he needed help but drove away. I plea with you “Tony’s”: COME FORWARD and tell what you saw that night while you were outside with the girls.

Believe me when I say this: for me, justice is taking responsibility … accountability. These are the principles and fundamentals of how Travis was raised.

What I have seen since District Attorney Joe Early taking office in January of 2007: Travis’s case is no longer being handled as a homicide.

We have been able to show all the loopholes of administrative issues since February 2007 and how his DA office sat on a request to run the DNA found on Travis. Instead, they politely met with me and played the merry go round game to answers to the question that have come up in my internal audit of Travis’s case.

Under the law, I have received a sanitized file of records to most of Travis case file from the police.

However the District’s Attorney Office is not releasing anything.

I do know for a fact that they have not given me the complete file. There has been a lot of finger pointing and no one taking responsibility, and Travis’s case staying in Traffic and listed unofficial CLOSED.

What I would say is there is a lot of good people in the uniform and in the system. However, the systems work on favors, deals and pleas, and sometimes justice is not blind or fair.

Still parts are caught up in a broken structure that needs to be fixed. We must calibrate the scales of justices. Travis did not get scales of justices.

This case has proven to have a conflict of interest and should have been moved out of this Jurisdiction. We know the name of the City employee coming up in the investigation that were given different treatment. The Officer came with prejudices, attitudes and discipline issues – put in the traffic unit to finish out their time to retirement. A lot of the Officers who did the initial investigations have died, moved, retired or made it clear there were a lot of things wrong but they will not speak against a one in ”The Blue Line.”

I been through the chain of command asking and pleading for help.

I have appealed to the Attorney Generals Office, the local FBI office, the State Crime Lab, the Worcester Police Department and District Attorney Joseph Jr. Early’s office. Everyone is aware of the issues in Travis’s cases. Instead, no one wants to do anything, and placing the burden of proof upon me as if I am the defendant in a court case of Monroe Estate verse the Commonwealth.

All I want is for people to correct the mistake and right the wrongs and, with that, make justice for Travis’s life.

The mis-justices do not start or stop at the Police Department “Administrate Issues.” It is deeper rooted, and the roots are woven into the State and federal connections. While each department issues cross cancel out each other failure to follow procedure. This technique was a great plan to dispose of a lot of vital evidence and allows it to be almost impossible to prove each other’s actions – as the time clock to race against a statute of limitations.

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Travis’s mom hopes the new racial awakening in America and Worcester brings her truth and peace of mind.

Travis’s case has reached the statute of limitations, if his death was a hit and run in 2011. What I don’t understand is why we have a system that is designed and structured with the power to do the right thing, and yet they all protect each other and not the people they are sworn to protect. Travis death and the death of others are just another reason why our social system of inequity needs to change.

We need to change the scale of justice and the process to justice. It is time that the truth comes to light and we must help shine a light to breaking the cycle to social injustice to all.

Again I ask you: What if the shoe was on the other foot and someone killed someone you loved?

It is time to do the right thing, step up and Speak Up and give Travis a voice.

He would have stepped up for you.

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Travis

Worcester School Committee member John Monfredo writes, Chef Joey cooks🍾 +🎶🎶

During the Pandemic: WHAT WILL THE NEW WPS NORMAL BE? Call it: The “Now Normal”!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee

As schools across our state and nation continue to plan for the fall, many wonder just what will take place. What is the new normal??? But as Juliette Kayyem, a CNN national Homeland Security, said: “I call it the Now Normal because I think every day is going to be different.”

The new normal of the present is anything but normal. Much of the nation is looking at online learning as a means to deliver instruction to students who are at home. Thus, the new normal at the present time will be online learning.
As a school committee member, I worry about another wave of infection as more of society opens up. I see digital technology continuing to play a major role in education, as well as other aspects of our society. Zoom is now a household name with so many meetings and educational learning taking place.

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Many Worcester children and their parents look to our public schools for more than books and recess time. file photos: Rose T.

For the time being the new normal will be about on-line learning, and the schools will have to have the necessary tools for our educators to support learning. Another new normal, I hope, will be more interaction between teachers and parents. Many parents will need training on how to assist their child at home via digital learning. So schools will need to set up workshops for our parents.

Collaboration and partners are essential in sustaining learning instruction -especially during this crisis. Teachers are our experts on instruction and will need to do all that they can see that our students are making progress.

I do have a deep concern for those parents living in poverty and the many barriers that make it difficult to support their children in the educational process. Parents are the child’s first and most influential teachers, and educators need to reach out and include them in the learning process. Educators must reach out to these parents and encourage them to continue to support their child with praise and love. In addition, we need to make sure that these families have Internet access, for the Worcester Public Schools will equip every student with a Chromebook this fall.

Another vulnerable group will be our SPED students and our ELL students, for they will need additional support from our school district. The new normal will be for the schools to interact with social agencies and inner-faith groups to work with them in the delivery of service to the children. Perhaps these organizations can also run after-school programs to assist children in need of services.

The bottom line is that teachers, parents and community leaders will have to work together to tackle the countless issues of learning during this global health crisis.

Most importantly, as Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said, “The new normal and the old normal share a most important belief: Quality learning needs to be the focus of the work .”

The New Normal will continue to be social distancing, refraining from hugging and shaking hands. Again, this is most difficult when working with younger children. Let’s look at other ways of showing affection, perhaps by placing one hand on our heart and saying something comforting.

The new normal will continue to have all students and teachers wear facial masks to school.

In addition, more hand-washing will take place, as well as deep-cleaning/sanitizing the school building.

According the American Academy of Pediatrics the following guidelines were issued regarding the opening of schools…Schools should:

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces

Have students wash their hands often

Desks should be 3 to 6 feet apart

Teachers move from one classroom to another, not the students

Lunches eaten at their desks

Use outdoor spaces when possible

Facial masks for all adults and students

Flexibility to go virtual, if the virus surges

So, will the WPSchools open with the new normal?

I hope we don’t open in-person until we see a two-week downward trend in the virus. When our public schools do open, our schools will need to assist families by doing the following:

📚Over-communicate what they can expect before they return …

📗… have a period early in the school year where students can talk about their emotions and feelings …

📘… be consistent with instruction …

🖊Establish a strong relationship with the students and families … and reach out as often as you can to assure parents that their child is alright

😊… give parents ideas that they can do in assisting their child at home

😊… for those parents who have remote learning, check again to be sure that the teacher is constantly in touch, and find ways to assist those children who are having difficulty with their studies.

It may be the new normal for our schools, but let’s hope we can get back to a normal school day sooner rather than later!

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EVERY WPS STUDENT SHOULD BE GIVEN A FREE WRTA BUS PASS FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR DURING THE PANDEMIC. THIS MAY MAKE TRANSPORTING STUDENTS TO AND FROM OUR SCHOOLS AT DIFFERENT TIMES SAFER, AS SCHOOL BUSES CAN TRANSPORT NO MORE THAN 20 STUDENTS AT A TIME.

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FROM CHEF JOEY …

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Chef Joey knows how to savor sweet life!!

SWEET POTATO STICKS!

text+pics by Chef Joey

Side dishes are an important part of any meal or gathering, and with covid-sized upgrades, it is more important than ever to watch what we eat and how we prepare it.

A bag of sweet potato or even regular potatoes is inexpensive and can yield quite a large amount of side dishes. One of my summer favorites is sweet potato sticks – not fries, as they are baked!

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Yummy – and healthier than French fries!

Cut the potatoes into strips, toss in sunflower oil, and season with salt and pepper. Better yet, experiment with Montreal seasonings:

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Be creative when you cook your daily meals!

Bake 375 F for 30 minutes, until cooked. You have a light healthy side! Enjoy!

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Joey unwinding after a long day parenting and caring for his elderly mom and running a pet-filled, happy household!

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I saw Dave Brubeck and his players about 10 years ago at Mechanics Hall with the “Old Beau,” who had had a long day running his carpentry/contracting biz before the concert that evening (a week night). I turn to him to say something – he is fast asleep, head back, mouth open, snoring softly.💓 – Rose T.

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New column from Ronny🇺🇸 …+ more🗽

Ancillary “Costs”

By Ron O’Clair

An 18-year-old youth by the name of Bryan Beras apparently was lying in wait for two victims of a street shooting in front of my Main South building, The Charlton, the other day …

All the while being under constant video surveillance, which was used to help secure an arrest after the fact of a double shooting. You could see in the video that the first shooting victim had walked by the van the shooter was in and was apparently called back by the shooter.

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Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent. file photo R.O.

When the victim walked over to the open door of the van, he was immediately shot in the chest, whereupon the shooter ran after his walking companion in the opposite direction, firing more shots as he did.

It was quite apparent from the video images that there was some bad blood between the two victims and the shooter.

What is not seen in the videos is the damages that were caused to other people.

People not involved in the dispute between the victims and the shooter, such as the lady who is struggling to survive running the Beauty Salon at 711 Main Street. She has been informed by the owner of the building that, as a business operator, she is supposed to carry insurance to cover such damages to the property. As a consequence, she will be required to replace the plate glass window that got shot out.

This is not the first time that plate glass windows have been shot through in that location, and sad to say, probably will not be the last either.

So here is this struggling hair stylist nearly wiped out in the closings because of the corona virus, struggling to make a living who has to come up with money to pay for a window that never should have been broken in the first place.

The way I see it, this woman is as much a victim of street crime as are those who actually got shot.

Therefore, I called up the District Attorney’s Office to see if she could qualify for funds set aside for crime victims to help compensate them for being victims of street crime.
Hopefully, the D.A.’s Office can find the funds to pay for the shot-out plate glass window for this struggling small business owner who is lucky she or one of her own customers were not in the line of fire.

On top of the shot-out window, the building was vandalized with graffiti after the incident, on the front of the building and also on the Charlton Street side where they loaded the shooting victim into the car to take him to the hospital.

I don’t know if it is associates of the shooter or the victims that “tagged” the building and one of the businesses out front, but I highly doubt that it is just coincidental, coming as it did immediately in the aftermath of the news footage I released being shown on the media. Another ancillary expense that will require someone not involved in the dispute to pay out of pocket to repair the damage done to private property. As the building’s superintendent, if I fail to remove the graffiti, the City of Worcester will issue an order compelling me to remove it within 7 days or face fines and further court actions.

I am sure that young Mr. Beras will not even spend a dime on restitution having caused all of this by his selfish act of cowardice using a firearm to settle what should have been done with his fists like a real man would have. Any idiot can pull a trigger and ruin their entire life by doing so like this boy has done.

Everyone should know by now that everything is recorded 24/7/365 by video camera in this whole area of Main South because of all the previous trouble with street crime. Maybe he was not aware of the video camera coverage. It is possible, but these days, people should assume they are being filmed and act accordingly in public.

So here is this 18-year-old BOY, who most likely has a “baby momma” with at least one child of his out there somewhere. He undoubtedly has a mother and father who will miss him and his company as he spends the best days of his young life behind bars for attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. Some more ancillary victims affected by this senseless act of rage. Committed in anger over something inconsequential in the grand scheme of life.

All in all, Worcester is very fortunate that we still have concerned and caring neighborhoods that help look out for the people that live here. We are also fortunate to have a competent police force that continually strives to become better and more reactive to the community concerns raised at neighborhood crime watch meetings held throughout the City of Worcester. I have attended many of these meetings myself (where I met the present chief) over the years of being tasked as “building superintendent” of a commercial/residential property on Main Street, and I have been an active citizen activist for change within the Worcester Police Department since 01 October 1986 when I was 25 and had valid reason to be concerned due to events that befell me at that time.

Many people don’t see it, but we have made considerable progress since that time. Help us make it even better – Attend your next scheduled community crime watch meeting and bring up your own points at it regarding your own experiences with the WPD and crime in your own neighborhoods. This is a much more effective way to make change than “protest marching.”

If you have an area that is a hot spot of illegal activity, the addition of surveillance cameras can help reduce crime in that area like it did in my own little section of Main Street. Once the criminals realize they are being observed, they will find somewhere else to be, or wind up jailed for their own actions caught on camera.

Of course, you have to be willing and able to stand up for what is right in the face of numerous threats of violence and retribution from the criminal elements that try to intimidate people. Scare you into not following through with your own civic duty. To assist the police in maintaining order in your community. It is your civic duty to call the police if you see a crime and be willing to show up in a Court of Law to prosecute the guilty who continually try to destroy our communities with illegal drugs and criminal activities of all kinds.

When the citizens/police stop helping each other, what you end up with is like what you find in places like Chicago, Illinois, where there are more and more murders being committed each year. Don’t let Worcester become another Chicago. Do your part as a citizen and help your community thrive.

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FYI:

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Green Island Gold

By Rosalie Tirella

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Rose’s kid sister “Mary,” to the left of the pony, in the big play area of the Girls Club – or Winthrop House – on Vernon Hill with chubby sis Rose, far right, and twin sis standing next to Rose.

My sister, who lives outside Boston, has Parkinson’s Disease. I got the news about three weeks ago. Still “processing” it but have given up trying to figure out how I can SAVE her, how, as my wont, I can jump in and RESCUE “Mary,” make this awful sickness go away, like I tried to do for my late mom when she got sick. My kid sister, like all of us in the family, came up tough, so she is pretty stoic – her stoicism wrapped in HOPE and her love of God. So, like our late mother would do, probably like I would do, too, she is keepin’ keepin’ on: going to work, 9 – 5, Monday – Friday, except that now a special needs van picks her up and takes her to her job in the human services, which she LOVES, and brings her home at the end of her work day … going to church on Sunday, cleaning her apartment, being a part of her parish’s prayer group …

My sister, like our late mom, always loved to work. She got her first job at 14 1/2 (her new social security card and work card in her new Whites Five and Ten vinyl wallet) on Millbury Street working as a clerk at Commercial Fruit Store, working for one of her favorite bosses – “Macho,” a Greek(?) immigrant who was funny, loving/gruff and opinionated, spouting critiques of his customers and family who worked by his side and falling over little patches of ice in the big Commercial walk-in freezer. His goofy insults were delivered in jumbled, half-English “Machoisms” that my sister loved to share with us all, after she walked home from work, still wearing her mint green sales girl smock (proudly, I think). “Phillip, where you know … ” my sister would yell in a thick trippy accent or, because Macho was short, squat and had the butt of a picnic table, big and squarish, my kid sister would have fun backing into our kitchen the way Macho would back out of his Commericial Fruit freezer, butt first and swishing back and forth, his own bustling bustle, if you can imagine it. We all laughed at her Macho impressions! She was skinny but everyone could see Macho in her!!

Macho treated my sister like family and, even during her college years, Mary worked for him and his family with LOVE, reveling in the Christmas holiday spirit at the shop where, under soft yellow flourescent lights and surrounded by all matter of fruit beautifully displayed on sky-blue-painted staircase shelves that circled the entire little store she made holiday fruit gift basketd. Amid all the laughs, orders and the silly Machoisms flying in the middle of that Millbury Street staple (located next door to Lisbon’s Shoe Store), Mary made gigantic fruit baskets. Easy! She would take a ton of delicious Commercial fruit, a can of mixed nuts, a package of sweet, sticky, pitted dates and artfully place then arrange them in a big basket with big arched handle. Then she’d wrap it all in clear or colored cellophane wrap and shiny Christmas ribbon – then top it off with a big red or green bow secured to the top of the handle. Saw her work her magic a few times. Sometimes after school at Burncoat High, I’d visit. Mary was always industrious and smiling. She was the pretty one, with high forehead and straight teeth and pretty smile. She loved to walk downtown on a Saturday snd buy herself a pretty dress at Filenes Basement – and often a little gift for Ma and me.

Of course, my sister gave all her pay check to our mother, a single working mom struggling to keep our poor little gang together with her own minimum wage job at the drycleaners down the street. Our peripatetic Daddy was “with” us during our junior and high school years, but he left our Lafayette Street flat each morning, after Ma made and served him his breakfast, with his own agenda and itinerary. A job to help support wife, three kids and old granny definitely not on his list. So Mary, at 14 1/2 years old, was the Daddy.

Mary was so generous. She would, as they used to say, “give you the shirt off her back.” Ma raised her to be selfless, but it also came naturally to Mary, I think. She just loved to give. She was the kind daughter. Our downstairs neighbor was told our mother, with emotion in her voice: “She’s gold.”

Mary learned, through her early experience on Lafayette Street, that giving is its own reward, kinda like the way I felt when I gave out around 100 new donated hats and scarves to Worcester’s homeless folks this past winter. When I first got my first batch of donations from gal pal Dorrie, I winced and felt: This is going to be uncomfortable. BUT IT WASN’T! IT FELT GREAT!! TO GIVE SOMETHING TO SOMEONE WHO REALLY NEEDED IT, TO FEEL THEIR THANKFULNESS, to have them come up to you and say, BLESS YOU! THANK YOU, ‘MAM! THANK YOU FOR BEING SO NICE!

It was only a hat!

I got hooked on the love! I asked my friends for more donations, even got a beautiful long fake sheepskin winter coat, like new, AND GAVE IT TO A SLIP OF A WOMAN SITTING UNDER the Green Street Bridge. I would drive by in the dead of winter and see her in jacket coughing her head off … FOR HER, A WARM COAT …

Mary would do this years before it all became trendy. When I was in college, she would go to Charlies Surplus sports store on Water Street and buy and send me a half dozen pair of white basketball tube socks. I didn’t play basketball and they went up to my knees, but I loved them. Charlie’s!! When I successfully completed my first year at college, she sent me a dozen roses from her and Ma. She would give our loser father money, if her asked for it! Right after college, holding her first professional job, Daddy put the pinch to her – and Mary gave our loser father $800! A lot of dough back then! I went nuts! He is so awful! I said to her. GET IT BACK! She just looked at me and shrugged her shoulders …

So my other sister calls me last week with a similar gripe: “Mary is giving money to people she meets on the T! And on the streets! I told her: ‘You need the money!’ ”

I could hear the panic in my sister’s voice, but I was PROUD of Mary. And moved. Our Mary – as radical as ever! I could never be that GREAT. It was like standing next to my kid sis on Lafayette Street, by the old Philco, laughing about Macho, marveling at her sweet pretty smile. I said to my other sis: “It’s her money. Let her spend it the way she likes. This makes her happy. The people are grateful, they love her.”

Then I hung up my phone and said out loud to no one in particular: “Gold.”

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Amherst: Rose, left, with kid sister “Mary” who came to visit Rose on Rose’s graduation day from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst.

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New column by Edith📚! 🌺 + more🗽🎶

Challenging Our Assumptions

By Edith Morgan

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Edith taught elementary school in Shrewsbury for many years and served on the Worcester School Committee – and was a foster mom for many years.

In a month, we will be trying to return our WPS students to some sort of education – whether in school, at home in “virtual” classes, or a hybrid. The main purpose of all this jockeying is to keep our children safe from the novel coronavirus, at least until it is abated enough and until we have a tried, tested and trustworthy vaccine, which is available to all, at affordable prices.

This month should be a great opportunity to question our basic assumptions and see if there are some major changes which we ought to consider, in answer to these questions.

The truth is that for many working parents, the school day is a safe and trusted place to park our children while we work. So our first priority should be to ensure that we have ALL children under our care from about 8 a.m. to about 4 p.m.

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WPSchools may be open to students two or three days a week. pics: R.T.

Second: What situation in adult life requires us to sit for hours in groups, where we can not talk to others, the seats and desks being all the same size in each grade, and now to be six feet apart?

What do we learn under these conditions? Is this an optimum learning environment? Is there any evidence that this is the best way to acquire skills and information? Or is that just the cheapest and easiest way – regardless of how inappropriate that is?

Third: This is the 21st century, and we are still, for the most part, using curriculum materials that are, if they ever really were, appropriate for the last century.

Our children are woefully unprepared to think clearly for themselves, to understand how their city, state and federal government work … and what their rights and responsibilities as citizens are. Is a mandated civics class really enough?

Fourth: Since we are no longer mostly farmers, why are we still on the old farm schedule, with time of when the crops have to be brought in – what is the magic about 180 days of school? What are we supposed to specifically learn in that period of time? And what research tells us that all our children learn the same things at the same speed and efficiency, at the same chronological age? Why do those students who take longer have to be failed, with that failure following them all their lives?

Fifth: If we are creating lifelong learners and citizens able to function in a democracy, are our schools structured so that our students have less freedom to make decisions as they get up in the grades? Kindergarten classes are far less restrictive than high schools! And the students learn a lot more!

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For hundreds of Worcester kids, school is the safest and healthiest place to be!

Sixth: If we are to have charge of all the children all day, why do we not use all the great facilities the city offers and get the students out of the classroom? Even outdoors for early autumn … Could we work out a schedule where we use our city parks, libraries, Audubon sites, theaters, monuments, etc to teach in Real Life?

Bag lunches could be given to all students, as well as face masks and hand-washing materials …

Most of us learn SO MUCH outside the classroom – and continue to do so!

A long time ago, someone asked what would be the ideal educational system, and the reply was ”Johns Hopkins on one end of a log and the student on the other.” Think about that.

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FYI:

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The outbreak next door? … and more🇺🇸🎶

By Gemma Vaughan

Long before the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans, presumably in a live-animal market, people were getting sick from animals right in their own homes. People who feel the need to obtain an exotic “pet” are putting themselves at risk — from E. coli, salmonella, ringworm, campylobacter and other pathogens — and relegating wild animals to an unnatural and miserable existence.

Zoonoses — diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals — make up approximately three-quarters of today’s emerging infectious diseases, and many of them have originated in exotic animals, including those sold as pets. Wild animals imported into the United States for the pet trade may harbor a host of unknown viral, bacterial or parasitic pathogens. Most imported animals are not quarantined and are minimally screened for disease. After a 2003 outbreak of monkeypox that sickened dozens of people across multiple states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracked the source to a legal shipment of African rodents intended for the pet trade.

Removing wild animals from their native habitats and forcing them to live in an artificial environment — our homes — is an outbreak waiting to happen. As a CDC scientist put it, “A wild animal will be in the bush, and in less than a week it’s in a little girl’s bedroom.”

Even animals thought to be innocuous pose serious risks. While they don’t show any symptoms of illness, an estimated 90% of reptiles harbor salmonella, which is a nasty type of bacteria. Typical symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Other complications can include sepsis, septic arthritis, meningitis — and even death. Attempts to eliminate salmonella in reptiles with antibiotics have been unsuccessful and have led to increased antibiotic resistance.

Herpesviruses, tuberculosis and rabies have been found in many different species of primates. “Pocket pets” like sugar gliders can harbor giardiasis, leptospirosis, clostridiosis and toxoplasmosis. Seemingly benign hedgehogs carry a variety of external and internal parasites, including ringworm.

The exotic pet trade is deadly for animals, too. A study published by the U.K.’s Society of Biology found that at least 75% of pet snakes, lizards, tortoises and turtles die within one year of being acquired — likely from the stress of captivity.

Animals suffer long before they find themselves in someone’s home. International dealers who supply animal “inventory” to U.S. pet store chains often house animals in huge, dark, rank warehouses. One massive exotic-animal wholesale facility in Texas stored tens of thousands of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and arachnids in severely crowded and filthy boxes, bins, troughs and even soda bottles. Treated like car parts, they were denied food, water and veterinary care. Authorities shut this outfit down after a PETA undercover investigation exposed the appalling conditions.

PETA also documented conditions at a reptile breeding mill in Ohio that supplies frogs, lizards, turtles and other animals to pet store chains. Animals there were deprived of water for days or even weeks. Sick and injured animals never received veterinary care, even when their injured limbs were rotting off or they had wounds full of maggots. At a massive Pennsylvania dealer that supplies hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas, ferrets and other small animals to hundreds of pet stores across the eastern U.S., the stench of ammonia was so strong that it burned federal agents’ eyes and noses, and staff admitted that they had learned to kill unwanted animals “on the internet.”

Allowing the public to buy, sell, breed and keep exotic species is dangerous to us and harmful to the animals. The time for the federal government to impose laws to end this deadly cycle is long overdue. If not now, with the coronavirus running rampant, when?

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One of my fave lps:

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♥️ pic: Rose T.


♥️

“IT’S A RIOT, Alice!! IT’S A RIOT!!!”

By Rosalie Tirella

Too hot out to do anything (90 degrees here in the city) except hang out in my shack and lounge with the dogs …

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Lilac lounging on Rose’s bed as Rose writes this blog post. pics: Rose T.

… and kitty Cece … three rotating electric fans on, HONEYMOONERS videos playing, making me smile, chuckle …. LOVE my Honeymooners. The TV show is 70 years old, in black and white, primitive set, picture grainy … you can see the beads of sweat trickle down Jackie Gleason’s heavy bulldog face as he acts his heart out under those bright, hot spotlights. He was inventing this new medium, Television, along with Lucy and Desi and Uncle Milty. … Gleason was also doing therapy on himself, bringing back to life HIS impoverished childhood in NYC … his struggling family, the early family deaths … he was channeling his Irish American father who was poor and died early leaving the young Jackie to support the family. My late mother loved Gleason. Now I understand why. Now I do, too.

I have my fave Honey Mooners episode on now:

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SONGWRITERS.

The beautiful SONGWRITERS.

An atypical Honeymooners episode. The shows usually revolved around more homespun themes: Ralph forgets his wedding anniversary, Ralph wants to get the $50 that is in his old coat pocket, the old coat Alice just donated to the Salvation Army … Ralph and Norton buy a neighborhood candy store … The two couples, city slickers, go camping … Ralph and Norton have a fight and stop speaking to each other … Ralph and Alice almost, almost, adopt a baby girl abandoned on Ralph’s bus.

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♥️

This show, for me, the best Honeymooners show, hands down, transcends all that. A Lost Epidode, but one that lets me find myself and America over and over again!

In it, Ralph and Norton buy a piano and they decide they are the next Rodgers and Hammerstein. Songwriters! From Brooklyn!! Sure, there are the usual fun Honeymooner bits: the hilarious Norton gestures and flailing arms, the make-up kiss Ralph plants on his pretty wife’s lips at the end of each episode, the trusty Trixie playing sounding board to the exasperated Alice, the fat jokes, the sewer jokes, but … Something about SONGWRITERS, for me

The show opens with the boys at their weekly RACOONs meeting; a professional songwriter visits these NYC blue collar Elks to deliver the new Raccoon theme song he wrote special for them. The Raccoons president pays him $100 for the song!! For a simple little ditty! Ralph’s eyes bulge – especially after the songwriter tells Ralph the $100 is peanuts for him – you make the big bucks as a professional songwriter: from royalties, radio play, records.

The boys think: THIS IS A SNAP! We can do this!! Norton has a way with the piano, he can play a song on a piano right after he hears it. Ralph used to write his own Valentine’s cards when he was in grammar school!

So the boys take the money with which Ralph was going to buy a new refrigerator for his apartment – the old icebox’s door fell off again – and buy a new upright piano. It is delivered to their apartment the next day when Ralph’s at work:

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When Alice, at home being a wife, sees the huge delivery box in her kitchen, she thinks it’s a new fridge. Ralph comes home, pulls off the front and Alice pulls on her ENRAGED, I MARRIED A DOPE persona. Just a mask. …: “RALPH, GET RID OF THAT PIANO!!”

Ralph responds with his I Make the Money – I’m King of This Castle bellow: “Don’t tell me what to do!” GET OUTA THE WAY, ALICE! SONGWRITERS AT WORK!!

This 20 minute Honey Mooners episode says it all: America, the poor America, the dreaming America, the upward-bound America, the Great Depression America – before and after FDR. Back then, all of Hollywood’s writers and directors and the Broadway songsters ACTUALLY DID HAIL FROM BACKGROUNDS LIKE RALPH’S. They were often poor Jews, Eastern Europeans from THE BIG CITY GHETTO. FIRST GENERATION AMERICANS – or immigrants – that the rest of America looked down on, laughed at even: Irving Berlin, Billy Wilder, Herman Mankowitz, to name a few. Ethnic poor boy geniuses … who could self-actualize in the great, shiny America! Bloom here, change their names and work their genius, become rich and buy mansions in new beautiful neighborhoods in their new beautiful country! And they wrote the most beautiful American movies and songs! Movies we still watch and love, like SUNSET BOULEVARD or THE APARTMENT. Or songs we still sing with affection. Tunes that have the best lyrics and are a joy to chirp, like I’LL TAKE MANHATTEN! … Ralph and Norton were being realistic when Ralph bought that piano!


I’ll take it!


♥️

I also, in this lost HM episode, still see American city poverty. I see my Lafayette Street childhood. Irving Berlin’s and Jackie Gleason’s, too: the drab, old kitchen where ALL the important discussions took place. Where all the fights happened. All the hugs exchanged, all the kisses planted – demurely and passionately. For 17 years I did my Worcester Public Schools, K – 12, homework at our kitchen table, our old, round-cornered refridgerator up against the wall, humming in the background, Ma peeling potatoes for our beef stew over at the gas stove, Bapy’s Jesus picture from Poland nailed crookedly above the small fridge. Me, a kid, looking up at the Jesus picture, Jesus’s arms raised, his heart pierced and bleeding like in an x ray. I feel safe and content. In the ghetto.

In the ghetto kitchen impoverished lives unfolded. Didn’t happen in a living room, or a shrink’s office, or at a restaurant booth, or even in the confessional booth at St. Mary’s church! Nope. It all happened IN THE BIG KITCHEN, just like at the Kramdens. You opened your back door – really your front door – and walked right into your kitchen. The biggest room in your tenement. Communal. Community. Family. Food. Love. Plans. Disappointments. Coffee. Warm stove. … Bedrooms were small – meant only for sleeping. Bathrooms small,too, corridor-like – 100 per cent utilitarian! No spa-like experience ever in our Lafayette Street bathroom!

But I digress: Back to Ralph and Norton. They are in their big kitchen, Norton seated at their upright piano, Ralph hovering over the piano. They are trying to compose a tune. Create.

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Norton is driving Ralph crazy with his musical warm-ups. Ralph is reciting his grammar school poetry: “ears as soft as a bunny’s…” he sings. … The night wears on. The piano goes back to the music store tomorrow. The boys are getting nowhere…singing snippets, Norton tinkling the ivories …

Then a neighbor upstairs in their building starts screaming: SHUT UP! YOU HAVE NO TALENT! Another: I CAN’T SLEEP!! Ralph gives it back to them, yelling: “McGarrity, you wouldn’t know a good song if you heard one!” McGarrity: “Why don’t you try me, Ralph?!”

… and this married dame in the building … her baby cries all night and keeps Ralph up! Why is she carping?! Ralph runs to the kitchen radiator pipe to hammer it in anger at her. … Then it hits him: His neighbors’ noise, the clanging garbage cans, the banging of radiators, his GHETTO WORLD … That’s the SONG! There’s THE POETRY!!!!

“THE GARBAGE CANS GO CLANG/
THE RADIATORS GO BANG …” Ralph croons.

The boys go with the flow, chronicling their city-living trials and tribulations, but still finding TRUE love, amid the city buses and sewers. They write a great song!:

“A car outside gets a flat/
Someone steps on a cat …

“… You can have your quiet/
It takes a little riot/
to make a house a HOME. …

“IT’S MY LOVE SONG TO YOU.”

Ralph’s love song to his life with Alice and their best friends. Jackie Gleason’s love song to his hardscrabble childhood and a poor but HOPEFUL America … a love song to my ol’ Green Island, too.♥️

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Gleason only filmed 1 Season of The Honeymooners – 39 episodes.


Couldn’t find clip of Ralph and Norton singing the song.

Bill Coleman: Coming together … Rose on “HARRIET”♥️ + more🇺🇸📰🎶

Come Together, Worcester and America!

By Bill Coleman

What will it take to bring us together as a people and as a nation?

America is hurting in so many ways. The novel coronavirus is killing more people every day. Each one of us will be touched by the loss of someone near to us or that of a friend or family member.

What can we do to get through these very challenging times?

We can pray, be kind, refocus on what is really important. Let’s face it: Life is precious and life is short.

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Bill in his younger days when he painted/created American flags with the community all over Worcester County/America. One of his public art 🇺🇸🇺🇸 …

Just the other day we were facing the devastation of the attack on America with 911 in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. – that was nearly 20 years ago. Then the Mid East wars … Now this pandemic. It is not going away any time soon, and Washington politicians better realize it. The Pandemic of 1916-1920s killed more than half a million Americans … This one has killed more than 132,000 …

I hope to help America by helping us be better people. The movement to finally end systemic racism in every day practice will not let up.

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Bill with helpers …

I hope and embrace the effort of us as Americans to see our past and create a new future that breaks the chains that have held us to a sub-human and second class status as a people. For that I have, over the years, painted the American flag on rusted old fences (with permission from local governments), walls, etc in Worcester and 16 states – from Hiram, Maine, to Kauai, Hawaii.

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Bill’s handiwork

Worcester had six of my flags at one time. Now there is just one a fence on Frontage Road, off Lincoln Street.

The good people of Philadelphia invited me to paint an American flag on a 150-foot fence of the
American Legion Ball Field in North East Philadelphia. The summer campers dedicated the flag by saying the Pledge of Allegiance at its dedication.

I hope we come together as caring Americans with a bright future. It will take time and patience, but some day we will all be able to “BREATHE.” Black Lives Matter for all.

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♥️

– William S. Coleman III

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REPARATIONS – NOW

By Rosalie Tirella

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HARRIET: Watch this movie tonight!

RIP, John Lewis.🇺🇸🇺🇸 To honor a GREAT AMERICAN, ONE OF OUR CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS, America must begin to make reparations.

Let us start with FREE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR ALL AFRICAN AMERICANS in our country. DESCENDANTS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN SLAVES. A beginning. … I watched the film HARRIET two nights ago. …

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HARRIET DVD cover♥️

Wonderful film – not as harrowing or intense as it could have been, but the filmmakers said they wanted their movie HOPEFUL. And it is. It is rated PG 13 – perfect for all junior and senior high students. Should be shown in all American schools – public and private. THE BRUTAL REALITY WAS CONVEYED in this beautifully acted movie – it MADE ME REALIZE WE NEED TO MAKE REPARATIONS. Now. Please watch this movie with your kids this weekend!

Here in Worcester we can begin with FREE Worcester State University and Quinsigamond Community College for all DESCENDANTS OF SLAVES. Our Black brothers and sisters. NOW. White folks, especially our fat glue pot politicians, know how to make the system work for them. They must SHARE THE WEALTH. Former Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller made all the right calls and got her daughter a history professor job at Worcester State University (WSU) on the West Side. T and G ACE COLUMNIST Jim Dempsey (he told me) COULD NOT GET A TEACHING JOB at WSU WHEN HE RETIRED FROM THE NEWSPAPER – that is how “connected” you must be – but operator/political Haller got her daughter in alright. Her daughter is even head of the professors’ union…more politics. Haller’s daughter has a great job, great pay – for life. Pathetic. … WHY NOT HAVE BARBARA’S DAUGHTER – WHOSE KID IS NAMED HARRIET – give back? Why not have her do the right thing and PUSH FOR FREE COLLEGE CLASSES AND BOOKS for all of Worcester’s Black, African Americans at WSU? Now. The City must follow thru. … WHITES HAVE FEATHERED THEIR NESTS FOR CENTURIES. Haller and her daughter are a bold example of that. Why not have them do FOR Worcester BLACKS WHAT Babs DID FOR her DAUGHTER?