Tag Archives: incitytimesworcester.org

Community! Real, live, hands-on volunteer opportunities at REC

recThe hipsters at REC know so much about FOOD JUSTICE and bringing great, local produce into the city –  making it accessible to all and affordable for our low-income families, too! Truly multicultural, spanning the economic spectrum –  REC rocks!!

Get your hands dirty/busy in Worcester community gardens, farmers markets, community programs… and learn! Volunteers wanted at REC – the Regional Environmental Council! Not to just push a business on Facebook but to actually show up, be a part of, work at the REC farmers markets, as well as their many community gardens or programs for inner-city kids!

Not some phony public relations blitz that doesn’t want you personally working their farmers market but wants you pushing their brand on social media … REC offers Worcesterites A REAL CHANCE TO GET INVOLVED! All hands welcome! For real!

Volunteer at the YouthGROW Farm!

Open Greenhouse – (check REC website for hours)

Also Mark Your Calendar For:

June 14th REC Main South Market Opening Day!

June 16th REC Beaver Brook Market Opening Day!

June 17th REC Mobile Market Opening Day!

Grow Your Community!

Support REC!

CLICK HERE to visit the REC website and learn more!

Make Valentines with the Worcester Historical Museum at the Worcester Public Library!

Annual event!

FREE! Materials provided!

Parents, please bring kids in grades three to six!

Your kids can enter their Valentines in the Worcester Historical Museum annual Valentines contest!

Materials provided!

Today, January 7, at the Tatnuck school branch library –  4 p.m.

Next Tuesday, January 13, at the Roosevelt school branch library – 4 p.m.

MAIN LIBRARY, 3 SALEM SQUARE Wednesday, January 14 –  4 pm

GREAT BROOK VALLEY BRANCH, Thursday, January 15 – 4 pm

GODDARD School BRANCH, January 20 – 4 pm

The Worcester Public Library offers hundreds of FREE workshops for adults and kids! All year long! At all its branches! Craft classes, language classes, career workshops, computer workshops! Plus movies, reading groups, puppet shows, etc. FREE! Fun for the whole family!

For more information go to their EVENTS PAGE on their website worcpublib.org or … CLICK HERE 

… or call them at 508.799.1655

Want to make sure farmers markets in the inner-city accept SNAP, WIC – are inclusive? Then …

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The cool, knowledgeable young folks at REC will be running a workshop at POLLINATE. Their topic? Making city farmers markets more inclusive, open to surrounding low-income families of or near the neighborhood. Making the trendy foody culture accessible to all! Here are some of REC’s food-justice heroes!

… attend POLLINATE

at Holy Cross college 

January 13

8:30 am to 4:30 pm

A ton of cool topics to be discussed, including how to counter gentrification of farmers markets in inner-city neighborhoods …

Registration closes on January 7

Reserve your spot today!

Join over 300 other enthusiastic farm to cafeteria advocates from the preschool, K-12, and college sectors for a full day of workshops, networking, cooking demonstrations, and fun. We will have over 20 different workshops including:

Farm to School Policy and Advocacy

Farm to School Curriculum Connections

Waste Reduction, Composting Organics, and School Gardens

Funding Farm to School Programs

Farm Based Education Initiatives – Urban and Rural Farm Field Trips

The conference will also include Farm to Cafeteria Regional Networking Sessions so that you can connect with others in your community who are involved in farm to cafeteria activities.

Learn from their best practices, share your own tips, and move forward together!

We will be holding a concurrent Buyer Tradeshow and Networking Session for Farmers and Distributors. This will be a great opportunity to make direct connections with farmers from your region and discuss local sourcing with distributors.

Registration closes on January 7th and is filling up quickly as we have a limit of 350 attendees. Register online today to secure your spot. Discounts are available for students.

CLICK HERE to register and for more information!

Massachusetts Farm to School

34 Main Street, Suite 10

Amherst, MA 01002

FOOD JUSTICE NOW!

In 2015: What Worcester City Council candidates NEED to discuss

By Gordon T. Davis

Oversight of the Worcester Police Department 

Oversight of the police does not mean that the police are doing anything bad. It does mean that what the cops do should be transparent to the residents of Worcester.

Right now not even the police can say that their efforts are successful or effective or not. It is unlikely that the City will set up such oversight, given Worcester City Councilor Konstantina Luke’s petition of support for the police department. The WPD should be overseen, if for no other reason than for the Worcester City Council to fulfill its duty to set policy.  How can policy be set if no one can say for certain what is going on?

Perhaps with the Ferguson demonstrations of 2014, a non-governmental agency will find the political strength to oversee the WPD’s policy.

The Start of the School to Jobs Pipeline.

There has been a lot of talk about a school to prison pipeline. This “pipeline”  has a disparately negative impact on the dark-skinned and poor children of Worcester. It is certainly true that more school discipline is being resolved by police arrests,  adversely affecting many students. It is a certainty that no Worcester city council candidate will talk about the school to prison pipeline.

It is time to talk about the school to jobs pipeline. There are many groups in the city that work with children, providing mentoring and other help. These groups include the United Way, CAC, YWCA, YMCA, The Friendly House and many others.  It might be time to coordinate these efforts and have the different agencies work in a more coordinated manner to make sure every child gets what she or he needs to graduate high school, become gainfully employed and lead a successful life. Every child at risk should have a mentor, and every child should have something worthwhile to do after school.

The Franchise for Worcester Residents

Many Worcester residents are not citizens of the United States. Neither Massachusetts nor Worcester has citizens; the people who live here are residents. Which means that some residents of Worcester cannot vote in Worcester only elections such as  the City Council and School Committee races.   A large proportion of the City’s residents are not represented by the City Council, although Councilors will say they listen to everyone.  Residents of Worcester who cannot vote send their children to the Worcester Public Schools, have their streets plowed by the Worcester  DPW and PAY TAXES, just like citizens. This seems to violate the principle of the American Revolution: “No taxation without representation.” Although unlikely to be taken up by any Worcester political candidate, I look forward to this discussion.

Bill Coleman 

I hope to see William (Bill) Coleman run for Worcester City Council again. He and I disagree when it comes to our world outlooks, but we agree on so many of the details. Such as the need to mitigate the harm done to families when a family member becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Bill is one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to Worcester or the political history of the City of Worcester. More so than several of our present city councillors. I think if elected he will surprise us all in a good way!

Green Island gets twinkle-y

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Holiday story by Lorraine Laurie

‘Twas the 12th of December in Woo’s Kelley Square and cars were all whizzing to go here and there. The people had gathered round a tree tall and full to sing Christmas carols and “God Bless America,” too. As the countdown began the crowd grew and grew and when the counting was through the tree had a multi-colored hue. And what would this ceremony really be without smiles and pictures and sitting on Santa’s knee.

And here we recall in the InCity Times all the memorable events that come to our minds. The event began in the year ‘88 and was the wonderful idea of a lady who said let’s set the date to do caroling and light a tree near the square that most people say they really do hate. The lady was Anne Bacinskas and she lived on Washington Street named after our first president, a most respected man. According to her great nephew Thomas F. Zidelis, Anne was proud of her City and her neighborhood, too. The Tree Lighting Ceremony was a special thing to do.

The tree the first year was huge and was gladly donated by a former Islander from Sigel Street who really made good by heading a bank and volunteering. too. During the first years when the ceremony was still new, there were a few glitches that had to be worked through. Since the huge tree was brought in to this windy site, anchoring it down was a job for more than a few. One year the tree toppled and it took quite a crew from the Green Island / Vernon Hill CDC and the Hotel Vernon, too. They held up the tree and tried to straighten it out and found it was much more than they could do., no doubt. To the rescue came a neighbor from nearby Lafayette Street, Murhall Sign, who did the job that the men were unable to do.

Then there was the weather that sometimes got in the way. Caroling is fun but at 2 degrees, no way! But as the old saying goes “the show must go on.” The only time the event was cancelled was in the early ‘90’s when ice storms came in not one week, but two. The tree was decorated and the candy was bought, but the goodies were not wasted. The CDC visitors said it really hit the spot.

Most of the time the location was the same of the glorious ceremony that in early December regularly came. One year it was moved to a nearby spot so that gas tanks could be installed on the Madison Street lot. Then in 1994 a grant was received and a “miracle” happened. A real tree was planted .a Spruce for that matter. Ornaments from the children from the neighborhood decorated the branches and its beauty shown through.
Over the next few years the tree grew and grew and in 1997 it was ready for something new. The Annual Kelley Square Christmas Tree Ornament Contest came into being and the neighborhood businesses had the spirit of giving. The homemade ornaments came from the students from St. Mary’s Elementary and the Norrback students who were temporarily using the Millbury Street School building. There were stockings with Teddy Bears and balls with ribbons but the clear bells were chosen as the 1st place winner. Sr. Dorothea, Principal of St. Mary’s School assembled a chorus who really came through. They attended the ceremony and made people cheer when their voices were raised so loud and clear. The contest continued for a number of years as the tree grew and grew bigger each year.

Some ornaments stood out like a dog biscuit sleigh and reindeer, an ornament made from a small lamp shade entitled “Alice in the Lampshade” and angels and more angels and more angels. A single reindeer made from dog biscuits was the favorite of David Matyczynski , a nearby resident. This feature writer who was the coordinator of the contest, surprised David one day by giving him the tiny reindeer and he still has it in his possession. The tree and the lighting ceremony continued to grow bigger and bigger but eventually interest dwindled for the ornament contest and it was discontinued.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony had its special moments to remember. The weather was always a concern. It was in 2005 that a blizzard hit Worcester. It snowed until early afternoon that day. It stopped and the sun glistened on the new fallen snow. And do you think the ceremony was cancelled? No way.

Winkie Magnuson drove Lorraine Laurie, the ceremony coordinator around to pick up the donated goodies. The car went at a snail’s pace but was able to make it to its destination. Winkie and Lorraine climbed snow banks on Water Street to get cookies from Widoff’s and chocolate Santa lollipops from Prifti’s on Green Street. Getting the junior pies at Table Talk on Washington Street was more of a challenge because of the hill, but the adventurous pair reached their destination and brought back the delicious pies. What about the snow covering the ceremony area? It was shoveled by District 4’s City Councilor Barbara G. Haller. Another year, there was a terrible ice storm in the area. Roads were treacherous, trees and limbs were down and many areas experienced power outages. Green Island had power and Kelley Square was passable. The ceremony took place, the tree was lit and State Rep. John Fresolo led the audience in singing “God Bless America.” Like any “show” there are other types of glitches.

A few years ago, District City Councilors Sarai Rivera and Phil Palmieri were about to light the tree by flicking the switch of the generator. Nothing happened. Seth Derderian of Joseph’s Lock & Safe Co., Inc. came to the rescue and the tree was aglow with all its splendor. And just like the award shows on TV, there were costumes glitches. One year while taking off the boot tops with his shoes on, Santa split the toppers in several directions. Who came to the rescue the following year, local package store owner Bob Largess and his neighbor in Sutton, Helen, who was a seamstress made new boot tops and these were so special. They closed with Velcro and were easy to get on and off. Just last year, Ron W. Holbrook, Jr., our second generation Santa succeeded in the job held for many years by his father, Ronnie W. Holbrook, Sr. had trouble with the black Santa belt. It was too long. Helper Dottie Hargrove stapled it and hoped it would help. This year there will be plenty of “Mega Clips. “

Since Green Island is an old and caring community, it truly is concerned about happenings in Worcester and in the World. Each year it remembers the 6 Fallen Firefighters who perished in the Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire on Friday, December 3, 1999. The Tree Lighting Ceremony was more than halfway through when someone noticed smoke in the northern direction. Little did anyone imagine the tragic event to follow. The very next week, the tradition of placing six red ribbons on the northern side of the tree facing Kelley Square began and still continues today. A seventh ribbon was added after the December 8, 2011 tragic fire on Arlington Street that claimed the life of yet another firefighter. Also, to show American pride and strength after the September 11, 2001 attack, each ceremony begins with the singing of “God Bless America.”

Over the years Santa arrived at his destination by foot, by car, by stage coach and by wagon. What a treat it was to see Santa waving from a white 2 door Cadillac coup de ville nicknamed “Snow flake.” What a sight it did make!
And thanks to the sponsors of this great event. Though they have changed over the years the ceremony is done with the same intent. First there was the Green Island/ Vernon Hill Community Development Corporation, name later changed to the Canal District CDC In December 2006, the Green Island Residents Group, Inc. stepped in to keep the event going. They asked the business to help more and more and the Canal District Alliance, Inc. and the Canal District Business Association became part of the team. As Bob Largess who was involved from the beginning says “It is the event where the Canal District shows off its Green Island heritage.”

So good people of the neighborhood and the Woo, join us at Kelley Square. yes please do. See the 30 ft. tree decorated as only they could do. Thanks Lenny and Don and Mike and Coghlin’s too. And to end this story I paraphrase St. Nick “Merry Christmas to all. Please join us this night.”

On the road today …

… working on InCity Times, listening to some very solid rock ‘n’ roll by the Counting Crows. I’ve always liked their CD – AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER.

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Here’s a song from it. (What’s one of the biggest perks of owning ICT? Spending my work days outdoors and driving in the car with Jett, listening to music! … So much incredible music, millions of songs … . I want to hear them all!!)

Why 2014 was a good year for animals

 

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Jett supports PETA!

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President’s message – PETA 

By Ingrid Newkirk

Dear Friends,

2014 was another banner year for PETA and the animals we defend.

As described by The Saratogian’s horse-racing columnist, PETA’s first-of-its kind eyewitness investigation of horse drugging at Saratoga Race Course and Churchill Downs “exploded like a nuclear bomb in the racing community.”

In February, our mobile veterinary clinics division celebrated its 100,000th surgery.

In a major victory for baby seals—won with PETA’s help—the World Trade Organization upheld the European Union’s ban on seal fur imports, a landmark step toward protecting animals under international trade law.

The shocking footage from our wool industry exposé has been viewed 3.8 million times, and more than 65 apparel companies have begun displaying our new “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo in response to consumer demand for animal-friendly clothing!

We managed to get 18 bears who had been imprisoned in concrete pits or cells moved to beautiful sanctuaries, where they now enjoy fresh air and grass beneath their feet.

Thousands of people on three continents heard PETA’s message of compassion in person as a result of my “Naked Truth” wake-up tour. Following a speech at Harvard Law School by the PETA Foundation’s director of animal law about the cruelty of SeaWorld, the Harvard Law Record—the oldest law school newspaper in the nation—wrote: “Orca captivity is barbaric, inhuman and a gross violation of the rights of a highly intelligent and deeply feeling creature. The work of people like [the PETA Foundation’s director of animal law] makes apparent that generations to come will one day look upon such practices with eyes filled with shame and disgust.”

PETA’s strong outreach efforts among the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S.—the Latino community—reached millions. PETA Latino’s website was visited by more than 10 million people, our Spanish-language “Glass Walls” agribusiness exposé was viewed by more than 1.3 million people …

CLICK HERE to read more!

InCity Yum Yums by Chef Joey

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Chef Joey: Gorgeous! And talented, too!  He loves to hear you’re trying his recipes! Any recipe/story ideas? Comments? Please email them to Chef Joey, care of incitytimes@hotmailcom

Holiday column: SUGAR PLUMS!

By Chef Joey

‘Twas the issue before Christmas and all through the city, people were waiting to read my latest ditty.  The juries were hung in the courthouse; who cares?! While many others took elevators and didn’t use the stairs! … I could go on rhyming, but I don’t have “A Christmas Carol” to write for my children, just an interesting article about the holidays. So, let’s start with the music then move on to the food:

Google tells me that the Christmas hymns that we know have origins dating back to the fourth century Rome. Latin hymns such as Veniredemptor gentium, written by Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan, were theological statements. Corde natus ex Parentis (Of the Father’s love begotten) by the Spanish poet Prudentius (d. 413) is still sung in some churches today! Thousands of years and no royalties!
In the ninth and tenth centuries, the Christmas “Sequence” or “Prose” was introduced in North European monasteries.  They developed a sequence of rhymed stanzas with the guidance of Bernard of Clairvaux. Leave it to the French!  The French took it up a notch in the twelfth century with Adam of St. Victor, a Parisian monk, deriving music from popular songs, creating what is now closer to traditional Christmas carols.
In the thirteenth century, in France, Germany, and mostly Italy, a strong tradition of popular Christmas songs in the native language developed under the influence of Francis of Assisi (yes the Patron Saint of Animals!). Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Awdlay, a Shropshire chaplain, who lists twenty five “caroles of Cristemas,” probably sung by groups of ‘wassailers’, who went from house to house.

Ok, let’s stop at WASSAILERS!  The word actually has two categories!  One means people that go door to door singing Christmas songs and the other stands for: the ones who went to the English Apple Orchards and sang to the trees so they would produce a good cider!  Ironically, Hard Cider is in vogue in the USA while still popular in Europe.

So in sum, the songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs sung during celebrations like harvest tide as well as Christmas. It was only later that carols were sung in church and were specifically associated with Christmas.

So that moves me up to Christmas! Songs like “Jingle Bells”: Written in America – right here in Medford, Massachusetts!  James Lord Pierpont came up with the song and published it under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is now associated with Christmas and holiday season, it was actually written for Thanksgiving.  Apparently, Thanksgiving snow is popular.  And the term “Jingle Bells” came to be because there were many sleighs, and putting bells on horses was the only way they could avoid collisions, since there were no other external noises like Pandora or sirens!

The song “Jingle Bells” was often used as a drinking song at parties: people would jingle the ice in their glasses as they sung. The double-meaning of “upsot” was thought humorous, and a sleigh ride gave an unescorted couple a rare chance to be together, unchaperoned, in distant woods or fields, with all the opportunities that afforded. Sleigh rides were the nineteenth-century equivalent of taking a girl to a drive-in movie theatre in the 1950s and early 1960s, so there was a somewhat suggestive and scintillating aspect to the song that is often now unrecognized.  Thought you might like to know that and now you too can bear my curse of the song.

I could continue about Christmas songs, but this is a food column. So let’s move on to traditional food and the fun “Puddings” and “Cakes” talked about by authors over the years.

Christmas pudding has its origins in medieval England and is sometimes known as plum pudding or Christmas Pudding or just “pud,” though this can also refer to other kinds of “boiled pudding” involving dried fruit. Despite the name “plum pudding,” the pudding contains no actual plums due to the pre-Victorian use of the word “plums” as a term for raisins. The pudding is composed of many dried fruits held together by egg and suet, sometimes moistened by corn syrup or molasses and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and other spices. The pudding is aged for a month or even a year; the high alcohol content of the pudding prevents it from spoiling during this time.  No wonder it was so popular – flammable dinners!

What we know about the current story telling Puddings is they took their present day form in Victorian England. The pudding’s origins can be traced back to the 1420s, to two sources. It was as a way of preserving meat at the end of the season. Because of shortages of hays or grains, all excess livestock were slaughtered in the fall. The meat was then kept in a storage container along with dried fruits acting as a preservative. The resultant large “mince pies” could then be used to feed hosts of people, particularly during the festive season.

The chief ancestor of the modern pudding, however, was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction originating in Roman times. This was prepared in a large cauldron, the ingredients being slow cooked, with dried fruits, sugar and spices added. In the 15th century, Plum pottage was a sloppy mix of meat, vegetables and fruit served at the beginning of a meal.  So there you have it “Christmas Pudding” unmasked.

So instead of sugar plums dancing in your head…make some! They are an easy and a great alternative to making cookies as there is no baking and it’s fast and easy – and can be served immediately! They last for about a month when stored in a Zip-lock plastic bag or other container.

Here is a simple and fast way to make a new Christmas tradition for your family.

SUGAR PLUMS!

Ingredients:

• 6 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
• 4 ounces dried plums
• 4 ounces dried apricots
• 4 ounces dried figs
• 1/4 cup powdered sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• Pinch kosher salt
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 cup coarse sugar

Place the figs, almonds, apricots, and plums into a food processorand pulse up to 25 times or until the fruit and nuts are chopped into small pieces, but before the mixture becomes a solid mass.

Combine the powdered sugar, cardamom, and all the seeds and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the nut and fruit mixture and the honey and mix – preferably wearing gloves until well combined.

Use a small scoop and form the mixture into 1/4-ounce portions and roll into balls.

If serving immediately, roll in the coarse sugar and serve. If not serving immediately, put the balls on a cookie cooling rack and leave uncovered until ready to serve.

Roll in the coarse sugar prior to serving.

I hope all your dreams come true this holiday season! Remember: the little things can make the biggest impact!

Best wishes to all of you!