Tag Archives: MA

Experience the lovely (32!!) horses at Blue Star Equiculture! Visit them this weekend!! (or during a fall-foliage jaunt!)


By Pamela Rickenbach, executive director

photos by Rosalie Tirella (This is my new fave place! A little over a half hour drive from Worcester – beautiful ride on Rt. 9, west – to Palmer, Blue Star is the place to feel GREAT! Feed the horses! pat the horses! learn all about the different breeds of working horses at this amazing resuce farm for all kinds of working horses. Carriage horses from New York  City, draft horses … Volunteers wanted, $ donations always accepted.  BEAUTIFUL!  – R. T.)


Blue Star Equiculture of Palmer is a draft horse sanctuary for retired, homeless and disabled horses. We specialize with “working” breeds or those that have worked in harness; Belgians, Shires, Clydesdales, Percherons and Standardbreds. BSE was created as a way of showing gratitude for what horses have shared with us for the past 6,000 years and in particular America’s relationship with working horses.


Historically, America depended on horsepower.  Essentially, we are all “horse people” with ancestors that lived and worked with horses, not that long ago. Today, all over the world, humans use horses and the horses continue to define them culturally. Over half the world’s population of humans still depends on horsepower to help them in their daily struggle to survive. This relationship is ancient and with it, we believe, there is a responsibility to care for retired work horses appropriately and compassionately.


Ann Norton Greene, in her important book Horses at Work, Harnessing Power in Industrial America states, “They hauled streetcars, omnibuses, drays, delivery wagons, and private vehicles. Horses delivered raw materials to factories and trucked away finished products. Horses delivered building materials to construction sites, dug foundations, powered cranes, and hauled away the dirt from excavations. They loaded ships, dredged harbors, and hauled fishing nets. Horses brought produce, dairy products, meat, grain and hay from surrounding areas into city markets to feed urban consumers and returned stable manure to the farmlands.


Horses conveyed baggage and packages, carried freight to and from railroad depots and shipping piers, distributed coal, milk, ice, bread, and produce, delivered furniture and other consumer goods to homes and beer to saloons. They pulled fire engines, ambulances, street sweepers, and garbage wagons. Horses provided nearly all the power for the internal circulation of the city life because no other prime mover could compete with them technologically.”


Horses were integral to nineteenth-century industrialization. The horse population in America went from approximately 7 million in 1860 to nearly twenty-five million in 1900. Most of those horses resided east of the Mississippi River. Horses powered almost every aspect of urban life. Horses jammed the streets of our early cities, working in transit, industry, construction, shipping, commerce, and municipal government.  We like to say that horse built this country.


Where are we now?  In 2013, over 160,000 horses were shipped to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada. From anywhere in the country the horses are transported tightly packed for over three days with no food or water or relief to arrive at facilities that could not be considered humane for any animal, never mind our beloved companion. Horses see better, smell better, sense better and have the second best memories in the animal kingdom. They are not dumb and without emotion. Their emotions are highly evolved, while not exactly like ours, they suffer nonetheless just as terribly.


Currently there are just over 10 million horses in America and approximately 30,000 in Massachusetts, down from the nearly 50,000 in 2009 when BSE opened. A bad economy and rising costs for the equine care have forced loving owners to send their horses away. Sadly in America from the 50’s and on, we have grown to see horses as luxury or status objects. While horses throughout time reflected our “status” socially, today they are considered expensive hobbies and past times and when the economy worsens so do their chances for having a loving forever home.


All over America, there are equine rescues struggling to help deal with the current homeless horse crises and nearly every single one is under supported or struggling to keep their doors open. As a community, we have forgotten what horses really are to us. At the same time in America we struggle to find sustainable ways to move forward into a better future. We like to say at BSE that we are “drafting” a better future for horses, humans and mother earth. We are all connected and our horses need us to care about them more than they ever have.


We welcome all to visit BSE, meet our horses and become a part of the solution in our community for our community’s horses in need. We have a “Join the Herd” program where we ask folks to become and “Herd Member” for any amount monthly to help ensure the daily care our herd needs. This could work for equine rescues anywhere.


For as little as 33 cents a day, interested folks can become a part of a solution that is desperately needed right now for our horses. We invite volunteers to help on the farm and we teach draft horse driving for urban or agricultural use on the farm. We also grow food with our horses. We share informative workshops in the community.  We teach “Draft Horse Husbandry” at UMass Amherst Stockbridge School. We are advocates for working horses internationally, we communicate clearly and honestly about what possibilities exist for horses today in our modern world.


We sincerely believe that we need our horses alongside us for our own wellbeing. Horses have a profound effect on human psyches. They refine us and help us connect to other life and to ourselves. They are mirrors for us in that they reflect who we are honestly and this helps us see ourselves more clearly. Horses can help us carve out a more peaceful, sustainable and restorative way forward in this troubled world.


An old English proverb says: “Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are.” As a community we can take pride in loving and caring for our horses in need. Like with our dogs and cats, our horses need us to stand up and protect their right to be alongside us, where they belong, loved and cared for and partnered with in an ancient mutually beneficial survival system.



Please visit our website





… or better yet our farm! Become a herd member. Join us in honoring our ancestors, horse and human, for all they have shared in bringing us the possibilities before us today!

Human History is Written in Hoofprints!


 Rosalie’s appaloosa!!!!!!!!!

Pony dreamin’!CAM00227

Worcester County gets an A!!! in American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report 2014. Report shows less particle pollution but more ozone in Mass.

American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report 2014 Shows Less Particle Pollution but more Ozone in Massachusetts

Five Massachusetts’ counties receive failing grades for ozone

(Trend charts and rankings for metropolitan areas and county grades are available at www.stateoftheair.org.)

(Worcester County improved its grade for ozone from an F to a D, with 7 orange days, 3 fewer than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county is among the cleanest in the Northeast for particle pollution, maintaining its A grade.)

Waltham — The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air 2014” report released today shows that all eight counties in Massachusetts with particle pollution monitors cut year-round particle pollution (soot) levels compared to the 2013 report and the Boston metro area had its lowest year-round levels of particle pollution to date. This is in keeping with a trend seen across the nation of lower particle pollution levels. No county with a particle pollution monitor had more days when short-term particle pollution reached unhealthy levels. At the same time, five Massachusetts counties experienced more unhealthy days of high ozone (smog) while six experienced fewer days. And while the Boston metro area’s ranking on the list of most polluted cities for ozone improved from 68th in 2013 to tied for 69th in 2014, actual ozone levels worsened.

“With the Northeast and Massachusetts being the tailpipe of the nation, it’s not surprising that the grades we’re seeing for ozone remain a mixed bag,” said Casey Harvell, Massachusetts Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While we applaud the efforts the federal and state governments have made to protect the health of our air so far, our job is far from done. We need to see continued efforts and innovative policies particularly during budget season, to lessen the burden of unhealthy air on our most vulnerable populations, including children with asthma.”

“I’m pleased to see that Massachusetts continues to make progress to improve air quality, but this State of the Air report shows there is still much to be done to combat the hazardous effects of climate change,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture as well as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Climate change impacts the environment and our public health, but it also poses grave threats to our economy, our public safety and our national security. We must accept the reality of global climate change and do everything we can to limit air pollution to protect our planet and our posterity.”

Of the 12 Massachusetts’ counties with air pollution monitors, three –Berkshire, Hampden and Worcester – improved one letter grade for ozone pollution. Four counties, Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes and Hampshire received an F for ozone pollution. While there are the same number of F’s in the 2014 report as in 2013, Barnstable was added to the list after worsening ozone caused its grade to drop. At the same time, reduced ozone levels caused Worcester’s grade to improve moving it off the list of failing counties for ozone.

Ozone (smog) is the most widespread air pollutant, created by the reaction of sunlight on emissions from vehicles and other sources. When ozone is inhaled, it irritates the lungs, almost like bad sunburn. It can cause immediate health problems that continue days later. Ozone can cause wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and premature death.

Massachusetts’ counties received all A’s and B’s for short-term particle pollution (soot), which comes from car exhaust and coal-burning power plants. This microscopic dust can get trapped in the lungs or pass into the blood stream, increasing the risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and triggering asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Worcester and Plymouth counties again received A’s for short-term particle pollution and were among the cleanest counties in the Northeast for the pollutant. Every county with a monitor saw its levels of annual particle pollution improve.

Particle pollution, called fine particulate matter or PM 2.5, is a deadly cocktail of ash, soot, diesel exhaust, chemicals, metals and aerosols that can spike dangerously for hours to weeks on end. The body’s natural defenses, coughing and sneezing, fail to keep these microscopic particles from burrowing deep within the lungs, triggering serious problems such as asthma and heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer and even early death. Much like ozone pollution is likened to sunburn on the lungs, exposure to particle pollution has been compared to rubbing sandpaper on the lungs.

“While we can celebrate the continued reduction of year-round particle pollution in Massachusetts, much of the Northeast and the nation thanks to cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants it’s clear that we’re going to need to do even more to reduce ozone pollution which is a tremendous health threat to all of us but especially to people with lung disease,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association. “Warmer temperatures create a breeding ground for ozone pollution and climate change will make it even more challenging to protect human health. We call on Congress to not only uphold the Clean Air Act, but to ensure that the EPA and states have adequate funding to monitor and protect the public from air pollution. We simply can’t ignore the new threats that rising temperatures present.”

State of the Air 2014 report found that more than more than 147 million people – more than half of all Americans- live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. Safeguards are necessary to protect the health of the millions of people living in counties with dangerous levels of either ozone or particle pollution that can cause wheezing and coughing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature death. Those at greatest risk from air pollution include infants, children, older adults, anyone with lung diseases like asthma, people with heart disease or diabetes, people with low incomes and anyone who works or exercises outdoors.

The American Lung Association calls for several steps to improve the air everyone breathes:

Clean up power plants. The EPA needs to reduce carbon pollution. Ozone and particle pollution that blows across state lines must be controlled. In the next year, the Administration has pledged to set standards for carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.
Strengthen the outdated ozone standards. The EPA needs to set a strong, health-based standard to limit ozone pollution. Strong standards will drive the needed cleanup of ozone across the nation.
Clean up new wood-burning devices. The EPA needs to issue strong standards to clean up new wood stoves, outdoor wood boilers and other residential wood-burning devices.
Fund the work to provide healthy air. Congress needs to adequately fund the work of the EPA and the states to monitor and protect the nation from air pollution.
Protect the Clean Air Act. Congress needs to ensure that the protections under the Clean Air Act remain strong and enforced.

The American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2014 report is an annual, national air quality “report card.” The 2014 report—the 15th annual release—uses the most recent quality assured air pollution data, compiled by the EPA, in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Data comes from the official monitors for the two most widespread types of pollution, ozone (smog) and particle pollution (PM 2.5, also known as soot). The report grades counties and ranks cities and counties based on their scores for ozone, year-round particle pollution and short-term particle pollution levels.

The American Lung Association of the Northeast urges the public to join the fight for clean air and to learn how to protect themselves and their families from air pollution by visiting www.stateoftheair.org. To learn more about air quality in Massachusetts, visit us online at www.lungne.org and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LungNE and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LungNE.


About the American Lung Association of the Northeast
The American Lung Association of the Northeast is part of the American Lung Association, the oldest voluntary health organization in the U.S. Established in 1904 to combat tuberculosis; our mission today is to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. The focus is on air quality, asthma, tobacco control, and all lung disease. The American Lung Association in the Northeast serves CT, MA, ME, NH, NY, RI and VT. www.LungNE.org


Significant findings from the report for Massachusetts by region include:

Central/Western MA (see above)

Berkshire County improved its grade for ozone from a C to a B with 2 unhealthy orange days
(2 less than in 2013). An orange ozone day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. Berkshire has the lowest ozone level in the Bay State. Berkshire does not have a particle pollution monitor.

Hampden County improved its grade for ozone from a D to a C, with six unhealthy orange days (two less than in 2013) An orange ozone day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. Hampden showed no improvement in short-term particle pollution and once again received a B.

Hampshire County again received an F for ozone pollution with 11 orange ozone days, one more than in 2013. An orange ozone day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. Additionally, the Springfield-Greenfield Town metro area ranked 81st most polluted for ozone and tied for 96th most polluted for short-term particle pollution. The metro ranked tied for 126th most polluted for annual particle pollution.

Worcester County improved its grade for ozone from an F to a D, with 7 orange days, 3 fewer than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county is among the cleanest in the Northeast for particle pollution, maintaining its A grade.

There are no air pollution monitors in Franklin County.

Southeast, Cape & the Islands

Barnstable County’s grade for ozone dropped from a C to an F with 10 orange days, 4 more than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county does not have a particle pollution monitor.

Bristol County’s grade for ozone remained at an F, with 15 orange days, 5 more than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county again earned an A for particle pollution, with no days of unhealthy levels of the pollutant.

Dukes County remained at an F for ozone pollution and again had the most dangerous ozone level statewide. Dukes also had the biggest increase in the number of unhealthy ozone days in the Bay State compared with 2013. Dukes experienced 16 orange days, 7 more than in 2013 and 3 red days, one more than in 2013. An orange day means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. A red day indicates that everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects from the air pollution and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects. Dukes County does not have a particle pollution monitor.

Plymouth County does not have an ozone pollution monitor. It again earned an A for short-term particle pollution and a place on the list of the cleanest counties for the pollutant.

There are no air pollution monitors in Nantucket.

Greater Boston Metro Area

Essex County dropped from a C to a D for ozone pollution. It had 7 orange days, one more than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county also received an A for particle pollution and once again earned a spot on the list of cleanest counties in the Northeast for short-term particle pollution.

Middlesex County maintained its C grade for ozone although it experienced 3 orange days, two less than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. Middlesex has among the lowest levels of short-term particle pollution in Massachusetts.

Suffolk County remained at a C for ozone although the county had three orange days in this year’s report, two less than in 2013. Suffolk also maintained its B grade for short-term particle pollution, experiencing one orange day and one red day, the same as in 2013. Suffolk has the worst level of both short-term and annual particle pollution in the Bay State.

Norfolk County’s grade for ozone remained a C. It had 5 orange days, one less than in 2013. An orange day means the air quality was unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as those with asthma and other lung diseases, as well as children and the elderly. The county does not have a particle pollution monitor.

Shovel, shovel, shovel … Whose responsibility is it?

By Ron O’Clair

Today is the 19th day of February, 2014, and while I was in downtown Worcester, I noticed that the bus stop near to the Mechanic’s Hall on Main Street was not shoveled, forcing the passengers to use the curb cut near the entrance of the Mechanic’s Hall in order to board their bus.

In stark contrast, across the street in front of 340 Main Street, the Bus Stop was shoveled, allowing passengers to embark and disembark without difficulty.

I thought to myself, why is there such a variation?

When my brother Lonald rented a house on Greenwood Street, it was his responsibility to ensure that the bus stop was shoveled out for passengers, and if he failed to do so, the bus driver would complain, and the city would force the property owner to have it done.

My brother was not aware that it was the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that the bus stop got shoveled, until he got a reminder from the City of Worcester. After that one warning, the bus stop was taken care of every storm by my brother. Since he moved out and got his own house in Spencer, whoever moved in has been ignoring the bus stop, and apparently nothing is being done about it.

In the case of the bus stop on Main Street in downtown, I would assume that the City of Worcester would ensure that this stop is cleared as it fronts land that the Mechanic’s Hall occupies.

What about the community service people that are sentenced by the court to do service in lieu of fines? Couldn’t the courthouse assign them to shovel out bus stops, and fire hydrants?

This is a problem throughout the city with all the recent snowstorms, bus stops and fire hydrants are being ignored, and buried under layers of snow that freeze into ice banks making it near impossible to remove without heavy equipment, I know, as a civic duty minded individual, when I saw that the bus stop was not cleared, I tried to clear through the snow bank with my plow truck, but it had been left too long and had frozen, I was not able to get all the way through so that the bus riders could board the bus through the cut I tried to make.

Something that would have been easy to do immediately after the storms now becomes a difficult task. It would be interesting to know whose responsibility it is for the downtown bus stop.




$3.7 million in matching grants complement private sector workforce training initiatives to benefit over 3,273 employees at 39 Massachusetts companies

CHARLTON – Continuing with the Patrick Administration’s strategic investments in workforce training initiatives, Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein today announced $3.7 million in Workforce Training Fund General Program Grants during a visit to INCOM, a Charlton-based manufacturer and previous grant recipient. In total, today’s announced grants will provide for the training of 3,273 current and newly hired employees at 39 companies across the Commonwealth. The grants, which are for up to two years, serve as a resource for businesses to increase the skill set of their incumbent employees and provide valuable training to the workers. As a result of these awarded grants, participating companies expect to create 242 new jobs by the end of 2015.

“We continue to promote the Workforce Training Fund because it is an effective model that encourages the business community to train and retrain employees, helping Massachusetts companies stay competitive in today’s global and innovative economy,” said Secretary Goldstein. “Over the last several years, we have seen many companies succeed thanks to these training grants and we look forward to more companies growing and excelling as a result of these grants and training initiatives.”

Today’s announcement supports companies located in 32 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Of the 39 awarded grants, one is a technical assistance grants, a type of planning grant awarded to organizations preparing to implement workforce training grants and initiatives. Additionally, 3 grants were awarded to consortium projects involving multiple employers with common training needs.

This latest round of Workforce Training Fund grants build on the record investments in workforce training and education made by the Patrick Administration in recent years. Since 2007, the Administration has awarded $74.6 million through the Workforce Training Fund in General Program Training Grants to 999 projects involving more than 1,052 businesses. As a result of this funding, 94,836 workers have been or will be trained across a broad range of industries. Today’s announced funding is the latest round of Workforce Training Fund Program grants that will further support initiatives to enhance skills for employees in sectors including: Manufacturing; Finance and Insurance; Information; Accommodation and Food Services; Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Retail Trade; Wholesale Trade; Transportation and Warehousing; Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation; and other services.

“We encourage businesses, regardless of size, to contact us to learn more about the Workforce Training Fund and how this resource can help them address their business needs,” said Nancy Snyder, President and CEO of EOLWD’s Commonwealth Corporation. “We are also interested in helping small businesses access the fund through consortiums that can be organized by third party workforce and training organizations.”

“If we are going to manufacture domestically, and compete globally, we need to have the best trained, most productive workforce in the world,” said Michael Detarando, INCOM President & CEO. “The Workforce Training Fund is an invaluable resource in the process toward achieving that goal and keeping manufacturing jobs here in Massachusetts.”

“The manufacturing sector is an important component of the Southern Central Massachusetts economy,” said Senator Richard T. Moore, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus. “Workforce development is critical to sustaining this industry, and keeping businesses in Massachusetts, especially as current employees age and jobs open up. Future candidates must be trained to fulfill those positions, and these grants will go a long way to fulfill that need.”

The following is a complete list of the awarded Workforce Training Fund General Program Grant Recipients announced today (listed by city/town), totaling $3,772,716:


City Company Name Amount Awarded Projected Number of Employees to be Trained New Jobs Expected to be Created
Agawam BELT TECHNOLOGIES INC. $75,897 31 3
Ayer L-3 COMMUNICATIONS ESSCO INC. $107,300 110 6
BOSTON SPALDING TOUGIAS ARCHITECTS joinsCHOO & COMPANY, INC. of Quincy for a consortium grant. $14,400 7 1
East Bridgewater MUELLER CORPORATION $54,135 71 1
East Longmeadow MAYBURY MATERIAL HANDLING $165,457 68 3


$21,840 N/A N/A

To learn more about the Workforce Training Fund Program, visit www.mass.gov/wtfp.

Don’t forget to VOTE TODAY! And … Carol Claros’ state rep run …

Carol Claros and her daughter

By Rosalie Tirella

… has us intrigued. We are progressive Democrat all the way, yet we hate the machine that runs Woo local politics … the guys who get their pals in … the guys who get their pals the good-paying city jobs and lock out qualified (un-connected job applicants) … the guys who are arrogant and smooth and polished … the guys who play hard ball and black ball local folks who disagree with them … just because they can black ball folks who disagree with them.

We do, however, agree with them on ALL of the issues. This depresses us. Why can’t we like the people who share our goals and values? The guys with whom we agree when it comes to raising the state minimum wage, creating affordable housing, supporting working parents, etc? We love Jim McGovern and Gladys Rodriguez Parker but … .

Back to the state rep race! Dan Donahue, the Democratic candidate for the slot, is a kid who has worked (unimpressively, we think) for Worcester Mayor Joe Petty. He’s as smooth as a silk tie. Where did Dan stand on the Millbury slots casino issue? The casino would have been located next to the very Worcester neighborhood he lives in! Quinsig Village (same as me). Voters never knew where Dan stood. He did the verbal fancy dance as well as our local city councilors did when the casino was slated for Worcester: no comment … let the people of Millbury decide. Blah, blah, blah. Condescending. Arrogant. And he’s just a kid!

Carol, on the other hand, is refreshingly REAL. I have received pink campaign letters from Carol Claros! Pink! How wonderfully girly girl! But, make no mistake: Claros is a grown up woman! She is a single mom who works as a nurse in our prison system. She is a single mom who cares for her child, runs a home and is the main wage earner of her family. She commutes to Concord every day and says she will not need to be paid by the tax payers of MA for commuting to work. We believe her when she says this.

Claros includes a photo of her and her young daughter in her campaign letters. This, to a woman raised by a single mom who had to do all the things that Carol does every day (on a lot less $$), GETS TO ME! Makes me want to vote for her  – even though we don’t see eye to eye on many issues. I wish we did … .

To learn more about Carol, check out her website: http://www.carolclaros.com/



InCity Voices: Raise the minimum wage to help 1 in 5 low-wage workers in our state

By Lewis Finfer

This summer, 800 residents, including delegations from EPOCA and SEIU members in Worcester,  packed a State House hearing room to ask for a hike in the state’s minimum wage which was last raised January 1, 2008. The proposed legislation (H. 1701, sponsored by Rep. Antonio Cabral; S. 878, sponsored by Sen. Marc Pacheco and 58 other legislators) would raise the state’s minimum wage to $11 per hour within three years.

Estimates suggest this increase would impact 580,000 low wage earners, a disproportionate of whom live in the state’s Gateway Cities like Worcester. Higher wages would provide an injection of $720 million in to the local economies of our cities if the minimum wage were raised to $10 an hour.

According to a 2011 study by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, every dollar added to the hourly minimum wage resulted in $2,800 in yearly additional consumer spending by that worker’s household. Gateway Cities would see great benefits without much risk to their economies.

While opponents argue minimum wage increases lead to layoffs, economic research suggests communities that have raised their minimum wages have not experienced greater employment loss than comparable areas.

Contact your state legislators and ask them to work actively for passage of this bill.

While we need a comprehensive strategy to support the growth and renewal of our Gateway Cities like Worcester, a long overdue minimum wage increase is one effective response we should put in place without delay.

Lewis Finfer is the director of Massachusetts Communities Action Network

TO LEARN MORE, PLEASE VISIT: www.mcan-oltc.org

OK, so John Fresolo …

By Rosalie Tirella

… isn’t running for state rep again. In a few weeks I’m still gonna vote for him, write his name and Dolly Drive address on the ballot. Why? Because Fresolo IS the 16th Worcester District! I think I speak for a lot of folks in the 16th when I say FRESOLO DID A SPECTACULAR JOB as our state rep. He brought the money in for street and sidewalk renewal, for senior housing, for fire and police protection, for economic development, for historic sites, for safe streets. Fresolo fought the crime and grime and creeps that desecrated so many neighborhoods in our district. Most significantly, the Union Hill neighborhood, home to so much crime and foreclosures the City of Worcester has installed special police task forces there. Fresolo’s mom lives in the neighborhood. Her three decker was shot up a few years ago. Bullets be damned! Mrs. Fresolo still lives in her beloved home.

When I think of John, I think of a very direct, gritty, no bull shit kinda guy. He has never been one to polish down the rough parts of his personality. I like that. With Fresolo, what you saw was what you got. He didn’t parse his words, he didn’t act like he was coached or handled. If John were still representing us, you can bet your sweet ass the containers being plunked on Greenwood Street or the slots casino being plunked just over the line in Millbury would be doing less damage to the Quinsig Village hood, my beloved neighborhood.

John kept his constituents’ goals at the forefront because they were his goals: safe, clean, user friendly blue collar neighborhoods. Places where schools and families and small businesses could thrive. He worked hard on the 146 Mass Pike connector project. He worked hand in hand with the biz folks in the Canal District. He was always there for Sue Moynagh and her crime watch groups. And the Mayor of Green Island, Lorraine Laurie, adored him She still does. Everyone in the 16th Worcester district liked the hardworking Fresolo.

When the news came out about the per diem mileage problems but, more important, the John Thomas pics that Fresolo allegedly emailed/sent to some State House staffers, I thought, Yeah, he did something a little “nutty” – pun intended – but if she’s 18 or older, it’s legal AND it takes two to tango.

I called Fresolo and left a message on his voicemail: I would stick this out. I would not quit. I would hire myself a great lawyer and fight this. Your constituents love you. You WILL get reelected.

I guess he figured the thrashing he’d get in the T and G and the news stations would be brutal. Yes. Fresolo, because he is Italian American and not Irish American and because he tends to be more socially conservative than his Worcester peers, would be standing alone, naked. No fun. And because he has gotten treated much more roughly when he’s screwed up, as opposed to the Irish politicians in town when they have fucked up royally, Fresolo decided to call it a career.

So now we have boys running for his job. Both kids, Perro and Donahue, seem to lead the very big pack. Donahue because he has the Murray, Petty, union machine behind him. Perro, who despite his family’s sketchy car business on Harding Street (drugs found in the cars), hopes his family’s flower biz and Italian surname and money catapults him to a win. Both kids seem unimpressive. Fresolo would annihilate them in an election. Why? Because he was outstanding on the issues, worked like a dog for his district and had charisma. These two kids couldn’t light anybody’s fire.

As the old saying goes, Don’t send boys in to do a man’s job.

Fresolo was our man. Interesting, hot tempered, passionate, sexy. Stuff like that can get you into trouble sometimes. But hey, if he were still in the race, he would be running for office the same time Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer are trying to woo New York City voters.

I say, we need to act more Parisian. In Paris, everyone, even little kids, know relationships are complicated. Husbands have mistresses. Wives have lovers. The political theatre in Paris is filled with men who behave … the way they want to. They marry their women. They live with their women. The electorate there seems to go with the flow as long as the elected officials are progressive, cool.

What’s good enough for the most fabulous city on earth should be good enough for rinky dinky Worcester. After all, it was only John’s winky! It’s not like he was anti jobs or anti small business or anti old people, a group of folks he’s done wonders for, as in the Ascension Heights Senior Housing Complex.

Fresolo was great for District 16. Hopefully, he’ll realize that sooner than later and run for his seat next election cycle. He’d trounce the incumbent. Any incumbent.

No slots parlor! It’s a five minute drive from …

By Rosalie Tirella

… my beloved neighborhood! My quiet, pretty, old timey Worcester neighborhood, Quinsigamond Village. Cars going to the slots parlor, which Rush Street Gaming is proposing to build next next door to the Blackstone Valley Shoppes on MCCRACKEN Road, are gonna zip by my three decker and the cute little single family homes. Yesterday, I laid out in my big backyard, with trees all around me, Greenwood Park across the street looking lush with its own trees heavy with dark, green leaves. I was reading Hemingway and thought to myself, Wonderful. I found myself lost in the nature Hemingway was describing, while ensconced in my own urban Paradise.

Why bring in noise pollution, traffic, air pollution, the lowest form of gambling to fuck up Hemingway? Why trash up a sweet little hood like my Quinsig Village just because Rush Street gaming wants to degrade our region? Why have them hurt my neighborhood’s mom and pop businesses? Heck, why even damage the businesses at the Blackstone shops? What will happen to the Apple Bees and other fast food type pubs that are part of this open air mall? The slots parlor will offer the same third tier grub. And if local gamblers (slots only pull in folks from the region) spend their money on slots will they have enough expendable income leftover to buy clothes and gadgets at the Blackstone Shoppes?

Shame on Senator Mike Moore for duping good, basic folks in a cute little Central Massachusetts town, Millbury. A town that used to be a mill town but is now attracting young yuppie couples with kids from the Boston area. People who did not move to Central Massachusetts for slots! They are folks who came here for the great homes at a relatively low price tag. They even came for the nature, for our many trees …. They too want to read Hemingway on their lawns in peace.

The traffic ob McCracken Road, already a nightmare when I make my way to the Shoppes, especially during the Christmas shopping season, will be BRUTAL. People will be driving through Quinsig Village, by my three decker in Greenwood Street. The gamblers will then zip through the cute little residential neighborhoods of Millbury.

Can you imagine former Senator Ed Augustus going for this garbage and noise and pollution and traffic , not to mention the gambling addictions that will hurt iindividuals and families. FAMILIES. CHILDREN.

This is all so heartbreaking.


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


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


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

Date: Tuesday, July 16

Time: 3 p.m.

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

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

RSVP to jluyando@wcg-cdc.com

Worcester Common Ground – 508.754-0908


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

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

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



Jobs NOT Jails campaign kick-off meeting! This Saturday!

The Jobs Not Jails campaign will take place at:
Freedom House
14 Crawford Street
Dorchester, Massachusetts
12:00 noon – 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
We will lay out and discuss the campaign’s goals, strategy and tactics, and draw upon the collective knowledge and experience of everyone in the room.
So far, people from twenty-five different organizations have confirmed their plans to attend!  This is going to be an exciting conversation…leading to powerful action. For more information, or if you missed the original e-mail, see below or feel free to call me at (508) 410-7676.
I hope to see you Saturday!
Steve O’Neill