Tag Archives: pollution

China is leading the way on climate change, and the U.S. should be ashamed

Rosalie’s kitchen table this a.m.: More corn please! pic:R.T.

By Jennifer Bates

China will soon surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy.

And now it is poised to overtake this country by yet another metric: environmental protection.

In an unexpected development, China – known for its choking urban pollution and notorious Three Gorges Dam – has introduced new dietary guidelines that seek to cut its meat consumption in half.

If this sounds familiar, it might be because you remember similar guidelines proposed in the U.S. in 2015 — which were promptly rejected by officials on the grounds that dietary guidelines aren’t an “appropriate vehicle” for addressing sustainability concerns.

But what we eat is directly tied to the environment, and large-scale animal agriculture is destroying our planet. You probably know that this industry spews climate-changing greenhouse gases into the air, but animal agriculture’s adverse effects don’t end there. Because the industry relies on water-intensive crops and uses enormous amounts of water to clean out filthy enclosures, provide animals with drinking water and more, the average meat-eater indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day more than someone who just eats plant-based foods.

One pig produces as much fecal matter as 10 humans, and that waste has to go somewhere. Often, the toxic stew finds its way into our rivers and oceans, poisoning aquatic life. Meanwhile, countless acres of rainforest are cut down every day to create more grazing lands or to plant crops intended solely to feed farmed animals.

This industry is also hell on the animals raised for human consumption, who are violently abused and traumatized from birth to death. Male pigs and cattle are castrated without painkillers. Farmed fish are kept in crowded, filthy enclosures full of their own waste. And each year, nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are still alive and conscious when they’re immersed in the scalding-hot water of feather-removal tanks.

The average Chinese citizen consumes about 128 pounds of animal flesh each year. But the average American? Two hundred and sixty-four pounds, more than twice the amount of our Eastern competitors.

By cutting its meat consumption, China will spare billions of sentient beings a terrifying death. Cutting back on meat will also be a tremendous boon to public health, because it will reduce not only air pollution but also diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. China seems to understand what the U.S. refuses to acknowledge — that the health of our planet and the health of our citizens are irrevocably linked.

Fifteen years ago, the U.S. dropped out of the Kyoto Protocol — the world’s first concerted effort to tackle climate change — with the argument that it was unfair to expect Western nations to curb emissions while exempting China. But now that China has fully signed on to the new Paris Agreement and has taken this important first step toward reducing its meat consumption, what’s holding back the U.S.?

It is a travesty that China acts while we sit on the sidelines refusing to address the most pressing issue of our time. Rather than bickering over “appropriate vehicles” while the planet melts and burns around us, we must respond. The only way to reclaim our status as world leader is by going beyond China’s measures.

First, the U.S. should drop federal subsidies for the animal-agriculture industry in favor of subsidies for plant-based foods. Next, we must lead on the development of in vitro meat, which generates 96 percent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions and whose production requires up to 99 percent less land, 96 percent less water and 45 percent less energy than “traditional” meat. Finally, we must all do our part as Americans by curbing our crippling addiction to animal flesh.

Go vegan, and the health of our environment — not to mention our status as a world leader — will follow.

My holiday wishes for Mother Earth

By Parlee Jones

Our planet, our Mother Earth has sustained us for many, many moons. All she asks in return is the same thing we all ask for and need, knowledge, wisdom and understanding, freedom, justice and equality, food, clothing and shelter, love, peace and happiness for all of her children. Those that walk on two legs, those that walk on four. Those who live in the water and those that walk on land. Respect for her body. Her land, her water, her valleys and mountains. Her rich resources.

My wish for Mother Earth this holiday season is for her to have a senses cleansing. For what she sees, smells, feels, hears and tastes at times is sweet and good, but much too often, it has been bitter, harsh, hard to swallow. Some folks have been sensing this bitterness for many years.

Mother Earth has seen her babies suffer all over. The United Nations Children’s Fund calls 2014 a devastating year for children, reporting that as many as 15 million young people are caught in conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Ukraine.

There are more than 1.7 million  child refugees  from the conflict in Syria. In the Central African Republic, as many as 10,000 children are believed to have been recruited by armed groups in the past year.

“Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds,” says UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “They have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves.” (Statistics from UNICEF report).

Mother Earth has been smelling the fires burning in her forests. The continued stench of polluted waters. The never ending reek of animals killed for sport and to be worn by people who do not respect their furs and skins. Typhoons, earthquakes, floods, snowstorms. Global warming is real and it is serious. The continuous takeover of land that belongs to animals that are disappearing at such a rate that they will be extinct before our grandchildren are old enough to truly see them. This makes our Mother Earth cry.

She is feeling the pain of the continuous loss of life at the hands of those that are supposed to protect and serve. Understanding that all lives matters (yes, we acknowledge that white folks and other people of color are being murdered also), but right now, we’re focused on the Black ones, because it is very apparent that our judicial system doesn’t know that Black Lives Matter

When the entire world watches a murder take place on a Staten Island street corner and the system says no indictment, it’s a problem.

I am gratified that Worcester has started these hard conversations. The protests and rallies against the unjust and unprosecuted murders of men of color at the hands of police officers, namely Michael Brown, Eric Garner and now 12 year old Tamir Rice (and there are many others before and since) have been eye openers for the Worcester Community. Our youth are leading the way. I was humbled and honored to be a witness to the Walk-Out on Monday, 12/1 when we met with students from Clark University, Worcester State University, Holy Cross, UMass Medical and Burncoat at The Mosaic Cultural Complex. Holy Cross came down off the hill! Yes!!!

The conversation called for by the young women of color was honey for my soul.

The hard realization that white privilege is not to be taken personally and we are all needed to point out and change the injustices in all of our Systems (judicial, academic, government, etc.). The enthusiasm and willingness to fight for change among all the attendees, young and old, black and white, reminded me that, we as a people, all of us, have the power to bring about change. It has happened before. It may happen slowly, but it is happening.

She hears families crying out because they are hungry. They are in need of affordable, safe housing. They are homeless. They are unemployed and need help. She hears mother’s weeping because her sons are dying in useless wars. She hears young girls saying no, and not being heard. She hears our prayers, she hears our prayers, she hears our prayers … Our prayers, hopes and wishes for Mother Earth…

Deb Powers ~ Compassionate justice and loving fellowship for all. Everything else grows from these.

Mike Yvanauskas ~ Peace n goodwill

Diamond Wallace ~ Awareness…

Deb Galanos ~ Healing of hearts

Tammie Smith ~ I’m praying for equality. Let everyone be themselves and love them for who they are. Peace. Let’s get together and be alright. Laughter. Cause if you cannot laugh you have to be miserable.

Doreen Samuels ~ Peace, Love and Unity to all mankind. Jamaica Motto. Out of Many One People.

Susan Callahan ~ Peace love and a miracle for all those in need of one.

Audrey White ~ Peace on earth and goodwill toward all humankind.

Jason ‘Iwitness’ Rondeau ~ True democracy and justice. Seek Jah first and everything will come after.

Amy Grassette ~ Kindness.

Keesha LaTulippe ~ Understanding.

Etel Capacchione ~ Fellowship

Jesse Leidel ~ diamonds… all the diamonds in the world. So I can hold them before everyone and shout redemption for their blood soaked dullness and then give control of sale back to the people who harvested them from the earth.

Lisa Johnson ~ No fighting stay positive.

Gizel Hampton ~ Wisdom

Benetta Pearson Kuffour ~ Peace and understanding.

Denischa Lee Briddell ~ Sigh I’ve got many. The heartache of losing my beloved Daddy, to continue to be healed. I want to see the heroin addictions being healed.

Benetta Pearson Kuffour ~ Also, a roof over people’s head and food in their belly. So much in this world is happening that is negative, we are missing the good.

James Martin ~ Truth, because they say the truth shall set you free!

Stephanie Grady ~ Self-awareness and personal growth for everyone. When we are self-aware we can be more aware of what we do to ourselves and others. Peace on Earth would be a reality, not just a slogan or song lyric. Blessed Be.
Mother Earth can taste the change that will come. The change that will come when we realize that we belong to each other. The change that will come when we “eventually come to understand that love heals everything and love is all there is.”

Starting with myself, I have realized that we have to love one another. And I strive every day to do just that. Understanding that at times, I may have to love you from a distance. But when I love you as myself, I know and understand that you need the same things I need. Basic human needs.

So, while you are sharing this holiday season with your families and friends, I ask you please to keep Mother Earth in your prayers and meditations.

I am sending you thoughts of love and light as my gift to you all.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry holiday season!

Peace and Blessings to you and yours!

Go, President Obama, go!!!

From The New York Times.   (I’ve made a sentence fragment bold.)    – R.T.

Obama, Down but Not Out, Presses Ahead 


WASHINGTON — President Obama emerged from last week’s midterm election rejected by voters, hobbled politically and doomed to a final two years in office suffering from early lame-duck syndrome. That, at least, was the consensus in both parties. No one seems to have told Mr. Obama.

In the 10 days since “we got beat,” as he put it, by Republicans who captured the Senate and bolstered control over the House, Mr. Obama has flexed his muscles on immigration, climate change and the Internet, demonstrating that he still aspires to enact sweeping policies that could help define his legacy. …

To read entire story, CLICK HERE


President Obama to Announce $3 Billion U.S. Contribution to Climate Change Fund


NOVEMBER 14, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Obama will soon announce that the United States will contribute $3 billion to a new international fund intended to help the world’s poorest countries address the effects of climate change, according to a senior administration official.

Mr. Obama is expected to make the announcement at a summit meeting of the Group of 20 industrial powers this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, on the heels of his landmark announcement this week that the United States and China will jointly commit to curbing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. …

To read entire story CLICK HERE 

Residents pack hearing, call for plan to move Mass. beyond coal

Statewide coalition urges support for bill that would aid communities and workers in transition away from coal

Boston -Today, Coal Free Massachusetts, a statewide coalition of environmental, public health, faith and community groups called on the legislature to move Massachusetts beyond outdated and dirty coal burning power plants and provide support for communities and workers in the transition toward cleaner, renewable energy sources.

Bill supporters and residents from across the Commonwealth testified in support of “An Act to Transition to a Clean Energy Commonwealth” (HB.2935/Rep. L. Ehrlich), which aims to phase out coal-fired generation in the state by 2020, establish funds to help communities with transition planning, and help support local economic development and workers.

“After living downwind from a filthy coal plant for my whole life I am acutely aware of the public health and contamination price paid by host communities,” said bill sponsor Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead), “Helping workers and communities in the transition also presents exciting opportunities to scale up clean renewable power. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Massachusetts.”

The bill would be a boon for Somerset-area families following the recently announced retirement of the Brayton Point coal plant, and provide support for Holyoke-area residents sick of decades of harmful pollution from the Mt. Tom coal plant in Western Mass.

“In Somerset we’ve had two coal plants. One is sitting, padlocked, doing no good for anyone, and we can’t afford to have that happen again,” said Pauline Rodrigues, Somerset resident. “We relied so heavily on this industry that made a lot of money for our town but also made us, our children, and grandchildren sick. Now that Brayton Point has announced it will close, we must have support from outside of our borders to plan for the future of the sites. We need money, skills, creativity, and vision for what can be the next center of our community so that it, and we, can be healthy again.”

“While coal appears to be on its way out in New England, Massachusetts coal-burning plants remain the state’s largest source of harmful air pollution.” said Jeff Seyler, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast, member of Coal Free Mass, “This pollution can exacerbate symptoms for the one in ten New Englanders who suffer from asthma.”

“I am involved in our local campaign to shut down the Mt. Tom coal plant for various reasons,” said Carlos Rodriguez from Action for a Healthy Holyoke, “my wife, Rosa, suffers from asthma. In the last 2 years, she has been to the emergency room with asthma attacks and other complications 3 or 4 times and the last time she went, there were 18 people in the waiting room. I decided to do a survey. 10 of them were there with asthma complications, which we know are triggered by air contamination. The coal plant had its function years ago, but coal is no longer feasible nor healthy for our communities.”

“In Salem, we believe that the right thing for the leaders of Massachusetts to do is provide resources for all of our coal host communities,” said Pat Gozemba, resident of Salem and Co-chair of Salem Alliance for the Environment (SAFE). “Salem received assistance with reuse planning and with supporting the community through the loss of a big taxpayer in our city, and Somerset and Holyoke certainly deserve concrete support, too. That’s why we are supporting H2935.”

“Brayton Point’s closure announcement should be a wake-up call for the Commonwealth. The era of coal is coming to a close, and without a plan to replace the lost jobs and tax base, everyday working families in Southeastern Massachusetts are facing dire economic peril,” said Joe Lazzerini, Grassroots Coordinator for the Coalition for Social Justice. “We call on the Massachusetts legislature to support us in this time of trouble. Work with us to grow strong, vibrant communities, a cleaner power grid, and an economy that’s built to last.”

Salem Harbor Station will cease operating by June of 2014. Brayton Point recently announced retirement amidst growing pressure from local communities and public health advocates. The future is similarly uncertain to for Mt. Tom, the last plant in the state without a plan to end its use of coal and which has requested and received approval to exit the wholesale capacity market for 2016-2017.


Coal Free Massachusetts wants to ensure that Massachusetts continues to make strides in renewable energy and efficiency to phase out the need for coal-fired electricity generation while working closely with elected officials at the local, state and regional level to ensure robust transition plans for workers, communities and municipal revenues. To learn more and to download fact sheets and information about the campaign, please visit: www.CoalFreeMass.org

The Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit, non-partisan grassroots environmental organization. The Sierra Club has over 22,000 members and supporters throughout Massachusetts and more than two million nationwide dedicated to clean air, clean water, healthy vibrant communities, and the preservation of the Commonwealth’s most precious natural spaces.

How cool, how sad …


By Rosalie Tirella

Today as I left the house, I saw, to my consternation, my next door neighbor’s HUGE FIR tree cut up into fat logs! I gasped – looked out into the horizon to see … no beautiful tree, just containers, bulldozers … ugliness from the new container site that is invading my neighborhood. Yesterday I wrote how grateful I was for our local pols – guys who made some calls and improved the quality of life for me and my neighbors. State Rep elect Dan Donahue and District 3 Worcester City Councilor George Russell recently got the owner of the container lots to put yellow contractor tape around the huge gaping hole on Greenwood Street and cut back on blasting in the early a.m. Since they’ve become involved the noise and air pollution from the work site doesn’t feel as intense.

Unfortunately, the folks of Quinsig Village aren’t the only living things being adversely affected by this huge build out. Our trees are taking the hit, too! Seems Mr. Anderson’s huge fir tree – the one that touches the sky! – was so traumatized by all the blasting and bull dozing, etc that its trunk cracked … . Mr. Anderson feared the damaged tree was  going to fall on his and his wife’s cute house – or their son.  So he hired a tree removal company to cut down this otherwise healthy tree!

Oh, no! I said when I saw the cut up tree. The one that greets me when I start the day.

The tree guys and their trucks were a buzz with buzz saws. One of them – a young guy – came up to me.

He said: Do you own …

Nope, I said. This is not my three decker.

No, he said. I mean do you own InCity Times?

Yes, I said.

BIG SMILE. Then he said: I love your paper! I have been reading it for years! One of my friends was in it last week! Then he told me the places he picks up InCity Times. He also said he was in a local rock band: ARMY OF NONE.


Truth be told we’re used to the locals’ accolades – not that unusual for us. We get this strong reaction from our readers when we bump into them around town. They say I LOVE the newspaper!! They smile, they get mischievous with me. Puckish, damn puckish!

I know I sound like Sally Fields at Oscar’s night when I say: THANKS. THIS MEANS YOU LIKE ME. YOU REALLY LIKE ME. My ideas, my perspective, who I am, who I do, what I love … .

Sometimes folks will get into deep conversations with me about my late mother! Or my father! Get very personal or sad for me … . Blows me away!

Rose to Tree GUY: Can I take a photo of you holding InCity Times? I wanna put it in the paper and on our website.

Tree Guy: Yes!


But before we said goodbye to each other, Tree guy – Wally’s his name – said Mr. Anderson was going to be cutting TWO MORE HUGE HEALTHY PINES in his big back yard – just in case all the construction next door cracks them, too. They could become a hazard.

TOTALLY healthy, big, gorgeous trees – soon to be dead.

How sad, I said to Wally …

From the ALA

Dear Editor,

Soon the Obama Administration will issue a new, innovative proposal to protect public health from air pollution fueled by climate change. By requiring all new coal-fired power plants to limit their carbon emissions, people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD will one day be better protected. The American Lung Association has led the call for updated standards, and as a volunteer and a medical professional, I also believe the time has come.

Dirty air is responsible for tens of thousands of asthma attacks, millions of missed days of work and school, countless emergency room admissions and hospitalizations and even shortens lives. Climate change will make it harder to clean up our air, making breathing more difficult for the one in ten Massachusetts’ residents who suffer from asthma. This is an especially scary thought for any parent, who has watched their child struggle to breathe when they have an asthma attack.

It’s a long overdue relief for those of us in the public health community to see that the president recognizes the urgency of protecting the health of the American people by moving forward with proposing sensible air quality standards that will undoubtedly benefit generations to come.

Megan Sandel, MD

ALA helps students with asthma return to school

Lung Association Recognizes Asthma-Friendly Schools and Offers Back-to-School Checklist for Students with Asthma

Waltham – Families across the nation are beginning to prepare for the new school year. A new school environment can sometimes be difficult for children with asthma. This back-to-school season, the American Lung Association highlights tips for families of children with asthma and stresses the importance of crafting a plan to properly manage asthma in a school environment.

“Asthma is a serious chronic disease that affects millions of children,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Asthma symptoms can often be exacerbated at this time of year and it is important for parents to work with their healthcare provider and school personnel prior to the first day of school on controlling their child’s asthma. We must do all that we can to prevent asthma attacks and missed school days.”

Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood disorders in the nation. It affects an estimated 136,267 Massachusetts children under the age of 18. It is also one of the primary illness-related reasons that students miss school, accounting for more than 10 million lost school days each year. Asthma is the third-leading cause of hospitalization for children under 15. In 2011, more than half of people with current asthma experienced at least one episode, or attack—with children 39 percent more likely than adults to have an asthma episode.

As part of its Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) the American Lung Association launched the Asthma-Friendly Schools Champions Awards earlier this year with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and Genentech Pharmaceuticals. The AFSI Champion Awards recognize schools that have taken positive strides to create a healthier learning environment using the strategies outlined in the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative.

In preparation for the school year ahead, the American Lung Association urges parents who have children with asthma to complete the following checklist:

  • Step 1 – Learn about asthma

The American Lung Association has many free resources to help you and your child learn how to keep asthma in control.

  • Visit www.lung.org/asthma to learn about asthma and asthma management. Be sure to watch the short animation What is Asthma? to learn what happens in the airways during an asthma episode.
  • Asthma Basics is a 50-minute online educational tool for people with asthma or anyone who provides care for someone living with asthma. It teaches how to recognize and manage asthma symptoms, how to identify and reduce triggers, how to create an asthma management plan and how to respond to a breathing emergency.
  • Visit Lungtropolis along with your 5-10 year old child. You’ll find action-packed games designed to help kids control their asthma—plus advice for parents.
  • Step 2 – Talk to the school nurse

Together, you and the school nurse, along with your child’s healthcare provider, can work to reduce asthma triggers and manage symptoms while in school.

  • Ask the school nurse to explain and provide all of the required forms you and your child’s healthcare provider need to sign and complete, including an asthma action plan.
  • All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow children to self-carry and use their asthma inhalers while at school. Each law is different; visit www.breatheatschool.org and click on your state to learn more.
  • Discuss your child’s asthma triggers and steps to reduce them in the classroom.
  • Ask about the school’s asthma emergency plan, and if coaches, teachers and staff are trained in how to recognize asthma symptoms and respond to a breathing emergency.
  • Step 3 – Schedule an asthma check-up

Each school year should begin with a visit to your child’s healthcare provider for an asthma check-up. This check-up is the best time to make sure your child is on the right amount of medicine for their asthma, to fill-out any forms required by the school and to create an asthma management plan as described in Step 4. Kids with asthma should visit their healthcare provider every three to six months, depending on how often your child is having symptoms.

An asthma action plan is a written worksheet created by your healthcare provider and tailored to your child’s needs. The plan includes a list of their asthma triggers and symptoms, the names of their medicines and how much medicine to take when needed. The plan also explains the steps to take to manage an asthma episode and a breathing emergency. An asthma action plan should always be on file in the school nurse’s office and easily accessible to anyone who may need to help your child use their inhaler.

  • Step 5 – Get a flu shot

On average, 1 out of 5 Americans suffers from influenza (flu) every year. Respiratory infections such as the flu are one of the most common asthma triggers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination. The best way to protect your family from the flu is for everyone to get vaccinated.

For additional information on asthma and children, including a downloadable version of this checklist with even more details, visitwww.lung.org/asthma or call the Lung HelpLine at1-800-LUNG-USA.

ALA disappointed with DC circuit court’s ruling on ozone standards


U.S Appeals Court partially upholds ozone pollution rule

NEW YORK  – Today, a federal appeals court partially upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations issued by former President George W. Bush’s administration that set standards for ozone pollution. The American Lung Association has long supported the updating of the primary health standards to reflect current science.

“Air pollution threatens the health of millions of Americans. Our current ozone standards are outdated and the scientific community has reported that stricter regulations are needed in order to truly protect public health,” said Jeff Seyler, President & CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “Ozone pollution makes people sick, exacerbates existing respiratory conditions or even creates new ones, and can send people to the hospital.”

Heat and sunlight mixed with the pollution from tailpipes, smokestacks and other sources create ozone. Ozone is the most widespread air pollutant and can cause health problems like wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks and even premature death.  Exposure to ozone pollution has been likened to “a sunburn on the lungs.” Ozone pollution has been linked to health problems that include decreased lung function.

“EPA standards for ozone must be updated so that they reflect scientific standards, not the politically-based standards that are currently in place,” said Ed Miller, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the American Lung Association of the Northeast. “While the quality of our air has been improving as a result of cleaner emissions over the years, the current standard is still inadequate to be most protective of public health and gives people a false sense of protection because it fails to identify all of the unhealthy air days that occur.”

“As more science has become available, it’s clear that people can get sick from breathing in ozone even at the levels we once thought were safe,” continued Miller. “We need a tighter primary health standard.”

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

On Worcester’s panhandlers and burn-outs

By Sharon Nietsche

There is a move to get the panhandlers off the streets. Not a ban but “something,” some way. I read an article about this. My reaction to the very casual attitude of the article was “Really?” We are talking about the city using lawyers, paid for by the citizens’ taxes no less, to find a sneaky way around the first amendment. Really. So my initial concern about this is a concern for the integrity of the constitution. Not in just this instance but lately in a lot of ways. I think our forefathers would be frightened for us. Okay, that said, and it is my biggest concern far and away; my concern for the constitution, but let’s look at this particular issue on it’s merits.

My first question to the people considering this. Have you put a lot of thought into this?Any thought? How about using some intelligence and looking into the question of why these people find themselves out there on the street in the first place and work on that angle.

It certainly can’t be easy to stand there. It would be much easier to sit at a pencil pushing job. Try offering them that. Like one of the jobs that the relatives of politicians get. Try offering them one of those. You’d get them all off the streets. (Hard not to get acerbic at this level of hypocrisy.)

I can think of so many solutions other than a “ban.” A ban is so heavy handed. So un- american. Some out of the box solutions come to mind. Remember Einstein said “The problems we have will not be solved using the same -thinking that created them.
How about offering the panhandlers a place to go. To sit and read and have a cup of soup and pay them $20 to stay there for the day. Would be cheaper than sending the police around to inforce this “ban” in gas money alone never mind for the police time it would involve. And that is just one quick thought there have to be many other less heavy handed solutions.

Think too many people would take advantage of that? Why is that? Are things “tough all over”? Well then look to the cause. Look what politicians have done to this country. Is your country worth it to do the research? Why does congress have a 7% approval rating? And this isn’t a digression. There is a cause and effect as to why so many more people are down and out and begging now and to see that you have to look at the bigger picture. And it is not a pretty picture.

But back to “Have you put a lot of thought into this?” Let’s put some thought into it right now.

About 10 years ago, when I saw people standing out on the street panhandling for money for food I was very concerned about it, concerned that people would be going hungry in the city. I called the Telegram and was told that most if not all the panhandlers were drug addicts or alcoholics trying to raise money for their habit.
So let’s say this is the case. That many of the panhandlers are trying to raise money for their habit. They get a little money and get what they need, get their drugs and or alcohol. Then get up and do the same thing the next day.

What happens when you take away this source of money for them to get what they need? I am going to leave some space for you to think about it. Just for a minute give it some thought.

That’s right. Not hard to figure. They are going to have to get their money some other way. People addicted to drugs and alcohol will many times do some pretty desparate things to get what they need.

Do you want your house broken into? Your car broken into? Do you want to be mugged?

My mother worked for many years at R. H. Whites at Lincoln Plaza. This was more than twenty years ago. It was close to our house so she walked back and forth to work. One Friday after she cashed her check, and was walking home through the parking lot, a car pulled up next to her and an occupant of the car grabbed her purse. Her purse was on her arm in such a way that she couldn’t immediately let go of it so she was dragged by the car, a white haired woman in her late fifties. She was bruised but thank God she was okay. This was before addicts had the option of panhandling, it just what they did back then.

To the people who want to “ban” panhandling, just one obvious question. Can you guarantee that crime won’t go up? If a drug addicts source of maintenance revenue is outlawed or in some way eliminated another source of revenue will immediately have to be found.

When you push a problem away to where you can’t see it, does the problem ever go away? Ever?

A different solution to the “problem” of this unattractive display of freedom of speech is this. When you look at a person panhandling say to yourself. “Thank god we still live in a free country. Thank god this is not North Korea. Maybe we could even pass out flags to the panhandlers that say “God bless America, God bless invidual freedoms.” So when people come into our city they will know how much we respect our constitution and our individual freedoms here.

The second attack on freedom is the story of late that some in the city might want to stop the Summer Nationals. I have never been a fan of the Summer Nationals. It’s not my cup of tea. Ten years ago when I was very involved with the Green Party, I thought the smoke they used to create on Main Street was pretty stupid. But even as a Green I never thought they shouldn’t be allowed to have their weekend of what they considered to be fun, Every day all that smoke would be a problem, but one weekend a year certainly could be accomadated because a hundred thousand people are having fun.

Again a hundred thousand people are having fun. I don’t think that should be something to be taken lightly. You don’t see too much of that in Worcester. You can’t put a price on people enjoying themselves. It’s priceless. In one article there was a question of whether or not businesses in the city were making any money. Say what? A hundred thousand people come into the city and don’t spend any money? Did they pack a two day lunch and drive to Worcester in solar cars?

One comment that really bothered me from a Worcester city councilor was this one and I quote: “This is the best we can do for Main Street in Worcester on the Fourth of July?” I would like to say to this person: What event did you sponsor? When did you bring 100,000 people into the city to have fun? The guy who does the Summer Nationals actually did it. If you don’t like this image, if you don’t like the image this creates about Worcester don’t whine about it, create an event yourself. Create an event that outshines this one. Encourage others to have all kinds of events here. Be a city of huge variety, have all kinds of events here.

Vive la difference.

Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The WRTA’s new Green Island digs (Asthma, anyone?)

By Maureen Schwab

On April 21, The Worcester Regional Transit Authority held a press conference on Quinsigamond Ave, at Crompton Park, to formally announce the award of a $ 39 million federal grant that will be used to build a new mainatainace and operation center. The WRTA plans to locate the new center on seven of the twelve acres of land owned by NSTAR, located on Quinsigamond Ave and Lafayette Street. The remaining five acres will be used by the State Department of Transportation.

This move will place both projects in close proximity, possibly as close as across the street, from Crompton Park, and a century old residential neighborhood known as Green Island. The residents of Green Island were not invited to the press conference, nor were they asked to serve on a committee that would guide the project to insure that neighborhood concerns were heard and hopefully met.

As promised, after the 4.21.meeting, the residents of Green Island were given the opportunity to hear from members of the City Council and administrators from the Worcester Regional Transit Authority about plans to move the WRTA maintenance and operation center to the empty NSTR property.

Notices were sent to Green Island residents, with a personal invitation from Worcester District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller to attend a meeting of Public Service and Transportation Committee. The meeting was held for the convenience of the Green Island residents, at the Green Island Neighborhood Center, 50 Canton Street, on Wednesday May 18.

Only about 12 residents, several WRTA employees and members of the management team were in attendance. Those residents of Green Island, who did attend, had the opportunity to hear information about the proposed WRTA move from WRTA Administrator Stephen F. O’Neil, and to ask questions about the project.

Many of the questions from residents raised serious concerns about noise and air pollution. At this time, attendees were told by O’Neil, traffic and environmental studies have not been conducted, but when they are, they will meet with all of the necessary requirements. CC Joseph Petty stated he has never received any complaints about air pollution at the Grove Street facility.

Questions about the State Dept. Of Transportation move were taken by State Rep. John Fresolo. Again, concerns were raised again about noise and air pollution. Rep. Fresolo will hold a separate meeting, at a date and location to be announced, to discuss issues related to this move.

The most important outcome of this meeting was the formation of a citizen’s advisory committee which will allow for residents to monitor the progress of this project, and the opportunity to serve on a design review committee. Anyone who is interested in being on the committee can call the City Clerk’s office and ask to be added to the list. The design review committee will be chosen from this list.

The move from Grove Street to Quinsigamond Ave will have the WRTA leave pollution behind on one site, and perhaps only partially remove the toxins that sit in the ground on the NSTAR lot. The grant money cannot be used to clean or renovate l what has been allowed to deteriorate on Grove Street for 75 years; the money can only be used to build a new facility. According to a newspaper article, the design of the new building is estimated to cost $4.1 million, with construction estimated at $48.8 million.

That’s a little more than $39 million.

Fresh, unpolluted air, on the other hand, is priceless.