Tag Archives: Ronald O’Clair

In My Opinion: Worcester Protest March, Police Brutality, America’s Marches + 🇺🇸🎶

By Ron O’Clair

On this day I witnessed a spectacle that would have been unheard of back on the 6th of June 1944. In the midst of an active pandemic, hundreds of people in Worcester were compelled to forget about social distancing and come out of their seclusion to protest the horrific death of another Amrrican citizen – George Floyd – at the hands of what has been described as “out of control” police here in America.

The principle trigger to the angst surrounding this particular death in custody was the fact of the victim’s heritage, a Black man. By now everyone has seen the video of the Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on the victim’s throat for almost 9 minutes, seemingly oblivious to the many people who attempted to impart the information that he was “Killing him.”

In fact, people were threatened by other police officers at the scene – told that they would be tazed or pepper sprayed, if they did not stop their protests while that officer continued applying pressure to the neck of George Floyd until it was plainly apparent that he was no longer moving – at which point another officer checked the victim’s pulse and summoned an ambulance.

Many people feel that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back and that drastic action must be taken to make changes to our American police procedures – throughout our country – to stop what many feel is discriminatory and selective deadly force being used on Black citizens. Never mind the fact that there are statistically far more non-blacks getting killed while in the process of being arrested or once in confinement. Even one death in custody is too many, when the cause was preventable.

The country has been a fire keg looking for a match since Michael Brown’s death … I am not going to argue that the police are blameless for that angst, as they callously left Michael Brown’s body lying in the street for an extended period of time while they “investigated” the shooting – in full view of many onlookers.

Mistakes were made on both sides of that issue, as is again happening with this latest tragic death of a citizen in police custody.

We might want to rethink our police training on a national level so that incidents similar to this one are not repeated. Worcester learned a valuable lesson along those lines many years ago with the death of Worcester resident Christino Hernandez, who also couldn’t breathe due to being held forcibly with his airway obstructed by improper Worcester police tactics being used.

You would think that other departments around the country would be able to benefit from that costly lesson and that these deaths would decrease over time with proper training of future offices.

I have the unique perspective of having been nearly killed while being held in police custody years ago – by an out of control Court Officer who lifted me off the cell floor while I was handcuffed from behind and basically defenseless. He was choking me – I couldn’t breathe.

But I was fortunate enough to have been able to disable him by breaking out his lower leg bones so that I could breathe!

Of course the County of Worcester swept that “under the rug” with a deal made by me that in return of charges being dropped, security cameras would be installed in the holding cells to prevent another such incident. They paid the then fully disabled Court Officer full disability for the rest of his life, never charging him for the assault on my person.

I was 25 years old – young – and figured that I was going to “change” the way things were being done by exposing the truth of the matter, not realizing what I was getting into, but also realizing that police are an integral part of our society. Despite my own bad experience, we need to have them.

This is where what I witnessed yesterday comes into sharp focus for me. The protesters have a just cause – there is ample need for reform in our policing here in America. We have double standards in both civilian and police hierarchy. On the civilian side, you have out of control segments of society that embrace a philosophy of “snitches get stiches” aimed at those who actually uphold their end of the citizenship bargain and do their civic duty to testify against those who are breaking our laws on a daily basis: dealing deadly poisons to our people who end up dead with a needle in their arm or a crack pipe at their lifeless feet.

You also have the police “Blue Wall of Silence” that prevents the good officers from “ratting” on the bad ones who need to be disciplined.

It boils down to the same thing, “snitches get stiches” in both civilian and police circles.

The people have the power to make the “change” happen, but they have to be willing to pay the price of their convictions by becoming willing to testify in a Court of Law against those that breach the peace. The law has remedies that are effective and will work, but the public has to support their local law enforcement and work within the law to bring about the “change” we all seek. Injustice will continue to happen on both sides of the fence unless and until people realize they are the last chance to effect change – by bringing to justice those who abuse their authority.


Making demands is one thing, participating in wholesale looting, burning and destruction of public and private property is another. It will never change anything, except bring on more force of arms to control angry mobs of people stirred up by agitators with an ulterior motive that is not in the best interest of the average American citizen.

The police need to be willing to clean their own departments and hold their own bad apples to a higher standard of professionalism. Citizens need to step up and help the local authorities take a huge bite out of crime by doing their civic duty and assisting the police in curtailing criminal activity. (It can be done anonymously, so there is no excuse for letting the criminal elements continue to intimidate citizens into silent consent of illegal activity). We here in Worcester are fortunate that our own police department has made strides since the Christino Hernandez killing. Under our current police chief, Steve Sargent …

WPD Chief Steve Sargent

… I have been watching from the sidelines since I was 25 years old – with a keen eye. I am now 59 – much has been accomplished but also much needs to be done, as well.

The Worcester “Peaceful Protest March” certainly drew attention to the problems we face. Now it takes courage to make our society better for all and hold bad police and criminal elements as well to a “higher standard.” We deserve a safe America where everyone gets to enjoy our uniquely American freedoms. Worcester has always been in the forefront of change. Let us not drop the ball now.

Like/dislike? Please let the author know – email Ronny at ronaldoclair@hotmail.com



By Rosalie Tirella

Hello again?
Yesterday Cece spied someone outside my apartment window.      pics: R.T.

It was former ICT scribe Ron O’Clair, in the St. Mary’s church parking lot, in a red convertible, with white interior! Ronny was wearing his big black hippy sombrero and (I think) sporting a beard. He was looking up at me, while I parted the curtains in my fourth-floor shack to admire the sight and snap a pic. Then he gave me a wide smile and a big thumbs up and sped off! Quite the sight!


Ahhh, Ronny! On a high! Feeling good with the sun shining on his sombrero and a new shiny red toy! Here’s a guy who’s been knocked down by life from day #1 (childhood poverty, death of a parent when he was a little kid, then foster homes, depression, the murder of his brother, discharge from the military, alcoholism) and come back from the brink so many times (STILL brilliant and articulate, a TERRIFIC writer, in recovery for 30+years, a cool street social worker who’s helped hundreds of people find food, solace, housing, AA meetings as the live-in manager of a Main South rooming house ) that “resilient” is too weak (and serious) a word to describe Ronny. “Come backs” doesn’t fit either because the phrase makes Ronny seem old – which he sorta is, at 55!❤ – and a has-been, like a member of the Herman’s Hermits🎵 – which he is  most definitely not! (Sorry, Peter Noone!)

For me, Ron O’Clair is more Dylan than Noone. More Byron than Seuss. He never goes out of style … But his bipolar illness makes him disappear from the scene now and then, leaving his friends worried and sad. His condition makes him see things so intensely! The perfect writer for ICT! Ron can be deep – deeply sad, deeply wise, deeply sensitive. He can also be deeply wound-up, loud, revved up,  ecstatic. Manic.  Ronny has always offered his friends his kaleidoscope of feelings – and experiences –

… often powerful. When in his emotional “troughs,” though, Ron  pretty much hunkers down in his two rooms in Main South – for weeks. This breaks my heart. You can call it mental illness. But why put a complicated brilliant person like Ronny in a box? Still, his emotional vales break his momentum, whether it be his running for Woo City Council or following through on a marriage proposal that he made to a lovely – I mean lovely both spiritually and physically – hooker that he rescued outside his Main South building. … I think back to that time: Ronny was in love! But his complicated brain waves brought it all to a halt! It made me cry! I was rooting for the pair: Ronny bought “Sandy” a beautiful ring, rented a car one Christmas eve so she wouldn’t have to sit in his crap-cluttered vehicle on the trip to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner – to meet the family.❤ Ronny got Sandy clean and sober, took her to the doctors, the dentist, NA meetings. A gal pal gave Sandy bags of cool  vintage clothing. I planned their wedding with our gal pal: she would provide the vintage wedding dress and I’d dress up my apartment. I’d make the mostly veggie meals, served on my late Mom’s china, turn  my dining and living rooms into an inner-city chapel with all my candles placed on an altar I’d fashioned from headboards I had found on the side of the road. I’d board Jett for the day… Then boom. Ron shut down, so did Sandy  …

… and that was the end of that. Ron dismisses the whole love affair as a non-love affair. A pain in his butt. But I know he’s lying.

Ron has shared many of his experiences with you in ICT. Like the time he was a boy in foster care in rural Maine and bonded with a buffalo on the farm he was living on. The buffalo was like a big pet for Ronny, and he visited him in the field next to his foster parents’ house every day. But one Christmas Ronny unwittingly ate his best friend in the world. The buffalo was the main course for his foster family’s Christmas dinner! Ron tells the story with a chuckle, but you hear the real pain in the story he wrote for InCity Times. ICT – the conduit for Ronny’s dreams and schemes – realized and/or crumpled. If you meet Ron in Main South or at any of his haunts in Worcester – at a Worcester diner eating a killer breakfast, at a junk-yard buying parts cheap for his cars that he collects like jewels – you would think he’s kinda glib and … a jerk. Incapable of the stories he writes. But if you read his columns – which I have with so much joy, through years  – you’d soon realize Ron’s the brightest guy in the room. But his poverty, his living on the edge in the rooming house in Main South, his sometimes too enthusiastic emotional style, his physical SIZE! have left him the perennial outsider, here in Worcester, the hometown he adores. You all discount him and his intelligence and goals. It’s  a kind of prejudice. Not racial. But economic. And maybe just maybe your version of mental well-being skews a little to the left or right of Ronny’s state of mind! Shame on you!

In this life: so many people crossing each other’s paths, so many good people shunted to another road or handcuffed into silence by the in-crowd, the money crowd, the politically connected crowd. The hit brigade wallowing in their version of Wasp happiness.

What about WOP happiness?


Wikipedia says: “WOP stands for WithOut Papers. Many Italian immigrants had no papers to identify themselves and were branded as WOPs.”

My grandfather Sabino was a WOP.

He was also a NANG: Not A Nice Guy!


I’ve told you all about him: Unlike Ron, Sabino took his outsiderness, his otherness and used it to become a pretty successful entrepreneur. But he was an asshole in every other aspect of his life: cheated on his wife who gave him 10 children, beat her, beat my father, was a bootlegger. I mean, the guy was BAD!

Ron – and this WOP! – aren’t bad: we WRITE, we try to do the right thing for our city and this makes us happy and proud! Forget about moi for a second, let’s focus on Ron. Over the years Ron has:

given me a million rides when the jalopy I am driving breaks down.

delivered gallons of gas to me when I’ve run out – usually at night in the inner city. How comforting it was to see my friend pouring the gas into my gas tank, wearing his fake-lamb-skinned-lined bedroom slippers. In the middle of a Woo winter night. He wasn’t smiling, made no small talk and walked away with a huge huff after he finished his AAA call, but he ALWAYS came, always came through for me.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to the food pantry to get food so they could eat.

driven tons of people from his rooming house to AA, Al Anon, NA meetings – often joining the group as he is in recovery and never gets complacent about the fact!

helped strangers when they needed help

befriended lots of Woo characters – including this one! I remember the night Ronny came to my house with an old ex-boxer from Boston who just got a room at Ronny’s place. I had called Ron frantic – my late Mom’s cat April had just become diabetic and I did not know how/was afraid to use the needles to inject the insulin into April. Well, Ronny brings the boxer over to my house to help – the guy is BALD, HUGE, covered with tattoos, standing at my door, with Ronny. It is close to midnight. I am distraught. April needs her medicine. I don’t want her to die. I say…OK, come in. The boxer comes in, fills up half the entry-way but … picks April up, talks oh so softly to her, takes one of the skinny needles out of her needle box (filled with about 1O0 needles), shows me how to poke the needle into the little insulin bottle (always shake it beforehand), measure the amount of insulin. Then he lifts a bit of April’s fur on her shoulder, making a little tent, and gently gives her her shot. Then the boxer gently massages the spot where he inserted the needle. He told me and Ronny his grandmother had been a diabetic and, as a little boy, he used to give her her insulin shots. Every day. He said it all so beautifully. I could tell he had really loved his grandmother. Maybe she had raised him… I felt like shit for having been afraid of the Boston boxer and hesitating to let him into my home. As he turned to leave, I hugged the boxer – and Ronny -and said THANK YOU, GUYS! They lumbered down the stairs that lead up to my 4th floor apartment. Noisy as hell. I loved them both!

A night I will never forget, courtesy of Ronald O’Clair.

Lilac and the late, beautiful April

Ronny has also:

supported his landlord who was overwhelmed with his rooming house.

worked with the Worcester police for years to make his neck of the woods – the corner of Main and Charlton streets – much safer and quieter and a little less heroin-infected, especially when the PIP wet shelter was still open (across Charlton Street!)

So naturally it enraged me to see my friend’s hopes dashed when he applied for a slot on a City of Worcester Board/Commission and  was turned down by a City Manager toady. Not the commission who does the vetting but by one of former CM Mike O’Brien’s (an ICT detractor for sure) employees. This was about five years ago, when Ronny was on a huge UP and had all his i’s dotted and t’s crossed. He had applied to sit on a City of Worcester health or zba board – for no pay, as the job is a volunteer position. I had encouraged him to apply. Ronny, living the life he’s lived, KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT INNER-CITY HEALTH ISSUES. And what he doesn’t know – he’ll read up on. He’s a brilliant guy! Also, so compassionate! Hell, he’d be down in the trenches with Dr. Mattie at a homeless camp, talking to the folks, driving them to job interviews! I mean, he would be all in – give 100%. But CM O’Brien hated ICT, so Ron got screwed.

A few days ago I called Ronny. We were talking about city boards and commissions when I urged him to take another crack at the HEALTH commission. “The city needs lots of people from District 4! On lots of city boards!” I said.

Ronny was hesitant. I said: GO FOR IT, RONNY! YOU WILL BE GREAT – on that city board or any city board!

He laughed. Then I asked him to cover an inner-city health clinic’s health fair for me, to run in the next issue of CECELIA. Ronny said YES, attended the event for me and sent me some pics he took a few hours later. Here is one for you!

Ronny O’Clair: gotta love the man!!
Baby in Piedmont. photo by Ron O’Clair

Main South community activist/writer Ron O’Clair runs for Worcester City Council


Ron, outside the rooming house he manages in Main South. He is a Worcester City Councilor at Large candidate. (photo R.T.)

From Ron O’Clair:

To the registered voters of Worcester, Massachusetts, and those not registered currently who would like to register to vote to support my candidacy for Worcester City Councilor At-Large:

I hereby formerly announce my intention to gather the required signatures on the nomination papers for a seat on the Worcester City Council, here in the City of Worcester.

I have long been involved with citizen activism, having worked with all of my former District 4 Worcester City Councilors since I purposely established myself as a resident here on Main Street in the 700 block, where I have had a bird’s eye view of the goings on in the public streets since the 3rd day of July, 1996.

I worked first with District 4 City Councilor Janice Nadeau, her successor Barbara Haller and, after a time, Barbara’s successor, Sarai Rivera. I have found all three of these women to be tireless workers trying to make the quality of life here in District 4, and the City of Worcester in general, better for all who live and work here.

Over the years I have even sponsored petitions to the Worcester City Council in my attempts to improve living conditions here in the City of Worcester, specifically Main Street, where criminal activity had been allowed to prosper to the point that life in my district became intolerable.

I have always been an ardent supporter of the rights of the people as outlined in the United States Constitution since signing on the dotted line when I became a noncommissioned officer with the United States Air Force Reserve program at Westover, AFB in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.

I have attended and participated in numerous Worcester crime watch meetings, authored many articles to bring attention to the problems facing our city, and most of all, observed with a critical eye the root causes of what I perceive to be the decline of Worcester since the time of my youth, until the current time we live in now where disrespect for authority seems to be on the rise, and a sizable percentage of Worcester residents are involved in  illegal activities that stem directly from the sale and use of illegal narcotics.

I was initially educated in the Worcester Public School system – one of the finest in the nation – and have credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science with the Community College of the United States Air Force. I left formal education early to enter the workforce, due to a pressing need within my family, earning a G.E.D. through the Worcester Night Life program in order to qualify for entrance into the military with a high school education or its equivalent. I never stopped seeking knowledge and have the accumulated wisdom learned the hard way, by practical experience.

I have a strong desire to help transform the City of Worcester back into a place where anyone can succeed on a basis of equality. There will be many people who will try to discredit me, something I have been dealing with since I was 25 years old, and a victim of the old “good ole boy” corruption then in power in Worcester County. Throughout the entire ordeal, I never gave up being an ardent supporter of law enforcement, which is essential to maintain a Democracy, such as the one we live in.

I will run my campaign like my idol John F. Kennedy did, meeting and greeting as many voters as I can in a grass roots effort to secure enough signatures on the nomination papers to get on the ballot in the upcoming election.

My record of service to my City of Worcester, and my country, speaks for itself, and will withstand any challenges made upon it, despite my having been diagnosed with bi-polar. Winston Churchill was said to suffer from the same malady, and it did not affect his ability to help govern Great Britain to victory during the Second World War. Truth be told, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see firsthand how the criminals and those diagnosed mentally ill are treated within our institutions, and society in general. I will advocate on the behalf of those afflicted, as I have met some of the best people in the strangest places.

If elected to the position that I seek, I will faithfully execute the duties of the office that I enter, and work ceaselessly to make the City of Worcester a better place to live for ALL of its residents, regardless of any labels put upon them based on race, handicap, religion, sexual orientation, gender, illness or age.

Please consider voting for Mr. Ronald L. O’Clair, City Council At-Large in the next election.

Thank you, and may the God of your understanding bestow upon you many blessings.

Ron O’Clair, Worcester

Want to contact Ron? Please email him at ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

My wish for 2015: we support local and state police departments throughout our country

By Ron O’Clair

It is my wish for the upcoming year that we here in Worcester can lead the rest of the nation into a new era of racial equality, respect for each other, regardless of what is on the outside, and show by example that support for Law Enforcement is a bedrock principle of our Democracy.

The shameful displays of disrespect for authority without valid reason, as in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, and the associated shootings of officers in various locales trying to be justified by the evildoers as “revenge” for Mike Brown shows how twisted our social norms have become in America.

If you are going to exercise your right to protest an injustice, make damn sure there was an injustice in the first place.

The protesting college students who caused traffic tie ups and inconvenience but did not escalate to looting and burning here in Worcester all clung to that tired old “Hands up, don’t Shoot!” mantra,  even though it has been proven beyond a shadow of doubt that the bullets all entered Brown from the front of his arms. How then could the hands have been raised?

Officer Wilson faced an extremely aggressive thug who had become accustomed to getting his way by using his bulk and brawn as a weapon of intimidation. Forcing the store clerk to let him leave with the box of cigars proved that.

All the evidence is in favor of Law Enforcement on this issue, yet people have been blinded by hatred. People see only in black and white and still cling to the notion that a crime was committed against Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson.

I pray that 2015 brings about change, and that we as a nation can all see that we absolutely need to support our local and state police forces throughout our country. Hold them accountable if they break the law themselves, but we need to support the concepts of Truth, Justice and the American way at the same time.

No system is perfect, and mistakes are made that cost innocent lives on occasion – that is a sad truth about any system of justice.

The proliferation of illegal drugs in our society, along with chronic alcoholism, has spawned a subculture of malcontents who fail utterly to do their civic duty to help the police eradicate crime in their communities.

My D-Day inspired campaigns that I have undertaken each 6th of June for several years has made an impact on my crime-infested neighborhood here in the 700 Block of Main Street (across from the former PIP) primarily because I employed a new weapon in my arsenal of Democracy. A video camera. For several months now I have been making videos of nefarious activities in my Main South neighborhood and posting them on You Tube. I installed a security camera system on my building, which I manage for the landlord, and that video camera records all activity up and down the street. It has also helped curb illegal activity.

I have been at various times branded as a “snitch” because I believe it is a citizen’s duty to cooperate with law enforcement and intervene whenever possible to halt crimes in progress and follow that through with an appearance in court, if needed, to convict the guilty. Those who refer to me as a ‘snitch’ have no concept of honor. They are part of the subculture that is destroying our country, one crime ridden area at a time.

My long and continuous battle against overwhelming odds has borne fruit, and my neighborhood has improved, rather than declined further. My unorthodox methods have had an impact on the lives of those in the area, including ones who were part of the problem. My “Zombie Walk” video was responsible for getting the girl in it, Samantha [last name withheld], into treatment for drug addiction  and perhaps will lead to a reconciliation with her family,  if she is successful in treatment. If she fails, I will unlock the video of her that went viral with 114,766 views in the 10 days. I posted it and it brought attention to the problem of drug addiction in our neighborhood – as was my intent in filming it. Case closed. But it brought me a lot of condemnation from various quarters. But it was ultimately directly responsible for the girl getting the help she so obviously needed in dealing with her drug dependency issues!

Two of the other of the worst of the worst daily offenders on my videos have been clean and sober for quite some time now. Hopefully, I will be able to attend the January 27th ceremony recognizing six solid months of recovery for Wanda, whom I had prosecuted for breaking into my truck so she could get out of the cold and get some sleep after a day’s long crack cocaine binge. The Judge who sentenced her will be on hand to present her with her coin. I certainly hope she and her boyfriend Mike [last names withheld] can remain clean and sober until that time, and far beyond.

That would not have happened if not for my video-taping efforts, and I am grateful that both Wanda and Mike have thanked me in person for my efforts on their behalf. Now that they are drug free, they can see why I do what I do. Most of those who currently condemn me will come to understand my motivation is for the benefit of all Worcesterites, not one or another subset, race or culture.

I stand firmly on the side of law enforcement.

Here is hoping that 2015 brings about a new era focusing on recovery for those addicted to drugs and alcohol and more cooperation between the public and police throughout communities in America.

Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early Jr.’s investigative division moves to Green Island’s Lafayette Street! (Hooray!)

By Ron O’Clair

It has been 36 years since Green Island had a permanent police presence in the neighborhood once the City of Worcester finally opened the new headquarters building at Lincoln Square after nearly four years of construction and several years of discussion on the 14th of August, 1978. The move closed the Lamartine Street Station that was formerly in the Green Island neighborhood at 39 Lamartine Street which was used to house the Motor Patrol, and the Impact Division of the Worcester Police Department, consolidating operations of the department in the new location.

The former station was sold, and now houses Worcester Electrical Associates.

From that time to this, the only police presence in the neighborhood was via patrol route cars, or if someone summoned the police to respond to an emergency.

All that changed on the 1st of August 2013, when the District Attorney Joe Early Jr. Investigative Division moved out of its 19 Midstate Drive, Auburn location and came back to the City of Worcester where it had not been since 1990 when the old CPAC (Crime Prevention and Control) unit moved out of 283 Main Street due to having outgrown that space.

The Investigative Division of the Worcester County District Attorney is responsible for investigating all the murders that occur anywhere throughout the 59 Communities that make up Worcester County, with the exception of the City of Worcester itself, where murders happening within the City limits are investigated by the Worcester Police Department.

The unit, headed by State Police Captain Francis D. Leahy, and contains 17 investigators who are responsible to investigate drug trafficking and other major crimes within the Worcester County, and are available to assist other departments upon request.

The Midstate Drive facility which contains 5,732 square feet proved to be insufficient space for the ever growing unit, and the lease had expired, so a search for a new facility began early in the year. It had gotten so cramped in the Auburn space that some evidence had to be stored in the attic of the Holden State Police Barracks building, which was hardly ideal.

The new facility was chosen from amongst the many who responded for the request for proposals that had a dozen property owners vying for the chance to house the unit. Oddly enough, one of those bidders was the property owner of 1 Exchange Place, which was part of the old Waldo Street Police Station complex that was vacated when the City of Worcester built the new Headquarters Building at Lincoln Square.

Ironically the best suited property proved to also be the lowest bidder, and the property owner was willing to work with the District Attorney’s Office to remodel the 9 year old building to suit the new tenant, which took several months to complete.

The new facility located at 81 Lafayette Street has 8,796 square feet of space in total, and has been fortified with bullet proof glass, bullet resistant panels in the walls of the entryways, electronic card access to all areas, a public waiting area, a climate controlled evidence room, a fully functional kitchen, a work out space, offices for all seven supervisors, and the unresolved cases team, and cubicle space for each investigator, a large room that seats 50 people , two interview rooms with audio and video, and has enough additional capacity so that the unit can grow if needed from the current 17 members up to 24 members.

The unit is a welcome addition to the Green Island neighborhood, and will hopefully contribute to reducing crime in the area. Captain Leahy has plans to introduce the unit to the neighbors and neighborhood business owners once they are fully settled in their new space.

Law abiding citizens should feel free to stop in to the new offices with any tips that you may have about any illegal activity that is going on under our noses, I am sure that the capable investigators of Joe Early Jr., our District Attorney would be more than happy to have the support of the residents and business owners in furnishing valuable information that the investigators could follow up on. It is the civic duty of every citizen to help the police in any way that you can to combat crime, and this unit will add another level of enforcement in the area, and decrease the burden on our overtaxed City Police.

Beware of identity thieves!

By Ron O’Clair

I have been the victim of both identity theft, and now I have even had my hotmail account hijacked by an identity thief who took over my hotmail account and tried to get money from the people on my contact list.

These are the newest scams out there. I will outline what happened to me in the hopes that it will not happen to you.

In the case of outright identity theft, someone gathered my information and assumed my identity to open a Chase Bank Visa account under my name with a different address. I believe that it happened when I answered a telephone call, and the people on the other end of the line informed me that they could lower my interest rates on the credit card debt that I currently carried.

One of the requirements was that I owe at least $10.000.00 in credit card debt, and had at least one account that was still active. They pitched a good sales pitch, and answered all of my questions to my satisfaction. I thought I was dealing with a reputable firm and at the time the television and the radio was full of advertisements offering just such a service.

I was on the telephone that night for over 45 minutes talking about this, and was a bit skeptical, but definitely interested in lowering my rates which were very high on the debt that I carried at the time. I became increasingly concerned that it was a scam, but the person was very good at alleviating my concerns. I eventually gave him sensitive information that I knew that I should not give out over the telephone about my credit problems. When he asked for my mother’s maiden name, bells started going off in my head that this could be a scam, and I falsified the mother’s maiden name that I gave as a way of protecting myself.

It turns out my sixth sense was right on the money, even though I received a slick pamphlet in the mail outlining all of the services that the company offered which looked 100% legitimate. After some time had gone by, I received another telephone call, this time from the people at Chase Bank Fraud Protection. They were inquiring if recent charges made on a Chase Bank Visa account issued in my name were legitimate charges.

It was a surprise to me, seeing as I never had applied to Chase Bank for a credit card. I informed the Fraud Protection people that I never opened a Chase Bank Visa account, and that I would not be responsible for any charges made on that account. I also informed them that I had suspicions that I knew how I had become the victim of the identity theft, and told them about my having given a false mother’s maiden name to the person I suspected was scamming me. I told them the phony name I gave, and sure enough, it turned up on the application for credit.

That, and the fact that the charges were in the state of Florida in the same general area as the supposed company that had called me to lower my interest rates confirmed my suspicion that I had been victimized by a slick operation that preys on people like you and I that are just getting by. I outsmarted them by supplying the phony mother’s maiden name, and was able to pinpoint where the security breech had originated by doing so.

I had to call the local police here in Worcester to report having my identity stolen, and I had to contact the Attorney General of Massachusetts, and I had a whole list of other things that I had to do to try to straighten out my credit rating. I had to contact all three of the credit bureau’s to put it in my file that I was the victim of identity theft, and still, no matter what I did, I lost points on my credit score due to the bad debt that someone else rang up using my name. It was a nightmare, and still haunts me to this day with a lower credit score.

I questioned the Chase Bank Fraud Protection people as to how someone was able to open an account in my name, yet when the new card got activated, it did not get activated through my home telephone number that Chase Bank called me on to question the charges made to that account. The identity thieves had a good time with that card, buying all kinds of things at a Walmart down in Tampa, Florida including a large screen T.V. They also bought gasoline twice, and went out to eat a couple of times at a pub style restaurant down there in Florida. They racked up over $600.00 in charges before Chase Bank contacted me and cancelled the card.

Since that time, I have gotten on a payment plan with the accounts that I had owed too much on which were cancelled, but active for repayment. I owed a total of over $12,000.00 over all my accounts before I started on the repayment plan. I still have three credit card accounts in good standing. I have paid down my debt and will be debt free in less than a year now. I incurred the debt, and I did the right thing and made arrangements to pay back what I owed rather than declare bankruptcy, which looked pretty tempting at the time. This thing with the identity theft happened some time back, and I should have written about it before now, but a recent incident of identity theft just happened to me, and I thought that I would write about it now.

We are our own worst enemies when it comes to identity theft. If we were more careful about giving out our information only to trusted sources, they would have a much harder time taking advantage of us debtors. You have to be super vigilant as this next case will show you. I received an E-mail that looked legitimate supposedly from the Windows Microsoft Center that informed me that they were updating their database, and I needed to confirm my information or my hotmail account would be cancelled in 48 hours.

I fell for it hook, line and sinker, and clicked on the link to provide information that I thought was going to a secure site for a legitimate purpose. I provided the information requested thinking nothing of it. A few days later I got another official looking E-mail that was supposedly from the Windows Live Team, also asking for sensitive information such as my name, my account name, my password, my birthdates, and my country of origin. This E-mail presented itself as a “last warning” that if I did not provide the information requested, my hotmail account would be closed forever.

By the time I got the second one, I had already found out that someone had hijacked my hotmail account and sent E-mails out to all of my contacts with a bullshit story about my having a sick sister and that I was on my way to Madrid, Spain to help her receive a kidney transplant, and could they please contact me to arrange for a loan to help defray the costs of the transportation and the transplant. I was unaware that someone else was sending and receiving E-mails on my account that was not me.

The recipients of these E-mails thought they were getting them from me because the person that scammed me for my password had changed the delivery of my incoming messages to their own E-mail account.

I would not have known about it as soon as I did if one of my contacts had not asked me about my sick sister, and I had no idea of what she was talking about. That was my Renee, the “hot babe” that I have been having the internet romance with. We have met a couple of times, and I am happy to report that it is going well for us both. Well, when “Renee” asked me about my sick sister, I asked her what the hell she was talking about, and she E-mailed me a copy of the “Get a loan” E-mail.

I had to go into the account setting of my hotmail account to find out that someone had been having my messages forwarded to another E-mail address, and had used my password to change my settings. I also had to go to all my other accounts, Yahoo, G-mail, and Facebook to change my password, because the one I used on my hotmail account was used on all of my accounts so I did not forget what it was. That was a mistake to have the same password on all of my accounts, and they tell you not to do it, but I do it anyway to make sure I don’t forget it. I still did it, and if they get it once again, they will have access to all of my accounts again.

We are creatures of habit, and our habits can be our undoing. Now that I know what to look out for, I feel confident that I will not fall so easily for the next phishing scam that comes along. Good thing for me, all of my contacts were smart enough not to send money to what they thought was me. I sent out a hacked account E-mail to those of my contacts that I felt might have been tempted to help me out in my time of need, but I needn’t have worried, none of them did. None of my friends have money anyway, and those that do would not part with it.

I hope that this was helpful to you, and remember to not give your information to people over the telephone or the Internet who claim they are legitimate. The E-mails looked genuine and would fool most anybody so don’t fall for any that claim that unless you provide the requested information your accounts will be closed, It is a scam.

If you liked this article, or if you hated this article, I would love to have your feedback at: ronaldoclair@hotmail.com

District 4 Blues

By Ron O’Clair

I was picking up the latest copy of InCity Times and happened to be around when ICT Chief Rosalie was delivering the new edition. We exchanged greetings and hugs, and during our brief conversation a topic came up: our mutual friend Barbara Haller, former long time District 4 Worcester City Councilor.

That got me thinking about all the things that Barbara started in motion that are now paying dividends in my neighborhood after many years of abject neglect and indifference to the plight of the decent, hardworking residents of the area who collectively suffered for many years while our neighborhood was besieged by hordes of criminal minded types that constantly despoiled the peace and serenity of the area.
One of those long suffering residents: Mr. Gerard (Jerry) Michaud, of whom I featured in an article printed in InCity Times. He was a long time resident here in the 700 Block of Main Street and a longtime resident of the building I manage here at 707 Main Street. He just passed away this past week, the fourth week of August, 2012.

Jerry, as everyone called him, had the best view out of this building onto what was a constant parade of lawlessness, seven days a week, and all throughout the night as well. He lived directly above the corner of Main & Charlton Street in the largest room in the building known as: “The Charlton”. He had three windows that faced Main Street, and two that faced Charlton Street. He saw, and heard it all, all day, and all night. It was chaos, plain and simple. The poor guy suffered from emphysema and could hardly breathe towards the end, but he stayed the course living here right up until he died this past week.

He died in the hospital, where he had been spending much of his time recently. Jerry was the type of guy who did for other people, and was very active in the A.A. Program of recovery, as am I. We both had over 30 years of continuous sobriety from alcohol, and were very active in helping bring the message of recovery to those still suffering from alcoholism, or drug abuse.

Living here there were many opportunities to reach out a hand to help an active alcoholic achieve sobriety. Before he took ill, Jerry was the caretaker at the Notre Dame Des Canadien’s Church at Salem Square, where you would often see him at the noontime A.A. meeting that was held there for many years. He was a staunch believer in the program of recovery from alcohol and drug abuse that A.A. has come to serve as a dual purpose recovery program.

Old-timers’ in the halls of A.A., which would apply to Jerry and myself, would tell you that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is about recovery from alcohol, and only alcohol. That is the primary purpose of A.A., to bring the program of recovery to those that still suffer from alcoholism. In reality, it has morphed over the years into a combination of A.A., & N.A., and no one can tell this old timer any different. Anonymity is essential also, and normally one would not profess in press, radio, or television their full name, I am breaking one of the Traditions of A.A., by putting my name out there as a member of A.A. while still alive. It has been long a tradition to acknowledge membership by name after a person dies, but not before. There have been exceptions, mostly those that are glory hunting and want to take credit for the good works of the fellowship as a whole, as if they were directly responsible for the recovery of this or that member.

In the halls of A.A., Gerard was known as: Jerry M., and I as; Ron O.
Jerry helped a lot of people by leading them into the recovery phase of addiction, and many owe him a debt of gratitude. May Jerry rest in peace, he was a good person, and gave unselfishly to help those less fortunate than himself. I will miss Gerard Michaud, there are not that many like him left in this world of ours today where most people are thinking only of themselves.

This brings me back to Barbara Haller.

Far from thinking only of herself, Barbara represented this district, and all of its inhabitants with a fierce determination to not allow the rights of the people to live in a safe community go unheard.

She was the voice of the people of the 4th District, and worked tirelessly to represent their interests in the Council Chambers. It was primarily due to her efforts that the police patrols that were so instrumental in reclaiming this neighborhood came into reality. Since the crackdown that resulted, the neighborhood has improved dramatically. The hordes of the unwashed, foul mouthed, ignorant, and rude multitudes have found new places to sell their illegal drugs, and to prey on the hardworking residents of the city elsewhere.

It was not all Barbara, all the time, many people worked to change the neighborhood alongside the police, myself included, but Barbara was the magnet that pulled all the pieces together towards one goal, the improvement of an intolerable situation. People would have had to have lived through it to understand just how bad it was. I wrote many articles on the subject to highlight the problems and work towards bringing about a solution.

I never sought, nor received any praise for my efforts to reclaim this neighborhood, and did not bring about the transformation by myself either, but we all put our oars in the water to steer the boat in the right direction. The unifying force behind all the transformation was indeed all Barbara. Without her being in the District 4 seat, none of the action would have happened.

Barbara Haller, if you are reading this: Please run for an at-large seat on the City Council the next time around, you have my vote, as you always did, and I bet there are many other people that did not vote the last time around that regret they did not return you to the post that you so effectively used to transform this nightmare into a semblance of a normal neighborhood.

It was through our collective efforts that the transformation happened, and the police have seemed to have a new attitude as regards the long suffering resident’s rights to a peaceful and quiet neighborhood as to the rights of the lawless to continue to disturb the peace. It never would have happened without you at the helm of the ship that all our oars helped navigate through the troubled waters of an uncaring City Council.
No one did more than you Barbara, yet many were involved in their own little ways. Without all the pieces of the puzzle that you helped put together, none of what has transpired would have taken place.

Poor Jerry spent his last days here in relative peace and quiet, and he never would have had that blessing without your efforts Barbara.

Barbara Haller, District 4 needs you, the City of Worcester needs you, please if you decide to leave the peace and tranquility of Vermont, and come back to Worcester, please run again for the council. The peace and tranquility is not of the sort you are getting used to, but after all the troubles, it is a godsend and you should come to see what you helped achieve.

If you enjoyed this article, or if you hated this article, I would love to have your feedback at: ronaldoclair@hotmail.com