Tag Archives: Rosalie Tirella

Worcester’s Pit Bulls

By Rosalie Tirella

Worcester Animal Rescue League’s Dorreen LaPorte was driving in the Webster Square area last summer when she saw something that broke her heart: a young pit bull dog – younger than 1 year – was straining to pull three gray cinder blocks in the summer heat. The cinder blocks (weighing about 45 pounds each) were attached to three heavy chains and the chains were attached to the dog’s collar. Pit bulls are – believe it or not – crazy about people! They were bred to bait bulls and later used to fight dogs. Without their desire to please their masters, they could not endure the insanity of the bloody dog-fighting pit or tortured bulls. Also, a less sociable dog woud not allow himself to be extricated (by his master) from the pit, in the middle of a fight. (Hence, the relatively light weight of the turn-of-the-20th century pit bull dogs – 45ish pounds).

Combine the pit bull’s fierce loyalty, love of their master/mistress, innate intelligence, stamina and steely will and you have the scene LaPorte witnessed: a pit bull on Webster Square, who when his owner says “mush,” mushes. In 90-degree weather. All heart . LaPorte, who has been the executive director of WARL for more than 10 years, knew what the owner was doing – training his pit bull for dog fights.
“There’s a [pit bull fighting] dog ring on Southbridge Street,” LaPorte says. She has called the Worcester Animal Control Officers – and their bosses – and they have done nothing about breaking up the ring and rescuing the dogs. LaPorte believes there are “multiple” dog fighting rings in Worcester. Continue reading Worcester’s Pit Bulls

Cheers to WPI!

By Rosalie Tirella

What a surprise! WPI, following the lead of the great Charles Monahan and his downtown college, has volunteered to make PILOT payments to the City of Worcester. $9.1 million! The money will be used to (re)open our flagship library on Salem Square. So now kids can go to their libray on Sundays or Mondays or Wednesday mornings (the times the library is now closed). InCity Times has been asking for this kind of commitment from Worcester’s private colleges for YEARS! And now, deep in the midst of a national, state and city financial meltdown, WPI has decided to do the right thing!

Thank you, WPI! Thank you, City Manager Mike O’Brien for brokering this ground breaking agreement! Thank you (and we never thought we’d be writing this) District City Councilor Phil Palmieri for hammering away at the colleges/nonprofits council meeting after council meeting. City Councilor at Large Gary Rosen has also been wonderful, even suggesting that the colleges support our library system. And also thanks to District Four City Councilor Barbara Haller who was pro-PILOT (Payment in Lieu for Taxes) from the get-go, years back.

But I also want to take time out to give special thanks to two people who pretty much got passed over last night when the Worcester City Council gave itself MOST of the credit. Special thanks to InCity Times supporter and hero Anthony Hmura of Leader Signs on Canterbury Street. I remember when I started my newspaper almost 8 years ago – and got a call from a ballsy ol’ man named Tony, who saw the first copy of ICT and wanted to be part of the mayhem!

“Let’s get the college’s to pay us money – the leeches!” he screamed. It was a bit over the top, but after listening to Tony, I was on his side. The private colleges in Worcester are truly multi-million dollar corporations and it was wrong for them not to pay the City of Worcester any taxes. Yes, they were tax exempt because they expanded people’s minds, trained them for careers and all that good stuff … but really! Pay something for all the city services you use: fire trucks, police, clean water, snow plowing, street cleaning/sweeping, etc.  What’s more Tony, a sign maker for more than 50 years, brought a class-consciousness to  the table; the college kids came to Worcester from places like suburban New Jersey and Connecticut and took one look at Worcester and decided to make her their personal garbage can/urinal!

So the anti-college/pro-PILOT Tony Hmura ads ran in InCity Times – many of them a tad … primative. Like the time we got a clip art photo of a fat cat smoking a cigar and wrote HOLY CROSS COLLEGE over it. Or the time we told Father McFarland, president of Holy Cross, to put up or shut the hell up! We told him to do the Christian thing and help the poor people in the South Worcester neighborhood that Holy Cross was nestled in. We ran photos of crushed beer cans, stories of South Worcester folks who shared apartment buildings with Holy Cross students who fornicated in the hall ways! And we got a reaction from folks! Thay were pissed off too!

Then the other papers followed Tony Hmura’s lead with shall we say more measured pieces. And so the rumblings for PILOT grew and grew and grew. Soon East Side activist Gary Vecchio jumped into the fray and demanded the colleges pay PILOT. Gary was relentless! He was all over the airwaves, TV, newspapers!

And finally, after all the work and fulminating …. WPI gives us $9.1 million! Hurrah!

Thanks to all!

He was the pits!

By Rosalie Tirella

Last night the boyfriend and I watched Farenheit 9/11, the award-winning documentary by wild-guy film maker Michael Moore (Roger and Me, Sicko, Bowling for Columbine). I had seen the movie when it first came out – “Mario” did not. Some of my thoughts: it’s not as good as I thought it was. 1. That is, it’s not a well made film – despite winning awards at Cannes and other prestigious places. 2. But it is great because it was showing what nobody in TV land news (broadcast or cable) was showing: George W. Bush was/is a complete moron and war is hell.

You have to give Moore credit. He was saying what nobody dared say in 2003 or 2004 – especially the mainstream media (watch Katie Couric tell America that a division in the Army “rocks”!) – back in 2004 or 2005. Moore told us/showed us how chaotic and brutal the Iraq War (like any  war) is: dead children carried by relatives who are having nervous breakdowns as they race through their lunar landscape-looking city streets. Their kids wet their pants – they peed themselves as they died, no doubt. Babies with huge, red, blistery holes in their arms or  their faces half blown off. Our young soldiers without legs or hands – being so brave and stoic (because they are so young and naive) at Walter Reed Hospital talking about the hands that they still feel, even though they are now gone.  ABC, NBC, CNN and all the rest of the network and cable news shows refused to show any of this – reality – to Americans because 1. the US military wouldn’t let them get up close and personal and 2. they wanted to be “patriotic,” to buttress Bush and Cheney’s point of view/stave off the critics. How many American mothers and grandmothers would have sat by quietly and tolerated the Iraq War after seeing some of the news footage (probably used with permission from BBC and Arabic news station Al Jeerza) shown in Moore’s film? Not mine, that’s for sure.

George W. Bush (especially now that we can compare him to President Barack Obama) was the absolute worst president to have at this point in time. Partying with the US troops, arms around their shoulders for photos to be sent back home, Bush – the hypocritical assshole – cut veteran benefits, cut veteran health care, cut support for our veterans in ways both large and miniscule. In his own fucked-up/oblivious way, Bush waged his own economic war on the soldiers’ families back home.

And 9/11: How sad to watch the movie and see the President of the United States sit in a nursery school reading a little Golden Book about goats right AFTER being told that a jet plane had just flown into/blown up the World Trade Center tower. How pathetic that even after the second plane crashed into the second tower, Bush sat there until one of his people got him … . And then letting the Bin Laden family leave America on private jets after every other plane in America was grounded. That was obscenely stupid – even for Bush. I mean, any third-rate lawyer in Worcester would tell you there would have been nothing wrong with going to the Bin Ladens and … ASKING THEM QUESTIONS about their brother/uncle. But no! Instead, Bush and his cronies gave the Bin Laden clan a free pass, let them go. Then the Bushies set their sights on old guys in exercise  clubs or peaceniks in California – these people were arrested or “visited” by the FBI.

Barack Obama would have handled everything so differently. If only he had been “the decider” in 2001 and 2003 ….  

Thank God we have him now.

Attack of the Killer Asian Long-horned Beetles!!!!!

By Rosalie Tirella

This past Tuesday’s (March 10) Worcester City Council meeting played like something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, say, “The Birds.” It was Worcester’s own thriller, teeming with horror: bizarre flying creatures who seemingly come out of  nowhere to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting  community; horror-stricken town (or in  this case) city inhabitants fighting for their precious way of life; mock terror-stricken, pandering politicians who try to give voice to the townspeople’s fears but end up demagogue-ing the crisis to death. And finally, a local mad-scientist type who tries to explain THE BIG PICTURE to everybody in the community – what the Attack of the Asian Long-horned Beetles is really all about. Continue reading Attack of the Killer Asian Long-horned Beetles!!!!!

Sneaking into town?

By Rosalie Tirella

Let’s hope the circus ISN’T coming to town! InCity Times has run several cover stories on Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey. They come to Worcester in the fall – but also in the spring. Usually at last minute’s notice.  Usually to beat the bad press (except for the stupid Telegram and Gazette) that follows them.

We hope this grand city at some point chooses to keep all exotic animal acts out of town. Revere has banned wild/exotic animal “acts” and so have other US cities. More and more people are waking up to the fact that it is absolutley insane to cart wild tigers, lions and elephants around in un-airconditioned (in summer), un-heated (in winter) box cars, feed them the wrong stuff, and then whip them into doing things that are totally unnatural for them (except when they maul or kill a trainer). Why must we show our children animal torture? Why must they be a party to the suffering? Continue reading Sneaking into town?

Moving backwards, together

By Rosalie Tirella

So there we sat, the boyfriend and I, in Elm Park. Four years ago, on one of our first dates, we visited this grand ol’ urban oasis –  more excited about each other than the flora and fauna around us. Still, me being me, and “Mario” (he asked that I give him this silly pseudonym) being “Mario,” we began to take a GOOD LOOK at our city park. Mario lead the way, smoking his cigar, still wearing his work pants and tee-shirt. I followed, wearing pretty skirt and sun top. We found: park benches whose slats were missing or busted, huge cannon-ball-sized holes in the pond’s foot bridges (which also desperately needed to be repainted), broken bulbs atop the antiquish street lamps that circled the park’s pond. It was a sorry sight for a park with such a rich history – the oldest city park in America! Continue reading Moving backwards, together

Web-zilla!!!!! (or:The Big “Mack” Attack!)

Mack Fairbanks
Mack Fairbanks

My dear readers, if there’s anything you’ve learned about InCity Times these past seven-plus years, is that we are ambitious – and a wee-bit technophobic, which makes for really interesting newspapering. Yes, yes, we have heard it all before: Rose, all the newspapers have websites!; Rose, ICT needs to be in cyberspace; Rose, think how great this will be for your writers and advertisers! So for four or so years, we’ve been on the fence about an ICT website – vascilating like crazy! To build an InCity Times website – or not to build an InCity Times website? That was the question!

Continue reading Web-zilla!!!!! (or:The Big “Mack” Attack!)