Tag Archives: Roslaie Tirella

This past Saturday night I had five pals over for dinner …

A buddy came over and cooked Italian (of course!) for all of us! Here’s the salad on my dining room table – with all its wee tea lights a-sparkle!!


My pal gave me the nicest hostess gift! A set of Christmas tree ornaments. I put one up today on my white dining room table tree centerpiece! He has always said I have the best view of Worcester, living so high up! This is supposed to be the skyline from my Woo apartment window. Cobalt BLUE! Lovley!


I have the best pals! I didn’t even mind washing all the after-dinner-party dishes and glasses and cups and forks and … ! Yipes!!!

– R. Tirella


Pony dreamin’ …

By Rosalie Tirella

Working on my beloved InCity Times – being sunny in my sun dress –  … then I saw a guy as I was driving down the Worcester street with … CAM00099

… my trusty Husky-mix Jett – an old man struggling: his cheapo Dollar Store plastic bag had torn open and all his cans of food had spilled onto the hot sidewalk.

There he was slowly placing the cans back into his ripped-open bag, as if maybe he could make it all work if the cans were some how wrapped in the plastic. This ripped open my heart. It was so steamy out, the guy so poor, so stoic about his situation – not getting all flustered, just trying to put his cans back into the bag and hoping for the best …

… I tooted my horn! I picked up my Shaw’s tote bag from the passenger side of my jalopy and waved it at him! A pretty tote, actually – colorful with big blue berries and oranges printed on it.  He stopped struggling and looked up … I just kept waving it at him. Of course this all had to  happen in the middle of Woo inner-city traffic, but I think the other drivers knew what I wanted to do and they waited behind my car without getting impatient and getting on their horns in that lovely Worcester way …

The old man, skinny enough, wearing a striped tee-shirt that little boys wear, walked into the middle of the street and reached into my car and took my shopping tote. He said, “Thank you,” quielty, politely … elegantly. And looking at me with his sad eyes, he smiled the smallest smile. He had been pleasantly surprised, but in his own quiet way. I smiled at him and drove off.

Then I had this epiphany: Society has it backwards. It’s not about acquiring stuff! It’s about giving it all away! This is what brings happiness!

My little gift meant a lot to him! The tote had only cost me $1  … but at that moment, it had meant so much more: one person REALLY seeing another person… I felt GREAT! I told myself: This is how Jesus must have felt EVERY SECOND of  his life!

Then I wished this wish: That I could do this for my entire life – travel the streets of Worcester with my trusty dog Jett and maybe a wolf-shepherd mix – a big white one. But I wouldn’t drive a car – I would ride a horse – a beautiful little appaloosa horse … almost

a pony, a scrubby, scrappy little appaloosa horse! And with my trusty dogs running along side me on my tough little pony (it’s a dream, so my dogs can run as fast as my pony) we would ride thorugh the streets of Worcester giving it all away: tote bags, doggie water bowls, bottles of water, sandwiches – anything a poor person might need to get through a city moment.

The pony and the dogs and the gallopping would be the best of nature and helping the people I care most about would be the best of Worcester … I would be free … like they must have felt in the Old West, in the 1850s, when danger was at bay for an hour or two and you could just ride your pony on and on and on with nothing but sky and grass for miles, a dream to wrap your thoughts in  … but I would be galloping on Woo cement and meeting everybody …

Years ago, when I was little girl growing up in Green Island, my family lived near the railroad tracks. One afternoon I looked out our third floor flat kitchen window and saw a litte white pony galloping down Lafayette Street!

It was a miracle! I had been praying to Jesus for a pony! I had lots of horse books from the Worcester Public Library. I had taught myself to draw horses. I tried to buy the little plastic horses and ponies you found Woolworth’s and the five and tens.

I shouted to my mother: A pony! A pony! I want it! Let’s capture her!

My mother looked out the window and saw what I saw – the pony galloping down Lafayette Street – but she was unimpressed, closed the curtain on my dream. She said: Ponies were expensive. Where would we keep it? It most likely belonged to someone!

“A pony!” I squealed, oblivious to her reality check.  A BEAUTIFUL PONY!!!!

But we let the little pony run away out of our lives. Most likely it had been with a travelling circus that was going town to town by the rails. Maybe it had jumped off the train car to escape the pent in feeling of a box car and the nightly shows, with maybe whips and harnesses and people who pull at your head and make your legs hurt from all the work … It had been dreaming its own pony dreams! … and there it was, my pony dream, real, running free right in front of me, Rosalie Tirella! The little girl on Lafayette Street, with the lovely mother and evil eyed father, the g irl who would lose herself in books and school and pony dreams, a little girls who tried to forget her cramped urban world and who prayed for a pony every night. To this little Jesus statue which I still have!!!!


A little girl who loved all animals, but especially dogs and horses …

My mom was a single working mom raising her family on minum wage from  the dry cleaners down the street. We couldn’t afford a car! How could we swing a pony? But the pony, round and adorable, had seemed at home in my neighborhood, like it belonged in Green Island …

That is how my appaloosa feels in my pony dream of today!

Enjoying my home-made Broadway restaurant icecream while praying Mary Keefe doesn’t get re-elected to her state rep seat!


Get the good stuff on Water Street!


Dump the bad stuff on Pleasant Street!

When she was director of the Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center, state rep Mary Keefe ran her own personal, petty little clique out of what should have been a vibrant, open, HELPFUL, busy inner-city neighborhood RESOURCE. A TRUE NEIGHBORHOOD CENTER.

Instead, Keefe’s network center, located on Pleasant Street, in the heart of Piedmont, was closed off, not open to different voices, dismissive, plain ol’ snooty. Just the way executive director Keefe could be, if she didn’t like you. (We still think her pal Kevin Ksen ran her state rep campaign out of the network center – totally illegal …). We hate to quote the Piedmont blob, but Paul Collyer was SPOT ON when he said: “Mary won [the state rep seat] because the chubby ladies [Kate Toomey and Dianna Biancheria] split the vote.”

Well, this fall there will be no chubby ladies to split the vote.

Just challenger – and experienced, hands-on, hard-working city councilor – Phil Palmieri. This election cycle Phil has a very good chance to send Mary Keefe back to Crown Hill, where we hope she will stay – in her home, knitting …

– Rosalie Tirella


Here is the other section of my previous blog post! (also, the first part, slightly reworked)

The Mismeasure of Worcester

By Rosalie Tirella

“Battle of Worcester”

Years ago, in college, I had to read an interesting book, THE MISMEASURE OF MAN, for one of my classes.

Written by a Harvard guy, it showed how through the centuries science has really not been so scientific, even though it was up to its eyeballs in the “facts” and fancy experiments of the day. The author (Gould) showed us readers scientists had been using cold hard “facts,”  the latest scientific phenomena of the day, to support their racist or sexist beliefs.

For example, in the 1800s lots of people believed men were genetically superior to women. God just made them smarter, women’s intellectual superiors.

And the science of the day backed them up. The scientists of the day were big on measuring head sizes, in all sorts of very sophisticated ways. The methods involved numbers, careful calibrations, charts, sophisticated mathematics and scientific measurements galore to prove … Guys had bigger heads, therefore they had big brains, therefore they were smarter than gals.

We now know this is the bunk. But back then it was science.

Fast forward to Worcester 2012. We dismiss the sorry state of our economy, our pitiful state minimum wage, our loss of all (or most of) Worcester’s  factories that guaranteed immigrants and the undereducated a decent pay check (and lower-middle class life), and decide … SCREW ‘EM! We, the people, see too many poor people in our blue collar neighborhoods – Green Island, Piedmont, South Worcester, Main South … . So we’re throwing them out! Or: Lowering the gate so more poor people don’t settle in town via affordable hosuing stock built by our CDCs – and drag this city into the pit. We have reached our MAGIC NUMBER – our poor people quota – and it is 10%.

HERE! We have a report (to support our biases)! We have FACTS to support this move! Such as: More and more poor people are living in Worcester, fewer people are buying homes here, the school system has to meet the needs of many poor kids and kids whose primary language is not English.

So. There are the facts! Get rid of these people and we will get rid of the problem! The numbers (facts) will change! Get better! As written in the housing report commissioned by the city of Worcester – and the direction CM Mike O’Brien is heading – we are supposed to cut the cord.Cap affordable housing in the City of Worcester at 10%. If you have just come from Albania believing in the American Dream – coming to Worcester to work hard (at shit jobs) and send your kids to (very good) Worcester Public Schools so they can have a better life than you do – well forget about it! There are no apartments for $650 or $700. They cost $850 and $900. You will have to work 4 or 5 shit jobs just to pay the bills and eat.

My mom sort of did this when I was growing up. Hercules. She was Hercules to me – then and now. Now more than ever!!! When she retired the first thing she did was  see a  doctor who said: YOU NEED DOUBLE HIP REPLACEMENTS asap! Why? Because she had walked and worked so hard her entire life that, according to the doctor, it was all “bone on bone” – no cartiledge in her hip joint because she had worn it our through hard labor (more than full time from 14 – 62) That was my mom’s retirement gift!

But lots of people aren’t my mom – Hercules. They wear down. They get angry. Familes split up. People turn to drugs and booze in weakness/sadness/stress.

This is wrong. This is a very harsh version of the American Dream.

Why kill the first/second generation just so the next generation can have it easier/more opportunities?  We have a problem – an illness – Worcester does, MA does, America does. But we are not treating the symptoms of the illness. We are not saying: WE MUST DEAL WITH CHINA.



AN IDEA: If a company moves into a Main South or Green Island and demands that its local workforce be able to handle such and such math or such and such chemistry, we as a city need to bring those math problems etc straight to our local high schools and say to teachers: OK. TEACH TO THE JOB. The company across the street won’t hire our kids if they don’t know this math formula, chemisty formula, etc. TEACH TO THE JOB!  We do it with the MCAS. We can do it for $15 an hour jobs for our 18 and 19 year olds.

The CDCs have acutally kept most of our inner city hoods from becoming true ghettos! Without them, there would have been more speculation during tough economic times, more three decker flipping, more absentee landlords, more poverty, violence, etc. The CDCs stepped in and said: Wait. We are part of the community. We will reclaim and rescue these old three decker shitholes and build some new stock and the rent will be not so very high because the factories are gone and now the jobs our people have are at the local Dollar Tree or McDonalds, etc.

This is what we are dealing with, people. Not some lazy evil inner-city underclass. I BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO WORK. BUT THEY WANT A FAIR PAYCHECK FOR A DAY’S WORTH OF WORK.

State Rep. Mary Keefe MUST push for a minimum was hike to get the ball rolling. Elizabeth Warren, our new US Senator, can push for a much higher federal minimum wage. Work it, girls, work it! That is why we voted for you!!

We dismiss the fact that Worcester can never be Springfield or Lowell or other third tier cities because we have a HUGE middle class living quite happily through out much of the city: West Side, Greendale, Burncoat St, Rice Square, Upper Grafton Street, Main Street/Wildwood Ave, etc up by Cherry Valley/Leicester line. Mansion, dutch colonials, tudors, capes, ranches – we got em all – and the middle class people to pay for them – and pay taxes to help keep the city’s wheels turning.

We must not let THE FACTS of this housing report make us forget that we can NEVER be a Springfield or Hartford. Our housing stock is too great – we have too many wonderful homes and streets – and people will come from the Boston area and other parts of the North East to live in these great homes. Maybe not the swinging singles who will be drinking martinis every night. Maybe not the cosmopolitan couples who will go to every concert at The Hanover. But the people will come. They will most likely be a bit more conservative – family focused.

I am OK with this.

As a single person, it is fun to have a city with a real life, and my life here is very different from the life I lived in Amherst – or the ones my sisters live in Boston. But I choose to stay here cuz I have roots here and I like … the peacefulnesss of  Wusta. City with small town vibe. I like it! I think it is BETTER to have a city that is safe, green, has good schools, nice community vibe, usually quiet, filled with dogs and cats and kids and relatively … sleepy. Wusta to the t!

Would it be nice to have both?


We probably do!

Let the CDCs keep doing their thing. Fuck the housing report’s facts – the numbers are just being manipulated into hurting people – destroying the American (immigrant) Dream! Let the developers who are hell bent on shutting the CDCs down shut the hell up AND CONTINUE doing their thing! The more, the merrier, I say. We are a muti-voiced town! There’s plenty of room for everybody’s hobby horse.

We are Americans! Vive la difference!!!


The Piedmont neighborhood’s The Raven club forced to eat crow!

By Rosalie Tirella

Imagine you are a cool, young, handsome guy. Imagine you are a cool, young, handsome guy who digs music. Imagine you are a cool young music-loving guy who wants to bring cool music to Worcester’s masses – especially to young people. So, because you are young and cool and hopeful, you buy a club. You buy the old Cardinal bar in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood, on Pleasant Street/Congress Alley, and rechristen it The Raven because you are an Edgar Allen Poe fan and, with your shiny long jet black hair and angular attractiveness, you kinda look like a crow.

Then you – in this case Chris Bettencourt, 35 – watch your dream – and nerves – unravel, courtesy of the rough neighborhood to which you have hitched your dreams, the unsavory punks from the ‘hood who want to piss all over your dream, a half-hearted police force that will allow the punks to defile your dream, a missing-in-action neighborhood center staff, and a city manager’s office that seems too busy to bother about your dream.

This is what is happening to Bettencourt! Right now, as you read this! Chris still has his dream and his biz, but on many days he can often been seen sitting on the black metal bench outside his establishment sucking so hard on his cigarette, shoulders hunched, head down, that you’d think he had just checked into Deb Ekstrom’s Community Health Link/detox center, a 10 minute walk away. But no. It’s just the shitty side of Piedmont wearing a good man down.

Take the following facts:

* The area The Raven is trying to survive in looks … foreboding. Yes, Chris has a nice new trash barrel and bench outside The Raven and his small parking lot is always clean, but things across the way and up the way still look dumpy. The kind of dumpy that if the parents of one of The Raven patrons saw it, they would drive straight to Clark/Holy Cross/Assumption/WPI, pull their kids outa bed, shove ’em in the trunk of their Beamers and drive ’em straight back to their comfy homes in suburban Connecticut, New Jersey or Pennsylvania where they would staple gun Biff and Buffy to their bedroom doors for the next four years. It looks that tough.

* Weapons are being brandished. One night a neighborhood punk pulled a knife outside The Raven. Chris told the knife-wielding punk: take one step on my property and the you’ll deal with my door guy. The punk walked away, but true to punk nature, he then went on to slash the tires of five cars – five cars belonging to Raven patrons/kids.

* Chris turns to the people in the City of Worcester who are supposed to help, be there for a good guy with a good business: the cops and The Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center, on Pleasant Street, just a stone’s throw away from The Raven. Well, the cops come and say: we can’t do anything about this. Kevin Ksen, annoying uber neighborhood volunteer who for this year, to the annoynace of many city folks, has planted his wide ass in a chair at the Neighborhood Network Center, comes to The Raven to give Chris advice. Kevin Ksen tells Chris to have a good game of basketball with the knife-wielding punk. Befriend the poor victim of society’s ills.

Chris later told me: The punk is 35! Play basketball with him? Are they nuts??

I hear ya, Chris. Message to Kevin Ksen: The guy needs a job, not an enabler. The guy should apologize, retire his knife, get a job and then after a hard day’s work … play a game of hoop with Chris.

* Then there was the group of 20 guys – TWENTY!!! – just hanging out at the corner right by The Raven. Up to no good. The Worcester police were called; the cops said they couldn’t do a thing. Chris, feeling a tad overwhelmed at this point, called the cops again. This time the cops who came did in fact arrest the entire bunch except for one kid, a homeless dude.

* And we won’t go into the recent rash of fires in Piedmont that have made everyone in the neighborhood as jittery about their homes/apartments as Chris is about his club.

So, to see Chris sitting on his black bench outside his parking lot smoking like a chimney, a lost soul looking for an oasis in a desert of grime/crime, is heartbreaking. He says he wants to sell The Raven. He says he is looking for a partner to help him run the place. In truth, he is looking for someone to support him as he goes through all this crap. Someone who can be at his side the next time the bad boys ride into town and want to screw with his salloon. Chris is the Gary Cooper of Piedmont. This is his “High Noon.” No freaking deputies to be found! Anywhere.

Let me say this: It takes a truckload of guts to do what Chris Bettencourt is doing, to open up a club in a sometimes violent, inner-city neighborhood.

What makes all of this especially heartbreaking is The Raven is kind of a Worcester icon. It is located on Congress Alley, the tip of the Crown Hill neighborhood. Back in the 1960s Congress Alley was Worcester’s Haight Ashbury neighborhood, a place where Worcester’s young artistes came together to make music, poetry, paintings and protest the Vietnam War. A place where Woo’s hippies hung out to strum their acustic guitars and listen to their own beat poets because the cool old historic homes of Crown Hill were not yet reclaimed and rehabbed. They were just elegant junk, waiting for kids to move into them and decorate their lovely tired old maple and oak walls with tie-dyed curtains, macrame plant hangers, feathers and love beads and copies of The Whole Earth Handbook. There was even a relativley famous 1960s Worcester band called Orpheus that recorded a a couple of albums while they hung out on Congress Alley. They even record a song about the scene. It’s called (what else?) “Congress Alley” and sounds like a Byrds song, all jangly and cool.

So, good people of Worcester, we say how we want to be up and coming and cool and attract young people to our gritty environs, but we are letting Chris Bettencourt and The Raven dangle in the wind! New people and their NEW ideas are what make a city grow and thrive! It’s not just bricks and fancy crosswalks. It’s the peeps, peeps! Chris and his Raven club are a shining example of what Worcester should be in 2012 and beyond. Let’s not let the dude down!

Wonderland Wonder-shit, Tracy Novick and more …

By Rosalie Tirella

We know this: Wondershit (from Wonderland) has no idea how hard I work to put my paper out. He’d last 2 secs w/ ICTimes – not 10 and a half years (as I have) – earning and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to publish my paper. Don’t worry Wondershit, I have just told tough guy # 2 about you – he’s told me he could hire someone to kill you/slash you up! Hey! What fun! When you come from places like Green Island, Wonderhsit, you are only a person or two away from someone who can do extreme damage to your enemies. I told my pal: NO! NO! It’s illegal! Wondershit will have to be slayed by words! The laptop is mightier than the sword!

But back to Wondeshit! He (along with his loser wife and two or so loser progeny) has done nothing for Worcester except bitch (via his hateful website) about its people and landmarks! We know he hates:

* Barbara Haller, former Worcester District 4 city councilor. Saying she didn’t do any work, poking fun at her at all times. – plain wrong, Wondershit, plain wrong.

* Worcester City Councilor and former Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien – calling him a “socialist,” calling him a do nothing, just like every other right wing nut in town. Wrong again, Wondershit.

* Paulie C., the guy behind Worcester’s only Jazz festival – really the only guy who has made something cool happen on Chandler Street. Seems like Wondershit was especially vitriolic – especially brutal with Paulie after Paulie’s SUCESSFUL event. Two days after NOLA, Wondershit had to go on his shit-kicker website and claim that there were no attendees at the jazz fest! He wrote that everything NOLA sucked and Paulie should pack it up! Even though it was hosted by Carter Allen of Boston’s WZLX fame (cool!) etc. and people attended. Wondershit just knocked Paulie to death. Later he made it a point to intimate that the guy is an alcoholic and of course Wondershit is pushing a non-local (Paulie is from Somerville) out the door the way all stupid Worcesterites do so often – to the city’s detriment. Provincial is just another name for Wonderhit.

Wondershit hates everyone and everything in this city! He can’t get on board for anything. More stuff/folks he hates and libels in his blog:

* Bill R. – calling Bill a slumlord and distibutor of booze to minors, via his inner-city liquor store. I may disagree with Bill over CDCs, but he runs an OK store – most likely a piece of sanity in an otherwise INSANE innercity neighborhood. I am there … I drive by .. I know the folks who work there. All pretty nice folks – a nice clean space.

* Tony Economou – Worc. Biz group. Why does Wondershit say horrible things about this group/attempt to do fancy investigative pieces when he is just publishing pulbic info on uppermiddle class Worc. folks? Because Wondershit, like most middle-class Worc. homeowners, will most likely see his property taxes go up, via the new Worc. city council. Tony and his group had a little to do with this. Get over it Wondershit-head – you will have to shell out some bucks. You can afford it – like most Worc. cheapskate whiners.

* Wondershit also hates: All things Worcester Mag, all things ICTimes, all the local radio stations. And the TV stations, too! He hates everybody!!



One thing: Wondershit doesn’t diss the T & G (or the city of Worc. bureacrats for that matter), so maybe he works for either entity. Forget about the fact that Wondershit breaks copyright law every day – not providing links to the papers etc he takes his graphs from. He just copies and pastes their stuff right onto his website – the T & G seems to be OK with this. Which makes me think he works for them.

* Does Wondershit attend blogger coffee events? Sit in the back and make notes about all the people he hates, the city he loathes? We do know Tracy O’Connel Novick, Worcester Public School Committee person, knows this blogger. He said Novick once encouraged him (over blogger coffee?) to run for public office! Puh-lease, Tracy Novick! That’s the last thing we need – Wonder-shit shitting on everything in town.

* OH and as far as Tracy Novick goes, we have heard this from John Monfredo, fellow Worcester School Committee member: This will be the last time Novick is VICE CHAIRMAN of the WPSchool Committee. Monfredo is head of the WPSC rules subcommittee and he is working to make it a rule that second place vote getters get the vice chair of the Worc. School Committee – not people who do backroom deals like Novick did. Monfredo told me he was not going to vote for Novick getitng the vice chair slot, but Mayor Joe Petty (the Chairman – like all Worc. mayors – of the school committee) went to him and told him to do so, to make the WPSC seem cohesive and positive. Monfredo told Petty he was againt Novick as Vice Chair because she had alientated so many minority parents of WPS students with her Dr. Boone witch-hunt. Monfredo told Petty it would send the wrong message to so many Worc. Public School parents and kids if Novick were to be vice chair.

Petty didn’t listen – and Novick doesn’t care who she offends. So now the city must live with this mistake. But, thanks to John Monfredo, the WPSC rules will soon be changed to make this Novick’s first and last stint as Vice Chair. The process will be fair – just like the way it’s done with the Worcester City Council.

WPS Committeewoman Tracy O’Connell-Novick’s latest dirty tricks

By Rosalie Tirella

Seems like the city can’t catch a break. Just when you think WPSCommitteewoman Tracy O’Connell Novick is putting an end to her malicious scapegoating of WPSchools Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone, we see this: She and fellow Boone harasssers – Brian O’Connell and Dianna Biancheria – have put themselves on/made themselves the “Accountablity (Administration)” subcommittee of the Worcester School Committee. As chair of the WPS Committee, Mayor Joe Petty let them do this; he did not suggest another person be added to the subcommittee to counterbalance what will most surely be a group of hyper-vigilant nut jobs ready to see scandal whenever Dr. Boone does anything they disagree with.

Novick was the one who wanted to delay the school committee’s vote on renewing Dr. Boone’s contract until after election, hoping that an anti-Boone person would win and somehow help Novick and crew oust Dr. Boone.

Well, Novick never got her way and she got re-elected, but at a low #5. Voters thought she was vindictive and racist – her numbers went down.

SO: Just when she hits a nadir, Novick has the nerve to lobby for and will most likely get the VICE CHAIRMANSHIP of the Worcester school committee. Novick is seeing her numbers slipping – especially amongst minorities. One person of color I know said she would love to slap Novick around – another person says he hates her snotty attitude. So with her support in the African American/minority community hitting a new low, it is incredibly ballsy/creepy but politically astute of her to get herself the Vice Chair slot.

This Vice Chairmanship is extra FREE exposure/p.r. – especially when chairman Petty (Worcester mayor is always the Chairperson of the Worc. School committee) is away, which he may well be seeing he has a full time job in Boston. Can you imagine! All that free press for Novick! All her quotes in the T & G! Everyone in town can see her “lead” something – even if it is another witchhunt. Novick, the smarty pants, can burnish her image, which is in the crapper at this point, as Vice Chair of the WSC. And it won’t cost her a dime.

This is a cynical move by Novick who doesn’t want to lose her WPSC seat and might just run for City Council in a few years. Usually, the second highest vote getter gets the Vice Chair slot – not someone who goes behind folks’ backs to maneuver and BS and get the slot.

Mayor Petty has done nothing to stop this little creep, who beneath the veneer of super-giving West Side stay-at-home mom, is really just a competitive, nasty, conniving little worm, who will once again make Dr. Boone’s life miserable.

God help Dr. Boone. God help the minority kids of the Worcester Public Schools.