Thursday wrap-up and a 🎵🎶

If Notre Dame is demolished, this street is gonna look like Vladimir Putin’s childhood ‘hood! Putin: a KGB hood (its “executive director” for many years), a destroyer of free speech, human rights…a ruthless killer … to whom THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (Trump) kowtows! Tragic! Treasonous! – R.T.

The hideous and the noble … pics: R.T.

“Censure in the United States. … In the United States, governmental censure is done when a body’s members wish to publicly reprimand the President of the United States, a member of Congress, a judge or a cabinet member. It is a formal statement of disapproval.” – Wikipedia

Back to…

One cool corner:

One ugly corner, right across the street:

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance:

POP-UP ART SHOW this Saturday!

Just a reminder about the Show Us Your Notre Dame art show this Saturday, July 21, at the Worcester Pop-Up, 20 Franklin St.

The show runs 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

With Hanover seemingly slamming the door on our latest idea, it makes the art show more important than ever. We may be hanging the art work up as the building is being torn down.

A few of the artists have dropped off their work at my house because they can’t be there on Saturday. I can tell you that seeing it person is WAY more powerful than looking at the little pictures on our webpage.

Here is the link to the facebook page about the show https://www.facebook.com/events/1813051995437797/

It’s important that people click that they are going!!!

Also, of course, spread the word if you can.


McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman McGovern

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Names Congressman McGovern as Farm Bill Democratic Conferee

U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee, was named yesterday by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on a conference committee to complete a five-year long reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

“With America’s farmers, producers and ranchers facing plummeting prices, rising retaliatory tariffs and a struggling farm economy, we need a real robust, bipartisan Farm Bill more than ever,” Leader Pelosi said.

“While House Republicans chose to advance a destructive and partisan bill that fails farmers and hungry families, this conference will provide an opportunity to return to the grand bipartisan tradition of robust Farm Bills. Our diverse and dynamic House Democratic Conferees will bring the strength of their values and wide-ranging expertise to the work of hammering out a bipartisan Farm Bill that honors our responsibility to the men and women of agriculture and hungry families.”

Earlier this year, House Republicans passed, without a single Democratic vote, a partisan Farm Bill that included extreme cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In doing so, they turned their back on a long history of bipartisanship as well as the economic security of millions of Americans.

“Farm bills are supposed to be an investment in our farms, our farmers, and the programs that help to feed hungry American families. Farm bills shouldn’t be about beating up on poor people, but the House Farm Bill significantly reduces and cuts benefits for millions of the most vulnerable in our country,” said Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA).

“The House’s bill was drafted in secret and is not reflective of the 23 hearings that our Committee held on SNAP over the past two and a half years. The only bipartisanship throughout the whole process was the bipartisan opposition to this awful bill.

“In the Senate, the process couldn’t have been more different. Democratic ideas were heard and incorporated into the final text. SNAP benefit levels were maintained, and vulnerable families would continue to have access to modest food benefits when times are tough.

“As we work to reconcile the differences between these dramatically different pieces of legislation, I will fight for a bill that — instead of hurting our most vulnerable citizens — works to end hunger now, helps our family farms, and supports rural communities. I’m honored to serve on this conference committee, and look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance a bipartisan Farm Bill.”

The following Democratic Members will serve on the Farm Bill conference with McGovern:

House Committee on Agriculture:

Ranking Member Collin Peterson of Minnesota

Congressman David Scott of Georgia

Congressman Jim Costa of California

Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio

Congressman Filemon Vela of Texas

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico

Congresswoman Ann Kuster of New Hampshire

Congressman Tom O’Halleran of Arizona


You ruthless killer of your own people!:


President Obama, we miss you … your intellect, your integrity, your love for your wife, daughters and extended family, your hatred of guns and the killing of our children in our schools … . We’re at the polar opposite with Trump. He’s totally unfit for the presidency!

The OIF dumped me cuz he said I didn’t make him feel this way😥😥:

P.S. He often made me feel this way.

Save Notre Dame Alliance will drop lawsuit if a Worcester Public Garden is built at the Notre Dame site💒

Trees, please! pics: R.T.

Plant ’em right here! … A public garden would be GREAT for Green Island kids and families!😊

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance:

The Save Notre Dame Alliance proposes a new Worcester Public Garden, along with significant new construction, as a compromise proposal for Notre Dame site.

Ted Conna, co-leader of the Save Notre Dame Alliance and one of the 13 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against CitySquare II Development Co. LLC and Cutler Associates, today announced that the groups are preparing to offer a compromise proposal that would allow for new construction on the Notre Dame site, preserve Notre Dame, and expedite the process of redeveloping the site.

According to Conna, the plaintiffs are willing to consider dropping their lawsuit if such a compromise can be negotiated.

The lawsuit contends that CitySquare II has failed to submit the demolition of Notre Dame to state-level review, as required by the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. It is pending in Worcester Superior Court, seeking declaratory judgment, with the discovery process underway.

According to Conna, “the compromise we propose would include significant new construction on the site, as well as a new destination public element, the Worcester Public Garden, anchored by the Notre Dame building preserved as an architectural monument. Think of Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden. Why can’t we have something similar, on a Worcester scale?”

“There are many different ways this could be accomplished,” Conna continued. “First imagine Notre Dame as an open-air pavilion, filled with and surrounded by beautiful gardens, perhaps a children’s playground, a water feature, and maybe a place for public performances or gatherings such as weddings. Now imagine a compatible new building on the other half of the site. The new building could be a tower, with a relatively small footprint on the corner of Franklin and Trumbull Streets, or it might span the entire Trumbull Street frontage, enclosing the rear of Notre Dame and bringing it indoors, to spectacular effect.” (One example of this is the way Atlantic Wharf encompasses older brick buildings on Congress Street in Boston).

Development sites always need parking, but with an underground parking garage, outdoor portions of the Worcester Public Garden could be built right on top of the parking facility, which means much of the site could yield both public and private benefit.

With a creative approach, it is absolutely possible for Notre Dame to share its site with significant new development. The result would be a win-win for everyone.

Landscape architects can create amazingly beautiful public spaces. The Worcester Public Garden would tie together Notre Dame, new construction on the site, the adjacent AC Marriott Hotel and its courtyard, and the Worcester Common. As a public destination site, it would add economic value to all of the neighboring properties.

The cost would be manageable, according to Conna. “These are rough estimates, because the idea is not yet fully defined, but we think the cost of repairing and stabilizing Notre Dame against further weather damage, and creating a Worcester Public Garden of about ½ acre, could be in the neighborhood of $3-4 million. That is an achievable goal for a public fundraising campaign, and we have already identified potential public and foundation partners who could provide matching grants.”


“I wish I could go back and spend the last three months raising money for this,” Conna concluded, “but no matter how compelling your vision is, it’s hard to raise funds when you don’t yet have a consensus that Notre Dame should be saved. That is what we’re hoping to bring about now, and it’s a far better alternative to lawsuits and public disillusionment and alienation. Leaders at Hanover, city and community leaders — many have said they wish we could save Notre Dame, and they appreciate the passion and determination we activists have shown. The fact is, we still can save it, and if we do, it would be happy ending for the ages and a source of Worcester pride throughout the community. Those of us who have fought to save Notre Dame would love to join forces with Hanover and the city to support this compromise proposal. So please work with us!”

Thursday wrap-up 🎠💒🎠🍓 – windows, winning seniors, a 🎵 and Jadju💙

Notre Dame church’s windows … pic: R.T.

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance:

The Alliance calls for preserving Notre Dame des Canadiens’ remaining, irreplaceable stained-glass windows.

Most of the windows not removed by the Diocese of Worcester are still in place.

Having followed closely the gradual abatement of hazardous materials from Notre Dame des Canadiens former church building in downtown Worcester, the Save Notre Dame Alliance sees that most of the stained-glass windows not previously removed by the Diocese of Worcester have remained in place.

The Alliance has always assumed that these windows would be salvaged.

However, with the removal of the lexan panels that protected them, some of them have been damaged.

This damage raises the question: If Notre Dame is actually demolished, what would be the fate of the stained-glass windows? Is the plan to save the windows?

A number of smaller windows at the rear of the building include those illuminating the former sacristy.

Many of these have been removed for the installation of an air filtering system, apparently associated with the asbestos-abatement process.

Was their removal done carefully enough to allow them to be reused?

Will they be salvaged?

Why should the Alliance be concerned about the future of these windows? At the time of the completion of the building in 1929, Notre Dame’s windows were called the finest in the city. They are part of Worcester’s artistic patrimony.

The most elaborately decorated of the surviving windows are the large, arched clerestory windows located along the sides of the former church. Colorful stained glass also survives in the two rose windows in the transept. Smaller stained glass windows can be found at other locations around the building. Neither the larger nor the smaller windows include images of religious figures, as did those that were removed by the Diocese. Yet, these surviving windows are examples of fine craftsmanship and high-quality artistry, and are very beautiful. Several are inscribed with the names of their donors. Thus, they are significant not only aesthetically but also historically. They may also be of personal value to family members of the donors. These windows deserve salvaging …


Leaf. pic: R.T.

Worcester Senior Center’s New Seniors Garden …

From REC:

… On Friday, July 13, at 11 AM, we will host a ribbon cutting to celebrate the installation of a new ADA accessible raised bed at the Worcester Senior Center garden [in Vernon Hill].

Grant funds have also supported workshops serving 100 senior gardeners, infrastructure improvements and seedlings.

When asked about how this partnership, with Fallon, benefited residents, Erin Wilson, Assistant Director of Resident Services at the Worcester Housing Authority says: “The community gardens at Worcester Housing Authority
have brought a sense of community among our gardeners. They get together and help each other grow
beautiful vegetables and flowers. The opportunity for them to get out and grow something of their own not
only provides healthy food for our residents, but the opportunity to engage with neighbors and get

Gardens at the Worcester Senior Center are maintained by the Chinese Elder Group.

Members reported that the Worcester Senior Center Community Garden gives them a place to plant the vegetables and herbs that they love but didn’t have space to grow elsewhere. The Community Garden also serves as a meeting place early Friday morning for them to enjoy the outdoors, the greens and to pick edible wilds while weeding at the same time.

Partners on this project include the REC, Fallon Health, Worcester Housing Authority, Worcester Senior
Center, and the Division of Public Health.

The Regional Environmental Council of Central MA (REC) is a grassroots environmental and food justice
organization located in Worcester’s Main South. Founded in 1971, REC is dedicated to building healthy, sustainable and just communities in and around Worcester. REC’s major initiatives and programs include: YouthGROW, a year-round
youth employment and leadership program for low-income teens on two urban farms; UGROW, a network of community and school gardens; the REC Community and Mobile Farmers Markets, bringing healthy, local food to low-income and food-insecure locations across the city.




Rose’s Jadju, circa World War II. A Polish immigrant, a stranger in a strange land, Jadju nonetheless grew to embrace his American-ness. Here he is on the roof of Green Island’s “The Block” where he and his family lived, proudly, clumsily, comically 😊, wearing the U.S. Naval uniform of his son (Rose’s uncle) who fought in the War. “Ted” was home on leave.

Maybe all refugees and immigrants don’t assimilate the way Donald Trump – who got himself several deferments during the Vietnam War because of his alleged heel bone spurs. Ha! – wants them to, but most new comers are thrilled to be Americans. Many would die for America! Their kids and grandkids are the biggest strivers and patriots – thousands upon thousands have proudly served in all branches of our U.S. Military!🇺🇸🇺🇸

Save Notre Dame Alliance files Notice of Project Change with state

Notre Dame church 1+ week ago, pic – Ron O’Clair:


pics: R.T.



Save Notre Dame Alliance files Notice of Project Change with state in attempt to bring about long-overdue MEPA and MHC review of Notre Dame’s demolition

Ted Conna, co-leader of the Save Notre Dame Alliance, today filed a Notice of Project Change with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) office of the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, to formally inform MEPA that the CitySquare project has been changed by the plan to demolish Notre Dame, as the project proponent has repeatedly failed to do.

According to Conna, “MEPA regulations authorize any person to file a Notice of Project Change, and since the developer has failed to do so since 2013, I am filing it myself. EOEEA Secretary Michael Beaton also has the authority to issue his own Notice of Project Change, and I have asked him to do so as well.”

The filing asks Beaton, a Shrewsbury native, to publish the Notice of Project Change in MEPA’s Environmental Monitor and accept public comments concerning the need for additional MEPA review of the demolition of Notre Dame, which would be at the discretion of the Secretary.

With the demolition of Notre Dame imminent, the filing also asks that MEPA’s response be expedited, so that further MEPA review will not come too late to be meaningful.

“As I’ve said before, the demolition of Notre Dame hasn’t had MEPA or Massachusetts Historic Commission review,” Conna continued, “because the proponents have done everything they can to avoid it – and the public participation that goes with it – by failing to disclose Notre Dame’s historic status on critical documents. Notre Dame is part of the state-funded CitySquare project, and state-level review is mandatory before its demolition because it is on the state inventory of historic assets.

“None of their legalistic arguments to the contrary pass the laugh test. Think about it: in 2017 they argued that demolishing Notre Dame requires no state review because it’s part of CitySquare, and therefore covered by a 2005 review done years before it was part of CitySquare! Now they argue it requires no further review because the Notre Dame parcel is separate from CitySquare – although they added it to CitySquare in 2012, and CitySquare II owns it! Separately, those arguments are unconvincing. Together, they are ludicrous.”

CitySquare II has argued that no state funds were spent to buy or to demolish Notre Dame, but the CitySquare project is a major beneficiary of state funding, and Notre Dame has been a part of CitySquare since it was added to the project area in 2012. State funds helped pay for all the new streets in CitySquare, including Trumbull Street, which borders and adds frontage to the Notre Dame parcel. This is indirect financial assistance, which triggers the review process.

Today’s filing follows numerous attempts in May of this year by another Save Notre Dame Alliance member, Jeffrey Cronin, to raise the same concerns with MEPA, MHC, and the state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council.

Cronin spent weeks trying to get staff at these agencies to respond to his inquiries, and became concerned that state-level review of Notre Dame’s demolition was being swept under the rug. He spoke to MEPA Director Deirdre Buckley at one point, but his May 31 letter to Secretary Beaton received no response.

“We’re still trying to save Notre Dame, but our effort is about more than just that,” Conna added. “It’s also about the integrity of the environmental review process, because if CitySquare can avoid review in this way, then anyone else can do the same thing: collect their state funding first, bide their time, avoid the review process by failing to disclose critical impacts, and then do the historical or environmental damage at the end while claiming the law no longer applies to them. This is a textbook case of how to evade public review, and it cannot go unchallenged.

“As the Notice filed today states,” Conna concluded, “the fact that CitySquare II has so far successfully evaded MEPA and MHC review does not extinguish their legal obligation, or the Secretary’s, to adhere to the MEPA regulations.” CitySquare II is a subsidiary of Worcester-based Hanover Insurance.

💒Column by Edith 🐦… and … Thursday wrap-up 🍦🌺🌿

Notre Dame church, summer 2018. CECELIA file pic: R.T.

All Is Not Lost – Worcester Can Adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA)!

By Edith Morgan

In Worcester it seems to take about 10 years, from start to finish, to win a battle. It took a group of us 10 years to reclaim Green Hill Park from its status as a city dumping ground. It took 10 years to finally get the state-of-the-art Worcester Technical/Vocational High School. It took 10 years to finally get the great Senior Center up and running. And in every instance, after the 10-year battle was finally over, we ended up with a superb facility,

We won all those battles.

We’ve just lost the battle to save the iconic Notre Dame church – I suspect if we had had the time and support, we would have won that one, too. But have no fear, just around the corner are many more opportunities to do battle for our favorite projects. One of my favorites is the area at the north end of Main Street, at Lincoln Square, the intersection of Lincoln and Highland streets. There we have still standing, in various stages of neglect, the old courthouse, the Worcester Auditorium (the AUD), the Ionic Boys’ Club, and the world War I monument that used to sit in the middle of the rotary that once was at that intersection. All are unused and in various stages of deterioration. As with everything in this nation, the problem seems to be money or priorities.

And that is where the Community Preservation Act (CPA) comes in. Yes, we have lost the plea to have the Worcester City Council put the question on the November ballot (Do we Worcesterites want the CPA?), but we citizens can still get it on the ballot by getting over 5,000 signatures. So, probably the same people who have been working so hard to get the thousands of signatures needed for September and November candidates will now have to once again get out the petitions and gather signatures.

The CPA will, if adopted by Worcester (more than 10 Massachusetts communities have already adopted it and are collecting the matching funds from the Federal Government) will involve a small increase in our property taxes (the amount to be agreed upon later, varying from less than 1% to no more than 3%, with exemptions for some designated groups (perhaps low-income folks, seniors, etc.).

The reason I am supporting this initiative is that the money will be earmarked for three things – one of which is preservation projects. Had we had this money when the problem of Notre Dame arose, we could probably have been able to appropriate the funds needed for its rehabilitation! And perhaps we could have even created a haven of nature and beauty there, amid the ugly boxes that house the hotels and parking garages.

Once we have voted the CPA in, we can haggle about the details and consult our citizens about what projects should receive priority. But for now, the job is to get the signatures to put the question on the Worcester November ballot. We have saved Union Station and Mechanics Hall – but there are so many other majestic and historically significant Worcester icons needing attention!


June 28 – a letter from Ted Conna, co-leader of the SAVE NOTRE DAME ALLIANCE:

Hi all,

I have struggled in recent days with my own discouragement, with not wanting to discourage anyone else, nor wanting to perpetuate false hopes. I have not done the best job with that–I’ve been off my game for the past few days, and with hindsight, and there are a few things I would have done differently. That said…

Believe it or not, this is still not over. We’ve learned a number of things recently, most of it not ready for prime time, that give us hope for a last-minute change of course for Notre Dame. There may still be a surprise ending. We are proceeding to develop our legal case and we’ll go on trying to make our case publicly in the media.

So this is not the time to let up, and please don’t! Dale’s letter to the editor, Randy’s oped, Elaine’s letter today, Steve’s and Toni’s social media operation, and all the other things you’ve been doing or thinking about doing should continue in full force. We need to keep pumping our message out to the community, keep contacting the city councilors, keep the heat on to the bitter end–or better yet, to the sweet new beginning.



And …

The Save Notre Dame Alliance is pleased to announce the award winners chosen by a panel of jurors from the 100 eligible entries to our Show us your Notre Dame online art exhibition. The jurors were Juliet Feibel of ArtsWorcester, Luis Fraire of the Sprinkler Factory, Honee Hess of the Worcester Center for Crafts, and Jim Welu, former director of the Worcester Art Museum.

There were nine adult awards chosen, and a single youth award will be split three ways because the jurors felt there were three equally deserving entries.

We are extremely grateful to all of the more than 70 artists and musicians who performed and submitted work to Show us your Notre Dame. The arts community publicly embraced our effort to save Notre Dame with enthusiasm when many other community leaders who want us to succeed have been hesitant to do so. Many of the artists have also joined us, with their artwork, in our activist appeals to the City Council, and their work graced some of our press releases and printed materials.

The Save Notre Dame Alliance hopes to organize a gallery exhibition of all the submitted artwork in the near future, which will give the artists and the community an opportunity to meet and share the beauty of Notre Dame, as well as reflecting together upon the long and continuing struggle to save it for future generations of art lovers.


McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Go, Jim, go!!

Ranking Member McGovern Condemns House Republicans for Considering Resolution Designed to Undermine the Special Counsel’s Investigation

While providing cover for President Trump, Republicans fail to provide any oversight of an administration defined by scandal

Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern today condemned House Republicans for considering H.Res. 970, a resolution designed to undermine the credibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. By bringing this resolution to the House Floor, Republican leaders are enabling the extreme wing of their party to spread conspiracy theories while ignoring many very real oversight issues.

“We know this isn’t a serious attempt at oversight because this Republican Majority apparently doesn’t believe in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities,” McGovern said this morning on the House Floor. “Republicans today are completely missing in action under President Trump. This is an administration that has been embroiled in one scandal after the next. It is an administration dripping with corruption. Apparently the Republicans only believe in oversight if it involves President Obama or Secretary Clinton.”

While Republicans focus on providing cover for President Trump with this resolution, they are abdicating their duty to conduct any legitimate oversight of the Trump administration. Judiciary Committee Democrats have constantly been stonewalled in their attempts to provide oversight. In total, Judiciary Democrats have sent 75 letters to the administration and 43 letters to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Majority addressing oversight issues and every single one has been blocked or denied.

Additionally, since Chairman Gowdy has assumed his role leading the Oversight Committee, he has not issued a single subpoena despite the refusal by the Trump administration and private actors to respond to dozens of requests for documents.

Chairman Gowdy issued 13 subpoenas during his tenure as Chairman of the Benghazi Committee. In contrast, since President Trump has been in office, Oversight Committee Republicans have blocked 45 subpoena requests.

“Only with the Trump administration can you have one scandal start at breakfast only to have another one by the time you sit down for dinner. We should be doing our job getting to the bottom of what’s happening and holding people accountable! But instead we’re throwing sand in the gears of the Russia investigation,” continued McGovern. “This is about whether this Congress is going to fulfill its oversight responsibilities or sweep possible wrongdoing under the rug.”

House Republicans are considering this measure under their 90th closed rule of the 115th Congress, which block all amendments from both Democratic and Republican Members.

This breaks their own closed rule record, making the 115h Congress the most closed Congress in history. A report released recently by Rules Committee Democrats highlights how Republican leaders have used restrictive rules to block measures to create jobs, bring down the cost of prescription drugs, and make education more affordable. These important policies deserve a debate on the House Floor, yet they are routinely blocked from even being considered.


Sunday musings … and 3 🎶🎶🎶

Text and photos by Rosalie Tirella

Snack time with Cece …


Such a fun, affectionate lil’ girl! She’s healthy now; no more limping and collapsing from sporadic feedings at the old place, paws splayed out, Chaplinesque, funny but heartbreaking.

Adopted/saved by Rose!


These days the meals tumble down from feline heaven: Friskies; canned, stinky 9 Lives tuna and turkey with giblets.

When I pulled Cece from the old place she was covered in dust! Just 5 or 6 weeks old, not yet weaned… so today she’s runty; they call her a “patio cat.” But cute and mischievous, nonetheless!

She hops onto my shoulders from the kitchen floor for kisses and a little kitty massage. Then using my right shoulder as a launching pad, she makes a virgin leap (so strong and graceful now!) onto the old washing machine that makes that damn loud banging noise during the spin cycle.


No, Cece!!!


I pull my young and curious cat out of the cabinet she’s leapt into and scold her with smooches💜. I think of all the cats who’ve come before this one: city strays, all of them. Ghetto girls and boys I’ve rescued in my private storyville …

… Grabbed from the maws of pitbulls in Hartford (Chester)…


Pulled from the brink of starvation from the Harding Street feral cat colony I maintained for a decade (Teddy). A DECADE.


That was a long, strange trip, my Green Island feral cat colony! Feeding and watering, every day, all the wild Green Island cats, doomed, of course. Fearing the human touch, they were fated to be homeless! Suffering so in the depths of winter and summer, despite the pretty snowfalls in December or the sensuous heavy “perfume” wafting from the lilac bushes across Harding Street in May. A weird sight! All those pretty little violet flower clusters blooming on the edge of all that pain! Sometimes I’d stumble on a homeless guy squatting under the abandoned rusted RV parked in the lot and chat with him. Sometimes I’d chat with the amiable guy who owned the lot and parked his extra car there.

There is always some hope for the babies, so I’d live trap the little kittens. They could be tamed down by a volunteer and adopted out. But the adult cats were another story. If “lucky,” they’d survive the extreme weather (I put in cardboard boxes lined with hay for their warmth in January) only to be run over by some jalopy barrelling down the street – for kicks! – once the snow melted or the heatwave passed. Their vomit or diarrhea (that’s what roadkill does) greeting me the next day. Me searching for the wounded (or dead) cat in the beautiful wild lilac bushes…traumatized.

I’ve been a cat lover since toddlerhood! I remember all the inner-city felines who’ve wrapped their silky (or puss-encrusted!) tails around my heart. Not so different from the people in this neighborhood! They too skirt around the mundaneness of Worcester life and move me. They are jobless men, in their prime…welfare cheats too used to cheating to feel anything but entitled to cheat some more!…depressed young girls and boys. Obese women. Scrawny women. Kids hiding in their apartments cuz the neighborhood is so rough; they sit on sofas and watch TV behind pulled blinds. When they come out to play, their laughs sound puny. Often fed junk food – drinking that damn red “punch” in gallon jugs bought at the Dollar Store! – they’re as runty as CeCe. Human feral cats. They’ll bite you, if you handle them the wrong way!

I’m listening to John Mellencamp this morning. An under-rated artist overshadowed by the brilliant Springsteen, his contemporary.


I’ve listened to both guys for years – and loved both their visions!

Where’s your vision, Worcester?

I’m bracing for the worst this work week, expecting the City of Worcester to turn its back on the embattled Notre Dame church and allow Hanover to knock her down, faring no better than our feral cats! Or our poor kids! I’ll drive by each day and see Notre Dame’s knocked out windows and collapsed walls. I’ll see the wrecking ball fly, the dust rising …


Remember when she was grand? A part of our lives?

Notre Dame
photo courtesy of the Worcester Historical Museum

I do! I have, but cannot locate, the photos of my cousin standing next to the Notre Dame (Our Lady) statue seen in the above photo of Notre Dame. The statue was located outside the church the way many old immigrant parishes planted their patron saint in front of their house of worship. St. Stephen’s got a St. Stephen statue. St. Joseph’s, a St. Joe 😉. As a little girl growing up in Green Island, I believed this big statue of Notre Dame – taller than me – was made of PURE GOLD! My mother said maybe it was just dipped in gold, or covered in gold leaf …

Was the photo of my cousin taken after a First Holy Communion ceremony? A Confirmation ceremony? I can’t recall. I do remember my cousin was wearing a suit – one size too big!

Say GOOD BYE TO STORYVILLE, Rose! Good-bye to a childhood landmark. For me, as a little girl, we didn’t attend Notre Dame. St. Mary’s was our church. But walking to downtown with “Ma” and my two kid sisters (we never owned a car), Notre Dame was the official beginning of Downtown Worcester for us. Its unofficial WELCOME SIGN, telling me: You’re here Rosalie! Downtown! Fun time!

After the half hour walk, it was a well deserved reward. You had walked up your streets, saw Green Island up close and personal: down Lafayette Street where we lived… we trekked past Eddy’s Penny Candy Store, Helen’s Corner store, all the three deckers stuffed with kids, our buddies and classmates at Lamartine, plus all their free roaming, pre leash law!, dogs and cats…Then we walked down commercial Millbury Street, jam-packed, lined! one after the other, skinny alleys separating them, with mom and pop stores, most with apartments on top – again these abodes stuffed to the gills with people and their pets! What a sweet, sad symphony of life! Lisbon’s Shoe Store, Supreme Market, White’s Five and Ten, Sedick’s Hardware Store, Messiers Diner, Charles Restaurant, Vernon Drug Store, Millbury Furniture, Oscar’s Dry Cleaners, the fruit store, Bueleher Brothers sausage shop, a fish market… You could live and die on Lafayette and Millbury streets, and 90 percent of your needs could be met without venturing outside the two streets and their tributaries…It was a world unto itself! People called it a ghetto. I guess it was. I long for it every day! 💜💜💜

Ma, me and my sisters walked Downtown almost every Saturday where there were even more stores and people! There was Woolworths to look at the pet hamsters and mice! American Supply where Ma had an easy chair on layaway and would make another payment on it! Denholm’s for the rich folks. Barnards for fancy secretary work blouses and skirts and bridal wear. The Mart for new underwear for us kids and Ma. White, cotton and no nonsense. Six to a package!

But first the walk up our terrific Green Street, past Jack and Jill children’s clothing store, Molly’s Beauty Parlor, Coral Seafood restaurant, Prifti’s Candy Shop, the Atlas Fabric shop, the restaurant supply building, the PNI club…more people walking to stores, in and out of opening and closing doors! Ma knew lots of people. Often, we’d stop to talk with the person Ma had almost literally bumped into. “Yes! Rosalie got all A’s again!” Ma chirped. A counter girl at a dry cleaners pinning her dreams on her smarty pants first-born!

But we had our hearts set on Downtown Worcester! And I knew we were there when coming out from under the bridge on Green Street, looking to our right, we saw the magnificent Note Dame church! The exclamation point to: HERE WE ARE! The beautiful reward for our half-hour walk, which was reward itself in the sunny days of spring, summer or fall, even winter when we put on our layers of sweaters and flimsy cheap coats! We we poor. We had nothing! We had everything! Notre Dame! The red sticky cherry atop the hot fudge sundae of our journey! After our downtown errands and shopping, we’d head to Woolworths where Ma would treat me and my sisters to hot fudge sundaes with real red cherries on top, before our walk home. The day an adventure to talk about for the rest of the week!

Now, today, what do the Lafayette Street kids have to see? Dirty, filthy cars and trucks illegally parked by the mechanic there – shamelessly clogging up Harding/Lafayette streets; homeless youth under the Green Street bridge, strung out on heroin; gentrification all along Green Street, now half-abandoned because the soft, spoiled millennials lost their free, next-door parking lot and are too fucking lazy to walk the length of two buildings to get to an eatery! Pathetic. Store owners have had to make little videos, as if for little children, to show able-bodied 20- and 30-somethings just how easy it is to walk to their businesses from parked cars! Such a different world from the truly diverse, bustling, tough and beautiful working-class Green Island in which I grew up! Now its the white, gentrified Canal District. If the old timers could come back from the dead and see what was going on in the old neighborhood, they’d never stop throwing up.

So, Goodbye Notre Dame! I don’t think the City of Worcester will adopt you for FREE, a gift from developer Hanover, then pay the few hundred thousand$$ to permanently make you a hollow beauty surrounded by urban garden,trees, benches, picnic tables. A place to celebrate life’s milestones…a place nurtured by our Worcester Public Schools students, like Randy Feldman and other local urban visionaries envision … a kind of new, sacred city space for today’s Worcester kids and grownups.

No, it’ll be smashed to smithereens, flattened and covered with cement and turned into another big box apartment complex, or it’ll be covered over with blacktop and made into a parking lot. It’ll all be so ugly …

The urban beat goes on.

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance 💒

Notre Dame church, 6/22/18. pics: R.T.

Community leaders react to Friday ruling denying injunction to prevent demolition of Notre Dame des Canadiens before state review is completed

In reaction to the late Friday ruling by Justice Sabita Singh of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which upheld Worcester Superior Court Judge James Gavin Reardon Jr.’s Monday denial of an injunction to prevent demolition of Notre Dame des Canadiens before state review is completed, plaintiff and Save Notre Dame Alliance co-leader Ted Conna has released the following statement:

First of all, let me be clear that while public support for saving Notre Dame remains very strong, and the Save Notre Dame Alliance will continue fighting to save it, these rulings are a serious blow to our efforts. This is my first experience as a plaintiff in a civil action, and I’ve learned a lot, including the limitations of attempting to use the courts to enforce the law. We continue to believe that the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) has been violated, and our civil action on that point is still active before the Superior Court. However, with no injunction to postpone demolition of Notre Dame, even if we were to win the civil action, the damage we sought to prevent could already be done.

Justice Singh barely addressed the underlying issues in the case, saying simply that she did not see a clear error of law or abuse of discretion in Judge Reardon’s ruling, and would therefore not intervene to change it. We disagree with both jurists, because we continue to believe that Judge Reardon’s decision does contain important errors of law.

Some may accuse me of arrogance for the explanation that follows, because I am a non-lawyer taking issue with lawyers’ decisions on points of law. But as a longtime environmental activist, I am quite familiar with how the MEPA review process works, and anyone who has interacted with the MEPA process can tell you that Judge Reardon has misinterpreted the law.

For a MEPA review to be required, as we contend it is in the case of Notre Dame, two things are necessary. First, MEPA must have jurisdiction, which is the case whenever there is state or federal funding for a project. The funding can be direct or indirect. In the case of CitySquare, of which Notre Dame is a part, millions of dollars of state funding helped build the new streets, sidewalks, and parking facilities, including Trumbull Street which borders and adds frontage, access, and probably value to the Notre Dame parcel. This is indirect financial assistance, which triggers the review process.


Once MEPA jurisdiction is established, review is required if the size or impact of a project exceeds any of the legally established thresholds. The demolition of Notre Dame requires MEPA and Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) review because Notre Dame is listed on the official inventory of the state’s historic assets. The filing of an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) and a period allowing for public comment are mandatory, and further review is at the discretion of the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

A full reading of the MEPA regulations makes all of this crystal clear, but opposing counsel in this case exploited ambiguous wording in one part of the regulations to suggest that the ENF is not mandatory, although anyone familiar with the entire 36 pages of MEPA regulations knows that this is a misinterpretation of the law. Unfortunately for us, Judge Reardon accepted that misinterpretation and Justice Singh failed to recognize his error.

Opposing counsel employed various other hair-splitting arguments to obfuscate what is really quite simple: Notre Dame is part of the state-funded CitySquare project, and MEPA and MHC review are mandatory before its demolition because it is on the state inventory of historic assets. None of the legalistic arguments to the contrary pass the laugh test. Think about it: in 2017 they argued that demolishing Notre Dame requires no MEPA review because it’s part of the CitySquare project, and therefore covered by a 2005 review done before it was even added to CitySquare. Now they argue it requires no review because it’s a private parcel, separate from CitySquare–although it’s been part of CitySquare since 2012 so its property taxes could also help pay for those new streets, and CitySquare II owns it! Taken separately, each of those arguments is problematic, but together, they are ludicrous.

The demolition of Notre Dame hasn’t been reviewed by the MEPA office or the MHC because the proponents have done everything they can to avoid it, including failing to disclose Notre Dame’s historic status or its planned demolition on critical documents. So our legal battle is about more than just saving Notre Dame. It’s also about preserving and protecting the integrity of the environmental review process, because if CitySquare II can avoid review in this way, then anyone else can do the same thing: collect their state funding first, bide their time, avoid the review process by failing to disclose critical impacts, and then do the historical or environmental damage at the end while claiming the law no longer applies to them. This is a textbook case of how to evade public review, and it cannot go unchallenged.

It’s important to remember that these court rulings denying an injunction do not resolve the underlying questions we have raised about the legality of demolishing Notre Dame without the required state review. And according to fellow plaintiff and career preservation planner Jeffrey Cronin, this is important far beyond Notre Dame, because if what has happened here is to be considered acceptable, then:

“In joint public-private developments with state funding, developers and municipalities may ignore filing environmental forms when applying to state agencies—and there would be no consequences.

“When applying to state agencies, developers and municipalities may fail to disclose demolition of a historic resource listed in the Commonwealth’s Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Assets—and there would be no consequences.


“Environmentally fragile and endangered sites are now imperiled because there is a clear path for developers and municipalities to circumvent MEPA review, even in overlay districts with public funding, by using private funds to destroy wetlands, archaeological sites, and historic buildings—and there would be no consequences.

“Consultants, developers, municipalities requesting advisory opinions from the MEPA office may omit or misrepresent important information—and there would be no consequences.”

The original civil action, filed on June 12, seeks to compel CitySquare II Development Co. (a subsidiary of Hanover Insurance) to complete the legally required impact review process before Notre Dame des Canadiens is demolished. The suit claims the firm never filed the required ENF notice with the MEPA office to initiate review as the law requires. The suit remains pending before Judge Reardon.

Ted Conna, plaintiff
co-leader, Save Notre Dame Alliance

Barbara Haller, plaintiff
co-leader, Save Notre Dame Alliance

Worcester City Council: Steal Randy’s idea!

By Rosalie Tirella

As Jett, Lilac and I tool around Worcester in my jalopy, …

Ol’ Jett, Rose’s backseat boy! pics: R.T.

… running CECELIA/my newz-biz, we often drive by Notre Dame church – the wrecking ball and cranes breathing down its elegant neck.


It’s the only really beautiful building in “Main Middle,” that stretch of our downtown that former Worcester City Councilor Juan Gomez once claimed gets no aesthetic boost from City Hall cuz it was minority-inhabited and catered to people of color/the poor. No big, gorgeous murals for this neck of our urban woods, so workaday blah compared to other stretches of our “revitalized,” colorful, chi chi downtown. Yeah, the “luxury” plywood apartments are up here, but they’ll be gone in 35 years. Their fate sealed in the quick, sharp pop pop pop of the nail guns.

Too bad the Worcester City Council is willing to throw Notre Dame – the one Main Middle edifice with architectural staying power – under a WRTA bus, however sporadically it’ll be running!

Our group of elected officials, comprised of good people with ZERO vision, are blind to the almost 100-year-old beauty staring them in the face: NOTRE DAME CHURCH.


The City Council and Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus are cowed by the beneficence of our civic do-gooders/downtown saviors, Hanover Insurance, the owners of all the City Square redevelopments and Notre Dame. Augustus and city councilors don’t want to get Hanover mad, make this piece of their redevelopment project tougher and more expensive. They want it hurdle-hassle-free for our rich benefactors – even if it means leaving Notre Dame in ruins!! Ashes to ashes…dust to dust…

Their reasons? Many are legitimate. A few stupid. But the main one is political: BE NICE TO HANOVER.


But local legal beagle Randy Feldman and the Save Notre Dame Alliance folks have A GREAT PROPOSAL:

TURN NOTRE DAME INTO A DOWNTOWN BANCROFT TOWER. Empty, free of tenants or businesses, so there’s no worry of redevelopment, tenants, installing furnaces, etc… But, like the big old stone church in Boylston, a hollow but GORGEOUS BACKDROP WHERE TOURISTS AND LOCALS CAN TAKE THEIR WEDDING PHOTOS, FAMILY REUNION PICS, EXPLORE WORCESTER’S HISTORY. And…While we’re at it: why not a farmers markets outside the building? Why not botanical gardens maintained by Worcester Technical High School botany or small biz students? Why not bring our technical high school students with internships in the life sciences aboard? Why not have them plan and plant the flowers, bushes and trees? Why not have the culinary students cater the wedding photo sessions or weddings? Prepare, sell or offer platters of goodies before the gorgeous, spiritual, uplifting edifice in warmer months – al fresco dining in the heart of downtown. Eating a meal before a truly beautiful backdrop. A money maker for the City.

The Hanover folks will give Notre Dame to the City of Worcester! – a freebie! Catnip to us Worcesterites! – IF THE CITY DOESN’T FLIP IT and Notre Dame’s reincarnation fits in with Hanover’s urban renewal dreams.

This USE is the perfect fit.

The lovely building is saved.

It’s not a money pit for the city – infact, it’s a tourist attraction.

Maybe even a money maker. To pay for its maintenance…

Our Worcester Public School students learn new skills while helping to keep Notre Dame a vital part of our community.

Hanover is given back the back area, BEHIND the church. The City gets the church. Hanover is HAPPY!😁😄😚 Worcester taxpayers are not disgruntled.

Notre Dame church, built by French Canadian immigrants during a time (early 20th century) when every Worcester blue-collar neighborhood was home to three or four Catholic immigrant churches. They ran the gamut: from cute (St. Anthony’s at Kelley Square) to majestic (Notre Dame and Our Lady of Mount Carmel off Shrewsbury Street, also fighting for its life these days). Most of these churches disappeared as our Catholic immigrants realized, thanks to our factories, the American Dream, and left the old neighborhoods for greener pastures 😎. Only a few of our cool old immigrant churches remain – times change, we know. But we also shouldn’t forget our history – relinquish our two great beautiful immigrant churches, the ones beautifully designed and built, stone by stone, tear drop by tear drop, by our stoic, stalwart immigrants! We must never forget their – my grandparents and perhaps yours! – signifying: WE ARE HERE, AMERICA! WE ARE SO THANKFUL AND JOYFUL AND HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY TO YOU!

Notre Dame and Mt. Carmel churches remind ALL Worcesterites of our great (and grubby) urban STORY! Remind all Americans – especially our President Trump!! – how aspirational and inspired poor, illiterate inhabitants from “shit hole countries” can be!

Love you, Notre Dame!💜

Notre Dame preservationists file appeal of ruling that allows demolition of historic, iconic downtown church💒

Notre Dame – June 21, 2018. The crane has arrived … the gorgeous stained glass windows are gone. pics: R.T.

From the Save Notre Dame Alliance:

Community leaders file appeal of Monday ruling denying injunction to prevent demolition of Notre Dame des Canadiens before state review is completed

Thirteen Massachusetts residents, including community leaders and members of the Save Notre Dame Alliance, filed an appeal yesterday in the Massachusetts Appeals Court of Monday’s ruling by Superior Court Judge Gavin Reardon denying a motion for an injunction to prevent demolition of Notre Dame des Canadiens before state review is completed.

After reviewing Judge Reardon’s ruling, the plaintiffs believe that his interpretation of the law is incorrect. Plaintiffs have retained the services of the Boston environmental law firm McGregor & Legere, PC to represent them in their interlocutory appeal, with ongoing support from attorney Robert Scott of Hector E. Pineiro Law Offices of Worcester.


The filing also seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent further damage to the building while the appeal is pending.

The original civil action, filed on June 12, sought an injunction to prevent the demolition of Notre Dame des Canadiens until such time as the legally required impact review process is completed. The destruction of Notre Dame without state review to seek alternatives to demolition would violate the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (“MEPA”). This is because Notre Dame is listed on the Inventory of Historic and Archeological Assets of the Commonwealth, and before any listed building can be demolished as part of a development using state funds MEPA requires an exhaustive public review by state agencies to consider alternatives. The suit against CitySquare II Development Co. (a subsidiary of Hanover Insurance) claims the firm never filed the required notice with EOEEA or MHC to initiate the review as the law requires.

According to plaintiff and Save Notre Dame Alliance co-leader Ted Conna: “We believe Judge Reardon has incorrectly interpreted what the law requires in terms of environmental and historic review for a major state-funded project like CitySquare, of which Notre Dame is a part. Think about it: in 2017 they argued that demolishing Notre Dame requires no further review because it’s part of the CitySquare project, and covered by a 2005 review done before it was even added to CitySquare. Now they argue it requires no further review because it’s a private parcel, separate from CitySquare – although CitySquare II owns it! At least one of those arguments has to be wrong, and they sure look ridiculous together!”


CitySquare II has argued that no state funds were spent to buy or to demolish Notre Dame, but the CitySquare project is a major beneficiary of state funding, and Notre Dame has been a part of it since it was added to the project area in 2012. State funds helped pay for all the new streets in CitySquare, including Trumbull Street, which borders and adds frontage to the Notre Dame parcel. This is indirect financial assistance, which triggers the review process.

“The demolition of Notre Dame hasn’t been reviewed by MEPA or the Mass. Historic Commission,” Conna continued, “because the proponents have done everything they can to avoid it, including failing to disclose its historic status on critical documents. So our legal battle is about more than just saving Notre Dame. It’s also about the integrity of the environmental review process, because if they can avoid review in this way, then anyone else can do the same thing: collect their state funding first, bide their time, avoid the review process by failing to disclose critical impacts, and then do the historical or environmental damage at the end while claiming the law no longer applies to them. This is a textbook case of how to evade public review, and it cannot go unchallenged.”

– Ted Conna, plaintiff
co-leader, Save Notre Dame Alliance

– Barbara Haller, plaintiff
co-leader, Save Notre Dame Alliance

Save Notre Dame!

💒💒💒. pics: R.T.

Keep me in your heart”🎶🎶 …


From the SAVE NOTRE DAME CHURCH alliance …


We are back in court today appealing Judge Gavin Reardon’s decision to allow Hanover’s continued destruction of Notre Dame.

We don’t know the timeline for a ruling, but we will keep you posted as things unfold.

We strongly urge you to visit Notre Dame and rejoice in its majesty…


Stay in touch:

website: savenotredamealliance.com


“I don’t want to fade away🎶🎶”


And THANKS for any help you can give!💜

– Ted Conna and Barbara Haller for Save Notre Dame Alliance