Tag Archives: Worcester

Search committee, smearch committee

Jeff B. sent me a comment about my last post (see below). To this, I say: Jeff, you are tres naive! To think that an official “search committtee,” made up of “board members” (8!) and all the other bells and whistles that go along with announcements/pronouncements from the state make the Leary sinecure legit/without political strings is … plain goofy. I stand by my post. Shame on the Telegram and Gazette for not attacking the story the way the Boston TV stations did. Worcester Telegram reporters John M. and Nick K. are often nothing more than personal stenographers for the powers that be (especially where Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is concerned). They should both get a box of melted chocolates for National Secretaries’ Day. (So should you!)

– Rosalie Tirella

Hush! Hush!

By Rosalie Tirella

Got an e-mail from a person a few days ago – he/she saw the news on TV because the Boston stations covered it. In Worcester, of course, there was a news blackout because it was about our very own former mayor – now Lieutenant Governor – Tim Murray.

Seems as though Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray has given his top assistant (and West Side buddy/confidant) Mr. Leary a cushy $100,000+ job at UMass Medical School. We guess being Timmy’s top gopher at the State House was a tad too much work for Leary. So he asked his buddy Tim to get him a great job – MAKING THE SAME SALARY!!!! – closer to home. Timmy obliges, makes some calls to UMass Medical School. UMass folks, of course, are happy to kiss Murray’s ass and give him what he wants (so they can get what they want from him down the line) – and PRESTO! Leary gets the UMass Medical School job. The Boston media were all over this story. Politicking at its crassest was the theme. Murray denied it had anying to do with political favors/favoritism. (Of course, when his boss, Governor Deval Patrick, gave a $170,000+ job to the wife of a donor, Worcester’s news radio stations and newspapers covered the issue. An example of spending the taxpayer’s dime foolishly; lack of respect for voters/residents, etc.)

Not so for Timmy. They stayed mum, which is why Worcester is such a joke to most folks in metro Boston. Worcester is famous (or infamous, if you prefer) for its parochialism. Why can’t we police are own – whether they be our cops or a former mayor who got lucky? Why can’t the media in this town do the right thing and call Murray for pulling something? (Just like Frank Phillips of the Boston Globe did a while back after Murray took thousands and thousands of dollars from a Republican businessman/fundraiser and then in turn gave him a seat on some board.)  After the Globe hammered away at him, Murray severed ties with the guy and – get this – kept all the thousands of dollars he raised for him but returned his personal check to the Murray campaign war chest. Not a bit of this made the Worcester papers, TV shows or radio shows.

You know, if we write about the crap in our own backyards, it doesn’t make us crappy. It keeps politicians like Murray honest. It keeps cops on their toes. And in the end, our local newspapers and other news organizations will win the respect of Worcester County readers, listeners and viewers of all political stripes.

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

Latest research on math; how you can help your students

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

As our children explore and discover their environment, they are exposed to the world of math! Mathematics has become increasingly important in this age of technology. Children need a strong background in math. It’s essential that the school and the home work together to strengthen our children’s ability to understand and apply math in their everyday lives. Many school systems are paying attention to improving early-grades math curriculum instruction, for there is mounting research showing that boosting students’ confidence and effort in math can increase achievement.

For children to compete in the 21’st century global economy, knowledge in math is critical. Today’s high school graduates need to have a solid math background, whether they are headed to college or the workforce. To help ensure our nation’s future competitiveness in the global market, our country created a National Mathematics Advisory Panel in 2006. Continue reading Latest research on math; how you can help your students

Things that money can’t buy

By Richard Schmitt

In his recent remarks about education President Barack Obama offered support for the idea of paying teachers more if their students had higher scores on standardized tests like the MCAS. Education reformers have recommended merit pay as a method for improving American education for a while now. It seems common-sensical. If you pay your cleaners minimum wage, they will do a minimal cleaning job. Pay them a bit more and they will have some incentive for working harder. Get a cheap yard clean up service and they may cut your grass but not trim the edges carefully. Pay a little more and you may find that your yard looks better.

So why would this idea not work with teachers? Because mowing lawns, cleaning offices or houses is not a job you do because you love mowing lawns or cleaning. You do it for the money. If that is what you do it for, you may well work harder to get more money. But we don’t do everything “for the money.” Other things matter. Few people get married for money; we don’t have kids for money. We don’t have friends for money, or knit or sew or cook good meals for family and friends for money. Some people are fortunate to have work that they love. Yes, they get paid and often would like to get paid more, but since they love their job, they do it as well as they can – even if they do not get paid as much money as they would like. Continue reading Things that money can’t buy

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?