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APRIL 12 - 18, 2018 WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

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A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018


in this issue A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018 • V O L U M E 43 I S S U E 33

22

the cover

SPORTS: The other Worcester ‘renaissance’ Story on page 12 Photos by Elizabeth Brooks, Design by Kimberly Vasseur

32

Councilors reexamine ‘unfair’ housing ordinance: Officials are poised to take another look at a longstanding, but controversial housing ordinance that bans more than three unrelated tenants from living in the same unit. 6 Miss Quitadamo CampQuest Walk returns to Commerce Bank Field: For 41 years, Donna Quitadamo taught Worcester elementary school students at Nelson Place School, now retired, Quitadamo continues bringing youth and adults together in helping The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. 23

38 Find us on Facebook.com/worcestermag Twitter @worcestermag Instagram: Worcestermag

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

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news

Union workers: More coming forward against wage theft BILL SHANER

C

arpenters and activists again rallied in front of the 145 Front St. development earlier this week, but this time for a different reason: They were taking a victory lap of sorts, after a subcontractor on the job was forced to pay a carpenter $15,000 in a wrongful termination settlement. P&B Partitions, a subcontractor hired by Erland Construction for sheet wall work, was forced by the National Labor Relations Board to pay contractor Eddie Vasquez $15,200 in back pay and $147 in interest, according to a copy of the settlement. Vasquez was fired, according to a release from the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, after he started working with the union on a wage theft case and encouraging others to join the effort. Vasquez himself was at the rally, and said the money was overdue, but the larger issue of wage theft, of which the union now has 12 open cases, is still ongoing. The carpenters union rallied outside of 145 Front St. weekly for much of last year, demanding a resolution to the wage theft cases. “We got the upper hand. More workers are coming forward. More workers are telling the truth,” said Vasquez. “What happens is, they prey on the weak. These companies prey on the weak.” The U.S. Department of Labor complaints the union filed against the contractor are still under review. The cases, including Vasquez’s, mostly center around cash overtime pay promised but never delivered, according to the union. While only 12 complaints have been filed, Vasquez said the number of workers who weren’t paid overtime on the job is closer to 30. Union organizer Manny Gines said a main goal of the antiwage theft effort, which would be addressed by a wage theft bill currently in the state Senate, is making sure companies with a record of cheating workers don’t get brought on jobs. As it stands now, Gines said, nothing prevents companies from hiring subcontractors with a history of wage theft. “The bottom line is, they want to use cheap labor,” said Gines. “We’re trying to hold them accountable.” Several dozen people rallied at the corner of Front and Foster streets Tuesday afternoon. Chants such as “When workers’ rights are under attack, stand up, fight back,” and “wage theft, hell no” echoed through the busy intersection as the activists marched in a circle. They marched by a large inflatable float of a fat cat in a tuxedo squeezing a contractor by the throat. The rally attracted several city councilors, who spoke in sup-

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Carpenters and activists rally outside the 145 Front Street development Tuesday. port of the union’s action against the contractor. Councilor-At-Large Khrystian King, himself a member of the SEIU union, led the union members and activists in his own chant: “Respect the work, respect the workers.” “We know that when there’s wage theft, it has a direct impact on our city and on our commonwealth, because we’re losing money, we’re losing money in the city,” said King. District 3 Councilor George Russell said wage theft in Worcester is unacceptable. “This has to stop and it stops right here on this sidewalk,” he said.

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

BILL SHANER

District 2 Councilor Candy Mero Carlson said the development in Worcester is great, but not if it harms the workers. “I’m here in 100-percent support of all of you,” she said. District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera made a similar argument, saying economic development is good only as long as it’s equitable. “It must be for all or for none,” she said. Bill Shaner can be reached at 508-749-3166 x324 or at wshaner@worcestermag.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bill_Shaner.


news

Worcester, other cities mull lawsuit against state BILL SHANER

A

fter a meeting with Brockton, school officials have committed to finding other districts to join in the fight to change a school funding formula that hurts large urban districts. “Let’s get organized and take this fight on,” said Mayor Joe Petty at a recent School Committee meeting. It was the closing note of an hour-long talk with Brockton officials. He said he’d meet with the Brockton mayor and begin the work of getting other districts on board. The fight could would likely take the shape of a lawsuit against the state to recoup money promised, but not delivered by the state’s Chapter 70 education formula, also referred

Who Doesn’t Love Cake?

to as the foundation budget. In Worcester, it’s estimated the funding gap is almost $100 million per year. Brockton officials have been out ahead of that lawsuit push, and officials here sent a strong signal late last week that, if Brockton files the action, Worcester will join. While Brockton and Worcester have thus far been the lead communities in the push, Lawrence, Fall River, New Bedford and other so-called “gateway cities” have expressed interest in entering the action. The Worcester School Committee would have to vote to officially enter the lawsuit. Though they haven’t yet, the majority of members have publicly signaled interest in doing so. In a new report titled “A Tale of Two Cities” C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 7

The cover page of the report, which compares funding inequities in Brockton and Worcester school systems.

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news Councilors reexamine ‘unfair’ housing ordinance BILL SHANER

O

fficials are poised to take another look at a longstanding, but controversial housing ordinance that bans more than three unrelated tenants from living in the same unit. At Councilor-At-Large Moe Bergman’s request earlier this week, an order asking for a temporary ban on enforcing the order was sent to the Standing Committee for Economic Development for review. The ordinance, Bergman argued, hurts landlords, shortens the city’s housing stock, and no longer accomplishes the original aim of preventing lodging houses. The ordinance, he argued, is particularly harmful for triple-decker homes. “There really needs to be a serious effort this go-around to try to change what I would say is unfair,” said Bergman. The order, he said, doesn’t apply to college dormitories or housing with federal protection like sober houses.

“I would also say it’s an enforcement nightmare,” Bergman said. “If you put some of the enforcement officers under the truth serum, they’ll tell you that they can’t tell nowadays whether someone is related or not just because of a name on a mailbox.” For years, the ordinance has been an issue that’s bubbled under the surface. Proponents see it as a way of curbing or cracking down on student party houses that disrupt neighborhoods, but opponents say the rule is hard to enforce, precludes young people from moving to the city, and is outdated. More than a dozen landlords, property managers and property owners were at the Council meeting Tuesday in support of overturning or amending the ordinance. Several spoke, making the case the ordinance hurts business, keeps landlords from investing in properties, and doesn’t accomplish much. Russell Haims, president of Hampton Properties, argued the extra money from extra tenants would be reinvested into the “curb appeal” of the buildings. He also said Boston has

done away with a similar lodging house order with success. District 2 Councilor George Russell cautioned the ordinance has prevented some neighborhood issues. He said he’s in favor of looking at tweaks, but not necessarily the temporary ban. The ordinance is a tool in the city’s toolbox, he said. He asked City Solicitor David Moore whether landlords could get a special permit to have four or more unrelated occupants, and Moore said no. Other councilors spoke in support of the measure. District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera said property owners around Clark University restore blighted houses, and if they were able to offer units to more than three unrelated people, it would help with city’s stock of housing with affordable rent. “We definitely need to consider this and try to move this forward,” said Rivera. Mayor Joe Petty said he hopes to see the measure come out of subcommittee and back before the Council before the summer break – sometime in May, he said.

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A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018


and released to the School Committee last week, officials in Brockton and Worcester compare how the state’s formula affects their districts. Worcester and Brockton, at about 26,000 and 17,000 students each, are among the largest districts in the state, and officials argue health insurance costs, special education, services for low-income students and English language instruction costs are not properly compensated for by the state, according to the report. Large urban districts such as Brockton and Worcester bear the brunt of those costs. The funding formula leaves these districts struggling for cash, while more affluent suburban districts, which often don’t have the same ratio of students in need of extra services, effectively make out with more state funding per student. As far as special education goes, Worcester had to make up a $34.6-million gap between actual spending and what was allotted in state aid in last year’s budget. Brockton’s gap was $22.1 million, according to the report. For employee health insurance costs, the gap was similarly high. Worcester’s gap this year is $34.9 million, Brockton’s is $7.3 million. Both faced the gap despite having changed plans, contribution rates and co-pays, according to the report. The report advocates for a new rate per student in the Chapter 70 formula that better accounts for communities with high concentrations of economically disadvantaged students, and that the new rate be permanent and predictable. When the state changed the calculation for “economically disadvantaged students” for fiscal 2016, the number of students who qualified dropped dramatically in each district. In Worcester, 3,575 students no longer qualified; in Brockton, 4,546 students fell out of classification. In both districts, the funding level is expected to increase only slightly for fiscal 2019, despite increases in students in both districts in the hundreds. Officials in Brockton have not yet taken official legal action, but are in the process of courting law firms to take the work on. Meanwhile, a bill in the state Senate would change the funding formula. Officials from both Worcester and Brockton have urged support of the bill, but many said a lawsuit would still be necessary to force the issue. “As we look at it, it’s our fiduciary responsibility to fight for our district. There’s nothing left to do but look to the state and say this is not equitable,” said School Committee member Jack Foley. “But we know this is not going to happen willingly.” Bill Shaner can be reached at 508-749-3166 x324 or at wshaner@worcestermag.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bill_Shaner.

ELIZABETH BROOKS

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news

worcesteria

EYES ON THE 17th: Two new Democratic candidates for the 17th Worcester District state

rep. seat, folks (south Worcester and Leicester). One, you’re reading here first, is Pam Gemme, a social worker and Leicester resident running on a platform strong on education and transportation. She told me she feels she’s uniquely qualified for the job, with a masters in public administration and experience managing budgets. The other candidate needs no introduction for regular readers of this column. Stu Loosemore, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce director of government affairs and public policy, took out papers to run for the seat recently. I caught up with him at City Hall the other night, and he said the seat is something he’s been looking at for a long time, and said he’s looking forward to running a strong campaign. Both Gemme and Loosemore enter what has become a crowded field since current Republican State Rep. Kate Campanale announced she’s leaving the seat for a register of deeds bid. On the Democratic side, there’s also Worcester resident David LeBouef and Leicester man Harry Brooks. On the Republican side, Paul Fullen, a Worcester resident and Worcester Fire Department lieutenant is the sole candidate, at least so far. Nomination papers are due back in early May, so that’s when we’ll know for sure what the ballot will look like.

TROUBLE FOR CHANDLER: The reign of our own (interim) Sen. Pres. Harriette Chandler

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may soon be coming to an end. Karen Spilka, the Ashland senator who announced the other week she has the votes, appears to have forced a vote on her presidency for July, tentatively. This despite Chandler saying earlier in the year she’ll serve out until the end of the year. Now, it’s easy as a Worcester grump to get mad about this. Hey, c’mon, Chandler is in the twilight of a storied career. Let her serve out the year. But it’s a bit more nuanced than that. We had Worcester’s other state senator, Mike Moore, on the Worcester Magazine Radio Hour on Unity radio earlier this week, and he said the July vote to put Spilka in place, which he said he supports, could have the effect of launching the senate into a new era, putting the misdeeds of former Sen. Pres. Stan Rosenberg’s ex-husband, Bryon Hefner, in the past, which would be good, if true.

GRUMPY DANTE: “Grumpy Dante time” is how School Committee member Dante Comparetto led into an uncomfortable conversation about ALICE, the school district’s new school safety program. He said the training, which involved simulations of school shooter incidents to varying degrees, is causing needless trauma for teachers, parents and support staff. Next year, students will be going through a version of the training. Instead, Comparetto said, the district should be investing in more support staff, as it is proven adjustment councilors and the like cut down on school violence, whereas there’s no research that demonstrates ALICE has merit (that’s true). Comparetto even quoted from my cover story on the issue, which ran last week. That always makes me happy. But, naturally, the item was met with resistance. School Committee member Dianna Biancheria said ALICE is a good program and comparing investment in it to investment in adjustment councilors is “going off course.” Mmmm, I’m just going to leave that one without comment.

TALKS IN RI: After a long, long dry spell, we’ve had some word from the Rhode Island State Legislature, which is lagging, to say the least, in taking action on a funding bill for a new Paw Sox stadium. The Senate voted in the affirmative in January, but the House hasn’t even held the public forums they promised, at least not yet. That may be because Nick Mattiello, house speaker, is one of the biggest critics of the $80-something million ballpark funding bill. However, according to Go Local Providence, Mattiello has begun negotiations with the Paw Sox brass, trying to get a better deal for the state. Meanwhile, no word at all in Worcester, except for whispers that negotiations here are ongoing as well. PHILLY AND BACK AGAIN: Not everyone is the biggest fan of the new announcement that

Worcester-Boston Full Service Radio for New England 8

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A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

American Airlines will begin flights to and from Philly. FlyORH, the blog that actually broke the story it would be American Airlines over the weekend, takes issue with the flight schedule, which is 8 a.m. departure from Philly, 9 a.m. landing in Worcester, then 9:30 a.m. Worcester departure to Philly, which gets folks in around 10:40 a.m. The schedule, they argue, dooms the line to failure for two reasons: the morning flight from philly will not be popular, and, if you book a trip through Philly to Worcester, what are you supposed to do, stay overnight? I know nothing about aviation, but I found the points interesting. They think Bill Shaner, reporter an evening return to Worcester wshaner@worcestermag.com would be better. Twitter: @Bill_Shaner


news

DON’T REPLACE. REFACE

KITCHEN CABINET REFINISHING FACTORY FINISHES APPLIED IN-HOME

the beat

REFINISHING

American Airlines is coming to Worcester. In

PAINTING

October, the airline will launch two morning flights, one from Philadelphia to Worcester Regional Airport and one the other way. The airline is the second major carrier the airport has been able to court, behind Jet Blue, and officials at a press conference earlier this week touted the news as yet another example of a city on the rise. The flight takes about an hour. No word yet on ticket prices.

REFACING

The Cabinet

The old Foster Street extension and the small lot next to it on Washington Square have been

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bundled into a single parcel for development by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority. The move, according to the Telegram, is an effort to court more development around Union Station , but what will come of it remains to be seen. While the move is meant to make the parcel more attractive, a developer still has to bite on it.

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Just down the street and across I-290, it looks like the Diocese of Worcester is making moves to take the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church. The Diocese pulled a

demolition application last week. If approved by the city building department, they have six months to begin demolition. Activists working to preserve the church have two active appeals to save the building in with the Vatican. Those would have to be resolved before any demolition could begin.

Quinsigamond Community College landed U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for its commencement speech. The

lefty and outspoken democratic lawmaker will head to QCC next month to give the address. QCC President Luis Pedraja: “We are sure her words will inspire and motivate our graduates to continue achieving great heights as they leave QCC and fulfill their dreams.” In other commencement address news, Worcester State University will bring on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for its May 19 ceremony. Baker will also receive an honorary degree.

In Uxbridge, two recreational pot companies got the go-ahead from town officials to open up shop this week. Of course, they have to go through the state application process, but Uxbridge selectmen signaled they’re ready to do business, voting to authorize the town manager to start whipping up a host agreement with the two businesses. The City Council this week backed a state process to allow a firefighter harmed in a 2011 fire to take an early pension. The

pension, called a Section 100, requires approval in the legislature. At the meeting, it seemed the item may have faced some pushback, as councilor Konnie Lukes questioned city officials on whether the special pension would be a precedent-setting overstep of the Retirement Board. But, after she was assured it wouldn’t be, the item passed unanimously.

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editorial

opinion

A downtown Doherty High? Letters to the Editor Policy

T

he price tag will no doubt cause some hand-wringing, but the real head-scratcher right now is where, exactly, to build a new Doherty Memorial High School. Can it be rebuilt at the current site on Highland Street, or is a new site needed? If new land is needed, the city must consider all possible options - and not limit itself to thinking exclusively on the west side. The Doherty High quadrant reaches into the downtown Worcester, believe it or not. As it appears on the Worcester Public School website, the Doherty quadrant, area-wise, is the largest of the four. That’s good news for the city as it ponders where a new building could be built. Park advocates rightly note the current high school is surrounded by parkland. As the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Nick Kotsopoulos wrote recently, it is likely the city would find resistance if it attempted to gobble up park space around Newton Hill, where Doherty was built. That could leave them looking at properties they already own or could buy. The latter, of course, would carry a price tag on top of what is already expected to be at least a $200-million school project. But are there options that could work? And how far outside the box does the city want to think? Far enough to return a school building to downtown Worcester? One person following the Doherty project suggested the old Worcester Auditorium at Lincoln Square as a possibility. The city has an albatross around its neck with this building. Any reuse is likely to cost

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many, many millions of dollars. The Architectural Heritage Foundation currently has exclusive rights for a feasibility study, but if other potential new uses of that building continue to prove elusive, perhaps a new Doherty High could work there. Of course, it wouldn’t put the property back on the tax roll, which the city would no doubt ultimately prefer. There are potentially other downtown buildings that could be considered. The former Unum building on Chestnut Street could prove intriguing. Or the old Worcester Marketplace at Madison and Main streets. Perhaps they would ultimately prove unsuitable, but the general idea of considering downtown for a school building is interesting. Does Worcester truly want to embrace itself as a city and urban center? Or do neighborhood schools hold too much appeal? If a new Doherty were to be built on the current site, perhaps a vertical build could avoid hassles over whether to eat away critical parkland. Of course, those decisions are best made by architects and engineers. Still, as it looks to a new Doherty High School, the city would do well to consider all options, even if some come off as a little far-fetched at first. A downtown high school may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but is it out of the realm of possibility? Or do safety, traffic congestion and other issues make it a non-starter? As Kotsopoulos wrote, finding a new home for Doherty High could prove quite challenging. If the city is listening, there may well be plenty of suggestions.

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opinion The bridge to nowhere JANICE HARVEY

My father didn’t enjoy the beach, or so he said, and he’d headed back to Worcester and n July 1969, men walked on the moon. That whatever it was that he preferred to family time on the boardwalk. My mother — who same week, my father drove my mom, did not drive and was left with two fidgety my little brother Christopher and me to a kids and a meager stash of vacation cash — Hampton Beach cottage, while Ted Kendid her best to amuse us. We very likely blew nedy drove a car off a bridge in a place called threw the casino money on Day Two, having Chappaquiddick. I’d never heard of it, but I’d never forget it. Forty-nine years later, I viewed exhausted her wallet trying to win lobster ashtrays and gigantic pencils. That meant we were the film “Chappaquiddick” in a theater filled with men and women who appeared to be old headed back to the cottage to play Monopoly, a game my brother lost every time and ended enough to want answers to questions-quesby throwing into the air the tiny iron, shoe and tions they’ve had since they were youngsters. top hat, along with the contents of the bank. The Blackstone Valley Cinema probably took With five years between us, Christopher a bigger hit on senior discounts than theaters that ran “Cocoon” in 1985. Whether or not the- and I hated each other’s guts 99 percent of the time, and nothing brought out our worst atergoers got the answers they were looking instincts quicker than a board game. I think for is a matter of opinion. I remember July of ’69 clearly, if only because my mother cried, but I’m not sure. We often brought her to the brink of a breakdown with two phenomenal news stories didn’t often overlap one another the way they do now. Tee- our endless squabbling, and for that I am tering on the edge of 13, I was a current-events eternally remorseful. (She did get revenge a generation later, when my own two kids fought junkie, tossing aside my copies of “Archie and like bloodthirsty gladiator’s over everything Jughead” in favor of headlines. from waffles to Nintendo. I know I cried.) The I remember, too, that for six of the seven days we spent in that cramped, one-bedroom only thing left to do was to wrap the portable television’s rabbit ears in tin foil and hope “The cottage, it rained. I’m not talking about Rifleman” reruns came in clearly enough to cloudy skies, or intermittent showers – I’m capture Christopher’s attention. talking rain.

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What we saw, once my mother adjusted the antennae for the 10th time, was the somewhat shadowy image of Neil Armstrong planting a foot on the moon. That same TV would bring us Ted Kennedy’s version of the night in question, when the car he drove landed belly-up with Mary Jo Kopechne inside. I remember the frown on my mother’s face as he tried to explain why he didn’t report the accident for nine hours. It was the same face she made when my father said he had to break down some tables and let the beer delivery guy into the Vernon Hill Post. Lost in the shuffle of this salacious tale was the news that men walked on the moon. The moon! That amazing event was relegated to the back burner while we sat glued to one of the three channels we were able to receive thanks to Reynolds Wrap – and Kennedy’s face was on all three. His story sounded somewhat heroic to me; I imagined him diving again and again in the shallow waters of Cape Cod, trying desperately to save the woman who had been a loyal secretary to his murdered brother Bobby. In my young mind, which had been permanently marked with the images of both Kennedy assassinations, a Kennedy would not lie. My mother said nothing, but dragged thoughtfully on her cigarette, and the deliberate manner in

which she exhaled the smoke and narrowed her eyes will never leave me. Only now do I see the irony of my mother puffing a cigarette with the name “True” printed near its filter, while listening to Ted spin his story. Years later, I read Joyce Carol Oates’ blistering 1992 novel “Black Water,” a story told in the voice of a drowning girl abandoned by an unnamed senator in a sinking car. By then, wide cracks had formed in my idealism, and I’d long let go of Camelot. Still, I hoped that what I knew to be true, wasn’t. It’s impossible to view “Chappaquiddick” without considering the cloud of scandal that hangs over the current administration. For Ted Kennedy, the waters of Edgartown washed away any presidential aspirations; apparently we expect and accept much less from today’s leaders. Forty-nine years later, sitting in a darkened theater, it occurred to me my housewife mother who didn’t drive knew something about life and men it would take me decades to understand.

Janice Harvey contributing writer

Your Turn: Notre Dame: Inside the church, outside the box TED D. CONNA

of the growing produce hanging in the well-lit parts of the building. Add a nice, safe, clear tube he beautiful French Canadian church at slide for the kids (or anyone) that costs a few the corner of Worcester Common offers bucks to ride, or comes as a perk with dinner a unique opportunity for redevelopment or some other purchase. Want some more exthat could be an absolute, one-of-aamples of the fun things you can do with vertikind treasure for downtown Worcester and cal space? Google the City Museum of St. Louis especially for its new apartment and hotel and take a look. The possibilities are many, and neighbors. But with the threat of demolition none of this precludes any of the excellent ideas looming, possibly within weeks, you might ask already put forward for the ground floor and what new ideas could save this building from basement of the building. Get those brewery all of the obstacles that have thus far impeded folks back in here, but ask them to build up, not its redevelopment? Well, since you asked … out. The challenge is this is a large, high building The creative use of all that airspace could without a lot of leasable floor space to generabsolutely make the project economically viate income, and the money for a multi-million able, and also make this a one-of-a-kind, mustdollar redevelopment has to come from visit, must-return destination. The high space somewhere. is inspirational, and when filled with activity How do we solve that problem? Turn all it would be a spectacle as well. It would be a that airspace into revenue, that’s how. A friend total draw to all those new tenants and hotel mused about filling the building with hanging guests nearby, attracting people to live and gardens to grow locally-sourced greens and visit there, enriching their neighborhood, and produce for downtown restaurants. I wasn’t increasing both the bottom line and the value convinced that would balance the books by itof neighboring real estate. self, but it got me thinking. Indoor rock climbing How long have we been striving to turn gyms do quite well monetizing vertical space, downtown Worcester back into a neighborand this could be, hands down, the coolest one hood where people actually want to live? ever. Now, suspend a restaurant in the middle This kind of creative project is how we do it. of it, accessed through a glass catwalk, so diners Wouldn’t it be nice to give the occupants of all can watch the climbers and enjoy the ambience

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those new apartments an irresistible attraction that’s even closer by foot than the train to Boston? This is how we do it. How does the new hotel make itself stand out in its promotions? How about using photos of a next-door architectural gem, beautifully redeveloped and filled with opportunities to eat, play, exercise, view performances, hear music, shop, dance, or simply relax? Yes, that should do it. Dating back to the Galleria, changes made around the church have left it an architectural orphan that seems a bit out of place to some. And it may be hard to imagine now, with the church surrounded by fences, construction equipment and piles of dirt and rubble, but its connection to its neighborhood can be repaired, without huge expense. Trees, gardens, outdoor gathering areas,and creative lighting can work wonders to tie a building that no longer seems to belong back in with its surroundings. With creative landscape design, that church becomes a signature point of entry for the new hotel, not an obstruction in its side alley like it is now. Even with the possibility of demolition looming closer, I hear rumors of creative developers with just this sort of vision of what a treasure this old church could become for downtown Worcester. The owner, Hanover Insurance, has tried patiently to find a developer with a viable

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plan to save the building, and they deserve credit for that. I implore them, as long as there is any hope of a viable redevelopment plan, to keep that patience alive a bit longer. And I implore our city leaders to do everything they can to bring a creative redevelopment of the church to fruition. We’ve been giving out tax incentives for redevelopment for decades. Could there be any better use for them than this? Once this building is gone, no one will ever build another like it. We wring our hands at the loss of all those beautiful cathedrals in Dresden and elsewhere during World War II. But we have such a treasure, still standing, right here in our midst. With creativity, it can be saved. And if we succeed at that, as with Mechanics Hall, the Worcester community will be extremely grateful we had the vision and foresight to preserve this special part of our past and give it a new future. Ted D. Conna of Worcester is a builder, designer and activist focused on environmental, historic preservation, peace and voting issues. He helped prevent the demolition of two historic buildings that are now restored as part of the Quinsigamond School. He was the first executive director of the Regional Environmental Council. WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

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The Worcester Railers’ opening night at the DCU Center: Oct. 15, 2017

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SPORTS

The other Worcester ‘renaissance’ A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

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feature WALTER BIRD JR.

give sports fans a direct connection to their favorite Major League ballclub some 45 minutes down the Pike in Boston. omething strange is going on in the Those are examples of what some say is city once nicknamed “Wormtown.” This once thriving manufacturing hub without a doubt a resurgence, a renaissance — a boom, if you will — on Worcester’s sports is rebranding and rebuilding itself, scene. shedding its image of a rundown, past-itsBut why? What has led folks such as Railers prime city only a homer could love. Need further evidence? Witness the influx of owner Cliff Rucker to push all his chips toward sports teams that have gone all in on Worces- the middle of the table and gamble on hockey success in Worcester? What compelled the ter, a city whose sports blood runs deep, but whose recent past is dotted with the carcasses owners of a catering company to pick up with one team flamed out spectacularly and bring of teams that either went defunct or moved summer baseball back to the city? Why have somewhere else. The Worcester Ice Cats. Worcester Sharks. Worcester Tornadoes. New others taken a chance on sports, some, like England Surge. Massachusetts Marauders. Bay arena football, that have enjoyed varying success here? State Bombardiers. Worcester Counts. New Does all this make Worcester a true sports England Blazers. Those are some of the teams that have given town? And can this sports push last? Sure, the Bravehearts and Railers seem to have figured it a go in the “Heart of the Commonwealth.” They left or folded for various reasons - low fan it out when it comes to financial viability, attendance, poor management and relocation with sponsorships playing no small part, but is there enough to go around? Or is there a among them. The pulse of the local sports breaking point where some of the smaller fish scene, however, has not gone flat. Long a city find not much to nibble on when it comes to and region that has enjoyed high school and trying to hook onto a corporate partner? college sports success — the basketball and football heydays of Holy Cross may ring a bell — Worcester is seeing its sports scene rise one more. If not exactly a phoenix from the ashes, it is nonetheless enjoying a rebirth of its own think we definitely have a sports in the second largest city in New England. boom,” Ray Lopolito said unhesiThe Worcester Bravehearts. Worcester tatingly. “I think this is the most Railers. Massachusetts Pirates. Worcester 78s. the city has attracted for this type Worcester Smiles. Worcester Wildcats. And of level of sports teams, and it’s a good thing, while it’s not a team, the local boxing scene is because Worcester needs some kind of renaisbrimming with talent perhaps as much as it sance.” ever has, and that’s no small feat with legends The vice president and general manager of such as Jose Antonio Rivera and Sean Fitzgera new women’s soccer team, the Worcester ald (the former is making a comeback later Smiles, making its debut this year in Worcesthis year). Let us not forget that, win or lose, the city is also in the midst of trying to lure the ter, Lopolito said more and more people are starting to believe in the city. Pawtucket Red Sox to town, a move some are “We were always talking as we were growing calling a potential game-changer that would up, ‘What are we going to do? What is there

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THE BOOM

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Bravehearts General Manager Dave Peterson, left, and owner John Creedon Jr. to do in Worcester? Worcester always had a lot to offer, you just didn’t see it,” Lopolito said. “These teams coming into Worcester, they obviously see something.” What is happening on the sports scene may be tied directly to what is going on with the city itself. Just as teams continue to pop up, there has been marked business growth and new development in Worcester. While a longtime business, Allegro MicroSystems, recently announced plans to depart, that may have been the first disappointing and concerning news in some time. Hotels and apartments, which city planners and business leaders long have cited as a dire need to help fuel growth at destinations such as the DCU Center, have been built at a dizzying pace.

ELIZABETH BROOKS

Homewood Suites by Hilton opened last year in Washington Square. The 170-room AC Hotel Marriott on Front Street is slated to open this month. And 365 rental units at 145 Front St. beckon those looking for a little luxury. A new restaurant, it seems, is announced almost weekly, and more are coming: the 110 Grill on Front Street and Josephine on Main Street are two new eateries in the works. And while there is consternation and uncertainty surrounding the city’s bus transportation, its airport, which has seen airlines come and go, appears on the verge of soaring. Just this week, Worcester Regional Airport announced a new airline, American Airlines, to join JetBlue which set up shop in November 2013 and, in addition to flying daily to Florida plans to start flying to New

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feature York’s JFK International Airport starting May 3. “There’s a sports renaissance because there’s a Worcester renaissance,” Worcester’s Rich Lundin said. Lundin, a diehard hockey fan who played no small part in luring the Worcester Sharks to town after the Ice Cats departed, is president of the Worcester Railers Boosters Club. The sports expansion here, he said, is part of something larger. “Going back to all the development here, it’s a happening place now,” he said. “All the development going on, you’re going to have more people coming from Boston to Worcester than ever before. Everything works together. A lot of eyes and ears have been opened with what’s going on downtown. It’s a Worcester renaissance of business, housing, restaurants and food, districts coming alive, and sports are a part of that, too.” Charter TV3 senior executive director and sports anchor Andy Lacombe isn’t fond of the term “renaissance,” but acknowledged the recent growth of sports in the city. “Are we coming back? Is it better than the years of the Bay State Bombardiers and the

Mass Marauders? I would say,” Lacombe said. “I’ve lived in Worcester almost my entire life. When you say ‘renaissance,’ well, heck, what have I been living in before? But in terms of a sports renaissance, it does seem like there’s a bit of a boom right now.” If timing means something, and it appears to in Worcester’s case, that may be reason number one why sports, must like other parts of the city, are taking off. “Worcester,” Lopolito said, “is in the right place at the right time. Being a city helps a lot. Number two, the location, making it accessible to a lot of families. You’ll hear people, they’re like, ‘We’d rather come to your game than have to travel to Foxboro.” Economically, sports in Worcester make sense, too. You can buy a ticket to the Bravehearts for $9 or $10, or a ticket to the Railers for $15, and still have money for hot dogs or popcorn, and maybe even a team hat or shirt. “Sports is supposed to be around families, and it’s supposed to be entertaining,” Lopolito said. “If the cost is becoming prohibitive and [ fans] can go somewhere else and have as much fun, they’ll do it.”

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Even the newest entry to the Worcester sports scene appears to have caught the fever. “I think Massachusetts, and New England in general, has such a culture and following sports-wise, I think Worcester could potentially be the next spot,” Shrewsbury’s Brandon Perotto, general manager of business operations for the Pirates football team, said. “With the PawSox potentially moving up to Worcester, I think it is the next place to boom, as far as sports.”

the streets, made the playoffs on the strength of a late-season run. Their owner, Cliff Rucker, a quiet and unassuming type with deep pockets and a deeper passion for the city, has gone, as they say, all in, buying an ice hockey rink that caters to youth sports and other properties, including a building at 90 Commercial St. that he turned into, appropriately enough, the Railers Sports Tavern. In short order, the Railers have proven worthy successors to the two previous hockey teams that called the DCU Center home: the Ice Cats, first, followed by the Sharks. Both ultimately moved elsewhere. The Bravehearts, meanwhile, led by an equally-unassuming owner, John Creedon Jr., who with his family runs a tent rental and catering business off Grafton Street, started he Railers and Bravehearts are seen batting balls around at the foot of College Hill as exhibits A and B — you pick which on the campus of Holy Cross in 2014. They are — of Worcester’s thriving sports about to kick off their fifth season and already scene. have two championships to their name, which The former, who play their home games at they won back-to-back in their first two years the DCU Center, just wrapped up its inaugural in what is known as the Futures Collegiate regular season in the ECHL and, to the delight Baseball League. It is college-level baseball of a spoiled sports fan base that is used to see- that replaced the Worcester Tornadoes, a ing championship trophies paraded through

GETTING IT RIGHT

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professional team that played in the CanadianAmerican Association of Professional Baseball - otherwise known as the Can-Am League. The Tornadoes, in a city that loves pro sports, were clearly a darling, and they, too, won a championship in their first year. But financial mismanagement left them in shambles and, in 2012, the team folded. Both the Railers and Bravehearts have struck a chord among the Worcester fan base, but that they did so is no accident. Both have made families a focal point of the game-day experience, perhaps no one getting it more right than Creedon and the Bravehearts, who, led by General Manager Dave Peterson, have made no secret that the actual game of baseball is almost secondary to the people in the stands. Kids are allowed to run across the entire length Rich Lundin, president of Worcester Railers Booster Club. of the outfield in between an inning of each game. Fireworks are set off after some games. ELIZABETH BROOKS Local nonprofit groups and organizations are using the same TableTalk Pie eating contest is a model Lopolito said the Smiles are closely treated as first-class guests. And the owner the Bravehearts have employed, and launching following. himself isn’t above plopping himself in a seat tee-shirts into the stands in-between periods. The Railers, too, make it about the fans, with the rest of the fans and chatting you up. It A remote-controlled blimp drops coupons to Chick-fil-A onto fans in the stands. “The Bravehearts,” said Lundin, “got it right. They understand. Any ownership that comes in here has to understand how Worcester works. Sometimes, Worcester wants to think it’s this big city on par with Boston, or Providence, or whatever, and other times they want to be small town where everybody knows each other, and it’s nice and cozy. The trick is figuring out when to be which. The Creedons got that figure out. With the Creedons’ help, [Rucker] has figured it out, too.” The two teams are reaping the benefits. While declining to reveal figures including sale of concessions and merchandise, which they control, the Bravehearts have consistently increased fan attendance each year since their inception. In 2014, their first year, the Bravehearts welcomed 50,992 fans to Hanover Insurance Park at Holy Cross’s Fitton Field, with an average game-day attendance of 1,821. The following year, total attendance went up 12 percent to 57,041, while average attendance increased 16 percent to 2,113. The numbers were good enough to rank the Bravehearts first in total attendance among summer collegiate leagues in New England and 12th nationally in average attendance. In 2016, total attendance shot up 18 percent to 67,246, while average attendance increased 6 percent to 2,241. The 292 W. Boylston St. team once again ranked first in New England Worcester for total attendance, and cracked the Top 10 508-595-0400 nationally (10th) in average attendance. The carbonneaubridal.com carbonneaubridal@ team also ranked first in New England for avergmail.com age attendance. Last year, the team continued

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feature its upward trend with a 5-percent increase in overall attendance to 70,789 and a 5-percent increase in average attendance to 2,356. For the third straight year, the team ranked first in total attendance in New England, while ranking first in average attendance for the second straight year. The Bravehearts rose to seventh nationally in average attendance and, for the first time, cracked the Top 10 nationally in total attendance, according to Ballpark Digest. The Railers, too, did not reveal revenue totals, although President Mike Myers conceded the team has “crushed” merchandise sales, which was expected in its first year. “We’re pacing well ahead of where the Sharks were in year one,” said Myers, who worked with that organization as well. He said he thinks the Sharks sold just shy of $250,000 of merchandise that year. As for fan attendance, the team attracted 145,114 during the regular season, according to a social media post by Eric Lindquist, vice president of marketing and communications. The team average more than 4,000 fans a game, including an announced attendance of more than 7,000 at Sunday’s regular season finale against the Manchester Monarchs. The Railers and Bravehearts, Lacombe said, got it right. “It’s about the fan experience, and I think the Bravehearts really do that well, in terms of just bring the family to a bally game and you’re going to have a great time, whether you’re here four innings or 13 innings,” said Lacombe, who along with his colleague, Kevin Shea, can often be found lugging around a TV camera to record Bravehearts game action. “You can do it affordably. Granted, it might be more affordable to go to smaller teams that don’t have the fanfare, but the Bravehearts and Railers, and the Ice Cats and Sharks before them, they really provided the community experience … They do it from the fan experience first.” That, said Creedon, is what it is all about from a business perspective. “Without fans there is no opportunity for baseball to occur,” he said. “That’s definitely what drives us, that fan experience. That’s the lens we view everything through, through the guests’ yes, the customers’ eyes, the fans’ eyes. What are they going to walk away with when they leave the stadium at the end of the game? That is paramount.” That doesn’t mean the on-field product isn’t important. The Bravehearts and Railers both have impressed with successful seasons. And, in their first-ever game as a member of the National Arena League Saturday night, April 7, the Pirates drew a reported 6,000 or so fans to the DCU Center and trounced the Maine Mammoths, 51-24. The Worcester 78s, too, enjoyed a successful inaugural campaign,

“I just think it’s a great area,” said Anthony Cosky, the head coach of the Becker College women’s soccer team who will also helm the new Worcester Smiles. “There’s a lot of vibrant people, a lot of exciting areas, obviously, with great food around, some great local businesses around. There are so many things to do in Worcester. “I also just think the people are what make Worcester Worcester. I think, just in general, people are passionate about things they do and things they enjoy doing, and I think sports have always been a big passion of people in this area. Not just Worcester, either. It’s all these surrounding towns.” The city also has the advantage of a wellknown and increasingly well-suited events facility in the DCU Center to go along with many outdoor facilities, such as Hanover Insurance Park and Foley Stadium, where the Wildcats play and where the Smiles soon will, to name two. The DCU Center has attracted many major sporting events, most recently the NCAA Division 1 hockey tournament, which saw just under 14,000 people head through the turnstiles. Sporting events at the DCU have helped bring thousands of people — and thousands of dollars — into the city. Over the past three years, according to General Manager Sandy Dunn, there have been 81 sporting events at the DCU (37 in 2015, 14 in 2016 and 30 in 2017), with an overall attendance exceeding Ray Lopolito of the Worcester Smiles 270,000. Total event income at the DCU over ELIZABETH BROOKS those three years topped $1.6 million. The 2016 season numbers, Dunn noted, reflect a finishing 13-5 and making the playoffs, losing For Tom Marino and the Worcester 78s, in the first round. which he owns, the city was a good fit. The 78s year without hockey, after the Sharks left and before the Railers started. “The baseball is tremendously important,” play in the American Basketball Association, Add to the mix a thriving — and still growCreedon said of the quality of play. “If it’s not having just finished their first season. They ing — restaurant scene, and there is a lot good baseball, that’s a huge strike against us. played their home games at the Boys & Girls to offer sports teams looking for a place to There’s a very important focus on the caliber of Club on Tainter Ave. call home. Sporting events certainly have an player, the caliber of play, the professionalism “For the size of our team, for what we’re with which we deliver the product.” trying to accomplish, it’s the right-sized place,” impact on local businesses, particularly hosMarino said. “Other teams have success where pitality industries like hotels and restaurants. According to Discover Central Massachusetts, there isn’t a lot going on. Today, seemingly, the recent hockey tournament generated a there is a lot going on in Worcester. For me, it total economic impact of $1.2 million. was a home thing.” Local restaurateur Mike Covino, whose The hometown connection, Creedon agreed, family owns several restaurants in and around is special. Being a larger city doesn’t hurt, hat has led sports teams to Worcester as part of Niche Hospitality, includeither. choose Worcester as their homeing the Railers Sports Tavern, said the impact “It can’t be dismissed that Worcester is the town? In part, it goes back to the second largest city in New England,” Creedon is noticeable when it comes to sporting events larger resurgence of the city. in Worcester. said. “Worcester’s a big community. There are “I think it’s part of just the overall renais“It’s a massive impact,” he said. “The Railers a lot of people and organizations to connect sance of the city of Worcester,” City Manager Sports Tavern had record night [during the with, to invite and welcome into the ballpark Ed Augustus Jr. said. “There are more people or ice rink or basketball court, to connect with hockey tournament], record revenue. It was here, more activity here. People are looking for in a meaningful way. All the necessary ingredi- probably double a regular Saturday and probentertainment options and sports are part of ably 20-25 percent above what we’ve had since ents are here for me.” those options. It’s a social thing here, to go a we opened in November. A few years back, The energy and action in Worcester is a game. It’s a natural reflection of what’s going recurring theme when talking about the sports we weren’t even open yet, but when the DCU on in the city as a whole that we’re getting hosted the first round of the NCAA [basketscene here. And that extends to the larger more sporting options here.” C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 18 Central Mass area as well.

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ball] tournament, that was a huge impact on all those businesses. Sporting events absolutely bring people to restaurants.” In short, according to Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Murray, the reasons are many why Worcester is drawing the interest of so many sports teams. “It’s a growing city, a growing region that’s accessible for people throughout New England,” he said. “Clearly, there is some momentum in the city and region that people see. Sports are an opportunity for community pride, people coming together. It’s oftentimes family-friendly entertainment that is affordable. I think it’s a combination of things that’s kind of led to this, everything continuing to build.”

A SPORTS TOWN

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ocally, there is near-universal consensus that Worcester is, indeed, a true sports town, although not everyone is convinced. Fans of and those involved with the major sports, such as baseball and hockey, that have traditionally enjoyed success on the semi-pro or pro level here, unhesitatingly say, yes, the city is a sports town. Others cite the legions of diehard fans in Worcester for the state’s four big league teams. “There’s no question it’s a sports town,” Myers said. “Depending on who you talk to, you may have an argument as to what sport it favors. I’d say after the year we’ve had … it’s a hockey town. It has a lot of great things going for it. Great restaurants, different activities at night, the music scene has seen a resurgence over the last few years. Worcester has a lot of other things, but I think sports would be number one, if you look at the different teams, between the Ice Cats, Blazers, Marauders, Sharks, Tornadoes, Bravehearts, the Railers.” “I know the level of support Holy Cross got for its football team in the ’80s and early ’90s, and its basketball team. You can go on and on. I don’t even think it’s a discussion if it’s a sports town.” Myers would get no argument from Peterson, who said despite the close proximity to similar-sized or larger cities, Worcester more than holds it’s own. “I think people just think, because we’re so close, an hour outside Boston, all the television we get here is Boston television and everything people are talking about is Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox and Celtics. That’s why you see people

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Jose Rivera training at Camp Get Right Boxing Gym in Worcester.

ELIZABETH BROOKS

in Worcester walking down the street with those emblems. “But you also see people in Worcester walking down the street with an Ice Cats hat, an IceCats jersey, a Bravehearts hat. Worcester is a sports town. I think it’s sometimes overlooked because of its proximity to larger cities, even Providence or Hartford, certainly Boston, but there are plenty of sports fans in this town.” Citing the long history of high school and college sports successes, Worcester State University Athletic Director Mike Mudd said the A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

professional sports offerings only add to the city’s stature as a sports town. “It’s a little unique in that you have minor league professional sports in the Railers, Sharks and Ice Cats, and arena football has come in and out,” said Mudd, who is also the former president of the Sharks. “You’ve had minor league baseball with the Tornadoes, summer collegiate baseball in the Bravehearts. You can check a box that you sort of cover the professional sports side of things.” Added Lacombe, “Worcester loves sports. I’ll be in the supermarket and that’s what

people will ask me about. They’ll ask me about high school teams, who’s good this year. How good the college football teams are.” Some, however, see things different. Wildcats owner Dennis Faulkner, whose semi-pro team has been playing in Worcester since 2004 and who was also involved with the Surge, said Worcester’s sports scene is skewed toward one or two sports. “It seems as though every time we turn around, they’re calling for hockey and for baseball,” he said. “There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of love for football, for whatever reason. I know, in terms of professional entities, it’s hard to attract something that doesn’t exist. It’s not like there’s a farm team for football in the NFL or anything like that. You look at arena football, there are only a few that have come through the city. There hasn’t been a lot of attraction.” Former boxing world champion Jose Antonio Rivera, who is gearing up for a comeback later this year, said he thinks Worcester is a sports town, but only for the sports they support - and for teams like the Patriots, Red Sox and Bruins. “They really rally around the youth movement,” Rivera said of Worcester fans. “When you have a pro team come to the city, it’s not a full city support, it’s a mix.” Big-time sporting events, he said, such as NCAA basketball tournaments or the Little League World Series, which in 2002 saw the city’s Jesse Burkett 11- and 12-year-old Little League All-Stars make it all the way to the Little League World Series U.S. Championship game, have no trouble attracting fans. “The city really rallied around that,” Rivera said of the Jesse Burkett experience. “The whole city got behind it, whether baseball fans or not.” Even a team like the Bravehearts, he said, has to “come up with all these gimmicks to bring fans to the stands.” Rivera uses his own sport as an example. He and his son recently started Rivera Promotions Entertainment, and have staged several matches in the past year or so. Even then, he said, not even a lot of boxing fans turn out. Rather, he said, turnout is mostly limited to friends and family of the boxers.

TIPPING POINT?

I

f there is some debate over whether and how big a sports town Worcester is, there is little disagreement over one thing: as more and more sports team come into C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 20


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feature S PO RT S

There is, Murray conceded, a capacity limit at some point. “What that is,” he said, “I’m not going to say play and go searching for much-needed finan- I know. There’s a finite number of companies cial backing and corporate sponsorships, the and fans. Like any other business, it’s survival business community’s well-earned reputation of the fittest. It’s certainly something people as giving and supportive will be tested. With have come in and talked to us about. We’ve more hands reaching into the pot, at some said there’s a lot of competition out there. point that pot could run dry, leaving smaller You’ve got to be clear-eyed about that. teams such as the Worcester Smiles on the “I don’t know what the breaking point is, but outside looking in when it comes to corporate there is a finite number of companies and only backing. so much they can do or have in their budget. “That’s a good question,” Diane Giampa, That’s something that anybody coming in with senior vice president of human resources and a sports team has got to kind of weigh.” marketing for Bay State Savings Bank, said The Pirates found that out as they started when asked whether Worcester’s business building awareness and raising money for their community has enough to go around for all venture, Perotto said. The team’s partnership the sports teams popping up. “I’m not sure I with NESN, he said, will see games replayed have an answer. From our perspective, there on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as part of their definitely is a budget. We’re a small community agreement. bank. There is a point where we would have to “In the beginning, it was definitely a slow say no, but we haven’t reached that point, yet.” process to try to ‘recruit’ or draw in sponsors Perhaps offering a suggestion to other to partner with us,” Perotto said, “but I think teams, Giampa cited the Railers and Braveheover the course of the past few months, and arts as “great community partners” who don’t once the season started, I think we’ll see more just ask for financial support, but also give of the big corporate sponsors come to us.” back with their own charitable donations. For their part, the Bravehearts have their C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 18

“blinders on” when it comes to how much the market can bear. “For us, we focus on our product, our fan experience, and we know if we’re doing a good job or we’re not doing a good job … and we create the narrative we want to share, whether it’s with a company or a nonprofit group to get their ‘buy in,’ whether it’s advertising revenue or participation,” Creedon said. “We just kind of put blinders on. We focus on us. The chips will kind of fall where they may for other sports teams. We focus on doing the best possible job we can.”

A WAVE OF OPTIMISM

F

or now, the teams that have set up shop — and those watching from afar and considering their own move — are, see a bustling sports scene, not unlike the city that contains it. Whether and how long it lasts is anybody’s guess, but it is, almost all of those interviewed for this story agreed, very real. “People see Worcester on the upswing, and

Farm

Walter Bird Jr. is the editor of Worcester Magazine. He is also the host of The Worcester Magazine Radio Hour on Unity Radio at 102.9 FM and streamed at worcestermag.com. Follow him on Twitter @walterbirdjr and on Facebook. Email tips to wbird@worcestermag.com.

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everyone likes a winner,” Myers said. “People like to get on when the going’s good. I think what you’re feeling now is people riding a little bit of a wave … People have really taken a chance on Worcester … It’s taken this upward turn to have people say, ‘You know what, I’m proud of this city, proud of the people that have come out of here. “There is a wave of optimism in Worcester right now that’s undeniable. It’s not something that’s made up. It’s not something that’s a perception converted to reality because we said so. It’s there. People are investing their money, their time, their passion. The trickledown effect is people wanting to be part of the sport movement that has Worcester in its name. People truly want to believe we’re going to make it and we’re going to be good.”

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culture Beloved musical RENT kicked off at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts on April 5 and the 20th anniversary show was performed to a packed house. The show ran through April 8.

ELIZABETH BROOKS

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culture Bread and Puppet Theater returns to Sprinkler Factory JOSHUA LYFORD

F

ollowing the success of last month’s “The Basic Bye-Bye Show,” Bread and Puppet Theater will return to The Sprinkler Factory, 38 Harlow St., Saturday, April 15 with “Cantastorias from the Possibilitarian Arsenal.”

C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 24

Written by Joseph Robinette, based on the book by E.B. White

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culture Miss Quitadamo CampQuest Walk returns to Commerce Bank Field

BMITTED

PHOTOS SU

JOSHUA LYFORD

F

or 41 years, Donna Quitadamo taught Worcester elementary school students at Nelson Place School, now retired, Quitadamo continues bringing youth and adults together in helping The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a camp for seriously ill youth. This year marks the second iteration of the Miss Quitadamo’s CampQuest Walk, a 5k walk to benefit the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. The walk takes place at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium, 305 Chandler St., Sunday, April 29, 10 a.m. to noon. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp was founded back in 1988 by actor, race car driver and philanthropist Paul Newman. The mission of the camp from the outset has been to provide children, no matter how serious their illness, with a fun summer camp experience at their Ashford, Conn. location. Quitadamo discovered the camp back in 2005, when the father of a friend had passed away. The family requested memorial donations be made to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. “I didn’t know about it, but I sent money. I got a thank you note and I got some mailings about the camp and I became more and more impressed with it,” said Quitadamo. “I looked into it and discovered all of these great things about the camp. When Paul Newman passed away, I shared with my fourth graders that I was pretty sad that someone I considered a hero had passed away. I always felt the best way was to share with the kids a hero and have them look for a hero in their own lives. He had started this unbelievable place for very sick children to go for a different kind of healing. As time went on, we put out a classroom newspaper and they encouraged people to donate to the camp. That’s how the journey started.”

In 2010, things began to take off for Quitadamo, her students and their families and their fundraising efforts. A student struggling with schoolwork came to her with a poem, and two other fifth-grade students presented poems they had written about the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti. “I came to my fourth-graders and said, ‘I have a dilemma here, the fifth-graders are excited about poems, but I have to get you ready for testing,” she said. “The conversation was unbelievable. It was their suggestion to gather poems, and bind them together, and print them as a collection, and sell the book and do what Paul

Newman had done and give the money to the camp.” Even though this occurred during the MCAS testing schedule, the administration was on board. The Parent Teacher Organization helped as well. They raised $3,000 for the camp in that initial effort and put out later poetry anthologies to raise funds. Additional fundraisers, such as arts and craft supply donations and costume supply donations, followed. Last spring was the first organized walk. Quitadamo turned down a traditional retirement party in favor of a fundraiser for the camp. The success of the initial event led to the involvement of other Worcester Public Schools this year. “I think no matter what a child’s own personal situation is, they have big hearts,” said Quitadamo. “They have great empathy, they go outside of themselves. When they see other children suffering, they’ll give you everything. They’re so giving, it’s beautiful. I think that they realize that A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

even when it doesn’t seem that way, they may be a lot luckier than the other kids. It teaches them to be concerned about other people from the beginning.” Fellow organizer Tamie Endow said the event is great for fundraising, but also instills a sense of community involvement and giving for the students that partake. “They get a sense of being able to help others, especially the younger kids,” she said. “They realize their actions can drive a bigger cause. Every little bit helps That’s something that Donna brought to her students for many years and was able to instill that in her students. A lot of her past students come back and do the walk. They feel a sense of ownership for fundraising for this cause. They like to see the fun the students get to have. Some of her kids have been able to attend this camp. They’ve gotten to participate. Some of her students have been taken to the camp to see firsthand as well.” WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

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culture BREAD AND PUPPET

Bread and Puppet was founded in New York City’s Lower East Side back in the 1960s by Peter Schumann, and has since found a home in Glover, Vt. What began as a way to combine social consciousness with rod and hand puppets, has

tarian Arsenal” is a selection of five Bread and Puppet productions. They celebrate creative intervention as an alternative to the status quo as well as the positives of protest. “I hope [the audience is] talking about what it meant, what did a specific thing mean? Also, because we don’t want to lay everything out and make it completely obvious, we want the shows

since expanded its reach, touring both nationally and internationally. Cantastoria translates to “sung story” in Italian, a concept with deep roots across Europe and Asia. Combining song, movement and puppetry with imagery, “Cantastorias from the Possibili-

to be something that people have to discuss and think about.” said Joshua Krugman, a puppeteer for Bread and Puppet. “I hope the show [gives] people a sense of hope and a sense of possibility. I hope people say, ‘How can we stop [Immigration and Custom Enforcement] from deporting

C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 22

people from the Worcester community? How can we stand up to developers trying to gentrify this or that neighborhood?’ Whatever the local issues are and inspire people to get organized and rise up against the oppressive status quo.” Krugman was interviewed while driving across Arlington, Va., directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The team had performed some pop-up events in front of the White House, had some time available, and a second performance to complement March’s The Basic Bye-Bye Show in Worcester available. “We had such a warm reception in Worcester two weeks ago and we had been traveling with two programs and we had a free day in the second to last week of the tour,” said Krugman. “Everything sort of lined up. Luis [Fraire] and Birgit [Straehle, both of The Sprinkler Factory] were down to give it another go. We’re hoping to have a rare opportunity and succeed and play in Worcester for a second go.” With an emphasis on social consciousness, political activism and recycled materials in their show, Bread and Puppet - now active more than 50 years - utilizes a do-it-yourself mentality in their productions. “Our director is 83 years old, so he’s kind of pre-punk,” said Krugman. “We’re performing pre-punk theater in a post-punk world. It’s totally this kind of similar aesthetic and orientation. An emphasis on simple materials, recycled materials, found materials. These shows are narrated picture shows, with paintings and wood blocks. We call up hotels and ask them if they have any sheets they can’t

use anymore. Most hotels have a set number of times they can use those. In the old days we used shroud fabric from mortuaries. That was the cheapest we could find. We use expired paints from paint stores. It’s gritty, it has this element of chance. It’s different all the time. It’s a form of theater that can make a performance anywhere.” Krugman joined Bread and Puppet four years ago, when he was moved by one of their performances and decided he needed to get involved. “I got involved after seeing a show called ‘The Shatterer of Worlds’ in 2013,” he said. “I found it really moving and impressive what they could do with just bodies and cardboard and paint, music, movement and objects to tell stories in a powerful way. I wanted to see how they did it and I realized that I wasn’t going to be satisfied after a couple months. I’ve been here ever since.” Bread and Puppet travels in a 45-foot-long painted school bus, painted by the director himself, and features angels stabbing dragons, galloping horses, businessmen and daffodils. During the shows, the audience shares bread while enjoying the sights and sounds of the performance. “There’s the feeling of when we do a good show, we feel we did justice to the show,” said Krugman. “We feel like we made our director and each other proud. We also gave something real to the public. It’s an act of generosity, but it’s also a real big act of generosity for the public to come and let us perform. Same with our hosts, we made good on that generosity, from the public and from our hosts. If we hear people talking after the show about digging into the struggles, confronting ICE, or gentrification, or confronting militarism or the gun industry, that is inspiring and why we do what we do.” The Sprinkler Factory, 38 Harlow St., will play host to Bread and Puppet Theater’s “Cantastorias from the Possibilitarian Arsenal” on Saturday, April 15. For more information, head to Sprinklerfactory.com or Breadandpuppet.org.

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culture

Artist spotlight

Sculptor Victor Pacheco lives and works in Worcester. The artist was born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico and raised in Hartford, Conn. Pacheco, who spent years in notfor-profit organizations teaching Hartford area youth about painting, photography, print-making, video, mural painting, design and ceramics. His work is an “introspection of identity formation.” He analyzes information and researches archival data as well as informal interviewing and observations in order to “inform, repel, or attract a viewer of art.” His work “serves as a portal to discussion and communication about issues relating to the environment, health and culture. His work can be seen at the Worcester Center for Craft’s Krikorian Gallery through April 28, with an artist talk on April 12. You can find more information online at Vicpacheco.com.

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culture Lyford Files JOSHUA LYFORD

OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE: My God. I think that this subhead might be the best to ever accompany a Lyford Files item ever. At least insofar as it is actually relevant to the subject, which is weird for me. I’m feeling ALIVE right now. Moving on … Old Sturbridge Village is putting on The Charlotte’s Web Experience this summer, July 5 through Aug. 26. Why is this relevant now? In April? I was getting to that, dear reader. Tickets are going live Saturday, April 14, so open up that wallet and consume. I enjoyed E.B. White’s children’s novel as a wee one, though I have to imagine as an adult maniac it would make me feel emotion, which is intolerable. With that said, I am looking forward to checking this out and making comments like, “Man, is it dusty in here?” or, “Is someone chopping onions in this place?” The Charlotte’s Web Experience is once again bringing director Brian Clowdus into the fold. Clowdus was instrumental in kicking off OSV’s interactive theater bend with The Sleepy Hollow Experience a few years back. If you can still eat bacon after spending time with Wilbur, you are a monster, and if you still smash spiders after hanging with Charlotte, well, I get it, but she was one nice spider. BEN STILLER WAS UNAVAILABLE FOR COMMENT: Which is a

shame because, I’m going to be honest here, I really enjoyed the 2006 film, “Night at the Museum.” Still, he has nothing to do with this item, aside from a tangential connection to the title. The Ecotarium is holding “A Night at the Museum” Saturday, May 12, 6-10 p.m. Geared for adults, the fundraising events welcomes area folks in to spend a night among the stars, with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and something called a “mystery bag,” which I have to imagine doesn’t mean what it would at, say, an after-hours party. Struck Catering will be providing dinner and the live auction will be conducted by Robin Starr. I love the concept, and it raises funds that help provide new exhibits for kids to interact with, which is awesome. As a poor, however, $175 per person is prohibitively expensive so, alas, my friends and I will have to settle for a 12-pack of Busch Light and a LightBrite.

AARGH, SHAKE YOUR BOOTY: I was a little ham-fisted with that one, I tell ya what. The Massachusetts Pirates arena football team kicked off their debut game at the DCU Center Saturday, April 7 and it was, well, pretty awesome. Attendance was good, the on-field product was great and the team won, 51-24, over the Maine Mammoths. There were some issues of course. The astroturf was lumpy as hell, the Kid Ink halftime show sounded like someone farted through a megaphone and the “Heave, ho” on-screen prompts were on a continuous loop for an outrageous amount of time. Still, the players killed it and everyone in the stands had a blast. I can’t buy any gear that doesn’t say Worcester on it, which is a shame, but maybe I’ll pick up a teal onesie to hop around in for their next game Sunday, May 6 against the Columbus Lions. X-: You know what that little ‘x’ denotes? The Worcester Railers Hockey Club has secured a spot in the playoffs. Nnnnph. While they dropped their last home game against the Manchester Monarchs last Sunday, 2-0, the team took a season that was a bit rocky and turned it around. The tail end of the season was phenomenal for the team. Sure enough, they will face the Adirondack Thunder in the first round of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup playoffs. It’s been a long time since Worcester got to see playoff hockey in its own backyard and boy am I excited. The first game of the series will be held at the Thunder’s homebase Friday, April 13, and they will be back in town for game two Saturday, April 14 at the DCU Center. Expect a significant amount of animosity between both the teams and the fans. This is playoff hockey after all, and following an incident in Glens Falls the last time the Railers faced the Thunder, when an Adirondack fan yelled a racial slur at Worcester fan-favorite Woody Hudson, you can expect Worcester to be less than kind during the battle for the Kelly Cup. Best of luck to the team, and as soon as insurance decides whether or not I will be getting reimbursed for that police evasion/crack smoking/ stop sign incident that resulted in me having a totaled car a few weeks back, I’ll happily grab myself a No. 23 jersey to rock out in. Unrelated: Can someone explain to me how to do that weird dance all the kids are doing on the jumbotron? I’m not talking about dabbing, either. It defies logic. Joshua Lyford Culture editor @Joshachusetts

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culture

Run, Jump, climb, Crawl

Through the Woo Lifestyle SARAH CONNELL

An Open Book

It seems like everyone is hanging around Hudson these days. Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta announced the awarding of $6,896,286 in Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) Grants at

spirits. Gin has been called everything from “mother’s milk” to “mother’s ruin” over its long and sordid history, which includes episodes spent fueling soldiers and, later, inciting riots. Expect to spend some time with all of your favorite classics including the French 75, Hendrick’s Fizz, Gin Gimlet, Old Tom Punch and the Hearst. Guests will also enjoy artisanal cheese, charcuterie, herb grilled shrimp, Blanchet Family Farm pork out of Charlton, and a chocolate brownie trifle. Four paired courses including tax and gratuity will run you just $65.

Hopportunities

Hyland Orchard and Rapscallion’s 2018 seasons will get

underway at a joint event on April 14 from 12-10 p.m. Hop Head Fest is a long-running tradition featuring hoppy beers from a dozen guest breweries. Visitors can enjoy disc golf as wells as live music from James Keyes and Livestock, among other local favorites. Last year’s festival included pours from

Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Rosalin Acosta tours New City Microcreamery in Hudson last week after announcing a new round of Workforce Training Fund Program Grants.

PHOTO SUBMITTED

New City Microcreamery last week, including

a $36,400 WTFP grant for the creamery and its resident backbar, which will be used to create 3 new jobs, as well as implement an open-book management program and train the company’s 18 employees. “This is the heartbeat of America— a small business in a revitalized downtown,” said Acosta. “New City Microcreamery is exactly where we want to be. Ice cream is not unique, but how they’re producing it is. And the fact that they’re doing it here in Hudson, and they’ve put all their stakes here to make this work, I think it was the perfect place to come. We want to encourage more small businesses to apply for workforce training grants, so it’s not just the big businesses that are getting these funds,” she said, adding, “This is one of the most fun tours I’ve had since I started this job.” New City Microcreamery produces ice cream using liquid-nitrogen and New England farm-fresh dairy from Mapleline Farm along with absurdly delicious ingredients like red wine, goats milk cajeta, and fresh fennel.

Hitting the Gin

The good times be-gin on April 19 at The People’s Kitchen with a lesson in juniper driven

Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company, the proprietors of a

brand new taproom on Millbrook Street. Greater Good introduced their first sessionable IPA last weekend, CrushGroove, which comes in at just 4.3 percent.

In Good Taste

The fifth Annual Spring-Tacular Fundraiser to benefit Abby’s House in Worcester will take place on Thursday, April 20, 6-9 p.m. at the

College of the Holy Cross’ Hogan Campus Center. Providing a homeless woman or a child a

place to sleep costs approximately $35 per night for each of the 95 beds available at Abby’s House, 365 days a year – totalling more than $1.2 million in expenses. The Spring-Tacular is a simple way to support Abby’s House in achieving its noble mission. Guests will sample from a variety of tasting stations including Figs and Pigs, Niche Hospitality, The Vegan Nest, and Spencer Brewery – the first certified Trappist brewery outside of Europe. The event will also feature jewelry sales and a silent auction. Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased on Abby’s House’s website. Sarah Connell contributing writer

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culture My City’s Crawfish

will sooner refresh your teapot, the contents of which provides a soothing alternative to punchy selections like sinh to dura ($4.25) – a coconut shake. The chanh muoi ($4.25) — salty lemonade — would benefit from the carbonation which is often characteristic of the drink (and if I had my druthers, a less traditional splash of tequila.) But, make no mistake, you came for the SANDRA RAIN seafood boils, not the bar. Blue crab is only available seasonally, and you’ve likely had shrimp and My Sister’s Crawfish II clams before, so don’t be a derelict by failing to 442 Park Avenue, Worcester order the market price namesake (currently $9.95 774-420-2022 per pound) You’ll have the crawfish, thank you very much. iet-Cajun crawfish Viet-Cajun crawfish are emerged as a cooled after boiling and tossed fundamental in a butter based sauce, five vapart of Houston’s rieties of which you will find at dining landscape two My Sister’s Crawfish II. Choose decades ago. The Fall of from cajun clam, asian fusion, Saigon marked major crazy citrus, oriental express, growth in the Gulf Coast’s and vampire, or mix them all Vietnamese population, together for what they refer to laying the groundwork for Crawfish are freshwater as: the twister. Oriental express new culinary influence. is a staff favorite; the little crawcrustaceans resembling Since then, Houston has fish are roasted to perfection teeny little lobsters. been widely touted as in garlic and butter following America’s most diverse the boil. Do yourself a favor and city and has subsequently sparked a national order an additional pound of the twister which appreciation for Viet-Cajun crawfish – a fresh in- marries spices from Louisiana with zesty sweet terpretation of a southern staple. David Chang’s and sour sauce, on top of a dose of garlic cream. geeky new Netflix doc, Ugly Delicious, provides An ear of boiled corn, red potatoes and sausage an in-depth look at Houston’s crawfish scene in will accompany each pound of crawfish for just which he deems Vietnamese “probably the most a $1. Pick off the steamy buggers one by one classic fusion food.” and suck them dry. You can toss the shells into Like Houston, Worcester has developed a repu- a large plastic bucket provided along with your tation for its resettlement and support of refugee gloves and a thick roll of paper towels. groups. A demographic snapshot compiled by My Sister’s Crawfish II also serves pho, a the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise at Vietnamese rice noodle soup garnished at will Clark University reports that, between 2007-12, from a side plate of basil leaves, bean sprouts Worcester welcomed more refugees than any and juicy limes. The sizes come in small, medium other municipality in Massachusetts. Accordingly, and x-large. I find a small pho dac biet ($8.95) Viet-Cajun crawfish has finally arrived in the 508, is more than enough for me on a solo lunch and it’s just as thrilling as you might imagine. Roll break, offering a deep bowl of beef broth teeming up your sleeves and slip on a pair of rubber gloves, with scallions, onions, cilantro, and floaty bits because nowhere in the city is as gleefully experiof eye round steak, brisket, flank, tendon, tripe ent as My Sister’s Crawfish II. and a meatball for good measure. The banh xeo Crawfish (crayfish, mudbugs, yabbies – call ($10.95) is good for a crunch, made from rice them what you will) are freshwater crustaceans flour and turmeric powder. The Vietnamese resembling teeny little lobsters. Eating crawfish crepe contains shrimp, pork and bean sprouts. is labor intensive and unavoidably sloppy. Unless Use the large lettuce leaves to scoop up the dish, you’ve got some serious chops, mudbugs are not which you’ll find easy to eat as a lettuce wrap. a first-date food. My Sister’s Crawfish II is not only a reflection My Sister’s Crawfish II is located at 442 Park of national food trends, it is also an echo of the Ave. in a space that has served in recent years pride our city takes in its diversity. If Houston as everything from a Quick Mart to a campaign is any indication of the potential for innovation headquarters. In its new life as My Sister’s inherent in placing value on diversity, Worcester Crawfish II, the sterile expanse is broken up by will soon be starting trends rather than simply a bevy of suspended lanterns and a fresh coat of following them. lilac paint. On my last visit with two friends, we feasted Servers are in touch with everything on the for $74.42. menu and well versed in coaching guests who may be unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine. Food: HHHH They pay significantly less mind to the beverService: HHH age program, referring to cocktails as, “that Ambience: HHH blue thing” and taking up to 20 minutes to hop Value: HHH1/2 behind the bar to pour a Mai Tai ($8). The staff

V


culture The life and times of curious Jane

1960, Goodall hiked into the forest and initiated one of the world’s most remarkable, and durable, scientific investigations, one that continues today. Generations have grown up with at least a passing awareness of Goodall and her work. I JIM KEOGH suspect most know her best in her current incarane Goodall’s home movies are better nation as a silver-haired than yours. eminence grise, the Not only that, she probably has more worldly woman of some of them. In 2014, more than 100 hours years who articulates of never-before-seen footage of the famous the wisdom of preserving the natural world. chimpanzee researcher was uncovered in the The brilliance of “Jane” is how it opens a door National Geographic archives. Filmmaker Brett to her youth, revealing a Jane who was curious Morgan has culled 90 minutes of tape into the and determined, yet also tentative. She heeded striking documentary “Jane,” a chronicle of her Leakey’s advice to enter the forest with “an life, much of it spent apart from other people open mind, passion for knowledge, love for but in the company of some of humanity’s animals, and monumental patience.” Fiftyclosest cousins. eight years later, none of it has dimmed. Goodall was a 26-year-old secretary The camera methodically, and stylishly, when renowned archaeologist Louis Leakey captures Goodall’s evolving and endearing selected her to study the chimpanzees living relationship with the chimps. We come to in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park. In know them by their distinct personalities and

J

Jane-given names — David Graybeard, Goliath and Flo, the poor mother saddled with slacker son, Flint, who refuses to launch. In Morgan’s interviews with Goodall, she recalls the joys and heartbreaks she witnessed in the chimpanzee community — births and deaths, acts of kindness and savagery, a polio outbreak, and war between two factions. Her recollections are like an epic poem of love and loss, blessed with visual accompaniment and a Philip Glass score. At one point, Morgan asks Goodall an indelicate yet understandable question: Were you ever afraid of having your face ripped off ? The same blunt thought knocked around my head as I watched Goodall with chimps draped over her, and recalled the 2009 chimp attack that horribly maimed a Connecticut woman. Goodall does not admit to fear, just naivete. Much of the “Jane” footage was shot in the 1960s by Hugo van Lawick, a dashing cameraman hired by National Geographic to film Goodall in the wild. The two would eventu-

ally marry (and later divorce), and have a son, Grub, whose childhood stories, like his mom’s movies, are also better than yours. Goodall’s marriage and motherhood are as intriguing as her communing with chimpanzees — how fascinating to observe the observer as she relives private and playful moments. I have to believe the reserved British scientist only reveals herself in this way because the message of conservation is more effectively promoted when the messenger is humanized. Jane Goodall turned 84 on April 3. When she goes, a little of the world’s light will go out with her. “Jane” will be shown at 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday (April 21) in the Jefferson Academic Center at Clark University. The film is part of the Cinema 320 series.

Jim Keogh contributing writer

Eat something delicious tonight. Come and enjoy yourself in our historic Southbridge location. Our food, drink and conversation is just what you need. Lamb • Duck • Seafood • Rissottos • Chicken • Steaks • Pasta Homemade Desserts

Make it a Mother’s Day to remember at Fins & Tales!

Coming in April! Fins to Go Stop by and enjoy all your favorites!

Make your Mother’s Day Reservations now!

We’re serious about great food. And that’s no tall tale. Tues.-Sun. Open at 4pm • Closed Monday • Full Liquor License • Call for Reservatios

858 Main St., Southbridge • 508-764-3349 • finsandtales858.com

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

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culture Friday April 13 Emo Night Brooklyn: Worcester

Worcester Palladium, 261 Main St. Brooklyn’s Emo Night heads to Worcester. Long fringe and tight jeans, with songs from Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance, The Used, Fall Out Boy, A Day To Remember, Yellowcard, Paramore, The Wonder Years and more.

Saturday April 14 Worcester Railers playoff home game

DCU Center, 50 Foster St. The Worcester Railers Hockey Club has made it to the Kelly Cup playoffs! Their first home matchup against the Adirondack Thunder, following the series kickoff in Adirondack on Friday. First 1,000 fans get a Railers rally towel presented by Monster Energy.

Saturday April 14 Sixth Annual Build Day

Working for Worcester, 1 College St. City-wide project to build and renovate recreation space for kids and families. To pre-volunteer, head to Workingforworcester.com. Low ropes course, S.T.E.A.M. room, playground and more builds to help out with. Starts at 8:30 a.m.

Thursday April 19 The Skull

Ralph’s Diner, 148 Grove St. Featuring former members of Trouble, Sacred Dawn, Divinity Comprised, Cathedral and Witch Mountain. The band is joined by NightBitch and Faces of Bayon.

Thursday-Sunday April 12-15 Bright Star

Hanover Theatre, 2 Southbridge St. Steve Martin and Edie Brickell bring the five-time Tony Award nominated Bright Star to Worcester. A musical centered around love and redemption, tickets are $40-75.

Friday April 20 After Dark Film Series: House of Flying Daggers

Sprinkler Factory, 38 Harlow St. For a suggested donation of $5-$10, check out the 2004 romance and martial arts film. Two police officers and friends must kill the leader of a rebel group, but are unsure as to the leader’s identity.

Through Sept. 2 Exploring the Myths of James Dye

Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St. The works of James Dye in collaboration with ArtsWorcester. The show examines the literary themes in Dye’s pieces.

Join Us For Food, Drink, & Live Entertainment! Karaoke every Friday Night — Starting at 9:00 p.m. —

April 14 ~ Windfall April 21 ~ Dale LePage April 28 ~ We & The Dawg Sushi • Gluten Free Entrees Available Function Rooms • Gift Certificates Take-Out • Keno 176 Reservoir St. Holden • 508.829.2188 • www.wongdynasty-yankeegrill.com

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culture

Friday April 13 The Essence

Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St. East meets West in this classical music program featuring Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Pandit K.U. Jaychandra Rao and the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. Tickets available online at Mechanicshall.org.

LIVE & LOCAL Jim Polito 5-9 am

WTAG.COM

Jordan Levy 3-6 pm

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

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sports p A tale of two runners: Campos, Towler have charities in site at Boston Marathon WALTER BIRD JR.

P

eter Towler is a 24-year sergeant with the Worcester Police Department. He has been running pretty much his whole life, with a preference for obstacle course races such as the Spartan Race and Tough Mudder. Last year, he competed in the Obstacle Course World Championships in Ontario, Canada. For training, he sometimes lugs an 80-pound bag of sand up and Wachusett Mountain. Oh, and he turns 50 this year. Eric Campos is 22 and did some running as a student at University Park Campus School. He got into boxing “a little bit” after meeting Worcester boxer Irvin Gonzalez in an attempt to get back into shape after college. The two, it would seem, have little in common, but on Monday they will both be running for charities in the Boston Marathon. Their causes are fiercely personal, and while neither man has run a marathon before, each is confident he will finish the race. Their paths there couldn’t be more different. Campos went through Bottom Line in Worcester, an organization that helps low-income students in high school and college. Campos’ older sister went through the program and became the first in their family to go to college when she was accepted to Harvard. Campos ended up going to Boston College, graduating last year and, with help from Bottom Line, landed a job with Unum in Worcester. He feels no small amount of gratitude toward the program, for which he is running in the Boston Marathon. So far, he has raised about $3,500. “Bottom Line put out a newsletter,” Campos said of deciding to run. “Every year they do a

fundraising marathon. They were looking for runners. I felt like I was in decent shape and I kind of wanted to give this a shot.” Running for Bottom Line, he said, will be special. “I think Worcester and Boston were their first offices,” Campos said of the organization, “so I kind of see running into Boston as running toward where Bottom Line began. I see it as giving back to the students. When I was young in high school, and the first year in college, you don’t really know what you’re doing. You’re kind of super

The Score

Worcester Railers April 7 One day after clinching a playoff spot without playing, the Railers scored their season-high sixth straight win with a 3-2 victory on the road over the Manchester Monarchs in the first game of a home-and-home series. April 8 On Fan Appreciation day at home, the team’s final regular season game of the year, the Railers fell, 2-0, to the Monarchs. (Upcoming: The Railers kick off the ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs Friday night, April 13, in New York against the Adirondack Thunder. The team returns to the DCU for games 2 and 3, Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15, against the Thunder. The series then returns to New York for Game 4. If necessary, Game 5 would be played Saturday, April 21 at Adirondack, Game 6 Monday, April 23 in Worcester and Game 7 Wednesday, April 25 at Adirondack.

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A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

“It’s a lot of work, and I’m more of a short-distance guy, but I’m going to be 50 this year,” said Towler, whose birthday is in October. “I always wanted to do it.” Towler said he learned of the opportunity while shopping for sneakers at Marathon Sports, where he bumped into a state trooper who told him there may still be slots open on the State Police team that runs in the Boston Marathon for Cops For Kids With Cancer. “I lucked out. It’s a very desirable thing to get one of these numbers,” said Towler, who admitted some people have said he is crazy for running the marathon. Then again, he said he is up to the challenge, even if the farthest he has ever run Above, Eric Campus, a Worcester is 16 miles. Towler said he native, will tackle the Boston Marahas been training about four thon on Monday as his first maramonths, running five to six thon experience. days a week. Like Campos, he is now in the scaled-down Left, Peter Towler, a Worcester police officer also training for his first phase of training, dialing back marathon, uses a tire for some ex- the distances. Towler thinks he can finish the race in four tra resistance on his warm-up laps. hours. “I want to get this in and have a respectable time,” he unsure about yourself. Bottom Line gives you a community to build your confidence. I’m excited said. “Everyone says you never know with the Boston Marathon. Weather is the wildcard. If it’s to say I somehow support some other student’s pouring rain and cold out, you can get hypotherjourney.” mia. You want about 50 degrees and dry.” Towler, who also sings and plays guitar, said A little more than a month after the Boston he has always wanted to run a marathon. What’s Marathon, Towler will be back to his obstacle more, he will run for Cops For Kids With Cancer courses, running in the 2018 HESCO BONEFROG Inc. As of earlier this week, he had raised $2,151 New England Saturday, May 19 in Charlemont. for the charity, which he admits holds personal The charity competition raises money for the meaning. One of his friends in the Worcester Navy SEAL Foundation, which benefits the famiPolice Department, he said, has a daughter who lies of fallen Navy SEALS. is sick with cancer. Massachusetts Pirates Making their National Arena League football debut at the DCU Center Saturday, April 7, the Pirates announced some 6,000 or so fans and piled up a 51-24 win over the visiting Maine Mammoths. (Upcoming: The Pirates go on the road Saturday, April 14 to take on the Jacksonville Sharks.)

Round-Up

The Railers nominated forward Frankie DiChiara for the ECHL’s Declaration of Principles Community Service Award.


culture College sports Baseball

Anna Maria April 12 vs. Newbury College @ NEBC, 7 p.m. April 14 @ Saint Joseph’s (Maine), 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 15 vs. Suffolk @ Clark University, 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 18 vs. Becker @ NEBC, 3:30 p.m. Assumption April 14 vs. Franklin Pierce, 12 p.m., 3 p.m. April 15 vs. Franklin Pierce, 12 p.m. April 17 @ Stonehill, 3:30 p.m. April 18 @ Southern New Hampshire, 6 p.m. Becker April 12 vs. Curry, 6 p.m. April 14 @ Mitchell, 12 p.m., 3 p.m. April 15 vs. Mitchell, 12 p.m. April 17 @ Curry, 4 p.m. April 18 @ Anna Maria, NEBC, 3:30 p.m. Clark April 13 @ Springfield College, 3:30 p.m. April 14 vs. Springfield College, 12 p.m., 3 p.m. April 15 vs. Eastern Connecticut, 1 p.m. April 17 vs. Emerson College, 3:30 p.m. Holy Cross April 14 vs. Bucknell, 2:05 p.m., 5:05 p.m. April 15 vs. Bucknell, 1:05 p.m. April 18 vs. Army West Point, 5:05 p.m. Nichols April 12 vs. Framingham State, 3:30 p.m. April 14 @ Gordon, 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 15 vs. Wentworth, 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 16 @ Salve Regina, 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. April 18 vs. Mitchell, 3:30 p.m. Worcester State April 12 @ MIT, 3:30 p.m. April 14 vs. Framingham State, 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 16 @ Salem State, 12 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 18 @ Salve Regina, 3:30 p.m. WPI April 13 vs. Coast Guard, 3:30 p.m. April 14 @ Coast Guard, 12 p.m., 3 p.m. April 17 @ Wheaton, 3:30 p.m. April 18 @ Johnson & Wales, 4:30 p.m.

Men’s Golf

Assumption April 12 vs. Mike Bello Invitational @ Syracuse, N.Y. April 13 vs. Mike Bello Invitational @ Syracuse, N.Y. April 18 vs. Bentley Newport National Classic @ Newport, R.I. Holy Cross April 14 @ Yale Spring Invitational, 8 a.m. April 16 @ Rhode Island Invitational, 8 a.m. April 17 @ Rhode Island Invitational, 8 a.m. Nichols April 14 vs. Rosemont Raven Invitational April 15 vs. Rosemont Raven Invitational April 17 vs. Rich Korzec Memorial Invite, 10 a.m. Worcester State April 13 @ UMass Invitational, Allendale, CC

April 14 @ UMass Invitational, Allendale, CC April 17 @ Rich Korzec Invitational, Blackstone National

Women’s Golf

Assumption April 13 vs. Saint Rose Spring Classic @ Guilderland, N.Y. April 14 vs. Saint Rose Spring Classic @ Guilderland, N.Y. Holy Cross April 14 @ Hartford Hawks Invitational, 8 a.m. April 15 @ Hartford Hawks Invitational, 8 a.m.

Men’s Lacrosse

Anna Maria April 18 vs. Saint Joseph’s (Maine), 5 p.m. Assumption April 14 vs. Saint Rose, 1 p.m. April 17 vs. Merrimack, 7 p.m. Becker April 14 @ Nichols, 12 p.m. April 18 vs. Dean, 4 p.m. Clark April 14 vs. Wheaton College, 8 p.m. April 18 vs. Massachusetts Maritime, 7 p.m. Holy Cross April 14 @ Colgate, 2 p.m. Nichols April 14 vs. Becker, 12 p.m. April 18 vs. Roger Williams, 4 p.m.

Women’s Lacrosse

Assumption April 14 @ Saint Anselm, 2 p.m. April 17 @ Pace, 6 p.m. Becker April 14 vs. Wheelock, 12 p.m. April 15 vs. Maine Farmington, 12 p.m. April 18 @ Bay Path, 4 p.m. Holy Cross April 14 vs. Lehigh, 2:05 p.m. April 18 @ Boston University, 7 p.m. Nichols April 12 @ Elms, 7 p.m. April 14 vs. ME-Farmington, 3 p.m. April 17 @ Maine Maritime, 4 p.m. April 18 vs. Roger Williams, 7 p.m. Worcester State April 14 @ Bridgewater State, 12 p.m. April 17 vs. MCLA, 7 p.m.

Men’s Rowing

WPI April 14 vs. Williams, Conn. College, Rochester & MIT, 10 a.m. April 15 vs. RIT, Bates & Rochester, 8:30 a.m.

Women’s Rowing

Assumption April 14 vs. Assumption Invitational, 8:30 a.m. Clark April 15 vs. University of Rochester, Mt. Holyoke, and Simmons @ Lake Quinsigamond

Holy Cross April 14 @ Knecht Cup, West Windsor, N.J., 8 a.m. April 15 @ Knecht Cup, West Windsor, N.J., 8 a.m. WPI April 14 vs. Williams, Conn. College, Simmons & Rochester, 10 a.m. April 15 vs. Bates, Trinity, RIT, & Wellesley, 8:30 a.m.

Softball

Anna Maria April 14 vs. Saint Joseph’s (Maine), 1 p.m., 3 p.m. April 15 @ Norwich, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. April 17 vs. Elms, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. April 18 vs. Saint Joseph’s (Conn.), 3 p.m., 5 p.m. Assumption April 14 vs. Saint Anselm, 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. April 15 vs. Saint Anselm, 12:30 p.m. April 18 vs. Merrimack, 3 p.m. April 18 vs. Merrimack, 5 p.m. Becker April 14 @ Southern Vermont, 1 p.m., 3 p.m. April 15 vs. Wheelock, 12 p.m., 2 p.m. April 18 vs. WPI, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. Clark April 13 @ Springfield College, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. April 14 vs. Wheaton College, 12 p.m., 2 p.m. April 17 vs. Worcester State, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. Holy Cross April 14 vs. Boston University, 12:05 p.m., 2:05 p.m. April 15 vs. Boston University, 12:05 p.m. April 18 @ Quinnipiac, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. Nichols April 12 vs. Elms, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. April 14 @ University of New England, 12 p.m. April 15 vs. Curry, 12 p.m.,2 p.m. April 17 vs. Western New England, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. April 18 vs. Worcester State, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. Worcester State April 12 vs. Rhode Island College, 4 p.m., 6 p.m. April 14 vs. Framingham State, 12 p.m., 2 p.m April 16 @ Salem State, 12 p.m., 2 p.m. April 17 @ Clark University, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. April 18 @ Nichols, 3 p.m., 5 p.m. WPI April 13 vs. Coast Guard, 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. April 14 @ Smith, 12 p.m., 2 p.m. April 18 @ Becker, 3 p.m.0, 5 p.m.

Men’s Tennis

Assumption April 13 vs. Stonehill, 3:30 p.m. April 14 vs. Franklin Pierce, 11 a.m. Becker April 12 @ UMass-Dartmouth, 3:30 p.m. April 14 vs. Wheelock, 1 p.m. April 16 @ Clark University, 4 p.m. April 18 @ Lesley Clark April 14 vs. Babson College, 10:30 a.m. April 16 vs. Becker College, 4 p.m. April 18 vs. Wheaton College, 4:30 p.m. Holy Cross April 12 vs. Franklin Pierce, 3:30 p.m. A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

April 13 vs. Lehigh, 5 p.m. April 14 vs. Navy, 9 a.m. April 15 vs. Boston University, 2 p.m. Nichols April 14 @ Gordon, 12 p.m. April 15 vs. Southern Maine, 12 p.m. April 15 @ Connecticut College, 1 p.m. April 18 vs. Roger Williams, 4 p.m.

Women’s Tennis

Clark April 14 vs. Babson College, 2 p.m. April 15 vs. Wheaton College, 1 p.m. April 17 @ Mount Holyoke, 4:30 p.m. Holy Cross April 14 @ Stonehill April 16 vs. Merrimack, 3:30 p.m. Nichols April 15 @ Connecticut College, 1 p.m.

Men’s Track & Field

Assumption April 13 @ Ocean State Invite, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Ocean State Invite, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Southern New Hampshire April 18 @ Holy Cross Decathlon/Heptathlon Holy Cross April 13 @ Ocean State Invitational, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Ocean State Invitational, Providence, R.I., 11 a.m. April 18 vs. Holy Cross Decathlon, 11 a.m. Nichols April 14 @ Penmen Relays Worcester State April 14 @ Fitchburg Invitational April 18 @ Holy Cross Heptathlon/Decathlon WPI April 13 @ Elite Distance and Multi-Event, Connecticut College, 2 p.m. April 14 @ Silfen Invitational and Multi-Event, Connecticut College, 8 a.m.

Women’s Track & Field

Assumption April 13 @ Ocean State Invite, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Ocean State Invite, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Southern New Hampshire April 18 @ Holy Cross Decathlon/Heptathlon Holy Cross April 13 @ Ocean State Invitational, Providence, R.I. April 14 @ Ocean State Invitational, Providence, R.I., 11 a.m. Nichols April 14 @ Penmen Relays Worcester State April 14 @ Westfield State Jerry Gravel Classic April 18 @ Holy Cross Multi WPI April 13 @ Elite Distance and Multi-Event, Connecticut College, 2 p.m. April 14 @ Silfen Invitational and Multi-Event, Connecticut College, 8 a.m. WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

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Adoption option Welcome to Adoption Option, a partnership with the Worcester Animal Rescue League, highlighting their adoptable pets. Check this space often to meet all of the great pets at WARL in need of homes.WARL is open seven days a week, noon-4 p.m., 139 Holden St. Check them out online at Worcesterarl.org, or call at 508-853-0030.

Elvis (gray, 6 years old) and Presley (black, 8 years old) are a bonded

pair. Their owner abandoned them with a friend. The pair are in seperate cages, because one cage is a little too tight for them. They will do just fine together in a home. Elvis has a grumpy face, but he is not a grumpy cat. He’s quiet, but loves to snuggle. Presley loves to grumble, but it doesn’t amount to much. WARL staff picks him up and moves him with ease. The pair must be adopted together and the adoption fee is $250 for both.

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games “Hue Knew?”--none out of the original seven. by Matt Jones

JONESIN’

Fun By The Numbers Like puzzles? Then you’ll love sudoku. This mind-bending puzzle will have you hooked from the moment you square off, so sharpen your pencil and put your sudoku savvy to the test! Here’s How It Works: Sudoku puzzles are formatted as a 9x9 grid, broken down into nine 3x3 boxes. To solve sudoku, the numbers 1 through 9 must fill each row, column and box. Each number can appear only once in each row, column and box. You can figure out the order in which the numbers will appear by using the numeric clues already provided in the boxes. The more numbers you name, the easier it gets to solve the puzzle!

FIND US ON FACEBOOK!

Across 1 Brewhouse offerings 5 Pique 11 Langley or Lackland (abbr.) 14 Billiards table material 15 Cheesemaking enzyme 16 Oolong, e.g. 17 PART 1 OF 5 of a wordplay challenge (the answer is spelled out in the circles) 20 “Bali ___” (“South Pacific” song) 21 Hamton, on “Tiny Toon Adventures” 22 Half, for openers 23 PART 2 OF 5 28 Romania’s currency 29 Six-inch or footlong 30 Hall of Fame umpire Bill 31 ___ Arbor, Michigan 32 Hiatus 34 Q followers 38 Regulation, for short 39 PART 3 OF 5 42 An eighth of octo43 Impulsiveness 45 “The Fountainhead” author Rand 46 ___ “King” Cole 47 Honolulu’s island 50 Nervous twitch 52 Easter mo. in 2018 53 PART 4 OF 5 58 90º from north 59 New Orleans Saints linebacker Manti ___ 60 “How can ___ sure?” 61 PART 5 OF 5 67 Pie ___ mode 68 ___ the occasion (come through) 69 Microscopic particle 70 Vancouver clock setting (abbr.) 71 “Sophie’s Choice” novelist William 72 Baker’s amts. Down 1 Back, on board 2 Actress Salonga 3 Spitz relatives 4 Sauna atmosphere 5 Fleischer formerly of the White House press room

6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 18 19 23 24 25 26 27 33 35 36 37 39 40 41 44

Prepare to drag race Lunch time, sometimes Detach, as from a chain Robert who stepped down from “All Things Considered” in January 2018 Dr. who focuses on the head “Confessions of ___ Idol” (2009 VH1 series) Physicist Enrico Rudimentary Is suitable Yorke and McAn, for two Adobe animation platform being phased out by 2020 Designer Oscar de la ___ “Les Misérables” author Victor “Buy It Now” site “Jeopardy!” creator Griffin Org. for Bubba Watson Cheesy lunch counter orders Not suitable Part of IVF Front counterpart Memory unit rarely seen in the singular form Monogram ltr. Cake, in Italian restaurants

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

48 49 51 53 54 55 56 57 62 63 64 65 66

“Zero stars” Troubled “Le Freak” disco group Summary Counts’ counterparts Have ___ (stop standing) Doomed one British war vessel of WWII ___-80 (old Radio Shack computer) DDE’s WWII arena Took the gold Alley-___ (basketball maneuver) Apt. divisions

Last week's solution

©2018 Jonesin’ Crosswords (editor@jonesincrosswords.com) Reference puzzle #879

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An agency serving adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum is seeking energetic and creative people to fill the following positions: Registered Nurse (RN) Full time position, during the school day, M-F 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Current License Required. Salary is commensurate with experience. Special Education Teacher (BA/M.Ed) Severe Disabilities: All levels Classroom teacher needed to teach students on the autism spectrum pre-academic and vocational skills. Classes are small and energy levels are high. Full time/year round position with 8 weeks paid vacation, health and dental benefits. Salary is commensurate with experience. Part Time Residential Instructor positions also available to teach activities of daily living and social skills. Starting Pay is $13.50/hour

Residential Shift Supervisor: Come and directly supervise a team of residential instructors as they work together to develop functional living, social, and daily life skills in the people with autism whom we support. This full time position includes a three day weekend, health and dental benefits and generous paid time off. Associates Degree in Human Services or similar field strongly preferred. 2+ years of supervisory experience may be substituted for degree Valid Driver’s License Required Schedule: Second shift Wednesday through Friday, and Saturday all day. Salary is commensurate with experience.

To apply: Fax/mail a letter of interest and resume along with salary requirements to: ARCHway, Inc. 77 Mulberry St. Leicester, MA 01524 Fax: 508-892-0259 Email: scombs@archwayinc.org

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WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

LEGAL Commonwealth of Massachusetts The Trial Court Probate and Family Court Worcester Probate and Family Court 225 Main St. Worcester, MA 01608 Docket No. WO18P0447GD CITATION GIVING NOTICE OF PETITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN FOR INCAPACITATED PERSON PURSUANT TO G.L. c. 190B, §5-304

In the matter of: Raymond A Hemingway Of: Worcester, MA RESPONDENT Alleged Incapacitated Person To the named Respondent and all other interested persons, a petition has been filed by Department of Developmental Services of Worcester, MA in the above captioned matter alleging that Raymond A Hemingway is in need of a Guardian and requesting that Donna M Freitas of Uxbridge, MA (or some other suitable person) to appointed as Guardian to serve Without Surety on the bond. The petition asks the court to determine that the Respondent is incapacitated, that the appointment of a Guardian is necessary, and that the proposed Guardian is appropriate. The petition is on file with this court and may contain a request for certain specific authority. You have the right to object to this proceeding. If you wish to do so, you or your attorney must file a written appearance at this court on or before 10:00 A.M. on the return date of 4/24/18. This day is NOT a hearing date, but a deadline date by which you have to file the written appearance if you object to the petition. If you fail to file the written appearance by the return date, action may be taken in this matter without further notice to you. In addition to filing the written appearance you or your attorney must file a written affidavit stating the specific facts and grounds of your objection within 30 days after the return date. IMPORTANT NOTICE The outcome of this proceeding may limit or completely take away the above-named person’s right to make decisions about personal affairs or financial affairs or both. The abovenamed person has the right to ask for a lawyer. Anyone may make this request on behalf of the above-named person. If the above-named person cannot afford a lawyer, one may be appointed at State expense. WITNESS, Hon. Leilah A Keamy, First Justice of this Court. Date: February 9, 2018 Stephanie K Fattman Register of Probate 04/12/18 WM


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last call Laura Martinez Credo Champion T his month, Citizens Bank named Laura Martinez a 2018 Credo Champion as a result of her volunteer efforts to improve the financial literacy of Worcester Public Schools’ students. Martinez is an Assistant Branch Manager at Citizens Bank in Worcester.

ing your credit score. Also, dos and don’ts of filling out your financial aid. What to do in your first year of college. Making sure you recognize that you are a target for credit card companies. Knowing what to look out for and to make sure that you’re on alert and that you’re not in over your head.

What is your history with the city of Worcester? How did you end up here? I’ve been here for 24 years, but I’m from the Dominican Republic – born and raised. Worcester was the first place I ever went and I’ve just kind of stayed here. I attended elementary school at Belmont Community School. At the time, that was the only school with an English as a Second Language curriculum. I graduated from South High School, but I also went to North.

Can you share a couple of tips about financial aid and some advice for the first year of college? Yeah, absolutely. So, for financial aid, one of the biggest things is understanding that those schools are going to cost a lot of money. Having a financial conversation with a

Where did you go to college and what was your career path from there? I’m actually still in school, I go to Worcester State. I went back to school later in life. I had been in automotive sales for about 10 years. That’s really where my passion for community work stems from; making a name for myself in Worcester with my Hispanic community and just kind of understanding that a lot of folks in my community aren’t financially literate. So, I took it upon myself to make that a mission to work with. I turned to banking. I do a lot of community work involving financial literacy, specifically for high school and middle school kids.

38

ELIZABETH BROOKS

Are you integrating financial literacy right within the school’s curriculum? Not yet. That’s actually something that we’re hoping will happen in the near future. How it works right now is that Citizens Bank has so many community hours to give out to allow me to educate folks on financial literacy. What I do is get the word out. First, I meet with guidance counselors or principals in local schools. Then, the hour-long session covers everything from balancing a checkbook (which are really non-existent these days, but this shows you how to make debits and credits) to understand-

WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

representative to help you achieve those goals is important. This might be whoever is in the home or even at your school who can actually guide you to make sure that you’re applying for scholarships or grants and can help you realize that your debt is going to be handed to you come graduation. You need to have a grasp on deadlines and a clear path of what it is that you’re going to study, because if you’re not really sure at first, a community school is definitely going to do the trick, which is where I went. (I started at Quinsig and then I transferred to Worcester State.) I’m kind of painting the bigger picture. Some kids have an exact idea of what they want to do, and that may change, and that’s okay. I’m just kind of guiding them to make them understand that undergraduate education can be achieved at a much cheaper level and comprehend that these things will cost a lot of money come the end of the four years. In the first year of college, there’s definitely nothing wrong with working part-time while you’re in school. Although you may not have any credit cards out there or any credit, you have a huge amount of debt that has accumulated as you were in school, so the minute you graduate, your credit history is going to assume the position of high debt-to-income ratio, which can be difficult when you’re trying to get your first car or get an apartment. Being cognizant of those things is important, as is maintaining either a part-time job or some sort of income, so that when you finish school you’re not in

complete culture shock of not landing the job right away or not being able to pay those student loans. Can you tell us a little bit about the prestigious award you are receiving? Thank you. Yes, I can. It’s called Credo Champion Award. Again, Citizens Bank is really big on community advocacy. They recognize that I am getting the word out there about what we do and also going into our community. For me, Worcester is my number one priority, putting Worcester on the map. Basically, I volunteered for over 100 hours of community work, which involved teaching financial literacy anywhere from high schools to our local REC and WCAC. I’m going to be recognized for that. Out of 200 nominees, I was one of the top 10. With that comes the money, which is the most important part, right? To fund these programs and to eventually create a financial literacy curriculum in the Worcester Public Schools. I probably should’ve asked you this first, but can you just define financial literacy for our readers? Absolutely. So financial literacy is an understanding of basic American economics, which has been very much overlooked and rarely taught in schools. In American society, you’re expected by 17 or 18 years old to be able to manage your accounts, know about credit cards, buy a home, etc., but no one is really explaining to you how to get to those steps. As a society in itself, Americans tend to overspend and overlook. Learning about basic economics should start at a very young age. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, we learn that the hard way when we’re trying to buy a home and we can’t, or when we realize that we have poor credit and can’t purchase a car, or maybe when we become victims of identity theft. A lot of these things that happen are targeted at young Americans between the ages of 18 and 25. My job is to normalize the financial conversations at a young age, so you won’t be scared to have those conversations later on.

– Sarah Connell


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Saturday, April 21st Mechanics Hall, Worcester

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TONE LOC “Wild Thing”

and very special guests:

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MJ The Legend & his Michael Jackson tribute Tickets on sale to the general public Friday, March 9th at 7am

Click the link at www.WXLO.com to purchase tickets. Must be 21 or older to attend. A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

39


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WORCESTERMAGAZINE.COM

A P R I L 12 - 18, 2018

Worcester Magazine April 12 - 18, 2018  

SPORTS: The other Worcester 'Renaisance'

Worcester Magazine April 12 - 18, 2018  

SPORTS: The other Worcester 'Renaisance'

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