Ray Mariano, a Worcester conversation | “When you leave, you should just leave.” It’s easy to believe him too. At first. But Mariano, famously a product of the Great Brook Valley housing complex with degrees from Worcester State and Clark, is about as quintessential a public servant as this city has ever seen. The longtime mayor, city councilor and school board member seems to have more he wants to accomplish. We sat down for a few questions, and a few more stories with the “retiring” Worcester Housing Authority director.
Sun Shine: Brattle Street, last stop on the way to freedom | “Jeffry was fired from his job as a teacher, he could not go shopping and had to hide in his home. His family threw him out of the house at 17 years old, but even at home Jeffry was not allowed to eat dinner unless he brought his own utensils and plate. He was not even allowed to worship at his church.” From Jamaica, where homophobia runs rampant, Jeffry made his way to Worcester, where he found not just acceptance but caring assistance. New Sun contributor Sloane M. Perron tells the story.
Local Business Spotlight: Technocopia, making it work | With a shared vision and support from their community of friends and colleagues, three WPI grads set out to create a Utopia for innovation. “We could teach others and take care of ourselves,” said founder Nicholas Bold. “We were making genuine progress bringing in more people to help, and we didn’t have to go at odds with anyone.” And then progress met permits. New Sun contributor Sean M. Haley has the fascinating tale of how Technocopia got where it is today.
Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 70]: A safe zone for Worcester debate | Polarizing — that’s one of them-there buzzwords. Apropos, at that, for just about any topic of conversation these days. Trump or Clinton? Social responsibility vs. individual rights? Which movie reboot will be more disappointing: “Ghostbusters” or “Independence Day”? This is heavy stuff, food for thought — though maybe safer to keep those opinions and ideas to yourself. Especially in Worcester, where there’s always a divisive issue or two slithering around. Hitch was never one to heed a warning.
Editorial: Recreation Worcester ups its game | Hmm, the couch … or the park? Starting tomorrow, Recreation Worcester has the answer for young people ages 7 to 13. The city is offering eight weeks of free, supervised activities on weekdays. The youth outreach program has been on a roll lately, with the help of many community partners — and we urge everyone to keep it going.
Sina-cism: A short guide for motorists and pedestrians | “Unless you are a trucker in a tight spot because of other stupid motorists (in which case I will do whatever I can safely do to accommodate you), I am not moving. Simply signal, look twice, then pass me. We’ll both feel better.” That and other helpful hints for the silly season that is summer driving from Chris Sinacola.
Vape shop owners at odds with Worcester health board | Vaping quickly became not only a popular alternative to tobacco smoking but a trend among young people. Vape places in Worcester know they will be losing some clientele when the legal age for purchasing tobacco products goes up to 21 in September. Whether this is a good thing depends on who’s talking, these small businesses or the city’s Board of Health.
On Beacon Hill: Baker moves to better protect cops, gun debates rage | The governor said the bill was inspired by preliminary review of court decisions involving Jorge Zambrano, the man authorities say shot and killed Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino during a traffic stop. It would “give judges more discretion with respect to when they could call for a dangerousness hearing,” and “it creates a new category for assault and battery on a police officer.” Legislators grapple with gun safety laws, legalizing marijuana, ride-sharing and more.
The unbelievably true story of Augustine Kanjia continues …
Part 17: A Wedding Without Parents | “I then tried my best to work double to raise more money to help us out. I then went to declare our intentions to our parish priest, because it would take three months doing the marriage counseling before we could be married in the Catholic Church. I was excited but fearful, due to my financial status. Meanwhile my dad was behind rebel lines with no money or food to live on.” Augustine’s path has been a tortured one, but today it leads — eventually — to an occasion of tremendous happiness.
Inbox [June 26]: Asian Festival today, Tarentino comedy benefit tonight, City Square apartments break ground, Assumption elects 3 new trustees | Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about. Have a release or a photo you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include a link to the full release on your site or Facebook page so we can include it and send Sun members your way.
Worcester Weekly: Rock the Fourth + 5 more things to do, June 26-July 2 | Ol’ Cristoforo Colombo had a sort of complicated relationship with the whole idea of independence, so maybe we’ll just call it East Park this weekend as we celebrate July Fourth and our nation’s, ahem, independence. The free concert will feature patriotic anthems like “1812 Overture” and the Sousa marches, as well as Broadway and rock classics. Lots more to do before Saturday, though: Bravehearts, Princess Elsa, Chris Cornell, Cat in the Hat. Seriously, get in there.