Pastor Judith Hanlon

Inbox [Sept. 24-30]: News and notes from Worcester State, Becker, city, WPI, LGBT Asylum Task Force

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. 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 State raises nearly $17M in Change Lives campaign

Worcester State University announced it has raised $16.9 million through the recently completed Change Lives Campaign, exceeding its $15 million goal.

WSU President Barry Maloney thanked donors for their support of scholarships, academic programs and transformational capital projects during a Gala of Gratitude celebration last night [Saturday, Sept. 23] in the school’s recently opened Wellness Center.

More than 7,000 donors contributed to the success of this five-year campaign, which is the third and largest in the Worcester State Foundation’s history.

Holy Cross professor among economic educators joining ‘Fight for $15’

As activists ramp up their push to raise the minimum wage again, economists from many of the state’s public and private universities are rallying to the cause, supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage as a way to lift families working at the threshold of poverty.

Ninety economists have signed a letter supporting the gradual lifting of the minimum wage by four dollars over the next four years until it tops out at $15 an hour in 2021.

In a letter delivered to lawmakers, the economists conclude that “raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2021 will be an effective means of improving overall living standards for low-wage workers and their families and is likely to contribute to a general improvement in economic conditions.”

The professors work on campuses from Amherst to Boston, including the College of the Holy Cross, University of Massachusetts, Boston College, Bentley College, Northeastern University and Smith College.

Vanita Gupta: Bipartisan congressional action required to prevent Census 2020 disaster

“The Census Bureau needs a steady and significant ramp-up in funding to test new technologies and procedures and to create an effective outreach and advertising campaign. However, the Trump administration’s budget request for next year is woefully inadequate. Necessary testing has already been cut back due to lack of sufficient funds.” The former Obama Administration official details what’s at stake.

Editorial: Tax breaks for homeowners

Where are the tax breaks for the little guy?

It’s not uncommon these days to read about governments providing tax breaks to companies in exchange for the promise of jobs, development or both.

General Electric received a package worth $151 million to relocate to Boston. Included in the package was $25 million in property tax breaks. And Boston and the state are working on a package in an attempt to lure Amazon to locate its second headquarters here.

Closer to home, the city of Worcester has used Tax Increment Financing (TIFs), District Increment Financing (DIF), Tax Increment Exemption (TIE) and Investment Tax Credit deals to spur development. The latest is a TIE deal that will save the developers of Harding Green $838,000 over 10 years for a mixed-use development in the Canal District.

Worcester’s track record with TIF agreements is generally positive. According to a city report in May, the 24 active TIF agreements between 2012 and 2017 have:

Inbox [Sept. 20]: News and notes from Worcester Public Schools, WPI, Antiquarian Society, You Inc., MassDOT and New England Beauty Expo

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to info@worcester.ma. 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.

Patriots, SNHU help upgrade technology at two schools

The New England Patriots Foundation and Southern New Hampshire University joined students at Elm Park Community School and Goddard School of Science & Technology to unveil state-of-the-art technology labs.

The schools each received a $25,000 grant from the Patriots Foundation and SNHU earlier this year to help improve technology resources for schools in need.

The tech labs will include new Chromebooks, charging carts, a Smart TV and a Chromecast. In addition, the Foundation and SNHU have completely renovated the labs, purchased new furniture, and added Patriots-themed décor and wall decals.

Registration open for WPI Tech Girls program