Songs in the key of healing: Worcester Center for Expressive Therapies offers hope

The emerging studies supporting the transformative capabilities music has on human cognition are the basis for the Worcester Center for Expressive Therapies’  distinctive, thoroughly trained approach.

For the many clients the center takes, this creative wonderland is a space for community and healing. The center “is a small, functioning family unit,” says Kayla Daly, owner and director of the cozy, multi-sensory therapy space in the 255 Park Ave. office complex.

Since the center opened in 2013, it has incorporated a dynamic duo of board-certified clinical musicianship and licensed counseling to provide a multi-disciplinary therapy approach from a staff of highly trained clinicians. The four session rooms and sprawling studio room are filled with instruments, drawing desks, toys and more to create an atmosphere that’s immediately comforting.

The center functions as a family, Daly said, to provide “multi-sensory” clinical treatment with diversely trained counselors. It works with a mindset that uniquely approaches the challenge of incorporating counseling and music therapy. Each clinician at the center is well-equipped to rise to the challenge, because extensive certification and training in multiple fields are required.

Watch: Worcester Center for Expressive Therapies promotional video

Editorial: Horses on the force

Myra, Major, Justice and Midnight — that’s a nice set of names for some new public servants in Worcester.

Now all the horses have to do is prove their mettle.

They’re off to a good start. Residents who have had a chance to see members of the police department’s Mounted Patrol Unit since the unit’s official first day last Monday have reacted warmly and with curiosity.

That’s part of the idea.

A police officer on a horse doesn’t just have advantages in terms of visibility, crowd control and the ability to quickly traverse different kinds of terrain in an emergency. The likeability factor is hugely important, too. A police officer plus his or her 1,000-pound mount is an engaging and powerful combination, both majestic and accessible.

Related opinion: Mariano says making Worcester safe is no horseplay

On Beacon Hill: ‘Ambassadors of cannabis’ unite — kind of

Recap and analysis of the week in local, state and federal government
from State House News Service

BOSTON — ZAP! BUZZZZZZZZ! That was the sound of the Massachusetts House and Senate touching what for years has been considered a politically hazardous “third rail” subject: marijuana.

The Legislature did what it has refused to do for years last week — talk in public about the leafy green intoxicant — but only because voters forced Beacon Hill’s hand and did the hard part of legalizing cannabis on their own. For lawmakers who thought activists were just blowing smoke all these years, the events of recent days were a reminder that ultimately, the voters call the shots.

About a year before voters legalized marijuana themselves, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, explained why, to that point, only one senator had agreed to serve on a special committee to study marijuana and why Beacon Hill avoided the sticky-icky ganja.

“Drugs are a third-rail issue in politics, and you don’t want to associate with it publicly because just studying it is enough for people to say, ‘Oh, he must be in favor of it because he is studying it,’ and people just avoid drug-related stuff,” he said.

The sudden zeal to alter the law drew the ire of activists, and like birds of a feather, various pro-marijuana factions flocked outside the State House to rail against legislative tweaking last week. Hoping to up the public pressure on lawmakers, a ballot campaign official even deputized those in the hazy crowd as “ambassadors of cannabis” who swore an oath to lobby their elected officials.

Inside the State House, it was mostly silent on Wednesday morning, as both branches did the bulk of their work in the afternoon and evening hours.

By the time the House got to work, on the longest day of the year, reps did what everyone’s mother would have yelled at them for: They sat around inside all day. The House gaveled in Wednesday at 11:45 a.m., but the first of the 118 amendments filed to the pot bill wasn’t taken up until 5 p.m.

Away from the House chamber, leadership sorted through the amendments and often determined their fate — puff, puff, pass — as the reps who filed them were bouncing around the room and satisfying their munchies with Swedish Fish and Twizzlers.

Sam Doran / State House News Service

The Marijuana Policy Committee was co-chaired by Rep. Mark Cusack and Sen. Patricia Jehlen.

In the absence of real debate, some reps became restless.

Rep. Kate Campanale, a Republican from Leicester, tweeted Wednesday afternoon, “So we just sat around for about 30 minutes doing nothing, and then we were called to recess. So glad that this process is efficient …” She later deleted the tweet.

Eventually, at about 9:40 p.m., the House did vote — by a margin of 126-28 — to pass its marijuana law rewrite and hand it off for the Senate to take a hit.

When the Senate gaveled in shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday, the House was still bogarting the bill, giving it one final review.

“I know that we eagerly await the arrival of legislation relative to the control of the adult recreational use of marijuana in our chamber as it is being finally processed in the chamber down the hall,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, said, interrupted by Rosenberg banging his gavel.

Rosenberg asked, “Did he say awaiting papers from the House so that the Senate chamber, we may consume marijuana in the Senate chamber?”

“Mr. President, I know that may have been wishful thinking on your part,” Tarr responded. “But that was not what I said.”

By noon, the Senate had begun working through the 111 amendments proposed and wrapped up its work Thursday night at about 9:15 p.m.with a 30-5 roll-call vote.

The reconstruction of a law passed by nearly 1.8 million Massachusetts voters will be finalized by just six lawmakers [see below] who are tasked with hashing out a pot law that’s built to last.

After delaying parts of the voter law for six months, legislative leaders tied themselves to a self-imposed June 30 deadline to get a marijuana bill to the governor’s desk. That committee will work under the pressure of that deadline, a watchful and vocal public, and Rosenberg’s promise that Gov. Charlie Baker is “gonna love the final product.”

The first question the conference will have to answer is whether they are going to keep the ballot law — Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016 — as a skeleton and “amend and improve” it (as the Senate says its bill does), or are they going to repeal and replace the voter-backed law, which the House bill does.

The House’s 28 percent and the Senate’s 12 percent tax rates will likely be reconciled with the Goldilocks method — one’s too high, the other too low, so settle on something in that “just right” middle ground.

Working through the issue of local control may be a bit stickier for the committee. The Senate maintained the ballot law’s requirement that a city or town can only ban marijuana facilities by a town-wide referendum, but the House gave that power instead to local elected and appointed officials.

Their compromise bill will have to clear both branches one last time before going to Gov. Baker for his signature, or amendment.

— Colin A. Young

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Shrewsbury’s Kane on pivotal pot panel
  • Watch: Jehlen talks about Senate, House additions to marijuana bill
  • Gov. candidate says Dems ‘need new generation of leaders’
  • McGovern on White House press briefing ban; Markey on anatomy of Trumpcare
  • Senate poised to ban handheld cellphone use while driving

Worcester Weekly: Fireworks at East Park, new WAM exhibit + more, June 25-July 1

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Ongoing — “Reusable Universes:” Shih Chieh Huang, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St.  While Stephen Hawking keeps telling everyone humans need to find an Earth 2.0 — and fast (well, relatively) — Shih Chieh Huang and WAM are content right where they are, exploring the possibilities of transforming modern technology into thought-provoking, awe-inspiring art.

“ ‘Reusable Universes’ resonates with the spirit of innovation and curiosity that continues to ground Worcester today. Huang’s art also will provoke the viewer to consider society’s rapidly changing relationship with technology.” The exhibit runs through Nov. 12. Admission is $14; $12 for college students with ID and seniors; $6 for kids (free for members and kids under 3).

Inbox [June 25-July 1]: News and notes from Homewood Suites, Dept. of Public Works, Advocates, WRTA and Sen. Moore

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.

Homewood Suites opens its doors downtown

The Homewood Suites in Washington Square, Worcester’s newest hotel, has officially opened. With 118 suites, the hotel offers upscale accommodations in the heart of downtown.

“As a hub for scientific and technical research, Worcester is known to be a city that hosts conventions and conferences, and that boasts strong higher education and medical sectors. We’re excited to offer guests a hotel that accommodates either one night of traveling or an extended-stay visit for business or leisure purposes,” said Ryan Hanratty, hotel general manager.

Developed and owned by First Bristol Corp., Homewood Suites by Hilton Worcester offers a combination of studio and one-bedroom accommodations, featuring fully equipped kitchens and separate living and sleeping areas. Guests are also provided all the essentials needed for a smart, reliable and convenient stay, including complimentary daily full-hot breakfast, evening social Mondays through Thursdays, Wi-Fi and a grocery shopping service.