MassDevelopment purchases Money Stop building in Theatre District

A Main Street building that was identified as a target for acquisition and redevelopment by the Worcester Redevelopment Authority’s ambitious downtown renewal plan has been sold.

The building at 526-538 Main St., known for its primary tenant, The Money Stop pawn shop — and its conspicuous billboard — was sold to Massachusetts Development Finance Agency for $800,000 in a sale that closed May 31.

A Mother’s Journey: The sincerest form of thievery

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

“There is no such thing as a new idea,” Mark Twain famously wrote in his 1907 autobiography. “It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

He couldn’t have said it better.

Originality is an ambiguous concept, it seems, leading many of us to believe the thoughts and ideas we create are somehow impartial, uninfluenced by the world around us. It leads us to believe creativity is somehow only sparked from within and not an element molded by the experiences and lessons from life.

The world around us is a bottomless pit of discovery, with every new encounter leaving us a new impression and a fresh outlook. Yet, entrepreneurs and business owners tend to forget that their “creative spark” was ignited by their environment — by the people and conversations around them — and not from some untouched segment of their brain.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The inner-city detour, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Worcester Weekly: ‘Evita,’ Redcoats and Creative Hub Kick-Off, Aug. 6-12

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

Road trip!

Sunday, Aug. 6 — Redcoats & Rebels, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge  Am I the only one who thinks President Trump would be super-confused by OSV? It all seems so real. Does the Mass Pike get us back to 2017?! Get me a flux capacitor for The Beast, stat! Being so close to the drug-infested dens of New Hampshire, though, maybe he’ll just think he’s hallucinating off a contact high.

Inbox [Aug. 6-12]: News and notes from American Cancer Society, Assumption, Auburn and Solomon Pond malls, Hanover Theatre, UMass Medical School, state

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.

American Cancer Society honors Worcester business leader

The American Cancer Society recently honored Kham Inthirath of Northbridge with a Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award.

The award recognizes Inthirath’s accomplishments in support of its mission to celebrate and save lives and to lead the fight for a world without cancer.

Kham Inthirath

Courtesy of American Cancer Society

Kham Inthirath, right, receives the Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award from Holly Grant, executive director, American Cancer Society.

As founder and president of Worcester-based Envision Digital Group, Inthirath donated the services of his digital marketing agency to produce compelling videos to illustrate the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events in Worcester and Boston in 2016 as well as the Real Men Wear Pink of Worcester Reveal Party.

Inbox [Aug. 2]: News and notes from East Side CDC, Worcester Wares, WPI, Holy Cross, MassDiGI, Ninety Nine and YOU Inc.

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.

East Side CDC lands $125K in Brownfields funding

Worcester East Side Community Development Corp. recently received $125,000 in Brownfields Redevelopment funding.

The award was one of nine worth $1.5 million from the Baker-Polito administration.

East Side CDC will use the award for assessment of a site that will become eight units of garden-style, handicap-accessible housing for extremely low-income or potential homeless residents while they continue to receive supportive services from the Department of Mental Health.

Read the entire story on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website

Worcester Wares calling for artists

Sina-cism: A bevy of beach options for bibliophiles

It’s the height of summer, and before the long days, beach retreats and campground sojourns pass us completely by, I am — as I did last summer — offering nine suggestions for your vacation reading. The first eight are books I’ve read between June and September in years gone by.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

It takes optimism to push reading.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Time Use Survey, Americans in 2016 spent an average of about 17 minutes per day reading. On the brighter side, at least we’re still buying books. Nielsen BookScan reported in January that sales of print books rose 3.3 percent in 2016 over the previous year.

Check out: Last year’s summer reading list

My purpose isn’t to induce you to read eight books. If you read just one of the following, or even enjoy and derive value from one chapter or even a single page of any of these, my goal will have been met.

Last year I avoided being too serious, but I think 2017 demands seriousness. If you’re looking for light beach reading, I cannot help. If you want books to engage your political sensibilities, improve your mental health and make you think, read on.

Worcester Weekly: #Worcester100, Lobsta Laughs + more, July 30-Aug. 5

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

Quick note: Worcester Restaurant Week — which is actually two weeks long, because, y’know, math’s not our strong suit here in the Heart of the Commonwealth — begins Monday. If you didn’t know that already, you should probably just make it official and move to Springfield.

Tuesday, Aug. 1 — Medicinal Flora of Massachusetts exhibit, 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. North  Boy, those doctors and scientists and researchers sure are clever. Excellent timing, too. Just as Gov. Charlie Baker finally signed the divisive and much-anticipated legal marijuana bill late last week, the smartypants down at UMass aim to highlight lesser-known herbal remedies that can be found among the Bay State’s greenery.

Dismas House

Inbox [July 30-Aug. 5]: News and notes from Worcester Art Museum, WBDC, Dismas House, Clark, Burncoat, Doherty, Shepherd Hill and UMass Medical School

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 Art Museum offers free admission in August

The Worcester Art Museum announced the continuation of one of its most popular summertime traditions: free admission for the month of August.

“Free August” includes access to special exhibitions, the permanent galleries, and WAM’s August programming — including Art + Market, tours, Art Carts, arms and armor demonstrations, and Nude Drawing in the Galleries.

A Mother’s Journey: The inner-city detour

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

The gap between rich and the poor affects all aspects of American life. While it should never impact a child’s chance to receive a good education, there remains an obvious schism at the center of many a school-related controversy.

A pronounced funding rift is often cited as the main reason behind failing or underperforming schools, and more and more seems to be among the top determinants — along with parent engagement, which also lags in lower-income areas — of whether a child will excel in school or fall into the cracks of the nation’s achievement gap.

Founding The Learning Hub was an attempt to break through the barriers of financial disadvantages and shine a light on a group of students in inner cities that otherwise lack key supportive academic services.

From personal experience, I learned higher-income cities and towns equal more academic support services and better schools, while low-income towns and cities like Worcester consistently lack similar supports and struggling students are shuffled up through the ranks of what I see as a failing school system.

Last August, The Atlantic published, “Good School, Rich School; Bad School, Poor School,” and it remains one of my consistent motivators since launching The Hub. The article looks at the state of Connecticut and breaks down the school system based on location. It ultimately leads to an unsurprising finding: schools in better neighborhoods receive better access to wraparound services while schools in poor neighborhoods are left wanting.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The look of leadership, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Worcester Weekly: Helping refugees, Canal District veggies + more, July 23-29

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

Road trip!

Sunday, July 23 — 2017 DockDogs Day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Klem’s, 117 W. Main St., Spencer  Tommy used to work on the docks. Guess you could say, he’s been down on his luck — especially since the union went on strike. And without Tommy — or Bon Jovi — around the docks, well, they’ve gone to the dogs. It’s tough.