Editorial: Science deserves healthy support

It’s hard to understand such a severe cut as President Trump proposes for the National Institutes of Health.

Science is one thing in our country that is going right. And though it requires patience and investment, research that could help us crack disease mysteries and develop treatments has powerful quality-of-life potential.

That is the kind of research the NIH undertakes and supports. And yet, the president wants to cut more than $7.7 billion from its budget next year. He also has proposed cutbacks to other science efforts.

We urge Congress, which has thankfully signalled some pushback on the matter, to protect the NIH — and the many labs reliant on it, including some cutting-edge ones here in Worcester — from this wound.

At a roundtable discussion with political leaders Wednesday, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Michael F. Collins offered some excellent reasons to oppose the president’s 22-percent cut in NIH’s budget for 2018: innovation, medical progress, the health and wellbeing of patients, and the local economy.

Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field

Inbox [Aug. 16] News and notes from Primetals, Bravehearts, Youth Council, WCLOC, Mass. Academy of Math & Science, and You Inc.

Primetals receives $228K state training grant

Recipient of one of the largest training grants from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Primetals Technologies will implement training for both new and existing employees at its Worcester facilities.

Training will include problem-solving skills, continuous improvement, lean certification, tooling and time and task management and will continue through the end of 2019. The grant, worth nearly $228,000, was one of 111 awarded, totaling $7.9 million. Grants are matched by award recipients.

Production employees will attend interactive online classes for specific competencies, engaging with video, audio and relevant images that include CNC simulators mirroring existing equipment at its manufacturing facilities at 40 Crescent St., Worcester.

Teaching art: An artist’s ritual

“Collage Variations,” an ArtsWorcester exhibit currently on display at the Hadley features the work of artist and art educator Lizzie Fortin, who spoke with us about her exhibit and overall artistic practice.

Lizzie Fortin’s dynamic and bold 8-by-8-inch mixed-media collages are all unique and eye-catching. A variety of bold shades, textures and images play against carefully selected and layered text that may come from various ephemera glued to the surface.

Her pieces evoke an intense sense of curiosity, with the desire to keep investigating closer to see if one can draw conclusions from the energetic and fractured contexts.

Fortin’s artwork is featured in the three-person exhibit “Collage Variations.” Ten of her incredible mixed-media collages are on display in the Hadley Building at 657 Main St., in a show with two other artists, Susan Black and Leonard Gerwick, exhibited by ArtsWorcester.

Veterans Inc.

Editorial: On Grove Street, an enduring and worthy cause

Many of us welcome any opportunity to thank our military veterans. In Worcester, through Veterans Inc., we also have an opportunity to serve them.

That opportunity will ramp up this fall. The agency expects to begin a capital campaign to renovate its Grove Street headquarters.

This is a worthy endeavor.

Veterans Inc. has proved its mettle for more than 25 years, bringing former servicemen and women back from the brink of homelessness, joblessness, addiction and loneliness.

“This place is magic,” U.S. Navy veteran James Whitley said in a recent video posted on the agency’s website. He is among many thousands of veterans from the Worcester area and throughout New England who have found camaraderie, caring, and life-changing assistance via Veterans Inc.

Niki Tsongas

On Beacon Hill: Something to talk about

National Conference of State Legislatures

Sam Doran/State House News Service

The House Chamber was packed on Monday with legislative clerks from around the world who visited Boston for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Participating in a mock parliamentary session, from left, were Nigerian legislative officer Ramatu Ahmad, Ladi Hamalai of Nigeria’s Institute for Legislative Studies, and Aisha Mohammed of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.


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

The summer of 2007 in the Merrimack Valley was a time for backyard “PicNikis” and evening gatherings to get the latest “Tscoop On Tsongas” over a cone of your favorite flavor.

U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas was mounting her first campaign for public office to succeed Marty Meehan — now the president of the University of Massachusetts system — in Congress, and the heat was on. Anything to get a crowd.

Fast-forward 10 years, and Tsongas found a different way to break the August monotony, announcing Wednesday that she would not be seeking a seventh full term to the U.S. House of Representatives. Just like that, Tsongas plugged the void of late summer on Beacon Hill, giving its denizens something to wag their tongues about.

Many state legislators spent the week shuttling between the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the city’s varied landmarks, playing policy wonks by day and hosts with the most by night.

Legislative leaders wined and dined 6,000 of their colleagues from around the country at places like Fenway Park, the New England Aquarium and more as the National Conference of State Legislatures swept in and out of the city, leaving solid policy ideas, first impressions of Boston, and bar tabs in its wake.

But it was Tsongas — and more intriguingly, who might succeed her — that was the talk of the town.

Niki Tsongas

Niki Tsongas

Tsongas, in some ways, rode her famous last name to the halls of Capitol Hill. Her late husband, Paul Tsongas, held the same seat before being elected to the Senate and making a failed run for president in 1992.

But over the past decade, she made a name for herself. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Tsongas became a champion for veterans and, based on the accolades that poured in, a devotee to constituent services.

Given the rarity of open Congressional seats in Massachusetts, it would be political malfeasance for anyone who has ever harbored any ambition to go to Washington, D.C., to not at least think about what it would take to win the Tsongas seat next year. That’s probably why one needs more than two hands to count the number of elected, non-elected and former elected officials said to be weighing their options.

The list starts with the cast of characters who finished behind Tsongas in the 2007 special election Democratic primary. Sen. Eileen Donoghue, who finished second in that primary, and Sen. Jamie Eldridge and former Sen. Barry Finegold all said they are considering another run at the seat.

Massachusetts Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, also came in hot, quickly announcing that she was “eagerly exploring” the possibility of a campaign, and has been joined by 2014 lieutenant governor nominee Stephen Kerrigan; Meehan’s ex-wife and community hospital consultant Ellen Murphy Meehan; and City Hall “Boy Wonder” Dan Koh, chief of staff to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose well-known family hails from Andover.

The Third Congressional District, thanks in part to redistricting, will surely not be a solely Democratic affair, however. Republicans weighing a run, or looked to as possible candidates, include Mass Fiscal Alliance founder Rick Green, Sal’s Pizza founder Sal Lupoli and Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke.

Central Mass. cities and towns in the Third Congressional District include  Ashburnham, Berlin, Bolton, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Harvard, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Westminster and parts of Winchendon. Also, Ashby, Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Shirley, Stow and Townsend.

It’s hard to say how quickly the field might come together, given the ample time Tsongas has afforded her would-be successors, but many of the elected politicians and someone like Koh will have to weigh a shot at a Congressional seat against giving up the office or job they now hold.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Senate hosts panel to discuss health-care cost containment
  • McGovern on North Korea; Chandler honored
  • Boston-area inflation hits 2.2 percent in the past year
  • Safety, profiling concerns swirl over immigrant detainer bill

Worcester Weekly: Battle of Badges, Party for ALS + more, Aug. 13-19

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

Sunday, Aug. 13 — Civil War Movie Series: “Glory,” 4-6 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Nothing like a light-hearted, fun summer flick to help you forget August is half over already. Or you could go the other way, and immerse yourself in the harrowing, humbling experiences and selfless heroics of one of America’s most historically significant Army regiments. (Then again, watching Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes try to act like soldiers is kind of funny.)

Inbox [Aug. 13-19] | News and notes from Quinsigamond CC, UMass Medical School, Worcester Economic Club, Center for Living & Working, Elder Services, Kasy Auto Sales and accounting camp

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.

Quinsigamond CC adds CSET lab in Southbridge

Quinsigamond Community College’s Southbridge campus recently added a Computer Systems Engineering Technology (CSET) lab. This lab will exclusively be dedicated to the college’s growing CSET program, which is being launched in Southbridge this fall.

“We are continuing to offer more opportunities for QCC students to attain their CSET career objectives. Bringing more CSET course offerings to the Southbridge campus is something that we have been working hard to make a reality,” said QCC Dean of Business, Engineering and Technology Kathy Rentsch.

QCC has met the need for developing more skilled technical workers by developing a comprehensive CSET program that offers four CSET associate degrees and nine certificate programs.

House leader ‘certain’ Mass. sales tax holiday will get another year off

BOSTON — Consumers will get no break on the sales tax from the state of Massachusetts this summer, as lawmakers opt for the second year in a row to forego a tax holiday weekend.

Revenue Committee Chairman Jay Kaufman confirmed that August will pass without what has been in recent years a semi-annual tradition of suspending the sales tax for one weekend.

“I would say that’s certain,” Kaufman, a Lexington Democrat, told State House News Service. “I don’t see how there could be one since there’s no possibility of us having a hearing and a session to vote for one, so there will be no sales tax holiday this year.”

Editorial: Out with the old, in with the new?

Last Wednesday, the Worcester Planning Board gave its approval to Roseland Residential Trust’s plan to build 84 units of housing on the site of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church. This brings Worcester one step closer to the demolition of the Salem Square landmark.

The previous day, Worcester Magazine reported that Mayor Joseph M. Petty will ask the City Council to “support in principle the relocation of the Red Sox Triple-A baseball team to Worcester including building a stadium to accommodate this team and further, request the City Manager do all that is reasonably in his power to facilitate this move.”

It would certainly be convenient to view these developments independently. In this way, we would not see the similarities and differences that tell a lot about the priorities of the city’s leaders and what they seem to believe residents want.

Inbox [Aug. 9]: News and notes from Worcester jail, Greenwood Industries, Ball Consulting, Spectrum Health, WCTI, WCAC and Worcester Common Ground

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 County House of Correction receives funding for new opioid use program

The Worcester County House of Correction is one of five in the state that will receive $100,000 to provide a wide range of pre- and post-release treatment and recovery services for incarcerated individuals with an opioid use disorder who are within two months of release.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced the Medication Assisted Treatment Re-Entry Initiative for Houses of Correction (MATRI-HOC) program on Monday.