Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 161]: Worcester’s dirty little secret

There’s always lots going in Worcester. Union Station and the commuter rail, new restaurants, PCBs, sanctuary city status and City Hall open mic nights.

While we all revel in the Railers’ future hockey glory and fret over the fates of beloved landmarks like Mount Carmel and Notre Dame churches, there’s one Little Headline That Could earnestly steaming toward an unsightly conclusion.

Hitch had to roll up his sleeves for this one.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 160]: Paying tribute, with Bill Coleman

Worcester’s favorite perennial political runner-up and adjunct public servant is a regular presence, well, pretty much anywhere in the city.

But mostly at City Council meetings, where he tries to keep councilors on the ball and constantly stokes awareness for often important under-the-radar issues. Sometimes, though, Coleman’s suggestions miss the mark — such as his recent request to more than double the mayor’s salary.

Hitch, predictably, found that notion for the birds.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 159]: Grin and bear with us

Black bears are on the comeback in Massachusetts. Down to about 100 in the early 1970s thanks to wide-open hunting regulations, New England’s only bear species now numbers more than 4,000 — which is fun until one of them shows up in your backyard.

Generally unwilling to engage with us humans, the powerful creatures are still a bad match for the ever-sprawling suburbs.

If only we could find them a permanent home devoid of two-legged adversaries. Hitch, ever the nature-lover, has an idea.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 158]: Spending (a little) time on Beacon Hill

When we elect our state legislators, we expect certain things from them. We expect them to represent our interests and those of our neighbors and fellow community members with integrity, urgency and forethought.

And when it comes to spending our hard-earned tax dollars, maybe even a little discretion and transparency.

Well, last week, urgency was certainly on display. Hitch, though, is beginning to wonder where all the other qualities went.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 157]: Jim McGovern’s imperfect storm

Local pundits like to joke about U.S. Rep Jim McGovern’s “crime family,” deriding what they see as his undue influence over city government and politics.

Forget Worcester, though. This side of Elizabeth Warren (and due respect to the longer-serving Richard Neal and legacy-holding Joe Kennedy), no state lawmaker wields more D.C. influence than the 11-term congressman.

And in general he uses that high ground to laudable effect. A little birdie tells Hitch, though, that McGovern might be slipping from his lofty perch.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 156]: The Next Greatest Show on Earth

Dating back to its first visits to the city in the late 1800s, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus would parade elephants and other performing animals around the streets of Worcester.

Recently flagging attendance and escalating feuds with animal rights groups conspired to bring down the curtain for good on the once revered circus. Ringling Bros.’s last Worcester show was April 16.

But don’t be sad: Hitch knows just where you can find similar high-wire, fire-breathing entertainment — and it’s smack in the middle of downtown.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 155]: On Marcotte, Early not a moment too soon

Bad things happen to good people — it’s one of those inane platitudes to which we all resort when there’s nothing left to be said. When words couldn’t possibly be enough.

There comes a time, though, when a statement needs to be made.

Worcester District Attorney Joe Early didn’t miss his opportunity recently when his office identified a suspect in Vanessa Marcotte’s death. Hitch got the message, loud and clear.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 154]: Hopping down the bunny trail

Your job is the worst, right? Everybody thinks that at some point, but let’s face it: some occupations are harder than others.

Coal miners. Nuclear submarine engineers. Sean Spicer. Be glad your thankless 9-to-5 keeps you out of those depths. But the Easter Bunny — how cool would it be to have that gig?!

Funny you ask, because Hitch was wondering the same thing.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 153]: Death, taxes and the American dream

It won’t be long now before the last of your procrastinating friends puts the finishing touches on their 1040A and hustles it into government hands just under the wire.

Sunday’s Spot: On the Midtown Mall

Sure, new services and technology make the daunting process a little easier every year, but then, the more things change the more they stay the same. Right? And those government hands — they’ll always be looking for more.

Hitch has a few tips to get you through this and many Aprils to come.

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Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 152]: The continuing saga of the Midtown Mall

For better or worse, reputations tend to stick.

For instance, here at the Sun we’ve been saddled with the growing perception that we provide the city’s best, most thoughtful commentary, engaging storytelling and comprehensive reporting. Such is life.

Years of neglect, simmering criminal activity and public ambivalence have painted a decidedly different picture for the once estimable downtown destination.

Hitch takes a stroll along Front Street for a closer look.