Editorial: Oohs and aahs for ofo

Oof, those seven hills!

Other than that, ofo’s arrival in Worcester signals a city coasting smoothly forward.

On Thursday, the Beijing-based company launched its bike-sharing program in a ceremony at City Hall, capping months of preparing and research helped by local leaders and scholars. The stars of the cheerful kickoff were dozens of bright-yellow ofo bikes, ready to get going under the guidance of anyone over the age of 18 with a smartphone, a dollar and an hour.

A little ofo 101 is in order. Don’t be fooled: These substantial, simply styled bicycles may look old-fashioned, but they’re as high-tech as they come.

Shrewsbury Republican looks to life experience in bid to knock off McGovern

A Shrewsbury Republican kicked off his bid against U.S. Rep. James McGovern last weekend and is pledging to bring a personal approach to issues like immigration and opioid addiction.

Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, who owns a childcare center, held his campaign launch in Leominster on Saturday. The father of an adopted child born addicted to heroin and the husband of a Colombian immigrant who entered the United States illegally, Sossa-Paquette said his life experiences have shaped his policy views.

“I’m going to come out and tell the truth, and I’m going to show people from experience, not just come out and say ‘Well, I’m a politician and I want to do these things,’ ” Sossa-Paquette said in an interview. “Not only do I want to do these things, this has been my life.”

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

Older patients who had suffered a stroke had lost the ability to speak, but would still be able to sing. Patients who have been unable to walk have found their stride with the assistance of the center’s music therapy. These stories aren’t as improbable as they seem. “Music activates both sides of the brain,” said Kayla Daly, owner/director. “Music can re-create new neural connections in the brain.”

Editorial: What’s next for North Main Street?

The revitalization of downtown as a retail center and destination has been dealt a double dose of disheartening disclosures in the past week.

The first was the announcements that Shack’s, the iconic clothier at Main and Mechanic streets, will close its doors for the final time on Sept. 30.

The second was that its bookend on North Main Street, Elwood Adams Hardware, 156 Main St., will also close as early as the end of September.

It is too soon to tell whether these closing are harbingers of more bad news or simply unrelated events. However, the history of the businesses that are closing — Shack’s has been in business 89 years and Elwood Adams opened in 1782 — should give us pause.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 197]: Winds of change hit downtown landmarks

Mother Nature has spared us New Englanders for now as historic Hurricane Irma mercifully sputters to her demise over the Southeast after Harvey’s similarly destructive sojourn.

But natural disasters aren’t the only thing powerful enough to spin Worcester’s world upside down.

In the span of six days we learned that Shack’s clothing store and Elwood Adams Hardware — and their combined 324 years of Main Street history — are not long for downtown.

A gut punch to the city’s soul. Hitch, for one, was whipped into a frenzy over the news.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 196]: Big question looming over Worcester election

Having our voices heard in the Democratic process has been a touchstone of American values since a bunch of angry Bostonians took out their frustrations on a shipment of tea.

And every time an election or town meeting or referendum comes up, the chorus begins anew: The right to vote is a privilege too sacrosanct to take for granted.

So, what should we expect in a preliminary race loaded with serious, qualified and interesting candidates? Hitch has an idea.

The Muse is inspired to remain a part of Worcester’s downtown revival

Upon opening its doors two years ago, The Muse, 536 Main St., across the street from Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, intended to build upon the momentum of the city’s revitalization plans.

Coming to Federal Square during the much-ballyhooed “downtown renaissance,” The Muse owners John Rinaldo and Matt Kingman set forth to be a part of the bigger picture. Cultivating a brand based on the anticipated vibes of new visitors and returning friends with hip cocktails and craft beer, The Muse has added something flagrantly unique to the urban lifestyle trend in Worcester.

Coupled with its tight embrace of the city’s flourishing arts scene, The Muse quickly set itself apart from the typical Worcester bar.

With more than 30 years of hospitality experience and a hearty helping of inspiration from other forward-thinking business owners like Alec Lopez, owner of Armsby Abbey and The Dive, Rinaldo saw Worcester for what it truly is: a blank canvas.

Painting frames pathway to healing: Local artist Campion seeks to end silence of sexual assault

“Love who you are,” a painting by Jane M. Campion, who is a young, vibrant professional and practicing artist, inspires survivors of sexual assault, according to the painting’s owner, Quiana Langley-Carr, who keeps it prominently displayed on her office wall at Pathways for Change Inc.

A couple of years ago, Jane was showing some of her paintings at Electric Haze, a Green Island bar and live music venue. Jane always believed she was meant to reach out and help others through her art, but little did she know that selling this painting to Langley-Carr, who is Pathways’ hotline and volunteer coordinator, would be the catalyst for a new future.

Courtesy Jane M. Campion

“Love who you are,” by Jane M. Campion

Jane remembers having several childhood friends who went through a lot of trauma, and she was sometimes even a witness to those events. She says what a lot of people don’t realize is that, when we hurt, our family hurts and our friends hurt. In college, Jane became a women’s studies and multicultural studies major.

Sina-cism: DACA’s demise clears way for real reform

The world in 2017 is too populous, complex and dangerous a place to simply admit anyone who claims to share our ideals. There are rules to be followed.
Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program is not about cruelty. It’s not about sending the “best and brightest” back to countries where they have no ties of family, culture, or language. It’s not about damaging the economy.

The end of DACA — which will be done as an orderly, six-month phase-out — is about respecting the rule of law and forcing Congress to do its job.

In 2012, President Obama, frustrated by Congress’ failure to adequately address the fate of millions of illegal aliens, issued an executive order creating DACA. The program encouraged those with no legal claim to be in the United States to come out of the shadows and apply for a work permit and a two-year (renewable) period during which they could not be deported.

Many, including myself, warned then that DACA was a bad idea. By circumventing Congress, Obama was giving hope to millions, but without conferring any of the rights citizens enjoy. By encouraging illegals to come forward, the government was gaining key information that could come back to haunt those very people should there be a change in policy.

Related Sina-cism: The real line on immigration, and how Obama crossed it

Some say that haunting has now begun.