Solar farm

Inbox [Aug. 20-26] News and notes from Assumption, city of Worcester, Greater Worcester Our Revolution, Quinsigamond CC, 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.

Worcester’s economy grows in 2nd quarter

Following a slow start to the year, the Worcester Economic Index, a quarterly economic analysis compiled by Assumption College Professor of Economics Thomas White, Ph.D., has shown that the greater Worcester economy grew at a modest clip during the second quarter of 2017. Since March, the WEI is up 1.1 percent on an annualized basis.

The WEI is estimated using Bureau of Labor Statistics data on employment and unemployment in the Worcester metropolitan area. The unemployment rate slightly increased to 4.6 percent in June while household employment has gone up by 6,400. The BLS payroll survey also showed an increase of 4,200 jobs since June 2016.

“The data shows a labor market that is steady but without much growth, which is the reason the WEI grew at a modest 1.1 percent rate during the second quarter,” White said.

Worcester Weekly: Solar eclipse, Holy Cross soccer + more, Aug. 20-26

Monday, Aug. 21 — Solar Eclipse on the Common, 1:30-3 p.m., Worcester Common Oval, behind City Hall, 455 Main St.  First of all the “path of totality” sounds like something out of a Superman comic story arc. (It would also make another strong entry in the omnipresent “great name for a band” debate.) Alas, it merely describes the course of a rare, awe-inspiring event, sponsored by Mother Nature.

Wikimedia Commons/Tomruen

Watch an uncommon event on the Common as people will gather behind City Hall to watch tomorrow’s solar eclipse.

While Worcester-area viewers won’t get a clean glimpse of the first total solar eclipse to dawn over America since 1979 (and the first to span the contiguous United States since 1918), there’s still reason to party. So head downtown, meet up with your favorite lawyer, social worker or purveyor of gentrification, and add a dollop of community atop your scientific fascination.

For more information

Wednesday, Aug. 23 — Canal District Music Series with Toni Lynn Washington, 6-8:30 p.m., behind Crompton Collective, 138 Green St.  It would be completely understandable for anyone to have at least a nagging case of the blues lately. Summer vacation has been usurped by back-to-school sales. Nobody has eclipse glasses in stock. Then there’s Trump v. Sanity in the High Court of Public Opinion.

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.

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

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.

Moore-backed bill would strengthen campus sex assault protections

BOSTON — With an eye on Washington, the state Senate gave initial approval Monday to a bill that would cement Title IX statutes in Massachusetts and take protections for college students who are victims of sexual violence a step further.

The bill, S 2081, would require a public or private higher education institution to include procedures to report or disclose an incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking as part of its campus security policy, and track how those allegations are handled.

Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Worcester, is a sponsor of the bill, which would cost up to $1 million to implement. Moore, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, suggested the bill could protect Massachusetts in the event of changes in federal policies.

“There are a lot of philosophical changes in how regulations are being applied and federally this is one area they talk about looking at. We don’t know what could happen with regulations as far as Title IX goes and by passing this we would be able to codify protections students currently have and enhance them,” Moore said.

Inbox [July 26]: News and notes from city of Worcester, UMass Medical School, Worcester Police and Fire, Family Health Center and WCAC

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.

West Nile found in mosquitoes in Worcester

West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected in Worcester, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health told city officials on Tuesday. No humans have tested positive for the virus.

DPH found positive mosquito samples in the northeastern and southeastern quadrants of the city. During the summer months, DPH collects routine samples of mosquitoes to monitor for West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

West Nile is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While West Nile can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

The Final Chapter for Worcester Public Libraries: 193-year-old institution being razed

Wondering what the future could hold for city libraries and the books that line their walls? Find out with author BJ Hill in the Sun’s serial glimpse into the fantastic (and mostly fictional) possibilities of a not-so distant tomorrow.

WORCESTER, July 19, 2052 — Scores of people gathered on the Worcester Common throughout the day Friday to witness the demolition of the Worcester Public Library Main Branch. Aside from the college campus depositories, the building, built in 1964, was the last standing public library in the city and the largest library in Central Massachusetts. The teardown is part of Beacon Hill’s cost-cutting plan to close and consolidate libraries across the Commonwealth.

Sun Serials | Ray Mariano | Free to Read

Begun in 2040, the “10-year plan” aggregates local libraries’ physical materials into four regional centers: Whately, Worcester, Waltham and Wellfleet. Samples of books, including works of local history and genealogy, have been reviewed, categorized and transferred to the Region C Information Distribution Center, formerly the Greendale Mall. Relocation and storage fees are being paid for by Amazon.com, which, in 2041, initiated its ambitious plan to purchase every copy of every known paper-based volume in existence.

Of the old C/W MARS regional consortium, which at one time included more than 149 libraries in Central and Western Mass., only eight buildings remain open to the public: Pittsfield, Leominster, Leicester, West Brookfield, Shrewsbury, Wales, Williamstown and Lenox. All eight are set to close within the next 12 months.

“I understand that it’s sad to see the old libraries go, but we need to start thinking about space in Worcester,” said state Sen. Edward Rodrigues, who voted for the plan. “This move eliminates on building upkeep costs, saves on librarian salaries and benefits, and all but cuts out book purchases. We’ve outsourced all of that — almost for free — and now we can put that prime CitySquare land back on the tax rolls for a new tenant.

In fact, proponents say CitySquare, the sprawling downtown development project, will finally be completed in the next few years.

More What if … Worcester: Gardens and gargoyles: Dilapidated churches grow into urban farms

Baker’s budget vetoes hit Worcester hard

Worcester’s four members of the state House of Representatives last week issued a statement trumpeting a number of spending priorities they were able to include in what was to be the state’s first $40 billion budget.

“I am very pleased with the budget put forth by the House this year, which demonstrates our commitment to exercising fiscal responsibility while making meaningful investments in programs and services that our constituents rely on most,” Rep. Dan Donahue said in the July 12 press release.

By the time Gov. Charlie Baker was through cutting more than $320 million and adjusting tax revenue projections Monday, the Legislature’s proposed $40.2 billion plan had been reined in to a $39.4 billion package — and eight of the 14 “budget priorities” totaling $535,000 in funds highlighted by the city’s delegation were among the vetoes, according to Erik Mayberg, chief of staff for Rep. John Mahoney.

Among the cuts were allocations to community center programs in a trio of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, plus earmarks for UMass Memorial Medical Center and the Worcester Public Library’s bookmobile program.