Seven Hills

Inbox [Oct. 8-14]: News and notes from Seven Hills and Children’s Friend, UniBank, Assumption, city and UMass Medical, Becker, QCC, Anna Maria

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Children’s Friend affiliates with Seven Hills Foundation

Worcester-based Children’s Friend recently became an affiliate of Seven Hills Foundation. Children’s Friend provides high-level professional mental health services, adoption and related services, grief support, and early education and care for approximately 1,000 infants, toddlers and preschool children throughout Central Mass.

“Children’s Friend will continue to serve the Central Mass. community as it has for decades; offering care and comfort to children, adolescents and families,” said Dr. David Jordan, President of Seven Hills Foundation. “Children’s Friend has for many years served as the beacon for children’s programs and services. The partnership we now share together will only further that.”

Seven Hills Foundation offers program sites at 170 locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island and employs nearly 3,800. It offers a continuum of support and services to 28,000 children, adults and seniors with disabilities and other life challenges through its 12 affiliate organizations.

Chandler-backed birth control bill gains traction, would increase access

BOSTON — The morning-after emergency contraception pill would be as accessible as a flu shot in Massachusetts and birth control pills could be purchased in 12-month supplies, under compromise legislation agreed to by the insurance industry and reproductive rights advocates.

The compromise does not include provisions in an earlier version (S 499/H536) of the legislation that would have mandated free condoms with insurance coverage and vasectomies without co-pays, according to supporters.

“We have again put Massachusetts in the prime position to lead,” Elana Margolis, a lobbyist for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said at a press conference before a Financial Services Committee hearing on the legislation Tuesday.

Inbox [Oct. 4]: News and notes from National Grid, Holy Name and WPI, Sen. Chandler, Research Bureau, AdCare, Anna Maria, UniBank

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Energy storage product to debut at Holy Name tomorrow

Tomorrow, National Grid and Vionx Energy will introduce a premier energy storage project developed in partnership with Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School and WPI.

The project will demonstrate a multi-hour, battery-based energy storage system that will capture and store for later use the power generated by the 600 kW wind turbine located at Holy Name.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will join Bishop Robert J. McManus, Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson, state and local elected officials and representatives of National Grid, Vionx, WPI and Holy Name during a ceremony at 10 a.m. at Holy Name, 144 Granite St.

Worcester Weekly: AbilityFest, Holy Cross football + more, Oct. 1-7

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

Sunday, Oct. 1 — AbilityFest 2017, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Institute Park, Salisbury Street, between Park and Humboldt Avenues  For more than six decades, the Seven Hills Foundation has helped people from all walks of life “See, Believe and Achieve,” no matter their myriad challenges. And for the third year running, they will highlight that message with a 5K road race and the Murphy Mile Walk (registration is closed).

Wikimedia Commons

Institute Park is set to host the third annual Seven Hills Foundation AbilityFest.

What you’ll be going for are the family-fun activities, exhibitors, vendors and live music from Worcester’s own My Silent Bravery — and to support the tremendous work of Seven Hills and the remarkable achievements of the folks they support. Free and open to the public.

Bancroft Tower

Inbox [Oct. 1-7]: News and notes from Park Spirit, city of Worcester, You Inc., Becker, Clark, Greyhound, UniBank and St. Peter-Marian

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Bancroft Tower open Sundays in October

Bancroft Tower at Salisbury Park will be open to the public today and every Sunday in October. The event is sponsored by Park Spirit.

The inside of the tower, normally closed to the public, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Park Spirit members are eligible for early access at 9 a.m.

Within the tower, historical displays created by students from Bancroft School will highlight the landmark’s past and pay tribute to the tower’s namesake, George Bancroft. Individuals will be guided to the turret to take in one of the best views of Worcester and enjoy the fall foliage.

Volunteers will also be on site to supervise the visit, while surveying visitors’ thoughts on Bancroft Tower, Salisbury Park and what kind of programming they would like to see there.

From left, Sharon Davenport, Stephen DeVincent, Andrew Klein and Dennis Vanasse

Inbox [Sept. 27]: News and notes from Worcester State, MCPHS and Worcester Public Schools, Women Out in Worcester, Literacy Volunteers, Anna Maria

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Michael Sam to kick off Worcester State Diversity Lecture Series

Michael Sam, the University of Missouri football star who became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, will kick off Worcester State University’s Diversity Lecture Series this morning.

Sam’s presentation, “From Hitchcock High to the NFL: I am Michael Sam,” will take place 11:30 a.m. today at May Street Banquet Hall, 486 Chandler St.

Michael Sam

Courtesy of Worcester State University

Michael Sam will kick off the Worcester State University Diversity Lecture Series on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Sam has become an inspirational icon for inclusion and a spokesperson for the LGBTQ community, and received ESPN’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPY’s. Sam offers the story of how he kept his sexuality a secret as a small-town Texas football star, then leveraged his personal strength to come out publicly, and the lessons he’s learned.

The incredible journey of Augustine Kanjia continues … My School of Hard Knocks

Mr. Gabriel Amara, the kind principal I’d met at Christ the King College secondary school in Bo, was now the head of Yengema Secondary School, another of Sierra Leone’s top Catholic schools.

Augustine Kanjia

Though he had encouraged me to end my school-search odyssey by applying to the Yengema school, he decided now that there was no space for me — I was too late. I could have attended Christ the King if my mother and stepfather were still living in Bo, but he had been transferred to the Port Loko police.

I looked around the compound and saw some of the friends I’d played soccer with back at the Motema elementary school. Well, God knew I had tried to find myself a school. I felt this was only the beginning of my manhood. The path would be longer, but it was clear. A letter and my entrance exam results were sent to the principal at Sewafe Secondary School.

I’d already been to Bo, Daru and Segbwema. Sewafe was another diamond-mining town in the Eastern Province. The principal was the Rev. Austin Healy.

When everyone had entered their classrooms, I quickly walked out of the door to zoom home to Motema again. Our new family home was near completion. Our illicit brewing of “Omolé” persisted because the house was very large and still needed more work.

That morning, I left with the intention that I would stay in school all day. I was wrong. I did not have the school uniform, nor did I have the admission. I returned to Motema in tears. A lot worked on my mind. It was all geared toward my return to school. It was hard for me. My grandmother was waiting for good news.

Augustine’s last chapter: Will My School Dreams Become a Nightmare?  Or scroll down to catch up on earlier posts in the remarkable tale.

On Beacon Hill: No way, Jose — a cloudy forecast for health care

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

Storm clouds were moving in, literally and figuratively, when Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker walked out of Faneuil Hall and met the quartet of reporters waiting by his car last Wednesday morning.

After the governor posed for a photo with a group attending the Recovery Day event he just addressed while taking a few questions, his press aide told the reporters the governor had to get going and had time for just one last question.

Baker added as the wind picked up, “it’s also going to start raining on all of us.”

The literal storm clouds threatening to drench that cobblestone scrum were from Jose, the spitfire tropical storm moving up from the south. Behind that storm loomed the specter of another redrafted Obamacare repeal bill in Congress that could harm Massachusetts to the tune of billions of dollars — this one taking the name Graham-Cassidy — on its way to the Senate floor in Washington, D.C.

“Graham-Cassidy would be, as it’s currently conceived … a huge problem for the commonwealth of Mass.,” said Baker, the popular governor whose party has been promising to pass such a bill for years. “And it’s my hope that it doesn’t pass.”

About five miles away in Chelsea last week, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren warned of a “staggeringly irresponsible” bill that would turn Medicaid into a block-grant program and reduce federal funding to Massachusetts, according to the senator, by an estimated $5 billion over 10 years.

“We are looking at the perfect storm in terms of education budgets in the coming year,” Chelsea schools Superintendent Mary Bourque said, not in reference to the approaching tropical storm. Graham-Cassidy would result in a loss of $700,000 in Medicaid reimbursements that go into her school budget, she said.

(With U.S. Sen. John McCain’s Friday announcement that he would not be supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill, the forecast for Bay State health care — and Baker’s popularity — got a bit sunnier. If only for a while.)

In about 13 months, Baker and Warren will most likely be the highest-profile candidates on their respective party’s ticket. But last week, with the threat of block-granting Medicaid bearing down, they were on the same page.

The Republican governor has joined with Bay State Democrats in resisting GOP-sponsored healthcare bills targeting Obamacare, a position that U.S. Senate Democrats have made part of their resistance to the new GOP bill.

Baker’s friends in the GOP, such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, are using Massachusetts as leverage to try to drum up support for the bill.

“Four states under Obamacare get 40 percent of the money — New York, California, Massachusetts and Maryland,” Graham said. “If that bothers you, this is a chance to do something about it.”

The U.S. Senate, despite the McCain blockbuster, is still planning to vote on Graham-Cassidy this week, before the Sept. 30 deadline to pass a repeal bill with a simple majority. At the end of the week, depending on how the Senate votes, only one of the following will be cheering: the Republican Party or Baker, a GOP member.

While Baker still hasn’t said whether he is going to run for reelection next year, plenty of others have turned their sights to the 2018 election.

Activists are trying to compel action on a state sales tax cut, a new income surtax on millionaires and an increase in the minimum wage, issues that don’t lend themselves very well to a governor taking a firm position — and remaining the nation’s most popular state leader — heading into an election year.

Unlike his advocacy on federal health care reform that’s made some waves, Baker has tried to calm the waters back home. He hasn’t staked out a firm position on those three issues he could be sharing space with on next year’s ballot.

— Colin A. Young


  • Health care in the crosshairs
  • Markey and Sanders on Graham-Cassidy, Healey on DeVos
  • Challenging Baker, Warren eyes Worcester-Amazon marriage
  • Watch: Polito on ‘Fight for $15’
  • Evangelidis named head of Massport board

Sina-cism: May ‘We the People’ never lose our Constitutional voice

You know people really care about something when they can’t stop talking about it. For 230 years, we the people of the United States have been talking about the Constitution. That ongoing discussion was renewed once again last Sunday night at Millbury’s Asa Waters Mansion.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Roger Desrosiers, a retired Millbury High School history teacher and president of the Massachusetts Center for Civic Education, led a Citizen Lyceum program that focused on the status of the Constitution today.

Founded in 1987, MCCE is a private, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that promotes civic education in the state’s public and private schools, courtrooms and communities, primarily through the well-known “We the People” program for students.

Sunday’s event was geared for adult learners. The venue and title were apt, for it was in Millbury in 1826 — the same year construction of the Waters Mansion began — that Connecticut native Josiah Holbrook founded the “Millbury Lyceum No. 1.” Holbrook had studied chemistry and mineralogy at Yale under the great naturalist Benjamin Silliman, later learned farming, and became an itinerant lecturer throughout New England. His mission was simple: provide a common education to the common man.

Worcester Weekly: Oktoberfest, Worcester State football + more, Sept. 24-30

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

Tuesday, Sept. 26 — Architectural Scavenger Hunt, 5-7:30 p.m., Leo’s Ristorante, 11 Leo Turo Way  There are so many new buildings going up in Worcester, it can be easy to forget about the treasure trove of historic, intriguing and captivating old buildings that continue to lend character, culture and rising heating bills to every hilly neighborhood and winding one-way street in the city.