A Mother’s Journey: The risk-taker’s lament

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one. During her journey to establish and grow her nonprofit tutoring collaborative she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Some of the top jobs in the United States in 2017, according to Glassdoor — based on job openings, salary and overall job satisfaction rating — include mechanical engineer (ranked No. 20), data scientist (No. 1) and a wide range of professions in between. For me, a listing like this gives readers a slightly slanted outlook on prospective careers.

In a ranking of 50 positions on the jobs and recruiting website, there was something missing — one job that matters greatly to a growing economy, but is treated like the stepchild of the workforce.

To no one’s surprise, the term “entrepreneur” doesn’t fit Glassdoor’s list. But for me, it truly is a job title, and one I think deserves more respect. The thing is, entrepreneurs are busy creating, launching and developing many of the jobs so in demand on Glassdoor.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Entrepreneurs make the world turn, and without them, well, we wouldn’t be publishing this article in the Worcester Sun – a business created from scratch by two entrepreneurs.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The gentrification exasperation, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Video: Baker on Amazon HQ2, etc.

The governor talks to reporters about the best location for Amazon’s planned $5 billion-plus headquarters. He also shares opinions on criminal justice reform, an award for disgraced former House speaker Sal DiMasi, and the Red Sox [4 minutes, 28 seconds].

Editorial: Cost of tough-on-crime policies do not add up

Budgets, we’re told by politicians and policy-makers, reflect the priorities and values of the community.

Want children educated? Fund education. Safe streets? Fund public safety. And so on.

But lost in the discussion over our priorities and values is a question central to the efficacy of our government: Is money being spent in a way that achieves the desired results?

It is in this light that we take note of a new study, “The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City,” prepared by MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Using data provided by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department on all of the individuals admitted between 2009 and 2013, the report provides a detailed view of the explicit and implicit costs of the tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 204]: Amazon-to-Worcester talk? It’s a jungle out there

Much like the top Red Sox affiliate moving to the Canal District, the prospect of online retail behemoth Amazon choosing Worcester for the site of its economy-changing HQ2 is a dream almost too sweet to wake up from.

And with visions of so many dollars and jobs and tax breaks dancing in their heads, chins have been wagging about the possibilities from Airport Hill to the Burns Bridge.

Of course, there are drawbacks, too, and plenty of warning signs back in Seattle. Pros and cons? Yeah, Hitch has some thoughts.

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.

Bushel N Peck spreads to Westborough, tweaks the menu

For decades, despite an ownership change in 2005, Bushel N Peck has maintained its perch among the city’s go-to sandwich shops, churning out classic, lunchtime favorites with an old-school American deli sensibility.

And now, 37 years after the Oliveri family opened the first store in Tatnuck Square and after new owner Michael Bartosiewicz added locations in Grafton (2013) and Clinton (2015), Bushel N Peck is on the verge of opening its fifth storefront in Westborough on a bustling stretch of Route 30.

(Then known as Elsa’s Bushel N Peck, the second shop opened in The Summit, on East Mountain Street, in 1990.)

“With the economy growing, we are trying to tap into those new customers,” said Bartosiewicz, a longtime employee of the Oliveri family who bought the business from Tom Sr. and Elsa in 2005. “We want to keep improving and we want to offer new exciting items to maintain our reputation in the community and stay up-to-date with the changing times.

Editorial: Sports and the racial divide

If social media is any significant part of your online habit, your feeds have most likely become overwhelmed with posts about NFL protests in which players or entire teams took a knee or locked arms during the national anthem.

The madness began Friday night when, during a speech in Huntsville, Alabama, President Trump shamelessly pandered to his base by calling for players who knelt during the anthem to lose their jobs.

How very patriotic (the Sun editors said sarcastically).

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

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • 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
Pastor Judith Hanlon

Inbox [Sept. 24-30]: News and notes from Worcester State, Becker, city, WPI, LGBT Asylum Task Force

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 State raises nearly $17M in Change Lives campaign

Worcester State University announced it has raised $16.9 million through the recently completed Change Lives Campaign, exceeding its $15 million goal.

WSU President Barry Maloney thanked donors for their support of scholarships, academic programs and transformational capital projects during a Gala of Gratitude celebration last night [Saturday, Sept. 23] in the school’s recently opened Wellness Center.

More than 7,000 donors contributed to the success of this five-year campaign, which is the third and largest in the Worcester State Foundation’s history.