Editorial: New hope for Notre Dame church?

5 Salem Square, 24,000-square-foot fixer-upper needs TLC. Great location in the heart of $200 million+ in development in downtown Worcester. Community gratitude, historic tax credits and 22,000 square feet in additions possible. Serious offers only. Soon, please.

As the remaining days pass before the owners of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church can legally demolish the iconic 1929 structure at Salem Square, there is renewed but quiet optimism that it can be saved from the forces of “progress.”

Last Friday afternoon, Preservation Worcester released a 13-page development package, schematics and prospective rehabilitation budget for the church. That was quickly followed by news that City Square II Development Co. LLC, which is controlled by The Hanover Insurance Group, has entered into an agreement to sell the church to a buyer it did not identify.

Concurrently with the development package, Preservation Worcester petitioned City Council to accept a non-binding resolution urging “all parties controlling the future of Notre Dame des Canadiens Church to delay its demolition for a reasonable additional period of time to allow for potential developers to pursue its development.”

The resolution was adopted at last night’s meeting by an overwhelmingly supportive City Council.

According to executive director Deborah Packard, Preservation Worcester is in contact with two prospective developers. One toured the church last week and another was scheduled to visit the site today, she told the Sun March 27.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 148]: The Holy Cross Fighting Crusader Debate Team

OK, so by now you know students and faculty at the “most beautiful college campus in Massachusetts” are busy trying to figure out how much trouble they’ll be in with the P.C. Police if they keep The Crusader name atop the student newspaper’s front page.

You’re also likely aware that Holy Cross + controversy = gold mine for Worcester-centric pontificators of all stripes. So, y’know, Hitch wasn’t gonna be left out.

The unbelievably true story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Part 34: Back to How It All Started

My grandmother was married to a hunter named Kai James.

Augustine Kanjia

He was very popular and had married three women altogether. My grandmother, Kumba Ngehgba, was a local musician and quite popular, too. There were no recordings of her songs, but my grandmother would have gained a much wider audience in a different time.

She got lots of money, and her mates in marriage grew quite jealous of her. She had already had her four children. My mother, Hannah James, was the second among the four — after Sahr James, and before Tamba Ngainda James and Aiah James. My grandmother was a resilient woman, and quite tenacious and determined. But the jealousy in the house was evident.

Nothing seemed to work in those days, my grandmother would tell me years later. They were far from the police and there were no cars close by, either. Bangayima, one of my grandmother’s fellow wives, was at her throat. She would not go for Kumba’s singing, often creating a scene behind her back. The hatred was apparent. Bangayima would physically confront my grandmother to fight, which was quite a challenge for my grandmother because she preferred dialogue and peace with all whom she met.

Augustine’s last chapter: When things fall apart Or scroll down to catch up from earlier in the remarkable tale

Retirement looming, QCC’s Carberry reflects on life, legacy and community

On a recent blustery day in her neatly appointed first-floor office in Quinsigamond Community College’s administration building, outgoing President Gail E. Carberry, who plans to retire at the end of the academic year, pointed a visitor’s attention to a knick-knack pair of ruby slippers on the shelf near her desk.

The message was clear, and clearly one Carberry holds close to her heart: “There’s no place like home.”

It has been more than 10 years since she had the urge to return to work in Worcester, where she was born and spent the first four years of her life. The city is also where she found her “soulmate,” having met husband Don Carberry while both were students at Worcester State College.

As she prepares to leave the post she’s held officially since her September 2007 inauguration, Carberry can reflect on an unprecedented period of advancement for the once much-maligned “Quinsig.”

“Ten years on, I had a lot of terrific [students] and I helped some people believe in themselves,” she said.

Editorial: 2 churches, 1 City Council, 0 easy answers

Civic engagement is the hallmark of a functioning representative democracy.

So familiar are such phrases as “get involved,” “pick up the phone” and “show up” that it seems as if every civic event contains some exhortation for public participation in the political process.

In recent weeks and months, those picking up the phone, getting involved and showing up have done so to discuss the fates of two historic churches, Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Mulberry Street and Notre Dame des Canadiens at Salem Square.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 17, Preservation Worcester had 1,254 supporters of a petition that calls on City Square II Development Co., owners of Notre Dame des Canadiens, “to make every effort to collaborate with the city’s historic preservation community and interested parties to find a productive reuse of this historic 1929 structure.”

Complete Sun coverage:

Moreover, the petition asks City Council “to work with the owner and to bring its influence and resources to bear in encouraging the owner to find alternatives to the planned demolition of the building.”

Randell: City Council talks Mount Carmel, keeps passing the buck

“I can’t argue that this is an important issue to many residents (and, it doesn’t hurt, many important people), but does the council really need to be heavily involved?” Bill Randell pinpoints councilors’ real “most important” job.