Inbox [Sept. 20]: News and notes from Worcester Public Schools, WPI, Antiquarian Society, You Inc., MassDOT and New England Beauty Expo

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.

Patriots, SNHU help upgrade technology at two schools

The New England Patriots Foundation and Southern New Hampshire University joined students at Elm Park Community School and Goddard School of Science & Technology to unveil state-of-the-art technology labs.

The schools each received a $25,000 grant from the Patriots Foundation and SNHU earlier this year to help improve technology resources for schools in need.

The tech labs will include new Chromebooks, charging carts, a Smart TV and a Chromecast. In addition, the Foundation and SNHU have completely renovated the labs, purchased new furniture, and added Patriots-themed décor and wall decals.

Registration open for WPI Tech Girls program

Sina-cism: Railers follow in IceCats’, Sharks’ tracks — but, how closely?

The season opener for the Worcester Railers — the city’s third minor-league hockey franchise in recent history — is being seen by some as a chance to net success where the previous two clubs, the IceCats and Sharks, failed.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

I wish the Railers good luck, but how wrongheaded to think of the IceCats and Sharks as failed teams.

The IceCats arrived here in 1994 from Springfield, played 11 American Hockey League seasons, then left for Peoria, Illinois. They are now the AHL’s Utica Comets. The Sharks, after nine years in Worcester, are now the San Jose Barracuda, sharing an arena with their parent, the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.

The list of current and former AHL teams is long. With a few exceptions — the Hershey Bears (1938), Rochester Americans (1956), and Providence Bruins (1992) — AHL teams come and go with great frequency. Many number their seasons in single digits.

Worcester Weekly: stART on the Street, Clustertruck + more, Sept. 17-23

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

Sunday, Sept. 17 — stART on the Street, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Park Avenue, between Highland and Pleasant streets  If you’re going to bring gridlock to the heart of the city, you might as well do it with hundreds of talented artists, crafters and performers, and a list of activities longer than the backup on Chandler Street. That’s the great thing about stART on the Street — with so many cool things to see and do, for once nobody’s worried about the traffic.

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.

Worcester Weekly: Holy Cross football, preliminary election + more, Sept. 10-16

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

Monday, Sept. 11 — Lecture: Government’s Role in Segregation, 4:30 p.m., Rehm Library, Smith Hall, College of the Holy Cross, 1 College St.  “Racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the [United States] and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems.” This is the crux of the argument author Richard Rothstein will discuss, based on his 2017 book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.”

A fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who has written a number of books on race, education and social equality, Rothstein said segregation — more specifically, how it happened — is no mystery; it was forged from the policies (“racially explicit and unconstitutional”) and politics of the mid-20th century. And it will linger until we learn from this history. Free and open to the public.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 194]: Driving at trouble on Yawkey Way

There’s a lot going on at Fenway Park these days.

The youthful Red Sox are in the thick of a pennant chase. Billy Joel recently piano-manned center field for a bravura performance. An Irish hurling exhibition and college football series are also on the horizon.

But it’s Fenway’s past — seen through the prism of a present societal furor — that’s on the mind of Sox owner John Henry, Worcester’s favorite newspaper baron.

And from where Hitch is sitting, the multi-millionaire with the two-cent personality should probably stick to the boardroom.

Sina-cism: An Italian coast steeped in history

If the Amalfi Coast isn’t all that it used to be, blame John Steinbeck.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

In May 1953, Steinbeck published his essay “Positano” in Harper’s Bazaar, bringing the picturesque fishing villages of the Italian coast south of Naples to the attention of an increasingly affluent American public.

“Nearly always when you find a place as beautiful as Positano,” Steinbeck wrote, “your impulse is to conceal it. You think, ‘If I tell, it will be crowded with tourists and they will ruin it, turn it into a honky-tonk and then the local people will get touristy and there’s your lovely place gone to hell.’ There isn’t the slightest chance of this in Positano.”

Steinbeck was mistaken. Never underestimate the lure of a beautiful seaside town, or the ingenuity of Italians when it comes to packing more motor scooters, cars, tour buses and visitors than you can imagine into a town that has literally no place to grow.

More world-traveling Sina-cism: Finding a kindred spirit in Budapest

Sina-cism: Echoes of the battle of Charlottesville

It is easy to say that the violence seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12 has no place in modern America, least of all in a liberal enclave that is home to Thomas Jefferson’s stately temple of learning, the University of Virginia.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

Easy, but untrue.

For the racial epithets, bloodied faces and sickening sight of a vehicle plowing into a crowd are not only real, but they are the inevitable consequence of the historical ignorance that characterizes partisans of the right and the left in our time.

To be sure, the immediate cause of the clashes was the decision by white nationalist and white supremacist groups to protest the renaming of two parks that had long borne the names of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Had they stayed home, Aug. 12 would have been another beautiful summer Saturday in a beautiful Southern town.

Mariano: Trump must go

On Beacon Hill: Out of the shadow

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

BOSTON — When the stars align, sometimes the unexpected can happen.

The summer continued to serve up surprises as the sun went into hiding, a new multi-millionaire was made and career doors for past and present figures of the Massachusetts political-scape continued to open and close.

Former Mass. Lottery director and Mitt Romney aide Beth Lindstrom got last week started as she officially entered the U.S. Senate field as one of four Republicans now angling for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, while state Rep. Susannah Whipps threw everyone a curveball Tuesday when she announced the Republican Party was no longer for her.

Whipps, in something Beacon Hill has not seen in a long time, posted a statement on her website detailing reasons the Athol resident’s decision to unenroll from the GOP, including the overwhelmingly independent makeup of the electorate in her Western Massachusetts district.

What truly motivated Whipps to leave the party remains somewhat of a mystery, as she declined comment beyond her written statement. And despite voting against the small Republican bloc in the House this session on several key issues, she didn’t pick a fight on her way out as she said she hopes to work closely with both parties in the future.

Whipps might well be the first unenrolled elected official in the Legislature since Lawrence’s Willy Lantigua (before he became a Democrat), and now party leaders will have to figure out where she fits into a party-dictated committee and leadership structure.

But the afterglow of the eclipse and curiosity of Whipps’ decision quickly gave way to Powerball fever and the realization that one Bay Stater had beaten the 1-in-292,201,338 odds.

Mavis Wanczyk, the 53-year-old holder of the $758.7 million winning Powerball ticket did what every hopeful lottery player says they’ll do should they strike it rich — quit their job. Immediately.

Wanczyk worked her last graveyard shift at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield on Tuesday night, telling her bosses the next day not to expect her back after she became the largest lottery winner in Massachusetts history.

The Chicopee resident wasted little time coming forward to collect her prize, hoping to turn the spotlight off as soon as possible so, as she put it, she could go home and “hide in bed” while she figures out what to do with her overnight wealth.

Wanczyk wasn’t the only big winner from the Powerball jackpot.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and others pointed out that the state will do pretty nicely as well, taking home $25 million in income taxes that could have gone to another state had the winning ticket not have been printed here.

— Matt Murphy

ALSO ON THE AGENDA

  • Marijuana and health care among immediate priorities
  • McGovern on Trump and Afghanistan, Warren on big banks
  • Eldridge says he’ll pass on Tsongas Capitol Hill seat
  • Watch: DeLeo on what’s next for Legislature
  • Baker taps Leominster senator for state pot panel

Sina-cism: An integrity commission that has none

I’m not nearly as much into baseball these days as I was in my youth, but I have to admit I am enjoying watching some hardball this summer — the kind going on between the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and several states.

Chris Sinacola

Chris Sinacola

The commission was created May 11 by the signature of President Donald Trump, who seems as incredulous about Hillary Clinton’s 2.85-million-vote margin in the popular vote as many Americans are incredulous about his 77-vote victory in the Electoral College.

The commission’s purported mission is to ensure the fairness and integrity of the electoral process by collecting detailed electoral and demographic data.

Now, from a mathematical perspective, it is surely true not every one of the more than 130 million ballots cast last November was legitimate. Americans move a lot. Municipal voting records are not always up to date. Clerical errors are made. Even machines err.

But mathematics also assures us that however many ballots were illegitimate, it wasn’t remotely close to 2.85 million. This Washington Post piece makes the case for why the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is an absurdity. Democrats did not “steal” the popular vote — a meaningless concept — any more than Republicans stole the Electoral College.