Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 167]: Worcester ballot casts concerning shadow

While the contentious, polarizing and downright dispiriting 2016 presidential election coaxed a slight reversal in flagging national voter turnout numbers, that momentum has not carried over locally where Worcester voters are joined in seeming ambivalence this election season by a head-scratchingly short list of contenders for public office.

How to get more folks involved in such an important process? Never fear, Hitch always has the right idea.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 166]: Elizabeth Warren has a fever

The popular and outspoken senator for Massachusetts has made no bones about her disdain for President Trump.

Day after day, she can be found on Twitter and TV and news feeds around the globe chiding and chastising the latest Trumpian policy blunder. In the wake of a divisive budget outline that shot panic straight into the veins of liberals everywhere, she’s tweeted herself to the point of exhaustion.

A remedy is required. As it happens, Dr. Hitch has just the prescription.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 165]: The last days of First Night Worcester

One thing we can all agree on is, there will certainly be some sort of party in Worcester on Dec. 31.

While First Night Worcester Inc., the dedicated group of folks who kept the pioneering event going for 35 years, may no longer have the wherewithal to lead the charge, the odds of someone or something not filling the void are quite slim.

Which begs many questions: who should be in charge; what should a new event look like; where will all the buttons go? Luckily for Worcester, Hitch is a man with answers.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 164]: Taxachusetts Welcomes You

If only state Legislators could dine and dash! Indeed, a costly bill is being delivered to their table and nobody seems to have enough in their pockets to pay for it.

Nope, the only bucks they can find are of the passing variety.

So, of course, that leaves lawmakers scrambling to avoid an embarrassing scene, sniffing for revenue wherever it might bubble up — particularly, and in true Bay State style, in the form of divisive and expensive new taxes.

This has Hitch searching for the right words.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 163]: Steve Palermo, called to the real big leagues

For many, if not most, sports fans of today, the name Steve Palermo rings hollow.

But for baseball aficionados and astute local observers, Palermo — born in Worcester, raised in Oxford — was truly someone to admire, having sacrificed his acclaimed Major League umpiring career to help two women being attacked outside a Texas restaurant in 1991, an instinctive action that led to paralysis.

Palermo died from complications of cancer this week. Hitch pays tribute to an unlikely sports icon who should never be forgotten.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 162]: For Petty and Gaffney, it’s child’s play

Kids don’t interact they same way they used to. Mostly we peg the lack of discourse and facility with understanding disparate viewpoints on our ever-accelerating attachment to technology.

But what it really comes down to is a lack of grownup good examples.

If a youngster ever does look up from their phone, what do they see? Bitter hyperbole. Sarcastic nonsense. Egomaniacal posturing. And that’s just in City Council chambers.

Hitch, for one, has heard enough.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 161]: Worcester’s dirty little secret

There’s always lots going in Worcester. Union Station and the commuter rail, new restaurants, PCBs, sanctuary city status and City Hall open mic nights.

While we all revel in the Railers’ future hockey glory and fret over the fates of beloved landmarks like Mount Carmel and Notre Dame churches, there’s one Little Headline That Could earnestly steaming toward an unsightly conclusion.

Hitch had to roll up his sleeves for this one.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 160]: Paying tribute, with Bill Coleman

Worcester’s favorite perennial political runner-up and adjunct public servant is a regular presence, well, pretty much anywhere in the city.

But mostly at City Council meetings, where he tries to keep councilors on the ball and constantly stokes awareness for often important under-the-radar issues. Sometimes, though, Coleman’s suggestions miss the mark — such as his recent request to more than double the mayor’s salary.

Hitch, predictably, found that notion for the birds.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 159]: Grin and bear with us

Black bears are on the comeback in Massachusetts. Down to about 100 in the early 1970s thanks to wide-open hunting regulations, New England’s only bear species now numbers more than 4,000 — which is fun until one of them shows up in your backyard.

Generally unwilling to engage with us humans, the powerful creatures are still a bad match for the ever-sprawling suburbs.

If only we could find them a permanent home devoid of two-legged adversaries. Hitch, ever the nature-lover, has an idea.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 158]: Spending (a little) time on Beacon Hill

When we elect our state legislators, we expect certain things from them. We expect them to represent our interests and those of our neighbors and fellow community members with integrity, urgency and forethought.

And when it comes to spending our hard-earned tax dollars, maybe even a little discretion and transparency.

Well, last week, urgency was certainly on display. Hitch, though, is beginning to wonder where all the other qualities went.