Mariano: Petty vs. Gaffney, Round 2

In many municipal elections, candidates have to work hard to show the distinctions between them. Often the differences are a matter of degree – candidates agree more or less on what needs to be done. Not in this one.

Mayor Petty answers Ray Mariano’s questions

Twenty-two questions, 22 unedited answers. Find out what the current mayor told the former mayor about the safety of Worcester, the dual tax rate, #WooSox, and the greatest weaknesses of Augustus and Binienda.

A Mother’s Journey: The gentrification exasperation

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

It seems obvious to me that when a city clusters industry-specific small businesses into an area of close proximity, the community experiences growth at a faster rate. It is the underlying strategy for increasing productivity, innovation and success.

Small businesses benefit from their neighbors in a relationship that promotes the exchange and sharing of marketing, skilled workforce and technologies. As cities grow, there should be an integrated strategy for the development of small businesses and not just an emphasis on larger developments, brands and infrastructure buildout.

In December 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report, “Smart Growth and Economic Success: Benefits for Real Estate Developers, Investors, Businesses, and Local Governments,” outlining the importance of smart growth development. The concept integrates “compact and walkable” with providing “a diverse range of choices in land uses, building types, transportation, homes, workplace locations and stores.”

The report states that “by locating businesses closer together, compact development can create a density of employment that increases economic productivity and attracts additional investment.” And of course, it makes logical sense to do so.

When I drive through high-density small-business areas, like those in Main South, I do not see the implementation of logical strategies such as that of compact development from city investment, but instead, I see it through the relationships among the existing businesses.

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

Editorial: Caring community hits back at Hurricane Harvey

It almost seems unreal that the lingering nightmare to our south is as bad as it is, while we have enjoyed calm summer weather since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas nine days ago.

But it is real. And catastrophic, affecting millions in the path of the slow-moving monster. Relentless rain, historic flooding and fierce winds and have caused dozens of deaths, widespread heartbreak and alarm, and billions of dollars worth of damage to Houston along with a swath of cities and towns in East Texas and beyond.

Once a category 4 hurricane, the storm has poured plenty of misery on Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky and northward, and will dump water on us today. On its heels, young Irma seems to be amassing similar power and could impact the United States.

Here in Worcester in a few days, we won’t only be watching all this but doing something about it.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 192]: Worcester’s ‘statue of limitations’

Much has been made of the battle over our nation’s many monuments that salute people or ideas whose time has passed, or which many feel should never have been celebrated in the first place.

Advocates for protecting tributes to Confederate leaders fear, ostensibly anyway, that we’re erasing our history. If only inflamed rhetoric was the worst of it.

For his part, Hitch believes it’s high time Worcester dismantles one of its most monumental mistakes.

Veterans Inc.

Editorial: On Grove Street, an enduring and worthy cause

Many of us welcome any opportunity to thank our military veterans. In Worcester, through Veterans Inc., we also have an opportunity to serve them.

That opportunity will ramp up this fall. The agency expects to begin a capital campaign to renovate its Grove Street headquarters.

This is a worthy endeavor.

Veterans Inc. has proved its mettle for more than 25 years, bringing former servicemen and women back from the brink of homelessness, joblessness, addiction and loneliness.

“This place is magic,” U.S. Navy veteran James Whitley said in a recent video posted on the agency’s website. He is among many thousands of veterans from the Worcester area and throughout New England who have found camaraderie, caring, and life-changing assistance via Veterans Inc.

Worcester Weekly: Battle of Badges, Party for ALS + more, Aug. 13-19

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

Sunday, Aug. 13 — Civil War Movie Series: “Glory,” 4-6 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Nothing like a light-hearted, fun summer flick to help you forget August is half over already. Or you could go the other way, and immerse yourself in the harrowing, humbling experiences and selfless heroics of one of America’s most historically significant Army regiments. (Then again, watching Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes try to act like soldiers is kind of funny.)

Mandell: A San Francisco/East Bay wake-up call — will Worcester’s renaissance benefit all?

No, this is not India, but the United States. How can this injustice be sustainable? How would it be different here if we all were committed to building fair, healthy and loving places? Maybe I do need the Kleenex the homeless man tried to give me on the BART train ride. … Not only is the renaissance on the horizon, but we need to plan for the negative impacts of growth as well — that many of us will be closed out of its benefits.

Inbox [Aug. 2]: News and notes from East Side CDC, Worcester Wares, WPI, Holy Cross, MassDiGI, Ninety Nine and YOU Inc.

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.

East Side CDC lands $125K in Brownfields funding

Worcester East Side Community Development Corp. recently received $125,000 in Brownfields Redevelopment funding.

The award was one of nine worth $1.5 million from the Baker-Polito administration.

East Side CDC will use the award for assessment of a site that will become eight units of garden-style, handicap-accessible housing for extremely low-income or potential homeless residents while they continue to receive supportive services from the Department of Mental Health.

Read the entire story on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website

Worcester Wares calling for artists