Marotta: Time for education system to evolve — just ask the teachers

“The system that I teach in is not designed for how my students grow up,” says one veteran Worcester Public Schools teacher. “They all have phones; they grew up in a digital age … [but] we still have to teach them in a form that they are not going to encounter when they enter the workforce. This is how they grew up taking in information, and it’s the opposite of what we do in our classroom.”

Inbox [Dec. 13]: News and notes from Worcester Common Oval, People’s United Bank and UMass Memorial Health Care

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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 Common Oval opens for public ice skating

The Worcester Common Oval public ice-skating rink has opened for the season. The Oval has piped-in music, skate rentals, concessions, holiday lights and more, making it a fun and affordable family-friendly activity.

New this year is the WOOville Winter Wonderland, a series of wooden sheds set up on the Worcester Common that will host pop-up shops every weekend throughout the skating season and feature local food and craft vendors. Kids can have their picture taken with Santa for free every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. through Christmas.

On the scene: 40 hours with the Worcester Fire Department

The dispatch goes out at 12:40 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. “Attention, Engine 4. Number 35 Kilby Street. First responder.”

Three Worcester Fire Department firefighters on duty at Engine 4 in the Park Avenue station respond. Thirty-five seconds after the initial call, they’re en route to the bike path adjacent to the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester on Tainter Street.

“Female having difficulty breathing.”

At 12:43, Engine 4 arrives almost simultaneously along with paramedics. A young woman is sitting, her back against a wall, her head down.

Fearing the position of her head is restricting her breathing, first responders lift her head. She’s breathing, but not well. Her pinpoint pupils are the telltale sign of someone under the influence of an opioid.

Paramedics inject one dose of naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan, into the young woman. She begins to come around, but paramedics determine she needs a second dose.

With the second dose, she begins to rouse. Then she starts to cry.

“Not again,” she says.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 222]: Shining a light on Worcester tax relief

You can say one thing, for sure, about the city’s infamous and divisive dual tax rate: It tends to encourage a lively debate.

While talk is good, action is better.

And when it comes to taking action, the City Council continues to err on the side of trying to keep the majority of their constituents happy. Of course, when tax bills rise for residents and businesses alike, it’s tough to see a winner.

Hitch flips the switch on another predictable outcome.

Worcester’s Chandler elected acting Senate president amid Hefner harassment probe

BOSTON — The Senate initiated an Ethics Committee investigation Monday night into its now former president Sen. Stanley Rosenberg in a dramatic day of upheaval that saw Worcester Democrat Harriette L. Chandler installed as the new acting Senate president pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment and Senate interference by Rosenberg’s husband.

The election of Chandler, Rosenberg’s top lieutenant, and the adoption of an order green-lighting the Senate Ethics Committee investigation marked the culmination of a marathon day of closed-door talks between Democrats and Republicans.

Chandler emerged as the unanimous choice of Democrats to take over the Senate temporarily after Rosenberg announced in the morning that he wanted to take a “leave of absence” from his leadership duties to ensure a “fully independent and credible” investigation.

“Choices had to be made and today we’ve chosen to move on and to move forward,” Chandler said. “What’s most important right now is that we work towards a swift and resolute conclusion to this whole sad event.”

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 221]: A grab bag of misdeeds at State House

It has been a tumultuous few days on Beacon Hill, where sexual harassment allegations against the Senate president’s husband have pushed the already slow-moving legislative agenda onto the back burner.

Leaders promise a quick-but-thorough, open and fair investigation. Of course, we’ve heard similar assurances on issues such as healthcare cost containment and criminal justice reform.

Well, Hitch has seen a thing or two, and he’s keeping his eye on the ball.

Good as Gold Coffee has an air of staying power

Cream, sugar … computer? Worcester’s Good as Good Coffee has a high-tech new take on making coffee precisely the way customers like and expect it. The company’s new Airis brand and heated air-driven process are all about replicating the roast — and keeping one of the city’s longstanding success stories steaming toward the future.