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.”

Social consumption, home delivery marijuana rules debated

BOSTON — The first day of policy debate among state marijuana regulators indicated that the Cannabis Control Commission is working toward industry regulations that would give consumers more options for how they obtain marijuana and where they will be able to use it.

The commission worked through policies Monday dealing with home delivery of marijuana products and social consumption of marijuana, among others. The policies, some of which were agreed to, will be enshrined into draft regulations for the newly legal industry, which the CCC plans to put on file with the state by the end of the month.

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.

Polito: Commonwealth makes inroads against opioid crisis

When Gov. Charles Baker and I ran for office, the opioid epidemic was not an issue we expected to focus on. But we’ve heard heartbreaking stories from people about loved ones struggling with an opioid-related addiction everywhere we’re gone.

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.”

Ethics panel opens Rosenberg-Hefner inquiry

The Senate Ethics Committee opened its investigation into former Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg Tuesday, promising complete confidentiality to anyone with information about alleged sexual misconduct by Rosenberg’s husband, Bryon Hefner, and taking steps toward hiring an independent investigator that one senator indicated will come from out of state.

The six-member committee, including four Democrats and two Republicans, was empowered by the full Senate on Monday night to begin the investigation into Rosenberg, who stepped down as Senate president for the duration of the investigation with the hopes of returning to his post when it’s complete.

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.

Sanchez punctuates education reform bill signing

Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez waited nearly 16 years for the moment that arrived in Gov. Charlie Baker’s office on Tuesday.

“Sixteen years — you’re doing it! Yes! Yes!” an animated Sanchez, D-Jamaica Plain, exclaimed, bouncing up and down briefly before high-fiving the governor.
Baker invited lawmakers and Education Secretary James Peyser into his office for a ceremonial signing of a law granting school districts more flexibility in educating students who are not fluent in English.

Editorial: Sexual abuse out of the shadows

There is no doubt: Sexual abuse has been happening throughout human history, and will continue to happen. In large part, that’s because there will always be power inequities between people.

It’s not OK.

That’s the message these recent weeks of serial sexual misconduct claims have boiled down to. It’s simply not OK to sexually intimidate, coerce, or humiliate anyone.

This topic will inevitably die down from the headlines. But the message must last, and it can.

Unlike gun violence, immigration and many of the other issues that rise and fall in our national consciousness, sexual behavior and attitudes are under our control as individuals. We can’t blame “culture” or “politics,” or any other broad scapegoat. This is something we can change — and have been changing, gradually, for decades.

We’ve heard a lot recently about allegations of sexual misconduct involving men in the public eye: Matt Lauer; Charlie Rose; Roy Moore; Bryon Hefner, the husband of state Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg; Louis C.K.; Harvey Weinstein; Kevin Spacey and Mark Halperin. And the list goes on. We know the problem goes far beyond the sphere of celebrity and fame into our own communities, companies, schools and homes.

The accusers are not usually in the spotlight, but for the many victims with valid claims, the pain, shame and damage to their self-esteem can be deep and lasting. Victims deserve our attention and empathy, and one great way to give it is to resolve to prevent sexual trauma from happening to others in the ways we can.