One thing Americans can agree on? Legalize pro sports betting, poll says

Fifty-five percent of Americans support making gambling on professional sports legal in all states, according to poll results [see below] released Tuesday.

Such gambling is currently legal in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, although pollsters found it is fairly common — one in five Americans surveyed had placed a bet and 73 percent of those who did so said it made watching the games more interesting.

The UMass Lowell-Washington Post poll found 33 percent of respondents disapproved of allowing gambling on professional sports in all states, and another 12 percent had no opinion.

Pollsters conducted live interviews with a random sample of 1,000 American adults. The interviews were conducted in English and Spanish via cellphones and landlines from Aug. 14 through Aug. 21. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3.7 points.

Pastor Judith Hanlon

Inbox [Sept. 24-30]: News and notes from Worcester State, Becker, city, WPI, LGBT Asylum Task Force

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Worcester State raises nearly $17M in Change Lives campaign

Worcester State University announced it has raised $16.9 million through the recently completed Change Lives Campaign, exceeding its $15 million goal.

WSU President Barry Maloney thanked donors for their support of scholarships, academic programs and transformational capital projects during a Gala of Gratitude celebration last night [Saturday, Sept. 23] in the school’s recently opened Wellness Center.

More than 7,000 donors contributed to the success of this five-year campaign, which is the third and largest in the Worcester State Foundation’s history.

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

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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

Editorial: Oohs and aahs for ofo

Oof, those seven hills!

Other than that, ofo’s arrival in Worcester signals a city coasting smoothly forward.

On Thursday, the Beijing-based company launched its bike-sharing program in a ceremony at City Hall, capping months of preparing and research helped by local leaders and scholars. The stars of the cheerful kickoff were dozens of bright-yellow ofo bikes, ready to get going under the guidance of anyone over the age of 18 with a smartphone, a dollar and an hour.

A little ofo 101 is in order. Don’t be fooled: These substantial, simply styled bicycles may look old-fashioned, but they’re as high-tech as they come.

David Barsamian

Inbox [Sept. 17-23]: News and notes from Worcester State, Becker, Anna Maria, Friends of Goddard Library, GWCF and Library Foundation

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David Barsamian to speak at WSU Tuesday

Broadcaster, author and award-winning investigative journalist David Barsamian will be the first speaker featured in Worcester State University’s new Provost’s Series on Democracy and Diplomacy.

Barsamian will deliver two talks. The first is a campus lecture, “The New Political Resistance in the Age of Trump,” at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the May Street Building, 280 May St.; the second, a community lecture, “Media, Propaganda, and U.S. Foreign Policy,” at 7 p.m. Ghosh Science and Technology Center, Room 102, 486 Chandler St.

Editorial: What’s next for North Main Street?

The revitalization of downtown as a retail center and destination has been dealt a double dose of disheartening disclosures in the past week.

The first was the announcements that Shack’s, the iconic clothier at Main and Mechanic streets, will close its doors for the final time on Sept. 30.

The second was that its bookend on North Main Street, Elwood Adams Hardware, 156 Main St., will also close as early as the end of September.

It is too soon to tell whether these closing are harbingers of more bad news or simply unrelated events. However, the history of the businesses that are closing — Shack’s has been in business 89 years and Elwood Adams opened in 1782 — should give us pause.

A Mother’s Journey: The gauntlet of transitions

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’s in transition.” That phrase has become the (mostly) unwritten slogan of my life – both personally and professionally.

Buried in every crevice of growth is the undertone of transition. Its double-sided presence adheres to us as both confidence and anxiety — all while promising a better tomorrow.

Transition is the “process or a period of changing from one state to another,” and while the definition portrays an image of physical change, transition, for me, is truly internal. And it happens every second of the day.

It happens in the depths of chaos and in the bliss of growth. It happens through each human interaction, and lack thereof. Transition is a thin line in the world of entrepreneurship that makes us tiptoe across the tightrope of obstacles while juggling the rest of our lives and carrying what feels like the weight of the world on our shoulders.

As we approach our second year of homeschooling our daughters Brooklyn and Evian, we are accompanied by many transitions: new grade levels, new expectations, new schedules and new changes. Transition is the shadow that never leaves. Unless you have given up on the path of life you’ve chosen – and we have no intention of doing so.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The ‘Mini’ Series, or scroll down to explore more of her story.

Editorial: Labor Day, education and robots

Monday is the 130th anniversary of Labor Day in Massachusetts.

Labor Day “is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Aside from also marking the unofficial end of summer, Labor Day has traditionally signified the start of the educational year, when institutions of elementary, secondary and higher education reconvene.

There’s a certain serendipity to honoring workers at the time when people of all ages continue anew their quest for education. Two recent studies suggest that never in history has the connection between education and employment been more apparent.

In his recent paper “Education and State Economic Strength: A Snapshot of Current Data,” Jeremy Thompson, senior policy analyst at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, writes, “The emergence of a knowledge-based economy over the past several decades has led to a widening gap between workers with bachelor’s degrees and those without.”

Webster 5

Inbox [Aug. 27-Sept. 1]: News and notes from Webster Five, St. Peter-Marian, WCTI, Shrewsbury Cultural Coalition, MassDevelopment and state

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Webster Five Foundation donates $11K to WCHR

The Webster Five Foundation announced that, as part of the Web of Caring to Make a
Difference program, it has donated $11,000 to Worcester Community Housing Resources. The one-time grant is given in honor of Webster Five’s retired president and WCHR board member Richard Leahy.

Webster Five’s donation will go toward the continuation of high-quality housing
development, abandoned housing renovation, property management and home repair throughout Worcester County.

WCHR has helped stabilize neighborhoods, increase property values, expand the availability of affordable housing options, and improve the quality of life and economic viability of the people and communities it serves.