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

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.

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.

Editorial: Bring the ‘A’ game

Mailings have gone out, supplies have been bought, and new principals have been assigned. Crosswalks are being painted, and even murals. Inspirational posters have been stapled to walls, and squeaky new sneakers are set to walk the freshly waxed halls.

Also, at last, the school administration and the Educational Association of Worcester have contract negotiations off their plates for the time being. Union members, however reluctantly, approved a new contract last week after working last year without one.

Next up: the first day of school.

Here, and for the entire school year, is where we really must bring the “A” game.

For Worcester school kids, vacation screeches to a halt tomorrow, assuming Durham School Services and the local bus drivers union come to their senses (and agreement on a new contract) to avoid an ill-advised labor strike. (Kindergarten and pre-K have until Sept. 5, according to the the Worcester Public Schools calendar.)

Webster 5

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

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.

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.

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.

Editorial: Investments big and small

For those who follow the news, that Worcester is in the midst of a mind-boggling run of private investment in the city is not a shock. The grand announcements, ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings have lately come at a breakneck pace. In the wake of these types of mega deals we’re left with large-scale projects we refer to with one- or two-word names:

  • Grid District
  • Harding Green
  • Former courthouse
  • Central Building
  • Homewood Suites
  • A.C. Marriott
  • 145 Front

…and the list goes on.

The large-scale developments in the city have benefits that far outweigh even the most lofty price tags. Investments in Worcester affirm the value we place in the city in which we live, work and play. It is a sign that people outside Worcester see what we see: a city that inspires and aspires.

Alas, a majority of the plans you read or hear about are downtown. It’s understandable, of course. The push to remake downtown as an 18-hour destination is in its second decade and each success along the way fosters the belief in what can be achieved in the long run.

However, a vibrant and growing city is more than just major downtown developments. It’s also property owners throughout the city building or rebuilding properties out of the limelight and without fanfare.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 184]: A word, or two, with the WRTA

When you hear the phrase “action plan,” you know you’re at a junior management seminar or a municipal meeting.

So, of course it’s fitting the pair of buzzwordy words would come out of a powwow involving a City Council committee and WRTA officials. Fear not, frustrated bus riders. They hear your complaints. And soon — OK, soon-ish — they promise — like, really for real — there will be an action plan to address them.

More Hitch | What if … Worcester | Free to Read

Hitch unpacks the B.S. and spins up some synergy to address this paradigm shift.

Editorial: On immigration, Republicans become party of big government

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Monday that police officers do not have the authority to detain immigrants solely at the request of federal immigration officials.

“In the case of Commonwealth v. Sreynuon Lunn, the court concluded that ‘nothing in the statutes or common law of Massachusetts authorizes court officers to make a civil arrest in these circumstances,’ ” State House News Service reported.

The facts are straightforward: “After the sole pending criminal charge against him was dismissed, the petitioner, Sreynuon Lunn, was held by Massachusetts court officers in a holding cell at the Boston Municipal Court at the request of a Federal immigration officer, pursuant to a Federal civil immigration detainer,” the SJC decision states.

“Immigration detainers like the one used in this case, for the purpose of that process, are therefore strictly civil in nature,” the opinion continues. “The removal process is not a criminal prosecution. The detainers are not criminal detainers or criminal arrest warrants. They do not charge anyone with a crime, indicate that anyone has been charged with a crime, or ask that anyone be detained in order that he or she can be prosecuted for a crime.”

Editorial: Safer, saner streets in Worcester

Streets that are as safe as they can be for drivers and pedestrians is an obvious and important goal for any community.

Not so obvious is how best to achieve this.

Reducing the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour — a measure the City Council mulled last week — is one way to proceed. But we question whether that would be a truly effective route toward better safety.

The idea is allowable under the broad Municipal Modernization Act, enacted last year. The legislation allows cities and towns in Massachusetts to establish a 25 mph speed limit on roads that are not state highways and that lie within thickly settled or business districts.

Municipalities may also, if they choose, designate “safety zones” on such roads, with a posted speed limit of 20 miles per hour.

At the suggestion of Councilor-at-large Kathleen M. Toomey, chairperson of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, the council at its July 18 meeting asked the city administration to study lowering the citywide speed limit. The idea has already been adopted by Boston and several other municipalities. Springfield jumped on the 25-mph bandwagon last week.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 182]: Pedestrian safety at a crossroads

Much attention was paid last week to the safety — or lack thereof — of the city’s bustling byways, boulevards and thoroughfares.

One city councilor, possibly driving for pole position in what could be a contentious election this fall, suggested a reduced speed limit, while an independent study showed Worcester to have the most dangerous intersections in the Bay State.

Hitch, of course, always draws his own conclusions.