Last week’s most popular, May 14-20

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles May 14-20

Mariano: It is time to start talking about and planning for the closing of more churches
Survival training: One woman’s story of perseverance
Free to read: On the road to big things, with singer Dezi Garcia
Sina-cism: Fighting what never was to create what never can be
Valentino’s has ambitious plans for heart of Shrewsbury Street
Mandell: Closing the book on Jane Week in Worcester


Filmmakers hope to whip up fundraising frenzy for Major Taylor biopic ‘Black Cyclone’

“It’s a really important story to tell and it lends itself to dramatic treatment on the big screen,” said Lynne Tolman, executive director of the Major Taylor Association. “It’s Jackie Robinson 50 years earlier with some even more harrowing components to the story.”

Worcester County obituaries, May 24, 2017

Today’s obituary listings from Central Mass. funeral homes.

Worcester Sun, May 24: TIFs add up to developing success in Worcester, ISIS attack raises local concerns + more

Plus, top Sun stories, Hitch on First Night, a new free-to-read, nursing homes in crisis and a jam-packed Inbox. This is your Wednesday, May 24, Worcester Sun.

Mandell: Closing the book on Jane Week in Worcester

“Jane Jacobs offered us a different paradigm of development that is incremental, organic, holistic, small scale, and based on the talents and energy of locals. Some of the best examples of a taste of Jane are right here in the Canal District and in what I saw in full action on a [Jane Week] tour of Main South. Worcester is on the cusp of a true renaissance! Can’t you feel it in the air?”

While Worcester line lags, MBTA’s commuter rail performance ticks up

BOSTON — Commuter rail riders might be experiencing some welcome deja vu, as the commuter rail vendor’s on-time performance last week [May 7-13] was at its highest point in more than two years.

Refurbished locomotives put back into service have helped Keolis Commuter Service notch its best record of showing up on schedule since before historic snows in January and February of 2015. That snow caused historically bad service on the MBTA, leading lawmakers to place it under the direction of a control board.

The commuter rail run by Keolis was also pummeled by the snow and cold two years ago, and it has recently been hampered by a lack of available locomotives, bad news for a system trying to gain public confidence. In April, an MBTA official said locomotive unavailability led to 17 cancellations in one day.

State corrections spending spikes, inmate population wanes — report warns of schism

BOSTON — As the number of people incarcerated in Massachusetts state or county facilities declined since fiscal year 2011, state spending on correctional facilities climbed by about 18 percent, according to a report released earlier this week.

Since fiscal 2011 — the highwater mark for the state’s incarcerated population — the average daily number of people incarcerated in state prisons and jails has declined by about 12 percent from 23,850 to 20,961. However, state spending for the Department of Correction and the 14 county sheriffs’ offices increased by $181 million to $1.2 billion.

The report’s findings were the focus of a summit hosted Monday by MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition to examine how the state could spend savings associated with a declining inmate population on ancillary programs like drug rehabilitation and mental health counseling to improve the broader criminal justice system.

“As we have a reducing population, we still have increasing costs of incarceration,” U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said. “And we need those resources for so many other things.”

Last week’s most popular, May 6-13

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles May 6-13

Contractor license suspended, Jay Pelletz still leaving customers in lurch
Altea’s Eatery offers brunch lovers an everyday entree to France
Mariano: A champion for women and girls
Valentino’s has ambitious plans for heart of Shrewsbury Street
Inbox [May 7]: News and notes from Holy Cross, Dept. of Higher Education, Holy Name, St. Peter-Marian, Music Worcester, Worcester Public Schools
Boys & Girls Club has Worcester Police on the run


Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 163]: Steve Palermo, called to the real big leagues

For many, if not most, sports fans of today, the name Steve Palermo rings hollow.

But for baseball aficionados and astute local observers, Palermo — born in Worcester, raised in Oxford — was truly someone to admire, having sacrificed his acclaimed Major League umpiring career to help two women being attacked outside a Texas restaurant in 1991, an instinctive action that led to paralysis.

Palermo died from complications of cancer this week. Hitch pays tribute to an unlikely sports icon who should never be forgotten.

Editorial: Absent at the State House

Boston, we have a problem.

Through 10 months, declining tax receipts have left a $462 million revenue gap that needs to be closed in the final two months of the fiscal year.

The March unemployment rate of 3.6 percent is tied for the 13th lowest in the nation. Despite that, the state’s real gross domestic product declined at an estimated annual rate of 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to the economic journal Mass Benchmarks. The U.S. economy, on the other hand, grew at a rate of 0.7 percent in the first quarter.

This led state Rep. Paul Donato, D-Medford, to say: “It’s hard for us to really figure out what’s happening because our unemployment rate is low, the economy is very well in Massachusetts [and] the jobs are there. We’re sitting back saying, ‘What is stymieing our benchmark figures?’ ”