Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 207]: Gaffney makes offer Worcester can’t refuse

Michael Gaffney, one-time (self-proclaimed) People’s Councilor®, is getting out of Worcester politics — and nobody seems to be lining up to pull him back in.

The at-large right-wing rabble-rouser, who gave Mayor Joe Petty a legit run for his money in the 2015 election, suddenly and cryptically announced on his blog that he and his wife are abandoning their bids for City Council seats.

With Gaffney it always seemed to get personal, but now it appears city leaders might just return to strictly business.

Hitch checks in with the guy who’s really pulling the strings for a definitive answer.

HC Prof. Cynthia Hooper: Why are Russian media outlets hyping the Mueller investigation?

Four major Russia investigations are underway in Washington, along with at least six related federal inquiries. Anxiety currently swirls around the Kremlin’s manipulation of popular social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Cybersecurity sleuths claim Russia used Pokemon Go to inflame racial tensions and accuse Twitter of deleting crucial data detailing Russian efforts to sow discord during the 2016 presidential election. “Russia, Russia Everywhere,” read The New York Times Oct. 13 “Week in Technology” review.

Senators trumpet wide-ranging healthcare legislation

Expanded licensing for dental therapists, nurse practitioners and optometrists, permission for MassHealth to offer a Medicaid buy-in program, and new limited network insurance products are among the many policy proposals state senators are promoting in one of the biggest healthcare reform bills to hit Beacon Hill in years.

Senators drew a big crowd to a fourth floor meeting room Tuesday to unveil a bill that runs for more than 100 pages and a report from a working group led by Senate Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester.

Biopharma investment, jobs spiked in 2016 in Massachusetts

While growing spending on prescription drugs is a target of state and federal policymakers, employment and investment levels in the biopharmaceutical sector in Massachusetts continue to increase, according to a new report.

The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual industry snapshot found biopharma employment grew 4.8 percent last year, with more than 3,000 jobs added.

There are 66,414 people employed at biopharma companies in Massachusetts, earning $9.2 billion in total annual wages, for an average salary of $138,768, according to the report.

Susan Rice

Inbox [Oct. 18]: News and notes from NAACP and Worcester Youth Center, Assumption, WPI, Quinsig, Workforce Investment Board, Renewable Energy Worcester, SPM

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.

Candidate forums at Youth Center

The Worcester NAACP is hosting two councilor-at-large candidate forums at the Worcester Youth Center.

The forums are planned for 6 p.m. tonight and Oct. 25 at the center, 326 Chandler St.

Candidates will be asked questions posed by our nonprofit sponsors that deal with issues of diversity, inclusion and labor. Members of the Worcester Youth Center will help facilitate both forums.

Assumption to celebrate opening of Tsotsis Family Academic Center

The community is invited to join Assumption College President Francesco C. Cesareo, the Tsotsis family and the college’s Board of Trustees for a ribbon cutting ceremony to honor the completion of the Tsotsis Family Academic Center.

The event is 4-5:30 p.m. Friday. Following the brief ceremony, tours of the facility will be offered.