Inbox [March 5]: Becker panel to talk refugees and immigration, Assumption adds addiction counseling certificate, MassDiGI Game Challenge a hit, Bravehearts sign six

Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Panel discussion on refugees and immigration Monday at Becker

What are the practical implications of the Trump administration’s immigration measures? What impact do foreign-born workers have on the economy at the local, regional and national levels?

Deborah Becker

Courtesy WBUR

WBUR-FM (90.9) senior correspondent Deborah Becker

WBUR-FM (90.9) senior correspondent Deborah Becker will moderate a panel of community leaders who span higher education, international relations, health care and refugee assistance. The event is 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, March 6, in room 210 of the Weller Academic Center, 61 Sever St. on the Worcester campus of Becker College.

The panelists are scheduled to be Becker College President Robert E. Johnson; David Jordan, president and CEO of Seven Hills Foundation and professor of practice in social innovation at the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College; Dr. Olga Valdman, family medicine physician at Family Health Center and assistant professor at UMass Medical School; and Meredith Walsh, executive director and co-founder of the Worcester Refugee Assistance Project.

This event is presented by the Becker College Center for Global Citizenship.

Read the entire story on the Becker College website

Assumption announces grad certificate in addiction counseling

Assumption College has announced that beginning in fall 2017 it will offer a new Certificate in Graduate Studies in Addiction Counseling, which aims to raise the standard for the educational preparation of addiction counselors. The new certificate program is a one-year, six-course curriculum that consists of four content courses and two addiction counseling internships.

Worcester Weekly: Restaurant Week, Assumption hoops + more, as February turns to March

Sunday, Feb. 26 — Assumption women’s basketball vs. Le Moyne, NE-10 Conference quarterfinal, 3 p.m., Laska Gymnasium, Assumption College, 500 Salisbury St.  Basketball is kind of a big deal at Assumption, and recently it’s been the ladies taking the lead. Back in the conference tournament with a 19-7 record, the Greyhounds are poised to make a run behind a strong senior triumvirate — forward Jo Impellizeri and guards Allison Stoddard and Kelly Carey — and one of the stingiest defenses in all the land. Except, the last time these two teams met, the Dolphins came away with an ugly 48-42 victory.

Then again, this isn’t the first rodeo for coach Kerry Phayre, who’s wrapping up her 10th straight winning campaign and would no doubt like to stretch her 21st season at the Greyhound helm a few more games.

The unbelievably true story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Part 32: To Be a Man is Not Easy

My days were quite full. Not only with my new job and keeping my family fed, but with a challenging course schedule at Quinsigamond Community College.

Augustine Kanjia

I had loads of reading to do, piles of written homework, research and mathematics problems to grapple. It was a struggle, but I’d begun by loving school, and I felt the pinch of learning in a corner of my heart. “When you complete your education,” I thought, “you will be respected at home and abroad. In fact, you would get better pay and be on top of things. Why not just pretend as if your grandmother stands by you right now, urging you with a cane to go to school. Think how she wanted you [to become] the most educated at home.”

It seemed sometimes as if I were in a trance. Until I inevitably awoke to reality and realized I had more work to do. I needed to apply more effort. And I needed to not be distracted by what some of our Sierra Leonean friends were thinking and saying about me when they met.

I needed courage, but even Theresa had doubts. I could feel my wife saying, “Now that you are in college with these girls, I know you will fall in love with them.” My main worry was never the girls, but to achieve quickly, stop going to school and get a better job.

People worry about me more than I do for myself.

Augustine’s last chapter: Job offer sends me back to school Or scroll down to catch up from earlier in the remarkable tale

The unbelievably true story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Part 31: Job Offer Sends Me Back to School

Life was hard as our rent and bills piled up.

Augustine Kanjia

Our food stamps and financial support were reduced. I worked and worked but rarely saw the money. My wife, Theresa, took control of the little salary coming in. She suspected I was too generous and might want to send help to the many people we knew in Africa, even while we suffered.

I thought of my friend David Jordan, president of Seven Hills Foundation. He was the man who had promised me a job, and my wife too, if we had our driver’s licenses. I did not know the nature of the job, but I knew I wanted it.

Getting the license was a big deal. I was prepared for the driving test. Affording it was another question. I fought hard and sent messages to friends who had lived in America for a longer time. Two of them sent me a total of $300. That was enough for the road test, so I went.

I made a mistake by touching the yellow line right by the RMV. The examiner said I had failed the test. I could not object, and in 10 minutes I was dropped at home, quite sad and thinking the examiner was out to get me. But I soon scheduled another test, this time at Central Mass. Safety Council in West Boylston. I went with the examiner for more than 20 minutes. He kept giving me questions on signs; I made a three-point turn; and parallel parked.

I passed with ease. I was given the license. My whole house rejoiced as though I had just found a big diamond.

Augustine’s last chapter: New Year, Tough Beginning Or scroll down to catch up from earlier in the remarkable tale

The unbelievably true story of Augustine Kanjia continues … Part 30: New Year, Tough Beginning

It was the end of year and there was midnight Mass on Dec. 31. The Mass, meant to usher the congregation into the new year, was exciting and full of joy.

Augustine Kanjia

The fraternity was cordial as we all hugged and shook hands. It was not difficult to smile and exchange pleasantries. We were soon to start the reality of American living, and our thoughts would quickly wander past the new year.

I was not too happy when I realized the enormous task ahead of me.

I only had a seasonal job, and my wife expected more from me, at least a better job.

And we received word that our family homes in Africa had all been burnt down, about four houses. My grandmother’s house was my entire responsibility. That is where I grew up. My two uncles survived and had nowhere to live, though they managed.

They may have been told that I had survived President Jammeh’s countless challenges and was now in the United States. Our first three months were challenging.

Augustine’s last chapter: First Noel in Worcester Or scroll down to catch up from earlier in the remarkable tale

Stearns Tavern

Editorial: In praise of a community that came to the rescue

It’s right there at 140 Mill St., on the corner of Mill and Coes. It’s large by comparison, but does not look out of place.

It’s surrounded by fence and retains visible scars from its most recent ordeal.

In a few years time, when the Stearns Tavern is the centerpiece of a city park, we suspect and fear the details of how the historic building was saved from destruction may become just a footnote. This would be a shame.

While the continued development of downtown Worcester has garnered much well-deserved recognition this year, we believe the effort to save Stearns Tavern merits more attention, truly showcasing community at its best.

Worcester Weekly: Jingle 5K, Craftershock! + more to do, Dec. 11-18

Sunday, Dec. 11 — Craftershock! 2016, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Seven Hills Foundation, 81 Hope Ave.  This city has many things that make it distinct, unique even. Indeed we have a rich and proud history bursting at the seams with difference-makers of all shapes and sizes — from Goddard’s rockets to Ball’s smiley faces, from Abbey’s activism to Abbie’s activism. Now, for sure, roller derby couldn’t possibly provide the impact of, say, feverish abolitionism or advocacy of women’s rights, but Worcester Roller Derby is both a fascinating sporting endeavor and a home-away-from-home that provides an often important community for its members.

Check out our free feature story on WoRD’s social (and physical) impact

Liz Couture, aka T-Flex

Joe Parello / For Worcester Sun

Liz Couture, aka T-Flex

 

Clearly these are no one-dimensional ladies. And for the sixth year, WoRD is putting on its “alternative craft fair,” featuring more than 70 vendors (and free admission). Homemade jewelry, vintage goods, art and photography, gifts and more. You’re going to be out shopping anyway — plus why risk making these women angry?!

For more information


Wednesday, Dec. 14 — City Services Q&A, 3-4 p.m., 2nd Floor, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square  You’d think the city might want to make clear that they will not be taking questions about snow removal or taxes. This is, though, a pretty nifty service to have at your disposal — at least you can see all those rising tax dollars at work!

Inbox [Nov. 30]: Worcester trumpets top bond rating, Petty renews statewide gun buyback push, literacy group announces new leadership, Brain Injury Association elects board president

Have a release or a photo 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.

Worcester gets highest-ever bond rating from Fitch

Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. announced the city of Worcester has received its highest-ever municipal bond rating from Fitch Ratings, a global independent credit rating agency.

The agency upgraded the city’s municipal bond rating to AA, up from AA-.

Edward M. Augustus Jr.

Courtesy NAMI Mass

Edward M. Augustus Jr.

Worcester is rated annually by three independent rating agencies. In addition to the Fitch Ratings AA (stable) rating, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poor’s Rating Service have reaffirmed the city’s strong ratings of Aa3 (stable) and AA- (stable), respectively.

“The entire community should take great pride in the city’s improved credit rating,” Augustus said. “It is a statement that the city has strong management, demonstrated positive financial performance over time, and continued economic development growth. It required us to execute a coordinated long-range plan, making difficult decisions in order to deliver consistent, steady progress to expand our tax base, grow our reserves, and address our long-term liabilities.”

Inbox [Nov. 20]: Incutto nets basketball honor, SPM-SJ add a side of lunch to rivalry game, Mercantile Center announces leases, Becker offers teacher training at Be Like Brit

Have a release or a photo 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.

Incutto to be inducted into Mass. hoop coaches’ Hall of Fame

Fran Incutto, longtime basketball coach at Worcester Voke, Holy Name and Burncoat High, will be inducted into the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

The 55th annual MBCA Hall of Fame Induction and Coach of the Year Banquet is set for 4 p.m. today [Sunday, Nov. 20] at the Hogan Center on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross.