Long-sought schooling change delivers results for Gino

After years of frustrating delays and grappling with Worcester Public Schools, a deaf Worcester teen is at last in a special-education setting that has him thriving. The Sun checks in with Gino Berthiaume, his mother, educators and others who have seen the transformation that can come from an Individualized Education Program in action.

Inbox [May 10]: News and notes from Assumption, Clark, WalletHub, Community Harvest Project and BJ’s

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.

Worcester’s economy sees slow start to ’17

According to the Worcester Economic Index (WEI), a quarterly analysis compiled by Assumption College Professor of Economics Thomas White, Ph.D., economic activity in the greater Worcester area slowed during the first quarter of 2017.

Since December, the WEI declined 0.4 percent on an annualized basis.

Though the WEI shows the unemployment rate fell from 5 percent in March 2016 to 4.2 percent in March 2017 — which White considers a positive signal — the recent data on Worcester-area unemployment has been less encouraging because of seasonally adjusted employment estimates.

“During the first quarter of the year, there is usually an increase in the unemployment rate, as seasonal hiring for the holiday season unwinds,” White said. “This year, however, the increase was greater than normal due to an increase in the size of the labor force. Therefore, the rise in the local unemployment rate over the last few months is the reason the WEI fell to start the year.”

Mariano: Mayor Petty responds to PCB concerns with comprehensive plan

The plan presented is not perfect. The suspect materials remain in the building. But with an aggressive program of cleaning, encapsulating and monitoring, the risk is substantially reduced.

Worcester Sun, April 19: Mariano on Petty’s PCBs response, Valentino’s vies for heart of Shrewsbury Street + more

It’s a jam-packed Wednesday, April 19, Worcester Sun. Get in there!

Last week’s most popular, April 2-8

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles April 2-8

Area artist molds a new career, city narrative with Mugged in Worcester [April 2]
Mariano: The man nobody wants but every neighborhood needs [April 2]
Worcester teachers union wins PCB battle, will begin testing at Burncoat and Doherty [March 31]
Sina-cism: ‘Coming Apart,’ at Middlebury and elsewhere [April 2]
State’s highest court hears arguments for and against ICE immigration detainers [April 5]

Last week’s most popular, March 26-April 1

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles March 26-April 1

Mariano: Half-truths and alternative facts about PCBs at Burncoat and Doherty [March 26]
Editorial: New hope for Notre Dame church? [March 29]
Worcester teachers union wins PCB battle, will begin testing at Burncoat and Doherty [March 31]
Youth baseball official frustrated by city’s tag days stance [March 26]
Mariano: The problem of PCBs at Burncoat and Doherty high schools could be worse than I thought [March 19]
Sina-cism: On guns, what professors ‘know’ just ain’t so [March 26]

Worcester teachers union wins PCB battle, will begin testing at Burncoat and Doherty

[Updated 4:57 p.m., April 1]

The Educational Association of Worcester has prevailed in its long and hard-fought quest to investigate the presence of potentially cancer-causing PCBs in the air at Burncoat and Doherty Memorial high schools, the union president said.

The tests are set to begin 3 p.m. Monday at Burncoat, and April 24 at Doherty (time to be determined).

Roger Nugent, EAW president, first confirmed to the Sun Friday, March 31, that the School Committee’s ongoing appeal before the Commonwealth Employee Relations Board (CERB) was denied late Thursday, paving the way for window-caulk testing for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at the two schools in the district where the concern — and potential danger — has been highest.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this happen and making sure those buildings are safe for kids and adults,” he said.

Nugent said Saturday morning that while the School Committee has not yet committed to halting further legal action, the two sides are “moving in the right direction for a binding agreement” and that union officials were reviewing a draft of such an agreement this weekend.

Last week’s most popular, March 19-25

Here are the most popular Worcester Sun articles March 19-25

Mariano: The problem of PCBs at Burncoat and Doherty high schools could be worse than I thought [March 19]
Mariano: Shame on the mayor, superintendent and School Committee! [March 8]
Filmmakers hope to whip up fundraising frenzy for Major Taylor biopic ‘Black Cyclone’ [March 22]
Editorial: Crime stats show Worcester becoming safer in long run [March 22]
Requiem for Dissent: McGovern-ing in the era of Trump [March 19]

Mariano: Half-truths and alternative facts about PCBs at Burncoat and Doherty

“And now that everyone knows the truth, the mayor and School Committee still refuse to admit that there is a potentially very serious health risk in these two buildings. They refuse to cooperate with their own teachers and involve the EPA in testing so that everyone knows exactly what they are facing. They hide behind language like there is ‘no conclusive proof.’ “

Worcester Sun, March 26-April 1: Mariano scrutinizes PCB chatter, Hitch takes his turn with The Crusader, tag days debate lingers + more

As if you needed more reasons to get in there … Another riveting chapter unfolds as Augustine suffers a heart-wrenching loss as he fills in the blanks back in Motema, Sierra Leone. Sinacola stopped by Clark for a lecture — unsurprisingly common ground was lacking. Plenty more, too, in your March 26-April 1 Worcester Sun.