Worcester’s Power Players, a more definitive list

If we are going to honor the developers, we also have to acknowledge the role of those who create the crucial infrastructure of a vital built environment – the artists, the preservationists, the tree huggers and the tree planters. … They too are the “power players.”

Inbox [Jan. 13-20]: News and notes from the Girl Scouts, You Inc., UniBank and more

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.

Rotary Club’s free ‘Repair Cafe’ set for Jan. 20 in Bolton

The Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley is offering a way for area residents to repair, instead of throw away, household items and clothing.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, bring things in need of fixing — such as mendable clothes, lamps, small appliances, computers and other electronics, bikes and toys — to the cafeteria of the Florence Sawyer School, 100 Mechanic St., Bolton. Knowledgeable volunteers will be on hand to make repairs, or if that isn’t possible, advise participants where to get help with the item.

In addition to repairs, volunteers will also sharpen knives, scissors and garden tools.

Mariano: Wishes for the New Year

“This past year has been exhausting. But, it is a new year and hope springs eternal. Maybe, just maybe, things will be better in 2018. Here are my wishes for the New Year.”

Inbox [Dec. 30-Jan. 6]: News and notes from Worcester Cultural Coalition, Mercantile Center, Operation Homefront, CMRPC

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.

WCC receives $1.1M grant to develop ‘WOOteria’ multipurpose arts space

The Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC) has received a $1.1 million grant from the Boston-based Barr Foundation to support the building and operation of the WOOteria, a collaborative art space and performance venue in downtown.

Located at 20 Franklin St., the previous home of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, WOOteria will include a multipurpose exhibition gallery and space for creative collaboration, in addition to a 300-seat performance space for theater, concerts, lectures and convenings.

“Great cities support great art,” Erin Williams, Worcester’s cultural development officer, said in a statement from WCC. “The WCC supports the city’s efforts to activate the downtown and engage people of all backgrounds in bringing the city to life through creative expression of music, dance, theater and public art. It’s a space for everyone to get engaged in the arts in an active way.”

Webster Five

Inbox [Dec. 23-30]: News and notes from city of Worcester, Webster Five, Fidelity Bank and You Inc.

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 offers online survey to help update Hazard Mitigation Plan

Work is underway to update the city of Worcester’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, which will help guide local efforts to reduce damage from future natural disasters. The city invites residents, business operators, property owners, and other interested parties to add their insight and local knowledge to the planning process by completing a brief online survey, which is available on the city website or at mrpc.org/hazard-mitigation-planning.

All are encouraged to participate – this is an opportunity for members of the public to help provide input to make our community more resilient to floods, droughts, winter storms and other natural hazards. Completing the online survey will help the city to better identify hazards, prioritize mitigation strategies, and communicate with local residents and businesses.

The survey is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. As the planning process proceeds over the next several months, at least two public meetings will be held to present and seek additional public input into the draft and final plans. Final adoption of the plan is contingent on approval from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and requires acceptance by the City Council.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 224]: Finding homes for the holidays … and beyond

Through diligence, determination and the generosity of local grant makers, Worcester has in recent years become a big-city leader nationwide when it comes to curbing homelessness.

That trend, though, is beginning to head in the wrong direction and City Manager Ed Augustus has vowed to nip the negative momentum in the bud.

All about public service, Hitch thinks he’s found a perfect spot for shelter in the Canal District.

Up Next: City poised to set tax rates

While the city is flush with free cash and increasingly quick to trumpet its enviable financial situation, Worcester residents and businesses are likely to be digging in the couch cushions for a little “free cash” of their own once the City Council determines the dual tax rates at Tuesday’s meeting.

City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. used $250,000 from free cash to reduce the city’s tax levy to about $293.5 million, some $11 million more than last year but nearly $14 million below what the city could ask from its taxpayers.

Courtesy NAMI Mass

Edward M. Augustus Jr.

But still, with the spike in property values across the city, especially residential properties, even staying at last year’s rates of $19.22 per $1,000 of assessed value for residential and $32.93 for commercial, industrial and personal property, the average bills would rise $179 and $83, respectively.

[Scroll down to page 62 of the embedded PDF document below.]

Lukes: Allies and endorsements, checks and balances

In this election, more than ever, character, experience, promises and enthusiasm are not the only criteria  to judge the worthiness of a candidate. A candidate’s alliances must also be considered, either as an advantage or a handicap.