Audio Journal helps visually impaired ‘see’ the world

“Our No. 1 priority is finding listeners so that there are as many people listening to us who can benefit from the radio shows,” director Vince Lombardi said. He said there are about 5,000 legally blind people in Central Massachusetts, and that the nonprofit Audio Journal reaches about 3,500 of them.

Inbox [Jan. 31]: News and notes from Sen. Chandler, Worcester Chamber, Temescal Wellness, ArtsWorcester

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Chandler keynote speaker at Chamber’s March breakfast

The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce has announced that acting Senate President Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, will serve as keynote speaker at the March 8 Breakfast Club event inside Holy Cross’s Hogan Center. The event runs from 7 to 9 a.m. and is sponsored by Fidelity Bank.

Chandler served as one of Worcester’s state representatives from 1995-2001 before winning an election as the first woman from the city to become a Massachusetts state senator. She represents Worcester’s First District, was Senate majority leader and longtime Worcester School Committee member. In the state Legislature, Chandler has served as the co-chair of the Prevention for Health Caucus and the Legislature’s Oral Health Caucus, co-chair of the Regional Transit Authority Legislative Caucus, co-chair of the Central Massachusetts Caucus, co-chair of the Brain Injury Commission, and co-chair of the Caucus of Women Legislators.

Worcester Weekly: Holy Cross hockey, synchronized skating + more, Jan. 6-12

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Saturday, Jan. 6 — “On the Streets Where They Lived: Exploring the Riches Hidden in Massachusetts Town Records,” 10 a.m.-noon, Banx Room, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square  While some folks are surely still digging out from another whoppah of a snowstorm, maybe the time is right to dig into a little family history. Team up with the Worcester Chapter of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists for their monthly meeting and learn about the value of the dusty clues to be found at your local town hall.

Audio Journal helps visually impaired ‘see’ the world

Sun Shine is an occasional series highlighting the good works of nonprofits, groups, colleges and individuals. If you know something or someone deserving of such a spotlight, email editor Fred Hurlbrink Jr. at

Audio Journal is part of a statewide network of towns that carry the Talking Information Center (TIC), which started in Marshfield in 1977.

While TIC programming runs 24/7, Audio Journal provides broadcasts eight to nine hours per day from its studio at 799 West Boylston St.

“Some programs are pre-recorded, but most are live,” said director Vincent Lombardi, who has been at the helm since 1999. “We have two volunteer DJs interacting with each other. It’s fun for them to learn about how to run a radio station, and they also take calls from the listening audience. We train our volunteers on how to run the audio board, and that makes it more exciting than just reading.

Every morning readers broadcast the local obituaries, news, business, sports, commentary and advice columnists from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and other local papers: Worcester Magazine, Worcester Business Journal, Boston Globe; 30-plus community newspapers from throughout Central Mass.; and regional/national publications such as Yankee, New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, People and Time.

And then there is programming for specific audiences, such as live theater, children’s shows, senior issues, the book club, and much more. (Go to  or call the station at 508-797-1177 for a complete list of daily shows.)

The station has about 150 volunteers who help out in various departments and tasks, and more are always welcome.

Worcester Weekly: ‘Winter Reimagined,’ Worcester Youth Orchestras concert + more, Dec. 16-22

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Dec. 17 — Family Holiday Concert, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St.  Get your fill of seasonal music and the enthusiasm and talent of the young at this popular Worcester Youth Orchestras event. You could have gotten an afternoon meal with wine, too, but the table-service tickets are sold out. Waah. But even from the cheap seats you’ll see City Manager Ed Augustus guest-conduct “Sleigh Ride” — and for once, city councilors won’t be grading his job performance.

The Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra, WY Philharmonic & String Orchestra, WY Wind Ensemble, WY Jazz Band and the Shepherd Hill Regional High School Choirs will perform. There could be a singalong or two, too.

Tickets (balcony) are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Free for ages 18 and under.

For more information

Worcester Weekly: Gingerbread, ‘Christmas Carol,’ St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble, ‘Star Wars’ benefit + more, Dec. 10-16

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Saturday, Dec. 9 — “A Christmas Journey,” 10:30 a.m. to noon, EcoTarium, 222 Harrington Way Primed by a reading of the holiday tale “Polar Express,” young ones will happily follow this “journey” at the EcoTarium. Participants hear a classic tale, are whisked away to the North Pole via the museum’s excellent Planetarium, and experience the sugar spike of hot cocoa and cookies.

Santa will be there for the kiddies, and every child will receive a bell ornament to take home and savor until the family cat claims ownership. Times are 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The popular program is also held Sunday, Dec. 10, which marks its final session this year. Tickets are $25 (includes museum admission), $10 for museum members, and must be purchased in advance.

Literacy Volunteers give the gift of language

All their adult lives they have attempted to live without the verbal survival skills the rest of us take for granted. Finally admitting their need for help, these native-born Americans, as well as our core adult student population of immigrants, come to us for help. What you, as a Literacy Volunteer, can offer will change their lives immeasurably.

Worcester Weekly: stART at the Station, two strolls, ‘Wonderful Life’ + more, Dec. 3-9

The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.

Sunday, Dec. 3 — stART at the Station, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Grand Hall and Concourse, Union Station, Washington Square  This is the stop to get gift shopping stARTed and your holidays on track. Some 135 local artisans will be on hand with items that are beautiful, unusual, useful or whimsical. There will be a stART Lounge, too, with a lineup of local performers, offering a break from the crafts and/or crowds. Organizers promise wider aisles this year, but trust us, this thing is chaotic — in a merry sort of way.

Admission is free; early entry from 9 to 11 a.m. costs $10, which will support stART and could get you first dibs on some of the delights. Parking is $1 at the Union Station Garage at 225 Franklin St.

Inbox [Dec. 3-9]: News and notes from WCAC, YWCA, Worcester Center for Crafts, Straight Ahead Ministries and Worcester Public Library

Have news you or your group would like to share? Let us know by emailing it to 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.

Chick-fil-A Foundation awards $50K grant to Straight Ahead Ministries

Straight Ahead Ministries, a local character-development program for juvenile offenders, has been named the recipient of a $50,000 grant through The Chick-fil-A Foundation’s fourth annual True Inspiration Awards. The awards honor organizations across the country that are working hard to make a lasting difference in the lives of children and youth in their communities.

Straight Ahead Ministries aims to provide ongoing support and resources for juvenile offenders through its faith-based programming. This intensive program includes job-readiness training, educational support and service opportunities. By connecting with youth during their sentence and continuing after their release, Straight Ahead Ministries helps adolescents become self-sufficient, productive members of their communities.