In this issue, Dec. 27-Jan. 2

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Best of the Sun … so far, part 1 |  In this first of a three-part series, we hope to offer something new to those members and friends who’ve recently joined us. Or simply remind the most loyal and pioneering among you just how gamely we came careening out of the gate. However much time you’ve spent along for the ride, we sincerely thank you, and hope you enjoy this review of our top journalism and storytelling.

Charles P. Pierce

Charles P. Pierce

Under Mayor Marty Walsh, Boston recently raised the legal age to buy cigarettes and smoking products from 18 to 21. Could Worcester be next?

Boston shift may light a fire under changes to city smoking regs |  After restricting smoking in city parks and certain other city-owned places, could a clampdown on the age of tobacco buyers be next? Some think the city’s energies are being misdirected. Patrick Sargent reports on the future tobacco-product laws in Worcester.

The White Eagle building was originally Father Mathew Hall.

Courtesy Marian Jachimczyk

The White Eagle building was originally Father Mathew Hall.

Local Business Spotlight: Historic White Eagle looks toward future |  The longtime Canal District gathering spot has made some significant recent changes in order to attract new customers. With a fresh perspective, not to mention board of directors, and a focus on eliminating the perception that it remains a bastion for troublemakers, the new leadership of a Green Street landmark appears ready to take flight.

Chris Sinacola

Sina-cism: Hey Paris, we’ll always have science |  Some love the change in the weather and discount any link to climate change. But others worry that our current mildness is a harbinger of a permanently changed and very problematic future. Whichever view you take, consider adding a little Sina-cism to your stand.

Editorial: Reading too much into the numbers |  Recent data from the state show the number of students disciplined and suspended in the Worcester Public Schools is down. Reducing suspensions in schools is a laudable goal. The problem comes in interpreting exactly what that means. We examine what we can and cannot conclude about the state’s report.

Second Thought: A Hanover tip-of-the-hat |  The audience was enthralled, all left uplifted and delighted, and next year we are seeking out the autism-friendly night of “A Christmas Carol.” Indeed, we offer a hearty curtain call to Troy Siebels and Co. for another distinctive job well-done.

Sun Spots with Hitch: Vol. 18 |  An MBTA maintenance worker made more than $300,000 last year. This recent revelation did not go over well with … well, lots of folks, particularly those who had a hard time swallowing the more than 2,000 hours of overtime that made this remarkable annual take-home possible. Hitch brings a fitting view of this story that has jaws wagging from Grafton Hill to Beacon Hill.

Tony D'Aveni at Jimmy's Tavern & Grill in Shrewsbury.

Courtesy Tony D'Aveni

Tony D’Aveni at Jimmy’s Tavern & Grill in Shrewsbury.

Local Crowdfund: Tony D’Aveni improvises new way to hear, appreciate jazz trumpet |  “My hope is to get the CD to as many trumpet players, band directors and anyone who enjoys jazz as possible.” D’Aveni is really into jazz and trumpet. Like, a lot. Let fellow aficionado Art Simas tell you exactly how much, and you might just find yourself syncopating and toe-tapping your way to Indiegogo to help.

Worcester Weekly |  As we swing into this week with verve and optimism — What’s that, now? Agita and exhaustion sound more accurate? — anyway, there are plenty of options to give the kids something better to do than complain they’re already bored with their holiday booty. Those picks and more as we mine the best places to go and things to do in the last few days of 2015, and even a little something to kick off your 2016 in style.

Become West Coast swing dancing pros in no time (hyperbole alert -- it's not that easy) ... or maybe just have some healthy fun at the Greendale YMCA.

Wikimedia Commons

Become West Coast swing dancing pros in no time (hyperbole alert — it’s not that easy) … or maybe just have some healthy fun at the Greendale YMCA.

New in Free to Read:

Worcesternomics: Give back and get back
To help community development corporations raise private funds the commonwealth in 2012 created the Community Investment Tax Credit, which pays you back 50 percent of eligible charitable donations. Just in time for your end-of-the-year giving we’ll show you which CDCs in the city benefit, and take a look at the best and easiest-to-understand tax credit you’ve never heard of.

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