Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 121]: Maura Healey, what a doll!

Our fair Massachusetts Attorney General lady is no wallflower, that’s for sure. Assault weapons, corporate corruption, saving the environment: she continues to have her say on the big topics — and nobody even needs to ask!

She’s a firecracker, that Maura Healey. Imagine if you could package all that ambition into a gift for the holidays?

Ah, but you don’t have to — that’s what Hitch is here for. Check it out.

PCBs: Where Worcester delayed, Princeton was decisive

Indignant at potentially exposing town residents and workers to PCBs through no fault of their own, Princeton officials wanted payback. They decided they would go for it in the form of a lawsuit directed at Old Monsanto, the company that made virtually all of the potential human carcinogen (98 percent, according to the lawsuit). To do so, they hired a heavy hitter in the environmental field: Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Richard Nangle reports.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 120]: Let it grow! Let it grow! Let it grow!

You don’t need Ebenezer Scrooge’s tortured soul to take an enlightening peek into Christmas future.

Just take a downtown Worcester stroll, maybe make your way down to the Canal District, where visions of sugarplumbs and pot brownies may soon be dancing in neighbors’ heads. On the bright side, your holiday shopping will for sure — maybe as soon as next winter — be much more interesting.

Meantime, Hitch pounds the pavement for this year’s perfect gift.

On Beacon Hill: A Green Christmas for legal marijuana advocates

From State House News Service

ON THE AGENDA

  • Legal marijuana rolls up to State House
  • Baker eyes deeper partnership after Israel trip
  • Healey wants answers from Tillerson
  • 900 buyouts spare state employee layoffs

TOP OF THE HILL

For legal marijuana advocates, it’s a Green Christmas

BOSTON — A decade ago, a Massachusetts State Police cruiser, lights on, pulling up onto the sidewalk at a cannabis celebration might have been cause for alarm among attendees.

Last Thursday, the first day of marijuana legalization under a ballot law, the brief presence of a police vehicle — which was turning around to head down Beacon Street — didn’t cause a stir among activists showing off their green product for the news media outside the State House.

Scituate resident Keith Saunders, a member of the board of directors of the pro-marijuana-legalization NORML, held out a jar that he said contained just under an ounce of marijuana that was grown and gifted to him by a patient. Saunders told reporters he was giving people marijuana from his jar as they asked for it.

The ballot law permits people 21 and over to carry up to an ounce of marijuana in public and gift up to an ounce. It allows individuals to grow up to six plants, limiting it to 12 per household, and to possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis at home. A regulatory regime for retail sale of the drug is not yet established, and unregulated sales remain illegal. But the legal flow of marijuana has begun.

Keith Saunders holds a jar of what he said was nearly an ounce of newly legalized marijuana outside the State House Dec. 15.

Andy Metzger / State House News Service

Keith Saunders holds a jar of what he said was nearly an ounce of newly legalized marijuana outside the State House Dec. 15.

For Saunders, holding what he said was about a two-month supply of pot on a Beacon Hill sidewalk felt natural.

A Mother’s Journey [Part 34]: The gift of reflection

Editor’s note: Since September 2015, Worcester Sun has chronicled the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Sun contributor Giselle Rivera-Flores as she explores ways to help her daughter and other Worcester families find affordable educational support and assistance. We used to describe her as an aspiring business owner; now, she’s an inspiring one, a full-fledged director of a nonprofit tutoring collaborative that began officially in late January but has transformed considerably since. During her journey she has, you could say, stepped beyond the walls of her dream.

Giselle Rivera-Flores

Giselle Rivera-Flores

The holidays are officially here, and while many people are out enjoying their gift shopping and hot cocoa sipping, maybe even relaxing by the fireplace after a long day at work, I am frantically wondering, “How the hell am I going to get this all done?”

Work has become life. It gets harder and harder to turn off that Woopreneur switch inside. Finding a balance between work and life has been a struggle from the beginning of this journey, and while I often do well fitting both business and leisure time into my day, it’s becoming increasingly hard to do.

The struggle, though, helps remind me that above all, family comes first. I try to remember that to achieve professionally, we must achieve personally. Creating memories and building upon the foundations of what is important to our family is an essential part of happy success.

Considering the time of year, I want to give my fellow entrepreneurs some friendly advice about surviving the holidays and getting work done before it’s time to put on that ugly sweater.

Read Giselle’s previous chapter, The original Woopreneur, or scroll down to explore more of her story

Inbox [Dec. 18]: UMass Medical gets $3.1M for heart study, WorcShop shares in $242K in state grants, WPI researchers make cancer breakthrough, Health Connector deadline looms

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.

UMass Medical School awarded $3.1M to monitor, improve heart attack care in Worcester

UMass Medical School has been awarded a four-year, $3.1 million grant by the National Institutes of Health for Community Surveillance of Coronary Heart Disease. The new grant, previously known as the Worcester Heart Attack Study, continues four decades of monitoring local heart attack patients to improve treatment and outcomes under the direction of Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., founder and principal investigator.

“We’re going to study contemporary trends in the magnitude of heart disease in the greater Worcester community. We’re going to monitor changing and current trends in the in-hospital and long-term outcomes of patients hospitalized with heart attacks, also called acute myocardial infarctions. And we’re going to look at changes taking place in patient management,” said Goldberg, professor of quantitative health sciences.

UMass Medical School

Wikimedia Commons/Photo by og-emmet

UMass Medical School

“What we want to learn is, will these trajectories continue: Will [the] incidence of heart attacks continue to decrease? Will patients’ prognosis continue to improve? And how much more effectively can patients be managed?”

Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute since the mid-1980s, the community-based study provides 40 years of data about the number of heart attacks among residents of the greater Worcester community and outcomes of their medical care during and after hospitalization. It also provides insights on how patients who experience heart attacks are treated by physicians in the community.

“We’re going to have a 40-year picture of heart disease, which is unique. What we’ve learned since 1975 is that even though Worcester heart attack patients have become older and sicker, often having multiple diseases, the incidence of heart attacks is declining, and patients’ [prognoses] both in-hospital and post-discharge is getting better,” said Goldberg. “We think this is because patients are being much more aggressively managed with evidence-based care.”

Read the entire story on the UMass Medical School website


State announces inaugural round of Collaborative Workspace Program Awards

At an event last Thursday at The WorcShop in Worcester, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded over $950,000 in grant funding to 23 organizations across Massachusetts to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the commonwealth’s cities and towns.

Rosenberg highlights likely 2017 priorities on Beacon Hill

BOSTON — Senate President Stanley Rosenberg hinted at 2017 agenda items, highlighting climate change, housing, education funding, and economic issues for low- and middle-income families while not dismissing the possibility of raising taxes to help pay for those initiatives.

“We still have some huge needs around housing and homelessness, we haven’t done a multi-year commitment to education funding in a long time, we did improve funding on transportation but there’s still a big gap compared to what people want us to deliver, and let’s not forget the opioid heroin crisis,” he said Tuesday, Dec. 13.

“Of course, we’re going to continue to work on economic issues for all folks, but particular for low- and moderate-income people.”

Rosenberg said he also expects the Senate to focus in 2017 on an issue that held Beacon Hill’s attention for much of the current session: energy. That work led to a law giving hydropower and offshore wind prominent roles in the state’s energy mix, but Rosenberg said the legislative work on energy is not done.

Lynda Cheldelin Fell: The 12 Nights of Christmas

“Twelve nights sneaking around the neighborhood playing ding dong ditch? How fun! I especially loved the idea of helping my kids learn the joys of giving at such an impressionable age. And so that December gave birth to a new family tradition for the Fells. That first year proved a wonderful experience and we continued choosing a different neighbor each year, until tragedy struck our own family.”

Editorial: CANDO spirit in Worcester

It’s Dec. 11. We’re in the thick of things now!

From giving thanks to giving presents, folks are in the middle of a month-long season that does the heart good.

Charitable giving goes into high gear over the holidays, too. Whether we drop coins in a red Salvation Army kettle or write a check to a pet cause before the tax year ends, it feels good to be kind.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Medical Center must be feeling like a million bucks. Their Winter Ball at Mechanics Hall Dec. 2 outdid itself this year, passing the $1 million mark in a night of dancing, dining and donating.

Inbox [Dec. 11]: Bancroft School opens new fieldhouse, Worcester Public Library debuts new STEM program, ex-courthouse back on market, UMass increases downtown presence, Shrewsbury panel awards culture grants

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.

Bancroft School holds grand opening of new fieldhouse

Bancroft School held a grand opening of its newly renovated athletics fieldhouse located on the east end of the Bancroft campus at 100 Shore Drive, Worcester.

Situated on a hilltop overlooking Indian Lake, the fieldhouse features an indoor track, a turf field, flexible-use meeting and conference spaces, and a wall of windows that provides spectacular lake views.

Bancroft School's new fieldhouse

Courtesy of Bancroft School (Karla Cinquanta photo)

Bancroft School’s new fieldhouse

“All the pieces have fallen into place,” Head of School Trey Cassidy said, “and we’re proud to celebrate the culmination of a vision to create a beautiful, functional, and modern fieldhouse that would allow more consistent year-round training by our teams, and give non-Bancroft athletes and their families from the local community an experience more reflective of Bancroft School’s high standards.”