Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 119]: The Ed Augustus Christmas Carol Tour

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas carol? The Grinch, probably. Mall employees, for sure.

But for many, the soundtrack of the season is a delightful way to distract ourselves from the realities of the rest of the year. And sometimes we can’t help but join in. So what could have inspired City Manager Ed Augustus to break out in song recently?

Hitch was lucky enough to open his door and find out.

Q&A: Mike Angelini, Worcester’s power broker, gets down to business

On the fifth anniversary of his paper that dramatically refocused Worcester’s economic development efforts, the chairman of the law firm Bowditch & Dewey, Hanover Insurance Group’s board of directors and Massport discusses the impact of his paper, the city’s current economic development efforts, the role of public and higher education in moving the city forward, the city’s dual tax rate, Worcester Regional Airport, commuter rail, and more.

Bill Randell

Randell: The possibilities of Sarasota … and Worcester

“Every year when we visit my in-laws in Boca Raton, we check out the real estate on the East Coast as far south as Miami and Fort Lauderdale north to West Palm, but never find anything we really like.” Wouldn’t you know it, Bill Randell’s pet project — Worcester Regional Airport — might have presented him with an eye-opening opportunity.

Marijuana legalization poses ‘impossible task’ for police on roads, Question 4 opponents claim

BOSTON — Legalization of marijuana would result in greater dangers on Massachusetts roadways, where authorities are ill-equipped to even know whether drivers are intoxicated by the leafy green drug, opponents of Question 4 said.

“If this ballot question passes we’re asking police officers on the street to do an impossible task. We’re asking them to determine if somebody’s impaired or not,” Rep. Paul Tucker, the former chief of police in Salem, said at a Tuesday, Oct. 25, press conference outside the State House.

At an Oct. 25 press conference with lawmakers and AAA, Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett argued against a marijuana legalization ballot question, warning that law enforcement members do not yet have a way to test for marijuana-impaired driving.

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

At an Oct. 25 press conference with lawmakers and AAA, Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett argued against a marijuana legalization ballot question, warning that law enforcement members do not yet have a way to test for marijuana-impaired driving.

Unlike drunken driving tests where blood and breath measurements can give a clear indication of a motorist’s state of intoxication, marijuana drug tests generally measure whether someone has used the substance over a longer period of time.

Jim Borghesani, the spokesman for the campaign seeking to legalize adult marijuana usage through the ballot initiative, said studies are underway that could potentially improve enforcement, and said police can now take action when someone is driving erratically.

“Police officers have every ability to pull over somebody who’s driving impaired and take them off the road,” Borghesani told reporters. There will be two studies in the field next year with researchers exploring the use of “intelligent fingerprinting” and saliva to determine recent marijuana usage, he said.


Watch: Question 4 backers and opponents make their cases


On Beacon Hill: DeLeo backs charter schools, Rosenberg’s fired up for legal pot, but what do voters think?

From State House News Service

ON THE AGENDA

  • DeLeo backs charter schools expansion, Rosenberg goes for legal pot
  • Chart: What are likely voters thinking on all four ballot questions?
  • Baker convenes working group on automated cars, growing industry
  • Administration works $294M budget gap; says courts, higher ed to be spared
  • Polito: Layoffs could be part of belt-tightening strategy

Senate President Stanley M. Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

Sam Doran (SHNS / file photo)

Senate President Stanley M. Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

TOP OF THE HILL

DeLeo: Charter schools expansion ‘best for students’

The ballot question seeking to expand access to charter schools gained a potentially powerful backer last week in House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who has long expressed sympathy with students and families waiting for openings in charter schools.

In an appearance on WCVB’s “On The Record” set to air today [Oct. 23], the Winthrop Democrat said, “I decided to do what I feel is best for students, whatever the political ramifications may be. I think, again, it’s the right thing to do.”

Question 2 would allow for up to 12 additional charter schools regardless of existing statutory caps.

WCVB released a clip of the interview Thursday, Oct. 20, and the Yes on 2 campaign quickly circulated a link to the clip with a campaign spokeswoman saying they were honored to have DeLeo as part of their “bipartisan coalition.” A source close to DeLeo confirmed he plans to vote for Question 2.

Dateline 2027 — Free flights to Havana? United Delta joins USA-Cuba alliance to make it happen

SUNDAY, OCT. 17, 2027 — United Delta Airlines wants to bring you to the warm, sunny Caribbean for the low, low cost of free.

Beginning tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., Delta United will open its lottery for free tickets from Worcester International Airport to Havana.

WhatIfWorcesterFinal

The Cuba-U.S. Tourism and Exchange Program, or CUSTEP, known informally as the “Cuba Libre” plan, was the brainchild of Cuban Ambassador Jim McGovern and Cuban Tourism Minister Roberto Knowles. It’s been in the works since the election of President Frederico Torres and the normalization of U.S.- Cuba relations in 2021.

“After six years of negotiations, we’re extremely happy to be able to partner with Delta United Airlines to allow American citizens to explore Cuba,” reads a joint press release from Ambassador McGovern’s office, the State Department, and the National Institute of Mental Health.

What if … Worcester’s first free-to-read

Inbox [Oct. 16]: Worcester Airport lands $7.7M grant, new program aims to help homeless young adults, Main South athletic field debuts, Clark researcher nets more funding for economic-environmental research

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.

Worcester Airport receives $7.7 million to help increase capacity

U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern announced a $7,749,620 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Worcester Regional Airport. The new federal funding will support additional taxiway construction and will help Massport to continue its work to grow the Worcester airport and increase its capacity to serve Central Massachusetts travelers.

Worcester Regional Airport

Wikimedia Commons

Worcester Regional Airport

“Keeping our region’s economy growing starts with strong investments in infrastructure. Worcester Regional Airport is key to making Central Massachusetts a destination for businesses and this grant will help us continue our work to bring new jobs to the region,” said McGovern, a Worcester Democrat.

Transgender ‘bathroom bill’ in effect, AG Healey anticipates smooth sailing

Attorney General Maura Healey said she expects no serious issues now that the new law aimed at preventing discrimination against transgender individuals in public accommodations has taken effect.

Attoney General Maura Healey

Antonio Caban / State House News Service

Attoney General Maura Healey

“So far, so good. And it’s what I expect,” Healey said Monday, Oct. 3, on Boston Herald Radio about the law, which went into effect on Saturday.


Our editorial from April: Pass the ‘bathroom bill’ and remember common decency


The law allows transgender people to access sex-segregated locker rooms and bathrooms based on their gender identity rather than their anatomical sex. It bans discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations such as pools and restaurants.

What if … Worcester: Dateline 2076 — City hosts Olympic games as new format spreads benefits, burdens around the globe

“The new initiative is made possible through recent developments in automation and sub-orbital flight, which have deeply slashed travel time and cost. ‘Transportation breakthroughs, host city expenses, and crowd security made us rethink why everyone has to be gathered in one place,” said Olympics 2076 Committee Chairman Peter Theroux. “That was 20th-century thinking. Now traveling from Worcester to Johannesburg is as easy, and almost as cheap as, taking a short car ride.’ ”

Editorial: Don’t stop the non-stop between Worcester and Boston

Is it time for a heart-to-heart about the HeartToHub?

We don’t think so, but an engineer who lives in Ashland and rides the MBTA’s Framingham/Worcester Line thinks otherwise.

David Perry on Wednesday delivered an impressively detailed letter and petition to Gov. Charlie Baker. He calls for the elimination of the HeartToHub service in favor of added express trains that would serve more riders, at more convenient times, at more stations between Worcester and Boston.

Union Station

Sun Staff / Worcester Sun

HeartToHub is on track from Union Station, but is it meeting its goals?

HeartToHub is the non-stop train service that debuted in May, promoted by politicians and carrying the hope and expectation that it would be a strong step toward a future of smoother, environmentally friendly public transportation serving Worcester.

Though less than perfect — and likely deserving of schedule adjustments once a year has gone by — the service still serves, at least symbolically, as that strong first step toward a better commuter future.