Public Information Meeting for the Burns Bridge Replacement Project – July 10

via MassDOT; I will try to be there to take notes:

Upcoming Public Information Meeting for the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge Replacement Project

When: Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Where: Worcester Technical High School – Conference Center, 1 Skyline Drive, Worcester MA

The purpose of this meeting is to provide an overview of the construction plans and traffic impacts for the replacement of the Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge, which carries Route 9 (Belmont Street/Turnpike Road) over Lake Quinsigamond between Worcester and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

Following the presentation, MassDOT staff will lead a discussion to answer questions.

The Burns Bridge Replacement is part of the $3 billion Patrick-Murray Administration’s Accelerated Bridge Program, which restores, repairs or replaces structurally deficient bridges across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Burns Bridge project includes the complete replacement of the bridge substructure, superstructure and deck.

During construction, two eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes will be available at all peak travel times. Work is expected to begin in July, 2012.

CWW: Big Dipper Festival on Saturday

2012 Big Dipper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival
Saturday, June 30, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm
Elm Park, Worcester
$5 for ages 10 and up
$1 for ages 4 – 9
FREE for 3 and under

The ice cream is such a good deal and there are a lot of activities for the kids.  Highly recommended.

(Photo: Scoops, a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic licensed image from LA Wad’s photostream.)

Guide to Cheap Worcester

I’d been thinking about putting together a guide to being cheap in our fair city for some time, especially for the items that don’t fit neatly into the Wednesday format.

So I’ve started a subpage for the Guide to Cheap Worcester (which can be found on the side menu of the blog).

We have three categories so far — Kids Eat Free locationsMuseums, and Movies — and I hope to add a category a week until I have imparted all my cheapness to the masses.

Suggestions for categories and venues are welcome and appreciated!

CWW: Out to Lunch Concerts

Every Friday from this Friday, June 29, through August 31, the Out to Lunch Concert Series will be happening on Worcester Common.

June 29: Linda Dagnello Jazz Quintet

July 6: Dom

July 13: Twangbusters

July 20: Delta Generators

July 27: Dale LePage and the Manhattans

August 3: Stone Clovers

August 10: Boogaloo Swamis

August 17: Grupo Fantasia

August 24: Dis-N-Dat

August 31: SPF-4

Full concert schedule here.

Also, on Wednesday, August 1, and Wednesday, August 8, Mechanics Hall will be hosting the Summer 2012 Worcester Organ Concerts.  More information here.

(Image: class assignment 11/01/06, a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic image from Claudia Snell.)

CWW: Free Fun Fridays, Week 1

Every year, the Highland Street Foundation offers free admission at different museums and cultural venues on Fridays in the summer.

This Friday is the first Free Fun Friday, and offers admission to the following venues:

CWW: Neighborhood Nature Programs

via Mass Audubon:

There are going to be a few great (and free!) programs at Worcester parks this summer for parents and children.

Neighborhood Nature at Elm Park

Wednesdays, June 27 – August 22 / 1:00-4:00 pm
Fridays, June 29 – August 24 / 10:00 am-1:00 pm

Drop in anytime for activities, crafts, stories, and nature walks.

Take a break from the playground to learn about the plants and animals that can be found in Worcester through hands-on projects and games.

Neighborhood Nature on the Water at Green Hill Park

At Green Hill Park Pond

Fridays, July 13 – August 24 / 2:00-5:00 pm

Open to families with children ages 6 and up

Description: Join the fun in our canoes and learn about the wildlife that depend upon this park. We provide canoes, paddles, personal flotation vests, and basic canoeing instruction. You provide the enthusiasm and interest! Swimming skills are required.

An adult must accompany all participants under 18 years.

Program may be cancelled due to inclement weather. Please call 508-753-6087 to check program status. When there is a line, we ask participants to limit the ride to 20 minutes.

Naturalist’s Nook

Saturdays, June 30, July 28, and August 25 / 10:00 am-noon

Drop by and chat with a naturalist before heading out on the trails to see what’s happening in the sanctuary. Each session will feature a different seasonal topic with things to see and do. Whether it’s birds, bugs, or frogs, Broad Meadow Brook is hopping all through the summer.

Instructions and Directions: Free with sanctuary admission.

Hobos of the 21st Century Depression

I was very glad to see the City Council beginning to tackle the “serious issue” of panhandling.

Since we ended homelessness two years ago, there is obviously no reason why anyone should be out begging for money on the side of the road.

Councilor Lukes calls our attention to the “increasing number of able-bodied people in their 20s” out panhandling.  I, too, have noticed them out there, often with large, menacing black boots and shirts emblazoned with a mysterious “WFD” logo.  Shameful!

I often ask myself why those folks can’t just get a job.  But the younger ones I see will never get a job as long as they dress in baseball uniforms with their hats out.  Get those kids to a career counselor forthwith!  Dress for success, youngsters!

I would like to recommend that the following be incorporated into any plan the City Council puts together:

  • For the convenience of panhandlers, the city should install coat racks at certain intersections to prevent them from leaving their belongings on war memorials.  Everyone knows veterans never panhandle.
  • Panhandlers should never ask for money more than once a year.  Obviously, panhandling should not be undertaken out of desperation but out of a one-time need.
  • Contrary to what Mike Germain wants, we should only have a resolution to forget our previous resolutions and create even more resolutions.

As part of the educational materials the city puts together, we should include a preprinted card with the numbers of payday loan outfits to give to panhandlers, along with a complimentary book of Wegmans coupons.  Maybe the van that drops them all off at intersections throughout the city can carpool them to Northboro for evening grocery shopping.

I think we can all agree with Councilor Eddy that the “groups we all care about” should be unaffected by any restrictions the Council sees fit to impose on panhandling.  Indeed, we should “make sure we draw our distinction while crafting this policy.”

It is imperative that we make sure that the undeserving are not allowed to ask for money on the side of the road.

Highlights from May’s Keep Worcester Clean Meeting

Obviously, I live for these meeting minutes, and so do you.

Here are the highlights from the May meeting:

page 5:
“PD – Stan said they arrested 2 kids on Harding St for spray painting cars. They are also monitoring for aggressive pan-handling. Rob said that someone is removing sewer grates at Green Hill Park.”
[emphasis added]

“Illegal Dumping – B. Fiore said DEP showed them how to use the surveillance equipment. Jim said we have 4 new cameras that are being used around the city.”

page 4:
Downtown The Commissioner said he’s seen pit bulls on the common and knows dogs aren’t allowed in that area. The downtown assoc wants to put No Dogs Allowed signs up but we’re not sure if that would do any good if it’s not enforced. Stan said PD doesn’t have a dedicated foot beat officer downtown, but if there’s a problem or issue they’d need to be deployed. Joyce and Rob are working on a pamphlet that spells out the rules and regs for dog owners but it hasn’t been finalized. The Commissioner asked if the Animal Control Officer could dedicate a week or even 1 day per month. Amanda said that the city ordinance states that dogs are now [sic; I suspect this should be "not"] allowed downtown even though dogs are allowed at 50 Franklin St. Rob said that the completed dog brochure will be mailed to all registered dog owners and No Dogs Allowed replacement signs are going up at every entrance to the common.”

Commuter Rail Surcharges and Ticketing

I recently noted that the ticketing machines in Union Station had gone unrepaired for some time; these were repaired (finally) late last week.

I also had a question from a reader about the new (for July 1) onboard surcharge, and whether you would be charged $3.00 or $6.00 for purchasing a round-trip ticket on the train.

I asked MBCR customer service to confirm.  If you are purchasing a round-trip ticket onboard, your fare would be increased by one $3.00 charge only.