There’s a nice short piece on Worcester’s urban re-renewal on boston.com today.

I don’t really have a problem with a Theater District, except I think any proposed district should (a) include plans to rehab the Paris Theater and (b) stop spelling theater with an “-re” at the end.  That really bugs me.

But why stop at a Theater District?

We could have a different district for every block!  Think of the possibilities!

The area around the Palladium could become The Juggalo District.

The area around the Burnside Fountain could be The Pretentious Hispters With Dirty Minds District.

The CVS on Front Street could be the Sorry, you’re going to have to cross the Common to buy cigarettes District.

Instead of Worcester: a city of neighborhoods, our new catchphrase could be Worcester: a city of districts.

Does anyone have any other district suggestions?

MikeGermain on What It’s Worth

It’s like someone answered a prayer I didn’t even make: Mike Germain was on the 200th episode of What It’s Worth.

I’ve previously talked about how much I love What It’s Worth, and I think we all know how I feel about MG.

Unfortunately, this was not the best interview TC has ever done, because we’ve heard the “I think Worcester’s inferiority complex comes out of the late 70s” speech about fifty times before, and because Mike Germain, whose forte is the small, self-deprecating quip, doesn’t work quite as well in the long-ish form of the 30 minute interview.

Here’s the best of MG and TC:

Mike Germain: “I’m Irish with a French name.  Everybody knows I’m Irish.  Look at the baked potatoes in my face.” [from the 8.55 mark]
Mike Germain, talking about Worcester – “It’s a small Kansas City” [from the 20:55 mark]
Tom Colletta, also talking about Worcester: “It’s not that bad here, but it costs to park” [from the 23.15 mark]
I love the Proust Questionnaire portion of What It’s Worth, and MG was at his MikeGermainiest at that part of the interview.  Seriously, tell me if any of these was really a surprise to you:
Favorite TV show: Gilligan’s Island
Favorite actor: Pacino [because, on WiW, you can only name “De Niro” or “Pacino” in this category]
Favorite actress: Tina Louise [though, to be fair, it seemed he was stumped]
Favorite sport: hockey [Did you need to ask?!?]
So, the interview is probably only necessary for the Mike Germain completist. 

Bloggah Coffee Last Night (and Future Plans)

Last night, the following folks attended our blogger coffee: Eric K., Hannah, James, Katie, KarlClaudia, Mike, Mike, Cathy, Noah (and son), Carrie, and myself. 

(It should be noted that it sounded like Nu Cafe was channeling my Pandora playlists, Whitesnake included.  All it was missing was Montell Jordan and Londonbeat.)

After that, some of us headed over to Sprout where we prepared seed bombs.  (Also, I finally saw Crystal in person.)

As always, it was great to see you all and meet the folks I hadn’t yet met! 

This is the most hipster thing I've ever done in my life.

Also, in “the Worcester Bloggers desperately need a social secretary” news, folks on Twitter have already been busily discussing what to do for our next meetup(s). 

(1) There’s a possibility that we could do either a Worcester Bloggers night or TweetUp at a Worcester Tornadoes game.  If this sounds like something that would appeal to you, please email me or comment on this post. 

(2) Folks have also been discussing an ice cream social or picnic.  There have even been promises of homemade ice cream.  I wanted to see if folks would be interested in doing a meetup at the Children’s Friend Big Dipper Festival on Saturday, July 16.  (Which, thankfully, does not conflict with the Moxie Festival.  However…will there be vegan ice cream at the Big Dipper?)  So — let me know in the comments or via email if this sounds like something you’d like to do (either the Big Dipper or something less formal).

(3) If you’d like to do a blogger breakfast (on a Saturday morning) or a blogger brunch (on a Sunday, preferably at WooDaddy), please email or leave a comment.  (At this point, I should probably just do a poll, but comments make me happier.)

Also, if you’d like to coordinate one/any/all of the above events, let me know.

CWW: Jazz Festival at Clark on Saturday

via the Clark University website:

The members of the Clark University Jazz Workshop will hold the first ever Clark University Jazz Festival. On April 30th, 2011, local high school, and college Jazz Ensembles will perform in a daylong outside festival open to all. The day will include music clinics for area musicians, and will showcase the young Jazz scene in the Worcester Area.

Saturday, April 30 from 12pm-6pm
The Green, Clark University Main Campus
Rain location, Atwood Hall
Free and open to the public

Residency Requirements

For those of you who may have been wondering if we have any institutional memory left (or, at least, if there was an institutional memory present last night), the answer is: um, probably not.

Because we’ve already had the residency discussion time and time again.  (Heck, some of us have had this discussion via email, which is where much of the meat of this post will come from.)

(Click here first for access to Proquest links.)

Did you know…

“The city [of Worcester] had a residency requirement for all employees, except those exempted by state law, for about seven years. But the requirement, adopted in 1977, grandfathered all existing employees and applied only to new hires. It was subsequently lifted in 1986 because the city was having difficulty filling several professional positions.”  (from the Telegram in 1994)

But wait!  Boston has a residency requirement, right?

Yes, Boston has had a residency requirement on the books since 1976.  However, as late as 1995, there were issues like the following:

“The residency law applies to about one-third of the city’s 19,000 employees. Though it has been on the books since 1976, previous administrations have largely ignored it, partly because so many employees are exempt, including all police officers, firefighters, teachers and most middle managers. Under collective bargaining agreements negotiated last year, newly hired police officers and firefighters will have to live in Boston.”

It seems like there are still compliance issues; in FY10, more than 100 employees left city service because they did not fulfill the residency requirement.

In sum: Boston has a requirement (Springfield does too, I think), they need a commission to enforce the requirement, and they sometimes toy with the requirement in exchange for collective bargaining concessions.

So — as far as I’m concerned — we already tried this — though none of us remembers that we already tried this — and unless we’re willing to look at why this didn’t work the first time around, and why it seems to be quite a headache for Boston, we will likely not succeed in any sort of residency requirement policy.

It’s Miller Time: Earth Day Cleanup This Saturday

This Saturday, the Regional Environmental Council will once again be sponsoring Earth Day Cleanups.

For the fourth year in a row, I’ll be coordinating the cleanup on Swan Avenue/God’s Acre this Saturday, April 30, from 8am to noon.   

I’d love it if folks could come down for an hour or two on Saturday morning.  Do not be intimidated by pictures of last year’s haul — this cleanup will not be nearly as involved.

Directions to our site:
Go up Williamsberg Drive from Mill Street. 
Take a left onto Outlook. 
If you value your car and do not want to drive on extremely bumpy dirt roads, park near the corner of Outlook and Swan and walk up Swan Avenue.

We’ll meet a little bit past the corner of Swan and Paris Avenues (or thereabouts; feel free to keep walking up Swan if you don’t see anyone).

Please bring a wheelbarrow if you have one.

We’re going to be cleaning the area where the red pushpin (or purple balloon) is on this map:

This year’s cleanup is dedicated to the awesome Solomon Parsons.  Because in God’s Acre, it’s always Miller Time.

In case this does not appeal to you at all, Broad Meadow Brook is also looking for volunteers on Saturday morning to work on trail blazing and tree pruning.  More information here.

“Illustrative Typography” (a.k.a. Shortchanging Short Street)

What the DPW&P lacks in typograhic & proofreading skills, it sometimes makes up for with a sense of humor worthy of a Beavis or a Butthead:

Short . . . and now fat. Heh heh, heh heh, heh heh.

Unfortunately, that sign replaced one that was perfectly readable and which was MUTCD-compliant.  On this one, the letters are  . . . too short.

Short Street is actually quite short . . . in length.  Less than 100 feet away at the other end of that short street, the DPW left this beauty in place:

Typographic chuckles aside, we taxpayers would really like to know what’s driving the sign replacement program.  I can’t see anything here except a peculiar sense of whimsy and a mysteriously large budget for sign materials and associated labor.

Reminder – Blogger Coffee on Wednesday

Here’s a friendly reminder that our next blogger coffee/smoothie will be:

time: Wednesday, April 27 from 5:30pm-7:00pm
location: Nu Cafe, 335 Chandler Street

After the blogger coffee, we’d also like to invite you to a seed bomb making at Sprout at 7:00pm.  You can find more about seed bombs here and here.

So — if you can’t make the Blogger Coffee before 7pm, please join us at Sprout (and vice versa). 

I look forward to seeing you all (again or for the first time) soon!

(Images: smoothie and Seed Bombs, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic images from the photostreams of Janelle and Aida Mollencamp, respectively.)