Budget cuts

Street signs are a recurring complaint of this blog, but I think last night’s budget discussion was sufficiently sobering that I’ll try to keep the wisecracks to a minimum.

According to Commissioner Moylan, the Graffiti, Keep Worcester Clean and Nuisance Teams will all be eliminated.

I haven’t yet written a post recapping our Earth Day cleanup in the God’s Acre/Swan Avenue area, but I did have the good fortune to meet the gentlemen from the Nuisance Team on Saturday.

They told me I’d been doing a great job for the past four years.  It was a “right back at ya” moment.

Keeping Worcester Clean has been more than a motto for me.  For the past four years, and especially the last year, the City has been a great support in my efforts to clean my little area of the city.

For example, a few weeks ago, my friend Bob and I cleaned some trails off of Goddard Memorial Drive and left a pile to the side of the road:

Then I phoned DPW and the pile was removed within 24 hours.

This is something that happens with a degree of regularity: I coax a friend or three to help pick collect trash into an area, I call DPW, and they pick it up.

I don’t write this to pat myself on my back.  I am not unique in my efforts.  There are folks all around the city who do more than their part to make our city a cleaner place; I see them when I’m walking or driving, and — more importantly — I notice the fruits of their labors.

We trash-pickers are all around.  And this particular trash-picker is very grateful for the support the City has provided her.

I think I took it for granted that I would always be able to call DPW for this kind of work, and that I could always give other folks an idea of how to go about this kind of work themselves.

With these budget cuts, I don’t know that this kind of work can continue in the same way.  But I would like those folks to know that I appreciate all they have accomplished.


But we should leave this post on a lighter note.

As reported in today’s T&G, Commissioner Moylan said that “his department would no longer be involved in the manufacturing of street signs — that work would have to be outsourced.”

Of course I’ll be excited to see some signs continuing to look like this:

Not perfect, but perfectly serviceable

As opposed to this:

At least the heart on this is Worcesterish

I’ve been told that I haven’t been completely fair to DPW on the street sign front.  That is, that at least part of the inconsistency in heart usage (and the atrocious use of typefaces that have no business being anywhere near a sign) is due not to the DPW sign shop but to — outside contractors.


So — while at least part of me is excited by the prospect of 200 more posts about horrific street signs and lecturing the two of you who actually know what MUTCD stands for ad infinitum on all my signage peeves — the other part of me is cringing at the thought of paying even more for signs that will definitely not be consistent.  And will likely use Times New Roman.

For the love of all that is good (or, at least, for the sanity of the readers of this blog), do not take away the sign shop.  It gives me a convenient scapegoat for all my sign woes, whether they’re guilty or not.

Goodness knows this blog is built on sketchy accusations and pointless complaints.  The least the taxpayers of this town can do is to give me somewhere easy to direct them.

(photo of the cleanup courtesy of Bob Q.; pictures of street signs courtesy of regular reader Len)

CWW: Wild Tales at Leicester Public Library

If you have pre-school aged kids, they might enjoy a trip to Leicester Public Library the next couple of Wednesdays.  The folks at the library are hosting “Wild Tales” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings this month.  Presented by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, children are read a story that features an animal character.  Then they get to meet one or more such animals!

The first of three presentations was held today, which featured a reading of Robert McCloskey’s Make Way for Ducklings.

Then the children were introduced to two types of duck.  They also learned a bit about Mass. Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, where those ducks usually live.

Admission is free, but because space is limited, reservations are required.  Phone 508-892-7020 to see if there are spaces still available for the programs on May 11th & 18th.

Sunday, it’s a Worcester thing

From David Morris’ All Hail the Public Library:

In 1872, the right to know led the Worcester Massachusetts Public Library to open its doors on Sunday. Many viewed that as sacrilege. Head librarian Samuel Green calmly responded that a library intended to serve the public could do so only if it were accessible when the public could use it. Six day, 60-hour workweeks meant that if libraries were to serve the majority of the community they must be open on Sundays. Referring to those who might not spend their Sundays at worship Green impishly added, “If they are not going to save their souls in the church they should improve their minds in the library.”

More than 125 years later Sundays remain the busiest day of the week for public libraries and Sunday closings are the first sign of fiscal distress.

We’ll talk more about budget stuff in more depth later today.