Man Arrested for Stealing Veteran Service Grave Markers

from the WPD press releases:

Worcester, MA (October 12, 2011) –On Friday, October 7, 2011 at approximately 8:30 AM the Worcester Police License Division received a call from the owner of Starr Scrap Metals informing the police that he had just taken in, for the second time in two days, a number of cemetery veteran service grave markers for scrap. The owner took possession of these brass markers from a male who provided identification as Alan A. Long, Jr. of 23 East Street, North Grafton, Ma. This business paid out to Mr. Alan a total of $148.35 for 42 markers with the two transactions.

Per city ordinance, a person who scraps metals or second hand articles have to provide to the business a photo identification (which is photographed by the business) their vehicle registration number and a written statement from the person offering the articles stating that they are in lawful possession of the article being offered.

On this same day members of the License Division went to Starr Scrap Metals to review the items and obtain the suspect information. Officers observed that some of the markers had been cut from the brass rod holders which were also scrapped by Mr. Alan. Upon review of the seized items officers observed two names on the markers with their names on the back plate. Police traced one of the markers to a World War I veteran who died in 1954 to Woodlawn Cemetery in Clinton, Ma and the other name to a woman who belonged to the American Legion who had died in 1940 who was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Sterling, Ma. Both police agencies were notified and assisted in the investigation. At this time the officers entered this new information into the Scrap Theft web based site which informs all scrap yards in the northeast as well as law enforcement agencies to be aware of these transactions which were now just coming to light.

On the same day the License Division received another call from an employee of Schnitzer’s Metals Recycling informing the officers that Mr. Long had scrapped 53 brass cemetery veteran service markers on October 6th and that they were put aside for the police.

On October 11, 2011 police went back to Starr Scrap Metals to confiscate the markers; upon their arrival the owner of the business informed them that he scrapped 25 more brass markers and holders and paid out an additional $97.55. Police informed the employees to contact Worcester Police as probable cause had now been established for an arrest.

On the 11th, officers went to Schnitzer’s Metal Recycling and confiscated the 53 brass markers which they had paid out to Mr. Long a total of $249.63 over 4 separate transactions from October 4th thru the 6th.

On the same day police received a call from Goldstein’s Scrap Metals that Mr. Alan attempted to scrap more brass cemetery markers and that employees were attempting to stall him for the police; he fled prior to the arrival of police. A short time later police received a call from Starr Scrap that Mr. Alan was there attempting to scrap the markers as well as a sewer cover. Sergeant Faith Roche and officer James Quinn, Members of the License Division, responded to the business and located and arrested Mr. Long; he was charged with Receiving Stolen property over the Value of $250.00 and Crimes Against Morality and Decency by Removing Grave Markers. Mr. Long was transported to police headquarters and interviewed. Information obtained during the interview indicated that the majority of the brass markers came from Hope, Notre Dame and All Faiths Cemeteries here in the city.

At this time officers are attempting to identify ownership of the markers and to return them to their proper place. Effective Monday, October 17, 2011, the markers will be transported to Hope Cemetery located at 119-A Webster Street for those family members who believe that they are missing markers. Some of the markers and their holders have been damaged. The general manager of Schnitzer’s Metals Recycling, Mr. Michael McIntyre, is offering to pay to have the damaged ones repaired with no cost being carried to the family. Many of the markers are stamped with insignia’s including the American Legion, WW I, WW II, Elks, U.S. Marines and Fire Dept.

To date, Mr. Long received a total of $495.53 in cash for scrapping 142 brass markers and 76 brass rods. Mr. Long’s bail was set at $500.00 and was subsequently released from the House of Correction; he is scheduled for a pretrial conference on November 8, 2011.

There will be no new additional information released at this time.


CWW: Sundae Sunday – October 16

The main branch of the Worcester Public Library will once again celebrate Sunday openings by holding Sundae Sunday on Sunday, October 16 beginning at 1:30pm.

Ice cream sundaes (and cake, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the building renovations) will be served, music will be played, and balloon animals will be shaped.

Tip: you could participate in the fall Turtle Boy Cleanup at 10:00am, go out for lunch, and then get dessert at the library!

(Image: Hand Painted Cherry / Cherries Ice Cream Sundae Glasses, a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic licensed photo from SLV‘s photostream.)

CWW: Main South Celebrates – October 15

Main South Celebrates will take place this Saturday, October 15.  From the website:

There will be an array of green exhibitors and vendors, and in addition, rather than distributing bottled water, drinking water for festival attendees will be provided by the City of Worcester’s water-buffalo truck. We are also pleased to announce that the Main South Farmer’s Market will be joining Main South Celebrates! for the day at Crystal Park, so please come ready to buy delicious, local, organic produce!

Aside from the many green features, Main South Celebrates! also offers many exciting activities, including:

* Performances all day
* Free hotdogs and hamburgers, as well as food vendors from several local restaurants.
* An entire children section equipped with moonwalks, face-painting, arts and crafts, and more
* Organized field-day activities for teens
* Artisan and non-profit informational vendors
* SAORI weaving demonstrations
* Worcester Forestry Department interactive presentations

Addendum — Occupy Worcester will also be meeting there at 2pm and then marching to the Common at 3pm.

This is in no way an endorsement of OW; just passing along information.  It also reminds me that they keep repeating one of my pet peeves: it is Common (singular),  not Commons.  Just like the prominent hip-hop artist.

Library Board Liveblog

5:13 – reviewing the minutes from the last meeting.

Mark’s review processs will begin at the next (November) meeting.

Library closed December 24 and 31 – board will vote on later.

Two new board members in December.  Tell your friends that there will be openings!

Next month’s meeting will be at GBV branch.

5:17 – library closing on 24th and 31st — voted on. 

Question about how the holiday works.  The staff would work M-F versus working on Saturday.

This Sunday is the first open Sunday.

5:19 — Head Librarian’s report — I have a copy and will type it up in my spare time.

after school programs on Fridays for kids, Zumba for teens on Saturday mornings.

Lots of reference events as well.

e-book reader pilot program is ready to launch.  Ping from reference department will be presenting at Worcester Tech on e-readers (think this is MLTA).

Mark is going to be on the Worcester Cultural Coalition board of directors and the literacy board of directors.

Anne Hrobsky has the shelving committee up and running — check out 850,000 items and need to look at speed of getting them back on shelves.

Anne White’s Welcoming & Safe Environment committee will begin soon.

Small solar project will happen soon.

Manager will be meeting his board meeting to the Green Room in November.

Talking Book initiative — understanding with Perkins on marketing and outreach.  They’ve sent a 14-point plan.

Cafe tables in the lobby soon.

City Manager wants to meet Julie from Foundation.

Mark went to speak at Fallon and, according to Julie, they said they could have listened to him forever.

5:34 – Donna – Finance – got an email from the city treasurer about putting interest in accounts quarterly.  They also asked if (for other accounts) wanted interest into regular trust fund budget.  But are only able to vote on those annually, so it’s a moot point.

$1500 from Saxe Fund for Smithsonian; $60,000 from Green for Foundation support.

[sorry — didn’t catch all of that]

5:36 – Terry – Report of the Friends – Janet mentioned that 5 candidates were interviewed for newsletter writer and there are two finalists.  Annual booksale is November 4/5.  Internet booksales have been going very well.  Bookstore in June – $2,283.69; July – $2,930.11; August  $2,622.66; coffee sales are ranging about $12/day.  Coffee machine was broken for a little bit.

Table and chairs are being purchased for the library.  They will be out shortly.

Next Sunday is Sundae Sunday and also celebrating birth of the new facility here (9 years, 51 weeks).  Having a birthday cake made by students at Worcester Tech.  In Children’s Room they are having a balloon sculptor.  Chet Williamson will perform from 3-4pm.  At 2:30, Ben Franklin Bookstore will be recognized for their awesomeness.

$385 for those events, but does not include balloon sculptor.

[Oh, my word.  Balloon animals!]

Terry thanks Dee for the work on the program for next Sunday.

Mark mentions that Joel and Herman helped with shelving for Union Hill.  “You know how Joel works…”

5:43 – Susan and Leslie and Julie – Foundation update.  Susan introduces Leslie Fish, new foundation board president.  Feels investment the library board has made in the foundation is money well spent. 

Susan: “I will miss Bob; I tried to sell him a house on my street.  But I really think Leslie will do a wonderful job.”

Leslie – Weren’t too many empty seats at the Celebration to Authors.

discussion of various committees of the board and grant applications.

There was some legal work regarding IRS categorizations for the foundation.

Julie thanks the staff for all their help for the event.  Joel is, predictably, awesome.

Authors said they had a good time.

New Business

5:56 – Phyllis shares that the weekend of October 1 she went to Austin – attended Austin Teen Book Festival.  Sponsored by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.  They’ve merged the Friends and Foundation there and provided brochures.  [I am more of a “Friends” person.  It’s a scrappier idea.]

Bill C. – suggested that they get people around the city reading a book, take picture, post around the library.  (like this, but Worcester)

Mark will look into this again.

Jyoti – what does the city offer in terms of awareness for parents and teachers for those children who struggle to learn to read?  Anne responds that they put computer kiosks in Parents building and building for ESL, and trained the staff.  TumbleBook library and Tumble Readables are also available.  They’ve sent this info to schools, who are working hard to connect them with us.  May be hiring a school reading specialist for Union Hill and Chandler (?)

Jyoti asks because the research in the past 5-10 years on brain development…much more knowledge now that educators have.

Bill — editorial in T&G about Latino education gap.  Black Legacy and conference on school to prison pipeline.  encourages board to read about this.

Kevin Dowd – what do we do to promote literacy for citizenship?  Post info about voting and candidates?  Mark notes that they recently hosted a school committee debate here.


Urban Poultry: The Hearing

I think I’ve made it somewhat clear that I don’t really care about chickens (that is, I don’t care if they exist in the city, but birds are one of my many phobias, so I just don’t want them approaching me on the street).

However, if you care one way or the other, there will be a hearing on Tuesday, October 11 at 5pm for the Public Health subcommittee to discuss urban chickens.

(Normally, I would love to liveblog this, but it conflicts with the library board, so if you go and would like to share your notes with the readership, let me know.)

There are certain items that I’d like to see addressed in an ordinance. 

Number one among those are roosters.  Presumably roosters would not be allowed under this ordinance.  Do we have the animal control officers to address any complaints about roosters?  Where would confiscated roosters go?  Do we have the animal rescue resources in place that could help re-home roosters?

The second would be disease and care of animals.  I know the one of the benefits of chickens is that they eat ticks (which is a major plus in my book), but the downside is that they can have diseases that most of us aren’t familiar with.  Do we have the vet resources that could assist with any potential chicken issues?  Do we have a support structure (formal or informal) for folks who’d like to raise chickens?

I’m sympathetic to those who are trying to regularize chicken ownership in Worcester.  (I say “regularize” because there are folks who are currently keeping chickens legally, and others who are not able to do the same.)  They’ve first got to make it through two hurdles: Phil “Ponytail” Palmieri and Konnie “The Look” Lukes.  Councilor Haller — the third member of the Public Health Subcommittee — is very supportive of their efforts.

Good luck, folks.

Just remember — if Konnie gives you that look, you can ask her what smells so bad.  Because it ain’t your chickens.

(Image: urban chickens, a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic licensed image from fantail media’s photostream.)


Planning Board Liveblog

5:38 – Right now, the contractor (from Wendel Duchscherer) is discussing the design.  It will be where the open parking lot is now.

Note: plenty of suits here, not that many regular folk.

They’re saying they want to begin work in Spring 2012.

Unfortunately, I can’t see the diagrams, so it is what it is.  You can see more (I guess) here and here.

“Bicycle lane and pedestrian path that deadends at the site.  Upon crossing Franklin, combined facility with room for 15-20 bicycle slips and air pump.”

Large open space to north, “important feature for this project”, welcome doormat for pedestrians and facility users.

Landscaping: along Foster Street, large shade trees.  They will pick trees that are not tasty to the ALB.

Series of evergreens that provides screening near Peter Pan line.

At Southwest corner of site, generator and transformer for backup power. 

Crosswalks will feature strobe lighting system for motorists to better notice pedestrians.

Mr. Adams: comment 1: change type of pipe to reinforced concrete; 2. manhole; 3. City of Worcester detailed sheet needed.

Mr. Fontane: having reviewed this plan, have some questions.  Street tree maintenance/removal should be reviewed with Forestry.

Response: location of existing street trees do fall within areas under construction.  Will need to be removed.  Perhaps city can plant them in other locations.

Fontane: none of trees are protected, just wanted to make sure they consulted with forestry.

Fontane: trash receptacles, bicycle pavillion, air pump, etc.

5:48 – notation about snow storage, should be labeled on revised plan.

Audience members to speak.

Mark (didn’t get last name) – wants info about the lighting plan inside and outside building and handicapped parking.

Consultant: outside lighting would be Worcester teardrop (Nicole says “testicle”) lighting.  Box lighting recessed into wall inside.  Lights on pathways.  They say it will be well-lit.

No parking spaces – handicapped or otherwise.  Asking about parking for advisory board meetings.

O’Neil of WRTA says that parking at Union Station garage will be used for advisory board meetings, accessible to building.

10 toilets throughout building.  auto sensors for sinks and toilets.  doors within facility will meet ADA requirements but not require operators.

stairwells will have handrails on both sides. 

There is elevator at one end that accesses three floors.

5:55 – Phil Stone, attorney in downtown.  First he’s heard of this formal process to move WRTA hub away from city hall.

Lives in Princeton, where there’s no public transit.

Is there any recognition of the economic role the customers of the RTA play downtown.  “They are the direct means of support” of some local businesses.  When buses were not running during a strike a few years ago, business downtown was dead.

Given challenges downtown has been facing, really should discuss the economic impact.

Bus congestion is “patently untrue.”

Curb cuts on Franklin and Front for buses.  Biggest impact are cars making illegal turns.

he uses Peter Pan to/from NYC.  Rather than make a huge impact, he suggests a few alternatives — 1) five minute loop shuttle between Union Station and City Hall;  2) young people and concerns about — “in the 25 years I’ve been downtown, I’ve only witnessed one loud disruption of the peace” and it was adults.

Would like to see hard numbers on transfer between commuter rail and buses.

More space needed at Union Station for those dropping off and picking up.

6:00pm – Susan (didn’t get last name) – lives in Crown Hill.

Who rides the buses?  We’re not Cambridge or NYC — “the poor and the elderly.”  Those folks can’t walk that distance.  Likes shuttle idea.

As far as youth, that’s probably after school, adnd that’s any place you live.

If Worcester ever really gets to bicycles, will need a lot more than 20 spaces.

John Provost, Castle Street – would like to ask what the purpose of transportation is.  “You want to get from point A to point B just as quickly and conveniently as possible.”  “This project is so impressive…but I have not heard the public input of the riders and what the riders think of this and what their goals for usage … should be.”

“It reminds me of the classic tire swing cartoon from the 70s…with all due respect, it doesn’t come together to be workable.  … The project is admirable in the sense of seamlessly integrating rail, intercity bus with the local.”

“Those that don’t drive should have just as many opportunities to use their time effectively as those who drive…” There were three times as many buses twenty years ago and if there is congestion of students downtown, it’s only because they have to wait longer for their buses.

“We are planning for the future convenience of the non-motoring population.”

“You’re turning a simple bus trip into an event.”

Stephen O’Neill speaks to plan: project wasn’t done in a vacuum, worked with MassDOT, etc., and city of Worcester economic development staff.  “Front Street will not be Front Street as it is now.”

linking up with bike path that will eventually go to RI.

WRTA will be able to use the MBTA Charlie Card system (and commuter rail is moving to Charlie Card as well).  [but how many people are using the bus to get to commuter rail & vice versa?!?]

One stop shopping with ticket vending machines.  Hopes this product will be better than what they provide their customer now.

Another member of the public – Kim McCoy – other cities aren’t doing this.  They are having interconnections, but not all buses going to one place as end point or stop off.  Compare to Pittsburgh.  A lot of people ride, good service, everything downtown is free.  Buses come in from a lot of directions, city has made a priority of getting people downtown but NOT cheap parking.

More cities have a sense of total planning, not just whatever the current grant opportunities are.  “Not just what gets us the best grants in the short term.”

Chair notes that they cannot influence the philosophy of the WRTA.

And…Jo Hart!!!!

She’s been trying to get a public hearing and “expose this absurd plan.”

The City Council agreed to have a public hearing and then they didn’t have it.

The meeting last week only had 12 people.

“Land-use disaster” — “misuse of land is outrageous” — Union Station has restrooms, Peter Pan has restrooms, the whole object of intermodal is one facility.  “It’s designed so poorly it’s nonsensical” — public has to walk through “ice and snow and slop.”

“A deed done in the dark”

“I am speaking longer than you want me to because all of this has been done in the dark.”

Thinks Steve is a little enamored that CMRPC is on the second floor and he doesn’t want to be left out.

[Jo is on FIRE!]

“It’s the worst plan in the universe.”

Jo is now shusshed because she was treading too far away from the point of the Planning Board.

She likes the Wyman Gordon site better.

I want to be Jo Hart when I get old.

board member — feels these are good concerns, but board does not have authority to make these decisions.  Who has authority to address the concerns?

Answer: Policy decisions are made by WRTA and its board of advisors.

Another board member — what is required here for parking?

Response — facility per zoning does not require parking

Third board member — bus exit questions.  Is there an assumption of signage for turns from/to Front Street (right turn only).  [Response: this can be added]

member – has there been any thought about path to downtown?

O’Neill — will work much better with opening of Front Street.

second member — will every bus transfer through here?

O’Neill — yes, pretty much every bus

chair — where is bike path right-of-way?

consultant — shared use pathway once it crosses Franklin

three building floors — WRTA third, PVSI on second, PVSI partly on first, public partly on first.   There would be space on the first floor for the public to wait.

third board member asks about architectural elements.

O’Neill — wanted to consider that because this is an innovation district, wanted architectural design that fits into the district, to extent that they can capture some of the elements in Union Station, they will do that.  One of the features will be a coffee and warm waiting area for folks waiting.

Two towers reflective of Union Station, brickwork reflective of it.

Jo wants to clarify something about the building.

Customer service facility could be at City Hall or Mid-Town Mall, shouldn’t be at Union Station.  Feels this would create congestion of “manic proportions.”

aaand…it passes.

Now off to the next event…