If you pay your property tax, you’re paying for this

Regarding the accident on Hamilton and Essex Streets in 2010, the WPD issued a press release:

The Essex County District Attorney has concluded their investigation into the November 28, 2010 motor vehicle accident at Hamilton Street and Puritan Avenue. The Essex County District Attorney supports the findings of the Worcester Police Department Accident Reconstruction Unit and places the fault on the female operator who entered Hamilton Street and caused the collision.

It is unfortunate for the community that the reporting on this accident by the Worcester Telegram and Gazette continually distorted, through unsubstantiated allegations, bias, and innuendo, the facts in this accident. Unlike the Telegram and Gazette, the Essex County District Attorney and the Worcester Police Department conduct thorough, factual, and unbiased investigations before making a determination of fact and submitting written reports of findings.

From the Telegram:

While investigators and prosecutors have blamed the crash on Ms. Higgins for failing to see Mr. Duffy when she pulled out onto Hamilton Street, state police Lt. Andrew S. Klane, an accident reconstruction expert, wrote in his report to prosecutors that had Officer Duffy been driving “between 30 and 43 mph, this collision could have been avoided.”

Perhaps we need to resort to “unsubstantiated allegations, bias, and innuendo” because no one checked (or obtained a warrant for) Mr. Duffy’s personal cell phone (to refute the “unsubstantiated allegation” that he called his father before calling paramedics) and because no one performed a field sobriety or breathalyzer test on him.

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This is not to say that the Telegram is blameless; if the female motorist in question was a machinist, surely the newspaper wouldn’t be tweeting her profession.

But — on a similar note — the WPD has recently told us that someone charged with being a “common nightwalker” “was observed by officers actively attempting to flag down passing motor vehicles to engage in sexual activities.”

How exactly was she doing that?  Did she have a custom-made flag printed with the word “Sex” to wave at cars?  Was the moving one index finger in and out of a hole made by an “O” made by the index finger and thumb of her other hand?

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I like that the WPD issues press releases.

What I don’t like is the level of invective present in many of the press releases.

The WPD have recently told us that “the Worcester Telegram and Gazette continues to distort the facts and circumstances as they pertain to the Worcester Police Department” and that “the Worcester community deserves quality policing as well as fair, honest, and unbiased reporting. Unfortunately, the community gets the former but not the latter.”

If the WPD is committed to showing us facts, then they should be posting crime stats by neighborhood. If the WPD wants to give the community good reporting, then why was the Telegram the only organization livetweeting the situation with the missing children in the Vernon Hill area?

In the case of Office Duffy, the WPD could have posted the (full) official report from the Essex DA’s office, which would have allowed residents to form an opinion outside of the T&G-WPD tit-for-tat.  Instead, we got another neener-neener press release.

We are now paying for a full-time media specialist for the WPD.

Since Katie Daly was hired into that position, the people of Worcester have received a long press release calling out a judge and not one, but two, press releases criticizing the local daily newspaper.

Why do we need to pay another person for what we’ve already been getting for years?

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CWW: Free Classical Music this weekend

At Clark:

1 – Peter Sulski: Solo Bach part two
Friday, January 27, 12:00 PM-2:00 PM
John and Kay Basset Vistors Center

This is the second in a series of 12 programs over the next six concert seasons, cycling through the complete solo violoncello suites and violin partitas of Bach, performed on violin and viola.

2 – Alumni Voice Recital
Friday, January 27, 7:30 PM-9:30 PM
Traina Center for the Arts, Razzo Hall

A gala evening of song and virtuosity
Featuring four of Clark Universitys star alums who have gone on to careers as professional singers.
Darlene Ann (Patterson) Dobisch 95

Zhanna Alkhazova 02
Thaddeus Bell 98
Tara Goodhue Alcorn 07
Accompanied by Sima Kustanovich
The program will feature favorite arias, duets, and ensembles from the opera repertory, ranging from Handel and Mozart to Tchaikovsky and Verdi.

3 – Worcester Chamber Music Society Performs Bach and Telemann
Sunday, January 29, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM

Traina Center for the Arts, Razzo Hall

Tracy Kraus, flute
Rohan Gregory, violin
Joshua Gordon, cello
Ian Watson, harpsichord

At Holy Cross:

Sunday, January 29, 3:00 PM, at St. Joseph Chapel

Neil Cockburn, a prize winning young organist from Scotland, will perform as part of the Holy Cross Chapel Artists Series. Now residing in western Canada, he was awarded the Lili Boulanger Prize in Music for his outstanding work as an organist.  Cockburn is well known for his exciting and brilliant performances. He is head of Organ Studies at the Mount Royal University Conservatory in Canada.

The program will include selections from Dieterich Buxtehude, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Michael Praetorius, Jehan Titelouze, Louis Couperin, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

CWW: Holy Cross Seelos Film Series Spring 2012

The College of the Holy Cross offers free movies most Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Seelos Theater.  Full listing for the spring here.

Some offerings that families with children might appreciate:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Fri., Jan. 27 and Sat., Jan. 28: Showing at 7 p.m.

Puss in Boots – Fri., Feb. 17 and Sat., Feb. 18: Showing at 7 p.m.

We Bought A Zoo – Fri., March 16 and Sat., March 17: Showing at 7 p.m.

Hugo – Fri., April 20 and Sat., April 21: Showings at 7 p.m.

Give the man a prize

The new director at the Worcester Art Museum, Matthias Waschek, recently spoke with the Worcester Business Journal, and immediately made himself an urban planning hero:

I think that in that new chapter, we should align ourselves with the strategic plan of the city of Worcester. We should have an impact on the urban fabric, thinking about our immediate environment as well.

How can you do that?

Well, I’ll give you one example. This is a dream rather than reality. When you think about our parking lot, for instance, parking lots are urban nightmares. Our parking lot is a nightmare as much as any parking lot is. But we have art. So could we not combine a sculpture park with a parking lot so people, when they come onto the parking lot, understand that they’re in an arts space? Something like that.

This is on the heels of a few pieces that are well worth reading if you’re interested in urban parking: The case for the $6 parking meter (recently published in the Boston Globe Ideas section), and Between the lines (which Tracy directed me to, under the more accurate “Parking makes people crazy” headline).

Enjoy some R&R while you can

If you’re a plumbing DIYer in central Massachusetts, you’re undoubtedly familiar with this animated neon sign:

The blue light tubes simulate dripping water.  Very cool.

As of last month, R&R Plumbing on Chandler Street has new owners, who are also changing the name of this Worcester institution.  That lovely sign’s days may be numbered.  The new owners have already changed the sign on the building:

On a recent visit there seemed to be fewer staff members around.  The inventory looked pretty much the same, but one employee noted that they’ll be phasing out American Standard fixtures and carrying Kohler instead.  The former offers a larger range of commercial fixtures with a small selection for residential use.  Kohler reverses that & has more of the residential stuff.  Supposedly the plumbers who frequent R&R/Peabody do a lot more residential work than commercial, so the new owners are hoping that the change wil be good for business.

Boston Adopt-A-Hydrant

Via New Urban Mechanics:

To adopt one of Boston’s 13,000+ public hydrants, go to http://boston.adoptahydrant.org. Once you sign in, you can choose and name – the hydrant(s) you would like to volunteer to shovel out. You will receive a confirmation email with your hydrant location(s) and shoveling tips as well as friendly reminders when snowstorms hit.

The Adopt-A-Hydrant application was developed by Erik Michaels-Ober, a Code for America fellow, who served with the City of Boston in 2011. The City is piloting the application this year. If successful, the City will explore how this application could be used to encourage adoption of other streetscape features, such as trees. The app also is available for other places to use and, to date, three cities – Chicago, Honolulu, and Buenos Aires – already have expressed an interest in adapting it for use by their residents.

Does anyone think it’s worth petitioning the City Council to see if we can adapt it for use in Worcester?