DPW’ing on a dime

Five days ago this blog featured a hydrant on Upland St. whose connection points were located so low to the roadside surface that one was partially obstructed by asphalt curb-edge, while the remaining two might be accessible year-round only if we have a nearly snowless winter.

This morning I was shocked & pleased to see that the Upland St. folks have a new hydrant.

That they installed a “Kennedy” brand hydrant should be worth a few Brownie points around here.

I suppose there could have been legions of neighbor complaints on file and that DPW just happened to have gotten ’round to replacing the hydrant this week.

I’d prefer to give the Public Works folks the benefit of the doubt — that they heard of an imminent public safety concern and addressed it quickly and effectively.

Thanks, DPW, for putting a smile on my face this morning, and helping the residents of Upland St. sleep soundly at night knowing that the fire department can now get their hoses on the hydrant in time to save a house . . . or a life.

Since there’s now a big square cut into Upland St., here’s a peek at the stratigraphy of the road surface:

Perhaps not as thick as I’d have imagined, given the position of the old hydrant.

I wondered in passing how long the road would have a hole in it, but less than two hours after these photos were taken, a first layer of asphalt patch had been applied, both in the hole and around the hydrant base.  I expect it’ll look pretty good by later this week.

Kudos, DPW!  I hope while you were there someone radioed back to the signage design wizards on Albany St. that right next to the new hydrant is a street name sign that dates from the 1960s and has the retroreflectivity of a brick:

Not nearly as pressing an issue as the sunken hydrant . . . but when we’re wasting taxpayer dollars replacing legible 21st century signs elsewhere in Worcester for the sake of hearts & serifs, seeing one of these golden oldies still in place makes me rather grumpy.

I think we all know who isn’t Gary Gemme’s valentine

One hundred forty characters are obviously not enough for the Chief, because I have no idea what he’s trying to say about Fresolo:

http://twitter.com/#!/911Chief/status/169381141537767425

(screenprint via kwout)

Suffice it to say he’s not a fan!

(This is part of a continuing effort to blame the community for not showing up at neighborhood meetings.  There is no excuse for why each and every crimewatch meeting is not announced on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.  And there is no excuse for the lack of acknowledgment — this interview being one example — of the reasons people might be afraid to submit tips on crimes.)

On a more serious note, I caught the City Manager on Jim Polito today, and he said, “The Chief’s defined the fact that many times we see these violent crimes, it’s typically those that live the life of crime where that violence is taking place in between.”

I’ve heard this now a couple of times, from both the City Manager and the Chief — that the people who are dying in gun violence in Worcester are violent criminals who live (and later die) by the sword.

While that can be superficially comforting if someone is not in the habit of getting into gun fights, I think certain statements come dangerously close to the “they deserved it” line.

Belinda Torres was not a gang member — she was killed by her ex-boyfriend.

A man was shot on Chandler Street in the middle of the afternoon last Wednesday.  This is a time when many people — innocent bystanders — could have been walking by.

Depending on the time of day and the location, there is a chance that someone could be on the receiving end of a stray bullet.  While I remain convinced that Worcester is a very safe city, the continued assertions that the bad guys are the only ones who get shot are inaccurate and inappropriate.