5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester - May 21

 by TWIW StaffMay 21, 2021

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, ThisWeekinWorcester.com explores five important items and stories that Worcester and Central Massachusetts residents should keep a close eye on.

These five things can cover a whole range of subjects and issues that we feel are pertinent to understanding what’s going on in the city and the cities and towns surrounding Worcester.

In today’s edition – Friday, May 21 - Seven Hills Foundation partners with Lyft for free and discounted transportation to vaccination sites, the Friends Bookstore at Worcester Public Library is scheduled to reopen, a local doctor is named the next President of the American College of Physicians, Pet Rock Fest returns to Grafton in September and the Better Business Bureau warns of moving related scams.


Seven Hills and Lyft Partner for Free and Discounted Rides to Vaccination Locations

The Seven Hills Foundation announced a partnership with Lyft and the City of Worcester to provide access to free and discounted rides for Worcester residents to get to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites.

The collaboration is part of Lyft’s Universal Vaccine Access campaign, which is mobilizing a coalition of partners to provide access to rides to and from vaccination sites across the country.

Seven Hills Foundation is distributing Lyft ride credits to help low-income families get to any vaccination location through the Worcester Family Resource Center at YOU, Inc., a one-stop resource and referral center that has guided families in need to support during the pandemic, including behavioral health care and employment services.

In addition to Vaccine Access, through the LyftUp program that has been in place since June 2020, area residents can contact the Worcester Family Resource center to receive ride credits to travel to grocery stores to buy essentials. To date, over 1,150 area families have gotten help with trips to get food or to a vaccination location.


Friends Bookstore at Worcester Public Library Reopens May 25

The Friends Bookstore in the Worcester Public Library, at 3 Salem Square, will reopen as of Tuesday, May 25.

The bookstore originally closed due to renovations at the Main Library, and remained closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new hours of the bookstore will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 1:30 to 5 p.m., with additional hours announced in the future.

The Friends Bookstore sells high-quality used books and other media. All profits from the store support Worcester Public Library programming.

The Friends depend entirely on volunteers to staff the bookstore. In order to expand the hours, they are currently seeking additional volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering at the bookstore, stop by or call (508) 799-1686.


Local Doctor Named President of American College of Physicians

Shrewsbury resident George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, is the next President of the American College of Physicians [ACP]

ACP represents 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students.

Dr. Abraham is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Chief of Medicine and Emeritus President of the Medical staff at Saint Vincent Hospital, and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services.

He recently served as Chair of ACP’s Board of Governors. He was Governor of ACP’s Massachusetts Chapter prior to that.

Dr. Abraham earned his medical degree from Christian Medical College in India and Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.


Pet Rock Fest in Grafton on September 12

The annual Pet Rock Fest will return on Sunday, September 12, from noon to 5 p.m. on the grounds of the Wyman-Gordon plant, 244 Worcester St., in North Grafton.

Pet Rock Fest spotlights the animal welfare organizations of New England that work hard to promote kindness to animals.

The event features a series of attractions, including K9 demos, an agility course hosted by CMDART, the Pups In The Air disc dog team, live music, and much more.

Local nonprofit VegFest hosts the events food court while a series of pet-related vendors and hundreds of non-profit groups devoted to animal welfare causes attend.


Better Business Bureau Warns of Moving Scams

May marks the beginning of the busiest time in the nation for moving.

In 2020, 38% of all business profile views on BBB.org for moving companies occurred from May-August and was the third most-viewed industry in the nation for that year.

With the amount of moving activity during summer, the potential of being a victim of a moving scam also increases. Over $230,000 was lost to fraudulent moving companies throughout the year.

The Better Business Bureau [BBB] warns of some variants of these scams.

In the first, consumers receive a quote and pay a deposit, but the “movers” never show up.

In another, the moving company provides a quote based on expected weight and, after loading the truck, they inform the consumer that the load is over the expected weight and an additional fee will have to be paid. Most of the time, the additional fee is significantly more expensive per pound, sometimes as much as double the original estimate.

The worst version for consumers is when everything appears to be going well. The movers provide an estimate, arrive on time and load belongings on a truck. When the truck does not arrive at its destination, the belongings are lost or the company requires the consumer to pay an additional fee to have them delivered, holding the possessions hostage.

BBB recommends the following guidelines to avoid these scams:

Watch out for warning signs.

When reviewing a company’s website, if there is no address or information about a mover’s registration or insurance, it is a sign that it may not possess the proper policies to protect a consumer’s belongings. Additionally, if the mover uses a rented truck or offers an estimate over the phone prior to conducting an on-site inspection, it may not be a legitimate business.

Be wary of unusual requests.

If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be an indication of a fraudulent business. If an individual’s possessions are being held hostage for additional payment that was not agreed upon when the contract was signed, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.

Get everything in writing.

When moving between states, check licensing with the U.S. Department of Transportation. An identification number is required of all interstate moving companies, issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which can be verified at ProtectYourMove.gov. Make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limits of liability and any disclaimers. The pickup and expected delivery date should be easily identified.

Keep an inventory of your belongings.

Having an inventory sheet is one of the best ways to keep track of your possessions. BBB recommends consumers who are moving label the boxes their belongings are packed in and what is in each box. In general, movers are not liable for lost or damaged contents in customer-packed boxes unless there is provable negligence on the part of the mover. Taking photos of the contents prior to packing is a great way to prove if damages were incurred during the moving process.

Ask questions.

Do not be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company either can’t or won’t answer your questions, look for another company. Trust matters when hiring a moving company.

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