5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester – March 1

 by Patrick SargentMarch 1, 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 – Monday, March 1 – today marks the start of Wellness Week with Herren, Saint Vincent Hospital nurses and Tenet Healthcare are heading to the negotiating table today, there's free COVID-19 testing this week in Worcester, Polar Park's "Heart Lights" will be turned on this evening and Tom Zidelis, the former Chief Financial Officer for the City of Worcester, has joined a local consulting firm.


It's the Start of Wellness Week with Herren

ThisWeekinWorcester.com is a proud community partner for the Herren Project's Wellness Week with Herren.

Wellness Week runs Monday, March 1 to Saturday, March 6, and each day has special programming with a unified theme. The week celebrates wellness and its importance to prevention and recovery, as well as supporting, inspiring and empowering those affected by substance use disorder.

Herren Project is a national nonprofit organization providing free resources and support for the treatment, recovery and prevention of substance use disorder.

Here's a List of Events for Monday, March 1:

Check out the full calendar events here.


Saint Vincent Hospital Nurses and Tenet Healthcare to Meet Tonight

Tenet Healthcare has informed the federal mediator that they are ready to resume negotiations with the St. Vincent Hospital (SVH) nurses’ negotiating committee on Monday at 6 PM.

This will be the first negotiating session since the nurses issued their official notice to strike the hospital on Monday, March 8 over unsafe staffing and patient care conditions at the Worcester-based acute care facility.

Nurses are demanding Tenet Healthcare, the Dallas-based company that operates the hospital,  to increase staffing levels to better protect their patients during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

“We are always ready and willing to negotiate with management to reach a settlement for a fair contract to avert the need to strike,” said Marlena Pellegrino, RN, a frontline nurse at the hospital and co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association.  “We look forward to hearing from Tenet and hope they are finally ready to come to the table with a serious proposal to increase staffing and provide nurses the resources we need to provide the care and protection our patients expect and deserve. If that is the case, we will negotiate as long as it takes to reach an agreement.”

The 800 SVH nurses, who are represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), voted overwhelmingly on February 10 to authorize the strike.


Former Worcester Chief Financial Officers Joins Local Consulting Firm

Thomas F. Zidelis, longtime Chief Financial Officer for the City of Worcester has joined Worcester consulting firm, Strategic Municipal Services LLC. 

“Every municipality has a budget, and that budget comes with a whole lot of pressure to maintain  fiscal stability,” Michael D. Conrad, President of Strategic Municipal Services LLC, said.  “[Zidelis] is the one they want. They want his advice,.

Zidelis retired from his position with the City last year. He will serve as Vice President and Chief Municipal Adviser for Strategic Municipal Services LLC.

“It’s about everything we can offer as a group. We are building on  the decade-plus years of great service this consulting firm has provided Massachusetts cities and  towns,” Zidelis said. 

Strategic Municipal Services LLC, formerly known as Strategic Municipal Solutions, is located at 645  Chandler St.


Free COVID-19 Testing this Week in Worcester

The UMass Memorial Health Care COVID-19 Equity Task Force and the City of Worcester are offering free, walk-up COVID-19 testing this week.

The testing will take place indoors at Mercantile Center at 201 Commercial St. on the following days and times:

  • Monday, March 1, 11 AM to 3 PM
  • Tuesday, March 2, 11 AM to 3 PM
  • Thursday, March 4, 11 AM to 3 PM

No appointments are necessary.


Worcester Red Sox, City Leaders to Turn on Polar Park’s 'Heart Lights' Today

In celebration of the 173rd anniversary of Worcester becoming a city and declaring itself “The Heart of the Commonwealth,” the Worcester Red Sox and City of Worcester officials will turn on the two “Heart Light” towers that will illuminate the Polar Park field in centerfield.

The ceremony takes place from 5 PM to 5:30 PM tonight -- Monday, March 1.

The town became a city on February 29, 1848.

The Worcester Red Sox will begin play at Polar Park on Tuesday, April 13 at 3:05 pm when they host the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in the inaugural game in franchise and Polar Park history.

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