5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester – March 25

 by TWIW StaffMarch 25, 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 – Thursday, March 25 - bulk waste and yard waste drop-off centers open April 3 in Worcester, a Quinsigamond Community College student from North Oxford wins a prestigious scholarship, the recording of Anna Maria College's "Life After COVID" webinar event is now available, MassWildlife warns bear season is upon us and the Better Business Bureau offers tips for those remodeling their home, doing home repairs or sprucing up a home to be ready for sale.

Waste Drop-Off Centers to Open April 3 in Worcester

Bulk Waste and Yard Waste drop-off centers reopen on Saturday, April 3 in Worcester.

Bulk Waste and Yard Waste drop-off centers are located at:

  • 1065 Millbury St. — Yard Waste, Recycling, Bulk Waste (by appointment, fees apply)
  • 290 Chandler St., across from Foley Stadium — Yard Waste Only
  • 370 Clark St., near the intersection with East Mountain Street — Yard Waste Only

The centers are open for city residents on Wednesdays from 8:30 AM to 3PM and Saturdays from 9 AM to 5 PM. The Millbury site is also open on Sundays from 9 AM to 5 PM for yard waste only.

For information on the city's street sweeping schedule, click here.


QCC Student from North Oxford named the 2021 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar from Massachusetts

Quinsigamond Community College student Vincent Strzelecki, of North Oxford, is the 2021 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar. The recognition comes with a $1,250 scholarship.

Only one individual from each state earns the Pathway Scholar designation.

Over 2,000 students from more than 1,200 college campuses across the country received nominations.

The Phi Theta Kappa Honor [PTK] Society, which selects students for the scholarship, evaluates students on academic achievement, leadership, service, and significant endeavors.

This national scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions who plan to enter the workforce after completion of a degree or certificate. The Coca-Cola Foundation and PTK Society sponsor the award. Mr. Strzelecki is a member of QCC’s PTK Alpha Theta Zeta Chapter, and is currently completing his Computer Science-Transfer Associate Degree.  His goal after graduating is to become a video game software engineer for a well-known video game developer.


Watch the Recording of Anna Maria College’s “Life After COVID” Webinar

On March 17, Anna Maria College hosted a live webinar panel discussion to discuss how the COVID-19 public health crisis has changed society with a focus on the cities and towns in Central Massachusetts.

The event recording is now available here.

Panelists included

  • Matilde Castiel, MD: Commissioner of Health and Human Services, City of Worcester.
  • Greg Ciottone, MD, FACEP, FFSEM : Medical Director Paramedic, EMT, & Master Health Emergency Management at Anna Maria College; Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Division of Disaster Medicine​, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; President World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.
  • Ted Flanagan: Paramedic and Director for EMS Programs, Anna Maria College. Firefighter/paramedic for the West Boylston Fire Department. John Pratico, M.A., C.A.G.S., Psy D. – Director of Psychology Programs at Anna Maria College. Dr. Pratico is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor as well as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a member of several working groups for the City of Worcester.

The panel discussed steps that the public and private sectors might take to best manage the reopening process while remaining vigilant, addressing the pandemic’s impact on mental health and how health emergency management and business continuity changed both as a field of study and as a career.


MassWildlife Warns that March is Bear Season

Officials from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife [MassWildlife] remind residents that March is when hungry bears emerge from winter dens and seek food.

MassWildlife officials say it is time to take bird feeders down in Worcester County. Bears will often ignore seasonally available natural foods in favor of an easy meal at a backyard bird feeder. Wild turkeys and coyotes may also frequent bird feeders leading to a variety of nuisance issues.

Property owners should be proactive by removing bird feeders and other potential food sources including garbage or open compost.

Individuals should also secure bee hives, chickens, and livestock. Properly maintained electric fencing is the only way to protect chickens or bee hives from bears. Taking these actions may prevent the unnatural feeding of bears and other kinds of neighborhood wildlife.


BBB Tips on Home Improvement Projects

The Better Business Bureau is advising those who are remodeling, making repairs or preparing a home for sale on some tips for home improvement projects.

  • Come up with a budget and stick to it. Home improvement projects can get expensive, fast. If you don’t want to break the bank, create a realistic budget to figure out how much you can spend ahead of time. Be upfront with contractors you hire about how much you can spend on a project as well.
  • Think about the pros and cons of DIY projects. If time and motivation is no problem for you, you may be able to tackle some basic home improvement projects on your own, but other projects may require further expertise. If you don’t have a background in construction, it’s usually best to hire a contractor to help with larger projects, such as plumbing, tiling, tree removal, exterior painting, and general remodels.
  • Give high priority to projects that keep your home clean and safe. If your home is in need of repairs, take care of those projects first. For example, fix that leaky roof before you give your home’s walls a fresh coat of paint. In addition, don’t forget to stay on top of regular home maintenance tasks to maximize the cleanliness and safety of your home.
  • Up the value of your home with a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Remodeling your bathroom or kitchen can completely change the look and feel of your home, creating a space you enjoy being in - not to mention it can add quite a bit of value to your home. For large scale remodels, hire a contractor that specializes in construction and remodeling services.
  • Improve energy efficiency. Save money (and the environment) by improving the energy efficiency of your home. Energy saving projects that are worth taking on include checking and replacing the seals on all windows and ducts in you home, installing new windows, and looking into green energy options like solar panels.
  • Get multiple quotes from contractors. When you are ready to start your home improvement project, be sure to get multiple quotes from several different companies. Never be pressured into hiring the first person you speak with. Comparing pricing and services is a critical step in choosing a skilled contractor you can trust.
  • Properly vet contractors before you hire. Even if the price is right, don’t hire a contractor before doing some research. Ask the contractor to provide references. Look up their name or company name online and pay close attention to any reviews or complaints from previous customers. Verify that the contractor is licensed and insured and get an estimate and contract in writing. Read contracts carefully before you sign them.
  • Think about permits. For larger projects, you may need to pay for building permits. Do you research ahead of time and understand that even if you hire a contractor, you may still be responsible for the cost of the permits.
  • Don’t get scammed. Stay alert to any suspicious behavior on the part of “home improvement specialists.” Red flags include not putting things into writing, demanding upfront payment, unexpected price changes, high-pressure sales tactics, unsolicited free inspections (that usually reveal the need for an urgent repair), and cash-only deals.
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