5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester - June 10

 by Tom MarinoJune 10, 2022

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, June 10 - the Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks hosts a public meeting on a new park on Sever Street, the Worcester Bravehearts will host the MIAA tournament, a study ranks Massachusetts the fourth best state economy in the U.S., the State Fire Marshal and State Police Colonel warn on fireworks safety and scammers target student loan forgiveness.

Public Meeting on Plan for New Park on Sever Street

The Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks hosts the second master plan meeting on a new park at the former Becker College property at 69 Sever Street.

The meeting takes place at the Parks and Recreation Commission at Green Hill Park, meeting room A, at 50 Officer Manny Familia Way on Thursday, June 16 at 6:30 PM.

The meeting is also available through Webex or by phone.

Bravehearts to Host MIAA Tournament at Fitton Field

The MIAA and Worcester Bravehearts have announced that Fitton Field will be the host of the Massachusetts High School State Baseball Semi-Finals and Finals. The two State Semi-Final games will take place on Tuesday, June 14, while two Championship games will be played on Saturday, June 18. This will be the first time since 2018 that Fitton Field plays host to the MIAA State Finals.

the MIAA State Finals were held at Fitton Field for five consecutive years from 2014 through 2018. The Northeast Regional American Legion Baseball Tournament has also been held at Fitton Field every year since 2017 outside of the cancelled 2020 season.

In 2015, Worcester’s own Saint Peter Marian advanced to the State Championship held at Fitton Field against Norwood. The game ultimately featured three future Bravehearts in SPM’s PJ Barry, Pat Gallagher and Norwood’s Sean Mellen who currently is progressing through the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.

Massachusetts Ranked the 4th Best State Economy

A new study by Wallethub.com finds Massachusetts the fourth best  state economy in the U.S.. Only Washington, Utah, and California were ranked higher than Massachusetts.

In order to determine America’s top economic performers, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 28 key indicators of economic performance and strength. The data set ranges from change in GDP to startup activity to the share of jobs in high-tech industries.

The individual metrics considered that led to the state ranking are:

  • 1st – % of Jobs in High-Tech Industries
  • 9th – Change in Nonfarm Payrolls
  • 11th – Change in GDP
  • 13th – Annual Median Household Income
  • 17th – Exports per Capita
  • 26th – Startup Activity

The five worst state economies, according to the studies, are:

  • Oklahoma
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Alaska
  • West Virginia

State Fire Marshal and State Police Colonel Joint Message on Fireworks

Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and State Police Colonel Christopher Mason are reminding residents to leave fireworks to the professionals this summer.

Massachusetts fire departments reported more than 900 fires related to illegal fireworks between 2012 and 2021, officials said. In addition to the 43 fire service injuries and $2.1 million in damages attributed to these fires, Massachusetts medical facilities reported 31 severe burn injuries extending to 5% or more of the victims’ bodies that were caused by illegal fireworks.

Fireworks fires peaked in Massachusetts during the summer of 2020, with 120 incidents reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System that year. They declined by 67% to 40 incidents in 2021 as many cities and towns resumed their public fireworks displays and police departments increased enforcement. State Police seized more than 47,000 units of illegal fireworks and issued 65 criminal summonses during last year’s enforcement operations. Those operations will resume this summer, officials said.

The Department of Fire Services posts a list of permitted municipal fireworks displays and updates it each week through the summer. To view the list – and to learn more about the dangers of illegal fireworks – visit the DFS website.

Scammers are Offering Student Loan (Un)forgiveness

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced another extension of the student loan payment pause. This time the pause runs through August 31, 2022. That news puts student loans back in the headlines, along with discussion of some possible, eventual loan forgiveness for all. So, can scammers be far behind? No. No, they can’t.

In fact, student loan debt relief scammers are already here. But a federal student loan forgiveness program for all borrowers is NOT. Scammers might promise a loan forgiveness program — that most people won’t qualify for. Or they might say they’ll wipe out your loans by disputing them. But they can’t get you into a forgiveness program you don’t qualify for or wipe out your loans.

To steer clear of a student loan forgiveness scam, know this:

  • There are specific federal loan forgiveness programs. There are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and the Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs, to name a few. There’s even a Public Service Loan Forgiveness limited waiver program going on right now with a deadline of October 31, 2022. If you have questions about qualifying for federal loan forgiveness, contact your loan servicer or the Department of Education directly.
  • Don’t share your FSA ID. Some scammers claim they need your FSA ID to help you, but don’t share your FSA ID with anyone. Dishonest people could use that information to get into your account and steal your identity.
  • You don’t need to pay for help. There’s nothing a company can do that you can’t do for yourself — for free. If you have questions about your loans, or how you’ll repay them after the pause ends in August, contact your loan servicer.

If there is eventually a broader federal student loan debt forgiveness plan, the official word will come from the Department of Education, not random calls, texts, emails, or social media messages. Spot one of these scams? Tell your friends, and then tell the FTC here.


Lead image: Proposed area for new park on Sever Street in Worcester.

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