5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester - December 28

 by Tom MarinoDecember 28, 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 - Tuesday, December 28 - Worcester City Clerk services are temporarily unavailable at the Main Street service center, Saint Vincent Hospital announces 12 inpatient behavioral health beds are reopened, there's public skating this week at the Worcester Ice Center. the Better Business Bureau warns of emergency scams on the rise and average gas prices in Massachusetts fall one cent this week.

Worcester City Clerk Services Temporarily Unavailable at Service Center

The City of Worcester announced that the City Clerk’s Office will not provide clerk services at the Municipal Service Center at 801 Main Street from December 27 through January 7.

A shortage of staff has caused services to be temporarily unavailable.

Saint Vincent Hospital Announces 12 Inpatient Behavioral Health Beds Reopened

Saint Vincent Hospital reopened 12 inpatient behavioral health on Monday. The 12 beds represent 60% of Saint Vincent Hospital’s inpatient psychiatry capacity.

The hospital intends to restore additional capacity after January 4, when striking nurses are expected to vote to approve a new contract with the hospital.

Public Skating this Week at Worcester Ice Center

There are three days of public skating this week at the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center on Harding Street in the Canal District.

Public skating will be available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Public skating will also be open on Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Skating is $10 per person.

BBB Warns Emergency Scams on the Rise

The Better Business Bureau [BBB] warns consumers about the increase of emergency scams, which prey on the willingness of individuals to help friends and family in need. Scammers impersonate the targets’ loved ones and manufacture an urgent need for money. Social media profiles often provide the information to offer plausible stories, including using nicknames and real travel plans to convince targets.

The scam begins with an email, call, or social media message from someone claiming to be a family member in distress. They may say they’ve been arrested while traveling overseas, or there was an accident, medical emergency, or other calamity. They provide convincing details, such as family names and school details.

Scammers often use this method targeting grandparents claiming to be their grandchild and asking for money. The plea is so persuasive that the grandparent wires money to the scammer, only to find out later their family member was safe and sound all along. This scam can also work in reverse, where the “grandparent” calls their grandchild pleading for help.

The BBB provides these tips to spot this scam:

  • Resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is. Check out the story with other family and friends, but hang up or close the message and call your loved one directly. Don’t call the phone number provided by the caller or caller ID. Ask questions that would be hard for an impostor to answer correctly.
  • Know what your family members are sharing online. You may not have control over your family’s social media accounts, but familiarize yourself with what they are sharing online.
  • Don’t wire any money if there is any doubt about the call. If a person does wire money and later realizes it is a fraud, the police need to be alerted.

Gas Prices Down One Cent in Massachusetts This Week

AAA Northeast reports changes in gas prices across the region on a weekly basis. Massachusetts’s average gas price decreased one cent from last week, averaging $3.39 per gallon. That price is four cents lower than a month ago and $1.19 higher than December 27, 2020 ($2.19).

Massachusetts’s average gas price is ten cents higher than the national average.

Gasoline prices fluctuated over the past few days as fears of an omicron-driven economic slowdown were countered by news of a severe fire at a major oil refinery in Texas,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public/Government Affairs. As a result, the recent steady decline in pump prices has slowed, with the national average for a gallon of gas falling two cents on the week to $3.28.

AAA Northeast’s December 27 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be two cents lower than last week, averaging $3.30 a gallon. Today’s national average price is 11 cents lower than a month ago ($3.42) and $1.03 higher than this day last year ($2.25).

Comparison to neighboring states, according to AAA Northeast:

Region Current
Price
One Week
Ago
One Month
Ago
One Year
Ago
Massachusetts $3.38 $3.39 $3.42 $2.19
Rhode Island $3.37 $3.39 $3.42 $2.20
Connecticut $3.50 $3.51 $3.55 $2.25
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