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, July 13 - the Worcester Police awards are on Wednesday, the city's Human Rights Commission announces public listening sessions on police body cameras, Gov. Charlie Baker announces a new appointment to the Cannabis Control Commission, the budget passed by the State Legislature includes the film tax credit and gas prices increase two cents this week in Massachusetts.
The Worcester Police Department holds its its awards ceremony on Wednesday, July 14, at 11 AM at Worcester Technical High School.
The three highest awards given to Worcester Police officers are granted at the ceremony:
Distinguished Service - Any member who performs an act, worthy of merit in a commendable manner, such as saving the life of another person, when such an action may or may not have imperiled the police officer’s life and well-being.
Meritorious Service - A department member who performs an exceptional act, being unaware of great personal danger prior to initiating the act, but performs in a commendable manner upon becoming aware of the danger, is deserving of the Exemplary Service Award for Meritorious Service.
Valor - Department members who distinguish themselves by conspicuous bravery, heroism, or other outstanding action, and were aware of great personal danger prior to the performance of the act, are deserving of the Exemplary Service Award for Valor.
The City of Worcester’s Human Rights Commission will conduct listening sessions in each of the city’s five City Council districts to discuss the program .
As part of a series of recommendations announced earlier this year aimed at addressing structural and institutional racism, City Manager Augustus announced he would task the Human Rights Commission and Worcester Police Department with engaging the community on conversations about a Body Camera Program.
District councilors, along with representatives from the Worcester Police Department, will be present at each community meeting.
All meetings will be in-person, with the ability to participate virtually through Zoom (see links below), via the City of Worcester Video on Demand, and on Spectrum Channel 192. ASL and Spanish interpretation will be provided for public participation on Zoom and in person.
Governor Charlie Baker named Kimberly Roy as the gubernatorial appointee to the five-member Cannabis Control Commission on Monday, July 12.
The commission regulates both the adult use and medical marijuana industries in Massachusetts.
Roy currently serves as Director of External Affairs for Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department. She oversees the Department’s Face2Face substance misuse prevention and education program in partnership with local school districts. She also serves as Director of the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association, which sponsors annual charitable events including the Sheriff’s Annual Senior Picnic, Winter Coat Drive, and Holiday Food Drive.
Roy previously worked as a Hospital Representative for Johnson & Johnson, working with major teaching hospitals across the region to facilitate the sale of medical supplies. Roy has also served on the Board of Trustees for Quinsigamond Community College since 2017.
The state legislature passed a Fiscal Year 2022 budget on Friday, July 9. Gov. Charlie Baker can sign, veto or offer line item vetoes and has 10 days to act. Both houses of the legislature can override the Governor's veto if they choose.
The $48.1 billion budget includes funding across state government for the fiscal year that started July 1. An extension of last year's budget was passed to allow time for lawmakers to finalize an agreement.
While the budget covers a wide range of items, one that had received some attention is a film tax credit for production in Massachusetts. The tax credit, which provides a 25% production credit, a 25% payroll credit, and a sales tax exemption, was due to expire.
According to MAFilmOffice.org, "Any project that spends more than $50,000 in Massachusetts qualifies for the payroll credit. Spending more than 50% of total budget or filming at least 50% of the principal photography days in Massachusetts makes the project eligible for the production credit and a sales tax exemption."
The budget proposal on Baker's desk makes these tax incentives permanent.
Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien said the tax incentives "... ensures the film and production industry will continue to be a robust economic driver into the future, and that our members can continue their careers and support their families by working in this industry.”
AAA Northeast reports changes in gas prices across the region on a weekly basis.
Massachusetts’s average gas price up two cents from last week, averaging $3.02 per gallon. That price is eight cents higher than a month ago ($2.94), and 89 cents higher than July 12, 2020 ($2.13).
“Peak summer driving season is in full-swing as Americans hit the road to explore, and gas prices are not backing down,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs. “On average, motorists are paying almost a dollar more a gallon than last summer to fill up and close to 40 cents more than in 2019.”
Massachusetts’s average gas price is 12 cents lower than the national average.
AAA Northeast’s July 12 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be one cent higher than last week, averaging $3.14 a gallon. Today’s national average price is seven cents higher than a month ago ($3.07), and 95 cents higher than this day last year ($2.19).
Comparison to neighboring states, according to AAA Northeast: