5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester – July 20, 2020

by | Jul 20, 2020 | Headlines, News

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, July 20 – data is now available on the WPD’s body-cam pilot program, the City lays out its options for limiting nip littering, the Worcester Public Library will soon be fine-free, a request will be brought to the City Council this week for cameras in the City Hall parking garage, and Candy Mero-Carlson hopes to push forward the demolition of the former Plantation Club.


WPD Chief Releases Data on Body-Worn Camera Program

Ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Ed Augustus has provided the Council with data collected by Worcester Police Chief Steve Sargent on last year’s Body-Worn Camera [BWC] pilot program.

According to the Worcester Police, 20 officers took part in the program — wearing cameras from May 1 to October 1, 2019. In all, the officers recorded more than 7,000 videos over 1,100 hours and collecting 4,000 gigabytes of data.

Per each day of the BWC program, officers recorded 43 videos, six hours of video and 23 gigabytes of data.

Officers recorded 489 arrests and 113 criminal warrant/summons videos.  The average arrest video is nearly 20 minutes long and the average warrant/summons video is 15 minutes long.

See the full data here.


City has Options for No More Nips

Last June, District 4 City Council Sarai Rivera requested that the City Manager consider placing a deposit on nips to help reduce the amount of litter scattered through the city.

Specifically, Councilor Rivera requests “an update concerning whether the city has considered looking at and implementing some of the best practices other communities use to reduce the amount of litter created from miniature alcohol bottles, or “nips,” such as putting deposits on the bottles.”

Now, the City has a few options. Locally, the City’s License Commission can require liquor stores and convenience stores to place signage about nip littering in their stores and place trash receptacles outside of their stores. Also, the City can follow Boston’s lead and limit where nips can be sold within the City.

Statewide there have been some efforts to place a redemption on nips and the Massachusetts Package Stores Association is in favor of such a measure.


Worcester Implementing Fine-Free Borrowing at Library

Plans are in motion for the Worcester Public Library to go “fine-free.”

According to communications from the City Manager and Acting Head Librarian Sulma Rubert-Silva, in the coming weeks, the library will stop charge late fees.

The City argues that fines are a barrier for low-income families and individuals.

The library will eliminate fines and forgive all outstanding fines owed.


Colorio Calls for Cameras in City Hall Parking Garage

City Councilor At-Large Donna Colorio is requesting cameras be placed in the parking garage under City Hall.

Last month, a Worcester Police SUV was found vandalized in the garage after a protest outside of City Hall during a City Council meeting.

Photos of the SUV were shared, but no surveillance footage was released.


Councilor Carlson Wants to See the Plantation Club Torn Down

District 2 City Councilor Candy Mero-Carlson is asking for the City to speed up the process of demolishing the former Plantation Club Draft House and Music Hall on Plantation St.

The building has stood empty and dilapidated for nearly two decades.

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Patrick Sargent is the founder and lead reporter for ThisWeekinWorcester.com. He was born and raised on Grafton Hill and is a graduate of Holy Name high school and Worcester State University. Previous to starting TWIW, he worked as a contributing reporter for the Worcester Sun. Before that, over the course of several years, he had stints with GoLocalWorcester, Worcester Magazine, the Leominster Champion and Fitchburg Pride. He can be contacted at [email protected]