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5 Things You Need to Know Today in Worcester — Friday, Feb. 7

By TWIW Staff | February 7, 2020
Last Updated: February 2, 2021
2019 Shamrock McFlurry, photography

In today’s daily 5 Things You Need to Know feature, 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, Feb. 7 —  the state continues to fund a school drinking water test program, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is coming to the Hanover Theatre, the Mass. State Lottery is looking for a new jingle, learn about the Student Opportunity Act, and the Shamrock Shake is back (soon)!

MA Programs Address Lead in Drinking Water at Schools and Child Care Facilities 

The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust launched two programs to support lead testing and mitigation in schools and early education and care facilities across the state. The Massachusetts Department of Environment Protection’s (MassDEP) Expanded Assistance Program for Free Sampling and Analysis at Schools and Early Education and Care Facilities is continuing with its program that offers free lead testing and technical assistance to eligible public schools and public and private group child care facilities. In addition, the Clean Water Trust’s School Water Improvement Grant (SWIG) program makes available $5 million in grants to cover the cost of water bottle filling stations to address detections of lead in drinking water at eligible public schools. 

“Protecting the health and safety of all of the Commonwealth’s children is a top priority for our administration, which is why over the last three years we have provided free water sampling and technical assistance to almost a thousand schools across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With these new programs, we are both continuing that assistance while building on it by helping schools and daycare facilities that have found unsafe lead levels address this serious issue 

In addition to these resources, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) will continue to provide free laboratory testing to the school and early education and care facilities located in communities served by the MWRA.

“Children and lead are a dangerous combination,” said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey.  “It’s imperative that we continue to do everything we can to reduce exposure to lead from all sources. The programs we’re talking about here today will go a long way to further that goal.”


Get Your Golden Ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Hanover Theatre

Cheer up, Charlie! It’s headed to Worcester. Visit a world of pure imagination with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, presented by The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, March 3, through Sunday, March 8.

Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of Willy Wonka, world famous inventor of the Everlasting Gobstopper, who has just made an astonishing announcement. His marvelous, and mysterious, factory is opening its gates… to a lucky few. That includes young Charlie Bucket, whose life definitely needs sweetening. 

The hit Broadway musical features songs from the original film, including “Pure Imagination,” “The Candy Man” and “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket.“

Showtimes and tickets can be found here. 

Shake Your Shamrock

People go bonkers about this particular announcement every year, so we’re sharing this info as soon as we know it. McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is coming back on Feb. 19, marking the 50th anniversary of the legendary, greeny-good treat. To celebrate, McDonald’s is taking the Shamrock Shake nationwide for the first time since 2017 and introducing the new OREO Shamrock McFlurry for a limited time, too. 

The Shamrock Shake features creamy, vanilla soft serve blended with that unmistakable “Shamrock” flavor and topped with a whipped topping. The new OREO Shamrock McFlurry is a twist on a fan-favorite, and it is what you think it is: a Shamrock shake with OREO cookie pieces in it.  

The Shamrock Shake was created in 1967 by Hal Rosen, a Connecticut McDonald’s owner and operator who made the delicious, mint shake in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. It later debuted in select locations across the U.S. in 1970, and was an instant success. In 1974, sales from the shake helped to build the very first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. 


A Different Way to Win the Lottery 

Have a good rhyme and a melody about Scratch tickets or Quick Picks? The Massachusetts State Lottery wants you to help them create a jingle to celebrate living, playing, or working in Massachusetts. 

“Because when the Lottery returns almost four billion to players in prize money and over one billion dollars to communities to help them pay for the things they need most, it’s worth celebrating with a song,” said the announcement. 

Called the contest the Sound of Winning, if your jingle gets picked, it’ll be recorded and used for the lottery commercials, and you’ll get $5,000. 


Learn, Talk About Student Opportunity Act: Provisions, Purposes and Potential

Find out the impact the increase of funds from the Student Opportunity Act will have on public education in Worcester. The Worcester Education Collaborative and the Worcester Regional Research Bureau are hosting a forum on the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the DCU Center’s Atrium. This new law provides significantly more dollars for public schools and the opportunity to realize an ambitious vision of public education in our City. Be a part of the conversation.

Panelists include Jenny Curtin, Barr Foundation, Laura Dziorny, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy; Jack Foley, Worcester School Committee; Ben Forman, MassINC; and Natasha Ushomirsky, The Education Trust. The moderator is Jennifer Davis Carey, Worcester Education Collaborative.

The public this forum is being offered twice:

SESSION 1: This session starts at 4 p.m. and is primarily for practitioners, educators, researchers, and business and nonprofit professionals. Register here.

SESSION 2: This session starts at 6:30 p.m. and is primarily for community members, parents, and students. Register here.

This event is free to the public. 

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