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, Feb. 21 — AAA deems the Beechwood a Diamond (and not in the rough), firefighters graduate the state training program, grants given for emergency services in Blackstone Valley, MA legislators urge fuel assistance and a GoFundMe nearly hits $20,000 for family of teen killed in Shrewsbury crash.
Local Call/Volunteer Firefighters to Graduate State Training Program
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Deputy Director Joseph Klucznik present certificates of completion to members of the Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training Class #80 on Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at Department of Fire Services, One State Road, Stow.
The graduates represent the 21 fire departments of Athol, Barre, Charlton, East Brookfield, Hardwick, Harvard, Holden, Holliston, Hubbardston, Leicester, Millbury, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Orange, Paxton, Pepperell, Princeton, Southbridge, Spencer, Uxbridge and Winchendon.
The Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training program is unique in that it delivers a standard recruit training curriculum, meeting national standards, on nights and weekends to accommodate the schedule of firefighters in rural areas. Invited guests include representatives of the Massachusetts Fire Training Council, city and town officials, family members of recruits, and chiefs of department.
Diamonds Sparkle at AAA-Rated Properties: Beechwood Wins Again
AAA Northeast has announced the Massachusetts recipients of the 2020 AAA Five and Four Diamond Awards, honoring the best in dining and lodging in the state, with the Beechwood Hotel the sole winner from Central Massachusetts.
Just 0.4 percent of the nearly 27,000 AAA Diamond lodgings and 0.2 percent of 30,000 restaurants in North America achieve Five Diamonds, AAA’s highest designation. Seven of those properties are in Massachusetts: restaurants Menton in Boston, first honored in 2011; The Portico by Jeffrey Thompson, in Wheatleigh, in Lenox, 2005; and Topper’s, in the Wauwinet in Nantucket, 2017. Five Diamond hotels are all in Boston: Boston Harbor Hotel, 2019; Four Seasons Hotel, 1988; Mandarin Oriental, 2009; and The Ritz-Carlton, 2010.
“AAA’s Five and Four Diamond establishments consistently exceed expectations by providing their guests highly personalized, memorable experiences,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “They truly represent the best of the hospitality industry.”
Only 2,400 properties in North America receive the prestigious AAA Four Diamond designation.
GWCF Announces Grants up to $1,000 For Emergency Service Organizations
The Greater Worcester Community Foundation (GWCF) is now accepting applications for grants to support organizations that deploy emergency services in the Blackstone Valley with grants for equipment purchases, training and education.
The grants are made possible through the UniBank September 11th Fund created in 2002 by to honor the everyday heroes who responded to the Sept. 11 tragedy.
“GWCF is proud to support our local emergency personnel with training, education and equipment upgrades,” said Barbara Fields, CEO of the foundation. “By investing directly in these tools, local first responders will be better able to respond in times of need.”
The foundation welcomes grant proposals that help local emergency personnel become better prepared in the following ways:
- Critical equipment purchases;
- Practical training opportunities
The application form is available on the GWCF website. Eligible organizations should serve the towns of the Blackstone Valley: Millbury, Grafton, Northbridge, Upton, Hopedale, Mendon, Blackstone, Millville, Uxbridge, Douglas, and Sutton. Applications are due March 27.
More Than Half of State Legislators Urge Inclusion of Fuel Assistance
In response to a second consecutive reduction in federal fuel assistance resources legislators in the Senate led by Senators Hinds and Tarr, and in the House, led by Representatives Mark and Wong, joined last week by more than half of their colleagues, urged budget writers in both chambers to include $15 million for fuel assistance in the FY20 Supplemental Budget, according to an announcement from MassCAP.
With bitter temperatures gripping the nation including New England, there is serious concern for the health and well-being of low-income households, especially the over 40,000 households that heat with oil.
“Most oil heat households have used up their federal fuel assistance benefit,” pointed Joe Diamond, MASSCAP executive director. Approximately 160,000 households benefit from fuel assistance each year.
A state allocation of $15 million will allow Community Action Agencies to help vulnerable households get deliveries of 100 gallons, “which could make all the difference in getting through the winter safe, warm, and healthy,” Diamond added. It will also allow for protection for gas and electric customers against potential termination following the moratorium (April 1, 2020).
Over the past three weeks, more than 100 representatives and senators added their name to letters to the House Ways and Means Chairman Michlewitz, Senate President Karen Spilka, and Senate Ways and Means Chairman Rodriguez in support of the $15 million funding request.
GoFundMe Nearly Hits $20,000 Goal for Family of Deven Koenig
With 279 donors, 2.4K shares and 280 followers, a fundraiser for the family of Deven Koenig has nearly hit its goal of $20,000.
Koenig, from Grafton, was the driver in a deadly crash in Shrewsbury on Dec. 7, 2019, and passed away from his injuries.
“For those who knew Deven, knew that he had an infectious smile, goofy laugh, and a kind heart,” reads the fundraiser page. “I had the privilege of watching Deven grow up, as I am his sister’s best friend. Deven was extremely close with his family and I would like to take the financial burden off of their shoulders so that they can grieve this tremendous loss. We are asking for help with the funeral cost as well as the outstanding medical bills. I can assure you that any donations are greatly appreciated by his family.”
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