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 — Thursday, Dec. 5 — Living Earth to close after 49 years, the ABCC’s cracking down on drunk drivers (and bars who serve them) during the holiday season, Seven Hills becomes Neighborhood Champions, Sox alum and Worcester native Rich Gedman will be inducted into Red Sox Hall of Fame, and the city’s solicitor retires.
You Don’t Have to Go Home, But You Can’t Stay Here…Or Drive Drunk
We’re trying to be safe all the time. But let’s face it, we can be ninnies even more so during the holiday season. Authorities know this, and that’s why the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) began their holiday season enforcement efforts this past weekend at bars throughout the Commonwealth that have been most “commonly identified as the last bar to sell alcohol to a convicted drunk driver.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2013 and 2017 there were 800 people killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Monday after.
Running in conjunction with the NHTSA’s Impaired Driving Crackdown, the ABCC’s Sale to Intoxicated Persons (SIP) enforcement is in effect until New Year’s Eve.
“The ABCC wants to ensure that the holiday season is enjoyed by everyone, but most importantly celebrated responsibly,” said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, “The safety of all Massachusetts residents is of the utmost importance and by establishing SIP we are supporting that priority and maintaining safer roads.”
The ABCC will also be working with local police departments that have identified high risk locations in their communities.
Alcohol is involved in 40 percent of traffic crash fatalities resulting in 17,013 fatalities and injuring an estimated 275,000 people annually. Data indicates that well over 50 percent of impaired driving arrests originate at bars.
Rich Gedman Inducted Into Hall of Fame
Worcester native and former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman joined David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez as inductees into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, the PawSox announced on its Twitter page Wednesday. Gedman is the current hitting coach for the Pawtucket Red Sox, soon to be the Worcester Red Sox (WooSox).
Gedman, who lives in Framingham, graduated from St. Peter-Marian High School in 1977 and played baseball in the Grafton Hill American Legion League. Gedman was signed by the Red Sox three years after he graduated, and played with the Sox for 11 years – 13 years in the big leagues.
Neighborhood Champions Program Launches in Worcester
Bank of America yesterday announced the launch of its Neighborhood Champions program in Worcester, naming Seven Hills Foundation as its inaugural 2019 awardee. Neighborhood Champions supports the role strong nonprofit leaders play in advancing economic mobility.
As part of the program, Seven Hills Foundation gets a whopping $50,000 in grant support and an opportunity for engagement in virtual leadership training delivered by experts in the nonprofit sector.
The mission of Seven Hills Foundation is to promote and encourage the empowerment of people with significant challenges so that each may pursue their highest possible degree of personal well-being and independence. The grant will support the ASPiRE! workforce readiness and employment program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially in the area of horticulture and food service that includes a new Seven Hills Café and community garden at Coe’s Park in Worcester.
Examples of topics for the leadership training include human capital management, increasing financial sustainability, and storytelling.
“Seven Hills Foundation represents the finest of what we look for in a Neighborhood Champion,” said Edwin Shea, Bank of America’s Market President for Central Massachusetts. “They are positively impacting countless individuals and families, and we are looking forward to seeing how this investment helps them make even greater strides.”
Longstanding, Healthy and Organic Food Store, Living Earth, to Close
The Living Earth was the place that had all the organic, natural and “good” food long before the movement toward such things started. Now called the Living Earth Natural Market and Cafe, 232-234 Chandler St., after 49 years, it’s beloved owners are retiring and closing down the store on Dec. 31.
“We take satisfaction and great pride in having cultivated ideas such as organic, locally sourced and farm to table foods in Worcester long before the masses would catch on,” said Al and Maggy Maykel in a statement. ”Popularizing this approach to food was our mission all along. We wanted to educate the community about the importance of good nutrition.This includes understanding the importance of why eating foods produced without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides benefit both people and the environment. We feel like we accomplished our mission and it’s now our time to ‘retire.’”
The Maykels thanked their staff, who they called “family”: Frank Phelan, Rob the Produce Man, James, Joseph the bearded Grocer, Christine, Hernan, Peter and Cathy just to name a few.
“There are so many others who have brought us through the years with such pride and service,” they said. “Our current staff is one in which we treasure. The dedication and years these people have offered us will never be forgotten. We deeply thank our customers who have supported each and every one of us for all these years and your commitment to our industry is unsurpassed. We may be closing our doors but the mission we started 49 years ago carries on in each of you. Our employees and customers were, and always will be, our family, our friends and our reason for our success. We have been blessed.”
City Solicitor Retires After 38 Years
City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. has announced that David M. Moore is retiring as city solicitor after serving Worcester for 38 years. Moore’s retirement will be effective January 3, 2020.
Upon Moore’s retirement, Michael E. Traynor will return to the Law Department to fill the role of City Solicitor, while also acting as the Chief Development Officer until a replacement is appointed. The City will immediately begin the search for a new Chief Development Officer.
Moore came to Worcester in 1982 when he was appointed as Worcester’s first Parking Administrator. Three years later, he moved to the city’s Law Department where he was an Assistant City Solicitor for eight years, and was later named City Solicitor in 1993.
“David is a man of integrity and a true expert in municipal, state and local law and will be greatly missed,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “I am beyond appreciative to have worked alongside David for the past six years and I wish him the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
In January 2014, Traynor stepped away from his 24-year tenure as the Deputy City Solicitor to serve as acting head of the city’s economic development efforts. In November 2014, he was appointed as the Chief Development Officer with the understanding that at the appropriate time, he would return to the Law Department.
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