WORCESTER - The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the Worcester area beginning Friday morning, January 7.

According to NWS, 5 to 8 inches of heavy snow is possible throughout the day on Friday.  The Winter Storm Watch is in effect from 1 AM to 7 PM on Friday.

NWS advises drivers that the morning and evening commutes on Thursday and Friday could be hazardous.

Winter storm watch has been upgraded to a winter storm warning for RI and parts of eastern MA. 6-8 inches of snowfall expected. This storm will impact the morning commute. 1 inch per hour snowfall rates will be possible from roughly 6-9 am over the warning area Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/46AlCUTVkn

— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) January 6, 2022

Are you looking for Tricks or Treats this weekend? Halloween is this Sunday, but you can celebrate all weekend with all the ghoulish fun haunting Worcester this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

ThisWeekinWorcester.com has your itinerary for all of Worcester's Halloween shindigs happening this weekend. Join in on the spooktacular events and treat your family to hayrides, haunted houses, trunk or treating, and much more!

Find wholesome haunts for yourself and the family!

This Saturday from 6 PM to 9 PM start your car's engine and drive over to David Prouty High School's Halloween Highway. All members of the community are invited to drive up to the football stadium to see their Halloween decorations and listen to the marching band perform. The event is $10 per car.

Dance along to the Monster Mash at a thrilling bash in Worcester

Join the Boo-tenanny at Nick's Bar this Saturday at 8 PM. Pay what you can at the door and enjoy a night of music, comedy, and more hosted by Shaun Connolly. There will be prizes for best scary story, so think of your most chilling tales!

Dress your best this Saturday!

Keep the suit and tie in the closet and put on your favorite costume for Whiskey on Water's Halloween Costume Party with music on two levels: Lenny Travers will be rocking the roof and Backyard Swagger will perform on the lower level. Winners of the costume contest can win $1000 cash and prizes.

Fit in family frights!

This Friday is Halloween Family Night at Friendly House. From 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, children from the ages 8 + are invited to join Friendly House for a costume parade, contest, games, and more! This event requires online registration.

Focus on safety this Sunday

Join the Worcester Police Department for their 6th Annual Worcester Hill-O-Ween. Bring your little ghosts and ghouls to the summit of Union Hill at 121 Providence Street this Halloween night from 5 PM to 7:30 PM for a fun and safe trick or treating experience with Chief Sargent, Officer Sean Lovely, and the rest of the Worcester Police Department.

You can leave your broomstick at home this Sunday!

Fly high at Wachusett's Trick or Treat Skyride Event. Come to Wachusett Mountain in Princeton from 10 AM to 2 PM on Sunday to ride up to the summit and back down again for a goody bag and Halloween treats! Wear your costumes for prizes. Kids ride free with an adult. Tickets are $12 for adults.

Give yourself a treat this Halloween!

Apex Entertainment in Marlborough is hosting a eerily exciting party this Saturday! From 6 PM to 9 PM, join Apex for their Halloween Party with Modelo, including prizes for best costumes!

Find frightening fun near you!

Camp Marshall at 92 McCormick Road in Spencer is hosting Halloween treats for the whole family! Start the fun with their Trunk or Treat at 3 PM, followed by hayrides from 5 PM to 6 PM, and end the evening with their Halloween Fright Walk at 6 PM. Andrew's Hall will be hosting games and fun activities, too.

Gather around to hear classic scary stories!

All weekend long, visit New England's beloved living history museum, Old Sturbridge Village, for their Phantoms and Fire event. For $20 for adults and $12 for children, come to the museum after their typical hours. From 5 PM to 8:30 PM, performers will be reciting Edgar Allan Poe tales, Bullard Tavern will be selling delicious food, and your children can gather clues for a bag of treats.

Trunk 'N Treat at Stop & Shop

The State Police Association teams up with Stop & Shop at 949 Grafton Street in Worcester for a free Trunk ‘n Treat event on Saturday, October 30, from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Children will be able to ‘Trunk N’ Treat’ out of State Police and local law enforcement vehicles to collect candy and snacks provided by their local Stop & Shop.

Updated on October 29 at 3 PM to replace an event that was cancelled.

Lead image courtesy: Wachusett Mountain

WORCESTER - The chicken joint with a twist of Caribbean flavor is coming to Worcester.

Pollo Centro will open its fourth location at the former Dunkin' Donuts at the corner of Park Avenue and Mill Street, the company confirmed with ThisWeekinWorcester.com on Friday.

The family-owned business was founded in Lawrence in 2011 and has opened a second location in Lawrence and a third in Haverhill.

Pollo Centro specializes in fried and grilled chicken (with Mama's secret blend of herbs and spices), slow-cooked red beans, rice and hand-cut vegetables.

The menu also includes fried plantains, Spanish kibbeh and and more.

Pollo Centro tells TWIW there is currently no set opening date for its Worcester restaurant yet.

 

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Thursday, July 1

5:30 PM - PACT Neighborhood Meeting - Neighborhood Network Center, 301 Pleasant Street

7 PM - Webster Square Neighborhood Meeting - Our Lady of Angels Church, 1222 Main Street

 

Wednesday, July 14

7 PM - Lake View Neighborhood Meeting - Lake View Congregational Church, 115 Coburn Avenue

 

Thursday, July 15

 7 PM - Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Meeting - KIVA Center, 209 Shrewsbury Street

 

Monday, July 26

6:30 PM - Green Hill Neighborhood Meeting - Saint Bernard's Church, 236 Lincoln Street

 

Wednesday, July 28

6 PM - Quinsigamond Village Neighborhood Meeting - The Journey Community Church, 46 Greenwood Street

 

Nick Belsito spent his youth working at his father’s restaurant, Belsito’s Deli on Plantation Street in Worcester. Little did Belsito know that making grinders and serving customers in his family’s business would give him an in-depth knowledge of the hospitality industry as he created his own startup, Open City. 

Today -- Monday, June 21 -- Open City will make history as it launches “Tori”, the first voice ordering Artificial Intelligence (AI) used in drive-thrus for fast food.

Created in 2016, Open City is Belsito’s second successful start-up; his first company, BeeLine, was a VIP concierge app that allowed users to “skip the line” in exclusive nightclubs and restaurants throughout San Jose, San Francisco, Napa Valley, New York City, and Boston. 

Throughout Belsito’s academic journey at Bentley University and his career at companies like Raytheon, Belsito found a unique niche as he wondered, “How do you intersect technology and hospitality?” 

Belsito has a passion for food and sees eating at restaurants as a way to connect with one another. Whether celebrating an important occasion, continuing a family tradition, or just enjoying flavorful dishes, Belsito described how central restaurants are to human connection. 

“Everyone has their reasons why they go [to restaurants] and I love conversing with people over that,” he said. According to Belsito, his goal is to analyze and enrich the experience of customers while also helping business owners whose hearts and souls go into making the food that they serve.

The launch of Tori as the world’s first voice ordering AI represents a giant breakthrough in restaurant/hospitality technology. 

“We’re already changing the industry, we are helping people reimagine the drive-thru experience,” Belsito  said. 

While the software is complex, the ability for customers to use the service is simple. Customers will pull up to the speaker box and place their drive thru order at which point the AI will process the order. Tori boosts an over 99% accuracy rate which ensures that customers’ orders will be correct each and every time. However, what makes Tori unique is its ability to answer customers’ questions and upsell products from the restaurant. “Tori can handle a complete conversation,” Belsito said. This means that customers will be able to speak in their “natural voices”.

According to Belsito, Tori solves many problems that drive thrus are facing, particularly since the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, 90 percent of restaurants were forced to rely on their drive-thrus as the lockdowns prevented in-person dining. This added pressure to already shortened work staff in the restaurant industry. 

“They were asked to do so much more, with so much less,” Belsito said. This resulted in reduced order accuracy and slower wait times which added to customer frustrations. As a result, Tori would eliminate these issues by taking care of all the order processing leaving staff to just focus on the payment and fulfillment of fast-food orders. 

Testing has shown that Tori improves service times by 25% to 30%. Belsito explained that better order accuracy not only makes for happier customers, but it also reduces the staff stress and results in more revenues for the business owner. 

Tori is making her first public debut at a fast-food chain in SoCal, but eventually Belsito would like to see the AI at fast food chains across the country, and one day internationally. 

By reimaging drive thru technology, Belsito strives to help business owners and customers. Right now, his goal is to, “Bring Tori to a drive thru near you.”  

WORCESTER - A Worcester-area investment advisor was charged Tuesday in federal court in Boston with defrauding clients by stealing their funds and using them to pay purported returns to other defrauded investors.

James Couture, 42, of Sutton, was charged with three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.

From 2009 to 2020, Couture allegedly misappropriated roughly $2.8 million from clients by transferring funds out of his clients’ accounts for investment in fictitious funds and using the money for other purposes, including to purchase a client list from another investment advisor, according to charging documents.

Couture also allegedly used client money to pay fake investment returns to other clients he had defrauded, including allegedly liquidating a client's variable annuities to fund withdrawals by another client. It's also alleged that in December 2019 and January 2020, Couture sold one client’s mutual funds and raided a 401(k) plan he managed to fund withdrawals by another client, whose assets Couture purported were held in a mutual fund account, when in fact neither the funds nor the account actually existed.

Couture will make an initial appearance in federal court at a later date.

The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison to be served consecutive to any sentence imposed.

WORCESTER - Basketball and volleyball courts in Worcester should be open by the end of the week.

According to the City of Worcester, the Division of Parks & Recreation will start the process of reopening basketball courts on Monday with the reinstallation of hoops and rims.

The City expects the installations to be completed by May 7.  Basketball courts have been closed since March 2020.

Volleyball courts will also be reopened following the same schedule as basketball courts with anticipated completion date of May 7.

WORCESTER- Friday's snow storm has catapulted Worcester into the number one spot among the Snowiest Cities in the U.S. this winter.

With nearly 4 inches of snow falling on Friday, Worcester now sits at the top of the list above Denver, Lakewood, Col., Buffalo and Syracuse on the Golden Snow Globe Contest list of the Top 25 Snowiest Cities for the 2020-2021 season.

Friday's storm put Worcester at nearly 78 inches of snow this season and gave them a three-inch cushion ahead of second-place Denver.

Since 2010, Worcester has finished in second place twice (2012-2013 and 2014-2015), never once hoisting the Golden Snow Globe title up.

To follow along with the contest, click here.

 

  

While aboard the Amtrak train, customers can move around the train, visit the café car for beverages or snacks and relax in a private room.

Riders can take the commuter rail from Worcester to South Station in Boston to connect to 12 routes and travel to cities like Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, and even as far west as Seattle.

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  • An advanced reservation of at least three days is required.
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Image courtesy: Amtrak

WORCESTER - A real estate developer has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after pleading guilty to a $2.3 million fraud scheme involving the redevelopment of a multi-family home in Worcester.

James E. Levin, 62, formerly of Natick and now living on Nantucket, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture to be determined at a later date.

Last September, Levin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and false claims.

From July 2010 to September 2011, Levin served as the manager of 5 May Street Apartments, LLC and applied for and obtained federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD] to rehabilitate the multi-unit apartment building at 5 May Street in Worcester.

The HUD funding was distributed through the City of Worcester and Levin submitted seven payment requests to the City for work he claimed he completed on the building and associated costs. Levin didn't complete the work he claimed in the payment requests, yet still received more than $2.3 million for the project. The City of Worcester was required to pay the money back to the government.

 

Image credit: Google

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