Monthly Archives: December 2008

No such thing as easy weed

As of this week, marijuana is no longer a criminal offense. Light up that joint, kids. But that doesn’t mean cops are going to be lenient. As part of the state enforcement guidelines issued at the end of December, cities and towns are being asked to look at how to “tailor” the laws to local needs and wants. Read: Supposed social mores. In Worcester, that could mean a short window before stricter civil penalties for marijuana usage-especially in public-are enacted. A few City Councilors say that no specific proposal has been brought up yet. But while the new regulations are the direct result of a referendum in November, that doesn’t mean people want leniency, says Councilor Rick Rushton. “At the same time it doesn’t say we want to promote the use of it. It’s a question for discussion.”

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Two fewer buyers for the Telegram

The Boston Globe is reporting that the, er, Boston Globe is not being sold to Boston Herald publisher Patrick Purcell or former ad exec Jack Connors, despite a Financial Times story to the contrary.

The Financial Times reported last week that the Times Co. “began discussions two weeks ago” with Connors to buy the Globe and its stake in the Red Sox. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Times Co. and the Sox reached out to Connors earlier this month to gauge his interest in buying the stake in the team, and potentially the Globe. Two years ago, Connors teamed up with former General Electric Co. chief executive Jack Welch to put together an unsuccessful bid to buy the Globe. Welch declined to comment.

What does it mean locally?

The Telegram has been rumored to be included in any sale of the Globe as part of the New England Media Group; insiders say it is one of the only pieces in the local empire not losing money hand over fist.

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City Council liveblog 12/23/08

7:20: And we’re off! Ronal Madnick of Worcester’s ACLU chapter started off the meeting by asking the council to establish a Civilian Review Board. Why would we ever need an outside organization overseeing the city’s public officials? Council supports the request.

7:28: Let freedom ring?  Lukes asks for a city manager’s report on freedom of information requests. “Are there routine delays?” she asks on behalf of citizens without resources about such things. “I am embarrassed by T&G situation,” she says. She asks the administration to respond within 30 days. Not best to be late in such a matter, she emphasizes. Councilor Palmieri notes that it’s not good to be too hasty when it comes to protecting citizens privacy.

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MBTA: They’ll get back to us…

The MBTA and train operator MBCR used to be one of the best with responding to information requests: We’d ask for on time performance numbers for the Worcester line for a certain time frame, and get a response; usually within a few hours, occasionally within a day. How times have changed. In November, we emailed Joe Pesaturo at MBTA, asking him for October data. He told us it wouldn’t be ready until December. On Monday, we emailed MBCR spokesman Scott Farmelant, who told us he was out until Wednesday. On Tuesday, Pesaturo told us to email Farmelant; when we told him Farmelant was out, he responded he had forwarded our request to the railroads operation staff. We’re still waiting on the numbers.

UPDATE: A few hours after we posted, Pesaturo sent us the following information on the Worcester line’s On Time Performance the past two months.

Oct. 2008 – 90.55%
Oct. 2007 – 48.43%

Nov. 2008 – 89.53%
Nov. 2007 – 58.05%

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Councilors sidewalks shoveled…when they exist

Sorry we haven’t posted all day; we know you missed us.

We’ve been out visiting all of the City Councilors’ – and City Manager’s – homes, otherwise known as “The Worcester Perimeter Tour.”

What did we learn?  About 18 hours after the snow weekend from hell ended, the only councilors with sidewalks to shovel – Mayor Lukes, City Councilors Gary Rosen and Phil Palmieri – had gotten the job done.

That’s an improvement over last week’s check by Jeff at Wormtown Taxi, when only Lukes had done the deed.

We did notice that the vast majority of private residence abutting sidewalks in the city seemed to be clear, although some public ones had yet to be cleared.

Which brings us to our Great Sidewalk Watch: Winter of 2008/2009.

If, over the next few months, you notice any glaringly unshoveled city-owned sidewalks, let us at Worcester Magazine know, and we’ll check it out.

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4,500 Charter customers still out

According to a press release from Charter, 4,500 customers are still without service.  1,500 of those are without power.

Responding to criticism that the company had promised service restoration to customers lack week and not followed through, Charter Communications Vice President Gregory Garabedian was quoted as saying, “I completely understand the frustration that our customers and other central MA residents are feeling as a result of the extended outages of essential services related to the storm damage we all experienced last week,” said Garabedian. “We realize that at the beginning of the storm we were giving our Charter customers specific dates and times when we would have their service restored. Often, however, when we arrived we found that power was still out or that we couldn’t get to the customer’s street because of downed trees or because power company crews had cordoned off the area. Those situations,” added Garabedian, ” forced us to re-deploy those crews to other areas.

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The ‘2’ in a 1-2-3 punch

It’s snowing.

We know, our observant skills are brilliant.

This is going to be a rough weekend by the looks of it.  From our window on Water and Harrison Streets, we’re no longer able to see Union Station.

Roads and highways are absolute parking lots by some accounts; drive safe.

To all of our readers: We hope you got through this week healthy and safe and that you get through this weekend the same.

If you lose power this weekend, this blog is available on mobile web browsers; any updates on problems can be added in the content thread below.

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