Monthly Archives: April 2011

WPI okays commencement dissent

This year’s commencement speaker at WPI is Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Some students, of the opinion that “Exxon’s disinformation campaign and its efforts to undermine Americans’ trust in their scientific institutions are entirely incompatible with their values and their future careers,” planned to leave commencement quietly just before Tillerson took the stage, heading to another spot on campus to hear from Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, before returning to commencement to receive their diplomas.

The administration had threatened that any students taking part in this would not be able to receive their diplomas at the ceremony. But as of today, the threats are rescinded:

The university has agreed to support the event. Richard Heinberg will be speaking on the WPI Quad stage (where the official ceremony is situated) at 3 PM. Parents, students, members of the community at large: all are welcome to come hear him speak.

Good to hear that the grads and the event planners were able to negotiate.

Woonsocket to Worcester by rail?

Woonsocket Patch reports that Rhode Island state rep Lisa Baldelli Hunt “wants Rhode Island to capture federal transportation funds rejected by Florida and use it to start a commuter rail from northern Rhode Island to Providence, possibly along the Providence and Worcester Railroad.”

Of real interest (to me, at least), is:

Historically, Woonsocket’s commuter rail service ran to Boston, Providence and Worcester, with lines in nearby Blackstone extending even further, to Hartford and New York. Rail service played a large role in the city’s history and development, and stations on River Street and Main Street carried passengers and freight daily. The last of the city’s commuter service was halted in 1960 and the remaining track, operated

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by P & W, carries only freight.

We periodically hear rumblings about having commuter rail service between Providence and Worcester. If Woonsocket/northern RI was able to get rail service to Providence, might we eventually see service from Worcester to Providence?

Missed connections

I came across a blog that has been highlighting some interesting missed connections on Worcester craigslist. It gets kind of addictive once you start looking at them.

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This is probably my favorite:

46 year old man, looking for; Beautiful Asian Girl- Webster MA.

See you every morning early walking, up Main Street, Webster, MA. You are a beautiful young Asian woman, obviously on your way to work…does anyone know who this is? Would love to know her, and or her situation.

Though this one is also kind of awesome:

Cooper Shop – w4m – 48 (Old Sturbridge Village)

I walked in Monday afternoon and you were explaining how to make barrels. I was mesmerized listening to you. Your blue eyes melted me!!! I couldnt take my eyes off you.

Lets talk………… tell me who I was with.

Half of the entries sound like half of a Snow Ghost punchline interspersed with Worcester landmarks:

Bye sight unseen – m4w – 47 (Rutland)

Per cents it was n ice to see your van! Tatnuck? stick her? dont even know her

And this looks like it might turn into a “suspicious person” (or, at least, “suspicious vehicle”) entry in the Holden police blotter:

I was awed when you arrived with pickup truck – m4w – 38 (Holden)

Maybe we can peek-a-boo again sometime. You know I love it. I’m fond of you.

Women’s Words Writers Workshop

There will be a writing workshop on Saturday, April 30, from 8am-4pm at WPI’s Kinnicutt Hall.  The cost is $55 for adults and $25 for students.

Women Authors of New England brings together a host of talented regional and local writers who have the know-how to help you get your writing published, whether it’s a book, review, magazine article or poetry. At this workshop aspiring authors will receive tips to improve their writing technique and learn the secrets to getting published. This one-day program will help connect you to the local writers, journalists, authors, and poets that have made it happen!

There are a bunch of local authors participating.  More information here.

(Image: Writing, a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic image from jeffrey james pacres’ photostream.)

Worcester abolitionist featured on NYT Opinionator

The New York Times Opinionator blog has been discussing the start of the Civil War in heavy detailYesterday, there was a long profile of Worcester abolitionist Thomas Wentworth Higginson

You may recall that Albert Southwick has previously discussed Higginson in columns, including one last month[Click here first for access to Southwick columns.]  In addition to being a captain in the 51st Massachusetts Infantry, Higginson was the first person in Worcester to publicly display a Christmas tree [in 1852], promoted the wearing of bloomers by women, spoke at the opening of the Damon Memorial (which houses the Gale Free Public Library in Holden), was a gun-runner to free soilers in Kansas, and was a mentor to Emily Dickinson.

Worcester has never seen anything quite comparable” to the career of the Rev. Thomas Wentworth Higginson indeed!

National Park Week

In case readers are looking for something cheap to do during April vacation week…

The National Park Service is celebrating National Park Week from April 16-24 this year.

That means you can go to any National Park for free during that time!

You can find a list of parks (like Boott Mill, pictured left) in Massachusetts on their website.

(Image: Boott Mill, a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 image from kke227’s photostream.)

Higgins Armory on Ghost Hunters

I hate this stuff, but you can now watch the episode of Ghost Hunters featuring Higgins Armory.

I think it was worth it for this excellent recap on MassLive.com. Highlights:

Right off the bat, Amy Bruni, of the TAPS team mispronounces Worcester. Being a California girl I didn’t really have much hope that she would get it right but I’ll give her 2 points for trying, it kind of came out half-right and half-slurred, which is about all we can expect I guess.

After a few more rounds of investigating we see Jason and Grant finally take Dog-the-Ghost-Hunter out of her kennel and give her a spin around the Armory. While interesting, it was a bit odd watching the guys trailing along behind as Maddie-the-ghost-hunting-dog wandered around the exhibit smelling everything with Jason

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saying that ‘she’s really alert and tracking something.’ Yeah. I’d be willing to bet she’s tracking at least 12 of the 600 people that have been through that place in the past couple of weeks or so. You know — the visitors that know their way around the area and stopped for lunch at Hot Dog Annie’s on their way in to the museum!

(Image: Shining Armor, a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 image from Kenny Louie’s photostream.)

Rick Rushton, Tweeting

I thought that the “Wowed in Worcester” Rick Rushton tweet was a one-off:

http://twitter.com/#!/rickrushton/status/50877745193947137

But then he posted about the Tobacco ordinance this morning:

http://twitter.com/#!/rickrushton/status/58166575483731969

To which 4rilla responded:

http://twitter.com/#!/4rilla/status/58213665266081792
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And…Rick Rushton responded back:

http://twitter.com/#!/rickrushton/status/58266044858511360

Which is the most Charlie Sheen-sounding public health item I’ve ever heard Rick Rushton say.

Seriously, though, Rick — keep tweeting. Keep answering tweets. We need more of this from city officials.

(Twitter screenprints via kwout)