Monthly Archives: May 2011

Electronics recycling in Worcester

File this one under “Worcester – Who Knew?”:

CNET recently profiled an electronics recycling company that has a location in Worcester.

There’s a slideshow of the Worcester facility, which is near 146 (on Blackstone River Road).

The article is a pretty interesting read: they disassemble electronics manually and sort materials that are valuable, materials that are hazardous, materials that can do straight to a landfill, etc.

During the tour, environmental manager Andrew McManus said that manual separation allows the company to come up with a pure form of commodity, compared to automated processes. There were piles of cell tower base stations waiting for disassembly, for example, during our visit. Rooting out the copper wiring or gold-plated components and separating them allows them to sell it for the highest price possible to smelters.

In McManus’ view, paying for electronics recycling is the way to ensure that workers are protected, prison labor isn’t used, and the waste is handled in a responsible way. It’s also paid to destroy sensitive data, in some cases actually having employees witness data tapes destroyed. McManus has audited sites that receive its scrap and Metech itself has been audited as part of the e-stewards certification.

“If you don’t have a fee-based system, you’re encouraging containers (of e-waste) being shipped overseas,” he said. “But if it’s expensive and not convenient, then recycling is probably not going to happen.”

Today in overblown, one-sided journalism

I’m not sure if the Channel 4 iTeam has just decided to open a satellite office in Worcester, but following up on their story about stray voltage, they decided to profile a firecracker.

Becky’s Driving School is reportedly a den of iniquity, or — perhaps more likely — a place you can attend if you want a really poor chance of passing your driver’s ed exam.  (Becky’s has a 52% failure rate versus the state average of 20%.)

Becky herself seems like a colorful character; if she doesn’t continue in driver’s ed, she might have a future in stand-up.

Requisite pull-quote:

“I said I did not agree with the Mass. seat belt law. Because you can marry someone of the same sex, you can kill an unborn child and then they tell you, you have to wear a seat belt. I was trying to bring out the contradiction in that,” Sullivan said.

(This is also a plea to the regular news media to do a story on Right Time Driving School.  I see their cars around, and I’d love to know if they’ve taken on Worcester: Right Time, Right Place as their motto.)

BREAKING NEWS: Bake sales decriminalized in Worcester

Great post from VegWorcester. They had a bake sale fundraiser shut down by the city:

Initially the city officials said that all bake sales in Worcester are illegal. That includes VegWorcester bake sales, but also includes schools, cub scout troops, and churches. My understanding of the Massachusetts food code leads me to believe that this is not accurate. The MA code is pretty clear about this.

After a couple meetings with the city, the powers-that-be had a change of heart:

She provided me with their new guidelines for bake sales in the City of Worcester, which says these magical words, “These events do not require a permit.”

Vegan cupcakes

Vegan cupcakes, proudly baked in Worcester by Randa Duffy

News bits

  • The Worcester Business Journal has an excellent article about the proliferation of cancer centers in the Worcester area.
  • Disappointingly, the only exciting tidbit in the last Holy Cross police blotter of the academic year was this: “Shaving cream in the bathroom stall and shower curtains needed to be cleaned. Shower curtains were also found ripped down. Also, the bathroom window screen was on the ground outside.”  (Though “Report of nosy students outside of Clark Hall” was worthy of Holden.)
  • Been hankering for a Virginia Ryan letter to the editor?  Here’s one she wrote for the Globe a few days ago, in support of keeping the ban on gifts from pharmeceutical companies to doctors.
  • The Worcester County Poetry Association will present the Elizabeth Bishop Suite by singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist, JB Menides on Sunday, May 15, at 3pm, at the First Congregational Church in Shrewsbury.  More info here.
  • If you’re interested in the Accelerated Bridge Program, you can find out more here.  You can also find lists of all the MassDOT projects (for a specific city or a geographic area) here.

Meet Abby Kelley Foster’s Family at Liberty Farm

Next Thursday, May 19, the Worcester Women’s History Project will be sponsoring a program at Liberty Farm, the former home of Abby “Ahead of her time” Kelley and Stephen Foster:

Meet Abby Kelley Foster’s Family at Liberty Farm
Thursday, May 19, 2011, 5:00 PM-8:00 PM
Liberty Farm
116 Mower St, Worcester, MA 01602
Come to Liberty Farm, a National Historic Landmark, home of Worcester’s radical abolitionists Abby Kelley Foster, Stephen Foster and daughter Alla. Meet the Fosters portrayed by the Lydick family, tour their home, hear National Park Head Ranger Chuck Arning talk about the Underground Railroad, and hear Mum Bett, a female slave, tell how she won her freedom. We’re celebrating Alla’s 164th birthday, too! Children’s activities: quilling, stitching a quilt square, 19th century children’s toys.
(Rain date May 20; message will be on recorder at 508-767-1852.)

Also of interest to you Abby diehards — the Boston Public Library has scans of a letter from AKF to Anne Warren Weston on Flickr (pages 1, 2, 3)

Rhetorical Question, #2

Sue Angela Healy asks:

Would these neighbors rather their children go play baseball in a dark, dingy park where they can be bullied

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by older teens, molested, raped by predators, come in contact with drug dealers, or where smoking, swearing and drinking are constantly a threat to children?

This is a major issue communities like Shrewsbury face all the time: either you install a minor-league-quality little league field on private property, or your children have to go play in a North Philadelphia junkyard. Sure, you might have a little more traffic on your street, but if the alternative is having your kid wear a really long pink hat with eyeholes cut out, there’s really not much choice, is there?

On a separate note, I think there’s a significant subsection of the population who’d love to know where this park is. Directions please!

Last weeks for the Holden Free Store


The Wachusett Earthday Recycled Resource Center, better known around these parts as the Holden Free Store, is losing their space, and still hasn’t found a new one. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. It’s like a thrift store without clothing or prices. In a society that’s “post-scarcity” in so many ways, every county could use a Free Store.

Continue reading Last weeks for the Holden Free Store