Monthly Archives: October 2012

WPD’s motions to dismiss denied in false imprisonment case

via Courthouse News Service:

A 5-foot-9 man with no tattoos spent 9 months in jail because Worcester, Mass. police identified

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him as an armed robber, though the victim said the robber was about 4-foot-9, with tattoos, the taller man claims in Federal Court.

Full text of memorandum here.

Museums, like ice skating, should be free

Worcester Art Museum’s new(ish) director, Matthias Waschek, was featured in the Boston Globe on Sunday in an article about new directors of area museums.

He answers a few questions, including:

Q.Is there one thing you wish people could see at your institution?

A. My absolute favorite in this museum is Paul Gauguin’s “The Brooding Woman.” It’s our Mona Lisa.

Q. What’s your favorite museum in the Boston area?

A. I love the MFA. It’s a phenomenal collection, but it’s also an incredible way of reaching out to its constituencies. And they are not afraid of raising questions that others do not want to touch. To what point is a Harley Davidson art? Which is a phenomenal question to ask.

There

was a bit of controversy with the answer to another question:

Q.Should museums be free to the public?

A. You can only ask this from context to context. A museum that gets public money is free. The MFA doesn’t get a dime. Nor do we, of public money. So you have to look at where is the best way of getting income.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council, of course, does provide funding to WAM, and its spokesman expressed disappointment at the comments.

Waschek then clarified his comments:

I intended to put the issue in the context of museums in Europe, where recurring unrestricted public funding is counted on as part of the institutional budget each year,” he said in the statement. “Massachusetts is investing generously in WAM: in the past two years, the Massachusetts Cultural Council alone supported us with $405,900 both in restricted and unrestricted funds. On a national level, [Institute of Museums and Library Services] invested in the same time period $123,679 in restricted funds.

This is of tremendous help for an annual budget of $9,000,000, and yet… For cultural institutions like us to fulfill our potential as an economic and social force in the community, more needs to be done at the state and federal levels. Every dollar directed towards culture is an investment in our future. Free access to culture for the general public is an ideal and something for all of us to work towards with the appropriate financial support.

Crossing Highland

A recent article in the WPI Towers gives helpful hints for students attempting to cross Highland Street:

WPI students are often warned not to venture beyond Highland Street. However, if you want to maintain some form of sanity throughout the academic year and a connection with the outside world, escaping WPI by crossing Highland is the only way. Some of the locals are a bit crazy and just want to be respected, but they aren’t going to jump you at a moment’s notice.

Also important to know about the locals:

while dropping the WPI card to a Worcester cop may help you out of a jam, to the average local it means you are a wealthy nerd with electronics, possibly a laptop, that will probably not physically fight back much when threatened.

The He Said/She Said advice column also tackles a question relevant to every Worcesterite: My roommate befriended a panhandler. What should I do?

Coming across panhandlers in Worcester is as common as finding StarCraft in the library. Some people will give them the world, while others won’t even look them in the eyes.

My favorite moment in the Worcester State University police log from October 1 – October 15:

10/3/2012 9:25am – spoke to 4 skateboards.

Highlights from the week’s Clark University police blotter

October 10-16:

Thursday, October 11th

18:12 – There was a smell of natural gas in garage. The police have confirmed that it’s no problem.

20:55 – Mice found off campus in 914 Main Street.

Friday, October 12th

15:15 – Disgruntled employee at the physical plant.

Saturday, October 13th

15:10 – For some mysterious reason, door to the UC won’t shut.

18:25 – Group of kids arguing at the playground.

Monday, October 15th

14:57 – Suspicious woman on campus in a multi-colored shirt.

18:41 – Kids on skateboards being obnoxiously.

Testimony

Coverage from the Monrovia New Dawn regarding Christina Andrianopoulos’ testimony in court:

Upon a glance at the “tall and giant-sized” driver sitting beside her, Miss Andrianopoulos fled from her seat and sat strictly into the crowd where some of her sympathizers were seated. She rested (lied back) on one of

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the ladies usually accompanying her to court for nearly 10 minutes, taking deep breath as sweat pulled out of her body.

After being fanned for few minutes and taking in a bottle of water, the kidnap victim subsequently appeared before Magistrate Nelson B. Chinneh and identified defendant David Orma Safunue as the driver, who picked her up from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) upon arrival here from the U.S. on September 23, 2012.

Andrianopoulos has returned to the US and asks that she be allowed “to heal and embrace my children and family.”

New Worcester podcast: The Firehouse

Worcester’s beloved Firehouse has a podcast: Episode 1

Outside the Palladium Sunday, one eleven-year-old ICP fan told me he has a horror movie podcast coming out soon. Will we see a Worcester Podcast Renaissance this fall?

Existing podcasts with

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a Worcester connection include the 508 show and Obsessive Sneaker Disorder.

Kidnapped

There have been two Telegram stories from the 10th and 11th, and one Daily Worcesteria item, about Christina Andrianopoulos’ kidnapping experience in Liberia.

New Dawn Liberia has reported on the story from a slightly different perspective it as well.

We’d also like to point readers to the full press release of the experience, that was issued on the 9th.  Andrianopoulos says on Facebook that she will tell her story when she returns to the US.

Update, 7:45 pm: A reader noted that a review of Andrianopoulos’ Facebook page raises more questions than answers.

If she had all her electronics and money taken, and was being held under a form of house arrest, it’s quite fortuitous that she was able to start using Facebook for iPhone on October 1:

And then post a link to a GoLocal Worcester article and a promo for an upcoming TV show:

Goodness knows if I were being held indefinitely in Liberia I’d start wishing for snow:

Womag update: Boyfriend of woman in Liberia: This is international crisis. “He says US government officials at all levels are working closely with their Liberian counterparts not just to secure the safe return of an American citizen, but on an international crisis that stretches to other countries.”

Update: additional Liberian news coverage: New Republic Liberia has some comments from Andrianopoulos; Front Page Africa online notes that she was unable to give written testimony in court yesterday.  The earliest African press coverage I’ve been able to find was on October 4, in what seems to be a press release from the Liberian Ministry of Justice.

Update: even more Liberian coverage: from October 10, October 11, and October 12

This week’s City Council agenda

There’s an extra-packed City Council agenda tomorrow…here are some highlights:

7d. Ronal Madnick, President of the Committee for Progressive Legislation, request the City Council or a committee of the council hold a public hearing on the plan of the Worcester Police Department to build a comprehensive video surveillance system of the Real Time Crime Center, before the plan is carried out.

7s. William Breault on behalf of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, request City Council to request City Manager provide an ordinance that will prohibit level 3 sex offenders from living or working within 1000 feet of a school, park or any public or private educational facility that provides services in grades K-12.

[Note: it’s unclear why there’s an assumption that level 3 sex offenders are all pedophiles]

7t. William Breault on behalf of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety request City Council request the City Manager provide an ordinance that will prohibit landlords from renting to more than one level 3 sex offender at any one building address.

7u. William Breault on behalf of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety request City Council request City Manager have Community Healthlink, PIP/SMOC report the number of (difficult to house) released prisoners, especially level 3 sex offenders, at their facilities.

8.7 A. Transmitting Informational Communication Relative to Issues that the Great Bay Coalition in New Hampshire Has Encountered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

[Question: guess which federal agency in the above memo is referred to in the following sentence: “With hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars at stake over questionable science, this wayward agency with a penchant for inflicting fiscal harm on municipalities and their ratepayers must be reined in.”]

8.10 A. Recommend Approval to Accept with Gratitude a Donation of a Refrigerator from Percy’s Appliances for the Gang Unit.

8.24 A. Recommend Adoption of an Order to Amend the Five Point Financial Plan to Include Funding for the City’s Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Liability.

8.28 A. Recommend that Fifty Thousand Dollars And No Cents ($50,000.00) be transferred from Account #91C780, Citywide Capital Equipment, and appropriated to Account #11C701, City Messenger Capital Equipment, to purchase temporary heating equipment for City Hall

8.29 C. Recommend that the Table of Authorized Positions for the Law Department be Amended so as to Establish one (1) Assistant City Solicitor 3 position. Furthermore, Recommend that Thirty Six Thousand Nine Hundred Fourty Six Dollars And No Cents ($36,946.00) in Account #120-91000, Law Personal Services, be re-appropriated to fund this position.

8.32 A. Transmitting Informational Communication Relative to Addressing the Issue of Prostitution.

Under 9 (Chairman’s Orders):

9a. FROM THE COMMITTEE ON MUNICIPAL OPERATIONS – That the City Council’s Standing Committee on Municipal Operations approved the attached profile for recruitment of City Auditor and is forwarding this profile to City Council for informational purposes.

9b. FROM THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS – Request City Clerk work with the Commissioner of Public Works & Parks to create a current “Approved Street Resurfacing List and Sidewalk Repair List” and further, request the City Clerk keep and update this list as streets and sidewalks are approved by the Committee on Public Works.

10d. Request City Manager report the feasibility of closing the Earnest A. Johnson Tunnel for possible future economic development at the north end of Main St. (Rushton)

10g. Request City Manager report on the percentage of inactive and dropped voters for the past 20 years and the current process for notifying both categories of voters of their status and the remedies for reviving an active voter status. (Lukes)

10i. Request City Manager report to City Council plans for relocating the Massachusetts Military Museum & Archives. (Lukes)