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PRODUCT PLACEMENT: Worcester Wares, the relatively new store in the DCU Center that hawks
Worcester-related apparel and gifts, received some random exposure recently. Beer company
Heineken is doing something involving graffiti and beer and its in Miami I dont know, the
advertising campaign is a little all over the place. But the gist is, San Francisco-based artist Apex
happened to be wearing a Worcester Wares shirt while painting some abstract art on a wall and
since its all part of some commercial scheme by the beer overlords, its now on video for all to see.
Well forget he was wearing the shirt while painting, usually a fate reserved for older shirts ready to
be put out to pasture, and just concentrate on the street cred this gives Worcester. Or maybe the
Worcester shirt gives Apex the street cred? In any case, clearly the mission of one City Hall
employee to give Worcester shirts to visiting artists like a T-shirt Johnny Appleseed has paid off.
PROSTITUTION REAGONOMICS: Theres a bit of a debate over the best way to eliminate
prostitution in Worcester, revolving around supply and demand. One method is to keep arresting
prostitutes cutting out the supply for the men (or women) looking to pay for sex. The other method is
to go after the johns, cutting out the demand allows some people to make money off selling sex.
There are valid (and invalid) arguments on both sides, but the demand-side crowd had made
progress recently in getting the city and police department to refocus on arresting the men rather
than the women, successfully pointing out that the women are, in most cases, further on the victim
side of the criminal spectrum than the men. And the decades of arresting women for prostitution
dont seem to have done very much of anything, besides earning the police some headlines and
getting neighborhood watches to shut up for a week. Arresting johns, on the other hand, tends to
send a ripple through the john community, since the WPD will post the results of big, successful
stings on their Facebook page, allowing their friends and families to see their debauchery. On the
other side, according to various comments at various times, arresting women for prostitution is so
much easier for the police than arresting men, since it doesnt require putting officers in any real
danger and can be done by driving through a bad area of the city with a wad of cash. So where is all
this going? Last year, touting cooperation with the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation,
the WPD published the names of 28 johns and five women on its Facebook page for all the world to
see. Police also stopped publishing the addresses of prostitutes. This year, the WPD has posted the
results of one sting on its Facebook page and published the names of the 13 women arrested in Main
South last weekend. So the annual reporting of women has more than doubled since last year, and
team demand-side is way in the hole as we go into February.
LEAVE THE GUN, TAKE THE HOT DOG: Call it The Dogfather, Part II. Food truck owner Mark
Gallant has risen through the ranks of food truck owners since 2010, now boasting three trucks
offering to make Worcesterites a hot dog they cant refuse. Now Gallant has set up an online
crowdfunding campaign to open the Worcester Food Truck Commissary. The idea is to give food
trucks a place a base of operations to prepare and store food, clean and sanitize vehicles and group
together for buying power. Just imagine that scene where the Mafia families get together to talk
business and avert turf wars I mean, he brought this theme on himself. Anyway, Gallant has already
picked out a warehouse in the Canal District, and he wants to raise an ambitious $12,500 to buy
walls and ceilings, permits, electrical, drains and shelving. In addition to being a boon for existing
food trucks, Gallant is hoping this will make it easier for new food trucks to break onto the scene,
benefiting the industry as a whole. Like most online crowdfunding projects (this one on
indiegogo.com), there are perks to donating to the campaign. $10 gets you bumper sticker, for
example, while $100 gets you the most expensive novelty T-shirt Ive ever seen. But what youre really
paying for is the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping out a local business. Of course, the giant rain
cloud hanging over this particular parade is the fact that food trucks are still legislated almost out of
business in Worcester, as Gallant puts it. The report from the pilot program hasnt come out yet, but
Gallant is betting on a relaxation of food truck rules, something thats likely to happen. Even more
likely when youve got the local food truck cartel exerting pressure on politicians in City Hall, no
MATHSTRONAUTS: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released its educator
evaluation data this week, and the third year of the program hasnt built any confidence that the
program is actually working. It seems there is a spectrum in terms of program quality. It ranges
from the evaluations being flawless and 100-percent accurate, in which case any employee who got
an unsatisfactory would be automatically fired and any employee who got an exemplary would
automatically be given a cookie, to the evaluations being rubbish and random, in which case the
DESE would keep the results to themselves and probably stop doing them. The truth lies somewhere
in between, as the DESE released the results, but censored any categories with fewer than seven
educators, and any categories in which all educators got the same evaluation or only one educator
got a different evaluation. The object, you see, is to keep people from knowing which particular
teacher or principal got which grade, abstracting the data so we can only do broad overviews.
However, as your local alt-weekly, lets make like that one episode of Schoolhouse Rock and use
math to go rogue. The DESE provides data for each school, and divides the grades into
administrators and nonadministrators. So if they give data for one group and not the other, you can
easily circumvent the censorship. Take Burncoat Street School, for example. Out of 27 nonadministrators, 7.4 percent are exemplary. Multiply that together and you will find that two nonadministrators are exemplary. The two administrators data is hidden, but there are 29 total
educators, and 10.3 percent are exemplary. Multiply together and get three total. Now, even those
of you who had unsatisfactory math teachers should be able to take it from here. Take 29 minus 27,
three minus two, and come up with the answer one of Burncoat Streets two administrators is
exemplary (the other is merely proficient, by the same formula). Maybe that person can use their
exemplariness to explain to the DESE how to actually censor data.
CHECKING IT TWICE: In recent years, weve seen a rise of online lists of things. Sorry, did that say
rise? It should say plague. Were guilty of mentioning a few here, but all in all, any lists of the 10
Most Existential Cities in New England or whatever can safely be discarded it doesnt matter how
scientific they claim their formula is. But like a child sticking a fork into an electrical socket, these
sites are very good at getting attention. Case in point is the list shared recently by Destination
Worcester, the destination and marketing organization for Worcester and Central Massachusetts,
according to its Twitter page. It recently fell for a listicle from Zippia, a website that has been
roundly mocked by people in other communities it has mentioned for criteria that seem arbitrary
bordering on idiotic. So lets take a look at the list the 10 Best Cities In Massachusetts To Achieve
Work-Life Balance, apparently rated on commute time, hours worked per week, size of household
and things to do per capita. The top five, in order, are Lawrence, Springfield, WORCESTER!, Lowell
and Lynn. Yeah, sounds about right. Im envisioning Destination Worcesters new marketing pitch
Worcester were just like Springfield and goddamn Lowell. I mean, I suppose unemployed people
technically have the best work-life balance since people with full-time gigs have to spend time away
from their family, but it might be safe to file Zippia away with all the other listicle sites.
WANT TO PLAY CHARADES? The search for a new Worcester Public Schools superintendent lost a
lot of its luster when the School Committee voted to only consider employees whose names rhyme
with Smaureen Sbinienda. Wait, no, they actually just voted to only consider internal candidates for
the job, which means the position is wide open and we have no idea who the committee will end up
going with. If you follow Worcester Magazine online youre already aware of the timeline, but just in
case you want to see the School Committee rent dogs and ponies for the upcoming show in person,
heres the timeline in print. There is a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. at Doherty High on Feb. 2,
and another at 7 p.m. at North High on Feb. 3. The School Committee will meet on Feb. 4 at their
regular time to rig I mean, approve a job description. The finalist(s) will be announced on March 3
after some deliberation, and community meet and greets will be held in mid-March before the School
Committee meets on March 17 to put the dogs and the ponies out of their misery and anoint their
chosen superintendent. And you thought the city manager search was fun.
Reporter Tom Quinn can be reached at 508-749-3166 x324 or email@example.com with
story ideas, feedback, or questions. Follow him on Twitter @bytomquinn.
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