This week Allstate Insurance released its 10th annual Best Drivers Report for the 200 largest US cities. It's wicked pissah being at the bottom (again). [more inside]
Worc. Telegram: "Higgins Armory Museum to close after 82 years; Collection to find home at WAM; END OF AN ERA" The Higgins Armory in Worcester, Mass., will close on Dec. 31, 2013. Uncounted children will be saddened, as will modern swordsmen, when most of the museum's programs -- from educational "OverKnight" sleep-overs to the Academy of the Sword -- will come to a halt. Until then, though, the planned events will run full-tilt through 12/31/2013. [more inside]
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
Box 5-1438: Report of a structure fire at 266 Franklin St. 10 years ago this evening in Worcester, MA, the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Fire started when two people living in the abandoned building, Julie Barnes and Thomas Levesque, knocked over a candle during an argument and then fled. Upon arrival at the quickly growing fire, reports were received about two people living in the building, and firefighters entered the building to rescue them. During the primary search, Rescue 1 firefighters Paul Brotherton and Jeremiah Lucey were the first to report trouble. They were lost on the 4th floor and running out of air. Soon after, a four man rescue crew of Lt. Thomas Spencer (Ladder 2), firefighter Timothy Jackson (Ladder 2), Lt. James Lyons (Engine 3), and firefighter Joseph McGuirk (Engine 3) reports that they have also become disoriented while searching the 5th floor. All six men died that night, they are known as the Worcester Six or W6. [more inside]
Defying Demographics: A look at University Park Campus School, a 7-12th grade school located in the poorest neighborhood in blue-collar Worcester, MA. Approximately 73% of students hover at or below the poverty line and 61% are minorities, yet over 80% go on to college and 99% pass the Massachusetts graduation exams. The partnership between Clark University and Worcester Public Schools has created an environment so successful that a number of cities are looking to emulate it. Have they discovered the key to closing the achievement gap?