Learn about Hip, Knee Replacement and Back Pain in these Free UMass Webinars

WORCESTER – UMass Memorial Health continues its series of educational webinars on Tuesday aimed at enhancing patient knowledge on various health topics. The webinars, featuring expert speakers, are scheduled throughout November and December.

Each webinar provides an opportunity for participants to engage with the experts through a question-and-answer session.

The 411 on Hip and Knee Replacement

Monday, December 4, 5-6 pm

Daniel Mandell, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, will explain the intricacies of hip and knee replacement surgeries. Dr. Mandell will cover what patients can expect before, during, and after the procedures.

Learn Ways to Ease Your Back and Neck Pain

Tuesday, December 12, 4-5 pm

Andrew Duarte, MD, specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Raj Gala, MD, an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon at UMass Memorial Medical Center, will discuss non-operative and operative techniques to alleviate back and neck pain.

Registration is required to take part in any, or all, of these webinars.

Former Worcester RMV to Open as Homeless Shelter in December

WORCESTER — City Manager Eric Batista announced on Thursday the launch of a new emergency winter shelter for single adults facing homelessness. Located at the former Registry of Motor Vehicles Service Center at 611 Main St., the shelter is expected to open the week of December 11.

The South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC) will operate the 60-bed facility, which will be available 24/7 until the end of April. It will offer essential services such as showers, meals, support services, and security.

Batista emphasized the collaborative effort behind the shelter’s opening, stating, “This is a result of our community and state working together to ensure no one is left out in the cold during winter.”

Susan Gentili, President of SMOC, reiterated the organization’s commitment to aiding those in need, especially during winter. “Our focus extends beyond providing shelter; we aim to connect individuals with services to help them find stable housing,” she said.

According to the city, Worcester’s Homeless Outreach and Quality of Life Teams are actively informing the homeless population about the shelter, focusing on those with the most critical needs.

West African Music comes to Worcester’s Malifest Starting Dec. 8

WORCESTER — Crocodile River Music, a Worcester-based nonprofit, is hosting “MaliFest,” a festival celebrating Malian culture with performances and workshops from December 8 to December 10, at the Jean McDonough Arts Center in downtown Worcester. Mali is located in West Africa. It is landlocked and bordered by Algeria to the north, Niger to the east, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire to the south, Guinea to the southwest, Senegal and Mauritania to the west.

The festival, free to the public with required advance registration, features three concerts, two workshops, and an exhibition of Malian art. Zach Combs, Executive Director of Crocodile River Music, highlighted the organization’s Malian roots as the inspiration for the festival’s focus. Artistic Director Issa Coulibaly, originally from Mali, expressed his desire to share his homeland’s culture with his new community.

Coulibaly emphasized the unique quality of Malian performances, attributing it to the country’s social dynamics. “This is our first time hosting such a gathering of master Malian artists in Worcester,” Combs stated, adding that the festival might become an annual event celebrating various African cultures.

MaliFest will also offer four dance and four drum workshops, led by instructors with diverse styles, promising an engaging experience for participants of all ages and skill levels. “Our goal is to provide a fun and educational experience,” said Coulibaly.

The festival aims to attract a wide audience, regardless of their background in African culture. Combs stressed the inclusive nature of MaliFest, saying, “Our slogan, ‘African music for all,’ truly reflects our mission to educate and engage everyone.”

Learn more about Malifest from the Crocodile River Music or get tickets for Friday or Sunday at the Jean McDonough Arts Center website. The workshops on

Malifest Schedule

MaliFest 2023 – Performance Lineup

  • December 8, 7:30 PM: Yacouba Sissoko + SIYA – World-renowned master kora player Yacouba Sissoko and the band SIYA adeptly harmonize the ancient practice of musical storytelling on the solo kora with the modern sounds of today’s musical instrumentation. With musicians from Mali, Gambia, and Nigeria, the musicians of SIYA perform on traditional instruments that capture the beautiful sounds of West Africa. Through their music, the band fosters a global message of embracing love, peace, hospitality, and the importance of forgiving one another, all of which are integral aspects of Malian life.
  • December 9, 7:30 PM: Mali All-Stars – This headliner music and dance extravaganza features many of Mali’s superstar performers together on stage for the first time in Worcester. Master musicians and dancers who grew up in Mali and now live in America will deliver 90 minutes of high-energy collaboration for all fans of African music and cultures.
  • December 10, 12:30 PM: Crocodile River Music perform The Dakar-Bamako Express: Named for the railway that connected people and cultures across 800 miles in West Africa, the Dakar-Bamako Express is a high-energy interactive music and dance experience. Performers from Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, and America blend vocals and instruments together to create an immersive and inclusive celebration for audiences of all ages.

MaliFest 2023 – Workshops

  • Djembe & Dundun workshops are each instructed by a master drummer, and will introduce participants to the rhythms, playing techniques, and traditional phrases in group settings.
  • Dance workshops will be led by skilled experts in Malian dance. Beginning with a warm-up and a breakdown of movements, students will practice their new skills in a high-energy dance session with live drumming, concluding with a community dance circle.

Saturday, December 9 – workshops are geared toward teen and adult students, though all ages are welcome.

Session 1 – 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

  • Djembe & Dundun workshop with Issa Coulibaly
  • Dance workshop with Djeneba Sako

Session 2 – 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM

  • Djembe & Dundun workshop with Abdoul Doumbia
  • Dance workshop with Joh Camara

Session 3 – 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

  • Djembe & Dundun workshop with Sory Diabate
  • Dance workshop with Djeneba Sako

Sunday Schedule

Sunday, December 10 – workshops are geared toward kids and families, though all ages are welcome.

  • Session 1 – 10:00 – 10:45 AM: Djembe & Dundun workshop with Issa Coulibaly
  • Session 2 – 11:00 – 11:45 AM: Dance workshop with Joh Camara

Spencer Man Arrested for Stolen Vehicle, Drugs, Gun in Worcester

WORCESTER – A Worcester Police officer on patrol on Wednesday morning, Nov. 29,  identified a vehicle reported stolen, leading to the arrest of a local man on several charges.

At around 10 AM, the officer located two men in a parking lot at 973 Main St. working on a Kia with Michigan plates. The officer determined the vehicle was reported stolen.

During the investigation, officers located a handgun in the pocket of one of the men, Ryan Madelle, 31, of Spencer. Madelle does not have a license to possess a firearm. Police also discovered bags with when they believed to be cocaine.

Police did not report any information on the second man at the scene.

Madelle faces charges of:

  • Receiving Stolen Property over $1200;
  • Unlawfully Carrying a Firearm;
  • Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm;
  • Possession of a Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute; and
  • Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm while Committing a Felony.

Worcester Woman Fights off Burglary Attempt

WORCESTER – Police to a report of a break in on Gibbs Street on Wednesday, leading to the arrest of a local man on on attempted burglary and weapons charges.

After receiving the report at around 3 AM, police arrived at the scene to find a woman shouting from a residence that a man attempted to enter her home.

Police located and detained a man, Oniz Janniere, 32, of Fitchburg, while the investigation took place.

According to the Worcester Police Department, the investigation led police to believe that a resident of the home opened a door and found Janniere trying to gain entry. She resorted to using a broomstick to push him back and instructed him to leave, then secured the door.

During the arrst of Janniere, police discovered two double-edged knives in his possession.

Janniere faces charges of:

  • Attempt to Commit a Crime (Armed Burglary);
  • Carrying a Dangerous Weapon;
  • Disorderly Conduct; and
  • Disturbing the Peace.

 Editor’s note: The information provided in this report is based on recent events as described by police. The claims within are allegations by police which may be challenged by the accused in court.

Phone Scam Involves Imposters Claiming to be U.S. Marshals and CBP Agents

BOSTON – The U.S. Marshals Service in the District of Massachusetts has issued a warning about a telephone scam involving fraudsters who falsely claim to be working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Marshals Service. These imposters, using information gathered from public sources, contact victims and falsely assert that a package linked to the victim, containing illicit drugs or weapons, was intercepted at the Texas border. The scam involves an elaborate scheme to gain the victim’s trust to access sensitive bank account information.

Adding to the deceit, the scammers implement a technique called “spoofing” where they manipulate caller ID systems. This tactic makes it appear as though the call is coming from the U.S. Marshals Office in Boston, displaying the actual phone number (617) 748-2500. The callers then falsely identify themselves as U.S. Marshal Brian Kyes of the District of Massachusetts, making fraudulent demands for confidential bank information.

The public is advised to be cautious of such calls and to verify the identity of any caller claiming to be from a federal law enforcement agency. If anyone receives such a call, they should not divulge personal or financial information and are encouraged to report the incident to the appropriate authorities.

See How Worcester Ranks Compared to College Cities Nationwide

WORCESTER – Worcester is often referred to as a college city for good reason. The city is home to a public medical university, UMass Chan Medical School, and a private university of pharmacy and health sciences, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Worcester State University, a public institution, along with private universities at Assumption, Clark, Holy Cross, and Worcester Polytechnic University (WPI) also call the city home, along with Quinsigamond Community College.

These institutions of higher education and the staff, students, and faculty within them are an important aspect of the economic makeup of Worcester.

While the city is home to renowned institutions, how does the city rank compared to other cites across the country in the factors that students look for when deciding where they will spend most of four years of their lives?

A new study that compared indicators of academic, social and economic opportunities for students in 415 cities across the United States, found Worcester the 264th best college town.

The study used 31 metrics to create its rankings in three categories. Worcester ranked 228th in wallet friendliness, 177th in social environment, and 271st in academic and economic opportunities. Of the 153 mid-sized cities included in the report, Worcester’s rank: 91st.

Below you can find the rankings and scores for cities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

See the full study and its methodology at

City Total
Academic &
45 Storrs, CT 52.77 188 36 215
58 Cambridge, MA 52.11 412 41 17
71 Providence, RI 51.38 251 91 152
73 New Haven, CT 51.35 273 148 91
188 Boston, MA 47.36 402 22 137
214 Durham, NH 46.63 261 16 371
223 Hartford, CT 46.5 119 261 249
231 Medford, MA 46.28 408 274 32
264 Worcester, MA 45.48 228 177 271
300 Manchester, NH 44.33 272 275 211
315 Lowell, MA 43.62 280 262 231
317 Somerville, MA 43.56 404 172 66
319 Amherst, MA 43.48 254 107 367
349 Waltham, MA 42.21 406 207 123
355 Brookline, MA 42.06 400 300 21
367 Quincy, MA 41.62 319 335 206
399 Springfield, MA 38.92 217 373 375
411 Newton, MA 37.05 415 355 134

stART at the Station Returns for 16th Year on Sunday

WORCESTER – The annual gifting-themed arts and crafts festival, stART at the Station, returns on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 9 AM to 5 PM at Union Station.

The annual event, in its 16th year, celebrates creativity and craftsmanship with over 100 vendors showcasing unique, handmade creations. The event draws artisans, makers, and art enthusiasts from across the region with jewelry, one-of-a-kind ceramics, paintings, textiles, and beyond.

From 9 AM to 10:30 AM is a special shopping preview. The entry fee for the shopping preview is $10 and includes a free water bottle. The event is free after the preview.

For more information, see the stART at the Station website or visit its Facebook or Instagram pages.

Shrewsbury Man Indicted for Child Pornography

WORCESTER – A federal grand jury in Worcester indicted a local man on charges of possessing and transporting child pornography on Tuesday.

Brian Lingard, 60,. of Shrewsbury, faces allegations of both transportation and possession of child pornography. Lingard, who was initially charged on Oct. 27, 2023, following a criminal complaint, was released on conditions after his arrest on Oct. 30, 2023.

Charging documents state that on Oct. 19, 2023, Lingard arrived in Boston from Paris. During a customs screening, he was allegedly found with images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on his phone. Further investigation and a search at Lingard’s residence uncovered more alleged CSAM stored on his devices.

Analysis of the SD card from Lingard’s phone revealed approximately 23 images of CSAM, with minors who appear to be under 10 years old. Notably, at least two images depict minors identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as victims of child sexual abuse.

As This Week in Worcester previously reported, prosecutors said at the time of his arrest that images were discovered of fully clothed, minor females which appear to be taken secretly in a school setting during the search of his home. Metadata associated with the images allegedly revealed they were taken at Shrewsbury high School, where Lingard was a mentor to the Shrewsbury High School Robotics Team.

Additionally, it is alleged that a computer in Lingard’s Shrewsbury home contained about 135 videos of CSAM, primarily involving female minors aged between three and 12 years old.

The public is encouraged to contact 617-748-3274 with any questions, concerns, or information regarding this case.

The charge of transportation of child pornography provides for a sentence of not less than five years and up to 20 years in prison, up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

Worcester Festival of Lights and Tree Lighting This Weekend

WORCESTER – The City of Worcester kicks off the holiday season this weekend with the Festival of Lights on Friday, Dec. 1, and the Canal District Stroll and Kelley Square Tree Lighting on Saturday, Dec. 2.

The annual Festival of Lights returns to the Worcester Common on Friday, Dec. 1.

The Festival of Lights on Friday

The event is the first night of the city’s winter lighting installation and features the lighting of the tree at 6 PM, light displays, ice skating, food vendors, face painting, street performers and live music performances at the Worcester Common, at City Hall, from 4:30 PM to 9 PM. Award-winning singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson, a Springfield native and finalist on NBC’s “The Voice” performs following the tree lighting at 6 PM.

Admission and ice skating is free at the Festival of Lights. Ice skates will be available to rent for $5.

Light installations will be on display in downtown Worcester from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, 2024.

Worcester Public Library

The Worcester Public Library, at 3 Salem Sq., is open until 8:30 PM on Friday for the festival of lights. The library will have hot cocoa , small family crafts, and a Friends of the Library pop-up holiday sale.

The library hosts its Winter Wonderland display through Dec. 31. That display includes a life-sized gingerbread house, cut-outs of gingerbread people and a snowman, a Pride snowman display, and a tree trail with 10 holiday trees decorated by local non-profit organizations and businesses as well as a Holiday Photo Scene. It remains on display through Dec. 31.

Parking and Road Closures

Area road closures for the Festival of Lights will begin at noon on Friday. Those closures Franklin Street, Front Street, Church Street, and portions of Main Street in front of City Hall.

Starting at 4 PM on Friday, parking at the Worcester Common Garage and Union Station Garage is just $1.

Canal District Stroll and Kelley Square Tree Lighting

The Canal District Stroll begins at 11 AM on Saturday. The stroll is a self-guided to Canal District Businesses with several offering discounts through the day and evening on Saturday. See those offering discounts here.

The Kelley Square Tree Lighting takes place at 5 PM.

Parking is $1 all-day at Union Station Garage, Green Street Lot, Water Street Lot, and Millbury Street Lot.