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14 to Watch in Central MA in 2014

Thursday, January 02, 2014

 

Who will be the people -- and issues -- to watch in Central Massachusetts in 2014? The new year might be just days old, but we're certainly interested in what the future will hold.

Big shoes to fill in city government.  A student leader set on making major changes in Worcester.  One of the NBA's brightest young stars.  These are just some examples of what will be garnering our attention in 2014.  

What developments will be seen in medical marijuana licenses?  Will the Telegram and Gazette be seeing a new owner?  

Here's who you will be seeing -- and wanting to keep tabs on -- in 2014 in Central MA.

SLIDES: See GoLocalWorcester's 14 to Watch in 2014 BELOW

Joseph Cox

Next City Manager

Michael Carter-Williams

Eric Dickson

Brad Wyatt

Neema Hakim

Medical Marijuana

Future of the T&G

John Giangregorio

Be Like Brit

Joseph Corazzini

Victoria Waterman

Central Rock Gym

Lynette Paczkowski

 

Related Slideshow: 14 To Watch in Central Mass in 2014

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Joseph Cox

EcoTarium's Cox, who took the helm in 2012, is one to certainly watch in 2014.  If you don't know Joe, he helped raise over $26.5 million at his previous post at the Galisano Children's Museum in Florida – and broke attendance projections in the process.  If a track record of success is any indicator of a future one, expect to see amazing things at the Ecotarium.

Thanks to a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, EcoTarium will soon house one of the most unique exhibits in the country.  A team of researchers led by Robert L. Ryan, professor of landscape architecture and regional planning at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, along with Worcester's Clark University and Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, will integrate the science of urban systems into a new "City Science" exhibit.

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Next City Manager

With Michael O'Brien's departure from the City Manager post he'd held since 2004 for the private sector, Ed Augustus got tapped from his Director of Communications post at Holy Cross to fill O'Brien's shoes – but for an interim basis only. The former McGovern staffer and State Senator will take the helm for nine months only, leaving the big question in 2014 as to who will be the next City Manager.

The next City Manager will have a myriad of issues to deal with, from economic development, to crime – a top issue as far as residents are concerned. Will the next City Manager address the fact that while more than 40 percent of Worcester's population is a minority, the City has more than 1,600 full- and part-time city employees and well over 80 percent of them are white. Will city government ever reflect the population of Worcester?

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Michael Carter-Williams

The Hamilton native, who did a stint at Syracuse before declaring for the NBA draft this year, is already making an impact as a pro.

In February, GoLocal's John Barone broke the news that Hamilton native, and Syracuse Orange guard, Michael Carter-Williams would declare for the 2013 NBA draft after his sophomore season.

Carter-Williams, a 2011 McDonald’s All-American at St. Andrews in Rhode Island, was drafted 11th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently having himself quite a rookie year, with 17.6 point and 7.8 assist per game averages.

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Eric Dickson

Dr. Dickson, who was named President and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care this past February, will no doubt continue to have an influential role in the community.

During his tenure to date, challenges have included financial and labor issues, but also oversight of major changes as well -- Dickson appointed a new president of UMass Memorial Medical Center, Patrick Muldoon, and embarked on closer collaboration with Baystate Health to improve quality, access, and affordability of care.

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Brad Wyatt

Republican activist and Boylston school committee member Brad Wyatt will definitely be someone to watch in 2014, having just announced he's running for State Representative.

Wyatt is eyeing Hank Naughton's seat in the 12th Worcester District, as Naughton's now seeking the office of Attorney General. According to the Red Mass Group, the district, which includes Boylston, Clinton, Lancaster, and Berlin is the 38th most Republican leaning district in the Commonwealth. Scott Brown took the 12th in 2010 63-36, and Charlie Baker got 51% to Deval Patrick's 40%. Could Wyatt see a similar success in 2014? Stay tuned.

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Neema Hakim

The Holy Cross senior is no stranger to politics – both locally, and in Washington, DC, having worked as an intern in the Office of Communications at The White House (and before that both in the office of the Governor of Massachusetts and the Mayor of Worcester.)

As President and co-founder of the Worcester Student Government Association, Hakim told GoLocal's Susan Wagner, "Lately I have been describing myself as a pragmatist. I’m definitely a dreamer, but I believe the only way to get anything done is to make an honest assessment of where things stand and then go from there."

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Medical Marijuana

Who will get medical marijuana licenses in Worcester County will be watched for certain in 2014.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health in November released the names the 100 applicants for potential medicinal marijuana dispensaries who made it through to Phase 2 of the state’s licensing process. Worcester was named by 10 different applicants, more than any other city. The county itself has 14 finalists for dispensaries, more than any other county than neighboring Middlesex, which has almost twice the population.

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Future of the T&G

What will become of the Telegram and Gazette will no doubt be closely watched in 2014.

GoLocal's Dean Starkman wrote in November of the scenario, "The Telegram and Gazette, a wallflower among New England newspapers that has suffered years of benign neglect by distant owners, seemed poised for a revival, after John Henry scooped it up as part of his landmark deal to buy the Boston Globe. Now a month later, he’s putting it on the block."

The potential future of the paper that has a nearly 150-year presence in the city and circulation of roughly 75,000 was broken down by Starkman. One of the major question marks is if new ownership would be local, or a return to a New York parent company.

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John Giangregorio

The quintessential power player in Worcester has been a tireless advocate for the Commonwealth's tourism and visitor industry – with clear focus on developing the Canal District and the Blackstone Valley.

Giangregorio sits on the boards of Preservation Worcester and the Worcester Convention and Visitor Bureau, and also serves on the steering committee of Citizens for Business and as representative for the Canal District on the Mayor's Small Business Roundtable.

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Be Like Brit

The legacy of Britney Gengel, who perished in the 2010 Haiti earthquake while on a service trip with Lynn University, continues to move forward through the Be Like Brit orphanage.

What started as a project built in her memory is now home to 35 children, and employs more than 40 full-time employees. According to the Be Like Brit website, hundreds of American and Canadian college students and other volunteers visit or volunteer at Be Like Brit each year.

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Joseph Corazzini

He might have gotten the nod earlier this year for his cool factor, but GoLocal is putting Corazzini on our list of people to watch because of his "kid" factor.

While we feature the business and political minds needed to move Worcester – and all of Central Mass – forward, we recognize that the future of the Commonwealth depends on the education, and development, of our youth.

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Victoria Waterman

Waterman, the CEO of Girls, Inc., didn't always know she'd end up in the role of spearheading the 97-year-old organization in Worcester that allows girls the ability to participate in enrichment programs and get the tools, opportunities, and encouragement needed to grow.

A 20 year veteran of the mortgage banking industry, Waterman created "Divorce Mortgage Specialists" to help women in transition, before switching gears to head up Leading Women Massachusetts as President, providing cutting-edge leadership development solutions for women in organizations. Now, Waterman is setting her sights on the 100 year anniversary of Girls Inc. in 2016.

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Central Rock Gym

Could 2014 be the year you start climbing to the top? If you haven't already been to a Central Rock Gym, watch out, because you could just catch the climbing bug.

Now in four locations in MA and CT, the gym offers climbing opportunities for all ages and abilities, and hosts climbing camps, regional, national  – and international  – competitions.

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Lynette Paczkowski

Trial attorney Paczkowski is as busy out of the courtroom as she is in – sitting on the Community Legal Aid Access to Justice Campaign Leadership Committee and co-chair of the Young Lawyers' Division of the Worcester County Bar Association, Paczkowksi is also the founding member and President of the Young Professionals Women's Association.

With goals of serving as a platform for women to share their voice on issues relating to the region's vitality, connecting with women through social and educational events, and providing opportunities for self-enrichment, the YPWA's esteemed found was recently named a 2013 Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Star.

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