Sep 19, 2014
Friday, September 12, 2014
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis, right, delivers squash from the inmate farm project to Matthew J. Daly, center, Veterans Inc. chef, at the Grove Street facility Friday. Pvt. Bryan Almstrom, helps the farm program. (T&G Staff/BRAD PETRISHEN)
By Brad Petrishen TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
WORCESTER — If someone had driven past Veterans Inc. on Grove Street Friday morning, they might have wondered about the tall man in sharp business attire unloading butternut squash out the back of a House of Correction truck.
“Bumper crop,” a smiling Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis said of the haul from the jail farm this year. “Not only do we feed people in the jail, we’ve got surplus.”
Mr. Evangelidis was in the city Friday dropping off some of that surplus to the veterans organization. Before that, he was at the Rutland Food Pantry. His office also planned to make donations at food pantries in Sutton and Millbury.
The harvest is the result of an inmate farm project he restarted in 2012 on land owned by the jail that had been vacant.
What started with 10 acres has expanded to 12 acres, he said, and this year the effort yielded more than 9,000 ears of corn and 12,000 pounds of vegetables.
The result, the sheriff said, has been fresher food for inmates, a $20,000 savings for taxpayers on food costs and better morale at the prison.
“Our inmates — particularly the older ones — benefit from the patience (required) of growing,” Mr. Evangelidis said.
“It’s better than sitting in a cell,” agreed Lt. David Kalagher, a 32-year jail employee who remembers the land being farmed decades ago under different circumstances.
“When I started here, it was more like hard labor,” Lt. Kalagher said, describing past sheriffs’ approach to the farm as more “old-school.”
Mr. Kalagher said the farm project was abandoned for years until Mr. Evangelidis revived it in 2012. Mr. Kalagher said he is thrilled with the result, noting the inmates in the program were able to turn $1,000 in seeds into more than 10,000 pounds of produce.
“Lots of the guys we have in the jail are from the city, so they’re learning,” he said. “They get to eat the food that resulted from their hard work.”
This year’s all-organic crops include corn, zucchini, summer squash, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkins.
“I’ll definitely take these,” Veterans Inc. chef Matthew J. Daly said Friday of the squash, getting Mr. Evangelidis to promise to return in November ahead of the group’s annual Holiday Harvest.
Rachael Caplin, volunteer and donations coordinator for Veterans Inc., thanked the sheriff enthusiastically for the donation.
“I don’t know what we would have done otherwise,” she said, noting they lost some donors this year and are scrambling to find more.
The Grove Street pantry, which serves about 800 veteran families per year, is always looking for help, Ms. Caplin said.
Mr. Evangelidis said he hopes to have even more to offer next year, as he’s planning a “significant” expansion.
“So many good things have sprouted as a result of our farming,” he said.
Sep 19, 2014
Posted by Rachael on Aug 26th, 2014
SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis had the distinct pleasure of hosting well over 1,000 senior citizens from throughout Worcester County for the Sheriff’s Annual Senior Picnic held on Saturday August 16th at SAC Park in Shrewsbury. This year’s Sheriff’s picnic was highly anticipated and brought out a record crowd, the largest ever in the history of the annual event.
“As Sheriff hosting the annual senior picnic is one of the biggest highlights of the year, it’s always a great honor to give back to our seniors who have given so much to their communities. It’s fantastic to see that over 1,000 seniors from across Worcester County attended today’s picnic, this is truly a special day and I am so thrilled everyone is enjoying such a wonderful afternoon of fun, food and music.” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.
The picnic was sponsored by the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association including donations by many local businesses and featured a traditional BBQ menu, cash bingo, raffle prizes, complimentary gift bags and music entertainment. Over 200 volunteers were also on hand to assist with the record breaking turnout. The Sheriff also provided inmate labor to assist with the set up and break down of the highly attended event.
“Today’s senior picnic was outstanding, the Sheriff and his great team of volunteers treated us to a wonderful day of delicious food, fun, raffles and bingo. I can not thank Sheriff Evangelidis enough for hosting this wonderful event for all the seniors of Worcester County. This picnic was so much fun, I can’t remember the last time I had such a nice day.” said Auburn Resident & senior picnic attendee Irene Collins.
“With the biggest crowd ever, there was so much fun and excitement at this year’s senior picnic as Sheriff I am already looking forward to planning this event for next year.” said Evangelidis.
Sep 19, 2014
Sep 19, 2014
7/19/2014 6:20:00 AM
News Staff Writer
REGION — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis recently joined Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson on a trip to McAllen, Texas, to get a better look at the immigration issues that are currently facing the nation.
“This was really an opportunity for a fact-finding mission to see what was going on at the border,” Sheriff Evangelidis said while sitting in the airport waiting for his flight home. “People are being relocated up to Massachusetts. Now, we are a defacto border state and I feel that we should all know what is going on.”
Sheriff Evangelidis said he saw many flaws at the border as far as the United States policy is concerned.
“It was obvious that there is such a failed policy in this country that is driving the entire situation right now,” he said. “We have adopted a policy where if you get to American soil, you are essentially processed and then released.”
In speaking with local sheriffs, Texas safety patrol and customs and border patrol, the sheriff said the number of people coming in and being processed has already doubled last year’s numbers, and it is only July.
“Over 215,000 people are processed at this center we visited,” he said. “They basically volunteer themselves to be processed. They are then turned over to ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — who bring them to airports, bus stations or train stations. They are given a form that says they have to appear in front of an officer in approximately 90 days and then released. They are basically given free ability to travel in the U.S.”
Local officials informed the sheriff that 99 percent of those people do not appear 90 days later.
Sheriff Evangelidis said that in conjunction with America’s failed policies, the Mexican drug cartel is adding fuel to the fire.
“The drug cartel is exploiting people and America’s failed policies to convince people to do work for them,” he said. “They are promoting America’s lack of enforcement to tell people that now is the time to come over the border. They are basically making billions of dollars and leaving the problems in our laps.”
Sheriff Evangelidis and Sheriff Hodgson were also brought on a tour of the border as part of their fact-finding trip.
“We got to experience it firsthand,” said Sheriff Evangelidis. “We saw it from the Rio Grande River and also an aerial view. We also met with border volunteers. I think they believe they are being unfairly blamed. The people we spoke to were working very hard and using all available resources. They just have no enforcement of existing laws behind them.”
The sheriff said the federal government needs to begin working on a solution to the illegal immigration issue.
“I think we need a multipronged approach,” he said. “First, we need to secure our borders. Second, we need to enforce our existing laws and third, we need to hold people accountable inside our country, such as employers that continue to promote working illegally.”
In Worcester County, the sheriff said he plans on informing the residents in his district about the ongoing issues facing both the state and the country as a whole.
“We’re going to speak with the Sheriff’s Association about what we learned,” he said. “We will also keep tabs on what is going on here to see if there is any increase related to the issue and come up with ways to combat that.”