Finding A Way Along Route 9: Ware
September 22, 2010
Ware is struggling to live up to its nickname: “The Town That Can’t Be Licked.”
This small town in central Massachusetts was once powered by its mills. Most are gone today, and Ware and many towns like it are hurting for jobs and business. And now, they’re hurting more as the state keeps hacking away at local aid to cities and towns.
Mike McCarthy was laid off 15 months ago from his job at American Disposables, one of the last remaining mills in Ware. There was a time he could get three jobs a week, if he wanted. Now his entire neighborhood is out of work. WBUR’s Bob Oakes reports.
Ware was known for a long time as “The town that couldn’t be licked,” after residents kicked in money to rescue and restart mills destroyed by fire. While the town isn’t much worse off than many others in Massachusetts, the solution that earned it its nickname isn’t going to work this time. WBUR’s David Boeri reports.
People with fewer and fewer places to even put in job applications often find themselves just off Route 9, walking up the chipped cement steps of Jubilee Cupboard. It’s a food pantry run by Trinity Episcopal Church. WBUR’s Martha Bebinger shares stories of people who depend on it.
Republican candidate for governor Charles Baker, citing a tendency for Beacon Hill to have eastern Massachusetts “myopia,” spoke in favor of regional strategies for economic development to aid hard-hit cities and towns like Ware.
With an unemployment rate slightly higher than the state average — and very few living wage jobs in town — many Ware residents are struggling to make ends meet. WBUR’s Bob Oakes speaks with an economist about the issues Ware faces and its economic future.
In the face of hard times, this town still thinks of itself as “The Town That Can’t Be Licked,” a name it earned from Life magazine at the height of the depression. And the truest display of Ware’s pride and spirit can be seen and heard at the town’s high school football games.