(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: State and federal authorities are investigating a report of unemployment claims fraud. The Rhode Island Department of Health reports 45 new positive cases of the coronavirus. The DePasquale Fountain in Providence is flowing once again.
>>State And Federal Police Investigating Jobless Claims Fraud
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island State Police and the FBI are investigating reports of fraud related to unemployment benefits claims. There is a form available to fill out on the Rhode Island State Police website. Officials say if you have received notification from the Rhode Island Department of Labor that an unemployment insurance claim was filed in your name and you did not file that claim you are asked to submit
>>45 New COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Today
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health reports 45 new positive cases of the coronavirus statewide as well as two additional deaths in the past 24 hours. There have now been over 17-thousand-300 COVID-19 cases and 976 deaths confirmed in the Ocean State since mid-March. Currently there are 61 people hospitalized and five are on a ventilator.
>>Tax Payments Due Next Week
(Providence, RI) -- The U.S. Attorney's Office in Rhode Island and the IRS are reminding taxpayers of the July 15th tax filing deadline. The COVID-19 crisis pushed the deadline from April 15th to Mid July. Those who file for an extension until October 15th must remember the extension is for filing the return and not for payment. Tax payments are due next week.
>>Landmark Fountain Restored And Flowing Again
(Providence, RI) -- The DePasquale Fountain in Providence is flowing once again. The iconic landmark was damaged when it was hit by a car in April of last year. The Council of Neighborhood Improvement fund and the Providence Capital Improvement fund paid for the restoration. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza was on hand for the ribbon-cutting today on Federal Hill.
>>RI Gas Prices Slightly Below National Average
(Providence, RI) -- The average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Ocean State is up a couple of cents a gallon compared to a week ago. The cost for regular today is two-dollars-and-12-cents statewide and two-19 across the country. Drivers in Washington County are paying the
most for regular at two-19-a-gallon. The price at the pump is two-17 in Newport and Bristol counties and two-eleven-a-gallon in Kent and Providence counties.
A recent research article, written by Sherman Lee et al (2020) in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders coined the phrase “Coronaphobia” and defines it as “a relatively new pandemic-related construct related to functional impairment and psychological distress.” It may be comforting to some of you who are struggling with anxiety to know that your feelings are so pervasive, so popular that there is a name for it! A phobia is an extreme fear or aversion to, in this case, coronavirus.
Let’s look at where that fear is actually rooted. We know that it’s contagious, which is scary, and it can be fatal, which is also scary – yet I suspect that Coronaphobia is rooted in our fear of death, the idea of our own mortality and our struggle to avoid it.
According to world renowned author and psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, all our anxieties are embedded in death anxiety. Let me repeat: ALL our anxieties are embedded in our death anxiety. In his book “Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death”, Yalom cautions us that “the more unlived your life is, the greater your death anxiety,…[and] sooner or later [we] give up hope for a better past.” Yalom also warns us that “self-awareness is what makes us human, but it comes at a price: the wound of mortality. Our existence is forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom…diminish, and die.” Finally, Yalom poses a question to all: “Why stare into the sun? Why grapple with the most terrible, the darkest, and most unchangeable aspect of life?” What is your response?
As I type this, I’m reminded of Chloe Benjamin’s book entitled “The Immortalists”. In Benjamin’s story, 4 siblings visit a fortune teller who is said to have otherworldly powers. One in particular is her ability to predict the exact date of their deaths. Each sibling chooses not to share their “death date” with any of the others, and from there we are offered a view of how each of them is influenced by knowing the day they would die. I wondered how knowledge of our death date might affect our death anxiety. I proffer that, at least in my case, it would decrease anxiety as I feel much anxiety is grounded in the unknowing.
What about you?
I encourage all of you to think about it. Does Coronaphobia increase or decrease when you know your date of death? Does our death anxiety diminish when we have this glimpse into the future? Will you give up hope for a better past? I thought I would reach out to Irv Yalom and ask him. Here is his response:
“Interesting question. I’d vote for it decreasing our anxiety. It would for me.” – Irv
And me as well, Irv, and me as well.
Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief.
She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI. For more information, go to: http://gracepointegrief.com/
‘Powered by Prince’ funding supports programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote education for local youth. Twenty-four Aquidneck Island programs have been awarded a total of $128,424 by Newport Hospital’s Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund.
“It is remarkable to see not only the number of children these grants will impact, but also the breadth of the projects they support, especially as our state reopens and children and youth benefit from resuming healthy activities in the months ahead,” said Crista F. Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “We at Newport Hospital are honored to be the administrators of a fund so dedicated to our community’s present and its future – our gratitude to the Prince family for their generosity and vision extends beyond words.”
In 2010, a $3 million grant from the Frederick Henry Prince 1932 Trust was made to Newport Hospital by Elizabeth Prince of Newport and her children, Guillaume de Ramel, Diana Oehrli, and Regis de Ramel. In partnership with the hospital, the grant established the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund to support programs for underserved children.
“Our goal has always been to help make creative, unique programming opportunities available to children who otherwise may not have the means to participate,” said Guillaume de Ramel. “It is exciting to see the many ways local organizations focus on health and fitness with the kids they serve, and to make a difference in their lives in partnership with Newport Hospital.”
This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, awardees have been given up until June 2021 to complete their programming, with some groups utilizing a virtual platform to ensure access to activities. Recipients of 2020 Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund grants and their programs include:
Boys & Girls Club of Newport County: Introducing the sport of golf, its etiquette, and nine core values to local youth.
Choir School of Newport County: Supporting the cost of attending summer camp for 22 students.
Clean Ocean Access: Connecting underserved youth with the Newport shoreline through interactive activities.
Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center: Providing weekly yoga classes to children pre-K through grade 4.
FabNewport: Funding participation for up to 20 children to enroll in a six-week summer program featuring biking, sailing, surfing, and swimming.
International Tennis Hall of Fame: Providing free tennis instruction to at-risk children.
Island Community Tennis Association: Supporting a six-week instructional tennis program for youth ages 6-10.
Island Moving Company: Offering an after-school dance program for students at Pell Elementary School.
Lucy’s Hearth: Providing exercise and healthy eating programming to children living in a shelter.
Newport Boxfit: Supporting the “Boxing for Bright Futures” program to offer free classes to kids.
Newport County YMCA: Offering a 12-week nutrition and physical fitness program to children referred by their physician for medical obesity; supporting 50 summer camp scholarships; and providing special one-year memberships to youth experiencing mental or physical challenges.
Newport County Youth Rugby Football Club: Funding new high school and flag rugby programs throughout Newport County.
Newport Gulls: Delivering classroom presentations and active field days at area middle schools.
Newport Little League: Scholarships and equipment to disadvantaged youth.
Newport Music Festival: Collaborating with community partners to offer an intensive introductory dance program for children ages 8-15.
Newport Open Space Partnership: Offering no-cost, active recreation programming for children throughout the summer months.
Norman Bird Sanctuary: Support for camp scholarships and youth hiking programs.
Pennfield School: Creating an outdoor mindfulness and yoga program open to all Newport County children ages 3-6.
Potter League for Animals: Scholarships for kids to attend a special summer day camp experience with animals.
Sail Newport: Partnering with Newport Public Schools to teach 4th grade students how to sail.
Sail to Prevail: Providing therapeutic sailing opportunities for children with disabilities.
Star Kids: Supporting active after-school and summer camp experiences for at-risk children.
Since it was established, the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund at Newport Hospital has awarded more than $756,000 to programs across Newport County.
About Newport Hospital
Newport Hospital was founded in 1873 and is Newport County’s only acute care hospital. Located on Powel Avenue in Newport, it is a community hospital with a broad spectrum of health services, including an emergency department, an award-winning birthing center, a behavioral health unit, orthopedic and surgical services, a renowned rehabilitation division, and a full array of outpatient services. Newport Hospital holds Magnet designation for excellence in nursing care and carries the prestigious Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The hospital became a partner in the Lifespan health system in 1997. Follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @NewportHospital.
by Nancy Thomas, editor, communications consultant
In a reaction to several cases of customer/vendor “road rage”, if you will, where one or the other instigates a confrontation over wearing or not wearing a mask, or social distancing, waiting in line, etc., the state of Maine’s business community is launching a “Let’s Be Kind” campaign, during this time of coronavirus pandemic.
Taking the high and positive road to hopefully change what could be growing behavior patterns – and experiences that have been seen growing as well in other states – the Retail Association of Maine launched the items with stickers, posters, social media messages and hashtags and even a promotional video.
Leaves Massachusetts – and Rhode Island – ice cream shops – supermarkets, and more – wondering if they shouldn’t give Maine a call.
With RI Lt. Gov. McKee taking on small business causes, perhaps he’ll see this and get in touch with Maine to see if we can adapt their materials.
Retailers, grocers, food producers and other businesses across Maine are asking the public to practice kindness and respect toward workers and each other as shops, restaurants and other locations continue reopening following the unprecedented shutdown caused by COVID-19.
The Retail Association of Maine, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association came together to develop the statewide campaign based on their observations of consumer behavior at essential businesses throughout the pandemic and as businesses began to reopen. They noticed that many customers were coming into businesses, ignoring mask-wearing requirements and sometimes harassing store employees who attempted to enforce the rules put in place according to Maine CDC guidelines and the governor’s executive orders.
The “Let’s Be Kind” statewide campaign kicked off this week with a social media campaign along with posters in businesses and on July 6 public service announcements will begin airing on television stations across the state. The campaign’s tagline—Doing Business Differently Helps Keep Maine Safe—is intended to reinforce the importance of making simple adjustments to everyone’s daily shopping and dining habits in order to protect workers and each other.
The campaign includes a full promotional toolkit – from posters to social media hashtags, as the state asks Mainers to make kindness viral – sharing their graphics on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Use of the images, include the messaging ‘Let’s Be Kind’ and ‘Doing Business Differently Helps Keep Maine Safe’ and customizing the campaign with what makes you unique, is suggested. “We encourage you to show us how you’re taking precautions, what you’ve done to make shopping easier and positive stories from your staff and customers.”
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Tropical Storm Fay is expected in New England this weekend. Not as much of Rhode Island's population has gotten tested for the coronavirus as has been previously indicated. The only game put out by 38 Studios is getting a re-release.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>Tropical Storm Warning For Watch Hill In Rhode Island
(Undated) -- The National Weather Service is currently tracking Tropical Storm Fay to move over New England as a downgraded depression on Saturday. Flash flooding is the main concern; all of Southern New England is under a Flash Flood Watch. Tropical storm-force winds are forecast for the Connecticut coast, but forecasters say if Fay shifts to the east, it could be the same deal for Rhode Island's coast. A Tropical Storm Warning for the Eastern Seaboard extends up to Watch Hill.
>>Lesser Percentage Of RI's Population Has Been Tested For Coronavirus
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has touted a coronavirus-testing participation rate of about 20 percent for weeks, but newly-released data indicates the percentage is smaller in reality. The state Health Department now calculates about 16 percent of the state's population has gotten tested by distinguishing between newly-tested people and repeat testers. Raimondo said the percentage was 25 percent in an interview just published by Politico; a spokesperson for the governor says the number of testers is "equivalent" to the higher population percentage. Regardless, the Ocean State is still number one in the country as far as the number of tests taken.
>>Gorbea Proposes Sending Out Mail Ballot Applications For General Election
(Providence, RI) -- All registered Rhode Island voters were sent unsolicited applications for mail ballots in the June presidential primary. For the November general election, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea [[ gore-BAY-uh ]] wants them sent just to all "active" voters. With the electorate weary of the coronavirus, ballots wound up mostly being mailed in last month. For the September primaries, the plan is to send voters postcards with instructions on how to obtain a mail ballot. The state Board of Elections voted on Wednesday not to support unsolicited mail ballot applications for that election.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>Providence Police: Missing Teen Might Be With Murder Suspect
(Providence, RI) -- The Providence Police Department has issued a warrant for a homicide in the city earlier this month and says a missing girl may be with the suspect. The warrant for 18-year-old Felix Hernandez-Rosado, also known as Javier Hernandez, is in connection to the fatal shooting of Jorge Gonzalez Colon in the Silver Lake neighborhood on July 1st. Hernandez-Rosado is considered armed and dangerous. Authorities say the missing girl, 14-year-old Aliah Trinidad, was reported missing on July 3rd.
>>Former CCRI Cleaning Contractor Charged
(Providence, RI) -- The owner of a Massachusetts cleaning company that was formerly contracted for service at Community College of Rhode Island is being charged with wage theft and workers' compensation insurance fraud. The charges are against Marcello Pompa of Saugus, Mass. The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office alleges Pompa failed to pay nearly eleven-thousand dollars in wages to sixteen former employees before the company, M-and-M Cleaning, went out of business last year.
>>Casino Coin Counterfeiter Louis Colavecchio Has Died
(Cranston, RI) -- Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio, a Rhode Islander is infamously known for counterfeiting casino tokens, has died. Colavecchio was 78 years old when he passed away in hospice care on Monday, according to a report from The Providence Journal. He had recently been granted compassionate release from prison after he was sentenced last year for counterfeiting hundred-dollar bills.
>>38 Studios' 'Kingdoms Of Amalur' Game Being Re-Released
(Undated) -- The only video game to be released by Curt Schilling's 38 Studios is being re-mastered. THQ Nordic, the company that purchased "Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning", says the game will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 8th. A trailer promoting the video game does not mention 38 Studios, which went bankrupt in 2012 after getting a 75-million-dollar bond deal from the state.
As Covid-19 still affects our daily lives we find that professional sports are revving up, and our hopes that there will be no fall out.
We are now at what traditionally is the halfway point of the major league baseball season. The 4th of July always began the countdown to the play-offs, magic numbers begin to get spoken about, and how many teams that must be jumped over discussions usually start now. The 4th of July is the time for renewed interest, if only for a few weeks for teams to make their move up the standings. Not this year, not the summer of 2020. The biggest question is will there be a season in any sport this summer? Well, there is some good news and some bad news. Let us run it down.
Baseball is about to begin with an abbreviated and modified and shortened 60 game schedule. Games will be restricted to divisional play and it will be regionalized. The reason is to reduce travel and the risk to the health of the players and the staff of the teams. There will no fans in the stands (until they decide it is “Safe” to allow some fans in to attend). Both basketball and hockey who stopped their seasons when the pandemic hit in March will resume their playoffs and crown champions for the season and both sports will have no fans in the stands (until they do). Why, in this time of a worldwide pandemic, are pro-sports insisting on starting or finishing a season that little or none of us really care about? One word – MONEY! In one famous movie quote “when they say it’s not about the money – rest assured IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY!” or in another movie the theme was “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”
As these sports begin to resume and finish the season, as the players gather to return to practice and train, the reports of positive corona tests among the players, coaches and staff have increased. Some players have opted out from joining their teammates and decided to sit out and wait until the all-clear comes from experts in the medical field.
Social distancing in any sport is next to impossible, and it is difficult for the fan base of these sports not to have games being played. To the average fan, sports is the common flow, a tapestry of their lives. It is the moments that happen on the field or in the big game that the fan remembers forever. The last time that the Major baseball season was canceled was in 1981 due to a strike by the players. The bottom line was – it was about the money.
The message to the fans now is that the players want to complete the season or, in baseball’s case, start the season, and while it is true the pandemic has caused all sorts of problems and at this moment the question remains, when does the safety and health of the players outweigh that of the bottom line? Is it about the need for the athlete to get back to playing for the competition, or for the paycheck?
The bottom line is that most fans love their sports, children are heading back to their little league teams or softball teams or their soccer teams, and adults are going back to their amateur teams as well. For those who choose to play, it is truly for the love of the sport and of the competition. But they could live without it if they find that their health is at risk. They know that they have the choice to play or not and it will not affect them financially, but for the professional athlete this is not the case, so the athletes will be sectioned off and isolated to play their games as “made for TV” events so the rights will be offered to the fans as a pay-per-view competition.
Yes it is the business of making money mentality and the rules of the pandemic don’t apply to the owners or athletes, we all as spectators and fans hope in the long run that this was all worth it to them- so let the games begin and keep your fingers crossed!
Note: As we go to press, the Ivy Leagues have canceled their entire sports season at all Ivy League schools.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Long delays are being reported in receiving COVID-19 test results. A Coventry restaurant is open again after being forced to close for coronavirus-protocol violations. Ten people arrested in RI over the holiday weekend are facing OUI charges.
>>Delays In COVID-19 Test Results
(Providence, RI) -- There are growing complaints in Rhode Island about the wait time for COVID-19 test results. Increased demand for testing in other states is blamed for the delay of up to a week because of the increased workload at out-of-state laboratories. State health officials acknowledge the frustration of those who want to know if they or a family member are infected.
>>Coventry Restaurant Forced To Close
(Coventry, RI) -- A Coventry restaurant that was shut down over the weekend is now open again. Harris Bar and Grille was ordered closed when state inspectors found the bar crowded and a bartender and the owner not wearing face masks. People are urged to file a complaint with the Department of Business Regulation if they see a business violating COVID-19 safety protocols.
>>Ten OUI Arrest Over Holiday Weekend
(Undated) -- Ten people are facing OUI charges following their arrests in Rhode Island over the Fourth of July weekend. Eight of those arrested are Rhode Islanders and two are from Massachusetts. State Police say with an increase in summer travel the message to state residents and visitors alike is that there is no tolerance for operating under the influence.
>>Providence Man Charged With Sexual Assault
(Providence, RI) -- A Providence man is facing multiple charges for the alleged sexual assault of a woman at gunpoint Sunday at Lincoln Woods State Park. State Police say 26-year-old Jonathan Santos-Perez was also wanted by Johnston police on domestic felony assault charges for an incident last week. He was arrested Tuesday outside his Glenham Street residence.
>>Partial Bridge Closure Planned In Exeter
(Exeter, RI) -- The northern half of the Austin Farm Road Bridge in Exeter is being closed tomorrow, Temporary traffic lights will control the remaining lane with alternating direction. RIDOT says the partial closure is for maintenance. The temporary traffic pattern will be in place until the fall.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Nursing homes in RI are allowed to reopen for visitors today. Two people are seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in West Warwick. RIDOT says the Gano Street extension project in Providence is complete.
>>Nursing Homes Allowed To Reopen For Visitors
(Providence, RI) -- Some Rhode Island nursing homes are allowed to reopen for visitors as of today with COVID-19 restrictions in place. Appointments must be made, visits are limited to 30 minutes, preferably outdoors, and social distancing must be maintained. Visitors will also be screened and face masks are required.
>>Motorcycle Crash Causes Serious Injuries
(West Warwick. RI) -- The cause of a motorcycle crash in West Warwick is being investigated. WJAR-TV reports it happened around ten o'clock last night at West Warwick Avenue and Kent Street. According to police, the two people on the motorcycle were taken to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries.
>>Gano Street Realignment Project Is Completed
(Providence, RI) -- The state Department of Transportation is hailing completion of the Gano Street realignment project. RIDOT says it has improved safety for vehicular traffic, cyclists and pedestrians at the intersection of Gano and India streets on the East Side of Providence. The project also included an extension of the Blackstone Valley Bikeway and a parking lot for the bike path and other neighborhood uses.
>>Maryland Murder Suspect Arrested In Newport
(Newport, RI) -- A man wanted on first-degree murder and other charges in Harford County, Maryland, is in custody. Diantae Williams was arrested yesterday afternoon in Newport by the state's Violent Fugitive Task Force. An arrest warrant was issued for Williams in early June and authorities developed information that he had fled to Rhode Island.
>>Providence Resident Faces Federal Charges
(Providence, RI) -- A 33-year-old Providence man is being held on federal charges. Franklin Carlos Soto was deported to his native Dominican Republic in March of 2015. He's now charged with illegal re-entry into the United States and trafficking fentanyl. He was arrested last Thursday and 200 grams of fentanyl was seized by the FBI Safe Street Task Force.
To mitigate the pandemic’s impact, the University will allow undergraduates back for two terms in a three-term model, reduce the density of students in campus housing, offer instruction in person and remotely, and implement extensive testing, tracing and public health measures.
(Both Harvard and Princeton also announced yesterday that their entire academic year will be online learning, though dorms will be limitedly available. In addition, the US Dept. of Education called on all schools to make plans to open schools this fall with in-person learning.)
With plans to reduce the density of students on campus and to implement an extensive set of public health measures to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and community members, Brown University plans to welcome some students back to campus in September.
President Christina H. Paxson outlined the University’s “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21” on July 7 in a series of letters to members of the Brown community, detailing a three-term academic model that integrates both on-campus and remote instruction.
The plan is based on the recommendations of multiple working groups at Brown, which since late spring have explored a range of options for safely providing teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan’s policies and protocols are founded on the best available guidance and recommendations from medical and public health professionals and agencies, Paxson said.
“The focus at all times has been how we can best protect the health of our students, staff, faculty and Providence residents while delivering Brown’s world-class education, critical research, and remaining a valued neighbor in our city, state and region,” she said.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, Brown’s plan provides details on changes in modes of instruction, housing, dining and extracurricular activities, as well as the implementation of strict protocols for personal health, distancing, mask-wearing, cleaning and regular testing that will be essential for safeguarding community well-being.
All students will be given the option to take courses remotely, whether they are on campus or not, while faculty with health or other concerns have the option to teach, mentor and advise students online in the fall, and employees of Brown who are able to work remotely will continue to do so at least through early fall.
“Even with these public health steps, it is impossible to ensure that no one in our community will become ill with COVID-19 during the coming academic year,” Paxson said. “In fact, our plan is based upon the forthright acknowledgment that any college, university or community will likely see diagnosed cases of COVID-19 until the point that a vaccine is widely available, just as is the case in the general population.”
Given the significant uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve across regions of the country and the world, and the pace at which treatments and vaccines will be developed, “everyone in our community will have to approach this year understanding that we may need to make mid-course changes or adjustments to how instruction is offered, housing is configured and public health protocols are implemented on campus,” she said.
All plans for 2020-21 are based on the prospect that the state of the pandemic and the virus’s spread will enable a return to in-person operations. If needed, Brown would approach any changes based on community principles that place a premium on the health and well-being of students and employees and the University’s commitment to providing an excellent educational experience, Paxson said.
At the heart of the University’s plan are three primary elements:
(1) Reduced Density of Students on Campus
Barring a major resurgence of coronavirus in the coming weeks, Brown will follow a three-term academic calendar (fall, spring and summer) in which undergraduate students are on campus for two of the three terms. Shortened terms with fewer breaks will reduce the density of students on campus and give all students the opportunity to spend two semesters in Providence.
All undergraduates living in residence halls in the fall will have single rooms, and classrooms, libraries and other campus spaces will be “de-densified.” ? In addition, all classes with more than 20 students will be taught remotely. Limiting in-person class sizes to 20 students will enable safe distancing of students and instructors within classrooms.
Paxson said that the expectation is that sophomores, juniors and seniors will return in the fall with new first-year students arriving for the spring term and continuing to the summer term. During the fall, new first-year students will be able to take one Brown course remotely for credit, free of charge, and will also be able to participate in remote orientation, mentoring and enrichment opportunities.
“Although I am deeply disappointed that we can’t welcome our first-year students to campus in the fall, we simply don’t think that it is safe to have all undergraduates on campus simultaneously,” Paxson said. “We hope that by the time the spring term begins, the public health situation will have improved enough that we no longer need a de-densified campus.”
To provide options for students and faculty unable to come to campus (for travel, health or other reasons) and for the possibility of students in isolation or quarantine during the semester, all courses will have a remote learning option.
All graduate students will have the option to study in person or remotely.
(2) Testing and Contact Tracing
Testing and contact tracing for all Brown students and employees is an essential element of Brown’s plans to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, Paxson said. The plan outlines measures to monitor for and address cases identified on campus — from contract tracers in Health Services and Human Resources, to designated isolation and quarantine spaces, to protocols for closing and cleaning facilities.
All students will be tested for COVID-19 when they return to Brown, and students will be required to participate in random testing to monitor for community spread of coronavirus, identify the proportion of asymptomatic positive cases and identify the proportion of community members with potential immunity to the disease over time. Students and employees will use a digital tool to schedule tests and record daily symptoms.
“Brown’s plans have been informed by epidemiological models, and the University will closely monitor evolving developments in testing methods to take advantage of the most effective testing strategies,” Paxson said.
In the event that someone at Brown tests positive, trained contact tracers at the University will work with the Rhode Island Department of Health to locate people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Specific residential spaces have been reserved for isolation (for students who contract the virus) and quarantine (for students who have been exposed).
(3) Campus Public Health Practices
Paxson said that students returning to Brown must understand that life on campus will be different.
All community members will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing in public places. Many classes will be offered remotely, and it is possible that all classes could shift to remote mode if the health conditions in Rhode Island worsen during the fall. Dining will be on a “grab and go” basis. Group gatherings will be limited, and activities that require travel to other locations will be restricted.
In addition, single residency in dorms will greatly reduce the number of students who live in proximity to each other, and students will be clustered into small, identifiable “pods” to reduce the number of students who need to be quarantined if an infection is positively identified. Extracurricular activities and events will be shaped by reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing, hand washing, masks and other health protocols. And cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will become part of daily routines.
A public health campaign will address the need for personal reasonability in protecting individual and community health, and students will be required to sign an attestation that they will follow required public health practices.
“We celebrate the fact that Brown is a community filled with people who care about each other,” Paxson said. “Now, in the midst of a pandemic, that culture of caring must translate into scrupulous attention to evidence-based public health practices. Caring as much about others as we do ourselves will be critical and essential.”
Major events and sports
Paxson’s letter to students noted that a decision on fall athletics competition is expected from the Ivy League on July 8. It also provided a date for Commencement and Reunion Weekend. If public health conditions allow for large events to safely take place, and public health guidance continues to support the University’s current plans for its revised academic calendar, Brown will honor the Class of 2020, which had its Commencement activities delayed, and the Class of 2021 from April 30 to May 2, 2021.
Paxson wrote separately to undergraduate, graduate and medical students, as well as to faculty, staff and members of the extended Brown community. The full text of her letter to undergraduate students is included below, and other major communications are included on the University’s Healthy Brown 2020 website.
Brown’s plan for the 2020-21 academic year
Dear Brown Undergraduate Students,
For the past several months, multiple working groups at Brown have been exploring a range of options for safely providing teaching and learning for students this fall amid the global pandemic. This planning has been guided by advice from medical and public health professionals, and informed by guidelines coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). The focus at all times has been how we can best protect the health of our students, employees and Providence residents while delivering Brown’s world-class education.
Currently, cases of COVID-19 are trending down in Rhode Island, and the state has moved into Phase 3 of its reopening plan. In light of these trends, we are planning for the return of students to campus this fall, based on a three-term academic calendar that will reduce the density of students on campus and give all students the opportunity to spend two semesters in Providence.
I’m writing to share Brown’s “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.” The plan provides details on the public health steps that are being put in place to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on campus. These steps include changes in modes of instruction, housing, dining and extracurricular activities, as well as the implementation of strict protocols for personal health, distancing, cleaning and regular testing that will be essential for safeguarding the well-being of our community. Employees of Brown who are able to work remotely will continue to do so at least through early fall.
Even with these public health steps, it is impossible to ensure that no one in our community will become ill with COVID-19 during the coming academic year. In fact, our plan is based upon the forthright acknowledgment that any college, university or community will likely see diagnosed cases of COVID-19 until the point that a vaccine is widely available, just as is the case in the general population. Returning students who have health concerns, who prefer not to return to campus or who cannot return to campus due to travel restrictions will be able to take courses remotely.
Our plans are based on the best current available data and public health recommendations. However, there is still great uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve across regions of the country and the world, and the pace at which treatments and vaccines will be developed. Everyone in our community will have to approach this year understanding that we may need to make mid-course changes or adjustments to how instruction is offered, housing is configured, and public health protocols are implemented on campus. We recognize there are concerning trends of COVID-19 cases elsewhere in the country, and it’s essential that we remain flexible as the situation evolves. As always, we will approach any changes with a commitment to community principles that place a premium on the health and well-being of our students and employees and on providing an excellent educational experience.
In this letter, I provide an overview of the most important components of Brown’s plans:
Reducing the density of students on campus through the three-term academic model;
Testing and contact tracing with the goal of preventing community spread of coronavirus; and
Requiring campus public health practices that are essential to the health and safety of a residential campus.
(1) Reduced Density of Students on Campus
Barring a major resurgence of coronavirus in the coming weeks, Brown will follow a three-term academic calendar (fall, spring and summer) in which undergraduate students are on campus for only two of the three terms. This will make it possible for all undergraduates living in residence halls in the fall to have single rooms, and to “de-densify” classrooms, libraries and other spaces on campus.
The fall term will begin Sept. 9, 2020. After Thanksgiving break (which will begin at noon on Nov. 25), there will be a weeklong remote reading period from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, followed by a remote final exam period Dec. 7-11.
The spring term will begin Jan. 20, 2021. Remote reading period will begin April 12 and will be followed by remote final exams April 19-23.
The summer term will begin May 12, 2021. Remote reading period will begin Aug. 2 and will be followed by remote final exams Aug. 9-13.
The expectation is that continuing students completing their second semester or greater — sophomores, juniors and seniors — will return in the fall, as well as transfer students and those in the Resumed Undergraduate Education program. New first-year students will arrive for the spring term and continue to the summer term. During the fall, new first-year students will be able to take one Brown course remotely for credit, free of charge, and will also be able to participate in remote orientation, mentoring and enrichment opportunities. We will work with international students to develop academic plans for degree completion that are in compliance with federal guidelines.
All students will be given the option to take courses virtually this year, whether they are on campus or not, and faculty with health or other concerns have the option to teach, mentor and advise students online in the fall. Should the public health situation not improve, this option for faculty will be extended throughout the spring and summer semesters as well. In addition, all classes with more than 20 students will be taught remotely. Limiting in-person class sizes to 20 students will enable safe distancing of students and instructors within classrooms. In addition, every classroom space will have a six-foot or greater separation between individuals.
Although I am deeply disappointed that we can’t welcome our first-year students to campus in the fall, we simply don’t think that it is safe to have all undergraduates on campus simultaneously. We hope that by the time the spring term begins, the public health situation will have improved enough that we no longer need a de-densified campus. If so, sophomores will be able to stay for the spring term. However, if the public health situation has not improved, it is possible that sophomores could be asked to leave for the spring term to accommodate the arrival of first-year students, and either return for the summer term or take the spring term remotely. We expect to be able to make this decision by mid-fall.
We have built flexibility into this plan to address special circumstances. Sophomores, juniors and seniors who cannot return in the fall for reasons such as travel restrictions, visa delays or underlying health conditions will be able to take courses remotely or delay the start of their year until the spring. (Note, however, that many advanced concentration requirements will be offered in the fall only.) New first-year students with significant health or safety concerns related to delaying their start until January will be encouraged to contact Student Support Services to be connected with a dean who can work with them to formulate a plan.
(2) Testing and Contact Tracing
Testing and contact tracing for all Brown students and employees are essential for campus safety. All students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 when they return to Brown. In addition, some students may need to be tested prior to returning to campus, in accordance with emerging Rhode Island guidelines for people coming to the state from coronavirus “hot spots.” Students will also be required to participate in random testing. This randomized sample testing will help monitor for community spread of coronavirus, identify the proportion of asymptomatic positive cases and identify the proportion of members of our community with potential immunity to the disease over time. All of this testing will be free of charge.
Students and other members of the Brown community will be required to use a digital tool via their computers or mobile devices that is used to schedule tests and record daily symptoms. This tool is designed to protect individual privacy. The University will not have access to information on where students go, and symptoms data will only be used after students’ names have been removed. Data from the tool will be useful for identifying health trends on campus and informing the amount of routine testing that is needed.
In the event that someone in our community tests positive, the University has trained contact tracers who will work with RIDOH to locate people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. We are setting aside special dormitory space for isolation (for students who contract the virus) and quarantine (for students who have been exposed). Brown’s plans have been informed by epidemiological models, and the University will closely monitor evolving developments in testing methods to take advantage of the most effective testing strategies.
(3) Campus Public Health Practices
Students returning to Brown must understand that life on campus this fall will be different. All members of our community will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing when they are in public places. Many classes will be offered remotely, and it is possible that all classes could shift to remote mode if the health conditions in Rhode Island worsen during the fall semester. Dining will be on a “grab and go” basis. Large group gatherings will be limited — meeting and likely exceeding state guidelines limiting such gatherings — and activities that require travel to other locations will be restricted.
All students in residence halls will have single rooms, greatly reducing the number of students who live in proximity to each other. In addition, students will be clustered into small, identifiable “pods” to reduce the number of students who need to be quarantined if an infection is positively identified. Extracurricular activities and events will be shaped by reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing, hand washing, wearing masks and other health protocols. And cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will become part of daily routines.
Each and every member of our community will be expected to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others. We celebrate the fact that Brown is a community filled with people who care about each other. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, that culture of caring must translate into scrupulous attention to evidence-based public health practices. Caring as much about others as we do ourselves will be critical and essential. Students will play an important role in an extensive education and prevention initiative to support community adoption of public health practices. Additionally, you will be required to sign an attestation that you will follow required public health practices, and that you understand that disregard of public health practices is a conduct violation that could result in removal from campus. Faculty and staff will be required to sign a similar acknowledgment, providing their understanding that violations can lead to disciplinary action.
Of course, we hope that we can return to the more traditional daily life at Brown as soon as possible, as treatments and, eventually, a vaccine for coronavirus are developed. However, despite the differences imposed by the pandemic, I am confident that the elements that contribute to the value of residential education will continue unaffected — the close connections with faculty and staff, vigorous class discussions, and engagement with students whose life experiences differ from your own.
Major Events and Sports
Among the common questions we have received is whether Brown has made a decision about the date for graduation and reunion ceremonies for students entering their senior year. We expect to hold Commencement and Reunion Weekend from April 30 to May 2, 2021, following the end of the spring term. We will honor the Class of 2020, which had their Commencement activities delayed, and the Class of 2021 during the weekend’s events. This planning assumes that public health conditions will allow large events to safely take place, and dates could shift if public health guidance prompts changes to Brown’s academic calendar. Further information will soon be available on the Commencement website.
A decision on fall athletics competition has not yet been announced by the Ivy League. That announcement is expected on July 8. Brown’s Department of Athletics will communicate directly with student-athletes after the league makes its announcement.
Important Next Steps
To complete our planning, there is important information we need to collect from students who will begin their academic year this fall. Those students soon will receive a form asking you to provide the University with the following:
Information on whether you want to request to take the fall semester remotely or in residence in Providence, and
Your housing preferences (on-campus, commuter, etc.) and meal plan choices.
I am sure you and your families have many questions about the details of the coming academic year. Please be assured that answers are coming — some immediately, with others to follow later this summer. The decision we have made about the model for academic operations now enables faculty and staff at Brown to finalize specific plans and move forward with implementing them.
In the coming days, you will receive communications from relevant offices across the University sharing:
Further information about the academic calendar, including the start and end of classes for each of the three terms, and shopping, reading and exam periods;
The timing for pre-registration for courses, and when you will have access to review fall courses;
For students who would live in residence halls, information about the housing assignment process, off-campus permissions and how to register for a move-in date to align with the University’s need to stagger arrivals for testing and social distancing purposes (we will want students to arrive a little earlier than usual);
For aided students, information about the timing of financial aid awards; and
Information regarding Orientation and becoming part of the Brown community for first-year students.
Before your academic term begins, you’ll also receive detailed information about COVID-19 testing principles and health protocols. I invite you to read the full plan outlining Brown’s academic-year planning, which includes further specifics about everything I have discussed in this letter. We are planning a series of webinars to take place later this summer in which students and your families will be able to ask questions and learn which offices to contact to address specific questions you might have that need individual attention.
I know that this is a great deal of information, and I encourage you also to bookmark Healthy.Brown.edu, the website that will serve as an evolving resource as we continue to develop the protocols and practices to ensure the well-being of our community during the 2020-21 academic year.
For those who choose to be in Providence, I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming year.
Editor’s Note: Simultaneous news releases were received from the Lt. Gov. and from the House & Senate Republicans – first, from the Lt. Gov:
Local small business owners were joined by Lt. Governor Dan McKee and other elected officials to announce the formation of the RI Small Business Coalition and a grassroots effort to encourage the State of Rhode Island to allocate at least 10 percent of its $1.25 billion federal COVID-19 relief funds to issue grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The coalition formed in response to Lt. Governor Dan McKee’s call to action for the small business community to support his proposal that the state issue grants to small businesses using the federal COVID-19 relief funds it received through the CARES Act. Last week, the Lt. Governor’s Office, in partnership with local business owners launched an online petition to build community support for the effort: rismallbusiness.org/petition. Over 2,100 individuals have already signed the petition.
According to CARES Act guidelines, distributing grants to small businesses is an allowable use of the funds, while using the funds to balance state budget is prohibited. A growing number of states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alaska, Arizona and others have already dedicated a portion of their COVID-19 funds to support small businesses.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the heart of our communities. I commend our state’s small business owners for taking time away from running their businesses to unite, organize and support each other across industries and communities in a way that Rhode Island has not seen before,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee. “We know that not all small businesses qualified for the federal Paycheck Protection Program. We know that for many, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans were not enough. Other states have recognized these shortfalls and used federal COVID-19 relief funds to issue grants to keep struggling small businesses afloat. Rhode Island must take action to support its small businesses swiftly and equitably.”
The coalition, led by Chris Parisi, Founder of Providence-based Trailblaze Marketing, will execute a grassroots strategy to encourage all Rhode Islanders to join thousands of individuals who have already signed the petition. The strategy includes outreach to all Rhode Island elected officials to urge them to sign the petition and stand with the small business community. Small business owners will also reach out to their customer bases and professional networks to bolster support for the movement. Additionally, the coalition is working with the Lt. Governor’s Office to encourage city and town councils to pass resolutions in support of the effort. The towns of Cumberland and Foster are slated to hear resolutions in the upcoming weeks.
“As small business owners, we are uniting during this pandemic to ensure our voice is heard and our struggle is understood,” said Chris Parisi, Founder of Trailblaze Marketing in Providence. “Financial assistance often comes too slow or too late for small businesses. Many of us operate on thin margins and cannot cover expenses for more than a couple of months. During a pandemic, rent doesn’t go away, utility bills keep coming and debt piles up. That’s why we need the state to step up and allocate at least 10 percent of federal COVID-19 relief funds to help save Rhode Island small businesses now. Other states are taking action. Every day that our state waits, more small businesses move closer to closing their doors.”
During the press conference, other members of the coalition shared personal stories of how COVID-19 continues to devastate their small businesses.
“In just a few short months, my small business went from a growing company with 12 employees looking to expand, to cutting programs, downsizing our staff and dealing with a projected $100,000 gross revenue loss from projections for 2020,” said Judah Boulet, Owner of No Risk CrossFit in Smithfield. “All boutique gyms, yoga and spin studios, and other small fitness businesses were closed by the state to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We closed our doors and continue to do what is right for the collective good. Now, we need the state to do right by us and use federal COVID-19 relief funds to help us keep the doors open so we can make a living, pay our bills, support our families and continue being the foundation of the communities that our businesses call home.”
“Access to childcare is an essential component of reopening and reenergizing Rhode Island’s economy. Small early learning and childcare facilities like mine are at the heart of this industry and for many of us, every day we think about whether or not we can continue to operate,” said Nancy Beye, Jamestown Town Councilwoman and Owner of Jamestown Early Learning Center. “Small business owners in all industries are doing their best to take everything day by day, but there is a growing uncertainty and increasing anxiety about how much longer we can continue without support from the state. Unless you own a small business and know what it’s like to have employees and their families depending on you, I’m not sure you can understand the stress and frustration we feel.”
“As small business owners, we put everything into running our businesses and for many of us, COVID-19 has taken everything we have. Sometimes it feels like there’s just no hope,” said Jennifer Ortiz, Owner of Executive Cuts Barbershop in Providence. “To be able to reopen my doors and keep my customers safe, I invested thousands of dollars to meet social distancing requirements and upgrade cleaning measures. This created a significant debt that I did not have before the pandemic and one that will be difficult to manage down the road as the lack of activity and foot traffic in downtown Providence has impacted our finances. Whenever I see another small business announce they’re closing their doors, my heart breaks because I know that’s one of the hardest decisions a small business owner will ever have to make.”
Small business owners’ interest in joining the RI Small Business Coalition and supporting its grassroots movement to save Rhode Island small business now can sign up at rismallbusiness.org.
In a news release from the RI House and Senate Republicans, support was unanimous to stand with Lt. Governor Dan McKee and RI small business coalitions across the state, calling on Governor Raimondo to immediately allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds to help save Rhode Island’s struggling small and micro business enterprises. An online petition has launched, urging the State to allocate at least 10% of the $125B Cares Act funding for small business grants.
“This money isn’t a slush fund for the Governor to give no-bid contracts to her financial supporters and friends,” said Minority Whip Michael Chippendale, referring to the recently discovered $2M no-bid Boston consultant fee procured by Governor Raimondo. “The funding was created for RI Small and Micro Businesses that are struggling greatly under this current crisis.”
A clause within the act specifically outlines how states can allocate these funds to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. States like New Hampshire, Alaska, Wisconsin, Mississippi and others have already leveraged this clause, some allocating up to $400M in funds for their small business community.
“We must save our mom and pop businesses. They are the backbone of our local economy in providing jobs and tax revenues,” said State Representative and small business owner, George Nardone. “Many Rhode Island family livelihoods are at stake.”
“It is time to make our small business community a priority,” said Senator Jessica de la Cruz. “Communities all across our state are suffering due to the loss in revenues generated from the abrupt cut off of commerce.”
Dozens of long-standing Rhode Island businesses have already closed their doors due to the financial strains the COVID restrictions placed on small and micro business operations.
“It is unconscionable that the Governor would hold back these designated relief funds from small business owners who desperately need the help now,” said House Republican Leader Blake Filippi. “We promise to do everything in our power to get this funding out to our small business community – with the goal of giving a much-needed boost to our economy.”
“The stress of being ignored by our Government leaders, first by only allowing box stores to maintain their businesses during the pandemic shutdown, and now, the burden of trying to stay afloat during partial openings, is beyond belief for any business owner,” said Representative Robert Quattrocchi, a former owner of multiple small businesses in the State of Rhode Island. “Small and micro businesses employ over 200,000 Rhode Islanders – we are in big trouble if these businesses are not sustained. We are proud to join the Lt. Governor’s effort to recognize this need in our struggling economy.”
“Through no fault of their own, small business owners have been thrust into massive amounts of debt during the pandemic closures,” said Senator Thomas Paolino. “We owe them a bit of relief for their sacrifices to keep us all safe.”
“We need to join other states in prioritizing resources to reenergize our local economy,” said Representative Jack Lyle, Jr. “Let’s for once put RI at the top of a national list and be recognized as a leader, by helping out small businesses with assistance grants to pay the mounting bills greatly impacted by COVID, such as mortgages, maintaining inventory, and taxes.”
“The financial debt will continue to mount, despite the partial openings,” said Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere. “The slow-to-build customer flow is going to persist in impacting our small businesses in the months ahead.”
“The remedy is simple,” said Representative Justin Price. “It is time for the Governor to stop withholding this important lifeline for our small businesses and use these funds for their intended purposes. The fact that we have waited this long to start a RI small business grant relief program is unfathomable.”
Members of the RI House and Senate Republican Caucuses have long been the voice of the small and micro business community at the State House. In 2019, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses fought for the statutory reduction in the state sales tax from 7% to 6.5%; introduced legislation exempting virtual currency from taxation; and championed small business assistance with the raised federal tax, which passed into statute. The House and Senate GOP also successfully rallied against proposed new taxes and fees for funeral homes, hotels, hunting or shooting ranges, interior design businesses and commercial building services; and exempted natural hair braiders from a requirement for licensure. During the abbreviated 2020 session, House and Senate Republicans championed a reduction in the corporate sales tax from $400 to $250; supported the Real Jobs RI Program; introduced the “Freedom to Travel and Work Act,” which creates a regulatory framework to accept out-of-state professional business licenses to work in Rhode Island; and actively campaigned against the proposal to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which would have raised the gas tax, making the cost of doing business in RI more expensive.
What does it mean to be a jobless American in COVID?
By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL
“You’ll never please everyone, but you only have to please a few people to get an offer.” — Harvey MacKay
If you’ve never asked for help before, this is the time to start. The shutdowns, furloughs, and layoffs caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 is hurting Americans and the way we’ve become used to living. For the first time, many Americans are lining up at food banks all over the United States. And, the food banks are worried because their supplies are running low, and they, too, are running out. Some foodbanks may even begin rationing. People accustomed to a weekly paycheck are now running out of cash, taking on big debt, and having trouble meeting their most essential needs. Assistance from landlords, mortgage companies, clothing drives, and medical professionals is part of what’s come to be known as “the new normal”.
Volunteer behavioral health teams are being deployed to support the stressed-out essential workers like medical staff, EMTs, and first responders. The challenge of taking care of so many desperately sick people is taking its toll. And to add to that stress, varying degrees of adherence to the social distancing and mask-wearing rules are grating on people. It’s just all too confusing. And more people are getting sick.
But our biggest worry is how to come out of this pandemic financially intact. How can we reclaim at least our financial stability in such an unstable environment, where nothing is the same from day to day? Many of us have applied for unemployment and are surviving with the extra $600 per week. But the rules now say, that the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUI) is ending July 31. That’s not so far off. What’s the plan once we are back to the minimum allowable dollar amount for unemployment?
And for small business owners, the confusion only gets worse, what are the new rules for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Employment Injury Disaster Loans? We heard some portion of these loans may be forgivable, but our loan papers spell out the interest rate without any mention of forgiveness. Will Congress approve more dollars to keep Americans afloat, or will we plunge into the life of our grandparents in the Great Depression, hoarding aluminum foil, creating dinners from scraps or bones (the original “bone broth”, so trendy now), wearing coats inside in winter, using meager amounts of water, and patching-up old clothes while haggling for hand-me-downs. What would it be like to return to the days of food rationing coupons, and continued shortages of flour, sugar, butter and yeast? Or raising our own chickens for eggs and meat?
The answer is, we need to find a new way to earn money. If our plant or business is closed, we have to move on. The unemployment checks will eventually run out, and we’ll be facing the food lines and picking through clothing and furnishings at Goodwill on a regular basis. “New” will be a thing of the past. So, how do we find work in COVID? How do we beat the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that stymie us? How do we find out who’s on the inside and who the decision-makers are? After so many months of unemployment, how do we gain back our confidence? How do we pass the phone screens after years of never interviewing? What about those video interviews, where there is no person on the other side of the camera? It’s mind boggling to navigate these new rules for job hunting! And we need clarity, now. The lack of knowledge of these basic steps can discourage anyone from even picking up the phone or rewriting a resume.
But, imagine for a moment if there was a way for you to figure out all these new moves now needed in the job-hunting market? Imagine that it’s not impossible to find the job you want; what would that be like for you? Think of yourself already on the other side of food banks and clothing donations. How would that feel? Give yourself a moment to hold that thought in your head.
You may want to learn about a free class to help you with the new twists and turns to get a job in COVID. There are many professional positions that come up daily. These are not the Amazon warehouse jobs, although there are plenty of those as well. When you decide you are ready to make the move to learn how to find a new job in COVID, you can join the Masterclass.
It’s free and only lasts one hour. You won’t be the only one there. As of now, 18 other people have signed up. We’d love to have you as well. Register here. Remember, the class is free, but you must register to attend. It will be held Wed, July 15, 2020, from 11:30am to 12:30pm.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford.
Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to higher levels of performance, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth.
Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. In addition, she is also an International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, a Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional and has a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching, from the University of Texas at Dallas.
In her leadership and executive coaching, she focuses on improving the executive behaviors that slow down performance and lead to growth, such as soft skills, communication, micro-bias awareness, etc. She has successfully helped other professionals, such as attorneys, surgeons, pharmacists, and university professors, make career decisions to lead to success in their chosen careers. In addition, small business owners have sought Mary’s services to bring their companies into greater alignment, working on their culture, vision, mission, values and goals as well as organizational structure. Mary’s executive coaching has been mainly with large organizations among them: Toray Plastics America, Hasbro, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin, CVS Healthcare, Sensata Technologies, Citizen’s Bank, Ameriprise, BD Medical Devices, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, (Newport, R.I.), General Dynamics, University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island, etc.
Mary has facilitated numerous workshops on various topics in leadership such as, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, effective communication, leading in adversity, etc. She has also written extensively on similar topics.
Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from the Society of Human Resources Development. Mary is also an ICF certified Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, and a Certified Emotional Intelligence assessor and practitioner.
In addition, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education with Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, State University of New York at Oswego and Syracuse University. She is also a member Beta Gamma Sigma and the International Honor Society.Mary dedicates herself to coaching good leaders to get even better through positive approaches to behavior change for performance improvement.
Narragansett Fine Art and Craft Show – Sunday, July 12th
Local Artists are being recruited NOW for the Narragansett Fine Art and Craft Show set for Sunday July 12th. Thirty local artists’ spots are reserved for artists to display their latest works under white tents on the green of Gazebo Park beside the Narragansett Towers and Town Beach.
The event will be held from 9am to 6pm.
The show will be featuring paintings, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and mixed media.
The community is encouraged to come out and support their favorite artists at this iconic vacation spot in Rhode Island.
Hosted by the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce, PVD Artisans Market and Bryce Studio, safe distancing will be practiced, and hand sanitizer stations will be available. The event will follow all state and town guidelines for a fun art shopping experience
Artisan Fair/Art Show Details and Registration Rules
**Please note the ‘Photography’ category is full.
Co-Hosts are Mike Bryce Studio and the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce
Assigned Space – Assigned spaces will be made based upon type so as to mix up the various mediums.
Set Up and Take Down: Set up MIGHT be permitted on Saturday night, July 11. We will let you know when that is confirmed. Currently, set up is from 6:30 am-8:30 am and take down must take place at the end of the show with all items removed by 7:30pm
Booth spaces are 10×10’ tent spaces and artists supply their own tent and tables.
Parking: If we can allow some parking in the Post Office driveway, we will let you know, but plan to park on the street. You may drive your vehicle onto the green to drop off put under no circumstances are any vehicles allowed to be parked on the Green during the show.
Sales – You are responsible for your own sales and arrangements with buyers. We are not taking any commissions on this show and wish you the very best!
COVID-19 Precautions and Compliance: We will follow whatever rules are in effect at the time of the show. We will count visitors entering and exiting. Masks will be required, and large groups will not be allowed to congregate at any one tent. These precautions will be monitored by our staff.
Making the local news media irrelevant; and they respond like well-trained pets
By Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI.com – contributing writer
A trip to the Governor’s live news briefing at the Vet revealed how Raimondo has made the local news media largely irrelevant – and, in turn, how they have responded to the change like well-trained pets
Just before I arrived at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday, July 1, to attend the scheduled live briefing and media scrum hosted by Gov. Gina Raimondo and her team, I had tuned in to listen to WPRO host Tara Granahan to “take the temperature” of talk radio in Rhode Island.
A caller broke the news to Granahan that the Governor had just made Oprah magazine, highlighting Raimondo as one of the governors who “are helping Americans survive a global pandemic.”
The Oprah news left Granahan momentarily stunned, at a loss for words; she quickly recovered, saying that Oprah herself had been apparently taken in by Raimondo’s aggressive marketing of herself.
Granahan had been playing clips from CNBC’s “Mad Money” in which Jim Cramer had raved about Raimondo’s role in leading Rhode Island through the pandemic crisis. With fans like Oprah and Cramer, who could ask for anything more? The local news media, it seemed, was becoming a sideshow, much like Cambodia was to Vietnam, in Henry Kissinger’s opinion.
In search of transparency Why was I attending the news briefing, against the advice of my primary care physician and my neurologist? In part, it was curiosity. In part, it was because of the failure of Gov. Raimondo and her communications team to respond to my repeated questioning about how much she was planning to invest in Rhode Island’s Health Equity Zones in the FY 2021 state budget.
My question had not received any response, despite numerous inquiries. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What happens to a question deferred?”] If I am honest, I had the delusion of self-importance that if I asked the question in person, I might get an answer.
I did get to ask the question, toward the end of the news briefing, having to shout three times to be heard. The Governor refused to reveal or share what her plans were, saying it depended on what Congress did.
Raimondo expressed exasperation at my question, as if her credentials for her support for Health Equity Zones should not be questioned. Twice before, in her proposed budgets, she had promised to commit $1 million to support sustainable funding for Health Equity Zones but reneged on that promise. Now, she was refusing to make her plans transparent.
Not surprisingly, my question and the Governor’s refusal to answer were not included in any of the news summaries of the event provided by the other reporters covering the news briefing.
But my takeaway from the gathering was that something far darker, much more ominous was occurring than refusing to answer questions. It was related to the way that the Governor had become adept in manipulating her messaging – and in how the local news media had become compliant, complicit, and complacent, particularly in their willingness to behave like well-trained pets in their response to the Governor’s announcement of a new initiative around re-imagining nursing home care, regurgitating what was said without providing any critical analysis.
Setting the stage
Two potentially devastating news stories had lit up the social media universe in the day preceding the news briefing.
• First, political reporter Kathy Gregg at The Providence Journal had broken the news that the Raimondo administration had contracted with the Boston Consulting Group to the tune of $1.85 million in a no-bid contract, paying a salary of $25,000 a week to the consulting group’s employees who became “embedded” at government agencies.
In her response at the news briefing, Raimondo claimed the Boston Consulting Group had first approached the state and provided millions in “free” help before being offered a no-bid contract.
What was not discussed, and has not yet been made transparent, is how McKinsey has apparently been contracted by the state to do similar work as the Boston Consulting Group, being paid for their efforts through a “philanthropic” contribution.
Some folks on the Governor’s team apparently had found the work done by McKinsey to be far more “valuable” than the work done by the Boston Consulting Group. Until recently, Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffitt, had been working with McKinsey.
• Second, photographs of a badly bruised patient at a nursing home had been circulating, creating a storm of outrage. In apparent response, Raimondo chose the news briefing to announce a new initiative about “re-imagining” nursing home care, with an emphasis on providing more home health support.
The new age of oblivion
As I slowly made my way down into the cavernous aisles at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium with my trekking poles in order to keep my balance, filled with mostly empty seats, a sudden insight occurred to me, influenced in large part by the news about Oprah and Cramer praising Raimondo: the audience of local news media had been made irrelevant by the Governor’s media savvy communications team, apparently led by Jon Duffy at Duffy and Shanley.
The Governor now controlled a direct link to talk to Rhode Islanders, a video and radio feed, to get her messaging across. It was amplified by a daily email sent out by Constant Contact, often featuring an edited video of the news briefing.
The reporters who attended and asked questions were never seen, only heard, with the video cameras focused on the Governor, Dr. Nicole-Alexander Scott, the director of the R.I. Department of Health, and Brett Smiley, the director of the R.I. Department of Administration.
[Off-screen, Jennifer Bogdan Jones, the outgoing Communications director, looking to be about seven months pregnant, who would soon be departing her position for a new job at Brown University, served as an official timekeeper.]
Translated, the news reporters had been relegated to serving as unimportant, bit players, off-screen, a role that they seemed to have not yet fully understood, serving as willing conduits for the Governor’s messaging.
The revolution will not be televised
I was early; the Governor, not surprisingly, was late. The running joke among news reporters who have regularly attended events held by the Governor was that she is always about 20 minutes late, operating by her own clock. On July 1, she was 15 minutes late.
There were many of the usual suspects: Steve Ahlquist of Uprise RI, Michael Bilow from Motif Magazine, Bill Bartholomew from BTown podcasts [and soon to be RI PBS], Brian Crandall from NBC10, G. Wayne Miller from The Providence Journal, John DePetro from his own radio show, and the sole woman reporter on that day, Kim Kalunian, from WPRI.
[Ahlquist and Bartholomew were surprised to see me walking with my trekking poles, asking what had happened. I referred them to the July 4 column published last week. Bilow introduced himself.]
My attendance was an apparent “aberration” – the last “live” news scrum conference I attended had been during the second week in March. As a result, I was “checked out” by one of the Governor’s aides who asked my identity and what news media outlet I represented. Really?
It was much like the perfunctory health check done by the state police officers at the entrance to the concert hall when I walked in, asking if there had been any changes to my health. No temperature check was conducted, however.
Nursing homes initiative
I could report on what the Governor said in announcing her new initiative about re-imagining nursing home care, but I am not a well-trained seal, and I do not bark on command. Arf, arf, arf. Some of the ideas floated were attractive, such as single rooms and single bathrooms. The problem, of course, is the cost: who is going to pay, how much, and how will those investments become part of the budget?
I had previously reported on intimations made by the Governor about such plans. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What nursing homes can teach us about future health care in a post-pandemic world.”] Much better than folks read that story, in particular, the details around the failings of the Reinvention of Medicaid, the signature initiative of Raimondo’s first term.
A short synopsis, for those that no longer read, goes like this: The initiative, which became law in 2015, mandated that accountable entities be adopted for all Medicaid managed care programs. However, no accountable entity yet exists for long-term support and services under Medicaid. One physician told ConvergenceRI in 2019 that accountable entities “give clusterf**k a bad name.”
In terms of the budget, Medicaid spending amounts to roughly one-third of the entire state budget; two-thirds of the state Medicaid budget goes to pay for long-term support and services. Worse, despite state law to the contrary, there were more than 800 Medicaid eligibility applications for care that were still pending for longer than 90 days in January of 2020, a delay directly linked to the UHIP snafu that has not be corrected since the Deloitte system’s launch in 2016.
Translated, who is going to hold the Raimondo administration accountable for its past mistakes before it launches yet another new initiative?
What struck me as strange was the timing of the launch announcement – it was the last regularly scheduled media briefing before July 4, without having yet lifted visiting restrictions on nursing homes [promised for the following week, but moved up to Friday, July 3, without consultation with the nursing home industry].
Apparently, the Governor had failed to discuss her planned initiative with the nursing home industry trade association, leaving them in the dark.
Scott Fraser, the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, issued a response on Friday morning, July 3, with some important “clarifications” around the issues raised by the Governor.
“Because of the vulnerable nature of our nursing homes, RIHCA made it a priority to have a consistent communication to the state on our concerns and need for assistance at the onset of this virus. Many requests were answered, but some critical needs were slow in coming,” Fraser said.
Fraser continued: “RIHCA sent a number of letters to the state on topics of concern. First, RIHCA requested the state test hospital patients for COVID-19 before they were transferred into nursing homes for their next stage of care. The state took weeks [emphasis added] to institute this testing policy. The insertion of untested hospital patients is what brought the first cases of COVID-19 into the nursing homes.”
Further, Fraser said: “RIHCA also advocated for more testing and rapid results testing to be instituted into the homes. Isolating residents and workers is nearly impossible with a virus that is asymptomatic, and people are left untested. This critical testing of residents and workers was slow to be implemented [emphasis added]. Today, regular testing occurs, yet results can sometimes take between six and 10 days to come back, rendering many results unusable.”
In initial two months of this virus, Fraser said, “Our calls for assistance were heard, but only slowly answered. These initial months had a big impact on how this virus played out in Rhode Island nursing homes.”
Fraser cited statistics to back up his response to the Governor, saying that while, as of June 26, 73 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths had been “associated with” Rhode Island nursing homes, the percentages of deaths [627 out of 927], the numbers were on a par with what was occurring in neighboring states – 62 percent in Massachusetts and 75 percent in Connecticut. In fact, Fraser continued, “You don’t always hear the story that many residents survived COVID-19. In fact, nearly three-quarters of the 2,745 who have contracted this virus in RI’s nursing homes have recovered. Our homes are celebrating these recoveries week after week.”
Fraser took on Raimondo’s challenge around “innovating around long-term care” head on, saying that the Governor had suggested that nursing homes should apply for grants for innovative solutions like single occupancy rooms and bathrooms and she also committed to investing in home care.
“We are willing to be at the table to discuss how we move forward with a smart continuum of care for the people of RI, yet we want to remind Rhode Islanders that we are caring for the most frail elderly in our state who in most cases need 24-7 care,” Fraser said. “Medicaid patients account for two-thirds of nursing home residents. Since 2012, Rhode Island has cut the Medicaid budget nearly every year, forcing many homes to operate at the financial edge. If the Governor is willing to replenish the Medicaid budget after significant cuts and UHIP reimbursement issues, and provide more funding for single rooms and home care – this would be a welcome change.”
At a time when the Governor will not reveal her budget hand about how much she is willing to invest in Health Equity Zones in Rhode Island, would she be willing to reveal how much she plans to invest in her nursing home initiative?
While the idea of re-imagining care for residents of nursing homes strikes a resonant chord for many, particularly for those with family members currently in nursing homes, what her initiative does not yet address is how the Governor will change the current continuum of care relationship between hospitals and nursing homes. Where will patients go who are recovering from surgeries and need rehabilitative care?
Richard Asinof is the founder and editor of ConvergenceRI, an online subscription newsletter offering news and analysis at the convergence of health, science, technology and innovation in Rhode Island.
Remdesivir – may reduce # of days in hospital – very expensive. US govt has bought up a large quantity for this drug as spikes increase. Hospitals will be able to buy predetermined amounts of the coronavirus treatment remdesivir through September for up to $3,200 per five-day course.
Dexamethazone – is a steroid that can have 30% reduction in deaths for patients in ICU on ventilators.
More than 200 scientists have called for the World Health Organization and others to acknowledge that the coronavirus can spread in the air — a change that could alter some of the current measures being taken to stop the pandemic.
Health departments around the U.S. that are using contact tracers to contain coronavirus outbreaks are scrambling to bolster their ranks amid a surge of cases and resistance to cooperation from those infected or exposed.
20 states are now requiring masks
Federal legislation being proposed to help out transportation services such as buses, ferries – similar to airline assistance.
In England, during wedding ceremonies, brides and grooms have to sanitize their hands before exchanging rings, even if they are already living together.
The New York State Fair is canceled
Hampton University, Virginia, has announced it will offer only online classes
5,000-plus summer camps opting to close because of health concerns surrounding the pandemic, or because of delays in receiving rules or guidelines from licensing officials.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Oregon have banned overnight camps
In Maine, where only 20 of 110 licensed overnight camps are opening, guidelines require staff and counselors to quarantine or receive a negative test result
Wimbledon – no tennis royalty or tennis champions at the All England Club in 2020
The University of Washington said more than 100 of its fraternity house residents tested positive for the virus, underscoring the risk colleges face in reopening for the fall semester.
California Governor Orders Second Shutdown of Restaurants and Indoor Businesses in 19 California counties
The Ballet Theatre of Maryland will build an outdoor stage for practicing, and performing this summer.
Nick Cordero, Standout Actor in Broadway Musicals, Dies of COVID-19 Complications at 41
Vermont State Historic Sites are now open on a limited basis. Guests will be required to wear facial coverings in buildings and in the presence of others outdoors. Some spaces will not be open to visitors because of social distancing requirements.
287 LA police officers are in quarantine
Aid to small businesses will be extended – federal PPO
Plainridge to be first Mass. casino to reopen on Wednesday
Phoenix, Arizona has a 91% ICU occupancy rate
Jimmy Johnson, NASCAR driver, tests positive and is in quarantine.
India: With nearly 700,000 coronavirus cases, India is third worst-hit country
The cast and crew involved with taping a Friends Reunion are being tested and will then go into quarantine until the shoot is completed.
The MLS is Back Soccer Tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps set for Thursday was postponed after eight players tested positive for the coronavirus. The group-stage game will be rescheduled. FC Dallas announced last week that six players tested positive for the virus upon arrival in Florida for the tournament. The entire team was quarantined. Two Whitecaps players tested positive, forcing the team to remain in Canada.
New England Patriots have plans to offer free parking to their season tickets holders when they return to games
Alaska is publishing names of businesses where employees have tested positive.
40% of prisoners at San Quentin Prison in California test positive
Home Design: COVID19 is impacting home design with increasing calls for mudrooms, touchless faucets, separate home office spaces, etc.
Autos: Auto experts recommend that cars are driven periodically, at least once a week. There are several reasons for this:
First, running your car for 15 or 20 minutes will keep the battery charged up. That way the car is ready for use should you ever need it. If you drive for 15-30 minutes at moderate speeds once a week, that ought to be enough to keep your battery in good shape.
Second, when you drive the car, you’ll keep your moving parts lubricated, shifter linkage and parking brake cable.
Third, by moving the car occasionally, you’ll avoid creating flat spots on your tires, even if you just move it 1 foot in either direction.
Fourth, when you take the car out, you disturb any rodents or small animals and bugs that may have built a home in the car.
In New York several people contacted by contact tracers refused to come in for testing or provide information and the courts have begun issuing subpoenas, with fines of $2K a day.
MLB All-Star game canceled after many players test positive
US Travel Assoc says the US is seeing a return to the Great American Road Trip – people can drive and control their environment. Parks and road trip purveyors, and small motels will benefit the most.
Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings stated that the demonstrations over the past month are partially to blame for the recent increases in coronavirus cases that the area has seen.
The World Health Organization (WHO) quietly updated a timeline this week to reflect that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) never reported its discovery of the coronavirus to the WHO.
Celtics leave for 7-14 weeks sequestered in Disney to play basketball
40% of Harvard grad students will not be returning and all classes will be held online for 2020-2021
RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY
No updated data since Friday – Gov. address will be Wednesday – look for updated data today
Transparency portals in RI have identified the top recipients of PPP federal stimulus money used to pay over 108,000 employees and help keep businesses afloat. More than 17,000 Rhode Island businesses shared $1.9 billion, with an average amount of approx. $110,000. Funds received can be used for payroll, rent/mortgage,and utilities. Companies receiving the largest amounts, supporting close to 5,000 workers are:
Brown Emergency Medicine, Brown Medicine, Coastal Medical, H. Carr & Sons, Cardi Corporation, East Coast Interiors, Rhode Island Medical Imaging, Arden Engineering, Pet Food Experts, Taco, Technic, Greystone, KVH Industries, and University Orthopedics.
Providence Municipal Court opened Monday of this week – with in-court numbers limited. Night court still suspended for now.
The RI Health Care Association says 8% of the nursing home population in RI, 7,500, have died from COVID19 related disease – and ¾ of the 2,745 people who have had the coronavirus have recovered (2,059). They also say 73% of RI’s deaths (627 or 927) were from nursing homes. https://providencejournal-ri.newsmemory.com?publink=007231da4_1343725
Newport Art Museum: Through the Window – Opening Art Reception, July 9, 6-7:30pm, Live Online Event – Opening reception of juried show, Through the Window. The “window” concept is not only a literal reference, but also figurative — and drawn from our current worldwide environment. A window is sometimes a barrier, and sometimes a portal. It lets in the light or keeps out the cold. It indicates possibilities or limitations. Juror, Lorena Pugh, will announce the winners for the show and discuss her selection process. We will take questions from our guests and we will provide a virtual tour of the show. Event will take place via Zoom. This event is free and open to the public, however, you must register using the link below to receive your meeting login instructions: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJcrcu2srjIoHdeXbdccCf0DAq4DSi_cFbPK
Newport Art Museum: Summer Camp – Registration is also open for Youth Summer Art Camps, which will run through the week of Aug. 21. Register at newportartmuseum.org/camps
Encore Casino, in Massachusetts, said it would furlough 3,000 more workers
St. Mary’s Feast in Cranston will not be held in 2020
Abbott ID Now: Testing has ended by CVS at Twin River. RI Health Dept said, “Tests have been enormously beneficial to Rhode Island’s response ?to this pandemic. They have allowed us to quickly identify thousands of positive cases, which meant we were able to get individuals into isolation right away, and we were able to get their contacts into quarantine right away. However, there are limitations to this test. It is considered a point-of-care test, meaning that normally the result is only one piece of information that your doctor would use when assessing you in the office. This is because it is a little less sensitive than other tests. For that reason, we decided strategically to be less reliant on Abbott ID Now tests as other, more sensitive tests came onto the market.”
URI Housing – Limited to 2 per room – town of Narragansett moves to shut down housing to 3 or less. URI’s decision is compounded by a decision Wednesday by the Narragansett Town Council to limit student rentals to three unrelated adults per house.
TF Green Airport will open 2 new restaurants.
All YMCA branches are open in Rhode Island.
Evictions/Rental Assistance: Close to 800 people are in various stages of eviction in RI through end of June – with over 4,000 applying for rental assistance. Less than 200 of those applicants have had applications processed and paid at this time as the Governor said “we have to do better” at processing. A program of mediation is expected to be developed to help both renter and landlord.
Bobby Tasca, NHRA Driver, from RI, has tested positive for covid-19 and will miss his race this weekend
Portsmouth Library is open again
UMass Dartmouth offering single occupancy dorm living – semester will end at Thanksgiving
Battleship Cove Museum opens at 40% capacity
Warwick Mayor Solomon has instituted a grace period for city tax payments and the city will also hold off on issuing motor vehicle tax bills until the state budget is adopted.
Johns Hopkins Data — see where RI – and all states fall when measured on death rates per 100,000 – RI is 5th from the top:
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Two RI towns are jointly cracking down on traffic violations. A toddler is struck by a hit-and-run driver in Providence. Police are looking for a missing Providence teen.
>>Joint Traffic Violation Crackdown In Two Towns
(Undated) -- Middletown and Portsmouth police are jointly cracking down on speeding and reckless driving. Operation Safe Summer will target various undisclosed locations at different times. Police say it's a highly visible effort to eliminate aggressive driving and lower the rate of crashes in the two towns.
>>Toddler Hit By A Vehicle In Providence
(Providence, RI) -- A hit-and-run driver is being sought by Providence police. A three-year-old was struck around 9:20 last night on Ayrault Street. WJAR-TV reports the child was taken to Hasbro Children's Hospital. No information has been released on the extent of injuries.
>>Police Looking For Missing Providence Teen
(Providence, RI) -- Providence police are looking for a missing 14-year-old girl. Aliah Trinidad was last seen on Friday leaving her family's apartment on Progress Avenue. She's described as five-feet-five inches tall, 160 pounds with curly blonde hair. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the police.
>>Fire Suppression System Activates In Cranston
(Cranston, RI) -- It's believed a malfunction is the cause of a fire suppression system activation yesterday in Cranston. It happened at a Stop & Shop gas station on Atwood Avenue. According to WJAR-TV, no serious injuries were reported.
>>Red Sox To Open Season At Home
(Boston, MA) -- The Red Sox open the season at home on July 24th. Boston will host Baltimore in a three game series to start the shortened 60-game season. Games will be available on TV and radio, but there will be no fans allowed into Fenway Park because of the coronavirus.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: The RI General Assembly is expected to reconvene next week. The pandemic pay bump for Stop & Shop workers is over. Municipal Court in Providence is open for the first time since mid-March because of COVID-19.
>>General Assembly Reconvenes Next Week
(Providence, RI) -- The General Assembly is expected to reconvene next week to consider several bills. House and Senate committee hearings are scheduled for this week. The focus is expected to be deliberations on the fiscal year 2021 state budget.
>>Stop & Shop Ends Pandemic Bay Increase
(Quincy, MA) -- The pandemic salary increase for unionized hourly workers at Stop & Shop supermarkets is over. Employees say they remain at risk and they are circulating an online petition to keep the bump in wages. Workers started getting the appreciation pay in March, but it ended Saturday. Stop & Shop says it thanks to its employees for working during extraordinary circumstances.
>>Municipal Court Reopens In Providence
(Providence, RI) -- The Providence Municipal Court reopened today for the first time since mid-March when it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. WJAR-TV reports that only one person is allowed in the courtroom at a time because of social distancing guidelines. Night court sessions are still canceled. Anyone with questions should call the court.
>>Two Shooting Incidents In Providence
(Providence, RI) -- Providence police are investigating two separate shooting incidents. The Providence Journal reports a 19-year-old woman was reported in stable condition at Rhode Island Hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her left leg. It happened around three o'clock this morning on Broad Street. Around the same time, a man suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound on Vandieman Avenue.
>>Westwood YMCA Beach Reopened For Swimming
(Coventry, RI) -- The Westwood YMCA Beach in Coventry is cleared for swimming. The state Department of Health says bacteria levels in the water have returned to safe levels. DOH reminds beachgoers to observe COVID-19 safety guidelines on the sand and in the water.
Goddard State Park Golf Couse a surprisingly fun walk for golfers of all ages and skill levels.
This is the 4th part of a multi-part series on the local golf courses in the State of Rhode Island by a self-admitted weekend golfer who is more of a hacker and duffer. The courses are selected randomly and played without prior knowledge of the owners and staff, so to get the experience of every golfer who plays the course.
This week’s golf adventure brought us to the Goddard State Park Golf Course, a 9-hole adventure located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. It is owned and maintained by the state of Rhode Island.
I haven’t played Goddard Park in over ten years; the last time I played the course it was a wide-open, poorly maintained dried out piece of land that was labeled a golf course. The keyword here is “was”.
This round was played on a day that had seen rain showers move through the area for 5 straight days. That left the course in exceptionally good shape, from the tee box to the putting greens the course was lush and green with no dried out or burnt out areas to contend with. So far so good!
As a course policy right now, they only take tee times two days in advance. Approaching the window to pay the green fees, which at the cost of $15 if you walked, was very reasonable. As with every golf course that my group has played this season, the COVID-19 precautions were in place and strictly enforced.
As my round proceeded, I noticed that the holes were straight, except for the 6th hole, which had a dogleg left bend to it. The fairways were wide with little objects or obstructions in your way. Basically, if you hit the ball pretty straight your round will be adventure free, and for the most part that’s how I played off the tee. Approaching the green was where my game toughened up.
Goddard Park starts you off with a 500-yard par 5, and it is the 2nd rated most difficult hole on the course. A straight direction off the tee, you encounter a sand trap in front of the green. Once on the green, we discovered that putting was going to be slow, mainly because of the rain that we had all week, and the groundskeepers didn’t have the chance to mow the putting surface (they were actually mowing the fairways as we played). Taking a bogey 6 we moved to the next hole.
Hole #2 was a 370-yard par 4, both sides of the fairway were lined with trees that were not a factor, in fact, you really had to mis-hit your ball to get into real trouble throughout the round. Two sand traps protect the green and I got caught in on my approach shot. Most of the sand traps on the course were high toward the green so to get out of the trap, you need to blast it out. Three putts later, and a double-bogey 6 it was on to the third hole.
The third hole is the first par 3 on the course, a 175-yard straight green with two sand traps on each side of the green in front. As the wind was blowing in our face, even going with a little more club got knocked down and landed just in front of a sand trap. Not to repeat the last hole and landing in the trap, I gave it a little more club than I should and landed just off the green behind the hole. My first effort with the putter fell short (did I mention that the greens were running slow?) I took a one over bogey 4. The next hole was a par 4 288 yard straight to the green cruise. As with the first three previous holes, trees lined both sides of the fairways and sand traps protected the green. Getting on the green in 3, I knock my long putt in for my first par of the day, and things were looking up!
That feeling was short-lived after the next hole, which was the second par 5 on the course. It is a 495-yard uneventful hole with traps right and left of the green. I wasn’t able to take advantage of a good tee shot, flubbing my next shot, and putting my third shot into the right side trap, fortunately, my ball landed on the upslope of the trap and I was able to get on the green and take my 2nd double bogey of the day. At this point, I was six over with three holes left to play. My third double bogey occurred on the 6th hole which had a dogleg left, pulling my tee shot left I caught the right side of the tree that was positioned at the bend. I got a favorable bounce toward the fairway, but I had to contend with several overhanging branches. Punching out longer and more to the right of the green than I wanted, the hole was surrounded by what else? You guessed it, sand traps! All were higher toward the green, my high, 50-yard pitch went long, and I walked off the hole with my third, second in a row double bogey.
Hole #7 was a 165-yard par 3 which again I misjudged the wind, and my tee shot fell short, a pitch onto the green, and two putts later I was off with a bogey and onto hole #8. Hole #8 is rated the hardest hole on the course. It is a 385-yard par 4, it has 3 traps that surround the hole; the tee box is slightly elevated as is the green, and again you think that it is uneventful but recording a double-bogey 6 makes you shake your head as you walk off the green. As with every other hole except for hole #6, the final 9th hole brings you back to the starter shack. A 315-yard par 4, wide open to each side of the fairway with a small single sand trap on the right side of the green, recording a bogey 5 and a score of 48 for the round, I was perplexed that a rather straight forward layout gave me fits all day. But I believe that is the secrete of Goddard Park Golf Course, it lures you into a false sense of simplicity and then bites you.
I am giving the course a B+, it is now in good shape, but let’s see if it will be maintained throughout the dog days of August. There is no water on the course as hazards, so irrigation and a water source can cause problems as the course dries out. Keep in mind that it is a state-owned facility and may not get the TLC as most golf courses – but only time will tell. It is an excellent course for everyone, from the experienced golfer who wants to work around to the beginner who wants to get out and work on their game.
Goddard Park is a nine-hole public course that opened in 1939. It is a par 36, 3,021-yard course with a 90 slope and 40.0 rating. It is located at 1095 Ives Road, East Greenwich. The telephone number is 401-884-9834 and tee times are recommended.
If your child is under 2 years old, or age 4, 11 or 16, and needs a vaccine, or if they have missed a child well visit or lead screening during the last several months, please call their doctor and make an appointment to be seen before your child returns to school in September. That’s the word from Governor Gina Raimondo and the RI Department of Health.
In April and May, Rhode Island saw a 52% reduction in immunization rates for children between the ages of 2 and 7.
For those concerned about COVID19 and medical offices, the Health Department notes that pediatricians are taking extreme caution – keeping waiting rooms clear, using PPE, conducting infection control, and requiring screenings specifically designed to mitigate risk of exposure to the virus. The concern for immunization lag one that has been mentioned several times in Governor Raimondo’s press events.
For those with children without health insurance, the advice is to call the Health Insurance Exchange at 1-855-840-4774 to learn more about coverage.
Getting children properly immunized for the school year is “a shared responsibility to protect public health”, according to Gov. Raimondo.
Immunizations for students:
Requirements for students entering licensed DHS center-based and in-home childcare facilities
4 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
1 dose of Flu vaccine each year
2 doses of Hepatitis A vaccine
3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine
3 doses of Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) vaccine
1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
4 doses of Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (not routinely given to healthy children 5 years of age and older)
3 doses of Polio vaccine
2 doses of Rotavirus vaccine
1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
Requirements for students entering kindergarten
A student entering kindergarten must have met the pre-kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:
1 dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
1 dose of Polio vaccine
1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
Requirements for students entering 7th grade
A student entering 7th grade must have met the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:
1 dose of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
1 dose of Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4) vaccine
1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine
Requirements for students entering 8th grade
A student entering 8th grade must have met the 7th grade immunization requirements, plus:
2 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
Requirements for students entering 9th grade
A student entering 9th grade must have met the 8th grade immunization requirements, plus:
3 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
*Note: Per current ACIP recommendations, 2 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine (if series is started at age 14 or younger)
Requirements for students entering 12th grade
A student entering 12th grade must have met the 9th grade immunization requirements, plus:
1 dose of Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4) vaccine – booster dose
Students and children in childcare (daycare) and pre-kindergarten facilities can be exempted from required immunizations for religious, medical, or temporary reasons. A medical exemption certificate must be signed by a medical provider.
Jason is a US Marine veteran, portrait and landscape photographer, and visual artist. Follow Jason on Instagram to see more of his work – jmich78photography. We thank him for use of this photo and his contemplation.
(Editor’s Note: The Untold Truth About Slavery is the first of several articles from different perspectives on Black history planned by RINewsToday – we thank Ed Achorn for allowing this publication.)
Last week, Tim Kaine made a ludicrous statement: “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”
It is shocking to hear a U.S. senator, a former Virginia governor and a former major-party candidate for vice president spout such nonsense, particularly at a time when racial tensions have been ratcheted up, with rioters looting and burning neighborhoods.
Even a cursory reading of world history would reveal that America did not create the institution of slavery (though North America’s colonies permitted it to take hold here). Slavery goes back many thousands of years.
And Africans have not been the only victims. Virtually every human culture has embraced it, in huge numbers, notably including China and India. It existed in the Americas — practiced widely and with awful brutality by indigenous peoples — before Christopher Columbus arrived. In the ancient world (see the second century mosaic of Roman slave servants above), slavery was ubiquitous. Jews were famously enslaved in Egypt, and led from bondage by Moses.
Slavery exists around the world now, disgracefully tolerated. National Geographic estimates some 27 million people are still held in bondage.
As the great economist Thomas Sowell has noted (see his “The Real History of Slavery”), at least 1 million white people were enslaved by North African pirates between 1500 and 1800. The very word slave derives from Slav — white Europeans who were enslaved.
The monstrous African slave trade involved the sale of prisoners of war taken in tribal battles, greatly enriching some African leaders and tribes. I suspect few people know that only a small fraction of the black slaves sent to the New World went to North America.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., a professor in Harvard’s Department of African and African American studies, explained…
Photo: Ben Mondor, founder of the Pawtucket Red Sox, died in October of 2010, ten years ago.
No “Field of Dreams” for the PawSox and their fans as the MLB (Minor League Baseball) officially canceled its 2020 season. For the fans of the Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team, that the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic was not a total surprise, in fact, it was fitting in a way.
The 2020 season was supposed to be a bittersweet one, yes it was to be their last after calling McCoy stadium home for 50 years (1970-2020). It was going to be a season the fans would always remember, but thanks to COVID-19 it will always be the season that fans of any sport will never forget.
The announcement was made by International League President Randy Mobley who said “Due to the many COVID-19 related challenges that would accompany staffing team rosters for a two month season, Major League Baseball has now advised that they will not be assigning players to the teams of Minor League Baseball in 2020.”
With that statement, 2020 will also be known as the first season in the 137-year history of the International League (founded in 1884), when no games will be played. “Naturally as baseball fans, we are deeply disappointed not to have a summer of PawSox baseball, especially in our 50th anniversary season,” Said club president Dr. Charles Steinberg. “The health, safety, and well-being of our players, and the entire community are paramount. But we will keep the faith; this may not be how the story ends.” Steinberg concluded.
The club is looking into some ways to have a fitting farewell to their longtime home. The club hopes to open the 2020 season in Polar Park which is currently under construction in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Currently the PawSox host a unique experience for fans called “Dining on the Diamond” which began on June 5th, giving families the opportunity to go out and enjoy dinner right on the field. As Major League Baseball gears up for its season, the Boston Red Sox have discussed using McCoy Stadium as the location for some of their workouts. Scheduling for both the workouts and the dining on the diamond will be announced. In addition to navigating the COVID-19 rules and regulations, the PawSox are still exploring ways to have a fitting farewell to McCoy Stadium, and to their fans in Pawtucket, and in Rhode Island, sometime in the future – stay tuned for details as they become available.
Thank you to Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, of Warwick, who allowed us to use these beautiful pictures of the new pier at Rocky Point.
The replacement project was done jointly with the City of Warwick.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon today held a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of a new timber fishing pier at the iconic Rocky Point State Park in Warwick. Financed by RI Capital Plan and Green Economy Bond funding, the $1.8 million project provides anglers of all abilities with access to one of the state’s prime fishing areas.
Jason McNamee, Deputy Director, Department of Environmental Management
Megan DiPrete, Chief, Planning & Development, Department of Environmental Management
The Honorable Joseph Solomon, Mayor, City of Warwick
“Public access to clean, safe, and attractive recreational facilities is a public good,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Being active outdoors is important for our physical and mental health. I hope that Rhode Island anglers will enjoy this new fishing pier at Rocky Point, cast a line into the waters of Narragansett Bay, and appreciate the beauty of our state.”
“Expanding shoreline and fishing access is core to our mission at DEM and we’re thrilled that the new pier will enable anglers, regardless of their physical abilities, to experience the joy and bounty of fishing on Narragansett Bay,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “I hope that the public will benefit from this recreational investment and asset for decades to come.”
“I have been involved with efforts to preserve Rocky Point for two decades and it has truly been a labor of love. Previously, as Council President, I was proud to support the City of Warwick’s acquisition of the land at Rocky Point, which was a long, complicated process. I convened a special meeting of the Warwick City Council to grant permission for the State to purchase the remaining portion of the land at Rocky Point, and I also docketed legislation for the easement needed to build this pier. Now, as Mayor, I am very gratified to continue making improvements at our iconic park, and to stand with my partners from state and federal offices to officially open the fishing pier at Rocky Point,” said Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. “We have, working together, ensured the preservation of Rocky Point for the public so that generations of Rhode Islanders can continue to enjoy it. This project is just the latest in a series of enhancements that I have championed at our beloved park, and it is one multiple investments I am making in Warwick’s open spaces and recreational opportunities.”
The new fishing pier features a 280-foot-long, T-shaped pier with a shade structure, benches, railings, and solar lighting. Railing heights vary to allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy access to Narragansett Bay.
The fishing pier moved forward as a result of a partnership between DEM, the City of Warwick, The Nature Conservancy, and others to create and improve public access sites for fishing and boating. The project provides saltwater fishing access less than 10 miles from Downtown Providence, advancing a key element of this coastal public park. The fishing pier also complements a variety of recreational opportunities at Rocky Point State Park, including walking, bird-watching, rock climbing, a youth fishing camp, DEM’s popular “Come Clam With Me” workshops, and open spaces for picnics as well as family-focused events like Food Truck Nights and Movie Nights run by the City and other gatherings.
DEM Director Coit noted that DEM works in close partnership with the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through its popular fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. Fishing is an important part of Rhode Island’s social and cultural fabric and an important driver for the state’s economy. Rhode Island’s marine recreational fishing industry contributes $420 million to the state’s economy and supports over 4,000 jobs.
“This new pier will provide a safe place for recreational anglers to catch fish and hopefully teach fishing to our children and grandchildren,” said Stephen Medeiros, Executive Director of RISAA.
Located along Warwick Neck and overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 124-acre Rocky Point State Park property is one of Rhode Island’s most beloved natural assets and has a 150+ year history of being a popular summer attraction for Rhode Islanders and visitors. Over the decades, attractions at Rocky Point have come and gone – nature trails, a ferry pier, the end of a trolley line running from Providence through Buttonwoods and Oakland Beach, an observation tower, hotels, clambakes, restaurants, swimming pool, rides, games, and concerts – but the attraction of publicly accessible land so close to Providence has been a consistent draw since 1850.
In March 2013, following voter approval of a $10 million bond in 2010 that was spearheaded by the Rocky Point Foundation with help from Save The Bay, DEM acquired 83 acres at the site of the former Rocky Point amusement park, creating Rhode Island’s newest state park. The state’s parcel on the interior of the park was integrated with the 41 acres of shoreline at Rocky Point that was bought by the City of Warwick with the help of state and federal funding in 2007.
“When Save The Bay joined the effort to acquire 82 acres of the Rocky Point Park site in 2010, we hoped it would once again become a place where Rhode Islanders could access, use, and enjoy Narragansett Bay,” said Jonathan Stone, Executive Director of Save The Bay. “We congratulate the DEM on completing this important project, which enhances Rocky Point and offers residents of Warwick and visitors alike a new way to appreciate the Bay and the shore.”
The contractor for the fishing pier project was ACK Marine & General Contracting LLC of Quincy, MA, and the engineering company was Pare Corporation, based in Lincoln, RI.
According to the RI DEM website: “The project is another example of Governor Raimondo’s and DEM’s commitment to invest in Rhode Island’s system of parks and beaches – which, according to a recent study, rank 1st in visits per park acre but 47th in state spending per visit. DEM is leading the Governor’s multi-year initiative to increase staffing at state parks and beaches, offer new amenities to users, adopt best practices, engage further with partners, and do more to realize the opportunities afforded by this magnificent system. Rhode Island’s natural and public assets are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They’re also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year. However, more visitors (a 37% increase in beach visitation from 2010 to 2017), far fewer employees (full-time staffing in DEM’s Parks and Recreation Division has dropped by 67%, to 42 FTEs from 123, since 1989), longer seasons, and aging facilities are hindering DEM’s ability to meet some park users’ expectations.”
About Rocky Point Park
Opened for the first time in nearly twenty years in 2014, Rocky Point State Park serves as a memory for many Rhode Islanders of generation’s past. Over the 150+ years of the property’s existence, it has served as a location for nature trails, a ferry pier, an observation tower, hotels, clambakes, restaurants, swimming pool, rides, games, and concerts – but the attraction of 120 acres of land for public use within 10 miles of downtown Providence has been a consistent draw since 1850.
A the state’s newest coastal state park, visitors can enjoy the property they once made so many memories at, while the younger generations of park-goers can make new ones.
If you are planning to visit the Rocky Point property…
Please keep in mind that this is now a passive use park, and certain guidelines exist for its preservation. The State of Rhode Island and the City of Warwick ask that you adhere to the following rules:
You are welcome to visit the property, but please do not park on the neighborhood roads.
The removal of anything
(natural or man-made) from the property is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, historic remains or artifacts, and natural rock material (including fossils & minerals).
For your safety, do not climb any of the structures in the park.
The harming or removing of any plant or animal life is strictly prohibited. This includes hunting, or trapping, or the cutting of plants or trees. Fishing is permitted with a valid license.
Overnight Camping and/or building of fires is not permitted. The property is available for day use only.
The use metal detectors, or any kind of digging tools or equipment, is not permitted.
Leave nothing behind. Do not litter or leave any trace of your visit. Please keep the property clean and pristine so that others may enjoy it as much as you have.
Off road vehicle use is not permitted. The use of motorized dirt-bikes and ATV’s is strictly prohibited.
The use of the property is “at you own risk”. Please remember that this is a very rugged natural area with many hazards and pitfalls. Hiking in the areas off the main path can be dangerous, and should be attempted by capable hikers only.
The property has no drinking water, toilets, communications, or emergency assistance facilities. It is recommended that you come well prepared to handle your needs during your visit.
“It’s time to totally reimagine how we care for seniors…” – Gov. Raimondo
It has not been that unusual for the smallest state in the country, with about 1 million stable (not mobile) people, with measurable media, and little overlap to be the site of something new – something bold – something to be tested. The items have mostly been products – such as the 2-liter bottle – or a new flavor of Coca-Cola. A nitro system for Dunkin’ Donuts. But campaigns such as the Women’s Heart Health Study and some tobacco control programs were also tested here.
But imagine this – what if the smallest state in the union tested something new on a human scale – how to care for each other when we age, and when that age brings a frailty or chronic disease, rehabilitation need, or conditions that need a level of expertise beyond that of a spouse or family members being able to handle alone.
Said softly in the middle of a regular “presser”, the idea was floated by Rhode Island’s Governor Raimondo at yesterday’s availability. “It’s time to totally re-imagine how we care for our seniors”. Challenging the existing care groups to think about redoing their medical and business model so that every senior in a nursing home had a single room and a single bathroom. She talked about specialty care and compensating those who do this work, mainly women and mainly minority women. Those of us who spend some time in nursing homes and see the farming of our loved ones into “congregate care” settings sat up straight when we heard those words. It doesn’t work that way – it would half the census of a home – but how more humane would it all be?
And there is money behind this grand idea. This human idea. This idea whose time came generations ago. It will come from the federal money given to states to fight COVID19. RINewsToday rushed to find information on a website – information that allows long term care settings, nursing homes, group homes, assisted living centers, home health groups, to apply – now – for these re-imaging ideas. Soon a press release came out, making the idea a little more formal, but there it was, nonetheless, an imagining moment put into a real project – with enormous potential for all of us.
Time to Consider Changes to RI’s Long-Term Care System
Investments to Create More Home-Based Care Options Amidst Spread of COVID-19 in Congregate Living Facilities
Governor Gina Raimondo announced a plan to expand home-based care options in Rhode Island as the state continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19 in congregate living facilities. Before COVID-19, 61% of the state’s long-term care recipients lived in nursing facilities, which have struggled to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 on residents and staff.
“This is the right direction for Rhode Island,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We have been in response mode, and our facilities and staff are doing their best, but as we continue to fight this virus, we need to reduce our reliance on nursing facilities and expand home-based care options. We also need to make sure that our direct care workforce is valued in institutions and in the community with training, support and good wages.”
Raimondo’s $25M plan includes investments in nursing facility supports to implement infection control, investments in capital and program changes to fundamentally re-orient the delivery of care in nursing facilities, and targeted investments to expand home-base care options, through home-based workforce incentives, training and supports. The state will also invest to assist families in better understanding long-term care options and accessing home-based care options when discharged from hospitals.
“The pandemic exposed structural and organizational weaknesses within the long-term care system — inadequate staffing, high turn-over, low pay and lack training” said Patrick Quinn, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 New England, “We need to build a more resilient long-term care system that gives consumers and their families more independence when choosing a long term care setting and creates a living wage for caregivers as we rebalance our long term care system and drive more investment to direct care of the elderly and individuals living with disabilities. The status quo in nursing homes and home care is failing Rhode Island residents and families which is unacceptable.”
“COVID-19’s impact on older adults and persons living with disabilities with long term care needs has been dramatic,” said Maureen Maigret, co-chair of the State’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council. “I am pleased the Governor has announced this long term supports and services resiliency plan. We need to reimagine how we deliver and finance long term care. To make home and community-based services – where persons overwhelmingly prefer to receive care — more accessible and to support our families in assisting their loved ones to remain at home. Our nursing homes provide essential services to those with high care needs. This plan will address the resources and workforce needed to better provide high quality, resident-centered care and nursing home care.”
“Historically, we’ve discharged thousands of hospital patients to nursing facilities every year. Times have changed now. Our colleagues are talking about this across the country. We need to build a system of home-based workforce and care that can work with us as we discharge patients safely to their homes to recover with the supports they need.” said Tim Babineau, CEO of Lifespan.
Further information is available on the Executive Office of Health & Human Services’ website at www.eohhs.ri.gov.
A response from the RI Partnership for Home Care
Home Care Providers Respond to Raimondo’s Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan Release
Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director for the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, issues the following statement regarding today’s announcement by Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) concerning the release of the State’s new ‘Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan’:
“Home care providers have not benefited from the State’s allocation of COVID-19 related funding and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs in parity with our nursing home colleagues to date. Our association is looking forward to working with Governor Raimondo and her administration to address the issues identified within the ‘Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan’. While the plan’s content does not adequately address the immediate funding and resource needs of home care providers, it is our desire to continue the dialogue with the Governor’s leadership team on maintaining a sustainable network of home care providers during the ongoing public health emergency for all Rhode Islanders in need, including COVID-19 survivors requiring post-acute and sub-acute home care services. The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care will continue to advocate for these needs, along with our proposals to save taxpayer dollars by rebalancing long-term care financing that shifts federal and state funds from costly nursing homes to strengthen home care operations and services, reduce taxpayer-funded duplication of state programs that provide lesser quality home care services, incentivize Rhode Islanders to choose home care as a career choice and a preferred healthcare setting to work, improve state case management of Medicaid beneficiaries and hold all home care providers accountable to the optimal healthcare delivery standards of the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care.”
About the RI Partnership for Home Care
Established in 1990, the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care (“The Partnership”) represents home care, home nursing care and hospice agencies licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health to serve patients and clients in every Rhode Island community. As the only association in our state to promote access to quality home healthcare, The Partnership is committed to promoting quality home healthcare service delivery, ethical healthcare business practices and positive patient and client outcomes to ensure that access to home care and hospice remains an integral component of our post-acute and long-term healthcare system.
Each week, RINewsToday drills down on the nursing home data and we publish the cases and deaths, as we hold a bright light on the fate of people we are losing – steadily – week in and week out – thankfully below 100 now – but we hear the stats every day – spoken by RIDOH’s Dr. Scott – “1 in their 70s, 2 in their 80s, 6 in their 90s, 2 over 100”.
This virus, it is said, “isn’t the big one” heading our way. Infectious disease sounds like it has come to stay as a concern. “Life may never return to normal,” the Governor said. So it’s time to blow up the system which seems pretty blown up anyway right about now – and get it as right as we can.
Disclosure – Aunt Alice, in the photo above, is 93 years old and lives in an average room in a nursing home. She and a roommate she never met live in this small room. Since the second week of March she has been restricted to her room because of the COVID19. There is about 2 feet of space on one side, a curtain on the other, right up against her bed, and a walkway with the bathroom door in front of her bed. She has had no visitors. She can’t eat with other residents, or have activities, or get her hair done, or walk to the windows. No one has come to visit. A month ago her roommate died. They’ve left her bed with a black plastic mattress on it – not made up, homelike. So far, no COVID-19, and for that we’re grateful. She calls often – midnight, 2am, 4am, 6am. She’s cold and wants a blanket. I call the nurse’s station at 4am because she can’t go out to ask them, and can’t figure out the call buzzer. And so it goes. She lived all on her own before this, in her own apartment, with more needs as time passed. A little fall landed her in the hospital – and now here. She had never even visited a nursing home before. And it’s one of the better ones. She takes no medication, and is about 100 lbs. She can be feisty.
One nursing home administrator in Warren, RI asked how he has kept the virus out of his facility. He said it was not some magic formula – it was two things – a small facility – and being in a community that isn’t dense and that has a small number of cases that draws its workforce from there.
We will go back to the words Gov. Raimondo spoke at the “presser” because these words have spirit behind them – they have a re-imagining behind them – and we encourage whatever groups begin to plan for this that they begin by some exercise every single time they meet, that gives them a moment to realize the greatness of the task before them. There’s $25Million to start – let’s not blow this, Rhode Island. We could change the world for our country, for the people we love, for the years that we have to look forward to as well. We are 1 million people. We’re a test site. We can do it.
One third of the prisoners at San Quentin Prison in California are probably infected now with the virus – 42% of the prison’s population are considered “medically vulnerable”.
All MLB games are off for the season.
Space Camp has resumed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center after shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
the operator of 1,200 Pizza Hut and nearly 400 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy, according to the company. Pizza Hut & Wendy’s, owned by the same company have filed for bankruptcy – they employ 7,500 full time and 28,500 part time workers throughout the US. This step is expected to help them restructure.
In Phoenix, Arizona: The governor ordered bars, nightclubs and water parks to close again for at least a month starting Monday night
Trenton, New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s postponing the restarting of indoor dining, possibly for weeks, because of a lack of compliance on face masks and social distancing
Philadelphia: The city is halting its plans to allow indoor dining, bars, gyms and fitness centers to reopen.
Quarantine rules for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have added eight new states where travelers will be required to quarantine. Added to the list were California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee, raising the total to 16 states under the quarantine orders.
The New York Subway is now equipped with touch screen PPE vending machines distributing masks, sanitizer, and gloves.
The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will go on, but without audience.
The CEO of Gilead, maker of remdesivir, estimated to cost over $3,000/dose, said, “We’re going to make sure that access is not an issue with this medicine”.
Lowe’s will up the pay of their staff as their business is booming during the pandemic.
Grocery supply chains tighten once again and prices rise.
Sports stadium designers are starting to re-imagine stadiums of the future with requirements for social distance seating, etc. See more, here: https://cnb.cx/2ByqFRc
RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY
Kent Hospital endoscopy unit temporarily closed due to potential exposure to COVID-19 – employees are being quarantined for 14 days.
Gov. Raimondo is featured in Oprah Magazine‘s article “Meet the Rockstar Governors Who Came to our Rescue”
Massachusetts casinos could reopen as soon as next week, but in the face of reduced capacity, Encore Boston Harbor announced plans Monday to furlough a substantial portion of its staff. Approximately 3,000 employees and managers will be furloughed
Maine did not release the quarantine requirement for travelers coming from RI.
All Providence pools will be closed for the season – water parks are open.
Providence may reassign 40% of students to their neighborhood schools.
Kountry Clam Shack, a new addition to the menu at the Kountry Kitchen in Smithfield has opened, offering outdoor dining,
MA Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he was relaxing the state’s 14-day self-quarantine guidance for visitors, exempting people arriving from seven other states in the Northeast that are making progress in the battle against the coronavirus. The update to the self-quarantine advisory, effective July 1, applies to people coming to Massachusetts from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
These campgrounds are open in RI:
• Burlingame State Campground, Charlestown
• Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
• Fishermen’s Memorial Campground, Narragansett
• George Washington Memorial Campground, Glocester
Findings of a Fleming study for the Hassenfeld Institute:
*Sixty-six percent of Rhode Island voters said the Governor is opening the State at the right pace
*Almost two-thirds of Rhode Islanders said they are very or somewhat comfortable returning to work outside the home
*More than half of Rhode Islanders are somewhat or very uncomfortable dining in a restaurant
*Voters are divided if they are comfortable attending religious services
*Sixty-five percent of Rhode Island voters said they are very or somewhat comfortable going to a barber or hair salon
*Rhode Islanders are divided on if they are comfortable sending students in K thru 12 back to school in the fall
*Voters between the ages of 40 and 59, Republicans and people who earn over $200K are the most comfortable with doing things outside the home.
*Over three-fourths of voters said that unemployment is a big or moderate problem
This week Mass. reported 0 new coronavirus deaths one day for the first time in months
Woonsocket’s Autumnfest is canceled
Dragon Boat Races in Pawtucket canceled
King Richard’s Faire canceled
Showcase will reopen Friday and will run old movies.
Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market will reopened Wednesday.
Providence Libraries opened Wednesday. Brief visits, outdoor seating, no public computers yet (but coming soon). Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing.
Oatley’s Restaurant in North Kingstown will not open.
Newport International Boat Show will not be held this year.
Deaths: 6. 1 in 40s, 2 in 60s, 1 in 70s, 1 in 80s, 1 in 90s. (4 were in long term care)
Data will be updated Thurs & Fri, not weekend and not Monday – then again on Tuesday.
Gov’s updates won’t take place now until next Tuesday.
4th of July: We can have fun, but please follow the rules – masks, distancing, sanitizing. Don’t want to see a spike in 2, 3, 4 weeks. No more than 250 people at any events. 6 feet apart, or where your mask. Every city/town will get 1,000 masks to distribute. RIDEM will also distribute masks this weekend at masks and parks.
Inspections: More than 90% compliance with mask wearing by customers and employees. Not so good news is issue of congregating in lines at beaches, bars. 18% of bar inspections not adequate social distancing – we need to do better, don’t want to shut them down.
Senior care support from state: Continuing wage bonuses for front line workers. Immediate relief for costs with additional cleaning, PPE purchases. Increase nursing home inspections. High standards for infection control – hold nursing homes responsible for infection control.
NEW: Support and provision for nursing homes to totally reimagine care for seniors: How can they accommodate single rooms, single bathrooms, specialty units. Innovate, change business, change clinical and business model to be better and stronger – learn from lessons we’ve learned. Grow and strengthen our home based systems to have better options other than nursing homes. Hard to find home care community supports so RI will commit to make it easier for you to provide care and make nursing homes more innovative. Job training for home care. Options for nights, weekends, holidays, overnights. Working with hospitals so family can receive options at discharge of loved ones. Many direct care workers are women, and women of color – important we make these jobs good paying jobs, career jobs. Going to use Covid funds to support this.
ChildCare: 70% of childcare providers have opened their doors. Additional $5M from Cares for structural changes to help centers get open. DHS partnering with LISC to provide funds.
Kathy Gregg story on BCG Contract – Gov says she has been transparent – expenditures are online – no? – I was moving fast and I’ll defend it all along. $2M pro bono work, we were impressed with them, and we gave them a contract to go ahead. They helped us figure out testing, contact tracing – they embedded in our teams and helped us figure it out. “It’s been excellent”.
Rental Assistance: WPRI’s Kim Kalunian asked about distribution of rental assistance money. “We partnered with Crossroads RI and it’s not going as fast as it needs to.” Said they are getting more involved to figure out how it needs to work faster. Housing Help RI – if you are behind on your rent call Crossroads or go to HousingHelpRI – there is money available – “we haven’t done a good job about getting the money out – we will do better”. Expect a spike in evictions in August – hope to have a mediation program to announce next week.
UI Boost: Will UI continue? This is what’s buoying the economy at the moment – what will we do? Economists are predicting bad consequences beginning in August. “I think it will be devastating if we don’t get another stimulus” – everything will be on the table – devastating cuts, massive layoffs, etc. Trump administration supports another stimulus as does every governor and our federal legislators. Looks like we will get another one in last week of July. Don’t know about PPP. Don’t know about extra $600. RI is preparing for everything.
HEZ – Health Equity Zones – how much money in budget? Gov. says she does not know, as it will depend on budget scenario. “It’s a priority of mine that we will continue to invest in.” But I don’t know the numbers.
Pawtucket stadium project – Tidewater Landing – with coronavirus problems – “It’s slower and harder” – company continues to raise money – Gov says, “no, we’re not even close to throwing in the towel on the development”. Re McCoy – we have to look at all options – single A and double A teams were interested, but the world has changed now. We need to get back to it.
Nursing Homes: Phase 3 – Can people see their loved ones now? We do have drive-by with some nursing homes. Closest way and safest way right now. Next week some more developments should be announced. Mental health assistance for those family members who have lost loved ones in nursing homes – Director Power has contacted nursing home team to offer behavioral health services.
RIPTA: Has state looked at giving out masks here? Dr. Scott: absolutely. And looking at more locations for masks, sanitizers and social distancing info.
Elderly deaths every day: Assisted living and nursing homes still experiencing deaths every day. Virus continues to be present – still targeted to frail and elderly for the most part – while cases are lower, deaths are lower, but are still occurring.
DEATHS: 720 Deaths have taken place in nursing homes; 45 in assisted living facilities. Total deaths are 956 – this means 80% of all deaths were people in nursing homes/assisted living facilities.
Hospital visitations: will announce next week
PPE Petition for release of funds by Lt. Gov. – you can look for info on transparency portal and it’s updated monthly.