1540 WADK.com Updates

Chiropractors: Help Straighten Up RI!


Chiropractors: Help Straighten Up, RI!

anuary 19, 2021/RINewsToday


Have you spent the pandemic hunched over your computer or not moving around too much? The Chiropractic Society of RI looks to help Ocean Staters improve spinal health with Straighten Up, RI campaign. 


While staying home, working and learning from home, has helped fight the pandemic, it’s taken a toll on many Rhode Islanders in terms of their back and spinal health. The Straighten Up, RI campaign, sponsored by the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI), seeks to remedy that with on-going advice from the Ocean State’s chiropractic physicians.


Dr. Kristin Fabris, a chiropractic physician at Be Well Chiropractic in Providence, RI and Dr. Michael Gottfried, a chiropractic physician at Aquidneck Chiropractic in Middletown, RI discuss the launch of the Straighten Up, RI campaign that kicks of January 15, 2021 and the associated how to find health and wellness tips.


Spoiler alert, Dr. K strongly recommends a 2 minute dance party to break up the stress.



Straighten Up Tip #1





For the better part of the last year, Rhode Islanders, along with the world, have hunkered down for the pandemic. While staying home, working and learning from home, has helped fight the pandemic, it’s taken a toll on many Rhode Islanders in terms of their back and spinal health. The Straighten Up, RI campaign, sponsored by the Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI), seeks to remedy that with on-going advice from the Ocean State’s chiropractic physicians.


Starting January 15, 2021, the Straighten Up, RI campaign will begin a campaign to get Rhode Islanders moving and address overall back health. It will feature articles, videos and blogs at www.StraightenUpRI.com covering a range of topics on stretching, home office ergonomics, pain reduction and overall wellness during and beyond the pandemic. 


“With this campaign, we look to educate and inform, Rhode Islanders and, most of all, get them moving to improve overall back health, reduce chronic pain, and stay well—during the remainder of the pandemic and beyond,” said Dr. Kristin Fabris, a chiropractic physician at Be Well Chiropractic in Providence and a member of CSRI’s board of directors. “


The Straighten up, RI campaign will address such topics as: How to move during Covid (Tips for online yoga, T’ai Chi, and basic exercises/stretches); Working from home (Tips for improving posture and ergonomic setup for workstation); Schooling from home (What’s the best ergonomic set up for kids? How do you keep the kids active and keep screen time to a minimum); Keep moving from home for Seniors (Basic movements, exercises, stretches and resources for seniors who are mostly indoors at this time); and Tips for maintaining Spinal Health (Wellness tips from Rhode Island’s leading chiropractors). 


The Straighten Up, RI campaign offers sponsorship opportunities for businesses and organizations looking to help spread the message of health and wellness during the pandemic. Sponsorship opportunities include three levels: Naming sponsorship – $5,000; Partner sponsorship – $2,500; and Friend sponsorship – $1,000. 


Interested sponsors should contact Dr. Kristin Fabris at bewelldr@gmail.com  or 401-(401) 337-5684.


To generate as much helpful content as possible, CSRI invites all Rhode Island chiropractors to participate. There’s no fee involved. Content can be submitted by e-mail to director@richiro.org.


“We’ve extended this campaign to CSRI members and other RI chiropractors so that we can help get the word out to as many Rhode Islanders as possible,” said Dr. Michael Gottfried, a CSRI board member and chiropractic physician at Aquidneck Chiropractic in Middletown, RI. “When it comes to keeping people healthy during the pandemic, it literally is all hands on deck.”


About Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island (CSRI)


Founded in 1918, CSRI is one of the oldest chiropractic associations in the United States and represents more than 25 percent of the chiropractic physicians in the Ocean State. In addition to providing a regional voice for chiropractors in the business and legislative arenas, CSRI also helps educate the general public on the benefits of chiropractic. Those all-natural benefits can include relief from headaches, asthma, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel, colic, and stress, just to name a few. The Chiropractic Society of Rhode Island is located at 1272 West Main Road, Building 2, Middletown, RI 02842. For more information, call (401) 207-0700 or visit www.RIchiro.org.



In Health care, follow the money

20210116-161333-20190929-124352-simon peter

In health care, follow the money – ConvergenceRI

January 19, 2021/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


Article submitted by Peter Simon:


A history lesson provided Dr. Peter Simon about the importance of asking the right questions


It is almost always about money. Whether the subject is defense spending, food policy, road building, and yes, education, what I have learned over the years is that to understand the politics, you need to follow the money.


How did I learn this, other than reading books like Confessions of an Economic Hitman? I listened to stories told by my mentors in Social Medicine, and I observed how health policies were designed to limit the power of government oversight of insurance companies and hospitals.


As Will Rogers used to say, nothing teaches us quite as well as seeing it up front, close and personal.


The color of money
Two events have shaped my attitude about the importance of following the money.


Understanding what is happening in our health care delivery “system” – what some have called a “wealth extraction process” – is not easy, looking in from the outside.


My first lesson about health care financing happened in the late 1970s. I was working in the Division of Epidemiology as a rookie medical epidemiologist, supervised by a career epidemiologist assigned to Rhode Island by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].


We had just received one of the first federal grants to establish a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in the nation. Dr. Faich asked me to serve as the medical director for the Program; one of my first tasks was to review the performance of the clinical team following cases of lead poisoning that would be our official “go to” medical home for these children and families.


It made sense to continue to work with the team at Rhode Island Hospital, led by Dr. Jeff Brown, MD, and Lois Brown, RN, who had started screening and treatment in the late 1960s.


My review of their performance confirmed that impression. I had finished my pediatric training at Rhode Island Hospital and knew most of the staff in the Ambulatory Section of the Department of Pediatrics, directed at the time by Dr. John O’Shea, MD.


After reviewing a dozen or so records, I was impressed that the care was comprehensive, culturally competent and well coordinated with the staff of the R.I. Department of Health, which was doing inspections and enforcement of lead hazard reduction practices and interventions.


Over the first few years of the program, screening volume grew in other clinical settings as well through outreach into high-prevalence neighborhoods during the summer months, using trained college-age screeners to collect finger stick specimens, going door-to-door in neighborhoods with loads of old housing in poor condition.


The population referred to the clinic at Rhode Island Hospital grew substantially. Program staff participated in the clinic to assure that referrals were completed and the information needed for our lead hazard assessment to be scheduled could be captured.


Too much volume
About a year after being awarded the grant from the Center for Environmental Health at CDC, I got a call from Dr. O’Shea that there was a problem he needed to discuss with me. That afternoon, I showed up at his office, where he told me that the Chief Financial Officer of Rhode Island Hospital was not happy about the mounting losses that the hospital was taking by operating the Lead Poisoning clinic.


I was a bit unsure at the time about the number of children who were uninsured, so I asked for a bit of time to review our records. The next day, I reviewed all the files for children being followed by the clinic and confirmed that they were entirely insured, mostly by the Medicaid program. I shared this with Dr. O’Shea and suggested that we sit down with someone from the Finance Office to see how it could be that the hospital was losing money when there were no uninsured patients.


I heard nothing for two weeks. Dr. O’Shea’s secretary called, finally, with a date and time to meet with the finance folks. At that meeting, a very junior person reported again that the clinic would have to be discontinued because of losses incurred. I asked how it could be that a hospital could be losing money taking care of children insured primarily by Medicaid, since I knew that the law gave cost-based reimbursement to hospital providers. I got no answer.


After failing to get any concessions from the hospital, there was nothing left to do but find another place to hold a clinic for treating lead-poisoned children identified through our screening program.


Luckily, St. Joseph Hospital was willing to adopt the clinic and Dr. Brown was able to go along with the children to continue to follow and treat them.


About a month after the clinic at St. Joe’s had started to operate, I ran into the Chief of Pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital at a reception for the newly arrived President of Brown University. The Chief saw me entering the home used to house the President and called me over. Our families had become friendly, so I knew him better than most young pediatricians in Rhode Island.


Before I could say “hello,” he angrily said to me: “Peter, if the Lead Clinic is not returned to Rhode Island Hospital, I will embarrass you publicly.”


It took me a second to respond by asking him if Dr. O’Shea had shared with him how the clinic had been forced to leave by leadership of the hospital. He said nothing, and I turned and walked away.


Lesson Two
Lesson Two occurred 35 years later. I was asked by the Director of the R.I. Department of Health to attend a meeting between the department and the TB Clinic run by the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Miriam Hospital.


The TB Clinic was not a responsibility of my Division, but I did what I was asked. The meeting was held in the conference room outside the door of the Director of Health. There were staff from our Division of Disease Control and staff from the Miriam Hospital, along with the president of the hospital.


I listened but said nothing. It was a deja vu feeling that came over me as I heard the Miriam staff talk about the financial losses to the hospital. Our Division of Disease Control had a small contract with the Clinic, but it fell short of making up their “losses.”


Finally, after a little discussion about volume of cases and services that were responsible for their losses, they turned to me and asked if I had anything to share. I asked one question: Were any of them present when the reimbursement rates for the clinic were negotiated with the payers?


The answer was: no. I then asked what they had done internally at the hospital to meet with their payers to show them the losses from rates that were set too low. Same response: nope.


Moral of the history lessons
I never heard anything about how the issue was resolved, other to ask whether the contract with the TB clinic had been renegotiated. It had not.


So, what explains their practice of negotiating reimbursement rates inadequate to meet their costs, you ask? The answer is complicated and I hesitate to tell you my conclusion: but since hospitals often use losses to help them with fundraising, I will leave you to ponder further.


Dr. Peter Simon, MD, a retired pediatrician and epidemiologist, is a frequent contributor to ConvergenceRI


To read entire story: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/in-health-care-follow-the-money,6278



Richard Asinof


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.


Your Coronavirus Update - January 19, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Jan. 19, 2021

January 19, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Gillette Stadium doing healthcare workers in mass vaccinations, 500 a day, leading up to 5,000 a day, eventually the general public. – CBS, Boston


Rhode Island & Vicinity


No mass vaccination sites have been announced. Schools are being informally mentioned for the future, as well as the Sockanosset facility in Cranston, to be run by the RI National Guard. Also mentioned turning testing sites over to vaccination sites.


Governor Raimondo will no longer appear at RI coronavirus state update press conferences. Dr. Scott will take over. No update has been scheduled so far this week.


Lt. Gov. McKee will hold a live update, particularly for small businesses, but also touching on other topics at NOON TODAY: https://www.facebook.com/LGDanMcKee/ [facebook.com]


Massachusetts has identified its first case of COVID-19 variant virus.


Connecticut residents aged 75+ can now schedule vaccines, though it is expected that, for now, demand will exceed supply.


RI has received approx. 108,000 doses and administered approximately 48,000 vaccines.


40% of nursing home staff have not been vaccinated and that number is expected to decrease in 2nd round of visits to nursing homes.


Massachusetts is pondering mixing vaccinations and voting for an upcoming special election.


New rules in Massachusestts take effect for students learning from home. Live instruction must be 3.5 hours a day for hybrid models and 4 hours a day for fully remote schools.


One Massachusetts vendor is offering those who get vaccinated at Gillette a free big pretzel.


New Bedford is demanding a local mass vaccination site in the SouthCoast area for their residents.


The Boston Marathon is setting up a virtual training room for those who would normally have participated in the marathon, which is being canceled for 2021.


As of Fri, 1/15, 51,220 vaccines were administered – 41,977 were first doses. 72,175 doses have been delivered to the state – leaving 20,955 unused at this point.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island said making telemedicine rules created during the pandemic permanent ‘may not necessarily achieve the goals of high quality, affordable care,’


1,549 doses have been given out in Central Falls, extending now to pharmacies and healthcare providers to reach more people.


An online registry for people to sign up for vaccinations is “being considered” but nothing developed yet.


What identification will be required when the public or non-groups are vaccinated is being “talked about” but no decision yet.


A new testing site has been located in Johnston at St. Jesus Church – check RIDOH’s site for hours.


Rhode Island officials have seen a spike in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of the year,


A new asymptomatic testing site has been set up at Roger Williams Park Zoo


From Lt.. Gov. Dan McKee – updates:


Incoming Governor McKee spoke separately with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont to discuss how their states will cooperate to achieve an effective pandemic response and economic recovery in the region. He also met with Rhode Island State Police Colonel James Manni earlier this week. The Colonel updated the Incoming Governor on how the State Police has adapted its public safety operations during COVID-19 and highlighted their role in Rhode Island’s pandemic response.


McKee met with RI’s Office of Management & Budget. The Incoming Governor will be submitting a budget to the General Assembly in March.


Reimburse states for deploying the National Guard to support vaccinations, and provide additional FEMA assistance.


Massachusetts is removing its flu vaccine requirement for students due to data showing a mild flu season


Over 180 dealers at Twin River will have their hours cut, which will also cut off their healthcare, according to media reports.



This Thursday at a special Cranston City Council meeting city council Vice-President Edward Brady and Council President Councilman Chris Paplauskas in a bi-partisan effort, will be introducing a resolution in support of our small businesses. The resolution asks Governor Raimondo to act without delay to allow small businesses to resume their normal operating hours. If the state cannot remove the restriction, we respectfully ask the state to advocate for financial dollars on behalf of impacted small businesses:



From Dr. Alexander-Scott to Rhode Islanders:

Right now, the biggest challenge facing Rhode Island’s vaccine program – like most other states throughout the country – is that we are not receiving a lot of vaccine. Still, we are doing the best we can with what we have. To date, we have administered more than 51,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That puts Rhode Island near the top of the CDC’s rankings of states by the number of doses administered per capita. Our systems are working, and I’m proud of the job we’re doing. Getting those doses administered is very operationally complex. From beginning to end, it involves ordering, shipping, receiving, redistribution, and more. We’re grateful to everyone throughout the state who is working to make that happen.

I want to provide a little more detail on who has been vaccinated this week:
Almost all of the nursing homes in the state were visited once.Many hospital workers are receiving their second doses now. Urgent care staff and respiratory clinic staff are getting vaccinated, and we are continuing to hold clinics for EMS personnel, school nurses, and others.The Rhode Island National Guard is operating a clinic at Sockanosset for people who are doing COVID-19 testing, some pharmacy staff, and staff from our two Alternate Hospital Sites.Some limited vaccinating is still happening in Central Falls.

There was a lot of news this week about the federal government urging states to vaccinate people who are 65 years of age and older. We want to get vaccine to people older than 65 too. The limiting factor is not federal rules, or our approach in Rhode Island. The limiting factor is the amount of vaccine we are getting. We are getting 14,000 first doses of vaccine a week. There are close to 190,000 people in Rhode Island who are 65 years of age and older. It would not be honest or fair of us to say that all Rhode Islanders older than 65 can get vaccinated tomorrow, because we just don’t have the vaccine.
We’ve seen the confusion and frustration that has resulted in states that have opened eligibility to groups that they did not have enough vaccine for. In Rhode Island, we are vaccinating older adults incrementally and thoughtfully. That means that when we tell you you can get vaccinated, you know that there is a real, physical vaccine waiting for you – not just that you fall into a broad category that is eligible to get a vaccine when we eventually have one. Please know that if we could, we would make sure that everyone got vaccinated immediately. But we’re just not getting enough vaccine right now, so we’re doing the best we can with what we have.
I know that there is tremendous demand for vaccine, and I understand why. Frankly, this high demand gives me hope. This has been an enormously trying 10 months for so many Rhode Islanders. There will come a time when vaccine will be available for every person who wants to get vaccinated in Rhode Island. Until that time comes, we’re asking for you to be patient, and to take all the other steps we know can help keep you and the people you love safe. That means wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands regularly.
Nicole-Alexander Scott, MD, MPHDirector, Rhode Island Department of Health


National & International


Melinda Gates said: “It’s a shame the situation that we’re in today with so much vaccine widely available, but not yet actually given to people.” As of Friday, only about a third of the 30 million vaccination doses distributed so far in the U.S. have been administered


President-elect Biden said he would deploy the National Guard and FEMA to help with mass vaccinations around the US..


Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar will resign when President-elect Joe Biden takes office, citing the Capitol riots in his resignation letter.


New Jersey identifies smoking as high-risk for coronavirus vaccination – one of two states to do so


4 States are in Phase 2 vaccination – Michigan, New York, Utah and Virginia


The US has ordered 600 million more Moderna doses.


Officials in Essex County, New Jersey sat down, about a month before vaccinations began, on Dec. 26, to work out a plan to vaccinate residents, as highlighted in the Wall Street Journal. Before getting a vaccination, residents make an appointment by calling or answering a few short questions on the county’s website. They are then sent a unique number to bring with them to check in at a vaccination site before receiving a shot; the visit usually takes about 20 minutes. police officers and sheriff’s deputies usher doses of Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine to sites. Extra shots are rushed to the local prison and promptly injected so they don’t go to waste. College students and laid-off moms volunteer to work at registration desks and answer phones. Patients who receive shots at schools line up 6 feet apart next to gym lockers.


Starbucks is partnering with Washington state to consult on vaccination models. Oregon’s governor is encouraging states to partner with an operations-based company who knows how to do detailed efforts like this.


Portugal’s public health system is on the verge of collapsing as hospitals in the areas worst-affected by a worrying surge in coronavirus cases are quickly running out of intensive care beds to treat COVID-19 patients.


47 tennis players are in strict hotel quarantine after four coronavirus cases were detected on flights to Melbourne for the Australian Open.


West Virginia uses local pharmacists, not just big chains. Smaller states are not served as much by chains such as CVS and Walgreens are in larger states.


2,600 Houston vaccination appointments get booked up in 16 minutes


Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the U.S. is “weeks away, not months away” from considering the approval of new coronavirus vaccines US Approval of AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson Vaccines Likely ‘Weeks Away’


The world is on the brink of “catastrophic moral failure” in sharing COVID-19 vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Monday, urging countries and manufacturers to spread doses more fairly around the world.


Suicide rates in Japan have jumped in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among women and children, even though they fell in the first wave


A California man who told police that the coronavirus pandemic left him afraid to fly has been arrested on charges that he hid in a secured area at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for three months.


India Kicks Off A Massive COVID-19 Vaccination Drive


CVS Health “has more than 90,000 trained health care professionals standing by, with the capacity to administer approximately 1 million shots per day through our 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country once the federal program is fully activated.’


The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are “essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease,” Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said. “It’s ridiculously encouraging.”


Creative in Lichfield, England…

Posted in 


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Free masks were handed out on MLK Day in two Rhode Island cities hard-hit by COVID.  The ACLU says Providence police need to do a better job of using their body cameras.  Trouble for a Rhode Island-based contender in the America's Cup yacht race.

>>Masks Distributed For MLK Day Of Service

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Celebrating Martin Luther King Day as a day of service.  That's what volunteers did in Pawtucket and Central Falls on Monday when they handed out face masks to residents.  According to a WPRI-TV report, the city of Pawtucket distributed over twenty-thousand free masks yesterday.  Pawtucket and Central Falls have been some of the hardest-hit communities in Rhode Island during the coronavirus pandemic.

>>ACLU: Providence Officers Must Do Better Job With Body Cameras

(Providence, RI)  --  The ACLU of Rhode Island is calling on the Providence Police Department to shore up its body camera policy.  The organization describes instances of officers failing to activate their cameras as a persistent problem with not a lot of repercussions, and says this undermines the transparency promised by the cameras.  The ACLU points out there have been three highly-publicized incidents of alleged police misconduct in the capital city within the last year in which officers failed to activate their cameras.  In a statement reported by WJAR-TV, Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements defended the police department's camera usage and said internal audits have shown most of the time that officers' actions were appropriate.

>>Providence Man Arrested On Drug And Gun Charges

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is facing gun and drug charges.  Police reportedly executed a search warrant on Friday at the Cromwell Street apartment of George Estrella and seized drugs and guns.  Estrella faces charges including possession with intent to deliver fentanyl and methamphetamine.

>>Gas Prices Go Up In Ocean State

(Undated)  --  Gas prices are increasing in Rhode Island.  The website RIGasPrices.com indicates the current average is two dollars and thirty-four cents per gallon.  That's an increase of 16 cents from one month ago.  The current national average is two-thirty-nine.

>>America's Cup Hopeful Capsizes

(New Zealand)  --  A sailing team based in Rhode Island is dealing with difficult times in its effort to challenge for the America's Cup.  The New York Yacht Club, under the team name American Magic, says its yacht capsized during a qualifying race in New Zealand on Sunday and was damaged.  The crew was safe.  The plan is to get the boat back in action and to continue contending.

>>Giraffe At Providence Zoo Has Died

(Providence, RI)  --  A beloved giraffe at the Roger Williams Park Zoo has died.  The zoo announced last week that "Tufani", a nine-year-old, had been dealing with a medical issue and efforts to treat her were unsuccessful.  The zoo is encouraging people to share their memories on its Facebook page for the benefit of the giraffe's keepers.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) NY) 
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-19-2021 01:11:40


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - a day of service, honor

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a day of service, honor

January 18, 2021/RINewsToday


This year MLK Day seems more significant than ever. Maybe it’s because we’ve come through a year of racial tension and unrest. Maybe it’s because of the political climate that has torn the country apart. But tomorrow is a day to stop and honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Whether you choose a day of “pause”, which can be so restorative, personally, or a day of activity in recognition and service, Monday is a day not to gloss over as a “day off”.


Here’s some thoughts for you and your family.


In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service. MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off”


In the Blackstone Valley:


Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful has some suggestions.


You can simply get outside and do a small cleanup on your street, neighborhood, or nearby open lot on this (or any day)!


Small actions also matter and by sharing a social media post about helping the environment with your friends using #GreenBlackstone for them to share or talking to your children about litter, we can increase the reach of these important messages. Big actions are always welcome too, such as joining a cleanup or organizing a litter cleanup with your school, scout group or office is easy… and Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful is here to help if you need. You can also offer ideas for meaningful projects KBVB might partner on, or maybe consider sharing your knowledge to expand their understanding of important environmental issues.


You can sign up today to become a Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful volunteer HERE


Woonsocket Harris Public Library has Martin Luther King Jr. Take and Make Craft Kits.


The Woonsocket MLK Community Committee is hosting on Monday, January 18 @ 2:00 pm a virtual Community Conversation in Civil Rights.


The Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Celebration with the City of Central Falls will be held on Monday, January 18, at 5:00 .


From Dr. Michael Fine:


“Our culture is out of control. Cell phones which allow no privacy. Sexting and hook-ups. Video games that confuse reality with violent sexualized fantasies.  Narcissism. Consumerism. Isolation.  Arrogance. Greed. Fractured families, in which people who should only love one another don’t speak because of politics, because of the division and discord dreamed up by people with something to sell, in the interest of profit which has become the only value of our culture.  We no longer think about the right thing to do.  We are completely focused on the upside, on the business model, how any and every thought and idea can be monetized, on what’s in it for me, not on what is best for one another and for our democracy.


Scratch us, and we are decent people.  Kind people.  Respectful people.  Caring people.  People who believe deeply in the very democracy that is slipping through our fingers.


What is to be done?


It is time to hit the pause button.  To take a step backward.  To listen instead of speak.  To walk instead of run.  To think about repentance for what we’ve thought and done as each of us, trying to find the best path, have missed the mark.  To make space for other people, with other ideas.  To seek reconciliation before it is too late.


Some of us want to focus on Donald J. Trump, the President. Others want to focus on Joe Biden, the President-elect. We think it is time to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and a host of other brave men and women of all colors and kinds, from all traditions, who said and say the same thing, over and over again. Feed the hungry. Cloth the naked. House the homeless. Let justice well up as the waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.  Dr King himself said the “a riot is the language of the unheard,” that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and that “we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.” We would do well to listen close and listen now.


Let’s honor his memory and use his day to heal this nation.  Let’s fast and fall silent, listening for the still small voice of that which remains great within us.  Let’s gather and walk, in every city and town, silently. Let’s reflect on our own transgressions before our passions push this nation, and our democracy, over the edge.


We fasted and walked on January 15. We hope you will find a way to honor Dr. King and reflect on healing in this country, today.


Michael Fine


Marcus Mitchell


In Pawtucket



The City of Pawtucket, Project Health CV, YMCA of Pawtucket, Mixed Magic Theatre and the Pawtucket Foundation with donations from the Pawtucket-Central Falls Health Equity Zone will host a service day in remembrance of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and be providing over 20,000 FREE masks for the community. No information will be asked! Please see flyer for more details. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dedication to service and community is an example to all of us to how we should serve our community especially during the pandemic.


At the MLK Center in Newport



In celebration of Dr. King’s 92nd birthday, the MLK Center will hold a special MLK Day Grab ‘n Go meal on Monday, January 18th (MLK Day) from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in service for those in need and to celebrate his life. A festive meal and sides will be served, plus a delicious dessert treat. Masks required, and no eating on-site permitted. Please note that all Grab ‘n Go meals have moved around the corner to our Edward St. entrance for the colder months ahead.


With Stages of Freedom



Attend “Where Do We Go From Here” – a free 4-day Webinar & Film Festival – January 15 – 18, 2021


17 Virtual Events to Celebrate MLK’s Legacy with Your Kids.


Tap to Learn More





The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is an official day of service and celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy.


Observed each year on the third Monday in January as “a day on, not a day off,” MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. AmeriCorps has been charged with leading this effort for the past quarter century.


AmeriCorps is collaborating with the Presidential Inaugural Committee on the MLK National Day of Service.


Together we encourage you to engage in volunteer service in honor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. If you are hosting a service project, please register it on the Presidential Inaugural website. Make a commitment to serve in your community on MLK Day and throughout 2021.



Monday, January 18 – 9am – 8pm EST


Virtual event – Join from anywhere – Hosted in Warwick, RI



About this event


With all basic public health precautions taking place, we thought that our advocacy to the public at-large we be to have a Card & Note Writing Campaign to have people adopt their local First-Responders, area Hospital Personnel for such dedication and Patients befallen with the Virus tolerating such adversity as a ‘caring’ method to celebrate service to community.



On January 18, 2021, thousands of volunteers across the country will participate in the National Day of Service – an opportunity for all Americans to unite and serve at a time when the global pandemic calls on us to work together and support our communities. The day will culminate in an hour-long celebration that will feature a diverse array of entertainers, inspiring speakers, and stories of service celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to service.


Special guests include Aloe Blacc, Rev. Dr. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III, Chesca, Rep. Sharice Davids, Rosario Dawson, Andra Day, Yo-Yo Ma, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sean Patrick Thomas, Diane Warren, Lynn Whitfield, Bebe Winans, and more.


Rhode Island Martin Luther King Jr. celebration goes virtual. 



Here’s how to watch:


Rhode Island Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission in the midst of Covid 19, delivers Rhode Island residents a Celebration virtually.  


The Celebration will feature musical selections by RPM Voices. Award presentation includes the Living Dream Award to former State Senator Harold Metts and Community Service Award recipient is former Richmond Town Councilor B. Joe Reddish III.  The Dr. King essay contest winners will also be presented during the virtual  


The Celebration will air for two weeks beginning Monday, January 18 at 7p.m. on Capitol TV, Cox Channel 15  and Verizon Channel 34.  Viewers can also live stream the presentation on RILegislature.gov/Capitol TV on Channel 1. 


Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission was created administer, in conjunction with the federal Martin Luther King Day Commission and the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, an appropriate celebration to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, which is observed on the third Monday in January each year.



Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The National Guard is helping protect the Rhode Island Capitol.  A local doctor's license is suspended for allegedly exposing others to COVID-19.  The National Weather Service says Providence recorded its warmest-ever average temperature last year.

>>Heavy Security Presence At Rhode Island Capitol

(Providence, RI)  --  The National Guard and Rhode Island State Police are protecting the RI State House ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.  Humvees could be seen driving around the building this weekend, as well as soldiers with "military police" displayed on tactical vests.  Officials say they are not aware of local credible threats at this time.  The Rhode Island National Guard has also been deployed to Washington, DC ahead of Wednesday's inauguration.

>>Doctor Suspended By State For Alleged Virus Exposure

(North Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Health Department has issued an emergency suspension of a doctor's license for allegedly exposing patients and staff members to COVID-19.  Dr. Anthony Farina of North Providence is accused of continuing to come to work after testing positive and knowingly exposing others last November.  Farina, who operates at least a half-dozen practices in the state, strongly denies the allegations and plans to file an appeal.

>>CVS Statement Released After Biden's COVID Update

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  CVS Health is reacting to President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 update on Friday.  The Woonsocket-based company said it agrees with Biden that pharmacies will play a critical role in the next phase of the vaccine rollout and expressed appreciation for his leadership in the pandemic response.  CVS says it has the ability to administer one-million shots per day through its ten-thousand pharmacy locations across the U.S. once the federal program is fully activated.

[[ note nature ]]

>>More Details From Last Week's Double-Murder In Lincoln

(Lincoln, RI)  --  A Lincoln man is being charged with murdering a couple in the town.  Timothy McQuesten was arraigned in Kent County District Court on Friday and was ordered to undergo a competency hearing.  Authorities say Kimberly and Mark Dupre suffered blunt-force trauma injuries, possibly from a hammer.  McQuesten reportedly knew the Dupres.  He called police after the incident at their apartment last week and referred to the killings, leading police to get a warrant and search his dwelling where they found evidence.

>>Last Year Was Warmest Average Temperature On Record For Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  The National Weather Service has posted its 2020 climate summary for Providence.  The weather service says the Rhode Island capital city saw its warmest year on record.  The average temperature was 54 degrees, breaking the record set in 2012 by two-tenths of a degree.  The weather service also says less than half the normal amount of snow fell in Providence last year, but the precipitation total was close to average.

>>Bill Introduced To Increase RI Minimum Wage

(Providence, RI)  --  New legislation is being introduced to increase Rhode Island's minimum wage.  State Senator Ana Quezada, a Providence Democrat, wants to gradually raise the wage up to 15 dollars an hour in 2024.  The legislation has been referred to the Rhode Island Senate Committee on Labor.  Currently, the wage is eleven dollars and fifty cents.

>>Report: Patriots Offensive Coordinator Considered For Eagles Head Coaching Job

(Foxboro, MA)  --  Another member of the New England Patriots staff is being considered for a head coaching position.  The Athletic reported offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was set to meet with the Philadelphia Eagles about their open position this weekend.  McDaniels would be the second member of the Pats coaching staff to line up for the Eagles gig, following inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.

Jim McCabe/bs          RI) PHL)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-18-2021 01:12:32


Leonard Lardaro measures RI's economic climate

Leonard Lardaro measures RI’s economic climate

January 15, 2021/RINewsToday


The Current Conditions Index, created by URI Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro, measures the strength of the present economic climate in Rhode Island by following the behavior of 12 indicators pertaining to housing, retail sales, fiscal pressures, the employment situation, and labor supply:

  • Government Employment
  • Employment Services Jobs*
  • Retail Sales
  • University of Michigan US Consumer Sentiment Index**
  • Single-Unit Housing Permits
  • Private Service-Producing Employment***
  • Manufacturing Man-hours****
  • Average Hourly Manufacturing Wage
  • Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate
  • Resident Labor Force
  • New Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance Regular Benefit Exhaustions


Rhode Island’s overall Current Conditions Index (CCI) value returned to 25 in the month of November, returning to where it sat for the bulk of the summer after dipping to 17 during the month of October.


While this is a slight improvement, URI economist Leonard Lardaro notes this is far below where the economy stood in January and February of 2020.


One bright spot, Single Use Permits, which is reflective of new home construction, were up for the first time since August. However, several indicators, including Total Manufacturing Hours, Employment Service Jobs, Unemployment and Benefits Exhaustion continued to move in the wrong direction.


Although Lardaro’s CCI is predicated on year-over-year changes, comparisons on a month-over-month basis had shown improvement in recent months. Unfortunately, the monthly value for November fell back to 42 after two months of improvement, leading Lardaro to put discussions of the possibility that the state may have been in the early stages of a recovery on hold. 


More details:


The CCI ranges from 0, when no indicators improve compared to year-earlier levels, to 100, when all twelve show improvement. Values above 50, the “neutral” value, indicate that the Rhode Island economy is expanding, while values below 50 are indicative of contraction.


Prior to “The Great Recession” that began in June of 2007, the CCI had never attained a value of 0, indicating that no indicators improved relative to year-earlier values. This changed in 2008, when the CCI fell to 0 on three occasions, and in 2009, when another value of 0 was recorded. Prior to this, the low for the CCI had been 8, which occurred for only a single month on several occasions. For almost all of 2008, the CCI recorded values of 8.


The CCI attained its maximum value of 100 on several occasions, for almost all of 1984 and once in 1986. Note that these values occurred exclusively when Rhode Island was still a manufacturing-based economy.





Leonard Lardaro is Professor of Economics at the University of Rhode Island


COVID-19 in RI Nursing Homes, Long Term Care; 67% of RI deaths

Nursing_home2 3

COVID-19 in RI Nursing Homes, Long Term Care: 67%+ of RI deaths

January 15, 2021/RINewsToday


This week there are 298 new cases and 55 more deaths. Cumulative numbers are 6,233 cases with 1,343 deaths – 26% With a total of 1,996 deaths in RI to COVID19, over 67% are men and women living in these congregate care settings.


This tracks the week, new cases recorded since last date, and additional fatalities:


Week of – New Cases – Additional Fatalities

Oct. 21 – 25 – 20

Oct. 28 – 25 – 15

Nov. 4 – 85 – 10

Nov. 11 – 175 – 15

Nov. 18 – 353 – 15

Nov. 25 – 215 – 30

Dec. 9 – 603 – 85

Dec. 16 – 553 – 50

Dec. 23 – 523 – 60

Jan. 8 – 423 – 95

Jan. 14 – 298 – 55


PERIOD ENDING Jan. 14, 2021

Cases: 6,233 (185-298 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 1,343 (55 more)


Period Ending Jan. 8, 2021

Cases: 6,048 (423 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 1,288 (95 more)


Period Ending Dec. 23, 2020

Cases: 5,518 (523 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 1,193 (60 more)


Period Ending Dec. 17, 2020

Cases: 5,178 (553 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 1,133 (50 more)


Period Ending Dec. 9, 2020

Cases: 4,823 (603 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 1,083 (85 more)


Period Ending Nov. 25, 2020

Cases: 4,103 (215 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 998 (30 more)


Period ending Nov. 18, 2020

Cases: 3,888 (353 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 968 (15 more)

Total facilities with new cases: 25 (up from 17)


Period ending Nov. 11, 2020 w/increases through 11/11/2020

Cases: 3,688 (175 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 953 (15 more)


Period ending November 4, 2020 w/increases since 10/28/2020

Cases: approx. 3,513 (85 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 938 (10 more)


Period ending October 28, 2020 w/increases since 10/21/2020

Cases: approx. 3,428 (25 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 928 (15 more)


Period ending Oct. 21th, 2020 w/increases since 10/14/2020

Cases: approx. 3,403 (25 more)

Cumulative resident fatalities: 913 (20 more)

603+ Cases, 85+ Fatalities (12/9/20)

Posted in 


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A mass coronavirus vaccination site has opened in Cranston.  Lifespan is seeking volunteers for a new COVID vaccine trial.  Rhode Island College cancels a no-bid contract after criticism from state legislators.

[[ watch dating ]]

>>Watch Out For Black Ice This Morning

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service is warning early-morning drivers in much of Southern New England this morning to watch out for black ice.  The weather service says it's because of temperatures cooling into the upper 20s combined with leftover road moisture from some rain yesterday.  Conditions will improve as temperatures rise above freezing.

>>Mass COVID Vaccination Site Operating In Cranston

(Cranston, RI)  --  The Rhode Island National Guard and state health department have opened a new mass vaccination site for COVID-19 vaccines at the field hospital in Cranston.  National Guard members are receiving shots there, as well as members of the public who are part of the state's first phase of distribution.  Hundreds of shots have already been distributed at the field hospital at the former Citizens Bank building on Sockanosset Cross Road.

>>Lifespan Seeking Participants For Another Coronavirus Vaccine

(Providence, RI)  --  Lifespan is seeking volunteers to participate in clinical trials of another COVID-19 vaccine.  This one is from Novavax, which is entering the third phase of its trial.  Two-thirds of participants will receive the vaccine, while one-third will receive a placebo.  More information is available on the Lifespan website.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Police: Two Found Dead In Lincoln Were Married Couple

(Lincoln, RI)  --  Names are not out yet from the two people found dead in an apartment in Lincoln on Thursday.  But the Lincoln Police Department has shared that it was a married couple.  Police were reportedly called about a disturbance at the residence on Main Street at around 8 a.m. yesterday and found a woman dead and a man with significant injuries.  He later died at Rhode Island Hospital.  The deaths are considered suspicious.

>>Two More Arrests Made From New Year's Day Incident In Cranston

(Cranston, RI)  --  Two more arrests have been made in connection to the New Year's Day incident involving a pack of ATV and dirt bike riders in Cranston.  Two Warwick men, Scott Campbell and Nicholas Capuano, are charged with reckless driving.  Police ID'd the pair as being part of the rider pack that was assembled on Atwood Avenue which then gathered around a police officer who arrested one operator.  The drivers fled the scene after one of them allegedly ran over the officer's legs.

>>Rhode Island College Ends No-Bid Contract Criticized By Lawmakers

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island College has canceled a controversial consulting contract.  The no-bid, 76-thousand-dollar-a-week contract with the New York firm Alvarez and Marsal was awarded last month and was set to expire at the end of February.  The firm was tasked with reviewing RIC's overall operations.  Rhode Island legislators criticized the contract at a time when Rhode Island College is facing a ten-million-dollar budget deficit.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI) NY) MA) CT)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-15-2021 01:12:23


Wickford Art - First Exhibit of 2021


Wickford Art – First Exhibit of 2021

January 14, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Crazy Burger, by Marc Jaffe – Photography


Wickford Art – First Exhibit of 2021: BLACK ‘N WHITE…an artist’s interpretation


Wickford Art Association announces its first exhibit of 2021, which will open at their North Kingstown Beach Street Gallery on Friday, January 15. 


Black ‘N White is an all media, open exhibit, juried for entry and prizes by Mary Dondero, a founding artist of Imago Foundation for the Arts in Warren, Exhibition Curator for the Bristol Art Museum, and faculty member in the Department of Art & Art History at Bridgewater State University


All works were selected through a new online registration system recently launched by the Wickford Art Association. Black ‘N White was installed in early January following major interior improvements funded through The Champlin Foundations and Commerce RI.  The exhibit will launch Friday, January 15 (noon-4pm, plus an opening reception requiring reservation that evening if State of Rhode Island physical distancing restrictions allow) and will be available to the public through February 7, 2021.  Prize-winning works will be announced opening night, live and through social media.


All work will also be placed online for virtual viewing as well, ensuring its accessibility for the community-at-large.  Selected works will be available for post-exhibit viewing and purchase on WAA’s new webstore, launching in January.


About Mary Dondero, Jurist: 


An interdisciplinary artist whose focus is on large-scale works-on-paper, mixed media, and photography, she earned her B.F.A. at Roger Williams University in Bristol RI, where she concentrated in Graphic Design, Printmaking and Photography.  Dondero holds an M.A.T. from Rhode Island School of Design, and an M.F.A. from U-Mass Dartmouth.  In 2011, Dondero was awarded a position as “Artist in Resident” at Zion National Park in Utah, which resulted in a body of work titled “Perception, Time & Memory;” one of the resulting paintings is held in the permanent collection at Zion Human History Museum in Springdale, UT.  Dondero’s artwork is regularly exhibited at Atelier Gallery in Newport RI. Her work is also exhibited nationally and internationally including the permanent collection of Naestved International Print Studio in Denmark, Bridgewater State University, the Newport Art Museum RI, Healing Arts at RI Hospital, and the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in New Hampshire.  For more information on Mary Dondero, visit marydondero.com.


For more information on individual exhibits or programs, contact or visit wickfordart.org.  All programming is subject to change; all juried and judged exhibits will be featured through online virtual galleries as well as in-gallery hours (Wednesday through Saturday: noon to 4pm, Sunday: noon-3pm) at WAA’s beach-front North Kingstown home.


About the Artists:


See the artists whose work will be exhibited:




About Wickford Art Association


The Wickford Art Association is a non-profit organization with approximately 450 members from Rhode Island and New England. The association hosts art exhibits, classes, lectures, and workshops in its North Kingstown gallery and has produced the summertime Wickford Art Festival since 1962.  Wickford Art Association is dedicated to educating, encouraging and inspiring artists and art lovers throughout the community. For more information, (401) 294-6840 or visit wickfordart.org


Wickford Art - First Exhibit of 2021


Wickford Art – First Exhibit of 2021

January 14, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Crazy Burger, by Marc Jaffe – Photography


Wickford Art – First Exhibit of 2021: BLACK ‘N WHITE…an artist’s interpretation


Wickford Art Association announces its first exhibit of 2021, which will open at their North Kingstown Beach Street Gallery on Friday, January 15. 


Black ‘N White is an all media, open exhibit, juried for entry and prizes by Mary Dondero, a founding artist of Imago Foundation for the Arts in Warren, Exhibition Curator for the Bristol Art Museum, and faculty member in the Department of Art & Art History at Bridgewater State University


All works were selected through a new online registration system recently launched by the Wickford Art Association. Black ‘N White was installed in early January following major interior improvements funded through The Champlin Foundations and Commerce RI.  The exhibit will launch Friday, January 15 (noon-4pm, plus an opening reception requiring reservation that evening if State of Rhode Island physical distancing restrictions allow) and will be available to the public through February 7, 2021.  Prize-winning works will be announced opening night, live and through social media.


All work will also be placed online for virtual viewing as well, ensuring its accessibility for the community-at-large.  Selected works will be available for post-exhibit viewing and purchase on WAA’s new webstore, launching in January.


About Mary Dondero, Jurist: 


An interdisciplinary artist whose focus is on large-scale works-on-paper, mixed media, and photography, she earned her B.F.A. at Roger Williams University in Bristol RI, where she concentrated in Graphic Design, Printmaking and Photography.  Dondero holds an M.A.T. from Rhode Island School of Design, and an M.F.A. from U-Mass Dartmouth.  In 2011, Dondero was awarded a position as “Artist in Resident” at Zion National Park in Utah, which resulted in a body of work titled “Perception, Time & Memory;” one of the resulting paintings is held in the permanent collection at Zion Human History Museum in Springdale, UT.  Dondero’s artwork is regularly exhibited at Atelier Gallery in Newport RI. Her work is also exhibited nationally and internationally including the permanent collection of Naestved International Print Studio in Denmark, Bridgewater State University, the Newport Art Museum RI, Healing Arts at RI Hospital, and the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion in New Hampshire.  For more information on Mary Dondero, visit marydondero.com.


For more information on individual exhibits or programs, contact or visit wickfordart.org.  All programming is subject to change; all juried and judged exhibits will be featured through online virtual galleries as well as in-gallery hours (Wednesday through Saturday: noon to 4pm, Sunday: noon-3pm) at WAA’s beach-front North Kingstown home.


About the Artists:


See the artists whose work will be exhibited:




About Wickford Art Association


The Wickford Art Association is a non-profit organization with approximately 450 members from Rhode Island and New England. The association hosts art exhibits, classes, lectures, and workshops in its North Kingstown gallery and has produced the summertime Wickford Art Festival since 1962.  Wickford Art Association is dedicated to educating, encouraging and inspiring artists and art lovers throughout the community. For more information, (401) 294-6840 or visit wickfordart.org


Your Coronavirus Update - January 14, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Jan. 14, 2021

January 14, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Gov. Raimondo’s last press conference on COVID19 crisis


Today’s Press Conference was unusual in that the Governor refused to take any questions and left immediately after speaking – she would not take questions outside as well. Media were left surprised and several stories have been done about this. Yesterday, the RI Press Association, representing newspapers and media outlets in RI issued this statement:



Coronavirus Update…




COVID-19 Vaccinations Begin In Mass. Addiction Treatment Programs


Most new COVID-19 infections in North Adams, Ma linked to restaurants


Massachusetts will start administering the COVID-19 vaccine Monday to the more than 94,000 people who live and work in congregate care settings such as prisons, shelters, and certain private special education schools.


Connecticut is authorizing vaccines to begin on those 65 and over.


Maine’s vaccination plan will be updated to follow new federal guidelines recommending states prioritize residents 65 and older. Maine has the nation’s oldest population.


Worcester students will not be returning to the classroom until March at the least.


Rhode Island has “lost” 2.59% of its public school students, or 3,937 children (141,000 students are enrolled in the state). Homeschooling or opting out of preschool or kindergarten are factors.


Worcester students will not be returning to the classroom until March at the least.


All RI state-operated COVID-19 test sites will be closed on MLK Day, Monday. Regular hours of testing will resume on Tuesday, January 19.  


The USDA Food and Nutrition Service recently granted Rhode Island approval to again issue Pandemic-EBT benefits to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and non-SNAP households with one or more school-age children who receive free and reduced-price meals at school through the National School Lunch Program, but were unable to receive those meals at school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are entitled to this benefit if the school is closed or has been operating with reduced attendance or hours for at least 5 consecutive days in the current school year.


Gov. Raimondo’s address:


Inauguration is a week away – Senate confirmation takes place after that. I remain as your Governor until the moment I am confirmed. I have daily phone calls with leaders of the state on our COVID response team. We will not miss a beat. We have a well-oiled machine in RI. Have every confidence in Lt. Gov. McKee stepping up on day one. We are planning a seamless transition. I’ve asked McKee to keep the COVID team in place and he has agreed.


Today is the 125th time I’ve done personal updates on COVID in RI. Going forward I’ll continue the weekly briefings and daily emails. Format will change. Dr. Scott and her team will continue multiple updates and a vaccine-specific briefing every week, and a general update every Thursday at Vets Auditorium.


Data review – we’re on a good path – plan for future is to stay the course. No backlog in contact tracing and testing is good. No backlog in K-12 tracing. Ramped up in quarantine and isolation supports.


Extending current guidance through mid-February – re-upping executive orders.


School sports – existing guidance impacts school sports – more guidance coming next week.


K-12 – key is to get tested often. Massive ramp-up in testing in schools.


All teachers, all children. We want to build confidence that schools are safe.


More drive-thru rapid testing sites w/results in 15 minutes are being launched.


Working with companies to bring testing to businesses. Ramping up testing in neighborhoods.


Dr. McKee addressed the group.


Governor has done a great job. Worked hard to keep us safe.


Says he is in a good spot for a transition. Transitions are not new as he has done this several times. Understands the dynamics. Only room for one Governor at a time.


This is one of the most difficult economic and health crises that our state has ever seen. Thanked health workers for saving lives. Small businesses are struggling as never before.


Leaves podium saying press can see him outside – and will have an event for press tomorrow.


Dr. Scott:


Vaccination update:


RI is not receiving a lot of vaccine supply. We are doing the best that we can with what we have. CDC posts a map that ranks states per 100,000 people – RI is near the top. Be assured that when we receive the vaccines our system can deliver them.


14,000 doses a week is received. Tiny fraction. Specific requirements within that set of allotments. 2,000 doses are getting out each day. We are administering almost all of what comes in each week.


RI can’t have crowds of people showing up (stadiums, mass vaccination) because of COVID.


72,175 doses received total to date. 16,757 went straight to CVS/Walgreens.


This week vaccinations: nursing homes by pharmacies; By end of week all nursing homes would have been visited at least once. Working on a total of 3 visits.


Hospital workers – now receiving 2nd dosages.


Urgent care/respiratory clinic staff – “swabbers” – being done now.


Clinics for EMS, school nurses, etc. are being held.


RI National Guard is operating a clinic at Sockanosset for other medical staff.


Central Falls is continuing some additional vaccinating.


Next Week: 1/18: continuing with groups, based on supply in hand. One big change is group home vaccinations will start – 65+, elderly in facilities, assisted living. Majority will be used for assisted living facilities. Also will do outpatient providers (doctor’s office, dentist’s office, behavioral healthcare providers). This phase will continue for several weeks.


Older adults – broaden out from here. Residential units first. Need to take an incremental approach because of the large size of population and limited vaccine supply.


Next month – all older adults 75 and up.


Federal govt says vaccinate over 65: RI agrees, but limiting factor is delivering of vaccine. How will that change when deliveries change? We will change, too.


For those over 65 – 190,000 people. It is challenging to move faster than what we are doing right now. Waiting on supplies. We don’t want to be irresponsible in communicating.


Other states have approached it differently. They have run out, long lines, etc.


Many states have a lot of confusion and disorganization. We are vaccinating incrementally and thoughtfully. Tremendous demand right now.


There are no waitlists. No vaccine sitting on a shelf. When we get more they will let us know.




Dentists: Why waiting for vaccinations? They are a priority group. We’ve not seen transmission at all – kudos to them, and PPE precautions. Top of the list.


What will we do when supply dramatically increases? RI is prepared; partnerships are ready. Still waiting on 2nd dose supplies to be part of that, too.


Why wouldn’t Gov take questions? Others can handle it. Dr. Scott is the point person going forward.


Pawtucket schools’ closing: they say it is not safe. Should they get vaccinated? Unfortunate interpretation of school people in the city – we have tried to reassure the teachers, and parents.


When will someone in senior government answer to us about failing businesses aroumd us – with this complete vacumn in leadership? We have been following up and directing local and federal funds. Didn’t you just hold on to money that was available to them months ago and now it is a sock-through to them?


Vaccine rejection rates: 56 of 84 nursing homes have been visited at least once. We will go back for 3 total visits. After that we will assess picture of acceptance.


Rhode Island Data:



Today’s Data – Jan 13, 2021


Deaths: 17

Tests – 16,521 – Positives – 823 – Percent positive – 5%

Hospitalized – 402 – In ICU – 49 – Ventilated – 35 –

Deaths in hospital – 9 –

New Admissions – 56 – New Discharges – 50

Vaccinations – 1st: 38,197 – 2 shots: 7,446 – Total Vaccinated: 45,643




Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of Public Health at Brown University has a plan for vaccination – his op-ed in the New York Times. We reprint it, here:



The miraculous development of two Covid-19 vaccines offers us a real chance to end the pandemic in 2021. However, with a limited supply, a halting rollout and the threat of an even more contagious version of the virus now in the mix, the debate over who goes first has become increasingly contentious.


There are plans that try to take into account the disproportionate toll of Covid-19 on people of color, the inability of certain workers to avoid exposure, and the higher risk of illness and death in the elderly and in individuals with underlying health conditions.


But in their well-meaning effort to achieve equity and fairness, these plans threaten to become excessively complex — and thus ripe for manipulation by the privileged, including myriad interest groups that are vying for a place at the front of the line. This would only sow distrust in the broader public.


We suggest a more straightforward approach. By the end of January, we should be done vaccinating health care workers and long-term-care residents. Then we should vaccinate all people over 55, from oldest to youngest, a group of approximately 97 million that accounts for the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths.


Then, to determine the order for the remaining 150 million or so American adults, use a lottery.


Lotteries are hardly a perfect way to distribute vaccines. But, as Winston Churchill might have said, it’s the worst system except for all the others.


The current plans to vaccinate essential workers and people with medical conditions early have obvious merit. But the crucial test of the next few months will not be whether we have devised an allocation system that accurately parses whether a 27-year-old Latino bus driver should go before or after a 52-year-old white store manager with diabetes. The test is whether the system is easy to implement, transparent, broadly acceptable, generally equitable and resistant to abuse.


Already in the past two weeks, vaccine distribution in several top health systems — which enjoy world-class computer systems and have robust human resources departments that can track their employees — have devolved into line-jumping, cheating and noisy protests over who goes first. If vaccinating a few thousand health care workers is this complicated, one can only imagine the chaos in store as we try to vaccinate a few hundred million Americans.


The takeaway is that attempts to prioritize groups by granular categories aren’t just impractical. They’re poised to initiate another wave of injustices and are guaranteed to generate the same kinds of discord that turned face masks into symbols of partisanship.


States are already facing substantial lobbying over which professions should be deemed frontline. If mass transit workers count, what about Uber drivers? Then there’s the practical question of how a pharmacy will determine whether someone truly is a preschool teacher or a grocery store clerk. A note from H.R.? The honor system?


Sorting out existing health conditions is even thornier. There are dozens of varieties of heart failure, diabetes and emphysema. Do they all qualify? Again there’s the matter of documentation — will pharmacies require a physician’s note? What about people who don’t have a regular doctor? Is there any doubt that the system will be gamed, with the advantage going to the privileged?


We should focus on people over 55 instead for two reasons: First, they are dying in the greatest numbers, accounting for 29 percent of the population but 92 percent of Covid-19 deaths. Just as important, it’s operationally simple: Age can be ascertained easily by a pharmacy or hospital, and people are already comfortable with the idea of getting carded. Plus, many essential workers and the vast majority of people with serious medical conditions are in this group.


And for the rest, a lottery, perhaps a national or state-based one that selects a number at random every two weeks, corresponding to the month or last digit of people’s birthdays. Few would love the idea, but it would be equitable and apolitical, and people would know that their number will be called sometime in the next several months.


The oil crisis of the 1970s, when the last number of your license plate determined which days you could gas up your car, provides one model. Odd number, odd days; even number, even days. It was easy to understand, simple to implement, and fair. And it worked.


The United States was traumatized in 2020, not only by a novel virus but also by the bitterness and division that marked our response. We can’t get it wrong again.




Gov. Biden will give a coronavirus plan update today.


Moderna believes its vaccine will protect for at least a year.


Delta Dental has offered its 5,000 dentists to provide shots as a possible additional resource, saying they are a cavalry “ready, willing, and able” to serve – also saying they are “fully equipped in their offices or in community settings”.


More than 10% of the US Congress has tested positive.


Portugal has gone into lockdown due to an uptick in cases.


UK may begin using hotels for some patients in need of recovery care.


Rep. Ayanna Pressley and her husband are in quarantine – her husband testing positive.


Rhode Island had administered about 47% of the 80,225 vaccinations it had received, according to the CDC. On a per capita basis, Rhode Island is doing better than most other states, but it ranks second-to-last in New England, behind only Massachusetts.


The University of Vermont has erected two large tents with solid floors, lighting, wiring and propane heaters to give students alternate places to gather to study.


Houston Texans home stadium, NRG Park will be the site of a vaccination drive-thru clinic to vaccinate about 13,000 people who are 65 and older.


Oregon will expand vaccinations to include people age 65 and older, as well as child care providers and early learning and K-12 educators and staff, starting Jan. 23, when additional vaccine shipments are expected to start arriving from the federal government.


In New Jersey, residents 65 and older, and those 16 to 64 with serious medical conditions such as cancer, heart, and kidney disease, can begin to be vaccinated today.


Ontario issues stay-at-home order, extends school closure.


Pharmacy job postings were up 9.7% in December compared to a year ago,


Israel is on track to vaccinate 25% of its population by the end of January and every Israeli by the end of March. To reach herd immunity goals, it must also vaccinate Palestinians, which presents a political quandry.



Today’s end of the press conference…

Posted in 


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island's Congressmen are part of the vote to impeach Donald Trump.  The Ocean State's health director said on Wednesday the state's coronavirus vaccine supply is limited.  A lawsuit has been filed in connection to a moped crash in Providence last year.

>>RI Representatives' Comments On Impeachment

(Washington, DC)  --  The U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday, marking the first time in American history one president has been impeached twice.  The resolution accuses Trump of inciting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, who led the impeachment charge, said what happened last week was a desperate attempt by Trump to seize power and overturn the will of the American people.  Cicilline said the House took the first step yesterday towards holding Trump accountable for a failed coup.  Fellow Ocean State representative and Democrat Jim Langevin called Trump a clear and present danger to our democracy.

>>Rhode Island National Guard Going To DC

(Washington, DC)  --  The Rhode Island National Guard is sending troops to Washington DC ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.  Multiple media reports indicate at least 75 personnel are being sent down.  Even though there is more publicity this time around, officials note that the RI National Guard has provided security for previous inaugurations.

>>Rhode Island COVID Vaccine Distribution Update

(Providence, RI)  --  The effort to provide coronavirus vaccines in Rhode Island is being bounded by the short supply.  That was according to RI Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott on Wednesday.  The state is receiving about 14-thousand doses per week.  Scott said that's not enough to expand to everyone 65 and older, as the federal government is now directing.  Rhode Island's COVID-19 death toll is approaching two-thousand.

>>Lawsuit Filed Over Moped Crash

(Providence, RI)  --  A lawsuit is being filed as promised in connection to a police officer-involved moped crash in Providence last year.  The federal suit on behalf of injured vehicle operator Jhamal Gonsalves accuses the Providence Police Department of using excessive force.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office did not charge the police with criminal recklessness.  The officer who was driving behind Gonsalves, Kyle Endres, received a suspension for violating the Providence PD's policy on safe driving.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Man Sentenced For Sexual Assault Near URI Narragansett Campus

(Providence, RI)  --  A South County man is being sentenced to over a decade in prison for sexual assault.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says Angelo Fraley of Charlestown received a twelve-year ACI sentence last week after being convicted on a first-degree assault charge in a jury-waived trial in Superior Court.  The A.G.'s office says Fraley assaulted an 18-year-old victim near an abandoned building close to the beach at the University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus in Narragansett in 2015.  Prosecutors said the two were part of a group that was spending time at local beaches.

>>Report: Patriots' Mayo Expected To Interview For Head Coach Job

(Undated)  --  Former New England Patriots player and now-coach for the team Jerod Mayo is reportedly expected to interview for a head coaching position.  The vacancy is with the Philadelphia Eagles.  This is according to reporting from the NFL Network.  Mayo won a Super Bowl with the Pats before retiring from playing in 2015.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-14-2021 01:41:15


Your Coronavirus Update - Today January 13, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Jan. 13, 2021

January 13, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Image from NBC Nightly News – RI is one of 5 stats with hotspots of COVID19.




Gov. Raimondo has not been public or held a COVID19 briefing in 25 days – this was mentioned in most of the RI media yesterday. Early this morning Gov. Raimondo issued a release that she and Gov-elect McKee will do a briefing at 1pm TODAY.


Governor Gina Raimondo and incoming Governor McKee agreed that the team leading RI’s COVID response will remain in place throughout the pandemic. Participants joining the Incoming Governor in the meeting included: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Director, RI Department of Health; Major General Christopher Callahan, Adjutant General, Rhode Island National Guard; Dacia Reed, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor; and Courtney Hawkins, Director, RI Department of Human Services.


RI health officials are not in line with the new initiative from the federal government about using all the vaccine supplies, saying they don”t know how much vaccine they can get per week, etc. RI says 75 and over won’t even begin until February or March


Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, quoted in the Providence Journal, recommends that a lottery system be used to get more needles into more arms after health-care workers and long-term care residents are done being vaccinated, and then moving to everyone 55 and older, starting with the oldest first. He proposed this in an op-ed to the New York Times which ran on Sunday. Here the podcast in the ProJo, here: https://omny.fm/shows/covid-what-comes-next-with-dr-ashish-jha/given-the-fragmented-and-delayed-rollouts-of-the-m


RI vaccination progress: RI says it is receiving 14,000 doses a week of the vaccine – to date 42,723 vaccines have been delivered, including 6,074 who received their 2nd shot, since vaccinations began on Dec. 14th, 5 weeks ago. (approx. 70,000+ shots received to date, with 42,723 administered).


If this rate of vaccination continues it would take over 2 years for eligible Rhode Islanders to be fully vaccinated.


RI passed 100,000 or 1 in every 10, or 10% of its population having been infected with COVID19


The speed camera near a Providence testing center has totaled $100K in fines.


On Sunday, incoming Governor McKee received an initial virtual briefing from members of the state COVID response team. The team highlighted the latest updates on the virus management strategy, hospital capacity and vaccination rollout.


In Connecticut, residents 75 and older will be able to begin signing up for vaccination appointments next week, a process Gov. Ned Lamont promised will be more orderly than in states where senior citizens have waited outdoors in long lines. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only, with sign-ups available online or by telephone.


The legislature is considering exempting unemployment benefits that were paid in 2020 from state income taxes.


Loretta Laroche, popular regional humorist is recovering from COVID, along with her partner.


New Bedford Mayor John Mitchell tests positive – his staff and family are testing negative.


Dr. Jha and Dr. Ranney are offering a 6-week course for COVID19 and pandemic management: Pandemic Problem-Solving: Surviving and Thriving in the Age of Pandemics – Cost is $1995. More, here: https://professional.brown.edu/pandemic-problem-solving?utm_source=social-media&utm_medium=passalong&utm_campaign=drjha&utm_content=dr-jha-post


RI College has hired a consultant at $72K a week to address the dire financial hardships of the college – an investigation into that no-bid contract is underway.


Jimmy’s Pub in Mansfield received a grant of $10K from Barstool Sports to keep open.


The MBTA will run a reduced Hingham and Hull ferry schedule starting Jan. 23


Massachusetts will begin doing pool testing in schools.


The Rhode Island National Guard set up a testing station, with results available within 15 minutes, at the south baggage claim at the state airport.


URI pharmacy technicians are allowed to administer the vaccine, meaning those who have not previously administered vaccines need to be trained. They now join pharmacists, who have been allowed to give vaccinations in the state for about a decade.


Massachusetts statewide plan to begin vaccinating police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel begins this week.


The VA Providence Healthcare System began distributing COVID-19 vaccinations to veterans


Jury trials will begin again in some Massachusetts courtrooms after they were halted for months due to the coronavirus outbreak.


The 10,000 Chances Project, announced recently by Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force, aims to distribute more than 10,000 kits containing naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses. Overdoses have increased dramatically since COVID19.


Warwick middle and high school students will be returning to in-person learning for the first time, starting Jan. 21.


Cranston will begin going back to school.


Pawtucket remains the only school system with no schools open.. Brother Gary Danzler, CEO of Black Lives Matter, with 3 children in the city’s school system said children need to get back to school, particularly minority children.


Pawtucket School Committee has voted not to return to in-person school for the rest of the academic year.


RI Data – Jan 11, 2021

Deaths: 8 yesterday (31, 3 days)

Tests – 8,328 – Positives – 568 – Percent positive – 6.8 %

Hospitalized – 399 –  In ICU – 47  –  Ventilated – 33

Deaths in hospital – 6

New Admissions – 52

New Discharges – 32

Vaccinations – 1st shot: 31,007- 2 shots: 4,642



RI Data – Jan 12, 2021

Deaths: 23 Tests – 11,580 – Positives – 661 – Percent positive – 5.7%

Hospitalized – 402 – In ICU – 53 – Ventilated – 34

Deaths in hospital – 5

New Admissions – 37

New Discharges – 38

Vaccinations – 1st shot: 36,649- 2 shots: 6.074

Total Vaccinated: 42,723




Dr. Fauci said today that the death toll and cases are likely to continue for weeks to come.


Arkansas has lowered their age for vaccination from 75 to 70.


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew were vaccinated.


With 4 NBA games having been called off because of COVID19, for “at least the next two weeks,” the league and union said, players and team staff will have to remain at their residence when in their home markets and prohibited from leaving their hotels or having outside guests when on the road.


4 states have moved into Phase 2 with vaccinations – Michigan, Utah, New York, and Virginia – some doing those over 75 years old and teachers, among other prioritized groups.


Dr. Fauci said tonight that he is hopeful we can return to some semblance of normalcy by the fall of 2021.


Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are coming soon.


A leading physician at George Washington Medical Center in DC advises:  “Open the vaccines to all groups. Allow people >75 to make reservations at pharmacies, etc and have walk-in first come, first served mass vaccination events open to everyone.”


New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson, who was in confinement at the US Capitol, tested positive, and was not wearing a mask during that time in a small room with other representatives and senators.


In South Dakota, for the second straight day, no new deaths were reported.


Pennsylvania will speed up vaccines for seniors ages 65 and older at the urging of the CDC.


Prisoners being vaccinated first in several states has been causing controversy.


Pope Francis ok’d vaccinations, saying, “It’s an ethical choice, because you are playing with health, life, but you are also playing with the lives of others,” Pope Francis told the station. “I’ve signed up. One must do it.”


Increased calls for hospitals to have family presence, especially if death may be imminent. Family presence at the bedside, along with regular communication between health care providers and their patients and families, are not indulgences — they need to be part of the standard of care. Richard Leiter and Samantha Gelfand are palliative care physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, both in Boston” – https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/09/even-during-a-pandemic-hospitals-must-make-family-visits-and-communication-the-standard-of-care/?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=932df6e13f-MR_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-932df6e13f-132813241)


Britain will open seven large-scale vaccination centres helping to accelerate the rollout of COVID-19 shots that the government wants to deliver to all vulnerable people by mid-February.


The New Hampshire Senate is moving to remote public hearings and sessions, while the House is still figuring out how to conduct its business safely during the coronavirus pandemic.


The new strain of coronavirus has now been reported here: Georgia: 1 New York: 1 Pennsylvania: 1 Texas: 1 Connecticut: 2 Colorado: 3 Minnesota: 5 Florida: 22 California: 32


Pope Francis’s personal physician died from complications of the virus. Francis himself expects to be vaccinated as soon as this week.


In Pennsylvania, the state on Friday released an updated vaccine plan that makes more people eligible for shots in the initial phases of the rollout. Health care workers and nursing home residents remain at the front of the line, followed by people 75 years and older and “essential workers” such as police officers, grocery store clerks and teachers.


LA essential workers are being asked to wear masks in their own homes


New Jersey opening megasites to speed vaccinations


Disneyworld in California will open to become a mass vaccination site.


Dodgers Stadium in California will host a mass vaccination site.


New York Governor saying the state must get back to business or there will be nothing left – must do so safely and smartly.


Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine immunity to stay at least a year


Moderna does not expect to have vaccine efficacy data for young children until 2022.


Chancellor Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in her conservative party that she expects a lockdown in Germany to curb the spread of the coronavirus to last until the start of April.


In New Hampshire, residents who are fully vaccinated or were previously infected with the coronavirus no longer need to quarantine after being exposed to an infected person or after traveling.


In Nebraska, over 40% of the state’s 90,000 health care workers have received the first of two doses.


Uber has agreed to help promote vaccinations by sending reminder messages to over 78 million subscribers with apps on their phones.


2 gorillas in the San Diego Zoo have gotten coronavirus from their handler


Indian airlines started delivering batches of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide on Tuesday, preparing for the launch of a campaign to offer shots to 1.3 billion people, in what officials call the world’s biggest vaccination drive. 300 million high-risk people inoculated over the next six to eight months.


Democratic Representatives Brad Schneider, Bonnie Watson Coleman and Pramila Jayapal all test positive – they were hiding in the US Capitol


New Jersey’s failure to provide home health care services to qualifying elderly and disabled people puts them at risk of ending up in nursing homes that have been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a lawsuit filed against health officials


In New Jersey, more than 200,000 people have been vaccinated so far, double the number from a week ago.


New Yorkers are rushing to sign up for late-night vaccination slots, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. Midnight to- 4 a.m. appointments at two 24hour vaccination sites were quickly snapped up, he said. “The city that never sleeps, people are immediately grabbing those opportunities to get vaccinated,” the mayor said.


Joe Biden received his 2nd vaccine shot.


Bruce Willis asked to leave pharmacy for refusing to wear a mask


J & J in ‘final stages’ of analyzing trial results for its one-dose COVID vaccine



Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Rhode Island Senate passes a resolution calling for President Trump to leave office.  The RI Health Department says it is sticking with its COVID-19 vaccine plan despite Trump's Health Secretary telling states to expand access.  The Pawtucket School District is keeping most classes remote through the end of the semester.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Cicilline Selected As Impeachment Manager

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is being selected as a manager of President Trump's impeachment trial.  The House is expected to impeach Trump on Wednesday.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named nine impeachment managers altogether.  Cicilline was one of the authors of the impeachment article introduced against Trump for incitement of insurrection related to the events at the U.S. Capitol last week.

>>State Senate Approves Resolution Calling For President Trump's Removal From Office

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate approved a resolution on Tuesday calling for President Trump to be removed from office.  No Republicans spoke against the resolution, which was approved through a voice vote.  A similar article is pending in the RI House of Representatives.  The Senate resolution said Trump misled supporters about the results of the election and tried to coerce election officials into changing the results, before calling on supporters in Washington last Wednesday to, quote, "fight like hell".

>>RI Plans To Stick To Vaccine Plan Despite White House Update

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Health Department is not planning to follow the Trump administration's directive to open COVID-19 vaccinations to people 65 or older, according to a report from The Providence Journal.  The state is currently prioritizing a group including hospital workers, nursing homes, first-responders, people at the ACI, and Central Falls residents, whose city has been hard-hit.  Rhode Island's plan is to have shots in the arms of people 75 and older in the next couple of months.  A Health Department spokesperson tells the Journal the state is receiving a limited supply of vaccines at this time.

>>Pawtucket Keeping Most Students Remote Through End Of Semester

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The Pawtucket School District is keeping classes remote for most students for the rest of the school year.  The school committee voted Tuesday to keep grades one through twelve virtual.  State Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green [[ ahn-HELL-ick-uh in-FAHN-tay ]] sent a letter to Pawtucket last week that said the state had addressed the district's concerns about re-opening.  In an interview with WPRI-TV, Infante-Green said she's concerned because Pawtucket is a diverse district with a lot of learners who need additional support.  Infante-Green says Pawtucket is the only district in the state that has not returned to classroom learning.

>>All Quiet On Weather Front This Week, Tracking Weekend Precip

(Undated)  --  Southern New Englanders are enjoying a comfortable mid-January week of weather.  The National Weather Service is predicting a dry and quiet pattern for the rest of the work week with continuing above-normal temperatures.  Forecasters are tracking a couple of systems for the weekend, but only rain is in store at this point.

>>Another Arrest Made From New Year's Day Incident In Cranston

(Cranston, RI)  --  Another individual is facing charges in connection to an incident involving a pack of ATV and dirt bike riders in Cranston on New Year's Day.  Nineteen-year-old Nicholas Zabawar Jr. of Warwick is accused of smashing a police cruiser with his bike helmet.  An officer engaged with the group that had been riding through the city and was reportedly run over by one of the ATV operators before the riders scattered.  Zabawar is the fourth person to be arrested, and police say more could be coming as they continue to investigate.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-13-2021 01:11:39


The interview that never happened by ConvergenceRI


The interview that never happened – by ConvergenceRI

anuary 12, 2021/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


With the Governor on her way to Washington D.C., her refusal to sit down with ConvergenceRI for a one-on-one interview, despite six years of persistent attempts, must be worn as a badge of honor.


I’ve interviewed hundreds if not thousands of people during my journalism career, which has spanned five decades.


From Charles Mingus to Toni Morrison to Robert Bly to Seamus Heany, from Sen. John Glenn to Gov. Jerry Brown to Sen. Paul Simon, from Odetta to Larry Coryell to Steve Miller, from Rambling Jack Elliot to Phil Ochs to Nikki Giovanni.


My work has been published by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Timesthe Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Village VoiceBoston MagazineRhode Island Monthly, the Real Paper, the Boston PhoenixIn These Times, the National Law JournalNew Times Magazine, the Providence Business News, and the Berkshire Eagle, among others.


I have conducted in-person interviews with numerous elected officials, including: Sen. Reed, Sen. Whitehouse, Rep. Cicilline, Rep. Langevin, Mayor Elorza, Mayor Diossa, and Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Gov. Mitt Romney, Gov. Michael Dukakis, and Gov. Madeleine Kunin, to name a few.


Also, I have conducted in-person interviews with numerous CEOs, including Kim Keck and Peter Andruszkiewicz at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island,; G. Alan Kurose at Coastal Medical; Mary Ellen Ashe at Ortho Rhode Island; Dennis Keefe and Dr. James Fanale at Care New England, Lou Giancola at South County Health, Neil Steinberg and George Graboys at the Rhode Island Foundation, and Dr. Annie De Groot, to name a few.


And, I have conducted numerous in-person interviews with top state agency directors, including Elizabeth Roberts, Steve Costantino, Stefan Pryor, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, Dr. Michael Fine, Neil Sarkar, Anya Rader Wallack, Becky Boss, and Womazetta Jones, to name a few.


And, I have conducted interviews with elite academic medical researchers, including Dr. Jack Elias, dead of the Brown Medical School; Dr. James Padbury, principal investigator for Translational Research program in Rhode Island and pediatrician in chief and chief of Neonatal/Perinatal Medicine at Women and Infants; and Christopher Moore, associate director of the Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown University.


10 on a scale of difficulty
I have conducted interviews in dicey situations: with the Saturday Evening Post editor for Norman Rockwell, right before Rockwell’s funeral in Stockbridge; with Waswanapi Chief Peter Gull in the small village of Miquelon, Quebec, talking about mercury pollution; with N.H. Gov. Meldrim Thomson at the 1977 Seabrook, N.H., occupation; and with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, in a ride from Midway Airport to his home, after which I had to call a taxi cab to leave.


For sure, some interviews just didn’t happen:


• In 1982, a scheduled interview with Mass. Senate President William Bulger did not occur; he refused to come out of his Statehouse office. After I sat in the foyer for several hours, his top aide, Francis X. Joyce, finally spoke to me.


• In 1975, an interview with Bruce Springsteen, backstage at a concert in Washington, D.C., did not occur, my way blocked by his band mate, Little Steven [in large part because Little Steven was apparently more interested in my date – and was upset that she was not, ah, “available.”


What a handshake doesn’t mean
And, my attempt to conduct a one-on-one, in-person interview with Gov. Gina Raimondo has never happened, despite numerous, persistent requests, despite her having agreed in person twice, shaking my hand and looking me in the eye when she did so. [It makes me want to sing along with Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, on “Cover of the Rolling Stone.”]


For sure, I have shouted questions in media scrums after events and at news conferences, for much of the last six years since the Governor was first elected – which she has dutifully answered.


Through four press secretaries – Joy Fox, Mike Raia, Jennifer Bogdan and Josh Block – I have been stonewalled. My calls did not ever seem to get returned; my requests for an interview were never answered. It took five attempts to get Margie O’Brien at R.I. Capitol TV to correctly pronounce my last name, Respect; find out what it means to me.


I know, from feedback coming from inside her administration, that the Governor and team were paying careful attention to what I wrote.


I don’t feel so all alone, because…
I am not alone in the inability to gain access to interview Gov. Raimondo. Both Steve Ahlquist of Uprise RI and Frank Carini, editor of ecoRI News, told me that they have never been granted a one-on-one audience with the Governor, and further, their requests for information and answers to questions were rarely if ever forthcoming from her communications team.


What comes to mind is the image of Anne Gorsuch Burford [the mother of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch], who, as head of the scandal-ridden U.S. EPA in 1983, announced a new program to evacuate residents of Times Beach, MO, because of dioxin contamination, as anxious families and children that had been excluded from the event had their noses pressed up against the glass windows.


What questions would I ask?
If I were to be granted a 20-minute in-person interview, I would ask the following questions:


• Why did you refuse to do an in-person interview with me for six years? Were you afraid of answering my questions?


• How would you evaluate the successes and failures of the Reinvention of Medicaid program?


• What was the reason why you didn’t respond to the briefing book that outgoing Health Exchange Director Christy Ferguson left for you, which first identified the glitches with UHIP’s implementation?


• In your efforts to change the dynamics around nursing home care in Rhode Island, how important do you think it is to understand the role that hospitals play in pushing patients out of inpatient care, and how would you change that?


• What investments would you recommend that Rhode Island make in its public health infrastructure, given what has been learned as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the breakdown of the health care system?


• What role has Jon Duffy played as an “informal” advisor to your communications efforts?


And, if time permits, two last questions:


• What influenced your efforts around tackling substance use disorders and overdose deaths from opioids?


• Is there a need to better regulated plastics and chemicals in our environment, which have become ubiquitous in our oceans, in our drinking water, and in our own bodies?



Richard Asinof

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.


Big tech. Too big, too powerful

Big tech. Too big, too powerful.

January 12, 2021/RINewsToday


There has been rapid developments in the way censorship has grown from the first action of Twitter taking down the President’s tweets for inciting a riot and violence in the nation’s capital. We deplore the violence that happened and we hope a full and thorough investigation will be done.


As the censoring of select messages or individuals can be warranted, companies now seem to be on an unbridled, and unregulated roll. We face the first amendment versus the rights of individual companies to do what they want, arbitrarily so. But we also see how much too-big companies have control over how we communicate in our daily lives. Calls for splitting up these mega companies, much like what was done with the banking system, have been slow to take action. How these considerations will move forward in a new congress is unclear.




The now-retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, called the cyber age a revolution of historic proportions, noting that “we cannot appreciate yet its full dimensions and vast potential to alter how we think, express ourselves, and define who we want to be.” Kennedy said cyberspace, and social media in particular, was among the “most important places … for the exchange of views.” He compared the internet to a public forum, akin to a public street or park. Although Justice Samuel A. Alito concurred in the opinion, he also chastised Kennedy for his “undisciplined dicta” and “unnecessary rhetoric.” This hot battleground raises serious concerns about the future of free speech on social media, the shifting standards of private platforms to censor online expression and the rise of hate and extremist speech in the digital world. Given Justice Kennedy’s language about the importance of cyberspace as a vast public forum—the question becomes whether the First Amendment could be applied to limit the censorial actions of private companies. However, under the First Amendment, hate speech is a form of protected speech unless it crosses the line into narrow unprotected categories of speech, such as true threats, incitement to imminent lawless action, or fighting words. Social media companies—much like private universities—would aspire to behave under First Amendment principles, and at a minimum not discriminate against political speech based on viewpoint, but realistically, these are for-profit businesses that privilege profits and their own financial gains and as of now can do whatever they want. We are free to change what social media outlets we use – but that may be impossible when they are nearly all owned and controlled by two or three entities.




It started with Twitter slapping the President of the United States’ wrist by taking his account temporarily down. It deepened when Twitter said the take-down would be permanent out of fear that further tweets could incite insurrection.. Twitter stock fell 12% on Monday, June 11th.


Facebook decided to do the same and suspended the President’s account indefinitely.


Instagram – did the same.


Snapchat – did the same.


WhatsApp – did the same.


Pinterest – did the same.


PayPal – suspended accounts of groups who traveled to Washington, DC. They have also blocked the Christian crowdfunding site, GiveSendGo.


Apple shut down the ability to download the conservative Parler social networking service


GooglePlay shut down Parler’s accessibility, too.


Amazon which hosts Parler pulled access for Parler and shut down their servers, essentially bankrupting the owners and shutting down the app used by 20 million people.


Parler filed suit against Amazon.


Vimeo, owned by IAC, an American holding company that owns brands across 100 countries, mostly in media and internet services, shut down paid accounts with any videos relating to President Trump (including our own press conference editing videos). IAC also owns popular sites such as Angie’s List and Home Advisor, and news sites such as The Daily Beast.


YouTube is owned by Google. YouTube has taken down many videos and video channels relating to the election and to the President




Several people have been put on the no-fly list for flying to Washington, DC at the time of the US Capitol riots, not for participating in the Capitol riots.




There are reports of people being fired (most employment is at-will) for having gone to Washington, DC or expressing an extreme right political viewpoint. Forbes Magazine says no company should hire anyone who worked in the President’s administration. Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.




CNN has petitioned for cable companies to take down Fox News Network.


Cumulus Media wrote to all of their radio stations, saying: “We need to help induce national calm NOW,” Cumulus and its program syndication arm, Westwood One, “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’ Please inform your staffs that we have ZERO TOLERANCE for any suggestion otherwise. If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately. There will be no dog-whistle talk about “stolen elections”, “civil wars” or any other language that infers violent public disobedience is warranted, ever. Through all of our communication channels, including social, we will work to urge restoration of PEACE AND ORDER.” In Rhode Island, Cumulus radio stations are WPRO-AM, WPRO-FM (WEAN), WPRV-AM, LITE105, WWKX (KIX106).




AT&T, Hallmark, American Express, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, bpAmerica, Dow Chemical, FedEx, Ford, Stripe, Facebook, BCBS, CitiGroup, VISA, Verizon, Mattiott Corp, Commerce Bank, among companies pulling political contributions from Republican candidates and causes or financial services.




Amazon canceled a movie about Michael Brown, which addressed Black Lives Matter issues in a critical way.


Simon and Schuster canceled a book contract with author, Sen. Josh Hawley, titled, “The Tyranny of Big Tech”.




Locally, there are calls for a Republican representative from Exeter to resign. This is because he said he went to DC for the protest. He said he did not go into the Capitol building. The effort is being led by a Democratic freshman representative from Cranston.




The digital revolution has produced the most diverse, participatory, and amplified communications medium humans have ever had: the Internet. The ACLU believes in an uncensored Internet, a vast free-speech zone deserving at least as much First Amendment protection as that afforded to traditional media such as books, newspapers, and magazines. – Without equal access to the internet, we lose our rights to be heard and to hear others. – A free media functions as a watchdog that can investigate and report on government wrongdoing. It is also a vibrant marketplace of ideas, a vehicle for ordinary citizens to express themselves and gain exposure to a wide range of information and opinions.




German chancellor, Angela Merkel – hardly known for her affection for the US president – made it clear that she thought it was “problematic” that Trump had been blocked. Her spokesperson, Steffen Seibert, called freedom of speech “a fundamental right of elementary significance”. She said any restriction should be “according to the law and within the framework defined by legislators – not according to a decision by the management of social media platforms”.




Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, “but this corporate power grab does nothing to benefit American democracy in practice or in principle.” – “Social media companies are censoring views and deleting accounts haphazardly, often in response to political tides rather than rule breaches, effectively playing judge and jury with our rights.”


Elon Musk, Tesla CEO said, “A lot of people are going to be super unhappy with West Coast high tech as the de facto arbiter of free speech,” – Time to break up Amazon, monopolies are wrong.”


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline files an article of impeachment against Donald Trump.  Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is turning down a Presidential Medal of Freedom.  The first person of color to serve as a justice on the Rhode Island Supreme Court was sworn in yesterday.

>>Cicilline Files Article Of Impeachment Against President Trump

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline filed an article of impeachment against President Trump on Monday.  The article alleges Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted.  Then last Wednesday, it says he made statements while addressing a crowd in Washington, DC that led to the lawless action at the U.S. Capitol while Congress was meeting to certify the results of the presidential election.  Cicilline says there are enough votes in the House to impeach the president.

>>FBI Issues Warning About Possible Upcoming Protests At Capital Buildings

(Boston, MA)  --  The FBI has issued a warning about possible upcoming armed protests at all of the state capitol buildings in the U.S.  The warning covers a time frame beginning Saturday and lasting until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next Wednesday.  The agency's Boston division tells WPRI-TV they do not currently have evidence of any events being planned at the state capitals of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine or New Hampshire.

>>Patriots Coach Turns Down Medal Of Freedom

(Foxboro, MA)  --  New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will not be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  In an announcement made Monday, Belichick said he was flattered by the offer.  He cited the tragic events of last week, suggesting the siege on the Capitol by President Trump's supporters, but did not say as much.  He said continuing the efforts of social justice, equality, and human rights "while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."

>>First Person Of Color Serving As RI Supreme Court Justice

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Supreme Court has its first person of color serving as a justice.  Melissa Long was sworn in at the State House on Monday.  Long is one of two new members of the state Supreme Court; former state senator Erin Lynch Prata was sworn in last week.

>>New Rhode Island House Democratic Whip, Deputy Whip Elected

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island House Democrats are electing new members of their leadership team.  Representative Katherine Kazarian was picked as the new majority whip and Mia Ackerman as the new deputy whip at a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Monday night.  The caucus chair, deputy speaker and speaker pro tempore, respectively representatives Grace Diaz, Charlene Lima and Brian Kennedy, were all re-elected.

>>MBTA Will Keep Weekend Rail Service Going On Providence Line

(Providence, RI)  --  The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is adjusting its wintertime passenger rail schedule.  Starting January 23rd, the MBTA says weekday service will increase slightly, while weekend service will only run on select lines.  The Providence route is one of the lines that will remain active on the weekends.  The T says the new schedule aligns with lower ridership levels experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new schedules will be published Friday on MBTA.com.

Jim McCabe/Stephen Gugliociello/djc            RI) MA) NH) ME) BN)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-12-2021 01:11:47


Advocates call for vaccination of high-risk DD population/caregivers



Advocates call for Vaccination of High-Risk DD Population/Caregivers

January 11, 2021/RINewsToday


By Gina Macriscontributing writer, Developmental Disability News


While there is growing research that COVID-19 puts people with developmental disabilities at a higher risk for serious illness or death than virtually any other compromised group, Rhode Island’s disability rights advocates remain uncertain whether the state will follow through on intentions to include this population in the initial vaccination phase.


Since the pandemic hit Rhode Island last March, it has affected nearly 30 percent of adults with developmental disabilities living in group homes and an uncounted number of others with intellectual or developmental challenges living in other settings. A total of about 550 group home staff have tested positive for the virus.


On Dec. 28, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it had added Down syndrome — one of the most common developmental disabilities — to the list of conditions that put people at risk from serious illness or death from COVID-19.


People with Down syndrome are at higher risk for early-onset dementia as well as congenital heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal disorders, and other chronic medical conditions.


On Jan. 8, the chair of the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association (RIDDNA), wrote to the state’s public health epidemiologist, as well as coordinators for vaccine distribution, seeking confirmation that Phase 1 vaccinations, now underway, will include adults with developmental disabilities and the nurses and direct care staff who work with them.


Others are also pressing for similar assurances from officials of the Department of Health (DOH), including the health department’s counterparts at the state Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) and the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI), a trade association of private service agencies operating group homes and offering daytime services to adults with developmental disabilities.


Tina Spears, CPNRI’s executive director, said initial advice from DOH was that adults with developmental disabilities are to be prioritized for vaccination in the ongoing Phase 1 distribution.


At the same time, this population does not appear on the patient list of the CVS-Walgreen’s partnership assigned by DOH to handle long-term care vaccinations, Spears said.


She said state officials need to “step up” and make the Phase 1 designation explicit.


The DOH COVID-19 portal says Phase 1 includes “long-term care facility staff and residents” but does not specifically mention adults with developmental disabilities. As examples of long-term care settings, DOH lists “group homes for individuals primarily 65 and older, assisted living, (and) elderly housing with residential services.”


Spears, meanwhile, said that she considers anyone eligible for developmental disability services from BHDDH to be receiving long-term care, whether in a residential setting or during the day in the community.


Fournier, the chair of the nurses’ group, highlighted the conclusions of research that has shown adults with developmental disabilities have greater incidences of the same underlying chronic medical conditions that have already been recognized as risk factors in non-disabled adults. These underlying conditions include heart disease, diabetes, various cancers, and asthma, as well as obesity and seizure activity.


Fournier cited joint recommendations of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) and a coalition of more than a dozen nationwide disability rights organizations that vaccine programs prioritize adults with developmental disabilities and all those who care for them, whether paid caregivers or unpaid family members.


Those living and working in group homes and other congregate care settings should be considered at the same risk as patients and staffs of nursing homes, according to a joint position paper issued by the AADMD and the disability rights groups.


Several research studies analyzing COVID-19 cases indicate that that those with intellectual or developmental challenges are more likely to die from COVID-19 than most, if not all, risk groups. They include an case analysis of privately-insured COVID-19 patients completed in November ty the nonprofit FAIR Health in conjunction with the John Hopkins School of Medicine.


Only 10 states, none of them in New England, have explicitly prioritized adults with developmental disabilities in their vaccination programs, according to the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).


In Rhode Island, Fournier’s letter to public health epidemiologist Genevieve Caron pointed out that home care nurses have been receiving the vaccine, but nurses who work with the developmental disabilities population also work in home settings and have not been identified as vaccine-eligible.  


DOH did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


As of Jan. 6, a total of 351 of 1,212 residents in congregate care had tested positive for COVID-19 since the counting began last spring, according to figures compiled by state officials and obtained by Developmental Disability News.


The virus has affected a total of 214 group homes – all but 77 facilities in the privately-run system under license from the state, according to these figures.


A total of 14 group home residents and staff members have died.


In November, BHDDH had reported 12 deaths, including 9 group home residents and 3 staff members, but more recently, BHDDH lawyers, through a spokesman, declined to say whether the two most recent deaths were staff members or residents, They cited patient privacy concerns.


In its most recent update on COVID -19 on Jan. 8, BHDDH officials acknowledged they have received many inquiries about vaccination from the developmental disabilities community.


In a statement, officials said:


“We believe that all at-risk individuals, providers, and staff should be vaccinated and we have strongly and repeatedly advocated for that – however it is a challenge with a very limited supply of vaccine at this time. We expect that as more pharmaceutical firms get their vaccines approved, the timetable will become more generous. As soon as vaccinations dates become available, we will make information available.”


global vaccine tracker maintained by Bloomberg News shows that Rhode Island has administered 2.98 per 100 people, for a total of 32,000 injections, or 43.7 percent of the state’s total current supply of 72,000 units. The tracker shows that 1,798 persons have received a second dose.





Gina Macris is a career journalist with 43 years’ experience as a reporter for the Providence Journal in Providence, RI. She retired in 2012. During her time at the newspaper, she wrote two series about her first-born son, Michael M. Smith. Both series won prizes from the New England Associated Press News Executives Association.  Michael, now in his 30s, appears on the cover page, in front of the Rhode Island State House. 


Seniors must be the priorities for vaccines

Seniors must be the priority for vaccine – AARP-RI, by Herb Weiss

January 11, 2021/Herb Weiss


By Herb Weisscontributing writer on aging issues


Last month, in a statement by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) received a recommendation from the Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee for hospitals to begin vaccinating front line hospital workers against COVID-19. This recommendation was made at an emergency meeting of the Subcommittee. RIDOH has accepted the recommendation and has communicated to hospitals that they may begin vaccinating these workers, as soon as vaccine arrives.


Two doses will be needed for someone to be fully immunized, as we know. Rhode Island receives weekly vaccine deliveries. At this point 1/2 of those are kept in storage for that second shot. Expect to see changes in the vaccine distribution system. Whether it comes before January 20th in the form of changes in where and how the vaccine is delivered, or after January 20th, when President-elect Joe Biden has said he will release all of the vaccine to the states. It’s time for Rhode Island to be ready for any of these changes.


Epidemiologists, primary care providers, pharmacists, pediatricians, long-term care advocates, ethicists, nonprofit leaders, school leaders, faith leaders serve on Rhode Island’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee.  This group is responsible for performing an independent review of the process for evaluating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The Subcommittee is advising RIDOH on how to prioritize distribution of the vaccine to ensure that it is done equitably, and in a way that best protects the State as a whole.

Making COVID-19 Vaccine Available Throughout the Ocean State
Some history just before the vaccines were made available in RI: “After a rigorous scientific review, we know that COVID-19 vaccine is safe. We also know that it is one of the most effective vaccines ever developed,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH in her Dec. 14 statement. “In the coming weeks and months, as vaccine becomes more available, getting vaccinated will be one of the most powerful things you can do to keep yourself and the people you love safe from COVID-19. We are going to work to ensure that every person in every community in Rhode Island has access to the vaccine, especially those communities hardest hit by this virus,” she said.


Added, Philip Chan, MD, MS, Consultant Medical Director for RIDOH’s Division of Preparedness, Response, Infectious Disease, and Emergency Medical Services, “We have never had a vaccine that has been – or will be – more closely monitored than the COVID-19 vaccine. Teams of scientists at the national level have been scrutinizing thousands of pages of technical data for weeks, focusing on vaccine effectiveness, safety, and the manufacturing process, and our own local review has happened here in Rhode Island. I absolutely plan on getting vaccinated when it is my turn,” said Chan.


The national vaccine trials for the COVID-19 vaccine involved tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and people of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. (When vaccinated against COVID-19, people do sometimes develop post-vaccination symptoms such as soreness at the spot of the shot and headaches. This is normal, healthy, and expected. It means your immune system is working to develop protection.) Several systems are in place to do ongoing safety monitoring of the vaccine. There have been some allergic reactions, all handled well by stand-by medical intervention – almost everyone experiencing reactions knew they were at greater risk for them.


As of January 8, the last update on RIDOH’s COVID-19 Data Tracker, out of the 31,541 does administered, 29,743 have been vaccinated with their first of two doses, only 1,798 people were fully vaccinated with two doses. Don’t look for the roll out of COVID-19 to take days or weeks, it will take months to complete, warned RIDOH officials. 


Phase 1 of the vaccination program is expected to run through late March. At press time, the state is currently working its way through the top three tiers of this phase, including hospital staff, healthcare workers, EMS personnel, home health and hospice workers, nursing home staff and residents, high-risk incarcerated persons, first responders, school nurses, and even hard-hit communities. 


Finally, those in the final two tiers of Phase 1 to be vaccinated include outpatient providers (Dentists, primary care), Dialysis Center workers and death care professionals, expected to begin Jan. 25, and adults over 75 years of age, expected to start by February.  Phase 2 is expected to kick-in by late March.  A number of factors are being considered to target the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations a persons age, high-risk conditions, occupation and geography.  And don’t forget – changes are coming in distribution – sooner rather than later to increase total vaccines given which will move these timelines.


Make Older Rhode Islanders a Priority


AARP Rhode Island, representing 132,000 older Rhode Islanders, has called for Governor Gina Raimondo to make the state’s seniors a priority in its time-line for on distributing COVID-19 vaccine.  The Jan. 8 correspondence, cosigned by Kathleen Connell, State Director of AARP Rhode Island and Phil Zarlengo, the group’s State President, called on Raimondo “to increase COVID vaccination transparency,” as it relates to older Rhode Islanders.


“In order to increase public awareness of vaccine allocations and improve confidence in a fair distribution process, it is important that all Rhode Islanders have access to accurate and transparent information,” states the AARP Rhode Island’s correspondence.  AARP Rhode Island asked the Governor to include the numbers of Rhode Islanders vaccinated by age and other criteria on a daily/weekly basis on RIDOH’s COVID-19 Data Tracker.  Specifically, the largest state-wide advocacy group called for the state’s website to include:


1. the numbers and percentages of older Rhode Islanders by race and ethnicity, that have been vaccinated.


2. the number of Rhode Islanders vaccinated and their age demographics on a daily/weekly basis.


3. a clear and easy-to-understand schedule of vaccine administration for all populations; and the process by which individuals may seek and obtain a vaccine.


4. the numbers and percentages of long-term care residents, by facility, that have received their first and second doses of vaccines.


5. the numbers and percentages of long-term care staff, by facility, that have received their first and second doses of vaccines.


Over 50?


While acknowledging the many challenges the state officials must tackle in determining how to equitably, safely and effectively distribute COVID-19 vaccines, Connell and Zarlengo call for Rhode Islanders age 50 and older to be made a priority in receiving a vaccine.


“The data clearly show that the older people are, the higher risk they face if they contract COVID-19.  Given that older individuals are at a greater risk of death from COVID-19, we strongly urge you to ensure that Rhode Islanders age 50 and older are prioritized to receive a vaccine.  These individuals must be given priority access to vaccines, in addition to those individuals receiving care in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities,” they say. 


“For years, the long-term care system has been shifting away from institutional care in nursing homes to home and community-based settings (HCBS). Here in Rhode Island, a significant percentage of long-term services and supports are provided in the home or settings such as assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, veterans homes, and in individuals’ own homes,” says Connell and Zarlengo, stressing that this why the state should prioritize seniors, especially those with underlying conditions, receiving care in these additional settings and the staff providing care, to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.


Finally, Connell and Zarlengo urge Raimondo to ensure that all providers fully comply with established state procedures for vaccine distribution and prioritization. “We urge you to investigate and take swift action against anyone who attempts to commit fraud, including by inappropriately selling the vaccine or intentionally providing vaccines to those who do not meet qualifying criteria in an attempt to circumvent the distribution process,” they said, noting that “public confidence in the vaccine and its fair distribution is dependent on the state’s strong oversight and enforcement.” 


“We urge public health officials at the state and local level, as they decide on vaccine allocations, to rely on the evidence and make plans backed by science.  As production is ramping up, AARP is advocating hard to ensure every older American who wants to get the vaccine can get it.  It’s also vital that distribution plans for authorized vaccines are smoothly implemented.  There’s no time to waste: it’s time for full-scale mobilization, and any delays or early bottlenecks in distribution systems need to be addressed urgently,” says AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer, Nancy A. LeaMond



Herb Weiss, LRI’12, is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to herbweiss.com.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline [[ siss-uh-LEE-NEE ]] writes articles of impeachment against President Trump.  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has been picked to serve as Joe Biden's U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  The city of Pawtucket is suing the outgoing PawSox baseball team.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Cicilline Helps Write Articles Of Impeachment

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline [[ siss-uh-LEE-NEE ]] said as of Sunday evening that there were over two-hundred co-sponsors to articles of impeachment he introduced against President Donald Trump.  Cicilline said he wrote the articles with Congressmen Ted Lieu and Jamie Raskin to remove Trump for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday as Congress met to certify the electoral college vote for the presidential election.  Democrats are alternatively seeking Trump's ouster through the use of the 25th Amendment.

>>GOP State Rep Went To DC Last Week

(Undated)  --  Some calls are coming in for a Rhode Island state rep to resign for going to the U.S. Capitol last week.  Republican Justin Price, of Richmond, said he marched to the capitol but did not go inside.  Price blamed Antifa and Black Lives Matter for infiltrating a peaceful movement.  State Representative Brandon Potter and state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, both Democrats, are both calling for Price to quit.  RI House Republican Leader Blake Filippi has responded that Price didn't do anything wrong except attend what he believed to be a lawful protest.

>>Raimondo Introduced As Commerce Secretary Pick

(Wilmington, DE)  --  President-elect Joe Biden announced Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo as his incoming Commerce Secretary on Friday.  Biden said Raimondo is one of the most effective and forward-thinking governors in the United States and also commended her for the job she previously did as the treasurer of the Ocean State.  Raimondo would be tenth in the presidential line of succession.

>>Dan McKee In Quarantine As He Awaits Governor's Office

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is quarantining due to possible COVID-19 exposure.  Reports indicate McKee has tested negative, and his quarantine will end on Tuesday.  McKee says he is looking forward to a seamless transition to the governor's office.  Raimondo plans to continue as Rhode Island governor during the Senate confirmation process for her selection as Commerce Secretary.

>>Bills Introduced To Give State Legislature Power To Pick Lieutenant Governor

(Providence, RI)  --  How to fill the Rhode Island's lieutenant governor position is a question that may receive some debate at the State House.  A couple of bills have been filed to divert the power currently enjoyed by the governor to appoint a new L.G., including one that would allow the General Assembly to choose instead.  The state Supreme Court sided with then-Governor Lincoln Almond in 1997 in a battle with the state Senate over his lieutenant governor pick, the last time the office became vacant mid-term.

>>City Of Pawtucket Is Suing The PawSox

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The city of Pawtucket is suing the Pawtucket Red Sox.  The city says the team failed to fully perform required maintenance, repair and other obligations in connection to its lease and use of McCoy Stadium, which is owned by the city.  The suit filed in Rhode Island Superior Court alleges Pawtucket is entitled to significant damages, including repair work at the stadium.  The city says the PawSox have sent notice that they will not extend their lease past January 31st, as they get ready to play their next season in Worcester, Massachusetts.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Fatal Shooting In Providence Sunday

(Providence, RI)  --  The first homicide of 2021 in Providence has been reported.  A man was reportedly taken to Rhode Island Hospital with gunshot wounds on Sunday.  Police did not immediately report where the shooting took place, but said it happened around 8 a.m. yesterday.

Jim McCabe/Source Staff/djc           RI) MA)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-11-2021 01:12:33


Your Coronavirus Update - Today January 8, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today – Jan. 8, 2021

January 8, 2021/RINewsToday




RI said to have the 2nd highest infection rate in the world.


“Because of concerns of increased coronavirus transmission after holiday gatherings, many Massachusetts school districts are returning from winter break in a remote-only model to prevent in-school and further community transmission.”


Massachusetts announced Thursday that the state’s current restrictions for gatherings and business capacity will be extended for at least two weeks. 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. Most businesses, including restaurants, are limited to 25% capacity.


The Newport Winter Festival has been canceled for 2021


Providence Restaurant Week will be held Jan. 10-Feb 6, regardless of COVID19 uptick.


Ocean State Job Lot provides substantial food, supplies for Family Service of R.I


Harry’s Bar & Burger, in Newport, is being sold – the building comes with a 2-level restaurant and a 2-bedroom apartment.


Beginning January 15th RI Elder Info will be hosting a free Caregiver Support Group on the 3rd Friday of the month at 10am.Zoom login can be found by clicking here


A Brigham and Women’s doctor is predicting lockdowns are on the horizon to deal with the post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases.


Rhode Island is adhering to the two-dose plan, rather than the 1-dose or ½ dose being adopted by many states to quicken vaccinations.


New Bedford set to open COVID surge facility – one of two facilities associated with SouthCoast Hospitals being prepared for opening


Phoenix House has been taken over by a court master, claiming pandemic has devastated the nonprofit recovery group. The intent is to wind down PH operations.


RI will begin offering testing of public school students and teachers beginning this month. Consent must be given and participation is not mandatory. Scituate and Lincoln schools have opted out, saying it is too labor intensive for their nursing staff.


The Worcester County Jail & House of Correction is on a modified lockdown after an uptick in COVID-19 cases among inmates, with 57 of 570 inmates positive.


The RI Air Show may come back on June 26th weekend.


Most ACI inmates, and 100% of staff opt for COVID vaccine


Brookside Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Webster, MA is under investigation after 51 of the 58 residents tested positive for COVID-19, and three patients have died.


Joseph Molina Flynn, newly appointed Municipal Court judge in Central Falls, is recovering from COVID19


Today’s Data – Jan 7, 2020

Deaths: 20

Tests – 18,960. Positives – 1,155. Percent positive – 6.1%

Hospitalized – 397. In ICU – 59. Ventilated – 40

Deaths in hospital – 7. New Admissions – 45. New Discharges – 53

Vaccinations – 1st shot: 28,603 – 2 shots: 1,103



Data by City:





Arizona is the new hotspot for COVID19


Yesterday, the CDC said the states need to change their priorities and get the most shots out to the most people they can reach – rather than focusing on levels of individuals most at risk. This could dramatically change vaccine delivery in the very near future.


LA County is making plans to vaccinate low priority groups as well in an all-out effort to get more people vaccinated.


“With the holidays over, “once you get rolling and get some momentum, I think we can achieve 1 million a day or even more,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.


Moderna said it will be able to make at least 600 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine this year.


Studies to see if Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses can be halved may take two months


LA County Public Health Director: “You run the risk of an exposure whenever you leave your home.”


Virus variant found in Pennsylvania


Walmart is requiring all associates and customers to wear face coverings when inside stores, has implemented adjusted store hours to allow for deep cleanings, and extended its COVID-19 emergency leave policy for all associates. The extension goes through June, 2021.


Japan declares emergency for Tokyo area as cases spike. 


China’s CNBG has supplied 3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to UAE


Operation Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui will stay on as a consultant for Biden.


Amazon has announced $2 billion in loans and grants to secure affordable housing in three U.S.   cities where it has major operations, including a Seattle suburb where the online retail giant employs at least 5,000 workers.


In one ICU in hospital in Egypt – all coronavirus patients died after oxygen supply failed – “the oxygen level almost below 2% & neither enough pressure nor enough oxygen”. El Husseineya Central Hospital


Japan’s top-ranked sumo wrestler, Hakuho, has tested positive for coronavirus, the Japan Sumo Association


Amazon reports it purchased 11 new jets to help with its delivery network.


Manufacturing in US rose by 60% in December.


Local researchers are studying whether vitamin D could lessen the severity of COVID symptoms.


45 Macy’s stores will close in 2021 – no locations were yet announced – RI stores will NOT close.


In Florida, several counties are using the event platform, Eventbrite, known for selling concert tickets and coordinating happy hours, to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments.


Updated guidelines from the U.K. allowing people to mix-and-match different vaccines. The new guidelines permit patients to receive a different vaccine for their second dose if the shot from their first dose is no longer available or unknown to the recipient. So far, the U.K. has approved vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which use different ingredients and technologies to provide immunity. While it’s possible that mixed vaccines could help protect against the virus, there is no safety or efficacy data yet for mixing doses. The new vaccination guidelines are part of the U.K.’s effort to vaccinate as many people as possible, regardless of likely delays between doses. 


In Florida, the hospital system was used to disseminate vaccines for the 70% of residents are seniors. Some have not been able to vaccinate quickly enough. The hospitals who are slow will have their allocations redistributed to other hospitals who can handle the influx. The state is now working to convert state-run testing sites into vaccination centers, working to hire 1,000 extra nurses to administer shots and is even planning to use churches as vaccination sites to target under-served communities.


95% of COVID-19 deaths are people over 50. Some 40% have been residents and staff in nursing homes. 


CVS Health is now administering COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities in 49 states, with the rollout beginning in 36 states and Washington, D.C. last week.


Within the next two weeks, Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine accelerator, estimates 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could begin administering Covid-19 shots, according to a senior HHS official.


A study has shown that loss of smell happens in 86% of COVID19 cases.


A Northern California hospital has shown it’s possible to get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of people fast. Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center learned Monday morning the refrigerator holding Mendocino County’s most recent distribution of 850 Moderna vaccines had failed. Racing to beat the clock before the vaccines spoiled, they successfully administered the entire supply in 2.5 hours in collaboration with the county’s health department and skilled nursing facilities. They aimed to issue the vaccine to high-risk individuals, but “the highest priority was making sure that nothing went to waste.” At 11:30 a.m. Monday, Howe and his colleague Bessant Parker, the hospital’s medical officer, received the call that the compressor on the refrigerator was broken. The vaccines need to be stored at a temperature of 36-46 degrees, and they had been sitting at room temperature since 2 a.m. “Moderna has a 12-hour shelf life at room temperature,” said Howe, who noted that a refrigerator failure is unusual. Hospital officials acted quickly, treating the situation like an emergency, and devised a plan to issue several dozen vaccines directly to a nursing home and 200 to the county, which administered its allotment to everyone from county workers to jail inmates. They offered the remaining 600 inoculations to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis, with an emphasis on getting the word out to high-risk individuals. “We set up four vaccination centers, three on our campus and one in a church close by,” said Parker, who added that it took a workforce of about 40 people to administer the shots at the four locations. They alerted the public through social media and by making phone calls to places such as nursing homes. Employees also helped spread the news.



Rhode Island Foundation awards grants for animal welfare

Rhode Island Foundation awards $481,000 for animal welfare

January 8, 2021/RINewsToday


Uses include funding low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and wildlife rehabilitation


The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded $481,000 in grants to dozens of animal welfare programs across the state. The funding will support a range of uses including low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and wildlife rehabilitation.


“The generosity of our donors and the commitment of our grantee partners is expanding humane education, increasing care options for shelter animals and pets owned by low-income households, and improving the quality of animal care in Rhode Island,” said Adrian Bonéy, who oversees the Foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare (PAW). “Their work is producing innovation, new approaches to animal welfare and increasing the number of animals receiving direct care across Rhode Island.”


PAW funds organizations that promote and provide humane treatment of animals or work more generally on the welfare of animals. Grants are for projects or programs that have a positive impact locally or statewide on animal care, education about the humane treatment of animals and animal welfare in general.


Thirteen special funds at the Foundation relate to the humane treatment and protection of animals. These funds collectively enable the Foundation to take a leading role on animal welfare issues.


The single largest grant recipient is the Potter League for Animals, which received $70,000 for surgeries, supplies and staffing for its on-site medical suite in Middletown the Potter League Spay and Neuter Clinic in Warwick for pet owners who cannot afford the procedures.


“Many animals are sick or injured when they come to us. Some are just old and have special needs that must be taken care before they can be adopted into new homes. Now we can give orphaned animals the care they need and deserve,” said Brad Shear, executive director.


The Potter League also received $7,500 as the fiscal sponsor for the CoyoteSmarts public education program, which is offered in partnership with the Conservation Agency, R.I. Natural History Survey, Aquidneck Land Trust and Norman Bird Sanctuary. The funds will support the program’s campaign coordinator and in-classroom education programs at local schools.


“For many years, we’ve worked cooperatively to address the growing presence of coyotes in our community. Our objective is to raise public awareness of coyotes, encourage best management practices and promote effective strategies for keeping pets and people safe,” said Shear.


The other recipients include:


Animal Rescue Rhode Island (ARRI) in South Kingstown received $15,600 for the conversion of an existing food pantry storage room into an isolation room with two kennels. The organization estimates that adding two additional kennels will enable it to rescue an additional 30 to 60 dogs per year.


“In 2019, we found forever homes for 475 animals. The new isolation kennels will give us more space for dogs while readying them for adoption,” said Liz Skrobisch, interim executive director.


“We provide training and enrichment services because many have never had homes, regular meals or medical care such as immunizations or spay/neuter treatment. There is such a high demand for adoption that the majority of the animals are adopted as soon as they as released from the isolation period,” said Skrobisch.


The Audubon Society of Rhode Island in Smithfield received $7,500 for food and supplies for the 28 animals that participate in its educational programs.


“All of our hawks, owls, ravens, turtles, snakes, frogs and the grackle are either former pets or permanently injured animals who cannot be released back into the wild. Audubon provides these creatures with a ‘forever home’ and is committed to giving them with the best care possible throughout their lives,” said Lawrence J.F. Taft, executive director.


Audubon serves approximately 22,000 children and adults a year with educational programs on-site and at schools, libraries and senior centers and other community organizations. Many of the programs are now presented online due to the COVID-19 crisis.


“We created ‘Audubon at Home.’ These web pages are filled with activities, backyard investigations, resources, videos and more. Organized in weekly themes, our animal ambassadors play a large part in the programming. Audubon educators are also conducting virtual ‘Raptors of Rhode Island’ programs for classrooms around the state free of charge for the schools. They help us educate the public about the value of wildlife and the importance of biodiversity,” said Taft.


The East Greenwich Animal Protection League received $6,300 to upgrade its laundry facilities with energy-efficient, high-capacity commercial washers and dryers. The organization serves hundreds of companion animals a year.


“The daily laundry routine is all day, every day because we currently only have small capacity equipment designed for family use. Due to the volume and weight of laundry the machines are inefficient and poorly suited for shelter laundry. The inefficiency and low capacity require too much staff time and use a huge amount of energy and detergent. It is time to switch to quality, large capacity commercial equipment that will be more energy efficient and have quicker cycles times,” said Tammy Gallo.


The organization will purchase two commercial, large capacity washer/dryer units, In addition to serving a growing number of companion animals, it has added a new cat room and completed the new clinic and surgical suite.


“With large capacity equipment, they will be able to do more in less time and use less power and water. We anticipate the savings in staff time will enable staff to work on other tasks with the time freed up by a new shorter cycle times. In fact, the increased capacity and shorter cycle time may make it possible to simply have a staff person oversee our volunteer group to handle laundry freeing staff up to get other work done,” said Gallo.


Foster Parrots in Hope Valley received $25,000 for vet care, food, enrichment supplies, educational material, utility expenses and adoption services.


“This will enable us to provide exemplary care for the parrots and other displaced exotic animals in our care, and enable us to provide services for a greater number of unwanted pet birds through our adoption and home support programs,” said Karen Windsor, executive director.


The organization expects to serve more than 400 birds and animals with the support of the grant. More than 60 birds were placed in adoptive homes in 2019.


“Direct care support for items like nutritional diets and medical care is essential, enabling us to not only maintain exceptional standards for the health of resident birds and animals, but to begin to address and improve chronic health and nutritional issues,” said Windsor.


In addition, the grant will provide partial salary support for the organization’s Adoption & Community Education Director.


“Not only does she work to locate outstanding homes for our human-bonded parrots, she also invests a great deal of time educating guardians and ensuring that standards of care for adopted birds are optimal,” said Windsor.


Friends of Central Falls Animals received $25,000 for its Fix Me 6 initiative, which underwrites the cost of spay and neuter procedures; testing and treatments, including vaccinations, preventative medicines and implanting microchips for pet cats and dogs.


“Our work with spay and neuter of friendly and owned cats and kittens has always been our major area of success. Each year, as more and more people learn about the program and its benefits, they are taking advantage of everything it has to offer. Many residents could not afford to have their pets ‘fixed’ without our help,” said David Riseberg, president.


The goal is to spay or neuter a total of approximately 200 cats, both feral, free-roaming cats and pet cats, as well as approximately 50 dogs. Medical care includes distemper and rabies vaccines for cats and distemper/parvo and rabies vaccines for dogs. Dogs will also receive a heartworm or more extensive blood test at the time of spay or neuter. And all pets being spayed or neutered can receive a microchip as well.


“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on our last program, since there were no spay or neuters occurring for the two months our program was in shut-down. Both locations are now accepting spay and neuters of both cats and dogs, with new protocols in place,” said Riseberg.


Friends of Animals In Need in North Kingstown received $15,000 for its Veterinary Care Assistance Program, which provides veterinary care for companion animals whose owners are economically challenged in an effort to help keep them together with their pets in order to prevent the abandonment, surrender or euthanizing of a pet.


“Our goal is to keep people and their beloved pets together. These are people whose pets have been an integral part of their family life. In some cases, as with the elderly or widowed, their pets fill an emotional void by providing them with love, companionship, comfort and purpose,” said Russ Shabo, executive director.


The COVID-19 crisis is having a severe impact on pet owners who were already under financial pressure, according to Shabo.


“During 2019, we helped over 300 clients at a cost of just over $50,000. As a result of rising vet prices, the COVID19 virus, a depressed economy and financial challenges affecting many of Rhode Island’s population, many more people are coming to us,” said Shabo.


Friends of the Scituate Animal Shelter received $13,000 to fund veterinary expenses and medications for animals taken into the shelter. In 2019, 94 percent of the animals taken into the shelter were successfully placed.


“In addition to relieving pain and suffering, correcting medical problems with our animals improves their chances for adoption tremendously. Given the frequency of medical issues among the incoming animals, our actions to address these issues has a major positive impact on adoption rates,” said shelter President Nicholas Murphy.


In addition, a portion of the grant will be used to install a roof over the outdoor dog exercise area, which will enable volunteers to exercise and socialize with dogs more often.


“This will enable the use of the pens in sunny hot weather as well as in rain, ice or snow. Allowing the dogs full-time access to exercise and socialization while they are staying at the shelter leads to dogs that are better suited for successful placements and adoptions,” said Murphy.


“In addition, many of the volunteers at the shelter are seniors. A covered pavilion would enable them to use the exercise area with the dogs in adverse weather conditions when these areas would not normally be usable,” he said.


Mystic Aquarium received a $15,000 grant through the Sea Research Foundation to support the rescue and rehabilitation of injured or sick marine mammals and sea turtles in Rhode Island. Nearly 75 percent of the animals brought to the aquarium for treatment each year are rescued in Rhode Island.


“Year after year, dozens of these animals end up on stranded on our shores due to illness, malnutrition and dehydration as a result of marine debris and pollution and diminishing food sources among other reasons,” said Stephen M. Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium. “They would not otherwise be able to return to the ocean environment without the specialized and compassionate care provided by our world-class team.”


PAAWS RI received $28,000 to spay/neuter feral, stray community and owned cats living in the city of Providence in partnership with Providence Animal Care and Control.


“The city of Providence has long been overrun with intact feral and pet cats. They contribute to the over-population of intact, discarded, abandoned and suffering cats. The Gimme Shelter Spay and Neuter for Cats Program will spay and neuter these two demographics of cats and return them to the family they already have, be it community feeder and outdoor shelter or loving family home, thus reducing feline populations in shelters and on the street, and limiting the suffering of cats generally through hoarding situations and survival on the streets as yet another roaming stray,” said Erika Cole, director of Providence Animal Care and Control (PACC).


PACC will be responsible for trapping feral cats, coordinating surgical appointments for owned cats and transporting cats from Providence to PAAWS RI’s veterinary clinic in Warwick. PAAWS RI will provide veterinary care, including a complete physical exam, spay/neuter surgery, distemper and rabies vaccines, flea/deworming medication and a microchip if desired by the pet owner.


“Many cat owners in these communities truly want their cats spayed or neutered but simply cannot afford the services, down payments, travel accommodations or time out of work needed to transport their cats to any one of the low-cost clinics that exist. A portion of cat owners are not aware that spay or neuter may solve behavioral issues they are experiencing with their cats, and others do not desire litter after litter of kittens but are unable to help their cat by themselves and require assistance,” said Cole


PawsWatch received $35,000 to expand its statewide efforts to manage Rhode Island’s free-roaming-cat population through its trap, neuter and return program, which provides sterilization surgeries and vaccinations at its clinic in Johnston.


“We care for the thousands of free-roaming cats and the kittens born to them, whose lives are miserable and short. Seventy-five percent of kittens die within their first six months, and average adult age at death is only about five years,” said Nancy Pottish, vice president. “The funding will also benefit the people in the community who feed and care for the colonies while watching these tragedies play out.”


Veterinary restrictions and shelter-in-place orders due to COVID-19 reduced the number of cats PawsWatch will spay or neuter by approximately 30 percent to an estimated 900 in 2020.


“We are still doing as much as possible to help these abandoned cats and their caretakers. While some services like education and cat-trap training are on hold because of the pandemic, we are still doing equipment loans, subsidized sterilization surgery, vaccinations, medical care for injured free-roaming cats, kitten care and pre- and post-surgery boarding of the free-roaming cats brought to our facility,” said Pottish.


The RIVMA Companion Animal Foundation in Providence received $25,000 to help pet owners who are experiencing financial hardship to pay for veterinary care for their animals. The grant is expected to help more than 200 pet owners.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating financial impact on many Rhode Islanders. Job losses and illness have limited many people’s ability to pay for basic expenses, including veterinary care for their pets. This will help an increased number of low-income pet owners across the state access veterinary care for their pets,” said Elizabeth Suever, president of the board of directors.


Stand Up for Animals in Westerly received $15,000 to support its work assisting in the care of animals at the Westerly Animal Shelter. The funding will be used for veterinary services and medications.


“Our goal is to support a place where animals will be treated with compassion and dignity; where suffering and abuse will not be tolerated; where education and understanding will play an integral role in eliminating overpopulation, animal cruelty and abandonment; where every possible effort is made to return an animal to its owner, or to place that animal in a new, safe and forever loving home,” said Deb Turrisi, executive director.


West Place Animal Sanctuary in Tiverton received $25,000, primarily for food and health care, such as medication and hoof care, shearing, teeth filing and winter animal blankets. The organization provides shelter and rehabilitation for a variety of livestock and wildlife, including many that are injured, disabled or suffering from abuse or neglect.


“This is a yearly, ongoing program, which grows and expands each year, as our organization does,” said Wendy Taylor, executive director. West Place cared for more than 60 farm and 150 wild animals in 2020.


The Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown received $10,200 to purchase diagnostic and treatment equipment to detect and treat lead poisoning in the birds it cares for. The funds will be used to purchase basic diagnostic testing equipment as well as a cage for large birds, including eagles. The organization cares for approximately 5,500 wild birds and animals from across the state a year.


“Hundreds of water birds, seabirds and raptors are at risk of lead poisoning. Life-saving treatment depends on timely, accurate diagnoses. Current turnaround time for off-site testing is four days. This lapse of time during the initial care of critical wild patients hampers accurate diagnosis and creates difficulty in instituting an effective plan for medical care,” said Kristin Fletcher, executive director.


The remaining organizations receiving grants are the North Kingstown Animal Protection League, Providence Animal Rescue League, Rhode Island Parrot Rescue, Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Scruffy Paws Animal Rescue, Ten Lives Cat Rescue, Town of Cumberland, Town of North Providence and Town of Westerly.



The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Governor Raimondo has been selected to President-elect Biden's cabinet.  Members of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation say Donald Trump should leave office or be removed.  Charges will not be filed in connection to the police-involved moped crash last year in Providence.

>>Biden Selects Raimondo For Commerce Secretary

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has been chosen to be President-elect Joe Biden's Commerce Secretary.  Raimondo was the first woman to be elected governor in the Ocean State and has held the office since 2015.  Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee will take over for the remaining two years of Raimondo's current term.  Biden is also taking Boston mayor Marty Walsh as his Labor secretary.

>>'Resign, 25th Amendment Or Impeach' Echoing Among RI Delegation

(Undated)  --  More statements have been released by members of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation in response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump on Wednesday.  Congressman Jim Langevin [[ LAN-juh-vin ]] says the only course of action is for the president to resign, or in place of that, the 25th Amendment should be invoked or Trump should be impeached.  Those are the three options Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is going with, also.  Senator Jack Reed stopped short of calling for one of the choices in a statement released yesterday, but Reed said this about Trump: while he remains president for a few more days, he has abdicated the responsibilities of his office.

>>No Charges To Be Filed For Officer-Involved Moped Crash

(Providence, RI)  --  The family of the moped operator seriously injured in a police officer-involved crash in Providence last year is planning to make the incident a civil matter after the state said no criminal charges would be filed.  Attorney General Peter Neronha said his office concluded that evidence did not support charges against officer Kyle Endres or any other officer.  Endres pulled behind Gonsalves and followed him before a crash happened at the intersection of Elmwood Avenue and Bissell Street on October 18th.  A reconstruction report from the Rhode Island State Police indicated Endres' cruiser did not strike Gonsalves, who has been in a coma since the crash.  His family said yesterday a lawsuit will be filed in federal court.

>>Local Veteran News Reporter Bill Rappleye Has Died

(Providence, RI)  --  Longtime Providence TV reporter Bill Rappleye [[ RAP-plee ]] has died.  Rappleye was a political reporter for WJAR-TV; he worked for Channel 10 for almost twenty years.  He moved to WSBE-TV last year and was the host of Rhode Island PBS Weekly.  Rappleye passed away on Thursday from cancer at the age of 66.

>>RI-CT Bridge Reopened With Cows

(Westerly, RI)  --  The cows literally came home across state lines in Rhode Island and Connecticut this week.  According to a report from the Westerly Sun, a rancher on Wednesday guided a half-dozen cattle across a recently-reconstructed bridge that had been closed for over a decade connecting Westerly and North Stonington, to signify a "grand opening".  Repairs to the Boombridge Road bridge going over the Pawcatuck River cost about one-and-a-half-million dollars, which was split by the two states.

>>Bruins Name Patrice Bergeron New Captain

(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Bruins have named Patrice Bergeron [[ puh-TREECE burr-zhur-ON ]] their new captain.  The move was expected after longtime Bruins captain Zdeno Chara [[ zuh-DAY-no CHAR-uh ]] departed for the Washington Capitals.  Bergeron has played over a thousand games for the Bruins and is fifth all-time in goals scored for the team.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI) CT)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

01-08-2021 01:12:38


Our shame seen around the world.


Our shame seen round the world

January 7, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Protester in Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s office


Rioters broke into the US Congress building after a speech by members of the Trump family and President Trump.


VP Pence was called upon to make a definitive statement about not accepting the electoral college votes, and just before Congress went into session, he sent a message that he would not be taking that step, but would just read and accept the electoral votes of the state.


The country – if not the world – was stunned as the scene played out live on television all afternoon and into the evening – culminated by a 4am acceptance of the electoral college votes.


Members of congress hid on the floor, in their offices, put on their “gas hoods” – plastic bags with breathing devices at the bottom as tear gas was deployed in and out of the building. The glass doors of the House chamber were broken.


A young woman was part of a group storming the House doors. Law enforcement tried to get the crowd to step back, a shot was fired by law enforcement, not yet known who or why, and the young woman went down. A few hours later she died of the gunshot wound to her chest.


After what seemed to be an interminable amount of time, some law enforcement backup came. There seem to be a clear decision to use only Capitol Police in a de-escalation attempt. But the sheer numbers of those storming the building and outside – 10s of thousands – went well beyond what they could handle. Still unanswered is the question of how a crowd was able to infiltrate the building with members of Congress – and the vice president – in an active session. One of the most secure locations in the world.

A moment of humanity between protester and law enforcement.

Rep. Susan Wild, taking cover





















Tonight, Vice President Mike Pence changed his Twitter banner to show an imagine of Pres-elect Joe Biden and Vice Pres-elect Kamala Harris.



President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement intended to calm down the situation. He spoke from a podium, and took no questions. Here is part of that, released on Twitter.


President’s video message to the American people to calm down and go home was first tagged by Twitter, then his account was suspended for 12 hours. Here is the video:


Citizen protesters were thought to have been joined by other organized groups intent on causing chaos in the country. Several leaders had been identified in other major protests in other states.

The people’s work continued

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to lawmakers that after consulting with the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the vice president, Congress should proceed with the counting and confirming of electoral votes once the Capitol is cleared.


Late last night Congress reconvened, and went through the roll call of states. After a few encounters with members, the electoral college votes were accepted, with several Republicans backing down against their opposition, and Joe Biden/Kamala Harris victories were upheld at 4am.


Twitter at first took down the President’s Tweet and then locked President Trump’s account for 12 hours, saying they would make it permanent if his negative actions continued. Facebook followed by taking down his page.


President Trump issued a statement through his Chief of Staff, saying that while he disagrees, he will accept the actions of congress and is committed now to a peaceful transition of power on January 20th. His statement in total:


“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our… fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!”


This morning there are reports of 4 dead, 52 arrested, 14 police officers injured.


Several transitions are occuring in rapid order. The first lady’s chief of staff resigned. The Deputy National Security Advisor resigned. the National Security Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff are rumored to be resigning. Other congressional staff members have been said to be considering leaving Washington.


President Trump has banned Vice President Pence and his Chief of Staff from the West Wing of the White House.


This is a developing story – and will be updated throughout the day.



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