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1540 Updates Archives for 2020-07

Free the Salads and Veggies - take them out of the bag

Free the Salads and Veggies – take them out of the bag

July 31, 2020/RINewsToday


The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express.


How to identify recalled products:

  • Products were sold in many states under either the brand name Fresh Express or the store brand labels ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside.
  • You can identify the recalled products by looking for the Product Code, located in the upper right-hand corner of the front of the package.
    • The recall includes products marked with the letter “Z” at the beginning of the Product Code, followed by the number “178” or lower.
  • A full listing of recalled products is available on the Fresh Express recall page.


What to do if you have recalled products:

  • Do not eat, sell, or serve recalled salad products.
  • Check your home for any of these recalled salads. Throw any remaining salad away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick.
  • If you don’t know whether the bagged salad mix you have in your home is one of the recalled salads, do not eat it. Throw it away.


Take action if you have symptoms of a Cyclospora infection:

  • Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Write down what you ate in the two weeks before you started to get sick.
  • Report your illness to the health department.
  • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.


At a Glance

  • Reported laboratory-confirmed cases: 641
  • States: 11
  • Deaths: 0
  • Hospitalizations: 37
  • Recall: Yes


Case Count Map – Click map to view case count map.


More Information


Latest Outbreak Information

  • 641 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections and who reported eating bagged salad mix before getting sick have been reported from 11 states (Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin).
    • Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to July 5, 2020.
    • 37 people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canadaexternal icon is investigating an outbreak of Cyclospora infections occurring in three Canadian provinces. Exposure to certain Fresh Express brand salad products containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage, has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak.
  • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence indicates that bagged salad mix containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express is a likely source of this outbreak.
  • CDC and FDA continue to investigate to determine which ingredient or ingredients in the salad mix was contaminated and whether other products are a source of illnesses.
  • CDC will provide updates when more information is available.


Investigation Details


July 24, 2020


Since the last case count update on July 9, 2020, 132 new laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections have been reported, including 16 from three new states: Georgia, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.


As of  July 22, 2020, a total of 641 people with laboratory-confirmed Cyclospora infections associated with this outbreak have been reported from 11 states: Georgia (1), Illinois (198), Iowa (195), Kansas (5), Minnesota (73), Missouri (57) Nebraska (55), North Dakota (6), Pennsylvania (2), South Dakota (13) and Wisconsin (36). The ill person from Georgia purchased and ate a bagged salad product while traveling in Missouri.


Illnesses started on dates ranging from May 11, 2020 to July 5, 2020. Ill people range in age from 10 to 92 years with a median age of 59 and 52% are female. Of 636 people with available information, 37 people (6%) have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.


Illnesses might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks. If the number of cases reported by CDC is different from the number reported by state or local health officials, data reported by local jurisdictions should be considered the most up to date. Any differences may be due to the timing of reporting and website updates.


1. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)


Some packaging controls used for fresh-cut produce affect the environment within the package by reducing the levels of oxygen. Low oxygen levels help maintain the quality of fresh produce and extend shelf-life by slowing respiration and senescence in plant tissues. Oxygen can be reduced passively by using gas-permeable films in packaging that results in the natural development of the desired atmosphere; the desired atmosphere is a consequence of the products’ respiration as gas diffuses through the film (Ref. 6). Oxygen can also be reduced actively by displacing the mixture of gases in a package with a gas mixture that has a low concentration of oxygen (1-5%). Microorganisms respond differently to the surrounding gases depending on their tolerance. While reduced oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide retard the growth of spoilage microorganisms such as Pseudomonas spp., the same gas conditions may provide growth opportunities for pathogenic microorganisms. At extremely low oxygen levels (< 1%), anaerobic respiration can occur, resulting in tissue destruction that affects product quality and creating the potential for growth of foodborne pathogens such as Clostridium botulinum (Ref. 6). It is generally believed, however, that fresh-cut produce will spoil before the toxin becomes a concern (Ref. 6). Non-pathogenic aerobic and facultative microorganisms are present at the time of packaging and persist after packaging.


MAP is only effective in extending shelf-life if used in conjunction with good refrigeration. Elevated temperatures can promote the growth of spoilage organisms and pathogens that may be present. Thus, we recommend those food processors using MAP adhere to strict temperature controls and appropriate shelf-life parameters. Because refrigeration temperatures may not be maintained during distribution of the products or while they are held by retailers or consumers, we also recommend that controls be in place to either prevent increases in temperature, as feasible, or to alert the processor, retailer, or consumer that the product may not be safe to consume. Processors may wish to consider providing product handling guidelines on temperature control and washing to the distributor, retailer, and consumer. Another potential source of contamination of fresh cut produce packed in MAP occurs when the gases, equipment, or packaging materials are not properly maintained. As with any type of packaging, we recommend that controls be put in place to ensure that the process of packaging the product and the packaging materials themselves do not cause the product to become contaminated.


D. Packaging


Anything that touches fresh-cut produce has the potential to contaminate it, including the materials used in packaging the finished product.


We recommend the following practices:

  • Maintaining an effective system to prevent the use of contaminated, damaged, or defective cartons and totes in order to prevent microbial contamination of the fresh-cut produce during packing operations
  • Overseeing incoming materials and gases used in packaging to confirm that they are not damaged or defective and are in appropriate working order
  • Rejecting packaging materials that are damaged or contaminated
  • Determining the appropriate gas mixtures for products
  • Using containers and cartons for their intended purpose only. For example, we recommend against using a carton designated for holding fresh-cut produce to hold tools.
  • Storing packaging containers and other packaging materials in a manner so as to protect them from contamination, such as away from pests, dirt, cleaning chemicals, and water condensation from overhead equipment and structures
  • Maintaining a program to identify and correct situations where damage to containers may potentially occur
  • Labeling all finished fresh-cut produce products with recommended storage instructions (e.g., “Keep Refrigerated”) or storage temperature to inform all persons handling the product of the recommended storage conditions


2. Shelf-life


Fresh-cut fruits and vegetables can cause illness due to contamination with a variety of microorganisms because these products do not undergo any processing to ensure the total elimination of microorganisms that might be present. Some packaging and storage techniques for fresh-cut produce (e.g., MAP, refrigerated storage) may slow the rate of physical deterioration by slowing respiration of the produce. However, if packaging and storage are not properly controlled, pathogens may grow to levels that could render the product unsafe for human consumption. The rate of respiration of fresh produce is inversely related to product shelf-life, which means that a higher respiration rate decreases shelf-life (Ref. 6). Fresh fruits and vegetables that have been cut or otherwise physically altered will have increased respiration, and thus, a shorter shelf-life. To address the risks of increased respiration, we recommend the following practices:

  • Communicating (through product labeling) that the consumer should refrigerate the product to prevent product spoilage and the potential for growth of pathogens
  • Ensuring that any “use by” date on the product package is validated by studies of the product with respect to microbiological safety


We recommend that records of these data and studies be maintained to document the reliability of the “use by” labeling.


Foods Get a “Bad Wrap” for Sustainability


What are the problems with pre-packaging?


1. Disease Outbreaks: Salmonella, lysteria, and E. coli outbreaks have been traced to bagged fresh produce, especially spinach and salad greens. Think about the possibility of a tiny bit of contamination from manure or tainted irrigation water that is in a plastic bag being trucked across the desert. A perfect incubator for bacteria.


2. More Unrecyclable Trash: Styrofoam trays are one of the least degradable packaging materials known to man. The plastic, cellophane and saran are not likely to be recycled either.


3. Loss of Nutrients: Precut vegetables and fruits lose vitamins and other nutrients faster than whole products.


4. Expensive: You generally will be paying more, by weight, when you buy packaged produce. A prepared package of cut up fruit, for instance, usually costs at least twice as much as whole fruit you can cut yourself. And if you’re buying from a farmer’s market, you probably can save 50% more.


5. More Technology Pollution: Manufacturing the plastic packaging materials for these fruits and vegetables to help them maintain their freshness may create more pollution.


6. Spoiled or Overripe: You have to inspect packed produce carefully to make sure it is not spoiled, moldy, or dried up. The refrigerated fruit could be in a “chilled gas chamber.” Packaged produce is often a lot older than fresh. Nutrients may be degraded by age of the item from when it was picked.


7. Taste and Smell: Compounds sprayed on produce (chlorine and ozone are two) to retard spoilage may leave unpleasant traces.


8. More Government Laws and Agencies: It takes government entities to make sure that packages are labeled correctly with contents, weight and place of origin. Laws and regulations have to be made to make sure fresh food is properly weighed, cleaned, processed, branded, identified, labeled, packaged, presented, transported, stored, and tested.

Stages of Freedom's Black Rhode Island Heroes Class

Stages of Freedom’s Black Rhode Island Heroes Class

July 31, 2020/RINewsToday


Join Stages of Freedom for an exciting look at Black Rhode Island History-Makers


With LIVE performances, videos, and lively conversations. 


This is a FREE Online Class being held Monday through Friday, August 3-14, from 9 to 11am.


It will be taught by Ray Rickman and Robb Dimmick, co-founders of Stages of Freedom – with some special guests.


This is appropriate for Grades 8-12.


Here are just a few of the people course participants will get to know:

Edward M. Bannister, Artist George T. Downing, Caterer


Register here: 


Questions: (Please include your phone number when writing)

GriefSpeak: Zulu Time

GriefSpeak: Zulu Time

July 31, 2020/Mari Dias


By: Mari Dias


In today’s world where extreme political correctness, hate, vitriol, and lack of empathy are rife, I decided to go to a happy place. If we remind ourselves, we all have the capacity to do so. In my search for a happy place I was pleased and surprised that I had so many to choose from! In that sense I am privileged, although anyone who knows me is aware that I take every opportunity to “suck the marrow out of life” (Keating in Dead Poets Society), seizing every opportunity to learn and engage. Or… maybe… it doesn’t take much for me to be happy. I reviewed the laundry list in my mind of all my joyful moments, and with the memories came the ability to experience, with the same degree of intensity the emotions that I felt in the initial moment.


The review of my list took quite a while, as I had to stop after each one and embrace the feelings. It’s like cleaning out an old drawer only to find pictures that had been stowed away for a long time. What a treasure! It takes hours to re-remember and taste the pure happiness that each memory represents.


Today I stopped on a picture in my mind’s eye of my experiences in South Africa. It changed me. It humbled me. It opened my eyes even wider than before. Allow me to explain.


I received a Fulbright Specialist Scholarship to the University of Zululand in KwaZulu Natal. Much to my chagrin, I was to arrive two weeks after the academic year ended. This meant that students could not return home after a year of living on campus, until my workshops had ended. My western mind visualized a classroom of students, majoring in social work, to be irate, disengaged, and angry. They would all be sitting at their desks, on their phones, oblivious to my words. I assumed they would all be commiserating among themselves about their shortened summer break.


Not so. It still stops me short when I think about how naïve and encapsulated in my western view I was.


It was a long trip, which gave me too much time to think and perseverate over my expectations.


I flew from Boston to Johannesburg, then a flight to Durban where University representatives greeted me. A two and a half car ride concluded at the apartment that was assigned me on campus. I looked around. There was nothing. We were in the bush, with only a towering, concrete building to insult the landscape of moba trees (sugar cane).


I had a sleepless night, awakened intermittently by the strange animal and bird sounds to which I was unaccustomed. In the morning, I walked over to the academic building and found the room in which I was to present was locked. I panicked. I needed to set up! I asked for Safety and Security to unlock my room, at which time I was told by a groundskeeper that they had not arrived yet. My anxiety was increasing exponentially. I went over to the Dean’s office. She hadn’t arrived yet either.


“Well, they don’t seem to think my visit is very important.” I thought.


“What did I get myself into?”


At last the Dean arrived (30 minutes later) and unlocked the door. Soon students began pouring in – yet they were laughing and smiling and excited, completely contrary to my expectations.


The Dean rose, introduced me, and stated that:


“Before we begin, let us have some tea.” Out comes a silver tea service for 25 people, with triangles of ham and cheese sandwiches. I just kept looking at my watch. Ruminating. Panicking.


Following our teatime, the Dean introduced a student who read a message to me on behalf of the entire class.


“Dear Dr. Dias. We are so humbled, honored and graced by your presence. The fact that a white woman from America would travel halfway around the world to educate poor, black women in a developing third world country is very special to us.”


“Ubuntu.” (essential human virtues of compassion and humanity).


My eyes welled with tears of humility and gratitude. There were no cell phones. There wasn’t any dissension or frustration. They were honored!


My workshop began 2 hours later than its original start time. Students all asked to take pictures with me, pleaded for my autograph, and put me on the proverbial pedestal higher than anyone deserves to be held.


I visited “Places of Safety”, which are orphanages for children from birth -18 who are victims of the virgin cleansing cure. (Legend has it that having sex with a virgin will cure one of AIDS). I toured the prison, interviewing those incarcerated for raping children and a local Christian mass, which they conducted in the Zulu language, but when I arrived, they translated everything to English as well.


I joined families in their homes for a brea (cookout) and every morning I was greeted by a collective shout of “Saubona”! (Good Morning) from the students.


It was difficult to leave. During my “going away” party, the Dean approached me and shared her observations.


“You always seem to be in a hurry. No need here. We are on Zulu time.”


“Did you eat? Is the sun shining? Are you well rested?”




“Then that’s all that matters. Everything else will take care of itself.”

Today, this is my happy place of memories seared into the fabric of who I am.


Let’s give pause to this world view. Let’s all embrace the philosophy of ubuntu and live on Zulu time. Even for an American minute.

Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief.


She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

What Could School Look Like?

What could school look like?

July 31, 2020/Nancy Thomas


by Nancy Thomas, publisher


What will school look like?  What is safe? How will we protect older teachers and staff? Those who can’t afford to retire, but are at higher risk for COVID19 and its possible complications?


A lot of conversation about desk spacing and bus seat spacing – not a word about protecting the older worker – except that we need to do it. Are we once again taking our eye off the most important group – our seniors and those with underlying medical issues? If they get the option to work from home, how will that work? If they can’t and need to retire, will their pension system rise to the occasion and make them whole? Or will they be paid until a vaccine that works for them is found?


Goggles? Gowns?


A few days ago, the US COVID Czar (our title not his), Dr. Anthony Fauci made an amazing statement about going back to school and protecting teachers. He said very clearly and simply that his suggestions were for teachers to wear masks, gloves, goggles – and paper gowns that could be disposed of and changed between classes. He seemed to stand on the science of concern. And then he stopped talking, as if he knew that he would not be popularly received “at the top” as well as with all those trying to desperately open schools as near-normal as possible.

It was a stunning and serious moment.


Teachers Union


With that we asked for a reaction from Maribeth Calabro, President of the Providence Teachers Union. Here is her statement:


“I, along with many of my educators have the utmost respect for Dr. Fauci, and in listening to his remarks I am focused on a few specific concerns. Dr Fauci used the word “could”, not “should” when speak of a return. He also outlined some detailed PPE expectations that I am personally unclear and unsure that districts or the state is able to procure or sustain to the level needed over the course of the school year.  


We understand the need and urgency of returning to school for the well-being and education of our students but we would be negligent if we returned without requiring safe, clean, hygienic, environments where PPE is provided and equity and access issues are addressed in every decision we make by including the very people we are planning for our educators, our students, parents, and community.  


Without the collective voice of all stakeholders, to view all scenarios and impact, we will risk illness, exclusion, inequity and disenfranchisement.  We need collective voices to get this right.  


Thank you,


Maribeth Calabro

President, Providence Teachers Union


School lunch


Another question we had was about the hot lunch program for schools. We checked in with Cranston’s School Department/Aramark Food Services.


While plans are still not finalized, what was shared was that students in the elementary level will have one hot lunch and one cold lunch option. They will eat in their classrooms.

At the high school level, they will not be able to pick their choices from a variety of options to prevent the students from touching everything. They are awaiting details and funding from RIDE and the school department and expect more clarity after August 16th.


All items served to students in Cranston will be individually wrapped.


Home-schooling Pods

More conversation is happening about families gathering their children into a home school group – or pod – and hiring a tutor or teacher to run their home schooling programs for the year. Seeing that government is slow and not always to be counted on for solving complex problems, it seems like a creative solution. “It takes a village…” comes to mind. The problem is the cost, with fees upwards of $1,000 a month or more per participating family. A pretty decent income for a dynamite teacher. While the system seems a good personal solution, it contributes more to the have-have not model in that most families will be unable to afford it. Those who are paying private daycare see the costs as comparable. Those who get daycare and/or school for free in the public system and have limited incomes will be left out completely from this option.



Cleaning up

Teachers in Cranston – and other communities – are talking about being told to go into their classrooms and clean out all their personal belongings. Their desk will be replaced with a “mobile desk” and they will be left with one “filing cabinet”.


What’s next? Stay tuned…as we try to whittle this square risky nut into a round, healthy (w)hole.

Rhode News as of 07/31/20 of 6:26am

















JIM MCCABE/DJC           RI)



07-31-2020 00:19:03

RECALL: Check Your Artificial Tree Before You Celebrate Christmas in July

100,000+ Artificial Christmas Trees Purchased Last Year Recalled


Fri Jul 31, 2020 | Posted in: Christmas | Source


There are a lot of reasons to prep for Christmas in the summer: Checking a few things off your to-do list early (like making Christmas cards and DIY gifts) can significantly lower your stress levels when the holiday craziness hits. And this summer you’ll need to add one more thing to your pre-holiday checklist: Check that your artificial tree hasn’t been recalled. On Thursday, The Home Depot announced that 100,000 pre-lit artificial trees sold last year have been recalled due to a potential fire hazard. The manufacturer is offering free replacements, so if you purchased one of the recalled trees last year, you’ll want to make sure to get your replacement before the holiday season begins.


The Home Accents Holiday brand of artificial Christmas trees were sold between June 2019 and December 2019 for between $80 and $360. The affected trees were outfitted with a metal base stand and a foot pedal controller to turn the lights on and off. Willis Electric, the company that made the electric equipment, issued a recall for the product after reports of the foot pedal overheating, causing burns and fire hazards. About 99,000 trees were sold at The Home Depot in the United States, and another 5,100 were sold in Canada in 2019. 


The trees affected by the recall were sold exclusively at The Home Depot, so if you purchased an artificial tree somewhere else you’re in the clear. If you purchased a tree at The Home Depot in 2019, here’s how to find out if it is included in the recall. 

artificial tree recall

The recall affects 7.5-foot and 9-foot trees with the following model numbers and SKU numbers that can be found on the product label on the Christmas tree’s cord.

  • Model number W14N0127 with SKU number 1004391988
  • Model number W14N0127 with SKU number 1004147107
  • Model number W14N0157 with SKU number 1004363928
  • Model number W14N0157 with SKU number 1004213736
  • Model number W14N0126 with SKU number 1004363929
  • Model number W14N0126 with SKU number 1004213737
  • Model number W14N0149 with SKU number 1004213744
  • Model number W14N0148 with SKU number 1004213742

If your tree contains the listed model and SKU numbers, contact Willis Electric by calling 866-210-5958 or visit their website to get more information about a free replacement.

Your Coronavirus Update - Today - July 29,2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, July 30, 2020

July 30, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Informal socializing is identified as a problem in uptick of coronavirus in RI. Gov. Raimondo: “Your right to have a party should not infringe on others’ right to live.”




Dr. Fauci says to get back to school you need to wear goggles, gloves, a mask and maybe a gown that can be changed after each class.


Baystate Health on Monday reported an outbreak of coronavirus infections at Baystate Medical Center affecting 23 employees and 13 patients


President Trump will make his acceptance speech in Charlotte, NC after all – though the convention will be primarily virtual.


In Lake Tahoe, NV, houses that normally take 3-4 months to sell are now selling in as little as 4 days as people flock away from urban areas.


Half of the population at San Quentin test positive; 19 have died


A man sailed solo from Portugal to Argentina for his father’s 90th birthday – having been unable to fly to him due to the virus restrictions.


After planning ways to reopen campuses this fall, colleges are increasingly changing their minds, dramatically increasing online offerings or canceling in-person classes outright.


Cruise lines are taking this down-time to update their ventilation/HVAC systems.


8 Jet Blue employees have died of COVID19 – at least 1 person was a flight attendant who died from complications after attending a training meeting.


Three staff members of a small Vermont library have resigned over plans to reopen the library.


Boston teachers demonstrated saying a return to school without massive support for protective items, testing and repairs, including air ventilation systems, would be too dangerous.


Nantucket considering restaurant closures and other measures as numbers tick up.


JetBlue is experimenting with ultraviolet light disinfecting systems.


Shopify doubled its revenue in the last quarter, as Americans switch their buying style to online.


Anthem health insurance doubled its revenue in the last quarter.


J&J-Beth Israel begins phase 2 trial of a potential vaccine.


One of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions, the American Federation of Teachers, representing 1.7 million school employees, is authorizing its members to strike if their schools plan to reopen without proper safety measures in the middle of the global pandemic.


Connecticut officials are worried about recent clusters of teens and young people in Connecticut testing positive for COVID-19.


Herman Cain has been in the hospital being treated for COVID19 for five weeks now.


The Ecotarium in Worcester has closed for the season. Staff layoffs are planned.


Rhode Island is one of four with a high number of cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, according to the CDC. The illness was first detected several months ago. As of Friday, Massachusetts had reported 44 cases, at least 35 of which have been confirmed, according to the state Department of Public Health. New York reported the highest number of cases, 240 as of Friday, and two deaths, according to health officials. New Jersey, another hot spot, has reported 55 cases. Maryland has reported 34 cases and one death.


New Hampshire to examine ventilation systems of long-term care facilities as 59 new COVID-19 cases reported


Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing him to abruptly cancel his plan to travel to his home state with President Trump aboard Air Force One. He announced that his doctors have prescribed him hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and Zpack.


Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has said that masks are now required at the House of Representatives by everyone.


Lollapalooza goes virtual – with 150 performers


The Atlantic Coast Conference reworked its football schedule Wednesday to allow each team to play 11 games and to incorporate Notre Dame,


More states are beginning to experience an uptick in positive cases and recommendations are mask mandates go into place and close bars to contain the outbreaks. Dr. Birx said the positivity rate in states such as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Colorado was increasing and warned they should quickly take action before they fall into what she described as the “red COVID zones” category.


LA is seeing stabilizing of rates, but not a decrease. The Mayor said that no one has “the answer” to controlling the virus – people think it’s out there and wearen’t paying attention to it and doing it – he says the answer changes, but we know that density, population, and poverty are key – and that this is still in the early stages.


Six New England Patriots players have now opted out of the season.


17 Marlins players now test positive


One of Maine’s largest hospitals is reinstating strict visitor restrictions after nine staff members and a patient tested positive 


Global air travel won’t recover from the Covid-19 crisis until 2024, the International Air Transport Association announced.


Boston students may get their college “dorm” experience in hotels, instead.


Massachusetts School Nurses will demonstrate about the lack of safety in going back to school.


Another resident of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the veterans’ care facility to quarantine some residents, close communal spaces and suspend visits


Andreas Bocelli had coronavirus and has recovered; also saying he violated lockdown because he was going stir crazy at home.


Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, warned of a looming “second wave” of Covid-19 across Europe


Prime minister of the German state of Bavaria, warned Corona is creeping back, and with a vengeance.


Boston Realty Advisors says as many as 8,000 American Hotels might be gone by October.


Rafael Bengoa, a former health minister for Spain, blamed the new spike on outbreaks among seasonal farm workers, who live in crowded conditions and are often reluctant to be tracked. Another factor was “the behavior of young people . . . in discotheques and bars”.


Philadelphia will start its school year completely online.


Summer travelers are being blamed for a rise in cases on Nantucket and the Vineyard


Topsfield Fair canceled for 2020




Lou Schweichheimer, formerly with the PawSox, recently majority owner of Marlins Triple-A affiliate, the Wichita Wind Surge, passed away from COVID19 complications at the age of 62.


The movie theater at the Providence Place mall will re-open Saturday with new safety precautions, according to a statement from Showcase Cinemas.


NEW RI Restaurant violators that have been added to COVID19 inspector list: Buffalo Wild Wings, Warwick; Fairlawn Golf Course, Lincoln; O’Rourke’s Bar & Grille, Warwick; Lifestyle Nutrition, Prov; Portsmouth Public House, Portsmouth; and The Wharf Pub, Newport. Check new and resolved complaints, daily, at:


39 RI Catholic schools are expected to open for in-person classes, with class size adjustments. The state does not have to approve those plans, though the Diocese says they are working closely together, and following CDC recommendations. Teachers who feel uncomfortable working due to age or underlying medical condition will be dealt with on a case by case basis.


Dr. Michael Fine, coronavirus consultant to Pawtucket and Central Falls has cautioned those over 50 or in high risk groups from dining out at this time. He also said the uptick in RI is “linked to Independence Day celebrations — the United States, Cape Verde and Colombia all celebrate their independence in July, and people may have gathered in a way that’s not yet safe”.


RI Data:

Deaths: (2) – 3 day hospitalization rate: 72 – one person in 80s; one in 90s


Governor’s Address:


We continue to lose people each and every day – please follow the rules – this is not going away.


Data: Phase 3 should expire today. The data shows a slight uptick. Concerning. We want to be below 100 new courses and below 2% positive. Now trying to pinpoint what’s at the bottom of this. Deep dive into 4,000 cases. One thing is crystal clear: social gatherings are too large and people are not wearing masks. More than 25 people not wearing masks, in close contact, etc. are the problem.  “Your right to have a party should not infringe on others’ right to live.” We also see ages 20-31 years old.


We cannot move forward to Phase 4 based on data. Also don’t need to go backward. We will extend Phase 3 for another 30 days. Through August 28th. Lower social gathering, indoor and outdoor, limit to 15.


Catered events – wedding, etc – 50 indoors; 100 outdoors. If over 100 call DBR and they will work with you.


Restaurant/bars – 3 options: bartender, no bar seating. Bar seating for food service, but no bartender. Plexiglass barrier between bartender and customer. NO standing service.  If you are at a restaurant and you are in a line or a crowd, you should not be doing that – leave. RIDOH will be doing more inspections. Over 1/3 failed inspections. These restaurants will be published on Non-compliance Tipline: 401-889-5550. Consider this “almost like a last warning”. 


Schools – This is tough. Preschools and daycares are working. More than 75% of childcare system open. 1,000 teachers/staff. 8,000 kids.  Over 2 months we’ve seen 12 positive kids and 15 positive staff. Only 1 outbreak in a center. This shows it is going “very well” – tomorrow 3pm on FB Live for discussion about back to school.   Scheduled to open in 5 weeks. Herculean task.


59 per 100K cases in RI – Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana all over 300 per 100K. 90 countries have opened schools. It CAN be done. Advisory board put together to advise about returning to school.

1. Look at statewide data

2.  Municipal readiness

3.  Testing readiness

4.  Supply readiness

5.  Operational readiness


Week of Aug 16th – be back with more advice. Bottom line: schools are opening on Aug. 31st.


At the end of the day this will be about choice. Parents can home school; do distance learning.


Employment: Launching “Back to Work RI” – this will train you and absolutely provide you a job when completed.


Commissioner Infante-Green: We didn’t struggle in trying to figure out how to educate – we moved forward and continued to give our children an education. As an educator we know that kids do 100% better when they are in-school – but only if it is safe. Community plans should be posted on their websites as early as Friday. 


New England Patriots Dante Hightower will not play this year, out of concern for his new baby and coronavirus – this brings to five the number of Patriots’ players who will not play this year.


Governor Raimondo proposed a $107Million state health lab for future needs.


Gov. says in NBC10 interview that if in two weeks we are hearing we need more time to reopen schools, we will take the time. “We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place” in decision making.


Naval Academy Preparatory School had less than 20 students test positive for COVID-19 after they arrived for the new 10-month course in Newport.


RI Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello wants to build a “rainy day fund” that is stronger, having experienced how fast it was tapped in this pandemic.


No new business violations of RI COVID19 standards since 7.22


Governor Raimondo Announces $45 Million, First-of-its-Kind Workforce Development Initiative to Get Rhode Islanders Back to Work – “Back to Work RI” will provide pathways to good jobs and critical wraparound supports, hopefully putting 5-7,000 people back to work – not “train and pray” – employers have committed ahead of time to hire…look beyond degrees and experience.



Gov. Raimondo said she would consider delaying opening of schools in an interview today on Ch. 10.


Nursing home workers announce they may strike next week in RI.


Witness and notary requirement on mail ballots to be suspended this year – when Judge McElroy is expected to rule on this.


Dr. Scott – too much transmission going on particularly tied to social gatherings – bars, restaurants. Too many young people have too many contacts. 20-30 year olds and those in 30s.




What’s science behind going from 25 to 15?


No magic number. More manageable.


What about protests?


Telling restaurants about their gatherings, but what do you tell protesters? Theory is that everyone had a mask on. When people party, no more than 15. They’ve decided that people have first amendment right to protest. Wear a mask.


Small business apps?


Will go live today. Money hoping to go out the door today.  


Inspectors – are they using good investigative procedures of due process – is there appeal process?


Yes, there is an appeal process. Quick fix to complaints? Just comply.


Trends still largely older folks?


Hospitalizations slowly increasing but still on the low level. 20-39 y.o. increases are a trend. They can expose others who are at high risk.




Certain set of numbers for weddings, gatherings, outdoors, then huge protests? We are going by nature of event. Formal – outdoors – etc. are better than informal, mingling, etc.


City by City reference: Municipal readiness a significant factor. Will we have different type of school openings city by city. Cities least able to adapt to distance learning (i.e., Central Falls) will probably need it the most?


State will look at more recent case rate in municipalities. Some may need more energy and resources than others. There is a high density support team.


School option for those who just choose not to go back?


There will be support “at least initially”, said Governor


If today were Aug 31st, would we be ready?


No – testing is not ramped up enough. Districts aren’t ready yet.




Masks will be required for all children, all teachers, all staff – all the time.


Massachusetts has mask breaks – yes, we will do this, too, in RI.


Nursing Homes


If a home gets a positive test, they immediately shut down everything – is there a directive to nursing homes?

Join Art Night Bristol Warren

Join Art Night Bristol Warren

July 30, 2020/RINewsToday


Join Art Night Bristol Warren for their virtual 2020 season on Thursday, July 30th at 5:30 pm.


Virtual Art Night Bristol Warren at the Gallery at Sprout (Warren) will feature Robin Hogg, a RISD alum with a BFA in painting currently working in Providence. During the quarantine, Robin made one fish a day for 80 days. See her collection at Sprout virtually.


Check out  to tune in or learn more about this virtual event.


The Gallery at Sprout CoWorking is located at 489 Main Street in Warren, is a proud member of Art Night Bristol Warren.

Rhode News as of 07/30/20 of 4:58am















JIM MCCABE/DJC           RI)

07-30-2020 00:44:12

Ensure every voice is heard

Ensure every voice is heard

July 29, 2020/RINewsToday


“You’re sending Michael back to school? I would NEVER do that!”


In these times of knee-jerk reactions and words that trigger almost immediate, and expected responses, it’s a good idea today to take a moment and think about your responses. We don’t think anyone is enjoying discussions today with divergence of opinion.


If you take the Restorative Practices Training offered by the Youth Restoration Project you will have new skills and newfound confidence in how to diffuse, clarify, and hopefully continue a conversation in a meaningful way with a friend, family member, or colleague.



So – the question – “You’re sending Michael back to school? might then go this way:


“You’re sending Michael back to school?  Interesting.  We’re discussing the pros and cons now, so would you share how you made your decision?


Have you ever felt like your message was ignored?  Could it have been your delivery? Or do you sometimes reject feedback, because of a person’s tone and attitude? You’re not alone.  Rephrasing your message into a restorative one has a far higher chance of being heard. 

The simple, practical “restorative practice” skills that we teach will help you get through tense situations with more success.  They’re empowering.  In every area of your life!  


Receive your 2020 Certificate Training in Restorative Practices


The training starts on August 11th.



Rhode Island News as of 07/29/20 of 7:40am

24/7 News Source 07/29/2020 00:06:49
Rhode Island Summary AM

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A federal judge has approved waiving a witness requirement for Rhode Island elections this year.  A state official comments on a spike in coronavirus cases.  The governor announces a new jobs initiative funded with coronavirus relief money.

>>Federal Judge Approves Witness Requirement Waiver For Rhode Island Elections

(Providence, RI)  --  A federal judge in Providence yesterday backed a consent decree to waive witness requirements for mail ballot voters in Rhode Island this year.  The ACLU and others filed a lawsuit on behalf of voters with a certain medical vulnerability to the coronavirus after the Rhode Island General Assembly did not pass legislation that would waive the requirement.  The Republican National Committee attempted to intervene in the case over concerns that easing the witness requirement would threaten the integrity of elections.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Coronavirus: Rhode Island Officials Say Social Gatherings An Issue

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island officials are watching as the Ocean State sees a spike in coronavirus cases; the 119 new cases reported yesterday gave the state its highest one-day total since late May.  Health Department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken tells The Providence Journal social gatherings continue to be an issue; cases are specifically being seen with backyard gatherings like barbecues and other friends-and-family events.  Wendelken adds many people who have tested positive have revealed during case investigations that they could have done a better job of mask-wearing.  A spokesperson for Governor Gina Raimondo tells the Projo the governor plans to address imposing new restrictions or scaling back the state's re-opening at today's press conference.

>>New RI Jobs Initiative Funded By Federal COVID-19 Relief Money

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo is announcing a new workforce development initiative aimed at Rhode Islanders who don't have jobs because of the coronavirus.  Back to Work RI is a 45-million-dollar investment using CARES Act money which will provide job opportunities and training.  Some of Rhode Island's largest employers including Care New England, CVS Health and Electric Boat have signed up for the public-private partnership.  More information is on the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training website.

>>More Record Heat In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  The city of Providence hit the one-hundred-degree mark yesterday for the first time since 2011, according to the National Weather Service.  The NWS says T.F. Green Airport broke the previous record high of 95 degrees, which was set in 1949.  Forecasters expect a high close to 90 the next two days, which could extend this second heat wave we've had this month before it definitely ends later this week with highs in the 80s.

>>Judge Clears Path For Richmond Solar Project

(Richmond, RI)  --  A solar project previously denied by the town of Richmond is being allowed to come back.  A Superior Court judge has reversed a zoning board decision against Freepoint Solar last year over an issue with the electricity substation the project plans to connect to.  The judge said the project did meet the town's requirements for a special use permit.  The town is planning to appeal.

>>Red Sox Lose Fourth Straight

(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Red Sox are now one-and-four to start their shortened 2020 schedule.  The Sox lost to the New York Mets 8-to-3 in Boston last night, their fourth-straight L.  The two teams will play two more games today and tomorrow in New York.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-29-2020 00:08:08

SHepard Fairey's new project

Shepard Fairey’s new project


July 28, 2020/RINewsToday



“Americans…a lot of them are ignorant and lazy.” – Shepard Fairey



Shepard Fairey has a new project. Rhode Islanders will remember his work designed just for residents. If you look closely around Rhode Island you’ll see small square stickers on car bumpers or in windows, or on glass doors in restaurants and shops. The RISD educated artist – made famous by his Obama poster – produced an original (some say, adapted) work of art for Rhode Island. The RI Angel of Hope and Strength.



On the RISD website the project’s origination is described: “When Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo—who has been getting high approval ratings for her aggressive approach to the COVID-19 crisis—reached out to RISD President Rosanne Somerson a few weeks ago, it was largely to talk about how to reopen the state as safely as possible and to invite her to participate in the governor’s New Normal Advisory Group. But she also wanted to discuss the role art can play in bringing Rhode Islanders together despite the isolation of current stay-at-home orders.



At Somerson’s suggestion, the governor reached out to renowned public artist Shepard Fairey 92 IL, a RISD trustee who now lives on the West Coast and is perhaps best known for both the Andre the Giant OBEY street art campaign that launched his career and for designing the iconic Obama Hope poster during the 2008 presidential campaign.”



And that was the beginning of a poster that drew some controversy to Rhode Island. Some saw a Maoist symbolism of anarchy – not at all a symbol of hope.



A new cause.



Now, Fairey has a new project and a new cause. He was recruited to the Enough Trump movement of artists who are designing posters and art to support the cause. The campaign is designed on the website, as the artist, Bains says, “to embody the feeling of exhaustion and rage…under the Trump administration. The treatment of children in cages at the border, attempts at destabilizing Daca and the public criminalization of Mexican people, who are the backbone of labor in this country, was more than we can tolerate.”



Several artists have contributed art, writings and also videos.




There are two art posters by Fairey, one which reads “Enough Monarchy We Need Democracy!” while another, styled like a Russian constructivist poster, says “Enough Noise and Lies, Gimme Some Truth!



Fairey has been called “the poster child for political posters”.  Fairey said that Americans need to step up and vote. Art is one way of reaching people. “We need a public that isn’t so uneducated and complacent,” he said. “I hate to say Americans are ignorant and lazy, but a lot of them are ignorant and lazy.”



The Enough of Trump website features a gallery of downloadable images of artworks, along with links to volunteer and activism opportunities across the country. Using art as a “catalyst for social change” the aim, quite clearly stated, “is to get Trump out of office”.



From Enough of Trump






“Donald Trump, his administration, and his Republican enablers have jeopardized our country, our people, and our democratic values. People For the American Way is collaborating with prominent artists to galvanize voters to action around one central theme: We’ve had enough of Trump’s racism, lies, and corruption. We’ve had ENOUGH OF TRUMP.



Another time, another artist…Norman Rockwell



Normal Rockwell, best knowned for the iconic all-American paintings such as The Thanksgiving Dinner, in 1943, went on a nationwide tour where 1.2 million people viewed “The Four Freedoms”, art encouraged (if not directly commissioned) to support the United States selling of war bonds. $132 million in bonds were sold. Encouraging the growing of vegetables in backyards gave rise to “Victory Garden” art.



The art was said to have the goal of “confirming how the decisions Americans made in their everyday lives mattered.” When paintings came to a city, they didn’t go into museums, but into more public viewing spots, such as Radio City Music Hall.



Rosie the Riveter and The Four Freedoms were only the beginning of Rockwell’s efforts to lighten and bolster the American people.




The cover of the Saturday Evening Post’s supported women in the workforce, and women helping in the war effort – the “life” of Rosie the Riveter survives in popularity to this very day. There was a whole campaign around her – with songs and activities.



There is the work depicting a young African-American girl, six-year-old Ruby Bridges, being escorted to a formerly all-white school in New Orleans by a cadre of US marshalls protecting her from an angry and violent mob.

The problem we all live with – Ruby Bridges



Rockwell was proud that his art could motivate and touch average Americans. His art fought against fascism, and for freedom at home, highlighting the brightness of the American spirit in the darkest of times”.





ABOUT BRAVE NEW FILMS Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films (BNF) are at the forefront of the fight to create a just America. Greenwald and BNF create free documentary films that inform the public, challenge corporate media, and motivate people to take action on social issues nationwide. Brave New Films’ investigative films have shined a light on the Trump administration, voter suppression, U.S. drone strikes, the prosecution of whistleblowers, and Wal Mart’s corporate practices. BNF’s mission is to champion social justice issues by using a model of media, education, and grassroots volunteer involvement that inspires, empowers, motivates and teaches civic participation and makes a difference. #BraveNewFilms

Your Coronavirus Update - Today July 28, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Miami Marlins…prior to coronavirus testing


National & International


Most schools in most countries are still closed – a billion students out of the classroom, as governments work toward state or national control of the virus before reopening.


Massachusetts has delayed by 10 days the opening of schools.


According to USA Today, 11 of the top 15 USA school systems plan to continue learning online or both online and in-person. The major factor is tracking if infection rates are decreasing in their communities.


Thirteen Marlins baseball team players and two coaches have tested positive for COVID19; the whole team is quarantined in Philly after exposing that team to the virus all weekend, the Marlins home opener has been cancelled for tonight. The opposing team, The Orioles, won’t be playing, and the Yankees / Phillies game won’t be played because Phillies had just played the Marlins.


Washington has said contact tracing was going to be the answer – but it turns out that it’s not.


Target & Walmart will both close this Thanksgiving


Notre Dame will no longer hold the presidential debate, due to coronavirus – it will be held in Cleveland.


Research for a vaccine as two Phase 3 trials will begin – President Trump announced yesterday – Moderna and Novavax/AstraZeneca – other trials are upcoming and vaccines


Teacher/parent car rally protests, almost identical to that in RI, took place in South Carolina and Florida.


School is back in session in Mississippi – with plastic petitions on buses, masks, temperature checks, distanced desks, and lunch in classrooms. On the first day, no temperatures or removal of students because they were sick.


The NBA and MLS, both bubbled in Florida, turned up zero cases in their latest round of tests


Google will keep its 200,000 workers and contractors at home until at least July 2021.


Pres. Trump said in his daily address that we want to protect the elderly and those with underlying disease that this virus targets.


Robert O’Brien, National Security Advisor, tests positive and is working from a quarantined location.


New $1,200 stimulus checks coming in August, Mnuchin says (unconfirmed)


A group of doctors held a press conference saying they know how to cure COVID19 – using the hydroxychloroquine 3-drug mix (HCQ, zpack, zinc) – but media platforms have taken down their video. One MD talked about the number of doctors taking HCQ as a preventative, which she says is common in medicine and why more ER doctors are not getting ill. The FDA continues to say use of HCQ is not effective.


Mecca is going through a deep clean ahead of Hajj2020.


Kentucky has placed a couple on house arrest after the wife, who tested positive, refused to sign quarantine order.


In Germany, where some classes are operating in every state, as many as 30 percent of teachers are ill, isolating, at-risk or unwilling to teach.


The WHO says the number of cases has doubled in the last 6 weeks.


40 people who attended a multi-day religious revival in Alabama have taken ill with coronavirus


Israel messed up badly: Its schools reopened in May, not with the under-9s as originally planned, but with all ages together. When a heat wave swelled temperatures to more than 100 degrees F, mask requirements were dropped. Outbreaks followed quickly, causing a new shutdown.


Planet Fitness requires members and guests to wear masks at ALL times.


Papa John’s to Hire 10,000 Additional Employees to Meet Demand


40 million Americans a coronavirus reprieve in on their federal student loans. In March, all monthly payments were suspended. Interest rates were set to 0 percent. And the Education Department was ordered to stop pursuing defaulted loans. All of those protections, which were included as part of the CARES Act, are set to expire at the end of September.


Milton, MA created a $100K fund for renters at risk of losing their housing.


Boston “party buses” – Provincetown II – overcrowding seen over the weekend.


Two restaurants in Quincy close as staff test positive.


Texas hit by COVID surge as well as season’s first hurricane – concerns about shelters. More deaths in Houston in one month than the four months prior.


Florida 2nd in the country with total cases, and spreading rapidly, now topping New York.


Pool sampling testing can save supplies but it will not cut down on processing time.


In NY, more than 100 bars and restaurants in the area were flagged for social distancing violations over the weekend, and some now face the possible suspension of their liquor licenses


Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont, on Friday, issued an order requiring people in the state to wear masks in public


VERMONT court system is studying ways to resume jury trials


At Cornell University, a research team recently found that students would need to be tested every seven days to keep infections down.


People who have had mild to moderate COVID-19 can come out of isolation after 10 days and don’t need to be retested before going back to work, new CDC guidelines say.


Symptoms, not testing, are the guide. If patients had a fever, it needs to have been gone for at least 24 hours.


Flying is risky right now. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that because he’s in an older age bracket, he’s not willing to take the risk. “I am in a risk category,” Fauci also questioned the effectiveness of temperature checks before flights, something airlines have been pushing the U.S. federal government to start.


College basketball and football are on hold while professional sports encamp in their bubbles.


20 lifeguards on New Jersey shore are positive, after attending social get together.


This week, officials at the Swedish Public Health Agency, which devised the country’s no-lockdown strategy, claimed the rate of coronavirus immunity in Stockholm could be as high as 40 percent and is already playing a big role in pushing back the disease


Rhode Island & Vicinity


RI Data:


Deaths: 1 (plus 2 from prior days) – Governor’s address on Wednesday


A total of 10 RI group home residents have died from COVID-19, according to a BHDDH spokesman. As of July 21, 161 group home residents had tested positive and a total of 48 had been hospitalized at one point or another. Five people were in the hospital on July 21.


Lt. Gov. McKee’s weekly Virtual Town Hall Meeting for small business will be held at noon – more info here: []


RI beaches are closing with reduced capacity restrictions, well before 11am for the past several days.


Maine’s Democratic governor opposes easing travel restrictions from those coming in from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, saying this change is like a “Donald Trump-style assault” on public health.


The Sailing Hall of Fame is coming to Newport in spring 2022, but details of the facility were released Friday including the news that the new attraction located in the Armory on Thames Street will be called The Sailing Museum. The interactive museum will have plenty for people to check out and you can get a sneak peek here.


All Rhode Island “Y’s” have opened.


Middletown Beach parking reserved for residents & season pass holders until 6pm.


Saturday the Scarborough snack bar was closed after an employee tested positive.


Bannister House, with 25 positive testing residents – data reported this Friday was from 2-3 weeks ago.


PC cancels Oct 2020 graduation.


Gov. Raimondo will seek an additional $223 million more in state bonds this year to finance housing and economic development efforts in her proposed budget.


RI Schools/Teachers/Parents Demonstration with social distancing and safety concerns held a car rally driving around the RIDE (RI Dept. of Education) offices in downtown Providence and at the RI State House. There are almost 13,000 members on the RI Parents/Educators for Safe Schools Facebook page. Similar car rallies held in at least 2 other states yesterday.


Video of yesterday’s demonstration by families and teachers


What we have here is a failure to communicate

What we have here is a failure to communicate

July 28, 2020/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


Neighborhood Health Plan of RI’s president and CEO sent letters to the House and Senate Finance committees opposing a telemedicine budget article, but apparently kept his board of directors in the dark about the content


Photo: A portion of the letter sent by Peter Marino, president and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, opposing the proposed budget article on telemedicine, which was apparently sent without the contents being shared with the insurer’s board of directors.


For the last several months, ConvergenceRI has been diligently reporting on how numerous community health agencies, primary care providers and health systems in Rhode Island have quickly adapted to deploying telehealth platforms as a critical tool of patient engagement during the coronavirus pandemic.


Some have emerged as passionate advocates of telehealth platforms, particularly for providing mental health and behavioral health services, such as Margaret Howard, Ph.D., the executive director of Women’s Behavioral Health at Care New England, the division director of Women’s Behavioral Health at Women & Infants Hospital, and Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.


Howard is the psychologist who had helped to create the “Day Hospital” for mothers at Women & Infants, which offers intensive mental health services for pregnant women and women with young children. In an interview published on May 4, Howard detailed the importance of continuing the telehealth platform on a more permanent basis. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “We are human, battling an inhuman disease.”]


When asked what question she would ask of Gov. Gina Raimondo if she could attend one of the Governor’s news briefings, she responded: What is the state going to do to ensure that everyone has access to mental health services?


“Here in this division, Richard, we worked very quickly to adopt virtual visits for our patients, in fact we are running the whole Day Hospital program virtually now,” Howard said. “We felt we were on a burning platform: our patients could not have a disruption of care. We were fortunate in that we didn’t have to shut down, but that meant we had to be very nimble, and we had to learn quickly how to hold Zoom group therapy sessions, how to hold zoom psychotherapy sessions [emphasis added].”


Howard continued: “And it’s worked well; it’s hard, it’s worked well.” Her biggest fear, Howard explained, “is that when things die down, the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner is going to say: OK, it’s back to business as usual [and remove the emergency waivers authorizing payments for virtual visits].”


Howard argued persuasively about the importance of continuing the telehealth platform on a more permanent basis. “I think it is so important for our patients to be able to continue, if they choose, to have virtual visits versus coming into the office. And, it sets up a conflict if the insurance company is saying, well, we are only going to pay 85 percent of the fee for a virtual visit, versus a 100 percent of the fee for a face-to-face [session]. I am hoping and praying that the Governor and the Health Insurance Commissioner will find a way to use this as a platform for true parity and reimbursement, whether it is virtual or in person.”


Praising the rapid introduction of telehealth

Howard was not alone in praising the results achieved in the swift adaptation of telehealth platforms as a critical component in patient engagement. In an interview with ConvergenceRI published on April 13, CEO Merrill Thomas, MBA, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrew Saal at The Providence Community Health Centers spoke about the leverage that telehealth provided their efforts to deliver primary care services to the at-risk populations they serve. [See link below to story, “Connecting primary care to emergency care in a pandemic.”]


“Yet despite the chaos, there are moments of hope and genuine innovation,” they wrote. “Despite our inability to provide a face-to-face visit with a worried patient, we call our patients and are humbled to hear, ‘Thanks for calling, doc. It’s good to know I’m not alone in all of this and that I can still get help.’


Thomas and Saal continued: “Right now, most of the primary care system is reeling from the abrupt inability to provide traditional office visits. PCHC has had to significantly limit office visits for most, while preserving direct care for special populations such as pregnant women and infants.”


As they explained, “Preventative services for healthy adults have been significantly restricted in order to see our patients safely. The health center’s large dental program is now limited to only a handful of emergencies per day. Likewise the optometry and podiatry programs have been greatly restricted. The immediate impact of these shutdowns [in care] is a financial shortfall of about $1 million per month. The health center leadership has chosen to not lay anyone off for the time being, and has been carrying all of the salaries for the past month.”


How important was telehealth as a tool? Thomas and Saal made it very clear about the crucial role telehealth was playing: “The most dramatic and possibly enduring impact of the pandemic has been the rapid introduction of telehealth services [emphasis added]. Though PCHC had been piloting telemedicine video capacity, we abruptly had to mobilize and scale up the technology to serve 70 care teams and 60,000 patients.”


Thomas and Saal acknowledged that it required a lot of effort on the providers’ end to make it work. “In order to provide high-quality health care to our existing patients as well as the new patients seeking care, our stellar staff had to quickly re-design clinic workflows and safety protocols. With telehealth services now becoming widely accepted by patients and staff, we are witnessing a rapid evolution of primary care [emphasis added].”


From a novelty to a necessity
Nowhere has the coronavirus tested the limits of the current health care delivery system then with the way that patients stay in contact with providers, particularly patients with symptoms of the virus. In response, Healthcentric Advisors introduced a new digital texting software platform, one that has been adopted by Coastal Medical, one of the state’s largest physician group practices, and also by Integra, the accountable care organization managed by Care New England. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “From a novelty to a necessity.”]


In the story, published on April 6, Lauren Capizzo, the director of Practice Transformation at Healthcentric Advisors, discussed the ways that the new innovative technology was helping to facilitate patient interaction with providers during a time a pandemic.


The need to practice social distancing, Capizzo explained, has created a pressing need to outreach remotely instead of in-person care. ?“Texting is a direct communication channel using a device almost everyone has within six feet of themselves. It allows for timely outreach to an increasing number of patients in a particular population like COVID-19,” she said. “Alerting care teams of the priority patients who need their help in real-time allows providers to operate efficiently and effectively.”


Capizzo captured the rapid transformation in telehealth underway in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “Telehealth has moved from novelty to a necessity in a matter of days [emphasis added]. Healthcentric Advisors has always been focused on advancing health quality and empowering people. We support patients and providers outside of the brief, 15-minute office visit.”


The work of Healthcentric Advisors, Capizzo continued, is focused on a continuum of care. “As we strive to increase patient activation and improve clinical and social health needs, we are driven to reduce clinician burden and fragmented communication within health care. The digital solutions we build address these needs in real time [emphasis added].”


Resilient patients
The most recent ConvergenceRI story, published on July 20, in an interview with Linda Hurley, the president and CEO of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, the largest nonprofit outpatient provider for opioid treatment in Rhode Island, detailed how her agency has been able to maintain access to care during the COVID-19 crisis, with the primary goal to mitigate exposure to the virus.


As ConvergenceRI reported: “Between April 1 and May 15, the organization provided nearly 160,000 doses of methadone to be self-administered outside the clinic [emphasis added].” Some 60 percent of the doses [would] not have been distributed outside the clinic before the pandemic, according to Hurley. Less than 1 percent of the medications [distributed] was found to be “not managed well,” with people losing it or taking too many doses, according to Hurley. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “A report from the front lines of telehealth.”]


While the majority within the health care industry are enthusiastic supporters of expanding telehealth, not everyone, apparently, is sold on the benefits of advancing the telehealth platform.


One of the prominent members of the small group of “naysayers” has been Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, whose president and CEO, Peter Marino, has authored and submitted letters opposing the proposed legislation to both the House and Senate Finance committees in the past two weeks, apparently without consulting with his board of directors. Therein lies a tale not yet told – until now.


The legislative push
Currently, the emergency rules that provide for the adaptation of telehealth platforms and the parity of insurance reimbursements for such services are being done by monthly executive orders by Gov. Gina Raimondo.


To remedy that situation, there is a legislative proposal before the R.I. General Assembly, entitled “Telemedicine Budget Article,” that was heard by the House Finance Committee on Wednesday, July 15, and by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, July 23.


As ConvergenceRI reported in its July 20 edition, under the proposed legislation: “One of the key provisions would be to continue providing full parity reimbursements from insurers for telehealth services, as well as the creation of a stakeholder group to be convened by the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to analyze the delivery of services under telemedicine.”


The story continued: At the hearing before the House Finance Committee, “There were some 98 written letters of testimony in support of the legislation and only five against. But one of the letters opposing the legislation, from Peter Marino, the president and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, a managed care organization for the delivery of Medicaid services as well as a commercial health insurer, took many health care advocates by surprise.”


Further, the story reported: In the letter, Marino’s suggested that OHIC was overstepping its authority, that parity was not desired outcome, and that the emergency expansion of telehealth be sunset.


Translated, it was not OHIC, nor was it the Governor, who were opposed to expanding insurance reimbursement for telehealth platforms moving forward, as Margaret Howard had voiced worries about earlier. It was Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, or more particularly, its president and CEO, Peter Marino, who had apparently submitted the letter without any consultation with his board of directors.


What did the board know and when did they know it?
In the days following the publication of the story, “A report from the front lines of telehealth,” ConvergenceRI learned from a number of sources that members of the board of directors at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island had not been consulted about the letter.


Nor, it appears, were any board members shown an advance copy of it before the letter was submitted to the House Finance Committee, resulting in what was described as “grumbling” by board members about what was perceived as a lack of communication and unilateral actions being taken by Marino without consultation.


Context matters: Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island was founded in December of 1993 as a partnership with Rhode Island’s Community Health Centers. Many of the current executive directors of community health centers in Rhode Island sit on the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island board of directors, including:


• Peter J. Bancroft, CPA, president and CEO, WellOne Primary Medical & Dental Care


• Merrill R. Thomas, president and CEO, Providence Community Health Centers


• Jeanne LaChance, president and CEO, Thundermist Health Center


• Raymond Lavoie, executive director, Blackstone Valley Community Health Care, Inc.


• In addition, Jane Hayward, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Center Association, serves as vice-chair of the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island board of directors.


Translated, the community health centers, whose very ability to maintain staffing and continue to serve at-risk populations because of insurance reimbursement parity under the emergency telehealth regulations, were seemingly being undercut by testimony offered by the president and CEO of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.


The reasons for the “conflict” seemed like a good story to follow up on, in ConvergenceRI’s opinion. At least to begin to ask questions, even if the answers might not be forthcoming.


ConvergenceRI first reached out to Jane Hayward, who in addition to being a board member of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and the leader of the association promoting the work of community health centers, also serves as vice-chair of the stakeholder group convened by the Rhode Island Foundation to develop a long-term plan for health care in the state.


The questions asked included:


• As Vice-Chair of the Neighborhood Health Plan of RI Board of Directors, did you see a copy of the letter before it was submitted?


• Do you believe that Marino’s letter accurately represents and reflects the policies and mission of the Neighborhood Health Plan of RI Board of Directors?


• As the head of the Rhode Island Health Center Association, do you believe that Marino’s letter accurately reflects the policies and mission of community health centers?


• As the co-chair of the Rhode Island long-term health planning stakeholder group, how does the content of Marino’s letter square with the mission of that group?


ConvergenceRI has not yet received any response from Hayward to the questions asked. What was telling, however, was the letter that Hayward submitted to the Senate Finance Committee for its July 23 hearing, dated July 21, which offered her full support as president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Center Association, without qualifications, for the budget article to extend emergency telemedicine provisions.


Hayward wrote: “Telemedicine has also been a financial lifeline to health centers during the pandemic. It’s allowed practices to maintain the supportive required infrastructure needed to provide clinical services to the community [emphasis added]. While the trajectory of COVID-19’s impact is unclear, the demand for safe, primary, behavioral, and oral health remains.”


The proposed telemedicine budget article, Hayward continued, “will allow [federally qualified health centers], and the larger provider community, the ability to put plans and procedures in place for the next nine months assuring their capacity to care for patients as work is done to evaluate long-term telemedicine policies.”


Translated, in her professional capacity, Hayward supported the budget article, contradicting the opinions in the letter sent by Marino, allegedly on her behalf, as a board member of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.


In addition, ConvergenceRI had reached out to Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, also a member of the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island board of directors, asking about Marino’s letter.


Rodriguez responded as follows:


“Yes I am on the board of directors and will bring your concerns to the board. As you must know, as an individual board member I can’t comment on board deliberations, and frankly can’t speak for the board. This is for the Chair or a delegate to respond. I hope this is useful.


Stay safe,


In a separate postscript, apparently mistakenly attached to the response by Rodriguez sent to ConvergenceRI, which was apparently also sent to unidentified members of the leadership team at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, Rodriguez wrote:


“FYI. This means Richard is preparing an article. May be helpful to brief the board since he will follow up with others after me. Zoom you later.”


Translated, the irony, of course, is that Neighborhood Health Plan’s board and leadership are apparently engaged in frequent conversation via Zoom during these perilous times of the coronavirus pandemic. But the organization, in a letter authored by its president and CEO, voiced opposition to making parity insurance reimbursements for telehealth a part of the state budget.


For the record, no official response from Neighborhood Health Plan of RI has yet been received by ConvergenceRI.


Two bites at the apple?

One more fascinating tidbit emerged in reviewing the letters sent to the House Finance Committee hearing on July 15 and to the Senate Finance Committee for its July 23 hearing.


For the Senate Finance Committee hearing on July 23, numerous health care industry organizations, representing an impressively broad swath of the health care interests, sent letters voicing their strong support of the budget article, including, among others: the Hospital Association of Rhode Island; Lifespan; the Rhode Island Health Center Association; the Rhode Island Public Health Institute; Brown Physicians Inc.; the Rhode Island Medical Society; The Providence Center; the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island; the chair of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council; Planned Parenthood of Southern New England; the Rhode Island Parent Information Network; the Community Care Alliance; Thundermist Health Center; the Rhode Island Psychological Association, and psychotherapy researchers at Butler Hospital. [Finding common ground and consensus among these diverse entities is a rare occurrence, in ConvergenceRI’s experience.]


Once again, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island had submitted a letter to the Senate Finance Committee opposing the budget article on telemedicine.


One of the letters unearthed by researchers was a letter sent by the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce, from Elizabeth Calucci, the organization’s president and CEO, to the House Finance Committee. The letter appeared to parrot concerns voiced by Marino in his letter raised about the authority of the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner. It turned out that Marino is listed on the letterhead as the Chair Elect of the 2020 Executive Committee of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.


To read the full story:,5893

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.

Rhode Island News as of 07/28/20 of 7:40am

>>The Latest
(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Another day of very hot weather on Tuesday follows a record-tying day yesterday in Providence.  A bond proposal from the governor includes a new health laboratory in Rhode Island.  A car rally is held over the state's back-to-school plans.
>>Yesterday's High Temperature Record Tied In Providence
(Providence, RI)  --  The National Weather Service says Providence tied a record high temperature yesterday of 97 degrees.  The record for yesterday's date was previously set in 1940.  A Heat Advisory is in effect for the state again today for predicted heat index values of up to 99 degrees, according to the weather service.
>>Bond Proposal Includes New Health Lab
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo's administration wants a new state health lab built to address future pandemics or other medical emergencies.  That was part of a bond proposal from the governor yesterday.  State health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said the project could greatly improve Rhode Island's ability to prepare for, and respond to, future crises.  The state treasurer says Rhode Island has the additional borrowing capacity to do this project.
>>Car Rally Held Over Back-To-School Plans
(Providence, RI)  --  A car rally on Monday protested plans to send Rhode Island kids back to in-person classroom learning this fall.  Dozens of cars circled the Rhode Island Department of Education building in downtown Providence with the message that it is not safe for that to happen until the coronavirus threat dies down.  The Rhode Island Department of Education said in response that stakeholders are working to have science and data-driven plans in place to re-open schools safely on August 31st.
>>Ethics Fine Taken Off Board For State Supreme Court Judge
(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island Supreme Court judge has won an appeal in an ethics violation case.  A Superior Court judge on Friday reversed a decision from the RI Ethics Commission last year that gave Francis Flaherty a two-hundred-dollar fine.  This was for a 2016 complaint that accused Flaherty of failing to disclose a leadership position he held for a Catholic non-profit organization while also ruling on a case involving alleged priest sexual abuse.  If the Ethics Commission appeals the newest ruling, it would be to Flaherty and the rest of the state Supreme Court.
>>Liquor License Denied At Restaurant Where Fatal Accident Happened
(Hopkinton, RI)  --  The Hopkinton Town Council last week voted to deny a liquor license for a new restaurant at the site of the former Boneyard Barbecue Restaurant and Saloon.  That's where a fatal accident happened last year, resulting in the owner being arrested on a charge of obstructing justice.  The Town Council voted to revoke Boneyard's liquor license after that incident, and last week they indicated unease about the new owners having a relationship with the previous ones, according to a report from the Westerly Sun.  The denied license is being appealed to the state.
>>Red Sox Lose To Mets
(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Red Sox are off to a one-and-three start to their shortened 2020 season after losing to the New York Mets at home last night.  The final from empty Fenway Park was 7-to-4.  The Sox and Mets go at it again tonight in Boston, before the teams head down to Queens to play two more.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
 Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-28-2020 00:49:08

Judge signals overhal of RI's Developmental Disability system

Judge signals overhaul of RI’s Developmental Disability system

July 27, 2020/RINewsToday


By Gina Macris,Developmental Disability News


Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. of the U.S. District Court is gearing up to order a soup-to-nuts overhaul of Rhode Island’s troubled developmental disability service system and he wants a detailed plan hammered out during the next year. 


Chronic problems exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed McConnell’s long-simmering concerns over the fiscal stability of developmental disability services “front and center,” as the judge put it during a public hearing in mid-May.


At that time, he asked an independent court monitor to recommend steps for ensuring the long-term survival of a reformed system that will be in full compliance with the Integration Mandate of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The proposed directive resulted from the monitor’s recommendations.


The order, sent to lawyers for comment earlier this month, says the state must fix systemic problems that pose “fiscal and administrative barriers” to compliance with a 2014 civil rights consent decree, which calls for integrated work and non-work activities based on a 40-hour week of services.


The barriers to compliance include the major pillars of a fee-for-service system the General Assembly enacted in 2011 that incentivized segregating adults with developmental disabilities in sheltered workshops and daycare centers, in violation of the ADA’s Integration Mandate, according to findings of the  U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The Integration Mandate was re-affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1999 Olmstead decision.


Although the last sheltered workshops closed in 2018, some center-based day programs were still in operation before the pandemic hit.


Hearing Scheduled July 30


McConnell has given state and federal lawyers until July 30 to  tell him why his three-page directive should not move forward as a formal order, with a deadline of June 30, 2021 to develop a new system that meets the needs of the roughly 4000 individuals it serves.


Lawyers for the state and the DOJ have responded with an agreed-upon list of topics to be discussed at an upcoming hearing on the status of consent decree compliance.


The agenda, filed with the court July 23, said the state would address both long-term compliance with the consent decree and the immediate pressures posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on the developmental disabilities system.


Specifically, the lawyers said they would present information on:


  • Integrated employment and day services and the state’s phased reopening
  • Support for providers and families during the continuing COVID pandemic
  • Preparations for a potential second wave of the pandemic
  • The fiscal issues and administrative barriers identified by the judge and a plan by the state to resolve them in phases, beginning with quarterly funding authorizations, staffing ratios, and the requirement to bill for daytime services in 15-minute increments.


Finally, the agenda said the discussion would include the state’s plans for substantial compliance with all requirements of the consent decree by 2024, the year it expires.


The judge’s proposed order would involve the state’s Medicaid administration, the Governor’s office, and the General Assembly in developing solutions to problems in the developmental disability service system and would require progress reports every two months between August 30 and June 30, 2021.


McConnell also wants the state to collaborate with families and providers in developing their plans.


McConnell is expected to take up the proposed order during the remote video hearing on July 30, beginning at 2 p.m. The public may sign in to attend no later than 1:45 p.m. through video or telephone, with instructions posted on the court’s public access web page, here.


COVID-19 Forced Near Shutdown Of Day Services


The coronavirus has hit hard at gains made in the number of regular jobs worked by adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and the time they spend enjoying non-work activities as part of their communities.


A spokesman for the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) indicated that about 35 percent of those who had jobs March 1 was still working at the end of May.


Non-work recreational and other activities also have been decimated, but no figures were available from BHDDH about the number of people who don’t have any daytime supports or can’t get the same number of service hours they had before the pandemic.


Parents expressed alarm about a lack of guidance on the resumption of services during a July 21 online forum hosted by the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI.)


Susan Willemsen, a parent, wrote in the chatbox that accompanied the video meeting: “This is very scary, especially for the parents who need to work and your child does not understand the situation. It is very difficult to be home working 40 hours to survive and take care of a child who is 100% dependent on you. Trying to understand where we go from here.”


Tina Spears, executive director of CPNRI, said providers remain in a precarious financial position and called on the entire developmental disabilities community to press state and federal officials for more funding and priority status for group home operators to conduct on-site testing and gain access to personal protective equipment.


By all accounts, some three dozen private service providers licensed by the state to support adults with developmental disabilities were in tenuous financial condition before the coronavirus pandemic hit Rhode Island in March.


Coping with the pandemic has further exposed gaps in funding and service delivery, which in turn raise questions about the providers’ ability to survive long enough to benefit from a court-ordered restructuring without more immediate and urgent intervention. 


For example, the need for social distancing calls for one-on-one or small group staffing, preferably with the same clients consistently matched to the same support people. But the current funding structure typically will pay for six hours a week of one-on-one support, according to Spears.


Judge Spells Out Requirements


McConnell, meanwhile, indicated he wants change from the first moment an individual or family applies for services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).


McConnell said there is a need to consolidate application procedures “for all pertinent RI services into one process.”  That includes streamlining the process for determining Medicaid eligibility and eligibility for developmental disability services, respectively, as well as any other state-funded supports a person might need.


Within the developmental disability service system itself, the judge wants the state to “review, address, and develop a strategy” for resolving problems in the following areas:


  • The process and timeline for determining DDD eligibility and individual budgets, as well as the process and timeline in which individuals select private provider organizations.
  • The process in which families and service providers appeal DDD’s decisions on eligibility, designated level of need, or funding level.
  • The requirement that providers document each staff person’s time, in connection with each client, in 15-minute increments during the day as a condition of reimbursement.
  • Reimbursements that are linked to specific staff-to-client ratios. McConnell didn’t spell out the details of how those ratios hinder integration, but one provider has offered a memorable example: The provider said the staffing ratios forced him to group together five clients with widely differing interests for job exploration in one community setting where he could supervise without help from another staffer. 
  • Funding authorizations for each client that last only three months at a time, with no ability to carry forward any unused portion of the budget beyond the designated fiscal quarter. That feature, combined with the fee-for-service structure of the billing services, means that unless there is 100 percent attendance by all persons at all times, the spending ceiling can never be reached. A consultant’s study several years ago found that providers billed for an average of 85 percent of funding authorizations.


The requirement that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, recognized as life-long conditions, must periodically re-establish their eligibility status for services.


McConnell also asked the state to come up with:


  • A clear definition of functions and activities for which funding is permitted, along with the associated rates for each.
  • Different funding levels for different activities that are “responsive to individual support needs.”
  • Guidance on combining individual budgets at the request of the people involved


With the state shutdown beginning in March, service providers shifted their attention to the safety of those in group homes.


A total of 10 group home residents have died from COVID-19, according to a BHDDH spokesman. As of July 21, 161 group home residents had tested positive and a total of 48 had been hospitalized at one point or another. Five people were in the hospital on July 21, the spokesman said.


Spears, the CPNRI director, explained during the virtual public forum that providers have faced unprecedented costs in securing personal protective equipment for staff, carrying out aggressive cleaning protocols and paying for overtime, while being unable to bill the state for many services.


Providers did get some emergency federal assistance channeled through the state, albeit less than what was originally promised, to continue operations through periods of the highest risk and to give temporary pay raises to staff. But those supports have now ended, Spears said, and there’s “no grand way or plan forward” for moving the system to a new normal.


Spears said a top priority is permanent pay hikes for staff, who have been chronically underpaid and have “a thousand reasons” during the pandemic to stay home.


State officials are waiting for Congress to decide on a second stimulus package before moving ahead to set the budget for the current fiscal year. The pace of budget deliberations is expected to pick up in early August, said State Sen. Louis DiPalma, D-Middletown, who is first vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.


In a brief interview the day after the meeting, Spears said the imperative for moving forward with a plan for re-opening developmental disability services should flow from the state’s legal and moral responsibility, not the budget.


State officials can “sit in a holding pattern and worry about the budget all you want, but these are human lives we’re talking about,” she said.



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. 


When You Stop Playing the Victim - by Mary T. O'Sullivan

When You Stop Playing the Victim – by Mary T. O’Sullivan

July 27, 2020/Mary O'Sullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


“Above all, be the heroine in your life, not the victim” – Nora Ephron


When you think everyone is against you, maybe you’re the problem.


You’re not getting along in your workplace. Things always seem to be going against you. You wall yourself off and shut your door, making sure no one can critique what you’re doing. It’s none of their business anyway. Every time someone makes a remark about a work problem, you assume it’s directed at you. You feel that office bullying behavior is becoming routine, and is being ignored by your boss. When you mention that someone did or said something you didn’t like, your boss responds with “Who cares? Or, So What?” You feel defeated and unappreciated. You’ve been with the company for over 20 years and wonder why this is happening to you. You’ve made personal sacrifices for this job. You’ve worked late hours. You’ve given it your all and now tolerating this environment seems to be your compensation.


You have to wonder what is going on because now, it’s really stressing you out. You have migraines and stomach aches, and you’re on heart medication too. You can’t sleep because what happens in the office shadows you home and haunts every aspect of your life. There seems to be no relief, and your anger and depression sink in deeper every day.


There is just so much you can control in a bad situation like this, especially if you don’t have the boss’s ear. It’s very lonely coming into work each day. This scenario is not much different from many clients I’ve worked with over the years, and behavior I’ve witnessed in my corporate career. The one answer that seems to help people more than anything else is to look inside themselves. Sometimes people need support from a professional to develop self-awareness and some people decide to pull it off on their own. But in either case, there are five concepts that consistently help people move on from unfortunate circumstances without having to quit or end up getting fired, regardless of the office politics. These are the five ways I help people when they ask me what they’ll get for their money. They are so simple, yet most people need some guidance to achieve these solutions.


  1. Clarify your Vision


Visioning is important because it puts you into your future self. If I asked you, “Imagine what it would be like for you if you didn’t care what happens in the office?” This question takes you to that place in your mind that eliminates the burden of what people think or say. You’ll describet what your office is like and make it become real by moving your mindset further into a future you can control. Your thinking becomes more future oriented, and you move away from “problem talk” into “change talk”. Maybe we discuss your options; to stay where you are, or to go. You decide which course you want to travel; you define where you want to be in the next 3, 5 or 10 years and how you’re going to get there. And then ask yourself, what will be different when you reach that goal? Use your imagination to envision that goal.


  • Strategize Actions – Create the Change You Want


You know you need to take action to create the future that you envision, but you feel stalled. So, what are the steps you need to take to get there? What is most important for you to achieve now? What are you willing to do or change in order to achieve this goal? What are three measurable activities you can commit to in the next 30 days to get the outcomes you expect, in order to move you closer to your goal? People have to be willing to commit to specific, measurable actions in order to create any change. Thinking alone won’t make change happen only your actions will demonstrate your desire to transform yourself. When you realistically map out your steps to change, you gain perspective on what you have to do to make your vision a reality.


  • Upgrade your Skills


You know that skills are important, and you may think that you already have all the skills you need. If that were true, you wouldn’t be looking for change. Why are improving or increasing your skills important? According to recent research, upgrading your skills doubles your chances of success in your industry. It demonstrates that you have a curious mind and are willing to grow. If you’re ready to enter a new field, you will need new or upgraded skills to show you understand the latest approaches to the industry’s problems and the current ways to solve them. You can’t let your skills get stale. A new skill also helps you become more creative because you can now apply its uses in so many ways. If you learn Microsoft Office or Outlook, for instance, you’ll learn applications that are essential for any work-related task. What if you don’t know how to attach documents or graphics to an email? Your abilities will soon be in doubt.


  • Master your Physical Environment


Is your work area a mess? Or is it so Spartan, you lack the proper tools to get work done? Do you have a desk? Are you working from home? Is your work area conducive to being productive? Where is your “quiet zone”?  Is it possible to collaborate in your physical environment? Does your computer work smoothly, or are you always rebooting? Is it a pleasant place to work, or is your “desk” really an old ironing board?  Research shows that human comforts, including temperature, ventilation, and lighting, improve workers' performance. According to that same study, only one in four workers are in “optimal” work environments, which causes most workers a big physical and psychological push in order to be effective and innovative, as well as more productive. Clean up your space. Organize your files. Have adequate light, climate control, and seating. Keep your essential tools close by and store the rest. And most importantly, work in the same space every day. It helps keep your routine intact, as well as your mental and physical health.


  • Master your Inner Game – Look to Maslow for Guidance


Your inner game takes us back to considering mindset when you want to make change happen. Take a self-inventory and ask, am I in a good place to challenge myself? Mindset change is possible; however, you are in control of it. Here’s what my recommendations are to my clients. Let’s use Maslow’s model of the hierarchy of needs to demonstrate how it’s done. First, we need to make sure our basic needs are met. Besides food, water, shelter, and one of the basic needs of humans – rest. We start with how much rest you get. Are you eating correctly; are you sleeping? Your inner game will never improve no matter how you push if these basics are not met. The next level is security and safety, also considered by Maslow as a basic need. Are you confident that your workspace is safe? How secure do you think you are in your position? At home?  Humans need those assurances in order to take on any new challenges. You can’t work and be looking over your shoulder with worry all day. No one can concentrate under those circumstances. Maslow’s next level is “psychological needs”. These needs consist mainly of your relationships. “Belongingness and Love” and “Esteem Needs”, the need to feel close and intimate with others and have the respect of people you know personally and professionally. Being close with family members and surrounded by trusted friends is the way humans feel loved and appreciated, which promotes those warm and fuzzy feelings of self-esteem. When you advance in your vocation or advocation, you may become a notable leader or a stand-out volunteer. Maybe you publish some of your findings or observations or win an award for your accomplishments. Your inner game moves along nicely when you are in the “Esteem” mode. At the top of the hierarchy of needs is Self-Fulfillment, self-actualization where your full potential as a human being is unleashed. When you are in this state, nothing can stop you. You are truly transformed; the future you described is now a reality.


After accomplishing these five steps, there is no doubt about your future. What you’ve developed is now known as “Presence”. You have a special aura of success around you. Now, you couldn’t care less about office gossip or the bullies. You deal with them. You don’t have to whine to your boss, he knows you’re good and he’s not going to allow unacceptable behavior to get in your way. People automatically come to you for help. You walk into work without resentment, without fear, and with full confidence that you are going to do a fantastic job. If you have a failure, you’ll recoup with grace and ease. It’s just amazing how things have changed. It’s almost as if a miracle has happened. And all along, that miracle was inside of you. You just didn’t know it yet. In the words of Albert Camus, “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”



Connect with Mary:


Mary T. O’Sullivan


Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to higher levels of performance, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth. 


Mary has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. In addition, she is also an International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, a Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional and has a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching, from the University of Texas at Dallas. 


In her leadership and executive coaching, she focuses on improving the executive behaviors that slow down performance and lead to growth, such as soft skills, communication, micro-bias awareness, etc. She has successfully helped other professionals, such as attorneys, surgeons, pharmacists, and university professors, make career decisions to lead to success in their chosen careers.  In addition, small business owners have sought Mary’s services to bring their companies into greater alignment, working on their culture, vision, mission, values and goals as well as organizational structure. Mary’s executive coaching has been mainly with large organizations among them: Toray Plastics America, Hasbro, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin, CVS Healthcare, Sensata Technologies, Citizen’s Bank, Ameriprise, BD Medical Devices, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, (Newport, R.I.), General Dynamics, University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island, etc.


Mary has facilitated numerous workshops on various topics in leadership such as, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, effective communication, leading in adversity, etc. She has also written extensively on similar topics.


Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from the Society of Human Resources Development. Mary is also an ICF certified Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, and a Certified Emotional Intelligence assessor and practitioner.


In addition, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education with Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, State University of New York at Oswego and Syracuse University.  She is also a member Beta Gamma Sigma and the International Honor Society.


Mary dedicates herself to coaching good leaders to get even better through positive approaches to behavior change for performance improvement.

Networking Pick of the Week: Uncle Jay's Traveling Breakfast

Networking Pick of the Week: Uncle Jay’s Traveling Breakfast

July 27, 2020/RINewsToday


Uncle Jay’s Traveling Breakfast Network on ZOOM – July 29th – 8am


Check in and meeting new people, make contacts with other business professionals as we make out way through the current crisis.
This is a professionals Zoom meeting. Dress appropriately.

Check in early. Stay focused. Shut off all cell phones.

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 821 5498 1428


Passcode: 889658


One tap mobile+19294362866,,82154981428#,,,,,,0#,,889658# US (New York)+13017158592,,82154981428#,,,,,,0#,,889658# US (Germantown)


Dial by your location +1 929 436 2866 US (New York) 

55 years later...

55 years later…

July 27, 2020/RINewsToday


We remember…John Lewis


55 years ago ….


John Lewis went to Selma in 1965 knowing he would be arrested. He was 25 years old. He packed a backpack, and carried a few things…


I remember very well. As a matter of fact I went to the Army surplus store and bought this backpack. I really thought we were going to be successful walking all the way from Selma to Montgomery. And somehow, someway I thought maybe we would be arrested and we would go to jail, so while in jail I wanted to have something to read. I had two books in the backpack. I wanted to have something to eat—I had one apple and one orange. One apple and one orange wouldn’t last that long. Being in jail, you know I had been arrested and been to jail before, the sad thing about being in jail for two or three days, you need to brush your teeth. So there was toothpaste and a toothbrush in there.


I don’t know what happened to that backpack, I don’t know what happened to the two books. I don’t know what happened to the trench coat. One of the books was by a professor of political science at Harvard and the other book was by Thomas Merton, the monk. I just wished I had them. The Smithsonian and the Library of Congress are always asking me what happened to them and I tell them I really don’t know”. – John Lewis


Lewis would suffer a fractured skull from the Bloody Sunday beating, the scar of which was visible. The incident was one of the three Selma-to-Montgomery marches for voting rights, and the efforts led to passage of the Voting Rights Act.

1965 at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Georgia


50 years later…


Congressman John Lewis walked across the bridge in Selma with the first black president of the United States, President Barack Obama.


55 years later…


This week, John Lewis makes his way to his final resting space. Yesterday his body was taken over the Selma bridge – the path that greeted him 55 years ago with a bloody beating would now be sprinkled with rose petals in honor to receive him?



Today, Lewis will be taken to lie in state at the US Capitol, the first black legislator to have this ceremonial honor. His funeral will be on Thursday.



Lewis received an honorary degree from Brown University in 2012



April, 2020

“To the rioters… across the country: I see you, and I hear you,” he wrote. “I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive. History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.”

Rhode Island News as of 07/27/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Arrests were made in connection to a protest in front of the Providence Police Department Saturday night.  A worker at a beach snack bar and a town council president are among the new positive coronavirus cases in Rhode Island.  The PawSox are ending their stadium lease.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>Demonstration In Providence Turns Violent Saturday Night
(Providence, RI)  --  Five people were arrested on Saturday night after a defund/abolish the police protest in front of the Providence Police Department headquarters.  One person faces felony assault charges for allegedly throwing paint at officers.  About two hours after the evening protest started and about a mile away from the police station, the Providence Journal reported protesters attacked an unmarked van they claimed arrested a member of the group, similar to reports in Portland, Oregon.  Police Chief Hugh Clements said protesters broke the windows of an occupied, unmarked police car; it's not clear if he was referring to the vehicle that was attacked.
>>State House Rally Held Prior To Protests
(Providence, RI)  --  The Saturday night hostility between protesters and police was preceded by a "defund" rally in front of the State House.  The Providence Journal reports the same group, PROV-X, organized the State House rally and the initial protest at the city public safety complex.  The State House rally featured one of the two Black Lives Matter counter-protesters who were arrested after they responded to a "Back the Blue" pro-police event in Providence last Thursday.  The Providence External Review Authority, the city's police oversight board, is looking into those arrests after receiving complaints about police acting aggressively towards the BLM crowd.
>>Coronavirus: Beach Snack Bar Worker, Town Council President Positive, Nursing Facility Spike
(Undated)  --  Here is a roundup of headlines about coronavirus cases in Rhode Island.  The Department of Environmental Management announced Saturday the snack bar at Scarborough South State Beach in Narragansett closed after it was learned that an employee tested positive.  The North Providence Town Council president, Dino Autiello, announced last week that he is recovering from COVID-19.  Also, a Providence nursing facility, the Bannister Center, is reportedly dealing with a spike of virus cases in recent weeks, almost thirty.
>>Heat Advisory Today And Tomorrow For Southern New England
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island is in another heatwave to start the final week of July.  The National Weather Service has the Ocean State in a Heat Advisory today and tomorrow.  Forecasters say heat index values will climb into the 100s across Southern New England.  High temperatures in Providence are expected to go back down into the 80s for the rest of the week.
>>PawSox Ending McCoy Stadium Lease
(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The Pawtucket Red Sox are officially ending their lease at McCoy Stadium.  The Pawtucket Times reports the announcement of the team ending the lease was made at a Pawtucket City Council meeting last week, effective after January 31st, 2021.  The team plans on playing its future seasons as the minor league AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox in Worcester, Massachusetts.
>>Rhode Island College Announces Fall Learning Plans
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island College will mostly start the academic year with remote learning.  Some first-year courses, as well as certain studio and lab courses may be offered in-person.  For those limited number of in-person classes, RIC says students and faculty can expect screening prior to entering buildings and mandatory face coverings.
>>Taylor Swift Album References Rhode Island
(Westerly, RI)  --  Taylor Swift's surprise new music album includes references to her home in Westerly.  The song is called "The Last Great American Dynasty", which is about Rebekah Harkness, the previous owner of Swift's Watch Hill mansion.  The release of Swift's album "Folklore" was a surprise and she said she wrote the new music in isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jim McCabe/djc          RI) MA) OR)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-27-2020 00:02:02

Ocean State Bridal Show - on the beach

Ocean State Bridal Show – on the beach

July 26, 2020/RINewsToday


The Ocean State Bridal Show is taking place – on the beach – at the North Beach Clubhouse on Boston Neck Rd., Narragansett on Sunday, August 9 from 6-8:30 p.m.


Yes, right on the beach! You can check out this beautiful venue amidst the gorgeous scenery of Narragansett Bay. You’ll get to connect with a variety of wedding professionals who are ready to help you plan your special day. 


It’s free admission for the engaged couple and guest tickets are $5 in advance (walk-ins are welcome at 7 p.m. and the cost will be $10)


Make your ticket reservations today at 


Masks and social distancing will be required.


Kelly Carlini


Bridal Shows & Special Events by Kelly

Community Marketing

Heat Precautions and RI Cooling Centers

Heat Precautions & RI Cooling Centers

July 26, 2020/RINewsToday


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is reminding all Rhode Islanders to protect themselves against the elevated heat indexes forecast for this weekend and the coming week with a few simple health precautions. Extreme heat can be dangerous, particularly for children, older adults, and some people with underlying medical conditions.


To protect yourself and your family from heat-related illness, take the following precautions:


  • Drink more fluids than usual, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids. Water is your best option. Limit alcohol, drinks with caffeine, and drinks with high amounts of sugar.
  • Check on friends and neighbors, particularly those who are caring for young children and older adults.
  • Stay out of the sun. Find a shaded area where you can sit and relax, particularly during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat if you are outside.
  • Limit outdoor activities, especially at mid-day. If you exercise outdoors, move your workout to a morning or evening time, take it indoors to an air-conditioned environment, or try swimming, which is a great summer exercise. If you work outside, wear sunscreen (re-apply frequently), pace your activity, stay hydrated, and check on co-workers.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down, particularly if you’re unable to be in an air-conditioned location.
  • Avoid turning on your oven, if possible. It will make your house hotter.
  • Never leave young children or pets in parked cars, even with the windows down.


People should also try to stay in air-conditioned spaces when it gets very hot. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, consider going to the home of a friend or loved one who does.


There are also cooling centers in Rhode Island. If you go to a cooling center or congregate in an air-conditioned space, bring a mask or cloth face-covering, maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others, and wash or sanitize your hands frequently. This can help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 


Heat-related illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke


Heat-related illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are of particular concern during periods of extreme heat are of particular concern during periods of extreme heat.


  • Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale or clammy skin; a fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; and fainting. Individuals who have symptoms of heat exhaustion should move to a cooler location, lie down, loosen clothing, sip water, and apply cool, wet cloths to help cool the body down. Seek medical attention if vomiting begins, or if symptoms get worse or last longer than one hour.
  • Heat stroke symptoms include high body temperature (above 103 degrees Fahrenheit), combined with hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; confusion; and losing consciousness (passing out). Individuals experiencing heat stroke symptoms should also be moved to a cooler environment. Apply cool cloths or place the person into a cool bath to lower body temperature. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately.


For more information about symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, see


For more information about summer safety, visit


RI Cooling Centers


Check here for Rhode Island Cooling Centers – note there are not centers in every city/town and very few are open on Sundays:


For more assistance, call 211, an emergency line to provide information.


Here is a link to searchable numbers by city/towns:

Picnic with a Green Giraffe, or the Greek Gods...

Picnic with a Green Giraffe, or the Greek Gods…

July 25, 2020/RINewsToday


Stroll the Gardens & Grounds – a million dollar view


Enjoy the landscapes, gardens, and fresh air with the Newport Preservation’s new Stroll the Gardens & Grounds opportunity. 


This unique specialty ticket includes outdoor-only access to Green Animals Topiary Garden, The Breakers and The Elms.


Stroll among a menagerie of topiary animals at Green Animals. Hang out with the Greek statuary at The Elms. At The Breakers, enjoy a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and meander along the recently restored Serpentine Path.


Picnic baskets welcome!


The three properties can be visited on different days. Tickets include admission to all three Gardens & Grounds: The Breakers, The Elms & Green Animals Topiary Garden. Does not include interior entry.


Face coverings and social distancing are required. 


Tickets are $18 Adult / $8 Youth 6-17


Grounds are open during the following times: 


* The Breakers, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., last admission 5 p.m. 


* The Elms, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., last admission 4 p.m.


* Green Animals, 10 a.m.-sunset, last admission 7 p.m.


Click here:

GriefSpeak: Divine Intervention

GriefSpeak: Divine Intervention

July 24, 2020/Mari Dias


By: Mari Dias


Agnes was a spry, energetic 80 something year old woman, a tiny woman in both weight and stature, who prided herself on golfing 18 holes three times a week.


“Without a cart.”


She would overemphasize that phrase. I was the water aerobics instructor, whose class entitled “No Excuses, No Regrets” was a challenge for cross-trainers; however, Agnes prided herself in attending my class. Religiously. Consistently. And always following her hair salon appointment. She was the best-coiffed participant I had known for years. She was more than a participant. More like a favorite aunt or grandmother.


I taught on the pool deck. Many instructors teach in the pool, but my certification instructor insisted that we teach where we can see participants and correct form and balance. This is impossible if you, as the instructor, are in the pool.


It was a Friday evening class, usually small (about 6-8 participants), and Agnes in the front row, her smiling (and sometimes to other colleagues) smug expression, readying herself for the first sound of a downbeat.


I began the class with a warmup, using the “Grease” soundtrack to begin. I used the big, yellow Styrofoam pool noodle as my microphone, mouthing the words “You’re the one that I want.”


Then I would offer Agnes the “microphone” and she would respond with


“Oo, Oo, Oo.”


This little “dance” went on for a about 3 minutes, and then I turned to the boom box to increase the volume. When I turned back to face the pool, Agnes was underwater, floating like a dead goldfish, you know, at an angle. I shouted to the other participants who stood frozen and motionless.


“Call 911.”


I immediately jumped in the pool and lifted Agnes by her shoulders to avoid inhalation of water.


It was difficult to get her out of the pool, despite her diminutive size. I remember thinking, there is such a thing as literal “dead weight”, as I lifted her up the three steps to the pool deck. She was blue purple, her belly swollen like a pregnant woman ready to go into labor.


I never thought I would remember but I did. All the steps in CPR.


1. Shake the person and call their name.


“Agnes. Agnes”…no response.


2. Check for a pulse.




3. Swipe the inside of the mouth for foreign objects to protect choking.


Agnes had false teeth. I removed them and at that point she vomited. The mouth guard was in a closet outside of the pool area. I had no choice.


I began CPR.


The EMTs arrived in less than 5 minutes. They used the AED-defibrillator. Unsuccessfully. Again. No signs of a pulse. They whisked her away on the gurney, shouting over their collective shoulders –


“Call family members. Don’t think she is going to make it.”


There I stood, soaking wet in my aerobic sweats and sneakers, astounded at what just happened in the span of less than 30 minutes. I ran to the front desk and asked the manager to access Agnes’s emergency contact information and make the call. I was in a hurry to get to the ER.


The manager asked “Where are you going?”


“To the hospital emergency room.”


“Are you crazy? You’d better call a lawyer. You are not employed by this fitness center. You are an outside consultant. Our insurance will not cover you. Get a lawyer.”


“I can’t. She was like a family member to me. I don’t want her to die alone. Her adult children are all out of state. I will sit with her until they arrive.”


I raced to the hospital, only to find Agnes on life support and a priest by her side. He was giving her the Last Rites.


I simply sat and held Agnes’s hand until a nurse came in and asked, “The doctors are looking for the aerobics instructor who was teaching at the time.”


“Well, that would be me”.


The nurse exclaimed, “What are you doing here?” You should be in hiding!  You are going to get sued!”


I said nothing and continued to hold Agnes’s hand.


The nurse had me rise and follow her into a consultation room. A cardiologist and a pulmonologist were waiting for me.


“How long was she under water…huh, huh? What is your name?


"Mari Dias.”


“How long was she under water?”


“Well, I hate to put a number on it, but it was the amount of time it took for me to turn, raise the volume on the boom box, (Which was on a table less than 3 feet away from me) and turn back.


“I’m the one that you want.”


Turn, raise volume, turn back for Agnes’s oo oo oo…


3 seconds maybe?”


Oh Ms. Dias, it was much longer than 3 seconds. It was more like 30 minutes.  Her lungs were full of pool water. Her heart is fine. She drowned.”


I couldn’t fathom how this might have happened. She had just returned from dinner at Applebee’s. Did she vomit and choke? It is hot and clammy in the pool area. Did she faint and fall under water?”


These thoughts hounded me. I know it was seconds. I am positive it was just seconds!”


Once again, I was encouraged, (this time by the doctors) to call my lawyer.


“You could lose your house, your bank accounts, your husband’s business.”


I thought.


I didn’t call anyone.


Agnes’s daughter arrived first, about 6 hours after we arrived at the ER. She said:


“My mother always bragged that she was the oldest person in “Killer Mari’s” class, “No Excuses, No Regrets”. She died doing what she loved.”


The family decided to “”pull the plug” once all the siblings had arrived. That took several days. The cardiologist came in to tell me that, “Upon further testing, it appeared she did not drown; she had an arrhythmia. Her heart stopped for a second and she went under.”


The family requested my presence when they stopped life support.


“I don’t know if that was a punishment or a sign of a special place in Agnes’s heart.”


Once the machines were shut off, we all sat there, still, and quiet. Praying silently. Sometimes it only takes five minutes. Sometimes much longer.


After an hour and a half, we were shocked into reality when we heard Agnes’s voice!


“I’m so sorry! Did I cause some mayhem at the fitness center? I didn’t mean to…”


Agnes had no brain damage. They inserted a pacemaker about a week later.


One Friday night, about six weeks later, Agnes showed up for Killer Mari’s” No Excuses No Regrets” class.


She sends me a basket of assorted goodies every year on the anniversary and always writes on the card…


“Thank you for saving my life.”





There is no explanation for what happened. She was dead. And then she wasn’t. I never called a lawyer. I was never sued. I was thanked. Perhaps if she died it would have been a different story.


But it’s not a different story. It is this one.



Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief.


She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

It's International Self Care Day!

It’s International Self Care Day!

July 24, 2020/RINewsToday


by Robert B. Foster, Owner RBF Fitness and Nutrition


2020 has brought a lot of uncertainty, high tension, anxiety, and stress to most everyone in the world according to the CDC. The impact of COVID-19 has led to record breaking unemployment claims, stay at home orders, states being shut down, travel bans, and so much more.  What is being lost in all of this is the need to focus on self-care.


International Self Care Day (ISD) (7/24/2020) was started in 2011 in the UK as a worldwide mission to remind people to step back from the rigors of life and to do something that focuses on bettering one’s self.  Moms are being hit especially hard during these times trying to balance working from home, distance learning, running a household, and being a mom.  See the link below for more details from a USC study about this.  



RBF Fitness and Nutrition, in Warwick, empowers busy women and moms to recapture their confidence and self esteem using fitness as the platform. With a uniquely created 7-step methodology, the program has helped thousands of women repair their relationship with themselves and inspire their children to lead healthy lifestyles that will carry over for generations. We believe mothers are the backbone of the household and many times feel lost, overwhelmed, and in some cases, defeated. Our program addresses the daily hurdles mothers face and helps to link the solutions into fitness programs for their mental, physical and emotional well-being.


Obesity in mothers is at an all-time high due to the pandemic in the United States. Becoming overweight and obese are not the only byproducts of a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity, in particular, has been linked to 13 preventable cancers including stomach, kidney, and colon as well as type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety and many other illnesses as reported by the National Cancer Institute. Our program focus on selfcare, and optimal health –  not just getting back into optimal weight.


For ISD 2020 I challenge all of you to do something that you want to do…for you!  Whether it’s take a walk, get a mani-pedi, get a massage/facial, hit the gym, get your hair cut, or so many other options, get out there and do something that you’ve wanted to do.  When you are looking and feeling your best everyone around you benefits.  If you truly want to put your family first, it starts with becoming the best version of yourself.  At RBF Fitness, that is the cornerstone of our fitness program.  We don’t just build strong bodies, we build strong families. For readers of RINewsToday, we offer you an opportunity to try a free week and see how we can change your life – just go to our website at:


I am Robert B. Foster and I want to make it my personal mission to help busy moms like you finally focus on themselves and relight that inner fire that is dying to burn again!


It only takes 5 SECONDS to make a decision, you just have to make up your mind that right NOW is your time!



Robert B. Foster, Owner RBF Fitness and Nutrition 
401-359-4652 (call or text)


A Leading behavior change researcher tells us how to boost our immune system

A leading behavior change researcher tells us how to boost our immune system

July 24, 2020/RINewsToday


From URI website: James O. Prochaska, author:


Yes, you should wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash your hands frequently to reduce your exposure to COVID-19, but did you ever think improving your diet or reducing your alcohol consumption could also play a role in fighting the disease?


University of Rhode Island Professor of Psychology James O. Prochaska, founder of the Cancer Prevention Research Center, and one of the leading behavior change experts in the world, has an emphatic answer. And it’s based on 124 studies done all over the world.


Prochaska, inventor of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, said there are four behaviors that lead to the majority of chronic illnesses, which also make individuals more susceptible to infectious diseases: smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy eating and inadequate exercise. Add distress to what he calls the Big 4, and you have the perfect combination of factors that work against people’s ability to maintain good health.


Consider individuals whose biological age is 60. Some will have an immune system comparable to a healthy 40-year-old, while others will have one like an 80-year-old, Prochaska said. It turns out that the Big 4 and distress are major contributors to impaired immune systems, as well as chronic and often fatal diseases.


“During the current pandemic, the majority who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms, and another large group has mild symptoms,” Prochaska said. “Clearly, there are major differences in how their immune systems are functioning. Many people understandably feel distressed, anxious and afraid, in part because they feel helpless during this difficult time.”


He said they can help themselves and others by thinking about which behaviors they would like to address. Through research and development of his behavior change model, Prochaska has found that people do not take dramatic steps toward healthy behaviors, but instead go through these stages: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.


“We need to understand that people usually don’t take action right away, so we have to help them move in that direction,” he said.


“We need to help people see that when they start or when they have lapses,  they can commit to getting back to healthy eating and consuming less alcohol,” Prochaska said. “But we have to be kind and considerate and help people realize that changing these behaviors can prevent them from getting chronic illness, as well as the next virus.”


Prochaska said there are opportunities for simple changes. More people are working from home so they no longer lose time commuting to the office. Maybe they can use that time to take a walk, bike ride or exercise at home.


“These are small steps, as people move from one stage to the next, but people become demoralized, so reinforcing the benefits of such behavior is critical,” Prochaska said. “If you improve your behavior, you are getting two for the price of one–improved immunity and reduction in risk for chronic illness.”


Prochaska said that health is being free from disease. “Once you get one chronic disease, you are more likely to get more. These behaviors also enhance multiple domains of well-being, for example, emotional, social and work well-being.”


Prochaska and his wife Janice Prochaska are conducting video conferences with health counselors and coaches around the world to help their clients and patients. He added that many organizations devoted to helping people improve their health and well-being, battle depression and anxiety have been following the research described in the book, “Changing to Thrive,” co-authored by Prochaska and Janice, founder of Pro-Change, which has produced award-winning, digitally-based programs that set new standards for impacts on the biggest threats to the health and well-being of a broad range of populations.


“We understand that change is challenging, especially during stressful times like these,” Prohaska said. “My Achilles heel is diet, and so Janice had us meet with a nutritionist. At first, I realized all I could eat was things I don’t like. But I did break my sugar addiction, and I had to take ice cream and potato chips off the grocery list. Without even trying hard, I lost 10 pounds, and 2 inches off my waist. It is possible to change.”


About Dr. Prochaska


Professor Emeritus, Director of Cancer Prevention Resource Center (CPRC)


  • Department of Psychology; Clinical Psychology
  • Phone: 401.874.2830
  • Email:




James O. Prochaska is Director of Cancer Prevention Research Center and Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. He is the author of over 400 publications, including four books, Changing to Thrive, Changing for Good, Systems of Psychotherapy, and The Transtheoretical Approach.


He is internationally recognized for his work as a developer of the stage model of behavior change. He is the principal investigator on over $80 million dollars in research grants for the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases. He is the founder of Pro-Change Behavior Systems.


Dr. Prochaska has won numerous awards including the Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology from the American Psychology Society, an Innovator’s Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society. Dr. Prochaska has recently been recognized as one of the top three most preeminent clinical psychologists.




Development of a transtheoretical model of behavior change that integrates stages, processes and levels of change. Applications of this model to understanding how people change health related behaviors such as smoking, diet, exercise, and safe sex practices and mental health related behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, stress and distress. Development of interventions based on this model to accelerate changes in problem behaviors. Development of an integrative model of psychotherapy for eclectic therapists. Currently directs several funded projects through the Cancer Prevention Research Center.




Ph.D. 1969, Wayne State University
M.A. 1967, Wayne State University
B.A. 1964, Wayne State University

Rhode Island News as of 07/24/20 of 5:12am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Two arrests made after "Back the Blue" and "Black Lives Matter" demonstrators clash in Providence.  A lawsuit has been filed over requirements for a witness or notary for Rhode Island mail ballots during the coronavirus pandemic.  Plans are shared for a new transit hub model in Providence.

>>Arrests Made After Protesters Come Together

(Providence, RI)  --  Two people were arrested during a confrontation between pro-police demonstrators and a Black Lives Matter group in Providence on Thursday night.  A "Back the Blue" event was apparently canceled because of the weather forecast, but some people who supported the police still showed, and were met by the counter-protesters.  The Providence Police Department responded with officers in riot gear.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Accused Rapist Charged With Seven More Assaults

(Boston, MA)  --  A Rhode Island man accused of posing as an Uber driver and sexually assaulting a female passenger has been charged in seven more cases.  Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins says the suspect is Alvin Campbell of Cumberland.  He allegedly preyed on women who had called for ride sharing services from Boston nightclubs and bars between 2017 and last year.  The women all believed they were getting into a ride share car they had summoned, but Campbell has not worked for Uber since 2016.

>>Man Sentenced For Assault That Left Victim In Coma

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is being sentenced to twenty years in the ACI for a felony assault that left the victim in a coma.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office announcing the sentence for Michael Decosta, who was convicted by a Kent County Superior Court jury in February on one count of felony assault and battery.  Decosta was accused of punching the victim, a man from Warwick, at a house party in Warwick in December of 2017.  The A.G.'s office says he faces other charges for alleged actions while he was out on bail, including robbery.

>>Lawsuit Filed Over Witness/Notary Mail Ballot Requirements

(Providence, RI)  --  A lawsuit is being filed in federal court over voting procedures in the upcoming fall elections.  Common Cause Rhode Island and the League of Women Voters are part of the suit, along with several voters.  They are suing over the witness and notary requirements for mail ballots, saying they cause coronavirus-related safety risks.  Legislation that would have waived the requirement did not clear the General Assembly last week.

>>New Transit Hub Plan In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  State officials are no-longer planning a transit tunnel through Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence.  However, a new plan was revealed by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Rhode Island Public Transit Authority on Thursday: a trio of transit hubs, including two new ones at the Providence train station and at a vacant building on Dyer Street.  One benefit would be to link train and bus transportation, and to make Kennedy Plaza more of a visitor destination.  RIDOT hopes to have the project completed in a few years.

>>Downtown Prov Street Closing Saturdays Next Month

(Providence, RI)  --  A downtown Providence street is going to be closed to vehicle traffic on Saturdays next month.  This is for Westminster Street from Eddy to Union streets, starting August 1st and going on until the fall.  The idea of "Open Air Saturdays" is for people to take advantage of the local shopping and dining options in a socially-distanced setting.

>>Medical Marijuana Sales Set New Record In Rhode Island

(Providence, RI)  --  Medical marijuana sales have set a new annual record in Rhode Island.  The Providence Journal reports for the previous fiscal year that just ended, the state's three dispensaries sold just under sixty-million dollars' worth of pot.  In Fiscal Year 2019, the total was about 53-million.  There are six new medical marijuana dispensaries on the way, as the state has begun to take applications for them.

Jim McCabe/Ted Lorson/djc         RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-24-2020 00:59:06

Law and Order: Operation Legend

Law and Order: Operation Legend

July 23, 2020/RINewsToday


Yesterday, Attorney General William P. Barr and President Donald J. Trump announced the expansion of Operation Legend. Originally launched in Kansas City, MO., additional cities include Chicago and Albuquerque, with Chicago being first identified due to the recent and sustained violence.


Operation Legend is identified as a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. 


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirmed Tuesday that federal agents are being sent to Chicago, but so far the city doesn’t “see a Portland-style deployment coming.”


The operation first began in early July in Kansas City, after the shooting death of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he was in his bed sleeping.


“The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens,” said Attorney General Barr.  “Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Chicago and Albuquerque to protect the residents of those cities from senseless acts of deadly violence by targeting those involved in gang activity and those who use guns to commit violent crime.  For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities which are experiencing upticks in violent crime.  The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”


As part of Operation Legend, the federal departments identified at this time are the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the DEA, and the ATF. They will add to, and significantly increase resources to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence. 



Chicago is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up 51 percent over 2019.  Over the weekend of July 17, more than 60 people were shot in the city of Chicago, with 14 fatalities.  Similarly, Albuquerque is currently on pace to break 2019’s record for homicides in the city.  On the weekend of July 10, there were four murders in Albuquerque within a 24-hour period.


In Chicago:


The Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending over 100 federal investigators, who will complement the work already underway by existing joint federal, state and local task forces focused on combating Chicago’s violent gangs, gun crime, and drug trafficking organizations.  The investigatory efforts will be advanced by more than 100 members of the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Task Force, which will direct violent fugitive apprehension operations within Chicago to identify wanted gang members, violent criminals, and firearms violators.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are also committing at least 100 agents, already stationed in Chicago, to Operation Legend.  HSI agents will conduct investigations into gangs, narcotics traffickers, violent offenders, and firearms traffickers.


To further support the Chicago Police Department in reducing violent crime, ATF has deployed its national Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Vehicle to assist local law enforcement with analysis of crime scenes and spent shell casings through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).  ATF will also make available additional resources to assist the City of Chicago in providing timely, efficient analysis of ballistic evidence from shootings in order to quickly disrupt violent criminals and prosecute those prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law.


$3.5 million in funding will be reimbursed to Chicago for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts.  The COPS Office has also made $9.375 million available to the Chicago Police Department to fund the hiring of 75 officers. 


In Albuquerque:


The Department of Justice will supplement state and local law enforcement agencies by sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, DEA, and ATF to the city, who will work closely with the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, along with other local partners, through pre-existing task forces directed at combatting violent crimes.  Up to ten HSI agents will assist with the efforts in Albuquerque, as well.


The Department of Justice has also made available over $1.5 million in COPS Hiring Grants to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department to onboard five deputies and to support additional federal task force officers committed to violent crime reduction efforts.  Additionally, the COPS Office has made $9.74 million available to the Albuquerque Police Department to fund the hiring of 40 officers.  Separately, the Bureau of Justice Assistance has made available $1.4 million to reimburse the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and Albuquerque Police Department for the work of local law enforcement on the federal task forces supporting Operation Legend’s violent crime reduction efforts.  The Department has also provided assistance through the Joint Law Enforcement Operations (JLEO) fund to assist reimbursement of local law enforcement serving as federal task force officers with FBI, ATF, DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service.  These JLEO funds also will be used to assist the City of Albuquerque in acquiring technology used for detection of gunshots and development of an integrated response plan to gunshots by local law enforcement.


LeGend Taliferro


Operation Legend is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early in the morning of June 29 in Kansas City, the latest in a string violence to plague Kansas City in recent weeks.  Kansas City has already reached 100 homicides this year, a 40 percent increase from last year.


“President Trump has made clear: the federal government stands ready and willing to assist any of our state and local law enforcement partners across the nation responding to violent crime.  Operation Legend will combine federal and local resources to combat the disturbing uptick in violence by surging federal agents and other federal assets into cities like Kansas City, a city currently experiencing its worst homicide rate in its history,” said Attorney General Barr.  “The Department’s Operation Legend is named in honor of one of Kansas City’s youngest victims, four-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was shot in the face while sleeping in his bed.  LeGend’s death is a horrifying reminder that violent crime left unchecked is a threat to us all and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Rhode Island News as of 07/57/20 of 5:50am














JIM MCCABE/DJC           RI) CT) MA)



07-23-2020 00:02:09

New guidance on providing services to students with special needs

New guidance on providing services to students with special needs

July 22, 2020/RINewsToday


This information was received on behalf of Disability Rights Rhode Island, Rhode Island Legal Services, The Center for Justice and the ACLU of RI.


In response to concerns raised by attorneys and advocacy organizations that remote learning during COVID-19 related school closures was, in violation of the laws that protect some vulnerable students with disabilities, causing significant educational harm, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Angélica Infante-Green has issued important policy guidance to school districts confirming their obligation to provide in-person services to those students.  


The concerns were voiced last month by four advocacy organizations (Disability Rights Rhode Island, the ACLU of Rhode Island, the Center for Justice, and Rhode Island Legal Services) and four private attorneys (Kristen Sloan Maccini, Christine Marinello, Ellen Saideman, and Amy Tabor) who represent students with special needs. 


In her guidance ( issued at the end of last week, the Commissioner recognized that, as the result of school closures, some students with disabilities entitled to special education services have not been able to fully access all of the services required by their individualized education plans (IEPs) and, as a result, have not made progress on their goals in the absence of direct in-person instruction and related services. In order to address these deficiencies, the Commissioner has advised school districts that:


  • Since entering Phase III of re-opening on June 29th, in-person Extended School Year (ESY) services – e.g., services provided over the summer or during vacation time – are not per se excluded from taking place;
  • Now is the time for school officials and parents to meet and review the availability of such services, and if appropriate, revise a student’s IEP;
  • When school districts are unable to provide necessary services, they can and should contract with a qualified third party that is safely able to do so;
  • If, due to the school closures caused by the pandemic, there has been a delay in providing ESY or other services, appropriate personnel must make individualized determinations whether and to what extent compensatory services may be needed when schools resume normal operations; and
  • Schools should reach out to parents with this information and provide updates to RIDE on compliance.


The organizations and attorneys applauded the Commissioner’s guidance for clarifying school districts’ obligations to provide critically needed in-person services to special education students. “We are pleased that Commissioner Infante-Green has instructed school districts to abide by legal protections for students with disabilities in accordance with their state and federal educational rights,” said Anne Mulready, Legal Director for Disability Rights Rhode Island. “Students with disabilities have individualized education plans to ensure they have the supports they need to maximize educational progress, and school districts must take all necessary steps to ensure that ongoing progress, even during a pandemic.”


“This guidance makes it clear to both parents and school districts that school districts must now provide in-person services, either themselves or by contracting with outside providers, for those students who require in-person services to learn,” said Ellen Saideman.  


“This welcome guidance helps districts and families support students by providing a framework for individualized determinations, ensuring communication between parents and districts and establishing timelines for determinations and compliance updates to RIDE,” added Christine Marinello.

Rhode Island News as of 07/22/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Parents and teachers are concerned about students going back to classrooms full-time.  An updated parentage law is signed by the Rhode Island governor.  The Red Sox start the regular season in two days.
>>Parents, Teachers Express Concerns About Full In-Classroom Return
(Providence, RI)  --  The state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education heard from parents and teachers on Tuesday who had concerns about students returning full-time to classrooms this fall.  The concern is the same that school districts themselves have: the coronavirus pandemic.  School districts were required to submit their re-opening plans last week and will post them online after getting feedback from the RI Department of Education at the end of this month.  RIDE said last night that the state health department will determine an opening scenario on August 17th.
>>Updated Parentage Law Signed
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Rhode Island Parentage Act into law on Tuesday. The bill is aimed at removing obstacles to legal parenthood for LGBTQ people.  The legislation replaces a previous, decades-old parentage law that the sponsors of the new one said was outdated.  According to the General Assembly, the bill provides the following paths for legal parentage in Rhode Island: birth, adoption, acknowledgment, adjudication, genetics, assisted reproduction, surrogacy, de facto parentage and presumptions.
>>House Creates Nursing Home Commission; Minimum Staffing Legislation Splits
(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island House last week passed a resolution to create a commission studying nursing homes, which have been in the spotlight this year because of the coronavirus.  The commission would look at, among other things, staffing levels, employee recruitment and retention, and the financial condition of the facilities.  Legislation requiring minimum staffing was passed by the Senate but not the House last week after nursing home officials testified that such a bill could help to put many of the homes out of business.
>>Red Sox Opener Friday; McCoy Stadium In Use
(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Red Sox are two days away from hosting their 2020 season opener at home against the Baltimore Orioles.  The start of the regular season has been delayed nearly four months because of COVID.  The Sox lost the first of two exhibition games against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday at Fenway Park, 8-to-6; the two teams play again at Fenway tonight.  Meanwhile, the BoSox "taxi squad" went to work at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket this past weekend.
>>Legal Agreement Reached To Drop DEM Visitor Center Project
(Undated)  --  An update on a controversial Department of Environmental Protection project in South County.  The Westerly Sun reports the DEM agreed to end its effort to build the Arcadia Natural Resources and Visitors Center on Browning Mill Pond on the Exeter-Richmond border, in a legal agreement earlier this month that will see the towns dismiss their lawsuits against the state in exchange.  The towns sued after the DEM planned the project for several years before the towns learned about it in 2017, and then the DEM refused to stop progress or make changes despite resident concerns.  The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the DEM had to get local approval.
>>Company Accused Of Trying To Illegally Send Products To China
(Providence, RI)  --  Charges are being brought in federal court in Rhode Island against a company accused of scheming to illegally export products to China.  The U.S. Justice Department says Broad Tech System Inc., based in Ontario, California, its president and an employee conspired to order two chemicals essential in the chip-manufacturing process from a Rhode Island-based manufacturer, then provided false information to get the products shipped.  The alleged intended recipient, NEDI Tech, is on a U.S. government list of businesses prohibited from receiving U.S.-manufactured products because it's believed they're being procured for unauthorized military use.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI) CA)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-22-2020 00:03:05

Your Coronavirus Update - Today - July 21,2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today – July 21, 2020

July 21, 2020/RINewsToday




President Trump announces he will resume his daily presidential briefings on Coronavirus at 5pm daily. Press Secretary’s briefing will continue daily at 11am.


The Marriott-owned W Hotel in lower Manhattan has permanently closed.


The Bahamas has closed its borders to most international visitors, including those from the US, citing a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.


Oxford University’s vaccine study is showing great response and the UK has ordered 100 million doses (


Colombian cartels are executing people who break coronavirus lockdown.


President Trump said a payroll tax cut is very important to put through.

In New York, some cultural venues, such as zoos and botanical gardens, can open for outdoor activities at 33 percent of the venues’ total capacity. Four city zoos and the New York Botanical Garden have announced they will open to the public by the end of the month, while the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will open to the general public in early August. Still no indoor dining – and gyms, malls, movie theaters and museums remain closed.


Chinese officials declare a “Wartime State” to control spread of virus in Xinjiang capital city. (


Florida passed 5,000 deaths from coronavirus today.


University of Massachusetts freezes tuition rates for in-state students for academic year


The intensive care unit at Afghanistan’s capital city premier hospital for COVID-19 patients has family members, without protective equipment and only a few wearing face masks, helping to care for their patients due to lack of nurses and medical staff. Next-of-kin often guard their loved one’s oxygen tank, fearing it could be stolen because there is a shortage of supplies.


Southern supermarket chain Winn-Dixie will not require face masks in its roughly 500 stores, saying it doesn’t want to “put [its] associates in a position to navigate interpersonal conflict.”


Maine office of tourism issues guidelines for “when you’re ready to explore Maine again, we’re ready to welcome you back” – Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York or New Jersey, can travel to Maine without restrictions. For everyone else, to visit safely, you need to complete this Certificate of Compliance indicating you’ve either received a negative COVID-19 test or agree to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival (or the length of your visit, if less).


Lemonade stand gone caput? The smallest of small businesses missing out on economic help? Not on our watch. Introducing #CountryTimeBailout, relief checks for lemonade stands. Apply for a relief check today.




RI Data:


Deaths: 1 (3 the day before)


Governor’s address on Wednesday at 1pm.


Bristol, RI concert series canceled


Regular testing conducted by the Block Island Sewer Company for the presence of the coronavirus produced a positive result from a sample taken on July 5. The council and Interim Manager Jim Kern stressed that the science behind the testing was not yet exact.


ACI: 8 women inmates were identified as positive at the ACI – but the tests were inaccurate and they are not positive.


Mask use in the U.S.: high in the Northeast and the West, and lower in the Plains and parts of the South of the US, according to the New York Times.


Twin River to reopen sportsbooks, restaurants on limited basis in both R.I. casinos


Georgia’s Family Restaurant Central Falls violated the state Health Dept. rules, the owner wasn’t wearing a face covering — and refused to, saying he didn’t think it was mandatory, according to the Department of Health. He also said “he was too busy to listen to the inspector,”


The medical office of Daniel Hochberger, at 400 Pawtucket Ave. in Rumford, didn’t think it had to follow the COVID re-opening guidelines at all, because it was never closed during the pandemic.


A state inspector found problems at the medical office of Anthony Farina Jr., at 1830 Mineral Spring Ave. in North Providence. Of five employees, one wasn’t wearing a face covering, and three weren’t wearing them properly. Once they realized an inspector was there, they put on the coverings correctly, the immediate compliance order said. There were other violations.


Gina Raimondo said on Monday that she favors a call for students to return to in-person learning full time.




Films while on your boat on the Seine… c’est magnifique!


TODAY: COVID-19 and Developmental Disabilities Forum

TODAY: COVID-19 and Developmental Disabilities Forum

July 21, 2020/RINewsToday


By Gina Macris, Developmental Disabilities News, contributing writer


Rhode Island’s developmental disabilities community will have a chance to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on services for adults who are intellectually or developmentally challenged during an online forum hosted by the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI) July 21.


The hour-long session, to be facilitated by Tina Spears, executive director of CPNRI, is designed as “an open conversation,” enabling participants to voice concerns and ask questions about what lies ahead for Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities, according to an emailed invitation.


“We want to ensure everyone understands the current state of the system,” CPNRI organizers said. They also said they want to provide a forum for discussing “actions we can take to ensure the stability of our services moving forward,”



The on-line session, with a closed captioning option, will be Tuesday, July 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required, as the on-line platform can accommodate no more than 100 participants. If the demand exceeds capacity, CPNRI said, it will host a second forum later in the summer to ensure that all interested participants are accommodated. To pre-register, please click on this link.



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. 

Parent/teachers left out of COVID-19 back-to-school decision making?

Parents/teachers left out of COVID-19 back-to-school decision making?

July 21, 2020/Richard Asinof


By Richard Asinof,, contributing writer


An outbreak of anger by parents and teachers, many who claim they have been left out of decision-making around plans for schools to re-open for in-person learning, threatens to disrupt the narrative that Gov. Gina Raimondo and her communications team have promoted to the national press about the excellent job they’ve done so far in responding to the coronavirus threat


The Chiefs for Change commanders in charge of education policy in Rhode Island, state Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters, are now confronting their biggest challenge to date: how best to reopen public schools in Rhode Island and in Providence for in-person learning this fall, in the midst of a deadly pandemic.


But an apparent lack of clarity by state education officials about policies around masks, testing protocols and transportation to and from schools has stunned many teachers and parents alike, creating a growing crisis of confidence, with doubts being expressed by many who had previously voiced cautious optimism about reform efforts underway for the past year to transform the state’s educational system.


Much of the confusion apparently rests with Governor herself, according to reporting by Steph Machado of WPRI in a Friday, July 17 story, which found that Raimondo’s June 10 pronouncement about her desire to bring students back fully in person in the fall took many superintendents by surprise, such as North Providence Superintendent Joseph Goho, who had been preparing a hybrid return model, mixing both distance learning and in-person learning for the fall. The Governor’s statement had contradicted previous advice from the Rhode Island Department of Education.

Many parents are irate about not having their voices heard. “We’ve been asking questions about testing capacity,” a frustrated mother and a father who are active in a local education community design team told ConvergenceRI, saying that they were doing a “slow boil” about not being able to get any answers. “We’ve been asking why testing for teachers is not mentioned in the re-opening plans for the schools. Not once. That’s a problem.”


A top local teachers’ union official was even more scathing in her assessment of the current deficiencies in state plans, following a Zoom meeting with state officials. “We DID learn that masks were not required in ‘stable groups’ for students, and we cannot mandate masks nor can we consequence students for not wearing masks in class,” she wrote in a memo to her membership. “We learned that the health and safety of our children and our membership is dependent upon the cleaning ability of the organization that couldn’t even keep up with reasonable dinginess.”


Despite the recent promise by Gov. Gina Raimondo that her team will “continue to put public health first and to rely on facts and science in making the best decisions,” findings from the most recent large-scale study suggest that if and when schools reopen, “communities will see clusters of infection by the virus take root in children of all ages.” Those were the findings of a new study conducted in South Korea, as reported by Apoorva Mandavilli in The New York Times on Saturday, July 18.


The study found an 18.6 percent infection rate of household contacts of 10-19 year olds, versus 5 percent of kids aged 0-9, with an 11 percent overall rate of transmission of the virus.


Translated, the reopening of schools in Rhode Island could easily devolve into a “deadly experiment” – unless proper public health precautions are taken. But what are those measures and who will be tasked with enforcing them?


Dr. Ashish Jha, the incoming dean at the School of Public Health at Brown University, was quoted in the newspaper story as praising the South Korean study, saying it “is very carefully done, it’s systematic and looks at a very large population. It’s one of the best studies we’ve had to date on this issue.”


Dr. Megan Ranney, an outspoken emergency room doc, also praised the Times story, tweeting that the findings do not change the public health solutions: “1. Masking of all, always; 2. Ample random testing of asymptomatic teachers and students; [and] 3. Prep for distance learning – inevitable as Covid-19 rates rise.”


The question is: Why aren’t Drs. Jha and Ranney being included as public health experts as part of the planning efforts for reopening schools in Rhode Island? Who has more credibility: the highly paid, hired-gun experts from Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey, or the public health experts such as Drs. Jha and Ranney?

Further, Rhode Island’s apparent capability to manage the coronavirus pandemic in the state to date may be jeopardized by the major resurgence now occurring in other parts of the country, in places such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia, according to three public health researchers interviewed by The Providence Journal.


For example, the Rhode Island Health Care Association, a nursing home advocacy group, reported that six workers in a local nursing home found out that they tested positive for the coronavirus – seven days after being tested, while they continued to work, a delay blamed on the increased demand for testing nationwide.

Assuming that kids go back to in-person schooling, as one local pediatrician posed the question to ConvergenceRI, “What happens when the inevitable outbreak happens? Does the whole school go home for a month? Do parents [that are] back to work need to stay home again? How do you re-enter the school again safely without testing 1,700 kids at the high school plus every teacher and janitor?”


Standard labs are all overwhelmed with testing, the pediatrician continued, saying that the previous week, she had sent out 37 COVID-19 tests to labs for results and had gotten only 24 back, after a week. “One positive result came in – for a 30-year-old,” the pediatrician said. “That is a lifetime of contacts.”


Warning signs
Warning signs about the total lack of planning first appeared a month ago, when, on June 23, Infante-Green and Peters had released the long-awaited Turnaround Action Plan for the Providence Public Schools, a 69-page document, “Turning Hope Into Results,” that did not include even a single paragraph discussing how the coronavirus pandemic would influence the new action plan. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Churning hope.”]


In the last week, there has been a frenetic scramble of activities to patch together parent and teacher buy-in for a full in-person reopening strategy – including a boisterous Zoom meeting held on Wednesday, July 15, for parents with some 900 participants, a subsequent tightly controlled Zoom meeting with teachers, and a flurry of proposals prepared by school districts to meet the Friday, July 17, deadline to submit their plans for reopening schools for in-person learning to the Rhode Island Department of Education. [No final decisions on the plans are expected to be announced for at least two weeks, the first week of August, according to state officials.]

There was even a joint statement issued by Infante-Green, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the R.I. Department of Health, and Gov. Gina Raimondo, attempting to calm the roiling waters and to reassure Rhode Islanders that the process of re-opening schools was firmly under control.

“Every step of the way, our state’s response to COVID-19 has been driven by science,” Gov. Gina Raimondo, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott and Infante-Green claimed in a joint statement issued on Friday, July 17. “As we look toward reopening schools, we will continue to put public health first and to rely on facts and science in making the best decisions for the mental, physical, and intellectual needs of our students.”

Many parents and teachers, however, are not buying it. They have been vociferous in their complaints about being left out of the decision-making. Many are not thrilled about the prospects of sending kids back into the classroom in these uncertain, risky times, given the exponential rise in coronavirus cases in other parts of the country.


At the same time, parents who spoke with ConvergenceRI acknowledged that the prospects of delaying in-person education and relying instead on distance learning would place great stress on students and parents alike, with the heaviest burden falling upon high-risk populations in urban core schools.


Translated, the future of education in Rhode Island under the leadership of Infante-Green and Peters [and Raimondo] does not appear to be very bright. Parents and teachers are unhappy about being asked to make difficult, life-and-death decisions about their children, without public health safeguards in place around masks, testing and transportation.


And, judging from the angry reaction of parents and teachers, there has been a clear vote of “no confidence” to the current proposed plans. Whatever happens may prove to be a “ deadly experiment,” as one couple with a seven-year-old daughter put it – one that promises to put children’s lives at great risk.


License to kill?
In a tweet on Friday, June 17, Maya Chavez, a civics teacher in Providence, did not mince her words: “The current plan to reopen Providence schools WILL KILL PEOPLE.”


Parents are angry and worried: Cortney Nicolato, the president and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island, who was just appointed by the Governor to be a member of the University of Rhode Island board of trustees – and who is also a working mom with children in public schools, tweeted on Friday evening, July 17: “While I truly appreciate all the hard work that is going into planning school re-openings in such an uncertain time, parent feedback and participation should be part of the planning BEFORE plans are submitted to @RIHEALTH and @RIDeptEd, not after.”


Maribeth K. Calabro, president of the Providence Teachers Union, in a message to her membership, began by saying she did not know how to title her memo: “Haphazard Friday, Harried Friday, Frenzied Friday, [or] Freak-out Friday.”


Calabro wrote: “It is mid-July, plans are being made by human beings trying to control an out-of-control situation. They think they have thought of everything; they haven’t.”


She continued: “They could have plan A-Z and AA-ZZ contingencies, but the reality is every single plan that is made is based on the false assumption that you are planning for an event that is within their power to control.”

Calabro said further: “Reality and science tell us differently. Reality and science tell us that this is a virus, a virus that could give a rat’s ass about this plan, or any plan for that matter. A virus that has already changed, and mutated. A virus that presents differently.”

Calabro challenged what she perceives as the lack of planning by state education officials. “So, while everyone is all up in arms about the brick-and-mortar return, I would be more up in arms about the fact that we have seen hide nor hair of a Virtual Learning plan-full implementation plan. Because, at the end of the day, the truth is, based on the behaviors of thousands of other people in this state and visiting this state, if we continue to spike and get to a place like Florida or Texas, we will not be going back to school and there is NO plan for that!”


Tyranny of the urgent
Call it the tyranny of the urgent. So much of our news reporting seems to get caught up in covering the obvious, the urgent and the absurd. Did the Republican Governor of Georgia really sue the Democratic Mayor of Atlanta to prevent her from instituting an order mandating the wearing of masks?

Here in Rhode Island, one of the strongest undercurrents, not necessarily being reported by the news media, is the palpable concern being voiced by parents about plans to reopen schools.

Last week ConvergenceRI met, talked and listened to four professionals, all executives, all women, all mothers, all with school-age children, who, in the midst of other topics of conversation, unsolicited, expressed strong concerns about the lack of preparation for the coming school year and the uncertainties they faced as parents about what to do.


The voice of the parents, it seemed to ConvergenceRI, has been missing from the conversation – they all complained about not yet having had a seat at the table in the decision-making.

All lamented the lack of a coordinated federal plan for school re-openings under President Donald Trump, with the burden falling on state and local officials. The President’s press secretary, in her artful way of “telling the truth” under the current regime, said: “Science should not stand in the way” of schools reopening. To quote WPRO’s Steve Klamkin, “Really?”

What the four top-level professionals – in health care, in education, in philanthropy, and in social services – shared was a need to bring in public health expertise to help prepare guidance. One of the key bugaboos, it seems, is around transportation: how do children get to and from schools, and what happens to after-school activities?

Finally, the pediatrician who had complained to ConvergenceRI about the growing lag in testing results, making it difficult to contain the spread of the coronavirus, offered a prediction that no one seemed to be talking about yet: “Watch for the December baby boom,” she said. “They will need bunk beds for the moms delivering.”


Efforts to combat teen pregnancy “are most certainly in the toilet again,” she said.


Full story:,5879


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.

Rhode Island News as of 07/21/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: It doesn't sound like all Rhode Island school districts want to do full in-person learning to start the school year.  Efforts to curb illegal parking at Rhode Island coastal beaches were undertaken this past weekend.  New medical marijuana regulations are in the works.
>>Group Of School Districts Prefers Hybrid Learning In Fall
(Undated)  --  Some Rhode Island public school districts are telling the state they want to do both in-person and remote learning for the fall.  The RI Department of Education asked for draft plans last week that included options for full in-person learning, but the districts say it's just not going to be possible because of issues like social distancing in the schools and reduced capacity on school buses.  Governor Gina Raimondo has said she wanted students to return to full-time, in-person learning at the end of August.  There's a group of nine districts in the state who are sharing a hybrid model proposal.
>>DEM Spokesperson Calls Beach Weekend 'Successful'
(Undated)  --  There was a crackdown this past weekend on illegal parking in beach areas of Rhode Island coastal towns.  Following the governor's announcement that parking at Misquamicut and Scarborough state beaches would be reduced to 25 percent in an effort to shrink crowds, the Department of Environmental Management on Friday announced a coordinated traffic enforcement effort with Charlestown, Narragansett, South Kingstown and Westerly.  In a statement to WJAR-TV, a spokesperson for the DEM said the effort, which included enhanced fines, helped to make the weekend as successful as possible.
>>First Heat Wave Of 2020 Declared In Providence
(Providence, RI)  --  The National Weather Service says Providence officially has had its first heat wave of the summer.  The last time Providence had a heat wave, defined as at least three straight days of 90 degrees or hotter, was the last four days of July 2019, according to the weather service.  The high temperature for the city is forecasted at around 90 today, so it could be a fourth heat wave day before high temps dip into the 80s for the rest of the week.
>>New Virus Test Site In RI Convention Center Parking Garage
(Providence, RI)  --  A new coronavirus-testing site is opening today at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.  The state says the drive-up testing site in the convention center parking garage will replace the current one at Rhode Island College; also, the testing site at the Community College of Rhode Island is also being phased out soon.  The convention center testing site, like the two college sites, will be for symptomatic people and certain asymptomatic individuals.  Tests can be scheduled by visiting
>>Second Teen Charged In Providence Murder
(Providence, RI)  --  Aliah Trinidad, a 14-year-old Providence girl who was reported missing, has been found safe.  The Providence Police Department made that announcement Monday and also said a 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection a Providence murder on July 1st.  Authorities declined to name the charged 14-year-old, but previously they said Trinidad may have been with Felix Hernandez-Rosado while he was wanted in connection to the fatal shooting.
>>Health Department Announces Licensed Medical Marijuana Testing And Sampling Lab
(Warwick, RI)  --  Medical marijuana in Rhode Island will be required to have potency totals verified by a licensed lab in the future.  The RI Health Department says to date, products have either been tested by cultivators/dispensaries or by private, unlicensed labs.  The health department has licensed Green Peaks Analytical out of Warwick as the state's first licensed marijuana sampling and testing laboratory.  The state will work to have future certification include testing for contaminants.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc.
07-21-2020 00:04:10

Support and Challenge to Make Change

Support and Challenge to Make Change

July 20, 2020/Mary OSullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.” – Frances Hesselbein


Frances Hesselbein, the former CEO of the Girl Scouts, USA, became one of the most renowned leaders of recent times. She believed that above all, people craved respect. And in order to show proper respect, a leader had to live her/his values. One important element Frances learned throughout her career was to ask the right questions to clarify people’s thoughts and actions to ensure they were headed in the right direction. Frances was a true change management leader. But how do we develop leaders who understand basic skills well enough to “coach” people into making change?


Though the years, I’ve acquired a framework that accomplishes turning leaders into change management agents called the Four-Square Framework. It’s a coaching modality aimed at leaders, to help them guide people through the process of change; changing organizations, changing attitudes and changing themselves. The Four-Square Framework is based on the work of Dr. Robert Hicks, the Director, Organizational Behavior and Executive Coaching at the University of Texas at Dallas.


The Four-Square Framework incorporates the work of many well-known psychologists and leadership theorists who promoted the methods of self-inquiry, self-actualization and self-awareness. These concepts became easily adapted by today’s leadership development experts. They quickly realized that by using simple, but powerful questions, changing organizations became less of a struggle.


So how do you get people to change and like it at the same time? The idea is to develop people’s confidence in the leader and get them to take action in the direction that you need to the organization to go. For instance, public health. If leaders are modeling behavior that they wish people to follow, it brings more confidence to the change that is needed. If we want people to stop smoking, role models, athletes, TV personalities and other celebrities were not shown smoking. For many years, cigarette smoking was not shown on TV or in the movies. Only in recent years did we discover that Jacqueline Kennedy was a smoker. If we want people to wear seat belts, we gain credibility by leaders who take the reins and model that behavior. By building confidence among the public, radical change was possible.


The Four-Square framework has two major principles: Support and Challenge. And, addresses the two ways people are most likely to embrace change: Thought and Action. Leaders support the action they want others to take in many ways: effective communication, modeling, reinforcement and reward. (You’ll get ticketed driving without a seat belt and will be banned from public places with a lit tobacco product. Leaders drive the change by helping people figure out that the change is good and is necessary. The tricky part is the challenge. For people to be challenged, their basic mindset must be put in question.


In our current pandemic climate, mixed messages are coming from the very top leaders. If we want to slow down the virus, a behavioral change (wearing a mask) is needed, but some leaders just don’t take it seriously. Where is the support for the idea or thought of making this needed change? What we are left with is a very confused public, some making the changes, some not. Those people that feel supported by their state and local leaders will change their behavior and wear a mask. But how do we deal with the challenge? What happens when we challenge the mindset of not wearing a mask? Maybe these folks need a bigger incentive or reinforcement. Like cigarette smoking and seat belt wearing, there are consequences for not wearing a mask during a pandemic – people will get sick and die. Somehow that message has failed to resonate with a large part of the population and many leaders. The reason, there has been no challenge for thought. The mindset has not been questioned. And the idea or thought of the need for masks has not been supported in the usual ways. Top leadership has not effectively demonstrated widespread positive communication, modeling, reinforcement and reward.


Questions need to be asked in order to make the public’s behavior change, from dangerous to safe. Questions like:


 “What would happen to us if we don’t act proactively?”


“Who is most protected by wearing a mask?”


“What specifically is your objection?”


“What would it be like for you if we all wore masks for the next eight weeks?


“Where would you place yourself on a scale of 1-10 for complying with public safety rules?


“What is the health status of people who regularly wear masks in public?”


“How will the health consequences of not wearing a mask be measured?’


Without this framework of inquiry, change in the public’s mindset and behavior is unlikely.  The status quo is no longer working. We can’t be comfortable doing things the same way we’ve done them for years. Whether we decide to make public health our top priority, the virus proliferates. It’s not going away. Let’s begin to support and challenge our thoughts and actions. Let’s take the Four-Square Framework model developed by Dr. Hicks to heart and put ourselves through the proven process of change theory: Change your mind, change your actions. As Charles Darwin has said, “It is not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”


Connect with Mary:

Mary T. O’Sullivan


Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to higher levels of performance, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth. 


Mary has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. In addition, she is also an International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, a Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional and has a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching, from the University of Texas at Dallas. 


In her leadership and executive coaching, she focuses on improving the executive behaviors that slow down performance and lead to growth, such as soft skills, communication, micro-bias awareness, etc. She has successfully helped other professionals, such as attorneys, surgeons, pharmacists, and university professors, make career decisions to lead to success in their chosen careers.  In addition, small business owners have sought Mary’s services to bring their companies into greater alignment, working on their culture, vision, mission, values and goals as well as organizational structure. Mary’s executive coaching has been mainly with large organizations among them: Toray Plastics America, Hasbro, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin, CVS Healthcare, Sensata Technologies, Citizen’s Bank, Ameriprise, BD Medical Devices, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, (Newport, R.I.), General Dynamics, University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island, etc.


Mary has facilitated numerous workshops on various topics in leadership such as, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, effective communication, leading in adversity, etc. She has also written extensively on similar topics.


Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from the Society of Human Resources Development. Mary is also an ICF certified Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, and a Certified Emotional Intelligence assessor and practitioner.


In addition, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education with Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, State University of New York at Oswego and Syracuse University.  She is also a member Beta Gamma Sigma and the International Honor Society.


Mary dedicates herself to coaching good leaders to get even better through positive approaches to behavior change for performance improvement.

Networking Pick of the Week: Virtual Venture Cafe

Networking Pick of the Week: Virtual Venture Cafe

July 20, 2020/RINewsToday


Virtual Venture Cafe: Re-opening RI: Phase 3 Review will be held on Thursday, July 23rd from 10am to 1pm.


As Rhode Island moves into phase three of recovery and re-opening, what does it mean for the state’s most impacted industries?


Join Venture Café Providence as they celebrate our phase three milestone and learn from leaders in the restaurant, tourism, and education industries about how the shutdowns have affected them, and how they’re approaching re-opening in Rhode Island!



Rhode Island News as of 07/20/20 of 5:40am

24/7 News Source 07/20/2020 00:22:41
Rhode Island Summary AM

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The state health department reports over a hundred false positive coronavirus tests.  An update on the reported dog attack that killed an infant in East Providence.  Rhode Island's Congressional delegation reacts to the death of John Lewis.

>>Heat Advisory For Northern Half Of State Today

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service has a Heat Advisory in effect for today for the northern half of Rhode Island.  Heat index values are predicted to be as high as 104 degrees today, according to the weather service.  For the state's southern half, the state Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality alert from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

>>Health Department Reports False-Positive COVID-19 Tests

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health says it has been made aware by a private laboratory of over one-hundred false-positive COVID-19 tests for Rhode Island residents.  RIDOH says the lab is a partner of East Side Clinical Laboratory, and that the one-hundred-13 tests were not run at the health department's labs.  Officials are reaching out to the affected individuals.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Police Investigating Dog Attack That Killed Infant In East Providence

(East Providence, RI)  --  Police have not identified the one-year-old girl who was reportedly killed in a vicious dog attack last week in East Providence.  However, multiple media reports indicate a GoFundMe that was created identifies the infant as Scarlett, the daughter of Manny and Brianne Pereira.  The family dog, described as a pit bull-type breed, reportedly attacked the child unprovoked at her grandparents' home on Thursday.  Authorities are investigating the incident.

>>Providence City Council Member Reports Vandalism At Home

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence City Council member John Igliozzi [[ igg-lee-OH-zee ]] claims he and his family were targeted by "acts of intimidation and violence" this weekend.  The apparent message was a demand that he defund and abolish the Providence Police Department.  In addition to graffiti messages, Igliozzi says someone put spikes in the tires of vehicles belonging to him and his son.  He says the spikes could have caused serious bodily harm or worse.  Igliozzi says in a statement he supports the repeal of the state's Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and notes the recent work the City Council has done to create a social service crisis intervention unit in the city to replace police on some service calls.

>>RI Congressional Delegation Reacts To Death Of John Lewis

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island's Congressional delegation reacts to the death of Representative John Lewis.  Senator Jack Reed said Lewis was one of the key activists at the heart of many of the defining moments of the Civil Rights movement.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said, "We have lost a giant of our time".  Representative David Cicilline said Lewis was the "conscience of the Congress".  House colleague Jim Langevin said it was an honor and privilege to serve with him.  Lewis died on Friday.

>>New Slave Medallion Marker To Be Installed In Newport

(Newport, RI)  --  Rhode Island Slave History Medallions, a program that marks historic sites connected to the history of slavery in the state, is celebrating a new marker this week.  The Newport Daily News reports the non-profit will install a medallion on Bowen's Wharf in Newport on Thursday at 11 a.m.  The medallion will be placed on a historic building in the wharf area that dates back to a time when Newport was a major hub of the slave trade in North America in the 18th century.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-20-2020 00:24:06

Next-Gen Mask Challenge!

Next-Gen Mask Challenge!

July 19, 2020/RINewsToday


The Eight-Month Contest Will Invite Young Innovators Ages 15-24 to Rethink and Redesign Surgical-Grade Protective Masks, to Create an Effective and Accessible Solution that Overcomes Common Barriers for Use 


XPRIZE, a nonprofit organization that uses global competitions to crowdsource solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, is pleased to announce the launch of their Next-Gen Mask Challenge. The contest is sponsored by Marc Benioff and Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money on CNBC. The eight-month challenge, which is open to young adults from around the world ages 15 to 24, will invite future innovators to shift cultural perspective around mask-wearing behavior by developing the next generation of surgical-grade consumer face masks. In the end, a grand prize winner plus two additional teams will be selected by a panel of judges and industry experts. The three teams will split a one-million-dollar prize purse and will be connected to rapid manufacturing opportunities in the US to accelerate the production of their reimagined facial masks.   


Recognizing that currently one-third of the US population doesn’t regularly wear a mask, despite evidence showing that when used properly they can significantly reduce transmission of some respiratory viruses, XPRIZE seeks to fight the pandemic through empowering and facilitating innovation that encourages positive mask-wearing behavior. To ensure the competition is designed for maximum impact, XPRIZE surveyed individuals worldwide who indicated their top barriers to regular mask use, those included:


fogging of glasses

get too hot

are uncomfortable

cause breathing difficulties

make conversations challenging

can’t exercise while wearing

cause pain or don’t fit properly

block facial expressions

can’t eat or drink

aren’t eco-friendly

are ugly or boring, and

are difficult to acquire


“Currently, we are experiencing a crisis within a crisis,” said Peter Diamandis, the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation. “Studies show that masks are effective in slowing and preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet even as cases surge a large number of individuals are still not adopting the preventive measure. We understand that masks can be ill-fitting, uncomfortable, unfashionable and that the most effective masks are often unavailable or expensive for everyday people. We need an alternative, that’s why XPRIZE is turning to the world’s young innovators to help reinvent the face mask and create an accessible alternative that will help protect against the spread of COVID-19.”


All masks must allow for scaled manufacturing and will be evaluated by the XPRIZE team, industry experts, and a panel of cultural ambassadors, on the following three key criteria:


  • Must achieve filtration efficacy on par with a surgical mask.
  • Must address at least five of the 10 top reasons people do not wear masks, as determined by the Next-Gen Mask Challenge Survey.
  • X-Factor of style that will promote positive mask-wearing behavior.


“The COVID-19 crisis is one of the most critical challenges that the world has seen,” said Emily Church, XPRIZE’s executive director of equity and education. “As a global leader, we believe that effectively fighting the pandemic will take collaboration and innovative thinking at an extraordinary scale. We know that wearing a mask greatly minimizes your risk, but for many, traditional options simply don’t fit into their lifestyle. This fact, coupled with the estimation that for every confirmed case there are countless asymptomatic carriers who might be unaware, made it critical to launch this challenge.  We know that when empowered and supported, young adults will rise to the challenge and are excited to see these innovations come to life.”


XPRIZE’s Next-Gen Mask Challenge kicked off this week. Competing teams will need to submit final design and supporting materials to XPRIZE by 06:59pm UTC on October 22, 2020.  Winners will be announced in February of 2021 and additional details can be found here.


The XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance, powered by the XPRIZE Data Collaborative, is a global coalition that combines the power of collaboration, competition, innovation, and radical thinking to accelerate solutions that can be applied to COVID-19 and future pandemics. For information about the XPRIZE Pandemic Alliance and to join the fight, please visit


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20 Million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $10 Million Rainforest XPRIZE, the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $5 Million IBM Watson AI XPRIZE and the $5 Million XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling. For more information, visit

Play ball! RI Softball leagues start play

Play ball! RI Softball leagues start play

July 18, 2020/John Cardullo


The Rhode Island Softball leagues are starting up with new rules and restrictions in place to protect the players, officials and spectators that is changing the old game as we know—for now.


Usually by the middle of July marks the halfway point for the state’s softball season. During normal times in years past, the men’s, women’s and youth softball season would be in the middle of their respective State Championship tournaments. But this year, the 2020 season is more like the game, Jumanji! – everything is inside out and upside down.  


Freedom softball director Bob Berard said, “we didn’t think that we would even get to play this season. But as the different phases went by, we started to prepare for a season that may not happen, but we were all holding out hope, and holding our breath.” Slowly it became clear that the state was being cautious with each phase not to ignite the virus again where they would have to shut everything down and start the process of reopening again. Berard went on to say, ‘if the shutdown lasted even a week longer, it was very doubtful that we would even have attempted a season. But we lucked out and were given a green light to start, but we had to come up with a plan to instill protocols for the safety of the players, officials and spectators.”



Every sports organization was given the same directive, in order to play you have to follow the rules the state had put in place to the letter. If you cannot comply, the rules said, you and your organization will be shut down. So, summer sports were alive again. Different, but alive. If you come to a game as a spectator in Warwick, you are required to social distance yourself at least 6 feet apart from the other spectators. The teams when in the dugout must try and do the same. “Teams purchased their own game balls, and each team rotates their own balls into the game, minimizing the number of different players  handling them; masks are not required in the confines of the playing area and the traditional after game handshake will not be allowed.” Berard said. “The umpires no longer are in control of the game balls; they do not touch the ball or the bats. Minimalization or common touch we hope will keep the risk low.” Acknowledging that playing a game with a common piece of equipment that is handled on every play by multiple people can only help so much. “We encourage a rotation on sterilization of the balls and bats when not in play or use.”


For the players on the teams, they are simply happy to get out and play softball and the prospect of having no season in 2020 was sad and depressing. “When we received the word that we were going to be allowed to play, we were like kids busting out of school on the last day of the year,” said longtime coach of the Twin Oaks team, Mike Regine. He went on to add, “for the players on the teams, softball is a big part of our social setting; being part of a team, playing against guys that started out as opponents but along the way became friends and friendly rivals, we needed this season to start, with all that has happened this year. We all needed this!”


Some of the early season issues are currently being dealt with. “Teams cannot hang around the fields any longer after the game,” Berard said. “Tournaments are off the table for now, but we are trying to figure out how we can make it work and instead of having a summer season and a fall season, this year we are just going to have a single season. As for the players’ reaction, they are simply happy that they are having a season at all, and are adjusting to the new rules that have been put into place”. For the most part the season has had smooth sailing thanks to a big part of the softball community coming together and rowing in the same direction and proving that where there is a will, there’s a way!

The Wayfinder Hotel - Boutique hotel opens in Newport

The Wayfinder Hotel – Boutique hotel opens in Newport

July 18, 2020/RINewsToday


The Wayfinder is a boutique hotel developed by Dovetail + Co. founder Phil Hospod (formerly with Sydell Group), who brought together a group of local chefs, bartenders, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs to create a hotel that redefined the ‘typical’ Newport experience. Compared to Newport’s traditional historic inns and B&Bs, The Wayfinder represents a new “creative class” with a fresh, more relaxed and free-spirited energy, more approachable price point and contemporary design and guest amenities. 


Highlights include: 


  • Food & Beverage: The Wayfinder partnered with Newport’s family-run, locally renowned Mission Group to lead the hotel’s culinary program, including a full-service restaurant, solarium bar, coffee shop, pool service, and reimagined room service menu. The hotel signature restaurant, Nomi Park, serves familiar New England classics with a crave-able twist, including a Nomi Park Burger with caramelized onions and Manchego, Johnnycakes, poutine and New England Lobster Roll w/ preserved lemon, fried shallot and trout roe. 
  • Amenities: Luxurious, in-room bath amenities from Newport’s Shore Soap Co., and an on-site retail shop from local boutique, Bohemian Bias.
  • Art: The Wayfinder features 1,000+ pieces of artwork throughout the property, all sourced from local artists. 
  • On-Site Experiences: To further connect guests with the destination, The Wayfinder offers new ways to experience Newport and the surrounding area, including an Oyster Road Trip with a farm tour, sailing excursions, and Polo lessons.


The hotel also offered it’s COVID-19 Safety Plan:


Under the guidance of hospitality management company Charlestowne Hotels, The Wayfinder Hotel has already made significant operational shifts to their guest experience in an effort to help guests feel safe as they begin their first summer getaways. These tactics include:


  • Check-In: Skip the lobby – curbside check-in service and keyless guestroom entry.
  • Dining:
  • The Wayfinder has teamed up with Mission Group, a notable Newport restaurant group, for their Nomi Park restaurant, and will open the restaurant with limited seating in an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • To provide guests with even more flexibility on where they’d like to dine, The Wayfinder will also offer bagged/boxed options for beach trips and picnics at the Miantonomi Memorial Park next door and a larger menu of in-room dining options. (The hotel’s spacious rooms were designed with families and groups in mind, with plenty of space for gathering around a meal.)
  • Weddings: 
  • As coronavirus has inevitably forced couples to alter wedding plans for the foreseeable future, The Wayfinder created a selection of exclusive “private” wedding offers, including an intimate sailboat ride with a ceremony led by a boat captain followed by a lobster bake for up to six guests – allowing couples the chance to wed in a beautiful setting with a personalized ceremony – sans crowds. 
  • The hotel is also offering couples who had a wedding block reserved in 2020 to transition it to a smaller group block for a friend or family getaway. 
  • Additional Considerations: With its location outside the busiest Newport corridors, with ample parking, multiple guest room entries, and nearby outdoor green space, The Wayfinder is well poised to provide guests with a comfortable Newport vacation in the face of recent events.


Enjoy the walk-through! Click below:


Testing Labs: Suppliers are limited. We Can't go faster if cases keep increasing


Testing Labs: Supplies are limited. We can’t go faster if cases keep increasing

July 17, 2020/RINewsToday


With longer and longer times experienced in getting test appointments and then results, RINewsToday reached out to Quest Diagnostics, the largest processing lab in the US, as well as the American Clinical Laboratories Association.


The problem in Rhode Island is not unique. Wait times both to-test and to-results are increasing throughout the United States. Hotspot areas such as Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida, are all doing greater and greater numbers of tests and are mentioned as the key reason timeframes have slowed Texas and Florida, in particular, are testing at levels not anticipated. 


Even in states “doing well” in managing COVID19, recommendations to begin testing asymptomatic people as well as, in the case of Rhode Island, people who work in “high-contact” situations such as hairdressers, gym owners, restaurant workers, etc., are adding to the demand. Testing of groups disproportionately impacted are also adding to the total testing and processing demand.


The American Clinical Laboratories Association had released a statement on the unprecedented demand and significant supply challenges:


“In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in states across the country, many labs are now receiving more test orders than they are able to process in a single day. We have urged ordering providers to prioritize testing for those most in need, especially hospitalized and symptomatic patients. That will help better manage demand for testing while labs continue to perform COVID-19 testing and increase their capacity, which will require adequate supplies and additional equipment.


Since the federal government first cleared regulatory hurdles to expand testing on February 29, ACLA member laboratories have performed over 20 million molecular tests for COVID-19.  We have made significant strides in expanding capacity, which has tripled since early April, and ACLA labs are now performing more than 300,000 tests each day. Our members have been committed from the earliest stages of this pandemic to do everything possible to increase access to testing and have pioneered a wide range of innovative approaches to meet testing demand. From developing and bringing to market new tests to diagnose this evolving virus, to engaging physicians and public health partners around the importance of ordering guidelines and data that must be collected at the point of care, to closely monitoring supplies with diagnostic manufacturers and the federal government, ACLA members have responded with actionable solutions to facilitate patient access to testing.


But we can’t do it alone.  Laboratories, diagnostic manufacturers, ordering providers, public health officials, states and importantly, the federal government – including Congress and the Administration – all have a role to play in addressing the challenges hampering our nation’s response to this public health crisis.


In collaboration with the broader diagnostics community, we are exploring new technologies and testing strategies to maximize capacity for COVID-19 molecular testing, including targeting the use of antibody testing, expanding antigen and other point-of-care testing, and implementing specimen pooling in low-prevalence areas and populations.  ACLA laboratories will continue to bring forward novel approaches to expand testing capacity and work closely with regulatory agencies to maximize their use.


Accurate and reliable testing is one of the most important tools we have to combat this crisis, but what we do with the information yielded by these tests is just as important. Testing is a critical component of a comprehensive and coordinated public health strategy within each community, which also must include other elements such as adherence to mask protocols and social distancing recommendations.


As we work to mitigate the spread of the virus and meet the range of needs facing the country, including the reopening of schools and workplaces, now is the time for the federal government to outline a clear action plan to guide us through this pandemic.  ACLA members will continue to do our part in expanding COVID-19 testing capacity to support the public health needs our nation faces now and in the future.”


From Quest Diagnostics:


Demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing continues to soar, further increasing turnaround times for test results.


Despite our rapid scaling up of capacity, soaring demand for COVID-19 molecular diagnostic tests across the United States is slowing the time in which we can provide test results. 


We attribute this demand primarily to the rapid, continuing spread of COVID-19 infections across the nation but particularly in the South, Southwest and West regions of the country. Specific drivers of demand include pre-operative patients undergoing procedures in hospitals and surgery centers; high-risk populations, such as those receiving care in federally qualified healthcare centers, nursing homes and correctional facilities; and individuals seeking testing from community drive/walk through events with government agencies and corporations.


We now have capacity to perform up to 125,000 molecular diagnostic tests a day, roughly double our capacity 8 weeks ago. By the end of July, we expect to have the capacity to perform 150,000 molecular diagnostic tests a day.


Despite that dramatic increase, demand for testing is increasing even faster. As a result, our average turnaround time for reporting test results is slightly more than 1 day for our priority 1 patients. However, our average turnaround time for all other populations is 7 or more days.


At Quest Diagnostics, we are doing everything we can to bring more COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing to patients at this critical time.


However, we are limited in how quickly we can add capacity. For instance, global supply constraints continue to be an issue. While our suppliers of test platforms and reagents continue to be responsive to our need to add capacity, they are limited amid surging demand in the United States and globally. 


To address these challenges, we are seeking to add new technology platforms, among other options. We are also considering additional partners for our lab referral program; through which we forward specimens we receive to other laboratories with open capacity.


Yet, we want patients and healthcare providers to know that we will not be in a position to reduce our turnaround times as long as cases of COVID-19 continue to increase dramatically across much of the United States. This is not just a Quest issue. The surge in COVID-19 cases affects the laboratory industry as a whole.


We realize this situation is complex and not easily fixed. Fortunately, each of us has the power to take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC provides helpful information on how to reduce the spread of the virus on its website.


We are also asking healthcare providers to abide by the prioritization plan we have established and to limit the number of specimens they forward for patients who are low risk.


Priority 1 patients include hospital patients, pre-operative patients in acute care settings and symptomatic healthcare workers. We rely on the healthcare provider to indicate the level of priority of each patient specimen referred to us for testing.


Finally, we want to recognize the remarkable contributions of our Quest Diagnostics colleagues, who have been central to our nation’s pandemic response. They are among the heroes of healthcare, and we are grateful for their willingness to go above and beyond to serve patients during these challenging times.  


In Rhode Island, there are a half dozen or more labs processing tests, including the RIDOH labs. The increase in testing groups not previously tested before, as well as removing the Abbott quick test site at the Twin River parking lot have done nothing but overwhelm a system already overwhelmed. The goal of testing everyone who needs – and/or wants – a test may need some revision going forward. Agreed by all parties is test results that take more than a day or so to be returned are next to useless, requiring people to self-quarantine during the wait, and missing early treatment options. Increasing in COVID19 testing also impacts testing for average medical issues such as pre-surgical tests and routine tests ordered by doctors’ offices.

GriefSpeak: What would you do?

GriefSpeak: What would you do?

July 17, 2020/Mari Dias


By: Mari Dias


I’m the type of person who is likely to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. Am I always forgiven? No. Does that discourage me? No.


There are so many examples of this that I could write the great American novel, but the story below may provide sufficient evidence.


I was teaching a Psychology course at a small New England College. It was Friday afternoon, last class of the day. As I dismiss my students, Neil saunters up to my podium and offers up his plans for the weekend.


“Hey Dr. D! Hope you have a great weekend!”


“You as well, Neil. Any plans?”


“Well now that you mention it, Dr. D, yes. I have the keys to my father’s gun cabinet and my parents are away for the weekend.”


I took a deep breath, quieting my response, but it had no effect on the quick jerk of a thousand thoughts in my mind. I thought:


“This is a cry for help. What do I do?”


Fortunately, my thoughts answered me immediately.


“Under no circumstances can you allow Neil to go home. Get him to the school psychologist.”


“Okay Neil, that’s quite a weighty statement. Sounds like you have a plan to suicide. I cannot let you go home. Let’s take a walk over to Dr. Steve’s office.”


“No, Dr. D, I’ll speak with you, but I’m not going to see Dr. Steve.”


We left the building together and walked and walked in circles around the campus, with me hoping against hope that when we neared Dr. Steve’s office Neil might change his mind. He didn’t.


Before long, darkness was imminent, and Neil was in a heightened stage of emotional distress. He had shared his life of abuse and neglect, as well as the bullying throughout high school. He didn’t seem to know how to “fit in” and hated being different. He just wanted it all to end.


Soon the automatic outdoor campus lights came on and it began to rain. I could not let him go home. He wouldn’t go to Dr. Steve, all the buildings were locked for the weekend, and faculty are not allowed to have students in their cars (for any reason). A conundrum for sure.


Society says if we follow the rules there will be no undo consequences. I was aware of all the potential consequences, willing to accept them (even if I lost my job) because I was saving someone’s life. Neil joined me in my car in order to continue talking and remain dry.


He was knee deep in depression and crying uncontrollably. We sat. We talked. We sat. We talked. The rain stopped. He agreed to see Dr. Steve. Thankfully, Dr. Steve’s office light was still on, an offer of hope for both of us. I introduced Neil and Dr. Steve and left, still holding on to the weight of Neil’s distress and also a bit relieved that Neil was finally in the right place.


Fast forward to Monday. I arrived for my morning class early, only to find a message from the Dean. She wanted to see me asap.


“Perhaps she wants to thank me”, I thought, as I headed over to her office. I was met with an academic firing squad of innuendos, outright accusations, and admonishments for my actions.


“Dr. D., what gives you the right to take a student’s mental health issues and address them? Particularly on school property?”


“She’s not going to thank me, that’s for sure”, I thought when I heard her opening statement.


“I saved his life. I let him speak. Calm him down. He felt listened to, less hopeless. He was going to use one of his father’s guns to kill himself.”


“Well that is not your role nor your responsibility, Dr. D. You are a professor. Professors teach. Professors do not counsel. It is not in your contract. In fact, the faculty manual explicitly states, “No faculty, under any condition, may allow a student in their personal vehicle.” (Faculty Manual, 2.1a).


“Yes, I’m aware of that rule but I did what I felt was right. Ethically. Morally. I chose integrity and aspirational ethics over the rules. I have a private practice as well and have malpractice insurance which I concluded was sufficient enough to speak to Neil.”


“We have counselors here, and it is not in your job description! We could get sued if he went home and shot himself after speaking to you on college property!”


“If you cannot follow the rules, we have no choice but to terminate you. And next time (if there is a next time as many would not hire you with this behavior on your record) if this occurs, please tell the student to meet you at a coffee shop down the street so that your university is not culpable.”


That was the end of my 7 years teaching Psychology at a small New England College.


Did I second guess myself? Not for a minute.


Was the university sued? No, because Neil did not shoot himself.


Would I do it the same way again, knowing the outcomes? Absolutely.

Some might say that it is my privilege that allows me to be civilly disobedient. Civil disobedience is not always about pillaging, rioting, and looting. Sometimes it is about going against an unfair rule or law, for the good. Could I financially afford to lose my job? No. But I couldn’t not do what I did and live with myself.


I didn’t ask for permission, and in the end, I asked for understanding. I didn’t need or want their forgiveness. My conscience was/is clear.


When I applied for a teaching position at another university, they asked me why I left my former teaching position after 7 years. I told them the truth. I told them the story.


“If the same situation occurred at our university, would you make the same choices?


“Yes, and if this university would respond in the same way, it’s not the place for me.”


They wouldn’t. I was hired, not in spite of, but because of my strong ethical stance.


What would you have done?

Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief.


She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

3 Reasons Why You Want to Sell Your Property - Now

3 Reasons Why You Want to Sell Your Property – Now

July 17, 2020/Emilio DiSpirito


By Emilio DiSpirito, Realtor DiSpirito Team, HomeSmart Professionals, contributing writer, real estate 


Supply is scarce and buyers are numerous. According to the Rhode Island Multi Listings Service, we are experiencing the largest shortage of homes available for sale in recent history. Here is our shortlist of 3 reasons why now is the time to leverage your window of opportunity to cash out with the highest returns ever. Now. 


Oh yea.. right now, the median single-family is selling at the highest price ever in RI history at $320,000 with only 34 days on market… that’s insane. 


You will profit more in a market with less competition


While it looks like there are a lot of “For Sale” signs out there, there are twice the number of pending homes than are active at the moment. 


You will need to Do Less


With so few options, buyers are less concerned with the dated kitchen and baths and more concerned with location and functionality. Make sure your home is clean, inside and out, staged, decluttered, and smells good, and you will get top dollar! 


You will Catch the Rush of buyers before school starts


Each year, buyers pour into the real estate market during the spring and summer months. July is usually vacation month, however, due to the pandemic, buyers have stayed local and are out in full force. Mix the traditional seasonal buyers with the last minute “back to school” buyers, relocations, downsizers, upsizers, and first-time buyers, and you have a potential bid war on your hands. 


“Well… what if I can’t find a home to buy?! I’ll wait to add my home to the market until I find something!”


Our current conundrum is here because of this thought – don’t be a part of that! A well-experienced Realtor will assist you to find off-market, coming soon, for sale by owners, previously withdrawn properties, and more, while adding a provision to your contract with your home buyers to allow you to find suitable housing before closing. No one goes “homeless”!


Get in the market now and enjoy interest rates in the high 2’s and low 3’s while selling your home for top dollar, before you miss this window, and have to hear your friends and family brag about their “power move” at Sunday dinner!

Emilio DiSpirito, realtor

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be growing up, little Emilio would have told you “an archeologist” or “an architect” despite the fact that at age 8 I had my first lemonade stand, landscaping business and was recording my first “news show” on my boombox!  Well, I never was much good at trigonometry and did could not see myself traveling for months and possibly years at a time, so becoming an architect or archaeologist clearly did not happen!

Fast forward 26 years later and I’m running a team of the finest residential real estate professionals, own a media company and host my very own radio news show about real estate!

In September of 2017, I married my best friend, Jaclynn, and we have two wonderful children, Destinee and Emilio, V.  We have 3 dogs, one of which is a rescue and live in lovely Rhode Island. Jaclynn owns a high-end hair salon in addition to an on-location hair and makeup business!

For 7 years straight it seemed that I had put in more hours than the day had to give on my real estate business. 7 days a week, 14 to 16 hour days, without a break! Why? My friends and family did not understand the sheer magnitude of moving parts and services we offer to our clients during a transaction! One slip up or one missed call could mean make or break for someone’s dream home or even a lost deposit!

Running a team of like-minded, highly qualified and capable professionals has allowed me to offer a very streamlined, simplified and efficient approach to the sales process for our clients and allowed me to earn personal time again with my family while not missing a beat for my clients!

When I’m not working, I’m with my family, riding my mountain bike, eating at a number of local restaurants, enjoying live entertainment, hiking, skiing or reading!

Rhode Island News as of 07/17/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Rhode Island General Assembly passes a flurry of legislation during its special summer session.  More testing for COVID-19 antibodies in the Ocean State.  The Rhode Island Foundation announces a new round of grants to address mental health issues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

>>RI Legislature Passes 'Providence Plantations' Removal Ballot Question, Other Measures

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island General Assembly has sent a number of bills to Governor Raimondo after a special summer session this week.  One of them which has the full backing of the governor would send the question of whether to remove "Providence Plantations" from the official state name to voters in November.  The General Assembly also approved legislation to require gun dealers to notify the hometown police department of a would-be buyer's attempted purchase, the Rhode Island Parentage Act, which aims to eliminate the obstacles of legalizing a family that is created through non-traditional reproductive methods, a bill amending emergency mail ballot procedures, and a disability pension bill to establish that any type of cancer found in firefighters is occupational cancer.

>>Second COVID-19 Antibody Testing Program Happening In Rhode Island

(Providence, RI)  --  A second testing program for coronavirus antibodies is being launched by the Rhode Island Department of Health.  The state was one of three sites selected across the U.S. to participate in a new serology testing effort by the federal government.  The goal is to better understand the prevalence of COVID-19 among people in certain high-contact professions.  For the first round of testing in Rhode Island in May, two-point-two percent of people were found to have antibodies.

>>Providence Council Votes On Subpoena Of Officer's Body Cam Footage

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence City Council voted on Thursday night to subpoena the body camera footage of an alleged assault by a police officer.  Sergeant Joseph Hanley, who has been suspended with pay, has been charged with assaulting a man in handcuffs in April.  The subpoena action was prompted by the Providence External Review Authority's denied request to look at the footage.

>>I-95 Crash Victim In Richmond Was Connecticut Woman

(Richmond, RI)  --  The victim of a crash on I-95 in Richmond on Wednesday has been identified as Klaudyna Polewacz of Middletown, Connecticut.  State police say Polewacz was driving southbound when she apparently lost control of the car she was driving and it rolled several times, ejecting her.  Excessive speed may have been a factor.  Authorities say the driver was not wearing a seatbelt.

>>Rhode Island Bank Robbers Sentenced

(Providence, RI)  --  A couple of bank robbers were sentenced in federal court in Providence this week.  The Department of Justice says David Evans of Providence, who was convicted of robbing a Santander Bank in Providence in 2018 with a previous bank robbery history, was sentenced to five years in federal prison.  And the DOJ says Christopher Oladapo of Cumberland was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for the robberies of a Citizens Bank in Providence and another in Pawtucket last summer.

>>RI Foundation Announces New COVID-19 Mental Health Grants

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Foundation is announcing over one-and-a-half-million dollars in grants to mental health providers.  This is a second round of grants from the RI Foundation's COVID-19 Behavioral Health Fund; earlier this year, several-dozen organizations benefited from about three-and-a-half-million dollars in grants.  The money is intended to help Rhode Islanders cope with the behavioral health challenges of the virus crisis with programs ranging from counseling to survivors of domestic violence, to helping children cope with the pandemic via tele-health services.

>>Blue-Green Algae Bloom In Tiverton

(Tiverton, RI)  --  A blue-green algae bloom has been reported in Stafford Pond in Tiverton, according to the state.  The public is being advised to avoid contact with the water because of the high levels of cyanobacteria.  Stafford Pond is a source of public water in the Tiverton area, but the state says the water is treated before being delivered to customers.

Jim McCabe/djc         RI) CT)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-17-2020 00:03:08

Summertime Learning for RI Children in Grades 2 to 6

Summertime Learning for RI Children in Grades 2 to 6

July 16, 2020/RINewsToday


Distance learning this summer is fun. Elementary school children can experience The Creative Squad, Nature Drawing, Yoga and the Environmental Detective Club for grades 2 through 6. Participants earn digital badges, while combining literacy with creativity, self-esteem and civic pride.


Classes start July 20th through using Google Classroom.


To sign up:


Here’s more on each offering section:


Creative Squad


Make new friends, read books, share stories, create art, tell jokes, play games and finally let loose during Miss Gail’s 2-minute dance parties. Each session begins with a mindful moment, reading a book together and a short conversation about how the stories relate to our own feelings and life experiences. Then launch into a creative activity, such as puppet making, drawing, using the puppets to perform your own imaginative stories and more art projects. Six week series meeting once a week for one hour sessions.


Environmental Detective Club


Meet new friends, share stories about outdoor experiences and work together to come up with some creative solutions to address some of today’s environmental problems. After creating a list of actions they can take in their everyday lives to help the environment, club members will be invited to co-produce a Story Walking Radio Hour podcast which will go online in the Fall of 2020. Each participant will get their own set of Wild Plant Magic Cards and a Detective Journal. Six week series meeting once a week for one hour sessions.


Nature Drawing


Learn to draw from Nature. Artist Eclipse Neilson will guide students step-by-step. Enjoyable for any skill level from beginner to advanced. Each week participants will use colored pencils to draw a plant, animal, bird or insect. The skills learned can easily be expanded into more projects students can do independently at home. While having fun drawing, students will learn science facts, vocabulary words and communication skills. Six week series meeting once a week for one hour sessions.



Shri Yoga


Start your morning with 30 minutes of yoga instruction. Each class consists of four components: introductions and intentions, physical practice, group mindfulness, and a community building activity. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that fosters cooperation and compassion. Shri is an acronym for Support, Honor, Respect and Inspire, and these core values are a part of every class. Six week series meeting once a week for thirty minute sessions.


About The Empowermemt Factory


The Empowerment Factory (TEF) is dedicated to giving children the skills they need to lead happier, healthier lives. Our project-based learning approach focuses on three areas of development: creativity, self-esteem, and civic pride. Our vision is for every child to have the confidence to effectively express themselves and be actively and positively engaged in our communities.  


The main focus of The Empowerment Factory is empowering youth through after-school and summertime learning programs, community and school special events and activities. We partner with schools and organizations to deliver programs, events and activities that help youth develop the skills they need to succeed in school and life.


The Empowerment Factory was founded as a nonprofit organization in April of 2014 and became a federally recognized 501(c)3 as of August 2016.


About Gail Ahlers, founder:



Gail Ahlers is an award-winning designer, artist, and educator. Born in the New York area, Gail moved to Providence to attend Rhode Island School of Design, graduating in 1985 with a BFA in light metals. She has studied art history in Paris and sculpture in Mexico. She has since become certified in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She also studied Expressive Arts at Salve Regina University. Gail’s focus on empowering people led her to establish the non-profit “The Empowerment Factory” in 2014. Her diverse background allows her to develop and curate innovative programming and teachers that help guide people of all ages to live a happier, healthier more empowered lives.


Providence Reparations announce part of international agenda

Providence Reparations announcement part of international agenda

July 16, 2020/RINewsToday


A press conference was held yesterday in Providence as the city’s mayor, Mayor Jorge Elorza, announced a program intending Providence to be the first city to consider reparations for Black and Indigenous people. In fact, Providence’s efforts were just one of several happening in the US and internationally in the last few weeks.


Elorza signed an Executive Order committing the city to a process of truth, reconciliation and municipal reparations for Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color in Providence.


In addition to the mayor, City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, 1696 Heritage Group Vice President Keith Stokes, Founder and CEO of Impact RI Janice Faulkner, Community Relations Advisor Shawndell Burney-Speaks spoke.


“As a country and a community, we owe a debt to our Black, Indigenous People, and People of Color, and on the local level, we are using this opportunity to correct a wrong,” said Mayor Jorge Elorza. “Though this does not undo history it is the first step in accepting the role Providence and Rhode Island has held in generations of pain and violence against these residents, healing some of the deepest wounds our country faces today. May this process of truth bring us education and awareness of these wrong-doings and may our reconciliation change the systems that continue to oppress our communities, while reaffirming our commitment to building a brighter, more inclusive future.”


The social justice undertaking is designed in three parts. The collection of truth. The process of reconciliation. And, reparations.


“Providence can lead the nation on how we present the inclusive history of all Americans through public memorials, public investments and public education,” said 1696 Heritage Group Vice President Keith Stokes. “The truth-telling that begins today through the Mayor’s vision will not only validate our earned African heritage and history in Providence, but also that of Black Lives Matter and Black History Matters, too.” 


Sue Cienki, Chairwoman of the RI Republican party said she thought the idea of reparations “which I think is an absurd idea for a city on the brink of bankruptcy, with many unfunded pension liabilities in the billions of dollars”. Cienki said the way to provide help with Black Lives Matter is to educate children in the schools.


According to the Mayor’s press release, “this process was developed with and crafted by the Mayor’s African American Ambassador Group, which meets weekly and serves as a direct line of communication between the community and the administration. Those interested in engaging in the subcommittees of the Mayor’s African American Ambassador Group are encouraged to contact Community Relations Advisor Shawndell Burney-Speaks at


Meanwhile, in Ashville, North Carolina


Ashville, North Carolina also announced their reparation program yesterday – with their City Council leading the effort. The City Council voted to apologize for the city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations that will benefit them and their descendants. The resolution does not mandate direct payments, but instead calls for investments in areas where Black residents face disparities, including boosting minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, developing strategies to grow generational wealth and closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay. Read the resolution, page 4, here:


In London, England:

Under the mantra that it is ‘not enough to say sorry’, British firms should pay reparations for slave trade, say Caribbean nations, as the Lloyd’s of London insurance market apologized for its “shameful” role in the 18th-century Atlantic slave trade and pledged to fund opportunities for black and ethnic minority people. A Caribbean business alliance of 12 countries – including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados – said leading British institutions should take part in a “negotiated settlement” to give some wealth back to the Caribbean. It was suggested that British institutions sit down with Caribbean nations to fund development projects or consider something similar to the Marshall Plan – a reference to the US aid given to Europe after the destruction of World War Two.


In Durham, North Carolina

A reparations program in Durham should include economic investment in Black communities along with state and federal resources, and the city should focus on opening up the Black business pipeline. It should increase the diversity of places where Black businesses are established, so that they can capture diverse dollars while also taking advantage of the redevelopment of historic Black commercial and residential corridors. It should increase access to the capital needed for the Black business ecosystem to grow. 


In short, the city should remove as many barriers to success as possible for Black entrepreneurs, while also investing in education to expose more Black youth to innovative environments. This might entail committing public properties to create Black wealth, with a focus on community improvement without forced displacement. It might entail the creation of a real-estate bank for intentional, inclusive development. It might entail finding creative ways to get the private sector in Durham to invest at a large, long-term scale. 


“While the fight for reparations is happening, can we prepare the infrastructure of Black businesses,” he says. “Perhaps if Durham can lead the way and get it right, then cities all across America will follow suit.”


Evanston, Illinois

One city’s reparations program that could offer a blueprint for the nation is Evanston, Illinois. They are levying a tax on newly legalized cannabis sales to fund projects benefiting African Americans in recognition of the enduring effects of slavery and the war on drugs. 100% of the tax will go to the fund which may begin allocating funds this year in “hopes to prioritize housing initiatives aimed at addressing the impact of redlining on the suburb’s black community, as well as programs related to education, employment and healthcare”.


Chicago, Illinois

The City Council adopted unanimously the formation of a reparations study committee, only to overturn it two weeks later. It will now be an annual report that the council must issue and the council voted they “will work to right the wrongs of the past in order to overcome the many obstacles to employment, education, housing, justice, due process, health care and more facing African Americans.”



Other cities have been researching and discussing the issue of reparations for years – some even acknowledging they will do something – but no monetary action occurred. Others have called for efforts to take place at the federal level, and some have suggested the government develop a statute of limitations for reparations against any group of people for wrong-doings.



Europe, the Caribbean, Haiti, and African nations have discussed reparations in policy and monetary amounts for decades.



Legislation to provide reparations has been working its way through the US Congress for over 30 years. Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd have brought the legislation to the forefront again. If passed, there would be a study to determine what the federal government owes the descendants of slaves, and explore ways to repay that debt.


H.R. 40, merely a mandate to study the idea of reparations, has languished without a vote for decades. And while increased awareness and a demand for active steps may bring the bill out this year, the severe budget problems brought on by COVID19 would limit the billions estimated to go along with any equitable resolution.


Recently, the Conference of Mayors has endorsed action on reparations. at the city level as well.



Rhode Island African Heritage and History Timeline: 17th through 19th Centuries


Keith Stokes provided this timeline and reviewed historical facts at the event. As Stokes is known to say, as Black Lives Matter, Black History Matters:


1636 Providence settlement is established


1639 Newport settlement is established on southern end of Aquidneck Island.


1640 Dr. John Clarke grants land to the Town of Newport to establish a Common Burying Ground for all residents regardless of race, creed and class.


1652 Colony of Rhode Island adopts a law abolishing African slavery, where “black mankinde” cannot be indentured more than ten years. The law is largely unenforced.


1660 Charles II, King of England orders the Council of Foreign Plantations to devise strategies for converting slaves and servants to Christianity.


1660 – 1730 Narragansett’s largest land-owning planters include Updike, Hazard, Champlin, Robinson and Stanton that own at least 1,000 acres. By 1730, enslaved Africans represent about 15% of areas total population.


1663 On July 8th, King Charles II grants the Colony of Rhode Island a Charter that guarantees religious toleration.


1676 As a direct outcome of the King Phillip’s War (1675-1676), surviving Natives are enslaved in Rhode Island.


1680 According to the colonial census, there were 175 Native and Negro slaves in Rhode Island.


1683 On March 30th, Negro servant Salmardore is emancipated by his master John Champlin in Newport.


1696 The first documented slave ship the Boston bound, “Sea Flower” arrives in Newport.


A Negro named Peter Pylatt was executed at Newport for the crime of rape, after which his body was hung in chains on Miantonomi Hill.


1703 Rhode Island General Assembly adopts an early “Negro Code” to restrict activities of free and servant Negros and Indians stating, “If any negroes or Indians either freemen, servants, or slaves, do walk in the street of the town of Newport, or any other town in this Colony, after nine of the clock of night, without certificate from their masters, or some English person of said family with, or some lawful excuse for the same, that it shall be lawful for any person to take them up and deliver them to a Constable.”


1705 A Negro burying section of the Common Burying Ground is established. It is later known to the African American community as “God’s Little Acre.”


1708 Enslaved Africans outnumber indentured white servants in Newport 10:1


1709 A duty of three pounds was placed on every Negro imported into the colony.


1709 – 1809 Rhode Island merchants sponsored nearly 1,000 slaving voyages to the coast of Africa and carried over 100,000 slaves to the New World. Before the American Revolution, Newport was the leading slave port and after would be Bristol. Rhode Island’s slave traders transported more slaves than the other British North American colonies combined during the 18th century.


1713 Rhode Island merchants introduced rum on the African coast; the “new” liquor quickly becomes a chief source for trade of slaves.


1714 Colony of Rhode Island enacts a law that bans any ferryman from transporting a slave “without a certificate in their hand from their master or mistress or some person in authority.”


1715 The General Assembly of Rhode Island officially authorizes African enslavement by requiring a listing of imported slaves and a per head fee payment to the Naval Officer upon arrival.


1725 In Warwick, Rhode Island on July 28, 1725, Hager, a “negro” slave, was willed 10 shillings and her children were bequeathed 5 shillings each by Captain Peter Green.


1739 Venture Smith who was born Broteer Furro from Guinea is brought to Newport as a 10 year old slave boy. He would later as a free man author, “Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa: But Resident above Sixty Years in the United States of America, Related by Himself.”


1741-1763 Several of Newport’s most important civic structures, Old Colony House, Redwood Library, Brick Market and Touro Synagogue are built with the participation of enslaved and free African skilled labor.


1743 The Reverend Honyman of Newport Trinity Church in a June 1743 letter reports that his church is in very flourishing and improving condition, “there are in it a very large proportion of white people and one hundred Negroes who constantly attend the worship of God.”


The Reverend James McSparren of Narragansett’s St. Paul’s Church noted that “70 slaves and Indians were members of his church.


1750 The General Assembly of Rhode Island enacts a law that “prevents all persons keeping house within this Colony from entertaining Indian, Negro or Mulatto slaves or servants.”


1752 In December of that year, Cuffee Cockroach an enslaved African cook of Jaheel Brenton prepared a feast that featured a sea turtle stew for a community gathering held at Fort George, on Goat Island. The “Turtle Frolic” became an annual celebration.


1755 Africans represent approximately 20% of entire Newport population.


1756 Newport Africans begin to assemble each June at corners of Thames and Farewell Streets to elect a “Negro Governor” – a mixture of European and African traditions. This West African tradition is later seen in Boston, Providence, Portsmouth, NH and Connecticut.


1750-1780 Hundreds of Africans in Newport are converted into Christianity as part of the Great Awakening Religious Movement sweeping across American Colonies. Trinity Church, along with First and Second Congregational Churches lead the conversion activities.


1758 Sarah Osborn establishes a school for religious and civic instruction for white and black children under the support of Newport’s Second Congregational Church.


1763 Rev. Marmaduke Brown of Trinity Church opens a school for African children.


1766 A group of free and enslaved Africans take a picnic in Portsmouth led by Caesar Lyndon, personal secretary and clerk for Governor Josiah Lyndon.


1767 Phyllis Wheatley of Boston, America’s earliest African woman poet has her first poem published in the Newport Mercury newspaper in 1767. During the time, Wheatley is close friend of fellow African woman of Newport Obour Tanner.


1768 Signed by “A True Son of Liberty,” an article appears in the Newport Mercury Newspaper under the caption, “If you say you have the right to enslave Negroes, because it is for your interests, why do you dispute the legality of Great Britain enslaving you?”


1772 Mary Brett with support from Trinity Church opens a second school for African children at her High Street (Division Street) home in Newport.


Mintus Northrup is born into slavery in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. He is the father of Solomon Northrup, author of “12 Years A Slave.”


British Customs Schooner, HMS Gaspee is looted and burned off the coast of Warwick. One of the participants is enslaved Aaron Briggs from Prudence Island.


1773 Fortune, listed as an “abandoned Negro,” reportedly set fire to the Long Wharf in Newport causing £80,000 in damage. He is executed for his crime.


1774 Africans John Quamino and Bristol Yamma are sent to study at College of New Jersey (the future Princeton University) to train as Christian Missionaries. These will be the first Africans to attend college in America. The plan is devised by Rev’s Samuel Hopkins and Ezra Stiles of Newport.


1776 American Revolution begins.
Rev. Samuel Hopkins of First Congregational Church in Newport authors “A Dialogue Concerning the Slavery of Africans” that he presents to the Continental Congress stating slavery is incongruous to the ideals of American civil and personal liberty.


In a June 6, 1776 letter from John Quamino of Newport to Moses Brown of Providence, Quamino thanking him for emancipating his servants and his “boundless benevolence with regards to the unforfeited rights of the poor and unhappy Africans of this province.”


1778 The 1st Rhode Island Regiment is reformed including 132 enslaved and free African and Indian men. Later to be called the “Black Regiment” they fight with great valor in the Battle of Rhode Island in August, 1778.


1780 A group of free African men meet in the Newport home of Abraham Casey and form the Free African Union Society, the first such society in America.


1781 Rhode Island General Assembly rules in favor of a petition of Quarco Honyman, former slave to the Honyman family that he had served his country during the war and is deemed a free man.


1784 General Assembly of Rhode Island grants the gradual emancipation of slaves. Slaves born before 1784 were to remain slaves for life.


1785 Eleanor Eldridge, a free Mulatto woman was born in Warwick and would go on to become a well-known land and business owner in Providence. In 1838 her memoirs are published describing the life of a free African American woman in Rhode Island.


1786 John Brown of Providence in a November 26, 1786 letter to his brother Moses states, “I lately heard several respectable people say that the merchants of Newport scarcely earned any property in any other trade, that all the estates that had ever been acquired in that town had been got in the trade in slaves from Guinea.”


1787 Anthony Taylor, President of the African Union Society sends letters promoting the return to Africa by free Africans in Newport. In the letter, Taylor describes the situation for Africans in Rhode Island as “strangers and outcasts in a strange land.”


Anthony Taylor and Salmar Nubia of Newport send a letter to Cato Gardner and London Spear of Providence instructing them to urge their fellow African Union Society members to not participate in the African slave trade.


1789 New Goree community is established in Bristol, RI by free Africans. Today the neighborhood is bordered by Wood and Bay View Avenue.


Members of the Free African Benevolent Society in Newport actively develop a plan to return to Africa.


1790 The Providence Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery is incorporated.


1792 African Charity “Duchess” Quamino dies in Newport; recognized as the “Pastry Queen of Rhode Island” and one of the most successful African women entrepreneurs of her time. Her marker is inscribed by Reverend William Ellery Channing.


1793 Sixty-three former members of the Rhode Island 1st (Black) Regiment petition to receive pensions for service during the American Revolution.


1800 Five free Africans own homes on the section of Pope Street in Newport between Spring and Thames streets referred to as “Negro Lane.”


James DeWolf of Bristol is one of the most active slave traders in America during late 18th and early 19th centuries.


1800 -1870 During that era and led by the Hazzard family, 84 “Negro cloth” mills opened in Rhode Island. Rhode Island industrialists bought and processed slave-picked cotton, while southern slaveholders purchased Rhode Island manufactured cloth for themselves and their slaves.


1803 Former enslaved African Nkrumah Mireku becomes the first published African musical composer in America; songs include “Crooked Shanks” and the religious anthem “The Promise.”


1808 In March the Free African Benevolent Society of Newport establishes the first free African school (private) in America on School Street.


1809 The Free African Female Benevolent Society is established in Newport with founding members including Obour Tanner and Sara Lyna.


1812 During the War of 1812, free African Hannibal Collins of Newport along with other African sailors were present at the Battle of Lake Erie under the command of Newport Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.


1814 The narrative of William J. Brown of Providence is published. Entitled The Life of William J. Brown with Personal Recollection of Incidents in Rhode Island.


1819 African Union Society in Providence evolves into the African Meeting House and later Congdon Street Baptist Church.


1822 Black men are barred from voting in Rhode Island.


1824 The Free African Benevolent Society evolves into the Union Colored Congregational Church located in old Baptist Meeting House on Division Street.


Hardscrabble, a predominately black community in Providence is rocked by a race riot.


1826 On January 4th, led by Nkrumah Mireku (aka Newport Gardner) and Salmar Nubia (aka Jack Mason) a group of Newport Africans set sail for Africa settling in Liberia. The entire party dies of coastal fever within one year.


1830 Pond Street Free Baptist Church organized in Providence, RI


1831 Snow Town, the Providence neighborhood that replaces Hardscrabble, is the scene to a second major race riot.


1838 First public school for black children is established on Meeting Street in Providence.


1839 The Providence Shelter for Colored Children is organized.


1842 At the November session of the General Assembly of Rhode Island meeting at Newport, the Rhode Island Constitution is revised and ratified giving African American men among others the right to vote.


1846 The summer of 1846, African American businessman, George T. Downing opens a restaurant on Bellevue Avenue in Newport to cater to the emerging summer resort market.


1850 African Church located on Wood Street in Bristol, RI. Building also housed a school for Black children.


1856 Thomas Howland becomes first Black elected to public office in Providence as Warden of the Third Ward.


George T. Downing builds the Sea Girt Hotel along a Bellevue Avenue commercial block that would bear his name.


1859 James Howland of Jamestown dies as the last slave in Rhode Island at the age of 100 years.


1860 Isaac Rice homestead in Newport is used as an Underground Railroad stop.


1861 The American Civil War begins.


1863 The 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Colored) is organized in Providence, Rhode Island.


Newport and Providence African American leaders begin a movement to fully integrate public schools in Rhode Island.


1865 A group of Newport philanthropists, including George T. Downing underwrite the purchase of land to become Touro Park on Bellevue Avenue.


The 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery Regiment is mustered out at Portsmouth Grove.


1866 Dr. Harriet A. Rice was born to George and Lucinda Rice in Newport. She graduated as a top student at Newport’s Rogers High School and in 1882 went on to become the first African American student to graduate from Wellesley College. Soon after she would earn a medical degree at the University of Michigan Medical School. During WWI, she was a physician serving the French Army.


1867 Mary Jackson is born in Providence. She would later work as a statistician at state Labor Department and during WWI, was appointed as a Special Worker for Colored Girls on the YWCA War Work Council.


George T. Downing successfully leads the integration of public schools in Rhode Island.


1869 Rev. Mahlon Van Horne assumes the pastorate of Union Colored Congregational Church on Division Street in Newport.


1870 The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified prohibiting the restriction of voting rights “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”


1871 Painter Edward Bannister and his wife Christiana settle in Providence. He is part of founders of Providence Art Club and RISD.


1872 Rev. Van Horne becomes the first African American member of the Newport School Board.


1875 In July 1875 the Congdon Street Baptist Church building is completed in Providence.


St John’s Episcopal Church in Newport is founded at the Point Neighborhood home of African American Peter Quire.


1882 The Daisy Tonsorial Parlor is established at 148 Bellevue Avenue by African American business and civic leader, Fredrick E. Williams.


1883 On October 15th, the Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional and declared that the Fourteenth Amendment forbids states, but not citizens, from discriminating.


1885 Rev. Van Horne of Newport becomes the first African American member of the General Assembly of Rhode Island.


1885-90 George T. Downing is member of the committee responsible for the Bellevue Avenue extension to Bailey’s Beach in Newport.


1887 Dr. Harriet A. Rice of Newport becomes the first African American to graduate Wellesley College. Soon after, she earned a medical degree at the University of Michigan.


1888 Sisseretta Jones of Providence becomes an international singing star.


1890 Rhode Island enacts a law that establishes the “Home For Aged Colored Women.” Christina Bannister is the leader of the effort and later the home would bear her name as Bannister House in Providence.


1891 The first Black owned and operated newspaper in New England, Torchlight, is established by John Minkins in Providence.


1892 Over 160 documented African American lynching’s in America; the highest annual total in history.


1893 The Breakers Mansion, Newport’s grandest summer cottage is built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Newport Gilded Age has arrived.


J T Allen and his brother David arrive in Newport and soon established the Hygeia Spa at Easton’s Beach and dining facility in the Perry Mansion on Touro Street.


1894 Dr. Marcus Wheatland becomes the first known African-American physician to live and practice in Rhode Island. Dr. Wheatland was nationally recognized as an early radiology specialist.


John Hope graduates from Brown University and later becomes President of Morehouse College.


1896 United States Supreme Court issues Plessy v. Ferguson ruling decided that “separate but equal” facilities satisfy Fourteenth Amendment guarantees, thus giving legal sanction to Jim Crow segregation laws.


President William McKinley appoints Rev. Van Horne of Newport to become U.S. Consul to St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies, serving through the Spanish American War.


1897 Newport born Dr. M. Alonzo Van Horne graduates from Howard Medical School and becomes the first African American dentist in Newport practicing at 47 John Street and later at 22 Broadway.


1898 During the Spanish America War sixteen regiments of black volunteers nationally are recruited and four see combat.


1899 Members of the (African American) Women’s League Newport gather led by Mary Dickerson who owns a dress shop on Bellevue Avenue.


For more information, go to the 1696 Heritage website:

Rhode Island News as of 07/16/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Beach areas are a concern for Rhode Island officials when it comes to spreading the coronavirus.  The governor announces money for small businesses.  A former Rhode Island police officer is being sentenced to state prison.

>>Beach Areas A Concern For COVID-19

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Department of Public Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott said yesterday that large crowds on beaches and boats are "absolutely" contributing to increased coronavirus numbers in the state.  Governor Gina Raimondo said there will be increased enforcement of mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols near beaches; she said she's considering a National Guard presence in the area.  In addition to reducing the parking percentage cap at Misquamicut and Scarborough beaches, the governor said vehicles parked illegally on streets near beaches will be towed.

>>Issue Of Long Wait For Virus Test Results Addressed

(Providence, RI)  --  Delays in people getting coronavirus test results is continuing to be an issue in Rhode Island.  Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott acknowledged on Wednesday that results can take up to six days or longer, depending on the lab that's being used; a reason given was that the demand for tests has increased in other U.S. states that have been hard-hit by the virus.  Governor Raimondo committed to reducing the testing lab time.

>>Relief Money Announced For Small Businesses

(Providence, RI)  --  The governor announcing yesterday that two-hundred-million dollars of federal coronavirus relief money will be used for economic development.  Half of that dollar amount will be used to help small businesses.  Of that fraction, 50-million dollars will go out in direct cash assistance to help businesses with the re-opening expenses they have incurred.  Twenty percent of the funds will be set aside for minority-owned businesses.

>>Fatal Single-Vehicle Crash On I-95 In South County

(Richmond, RI)  --  One person is dead after a single-car crash on I-95 in Richmond on Wednesday.  This happened at around 4 p.m. on I-95 south.  The victim, a woman who has not been identified, reportedly rolled multiple times and was ejected, then was taken to Kent Hospital and pronounced dead.

>>Man Charged For Alleged Assault After Reported Mask-Wearing Dispute

(Lincoln, RI)  --  A man is charged with assault with a deadly weapon following a dispute that apparently stemmed from the issue of mask-wearing.  The Lincoln Police Department says another man confronted Ralph Buontempo for not wearing a face-covering when they were leaving a Seasons Market convenience store last Tuesday.  Things reportedly got physical between Buontempo and the older man, both from Lincoln, and Buontempo allegedly got in his car and hit him with it.

>>Teen Linked To Providence Murder Suspect Still Missing

(Providence, RI)  --  The whereabouts of a missing Providence teen whom police said was possibly with a murder suspect who himself was arraigned on Wednesday: still apparently unknown.  The attorney for Felix Hernandez Rosado said yesterday he did not have any information about where 14-year-old Aliah Trinidad is.  In addition to first-degree murder for a fatal shooting on July 1st, the 18-year-old Rosado also faces a sex crime against a minor charge, as his attorney said Trinidad was his girlfriend.

>>Former Middletown Policeman Gets 18 Months In ACI

(Undated)  --  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office on Wednesday announced a couple of sentencings of law enforcement officials who were charged with crimes.  Richard Gamache, a former member of the Middletown Police Department, was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in the ACI for fraudulently altering police records to help his significant other obtain public housing.  A former member of the RI State Police, John Gibbs, pleaded no contest to charges that he conducted private business activities while on official duty and received a one-year suspended sentence with probation.

>>Providence Students Must Wear Masks On Buses Under Proposed Rules

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence Public Schools on Wednesday released proposed health guidance staying safe from the coronavirus when classes resume this fall.  Masks must be worn by students and staff entering and leaving the building; students will have to wear them on buses also.  Students will be kept in the same group whenever possible.  The school district will submit the plan to the Rhode Island Department of Education on Friday.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-16-2020 00:23:07

RI Pediatricians: "We're open - and it's safe."

RI Pediatricians: “We’re open – and it’s safe.”

July 15, 2020/RINewsToday


Rhode Island Pediatricians Release Video Public Service Announcement Urging Families to Return for Well-Child Visits


Pediatricians’ offices are open and safe. Parents urged to make appointments to ensure children receive recommended immunizations.


The American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter has released a video public service announcement reassuring families that pediatricians’ offices are open, safe, and ready to see children for well-child visits, vaccinations, and other children’s health issues. The video was made possible through an American Academy of Pediatrics partnership with ZERO TO THREE’s Think Babies campaign.


“Rhode Island pediatricians’ offices are open, safe, and eager to see the children we care for,” said Gregory Fox, MD, FAAP, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter. “Our practices are taking extensive precautions including enhanced cleaning and sanitation, wearing facemasks, and limiting the number of patients in waiting rooms. We’re urging Rhode Island parents to call their pediatrician with any questions that may come up and to make an appointment if needed. Well-child visits and regular check-ups are critical, particularly as we have seen many children fall behind on their immunizations. We’re here for Rhode Island’s families and children, and we look forward to seeing you.”



About the American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter:


The American Academy of Pediatrics, Rhode Island Chapter is committed to the attainment of optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults of Rhode Island.

"An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It's an American ideal. The New York Times is a bully" - Bari Weiss

“An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal. The New York Times is a bully.” – Bari Weiss

July 15, 2020/Nancy Thomas


Bari Weiss was a staff writer and editor for the Opinion section of The New York Times, until this week, when she resigned. As a more conservative writer she was subjected to bullying and a work environment where “truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else”.


Weiss, well-known for her reporting and opinion writing, worked for the New York Times for the past three years. From her bio section of her website:


“Before joining the Times, Bari was an op-ed editor at the Wall Street Journal and an associate book review editor there. For two years, she was a senior editor at Tablet, the online magazine of Jewish news, politics, and culture, where she edited the site’s political and news coverage. She regularly appears on shows such as The View, Morning Joe and Bill Maher. Bari is a Pittsburgh native and a graduate of Columbia University. She is the winner of the Reason Foundation’s 2018 Bastiat Prize, which annually honors writing that “best demonstrates the importance of freedom with originality, wit, and eloquence. Vanity Fair recently called Weiss the Times’s “star opinion writer” and The Jerusalem Post just named Bari the seventh most influential Jew in the world. Her parents were disappointed she didn’t rank higher.”


Her resignation letter circulated yesterday among media outlets, writers, broadcasters, and editors. We at RINewsToday ask, is there room for all voices in today’s journalism? Is there a clear line between news and opinion. And are all voices welcome? We hope there is room for a lively, civil discussion.


Here is her letter of resignation to the New York Times, which she published on her website and social media accounts:


Dear A.G.,


It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times. 


I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.


I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.


But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.


Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.


My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.


There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong. 


I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.


Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.


What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets. 


Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveat.


It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati. 


The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned, and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.


Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry. 


Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.


All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.


For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. “An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,” you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper. 


None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”


Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them. 





Rhode Island News as of 07/15/20 of 6:59am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Tuesday afternoon storm strikes Newport.  The average age of Rhode Islanders getting COVID-19 is falling.  The New England Patriots are hoping to have some fans watch games in-person for the upcoming season.

>>Storm Hits Newport Hard

(Newport, RI)  --  Newport appeared to get the worst of a Tuesday afternoon storm that hit southern Rhode Island.  The National Weather Service said a small sailboat was blown over in Newport Harbor, there was up to two feet of flooding on several streets and the Newport Rotary, and the Newport Library was closed due to flooding, among other reports.  There was also up to one-and-a-half feet of flooding on Beach Street in Narragansett and one-and-a-quarter-inch hail reported in South Kingstown.

>>Average Age Of COVID-19 Patients In Rhode Island Falling

(Undated)  --  The average age of Rhode Islanders who are being diagnosed with COVID-19 is getting younger.  According to RI Health Department data, the average age was about 38 years old last week.  The average age peaked at the height of the virus pandemic in the first week of April at about 55 years old, and has been falling since then.  State officials say the trend is being watched, and that this is why Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott has been emphasizing the need for people of all ages to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.

>>Alleged Cocaine-Trafficking Pipeline To Rhode Island Shut Down

(Providence, RI)  --  The U.S. Justice Department says an alleged cocaine pipeline to Rhode Island has been shut down.  Law enforcement reportedly conducted raids in several locations in Woonsocket yesterday, and the DOJ says five people were charged in federal court in Providence.  It's alleged that the pipeline may have been responsible for the shipment of more than two-hundred pounds of cocaine into Rhode Island from Puerto Rico through the U.S. Mail system.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Prov City Council To Possibly Subpoena Video Of Charged Officer

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence City Council is scheduled to vote tomorrow on issuing a subpoena for body camera footage being examined in an assault case against a police sergeant.  Joseph Hanley is currently suspended with pay as he is accused of assaulting a man in handcuffs.  City Council President Sabina Matos says Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré [[ parry ]] has refused to grant access to the video after a request from the Providence External Review Authority.

>>RISD Faculty Agree To Concessions To Avoid Layoffs

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Journal reports full-time faculty at the Rhode Island School of Design are agreeing to pension and salary adjustments to avoid faculty layoffs in the upcoming academic year.  The layoffs were threatened last month after the school president said the college was hit by a multi-million-dollar deficit caused by the closing of in-person classes this past spring.  Other bargaining units will vote on the revised proposal this week, according to the Projo report.

>>Patriots Announce Plan To Let Percentage Of Fans Into Games

(Foxboro, MA)  --  The New England Patriots are hoping to allow a certain percentage of fans into games at Gillette Stadium this season.  The team is putting that percentage at about twenty-percent, which would equal about thirteen-thousand fans.  Face coverings would be required at all times.  The Patriots say parking for 2020 home games will be free.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-15-2020 00:06:10

RI/US Coronavirus testing problems - meeting the unmet needs

RI/US Coronavirus testing problems – meeting the unmet needs

July 14, 2020/Richard Asinof


Editor’s Note: We publish this one month since it was written, in June, 2020. As we publish once again a call for testing sufficiency is growing from coast to coast. Particularly in hotspot states of Florida and Texas. But also in Rhode Island we are hearing of days’ wait to get a test, and then 3, 4, 5, 8, or more days to get results. These are for symptomatic as well as asymptomatic people, who work in high contact jobs and have been instructed to get tested by the state. Getting a test is, we have been told, only in a point in time – so, waiting days and then days again for results means a person should quarantine during all that – and the most they know is that they either did or did not have coronavirus all those days ago.


Also: since this article was written, the immediate test result facility run by CVS at Twin River has been shut down and a new program with CVS involving self-testing drop-offs (still needing a wait for results) has begun.


by Richard Asinof,


Photo: Rosa de Castillo, a member of Lt. Gov. Dan McKee’s staff, gets tested at the new facility managed by the Open Door Health Clinic at the Southside Cultural Center in Providence.


Testing for the coronavirus has emerged as the data fulcrum, the crucible, upon which the reopening of the economy in the post-pandemic world now depends.


What current testing results provide us with is an individualized digital snapshot, positive or negative, for the virus, an illuminating moment, for sure, much like a sudden flash of lightning that transforms darkness into a brief glimmer of a brighter world.


But, testing alone, deployed as a surveillance technique, will not stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has not gone away, despite the wishful thinking by some, including President Trump.


Personal habits – the wearing of masks, the frequent washing of hands, and maintaining social distancing – remain the most effective tools to limit the spread, in advance of being able to administer an effective, safe vaccine.


The challenge of testing is attempting to map the spread of the virus by charting the longitudinal metrics of data trends – the number of deaths, the number of cases identified, the number of hospitalizations, the number of intubations, the demographics of who has been infected by the virus, and the correlation between high-density living and working environments. The ratio of disease spread – how many people someone with the virus infects – becomes a key metric.


In response, many elected officials, business CEOs and the news media have become amateur epidemiologists, trying to read the “tea leaves” to interpret the data trends and translate them into projection models about what may or may not happen.


Translated, the long-term meaning of testing results remains open to interpretation. Is it safe to go back into the water? It often depends upon whom you ask – and who has not yet been tested.


It can be confusing, with lots of conflicting messages around testing, particularly when some states, such as Florida, intentionally attempted to cloud the data results to promote an early reopening. Former Florida state public health official Rebekah Jones, who said she was fired for refusing to fudge the public health data, has responded by setting up her own public health dashboard. Jones had alleged that the health department under Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis had been manipulating statistics to support his desire to reopen. [See link below to The Washington Post story, “Florida fired its coronavirus data scientist. Now she’s publishing the statistics on her own.”]


Here in Rhode Island, Gov. Gina Raimondo has proudly proclaimed that the state has been a national leader in testing, with a high rate of testing per capita, with some 17 percent of the population having been tested. The problem is that there have been some “significant gaps” in the screening process around who has been tested, and whether or not the test results were “accurate,” given the high number of false negatives reported with the Abbott device.


Initial testing was restricted to those who had “symptoms” of the virus, with appointments made through primary care physicians. One problem was that many of those “infected” by the virus were asymptomatic. A second problem was that access to the initial testing sites was limited to those who could drive to a testing site. A third problem was that the testing sites often presented significant language and cultural barriers, particularly for immigrant populations.


What the demographics of case counts and deaths have revealed, along with the testing results, were Rhode Island’s profound racial and ethnic health disparities.


For instance, a recent effort to test for the presence of antibodies by the state found that the “seroprevalence” – the presence of antibodies in those who had been exposed to COVID-19 – was approximately 2.2 percent. However, the antibody testing revealed wide variations between different races and ethnicities – 8.2 percent among Hispanic Rhode Islanders, 5.2 percent among African American Rhode Islanders, and .9 percent as white Caucasians.


Expanding the testing
Last week, the state moved to expand testing for people without symptoms, including restaurant workers, childcare workers, bus drivers, gym employees and personal workers, who can now schedule a free test at National Guard testing sites.


One of the new testing sites established is being managed by the Open Door Health Clinic in Providence, the state’s first dedicated LGBTQ health clinic, which officially opened its doors on March 2. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “We help you to be you.”


The new testing facility, located in the parking lot of the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island on Broad Street, officially opened on Monday, June 8, and the demand has been very high, according to Amy Nunn, Sc.D.,the executive director of the Open Door Health Clinic and the executive director of the Rhode Island Public Health Institute.


“Richard, my site is booked,” Nunn told ConvergenceRI in an interview last week, talking about the high demand, having already tested some 80 patients. “We are full until Tuesday.”


Nunn praised the coordination efforts by Commerce RI, which facilitated the construction of the site, provided access to the personal protection equipment, and the collaboration with the National Guard.


“Their response was immediate, organized and fantastic,” Nunn said. “They sent in the National Guard, who trained us on how to don and doff the PPE, which sounds basic, but it is really complicated, to get dressed without touching anything. The most complicated part is getting undressed so as not to contaminate anyone.”


The National Guard, Nunn continued, “They measured the site; they set up all the tents, and then facilitated us getting the tests, the PPE, everything. I cannot say one negative thing about the whole experience.”


Nunn also praised the efforts of community leaders in the Latinx community, including Rosa de Castillo, a community outreach specialist who works in Lt. Gov. Dan McKee’s office, and Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, for helping to get the word out on radio about the new testing site. Last Thursday, de Castillo herself got tested at the new facility.


“The Latinx patients are literally lined up around the block,” Nunn said. “I don’t think this is rocket science. I just think we need a more culturally congruent and deliberate approach to reaching out to the Latinx community leaders. I think that people want to get screened.”



Here is the ConvergenceRI interview with Amy Nunn, the executive director of the R.I. Public Health Institute and the executive director of Open Door Health clinic, talking about the launch of a new testing site in Providence, facilitated by the R.I. National Guard, which has focused on serving the unmet needs in the community.


ConvergenceRI: What kinds of tests are you using?
NUNN: The PCR test, nasal swab.


ConvergenceRI: You are not working with the Abbott testing machines?


ConvergenceRI: You opened on Monday. What has been the response so far?
NUNN: We are delighted that we have patient volume, because I thought that it would be slow. And, it’s busy.


ConvergenceRI: How important is the new testing site in terms of increasing surveillance?
NUNN: Looking at the big picture, I believe we’ve made several missteps. The first was the challenge with the federal response and not having enough test kits to keep up with demand.


That wasn’t anyone here’s fault, but now that we’re over the hump, I think that we should be moving toward universal screening, for a number of reasons.


One, it normalizes a test. Two, it’s not expensive. And three, we’re living in a hot spot. Rhode Island is a hot spot. And there are hot spots within the hot spots.


This test is not very expensive, and I believe we should be screening everyone.


That is particularly important in minority communities, where there is a lot of fear and stigma [around testing].


Normalizing testing by encouraging everyone to get screened is really important, because so many people may be asymptomatic.


ConvergenceRI: Is one of the issues that we need to keep testing?
NUNN: Yes. I think we should.


ConvergenceRI: Why are you so busy? Where is the demand coming from? How many positive tests have you had, to date?
NUNN: I don’t know [the number of positive tests]. We just started on Monday.


So far, we have had a grab bag of totally different people.


One group is the LGBTQ folks. A second group is protesters. A third group [seeking tests] is Latinx folks.


We have deliberately focused on all these people because there is an unmet need in these categories, and also, because they are our core competencies.


ConvergenceRI: Will you get the first test results back at the beginning of next week?
NUNN: Yes.


ConvergenceRI: How many people, roughly, have you tested, to date?
NUNN: I think around 80.


ConvergenceRI: Are you coordinating with the Providence Community Health Centers?
NUNN: One of their administrators has asked if they could come by. We definitely told them that we were doing it. But we haven’t made a strategic decision to work on [testing] together. Everyone agrees that there is unmet need.


ConvergenceRI: From what I have been told, a number of community health centers, including Thundermist, Providence Community Health Centers, and Blackstone Valley Community Health Centers are all doing expanded testing.
NUNN: Yes.


ConvergenceRI: Is there a demand for antibody testing?
NUNN: I want to do it, but there is not a good test on the commercial marketplace.


ConvergenceRI: Have you been working in close collaboration with the R.I. Department of Health, with their new guidelines, released this week, for expanded testing for people without symptoms, where you do not need physician’s request?
NUNN: Yes.


ConvergenceRI: What have you learned, as result of opening Open Door Health earlier this spring?
NUNN: We opened on March 2; the first diagnosis in Rhode Island was on March 1. We moved to telemedicine three weeks later, and we’re still doing a lot of telemedicine, but not exclusively.


Patients love telemedicine, and the providers also like it. It’s a great option. We have been able to do most things on the telemedicine platform. But there are things that are difficult to do on telemedicine, like labs, for example.


I would love it if there were telemedicine parity after July 30, which is when Blue Cross has committed to so far.


What else have I learned? I miss seeing people in person; I miss my team.


People are starting to come back in for STD visits, which is good. There were some patients who faded away during COVID-19.


Patients that were the most persistent about their health were our transgender patients. And, I think that’s because there has been so much unmet need and pent-up demand. All of them kept their appointments; there were zero no shows. They were willing to come in, even during the peak of the pandemic.


ConvergenceRI: It seems you have created a trustworthy source of health care, which, in this environment, is really important.
NUNN: I would love to have more patients, but things are slow, they are picking up pretty quickly. That’s good.


ConvergenceRI: What part of the story about what you’re doing hasn’t been covered and needs to be covered better?
NUNN: I think there is hope for offering better screening for the Latinx community.


ConvergenceRI: Is the neighborhood protective of the clinic?
NUNN: we’re working with the Southside Cultural Center. They’ve been wonderful. I mean, a lot of the other businesses have been closed. But we have felt a warm embrace from them.


I wanted to do this testing site at the clinic, but my landlord told me no. I’m still mad about it. They wouldn’t let me do it on their property. So, we’re doing it at the Southside Cultural Center. It ended up being a better fit, anyway.


We have way more space there, and it has been just a great partnership.


ConvergenceRI: In terms of other partnerships, in terms of outreach, have there been other collaborations in getting the news out about the new testing site?
NUNN: RI PRIDE has been awesome. They have been wonderful partners. We also work with the Providence Housing Authority; their executive director is on my board.


ConvergenceRI: Is your approach something that can be replicated?
NUNN: My hope is that I can prove that you do this kind of screening, in the middle of the ‘hood, and that this will become a model.


I’d love for us to open a respiratory clinic, if we can. That’s the next step. I’d love to figure out sustainable funding.


ConvegenceRI: What are the takeaways for Rhode Island?
NUNN: I think we can get people to come out [for testing] if we do community outreach. But we can’t wait for people to come to us. We have to really do outreach into the community.


I think we should be moving toward universal screening.


If you look at the data from countries that are trying to do better, in Europe and South Korea and in China, it is pretty compelling. Wuhan screened everybody; in 10 days they screen 2 million people. That is remarkable by any measure.


We are the most affluent country n the world. If we want to do this, we can do this. We just need political will to get it done – and to using all of our talent as a country and as a state. I am committed to trying to do our part.


Read the complete story, here:,5827

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.

Shark! Block Island's Giant Shark Tournament

Shark! Block Island’s Giant Shark Tournament

July 14, 2020/RINewsToday


Held at Champlain’s in New Harbor, Block Island, the Annual Block Island Shark Tournament was held on July 9th to 11th. In addition to the sport challenge, some big purses were ready to be won.


1st – Bad Company – 314 lb. Thresher – $5,977


2nd – Atlantic Hunter – 275 lb. Mako – $12,647


3rd – All In – 258 lb. Mako – $5,860


4th – No Pressure – 236 lb. Blue – $2,565


Photo, top, by Matthew Kriedel – Photos, below: Paul Marshall


See more information, here:



Learn Art Appraisal - with Michael Rose

Learn Art Appraisal – with Michael Rose

July 14, 2020/RINewsToday


For most people, the only exposure they’ve had to appraisals is through The Antiques Roadshow. But, that’s not really what appraisals are like. There’s actually a great deal of process behind the scenes, including inspections, research, and writing.


Michael Rose is offering a quick crash course in the basics of appraisals for collectors and artists online on Saturday, July 25 at 6pm. Cost is $15. The event will be interactive and be held on ZOOM.


Rose says, “I hope you’ll join me to learn more about the realities of art appraising! Know someone who might be interested in this program? Feel free to pass along the information.”


About Art Appraisal Basics


Art appraisal is an important means to learn more about the background and value of one’s collection. While most people are familiar with the “appraisals” of programs like Antiques Roadshow, this short crash course will detail the when, why, and how of professional appraisal practice and teach how collectors can go about securing appropriate valuations for their artworks. This is ideal for individuals who own artworks and would like to learn more about the appraisal process. Attendees will walk away with a working knowledge of art appraisals.


This interactive speaking program will take place live via Zoom Saturday, July 25 at 6pm. Michael will speak and share slide images for approximately 45mins. Participants will receive a Zoom link the day of the event.


Participants are welcome to submit questions before, during, or after the event.


About Michael Rose


Michael Rose is an art historian, gallerist, and appraiser based in Southern New England. Currently the Gallery Manager at the historic Providence Art Club, Michael is a sought-after independent art advisor and appraiser who has assessed works of art in private and museum collections by artists like Andy Warhol and Wayne Thiebaud.


A frequent speaker on topics related to art history and art business, Michael has given presentations at the MFA, Boston, RISD Museum, and the Bristol Art Museum. He has also taught classes in RISD’s Continuing Education Department, and at other organizations throughout the area.


Michael holds a BA in Art History from Providence College and earned his Certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts at New York University, where he studied under some of the nation’s leading art appraisers. Michael is an Associate of the Appraisers Association of America and completes all his appraisals in accordance with the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), the only appraisal methodology recognized by the United States Congress.


For more information on Michael visit his website at


For questions, please email Michael at

Newport Hospitality Joins with Corinthian Events


Hospitality Joins with Corinthian Events

July 14, 2020/RINewsToday


Corinthian Events, one of Boston’s most prominent special events companies, and Newport Hospitality of Rhode Island, the only accredited full-service Destination Management Company (DMC) in the state, today announced its principals have entered into a strategic partnership to unite the two companies.


This powerful move enables both firms to create a single leading force in the DMC arena in New England and expand its reach for clients seeking exceptional corporate and specialty events.


Newport Hospitality, Inc. is the only accredited full-service DMC in Rhode Island, with over 30 years’ experience delivering high touch service and results to clients. Founded in 1988, Newport Hospitality’s professional team combines many years of event experience and creativity in designing, coordinating, and executing events and activities for corporate meetings, conventions, and incentive groups.


The company is well respected for its professionalism, extensive local knowledge and long-lasting trusted relationships. Newport Hospitality has been led by its President, Laurie Z. Stroll CMP, DMCP, and Cheryl L. Twiss CASE, Vice President of Sales. The business has flourished with a dynamic operations team led by Emily Manocchio DMCP who manages DMC services for more than 70 programs per year in Newport, Providence and Watch Hill, RI and specializes in high-level executive, corporate programs. Widely known for its role in managing all corporate hospitality during the Volvo Ocean Race in 2015 and 2018, Newport Hospitality has been recognized with many industry awards.


Corinthian Events LLC, one of Boston and New England’s premier event design and production companies and proud members of the DMC Network, has been producing events for more than 20 years. As one of the largest, oldest, and most respected event companies in Boston, the team has collaborated and worked with Newport Hospitality Inc. for many years. Co-CEOs Courtney Church and Jill Tate, DMCP have been at the helm of Corinthian Events LLC since the company’s inception. The firm produces an average of 200+ projects per year, ranging from multi-day corporate events, nonprofit and social gatherings to planning complex conferences and meetings. Corinthian Events’ award-winning services span outside of New England and this acquisition anchors them as a leading force in event and DMC services in the Northeast.


“When Laurie approached us to discuss her retiring from the business, we did not hesitate to engage in a conversation, despite the pandemic’s effect on our world and industry,” noted Corinthian Events CEO Courtney Church. She continued, “We already had an amazing synergy between our firms, so it made perfect sense to join forces to further expand the reach of both companies.”


Jill Tate, who grew up in nearby Little Compton, RI spent summers on the ocean sailing and felt this was truly her destiny. “I went to high school in Middletown and spent quite a lot of time in Newport and couldn’t imagine a more natural expansion for both companies. We are excited to take the amazing reputation of Newport Hospitality into the future with a local team who has its finger on the pulse of the area.”


“After years of building a successful company, I am proud of what we have accomplished and it is important to me to see the Newport Hospitality legacy continue to thrive,” added Laurie Z. Stroll, President of Newport Hospitality. “I believe there is no better team to make that happen than Corinthian Events. Both firms share similar values and have been part of the prestigious DMC Network, a global consortium of destination management companies that adhere to the highest set of standards and best practices representing over 100 destinations globally.”


Under this new partnership, Newport Hospitality will not skip a beat in managing its current, returning, and future clients. The team will be led by veteran sales professional Cheryl Twiss along with Emily Manocchio. Combined, Twiss and Manocchio have more than two decades of experience at the firm and will be further supported by several members of the Corinthian Events team who will work out of the Newport office.


With this acquisition, Corinthian Events and Newport Hospitality have taken their DMC Network motto, “We’re Here for You!” to a whole new level of excellence.


Rhode Island News as of 07/14/20 of 8:40am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: As the U.S. deals with a coronavirus surge, some COVID numbers in Rhode Island are on the rise.  A North Providence restaurant is closed after failing a coronavirus inspection.  The state legislature's special summer session has started.

>>Coronavirus In Rhode Island: Seven-Day Average, One-Day Total Increase

(Providence, RI)  --  Some key Rhode Island coronavirus statistics besides hospital patients are trending upward.  The seven-day average of new cases was fifty-five yesterday, the highest in almost a month, while the number of new cases reported Saturday, seventy-eight, was the highest single-day count in over a month.  The state's three-day positivity rate when only counting those who tested negative for the first time is four-point-two percent.

>>North Providence Restaurant Closed For COVID Violations

(North Providence, RI)  --  A second restaurant in Rhode Island has been temporarily closed for alleged coronavirus-related health violations.  When Avenue Grill in North Providence was first inspected on June 29th, it was determined that no regulations at all were being followed, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health.  The restaurant's owner allegedly told an inspector that he believed COVID-19 is a hoax and that, quote, "the people that have died were going to die anyway".  The restaurant was shut down after a second inspection on July 7th.

>>Four Charlestown Officers Positive For Virus

(Charlestown, RI)  --  Four police officers in Charlestown have been placed on sick leave after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a report from the Westerly Sun.  The police department is now missing twenty-percent of its force.  Charlestown Police Chief Michael Paliotta says the department will be OK staff-wise.

>>Rhode Island Legislature Summer Session Underway

(Providence, RI)  --  Monday was the opening day of a special summer session for the Rhode Island General Assembly.  The Senate voted majority in favor for a bill to guarantee tax-free disability pensions to firefighters if they get any kind of cancer.  An election bill to have mail ballot applications sent to all voters for the upcoming primary and general elections was introduced in the House.  Senate President Dominick Ruggerio quickly stated his opposition to that bill.

>>Senior Adviser To Governor Resigns After DUI Arrest

(Providence, RI)  --  A senior adviser in Governor Gina Raimondo's office resigned last week after he was charged with a DUI in Narragansett.  Daniel Connors reportedly admitted to wrongdoing in court and had his license suspended for thirty days.  Connors is the former Rhode Island Senate Majority leader who represented the Cumberland area.  According to a report from The Providence Journal, he previously crashed a vehicle into a telephone pole in Cumberland in 2004.

>>Pawtucket City Council Asks State To Consider Stronger Fireworks Laws

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The Pawtucket City Council is asking state lawmakers to consider stronger fireworks legislation.  WJAR-TV reports the council unanimously voted last week to send a letter to the Pawtucket delegation of the RI General Assembly.  Pawtucket is one of many cities where officials say this year has been so much worse as far as illegal firework activity and the associated complaints about them.  It's believed that pandemic-canceled fireworks shows are the reason behind the uptick.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-14-2020 00:03:03

Tools for your toolbox when dealing with anger

Tools for your toolbox when dealing with anger.

July 13, 2020/RINewsToday


Learn some techniques to help control anger – your own or your responses to the anger of others at a FREE “Conflict Resolution Circle” to be held online this Wednesday, July 15th at 10 am.


This is an offering of the Youth Restoration Project.


Are you struggling with anger during office zoom calls? Are you feeling frustrated at the grocery store because people aren’t giving you space? How many friends have you blocked on Social Media? 


Join the group online and learn some simple techniques to use during challenging times. Trinice Holden and Julia Steiny will take you through some of the tricks to keep in your back pocket so you don’t lose your cool.


Please email  to reserve your spot! You will receive a link to join the zoom circle on the day of the circle.




Facilitators of the Conflict Resolution Circle are:

Trinice Holden – Executive Director



Trinice began working for YRP as a Restorative Conferencing Facilitator under our grant from the National Institute of Justice, and quickly became Implementation Manager, guiding organizations, schools and community programs through the implementation of Restorative Justice Practices (RJP).  Her expertise with the Restorative approach builds on 15 years’ experience in the human service field and 10 years as owner and manager of two profitable small businesses.  For 5 years she was coordinator for international exchange students, coming from very different backgrounds and communities.  Trinice recently earned her certification as a High Performance Coach, combining nicely with her RJP certification.  She works with passion to resolve conflicts, cultivate relationships and bridge communication gaps among youth and parents, businesses, government and private agencies and community programs.  She values RJP as an ancient tradition that’s been practiced internationally by indigenous people to bring all voices to the table, placing the highest value on listening and speaking from the heart.  To contact Trinice, email her at


Julia Steiny – Founder & Consultant


Julia founded the Youth Restoration Project in 2008, and served as Managing Director since its incorporation.  She’s now stepping back to support Trinice as Executive Director, while she continues to train and consult for YRP.  Her first major YRP project began in the Central Falls schools in 2009, under the direction of Superintendent Dr. Frances Gallo.  In the fall of 2014, the National Institute of Justice awarded a large grant to the Central Falls School District, YRP and two research organizations to create, implement and evaluate a Restorative Justice Conferencing system in several RI public schools.  Julia is a certified mediator and Family Group Conference Facilitator; she’s trained at the Suffolk Center for Restorative Justice, at the International Institute for Restorative Practices, and participated in many other trainings and national conferences about RJP.  Julia also served on the Providence School Board, and for 16 years wrote the weekly education column for the Providence Journal.  Off and on over two decades, she’s written for many outlets and agencies, as well as serving as communications consultant for the DataSpark team at the Providence Plan.  She’s currently Vice President of the RI Mental Health Association.  Julia can be reached at




About the Youth Restoration Practice of RI


The Youth Restoration Project builds relationships and community, one creative interaction at a time. YRP is a Rhode-Island based training and consulting group working with organizations to help them build interpersonal cultures where all people feel heard – where young and older, bosses and employees collaborate effectively, trust each other and their community, and have confidence they can handle conflict constructively.


YRP got its start working on school culture, shifting disciplinary systems to a restorative, healing model rather than rely on punishment, coercion, and “zero tolerance”.  YRP has also worked with organizations as diverse as Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth and Families, social service agencies, arts groups and small businesses.


Restorative practices are skills and concepts universally applicable to interpersonal relationships at work, home and play.  They nurture cooperative rather than adversarial approaches. to accountability, as the key to creating pleasant, safe and respectful environments.


Learn more at


Our Networking Pick of the Week

Our Networking Pick of the Week

July 13, 2020/RINewsToday


The Microbusiness Association of New England will hold its first networking event on Friday, July 17th at noon on Zoom.


The association provides training, access to resources, and networking opportunities throughout New England.


About this Event


The group will discuss your business and introduce their staff members who provide programming throughout the year.


The invitation link for zoom is:



Rhode Island News as of 07/13/20 of 6:40am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: An NFL team owner is released from the hospital in Newport after being diagnosed with COVID-19.  Federal coronavirus relief money is being used to help renters.  The Rhode Island General Assembly is returning for a special summer session this week.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Crews Search For Missing Swimmer Off Narragansett Beach

(Narragansett, RI)  --  A search for a missing swimmer is set to continue this morning after it stopped and started late Sunday night.  The Coast Guard and the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force reportedly responded after a swimmer went missing off Scarborough State Beach at around 9 p.m.  The Coast Guard sent boats and a helicopter.

>>NFL Owner Released From Hospital After Coronavirus Treatment

(Newport, RI)  --  The owner of the Arizona Cardinals football team is out of the hospital in Rhode Island after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.  Michael Bidwill, who was at Newport Hospital, issued a statement saying he's learned first-hand how serious COVID-19 is.  As he recovers, he encourages everyone to continue taking steps to stop the spread of the respiratory illness.  The 55-year-old caught the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast.

>>Coronavirus Relief Money Being Earmarked For Renters

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo on Friday announced a new initiative through the United Way to provide seven-million dollars in federal coronavirus relief money for renters to stay in their homes.  Up to six months of rent backdated to March 1st is available; the initiative also pays for legal representation for the tenants.  Applications will be accepted starting today; tenants and landlords must agree to negotiate a new payment plan.  Officials say this program will not deal with as many federal restrictions as another program set up to help renters ward off evictions during the pandemic through Housing Help RI.

>>Rhode Island Contact-Tracing App Updated

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo also unveiled a new version of the state's coronavirus contact-tracing app on Friday. "Crush COVID" 2.0 has increased functionality, according to the governor, including the ability to write notes about places people have been, expanding the symptom tracker to a twenty-day period, and the ability to download the app in Portuguese.  About sixty-thousand people have downloaded the app; Raimondo wants to see the number at one-hundred-thousand.

>>Rhode Island General Assembly Has Special Summer Session This Week

(Providence, RI)  --  The full Rhode Island legislature is returning for a special summer session this week.  First up, today, is the Senate, followed by the full House meeting on Thursday and then the Senate again.  Included on the docket this week, but not scheduled for a vote according to a report from The Providence Journal, is the massive lottery contract extension for the state's lottery provider.  There are votes scheduled for bills including one that would guarantee tax-free disability pensions to firefighters if they get any kind of cancer, one to put the question of removing the phrase "and Providence Plantations" from the state name before voters once again, and another affecting emergency mail ballot voting.

>>University Of Rhode Island Gets Money For Food Waste Program

(Kingston, RI)  --  Senator Jack Reed's office says the University of Rhode Island is receiving a one-hundred-thousand-dollar grant to start a new program aimed at preventing food waste.  URI says it will teach people through coursework and community stewardship projects to reduce food waste, provide healthy food to underserved populations, and adopt conservation behaviors.  Officials say the coronavirus pandemic has brought food access and food waste issues to the forefront, and that this six-week course may appeal to Rhode Islanders who want to contribute to local solutions.

Jim McCabe/Source Staff/djc           RI) AZ)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-13-2020 00:11:29

Andiamo! RI Italian-American groups coming together to defend their history

Andiamo! RI Italian-American groups coming together to defend their history

July 12, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: “Columbus Square Monument”, 1930, RI State Archives


A group of leaders of Rhode Island Italian-American organizations will meet to plan efforts to defend their history. In a letter sent to over 25 Italian-American groups, the meeting is planned for late July, and will be held at The DaVinci Center in Providence.


The invitation was sent “in the wake of recent protests which have included destruction of iconic statutes such as the Christopher Columbus statue, and even campaigns to eliminate Columbus Day” .


The intent is to discuss plans to “mobilize the Italian-American community to fend off the attacks which are being launched against our heritage, our heroes, and our holidays” as  group effort.


Christopher Columbus statue


This organizing effort follows the attempted destruction, and eventual movement of the Christopher Columbus statue in Providence. The statue is now in storage at an undisclosed location, having been ordered there by Mayor Elorza. There has been interest by several Italian-American groups, and also the cities of Johnston and Narragansett in hosting the statue made by the RI based Gorham silver company.


Columbus Day Weekend in RI


There has been increasing calls to rename the iconic Columbus Day weekend holiday in Rhode Island, which includes a Columbus Day Parade on Federal Hill as its culmination with celebration of Italian food, craft, music, and dignitaries. The event includes awards for community service.


At last year’s event a few local politicians and, in particular, several Providence elected officials who identify as progressive Democrats spoke publicly about not celebrating Christopher Columbus, later acknowledging that they had participated in the parade.


Brown University


Brown University, going back to 2015, began efforts to change its weekend designation from Columbus Day Weekend to Fall Weekend, ending in 2016 when the Faculty Executive Committee voted to change the name, officially, to Indigenous People’s Day. Thomas Roberts, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, chairs the Faculty Executive Committee. Roberts issued the following statement after the meeting that the vote of the faculty “expressed their support for the name change as an opportunity to show support for Native Americans on our campus and beyond, and to celebrate Native American culture and history”.


The first Italo-American elected to statewide office was Louis W. Cappelli; he graduated from both Brown University and Yale Law School. in 1940 he became the first Italo-American elected to the office of Lt. Governor. He was elected two times as Lt. Governor, and then was appointed an Associate Justice of Superior Court.


In 2014, Gina Raimondo was elected governor, becoming the first female governor of Rhode Island – a major achievement for anyone, male or female; but especially significant as an Italo-American woman.


Black Lives Matter Holiday


This year the establishment of a new local and national holiday recognizing Black Lives Matter has met with increasing acceptance. Knowing that there are economic considerations with every national holiday, the idea of replacing Columbus Day with a Black Lives Matter Day has been proposed.


As one Italian-American supporter of keeping the Columbus Day holiday in place said, “many would support a Black Lives holiday – but it should not come at the sacrifice of one of the biggest national holidays for Italian-Americans. We can support each other. We are all Americans.”


The National Columbus Education Foundation


The five most significant Italian American organizations in the nation have come together, “deciding that the Genovese navigator deserved a fair and balanced examination and the more than 20 million-person Italian American Community must help lead the effort to make sure he gets it. Its members include The Columbus Citizens Foundation, the Italians Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy (OSDIA), and UNICO National. These groups have “gathered together in an unprecedented show of Italian American unity to form, and fund, the National Columbus Education Foundation.


“The mission of our new foundation is to bring a nuanced and fair perspective to the examination of a complex historical figure,” said John M. Viola, executive director, and executive producer of the Italian American Podcast. “It is our immediate intention to begin the work of building a coalition of Americans of all ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds to make clear that our nation deserves an honest look at Columbus and all aspects of its history. Up until now, critics of Columbus have refused to have an open discussion and based their vitriolic attacks on one or two accounts of Columbus’ life written hundreds of years ago by people with their own agendas, and we think that ought to be corrected.  At this critical moment in American social history, if we really want to correct historical wrongs, then we can’t perform that delicate surgery by chopping at it with a blunt axe, and that is what is happening.”


Andiamo! Italians Make Their Mark in Rhode Island


In 2019 Andiamo! Italians Make Their Mark in Rhode Island, a collection of historical archives, was established at the RI State Archives, in working with local Italian American groups. “Italian Americans are one of Rhode Island’s most prominent and influential communities,” said Secretary Gorbea, at its opening. “They came to America with an incredible work ethic, and despite many challenges in the early days Italian Americans have shaped Rhode Island’s cultural and political landscape. Their story is a powerful reminder that immigration to a new place is full of complexity.”


There are an estimated 20 million Italian Americans. Rhode Island has the highest population of Italian Americans per capita in the United States, with Providence and Johnston being the cities with the greatest populations of those from Italian descent.


This is a developing story.

On the Road to Freedom - Black History Matters

On the Road to Freedom – Black History Matters

July 12, 2020/RINewsToday



(Editor’s Note: Black History Matters is the second of several articles from different perspectives on Black history planned by RINewsToday – we thank Robb Dimmick and Ray Rickman for allowing this publication.)


Some time back we came upon this exciting Roadside Guide. There isn’t a more appropriate time to print this for all Rhode Islanders and those interested in RI history and the black experience to benefit from. Whether you take it on as a multi-weekend excursion – which might be altogether too much to do – or one city or region at a time, the guide is being continually updated.


In this time of social distancing, it’s the perfect tourism activity to do with a combination of neighborhood walks, driving, and reading. The most educated historian will find things they did not know. The novice will be left rushing home to the computer to learn even more.


History matters. Black History Matters. This is the time to learn it. And Rhode Island is the perfect place to begin the lessons.


Exciting Website Identifies Hundreds of Rhode Island African American Sites


“On the Rhode to Freedom: A Roadside Guide to African American Sites in Rhode Island” is the outcome of three year’s worth of research by public scholar Robb Dimmick, under grants from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, the Herman H. Rose Civic, Cultural and Media Access Fund, and the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.


The guide assembles an extraordinary history of African Americans’ contributions to the landscape of the state. With over 400 entries, the guide evidences the surprising number of buildings, sites, and markers that hold significant facts of Black life in Rhode Island, a state whose geographic smallness belies its enormous accomplishments.


The guide can be accessed at:


Sites date as far back as the 18th century with Aaron Briggs, the enslaved youth who assisted with the burning of the Gaspee, to more recent sites such as the newly named Bannister Street on College Hill.


Some entries describe a city name and how the name is related to a Black leader or event. Others direct you to statues, or specific addresses. For instance, in Central Falls you’ll learn this:


CENTRAL FALLS: The Elizabeth Buffum Chase Home was established at Hunt & Broad Streets. A leading abolitionist, Chace, called the “conscience of Rhode Island,” moved to this home in 1858 and welcomed Black leaders Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Sojourner Truth, and others, using it as as a stop on the Underground Railroad. (See sculpture of her in the Rhode Island State House.)


And, you’ll work your way down to more commonly popular locations…


NEWPORT: Bowen’s Wharf: America’s Cup Avenue at Treadway Inn. The most active slave port on the East Coast during Newport’s “Golden Age,” 1700-1750. The first slave ship arrived here in 1696 to sell sell four Africans. 


“Stroll the highways and byways of Rhode Island and be astonished by the extraordinarily rich, compelling and groundbreaking contributions African Americans have made to the state’s landscape and cultural heritage. On foot or by car, or in the comfort or your own home, this guide will assist you in locating and exploring exciting sites, events and people. From slavery to abolition, reconstruction to the gilded age, from civil rights to present day, this is a story unlike any other in the country.” – Robb Dimmick



The rising of a Black Lives Matter flag in Warren, RI


Dear Dee Advice - Emotional vs. Non-emotional? Business with friends?

“Dear Dee” Advice – Emotional vs. non-emotional? Business with friends?

July 11, 2020/Donna Rustigian Mac


By Donna Rustigian Mac, “Dear Dee” Advice Columnist


Hello—it’s Dee…with your communication advice for the week…so you can create healthy human connections…. that means trusted relationships in your personal and professional life.


Have you listened to the Q&A on audio? Well, here it is! Let me know what you think!



Dear Dee,


I tend to be very emotional in the moment and I am trying to build my communication skills.  I work with engineers who have shown no emotion, so there is a divide. What would you suggest?





Dear M.E.,


It sounds like the goal here is to work together, in harmony, with people very different. Welcome to the world! This is what we attempt to do all the time and it’s not an easy job. But the good news is you’re mindful of who you are as a communicator. So, the first suggestion I have is to own that. You lead with emotions.


The thing is if you’re speaking with someone who isn’t as emotional as you are, like the engineers you work with, you may fail to be influential. That’s because people are more apt to relate with people who are like them. I’m not saying to totally change your approach because it’s important that you be yourself but try getting to the point quicker and just providing your engineers with the data and statistics and facts they need. To become more persuasive, you must remember what’s important to your listeners.


One final note, it’s so easy get frustrated when we attempt to communicate with people who are different. Some people are just more emotional, others more data driven. So be aware of how you’re thinking and communicating “to yourself” about these differences. Avoid judgments. And if you think someone is judging you for being different, avoid taking it personally.


Our next question…


Dear Dee,


I am currently looking to refinance my mortgage. I have a friend who is a loan originator at a bank, and he is pressuring me to do business with him. I feel uncomfortable sharing my financial situation with him and I have someone who can offer me a better rate. How can I communicate to him that I want to work with someone else without harming our relationship?




Dear A.M.,


You can “do your best” not to harm this relationship but that ultimate decision is up to your friend who is the loan originator.  Hopefully, they won’t expect that all their friends will do business with them. They should prepare for some rejection and handle it well when it happens, or they’ll be running out of friends!


So, A.M., you’ll want to be quick, to the point and a little compassionate when you communicate your decision.  Say something like, “Sorry but I made a decision to go elsewhere. I explored 3 different companies and my mortgage is already being processed with the XXX Company. They had the best rates. I will be saving 17 thousand dollars over the next 30 years based on their closest competitor!


There may be a few hard feelings initially but carry on! If your friendship is solid, this is just a blip.


Dear Dee is published every week at RI News Today dot com…and we’d love to hear from you!


Send your “Dear Dee,” question – in complete confidence – to: – Put “Dear Dee” in the subject line, and then look for your answer on Saturday. Please keep your information private in not identifying specific people – and sign your note with your initials or as you would like it to appear – such as “Frustrated in Foster”


This is Dee, signing out for today, creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication. You can find me at That’s the letter i…voice


Donna Rustigian Mac is the Founder and Chief People Officer at iVoice Communication, dedicated to creating healthy human connections through high level effective communication.


Donna is an executive communication coach workforce trainer and motivational speaker with more than 3 decades of experience.


Donna is also the author of Guide to a Richer Life, Know Your Worth, Find Your Voice and Speak Your Truth and the creator of The Six Pillars of Effective Communication.


Donna’s undergraduate degree is in Liberal Arts and Humanities. She has also studied psychology at Lesley University, with Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence), and is a certified mindfulness teacher with continuing studies at Brown University’s Center for Mindfulness.


During her career, Donna has partnered with Clear Channel Communication and The Speech Improvement Company, the oldest speech communication company in the United States. Clients include Merrill Lynch, Cambridge Associates, The Massachusetts Banker’s Association, CVS Health and many others.


In addition to her work, Donna is an avid runner, skier, gardener and the mother of two kind, strong and successful millennials who have the great ability to communicate!

GriefSpeak: Coronavirus - Staring into the Sun

GriefSpeak: Coronavirus – Staring into the Sun

July 10, 2020/Mari Dias


By: Mari Dias


A recent research article, written by Sherman Lee et al (2020) in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders coined the phrase “Coronaphobia” and defines it as “a relatively new pandemic-related construct related to functional impairment and psychological distress.” It may be comforting to some of you who are struggling with anxiety to know that your feelings are so pervasive, so popular that there is a name for it! A phobia is an extreme fear or aversion to, in this case, coronavirus.


Let’s look at where that fear is actually rooted. We know that it’s contagious, which is scary, and it can be fatal, which is also scary – yet I suspect that Coronaphobia is rooted in our fear of death, the idea of our own mortality and our struggle to avoid it.


According to world renowned author and psychiatrist, Irvin Yalom, all our anxieties are embedded in death anxiety. Let me repeat: ALL our anxieties are embedded in our death anxiety. In his book “Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death”, Yalom cautions us that “the more unlived your life is, the greater your death anxiety,…[and] sooner or later [we] give up hope for a better past.” Yalom also warns us that “self-awareness is what makes us human, but it comes at a price: the wound of mortality. Our existence is forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom…diminish, and die.” Finally, Yalom poses a question to all: “Why stare into the sun? Why grapple with the most terrible, the darkest, and most unchangeable aspect of life?”  What is your response?


As I type this, I’m reminded of Chloe Benjamin’s book entitled “The Immortalists”. In Benjamin’s story, 4 siblings visit a fortune teller who is said to have otherworldly powers. One in particular is her ability to predict the exact date of their deaths. Each sibling chooses not to share their “death date” with any of the others, and from there we are offered a view of how each of them is influenced by knowing the day they would die. I wondered how knowledge of our death date might affect our death anxiety. I proffer that, at least in my case, it would decrease anxiety as I feel much anxiety is grounded in the unknowing.


What about you?


I encourage all of you to think about it. Does Coronaphobia increase or decrease when you know your date of death? Does our death anxiety diminish when we have this glimpse into the future? Will you give up hope for a better past?  I thought I would reach out to Irv Yalom and ask him. Here is his response:


“Interesting question. I’d vote for it decreasing our anxiety. It would for me.” – Irv


And me as well, Irv, and me as well.



Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief.


She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to:

Powered by Prince Supports 24 Greater Newport Area Programs

“Powered by Prince” Supports 24 greater Newport area programs

July 10, 2020/RINewsToday


‘Powered by Prince’ funding supports programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote education for local youth. Twenty-four Aquidneck Island programs have been awarded a total of $128,424 by Newport Hospital’s Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund.


“It is remarkable to see not only the number of children these grants will impact, but also the breadth of the projects they support, especially as our state reopens and children and youth benefit from resuming healthy activities in the months ahead,” said Crista F. Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “We at Newport Hospital are honored to be the administrators of a fund so dedicated to our community’s present and its future – our gratitude to the Prince family for their generosity and vision extends beyond words.”


In 2010, a $3 million grant from the Frederick Henry Prince 1932 Trust was made to Newport Hospital by Elizabeth Prince of Newport and her children, Guillaume de Ramel, Diana Oehrli, and Regis de Ramel. In partnership with the hospital, the grant established the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund to support programs for underserved children.


“Our goal has always been to help make creative, unique programming opportunities available to children who otherwise may not have the means to participate,” said Guillaume de Ramel. “It is exciting to see the many ways local organizations focus on health and fitness with the kids they serve, and to make a difference in their lives in partnership with Newport Hospital.”


This year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, awardees have been given up until June 2021 to complete their programming, with some groups utilizing a virtual platform to ensure access to activities. Recipients of 2020 Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund grants and their programs include:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Newport County: Introducing the sport of golf, its etiquette, and nine core values to local youth.
  • Choir School of Newport County: Supporting the cost of attending summer camp for 22 students.
  • Clean Ocean Access: Connecting underserved youth with the Newport shoreline through interactive activities.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center: Providing weekly yoga classes to children pre-K through grade 4.
  • FabNewport: Funding participation for up to 20 children to enroll in a six-week summer program featuring biking, sailing, surfing, and swimming.
  • International Tennis Hall of Fame: Providing free tennis instruction to at-risk children.
  • Island Community Tennis Association: Supporting a six-week instructional tennis program for youth ages 6-10.
  • Island Moving Company: Offering an after-school dance program for students at Pell Elementary School.
  • Lucy’s Hearth: Providing exercise and healthy eating programming to children living in a shelter.
  • Newport Boxfit: Supporting the “Boxing for Bright Futures” program to offer free classes to kids.
  • Newport County YMCA: Offering a 12-week nutrition and physical fitness program to children referred by their physician for medical obesity; supporting 50 summer camp scholarships; and providing special one-year memberships to youth experiencing mental or physical challenges.
  • Newport County Youth Rugby Football Club: Funding new high school and flag rugby programs throughout Newport County.
  • Newport Gulls: Delivering classroom presentations and active field days at area middle schools.
  • Newport Little League: Scholarships and equipment to disadvantaged youth.
  • Newport Music Festival: Collaborating with community partners to offer an intensive introductory dance program for children ages 8-15.
  • Newport Open Space Partnership: Offering no-cost, active recreation programming for children throughout the summer months.
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: Support for camp scholarships and youth hiking programs.
  • Pennfield School: Creating an outdoor mindfulness and yoga program open to all Newport County children ages 3-6.
  • Potter League for Animals: Scholarships for kids to attend a special summer day camp experience with animals. 
  • Sail Newport: Partnering with Newport Public Schools to teach 4th grade students how to sail.
  • Sail to Prevail: Providing therapeutic sailing opportunities for children with disabilities.
  • Star Kids: Supporting active after-school and summer camp experiences for at-risk children.


Since it was established, the Frederick Henry Prince Memorial Fund at Newport Hospital has awarded more than $756,000 to programs across Newport County.


About Newport Hospital


Newport Hospital was founded in 1873 and is Newport County’s only acute care hospital. Located on Powel Avenue in Newport, it is a community hospital with a broad spectrum of health services, including an emergency department, an award-winning birthing center, a behavioral health unit, orthopedic and surgical services, a renowned rehabilitation division, and a full array of outpatient services. Newport Hospital holds Magnet designation for excellence in nursing care and carries the prestigious Baby Friendly designation from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. The hospital became a partner in the Lifespan health system in 1997. Follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @NewportHospital.

Maine launches "Let's Be Kind Campaign

Maine launches “Let’s Be Kind” Campaign for businesses

July 10, 2020/Nancy Thomas


by Nancy Thomas, editor, communications consultant


In a reaction to several cases of customer/vendor “road rage”, if you will, where one or the other instigates a confrontation over wearing or not wearing a mask, or social distancing, waiting in line, etc., the state of Maine’s business community is launching a “Let’s Be Kind” campaign, during this time of coronavirus pandemic.


Taking the high and positive road to hopefully change what could be growing behavior patterns – and experiences that have been seen growing as well in other states – the Retail Association of Maine launched the items with stickers, posters, social media messages and hashtags and even a promotional video.


Leaves Massachusetts – and Rhode Island – ice cream shops – supermarkets, and more – wondering if they shouldn’t give Maine a call.


With RI Lt. Gov. McKee taking on small business causes, perhaps he’ll see this and get in touch with Maine to see if we can adapt their materials.


Retailers, grocers, food producers and other businesses across Maine are asking the public to practice kindness and respect toward workers and each other as shops, restaurants and other locations continue reopening following the unprecedented shutdown caused by COVID-19.


The Retail Association of Maine, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association came together to develop the statewide campaign based on their observations of consumer behavior at essential businesses throughout the pandemic and as businesses began to reopen. They noticed that many customers were coming into businesses, ignoring mask-wearing requirements and sometimes harassing store employees who attempted to enforce the rules put in place according to Maine CDC guidelines and the governor’s executive orders.


The “Let’s Be Kind” statewide campaign kicked off this week with a social media campaign along with posters in businesses and on July 6 public service announcements will begin airing on television stations across the state. The campaign’s tagline—Doing Business Differently Helps Keep Maine Safe—is intended to reinforce the importance of making simple adjustments to everyone’s daily shopping and dining habits in order to protect workers and each other.



The campaign includes a full promotional toolkit – from posters to social media hashtags, as the state asks Mainers to make kindness viral – sharing their graphics on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Use of the images, include the messaging ‘Let’s Be Kind’ and ‘Doing Business Differently Helps Keep Maine Safe’ and customizing the campaign with what makes you unique, is suggested. “We encourage you to show us how you’re taking precautions, what you’ve done to make shopping easier and positive stories from your staff and customers.”



The suggested social media hashtags:


#bekind #takeprecautions #planahead #respecteveryone #shopme #payitforwardmaine #thisisretail #letsbekindmaine


Here is their promotional video:

Rhode Island News as of 07/10/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Tropical Storm Fay is expected in New England this weekend.  Not as much of Rhode Island's population has gotten tested for the coronavirus as has been previously indicated.  The only game put out by 38 Studios is getting a re-release.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Tropical Storm Warning For Watch Hill In Rhode Island

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service is currently tracking Tropical Storm Fay to move over New England as a downgraded depression on Saturday.  Flash flooding is the main concern; all of Southern New England is under a Flash Flood Watch.  Tropical storm-force winds are forecast for the Connecticut coast, but forecasters say if Fay shifts to the east, it could be the same deal for Rhode Island's coast. A Tropical Storm Warning for the Eastern Seaboard extends up to Watch Hill.

>>Lesser Percentage Of RI's Population Has Been Tested For Coronavirus

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has touted a coronavirus-testing participation rate of about 20 percent for weeks, but newly-released data indicates the percentage is smaller in reality.  The state Health Department now calculates about 16 percent of the state's population has gotten tested by distinguishing between newly-tested people and repeat testers.  Raimondo said the percentage was 25 percent in an interview just published by Politico; a spokesperson for the governor says the number of testers is "equivalent" to the higher population percentage.  Regardless, the Ocean State is still number one in the country as far as the number of tests taken.

>>Gorbea Proposes Sending Out Mail Ballot Applications For General Election

(Providence, RI)  --  All registered Rhode Island voters were sent unsolicited applications for mail ballots in the June presidential primary.  For the November general election, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea [[ gore-BAY-uh ]] wants them sent just to all "active" voters.  With the electorate weary of the coronavirus, ballots wound up mostly being mailed in last month.  For the September primaries, the plan is to send voters postcards with instructions on how to obtain a mail ballot.  The state Board of Elections voted on Wednesday not to support unsolicited mail ballot applications for that election.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Providence Police: Missing Teen Might Be With Murder Suspect

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Police Department has issued a warrant for a homicide in the city earlier this month and says a missing girl may be with the suspect.  The warrant for 18-year-old Felix Hernandez-Rosado, also known as Javier Hernandez, is in connection to the fatal shooting of Jorge Gonzalez Colon in the Silver Lake neighborhood on July 1st.  Hernandez-Rosado is considered armed and dangerous.  Authorities say the missing girl, 14-year-old Aliah Trinidad, was reported missing on July 3rd.

>>Former CCRI Cleaning Contractor Charged

(Providence, RI)  --  The owner of a Massachusetts cleaning company that was formerly contracted for service at Community College of Rhode Island is being charged with wage theft and workers' compensation insurance fraud.  The charges are against Marcello Pompa of Saugus, Mass.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office alleges Pompa failed to pay nearly eleven-thousand dollars in wages to sixteen former employees before the company, M-and-M Cleaning, went out of business last year.

>>Casino Coin Counterfeiter Louis Colavecchio Has Died

(Cranston, RI)  --  Louis "The Coin" Colavecchio, a Rhode Islander is infamously known for counterfeiting casino tokens, has died.  Colavecchio was 78 years old when he passed away in hospice care on Monday, according to a report from The Providence Journal.  He had recently been granted compassionate release from prison after he was sentenced last year for counterfeiting hundred-dollar bills.

>>38 Studios' 'Kingdoms Of Amalur' Game Being Re-Released

(Undated)  --  The only video game to be released by Curt Schilling's 38 Studios is being re-mastered.  THQ Nordic, the company that purchased "Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning", says the game will be released on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 8th.  A trailer promoting the video game does not mention 38 Studios, which went bankrupt in 2012 after getting a 75-million-dollar bond deal from the state.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI) MA) CT)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-10-2020 00:02:07

It's all about the money!

It’s all about the money!

July 9, 2020/John Cardullo


by John Cardullo, sportswriter


As Covid-19 still affects our daily lives we find that professional sports are revving up, and our hopes that there will be no fall out.


We are now at what traditionally is the halfway point of the major league baseball season. The 4th of July always began the countdown to the play-offs, magic numbers begin to get spoken about, and how many teams that must be jumped over discussions usually start now. The 4th of July is the time for renewed interest, if only for a few weeks for teams to make their move up the standings. Not this year, not the summer of 2020. The biggest question is will there be a season in any sport this summer?  Well, there is some good news and some bad news. Let us run it down.


Baseball is about to begin with an abbreviated and modified and shortened 60 game schedule. Games will be restricted to divisional play and it will be regionalized. The reason is to reduce travel and the risk to the health of the players and the staff of the teams. There will no fans in the stands (until they decide it is “Safe” to allow some fans in to attend). Both basketball and hockey who stopped their seasons when the pandemic hit in March will resume their playoffs and crown champions for the season and both sports will have no fans in the stands (until they do). Why, in this time of a worldwide pandemic, are pro-sports insisting on starting or finishing a season that little or none of us really care about? One word – MONEY! In one famous movie quote “when they say it’s not about the money – rest assured IT’S ABOUT THE MONEY!” or in another movie the theme was “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”


As these sports begin to resume and finish the season, as the players gather to return to practice and train, the reports of positive corona tests among the players, coaches and staff have increased. Some players have opted out from joining their teammates and decided to sit out and wait until the all-clear comes from experts in the medical field.


Social distancing in any sport is next to impossible, and it is difficult for the fan base of these sports not to have games being played. To the average fan, sports is the common flow, a tapestry of their lives. It is the moments that happen on the field or in the big game that the fan remembers forever. The last time that the Major baseball season was canceled was in 1981 due to a strike by the players. The bottom line was – it was about the money.


The message to the fans now is that the players want to complete the season or, in baseball’s case, start the season, and while it is true the pandemic has caused all sorts of problems and at this moment the question remains, when does the safety and health of the players outweigh that of the bottom line? Is it about the need for the athlete to get back to playing for the competition, or for the paycheck?


The bottom line is that most fans love their sports, children are heading back to their little league teams or softball teams or their soccer teams, and adults are going back to their amateur teams as well. For those who choose to play, it is truly for the love of the sport and of the competition. But they could live without it if they find that their health is at risk. They know that they have the choice to play or not and it will not affect them financially, but for the professional athlete this is not the case, so the athletes will be sectioned off and isolated to play their games as “made for TV” events so the rights will be offered to the fans as a pay-per-view competition.


Yes it is the business of making money mentality and the rules of the pandemic don’t apply to the owners or athletes, we all as spectators and fans hope in the long run that this was all worth it to them- so let the games begin and keep your fingers crossed!


Note: As we go to press, the Ivy Leagues have canceled their entire sports season at all Ivy League schools.


John Cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter

Rhode Island News as of 07/09/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Long delays are being reported in receiving COVID-19 test results.  A Coventry restaurant is open again after being forced to close for coronavirus-protocol violations.  Ten people arrested in RI over the holiday weekend are facing OUI charges.  

>>Delays In COVID-19 Test Results

(Providence, RI)  --  There are growing complaints in Rhode Island about the wait time for COVID-19 test results.  Increased demand for testing in other states is blamed for the delay of up to a week because of the increased workload at out-of-state laboratories.  State health officials acknowledge the frustration of those who want to know if they or a family member are infected.

>>Coventry Restaurant Forced To Close

(Coventry, RI)  --  A Coventry restaurant that was shut down over the weekend is now open again.  Harris Bar and Grille was ordered closed when state inspectors found the bar crowded and a bartender and the owner not wearing face masks.  People are urged to file a complaint with the Department of Business Regulation if they see a business violating COVID-19 safety protocols. 

>>Ten OUI Arrest Over Holiday Weekend

(Undated)  --  Ten people are facing OUI charges following their arrests in Rhode Island over the Fourth of July weekend.  Eight of those arrested are Rhode Islanders and two are from Massachusetts.  State Police say with an increase in summer travel the message to state residents and visitors alike is that there is no tolerance for operating under the influence.

>>Providence Man Charged With Sexual Assault

(Providence, RI)  --   A Providence man is facing multiple charges for the alleged sexual assault of a woman at gunpoint Sunday at Lincoln Woods State Park.  State Police say 26-year-old Jonathan Santos-Perez was also wanted by Johnston police on domestic felony assault charges for an incident last week.  He was arrested Tuesday outside his Glenham Street residence. 

>>Partial Bridge Closure Planned In Exeter

(Exeter, RI)  --  The northern half of the Austin Farm Road Bridge in Exeter is being closed tomorrow,  Temporary traffic lights will control the remaining lane with alternating direction.  RIDOT says the partial closure is for maintenance.  The temporary traffic pattern will be in place until the fall.

John Carpilio/dlt        RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-09-2020 08:18:02

Rhode Island News as of 07/08/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Nursing homes in RI are allowed to reopen for visitors today.  Two people are seriously injured in a motorcycle crash in West Warwick.  RIDOT says the Gano Street extension project in Providence is complete.

>>Nursing Homes Allowed To Reopen For Visitors

(Providence, RI)  --  Some Rhode Island nursing homes are allowed to reopen for visitors as of today with COVID-19 restrictions in place.  Appointments must be made, visits are limited to 30 minutes, preferably outdoors, and social distancing must be maintained.  Visitors will also be screened and face masks are required.  

>>Motorcycle Crash Causes Serious Injuries

(West Warwick. RI)  --  The cause of a motorcycle crash in West Warwick is being investigated.  WJAR-TV reports it happened around ten o'clock last night at West Warwick Avenue and Kent Street.  According to police, the two people on the motorcycle were taken to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries. 

>>Gano Street Realignment Project Is Completed

(Providence, RI)  --   The state Department of Transportation is hailing completion of the Gano Street realignment project.  RIDOT says it has improved safety for vehicular traffic, cyclists and pedestrians at the intersection of Gano and India streets on the East Side of Providence.  The project also included an extension of the Blackstone Valley Bikeway and a parking lot for the bike path and other neighborhood uses.

>>Maryland Murder Suspect Arrested In Newport

(Newport, RI)  --  A man wanted on first-degree murder and other charges in Harford County, Maryland, is in custody.  Diantae Williams was arrested yesterday afternoon in Newport by the state's Violent Fugitive Task Force.  An arrest warrant was issued for Williams in early June and authorities developed information that he had fled to Rhode Island.

>>Providence Resident Faces Federal Charges

(Providence, RI)  --  A 33-year-old Providence man is being held on federal charges.  Franklin Carlos Soto was deported to his native Dominican Republic in March of 2015.  He's now charged with illegal re-entry into the United States and trafficking fentanyl.  He was arrested last Thursday and 200 grams of fentanyl was seized by the FBI Safe Street Task Force. 

John Carpilio/sca     RI)  MD) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-08-2020 07:41:03

Brown University's "Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21"

Brown University’s “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21”

July 8, 2020/RINewsToday


To mitigate the pandemic’s impact, the University will allow undergraduates back for two terms in a three-term model, reduce the density of students in campus housing, offer instruction in person and remotely, and implement extensive testing, tracing and public health measures.


(Both Harvard and Princeton also announced yesterday that their entire academic year will be online learning, though dorms will be limitedly available. In addition, the US Dept. of Education called on all schools to make plans to open schools this fall with in-person learning.)


With plans to reduce the density of students on campus and to implement an extensive set of public health measures to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and community members, Brown University plans to welcome some students back to campus in September.


President Christina H. Paxson outlined the University’s “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21” on July 7 in a series of letters to members of the Brown community, detailing a three-term academic model that integrates both on-campus and remote instruction.


The plan is based on the recommendations of multiple working groups at Brown, which since late spring have explored a range of options for safely providing teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan’s policies and protocols are founded on the best available guidance and recommendations from medical and public health professionals and agencies, Paxson said.


“The focus at all times has been how we can best protect the health of our students, staff, faculty and Providence residents while delivering Brown’s world-class education, critical research, and remaining a valued neighbor in our city, state and region,” she said.


Amid the ongoing pandemic, Brown’s plan provides details on changes in modes of instruction, housing, dining and extracurricular activities, as well as the implementation of strict protocols for personal health, distancing, mask-wearing, cleaning and regular testing that will be essential for safeguarding community well-being.


All students will be given the option to take courses remotely, whether they are on campus or not, while faculty with health or other concerns have the option to teach, mentor and advise students online in the fall, and employees of Brown who are able to work remotely will continue to do so at least through early fall.


“Even with these public health steps, it is impossible to ensure that no one in our community will become ill with COVID-19 during the coming academic year,” Paxson said. “In fact, our plan is based upon the forthright acknowledgment that any college, university or community will likely see diagnosed cases of COVID-19 until the point that a vaccine is widely available, just as is the case in the general population.”


Given the significant uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve across regions of the country and the world, and the pace at which treatments and vaccines will be developed, “everyone in our community will have to approach this year understanding that we may need to make mid-course changes or adjustments to how instruction is offered, housing is configured and public health protocols are implemented on campus,” she said.


All plans for 2020-21 are based on the prospect that the state of the pandemic and the virus’s spread will enable a return to in-person operations. If needed, Brown would approach any changes based on community principles that place a premium on the health and well-being of students and employees and the University’s commitment to providing an excellent educational experience, Paxson said.


At the heart of the University’s plan are three primary elements:


(1) Reduced Density of Students on Campus


Barring a major resurgence of coronavirus in the coming weeks, Brown will follow a three-term academic calendar (fall, spring and summer) in which undergraduate students are on campus for two of the three terms. Shortened terms with fewer breaks will reduce the density of students on campus and give all students the opportunity to spend two semesters in Providence.


All undergraduates living in residence halls in the fall will have single rooms, and classrooms, libraries and other campus spaces will be “de-densified.” ? In addition, all classes with more than 20 students will be taught remotely. Limiting in-person class sizes to 20 students will enable safe distancing of students and instructors within classrooms.


Paxson said that the expectation is that sophomores, juniors and seniors will return in the fall with new first-year students arriving for the spring term and continuing to the summer term. During the fall, new first-year students will be able to take one Brown course remotely for credit, free of charge, and will also be able to participate in remote orientation, mentoring and enrichment opportunities.


“Although I am deeply disappointed that we can’t welcome our first-year students to campus in the fall, we simply don’t think that it is safe to have all undergraduates on campus simultaneously,” Paxson said. “We hope that by the time the spring term begins, the public health situation will have improved enough that we no longer need a de-densified campus.”


To provide options for students and faculty unable to come to campus (for travel, health or other reasons) and for the possibility of students in isolation or quarantine during the semester, all courses will have a remote learning option.


All graduate students will have the option to study in person or remotely.


(2) Testing and Contact Tracing


Testing and contact tracing for all Brown students and employees is an essential element of Brown’s plans to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, Paxson said. The plan outlines measures to monitor for and address cases identified on campus — from contract tracers in Health Services and Human Resources, to designated isolation and quarantine spaces, to protocols for closing and cleaning facilities.


All students will be tested for COVID-19 when they return to Brown, and students will be required to participate in random testing to monitor for community spread of coronavirus, identify the proportion of asymptomatic positive cases and identify the proportion of community members with potential immunity to the disease over time. Students and employees will use a digital tool to schedule tests and record daily symptoms.


“Brown’s plans have been informed by epidemiological models, and the University will closely monitor evolving developments in testing methods to take advantage of the most effective testing strategies,” Paxson said.


In the event that someone at Brown tests positive, trained contact tracers at the University will work with the Rhode Island Department of Health to locate people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Specific residential spaces have been reserved for isolation (for students who contract the virus) and quarantine (for students who have been exposed).


(3) Campus Public Health Practices


Paxson said that students returning to Brown must understand that life on campus will be different.


All community members will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing in public places. Many classes will be offered remotely, and it is possible that all classes could shift to remote mode if the health conditions in Rhode Island worsen during the fall. Dining will be on a “grab and go” basis. Group gatherings will be limited, and activities that require travel to other locations will be restricted.


In addition, single residency in dorms will greatly reduce the number of students who live in proximity to each other, and students will be clustered into small, identifiable “pods” to reduce the number of students who need to be quarantined if an infection is positively identified. Extracurricular activities and events will be shaped by reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing, hand washing, masks and other health protocols. And cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will become part of daily routines.


A public health campaign will address the need for personal reasonability in protecting individual and community health, and students will be required to sign an attestation that they will follow required public health practices.


“We celebrate the fact that Brown is a community filled with people who care about each other,” Paxson said. “Now, in the midst of a pandemic, that culture of caring must translate into scrupulous attention to evidence-based public health practices. Caring as much about others as we do ourselves will be critical and essential.”


Major events and sports


Paxson’s letter to students noted that a decision on fall athletics competition is expected from the Ivy League on July 8. It also provided a date for Commencement and Reunion Weekend.  If public health conditions allow for large events to safely take place, and public health guidance continues to support the University’s current plans for its revised academic calendar, Brown will honor the Class of 2020, which had its Commencement activities delayed, and the Class of 2021 from April 30 to May 2, 2021.


Paxson wrote separately to undergraduate, graduate and medical students, as well as to faculty, staff and members of the extended Brown community. The full text of her letter to undergraduate students is included below, and other major communications are included on the University’s Healthy Brown 2020 website.




Brown’s plan for the 2020-21 academic year


Dear Brown Undergraduate Students,


For the past several months, multiple working groups at Brown have been exploring a range of options for safely providing teaching and learning for students this fall amid the global pandemic. This planning has been guided by advice from medical and public health professionals, and informed by guidelines coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). The focus at all times has been how we can best protect the health of our students, employees and Providence residents while delivering Brown’s world-class education.


Currently, cases of COVID-19 are trending down in Rhode Island, and the state has moved into Phase 3 of its reopening plan. In light of these trends, we are planning for the return of students to campus this fall, based on a three-term academic calendar that will reduce the density of students on campus and give all students the opportunity to spend two semesters in Providence.


I’m writing to share Brown’s “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.” The plan provides details on the public health steps that are being put in place to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on campus. These steps include changes in modes of instruction, housing, dining and extracurricular activities, as well as the implementation of strict protocols for personal health, distancing, cleaning and regular testing that will be essential for safeguarding the well-being of our community. Employees of Brown who are able to work remotely will continue to do so at least through early fall.


Even with these public health steps, it is impossible to ensure that no one in our community will become ill with COVID-19 during the coming academic year. In fact, our plan is based upon the forthright acknowledgment that any college, university or community will likely see diagnosed cases of COVID-19 until the point that a vaccine is widely available, just as is the case in the general population. Returning students who have health concerns, who prefer not to return to campus or who cannot return to campus due to travel restrictions will be able to take courses remotely.


Our plans are based on the best current available data and public health recommendations. However, there is still great uncertainty about how the pandemic will evolve across regions of the country and the world, and the pace at which treatments and vaccines will be developed. Everyone in our community will have to approach this year understanding that we may need to make mid-course changes or adjustments to how instruction is offered, housing is configured, and public health protocols are implemented on campus. We recognize there are concerning trends of COVID-19 cases elsewhere in the country, and it’s essential that we remain flexible as the situation evolves. As always, we will approach any changes with a commitment to community principles that place a premium on the health and well-being of our students and employees and on providing an excellent educational experience.


In this letter, I provide an overview of the most important components of Brown’s plans:


  1. Reducing the density of students on campus through the three-term academic model;
  2. Testing and contact tracing with the goal of preventing community spread of coronavirus; and
  3. Requiring campus public health practices that are essential to the health and safety of a residential campus.


(1) Reduced Density of Students on Campus


Barring a major resurgence of coronavirus in the coming weeks, Brown will follow a three-term academic calendar (fall, spring and summer) in which undergraduate students are on campus for only two of the three terms. This will make it possible for all undergraduates living in residence halls in the fall to have single rooms, and to “de-densify” classrooms, libraries and other spaces on campus.


  • The fall term will begin Sept. 9, 2020. After Thanksgiving break (which will begin at noon on Nov. 25), there will be a weeklong remote reading period from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, followed by a remote final exam period Dec. 7-11.
  • The spring term will begin Jan. 20, 2021. Remote reading period will begin April 12 and will be followed by remote final exams April 19-23.
  • The summer term will begin May 12, 2021. Remote reading period will begin Aug. 2 and will be followed by remote final exams Aug. 9-13.


The expectation is that continuing students completing their second semester or greater — sophomores, juniors and seniors — will return in the fall, as well as transfer students and those in the Resumed Undergraduate Education program. New first-year students will arrive for the spring term and continue to the summer term. During the fall, new first-year students will be able to take one Brown course remotely for credit, free of charge, and will also be able to participate in remote orientation, mentoring and enrichment opportunities. We will work with international students to develop academic plans for degree completion that are in compliance with federal guidelines.


All students will be given the option to take courses virtually this year, whether they are on campus or not, and faculty with health or other concerns have the option to teach, mentor and advise students online in the fall. Should the public health situation not improve, this option for faculty will be extended throughout the spring and summer semesters as well. In addition, all classes with more than 20 students will be taught remotely. Limiting in-person class sizes to 20 students will enable safe distancing of students and instructors within classrooms. In addition, every classroom space will have a six-foot or greater separation between individuals.


Although I am deeply disappointed that we can’t welcome our first-year students to campus in the fall, we simply don’t think that it is safe to have all undergraduates on campus simultaneously. We hope that by the time the spring term begins, the public health situation will have improved enough that we no longer need a de-densified campus. If so, sophomores will be able to stay for the spring term. However, if the public health situation has not improved, it is possible that sophomores could be asked to leave for the spring term to accommodate the arrival of first-year students, and either return for the summer term or take the spring term remotely. We expect to be able to make this decision by mid-fall.


We have built flexibility into this plan to address special circumstances. Sophomores, juniors and seniors who cannot return in the fall for reasons such as travel restrictions, visa delays or underlying health conditions will be able to take courses remotely or delay the start of their year until the spring. (Note, however, that many advanced concentration requirements will be offered in the fall only.) New first-year students with significant health or safety concerns related to delaying their start until January will be encouraged to contact Student Support Services to be connected with a dean who can work with them to formulate a plan.


(2) Testing and Contact Tracing


Testing and contact tracing for all Brown students and employees are essential for campus safety. All students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 when they return to Brown. In addition, some students may need to be tested prior to returning to campus, in accordance with emerging Rhode Island guidelines for people coming to the state from coronavirus “hot spots.” Students will also be required to participate in random testing. This randomized sample testing will help monitor for community spread of coronavirus, identify the proportion of asymptomatic positive cases and identify the proportion of members of our community with potential immunity to the disease over time. All of this testing will be free of charge.


Students and other members of the Brown community will be required to use a digital tool via their computers or mobile devices that is used to schedule tests and record daily symptoms. This tool is designed to protect individual privacy. The University will not have access to information on where students go, and symptoms data will only be used after students’ names have been removed. Data from the tool will be useful for identifying health trends on campus and informing the amount of routine testing that is needed.


In the event that someone in our community tests positive, the University has trained contact tracers who will work with RIDOH to locate people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. We are setting aside special dormitory space for isolation (for students who contract the virus) and quarantine (for students who have been exposed). Brown’s plans have been informed by epidemiological models, and the University will closely monitor evolving developments in testing methods to take advantage of the most effective testing strategies.


(3) Campus Public Health Practices


Students returning to Brown must understand that life on campus this fall will be different. All members of our community will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing when they are in public places. Many classes will be offered remotely, and it is possible that all classes could shift to remote mode if the health conditions in Rhode Island worsen during the fall semester. Dining will be on a “grab and go” basis. Large group gatherings will be limited — meeting and likely exceeding state guidelines limiting such gatherings — and activities that require travel to other locations will be restricted.


All students in residence halls will have single rooms, greatly reducing the number of students who live in proximity to each other. In addition, students will be clustered into small, identifiable “pods” to reduce the number of students who need to be quarantined if an infection is positively identified. Extracurricular activities and events will be shaped by reduced capacity of spaces, social distancing, hand washing, wearing masks and other health protocols. And cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces will become part of daily routines.


Each and every member of our community will be expected to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others. We celebrate the fact that Brown is a community filled with people who care about each other. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, that culture of caring must translate into scrupulous attention to evidence-based public health practices. Caring as much about others as we do ourselves will be critical and essential. Students will play an important role in an extensive education and prevention initiative to support community adoption of public health practices. Additionally, you will be required to sign an attestation that you will follow required public health practices, and that you understand that disregard of public health practices is a conduct violation that could result in removal from campus. Faculty and staff will be required to sign a similar acknowledgment, providing their understanding that violations can lead to disciplinary action.


Of course, we hope that we can return to the more traditional daily life at Brown as soon as possible, as treatments and, eventually, a vaccine for coronavirus are developed. However, despite the differences imposed by the pandemic, I am confident that the elements that contribute to the value of residential education will continue unaffected — the close connections with faculty and staff, vigorous class discussions, and engagement with students whose life experiences differ from your own.


Major Events and Sports


Among the common questions we have received is whether Brown has made a decision about the date for graduation and reunion ceremonies for students entering their senior year. We expect to hold Commencement and Reunion Weekend from April 30 to May 2, 2021, following the end of the spring term. We will honor the Class of 2020, which had their Commencement activities delayed, and the Class of 2021 during the weekend’s events. This planning assumes that public health conditions will allow large events to safely take place, and dates could shift if public health guidance prompts changes to Brown’s academic calendar. Further information will soon be available on the Commencement website.


A decision on fall athletics competition has not yet been announced by the Ivy League. That announcement is expected on July 8. Brown’s Department of Athletics will communicate directly with student-athletes after the league makes its announcement.


Important Next Steps


To complete our planning, there is important information we need to collect from students who will begin their academic year this fall. Those students soon will receive a form asking you to provide the University with the following:


  • Information on whether you want to request to take the fall semester remotely or in residence in Providence, and
  • Your housing preferences (on-campus, commuter, etc.) and meal plan choices.


I am sure you and your families have many questions about the details of the coming academic year. Please be assured that answers are coming — some immediately, with others to follow later this summer. The decision we have made about the model for academic operations now enables faculty and staff at Brown to finalize specific plans and move forward with implementing them.


In the coming days, you will receive communications from relevant offices across the University sharing:


  • Further information about the academic calendar, including the start and end of classes for each of the three terms, and shopping, reading and exam periods;
  • The timing for pre-registration for courses, and when you will have access to review fall courses;
  • For students who would live in residence halls, information about the housing assignment process, off-campus permissions and how to register for a move-in date to align with the University’s need to stagger arrivals for testing and social distancing purposes (we will want students to arrive a little earlier than usual);
  • For aided students, information about the timing of financial aid awards; and
  • Information regarding Orientation and becoming part of the Brown community for first-year students.


Before your academic term begins, you’ll also receive detailed information about COVID-19 testing principles and health protocols. I invite you to read the full plan outlining Brown’s academic-year planning, which includes further specifics about everything I have discussed in this letter. We are planning a series of webinars to take place later this summer in which students and your families will be able to ask questions and learn which offices to contact to address specific questions you might have that need individual attention.


I know that this is a great deal of information, and I encourage you also to bookmark, the website that will serve as an evolving resource as we continue to develop the protocols and practices to ensure the well-being of our community during the 2020-21 academic year.


For those who choose to be in Providence, I look forward to seeing you on campus in the coming year.




Christina H. Paxson

COVID-19 Business Resources

RI must take action to support its small businesses swiftly and equitably

July 8, 2020/RINewsToday


Editor’s Note: Simultaneous news releases were received from the Lt. Gov. and from the House & Senate Republicans – first, from the Lt. Gov:


Local small business owners were joined by Lt. Governor Dan McKee and other elected officials to announce the formation of the RI Small Business Coalition and a grassroots effort to encourage the State of Rhode Island to allocate at least 10 percent of its $1.25 billion federal COVID-19 relief funds to issue grants to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. 


The coalition formed in response to Lt. Governor Dan McKee’s call to action for the small business community to support his proposal that the state issue grants to small businesses using the federal COVID-19 relief funds it received through the CARES Act. Last week, the Lt. Governor’s Office, in partnership with local business owners launched an online petition to build community support for the effort: Over 2,100 individuals have already signed the petition. 


According to CARES Act guidelines, distributing grants to small businesses is an allowable use of the funds, while using the funds to balance state budget is prohibited. A growing number of states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alaska, Arizona and others have already dedicated a portion of their COVID-19 funds to support small businesses. 


“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the heart of our communities. I commend our state’s small business owners for taking time away from running their businesses to unite, organize and support each other across industries and communities in a way that Rhode Island has not seen before,” said Lt. Governor Dan McKee. “We know that not all small businesses qualified for the federal Paycheck Protection Program. We know that for many, the Economic Injury Disaster Loans were not enough. Other states have recognized these shortfalls and used federal COVID-19 relief funds to issue grants to keep struggling small businesses afloat. Rhode Island must take action to support its small businesses swiftly and equitably.”  


The coalition, led by Chris Parisi, Founder of Providence-based Trailblaze Marketing, will execute a grassroots strategy to encourage all Rhode Islanders to join thousands of individuals who have already signed the petition. The strategy includes outreach to all Rhode Island elected officials to urge them to sign the petition and stand with the small business community. Small business owners will also reach out to their customer bases and professional networks to bolster support for the movement. Additionally, the coalition is working with the Lt. Governor’s Office to encourage city and town councils to pass resolutions in support of the effort. The towns of Cumberland and Foster are slated to hear resolutions in the upcoming weeks. 


“As small business owners, we are uniting during this pandemic to ensure our voice is heard and our struggle is understood,” said Chris Parisi, Founder of Trailblaze Marketing in Providence. “Financial assistance often comes too slow or too late for small businesses. Many of us operate on thin margins and cannot cover expenses for more than a couple of months. During a pandemic, rent doesn’t go away, utility bills keep coming and debt piles up. That’s why we need the state to step up and allocate at least 10 percent of federal COVID-19 relief funds to help save Rhode Island small businesses now. Other states are taking action. Every day that our state waits, more small businesses move closer to closing their doors.”


During the press conference, other members of the coalition shared personal stories of how COVID-19 continues to devastate their small businesses. 


“In just a few short months, my small business went from a growing company with 12 employees looking to expand, to cutting programs, downsizing our staff and dealing with a projected $100,000 gross revenue loss from projections for 2020,” said Judah Boulet, Owner of No Risk CrossFit in Smithfield. “All boutique gyms, yoga and spin studios, and other small fitness businesses were closed by the state to help stop the spread of coronavirus. We closed our doors and continue to do what is right for the collective good. Now, we need the state to do right by us and use federal COVID-19 relief funds to help us keep the doors open so we can make a living, pay our bills, support our families and continue being the foundation of the communities that our businesses call home.”


“Access to childcare is an essential component of reopening and reenergizing Rhode Island’s economy. Small early learning and childcare facilities like mine are at the heart of this industry and for many of us, every day we think about whether or not we can continue to operate,” said Nancy Beye, Jamestown Town Councilwoman and Owner of Jamestown Early Learning Center. “Small business owners in all industries are doing their best to take everything day by day, but there is a growing uncertainty and increasing anxiety about how much longer we can continue without support from the state. Unless you own a small business and know what it’s like to have employees and their families depending on you, I’m not sure you can understand the stress and frustration we feel.”


“As small business owners, we put everything into running our businesses and for many of us, COVID-19 has taken everything we have. Sometimes it feels like there’s just no hope,” said Jennifer Ortiz, Owner of Executive Cuts Barbershop in Providence. “To be able to reopen my doors and keep my customers safe, I invested thousands of dollars to meet social distancing requirements and upgrade cleaning measures. This created a significant debt that I did not have before the pandemic and one that will be difficult to manage down the road as the lack of activity and foot traffic in downtown Providence has impacted our finances. Whenever I see another small business announce they’re closing their doors, my heart breaks because I know that’s one of the hardest decisions a small business owner will ever have to make.”


Small business owners’ interest in joining the RI Small Business Coalition and supporting its grassroots movement to save Rhode Island small business now can sign up at 




In a news release from the RI House and Senate Republicans, support was unanimous to stand with Lt. Governor Dan McKee and RI small business coalitions across the state, calling on Governor Raimondo to immediately allocate federal COVID-19 relief funds to help save Rhode Island’s struggling small and micro business enterprises. An online petition has launched, urging the State to allocate at least 10% of the $125B Cares Act funding for small business grants.


“This money isn’t a slush fund for the Governor to give no-bid contracts to her financial supporters and friends,” said Minority Whip Michael Chippendale, referring to the recently discovered $2M no-bid Boston consultant fee procured by Governor Raimondo. “The funding was created for RI Small and Micro Businesses that are struggling greatly under this current crisis.”


A clause within the act specifically outlines how states can allocate these funds to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. States like New Hampshire, Alaska, Wisconsin, Mississippi and others have already leveraged this clause, some allocating up to $400M in funds for their small business community. 


“We must save our mom and pop businesses. They are the backbone of our local economy in providing jobs and tax revenues,” said State Representative and small business owner, George Nardone. “Many Rhode Island family livelihoods are at stake.”


“It is time to make our small business community a priority,” said Senator Jessica de la Cruz. “Communities all across our state are suffering due to the loss in revenues generated from the abrupt cut off of commerce.”


Dozens of long-standing Rhode Island businesses have already closed their doors due to the financial strains the COVID restrictions placed on small and micro business operations.


“It is unconscionable that the Governor would hold back these designated relief funds from small business owners who desperately need the help now,” said House Republican Leader Blake Filippi. “We promise to do everything in our power to get this funding out to our small business community – with the goal of giving a much-needed boost to our economy.”


“The stress of being ignored by our Government leaders, first by only allowing box stores to maintain their businesses during the pandemic shutdown, and now, the burden of trying to stay afloat during partial openings, is beyond belief for any business owner,” said Representative Robert Quattrocchi, a former owner of multiple small businesses in the State of Rhode Island. “Small and micro businesses employ over 200,000 Rhode Islanders – we are in big trouble if these businesses are not sustained. We are proud to join the Lt. Governor’s effort to recognize this need in our struggling economy.”


“Through no fault of their own, small business owners have been thrust into massive amounts of debt during the pandemic closures,” said Senator Thomas Paolino.  “We owe them a bit of relief for their sacrifices to keep us all safe.”


“We need to join other states in prioritizing resources to reenergize our local economy,” said Representative Jack Lyle, Jr. “Let’s for once put RI at the top of a national list and be recognized as a leader, by helping out small businesses with assistance grants to pay the mounting bills greatly impacted by COVID, such as mortgages, maintaining inventory, and taxes.”


“The financial debt will continue to mount, despite the partial openings,” said Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere. “The slow-to-build customer flow is going to persist in impacting our small businesses in the months ahead.”


“The remedy is simple,” said Representative Justin Price. “It is time for the Governor to stop withholding this important lifeline for our small businesses and use these funds for their intended purposes.  The fact that we have waited this long to start a RI small business grant relief program is unfathomable.”


Members of the RI House and Senate Republican Caucuses have long been the voice of the small and micro business community at the State House.  In 2019, the House and Senate Republican Caucuses fought for the statutory reduction in the state sales tax from 7% to 6.5%; introduced legislation exempting virtual currency from taxation; and championed small business assistance with the raised federal tax, which passed into statute.  The House and Senate GOP also successfully rallied against proposed new taxes and fees for funeral homes, hotels, hunting or shooting ranges, interior design businesses and commercial building services; and exempted natural hair braiders from a requirement for licensure. During the abbreviated 2020 session, House and Senate Republicans championed a reduction in the corporate sales tax from $400 to $250; supported the Real Jobs RI Program; introduced the “Freedom to Travel and Work Act,” which creates a regulatory framework to accept out-of-state professional business licenses to work in Rhode Island; and actively campaigned against the proposal to join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, which would have raised the gas tax, making the cost of doing business in RI more expensive.


To join House and Senate Republicans in signing the petition, please visit

Jobless in COVID America

Jobless in COVID America

July 7, 2020/Mary O'Sullivan


What does it mean to be a jobless American in COVID?


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


“You’ll never please everyone, but you only have to please a few people to get an offer.” — Harvey MacKay


If you’ve never asked for help before, this is the time to start. The shutdowns, furloughs, and layoffs caused by the rapid spread of COVID-19 is hurting Americans and the way we’ve become used to living. For the first time, many Americans are lining up at food banks all over the United States. And, the food banks are worried because their supplies are running low, and they, too, are running out. Some foodbanks may even begin rationing. People accustomed to a weekly paycheck are now running out of cash, taking on big debt, and having trouble meeting their most essential needs. Assistance from landlords, mortgage companies, clothing drives, and medical professionals is part of what’s come to be known as “the new normal”.


Volunteer behavioral health teams are being deployed to support the stressed-out essential workers like medical staff, EMTs, and first responders. The challenge of taking care of so many desperately sick people is taking its toll. And to add to that stress, varying degrees of adherence to the social distancing and mask-wearing rules are grating on people. It’s just all too confusing. And more people are getting sick.


But our biggest worry is how to come out of this pandemic financially intact. How can we reclaim at least our financial stability in such an unstable environment, where nothing is the same from day to day? Many of us have applied for unemployment and are surviving with the extra $600 per week. But the rules now say, that the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance (PUI) is ending July 31. That’s not so far off. What’s the plan once we are back to the minimum allowable dollar amount for unemployment?


And for small business owners, the confusion only gets worse, what are the new rules for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Employment Injury Disaster Loans? We heard some portion of these loans may be forgivable, but our loan papers spell out the interest rate without any mention of forgiveness. Will Congress approve more dollars to keep Americans afloat, or will we plunge into the life of our grandparents in the Great Depression, hoarding aluminum foil, creating dinners from scraps or bones (the original “bone broth”, so trendy now), wearing coats inside in winter, using meager amounts of water, and patching-up old clothes while haggling for hand-me-downs. What would it be like to return to the days of food rationing coupons, and continued shortages of flour, sugar, butter and yeast? Or raising our own chickens for eggs and meat?


The answer is, we need to find a new way to earn money. If our plant or business is closed, we have to move on. The unemployment checks will eventually run out, and we’ll be facing the food lines and picking through clothing and furnishings at Goodwill on a regular basis. “New” will be a thing of the past. So, how do we find work in COVID? How do we beat the applicant tracking systems (ATS) that stymie us? How do we find out who’s on the inside and who the decision-makers are? After so many months of unemployment, how do we gain back our confidence? How do we pass the phone screens after years of never interviewing? What about those video interviews, where there is no person on the other side of the camera? It’s mind boggling to navigate these new rules for job hunting! And we need clarity, now. The lack of knowledge of these basic steps can discourage anyone from even picking up the phone or rewriting a resume.


But, imagine for a moment if there was a way for you to figure out all these new moves now needed in the job-hunting market? Imagine that it’s not impossible to find the job you want; what would that be like for you? Think of yourself already on the other side of food banks and clothing donations. How would that feel? Give yourself a moment to hold that thought in your head.


You may want to learn about a free class to help you with the new twists and turns to get a job in COVID. There are many professional positions that come up daily. These are not the Amazon warehouse jobs, although there are plenty of those as well. When you decide you are ready to make the move to learn how to find a new job in COVID, you can join the Masterclass. 


It’s free and only lasts one hour. You won’t be the only one there. As of now, 18 other people have signed up. We’d love to have you as well. Register here. Remember, the class is free, but you must register to attend. It will be held Wed, July 15, 2020, from 11:30am to 12:30pm.


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford.

Mary T. O’Sullivan

Connect with Mary:



Mary T. O’Sullivan – Biography

Mary O’Sullivan has over 30 years of experience in the aerospace and defense industry. In each of her roles she acted as a change agent, moving teams and individuals from status quo to higher levels of performance, through offering solutions focused on changing behaviors and fostering growth. 


Organizational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. In addition, she is also an International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, a Society of Human Resource Management Senior Certified Professional and has a Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching, from the University of Texas at Dallas. 


In her leadership and executive coaching, she focuses on improving the executive behaviors that slow down performance and lead to growth, such as soft skills, communication, micro-bias awareness, etc. She has successfully helped other professionals, such as attorneys, surgeons, pharmacists, and university professors, make career decisions to lead to success in their chosen careers.  In addition, small business owners have sought Mary’s services to bring their companies into greater alignment, working on their culture, vision, mission, values and goals as well as organizational structure. Mary’s executive coaching has been mainly with large organizations among them: Toray Plastics America, Hasbro, Raytheon Company, Lockheed Martin, CVS Healthcare, Sensata Technologies, Citizen’s Bank, Ameriprise, BD Medical Devices, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, (Newport, R.I.), General Dynamics, University of Rhode Island, Community College of Rhode Island, etc.


Mary has facilitated numerous workshops on various topics in leadership such as, emotional intelligence, appreciative inquiry, effective communication, leading in adversity, etc. She has also written extensively on similar topics.


Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from the Society of Human Resources Development. Mary is also an ICF certified Appreciative Inquiry Practitioner, and a Certified Emotional Intelligence assessor and practitioner.


In addition, Mary holds a permanent teaching certificate in the State of New York for secondary education with Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, State University of New York at Oswego and Syracuse University.  She is also a member Beta Gamma Sigma and the International Honor Society.Mary dedicates herself to coaching good leaders to get even better through positive approaches to behavior change for performance improvement.

Events begin to return - Narragansett Fine Art & Craft Show - 7/12

Events begin to return – Narragansett Fine Art & Craft Show – 7/12

July 7, 2020/RINewsToday


Narragansett Fine Art and Craft Show – Sunday, July 12th


Local Artists are being recruited NOW for the Narragansett Fine Art and Craft Show set for Sunday July 12th. Thirty local artists’ spots are reserved for artists to display their latest works under white tents on the green of Gazebo Park beside the Narragansett Towers and Town Beach.


The event will be held from 9am to 6pm.


The show will be featuring paintings, photography, ceramics, glass, sculpture, textiles and mixed media. 

The community is encouraged to come out and support their favorite artists at this iconic vacation spot in Rhode Island.

Hosted by the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce, PVD Artisans Market and Bryce Studio, safe distancing will be practiced, and hand sanitizer stations will be available. The event will follow all state and town guidelines for a fun art shopping experience


For Artists:


Artisan Fair/Art Show Details and Registration Rules


**Please note the ‘Photography’ category is full.


Co-Hosts are Mike Bryce Studio and the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce

  • Assigned Space – Assigned spaces will be made based upon type so as to mix up the various mediums.
  • Set Up and Take Down: Set up MIGHT be permitted on Saturday night, July 11. We will let you know when that is confirmed. Currently, set up is from 6:30 am-8:30 am and take down must take place at the end of the show with all items removed by 7:30pm
  • Booth spaces are 10×10’ tent spaces and artists supply their own tent and tables.
  • Parking: If we can allow some parking in the Post Office driveway, we will let you know, but plan to park on the street. You may drive your vehicle onto the green to drop off put under no circumstances are any vehicles allowed to be parked on the Green during the show.
  • Sales – You are responsible for your own sales and arrangements with buyers. We are not taking any commissions on this show and wish you the very best!


COVID-19 Precautions and Compliance: We will follow whatever rules are in effect at the time of the show. We will count visitors entering and exiting. Masks will be required, and large groups will not be allowed to congregate at any one tent. These precautions will be monitored by our staff.


Making the local news media irrelevant

Making the local news media irrelevant

July 7, 2020/Richard Asinof


Making the local news media irrelevant; and they respond like well-trained pets


By Richard Asinof, – contributing writer


A trip to the Governor’s live news briefing at the Vet revealed how Raimondo has made the local news media largely irrelevant – and, in turn, how they have responded to the change like well-trained pets


Just before I arrived at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday, July 1, to attend the scheduled live briefing and media scrum hosted by Gov. Gina Raimondo and her team, I had tuned in to listen to WPRO host Tara Granahan to “take the temperature” of talk radio in Rhode Island.


A caller broke the news to Granahan that the Governor had just made Oprah magazine, highlighting Raimondo as one of the governors who “are helping Americans survive a global pandemic.”


The Oprah news left Granahan momentarily stunned, at a loss for words; she quickly recovered, saying that Oprah herself had been apparently taken in by Raimondo’s aggressive marketing of herself.


Granahan had been playing clips from CNBC’s “Mad Money” in which Jim Cramer had raved about Raimondo’s role in leading Rhode Island through the pandemic crisis. With fans like Oprah and Cramer, who could ask for anything more? The local news media, it seemed, was becoming a sideshow, much like Cambodia was to Vietnam, in Henry Kissinger’s opinion.

In search of transparency
Why was I attending the news briefing, against the advice of my primary care physician and my neurologist? In part, it was curiosity. In part, it was because of the failure of Gov. Raimondo and her communications team to respond to my repeated questioning about how much she was planning to invest in Rhode Island’s Health Equity Zones in the FY 2021 state budget.

My question had not received any response, despite numerous inquiries. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What happens to a question deferred?”] If I am honest, I had the delusion of self-importance that if I asked the question in person, I might get an answer.

I did get to ask the question, toward the end of the news briefing, having to shout three times to be heard. The Governor refused to reveal or share what her plans were, saying it depended on what Congress did.


Raimondo expressed exasperation at my question, as if her credentials for her support for Health Equity Zones should not be questioned. Twice before, in her proposed budgets, she had promised to commit $1 million to support sustainable funding for Health Equity Zones but reneged on that promise. Now, she was refusing to make her plans transparent.

Not surprisingly, my question and the Governor’s refusal to answer were not included in any of the news summaries of the event provided by the other reporters covering the news briefing.


But my takeaway from the gathering was that something far darker, much more ominous was occurring than refusing to answer questions. It was related to the way that the Governor had become adept in manipulating her messaging – and in how the local news media had become compliant, complicit, and complacent, particularly in their willingness to behave like well-trained pets in their response to the Governor’s announcement of a new initiative around re-imagining nursing home care, regurgitating what was said without providing any critical analysis.

Setting the stage
Two potentially devastating news stories had lit up the social media universe in the day preceding the news briefing.


• First, political reporter Kathy Gregg at The Providence Journal had broken the news that the Raimondo administration had contracted with the Boston Consulting Group to the tune of $1.85 million in a no-bid contract, paying a salary of $25,000 a week to the consulting group’s employees who became “embedded” at government agencies.


In her response at the news briefing, Raimondo claimed the Boston Consulting Group had first approached the state and provided millions in “free” help before being offered a no-bid contract.


What was not discussed, and has not yet been made transparent, is how McKinsey has apparently been contracted by the state to do similar work as the Boston Consulting Group, being paid for their efforts through a “philanthropic” contribution.

Some folks on the Governor’s team apparently had found the work done by McKinsey to be far more “valuable” than the work done by the Boston Consulting Group. Until recently, Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffitt, had been working with McKinsey.

• Second, photographs of a badly bruised patient at a nursing home had been circulating, creating a storm of outrage. In apparent response, Raimondo chose the news briefing to announce a new initiative about “re-imagining” nursing home care, with an emphasis on providing more home health support.


The new age of oblivion
As I slowly made my way down into the cavernous aisles at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium with my trekking poles in order to keep my balance, filled with mostly empty seats, a sudden insight occurred to me, influenced in large part by the news about Oprah and Cramer praising Raimondo: the audience of local news media had been made irrelevant by the Governor’s media savvy communications team, apparently led by Jon Duffy at Duffy and Shanley.

The Governor now controlled a direct link to talk to Rhode Islanders, a video and radio feed, to get her messaging across. It was amplified by a daily email sent out by Constant Contact, often featuring an edited video of the news briefing.

The reporters who attended and asked questions were never seen, only heard, with the video cameras focused on the Governor, Dr. Nicole-Alexander Scott, the director of the R.I. Department of Health, and Brett Smiley, the director of the R.I. Department of Administration.


[Off-screen, Jennifer Bogdan Jones, the outgoing Communications director, looking to be about seven months pregnant, who would soon be departing her position for a new job at Brown University, served as an official timekeeper.]


Translated, the news reporters had been relegated to serving as unimportant, bit players, off-screen, a role that they seemed to have not yet fully understood, serving as willing conduits for the Governor’s messaging.


The revolution will not be televised
I was early; the Governor, not surprisingly, was late. The running joke among news reporters who have regularly attended events held by the Governor was that she is always about 20 minutes late, operating by her own clock. On July 1, she was 15 minutes late.


There were many of the usual suspects: Steve Ahlquist of Uprise RI, Michael Bilow from Motif Magazine, Bill Bartholomew from BTown podcasts [and soon to be RI PBS], Brian Crandall from NBC10, G. Wayne Miller from The Providence Journal, John DePetro from his own radio show, and the sole woman reporter on that day, Kim Kalunian, from WPRI.


[Ahlquist and Bartholomew were surprised to see me walking with my trekking poles, asking what had happened. I referred them to the July 4 column published last week. Bilow introduced himself.]

My attendance was an apparent “aberration” – the last “live” news scrum conference I attended had been during the second week in March. As a result, I was “checked out” by one of the Governor’s aides who asked my identity and what news media outlet I represented. Really?


It was much like the perfunctory health check done by the state police officers at the entrance to the concert hall when I walked in, asking if there had been any changes to my health. No temperature check was conducted, however.


Nursing homes initiative
I could report on what the Governor said in announcing her new initiative about re-imagining nursing home care, but I am not a well-trained seal, and I do not bark on command. Arf, arf, arf. Some of the ideas floated were attractive, such as single rooms and single bathrooms. The problem, of course, is the cost: who is going to pay, how much, and how will those investments become part of the budget?


I had previously reported on intimations made by the Governor about such plans. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What nursing homes can teach us about future health care in a post-pandemic world.”] Much better than folks read that story, in particular, the details around the failings of the Reinvention of Medicaid, the signature initiative of Raimondo’s first term.

A short synopsis, for those that no longer read, goes like this: The initiative, which became law in 2015, mandated that accountable entities be adopted for all Medicaid managed care programs. However, no accountable entity yet exists for long-term support and services under Medicaid. One physician told ConvergenceRI in 2019 that accountable entities “give clusterf**k a bad name.”


In terms of the budget, Medicaid spending amounts to roughly one-third of the entire state budget; two-thirds of the state Medicaid budget goes to pay for long-term support and services. Worse, despite state law to the contrary, there were more than 800 Medicaid eligibility applications for care that were still pending for longer than 90 days in January of 2020, a delay directly linked to the UHIP snafu that has not be corrected since the Deloitte system’s launch in 2016.


Translated, who is going to hold the Raimondo administration accountable for its past mistakes before it launches yet another new initiative?


What struck me as strange was the timing of the launch announcement – it was the last regularly scheduled media briefing before July 4, without having yet lifted visiting restrictions on nursing homes [promised for the following week, but moved up to Friday, July 3, without consultation with the nursing home industry].

Apparently, the Governor had failed to discuss her planned initiative with the nursing home industry trade association, leaving them in the dark.


Scott Fraser, the president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, issued a response on Friday morning, July 3, with some important “clarifications” around the issues raised by the Governor.


“Because of the vulnerable nature of our nursing homes, RIHCA made it a priority to have a consistent communication to the state on our concerns and need for assistance at the onset of this virus. Many requests were answered, but some critical needs were slow in coming,” Fraser said.

Fraser continued: “RIHCA sent a number of letters to the state on topics of concern. First, RIHCA requested the state test hospital patients for COVID-19 before they were transferred into nursing homes for their next stage of care. The state took weeks [emphasis added] to institute this testing policy. The insertion of untested hospital patients is what brought the first cases of COVID-19 into the nursing homes.”


Further, Fraser said: “RIHCA also advocated for more testing and rapid results testing to be instituted into the homes. Isolating residents and workers is nearly impossible with a virus that is asymptomatic, and people are left untested. This critical testing of residents and workers was slow to be implemented [emphasis added]. Today, regular testing occurs, yet results can sometimes take between six and 10 days to come back, rendering many results unusable.”


In initial two months of this virus, Fraser said, “Our calls for assistance were heard, but only slowly answered. These initial months had a big impact on how this virus played out in Rhode Island nursing homes.”


Fraser cited statistics to back up his response to the Governor, saying that while, as of June 26, 73 percent of the state’s COVID-19 deaths had been “associated with” Rhode Island nursing homes, the percentages of deaths [627 out of 927], the numbers were on a par with what was occurring in neighboring states – 62 percent in Massachusetts and 75 percent in Connecticut. In fact, Fraser continued, “You don’t always hear the story that many residents survived COVID-19. In fact, nearly three-quarters of the 2,745 who have contracted this virus in RI’s nursing homes have recovered. Our homes are celebrating these recoveries week after week.”

Fraser took on Raimondo’s challenge around “innovating around long-term care” head on, saying that the Governor had suggested that nursing homes should apply for grants for innovative solutions like single occupancy rooms and bathrooms and she also committed to investing in home care.

“We are willing to be at the table to discuss how we move forward with a smart continuum of care for the people of RI, yet we want to remind Rhode Islanders that we are caring for the most frail elderly in our state who in most cases need 24-7 care,” Fraser said. “Medicaid patients account for two-thirds of nursing home residents. Since 2012, Rhode Island has cut the Medicaid budget nearly every year, forcing many homes to operate at the financial edge. If the Governor is willing to replenish the Medicaid budget after significant cuts and UHIP reimbursement issues, and provide more funding for single rooms and home care – this would be a welcome change.”


At a time when the Governor will not reveal her budget hand about how much she is willing to invest in Health Equity Zones in Rhode Island, would she be willing to reveal how much she plans to invest in her nursing home initiative?


While the idea of re-imagining care for residents of nursing homes strikes a resonant chord for many, particularly for those with family members currently in nursing homes, what her initiative does not yet address is how the Governor will change the current continuum of care relationship between hospitals and nursing homes. Where will patients go who are recovering from surgeries and need rehabilitative care?


Read the complete story, here, at ConvergenceRI:,5874

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 - Today July 7, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, July 7, 2020

July 7, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Nibbles Woodaway, doing his part to promote “wear a mask” from his post at Big Blue Bug Solutions, high over Route 95 in Providence




Treatment Updates:

  • Use of hydroxychloroquine – early on – is now being reported by Henry Ford Hospital as helpful. – Another study published 2 days later said it is shown not to have an effect.
  • Remdesivir – may reduce # of days in hospital – very expensive. US govt has bought up a large quantity for this drug as spikes increase. Hospitals will be able to buy predetermined amounts of the coronavirus treatment remdesivir through September for up to $3,200 per five-day course.
  • Dexamethazone – is a steroid that can have 30% reduction in deaths for patients in ICU on ventilators.


More than 200 scientists have called for the World Health Organization and others to acknowledge that the coronavirus can spread in the air — a change that could alter some of the current measures being taken to stop the pandemic. 



Testing waits are going from hours to days in peak states such as Texas, Florida, and Louisiana.


Texas hospitalizations have increased 120%


Six Flags in New Jersey has partially opened


In Massachusetts the largest affordable housing company, WinnCompanies, has extended a prohibition on evictions through 2020.


In Florida, competing hospitals are now meeting every morning planning how to come together to treat the influx of new patients


In Florida, the Education Commissioner ordered all public schools to reopen in August.


Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta tested positive for COVID-19, with no symptoms.


Researchers are advising against congregating – restaurant dining, indoor congregating – so why are we doing INDOOR nursing home visitation?


Health departments around the U.S. that are using contact tracers to contain coronavirus outbreaks are scrambling to bolster their ranks amid a surge of cases and resistance to cooperation from those infected or exposed.


20 states are now requiring masks


Federal legislation being proposed to help out transportation services such as buses, ferries – similar to airline assistance.


In England, during wedding ceremonies, brides and grooms have to sanitize their hands before exchanging rings, even if they are already living together.


The New York State Fair is canceled


Hampton University, Virginia, has announced it will offer only online classes


Summer Camps:

  • 5,000-plus summer camps opting to close because of health concerns surrounding the pandemic, or because of delays in receiving rules or guidelines from licensing officials.
  • New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Oregon have banned overnight camps
  • In Maine, where only 20 of 110 licensed overnight camps are opening, guidelines require staff and counselors to quarantine or receive a negative test result


Wimbledon – no tennis royalty or tennis champions at the All England Club in 2020


The University of Washington said more than 100 of its fraternity house residents tested positive for the virus, underscoring the risk colleges face in reopening for the fall semester.


California Governor Orders Second Shutdown of Restaurants and Indoor Businesses in 19 California counties


The Ballet Theatre of Maryland will build an outdoor stage for practicing, and performing this summer.


Nick Cordero, Standout Actor in Broadway Musicals, Dies of COVID-19 Complications at 41


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blamed COVID19 and its stress on the community for the violence and shootings increasing in the city. (


Vermont State Historic Sites are now open on a limited basis. Guests will be required to wear facial coverings in buildings and in the presence of others outdoors. Some spaces will not be open to visitors because of social distancing requirements.


287 LA police officers are in quarantine


Aid to small businesses will be extended – federal PPO


Plainridge to be first Mass. casino to reopen on Wednesday


Phoenix, Arizona has a 91% ICU occupancy rate


Jimmy Johnson, NASCAR driver, tests positive and is in quarantine.


India: With nearly 700,000 coronavirus cases, India is third worst-hit country


The cast and crew involved with taping a Friends Reunion are being tested and will then go into quarantine until the shoot is completed.


The MLS is Back Soccer Tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps set for Thursday was postponed after eight players tested positive for the coronavirus. The group-stage game will be rescheduled. FC Dallas announced last week that six players tested positive for the virus upon arrival in Florida for the tournament. The entire team was quarantined. Two Whitecaps players tested positive, forcing the team to remain in Canada.


New England Patriots have plans to offer free parking to their season tickets holders when they return to games


Alaska is publishing names of businesses where employees have tested positive.


40% of prisoners at San Quentin Prison in California test positive


Home Design: COVID19 is impacting home design with increasing calls for mudrooms, touchless faucets, separate home office spaces, etc.


Autos: Auto experts recommend that cars are driven periodically, at least once a week. There are several reasons for this:

  •  First, running your car for 15 or 20 minutes will keep the battery charged up. That way the car is ready for use should you ever need it. If you drive for 15-30 minutes at moderate speeds once a week, that ought to be enough to keep your battery in good shape.
  • Second, when you drive the car, you’ll keep your moving parts lubricated, shifter linkage and parking brake cable.
  • Third, by moving the car occasionally, you’ll avoid creating flat spots on your tires, even if you just move it 1 foot in either direction.
  • Fourth, when you take the car out, you disturb any rodents or small animals and bugs that may have built a home in the car.


In New York several people contacted by contact tracers refused to come in for testing or provide information and the courts have begun issuing subpoenas, with fines of $2K a day.


MLB All-Star game canceled after many players test positive


US Travel Assoc says the US is seeing a return to the Great American Road Trip – people can drive and control their environment. Parks and road trip purveyors, and small motels will benefit the most.


Orange County, Florida Mayor Jerry Demings stated that the demonstrations over the past month are partially to blame for the recent increases in coronavirus cases that the area has seen.


The World Health Organization (WHO) quietly updated a timeline this week to reflect that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) never reported its discovery of the coronavirus to the WHO.


Celtics leave for 7-14 weeks sequestered in Disney to play basketball


40% of Harvard grad students will not be returning and all classes will be held online for 2020-2021




No updated data since Friday – Gov. address will be Wednesday – look for updated data today


Transparency portals in RI have identified the top recipients of PPP federal stimulus money used to pay over 108,000 employees and help keep businesses afloat. More than 17,000 Rhode Island businesses shared $1.9 billion, with an average amount of approx. $110,000. Funds received can be used for payroll, rent/mortgage,and utilities. Companies receiving the largest amounts, supporting close to 5,000 workers are:


Brown Emergency Medicine, Brown Medicine, Coastal Medical, H. Carr & Sons, Cardi Corporation, East Coast Interiors, Rhode Island Medical Imaging, Arden Engineering, Pet Food Experts, Taco, Technic, Greystone, KVH Industries, and University Orthopedics.


Providence Municipal Court opened Monday of this week – with in-court numbers limited. Night court still suspended for now.


The RI Health Care Association says 8% of the nursing home population in RI, 7,500, have died from COVID19 related disease – and ¾ of the 2,745 people who have had the coronavirus have recovered (2,059). They also say 73% of RI’s deaths (627 or 927) were from nursing homes.


Movie Night at Home: WRIK Entertainment, in RI, will come to your house and set up everything you need for a backyard Movie Night – Four hour movie night package include a screen, projector, sound system, delivery & set-up. The customer can play their own DVD, use their laptop or streaming service to play a movie – more, here:


Newport Art Museum: Through the Window – Opening Art Reception, July 9, 6-7:30pm, Live Online Event – Opening reception of juried show, Through the Window.  The “window” concept is not only a literal reference, but also figurative — and drawn from our current worldwide environment. A window is sometimes a barrier, and sometimes a portal. It lets in the light or keeps out the cold. It indicates possibilities or limitations. Juror, Lorena Pugh, will announce the winners for the show and discuss her selection process.  We will take questions from our guests and we will provide a virtual tour of the show. Event will take place via Zoom.  This event is free and open to the public, however, you must register using the link below to receive your meeting login instructions:


Newport Art Museum: Summer Camp – Registration is also open for Youth Summer Art Camps, which will run through the week of Aug. 21. Register at


Encore Casino, in Massachusetts, said it would furlough 3,000 more workers


St. Mary’s Feast in Cranston will not be held in 2020


Abbott ID Now: Testing has ended by CVS at Twin River. RI Health Dept said, “Tests have been enormously beneficial to Rhode Island’s response ?to this pandemic. They have allowed us to quickly identify thousands of positive cases, which meant we were able to get individuals into isolation right away, and we were able to get their contacts into quarantine right away. However, there are limitations to this test. It is considered a point-of-care test, meaning that normally the result is only one piece of information that your doctor would use when assessing you in the office. This is because it is a little less sensitive than other tests. For that reason, we decided strategically to be less reliant on Abbott ID Now tests as other, more sensitive tests came onto the market.”


URI Housing – Limited to 2 per room – town of Narragansett moves to shut down housing to 3 or less. URI’s decision is compounded by a decision Wednesday by the Narragansett Town Council to limit student rentals to three unrelated adults per house.


TF Green Airport will open 2 new restaurants.


All YMCA branches are open in Rhode Island.


Evictions/Rental Assistance: Close to 800 people are in various stages of eviction in RI through end of June – with over 4,000 applying for rental assistance. Less than 200 of those applicants have had applications processed and paid at this time as the Governor said “we have to do better” at processing. A program of mediation is expected to be developed to help both renter and landlord.


Bobby Tasca, NHRA Driver, from RI, has tested positive for covid-19 and will miss his race this weekend


Portsmouth Library is open again


UMass Dartmouth offering single occupancy dorm living – semester will end at Thanksgiving


Battleship Cove Museum opens at 40% capacity


Warwick Mayor Solomon has instituted a grace period for city tax payments and the city will also hold off on issuing motor vehicle tax bills until the state budget is adopted.


Johns Hopkins Data — see where RI – and all states fall when measured on death rates per 100,000 – RI is 5th from the top:

Coming together…

Rhode Island News as of 07/07/20 of 7:38am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Two RI towns are jointly cracking down on traffic violations.  A toddler is struck by a hit-and-run driver in Providence.  Police are looking for a missing Providence teen.

>>Joint Traffic Violation Crackdown In Two Towns

(Undated)  --  Middletown and Portsmouth police are jointly cracking down on speeding and reckless driving.  Operation Safe Summer will target various undisclosed locations at different times.  Police say it's a highly visible effort to eliminate aggressive driving and lower the rate of crashes in the two towns. 

>>Toddler Hit By A Vehicle In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  A hit-and-run driver is being sought by Providence police.  A three-year-old was struck around 9:20 last night on Ayrault Street.  WJAR-TV reports the child was taken to Hasbro Children's Hospital.  No information has been released on the extent of injuries.  

>>Police Looking For Missing Providence Teen

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence police are looking for a missing 14-year-old girl.  Aliah Trinidad was last seen on Friday leaving her family's apartment on Progress Avenue.  She's described as five-feet-five inches tall, 160 pounds with curly blonde hair.  Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the police.

>>Fire Suppression System Activates In Cranston

(Cranston, RI)  --  It's believed a malfunction is the cause of a fire suppression system activation yesterday in Cranston.  It happened at a Stop & Shop gas station on Atwood Avenue.  According to WJAR-TV, no serious injuries were reported.

>>Red Sox To Open Season At Home

(Boston, MA)  --  The Red Sox open the season at home on July 24th.  Boston will host Baltimore in a three game series to start the shortened 60-game season.  Games will be available on TV and radio, but there will be no fans allowed into Fenway Park because of the coronavirus.

John Carpilio/sca      RI)   MA)  
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-07-2020 07:39:11

Rhode Island News as of 07/06/20 of 11:38am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The RI General Assembly is expected to reconvene next week.  The pandemic pay bump for Stop & Shop workers is over.  Municipal Court in Providence is open for the first time since mid-March because of COVID-19.

>>General Assembly Reconvenes Next Week

(Providence, RI)  --  The General Assembly is expected to reconvene next week to consider several bills.  House and Senate committee hearings are scheduled for this week.  The focus is expected to be deliberations on the fiscal year 2021 state budget.

>>Stop & Shop Ends Pandemic Bay Increase

(Quincy, MA)  --  The pandemic salary increase for unionized hourly workers at Stop & Shop supermarkets is over.  Employees say they remain at risk and they are circulating an online petition to keep the bump in wages.  Workers started getting the appreciation pay in March, but it ended Saturday.  Stop & Shop says it thanks to its employees for working during extraordinary circumstances.

>>Municipal Court Reopens In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Municipal Court reopened today for the first time since mid-March when it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. WJAR-TV reports that only one person is allowed in the courtroom at a time because of social distancing guidelines.  Night court sessions are still canceled.  Anyone with questions should call the court.

>>Two Shooting Incidents In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence police are investigating two separate shooting incidents.  The Providence Journal reports a 19-year-old woman was reported in stable condition at Rhode Island Hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her left leg.  It happened around three o'clock this morning on Broad Street.  Around the same time, a man suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound on Vandieman Avenue. 

>>Westwood YMCA Beach Reopened For Swimming

(Coventry, RI)  --  The Westwood YMCA Beach in Coventry is cleared for swimming.  The state Department of Health says bacteria levels in the water have returned to safe levels.  DOH reminds beachgoers to observe COVID-19 safety guidelines on the sand and in the water.

John Carpilio/jas     RI) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
07-06-2020 11:24:01

Welcome to Goddard State park Golf Course - #4 of our golf course reviews

Welcome to Goddard State Park Golf Course – #4 of our golf course reviews

July 6, 2020/John Cardullo


by John Cardullo, sportswriter


Goddard State Park Golf Couse a surprisingly fun walk for golfers of all ages and skill levels.


This is the 4th part of a multi-part series on the local golf courses in the State of Rhode Island by a self-admitted weekend golfer who is more of a hacker and duffer. The courses are selected randomly and played without prior knowledge of the owners and staff, so to get the experience of every golfer who plays the course.


This week’s golf adventure brought us to the Goddard State Park Golf Course, a 9-hole adventure located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. It is owned and maintained by the state of Rhode Island.


I haven’t played Goddard Park in over ten years; the last time I played the course it was a wide-open, poorly maintained dried out piece of land that was labeled a golf course. The keyword here is “was”.


This round was played on a day that had seen rain showers move through the area for 5 straight days. That left the course in exceptionally good shape, from the tee box to the putting greens the course was lush and green with no dried out or burnt out areas to contend with. So far so good!


As a course policy right now, they only take tee times two days in advance. Approaching the window to pay the green fees, which at the cost of $15 if you walked, was very reasonable. As with every golf course that my group has played this season, the COVID-19 precautions were in place and strictly enforced.


As my round proceeded, I noticed that the holes were straight, except for the 6th hole, which had a dogleg left bend to it. The fairways were wide with little objects or obstructions in your way. Basically, if you hit the ball pretty straight your round will be adventure free, and for the most part that’s how I played off the tee. Approaching the green was where my game toughened up.


Goddard Park starts you off with a 500-yard par 5, and it is the 2nd rated most difficult hole on the course. A straight direction off the tee, you encounter a sand trap in front of the green. Once on the green, we discovered that putting was going to be slow, mainly because of the rain that we had all week, and the groundskeepers didn’t have the chance to mow the putting surface (they were actually mowing the fairways as we played). Taking a bogey 6 we moved to the next hole.


Hole #2 was a 370-yard par 4, both sides of the fairway were lined with trees that were not a factor, in fact, you really had to mis-hit your ball to get into real trouble throughout the round. Two sand traps protect the green and I got caught in on my approach shot. Most of the sand traps on the course were high toward the green so to get out of the trap, you need to blast it out. Three putts later, and a double-bogey 6 it was on to the third hole.


The third hole is the first par 3 on the course, a 175-yard straight green with two sand traps on each side of the green in front. As the wind was blowing in our face, even going with a little more club got knocked down and landed just in front of a sand trap. Not to repeat the last hole and landing in the trap, I gave it a little more club than I should and landed just off the green behind the hole. My first effort with the putter fell short (did I mention that the greens were running slow?) I took a one over bogey 4. The next hole was a par 4 288 yard straight to the green cruise. As with the first three previous holes, trees lined both sides of the fairways and sand traps protected the green. Getting on the green in 3, I knock my long putt in for my first par of the day, and things were looking up!

That feeling was short-lived after the next hole, which was the second par 5 on the course. It is a 495-yard uneventful hole with traps right and left of the green. I wasn’t able to take advantage of a good tee shot, flubbing my next shot, and putting my third shot into the right side trap, fortunately, my ball landed on the upslope of the trap and I was able to get on the green and take my 2nd double bogey of the day. At this point, I was six over with three holes left to play. My third double bogey occurred on the 6th hole which had a dogleg left, pulling my tee shot left I caught the right side of the tree that was positioned at the bend. I got a favorable bounce toward the fairway, but I had to contend with several overhanging branches. Punching out longer and more to the right of the green than I wanted, the hole was surrounded by what else? You guessed it, sand traps! All were higher toward the green, my high, 50-yard pitch went long, and I walked off the hole with my third, second in a row double bogey.

Hole #7 was a 165-yard par 3 which again I misjudged the wind, and my tee shot fell short, a pitch onto the green, and two putts later I was off with a bogey and onto hole #8. Hole #8 is rated the hardest hole on the course. It is a 385-yard par 4, it has 3 traps that surround the hole; the tee box is slightly elevated as is the green, and again you think that it is uneventful but recording a double-bogey 6 makes you shake your head as you walk off the green. As with every other hole except for hole #6, the final 9th hole brings you back to the starter shack. A 315-yard par 4, wide open to each side of the fairway with a small single sand trap on the right side of the green, recording a bogey 5 and a score of 48 for the round, I was perplexed that a rather straight forward layout gave me fits all day. But I believe that is the secrete of Goddard Park Golf Course, it lures you into a false sense of simplicity and then bites you.

I am giving the course a B+, it is now in good shape, but let’s see if it will be maintained throughout the dog days of August. There is no water on the course as hazards, so irrigation and a water source can cause problems as the course dries out. Keep in mind that it is a state-owned facility and may not get the TLC as most golf courses – but only time will tell. It is an excellent course for everyone, from the experienced golfer who wants to work around to the beginner who wants to get out and work on their game.

Goddard Park is a nine-hole public course that opened in 1939. It is a par 36, 3,021-yard course with a 90 slope and 40.0 rating. It is located at 1095 Ives Road, East Greenwich. The telephone number is 401-884-9834 and tee times are recommended.


John Cardullo

John Cardullo, sportswriter

Immunizations. Are your children up to date? What you need to know.

Immunizations. Are your children up to date? What you need to know.

July 6, 2020/RINewsToday


If your child is under 2 years old, or age 4, 11 or 16, and needs a vaccine, or if they have missed a child well visit or lead screening during the last several months, please call their doctor and make an appointment to be seen before your child returns to school in September. That’s the word from Governor Gina Raimondo and the RI Department of Health.


In April and May, Rhode Island saw a 52% reduction in immunization rates for children between the ages of 2 and 7.


For those concerned about COVID19 and medical offices, the Health Department notes that pediatricians are taking extreme caution – keeping waiting rooms clear, using PPE, conducting infection control, and requiring screenings specifically designed to mitigate risk of exposure to the virus. The concern for immunization lag one that has been mentioned several times in Governor Raimondo’s press events. 


For those with children without health insurance, the advice is to call the Health Insurance Exchange at 1-855-840-4774 to learn more about coverage.


Getting children properly immunized for the school year is “a shared responsibility to protect public health”, according to Gov. Raimondo.


Immunizations for students:


Requirements for students entering licensed DHS center-based and in-home childcare facilities

  • 4 doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Flu vaccine each year
  • 2 doses of Hepatitis A vaccine
  • 3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine
  • 3 doses of Hib (Haemophilus influenza type b) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 4 doses of Pneumococcal Conjugate vaccine (not routinely given to healthy children 5 years of age and older)
  • 3 doses of Polio vaccine
  • 2 doses of Rotavirus vaccine
  • 1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine


Requirements for students entering kindergarten


A student entering kindergarten must have met the pre-kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) vaccine
  • 1 dose of MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Polio vaccine
  • 1 dose of Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine


Requirements for students entering 7th grade


A student entering 7th grade must have met the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4) vaccine
  • 1 dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine


Requirements for students entering 8th grade


A student entering 8th grade must have met the 7th grade immunization requirements, plus:

  • 2 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine


Requirements for students entering 9th grade


A student entering 9th grade must have met the 8th grade immunization requirements, plus:

  • 3 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • *Note: Per current ACIP recommendations, 2 doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine (if series is started at age 14 or younger)


Requirements for students entering 12th grade


A student entering 12th grade must have met the 9th grade immunization requirements, plus:

  • 1 dose of Meningococcal Conjugate (MCV4) vaccine – booster dose




Students and children in childcare (daycare) and pre-kindergarten facilities can be exempted from required immunizations for religious, medical, or temporary reasons. A medical exemption certificate must be signed by a medical provider.


About the HPV vaccination


No student should be excluded from school if he/she is not vaccinated against HPV.


Per current ACIP recommendations, adolescents 9 – 14 years of age need 2 doses of HPV vaccine for series completion, and adolescents 15 – 26 years of age need 3 doses for series completion.


Impact on schools: School nurses will only have to assess for 2 doses of vaccine rather than 3 doses, for 9th graders who start the series before age 15.


Discover Beautiful Rhode Island - with Jason Michalski

Discover Beautiful Rhode Island – with Jason Michalski (photo/video)

July 5, 2020/Jason Michalski


by Jason Michalski, photographer



Jason is a US Marine veteran, portrait and landscape photographer, and visual artist. Follow Jason on Instagram to see more of his work – jmich78photography. We thank him for use of this photo and his contemplation.


In The Arena - with Joe Paolino, Jr. and Alan Hassenfeld

In The Arena – with Joe Paolino, Jr. and Alan Hassenfeld

July 5, 2020/RINewsToday


Each week Joe Paolino, Jr. interviews people of interest on his program, “In The Arena”.  The show airs at 7am on Sundays on ABC6.


Paolino interviews Alan Hassenfeld, former CEO and Chairman of Hasbro.


Here is “In The Arena” – remotely – for July 5, 2020:



The Untold Truth About Slavery - by Ed Achorn

The Untold Truth About Slavery – by Ed Achorn

July 5, 2020/RINewsToday


By Edward Achorn, Exploring the Story of America


(Editor’s Note: The Untold Truth About Slavery is the first of several articles from different perspectives on Black history planned by RINewsToday – we thank Ed Achorn for allowing this publication.)


Last week, Tim Kaine made a ludicrous statement: “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”


It is shocking to hear a U.S. senator, a former Virginia governor and a former major-party candidate for vice president spout such nonsense, particularly at a time when racial tensions have been ratcheted up, with rioters looting and burning neighborhoods.


Even a cursory reading of world history would reveal that America did not create the institution of slavery (though North America’s colonies permitted it to take hold here). Slavery goes back many thousands of years.


And Africans have not been the only victims. Virtually every human culture has embraced it, in huge numbers, notably including China and India. It existed in the Americas — practiced widely and with awful brutality by indigenous peoples — before Christopher Columbus arrived. In the ancient world (see the second century mosaic of Roman slave servants above), slavery was ubiquitous. Jews were famously enslaved in Egypt, and led from bondage by Moses.


Slavery exists around the world now, disgracefully tolerated. National Geographic estimates some 27 million people are still held in bondage.


As the great economist Thomas Sowell has noted (see his “The Real History of Slavery”), at least 1 million white people were enslaved by North African pirates between 1500 and 1800. The very word slave derives from Slav — white Europeans who were enslaved.


The monstrous African slave trade involved the sale of prisoners of war taken in tribal battles, greatly enriching some African leaders and tribes. I suspect few people know that only a small fraction of the black slaves sent to the New World went to North America.


Henry Louis Gates Jr., a professor in Harvard’s Department of African and African American studies, explained…


Click here to read the complete article:



Ed Achorn’s blog is Exploring the Story of America.


Edward Achorn is the author of two critically acclaimed books of baseball history — The Summer of Beer and Whiskey and Fifty-Nine in ’84 — in addition to his celebrated new book, Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and recipient of the Yankee Quill Award for lifetime achievement in journalism.


Most recently Achorn was Vice President and Editorial Pages Editor of The Providence Journal.


Follow his blog at:

Never Can Say Goodbye...Pawsox

Never Can Say Goodbye…PawSox

July 3, 2020/RINewsToday


By John Cardullo, sportswriter


Photo: Ben Mondor, founder of the Pawtucket Red Sox, died in October of 2010, ten years ago.


No “Field of Dreams” for the PawSox and their fans as the MLB (Minor League Baseball) officially canceled its 2020 season. For the fans of the Pawtucket Red Sox baseball team, that the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic was not a total surprise, in fact, it was fitting in a way.


The 2020 season was supposed to be a bittersweet one, yes it was to be their last after calling McCoy stadium home for 50 years (1970-2020). It was going to be a season the fans would always remember, but thanks to COVID-19 it will always be the season that fans of any sport will never forget.


The announcement was made by International League President Randy Mobley who said “Due to the many COVID-19 related challenges that would accompany staffing team rosters for a two month season, Major League Baseball has now advised that they will not be assigning players to the teams of Minor League Baseball in 2020.”


With that statement, 2020 will also be known as the first season in the 137-year history of the International League (founded in 1884), when no games will be played. “Naturally as baseball fans, we are deeply disappointed not to have a summer of PawSox baseball, especially in our 50th anniversary season,” Said club president Dr. Charles Steinberg. “The health, safety, and well-being of our players, and the entire community are paramount. But we will keep the faith; this may not be how the story ends.” Steinberg concluded.


The club is looking into some ways to have a fitting farewell to their longtime home. The club hopes to open the 2020 season in Polar Park which is currently under construction in Worcester, Massachusetts.


Currently the PawSox host a unique experience for fans called “Dining on the Diamond” which began on June 5th, giving families the opportunity to go out and enjoy dinner right on the field. As Major League Baseball gears up for its season, the Boston Red Sox have discussed using McCoy Stadium as the location for some of their workouts. Scheduling for both the workouts and the dining on the diamond will be announced. In addition to navigating the COVID-19 rules and regulations, the PawSox are still exploring ways to have a fitting farewell to McCoy Stadium, and to their fans in Pawtucket, and in Rhode Island, sometime in the future – stay tuned for details as they become available.

John Cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter

What a beauty! New Rocky Point Pier

What a beauty! New Rocky Point Pier

July 2, 2020/RINewsToday

Thank you to Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, of Warwick, who allowed us to use these beautiful pictures of the new pier at Rocky Point.


The replacement project was done jointly with the City of Warwick.


Warwick Mayor Solomon

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon today held a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of a new timber fishing pier at the iconic Rocky Point State Park in Warwick. Financed by RI Capital Plan and Green Economy Bond funding, the $1.8 million project provides anglers of all abilities with access to one of the state’s prime fishing areas.


Participants included:


Jason McNamee, Deputy Director, Department of Environmental Management


Megan DiPrete, Chief, Planning & Development, Department of Environmental Management


The Honorable Joseph Solomon, Mayor, City of Warwick


Jonathan Stone, Executive Director, Save The Bay – Narragansett Bay


John Howell, Chairman and President, Rocky Point Foundation


Steve Medeiros, Executive Director, Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association


“Public access to clean, safe, and attractive recreational facilities is a public good,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Being active outdoors is important for our physical and mental health. I hope that Rhode Island anglers will enjoy this new fishing pier at Rocky Point, cast a line into the waters of Narragansett Bay, and appreciate the beauty of our state.”


“Expanding shoreline and fishing access is core to our mission at DEM and we’re thrilled that the new pier will enable anglers, regardless of their physical abilities, to experience the joy and bounty of fishing on Narragansett Bay,” said DEM Director Janet Coit. “I hope that the public will benefit from this recreational investment and asset for decades to come.”


“I have been involved with efforts to preserve Rocky Point for two decades and it has truly been a labor of love. Previously, as Council President, I was proud to support the City of Warwick’s acquisition of the land at Rocky Point, which was a long, complicated process. I convened a special meeting of the Warwick City Council to grant permission for the State to purchase the remaining portion of the land at Rocky Point, and I also docketed legislation for the easement needed to build this pier. Now, as Mayor, I am very gratified to continue making improvements at our iconic park, and to stand with my partners from state and federal offices to officially open the fishing pier at Rocky Point,” said Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. “We have, working together, ensured the preservation of Rocky Point for the public so that generations of Rhode Islanders can continue to enjoy it. This project is just the latest in a series of enhancements that I have championed at our beloved park, and it is one multiple investments I am making in Warwick’s open spaces and recreational opportunities.”


The new fishing pier features a 280-foot-long, T-shaped pier with a shade structure, benches, railings, and solar lighting. Railing heights vary to allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy access to Narragansett Bay.


The fishing pier moved forward as a result of a partnership between DEM, the City of Warwick, The Nature Conservancy, and others to create and improve public access sites for fishing and boating. The project provides saltwater fishing access less than 10 miles from Downtown Providence, advancing a key element of this coastal public park. The fishing pier also complements a variety of recreational opportunities at Rocky Point State Park, including walking, bird-watching, rock climbing, a youth fishing camp, DEM’s popular “Come Clam With Me” workshops, and open spaces for picnics as well as family-focused events like Food Truck Nights and Movie Nights run by the City and other gatherings.


DEM Director Coit noted that DEM works in close partnership with the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through its popular fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. Fishing is an important part of Rhode Island’s social and cultural fabric and an important driver for the state’s economy. Rhode Island’s marine recreational fishing industry contributes $420 million to the state’s economy and supports over 4,000 jobs.


“This new pier will provide a safe place for recreational anglers to catch fish and hopefully teach fishing to our children and grandchildren,” said Stephen Medeiros, Executive Director of RISAA.


Located along Warwick Neck and overlooking Narragansett Bay, the 124-acre Rocky Point State Park property is one of Rhode Island’s most beloved natural assets and has a 150+ year history of being a popular summer attraction for Rhode Islanders and visitors. Over the decades, attractions at Rocky Point have come and gone – nature trails, a ferry pier, the end of a trolley line running from Providence through Buttonwoods and Oakland Beach, an observation tower, hotels, clambakes, restaurants, swimming pool, rides, games, and concerts – but the attraction of publicly accessible land so close to Providence has been a consistent draw since 1850.


In March 2013, following voter approval of a $10 million bond in 2010 that was spearheaded by the Rocky Point Foundation with help from Save The Bay, DEM acquired 83 acres at the site of the former Rocky Point amusement park, creating Rhode Island’s newest state park. The state’s parcel on the interior of the park was integrated with the 41 acres of shoreline at Rocky Point that was bought by the City of Warwick with the help of state and federal funding in 2007.


“When Save The Bay joined the effort to acquire 82 acres of the Rocky Point Park site in 2010, we hoped it would once again become a place where Rhode Islanders could access, use, and enjoy Narragansett Bay,” said Jonathan Stone, Executive Director of Save The Bay. “We congratulate the DEM on completing this important project, which enhances Rocky Point and offers residents of Warwick and visitors alike a new way to appreciate the Bay and the shore.”


The contractor for the fishing pier project was ACK Marine & General Contracting LLC of Quincy, MA, and the engineering company was Pare Corporation, based in Lincoln, RI.


According to the RI DEM website: “The project is another example of Governor Raimondo’s and DEM’s commitment to invest in Rhode Island’s system of parks and beaches – which, according to a recent study, rank 1st in visits per park acre but 47th in state spending per visit. DEM is leading the Governor’s multi-year initiative to increase staffing at state parks and beaches, offer new amenities to users, adopt best practices, engage further with partners, and do more to realize the opportunities afforded by this magnificent system. Rhode Island’s natural and public assets are magnets, attracting more than 9 million Rhode Islanders and tourists a year. They’re also an engine that adds an estimated $315 million to the economy, generating nearly $40 million in state and local taxes and supporting nearly 4,000 jobs a year. However, more visitors (a 37% increase in beach visitation from 2010 to 2017), far fewer employees (full-time staffing in DEM’s Parks and Recreation Division has dropped by 67%, to 42 FTEs from 123, since 1989), longer seasons, and aging facilities are hindering DEM’s ability to meet some park users’ expectations.”


About Rocky Point Park

Opened for the first time in nearly twenty years in 2014, Rocky Point State Park serves as a memory for many Rhode Islanders of generation’s past. Over the 150+ years of the property’s existence, it has served as a location for nature trails, a ferry pier, an observation tower, hotels, clambakes, restaurants, swimming pool, rides, games, and concerts – but the attraction of 120 acres of land for public use within 10 miles of downtown Providence has been a consistent draw since 1850.


A the state’s newest coastal state park, visitors can enjoy the property they once made so many memories at, while the younger generations of park-goers can make new ones.


If you are planning to visit the Rocky Point property…


Please keep in mind that this is now a passive use park, and certain guidelines exist for its preservation. The State of Rhode Island and the City of Warwick ask that you adhere to the following rules:


  1. You are welcome to visit the property, but please do not park on the neighborhood roads.
  2. The removal of anything 
  3. (natural or man-made) from the property is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, historic remains or artifacts, and natural rock material (including fossils & minerals).
  4. For your safety, do not climb any of the structures in the park.
  5. The harming or removing of any plant or animal life is strictly prohibited. This includes hunting, or trapping, or the cutting of plants or trees. Fishing is permitted with a valid license.
  6. Overnight Camping and/or building of fires is not permitted. The property is available for day use only.
  7. The use metal detectors, or any kind of digging tools or equipment, is not permitted.
  8. Leave nothing behind. Do not litter or leave any trace of your visit. Please keep the property clean and pristine so that others may enjoy it as much as you have.
  9. Off road vehicle use is not permitted. The use of motorized dirt-bikes and ATV’s is strictly prohibited.
  10. The use of the property is “at you own risk”. Please remember that this is a very rugged natural area with many hazards and pitfalls. Hiking in the areas off the main path can be dangerous, and should be attempted by capable hikers only.


The property has no drinking water, toilets, communications, or emergency assistance facilities. It is recommended that you come well prepared to handle your needs during your visit.


From the RI Division of Parks and Recreation

Imagine all the people living, if you can

Imagine all the people living life… re-imagine, if you can…

July 2, 2020/Nancy Thomas

By Nancy Thomas, editor and publisher


“It’s time to totally reimagine how we care for seniors…” – Gov. Raimondo


It has not been that unusual for the smallest state in the country, with about 1 million stable (not mobile) people, with measurable media, and little overlap to be the site of something new – something bold – something to be tested. The items have mostly been products – such as the 2-liter bottle – or a new flavor of Coca-Cola. A nitro system for Dunkin’ Donuts. But campaigns such as the Women’s Heart Health Study and some tobacco control programs were also tested here.


But imagine this – what if the smallest state in the union tested something new on a human scale – how to care for each other when we age, and when that age brings a frailty or chronic disease, rehabilitation need, or conditions that need a level of expertise beyond that of a spouse or family members being able to handle alone.


Said softly in the middle of a regular “presser”, the idea was floated by Rhode Island’s Governor Raimondo at yesterday’s availability. “It’s time to totally re-imagine how we care for our seniors”. Challenging the existing care groups to think about redoing their medical and business model so that every senior in a nursing home had a single room and a single bathroom. She talked about specialty care and compensating those who do this work, mainly women and mainly minority women. Those of us who spend some time in nursing homes and see the farming of our loved ones into “congregate care” settings sat up straight when we heard those wordsIt doesn’t work that way – it would half the census of a home – but how more humane would it all be?


Reimagine, indeed.


And there is money behind this grand idea. This human idea. This idea whose time came generations ago. It will come from the federal money given to states to fight COVID19. RINewsToday rushed to find information on a website – information that allows long term care settings, nursing homes, group homes, assisted living centers, home health groups, to apply – now – for these re-imaging ideas. Soon a press release came out, making the idea a little more formal, but there it was, nonetheless, an imagining moment put into a real project – with enormous potential for all of us.


The release:


Time to Consider Changes to RI’s Long-Term Care System


Investments to Create More Home-Based Care Options Amidst Spread of COVID-19 in Congregate Living Facilities


Governor Gina Raimondo announced a plan to expand home-based care options in Rhode Island as the state continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19 in congregate living facilities. Before COVID-19, 61% of the state’s long-term care recipients lived in nursing facilities, which have struggled to contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 on residents and staff.


“This is the right direction for Rhode Island,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We have been in response mode, and our facilities and staff are doing their best, but as we continue to fight this virus, we need to reduce our reliance on nursing facilities and expand home-based care options. We also need to make sure that our direct care workforce is valued in institutions and in the community with training, support and good wages.”


Raimondo’s $25M plan includes investments in nursing facility supports to implement infection control, investments in capital and program changes to fundamentally re-orient the delivery of care in nursing facilities, and targeted investments to expand home-base care options, through home-based workforce incentives, training and supports. The state will also invest to assist families in better understanding long-term care options and accessing home-based care options when discharged from hospitals.


“The pandemic exposed structural and organizational weaknesses within the long-term care system — inadequate staffing, high turn-over, low pay and lack training” said Patrick Quinn, Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 New England, “We need to build a more resilient long-term care system that gives consumers and their families more independence when choosing a long term care setting and creates a living wage for caregivers as we rebalance our long term care system and drive more investment to direct care of the elderly and individuals living with disabilities. The status quo in nursing homes and home care is failing Rhode Island residents and families which is unacceptable.”


“COVID-19’s impact on older adults and persons living with disabilities with long term care needs has been dramatic,” said Maureen Maigret, co-chair of the State’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council. “I am pleased the Governor has announced this long term supports and services resiliency plan. We need to reimagine how we deliver and finance long term care. To make home and community-based services – where persons overwhelmingly prefer to receive care — more accessible and to support our families in assisting their loved ones to remain at home. Our nursing homes provide essential services to those with high care needs. This plan will address the resources and workforce needed to better provide high quality, resident-centered care and nursing home care.”


“Historically, we’ve discharged thousands of hospital patients to nursing facilities every year. Times have changed now. Our colleagues are talking about this across the country. We need to build a system of home-based workforce and care that can work with us as we discharge patients safely to their homes to recover with the supports they need.” said Tim Babineau, CEO of Lifespan.


Further information is available on the Executive Office of Health & Human Services’ website at


A response from the RI Partnership for Home Care


Home Care Providers Respond to Raimondo’s Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan Release


Nicholas Oliver, Executive Director for the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care, issues the following statement regarding today’s announcement by Governor Gina Raimondo (D-RI) concerning the release of the State’s new ‘Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan’:


“Home care providers have not benefited from the State’s allocation of COVID-19 related funding and personal protective equipment (PPE) needs in parity with our nursing home colleagues to date. Our association is looking forward to working with Governor Raimondo and her administration to address the issues identified within the ‘Long-Term Care Resiliency Plan’. While the plan’s content does not adequately address the immediate funding and resource needs of home care providers, it is our desire to continue the dialogue with the Governor’s leadership team on maintaining a sustainable network of home care providers during the ongoing public health emergency for all Rhode Islanders in need, including COVID-19 survivors requiring post-acute and sub-acute home care services. The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care will continue to advocate for these needs, along with our proposals to save taxpayer dollars by rebalancing long-term care financing that shifts federal and state funds from costly nursing homes to strengthen home care operations and services, reduce taxpayer-funded duplication of state programs that provide lesser quality home care services, incentivize Rhode Islanders to choose home care as a career choice and a preferred healthcare setting to work, improve state case management of Medicaid beneficiaries and hold all home care providers accountable to the optimal healthcare delivery standards of the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care.”


About the RI Partnership for Home Care


Established in 1990, the Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care (“The Partnership”) represents home care, home nursing care and hospice agencies licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health to serve patients and clients in every Rhode Island community. As the only association in our state to promote access to quality home healthcare, The Partnership is committed to promoting quality home healthcare service delivery, ethical healthcare business practices and positive patient and client outcomes to ensure that access to home care and hospice remains an integral component of our post-acute and long-term healthcare system.




Each week, RINewsToday drills down on the nursing home data and we publish the cases and deaths, as we hold a bright light on the fate of people we are losing – steadily – week in and week out – thankfully below 100 now – but we hear the stats every day – spoken by RIDOH’s Dr. Scott – “1 in their 70s, 2 in their 80s, 6 in their 90s, 2 over 100”.


This virus, it is said, “isn’t the big one” heading our way. Infectious disease sounds like it has come to stay as a concern. “Life may never return to normal,” the Governor said. So it’s time to blow up the system which seems pretty blown up anyway right about now – and get it as right as we can.


Disclosure – Aunt Alice, in the photo above, is 93 years old and lives in an average room in a nursing home. She and a roommate she never met live in this small room. Since the second week of March she has been restricted to her room because of the COVID19. There is about 2 feet of space on one side, a curtain on the other, right up against her bed, and a walkway with the bathroom door in front of her bed. She has had no visitors. She can’t eat with other residents, or have activities, or get her hair done, or walk to the windows. No one has come to visit. A month ago her roommate died. They’ve left her bed with a black plastic mattress on it – not made up, homelike. So far, no COVID-19, and for that we’re grateful. She calls often – midnight, 2am, 4am, 6am. She’s cold and wants a blanket. I call the nurse’s station at 4am because she can’t go out to ask them, and can’t figure out the call buzzer. And so it goes. She lived all on her own before this, in her own apartment, with more needs as time passed. A little fall landed her in the hospital – and now here. She had never even visited a nursing home before. And it’s one of the better ones. She takes no medication, and is about 100 lbs. She can be feisty.


One nursing home administrator in Warren, RI asked how he has kept the virus out of his facility. He said it was not some magic formula – it was two things – a small facility – and being in a community that isn’t dense and that has a small number of cases that draws its workforce from there.


We will go back to the words Gov. Raimondo spoke at the “presser” because these words have spirit behind them – they have a re-imagining behind them – and we encourage whatever groups begin to plan for this that they begin by some exercise every single time they meet, that gives them a moment to realize the greatness of the task before them. There’s $25Million to start – let’s not blow this, Rhode Island. We could change the world for our country, for the people we love, for the years that we have to look forward to as well. We are 1 million people. We’re a test site. We can do it.


John Lennon died at 40. Yoko Ono is 87 years old.

Your Coronavirus Update Today 7/2/20 from

Your Coronavirus Update Today – July 2, 2020

July 2, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Casey Farm in RI says, “Keep THREE Chickens away from each other!”



The Grand Floridian, The Yacht Club, and The Gran Destino hotels have been rented out in Disney for the NBA. NBA to paint “Black Lives Matter” on all sidelines.


Australia steps up police patrols in Melbourne’s locked down coronavirus hotspots as authorities struggle to contain new outbreaks.


Havana, Cuba to ease lockdown as they move to phase 2.


Houston moves COVID-19 patients to other cities: “we don’t have capacity”.


More than 54,000 Americans living or working in long-term care have died of the coronavirus, representing 40% of all Covid-19 fatalities, according to a NYT article.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, warned the Senate that the number of cases could soon reach 100,000 a day if the country does not act quickly.


14 states have statewide mask mandates, and more than 20 others have mask-wearing requirements for business patrons and employees.


Banks around the U.S. are running low on coins – nickels, dimes, quarters and even pennies. And the Federal Reserve, which supplies banks, has been forced to ration scarce supplies.


One third of the prisoners at San Quentin Prison in California are probably infected now with the virus – 42% of the prison’s population are considered “medically vulnerable”.


All MLB games are off for the season.


Space Camp has resumed at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center after shutting down because of the coronavirus pandemic.


the operator of 1,200 Pizza Hut and nearly 400 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States, has filed for bankruptcy, according to the company. Pizza Hut & Wendy’s, owned by the same company have filed for bankruptcy – they employ 7,500 full time and 28,500 part time workers throughout the US. This step is expected to help them restructure.


In Phoenix, Arizona: The governor ordered bars, nightclubs and water parks to close again for at least a month starting Monday night


Trenton, New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy said he’s postponing the restarting of indoor dining, possibly for weeks, because of a lack of compliance on face masks and social distancing


Philadelphia: The city is halting its plans to allow indoor dining, bars, gyms and fitness centers to reopen.


Quarantine rules for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have added eight new states where travelers will be required to quarantine. Added to the list were California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee, raising the total to 16 states under the quarantine orders.


Airbus says to cut around 15,000 jobs


NFL reportedly will cut preseason in half because of pandemic


Apple said it would re-close 30 stores, including 15 in its home state of California.


A temporary extension of a subsidy program for small businesses slammed by the coronavirus has been approved and will be signed by the president.


The New York Subway is now equipped with touch screen PPE vending machines distributing masks, sanitizer, and gloves.


The 2020 MTV Video Music Awards will go on, but without audience.


The CEO of Gilead, maker of remdesivir, estimated to cost over $3,000/dose, said, “We’re going to make sure that access is not an issue with this medicine”. 


Lowe’s will up the pay of their staff as their business is booming during the pandemic.


Grocery supply chains tighten once again and prices rise.


Sports stadium designers are starting to re-imagine stadiums of the future with requirements for social distance seating, etc. See more, here:



Kent Hospital endoscopy unit temporarily closed due to potential exposure to COVID-19 – employees are being quarantined for 14 days.


Gov. Raimondo is featured in Oprah Magazine‘s article “Meet the Rockstar Governors Who Came to our Rescue”

Massachusetts casinos could reopen as soon as next week, but in the face of reduced capacity, Encore Boston Harbor announced plans Monday to furlough a substantial portion of its staff. Approximately 3,000 employees and managers will be furloughed


Maine did not release the quarantine requirement for travelers coming from RI.


All Providence pools will be closed for the season – water parks are open.


Providence may reassign 40% of students to their neighborhood schools.


Kountry Clam Shack, a new addition to the menu at the Kountry Kitchen in Smithfield has opened, offering outdoor dining,


MA Governor Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he was relaxing the state’s 14-day self-quarantine guidance for visitors, exempting people arriving from seven other states in the Northeast that are making progress in the battle against the coronavirus. The update to the self-quarantine advisory, effective July 1, applies to people coming to Massachusetts from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.


These campgrounds are open in RI:
• Burlingame State Campground, Charlestown
• Charlestown Breachway, Charlestown
• Fishermen’s Memorial Campground, Narragansett
• George Washington Memorial Campground, Glocester


Findings of a Fleming study for the Hassenfeld Institute:

*Sixty-six percent of Rhode Island voters said the Governor is opening the State at the right pace


*Almost two-thirds of Rhode Islanders said they are very or somewhat comfortable returning to work outside the home


*More than half of Rhode Islanders are somewhat or very uncomfortable dining in a restaurant


*Voters are divided if they are comfortable attending religious services


*Sixty-five percent of Rhode Island voters said they are very or somewhat comfortable going to a barber or hair salon


*Rhode Islanders are divided on if they are comfortable sending students in K thru 12 back to school in the fall


*Voters between the ages of 40 and 59, Republicans and people who earn over $200K are the most comfortable with doing things outside the home.


*Over three-fourths of voters said that unemployment is a big or moderate problem


Go here for the full study:


PawSox 2020 season is canceled


This week Mass. reported 0 new coronavirus deaths one day for the first time in months


Woonsocket’s Autumnfest is canceled


Dragon Boat Races in Pawtucket canceled


King Richard’s Faire canceled


Showcase will reopen Friday and will run old movies.


Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market will reopened Wednesday.


Providence Libraries opened Wednesday. Brief visits, outdoor seating, no public computers yet (but coming soon). Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing.


Oatley’s Restaurant in North Kingstown will not open.

Newport International Boat Show will not be held this year.


RI Data

Deaths: 6.  1 in 40s, 2 in 60s, 1 in 70s, 1 in 80s, 1 in 90s. (4 were in long term care)


Data will be updated Thurs & Fri, not weekend and not Monday – then again on Tuesday.


Gov’s updates won’t take place now until next Tuesday.


4th of July: We can have fun, but please follow the rules – masks, distancing, sanitizing. Don’t want to see a spike in 2, 3, 4 weeks. No more than 250 people at any events. 6 feet apart, or where your mask. Every city/town will get 1,000 masks to distribute. RIDEM will also distribute masks this weekend at masks and parks.


Inspections: More than 90% compliance with mask wearing by customers and employees. Not so good news is issue of congregating in lines at beaches, bars. 18% of bar inspections not adequate social distancing – we need to do better, don’t want to shut them down.


Senior care support from state: Continuing wage bonuses for front line workers. Immediate relief for costs with additional cleaning, PPE purchases. Increase nursing home inspections. High standards for infection control – hold nursing homes responsible for infection control.  


NEW: Support and provision for nursing homes to totally reimagine care for seniors: How can they accommodate single rooms, single bathrooms, specialty units. Innovate, change business, change clinical and business model to be better and stronger – learn from lessons we’ve learned. Grow and strengthen our home based systems to have better options other than nursing homes. Hard to find home care community supports so RI will commit to make it easier for you to provide care and make nursing homes more innovative. Job training for home care. Options for nights, weekends, holidays, overnights. Working with hospitals so family can receive options at discharge of loved ones. Many direct care workers are women, and women of color – important we make these jobs good paying jobs, career jobs. Going to use Covid funds to support this.


ChildCare: 70% of childcare providers have opened their doors. Additional $5M from Cares for structural changes to help centers get open. DHS partnering with LISC to provide funds.



Kathy Gregg story on BCG Contract – Gov says she has been transparent – expenditures are online – no? – I was moving fast and I’ll defend it all along. $2M pro bono work, we were impressed with them, and we gave them a contract to go ahead. They helped us figure out testing, contact tracing – they embedded in our teams and helped us figure it out. “It’s been excellent”.


Rental Assistance: WPRI’s Kim Kalunian asked about distribution of rental assistance money. “We partnered with Crossroads RI and it’s not going as fast as it needs to.”  Said they are getting more involved to figure out how it needs to work faster. Housing Help RI – if you are behind on your rent call Crossroads or go to HousingHelpRI – there is money available – “we haven’t done a good job about getting the money out – we will do better”. Expect a spike in evictions in August – hope to have a mediation program to announce next week.


UI Boost: Will UI continue? This is what’s buoying the economy at the moment – what will we do?  Economists are predicting bad consequences beginning in August. “I think it will be devastating if we don’t get another stimulus” – everything will be on the table – devastating cuts, massive layoffs, etc. Trump administration supports another stimulus as does every governor and our federal legislators.  Looks like we will get another one in last week of July. Don’t know about PPP. Don’t know about extra $600. RI is preparing for everything.


HEZ – Health Equity Zones – how much money in budget? Gov. says she does not know, as it will depend on budget scenario. “It’s a priority of mine that we will continue to invest in.” But I don’t know the numbers.


Pawtucket stadium project – Tidewater Landing – with coronavirus problems – “It’s slower and harder” – company continues to raise money – Gov says, “no, we’re not even close to throwing in the towel on the development”.  Re McCoy – we have to look at all options – single A and double A teams were interested, but the world has changed now. We need to get back to it.


Nursing Homes: Phase 3 – Can people see their loved ones now? We do have drive-by with some nursing homes. Closest way and safest way right now. Next week some more developments should be announced. Mental health assistance for those family members who have lost loved ones in nursing homes – Director Power has contacted nursing home team to offer behavioral health services.


RIPTA: Has state looked at giving out masks here? Dr. Scott: absolutely. And looking at more locations for masks, sanitizers and social distancing info.


Elderly deaths every day: Assisted living and nursing homes still experiencing deaths every day. Virus continues to be present – still targeted to frail and elderly for the most part – while cases are lower, deaths are lower, but are still occurring.


DEATHS: 720 Deaths have taken place in nursing homes; 45 in assisted living facilities. Total deaths are 956 – this means 80% of all deaths were people in nursing homes/assisted living facilities.


Hospital visitations: will announce next week


PPE Petition for release of funds by Lt. Gov. – you can look for info on transparency portal and it’s updated monthly.

Rhode News as of 07/02/20 of 6:58am

>>Petition Calls For Removal Of Christopher Columbus Statue In Newport

(Newport, RI) -- A petition is asking the City of Newport to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus. Almost twenty-five hundred people have signed the petition to remove the statue from the intersection of Bellevue Avenue and Memorial Boulevard, where it has stood for more than sixty years. Mayor Jamie Bova said she is "open to the conversation" about removing the statue.

>>International Boat Show Canceled

(Newport, RI) -- This year's International Boat Show in Newport is canceled due to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country. Newport Restaurant Group CEO Paul O'Reilly said there was a very high probability that the show would not be allowed to move forward, and that the group is shifting its focus to 2021. The event was scheduled for September 17th to the 20th at the Newport Yachting Center.

Fireworks are Illegal in RI and MA

Fireworks are Illegal in RI and MA. Period.

July 1, 2020/RINewsToday

As the Fourth of July and summer celebrations approach, Chief Steven Pinch and the Union Fire District of South Kingstown reminds residents that the use of fireworks is illegal in Rhode Island.


It is illegal in Rhode Island for non-professional, non-licensed individuals to sell, use or possess display fireworks or aerial consumer fireworks. Firecrackers, rockets, mortars or any other device that launches a projectile or makes a detonation noise are also illegal. Additionally, residents are prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.


Items such as ground-based and hand-held sparkling devices are legal for use by the general public. Legal items include fountains, illuminating torches, wheels or spinners, party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, glow worms, wire sparklers and dipped sticks.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 9,100 fireworks-related, emergency department-treated injuries in 2018.


The Union Fire District of South Kingstown recommends that residents only attend displays put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.

“Due to COVID-19 safety concerns it was necessary for our annual fireworks display at Old Mountain Field to be cancelled this year. We understand how many people look forward to this event each year,” Chief Pinch said. “While this may disrupt the plans of many residents and visitors, we would like to remind our community members that they should not create or partake in their own fireworks display in the absence of the community’s professional display. The illegal use of fireworks isn’t worth the trip to the emergency room or the destruction of property.”


Residents should always:

Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks.


Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters.


Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees and could easily cause severe burns and injuries.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the misuse of fireworks can cause death and injuries including severe burns, contusions, lacerations, eye injuries and more.


Editor’s Note: This information comes from South Kingstown, but has been received from several fire chiefs in RI and MA.

Rhode News as of 07/01/20 of 7:58am

Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  RI driver's licenses can now be gender-neutral.  The RI DOH issues a food recall advisory.  Four state-run campgrounds in RI are open. 

>>Driver's Licenses Can Be Gender-Neutral

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Islanders can now choose a gender-neutral designation on their driver's license.  The new option will appear as an X on licenses.  To make the change, people must fill out the appropriate forms and make an appointment to paperwork in person to the DMV.   

>>RI DOH Alerts Consumers To Food Recall

(Providence RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health is advising consumers about a recall of Fresh Express salad products containing iceberg lettuce, red cabbage, and/or carrot ingredients due to a potential risk from Cyclospora.  It's a condition that can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and fatigue.  The recalled products were sold under various brand names in Rhode Island and Massachusetts in June.  More details are available at    

>>Four RI State Campgrounds Now Open

(Providence, RI)  --  Four Rhode Island state campgrounds are now open daily with COVID-19 restrictions in place.  They include Burlingame State Campground in Charlestown, Charlestown Breachway in Charlestown, Fishermen's Memorial Campground in Narragansett, and George Washington Memorial Campground in Glocester.  Detailed information is available online at the Department of Environmental Management web site.

>>Man Charged With Impersonating An Officer

(Burrillville, RI)  --  A 25-year-old Burrillville man is charged with impersonating an officer.  WPRI-TV reports Brett Hopkins is accused of using his personal vehicle to stop an out-of-state driver because of concern about the spread of COVID-19.  The woman says she had crossed from Connecticut into Rhode Island on her way to work at a hospital when she was pulled over and questioned.  Police say the incident happened in March and that Hopkins will face a court appearance.

>>Red Sox Players Reporting To Fenway Park

(Boston, MA)  --  Red Sox players are reporting to Fenway Park today to be tested for COVID-19.  The results will determine how many of them will be allowed to start working out on Friday.  It will be the first time the team has held spring training in Massachusetts since 1943.  Major League Baseball is set to begin a 60 game schedule on July 23rd and 24th.




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