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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2020-08

Nero - a short story by Michael Fine

Nero – a short story, by Michael 


August 30, 2020/Michael Fine


By Michael Fine


© 2020 by Michael Fine


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental


When the immigrant caravan crossed the Suchiate River from Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala, to Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, Raphael Amos ran the numbers in his mind and began to plot his next move.  It’s all about the numbers, Raphael knew, and any event generates predictable numbers with predictable results.


The caravan was made up of Honduran people. Raphael knew Guatemalans and Mexicans. The Guatemalans and Mexicans Raphael knew were decent people, by and large, just like anyone else. Most of the Guatemalans and Mexicans Raphael knew worked hard and didn’t complain.  Some of the men could be mean drunks. Some of the women had the all suffering looks of the Madonna – their lives were hard, most of them worked in factories, or worked nights as office cleaners, or worked in McDonald’s or Burger King, and many worked two or three jobs to hold body and soul together. But you don’t really know anything about other people from other cultures anyway, about what life means to other people. It is impossible to tell from looking who had a calm and peaceful home life, and whose life was chaos – impossible to tell when a man had another woman or another family on the side or even two other women, and whose daughters ran wild or whose sons were drifting off. The women Raphael knew talked quietly among themselves. Some of the young women were hot, but all cultures are like that.


The market segments the population in various ways that are predictable: hard working men buy trucks and chain saws; women watch telenovelas and buy cleaning products; hot women or want-to-be hot teenagers buy cosmetics, tight designer jeans, lingerie and birth control; and black sheep men buy beer, tequila, vodka, guns, and trucks. That’s marketing, not cultural stereotyping. It doesn’t matter what culture consumers come from. All that matters is who has a buck and who is willing to spend that buck on what. At the end of the day, all cultures are the same. The proportions may be different. But people are predictable, and their reactions are predictable. The smart money knows how to measure and target market segments, how to predict return on investment, how to keep your head in a crisis, how to find the upside and cover your bets. What does Warren Buffet say? When dark clouds will fill the economic skies, they will sometimes rain gold. Rush outdoors carrying washtubs and buckets, not thimbles and teaspoons. Democracy is a fantastic invention. Everyone is equal when it comes to spending money. And no one should ever discriminate on the basis of race, culture, gender, sexual preference or religious preference, especially when it come to accepting the money consumers want to spend, whenever and however they want to spend it.


The immigrant caravan was a gift from heaven. It was hard for Raphael to believe that the Russians, the Republicans, the Chinese, the Israelis or the Saudis didn’t pay off someone who paid off someone else, who paid off someone else to get it started. But who started it and how it started didn’t matter. Call it a dark conspiracy. Call it an act of God. Raphael saw it for what it was. A golden opportunity. Dark skies. Washtubs and buckets.


It’s also amazing to consider the opportunities technology had created.  You can now build a social media campaign for next to nothing. Email is almost free. That gets you old people. Anybody can make a video, and you can say anything you want about anybody. All you need is something that gets at the deep-seated fears of people, or their private, curious lusts, or even their dull-witted sympathies. Cute puppies. Sob stories. Naked women. Girl on girl sex. Instagram. Facebook. Seventy-year-old men click on pictures of nineteen-year-old women, the last flare of a setting sun. 


The immigrant caravan. You string a campaign together in an afternoon, and if you do it right, do it enough, over and over, then you can sell anything to someone, and you’ll make money. Often, lots of money. Evolution has lots of dead ends. All you have to do is find a little pool, a back-eddy in one of the little streams of our culture that has enough human beings with a smart-phone or computer who can click on a certain idea or image, and then cha-ching! The cash begins to roll in. The world is full of opportunities waiting to be exploited. God is great and glorious and produces bounty for those who know God and walk in God’s ways.


The campaign went up on January 23, a Thursday. Twelve million emails, plus Facebook and a little Instagram thrown in for good measure. By morning, 430,000 responses. You hit the right buttons; you get the right responses. Cash in the cash register. Money in the bank. These people have no idea what they were buying or who they were responding to. Nor do they care. They just want to be heard, to have their fears acknowledged, so they didn’t have to feel lost in a culture that has completely abandoned them. So, they didn’t have to feel like just a number, in a world that was only numbers, in a world that is out of control. Even though they are already completely lost in a world in which they are each only a number, and it is already completely out of control.  People are willing to throw money away. Raphael was willing to catch it. They’d never know – they couldn’t know – who Raphael was, where he’d come from, or what he believed, to the extent he believed anything.


By January 23, 2020, the day Raphael launched his immigrant caravan campaigns, there were 571 reported cases worldwide of a new Coronavirus that had not yet been named; 267 more cases that had been reported the previous day. 561 of those cases were in China, but cases had also been identified in the US, Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea. 16 percent of reported cases were seriously ill, 5 percent critically ill, and 4 percent had died. The name of the virus, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) and of the disease Covid-19 (Coronavirus Disease of 2019) was announced by the World Health Organization on February 11, 2020. By then, Raphael’s campaign had run its course. It worked. He made a little money.  There is nothing to fear but fear itself. 


But no more immigrant caravans. Everything now was Coronavirus.


He’d put up those campaigns when the time was right. There really is a sucker born every minute.


One day, when Raphael was on the third-floor landing of his mother’s house, he heard a thump and some thuds — someone here, moving about.


The third-floor tenant was an anxious Korean woman with two kids. Raphael had come to fix a stuck window. The tenant told him no one was going to be home, so it was fine to go in. Raphael had paused to look out the window of the landing. From that window, Raphael could see Route 95, the train tracks and the hospital and the green, pink, yellow and brown houses on the hill across the little valley in which the highway and the train-tracks lay.  He liked to pause there and look from that vantage point — for a moment, the king of all he could see — and take time to wonder about what humans had built for themselves, out of a land that was supposed to be the land of milk and honey, where the streets were supposed to be paved with gold.


He jumped when he heard the noise.  It was midday.  He didn’t think the tenant was home.


Then his mother’s cleaning woman came through the door, carrying a vacuum cleaner, a mop, a broom and two yellow plastic pails. The vacuum cleaner banged against the door frame as the woman came onto the landing.


“You scared me!” Raphael said.


“You scare yo mas!” the woman said. You scared me more.


The cleaning woman was probably Guatemalan. She was shorter than Raphael but more powerfully built, with long dark hair that she wore in a pony tail that hung half-way down her back; strong, broad shoulders, skin that was smooth and a warm deep brown that was a different color entirely from Raphael’s skin, which dark and powerful, and she had lustrous deep brown eyes that were secretive and wise, hidden and knowing.


“English ok?” Raphael said.


“Little bit Anglish,” the woman said.  “Un pocito.”


“You clean here?” Raphael said.


Raphael remembered that the woman was new.  She had worked for them a few months, which was better than some.  The cleaners who lasted only a week or two were more trouble than they were worth.  His mother often went through five or six before she found one that stayed a year or two.  And one who actually cleaned, as opposed to one who just moved things from place to place and left the lights on.


“Si. Aqui,” the woman said.


“And downstairs?  My mother’s place?”




“And other places?”


“Todas places. Aqui. Providance. Hohnston. Smeethfild. Ist Side.  Siempre.”


“From Guatemala?” Raphael said.


“Honduras,” the woman said.


A new immigrant for sure.


Honduran people were no better or no worse than Raphael’s people, he thought. Honduras has gangs and lots of rapes and murders.  His people, during the civil wars, had done worse.  Honduras as a thug culture now, as far as Raphael could tell. His people were a tribal people, a people of communities, communities that sometimes went to war with each other, communities that each had their own culture, their own warmth, their own drama, but also their own corruption, violence, and chaos. Then those communities reshuffled into militias and destroyed one another. Now they were all broken up and dirt poor, and those who could leave were scattered all over the globe. Lots of gangs, in Honduras, gangs that got their start in the US. No kind of place for a man who looked like Raphael.


Honduran. Immigrant caravan. She might know about the next one before it kicked off.


Now here was an opportunity. Chance favors the prepared mind.


A different woman came down the steps of the address he had been given in Central Falls, a woman with dark hair and confident eyes in a tight blue satin dress and blue high heels who knew what she was doing with every inch of her body. Surely not Maria the cleaning woman. Someone else.


But it was Maria who got into Raphael’s car.


They went to a restaurant on the Hill.  It was too cold to sit outside. 


“We talk Anglish,” Maria said. “To learn.”


“Hablo un poco Espanol,” Raphael said.


“Muy bien,” Maria said.  ‘It’s good.”


“What did you do in Honduras?” Raphael said, and pulled up Google Translate on his cell phone. “Cual trabajo en Honduras?”


“Medico,” Maria said. “I am doctor.”


“Si? And you clean houses?”


“Si. Empezar. To start,” Maria said.


“What kind of doctor cleans houses?” Raphael said. You have to talk down to women. Never tell them what you think. Keeps them off balance and coming back for more. Neuro-linguistic psychology. They think you are important. Desired by others. That makes you desired by them. Raphael read all about it in a book.


“Good kind,” Maria said, her eyes flashing in a way that said, don’t you ever put me down again. The kind who bends a difficult world to her will, she thought.


A doctor.  Raphael could not believe his luck.


Somewhere out here, a pandemic was brewing, whipping up its own fears and craziness. Dark clouds. And with a doctor, new opportunities.


She wanted something from him. He was sure of it. They all do, and always did. He just had to figure out what. And then perhaps come to an agreement from which both sides benefit.


They went out twice more. Raphael could feel Maria getting closer to him. He teased her with the Audi. With swank places. Al Forno. Entoteca Umberto. One night he took her to Boston, to 9 Park. She teased him back with beautiful clothes, dark eyes with long lashes, and with the smoothness of her skin, which made him forget that she cleaned houses all day and made him think of a woman who lived her life in luxury, for pleasure, on a whim.


And then the world closed. Stay at home. Like an eclipse of the sun. Darkness at the start of the spring. Dread overtaking hope.


But work didn’t pause for Raphael.


Suddenly there were hundreds of millions of human beings with nothing to do but look at their cell phones and computers, stumbling about in fear of imminent unpreventable death, people who had nothing to think about except who was to blame for this mess. The President helped stoke the fear, of course. He always helped. China one day. Blue state governors the next. Senile Joe Biden the day after that.


But Raphael knew how to play both sides. And so, he stayed busy. He had two lists. Will you stand by and watch us elect a leftist democrat and bring in total socialism? US Billionaires got $434 billion richer during the epidemic! We need to tax them all!


Raphael tried to talk to Maria by phone.  That was better than not talking but not by much. The languages. They stumbled over words. It was hard to listen. Your soul stays inside when you are thinking, when you are searching for a word you don’t know or barely remember; when you are trying to sort out masculine and feminine endings or tenses. Their heat had come from being together, from seeing and feeling each other struggle to connect, from reading each other’s faces and gestures. And from the teasing, the flaunting of worlds, hopes, desires, and expectations.  That just didn’t happen by phone.


Maria had to stop cleaning. No one wanted a cleaner from Central Falls in their house. Raphael wrote and sent the checks every week anyway. It was the decent thing to do. Maria had three kids. This shutdown wasn’t going to last forever. Chance favors the prepared mind and the aware wallet.


The end of winter became the beginning of spring. The forsythia bloomed; brilliant yellow gold entwined in a spindly tan bramble. Birds returned. Daffodils and tulips appeared and then disappeared – yellow again, and then red or pink or purple or blue, first a cup of color, then petals of color on the ground at the feet of green stems and broad dark green leaves. There was light in the morning and at night. The air filled with pollens, a pale yellow-white dust that sweetened the spring coastal breezes.  Still, the world felt strange. Raphael climbed to the third-floor landing from time to time to look out over the highway and railroad tracks and to see the houses and mustard colored brick buildings on the next hill.


Now there was no traffic on Route 95. Few trucks. Raphael missed the grunt and rumble of the sixteen wheelers all day and all night, chugging through the rain and the darkness.  Life felt empty, the way a man who has lost a leg perceives its absence, and checks, over and over again to see if the leg is really gone.


Early one evening in late April Mama called Raphael. She never called to chat. She called when she wanted something.


“Ta bo Maria cleanup gi,” Mama said. “She si.” Please take a box over to Maria the cleaning woman.  She’s sick.


Raphael hadn’t said anything to Mama about Maria. And he didn’t think Maria had said anything to his mother either. His mother was just doing her thing, ignoring people most of the time, and then marching in to take over their lives whenever it suited her.


Ain’t nobody’s business but my own, Raphael thought.


“Le bo a do,” Mama said. “Si pep dar. Do ga insi.” Leave the box at the door. Don’t go inside.  There are sick people there.


“Yeah Mama,” Raphael said. “Yo se.” Anything you say.


Raphael put on a mask and gloves. He’d never been inside Maria’s house. They said Central Falls was infected; that everyone was sick, but it didn’t look different –the same old rickety wooden triple-deckers crammed together like boxes and jars in a packed refrigerator. No lawns or yards. No trees. Cars lining the streets and parked everywhere there wasn’t a building.


It was evening. The sun was low on the horizon. The light was warm and strong, although the air had cooled.


Maria came to the door in a nightgown and a mask and stood behind the storm door. She looked like she had been run over by a truck. Her eyes were red and glazed over. Her once beautiful dark brown hair was matted and wet with sweat, and her skin, which had been smooth and lustrous, was now pitted and hollow. She looked like a sponge that had been rung out and curled as it dried.


Raphael put the box on a table that stood next to a rusting porch slider. Then he went away.


That night he started to read online. There is no cure for this Coronavirus. There was nothing he could do for Maria. Everyone in that house would get sick. Most likely everyone would recover. Some might die. Maria was a doctor. She knew what to do. Raphael didn’t.


There is a little gadget, something called a pulse oximeter, that lets you know if you are in danger. A link in the post about pulse oximeters took him to a website. You can order them on-line. $38.99. Raphael ordered one for Maria. Amazon Prime. He even paid extra for next day delivery. $38.99 for the gadget, $14.98 next day shipping and somehow, miraculously, no tax. $53.97. Not terrible.


And then it hit him. If he was buying a pulse oximeter for Maria, a couple of hundred thousand or a couple of million people were also ordering one for someone they knew or for themselves.  Everyone was terrified. There was now something to fear.


What was the most outrageous way to frame that fear? Exclusive Secret Gadget Used By Both CIA and Russian Intelligence Saves the Lives of the Rich and Famous.


The campaign formed itself in Raphael’s mind.


It’s all about the numbers, Raphael knew, and any event generates predictable numbers with predictable results.


Dr. Michael Fine


All of Michael Fine’s stories and books are available on MichaelFineMD.com or by clicking here.  Or you can listen to many of these stories as a podcast called Alternative Fictions.  Join us!


And check out his podcast: Alternative Fictions: New Stories from Michael Fine https://linktr.ee/drmichaelfine

Why We Need Diversity of Thought

Why We Need Diversity of Thought

August 31, 2020/Mary OSullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” Gandhi


In reflecting on diversity in our world today, it’s obvious that there are still many struggles to overcome. The most apparent issue not only is diversity of ethnicity, age or gender, but diversity of thought. People are indeed clever about avoiding addressing diversity and inclusiveness and manage to find all sorts of creative ways around it.


Diversity challenges and problems:


Diversity challenges and problems manifest themselves in multiple ways; however, from a personal perspective, age, and gender as well as isolation and lack of diversity of thought are major issues we continue to struggle with.




In some organizations, the major obstacle to diversity is the “perpetual old boys club”. As an individual’s personality is formed early on and may dictate whether or not he is more accepting of change, many baby boomer white men who are still in power perpetuate their personal and subtle views, (many of which originated in youth), towards women in the workplace. While a company may talk a good talk, it may not walk the walk. Baby boomer white women are most often those who are trapped by stereotyping, typecasting and pigeonholing. For instance, a woman who speaks up is automatically considered any number of names by these “good ol’ boys”, and we know them all: shrew, bitch, witch, nag, battle-ax, etc. Just look at what some of our female politicians endured during their campaigns! As we all know, volumes have been written on this subject, and given enough time and space, any woman of a certain age could easily add her own volumes to the “diversity” body of literature.


Internal Dimensions:




In the mad scramble to promote more “diversity”, often unqualified younger women are promoted ahead of more qualified males and older women. We, women, have all encountered quite a lot of unexpected prejudice aimed at women of the more “mature” age group and not infrequently. In several situations where the facts were clear, and a younger woman’s “facts” were tarnished, management deferred to the younger woman as she had a higher-level job. However, when the facts persisted against her over time, she lost credibility. But the company wasted precious time giving her the opportunity to make judgment calls, rather than act quickly on business issues needing immediate attention. Eventually, she was removed from the program but slotted somewhere else with no change in level. Also, younger white men are chosen for leadership development programs over older women. Women over 50 looking to enter leadership programs are routinely told “you have a long way to go”.




Again, volumes can be written about gender bias in the workplace, and some women could write their own book as well. Several years ago, a male counterpart was hired into the business. This man lacked many of the basic skills an older woman already possessed and had limited understanding of the roles, responsibilities, infrastructure, etc needed to execute the job. However, c his thoughts, opinions, and ideas were considered over the more experienced woman. His approach was not creative, and counterproductive, leading to wasting time, money and energy. Anyone would wonder if this was a thinly veiled way to provoke the woman. Later, it was discovered that he and the VP had a particular religion in common. The people of this religion were bound to look after each other and protect each other, especially economically. Being not of that religion, there was a sense that the VP was favoring religion over skills.


External Dimensions:


Geographic Locations:


Again, the issue of external dimension and the influence on diversity is a topic worthy of volumes, and there are multiple chapters we women could write. Geographic location is also an important dimension of diversity. When a company’s leadership team is hundreds of miles away, the company spirit is often lost. For instance, a male co-worker, geographically located closer to the company headquarters, leadership team. He was able can make himself more present in front of them. Anyone who thinks being far from the seat of power in an organization makes no difference is only kidding themselves. Countless times, key players are left out of meetings and of major decisions. Great assignments are given out. Basically, the remoteness of location can turn into a contributing factor in a person’s desire to leave.


Work Experience:


In some cases, work experience doesn’t seem to be a factor, often more qualified people are overlooked. Good ideas are ignored. It can be ironic that a person closer to the leadership structure struggles with very fundamental issues that can solved literally in a glance. An example could be if a coworker calls for help, from poorly trained people, was could be faced with incredible ignorance. (The comment overhead was that the person he asked had an IQ of room temperature in Celsius!) When the seasoned person offered to answer the question, in less than 10 seconds he had an answer.




In functions, rather than business areas, there is less diversity of thought due to the association of functions with “service”. In some organizations, unless you belong to a business, you are not considered to be a major player. The functions, or cross business teams are often secondary to the profit and loss centers. This is evidenced in issues dealing with program managers who can consistently intimidate the functions.


Management status:


Although people get promoted into management roles who clearly don’t belong there, a management level position will be considered more influential than the position of an average employee. Diversity of thought is considered but often not followed. One suggestion might be that if our staff meetings begin with a revisit of the vision, values and goals, that we conduct our meetings with these business behavior guidelines in mind.


Work Location:


Work location is a bit different from geographic location, but just as critical. If an office is located down a distant aisle of a cube farm or in a remote building location, a person will probably be cut off from the day to day operations of the company. There may be little or no visibility to the local leadership team, and people are literally forgotten about hidden away in remote office locations. In fact, former managers would conduct site visits and never come to the building where some key employees had cubicles. These people had no idea what the management team was doing, or how that would impact jobs!


In conclusion, challenges to leading to true diversity are shown to exist throughout major organizations. Sadly, unethical “leaders” can use natural divisions of an organizational structure to isolate and segregate employees from making meaningful contributions. This is often done at the company’s peril, but if the company is big enough, the bad managers can often effectively hide wrongdoing and unprincipled behavior.







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.

Rhode Island News as of 08/31/20 of 4:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Several people injured in weekend shootings in Providence.  Rhode Islanders must continue to quarantine when visiting Massachusetts.  There are several virus-related education updates, including two new school districts announcing they'll start the year remotely.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>One Arrest Made During Racial Justice Protest In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  One person was arrested at a Providence protest related to racial justice and the shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday night.  The protest started at Central High School at around 8 p.m. and finished at the Providence Public Safety Complex, where there were police in riot gear.  Demonstrators reportedly dispersed at around 10:30.

>>Multiple Weekend Shootings In Providence, Several Injured

(Providence, RI)  --  A busy weekend of shootings in Providence included three victims reportedly going to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.  One shooting overnight Saturday stemmed from a fight at a gas station in Federal Hill, according to authorities.  Another during the same time period reportedly involved a victim who was driving in the Elmwood section.  The Providence Board of Licenses acted to close the Fuego Lounge, a club where the victim had been before the shooting, while police investigate.  According to a Providence Journal story, a witness reported seeing a gun being fired out of a sunroof of an SUV towards a car near the I-95 off-ramp onto Providence Place Saturday night.  And gunfire damage was apparently done to vehicles and homes overnight Sunday in Upper South Providence.

>>Rhode Island Still On Massachusetts Quarantine List

(Undated)  --  Massachusetts has removed four states from its coronavirus quarantine travel list, but Rhode Island remains on it.  Colorado, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are those four states.  According to a report from WPRI-TV, Rhode Island currently meets one requirement for Massachusetts -- a low positivity rate -- but the Ocean State is exceeding the number of daily coronavirus cases per one-hundred-thousand people on a seven-day rolling average.  That limit is six; data indicates RI has been at eight-to-ten this month.

>>Rhode Island Higher Ed And Public Schools Coronavirus Updates

(Undated)  --  In headlines about education and the coronavirus in Rhode Island, Providence College says 17 students have been suspended for violating a COVID-19 conduct code.  South Kingstown has amended an executive order on social gatherings so that it no-longer singles out University of Rhode Island students.  The town determined the original order was "broader than necessary".  And in public school news, Pawtucket and Cumberland have decided to start the school year with remote learning, ahead of a final decision from the state on re-opening schools which is expected today.

>>Rolling Trump Rally In Rhode Island Sunday

(Smithfield, RI)  --  Another August rally in support of President Trump's re-election took place in Rhode Island this weekend.  Unlike the last one, which was conducted via boat, the rally on Sunday was on land.  The "Trump train", organized by the Facebook group Rhode Islanders for Trump 2020, mapped out a route from Smithfield to Newport.

>>Allie's Donuts Changes Stance On Donuts For Law Enforcement

(North Kingstown, RI)  --  Allie's Donuts is now offering free donuts to local police departments.  The popular South County donut business created controversy in June when it said it would no-longer offer discounted donuts to police or military in response to a story of alleged racial discrimination against a black Providence firefighter.  In a Facebook post on Sunday asking customers to deliver the free donuts, Allie's promoted a message of unity between Rhode Island residents and the police forces that populate the state.

>>Bruins On Elimination Brink, Celtics Win Second Round Series Opener

(Undated)  --  Playoff action for the Boston Bruins and Celtics resumed this weekend.  NBA players boycotted games last week over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, resulting in the league suspending its schedule for several days; the NHL followed suit.  The Bruins are on the brink of elimination after a 3-to-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday in their second-round series; Game 5 from the bubble in Toronto is tonight at 7:00.  The Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors in Disney World on Sunday, 112-to-94, in Game 1 of the second round.   

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) MA) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-31-2020 00:10:08

Your Coronavirus Update - Today - August 28, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Aug. 28, 2020

August 28, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: The first monument honoring real women in Central Park was unveiled. The Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, honors suffragists Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.




45% of Americans say they are “shoring up” their savings because of going through this pandemic experience


The Military Officers Association of America is offering assistance to veterans dealing with COVID19 financial issues… see here: https://www.moaa.org/relief-application


CMS is enforcing stricter requirements for testing in Medicare – and Medicaid-certified nursing homes and reporting in hospitals and labs.


CMS has launched a nursing home training program to control COVID19


Masks are now required in Paris. Schools are planning to open and the Tour de France is planned on schedule.


California’s Disneyland is set to open soon.


Vermont has limited its public gatherings to 25.


The United Nations backs testing asymptomatic people.


England and Scotland appeared to run out of coronavirus home testing kits within hours on Monday, amid a backlog in laboratories.


Beginning Sept. 1, CMS will require hospitals to document a positive COVID-19 laboratory test in order to keep the 20% add-on payment they receive for treating Medicare patients with the coronavirus.


The CDC says healthy people who have been exposed to COVID-19 “do not necessarily need a test,” as long as they don’t have symptoms. That’s a reversal from previous advice that clearly recommended testing for all close contacts of infected individuals, regardless of whether they had symptoms.


The jet engine maker Rolls-Royce made a record loss of £5.4bn in the first half of the year, with the collapse in international travel during the pandemic leading to a slump in demand for its engines.


More confusion at the CDC with coronavirus guidance. One day the advice was not to test asymptomatic people. Day later, Dr. Fauci says, no, that’s misleading and runs counter to what scientists say is necessary to control the pandemic.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a new coronavirus health risk you probably didn’t expect: getting slapped, choked or kicked in the workplace by angry customers. And the best way to avoid it is not to engage. The health agency issued guidance this week for retail and service workers suggesting ways consumer-facing companies can limit violence toward workers that may occur when businesses implement policies to stop the spread of the virus. Or in other words, how to protect workers tasked with the unenviable job of asking shoppers to wear masks, keep 6 feet apart or wait their turn before entering a capacity-limited store.


At least 10 possible vaccines are in the final Phase 3 clinical testing stage.


Biotech company Moderna announced that a small study of its potential vaccine shows it’s as safe and apparently effective in older adults as in younger ones. The company had released data on 15 younger adults, showing a100-microgram dose appeared safe and triggered an immune response similar to people who had been infected with the coronavirus. The new data, which has not yet been published or scientifically reviewed, shows similar results among 10 adults between the ages of 56 and 70 and another 10 older than 71.


The city of Berlin will put thousands of police on the streets at the weekend to enforce a ban on demonstrations opposing measures imposed to stem the coronavirus pandemic after marchers at a recent rally failed to wear masks or keep their distance.


Anticoagulation (blood thinners) for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 was associated with lower risk of death or intubation in an observational study from New York City’s pandemic peak.


Women seem to be doing better recovering from coronavirus – bodies produced more so-called T cells, which can kill virus-infected cells and stop the infection from spreading. Men showed much weaker activation of T cells, and that lag was linked to how sick the men became. The older the men, the weaker their T cell responses.


Massachusetts Teachers Association, the largest teachers union in the state, released a statement pushing back on plans for schools to reopen with in-person learning. Without better COVID safeguards in place, it was too dangerous, the organization argued.


Scientists say influenza has almost disappeared in the Southern Hemisphere due to COVID-19 precautions, suggesting the Northern Hemisphere may avoid the double whammy of the coronavirus and flu. (https://www.npr.org/2020/08/26/906333316/coronavirus-safety-precautions-make-influenza-nearly-disappear-in-southern-hemis)


Encore Casino broke up an inside party of over 100 people – limits are 25 people.


Salesforce to lay off 1,000 employees


Dick’s Sporting Goods has seen a big spike in sales – largely workout equipment, supplies.


Smaller hotels will recover faster than larger hotels in coming back to full business.


The main Boston Public Library has reopened


Maine Maple Sunday will take place Oct. 9-11, having been rescheduled.


In New Hampshire, a review of nursing homes that experienced coronavirus outbreaks unexpectedly found no correlation between their ventilation systems and how the virus spread through the facilities,


New Jersey gyms can reopen beginning Sept. 1, after nearly six months of being closed, if they limit capacity to 25%


Even with tens of millions of Americans out of work, single-family home sales jumped by 25% between June and July, and 68% of the single-family homes sold in July spent less than a month on the market, according to housing research firm Zelman & Associates. Read more at:




Construction drones are at times expensive, difficult to operate and hard to maneuver without solid training, but the coronavirus has within a matter of months transformed these unmanned aerial vehicles from emerging tech tools to front-line workers on U.S. construction sites.


Half of Massachusetts office workers are expected to permanently stay home.


A Boston University official on Wednesday warned that students who host or attend parties of more than 25 people this fall will be suspended for the remainder of the semester as the school tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus.


Nature, Inc. says in many ways, especially compared to other countries, the US is “flying blind” in accurate data on coronavirus – https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02478-z?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=04a35670e2-MR_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-04a35670e2-132813241




Cumberland and Pawtucket have made a “distance learning” decision, saying there was not sufficient time to do a combination or going back to inside school learning.


Some school districts are planning to move students to schools that can be adapted for building safety


URI spokesperson said about party gatherings – “no parties until there’s a vaccine”.


South Kingstown: The town is warning the University of Rhode Island students that off-campus parties that violate state restrictions on large gatherings will not be tolerated. Town Manager Robert Zarnetske has issued an executive order that imposes a $500 fine for anyone who hosts an off-campus party or gathering, WPRI-TV reports. Anyone who attends could face a $250 fine. The ACLU is preparing a response to this.


The RI DMV is starting to schedule the backlog of people waiting for their permit tests – some 24,000.


Trinity’s Christmas Carol will be offered free and virtually this year.


Fall River middle/senior high school students in need of chrome books can get them from a new program by Verizon to support community educational efforts.


Igus Corp. has donated 20,000 face shields/PPE to Providence Public Schools


RI Data – 8-27-2020


Deaths: 3 – 3 day hospitalizations: 83


Note about the data: The high “tests prior day” – 8, 594 this day – reflect the occasional “data dump” of colleges screening large numbers of young people. This means the percent positive – in yesterday’s case, 1.3% – doesn’t apply to a generalized population. RINewsToday has inquired of the RI Dept. of Health if the datasets would now be changed to reflect more accuracy.



Governor’s address Monday at 1pm – and every day after that at 1pm for a 15 minute school update.


Data by city/town



Providence Youth meal service will continue at summer meal sites<https://eatplaylearnpvd.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/EPL-summermeals-2020-flyer-07212020.png> as-is through Monday, August 31. Revised meal service will run from Tuesday, September 1 through Friday, September 11. There will be no service on Monday, September 7 in observance of Labor Day. Multi-day meal distribution will begin on Tuesday, September 1 on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00AM to 2:00PM.


The City and Providence Parks Department will be extending operations and staffing at waterparks to September 12. The Providence Parks Finder<https://www.providenceri.gov/providence-parks/park-finder/> can be utilized to find nearby park locations. Recreation Department locations can be found on the <https://www.providenceri.gov/providence-recreation/> Department’s website<https://www.providenceri.gov/providence-recreation/.


Students from Davies Tech have developed a phone app to screen students for COVID19

Brown's plan to "kill" landmark Title IX, Equal Opportunity for Female Athletes Agreement

Brown’s plan to “kill” landmark Title IX, Equal Opportunity for Female Athletes Agreement

August 28, 2020/RINewsToday


Newly Uncovered Documents Reveal Brown University Plan to Dismantle Title IX Agreement 


A series of internal emails and documents made public today reveal an intentional plan by Brown University officials to undermine and ultimately destroy a long-standing consent decree to comply with federal Title IX laws that ensure equal opportunity for female athletes at the university. In the documents, filed as part of a court brief in ongoing litigation following Brown’s decision this year to cut five women’s varsity teams but only three men’s teams at the school, the officials express a desire to “kill this pestilential thing,” referring to the consent agreement.  The documents also make clear that Brown’s officials preferred to force a dispute over the decades-old settlement of the litigation guaranteeing equality in athletics programs at Brown rather than comply with its terms.  


Brown University President Christina Paxson, according to the documents, was focused on doing so in a way that would avoid riling up “the [Amy] Cohens of the world,” a reference to the lead plaintiff in the original 1992 lawsuit against Brown that resulted in landmark rulings against Brown.  The lawsuit settled in 1998, when the school agreed to guarantee gender equality in athletics opportunities. The materials referenced in the court filing today were obtained through a discovery request by the ACLU of Rhode Island and Public Justice, the organization that brought the original suit on behalf of Cohen and Brown’s female athletes.  


“When we filed the motion to enforce the Court’s order in June, we expressed concern that Brown’s commitment to gender equity and its women athletes was insincere and simply window-dressing.  Through discovery, we learned the unfortunate truth:  Brown does not care.  Brown would rather dismantle the entire process that it claims prompted the downsizing than provide its women athletes—its own students–the program required by law and by the Court’s order,” said Lynette Labinger, cooperating counsel for the ACLU of RI and the lead attorney in the original suit.  


Under the existing decree, if Brown eliminates any women’s varsity team, it must offer women and men student-athletes’ opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics within 2.25% points of women’s and men’s undergraduate enrollment rates.  That measure cannot be met with Brown’s proposal to eliminate women’s varsity fencing, golf, squash, skiing and equestrian teams, while cutting only three men’s teams. Such cuts would result in a disproportionate impact on women’s representation in the Brown athletics program that runs afoul of the maximum gender disparity allowed under the original agreement. 


Email communications quoted in today’s filing show that, after considering multiple proposals to cut athletic teams in a way that would comply with the agreement, Brown University Chancellor Samuel Mencoff ultimately suggested knowingly violating it as a way of challenging the decree in court, asking, “Could we use this moment, where anger and frustration, especially from track and squash, are intense and building to go after the Consent Decree once and for all? Could we channel all this emotion away from anger at Brown to anger at the court and kill this pestilential thing?”  


Mencoff went on to explain that, “The argument would be that the Consent Decree is forcing us to eliminate these sports, and the court would then be bombarded with e-mails and calls as we are now.” The University’s ultimate goal, the emails make clear, was to pit support for the originally-canceled men’s track, field, and cross-country teams, which include large numbers of Black athletes, against female athletes and the Court overseeing the litigation regarding compliance with the agreement.  


“Brown University should be ashamed of itself,” said Arthur Bryant of Bailey & Glasser, LLP, the women’s co-counsel and counsel in the original suit along with Leslie Brueckner of Public Justice. “Trying to turn anger over the mistreatment of Black athletes against women athletes, Title IX, and the Court? Outrageous. That is not how a responsible – or respectable – institution acts. Brown should be keeping its agreement to follow Title IX and provide gender equity, not trying to, as Brown put it, ‘kill this pestilential thing.’” 


“I am disappointed in how Brown has decided to approach this case.  It seems to have little interest in doing what is right and is treating these young women as if they are nothing more than numbers on a page that can be manipulated in any way the University wants. I’m also very concerned by the fact that Brown wants to end the consent decree so it can operate its athletic department in a way that will almost certainly violate Title IX again and provide less opportunities for female athletes. Brown tried to avoid admitting anything about its plan by fighting discovery attempts that would shed any light on it,” said Lori Bullock of Newkirk Zwagerman,  co-counsel in the suit, along with the firm’s Jill Zwagerman. “It took not one, not two, but three different discovery requests before Brown complied with any level of appropriate transparency. Its repeated attempts to hide the truth only underscores how damning it knew the truth to be.”  


“This Court should not tolerate Brown’s decision to use its women athletes as pawns in its bid to avoid compliance with the Joint Agreement,” the legal team says in yesterday’s filing. “These students are not ‘participation opportunities’; they are human beings.  Defendants’ efforts to avoid responsibility for Brown’s illegal gender discrimination this year should be no more successful than they were when this suit was filed nearly 30 years ago.” 


“Brown University’s clear disdain for promoting gender equity in its athletic program is deeply disappointing,” added Steven Brown, Executive Director of the ACLU of Rhode Island. “I am hopeful that the judicial system will hold the university accountable and vindicate the important goals underlying Title IX.” 


“We proved Brown was violating Title IX over 25 years ago when it cut two thriving women’s teams for crass budgetary reasons,” concluded Leslie Brueckner, Senior Attorney with Public Justice. “This time around Brown doesn’t even have that excuse.  We are going to keep fighting for these female athletes for as long as it takes.”  


A copy of today’s brief as well as other supplemental filings (herehere, and here) containing excerpts from other documents and email conversations in addition to those quoted here, are available on the ACLU of RI website

What's ahead for student athletes after the pandemic

What’s ahead for student athletes after the pandemic?

August 28, 2020/John Cardullo


by John Cardullo, sports writer


Since the middle of the summer, professional sports seems to have fired back up with little or no bumps in the road. The lesser spectator sports seem to be going along perfectly fine with professional Golf leading the way. The NBA, NHL, and MLB have all resumed and are experiencing little or no effects from the COVID-19 virus and in a few weeks, we will see how the NFL holds up.


Keep in mind that the professional sports leagues have reason to continue; millions of reasons to play. To the average fan it is great to have these games televised. Boiling it all down to why they are, probably the true reason is, it’s all about the revenue. The owners’ share, the players’ share, and the broadcasting partners’ share. If anything, what we have learned during this pandemic is when there are millions of dollars on the line, the professionals will find away.


How about the athletes who play the same sports?


How about the other athletes? The ones that do not get paid; the ones who are not on television? I am not talking about college athletes; they will be getting paid to play according to some new NCAA rule adjustments. College sports which have been huge “cash cows” for the big-time colleges and universities; the same institutions who believed that a scholarship was their version of paid (education) to play. Yes, scholarships are still there for the student-athlete of those smaller colleges who do not get the big-time pay-off as the colleges that compete for national titles do, but the trade-off for those institutions and student-athletes are there as well.


What we are talking about is the mid-level and below, the sports that begin as a participation sport for many and as the years go by the athlete blossoms and begin to compete at higher levels, with hopes of that college scholarship down the road. These players have invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears on their journey to seek to compete at the highest level that their talents will take them. Most will play for their local high schools and then concentrate on college to help forge a career in their chosen field. For those athletes, sports is a means to an end, and that end is getting into a college. These athletes know that, sooner rather than later, their career in sports will soon turn recreational. For other student-athletes, they may go to an elite, private high school or prep school just for that opportunity to shoot for a scholarship at a higher-level secondary education, or perhaps even get an opportunity to be drafted and get their dream shot on making a professional career in their chosen sport.


Then there are athletes who are in the basic developmental stages, where every day, month, and year are huge to their progression in their chosen sport. These are the travel team athlete, middle school athlete, and the high school underclass male/female athlete.


Where does 2020 leave them? Their progression has come to a sudden stop, only to slowly inch along during the prime time of the summer months, a summer season which happens to be one of the warmest and driest ever. The question is what effect has 2020 had on the importance of these developmental skills? There is no doubt that a year off at this age can be so critical to the development of those athletes ready to make a big step in their sport. The fact is that every athlete has lost a year of eligibility, so those heading into their senior year without any sports to play will most likely have it affect their future career as a collegiate prospect. They also may have to choose to go to a college whose sports program may be a lot different than their original choice, or with the economical effect on the school has been so impacted by this pandemic, that it may even have been forced to drop the student-athletes’ sports.


The ripple effect is an often-used term, and what we are living through right now is the true definition of the ripple effect. The effect could be a long-lasting one that many of today’s high school athletes may never recover from, well at least not on the playing field.


The hope is that a cure/treatment/vaccine will be discovered soon and we all can get back to normal. The reality is that this virus may be around for a few more years and if that turns out to be true, then would today’s student-athlete adapt and adjust? Will the ripple effect continue, or will it end when it reaches the shoreline? If that is the case, then what will it do to sports as we know it? Will it make all spectator sports an empty hollow version of how things used to be? We have witnessed how sports will look without the energy that fans in the stands bring to the experience. The ripple effect will have schools and organizations rethink their priorities as they are forced to combat the virus and up-end the budgets that were tight already. Will the schools or sports organizations take the money that was targeted for sports funding and be forced to redirect it elsewhere?


Leaving the big question, will the funding ever be restored to the sports program at its original budget? Where will that leave the student-athlete who has a dream to play in college and beyond? For them, their future is now, and with each passing day, the opportunity for those athletes is slipping away and there are no answers to be found as long as COVID-19 still remains, and that’s the biggest injustice.


John Cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter

GriefSpeak: The Masks in the Room - by Dr. Mari Dias

GriefSpeak: The Masks in the Room – by Dr. Mari Dias

August 28, 2020/Mari Dias


by Dr. Mari Dias



Excerpts from “Please hear what I’m not saying” (Charles Finn, 1966)


“Don’t be fooled by me.


Don’t be fooled by the face I wear


For I wear a mask, a thousand masks,


Masks that I am afraid to take off, and none of them is me…


Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and




That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind…


To help me pretend,


To shield the glance that knows.


I tell you everything that’s really nothing,


And nothing of what’s everything,


Of what’s crying within me…


Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying…


Who am I, you may wonder?


I am someone you know very well.


For I am every man you meet


And I am every woman you meet.


[Who wears a mask}


The history of masks dates back to 7000BC where they were used for rituals and ceremonies. As centuries passed the use of masks grew to includes the need for protection, disguise, and entertainment.


In 1966, Charles Finn could not possibly have envisioned a world where everyone is mandated to don a literal mask; he was referring to a metaphorical, symbolic mask. Masks that we all wear to control how people perceive us, often referred to by sociologists as the “Looking Glass Self.”  


These masks can be interchangeable, require a great deal of emotional energy and vigilance to wear and change. Sometimes in seconds. Yet, Finn says we all wear masks. Those of us who are adept but exhausted from wearing them may be relieved that we can wear a tangible mask; one that covers the metaphorical one and reduces emotional hiding.


In 2020 we all wear a mask that makes it easier for us to hide, and more difficult for others to read our facial expressions. This mask policy interferes with counseling/therapy because we normally “hear” what a person is not saying through their body language, which includes facial expressions. Social Psychologists discuss the importance of body language, as it represents about 56% of what we truly communicate. In fact, the words we use reflect only 7% of what we are genuinely feeling. The remainder, 37%, is attributed to tone, rate, and volume of speech. Think about this. If body language is 56%, it is apparent that we need to listen with our eyes, as we watch what someone’s words are trying to hide or manipulate. It’s very difficult to “fake” or manipulate one’s body language – our words can lie but body language cannot. (Unless of course one is a seasoned actor or performer). They can lie with body language as well.


We do, however, have an advantage with our literal masks, as our eyes are more pronounced, more prevalent, and considered the “windows of the soul”. Yet without the benefit of the entire facial expression, we may inaccurately identify the subtext (“actions speak louder than words”, “don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do”). This inability to see a three-dimensional face is the fuel for misunderstanding both the message and the emotion.

But then again, perhaps a person’s choice of mask is revealing. Some include memes, quotes from favorite Netflix series, others reflect a sports team or a Broadway show. Maybe these literal masks reveal more than what we might learn otherwise. For some.


Personally, I am grieving over the loss of faces. It’s form, it’s skin color (are they blushing, are they angry?). This grief is founded on years of hearing subtexts through my eyes, analyzing and interpreting when a client doesn’t even know their facial expressions and body movements belie their words. Now, it is difficult to assess the emotional state because I know their words are only 7 % reliable. One needs to hear and see the contradictions. Are they clenching their jaw under that Patriots mask? Are their lips trembling under the “Schitt’s Creek” mask, even though their words indicate they are happy? My failsafe is their tone, rate, and volume of speech. A whisper is equally as telling as a wail. The mask mandate has forced the professional in me to work harder, attune myself more to the speaker, increase my empathic skills, and share their space.


I am also charged with teaching graduate students how to do the same, as they struggle to perfect their listening and therapeutic skills. I emphasize to my soon-to-be therapist students that my default, and theirs as well, is authenticity. Genuineness. This may bypass the problems of communication – if we can have congruency in our words, body language, and tone/rate/volume. We are models for our clients, and our sessions are a microcosm of their lives. By encouraging authenticity and congruency/consistency we can facilitate the growth and change in our clients. Even with masks.


Students often refer to my incessant quote “Address the elephant in the room.” We all have unsaid or unthought issues. We all have an elephant behind our mask. Finn’s poem discusses the lengths to which we go to hide who we really are, our vulnerabilities and our Achille’s heel(s). If we share what we are thinking or feeling we will not be distracted with the busyness of the layers, bundles, and threads of thoughts in our mind.


Maybe, just maybe, masks can help us reveal. And through reveal we heal.

Mari Dias-min

Rhode Island News as of 08/38/20 of 5:50am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Playoff games involving Boston teams postponed because of the officer-involved shooting in Wisconsin.  The state health department provides an update on COVID-19 business compliance.  A couple of historic lighthouses are being made available by the federal government.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Celtics, Bruins Playoff Games Among Those Affected By Police Shooting

(Undated)  --  Boston playoff and regular-season professional sporting events have been affected this week by the police officer shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.  The Celtics-versus Toronto Raptors NBA second-round series opener for Thursday was postponed; NBA players have indicated they want to continue their season.  The NHL postponed its Stanley Cup games through Friday, affecting the Bruins series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  The Red Sox made the decision not to play their game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday.

>>Providence Man Arrested For Illegal Gun Sales

(Providence, RI)  --  An update to a story from earlier this week about police raiding several locations in the Providence area looking for stolen firearms.  WPRI-TV reports Providence police have arrested a city man, Rashaad Mangum, for illegally selling guns he claimed to have been stolen.  Mangum is accused of selling the weapons through a middleman, Trayquan Mitchell of North Providence, who is also being charged.

>>Latest COVID-19 Business Compliance Update

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health said on Thursday there were five businesses which received COVID-19 compliance orders over the previous week.  They included food service in Westerly, Middletown and East Providence, a convenience store in Providence, an auto shop in West Greenwich and a gym in Johnston.  RIDOH says over two-hundred businesses received perfect scores during inspections.

>>First Black Judge On RI Family Court Retiring

(Providence, RI)  --  The first black judge to be seated on the Rhode Island Family Court is retiring.  The Providence Journal reports Rossie Lee Harris Jr. will retire at the end of the month to spend more time with his family following the recent death of his wife.  Harris was appointed to the Family Court in 2016 and is retiring after three-plus decades of state service.

>>Lighthouses Being Made Available

(Undated)  --  A couple of historic Rhode Island lighthouses are being made available to public agencies by the federal government.  It has been determined the Prudence Island Light and Watch Hill lighthouse are surplus properties for the Coast Guard.  Both structures have histories that go back to the 19th century.

>>Former Bryant Coach Now At Naval Academy Prep

(Newport, RI)  --  Former Bryant University men's basketball coach Tim O'Shea is now the coach of the Naval Academy Prep School in Newport.  O'Shea had been working as an assistant coach.  O'Shea was the coach of the NCAA Division One Bryant program from 2008 to 2018.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)

Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

08-28-2020 00:57:10

More loans for Rhode Islands as RI Foundation loans $500k to Capital Good Fund

More loans for Rhode Islanders as RI Foundation loans $500K to Capital Good Fund

August 27, 2020/RINewsToday


Funds will enable the nonprofit lender to help more Rhode Islanders with affordable loans for COVID-19 relief, transportation, housing


The Rhode Island Foundation has made a $500,000 loan to Capital Good Fund. The Providence nonprofit will use the funding to make below-market, short-term loans to consumers who do not qualify for conventional financing for expenses related to the COVID-19 crisis and other key needs, such as buying or repairing a car and security deposits.


“Making loans and direct investments from our endowment enables this impact investing to align our financial investments with our mission. Investing directly from our endowment gives us the flexibility to support the work of our nonprofit partners in a way that supplements our grant programs,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We are proud to provide Rhode Island-based nonprofits like Capital Good Fund with resources to serve their mission.”


Launched in 2017, the initiative aims to invest up to five percent of the Foundation’s endowment, beyond traditional grant-making efforts, in Rhode Island-based nonprofits, for-profits and governmental agencies to support projects that generate measurable social impact as well as a financial return. Investments range between $200,000 and $2,000,000. Terms generally will be no longer than 10 years.


The five-year loan from the Foundation will enable Capital Good Fund to help an additional 250 borrowers. Capital Good Fund is a nonprofit, U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution that provides equitable loans to borrowers with low incomes.


“This investment will enable us to achieve our strategic goals, including increasing the number of Rhode Island families impacted by our products.”


– Andy Posner, Capital Good Fund founder and CEO


He continues, “The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed long-standing racial disparities in the financial system. We appreciate the Foundation’s support of our work aimed at closing the gap by ensuring that low-income Rhode Islanders have options other than predatory lenders that can cripple their finances.”


Capital Good Fund will use the funding from the Impact Investing program to offer personal loans ranging from $300 to $25,000 with an average interest rate of 14 percent, which is a fraction of what some so-called pay-day lenders would charge; in fact, the maximum allowed interest rate on a payday loan in Rhode Island is 261 percent APR.


“Our clients are people who can’t access mainstream loan products for a variety of reasons, ranging from being low-income, having poor credit or simply not trusting the financial system,” said Posner.


As borrowers pay off their loans, Capital Good Fund will use the proceeds to repay the Foundation with interest. About 95 percent of its borrowers repay their loans, according to the nonprofit, which also offers a nationally recognized Financial and Health Coaching program to help clients establish a financial plan that enables them to achieve their life goals.


With the loan to Capital Good Fund, the Foundation’s Impact Investing initiative has made 11 loans and investments totaling $9.8 million. The recipients include Urban Greens, which received a $300,000 equity investment to build an 8,000- square-foot, community-owned grocery store on the southside of Providence; and Horizon Healthcare Partners, which was awarded a $300,000 bridge loan to launch a behavioral health center.


Learn more about the Foundation’s Impact Investing initiative; learn more about Capital Good Fund.


To Sell or Not to Sell - Key Answers for Your Homeowner Struggles

To Sell or Not to Sell – Key Answers for Your Homeowner Struggles

August 27, 2020/Emilio DiSpirito


By Emilio DiSpirito, Team Leader of The DiSpirito Team, HomeSmart Professionals www.DiSpiritoTeam.com 


“I’d love to sell…but where will I go?” This has been the same question each of my clients have asked over the past two years. 


With the lowest number of homes on the market we have seen (roughly 1200 active homes vs 4,000 active for sales in RI), it’s not only reasonable but understandable why you may have this thought.


Let’s look at the current situation here in Rhode Island real estate, who the winners are, and where we believe this thing is going! 


With recent changes to most refinance guidelines, leaving homeowners with increased costs and less equity (https://bit.ly/3aYAFAB), your entry-level and second-time homeowners will have hardly any motivation to finance and more incentive to “buy up”. Basically, we will see more entry-level homes hit the market here in Rhode Island over the next 12 months. This is good and somewhat bad! Currently, the lack of homes under $400,000 available for sale (3 bed 2 bath 2,300 or less sq ft) have driven the pricing to its highest and offers sellers, right now, the opportunity to sell without costly upgrades and repair concessions. With increased competition in the coming future, this will change, making selling less profitable to your bottom line, despite slight, expected appreciation. 


Homeowners selling first and second homes will be looking for a larger home with room for an in-home office, design studio, work out room, play area, larger outdoor living space, etc. Therefore, the best play for these folks is to sell while the inventory is light in their homes price range to maximize their profits with very few repairs and demands from buyers and beat the crowd to the closing table on a larger home!


Larger homes with four-plus beds and 2 plus baths should focus on decluttering, organizing and staging their homes to meet expectations of today’s buyers. It may be worthwhile to invest in landscaping, home office space in that finished basement and other minor projects that will add massive value to your home for the near future. Consult with a top producing Realtor to help guide you in where to invest for the largest return in investment and do it now while contractors slow up due to back to school and election. You’ll save money and make more when you sell.


Come around Spring of 2021, the largest increase in home prices will come to towns with great school systems, larger homes and easier commutes. 

Emilio DiSpirito

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!


Contact:  emiliodiv@gmail.com

Letter from 9 RI city/town school leaders: we can't go safely back-to-school

Letter from 9 RI city/town school leaders: we can’t go safely back-to-school

August 27, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Pawtucket School Department Parade of Hope


Five days ago, after reviewing the plans required of them, and hearing from experts, 9 city and town school superintendents/presidents wrote a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo and Commission of the RI Dept. of Education, Dr. Angelica Infante-Green, basically saying – no, we won’t go. The letter sites the 5 metrics set out by the state, with ancillary concerns of budget, staffing, testing, etc.


RINewsToday obtained a copy of the letter, and reprints it here:


August 21, 2020


Dear Governor Raimondo and Commissioner Infante-Green,


We hope that you and your families are doing well during this incredibly stressful and challenging time. We also understand and appreciate how important and difficult it is to be a leader in our state during this time. As Superintendents, AFT Presidents, and school community leaders, we feel it is very important that students and staff return to schools with their peers and colleagues. We miss our students and want a safe return to school for everyone. Our top priority is bringing back students and staff in an environment that is safe, inviting, and nurturing for all.


However, it has become clear over the last number of weeks that we may not be able to open schools in a way that keeps all our students, families, staff, and community members safe. The five (5) metrics that were shared state-wide solidifies this apprehension, and we have identified the following concerns in alignment with the reopening metrics.


Statewide Readiness: We are concerned about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in RI. We have not seen a consistent decrease in many days/weeks.


Municipal Readiness: Many of the leaders in our group lead large districts that continue to experience high rates of COVID-19 cases.


Testing Readiness: The state initiative to expand testing is very important, and we are hoping for an increased availability of testing locally and a 48-hour turnaround on test results.


Supply Readiness: Financially, we are struggling with purchasing sufficient cleaning supplies, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, face coverings, and PPE for our students and staff. In addition, the lack of availability of these supplies is impacted by the large number of communities both statewide and nationwide, all trying to secure these same products needed to open schools safely. A sufficient supply is needed to last an indefinite amount of time, given that we do not know when the COVID-19 pandemic will end.


Operational Readiness: Although we all have scenario plans and are making revisions based on RIDE feedback, we have significant concerns about the ability to ensure safe air quality and environmental conditions within our schools, many of which cannot support the ventilation filtration standards. We also do not have the staffing to instruct students in both an in-school and distance learning model simultaneously. We need additional medical staff available to respond to COVID-19 related emergencies in the manner described in the RIDOH playbook. Additionally, we do not believe we can adequately staff the buildings to keep them clean and sanitized based on the required CDC standards.  Transportation readiness and availability continues to be a major concern for all of us.


On Friday, August 7, 2020, the RIDE School Building Authority hosted a visit with Dr. Erin Bromage and more than 30 participants from schools and districts statewide. During this visit, Dr. Bromage, a highly qualified and respected scientist, shared an array of recommendations based on scientific evidence for safe classroom and school environments.  He emphasized four areas of concern when reopening schools: ventilation, filtration, social distancing, and cleaning. Based on Dr. Bromage’s four stated areas of concern, which are specific to the spread of COVID-19, we are unable to safely open our buildings. We are not confident a delay will ameliorate these concerns.


We cannot continue to wait for directions that have a significant impact on our communities’ finances, on our ability to plan solid instruction that addresses academic and social-emotional needs, and on our ability to maintain the health and safety of our staff and students.  We have been charged with representing and protecting the members of our school communities. We would do a disservice to our educational communities if we did not advocate for them by making safe and responsible decisions. When statistics become people and faces of students and staff, none of us are willing to have one-person experience undue suffering or distress.


Finally, we find it very difficult to plan for a scenario that will not be finalized until August 31, 2020. We understand that the RIDOH wants the most recent data available to make the decisions on school reopening, however, the reality of scheduling and planning for the return of thousands of students and staff to hundreds of schools requires more than 10 days’ notice. It is our responsibility to keep the members of our school communities safe, and we need more direction from the state level as to which scenario will be implemented. In the absence of firm guidance, we feel it is our responsibility to notify our state leaders that if we, as the district leaders, do not feel that we can confidently and safely meet the metrics above, then schools in our communities will open in a virtual/distance learning environment.


Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.




Coventry Superintendent-Craig Levis  –  Coventry President-Kelly Erinakes 


Cranston Superintendent-Jeannine Nota-Masse  –  Cranston President-Liz Larkin


Johnston Superintendent-Bernie Dilullo  – Johnston President-Kathy Kandzerski


Lincoln Superintendent-Lawrence Fillipelli  –  Lincoln President-Fred Hoppe 


Pawtucket Superintendent-Cheryl McWilliams  –  Pawtucket President-Ron Beaupre


West Warwick Superintendent-Karen Tarasevich  –  West Warwick President-Sean Doyle


Warwick Superintendent-Phil Thornton  –  Warwick President-Darlene Netcoh


Woonsocket Superintendent-Patrick McGee  – Woonsocket President-Robert Stewart 


North Providence President-Michael Cicerone

Rhode Island News as of 07/11/20 of 5:24am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Kamala [[ COMMA-la ]] Harris takes part in a virtual fundraiser hosted by Rhode Island Democrats.  Over a half-dozen RI school superintendents are telling the governor they might start the school year with remote learning.  A state Representative is planning to introduce a police officer body camera bill.

>>Kamala Harris Takes Part In Virtual Fundraiser

(Providence, RI)  --  Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala [[ COMMA-la ]] Harris took part in a virtual fundraiser for the Biden campaign hosted by Rhode Island Democrats on Wednesday.  According to a Providence Journal report, about four-hundred donors took part.  Harris said the campaign against President Trump would be a knock-down and drag-out fight until November.

>>Eight School Districts Tell Governor About Remote Start Possibility

(Undated)  --  Superintendents of eight different Rhode Island school districts have sent a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo indicating they may open schools in a fully remote-learning fashion next month.  The administrators have coronavirus concerns, including a recent increase in cases, the air quality of the buildings and transportation.  The districts are: Coventry, Cranston, Johnston, Lincoln, Pawtucket, West Warwick, Warwick and Woonsocket.

>>Father And Son Die From COVID-19 Just An Hour Apart

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  A Rhode Island father and son died from COVID-19 only an hour apart from each other.  According to a report from CNN, Ron Remillard was 72 years old, and his son Dan was 43, when they died on June 28th.  Ron's wife, Dianne, told CNN in a video interview from Woonsocket the family is having a very difficult time dealing with both losses.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Playoffs: Bruins Lose, Celtics Series Opener Follows Boycott, Postponed Games

(Undated)  --  A playoff update: the Boston Bruins got smacked by the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of their second-round NHL series last night.  The final score was 7-to-1; Tampa Bay leads the best-of-seven series two games to one, and Game 4 is tomorrow night at 7:30.  In the NBA second round, the Celtics and Toronto Raptors are set to tip off their series opener tonight, but it's not clear if boycott action related to the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Wisconsin will pause the schedule, as it did yesterday.

>>State Rep Planning To Introduce Police Officer Body Camera Bill

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island state Representative is planning to introduce a bill requiring all police officers in the state to wear body cameras during interactions with the public.  Representative Christopher Millea [[ mill-LAY ]] of Cranston says the body cameras will provide crucial evidence and accountability.  On the flip side, Millea says they will also protect good and moral officers against untrue accusations.

>>Man Accused Of Money Theft Through Power Of Attorney Action

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  A Pawtucket man is being accused of mismanaging money from several elderly victims.  The Rhode Island State Police arrested Mark Harmon on Tuesday.  Harmon allegedly failed to fulfill his power of attorney obligations for two Woonsocket seniors; during an investigation, two additional victims were identified, and the four victims incurred a combined loss of over six-hundred-thousand dollars, according to authorities.  Harmon allegedly frequented Twin River Casino with the ill-gotten cash.

>>RIDOT: No 'Road Diet' On East Main Road In Portsmouth

(Portsmouth, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is not moving forward with a plan for a "road diet" on East Main Road in Portsmouth.  Officials updated the Town Council earlier this week.  The proposal was for the road to be converted from four lanes to three, with a center two-way left-turn lane.  RIDOT officials said the plan would cause too much congestion.

Jim McCabe/djc         RI) ELX)
 Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

08-27-2020 00:36:08

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Aug 26, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Aug. 26th, 2020

August 26, 2020/RINewsToday




Lufthansa Airline to allow passengers to travel mask-free on flights


Biogen medical conference now said to have spread coronavirus to over 20,000 Massachusetts residents


The Miami Dolphins will admit 13,000 fans, masks required, at their opening game.


British drugmaker AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it had started early testing of an antibody-based treatment for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.


The number of new cases in the US are decreasing, attributable mostly to mask wearing.


American Airlines to lay off 19,000 employees.


Spain is facing a 2nd wave of infection and is now using soldiers for contact tracing.


JFK and LaGuardia will get testing sites.


Boston libraries are boosting their wi-fi signals outside of their libraries, allowing people to access it who may not have signals in their homes. Many are also setting up public access computers inside.


Tufts Dental has laid off 20% of its staff, faces $22M in losses.


The Connecticut Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers of Connecticut said there are classrooms without windows or proper ventilation and are balking at going back to school in-person.


As parents look for alternatives to in-school learning, private groups are sprouting up for parents to send their children for virtual learning. Everything from dance studios and karate programs are opening their doors for supervised “at-home” learning so parents can go to work.


Contact tracing underway on Nantucket after beach party


Massachusetts unemployment collectors who were getting $600 extra are now getting the $300 boost in payments.


Marist College has suspended 15 students who attended an off-campus party last week and did not follow coronavirus precautions


Maine is giving students a back-to-school toolkit to help schools navigate reopening, including videos, posters and resources about coronavirus.


Principals of high schools in the Northeast Athletic Conference voted this week to postpone all fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic until  2021.


MIT and Univ. of Oxford research calls the 6 feet of social distancing “outdated” and the zone of spread could be as much as 26 feet.


Children make up 10% of cases in the US now.




RI Data:


Deaths: 4


Superintendents from eight Rhode Island school districts have written to Governor Gina Raimondo and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, saying they will open the school year with distance learning if their concerns about the safety of buildings aren’t addressed. The letter was signed by the school superintendents in Coventry, Cranston, Johnston, Lincoln, Pawtucket, West Warwick, Warwick, and Woonsocket, as well as nine local union presidents. (https://bit.ly/32mVMss)


RI School Commissioner has said that the state is “looking into” the possibility of students going to other districts. Transportation, funding following students, etc. are concerns.


The Fall River public schools are planning a hybrid reopening, but not all teachers are in favor of returning to the classroom this fall. And now a grassroots effort to reverse that decision has started with Fall River for Full Remote, a Facebook group for teachers and community members to voice their concerns. The group had a virtual rally via Zoom and it has organized a letter campaign through The Action Network.


Providence-based EpiVax licensed its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, EPV-CoV-19, to EpiVax Therapeutics, a New York-based company previously called EpiVax Oncology.


RI College is expected to decrease adjunct staff by 50%.


Cape Cod officials said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial disruption it’s caused for many have shined a spotlight on connections between housing, health care and the economy. Truro Sen. Julian Cyr said he’s worried that trends in the housing market linked to COVID-19 “will only exacerbate how Cape Cod is so profoundly unaffordable.”


Massachusetts guests at a RI wedding shower test positive – all but one guest tested positive – 17 or 18 of 19 – the venue was not identified.


Gov. Charlie Baker announced a $2 million ad campaign on Tuesday that will run through the end of the year, encouraging residents to shop, dine out and travel at local stores and destinations in Massachusetts.


Pawtucket residents can pick up a free reusable shopping bag inside Pawtucket City Hall. 2,000 were donated by Mega Disposal, with a grant from Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation


Gov’s Press Release: Only 75% of kids entering Kindergarten this year have all their necessary immunizations, and it’s even lower — about 50% — for kids entering 7th grade. As we make plans to get our kids back to school safely this fall, please make sure that your child has the immunizations they need. If they don’t, please pick up the phone right now and call your pediatrician. If you or your child are currently uninsured, you can reach out to our health insurance exchange at 1-855-840-4774 to learn more about coverage. While we’re facing a virus for which we don’t yet have a vaccine, we can’t take our eye off the ball and allow other childhood illnesses to resurge. Our pediatricians are taking extreme caution – keeping waiting rooms clear, using PPE, conducting infection control, and requiring health screenings. These protections are designed to mitigate risk of exposure to the virus. The biggest concern at this point is not vaccinating your child.


A little humor – video titled “After Corona…”

The RI Portuguese community stands up

The RI Portuguese community stands up

August 26, 2020/RINewsToday


Several weeks ago, a bill was submitted by RI Rep. Anastasia Williams that would exclude “Portuguese” as a category in the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program.


The intent of the bill was to have more business go to African-American owned businesses. After the bill was submitted, PALCUS – the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States became aware of it and informed their membership. They provided emails and mailing addresses of the entire Rhode Island legislature and requested members write to them to better inform them about the minority designation of Portuguese business owners, the rich history in Rhode Island, and to respectfully request this bill not be considered.


At present, the bill is before the House Labor Committee, which is also chaired by Rep. Anastasia Williams. The bill has no co-sponsors at this time.


After our second story on this bill, O Jornal picked up the story, and obtained a quote by Rep. Williams, as well as others. Link, here:



Reprinted, here:


State Representative Anastasia P. Williams has introduced legislation in the Rhode Island General Assembly to prevent Portuguese-owned companies from being considered minority-owned businesses because she says this designation gives them an unfair advantage in a state affirmative action program for public projects.


If passed, Williams’ bill, the ’2020 – H 8123: An Act Relating to Public Property and Works – Minority Business Enterprise,′ would delete Portuguese (a person of Portuguese, Brazilian, or other Portuguese culture or origin, regardless of race) from those eligible to be considered as minorities for purposes of awarding public works projects.


“The MBE [Minority Business Enterprise] program is based on equalizing discriminatory practices against racial minorities and women… In the 1980s, then Senator John Correia, of East Providence, who was Portuguese, a majority leader and had influence…. took the liberty of putting in legislation to identify Portuguese as a racial minority when in fact they are not,” said Rep. Williams, a democratic legislator who represents District 9 in Providence and serves as chairwoman of the House Committee on Labor.


Williams said Portuguese people identify themselves as “white” and “European,” and therefore are not a minority racial group. She maintains the participation of Portuguese-owned firms has skewed the percentages of minority participation on state and local government-funded projects.


“I have absolutely nothing against the Portuguese community. It’s not about bringing harm or disrespect to the Portuguese community,” Rep. Williams told O Jornal. “It’s just about putting the playing field where it is supposed to be. It’s about presenting what the law really is. Someone took the liberty of changing it for a particular group of people, and it was wrong. It’s trying to right the wrong that was done. That’s all.”


The loss of the minority status would exempt Portuguese-owned businesses from special bidding for work on certain public projects and it would take effect upon passage of the act.


Other groups defined in the bill, which would retain minority status are: Black, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian and Alaskan Native, and other groups or other individuals found to be economically and socially disadvantaged by the Small Business Act.


State Representative Joe Serodio, a Democrat who represents District 64, says he vehemently opposes this bill.


“Now is not the time to erect further barriers to prosperity by pitting our strong and diverse communities against each other,” he said in a prepared statement. “Portuguese Rhode Islanders, particularly those in East Providence, share a rich and deep history with Rhode Island. We are immigrants who came to this state to provide for our families and build upon the American Dream. We share the same stories, similar struggles, and the same close-knit but small population that every other minority community in our state possesses. We have experienced discrimination, lack of opportunities, and unfair characterizations of our culture and people.”


Rep. Serodio argues that Portuguese Rhode Islanders are indeed a minority community because they make up just 9.7 percent of the population.


“The MBE list is supposed to lift our minority-owned businesses to success and equality, and it is for this reason that I am strongly opposed to removing Portuguese Rhode Island businesses from the MBE list,” said the Portuguese-born legislator, who came as a child to East Providence, where he later founded his own small business, America Travel.


According to the website of the R.I. Office of Diversity, Equity and Opportunity, “Under Rhode Island General Law 37-14.1, Minority business enterprises are targeted for participation in all procurement and construction projects and shall be awarded a minimum of ten percent (10%) of all dollar value of the procurement or project.”


Currently, there are 728 companies listed as Minority Business Enterprises on that website. Of those 57, identify themselves as Portuguese-owned, and some of those owners also identify themselves as being a woman or Black. Most of them are construction contractors.


David Silva, president of Silva Advertising Specialties, Inc. of East Providence, said that if the bill passes, it would definitely have a negative impact on his business.


“It will be big,” said Silva, estimating that between 10 and 20 percent of his business comes from public contracts. “I do promotional items for them – pens, shirts, mugs, and other promotional products.”


Meanwhile, the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) is lobbying against the bill and has been reaching out to every member of the R.I. House of Representatives about this situation. The organization will also be reaching out to all Portuguese clubs and organizations in Rhode Island to make sure they are aware of the issue.



“In our view, this is a blatantly discriminatory action against the Portuguese people of Rhode Island,” reads a statement issued by PALCUS. “At 9.7% of the population, the Portuguese are clearly a minority, can be of any race, and are part of the immigrant population of the state.”


Rhode Island is not the first state to attempt to prevent Portuguese-owned companies from being considered minority-owned businesses.


In 2018, a Boston Superior Court ruled that all firms previously certified as Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), based on the owner being of Portuguese origin, could no longer be considered as such.


The lawsuit had been filed two years prior by a business owner who sued the state of Massachusetts after being passed up for projects that were awarded to Portuguese-owned businesses.


Due to that ruling, Victor Fernandes, owner and co-founder of Fernandes Masonry in New Bedford, said his business lost a lot of contracts.


“That hurt us big time, especially the first two years,” he said. “We lost a lot of revenue and about 20 percent of our labor force. It had a huge impact… now, there is a lot of work and it’s not affecting us as much. But the first two years, it was brutal.”


It’s all about education


For those who think the Portuguese now identify themselves as “white” and “European,” and therefore are not a minority racial group, Nancy Thomas, founder of RINewsToday and an affiliated member of PALCUS says, “we encourage Rep. Williams to learn about Portuguese history. And our history in Rhode Island. There’s been so much activity this year surrounding the Census 2020 project and our proper identification. While we are ‘organized’ we are somewhat quiet in touting our ethnicity and rich heritage in the state – as this is a time when celebrating all minority groups is encouraged, we look forward to increasing these efforts – and further educating all our neighbors in business and otherwise.”


PALCUS has many affiliated groups and these groups are in Rhode Island:


If you would like to contact the groups about events and membership, this link will provide you with more information:




Mission of PALCUS


“The mission of the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States is to be the national voice that advocates for and promotes the advancement of the Portuguese-American community economically, professionally, culturally and politically.”


Rhode Island Captains


Most states in the US have a series of Captains. These are the Captains in Rhode Island:

Nearly 80 businesses identify as “Gateway” organizations in the PALCUS Directory – if your business is Portuguese owned or servicing, you can list them here:




Rhode Island has a rich Portuguese culture – this is a continuing series in getting to know the Portuguese in our community.



Brenton Point State Park, Newport

Situated within Brenton Point State Park on the southern tip of Aquidneck Island with expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean, this monument on Ocean Drive is dedicated to Portuguese maritime navigators. Brenton Point was a strategic military defensive location during the Revolutionary War and World War II. The State of Rhode Island designated the area a State Park in 1976. In 1988 a site was set aside for a monument, a concept advanced by the Portuguese Cultural Foundation and the Portuguese Federation. Funded jointly by the State of Rhode Island and the Portuguese government, the Point was selected as it is reminiscent of Sagres in southern Portugal, the location of Henry the Navigator’s nautical school founded in 1419. Designed by Charters de Almeida and carved in Portugal, sixteen sandstone bollards ranging in height from five to eight feet were organized into a semicircle mimicking the historic pebble compass rose at Sagres Point. In the center, an eight-foot-diameter sandstone sphere representing a Portuguese navigational instrument and a twenty-foot-tall obelisk inscribed with names of explorers were erected.

Rhode Island News as of 08/26/20 of 4:45am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A coronavirus outbreak is reportedly linked to a wedding event in Rhode Island.  There are new moped rental regulations on Block Island.  Vaccine news: Governor Raimondo provides an update on childhood immunization numbers, while a Rhode Island teen is suing the maker of an HPV vaccine, which is mandatory in the state.

>>Coronavirus Outbreak Linked To Rhode Island Wedding Event

(Undated)  --  Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday referenced a wedding in Rhode Island attended by a number of Mass residents where all but one person tested positive for COVID-19.  But Rhode Island officials say it wasn't a wedding, it was actually a bachelorette party.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health says 19 cases were traced to the event at a rented house in late July.  It wasn't made clear where in Rhode Island this was.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Raids Conducted In Attempt To Find Stolen Weapons Cache

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence police and federal authorities teamed up to raid several locations on Tuesday in a search for stolen weapons.  According to a WPRI-TV report, the raids were connected to the reported theft of dozens of guns stolen from a home in the city two weeks ago.  Police officials say an investigation is ongoing.

>>Tiverton House Fire Victim ID'd

(Tiverton, RI)  --  The name of the victim of a house fire in Tiverton has been released.  Mark Bassaly [[ BASS-uh-lee ]]reportedly lived at the Church Pond Drive home with his family.  Authorities are still looking into what caused the fire that ripped through the structure on Monday night.

>>New Moped Rental Regulations On Block Island

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  A number of changes are being agreed to for moped rentals on Block Island.  Safety concerns exploded following the death of a moped operator earlier this month, prompting the New Shoreham Town Council and the rental companies to put their heads together.  Among the changes: fewer mopeds can be rented out, people who rent one must wear proper shoes, renters must be evaluated for their ability to operate the vehicle, and they must wear a wristband that identifies them as an authorized driver.

>>Raimondo Provides Childhood Vaccination Update

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo returned to the topic of childhood immunizations at her coronavirus press briefing on Monday.  The governor earlier this summer said the pandemic caused a big drop in the vaccination rate.  Despite an aggressive campaign to turn things around, Raimondo said only 75 percent of kids entering kindergarten in Rhode Island this year will have all necessary shots, and about 50 percent of kids entering seventh grade.  Last week, neighboring Massachusetts made it mandatory for school students to get a flu shot as a step to reduce the overall impact of respiratory illness during the coronavirus pandemic.

>>Woman Sues Maker Of HPV Vaccine

(Warren, RI)  --  A Rhode Island woman is suing pharmaceutical giant Merck over severe side effects she says she has suffered from after receiving the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil.  Nineteen-year-old Julia Balasco of Warren received the vaccine, meant to guard against cervical cancer, in 2014, but she says she is still dealing with quality of life issues.  The suit alleges Merck misled the FDA, lawmakers, doctors and parents about the safety of the vaccine, which was made mandatory for seventh graders in Rhode Island in 2015.  Virginia and Washington, DC also mandate the HPV vaccine.

>>NHL Playoffs: Bruins Fall To Lightning In Overtime

(Toronto)  --  The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are tied in their second-round NHL playoff series in Toronto.  Tampa Bay won Game 2 last night, 4-to-3 in overtime.  Game 3 is tonight at 8:00.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) MA) VA) WDC) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

08-26-2020 00:11:58

Your Coronavirus Update - Today, Aug. 25, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Aug. 25, 2020

August 25, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Dining on Federal Hill




Research is continuing on producing inexpensive, at-home coronavirus tests.


New York Yacht Club Regatta moved in October


Jerry Falwell, Jr. resigns as president of Liberty University


Boston court closes after staffer tests positive


Around 1 in 5 nursing homes in the U.S. have faced a severe shortage of personal protective equipment or staff during the Covid-19 pandemic


Uber has launched Uber Health for prescription delivery service.


At least 33 states and the District of Columbia are temporarily allowing cocktails to-go during the pandemic.


Florida wins lawsuit not to go back to in-person schools. Governor is appealing while virtual classes begin.


First day of school on ZOOM in many states yesterday caused nationwide outage as the system was overloaded.


American Airlines is adding a new disinfectant spray for high touch areas of their planes.


New home – and larger home – sales projections will be out today – expecting to rise nationwide.


Jamaica is having an outbreak, causing political campaigns to go on hold.


Danbury, CT, experiencing a city-wide outbreak has closed schools for two weeks – everyone over 60 is asked to stay home.


Mexico is asking its people to stop drinking so much Coca-Cola because of its role in obesity, a major risk factor for complications and poor outcome for those getting coronavirus. Mexico has one of the highest consumption rates in the world – 25% of some businesses’ income is due to soda sales.


Pharmacists in all 50 states are now allowed to give childhood vaccinations under a new directive aimed at preventing future outbreaks of measles and other preventable diseases.


46 people in Texas have been treated for drinking bleach, leading to new warnings.


One month after returning to school full fourth grade class is now in quarantine, even though they were on a split schedule.


In Mexico, school began – remotely.


Cannabis is one of the growing areas of the US economy.


Lynn, MA is seeing a new increase in coronavirus.




The Community College of Rhode Island is laying off 122 part-time employees, cutting pay for senior administrators, freezing new hires for vacant positions, and combining courses.


Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island has announced that it will provide an additional $11 million in medical and dental premium relief to its fully-insured large group and small group customers, as well as individuals who purchase insurance through BCBSRI or HealthSource RI. Also, a $13.8 million medical premium relief and 25 percent dental premium credit.


More RI companies that had violations of state COVID19 regulations (check DBR.ri.gov for status):


FabCity Cigar Lounge, Pawtucket


Antojitos De Mi Tierra, Providence


Interstate Navigation, as Operator of the Block Island Ferry


Lifespan is setting up more mobile testing centers


101st COVID Press Conference – Governor Raimondo:


Next week press conferences will be held every day at 1pm – Monday will be full length but every other day it will be short, 15 minutes to talk about K-12 school opening.

Data: Good news story – yesterday 39 new cases; Percent positive of 1.1%. Testing more and more people as school starts. No new deaths – but we lost 5 over the weekend (not associated with each other). High testing days have been tests done at colleges. Four to six days with over 5,000 a day (not in data dump, except for one day?). 80 people hospitalized, with 11 in ICU.  


Still have over 100,000 unemployed. Restaurants and shops hanging on by a thread.


CNN ranks RI’s economy as the 6th best in the US on measures of getting back to work.


Business inspections: More than 1,100 done last week. Good news. Mask compliance around 95%. Capacity restrictions at 98%. 13% rest/bars without proper separation and 6% with crowding around bar area. Try harder. 98% compliance with bar areas closing at 11pm.


School: Complimenting National Guard for their work from day one. They will be helping us open schools. Effective today – Education Operation Center will operate – very much like an emergency center in a hurricane. National Guard, RIDE, RIDOH, RIDOT, RIPTA, EMA will staff it. 24/7 operation. Real time support to schools, K-12.


School responsibility:  Chart on what school district is responsible for – and what EOC can help with. RI is doing testing, contact tracing, investigation…this is unique in US.


Before school: Every school facility will have a walk through to make sure the schools are ready to accept students.  13-page document will be posted at Back2School.com – to see what is being done in classrooms to make them safe.


Air Quality Expert: Will participate in the walk throughs and assist with fine tuning air quality issues.


Inspections in schools – audits will be done continuously throughout the year – if not in compliance, state will help get the school into compliance.


Private/Religious Schools: Next Monday school opening info will be announced. State will provide ALL schools with same testing, contact tracing, investigations. Private/religious schools who think they are ready to open before 9/14 may do so.


Check-ups and Immunizations: These will need to be caught up on ASAP. Pediatricians of RI have stepped up greatly. 25% of kids entering kindergarten and 50% of kids entering 7th grade will not be immunized – please call your pediatrician or a community health center and get those appointments to bring your children up to date.


Municipal Resilience Task Force – at the request of the RI League of Cities and Towns the state will set up this task force to help cities and towns in a post-COVID culture. How do we budget to serve our citizens and save funds – intergovernmental partnerships, shared services, etc. are some ideas. 


Unemployment Insurance – if you have jobs, you are lucky. Been in touch with FEMA – announcing that we received approval for $300 a week for THREE weeks. This is temporary – calling on the Trump administration to make it permanent or do something else to help. Disbursements won’t happen for 2-3 weeks.  You will get a one-time additional payment of $900. And that’s it.


Commissioner Green:


Appreciate the RI National Guard for their work.  RI’s back to school team will be the best in the US – we are the only state. Two powerful benefits – dedicated response group – and will allow rest of staff to focus on other initiatives of back to school.


Dr. Scott: Mentioned Day Care Center study done in RI that made national news. 274 of 598 new cases were identified as Hispanic/Latina. 55%. Continuing to prioritize short term prevention measures in place.




In-person learning – Governor’s mind seems to be made up? Gov. responded that testing criteria is well on its way to being set up – does anticipate making the decision soon. Next Sunday night will look at the # of cases and then make a decision.


Data – what percentage of parents have already opted to not come back for in-person learning. Some it is as much as 50-50. Some parents want to move to another district. RIDE is looking into that – is it allowed in a pandemic? 


Protesters outside of press conference – should distance learning be prioritized?  Gov. references protesters outside saying it is not safe for youngsters to be in school.  Gov. believes teachers want to be in the classroom but demand that we make it safe for them to go back. Many families with children with learning challenges are just not going back.  Has RIDOH approved any plans yet? Nothing


UI Benefits – When did state apply? Gov says as soon as there was an announcement – RI jumped on an application. RI needs to set up a system to administer it. This is for people receiving at least $100 – so if you weren’t getting that $100 RI will bump it up to $100 – the amount is determined by the feds.  Next Monday Gov. will go into detail about it.


Governor’s Press Conference:


This operations center will be ready and able to assist with anything our schools need. If they’re running low on hand sanitizer or masks, this team will immediately arrange for the supplies they need. If they need logistical support to ensure strong in-person learning, this team will be able to provide assistance. When they have a student or staff member who tests positive, this team will be on the ground to test, isolate and quarantine, preventing a large outbreak just as we have done with child care and congregate care settings over the past few months. The EdOC is activated as of today. By next week, every school district will have a designated point-of-contact, and we will ensure frequent lines of communication between districts and the EdOC. The EdOC will ramp up over the next few weeks with recognition of several milestones, including the return of teachers on the 9th and the return of students on the 14th. Once schools are open, the leaders at the EdOC will be prepared to deploy assistance teams to any school – in any city or town – on a moment’s notice.

Paris of the Middle East

Paris of the Middle East

August 25, 2020/David Brussat


by David Brussat, Architecture Here and There


It’s been several decades since Beirut was commonly known as the Paris of the Middle East. The recent explosion, which devastated the port and wreaked serious damage on nearby central areas of the city, only adds to its problems – which seemed already to be reaching a crescendo – and sets back efforts to revive itself as a place where normal life can be led. The blame, or most of it, for both the explosion and the difficulty of Beirut’s revival may be laid at the doorstep of the terror organization Hezbollah and its puppeteers in Tehran. They stepped in to prevent peace from reigning after the end of the nation’s disastrous 1975-1989 civil war. That Lebanon’s society has not collapsed, yet, maybe thanks to the resilience of the Lebanese, who have learned to weather history’s calamities. It may be that Beirut’s historical beauty contributes to their desire to live life.


This post is dedicated to that beauty and to what hope remains that Beirut’s status as the Paris of the Middle East can, in time, be resumed. The photo that introduces this post shows damage to towers of relatively recent vintage. Below are old shots of historic Beirut, then more recent such shots, especially in the chic Gemmeyze district, some of which show damage either recent or going back to the civil war.

David Brussat

Full story, here: https://architecturehereandthere.com/2020/08/16/paris-of-the-middle-east/

My freelance writing and editing on architecture and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call (401) 351-0457 https://architecturehereandthere.com/

"Trumptilla" by sea - and by land

“Trumptilla” by sea – and by land

August 25, 2020/Jeff Gross



by Jeff Gross, contributing writer



Just like in Normandy in June 1944, an armada approached the Rhode Island shores in an effort to continue protecting American Freedoms. An armada of countless boats, yachts and wave runners congregated in Newport, Rhode Island, and steamed forward to Colt State Park in Bristol. 



It was a beautiful summer day for the event, with a light breeze, however, one could not tell that due to the choppy waters caused by the large number of surface vessels. The fleet made their approach to Bristol, and in unison made a uniform “India Corpen” and proceeded back to Newport and other ports. American flags and Trump flags adorned the vessels, as well as could be seen in the hands of spectators along the shores. An estimated 2,000 people lined the rocky shores of Colt State Park, alone.


In June 1944, Omaha Beach saw some of the most viscous violence; however, on this bright day in August, this Armada was very festive and celebratory. There was no violence, attacks, burning or looting. Just a pleasant cruise and shore gathering. This is a clear example of the type of kind and honorable people I know who support Donald Trump. 


This writer who is at home on the water would like to personally thank all the Captains and their respective crews for taking the time for this event in the most troubling of times. I would also like to thank all the landlubbers who lined the shorelines in support of this great event. I am glad we had the wind at our backs. And a special thanks to a great friend, Senator Elaine Morgan, for the outstanding photos taken in the middle of the fleet, which I share here. It is clear that the “Silent Majority” has a well-established Red Beachhead in Rhode Island.


The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s).


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is a Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison, FRISC Delegate.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

RI's conundrum of how best to reopen schools

RI’s conundrum of how best to reopen schools

August 25, 2020/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, contributing writer, ConvergenceRI.com


The conundrum of how best to reopen schools has exposed a widening gap between science, following the “facts,” and the arm-twisting art of political persuasion


In my junk email folder, one of the latest daily missives, courtesy of Constant Contact, arrived on Friday night, Aug. 21, at 9:31 p.m., from Gov. Gina Raimondo, with the headline, “A plan for every scenario.” It was written in a mother-knows-best, reassuring tone of voice, promising: “Every decision we make about reopening our schools will be guided by science and data.” To quote WPRO’s Steve Klamkin, “Really?”

The letter went on to claim: “We know that there will be positive cases in each district as the year goes on, just like we know there will be positive cases among adults. We can’t completely eliminate the virus, but we can stop it from spreading by planning thoroughly for every possibility.”

The confident tone of the letter could not have been scripted any better than if it had been ghost-written by a high-priced consultant, such as someone working for the state from the Boston Consulting Group or McKinsey, for a fee of hundreds of dollars an hour. [Perhaps it was.]


The problem, of course, is that having a plan for every scenario depends on whether the Governor and her team will commit to being transparent about what is actually happening in the schools, in real time, when it is happening. If past is prologue, the Governor’s spotty track record on sharing information in a transparent, timely fashion may not necessarily augur well for the state.


Translated, how will parents and teachers and the general public know when an outbreak of COVID-19 has occurred at a school?


One potential new credible source of information will be the national COVID Monitor website, which has been set up by Florida researcher Rebekah Jones.


In a recent interview, Dr. Ashish Jha, the incoming dean at the School of Public Health at Brown University, framed the issue around the importance of transparency. “If schools don’t notify, it actually can make disease control more difficult,” Jha told New York Times reporter Dan Levin in his story, “Covid in the Classroom? Shhh. Some Schools are Keeping It Quiet,” published on Saturday, Aug. 22.

“And it’s not like no one will know,” Jha continued. “Word will get out through a rumor mill. You don’t scare people by telling them what’s going on. You scare them by hiding information.”

Take, for instance, the recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Limited Secondary Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Child Care Programs – Rhode Island, June 1-July 31, 2020,” which has been heavily promoted in the news media as demonstrating that the spread of the virus had been contained in childcare facilities in Rhode Island through mitigation and testing strategies. However, none of the actual locations of the four childcare programs where secondary transmissions had occurred were identified in the study. As a result of the apparent lack of transparency, the general public and the news media have been kept in the dark.

As noted in the study, “Case ascertainment among children is challenging, given the high rates of asymptomatic infection or mild infections,” with the acknowledgment that many “infections were likely undetected.”

Despite limited identified secondary transmission, the write-up of the study continued, “The impact on childcare programs was substantial, with 853 children and staff members quarantined, [which] highlights the importance of community mitigation efforts to safeguard child care programs.” Yes, wearing a mask in public is important. Yes, practicing social distancing is important. Yes, a regimen of testing is important.


But, translated, the spread of the virus never occurs in a vacuum; transmission directly reflects what is happening in the community where the daycare facilities are located.


Health disparities on display
One of the lessons driven home by the spread of the coronavirus in Rhode Island [and the nation] is the way that it has exposed the disparities around access to health care delivery services – in testing, in primary care, and in how essential workers – largely women and minorities – have been treated.


One of the four childcare programs, according to Joseph Wendelken at the R.I. the Department of Health, was the Progreso Latino childcare facility in Central Falls.


From an epidemiological perspective, the community where the childcare facility is located can provide important, critical context relative to the spread of the virus.


In Central Falls, for instance, the figures released last week by the R.I. Department of Health found that the level of community infection was 160 cases per 100,000 residents per week, the highest in the state of Rhode Island. Providence was second with 117 cases per 100,000 residents per week, while Narragansett [a beach community], at 84 per 100,000, was third, as reported by Boston Globe reporter Dan McGowan.


One of the metrics for reopening schools that Gov. Raimondo has promoted is that communities with rates of more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents per week would be required to stay in a distance learning mode past Sept. 14, the current opening day of school. Under the current metrics promoted by the Governor, neither Providence nor Central Falls would be permitted to open schools for in-person learning.


The other part of the story that the study did not include in its analysis was the way that the state responded when the outbreak of COVID-19 was first identified in adults working at Progreso Latino. [For the record, the outbreak had not been identified by state-operated testing sites in Pawtucket or Central Falls. Neither had it been identified as a result of testing conducted by the local community health center.]


However, that said, the response by the R.I. Department of Health was admirable and prompt: the agency hired Alert Ambulance Service to test children in the parking lot at Progreso Latino, some 50 children a day, for more than a week. [The testing appeared to have continued past the July 31 closing date of the CDC study.] The processing of tests was given highest priority by the agency, with results of the tests to be delivered in 48 hours.


The question remains: Is the Rhode Island Department of Education prepared to respond with similar alacrity and dedicated investment in the testing of asymptomatic children when the virus is detected in numerous school districts across the state, at the same time?


The access to COVID-19 testing by children remains a problematic part of any school’s reopening plans. [See link to ConvergenceRI story, “A pediatrician takes on COVID in Central Falls.”]

Further, the ability of private colleges and universities, such as Bryant University and Brown University, to invest in rapid testing in a partnership with the Broad Institute, with a 24-hour turnaround on results, has once again made “visible” the wealth gap when it comes to access to testing.


Return to college campuses
One of the next big challenges is what happens not just in the reopening of public schools but on college campuses, both here in Rhode Island and nationally, where college administrators have found themselves navigating difficult situations, attempting to chart a safe course through choppy waters caused by the pandemic in managing the return of students for the fall semester.


Consider the situation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where four COVID-19 clusters and some 130 new cases were reported, after students were returned to campus for in-person learning at the behest University of North Carolina System Board of Governors, according to the Charlotte News & Observer.


Student journalists at The Daily Tar Heel responded with a provocative, courageous headline in an editorial, “UNC has a clusterfuck on its hands.” In response, university officials decided to move all classes online until further notice. Reporters at The Daily Tar Heel are now analyzing hundreds of emails sent by the university administrators in advance of the planned reopening. Stay tuned.


A similar experience occurred at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., where the school suspended in-person learning for at least two weeks after it recorded more than 300 COVID-19 cases since reopening the campus. Once again, student journalists led the way in criticizing the university’s policies around reopening, publishing a front-page editorial with the headline: “Don’t make us write obituaries.”


At the University of Iowa, it was once again student journalists at The Daily Iowan who forced the school to apologize to students after a student tested positive for COVID-19, in which the student described her experience as: “I felt like a guinea pig.”


The student had moved into a residence hall on Aug. 15 and then, after testing positive the next day for COVID-19, was moved in another room under quarantine, which the student said had dirt on the bed and on the ground, as well as an unclean sink and curtains. When the student asked the hall coordinators why the room was in such poor condition, she said they responded by telling that they had not anticipated anyone contracting COVID-19 within the first move-in day.


On campuses here in Rhode Island
At Bryant University, the school has invested more than $3 million to test students, faculty and staff as part of its plan to welcome students back to campus.


As described by the university, “The testing process is painless and extremely quick, requiring only that you insert a small Q-tip ¼-inch into each of your nostrils. Once you walk to the tent one of our testing staff will ask your name and date of birth to confirm your identity.”


The instructions continued: “We will provide you with a testing swab and specific step-by-step instruction on how to perform the test,” suggesting that students watch a short video of the testing process.


Further, the instructions said: “Beginning on Monday, Aug. 24, faculty and staff members will be asked to make an appointment online, at their convenience, using the MediCAT software.”


To facilitate the rapid response of test results, Bryant University has hired the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., to conduct the laboratory analysis of the tests, with test results to be returned within 24 hours, according to a story in The Providence Journal.

Brown University has entered into a similar arrangement with the Broad Institute for testing of its students and faculty and staff, according to reporting by Olivia George in The Brown Daily Herald.


In terms of transparency, Roger Williams University has created an online data hub for its testing, called “RWU Covid-19 Campus Monitor,” a practice that other colleges and universities in Rhode Island might consider doing.

Calculating the results
How the increase in testing of college students returning to campus will be calculated as part of the ongoing testing metrics in Rhode Island remains an open question – or at least identified as a significant part of the data – does not appear to be transparent yet. One of the key metrics for Rhode Island, related to potential requests for quarantines in neighboring states such as Massachusetts, is the rate of positive infections across the state’s population.


In a message sent out on Friday, Aug. 21, Joseph Wendelken, the public information officer at the R.I. Department of Health [who has done an excellent job, in ConvergenceRI’s opinion, in responding to reporters’ request], said that in updating the daily CVODI-19 numbers, “We have 130 new positives, but I wanted to flag that we did a lot of testing. We did more than 7,200 tests, so our positivity rate for yesterday [Thursday, Aug. 20], [was] actually quite low – 1.8 percent.”


What would be helpful to know, moving forward, is how increased volume in testing for students returning to campus at both Brown and Bryant and Roger Williams universities, are reflected in the state’s testing numbers.


Giller vs. Raimondo
Last week, Providence parent Jeremy Giller continued to raise questions about the readiness of Providence schools to reopen, given what he claims is the lack of proper air ventilation in many of the city’s schools.

For the second week in a row, Giller has taken to Twitter to take on Gov. Raimondo and RIDE Commissioner Infante-Green, publishing an extensive thread, while voicing his frustrations around the difficulties of engaging with the Raimondo and her team around the issues of poor air quality in schools.

Giller tweeted on Aug. 19: “Gov. Raimondo, you are arguing against a straw man. No expert [that I have heard] is claiming that ventilation is *more* important than mask-wearing. What they do say is that *absent* proper ventilation, the universal wearing of cloth masks is insufficient protection against the risk of transmission from lingering aerosolized droplets. In other words: there is *no* “end-all-be-all.” Rather, there is a need for multiple risk mitigation measures.”

Giller’s tweet thread continued: “Renowned expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said as much to you last Thursday [on Aug. 13, in a Facebook forum with the Governor]: “When I’m in the car now, I keep the window open, even though the person who’s driving the car and me both have masks on. I keep the mask on and keep the windows open.”


Giller then challenged the Governor: “I could go on, but tell me, @GovRaimondo: Which experts have *you* spoken with who take your position that mask-wearing is “the end-all-be-all” for students & teachers returning to PPSD’s decrepit school buildings, half-built before 1944?”

The issues being raised by Giller around poor air ventilation in school buildings should be an important part of the conversation moving forward in making decisions about whether it is safe to not to return to in-person learning. At the same time, the difficulty and frustrations voiced by Giller, in his attempt, as a parent, to engage with and be heard and acknowledged by the Governor and the Commissioner, speak to the larger problem that has become endemic with the pandemic: how much the Governor has been able to control the flow of information and the narrative around plans for school reopenings.


Equity, homelessness and the reopening of schools


Rhode Island Kids Count, in an equity analysis of reopening plans by school districts in the state, found that “students experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity” were explicitly mentioned in 23 percent of district plans.


Link to complete story: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/take-two-ris-continuing-deadly-experiment,5962


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 08/25/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Governor Raimondo says the National Guard and state agencies are helping schools get through the first year of in-person learning during COVID.  DUI arrests, moped crashes are reported on Block Island by state police during a weekend of enhanced patrols.  Rhode Island calamari receives the spotlight at a national political party convention once more.
>>Governor: National Guard, State Agencies Will Respond To School COVID Needs
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo on Monday announced the launch of a new real-time coronavirus support network for schools.  The Education Operation Center consists of the National Guard and state agencies.  Raimondo said when a student or staff member tests positive, the EOC will show up to test, isolate and quarantine so in-person learning interruptions are limited.  She said the state has learned how to quickly deploy teams to handle other COVID-19 outbreaks at places like the state prison and nursing homes.  The governor said she's established a facilities readiness team that will make sure every public school is compliant with health guidelines before receiving any students for the upcoming school year.
>>Fatal House Fire In Tiverton
(Tiverton, RI)  --  One person is dead after a fire tore through a house in Tiverton on Monday.  Crews responded to the residence on Church Pond Drive at around 5:30 p.m.  The unnamed victim reportedly died at Saint Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts.  That person was apparently the only one inside the house.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
>>State Police On Block Island Report DUI Arrests, Moped Crashes
(New Shoreham, RI)  --  The Rhode Island State Police is reporting the results of the first weekend of stepped-up enforcement on Block Island in response to two recent fatal crashes.  The RISP says three out-of-state residents were arrested for DUI, including one who was reportedly involved in a rollover crash.  State troopers and New Shoreham police also investigated three motor vehicle crashes involving mopeds.  In the two fatal crashes from earlier this month on the island, one of them allegedly involved a drunk driver; a moped operator was killed in the other.
>>Providence City Councilor Says Illegal ATVs Are A Problem
(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence City Council member is calling on Mayor Jorge Elorza and the city police department to take action regarding illegal ATV operation in city streets.  Councilman David Salvatore [[ SAL-vah-tore ]] said in a statement on Monday that he has received numerous phone calls and emails from concerned constituents over the past week, and referenced a story about an eight-year-old boy who was injured in an ATV accident.  Salvatore says the current policy of city officers not engaging in pursuits of ATV drivers is not working.  GoLocalProv.com reports state police arrested one person over the weekend as a result of ATVs operating on I-95 in the capital city.
>>Most Municipalities Delay Sending Car Tax Bills Amid Budget Uncertainty
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island municipal leaders are wondering if the state will be able to continue its motor vehicle tax phase-out this year while facing a large budget deficit caused by the coronavirus.  The Providence Journal reports most cities and towns are not including car taxes in property tax bills that have been sent out due to the uncertainty; Providence is one of the communities that has sent out the car tax bills.  The state has been reducing the percentage of vehicles that can be taxed during the phase-out that started in 2017, and is reimbursing cities and towns for the lost revenue.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello tells the Projo he remains committed to keeping the phase-out moving forward.
>>Rhode Island Calamari Again Highlighted During Major Party Convention
(Charlotte, NC)  --  Rhode Island-style calamari got another mention during Monday's Republican National Convention.  RI National Republican Committeewoman Lee Ann Sennick pledged the state's 19 GOP votes for President Trump and talked up local food and drink favorites, while also describing the Ocean State's decades-long Democratic control as tyranny.  During the Democratic National Convention last week, state Representative Joe McNamara declared majority delegates for Joe Biden and called Rhode Island the "calamari comeback state" while standing next to a chef holding a large plate of the fried squid.
Jim McCabe/jb          RI) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-25-2020 00:11:56

A Weekend of service with the RI State Police

A weekend of service with the RI

A weekend of service with the RI State Police

August 24, 2020/RINewsToday


The RI State Police has a unit called the Community, Diversity and Equity Unit, providing community service activities throughout the state. They were also called into action to assist with traffic and crowd problems and moped fatalities on Block Island – here’s where we found them this weekend:


Det. Hernandez & Trp. Cedrone from our Community, Diversity & Equity Unit assisted the Awakening Church by handing out over 1,200 backpacks & school supplies to children for the upcoming year.


Today a contingent of Troopers, including the Traffic Safety Unit, went to Block Island to assist the Block Island Police with enforcement of traffic safety laws for the remainder of the peak season. There is zero tolerance for driving infractions. “We appreciate the warm welcome and the opportunity to serve.” Corporal Joy Younkin, Trooper Damien Maddox and K-9 Sam assisted the Traffic Safety Unit and Block Island Police with enhanced enforcement.


Trooper Damien Maddox is on Block Island today talking with moped operators about safe driving. “A reminder: driving ANY vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor and punishable with a loss of license and imprisonment up to one year.”


Captain Kenneth Jones and Trooper Mark Jerrick from the Rhode Island State Police Community assisted at an event at the Center for Southeast Asians. The event included COVID testing, census questionnaires and a grocery giveaway.


On Sunday, the Chief of Police in Block Island said this weekend was the best one in quite awhile and the RI State Police made a significant difference, with only one accident happening on Sunday.


Capt. Kenneth Jones and Tpr. Krystal Carvalho joined volunteers to distribute groceries to 800 Rhode Island families. Thank you to Awakening Church, Price Rite and Feed the Children for your generosity!


State Police

August 24, 2020/RINewsToday

The RI State Police has a unit called the Community, Diversity and Equity Unit, providing community service activities throughout the state. They were also called into action to assist with traffic and crowd problems and moped fatalities on Block Island – here’s where we found them this weekend:

Det. Hernandez & Trp. Cedrone from our Community, Diversity & Equity Unit assisted the Awakening Church by handing out over 1,200 backpacks & school supplies to children for the upcoming year.

Today a contingent of Troopers, including the Traffic Safety Unit, went to Block Island to assist the Block Island Police with enforcement of traffic safety laws for the remainder of the peak season. There is zero tolerance for driving infractions. “We appreciate the warm welcome and the opportunity to serve.” Corporal Joy Younkin, Trooper Damien Maddox and K-9 Sam assisted the Traffic Safety Unit and Block Island Police with enhanced enforcement.

Trooper Damien Maddox is on Block Island today talking with moped operators about safe driving. “A reminder: driving ANY vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor and punishable with a loss of license and imprisonment up to one year.”

Captain Kenneth Jones and Trooper Mark Jerrick from the Rhode Island State Police Community assisted at an event at the Center for Southeast Asians. The event included COVID testing, census questionnaires and a grocery giveaway.

On Sunday, the Chief of Police in Block Island said this weekend was the best one in quite awhile and the RI State Police made a significant difference, with only one accident happening on Sunday.

Capt. Kenneth Jones and Tpr. Krystal Carvalho joined volunteers to distribute groceries to 800 Rhode Island families. Thank you to Awakening Church, Price Rite and Feed the Children for your generosity!


Breaking the Culture Iceberg

Breaking the Culture Iceberg

August 24, 2020/Mary OSullivan


Leadership and Ethics – How CEOs Make Inclusive Decisions in Mergers and Acquisitions


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


The game is won or lost on the field of cultural integration. Get that wrong and nothing else matters. – George Bradt


Ethical considerations should influence the leadership decisions and programs of a CEO during a merger with a multi-cultural organization. A CEO’s major ethical considerations are to balance leadership decisions and change management, based on establishing the right mix of people, culture and infrastructure to execute the company’s business, and this is a risky undertaking indeed.


People or talent selection and a robust infrastructure need to reflect the company’s vision and values. If the CEO relies on the old boy network, cronyism and politics the company will eventually fail because the CEO did not incorporate the merged company’s style and culture. Relying on old friends with previous track records would be the easiest path for any CEO, and without considering how the two cultures would work together, a CEO is at risk for personal failure as well as the failure of the merger. Maintaining this balance may bode a short term for a CEO charged with such dramatic change. A merger without adjustment to two differing cultures as more of change management and adjustment issue than a multicultural one; however, diversity can’t be ignored, and could be the downfall of the CEO as well as the company itself if not ethically executed.


The challenges to anticipate in creating a shared vision for this new organization are rooted in effective communication. The CEO is tasked with bringing the company together with a vision that speaks to all its stakeholders; customers, employees and shareholders. He has to establish and get universal buy-in for what the company wants to be.


In a case where a number of competing entities are now brought together, messaging reflective of “a new beginning” or “better together” needs to be broadcasted through various internal media methods. The visioning sessions with senior leaders should be led by an outside, the neutral party (like a consultant) and exercises in change management should be conducted with the results flowing down through the organization. Champions of the common vision and values among the leadership team should be established. Since there a multi-cultural merger may bring with it a greater representation of African American and Latino employees and customers, the vision and messaging need to be inclusive; that is through all visual and written means, the diverse populations need to be represented. A set of shared values reflective of the shared vision, including the diversity of people and diversity of thought needs to be published and broadcast. Symbols need to be employed to assist in the messaging. In addition, the CEO has to walk the walk and talk the talk. Diversity in the front office, among his administrators and senior leadership team will speak volumes about living the company values and the vision. Without an inclusive shared vision and a set of shared values that are reinforced in word and deed, by modeling behavior, a sense of hypocrisy will hamstring success, and the CEO himself is likely to fail.


What internal and external environmental factors should you consider in carving out a multicultural leadership path that will support the success of your organization?


Internal Pressures: In the case of a merger with as much diversity as this one, the first consideration would be establishing proper people placement. A thorough HR review needs to be conducted and people need to be ranked in accordance with how they meet the criteria of the diverse and inclusive shared vision and values. With the vast pool of talent, the CEO needs to establish who are the “keepers” and who are the “hangers-on”. Ranking talent, in the Jack Welch GE style, should be implemented immediately, with the bottom 10% let go. Again, cronyism and political correctness need to be avoided in order for the most effective team to be created. Once the right team is in place, the company’s inclusive and diverse shared values and vision can more easily be implemented, paving the path to success. The CEO needs to ensure that “multilingual” becomes a criterion included in his workforce diversity effort and HR review where appropriate. Establishing the right team and the right size of the company will drive the infrastructure without abandoning the new set of diverse customers.


External Pressures: Managing factors such as alternative and renewable energy, technology advances, food safety and the current challenges of the customer all need to be considered in establishing a successful merged multi-cultural business model. The company could establish programs encouraging employees to pursue careers in renewable and alternative energy by creating centers of excellence in local areas where the majority of diverse employees live. Again, basing the management approach on a shared vision and values, and with the best people in place, leveraging social change, diverse teams can be successfully established and deployed to address these pressing social issues.


How might you need to work differently to cultivate the organizational support within the different business units that is necessary to ensure the success of your multicultural leadership effort?


“The Culture Iceberg” surely needs to be understood in order to enact such dramatic cultural changes. Often, the factors “above the waterline” are addressed, while those factors “below the waterline” are ignored. Bringing the leadership team together with the help of a consultant to inculcate these steps could be a first step in ensuring success, as without leadership buy-in, no change will ever take place. 


In addition, by employing shared vision and values as guidance to change, organizational support within diverse business units can fall into place. Assuming the leadership at all levels have had buy into the change, ownership of the vision and values at those levels can help ensure success. One approach may be to rotate employees as well as leaders across the different business units as well as within and across functions in order to more homogenize the business culture and foster cross-cultural appreciation and learning.


In addition, research has shown that multicultural literacy needs to be emphasized for the benefit of the diverse customer base and workforce.  However, the challenge will be to make suitable multicultural accommodations while maintaining the integrity of the shared vision and values. Inclusiveness and diversity need to be defined in keeping with company standards. Over time, research has shown that inclusiveness and diversity proved to be synonymous with excellence in all business circumstances.


When we give serious thought to merging two diverse cultures together business as usual will no longer work. In order to establish organizational support within different business units, an inclusive, diverse shared vision and value system needs to be established with leadership buy-in at all levels. Rotational assignments, diversity training and cross-cultural experiences can accomplish the company goals of corporate integration and multi-culturalism, without compromising the integrity of the shared vision and values.


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


Your Coronavirus Update - Today Aug 24, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Aug. 24, 2020

August 24, 2020/RINewsToday




The CDC has removed the 14-day quarantine requirement for those traveling out of the country or to/from other states with higher outbreaks. State regulations still must be followed.


President Trump’s press conference Sunday night: Emergency Use Authorization for treatment with convalescent plasma donations from recovering COVID19 patients was approved for treatments. This action will dramatically expand access to this treatment. 35% of mortality reductions have been experienced. It is for patients under 80 who are not on ventilators. There is a great deal of demand, and blood centers are prepared to handle donations from those who have recovered. Go to coronavirus.gov for more info.


Kellyanne Conway is leaving the White House at the end of August, saying the role of parent has to come as a priority now – given homeschooling, etc. Her husband is also stepping down from his position with the Lincoln Project. They have four children.


The WHO said that children aged 12 and over should wear masks to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic under the same conditions as adults, while children between six and 11 should wear them on a risk-based approach. Children aged five years and under should not be required to wear masks based on the safety and overall interest of the child. More info here: https://bit.ly/34sftSv


Danbury, CT health officials are urging residents to limit their activities after the city has experienced a “serious outbreak” in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, attributed to international and domestic travel. Those over 60 are being asked to stay home.


Virginia is planning ahead for a coronavirus vaccine – with legislation pending to make vaccines “mandatory” for all.


In France, a new coronavirus outbreak is circulating four times more among people under 40 in France than among over 65-year-olds


Italy is experiencing a secondary outbreak, not as severe as the initial, and the president says it will not consider a lockdown this time, that there are measures in place to control widespread infection.


Kentucky Derby – will be all virtual – no fans in the stands


Virtual Classroom Restriction for parents in Rutherford County, Tennessee – in parents and others are not allowed to “sit-in” with virtual learning – they can request permission but cannot record anything.


Tony Awards will be online


77 NFL test results were false positives, including the New England Patriots


The CDC has published guidelines for congregate housing facilities such as group homes, dorms, nursing homes, and assisted living centers – share it, here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/shared-congregate-house/guidance-shared-congregate-housing.html


Remdesivir – 3 trials have produced 3 different results – though there is reason to believe that it is effective in moderate cases.


At least 41 schools in Berlin have reported that students or teachers have become infected with the coronavirus not even two weeks after schools reopened in the German capital. Germany is determined not to shut down schools and has a plan in place to quarantine those exposed and continue on.


Parents of Big Ten players who are not playing protested the decision demanded paperwork showing how the decision was made.


Lebanon has gone into a 2-week lockdown, following the explosion and demonstrations, with about 5,000 cases happening since that time.


Boston colleges have instituted a tip line to report parties for use by students or neighbors, as they warn students returning to school how dangerous this is to do and will not be tolerated.


1.8 million more “seriously late” mortgages are reported in the US, though late mortgages fell by 9% last month.


Two NY METS team members test positive – Subway Series has been postponed


Wall Street clawed back the last of the historic, frenzied losses unleashed by the new coronavirus, as the S& P 500 closed at an all-time high Tuesday.


Pizza Hut is closing up to 300 locations in an effort to focus more on carryout and delivery as people continue avoiding dine-in restaurants. The move comes as pizza sales continue heating up nationally.


Cargo only flights by major airlines such as American Airlines, who, before the pandemic, had run as few as one a year.


53 COVID-19 cases, one death found to be linked to Maine wedding reception


Mass. General Brigham extends work from home to end of June 2021.


An announcement on Opportunity Zones will come today with Ben Carson


Boston artists are losing their working-lofts as there are no eviction controls for these spaces


New Hampshire restaurants now allowed 100% capacity for indoor dining


DC Comics has laid off large amounts of its staff, just prior to their Comic-Con


Currently, famotidine is being evaluated in a randomized clinical trial under an investigational new drug waiver in combination with either hydroxychloroquine or remdesivir. Famotidine is the live ingredient in Pepcid-AC acid reducer.



Oleandrin has also been studied in vitro as a possible anti-cancer medication, but it’s “unclear whether these effects can occur in the human body,” according to a Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center info page on oleandrin.    Juurlink told MedPage Today that oleandrin is “akin to digoxin. Too much can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but the main concern is arrhythmias, which can be fatal.”


The House of Representatives passed a post office relief bill – the president has said he will veto it.


HVAC filters in schools, buildings should be MERV13 to be most effective.


Great Barrier Reef in Cairns, Australia, is suffering from lack of travelers, even though their numbers have been low, and no cases are recorded there now.


A rapid COVID-19 test is being used in Europe and other countries, while only 63% effective.


In Vermont, jury trials are not being held and many court hearings are taking place online or over the phone





RI’s application for $300 extra unemployment benefits was approved – within 48 hours – and according to RI officials will showing up in people’s checks within a week or two. UPDATE: From our colleagues at WPRI, Ch. 12: RIDLT spokesperson, “Fontaine said Rhode Island cannot provide the optional $100 state contribution on top of the $300 being funded by FEMA. She said the payments would be retroactive to August 1. States may provide claimants a lost wages supplement of up to $400, composed of a $300 federal contribution from the Disaster Relief Fund and an additional amount up to $100 from state funds. The state-funded portion may be sourced from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security fund allocation. The total lost wages supplemental payment may not exceed $400. States may instead provide claimants the lost wages supplement of $300 paid entirely from the $300 federal contribution and satisfy the match, with no additional state payout, by leveraging existing state funding used to pay regular state unemployment benefits. In this case, the state must demonstrate at the aggregate level that the total of its state-funded unemployment benefits to claimants receiving the lost wages supplements were at least 25 percent of the total lost wages assistance benefits paid in conjunction with all of the unemployment programs listed above.


RI’s total deficit could be as much as $877 million – without knowing what the feds will pay in the future.


Twin River has laid off 1,300 workers


The state’s arts sector lost more than 10,000 jobs and more than $436 million in sales from April until July


Brockton orders citywide curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. to try and combat spread of COVID-19


Gov Raimondo on Fri, 8/21 – “I’m not inclined at this moment to go further a phase, to go to Phase 4.”


Brown University held a neighborhood ZOOM meeting to reassure neighbors about safety regarding students coming back to school. Brown is one of the few colleges coming back to full residential living.  Neighbors will also be able to make complaints about off-campus behavior by calling an anonymous hotline (877-318-9184) or filling out an incident report. And neighbors can always call the campus police, who will be deploying teams of officers to patrol nearby neighborhoods.


The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has closed Scarborough South State Beach a week earlier than usual this year so that beach employees who are college students can self-isolate before the start of school, The Scarborough South pavilion is now closed, but the pavilion at Scarborough North remains open, he wrote. The same parking capacity is available but is now consolidated into one lot. Beachgoers can still access the sand at Scarborough South, but must restrict swimming to the lifeguarded area off Scarborough North, he wrote.


If a child is experiencing mental health issues, Kids’ Link is available to you and your family 24/7 at 1-855-KID-LINK (1-855-543-5465). Kids’ Link is a hotline that families can call when their child is feeling excessive anger or sadness, lashing out, having severe worries, or hurting themselves or others.


Governor’s next address is Monday, Aug. 24, at 1pm


A rally will be held starting at 12:30pm today, around the Veterans Auditorium, by the #SafeReturnToSchool RI group

Updated: Where, oh where is $400 unemplyment boost? RI didn't apply - until now.

Updated: Where, oh where is $400 unemployment boost? RI didn’t apply – until now.

August 20, 2020/RINewsToday


UPDATE: 5pm, Thursday, Aug. 21st: The Governor’s office has now announced it will now apply for the supplemental funds for those on unemployment.


This week, on Wednesday, Governor Raimondo replied to questions asking when Rhode Islanders who are on unemployment would receive the extra $400 approved by the President – replacing the $600 extra that ended. With congress at a stalemate on extending the extra benefits, on August 12th, guidelines were released of President Trump’s Executive Order providing $400 while Congress figured out what to do. $100 would be assumed by the state and $300 by the federal government, under FEMA. The $100 could be paid back to the states from their CARES Act funds, already received, and of which many states had not dispersed completely.


The Governor said she didn’t know anything about how to get the state on this program. Saying the state hadn’t applied because there is no application or direction. Reporters clarified what is happening in other states, a few, such as Arizona, are already dispersing the needed funds to those on unemployment. The Governor seemed surprised to hear that and said she would look into it further. (Update: At 5pm 8-20, after this original publication, the state announced it was applying)


At the press conference this week:


First reporter questioning the Governor is Kim Kalunian, WPRI. WPRI is running a feature on their website for Rhode Islanders to write in with their questions on unemployment.


Second reporter, who has been asking about this, and other unemployment concerns for several weeks, is Pat Ford, The Coalition Talk Radio (www.facebook.com/TheCoalitionRadio)

What the US Department of Labor says:


The U.S. Department of Labor released guidance to help states implement the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. LWA is authorized by Presidential Memorandum and provides claimants in most Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs up to $400 per week additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on or after Aug. 1, 2020, and ending Dec. 27, 2020 at the latest.


LWA will be administered by states and territories through a grant agreement with FEMA and with support from the Labor Department.


To qualify for LWA benefits, individuals must be certified by their state as qualifying for unemployment caused by COVID-19), and the state must confirm that the individual is receiving at least $100 of underlying unemployment benefits. 


The joint federal-state agreement provides states with two benefit options. For the $400 per week benefit, states must contribute 25 percent ($100) and the federal government will cover 75 percent of the cost ($300). States are encouraged to allocate this through the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), provided under the CARES Act or other state funding. For the $300 per week benefit, FEMA will fund the entire amount and states may choose to simply satisfy the 25 percent state match, without allocating additional state funds, with the state funding used to pay regular state UI unemployment benefits.


Saying the program is another tangible example of the Administration’s commitment to helping Americans during these challenging times, the department did note that the program could end earlier than Dec. 27 if FEMA expends $44 billion prior or the balance of the Disaster Relief Fund decreases to $25 billion.


It would also end if legislation is enacted that provides, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, supplemental federal unemployment compensation or similar compensation for unemployed or underemployed individuals. 


Here are links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 27-20.


More info for Rhode Island to use in applying for these funds:






Other states are doing it:


As of this writing we know of 11 other states that have applied and been approved to offer the extra $300 ($400) weekly unemployment benefits.


Applying almost immediately were:


















New Mexico






South Dakota is the only state to decline assistance.


Some states – Rhode Island seems included in this – haven’t yet committed to offering the $300 federal subsidy. Officials have cited cost, legal and administrative concerns. Those states, to date, are California, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York.


Alaska’s application is in process.  


FEMA has a website which is updated with states’ approvals – Rhode Island is not on this list with any activity – check back, here: website .


This extra payment, by Executive Order, began on August 1st and is scheduled to end on December 27th – it can be paid to individuals retroactively, once the states begin the program.

Restocking the MLK Community Center Food Pantry

Restocking the MLK Community Center Food Pantry

August 21, 2020/RINewsToday


$50,000 Match to restock the MLK Community Center Food


Throughout 20 long weeks of service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center (MLK Center) had to distribute prebagged groceries rather than host its Client Choice Food Pantry. At the same time, the Center could not accept food donations from the public. Beginning in August, the MLK is moving to the “next normal:” the Food Pantry is once again open for clients to choose the foods they prefer, and donations of non-perishable food, fresh produce, personal care and household items will once again be accepted.


To inspire community giving to “Restock to Re-Open” the Food Pantry, a generous local couple is providing a $50,000 Matching Challenge.  They will donate $50,000 if the MLK can raise that amount in combined cash and food donations.  Donations will be matched dollar for dollar (or matched at $1 per pound of donated food, personal care, and household items) for the next 30 days, or until the match is met. 


Donations support the Center’s Hunger Services programs which serve the community via in-person Food Pantry shopping, weekly Veggie Days produce distribution, Mobile Food Pantry neighborhood visits across Newport County, and Food 2 Friends delivery to homebound clients.


“I never thought I’d ever see a day where the MLK would turn away food donations from the public, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to. It was a matter of safety for our clients, the community, and our staff,” said Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director. “We are thrilled to kick off reopening the Food Pantry and accept donations again with this incredible opportunity.”


“Like so many of us in our community, we’ve just felt so helpless throughout this pandemic,” said one of the anonymous donors. “We are so happy to do something to give back to the community at this very challenging time, and inspire others to do the same.”


To have your donation count toward the match, do one (or more!) of the following: 

  1. Donate online at mlkccenter.org and select the “ReStock to ReOpen Matching Challenge” in the optional dropdown.
  2. Checks can be made out to “MLKCC” and mailed to 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd, Newport, RI 02840. Please note “ReStock Matching Challenge” in the Memo line.
  3. Donations of food and other items are accepted at the MLK’s loading dock Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The MLK follows safety guidelines as outlined by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Donors are reminded that masks are required, and to please note that their donation is for the “ReStock Matching Challenge” to meet the match.


“We’ve heard from many people who’ve wanted to donate food over these past long months and we’ve asked them to hang onto the donations. Finally, we can accept them….and they can get matched at a dollar a pound. And for those who understandably can’t or don’t want to donate in person, cash donations are great option, and matched dollar for dollar as well,” Hole Strout explained.


The MLK is in urgent need of the following:

  • Pantry Staples – Flour, sugar, condiments, baking mixes, salad dressings, etc.
  • Gluten Free Foods
  • Canned Protein (excluding tuna)
  • Jelly
  • Side Items – Rice pilaf, instant potatoes, noodles & sauce, quinoa, couscous, etc.
  • Breakfast Items – Cereals, oatmeal, pancake mixes
  • Canned Vegetables – Corn, potato, green beans specifically
  • Canned & Dried Fruits – Pineapple, applesauce, mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, raisins, etc.
  • Household & Toiletry Items – Dish soap, shampoo, bar soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, menstrual products, deodorant
  • Tomato Items – Pasta sauce, crushed tomato, diced tomato, etc.
  • Beverages – Tea, coffee
  • Large hearty Soups – Progresso, Chunky, etc.


The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and all charitable contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Please contact Alyson Novick, Director of Development, with any questions or requests for comment at anovick@MLKCCenter.org or (401) 846-4828 x102.


About the MLK Center:


Founded in 1922 and renamed after Dr. King in 1968, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center is a multi-service provider for at-risk and underserved individuals, families and children in Newport County, Rhode Island. An independent non-profit, the mission of the MLK Community Center is to nourish, educate, and support Newport County residents to improve their economic and social well-being. 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd, Newport RI 02840; Phone: (401) 846-4828; Fax: (401)848-7360; www.MLKCCenter.org.


We know the Center’s full name is long. If you must shorten it, please refer to us as the “MLK Community Center,” the “MLK Center,” “the MLK,” or “the Center.” Kindly do not refer to us as “the King Center” as it confuses us with fellow Newport non-profit, the Edward King House Senior Center.


Rhode Island News as of 08/21/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island officials are clarifying the state's coronavirus death toll in terms of the percentage of people actually dying from the disease.  The state is applying to administer a new federal coronavirus unemployment program.  The lieutenant governor of Massachusetts comments on whether fans will be able to attend any New England Patriots games this season.

>>Health Director 'Very Confident' In COVID-19 Fatality Data Despite Questions

(Providence, RI)  --  It was revealed on Wednesday by Rhode Island health officials that about ten percent of the state's coronavirus-related deaths happened for reasons not related to the disease.  That's according to a report from WPRI-TV.  Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott responded to a reporter's question at the governor's briefing on Wednesday about the accuracy of the death toll, citing a story of a local man dying in a car crash, but the cause of death was apparently listed as COVID-19.  Alexander-Scott said the state is working to distinguish between deaths brought on by a COVID-19 diagnosis and deaths that are not necessarily due to someone having the disease.  She said she's very confident in the data that has been put out by the state.

>>Rhode Island Applying To Administer New Federal COVID-19 Unemployment Benefit

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Training said Thursday the state is applying to take part in a new unemployment offering that was authorized by an executive order from President Trump.  According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the president made up to 44-billion dollars available from FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund to provide three-hundred-dollar weekly payments to those unemployed because of the coronavirus.  A previous six-hundred-dollar-a-week federal emergency unemployment benefit ran out in July.  Last weekend, FEMA announced the first seven states to agree to administer the new lost wages program.

>>Rhode Island College Closing 'Teacher Lab' School

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island College is announcing the closure of the Henry Barnard School at the end of this academic year.  RIC officials said yesterday the closure is for financial reasons.  The college also said the educational model that the school was founded upon, as a laboratory school for RIC teaching candidates, is no-longer considered best practice in teacher education.  Henry Barnard is described as the first laboratory school in Rhode Island and one of the first in the U.S.

>>Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Comments On Fans Attending Patriots Games

(Boston, MA)  --  New England Patriots fans might be worried that they won't be able to attend any home games this season.  Already two of the games at Gillette Stadium in September are going to be off-limits after the previous plan was to let in about twenty-percent capacity.  But Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said yesterday the state is willing to consider letting fans back in for the remaining games, depending on what the coronavirus circumstances are.

>>Providence Police Officer Retires Amid Internal Investigation

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence police officer who was facing internal disciplinary charges over an alleged off-duty incident has retired.  The Providence Journal reports Scott Petrocchi, who was with the department for over two decades, was investigated over gunshots fired in Johnston, where he lives, during an incident in March.  No criminal charges were filed, but Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré [[ parry ]] said there was enough evidence to proceed with internal discipline and that the Providence PD was preparing to file those internal charges when Petrocchi retired.

>>Fin Sighting Prompts Narragansett Beach Closure; Not Shark

(Narragansett, RI)  --  Narragansett Town Beach was briefly closed Wednesday morning after dorsal fins were seen in the water.  People were ordered out with a loudspeaker announcement of the presence of a shark.  However, it turns out the visitors were not sharks, but dolphins.

Jim McCabe/djc          RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-21-2020 00:31:13

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Aug 20, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Aug. 20, 2020

August 20, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Wuhan, China is back to large get together




Arizona cases have begun to fall.


Colleges across the country are testing contact-tracing apps, hoping that tech-savvy students accustomed to sharing so much of their life online will embrace the digital tool as densely populated campuses try to reopen.


Florida passed 10,000 deaths.


Pope Francis spoke extensively about the coronavirus – see RINewsToday for a follow up story – “How sad it would be if for the COVID-19 vaccine priority is given to the richest.”


Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, which experienced a major coronavirus outbreak onboard that forced the cruise ship into quarantine in February, will sail in South America and Antarctica in fall 2021


There has been a 100% surge in e-commerce sales in US companies


Half of America’s education workers aren’t teachers, ranging from bus drivers to custodial workers and food service staff, and their jobs are precarious in this era of state budget crises and remote learning. School districts will have to get creative to keep staff employed because bus drivers and maintenance workers can’t work from home like teachers.


Some Democrats in DC are urging leadership to hold a vote on Saturday to extend the unemployment benefits when the chamber reconvenes to vote on funding the U.S. Postal Service


Scientists have estimated that roughly 70% of a given population must be immune to the coronavirus for that population to achieve herd immunity—the point at which the virus would no longer spread because there are not enough vulnerable people left for it to infect. Some researchers think the threshold could be lower, in the 50% range. “I’m quite prepared to believe that there are pockets in New York City and London which have substantial immunity,” said William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology, added that vaccinating those most likely to be exposed could be a valuable strategy toward building herd immunity.


Virus cases are rising in Lebanon after the port blast.


Josh Taylor, of the Red Sox, returned to the team after testing positive and quarantining, asymptomatically, in a hotel room for 2 weeks.


The NYC MTA has written to Apple to help train its iPhone users not to take their masks down to use their phones.


MTA use is down 80%


The Cheers bar at Faneuil Hall in Boston will shut its doors, saying it is because the landlord refused to waive rent during the pandemic. Original location of Cheers at Boston Common will stay open.


Alaska and Delaware were added to the list of “hotspot” states


Dog bites to children have increased 300% since the coronavirus – thought to be from more child/dog exposure, and additional household stress and less supervision.


NYC homeless will be moved out of hotels they have been housed in by end of October


Notre Dame University has been struck with an outbreak, and the campus will go to virtual.


Students from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, begin to go home to begin virtual learning for at least 2 weeks. Over 250 students test positive; over 500 quarantined. The school is giving a partial refund – students arrived on campus about 2 weeks ago. The outbreak was attributed to large gatherings and parties on campus.


About 70 percent of MA school systems statewide plan to bring students back to the classroom at least part-time this fall.


Michigan State has asked their students to not come to school – they were to move in soon.


Plasma Technologies LLC has signed a defense contract worth $750,000 to develop scaled-up COVID-19 convalescent plasma technologies, according to an announcement on the Department of Defense website Monday. It’s the latest development in the effort to use a 19th century treatment to help 21st century patients.


Payless Shoes is planning to return, opening 300-400 new stores – with the website now up and running.


Massachusetts’ emergency management agency — usually taking the lead for hurricanes and blizzards — has spent millions during the pandemic to shelter 550-plus people infected with coronavirus in hotels.


Two dozen Maine residents tested positive for the coronavirus after a wedding reception. Eighteen people who attended the Aug. 7 reception and six others who had close contact with attendees subsequently tested positive, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control. Those numbers could rise as test results came back to the state and indicated that a local hospital had already identified 28 coronavirus cases. All told, about 65 people attended the indoor event at the Big Moose Inn.


Dr. Fauci says he does not forsee the US mandating vaccines for coronavirus when it is developed.


There is a shortage of coins across the U.S., yet another odd side effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Quarters, dimes and nickels aren’t circulating as freely as they usually do because many businesses have been closed and consumers aren’t out spending as much.


CVS is partnering with Delta Airlines for speedy testing for employees.


Over 1,000 inmates in US have died from coronavirus.


Although Black people are being infected and hospitalized with Covid-19 at higher rates than white individuals, new research suggests that the mortality rate among hospitalized Black and white patients is comparable. The study, which looked at data from more than 11,200 hospitalized patients in 12 states, suggests access to hospital care may be a major factor in a person’s risk of death. 


The New England Journal of Medicine published an article – Reopening Primary Schools during the Pandemic – saying it is irresponsible to NOT send children back to school, in order to keep adult activities open… https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms2024920


20% of chicken plant workers in Brazil are positive for coronavirus.


Connecticut parents and teachers demonstrated at their State House on Wednesday that it is not safe to go back to school under present conditions.


COVID-19 and associated deaths were more prevalent in Connecticut’s for-profit nursing homes, as well in larger facilities and homes that are part of chains and located in communities with high infection rates,


Doctors know the coronavirus attacks the lining of blood vessels, causing dangerous clots. A new “bubble study”, usually used for stroke, suggests blood may being detoured from clogged vessels to unusually widened ones — and thus flowing through too fast to properly absorb oxygen.


Millions of people forced to work out of the office during the pandemic took on new projects at home and Home Depot’s sales surged an remarkable 25% in the U.S. during the second quarter.


Rates of depression among adults have doubled in the UK since the pandemic started in March.


Flu Shots: the CDC maintains that “September and October are good times to get vaccinated.” “Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season,” they explain. As for yourself, get that flu shot when it’s available.




The Dunes Club has now closed indefinitely after at least 10 staffers tested positive.


70% of Massachusetts public school districts plan to bring children back to the classroom at least part-time this fall


Beginning on August 15, 2020, Rhode Island is accepting applications for round two of the Restore RI grant program. Completing the Restore RI grant application is a two-step process. https://commerceri.com/about-us/restore-ri/


Modern Diner has reopened in Pawtucket – reservations only, 45 min limit, etc.


The Haunted Tunnel at Slater Park in Pawtucket will not be held this year.


Narragansett has initially upheld 3 people per rental house for student housing.


Judge upholds Block Island ban on outdoor entertainment


Grecian Festival of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, in Pawtucket will be celebrated in a different way this year. Instead of hosting the festival at 97 Walcott St., they will be offering Greek to Go for pickup Aug. 22-23 from noon to 7 p.m. Online ordering is live now at RIGreekToGo.com.


Providence schools: Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, Jr. will donate the vacant St. Joseph Hospital in Providence to the city to be used as transitional education space for the District before becoming Providence’s newest Pre-K through Grade 8 school. Mayor Elorza announced further capital improvements to be done to Providence schools, amending the School Capital Plan, building on the City’s historic investments in school infrastructure and commitment to creating innovative and welcoming learning spaces for Providence youth.


The RI DLT announced expanded hours – Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 8 to 11:30 a.m. The call center number is (401) 415-6772, and should only be called for claim-specific issues that require DLT intervention. More general questions can be emailed to dlt.covid19@dlt.ri.gov


Gov. Raimondo said Tuesday that school ventilation issues should not impede schools from opening as wearing of masks is the most important.


Gillette Stadium says no fans will be allowed in the stadium through Sept. Should impact at least two games.


RIDOH’s Dr. Scott says approximately 10% of coronavirus deaths are actually from other causes w/coronavirus combined.


Thousands of people attended a pool party at the Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park in China this past weekend. Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 first emerged, underwent a strict 76-day lockdown to contain the virus and has not reported a domestic transfer case since May.


New Compliance Violators in RI: John’s Meat Market, Westerly; China Star III, Newport; Sandy Shore Motel, Westerly; Saver’s Mart, Providence; Mahogany Shoals, Block Island.


RI Data:


Deaths: 3 – (1 in 60s, 1 in 70s, 1 in 80s). New cases: 79 – doing a little bit better, but still losing people every day.



Governor’s Press Conference:


Weekend: Weather wasn’t great, so crowds, beaches, parks had left people. Good compliance. Inspectors went to over 1,000 businesses – found 96% staff & customers wearing masks – highest yet. 96% were complying with capacity restrictions. Bar areas/gatherings still a problem: 15% had congested events; 17% had customers too close to bartenders. Social gathering still at 15.


RI still not off the list in MA – we are barely too high to lift the restrictions. MA is staying firm. We have to do better because it is hurting our local businesses.


The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors approved plans to allow low and moderate-risk sports to play with modifications during the fall season. Those sports, including golf, cross country, field hockey, soccer, gymnastics and volleyball would begin practices starting Sept. 18.


The flu vaccine will be required in Massachusetts by Dec. 31 for anyone older than six months old in child-care centers, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities, unless they have a religious or medical exemption, are home-schooled, or are a higher education student living off campus and taking remote-only classes.


Outdoors: We can move more events/activities outdoors to be safer. For next few “months” we want everyone to get outside – Take It Outside Campaign is launching to encourage people to do this. Businesses and cities/towns will come up with creative ideas to move outdoors – close more streets and parking lots to do more dining and shopping outside. Encouraging employers to move meetings outside; fitness classes outdoors. More to say about this next week. Think about what you need from RI to do this.


Testing: RI has done about 440,00 tests; 234,000 individual Rhode Islanders. Below 3% positive rate since we started Phase 3. Testing aggressively – leading in the country.


SOS Strategy: Symptomatic? Feel sick, tested in 24 hours; Feel sick – test within 2 days, results in 2-3 days. Outbreak? At an employer, camp, daycare, etc. –  quick testing, contact tracing, isolation, limited outbreaks. Surveillance Testing? Early warning system to test asymptomatic people. July: 45,000 tests in congregate settings – brought down rate of infection in nursing homes. (in May, nursing homes represented 20% of all cases – first 2 weeks of August, now make up less than 5%). Testing high contact & younger folks.


Testing: How? RI has a one page diagram on how to access testing. If you wake up sick, #1 – call your doctor – doctor will schedule test – hopefully that day or within 2 days. No doctor/health insurance/undocumented? – call respiratory clinic or community health clinic. Should stay home until you get results. No symptoms but want to be tested? Go to: Portal.ri.gov – used to be 2 weeks, but system is better now, should be within 2 days and 2-4 days for results.


AccuReference & Dominion Labs have signed contracts for testing with RI: both guarantee results in 48 hours or less. We are doing 2,000 tests a day through this system. Already seeing difference in relieving test turnaround times. Again, must stay home while you wait. Dominion will do 7,000 tests a day with 2 day turnaround.


Rapid Testing still being used – but being deployed strategically – hospitals, outbreaks, schools, nursing homes – 10 rapid machines now deployed. Bought 5 new ones – capacity of 1,000 tests a day – will be devoted to K-12 public schools.


30+ states: If you come home here and have been to the 34 states on the Health Dept. list, you must get tested, or quarantine for 14 days.


Schools: Dr. Fauci – we should all do our best to get our children back to school. We are capable of doing great things when we want to. Supplies: Each district takes the lead on procuring supplies to open schools (cleaning, thermometers, masks, etc.). This week, RI is distributing 3,000 thermometers, 600,000 masks and 10,000 gowns to districts – and that is just this week. Week of Aug. 31st, RI will make decision for how each district will go back. Once we get going, people will test positive – staff, teachers, children. Schools need plans for how to react when that happens. State has 3 scenarios and action steps on the website. We can expect illnesses to happen and we will have a system to react to it.


Mental Health: Everyone is struggling. Thursday, 3pm, Facebook Live Chat about mental health with Governor and 2 experts.


Commissioner Green:


Addresses emails from teachers that want to go back; from parents that want to go back. Multi-lingual learners, differently abled and those distance learning did not work for – let’s think of those as we work to get back to school. It is a choice for some that families must make to not go back to work or, worse, leave the child home, unsupervised. “We hear everyone.” Everyone has choice, choice matters. Also hearing from teachers who want to go back but want to be safe. Important to work with district – decisions are made based on data.


Latino Town Hall with Gov, Commissioner BackToSchoolRI.com


Air quality – there are solutions – we are all working hard. “We’re here to listen. Look for the document that will hopefully be on the website towards end of week at backtoschoolri.com. Governor says if schools need to replace their HVAC systems or adjust them there’s a month to go – get to work, try harder.


Dr. Scott: Sampling of case history: Aug 5-Aug 11. 591 new cases, 40% between 20 and 49; social gathering; 49 cases attended a gathering; overlap between people going to gatherings, bars, and traveling without masks. Bar without mask – also went to party, beach, or recently traveled. Keep detailed records so tracing is easier to do if necessary. Keep circle of people consistent, small and stable.


Day Cares: 730 day care sites open right now. There have been 40 cases – ½ children; ½ staff, coming only from 26 of the child care sites. Chance of secondary spread, etc. very low.




Has RIDOH signed off yet on any school?


We are continuing to work on it – none yet – still in process




New $300 a week, etc. – What’s holdup to apply?  Some states are already giving out this money. RI has been in touch with federal govt – Gov says “there’s nothing to apply for…we don’t know…we’re all just waiting for Trump administration to put out guidelines…” – could be a $10M a week cost for RI – don’t know if we could use our existing federal money right now. – New application has tripled in length – weekly certification form larger and more detailed – checks have not been deposited. Gov: Trying to protect against fraud. RI has added dozens of temporary new employees – been trained


Arizona – already giving out money. FEMA has 9 others in application. Who is telling us the truth?  Gov: we’ve been calling and trying to find out – maybe it will change in the next day or two. Hope they will clarify it. Oklahoma has submitted its grant application. Gov: don’t know what to tell you.


Small Biz application from CommerceRI: businesses struggling with application – it also goes to a company from Minnesota. Why haven’t you told RI that? How much is being paid to them? Gov: Over 1,000 applications; over $1M given out. CommerceRI contracted with a third party to administer – “a way to provide taxpayer accountability” – “we didn’t think we had the staff to do it” – I’ll get back to you.  Question: Getting emails and calls from Minnesota.


Unified Travel in New England – what’s prevented New England states from having the same policies? Tri state is aligned – MA wanted to be stricter.


Coventry School District – planning to do distance learning. They say they could put everyone in tents for $160,000. Otherwise, millions to fix HVAC system – fans, etc. “That would be terrific if they had the money”.


Warwick – since Gov. said they threw in the towel, they are now in touch with RIDE and collaborating. They are now trying harder, doing better. Warwick is now saying multi-lingual learners and differently abled will be going back.


Special statewide model for physically challenged children.


Don’t want pre-recorded lessons for the whole day.


Approvals? If a district wants to do things a certain way – who decides – the district, RIDE, RIDOH?


TENTS: Some schools may have classes in tents. How long? Heaters? Safety? Safe from intruders? (we won’t do it if we cannot guarantee safety)


Start date: Middle of September or end of August?  When metrics are met.


Standoff with Teachers?  Gov. says she does not expect that to happen. There is no such thing as risk free – only safe enough. We want teachers to feel safe.


The state has a new website: https://www.back2schoolri.com/ – for handling all the information on Back to School in RI



RI’s response once schools are open…



Wuhan, China partying like its 1999…

Warneing - New Regulation and why refinancing may cost you big

WARNING – New Regulation and Why Refinancing May Cost You Big

August 20, 2020/Emilio DiSpirito


By Emilio DiSpirito, Realtor / Radio Show Host DiSpirito Team Real Estate Show




It’s likely that you or I have roughly a dozen or so people in our phone books that will be affected by the topic of this blog. I wish there were enough time to hammer the phone daily to figure out who these people are and warn them about topics like this!


Fortunately, with our ability to broadcast information through wonderful news outlets like this, my podcast, blogs and social media, the chances of helping more people than calls, we can physically make, is real.


In a nutshell, Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are commanding a one-half percent fee on all refinances locked and or closed after September 1, 2020. Before you write this off and say this won’t effect you… roughly 53% of all mortgages are held by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This includes conventional mortgages as well.


Let’s put this into simple perspective:

  • $320,000 Median Home Value in the US would see a $1,600 fee
  • $113,900 average equity position according to CNBC
  • Fannie and Freddie only allow you to take 80% of equity
  • With new fee (under these numbers), you are lacking the ability to obtain roughly 22% of your money with a refinance
  • The percentage of equity you can tap into diminishes heavily 
  • when you have fewer dollars of available equity.


So what could happen?

  • More American’s will list their home to maximize their equity and will purchase a more expensive home, at around the same payment.
  • This will free up entry level home inventory for first time buyers
  • New construction will be in even larger demand
  • Prices will continue to appreciate


Think about it… would you rather take out 78% of your equity and stay in the same home or would you rather take out 90% to 92% after covering all associated costs of selling a home on the market and purchasing a larger home with space for your in home office, work out studio, larger yard, etc. all while paying around the same price or even a few hundred more each month than you are now?


I always suggest it’s best to weigh all of your options, to understand which play will work the best for you, now and in the long run. Cheers!


Emilio DiSpirito


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!


Contact:  emiliodiv@gmail.com

Rhode Island News as of 08/20/20 of 5:20am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: New restrictions announced for moped rental companies on Block Island.  Governor Raimondo talked about preventing protective coronavirus equipment shortages for schools, among other topics, at yesterday's COVID briefing.  Sports: the Bruins and Celtics notch playoff wins, and Bob Kraft has gotten a favorable ruling in a prostitution case against him.
>>New Moped Business Restrictions On Block Island After Fatal Crash
(New Shoreham, RI)  --  Action is being taken that affects moped rental businesses on Block Island after a fatal crash this past weekend.  The New Shoreham Town Council voted on Wednesday to place new restrictions for the rest of the summer.  One of them will require mopeds to be returned earlier, while the second reduces the number of mopeds that can be rented out.  Block Island officials said there have been over fifty moped accidents reported this summer.
>>Governor Promises No Equipment Shortages For Schools; COVID Case Response Criteria Shared
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo is assuring schools they won't be "left in the lurch" when it comes to having adequate personal protective equipment and other coronavirus safety supplies.  Speaking during her weekly coronavirus briefing yesterday, Raimondo said districts are currently being tasked with taking the lead on procuring supplies like masks, face shields, gowns, gloves and thermometers, all items she says will be necessary to safely open schools.  But the governor said the state is ready to cover any shortages while the school year is ongoing.  Based on criteria shared by Raimondo yesterday, schools won't necessarily have to close or even scale back their re-opening if there are only isolated COVID-19 cases.
>>Raimondo Says Testing Turnaround Time Average Has Fallen
(Providence, RI)  --  On the topic of coronavirus testing, Governor Raimondo said yesterday that the average turnaround time has been reduced.  Raimondo said it's down to just under two-and-a-half days; a month ago, she said the average time was five days.  Raimondo said the state got crushed with test requests when Rhode Island went under a new travel quarantine advisory from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which has since been lifted.
[[ note nature ]]
>>Elderly Warwick Man Sentenced For Child Molestation
(Providence, RI)  --  A Warwick man is being sentenced to twenty-five years in the ACI for child molestation.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says 80-year-old Bruce Macneil committed multiple acts against a single victim between 2012 and 2016.  Macneil pleaded no contest to eighteen counts total.
>>Blue-Green Algae Advisory For Upper Melville Pond, Portsmouth
(Portsmouth, RI)  --  The RI departments of health and environmental management are telling people to stay away from Upper Melville Pond in Portsmouth because of blue-green algae.  Upper Melville Pond is also known as Thurston Pond.  There are now seven bodies of waters in the state under blue-green algae advisories.
>>Bruins Win Opening Playoff Series; Celtics Win First-Round Game 2
(Undated)  --  The Boston Bruins are advancing to the second round of the NHL playoffs.  The B's beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-to-1 on Wednesday to win the first-round series, four games to one; the next opponent for the Bruins has not been determined.  In the NBA first round, the Celtics are up two-games-to-none on the Philadelphia 76ers, winning last night 128-to-101.
>>Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Robert Kraft
(West Palm Beach, FL)  --  A Florida appeals court has upheld a lower court decision throwing out video evidence in Patriots owner Robert Kraft's prostitution case.  The ruling means there is a good chance the case against Kraft will be thrown out.  Prosecutors say he was captured on surveillance video paying for sex acts inside a storefront day spa in Jupiter, Florida.  Prosecutors now must decide whether to continue their case without the vital video evidence or drop the charges.  
Jim McCabe/Ted Lorson/jb          RI) MA) NY) NJ) CT) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-20-2020 00:54:02

"The Calamari Comback State of RI" at the Democratic Convention (recipe too)

“The Calamari Comeback State of RI” at the Democratic Convention (recipe, too)

August 19, 2020/RINewsToday


The moment when RI Democratic Party Chair Joe McNamara cast Rhode Island’s Democratic delegate votes remotely at the Democratic Convention. (but they thought our great waiter from Iggy’s was a Ninja!)


The New York Post, MSNBC, and many other national news sites were all talking about us – well done, Rhode Island…



We know you want it! So – here’s the recipe if you want to perfect making it at home – don’t forget lots of wedges of lemon!

Yield: Makes 4 servings



  • 1 lb cleaned medium squid (4″-5″), with tentacles



  1. Working Ahead:
    1. The squid can be cleaned (if necessary) and cut in the morning, then covered and refrigerated. The fry mix can also be made early in the day.
    2. Cut squid bodies into 1/2″ rings and put in a colander set over a bowl; add whole tentacles. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 6 hours).
  2. Fry Mix:
    1. Combine cornstarch, flour, cornmeal, salt, and both peppers in a large bowl and whisk well. Refrigerate if not using within an hour or two to prevent humidity from changing the mixture.
    2. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat 3″ of oil in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat (or in a deep fryer) until it registers 360° on a deep-fry thermometer.
    3. While oil is heating, pour buttermilk into a large bowl and drop squid into it. Stir with a Chinese wire-mesh skimmer to coat, then lift about half of squid pieces from buttermilk, allowing excess buttermilk to drip back into bowl, and drop pieces into the dry mix. Rinse and dry the wire skimmer. Toss pieces to coat evenly with the mix, then lift them out with skimmer, gently shake off excess fry mix, and transfer to a plate. Bread remaining squid. Rinse and dry skimmer.
    4. Heat a 10″-12″sauté pan over medium heat and add butter. Once it melts, add garlic and sauté until golden. Add drained cherry peppers and toss to combine. Turn heat down to low while you fry squid.
    5. When the oil is hot, carefully drop half the squid pieces into oil. If any of the pieces stick to the bottom of the pot, loosen with tongs. Turn squid occasionally to cook evenly; it will only take about 1 1/2 minutes until they are crisp and golden.
    6. Fry remaining squid and drain.
    7. Add all of fried squid to the hot pan with the garlic and sliced peppers, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and quickly and gently toss (only twice). Divide among 4 small plates and serve immediately.




ACLU OF RI Sues Providence Police Dpt. on behalf of Black Recruit

ACLU of RI Sues Providence Police Dept. on behalf of Black recruit

August 19, 2020/RINewsToday




The ACLU of Rhode Island has today filed a federal lawsuit charging the Providence Police Department with race discrimination and other violations of the rights of a Black recruit who was involuntarily dismissed last year from the Police Academy just a few weeks before graduation and after enduring months of harassment from trainers at the Academy. 


The lawsuit, filed on behalf of West Warwick resident Michael Clark by ACLU of RI cooperating attorneys Sonja Deyoe and Georgi J. Vogel-Rosen, states that throughout his tenure at the Academy, Clark was subjected to “retaliatory, punitive, discriminatory, threatening, demeaning and humiliating treatment” based upon his race and racial stereotypes and an earlier exercise of his First Amendment rights. Specifically, the lawsuit claims he was singled out for mistreatment by Training Academy instructors because of Christian rap songs that he had written and posted on social media about a year before he attended the Academy. One of the songs referred to “black men being killed by police, requests to police ‘Don’t shoot,’ calls for unity among all people, and a cry out to God.”


The harassment started on the very first day of the Academy, when the training officers directed Clark to put a “do-rag” on his head and told him to sing for the rest of the class. The harassment continued throughout his training. For example, as part of a training exercise on the use of a Taser, while other recruits received a single Taser shock, Clark was selected by the training officers as the only recruit subjected to repeated Taser shocks while he was forced to crawl across the floor, leaving him bleeding and with skin burns.  


The lawsuit further describes in detail how Clark was subjected to off-the-job surveillance by his training officers and “given extracurricular assignments other recruits were not given and then given demerits based on the Training Officers’ judgment that [he] had poorly executed those assignments.”  


Despite the pervasive harassment, the lawsuit states that Clark “continued to pass all of the academic and physical fitness requirements,” attended every day of class, passed the field training units, and was in the elite running squad. Instead of graduating, however, he was dismissed from the Academy almost five months after he began, and only a few weeks before graduation, on the basis that he had accumulated too many “demerits.” Throughout the Academy, the suit alleges, Clark “was treated as a suspect, a criminal and a defendant and not like a recruit.”


In addition to raising statutory and constitutional claims of race discrimination, the lawsuit argues that the Academy violated Clark’s First Amendment rights by singling him out and subjecting him to harassment because of the views he expressed in his rap videos.  


The suit seeks numerous forms of relief, including: ordering that the defendants “undergo appropriate training in order to ensure the eradication of all unlawful discriminatory conduct,” requiring that all members of that session of the Police Academy “be re-trained in First Amendment rights of citizens and unlawful racial stereotyping,” and awarding Clark compensatory and punitive damages.


Plaintiff Clark said: “I applied to the Providence Police Academy because I wanted to make a difference in my community.  I grew up in Providence, graduated from LaSalle Academy and attended Johnson and Wales University.  I wanted the opportunity to give back to the City of Providence.  I am deeply disappointed that I was dismissed from the Academy.”  


ACLU of Rhode Island cooperating attorney Sonja Deyoe stated: “It is my hope that one day there will be no need to file actions like this one. There is no lawful reason any of the training officers at the academy had to harass and ridicule Mr. Clark due to his race, religious beliefs and his decision to exercise his right to free speech when he questioned the conduct of police officers toward the Black community. I personally respect Mr. Clark for attempting to graduate from the academy despite the immediate discriminatory harassment he faced.  I believe he would have become a police officer who could have made a difference in this community due to his prior experiences and his beliefs.”   


ACLU of Rhode Island cooperating attorney Vogel-Rosen added: “It is critical for the police force to reflect and respect the community it protects. An important step is to welcome bright young recruits who bring a different perspective and a different set of life experiences to the Academy. Punishing a police recruit on the basis of race or his history of speaking out against unconstitutional police practices violates our nation’s Constitution and anti-discrimination laws. No recruit should have to endure what Mr. Clark went through.”


The complaint can be found here.




Sonja Deyoe: (401) 864-5877


Georgi J. Vogel-Rosen: (401) 854-9928


Steven Brown: (401) 831-7171

Seeking justice for pain

Seeking justice for pain

August 19, 2020/RINewsToday


Claudia Merandi, Don’t Punish Pain Rally Organization – for RINewsToday


Rhode Island, the smallest state in the Union, has just fired a protective shot that may be heard around the world. 


A potential landmark case was recently filed that seeks to protect the rights of patients who suffer from chronic pain. As stated in the class action lawsuit, “efforts to combat the national crisis of abuse of opioids, while originally well-intentioned, have led to discrimination against millions of Americans who legitimately need opioid medication to combat the terrible pain they live with every day.”


Claudia Merandi, founder of the Rhode Island-based, Don’t Punish Pain Rally Organization, is also a patient advocate and Crohn’s Disease sufferer who works with both doctors and patients. She receives hundreds of requests to advocate for women and men who are discriminated against when they go to the pharmacy counter, even with a duly valid prescription.


A potential plaintiff in this lawsuit contacted Merandi’s organization for help when the pharmacist she went to would not fill her script.


“In an effort to cure the opioid crisis, our government has declared war on legitimate chronic pain sufferers. If patients are fortunate to find a doctor who will treat their pain, they can, undoubtedly, be treated like a drug-seeking criminal at the pharmacy. I’ve advocated for patients with sickle cell, cancer, and rare diseases who are shamed at the pharmacy for needing to fill opiates to treat their related pain. This all stems from the creation of the CDC 2016 opioid prescribing guidelines.


Many patients we advocate for are forced to travel hundreds of miles to get their scripts filled. We’ve even seen, in some cases, the pharmacist attempted to alter the script.  The government interference with the doctor’s ability to treat patients has sent fear throughout the medical community.”


Merandi and her partner, Dr. Arnold Feldman, believe this will send a loud and clear message as to why you “don’t punish.”

Claudia Merandi







The Class Action Lawsuits

Edith Fuog, a 48 yr. old Hispanic divorced mother , from Riverview, Fla., filed a nationwide class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island located in Providence, R.I. against CVS on behalf of the millions of other legitimate users of legally prescribed opioid medication, seeking legal relief that will allow them to get their legitimate opioid prescriptions filled, as written, without additional limitations or restrictions, and without the constant fear that their prescriptions will be denied. 


Susan Smith, a 43 yr. old married mother from Castro Valley, Ca., has filed a similar national class action against Walgreens and Costco in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California located in San Francisco, Ca.


Edith Fuog suffers from chronic pain brought on by numerous medical conditions, including stage-1 breast cancer, MRSA, VRSA, Guillainn-Barre Syndrome, Parsonage Turner Syndrome, Trigeminal Facial Nerve Neuropathy, Hashimotos Thyroid disease, Lupus and arthritis.  As alleged in her lawsuit, since at least 2017, numerous different CVS pharmacies have refused to fill her legitimate prescriptions for opioid medication in violation of the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  She filed complaints with CVS’ corporate headquarters, but despite promises that the matter would be investigated, has never heard back from CVS.


Susan Smith suffers from Mesial Temporal Lobe Sclerosis of the brain, which is an extreme form of scar tissue in her brain that leaves her with constant migraine headaches that are so severe, that at times she cannot walk, will lose vision in her eyes, and experiences extreme bouts of nausea and vomiting.  The only medications she can take to provide her with any sort of relief from the extreme pain are opioids.  As alleged in her lawsuit, numerous Walgreens and Costco pharmacies have refused to fill her legitimate prescriptions for opioid medication in violation of the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  She complained to Walgreens corporate, but they were dismissive of her plight. 


Efforts to combat the national crisis of abuse of opioids, while originally well-intentioned, have led to discrimination against millions of Americans who legitimately need opioid medication to combat the terrible pain they live with every day. 


As alleged in the lawsuits, CVS, Walgreens and Costco have implemented nationwide policies that  that have resulted in their pharmacies treating patients who presents a valid prescription for opioid medication as if they are a drug abuser, interfering with the customer’s relationship with his or her treating doctor and improperly refusing to fill legitimate prescriptions for opioid pain medication or imposing medically unnecessary limitations or other requirements before agreeing to fill the prescriptions.


As noted in the suits, in a June 16, 2020 letter to the CDC, the American Medical Association stated that “The nation no longer has a prescription opioid-driven epidemic” and “We can no longer afford to view increasing drug-related mortality through a prescription drug-myopic lens.”  The AMA noted that guidelines issued by the CDC in 2016 “included multiple arbitrary dosage and quantity limitation recommendations that have been consistently misapplied by State legislatures, national pharmacy chains, pharmacy benefit management companies, health insurance companies and federal agencies.”  The AMA letter cited CVS and Walgreens policies as “inappropriate” policies that misapply “the CDC guidelines in different ways and have resulted in specific harm to patients.”  The AMA further noted that: “These policies, moreover, have not withstood any meaningful evaluation or data analysis as to whether they have improved pain care or reduced opioid-related harms.”


As Scott Hirsch, one of the lead attorneys handling the cases, explained:  “Many Americans are unaware of the difficulties chronic pain patients have getting pharmacies to fill their lawfully-obtained opioid prescriptions.   It is not only a crisis for Edith and Susan, but for millions of Americans due to the backlash caused in part by the national publicity concerning opioid abuse.  These lawsuits seek to allow the millions of chronic pain patients to obtain their legitimate opioid prescriptions without being discriminated against, harassed, denied, or embarrassed.  It will hopefully improve their quality of life and save many lives in the process.”


The filed Class Actions are: Smith v. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., et al., Case No.: 20-cv-05451 and Fuog v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., et al., Case No.: 20-cv-00337


For a copy of the Complaints and more information about the allegations, click here or visit https://seekingjusticeforpainpatients.com.


Rhode Island News as of 08/19/20 of 4:58am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: An explosion at a gas station in Lincoln yesterday afternoon.  A lawsuit has been filed against the city of Providence by a black police recruit.  Patriots fans won't be able to attend the first couple of home games in Foxboro.

>>Explosion At Lincoln Gas Station

(Lincoln, RI)  --  There was an explosion at a gas station in Lincoln on Tuesday, but it wasn't from gasoline.  Lincoln Fire Chief Richard Andrews said static electricity sparked the explosion from the source of a leaking fuel tank on a welding tool in the back of the car, which was owned by a plumbing company.  Officials said this happened before gas was pumped; the incident took place at the Sunoco station on Route 116 at around 2 p.m.  A local police officer who was nearby reportedly extinguished the flames.  The driver reportedly suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

>>Postmaster General Promises No Immediate Post Office Changes

(Washington, DC)  --  Postmaster General Louis DeJoy says there will be no big changes made at the U.S. Postal Service until after the election.  DeJoy says he wants to avoid the appearance that any changes pushed forward would affect the election.  Rhode Island's congressional delegation sent a letter to the postmaster on Monday demanding the Trump administration end the, quote, "sabotage" of the postal service, followed by action from the RI Attorney General on Tuesday to join other states in a lawsuit that would block the changes.

>>Lawsuit Filed By Black Police Recruit

(Providence, RI)  --  The ACLU is filing a racial discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a black police recruit in Providence.  The ACLU alleges in a federal lawsuit that Michael Clark of West Warwick was involuntarily dismissed last year from the police academy after enduring months of harassment from trainers.  Specifically, the lawsuit claims Clark was singled out for mistreatment because of Christian rap songs he had written and posted on social media before entering the academy, including one song referencing black men being killed by police.

>>Study Points To Effectiveness Of Stay-At-Home Orders

(Providence, RI)  --  A new study from Brown University claims stay-at-home orders issued by American states are "significantly associated" with reduced spread of COVID-19.  The findings were published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases at the beginning of this month.  The study says the pandemic doubling time, which increases when the pandemic slows, did increase as lockdowns were put in place this spring.

>>No Fans For September Patriots Games; Fenway Staying Fan-Free

(Undated)  --  Patriots fans are not being allowed into Gillette Stadium for the first two games of the season.  A statement on Tuesday indicated after consultation with the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board, the stadium will not be permitted to host fans at any events through at least the end of September.  That affects the Pats home opener against the Dolphins on September 13th and the game against the Raiders on September 27th, as well as three upcoming New England Revolution games.  It was also made official yesterday that Fenway Park will not host any fans for Red Sox games for the rest of this season.

>>RI Plugs Calamari During DNC Virtual Roll Call

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island is declaring itself the "calamari comeback state."  They plugged one of their favorite foods at the Democratic National Convention Tuesday night.  It was part of the virtual roll call to officially nominate Joe Biden for president.  State Representative Joseph McNamara, also the state Democratic Party chair, stood next to a giant plate of calamari to say their restaurant and fishing industry have been decimated by the pandemic but their appetizer is available in all 50 states.

Jim McCabe/Source Staff/jb         RI) MA) BN) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-19-2020 00:45:14

Your Coronavirus Update - Today, August 18, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, August 18, 2020

August 18, 2020/RINewsToday




Photo: The first virtual presidential convention began last night


The remembrance lighting of the twin shafts of light to commemorate the destruction on 9-11 was restored and will take place from sundown Sept. 11th to sunrise Sept. 12th


Digital advertising has decreased in the pandemic, to where the top five digital advertising companies now control nearly 75% of all digital revenue – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Verizon.


In states with significant crime and living density, thousands of people are leaving to leave in more open living areas and climate. One state, California, with so many moving to Nevada, Arizona, etc., wants to adopt a wealth tax that would consider to tax residents who move out who are very wealthy on a sliding scale for 10 years.


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that New York museums would be allowed to open at 25 percent capacity and with timed ticketing in place on Aug. 24th.


Spanish authorities — facing a new wave of COVID-19 after tamping down the disease months ago — have ordered the closing of nightclubs, banned the consumption of alcohol and even prohibited smoking outdoors in cases where social distancing cannot be guaranteed.


Nearly 11% of American adults seriously considered suicide this June according to the CDC –  Medical professionals cautioned that social isolation associated with social distancing, along with soaring unemployment rates, could further accelerate the national suicide crisis


The FDA has approved the use of SalivaDirect, a COVID-19 diagnostic test that will be used at the NBA “bubble” and expected to go into widespread use.


Hollywood is beginning production again – testing 2-3 times a week – with many other precautions. 


In an interview with Gov. Raimondo on Facebook Live, Dr. Anthony Fauci said temperature checks are no longer considered “valuable” in screenings – that public questioning is the most valuable – which also asks about symptoms.


When the vaccine(s) are available only 1/3 of Americans are expected to want it.


Hundreds gathered in Madrid to protest against the mandatory use of face masks in Spain


100,000 Britons volunteer for vaccine trials – but thousands more needed


New Zealand has postponed the country’s elections as a new outbreak has happened with over 50 cases in Aukland – campaigning is also prohibited.


Australia reports its deadliest day – no weddings, events, schools, etc.


India is questioning quick response test accuracy.


Texas has 1.1 million tests backlogged due to inaccurate paperwork.


The Portland Trail Blazers star announced on social media that his grandmother in Bosnia has passed away after testing positive for COVID-19.


The CDC has lost two top staffers – Kyle McGowan, the chief of staff, and Amanda Campbell, the deputy chief of staff, resigned effective Friday, leaving to start a consulting firm


58% increase from June through July in cases in nursing homes/assisted living.


Two dozen lifeguards in New Jersey tested positive for the virus. That led to the quarantining of some 45 guards, depleting the ranks and forcing some guards to work shifts with no breaks. This is largely seen to emanate from group housing and post-work gatherings.


The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to nonessential travel for at least another month


Connecticut is working with Yale University to train teachers on how to help students and themselves in the stress of the virus situation and a return to school.


D.C. trains have resumed normal schedules.


Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts has reduced capacity on its beach due to overcrowding concerns.


The 911 tribute, near ground zero, features 88 specially made lights used to create twin beams that tower over the city until dawn on Sept. 12 – and it will take place.


Nebraska has delayed opening of schools as its superintendent tests positive.


Ohio will not allow students to use face shields in place of face masks.


40 new cases have been identified at a Washington state nursing home.


Camping is increasing as a vacation alternative with more people wanting isolation from others.


There are now over 13,000 empty apartments in Manhattan.


Two fur farms in Utah have outbreaks among the minks.


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill switches to all virtual classes after 5th outbreak on campus.


South Korea is having massive protests over mandatory mask-wearing and other measures.


Hollywood projects ‘Hollywood Apocalypse’ as rich residents flee Los Angeles


CDC is worried about the overlap of coronavirus with flu season and will be encouraging flu shots, even more, this year.




RI Data:


Deaths: 2 in past 3 days – 1 on Sunday


10 employees of The Dunes Club test positive – the club is closed for several days for deep cleaning.


With RI cities and towns desperate for money to make school changes to return to school, RI cities and towns have received $42+ million less than usual from the state for Pilot funding (for tax-exempt properties), and $57+ million less in car tax payments, according to the RI League of Cities and Towns.


Wachusett Mountain Ski Area is planning to open with capacity limits, preference for limited slope spots for season pass holders, with fewer passengers on shared chairlifts.


The Museum of Science in Boston has a new remote interactive exhibit where questions can be asked and virtually answered – https://virtualexhibits.mos.org/covid-conversations/


Labonte’s Driving School approved to teach RI and MA students online.


Warwick Mall has new shopping hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am-8 pm and Sunday 11 am-6 pm


The reading of George Washington’s letter at Touro Synagogue in Newport has been canceled.


Multiple Northeast states investigating the possible spread of coronavirus among youth hockey players originating from Massachusetts.


RI department heads have been told to slash their budgets by 15% for the next budget year.


5 to 40 COVID-19 cases in RI are associated with licensed daycare facilities since June, with roughly half of those cases involving children and half daycare staff. Spread within the daycare centers appeared minimal with most new infections coming from outside the facilities.


The Pumpkin Spectacular will take place Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, as a drive around at Roger Williams Park Tickets will only be available for purchase online, timed for each half-hour. Each carload costs $50, or $45 for zoo members. No reciprocal membership or AAA discounts will be offered this season.


The Governor is asking people to send her questions for her Thursday Facebook Live forum with Jennifer W. Jencks, Ph.D., LICSW, Director of the Access Center at Bradley Hospital and Assistant Director of Lifespan Pediatric Behavioral Health Emergency Services. She’ll be joined by Barbara Austin, LICSW, Bradley Access Center Supervisor. The conversation will focus on how to support students’ mental health and well-being as they return to school this fall. If you have a question send an email to communications@governor.ri.gov.


Just over 200 children under 19 tested positive for coronavirus in Rhode Island in the last 2 weeks. The total of these age groups since mid-March testing positive is approx. 1,737. 1 child between 10 and 19 years old has died in RI (reported to have multiple health issues)


Monday, Lifespan began a new testing site at the Bethel AME Church in Providence and will test on Saturday from 10:45 am to noon. W. Elmwood Housing Development is today from 12:45 to 4:30 pm.


Lifespan says it has enough supplies to be prepared for a surge after school starts.


CVS and Walgreens will screen and take temps for people coming in for flu shots.


Coventry school superintendent has researched ventilation systems and air quality and says, “the way classrooms are now we should not be putting children in those schools”. 6 air changes an hour – once every 10 minutes – is the goal. HEPA filters are in hospitals, not schools. Looking to get 500 box fans and HEPA filters that might overly tax their HVAC systems. Supt. acknowledges that there is not much time to make these changes.


Socially distanced concert in the UK

We travel the spaceways, from crisis to crisis - by Richard Asinof

We travel the spaceways, from crisis to crisis – by Richard Asinof

August 18, 2020/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


Photo: The diversion of ambulances from Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket and Kent Hospital in Warwick has become “situation normal” in the Emergency Room at Miriam Hospital, according to nurses there, causing three-hour-long delays in patients being seen.


How do we choose to be participants, not passive observers, in fighting back against the trauma Rhode Island and the U.S. are enduring?


There are no reporters, no microphones, and no cameras converging in the emergency room at The Miriam Hospital on Monday evening, August 10, at 9:15 p.m. It is just another quiet summer city evening during a heatwave in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.


The heavy humid air absorbed much of the distant hum of air conditioners; it blanketed much of the urgent, unreported world we co-inhabit with a deadly virus; it smothered, for the moment, the growing sense of dread. The refrain of the barely audible crickets seems to repeat, again and again, the phrase: We don’t want to know. We don’t want to know.


There was no breaking news story to be found here, only the constancy of life-and-death rituals of daily health care interventions, brutal skirmishes on the front lines of life in a time of the pandemic. For many, the stories about heroic front-line workers have now faded from public consciousness into a remote land in a galaxy far away on the distant planet of media indifference. We don’t want to hear about it.


“It is what it is,” said the President, dismissing the ever-increasing numbers of deaths in the U.S., which had reached more than 160,000 on Aug. 10, and would soon to reach 172,630 by Sunday at the end of the week. There is a sense of numbness in reporting on the numbers, much like the death counts from Vietnam, displayed in colorful charts. If we ignore it, perhaps it will simply disappear.


Waiting for the doctor

There was a three-hour wait to been seen at The Miriam Hospital, because ambulances were being diverted from Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket and Kent Hospital in Warwick, both a long way away from Providence.


Diversion had been a big news story after Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket closed in 2018, but now, almost three years later, it had evolved into a “situation normal,” according to a nurse on duty on the overnight shift in the ER at Miriam Hospital. She explained that the diversion of ambulances from other hospitals had become a regular occurrence, an expected happenstance of the job; she apologized for the lengthy three-hour delay. Why were ambulances still being diverted?


The waiting room had been filled with patients, placed in socially distant positioning, many with urgent conditions like myself: a middle-aged man, bleeding from the back of the head after a fall, having suffered a possible concussion, who arrived holding a dish towel to staunch the bleeding. A nurse cleaned the wound, wrapped my head in gauze, and pushed me in a wheelchair back to the waiting room, to wait. The passage of time is marked by a shift change at 11 p.m. of nurses, nurse’s aides, and security guards.


It took until 12:15 a.m., three hours after my arrival, before I was finally pushed out of the waiting room, into an aisle, put on a gurney, only to have to wait again to be ushered into an exam room, and then wait further to actually be seen by a physician.


In the waiting room, another middle-aged man, groaning from excruciating pain, in a wheelchair, suffering from chronic heart problems with a history of high blood pressure, shared his story with a third middle-aged man. After waiting for two and a half hours and not having been seen, the man in the wheelchair announced that the was leaving, with plans to go instead to Rhode Island Hospital, in hopes of being seen sooner. [I too had been tempted to leave myself, frustrated by the lack of care.]


I walked out of the emergency room at 3 a.m., six hours after I had arrived, with six staples in the back of my head. I can’t wait for the medical bill to arrive for my care.


The waiting room of life

The lack of prompt attention for patients in a local emergency room, by itself, is a frequent untold story, a recurring nightmare for those who are humbled by the experience of needing to seek medical care. But it also serves as an apt metaphor for the current story of our lives. We are all living in the waiting room, waiting.


And, the news media, with its penchant for drama and breaking news, often misses covering many of these stories – or the story goes unreported. Like a fish kill in Narragansett Bay, until the stench apparently reaches TV headquarters in East Providence and activates the sense of smell of a news reporter.


• “Waiting” is about the difficulty for common folk to gain access to testing for the coronavirus and the inability to receive prompt test results.


In places like Central Falls, in the West End of Providence, and Olneyville, access to testing, particularly for children, has often proven to be a difficult barrier to overcome. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “A pediatrician takes on COVID in Central Falls.”]


• “Waiting” is about anxious parents trying to make plans around school reopening plans in Rhode Island, despite reassurances from the Governor and her team that safety, public health and science will drive their decision-making.


Following her Facebook forum with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Gov. Raimondo wrote that she has tried to follow two principles: “Focus on facts not frenzy, and listen to the experts. Every decision we’ve made in response to this pandemic has been guided by science, data, and the advice of public health experts.”


The problem, as was deftly illustrated by Jeremy Giller, a parent, in a series of detailed tweets around air quality in schools, sent out on Monday, Aug. 10, exposed how the lack of proper ventilation in schools should be a major concern – despite the Governor’s promise that science and data would rule her decision-making.


Translated, if you can’t open any of the windows in a school building to ensure proper airflow in a classroom, children and teachers and workers will continue to be at high risk of being infected by the virus and spreading it. Oops, she did it again.


One more note from the Facebook forum with Dr. Fauci: “This will end,” he said. “We’re going to be looking back a year from now celebrating how we got through this together.”


Such blatant optimism is no doubt encouraging, particularly at a time when President Trump and his Postmaster General have declared war on the U.S. Postal Service, ripping out mail boxes in Montana, removing high speed mail sorters and slowing down mail delivery, all in a calculated effort to save Trump’s failing re-election campaign.


“Celebrating” may be poor word choice, a positive reframe, about the trauma we are all enduring as a nation. As a point of reference, check out the tweet thread from Bess Kalb, @Bessbell, on Saturday, Aug. 15, which began: My child turns 1 this month which means it has been almost a full year since I whispered: “I’m going to murder your family” to a covering doctor who told me to “really push.”


There have been some 473 responses, mostly moms, who have weighed in with similar stories and emotional tales. Those of us who survive the COVID-19 pandemic may view the experience “differently” than Dr. Fauci projects that we will.


Stories outside the aperture of the news media
What happens in the emergency room all too often stays in the emergency room, just as the predictable stories of high bacteria counts closing beaches all across Rhode Island and fish kills in Narragansett Bay are a predictable part of Rhode Island summers these days, a symptom of warming waters.


Here’s an important story, with political and state budget implications:


• A Zoom public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m., convened by the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, concerning proposed amendments to the state’s Medicaid reimbursements rates, freezing in-patient hospital rates, outpatient hospital rates, and out-patient hospital supplemental payments, reducing annual expenditures by approximately $7 million, with the reductions retroactive to July 1, 2020.


When asked by ConvergenceRI if it seemed like a bad time to making unilateral cuts to Medicaid reimbursements, a community health advocate responded by saying: “You think?” followed by more than a dozen exclamation points.


Here’s another important story that requires more follow-up by the news media in Rhode Island:


• “The human services workforce is composed of over 17,000 Rhode Islanders who both work and live within the Ocean State, who have contributed an estimated $63 million in state and local taxes in 2018,” according to the executive summary of a new report by the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership in partnership with the Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families.


The executive summary continued: “This workforce is 80 percent female, more ethnically and racially diverse than the workforce as a whole, and more likely to be disabled. While compensation varies by function, human services jobs are generally considered to be in a low wage sector. As the human services workforce is more representative of women, people of color, those who are foreign born, and those who have disabilities, increased wages for the human services workforce could contribute to advancing pay equity in Rhode Island. Depending on compensation changes, this could potentially also decrease reliance on public assistance programs for human services workers.”

Further, the executive summary said: “Despite its significant diversity, the human services workforce also experiences challenges such as gender and racial pay disparities and occupational segregation, as does the workforce in general. The human services workforce takes care of those who are most vulnerable: those with disabilities, special health care needs, behavioral health needs, children, and those in need of assistance. This vital workforce has a direct and positive effect on the overall well-being of Rhode Island.”


Translated, as the Republican leadership in Congress and President Trump refuses to act on legislation passed by the U.S. House in May, more than three months ago, states and municipalities are also being put in the waiting room, hoping that a new stimulus package will be enacted to stave off massive budget cuts at the state and local level.


Those likely to bear the brunt of such cuts are the human services workforce, doing the essential tasks required by our service economy.


Link to the full story, here: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/we-travel-the-spaceways-from-crisis-to-crisis,5952

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 08/12/20 of 5:04am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The state police are being called to Block Island after a pair of fatal crashes.  Lifespan is continuing to offer mobile coronavirus-testing to certain demographics.  The state's congressional delegation expresses concern about mail delivery changes.

>>State Police Called To Patrol Block Island After Fatal Crashes

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  The Rhode Island State Police is being brought in to enforce traffic and alcohol laws on Block Island for the rest of this summer.  This follows two deadly crashes this month.  The New Shoreham Town Council met to discuss the issue in emergency meetings on Sunday and Monday.  The council is working with moped rental companies to come up with a plan of action to address safety concerns, as the most-recent accident this past weekend resulted in the death of a moped operator.

[[ watch dating ]]

>>Lifespan Offering Targeted Mobile COVID-19 Testing

(Providence, RI)  --  Lifespan is continuing to offer mobile coronavirus testing to underserved and hard-to-reach populations in Rhode Island.  Officials spoke at a testing event at the Bethel AME Church in Providence on Monday.  The secretary of the state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Womazetta Jones, said the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and those living in densely-populated and poor neighborhoods.  The next mobile testing event is scheduled for this afternoon at the West Elmwood Housing Development in Providence.  The testing is free for people without health insurance.

>>Employees Test Positive At Dunes Club In Narragansett

(Narragansett, RI)  --  Ten employees of the Dunes Club in Narragansett have tested positive for COVID-19.  That was according to Town Manager James Tierney at a Town Council meeting last night.  Tierney said the club is currently closed for deep-cleaning.

>>RI Congressional Delegation Concerned About Mail Delivery Changes

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island's congressional delegation sent a letter on Monday to the Postmaster General expressing concerns about recent changes to the operations of the U.S. Postal Service.  The letter says a new delivery system being tried out in Pawtucket has severely curtailed the ability of letter carriers to deliver mail in a consistent and timely manner; it also says other postal branches in the state have decided to implement the program.  Letter carriers are being instructed to leave without all of their mail, go on their route, and sort and file the previous morning's remaining mail the next day, in an apparent attempt to restrict overtime hours, according to the message from the delegation.

>>Post Office Reopens In Part Of Lincoln Without Direct Mail Service

(Lincoln, RI)  --  More Rhode Island mail news: one local post office recently opened several years after it was destroyed in a fire.  The post office in the Albion section of Lincoln re-opened at the beginning of this month.  The fire destroyed the post office in 2017; the restoration effort was marred by construction delays and other holdups.  Albion residents don't receive mail directly and so they had to get their mail at a post office in Manville, about two miles away.

>>New WooSox Jerseys And Hats Unveiled

(Worcester, MA)  --  The Worcester Red Sox unveiled their jerseys and hats to be worn for their inaugural 2021 season yesterday.  The AAA minor league team of the Boston Red Sox is relocating from Pawtucket.  Some of the new jerseys feature the team's new name "WooSox", while on the hats, the PawSox "P" is replaced by a "W" or, alternately, the team's new smiley-face logo.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-18-2020 00:20:01

Three Coronavirus developments you'll want to know

Three Coronavirus developments you’ll want to know…

August 16, 2020/RINewsToday


Three Coronavirus Developments you’ll want to know about…


Temperature Checks are OUT


During a Facebook LIVE presentation with the Governor of Rhode Island, Dr. Anthony Fauci declared that the CDC is no longer depending on temperature checks for all groups as they “are notoriously inaccurate – many times”. There were concerns about taking temperatures when outdoor temperatures are high, as well. As far as schools opening, he recommends personal screening conversation, and not taking individual temps of children presenting to school. The video of Dr. Fauci & Gov. Raimondo was shown on several national news stations, noting this change in recommendation.


The RIGHT kind of Mask is IN

Numbered masks are NOT in order of effectiveness


Duke University completed a study on the most effective type of masks. Now that everything from surgical masks to N95s to cloth scarves to gaiters are being worn by everyone, this study showed which masks are most effective as a tool against the coronavirus.


In a study published Friday, researchers with Duke’s physics department demonstrated the use of a simple method that uses a laser beam and cell phone to evaluate the efficiency of masks by studying the transmission of respiratory droplets during regular speech.


They used a black box, a laser, and a camera to record light that is scattered in all directions by respiratory droplets that cut through the laser beam when they talk into it. A simple computer algorithm then counted the droplets.


When testing their effectiveness, researchers discovered that some masks are quite literally useless. Researchers tested 14 commonly available masks. Each mask was tested 10 times. The most effective mask was the fitted N95. Three-layer surgical masks and cotton masks, which many people have been making at home, also performed well.


Neck fleeces, also called gaiter masks and often used by runners, were the least effective. In fact, wearing a fleece mask resulted in a higher number of respiratory droplets because the material seemed to break down larger droplets into smaller particles that are more easily carried away with air.


Folded bandanas and knitted masks also performed poorly and did not offer much protection.


“We want to emphasize that we really encourage people to wear masks, but we want them to wear masks that actually work.”

The full study link:




A new TEST in the toolbox


Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Yale School of Public Health for its SalivaDirect COVID-19 diagnostic test, which uses a new method of processing saliva samples when testing for COVID-19 infection.


This is the fifth test that the FDA has authorized that uses saliva as a sample for testing. Testing saliva eliminates the need for nasopharyngeal swabs, which have also been prone to shortages, and alleviates the patient discomfort associated with these swabs. Since the saliva sample is self-collected under the observation of a healthcare professional, it could also potentially lower the risk posed to healthcare workers responsible for sample collection. While FDA has seen variable performance in tests using saliva, Yale School of Public Health submitted data with its EUA request from which the FDA determined that Yale’s test meets the criteria for emergency authorization when used to test saliva samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.

The difference between an Executive Coach and a Consultant

The difference between an Executive Coach and a Consultant

August 17, 2020/RINewsToday


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


“Imagine a world where we ask questions with sincere interest and curiosity versus telling others what to do.” – Fran Fisher


What is the difference between a coach and a consultant?


This is a question on the minds of many managers and executives when looking to solve problems of teamwork, office politics, harassment and bullying behavior, organizational change, and employee engagement, it can be confusing to make decisions that produce the desired end results. To add to the confusion, most decision makers lack adequate resources to hire the right person for the job.


In one case, a client was referred who caused a great deal of conflict in the workplace and began a coaching engagement. After her contract expired, the boss refused to extend her coaching, causing the client extreme worry about her future employment. After a few discussions with HR, I learned the entire culture of the organization felt toxic and the root of the problem was the boss himself, and he was not open to any form of coaching to improve the environment.


How a coach could help:


When acting as a coach for this organization, the coach would approach the organization’s issues by assisting it in finding its own solution to this pressing challenge. With the built-in resistance of the CEO, offering advice would most likely fall on deaf ears. Any suggestions of what he “should” do (“You should stop shouting at people”, “Employees should not be threatened with being fired”, “Employees should be paid for overtime”) could create resentment and opposition. The CEO would dig in and we’d get nowhere.


On the other hand, a coach helps create perspective so that the client independently sees on his own what “should” be done. For instance, asking this boss to describe a time when he was shouted at, and then asking him how that felt to him, might provide him with the impact of his actions. Similarly, by appealing to his imagination, a good question might be “What would it be like for you if your job was threatened when an uncomfortable topic comes up?” With these types of scenarios, the boss could realize how he’s coming across without being told, because he does not want or like to be told anything.


The coach makes it clear that he/she is not the expert and is not there to tell the CEO what to do.  A resistant boss, like this one, may benefit from an assessment tool such as EQi-2.0 which measures emotional intelligence.  The data reflects an objective analysis of his behavior. To someone like him, numbers and graphs are equal to the truth.


What a Consultant Might Do:


A consultant, using his/her subject matter expertise, will work with the organization to direct it towards a specific solution, with various inputs from specific team members to focus on the issues. The consultant works from the perspective of having specific answers to specific problems, whereas the coach works from the perspective of offering guidance and deep inquiry into how the team can form its own satisfactory outcome.


What’s the Difference?


In a coaching scenario, the organization owns the results, based on the ability to internalize change, through strategic inquiry and objective assessments. No “shoulds”, “ought tos” or “musts” are proposed. The team or CEO comes to his/her own conclusions.



The consultant presents his own final results to the team, after observations and analysis. Then the team decides the course of action based on the report. If the recommendations of the report do not have total buy in by key members of the team, the report could be rejected, wasting company time and money. On the other hand, if the consultant’s work is accepted and is successful, most likely that consultant will have secured himself a very long-term contract. However, the organizations role is passive. The one taking action is the consultant.


With coaching, the team has created its own agenda, and designed its own vision, plans, actions, timetable, accountability and results. The organization identifies how well the actions align with company values and forms a plan to move forward with the guidance of the coach. The coach does not bring any answers to the table.


Sample Approaches for each disciple are shown in the below Table:


Coaching Consulting
What is the desired outcome? Your competitors’ bookings are 10% higher than yours this quarter. A plan of action needs to include answers to closing that gap.
What does success look like? Competitor X used Y methodology to increase sales, bookings, profits and cash. I recommend Y methodology, and Z person is the best implementer of that plan.
What is blocking or stopping you from making the changes you want? I recommend a personnel overhaul in the marketing department. Sales and bookings have decreased by 5% each quarter for the last 6 quarters under the current leadership there.
What are the first steps you may want to take to change X? My staff checked product placement in 10 sample regions around the country. Your product placement is below eye level in 20% of key outlets. You need to hire a product placement strategist to increase eye level visibility.
Which option makes the most sense? My partners and I have connections in most major chains. We can help get you in to see their CEOs to discuss improvement in product placement and the influence of point of sale decision-making.
What are the consequences of taking no action? You need to get with your contacts on Wall Street to personally speak with your investors and inform them of your plan to increase your bottom line.
How do these changes align with current company values? You need to hire a communications consultant to help you craft an announcement that aligns with your value system, but achieves the proper messaging regarding potential actions which may impact all employees (layoffs, reorganizations, voluntary layoffs, retirement, etc.)
How will this team ensure accountability for this plan? I’ll keep a list of all action items, with goal dates, actual dates and note the deltas. Specific individuals from this team will have responsibility to report to me progress on their actions on a weekly basis until this project is completed.


Through use of this table, the contrasts between consulting and coaching are evident. The coach does not direct, provide answers or tell the organization what to do, but encourages exploration and experimentation with various solutions to form the outcome they desire. The consultant directs the team and has the job of making a plan and helping to execute and monitor its progress. The organization and its leadership are accountable to the consultant, rather than to themselves. The consultant provides immediate solutions, with little or no input from the team. The team is being told what to do with each problem the consultant solves.


The coaching process may take longer, but since the organization owns the answers, coaching rather than consulting could be far more effective in making and maintaining change, especially in resistant cases.


Say you’re learning how to ride a bicycle. A consultant would ride the bicycle for a while and write you a “how to” manual. A coach would have you get on the bicycle and walk alongside you, guiding you through the process until you felt confident enough to ride on your own.” – Forbes Coaching Council


Connect with Mary: mary@encoreexecutivecoaching.com https://www.encoreexecutivecoaching.com


Biography: 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.

Vote by mail? Request form due Aug. 18th - what to do:

VOTE by mail? Request form due Aug. 18th – what to do:

August 17, 2020/RINewsToday


If you want to vote in the September 8th primary by mail ballot you must download your request form – and get it to the local Board of Canvassers in your city/town by 4pm tomorrow – Tuesday, August 18th. See list, below.


“Voting from home is a safe and secure option, especially during this pandemic,” said RI Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea. “Remember that your mail ballot application must be received by your local board of canvassers by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 18. If you haven’t put your application in the mail by this weekend, I recommend dropping it off in person to make sure it’s received on time.”


Voters are required to re-apply for mail ballots for each election, meaning that those who voted by mail in June will need to submit a new application for this election. There are three ways to get an application: download the form here: https://vote.sos.ri.gov/Voter/VotebyMail?ActiveFlag=4 from the Secretary of State’s website, visit the local Board of Canvassers after calling ahead or request the board mail an application to them.


Local Boards of Canvassers must receive mail ballots by 8 p.m. on election night. Postage-paid envelopes are included with all mail ballots, and, new this year, voters can track the status of their ballot on Gorbea’s website.


“Voting from home is one of three safe and secure options Rhode Islanders have for casting a ballot this year,” Gorbea’s office said in a statement. “Voters also have the choice of voting early in-person or voting at the polls on primary day. Learn more about each of these voting options at vote.ri.gov.”


After you download your form, and complete it – no witness signatures required – you can drop it off – by Aug. 18th – at your local city/town. Some may have outside drop off boxes – call before going:


Barrington Town Hall, 283 County Rd. 02806 – 247-1900 X1


Bristol Town Hall, 10 Court St. 02809 – 253-7000


Burrillville Town Hall, 105 Harrisville Main St., Harrisville 02830             – 568-4300


Central Falls City Hall, 580 Broad St. 02863 – 727-7450


Charlestown Town Hall, 4540 South County Trl. 02813 – 364-1200


Coventry Town Hall, 1670 Flat River Rd. 02816 – 822-9150


Cranston City Hall, 869 Park Ave. 02910 – 780-3126


Cumberland Town Hall, 45 Broad St. 02864 – 728-2400


East Greenwich Town Hall, 125 Main St., 02818 – 886-8603


East Providence City Hall, 145 Taunton Ave. 02914 – 435-7502


Exeter Town Hall, 675 Ten Rod Rd. 02822 – 294-2287


Foster Town Hall, 181 Howard Hill Rd. 02825 – 392-9201


Glocester Town Hall, 1145 Putnam Pike, 02814 – 568-6206 x0


Hopkinton Town Hall, 1 Town House Rd. 02833 – 377-7777


Jamestown Town Hall, 93 Narragansett Ave. 02835 – 423-9801


Johnston Town Hall, 1385 Hartford Ave. 02919 – 553-8856


Lincoln Town Hall, 100 Old River Rd., 02865 – 333-1140


Little Compton Town Hall, 40 Commons 02837 – 635-4400


Middletown Town Hall, 350 East Main Rd. 02842 – 849-5540


Narragansett Town Hall, 25 Fifth Ave. 02882 – 782-0625


Newport City Hall, 43 Broadway 02840 – 845-5386


New Shoreham Town Hall, 16 Old Town Rd., 02807 – 466-3200


North Kingstown Town Hall, 100 Fairway Dr., 02852 – 294-3331 x128


North Providence Town Hall, 2000 Smith St. 02911 – 232-0900 x234


North Smithfield Town Hall, 83 Green Street. 02896 – 767-2200


Pawtucket City Hall, 137 Roosevelt Ave. 02860 – 722-1637


Portsmouth Town Hall, 2200 East Main Rd. 02871 – 683-3157


Providence City Hall, 25 Dorrance St., Room 102 02903 – 421-0495


Richmond Town Hall, 5 Richmond Townhouse Rd., Wyoming 02898 – 539-9000 x9


Scituate Town Hall, 195 Danielson Pike, North Scituate 02857 – 647-7466


Smithfield Town Hall, 64 Farnum Pike, Esmond 02917 – 233-1000 x116


South Kingstown Town Hall, 180 High St., Wakefield 02879 – 789-9331 x1231


Tiverton Town Hall, 343 Highland Rd. 02878 – 625-6703


Warren Town Hall, 514 Main St. 02885 – 245-7340 x4


Warwick City Hall, 275 Post Rd. 02886 – 738-2010


West Greenwich Town Hall, 280 Victory Hwy. 02817 – 392-3800


West Warwick Town Hall, 1170 Main St. 02893 – 822-9201


Westerly Town Hall, 45 Broad St. 02891 – 348-2503


Woonsocket City Hall, 169 Main St., 02895 – 767-9221


Rhode Island News as of 08/17/20 of 7:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: An emergency meeting is held after the second fatal crash on Block Island this month.  A man has been charged for torching a Providence police car back in June.  The target of a terror plot that put a Rhode Island man in prison is reacting to his release.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Emergency Meeting Held Following Fatal Moped Crash On Block Island

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  A Cranston man died in a crash involving the moped he was riding and an SUV on Block Island on Saturday.  The victim was identified as 22-year-old Corey Sanville.  Police say no charges are expected.  This is the second fatal crash on Block Island this month; in response, the New Shoreham Town Council held an emergency meeting on Sunday, and it is set to continue this evening at 5:00.

>>Man Charged For Police Car Arson

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is being charged with arson for the torching of a police car during the beginning-of-June riot incident.  The U.S. Justice Department says Luis Joel Sierra was arraigned in federal court on Friday.  U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman says Sierra endangered the safety of dozens of nearby protesters when the cruiser burst into flames.

>>Two Arrested During Eviction Protest

(Providence, RI)  --  Two people were arrested in Providence on Friday at a demonstration protesting evictions.  This was outside the Garrahy Judicial Complex, where about a dozen people calling for a moratorium on evictions were met with a heavy law enforcement presence, according to a Providence Journal report.  The arrests were reportedly made when people tried to enter the courthouse.  Governor Gina Raimondo said last week she is considering such a moratorium.

>>Two New COVID Deaths Reported Friday; Positive Daycare News Reported

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported two new coronavirus deaths on Friday and ninety-five additional cases.  The updated death toll was one-thousand-21 and the updated case total was 20-thousand-335.  New information being shared by the state is that daycare centers have not been COVID-19 hotspots since re-opening in June.  According to a report from The Providence Journal, the state Department of Health has linked 35 to 40 cases with licensed facilities.

>>Blue-Green Algae Advisory For Slack Reservoir

(Smithfield, RI)  --  State officials are recommending contact be avoided with the Slack Reservoir in Greenville due to a blue-green algae bloom.  The reservoir spans the Smithfield-Johnston town line.  The advisory is in effect until further notice.  All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking, should be avoided.

>>Conservative Blogger Criticizes Rovinski Release

(Undated)  --  The conservative blogger who was targeted in a terror plot that put a Rhode Island man in prison until his recent release is reacting to the decision to let him go.  Nicholas Rovinski was ordered to spend a decade in home confinement after a federal judge in Boston granted the release requested for coronavirus reasons.  The Boston Herald reports Pamela Geller ripped Judge William Young's decision and asked how he knew Rovinski won't try to murder her again in a Facebook post.

>>Celtics Start Playoffs Tonight; Bruins Reach Game 4 Of First Round

(Undated)  --  The Celtics open up their NBA playoff schedule tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers.  Tip-off from Disney World is 6:30 p.m.  The Bruins will start Game 4 of their first-round NHL playoff series in the bubble in Toronto against the Carolina Hurricanes at 8:00.  The B's lead the series two games to one following a 3-1 win on Saturday.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) MA) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-17-2020 00:45:10

Peace Treaty first in 25 years

Peace Treaty first in 25 years

August 14, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed – left, Benjamin Netanyahu – right. Yemen Press


Editor’s Note: The friend of my friend is my friend. As the US and Israel and the UAE embrace, Iran is not to happy to be out of the peace circle. But the alliance of the three countries strengthens new pathways to peace in the Middle East. Alliances always being stronger and more lasting than the single super-power acting alone or to protect all others. Understanding how this plays in Israel is important, so we opt to tell the story from that local perspective.


Reprinted from the Jerusalem Post


Israel and the UAE agreed to full normalization of relations in a phone call with US President Donald Trump on Thursday, marking the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.


Israel agreed to suspend its planned extension of sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria to facilitate relations with the UAE and potentially other Arab and Muslim countries.


The agreement will include establishing embassies and exchanging ambassadors, investments into the Israeli economy, trade, direct flights between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, an investment in Israeli efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine – as first reported in The Jerusalem Post last month – and cooperation in matters of energy and water. An important element of the deal for the UAE is the expectation that its citizens would be able to visit the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “full, formal peace” with “one of the strongest countries in the world.”


“Together we can bring a wonderful future. It is an incomparably exciting moment,” Netanyahu said. “I have the great privilege to make the third peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, the UAE.”


Netanyahu wished Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohamed bin Zayed “Salam Aleykum v’Shalom Aleynu – peace unto you and peace unto us.”


Trump said in a statement posted to his Twitter account: “Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations.”


In subsequent remarks in the Oval Office, Trump alluded to “many more countries” in the region normalizing ties with Israel, and “some very exciting things including, ultimately with the Palestinians.”


Netanyahu said he has “reason to be very optimistic that today’s announcement w the UAE will be joined by more countries in this expanding circle of peace.”


The agreement “ushers in a new era of peace between Israel and the Arab world,” he said.


Sources in Washington and Jerusalem said the Trump administration is in talks with other Gulf States to reach normalization agreements with Israel. Bahrain is likely to be next, to the extent that there was a chance they would have announced normalization before the UAE.


The US president also mentioned Iran, about which the UAE and other Gulf States share concerns with Israel, saying that he will make a deal with them “within 30 days” if he wins the election. Trump said the Iranians are “dying to make a deal,” but would prefer that it be with the Democratic candidate for president, Joe Biden, “because that would be like a dream” for them.  Trump’s Special Adviser Jared Kushner clarified that the deal would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.


Netanyahu remarked that the moves towards normalization were kept tightly under wraps because Iran would have liked to sabotage them.


Iran has played a major role in the closer ties between Israel and Gulf States since the previous US government and other world powers signed the nuclear deal with Tehran in 2015. The countries began cooperating on national security and that moved to other issues after trust was built between them, to the point that an American source said normalization seemed inevitable.


Netanyahu touted a formula of “peace for peace,” based on shared interests, emphasizing economic cooperation, and peace that comes from a position of strength, rather than peace in exchange for concessions.


However, bin Zayed presented the matter as though he had exacted concessions from Israel, emphasizing the suspension of sovereignty plans over normalization. He tweeted that “an agreement was reached to stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.”


Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah a-Sisi similarly called it “the agreement to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian Territories and taking steps to bring peace to the Middle East.” He said in a tweet that he “values the efforts… in order to achieve prosperity and stability for our region.”


The Trump administration’s “Vision for Peace” would allow Israel to apply its law to 30% of Judea and Samaria, including all settlements and the Jordan Valley.


The rest of the West Bank would be designated for an eventual Palestinian state, which would receive recognition and a $50 billion aid package from the US if it meets a list of pre-conditions, including demilitarization and stopping incitement and salaries for terrorists.


Netanyahu said that he still plans to apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.


“I’m not giving up on it. It’s on the table because of me. Trump put sovereignty into his peace plan because I asked for it,” Netanyahu said. “But in the first place I said again and again that we would only implement sovereignty in coordination with the US. Without support from the US, in the best case it would be worthless, and in the worst case, it would hurt ties very much.”


Netanyahu emphasized that he “did not and will not remove sovereignty from the agenda… I will never give up on our right to our land.”


Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem and Washington pointed to the use of the word “suspend,” which implies that the pause is only temporary. The wording was agreed upon by all three sides.


It is unclear for how long annexation would remain suspended, but it is unlikely that anything would happen before the end of this year, the Washington source said.


The Trump peace team’s efforts gained steam in July and led to Israel’s decision to skip the original July 1 date that Netanyahu had discussed for sovereignty moves. The administration felt that the opportunity for Israel to normalize ties with the UAE was a “better choice.”


“In the long term, this will solidify security,” one American official said. Peace between Israel and the UAE presented an opportunity for “real peace” unlike the cold peace it has with Egypt and Jordan, since Israel and the UAE were never enemies that fought a war against each other.


Sovereignty moves would have stopped the momentum towards normalization with Gulf States, another source said. 


The American source said: “Israel was presented with two opportunities and chose one. They’re aggressively pursuing [normalization] and not complicating it by doing sovereignty.”


Trump called the diplomatic breakthrough a “labor of love for a lot of people in the room,” speaking to how it is also an achievement for Special Adviser to the President Jared Kushner, who heads the Middle East peace team, and Special Representative for International Negotiations Avi Berkowitz, who worked behind the scenes in recent months to promote normalization between Israel and the Arab world, and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman.


Friedman said, “the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE will make Israel stronger and safer and will likely lead to additional exciting opportunities and incremental prosperity for Israel, its neighbors and the entire region.”


A senior Likud source remarked that “the Israeli and international Left always said we can’t bring peace with Arab states without peace with the Palestinians, that there is no other way than withdrawing to ‘67 lines, evacuating settlements, dividing Jerusalem and establishing a Palestinian state. For the first time in history Prime Minister Netanyahu broke the paradigm of ‘land for peace’ and brought ‘peace for peace.’”


Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi praised the agreement, saying “the good news of normalization with the UAE is important and an opening to more agreements.”


Ashkenazi also praised “avoiding the one-sided annexation plan,” and called for the complete Trump peace plan to be implemented.


Yamina leader Naftali Bennett praised the normalization, saying “relations between the countries are no longer held hostage by Palestinian recalcitrance,” but slammed Netanyahu for suspending sovereignty plans.


“It’s unfortunate that Netanyahu gave up a once-in-a-century chance to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, Ma’aleh Adumim, Bet El and the rest of Israeli settlements,” he said. “It is tragic that Netanyahu did not seize the moment and didn’t have the courage to apply sovereignty to a centimeter of the Land of Israel, but sovereignty over the parts of our homeland will come from somewhere else.”


Joint List MK Mtanes Shihadeh accused the UAE of a “betrayal… no less than a knife in the back of the Palestinian people and the Arab nations.”


Shehadeh posited that “Netanyahu and Israel never really meant to annex, but in order for him to abandon the plan, the UAE agreed to make its secret relations open. Nothing will change and anyone who thinks the Palestinians will disappear are mistaken.”


Democratic candidate for president Joe Biden said “the UAE’s offer to publicly recognize the State of Israel is a welcome, brave and badly-needed act of statesmanship. Annexation would be a bloody blow to the course of peace, which is why I oppose it now and would oppose it as president.”

Creative Capital Capitulation

Creative Capital capitulation

August 14, 2020/David Brussat


by David Brussat, Architecture Here and There


Photo: One of two bus shelters newly installed in Providence’s innovation district. (William Morgan)


In recent decades, art in Providence has served as a wrecking ball aimed not just at beauty but at the very concept of art, in a city that depends on art for its historical character, even as it brands itself the “Creative Capital.”

Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 7.56.13 PM
Ill-fated sculpture. Brussat, from GoLocalProv.com




Two news items: First, the R.I. Department of Transportation recently installed a pair of bus shelters in Providence’s “innovation district” that frankly look more like instruments of torture than items of street furniture. They are not really bus shelters; they are works of art. The last thing their designers want is for people to think they are a pair of measly bus shelters. The second news item is the destruction by fire, widely believed to be arson, of a large public sculpture called “Like a buoy, like a barrel” that looks like a gigantic multi-colored hand grenade. Like the bus shelters, this actual sculpture is also in the innovation district, on Dyer Street at the recently completed Wexford Innovation Center.


It pains me to reveal how very minor is my disappointment at the fate of the buoy/barrel sculpture by artist Steven Siegel for The Avenue Concept, which supports the installation of sculptures and murals in the city. I cringe at the wanton destruction of any art, even bad art. It is an assault on my freedom as much as on theirs. Artists and their corporate sponsors are free to express themselves through art, and I am just as free to dislike and disagree with their work, yet am not free to exact vigilante justice against its existence on my own. I deplore what happened to “Like a buoy, like a barrel.”


I hasten to add that nothing on the website of The Avenue Concept suggests that it or Steven Siegel are in sympathy with the recent unpleasantness involving riots and the destruction of sculptures across America. But the art supported by the agency (and just about everyone else in the art world) has a very long pedigree, one which has seen art decline over a period of a century or more from works by artists of vast talent inspired by greatness, to what we have today – works done by people with little or no artistic talent, many of which appear to have been conceived and executed by kindergarteners, requiring little more than the chutzpah to bamboozle society into thinking that their tinkering constitutes art.


Perhaps this decline reflects the inevitable trajectory of democracy, but it can and should be resisted. It is being resisted today, feebly, in that a few excellent sculptors and other artists continue to create in the old way, with the support of an ever diminishing number of patrons and institutions dedicated to their works and livelihoods. No cities seem the least bit interested in commissioning sculpture by such artists.

Artist unknown to me

I personally have resisted for years, writing, for example, to name just two Journal columns that pop to mind, about bad art commissioned for the Rhode Island Convention Center, such as “Cavorting Inanity” (my title) on the facility’s garage, and the ugly temporary sculptures installed on downtown’s Parcel 12 before a hotel was built. Nevertheless, I praised sculptor Gillian Christy’s leaves twining up a West Side mill chimney and her pleasing “watch tower” on Kennedy Plaza, to suggest that talented sculpture emerges even amid the ilk of today’s aesthetic miasma. After a stay of a year or so, for example, the not regrettable (albeit not comprehensible) sculpture at left recently disappeared from near the Biltmore Hotel on Kennedy Plaza. Many of these new-age works seem meant for merely temporary placement – perhaps a hint of self-awareness?


Again, the decline of sculpture, not to mention statuary, may have been inevitable in a democracy. But opening the doors of art to vastly more individuals did not need to require inviting such a steep degradation of artistry to inhabit its halls. It’s hard to imagine art becoming much more debased than it is. Eventually, everyone who wants to be an artist will find no obstacle to being one. Lost in the process will be the honor and distinction society has long placed on the heads of artists. Some of this is already gone. How can the historic role of the artist in shaping our culture survive this comedown? How long can the culture survive?


Bus shelter at Kennedy Plaza, removed after a 2014 “upgrade.”


We are starting to see some answers to these questions in the news. The work of creative artists enables the designers of bus shelters to suppose that they have a higher calling – bus shelters as art! It’s becoming more difficult to distinguish a bus shelter from a work of art. And it’s becoming more difficult to tell an artist from the computer technician who designs the bus shelter. This is not a Providence phenomenon, far from it; you can see it happening all over the world. It is difficult to tell the president of a charitable foundation from a director of a neighborhood nonviolent cooperative. It is hard to tell a protester, let alone a mostly peaceful protester, from a rioter: an impossible task, apparently, if you are a journalist. Plumbers, say, have not yet been bitten by the bug, but it’s only a matter of time before plumbers start to believe that their work, properly conceived, is as creative as a work of art. Then, perhaps, we will all notice that the nation is in trouble.


Art once told the American story so that every citizen could understand it at the most basic level. Nowadays, professors of art don’t understand great art and nobody understands art as it is practiced today. As in architecture, when a building evades comprehension, the public gives it a wacky nickname, say, a common kitchen utensil, such as the Cheesegrater in London. Similarly, I would not be surprised if the torched sculpture in Providence goes down in history as the “hand grenade” or if the public starts calling the city’s new bus shelter design “The Rack.”


This all makes dialogue and understanding more difficult at all levels, and throughout society, with mayhem and chaos the intended result. Which is certainly not the vision of The Avenue Concept, at least not intentionally. But there are people out there who are watching and applauding the decline and fall of art and almost everything else. As the city with, arguably, the most artful historical character in the U.S., Providence has the most to lose if this continues. And it is speeding up, not slowing down.


For complete article: Creative capitulation in Prov

David Brussat

My freelance writing and editing on architecture and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call (401) 351-0457 https://architecturehereandthere.com/

Shrimp recall - RI Dept. Of Health - Kader Exports recalls bags of shrimp

Kader Exports Recalling Bags of Shrimp


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that Kader Exports is recalling frozen cooked, peeled, and deveined shrimp because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The shrimp was sold in 1 pound, 1.5 pound, and 2 pound retail bags. The products were distributed nationwide from late February 2020 to mid-May 2020.


The brand names of the products are Aqua Star Reserve, Censea, Fresh Market, Kirkland, Tops, Unistar, and Wellsley Farms. Additional product details are available online.


Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Rhode Island News as of 08/14/20 of 6:58am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the temporary suspension of witness requirements for Rhode Island mail-ballots.  Dr. Anthony Fauci [[ FOW-chee ]] participates in a video chat with Governor Gina Raimondo.  A ceremony held for a construction milestone at the future ballpark of the Pawtucket Red Sox in Worcester, Massachusetts.
>>U.S. Supreme Court Rules On RI Mail-Ballot Case
(Washington, DC)  --  A ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday will allow for the suspension of witness requirements for mail-ballot voting in Rhode Island, despite Republican objections.  The rules that have been suspended for the September and November elections due to concerns about voters vulnerable to the coronavirus involve getting two witnesses or a notary signature to submit the ballots.  Justices noted that the state already waived witness requirements for the mail ballots in the primary election in June, so there is precedent for this.  Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea's [[ gore-BAY-uhs ]] office had already started printing ballots without the witness instructions and is now planning to send them to voters for the September 8th primary.
>>One Additional COVID-19 Death Reported In Rhode Island Thursday
(Providence, RI)  --  One new coronavirus death and ninety-seven new cases were reported in Rhode Island on Thursday.  The death toll is now one-thousand-19 and the case count is 20-thousand-240.  The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals dropped to eighty.
>>State Says Ten Businesses Hit With Compliance Orders
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island's COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force has issued compliance orders to ten businesses in the last two weeks for failing to comply with coronavirus-related public health directives.  That was according to the RI Department of Health on Thursday.  These were eight food businesses in East Providence, Providence, Pawtucket, Westerly and Woonsocket, and two barbershops in Cumberland and Westerly.  In many instances, the health department says inspectors observed staff and patrons not wearing masks or practicing social-distancing.
>>Dr. Fauci Talks School Reopening With Governor Raimondo
(Providence, RI)  --  Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci [[ FOW-chee ]] on Thursday made his second virtual appearance in Providence this month.  Fauci, who previously took part in a panel discussion hosted by Brown University, held a public video chat with Governor Gina Raimondo yesterday.  Fauci and Raimondo talked about schools; the doctor said Rhode Island is in good shape for opening classrooms this fall because the state has done a number of things right in the fight against the coronavirus.  Fauci also touted the benefits of conducting classes outdoors and having other activities like meal time be outside as well.
>>Paré Provides Details Of Review Of Incident During July Protest
(Providence, RI)  --  Intimidation was not the motivation for a Providence police officer who drove a cruiser towards a line of demonstrators late last month.  That's according to Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré [[ parry ]] in a report from The Providence Journal.  Paré said yesterday based on a review of the July 25th incident, it was determined that the officer who was behind the wheel was trying to respond to another officer calling for help.  He said the call was from officers in an unmarked vehicle who were under siege from protesters who were trying to gain access.
>>Polar Park Construction Ceremony Held
(Worcester, MA)  --  A topping-off ceremony was held at Polar Park in Worcester, Massachusetts on Thursday for the future home of the Pawtucket Red Sox.  That meant laying the final steel beam into place for the minor league ballpark.  Despite a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Worcester city officials still believe the park will be ready for the PawSox/WooSox next April.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-14-2020 00:04:06

Rally for a safe return to school, Petition to Gov. Raimondo

Rally for a Safe Return to School, Petition to Gov. Raimondo

August 13, 2020/RINewsToday


This petition will be delivered to the Governor on Friday 8.14 at 3pm in front of the RI State House.


“We are concerned parents, school employees and community stakeholders who are part of R.I. Parents / Educators for Safe Schools, a Facebook group with more than 15,000 members, and we are uncomfortable with the state’s push to reopen schools for in-person learning on Aug. 31. We believe that it is currently not possible to safely open schools for in-person learning, especially in districts with high infection rates and insufficient resources to implement equitable safeguards if forced to return.


Research suggests that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is spread via airborne microdroplets (1) that travel much farther than 3 to 6 feet; that most children transmit the virus just as easily as, if not more easily than, adults (2); and that even asymptomatic children can suffer lung damage (3). There has been a 40% increase in childhood cases of Covid-19 nationally during the past two weeks of July (4), and there is still a lot to learn about the virus and children. These considerations demand that we pump the brakes on an in-person return to school for Fall. It is not okay to force Rhode Island students, families and school staff to participate in the dangerous experiment of reopening schools.


Additionally, across Rhode Island, we know that school buildings are in disrepair and lack the ventilation necessary to keep school communities safe; that few if any districts have the time and resources to upgrade ventilation systems; that “stable pods” will be destabilized by busing and extra-scholastic activities; and that there is currently no statewide standard for detecting and quarantining positive cases and their contacts.

We know that our most vulnerable school districts will return to school with the highest degree of risk. Our state says it cares about equity, but we’re on a path that will send students in communities with the highest infection rates back into dangerous learning conditions without clearly delineated, fully funded statewide safety mandates.


Based on these observations, we don’t believe reopening schools for in-person learning on Aug. 31 is safe or prudent.


We acknowledge that distance learning has many obstacles to be overcome, that it is no match for pre-Covid in-person, face-to-face learning, and that it presents serious challenges for people who rely on school for childcare and other services, but we insist that the state find a way to address these issues without sending everyone back to school. We acknowledge that distance learning is not ideal for academic progress and mental health, but fervently believe that the risks to physical and mental health involved with returning to in-person learning while Covid-19 still rages is infinitely worse.


Even in light of those hardships and obstacles, we hold it as an inarguable truth that Rhode Island is not ready to reopen school buildings for in-person learning on Aug. 31.


The co-signers of this petition ask for the following to support a safe reopening of schools for Rhode Island students, families and school staff:


1. A delay of at least two weeks to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year (SY) to give LEAs and school teams time to prepare for an unprecedented opening situation.


2. A return to distance learning for all Rhode Island schools at the beginning of the 2020-2021 SY


3. Because doctors are unsure of how the seasonal flu will interact with Covid, or how treatments and vaccines will develop, we are asking state decisionmakers to hold off on an in-person return to learning and only revisit that decision at the end of the first semester.


4. The state must fund and provide alternative childcare options while schools remain in virtual learning.


5. The state must provide additional funding to districts for IEP and 504 accommodations that don’t compromise student or teacher safety.


6. The state must fund and provide wraparound services for all Rhode Island students, comparable to the services they would have received in their school buildings (free breakfast and lunch, adequate mental health services, and anything else community leaders say their constituents need).


7. The state must fund and provide financial safeguards for families with school-age children (eviction and utility moratoriums, flexible unemployment, extended stimulus relief).

8. The state must provide additional funding and time in all districts for professional development that focuses on optimizing distance learning.


9. Emergency distance learning was well supported in the Spring by the state’s efforts to put technology and internet access into the hands of all of our children. We request that in the 2020-2021 SY, the state continues to fund and provide accessible technology needed to provide equitable access to virtual learning for all Rhode Island students (high-speed Wi-Fi, Chromebooks, etc.)”

(1) https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/07/global-experts-ignoring-airborne-covid-spread-risky
(2) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/18/health/coronavirus-children-schools.html
(3) https://www.sun-sentinel.com/coronavirus/fl-ne-pbc-health-director-covid-children-20200714-xcdall2tsrd4riim2nwokvmsxm-story.html
(4) https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/?fbclid=IwAR2LkMNnWdm0eWteVLSwfwMM73r9v76L2ZhltelNmriCoDxhWASlRyfVIOM

Over 1,500 names (to date) are affixed to the petition.

To view the petition – and to sign, virtually – go to:



The Mobile Protest on Friday, Aug. 14th, 3-5pm


RI Petition Delivery & Rally for a Safe and Fully Funded Return to Schools


Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2627593760827008


On Friday, August 14, 2020, parents and teachers from the group Rhode Island Parents / Educators for Safe Schools and Safe Return to School RI will be delivering a petition and rallying at the State House in an effort to convince state leadership to act in the best interest of students, school staff and their encompassing communities by mandating a return to distance learning until more stringent standards of safety in schools are met and funded.


The rally will include a speaking program and in person protest in front of the statehouse and an accompanying car rally (you will find the route description below).  Participants are encouraged to take photos and post them to social media using the hashtag #SafeReturntoSchoolRI.  Participants planning to join the in person rally in front of the State House should wear masks and remain six feet apart from all other participants from outside of their households.


For real time information about rally and route changes, download the free app Signal and submit your phone number here to be added to the group. If you get lost, just navigate back to the procession. Drivers should obey all traffic laws and keep both hands on the wheel.


The Cause


Despite assurances that the state’s decisions on Covid-19 prioritize health and safety of students and families and are driven by science and data, the governor and state education/health officials continue to push for a return to in person learning on August 31, despite the climbing case numbers, mounting research about Covid-19 in children and outcries from concerned families, school staff and community members.


“No one should have to feel anxiety or fear about returning to school. We have options, we can do distance learning, and though distance learning was a struggle for many it is the safest choice to keep everyone from being exposed to the virus. If schools reopen, students and teachers will get sick and learning from home will happen. We know very little information about this virus and how it affects kids. God forbid any teacher or children’s cases in RI be fatal.


This will affect the whole state and so many people.” Ashley Breault said, parent/organizer


Parents and teachers across Rhode Island share feelings of being ignored by Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Education as decisions are made without any consultation, feedback or transparency.  The group also gathers to demand the passing of the state’s FY 2020-2021 budget.  In the middle of our state’s hotspot, in the middle of a pandemic, it is unacceptable for any district in Rhode Island to begin the 2020-2021 SY without a budget.


The Petition


After just one week, over 1,400 Rhode Island families, students, school staff and community members have signed a petition urging Governor Raimondo to hold off on a return to in person learning and to fully fund districts in the state’s most vulnerable urban hotspots.  


We know that our most vulnerable school districts will return to school with the highest degree of risk. Our state says it cares about equity, but we’re on a path that will send students in communities with the highest infection rates back into dangerous learning conditions without clearly delineated fully funded statewide safety mandates.


The petition critiques the current plans for returning to school buildings as currently unfunded and infeasible.  


…across Rhode Island, we know that school buildings are in disrepair and lack the ventilation necessary to keep school communities safe; that few if any districts have the time and resources to upgrade ventilation systems; that “stable pods” will be destabilized by busing and extra-scholastic activities; and that there is currently no statewide standard for detecting and quarantining positive cases and their contacts.”


The signers call on the state government to take the following actions; delay the beginning of the 2020-2021 SY by two weeks, call for a statewide return to distance learning for the fall, revisit the decision to return to in person learning only after seeing how cases fare during flu season, fund needs like childcare for families during distance learning, fund wraparound social services, fund safe and equitable IEP and 504 accommodations, provide districts with time and funding for appropriate professional development to support distance learning and fund accessible technology to provide equitable access to distance learning for all Rhode Island school children. 


View the petition at: https: //tinyurl.com/safereturntoschoolri-petition


Car Rally Route


We will enter the rally route from Francis street, passing by the Providence Place Mall, by taking a left on Hayes street and immediate right to continue up Francis street, passing by the State House on the right.  


The route will continue as follows:

  • Right on Smith
  • Right on Gaspee
  • Right on Francis

Coyotes! Here's what to do.

Coyotes! Here’s what to do.

August 13, 2020/RINewsToday


Early morning. Residential area. Older dogs. Coyotes where they shouldn’t be.


Two dogs have been killed in Rhode Island in just as many days. The first was an older dog in Johnston, who lived at a fenced home that backed up to a wooded area. It was early morning and the dog was attacked by the coyote who dragged the dog away. Then, Riverside. Another dog killed by a coyote.


Thankfully the media, social media and apps such as Next Door are sharing the news – and the cautions – quickly. What would you do if a coyote met you while you were letting your dog out – or getting your morning newspaper, or walking to the car? What do you tell your children to do if they were walking, riding their bike, playing in the backyard?


We’ve heard back away quietly. We’ve heard make as much noise as possible. Two different approaches. But one thing everyone agrees on – don’t turn your back and run.


Here’s some useful information. Have a conversation with your family – today – or send them this article. No longer do you need to know these things if you live on a farm or in the country. Coyotes and other country animals are living among us now – in the city. Big developments are displacing them from hidden habitats. Extreme weather – humidity – drought – heat – cold – are changing patterns of behavior.


This information is from www.CoyoteSmarts.org


…crossing a yard or street


Coyotes are most frequently seen and heard during mating season (January-March) and when juveniles start leaving the family pack (September-November). While normally fearful of people, they can sometimes be spotted crossing yards or streets. This behavior is not unusual, especially in residential areas bordering on open space where coyotes find their natural prey. They may simply be taking a shortcut to their favorite hunting ground. This type of sighting generally requires no response—other than making sure that pets and children are secure and that there are no likely food attractants (see Easy Pickin’s) present in the area.


…lounging in a yard or approaching/following people


Coyotes are naturally timid animals and will usually flee at the sight of a human. If they linger or approach, it’s time to begin “hazing.” This is a term applied to the following actions that can be taken to scare coyotes and chase them away:

  • Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.
  • Wave your arms, clap your hands, and shout in an authoritative voice.
  • Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle. These sounds can also alert the neighbors.
  • Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember the intent is to scare and not to injure.
  • Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar.
  • Shake or throw a “coyote shaker”—a soda can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.


The effects of hazing may not last unless all food attractants are permanently removed. This information should be shared with neighbors, friends and homeowner’s associations since hazing is most effective when the entire neighborhood is working together.


Hazing should never be attempted if the coyote is accompanied by pups or appears to be sick or injured. If it’s the latter, make a report to the local police or the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-0281.


…failing to respond to hazing


Some coyotes may freeze and stare or run a short distance and stop. Hazing should be continued until the coyote gets the message and finally leaves the scene. Hazing can work whether the encounter is with a lone coyote or a small pack. If the leader retreats, the rest of the pack will follow. If the coyote refuses to retreat or returns to the area despite persistent hazing, it may be due to the fact that someone is feeding coyotes nearby. This is a cause for concern and should be reported to the local police or animal control officer.


…approaching a pet or a child


Small pets and children should never be left unattended, and dogs should always be walked on a leash. Problems are more likely to occur when the animal is out of the owner’s control. It can also be helpful to carry a noisemaker, squirt gun or pepper spray. If a coyote approaches, pick up the pet or child, then start hazing. If the coyote does not leave, back away slowly while continuing to haze and go indoors if possible. Any aggressive behavior should be reported to the local police or animal control officer. If bites or other injuries are sustained, medical attention should be sought, and a report made to the RI Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-0281.


Editor’s Note: We opted to purchase a family member a small boat air horn that can be clipped onto clothing – that and a cell phone should be mandatory equipment when walking alone or with your pets.


Here is a video: What to do if you see a coyote – by Numi Mitchell, Lead Scientist, The Narragansett Bay Coyote Study.

Rhode Island News as of 08/13/20 of 6:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Two more coronavirus deaths reported in Rhode Island.  The start of the school year will be delayed.  A lawsuit has been filed in connection to a dramatic officer-involved shooting on I-95 in Providence a few years ago.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 1,018
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported two new coronavirus deaths and seventy-four new cases on Wednesday.  The pandemic totals for the Ocean State are one-thousand-18 total deaths and 20-thousand-129 cases.  Governor Gina Raimondo yesterday urged people who are feeling sick to stay home and warned employers to provide two weeks of paid sick time per federal requirements.  She said employers who are violating this rule should be reported to the Department of Labor.
>>School Year Start Pushed Back, Raimondo Criticizes Warwick Move
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo made it official on Wednesday, pushing back the start of the school calendar by two weeks.  She said the feedback from teachers and administrators is that they need a bit more time to prepare for in-person learning during the coronavirus pandemic.  The last day of school was adjusted to June 25th.  The governor was asked about the decision by the Warwick School Committee to start the year with remote learning; she said she could not be more disappointed and faulted the school district for failing to submit a plan for in-person learning.
>>Testing Part Of Reason For School Delay, Gov Gives Purchasing Update
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo said one of the reasons for delaying the start of the school year is testing.  She said she doesn't want schools to open until it's assured that everyone can get tested and having results within two to three days, and she's hoping that can be reality by the end of this month.  She announced that Rhode Island has joined a new consortium of ten states, as well as the Rockefeller Foundation, to purchase more machines and supplies for testing.
>>Outdoor Entertainment Licenses Suspended On Block Island
(New Shoreham, RI)  --  A coronavirus update from Block Island: all outdoor entertainment licenses have been suspended for the rest of the summer, except for weddings.  WJAR-TV reports the New Shoreham Town Council voted for that action last night because of crowding concerns.  Reports indicate visitors to the island are not following social-distancing guidelines.  The governor said yesterday the Block Island situation needs to get better and that executive action might be needed.
>>Boater Involved In Fatal Collision Answers To Charges In Traffic Tribunal
(Cranston, RI)  --  The operator of a boat who was involved in a fatal crash near the Newport Pell Bridge almost exactly one year ago entered guilty pleas to non-criminal charges he faced on Wednesday.  Frank Teixeira of Portsmouth entered the pleas in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal; they were violations of the Coast Guard's Inland Navigational Rules.  Each of the four citations carried a one-hundred-dollar fine.  The powerboat-versus-catamaran crash killed Sandra Tartaglino of Tiverton. 
>>Girlfriend Of Man Fatally Shot By Police On I-95 Files Suit
(Providence, RI)  --  A woman who was a passenger in a truck that was fired at by police on I-95 in Providence in 2017 has filed a lawsuit.  Christine Demers was the boyfriend of Joseph Santos, who was being chased by police in connection to a search for another suspect prior to being fatally shot.  Demers was also hit by gunfire and the suit says she has suffered extensive physical problems.  The suit names the police officers involved, the city of Providence and the Rhode Island State Police.
>>Bruins Beat Hurricanes In Double OT To Take Series Opener
(Toronto)  --  The Boston Bruins lead the Carolina Hurricanes one-nothing in their first-round best-of-seven NHL playoff series.  It took two overtimes to win, 4-to-3, in a game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday night but got postponed to Wednesday morning because of another playoff game that went five overtimes at the bubble in Toronto.  The Bruins and Hurricanes play Game 2 tonight at 8:00.
Jim McCabe/djc          RI) MA)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-13-2020 00:04:14

Record-breaking number of entrants for Newport's Ida Lewis Distance Race

Record-breaking number of entrants for Newport’s Ida Lewis Distance Race

August 12, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Ken Read and Suzy Leech will sail the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 Alchemist against 19 other highly competitive doublehanded teams at the Ida Lewis Distance Race presented by Jeanneau America, which starts on Saturday.  (photo credit Billy Black) 


The Ida Lewis Distance Race presented by Jeanneau America and scheduled for Saturday, August 15, has a record-breaking 74 entries, indicating how much sailors are itching to compete and embrace any and all event modifications that the Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated. The race, in its 16th year, is hosted by Ida Lewis Yacht Club and starts off Fort Adams at 11 am. Because of CDC guidelines, the skippers’ meeting – typically held at the Club – will be held on the water at 10:15 a.m. (broadcast on VHF Channel 79A).


“It definitely will not be your normal Ida Lewis Distance Race,” said Event Chair Pat Kennedy. “We have been taking it week-by-week, but we started early on with tailoring the event to family and friends (those who can sail together safely) and keeping our plans flexible.”  


To that end, the race starts on a Saturday rather than its traditional start on Friday, and 44 boats in the PHRF Aloha class (for smaller boats with PHRF ratings of 55 and higher), Coronet class (for larger boats with PHRF ratings of 54 and lower) and Cruising Spinnaker class will sail a never-before-offered inshore course that tracks 33 nautical miles around Conanicut, Prudence and Patience Islands. “Those teams will not need to sail overnight, which makes it easier for those forced to sail with a smaller crew,” said Kennedy.


The balance of the fleet – an IRC class with 10 boats and a PHRF Doublehanded class with 20 boats – will each sail one of the race’s four traditional overnight offshore courses. The round-trip courses, ranging in length from 112 to 169 nautical miles, are decided by the Race Committee just prior to the race to best fit the weather conditions expected. With turning marks at Castle Hill, Brenton Reef, Block Island, Montauk Point, Martha’s Vineyard and Buzzards Tower, they incorporate some of New England’s most celebrated cruising grounds.


Returning to IRC class is Todd Stuart, trading in last year’s ride – the Carkeek 47 White Rhino 2 –for his Swan 56 White Rhino. He will find tough competition from the likes of Richard Moody (Jamestown, R.I.) on his Reichel/Pugh 66 Aurora (the largest boat in the fleet), Andrew and Linda Weiss’s (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) Ker 40 Christopher Dragon XI (fresh off a victory at Edgartown Race Weekend), Ron O’Hanley’s Cookson 50 Privateer and Daniel Heun’s (Franklin, Mass.) J/122 Moxiee.

Top row: Cepheus, Christopher Dragon XI sailing at Edgartown Race Weekend (photos by Stephen Cloutier); Second row: Summer Storm (supplied photo), Irie 2 at last year’s event (by Stephen Cloutier), Flying Jenny (supplied photo); Bottom row: White Rhino (supplied photo), crew of Spirit receiving their Prosecco at the finish line last year (supplied photo). 


The Doublehanded sailors, comprising the largest class this year and the largest class of its kind in the history of the race, will see Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup veteran Ken Read (Portsmouth, R.I.) and Suzy Leech (Newport, R.I.) sailing the Jeanneau Sunfast 3300 Alchemist. Their Doublehanded Mixed (Co-ed) crew represents a new class for the 2024 Olympics.


“Our campaign is a collaboration between myself, North Sails and Jeanneau to help promote doublehanded racing in North America,” said Read, who recently won the New England Solo/Twin Race in the same boat, sailing doublehanded with his brother Brad. “Not that we are inventing doublehanded racing here, just giving it a bit of a nudge because with the Olympics in 2024 having an offshore class, the U.S. needs to start gaining some new momentum on this side of the sport.”


Read has sailed several editions of the Ida Lewis Distance Race on fully crewed boats and has many reasons to love it: “It’s a great race because the course is not set in stone and is always configured to be diverse, with a variety of angles and conditions. Nobody wants to bash away upwind and downwind offshore, so it’s always great fun…a good test.”


Also sailing “Mixed” in an announced Olympic campaign for 2024 are Jesse Fielding (Newport, R.I.) with Francesca Clapcich (Park City, Utah) on their Figaro 3 State Street Marathon Sailing (Celeritas 2).


“It’s fantastic that the Ida Lewis Yacht Club has found a way to host this race during these challenging times,” said Fielding, who noted that the Olympic distance race he and Clapcich are practicing for will span three days. “We can’t say thank you enough to the organizers and volunteers; in terms of racing, the choice of courses for the Ida Lewis Distance Race are always interesting, and we’re looking at a very competitive class!”


Another doublehanded team, co-skippered by Andrew Berdon (Hartsdale, N.Y.) and Alec Snyder (Newport, R.I.) have an entirely different reason for sailing with just two people. “We normally campaign Summer Storm (a Marten 49) with a crew of 12, but due to Covid-19 issues, I am racing her in the doublehanded division,” said Berdon, adding that Snyder has been with the Summer Storm program since late 2017. “The boat is not laid out or designed for short-handed racing, so our expectations are limited. We want to sail a fun, safe race; a competitive result would be icing on the cake.” 


Defending champion in this class is Philip Haydon (Boston, Mass.) in his Quest 33s Cepheus. He sails with “Sail4epilepsy” on his sail, as he runs a nonprofit by that name that inspires those with epilepsy to do more with their lives.

Wes Bright is a “sapling” at Oakcliff Sailing Center in Oyster Bay, N.Y. and boat captain of that organization’s C&C 30 Flying Jenny, which is entered in PHRF Spinnaker Coronet class. He has been working tirelessly to get the boat ready for numerous offshore races this summer, including the Ida Lewis Distance Race.


“It’s going to be our second race as a crew,” said Bright, “and I think for the most part we’re going to look to really push ourselves coming off our last race (in Maine). We’re looking forward to having more and better competition and more similar competitors to ourselves. The fleet for the Ida Lewis Race is definitely more robust and well-rounded.”


Bright’s work will be cut out for him as he is faced with formidable competition that includes Brian Cunha’s (Newport, R.I.) Ker 55 Irie 2, which has sailed to victory several times in this class, including the last two years.


PHRF Spinnaker Aloha class has many accomplished teams enrolled, including EC Helme’s (Newport, R.I.) J/92 Spirit, Bill Kneller’s (Newport, R.I.) J/109 Vento Solare and Jim Archer’s (Greenville, R.I.) Beneteau First 36.7 En Passant, which finished second through fourth, respectively, last year.


PHRF Cruising Spinnaker will see the return of Peter Gerard and Andy Burton’s (both Newport, R.I.) Baltic 47 Masquerade, which finished second last year, and Rob Connerney’s (Newport, R.I.) Hanse 43 Helios, which finished third.


This is the 16th running of the Ida Lewis Distance Race, which is for boats 28 feet or longer and is certified as a “Clean Regatta” by the Sailors for the Sea organization. It begins off Fort Adams and ends just inside Newport Harbor where Ida Lewis volunteers can site the finish line from their clubhouse on Lime Rock before greeting each team on the water with a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco. 


Ida Lewis Yacht Club hosts this world-class race with the help of generous sponsors. Our Presenting Partner for 2020 is Jeanneau America. Gold Partner is SailSportTalk.com and City of Newport; Silver Partners are Contender Sailcloth and Safe Harbor Newport Shipyard; Bronze Partners are Gold’s Wine & Spirits,  Newport Construction ServicesRIG PRO and Stella Artois. Contributing Sponsors are FERZO WinesGoslings RumMac DesignsNorth SailsToni Mills Graphic DesignTriton Insurance and Zardetto

Ida Lewis Yacht Club will host the 2020 Ida Lewis Distance Race Presented by Jeanneau America, which begins Saturday, August 15.  (photo by Michelle Almeida)

For more information, go to www.ilyc.org/distancerace or contact Pat Kennedy, Distancerace@ilyc.org Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Fighting for the Right to Parent

Fighting for the Right to Parent

August 12, 2020/RINewsToday


Most expectant mothers never consider the possibility that someone could prevent them from taking their babies home from the hospital. But disabled parents routinely face ignorance and outright bias from otherwise highly trained healthcare professionals about their ability to care for an infant. In 2018, a blind Oregon couple was told that they could not bring their baby home unless they had 24 hours’ sighted supervision. In Rhode Island that year, another blind couple lost their baby for eight months because of preconceived notions about blindness. The family will never get back those eight months.


Like the mother in this case, I am blind. Like her, I was questioned about my capacity to care for my newborn son, after an emergency Cesarean section, while I was heavily sedated. I was asked how I would know when it was time to feed the baby. When I replied that I would figure out a schedule, I was asked how I would tell the time.


I was 37 years old when my son was born prematurely. I had two masters’ degrees and worked full time. I had come up with techniques to live my life. I was terrified that if I didn’t have all the right answers, I might not be allowed to take my son home, so I politely answered the hospital social worker’s questions. For the five weeks my son spent in the NICU as a preemie, I felt powerless, because I knew that at any time they could take him from me. No child should be separated from his or her family because of a parent’s disability. It doesn’t serve the parent, the child, or society.


To end such bias, parents with disabilities urge the RI House to pass Preservation of Families with Disabled Parent Act (H7295).


Like any responsible parents, our primary goal is our children’s safety and health. By the time they have a baby, blind people have learned to complete everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry using tactile techniques and talking technology, which tells time, reads mail, or takes temperatures, among other things. Blind people prepare for a baby’s arrival by organizing items in the nursery for quick access, practice changing diapers, and set out tactile measuring cups for formula. We teach our children to come when we call them or we go home.


Blind people are members of your community. We live independently, attend school, hold jobs and raise families. We are a diverse group with different talents, skills, passions and interests. In other words, we are human.


A 2012 study of the federal government’s National Council on Disability found that health care professionals often lack understanding of disability issues. To educate and raise awareness, The National Federation of the Blind has published Parenting without Sight: What Attorneys And Social Workers Need To Know About Blindness.


The National Federation of the Blind of RI and the RI Developmental Disabilities Council have been working diligently toward passage of the Preservation of Families with Disabled Parent Act for the past 3 years. This legislation has twice passed the RI Senate unanimously. The bill (H7295) continues to be held for further study in the RI House. We blind parents urge the House to pass this critical legislation so that we will not have to fear losing our children. We applaud the recent passage of the bill that recognizes the right of same-sex couples to parent but fear that they still may suffer discrimination if one partner is blind.


Grace Pires is President of the National Federation of the Blind of RI and works as a rehabilitation counselor. She has masters’ degrees in social work and rehabilitation counseling.

I want people to know they have rights

I want people to know they have rights

August 12, 2020/RINewsToday


by Charles “Chas” Calenda


I want people to know they have rights.


There are many things happening in the fast-paced world we’re all maneuvering. From Executive Orders from the president on down to the governor, there are many issues that question legal parameters. And – there are many rights you have as a business owner, employer, employee, and private citizen. 


Letting people know what their rights are is not encouraging people to break the rules. It’s arming them with the information they need to make decisions for themselves.

RI State Police statement on Task Force Hotline

In addressing the new “Task Force” Rhode Island has put together with the State Police, where people are provided a tip line to report crowds and gatherings over the recommended number of people, here’s some free advice for everyone:

Don’t let the “Task Force” on your property without a valid search warrant. Do not give statements to the police no matter what is promised to you. Call your friendly neighborhood attorney for assistance with any penalties assessed to you as a result of the governor’s executive orders. It’s time this nonsense gets stopped in its tracks. The situation now with people being given the formal opportunity to tattle on each other doesn’t foster a sense of community where we work together to address a common foe – the pandemic. Rather, it pits people against each other, and that can foster even bigger problems for those already stressed to the max.


I posted this information on my attorney Facebook page and elsewhere and over 190,000 people have reacted – for, or against what I had to say! That’s what this country is all about. Open debate and saying no to cancel culture and government overreach.


Most importantly – please do not fight with the police if they come to your home. Your case is won in court – not at the time you’re dealing with the police. Most law enforcement officers I know don’t want to be put in the middle of this any more than you want them there.


Thank you – be smart – be informed – know your rights – and stay safe.


Charles “Chas” Calenda, Criminal Defense Attorney


Inman & Tourgee




1500 Nooseneck Hill Road, Coventry, RI 02816 – 401-823-9200


Rhode Island News as of 08/12/20 of 6:40am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The start of the Rhode Island school year is delayed.  The Ocean State is removed from the coronavirus quarantine list for three other states.  A hate crime sentencing enhancement notice has been filed by the RI Attorney General in connection to a recent incident where a racial slur was allegedly used.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>RIDE Confirms Delayed School Year Start
(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Education confirmed to superintendents on Tuesday that the start of the school year is being delayed.  The first day for classes will be September 14th instead of August 31st.  The state's two teacher unions held a press conference yesterday calling for schools to start with remote-learning only because of coronavirus concerns.  Governor Gina Raimondo has pushed for in-person learning but says schools will only re-open if it is safe.  Raimondo is expected to talk about the delayed school year start at her weekly virus pandemic press briefing today.
>>RI Taken Off NYC Tri-State Coronavirus Travel Quarantine List
(Undated)  --  Rhode Island has been removed from the COVID quarantine travel advisories it was recently placed under by three other Northeast states.  They are: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  As of Tuesday, however, Rhode Island remained on the mandatory quarantine list for Massachusetts.  Governor Charlie Baker did not indicate that any imminent change was on the horizon.
>>NWS: One More Day Of Extreme Heat Today
(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service says Wednesday will be one more day of oppressive heat and humidity in Southern New England.  The heat index is expected to reach 95 degrees in central and northern Rhode Island, but coastal areas will stay around 80.  All of Rhode Island except Block Island is under a Heat Advisory along with most of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
>>A.G. Files Hate Crime Sentencing Enhancement Notice For Barrington Incident
(Barrington, RI)  --  State Attorney General Peter Neronha [[ nair-OH-nah ]] has filed a notice of hate crime sentencing enhancement in connection to a recent incident in Barrington.  Richard Gordon is accused of assaulting his neighbor, Bahram Pahlavi, and allegedly used a racial slur.  The A.G.'s office notes it normally would not get involved with misdemeanor cases such as this one, but says it filed the hate crime sentencing enhancement notice after receiving a request by the Barrington Police Department for assistance in the investigation and reviewing evidence.  The group Black Lives Matter Rhode Island held a rally in Barrington yesterday; protesters marched in front of Gordon's home.
>>Terror Plot Convict Moved To Home Confinement
(Boston, MA)  --  A Rhode Island man who pleaded guilty to providing material support for ISIS is getting a release from prison.  Nicholas Rovinski of Warwick was granted a request for compassionate parole by a federal judge on Tuesday.  Rovinski, who was sentenced in 2017 to fifteen years in prison for a plot to behead a conservative blog writer, claimed he was facing coronavirus-related health threats in the federal prison where he was incarcerated in Danbury, Connecticut.  Rovinski is being ordered to serve ten years of home confinement.
>>Man Who Jumped From Rocks, Drowned In Newport ID'd
(Newport, RI)  --  The individual who reportedly jumped from rocks into water in Newport and died after going under has been identified as Joshua Jones of Providence.  The state Department of Environmental Management says Jones jumped off at a location known as Twelve O'Clock High on Monday.  Despite signs posted that say no jumping or diving off the rocks, the DEM says it gets called to the area on the north end of the Brenton Point shoreline for people jumping often.
>>Providence Bruins Announce New Award In Honor Of Former Player Who Died
(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Bruins are creating a new award to honor the late Colby Cave, a former player.  Cave played five seasons for the P-Bruins and played a handful of games for the parent club Boston Bruins; he died earlier this year following a medical issue.  The P-Bruins say the award will go to a deserving player for dedication to the community and charitable organizations.
Jim McCabe/jb         RI) MA) CT) NY) NJ)  BN) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-12-2020 00:11:29

Public invited to visit Colonial Jewish Cemetery on August 16

Public invited to visit Colonial Jewish Cemetery on August 16



Newport, RI (August 9, 2020)–Touro Synagogue Foundation announces the once-a-year opportunity for the public to visit the Colonial Jewish Burying Ground, established in the 1670s to serve Newport’s early Hebrew congregation.  The cemetery is located up the hill from Touro Synagogue, at the intersection of Kay Street, Touro Street and Bellevue Avenue.


Cemetery gates will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., weather permitting. Guides will be on hand to answer questions and provide information. Visitors are required to wear masks and social distancing protocols will be enforced.  A $5 donation per person is requested.


Immortalized in poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Emma Lazarus, the burying ground features an Egyptian revival gate and gravestones lettered in Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, Ladino, and English.  Visitors may see the graves of many members of Newport’s original Jewish community, including the resting place of Moses Seixas, author of the letter that welcomed President George Washington to Newport in 1790 and contained the famous words, "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance."


Guests are also invited to visit the grounds of Touro Synagogue, a National Historic Site, and enjoy a 20-minute seated history presentation in the park, before or after visiting the cemetery.  The site is opened Sunday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., weather permitting.  Guests should enter the site through the courtyard of the Loeb Visitors Center at 52 Spring Street, between Touro and Barney Streets. There is no fee to enjoy the grounds and history presentation, but donations will be accepted.

Reservations are not necessary to visit the cemetery on August 16 nor the grounds of Touro Synagogue.  Because the synagogue and Loeb Visitors Center buildings remain closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are no on-site public bathroom facilities available. Schedule updates may be found on the ‘Visit” page at tourosynagogue.org.  or on the Touro Synagogue Facebook page. For more information, please email tours@tourosynagogue.org or phone (401) 847-4794, extension 207.

RI Coronavirus Update - Today August 11, 2020

RI Coronavirus Update – Today, August 11, 2020

August 11, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: The Plymouth Fire Department’s fire boat assisted in an escort for the Mayflower II ship into Plymouth Harbor on Monday, Aug. 10. The ship never made it to RI because of our increasing case load. (Photo courtesy Plymouth Fire Department)




NEW! Russia announces new vaccine production – Putin has announced his daughter has already received it – stay tuned for more info


This is World Mask Week to encourage people around the world to embrace the use of face masks until a vaccine is available, with social media challenges calling on all people, including celebrities, politicians and health care workers, to post a statement, pictures, or videos of themselves wearing a mask with the tag #WorldMaskWeek.


Florida has the lowest case rate in many weeks and a death rate in the single numbers.


Almost five months after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the cruise industry, more than 12,000 crew members remained on ships in U.S. waters, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. That’s down from more than 70,000 in May.


With fear that more restaurant and dining establishments could be shut down at any time, or leaving dining rooms at half capacity, longtime service professionals are leaving the hospitality industry in droves for greener pastures elsewhere.


The Georgia school with crowded picture of children standing shoulder to shoulder on first day of school – quite a few children now test positive – school closed for cleaning for several days.


All Fall MAC (Mid Atlantic Conference) college sports canceled


Over 5 million Americans now have COVID-19


250,000 motorcycle enthusiasts are at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, a state with one of the lowest incidence rates. This will be among the country’s largest public gatherings since the beginning of the coronavirus in the US. Super-spreader theories will be tested.


President Trump signed several bills on Saturday:

  • Waive payroll tax payments from Aug 1 – 2020 – this will mean larger paychecks for employees
  • HHS/CDC to protect people from eviction. Work with renters/landlords
  • Expand unemployment – to $400/week – states to cover 25% from existing funding – states can offer more if they want, and feds would cover 75% of it
  • Student loan borrowers – continue interest reduction to 0% – extended to end of year, and most likely beyond that.
  • Income tax and capital gains tax cuts coming up


More than 97,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July,


The Associated Press finds at least 48 state and local public health leaders have resigned, retired or been fired since April across 23 states.


From Axios commentary “The good news: The United States has a window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 before things get much, much worse. The bad news: That window is rapidly closing. And the country seems unwilling or unable to seize the moment.


Councilman Paul Vallone of New York says Hydroxychloroquine helped him recover from a severe case of COVID-19. “I couldn’t breathe, very weak, couldn’t get out of bed. My doctor prescribed it. My pharmacy had it. Took it that day and within two to three days I was able to breathe,” Councilman Paul Vallone told the New York Post. “Within a week I was back on my feet.”


New Zealand has gone 100 days without community transmission of COVID-19. Its tourism industry has collapsed and the country is more isolated than before. Their three keys:


1. Ongoing border controls to stop COVID-19 from entering the country


2. A lockdown and physical distancing to stop community transmission


3. Case-based controls using testing, contact tracing and quarantine


Massachusetts’ deadline extended to end of the week for district school plans.


Revenue losses at hospitals and outpatient surgery centers may have exceeded $5 billion from canceled knee and hip replacements alone during a roughly two-month hiatus on elective procedures earlier this year.


The UK will lay off 6,000 contact tracers


California spent millions on arena hospital that saw only 9 patients.





RI Data


Deaths: 0 – New positive cases of 28, the lowest rate. 3 day hospitalizations – 85


Next update with the Governor: Wednesday, 1pm



Responding to our request for a response to the president’s Executive Order to extend extra unemployment at $400 per week (not $600), the RI DLT sent us this response: “The Department is awaiting guidance from USDOL and FEMA on the implementation of this Executive Order. We will update unemployment insurance claimants as soon as additional information is available.”


Men’s Warehouse in Warwick will close


First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church in Ashaway has moved its Sat service outdoors.


The RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity is releasing a new campaign aimed at encouraging the state not to raise taxes, saying, “The worst time to raise taxes is during an economic crisis.”


RI State Police Hotline – have had hundreds of calls about large events. Most calls were about COVID19 testing – rec’d 412 calls – went to 56 events – crowds found 4 times – 3 in Providence, 1 in Coventry – 3 college events, 1 post-funeral event. People respectful. Some events were catered restaurant events, under the 100 minimum


Concern over licit-ness of upcoming vaccine, Bishop Tobin released this statement and then clarified the church’s position. Today there is a conference call with other church spokespeople – we will report on that in a follow-up story. Tobin: “In considering a question currently making the rounds, I’ll be happy to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine when it’s available, even on an experimental basis, but only if it’s developed and obtained in a morally licit way. It means that it would be immoral to develop vaccines from embryonic stem cells, i.e., from aborted babies.”


Nigerian Ballet Dancer

His story: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/periods-genres/ballet/nigerian-11-year-old-dancer-scholarship/

Discover Beautiful Rhode Island - with Jason Michalski

I choose the VA Health System…every time

August 11, 2020/Jeff Gross


Many years ago, two good friends of mine, Jesse Jeselonis and Ron Camaioni, recommended becoming part of the VA Health System. I procrastinated but they none the less kept after me. I am very thankful they did. 


At the Providence VA you are treated like a person, not like a number, like a paycheck or like an intrusion in the private health care world. In fact, “hats off” to the entire staff of the entire Providence VA. The staff there are performing an exceptional job in a very trying time. The Providence system is an up and coming facility, with numerous NEW state of the art diagnostic instrumentation. A multi-level parking garage opened recently, addressing the parking issue which is now an issue of the past. COVID-19 has caused some changes like valet parking are now suspended, however, keeping with the “Veterans Come First” mindset, golf carts are buzzing about shuttling veterans and their loved ones to and from the parking lots.


The care I receive at the VA is exceptional. The care is much more personalized than anything I received in the private sector. They double and sometimes triple check who you are and your reason for being there. In the private medical sector, it seems it’s always a “turn them out” mentality, and the staff in Providence goes out of their way to ensure your questions are answered with a smile, as opposed to making you feel like your questions are bothersome. The Providence staff definitely puts the veteran first. Numerous times I stepped aside to allow a female staff member to pass through a door first, and found chivalry is put aside as I’m informed that veterans are first. Even with some insistence of chivalry, I am met with a smile and “Sir, Veterans first”.  


While on a fishing trip in Maine my now ex-girlfriend was careless and embedded a fishing lure in my head. Upon going to inland hospital in Waterville, I walked away with a $838 bill that my health insurance would not cover as I did not meet my $2500 Obamacare deductible. Had I possessed VA healthcare, the VA in Augusta would have removed said lure for free. I was paying a $3000/year policy coupled with a $2500 deductible – for what?  When my employer said he was forced to drop the Blue Cross insurance due to another 20% premium increase, that was it. VA healthcare, here I come. 


Jesse and Ron both commented, “it is about time”. Yes, enrolling was long overdue.  Even if you have health insurance the VA can be the way to go as they will bill your insurance and absorb the rest. There were issues with wait times in other parts of the United States that President Trump addressed, and I have yet to encounter any delay here. When one goes for a physical an entire hour is allotted to the Veteran whereas in the private sector it is 15-minutes and you are shuffled out the door.



I cannot say enough about the Providence VA.  It is one of the few positives in this dumpster fire of a year, 2020. Even with COVID-19 the Providence VA are holding their own. Plus, the staff is very easy the eyes.


The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s).


Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is a Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison, FRISC Delegate.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

Discover Beautiful Rhode Island – with Jason Michalski

August 11, 2020/Jason Michalski


Jason’s photography delights us with the beauty of our state. This is the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge.


“The devil said you can’t withstand the storm. I replied, “I am the storm!”


The refuge is one of five national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island. About 200 million years ago, when the supercontinent Pangaea split, Africa left traces of itself along the shores of Sachuest Point creating the Price Neck Formation. From the mid-1600’s to the early 1900’s, Sachuest Point was used for farming and sheep grazing. During World War II, the U.S. Navy used this site for a rifle range and communications center. In 1970, a 70 acre donation from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island led to the establishment of Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. Today, with the land transfers from the Navy, the Refuge totals 242 acres that provide an important stopover and wintering area for migratory birds.


More info: https://fws.gov/refuge/Sachuest_Point/about.html


769 Sachuest Point Road – Middletown, RI 02842 – (401) 619-2680



Strength and hope to us all at these difficult times.


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

The Office Visit is a Dinosuar

The office visit is a dinosaur

August 11, 2020/Richard Asinof


The changes to the health care delivery landscape in Rhode Island keep occurring at a fast and furious pace, the result of constant disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A fundamental tectonic shift has occurred, a sea change, in the way that providers and patients are talking to each other – and how providers are reimbursed for the care they deliver.


The sea change has made visible many of the dangerous reefs and barriers that had always existed but were often lurking just below the surface – the huge health disparities for African-American and Latinx populations, an unsustainable business model for hospitals, a crumbling public health infrastructure, and the extreme difficulties in accessing primary care for many, despite health insurance regulations and policies promoting patient-centered care.


Translated, the coronavirus does not pay attention to policies, regulations, bureaucratic authority or political invective. If you don’t wear a mask and do not practice social distancing, you are at risk, regardless of the fine print.


Recently, Medium published a provocative piece entitled, “COVID Has Made The Office Visit a Dinosaur,” written by the Boston-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement leadership team, including Dr. Doug Eby of the Southcentral Foundation Alaska Native Medical Center, Dr. Edward McGookin, Chief Medical Officer at Coastal Medical, and Jill Duncan, RN, MS, MPH, executive director at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


The article begins: “The office visit has been central to modern medicine. Long-held truths include the necessity of meeting with patients in person, lining up patients to see them in order and care team members efficiently doing their part to maximize the physician’s precious time and skills. COVID has shown that this choreography is often unnecessary.”


The article continues, describing the changes that have occurred as a result of the disruptions from the coronavirus: “Once the basic evaluation has occurred and a relationship of trust is in place, weaving medical expertise into patients’ lives when, where, and how they want it with no delay – and using ongoing virtual conversations – has proven to be better in many ways. Suddenly, the office visit no longer seems central to caring.”

Further, the article makes the case that “visit-based medicine” comes at a significant cost to patients. “Visits take time from work, a particular difficulty for those who most need clinical support and a burden that falls hardest on lower-income families. Patients travel, check into a front desk, wait, and go through a fairly long standardized ritualized process with various staff before sitting alone in a room on an exam table, waiting, again, for the precious few minutes with the clinician expert. Often, the professional, not the patient, drives the encounter, which is directive and produces a plan designed mainly by the professional.”


Translated, the pandemic has disrupted most of the paradigms of modern health care delivery. As much as there is a lot of lip service given to the concept of patient-centered care and accountable care entities, the reality has been that the policies have often been focused on the office visit and the needs of providers, not the actual needs of patients.

Here in Rhode Island, the rapid growth of telehealth digital platforms has met, for the most part, with effusive praise and little resistance – save by some representing the commercial insurance industry, including Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, which have lobbied the R.I. General Assembly against efforts to expand telehealth beyond monthly executive orders by the Governor, even attacking the “authority” of the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to create a stakeholder group to analyze the data results form the practice of telehealth. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”]

Translated, in a time of pandemic, the status quo is becoming more and more difficult to preserve.


Another sign of the sea change underway was the announcement of the new collaboration between Brown and Lifespan to create a Center for Digital Health, led by Dr. Megan Ranney, the center’s founding director, with the goal “to take digital health innovation to the next level here in Rhode Island.”


As Ranney explained in a recent interview with GoLocalProv, “We’re working on things ranging from working with companies that are doing predictive analytics to decide if you actually have COVID symptoms or not; we’re working on projects with social media to try and identify when teens are in distress and need some extra help.”


Ranney, an emergency room doctor and a frequent contributor to cable new shows on CNN and MSNBC, talked with GoLocal about some of the projects in the pipeline: “We have projects using wearables – Fitbits and Apple watches – to try and identify folks at risk of falls, to try to deliver in the moment interventions to help people be healthier.”


In a recent tweet, Ranney wrote: “If anyone tells you they will fix physician burnout with yoga & wellness apps they are lying. It will be fixed when we create a system that makes it easier to do the right thing for the patient.”


Will that same sentiment be applied to Google, owners of Fitbit, and Apple, when they produce algorithms that exploit their ability to predict consumer and patient behavior that may not be about doing the right thing for the patient?


The new digital health program will also need to answer the question: Who will own and manage the data being collected by wearable devices, the entrepreneur, the health system, the university, or the patient?


[ConvergenceRI has made two formal requests for interviews with Ranney but has not yet received a response. Stay tuned.]


Who is getting tested and what do the numbers mean?
At the same time, the often-improvised efforts to develop testing protocols and contact tracing programs for the coronavirus pandemic have made visible the long-term failure by the R.I. General Assembly to invest in the state’s public health infrastructure during the last four decades.

Some of the problems reflect the lack of a nationally coordinated program for testing; others reflect the tendency to create a top-down corporate approach to health care.

Tracking the data
With so much rapid change, ConvergenceRI wondered: who, if anyone, is currently keeping track of the data of the digital transformation during the coronavirus pandemic? Is there a systematic approach to analyzing the data being undertaken, or is it haphazard in nature?


The Governor and her team often invoke the concept that science, data, and public health will drive decision-making around policies such as re-opening the public schools for the fall. But who is keeping the data? And who is doing the analysis?


Given the plethora of digital platforms that are now “competing” with each other in the marketplace, what kinds of standards are there for interoperability?


What safeguards are in place to prevent, for example, three months of testing data being lost by an agency because the wrong fax number was being used?


To get some answers, ConvergenceRI reached out to Healthcentric Advisors, one of the major players in policy and data analysis in Rhode Island, an organization that serves as the quality improvement organization for Medicare for much of New England.


Here are the responses from Lauren Capizzo, director of Practice Transformation at Healthcentric Advisors, which reflect the organization’s own experiences and priorities.

ConvergenceRI: What kind of data analysis, if any, is being done through surveys with providers about how telehealth platforms are changing the interactions with patients? If you were to design a survey, would you include both doctors, nurses and patients?

CAPIZZO: Whenever we deliver digital solutions we always survey clinicians to make sure that we’re meeting their needs. For instance, both clinicians and patients report high satisfaction rates when using our digital solution for self-measured blood pressure.


The project had high patient activation with more than half of participants reducing their blood pressure to <140/90. The average amount of time it took for them to control their blood pressure was less than four weeks. Of all participating patients, 92 percent indicated the system was easy to use.


And for participating providers, 100 percent of clinicians indicated that using our portal was a good use of their time, that using it accelerated hypertension control with their patients, and would be a system they would refer to a colleague.


Healthcentric Advisors also sits on the planning committee for this project, led by Care Transformation Collaborative, and would encourage you to reach out to them since they’re doing this very work.


ConvergenceRI: Medium has just published a provocative piece entitled, “COVID has made the office visit a dinosaur.” It is written by the IHI Leadership Alliance, including Drs. Doug Eby, Edward McGookin, and Jill Duncan, RN, MS, MPH. [See link below.] Is there a way to analyze the way that the pandemic has changed the cost structure of the delivery of care? What questions should be asked?


CAPIZZO: The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of telemedicine and remote physiological monitoring [RPM] to both support the health and safety of all patients [reducing risk and exposure of patients and staff to the virus] and to develop workflows that effectively monitor and manage patients remotely [for COVID-19 and other patient encounters] outside of the in-office visit.

New and expanded billing codes and increased payment schedules have been temporarily put in place by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the private payer community to support telemedicine and RPM.


Many predict that the pandemic has brought a “shift change” to health care delivery modalities and funding for telehealth visits and remote data collection will continue as an extension of traditional face-to-face visits.


We support hundreds of practices throughout New England that serve rural and vulnerable communities and with shifts of this size due to the pandemic, it’ll be easier for some than others.


We’ve held online trainings and personalized technical support to assist providers in the adoption of telehealth, telemedicine, and RPM. For instance, in April of 2020, we hosted a six-week Project ECHO series [a free, practical, case-based tele-education] called: “Expanded Telehealth Services for COVID-19: Making sense of the new rules.”

Additionally, we’ve created a Medicare Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Services Guide.


ConvergenceRI: Brown and Lifespan have launched a new Digital Health program, which seems to be Brown’s and Lifespan’s entry into claiming its disproportionate fair share of the emerging digital market, tied to collaborations with wearable devices. Did they do any outreach to you regarding the launch of this program? What are the questions that need to be asked about how data will be owned, shared, and used?

CAPIZZO: It’s always exciting to hear partners forging new initiatives that will impact the digital health landscape locally and nationally. The initiative looks academic- and research-focused, which makes sense considering the many kinds of work the school and medical center engage in – but we look forward to seeing what’s to come.


Given our relationships with Lifespan, Coastal Medical, and Brown Medicine [the latter two have experience with some of our digital products], we would welcome future collaboration.


Our focus has been on creating digital health tools and resources for primarily ambulatory-based providers to improve their patient quality measures and clinical outcomes. This becomes more important as more community-based providers are operating within accountable care organization umbrellas and risk-based reimbursement systems that focus on cost reduction and quality improvement.


When it comes to data collection for our digital tools, we have “baked in” security measures. Our blood-pressure self-management platform uses a secure, HIPAA compliant portal that gives providers access to responses at the patient and practice level. Information from the tool can be downloaded and attached to their electronic [or paper] medical record.


Our system is opt-in, so the patient is digitally enrolled by their practice following an in-person, telephonic or virtual encounter. The first text message a patient receives asks them to agree to participate; and patients can easily opt-out at any time. The information goes securely into our portal, which has a login requirement specifically for care team members.

ConvergenceRI: How do patients’ voices get heard in the post-pandemic world?

CAPIZZO: Providers have a number of ways to ensure the patient and family voices are heard and inform practice workflows for optimal care including telehealth. These strategies work both today and post-pandemic. In addition to what was referenced above, providers can survey patients, electronically, telephonically, or even through paper surveys.


Many quality and advanced payment models require a comprehensive patient experience survey such as Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems [CAHPS] with varied frequency, often annually. CMS incorporates patient engagement measures into their advanced payment models to support an emphasis on a patient-centered approach.


Another way care delivery is guided by person-centered principles is with a Patient and Family Advisory Council [PFAC]. Many providers across the state have incorporated PFACs into their work to shape the delivery of the care from the patients they directly serve. PFACs can be a meaningful approach to keeping the patient voice at the center of it all.


In fact, Healthcentric Advisors has a PFAC that shapes our own materials and resources that we’ve been actively working with for six years. It has representation from across New England, and we’re committed to making sure they have a say in the work we do.


We can’t meet in person now, but because of our PFAC has been meeting virtually for many years, we’re lucky to have the infrastructure set up to continue to meet. We’re always looking to add voices to the fray and encourage folks to reach out to us to learn more.


Here is a link to the complete story: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/warning-speed-bumps-ahead,5930

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 News as of 08/11?20 of 5:18am

>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The victim of a weekend crash on Block Island has been identified.  One new coronavirus death was reported in the Ocean State this past weekend.  The Republican Party wants the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on a waiver of Rhode Island mail-ballot voting requirements.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Block Island Crash Victim ID'd, Driver Due In Court Today

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  The teen boy who was killed in a crash on Block Island on Sunday has been identified.  The victim had previously been listed as 17, but authorities have since said it was a 16-year-old, Jackson Panus of Southport, Connecticut.  The driver, also reportedly a juvenile, is facing a Family Court hearing today after she was charged with DUI and driving to endanger resulting in death.

>>Man Dies At Hospital After Incident On Newport Shoreline

(Newport, RI)  --  A man jumped off rocks at a shoreline point in Newport yesterday and went under after he got knocked back by a wave while climbing out of the water.  That's according to the state Department of Environmental Management, which says the 25-year-old Providence man was reportedly with a group on the north end of the Brenton Point area.  He was pronounced dead at Newport Hospital.  The DEM said jumping and diving are prohibited in the area and called the incident tragic.  The death is being investigated by the RI Environmental Police and local authorities in Newport.

>>One New Coronavirus Death Reported In RI This Past Weekend

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health updated the state's coronavirus statistics on Monday to one-thousand-fifteen deaths and nineteen-thousand-934 cases.  Over the weekend, there was one new death and one-hundred-76 new cases.  The Health Department said the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals rose to ninety-three.

>>Coronavirus: School Outbreak Playbook, State Police Hotline Ringing, New Device Approved

(Undated)  --  Here's a roundup of coronavirus headlines in Rhode Island.  The state health and education departments on Friday released an Outbreak Response Playbook to provide guidance to school districts on how to respond to various COVID-19 scenarios.  The Rhode Island State Police says a new hotline set up for people to report social gathering violations has received over four-hundred calls in less than a week; state police have found several guilty gatherings, but officials say no citations have been issued so far, according to a report from WPRI-TV.  And, the U.S. FDA last week issued an emergency authorization for a unique type of ventilator device that has been developed by two RI companies, Lombardi Undersea and Subsalve USA.

>>Republicans Take RI Voting Change To Supreme Court

(Washington, DC)  --  The Republican Party is going to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop a change in mail-ballot voting in Rhode Island this year.  The requirement of two witnesses or a notary signature is being waived because of concerns about voters who are vulnerable to the coronavirus having that kind of in-person interaction.  The GOP argues that removing the requirement could lead to voter fraud.  The Republican Party's attempt to get a stay against the witness/notary rule suspension was rejected by a federal appeals court on Friday.

>>Piping Plover Chick Reportedly Dies After Being Removed By Vacationers

(Westerly, RI)  --  A piping plover chick that was taken from a nest in Westerly last week died, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  It was apparently taken by vacationers from Massachusetts, who took it to a wildlife rehabilitator when it began to show signs of being in poor health before it was further transferred and eventually died.  The USFWS is reminding the public not to disturb or interfere with plovers even if they appear "orphaned", as that is usually not actually the case.  The agency notes there are about eighty-five breeding pairs of the protected species in Rhode Island.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) CT) MA) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-11-2020 00:11:28

Be a Lifesaver - Learn CPR emergency skills, virtually

Be a lifesaver – Learn CPR, emergency skills, virtually

August 10, 2020/RINewsToday


Get off the couch, turn the video games off, and spend one evening learning CPR and how to respond to a medical emergency.


August 10, 6-9pm – Virtual


This is a 3.5 hour online course via a ZOOM Meeting format. This course will teach you how to take care of a loved one, friend, or complete stranger. We review CPR for the Adult, Child, and Infant victim, along with what to do if they choke. The medical emergency section reviews heart attack and stroke, diabetic emergency, seizure, and breathing difficulties. Injury section teaches what to do if some receives a cut or scrape, burn, or broken bone. Finally, we review how to take care of bee stings and environmental emergencies, such as hypothermia and heat stroke.


After this portion of the class is done, the instructure will set up a quick practical skills evaluation, which takes less than 10 minutes. There is no written test (no worries!).


You receive a 2 year certification card and a digital copy of the textbook. The cost of the program will be $50.00 per student. Discounts for multiple family members in the same home.


Because of the ongoing pandemic that we are all dealing with, online training in the comfort of your own home is becoming more popular. Pass this information onto your friends. The more people that are trained, the possibility of someone getting helped that needs it can happen!


Sign up here: https://bit.ly/3gIkGsA


Hosted by Torrey Enterprises, LLC



A Lively Experiement with Jim Hummel & Guests

A Lively Experiment with Jim Hummel & Guests

August 10, 2020/RINewsToday


This week’s Lively Experiment features, with Jim Hummel, Executive Director of The Hummel Report, Moderator:


Panel Members:
Jim Hummel – Moderator
Lisa Pelosi – Republican strategist
Ed Fitzpatrick– Boston Globe
Keith Stokes – 1696 Heritage Group


Program content:
Education – Back to School – Black History and changing state name –


Coronavirus Hotline


A Lively Experiment airs on RIPBS Fridays at 7pm, Saturdays at 7pm, and Sundays at noon.


A major sponsor is John Hazen White, Jr., Taco


Here is this week’s show:



Rhode News as of 08/10/20 of 4:58am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest sports news:  Red Sox walk off Jays on Moreland's second homer.  Celtics outlast Magic in OT.  Bruins clipped by Caps in round-robin finale.
>>Red Sox Walk Off Jays On Moreland's Second Homer
(Boston, MA)  --  Mitch Moreland homered twice, including a two-run shot in the ninth, as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-3 at Fenway Park.  Rafael Devers also went deep as Boston won for the third time in four games.  Nathan Eovaldi [[ ee-VAHL-ee ]] fanned 10 over six innings of three-run ball in a no-decision.  Matt Barnes got the win.
>>Red Sox Host Rays Tonight
(Boston, MA)  --  The Red Sox welcome the Rays to town tonight for the start of a four-game series.  Boston has yet to name its starter, while Tampa Bay hands he ball to Ryan Yarbrough.  The BoSox beat Yarbrough 5-0 in St. Pete last week.  Boston is fourth in the AL East at 6-and-9, three-and-a-half games behind the first-place Yankees.
>>Celtics Outlast Magic In OT
(Orlando, FL)  --  Gordon Hayward scored 31 points as the Celtics outlasted the Magic 122-119 in overtime in Orlando.  Jayson Tatum added 29 points for Boston, including the game-tying basket at the end of regulation.  The Celtics were already locked into the third seed in the East after Toronto won earlier.  Boston plays Memphis tomorrow.
>>Former Celtics Star Westphal Battling Brain Cancer
(Undated)  --  Former Celtics star Paul Westphal is battling brain cancer.  New York Daily News and MLB.com columnist Mike Lupica tweeted that his longtime friend gave him permission to reveal he's been diagnosed with glioblastoma.  Westphal had a storied playing and coaching career.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame last year.
>>Bruins Clipped By Caps In Round-Robin Finale
(Toronto, Ontario)  --  The Bruins lost 2-1 to the Capitals in their final game in round-robin play.  Jake DeBrusk scored Boston's lone goal midway through the third.  The Bruins settle for the fourth seed in the East and will clash with the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Game One of the best-of-seven is tomorrow.
>>Sun Play Dream Tonight
(Bradenton, FL)  --  The Sun will try for their second win of the season tonight against the Dream in Bradenton, Florida.  Connecticut followed up its first win of the season with a 100-93 loss to Chicago on Saturday.  The Sun are tied with the Liberty for the worst record in the league at 1-and-6.  Atlanta enters tonight 2-and-5 on the year.
>>Patriots Trade For Lions CB Jackson
(Foxborough, MA)  --  The Patriots are adding more depth to their secondary.  They've acquired cornerback Michael Jackson from the Lions.  New England surrenders an undisclosed 2022 draft pick to Detroit in the exchange.  The Pats did not need to make a roster move to add Jackson with multiple openings following COVID-19 player opt-outs.
>>Power 5 Conferences Could Cancel Football, Fall Sports
(Undated)  --  Major college football and other fall sports could be in jeopardy.  ESPN reports Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting Sunday, with growing concern over the ability to play due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Big Ten presidents are in favor of pulling the plug, but want to see if the other conferences will follow.
Rick Maklebust/ae SPT)  MA)  RI)  CT)  NH)  VT)  ME) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-10-2020 00:19:20

Opinion: RI must do better by people with I/DD

Opinion: RI must do better by people with I/DD

August 8, 2020/RINewsToday


By Terri Cortvriend to Developmental Disability News, Gina Macris, founder


The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hardest the areas and populations that were already struggling, since they had the fewest resources for adaptation and safety. We’ve seen the outsized effects on the poor and on minorities. Another group that it has been disproportionately hurt is adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD).


Here in Rhode Island, adults with I/DD have not been provided adequate resources for many years. Before the pandemic, a federal judge was already mulling the possibility of ordering further overhaul of our troubled system of services. And then the pandemic shut down most day programs and employment opportunities, leaving this very vulnerable population without critical supports. Residents and underpaid staff at group homes have been at risk for illness, and those living at home face isolation and a reduction or loss of in-home support services. Agencies that serve them, which have mostly operated on the financial brink for years, are in danger of going under permanently.


The challenges of the pandemic and recovery from it threaten the already sub-par progress the state has made toward fixing this system. A Senate task force led by my colleague and fellow Aquidneck Islander, Sen. Louis DiPalma, has been shedding light on the obstacles, which include a fee-for-service structure that discourages innovation and integration.


Rhode Island must do better for its residents with I/DD. Every individual served is a deserving person whose needs include meaningful activities that support their personal goals and a valued role in their communities.


I urge my colleagues in the House to get on board with the Senate, where Sen. DiPalma has long worked to call attention to the need for better funding and a more workable system of supports for adults with I/DD. We need to join him in fully recognizing and supporting the importance of the work that must be done to provide enriching and effective services to Rhode Islanders with I/DD. We may be deeply ashamed of our state’s history – from the not so distant past – of “dumping” people with I/DD at the notorious Ladd School, but have we really come very far if we are not providing them with the means they need to have a fulfilling life in the community?


RI State Representative Terri Cortvriend, a Democrat, represents District 72 in Portsmouth and Middletown.



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. 

Opinion: RI must do better by people with I/DD

Opinion: RI must do better by people with I/DD

August 8, 2020/RINewsToday


By Terri Cortvriend to Developmental Disability News, Gina Macris, founder


The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hardest the areas and populations that were already struggling, since they had the fewest resources for adaptation and safety. We’ve seen the outsized effects on the poor and on minorities. Another group that it has been disproportionately hurt is adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD).


Here in Rhode Island, adults with I/DD have not been provided adequate resources for many years. Before the pandemic, a federal judge was already mulling the possibility of ordering further overhaul of our troubled system of services. And then the pandemic shut down most day programs and employment opportunities, leaving this very vulnerable population without critical supports. Residents and underpaid staff at group homes have been at risk for illness, and those living at home face isolation and a reduction or loss of in-home support services. Agencies that serve them, which have mostly operated on the financial brink for years, are in danger of going under permanently.


The challenges of the pandemic and recovery from it threaten the already sub-par progress the state has made toward fixing this system. A Senate task force led by my colleague and fellow Aquidneck Islander, Sen. Louis DiPalma, has been shedding light on the obstacles, which include a fee-for-service structure that discourages innovation and integration.


Rhode Island must do better for its residents with I/DD. Every individual served is a deserving person whose needs include meaningful activities that support their personal goals and a valued role in their communities.


I urge my colleagues in the House to get on board with the Senate, where Sen. DiPalma has long worked to call attention to the need for better funding and a more workable system of supports for adults with I/DD. We need to join him in fully recognizing and supporting the importance of the work that must be done to provide enriching and effective services to Rhode Islanders with I/DD. We may be deeply ashamed of our state’s history – from the not so distant past – of “dumping” people with I/DD at the notorious Ladd School, but have we really come very far if we are not providing them with the means they need to have a fulfilling life in the community?


RI State Representative Terri Cortvriend, a Democrat, represents District 72 in Portsmouth and Middletown.



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. 

Sunday is the last day to register to VOTE for RI Primary

Sunday is the last day to register to VOTE for RI primary

August 7, 2020/RINewsToday


Feel stronger than you ever have about issues that are impacting your family? If there’s one thing the pandemic has done is make us all less apathetic about the systems, leaders, and issues around us.




What will you need?


You will need a RI Driver’s License or RI State ID to register to vote online or update your existing record.


If you do not have a RI Driver’s License of RI State ID, the Office of Voter Registration will generate a form for you to print and mail to your local Board of Canvassers.


Party Affiliation: Make your selection on the online voter registration form, or select “Unaffiliated”.


Important: Under the federal Help America Vote Act, if you are a first-time applicant for voter registration in Rhode Island you must provide either your valid driver’s license number or valid RI ID number issued by the RI Division of Motor Vehicles. If you have not been issued a valid RI driver’s license or RI ID number, you must provide the last 4 digits of your social security number. If you gave not been issued either, then please indicate that on the form after you have printed it from the OVR..


If you do not provide this information or your driver’s license or social security number cannot be verified, you will be required to present one of the forms of identification listed below at the time of registration, prior to voting or at the time of voting. Non-photo identification must have the voter’s name and address on it. If you indicate on the form that you have not been issued a Social Security number or a RI driver’s license, you will still need to present identification at the polls.


Here are two links to learn more and to start to register – yes! you can register ON-LINE.






If you miss the voter registration for the September Primary, you will have until October 4th to register for the November General Election – when we vote for President.



Here is a link to all sample ballots for cities/towns in Rhode Island:




To request a mail ballot, you must print this form, complete it and mail it by August 18th.



GriefSpeak: A stroke of genius

GriefSpeak: A stroke of genius

August 7, 2020/Mari Dias


GriefSpeak:  “A stroke of genius”


By: Mari Dias


She said she was grieving due to a loss of words. Not voice. Words. Her name is Rosetta, aptly named after the stone.  Whether hieroglyphics or shorthand, the stone “represents a crucial key in the process of encoding information.” Rosetta is a stunning 60-year-old woman, (although one would never guess her age by her appearance), as she is an old soul with young, porcelain skin unmarked by years of deep thinking, which resulted in many stellar poems and lyrics. She is bilingual, and for many years has been an avid logophile, (lover of words), bibliophile (lover of books/reading and melophilia (lover of music).


Rosetta was always a unique girl/woman given that she is an old soul. She seems to carry generations of knowledge and thoughts, (similar to Jung’s collective unconscious), acquired through her reading and writing. She shared this gift with her students in her English classes in an attempt to impress them with words, with writing, with the beauty of music, with her demanding philosophy for perfection. “Art does not imitate life. Life does not imitate Art.” “Life is Art, Art is life.”


She adores the classics, the rich treasure trove of words strung together in a sentence that makes the reader weep in despair or cry in ecstasy. This is her legacy. Her words. Her brilliance in describing the mere mundane with a vocabulary stoked from years of reading.


Until she couldn’t.


Rosetta suffered a stroke. She stopped teaching. She loss interest and patience in reading. She hesitated when searching for lyrics. Following a great deal of speech and physical therapy, she began to resemble the Rosetta everyone loved and admired; however, she knew her suffering from aphasia/dysphasia (lack of language/impaired language) is a roadblock that seems permanent.  She regained her voice, yet still struggles to find her words.


How often have we heard the phrase “I’m at a loss for words” or “I can’t seem to find the right word”, as if all words are simply free-floating fireflies in our brain and all we need do is shine a flashlight to identify the ‘right word”. The Aha! Moment. Rosetta found her flashlight, but it shines dim as she searches the recesses of her mind for “the right word.” This search is more like a scavenger hunt for her now.


Rosetta is one of the most brilliant women I know. She possesses an innate ability to maximize her skills of introspection and insight. She ephemerally knows people on a deeper level. Yet, she is often frustrated and lacks confidence in pinpointing a word that was once on the tip of her tongue. Sometimes searching for words results in a blank thought.


I love this woman. I loved her before the stroke and love her now, still. After the stroke. I think this true of many who have witnessed a loved one struggle with the results of a stroke. Fortunately, Rosetta can speak, walk, swallow, eat, and with little effort, write a text. She can think. She can mostly remember. Yet her cache of words that defined some of what she was, are lost to her.


That’s what loss is. Losing someone or something so valuable that is taken for granted until it’s gone.


Many people today are dealing with the loss of their voices and/or words. Not from a stroke, but from fear of repercussion from friends, family, and society over political views. I don’t know which is worse, more life-changing and more frustrating – the literal or metaphorical loss. Yet thanatologists remind us that a loss is a loss is a loss, despite the cause, the emotional effects are the same.


For Rosetta, I know her so well that I can often provide her with her own words- the ones she cannot seem to find. I know how she thinks, as well as the language in which she thinks. Both languages.


She is still a logophile, a discerning bibliophile and always a melophile. She is my soul sister and we share our soul sister’s sacred secrets. This one I share with you.

Mari Dias-min

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

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

Honor, sacrifice, loyalty and courage

Honor, sacrifice, loyalty and courage

August 7, 2020/Michael Morse


by Michael Morse, contributing writer


The police make it possible for people like me to enjoy a night out with minimal risk of being robbed, assaulted, carjacked, or murdered. They make it possible for me and people like me to leave my home for hours, days or weeks, and come home to a place that is just the way I left it. They allow me the luxury of not having to carry a gun. They let me drive my car with relative ease, not having to worry too much about drunk, stoned, unlicensed, unregistered, and uninsured people with no regard for the safety of others. They do their best to keep child molesters away from my kids, and sexual predators away from my wife.

They do all of that, and I haven’t even scratched the surface.


It is imperative that each and every one of us who understands what it takes to take care of our way of life support the police any way we can, show them kindness and respect, and absolutely, powerfully, and if needed, aggressively defend them from the current wave of anti-police sentiment. 

Those who are protesting the police are protesting against the people who keep this country moving toward a better life for us, our children and our future. They are protesting us. 


Firefighters from Hingham, Massachusetts were flying a thin blue flag on some of their trucks in honor of Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna who was killed in the line of duty. A citizen complained, claims he was offended by the flag because of police brutality. The firefighters were ordered to remove it. 


So, they did.


From the Boston Herald –


“Now, the Professional Fire Fighters Association of Massachusetts will send one of the flags to unions around the state to be hung in a show of solidarity with their public safety brethren. The flag will be presented to Chesna’s family after making the rounds, while the other two fly at Weymouth Police headquarters.


“We take our line-of-duty deaths very seriously; we never forget. So, for us, it had special meaning,” Richard MacKinnon Jr., president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts union, told the Boston Herald. “I realize that things mean different things to different people, but for us that’s what the flag meant — to memorialize Sgt. Chesna.”


So when somebody tells you the thin blue flag offends them, here’s what you do; tell the people who are hurt by this flag that it represents honor, sacrifice, loyalty and courage, and it will fly wherever those who respect it damn well please.


Michael Morse spent 23 years as a firefighter/EMT with the Providence Fire Department before retiring in 2013 as Captain, Rescue Co. 5. He is an author of several books, most offering fellow firefighter/EMTs and the general population alike a poignant glimpse into one person’s journey through life, work and hope for the future. He is a Warwick resident.

Rhode Island News as of 08/06/20 of 7:58am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: National Grid almost has power back on for everyone in Rhode Island after this week's tropical storm.  Governor Raimondo talking about school re-opening at her weekly coronavirus briefing on Wednesday.  A former Patriarca Family associate is starting a sentence at the ACI.

>>Tropical Storm Isaias Outage Update

(Undated)  --  National Grid as of 2 a.m. this morning reports there are 28-hundred customers without power in Rhode Island following Tropical Storm Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahs ]] on Tuesday.  National Grid said yesterday it has restored power to over 85 percent of customers impacted by the storm and anticipated most service would be restored last night.  As of Thursday morning, Cranston, Providence and Cumberland were the areas of Rhode Island with the most remaining outages.

>>Three School Districts Could Not Fully Reopen If Class Started Now

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo says if school started right now, the cities of Central Falls, Providence and Pawtucket would be the only three school districts that could not fully re-open schools for in-person learning.  The governor touched on school re-opening at her coronavirus press briefing on Wednesday, explaining the metric that has been determined for municipality readiness.  To fully re-open, Rhode Island cities and towns must have a weekly case incidence rate of fewer than one-hundred cases per one-hundred-thousand residents, according to the governor.

>>Hearing Held On Rhode Island Mail-Ballot Requirement Change

(Providence, RI)  --  Three federal justices heard arguments on Thursday on a Republican challenge to a change to Rhode Island's requirements for submitting mail-ballots to vote.  The state GOP and National Republican Committee argued in the appeals court hearing that allowing people to vote without getting two witnesses or one notary signature could lead to voter fraud.  The argument from the groups that sued the state to make the change this year was that the requirement would endanger those who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.

>>Photos Published Of Suspects In Providence Police Car Arson

(Providence, RI)  --  The FBI is publishing photos of two men said to be suspects in the arson of a Providence police cruiser during a riot incident in early June.  This was part of the violence that broke out after what appeared to be a Black Lives Matter protest organized in front of the Providence Place Mall.  The FBI is offering a reward of up to ten-thousand dollars for information leading to an arrest.

>>Former Patriarca Associate's Sentence Starts

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office is announcing the delayed start of a five-year sentence in the ACI for a Cranston man's role in a brutal assault.  Anthony Parrillo had been sentenced in 2016 for the 2011 crime, but was free on bail during his appeal of the conviction to the RI Supreme Court, which affirmed the conviction in June, according to the A.G.'s office.  Parrillo was accused of participating in the assault of a married couple behind Club 295 in Federal Hill, Providence, where he worked as a manager.  The state says Parrillo was a known associate of the Patriarca crime family in the 1980s.

>>State Rep Reacts To Federal Hunting Decision In Her District

(Narragansett, RI)  --  Rhode Island State Representative Teresa Tanzi is reacting to a decision on hunting and fishing plans in federal wildlife refuges in the Ocean State.  Tanzi says in a statement, she's relieved that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eliminated the Mumford Unit of the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge in Narragansett from its proposal to expand hunting in the refuge.  Tanzi said the area is very inappropriate for hunting as it is near a school and a bike path.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-07-2020 00:31:07

State, Feds Withholding Millions from RI Cities and Towns

State, Feds Withholding Millions from RI Cities and Towns

August 6, 2020/RINewsToday


Federal Relief Funds shared to date by the State with R.I. Municipalities: $0.00 – but that’s not all


Rhode Island is only one of three states not to provide financial assistance to local governments to combat COVID-19 and address its financial impacts, the R.I. League of Cities and Towns revealed today. Combined with other municipal budget challenges caused by the state and federal governments, property taxpayers across the state may be left to fill the multi-million-dollar gaps left by the “COVID Trifecta.” The Trifecta includes:


1. None of Rhode Island’s federal Coronavirus Relief Fund ($1.25 billion) has been allocated to local communities;


2. The State of Rhode Island is withholding millions in lump sum budget allocations required by state law; and,


3. Municipalities have been warned to expect long delays with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursements for COVID-19 disaster relief.


An August 3 study from the National League of Cities found that only Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey had not provided Federal emergency relief aid to local governments. Communities have already incurred expenses and await reimbursement from FEMA, which could take months or years. The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) may be used to pay for some of those expenses and other costs not covered by FEMA.


At the same time, the State is withholding $42.2 million in PILOT funding (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) to cities and towns. These payments are required by law to be paid in full on July 31stfor expenses incurred in the prior year, but the State announced late last Thursday, July 30, that it plans to make less than 10% of the payments. PILOT funds compensate municipalities for tax revenues that cities and towns do not collect from certain property owned by the State and health and education non-profits. Cities and towns plan their budgets around receiving full PILOT aid on July 31, which has been the practice for many years. The State is also reducing the expected August 1streimbursementfor the quarterly motor vehicle tax phase-out by $14.6 million.


“Delaying these state payments will lead to serious financial challenges for some communities,” said Central Falls Mayor and League President James Diossa. “Adding insult to injury, the State of Rhode has received $1.25 billion in Federal funds to address COVID-19, and cities and towns haven’t received a penny,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. “Cities and towns have been working day and night to provide public safety services, enforce state guidelines and keep local government running, yet they have received none of Rhode Island’s $1.25 billion.”


“Now the State is withholding funds that communities were counting on,” he added. “It is unacceptable that cities and towns have been left to fend for themselves.” Cranston was set to receive $4.8 million in PILOT funds last week and $2.5 million in motor vehicle tax payments. Instead, it received only $1.2 million, or $6.1 million less than expected.


Since the State did not pass a budget before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, cities and towns do not know how much aid local governments and schools can expect. Mayors and town managers have been tracking this issue for months and requesting updates from Governor’s Raimondo’s office on a regular basis in case alternative budget plans had to be made. School districts did receive education aid payments on time, but some state education funding formula payments were substituted with Federal funds. Now, communities are being required to apply for these Federal funds, instead of receiving them directly, causing further budget headaches.


“At the 11th hour, the State has reneged on its budget obligations,” said North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi. “The State has received $1.25 billion dollars in stimulus funds from Congress and borrowed $300 million in emergency funds, and yet cities and towns have been left out of the equation. Rhode Island’s dual battles against COVID-19 and to avoid a painful fiscal crisis will be effective only if all levels of government work together.”


In Washington, D.C., Congress has been negotiating an additional stimulus package, but has not reached agreement and is currently in recess. U.S. Senate Republicans released the HEALS Act –a $1 trillion stimulus bill to address the impacts of COVID-19, which does not include any direct funding for cities and towns. However, the Senate bill allows states to use the Coronavirus Relief Fund (RI received $1.25 billion) for revenue replacement/deficit reduction at the state level only if it distributes 25% of relief funds to local governments. The House-passed the$3 trillion HEROES Act, which included $375 billion in payments to local governments.


“With successful efforts being made in other states via the strategic distribution of CRF funds, its critical need to strengthen local cities and towns has been recognized. With Rhode Island’s dependence on property tax and a job market grounded in the hospitality industry, this economic impact will lag and affect our recovery over the next two years,” said Andrew Nota, East Greenwich Town Manager.


Nota further stated, “This ‘COVID Trifecta’ will place an enormous burden on property taxpayers and needed services in the midst of a recession, if action doesn’t occur soon. The responsibility for Rhode Island’s mounting property tax burden rests squarely at the State House –and these actions will only make things more difficult moving forward.”


Rhode Island cities and towns have incurred millions of dollars in costs to fight COVID-19, such as public safety personnel, protective equipment and enforcement of state and local orders, while repositioning their city and town halls to continue to serve residents. Many communities are still incurring costs and will have to do so while the virus is still active. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has informed communities that local leaders can expect delays in reimbursements.

National Portuguese group speaks out on "discriminatory action against the Portuguese people of RI"

National Portuguese group speaks out on “discriminatory action against the Portuguese people of RI”


August 6, 2020/Nancy Thomas


Attempts to remove Portuguese people from the Rhode Island MBE List – Minority Business Enterprise – has gotten the attention of the national group, PALCUS.


The bill was sponsored by Representative Anastasia Williams, and it is now before the House Labor Committee. Williams is chair of that committee.


PALCUS released this statement to their members, and has sent letters to all RI legislators as well:


“In our view, this is a blatantly DISCRIMINATORY action against the Portuguese people of Rhode Island. At 9.7% of the population, the Portuguese are clearly a minority, can be of any race, and are part of the immigrant population of the state.


PALCUS has informed every Representative serving in the RI House of Representatives of this situation and, thus far, have received a number of responses voicing strong opposition to the bill.”


PALCUS is The Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States and their members have rallied behind the issue.



Here is the link to the complete newsletter with operational links:




What is PALCUS?



PALCUS Mission
In order to create a singular voice to advocate  for the Portuguese-American and Luso-American communities at large, the Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States Inc. (PALCUS) was founded in 1991 as a non-partisan, non-profit, organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. 


The PALCUS mission is to address domestic and international concerns of the Portuguese-American Community.


The Council conducts an expanding program of educational and public affairs activities on issues of interest to the Portuguese-American community and of salience to the Luso-American Relationship.

PALCUS is committed to serving the community through increasingly active government relations efforts, the promotion of a greater awareness of ethnic accomplishments and encouraging stronger ties between Portugal and the United States. In this role PALCUS advances the community professionally, politically and culturally while working to ensure that issues directly affecting our community are addressed through our network of government and community leaders.

PALCUS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization under the IRS tax code and  incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia.  Donations are tax deductible to extent allowed by law and will be acknowledged.


Learn more about PALCUS, here: https://www.palcus.org/


Here is a link to the original article done by RINewsToday:

Your Coronavirus Update - Today - August 6, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – August 6, 2020

August 6, 2020/RINewsToday


Graphic: RI State Police hotline set up for individuals to report on violating social gatherings (not an official logo of the “Large Gathering Task Force Hotline”)




MAINE Unity: Staff and children at day care facilities must now wear masks per new guidelines from the state. The guidelines require mask use for children ages 5 and older and recommend it for those 2 through 4,


Dr. Oxiris Barbot, NYC’s health commissioner since 2018 — resigned in protest over the mayor’s decision-making.


Local volunteers have received their first injections in the large, final stage trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate created by Cambridge-based Moderna.


Four “Station Casinos” resorts in southern Nevada may have closed for good.


Anticipated another work slow down or shut down, many retail companies are hiring back only some of their full time workers, opting to hire others on an as-needed, or temporary basis.


Maine state officials are investigating a group of positive coronavirus cases among blueberry workers – the 3rd such outbreak in the industry.


Connecticut has formed an online portal to help those who need housing assistance during the COVID-19 crisis.


In MA, Concord Coach Lines, Dartmouth Coach, and Boston Express will be running again on Aug. 16, including service to Logan.


The U.S.S. Constitution and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum in Boston plan to reopen this Friday


The MBTA is adding 23 routes, and cutting service to low ridership lines.


Smith College has changed its plans for the fall semester and will now offer all courses remotely.


Walmart is offering drive-in movies in their parking lots at over 100 stores


Warnings for pet owners and PPE items such as masks – masks have a wire in the bridge that can puncture the gastrointestinal tract and lead to really serious sepsis, if eaten, and pets, especially cats, are drawn to chewing and eating the strings, as well.


NYC checkpoints to stop travelers from the over 30 states, including RI, will be set up at different entry points each day starting with Penn Station today. There will be “a random element” and every sixth or eighth car on a bridge might be checked. Fines of $10K are talked about.


Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia have announced a bipartisan interstate compact to purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests. RI is not part of this group.


In the NBA bubble no new cases for the 3rd week


NCAA Div. II and III have canceled season – Div I, has yet to decide.


How to find a bathroom in the times of pandemic! (or…what can you do when you can’t…) https://lat.ms/2XuSO3y


Massachusetts has fallen outside of its own 10% case rate as it imposes restrictions on travel in from other states.


The Rockettes will not be performing this season.


91 members of an Ohio church came down with coronavirus after attending a service with one positive person.


Argosy Cruises has suspended service – and their popular Emerald City Christmas Cruise – until 2021.


UConn Football Season will not happen this year.


Wall Street’s big rally keeps rolling, and the S& P 500 rose for a fourth straight day Wednesday to sit just 1.7% below its record.


Virus testing is dropping around the country, even as death numbers rise.


Photographers and other wedding vendors are desperate to work after the coronavirus put an abrupt end to their incomes and feel compelled to put on their masks, grab their cameras and hope for the best.


Virgin Atlantic, the airline founded by British businessman Richard Branson, filed Tuesday for protection in U.S. bankruptcy court as it tries to survive the virus pandemic that is hammering the airline industry. Branson said bankruptcy is a tool that allows them to reorganize.


Novavax’s 1st-stage coronavirus vaccine study finds all volunteers developed viral antibodies


No-mask weddings, no social distancing and dance floors prohibited in many states have been the talk of online groups for vendors around the country.


The University of Michigan is telling students to check their temperature twice a day and avoid social gatherings, work and public transportation for 14 days before returning to Ann Arbor.


Joe Biden and speakers will not go to the Democratic National Convention out of concern for the virus and to keep people safe




Newport Creamery in Newport closed until Spring, 2021


Johnson & Wales University announced July 29 that it has updated its learning plans for the fall semester, which includes most classes to be taught online.


Roger Williams Park Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular will be drive through only this year – tickets are on sale TODAY.


More restaurants in violation listed by RI: Morse Tavern, Coventry – Portsmouth Publick House, Portsmouth – Asian Bakery, Providence.


RI Interscholastic League’s plan, football — along with field hockey, boys and girls soccer and girls and unified volleyball — will not begin their seasons on the Sept. 14. If Raimondo’s guidelines change, it reads that the RIIL could add those fall sports back to the schedule. If not, the league has a plan that could potentially see four seasons of high school sports for 2020-21.


Given new metrics to open schools in RI, only Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence could not reopen.


Mayflower II will not be stopping in Newport – it will stay in New Bedford – this is because of coronavirus restrictions.


While bar AREAS must close at 11pm starting Friday, they can continue to serve drinks – and food – to patrons seated at tables in RI. Strict “bars” without food, not operating under restaurant guidelines, cannot be reopened yet.


A Black Lives Matter protest of over 100 people happened in downtown Providence yesterday, most were seen wearing masks and some social distancing.


The RI Family Court will offer night sessions to address its backlog of cases from when courts were closed because of the coronavirus.


A new RI smartphone app is connecting fishermen and consumers who want to buy directly from the source, according to the University of Rhode Island and several partners – FishLIne on your iphone or android.


RI’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted at a 40.6% annualized rate from April through June, harder hit than most parts of the US, which are around 34%.


RI’s Tourism Industry is responding to the Governor’s address requiring them to enforce the new travel policy – Hospitality Assoc is assisting local hotels comply.


Governor’s address:




Data: 84 new cases; 1 Death (80 y.o.)


Variance in # of new cases – we had one day with 50s, some in 70s, and some days over 100….because of that we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can. Fatality numbers have been lower. Three days with 0 deaths. Some days there are deaths.


Overview of case investigations: Common threads –


One trend: 12% of positive cases reported recent travel – Fl, Northeast, Midwest.  Academic & Media Organizations are doing data analyses – other states – MA are using this data – not apples to apples data.  Working hard to see how to compare data.


Another trend: people 20 to 39, some younger, some older, continue to be a challenge to get them to take responsibility for their actions. Making choices to wear a mask can be a challenge. Want to help this group understand that they can be positive without symptoms. Sign up portalri.gov starting tonight for a test.


Another thread: reluctance to provide information to contact tracers – info is always kept confidential.


Social gatherings: beaches, bars, BBQs, churches, etc. – if you are in a crowd without a mask the risk of COVID19 being passed is extremely high. Key is to have citizens report these events. State, city, local. There will be people in the community providing masks and hand sanitizers and to tell people if their group is too large. Need people from all parts of society to participate.


Travel restrictions: NY, NJ, CT, MA put travel restrictions on people who come in from RI. Each state has own specific rules. Doesn’t apply for shopping within the day, commuters, essential workers. Good thing because less we are traveling the better. We need to do better because our numbers are going up (mask wearing, distancing). This will hurt our economy – people will think twice before coming here for a restaurant, etc. We are still below 3%, still testing more than any other state in US, still below 3%. RI is at a turning point – we want to get kids back to school; people back to work – RI is teetering – very fragile place. We have a choice right now. We need to clamp down ourselves and get more serious.


New Restrictions: “If we don’t follow we’ll be back next week with even stronger rules.” –


Traveler Testing: Some people were planning to go away for this weekend – as of this afternoon, we are making it easier to get a rapid test – portal.ri.gov – planning to travel to another state – you can get tested at the Convention Center and RI will try to get results in 24 hours.


Enforcement of our own out of state quarantine order: More than 11% of our cases traced back to out of state travel – we need to do more to stop others from coming in from 33 states with percent positive rate of more than 5% – or quarantine or test.  Go to reopeningRI.com for list. Updated daily. (Non-work related purposes). Starting Sunday, anyone from those states will sign a certificate of compliance saying they will quarantine or they have been tested. (includes beach house rentals in RI). Similar to what they are doing in Maine. RI National Guard will go to airport and train station – asking travelers, handing out info, more signage.


Bars: Continue to see bars are a problem by looking at the data.  20% of bars at restaurants were still not separating the bartender from the customer. Many voices saying to shut down all bar areas. May do this next week, but starting Friday, no bars can operate after 11pm. Restaurants that have a bar can stay open, but bar area must be closed. Inspectors will be out in force. Ramping up inspection. If this doesn’t work, will shut bar areas down completely next week. On ReopeningRI – Thursday – everything will be listed – might also include roped off requirements.


Social Gatherings: Limit is 15 people – should not have 25 people, etc. Should be same 15 people. Wear masks. Enforcement will increase. Setting up new Crush Covid unit at the RI State Police to shut down social gatherings. If you see violations, reach out and let people know. Call 764-5554. Do your civic duty because you see an event too big, without masks, etc. Fine for violating is up to $500 each. If you are at a party, close together, more than 15, no masks, each person can be fined. Encourage people to stay outside.


Testing: Good news – RI is contracting with Dominion Diagnostics and Accureference Labs will massively expand capacity and guaranteed 48 hour turnaround time. By next month Dominion will increase capacity to 7,000 tests per day – added to existing it would be 9,000 per day. This will be key piece of the puzzle to get kids back to school.


Asymptomatic Testing: – 18-39 years old – go to portalri.gov – go there and sign up for a free test.


Crush Covid App – More than 70,000 have downloaded it. New version.


Schools – Reviewed data and requirements to open schools – 5 key areas: statewide data, municipal data, testing, supplies (PPE), operational readiness (facilities). To fully reopen, each municipality must have less than 100 new cases per 100,000 people, or they will have to go with a more limited options. Today 3 municipalities could not open – Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Providence. They would move to a partial reopening plan – the rest of the state would fully open. Go to: BackToSchoolRI.com for details. Final announcements August 16th based on previous week’s data. Great plans submitted by Tiverton, Smithfield, Scituate and Middletown for their plans – you can go online and review what they came up with.


Commission of Education Infante-Green:


Little Compton and other schools (ICS) have proposed a tent for fresh air breaks. Name of the game is flexibility.


Dr. Scott:


COVID Management Protocol Guide for Schools: to prevent cases and how to work with RIDOH when a case is identified.




Did RI try to lobby Massachusetts to not do this?  No, rules are rules. Will talk to Johns Hopkins to see if their data could more accurately reflect the actual data. Gov. was disappointed and will work as hard as possible to get off the list. RI is just a hair over.


Crush Covid Unit – was it in place before MA ban?  Gov. says they have been talking about doing this for a few weeks.


Fall Sports – this afternoon – pretty consistent – tennis, cross country, non-contact allowed, others to play later today. RIIL will put it out.


How is being on this don’t travel list a good thing? Gov. said she doesn’t want to be on this list because it is bad for business – but it is good for


Is it just Pawt/CF/Prov residents’ behavior  that is ruining it for the whole state? Dr. Scott said no, that’s not true. People are transporting all around cities/towns.


Except for these 3 communities, all other districts should be able to go back to school? – only one measure is an incidence rate – but there are other things to be done before they can go back.


Hotline – if I see a group of 100 I should turn in this group when I call the RI State Police?  Is this anonymous? “State police are professionals”- they will just want to know where they need to go to reinforce the rules about the party. This is in effect NOW.


Census Bureau – dialing back its deadline – is reasonable


School adaptations – how many are ready to go?  Many supt. have purchased items, moved schools around, bought desks to replace tables, etc. Is it possible some schools will be ready in time, given their physical structures?


In 3 districts – Pawt, CF, Prov – these are the most needy for wi-fi, lunches, etc. – how can we help them “get there” to go back to school.


Release from RI State Police:


RI State Police establishing large gathering task force hotline


“Scituate, R.I. Governor Gina M. Raimondo, Rhode Island State Police Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendant of the Rhode Island State Police and the Director of the Department of Public Safety and Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced that, effective today, the Rhode Island State Police have established a “Large Gathering Task Force Hotline” to report violations of social gathering.


To report a suspected large gathering only, please call the following:
Rhode Island State Police: Hotline number 401-764-5554
To report all violations regarding businesses or other COVID-19 related questions or concerns, please contact the following:
Rhode Island Department of Health: health.ri.gov”


Rhode Island News as of 08/06/20 of 7:58am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: National Grid continues to work on restoring power to Rhode Island customers.  Governor Raimondo reacts to Rhode Island being placed on coronavirus travel quarantine lists of several other Northeast states.  Hasbro removes a toy after receiving a complaint.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>National Grid Whittling Down Number Of Outages After Isaias
(Undated)  --  As of midnight, National Grid was at over 27-thousand customers in Rhode Island without electricity stemming from Tropical Storm Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahs ]].  National Grid said the storm brought heavy, damaging winds and rain to New England on Tuesday, knocking down full trees and limbs and contributing to widespread power outages across the region.  The company said the most impacted communities in Rhode Island are Coventry, Cranston, Cumberland and Providence.  Governor Gina Raimondo said yesterday that she surveyed damage in the state and said all areas including hospitals, nursing homes and critical infrastructure have had power restored.
>>Governor Reacts To RI's Placement On Other State's Travel Lists
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo said yesterday she thinks Rhode Island can very quickly get off the coronavirus travel restriction lists of several Northeast states.  The states that acted this week are New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Raimondo said this is a wake-up call that Rhode Island needs to do better.  The governor also said starting Sunday, anyone trying to check into a hotel or other establishment from one of the thirty-plus states with a positive rate of five percent or more will have to verify a timely negative coronavirus test or they won't be able to stay there.
>>New Labs Added For Quicker Test Results
(Providence, RI)  --  Coronavirus testing delays have been an issue in Rhode Island with results taking a week or more.  Governor Raimondo delivered good news on that front on Wednesday: she said the state has contracted with two new labs, Accu Reference and Rhode Island-based Dominion Diagnostics, guaranteeing results within 48 hours.  Raimondo said they will each run one-thousand tests per day to start, and by next month, Dominion will increase capacity to seven-thousand per day, bringing the state's capacity to nine-thousand per day overall.  The governor said the increased testing is key to getting kids back to school safely.
>>New Unit Of State Police Set Up For Social Gathering Enforcement
(Providence, RI)  --  The state is cracking down more on social gatherings.  The governor said yesterday a new unit of the Rhode Island State Police has been established just to handle this.  If someone wants to report a social gathering that is too big, they can call the following number: 401-764-5554.  The fine for violating a social gathering limit can be up to five-hundred dollars.
[[ note nature ]]
>>Hasbro Removes 'Trolls' Doll After Complaint
(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Hasbro is removing a doll after receiving complaints about it grooming children for sexual abuse.  An online petition takes issue with the DreamWorks "Trolls World Tour Giggle and Sing" doll because a button to activate sounds is placed between its legs.  Hasbro announced it was pulling the toy from store shelves on Wednesday.  A spokesperson told The Providence Journal the company recognizes the design may be perceived as inappropriate.
>>Red Sox Blank Rays To End Losing Streak
(St. Petersburg, FL)  --  The Red Sox ended their losing streak on Wednesday with a five-to-nothing win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  Boston is now at four wins and eight losses on the season.  The Sox are off today before returning to Fenway Park for a series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Jim McCabe/djc          RI) MA) NY) NJ) CT)
 Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-06-2020 01:09:06

204th Anniversary - End of Slavery in Little Compton

204th Anniversary – End of Slavery in Little Compton

August 5, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Imagined portrait by Dora Atwater Millikin


Slavery and Freedom in Little Compton


Explore the history of northern slavery and emancipation through the personal stories of people enslaved in Little Compton and the surrounding communities. Special attention will be paid to the histories of enslaved women and girls.


August 5, 2020 is the 204th anniversary of the end of slavery in Little Compton. Learn about Indian and African slavery, forced indenture, emancipation, and the difficulties facing free people of color in Little Compton through their personal histories. Presented by LCHS Executive Director, Marjory O’Toole. Ample opportunities for questions will be provided.


This is a program of Stages of Freedom.


Register, here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqc-2vrD4rHdRrK1kSUD7uQEUdUbiBSruy

Your Coronavirus Update - Today - August 5, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, August 5, 2020

August 5, 2020/RINewsToday


Photo: Arizona has a series of coronavirus public service ads in print and video to encourage compliance with preventive measures. See the video ad, below…




In Arlington County, VA only 3 people allowed to be out together in a public area – with $600 fines for violations.


New Jersey marked their first “0” hospital deaths day since the pandemic started. They had deaths at a high of 400 a day at one time.


A Norwegian cruise ship suffered a coronavirus outbreak just over a month after it set sail for the first time. 33 crew members had tested positive. The ship took two voyages in July, and the company has contacted all passengers and requested they self-quarantine.


Delta Airlines removed two passengers who refused to wear masks from a flight and says no passengers can ride on their planes who are not willing to wear masks.


Men’s Wearhouse & Joseph A. Banks has declared bankruptcy.


Lord & Taylor, the country’s oldest department store, has declared bankruptcy.


Pier I Imports is going to launch an online site.


NHL Hockey has had no outbreaks.


Mississippi is being looked at as the next state for a major outbreak.


Staples will recycle masks and gloves – people can drop them off.


The NIH is discussing what groups will get the vaccine first – there will be a medical, risk, and distribution issue.


Barron Trump’s private school in Maryland has decided to remain closed for now.


The Pew Research Center makes several predictions:


1. people over 60, after a vaccine is discovered, 1 in 3 medical visits will be telemed, and a team of doctors, not just their primary care will be accessed.


2. Vaccinations will be done in the network of drugstore pharmacies such as they do now with flu shots.


3. Trips will be more road trips than flights, trips abroad, and cruises. The most popular trip?  Visiting grandchildren.


4. Hotels and restaurants will continue to promote cleanliness and safety.


5. More seniors will leave nursing homes and return to live with family.


6. Home delivery will become the norm; in-person shopping an unusual event.


7. Older workers (over 60) will stay home. They will work from home, or take early retirement. As the older generation will disengage from society, attending larger events, etc. depression and sadness will increasingly be a medical/mental health problem.


A Delaware school board member said about older teachers hesitant to come back to work, “If teachers can’t handle the risk of being back in the classroom, they should seek a new career.”


United Airlines says it will resume service in Hawaii on 30 international routes in September and will include more flights to Hawaii.


Georgia’s largest school district, has confirmed that around 260 employees have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed – they have reported close to 18,000 cases and Georgia has reported over 193,000 cases in total.


Charlie Baker is warning residents that he’ll slash the number of people allowed to gather in house parties, backyard barbecues and other private social gatherings if virus cases continue to trend upward in Massachusetts.


Seven Cardinals test positive – MLB continues testing and rescheduling.


Vermont retail businesses were permitted to expand capacity from 25% to 50% starting Saturday


Some medical treatment experiments have been done using hyperbaric procedures rather than ventilators in treating lung involvement.


Eli Lilly announced this morning that it will begin a 2,400-patient Phase 3 study to test whether its experimental anti-Covid-19 antibody drug can keep nursing home patients from developing the disease. 


Three companies are working quickly to develop “point of care” COVID19 tests – tests that can be done in a medical office, with results as you wait.


LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics and a tiny Texas company, eTrueNorth are running most of the point of care tests in the US.


The full list of hand sanitizers to avoid

  • Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
  • BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
  • Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
  • Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
  • KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
  • BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
  • BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
  • Assured Aloe
  • bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
  • LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
  • LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
  • QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
  • NEXT Hand Sanitizer
  • Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol extra soft with glycerin and aloe
  • NuuxSan Instant Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • NuuxSan Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Aloe and Moisturizers
  • Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E and Aloe
  • Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Aloe Vera
  • Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  • Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  • Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  • Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  • Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
  • Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  • Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
  • Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution
  • GelBact Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • TriCleanz
  • Sayab Antisepctic Hand Sanitizer 100
  • Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
  • Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon and Leiper’s Fork Distillery 16 oz bottle
  • Andy’s Best
  • Andy’s
  • NeoNatural
  • Plus Advanced
  • Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Selecto Hand Sanitizer
  • Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol
  • Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub
  • Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
  • Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 70% alcohol
  • Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 65% Alcohol
  • Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Cavalry
  • ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
  • Bersih Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
  • Purity Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%
  • TriCleanz Tritanium Labs Hand Sanitizer
  • Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • Parabola Hand Sanitizer
  • Urbane Bath and Body Hand Sanitizer
  • Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free 70%
  • Handzer Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free
  • Kleanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Advanced
  • Be Safe Hand Sanitizer
  • Wave Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • DAESI Hand Sanitizer


Scientists are looking at nitrous oxide loss in the case of respiratory complications from COVID19, and if providing nitrous oxide might be useful in treatment.


Three Massachusetts nursing homes are under investigation for their COVID19 treatments: Town and Country had 10 deaths of patients at the 80-bed facility. Hermitage Healthcare is licensed for 101 beds and has suffered 12 deaths. Wareham Healthcare has had no deaths and 10 or fewer cases from its 175 beds.


A suggestion from environmental researchers as we go back into buildings: Run portable HEPA filters in restaurants, classrooms and indoor spaces where opening windows is impractical. These filters, which often retail for a few hundred dollars, can trap small virus particles.


Open windows and doors, advises Linsey Marr, who studies how viruses spread through the air. “Ventilation counts,” she wrote in a Times Op-Ed.


Massachusetts teacher unions are calling for a delay in opening schools.


13 religious sisters living together in a Livonia, Michigan, convent died of coronavirus.


The federal government announced that states now will need to pick up 25% of costs of the National Guard in their state – with the exception of Texas and Florida.


NBC Sports Boston has laid off almost 20 sports staffers, including some on-air talent – in line with a national layoff.


Germany is already contending with a second wave of the coronavirus




Governor’s weekly address is today at 1pm


Gov. Raimondo says we need rapid testing or schools will not open.


Rhode Island has been added to the state where travelers to it must go in to quarantine – in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Last night, Massachusettts added Rhode Island to the list. Travel less than 24 hours into RI is targeted for quarantine when you return to these states.


The Pawtucket Central Falls Rapid Testing Site will be relocating to 91 Dexter Street in Pawtucket. Residents are asked to continue to call 855-843-7620 to schedule appointments.


2 Westerly High School athletes test positive – team and band practice have been suspended.


ProJo is reporting that RI dentists and doctors are stockpiling PPE in preparation for a fall uptick in cases.


RI Interscholastic League will make a statement today regarding fall sports season. Selected sports – boys tennis and girls and boys cross country are expected to be approved – other teams may be added. No team sports have been eliminated at this point, though practice and team play dates have been delayed further into September.


All Uncle Tony’s restaurants are now open for dine-in option – curbside pickup still available.


One Neighborhood is targeted these Providence zip codes for coronavirus information: 02904, 02908 and 02909.


NOTE: Two days apart – announcement by RI Hospital & Miriam Hospital that visitation policies have expanded, followed by announcement that they have scaled back after running into social distancing issues.


Aug 5 – 10am to 1pm – Restore RI Grant program workshop on Facebook LIVE – go to RI Hospitality Association FB page – this will be who is eligible for grants of up to $15,000 – how to apply.


Insider/Business Insider will not require employees to return to the office until July of 2021.


Governors of Maryland, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Virginia announce major bipartisan Interstate Compact to secure 3 million Rapid Antigen Tests (RI is not part of this compact).


Reported by Tara Granahan, the RI Dept. of Health stated: “Roughly 1% of the people who were tested after going to a large gathering or protest were positive. 4 people were positive out of the 2,170 tested (…we don’t know that these people got sick at a protest.)”


Bryant University has invested nearly $3 million to conduct weekly on-campus COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff.


Nautika restaurant in East Greenwich will close permanently in September.


The Federal Hill Restaurant Assoc is concerned adding Rhode Island to the list of “quarantine from” states for other states will make people in RI nervous and pull back further in going out to eat.


Johns Hopkins has new visuals on comparative numbers of all states:




RI Data


From August 4th:


Deaths: 1 – 3 day average, hospitalized: 80


From August 3rd:


Deaths: 2 – 3 day average hospitalizations: 78





Rhode Island News as of 08/05/20 of 7:40am

08-05-2020 00:10:12

RECALLS of Red, Yellow, White, and Sweet Yellow Onions

Recalls of Red, Yellow, White, and Sweet Yellow Onions

August 4, 2020/RINewsToday


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that Thomson International Inc. is recalling red, yellow, white, and sweet yellow onions shipped from May 1, 2020 through the present. The onions are being recalled because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.


Onions were distributed to wholesalers, restaurants, and retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. The onions were distributed in 5 lbs. cartons, 10 lbs. cartons, 25 lbs. cartons, 40 lbs. cartons, 50 lbs. cartons, 2 lbs. mesh sacks, 3 lbs. mesh sacks, 5 lbs. mesh sacks, 10 lbs. mesh sacks, 25 lbs. mesh sacks, and 50 lbs. mesh sacks. They were sold under the brand names Thomson  Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions and Food Lion.


Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve red, white, yellow, or sweet onions from Thomson International, Inc. or products containing such onions. If you cannot tell if your onion is from Thomson International Inc., you should not eat, sell, or serve it, and you should throw it out.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections that may be linked to these onions. As of now no specific source of contamination or contaminated shipment has been identified, and FDA is also investigating other potential sources of contamination and has not yet reached a final conclusion. 396 total illnesses have been reported to date including 59 hospitalizations.


There have been no cases identified in Rhode Island.

As Professional Sports Start Back Up, What Can We Expect?

As professional sports start back up, what can we expect?

August 4, 2020/RINewsToday


by John Cardullo, sportswriter


After both professional basketball and hockey pushed the pause button on their seasons which were heading full speed into the spring play-off season, baseball was about to take the field when everything came to a full stop, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Life as we knew it has changed and the things that we leaned on in hard times are gone, and that includes sports. All sports, from youth leagues to high schools and colleges and yes, the professional games, too, have hit the pause button. Originally thought of under the category of “this too will pass”, but it did not, and truth be told, nobody has any clue when or if this crisis will end in our lifetime, and life will return to normal.


Fast forward 4 months from the start of this nightmare, and we find the virus has spread around the world, infecting millions, and a death toll rising every day, with some parts of the world on their second outbreak. The battle to combat this illness effectively has not been developed yet. Treatments. Vaccines. Preventative measures have been put into place, but the battle to defeat this disease has just begun, and it depends on each person’s behavioral change or compliance. And we know how hard that is to get.


With all this happening all around them, the powers that be who control professional sports have decided to get the seasons moving again. With everything on hold for most of the rest of us, our lives all suddenly been put on pause, with the economy on a steady decline. People needed something to take their minds off their situation and sports seems to be the answer, or is it?


The professional golf season began without any problems and has been back into a normal schedule. Major league baseball which was thought to be one of the safest sports to launch is currently in danger of shutting down after the Miami Marlins had 17 players and personnel test positive for the coronavirus after playing the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia. That incident caused Major League Baseball to postpone games involving both the Phillies and the Marlins for a week. This is now affecting an already modified baseball schedule by having the next two teams due to play the Phillies and Marlins skip their respective series while testing each team and doing a thorough cleaning of the stadium’s clubhouse. Keep in mind that this occurred within the first five days of the start of baseball season. This in the sport that seemed to be the safest for distancing protocols, which by the game’s nature were all pretty much in place or easily adjusted.


Professional basketball and hockey’s plan were to isolate the teams in a “bubble” and test them regularly. The goal was to finish the season and to crown a champion. Both sports resumed play, and so far, the bubble strategy seems to be “so far so good”, with everyone crossing their fingers and toes. Several questions remain around safety as both sports have a certain degree of close contact, and how solid are expectations that you can bottle up hundreds of professional athletes who are used to doing what they want when they want? How do you control young athletes who are used to getting pampered, and getting their own way from sneaking out for a night on the town? This, as it turned out, was exactly how the Marlins contracted the virus. Will these young, spoiled millionaires abide by the rules and stay in isolation until their teams are finished? Then there is the question of the service workers who live locally and come into the complex and leave daily. How do you control them? It is fair to predict that both sports could be finished faster than they resumed. All it is going to take is a few players testing positive while in the bubble.


Now let us put our attention to the sport that is about to start training camp, the sport that has the most contact of all the sports – football. Many NFL players have opted out of the 2020-21 season for different reasons, but the main reason was the fear of contracting the virus and bringing it home to the family. You cannot blame the player for not wanting to risk their health or the health of their loved ones, but the NFL is determined to have a season. How they intend to put protocols in place to protect the players, coaches and staff, remains to be seen, and is hard to imagine simply by the nature of the game. It could be a real possibility that the NFL season will be canceled before they even take the field, and if it’s not, maybe it should be.


Does the reward justify the risk? This is the question that all professionals should ask themselves before they sign the waiver that waives their legal rights to place blame, in case they contract the virus. The leagues themselves must ask themselves is it worth it to have or complete the season while putting people's lives at risk? Because it will only take one tragic outcome before the public backlash begins, and by that time it will be too late to put the genie back into the bottle. As a sportswriter, it hurts to suggest that all sports have to hit pause and take a step back and ask ourselves is it worth the risk? We are all aware that sports are the pulse of our nation. We live for the success of our teams. We also know that there is another reason, and that is that professional sports are a business, a big business that generates millions of dollars for the owners and their franchises, but again, is the risk of health worth it?


I fear that these questions are going to answer themselves in the next few weeks, as teams get into the swing of things and back to old routines. Will old habits, and their new precautions taken today, be taken for granted a couple of weeks down the line, and slip-ups become easier and easier? We can only hope for the best. Only time will tell.

John Cardullo
John Cardullo, sportswriter

Why the rush to reopen schools?

Why the rush to reopen schools?

August 4, 2020/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI.com


It takes a coronavirus pandemic to get a new state health lab, but the larger, unanswered question is: where do children go to get tested today, in advance of schools reopening?

Rhode Island Kids Count tweeted out its thoughts about “The conversation about reopening schools” on Aug. 1, providing important context to how the decision will get made and who will participate in the decision making.


In case you missed it, last week, on Monday, July 27, with lots of public relations fanfare, Gov. Gina Raimondo announced plans to build a new $107 million state-of-the-art health laboratory facility for disease prevention and management, to be located on state land in Providence somewhere near the Wexford Innovation Complex and the Brown Medical School, with money to fund it coming from a new statewide bond to be approved by voters in November of 2020.


The decision to invest in the new state lab was precipitated by the determination made by R.I. State Treasurer Seth Magaziner that the state now had enough increased capability to manage more debt and could borrow more money in the form of voter-approved bonds. The proposed new facility is one of a number of initiatives slated to receive ramped-up investments through voter-approved bonds in 2020, including $40 million for affordable housing to support the design, development or repair of some 2,000 housing “units” across the state. [The urgent need for affordable housing, however, far outstrips this new proposed investment, according to the Building Homes Rhode Island status report released last week. If affordable housing is the best prescriptive medicine to cure health disparities, why not invest at least the same amount of money that is going toward the state health lab, instead of $67 million less?]


The new state lab is being positioned as the creation of a new economic hub for innovation and research – and yes, as a hedge bet against any future pandemics. The lack of proposed investment in the state’s public health infrastructure had been a glaring omission from the state’s strategic plan for the innovation economy, “RI Innovates 2.0,” released in January of 2020. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “What does public health have to do with future prosperity in RI?”]


Instead of “It takes a village,” perhaps the new phrase should be: “It takes a pandemic.”


The first hurdle the new state health lab will need to overcome on the road to being built is gaining approval from the R.I. General Assembly; the second hurdle will be getting approval from Rhode Island voters; the third hurdle will be coordinating the financing, choosing the actual land site, and then commencing the construction.


Translated, the earliest that the new state health laboratory would come on line would be sometime in the summer of 2022, if all goes according to the most favorable scenario laid out by Commerce RI Secretary Stefan Pryor.


Readiness is all?


The problem, of course, is that while the new state health laboratory promises to be a crucial investment in the state’s future public health infrastructure, with increased testing capacity, God forbid, to deal with “any future pandemics,” it is still two years away from opening its doors, at the earliest.

The future new state health lab will not solve the immediate, urgent crisis confronting Rhode Island: the lack of access to testing to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly for those Rhode Islanders who live on the wrong side of the tracks when it comes to racial, ethnic and wealth disparities.

Translated, here in Rhode Island, there has been a perceived lack of a culturally congruent response to the Latinx community in Rhode Island when it comes to testing for the coronavirus, according to a number of public health advocates. Some effort has been made to address these inadequacies, but have they been enough? [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Connecting primary care to emergency care in a pandemic.”]


The Dexter Street coronavirus testing site in Pawtucket, for instance, which had been cobbled together on an emergency basis, working through Commerce RI, Alert Ambulance Service, Collette Travel, and others, is now moving to a new location in downtown Pawtucket, beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 4, where its operations will be managed by the locall Health Equity Zone, according to Dr. Michael Fine, who told ConvergenceRI that he will no longer be involved in its operation.


Demand in some locations has been high. The coronavirus testing site being managed by the Open Door Health Clinic and the Rhode Island Public Health Institute at the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island, targeting the Latinx community in Providence, had been operating at capacity every single day it has been open during the first few weeks in July [until the recent heat wave forced it to curtail operations at its outside location in the Center’s parking lot].


For many essential workers in Rhode Island – and particularly for parents with school-age children, attempting to make plans and figure out how many balls in the air they must juggle to decide if their kids should attend online or in-person school in the fall, the difficulty in accessing testing and then obtaining the results, positive or negative, in a timely fashion, has emerged as the critical hurdle to any plans to successfully reopen the state’s economy and schools. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “A deadly experiment in Rhode Island?”]

Numerous public health researchers have weighed in to give their prognosis: “Realistically, we MUST control levels of community transmission of COVID-19 if we want kids & teachers in schools,” Dr. Megan Ranney, founding director of the new Emergency Digital Health program at Brown University, tweeted on Friday, July 31, citing three new research studies. “We may be able to send kids back, but we need PPE & regular, random testing of kids & teachers, whether in elementary, middle, high school, or college.”


Ranney continued: “But if we really care about kids’ health, let’s act like it. It’s not schools’ fault that we rely on them for far too much. Let’s think outside the box of ways we can do it all, instead of forcing families to decide [in high COVID-19 prevalence states] between food/work vs. infection/death.”


In response to Ranney, New York Times reporter Apoorva Mandavilli tweeted: “Don’t want to jinx it, but it feels like something has shifted in the ether, and people are finally accepting what some of us have been thinking & saying for months: Yes, kids can get infected, and yes, kids can transmit. Why would this virus be magically diff from all others?”

One of the five benchmarks in Gov. Raimondo’s school reopening plans seeks to measure “testing readiness.” It asks: “Do we have the ability to test all symptomatic [emphasis added] staff and students and on average get the results within 48-72 hours?” [Random testing of kids, teachers, and workers, as recommended by Ranney, is not included as part of the readiness benchmark for testing.]


A statement from Rhode Island Kids Count, tweeted on Saturday, Aug. 1, provided some critical context to the conversation around the reopening of schools in Rhode Island: “Reopening schools also sits directly at the intersection of our core values of equity, student-centered learning, and parent voice. In policy and practice, equity is not a one size fits all approach. The worsening of disparities during the upcoming school year is a deep concern.”
Translated, no amount of reassurances provided by the Governor from her pulpit at her weekly briefings at Veterans Memorial Auditorium and on her Facebook forums is going to alter the facts on the ground.


A state of dysfunction


Despite all the assurances by Gov. Gina Raimondo and her team that science and public health and safety for children and teachers will be the guiding principles governing the reopening of schools in Rhode Island, many parents are still not buying it, judging from the public responses. Many are not ready to jump off the proverbial diving board into a pool that has no water in it – with no plans in place for testing and no clear mandate on the wearing of masks.


As one parent told ConvergenceRI, “I’ll believe it’s safe to send my kids back to school when the Governor and her husband sign up to be substitute teachers.” Translated, the parent was saying: “You first, Governor.”


The blowback has been fierce, despite the best communications efforts undertaken by the Governor and her team to massage and manage the messaging.


In an interview WPRI’s Steph Machado aired on Friday, July 31, with R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, the Commissioner admitted that the challenges around the logistics of reopening amid a public health crisis had been “a nightmare.” Buried in the story was an admission of the daunting reality: Rhode Island “doesn’t have enough testing capacity to test everyone for COVID-19 before returning to school,” as Machado reported.


Here in Rhode Island, which has done a markedly better job than many other states [Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and Florida] in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, the decisions around the upcoming school year all revolve around the issues of trust and behavior. [At the most recent news briefing, the Governor warned residents that she had hit the pause button on Phase Three reopening, because “You are partying too much.”]

• In recent weeks, parents with sick children have said they have often encountered a maze of bureaucratic encounters in their attempts to arrange for testing and then having to wait for the results.


One family told ConvergenceRI about having to take their child to an emergency room to get tested after being frustrated, because they had been unable to schedule a time to get their daughter tested in a timely fashion, following a telehealth visit with their pediatrician. The first opportunity for testing had been more than a week away. [At the emergency room, which apparently had access to the Abbott testing device, the parents said they had received the results in less than 30 minutes; it was negative.]

Information about where to go for testing for children for the coronavirus is available, if you know where to look to find it. It does not necessarily mean that scheduling a test will be an easy task or that receiving test results in a prompt fashion will occur.


The official guidance from the R.I. Department of Health is that parents seeking coronavirus tests their children should first consult with their pediatrician. For families without primary care providers, there are respiratory clinics offering on-site evaluation with COVID-19 testing. A complete list is available online at the R.I. Department of Health website.


There are two respiratory clinics that only see kids and accept outside patients, according to Joseph Wendelken, the public information officer at the R.I. Department of Health. They are Just Kids RI Sick Care in Cumberland, 401-658-2273, and PRIMA Pediatrics also in Cumberland, 401-33-5201.


• None of the 10 CVS Pharmacy drive-up sites listed on the R.I. Department of Health website for coronavirus testing accept pediatric patients.


• Primary care practices and community health centers, many of which have ongoing contracts to process tests through a local lab that then sends the samples to national private laboratories for analysis, report that the increased testing demands from Florida, Texas, and Arizona, where coronavirus infections have risen exponentially, have overwhelmed the national capacity of private laboratories, resulting in delays of getting results back of 10 days or longer.


Accessing coronavirus testing can depend on wealth and privilege factors. In preparation for students returning to campus in the fall, Brown University has been engaged in a summer pilot program, according to an excellent Brown Daily Herald story written by Olivia George and published on July 30. George conducted an interview with Russell Carey, Brown’s executive vice president for planning and policy, about COVID-19 testing procedures.


Under the summer pilot testing program, in which COVID-19 tests had been provided at no cost to the individual being tested and did not require any form of insurance, with nearly 1,200 tests conducted and fewer than five positive tests during the first month of operation, one of the big takeaways, according to Carey, was the fact that “our wait time has not been good.”


As a result, Carey said that Brown had contracted with a new lab partner that has been returning test results within 48 hours. The university, according to Carey, is in the process of finalizing a relationship with the Broad Institute, in order to facilitate a 24-hour turnaround on testing results from the time the sample is received.


Translated, Brown University’s financial resources have enabled them to push for and receive a 24-hour turnaround on testing results for students and faculty, while community health centers remain tethered to a testing infrastructure that appears to be collapsing under the weight of increased demand.


• Smaller pediatric practices have been slammed financially by the coronavirus pandemic, because the practices make good profit margins on the annual wellness visits and back-to-school exams as well as yearly vaccinations, given that the volume of such visits have shrunken, according to a local physician. [A delegation of providers met with the Governor a few weeks ago to urge her to get behind efforts to promote such visits, according to sources.]


• The high rates of coronavirus infections in urban communities with high density housing and large immigrant populations have exposed the way in which health disparities have been made visible by the pandemic – and the way that those disparities also play out big time in the difficulties in access to testing by children.


The whole truth?


It was a remarkable moment, then, to listen and watch Gov. Raimondo, Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, and Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the R.I. Department of Health, “present” the facts at the Wednesday, July 29, news briefing around the process for school reopening plans in Rhode Island, with the stated, explicit goal to resume in-person classes on Aug. 31.

The Governor touted her leadership in reopening childcare facilities in Rhode Island as an example of a precedent for the reopening of schools. She talked about how an outbreak of coronavirus at an unnamed daycare facility that had been dealt with swiftly and contained, promising that a similar kind of response could be expected if such a situation occurred at schools when they reopened.

The tone was one of reassurance – saying that the health and safety of teachers and students would come first in any decision regarding the opening of schools. A team of public health experts was announced to assist the Governor’s team in drawing up plans regarding the reopening of schools.


The next day, on Thursday, July 30, on the weekly Facebook forum featuring the Governor talking with public health experts, Yale School of Public Health epidemiologist and pediatrician Dr. Sten Vermund said: “We’re going to need to have some investments in our schools. We teachers can’t do it all by ourselves,” as reported by WPRO’s Steve Klamkin. Vermund then opined that children would be able to handle the coronavirus well, but the danger is that they can pass it on to teachers and other adults who are at greater risk. Really?

Calculating risk


All the metrics, all the opinions, depend on how the risk is being calculated. From an epidemiological point of view, it would be possible to have an academic discussion on how best to calculate risk in order to better understand the parameters.


Ashleigh Tuite, an epidemiologist based in Toronto, analyzed the risks involved by attempting to answer the question: “How much community transmission is too much to reopen schools safely?” Her answer, offered in a thread of tweets: “It depends on your confidence in schools to control/prevent spread, and your own risk tolerance.” Tuite continued: “To use the whack-a-mole analogy, it’s easier to keep COVID-19 under control in schools if there are fewer moles to whack.”


But, on the ground, risk becomes an emotional discussion, particularly when it is your children or your parents or your own life that is at risk and being threatened.




The Governor and her team are under no obligation to tell the whole truth to the public listening and to the reporters attending the weekly news briefings about what may actually be happening on the ground in Rhode Island, whether at nursing homes, at schools, or in hospitals. In the last few months, the Governor and her team have become experts in managing, massaging and controlling the flow of information, at the same time building up a strong reputation for the Governor with the national media about her effectiveness in managing the pandemic.

In many cases, as it should be, it is up to the reporters to dig out the information and then challenge the Governor with the facts. As an example, the Governor did not share information about the state contract with the Boston Consulting Group unitl a reporter [Kathy Gregg at The Providence Journal] stumbled across the information and published the details.


Hypothetically, let’s ask the question the way that the Continental Op, Dashiell Hammett’s fictional private detective, might have done so: Suppose that, on Wednesday, July 29, the date of the last news briefing, the Governor and her team knew about a suspected outbreak of the coronavirus, with the potential for hundreds of children to be exposed, at a childcare facility, once again, hypothetically speaking, that was located in Barrington, in East Greenwich, or in West Warwick.


What would be the obligation of the Governor and her team to share that information with the public? When would the Governor be willing to share it? And, what details around testing results would they be willing to share?


Unless a reporter happened to stumble upon the story, how would the details become known? In a relative uptick in the statistics about the number of cases, days or weeks after the outbreak occurred?


And, given the potential urgency of getting the test results in a timely fashion, in less than 48 hours, how might the R.I. Department of Health intervene?


Here is a link to the complete story: http://newsletter.convergenceri.com/stories/why-is-there-a-rush-to-reopen-schools,5908


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.

Federal Judge McConnell orders RI to reinvent Developmental Disabilities System

Federal Judge McConnell orders RI to reinvent Developmental Disabilities system

August 4, 2020/RINewsToday


By Gina Macris


Chief Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. of the U.S. District Court has signaled that if it becomes necessary, he is prepared to order the state of Rhode Island to fund services for adults with developmental disabilities in an amount that complies with a 2014 consent decree that the state agreed to follow.


“I can’t tell you how impressed I am with people who work day in and day out” to support this vulnerable population and “how committed I am that people with developmental disabilities will get the rights guaranteed them under the Constitution,” McConnell said during a July 30 online hearing on the state’s progress in complying with the consent decree.


“I’m prepared to say, ‘Find the money,’ “ McConnell said after hearing from the state Director of Developmental Disabilities, a spokeswoman for providers, and the mother of a 25-year-old man with complex needs who has had no outside supports since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Rhode Island in March.


“Everyone is attempting to follow the requirements” of the consent decree, “but they are stymied by a lack of funds,” McConnell said, summing up the presentations. In addition, they lack funds to deal with the unexpected costs of protecting people during the COVID-19 pandemic, McConnell said.


He said he finds it “frightening” that private service providers, the backbone of the state’s system, are on shaky financial ground. And, McConnell said, “my heart breaks” when he hears of the burdens on families who have a loved one with intellectual or developmental challenges.


A Personal Story


Carol Dorros, M.D. testified about her 25-year-old son, Sidney, who has heart and lung disease, profound deafness, albeit mitigated by a cochlear implant; significant language limitations; a seizure disorder and diabetes. He nevertheless had an active life before the pandemic, volunteering at a soup kitchen, working at a custodial job in a financial services building, and participating in group activities three days a week. He also had a coach who helped him make art for cards sold at a local bookshop and at some craft fairs, his mother said.


Dorros, an internist who has practiced in Rhode Island for 30 years, said she has not been able to work in the last four months. She said she and her husband have been terrified to have Sidney go out in the community or have staff come to the house, because the family doesn’t know what the outsiders’ circles of contact might have been.


Last week, one support person came to the house to work with Sidney for 90 minutes on his art. “We’re looking forward to that person coming back,” she said.


“Really, we are living quite day-to-day.” Dorros said. She has chosen to direct Sidney’s program independent of an agency, but she said it’s “extremely hard to find staff” with the expertise to manage Sidney’s insulin and communication needs. The coronavirus aside, other parents who direct services for their adult children have made similar remarks about the difficulty in finding the appropriate support people. Dorros said she believes the staffing issue comes down to funding.


Referring to state officials who hold the purse strings, McConnell said,” I fear that the right people aren’t on this call.” In the future “we will need someone from the Department of Administration” and any other pertinent executive branch agency, the judge said.


McConnell said he needs to know how much money the developmental disability service system needs to get through the pandemic, and what it will cost to proceed with the goals of the consent decree, which call for individualized services.


“I want the doctor to have confidence in the people providing the service,” the judge said, referring to Dorros, and he said he wants providers to be funded to provide individualized services. Once the funding is figured out, McConnell said, he wants to see the “problem-solvers, not the problem-makers.”


“If we don’t come up with a way to systemically support the providers, then the whole thing will be meaningless,” McConnell said. “If anybody couldn’t tell, I am obsessed with the issue of funding as essential for us to get there,” McConnell said, pointing out that the consent decree requires adequate funding. (No figure is specified.)


Four-Week Deadline


He gave the state until August 30 to lay out the strategy or process for resolving the funding issue and more than a dozen other barriers to compliance with the consent decree, the time line for resolution of each item, and the agency or agencies with primary responsibility for resolving each problem.


The Aug. 30 deadline is but the first of a year-long court-ordered calendar for working out a new system of developmental disability services.


Providers On Shaky Footing

Tina Spears.jpg

Tina Spears, executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island (CPNRI), a trade association, said she wanted to emphasize the “unstable nature” of the private agencies that provide services to the adult population with developmental disabilities. Spears represents about two thirds of the three dozen agencies licensed to work with adults with developmental disabilities in Rhode Island.


The day after the court hearing, one of CPNRI’s 23 members, Resources for Human Development, told its clients and their families that it is closing its doors, leaving an estimated 150 persons without services, according to multiple reports. Efforts to reach the director, Rebecca Dimant, were not immediately successful.


The current funding model and administrative rules perpetuate “congregate services and poverty wages for front line workers,” a staffing issue that disproportionately affects women and minorities, Spears said during the July 30 hearing.


COVID-19 has complicated the situation by requiring intensive cleaning protocols, face masks and other personal protective equipment, and social distancing, Spears said. The provider system can’t meet the needs of its consumers with the available resources, she said.

Tony Antosh.jpg

While the incidence of coronavirus in group homes has been low, 11 residents have lost their lives, Spears said. (A spokesman for the Department of Behavioral Healthcare Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) reports that one of the 11 died of other causes.) Spears said 160 group home residents and 200 staff members have tested positive. About 1180 people with developmental disabilities live in group homes in Rhode Island.


During the past few months, Spears said, providers have been working in close partnership with state officials. Providers have received two months of advance payments during April and May to keep their doors open, as well as a 10 percent temporary rate increase for group home operations and work stabilization funds for front-line employees.


Workers, who make an average of a little more than $13 an hour, temporarily got an additional $3 an hour, Spears said, but it still wasn’t as much as they could get in unemployment benefits.


While the various categories of financial assistance were “very critical and welcome,” Spears said, “they all have stopped and ultimately have not done anything to stabilize the system.”


She said she has been disappointed by a lack of current support from the administration prioritizing developmental disability services for virus infection testing, personal protective equipment and a living wage for workers. In a separate letter to Governor Gina Raimondo dated July 29, Spears has asked for a task force representing the Governor’s office, the court monitor for the consent decree, the state developmental disability service agency, and private service providers to design a “COVID-19 transformation model” over a four-week period.


Spears’ letter also requested

  • an increase in reimbursement rates to raise wages to a minimum of $15.00 an hour
  • a new funding model that supports individualized services and community inclusion, in compliance the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Rule (HCBS). (The rule was adopted by Medicaid to follow through on the 1999 Olmstead decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, which reinforces the Integration Mandate of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Priority status for testing and protective equipment for adults with developmental disabilities in congregate care and their staff.


State Agencies Report On Efforts


During the court hearing, Kevin Savage, the acting state Director of Developmental Disabilities, said he agreed that going forward, services must have “different financial supports.” BHDDH has “tremendous value for the providers,” not only CPNRI agencies but the entire community of service providers, Savage said.

Kevin Savage thumbnail.jpg

BHDDH has sent providers draft rules for reopening and asked for comments from them next week. “The biggest issue is safety for people with developmental disabilities,” he said. “We can’t just re-open programs in a way that we need to shut them down again,” he said, in an apparent allusion to congregate day care centers that were still in operation before the coronavirus reached Rhode Island.


People with developmental disabilities have the same rights, but different needs, he said. Some want to get back to groups, but smaller groups. Some want access from home, Savage said.


Joseph Murphy, a spokesman for the state Office of Rehabilitation Services at the Department of Human Services, told McConnell that the agency has switched to online employment supports when the state closed down in March. “We are open for business, trying to provide services as best we can on a virtual platform” and making sure that bills from providers are paid, he said.


David Sienko of the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) also testified. He said the developmental disability population is part of a larger conversation on re-opening schools. RIDE is responsible for providing transitional services to high school students with developmental disabilities to prepare them to live and work in their communities as adults.


His conversations with special education directors indicate that “pretty much everyone is looking at a hybrid approach” of online and person-to-person instruction, Sienko told the judge. “We know some people need more in-person” teaching, and while that is troubling because of safety considerations, schools still have to address the needs of vulnerable children, Sienko said.


Judge Finalizes Order


The day after the hearing, July 31, McConnell entered an order requiring the state, in collaboration with providers and the community, to address 16 issues identified by the court monitor as fiscal and administrative barriers to compliance with the consent decree.


Antosh, the monitor, said during the hearing that the list of issues reflect “items that have been raised over and over again” for years.


“What we’re looking for is the impetus to get them done,” he said. The list addresses not only the amount of funding for services, but asks for a streamlined application process and addresses a bureaucracy that:

  • is designed to link eligibility and funding in a way that translates into the amount of supervision a particular person might need in a congregate setting, as opposed to the individualized services that person needs to accomplish goals.
  • limits access to already-approved individual budgets
  • Requires documentation of daytime staff time four times in an hour for each client served.
  • Forces providers and families to make appeals related to eligibility or funding using an opaque process that does not include a hearing. Even if appeals are successful, the process must be repeated every year.


Read McConnell’s order here. Read the CPNRI letter to Governor Raimondo here.


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. 

Rhode Island News as of 08/04/20 of 5:15am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island gets ready for the storm currently classified as Hurricane Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahs ]].  Body camera footage is released showing a testy interaction between a Providence City Councilwoman and police.  An update on remote-learning options this upcoming school year for Providence students.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>RI Remains Under Tropical Storm Warning
(Undated)  --  Rhode Island is not expected to get a direct hit from Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahs ]].  The National Weather Service is predicting the center of the storm will move up the western part of New England as a tropical storm late tonight.  Rhode Island is under a Tropical Storm Warning; forecasters warn about dangerous rip currents and minor coastal flooding, especially for south-facing beaches.
>>Isaias: Boats Secured, Beaches Closed
(Undated)  --  Preparations are being made in Rhode Island in anticipation of the arrival of Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahs ]].  Boats were secured in marinas on Monday at the request of harbormasters.  Decisions have been made to close beaches in Middletown and Newport.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says surf lifeguard certification testing that was scheduled for today and tomorrow has been canceled.
>>Body Camera Footage Shows City Councilwoman's Testy Interaction With Police
(Providence, RI)  --  The city of Providence on Monday released police body camera footage from officers responding to a noise complaint last month and interacting with a member of the City Council.  Police went to the Fortnight bar on Dorrance Street on July 22nd, and were speaking to an employee when Councilor Kat Kerwin became involved.  Kerwin is heard saying, quote, "I'm a councilwoman, please don't tell me what to do" in response to an officer asking her to calm down, and in regards to the noise issue, Kerwin says whoever made the complaint can "get over it".  Fortnight is known for its support of the Black Lives Matter movement and for displaying anti-police signs.  Kerwin claims the police showing up was not because of a noise complaint, but because the bar was being targeted for its activism.
>>Legislative Staffers Catch COVID-19
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island State House officials are reporting a small number of COVID-19 cases among legislative staffers.  Out of an abundance of caution, a limited number of staffers will be at the State House for the next two weeks, and all other employees will work remotely, according to a statement.  The goal is to have a normal amount of in-person staff by August 17th.  The General Assembly is expected to return at some point this summer to address a new state budget.
>>Virtual Learning Academy Being Offered To All Providence Students
(Providence, RI)  --  Providence Public Schools is offering a virtual learning academy for all students this upcoming school year. School officials say the district listened to community members who wanted the option due to COVID-19 safety concerns.  Families can register this week for one semester and can later decide if they want to continue the remote learning for the full year.
>>Former State Rep Albert Brien Has Died
(Woonsocket, RI)  --  Former state Representative Albert Brien has died, according to a report from the Valley Breeze.  Brien also served as the president of the Woonsocket City Council.  He was 79 years old.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI)
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-04-2020 00:46:08

FDA Urges Consumers Not to Use Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol

The FDA Urges Consumers to Not Use Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol.  

FDA continues to find issues with certain hand sanitizer products. FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products. The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol


The agency continues to add certain hand sanitizers to import alert to stop these products from legally entering the U.S. market.


FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol).


Additionally, FDA reminds consumers that no drugs, including hand sanitizers, are approved to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


FDA encourages health care professionals, consumers and patients to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of hand sanitizers to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (please provide the agency with as much information as possible to identify the product):


Complete and submit the report online; or


Download and complete the form, then submit it via fax at 1-800-FDA-0178


A list of hand sanitizers to stop use of can be found at the bottom on the FDA page.  CLICK HERE


Download List HERE

Incubating the Corporate Golden Egg

Incubating the Corporate Golden Eggs

August 3, 2020/Mary OSullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


Harvey S. Firestone’s quote “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership”, resonates clearly as a model for leadership.


Through this quote, Firestone demonstrates his belief in people as a company’s most important asset and reflects his stature as a revolutionary business thinker in the early 20th century. This philosophy also reflects the approach to people development at General Electric Company, where managers were taught that their most important job was to grow and develop their people. To quote Jack Welch “Great people build great companies. Talent development is not a slogan at GE, it is a way of life.”  (Training and Development – The GE Way, n.d.)


The Potential:


The potential for this philosophy as a model has been proven through implementation of GE’s well-developed annual HR review process, for example. Here, talent is ranked and rated every year and plans are put in place to develop skills through a host of training opportunities and placements. Some excel, while others may be let go. In this way, the company is assured of maintaining top people in the industry. In fact, GE has long invested in its training center at Crotonville, New York, the John F. Welch Leadership Development Center. “Worldwide we invest about $1 billion every year on training and education programs for the people of GE. The results can be measured in the increasing leadership capabilities of our own people and ultimately in the value and opportunity generated for our customers and their communities”. (Leadership and Learning, n.d.)


Speaking as a former GE employee, with such an emphasis on people development, the individual employee is motivated toward continuous improvement of self and to the competitive edge of the company. The downside is that the slots for these programs are very competitive, and at GE if you did not advance through these programs and receive the commensurate promotions, the philosophy became the famous GE mantra “up or out”.




With a $1 billion price tag, it’s no surprise that many other companies do not possess such sophisticated programs or share GE’s focus on people development, and this is where the limitations of a people-focused leadership paradigm exist. For instance, my current employer attempts to model programs after the GE example, albeit minus the $1B. However, often the people selected for these programs are political appointees and not the best candidates causing resentment and apathy among others. Additionally, many people emerge from these programs with little or no difference in skills or behavior but advance anyway because they have survived a year of one of these programs. In fact, one leadership program in particular was almost canceled due to the mediocre quality of the participants. Furthermore, the people supporting these programs are often not qualified in their roles and are limited in their ability to influence and demonstrate personal and professional growth. However, the company does offer generous educational benefits as well as other outside training opportunities, and these have the full backing of every level of management.


Practical Benefits:


When people feel valued, they respond with loyalty and respect and commitment. Behaviors at all levels change positively, and a sense of accomplishment motivates people to do more than required. To quote the GE leadership literature, “Speak to a GE leader and you’ll begin to understand why 90 percent of GE’s top 600 leaders are promoted from within. Our people are passionate, resourceful and committed. And GE invests around $1 billion every year in their growth.” (Leadesrhip Development Fact Sheet, 2009)


Conversely, at my current company, “People” is listed as one of the corporate values, however, the company does not always walk the talk. Many practical changes would need to be put in place in order to affect a meaningful shift to an appreciation and focus on people. One major change would be to implement a professional HR organization who understands its charter as incubating the golden eggs of the corporation, its people. Harvey Firestone would understand that!




Leadership and Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2010, from http://www.ge.com/company/culture/leadership_learning.html


Leadesrhip Development Fact Sheet. (2009). Retrieved May 25, 2010, from http://www.ge.com/pdf/innovation/leadership/leadership_development_fact_sheet.pdf


Training and Development – The GE Way. (n.d.). Retrieved May 25, 2010, from http://www.icmrindia.org/casestudies/catalogue/Human%20Resource%20and%20Organization%20Behavior/Training%20and%20Development-GE%20Way-Human%20Resource%20Management.htm



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.

Back-to-School. Another time, another pandemic in Rhode Island

Back-to-school. Another time, another pandemic in Rhode Island

August 3, 2020/Nancy Thomas


We’ve heard that we are safer from the spread of coronavirus if we are in well ventilated areas – especially if we are with other people. It’s been thought that this is one reason why demonstrators have not come down with COVID19 – more – because they were in the open air – and wearing masks perhaps more than other groups.


We thought outdoor summer camps must be pretty safe for children to go to, but then this weekend we learned hundreds of kids from one camp have come down with coronavirus. Medical professionals attribute inconsistent mask wearing (staff only), combined with not opening doors and windows enough, as the cause.


As we approach the fall, what will happen to outdoor dining, small backyard barbecues (we just heard about a coronavirus breakout from an indoor baby shower of 30 people).


With thoughts of Halloween, a $10billion+ business – are quickly dismissed with – we’ll skip this year – ZOOM doesn’t give candy through computer screens, does it?


What will Thanksgiving look like? What will Christmas time holidays look like? Will we be cooking tiny turkeys for tiny groups who already live with us in our homes?


Let’s Open the Windows – and never shut them!


Just before the Second World War, the country was experiencing a big rise of tuberculosis. The common treatment for those who came down with “TB” was to go to a convalescent home, or sanatorium, “in the country”. Struggling to figure out how to educate children during this time, medical professionals began to wonder what if you went to school – in the country? And that idea was the birth of the Open Air School movement.


Open Air Schools or Schools of the Woods


Designed for the purpose, open air schools were built for many of the world’s children. Fresh air, good ventilation, exposure to the outside – all design concepts to improve the children’s health. Many of the schools were built in the country, all the better to be away from the density of city population.


The schools were begun in Germany, and soon the concept spread throughout Europe – and then to the US. However, you can go way back to Athens and Rome, children “went at five o’clock in the morning by the light of a smoking lamp to begin their studies in porticoes, covered at the top but open at the sides”.


First Open Air School in US – built in Providence


In the United States of America, the first “fresh-air school” was established in Providence, Rhode Island, in1908. The school was built in Providence, Rhode Island. Begun by two women, Drs. Mary S. Packard and Ellen A. Stone. Packard was the first woman to graduate from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in  1897, and Stone, in 1900.


Classes were small, maintained groups, with open windows, or with no windows, and school took place in warm weather – but also in freezing weather – with students wrapped in coats, wearing gloves and boots – and drinking sterilized warm milk and “wholesome food”. Some other schools were far out in the country, so students attended as a residential program with “dorms” exposed to the night air. Every morning classrooms were “deodorized and sterilized”.


The Providence school was another step towards holistic education – “a blessing of a sound mind in a sound body”.  The article, here ends with, “Fresh air means health”.


From “Does Cold Weather Sharpen a Schoolboy’s Wits?”, The Scrap Book (May 1908) with photos taken by the Providence Journal.

Here is a link to Mary Korr’s article in 2016 for the RI Medical Society Journal on the RI Open Air School – located at 56 Meeting Street on Providence’s East Side. 




Here is Dr. Chapin’s rules for children at the school:

By the end of the school’s first year, none of the students had gotten sick, and their health had even improved. Fueled by this success, the idea of open-air school quickly spread, and within two years 65 of them had opened in the United States, including 11 in Providence alone.

The first Open Air School House, 24 Meeting Street, Providence
Today, home of the Providence Preservation Society


What can we learn?


Can we learn something from this early experiment and a different pandemic? While we’ve focused on living in the uniqueness of summer, not weather and beaches, we know fall and winter is right on the horizon. As vaccine researchers churn away to meet their goal of something in the pipeline before the end of the year, we will soon be pivoting to living in cool weather – when dining won’t be done at a table moved into the street or parking lot, and holidays will be throwing us all into heightened anxiety.


What do we know? What do we not know? As we prepare to send our precious children back to school, will we make the best decision? There are no secret answers waiting for us to find – there is only history, science, and our best instincts to guide us.


Surely this is not humanity’s last pandemic – what lessons and creative ideas will we leave for those who come after us?


The open air concept came to an end after World War II – after the discovery of streptomycin and other antibiotics/vaccines. Tuberculosis receded as a major health threat after the mid-1940s.


Within a decade, the open-air school movement had come to an end as well.

Rhode Island News as of 08/03/20 of 5:06am

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Tropical Storm Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahss ]] is expected in the Northeast U.S. this week.  A nursing home strike in Rhode Island is called off.  The provost of the Naval War College is on leave after a questionable link was included in an email.
[[ watch for updates ]]
>>Isaias Expected In Northeast This Week
(Undated)  --  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Watch Hill in Rhode Island.  Tropical Storm Isaias [[ ee-sah-EE-ahss ]] is currently projecting to move over Southern New England, still as a tropical storm, late Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service.  As of Sunday night, the storm was off the coast of Florida and is tracking up the East Coast.
>>Nursing Home Strike Off After Governor Promises Minimum-Staffing Effort
(Providence, RI)  --  A nursing home worker strike in Rhode Island is being called off.  The union representing workers at five nursing homes in the state has postponed the action after Governor Gina Raimondo intervened last week.  The governor said she is committed to developing a minimum-staffing standard, a proposal which failed to clear the General Assembly last month.  Raimondo thanked workers for their heroic efforts caring for nursing home residents under the extremely challenging conditions of the coronavirus pandemic.
>>Providence City Council Approves School Bond
(Providence, RI)  --  Providence voters will have the choice of securing more financial backing for the city school district's building improvement efforts.  The Providence City Council on Friday passed a school building bond referendum, which will put the question on the ballot in November.  The 140-million-dollar bond would include money for a new pre-K-through-eighth-grade school.  This would be on top of a 160-million-dollar school improvement bond approved by voters in 2018.
[[ note nature ]]
>>Former Church Pastor Accused Of Molesting Girl
(Smithfield, RI)  --  A former Smithfield church pastor is being charged with child molestation.  Police say the alleged victim accused Archie Emerson, formerly of Ocean State Baptist Church, of molesting her several times between the ages of six and eleven.  Emerson was arrested on Friday, has been arraigned in court and is due to make another appearance in October.
[[ note nature ]]
>>Naval War College Official On Leave After Email With Pornographic Link
(Newport, RI)  --  The Naval War College's provost is on personal leave after an email sent on his behalf to faculty contained a pornographic image, according to a report from The Providence Journal.  Lewis Duncan blamed the incident on "severe malware" and said the email was supposed to include a link to a faculty survey.  A spokesperson for the college says the matter is being investigated.
>>Knights Of Columbus Chapter Says It Has Been Denied Help
(Lincoln, RI)  --  A Rhode Island chapter of the fraternal service group Knights of Columbus says it has been denied financial help because of its name.  According to a report from the Valley Breeze, the KOC in Lincoln says multiple requests for financial assistance in funding a food bank have been recently rejected because of concern over helping a Columbus-named organization this year.  There has been criticism of the legacy of Christopher Columbus nationwide, which in Rhode Island has led to the removal of the Columbus statue in Providence.
>>Red Sox Lose Three To Yankees
(Undated)  --  The Boston Red Sox got swept out of the Bronx this weekend.  They lost all three games to the Yankees, 5-1, 5-2 and 9-7.  The Sox now go to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Rays for two games tomorrow and Wednesday.
Jim McCabe/jb          RI) 
Copyright © 2020
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
08-03-2020 00:11:33

Discover Beautiful Rhode Island - Newport

Discover Beautiful Rhode Island – Newport…

August 2, 2020/Jason Michalski


by Jason Michalski, photographer


Crowded at Bannisters Wharf. Good to see people out and having fun.



Note the banner across the entrance to the wharf area.



Masks up!


Editor’s Note: Imagine, in times long from now, someone will look at these photos and wonder how we all got through…the time when everything changed.



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.


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