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1540 Updates Archives for 2021-02

Your Coronavirus Update - Today February 26, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 26, 2021

February 26, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: RIDOH Flyer/Poster send to “residents” in RI




Lt. Gov. McKee will hold a news conference at noon today to talk about small business grants and loans.


Newport Hospital now doing vaccinations for their community –


Massachusetts is moving to open venues but must maintain 6 ft. distancing, but they can reopen. Some fans can return to Gillette, TD Gardens and Fenway.


Unemployment income is taxable and needs to be declared when filing taxes – this is coming as a surprise to many. The added stimulus amount done by the federal government is not taxable.


The MA registration site was inoperable for most of the day – with messages such as this on the portal: ‘Your estimated wait time is 50,475 minutes’


Gaspee Day Parade organizers are planning for full-scale, but also are developing alternate plans for re-scheduling and for crowd reduction.


Large events such as Newport Jazz Festival and Folk Festival may be able to go on.


Schools to slowly open in Massachusetts – prioritizing elementary and kindergarten first, with 7 schools going 5 days a week first, and a goal of all back by April 1st.


Massachusetts announced summer camps can reopen this summer.


Massachusetts is asking company-based vaccination clinics to pause due to supply issues.


SkillsRI is offering fast-track training as a CNA, etc. Here for more info:


Bradley Hospital is also looking for more staff – entry level, training provided – for those who are un-or under-employed, with a high school diploma and a desire to work in the field – childcare provided, textbooks, uniforms, etc. –


We need buy in for people to want to get their vaccinations – Goal is over 75% of population.


RI will receive $64.9 million in federal funds to aid COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts. The money will go to RI’s EMA office, and and can be used for supplies to store and administer a vaccine; transportation and security support for refrigerated doses; staffing for medical and support staff; public engagement and outreach support; and for training of personnel on vaccine distribution and administration.


Incoming Governor McKee will participate in a press conference hosted by Navigant Credit Union to highlight recent changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. Location: Navigant Credit Union, 1005 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917


RI Press Conference:


Dr. Scott reviewed the data and the data is good, though 10 new deaths.


Through March 10th, more than 40K appointments for shots have been made – and 20K given out. Hundreds of thousands more to go and we are going to do it quickly.


At 2 mass vaccination sites, logistics are being handled perfectly – National Guard will assist you – take you from garage, direct you, etc. No need to arrive very early – 15 mins is early enough. Our through put at both sites is about 300 people per hour going through the system. Plans for 2 new sites – Middletown (where Benny’s used to be) and Woonsocket (where Sears used to be). We are also working on homebound vaccination services. One year from this coming Monday is our first anniversary. Lost more than 2,400 Rhode Islanders; 9,000 admitted to hospital, every single person in the state effected with this pandemic. Thanking all Rhode Islanders for sacrifices they have made.


There is a natural lag in some of the fatality data that is in our charts. Expect our death data to decrease soon.


We can ease some restrictions on organized sports: Janet Coit reviewed –

1) Higher risk sports – football/lacrosse – with RIILL can play in Fall 2 season.

2) Moderate risk sports – we can now play outdoor out of state teams from states with positivity rates below 5%

3) Spectators – 1% per 125 square feet or 40% capacity – colleges/universities: just home spectators can proceed.


McKee said he will make a plan for vaccinating teachers and deal with schools, and this was well received by teacher unions.


From RIDOH today: Social gatherings are limited to 2 households indoors and 3 households outdoors. These combined households should agree to only socialize with each other and are your “stable group.” Don’t go shopping, have meals, get coffee, or take part in other social activities with people outside this group. Most importantly, you will still need to wear your mask and watch your distance even when you are with your stable group.



Q: Are you now on board with the state plan?

A: We’ve added capacity and it’s a team approach. News of $64M from FEMA will help.


Q: Do you think it was wrong to not come to last week’s press conference?

A: I spent time on budget crisis issues.


Q: Schools – Gov. Baker committed to April 1st for all schools to be back to school – what about RI?

A: I will have a plan once I’m Governor – with all school personnel – we are a little late in that game right now.


Q: NY Times said RI had a blueprint for how to do schools. Are you leaning toward statewide plan or regional?

A: I’m on record saying we need to provide resources and guidance and support local decisions.


Q: Spoke with CT Governor – Harvard gave them high marks – anything you learned?

A: We’re heading in that direction – getting vaccines out of inventory, etc.


Q: Seniors, courses, art shows, concerts, etc. on hold – what do you say to these people?

A: Incremental flexibility will be key. Science is going to drive this. We need to reach our 911 moment – it’s been a living hell – it has not been easy. At some point in time we will have more vaccine than people willing to take it – this will need to be a big focus.


Q: Why have you not announced your senior staff?

A: Doing it slowly and professionally. They will be announced before Gov. takes office.


Q: Johnson & Johnson one dose – can you explain?

A: Dr. Scott – FDA is approving; subcommittee is assessing; if approved we would get a first push of 9,000 doses. We could begin administering this in 2 weeks. Difference in shots is still being learned. Most important to just get vaccinated when you can.


Q: Field hospital data requested

A: 600 patients, total – more data coming.


Q: CDC has RI death rate the highest in the nation – why?

A: Fatality data lags by several weeks. We saw surge in cases. February fatalities have peaked and will start to drop now. Connect fatalities to case/rate data. We tended to have higher case rates with an older population.


Q: The Wall St. Journal has reported that no one who has received the vaccine has died of COVID – what is the hesitation?

A: It’s an important message to get out. After 2 weeks after the 2nd shot, no one is getting COVID or dying. Nursing home data supports this. To those who wanted to wait – this is what they wanted to see.


Q: Why would 1st responder not get the shot?

A: We are absolutely focused on this.


Q: When will business restrictions, restaurants, etc. be loosened?

A: Flexibility is key. Event professionals can, with rules established, coordinate events in residential settings – with the same rules. For future – by April we expect we can expand events to 30 and 50 to 100 indoors, and 150 outdoors.


Business with compliance issues in RI:

CJ’s Pub 568 Park Ave.,
Compliance Order 2/22/2021
Sprigs Flowers 533 Main St.,
East Greenwich
Compliance Order 2/22/2021
Bottom Line Bar & Grill 415 Palmer Ave.,
Notice of Compliance with CO
Compliance Order


La Colombiana Bar & Grill 477 Dexter St.,
Central Falls
Notice of Compliance with CO
Compliance Order




Data – Feb. 25, 2021

Deaths: 10

Tests – 20,545 – Positives – 387 – Percent positive – 1.9%

Hospitalized – 163 – In ICU – 34 – Ventilated – 17

Deaths in hospital – 2 – New Admissions – 22 – New Discharges – 27

First vaccines: 160,900 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 65,461




Glasses wearers less likely to get COVID


Moderna has sent the NIH a first batch of doses of its newly designed shot that targets the coronavirus strain first identified in South Africa.


Latest news on stimulus checks that are tied up in the COVID-19 package at Congress is that the minimum wage issue that is included in it needs to be removed for the package to move forward. More delays.


St. Patrick’s Day is already being identified as a possible super-spreader, especially with the new virus variant spreading quickly.


Pfizer is testing a one shot and two later boosters for efficacy.


Moderna, based in Cambridge, MA is looking at $18.4 Billion in sales for the year.


Moderna is ready to test a new version of its vaccine targeting new variants.


Mammography guidance from Wake Baptist Health: after a vaccine, like the COVID-19 vaccine, lymph nodes under the arm can become swollen, mirroring one of the early detection signs screeners look for in mammogram images. Advisors are encouraging women to keep coming in for the annual exam, but to ensure it is two to four weeks after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to ensure there isn’t unnecessary confusion or worry for patients and their families.


A new study on spreading of the virus showed that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or influenza can be highly contagious for less than one day, congruent with peak viral load. Super-spreader events occur when an infected person is shedding at a very high viral load and has a high number of exposed contacts. The higher predisposition of virus towards super-spreading events cannot be attributed to additional weeks of shedding relative to influenza. Rather, a person infected with SARS-CoV-2 exposes more people within equivalent physical contact networks, likely due to aerosolization.

Hasbro gets a head-ache. Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head will remain

Hasbro gets a head-ache. Mr. & Mrs is out. But Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head will remain.

February 26, 2021/RINewsToday



Hasbro is officially renaming the MR. POTATO HEAD brand to POTATO HEAD to better reflect the full line. But rest assured, the iconic MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD characters aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD.


Launching this Fall, the CREATE YOUR POTATO HEAD FAMILY is a celebration of the many faces of families allowing kids to imagine and create their own Potato Head family with 2 large potato bodies, 1 small potato body, and 42 accessories. The possibilities to create your own families are endless with mixing and mashing all the parts and pieces.


CREATE YOUR POTATO HEAD FAMILY is compatible with most standard Potato Head offerings and is a great addition to your Potato Head collection for kids ages 2 and up.


Potato Head has provided endless creative possibilities to our preschoolers for almost 70 years and will continue to do so with the new CREATE YOUR POTATO HEAD FAMILY.



Created in the mid-50s, Mr. Potato Head sold 1 million figures the very first year. The first price was 98 cents. “He” was the very first toy to be advertised on television. Originally the items were parts – accessories – to be put onto REAL potatoes. Mrs. Potato Head joined “Mr.” a few years later.


In 2000, Mr. Potato Head was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: New mass COVID-19 vaccination sites are being announced in Rhode Island.  The Senate is set to take a procedural vote on Monday to move along the nomination of current RI governor Gina Raimondo for U.S. Commerce Secretary.  The trial of a Providence police sergeant accused of assaulting an individual who was under arrest featured testimony from the arrestee on Thursday.

>>State Vaccine Clinics Announced For Woonsocket, Aquidneck Island

(Providence, RI)  --  New mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics are opening soon in Rhode Island.  The state-run clinics will be at the former Benny's on West Main Road in Middletown and the former Sear's in Woonsocket, according to the Rhode Island Health Department on Thursday.  Also during yesterday's briefing, Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee said there will be a plan to get teachers vaccinated when he takes over for Governor Gina Raimondo.

>>Senate Schedules Cloture Vote For Raimondo Commerce Secretary Nomination

(Washington, DC)  --  The transition in the Rhode Island governor's office could be coming soon.  The U.S. Senate has scheduled a cloture [[ CLOE-chure ]] vote for Gina Raimondo's nomination for U.S. Commerce Secretary.  The procedure is being invoked in response to Texas Senator Ted Cruz's hold on the nomination.  The cloture vote is scheduled for Monday and the full vote on Governor Raimondo's nomination could happen the next day.

>>Man Arrested By Police Sergeant Testifies At His Assault Trial

(Providence, RI)  --  The man who was arrested by a Providence police sergeant who was then charged with assaulting him testified at the policeman's trial on Thursday.  While the 2020 case involving a white officer, Joseph Hanley, and the black arrestee, Rishod Gore, has not been framed as a racial justice matter, Gore wore a Black Lives Matter mask in court yesterday and said Hanley used racial slurs against him in telling him he was acting like a "savage" and an "animal" during the arrest.  Hanley's defense attorney questioned Gore on the BLM mask, and the two disagreed on whether the organization is anti-police.

>>Providence Teen Charged With Carjacking in Massachusetts

(Undated)  --  A 16-year-old boy from Providence is facing charges for an alleged carjacking.  The Massachusetts State Police says the incident happened at the Walmart in Avon, Mass on Wednesday night.  Reports indicate the driver of the stolen car fled a state trooper on Route 28 in Randolph, Mass before crashing into the front porch of a house.  No injuries were reported.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Weather: Some Snow Maybe Saturday

(Undated)  --  The last full week of February in Southern New England was quiet and mild weather-wise after cold temperatures and winter precipitation repeatedly hit the area earlier this month.  The National Weather Service says a brief period of snow is possible on Saturday, but otherwise the region is forecast to see rain.  A shot of windy and cold weather is predicted by the weather service for early next week.

>>Company Providing Providence Apartment Rentals Charged With Unfair Housing

(Providence, RI)  --  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is accusing a Providence real-estate management company of violating the Fair Housing Act.  HUD alleges D-and-D Realty Management refused to rent to families with children, citing the experience of fair-housing testers who posed as prospective tenants.  The case reportedly surfaced after an apartment advertisement on Oakland Avenue was posted on Facebook.  The Providence Journal reports an attorney for the realty management company called the allegations meritless.

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

02-26-2021 01:14:27

Your Coronavirus Update - Today February 25, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 25, 2021

February 25, 2021/RINewsToday




Lt. Gov. Dan McKee will lead the coronavirus update today at 1pm


The City of Cranston has expanded sign-ups for the municipal COVID-19 vaccination facility from 75 and older to 70 and older. The City will continue to book appointments based on age with the older stresidents receiving priority. Residents 70 and older can sign-up at to be on the list. Volunteers and Senior Services personnel will continue to call and book appointments taking place at Cranston’s Department of Senior Services. 


RI’s addition of 80 deaths from weeks, and months ago puts RI 3rd from the top in death ratios in the country – with little explanation as to why the data has been inaccurately reported for so long, providing a “rosier” picture than reality over the past 2-3 months. Most of the deaths were among those individuals over 80.


Massachusetts legislature will take testimony today at 11am about the decision to prioritize mass vaccination sites over community run and hospital clinics – as well as the crashing technology.


The state House can legally proceed with in-person sessions this week in MA without providing remote access to medically vulnerable lawmakers, a federal judge ruled Monday.


Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, told legislators Tuesday that they have “identified many deaths” that should have been certified as COVID-19-related but were not, including nursing home and assisted living residents who have died during the pandemic.


4 new CVS stores in RI/MA will open for vaccines – Cranston, Pawtucket, Providence, and Bristol Co., MA


Cranston has lowered age to 70 now at their municipal site. (


Some large Massachusetts companies are looking to vaccinate their own employees.


The New Hampshire General Assembly met indoors for the first time since September.


School bus drivers in MA are concerned about vaccine eligibility – the state said they are included in Phase 2, Group 3. Distance regulations are also changing, depending upon virus concentration in the community.


Villanova HS football team is opting out – choosing to focus all their energies on back-to-school


In Hartford, most students in the city will return to school five days a week beginning March 1 as COVID-19 cases continue to decline.


Maine Seacoast Mission is providing COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the state’s islands starting this week with medical and support staff arriving on the group’s 74-foot boat, Sunbeam.


Massachusetts has a 65% drop since the peak of hospitalization of COVID-19 cases.


The Boston Calling music festival has been canceled for a second year in a row


At Beth Israel Hospital in Plymouth, doctors are using fully vaccinated volunteer medical personnel to sit with and comfort isolated COVID-19 patients, who are alone in their rooms.


The MBTA announced a spring schedule Monday that calls for fewer commuter trains during the morning and evening peak times and more trains during the middle of the day.


The Mayor of Brockton is speaking out at the ceasing of vaccines being given to municipalities for distribution.


Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley on Tuesday called for elementary school students to return to in-person learning five days a week in April


RI’s next two mass vaccination sites will be in the northern RI and southern RI areas.


Vaccinations in RI will be for those younger than 65 approximately mid-March.


Kent Hospital can now have visitors under specific situations – refer to their site for details.


In Connecticut everyone under 55 will start vaccinations next week – moving the whole state to an aged-based system.


From the RI Dept. of Health:


Moderna shipment


  • Rhode Island received today the shipment of roughly 12,400 doses of Moderna vaccine that had been scheduled to arrive yesterday. Because we have received this vaccine, no other changes to the clinic schedule for this week are foreseen at this time. (The delay in this shipment had caused the rescheduling of appointments originally scheduled for today at clinics at the Cranston Senior Center, at the Swift Community Center, which is located in East Greenwich, and at the West Warwick Civic Center.)

Data updates 


  • On our first day of eligibility for people 65 and older yesterday, 17,081 appointments were made for the Dunkin’ Donuts Center and Sockanosset Cross Road. An additional 2,412 appointments were made available this morning. More than 30,000 appointments have been made for the two sites since Rhode Island moved to age-based vaccinating last week. This is all in addition to the vaccinating being done by pharmacies and by cities and towns.
  • Rhode Island’s administration rate has increased by 110% in the last seven days, compared to January. Rhode Island is now administering roughly 5,700 doses per day. Last week, we administered more than 31,000 first doses (which is almost double our previous high) and more than 42,000 total doses.
  • Older adults are representing a larger portion of our people vaccinated. Of the doses administered in February, 48% were to people 65 and older, up from 21% in previous months. While older adults in congregate settings have been getting vaccinated since late December, this increase reflects our shift to an age-based model. 
  • At last week’s press conference, Dr. Alexander-Scott talked about our decrease in hospitalizations between January and February. Since then, our hospitalization numbers have continued to improve. We have now seen a 71% decrease in our daily hospital admissions between January and February. This compares to the national average of 42%.
  • 50 COVID-19 vaccination appointments at the two State-run vaccination sites have been cancelled to date because these people were not eligible, based on the age or employment information they entered. When people register, they are required to attest that they are eligible to be vaccinated. These people are being contacted directly.


Cinemagic Theaters Closing All Its Cinemas In NH, Maine, Mass.


RI now measured with the 3rd highest death rate in the US.


By RI Community:


Community — Cases Last 7 Days — Cases Last 7 Days/100K People — Cumulative Cases



RI Data: Feb. 24, 2021


Deaths: 11

Tests – 16,384 – Positives – 375 – Percent positive – 2.3%

Hospitalized – 168 – In ICU – 32 – Ventilated – 16

Deaths in hospital – 0 – New Admissions – 13

New Discharges – 17 – First vaccines: 153,637 – Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots, 64,070



RI Data: Feb. 23, 2021

Deaths: 10

Tests – 10,197 – Positives – 292 – Percent positive – 2.9%

Hospitalized – 186 (not updated) – In ICU – 27 (not updated) – Ventilated – 18 (not updated)

Deaths in hospital – 2 (not updated) – New Admissions – 31 (not updated)

New Discharges – 22 (not updated)

First vaccines: 147,564 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 62,699







Dr. Fauci is now saying that Americans who have gotten both shots still have “things they cannot do in society” – they should avoid dining inside restaurants, theaters, places where people congregate, because we don’t know how much protection the shots provide. This is the latest statement he has made – including one recently saying we will need to wear masks in 2022.


The Innova rapid at-home coronavirus test is still waiting for approval.


United States, Canada and Mexico agreed to keep their land borders shut down through at least March 21.


Johnson & Johnson will ship individual dose vaccines as soon as approval process is completed – this will mean 10s of thousands of doses in RI, alone. There is talk about it being less effective, but still keeping people out of hospitals.


6 million shots were delayed from the federal government to the states due to weather – the country should be caught up by next week


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said political divisiveness contributed significantly to the “stunning” U.S. COVID-19 death toll


Thailand to start first coronavirus vaccinations this week


In New Jersey, fans will be allowed to attend sports and entertainment events at the state’s largest facilities in limited numbers starting next week


An estimated 50% of Los Angeles County residents have been infected with the virus


Plans are to distribute more than 25 million masks to over 1,300 community health centers and 60,000 food pantries and soup kitchens in an effort to reach underserved communities


Dr. Anthony Fauci says a new, eased guidance for people who have been vaccinated should be coming soon from the CDC


Famed soul singer Gladys Knight and her husband, William “Billy” McDowell, who live in the Asheville area, recently received their COVID- 19 vaccinations at Haywood Regional Medical Center and encouraged other folks to do the same at a vaccine drive.


Oklahoma opened its second phase of vaccinations Monday, providing inoculations to public school teachers and staff and to adults of any age with illnesses that make them more susceptible to the coronavirus.


Four federal mass vaccination sites are coming to Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville


Churches and places of worship will be considered critical in reaching out to vaccine resistent groups.


Carnival Cruises are postponing to the end of May.


Goldman-Sachs CEO told their employees the goal is to return to in-person working.


The state of Virginia is re-prioritizing Blacks and Latinos over seniors for the vaccine, causing conflict with senior advocates.


The U.S. government is launching a nationwide initiative to study COVID-19 patients who suffer from residual symptoms months after recovery, commonly known as “COVID long-haulers”.


A benefit of the pandemic for older Americans has been the opportunity built out of necessity to learn more about the internet and technology. Activities such as online shopping has been shown to ease loneliness, as well as browsing the internet.


The vaccine is showing better results at keeping the variant viruses at bay, as they continue to sweep across the US.


CVS Health has added Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to the list of states where select CVS Pharmacy locations will offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. This follows the successful February 12 rollout in 11 states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: COVID-19 vaccine updates in Rhode Island: more mass inoculation sites, and CVS is adding pharmacy locations to its vaccine list.  Unions are reacting to news of a merger agreement between the state's largest healthcare networks.  It may soon become easier to get approved to solemnize a marriage in the Ocean State.

>>COVID Vaccine In RI: More Mass Sites, CVS Adds Locations

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health said on Tuesday that two more mass vaccination sites could be open by mid-March.  Locations in northern and southern Rhode Island and the East Bay are being considered.  In other COVID-19 vaccine news in Rhode Island, CVS Health said Wednesday that locations in Providence, Cranston and Pawtucket have been added to the list of pharmacies where shots are available.  A WPRI-TV report indicates doses will be from the company's partnership with the federal government, not the state's allocation.

>>Unions Weigh In On Lifespan-CNE Merger Announcement

(Providence, RI)  --  Unions are hoping the mega-merger announced this week between Lifespan and Care New England, the two largest healthcare networks in the state, doesn't mean job losses.  A statement from the president of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals, which represents thousands of workers in both networks, says the merger should be scrutinized to a high degree to ensure it is in the best interest of patients and frontline health workers.  The head of the Service Employees International Union says everyone currently employed now needs to be offered the opportunity to continue working.

>>Senate Passes Bill Making It Easier To Pronounce Marriages

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate is passing legislation to authorize the governor to designate any adult to solemnize a marriage.  Currently, only the General Assembly can authorize individuals to perform the task.  RI Senate Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey, who introduced the bill, says there is no reason the state needs to bog down the joyous occasion of a marriage with red tape.  McCaffrey adds it is inefficient to handle what amounts to a clerical task through votes and committee meetings.

>>Auto Sales Owner Charged With Smuggling

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island business owner is being accused of filing false export information with the United States Department of Commerce.  Federal prosecutors allege Carlo Fakhri, who operates D'Agostinos Auto Sales and Salvage in North Providence among other businesses, smuggled a number of motor vehicles from his home country of Lebanon in 2016 and did not supply complete and correct information to the Commerce Department.  Fakhri, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arraigned in federal court in Providence on Wednesday.

>>COVID Affects Winter Sports Conclusion; Woonsocket Football Team Opts Out

(Undated)  --  The conclusion of some Rhode Island winter sports seasons are being impacted by coronavirus cases.  The Barrington boys' and Warwick girls' hockey teams had to drop out of their playoffs on Tuesday.  In related news, the two-time-defending-state-champion Woonsocket High School football team has opted out of the special "Fall 2" season.

>>Men's Basketball: Providence College Beats Xavier

(Providence, RI)  --  The NCAA Tournament might not be in the cards for the Providence men's basketball team this year, but the Friars are looking to end the year on a strong note.  PC beat Xavier on Wednesday 83-to-68 to improve to a 12-and-11 record.  Providence has won three of its last four.  Two regular-season games are left next month before the 2021 Big East Tournament.

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

02-25-2021 01:12:31

First Disability=Focused Wedding Planner

First Disability-Focused Wedding Planner Book

February 24, 2021/RINewsToday


Wedding Planning for Spoonies, the first wedding planning book focused on physical disabilities, released Valentines Day in the Texas Ice Storm, lifts spirits.


Wedding Planning for Spoonies is the very first wedding planning book centering on disability. The book was published on February 14, 2021, the first day the ice storm hit central Texas. During the days of blackouts and cold, the book offered some levity and a drive to share the love in a dark time.

“The book focuses on love as the center of a wedding. That’s why we have weddings, this is why there is an all-inclusive wedding planner now in existence. Sharing the news of the book during the Texas Freeze made people react positively and helped me focus on what could help me get through my dark, cold moments during the storm,” — Meara Bartlett, author

Wedding Planning for Spoonies: Inspiration & Tips for Chronically Ill and Disabled Couples intends to serve the disabled community in many ways. Planning a wedding for anyone is difficult. However, disabled people face significant prejudice and unique difficulties when it comes to wedding planning. Wedding Planning for Spoonies looks to empower disabled couples on their journey to matrimony with tips and inspiration and inform wedding vendors of a disabled couple’s struggle to improve the industry.

Wedding Planning for Spoonies centers on the premise that all people across abilities, genders and sexualities deserve to be loved, and celebrate their love. The question is, how? How should a wheelchair user find a suitable venue? Or should you plan for an army of wedding attendants if you have chronic pain symptoms?


The book was released on Valentine’s Day, and is available at AmazonBarnes and NobleWalmart or Apple Books.


About Meara Barlett


Meara Bartlett is a graduate student at Texas State University studying Technical Writing with a concentration on social justice in technology. She planned two weddings to the same man, because she had a medical emergency and had to scrap her originally planned ceremony and create a new one in 48 hours. Meara writes for Offbeat Bride, The Mighty, Uncomfortable Revolution, and Rock n’ Roll Bride. There she interacts with fellow disabled brides, who helped with writing Wedding Planning for Spoonies. You can follow Mear’s blog at:


Meara Bartlett
2434 Roundabout Ln
Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 422-9640

RI House Bill 5309: Eliminating the eviction tool. What this means

RI House Bill 5309: Eliminating the eviction tool. What this means for our state.

February 24, 2021/Emilio DiSpirito


By Emilio DiSpirito, Engel & Völkers, real estate writer, RINewsToday


Over the past week, I have been fortunate enough to connect with Mr. Gregory Rice the General Manager and Vice President of Nexus Property Management and their Franchise Sales. Mr. Rice oversees 1500+ rentals for local landlords and is also a property owner himself. He has a deep understanding of how our housing economy works here in Rhode Island and the benefits that it brings when landlords have money to spend at local stores, with local services, and to pay local taxes.


There is a new House Bill, House Bill 5309, AN ACT RELATING TO PROPERTY — RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD AND TENANT ACT – which many Realtors, property managers, property owners and local businessowners feel will impact the Rhode Island economy in a terrible way.


I asked Mr. Rice a simple question and below you will find his answer!


Emilio DiSpirito: Mr. Rice, can you please tell us what House Bill 5309 is, the pros and cons; in addition to how we can stop this from happening?


House Bill 5309 is a partisan bill introduced by10 democrats and 0 republicans. In a nutshell the bill aims to eliminate all eviction filings, issuances of execution (the document you receive at the end of an eviction to kick out a tenant) AND prevent landlords from terminating tenancies during a declared state of emergency. We are in a declared state of emergency now and likely will be for the foreseeable future. When a state declares a state of emergency this enables them to receive federal funding. So, it is likely Rhode Island, among other states, will keep this in place until COVID is well under control. We are far from that!


The pros to this bill clearly favor tenants only. They are protected from eviction, constable visits, court appearances, and even being asked to leave without eviction proceedings taking place. 


The cons certainly outweigh this benefit. I ask you, what is worse to the local economy, an eviction or a foreclosure? Now, this bill does simultaneously pause foreclosures, but once that pause is ended you better believe each city and town will be cranking out foreclosure proceedings to be reimbursed for the monies they are owed (taxes, water, sewer, etc.). There is far more damage to the investors and the local community when a vacant house exists. Check out this recent example in Providence. I look at this like a prime case study for what we can expect once there are HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of foreclosures here in the Ocean State. Squatters, fires, drugs, death, guns and more. This is where we are heading with this bill:,living%20in%20a%20war%20zone.%22


To get involved, you need to contact your local state representative and state your position on this bill. You can find the contact information here:


Find you State Rep:


Here is the link to the full text of the bill.


Link to the bill’s details:…/Rhode_Island-2021-H5309…


Before I go, please know that there is also a matching Senate bill as we speak that has the same text as this one. It is Senate Bill 0183. You can also contact your local RI state senator (not US senator in congress; there’s a difference) to state your position on this bill.


If the community fails to get involved the politicians will have their way with our future, and further encroaching on what limited rights we do have at this point. Private property is called ‘private’ for a reason, and a bill like this is inching us closely towards a new way of life, communal property – where you as the landlord are 100% responsible for all the expenses of the property, but the State (and public opinion) get to tell you how (and when) you can run your business!


For more information and or to connect with Mr. Rice, please contact him below.


Mr. Gregory J. Rice


GM/Vice President of Franchise Sales


Nexus Property Management™


Your Property, MANAGED®


(203) 217-1959 Cell – (401) 288-1117 Office





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

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

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

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

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

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


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo could get a Senate vote for her Commerce Secretary nomination next week.  Back home, Raimondo is handing over the reins to the upcoming state budget to Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee as he waits to take her office.  Lifespan and Care New England have reached a merger agreement.

>>Update On Governor Gina Raimondo's U.S. Secretary Nomination

(Washington, DC)  --  There is light at the end of the tunnel, possibly, for the path to Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo becoming the next United States Secretary of Commerce.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday the vote could happen early next week.  The Providence Journal reports a spokesperson for Senator Jack Reed said he initiated a "cloture" [[ CLOE-chure ]] petition to allow the Senate to move ahead with the nomination despite the "hold" placed by Ted Cruz.  The Texas Senator asked for a commitment from the Biden administration to keep Chinese telecom company Huawei on a blacklist which is published by the Commerce Department.  The impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump also contributed to the delay in Raimondo's nomination process.

>>Raimondo Delegates Budget To McKee, Makes Several Appointments In Consultation

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo is handing off her budget-writing responsibilities to Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee, who is waiting to take over for her upon her departure to Washington.  Raimondo signed an executive order on Monday specifically granting McKee the power to handle the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, which is due in mid-March.  Raimondo is also making three appointments requested by McKee.  Matt Weldon and Marilyn McConaghy, respectively with the Department of Labor and Training and the Department of Revenue, are being promoted as acting directors of those departments.  Jim Thorsen, who was the director of the Revenue Department, will become acting director of the Department of Administration.

>>Merger Agreement Has Been Reached Between Rhode Island Healthcare Systems

(Providence, RI)  --  At long last, Rhode Island's two largest health care systems are merging, pending state and federal approval.  Lifespan and Care New England say a definitive agreement has been reached to merge and join with Brown University.  Lifespan and Care New England have been involved in merger talks going back a number of years.  Governor Raimondo in 2019 intervened in an effort by Boston-based Partners HealthCare to acquire Care New England and asked CNE to return to the negotiation table.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,476

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported ten new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The death toll from the pandemic in the Ocean State has reached two-thousand-476.  The state reported two-hundred-82 new virus cases yesterday to increase the pandemic total to 124-thousand-262.

>>Fire Destroys House In Attleboro

(Attleboro, MA)  --  A home in Attleboro, Massachusetts was destroyed in a fire Tuesday night.  The blaze broke out at a house on Thatcher Street at around 7 p.m.  Two people who lived in the home were uninjured.  The cause of the fire is being investigated.

>>TSA Finds Throwing Knives In Carry-On Bag At Green Airport

(Warwick, RI)  --  The Transportation Security Administration says officers discovered a set of martial arts throwing knives in a carry-on bag this past weekend.  The TSA says the knives were sheathed, but should have been placed in the passenger's checked bag.  The federal agency says martial arts weapons are not allowed through the TSA checkpoint.

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

02-24-2021 01:11:51

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 23, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Tues, Feb. 23, 2021

February 23, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Monday, Gov. Raimondo signed over the budget process to Lt. Gov. Dan McKee after many calls for an easier transition of power.




As a result of severe weather that has affected distribution nationwide, certain COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for 2/23 are getting rescheduled. A shipment of approximately 12,400 doses of Moderna vaccine to Rhode Island did not arrive today. The community clinics scheduled for tomorrow at the Cranston Senior Center, the Swift Community Center (in East Greenwich), and the West Warwick Civic Center are affected by this delay and are being rescheduled. People who had appointments will be contacted directly by clinic organizers. This shipping delay could have additional impacts on some clinics currently scheduled for Wednesday. RIDOH will make an announcement on Tuesday about any impacts on Wednesday clinics.


Technology experts are weighing in on how complex and not user-friendly the state’s vaccine signup system in RI is.


Reporters had queried the state about the ability of the National Guard to pick up vaccines if weather caused delays – though there was no response in RI to do so.


RI is partnering with Health Equity Solutions, a nonprofit, to reach out to more than 10,000 minority residents over the next three months and dispel myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. They have already hosted webinars that have reached more than 3,000 people, and more than 20 events have been scheduled, with more planned.


Lt. Gov. McKee will hold a small business Facebook Live event Tuesday at noon.


Feb. 26 will be last day of care for Sockanosset Field Hospital.


The Rhode Island Department of Health has created a survey to gather information for those unable to leave their home to receive a vaccine. While all individuals are encouraged to seek vaccination opportunities through vaccination clinics and retail pharmacies, there are individuals who are unable to leave home to attend such opportunities. If you are unable to leave home to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, or are the healthcare provider or family caregiver of someone who is homebound, please inform RIDOH through the following form: [] []


Boston Gov. Baker says he hates to say he’s sorry but is taking ownership of the botched vaccination signup process – for that, the Boston Globe is reporting that people are responding positively to his shared outrage, ownership and efforts to fix the problem.


In 2-3 weeks, the Convention Center Field Hospital will be closed.


Gov. Raimondo held an impromptu Facebook Live press event:


What do you have to say to botched rollout this morning?


Said that “we will get better” regarding the Monday roll-out.


Gov says there’s a phone number to call


We do have live people on the lines.


Why are appointments populating throughout the day?


We start with what we anticipate being the number, and add to that. We can make adjustments as we go along.


Gov. McKee has been very critical – how do you respond?        


Our initial strategy has been to be very targeted, and that worked. Now we are doing the next phase. We just jumped up on the NYT list. I’m supporting Lt. Gov’s transition – we’ll get better and better over time. We need to expand capacity in the system.


Criticism is spurring your administration to move quicker – do you agree with that?


No, I don’t agree with that perception. This has always been the plan – a very deliberate plan. Dr. Scott and the task force. This was our explicit strategy.


Signing EO to give more authority of Lt. Gov. McKee to hire cabinet level people – is that true?


I don’t have anything to say right now. We’re working through things.


What will happen with RIDLT with Scott Jensen leaving?


I will appoint a successor. I’ll have more news on this later.


Lt. Gov. named Mr. Silva to be point person on COVID – is that a good idea?


I’m not going to second guess his decisions. Dr. Scott IS and WILL BE the lead – she will stay as the lead and the Director of Health.


Why can’t you go back to do the COVID briefing? With a public face to the people? And McKee isn’t going either? This is a different situation – this is your rollout, not his. People would like to see somebody in charge.


I think it is important for the people to get more comfortable with the Lt. Gov. I’m here today – I’m fully accountable to the people of RI. I’m here answering your questions. Lt. Gov will be there on Thursday. We are working hand and glove to keep RI people safe.


Mayors will continue with vaccinations? Can mayors invite people?


Yes, and they can extend to 65 when they are ready. Yes, they can invite – we are sharing lists with them of eligible people.


Will Dr. Scott commit to continue to serve?


Yes, she will.


RI says it is more strategic, but other states have done it differently – why did this slower plan be better?


Big difference is more than any other state, we’ve seen huge drops in hospitalizations. 46% drop. Our decrease is beyond the US average, W. Virginia, etc. We have been faster and more significant.


How concerned are you about the variants?


We are very concerned. It is real. If there’s an uptick, we are ready.


From RIDOH: RI sent out an educational flyer for $265,000+


Monday’s vaccination opening to those over 65 did not go smoothly – from closed facilities to websites that didn’t work to people going from website to website. The RIDOH updated the system after 9am. Over 10,000 people did manage to use the site to sign up. The Sockanosset Crossroad facility will be closed every Monday. Others have gone to CVS or Walgreens for better efficiency.


RI Data: Feb. 22, 2021


Deaths: 9 (plus additional from last few months: 90)


Tests – 6,094 Positives – 159 Percent positive – 2.6%


Hospitalized – 186 In ICU – 27 Ventilated – 18


Deaths in hospital – 2 New Admissions – 31 New Discharges – 22


First vaccines: 141,740 Total fully vaccinated: 61,944





The United States has passed ½ a million deaths from coronavirus.


Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that Americans must remain vigilant even as COVID-19 cases drop, saying “the baseline of daily infections is still very, very high.”


The University of Maine is moving forward with spring sports after previously pausing all athletics amid cases of COVID-19 on campus.


1/3 of people who have had COVID-19 may suffer from PTSD


Publix is giving a $125 Publix gift card to each of its more than 225,000 employees who gets vaccinated. The supermarket chain is the latest major employer to offer an enticement to its workers to immunize themselves


At-home COVID tests were ready fast but regulatory approval has been slow. At-home COVID-19 tests could make a vital contribution to stemming the pandemic.


The cost of a single dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is reported to cost just $2.72 in India, $4 in the U.S., and $8.50 in Uganda. But a dose of the vaccine from Sinopharm, which was developed in China, ranges in cost from $18.50 in Senegal to $44 in China to $72.50 elsewhere. 


Walmart is rolling out vaccine preparation in 22 states, the company is still supporting over 500 active testing sites across the country.


The Louvre, in Paris, remains closed – since Oct. 30th –


Dr. Fauci: It’s “possible” Americans will still need to wear masks in 2022 -CNN


Dairy Queen has canceled its Free Cone Day this spring out of crowding concerns.


A beautiful day in the neighborhood


A beautiful day in the neighborhood – Richard Asinof

February 23, 2021/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI – contributing writer


Photo: The new pop-up COVID testing and vaccination site in Olneyville being managed by Clinica Esperanza in Eagle Square


How a volunteer free health clinic – Clinica Esperanza – has reshaped the delivery of health care to the uninsured, under-employed in Providence, during a time of pandemic


Writing about the success of Clinica Esperanza, a volunteer medical clinic operating in the heart of Olneyville, which recently was awarded $315,000 by TD Bank’s Ready Challenge, is an exploration into how a neighborhood has begun to reinvent itself in the midst of a pandemic, challenging the status quo when it comes to health care.


In a recent interview with its volunteer medical director, Dr. Annie De Groot, and with Frank Casale, the regional vice president at TD Bank, the conversation captured so much of what has not been reported in the last year when it comes to health care in Rhode Island: what De Groot accurately described as uncovering “the size of the iceberg in Rhode Island” when it comes to the large unmet health needs in the state, made starkly more visible by the pandemic.


You see, for much of the last decade, Clinica Esperanza, the “Hope Clinic,” has served the uninsured – patients who lack health insurance, including many hard-working, Spanish-speaking residents, many of whom are immigrants.


[Editor’s Note: ConvergenceRI has frequently reported about the work of Clinica Esperanza. It was featured in a story about the 2018 Health Equity Summit. At that time, Clinica Esperanza said it was serving more than 2,000 patients a year, mainly Central and South American immigrants, 60 percent of whom spoke Spanish as their primary language and 75 percent of whom reported incomes of less than $15,000 a year.


As ConvergenceRI reported: “The focus of much of the culturally appropriate care delivered is on nutrition education, cholesterol/blood pressure/glucose checks, primary care and vaccinations. Through what is known as the “Bridging The Gap” program, which includes quarterly visits with a primary care provider and participation in a health education program, patients’ use of emergency departments was reduced significantly compared with Medicaid patients.”


The story continued: “One of the goals of the program is to manage chronic diseases before they become emergent or incurable, improving the quality of life and lessening the burden on local hospitals and ERs to provide charity care.” See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Eyes on the prize; 2018 health equity summit draws 750.”]


For sure, Clinica Esperanza is not alone in its grassroots efforts at the neighborhood level – which also has featured the good work by ONE Neighborhood Builders, the Providence Community Health Centers, the Sankofa Initiative, and the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, among others, to address the issues around health inequities.


But Clinica Esperanza has been among the most consistent, perhaps, in pushing back against the status quo when it comes to health care delivery in Rhode Island – developing a cost-effective program of providing basic primary care to those outside the mainstream of the health care delivery system in the state.


The disastrous spread of the coronvavirus pandemic, which has now killed some 500,000 people in the U.S. during the last year and sickened more than 28 million, blew up the prevailing assumptions that the health care delivery system had things under control.


Clinica Esperanza has been operating for the last 13 years, often dependent on the kindness of neighbors and philanthropic grants, to serve a burgeoning population of people who checked all the boxes for “unmet health needs” – unemployed, uninsured, Spanish-speaking, and lacking access to primary care.


In the interview, De Groot described how the pandemic had helped to suss out the size of the health care unmet needs iceberg in Rhode Island.


“During the pandemic, as you can imagine,” she explained, “even with going to telemedicine, even with limiting visits, we’ve actually had an increase of 130 percent [in new patients], in terms of new patient visits to the clinic, and that’s partly in relationship to the fact that we opened a COVID-testing site.”


You may wonder: How big was the demand for testing? The answer provided by De Groot did not take an advanced degree in health administration or a high-priced business consultant from Boston Consulting Group to interpret the data. It has been huge.


“The Clinic’s COVID testing site tested more than 3,500 people between April and December of 2020,” De Groot told ConvergenceRI. “On average, about 25 percent of those people were COVID positive. And, 66 percent of those people were uninsured, and they were new patients to us. We did not know them before this.”


Let that sink in for a moment: The testing site run by Clinica Esperanza, separate from the state-operated sites, tested on average 400 people a month. Two-thirds of the people tested were “uninsured.” One-quarter of the people tested – some 900 people, 25 percent – tested positive, a clear marker of how wide the community spread of the virus has become. And, most were “new patients” – people who had not been known to clinic before. [See second image, a graph detailing the most recent data of COVID testing by the clinic.]


“So, actually having the COVID-testing capacity enabled us to uncover the size of the iceberg in Rhode Island,” De Groot said. “Which is actually how many people in Rhode Island have no health insurance.”


Community heroes
The interview with De Groot and Casale, TD Bank’s regional vice president, revealed the extent to which a critical news story has gone unreported by the Rhode Island news media. Further, it highlighted the philanthropic investment by a major bank in the community-driven volunteer health clinic that is reshaping how a Providence neighborhood is redefining issues of health equity.


Here is the ConvergenceRI interview with Dr. Annie De Groot and TD Bank’s Frank Casale, describing the iceberg of Rhode Island’s unmet health needs and the innovative solutions being delivered – outside of the narrow lens aperture of most news media in Rhode Island.


ConvergenceRI: How did TD Bank get connected with Dr. De Groot and Clinica Esperanza?
FRANK CASALE: First, congratulations to Annie and her team for being a TD Ready challenge winner, one of only six in the United States.


What happened, Richard, is that we have at TD Bank a TD Ready commitment and a TD Ready Challenge. The TD Bank Ready Challenge acts as a springboard for us to invest in social innovation, to establish and identify solutions to specific issues.


Each year, we ask some of the brightest minds in the not-for-profit world to respond with their proposals to help address growing problems within society.


So, those applications, if you will, those requests, come in, and we review them all, and keep narrowing them down. And, that’s how we find such great [programs] such as Clinica Esperanza.


We found Clinica Esperanza when they applied for the TD Ready Challenge.


ConvergenceRI: There are a lot of things to like about what Dr. De Groot is doing with her team at Clinica Esperanza? What specifically did you find that was innovative and ready for investment by TD Bank in the work of the clinic?
CASALE: The TD Bank Ready Challenge is part of the TD Ready commitment. The TD Ready commitment is basically focused on four interconnected drivers that change the community. They are: [promoting] financial security, having a vibrant planet, connecting the communities, and promoting better health.


They are the pillars – the meeting of unmet health care and health education needs of a predominantly immigrant, uninsured, Spanish-speaking population in Rhode Island, was something that was very interesting to us.


They do God’s work at their clinic, taking in uninsured folks, taking care of people who have lost their jobs, and who have lost their health insurance because of that. And that disproportionately affects low-income communities served by the clinic.


And the demands have increased, obviously, with the intensity of the pandemic.


ConvergenceRI: Annie, how will the grant enable you to expand the clinic’s work, providing non-urgent medical care for patients who are uninsured?
DE GROOT: First, I want to give gratitude to TD Bank for supporting this project. It’s really very exciting. And, to Morgan Leonard, who is the new director of clinic operations, who wrote the proposal.


The clinic, as you know, is a walk-in clinic that was set up in 2012-2013, initially with support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, to divert people away from the emergency room.


The concept was actually that people were going to the emergency room and they were getting bills, and that was harming their credit worthiness because they couldn’t pay those bills. And, they were actually  [seeking care] for things like colds, or back pain, or rashes, or sexually transmitted diseases, [conditions] that could easily be treated in a walk-in-clinic, but they didn’t have access to one.


It was also partly state Sen. Josh Miller’s idea. If you remember, as I ‘m sure you do, Richard, at the time, Sen. Miller was trying to create an emergency room diversion program from patients who were being sent to the drunk tank. [Editor’s Note: The pilot diversion program, which ran for a year, was abandoned after it proved impossible to transfer patients to health insurance to pay for the diversion effort, because too many of the patients were undocumented immigrants.]


We found that, in terms of cost savings, since we started the clinic, we were saving local emergency rooms more than $500,000 a year.


[Editor’s Note: The data results were documented in a study published by the R.I. Medical Journal, “Bridging the [Health Equity] Gap,” in November of 2018. “The overall savings from the emergency department diversion aspect of BTG could be as high as $781,122 annually if the program were to be expanded to 8,000 uninsured Hispanics, statewide,” according to De Groot.]


So, being fearless, we actually went to one of the local health care system providers and said: “Why don’t you give us $300,000 a year and then we’ll be saving you $200,000 a year?’ That didn’t go over well, as you can imagine – even though it made perfect sense.


We actually have been really struggling to support this project.


ConvergenceRI: Who were the people who were uninsured, who were seeking out testing for COVID?
DE GROOT: A lot of those people, as you can imagine, are young. Many are usually healthy, but they were obviously getting sick with COVID. We were able to take care of them, using telemedicine initially.


We also worked with local projects, such as the Elisha project, and we were able to bring food to their houses, so that they didn’t have to go out to shop for food.


And, also, with help from United Way of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Foundation, and the city of Providence we were able to give them cash cards to purchase groceries when they were feeling better, because obviously, they couldn’t go back to work, work was shut down.


We really provided a safety net for the safety net.


But now, these patients are our patients, so the award from TD Bank will give us the opportunity to take care of these patients, in an ongoing manner, over the next year, and hopefully, beyond that, because of the support that they are giving to the clinic.


ConvergenceRI: If you were able to get access to vaccines, are you prepared and would you be able to then vaccinate these same patients?
DE GROOT: Absolutely, and thank you for asking that question, Richard. And, Frank, you’ll be happy to know that we are setting up to be a vaccine site.


We have jumped through almost all of the hoops; it has been quite the exercise. We now have our state-approved refrigerator. The state has inspected our site. We have the proper social distancing in place. We have signed up for the mod vaccine scheduling service.


All we’re waiting for right now are the actual vaccines. We have a list of over 300 patients who are all over 75 years old, and uninsured, who come from our patient population. First, we will be setting up appointments for those people. And then, we will be opening to the general public for those who are over 75, and then as the Rhode Island prerequisites roll forward, for those over 65 in the same population.


That’s the exciting news for this week.


ConvergenceRI: Wow.
DE GROOT: I’m not sure exactly when we will open, Richard. I’m hoping that it’s Thursday, Feb. 18 [The interview took place on Tuesday morning, Feb. 16.]


The vaccination site is in a different location, because we were so busy with COVID testing that it was impeding our clinical care. We were able to get funding through the federal CARES Act to open a separate, COVID testing and vaccination site, which is located in Eagle Square. We have a big space, and we have a beautiful mural that talks about health in Guatemala.


[Editor’s Note: Despite the clear messaging on Clinica Esperanza’s website, a number of Rhode Islanders who were not 75, and who were not uninsured, attempted to jump the line, demanding that they receive vaccines, creating a stir.]


ConvergenceRI: How important is it, do you think, for people to understand that the unmet needs didn’t come about just because of the coronavirus pandemic? But rather, you are addressing deep-rooted problems in the community around health equity that have been magnified by the pandemic?
DE GROOT: Absolutely. I think everyone in the U.S. is well aware that the people who are at highest risk are disproportionately Latino and African American. Our [client] population is predominately Latino; we have one of the biggest Guatemalan populations in the Northeast in Rhode Island.


Most of our patients are Spanish speaking; they are uninsured, they are working low-wage and very transient jobs, and they do not have access to health insurance.


So we have been providing that safety net for many years now. We have been open 11 years in this current location, but actually we have been open for 13 years.


This is a population that is at high risk, partly because of language barriers, but also because of a lack of health literacy. A lot of people are unfamiliar with the basic concept about viruses and about how they are transmitted. There is a lot of education that has to occur.


Many of our clients live in multi-generational and multi-family households. Many of our patients live one family to a room, in three-bedroom apartments. It’s really quite crowded; it’s often impossible to do any kind of social distancing.


And so, that is why, when one person is infected, usually, it impacts 10 to 15 people who live in the same house.


ConvergenceRI: How are you communicating with folks? Is it mostly done through telehealth? Has the wire mesh network that has been built out by ONE Neighborhood Builders been helpful?
DE GROOT: I’m not aware that that has been impacting our patients. We usually reach them by cell phone. And, it’s a constant battle, because they are constantly switching their phone numbers.


We have a network of about 2,000 cell phone numbers that we can reach out to our patients. We have test messaging system called Care Message that allows us to send text messages in English and in Spanish, and get answers back, with “Yes” or “No” answers.


We’ve determined that 80 percent of our population is ready to get vaccinated – when we asked them if they were ready. So, that’s the exciting news. People in this population [who we serve] are ready to get vaccinated, because they have seen the devastating effect that COVID has had on their colleagues and their families.


There is really no way of reaching them other than text messages. We also do some outreach through Facebook. One of our board members, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, who runs a talk radio show, but on Facebook, called “Rhode Island Informa,” he’s been talking about vaccinations.


We also have our own Facebook page, through which many of our patients have reached out to us, so they have actually scheduled appointment for COVID testing through Facebook. That has been a way that we have been reaching our patients as well.


Television doesn’t work. As you know, there is no local television station in Spanish.


There’s really no other way of reaching these individuals, other than by word of mouth. Beginning when we first opened the clinic, word of mouth has been the best way to reach people. We have asked them, over and over again, “How did you hear about us?” They answer; “A friend of mine told me.” That is universally what they say.


ConvergenceRI: How do you feel that your clinic strengthens the concept of “neighborhood?”
DE GROOT: Do you want to address that question first, Frank?


CASALE: At TD Bank, we are really focused on aspiring to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities. We have a lot of folks who work for us, me included, that serve on a number of various boards, such as the Rhode Island Food Bank and Meeting Street. It’s just what we do; it’s in our DNA.


Especially as TD Bank members, we are committed to the community. And, we want to make a difference in the community. And, what better way to do that than to support organizations and folks such as Annie, Morgan, and their team. We are very proud to be partnering with them.


DE GROOT: There are some very important aspects of community that we address. First of all, we reach communities that are hard to reach. At Clinica Esperanza, over the years, we have built trust in the community of immigrants, and with Spanish-speakers who live on the West Side of Providence.


But we also have patients who come to us from all over the state, people come to us from as far away as Block Island and as close by as Central Falls, to our clinic for their health care.


In that sense, we have built a network in the community to provide a safety net to people that would otherwise really have no other access to health care.


In addition, I think we do something that is very, very important: We bring neighbors together to help neighbors. We are a volunteer-run clinic. I’m a volunteer. I’ve always been a volunteer at the clinic.


[Editor’s Note: In her “day job,” De Groot is the co-founder, CEO and CSO of EpiVax, Inc., one of the pioneering biotech firms in Rhode Island, which has developed its own proprietary immuno-informatics data software, and which is involved in research in developing vaccines across a number of cutting-edge health threats, including coronavirus.]


We benefit from the good will of the community, and having a clinic like this makes it possible for people to contribute to the well being of their neighbors.


Because I can see how much the community in Rhode Island, and that includes TD Bank and all of other supporters, how much our community cares for each other. I think that is one of the most important messages. In this pandemic, we do care about our neighbors and for each other, and we do reach out.


It’s really been wonderful to be able to be see how our work changes lives, not only for the patients, but also for the volunteers.


ConvergenceRI: What questions haven’t I asked, should I have asked, that you would like to talk about?
CASALE: We are committed to the community. The TD Bank Ready Challenge will grant some $20 million this year, with a commitment to invest $775 million by 2030. It is a philosophy, it is a strategy, and it is a commitment.


DE GROOT: I think it is important to talk about this effort in the context of the entire city and the entire state.


Rhode Island has really been the beneficiary of immigration by a group of some of the most hard-working, morally and ethically upright people. I am talking about the Guatemalan people and other immigrants from Central America who have come here to work hard and to make a better life for themselves and their children.


For me, it has been a wonderful experience, working with the immigrant community. I feel it is important to get back to a place where we appreciate the importance of immigrants in our community, the energy that they bring, and the investment in their children. So many of the young workers at our clinic are first generation immigrants, children and dreamers who are working very hard to make a better live for themselves and their kids.


I commend TD Bank for their investment in the West Side of Providence through Clinica Esperanza, and I believe we will strengthen the entire city and the entire state through this effort.


To read the story in its entirety:,6352



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.


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Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The COVID-19 vaccination effort is continuing in the Ocean State.  A rare occasion since her nomination to the Biden cabinet, Governor Gina Raimondo spoke to reporters again on Monday.  A recently-published survey reveals whether boaters mind getting near the Block Island wind turbines.

[[ watch dating ]]

>>NWS Issues Black Ice Alert

(Undated)  --  Drivers all across Southern New England are being told to watch out for black ice this morning.  The National Weather Service says there is a risk of slick spots on untreated surfaces because of recent precipitation and snowmelt.  The weather service says temperatures will fall around or below-freezing by day break.

>>Rhode Island COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Continues

(Undated)  --  The state of Rhode Island expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all people 65 and older on Monday.  The RI Department of Health is directing senior citizens to get vaccinated at one of the two state-run sites in Providence and Cranston, through select CVS or Walgreens or through their cities and towns.  The Providence Journal reported the website appeared to have filled over ten-thousand available appointments this week by noon Monday and was accepting registrations for next week later in the afternoon.  The state has announced that community clinics scheduled for Tuesday at the Cranston Senior Center, the Swift Community Center in East Greenwich, and the West Warwick Civic Center are being postponed because of nationwide distribution issues.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,466

(Providence, RI)  --  The coronavirus death toll in Rhode Island increased on Monday to two-thousand-466.  The state reported nine new deaths over the weekend.  The number of virus cases during the pandemic in the Ocean State was almost at 124-thousand as of yesterday after the state reported over eight-hundred new ones over the three-day period.

>>Governor Raimondo Speaks To Reporters Again, Addresses Several Topics

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo on Monday answered questions from reporters for only the second time since her nomination to become U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  Raimondo defended the state's COVID-19 vaccine rollout and indicated Rhode Island is moving in the right direction.  Following public criticism of her administration from Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee about the vaccine program and a no-show by both at last week's COVID-19 briefing, Raimondo assured reporters yesterday that there is not a rift between the two and that McKee will attend the next COVID briefing.  McKee is set to take over for Raimondo upon her Senate confirmation as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  She said yesterday she doesn't know when the confirmation will happen.

>>Two Men Indicted For Fatal Shooting In Pawtucket

(Providence, RI)  --  Two Central Falls men are charged with a murder in Pawtucket.  The victim of a shooting outside of a car wash on Main Street last October was Julius Bell.  The two individuals who were indicted by a Providence County grand jury on Friday are Olivio Leverone and Julio Debarros.

>>Study: Recreational Boaters Avoid BI Wind Turbines, Fishers Not So Much

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  A recently-published study tracked boating trends around the Block Island Wind Farm.  According to a Westerly Sun report, the study from a University of Rhode Island professor published in the journal "Marine Policy" in December found that recreational boaters try to avoid the five turbines in the farm.  It also found that recreational fishermen were more likely to move close to the turbines because fish congregate near the foundations of the structures.  The study was part of an effort to understand the impact of offshore wind farms.  Block Island is the first and only utility-scale wind energy development in the region, but a number of other projects are pending.

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

02-23-2021 01:15:06

Visiting loved ones in hospitals/care facilities easier - not uniform

Visiting loved ones in hospitals/care facilities easier – not uniform

February 22, 2021/RINewsToday


In what was a bit of a surprise, the RI Department of Health briefing on Thursday including a loosening of hospital and nursing home visitation. As much as it was a surprise to the general public, it also took the two major hospital groups by surprise as their website policies haven’t been completely updated, to date.


But – Lifespan and Care New England don’t completely agree on how they will proceed in the short-term. Other hospitals are in the Charter Care partnership or independent Landmark Medical Center & Rehabilitation Hospital of RI, South County Hospital and the Yale affiliated Westerly Hospital. As each hospital varies slightly – and some significantly – a call or visit to the individual websites would be advised.


First, the RI Dept. of Health’s new policy:


In March 2020, the Director released Hospital Visitation Guidance in response to the increasing number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 globally, the growing number of patients diagnosed in Rhode Island, and the ongoing influenza respiratory illness season. This Hospital Visitation Guidance for all hospitals was based on a three-level approach to visitation. Each level becomes increasingly more restrictive as follows:


Level 1- Reduce visitation to protect vulnerable populations.


Level 2- Limit visitation hours, as determined by the hospital.


Level 3- No visitation other than those essential to care and who are free of the exclusion criteria in Levels 1 and 2.


RIDOH acknowledges and appreciates what all hospitals have done to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and that the lack of visitation for patients and their loved ones creates a significant psychosocial stress for the patient and their love ones.


They also acknowledge that we are now in a different phase of the pandemic, and cases have decreased. Also, hospital staff have been vaccinated, PPE is sufficient, and the general public is more compliant with protective directives such as mask wearing and infection control. They also add that COVID-19 is not going away, but may be an endemic disease, and we need to plan for its long-term presence.


It is recommended that all hospitals transition to Level 1.


Virtual Visits


Electronic methods for virtual communication between patients and visitors (e.g., video call applications on cell phones or tablets) are encouraged to the maximum extent possible. Hospitals should have these tools available for use by patients, and patients should be told that these devices are available.


Hospital Visitation Transitioning from Level 3 to Level 1:


Visitation Level 1:


Reduce visitation to protect vulnerable populations.


Anyone who is younger than 18 or feeling sick or having any symptoms or risk factors for COVID-19 are restricted from visiting staff or patients.


Rhode Island Hospitals Respond


Care New England Hospitals

Women & Infants

Kent Hospital

Butler Hospital


CNE policy statement: “Care New England is aware of the ask to lift visitor restrictions and is carefully considering how this will affect each of our operating units, with the unique needs of patients and staff of each location. We will announce when we have decided on any changes to the current, which can be found on our websites here: 


Care New England has adopted the guidance below for safe visitation. Visitation looks different at each of our unique hospitals, due to the difference in patient populations served and the physical spaces to provide social distancing. (Visitors are encouraged to contact each hospital for individual differences prior to visiting).


  • All visitors will be verbally screened upon arrival and will have their temperatures taken. Those visitors with fever or other risk factors for COVID will not be allowed to visit.
  • Visitors under the age of 18 are not allowed at this time.
  • Universal masking is proven to help prevent the spread of COVID. Visitors must wear a mask at all times while in the facility.
  • Social distancing helps prevent spread of COVID. All visitors must maintain a distance of 6 feet from others, including patients, while in our facilities.
  • Special accommodations to allow visitation for patients with a disability are available, such as when a support person is essential to the care of a patient with developmental disabilities. 


Lifespan Hospitals


Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Miriam Hospital

Rhode Island Hospital

Newport Hospital


Effective Monday, February 22, Lifespan will be moving to a less restrictive visitation policy at Rhode Island, The Miriam, and Newport Hospitals, in accordance with Department of Health guidance. To ensure that patients can visit with their loved ones in the safest possible manner, we have created the following visitation guidelines:


Adult patients may identify two visitors for the duration of the hospital stay, who may enter during designated visitation hours. At Rhode Island and Newport hospitals, the two visitors may enter together. At The Miriam Hospital, one visitor at a time may enter, unless one visitor requires an escort.


Adult patients receiving end of life care may have two visitors at a time for a 30-minute visit. To accommodate additional family members and loved ones, additional visitors may enter after the original visitors exit, always for 30 minutes at a time.  


Pediatric patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital may continue to have two identified parents/caregivers for the duration of the hospital stay, with one parent/caregiver staying overnight. 


Visitation hours at the different affiliates will be as follows:


  • Rhode Island Hospital: 2 – 6 p.m. daily
  • The Miriam Hospital: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 5 – 7 p.m.
  • Newport Hospital:
  •  Medical/Surgical and ICU: 1 – 3 p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m. daily
  • Vanderbilt Inpatient Unit: 2 – 5 p.m.
  • Behavioral Health Unit: 1 – 2 p.m. and 7 – 8 p.m.


Visitors will continue to be screened at the doors, and must present a photo ID. All visitors are required to be masked at all times, including in patient rooms, and may not carry in any food or drink. The cafeterias and cafes remain closed to visitors.


For outpatient care and office visits, including at the Lifespan Cancer Institute, one person may escort a patient to an appointment at the discretion of the patient’s care team.


For adult Emergency Departments, Lifespan has a no-visitors policy. If necessary for patient care, one family member may be permitted during the intake process.


For detailed, current information, visitors should refer to:


CharterCARE Hospitals

Roger Williams Medical Center

Our Lady of Fatima Hospital


CharterCARE CEO Jeffrey Liebman stated “This liberalization of visitor policies is based on the latest guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health and will safely address the many requests of patients and their families. We will continue to monitor visitor compliance and will maintain constant communication with the Department of Health for any modifications that may be required.”


CharterCARE Health Partners has announced restoration of patient visitor access at both Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital, effective immediately.


The following visitor guidelines are now in place:


  • Visitors are now allowed except for anyone under the age of 18 or who is sick or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Visitors are required to wear a mask (double masking is at their discretion) and will be screened at the designated check points.
  • The current designated entrances at both hospitals will remain the same.  
  • Social distancing will continue to be always observed in all areas.
  • There can be no more than 1 visitor per patient in a shared room and no more than 2 visitors in a private room.
  • There are still No Visitors for COVID patients unless authorized in advance by the hospitals’ Chief Nursing Officers.
  • There are no set visiting hours except for the behavioral health and addiction units. Please visit the website for specific times:


South County Hospital



South County Hospital has moved to Level 1 Visitation for admitted inpatients. As of 2/19, visitors are welcome during normal lobby hours – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


To ensure that social distancing will be observed within patient rooms, no more than two (2) visitors per patient will be allowed.


Level 1 Visitation DOES NOT apply to outpatient areas (including diagnostic imaging, physician practices, labs, etc.), and the Cancer Center to protect vulnerable populations.


If a patient requires someone to accompany him/her to an outpatient appointment due to physical or cognitive limitations, the Administrator on Call must give the approval.


South County Hospital will continue to adhere to strict screening and social distancing guidelines, as well as cleaning of elevators, common areas, etc. to protect our patients, staff and visitors from the risk of spreading COVID-19 and any of its variants.


Everyone entering South County Hospital will be screened (including temperature checks) for COVID-19 and COVID-like symptoms.


Visitors under the age of 18 and those who have any of the following symptoms will not be allowed into South County Hospital inpatient areas:


  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea


South County Hospital requires that everyone:


  • wears a mask or cloth face covering that covers the nose and mouth
  • practices social distancing (remain 6 feet from others)
  • cleans hands when entering or exiting patient care areas


Women & Newborn Care Unit (WNCU)


Expectant mothers and their birthing partner should discuss exceptions with their providers and WNCU staff. To protect our patients and staff from the potential spread of COVID-19, we ask that visitors remain in the patient’s room during the visit. Once the visit is over, please do not enter other areas of the hospital, and exit through the main lobby.


NOTE: Individuals who have serious underlying health conditions, although not strictly prohibited from visiting, may want to consider visiting via telephone, video chat, or other means.


Landmark Medical Center & Rehabilitation Hospital of RI

  • Hospital visitor policies have been updated to reflect national efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. This policy may change at any time due to the rapidly evolving situation.
    • Maternity patients are allowed one companion/visitor.
    • Pediatric patients are allowed one parent/guardian.
    • Visitors to patients at end of life will be allowed at the discretion of the care team.
  • Hospital entry points will be limited to enable screening of visitors. Visitors who show any signs of illness, including mild symptoms, should not visit patients in the hospital or accompany patients to the emergency department.


Westerly Hospital


Inpatients are allowed one visitor per patient, per day. Visitors must be age 18 or older. Check with the hospital for more details. Westerly is part of the Yale-New Haven hospital group.


Nursing Homes/Assisted Living Centers


Each facility is putting their own policies together about loosening visitation, or not. You should check with your own nursing home of interest to see what their policy is. Also note that facilities will change policy quickly if a case of coronavirus is diagnosed in a patient or staff member.


There is a Rhode Island petition which has over 500 signatures as of today, urging healthcare facilities to open their visiting policies more liberally.


Here is a sample policy from one large nursing home:


[We] will open for visiting as of 2-17-21. Appointments may only be scheduled with Reception. Visits will be weekdays for 30 minutes. Time slots are 9:30 am; 10:45 am; 1:30 pm; 2:45 pm. You must arrive 30 minutes prior to allow for COVID screening & testing. Limit of 2 persons (over 18) per visit & 1 visit per week. A 6-foot distance must be maintained. Food items brought in cannot be consumed during the visit. You must park in the handicapped parking spots, phone the facility & someone will come out to test you. Any new admits must be here for 14 days before they may have visitors.


Always double check with your hospital or nursing home prior to visiting to assure no changes have occurred.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Taking a look at how the coronavirus vaccination effort is going right now in Rhode Island.  The anniversary of the deadly Station nightclub fire was on Saturday.  A local hockey player who suffered a serious injury releases a video message hours before his team plays a game.
>>Rhode Island Coronavirus Vaccine Update
(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island appears to be speeding up its coronavirus vaccination efforts.  Data from the New York Times indicates the state on Friday improved to 38th in the U.S. in the percentage of population given at least one shot -- 13 percent -- and RI was ranked 30th for number of people who were given two shots, which was at five-point-eight percent.  Any Rhode Island resident 65 and older is now able to register to get vaccinated.  Several days after stating he was not satisfied with the COVID vaccine rollout in Rhode Island, incoming governor Dan McKee indicated on Friday that his administration's plan will not be much different.  McKee said during a meeting with his COVID advisory task force that he wants more state-run vaccination sites and a strong partnership with RI municipalities.
>>Station Nightclub Fire Anniversary Was This Weekend
(West Warwick, RI)  --  Saturday marked the 18th anniversary of The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick.  One-hundred people died in the fire caused by pyrotechnics at a rock concert.  Survivors of the fire and others visited the Station Fire Memorial Park on the ground where the club once stood on Saturday.  WJAR-TV reports no formal service was held, but that a 20th anniversary event is planned.
>>Man Shot And Killed In Pawtucket
(Pawtucket, RI)  --  A homicide is being investigated in Pawtucket.  Twenty-year-old Jontel Tavares was reportedly shot in a vehicle on Benefit Street on Thursday.  Police say the shooting appeared to be targeted.
>>Injured Hockey Player Releases Video Hours Before Team Plays Game
(Attleboro, MA)  --  Local high school hockey player A.J. Quetta spoke publicly for the first time on Saturday since suffering a spinal cord injury.  Quetta, a North Providence native who played for Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Massachusetts, expressed gratitude for the support he has received since the injury.  He also wished his team good luck as they took on rival North Attleboro.  Subsequently, that game, which Bishop Feehan won 2-to-1, was dedicated to Quetta.
>>CCRI Gets Money To Help Students Affected By Pandemic
(Warwick, RI)  --  The Community College of Rhode Island is receiving over five-million dollars in federal grants to provide additional financial aid to students who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  The Providence Journal reports the money comes from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund.  The CCRI website has a link to sign up for COVID-19 recovery scholarships allowing qualified new students to attend tuition-free for two years.  Currently-enrolled students could also sign up to get two courses covered this upcoming summer.
>>State Rep Wants Cannabis Legalization Legislation
(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island state Representative is calling for the legalization of adult-use marijuana in Rhode Island.  William O'Brien of North Providence says he has supported previous legislation and plans to co-sponsor a new bill once it is introduced in the Rhode Island House of Representatives.  O'Brien says cannabis products from Massachusetts are entering Rhode Island, and that the Ocean State is left with all of the concerns of legalization without the immense profits.
Jim McCabe/djc           RI) MA)
 Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
02-22-2021 01:02:05

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 19, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 19, 2021

February 19, 2021/RINewsToday




Providence has set immediate sign-up for 2-day mass vaccination clinic for residents over 65 years of age and from ONLY 3 zip codes – 02907 – 02908  and 02909. Sign up here:


A RI vaccination coordinator has been named by outgoing Gov. Raimondo as she appoints a transition from a RI Dept. of Education staff member, without Lt. Gov. McKee’s involvement, according to multiple media sources.


CCRI vaccination site is closed for today due to the weather. Some vaccine can be expected to be delayed due to travel problems.


People under 75 have been able to register for the shot and are not being turned away at the vaccination centers.


In a “transition memo” from the Gov. to HealthSourceRI, they have been asked to trim $1M from their budget, regardless of their request for $3M more.


A vaccination clinic will be held at the John Hope Settlement House, for some Providence residents.


Lt. Gov. Dan McKee will hold a meeting today with his own coronavirus transition team.


With neither Gov. Raimondo nor Lt. Gov. McKee attending meetings, there has been wide discussion about a solid plan moving forward.


Kent Hospital is NOT opening up visitation – as well as Care New England facilities – Westerly Hospital is allowing 1 visitor per day.


Some nursing care facilities are loosening up visitation while some are mandating on-site rapid testing before entering the buildings.


Connecticut’s largest teachers union is running a TV ad that encourages officials to begin vaccinating teachers immediately.


Springfield, Worcester among 20 communities identified for targeted outreach in state COVID vaccination effort.


The Yarmouth Clam Festival in Yarmouth, ME has been canceled.


Massachusetts is nearly doubling the number of residents who are eligible for COVID-19 shots, announcing that residents age 65 to 74 and those with two or more qualifying health conditions can book vaccine appointments starting Thursday.


Massachusetts furniture retailers see increase in sales as homes become offices


Maine’s attorney general has issued a warning to health care providers against administering COVID-19 vaccines to ineligible people after MaineHealth gave shots to out-of-state consultants hired to fight an effort to unionize nurses.


Connecticut’s essential workers, including teachers, and people with underlying medical conditions should learn in about 10 days when they can begin making their COVID-19 vaccination appointments.


Plymouth State University is returning to online classes, citing a growing number of student COVID-19 cases.


Dartmouth College has begun planning for a “normal fall term,” if coronavirus cases remain low and community vaccination rates are high by summer’s end.


Biggest hurdle in Taunton COVID vaccine rollout is lack of supply from state


Garland Pen Co. had announced they were closing, but now remains open thanks to a PPP loan.


School swim meets in RI will compete individually, wait up to a day to learn their results, and have no observers.


The L’il Bear Pub in Tiverton is closing.


Mohegan Tribe will open a clinic at Mohegan Sun for 300 shots per day for CT residents.


The Hotel Commonwealth in Kenmore Square has had all 3 of its restaurants close.


Fall River Mayor is complaining that Bristol County has not received a fair share of vaccine.


Massachusetts is nearly doubling the number of people eligible for COVID-19 shots, announcing that residents age 65 to 74 and those with two or more underlying health conditions, including asthma, can book vaccine appointments starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.” After the new eligibility rules were announced about 250,000 people flooded to the appointment-booking website and caused brief crashes.


A report done by NBC10 says that anywhere from 25-75% of firefighters, police and EMTs in RI are not getting the vaccine, by choice.


RI and MA National Guard may drive to pick up the vaccine if it gets delayed because of national weather issues.


Massachusetts adds asthma to vaccine eligibility which is well received among those with asthma who were not included before.


Massachusetts Department of Public Health will focus resources on 20 cities and towns with high “social vulnerability” and coronavirus caseloads: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.


In Vermont, cities are vaccinating home-bound seniors by having EMTsgoing door-to-door, using the Moderna vaccine.


Warwick has issued a report of their vaccinations so far:


  • Between 12/28/20 and 2/10/21 we have fully vaccinated 239 uniformed first responders (Fire & Police) – 72% of the workforce
  • Between 2/3/21and 2/9/21 we vaccinated 390 75+ residents with their 1st COVID-19 Vaccine at the regional POD
  • On 2/15/21 we vaccinated 644 residents with their 1st shot at the City’s first 75+ POD at Veterans Middle School.
  • On 2/22, 3/1 & 3/8 will plan to vaccinate at least an additional 1,920 of the City’s 75+ population at the Veterans Middle School POD.
  • On 3/15, 3/22, 3/29 & 4/5 we will administer 2nd shots of the vaccine to the 2,564 residents that were vaccinated at the 1st shot clinics.
  • We currently have 3,200 75+ residents on the City’s Vaccine Waitlist.  700 of the oldest residents remaining on the list were invited to the 2/22 vaccine clinic by email this afternoon.


The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s commencement will be virtual.


The Newport Music Festival will host 17 outdoor concerts between July 4-17


The Blackstone Valley Community Health Center on Broad Street in Central Falls has apparently allowed non-residents who are also younger than the current state eligibility guideline of 75 and older to also sign up for vaccinations, according to several residents who spoke to the Providene Journal.


Massachusetts CIC Health issuing apologies on social media for signup glitches, downed website, etc. as hundreds of thousands of residents 65+ try to register.


With over 100 positive cases this week, Providence College is temporarily restricting student movement. Students who live both on and off campus are required to limit their activities to essential travel, including going to class, picking up food or groceries, medical appointments, outdoor recreation, and work, and visitors are not allowed in dormitories and on-campus students are not allowed to visit off-campus student residences.


RI Update:


Effective tomorrow – hospitals can return to Level 1 for visitation – all prevention measures in place, visitors will need to be screened and other supports will be in place. If you are sick do not visit, of course. Clinical judgement of facility will be deciding factor.


Effective tomorrow – nursing homes and assisted living facilities – visitation can resume with screening, etc. Guidance has been issued about ventilation, mask wearing, screening, hand washing.


Testing – if you are going to visit you should commit to get tested at least once a week – it is accessible everywhere.


New strain identified in RI – best way to protect is to get tested regularly, wear high quality mask, follow guidelines. 400K KN95 masks will be distributed at testing sites.



Vaccination campaign – initial portion was healthcare workers and congregate settings. 70% of our deaths have been in congregate settings. RI is ahead of the pack with 49% decrease in hospitalizations, particularly among groups we identified for vaccinations, but also treatment modalities and testing. RIDOH says no doubt vaccinations are responsible for this decline.


Vaccinations have been very complex and taken time. Much faster to have done it at mass vaccination sites. Administration rate of vaccines: we are a “little behind” other states who did not take our complex method of vaccination. Important we understand why RI chose the path it chose. We will measure health outcomes at the end – keeping people out of the hospital, avoiding deaths. Phase 1 has achieved by and large what we wanted to do. We can be confident in the fact that we are protected enough and now we can move on, still prioritizing by risk – age, underlying risk, geography.


2 mass vaccination sites for general public – The Dunk and the Sockanosset Crossroads facilities. Gen. Callahan is in charge. Today, alone, over 3,000 appts have been made so far – with 10,000+ over the next week and a half. Go to – or call automated # 844-930-1779. We can do hundreds of shots per hour. We will stand up additional mass vaccination sites in RI.


We will consolidate clinics being run by cities and towns to 5 regional ones. This will allow vaccine to be shipped directly there and be stored without a lot of transport of vaccine.


Two objectives now: faster and simpler vaccinations. We understand it’s time. We will also consolidate the registration sites. Pharmacies will continue to have their own. Goal is to move regional sites into the one registration system, too.




Q: How do you explain so much unused supply of vaccine?

A: Vaccines considered on-the-shelf were not held back, but were part of the distribution and redistribution process. Packaging and repackaging, getting it to other partners, if vaccine had not been administered we would collect it and redistribute it again.  0.2% waste of vaccines. This is what contributed to the large amount on-the-shelf.


Q: Harvard gave RI an “F” because it didn’t go into people’s arms.

A: Within 14 days, almost 100% was distributed. Now looking at 7 days. With fewer sites.


Q:  Is any of the state’s redistribution system a mistake?

A: We didn’t expect for this to be measured that slow – we needed to prioritize and we did that, and now it’s time to speed it up.


Q: Vaccination sign-ups are occuring now – and not after Monday – for 65 year olds?

A: From now until Monday it is 75 and older. After Monday, it is 65 and older. We will delete if those who do not qualify have set up. Over next 24-48 hours they will be deleted.


Q: Are you going to kick off 65 year olds who went on and signed up now?

A: If it is overwhelming, we can correct this – we will go carefully there.


Q: When does Governor plan on residing and have an orderly transition of government?

A: Dr. Scott said to reach out to Governor, but the Governor is fully engaged as is Lt. Gov. McKee.


Q: Significant appointments are being made in RI through the media and Lt. Gov. McKee’s frustration seems to show a disorderly situation.

A: Dr. Scott – I can assure you that our information is flowing and interacting.


Q: Gov. Raimondo extended her executive orders through March 17th, long after she is gone. Did Gov ask Dr. Scott to do this?

A: Yes, she asked our opinion about Executive Orders. We were concerned about the new variant. It will be significantly more contagious. We can make updates to those changes.


Q: URI football was supposed to play Bryant. Game was canceled, but now URI is going to play now. Why couldn’t someone sit outdoors and watch a game outdoors.

A: We’re looking at improvements.


Q: Would you continue to describe Gov. Raimondo’s management as brilliant?

A: Yes


Q: People under age of 65 can make appointments. They can make appointments – what will happen when they show up?

A: System is based on honesty and cooperation of people involved. Self-attestation is what is used. Hopefully between now and Monday, only those over 75 will go on, we do have ability to cancel them.


Q: What about the homebound?

A: We’re continuing to work through agencies involved in home care and plan for this – should have news next week.


Q: Has the approach cut down on deaths and how do you know?

A: We know fatalities lag behind decreasing cases…we need a few weeks to determine that.


Q: On Monday, will RI’s website crash as MA has?

A: Today we do not think it will. Because we’ve had over 10,000 sign up.


Q: Phone lines can’t get through – is RI going to improve this?

A: RI already made changes – we’ve added live individuals.


Q: Both CT and NY and MA and NJ have increased gathering limits for events, weddings, etc.

A: In a month, we should see gathering limits increase even more.


Stefan Pryor ended the conference with a note of confidence in the Governor and Lt. Governor and the group quickly left the stage.


Cases by Cities & Towns:


Feb. 18, 2021

Deaths: 15

Tests – 17,924 – Positives – 320 – Percent positive – 1.8%

Hospitalized – 180 – In ICU – 32 – Ventilated – 18

Deaths in hospital – 3 – New Admissions – 20 – New Discharges – 38

First vaccines: 119,284 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 54,350



Feb. 17, 2021

Deaths: 8

Tests – 16,529 – Positives – 327 – Percent positive – 2%

Hospitalized – 193 – In ICU – 30 Ventilated – 19 Deaths in hospital

3 New Admissions – 23 New Discharges

27 First vaccines: 113,298 Total vaccinated, 2 shots: 52,190





The hazardous weather nationwide is delaying deliveries of coronavirus vaccine shipments.


Nearly 4 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer — trapped in a vicious cycle that makes it harder to get back to work


Vatican employees who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine will be fired. Pope Francis’ COVID-19 commission says that individuals have a moral responsibility to get vaccinated “given that refusing a vaccine can constitute a risk for others’”


Walmart prepares 5,000+ pharmacies to administer the COVID vaccine – 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a store


NIH funds study to evaluate remdesivir for COVID-19 in pregnancy


President Biden has been speaking a lot about the future with coronavirus – here are some statements in the last 24 hours:


“I think a year from now, … there will be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, have to wear a mask.”


“I don’t want to overpromise anything here,” Biden added. “It matters whether you continue to wear that mask.”


“By next Christmas, I think we’ll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today.”


“My guess is they’re going to probably be pushing to open all summer, to continue like it’s a different semester and try to catch up. … The goal will be five days a week.”


Dr. Anthony Fauci said today that the timeline for when the general population could receive shots was slipping from April to May or June.


Covid is devastating Israel’s ultra-Orthodox communities,


U.S. public health advisers are weighing recommendations for extending the interval between the first and second doses of Covid-19 vaccines, a potential strategy for quickly getting protection to more people.


Pres. Biden further explained his goal of back-to-school in 100 days, saying that his goal is 5 days a week.


3 Las Vegas hotels will again open 24/7.


PrepMod, the vendor for the crashing Massachusetts vaccination registration site is accepting responsibility for the difficulties which has locked out thousands trying to make appointments.


90-year-old Seattle woman walked 6 miles through snow to get her COVID-19 vaccine


Nevada will begin vaccinating residents 65+ at local pharmacies.


Oxford University. Last week, started the world’s first coronavirus vaccine trial in young kids. This month, around 240 volunteers aged 6-17 will get the AstraZeneca shot. The goal: to assess the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness in younger patients. Pfizer and Moderna are reportedly planning similar moves – and have already been carrying out trials in US kids as young as 12.


UMass Medical School announced the statewide launch of a Vaccine Corps to recruit and deploy volunteers to support and accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Massachusetts. Over  $435,000 have been raised to support the Vaccine Corps, led by a $200,000 gift from the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation that UMass Medical School was challenged to match.


Posted in 

Safe Weddings and events. RI Coalition produces training video

Safe weddings and events. RI Coalition produces training video

February 19, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Sara Zarrella Photography


The Rhode Island Coalition of Wedding & Event Professionals (RICWEP) has released a new training video to help event professionals operate their businesses more safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The video, sponsored in part by Rhode Island Commerce, was filmed and produced by Montage Media Productions and photographed by Sara Zarrella Photography. This training video is available in English Click Here for Footage and will soon be made available in Spanish. 



“This is a great partnership with Rhode Island Commerce and the Department of Health, the Department of Business Regulation and the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Luke Renchan, of Luke Renchan Entertainment and a RICWEP task force leader. “The video demonstrates how event professionals put RICWEP’s phased action plan into action in coordination with the state’s public health measures. The enhanced safety protocols lay the foundation for a safer and more successful 2021 for weddings and events in Rhode Island.”


“It’s important that we find more and more ways for our small businesses to open and operate safely,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “We are proud to have partnered with the Coalition of Wedding & Event Professionals as it has worked tirelessly and creatively to produce this video – and to provide support to this professional community. Public health conditions permitting, we will utilize this tool as we work to enable the incremental reopening of this key industry.”


RICWEP Task Force Leaders: 


Luke Renchan, Erica Trombetti, Mike Henriques, Meagan Peter, Kate DeCosta, Kenneth Ferrara, Faith Dugan

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The state's public health director says the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will speed up.  Recapping how much snow fell in Rhode Island on Thursday.  The name of the victim of a house fire in Warwick has been shared.

>>State Health Director Provides COVID Vaccine Update

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Public Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott on Thursday promised the speed of COVID-19 vaccinations will increase going forward.  Alexander-Scott said the state used a targeted approach in the first phase of vaccinations, and it has resulted in a decrease in hospitalizations.  The doctor said the strategy moving forward will be to reduce the number of vaccine sites in the state.  To register for one of the two mass vaccination centers that just opened in Providence and Cranston, you can visit or call 844-930-1779.

>>Southern Rhode Island Picks Up Several Inches Of Snow

(Undated)  --  Observed snow totals from the National Weather Service for Rhode Island as of 11 p.m. Thursday were higher down south.  Richmond got three inches, Westerly three-and-a-half, Newport got four-and-a-half, and Block Island got five inches, according to the weather service.  Only an inch of snow or less was reported for central and northern RI.

>>Warwick Woman Dies In House Fire

(Warwick, RI)  --  The victim of a Thursday house fire in Warwick has been identified by family members as Shaylyn Schoonmaker.  The victim's mother said Schoonmaker went back inside the house to try and rescue her dog, but never made it back down.  The fire is under investigation.

>>Ivy League Cancels Spring Sports Because Of COVID

(Undated)  --  The Ivy League is canceling its spring sports season yet again due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The league was the first Division One conference to shut down athletics last fall.  The schools admitted it is a "disappointment" and "regret the many sacrifices that have been required" due to the pandemic.

>>CCRI Tweaks Free Tuition Program To Accommodate Students With Disabilities

(Warwick, RI)  --  The Community College of Rhode Island is changing its two-year free tuition program to provide more time for students with disabilities to graduate.  The parents of a student negatively impacted by the rule that requires those taking advantage of RI Promise to attend full-time went to state Representative Mike Chippendale with their concerns.  Chippendale then called on the General Assembly to address what he called a grave injustice to disabled students.  The college believes it has the power to make the tweak to the program on its own.

>>Block Island Police Chief Retiring

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  Block Island chief of police Vincent Carlone is retiring.  Carlone joined the New Shoreham Police Department in 2003.  According to a report from The Providence Journal, Rhode Island State Police Captain Matthew Moynihan will step in as acting chief in March and April while the town searches for a new police chief.

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

02-19-2021 02:12:15

"Stop the chaos..." AARP-RI leads demands for vaccine improvement


“Stop the chaos…” AARP-RI leads demands for vaccine improvement. Officials scramble to respond.

February 17, 2021/RINewsToday


UPDATED Feb. 18, 2021


Yesterday, AARP Rhode Island issued a strong statement, “AARP Demands a COVID Vaccination That Works for all Rhode Islanders”. The statement was part of a flurry of activity yesterday to try to answer what has become universal upset at Rhode Island’s listing as last for disseminating shots to people.


Activity included 3 ZOOM events with Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott explaining the RI methodology. One ZOOM was run by Rep. Ray Hull, head of the RI Coronavirus Task Force, with heavy-hitting questions amidst lengthy slide presentations presenting data that while RI has been so slow to administer vaccinations, it has done so strategically, resulting in reduced hospitalizations.


A surprise ZOOM presentation came from Governor Raimondo looking clearly disturbed at the public and official outcry, which included at least 3 mayors asking for her to resign and let Lt. Gov. McKee fully take over. Her presentation included a statement that RI’s method has been “intentional”, given our expertise on focusing on the hospitalizations and cutting them – and she maintained that RI’s vaccination plan is “going well”.



By the end of the day, RI had announced 3 ways to register for vaccinations, and the addition of 65+ starting with Monday registration as well as the Providence 2-day registration (and the opening of a Portsmouth site):


  • vaccine registrations will be open on Monday, statewide, for those 65 and over for vaccination opportunities starting Monday.
  • An online signup has gone live at:
  • Providence set up a 2-day clinic for Fri & Sat from 3 “hardest hit” zip codes at 02907, 02908, and 02909. Go to:
  • An automated phone number for RI sign-ups activated: 844-930-1779 – The call center will be open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and weekends from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • There are also opportunities for city & town vaccination clinics. Check on your individual website.
  • Massachusetts announced it will immediately begin vaccinating those 65+.


Links in this chart, below, are not click-able – you will need to type in the sites into your computer’s browser.



The AARP-Rhode Island statement:

Kathleen Connell                                  Phil Zarlengo
State Director, AARP – RI                State President, AARP – RI






The Providence VA Medical Center has begun vaccinating people who are enrolled in the VA Health Care. VA Providence is actively contacting patients at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 to schedule their vaccination appointments. There is no need for Veterans to preregister, call for an appointment or come to a facility to sign up. If you are not yet enrolled in VA Healthcare you can do so by visiting online or by contacting the Eligibility Office at the Providence VA Medical Center Main Building, Main Entrance, Rooms D1089A and 1089E or call 401-273-7100 Ext. 12496 401-273-7100 Ext. 13250




A new vaccination site opened for Portsmouth residents aged 75 and older at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. It will be run by the town’s EMA. Incoming Gov. McKee participated in the opening ceremonies.

ABC6 photo
Posted in 


  1.  Sandra Paquette on February 17, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    I have been attempting to arrange for an in home vaccine for my housebound husband—-with absolutely no success. The RIDOH has no answers !! My town will provide an “in car” shot, but even this poses obstacles

    Surely an accommodation has been made for these extremely high risk patients??

    •  RINewsToday on February 17, 2021 at 9:22 pm

      If he is over 75 or in a facility he would be accommodated but I have also heard visiting nurses are giving them – I believe they are strategizing this issue right now.

Fur, Feathers, Fins Awards & online shopping at Wickford Art Association

Fur, Feathers, Fins Awards & online shopping at Wickford Art Assoc.

February 18, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Messenger by Susan Sward – Gouache & Paper Collage – Judge’s Award


Artists awarded for their animal works plus WAA launches


The Wickford Art Association (WAA) is thrilled to announce the prize-winning works from the annual Fur, Feathers, Fins exhibit now open at our beach-front gallery in North Kingstown.


The exhibit was juried by Betsey MacDonald, WAA Juried Artist Member, science and art educator, and amazing painter of animals in art, the awards for 2021 are as follows:

Lisa May – Monkey Trio


• 1st Place: Monkey Trio by Lisa May, Cast Paper Sculpture


• 2nd Place: Beach Music by Ann Hagan Webb, Oil


• 3rd Place: Looking Out by Marc Jaffe, Photography


• Honorable Mention: Waiting by Jodi Manca, Acrylic


• Honorable Mention: My World by Paul Murray, Photography


• Judge’s Award: Messenger by Susan Sward, Gouache & Paper Collage


• Judge’s Award: No Social Distancing by Beth Johnston, Encaustic with 24K Goldleaf


The exhibit will be on display through Sunday- March 7th. To view the Jurist’s Statement and see the virtual gallery, which will launch in the coming days, visit


Additionally—this week, Wickford Art has launched a new web-shop: where they’ll be offering exhibited, featured, and donated artwork for sale representing our artist-membership, active exhibitors, and artists across the country who participate in the Wickford Art Festival. All work can be purchased and collected in-gallery or curbside, or Wickford Art can ship.


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


About the Wickford Art Association



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


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is in store for another round of winter weather.  The state is opening up coronavirus vaccine registration to older Rhode Islanders.  The state's first black judge has died.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>More Snow To Fall In Rhode Island Thursday-Friday

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service is predicting five-to-six inches of snow for Rhode Island.  That was the update from the weather service overnight Thursday.  Snow is expected today and tomorrow.

>>Older Rhode Islanders Can Register For COVID-19 Vaccine

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island is opening up COVID-19 registrations to Ocean State residents 65 and older as of next Monday.  The state says all Ocean State residents 75 and older can register right now for a COVID-19 vaccine at one of two state-run sites in Providence and Cranston.  According to Governor Gina Raimondo and the health department, the state can now move into a phase where every Rhode Islander is vaccinated by age group because of the positive impact from the targeted approach during Phase 1.  To register for a shot at one of the state-run sites, visit

>>More RI Vaccine Updates

(Undated)  --  Here is a roundup of other coronavirus vaccine news in Rhode Island.  WPRI-TV reports the RI Health Department has confirmed it is receiving an increased number of weekly vaccine doses.  Lieutenant Governor and soon-to-be governor Dan McKee toured the vaccine site at the Raytheon building in Portsmouth on Wednesday and repeated his commitment to speeding up the state's vaccine rollout.  Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott testified about the state's vaccine rollout at a General Assembly COVID Vaccine Task Force hearing on Wednesday.  And the city of Providence says it is immediately getting shots in the arms of people 65 and older who live in the hardest-hit neighborhoods.

>>Record Year For Grants From RI Foundation

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Foundation awarded a record amount in grants in 2020.  The foundation said on Wednesday the dollar amount was 87-million.  Over two-thousand non-profit organizations benefited.  The foundation had its third-best year on record for donations last year, receiving 68-million dollars.

>>Child Patients At Psychiatric Hospital Getting Education After Report

(East Providence, RI)  --  Children at a psychiatric hospital in East Providence are receiving a formal education after an investigative report from WPRI-TV.  The news station had reported in December that more than twenty kids affiliated with the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families who had been living at Bradley Hospital, some for months at a time, were not receiving a formal education.  Channel 12 reports the hospital has implemented the educational use of Chromebooks and the DCYF has created a new policy to notify local school districts when one of their students is admitted.

>>First Black Judge In Rhode Island Has Died

(Naples, FL)  --  The first black judge in Rhode Island has died.  Alton Wiley was 91 years old.  He passed away on Wednesday in Naples, Florida.  Wiley was the first black judge to sit in both the state's district and superior courts.

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

02-18-2021 01:54:03

Orthopedic Groups partner to offer "world class care"



Orthopedic Groups partner to offer “world-class care”

February 17, 2021/RINewsToday


University Orthopedics Partners with Orthopedic Care Physician Network to Provide World-Class Orthopedic Care in MA & RI


University Orthopedics (UOI) today announced an exciting new partnership with Orthopedic Care Physician Network (OCPN) that will create one of Southern New England’s largest and most comprehensive orthopedic care organizations. 


Effective July 1, 2021, the partnership will include 13 locations across Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The University Orthopedics family will consist of nearly 650 employees including more than 60 physicians, 45 advanced practice providers, 50 therapists, and numerous residents and fellows. 


“Our mission at University Orthopedics is to provide the highest quality orthopedic care integrated with world-class education and research. In support of that mission, we have focused on expanding our services, our locations, our providers, and staff in a manner to best support that mission,” said Edward Akelman, M.D., President of University Orthopedics. “When the planning process began for our new location in Mansfield – which just opened a few weeks ago – discussions about potential collaborations with OCPN manifested. Fairly quickly, we came to realize that many similarities existed within our organizations, and it became apparently clear that a partnership just made sense.” 


OCPN’s Simon M. Cornelissen shared Dr. Akelman’s sentiments. 


“Just like UOI, patient-centric focus and high-quality care provided by great staff and providers are at the core of OCPN’s mission. With great enthusiasm, I believe this relationship to align our missions will allow our organization, as one the largest independent orthopedic groups in the country, to provide world-class, cutting-edge and compassionate care to our communities,” Cornelissen said.  


“In the last three decades, University Orthopedics has become the leader in providing orthopedic care to the people of Rhode Island due to the hard work of our staff. OCPN is already a high-performing organization and together we are confident that we will continue to do great things in Massachusetts,” Akelman said. 


With locations throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, OCPN already has deep roots in the community. UOI hopes these additional locations will enhance its newly formed partnership with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. 


Massachusetts Locations: 

  • East Bridgewater 
  • Mansfield (Forbes Blvd) 
  • Mansfield (Reservoir St) 
  • North Easton 
  • Plymouth 
  • Raynham 
Rhode Island Locations: 
  • East Greenwich, RI 
  • East Providence, RI  
  • Johnston, RI 
  • Middletown, RI 
  • North Providence, RI 
  • Providence, RI 
  • Westerly, RI 


About Orthopedic Care Physician Network 


Orthopedic Care Physician Network (formerly OCS – Orthopedic Care Specialists) was founded in the mid-60s and has since grown to its current complement of nine surgeons whose specialties include general orthopedics; total joint replacement; sports medicine; trauma; advanced arthroscopic reconstruction of the knee and shoulder; hand and upper extremity; and spine. 


About University Orthopedics 

University Orthopedics (UOI,, with clinic locations in Rhode Island (East Greenwich, East Providence, Johnston, Providence, Middletown, North Providence, and Westerly) and Massachusetts (Mansfield), is a regional center for orthopedics, sports medicine, and rehabilitation. UOI includes more than 45 board-certified orthopedic, fellowship-trained musculoskeletal, and sports medicine physicians.  These specialists are faculty members of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University who teach medical students, orthopedic residents, and fellowship sub-specialty surgeons.   

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 17, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 17, 2021

February 17, 2021/RINewsToday




For Ash Wednesday, from the Diocese of Providence: Please note, in light of the pandemic, the custom to “rub” ashes on the forehead in the form a cross has been suspended for this year. Instead, ashes will be distributed by “sprinkling” them on each person’s head as is the long-standing custom in other countries especially in Europe. Some locations are using ashes distributed on the forehead with Q-tips. Virtual and drive-through events will be happening, as well as putting ashes onto a folded card. Check with your church’s website for specifics.


NOTE: The RIDOH and the Coronavirus Task Force are planning a special address TODAY at 4pm. ALSO: Look for a special email edition of RINewsToday this morning. RI has been criticized for having over 90,000 doses in storage.


RI has identified 3 cases of the variant COVID-19 virus in the state.  Patients were in their 60s, 50s, and 20s. Two cases were in Newport County – one was in Providence county. These findings were first known late last night and they have yet to be told. They have also all cleared the isolation period. While this is more aggressive in terms of transmittal and seriousness of illness.


Just as RI has loosened its restrictions for dining, etc. the new variants have left some medical experts saying this is THE time to use extra caution because of the transmissability of the new virus variant. In addition to extra cautions doubling of masks is recommended.


One Rhode Island nursing home is estimated to have approximately 50% of its staff members refusing the vaccine. RINewsToday will be doing a special story addressing resistance among healthcare workers.


Central Falls remains only high-density city where anyone can get vaccinated – 4 or 5 events have already been held for those over 18. Plans for high density sites in Pawtucket and Providence have been mentioned for special vaccination priority, but no vaccinations have yet been scheduled.


Massachusetts also has identified the So. African strain as well as the UK strain.


Jim Hummel, reporting in the Providence Journal reports that an Colony Personnel, in Warwick, an employment agency that has provided contact tracers, case investigators and other office workers for the Rhode Island Department of Health during the pandemic says the state owes them $275,000, going back to summer.


Massachusetts is working with communities, health insurance companies and other groups to set up transportation for people who cannot get to sites on their own, as well as home delivery systems for those who can’t.


New community vaccination site: Incoming Gov. McKee will participate at 11am today at an event with Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Portsmouth Emergency Management Agency and other partners to mark the opening of a new community vaccination site on the Raytheon Campus in Portsmouth.


Cranston’s Culinary Affair, 650 Oaklawn Ave., culinaryaffairri. com, has reopened with new concept include grab and go prepared food options and a beer and wine list. They will also offer online ordering for pick-up or delivery service within a 3-mile radius.


Skye Gallery in Providence is closing and will reinvent as a pop-up gallery from time to time.


Davis’ Market, kosher market on the East Side of Providence has closed.


Worcester issued 20 violations to local businesses for not adhering to COVID19 regulations


Officials at every level of government in Mass. are criticizing Baker over vaccine rollout


Providence School Vacation Week Food may be picked up today, Feb. 17th, from 11am to 4:30pm – families should come prepared to carry large bundles of food.


Trying to find out why the state of RI has not used its vaccine quickly enough, NBC10’s Brian Crandall asked the question and received this response from RIDOH: “I asked why there are so many unused doses of vaccine CDC data shows RI has only administered 62% of its doses. RIDOH claims their “strategic” approach to focus on those most at risk takes longer than other states. RI is planning to open two mass vaccination sites Thursday. “It is because when we are vaccinating in specific settings, we need to have a certain amount of vaccine for the people there. For example, we need all the vaccine needed to cover a nursing home residents and their staff before we start vaccinating there. And if we are going to do a police department, we need all the vaccine to cover that police department. But the uptake in those settings varies. Sometimes that vaccine has to get cycled back into our inventory. That is time consuming and logistically challenging – it can literally mean having to transport vaccine back to a storage site. At the mass vaccination sites, there will just be open slots. Someone makes an appointment, and if they don’t show up that dose just goes to the next person and we open up another appointment. Administration is much faster and more efficient when you have people going to a site, rather than bringing vaccine to people.”


Rhode Island’s response to being last in quantity of vaccine given:



Today’s Data – Feb. 16 2021

Deaths: 10

Tests – 9,162 – Positives – 242 – Percent positive – 2.6%

Hospitalized – 197 – In ICU – 36 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 0 – New Admissions – 23 – New Discharges – 15

First vaccines: 103,369 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 47,801





Update from Moderna: Moderna expects to deliver 100 million additional doses by end of May 2021 followed by another 100 million additional doses by end of July 2021 – 45.4 million doses have been supplied to the U.S. Government to date. 25.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine have been administered in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Short term delays in the final stages of production and release of filled vials at Moderna’s fill and finish contractor Catalent have recently delayed the release of some doses, but these delays are expected to be resolved in the near term and are not expected to impact monthly delivery targets. The Company expects to meet commitment dates to the U.S. Government for all currently ordered doses of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, including targeting delivery of the first 100 million doses by the end of the first quarter 2021. The Company has moved forward delivery of its second 100 million doses by one month, from end of June 2021 to end of May 2021. It has moved forward delivery of its third 100 million doses by two months, from end of September 2021 to end of July 2021. These commitments reflect a ramping up of production over the last few months and an expectation of further ramp up over the coming months. All U.S. supply comes from Moderna’s dedicated supply chain in the U.S. Supply to locations outside of the U.S. comes from dedicated supply points based outside of the U.S.


Britain will provide vaccine COVID-19 certificates for its residents if they are required by other countries, although it is not planning to introduce them for use at home.


Pres. Biden says teachers should be prioritized for vaccination, but did not indicate over which other groups.


Mortgage extensions and foreclosure haults have been extended from ending in March to ending in June.


Maine has declared every county is now safe for in-person learning.


The pandemic is hitting child care centers hard – with 166,800 fewer people working in child care in December 2020 than had been in those jobs in December 2019.


The CDC says fever, chills, headaches, soreness and tiredness are normal signs that your body is “building protection.” Over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen can help with that, but it is not recommended to take these medicines before vaccination as it is not known how these medications may impact how well the vaccine works.”


Dr. Fauci said a week ago that all Americans should be vaccinated by late spring/early summer – yesterday he said there are reasons to believe that all Americans may not have access to the vaccine going past summer and into the fall.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy emerged from quarantine Tuesday, less than a week after a family member tested positive for the coronavirus. He now wears two masks which he says is “unfortunately, the new normal”.


NYC’s subways will run for two more hours every day starting next week, and the nightly system shutdown for cleaning will be reduced to 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.


There is no progress on the $1400 stimulus checks, with congress bogged down in impeachment proceedings.


Japan to start inoculation drive today with 40,000 medical workers


To speed up vaccination, poor countries are beginning to prioritize China’s 50 percent effective vaccine over Western vaccines that have efficacy rates of over 90 percent. 


FEMA is opening vaccination sites in Los Angeles.


Malaysia to kick off COVID-19 vaccination drive next week


Colombia receives first COVID-19 shots, vaccination may begin early

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is under a Winter Storm Watch for up to over a half-foot of snow.  A Rhode Island man is accused of stealing a tractor-trailer at a Coca-Cola facility in Connecticut.  A board approves plans for a proposed massive retail site in Johnston.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Winter Storm Watch For RI

(Undated)  --  All of Rhode Island except for Block Island is under a Winter Storm Watch from the National Weather Service from Thursday morning until Friday evening.  The same watch also covers northern Connecticut and most of Massachusetts except for the Cape and Islands.  The weather service says heavy snow and mixed wintry precipitation are possible.  Snow totals of up to seven inches are predicted.

>>Ash Wednesday Will Be Different For Catholics This Year

(Providence, RI)  --  The Catholic Diocese of Providence says Ash Wednesday services will be different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The custom to rub the ashes on foreheads will not happen today.  Instead, priests will sprinkle ashes onto people's heads.  The Providence Diocese says this is a long-standing custom in other countries, including Europe.

>>Plainville MA Business Hit By Fire

(Plainville, MA)  --  A structure fire that happened in Plainville, Massachusetts on Tuesday night is continuing to be investigated.  The two-alarm fire broke out at the Mini-Systems electronic parts manufacturer business on East Bacon Street.  Extensive damage was reported, but no injuries.

>>RI Man Arrested For Allegedly Stealing Truck In Connecticut

(Undated)  --  A southern Rhode Island man is accused of stealing a tractor-trailer truck from the Coca-Cola facility in Waterford, Connecticut.  Officers arrested Kyler Wilson of Richmond on a number of charges, including DUI, on Monday.  Police say Wilson stole the truck, crashed it into an employee vehicle while trying to escape, and then attempted to evade police in Stonington, Connecticut by diving out of a moving truck before he was apprehended.

>>Board Approves Plan For Massive Retail Site

(Johnston, RI)  --  A proposed large retail distribution site in Johnston is taking a step forward.  Initial approval came from the Johnston Planning Board at a meeting on Tuesday for the proposed center in a wooded area off Route 6.  Residents chimed in with concerns such as noise and traffic at the meeting.  The proposed distribution center is rumored to be Amazon, but that has not been confirmed.  The goal is to have it open in 2023.

>>Patriots Tickets Given To Milestone Vaccine Recipient At Gillette Stadium

(Foxboro, MA)  --  An Uxbridge, Massachusetts woman received two tickets to the New England Patriots' 2021 season opener on Tuesday as a result of hitting a milestone at the Gillette Stadium COVID-19 vaccination site.  WPRI-TV reports Brigitte Peters was the 65-thousandth-878th patient to get the shot, signifying the seating capacity at the Patriots home stadium.  Peters says it will be her first Pats game.  There was no fan attendance at Gillette in 2020.

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

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 16, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today – Tues, Feb. 16, 2021

February 16, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Today is Fat Tuesday – and Mardi Gras – in New Orleans. With bars closed and Bourban Street blocked off, homeowners have taken to decorating their home-floats for people to enjoy as the traditional parades aren’t happening.




Lt. Gov. Dan McKee released a statement of dissatisfaction in RI’s vaccination progress – only 62% of doses given to state given out. Here is his statement:


“Like most Rhode Islanders, I am not satisfied with the current administration’s progress on vaccine distribution, especially as we see our neighbors in Connecticut ranked among the top in the nation.


Speeding up vaccine distribution is my top priority. When I become Governor, I want to have all the information to be able to hit the ground running on day one. This week, I’ll be reaching out to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, leaders at Harvard University, and my transition COVID-19 advisors to ensure Rhode Island is prepared to immediately expand its vaccine distribution capacity. 


Our transition team has already successfully engaged all 39 municipalities in the state’s vaccination planning and enabled EMTs to administer vaccines alongside other medical professionals. Still, we know that Rhode Island has much more work to do to get shots in arms quickly and efficiently. 


Throughout this transition, my message to the public has been stay positive and test negative. As Governor, my message to everyone involved in the state’s vaccine distribution effortwill be equally as simple: Let’s get shots in arms right now.”


RI registration is expected to go live, today, at for statewide vaccination sites. Again, by priority group.


All RI city/town website links are here:


The RIDOH says it will take time to determine if RI’s highly targeted approach for vaccine distribution worked or not, as RI is still measuring as the last state in the US for vaccine distribution to people.


3 Mayors have called for Gov. Raimondo to resign while she is awaiting her confirmation to the cabinet to allow incoming Gov. McKee to fully take office and manage the COVID-19 crisis. The three mayors are Warwick Mayor Picozzi, North Providence Mayor Lombardi, Cranston Mayor Hopkins. From Mayor Picozzi:  “I haven’t called for the Governor to step down as that would be disrespectful. I personally feel she should resign, as would I if I were in her current situation. Power needs to be handed over to the Lt. Governor so we can continue leadership in our state as we get through this pandemic. Governor Raimondo did a great job guiding us through this crisis to this point, but we need continuous leadership from this point on.”


The AARP-Rhode Island is calling on the state to take five steps to protecting seniors who are still being dramatically impacted by COVID-19 and make up most of the deaths, if not all in the state.  See story, here:


Providence vaccination clinics for those residents 75 and over will be held next week – register here: – or call 3-1-1.


The next Central Falls COVID-19 vaccine clinic is being held on Saturday, Feb. 20 at Central Falls High School for Central Falls residents (18+) and employees ONLY. Residents will be required to provide proof of address when checking-in for their appointment on-site (ID/recent utility bill), and Central Falls employees will be required to show proof of employment in the city.


Pawtucket residents can sign up for vaccines in their city – if they are over 75 – at: – there are several locations including Jenks School and St. Anthony’s.


Worcester State University will begin a vaccination program today.


A COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens today at the Westerly Senior Center as a result of a partnership between the town and Westerly Hospital. Shots are available by appointment only and reserved for town residents age 75 and older, and the clinic is only open on Wednesday afternoons.


Despite glimmers of hope, URI Professor of Economics Leonard Lardaro, creator and author of the Current Conditions Index, anticipates 3-5 year recovery post-pandemic. Lardaro says Rhode Island’s economy remains largely stuck and noting the pre-pandemic economy was still largely stagnant, Lardaro asserts that the current crisis provides an opportunity for leaders to specifically define Rhode Island’s economic niche to reinvent and reinvigorate its economy and business climate.


North Providence Mayor Lombardi’s wife tested positive and moved to their summer home in Narragansett – Lombardi stayed out of work for the requisite time, tested negative and returned to work in the city. His wife was asymptomatic and is now home.


In Boston, the new program offering vaccines to those who accompany anyone over 75 for a vaccine is going awry as ads are being run offering rides, money, etc. to go with someone. The Governor has warned seniors to decline help from anyone not directly involved in their care.


In Hartford, Connecticut, lawmakers plan to hold a 24-hour, virtual public hearing starting today to discuss a proposal to eliminate the state’s religious exemption from vaccinations for schoolchildren.


According to the RI Dept. of Health website, this week “people experiencing homelessness will begin to be vaccinated – on site at shelters.


In Massachusetts, lawmakers and officials urge state to prioritize funeral workers in vaccine rollout 


New Bedford is the hub of the world’s fishing industry and they are being credited for taking extensive steps to control COVID19 in their industry. Roughly 390 million pounds of seafood a year comes through New Bedford. A third is fished locally, while the rest is processed there but comes from Canadian, Scandinavian, and other international waters. After New Bedford processes and packages this mega-haul, the seafood is distributed globally via Boston and New York City. New Bedford processed seafood can be found the world over – and the health of its industry sets the market value on the menu.


19 people in Massachusetts have the new, more communicable strain of COVID-19.


Massachusetts stopped vaccines from going to hospital and primary care offices, opting to go with state run facilities to vaccinate more, quicker. Most of RI is doing the same.


More than half of the employees in the Massachusetts Department of Correction have declined vaccine. According to the Boston Globe, roughly 900 workers have been infected and 21 inmates have died.


Massachusetts has a new statewide signup for vaccines –


The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has reopened. A Live discussion with Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor, SBA Regional Director Mark Hayward, and other technical assistance partners will be held TODAY, Feb. 16th, at 11am and Friday, Feb. 19th at 11:30am at to review the program and how to apply. Topics will include:


• Program overview – Eligibility Requirements – How To Apply

• How to obtain technical assistance – Q&A


RI’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee is set to meet TODAY. This is a group of external specialists that advises the RI Department of Health on immunization issues, including epidemiologists, primary care providers, pharmacists, pediatricians, long-term care advocates, ethicists, nonprofit leaders, school leaders, faith leaders, and others. They will discuss prioritization and distribution of the vaccine to ensure that it is done equitably, and in a way that best protects the State as a whole. Final decisions about vaccine distribution are made by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee is:


  • Chris Abhulime, Reverend; The King’s Tabernacle
  • Justin Berk, MD, MPH, MBA; Rhode Island Department of Corrections
  • Thomas Bledsoe, MD; Rhode Island Hospital
  • Jonathan Brice, EdD; Bristol/Warren Regional School District
  • Wendy Chicoine, MSN, RN, PHNA; Providence Community Health Centers
  • Sapna Chowdhry, MD; Thundermist Health Center
  • Eugenio Fernandez, PharmD; Asthenis
  • John Fulton, PhD; Brown University School of Public Health
  • Wilfredo Giordano-Perez, MD; Tri-County Community Action Agency
  • Kathy Heren; Rhode Island Long-term Care Ombudsman
  • Sabina Holland, MD; Hasbro Children’s Hospital
  • Joan Kwiatkowski, MSW; PACE
  • Beth Lange, MD; Coastal Medical
  • Kerry LaPlante, PharmD; URI College of Pharmacy
  • Christopher Ottiano, MD; Neighborhood Health Plan of RI
  • Teresa Paiva Weed; Hospital Association of Rhode Island
  • Pablo Rodriguez, MD; Care New England
  • Karen Tashima, MD; Lifespan Immunology Center
  • Larry Warner; United Way


RI Data – Feb. 15, 2021


Deaths: 2 yesterday / 44 since Thurs

Tests – 5,975 – Positives – 203 – Positive – 3.4%

Hospitalized – 181 – ICU – 35 – Ventilated – 16

Deaths in hospital – 4 – New Admissions – 15 – New Discharges – 31

1st vaccines: 101,461 Total 2 shots: 46,874



RI Data – Feb. 12, 2021


Deaths: 16

Tests – 18,627 – Positives – 366 – Percent positive – 2%

Hospitalized – 222 – In ICU – 39 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 5 – New Admissions – 27 – New Discharges – 43

First vaccines: 95,829 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 42,116





New Orleans residents are decorating their homes, rather than floats, as a celebration of Fat Tuesday, today, and Mardi Gras.


The age group 65 to 74 – older baby boomers – may be the largest group to be vaccinated.


The WHO has issued emergency authorization for Astra-Zeneca’s vaccine.


The USS Teddy Roosevelt, in Guam, is reporting a new outbreak.


Britain is using hotel rooms to quarantine some travelers who arrive from certain countries with high incidence rates – for 10 days.


Dr. Anthony Fauci has won the $1 million Dan David Prize for “defending science” and “speaking truth to power” -NPR


The NHL will require rapid tests for all players, on-ice personnel, and team members.


While many herald the falling case rate, a leading infectious disease epidemiologist in the US has said that the worst of the pandemic is coming in the next 14 weeks because of a surge in cases due to a new variant of the coronavirus taking hold in the U.S. This will also make it difficult for schools to open or stay open. This is the position of Michael Osterholm, the head of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a Biden transition advisor on COVID-19.


“A lot of schools are going to be challenged to open at all,” Osterholm told “CBS This Morning,” adding, “The next 14 weeks I think will be the worst of the pandemic.”


Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab cuts the risk of death among patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19, also shortening the time to recovery and reducing the need for mechanical ventilation.


In NYC, advocates for homeless people sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority over a series of Covid-19 rules that unfairly target people who shelter in the city’s subways. The rules prohibit people from staying in a subway station for more than an hour or after a train is taken out of service, and ban carts more than 30 inches long or wide. They were enacted on an emergency basis last April and made permanent in September.


Evidence has been building for giving blood thinners to hospitalized Covid-19 patients because the disease causes unusual blood clotting. 


Travel through the Dubai airport has dropped 70%


The latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns saw people going to warm climates and vowing now to return until they can get a vaccine, according to Bloomberg. The East Coast went to Florida, South Carolina, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The West Coast went to Arizona and Puerto Vallarta and Cabo in Mexico.


The big picture: “Extended-stay discounts, the reopening of certain international borders, and better awareness on the precautions to take when traveling have further enabled a second-wave exodus.”


Bartle’s Pharmacy of Oxford, N.Y., hired college students on winter break to schedule appointments, but the phone system was quickly overwhelmed. To lighten the mood, patients can ring a “Covid cowbell” after they get their shot. “It’s pretty amazing to see the relief on people’s faces,” says pharmacist and co-owner Heather Bartle-Ferrarese. 


Basketball legend Michael Jordan is donating $10 million to launch two medical clinics in underserved communities near his hometown in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Officials in Harrisburg, PA will not move teachers to the state’s first priority vaccination group, as requested by unions.


Peru’s foreign minister resigned over an uproar over government officials were secretly vaccinated before the country recently received 1 million doses for health workers facing a resurgence in the pandemic.


Israeli study finds 94% drop in symptomatic COVID-19 cases with Pfizer vaccine


A California federal judge called out a DLA Piper attorney Thursday for not wearing a tie during a virtual hearing on Finisar’s $6.8 million securities settlement, saying male attorneys have taken the informality of COVID-19-era remote hearings too far


President Joe Biden says his administration has procured 200 million more doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The nation will now have enough vaccine supply to cover every American adult by the end of July.


South Africa has halted its use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a preliminary study showed it offers only minimal protection against the virus variant that is dominant in that country.


Australia and New Zealand have received their first vaccine deliveries and will begin rolling out inoculations in the coming week, while Melbourne and Auckland remained locked down following the emergence of new cases.


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will judge this week how fast England can exit lockdown after the United Kingdom vaccinated 15 million of its most vulnerable people, but the health minister said death and hospital admission numbers were still too high.


The FDA has told Moderna it can add up to 40 percent more of the vaccine in its vials to more rapidly increase the available supply, though discussions between the company and the regulator are ongoing.


Coronavirus Vaccine and Pregnant Women – research was not done on pregnant women, but now over 20K women have been vaccinated – here is a podcast from the AMA on vaccination for pregnant women –


Children as young as six will be given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as part of a new clinical in the UK to test its efficacy in youngsters


Japan’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it has officially approved Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, its first vaccine.


A COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Sanofi and U.S. group Translate Bio “will not be ready this year.”


In response to the task force from WHO that went to China, spent 3 hours in the Wuhan lab, and determined the virus did not original in the lab, but more likely in the market area, the US is asking for all detailed records from China going back to the very first days to better judge the accuracy of these findings.


The US Department of Education released their “Reopening” Document for schools throughout the US – you can access it, here:


Posted in 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is criticizing the Raimondo administration for its vaccine rollout as he waits to become governor himself.  A structure fire was called in to the Plainville Fire Department Monday night.  The town hall flagpole in Barrington is becoming a lightning rod for controversy.

[[ watch dating ]]

>>Winter Weather Advisory Continues Overnight

(Undated)  --  All of mainland Rhode Island is under a Winter Weather Advisory from the National Weather Service until 7:00 this morning.  The weather service says freezing rain is the threat, with ice accumulations of up to one-tenth of an inch.  The weather service is predicting the next winter storm to impact Southern New England will arrive Thursday into Friday night with a plowable snowfall likely to start.

>>Dan McKee Criticizes Gina Raimondo Administration On Vaccine Rollout

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is criticizing his current boss for her handling of the coronavirus vaccination effort while he waits to take over for her.  McKee released a statement on Monday saying like most Rhode Islanders, he is not satisfied with the Gina Raimondo administration's progress on vaccine distribution and that he will make speeding-up that rollout his top priority upon assuming the governorship.  The Rhode Island Health Department says the state has taken a highly-strategic approach which has resulted in a large drop in virus cases in two key demographics: healthcare workers and nursing homes.  State-run mass vaccination sites are set to open this week in Providence and Cranston.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Structure Fire Battle In Plainville MA

(Plainville, MA)  --  Firefighters in Plainville, Massachusetts were battling a structure fire Monday night.  The Plainville Police Department reported the fire on East Bacon Street at around 9 p.m.  WJAR-TV reported the massive blaze was at an electronics-manufacturing facility.

>>Disagreements Continue In Barrington About Flags On Town Hall Pole

(Barrington, RI)  --  A group in Barrington that wants to put up a flag on the town hall that says "Keep Politics Off The Pole", is getting stymied so far. reports the request was made to the town manager and a town council member by the Barrington United Veterans Council, which also wants the flagpole removed from a veterans' memorial where it currently stands.  The news report indicates the veterans group turned to a councilor who had said at a council meeting at the beginning of this month he did not think the Black Lives Matter flag should fly on the flagpole because of the inability to distinguish the cause from the organization.  The BLM flag was put up last year. reported the Barrington Town Council at that February 1st meeting approved a policy giving itself and the town manager the power to decide which flags fly on the pole.

>>URI Scholarship To Help Black Pharmacy College Students

(Kingston, RI)  --  One of the first doctor of pharmacy graduates of the University of Rhode Island is establishing a new scholarship to help lessen racial disparity in the pharmacy profession.  Kenneth Lawrence, who is black, received his doctorate in 1990 and has worked as a clinical pharmacist and in pharmaceutical development.  The university says his fifty-thousand-dollar gift will be invested in the URI endowment.  The scholarship will support College of Pharmacy students with a preference for African-Americans or other historically-underrepresented populations.

>>Gas Prices Up About A Quarter Since Beginning Of January

(Undated)  --  Gas prices are up two cents a gallon from one week ago in Rhode Island, according to  The current price in the Ocean State is two dollars, forty-five cents per gallon.  That's about twenty-five cents higher than the price at the beginning of the year.

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

02-16-2021 01:16:11

Newport Pell Bridge shifts to all E=Pass tolling

Newport Pell Bridge shifts to all E-ZPass tolling

February 15, 2021/RINewsToday


Beginning this past Sunday, the Newport Pell Bridge tolling system switched to a 4-week trial of full automation. Motorists heading eastbound will not be able to pay tolls by cash or credit card.


The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) reminds drivers that they will direct all traffic heading eastbound (towards Newport) through lanes that accommodate E-ZPass and bill by mail transactions. (Expected inclement weather could delay the start of the pilot program).


The pilot program will necessitate some toll booth lane closures. During the 4-week program, motorists heading eastbound will not be able to pay tolls by cash or credit card. Signs will direct motorists to keep moving and not to stop at the toll plaza to ensure traffic safety. Motorists approaching the toll plaza from the Jamestown on-ramp will be required to stop and then proceed to merge.


The tolls will be collected utilizing the existing open road tolling (ORT) technology. This technology reads E-ZPass transponders for tolling. If a vehicle does not have a transponder, a bill will be mailed to the address of the registered owner of the vehicle. The billed toll amount will be the same as if the vehicle was paying at the toll booth with cash or credit card. However, if the invoice is not paid on time, fees will be applied.


The tolls can be paid via mail, at the drop box located at the Jamestown office, online at, or over the phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-877-743-9727.


RITBA is encouraging customers to sign up for E-ZPass and utilize the online tools available to manage their accounts and pay for tolls, as call volume is expected to increase as a result of these changes. RITBA is asking its existing customers to log in to their accounts and update all vehicle, address, and credit card information to avoid unpaid tolls.


Impact on personnel


RITBA responded to questions from RINewsToday about how this impacts personnel. They said that there have been no toll collector jobs lost due to the program implementation, and that there will be no loss of shifts for full-time employees during this period. The duties of toll collectors will shift to other operations at RITBA. They will consist of observing and monitoring the trial period to help assess the program to make any necessary adjustments along the way.


RITBA is implementing this pilot program to evaluate the impact all-electronic tolling (AET) would have on the Authority in all aspects from finance and back-office tolling operations to plaza operations. This effort is part of RITBA’s Ten-Year Renewal and Replacement Plan unveiled in 2016. 


In terms of permanent job replacement, RITBA said it did not know that at this time what the impact would be. They employ eight toll collectors and four full-time supervisors. However, “when RITBA shifts to AET permanently, RITBA is committed to making best efforts to transition displaced employees to other appropriate positions at RITBA”. When asked how much money the automated system could save, they said that “due to the unknown of how many of the twelve full-time employees would have new roles at RITBA, we cannot accurately calculate the future dollar savings (at this time).”


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island's Congressional delegation reacted after the second presidential impeachment of Donald Trump resulted in an acquittal.  Several Rhode Island mayors are calling for Governor Gina Raimondo to step down while she awaits a call to the Biden administration.  A judge has ruled Rhode Island's law on vanity license plates is unconstitutional.

>>Rhode Island Congressional Delegation Reacts To Trump Impeachment Verdict

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline called Saturday's vote to acquit former president Donald Trump the most bipartisan presidential impeachment verdict in history.  Cicilline had a prominent role in the trial as one of the impeachment managers from the House of Representatives.  RI Congressman Jim Langevin said the House impeachment managers made a compelling case for why Trump should have been convicted for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, and that Senate Republicans chose to ignore the evidence.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse went after Trump's lawyers for making what he said were "untruthful" statements during the trial.  Senator Jack Reed thanked the seven Republican colleagues of his who crossed party lines to "acknowledge Trump's wrongdoing".

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Winter Storm Watch For Part Of Rhode Island

(Undated)  --  A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for northwestern Rhode Island.  The National Weather Service says the area could get up to three inches of snow and a half-inch of ice Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening.  Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice, according to the weather service.

>>Mayors Call For Raimondo Resignation; Governor's Nomination On Hold

(Undated)  --  Several mayors of Rhode Island cities are publicly calling for Governor Gina Raimondo to resign while she waits on a confirmation from the U.S. Senate to become the next Secretary of Commerce.  The mayors of Cranston, North Providence and Warwick have released statements of concern about the leadership limbo in the state's executive branch.  Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is waiting to take over for Raimondo.  The Providence Journal reports McKee specifically asked Raimondo to allow him to make a nomination to a Public Utilities Commission seat after he was sworn in, but Raimondo did not honor that request.  However, the RI Senate Committee on Commerce has decided to hold off on the appointment of Jack Revens to the PUC post until after he meets with McKee.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Judge Strikes Down Vanity License Plate Law

(Providence, RI)  --  A federal judge ruled on Friday that a law covering vanity license places in Rhode Island is unconstitutional, according to a report from The Providence Journal.  Electric car driver Sean Carroll, of Scituate, was threatened with a canceled registration by the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles if he did not turn in his plate which he had initially gotten away with having, which read: "F-K-GAS".  The judge ruled last week the state going forward cannot use a law on the books that says the DMV can deny vanity plates if they are offensive or in bad taste.

>>Injured High School Hockey Player Transferred To Rehab Center

(Undated)  --  The Massachusetts high school hockey player who was severely injured after a head-first crash into the boards during a game last month has been transferred to a rehab center in Atlanta.  A.J. Quetta was a player for Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro.  The Quetta family, who previously said he may never walk again, says he was transferred to Shepherd Rehab Center, one of the top rehab hospitals in the U.S. which specializes in treatment of spinal cord injuries.

>>Residents Of Warwick Apartment Complex Displaced By Fire

(Warwick, RI)  --  Dozens were displaced after a fire at an apartment complex in Warwick over the weekend.  This happened at the Les Chateaux Apartments early Saturday morning.  No significant injuries were reported.  The Red Cross was working to find shelter for the thirty-five affected families.  The fire reportedly started in the basement of the building and is under investigation.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI) MA) GA)

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 12, 2012

Your Coronavirus Update – Fri, Feb. 12, 2021

February 12, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: From Central Falls Vaccination Program




Massachusetts Report Card on Vaccines full of D’s and F’s – see report, here:


Salve Regina University is reporting positivity above 5%.


Massachusetts is rethinking the buddy-up program to encourage 75+ residents to come with a caregiver, and the caregiver being given a shot as well – scammers are feared and security concerns.


Massachusetts has paused some vaccination sites due to lack of vaccine that is being consolidated for use at clinics and not hospitals.


94% of deaths in RI were of those above 60.


CVS will begin its federal vaccination program – separate from the state – this week at 5 RI stores for those in eligible categories. They expect to give out 200 shots per day. Stores in Westerly, Woonsocket, East Greenwich, Newport and Providence. Registration for those 75+ is on their website.


Providence College announced a series of new temporary restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the college community, with 172 students in quarantine and 92 students have tested positive in the past three days. Students, both on-campus and off-campus residents, are required to limit their movement to essential purposes including travel to in-person classes, travel to pick up grab-and-go meals or groceries, travel to work. Spectators will not be allowed at athletics contests. All field work, e.g., student teaching, practicums, and other placements are suspended. On-campus resident students are restricted from visiting off-campus student residences. In-person classes will continue.


Tiverton announces a new website,, that will serve as a resource for residents, visitorsand business owners to receive updates as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop and the State of Rhode Island moves through its vaccine distribution timeline. A link for a vaccination waitlist for those 75 and over is on the site.


The City of Cranston is seeking volunteers to assist with operations of the COVID-19 vaccination site taking place at the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center. Assistance is being sought from volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30am to 3:00pm beginning Tuesday, February 16th and ending Thursday, April 8th. There are a wide variety of ways to help. The City is seeking Doctors, Nurses, EMTs and other qualified volunteers to help administer the vaccine. The City is also seeking volunteers to make calls to qualified recipients of the vaccine and help facilitate the vaccination site. Interested parties may sign up to volunteer at or by calling the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center at (401) 780-6000.


The FDA has authorized a new antibody treatment from Eli Lilly. The new treatment combines Eli Lilly’s previously authorized antibody treatment, bamlanivimab, with a new drug, estevimab. Clinical trial results showed that the combination therapy could be used to prevent severe COVID cases in patients who are not yet sick enough to be hospitalized but who are still at risk for serious illness. 


Cape Cod Democrat Sen. Julian Cyr lambasted the Massachusetts vaccine distribution, arguing the plan continues to leave the region and its significant senior population unable to access the potentially life-saving inoculation. Cyr told reporters that pleas from the Cape delegation for a mass vaccination site or additional doses have gone unanswered, even though Barnstable County has the largest percentage of population over 75 among the state’s 14 counties. This week, 1,300 appointments available for vaccines on the Cape filled up in 29 minutes, Cyr said. He contrasted that with the Baker administration previously flagging thousands of slots still open at its Gillette Stadium mass vaccination site. “To me, that indicates that where the vaccines are being made available is actually not accessible to the people who need them,” Cyr, a Truro Democrat, said. “Cape Codders are being left out of this vaccination,” he later added. “I don’t know why, and I don’t know what else to do other than air these frustrations because our pleas for help are not being answered.” Baker announced the state would stand up additional mass vaccination sites in Natick and Dartmouth.


Lincoln Shoe Repair, in Cranston, closing because of loss of business in the pandemic.


Today’s Data – Feb. 11, 2021

Deaths: 15

Tests – 20,094 – Positives – 416 – Percent positive – 2.1%

Hospitalized – 238 – In ICU – 45 – Ventilated – 22

Deaths in hospital – 3 – New Admissions – 34 – New Discharges – 34

First vaccines: 93,489 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 40,355



Governor’s Update – 2-11-2021


Reviewed the data


Looking for new strains which they suspect are already in RI – need to push them off which will give us more time to vaccinate.


Next week KN95 masks will be distributed at most testing sites. If you get tested once a week you can receive a new mask each time. If you have a cloth mask make sure it fits snug to the face and it is 2-3 ply.


Business leeway can happen now, but not go too far, because of the variances coming our way.


Social gathering size will increase from just household, to two households gathering indoors, and three households gathering outdoors – starting 2/12.  The households should be the same. Must continue to wear a mask while gathering.





Very targeted now with medical workers, public safety, residents in congregate settings. 75 year olds and up.


Decline in cases among healthcare workers since vaccinating them. Plummeting figures of new cases. Good results in long term care facilities.


Without a lot of vaccine we are being very targeted with who we give it to.


Next portion will be general public. Locations: pharmacies, regional clinic, state run site. CVS and Walgreens are getting 7,000 doses for 75+ citizens. Cities/towns, 7,800 doses each week, total. Schools, senior centers, etc. will see clinics start next Wednesday. Need appt., no need to come earlier. Cities/towns are handling them. Clinics will not run out of vaccine. State-run sites: Next Thursday at Dunkin’ Donuts Center for 75 yrs + – and Sockanosset, same age groups. Healthcare workers have been being done at Sockanosset, too. Goal with state sites is volume – hundreds per hour – 500-900 per day to start. Age will expand as vaccines are given out.


Next Wed there will be a special registration list and phone list for the two Thursday sites for 2 weeks. There is still more demand than supply, so you may not get an appointment right away. We are doing everything we can to get more vaccine. We will get to the point where we will have sufficient doses.


Testing: New testing site at 79 Dorrance St, with rapid test – to replace The Dunk – walk up site – no appts needed. Most of the other sites need an appointment.


Treatment info on Health Dept. website.


Incoming Gov. McKee:


Goal to keep people out of the hospital.


Transition continues to be wholly focused on vaccine response and roll-out.


CommerceRI – Stefan Pryor:


Changes for businesses –


Venues of assembly – churches, movies, etc. – going from 25% to 40% capacity with maximum of 125 – exception for exceptionally large facilities if 6 feet can be maintained. Still safer to go smaller and go remote.


Bars – bars can reopen – 4 per bar, 90 mins stay, closing time of bars is 11pm. Bar seating should be dining, not just drinking. Patrons must remain sitting, no standing or congregating at bars.




Q: Why not streamline appointment making system?

A: Right now we want accessibility is the most important thing – want to have multiple systems of signing up. Credit cities/towns for helping seniors sign up. As we move forward we will work towards a more focused approach to register.


Q: Why a disparity among locations on quantities?

A: Oversight of distribution of vaccine is controlled by the state.


Q: In MA, caretakers can accompany seniors – in RI?

A: Not at this time with limited supply.


Q: Nursing homes – still no visitation – home owners want state to decide.

A: RIDOH is opening up slowly to engage further to increase visitation.


Q: Are you using field hospitals?

A: To a very small extent – but may be used when variant strains come here.


Q: Who is saying that bar reopening scheme works? Some employees are afraid to return to work.

A: RIDOH is assessing data and doing the best we can do loosen up and keep safe at the same time. We’ve followed public health data in doing this.


Q: RI has 4th lowest share and dead last in the country in vaccine delivery – what are the kinks in the system?

A: There are national agreements in pharmacies and how they are working. But now we are accelerating and we are working directly with the pharmacies. Gov. Raimondo also made contact with CEO executive.




Filming of Real Housewives of NYC has been suspended due to positive cast members.


President Biden now saying not enough people will receive a vaccine by the summertime.


More than 5,000 have been vaccinated at Fenway Park.


Chicago begins to open schools after a bitter union fight – with 2,000 initial vaccines given and another 1,500 coming for the most at-risk workers.


Anyone arriving in England and found to have lied about a recent visit to a country on the British government’s travel ban list faces up to 10 years in prison.


Twitter and Instagram have pulled the account of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., famous for being an anti-vaxxer.


CVS will begin its federal program this week in 11 states.


Since reaching a peak on Jan. 8 — related to holiday gatherings — the number of confirmed new daily cases has fallen by almost 60 percent.


People who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to quarantine if they are exposed to the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday


The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. don’t use live or attenuated viruses and studies of pregnant animals suggest they are safe, experts say. However, pregnant and lactating people were not included in the initial vaccine trials.

Posted in 

RI School List with COVID-19 UPDATED

COVID-19 in RI Schools: Updated Data

February 12, 2021/RINewsToday


With RI schools a patchwork of fully open, fully closed, virtual, hybrid, etc., here are the statistics updated as of Feb. 10th – with comparisons to prior months. Note that the list is split into two – schools ‘in session’ and schools that are virtual – data is very closely the same, except for the obvious staff cases.




In-person & Hybrid

New student cases last 7 days: 219

Cumulative student cases since Sept: 4,389

New staff cases: 64

Cumulative staff cases since Sept: 2,089



New student cases last 7 days: 99

Cumulative student cases since Sept: 4,444

New staff cases: 9

Cumulative staff cases since Sept: 389



Schools to watch:

Community School – Cumberland

East Providence High School – East Providence

Overbrook Academy

Classical High School – Providence

Westerly High School – Westerly


In-person & Hybrid:

Cranston West High School – Cranston

Posted in 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Providence police officer is on trial for allegedly assaulting an arrestee in 2020.  The state of Rhode Island is relaxing more COVID-related restrictions.  The city of Newport is lifting a boil-water notice.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Providence Police Sergeant On Trial For Alleged Assault During Arrest

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence police sergeant is on trial this week for allegedly assaulting an arrested individual.  Joseph Hanley is accused of the attack on Rishod Gore while he was in handcuffs during an arrest last April.  According to testimony, Gore was taken into custody after saying something to police that was perceived as a threat at the scene of a disturbance on Knight Street; the case was later dropped.  An officer testified Gore was under control during the arrest, and additional force was not needed.  The trial continues today in Providence District Court.

>>Bar Areas In RI Restaurants Can Reopen

(Providence, RI)  --  Bar areas of restaurants in Rhode Island are being allowed to re-open as the state is taking advantage of falling coronavirus numbers.  The state is permitting a maximum of four people per party, with a 90-minute dining time, and says bars must close at 11 p.m.  The state is also increasing capacity percentage for venues of assembly and houses of worship from 25-to-40 percent.

>>Providence College Enacting Measures To Address COVID Increase

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence College is ordering students to adhere to new temporary restrictions amid a spike in coronavirus cases.  PC says students must limit movement to essential purposes only, including attending in-person classes and going to work if they have jobs.  No visitors are being allowed in residence halls.

>>Newport Water System Boil Notice Lifted

(Newport, RI)  --  A water boil advisory for the City of Newport Water System has been lifted.  The city says it repaired the water main break that prompted the advisory.  The exception is for a dozen customers in the immediate area of the water main break.  The Rhode Island Department of Health says the water system is directly-contacting those customers.

>>Retail Pot Shot Opens In Blackstone, Massachusetts

(Blackstone, MA)  --  Another Massachusetts retail marijuana store has opened on the Rhode Island border.  The Valley Breeze reports the first retail pot shop in Blackstone, DDM Cannabis, opened last Friday.  Customers are being encouraged to order online in advance.

>>Chiropractor Sentenced For Health Care Fraud

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence chiropractor is avoiding prison time in a fraud case.  The Justice Department says Eugene Kramer, the sole owner of the New England Spine and Disk Center, was sentenced this week to six months of home confinement as part of a longer probation period, was ordered to perform community service and pay a fine.  Kramer admitted to submitting fraudulent billing for patient treatment.  In addition to pleading guilty to health care fraud, he also admitted to filing a false tax return.

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

02-12-2021 01:26:08

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 11 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 11, 2021

February 11, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: France is closing its borders from all access points as their cases have upticked and identified as variants




More Than Half Of Mass. Corrections Workers – about 3,000 – Have Refused the COVID Vaccine. The workers are part of the more than 5,400 correctional personnel and contracted healthcare staff employed across the state prison system.”


In Massachusetts, “People 75 and older who don’t live in Framingham will be excluded from getting a vaccination against COVID-19 during this Saturday’s clinic at Joseph Keefe Technical High School


Canada to require negative test at border.


RI has produced a large poster size “flyer” which all residents should receive in the mail.


Prof. David M. Gitlitz, a nationally and internationally renowned scholar of Hispanic and Jewish culture, died of COVID-19 at his home in Oaxaca, Mexico at 78. He has been a provost at the University of RI.


Pawtucket votes to return to in-person learning. The plan now calls for bringing back elementary students March 1, middle school students (grades 7 and 8) March 15 and returning high school students on a hybrid schedule March 29.


The National Guard will help to set up the Springfield, MA vaccination site.


Northeastern University is trying to remind its students about that long-ago time when they learned in-person, and is urging them to come back to the class this spring.”


Dorchester, MA will hold a one day vaccination clinic for veterans over 65,


“Cape (Cod) seniors who tried to use a new state hotline Tuesday to sign up for two regional COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held this week found themselves outgunned by vaccine seekers who used their computers to book appointments.”


The town of Portsmouth has reached an agreement with Raytheon Technologies to have its COVID vaccine distribution site on the campus of the defense company off West Main Road.


Dartmouth Mass will open a Mass Vaccination Site on Feb. 24th at the Circuit City location – to do 500 doses/day, increasing to 2,000/day.


Natick Mall will open a Mass Vaccination site on Feb 22nd – to do up to 3,000/day, starting at 500/day.


Cranston Library will help seniors complete emails and sign up for vaccinations every Tuesday and Thursday – sign up, here for the assistance appt (no vaccines given out) –


RI will launch a Task Force to see what learning loss has happened among Rhode Island students. They will issue recommendations next month.


In Boston, “As part of efforts to ensure every coronavirus vaccine dose is used, hospitals are drafting end-of-day wait lists, offering the vaccine to patients sitting in their hospitals, and providing leftover doses to qualifying family members of staff.


Business Violations in RI:

Bottom Line Bar & Grill 415 Palmer Ave.,
Compliance Order

La Colombiana Bar & Grill 477 Dexter St.,
Central Falls
Compliance Order

Bankers Mortgage Corporation 1609 Warwick Ave.,
Compliance Order 2/9/2021
Bristol Sports Club 417 Wood St.,
Compliance Order 2/9/2021
China Inn 2788 Post Rd.,
Compliance Order 2/9/2021
East Bay Food Mart 244 Taunton Ave.,
East Providence
Compliance Order 2/9/2021
The Road Runners Gas Station 2862 Hartford Ave.,
Compliance Order 2/9/2021
Famous Pizza 92 Hartford Pike,
Compliance Order 2/2/2021
Domino’s Pizza 140 Point Judith Rd.,
Notice of Compliance with CO
Compliance Order

Cuisine Delmar 445 Lonsdale Ave.,
Compliance Order 2/2/2021
Bonao Hair Salon 67 Mount Pleasant Ave.,
Compliance Order 1/29/2021
Cornerstone Barber 290 Wood St.,
Notice of Compliance with ICO
Immediate Compliance Order


RI Cases by City over last 7 days:

RI Data – Feb. 10

Deaths: 12 – Tests – 15,488 – Positives – 430 – % positive – 2.8%

Hospitalized – 238 – In ICU – 42 – Ventilated – 22

Deaths in hospital – 1 – New Admissions – 20 – New Discharges – 29

First vaccines: 89,794 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 38,063

Today’s Data – Feb. 9

Deaths: 13 – Tests – 11,154 – Positives – 305 – % positive – 2.7%

Hospitalized – 242 – In ICU – 44 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 6 – New Admissions – 23 – New Discharges – 22

First vaccines: 88,234 – Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 36,974


Media Press event with incoming Governor McKee & Transition Team


National vaccine coordinator:


Cases beginning to fall all around the country.


If we stick to the rate we are working on now, nationally, it will take about 9 months to vaccinate 75% of population, which is herd immunity.


Johnson & Johnson should be approved by end of February, which will help with supply chain. There may be 2 more – Astra Zeneca and Novavax.


Moderna & Pfizer are working 24/7 on producing more vaccine


By April/May we will all see a lot more vaccine, if not a surplus.


Dr. Jha – spoke to the UK variant being of special concern – every 9 days the virus is doubling – no reason to think it is not here in RI. What is happening is a very aggressive, very fast spike that crushes the healthcare system – expectation is that will happen here in the 2nd half of March. Need to get as many vulnerable people vaccinated as possible. Not enough vaccines. By May we will have way more vaccine than people. By June & July we’ll have lots and lots of vaccines. Immediate problem: need to vaccinate as many as possible in the next four weeks.  After this, a terrific summer, etc. ahead of us.  Need to push ahead on more vaccine and vaccinations or we will have a lot of problems here. The vaccine WILL work for the variants. Get your infection rates down as fast as possible – change your mask protocols for a higher grade – more and more testing – vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate.


Dr. Scott – CDC and FDA is not supporting giving out 2nd shots now but prefer to hold them behind. Focus is on 75 and older. Efficacy of vaccine is less understood. When you get 2 shots it is more effective. So we want to be sure they get the 2nd shot. Immunology-wise, do we worsen the risk of variants if there are people who only get one shot.


Mayor Polisena – want to focus on the school teachers – many have co-morbidity issues and they are concerned. Of course they want to get back to school as soon as they can. Our firefighters are ready to go as well – it’s a supply and demand issue and our cities and towns are ready to go, too – we need the vaccine.




About 20,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated with no “red flags”, announced Dr. Fauci.


White House 100 day program to open schools is now severely scaled back to more than 50% of schools open at least 1 day a week in-person.


New guidance might come soon for people who have been fully vaccinated for COVID


After the COVID-19-related death of a teacher, the Washington Teachers’ Union is demanding changes at DC Public Schools


In Indiana, COVID-19 vaccines will expand to ages 60 to 65 as they continue to delay the timeline for teachers and other essential workers.


Uber and Walgreens announced they will join forces to offer communities of color free rides to vaccination sites.


FedEx Express pilots union has requested that the state prioritize commercial pilots for COVID-19 vaccinations, saying it will help keep vaccine distribution running smoothly.


The New York Mets’ home, Citi Field, became the latest site to offer COVID-19 vaccinations, following in the steps of Yankee Stadium, but vaccine is still in short supply, so only a few hundred shots are being done per day.


Detroit is using drive-thru mass vaccination sites to reach seniors.


For those who may have traveled to Florida to receive their first vaccine they will have to return their for their second vaccine.


60 Black members of the National Academy of Medicine, the premier health science organization in the United States. Together we are scientists, doctors, nurses, other health care professionals and public health experts. We feel compelled to make the case that all Black Americans should get vaccinated to protect themselves from a pandemic that has disproportionately killed them at a rate 1.5 times as high as white Americans in cases in which race is known.


Vietnam is distributing free over 100K DONY Garment anti-bacterial masks. The company will be doing this in several countries in the area.


The new variant, B.1.1.7, has now been found in 75 countries and is spreading locally in Brazil, Canada, China, the US and most of Europe. Up to 70 per cent more transmissible than other coronavirus variants, B.1.1.7 is now responsible for the majority of new cases in England.


The coronavirus most likely entered the human population through an intermediate animal, and the suggestion that it came from a lab is “extremely unlikely,” according to WHO investigators in Wuhan, China.


World Health Organization investigators said Tuesday that they would no longer pursue research into whether the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.


Researchers from Case Western University studied electronic health record data from 61.9 million American adults and found the risk for contracting COVID- 19 is twice as high for people with dementia than for those without it,


President Joe Biden’s effort to create 100 mass vaccination sites nationwide in 100 days is well underway as California and Maryland announced new openings of several such sites last week.


In South Korea, officials said they will be giving cats and dogs free tests if they come in contact with infected humans and are symptomatic. The animals will have to quarantine for 14 days if they test positive.


World’s 2nd oldest person, a 115 year old nun, survives COVID-19


Colleges around the U.S. have been canceling spring break to discourage students from traveling.


The West Virginia Department of Education is looking for organizations to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer.


Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not have guidelines on double-masking, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, says it “just makes common sense” that two masks may be more likely to protect against COVID-19.


Disney California Adventure Park is getting a breather in March. The park is set for a limited reopening in mid-March for a “limited-time ticketed experience” of outdoor dining,


California is not receiving nearly enough COVID19 vaccine to meet demand, and that won’t change in the near term, Gov Gavin Newsom conceded Monday, so counties increasingly are using their limited supplies to focus on people who need second shots.


DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg is quarantining for the next 14 days after a member of his security detail tested positive for Covid-19.

Posted in 

1 Comment

  1.  Paul Marshall on February 11, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Wall Street Journal article last w/e noted China’s economy was the ONLY one to grow last year. Stocks up 41%.
    The “wet market bat” myth is a lie. NOBODY eats bats. There’s no meat on them. “Wet” markets are mostly seafood. (I’ve visited many-Bangkok has a giant one st Chatuchak Market).


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Several new vaccine distribution centers in Rhode Island are being announced.  A number of appointments to state positions from outgoing Governor Gina Raimondo are under scrutiny.  The governor's Department of Administration director is planning to step down when she is confirmed as a member of the Biden Cabinet.

>>Coronavirus Vaccine Updates From Woonsocket, Portsmouth

(Undated)  --  Two Rhode Island municipalities are providing coronavirus vaccine distribution updates.  The city of Woonsocket says shots will be administered at the former Monsignor Gadoury School, initially just for seniors 75 and older because of a limited number of doses.  The vaccine site will open on February 18th.  The Newport Daily News reports the town of Portsmouth has come to an agreement with Raytheon Technologies to use its facility off West Main Road for a clinic.  A date has not yet been set for that to open.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Water Boil Notice In Newport

(Newport, RI)  --  A boil advisory was issued Wednesday for the city of Newport's water system.  The Rhode Island Department of Health says the advisory is because of a loss of water pressure in multiple areas of the system caused by a water main break.  A map of the affected area can be found on

>>Raimondo Reappointments On Hold; Governor Defends Public Utilities Commission Nomination

(Providence, RI)  --  Several of Governor Gina Raimondo's re-appointments to the state's Coastal Resources Management Council are being placed on hold.  The Providence Journal reports Senate President Dom Ruggerio cited concerns from the Attorney General about an agreement the council reached to allow a marina expansion on Block Island.  In related news, Raimondo was asked on Tuesday about appointing former Senate Majority Leader Jack Revens to the state's Public Utilities Commission.  State Representative Anastasia Williams called the lame-duck nomination unacceptable one day prior.  Raimondo said in comments published by the Projo that she believes energy policy is going to be an important part of her legacy, and that it was important to her to get the position filled.

>>Administration Department Head To Resign

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Department of Administration director Brett Smiley says he is resigning when Governor Raimondo is confirmed as U.S. Commerce Secretary.  The state Republican Party had called on Smiley to resign immediately on Monday over reports of his fundraising activity for a run for Providence mayor.  The GOP said Smiley reneged on a pledge that was made to the RI Ethics Commission to not take contributions from state vendors while in his current position.

>>Senate Passes Minimum Wage Increase, Charter School Moratorium Bills

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate has passed legislation that increases the state's minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour by 2025.  The bill calls for the wage, currently at eleven-fifty, to gradually increase year-over-year.  The Senate on Wednesday also approved a three-year moratorium on the expansion or creation of charter schools in Rhode Island.  Both bills will be passed on to the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

>>Man Sentenced For Getting Drugs To Southern New England

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is being sentenced to five years in federal prison for his involvement in a cross-country drug pipeline.  The Justice Department says Shawn Silva admitted to a conspiracy to ship more than two-hundred packages of heroin and cocaine from the Los Angeles area to the Greater Providence and Southeastern Massachusetts areas.  Silva is one of seven people charged in connection to the conspiracy and is the second to be sentenced.

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

02-11-2021 01:11:36

Clear your snow! It's the law.

Clear your snow! It’s the law.

February 10, 2021/RINewsToday


In most communities, removing snow from walkways is the responsibility – and the law – for homeowners and businesses. Here’s a check-in with 3 of our major cities… the RI State Police, the United Way.


In Providence…


What responsibilities do property owners, businesses, and residents have during and after a snow storm?


Property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, catch basins, fire hydrants and pedestrian ramps adjacent to their property. The city can fine property owners who do not clear adjacent sidewalks of snow. This is a public safety issue and is the responsibility of the property owners. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17)


Check in on relatives, friends, and neighbors who may need assistance preparing for a storm. Consider helping neighbors who may require special assistance, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.


Remain off the roads during a snowstorm unless absolutely necessary. Using alternative transportation during snowstorms reduces the number of vehicles on the road, allowing plows and spreaders more room to operate.


Removing snow from your driveway or property after plows have passed and shoveling to the right side of your driveway as you face the road can help prevent re-shoveling.


Can I blow, shovel or plow snow onto the street?


No you cannot. Fines can be imposed on any person(s) depositing snow onto any street, highway or public place. (See City Ordinance Sections 23-13 to 23-17).


Who do we call to report a sidewalk that has not been cleared of snow?


Call the Mayor’s Center for City Services at 3-1-1.


What if I am not physically capable of clearing my sidewalk?


First ask a relative, friend or neighbor to assist you in clearing your property. Other assistance can be requested by dialing 2-1-1.



In Warwick…


Removal of snow is required. Here is what the city ordinance says, along with some definitions:


The owner of any lot of land adjoining or including any priority sidewalk shall, within the first 72 hours after any snow or ice has ceased to fall, and at times other than following snowfall or icefall, within the first 72 hours after any snow or ice has encumbered such priority sidewalk, cause such priority sidewalk to be made safe and convenient for pedestrian traffic by causing the removal of the snow and ice therefrom and/or by covering the same with sand or some other suitable substance.


An owner who makes a safe and convenient path for pedestrian traffic along the entire length of a priority sidewalk adjoining or included within any lot of land owned by such owner, for example, within a parking lot located on such land, shall not be in violation of this ordinance, even if such priority sidewalk is not itself cleared or otherwise made safe and convenient for pedestrian traffic.


The director of the department of public works, or his designee, shall have the authority to determine whether a priority sidewalk or other path is safe and convenient for pedestrian traffic, provided that safe and convenient passage shall include passage to any street corner or other street crossing location leading immediately from or adjacent to any priority sidewalk.


Definitions that go with the above:


Sidewalk means any portion of the sidewalk area which has been made smooth by the application of cement, concrete, asphalt, brick, or other substance, or compacted and made smooth, or which is otherwise used for pedestrian traffic.


Sidewalk area means that portion of the land alongside a street or highway which is set aside, laid out, or used for pedestrian traffic, and shall include any sloped area with a curb cut for handicap access.


Priority sidewalk means any sidewalk described on the list of priority sidewalks published from time to time by the director of the department of public works, provided that no sidewalk shall be a priority sidewalk until 30 days following the date that such sidewalk first appears on such published list.



In Cranston…


Snow and ice—Residential removal of snow—Penalty.


The owner, occupant or an building or lot of land bordering on any street, highway, square or public place where there is a sidewalk supported by curbing, shall, within the first twenty-four (24) hours after any snow has ceased to fall, cause the snow to be removed from the sidewalk adjoining such building or lot of land. Sidewalks must be cleared at least three feet wide to allow wheelchairs to pass. All curb cuts must also be cleared.


If said owner or occupant is sixty-two (62) years of age or older or is physically disabled or has a prior medical condition that would prevent him or her from shoveling snow and unable to shovel snow, no fine shall be imposed for failing to remove snow if said owner or occupant provides the police officer with a letter from his or her doctor attesting to the fact that the person is physically unable to shovel snow.


In case of neglect so to do, the person chargeable with such duty shall pay a fine not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00) and for each and every hour after the expiration of such twenty-four (24) hours that the snow shall remain on the sidewalk, such owner, occupant or other person shall pay a fine of not less than one dollar ($1.00) nor more than two dollars ($2.00).


Snow and ice—Business removal of snow—Penalty


The owner, occupant of any business bordering on any street, highway, square or public place where there is a sidewalk supported by curbing, shall, within the first twenty-four (24) hours after any snow has ceased to fall, cause the snow to be removed from the sidewalk adjoining such building or lot of land. Sidewalks must be cleared at least three feet wide to allow wheelchairs to pass. All curb cuts must also be cleared.


In case of neglect so to do, the person chargeable with such duty shall pay a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for the first offense and five hundred dollars ($500.00) for a second and subsequent offenses.


Snow and ice—Snow falling from buildings.


Whenever any sidewalk, or any part thereof, adjoining any building or lot of land on any street, highway, square or public place where such sidewalks are supported by curbing, shall be encumbered by ice, it shall be the duty of the owner, occupant or any person having the care of such building or lot, to cause such sidewalk to be made safe and convenient by removing the ice therefrom or by covering the same with sand or some other suitable substance.


In case such owner, occupant or person shall neglect so to do for the space of three hours during the daytime, he or she shall pay a fine of not exceeding twenty dollars ($20.00), and a like sum for every day thereafter that the same shall continue so encumbered.


From the RI State Police…


Clear snow away from fire hydrants. This makes it easier for the fire department if there is an emergency.


Most town/city ordinances require you to shovel the sidewalk in front of your home and business. Failure to do so may result in a fine.


Never blow, shovel or plow snow onto the street, expecting a plow to push it out of the way. Doing so is against the law (R.I.G.L. § 31-22-9).


Always remove all snow from your vehicle. Driving with significant amounts of snow or ice on your car is against the law (R.I.G.L. § 31-23-16).


Keep in mind that after snow storms, plows have no place to push snow except to the curbs, sidewalks, and shoulders of roads, and homeowners usually pile snow at the end of their driveways. This creates a twofold problem; pedestrians enter a street without being able to see if a car is coming and drivers will not be able to see around snowbanks to see if a pedestrian is crossing. This is especially important in mornings and afternoons when children are on their way to/from school. Snowbanks should be an indication for drivers and pedestrians to exercise caution and slow down, knowing the potential dangers that lurk on the other side of the snowbank.



From the United Way…


Weather-related resources the United Way provides:


A list and information regarding warming centers by community and surrounding area;


Referrals for food assistance and to other community resources based on individual need;


Info for local DPW offices for plow updates, road closures, and to report community-specific concerns; and


Enrolling in RI’s Special Needs Emergency Registry, which helps local and state first responders prepare for and respond to the special needs of individuals during a storm or emergency (those who use life support systems like oxygen, ventilator, dialysis, or are insulin depending; have mobility disabilities, etc.)


Medical emergencies should always be reported by calling 911, and reports of power outages or issues with utilities should be directed to the appropriate utility company or to 911 if considered an emergency.



United States Postal Service (USPS)…


If you’re outside, take care to clear any snow or ice on steps, sidewalks and driveways, and around your mailbox. Also make sure to salt the cleared areas to prevent refreezing.


Snow and ice may not be an issue for you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to watch for outside hazards. Yard equipment, toys and yard trimmings on the lawn, walkways or steps can cause a tripping hazard or serious injury. It may be easy for homeowners to notice and avoid such hazards, but your letter carrier may not. Many times, carriers may have their hands full of packages and could miss seeing obstacles in their path. It only takes a few moments to make sure your yard and sidewalks are clear of hazards to keep everyone safe.

Posted in 

Who wants to be a Lieutenant Governor?

Who wants to be a Lieutenant Governor?

February 10, 2021/RINewsToday


Governor Dan McKee’s transition team released the names of 60 authenticated applicants for the position of Lieutenant Governor today.


“I am heartened by the response we received from Rhode Islanders who are interested in getting involved to strengthen our state,” said Incoming Governor McKee. “I thank them for sharing their unique perspectives on how the Lieutenant Governor position can help move Rhode Island forward as we roll out vaccines and rebuild our economy.”  


Incoming Governor McKee will address filling the lieutenant governor’s position after he is sworn in as Governor. 


Applicants are:


Robert Albanese

Dana Amore

Ray Berberick

Elizabeth Beretta-Perik

James Black

Maria Bucci

John Bushee

John Carlevale, Sr.

Dylan Conley

Caswell Cooke

Daniel Cooke

Marco Cross

Christopher Curran

Michelle David

T.J. DelSanto

Andrew Demosthenous

Michael DeRobbio

Grace Diaz

James Diossa

Louis DiPalma

Shirley Francis-Fraser

Joanne Giannini

Jared Goodwin

Alan Gustafson

William Guthrie

Jake Hall

Robert Hamel

Jeffery Hutton

David Iwuc

Paul Kluk

Robert Lafleur

Jason Lavimodiere

Ted LeBlond

Tracy Loignon

Michael Mancuso

Mathew Mannix

Ray Mathieu

Sabina Matos

Kyle McCurdy

Rachael McIntosh

Timothy Meyers

Donna Nesselbush

Camille Nixon

Keith Oliveira

Michael Payette

Lisa Pelosi

Michael Pisaturo

Riley Rancourt

Lisa Ranglin

Aaron Regunberg

Jonathan Riccitelli

Spencer Rickert

Michael Riley

Christopher Rock

Peter Russo

Matthew Santos

Donald Sherman

Stuart Spitalnic

Christopher Stanley

Anastasia Williams




Mission: To fulfill the constitutional and statutory functions of the law for the Office of Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor was established under the Constitution of Rhode Island as one of the five general offices subject to voter election. The Lieutenant Governor fulfills the executive responsibilities of the Governor upon his or her death, resignation, impeachment, or inability to serve. The Lieutenant Governor appoints members of the general public to serve on boards and commissions established by the General Assembly.


Additionally, the Lieutenant Governor chairs and serves on various commissions and advisory boards. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor initiates legislation and has assumed advocacy and leadership roles in such areas as emergency management, veterans’ affairs, education, economic development, the environment, long-term care, health care, and elderly affairs. The Office also serves as a liaison between citizens and state agencies.


Statutory History: Article IX, Sections 1 and 9 through 11 of the Constitution of Rhode Island specify the Lieutenant Governor’s elected power; duties in the case of death, resignation, or impeachment of the Governor; responsibilities in the case of a vacancy of position; and compensation. Article IV, Sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution of Rhode Island address the quadrennial election process by the voters of Rhode Island and the transition responsibility for the Lieutenant Governor. The Lieutenant Governor is statutorily appointed to chair the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council (R.I. General Laws § 23-17.3-2), the Emergency Management Advisory Committee (RIGL § 30-15-6), and the Small Business Advocacy Council (RIGL § 42-91-2).

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A little bit of additional snow fell in Rhode Island on Tuesday a couple of days after a big storm.  An East Bay man is avoiding sentencing for a hate crime which had been sought by the state.  The Pawtucket School District plans to return to in-person learning.

>>More Snow Fell In Rhode Island On Tuesday

(Undated)  --  Numbers released Tuesday night by the National Weather Service indicated a top snow total of two inches in the state yesterday.  That measurement was from North Smithfield.  The weather service is predicting dry weather for the rest of the work week in Southern New England and keeping an eye on a system that could bring snow and coastal rain over the weekend.

>>Man Already In Prison For Providence Murders Charged Again

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says a man already serving multiple life sentences for a 2009 double-murder in Providence is being indicted for another death in the city.  Nigel Nichols of Boston is alleged to have shot and killed Steve Latimer in 2011.  The drive-by shooting happened on Dyer Street.  The A.G.'s office says Nichols, who is incarcerated at the ACI, will be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court at a later date.

>>No Hate Crime Sentencing In Barrington Assault Case

(Providence, RI)  --  A Barrington man is not being sentenced for a hate crime in connection to an attack on a neighbor.  Richard Gordon was ordered to serve one-and-a-half years of probation on charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct in District Court on Tuesday.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says Gordon yelled racial slurs at his neighbor during a confrontation that was recorded on video last August.  The state filed a sentencing enhancement in the case, but the court yesterday did not find the enhancement should be applied, despite community impact statements that were filed by groups including the NAACP and Black Lives Matter Rhode Island.

>>Pawtucket School Committee Votes To Return To In-Person Learning

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Pawtucket students are returning to classrooms next month.  The Pawtucket School Committee unanimously voted Tuesday night for a gradual return to in-person learning, ending a full year of virtual education.  The school committee has faced consistent pressure from parents in the district and others to return to in-person.

>>Governor Raimondo Breaks Public Silence

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo answered questions publicly for the first time in over a month on Tuesday.  Reporters caught up with Raimondo outside the State House and asked her if she has been told by the Biden administration not to talk to the press while she waits to become the new U.S. Commerce Secretary.  Raimondo said no, she hasn't been forbidden from speaking, and said she wanted Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee to step out in front during the transition process.  Senator Ted Cruz put a "hold" on Raimondo's cabinet nomination last week, and the Senate is now focused on the impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump.  The governor says she will not resign until after she is confirmed.

>>Plenty Of Lieutenant Governor Applicants

(Providence, RI)  --  About sixty people are applying to be the next lieutenant governor of Rhode Island.  Current LG Dan McKee, who is set to replace Gina Raimondo as governor, released a list of names on Tuesday.  The list includes state representatives Grace Diaz and Anastasia Williams and state Senator Louis DiPalma, former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, Providence City Council President Sabina Matos, and WPRI-TV weatherman T.J. Del Santo.

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

02-10-2021 01:12:21

Artist Catherine Mansell at South County Art Association

Artist Catherine Mansell at South County Art Association

February 9, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Red Boat
Catherine Radix Mansell
Mixed Media Encaustic
12 x 12 x 1 in


Artist Catherine Radix Mansell, of Westerly, is featured in a special Members Invitational Exhibition at South County Art Association. Mansell has contributed seven recent mixed media encaustic pieces to the exhibition as well as one work executed in ink on paper. Her work will be exhibition alongside works by other local artists Laura White Carpenter, Burl Dawson, Judi Goudreau, Bonnie Jaffe, Marc Jaffe, and Deb Lichtenstein. The exhibition is on view through February 20, 2021. South County Art Association is open Wednesday – Sunday from 1 – 5 pm. A full inventory of the works Mansell is exhibiting can be downloaded in PDF from a link that will be sent by email to 


Mansell has exhibited her work frequently including recent showings in highly competitive exhibitions Allied Artists of America at the Salmagundi Club of New York, the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the Mystic Museum of Art, the Lyme Art Association, the Providence Art Club, Spring Bull Gallery, as well as an exhibition in 2020 at Rhode Island Watercolor Society. Donations of her work have benefitted many nonprofits including the RISD Museum “Angels” program and Save the Bay of Rhode Island. She is represented by Frederica Marshall Gallery in Deer Isle, Maine.



Mansell earned her BS, MS, and MA at Columbia University and holds an AM in Environmental Studies from Brown University. While studying at Brown, she served as a Proctor at Brown’s Sarah Doyle Center for Women and Gender, where she shared management of the Center’s Art Gallery. She has completed additional studies in the Drawing and Painting Certificate Program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Active in the community, Mansell has served as a Sustaining Docent at the RISD Museum since 2009 and is a previous member of the RIWS Executive Board. In addition to RIWS she is an Elected Artist Member of the Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, the Mystic Museum of Art, Allied Artists of America and an award-winning member of the Sumi-e Society of America. A former New Yorker, Catherine resides in Westerly, RI with her husband Anthony.


Featured work:


The South County Art Association was founded in 1929 and is located at 2587 Kingstown Road in Kingston, Rhode Island. Its mission is to promote greater public participation in the arts in Rhode Island.

Your Coronavirus Update - Today Feb 9, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 9, 2021

February 9, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: New England Patriots Team Plane




State update will be Thursday at 1pm – we will carry it live on our Facebook page –


Note: The CVS and Walgreens locations are for ANY Rhode Islander who is eligible, no city residency required (Johnson CVS takes all Rhode Islanders, not restricted to Johnston residents).


Unemployment in the last month dropped by 6.3% with 49,000 jobs added in January


A Massachusetts new mom, and computer coder, developed a website to help people get through the maze of sign-ups for vaccinations in the state. The site is She is offering the site to other states, if it proves useful. You can take a look at:


In RI, visitors from New York, Indiana and Wisconsin are no longer subject to travel restrictions.


In Vermont, a popup clinic will be set up to vaccinate refugees and immigrants 75 and up.


In Hartford, Connecticut, sign-ups for vaccinations for those 65 and up will start on Thursday.


The Boston Globe’s front page lists state’s progress in administering vaccines per 100K population. RI ranks 39th out of 50 and last of all New England states.


A COVID-19 conference call with Cape Cod officials hosted Wednesday night drew more than 13,000 participants, helping to connect thousands of older residents with information about vaccines and offering a glimpse into hundreds who need additional aid to book appointments.


In Pawtucket, parents and children have demonstrated about wanting to return to school. Tonight, a vote will take place by the School Committee about how the rest of the year will continue. 62% of teachers say they would not be comfortable returning without being vaccinated.


Massachusetts will open a call center next week to supplement the online sign-up to assist those residents who have difficulty using a computer sign-up, particularly for those who are seniors. People can just call 211.


The University of New Hampshire has canceled overseas programs for this summer and fall


110 high-risk Smithfield residents received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at Smithfield High School with more than 600 residents aged 75 years and older on the waiting list.


In Connecticut, they are expanding the state’s COVID-19 vaccine appointment hotline to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for residents 75 and older


CVS and Walgreens vaccinations soft rollout on Sunday uncovered problems with the website registration.


Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has tested positive for COVID-19


The COVID-19 risk level on the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus has been raised from “elevated” to “high” due to a continuing surge in coronavirus cases.


The RI ACLU has filed suit to support a media outlet’s attempt to get the “revised COVID-19 vaccination plan” for RI from the RI Dept. of Health.


Vaccinations continue to ramp up in the MA, and Fall River is no exception. Bristol Community College began its vaccine program this week, inoculating 300 people on Wednesday. Daily inoculations will increase as the program progresses.


The Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent the Further Spread of COVID-19 in RI has been extended to the end of March, 2021.


RI’s COVID Task Force is concerned about duplicate registrations for vaccines, as people were told to register on all the different sites.


RI COVID Task Force is saying that equity will go first, at the cost of speed of delivering vaccines.


Dunkin’ Donuts Center is closing after Friday and transitioning to a vaccination site.


Vaccinations for the Homeless will start next week in RI.


New regulations for funerals: Outdoor burial restrictions now 25. Wakes up to 15 people at a time. Funeral services at 25% capacity. Funeral home staff will be getting their vaccine this week.


RI Elder Info, an incredible resource for vaccinations in RI has done research and posted all you need to know – for now – about vaccine availability – complete with the # of seniors over 65 in each and every city and town – check it out, here:


RI Data – Feb. 5, 2021

Deaths: 3

Tests – 15,073 – Positives – 450 – Percent positive – 3%

Hospitalized – 288 – In ICU – 41 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 5 – New Admissions – 42 – New Discharges – 43

First vaccines: 82,078 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 31,578



Today’s Data – Feb. 8, 2021

Deaths: 14 (24 over 3 days)

Tests – 5,088 (one day) – Positives – 211 – Percent positive – 4..1%

Hospitalized – 241 – In ICU – 42 – Ventilated – 20

Deaths in hospital – 3 – New Admissions – 15 – New Discharges – 26

First vaccines: 86,750 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 35,997





COVID19 has killed 1 in 475 Native Americans more than twice that of white Americans.


All bars in New Orleans to close during Mardi Gras celebration weekend.


NFL writes to Biden offering all stadiums as vaccine sites – President says ‘yes’


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is planning a rapid review process for quick turnaround of new COVID-19 booster shots


The Supreme Court is telling California that it can’t bar indoor church services because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it can keep for now a ban on singing and chanting indoors.


Despite the disproportionate number of COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities, many workers at the Delaware state veterans home are refusing to get the vaccine. About 60% of staff have received at least one dose, compared with 98% of residents who have received both doses.


LVMH Tells Tiffany Staff to Return to Office Two Days a Week


Vermont is letting school and recreational youth sports teams start playing games again Friday, but spectators won’t be allowed


Oregon is activating 30 additional National Guard members to help field calls and texts from seniors over 80 signing up and seeking information on vaccinations – there are an estimated 167,000 who will be eligible this week.


Hungary may start inoculating people with Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine next week after it granted the shot emergency use approval, making it the first European Union country to do so


Seniors were among the first to be eligible for vaccines, but enormous demand, lack of access to the internet, and inconsistent scheduling systems have left the elderly competing for shots on unstable technology and relying upon the help of younger family members and friends. – according to NPR which is looking into the circumstances.


Weekly testing could reduce school infections by 50 percent, while less frequent screenings only add limited value. But most schools lack the resources to overcome the barriers to setting up successful testing programs, including costly tests, additional staff needed for test administration and contact tracing, and necessary safety waivers from parents.


While the coronavirus has surged, the flu and other respiratory viruses have flickered out. This time last year, close to 100 times as many flu cases had been identified from nearly the same number of tests.


60 million test kits are being promised to Americans by the summer.


Pope Francis continued his theme of calling for the world to use the pandemic as a chance to re-imagine a global economy that values people and the planet over profits, and one where fraternity and solidarity guide human relationships rather than conflict and division.


Hasbro reports that during the pandemic, board game sales were up 21% with Monopoly, Magic, The Gathering, and Dungeons and Dragons the leading sellers.


Faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can teach remotely until Feb. 17 in light of a crowded, largely maskless celebration of a men’s basketball victory over Duke University on Saturday, officials said. Hundreds of students rushed Franklin Street downtown to celebrate despite the pandemic.


In Philadelphia, A mediator will decide if teachers must return to classrooms despite safety concerns as the city’s school district plans to resume some in-person instruction this month.


Testing at the border for migrants trying to enter the country –


Portugal now has both the highest infection and death rates per million in the world, according to the Oxford University’s data crunching website, Our World in Data. The country is airlifting some patients to Madeira for treatment there.


Mayor in Tampa is saying they will investigate attendees at the Super Bowl who did not wear a mask and prosecute them for violating the order.


Portugal’s health ministry said on Monday the AstraZeneca vaccine should preferably be used on under-65s, the latest European country to express reservations about its efficacy on older people.


New York courts rule on release of data about COVID-19 in nursing homes.


1100 National Guard troops are being dispatched for vaccine delivery nationwide.


The best defense against widespread variants is to vaccinate as many people as possible.


Rep. Ron Wright dies after battle with COVID-19 – Reelected in November, the Republican lawmaker had been fighting cancer.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Another round of snow is in the forecast today.  The state Attorney General is asking to get involved in a longstanding marina expansion effort on Block Island.  The Cranston Police Department is investigating after a well-dressed man robs a bank.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>More Snow For Parts Of Rhode Island Today

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service is placing northern and central Rhode Island under a Winter Weather Advisory until late Tuesday evening.  The weather service says three-to-five inches of snow is expected for northern RI, and is predicting two-to-four inches for central RI as well as much of southeastern Massachusetts.  The region saw a half-foot to a foot of snow on Sunday.

>>Deadline Today To Submit Mail Ballot Applications For Bond Referenda

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Secretary of State's office is reminding voters that the deadline to submit mail-ballot applications for the upcoming special referendum election is today.  At this point, it's too late to send the application in the mail.  The Secretary of State says you can return it to a local board of canvassers or a secure election drop box.  The March 2nd special election will ask voters for approval on 400-million dollars' worth of bond items.

>>Attorney General Asks To Intervene In Block Island Marina Expansion Case

(New Shoreham, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office is petitioning to intervene in a legal saga centered around a proposed marina expansion on Block Island.  The A.G.'s office says the intervention request is to address concerns about a recent closed-door mediation between the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and Champlin's Realty Associates, which first sought approval to expand its marina in BI's Great Salt Pond nearly twenty years ago.  A memorandum of understanding was filed by the council and Champlin's last month.  The A.G. says the agreement was formed outside the public regulatory process and excluded the town of New Shoreham and other interested parties.

>>Outgoing Governor Raimondo Makes Appointment To Public Utilities Commission

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is receiving criticism for an appointment she made to the state's Public Utilities Commission.  According to a report from The Providence Journal, Raimondo has named former state Senate majority leader John "Jack" Revens to a seat on the commission with a salary of 139-thousand dollars.  State Representative Anastasia Williams says it is inappropriate for Raimondo to make such an appointment as she is getting set for a new job.  Raimondo is the nominee for President Biden's Commerce Secretary, but the nomination is on hold because of Senator Ted Cruz's concerns about the Biden administration's China policy.

>>Sharp-Dressed Man Robs Cranston Bank

(Cranston, RI)  --  Police are looking for a bank robbery suspect in Cranston who apparently dressed up for the occasion.  The robbery happened at the Citizens Bank inside the Stop and Shop on Garfield Avenue at around 11 a.m. Monday.  The suspect was dressed in a dark suit jacket with a button-down shirt and tie.  The Cranston Police Department says he indicated to the bank teller he had a bomb.

>>February 15th Bruins Game Against New Jersey Postponed

(Boston, MA)  --  Another Boston Bruins game is being postponed because of COVID protocols in the National Hockey League.  The Bruins game at home against the New Jersey Devils on February 15th is affected.  This is on the Devils' end, as the NHL has postponed a handful of their games.  Boston's next game at the New York Rangers Wednesday night.

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

02-09-2021 01:20:10

Maybe We Should MInd Our Own Business

Maybe We Should Mind Our Own Business – Mary T. O’Sullivan

February 8, 2021/Mary OSullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL


Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly your own concern and be clear that what belongs to other is their business and none of yours. – Epictetus


In his fascinating book How Women Rise, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith and his co-author Sally Helgensen, explore 12 “habits” women typically display that curtail their professional growth. In previous blogs, I’ve discussed each of these in detail, and have since noticed the veracity of these “habits” disappointedly verified in my regular encounters with other women. The “habit” that caught my attention recently was #12 – “Letting Your Radar Distract You”.


According to the authors, women take in more information than men do, allowing our brains to formulate a broad picture of a situation. The problem arises when we begin to draw judgments and worry about each element of the “big picture”.  Similar to “Rumination”, we’ll revisit thoughts and events over and over, sometimes reading too much into each strand of the facts. For instance, say you’re giving a presentation to a large audience and you notice someone in the front row looking irritated. What’s your radar telling you? The person has a scowl on his face and scrolls through his phone rather than listening to you. What’s your conclusion? The self-talk that takes place might very well be negative. Our radar says we are doing something wrong. We’ve messed up this talk. We’re not good enough. Somehow, we’ve failed.


How does a man handle this same circumstance? He probably ignores it completely. Why? Because men’s brains act more laser like. Bets are that maybe he doesn’t even notice this distraction. But not us women! We drill down into what may have gone wrong. We blame ourselves when we don’t even know the reason this person is not attentive. Maybe he had a fight with his wife, maybe he has to lay someone off, maybe his car or home needs some expensive repairs. We need to draw in our radar “aperture”, and focus on our purpose, our talk, not concern ourselves with worrying about one distracted person in the audience. Again, we misconstrue the value of the broad perception we women possess. Rather than making decisions about which pieces of information are important, we take in all the information, and focus on the negative perceptions rather than simply moving on with our task.


Other ways women let their radar distract them is by making assumptions much in the same way we misjudge incoming information. Recently, I was shocked to receive an email from a female “colleague” with a nasty, sarcastic tone. “I have offered many times to talk with you about your business. You have never contacted me… please take me off your mailing list or get serious and let’s have a discussion”. Imagine the assumptions that went into making this statement.  Where was this women’s radar? Making assumptions and jumping to conclusions, as she did, is what puts women in the category of “petty”, backstabbing, back biting, and nasty. It’s the “Mean Girls” mentality. We often hear of how women undermine each other, don’t help each other, and sabotage each other. How we don’t band together and play like a “team”, we don’t form a “tribal” bond like the men do. The comments from this woman are a perfect example of that. If she were so displeased with interacting with me, she could have just unsubscribed herself, or ignored my email. But, no, she wanted to “show” me she “meant” business. In other words, she didn’t want me to waste any more of her precious time sending her emails. Was this response really necessary? We are together in the same professional group, and we’ll see each other in future meetings. So, for the sake of the group, could she have just minded her own business? Not this type! She was determined to tell me off in a response to a survey question – the chicken way to communicate. Not even a personal email or phone call would do it for her. Maybe she assumed I wouldn’t ever see her survey response.


When women stoop to petty infighting as in this example, we are misreading the tea leaves. Yes, there are a lot of tea leaves in the cup, but we have to figure out which ones are signaling what. When you are not sure, and you have a lot of information to choose from, if you want to rise, pick your words wisely. Don’t overreact, don’t ruminate, don’t over think. The person you think may have wronged you, won’t matter in the long run. Mind your own business, and you’ll get further, with less collateral damage, and maybe one more friend.


“The day you look at other women and celebrate their strengths instead of thinking of them as competition is the day your go from a girl to a woman’. – Alli Worthington

What just is....isn't always just-ice - Amanda Gorman

“what just is…isn’t always just-ice” – Amanda Gorman

February 8, 2021/RINewsToday


Amanda Gorman stunned us once again. Before an audience of over 99 million people, Gorman read her poem at the SuperBowl pre-show which honored three Americans who have been named Honored Captains of the Superbowl: Los Angeles educator Trimaine Davis, Florida nurse manager Suzie Dorner and Pittsburgh-based James Martin, a Marine veteran who volunteers with the Wounded Warrior Project and who has taken in local kids facing issues at home — for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.


Here is that performance:



Gorman describes herself as a Wordsmith and Change-Maker. At 22, she has recently graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a major in Sociology. She blasted into international fame when, about a month ago, she was selected to read a poem at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden. She was the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, and an estimated 34 million people watched her read and “perform” her poem. One could think back to only Maya Angelou for a more singular outstanding moment at an inaugural event.


Here is her inauguration performance:



Gorman was born and raised in Los Angeles by her single mother, Joan Wicks, a 6th-grade English teacher in Watts.. She has two siblings, one a twin sister, Gabrielle, who is an “activist” and filmmaker. There was little television in Gorman’s home, and she enjoyed reading and writing, always encouraged in these activities by her mother. She describes herself as a “weird child”.


She references her speed impediment in media interviews after the inaugural poem, but it was just part of what she has been working to overcome. She is hypersensitive to sound and while she worked for years on her speech challenges, she only succeeded in her college years to overcome them.


Gorman was appointed the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate by Urban Word – a program that supports Youth Poets Laureate in more than 60 cities, regions and states nationally. Gorman identifies as a Black Catholic who “aspires to be a human rights advocate”. She has 332,000 followers on Facebook, 1.5 million on Twitter, and 21.5 thousand on just one of her Instagram accounts.


She will debut her new children’s book, “Change Sings”, and a poetry collection “The Hill We Climb”, being released by Penguin Random House this September.



In an interview with Michelle Obama, for Time Magazine, Gorman said “I would say anyone who finds themselves suddenly visible and suddenly famous, think about the big picture. Especially for girls of color, we’re treated as lightning or gold in the pan—we’re not treated as things that are going to last. You really have to crown yourself with the belief that what I’m about and what I’m here for is way beyond this moment. I’m learning that I am not lightning that strikes once. I am the hurricane that comes every single year, and you can expect to see me again soon.


Recently, Gorman was signed by IMG Models and its parent company WME for representation in fashion, beauty, and talent endorsements.

  • Wearing a “caged bird sings” ring given to her by Oprah Winfrey for the inauguration


The Inaugural Poem:


When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Nearly a foot of snow fell in some parts of Rhode Island on Sunday, and more snow is just a day away.  Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won another Super Bowl with his new team.  A Rhode Island man is suing Starbucks over the labeling on one of its drinks.

>>Some Central, Northern RI Locations Get Nearly Foot Of Snow

(Undated)  --  Snow blanketed Rhode Island on Super Bowl Sunday.  The National Weather Service reported eleven inches in Burrillville and North Providence, and ten inches was measured for Cumberland and West Greenwich.  Every Rhode Island county reported at least five inches from Sunday's storm.  The weather service says accumulating snow is expected again for much of Southern New England on Tuesday.

>>Tom Brady Wins Another Super Bowl

(Tampa, FL)  --  Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won his seventh Super Bowl.  Brady won his first six with the Pats, and notched number seven on Sunday night with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-to-9.  Former New England tight end Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdowns in the win.  Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time in his career, an NFL record.

>>Man Federally Indicted For Torching Of Providence Police Car

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly setting a Providence police cruiser on fire during the June 2020 riot in the capital city.  The Justice Department says Luis Joel Sierra is charged with a single count of arson and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.  Sierra is one of several people who have been charged in connection to the riot that broke out after a crowd protesting the death of George Floyd gathered outside Providence Place.

>>RIPTA: Exemptions For Wearing Masks Must Be Gotten In Advance

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is reminding passengers that they must comply with a new federal order requiring wearing of face masks.  The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went into effect at the beginning of this month.  RIPTA says passengers under the age of two and those who have a disability which prevents them from wearing a mask are exempt, but they must contact the transit agency prior to boarding.  The number to ask for that exemption is 401-784-9500, extension 2012.

>>RI Commerce Corporation Approves State Financing For Pawtucket Stadium Development

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation board of directors is approving public financing for the soccer stadium project in Pawtucket.  The Commerce Corporation says the 46-million dollars approved for the Tidewater Landing development will go towards infrastructure improvements and not the stadium, which itself will be privately financed.  The money will mostly come from a tax-increment-financing bond enabled by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2019.

>>Man Sues Starbucks Over Labeling On Frappuccino Drink

(Boston, MA)  --  A Rhode Island man is suing Starbucks over claims that it deceptively labels one of its drinks.  Glen Skalubinski filed the class-action suit in federal court in Boston on Friday, going after the Seattle-based coffee company for the labeling of its Frappuccino Chilled Coffee Drink sold in grocery stores.  The suit, which seeks five-million dollars in damages, claims the drink doesn't contain real vanilla. 

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

02-08-2021 01:26:03

Your Coronavirus Update - Today February 5, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 5, 2021

February 5, 2021/RINewsToday


Photo: Today is Wear Red Day to promote the message that Heart Disease is the #1 cause of death and disability in women.




Starting next week, COVID-19 vaccines will be available to eligible Rhode Island residents at four CVS Pharmacy locations across the state – East Greenwich, Westerly, Warren and Woonsocket. Two CVS stores will hold a state sponsored vaccine program this weekend. One in Providence on Hope Street and one in Johnston. The limited rollout will include about 3,400 doses total. Appointment bookings will become available as soon as stores receive vaccine shipments. Rhode Island is one of 11 states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Appointments are expected to become available for booking on Feb. 9, depending on when stores receive their vaccine shipments. Residents must meet state requirements for eligibility, which at this time is focused on people 75 years and older. The appointments must be scheduled on the CVS website or through the company’s app. People without internet access can call 800-746-7287. No vaccines will be given without an appointment.


Walgreens will begin vaccinating people 75 and older in RI starting Tuesday of next week. There will be 14 different locations. Registration will be at or by calling individual stores – as yet to be announced – beginning on Sunday.


Kirkbrae Country Club is the site of vaccinations for Rhode Islanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 14 members of the community have been lost to COVID-19 – over 740 inoculations were done yesterday.


The Genesis Nursing Home group, with 7 facilities in RI and 2 in MA is under scrutiny for paying $5M to outgoing CEO. Genesis operates these locations in RI: Grand Islander (Middletown)  – Grandview Center (Cumberland)  – Greenville Center (Greenville) – Greenwood Center (Warwick) – Kent Regency (Warwick) – Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center of Rhode Island (Coventry) – Warren Center (Warren).


20% of Central Falls is estimated to have been vaccinated at this time – another clinic is this Saturday for all residents 18 years of age and over and employees only. Individuals must pre-register for an appointment online here:…/6b009e05-7509-4e4e-81c8…


In Massachusetts, the 25-percent restaurant capacity restriction, put in place after Christmas, would be increased to 40 percent because of recent improvements in COVID-19 data in the state. A 90-minute time restriction for indoor dining remains in place, as does a limit of six people per table.


Southcoast Hospitals has opened 3 clinics for those over 75 – in Fall River, Dartmouth and Wareham.


Newport Fire officials has determined the plastic pop up igloo dining tents are not up to code and they are being removed.


Pooled COVID-19 testing for students and teachers begins at 120 Massachusetts schools.


The Lowell, MA field hospital is now closing.


Worcester State Univ. will begin mass vaccination.


Massachusetts Governor Baker said teachers will be next after the priority group of the elderly.


Stonehill College in MA has gone to remote learning.


Bryant University basketball is now on pause – Salve Regina University classes are also on pause for 2 weeks with a shelter in place order and 30 cases in 7 days.


RI Community — Cases Last 7 Days — Cases Last 7 Days/100K People — Cumulative Cases


East Greenwich — 118 — 899.4 — 1,347


Charlestown — 48 — 613.3 — 413


Burrillville — 98 — 581.5 — 1,508


South Kingstown — 157 — 517.3  — 988


North Smithfield — 64 — 508.7 — 1,105


Middletown — 80 — 503.5 — 869


Smithfield — 108 — 493.2 — 2,262


Central Falls — 95 — 485.5 — 3,880


Newport — 113 — 464.4 — 1,373


Woonsocket — 191 — 457.5 — 4,154


Bristol — 98 — 447.2 — 1,904


Coventry — 154 — 442.3 — 3,076


Cumberland — 154 — 436.7 — 3,154


Pawtucket — 283 — 392.4 — 9,155


West Greenwich — 25 — 391.4 — 427


Cranston — 315 — 386.7 — 10,147


Lincoln — 85 — 386.6 — 2,141


West Warwick — 108 — 372.9 — 2,580


Westerly — 83 — 370.9 — 1,331


Johnston — 109 — 369.9 — 3,737


East Providence — 172 — 361.2 — 4,538


Glocester — 37 — 358.4 — 637


Providence — 627 — 348.6 — 25,459


Warwick — 265 — 327.1 — 6,699


Tiverton — 51 — 325.6 — 1,017


North Providence — 106 — 324.3 — 3,795


Narragansett — 49 — 319.2 — 1,081


Warren — 33 — 314.0 — 978


Hopkinton — 25 — 310.2 — 439


Scituate — 33 — 307.5 — 693


North Kingstown — 73 — 277.3 — 1,801


Barrington — 44 — 274.1 — 1,008


Foster — 12 — 252.9 — 362


Portsmouth — 41 — 238.0 — 966


Richmond — 18 — 232.5 — 260


Exeter — 14 — 214.8 — 407


Little Compton — 4 — 115.1 — 137


Jamestown — 6 — 109.1 — 269


New Shoreham — 0 — 0.0 — 45


RI Business Violators:

Famous Pizza 92 Hartford Pike,
Compliance Order 2/2/2021
Domino’s Pizza 140 Point Judith Rd.,
Compliance Order 2/2/2021
Cuisine Delmar 445 Lonsdale Ave.,
Compliance Order 2/2/2021


Rhode Island update with Dr. Alexander-Scott


Over 100,000 tests and a low positive percentage rate – as well as over 100,000 vaccinations.


We have treatment for COVID19 now – RI met its original goal and is increasing the goal.


RIslanders are doing a good job social distancing and wearing masks.


No flu – means infection prevention measures are working as flu is being avoided.


Immediate concern is the new strain(s) being identified.


Need to wear high quality mask to prevent transmission. RI is working on bringing more high quality masks into RI. More info will come on this next week.


Ventilation is another focus area. Aim is to have 2 air changes per hour – update next week.


Minimize how long you stay in any one indoor or outdoor place. 1 hour is a general timeframe.


If data indicates we can ease restrictions, even temporarily, we will do it. While we may ease restrictions, they may need to go back again because of the new strains.


Vaccination Campaign: 108,924 doses have been administered in RI. We have focused on most vulnerable but we know there are more.


Last weekend was a unique opportunity that came to RI and we went into action. It was bumpy and it was rough but with almost no notice, we vaccinated 5,000 75 and older people – who would normally have to wait 2 more weeks.


3 types of locations


First – retail pharmacies (CVS & Walgreens) – 75 yrs and up – 14 Walgreens will start next Tuesday – registration Sunday, 7am to 9am – ONLY for those 75+ – Call local Walgreens or go to CVS – several sites in RI – Prov, Johnston on Sunday. Schedule this weekend. or call local store starting Saturday. More announcements coming soon.


Second – Community clinics run by cities/towns: similar to last weekend. Starting 2/14 – 7,000 doses will begin going to cities/towns 7,000 divided by cities and towns by population.


Third – 5-10 State-run sites – not up and running yet – but coming soon and will be modeled after Testing model.



How to Sign Up – think about it like testing. Many wants to get a test – centralized for state system, other approaches for other ways to get tested. Same with vaccinations. There will also be a phone line for online registering difficulties. You can also make an appointment for someone else, such as a family member. (No state-run sight vaccinations yet available). Those 75 and up, they can sign up mid-February for state run clinics.


People should be prepared to not get an appointment right away – first come, first served the most efficient and quickest way.


RI only getting about 16,000 doses a week right now. 80,000 people in RI 75 and older.


Testing – we have more testing capacity than ever before. Get tested every week. More important because of new strains.


Treatment – if you test positive and if you are 65+ or have underlying health condition, immediately call your health care provider and ask for treatment. If you don’t have one, go to Great results with early treatment – plenty of supply in RI.


Super Bowl – big day – social gathering size in RI is still just your household. Come up with creative ways to watch the game – keep it small, simple, just in-person with those you live with.


Sect. Pryor – CommerceRI


With improvements we’ve looked at opening up businesses proportionately. Eliminated early closing requirement. This week we have new measures, though we recognize that we may have to pull back with new strains:


Catered events: with professional caterers – 15 to 30 cap. For indoor. For outdoors, 50, but must include event testing. Designated covid safety officer must be assigned. Restaurant rules must be followed – masks, no standing service, distancing, etc.


Weddings: additional flexibility, have a training video, etc. We will allow up to 50 people.


Indoor dining: more flexible around 1 household rule. Indoor dining now 2 households. Outdoor dining: to 3 households.


Offices: Work at home requirement has added burden. We encourage all workers and businesses who can work remotely to do so. Enabling 33% of workers to return to offices. But – office leaders need to abide by guidance in the office, while supporting at home options.


Gyms, sports facilities, yoga studios, etc – especially smaller studios: We want you to be able to open.  Moving to 1 person per 125 sq. ft. That’s a 20% improvement. Spacing requirement of 14 feet apart can now be 6 feet. Additionally be new approval process for small gyms and studios, if they are too small for even these restrictions. There will be an appeals process such as testing or air flow, etc.


Indoor recreational businesses – similar improvements to gyms, etc.


Bars – still monitoring, same for now.


PPP – CommerceRI has partners to help you through technical requirements to complete applications. 10 RI banks are accepting first time applicants for PPP program. – trying to exceed $2Billion to help small businesses.



Lt. Gov. McKee


FEMA expenses retroactive to 2020, 100% coverage.


Now engaged with municipal leaders to play a significant role in vaccinations.




Q: When you hear about NYT criticism that vaccine is too slow, how do you respond?

A:  First understanding is that total amount is low within itself. No extra stash somewhere. This week coming will be the first week we will have the expanded supply.


Q: 65 and up still on schedule for mid-Feb??

A: More like end of February, though we could be there, depending upon supply received.


Q: High school sports – why can’t we loosen up – what is the science and data behind parents not being able to go and watch sports

A: We do have allowances especially for seniors. Data and science behind is that with sports we are seeing cases that are occurring. Way to allow for sports to occur is to limit spectators. Superintendents will be sent updated recommendations.


Q: Gov. Raimondo has hung you out to dry in the last few weeks – who is now making decisions? Has Raimondo apologized to you for making you carry her water? Is Gov making decision now?

A: I will stand behind governor 180% – no apologies needed – we have a united team here – this is a whole of government approach. We are active with incoming and outgoing Governors together. Rhode Islanders should be assured that that the same approach is continuing forward.


Q: Salve Regina has gone to lockdown – Bryant, too. Are you concerned?

A: I can speak to the tremendous amount of work that the schools and our team have done to have these schools prepared. 5 categories of higher ed resources that they would need to have. We were detailed oriented, and they have done everything they needed to do. We will continue to support these schools.


Q: Should people register with multiple sites?

A: Our goal is to assure that any route you take you will be assigned an appointment.


Q: Pryor – restaurants say they need the bar area open – next weekend is Valentine’s Day – why not open now for that event?


A: We are hearing you and will look at what they can do – stay tuned.

Q: Will existing subcommittee continue? Yes, it will and the new transition team will continue.


Today’s Data – Feb. 4, 2021

Deaths: 11

Tests – 17,850 – Positives – 496 – Percent positive – 2.8% –

Hospitalized – 290 – In ICU – 43 – Ventilated – 23

Deaths in hospital – 5 – New Admissions – 36 – New Discharges – 44

First vaccines: 79,040 – Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 29,884





Johnson & Johnson Announces Submission of Application to the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization of its Investigational Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate


Johnson & Johnson intends to distribute vaccine to the U.S. government immediately following authorization, and expects to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. in the first half of 2021


Most cancer survivors face risk of worse Covid-19  because of their underlying conditions


AARP is issuing cautions about posting your COVID-19 vaccine card online and on social media. Typically, such cards contain your name, date of birth, patient number and other information that bad actors can use to steal your identity and commit fraud. That’s especially true if your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram or other social platforms are not strict, allowing the image to be widely shared. AARP suggests posting a picture of yourself with a vaccination sticker, if you get one.


Adults 20-49 are driving the spread of COVID-19, and vaccinating that group could be key to controlling the pace of infections, a study suggests. Researchers at London’s Imperial College estimated that at least 65% of new U.S. infections originate from that age group


The White House is studying a proposal to send masks to all Americans.


Oregon will soon begin offering vaccinations to as many as 11,000 inmates in the state’s prisons – which could delay health care workers and others in phase 1A from getting the vaccines.


Australia to buy 10 million additional doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine


Nearly 40% of Americans predict they will be in financial “survival mode” in 2021, after a majority faced financial setbacks in 2020 – in a study published by Fidelity:


Scientists estimate that 70 to 85 percent of the population needs to become immune, either by vaccination or natural immunity, before herd immunity can help eradicate the virus. 


Seattle’s Amazon partnered with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health to vaccinate eligible Washingtonians at a Seattle pop-up clinic. As vaccine supply increases, we’re ready to assist health organizations, state and local governments, and the new administration however we can.


In a UK study found that nearly 90% of people who test positive for COVID-19 keep their antibodies (and may be immune) for at least six months.


New Jersey will ease restrictions on indoor dining before Super Bowl Sunday. Health experts warn it may lead to outbreaks.


Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics outlined plans to keep athletes safe, showing their determination to hold the event this summer.


The Astra Zeneca vaccine is showing to protect from the spread of the virus – a critical factor in the future of COVID19.


Rita Wilson says she no longer has COVID-19 antibodies 11 months after getting sick

Posted in 

Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine next in line

Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine next in line

February 5, 2021/RINewsToday


Johnson & Johnson Announces Submission of Application to the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization of its Investigational Single-Shot Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate


Johnson & Johnson intends to distribute vaccine to the U.S. government immediately following authorization, and expects to supply 100 million doses to the U.S. in the first half of 2021


Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) today announced that Janssen Biotech, Inc., has submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its investigational single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The Company’s EUA submission is based on topline efficacy and safety data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE clinical trial, demonstrating that the investigational single-dose vaccine met all primary and key secondary endpoints. The Company expects to have product available to ship immediately following authorization.


“Today’s submission for Emergency Use Authorization of our investigational single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a pivotal step toward reducing the burden of disease for people globally and putting an end to the pandemic,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson. “Upon authorization of our investigational COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, we are ready to begin shipping. With our submission to the FDA and our ongoing reviews with other health authorities around the world, we are working with great urgency to make our investigational vaccine available to the public as quickly as possible.”


The Company has initiated rolling submissions with several health agencies outside the U.S., and will submit a Conditional Marketing Authorisation Application (cMAA) with the European Medicines Agency in the coming weeks.


About Johnson & Johnson
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. Learn more at Follow us at @JNJNews.

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's nomination for U.S. Secretary of Commerce is being held up.  Rhode Island officials provided updates on the state's vaccination campaign on Thursday.  Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will try to win a seventh Super Bowl this weekend.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Cruz Blocks Raimondo Nomination For Commerce Secretary

(Washington, DC)  --  U.S. Senator Ted Cruz is temporarily blocking Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's nomination for President Biden's Commerce Secretary.  Cruz said on Thursday that Raimondo and the Biden administration have been noncommittal about keeping Chinese tech company Huawei [[ HWA-way ]] on the U.S. trade blacklist known as the Entity List.  Cruz calls Huawei a massive Chinese Communist party spy operation.  In a statement reported by WJAR-TV, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed said Cruz may be able to delay Raimondo's confirmation by a thirty-hour period, but that his hold will be defeated by a procedure known as a cloture [[ CLOE-chur ]] vote.  Reed says Raimondo has strong bipartisan support for the position.

>>Rhode Island Vaccination Campaign Update

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health has not launched a website for the public to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, but that could change soon.  Public health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said Thursday the state is working on launching an online portal as well as a telephone hotline.  In addition to retail pharmacies, local and regional vaccination sites, and state-run sites, Alexander-Scott said cities and towns will continue to receive their share of doses.  One member of the Rhode Island General Assembly, Senator Frank Lombardi, released a statement earlier this week calling for a clearer vaccination plan from the state.  Lombardi said he has heard from numerous frustrated constituents who don't know how to schedule their vaccination, and he added there is no consistency from one community to the next.

>>State Lifting Some COVID-Related Restrictions

(Providence, RI)  --  Some COVID-induced restrictions are being loosened in Rhode Island.  Indoor dining establishments must maintain fifty-percent capacity but can increase the number of households per table from one to two, while more people can attend catered events.  Offices can return up to one-third of their workforce.  Capacity limits are also increasing for gyms and indoor recreation centers.  The changes take place Friday.

>>Marine Biology Center Fire Quickly Extinguished

(North Kingstown, RI)  --  A fire was put out at the Biomes Marine Biology Center in North Kingstown on Thursday night.  WJAR-TV reports firefighters responded to the facility on Post Road at around 8 p.m. and were able to handle the situation quickly.  Minimal damage to the building was reported.

>>Two Men Sentenced For Illegal Firearm Sales

(Providence, RI)  --  Two Providence men are being sentenced after pleading guilty to their roles in an illegal firearm sales scheme.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says Theodore Braxton and Ralph Gbaie pleaded no contest to several related charges and were both sentenced to the ACI, Braxton for twelve years, and Gbaie for four years.  The A.G.'s office said Braxton sold firearms to people legally prohibited from possessing them, and that Gbaie planned to do the same, but fell short of completing any straw purchases.

>>Tom Brady Looks Back On Time In New England

(Tampa, FL)  --  Tom Brady is leading another team to the Super Bowl on Sunday, but for the first time, it isn't the New England Patriots.  Brady, who won six championships as the Patriots quarterback, will be under center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they take on the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.  Brady was asked last week about his time with the Pats and revealed he did not know where New England was when he was drafted, adding quote: "Then I landed in Providence, which really screwed me up because it's not even in Massachusetts".  But he said he had an incredible twenty-year run in New England, and that he wouldn't change anything.

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

02-05-2021 01:10:13

Your Coronavirus Update - Today February 4, 2021

Your Coronavirus Update Today – Feb. 4, 2021

February 4, 2021/RINewsToday




Vaccine distribution in RI is seen as the worst in the US, by the New York Times, particularly due to the prioritization of seniors, which has been lacking.


Incoming Gov. Dan McKee has put together a Transition COVID19 Vaccination Committee to be led by Johnston Mayor Polisena and Dr. Stoukides – see our full article at


AARP-RI’s Kathleen Connell issued a statement about the botched vaccination sign-up system: “The governor and state leaders must revise the vaccination plan so that it focuses on the most vulnerable among us,” read the statement.


There are calls for a statewide or city/town call center to be a major sign-up option, particularly because seniors are having difficulty with online signup, or lack computers all together.


Pawtucket realized it is too cumbersome for 75+ year olds to get to Providence for vaccines, and they are now doing a local in-city effort. You can still register online at:


Warwick has an online signup at:


Cranston has an online signup at: – go to “Pre-register” – if you do not have an email call City Hall.


To register in Providence for a vaccine, regardless of age: or call 311


Salve Regina University will go on a 2-week pause. More than 3% of faculty and students have tested positive.


The 2021 National Guard Air Show has ben canceled.


The New England Aquarium will reopen in Boston tomorrow.


Red Sox opening day will stay April 1st.


Connecticut is easing some restrictions. Houses of worship will still be required to limit attendance at services to 50% capacity, with a 100-person cap. Closing time for restaurants varies from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.


25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival is moved to 2022


In Vermont, officials said they are beginning to make plans to allow residents of long-term care facilities to have more contact with each other and the outside world.


Woodpecker Hill Health Center, in Greene, RI is closing due to poor Medicaid reimbursement and COVID19 crisis.


Bill McGuire, director of operating room facilities at Kent Hospital and managing the field hospital in Cranston, was picked by Bob Kraft to go with other front line healthcare workers on the team plane to the SuperBowl.


A handful of Massachusetts college campuses are serving as vaccine distribution centers, sparking a public health debate, as most college students and faculty won’t be eligible for their shots until April at the earliest. Boston University, Northeastern, Tufts, UMass, Salem State and Harvard are already operating as vaccine distribution centers, and the state has approved about a dozen more colleges to administer vaccines.”


Massachusetts’ Mystic Valley Elder Services is now providing free transportation to local COVID-19 vaccination sites for older residents that need it. The Malden-based agency recently began offering the service to residents 60 years and older in its 11-community region who have no other means to get to the locations.”


WPRO RADIO is operating Operation Vaccination with information by city/town – at:


Lt. Gov. McKee held a meeting and local COVID19 leaders met to share their feedback on Phase 2 and last weekend’s rollout of 5,000 additional vaccines to individuals 75 and older.  


The amount of vaccine in storage in Rhode Island according to the Public’s Radio, on Jan. 11th, was 48,500 doses. Over the next two weeks, the number of doses in storage rose by more than 50%.


An analysis of federal data by The New York Times showed that, as of Feb. 2, Rhode Island was one of just nine states that have used under 60% of their vaccine supply.


Brown University is considering allowing Providence residents to attend graduation if conditions improve, but still remain virtual for out of state families.


Rhode Island General Assembly leadership have introduced legislation to make The College Promise education funding permanent, to help those impacted, primarily by COVID19.


Data – Feb. 12 2021

Deaths: 13 Tests

5,763 Positives – 158 Percent positive – 2.7% Hospitalized

307 In ICU – 41 Ventilated

25 Deaths in hospital – 2 New Admissions – 27 New Discharges

36 First vaccines: 75,523 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 26,861



From the New York Times about RI: “Whether the threshold is 65 or 80, people who meet their state’s age requirement are eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccination shot in every U.S. state but one. The exception: Rhode Island, the only state still in the first phase of its vaccination campaign, which restricts access to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.”


Two Denny’s, one in Warwick and one in Coventry, have closed.


Cranston’s new policy for vaccination signups:




On Feb. 11th, vaccines will be shipped directly to the pharmacies for those who have ordered them from the federal government – this announced Tuesday at the COVID-19 task force meeting.


Even if you’ve had coronavirus,  there’s a “very high rate” of being reinfected with the new variants if they become dominant, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. 


Only 38% of nursing home staff accepted shots when they were offered, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Monday.


Coronavirus federal coordinator Jeff Zients said some 6,500 pharmacies around the country will receive a total of 1 million doses of vaccine. The number of participating pharmacies is expected to grow as drugmakers increase production, allowing more doses to be allocated. The partnership with drug stores was originally announced by the Trump administration last November. At that time, no coronavirus vaccines had been approved. The pharmacy program will be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and includes major outlets such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and Costco


As was announced under the Trump administration, the Biden administration isn’t holding doses in reserve for people’s second shots — it’s shipping everything it can right away, trying to give as many people as possible at least some protection. Second doses will come from new supplies, although some providers and health departments are withholding second doses themselves.


Covid-19 dealt a significant blow to working women as household work, child care and the care of older adults disproportionately fall to them. A recent report found that 1 in 4 women considered cutting back hours spent at their jobs or dropping out of the workforce altogether, citing increased household and child care responsibilities during the pandemic.


Denmark’s government is joining forces with businesses to develop a digital passport that would show whether people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, allowing them to travel and help ease restrictions on public life.


Tourism in Spain has dropped by 77%.


Pope Francis received his second vaccine dose Wednesday.


Dr. David Chokshi, New York City’s health commissioner, said he has tested positive and is experiencing mild, “manageable” symptoms.


In California, after a deadly, months long COVID-19 surge, the state is starting to see infection and hospitalization rates fall even as it struggles to ramp up a chaotic vaccination program.


Yankee Stadium will open as a COVID-19 vaccination site Friday, exclusively serving Bronx residents,


The National Park Service will now require all visitors and employees to wear masks inside buildings and facilities and on lands “when physical distancing cannot be maintained.” That includes busy and narrow trails.


National Geographic Documentary Films announced Monday plans for a new documentary about Dr. Anthony Fauci. Called, appropriately enough, “Fauci,” it will look at the life and career of one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts and leading voice in the fight against COVID-19. It is directed by Emmy winners John Hoffman and Janet Tobias. Go here to view a trailer:


Those who had COVID-19 could get reinfected if the variants become dominant, Fauci says


New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has tested positive for Covid-19


In Maine, a high-volume vaccination clinic is up and running at the former Scarborough Downs racetrack.


In Vermont, organizers of a program that buys meals from restaurants and distributes them across the state during the pandemic are working to find funding to keep the program going through the end of the state of emergency.


The most famous strip club in America has installed hand-sanitizing stations, UV lights in the air-conditioning system, and a requirement that everyone — dancers and clients — wears masks for the Mons Venus strip club, getting ready for another Super Bowl at his club, which sits just a stone’s throw from Raymond James Stadium.


A mass vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston’s Roxbury section opened


A study finds that hospitalized COVID patients with severe symptoms developed significantly higher levels of COVID antibodies than mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic patients. Antibodies also appeared much faster in hospitalized patients. The researchers suggest people with milder symptoms may be at higher risk for reinfection, but more data is needed to support this conclusion. Also, these results suggest that there are other components of the immune system besides antibodies that are crucial to the resolution of COVID. Read the study.


Increasing Reimbursements to States: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will fully reimburse states for the cost of National Guard Personnel and emergency costs, retroactively to January of 2020 for costs of masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations, and mobilization of the National Guard. This reimbursement is estimated to total $3-5 billion and is only a small share of the resources that states need to fight this pandemic — including for testing, genomic sequencing, and mass vaccination centers. To fully support states, Tribes, and territories’ needs to contain the pandemic and vaccinate their populations, $350 billion is being requested from Congress in American Rescue Plan.


Moderna is now studying its vaccine on adolescents.


GlaxoSmithKline and Curevac will team up on a vaccine to particularly address the virus variants.


Long-term care vaccination effort remains on schedule – CVS Health has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities, and second doses are more than 60 percent complete. First doses at all long-term care facilities that selected CVS Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations – more than 40,000 in total – will be complete by mid-February 2. As made clear by regularly updated data the company makes publicly available, most states chose activation dates for assisted living and other facilities well into January, which prevented clinics from being scheduled earlier.


CVS Health expands community access to COVID-19 vaccines – Starting Thursday, February 11, will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of CVS Pharmacy locations across 11 states. Supply for the initial rollout, which is sourced directly from the federal government through the pharmacy partnership program, will be approximately 250,000 total doses. As more supply becomes available the company will expand to additional states while increasing the number of stores offering vaccinations. There are nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, with almost half located in communities ranked high or very high in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index. More than 90,000 health care professionals including pharmacists, licensed pharmacy technicians, and nurses will participate in the vaccination effort, giving CVS Pharmacy the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.


State-specific details (eligibility will be confirmed and communicated by states in advance of the rollout):

State Number
of doses
Number of
active stores
eligibility guidelines
California 81,900 100 California Department of Public Health
Connecticut 6,800 12 Connecticut COVID-19 Response
Hawaii 4,400 7 Hawai‘i State Department of Health
Maryland 11,000 18 Maryland Department of Health covidLINK
Massachusetts 21,600 18 Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccination phases
New Jersey 19,900 27 New Jersey Department of Health
New York1 20,600 32 New York State Department of Health
Rhode Island 3,400 4 Rhode Island Department of Health
South Carolina 15,300 17 South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Texas 38,000 70 Texas Department of State Heath Services
Virginia 26,000 28 Virginia Department of Health


Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and those without online access can contact customer service: 1-800-746-7287. For CVS Pharmacy locations that will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations on February 11, appointments will become available for booking as early as February 9 as stores receive shipment.

Posted in 

Your Coronavirus Update Today – Feb. 4, 2021

February 4, 2021/RINewsToday


Vaccine distribution in RI is seen as the worst in the US, by the New York Times, particularly due to the prioritization of seniors, which has been lacking.

Incoming Gov. Dan McKee has put together a Transition COVID19 Vaccination Committee to be led by Johnston Mayor Polisena and Dr. Stoukides – see our full article at

AARP-RI’s Kathleen Connell issued a statement about the botched vaccination sign-up system: “The governor and state leaders must revise the vaccination plan so that it focuses on the most vulnerable among us,” read the statement.

There are calls for a statewide or city/town call center to be a major sign-up option, particularly because seniors are having difficulty with online signup, or lack computers all together.

Pawtucket realized it is too cumbersome for 75+ year olds to get to Providence for vaccines, and they are now doing a local in-city effort. You can still register online at:

Warwick has an online signup at:

Cranston has an online signup at: – go to “Pre-register” – if you do not have an email call City Hall.

To register in Providence for a vaccine, regardless of age: or call 311

Salve Regina University will go on a 2-week pause. More than 3% of faculty and students have tested positive.

The 2021 National Guard Air Show has ben canceled.

The New England Aquarium will reopen in Boston tomorrow.

Red Sox opening day will stay April 1st.

Connecticut is easing some restrictions. Houses of worship will still be required to limit attendance at services to 50% capacity, with a 100-person cap. Closing time for restaurants varies from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

25th Annual New Bedford Folk Festival is moved to 2022

In Vermont, officials said they are beginning to make plans to allow residents of long-term care facilities to have more contact with each other and the outside world.

Woodpecker Hill Health Center, in Greene, RI is closing due to poor Medicaid reimbursement and COVID19 crisis.

Bill McGuire, director of operating room facilities at Kent Hospital and managing the field hospital in Cranston, was picked by Bob Kraft to go with other front line healthcare workers on the team plane to the SuperBowl.

A handful of Massachusetts college campuses are serving as vaccine distribution centers, sparking a public health debate, as most college students and faculty won’t be eligible for their shots until April at the earliest. Boston University, Northeastern, Tufts, UMass, Salem State and Harvard are already operating as vaccine distribution centers, and the state has approved about a dozen more colleges to administer vaccines.”

Massachusetts’ Mystic Valley Elder Services is now providing free transportation to local COVID-19 vaccination sites for older residents that need it. The Malden-based agency recently began offering the service to residents 60 years and older in its 11-community region who have no other means to get to the locations.”

WPRO RADIO is operating Operation Vaccination with information by city/town – at:

Lt. Gov. McKee held a meeting and local COVID19 leaders met to share their feedback on Phase 2 and last weekend’s rollout of 5,000 additional vaccines to individuals 75 and older.  

The amount of vaccine in storage in Rhode Island according to the Public’s Radio, on Jan. 11th, was 48,500 doses. Over the next two weeks, the number of doses in storage rose by more than 50%.

An analysis of federal data by The New York Times showed that, as of Feb. 2, Rhode Island was one of just nine states that have used under 60% of their vaccine supply.

Brown University is considering allowing Providence residents to attend graduation if conditions improve, but still remain virtual for out of state families.

Rhode Island General Assembly leadership have introduced legislation to make The College Promise education funding permanent, to help those impacted, primarily by COVID19.

Data – Feb. 12 2021

Deaths: 13 Tests

5,763 Positives – 158 Percent positive – 2.7% Hospitalized

307 In ICU – 41 Ventilated

25 Deaths in hospital – 2 New Admissions – 27 New Discharges

36 First vaccines: 75,523 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 26,861

From the New York Times about RI: “Whether the threshold is 65 or 80, people who meet their state’s age requirement are eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccination shot in every U.S. state but one. The exception: Rhode Island, the only state still in the first phase of its vaccination campaign, which restricts access to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.”

Two Denny’s, one in Warwick and one in Coventry, have closed.

Cranston’s new policy for vaccination signups:


On Feb. 11th, vaccines will be shipped directly to the pharmacies for those who have ordered them from the federal government – this announced Tuesday at the COVID-19 task force meeting.

Even if you’ve had coronavirus,  there’s a “very high rate” of being reinfected with the new variants if they become dominant, Dr. Anthony Fauci says. 

Only 38% of nursing home staff accepted shots when they were offered, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Monday.

Coronavirus federal coordinator Jeff Zients said some 6,500 pharmacies around the country will receive a total of 1 million doses of vaccine. The number of participating pharmacies is expected to grow as drugmakers increase production, allowing more doses to be allocated. The partnership with drug stores was originally announced by the Trump administration last November. At that time, no coronavirus vaccines had been approved. The pharmacy program will be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and includes major outlets such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid and Costco

As was announced under the Trump administration, the Biden administration isn’t holding doses in reserve for people’s second shots — it’s shipping everything it can right away, trying to give as many people as possible at least some protection. Second doses will come from new supplies, although some providers and health departments are withholding second doses themselves.

Covid-19 dealt a significant blow to working women as household work, child care and the care of older adults disproportionately fall to them. A recent report found that 1 in 4 women considered cutting back hours spent at their jobs or dropping out of the workforce altogether, citing increased household and child care responsibilities during the pandemic.

Denmark’s government is joining forces with businesses to develop a digital passport that would show whether people have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, allowing them to travel and help ease restrictions on public life.

Tourism in Spain has dropped by 77%.

Pope Francis received his second vaccine dose Wednesday.

Dr. David Chokshi, New York City’s health commissioner, said he has tested positive and is experiencing mild, “manageable” symptoms.

In California, after a deadly, months long COVID-19 surge, the state is starting to see infection and hospitalization rates fall even as it struggles to ramp up a chaotic vaccination program.

Yankee Stadium will open as a COVID-19 vaccination site Friday, exclusively serving Bronx residents,

The National Park Service will now require all visitors and employees to wear masks inside buildings and facilities and on lands “when physical distancing cannot be maintained.” That includes busy and narrow trails.

National Geographic Documentary Films announced Monday plans for a new documentary about Dr. Anthony Fauci. Called, appropriately enough, “Fauci,” it will look at the life and career of one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts and leading voice in the fight against COVID-19. It is directed by Emmy winners John Hoffman and Janet Tobias. Go here to view a trailer:

Those who had COVID-19 could get reinfected if the variants become dominant, Fauci says

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has tested positive for Covid-19

In Maine, a high-volume vaccination clinic is up and running at the former Scarborough Downs racetrack.

In Vermont, organizers of a program that buys meals from restaurants and distributes them across the state during the pandemic are working to find funding to keep the program going through the end of the state of emergency.

The most famous strip club in America has installed hand-sanitizing stations, UV lights in the air-conditioning system, and a requirement that everyone — dancers and clients — wears masks for the Mons Venus strip club, getting ready for another Super Bowl at his club, which sits just a stone’s throw from Raymond James Stadium.

A mass vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston’s Roxbury section opened

A study finds that hospitalized COVID patients with severe symptoms developed significantly higher levels of COVID antibodies than mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic patients. Antibodies also appeared much faster in hospitalized patients. The researchers suggest people with milder symptoms may be at higher risk for reinfection, but more data is needed to support this conclusion. Also, these results suggest that there are other components of the immune system besides antibodies that are crucial to the resolution of COVID. Read the study.

Increasing Reimbursements to States: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will fully reimburse states for the cost of National Guard Personnel and emergency costs, retroactively to January of 2020 for costs of masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at risk populations, and mobilization of the National Guard. This reimbursement is estimated to total $3-5 billion and is only a small share of the resources that states need to fight this pandemic — including for testing, genomic sequencing, and mass vaccination centers. To fully support states, Tribes, and territories’ needs to contain the pandemic and vaccinate their populations, $350 billion is being requested from Congress in American Rescue Plan.

Moderna is now studying its vaccine on adolescents.

GlaxoSmithKline and Curevac will team up on a vaccine to particularly address the virus variants.

Long-term care vaccination effort remains on schedule – CVS Health has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities, and second doses are more than 60 percent complete. First doses at all long-term care facilities that selected CVS Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations – more than 40,000 in total – will be complete by mid-February 2. As made clear by regularly updated data the company makes publicly available, most states chose activation dates for assisted living and other facilities well into January, which prevented clinics from being scheduled earlier.

CVS Health expands community access to COVID-19 vaccines – Starting Thursday, February 11, will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of CVS Pharmacy locations across 11 states. Supply for the initial rollout, which is sourced directly from the federal government through the pharmacy partnership program, will be approximately 250,000 total doses. As more supply becomes available the company will expand to additional states while increasing the number of stores offering vaccinations. There are nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, with almost half located in communities ranked high or very high in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index. More than 90,000 health care professionals including pharmacists, licensed pharmacy technicians, and nurses will participate in the vaccination effort, giving CVS Pharmacy the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.

State-specific details (eligibility will be confirmed and communicated by states in advance of the rollout):

State Number
of doses
Number of
active stores
eligibility guidelines
California 81,900 100 California Department of Public Health
Connecticut 6,800 12 Connecticut COVID-19 Response
Hawaii 4,400 7 Hawai‘i State Department of Health
Maryland 11,000 18 Maryland Department of Health covidLINK
Massachusetts 21,600 18 Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccination phases
New Jersey 19,900 27 New Jersey Department of Health
New York1 20,600 32 New York State Department of Health
Rhode Island 3,400 4 Rhode Island Department of Health
South Carolina 15,300 17 South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Texas 38,000 70 Texas Department of State Heath Services
Virginia 26,000 28 Virginia Department of Health

Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and those without online access can contact customer service: 1-800-746-7287. For CVS Pharmacy locations that will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations on February 11, appointments will become available for booking as early as February 9 as stores receive shipment.

Posted in 

RI Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group named by incoming Gov. McKee

RI Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group named by incoming Gov. McKee

February 3, 2021/RINewsToday


Incoming Governor McKee Announces Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group


Photo: Mayor Polisena and Dr. Stoukides


Incoming Governor Dan McKee announced the formation of the Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group, a team of national and local leaders who will advise the Incoming Governor and his transition on the state’s pandemic response and vaccine rollout, particularly as it relates to vaccine distribution at the municipal level. The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group, which includes several municipal leaders, will be led by Dr. John A. Stoukides and Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena, RN.


“Our transition is laser-focused on the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout. That’s how we will ensure Rhode Island comes out of this crisis stronger than we went in,” said Incoming Governor McKee. “We want to make sure we are leveraging all the talent we have in our state, so that Rhode Island’s families can reunite, children can return to school, and small business owners can return to normal. That’s why we brought together this group of experts, who will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health staff to help the state achieve a swift vaccine rollout.”


“The Biden administration has promised 100 million vaccinations within the first 100 days in office, and this advisory group, comprised of national and local experts, will work with Incoming Governor Dan McKee to provide perspective about how to maximize the efficiency of our vaccine distribution process and other elements of our COVID-19 response,” said Dr. Stoukides.  


“The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group is uniquely positioned to work with Incoming Governor McKee to achieve his goal of strategically engaging our municipalities in Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response to assist the state across the board, including in distributing the vaccine as quickly and efficiently as possible when the supply increases,” said Mayor Polisena.  


The Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group will help guide the McKee Transition in developing strategies to contain the virus, execute a swift and equitable vaccine rollout at the state and municipal level, support high-risk populations, and continue the safe reopening of businesses and schools. Members of the group will be in close communication with the state’s existing COVID-19 Response Team and will advise the Incoming Governor through the early months of his administration, particularly as it pertains to engagement with municipalities and what’s needed at the local level when the vaccine supply increases. At a later date, the Incoming Governor and the Director of Health, Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH will work to integrate some members of the transition group into existing Rhode Island Department of Health advisory teams.     


Transition COVID-19 Advisory Group Membership:




John A. Stoukides, MD, ScD.


John A. Stoukides, MD, ScD. is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Quality Assurance and Utilization Review. He is Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center and also serves as Medical Director of Utilization Management for CharterCARE Health Partners. He has been overseeing the COVID-19 vaccination program at CharterCARE hospitals. He received his pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island (URI) and medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine along with an Honorary Doctor of Science in Geriatrics from URI in 2005. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Pharmacy at URI, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University and is Associate Professor of Nursing at URI. 


Mayor Joseph Polisena, RN 


Joseph Polisena, RN has served as Mayor of Johnston for 14 years and is a former state senator, having served for 12 years. Polisena, a longtime nurse and former firefighter, has an associate degree in nursing, a bachelor’s degree in health and social services, and a master’s degree in education. He has taught at the Community College of Rhode Island in the Fire Science EMT Program since 1986. He is currently licensed by the State of Rhode Island as a Registered Nurse and an EMT-C. 




Ashish K. Jha, M.D., MPH


Ashish K. Jha, M.D., MPH, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, is recognized globally as an expert on pandemics and pandemic response. He has led groundbreaking research around Ebola and is now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, leading national analysis of key issues and advising state and federal policy makers. He comes to the Brown School of Public Health after leading the Harvard Global Health Institute and teaching at Harvard Medical School. He is a general internist who will continue his practice at the Providence VA Medical Center.


Hemi Tewarson, MPH, JD


Hemi Tewarson, MPH, JD, is a Duke-Margolis Visiting Senior Policy Fellow with expertise in state health policy research and analysis, particularly as it relates to state-level COVID-19 response. Tewarson previously served as the director for the Health Division of the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and as senior attorney in the U.S. Government Accountability Office.


Mike Magee, M.D.


Mike Magee, M.D., served for a decade as Vice President for Global Medical Affairs at Pfizer where he regularly interacted with many of the world’s public health leaders and experts. During that time, he was a Senior Fellow at the World Medical Association in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Magee was an executive in large health care systems including Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts and as Senior Vice President of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Magee began his career as a surgeon in Massachusetts. 


John R. Morton, MD


John R. Morton, MD is an Obstetrician Gynecologist and Chief of Gynecology at Landmark Medical Center. He has served Rhode Island families throughout the state for the past 18 years, including those in Pawtucket and Woonsocket. 


Major General Christopher Callahan 


Major General Christopher Callahan serves as the Adjutant General and Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard. During the pandemic, General Callahan has managed the activation of over 700 guard members to support Rhode Island’s COVID-19 response. He led the National Guard’s efforts to make Rhode Island’s field hospitals operational and secure. General Callahan also serves on the state’s current COVID-19 Response Team.


Town Manager James R. Tierney


James R. Tierney has served as the Narragansett Town Manager since 2019. He previously served as the chief of operations for the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Tierney has more than 30 years of experience in public safety having served with the South Kingstown Police Department and subsequent to that, as an Inspector General for the City of New York. 


Michael Nina 


Michael Nina is a Community Health Worker and Marketing Associate at Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. Michael has been a trusted and reliable leader within the Hispanic community in Providence for many years and continues to advocate for access to quality services and opportunities for Rhode Island’s culturally diverse communities. Nina holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Strategic Leadership Studies.


Town Manager James J. Cunha 


James J. Cunha has served as the Barrington Town Manager since 2016. Cunha is a retired U.S. Navy captain who has experience working with municipal governments. He is a member of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Advisory Committee.  


Dola Adesina, MSN, RN


Dola Adesina, MSN, RN is a local nurse working to support Rhode Island’s pandemic response. She has been assisting on case investigation, quarantine and infection control education, and COVID-19 supply management. Adesina has worked in both hospital and senior living settings. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing.


Mayor Frank Picozzi


Frank Picozzi is the newly elected Mayor of Warwick. He previously served as Chairman of the Warwick School Committee after serving several years as a school committee member. Picozzi has a background in small business. 


Lynne Urbani 

Representing the RI House of Representatives 


Lynne Urbani is the Policy Director to the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Urbani holds a Master of Science in Health Services Administration and worked in healthcare and managed care organizations for over 25 years. She previously served as President/CEO of the Rhode Island Free Clinic. 


Senator Bridget Valverde


Representing the RI Senate


Rhode Island State Senator Bridget Valverde represents Senate District 35: East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett. She is the Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Humans Services and a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture. 


Town Administrator Jamie Hainsworth 


Jamie Hainsworth has served as the Town Administrator of Jamestown since 2020. He is a former U.S. Marshal who has had a long career in public safety serving 30 years with the Glocester Police Department. Hainsworth also previously served on the Glocester Town Council.


Robert Walsh, Jr.


Bob Walsh is the Executive Director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, which represents over 12,000 teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, graduate students and staff, and state and municipal employees. Walsh holds degrees in Political Science and Organizational Behavior and Management from Brown University and has his Master of Science in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Rhode Island. 


Channavy Chhay


Channavy Chhay is the Executive Director of the Center for Southeast Asians, a local organization which helps Rhode Island’s Southeast Asian community navigate the state’s governmental, healthcare, human services, legal, and financial services systems. Throughout the pandemic, Chhay has led outreach and advocacy efforts to support the Southeast Asian community in accessing testing, housing, food and other critical resources.   


Joseph A. Andriole 


Joseph A. Andriole is the President of the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters, which represents over 1,400 firefighters and EMS workers within 31 municipal departments throughout the state. He also previously served as the President of Local 1950, International Association of Firefighters and served 22 years within the Johnston Fire Department, achieving the rank of Battalion Chief. 


Mayor Roberto DaSilva 


Roberto DaSilva has served as Mayor of East Providence since 2019. He previously served the residents East Providence and Pawtucket as a State Representative. DaSilva worked in the Pawtucket Police Department for over 25 years. DaSilva holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice from Roger Williams University. 


M. Teresa Paiva Weed 


Teresa Paiva Weed is the President of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. In 2009, Paiva Weed became the first woman to serve as President of the Rhode Island Senate after nearly 2 decades of service as a State Senator. During her tenure at the State House, she led efforts to address mental health and substance abuse and played a key role in establishing Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange.  

Posted in 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest : Governor Gina Raimondo looked back on her time in public office during a State of the State speech Wednesday night that is expected to be her last.  Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is the new head of the Armed Services Committee.  An East Bay man is convicted for attacking his neighbor and could receive jail time on a hate crime charge.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Governor Gina Raimondo Delivers Expectedly-Final State Of The State Address

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo delivered a farewell State of the State address on Wednesday, on the same day her nomination for U.S. Commerce Secretary was pushed through to the full Senate.  A vote to confirm Raimondo for the cabinet position in the Biden administration could happen as soon as today.  Raimondo said she will be forever grateful for the trust placed in her in the last decade during which she has served as Rhode Island governor and treasurer.  She pointed to the highlights of her administration, including a turnaround on jobs and record education investments.  She thanked the RI House Speaker and Senate President, the only members of the General Assembly present for her speech, for introducing legislation to make her free community college program permanent.

>>Raimondo Speaks Positively Of Successor To Governor's Office

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Raimondo spoke about her successor during her State of the State speech last night.  Raimondo said Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is prepared to lead Rhode Island.  Prior to the transition, McKee had been notably absent from Raimondo's public appearances, including her coronavirus briefings.  McKee criticized Raimondo last year for not directing enough pandemic stimulus relief for small businesses.  But Raimondo last night had warm words for McKee, calling him passionate, experienced and committed to public service.

>>Jack Reed Named Chair Of Senate Armed Services Committee

(Washington, DC)  --  Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is being named the new
 Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  Reed ascended to the position through the Senate's adopted organizing resolution for the 117th Congress.  He had been a ranking member of the Committee since 2015.  The committee oversees the U.S. Department of Defense and all military services.

>>Man Accused Of Attacking Neighbor Convicted; Hate Crime Sentencing Scheduled

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island man accused of assaulting his neighbor while yelling racial slurs was convicted on Wednesday. The RI Attorney General's Office says Richard Gordon of Barrington was found guilty by a district court judge of misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges stemming from an incident last August.  The state filed a sentencing enhancement in the case pursuant to its hate crime law.  A hearing on that matter is scheduled for next week.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Payout Ordered For RISD Study-Abroad Student Who Was Raped

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island School of Design is being ordered to pay out two-and-a-half-million dollars to a former student who was raped while studying abroad.  The Providence Journal reports a federal judge ruled Tuesday that RISD failed to provide the student safe and secure housing when she went to Ireland in 2016.  The rape was perpetrated by another student living in a four-bedroom house.  The students apparently could not lock the doors to their own rooms.

>>Salve Regina Orders Students To Shelter In Place

(Newport, RI)  --  Salve Regina [[ SAL-vay ruh-GEE-nuh ]] University is ordering students to shelter in place until at least February 16th.  The university has seen over thirty coronavirus cases in the last week.  All classes and labs will be offered fully online.  Salve Regina officials say the shelter-in-place order is a direct result of some students failing to comply with basic social gathering guidelines.

>>PC Men's Hoops Falls To Seton Hall

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence College men's basketball lost to Seton Hall at home on Wednesday.  The final was 60-to-43.  The Friars are now 9-and-9 this season.  They host St. John's on Saturday afternoon.

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

02-04-2021 01:20:06

Andrade-Faxon Charities gives $04K in 2021



Andrade-Faxon Charities gives $304K in 2021 – over $7.5million in 30 years

February 3, 2021/RINewsToday


Billy Andrade – Brad Faxon Charities for Children accepted 78 grant applications and chose 50 area charities to receive a grant for year 2021. Andrade-Faxon Charities started gifting grants to children’s charities in 1991. Proceeds were raised by holding celebrity golf tournaments from 1991 – 2005, and from generous donors, every year since. 


“It has been an amazing journey since we started the Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children 30 years ago. Helping children in need in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts has been our mission from day one. We could not have done this without generous leadership and support from our board and so many others. I am very proud to continue this mission today”, stated Billy Andrade.


Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade are currently playing golf professionally on the PGA Tour Champions, a men’s professional senior golf tour, administered as a branch of the PGA Tour.


Billy and Brad have granted a total of $7,526,139.38 to 250 unique non-profit organizations, since inception. To donate or learn more about Andrade-Faxon Charities visit

COVID-19 Vaccinations Start Coming to a CVS near You

COVID-19 Vaccinations Start Coming to a CVS near you

February 3, 2021/RINewsToday


Increased Vaccine Supply, Initial Launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and Expansion of FEMA Reimbursement to States


The COVID19 Task Force, in an unannounced action, released a new vaccine distribution statement Feb. 2nd:


A 5 percent supply increase will be distributed this week to states, Tribes and territories, and Americans will soon have easier access to vaccinations through local pharmacies.


As the U.S. surpasses 26 million COVID-19 infections, additional steps are being implemented as part of the comprehensive National Strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. These steps include increasing the vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories and increasing funding to jurisdictions to help turn vaccines into vaccinations.


Starting next week, the first phase of the federal pharmacy program will launch and select pharmacies nationwide will begin offering vaccinations in their communities, working towards the goal of 100 million shots in the first 100 days of the new Biden administration.


Expanding Vaccine Supply: Weekly vaccine supplies will increase to 10.5 million doses nationwide beginning this week, and the government will commit to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks, as they continue to work with manufacturers to ramp up supply.


Launching First Phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination: Starting on February 11, those eligible for the vaccine will have the opportunity to be vaccinated at select pharmacies across the country through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. This program is a public-private partnership with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies representing over 40,000 pharmacy locations nationwide (listed below). It is a key component of the administration’s national strategy to expand equitable access to vaccines for the American public.


As the first phase of this program launches, select retail pharmacies nationwide will receive limited vaccine supply to vaccinate priority groups at no cost. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with states to select initial pharmacy partners based on a number of factors including their ability to reach some of the populations most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Americans should check their pharmacy’s website to find out if vaccine is available as supply will be limited in the initial phase. More information is available at


CVS Health expands community access to COVID-19 vaccines in 11 states, including RI


Starting Thursday, February 11, CVS Health will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of CVS Pharmacy locations across 11 states. Rhode Island is one.


Stores in Westerly, East Greenwich and Woonsocket, as well as a fourth town will be announced. As more doses become available, more locations will be added.


The move comes after the Biden administration announced the federal government would distribute some doses directly through retail pharmacies. Many doses now are routed through the state, and then on to local hospitals or mass vaccinators. 


Appointments will be available for booking as early as Feb. 9, according to CVS. People will have to register in advance through or the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can call CVS customer service: (800) 746-7287. 


Supply for the initial rollout, which is sourced directly from the federal government through the pharmacy partnership program, will be approximately 250,000 total doses. As more supply becomes available the company will expand to additional states while increasing the number of stores offering vaccinations.


“Our presence in communities across the country makes us an ideal partner for administering vaccines in a safe, convenient, and familiar manner,” said Karen S. Lynch, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “This is particularly true for underserved communities, which have been a focus for us throughout the pandemic.”


There are nearly 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations nationwide, with almost half located in communities ranked high or very high in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Social Vulnerability Index. More than 90,000 health care professionals including pharmacists, licensed pharmacy technicians, and nurses will participate in the vaccination effort, giving CVS Pharmacy the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.


State-specific details (eligibility will be confirmed and communicated by states in advance of the rollout):

State Number
of doses
Number of
active stores
eligibility guidelines
California 81,900 100 California Department of Public Health
Connecticut 6,800 12 Connecticut COVID-19 Response
Hawaii 4,400 7 Hawai‘i State Department of Health
Maryland 11,000 18 Maryland Department of Health covidLINK
Massachusetts 21,600 18 Massachusetts’ COVID-19 vaccination phases
New Jersey 19,900 27 New Jersey Department of Health
New York1 20,600 32 New York State Department of Health
Rhode Island 3,400 4 Rhode Island Department of Health
South Carolina 15,300 17 South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Texas 38,000 70 Texas Department of State Heath Services
Virginia 26,000 28 Virginia Department of Health




CVS Health is also working directly with Indiana (utilizing two CVS Pharmacy locations) and Ohio (19) to provide in-store vaccinations to eligible populations using state allocations. Other states may choose the same option, which is separate from the federal pharmacy partnership program but can run concurrently.


Participating Federal Pharmacy Partners (not all will be active in every state in initial phase)


Chain Pharmacies
• Walgreens (including Duane Reade)
• CVS Pharmacy, Inc. (including Long’s)
• Walmart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club)
• Rite Aid Corp.
• The Kroger Co. (including Kroger, Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Ralphs, King Soopers, Smiths, City Market, Dillons, Mariano’s, Pick-n-Save, Copps, Metro Market)
• Publix Super Markets, Inc.
• Costco Wholesale Corp.
• Albertsons Companies, Inc. (including Osco, Jewel-Osco, Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, Haggen, Acme, Randalls, Carrs, Market Street, United, Vons, Pavilions, Amigos, Lucky’s, Pak n Save, Sav-On)
• Hy-Vee, Inc.
• Meijer Inc.
• H-E-B, LP
• Retail Business Services, LLC (including Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Company, Hannaford Bros Co, Stop & Shop)
• Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. (including Winn-Dixie, Harveys, Fresco Y Mas)


Network Administrators
• Topco Associates, LLC (including Acme Fresh Markets, Associated Food Stores, Big-Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center, Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Super One Pharmacy, FRESH by Brookshire’s Pharmacy, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Cash Wise Pharmacy, MarketPlace Pharmacy, Giant Eagle, Hartig Drug Company, King Kullen, Food City Pharmacy, Ingles Pharmacy, Raley’s, Bel Air, Nob Hill Pharmacies, Save Mart Pharmacies, Lucky Pharmacies, SpartanNash, Price Chopper, Market 32, Tops Friendly Markets, ShopRite, Wegmans, Weis Markets, Inc.)
• GeriMed (long-term care and retail pharmacies)
• Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO), Elevate Provider
• Health Mart Systems, Inc.
• Innovatix (long-term care pharmacies)
• LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
• Managed Health Care Associates (retail and long-term care pharmacies)


The RI Dept. of Health has yet to have information on this change on their website – this is a developing story.

Posted in 

Don't blame Rhode Islanders for Health Dept's botched vaccination sign up

Don’t blame Rhode Islanders for Health Dept’s botched vaccination sign-up

February 3, 2021/Nancy Thomas


by Nancy Thomas, editorial


We’ve heard over and over again there is nothing the public needs to do right now to register for an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccination.


We’ve heard that there is a priority ranking – but that has become a changing target. First healthcare workers. Then nursing home and assisted living centers. But not group homes, yet. Then, 75 years old and up – but no centralized registration – not yet. What about 75 year olds who aren’t at a facility – or who don’t have transportation? And can’t use a computer or don’t even have one?


Hospitals acting badly


Then we heard that healthcare facilities were vaccinating board members and volunteers – and back end workers like billing clerks and PR people. The explanation was they had to use up extra vaccine vials. But board members and other VIPs would have had to be called to come in – it had to be strategic, not like they were just there, in person, for a meeting and someone spontaneously burst in with extra doses.


Central Falls – are we done yet?


Then there’s Central Falls. A huge hotspot of transmission – and the explanation was that many of our healthcare workers, especially in the nursing homes lived in the city with the densely populated 3-tenements – the most densely populated city in the US. Made sense. Vaccinations started at senior living high-risers. Then it was 16 year olds and up. Clinic after clinic, expanding to the whole community.


Other target cities


Then we hear that other cities will be targeted as a priority group – Providence, Pawtucket – and now, Cranston. Because of their uptick in numbers and density. Makes sense. But there’s no sign up. Not yet. You don’t need to do anything, the state says. We’ll let you know. But, how, we wonder?


Other groups say target me – target me


Voices of funeral home directors – teachers and school staff – etc – all say, prioritize me…but let’s not forget over 90% of people survive COVID-19, and 77% of those in RI who have died have been our seniors.


5,000 vials – 39 mayors/administrators rush to the rescue


Then came a quick influx of 5,000 vials from the federal government. But no one knew about it. The mayors learned last Thursday in an early morning call. They rushed into action, having learned, with no notice, that they would be responsible for this opportunity. Each went back and systems were rushed into place. One city had a phone call in and back system. One had a registration on-line which crashed immediately. Others had devised other ways to register for the small numbers of vaccines – like calling senior center lists or using voter registration lists (by age). At 1pm the “regular” update was held for reporters – not once was the 5,000 influx mentioned – or the city/town mobilization that was playing out in city halls all over RI as the media sat there – clueless. Not a word to the public, as cities and towns began to send press releases on an early Thursday evening – deadlines long passed, but media rushing into action to get the word out. A nod to the beauty of social media at its finest.


So Newport people were to go to Bristol. Cranston to East Greenwich. Warwick to East Greenwich. East Providence to Bristol. Etc. 75 years old and living on their own – transportation never mentioned – we waited to see how it went.


A big snowstorm put the whole thing on hold, but stories of people on hold, clicking on their computers, family members going into action for seniors, etc. began to get around. Mayors held their tongue and did their jobs. Kudos for them in a tough, unprepared situation. Lt. Gov. McKee commented “give me a break” when asked about the computer signups for those over 75. This week those shots will be scheduled again – hopefully another week has allowed transportation to be put in place, as it has been in other states. Some are even using fire fighters to go door to door in their neighborhoods to the elders. How creative.


Here’s a database – use THIS one


The Health Department has an emergency needs database which the public can sign up to – that indicates they have special needs such as a wheelchair or oxygen use – that registry is used by fire/police/rescue for emergency calls. But now residents were being told to go to that system and sign up there, and the cities and towns will pick people from there, by age. Not what the system is used for – and now a system with chaotic data as all ages of people have rushed to sign up on it.


At RINewsToday – we hear you!


We at RINewsToday have received hundreds of emails and phone calls – people are that desperate that they think we can help them – they tell us their stories – their fears – their age – all their medical history. So much for HIPAA these days – people don’t seem to care, they are that desperate.


The private sector to the rescue – enter CVS


Yesterday the private sector came to the rescue – even the Biden administration seemed to learn that what the Trump administration had always intended to be put in place was the best way to move forward. CVS – Walgreens – Walmart – and dozens of other pharmacy chains were put into service – they were ready and waiting – and had been from testing days of day one.


Within moments of the national press release, CVS had notification on their website – see our story today for details. Yes, RI is one of 11 states.


But – no word from the RI Department of Health. As a colleague said – can you hear the sound of crickets? Why? CVS sites were rushed to – you could click on your state – Rhode Island – and it led you to a link after telling you that RI was not yet participating. It took you to the RI Dept. of Health. Nothing there. Click..Click. Click. Unanswered emails. Too late to call.


A new sign up we weren’t supposed to find


Then, a sign up appeared. Word got around – phone calls, emails, social media posts – then the media. Not us, but others. There was a sign up. And people flocked to it. Signing up not because they were over 75 or wanted a CVS, but just to get their information listed to wait in line for our time. The sign up required uploading of images of your insurance card. And your birthday and other information. Sure, why not (yes, we did it). There goes some of your most private information, without hesitation, into some database. But it was a database never intended for public signup. But there it was – open to all. And there were the crickets from the Health Department not telling people about what to do for the CVS opportunity.


On social media, the Health Dept. spoke – listing this on Facebook


They seemed to chastise people for using the site – even implying that they were attempting to jump the line and get in front of healthcare workers. The 93 comments that followed were mostly instructional back to the Health Dept. that their lack of getting in front of the problem led to this issue and it was not “our” fault for using an open system with no restrictions listed on it. Early this morning we find this same statement on the COVID-19 page of the Health Dept’s website.


CVS now says signups will be as early as February 9th. Keep your eyes and ears – and mouse – ready to go – download the CVS app – be ready. Be prepared.


Other registrations exist – and Deloitte enters the picture


A national registration exists – called VAMS – it was developed by Deloitte. We’ll repeat that name – Deloitte – you know, of UHIP fame and glory in our state? If you register on the national VAMS system (which is also open to the public) and you select that you want a vaccination site in 20, 30, 50 miles from your zip code – you might get confirmed for an appointment – in New Hampshire – as we did. But – you have to be a resident to be vaccinated – as in every state. But it doesn’t tell you that.


You can go to Walgreens and sign up on their site – you’ll even get confirmed for one of two stores in nearby Connecticut – they’ll tell you they are both about 23 minutes away – I have been given an appointment for Friday. A call to the store met with a frustrated pharmacy clerk who said she knew of the glitch, but please don’t come because you need to be a Connecticut resident. Of course if we have the vaccines we might do you, she whispered, but please give up the time if you can. I cancelled. With such a heavy heart.


Mass vaccination sites – where’s our stadium?


Vaccinations aren’t plentiful yet – if they were we’d be driving up to – where? McCoy Stadium? The Ryan Center? We watch Fenway and Dodgers and Patriots and other large sites all around the US. RIDOH says we have no plans to do this. Are there even plans for any mass vaccination sites for when that day comes – because it will come – soon – where’s the plan?


Rhode Island – 1 million people – a test state – we can do this – can we?


Yesterday Lt. Gov. – soon to be Gov. McKee says the mayors know how to do this best and they should do it. About 39 of them.


Rhode Island is a model state for many things. It is often a rollout, test site for projects such as tobacco control for youth, for a 2-liter soda bottle, for other things. Why? We are one million people (the size of Seattle). We have – or had – one major newspaper and 3 television stations / 1 or two major radio news stations – without overlapping demographics. We are easily measurable. We are fairly immobile (we stay in place). We were perfect for a flawless rollout.


But it has been botched. And it has been botched on top of the spirit of our seniors for the most part. The rest of us are just plain angry. This isn’t a competition for a brass ring or the fastest auto-dialer or who can click, click, click for 8 hours at a time or stay on hold while phones ring a constant busy.


Visionaries – bean counters – and a sense of urgency


The media will dutifully file in to The Vets building and listen to pulling up of the data – the sad reporting of more deaths. Maybe they’ll tackle another hurdle like last week – allowing restaurants to open back up to their normal hours (but even that was met with a No, not until Sunday – it took McKee to ask Commerce RI if they couldn’t just do it now so small business didn’t lose the whole weekend – and it was done). This week they might tell us how best to watch the SuperBowl, or why bars should turn their TVs off to prevent people from shouting and cheering – and spreading germs. But the media will wonder what is being planned that is not being talked about.


What is brewing that could really be on the minds of those on the stages that they aren’t telling us? What botched system is right there that won’t be discussed? Transparency has become a rote activity of report outs, polite questions, and a collapse of visionary leadership. All made worse by a Governor who can’t speak to anyone – about anything – but won’t resign and let the new Governor jumping up and down to take over – take over.


Who loses? The people lose. But we are resilient. And we are waiting. We are rolling up our sleeves. Just tell us where to go – and when. We’ll take it from there.


Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: CVS is getting about a quarter-million COVID vaccines to distribute at its pharmacies in multiple states.  A man is accused of doing some destructive driving inside an Attleboro, Massachusetts store.  A judge sides with the city of Providence in a dispute over whether a criminally-charged police sergeant's suspension could be changed from paid to unpaid.

>>CVS Pharmacies Receiving 250K Vaccines For Distribution

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  Rhode Island-based CVS Health says it will begin to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations at a limited number of pharmacy locations in eleven U.S. states on February 11th.  CVS says the supply for the initial rollout will be about a quarter-million doses.  Besides Rhode Island, those states include: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.  Appointments must be made through CVS online or by calling.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,186

(Providence, RI)  --  The state of Rhode Island reported thirteen new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The death toll from the virus for the Ocean State is now two-thousand-186.  The state also reported two-hundred-35 new cases yesterday to increase the pandemic total to over 116-thousand.

>>Man Arrested For Allegedly Driving Into Hobby Lobby

(Attleboro, MA)  --  Police say a man crashed into a Hobby Lobby store in Attleboro, Massachusetts and drove around inside early Tuesday morning.  The store is located in the Bristol Place shopping center off Newport Avenue, just over the Mass-Rhode Island state line.  The driver, identified as Rick Woodruff of Somerville, Mass, faces several charges.  Plenty of damage was caused, but officials said the building is OK structurally.

>>Blackstone House Fire Victim ID'd

(Blackstone, MA)  --  The victim of a house fire in Blackstone, Massachusetts is being identified.  The Worcester County District Attorney's Office says the person who died in the blaze last weekend was Teagan Lafayette.  The origin of the fire was determined to be electrical.

>>Judge Sides With Providence In Pay Dispute With Suspended Cop

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island Superior Court judge is ruling it was OK for the city of Providence to stop paying a suspended Providence police sergeant.  Joseph Hanley is facing a trial this month on charges that he assaulted a person in handcuffs in 2020.  The city discontinued paying Hanley during his suspension because of the time that had passed without a disposition in the criminal case.  The officer argued the coronavirus pandemic and other factors beyond his control delayed proceedings, but the judge who ruled Tuesday said Hanley contributed to the delay.

>>Warwick Mayor Helps With Snowplowing Effort

(Warwick, RI)  --  The mayor of Warwick is earning high praise from residents for getting behind the wheel of a snowplow truck on Monday.  Frank Picozzi, a former contractor who was elected mayor last year, said on Facebook Monday night that he missed plowing, so the city assigned him to a truck.  At one point while he was out and about, Picozzi said someone waved him down and used "some pretty salty language" to complain that he had gotten snow in the bottom of his driveway.  The resident was apparently embarrassed once he realized he was talking to the mayor.

>>Providence Men's Hoops Versus Seton Hall Tonight

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence College men's basketball team will try to shake off an excruciating one-point loss at Georgetown this past weekend as they kick off a three-game homestand tonight.  PC hosts Seton Hall at 7 p.m.  The Friars are 9-and-8 with about a month to go in the regular-season schedule and are on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Jim McCabe/jb         RI) CA) CT) HI) MD) MA) NJ) NY) SC) TX VA)  
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-03-2021 01:11:46

Africa's "woke" architecture

Africa’s “woke” architecture – David Brussat

February 2, 2021/David Brussat


by David Brussat, Architecture Here and There


Photo: Proposed National Cathedral of Ghana, by David Adjaye. (Adjaye Associates)


On Oct. 20, CNN ran a piece describing the 10 most anticipated architectural developments in Africa, titled “Buildings for the future.” Most of the projects are typical of their ilk around the world. They say nothing of Africa or the cultures from which the projects supposedly take their inspiration, if indeed they intend any such reverence at all. Look at the slide show of proposals. The opening passages of the article confirm what the slideshow suggests of the deep gulf between these proposals and any idea of Africa:


Great architecture captures the world’s attention – if it’s good enough, a single building can put a city on the map. Those buildings are symbols of ambition as much as they are of beauty, and when leveraged correctly, they’re a worthy investment, attracting people and opportunities.

All across Africa, daring architectural statements are taking shape in the private and public sectors. From bustling cities to the depths of the rainforest, they promise to bring new life to their surroundings.


(The reference to “the depths of the rainforests” seems accidentally to refer to South America, else the descriptor would have referred to the depths of the jungle – unless that word has now been canceled.)


The platitudes of CNN author Tom Page could be written of architecturally modernist projects anywhere in the world. The only promise they bring to their surroundings is that new life will continue to reflect the neocolonialism that has for more than half a century assaulted the indigenous cultures of Africa – in short, since they won independence from ye olde colonial powers of Europe. What might easily be deemed cultural genocide will continue to animate the pan-national ruling classes of Africa.


Elites in virtually all nations, developed and developing, have bought into the idea that their traditions are worth nothing and their success as nations relies on copying architecture that supposedly embraces successful Western economic practices but in truth reflects, instead, both the egoism of its architects and the financial interests of the global one-percenters who hire them. None of this has anything to do in particular with Africa, or any respect for anything African.



The first slide shows the proposed National Cathedral of Ghana, in Accra, designed by international celebrity architect Sir David Adjaye, a Ghanaian Brit born in Tanzania. Its shape, writes CNN’s Tom Page, “evokes tented canopies and the Golden Stool, the royal throne of the Asante people.” Maybe it does, but it very much more recalls the swooping form of Dulles International Airport, located outside of Washington, D.C. As the designer of the U.S. National Museum of African American History and Culture, the architect has no doubt flown through Dulles more frequently than he has visited the Golden Stool. (Unless, as you might expect, he normally takes the more convenient but more expensive flights in and out of Reagan National Airport.)


My favorites include Cairo’s Grand Egyptian Museum, which, writes Page, “overlooks the Giza Necropolis some two kilometers away and makes use of copious amounts of glass to draw museum and pyramids together and, fittingly, leans heavy on triangular forms.” How precious! And there’s also the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, in Musanze, Rwanda. “The center was made possible when Portia de Rossi, wife of DeGeneres, donated to the Fossey Fund in the TV star’s name as a 60th birthday present (Fossey was a childhood hero of DeGeneres).” … Anyway.


Most indigenous architectures of the developing world feature forms traceable to ancient classicism, either directly or in the sense that they developed over time by dint of trial and error through generations of builders who adapted the latest advancements to longstanding practical, cultural and climatic needs.


Modern architecture rejects that process and the successful cities, towns and villages it created, while seeking an anti-traditional template putting innovation above all and hence recognizable as culturally divergent wherever it appears. It is unlikely that most cultures will resume the design imperatives that benefit their native populations until their ruling classes begin, someday, to respect their own cultures. This article by CNN merely demonstrates how far such cultures, in this case those of Africa, remain from regaining their self-possession.




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,, or call (401) 351-0457


Your Coronavirus Update - Today February 2, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, Feb. 2, 2021

February 2, 2021/RINewsToday




RI Department of Health:


All State-run COVID-19 testing sites will be open on February 2. State-run testing sites are the sites that people schedule at through, as well as all K-12 testing sites. People who had appointments for Monday will not need to make new appointments. They can go to the site where their appointment was scheduled at any time with a print or screenshot of their confirmation notice, and they will be tested.


Additionally, COVID-19 vaccinations will not be happening on Monday at Rhode Island’s regional clinics in Bristol, Providence, and East Greenwich. (Two other regional clinics are in Smithfield and Narragansett, but they were not scheduled to operate on Monday.) These clinics are all operating on an appointment only basis. People who had appointments for Monday for the Bristol, Providence, and East Greenwich sites will be contacted directly about rescheduling. Most of the appointments for tomorrow were for first responders and healthcare providers. Some limited vaccinating of people 75 years of age and older had been scheduled for the clinics in Bristol and East Greenwich.


Connecticut lawmakers are considering a five-year proposal to boost state funding for nonprofit social service agencies, many of which have seen both an uptick in clients and increased costs during the pandemic.


The Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls is being used as an infusion center for COVID19 positive patients who are in need of this treatment that will also help keep them out of the hospital – concerns of some parents and teachers have met with assurances that it is safe to do so because the building is not being used as education is remote.


Twin River is now open with extended hours due to the lift on early closing times – benefits are being extended for employees who were in danger of completely losing theirs.


After the president met with Republican legislators, it now looks like March would be the earliest people could expect a stimulus payment – $1000 was proposed as opposed to $1400.


Lifespan Primary Care has vaccinations ongoing for their primary care patients. A check with Coastal Medical showed they do not know when they will have access to the vaccine but “once Coastal Medical is given the opportunity to immunize our patients, we’ll be ready”.


Tiverton Town Administrator Christopher Cotta has been quoted as saying about the vaccination plan that, with no notice, left a certain number of shots, dependent upon the city’s estimated over-75 population, on the ownership of the municipality to distribute said “It isn’t going well…it’s the most unorganized thing the state has done yet…It’s the most insulting thing the state has done yet.”


Providence: If you are a Providence resident and would like to be notified when additional COVID-19 vaccine doses become available, please sign up here If you need support to fill out this form, please contact PVD311 by dialing 3-1-1 and a constituent representative can fill out the form on your behalf.


City and town officials in RI learned they would have the vaccine to distribute last Thursday morning.  This was never disclosed at the Thursday, noon, public update to the RI community and the press.


Initial comments have been that the vaccinations work very well at the sites. Confusion is more in the registration area – but at the site there is no backlog or glitches happening.


Newport residents can pre-register for vaccines in the future here:


Dr. Fine’s predictions for the future, as quoted in a local interview: “What we’re going to need is COVID-19 vaccinations two or three times a year, including different variants as we go and doing that for a couple of years, with 80 to 90% vaccination rates in order to get rid of this thing — we’re never going to get rid of it [but control it],”


Fenway mass vaccination site began Monday Feb. 1 and stayed open during the snowstorm.


The mass vaccination sites open around Massachusetts had a “very good week” last week and Gov. Charlie Baker predicted Monday morning that those efforts are “gonna have a very good week this week too,” despite a winter storm that could blanket the state in more than a foot of snow Monday into Tuesday.


The University of Maine will not require students and employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


From the RI Dept. of Health:


Widespread COVID-19 vaccination of people 75 years of age and older is scheduled to begin in early to mid-February. However, a small amount of vaccine (roughly 5,000 doses, total) was identified to start this population a little sooner, starting this weekend. That vaccine was allocated to cities and towns based on the percentages of their populations that are 75 years of age and older. Vaccinating will only be happening by appointment. There will be no walk-up vaccinating at these clinics. Only people with appointments will be vaccinated. (Cities and towns are handling the appointment process in different ways. Currently, there is no State-level vaccine waiting list.) More information about how the wider public 75-and-older can get vaccinated will be posted on


The Wyndham Hotel at 1850 Post is currently operating as a COVID-19 isolation center run by the National Guard. It has been listed for sale, for auction, and for delinquent taxes of $860,475.49. It currently holds over 50 patients.


A $130,000 grant will help Rhode Island connect to an updated National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The funding, from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s 988 State Planning Grant, was awarded by Vibrant Emotional Health, a nonprofit administrator for the suicide prevention organization.


Benchmark Senior Living, a Waltham, Mass.-based senior housing provider with three locations in Rhode Island, has announced the creation of its Benchmark Coronavirus Advisory Council. Members include “a former U.S. Surgeon General, a former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a nationally known geriatric psychiatrist, a leading infection control preventionist and other experts.”


Massachusetts has identified 5 new cases of EU variant virus.


The vaccine clinic at Colt State Park in Bristol is rescheduled for WEDNESDAY, 2/3. You’ll be scheduled for the same time your Mon. appt was for. If you can’t make it call town hall tomorrow 401-625-6710


Cranston has received 1500 phone calls for 350 vaccinations – they are being put on a waiting list. Mayor Hopkins gives accolades to incoming Gov. McKee for helping the mayors right along the way. Hopkins said they were given 24 hours from the RIDOH. They set up 12 lines in the Cranston Senior Center – then had to call everyone to set up appointments and now to reschedule a week out.


RI Data – Feb. 1, 2021

Deaths: 5 (19 over past 3 days)

Tests – 6,710 – Positives – 249 (approx. 1,550 past 3 days) – % Positive – 3.7%

Hospitalized – 316 – In ICU – 47 – Ventilated – 29

Deaths in hospital – 4 – New Admissions – 33 – New Discharges – 30

First vaccines: 74,557 Total fully vaccinated – 2 shots: 25,917



Business Violators from RI DBR:

Bonao Hair Salon 67 Mount Pleasant Ave.,
Compliance Order 1/29/2021
Cornerstone Barber 290 Wood St.,
Notice of Compliance with ICO
Immediate Compliance Order





A top epidemiologist and adviser to Biden urged the U.S. to prioritize giving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to as many Americans as possible before focusing the second dose. Both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines are comprised of two shots, though just receiving the first shot has shown to provide some protection.


Nebraska governor in quarantine after exposure to COVID-19


Johnson & Johnson, which sponsors a single-dose vaccine candidate, is expected to apply for emergency use authorization for their vaccine next week.


Antibodies that protect against the coronavirus often get transferred from mother to infant during pregnancy — a finding that indicates a mother passes along at least some protection to her child


Indoor dining in NYC will reopen at 25% capacity on Valentine’s Day if the current coronavirus positivity rate holds


The European Commission granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.


Federal health officials announced a $230 million deal to expand the use of a non-prescription at-home coronavirus test by Ellume to provide about 8.5 million tests a month in the United States.


Delaware has administered more than 100,000 doses of vaccine and ranks eighth in the nation in the percentage of its population that has received at least one shot.


The 100-year-old British army veteran who was knighted by the Queen for after raising nearly $45 million for his country’s National Health Service has tested positive for COVID-19, his family announced.


German pharmaceutical giant Bayer said on Monday it will help CureVac produce its experimental COVID-19 vaccine, the latest drugmaker to offer up manufacturing capacity as supplies fall behind demand.


Just under 38% of nursing home staff chose to receive the vaccine while 78% of residents accepted it, according to the pharmacy program reports.


Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan is calling on the state to stop hospital systems from giving special vaccine access to donors, board members or other connected community members following reports of that happening at several area hospital systems.


Portugal reported close to half of all its COVID-19 deaths in January, highlighting the severe worsening of the pandemic in a country that had largely been spared by the first waves


UK begins door-to-door testing of 80,000 people as new COVID variants spread


For asthma patients, the largest research review published to date provides even stronger evidence that the risk for severe or fatal COVID-19 in asthma patients is similar to that of the general population — as long as the asthma remains well controlled.

Posted in 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A nor'easter drops snow on Rhode Island to begin the month of February.  The victim of a fatal crash in Charlestown has been named.  Lifespan is announcing a new president for Rhode Island Hospital.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Storm Drops Snow On RI Before Rain Transition

(Undated)  --  A nor'easter has brought a windy, wintry mix to Southern New England on the first two days of February.  Snow fell up and down Rhode Island on Monday; as of 10:30 last night, the National Weather Service reported a foot in Richmond, and nearly a foot in Foster and West Greenwich.  Overnight, the weather service said a Winter Storm Warning for portions of SNE, including northern Rhode Island, would expire at 5 a.m.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Nearly 2K Power Outages In RI From Storm

(Undated)  --  Power outages are picking up.  As of 8:30 last night, there were about 750 outages reported by National Grid, all south of the Providence area.  Overnight, that number doubled and the outages expanded statewide as windy conditions associated with the winter storm picked up.  Southern Rhode Island still appears to be the hardest-hit outage area.

>>Fatal Charlestown Crash Victim ID'd

(Charlestown, RI)  --  The victim of a fatal South County crash is being identified.  Police say the victim of the Friday morning two-vehicle wreck on Route 91 in Charlestown was 67-year-old Calbert Edwards of Richmond, according to a report from the Westerly Sun.  Edwards apparently crossed the center line and collided head-on with another vehicle.  The Charlestown Police Department is waiting on toxicology results to determine a cause of the accident.  The second driver remains in stable condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

>>Watching For Senate Confirmation Of Raimondo For Commerce Secretary This Week

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island could have a new governor by the end of this week.  The U.S. Senate is set to take up a vote to confirm current RI Governor Gina Raimondo as the next U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  While that's happening, Raimondo is scheduled to give her last State of the State address Wednesday night.  Should the Senate vote to confirm Raimondo, current Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee will take over the governor's office.

>>Gas Prices Up Several More Cents

(Undated)  --  Gas prices are up another two cents from one week ago in Rhode Island, according to  The current average per gallon in the Ocean State is two dollars, thirty-nine cents.  One month ago, the price was two-twenty-two.

>>New Rhode Island Hospital President Announced

(Providence, RI)  --  Lifespan is announcing a new president of Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital.  The position is going to Dr. Saul Weingart, who most-recently served as chief medical officer and senior VP of medical affairs at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.  The head of Lifespan, Dr. Timothy Babineau, says Weingart is joining at a pivotal time for health care in the state.

>>More States Dropped From Travel Advisory List

(Undated)  --  Rhode Island is dropping another half-dozen states from its COVID travel advisory list.  They are Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.  The number of states from which travelers have to quarantine in Rhode Island is now 33.

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

02-02-2021 01:42:42

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Winter Storm Warning is in effect in Rhode Island on the first day of February.  Due to the forecast, COVID-19 sites for testing and vaccinations are shut down today.  There is a push in the Rhode Island General Assembly to make permanent a program that offers free community college.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Over A Foot Of Snow Possible In Rhode Island Monday

(Undated)  --  Rhode Island is under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service today.  The weather service says up to 15 inches could fall in northern portions of the state.  Forecasters expect at least six inches for southern RI.  The nor'easter is expected to also bring gusty winds.

[[ note: ban starts at 5 a.m. ]]

>>All Tractor-Trailers Ordered Off State Highways

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Gina Raimondo is ordering all tractor-trailer trucks to stay off state highways for today's snowstorm.  The proclamation is in effect now until further notice.  The governor says all other types of vehicles should stay off the roads until the snowstorm has passed and the snow has been plowed.

>>RI COVID Testing, Vaccine Sites Closed Today; Schools Going Remote

(Undated)  --  All state-operated COVID-19 testing sites and regional clinics are shut down because of today's snowstorm.  The Rhode Island Department of Health says the affected clinics are in Bristol, Providence and East Greenwich, and that two other regional clinics in Smithfield and Narragansett were not scheduled to operate on Monday.  The snow is also impacting schools; most districts in the state, including Providence, are doing remote classes today.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Fatal Crashes In Pawtucket, North Attleboro; Deadly Fire In Blackstone

(Undated)  --  Multiple fatalities were reported Saturday from a pair of car crashes, as well as a house fire, in one Rhode Island city and two bordering Massachusetts towns.  The fatal incident in Rhode Island was a late-night crash near McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket.  There was a crash earlier Saturday on Route 95 in North Attleboro which killed a man from Franklin, Massachusetts.  And overnight Saturday, there had been a fatal fire at a two-family home in Blackstone, Mass.  No names of victims have been released.

>>J&W Student Facing Charges After Gun Incident

(Providence, RI)  --  A Johnson and Wales University student is facing criminal weapons charges.  Providence police reportedly found a vehicle in a parking garage with bullet holes and guns inside at the Cove Residence Hall about a mile from the Downcity campus.  The dormitory was locked down while police and campus security conducted a search.  The student was identified as Keshaun Michael Cockburn, according to a report from WJAR-TV.  The university has placed the student on interim suspension.

>>General Assembly Leaders Propose Making Rhode Island Promise Permanent

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dom Ruggerio are introducing legislation to make the Rhode Island Promise program permanent.  RI Promise provides up to two years of free tuition for eligible Ocean State residents at Community College of Rhode Island.  The General Assembly extended the program by one year after it had an original sunset of 2020.  It was originally proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo in 2017.

>>Former Air Marshal Given Probation For Workers' Comp Fraud

(Providence, RI)  --  A Newport man who worked as a federal air marshal is receiving probation for fraudulently collecting about a quarter-million dollars in workers' compensation benefits.  The U.S. Justice Department says Joseph Patrick Watterson concealed on workers' comp forms that he engaged in physical activities at his martial arts business in Middletown.  The DOJ says the black belt-holder initially described his duties as administrative.  Watterson was sentenced in federal court in Providence last week.

Jim McCabe/djc           RI) MA)
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02-01-2021 01:17:02

Tribalism in America



Tribalism in America – by Mary T. O’Sullivan

February 1, 2021/Mary OSullivan


By Mary T. O’Sullivan – contributing writer on business leadership


“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.” – William Golding, Lord of the Flies


In times of fear, crisis and chaos, we instinctively turn to our leaders for unity. What we are seeking are answers, a smart analysis of the facts that helps leaders direct us to the “right” choice, a choice that’s good for everyone. We know that judgment “is the core of exemplary leadership”. Yet, in the literary classic, Lord of the Flies, Willian Golding presents the dichotomy of human judgment, the conflict we humans experience with living by the rules of society, in peace and in collective harmony, or crumbling into social Darwinism, survival of the fittest and natural selection; Tribes. Yes, Tribes – complete with painted faces and a fervent belief in a misguided leader. Fear becomes the driving force.


Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism can explain our plundered store shelves, the herd immunity policies, and the desire to abandon the “shelter-in-place” mandate in order to jump start our economy, therefore, sacrificing society’s most vulnerable so the rest of us can go back to work and secure the stock market’s upward movement. Fear of want can make us greedy. It’s interesting to note that during the “Gilded Age” of the late 1800s, the concept of Social Darwinism became easily adapted into upper class Western society, a trend which believed social Darwinism to be a laissez-faire approach toward capitalism, immigration, the public’s health and well-being, as well as many other social challenges of the day. But now, we’ve taken it a step further, allowing Social Darwinism to manifest in America in its most base form.


Peace and Harmony
Back to the classic novel, the protagonist in Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Ralph, assumes leadership, but struggles to keep peace and harmony while stranded on a deserted island. He and his group attempt to establish democracy through rules and assigned roles. Disorder and disruption surface when their signal fire extinguishers, just as a potential rescue ship passes the island. The boys responsible for the fire abandon their posts and decide to join another groups’ hunt. The two groups quickly become enemy tribes, and throughout the rest of the book, the boys’ behavior becomes ever more violent and vicious. Fear of one another runs rampant through the two camps. The conflict between social order and social Darwinism, survival of the fittest, destroyed the harmony and collaboration on the island. The essential needs for staying alive, cooperation and collaboration were ruined. The strongest leader, the leader of the hunt, Jack, set the tone, transforming all the boys into near savages.


Equitable Access
Without strict guidelines for social order and leadership that protects us, we easily begin to metamorphize into people we hardly recognize. Our baser nature emerges. And it feels so natural, so easy. Who’s watching? Who’s going to stop us? Equitable access to society’s essential needs lessens by whomever gets into the grocery store first. We want to ensure that we don’t run out, everyone else can fair for themselves. Shopping hours for the elderly are ignored, lines of people of all ages clog entrances, leaving many elderly standing out in the early morning cold. Crowds appear on the beach, in parks and trails. Spreading the virus appears to be of no concern. Maybe it’s all due to the disinhibition of social media that has made us less considerate and caring. Maybe human nature’s darker side emerges in a crisis. But what is our excuse for ganging up like unsupervised teenagers and storming public buildings?


We’ve learned through this pandemic that many bad judgment calls were bound to happen, simply because important options, and the risk of their potential consequences, were never given enough serious thought. Did that set the stage for modern Tribes to emerge? And misinformation continued to flow throughout the pandemic and into our political process. Can we be governed by speculation, conjecture, feeling, or worse, lies? Or do we follow our better judgment, our more noble nature? Who’s calming our fears?


“Leaders need many good qualities but underlying them all is good judgment.” Harvard Business Review


Now, who can argue with that?


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.


Never forgetting will help us keep the promise of "Never Again"

Never forgetting will help us keep the promise of “never again.” – by Herb Weiss

February 1, 2021/Herb Weiss


Never forgetting will help us keep the promise of “never again.”


By Herb Weiss, contributing writer on aging issues


During a Pro-Trump rally, as thousands of rioters swarmed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, Robert Keith Packer, sporting an unkempt beard, came wearing a black hoodie sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “Camp Auschwitz,” in white letters, the name of the most infamous of the many Nazi concentration camps where 1.1 million people were murdered during World War II.  Under a skull and bones at the bottom of his shirt was the phrase, “Work brings Freedom,” a loose translation of the phrase “Arbeit macht frei” that was inscribed above the main entrance gate at Auschwitz and other concentration camps’ gates. 


Packer’s image, 56, a former welder and pipefitter, was circulated widely on social media and by newspapers, evoking shock and disbelief.


Packer, a resident of Newport News, Virginia, was not the only anti-Semitic rioter that day, according to a report released by the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the Network Contagion Research Institute. The report identified at least half a dozen neo-Nazi or white supremacist groups involved in the failed Capitol Insurrection who had also attended President Trump’s “Save America” rally speech. 


In recent years, anti-Semitic incidents have become more common in the Ocean State.


In 2017, the Providence Journal reported that the New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League recorded 13 incidents of anti-Semitism in Rhode Island. Nazi swastikas were painted on a Providence building, at Broad Rock Middle School in North Kingstown, and even at a Pawtucket synagogue.


Anti-Semitism is Nothing New


But, anti-Semitism, exhibited at the “Save America” rally, has been in our country since its founding, and in fact, has been around western societies for centuries.  Over three years ago, torch marchers, some wearing Nazi-style helmets, carrying clubs, sticks and round makeshift shields emblazoned with swastikas and other Fascist symbols, and others entered the one-block square in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, to protect a controversial Confederate monument, chanting “Jews will not replace us” and “Blood and Soil” (a Nazi rallying cry).  


The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 2014 Global Index of Anti-Semitism documented world-wide anti-Semitism. The survey found that more than 1 billion people – nearly one in eight – around the world harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Carried out by First International Resources and commissioned by the ADL, this landmark survey included 53,100 adults in 102 countries representing 88 percent of the world’s adult population.


Over 30 percent of those surveyed said it was ‘probably true’ that Jews have too much control over financial markets, that Jews think they are better than other people, that Jews are disloyal to their country, and that people hate Jews because of the way that Jews behave. 


Most troubling, the ADL study found a large gap between seniors who know and lived through the horrendous events of World War II, and younger adults who, some 75 years after the Holocaust, are more likely to have heard of or learned that six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis’ “Final Solution.” Nearly half of those surveyed claim to have never heard of the Holocaust and only a third believe historical accounts are accurate.


Gearing Up to Fight Antisemitism


On Jan. 14, the American Jewish Congress (AJC), a global Jewish advocacy organization, briefed the FBI on the continuing threats of anti-Semitism to the nation. 


“Antisemitism fundamentally is not only a Jewish problem; it is a societal one. It is a reflection on the declining health of our society,” Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s U.S. Director for Combating Antisemitism, told the FBI officials on a video conference briefing. “Education is essential, to clarify what constitutes antisemitism, the various sources of this hatred, and what effective tools are available for law enforcement to fight antisemitism,” she said.


The presentation of AJC’s second annual report on antisemitism in the U.S. took place in the wake of the January 6 assault on Capitol Hill, where anti-Semitic images and threats were openly conveyed by some of the rioters.


AJC’s 2020 report, based on parallel surveys of the American Jewish and general populations, revealed that 88 percent of Jews considered antisemitism a problem today in the U.S., 37 percent had personally been victims of antisemitism over the past five years and 31 percent had taken measures to conceal their Jewishness in public.


In the first-ever survey of the general U.S. population on antisemitism, AJC found a stunning lack of awareness of antisemitism. Nearly half of all Americans said they had either never heard the term “antisemitism” (21 percent) or are familiar with the word but not sure what it means (25 percent).


The AJC experts praised the FBI for its annual Hate Crimes Statistics report, which provides vital data on antisemitism. The latest report found 60.2 percent of religious bias hate crimes targeted Jews in 2019. But the report historically has not provided a full picture of the extent of hate crimes, since reporting by local law enforcement agencies is not mandatory.


To improve the monitoring and reporting of hate crimes, AJC continues to advocate for passage of the Jabara-Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assaults, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act. This measure will incentivize state and local law enforcement authorities to improve hate crime reporting by making grants available and managed through the Department of Justice.


In addition, AJC is asking the FBI to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism as an educational tool. The definition offers a clear and comprehensive description of antisemitism in its various forms, including hatred and discrimination against Jews, and Holocaust denial. 


FBI officials in the Bureau’s Civil Rights Unit, Intelligence Division, and Community Outreach Program, among others, participated in the AJC briefing.


Keeping the memory alive about the Holocaust is key to fighting antisemitism, says Andy Hollinger, Director of Communications, for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). “”We are seeing a disturbing trend in the rise of antisemitism and the open display of neo-Nazi symbols, most recently at the attack on the U.S. Capitol. This is a long-time problem requiring a long-time solution. We must remember. Education is key. We must learn from this history-learn about the dangers of unchecked hatred and antisemitism. And we must not be silent,” he says.


Adds Bill Benson, who has interviewed Holocaust Survivors before live audiences at the USHMM’s First Person program for more than 2 decades, observes that the majority of those visiting the museum are not Jewish and many of have little familiarity with the Holocaust, and as a result of their visit are profoundly affected by their experience. “The USHMM provides an extraordinary avenue for educating the general public about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism for those millions who visit it, but it is essential that many millions more learn the truth about anti-Semitism and that must done through our educational systems,” he notes.


“The USHMM does an incredible job of educating and assisting teachers who want to teach about the Holocaust, but far too many school systems do not teach about the Holocaust, without which the gulf in knowledge and awareness may only grow as we lose those first-hand knowledge of the Holocaust,” says Benson.


A 2009 report, “Jewish Survivors of the Holocaust Residing in the United States Estimates & Projections: 2010 – 2030,” prepared by the Berman Institute-North American Jewish Data Bank, for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, estimated that 36,800 Holocaust survivors would still be living by 2025. As the number of survivors who witnessed the horrors of Genocide and the Holocaust during World War II continues to dwindle, a growing number of states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas, and have established Commissions to keep this knowledge alive to millennials, GenZ and  younger generations through educational programming and raise awareness through public education and community events to provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state.


If the Rhode Island General Assembly legislates the establishment of a Rhode Island Genocide and Holocaust Education Commission, its motto might just be, “Never forgetting” will help us keep the promise of “never again.”




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

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