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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2021-06

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A fire was reported last night at the famous "stuck-up" bridge between Providence and East Providence.  Rhode Islanders need to put up with a heat wave for one more day today.  A man has been sentenced to time in the ACI for robbing a casino patron.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Fire At 'Stuck-Up Bridge'

(Providence, RI)  --  A well-known bridge over the Seekonk River between Providence and East Providence was hit by fire on Tuesday night.  Flames appeared to span the length of the Crook Point Bascule Bridge, which is known for being stuck in the upright position.  The cause is being investigated.  The city of Providence unveiled plans earlier this month to revitalize the bridge.

>>Swimming Paused At Beaches After Fin Sighting

(Narragansett, RI)  --  Swimmers exited the water at two Narragansett beaches on Tuesday afternoon after a fin was sighted.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says the Roger Wheeler and Salty Brine beaches were closed for about an hour.  However, it was determined the fin was not from a shark.  The Atlantic Shark Institute tells WPRI-TV several boaters were able to determine it was a sunfish.

>>Last Day Of Heat Wave

(Undated)  --  Today is the final day of the heat wave in Southern New England.  The National Weather Service says heat index values are again expected to be in the triple digits.  A cool-down is in store for Independence Day weekend, with forecasted high temperatures in the 70s in Providence.

>>Man Sentenced For Robbing Casino Patron

(Providence, RI)  --  A New England man will serve four years in Rhode Island prison for the robbery and assault of a patron at Twin River Casino in 2019.  The RI Attorney General's Office announced the sentence Tuesday for Isaiah Snell of Putnam, Connecticut.  The A.G. says the 27-year-old Snell targeted his 62-year-old victim after witnessing him count a large sum of money on the casino floor.

>>UHIP Manager Contract Extended

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee's office is announcing a contract extension with the company that runs the state's benefits system.  RI Bridges, previously known as UHIP, gained notoriety after a rocky start in 2016 which impacted the benefits of hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders.  But state officials say the system has since stabilized.  International company Deloitte has been given a new three-year contract worth nearly one-hundred-million dollars to continue managing the system.

>>Legislature Passes Bill Requiring Feminine Hygiene Products At Schools

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island General Assembly has passed legislation requiring feminine hygiene products to be provided in public schools.  The legislation was sponsored by Senator Valarie Lawson and Representative Carol Hagan McEntee.  The two lawmakers say such products need to be available in school bathrooms just like soap and toilet paper.  The bill goes to the governor's desk for consideration.

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Jim McCabe/djc          RI) CT)
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06-30-2021 01:19:03

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A heat wave is continuing to impact Rhode Island this week.  A shooting victim in Pawtucket has been identified as a former college football player.  A South County school superintendent who apologized after a student directory was used to send out political mailers has resigned.

>>Heat Index Predicted To Surpass 100 Again Tuesday And Wednesday

(Undated)  --  Rhode Island is bracing for another heat wave day.  The National Weather Service has the entire state under a Heat Advisory for predicted heat index values in the triple digits on Tuesday.  The official high temperature at T.F. Green International Airport on Monday afternoon was 92, but the head index reached 101.

>>Shooting Victim ID'd As Former College Football Player

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  A man who died from a shooting in Pawtucket this past weekend has been identified.  Twenty-nine-year-old Keshaudas Spence played football for Division-One Sacred Heart University from 2011 to 2014.  The Connecticut school says he was the program's all-time leading rusher.  Police reportedly found Spence suffering from a gunshot wound in a vehicle on George Bennett Highway early Saturday.  The shooting remains under investigation.

>>General Assembly Considering Several Firearm Bills

(Providence, RI)  --  Several gun-related bills are headed for votes in the full Rhode Island House and Senate as the legislative session is set to conclude on Wednesday.  One of the bills would ban anyone from possessing a gun on school grounds except for police and security guards.  Another would ban the purchase or transfer of a gun to someone who cannot legally own a firearm.  The third would require increased reporting of firearm cases by the Rhode Island Attorney General.  A fourth piece of legislation which would have created a tax credit for the purchase of a qualified gun safe was dropped on Monday.

>>Superintendent Involved In Political Mailer Controversy Resigns

(South Kingstown, RI)  --  A Rhode Island school superintendent who admitted to giving out private student information which was used to send political mailers has resigned.  South Kingstown superintendent Linda Savastano came under fire for allowing the school directory to be used for the mailers which urged students to support an 85-million-dollar infrastructure bond.  Voters rejected the bond request last month and Savastano apologized.

>>Top Doctor Resigning, CFO Placed On Leave At State Hospital

(Cranston, RI)  --  There's more trouble to report at Rhode Island's state hospital.  The top doctor at the facility is resigning, effective at the end of July, and the CFO has been placed on administrative leave.  Governor Dan McKee's office announced the shakeup on Monday but did not offer further details.  This comes after the release of a critical report from a national accreditation agency last week which focused on the hospital's operations.

>>Money Found To Keep WaterFire Going

(Providence, RI)  --  Funding is being announced to ensure that the iconic WaterFire event in Providence continues to be put on.  The Providence City Council is using three-hundred-thousand dollars in federal COVID relief money, and a matching amount is coming from Commerce RI.  Governor Dan McKee says WaterFire is an important tourist attraction that draws thousands of people to downtown Providence to support local businesses.

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

06-29-2021 00:58:11

Martha L. Wofford, new Pres/CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI: Next Steps

20210627-191303-wofford
 

Martha L. Wofford, new Pres/CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI: next steps – Richard Asinof

J
une 29, 2021/Richard Asinof

 

by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer on health issues

 

Photo: Martha L. Wofford, President and CEO, BCBSRI

 

The new president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Martha L. Wofford, has been working and living in Rhode Island for just two weeks, having waited until her 15-year-old finished up the school year in Colorado before officially relocating, having spent the past few months working virtually since being hired this spring.

 

Those distinct qualities of sense and sensibility emerged throughout the 30-minute conversation last week with ConvergenceRI – along with an eagerness to learn – and an honesty to admit when she did not know things, refreshing traits when it comes to a health insurance CEO in charge of one of Rhode Island’s largest health care firms.

 

Wofford previously served as group vice president at DaVita, Inc., in Denver, Colo., supporting the company’s shift to value-based care and taking full financial and clinical accountability for kidney patients.

 

Prior to joining DaVita in 2014, Wofford had worked at Aetna for nearly a decade in various leadership roles, in charge of stewarding Aetna’s efforts to deliver “simple solutions” to help consumers navigate the health care system, according to the news release announcing her hiring.

 

Wofford received at MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Swarthmore College, where she received 12 varsity letters and captained four teams, including achieving national honors in lacrosse.

 

A priority
Wofford said she had made it a priority to talk with ConvergenceRI [unlike the former and current Governor]. “I have to say, this is really a treat for me to get time [to talk] with you. I have loved reading your articles. They reflect a depth [in reporting on health], which I think is so rare.”


As you know, Wofford continued, “Health care is so complex. And so having somebody who truly understands it, to be able to bring those stories to life, is super helpful,” adding: “I appreciate the opportunity.”

 

ConvergenceRI thanked Wofford for her kind words, admitting that sometimes there was a worry about getting too much in the weeds and too in-depth for readers.

 

“I was at the Governor’s presser the other day, and I asked him a question about Medicaid, and his response was: Well, keep us informed, let us know.

 

Wofford laughed, saying: Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

 

Wofford continued: “I found your pieces on the Attorney General [Peter Neronha], it was really, as I was going in to meet him for the first time, it was just helpful to get a flavor of the person and his backbone, his ability to really hold people to account. I really found it insightful, so I really appreciate the level of journalism.” [Flattery, of course, always works. So does earnestness.]

 

Here is the ConvergenceRI interview with Martha L. Wofford, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, taking the helm at a time following the disruptions of the entire health care delivery system by the coronavirus pandemic. [Gail Carvelli, director of Public Relations at BCBSRI, sat in on the interview.]


ConvergenceRI: What lessons has Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI learned from the COVID pandemic?
WOFFORD: I’ll give you three lessons. I think the first is one that we have all found, which is: a crisis can really serve as a catalyst for positive change.

 

What we found in Rhode Island is that we have been able to really have productive collaboration among entities across the health care system.


As an example, we’ve held weekly calls with the provider community to answer questions and provide an opportunity for them to raise questions with the chief medical director or with our other medical directors. It has really helped ensure that Rhode Islanders had access to the care they needed.

 

And, the second area is, it really shone a bright light on the inequities that many of us knew were there, and I think it created more of shared perspective that there is this absolute imperative to make the system better, to build it back better, if we want to use President Biden’s phrase.

 

We are working very hard on health equity. We have a five-point plan there. I’ll give you those five quickly.

 

• First is collecting data to drive health equity with race, ethnicity and language information. We really do believe that you can’t fix what you don’t measure.

 

• Second is targeted intervention, such as addressing maternal morbidity, which is such a big problem [nationally], and it’s a big problem in Rhode Island.

 

• The third is increasing access to coverage. We have been focused on behavioral health. And, there is much more to do there.

 

• Fourth, an area that we’ve been working on for the last few years, is addressing social determinants of health and working closely with community partners on areas like housing and education.

 

• Lastly, around increasing provider diversity and cultural competencies, so that we can really meet people where they are.

 

Those are five areas within health equity. With COVID, we were able at times to focus on fewer things, to really drop everything and really deal with the pandemic. I think that let us move more quickly and have more impact, just by having greater focus.

 

A good example is our making sure that people who are most vulnerable were safe and that we were supporting them.


ConvergenceRI: I always look at interviews as sort of like a piece of jazz music: you get to improvise, to listen and then respond. Two quick follow-ups: One is about data and data collection. It would seem to me that data collection for 2020 will always be skewed and will have to have an asterisk, because there were so many disruptions. With the actual data, if you try and compare it in a longitudinal way, it may not work. I was wondering if you had taken any steps to try and analyze the data differently, knowing that you couldn’t use it in the same fashion as you had before.
WOFFORD: It’s a really good question. I’m going to answer it in two ways. The first is, the kind of data that we’re talking about is, for instance, things like HEDIS measures [Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, which measures performance in health care where improvements can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives], which I am sure you’re familiar with, but probably not all your readers would be.

 

You do things like measure diabetes control, A1C3; or you measure screenings; or [whether] bone density screening is happening; and what are the percentage of patients who are hypertensive. We measure all these things.

 

But what we tend to do is measure them on average. And what we don’t do is say: How many patients who were Black are hypertensive? How many are getting the right screenings. What is the A1C3 when you look at it at a population level? What about if you look at it by language? Or, are women who are Hispanic getting the same rate of bone density screening as others?

 

I think, that as a health care system, we have not historically done that. And, once we look at that data, it will show what many of us know: which is, people of color are much less likely to get a lot of the routine screenings and other things that they should be getting.

 

I think it is imperative that we start to measure that. Yes, we will see some pickup [in utilization] in the past year, because people didn’t go to the doctor as much. [The total of] all the screenings will be less than they would have been otherwise.

 

But, on an ongoing basis, [the question is]: How do you start to gather this data at a granular level so you can start to understand what populations are missing out on preventive care.

 

On the question about data [results] overall though the pandemic, I’d say one thing we can do is that we go back to the year before to look at what we would have expected in a normal year. So that can sometimes help, if you sort of pull back, and aren’t looking at individuals, but if you are looking at the market [trends] overall and what you would expect.


 

So, 2020 will always be a little bit of a strange year, with a lot of volatility, but really, we are starting to see normal utilization return this year, and it’s starting to look fairly similar. So, it’s more like a one-year blip, we think, in terms of the data.

 

ConvergenceRI: That’s a good answer. At this point, I’m not sure we will ever return to what was “normal” before, whether it comes to office visits, or to screenings, or the whole way our lives have changed, because so much more is virtual rather than in person.

 

In August of last year, as part what I call your proactive response to the pandemic, you basically stopped co-pays for a number of things, not just things related to COVID but things such as physical therapy. But then the co-pays were begun again on Jan.1, 2021.

 

How important are co-pays? And, what have you learned in terms of the pandemic, moving to the post-pandemic world, how we make that transition? How important co-pays are to your bottom line, and whether or not they add value to what you are doing?
WOFFORD: That’s a really good question. I’m going to do my best [to answer it]. I wasn’t here then. First of all, we actually suspended co-pays in March of 2020 for everything COVID-related, I think that was important leadership; we can talk about the return of some of that in a minute.

 

One of the things we did was to remove all co-pays for behavioral health. Which I think is incredibly important, [when] you are trying to improve access.

 

I don’t know all of the categories that co-pays were removed for. And I think it’s really hard to say exactly [what] impact that co-pays have on consumer behavior.

 

I think you want as much preventive care to be happening as possible. But there are obviously some areas that you can tend to see over-utilization without co-pays.

 

If you look at the health economics [research] on some of the [utilization data], chiropractic is sort of the classic example, areas where if you don’t have limits or co-pays, you will see a lot of utilization, some of [which] isn’t always healthy,

 

I’m probably not as deep in [in understanding the history of] this as I could be, in terms of what we did then. But I’m happy to go back and research any of this for you, if that’s helpful.

 

But I think it’s a good question, I think you want to remove co-pays whenever reducing any friction can help a consumer get preventive [care].

 

ConvergenceRI: That makes sense. And, to be totally transparent, the change in January directly impacted me.

 

 I have been diagnosed with auto-immune encephalitis, so I am losing my ability to walk. My condition seems to have stabilized recently, and one of the key therapies is physical therapy.

 

If I could, I would do it two times a week, but, when I started getting hit with co-pays for every visit, I had to cut back to once a week, because it was going to be, in terms of the amount of money spent over a year, it essentially made two times a week unaffordable for me.


It may not be “professional” to share that, but part of me is being totally transparent and honest, that was something that hit me directly. All of sudden, the co-pays came back into place, and there was no warning about that happening when it occurred. Neither I, or my physical therapist, received any warning when the co-pays were re-instituted.
CARVELLI: Richard, I’m not sure that Martha is getting all of the last question. She is freezing up on my screen, so I’m not sure if it is happening on her side as well. I can definitely look into more on that as well.

 

ConvergenceRI: Thanks, Gail. Moving right along, Martha, can you tell me how strong is the financial health of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI? And how to define that strength?
CARVELLI: Martha, were you able to hear Richard’s question about financial health. It looks like she just froze up again on my screen.

 

WOFFORD: We’re having some Wi-Fi issues today. But we will research that Richard, that’s news to me about when they put [those co-pays] back.

 

ConvergenceRI: Should I repeat the question that I just asked?
WOFFORD: That would be great.

 

ConvergenceRI: How strong is the financial health of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI? And how would you define that strength?
WOFFORD: Thanks for the question. We are in a strong financial position. We turned the company around over the past five years to where we stopped generating losses and now consistently generate a very low margin [of profit], about 1.5 percent, one that is consistent, which is really positive.

 

I would just say that we recognize how hard the pandemic was for the people of Rhode Island, and we gave financial relief to members, giving out [more than] $25 million in premium and debt relief.

 

[The pandemic] was pretty hard on our employees, so one of the things we did during the pandemic was to raise the minimum hourly wage for our associates to $20 an hour.

 

In terms of financial stability, as I mentioned before, health care utilization continues to return to pre-pandemic levels, so we expect more of a return to normal and reduced volatility.

 

[Moving forward], health equity is going to be an area we are going to be investing in heavily. And, in trying to improve the member experience – and in building capability with our provider partners. We’re really focused on how to help physicians keep their patients as healthy as possible – and to be compensated for that. Those are three areas that we are going to be investing in the coming years.

 

ConvergenceRI: In terms of health care costs and financial stability, one of the things that I found fairly remarkable was that an in-depth cost trend analysis for Rhode Island, looking at claims data for 2018 and 2019, found that the major driver of rising medical costs in Rhode Island, across all insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance, was rising pharmacy costs. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “Prescription drugs, not utilization, are driving high health costs in RI.”] What are the fixes to reduce the cost of pharmacy?
WOFFORD: It is both surprising and not. It’s surprising that pharmacy continues to rise so heavily. We saw approximately a 20 percent increase in our pharmacy spend year over year, and that’s a combination of retail as well as specialty pharmacy.

 

Specialty pharmacy has just been exploding in the number of different medications and interventions. The cost [trends] of those are exponential, in terms of the costs that are on the horizon.


I think it is very concerning how much pharmacy is now driving overall increases in health care costs – and it is projected to continue to do that, in the pace of those costs.

 

ConvergenceRI: What do you think the fix should be? Does there need to be more regulation? Does the state need to be able to get involved in negotiations directly around pharmacy costs? We are about to see an explosion in costs from the new Alzheimer’s drug, with a projected increase in Medicare spending of $29 billion in one year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. How do we deal with this?
WOFFORD: I wish I knew. I don’t think anybody has the playbook about how you address the explosion in costs. I think it is going to have to be a combination of things. From the very mundane, such as “step therapy,” which is not popular, but is important to managing costs. [Editor’s note: Step therapy means trying less expensive options before “stepping up” to drugs that cost more, according to a post by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.]

 

One of the things that happens is that some of these new blockbuster drugs, you know, they get marketed really heavily. And then, if people want [those drugs], [being able to give] the right drug for everybody for that condition, having access is important.

 

But, I think we are going to need the right kind of regulation as well.


 

I think there are lots of questions about this new Alzheimer’s drug, and obviously, with some of the physicians stepping off the panel that approved it, and disagreeing that it should have been approved. It just raises a lot of questions. So, I don’t know what the answer is, but we are going to need a lot of creativity if we are going to be able to keep health care costs down.

 

Which is so important to all of us, because those dollars end up coming out of our wallets, one way or the other.

 

As somebody who is fairly new to Rhode Island, I’m really excited about [the potential the state has to come] out of this pandemic and driving economic growth. I think the stimulus dollars will be helpful. We’re going to have to keep health care costs moderated, so that dollars can go into wages and go into new, really competitive jobs.

 

I think we are going to need creativity [to figure out] how do we manage the drug spend, for sure.

 

ConvergenceRI: You began to talk about “step therapy.” In the past few weeks, when I knew this interview was scheduled, I spoke with a number of folks, including my primary care physician and my neurologist, asking them what questions they would want to ask you, if they had the opportunity.

 

They said they wanted to ask about “step therapy” – and I understand that it is important, from your perspective, for controlling costs. But the concern they voiced was that it sometimes prevented the patient from getting what they needed as soon as possible for what they saw as the best recommended drug.

 

Let me ask you: how can we have a bigger discussion about that? I had never heard about “step therapy” before, until it was raised it with me. Is there an opportunity to engage with other folks in finding perhaps a new collaborative approach to these issues?

 

WOFFORD: We would be happy to have conversations. What we do today is we convene a committee, a “pharmacy and therapeutics” committee, which is comprised of 12 physicians, 10 of whom are in the local market. And, then we have two that are community pharmacists.

 

So, we bring physicians together in the community to assess what is the evidence base, what are new drugs coming to market, how should we handle them. So, we go to the community to get the plan of what needs to go through “step therapy,” and how that should work – what are the steps that people should go through.

 

A lot of it is about patient safety as well as cost Physicians get marketed really heavily by pharmaceutical companies so, trying to cut through some of that noise, to ask: what is the evidence base in those applications, what is the best drug for this individual, is a point of process.

 

I know it can be frustrating. I’ve been on the other side as a patient [advocate]. My mom is 86, and I help her navigate health care, which is very hard.

 

I know it can be frustrating, because it does take longer to get the drug that you want. But I have also had situations where my mother has been put on different drugs that we thought we wanted, and it ended up being a very good solution for her.

 

For consumers or even the physicians, it is very hard to keep up with the evidence base; it keeps growing every week, every month, at a pace that no physician could possibly keep up with, without help. So, I think we are convening these committees to try to provide a process that works. We do try to make it easy for physicians to go through this.

 

We have a website that is intended to make it as easy as possible for them to take their patients through the process and get them to a drug that meets their needs.

 

I’m happy to have more conversation with community members on it. But again, we’re trying to look at what are all of the tools that we have to try and manage cost and quality.

 

CARVELLI: Richard, I’m going to add just one thing, too, to think about, which Martha spoke about, the marketing to physicians and even to the patients themselves. The U.S. is only one of two countries that allow direct consumer marketing for pharmaceuticals. It’s often about patients going into to see their doctors and saying: I want this, because of the advertising they’ve seen. And, it may not be the best drug for them.

 

ConvergenceRI: That’s a very good point, Gail. If it’s OK with you, can I ask my neurologist, who asked me to ask the question, to follow up with you?
WOFFORD: For sure. And I will connect him or her with our chief medical officer, because he is the person who oversees this process, if that’s OK.

 

ConvergenceRI: What is your current view of the hospital consolidation plans between Brown, Care New England and Lifespan? Is that something you can talk about?
WOFFORD: Sure. I think, personally, I am really optimistic around what this could hold for the state of Rhode Island. Where we are right now is that we are looking for greater levels of detail on how quality would be improved, how would costs be contained, how do we maintain the level of access, and how do we improve health equity in the state. These are areas that are really, really important.

 

It is part of our responsibility to our members. We are looking forward to dialogue with the parties around their plans.

 

ConvergenceRI: Do you have any preliminary results that you can share from the surveys for the third annual R.I. Life Index?
WOFFORD: Not yet. We are currently out in the market with the research. We are super excited to be working on the third R.I. Life Index. It’s part of this whole mantra that it’s so important to measure things, so that you can really understand where the gaps are, so that then we can go and fix them.

 

It’s great to be partnering in the community. One thing that I am really excited about is that we are expanding the number of languages that are included as we do the survey – we’ve got Spanish and Portuguese and we’re adding Hmong and I think Cape Verdean Creole.

 

I think it’s 10 more languages that we’re adding to our survey, so we should be able to gather more input from many folks who likely are disadvantaged in their access.

 

It’s a very exciting, important area where we partner with the community. We’ve been able to really pivot with our own giving, based on our finding. Our focus on [affordable] housing has been new in the last couple of years, and we’ve invested $2 million so far. We think it’s really important to the community and to achieving health equity.

 

ConvergenceRI: Blue Cross is one of the stakeholders that has been participating in discussions with the 10-year statewide health plan being developed in collaboration with the Rhode Island Foundation. Have you personally been able to be involved with any of the discussions?
WOFFORD: I have spent some time with Rhode Island Foundation folks, not so much in the 10-year plan, but just overall, [looking at] what do we want health care to look like in the market, how do we think about some of the ARP [American Rescue Plan federal] dollars and how those might be spent.

 

ConvergenceRI: Two years ago, there was a data mining analysis by the national Blue Cross Association that found Rhode Island had one of the highest rates of MS in the nation. [See link below to ConvergenceRI story, “ Why does RI have the second highest MS diagnosis rate in the U.S.?]

 

I was wondering, first, were you aware of that, and secondly, what potential follow up there might be. When you do meta-data analyses, how do you follow up?
WOFFORD: It’s a great question. And I do not know the answer. I do think there are a lot of opportunities to understand these trends.

 

I will try to find out what the next steps on MS that we’ve taken. I think, in general, the way I look at the data we will be gathering on health equity with the R.I. Life Index is that it will chart the course for us on the areas that we will invest in.

 

When we talk about interventions, we know that maternal morbidity is an issue. The data will help us chart our course forward, by identifying those areas that have some of the biggest gaps.

 

ConvergenceRI: When you talk about health equity, one of the largest health equity zones is the Central Providence HEZ, which has ONE Neighborhood Builders as the backbone agency. In December, they received $8 million from Blue Meridian Partners, and last week, they distributed some $400,000 in grants to local agencies across the city.
Have you had a chance yet to dialogue with Jennifer Hawkins, who is the executive director of ONE Neighborhood Builders?
WOFFORD I have not yet. And, that’s based on my just arriving to the state, two weeks here on the East Coast. I was working for my first couple of months from Denver, letting my 15-year-old finish up the school year.


I may be a little behind in some of those conversations. I am really excited that the health equity zones have been using our R.I. Life Index data to help inform equity zones, on how do you focus investments in a specific geography to move holistically with that population.

 

There are two approaches, to try to address things like screenings across the whole state, or you can do something broadly, where you are touching housing and education and health care access all in a geography. I think that those are both really important tactics, so I am eager to see how this work actually drives impacts.

_____

 
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.

RECALL: Certain Frozen Shimp Products

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Description automatically generated

For: Immediate release

Date: June 28, 2021

Contact: Joseph Wendelken (401-378-0704)

 

Avanti Frozen Foods Recalling Certain Shrimp Products

 

The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that Avanti Frozen Foods is recalling certain shrimp products because they could have been contaminated with Salmonella. These shrimp products were sold under the brand names Censea, Hannaford, Open Acres, Waterfront Bistro, Honest Catch, Chicken of the Sea, 365, and Meijer.

 

The frozen shrimp products were distributed nationwide from December 2020 to February 2021. These products were sold in various unit sizes and some were packaged with cocktail sauce. Additional information about the specific products being recalled, including container descriptions and expiration dates, is available online.

 

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis, and arthritis.

 

Consumers who have purchased the products being recalled should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Leaders Follow Their Instinct

Leaders Follow Their Instinct – Mary T. O’Sullivan

 
June 28, 2021/Mary OSullivan

 

By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL

 

“Leaders need to have good instincts. They learn to trust their gut.” Anonymous

 

Who could forget the gutsy actions of Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberg on January 15, 2009, when a bird strike forced him to land his 737 in the middle of the Hudson River? All 155 people aboard survived, and Sullenberger himself was the last one off the plane. In those precious minutes before his plane hit the water, the Captain had decisions to make. Would he return to the airport or find another one nearby? His thought process went into high gear. He relied on his gut instinct and skill to make the decision that the safest and quickest way to get out of the air with two dead engines was to land in the frigid river directly below him. With that quick decision-making ability, he managed to save all those lives as his plane floated helplessly in the icy January waters.

 

Can you imagine what could have happened if Captain Sullenberg couldn’t make a decision? What could have happened if he became paralyzed thinking of too many choices? One hundred and fifty-five souls survived because of Captain Sullenberg’s resolution, level-headedness, and grit.

 

But you don’t have to be a highly skilled airline pilot to be decisive. You just have to learn to trust your instinct and follow your gut.

 

You may never be a hero, but you can save yourself time and alleviate the frustration of those around you if you break loose of mistaken belief that all the calculous has to work out perfectly. This mindset throws people into a cycle of overthinking, and lack of action.

 

How can you tell if you are an overthinker?

 

Do you try to work out every possibility in your mind, proposing endless “what if” scenarios? Do you get a feeling that something’s missing in your “if, then, therefore” logic? Do you sweat every last detail of a decision, from how many towels to bring to the beach, to gaining the courage to apply for a promotion?

 

If this sounds like you, you have what is known as “analysis paralysis.” That means that you spend so much time imaging what might be a potential outcome in endless possible scenarios. It means you never take that first step and nothing you thought of in your analysis, none of your scenarios, ever play out in reality, because you’re so busy thinking about them there isn’t time for them to come to fruition.

 

It’s common knowledge that hemming and hawing makes us feel and appear ineffective. Leadership development programs for years emphasized that when you finally achieve that leadership position, you need to appear strong and decisive, resolute, and demonstrate some grit.  In fact, some weak leaders trick themselves into thinking they are protecting themselves by doing nothing. Or, to distract from a problematic issue, to keep people’s attention away from an embarrassing question, like why there’s a new VP ensconced every six months. These leaders make the conscious decision to do nothing because they don’t have the backbone to make anything happen and worry endlessly about every decision that comes their way. If you’ve had a boss like that, you know the frustration of waiting for her decision to materialize on funding for a new project or reviewing upcoming promotions, including yours.

 

Teddy Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”  You wouldn’t want to be derided for all of history for not stepping up where action is called for. Janus, the Roman god with two faces, one side facing front and the other facing back symbolizes the struggle between making a decision or not. A side has to be chosen, a side picked, a decision made.

 

Throughout history, indecisiveness has brought calamity and misfortune upon nations. Neville Chamberlain’s indecisiveness after his failure to “appease” the Nazis caused the UK to plunge into war. Chamberlain was considered a failure because the Nazis broke their word. Soon after the “appeasement” meeting, the Nazis savaged Poland. That success, encouraged them to then invade most of the rest of Europe.

 

During the US Civil War, General George B. McClellan was ordered to take aggressive military action against the South, but his overly cautious nature led to his demise. He overestimated the size of his opponent’s forces and did not follow logic or President Lincoln’s orders. His hesitancy to attack led to his removal from command. (The National Interest, Commanders of Chaos: The 5 Worst Generals in U.S. History, November 8, 2014)

 

Neither one of these figures could muster up the confidence and instinct it takes to make good decisions. It leaves history to wonder, what were they thinking? Let’s explore what happens when your swirling mind blocks out your gift of intuition, or instinct. One idea piles up on top of another, thus avoiding making the tough call (the right call, as Roosevelt said). You don’t know which choice to make and you don’t want to make a mistake or let anyone down.  

 

When a colleague asks about a making a new hire, you say you’ll get back to them; then you fret that you can’t find the right fit for that important slot. You review again the many resumes piled up on your desk, you see so many great potentials, it’s too hard to choose. You consult your HR recruiter again, and she has two strong recommendations., You thank her, take her recommendations, and stare out your picture window. Your phone rings and you see it’s the headhunter you hired, you let the call go to voice mail. You wish the last person in that position had never left – he got a better offer while waiting for you to counter-offer, but you just couldn’t make up your mind. Now it’s lunch time and you close your shades and jump on your exercise bike. Maybe you’ll get some ideas after some exercise, during your private shower.

 

Now you can easily see how the indecisive CEO’s desk becomes the swirling cyclonic edge of a great black hole. This is where time passes far slower than anywhere else in the universe. The CEO’s desk is the “singularity,” the sucking point of time and space. (According to NASA, a black hole’s gravity is so powerful that it is able to pull in nearby material and “eat” it.)

 

Think of yourself as this CEO: What if you stepped back, gave yourself a break, and just let your mind rest? Maybe another voice within you could be heard, a feeling could overcome you; if you listen, maybe you’ll hear the sound of your gut instinct telling you to act.

 

For the late Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, following instincts was as important as his quarterly reviews. He expected his leaders to take “scanty data” and make sense out of it. He also expected people to do their research, and not make snap decisions. Welch realized that developing the confidence to go with gut instinct can take years to mature. He expected his leaders to take “intelligent” risks. In fact, Jack Welch rewarded risk taking. To encourage innovative thinking, he firmly believed that intelligent risk taking should not be punished. In fact, when one of his teams was tasked with creating an energy efficient light bulb, they succeeded, however, the light bulb’s price was over $10.00. because their current manufacturing methods were too expensive. Welch’s comment? “We were ahead of our time.” All 120 of his team members were rewarded with cash, trips and more.

 

We all have the ability to use our gut when making decisions, we just let our “monkey mind” get in the way. Monkey mind is not a made-up term.  It is, in reality, a term from Buddhism meaning “unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable.”   

 

To be effective, we have to mentally sort through the available data and make educated guesses, especially under pressure. As Welch recognized, it takes time to develop “street smarts,” it’s not exactly an overnight process.

 

You’ll notice that in war conditions, soldiers are able to sense when something isn’t going right and predict enemy movements. After several months or years in battle, instinct kicks in and can save lives. There is no time for over thinking in combat. Similarly, police are well known for following their instincts, they get a feeling about a suspect, witness or case. More times than not, hunches turn out to be facts. If you’ve been working in organizations for a number of years, you see CEOs, VPs, and others come and go. You become highly educated in the politics needed to survive and how to position yourself to avoid landmines. You develop a savviness, a sixth sense, you can tell how long someone will last or what the next steps in the organization will be. You’ll even learn what battles to pick and when you need to use “hand to hand combat.”

 

For instance, let’s take Sarah, an executive director at a major university. Sarah was facing a crossroads in her career. She had many ideas about her future but could not decide on just one. She discussed numerous scenarios; moving thousands of miles away, applying for local opportunities, maybe changing careers completely, and many other “what ifs.” Each conversation surrounded some new venture that interested her, and there were so many, it was hard to keep track. All involved some level of risk taking. Her indecision was causing tension on her job, she hesitated to make important connections, and dithered rather than acted to bring her closer to a goal, any goal.

 

The constant spinning in her mind distracted her from her everyday duties, including staffing, preparation for the coming semester’s work, and important departmental decisions. She was distracted at home as well. Her domestic life became strained, as she changed her mind daily about the family’s future; would they move, sell the house, where could the husband find work, would they homeschool the kids? The anxiety she was creating both at work and home was affecting her marriage as well. Her husband became more apprehensive about her lack of decision making and concerned about when she would definitively settle on something, anything.

 

Finally, after several months of almost maddening vacillation, she came to some conclusions. She decided that she and her husband did not want to move. Then she decided, surprisingly, that she did not want to stay in an academic setting. By chance, she stumbled upon a private sector job very similar to the one she held at the university.

 

How did Sarah become so sure about her need to make a big move, to seek an alternative plan? After a lot of thinking, she decided to sit with herself in a quiet setting over a long vacation and focus on her gut. She stopped the monkey mind, and in her quiet time, away from distractions, she listened to her inner self.  Her instinct told her what she didn’t want to hear all along, and finally helped her decide what she truly wanted to do.

 

All leaders don’t have the luxury of vacillating for weeks at a time, like Sarah, but after avoiding her truth for many months, this leader finally learned how to follow her gut. And once this skill was learned and practiced, all her decisions fell into place.

 

The consequences of leaders who couldn’t make decisions and didn’t follow their gut are all around us. Think about the lasting reputation of some former leaders who vacillated. The problem often was not that they were weak, but that they were indecisive and did not believe or follow their instincts. In Japan in 2010, a very popular and handsome Prime Minister swept into power on big promises that he eventually couldn’t deliver. He was known to have “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.” But over time, he couldn’t live up to his initial promises, and he quickly fell out of favor. His “flip-flop” on very important decisions facing the country, rendered him ineffective. His continued reversal of some of his earlier decisions was perceived by all as indecisive. Elected in September of 2009, by June of 2010, he was out. But maybe this indecisiveness was not entirely his fault. The Japanese culture was once a feudal society, where collectivism was a social norm. Decisions weren’t made quickly and depended on the approval of the leader. Apparently, the new Prime Minister experienced cultural barriers to performing his duties as a leader. His own inability to make a decision was based in acting in a subordinate’s role. Therefore, the root of his failed tenure as Prime Minister grew from old cultural norms and beliefs. He didn’t make room in his repertoire of gifts for using his gut instincts to run the country. What would his political career have looked like if he trusted himself, stepped up and took power as expected?

 

Bill Walsh, who coached the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowls articulates his leadership philosophy as “committing to a plan of attack, executing it, and then instinctively reacting to the results.” It’s a philosophy that applies not just to NFL coaches, but also to startup founders, managers, and team leaders.

 

It’s a philosophy that can help you, as an individual, succeed in decision making when confronted with the daily choices that we are all challenged to make.

 

Breaking an old business model is always going to require leaders to follow their instincts…But if you only do what worked in the past, you will wake up one day and find that you’ve been passed by.” – Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor

 

Excerpt taken from: The Leader You Don’t Want to Be: Transform Your Leadership Style from “Command and Control” to Transformative Visionary. By Mary T. O’Sullivan, MSOL

 

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads and Google Books and at www.VisionaryLeaderBook.com

 

Connect with Mary:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marytosullivan/

 

https://www.facebook.com/Encoreexecutivecoaching

 

mary@encoreexecutivecoaching.com

 

www.encoreexecutivecoaching.com

 

401-742-1965

 

_____

 

Mary T. O’Sullivan, Master of Science, Organizational Leadership, International Coaching Federation Professional Certified Coach, Society of Human Resource Management, “Senior Certified Professional. Graduate Certificate in Executive and Professional Career Coaching, University of Texas at Dallas.

Member, Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society.

Advanced Studies in Education from Montclair University, SUNY Oswego and Syracuse University.

Mary is also a certified Six Sigma Specialist, Contract Specialist, IPT Leader and holds a Certificate in Essentials of Human Resource Management from SHRM.

Buy My Book– coming soon

“The Field Guide” to The Leader You Don’t Want to Be

 

Tracking legislation of interest to seniors as RI General Assembly wraps up

Tracking legislation of interest to seniors as RI General Assembly wraps up – Herb Weiss

 
June 28, 2021/Herb Weiss

 

By Herb Weiss, contributing writer on aging issues

 

In the waning days of the 2021 legislative session, RI House lawmakers approved a $13.1 billion state budget for the 2022 fiscal year (by a party-line vote of 64 Democrats to 10 Republicans) that boosts key supports for vulnerable Rhode Islanders — particularly affordable housing and social services— without imposing any broad-based tax increases.

 

The budget plan also fully funds K-12 education, boosts support for higher education, restores funding to Eleanor Slater Hospital and funds a first-of-its-kind statewide program for police body cameras.  

 

Additionally, the budget codifies the state’s existing Livable Home Grant Program to provide subsidies (up to 50%) for certain disability and accessibility home modifications, which will enable older people to remain in their homes. The budget includes $500,000 for the Livable Home Grant Program.
 

 

At press time, the state budget moves to the Senate for consideration. Once passed by the upper Chamber and signed into law by Gov. Dan McKee, the budget covers the new fiscal year, beginning July 1.

 

In the Waning Days…

 

According to Larry Berman, the House’s Communication Director, 1,470 bills were introduced in the House and 978 in the Senate. According to the RI General Assembly’s bill tracker, less than 30 are identified as directly related to seniors.

 

Here is a sampling of these bills:

 

The Nursing Home Staffing and Quality Care Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin (D- District 1, Providence) and Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-District 10, Providence), sets minimum staffing levels for Rhode Island nursing homes and was signed into law by Gov. McKee, two days after General Assembly passage. The legislation (S 0002A, H 5012Aaa) will establish a minimum standard of 3.58 hours of resident care per day, initially, and 3.81 hours of resident care per day beginning January 1, 2023. The bill also provides funding to raise wages for direct care staff to help recruit and retain a stable and qualified workforce.

 

With final votes in both chambers, the General Assembly approved The Elder Adult Financial Act sponsored by Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-District 32, Barrington, Bristol and East Providence) and Rep. Joseph J. Solomon, Jr. (D-District 22, Warwick). The legislation requires financial institutions to report suspected financial exploitation of seniors to the Office of Healthy Aging and authorizing them to temporarily hold transactions they suspect as such. The legislation will be sent to the governor for signature. The legislation (S 0264A, H 5642A) would require financial institutions to train employees to recognize indicators of elderly financial exploitation, and on their obligation to properly report it and place a hold on suspicious transactions. The legislation was the result of recommendations made by the Special Task Force to Study Elderly Abuse and Financial Exploitation, a group led by Sen. Coyne that met in 2018 and 2019 to explore the facets of elder abuse and make policy recommendations to address them.

 

Rep. Gregg Amore (D-District 65, East Providence) and Sen. Valarie J. Lawson’s (D-District 14, East Providence) legislation, The Uniform Control Substance Act, would exclude chronic intractable pain from the definition of “acute pain management” for the purposes of prescribing opioid medication has been signed into law by Gov. McKee. The legislation (H 5247A, S 0384A) calls for new guidelines for treatment of chronic intractable pain based upon the consideration of the individualized needs of patients suffering from it. The legislation acknowledges that every patient and their needs are different, especially those suffering from chronic pain. Chronic intractable pain is defined as pain that is excruciating constant, incurable, and of such severity that it dominates virtually every constant, moment. It also produces mental and physical debilitation and may produce a desire to suicide for the sole purpose of stopping the pain.

 

The House passed legislation sponsored by Rep. June S. Speakman (D-District 68, Warren, Bristol) to allow visitation for nursing home residents by a designated family member or caregiver during a state of emergency. Under the Rights of Nursing Home Patients legislation, an essential caregiver would be an individual—whether a family member or friend of a resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility – who is designated to provide physical or emotional support to the resident during a declaration of disaster emergency. The legislation (H 5543aa) would require the Department of Health to create rules and regulations providing for the designation of essential caregivers to provide in-person physical or emotional support to a resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility during the period of 15 days after a declaration of disaster emergency and until 60 days after the termination of the declaration. The bill would require DOH to develop rules and regulations on designating an essential caregiver and the criteria to qualify. Those rules would include health and safety regulations as well as requirements allowing an essential caregiver to have regular and sustained in-person visitation and physical access to a resident of the nursing home or long-term care facility. The bill now goes to the Senate, which on June 1st passed companion legislation (S 0006A) sponsored by introduced by Sen. Frank S. Lombardi (D-District 26, Cranston).

 

As part of its ongoing efforts of addressing the cost of prescription drugs, the RI Senate passed legislation that requires pharmaceutical companies to disclose drug pricing information and legislation would prohibit an annual or lifetime dollar limit on drug benefits. The first legislative proposal (S 0494A), which was introduced by Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio (D-District 4, North Providence, Providence) would require the pharmaceutical manufacturers disclose to the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner the wholesale acquisition costs of drugs if this cost is at least $100 for a 30-day supply. It would also require the disclosure of pharmacy benefit management information to include rebates, price protection payments and other payments that are saved by the pharmacy, health plan issuer or enrollees at the point of the drug. The second one, (S 0381A), which was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-District 29, Warwick), would require that health plans that provide prescription drug coverage not include an annual or lifetime dollar limit on drug benefits. It would also cap out-of-pocket expenses that some consumers would be required to pay for prescription drugs.  The measures now move to the House for consideration.

 

The Senate also approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Melissa A. Murray (D-District 27, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) limiting insured patients’ copays for insulin used to treat diabetes to $40 for a 30-day supply. The legislation (S 0170A), which is part of the Senate’s prescription drug affordability legislative package, would apply to all insurance plans that cover insulin. Under the legislation, insurers would be required to cap the total amount that any covered person is required to pay for covered insulin at $40 for a 30-day supply, regardless of the amount or type of insulin prescribed. It also forbids that coverage from being submit to any deductible. The bill does allow insurers to charge less if they choose. The cost of insulin has risen sharply over the years, and the cost is much higher in the United States than in other countries.  Millions of Americans depend on insulin for the management of diabetes. The legislation goes to the lower chamber, where House Speaker Pro Tempore Brian Patrick Kennedy (D-District. 38, Hopkinton, Westerly) is sponsoring a companion bill (H 5196A).

 

Finally, the passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Valarie J. Larson (D-District 14, East Providence) would increase temporary caregiver benefits for Rhode Islanders. The bill (S 0688) increases temporary caregiver benefits to six weeks in a benefit year starting Jan. 1, 2022, and would increase temporary caregiver benefits to eight weeks in a benefit year beginning Jan. 1, 2023.Rhode Island was the third state in the nation to pass a paid family leave programs when it enacted the Temporary Caregiver Insurance program in 2013.  It provides up to four weeks of partial (about 60%) wage replacement for workers who need to take time from their jobs to care for a serious ill family member or to bond with a newborn, adopted or foster child.  The worker’s job and seniority are protected while the worker is on leave.An amended companion measure (H 6090A), sponsored by House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-District 63, East Providence) passes the House and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

 

Deputy House Republican Minority Leader, George Nardone (R-Dist. 28, Coventry, Rep. Michael Chippendale (R-Dist. 40, Coventry, Foster, and Glocester and Rep. Raymond A. Hull (R-District 6, Providence) submitted H 5547 to ensure proper, safe, and personal contact with loved ones in congregate care facilities.  The legislation addresses the COVID-19 mandates that denied access to individuals in hospitals, group homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and Veterans homes. The purpose of this legislation is to entitle all residents of healthcare facilities and group homes the opportunity to designate a support person for regular, in-person visits. The policy is designed to balance disease transmission protocols with the benefits of having a loved one present during a lockdown. The House Health & Human Services Committee recommended the legislation be held for further study.

 

Senate Minority Whip Jessica de la Cruz (R-Dist. 23, Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield, introduced S 644 to provide medical assistance coverage for medical services provided qualifying eligible recipients for community-based care. The Senate Health & Human Services Committee has also recommended the legislation be held for further study.

 

Thoughts from the Sidelines at AARP

 

AARP Rhode Island says they “…are thrilled that the Livable Home Modification Grant Program, which provides matching funds for needed construction to ensure that Rhode Islanders with disabilities can remain safely and comfortably at home, was included in the FY22 budget,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor. “That was the highlight of the budget for us. Codifying this program has been a major priority.

 

“Another important win was enactment of the Elder Adult Financial Exploitation Prevention Act. This law is an important new tool to fight for the one-in-five older Rhode Islanders who is a victim of financial exploitation, with an average loss of $120,000. AARP-RI wrote to Governor McKee urging him to sign this critical legislation and they are delighted that he has done so.  This will be a game-changer in the effort to protect the life savings of older Rhode Islanders.

 

“Now we have our eye on the number of prescription drug bills that we’ve been working hard on, and we’re hopeful they will see passage before the end of the session. At this time, there are four Senate-approved Rx bills that need action in the House, and we are eagerly awaiting House passage of Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy’s insulin cap bill.

 

The Legislative session is expected to end by the end of next week. Stay tuned to see what legislative proposals ultimately make it to the Governor’s desk for signature.

 

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

 

_____

 

 

Herb Weiss has enjoyed a distinguished 41 year career in journalism, earning a national reputation as an expert on aging, health care and medical issues. Over 780 articles that he has authored or coauthored have appeared in national, state and local publications. Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Him to the Rhode Island Advisory Commission on aging. Today, Herb’s weekly newspaper column appears in the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket call, two North Rhode Island daily newspapers, and will now run in RINewsToday.com. Herb and his wife, Patty Zacks, reside in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

 
 

Rhode Island News Today

24/7 News Source 06/27/2021 23:56:07
Rhode Island Summary AM



>>The Latest

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Getting set for a late-June heat wave.  A Rhode Island woman is accused of causing a rat problem in her city.  The Red Sox sweep their biggest rivals once more.

>>Heat Wave This Week

(Undated)  --  A heat wave is set to grip much of Southern New England this week.  The National Weather Service has a Heat Advisory in effect for an area that includes northern Rhode Island until Tuesday evening.  The weather service says heat index values today and tomorrow will get as high as 104 degrees.

>>MA Man Dead In Pawtucket Shooting

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  One person is dead after a weekend shooting in Pawtucket.  Police say a 29-year-old Massachusetts man was found with a gunshot wound in a car stopped on George Bennett Highway early-morning Saturday.  The unidentified victim was pronounced dead at Rhode Island Hospital.

>>Cranston Woman Allegedly Causes Rat Problem

(Cranston, RI)  --  A Cranston resident is being accused of causing a rodent problem.  WJAR-TV reports Melissa Davis appeared in municipal court last week to answer to a city ordinance violation that prohibits the feeding of wild animals.  Davis allegedly attracted a large number of rats in her neighborhood.  The city says it will take months to remediate the issue.

>>Scooter Rider Injured In Providence Recovering

(Newport, RI)  --  The scooter rider who was injured in a police officer-involved crash in Providence last year is progressing in his recovery.  The father of Newport native Jhamal Gonsalves, who had been in a coma, gave that update to The Providence Journal last week.  Gonsalves, who suffered a traumatic brain injury, has begun speaking, reading and walking again while he continues to undergo rehab.  No charges were filed against the two police officers who were involved in the crash last October, which happened while authorities were escorting a large group of motorcyclists through the city.

>>RI Announces Unemployment Benefit Increase

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training is announcing an unemployment benefit increase.  The state says maximum weekly benefits will rise to six-hundred-61 dollars effective July 4th.  The weekly temporary disability insurance benefit will go up to nine-hundred-78 bucks.

>>Red Sox Sweep Yanks Again

(Boston, MA)  --  The Red Sox swept the Yankees for the second time in a month this weekend.  The final score from Fenway Park on Sunday was 9-to-2.  Boston is 47-and-31 and holds first place in the American League East by a half-game over Tampa Bay.  The Sox host Kansas City tonight. 

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

06-28-2021 00:11:33

In the Arena - with Mark Haywood

In the Arena – with Mark Haywood, District Director, SBA for RI

 
June 27, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Each week Joe Paolino, Jr. interviews people of interest on his program, “In The Arena”.  The show airs at 7am on Sundays on ABC6.

 

This week his guest is Mark Haywood, District Director, Small Business Administration for Rhode Island.

 

They discuss support for small businesses and how RI companies are struggling back after the pandemic.

 

Here is “In The Arena” – remotely – for June 27, 2021:

 
 
Posted in 

TO WORK: Be a RI Stte Trooper

TO WORK: Be a RI State Trooper

 
June 25, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Since April, the RI State Police have been in recruitment mode for filling close to 30 Trooper positions. Applications will end on July 2nd, so now is the time to learn more.

 

Positions begin at a paygrade of 80A with a salary range between $66,356 to $80,903.

 

 

Here is what you need to know:

 

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

 

  • Age
    • An applicant must have reached the age of eighteen (18) years in order to be admitted as a candidate to the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy. The maximum age of admission to the Training Academy is age thirty-five (35).
  • Education
    • An applicant must be a high school graduate or have obtained a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) issued by a state department of education.
  • Criminal History
    • An applicant must not possess a criminal conviction(s) for a felony offense(s). During the background investigation, a candidate is evaluated relative to an established set of criteria. Candidates are asked many personal questions, including but not limited to the recency and frequency of traffic citations, at-fault automobile collisions, illegal drug usage, arrests and convictions.
  • Conduct
    • An applicant must display good personal conduct. The Rhode Island State Police has strict guidelines relating to the personal characteristics required for employment as a trooper.
  • Citizenship
    • An applicant must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Vision
    • An applicant must possess visual acuity of 20/40 (binocular vision) or better without correction, and visual acuity of 20/20 or better with corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses).
      An applicant must possess normal color and depth perception as determined by a Division physician.
  • Hearing
    • An applicant must possess normal hearing ability as determined by a Division physician.
  • Driver’s License
    • Must possess a valid operator’s license prior to starting the Academy, or be willing and eligible to obtain one.
  • Tattoos and/or Body Markings
    • An applicant must not have any tattoos or other body art which is visible while in Division uniform. The use of a flesh colored sleeve will be acceptable to conceal any tattoos that are visible from the upper arm to the wrist bone.
    • Tattoos cannot be located on the head; face; neck above the v-neck t-shirt line; inside the eyelid, mouth or ears; wrists; hands; or fingers.
    • Under no circumstances will tattoos that are considered offensive be permissible. These include but are not limited to extremist tattoos; indecent tattoos; sexist tattoos; or racist tattoos.

 

THERE IS A $50 NON-REFUNDABLE APPLICATION FEE THAT MUST BE PAID UPON SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION (Application fee of $50 is required, pursuant to RI General Laws Section 42-28-25.)  

 

Selection Process:

 

Applicants must complete each of following phases successfully for entry into the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy. Failure to successfully pass each category will result in dismissal from the selection process.

 

  • Physical Assessment Qualification
    • Sit-Ups
      This is a measure of the muscular endurance of the applicant’s abdominal and hip flexor muscles. Applicants must lie on their backs, knees bent, with fingers interlocked behind their head, heels flat on the floor. Another applicant will hold their feet down. The applicant’s heels will be approximately the distance between the applicant’s outstretched thumb and small finger from the buttocks. From the “down or starting” position on their back, the applicant will raise their upper body, fingers interlocked behind their head, and touch their elbows to their knees at the “up” ending position. Applicants will then lower themselves until their shoulder blades touch the mat. This will be recorded as one (1) correct sit-up. Applicants may rest only in the “up” position. The applicant score will be the total number of correct sit-ups completed in one (1) minute.
    • Push-Ups
      This is a measure of the applicant’s muscular endurance of the upper body (anterior deltoids, the pectorals and triceps). The applicant’s hands are placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with fingers pointed forward. The administrator of the event will place one (1) sponge on the floor below the applicant’s chest. Starting from the “up” position (elbows extended), the applicant must keep their back straight at all times and lower their body to the floor until their chest touches the sponge. The applicant then returns to the “up” position. This is recorded as one (1) correct push-up. Resting should be done only in the “up” position. The total number of push-ups with correct form completed in one (1) minute is recorded as the score.
    • 300 Meter Run
      This is a measure of the applicant’s anaerobic power capacity. Applicants will run a distance of 300 meters at a maximal level of effort. Time used to complete the distance will be recorded in seconds.
    • 1.5 Mile Run
      This test is used to measure the efficiency of the cardiovascular system and how it responds to imposed physical demand. The applicant must run or jog a distance of 1.5 miles in the shortest time possible. All scores are individually recorded.
  • Written Examination
    • Applicants must successfully complete a written examination, which measures interpersonal skills and cognitive reasoning. The examination is designed, prepared, and scored by an independent, professional research company. All candidates are encouraged to review the Law Enforcement Study Guide for Written Examination prior to the administration of the written examination.
  • Structured Oral Interview
    • Applicants that successfully pass the physical agility assessment and written examination will appear before an structured oral interview board. The structured oral interview process is designed, prepared and scored by an independent, professional research company. The structured oral interview consists of a series of questions administered by Division members and conducted in a fair and impartial manner. Applicants receive ratings for each question posed. Additionally, applicants will be evaluated on oral communication, interpersonal skills, effectiveness under stress as well as appearance and demeanor. All candidates are encouraged to review the Structured Oral Interview Preparation Guide prior to the administration of the structured oral interview.
  • Background Investigation
    • Applicants will then undergo an extensive background investigation conducted by a member of the Rhode Island State Police Detective Bureau regarding their past employment record, education, criminal history, consumer credit history, community reputation, military service, and overall character.
  • Psychological Examination
    • Applicants deemed eligible to continue in the process are administered a written psychological examination, along with a follow-up interview by a licensed psychologist. All evaluations are interpreted by a licensed psychologist retained by the Division.
  • Medical Examination
    • Applicants deemed eligible to continue in the process must pass a complete medical examination and be found medically qualified by a physician designated by the Rhode Island State Police.
  • Conditional Offer of Employment
    • Applicants who have successfully completed all phases of the selection process, to include the Recruitment Mentorship Program, will receive a Conditional Offer of Employment as either a candidate or alternate candidate to participate in the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy.
  • Recruitment Mentorship Program
    • The Recruit Mentorship Program is a structured program required for all candidates/alternate candidates who have received Conditional Offers of Employment. This program will commence approximately five (5) weeks prior to the start of the Rhode Island State Police Training Academy.
    • The program will focus on preparing each candidate/alternate candidate for success in the Training Academy. There will be a physical assessment conducted at the start of the program and a final physical assessment at the conclusion of the program to coincide with the commencement of the Training Academy.
    • Candidates/alternate candidates will be provided with information and instruction to assist them in general readiness to attend the Training Academy, including techniques to increase cardiovascular endurance and upper body strength, swimming instruction and water safety instruction. Basic military movements and commands will also be demonstrated to assist with proper military bearing.
    • Candidates/alternate candidates are required to attend all five (5) sessions, one of which is a swim session.

 

Any candidate/alternate candidate who fails to attend the mandatory five (5) sessions and/or fails the final physical assessment test will have his/her Conditional Offer of Employment revoked resulting in removal from the selection process.

 

Any applicant who fails to successfully complete the applicant selection process is encouraged to reapply for future Rhode Island State Police Recruit classes.

 

For additional information, including links to study guides:

 

https://risp.ri.gov/academy/selection.php

 

GENERAL STATEMENT OF DUTIES:

 

Enforces traffic and criminal laws; conducts preliminary, and as required, continuing investigations, perform other related work as required.

 

SUPERVISION RECEIVED:

 

Works under the immediate supervision of a non-commissioned officer and general supervision of other superior officers; work is reviewed to ensure conformance to rules, regulations, policies and procedures.

 

SUPERVISION EXERCISED:

 

Usually none.

 

ILLUSTRATIVE EXAMPLES OF WORK PERFORMED:

 
  • Wear various Division-issued uniforms throughout the year while performing the duties of a sworn law enforcement officer.
  • Operate a Division vehicle, at any hour of the daytime or nighttime, during emergency situations involving speeds in excess of posted limits, in congested traffic, and during unsafe road conditions created by fog, smoke, rain, snow and ice while simultaneously communicating over Division radio channels. Such operation must be consistent with federal and state statutes and Division rules and regulations.
  • Identify and articulate violations of local, state, and federal statutes and the appropriate enforcement action.
  • Access electronic databases/files to obtain, verify, or evaluate information, to create, edit, save and produce textual and non-textual materials with word processing and spreadsheet software and a printer.
  • Perform office and dispatch duties, to include operation of telephone, radio, video monitoring and personal computer/workstation equipment and related software.
  • Perform related patrol/investigational work as required.
  • Engage in law enforcement functions, such as processing accident scenes, assisting with emergency operations, working security and traffic assignments.
  • Ability to work non-traditional schedule as required for a twenty-four/seven law enforcement operation, such as rotating shifts, night shifts, holidays and weekends.
  • Read and comprehend legal and non-legal documents.
  • Operate a radio to communicate with barracks/headquarters, contact NCIC Unit to check for wants/warrants on persons through local/state/federal computer system or request the dispatch of emergency vehicles, such as tow trucks and rescue units.
  • Communicate effectively and coherently over Division radio channels; initiating and responding to radio communications under normal and stressful conditions while operating a Division vehicle.
  • Read and interpret coded materials, such as National Criminal Information Center (NCIC) printouts and Department of Motor Vehicle driver’s records, and written materials, such as police practices and policies, and procedures.
  • Preparation and processing of documents, such as, summonses, affidavits, warrants, and administrative documents.
    Communicate with other state/federal and local law enforcement agencies pursuant to Division Rules, Regulations and Policies.
  • Inspect the driver’s operating license and registration/insurance cards of detained motorists.
  • Prepare investigative reports and other documents, including sketches, using proper grammar, symbols, and mathematical computations.
  • Effectively communicate with people, including juveniles, by giving information and directions, advising them of their constitutional rights (when required by law), mediating disputes, and making public speaking presentations.
  • Exercise independent judgment in determining when there is reasonable suspicion to detain, when probable cause exists to search and arrest, and when force may be used and to what degree.
  • Effect an arrest, using lethal and non-lethal force when necessary; use handcuffs and other restraints; subdue resisting suspects using defensive tactics and intermediate defense weapons; resort to the use of one’s hands and feet in self-defense.
  • Detect and collect evidence and substances that provide the basis for criminal prosecution.
  • Pursue fleeing suspects and perform rescue operations which may involve quickly exiting and entering a patrol cruiser; lift, carry and drag heavy objects; climb over obstacles; jump down from elevated surfaces; climb through openings; crawl through confined areas; balance on unsteady and/or uneven surfaces; use physical force to gain entrance through barriers.
  • Process and transport prisoners and committed mental patients using handcuffs in Division vehicles.
    Process arrested subjects, including taking photographs and obtaining legible sets of inked/electronic fingerprint impressions.
  • Observe the physical condition of prisoners to determine if medical attention is required.
  • Use handcuffs to restrain resistant/compliant arrestee or transportee.
  • Gather information in criminal investigations by interviewing and obtaining statements from victims, witnesses, suspects, and confidential informants.
  • Perform searches of people, vehicles, buildings, and large outdoor areas which may require detection by visual observation in varying light conditions, by listening, by touch, by walking for long periods of time, by detaining people, or by stopping suspicious vehicles and persons or by any combination of the above.
  • Conduct visual and audio surveillance for extended periods of time.
  • Ability to maintain a controlled composure when involved in contentious interactions, and ability to appropriately deal with combative individuals.
  • Perform rescue functions at accidents, disasters, and other emergency situations to include administering medical aid, lifting, dragging and carrying people away from dangerous situations.
  • Attend briefings or roll calls.
  • Perform temporary court duties and responsibilities.
  • Load, unload, aim and fire handguns, shotguns and other Division firearms, using both hands, from a variety of body positions, under conditions of stress that justify the use of force at the proficiency levels prescribed in certification standards.
  • Demonstrate communication skills in court and other formal settings.
  • Perform other tasks, as required.

 

Please direct questions regarding this position to Mark.Gilson@risp.gov

 

Jobs close at 11:59 PM (Eastern) on the deadline date specified, or when the position capacity has been met, or unless otherwise specified in the announcement. If the deadline date is not specified in the announcement, the agency has sole discretion on setting the deadline and jobs may close without notice. It is the applicant’s responsibility to thoroughly read and understand the deadline requirements and capacity limits as outlined by the agency.


Applicants are responsible for checking their email and logging into their PoliceApp, PublicSafetyApp, FireFighterApp or EmployementApp account to monitor for emails, scheduling and process updates.

 

Apply here: https://www.policeapp.com/Jobs/candidates/login/?JobID=3015

 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  -- Here's the latest news:  Lawmakers toe their respective party lines for yesterday's vote on Rhode Island's new state budget.  State senators approve a plan to issue driver's licenses to undocumented residents.  One person is hospitalized following yesterday's shooting in North Providence. 

>>Rhode Island's New State Budget Passes Along Party Lines

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island has a new state budget.  This according to state House members, who reportedly voted along party lines last night to approve the measure that boosts state spending on social services and education.  All 64 House Democrats voted to approve the budget.  Their 10 Republican counterparts all voted against it. 

>>State Senate OKs Bill To Create Driver's Licenses For Undocumented R.I. Residents

(Providence, RI)  --  A measure that would allow Rhode Island's Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver's licenses to undocumented residents is one step closer to becoming state law.  State senators reportedly approved the measure yesterday.  According to state Senator Frank Ciccone, who sponsored the bill, the proposed permit would not serve as proper ID for voting purposes.  Officials say the bill still needs approval by state House members.  However, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi said lawmakers are unlikely to consider the measure this legislative session.

>>One Hospitalized Following Thursday-Afternoon Shooting In North Providence

(North Providence, RI)  --  One person is hospitalized following yesterday's shooting in North Providence.  Police say officers were called to Joseph Street a little after 2 p.m. following a report of a disturbance.  They reportedly arrived to find 29-year-old Luis Veras, who had been shot in his left hand and left leg.  Veras was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition last night.  Police are investigating.

>>State Officials Gear Up To Approve Thousands Of Federal Financial-Relief Applications

(Portsmouth, RI)  --  State housing officials say they're confident they can process thousands of pending federal financial-relief applications by the middle of next month.  The announcement reportedly comes as President Biden extended the federal moratorium yesterday on evictions through the end of next month.  It had been set to expire next week.  State officials say, so far, Rhode Island has tapped only two-million dollars of its 200-million in program funding from Washington, D.C.  

>>Officials Set July 11th Deadline To Sign Up For State's Free, Full-Day Pre-K Program

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island's preschool lottery is set to close at midnight on July 11th.  State education officials say that's the deadline for Rhode Island parents from eligible communities to sign up their kids to score a year of cost-free, full-day Pre-K.  Eligible children reportedly also must turn four-years old by September 1st.  Eligible cities and towns are as follows: Central Falls, Coventry, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Lincoln, Middletown, Newport, North Kingstown, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, South Kingstown, Warren, Warwick, Westerly, West Warwick and Woonsocket.

>>Filming For Hollywood's 'Space Oddity' Set To Start Next Month In Wickford Village

(North Kingstown, RI)  --  Rhode Island's historic Wickford Village is coming to a theater near you.  This according to a state Film and TV office spokesperson, who says actress/director Kyra Sedgwick will direct "Space Oddity" this summer.  The film reportedly follows a "disgruntled" young man who, just as a he is about to leave on a one-way trip to Mars, suddenly gets entangled in an unexpected love affair.  Project officials say filming is likely to start within the next couple of weeks, with a release date sometime in 2022.

###
J. Nicolay/djc
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

06-25-2021 00:11:41

RI Veterans: Did you know?

RI Veterans: Did you know? 24 June 21 – John A. Cianci

 
June 24, 2021/John Cianci

 

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,

                             Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

 

Free America the Beautiful Passes to National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star Families

 

Did you know the National Park Service since Veterans Day 2020, Gold Star Families and US military veterans are eligible to receive free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star Families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters. If you were to purchase this annual pass, it would cost you $80.

 

Did you know you can obtain the pass in person at federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees, which includes one in Rhode Island, Roger William National Memorial, Providence, RI, (401) 521-7266, or online https://store.usgs.gov/pass.

 

Nature is a powerful force in healing. The free pass covers entrance to National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sites that charge entrance fees, and covers standard amenity fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation Sites, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites. The pass admits the pass owners and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, or the pass owner and up to 3 adults (16 years and older) and no entry fee charged for children 15 and under. The entrance fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, transportation, special recreation permits, reservation fees or special tours.

 

The America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series includes different options of interagency passes that provide access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas across the United States. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers. Most interagency passes are available through the USGS Online Store. Use the search list below for options to purchase or pick up passes at participating agencies’ sites across the country.

 

VETTIP Ensure to have photo identification with you as the owner of the pass, you will be asked when using the pass.  

 

With the free pass, you can access over 400 National parks across America, to include 13 located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (see below for complete listing). These national parks have direct connections to the American military, including frontier forts, battlefields, national cemeteries, and memorials.

 

Locally, the pass can be obtained and used Roger William National Park, Providence, RI or obtained online https://store.usgs.gov.

 

Many of the National parks are historical sites provide veterans and current military members and their families with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie in the great outdoors. Many parks are popular destinations for active adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, and scuba diving, while others are known for more tranquil activities such as camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and observing the night sky. NPS.gov provides a map that highlights national parks near Veterans Administration facilities across the country and provides detailed information about each park.

 

One of my favorites, Cape Cod’s National Seashore, Wellfleet MA. The national seashore includes forty miles of sandy beaches, salt marshes, ponds, and uplands. It also preserves historic buildings and landscapes. In addition to its habitats that provide for species diversity, and its cultural sites which interpret the story of human use, the national seashore provides for many recreational activities that beckon visitors: bicycling, wildlife viewing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Exhibits, ranger-guided programs, films, and science and history presentations interpret the many facets of the national seashore. More information on Cape Cod’s National Seashore National Park, visit their Facebook page or go to http://www.nps gov/caco.

 

Another hidden America Treasure is Buffumville Lake, Charlton MA, a U.S Army Corps of Engineers recreation site. Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The park is a day use fee area containing picnic sites with tables and grills. The Corps maintains a swimming area with a 300-foot-long beach. This area includes two picnic shelters that may be reserved for a nominal fee (www.recreation.gov), a life jacket loaner station, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a handicap accessible comfort station. This Park has a disc golf course at the Buffumville Dam site has 18 professional holes and 12 amateur holes for golfers of all ages. The 7.2-mile Lake Shore Trail starts in the park and extends around the shoreline of the lake. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Park rangers provide special interpretive programs on topics to include natural resources, water safety, and Dam tours.

 

Pandemic claustrophobic veterans, get your FREE America The Beautiful pass and plan some America the Beautiful road trips visits to National Parks and Federal 

 

Recreational located in RI and MA.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1 Who is eligible to gain free entrance as a Veteran?

 

For purposes of this program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the US Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification or the Interagency Military Pass when entering a national park: 

 

  • Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card) 
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) 
  • Veteran ID Card 
  • Veterans’ designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card
  • Dependents of deployed military members with DoD Form 1173 may obtain a pass

 

VETTIP The actual IDs listed above must be presented. Photocopies or digital images are not accepted. Form DD-214 is not accepted. 

 

Q2 Are passes available for disabled veterans or other people with disabilities? 

 

Yes. The Interagency Access Pass is a lifetime pass that is free for any US citizen or permanent resident, including a veteran or Gold Star Family member, who has a permanent disability. An Access Pass may also provide discounts for expanded amenities like camping, guided tours etc. For more information visit USGS Store – Access Pass.

 

Q3 Who is eligible to gain free access as a member of a Gold Star Family? 

 

Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36. 

 

How does a Gold Star Family gain free access to a national park? 

 

Before visiting a national park site, Gold Star Family members must download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an annual Interagency Military Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites (representations of the voucher are prohibited; the physical voucher or pass must be present.  


By downloading and signing the voucher, Gold Star Family members are self-certifying that they meet the required criteria as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.

 

Following is the self-certification language on the voucher: 

 

“I hereby affirm that I am an eligible next of kin (NOK) of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a qualifying situation, such as war, an international terrorist attack or a military operation outside of the United States while serving in the United States Armed Forces, as identified in sections 3.2 (Qualifying Situation) and 3.3 (Eligible NOK) of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36”

 

Q3 Does the waiver include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member? 

 

Free access is for the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as travelling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The voucher is non-transferrable and void if altered.

 

Q4 What are the locations in RI, MA, and CT the pass can be used at?


Rhode Island

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Roger Williams National Memorial PROVIDENCE, RI
Phone: (401) 521-7266. Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate Williams’s “outstanding contributions to the development of the principles of freedom in this country.” The memorial, a 4.5-acre urban greenspace located at the foot of College Hill in downtown Providence, includes a freshwater spring which was the center of the settlement of Providence Plantations founded by Williams in 1636. It is on this site that Williams, through word and action, fought for the ideal that religion must not be subject to regulation by the state but, instead, that it should be a matter of individual conscience. It was a remarkable journey that brought Williams to what is now the capital of Rhode Island and to where he put his beliefs into practice, giving “shelter for persons distressed of conscience.”

 

Massachusetts

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Adams National Historical Park QUINCY, MA
Phone: (617) 770-1175. From the sweet little farm at the foot of Penn’s Hill to the gentleman’s country estate at Peace field, Adams National Historical Park is the story of “heroes, statesman, philosophers … and learned women” whose ideas and actions helped to transform thirteen disparate colonies into one united nation.

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge SUDBURY, MA
Phone: (978) 562-3527. Most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you Recreate Responsibly.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Boston National Historical Park BOSTON, MA
Phone: (617) 242-5642. Outdoor spaces, including the Freedom Trail®, are open to visitors.

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, Buffumville Lake, CHARLTON, MA
Phone: (508) 248-5697. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Buffumville Lake for year-round recreation. Park rangers are available to assist you during your visit. The disc golf course at the Buffumville Dam site has 18 professional holes and 12 amateur holes for golfers of all ages. The 7.2-mile Lake Shore Trail starts in the park and extends around the shoreline of the lake. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Park rangers provide special interpretive programs on topics to include natural resources, water safety, and Dam tours. Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The Park is a day use fee area containing picnic sites with tables and grills. The Corps maintains a swimming area with a 300-foot-long beach. This area includes two picnic shelters that may be reserved for a nominal fee (www.recreation.gov), a life jacket loaner station, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a handicap accessible comfort station. See pricing details. The outdoor sports enthusiast can hunt, fish and boat at Buffumville Lake. Hunting is not permitted in developed areas of the park and dam site. A concrete boat launch and culvert underneath Oxford Rd. permits boating on both sides of the lake. The launching land and courtesy dock provide easy access to the lake. Two barrier free fishing platforms are available within the boat launching area. The use of watercraft including motorboats, canoes, kayaks, and other vessels is permitted. The three-acre island on the south end of Buffumville Lake is available to rent (primitive camping) for up to one week. The island is extremely primitive with four tent sites, a fire ring, woodshed, picnic tables, and an outhouse. Permit holders must have a boat to reach the island.  Reservations for the island start on January 1 of each year, beginning at one minute after midnight. Email us or leave a detailed phone message and you will be registered according to the time your message comes in.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Cape Cod National Seashore – Seasonally
Phone: (508) 255-3421. The national seashore includes forty miles of sandy beaches, salt marshes, ponds, and uplands. It also preserves historic buildings and landscapes. In addition to its habitats that provide for species diversity, and its cultural sites which interpret the story of human use, the national seashore provides for many recreational activities that beckon visitors: bicycling, wildlife viewing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Exhibits, ranger-guided programs, films, and science and history presentations interpret the many facets of the national seashore. More information on Cape Cod’s National Seashore National Park, visit their Facebook page or go to http://www.nps gov/caco.

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge SUDBURY, MA. Phone: (978) 443-4661.  Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

 

Situated along the Atlantic Flyway in Massachusetts, the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex is comprised of eight ecologically diverse refuges. The eight individual refuges include inland and coastal wetlands, forests, grasslands, and barrier beaches that provide important habitat for migratory birds, mammals, plants, reptiles and amphibians.

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages these areas to maintain a vital and diverse environment for the area’s inhabitants. Refuges are managed to conserve and protect a diversity of native wildlife habitats and species. The refuge complex encompasses several threatened and endangered species, the only federally designated Wilderness Area in southern New England, one structure on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Wild and Scenic River.

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Knightville Dam, HUNTINGTON, MA
Phone: (413) 667-3430.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Knightville Dam. The dam and reservoir area are located in the scenic Berkshire foothills along the East Branch of the Westfield River. Most of the 2,430 acres of the Knightville Dam area is undeveloped. You may enjoy hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding along several miles of trails and old country roads. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (limited to the west side of the river) are popular winter activities. The area just below the dam has picnic tables, fireplaces universally accessible public restrooms, drinking water and a picnic shelter. Groups may reserve the shelter in advance for a modest fee. The rivers and streams at Knightville offer excellent trout fishing. The river is stocked with trout in the spring. The surrounding hills provide prime upland game habitat, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stocks pheasants in the fall. Hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with posted restrictions and Massachusetts laws. Each spring, water releases from Knightville Dam are coordinated with those from nearby Littleville Lake to provide challenging flows for the annual Westfield River Wildwater Canoe Races. Located at the northern end of the reservoir, the Indian Hollow Group Campground is available by reservation to community groups such as churches, schools, scouts and clubs. For more information on reservations contact the project office or call toll free at 1-877-444-6777. For more information on hunting or fishing, you can contact the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Lowell National Historical Park LOWELL, MA
Phone: (978) 970-5000. Discover the Continuing Revolution. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Explore Lowell, a living monument to the dynamic human story of the Industrial Revolution. The National Park runs various programs seasonally. Visitors are recommended to make reservations for all tours in advance as they can fill up quickly. To make a reservation, please call (978) 970-5000. Please check the tours section for more information.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Minute Man National Historical Park CONCORD, MA
Phone: (978) 369-6993. At Minute Man National Historical Park, the opening battle of the Revolution is brought to life as visitors explore the battlefields and structures associated with April 19, 1775 and witness the American revolutionary spirit through the writings of the Concord authors. Every Spring, Summer and Fall Minute Man offers a variety of ranger programs to the visiting public. Due to the Covid 19 public health crisis the schedule for the 2021 season is yet to be determined. 

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Park NEW BEDFORD, MA Phone: (508) 996-4095. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary, the 25th anniversary of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park celebrates a quarter century of interpretation, preservation, and partnerships that makes it one of the gems of the National Park System. Visitors to the park and the City of New Bedford are encouraged to explore the cultural resources, historic neighborhoods, and working waterfront managed and maintained by our partners and who embody Strength through Community. This year-long celebration pays tribute to the unique partnership of municipal, institutional, and individuals who advocated for the transformation of downtown New Bedford’s local historic district into a national park. The anniversary honors the relationships that have grown between the park, its partners, and the greater New Bedford communities who attract a wide and diverse audience to the City that Lit the World. 

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Parker River National Wildlife Refuge NEWBURYPORT,MA. Phone: (978) 465-5753.Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Most commonly associated with Plum Island – a barrier beach island – the refuge is comprised of more than 4700 acres of diverse habitats including sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is its 3,000+ acres of salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. Parker River provides pristine coastal habitat for over 300 species of resident and migratory birds, as well as a large variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The refuge also provides critical habitat for the federally threatened piping plover. In addition to its mission of wildlife conservation, the refuge provides a variety of excellent wildlife-dependent recreational activities, including surf fishing, wildlife observation and photography, a variety of interpretive programs, and seasonal waterfowl and deer hunting opportunities. A large visitor center – complete with a classroom and auditorium – supports many of these public uses. Explore the refuge by kayak: Parker River NWR includes more than 3000 acres of salt marsh. Explore the salt marsh in your kayak by paddling along our water trail. You can download the water trail map and guide by clicking the link below.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Springfield Armory National Historic Site SPRINGFIELD, MA Phone: (413) 734-8551. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is located on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College. If using a GPS, do not use the physical address of the museum. Please use the following address:1 Armory St., Springfield, MA. 01105.For nearly two centuries, the US Armed Forces and American industry looked to Springfield Armory for innovative engineering and superior firearms. Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates the critical role of the nation’s first armory by preserving and interpreting the world’s largest historic US military small arms collection, along with historic archives, buildings, and landscapes.

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS West Hill Dam UXBRIDGE, MA
Phone: (508) 278-2511. West Hill Dam and Park remain open year-round. Outside posted hours of operation, please feel free to park at the gates and walk in to enjoy your park. West Hill Park where the West River widens to form a large, natural swimming hole, known locally as Harrington Pool. Tables and grills are available for picnicking in two areas of the park, one near a beach and one under a grove of pines. The Park also offers two sandy beaches, a change house and modern rest rooms. Two picnic shelters on a wooded knoll, with electric are available to groups for a small fee. A sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and accessible playground are nearby. From the parking lot, a 1/2-mile, self-guided nature trail runs down along the river and loop back through the woods. About two miles of hiking trails meander through the woodlands and provide secluded views of the river. Anglers will find trout in the main river channel and bass, pickerel and horned pout in the pools. Hunting for deer, small game and upland birds is permitted in accordance with state laws. Trout and pheasant are stocked by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. West Hill Park offers two shelters, one with ten tables that will accommodate a group up to about 100 people, while the other has 4 tables and hosts about 30 people comfortably. No fees.  Shelter reservations will be taken in person only at the project office on a first come, first serve basis.

 

EVENTS/MEETINGS

  •  
  • Lou Dolce, 97
  • Lou & Don – Buttonhole

 

FREE GOLF every Wednesday, Buttonhole, Providence RI, 12:00-3:00pm Veterans, Active Military, and National Guard, can use the range or play 9 holes of golf at no charge. Simply sign-in at the Pro-Shop on Wednesday from noon to 3:00PM. John, above, was a 2-3 week golfer until needing assisted living care.

 

For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email dwright@burttonhole.org.

 

FREE Thursday Golf Clinics, Buttonhole, Providence RI, for all Veterans and immediate family. June thru October from 5:00-7:00pm f.The golf clinics are opened to all levels of experiences. Equipment use is free. One ParaMobile golf cart is available. For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email dwright@burttonhole.org.

 

REUNIONS

Friday, August 6th, 11AM, “Rhode Island National Guard Summer Reunion”, Quonset Officers’ Club, 200 Lieutenant James Brown Road, North Kingstown.  Point of contact is Bob Antonelli at 401.996.3764, or via email at bob02909@cox.net.  Cut-off date is Tuesday, August 3rd.     

 

September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact Name: John Wear. Point of Contact Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: johnwear2@verizon.net . Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Ontos units in Vietnam . . . in any capacity is welcome!!!

 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamrirvets@gmail.com

 

_____

 

 

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

 

 

 

 

Rhode Island News Today


(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Two more colleges in the Ocean State are announcing COVID-19 vaccination requirements.  The Rhode Island legislature wants to further-extend to-go alcohol sales, which were approved as a pandemic relief measure.  A private beach club in Newport is defending itself this week, saying no, its membership is not all-white.

>>More College COVID Vaccine Requirements

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island are requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students.  Staff members are being strongly encouraged to get the shot.  That leaves just two Rhode Island institutions which have not announced COVID vaccine mandates: Bryant University and the Naval War College.

>>Extension Of Take-Out Cocktail Sales Approved By RI Legislature

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island General Assembly is approving a bill that extends take-out alcoholic drink sales until March 1st, 2022.  State Senator Hanna Gallo, one of the sponsors, says the restaurant and hospitality industry has been battered by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.  Gallo says the extension of take-out booze sales, which were OK'd at the beginning of the pandemic, will help them stay afloat.  The liquor store industry has expressed concerns about the sales hurting its business.  The bill now heads to the Rhode Island governor's desk.

>>Couple Killed In South County Mobile Home Fire

(Hopkinton, RI)  --  Two people died in a mobile home fire in Hopkinton on Wednesday morning.  WJAR-TV reports the victims were identified by family members as a husband-and-wife couple, Daniel and Tre Pelletier.  Authorities say they were sleeping when the fire started.

>>Sheldon Whitehouse Releases New Statement About Alleged Racial Exclusivity At Beach Club

(Newport, RI)  --  A private beach club in Newport says it is inaccurate to call its membership "all-white".  A reporter from the website GoLocalProv last weekend asked Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse about his family's membership to Bailey's Beach Club and the alleged lack of diversity, and Whitehouse responded he thinks the club's management is, quote, "working on that".  Whitehouse said on Wednesday he was caught off-guard by the question and that the assertion that was made about Bailey's was wrong.  Bailey's says it has a diverse membership.

>>Providence Policeman Suspended After Shoplifting Arrest

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence police officer and his spouse are being charged with shoplifting.  Officer William Dickie and his wife, Tara Uciferro, both of Cranston, turned themselves in on Wednesday.  Dickie and Uciferro allegedly failed to pay for about four-hundred dollars' worth of items at a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Warwick earlier this month.  The Providence Police Department says Dickie has been suspended with pay and is facing internal charges.

>>Another Movie Being Filmed In Rhode Island

(Undated)  --  Plans are being announced for another movie to be filmed in Rhode Island.  The state Film and TV Office says this is the sci-fi romance movie "Space Oddity" directed by Kyra Sedgwick.  Principal photography begins this week in Wickford and North Kingstown.  Reports earlier this week indicated Rhode Island is a filming location for the sequel to "Hocus Pocus".

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

06-24-2021 00:12:38

Brokering on behalf of the people: Fabiola Brunache

Brokering On Behalf of The People: Fabiola Brunache – by Ann Clanton

 
June 23, 2021/Ann Clanton

 

By Ann Clanton, “Speak-Up” contributing writer

 

Like most real estate agents, Fabiola Brunache and her multicultural team of six licensed agents, assist prospective home buyers with comparative market analysis and understanding Rhode Island’s volatile market. Fabiola says her most important role as a Broker is helping communities of color with financial literacy.

 

“As the Biden/Harris administration puts forth policies that they say helps rebuild the middle class, part of my role as a real estate broker in a city that is 18 % people of color is to serve as a catalyst to home ownership and financial security,” says Brunache.

 

Passionate about young people of color in her generation being financially secure enough to one day purchase their own home, Fabiola points to the disproportionate number of families unable to afford to own a home. According to the Center for American Progress, communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the failures in communities nationwide providing affordable housing. The Center also points to homeownership rates for Black and Latino individuals falling far below the rate for white individuals. Fabiola’s passion extends to increasing the number of finding qualified buyers and begins with offering financial planning and home buyer preparation classes.

 

Historically, for many African Americans, home ownership is how many families save and build wealth, so these racial disparities in home ownership contribute to the racial wealth gap. And, while it is difficult now, prior to the Johnson administration it was nearly impossible due to the redlining policy. In 1968, Congress passed the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act.

 

The act banned redlining, which had made it difficult or impossible for people of color to borrow money to buy housing in their neighborhoods. Combined with de facto and de jure exclusion of African Americans from new, white-only suburbs, redlining created a segregated and exploitative housing market for Black people, a major factor in the inner-city uprisings of the 1960s.

 

This resistance caused the Johnson and Nixon administrations to aim the new housing programs at the inner city. At the same time, subsidies for rent for people on welfare were cut, and buying a subsidized house often became easier than getting a rent subsidy.

 

The result was “predatory inclusion.” Instead of people of color being completely excluded from the means of acquiring wealth – homeownership being a principal way of doing that in the United States – they were included in a way that prevented them from realizing the full financial benefits of inclusion, if they benefited at all.

  •  

 

If you are interested in how to financially prepare for purchasing, contact Fabiola Brunache and the Fab Living Real Estate team. Go to the Fab Living Real Estate website to make an appointment or call them at 401-648-2999.

 

Federal programs allowed financial institutions (in this case, mortgage banks) to make extraordinary profits off poor people, a phenomenon that has reappeared in both the education and housing markets since that time.

 

Today, the barrier for most people is their financial background and a limited inventory is impacting all buyers, everywhere. Fabiola’s advice to those considering purchasing a home, check your credit, and don’t be scared – no one is stopping you but yourself.

 

Fab Living Realty wants you to know they are here. With knowledge, and patience, they will help you to prepare to purchase a home.

 

_____

 

 

Ann-Allison Clanton was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. As principle of Ann Clanton Communications, Ann has more than two decades of experience as a communications and public affairs consultant. She has written features and profiles articles for the Providence American Newspaper and Ethnic Online Magazine.

Among the notable persons interviewed include former U. S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Cornell West, former Florida Congressman Allen West (R-FL) and Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus first African American Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson.

Ann is the founder of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival and a founding member of the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists.

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A man is arrested for not wearing a mask at a Rhode Island school board meeting.  Public restrooms are being re-opened at the Kennedy Plaza transportation hub in Providence and a couple of other RI transit centers.  The Rhode Island Senate has approved a marijuana legalization bill.

>>Man Arrested For Alleged Non-Compliance On School Board Mask Rules

(Richmond, RI)  --  A man was arrested for not wearing a mask at a Chariho [[ CHAR-ee-ho ]] School Committee meeting on Tuesday night.  WJAR-TV reports 37-year-old Jeremy Palmer was charged with disturbing a public assembly.  Richmond police say Kelly showed up to the meeting without a mask in violation of a school district mandate, then after putting one on, he took it off when he sat down.  Authorities say Kelly refused to follow orders to wear a mask or alternately leave the meeting.

>>Public Restrooms Reopening At Rhode Island Transit Centers

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island officials are announcing that public restrooms at three transit facilities which were closed during the pandemic are re-opening.  They are at the Kennedy Plaza in Providence, the Pawtucket Transit Center and the Newport Transportation and Visitors Center.  The Kennedy Plaza plan calls for the city of Providence to retrofit restrooms at the nearby public skating rink for the use of Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus operators.  RIPTA had kept the bathrooms closed despite public outcry, partially citing the need for bus drivers to have their own toilets.

>>Former RI DEM Head Janet Coit Going To Washington

(Washington, DC)  --  We are learning the next career step for the former Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management director. Janet Coit has been picked to fill an administrative position leading the federal agency NOAA Fisheries, which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Commerce.  That means Coit will once again be working for Gina Raimondo, the former Rhode Island governor who is now the Commerce Secretary.  Raimondo says Coit is a tremendous addition to the NOAA team, with experience supporting fisheries and protecting the marine environment, among other things.

>>State Senate Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate is approving a bill that would legalize the purchase of marijuana for all adults 21 and older.  Tuesday's vote, which was a first for a chamber in the General Assembly, was 29-to-9.  But the speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives has said he is not planning for pot legalization to be taken up during the budget process, and has suggested it could be instead discussed at a special session.  Recreational marijuana is now legal in both neighboring Southern New England states after Connecticut's governor signed a new law on Tuesday.

>>Inspection Stickers Reportedly Falling Off

(Providence, RI)  --  Several Rhode Island auto-repair businesses are complaining about inspection stickers that are not sticking to the windshields of motor vehicles.  The Rhode Island Department of Revenue, which oversees the DMV, tells The Providence Journal there is an issue with the adhesive used for the stickers and that a replacement effort is underway.  Drivers who are having an issue with the stickers falling off can have them reapplied at the Warwick office of Opus Inspection, the state's vendor, or at the DMV's Safety and Emissions Office in Providence.

>>"Hocus Pocus 2" To Be Partly Filmed In Rhode Island

(Undated)  --  There have been a couple of reports this week that Rhode Island will be one of the filming locations for the sequel to the movie "Hocus Pocus".  The filming is supposed to begin this fall.  Connecticut is also among the reported locations.  Hocus Pocus 2 will debut on Disney Plus.

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

06-23-2021 00:54:10

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The names of the adult and child victims of a drowning incident in Warwick have been released.  A national organization has preliminarily denied accreditation to the Rhode Island state hospital.  Former Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo's house in Providence has been sold.

>>Conimicut Point Drowning Victims ID'd

(Warwick, RI)  --  A tragic drowning incident in Warwick this weekend has claimed two lives.  The body of a ten-year-old Providence girl named Yoskarly Martinez was recovered by divers at Conimicut Point on Monday.  One of the people who tried to save Martinez the previous day, but also perished, was Valentin Cardona Sanchez of Central Falls.  Two other would-be rescuers were hospitalized.  Officials say strong currents were a factor.  Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi says authorities will review potential changes in signs and policies at Conimicut Point Park.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Police Investigating RI DMV Admin's Ownership Of Alleged Prostitution Property

(Cranston, RI)  --  State Police are investigating whether the administrator of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles was aware of alleged organized prostitution activity on one of his properties.  Nearly a dozen arrests were made at massage parlors in Cranston last week which police said were prostitution fronts, including a unit on Broad Street owed by Walter Craddock.  The directive to investigate was given by Governor Dan McKee, who decried human trafficking and said he wants to know if Craddock, quote, "committed any wrongdoing whatsoever related to this situation".  A statement from Craddock's real estate company claims he did not have any knowledge.

>>New Department Of Revenue Director Nominated

(Providence, RI)  --  A new Rhode Island Department of Revenue director is being nominated.  Guillermo Tello previously worked as an advisor for the U.S. Treasury Department in the country of Indonesia.  Pending approval from the state legislature, Tello would replace Jim Thorsen, who took a new role as the director of the RI Department of Administration.

>>Preliminary Accreditation Denial Issued To RI State Hospital

(Cranston, RI)  --  It continues to be a tough year for the state hospital of Rhode Island.  The Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations has issued a preliminary accreditation denial to Eleanor Slater Hospital.  A spokesperson for Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee tells The Providence Journal the report highlights ongoing management issues and deficiencies that have not been adequately addressed over the years.  The Joint Commission is giving the state twenty days to take care of this.

>>War Memorial Vandalism Again In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  Another war memorial is vandalized in Providence.  WJAR-TV reports a monument honoring a World War One veteran, Providence native Carlos LaFazia, was recently damaged.  The monument is at LaFazia Square, which the city dedicated in 2017 at the intersection of Douglas Avenue and Admiral Street.  Prov City Councilor David Salvatore [[ SAL-vuh-TORE ]] is offering a five-hundred-dollar reward to information leading to an arrest and conviction.  Previous war memorial vandalism in the capital city was reported on Memorial Day.

>>Gina Raimondo's Providence House Sold

(Providence, RI)  --  Former Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo's house in Providence has been sold.  Reports indicate the East Side home sold on Monday for just over one-million dollars.  Raimondo was expected to move to the Washington DC area after she was appointed to lead the U.S. Commerce Department under the Biden administration.

>>Rebelle Bagels Of Providence Closes

(Providence, RI)  --  A popular Providence bagel place is closing, but perhaps not permanently.  Rebelle Artisan Bagels on Doyle Avenue says it does not have enough staff to maintain expected service.  Rebelle says it still has its lease and that could come back in the same space.

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

06-22-2021 01:15:07

Noravax vaccine 90-100% effective

Novavax vaccine 90-100% effective for COVID-19

 
June 15, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Demonstrates 90% Overall Efficacy and 100% Protection Against Moderate and Severe Disease in PREVENT-19 Phase 3 Trial

 

  • 93% efficacy against predominantly circulating Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest
  • 91% efficacy in high-risk populations
  • 100% efficacy against variants “not considered Variants of Concern/Interest”
  • All COVID-19 hospitalizations/death occurred in the placebo group
  • Company to host investor conference call today at 8:30 am ET

 

Novavax, Inc. today announced that NVX-CoV2373, its recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrated 100% protection against moderate and severe disease, 90.4% efficacy overall, and met the primary endpoint in its PREVENT-19 pivotal Phase 3 trial. The study enrolled 29,960 participants across 119 sites in the U.S. and Mexico to evaluate efficacy, safety and immunogenicity, with an emphasis on recruiting a representative population of communities and demographic groups most impacted by the disease.

 

“Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax. “Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines.”

 

The company intends to file for regulatory authorizations in the third quarter, upon completion of the final phases of process qualification and assay validation needed to meet chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC) requirements. Upon regulatory approvals, Novavax remains on track to reach manufacturing capacity of 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter and 150 million doses per month by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

 

“PREVENT-19 confirms that NVX-CoV2373 offers a reassuring tolerability and safety profile,” said Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development, Novavax. “These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus. Our vaccine will be a critical part of the solution to COVID-19 and we are grateful to the study participants and trial staff who made this study possible, as well as our supporters, including the U.S. Government.”

 

Click here to view multimedia content, including B-roll, an illustrated fact sheet and other resources that accompany this press release.

 

Results: Consistent, high efficacy among circulating variants

 

In the placebo-controlled, observer-blinded study randomized 2:1, NVX-CoV2373 demonstrated overall efficacy of 90.4% (95% CI: 82.9, 94.6), achieving its primary endpoint. Seventy-seven cases were observed: 63 in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group. All cases observed in the vaccine group were mild as defined by the trial protocol. Ten moderate cases and four severe cases were observed, all in the placebo group, yielding a vaccine efficacy of 100% (95% CI: 87.0, 100) against moderate or severe disease.

 

Efficacy endpoints were accrued from January 25 through April 30, 2021 — a time when the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, first identified in the U.K., became the predominant strain in the U.S. Other strains, including Variants of Interest (VoI) and Variants of Concern (VoC), were also on the rise during the PREVENT-19 endpoint accrual window. Click here for CDC definitions of variants.

 

Sequence data are available for 54 of the 77 cases. PREVENT-19 met its key secondary endpoint, demonstrating 100% efficacy (95% CI: 80.8, 100) against variants not considered VoC/VoI. Of the sequenced cases, 35 (65%) were VoC, 9 (17%) were VoI, and 10 (19%) were other variants. Against VoC/VoI, which represented 82% of the cases, vaccine efficacy was 93.2% (95% CI: 83.9, 97.1), achieving a key exploratory endpoint of the study. Thirty-eight of the VoC/VoI cases were in the placebo group and 6 were in the vaccine group.

 

NVX-CoV2373 also showed success among “high-risk” populations (defined as over age 65, under age 65 with certain comorbidities or having life circumstances with frequent COVID-19 exposure): vaccine efficacy was 91.0% (95% CI: 83.6, 95.0), with 62 COVID-19 cases in the placebo group and 13 COVID-19 cases in the vaccine group.

 

Results: Reasserting a favorable safety profile

 

Preliminary safety data from PREVENT-19 showed the vaccine to be generally well-tolerated. Serious and severe adverse events were low in number and balanced between vaccine and placebo groups. No single adverse event term was reported by more than 1% of participants. In assessing reactogenicity 7 days after Dose 1 and Dose 2, injection site pain and tenderness, generally mild to moderate in severity, were the most common local symptoms, lasting less than 3 days. Fatigue, headache and muscle pain were the most common systemic symptoms, lasting less than 2 days.

 

Study Endpoints

 

The primary endpoint for PREVENT-19 was the first occurrence of PCR-confirmed symptomatic (mild, moderate or severe) COVID-19 with onset at least 7 days after the second dose in serologically negative (to SARS-CoV-2) adult participants at baseline. The statistical success criterion included a lower bound of 95% CI >30%.

 

Novavax expects to share further details of the PREVENT-19 trial results as additional data become available. Further analyses of the trial are ongoing and will be shared via preprint servers as well as submitted to peer-review journals for publication.

 

The placebo-controlled portion of PREVENT-19 continues in adolescents from 12 to less than 18 years of age, which recently completed enrollment with 2,248 participants.

 

Variant Virus Strains

 

The CDC has defined Variant of Interest (VoI) as a variant with genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity. A Variant of Concern (VoC) is defined as a variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.

 

About PREVENT-19

 

PREVENT-19 (the PRE-fusion protein subunit Vaccine Efficacy Novavax Trial | COVID-19) is a 2:1 randomized, placebo-controlled, observer-blinded study to evaluate the efficacy, safety and immunogenicity of NVX-CoV2373 with Matrix-M™ adjuvant in 29,960 participants 18 years of age and older in 119 locations in the United States and Mexico, compared with placebo.

 

PREVENT-19 is being conducted with support from the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at HHS. BARDA is providing up to $1.75 billion under a Department of Defense agreement.

 

Conference Call

 

Novavax will host a conference call today at 8:30am ET. The dial-in numbers for the conference call are (866) 652-5200 (Domestic) or (412) 317-6060 (International). Participants will be prompted to request to join the Novavax, Inc. call. A replay of the conference call will be available starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on June 14, 2021, until 11:59 p.m. ET on June 21, 2021. To access the replay by telephone, dial (877) 344-7529 (Domestic) or (412) 317-0088 (International) and use passcode 10157478.

 

A webcast of the conference call can also be accessed on the Novavax website at novavax.com/events. A replay of the webcast will be available on the Novavax website until September 14, 2021.

 

About NVX-CoV2373

 

NVX-CoV2373 is a protein-based vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of the first strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. NVX-CoV2373 was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and is formulated with Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. NVX-CoV2373 contains purified protein antigen and can neither replicate, nor can it cause COVID-19. In preclinical studies, NVX-CoV2373 induced antibodies that blocked the binding of spike protein to cellular receptors and provided protection from infection and disease. It was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody response in Phase 1/2 clinical testing.

 

NVX-CoV2373 is being evaluated in two pivotal Phase 3 trials: a trial in the U.K. that demonstrated efficacy of 96.4% against the original virus strain, 86.3% against the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant and 89.7% overall; and the PREVENT-19 trial in the U.S. and Mexico that began in December 2020. It is also being tested in two ongoing Phase 2 studies that began in August 2020: A Phase 2b trial in South Africa that demonstrated 55% efficacy overall in HIV-negative participants and 48.6% efficacy against the B.1.351 (Beta) variant, and a Phase 1/2 study in the U.S. and Australia.

 

NVX-CoV2373 is stored and stable at 2°- 8°C, allowing the use of existing vaccine supply chain channels for its distribution. It is packaged in a ready-to-use liquid formulation in 10-dose vials.

 

About Matrix-M™ Adjuvant

 

Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes, boosting immune response.

 

About Novavax

 

Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX) is a biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. The company’s proprietary recombinant technology platform combines the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles designed to address urgent global health needs. Novavax is conducting late-stage clinical trials for NVX-CoV2373, its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, met all primary objectives in its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older adults and will be advanced for regulatory submission. Both vaccine candidates incorporate Novavax’ proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

 

For more information, visit www.novavax.com and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 
Novavax Logo

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: One person reportedly died trying to save a girl from the water in Warwick on Sunday.  A new reparations effort for African-Americans is being made by a number of U.S. cities including Providence.  The director of a Rhode Island agency is resigning soon amid controversy.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>One Dead After Water Incident Off Warwick's Conimicut Point Park

(Warwick, RI)  --  The body of a man was recovered from the water off Conimicut Point Park in Warwick on Sunday.  The United States Coast Guard said the victim was 30 years old.  Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi says he was trying to save a child.  The Coast Guard and the Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force are searching for an eleven-year-old girl.

>>Pool Drowning In Wrentham

(Wrentham, MA)  --  A one-year-old child drowned in a pool in Wrentham, Massachusetts on Saturday night.  Police reports indicate the name of the toddler who fell into the pool and was later pronounced dead at Landmark Hospital in Woonsocket is Angelo Nicoloro.  Authorities say the drowning appeared to have resulted from a momentary lapse of supervision.

>>Vehicle Goes From Route 3 to 95 In Fatal Rollover

(Richmond, RI)  --  A fatal rollover crash in South County overnight Saturday started on Rhode Island Route 3 and concluded on I-95.  The Rhode Island State Police says Kyle Lamphere of Ashaway was the victim of the crash in Richmond.  RISP says Lamphere was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

>>Two Dead In Providence Shooting; Arrest Made In North Prov Shooting

(Undated)  --  Two people died in a shooting overnight Sunday in Providence.  The Providence Police Department says it happened outside a house on Cheshire Street near Providence College after a fight had broken out.  Meanwhile, an arrest has been made in connection to a shooting in North Providence last week.  Michael Monteiro faces charges including felony assault.  Two men reportedly kicked in a door at a residence on Winona Street on Thursday and shot a 48-year-old man in the chest, but the victim is expected to survive.

>>Providence Part Of New National Reparations Effort

(Providence, RI)  --  The mayors of eleven U.S. cities, including Providence, are forming a national committee to push for reparations for African-Americans.  The announcement came this weekend as Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in America, was celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has taken steps towards reparations over the last two years.  City leaders unveiled the findings of a study that detailed the slave history of Rhode Island as part of the truth-telling phase.

>>PPP Loan Taxation Threshold Raised

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island legislative leaders are agreeing to raise the threshold of taxation on Paycheck Protection Program loans.  It's being increased from 150-thousand to 250-thousand dollars.  Rhode Island House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi said this will make it so that only the few businesses which profited from the pandemic-era loans will be taxed.

>>Rhode Island Agency Director Stepping Down Amid Controversy

(Providence, RI)  --  The director of the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging is leaving the position as she faces a whistleblower lawsuit.  Rose Amoros Jones has informed the governor her final day will be July 2nd.  Jones is accused of firing an administrator because she refused to make alleged improper personnel decisions.  Jones said in a statement about her resignation that she wants to spend more time with her family.

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

06-21-2021 00:11:32

RI Veterans: Did you know?

RI Veterans: Did you know? 18 June 21 – John A. Cianci

 
June 18, 2021/John Cianci

 

RI Veterans: Did You Know?

 

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,

                             Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

 

Free America the Beautiful Passes to National Parks for Veterans and Gold Star Families

 

Did you know the National Park Service since Veterans Day 2020, Gold Star Families and US military veterans are eligible to receive free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. The free access program is a way to thank America’s veterans and Gold Star Families for their support of our country and to encourage them to explore recreational opportunities on their public lands and waters. If you were to purchase this annual pass, it would cost you $80.

 

Did you know you can obtain the pass in person at federal recreation sites that charge entrance or standard amenity fees, which includes one in Rhode Island, Roger William National Memorial, Providence, RI, (401) 521-7266, or online https://store.usgs.gov/pass.

 

Nature is a powerful force in healing. The free pass covers entrance to National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sites that charge entrance fees, and covers standard amenity fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation Sites, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites. The pass admits the pass owners and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas, or the pass owner and up to 3 adults( 16 years and older) and no entry fee charged for children 15 and under. The entrance fee waiver does not cover expanded amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, transportation, special recreation permits, reservation fees or special tours.

 

The America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series includes different options of interagency passes that provide access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas across the United States. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, and US Army Corps of Engineers. Most interagency passes are available through the USGS Online Store. Use the search list below for options to purchase or pick up passes at participating agencies’ sites across the country.

 

VETTIP Ensure to have photo identification with you as the owner of the pass, you will be asked when using the pass.  

 

With the free pass, you can access over 400 National parks across America, to include 13 located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (see below for complete listing). These national parks have direct connections to the American military, including frontier forts, battlefields, national cemeteries, and memorials.

 

Locally, the pass can be obtained and used Roger William National Park, Providence, RI or obtained online https://store.usgs.gov.

 

Many of the National parks are historical sites provide veterans and current military members and their families with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and camaraderie in the great outdoors. Many parks are popular destinations for active adventures like hiking, climbing, cycling, swimming, and scuba diving, while others are known for more tranquil activities such as camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and observing the night sky. NPS.gov provides a map that highlights national parks near Veterans Administration facilities across the country and provides detailed information about each park.

 

One of my favorites, Cape Cod’s National Seashore, Wellfleet MA. The national seashore includes forty miles of sandy beaches, salt marshes, ponds, and uplands. It also preserves historic buildings and landscapes. In addition to its habitats that provide for species diversity, and its cultural sites which interpret the story of human use, the national seashore provides for many recreational activities that beckon visitors: bicycling, wildlife viewing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Exhibits, ranger-guided programs, films, and science and history presentations interpret the many facets of the national seashore. More information on Cape Cod’s National Seashore National park, visit their Facebook page or go to http://www.nps gov/caco.

 

Another hidden America Treasure is Buffumville Lake, Charlton MA, a U.S Army Corps of Engineers recreation site. Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The park is a day use fee area containing picnic sites with tables and grills. The Corps maintains a swimming area with a 300 foot long beach. This areas includes two picnic shelters that may be reserved for a nominal fee (www.recreation.gov), a life jacket loaner station, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a handicap accessible comfort station. This park has a disc golf course at the Buffumville Dam site has 18 professional holes and 12 amateur holes for golfers of all ages. The 7.2 mile Lake Shore Trail starts in the park and extends around the shoreline of the lake. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Park rangers provide special interpretive programs on topics to include natural resources, water safety, and Dam tours.

 

Pandemic claustrophobic veterans, get your FREE America The Beautiful pass and plan some America the Beautiful road trips visits to  National Parks and Federal Recreational located in RI and MA.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1 Who is eligible to gain free entrance as a Veteran?

 

For purposes of this program, a veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the US Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and is able to present one of the following forms of identification or the Interagency Military Pass when entering a national park: 

 

  • Department of Defense Identification Card (CAC Card) 
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) 
  • Veteran ID Card 
  • Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card
  • Dependents of deployed military members with DoD Form 1173 may obtain a pass

 

VETTIP The actual IDs listed above must be presented. Photocopies or digital images are not accepted. Form DD-214 is not accepted. 

 

Q2 Are passes available for disabled veterans or other people with disabilities? 

 

Yes. The Interagency Access Pass is a lifetime pass that is free for any US citizen or permanent resident, including a veteran or Gold Star Family member, who has a permanent disability. An Access Pass may also provide discounts for expanded amenities like camping, guided tours etc. For more information visit USGS Store – Access Pass.

 

Q3 Who is eligible to gain free access as a member of a Gold Star Family? 

 

Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36. 

 

How does a Gold Star Family gain free access to a national park? 

 

Before visiting a national park site, Gold Star Family members must download and print a voucher to present to park staff, exchange for an annual Interagency Military Pass, or place on the vehicle dashboard at unstaffed sites (representations of the voucher are prohibited; the physical voucher or pass must be present.  


By downloading and signing the voucher, Gold Star Family members are self-certifying that they meet the required criteria as identified in sections 3.2 and 3.3 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36.

 

Following is the self-certification language on the voucher: 

 

“I hereby affirm that I am an eligible next of kin (NOK) of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a qualifying situation, such as war, an international terrorist attack or a military operation outside of the United States while serving in the United States Armed Forces, as identified in sections 3.2 (Qualifying Situation) and 3.3 (Eligible NOK) of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36”

 

Q3 Does the waiver include others traveling with the veteran or Gold Star Family member? 

 

Free access is for the veteran or the holder of the Gold Star Family voucher as well as travelling companions who are occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle OR the veteran or voucher-holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. The voucher is non-transferrable and void if altered.

 

Q4 What are the locations in RI, MA, and CT the pass can be used at?

 

Rhode Island

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Roger Williams National Memorial PROVIDENCE,RI
Phone: (401) 521-7266. Roger Williams National Memorial was established by Congress in 1965 to commemorate Williams’s “outstanding contributions to the development of the principles of freedom in this country.” The memorial, a 4.5 acre urban greenspace located at the foot of College Hill in downtown Providence, includes a freshwater spring which was the center of the settlement of Providence Plantations founded by Williams in 1636. It is on this site that Williams, through word and action, fought for the ideal that religion must not be subject to regulation by the state but, instead, that it should be a matter of individual conscience. It was a remarkable journey that brought Williams to what is now the capital of Rhode Island and to where he put his beliefs into practice, giving “shelter for persons distressed of conscience.”

 

Massachusetts

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Adams National Historical Park QUINCY,MA
Phone: (617) 770-1175. From the sweet little farm at the foot of Penn’s Hill to the gentleman’s country estate at Peace field, Adams National Historical Park is the story of “heroes, statesman, philosophers … and learned women” whose ideas and actions helped to transform thirteen disparate colonies into one united nation.

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge SUDBURY,MA
Phone: (978) 562-3527. Most refuge lands and outdoor spaces have remained open for the public to enjoy, we ask that you Recreate Responsibly.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Boston National Historical Park BOSTON,MA
Phone: (617) 242-5642. Outdoor spaces, including the Freedom Trail®, are open to visitors.

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, Buffumville Lake, CHARLTON,MA
Phone: (508) 248-5697. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Buffumville Lake for year-round recreation. Park rangers are available to assist you during your visit. The disc golf course at the Buffumville Dam site has 18 professional holes and 12 amateur holes for golfers of all ages. The 7.2 mile Lake Shore Trail starts in the park and extends around the shoreline of the lake. The trail is marked with blue blazes. Park rangers provide special interpretive programs on topics to include natural resources, water safety, and Dam tours.Buffumville Park is open daily from mid-May through mid-September. The park is a day use fee area containing picnic sites with tables and grills. The Corps maintains a swimming area with a 300 foot long beach. This areas includes two picnic shelters that may be reserved for a nominal fee (www.recreation.gov), a life jacket loaner station, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and a handicap accessible comfort station. See below for pricing details.The outdoor sports enthusiast can hunt, fish and boat at Buffumville Lake. Hunting is not permitted in developed areas of the park and dam site.A concrete boat launch and culvert underneath Oxford Rd. permits boating on both sides of the lake. The launching land and courtesy dock provide easy access to the lake. Two barrier free fishing platforms are available within the boat launching area. The use of watercraft including motorboats, canoes, kayaks, and other vessels is permitted.
 

The three-acre island on the south end of Buffumville Lake is available to rent (primitive camping) for up to one week. The island is extremely primitive with four tent sites, a fire ring, wood shed, picnic tables, and an outhouse. Permit holders must have a boat to reach the island.  Reservations for the island start on January 1 of each year, beginning at one minute after midnight. Email us or leave a detailed phone message and you will be registered according to the time your message comes in

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Cape Cod National Seashore – Seasonally
Phone: (508) 255-3421. The national seashore includes forty miles of sandy beaches, salt marshes, ponds, and uplands. It also preserves historic buildings and landscapes. In addition to its habitats that provide for species diversity, and its cultural sites which interpret the story of human use, the national seashore provides for many recreational activities that beckon visitors: bicycling, wildlife viewing, swimming, hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Exhibits, ranger-guided programs, films, and science and history presentations interpret the many facets of the national seashore. More information on Cape Cod’s National Seashore National park, visit their facebook page or go to http://www.nps gov/caco.

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge SUDBURY,MA. Phone: (978) 443-4661.  Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is managed as part of the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

 

Situated along the Atlantic Flyway in Massachusetts, the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge Complex is comprised of eight ecologically diverse refuges. The eight individual refuges include inland and coastal wetlands, forests, grasslands, and barrier beaches that provide important habitat for migratory birds, mammals, plants, reptiles and amphibians.

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages these areas to maintain a vital and diverse environment for the areas inhabitants. Refuges are managed to conserve and protect a diversity of native wildlife habitats and species. The refuge complex encompasses several threatened and endangered species, the only federally designated Wilderness Area in southern New England, one structure on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Wild and Scenic River.

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Knightville Dam, HUNTINGTON,MA
Phone: (413) 667-3430.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers welcomes you to Knightville Dam. The dam and reservoir area are located in the scenic Berkshire foothills along the East Branch of the Westfield River. Most of the 2,430 acres of the Knightville Dam area is undeveloped. You may enjoy hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding along several miles of trails and old country roads. Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling (limited to the west side of the river) are popular winter activities.The area just below the dam has picnic tables, fireplaces universally accessible public restrooms, drinking water and a picnic shelter. Groups may reserve the shelter in advance for a modest fee.The rivers and streams at Knightville offer excellent trout fishing. The river is stocked with trout in the spring. The surrounding hills provide prime upland game habitat, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stocks pheasants in the fall. Hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with posted restrictions and Massachusetts laws.Each spring, water releases from Knightville Dam are coordinated with those from nearby Littleville Lake to provide challenging flows for the annual Westfield River Wildwater Canoe Races.Located at the northern end of the reservoir, the Indian Hollow Group Campground is available by reservation to community groups such as churches, schools, scouts and clubs. For more information on reservations contact the project office or call toll free at 1-877-444-6777. For more information on hunting or fishing, you can contact the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Lowell National Historical Park LOWELL,MA
Phone: (978) 970-5000. Discover the Continuing Revolution. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Explore Lowell, a living monument to the dynamic human story of the Industrial Revolution. The National Park runs various programs seasonally. Visitors are recommended to make reservations for all tours in advance as they can fill up quickly. To make a reservation, please call (978) 970-5000. Please check the tours section for more information.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Minute Man National Historical Park CONCORD,MA
Phone: (978) 369-6993. At Minute Man National Historical Park the opening battle of the Revolution is brought to life as visitors explore the battlefields and structures associated with April 19, 1775, and witness the American revolutionary spirit through the writings of the Concord authors. Every Spring, Summer and Fall Minute Man offers a variety of ranger programs to the visiting public. Due to the Covid 19 public health crisis the schedule for the 2021 season is yet to be determined. 

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE New Bedford Whaling National Historical ParkNEW BEDFORD,MA Phone: (508) 996-4095. Celebrating the 25th Anniversary, the 25th anniversary of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park celebrates a quarter century of interpretation, preservation, and partnerships that makes it one of the gems of the National Park System. Visitors to the park and the City of New Bedford are encouraged to explore the cultural resources, historic neighborhoods, and working waterfront managed and maintained by our partners and who embody Strength through Community. This year-long celebration pays tribute to the unique partnership of municipal, institutional, and individuals who advocated for the transformation of downtown New Bedford’s local historic district into a national park. The anniversary honors the relationships that have grown between the park, its partners, and the greater New Bedford communities who attract a wide and diverse audience to the City that Lit the World. 

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE Parker River National Wildlife Refuge NEWBURYPORT,MA .Phone: (978) 465-5753.Located along the northeast coast of Massachusetts, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1941 to provide feeding, resting, and nesting habitat for migratory birds. Most commonly associated with Plum Island – a barrier beach island – the refuge is comprised of more than 4700 acres of diverse habitats including sandy beach and dune, cranberry bog, maritime forest and shrub land, and freshwater marsh. The most abundant habitat on the refuge is its 3,000+ acres of salt marsh, one of the most productive ecosystems in nature. Parker River provides pristine coastal habitat for over 300 species of resident and migratory birds, as well as a large variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The refuge also provides critical habitat for the federally threatened piping plover.In addition to its mission of wildlife conservation, the refuge provides a variety of excellent wildlife-dependent recreational activities, including surf fishing, wildlife observation and photography, a variety of interpretive programs, and seasonal waterfowl and deer hunting opportunities. A large visitor center – complete with a classroom and auditorium – supports many of these public uses.Explore the refuge by kayak: Parker River NWR includes more than 3000 acres of salt marsh. Explore the salt marsh in your kayak by paddling along our water trail. You can download the water trail map and guide by clicking the link below.

 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Springfield Armory National Historic Site SPRINGFIELD,MA Phone: (413) 734-8551. The Springfield Armory National Historic Site is located on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College. If using a GPS, do not use the physical address of the museum. Please use the following address:1 Armory St., Springfield, MA. 01105.For nearly two centuries, the US Armed Forces and American industry looked to Springfield Armory for innovative engineering and superior firearms. Springfield Armory National Historic Site commemorates the critical role of the nation’s first armory by preserving and interpreting the world’s largest historic US military small arms collection, along with historic archives, buildings, and landscapes.

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS West Hill Dam UXBRIDGE,MA
Phone: (508) 278-2511. West Hill Dam and Park remain open year round. Outside posted hours of operation, please feel free to park at the gates and walk in to enjoy your park. West Hill Park where the West River widens to form a large, natural swimming hole, known locally as Harrington Pool. Tables and grills are available for picnicking in two areas of the park, one near a beach and one under a grove of pines. The park also offers two sandy beaches, a change house and modern rest rooms. Two picnic shelters on a wooded knoll, with electric are available to groups for a small fee. A sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and accessible playground are nearby. From the parking lot, a 1/2 mile, self-guided nature trail runs down along the river and loop back through the woods.About two miles of hiking trails meander through the woodlands and provide secluded views of the river. Anglers will find trout in he main river channel and bass, pickerel and horned pout in the pools. Hunting for deer, small game and upland birds is permitted in accordance with state laws. Trout and pheasant are stocked by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. West Hill Park offers two shelters, one with ten tables that will accommodate a group up to about 100 people, while the other has 4 tables and hosts about 30 people comfortably. No fees.  Shelter reservations will be taken in person only at the project office on a first come, first serve basis.

 EVENTS/MEETINGS

FREE GOLF every Wednesday, Buttonhole, Providence RI, 12:00-3:00pm Veterans, Active Military, and National Guard, can use the range or play 9 holes of golf at no charge. Simply sign-in at the Pro-Shop on Wednesday from noon to 3:00PM.

For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email dwright@burttonhole.org.

FREE Thursday Golf Clinics, Buttonhole, Providence RI , for all Veterans and immediate family. June thru October from 5:00-7:00pm f.The golf clinics are opened to all levels of experiences. Equipment use is free. One ParaMobile golf cart is available. For more information, contact Don Wright, 401-421-1664 email dwright@burttonhole.org.

REUNIONS

Friday, August 6th, 11AM, “Rhode Island National Guard Summer Reunion”, Quonset Officers’ Club, 200 Lieutenant James Brown Road, North Kingstown.  Point of contact is Bob Antonelli at 401.996.3764, or via email at bob02909@cox.net.  Cut-off date is Tuesday, August 3rd.  

September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact Name: John Wear. Point of Contact Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: johnwear2@verizon.net . Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Ontos units in Vietnam . . . in any capacity is welcome!!!    

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamrirvets@gmail.com

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Rhode Island House is holding off for now on a proposed new state hospital facility.  Gas prices are stuck right below three bucks a gallon in the Ocean State.  More details about the message in a bottle sent from Rhode Island and found on the other side of the Atlantic.
 
>>New State Hospital Facility Not Included In House Budget
 
(Burrillville, RI)  --  The Rhode Island House is not including funding for a new building at the state hospital campus in Burrillville in its version of the state budget.  The Finance Committee passed the budget to the full House on Thursday minus the 65-million-dollar request previously made by Governor Dan McKee.  House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi says the future of the state hospital is of great concern to many lawmakers, and that he expects that McKee will present a formal plan soon.
 
>>RI House Passes Suicide Prevention Bill
 
(Portsmouth, RI)  --  The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed a bill aimed at suicide prevention.  The bill is named in honor of Nathan Bruno, a Portsmouth 15-year-old who died by suicide in 2018.  The legislation would require all school personnel, even volunteers, to be trained in suicide prevention and awareness.  The bill looks to be on a fast track to the governor's desk as the Rhode Island Senate has already passed companion legislation.
 
>>Gas Prices Remain Steady Right Under Three Dollars Per Gallon
 
(Undated)  --  Some places in Rhode Island are already dealing with gas prices above three dollars a gallon, but right now the average is still below the threshold.  RIGasPrices.com reports two-ninety-seven is the current average in the Ocean State, the same as a week ago.  Prices have stayed high in the U.S. as more people have hit the roads with the number of coronavirus cases dropping to the same level that they were in late-March 2020.
 
>>Pawtucket Apex Property Development News
 
(Pawtucket, RI)  --  There's an update on the future development of the well-known Apex property site in Pawtucket.  The Providence Business News reports the city planning commission voted this week to give the Apex Development Company an additional six-month window to make progress on a proposed mixed-use development for the property along I-95 where a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium was once proposed.  The city has been taking steps to acquire the property via eminent domain, while Apex has sued alleging the city is preventing the company from its own development efforts.
 
[[ note nature ]]
 
>>Massage Parlors Targeted In Prostitution Sting
 
(Cranston, RI)  --  Six massage parlors in Cranston were raided for alleged prostitution activity on Thursday.  WPRI-TV reports eleven arrests were made.  A neighboring salon of one of the alleged fronts on Park Avenue says customers would come in thinking they were getting prostitution service and would leave when they realized they were in the wrong place.
 
>>Discovered Message In Bottle One Of Several Made By Family
 
(Narragansett, RI)  --  We're learning more details about a message in a bottle sent from Rhode Island and found in the Azores [[ AE-zorz ]], Portugal earlier this month.  The message was crafted at a family Thanksgiving gathering in 2018 hosted by Katie Smith, who says the bottle was launched from the pier behind the Monahan's Clam Shack in Narragansett.  There may be a few more reports about this family in the future as Smith says they sent out eight bottles total.  She says her 13-year-old nephew from Vermont who wrote the message found in the Azores is in the process of reaching out.
 
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Jim McCabe/djc           RI) VT)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
06-18-2021 00:07:10

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Providence Police Department is internally investigating after an officer reportedly stopped the wrong man at gunpoint.  A Rhode Island state representative who had to drop out following allegations of misconduct has been sentenced.  The state Department of Transportation proposes to take over municipal streetlights on state roads.

>>Providence PD Investigating Detaining Of Wrong Man

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence police officer stopped a man at gunpoint over the weekend before it was realized it was a case of mistaken identity.  The Providence Journal reports John Thomas Flodin was stopped outside his neighborhood Walgreens on Academy Avenue on Sunday and was detained.  Police were looking for a suspect in an armed carjacking.  Flodin had a Volkswagen, the same manufacturer as the one involved in the incident, but he is 26 years older than the suspect described by police.  The Journal reports Flodin filed a complaint with the Providence Police Department on Monday and was told Internal Affairs is investigating.  The name of the officer has not been released.

>>Prov Board Calls For School Police Officers To Be Removed

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence School Board has approved a resolution asking for the removal of school resource officers, according to a report from WJAR-TV.  The request is going to the Rhode Island Department of Education.  Providence students rallied in April for the officers to be removed, alleging discrimination and criminalization of normal school misconduct, according to Channel 10.  There have been recent complaints of excessive force used by S-R-O's against students of color or special needs in other Rhode Island districts, including Narragansett and Pawtucket.  Governor Dan McKee said at the time of that April student rally that he does not support such a proposal.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Inappropriate Material In Seekonk School Yearbooks Under Investigation

(Seekonk, MA)  --  The Seekonk, Massachusetts School District and police department are investigating after a group of students allegedly put inappropriate things in at least twenty yearbooks.  The Seekonk school district superintendent says a group of eighth-graders at Hurley Middle School drew "anti-Semitic imagery, a racist slur and drawings of a sexual nature" during the annual yearbook-signing event.  The Seekonk superintendent says the students who are identified to have had involvement will be disciplined.

>>West Warwick Woman Dead Following Tuesday Shooting

(West Warwick, RI)  --  A West Warwick woman was killed in a shooting in the town on Tuesday night.  Police say the victim was a 74-year-old who was shot at a house on River Farms Drive.  A 74-year-old man also had gunshot wounds and was hospitalized.  An investigation is taking place, but authorities says there is no threat to public safety.

>>Former RI State Rep-Elect Sentenced

(Providence, RI)  --  A former Rhode Island state representative-elect is pleading guilty to embezzlement and campaign finance charges.  The state attorney general says 27-year-old Laufton Ascencao [[ LOFF-tun uh-ZEN-see-OW ]] pleaded no contest to charges stemming from the embezzlement of over 16-thousand dollars from the Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club, where he served as treasurer.  Prosecutors said Ascencao used the money to pay for campaign expenses.  Ascencao was elected to serve the 68th Rhode Island House District in Bristol and Warren in 2018, but resigned before taking office.  The A.G.'s office says he has been given a five-year suspended jail sentence with probation and has been ordered to pay restitution to the Sierra Club.

>>RIDOT Proposes Taking Over Municipal Street Lights On State Roads

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is proposing to assume responsibility for local streetlights which are put up on state roads.  RIDOT says there has been a hodgepodge of ownership and maintenance issues over the years because municipalities have installed the lights sometimes with the transportation department's consent and sometimes not.  Cities and towns must convert the lights to LED before the transfer, which the state is promoting as a cost-savings measure and an environmental advantage.

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

06-17-2021 00:30:09

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Governor Dan McKee's office is explaining the extension of Rhode Island's COVID-19 pandemic emergency.  Someone on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean has found a message in a bottle sent from the Ocean State.  A doctor who gained notoriety for commissioning an embarrassing mural of a Rhode Island mayor a few years ago is now facing a federal fine for allegedly exposing his workers to COVID.

>>Governor's Office Explains RI Extension Of COVID Emergency

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island's neighbor to the north lifted its coronavirus emergency on Tuesday.  The move from Massachusetts is leaving some in the Ocean State to wonder why its governor decided to extend its own pandemic emergency, especially since the pandemic appears to now be in the rear-view mirror locally.  The Providence Journal over the weekend reported a statement from Dan McKee's office that said the emergency additionally responds to the after-effects of the pandemic and helps to preserve federal benefits, among other things.  The emergency was extended to July 9th and could possibly go longer.

>>D.A.'s Office Announces Arrests Tied To MA/RI Drug-Trafficking

(New Bedford, MA)  --  Ten people have been arrested in connection to an alleged drug-trafficking operation in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  The Bristol County Mass District Attorney's Office says search warrants were executed last Friday in New Bedford and Providence.  The alleged traffickers allegedly distributed large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana and opioid pills.  The prosecutor's office dubbed this the "Geraldo Rivera Drug Trafficking Organization" named for the lead defendant.

>>Message In A Bottle Found

(Undated)  --  A message in a bottle written by someone in Rhode Island was found in Portugal's Azores [[ AE-zorz ]] Islands earlier this month.  The Boston Globe reports 17-year-old Christian Santos, a former Boston resident, found the note in a plastic bottle while he was spear-fishing and also apparently on environmental cleanup duty.  The note read: "It is Thanksgiving. I am 13 and visiting family in Rhode Island.  I am from Vermont", followed by an email address which appeared to indicate the note was written in 2018.  Santos has tried to contact the message-sender, but no success so far.

>>Patriots Mini-Camp Report

(Foxboro, MA)  --  There are plenty of storylines to follow as the New England Patriots opened mini-camp this week.  All eyes are on first-round draft pick, quarterback Mac Jones who has earned initial rave reviews.  Linebacker Dont'a [[ DON-tay ]] Hightower has returned after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID concerns.  There is also attention on another key defensive player who did not report to the mandatory mini-camp: cornerback Stephon Gilmore.  An ESPN report suggests the move is contract-related.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Doctor Cited For Allegedly Exposing Workers To COVID

(North Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island doctor is being cited by federal agency OSHA for failing to protect workers from COVID.  Anthony Farina allegedly exposed employees to the virus at multiple practices in North Providence and West Greenwich.  OSHA has proposed a fine of approximately 136-thousand dollars.  This was the same complaint lodged by the state of Rhode Island earlier this year which led to Farina's license being temporarily suspended.  And you may recall in 2018, Farina commissioned an artist to create a mural of North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi sitting on a toilet wearing a crown on his head.  The mural went on a former Farina medical office that the city had ordered to be demolished.

>>Doris Duke Mansion No Longer Refers To 1966 Death As Accident

(Newport, RI)  --  An exhibit at the Newport mansion of famous billionaire Doris Duke has been changed to reflect updated information about a death incident at the estate.  According to a report from The Newport Daily News, the title of the exhibit about the 1966 death of Eduardo Tirella, Duke's interior designer, was changed from "The Accident at the Rough Point Gate" to "The Incident at the Rough Point Gate" based on findings from a book last year which present evidence of an intentional murder.  Tirella was run over by a car driven by Duke, but the death was ruled accidental at the time.  The mansion is operated by the Newport Restoration Foundation, which acted on a letter sent by a relative of Tirella's.

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Jim McCabe/jb         RI) VT) MA) 
Copyright © 2021
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06-16-2021 00:25:06

RI to consolidate COVID testing sites

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Rhode Island to consolidate COVID-19 testing sites

J
une 15, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Governor McKee and RIDOH Announce COVID-19 Test Site Consolidation Plan

 

Due to a shift in strategy and focus in the State’s COVID-19 response, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are announcing their plan to consolidate State-run COVID-19 test sites. 

 

As the pandemic evolves, the State’s testing strategy has become more targeted. Rhode Island is focused on bringing COVID-19 testing to the most vulnerable groups of people in the State. Mobile and pop-up testing has been implemented in places where it is needed the most, like schools, communities with low vaccination rates, travel destinations, and in places where outbreaks have occurred. 

 

By the end of the month, State-run, larger-volume test sites will be consolidated.

 

The State will maintain 25 fixed test sites throughout Rhode Island to ensure all residents have access to free and convenient COVID-19 testing. Rhode Islanders also have the option to get tested at retail pharmacies and medical offices.

 

“The Department of Health and all of our local partners made testing a priority early into the pandemic, which made a world of difference,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Please continue to get tested even if you are vaccinated and have symptoms. Testing will continue to be an important way to keep Rhode Islanders safe as more and more Rhode Islanders across age bands get vaccinated and will help RIDOH identify emerging variants in our communities.” 

 

Throughout the pandemic, the State has led the nation in COVID-19 testing rates per capita and maintained capacity for large-scale asymptomatic testing. As vaccination rates have increased, demand for COVID-19 testing has decreased. At the height of its testing volume in April, the State was testing 125,000 people per week. The State is now testing approximately 50,000 per week. Even with these decreases, the State maintains the ability to ramp up capacity if needed. 

 

“The COVID-19 positivity rate in Rhode Island has gone down and vaccination rates are among the highest in the nation,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “But the pandemic is not over, and Rhode Islanders need to remain vigilant. COVID-19 testing will continue to be a critical tool in identifying disease and preventing outbreaks.” 

 

Saturday, June 26, will be the last day of testing at the following sites:

 

 

Sunday, June 27, will be the last day of testing at the following sites:

 

 

If you are not fully vaccinated, you should get tested weekly. If you are fully vaccinated, you should get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 or you are returning from out-of-state travel. Vaccinated travelers are still encouraged to get a COVID-19 test between five and 10 days after out-of-state travel. For a full list of COVID-19 test sites, visit covid.ri.gov/testing.

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Large-scale coronavirus-testing sites are closing in Rhode Island.  A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the Ocean State clears an initial hurdle.  Electric bikes are coming back to Providence, and the new bikes are said to be more secure than the last fleet.

>>Large-Scale COVID Testing Sites In RI Closing

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Dan McKee says Rhode Island is consolidating its large, state-run COVID testing sites as demand has decreased due to more people being vaccinated.  Thirteen testing sites will close on June 26th and 27th, including the Rhode Island Convention Center parking garage in Providence.  The state will maintain twenty-five fixed test sites; a full list is available at covid.ri.gov/testing.  The recommendation for Rhode Islanders who are not fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 is to get tested weekly.  For those who are fully-vaccinated, state officials say you should get tested if you develop coronavirus symptoms or if you are returning from out-of-state travel.

>>Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Advanced To Rhode Island Senate Floor

(Providence, RI)  --  A bill legalizing recreational marijuana was passed by the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday.  It's the first time such a bill has moved to the floor of either chamber in the RI General Assembly.  The legislation, which would create a cannabis control commission similar to Massachusetts for regulation purposes, is expected to go to the full RI Senate next week.  There have been several adult-use cannabis proposals in the current legislative session, but House Speaker Joe Shekarchi has previously indicated a decision will not be made until after the state budget is settled.

>>Hearing Held About State Takeover Of Providence Schools

(Providence, RI)  --  The first of several planned legislative oversight hearings on the state takeover of the Providence School District was held on Monday.  The takeover was initiated after a scathing report of the school district's performance from Johns Hopkins University in 2019.  The RI Senate Rules, Government, Ethics and Oversight Committee heard yesterday from state education commissioner Angélica Infante-Green [[ ahn-HELL-ick-uh in-FAHN-tay ]] who defended the takeover and said progress has been made.  But the president of the Providence Teachers Union blamed Infante-Green for low teacher morale, noting a vote of no-confidence issued by 15-hundred teachers in March.

>>E-Bikes Back In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  Electric bikes are returning to Providence.  Spin, which is owned by Ford, plans to have four-hundred bikes available by September.  Just like the e-scooters that currently line the capital city's streets, the bikes are available by paying to unlock them via smartphone; riders then get charged per minute of biking.  The previous e-bike fleet in Providence was plagued by hacking problems and police said they were used to flee crime scenes.  Spin promises their bikes will be highly resistant to tampering.

>>Westerly Neighbors Charged With Selling Cocaine

(Westerly, RI)  --  Two neighbors in Westerly are accused of working together to sell cocaine.  The Westerly Sun reports Kristin Miner and Luis Hernandez-Casanova, who live in the same apartment complex on Pierce Street, were arrested on Friday.  The Westerly Police Department said an informant went to Miner's home with marked money, Miner would take it, go next door, and return with the product.

>>Revolutionary War Fort In Portsmouth Added To Historic Trail

(Portsmouth, RI)  --  The National Parks Service is recognizing a Revolutionary War fort in Portsmouth.  The Butts Hill Fort, which was already named a National Historic Landmark, has been added as a stop on the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail.  The trail follows the route taken by French forces as they left Aquidneck Island to join George Washington's Continental Army.  The combined forces defeated the British in the Battle of Yorktown, considered the decisive victory for America in the war.  

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

06-15-2021 01:05:09

Seniors would benefit in President Biden's $6 trillion budget

Seniors would benefit in President Biden’s $6 trillion budget

 
June 14, 2021/Herb Weiss

 

By Herb Weiss, contributing writer

 

On May 28, with the release of a $6 trillion budget for fiscal year (FY) 2022, President Joe Biden outlined his values and vision as to how he proposes to revive the nation’s sputtering economic engine as it emerges from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 72-page budget document, “Budget of the United States,” (with more than a 1,400-page appendix) details his spending priorities that begin next Oct. 1. Biden’s generous budget depends on increasing taxes on America’s corporations (from 21 to 28 percent) and high earners, who received significant tax breaks from the President Trump/GOP tax cuts of 2017.

 

With the FY 2022 Budget pushing federal debt to the highest levels since World War 1I, Republican lawmakers quickly called the proposal “dead on arrival” in Congress.  However, Cecilia Rouse, chair of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors says the Biden Administration is willing to live with a budget deficit to invest in the economy now, especially with low interest rates to borrow; deficits can be reduced later. 

 

President Biden’s new spending under the just released proposed FY 2022 budget, recognizing his Administration’s priorities, reflects the major proposals already outlined under the administration’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan and $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. Provisions in these two proposals would overhaul the nation’s aging infrastructure and invest in education, childcare, paid family and medical leave, fight climate change. 

 

President Biden’s spending plan also recognizes priorities outlined in the American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year as well as the Administration’s “skinny” discretionary budget request released in April. Most importantly, it reflects a commitment from the president to safeguard Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

 

Loving It or Hating It Depends on Where You Sit

 

In remarks delivered Thursday in Cleveland, President Biden made the case for his budget request and what he describes as an investment in the country’s future. “Now is the time to build [on] the foundation that we’ve laid to make bold investments in our families and our communities and our nation,” he said. “We know from history that these kinds of investments raise both the floor and the ceiling over the economy for everybody.”

 

In the FY 2020 Budget proposal’s “Message from the President”, Biden says, “The Budget invests directly in the American People and will strengthen the nation’s economy and improve our long run fiscal health. It reforms our broken tax code to reward work instead of wealth while fully paying for the American Jobs and American Family Plans over a 15- year period. It will help us build a recovery that is broad-based, inclusive, sustained, and strong,”

 

Of course, response to Biden’s Spending plan depends on which side of the aisle you are sitting.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement strongly endorsing Biden’s fiscal blueprint. “Congressional Democrats look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to enact this visionary budget, which will pave the path to opportunity and prosperity for our nation. The Biden Budget is a budget for the people,” she said.

 

On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell strongly opposing Biden’s Budget proposal. “Americans are already hurting from far-left economics that ignores reality,” said McConnell, in a statement. “The Administration’s counterproductive ‘COVID relief bill’ has slowed rehiring. Families are facing painful inflation, just as experts warned the Democrats’ plans might cause. And the Administration wants to triple down on the same mistakes?” said the six-term Republican Kentucky Senator.

 

With the Democrats holding the slim majorities in the House and Senate and controlling the White House, Biden’s FY 2022 Budget proposal will have more weight than if the Republicans were in the majority, says Dan Adcock, Government Relations and Policy Director at the Washington, DC-based National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM).

 

According to Adcock, Biden’s funding numbers will change as his FY 2022 budget proposal goes through the appropriation process in the upcoming months. With its release, Congress can now begin negotiating funding levels and spending bills. Competition for a finite amount of funding will ultimately result in funding level ultimately allotted to programs and agencies by each of the 12 appropriations under their jurisdiction. Funding for most programs important to older Americans is under the jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

 

“With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day – and the number of seniors projected to double by 2050 – it’s clear that President Biden understands the need to safeguard the older Americans he calls ‘pillars of every community – now and into the future.” Says Max Richtman, NCPSSM’s President and CEO.

 

Slashing Drug Costs to Pay for Expanding Medicare Coverage

 

Richtman says that Biden’s fiscal blueprint calls on Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate prices for certain high-cost, life-saving drugs that many seniors currently cannot afford and to require manufacturers to pay rebates when drug prices rise faster than inflation. These reforms could yield over half a trillion in federal savings over 10 years, which could help pay for coverage expansions and improvements, including access to dental, hearing, and vision coverage in Medicare,” he notes. Today, traditional Medicare does not cover routine care like dental checkups or hearing aids.

 

According to Richtman, President Biden’s budget also includes more than $400 billion in new spending over ten years to expand Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) for low-income seniors and people with disabilities who prefer to receive skilled care in the comfort of their homes and communities, even moreso after the devastation COVID wrought on nursing homes.  

 

In states that have not taken advantage of Affordable Care Act (ACA) opportunities to expand Medicaid, the budget proposes providing premium-free, Medicaid-like coverage through a federal public option, along with incentives for states to maintain their existing expansions. 

 

Biden’s FY 2022 budget also urges Congress to improve customer service for Social Security beneficiaries to prescription drug pricing reform to expanded HCBS, adds Richtman.  It also proposes a $1.3 billion (or 9.7%) funding increase for the Social Security Administration.  The increase seeks to improve customer service, including services at SSA’s field offices, state disability determination services, and teleservice centers.

 

 The Older Americans Act (OAA) provides funding for a wide range of home and community-based services, such as meals-on-wheels and other nutrition programs, in-home services, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention and caregivers’ support. These programs help seniors stay as independent as possible in their homes and communities. 

 

For details about Biden’s FY 2022 Budget proposal and OAA funding levels, made available from the Washington, DC-based National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, go to: https://www.n4a.org//Files/FY22%20PresBudget%20and%20historical%20Labor-HHS%20Appropriations%20Chart.pdf

 

 Stay Tuned 

 

The House continues its work on hammering out appropriation bills through subcommittees in June and in the full House in July.  The Senate’s work is expected to begin in mid-Summer and to continue well into September. If the appropriate bills are not passed and signed into law by Oct. 1, Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government into the first months of FY 2022.

 

Like most Budget proposals, especially in a partisan Congress, Biden’s spending plan will need to be rewritten to win support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. However, it will serve as a roadmap for a Democratic controlled Congress in crafting 12 appropriation spending bills. Partisan bickering during the appropriations process may well force passage of a continuing resolution before Oct. 1 to block a government shutdown. 

 

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

 

____

 

 

Herb Weiss has enjoyed a distinguished 41 year career in journalism, earning a national reputation as an expert on aging, health care and medical issues. Over 780 articles that he has authored or coauthored have appeared in national, state and local publications. Governor Gina Raimondo appointed Him to the Rhode Island Advisory Commission on aging. Today, Herb’s weekly newspaper column appears in the Pawtucket Times and Woonsocket call, two North Rhode Island daily newspapers, and will now run in RINewsToday.com. Herb and his wife, Patty Zacks, reside in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

 
 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The mayor of Providence says a homeless encampment in the city won't just be evicted back out on the streets.  The Rhode Island governor has signed a bill extending the contract for the operator of the state lottery.  A remote Rhode Island school has graduated its first student in several years.

>>Mayor Slows Down Clear-Out Of Providence Homeless Encampment

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is intervening in the eviction process of a homeless encampment in the city.  Just a couple of days after the city sent out a letter that said staying could result in civil or criminal penalties, WPRI-TV reports Elorza informed the group living in a vacant lot off Wilson Street on Friday they did not have to leave right away.  He said a relocation plan has to first be in place.  Elorza said the city has been in the process of acquiring the property, which is currently owned by a bank.

>>Bill Signed Extending Lottery Contract

(Providence, RI)  --  IGT will continue running the Rhode Island Lottery for another two decades.  Governor Dan McKee signed legislation on Friday which keeps over a thousand IGT jobs in the Ocean State.  The bill will also see IGT and Bally's partner on a one-hundred-million-dollar expansion of Twin River Casino in Lincoln.  Twin River, the former casino operator in Rhode Island, initially opposed the contract extension before becoming Bally's and joining the effort.

>>Tiverton Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash

(Fall River, MA)  --  A Tiverton man died in a motorcycle crash in Fall River, Massachusetts this weekend.  The Bristol County Mass District Attorney's Office has identified the man killed in the Saturday accident as Kory Gray.  According to a preliminary investigation from police, Gray's motorcycle was driving southbound on Eastern Avenue when it rear-ended a car at the intersection of County Street.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

>>Off-Duty Warren Policeman Charged With DUI

(Warren, RI)  --  An off-duty police officer from Warren is being accused of drunk-driving.  Adam Floor, a patrolman, was charged with DUI and refusing to take a chemical test after his truck crashed into a utility pole and then a porch on Metacom Avenue early Sunday.  Floor is due for arraignment in district court later this week.

>>Armed Carjacking Reported In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Police Department is searching for an armed carjacking suspect.  The incident happened early Sunday on Suffolk Street.  The victim told police he was attempting to sell his car when the buyer pulled out a gun.  The vehicle was a blue Volkswagen with the sale price -- twelve-hundred dollars -- written on the rear window.

>>First Graduate In Several Years At Prudence Island School

(Portsmouth, RI)  --  The Prudence Island School graduated its first student in five years this weekend.  Eighteen-year-old Jianna O'Brien, one of seven students at the school, graduated on Saturday.  The Newport Daily News reports teenagers on Prudence usually attend Portsmouth High School by taking the ferry, but O'Brien transferred to the island school for her junior and senior years after growing up and attending high school in Milton, Massachusetts.  She plans on attending Salem State University.  The Portsmouth School Committee voted to close the Prudence school in 2007 because of declining enrollment, but money was found to keep it going
 
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Jim McCabe/djc           RI) MA)
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

06-14-2021 00:24:12

Celebrating Juneteenth in film with RI Black Film Festival

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Celebrating Juneteenth in film with the RI Black Film Festival

J
une 12, 2021/Ann Clanton

 

Ann Clanton, “Speak-Up” contributing writer

 

Preserving the legacy of Black Wall Street is on full display in June as communities across the country honored Tulsa Oklahoma’s Black Wall Street 100 Years after the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Collectively our country and the State of Rhode Island will close out the month with the celebration of Junteenth.  The Rhode Island Black Film Festival acknowledges the significance of each of the historic moments by looking forward to how Black owned businesses have come to exist and move towards the future. 

 

In recognition of Juneteenth (June 19) the Rhode Island Black Film Festival (RIBFF) in partnership with Venture Café Providence is hosting a screening of the documentary BOSS:THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS.

 

BOSS is the untold story of African American entrepreneurship, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide the backbone of this nation’s economic and social growth.

 

The screening and discussion is part of Venture Café Providence’s weekly network. The screening will be followed by a discussion with business, government and community leaders addressing how to increase resources for African-American and minority businesses in Rhode Island. 

 

The event will be on Thursday, June 17, 5p.m. at the CIC Building, 225 Dyer Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02906.  To register for the networking event go to the following link  https://bit.ly/3z4LsoI . Registration is required. Seating is limited.

 

About the RI Black Film Festival

 

Established in 2017 by communication consultant, Ann Clanton, the Rhode Island Black Film Festival is the only Southern New England Film Festival to screen films that address social and racial justice issues. The Rhode Island Black Film Festival is held annually in April. The Festival features independently produced films and filmmakers of diverse backgrounds from across the globe. RIBFF serves as a creative space for conversations, ideas, and projects by filmmakers of African-American, Caribbean and Afro-Latin descent. 

 

About District Hall Providence

 

Venture Cafe-District Hall Providence is a partner of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival. District Hall Providence is activated by Innovation Studio. They are a public home for innovators and entrepreneurs, bringing people together to collaborate through programs, spaces, and other resources. They offer a free public workspace where entrepreneurs can collaborate and work. In addition, they rent out event and meeting space.

Respite Care in the Summertime

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Respite Care in the Summertime

 
June 11, 2021/RINewsToday

 

The Care Concierge of New England wants to help families place their loved ones in a safe environment.

 

The next several months are considered fun for most people. School is out for students, families take vacations, camping of all types begin and baseball is in full swing.

 

It is also a good time to remember the potential issues that arise. Beaches will be overcrowded during hot stretches, people suffering from heat stroke and other hot-weather ailments, pets looking for cooler shelters and other hazards. This can be especially true for seniors, who may live alone and not always be thought of when it comes to constant care.

 

That’s where Paul Jones, Owner and Lead Concierge of The Care Concierge of New England, located in Slatersville, can help. His company aids families looking to transition their loved ones into senior care facilities throughout Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. One of the ways of doing this is offering Respite Care options, where the guest says at a facility for up to 90 days and has all the amenities and privileges of a permanent resident.

 

Jones said this choice serves multiple purposes and gives everyone a chance to see what’s out there.

 

“As the Care Concierge, I help seniors and their families navigate the different senior care options to find the best quality of life,” he said. “Too many families still conflate ‘assisted living’ with ‘nursing home’, and worry that exploring senior care is like consigning their loved one to some kind of torture. The reality is that the assisted living industry focuses on comfort and life enrichment. By taking advantage of a respite stay, my hope is that seniors can dispel some of the myths they may be holding onto regarding senior care, and stay safe through the summer heat in the bargain!”

 

Jones added that seniors are just as vulnerable during the summer as they would be during the winter holidays. Many people are more cognizant of their parents and loved ones during Thanksgiving and Christmas because of the potential for them not having heat in their homes. With summer, it’s not as obvious. Jones likened it to leaving small pets or children in a car. Vehicles can get hot inside fast and creating dangerous situations in the process. The same thing could happen with the elderly in their own homes before anyone realizes something is wrong.

 

As for helping those who may be “at risk”, Jones said this opportunity could clear up misconceptions about care.

 

Respite programs began as a way for seniors to assess the assisted living experience. This was a natural response to people being unclear about what assisted living was and how it differed from nursing homes. Assisted living as an industry is still relatively young — most of the large companies trace their roots back to the 1990s or early 2000s — and the irony is the people who are now age-appropriate for assisted living only ever had nursing homes to rely on for their own older loved ones.

 

“It makes sense that people who are in their 70s-90s today would have very limited knowledge about assisted living, so giving those seniors an opportunity to make a trial run as a resident is smart business sense.

 

“Beyond that, there’s a genuine component of altruism and safety in offering respite stays,” Jones continues. “In the winter, there are commercials and articles and reminders frequently to check on elderly neighbors and loved ones who may be without heat. It sometimes feels taken for granted that the summer heat can be just as dangerous for isolated seniors. Respite stays in the summer are a good and easy way for seniors to retain their homes and try an assisted living environment for the summer — and to enjoy all that entails being a permanent resident. Meals prepared for them, housekeeping done for them, leisure activities planned for them … assisted living can feel like a summer-long cruise for seniors, without ever leaving land!

 

Almost every assisted living community offers respite programs for interested seniors. A community may have a cap on how many apartments they reserve for respite stays, but part of the Care Concierge services is to help you secure a great respite apartment.

 

A respite apartment is easily accessible — as close to ‘plug and play’ as it gets in the senior care world, Jones said. A senior registers for either a 30- 60- or 90-day stay in an apartment, which is already furnished by the community. They bring whatever clothes, personal effects, etc., that they want and decorate the apartment as they desire. If a resident needs care services while they’re on the respite stay, they can receive those care services (these are typically related to Activities of Daily Living such as grooming, shopping, medication management, etc.). Residents are free to enjoy the on-site restaurant three times a day and participate in as many of the leisure activities as they would like. Housekeeping is provided, and laundry may be provided for a nominal fee.

 

There is a (privately paid) daily cost associated with a respite stay, but that is different from community to community. Sometimes these costs may be negotiated by someone like the Care Concierge, and sometimes they are fixed.

 

For more information about The Care Concierge of New England and their variety of services, please contact Paul Jones at 401-488-4935 or email at paul@careconciergeNE.com.

 

Friday Fishing Tips

Friday Fishing Tips – Jeff Gross

 
June 11, 2021/Jeff Gross

 

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

 

As what appears to be an excellent spring fishing season is winding down a habit was noticed that needs to be addressed when so many people are practicing catch and release. 

 

The habit of holding fish horizontally by the jaw for a picture is unsafe for the fish. While the photo may look great, it tends to break or injure the fish’s jaw which is the fish’s main feeding and defensive weapon.  A fish doesn’t survive with a broken jaw. 

 

Best bet for photographs is to hold the fish horizontally and place one hand under the belly and one around the tail.  Also another important point – keep your fingers out of the gills and gill plates. At a derby some years ago a fisherman removed the hook by jamming his fingers into the trout’s gills to immobilize the trout. Killed the trout almost immediately. The derby was catch and release.  Gripping by the gill plates is never recommended unless you plan on cooking the fish. 

 

Looks like great fishing weather this weekend, here is hoping a few new State records are caught.

  •  
  •  

_____

 

 

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

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

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

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

He can be reached at: trainsbythe144@aol.com

Rhode Island News Today


(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Islanders had a chance to see a partial solar eclipse on Thursday.  The city of Providence is evicting a homeless encampment.  The Rhode Island governor has signed a bill requiring consumer education standards in high schools.

>>Partial Solar Eclipse Was Viewable Locally Thursday Morning

(Undated)  --  Southern New England was treated to a partial solar eclipse on Thursday morning.  There were partly-cloudy conditions in Greater Providence at the time of sunrise yesterday, but the sun eventually broke through, allowing anyone with special viewing glasses to see it partially covered by the moon from about 5:00 to 6:30 a.m.  The United States missed out on the event associated with the eclipse called the "ring of fire".

>>Providence Orders People Living On Vacant Lot To Leave

(Providence, RI)  --  A homeless encampment in Providence has been ordered to clear out.  The encampment, which is in a vacant lot off Wilson Avenue, has a community garden and shower.  The city sent a letter threatening civil and criminal prosecution if the group does not comply.  At the same time, a city spokesperson says the eviction is for the safety of the dozen-or-so people living in the encampment, and that shelter options and other resources are being provided.  But homeless advocates in Rhode Island say there are hundreds of individuals waiting for shelter beds right now.

>>Contractor Selected For Pawtucket Soccer Stadium Development

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The developer of the professional soccer stadium project in Pawtucket has chosen a general contractor and construction manager.  The Valley Breeze reports Fortuitous Partners went with Providence-based Dimeo Construction Company following a bidding process.  Officials behind the Tidewater Landing Project, which would put the stadium on the bank of the Seekonk River, are predicting ground will be broken this fall and that the stadium will be completed in 2023.

>>Seasonal Beach Swimming Closure Announcements Begin

(Undated)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health is announcing its first recommendations of the summer for restricting swimming at beaches because of high bacteria levels.  The affected areas are Goddard Park Beach in Warwick and First Beach in Newport.  RIDOH provides regular updates on its beach swimming closure hotline at 401-222-2751.

>>2014 Providence Mayoral Candidate Michael Morrison Running Again

(Providence, RI)  --  Former Providence City Council president Michael Solomon is running for mayor, according to a report from GoLocalProv.com.  Solomon was a mayoral candidate in 2014, but lost by about a thousand votes in the Democratic primary to Jorge Elorza, who went on to win the office and is now term-limited.

>>Consumer Education Standards Bill Signed

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee signed legislation this week requiring statewide standards in consumer education in public high schools.  Those standards include personal finance or consumer economic topics such as budgeting.  McKee said financial literacy is key to the future success of young people.  The bill-signing took place at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, which already offers a financial literacy curriculum.

>>Pandemic State Of Emergency Extended

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor McKee has extended Rhode Island's state of emergency for the coronavirus pandemic to July 9th, according to a report from WJAR.  The declaration was issued on March 9th, 2020.  In comparison, Massachusetts is letting its state of emergency end next week.  However, virtually all pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted as coronavirus cases have flattened since vaccine administration ramped up.

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

06-11-2021 00:12:28

RI Veterans: Did you know?

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RI Veterans: Did You Know? – 10 June 21 – John A. Cianci

 
June 10, 2021/John Cianci

 

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

 

Question from Janice in Florida: My Dad died at a VA hospital in Florida (he was a Vietnam Veteran disabled from exposure to Agent Orange), however, he joined the military while living in Rhode Island, and want to be buried at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery (RIVMC) in Exeter RI: (1) Can he be buried at the RIVMC (2) What am I entitled to as his daughter in assistance in burial?

 

Answer: Hi Janice, prayers and condolences for your loss.

 

Step 1 – I would get his discharge papers, should have a DD214(if not, contact a local congressional leader for assistance to obtain one).

 

Step 2 – Review the DD214, looking for honorable and location where joined, which should be RI. Vet tip, always submit application to RIVMC, rules are constantly changing, let the staff tell you if he is not eligible for burial (ask for it in writing, as I helped one family who originally was denied, but once Italian American war Veterans was contacted, we advised them to re-contact the RIVMC and explain the veteran met the requirements; eligibility detailed on Dd214)

 

Step 3 – Contact the staff at the RIVMC, (401) 268-3088, and communicate your dad’s wishes; the staff will guide you thru the application.

 

Step 4 – The VA will pay up to $2000 toward burial expenses if buried in a national cemetery. Where you Dad will be buried at RIVMC in Exeter (a state veterans cemetery, and he died at a VA facility, the VA generally reimburses up to $796. However, the amount could be higher if your dad’s death was related to his service-connected disabilities. Best advice, when applying for reimbursement with VA, attach all expenses, the VA will determine if you are entitled more than the $796

 

“VA Will Reimburse Over $2000 For Burial, Funeral, and Transportation Expenses for Eligible Veterans“

 

Did you know spouse, child, family member, executor or administrator of the Veteran’s estate, or even friend of deceased veteran could be reimbursed by the Veterans Administration up to $2000 for burial, funeral and transportation for service-related death. 

 

Did you know spouse, child, family member, or even friend of deceased veteran a minimum of $300 for funeral and burial and $300 for plot-interment allowance, if not hospitalized, and as much $796 if Veteran was hospitalized by VA at time of death.

 

Did you know if a Veteran is buried in a private cemetery the VA will provide free a may headstone, marker, or medallion? In addition, eligible veterans are entitled to a burial flag and Presidential Memorial Certificate.

 

VETTIP: Have the deceased veteran’s DD214 and or discharge papers with you when meeting with the funeral home. If you don’t have, contact a local congressional leader and they will assist expediting obtaining the discharge papers to ensure the Veteran receives his or his final military honors.

 

Let’s summarize monetary reimbursement for funeral and burial expenses.

 

  • $300 for burial and funeral expenses, and up to $300 for plot-interment if Veteran has a service-connected disability, which could be ZERO percent for hearing
  • $796 and up to $300 for plot-interment if veteran died at VA hospital or contracted facility; the Rhode Island Veterans Home is a VA contacted facility
  • $2000 or more if veterans’ death was service connected.

 

From the VA website, clarifying eligibility for reimbursement for funeral, burial, and transportation expenses for a deceased veteran:

 

The Veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge, and one of these circumstances must be true. The Veteran died:

 

  • As a result of a service-connected disability (a disability related to service), or
  • While getting VA care, either at a VA facility or at a facility contracted by VA, or
  • While traveling with proper authorization, and at VA’s expense, either to or from a facility for an examination, or to receive treatment or care, or
  • With an original or reopened claim for VA compensation or pension pending at the time of death, if they would’ve been entitled to benefits before the time of death, or
  • While receiving a VA pension or compensation, or
  • While eligible for a VA pension or compensation at time of death, but instead received full military retirement or disability pay
  • Or the Veteran:
  • Had been getting a VA pension or compensation when they died, or
  • Had chosen to get military retired pay instead of compensation
  • Note: We’ll also provide an allowance for the cost of transporting a Veteran’s remains for burial in a national cemetery.

 

You can’t get burial allowances for certain individuals

 

  • We don’t provide burial allowances if the individual died:
  • On active duty, or
  • While serving as a member of Congress, or
  • While serving a federal prison sentence

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1 How do I obtain proof of service if the Veteran dies, and I need immediate burial services?

 

Most funeral home will provide you points of contacts for a local congressional office for assistance.  With a congressional inquiry, proof of service is usually obtained in a few days.

 

*See VETTIP, why I suggest if your intent is to be buried at RIVMC, pre-register.

 

Q2 How do I know if the deceased veterans have a service-connected disability?

 

First, as Italian American War Veteran, Veteran Service Officer I always ask the family member who contacts me for assistance, does the Veteran receive a monthly deposited from the VA (my VA disAbility is deposited on or about the 1st of the month, and is described on bank statement as US VA Department, or Veteran still might receive a monthly check from the VA. If the veteran is deceased, and you need to know this information for burial arrangements, contact your local congressional leader who with your authorization, can find this information out the same or next day.

 

Q3 How do I know if veteran death is service connected?

 

Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, many battle cancer and succumb to the deadly illness as a result of being exposed to Agent Orange. As noted above, contact your local congressional leader seeking a breakdown of any approved or pending claims on record with the VA.

 

VETTIP If service-connected death and listed on the death certificate, the spouse could be eligible for Dependence and Indemnity compensation (estimated $1400 a month) and or if the VA has a claim pending for the deceased veteran, the surviving spouse, child, or parent can continue to pursue the claim, it could be worth thousands of dollars. One widow was reported as receiving almost $500, 000 upon resubmitting her husband’s claim, which her husband fought since the 1960’s and new evidence came out after his death supporting, he was exposed to asbestos on a Navy Ship.

 

Q3 How to apply for reimbursement for burial, funeral, and or transportation expenses?

 

  • You can apply online at Vets.gov. OR
  • Apply by mail using an Application for Burial Benefits (VA Form 21P-530)

 

Mail the application and other documents listed above to your nearest VA regional office

 

     If you have questions, call 800-827-1000. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. Our TTY number for people with hearing impairments is 711. Or call your VA regional office.

 

Q4 What documents do I need to send with my application?

 

You’ll need to send copies of these documents:

 

  • The Veteran’s military discharge papers (DD214 or other separation documents)
  • The Veteran’s death certificate
  • Any documents or receipts you have for the cost of transporting the Veteran’s remains
  • A statement of account (preferably with the letterhead of the funeral director or cemetery owner) that has this information: 
  • The Veteran’s name, and
  • The type of service or item purchased, and
  • Any credits, and
  • The unpaid balance

 

Q5 Is there a time limit for filing?

 

You must file a claim for a non-service-connected burial allowance within 2 years after the Veteran’s burial or cremation. If a Veteran’s discharge was changed after death from dishonorable to another status, you must file for an allowance claim within 2 years after the discharge update.

 

There’s no time limit to file for a service-connected burial, plot, or interment allowance.

 

Q6 What should I do if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

 

If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA pension benefits. Operation Stand Down, (401) 383-4730, provides free assistance to apply for a discharge upgrade or go to va.gov.

 

Q7 How do I apply for VA Healthcare?

 

VA Health Care Enrollment Process

 

  1. Online – Apply online at VA’s website.
  2. By Telephone – Call toll-free number at 877-222-VETS (8387)
  3. In Person – Complete the “Application for Health Benefits” at your local VA. Find a VA medical center.

 

All Veterans are encouraged to enroll in the VA Health Care System. 
You can apply online at https://www.vets.gov/health-care/apply/ or call an eligibility and enrollment specialist at 401-273-7100 ext. 12496 during normal business hours.


Or you may print the Application for Health Care Benefitsform and mail it to us at:

 

VA Providence Healthcare System
Eligibility Office – Patient Services (136)
830 Chalkstone Avenue
Providence, RI  02908

 

You can also bring the form to the Medical Center. The Eligibility Office is located on the ground floor of the main hospital building near the main entrance.

 

Whether mailing or bringing your application, please include the following items:

 

  • a copy of both sides of your current insurance card (including Medicare or Medicaid)
  • a copy of your DD214, ‘Armed Forces Report of Transfer or Discharge’
  • (Purple Heart recipients only) a copy of your award letter if ‘Purple Heart’ is not noted on your DD214

 

VA encourages all Veterans to apply in order to determine their enrollment eligibility.

 

VETTIP. In my opinion and experience, your best bet in to go to Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave, Providence with your DD214 and a form of identification and a VA representative will assist you in registering.

 

Q8 How to Apply for a Discharge Upgrade

 

Answer a series of questions to get customized step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction. If your application goes through and your discharge is upgraded, you’ll be eligible for the VA benefits you earned during your period of service.

 

All branches of the military consider you to have a strong case for a discharge upgrade if you can show your discharge was connected to any of these categories:

 

Mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

 

Sexual assault or harassment during military service (at VA, we refer to this as military sexual trauma or MST)

 

Sexual orientation (including under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

 

Can I get VA benefits without a discharge upgrade?

 

Even with a less than honorable discharge, you may be able to access some VA benefits through the Character of Discharge review process. When you apply for VA benefits, we’ll review your record to determine if your service was “honorable for VA purposes.” This review can take up to a year. Please provide us with documents supporting your case, similar to the evidence you’d send with an application to upgrade your discharge.

 

You may want to consider finding someone to advocate on your behalf, depending on the complexity of your case. A lawyer or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) can collect and submit supporting documents for you. 

 

Note: You can ask for a VA Character of Discharge review while at the same time applying for a discharge upgrade from the Department of Defense (DoD) or the Coast Guard.

 

If you need mental health services related to PTSD or other mental health problems linked to your service (including conditions related to an experience of military sexual trauma), you may qualify for VA health benefits right away, even without a VA Character of Discharge review or a discharge upgrade.

 

EVENTS/MEETINGS

 

Saturday, June 12th, 9AM Refreshments, 10AM Speaker, “Rhode Island National Guard Retirees’ Association Quarterly Meeting”, Schofield Armory, 705 New London Avenue, Cranston.  Point of contact is Bob Urquhart at boburquhart@cox.net.  Guest speaker to be determined.

 

Saturday, June 12th, time currently unknown, “Brian’s Ride 2021”, 15th Anniversary Memorial Ride.  For more information and/or questions, call 401.837.7331, or email brianstgermainfoundation@yahoo.com.  

 

REUNIONS

 

Friday, August 6th, 11AM, “Rhode Island National Guard Summer Reunion”, Quonset Officers’ Club, 200 Lieutenant James Brown Road, North Kingstown.  Point of contact is Bob Antonelli at 401.996.3764, or via email at bob02909@cox.net.  Cut-off date is Tuesday, August 3rd.          

 

September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact Name: John Wear. Point of Contact Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: johnwear2@verizon.net . Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Onto units in Vietnam . . . in any capacity is welcome!!!

 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamrirvets@gmail.com  

 

_____

 

 

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

 
 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Bruins have been knocked out of the NHL playoffs.  Public record requests seeking information on racial justice teachings are being filed against Rhode Island school districts.  A bill has been filed in the Rhode Island General Assembly to repair a couple of bridges on the East Bay Bike Path.

>>Bruins Bounced By Islanders In NHL Playoffs

(Uniondale, NY)  --  The Boston Bruins have been eliminated from the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  The B's lost four-games-to-two in their second-round series against the New York Islanders, capped off by a 6-2 falling in Game 6 Wednesday at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.  It has been ten years since the last Stanley Cup win for Boston.

>>Man Gets Life Sentences For Barber Shop Shooting

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man receive a double-life prison sentence on Wednesday for the 2014 fatal shooting of a barber inside his shop.  Thomas Mosley was sentenced on charges including second-degree murder for the 2014 killing of Yusef A'Vant at his Krazy Kuts shop on Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence.  According to a report from The Providence Journal, the Superior Court judge who sentenced Mosley yesterday cited as a motive a conversation that was recorded after the shooting in which he said A'Vant had "mouthed off" and "been fresh" with him.

>>RI School Districts Deluged With Record Requests On Race Teachings

(Undated)  --  Several Rhode Island school districts are being bombarded with public record requests from individuals who want to know if race issues are in the curriculum.  The latest is in Westerly, where for example, the requests include any correspondence in the district with key words "black lives matter".  Other districts that have received a large volume of related requests are South Kingstown and Barrington.  There is a national movement of concern about the teaching of "critical race theory".

>>COVID Vaccine Clinic At Misquamicut Beach

(Westerly, RI)  --  You'll be able to get a tan and a COVID-19 shot at one Rhode Island beach on Saturday.  The state is hosting a free vaccination clinic at Westerly's Misquamicut State Beach from 11 a.m. to noon.  The specific vaccine being offered is the one from Johnson and Johnson, which is only for adults.

>>Senate Confirms New Head Of BHDDH

(Cranston, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday confirmed a nominee to run the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.  Richard Charest is the former head of the Landmark Medical Center.  He is taking over an agency that oversees the state hospital, which has been thrown into a state of flux over a downsizing plan which Governor Dan McKee recently put on hold.

>>Lawmakers Push For Bike Path Bridge Repairs

(Providence, RI)  --  Legislation has been introduced to have the state repair and re-open two closed bridges on the East Bay Bike Path.  Twenty-million dollars would be appropriated to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation to take care of the bridges which are in Barrington and Warren.  East Bay lawmakers say the head of RIDOT has publicly questioned the value of repairing the bridges, which closed in 2019 because of structural deterioration, and has instead proposed a detour.

>>Temporary Outdoor Water Ban In Cumberland

(Cumberland, RI)  --  The town of Cumberland has issued a temporary outdoor water ban.  Mayor Jeff Mutter says this is for water accounts north of Marshall Avenue only.  The reason is twofold: the heatwave the region just experienced and a mechanical failure at a town well.  Mutter expects the ban to be lifted next week.

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

06-10-2021 01:11:07

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Rhode Island woman who was accused of racial harassment is avoiding a hate crime conviction.  Primary elections were held Tuesday for city council seats in Providence and Pawtucket.  The director of the state Department of Environmental Management is stepping down.

>>Fatal Fall River Crash Tuesday; Victim From Weekend N.B. Crash Died Yesterday

(Undated)  --  A Rhode Islander who was involved in a motorcycle crash over the weekend in New Bedford, Massachusetts has died.  The Bristol County Mass District Attorney's Office identified the victim who died on Tuesday as Krystal Gerardo of North Scituate.  Meanwhile, a three-car crash yesterday on Route 24 in Fall River killed a 35-year-old man from Lakeville, Mass who was not immediately identified.

[[ note nature ]]

>>Racial Animus Case Ends Without Hate Crime Conviction

(Wakefield, RI)  --  A white Rhode Island woman will not be sentenced for a hate crime after she was charged for an incident involving a black family from the state last year.  Christine Longo of South Kingstown was found guilty of disorderly conduct by a South County District Court judge on Tuesday after standing trial for a profanity-laced tirade at the Narragansett-based Coast Guard House restaurant in which she said, quote, "look at this black guy" and told the family to go back where they came from.  Judge James Caruolo said he couldn't justify the state's hate crime recommendation for a misdemeanor charge.  Longo's sentence included anger management and diversity training, but no jail time.

>>Man Sentenced To ACI For Illegal Gun Possession

(Providence, RI)  --  A Woonsocket man is being sentenced to four years in the ACI for an illegal firearm charge.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says Tahkell Holland discarded a loaded handgun while being pursued by Woonsocket police in August of 2020.  Holland pleaded no contest to carrying a pistol without a license.

>>City Council Primary Elections In Providence, Pawtucket

(Undated)  --  Special city council primary elections were held in Providence and Pawtucket on Tuesday.  Oscar Vargas declared victory in the race for the Providence City Council seat that was vacated by Sabina Matos [[ suh-BEE-nuh MATT-ohs ]] when she became the state's lieutenant governor.  The Pawtucket race to fill the seat of Ama Amponsah [[ AH-muh um-PON-suh ]], who died in April, was won by Clovis Gregor.  Special general elections will be held on July 6th.

>>Salve Requiring COVID Shots

(Newport, RI)  --  Salve Regina [[ SAL-vay ruh-GEE-nuh ]] University is joining other Rhode Island educational institutions in requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 next fall.  The Daily News reports the Newport-based university made the announcement on Tuesday, which also covers faculty and staff.  Exemptions can be sought for medical or religious reasons.

>>RI DEM Director Janet Coit Stepping Down

(Providence, RI)  --  The longtime head of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is departing.  The governor's office says Janet Coit's last day will be June 18th, marking the end of a ten-year hold on the position.  DEM deputy director Terrence Gray will become acting director.  The Boston Globe reported late last month that Coit is set to join the U.S. Department of Commerce and her old boss, former Rhode Island governor and now Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, but Coit has not confirmed.

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

06-09-2021 00:37:07

Vaccinating children, as you as 6 months will be the focus by Fall.

Vaccinating children, as young as 6 months, may be focus by the fall

 
June 9, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Moderna’s CEO said at a professional conference yesterday that he predicted that its COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available for children as young as five by the early fall.

 

“I think it’s going to be early fall, just because we have to go down in age very slowly and carefully,” the Cambridge-based company’s CEO Stéphane Bancel said Monday at an event hosted on the social media platform Clubhouse.

 

Moderna said it is now testing its vaccine on children as young as six months. Moderna started a study of its vaccine in children under 12 years in March.

 

Bancel noted the process will take time as it determines the appropriate dosages for small children.

 

“We anticipate data available in the September/October time frame,” he said.

 

Children and COVID-19

 

In a JAMA publication, titled, “Underlying Medical Conditions Associated With Severe COVID-19 Illness Among Children”, the data showed…

 

Of the 43,465 COVID-19 patients ages 18 years and younger who visited an emergency department or were hospitalized showed those with underlying health conditions were more likely to experience severe illness or hospitalization, with about 28.7% of all those patients having underlying health conditions.

 

Among the 4,302 who were hospitalized, more than 2,700, 62.9%, had underlying health conditions, researchers noted.

 

Patients with Type 1 diabetes and obesity were the most likely to be hospitalized, while those who were born prematurely were more likely to experience severe illness from COVID-19, the data showed.

 

The report suggested that this information be considered as vaccination priorities and regulations are created.

 

It is important to remember that for the overwhelming majority of children, Covid-19 is a mild illness.

 

American Academy of Pediatrics – RI highest in US for Cumulative COVID-19 Cases per 100,000 Children:

 

This chart shows Rhode Island placed at the top of all states for cumulative cases per 100,000 in children (ages below18) – with nearly 10,000 cases. 15.5% of all cases in RI were in children, a total of approximately 142,137 cases. 238 children, or 2.9% of all hospitalizations in RI were children. No child fatalities were reported. This data is through June 3, 2021. You can access the full report, here:

 

https://downloads.aap.org/AAP/PDF/AAP%20and%20CHA%20-%20Children%20and%20COVID-19%20State%20Data%20Report%206.3.21%20FINAL.pdf

 

 

Research shows the vaccines are remarkably effective and safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) ?urges? children and adults to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them. This is especially important with a rise in cases caused by variant strains of the virus, which seem to be more contagious.?

 

Middle-school, high-school, and college students who get both doses of the vaccine now authorized for age 12 and up (Pfizer) can be fully immunized by the 2021-22 school? year. The timing for when the vaccine will be available for younger students ?depends on the results of the clinical trials. But based on the current pace of research, it may be possible to have a vaccine for children in grade school and preschool later this year.

 

Once a vaccine is approved, health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the AAP, will recommend when and how children should get it. However, each state’s government decides which vaccines are required for school entry.

 

In the meantime, the AAP says to make sure children are caught up on their vaccinations against measles, influenza, whooping cough, and any others that your pediatrician recommends.

 

Pfizer News

 

Pfizer Inc said on Tuesday it will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine in a larger group of children under age 12 after selecting a lower dose of the shot in an earlier stage of the trial. The study will enroll up to 4,500 children at more than 90 clinical sites in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, the company said.

 

Reuters reported that “Based on safety, tolerability and the immune response generated by 144 children in a phase I study of the two-dose shot, Pfizer said it will test a dose of 10 micrograms in children between 5 and 11 years of age, and 3 micrograms for the age group of 6 months to 5.

 

A Pfizer spokesperson said the company expects data from 5- to 11-year-olds in September and would likely ask regulators for emergency use authorization later that month. Data for children 2 to 5 years old could arrive soon after that, he said.

 

The testing is not so much to determine safety or effectiveness as it is to determine dosage. At this point, Pfizer is looking at 10 micrograms of vaccine for ages 5-11, which is one-third the potency the dose given to those 12 and over. Children 5 and under will receive 3 microgram shots.

 

Pfizer researcher Dr. Bill Gruber called the company’s approach to testing with children “deliberate and careful.”

 

Back to School

 

Availability of vaccines for children under 12 and as young as 6 months may change the conversation in the fall and winter of 2021 to be an all-out effort to vaccinate first children at higher risk, then all children. Returning to fully open schools will be a major priority and having a vaccinated school population will be integral to the comfort and safety of doing so.

 

Colleges are already moving to mandatory vaccinations – with students unable or unwilling to be vaccinated moved to virtual learning. As fall approaches vaccination clinics and promotion for graduating high school seniors is intensifying so they will be ready for college either in-state in RI or out of state.

 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is outlawing child marriages.  Find out why Providence Public Schools is scrambling to get diplomas to students this week.  The Bruins are on the ropes in the NHL playoffs.
 
>>Rhode Island Sets 18 As Minimum Marriage Age
 
(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island governor has signed a bill outlawing child marriages.  The legislation eliminates language in state law that allows individuals under the age of 18 to obtain a marriage license with parental consent.  State Representative Julie Casimiro says child marriages are destructive to the girls that enter into them, and that the marriages can be used for sex-trafficking.  Casimiro says Rhode Island becomes the fifth U.S. state to enact such a ban.
 
>>Governor Takes Slater Hospital Layoffs Off Budget Table
 
(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Dan McKee is pulling back layoffs of over a hundred workers at the state hospital.  The Providence Journal reports McKee has told budget writers in the General Assembly about the decision.  McKee announced in April he was putting a "hold" on the downsizing plan at Slater Hospital.
 
>>Providence Schools Getting New Diplomas Without Former Superintendent's Name To Students
 
(Providence, RI)  --  Some Providence School District students who are graduating this week are dealing with delays in receiving their diploma because of the recent ouster of superintendent Harrison Peters.  WPRI-TV reports the district was initially planning to send new diplomas without Peters' name over the summer, then the plan changed to printing out new diplomas in-house over the weekend at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.  The anticipation on Friday was that diplomas would be available this week; any that were not would be mailed.  Peters resigned last month over controversy about him hiring an administrator who now faces criminal charges.
 
>>Bruins Lose To Islanders In Game 5
 
(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Bruins are facing elimination after losing to the New York Islanders in the NHL playoffs Monday night.  The final score from T.D. Garden was 5-to-4 as the Islanders survived a Bruins comeback attempt in the third period.  Game 6 of the second-round series is Tuesday night on Long Island.
 
>>RI Gas Price Average Still Below Three Bucks
 
(Undated)  --  The average Rhode Island gas price is still under three dollars.  The price has gone over that threshold nationally and elsewhere in New England.  RIGasPrices.com says the current average in the Ocean State is two-ninety-six.  That's an increase of about ten cents from a month ago.
 
>>Two New Beach Fights Reported, Arrests Made In One
 
(Undated)  --  More beach fights are happening in Rhode Island.  WJAR-TV reports four people were arrested for disorderly conduct after a fight at Paddy's Beach Club in Westerly on Sunday.  Police said one person was hit with a bottle and was hospitalized.  Channel 10 also reports zero arrests were made when a fight broke out at the Lincoln Woods State Park beach, also on Sunday.  About fifty people were involved, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
 
>>Man Sentenced For Picking Up Cocaine Package
 
(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence man is being sentenced to five years in federal prison for trafficking cocaine.  The Justice Department says Modesto Batista was sentenced on Monday.  Prosecutors say Batista picked up a package containing three pounds of cocaine last December.
 
>>Brown Doctor Researched Alzheimer's Drug Before FDA Approval
 
(Providence, RI)  --  There is a Rhode Island tie to the FDA approval of a new drug targeting Alzheimer's disease.  The injectable drug called Aducanumab [[ adu-can-you-mab ]] is from Biogen and was researched by Brown University's Dr. Stephen Salloway.  It is intended to slow cognitive decline in early-stage dementia patients.
 
###
Jim McCabe/Source Staff/jb          RI) 
Copyright © 2021
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
 
06-08-2021 00:08:04

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Summer temperatures have arrived in Rhode Island.  The Coast Guard suspends a search for a woman from Providence who fell overboard from a sailing vessel.  A police department in the Ocean State is investigating after someone apparently used a picnic bench to start a fire at a beach.

>>Another Day In The 90s Today

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence could be getting an official heatwave this week.  The daily high temperatures at T.F. Green Airport on Saturday and Sunday were 87 and 91 degrees.  The National Weather Service forecast for Monday is a high near 94 degrees, then reaching the high 80s Tuesday and Wednesday before there's a cool-down later in the week.

>>Search Suspended For Woman Who Fell Overboard East Of Bahamas

(Undated)  --  The United States Coast Guard on Saturday suspended a search for a Providence woman who reportedly fell overboard from a vessel east of The Bahamas.  The Coast Guard said it covered nearly twenty-thousand square miles looking for Britt Taylor, who fell from the 42-foot sailing vessel Small World Four en route from Puerto Rico to Annapolis, Maryland.  Taylor was a Canadian and European Union citizen and a permanent Australian resident.  The boat captain, who was not identified, told the Coast Guard that Taylor fell off the vessel overnight Wednesday while he was sleeping, according to a report from WJAR-TV.

>>Providence Library Opens LGBTQ+ Archive

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Public Library is getting into the spirit of Pride Month.  The Boston Globe reports the library has unveiled Rhode Island's first public community archive for the LGBTQ-plus community.  The archive includes materials related to the state's marriage equality movement, and the library is also adding collections from the archives of AIDS Project Rhode Island.

>>BLM Mural In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  A street mural that says "All Black Lives Matter" is being installed in downtown Providence.  This is the first time a mural featuring the BLM phrase will be installed in the city.  There was initial concern from Black Lives Matter Rhode Island about not being included in the effort, but the head of the organization tells WPRI-TV it was a simple miscommunication.  The plan is for the mural to be finished in time for the city's Juneteenth celebration.

>>Apologetic Bank Robber Sentenced

(Providence, RI)  --  A Massachusetts man was sentenced to four years in federal prison last week for robbing two Rhode Island banks.  According to the Department of Justice, Kevin Donovan of Weymouth robbed Citizen's Bank branches in East Providence and Pawtucket in 2019.  In both instances, Donovan said, quote, "sorry" in the notes he passed along to the bank tellers, according to the feds.  He was ordered to pay nearly seven-thousand dollars in restitution.

>>Tiverton Beach Bench Used For Firewood

(Tiverton, RI)  --  The Tiverton Police Department is investigating after someone apparently used picnic benches at a beach for firewood.  This happened Saturday night at Fogland Beach, according to the town, which also said the benches were brand-new.  The police department said it will increase patrols and add security cameras at the beach in the near future.

>>Patriots Do Not Acquire Julio Jones

(Foxboro, MA)  --  Patriots fans are suffering a letdown as star wide receiver Julio Jones, who was considered a trade target for New England, was dealt to a different NFL team.  Jones was traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Tennessee Titans for two draft picks.  Jones had a ten-year career in Atlanta including seven Pro Bowls.

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

06-07-2021 00:13:26

Your Coronavirus Update

Your Coronavirus Update – Today, June 4, 2021

 
June 4, 2021/RINewsToday

 

Photo: Gov. McKee’s Twitter feed – at Dunkin’ vaccination promotion Iced Coffee Day

 

RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY

 

82 people were vaccinated at the Dunkin’ promotion at the select stores in RI

 

RI House of Representatives is back in session, inside the State House.

 

The RI Senate is still off-site.

 

New Bedford City Hall will open June 13th

 

There are efforts to keep the alcohol-to-go in place for curbside pickup.

 

RI agrees with national recommendations of no masks outside for vaccinated and non-vaccinated. Non-vaccinated are encouraged in large groups to wear masks. Outdoor summer camps, not necessary. Indoors for unvaccinated, necessary.

 

The Harvest Kitchen in Pawtucket has reopened.

 

RISD reopens June 13th with new exhibits – https://risdmuseum.org/hours-admission

 

Market Basket’s 5 MA stores will have vaccination clinics – no word yet on RI stores.

 

In an effort to reach anyone who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, the State, the Town of Smithfield and Fidelity Investments are hosting Rhode Island’s first-ever public drive-through pilot vaccination clinic on Saturday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Fidelity Investments parking garage located at 100 Salem Street in Smithfield. This is a great opportunity for those who have been concerned about having to walk or stand at a vaccination event.   This is the first time we have such an event open to the public.  People can register on www.vaccinateri.org – Fidelity Investment Drive Thru POD.  While registration is preferred, drive ups can also be accommodated.

 

The Senate approved a bill that would require insurance companies to cover COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccines with no copay.

 

Massachusetts is joining a growing list of states offering incentives to vaccine holdouts and will offer people a $25 Market Basket gift card

 

Pell Bridge, Newport, traffic is only 11% less than May of 2019 and is 64% higher than May of 2020

 

Rhode Island has had the fourth-most deaths per capita among the 50 states since the beginning of the pandemic.

 

RISCA will be opening Phase 3 of the Artist Relief Fund for applications on June 1, 2021. For this third, and likely final, phase of the Artist Relief Fund, we expect to award approximately 250 grants of $800 to arts and culture workers in the state of Rhode Island. All applications will be screened for eligibility, and then all eligible applications will be selected for funding via a lottery system. We anticipate significantly more applications than we have funds available. The application deadline for the Third Phase of the Artist Relief Fund is Monday, June 14 at 8pm.

 

90% of veterans have been fully vaccinated in RI says Kasin Yarn, Director of RI Dept. of Veteran Affairs

 

East Providence: The city has planted a living memorial to the almost 200 residents who have died after contracting the coronavirus. A tree and accompanying plaque were dedicated Monday outside city hall,

 

Connecticut announced plans for a “back-to-work” incentive program offering $1,000 for the first 10,000 residents to sign up.

 

Venus de Milo has decided to delay the planned Memorial Day weekend reopening of the venue’s restaurant. Citing unfruitful attempts to recruit staff, the owner says they’re focusing on expanded take-out options in the coming weeks, and plans are still in place to revive the banquet business.

 

The Vermont Education Agency will strongly recommend that schools continue to follow the agency’s COVID-19 prevention measures for the rest of the school year.

 

The Boston Bruins played in front of a crowd capacity of 17,000.

 

The first female mayor of Boston has called back to in-office work the staff of city hall, sending families into panic over daycare. In MA, the 1,066 at home day cares have been reduced to 934; and the day care centers have decreased from 687 to 550. For new mothers (during the pandemic), child care arrangements are not in place. Predictions are for several women to leave their employment.

 

Stop & Shop is looking to hire nearly 1K employees to work in its stores this summer on the Cape and Islands, with housing included.

 

Lady Gaga’s August concert in Boston has been rescheduled by her to 2022.

 

Rhode Island’s June Pride parade has been postponed, for the second year.

 

Governor’s Press Conference

 

Press conferences on COVID every other week at RI State House.

 

93% of 65+ Rhode Islanders vaccinated – most other age groups are over 50%.

 

Working on vaccinating people where they are and closing down mass vaccination sites.

 

Middletown & Dunk close on 6/26. Sockanosset will remain open through fall and be maintained as field hospital.

 

Working on 12+ vaccinations. Goal is all students in classrooms in fall. Going to remove barriers to learning – no longer required to offer virtual learning.

 

82 people vaccinated at the Dunk on Coffee Day. RI is available to vaccinate groups of people – get in touch with state.

 

1st Drive-thru being held this Saturday at Fidelity in Smithfield – sign up or just drive-up – no walk-ups.

 

New masking guidance – vaccinated/non-vaccinated not required to wear masks outdoors. Not required outdoors at camps this summer. Unvaccinated, indoors, masks required. Camp organizations can be more restrictive if they want. Masks advisable in high density outdoor events.

 

Testing – symptoms? Please get tested at accessible sites.

 

2030 Plan – Discussion on health – 6pm on Facebook Live.

 

Stay positive – test negative – vaccinate the Ocean State.

 

Dr. Scott:

 

Speaking to those not vaccinated – or have friends who are not. Now is the time – move forward time is now. Variants are present and out there.

 

0.8% positivity now – let’s keep our numbers low. New hospital admissions have been in single digits every day.

 

RI’s transmission level now is “moderate”. We need to continue to be aware of newer versions. Spread more easily.

 

College students returning in the fall – you should get your first dose by July 4th.

 

Masks are required in schools, childcare, public transportation, healthcare, homeless shelters, prisons, etc.

 

Tom McCarthy:

 

Vaccinations: Hope St. Farmer’s Market – Scarborough Beach, other events and locations.

 

Expanding vaccination program at home for those 50+.

 

Primary care providers can now offer vaccinations. Onboarded 25 pediatricians and doctors.

 

RI is one of 12 states that have at least 1 dose in 70% of the population.

 

Q&A:

 

Q:  Days of 90 degree heat – coming up – any update for that in schools for masking policy?

 

A:  We’re current with the current science. Indoors is highest risk areas – not planning on making any changes for the rest of the school year.

 

Q:  Are you prepared for children to deal with 90 day heat in schools without a/c?

 

A:  We’ve proven we are resilient. 100% focused on full recovery, but we are not there yet.

 

Q:  Specific clinics for 12+ kids?

 

A:  Not requirement for going back to schools at this time. Clinics at schools have been successful – and area for children at mass vaccination sites.

 

Q:  When vaccine is approved for under 12, how will that be handled?

 

A:  We are preparing for that, considering how to administer. Cranston would be easiest to ramp up.

 

Q:  Convention Center back in center when? Dunk?

 

A:  Convention Center in August – Dunk in the fall.

 

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL

 

U.S. first-time jobless claims fall below 400,000 for first time in pandemic era

 

The US is vaccinatingvforeign workers aboard ships that have been circling the Earth’s seas, keeping products supplied to countries.

 

Facebook has announced that it will no longer remove posts that suggest the COVID-19 virus came from a Chinese lab.

 

Amazon’s Prime Day has moved up to June 21 & 22 to help people restock on important items

 

CDC is working on new Covid guidance for summer camps now that teens can get vaccine, director says

 

Russian regions begin vaccinating animals against COVID-19 – RIA

 

Azores, as they are experiencing a severe shortage.

 

Full vaccinated people can donate blood plasma at blood drives

 

The new White House science adviser hopes that for the next pandemic, a vaccine will be ready in 100 days

 

Apple says they will ask their staff to return to their office 3 days a week – they may also work from home 2 weeks of the year.

 

39% of workers would rather quit than return to offices in the fall, Bloomberg survey

 

In New Jersey, mask mandates may be waived at high schools sooner than elementary and middle schools in the fall because teens have a head start over younger kids on getting vaccinated,

 

The Smithsonian will reopen 10 of its museums on a staggered schedule throughout the summer

 

A majority of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams have been able to relax coronavirus protocols after two additional clubs qualified and raised the total to 16 franchises reaching 85% vaccinations for players and other onfield personnel. Relaxed protocols include dropping the requirements for facemasks in dugouts and bullpens, and loosening restrictions on mobility during road trips.

 

The NY Knicks said they will only sell tickets to vaccinated people.

 

Florida concert promoter – $18/vaccinated people – $1000/non-vaccinated people.

 

California will have sweepstakes for fully vaccinated people – up to $15 in giveaways – $50 gift card for most.

 

Uruguay is working on the world’s first large-scale memorial to the global toll of COVID-19 with a $1.5 million project on the shores of Montevideo.

 

The Indianapolis 500 welcomed a sold-out crowd of 135,000 spectators on Sunday

 

A sharp rise in coronavirus cases from new variants in parts of Southeast Asia has prompted new restrictions, factory closures and attempts to rapidly scale up vaccination programmes across the region

 

COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has soared past India’s on a per capita basis. Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and East Timor have all doubled their cases in the past month. Vietnam will suspend incoming international flights to its capital Hanoi

 

Singapore should be able to relax recently imposed restrictions on social gatherings after two weeks if the local COVID-19 situation continues to improve

 

Hong Kong will offer civil servants who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a day off for each dose

 

Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) said on Tuesday it has started an application for full U.S. approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently only authorized for emergency use in the country.?

 

The World Health Organization has announced a new naming system based on the Greek alphabet for key COVID-19 variants. While these new names will not replace existing scientific names, the new system is aimed to make the names easier to say and remember, as well as prevent stigma associated with calling variants by a location name. For instance: Alpha – first identified in UK Beta – first identified in South Africa Gamma – first identified in Brazil Delta – first identified in India

 

West Virginia to give away guns as Covid-19 vaccine incentive

 

The EU is making vaccination passports available to ease travel – they are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia, and Poland.

 

Australia is keeping its anti-travel ban in place.

 

Anheuser-Busch announced that it would “buy Americans 21+ a round of beer” once Pres. Biden’s 70% vaccination goal is met.

 

Several studies have shown an association between low vitamin D levels and increased risk for COVID-19, though not a direct link. MORE, HERE: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/vitamin-d-covid.html?cmp=EMC-DSO-NLC-HLTH—MCTRL-060221-F1-5523943&ET_CID=5523943&ET_RID=2857375&encparam=YZKieQf99ROa%20VCZQNlOkw==

 

The US will share 80 million vaccine doses with other countries by the end of June.

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Two teens charged in connection to a fatal stabbing in Newport made court appearances on Thursday.  A judge is declining to dismiss a hate crime case against a South Kingstown resident.  Rhode Island's education commissioner spoke about personal attacks against her at a meeting on Thursday.

>>Pair Charged In Connection To Newport Homicide Held Without Bail

(Newport, RI)  --  Two Newport teenagers were arraigned in district court on Thursday for a Memorial Day weekend homicide, the first in the city since 2015.  The victim was 22-year-old Max Julian, a Little Compton resident and a University of Rhode Island who was reportedly stabbed during an altercation at a rental house party.  Eighteen-year-old Tyrese Poulsen, who is charged with murdering Julian, was ordered held without bail yesterday for violating conditions of his release on previous charges, according to The Newport Daily News.  Nineteen-year-old Jamaal Reid, who is charged with harboring a fugitive and disorderly conduct, also remains in custody because of his status as a bail violator.

>>Request For Dismissal Of Rhode Island Hate Crime Case Rejected

(Wakefield, RI)  --  A judge declined to dismiss a case yesterday against a Rhode Island woman accused of a racially-motivated diatribe.  Christine Longo of South Kingstown is on trial for a disorderly conduct charge with a hate crime enhancement for the incident at a Narragansett restaurant in 2020.  She allegedly referred to a black man from East Providence who emigrated from Africa to, quote, "go back where you came from".  District Court Judge James Caruolo yesterday disagreed with Longo's attorney that her comments were protected by the First Amendment and instead considered them to be "fighting words".  The trial will continue next week.

>>RI Education Commissioner Defends Herself

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green [[ ahn-HELL-ick-uh in-FAHN-tay ]] says personal attacks against her are "not OK".  Infante-Green spoke at a state Council on Elementary and Secondary Education meeting on Thursday after a senior adviser claimed earlier this week she was being targeted by racist comments.  The adviser also alleged that the Providence Teachers Union is trying to, quote, "take down the commissioner".  Infante-Green was recently removed from contentious contract negotiations with the union.  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza on Wednesday called for the state to apply the same law that was used for the takeover of the Providence School District to make changes to that contract.

>>Johnston Police Department Reaches Settlement With Former Detective

(Johnston, RI)  --  The ACLU says a settlement has been reached on a free speech lawsuit against the Johnston Police Department.  The organization claimed the First Amendment rights of James Brady, a now-retired detective for the JPD, were violated when he was disciplined in 2016 for speaking to a reporter in his capacity as union president about a police officer who had been fired.  A federal judge agreed.  Under the terms of the settlement, Brady will be compensated for an unpaid two-day suspension and the Johnston Police Department will remove the policy that he was charged with violating.

>>New Barrington Police Chief Named

(Barrington, RI)  --  A veteran of the Providence Police Department is being named the new police chief in Barrington.  Major Michael Correia will start on June 28th.  Correia currently serves at the commanding officer of the Providence PD's uniformed division.  Current Barrington Police Chief Dino DeCrescenzo is retiring.

>>General Assembly Rethinking Sending Women To Prison

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Senate is planning to study alternatives to incarceration of women.  State Senator Meghan Kallman says RI could potentially close its only women's prison and place inmates in alternate facilities.  Kallman does not want the female inmates being sent out-of-state, as has been proposed by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.  According to a State House press release, the resolution approved by the Senate this week establishes a fifteen-member special commission which includes the D-O-C.

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

06-04-2021 00:21:13

RI Veterans: Did you know?

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RI Veterans: Did You Know? – 3 June 21 – John A. Cianci

 
June 3, 2021/John Cianci

 

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM), contributing writer on Veterans issues

 

“Free Burial for Eligible Veterans at Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery”

 

State of Rhode Island Burial Benefits

 

Did you know eligible veterans, spouses, and dependents children may be buried at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery (RIVMC) in Exeter, RI?  Burial for eligible veterans is provided at NO COST.

 

Burial for spouses and dependents incur fees; according to spokesperson for State of Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services, Meghan Connelly, costs are as follows for spouses and dependents:

 

  • $210 for a casket liner
  • $110 for an in-ground cremation liner

 

Did you know a veteran’s spouse or dependent could be buried before the eligible Veteran’s death at the RIVMC in Exeter, RI?

 

Did you know a veteran can submit a pre-application to the RIVMC, to include listing spouse and eligible dependent(s) online, mail, or by fax?

 

Eligibility for burial at RIVMC is as follows:

 

  • Honorable service
  • RI resident for 2 consecutive years prior to death, OR
  • Joined the service from RI (this information would be on the veterans DD214), OR
  • Veterans with active duty service for which they received a campaign or expeditionary medal (ex., Desert Storm Veterans), OR
  • Veterans with 2+ consecutive years of active duty during peacetime, OR
  • Veterans with 20+years of National Guard or Reserve service

 

Documents for proof of service consist of a DD214, NGB-22, or the equivalent.

 

Proof of residency consists of an RI driver’s license, RI voter registration, or IRS tax forms.

 

VETTIP: Suggest you preregister yourself, to include adding your spouse or dependent on the application online, at; http://www,vets.ri.gov.

 

The phone number for the RIVMC Administration Office is (401)-268-3088.

 

More information on RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery retrieved from the cemetery’s website:

 

RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery is a dignified and solemn military cemetery on 280 acres in Exeter, RI. The grounds of the cemetery are beautifully maintained and include 31 monuments dedicated to veterans of specific wars and conflicts. The Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery offers in-ground casket, in-ground cremation and above-ground columbarium cremation sites. Committal services for veterans and eligible spouses/dependents are 15 minutes in length to include military honors. Gravesite locations are assigned by the Administration Office at the time of death.

 

From my own experience assisting families who seek to bury their loved one at the RIVMC, the staff at the cemetery will assist and navigate you thru the process. Moreover, most funeral homes are seasoned and experienced in expediting the process for a deceased veterans’ family. The phone number for the RIVMC Administration Office is (401) 268-3088.

 

Next week’s column will cover federal burial benefits for eligible veterans, to include up to thousands of dollars of reimbursement for burial expenses.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q1 How do I obtain proof of service if the Veteran dies, and I need immediate burial services?

 

Most funeral homes will provide you points of contacts for a local congressional office for assistance. With a congressional inquiry, proof of service is usually obtained in a few days.

 

*See VETTIP, why I suggest if your intent is to be buried at RIVMC, pre-register.

 

Q2 How do I pre-register?

 

Step 1. Acquire required documents (DD214, proof of residency).

 

Step 2.

         Option 1 Apply online, http://www,vets.ri.gov

         Option 2 Fax the application and supporting documents to (401) 295-8797

         Option 3 Mail application and supporting documents to:

                       R.I Veterans Memorial Cemetery Application

                       301 South County Trail

                       Exeter, Rhode Island 02822-9712

          Option 4 Take a ride out and visit the RIVMC. Stop in at normal business hours with your supporting documents and fill out the application.

 

Q3 What should I do if I received an other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable discharge?

 

If you’ve received one of these discharge statuses, you may not be eligible for VA pension benefits. Operation Stand Down, (401) 383-4730, provides free assistance to apply for a discharge upgrade or go to va.gov.

 

Q4 How do I apply for VA Healthcare?

 

VA Health Care Enrollment Process

 

  1. Online – Apply online at VA’s website.
  2. By Telephone – Call toll-free number at 877-222-VETS (8387)
  3. In Person – Complete the “Application for Health Benefits” at your local VA. Find a VA Medical Center.

 

All Veterans are encouraged to enroll in the VA Health Care System. 
You can apply online at https://www.vets.gov/health-care/apply/ or call an eligibility and enrollment specialist at 401-273-7100 ext. 12496 during normal business hours.

 

Or you may print the Application for Health Care Benefits form and mail it to:

 

VA Providence Healthcare System
Eligibility Office – Patient Services (136)
830 Chalkstone Avenue
Providence, RI  02908

 

You can also bring the form to the Medical Center. The Eligibility Office is located on the ground floor of the main hospital building near the main entrance.

 

Whether mailing or bringing your application, please include the following items:

 

  • a copy of both sides of your current insurance card (including Medicare or Medicaid)
  • a copy of your DD214, ‘Armed Forces Report of Transfer or Discharge’
  • (Purple Heart recipients only) a copy of your award letter if ‘Purple Heart’ is not noted on your DD214

 

VA encourages all Veterans to apply in order to determine their enrollment eligibility.

 

VETTIP. In my opinion and experience, your best bet is to go to the Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave, Providence with your DD214 and a form of identification and a VA representative will assist you in registering.

 

Q5 How to Apply for a Discharge Upgrade

 

Answer a series of questions to get customized step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a discharge upgrade or correction. If your application goes through and your discharge is upgraded, you’ll be eligible for the VA Benefits you earned during your period of service.

 

All branches of the military consider you to have a strong case for a discharge upgrade if you can show your discharge was connected to any of these categories:

 

Mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

 

Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

 

Sexual assault or harassment during military service (at VA, we refer to this as military sexual trauma or MST)

 

Sexual orientation (including under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy)

 

Can I get VA benefits without a discharge upgrade?

 

Even with a less than honorable discharge, you may be able to access some VA benefits through the Character of Discharge review process. When you apply for VA benefits, they’ll review your record to determine if your service was “honorable for VA purposes.” This review can take up to a year. Please provide documents supporting your case, similar to the evidence you’d send with an application to upgrade your discharge.

 

You may want to consider finding someone to advocate on your behalf, depending on the complexity of your case. A lawyer or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) can collect and submit supporting documents for you. 

 

Note: You can ask for a VA Character of Discharge review while at the same time applying for a discharge upgrade from the Department of Defense (DoD) or the Coast Guard.

 

If you need mental health services related to PTSD or other mental health problems linked to your service (including conditions related to an experience of military sexual trauma), you may qualify for VA health benefits right away, even without a VA Character of Discharge review or a discharge upgrade.

 

EVENTS/MEETINGS

 

Saturday, June 5, 2021, 830-1000am FREE BREAKFAST

 

Building Bridges will hold its monthly free breakfast for Veterans this Saturday in the Parish Hall at Christ Church, Main Street, Swansea Village. Co-sponsored by Vet to Vet/Boston and Christ Church. Non-religious outreach to veterans from the community — a bridge, if you will, connecting the two. All Veterans welcome. No reservation needed. – “Yours in comradeship, Dave McCarthy, Vet to Vet/Boston, Building Bridges Area Coordinator. NOTE: This breakfast is held FIRST Saturday of every month; I attended the one last month and had an awesome breakfast and met up with some Veterans I had not seen for years.

 

Monday, June 7, 2021, 900-1100am Refreshments, Federal Hill Veterans Coffee House, at ROMA, Atwells Ave, Providence. ponsored by the Italian American War Veterans. Always the first Monday of the month, lots of Italian pasties and camaraderie.

 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 900-100 Refreshments, Northern Rhode Island Veteran Coffee House, sponsored by American Legion Berard-Desjariais Post #88 and the Italian American War Veterans of Rhode Island, 111 Chapel Street Harrisville, RI 02830. Coffee and pastries for the coffee hour, followed by hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch—-ALL FREE.

 

Unemployed veterans, seeking certificates and/or 12-month college programs, a must to attend, Sign up for FREE programs available for Veterans with COVID-19 monies. AND GET HOUSING ALLOWANCE WHILE ATTENDING THE TRAINING.

 

Saturday, June 12th, 9AM Refreshments, 10AM Speaker, “Rhode Island National Guard Retirees’ Association Quarterly Meeting”, Schofield Armory, 705 New London Avenue, Cranston.  Point of contact is Bob Urquhart at boburquhart@cox.net.  Guest speaker to be determined.

 

Saturday, June 12th, time currently unknown, “Brian’s Ride 2021”, 15th Anniversary Memorial Ride. For more information and/or questions, call 401.837.7331, or email brianstgermainfoundation@yahoo.com.  

 

REUNIONS

 

Friday, August 6th, 11AM, “Rhode Island National Guard Summer Reunion”, Quonset Officers’ Club, 200 Lieutenant James Brown Road, North Kingstown.  Point of contact is Bob Antonelli at 401.996.3764, or via email at bob02909@cox.net. Cut-off date is Tuesday, August 3rd.   

 

September 15-20, 2021, USMC Tankers Association Facility: Crown Plaza Providence-Warwick, 801 Greenwich Ave., Warwick RI 02886. Point of Contact Name: John Wear. Point of Contact Telephone: 719-495-5998. Point of Contact Email: johnwear2@verizon.net . Comments: The USMC Vietnam Tankers Association will be holding our 12th biennial reunion. Anyone who served with any of the Marine tank battalions or Ontos units in Vietnam . . . in any capacity is welcome!!!    

 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, itamrirvets@gmail.com.

 

_____

 

 

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.

 
 

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Newport police are looking to arrest two people in connection to a weekend homicide.  Someone has filed a large volume of public records requests in the South Kingstown School District and the chair of the school board isn't thrilled about it.  Approval is being given for a proposed wind farm project in the Rhode Island Sound.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Arrest Warrants Issued In Connection To Fatal Stabbing In Newport

(Newport, RI)  --  There are arrest warrants out for two people in connection to a fatal assault in Newport.  Maximus Julian, a University of Rhode Island student from Little Compton, died after a stabbing at a rental property in the city this past weekend which reportedly happened as a result of an altercation at a party.  An 18-year-old man, Tyrese Poulsen, is wanted for Julian's murder.  The second suspect, 19-year-old Jamaal Reid, is wanted on charges of harboring a criminal and disorderly conduct.

>>South Kingstown School Committee Head Takes Issue With Records Requests

(South Kingstown, RI)  --  The South Kingstown School Committee on Wednesday night voted against having the court system intervene in a public records request matter.  Emily Cummiskey, the chair of the school committee, said a single person filed over two-hundred requests in the last few weeks which she called "over-the-top" and claimed were diverting resources away from properly running the school district.  Cummiskey stated in a Facebook post earlier yesterday that the individual, Nicole Solas, has been linked to a national racist group working to dismantle anti-racism in schools nationwide.  Multiple media reports indicate the public records requests were made by Solas over apparent concerns about the controversial "critical race theory" being taught in the South Kingstown district.  Instead of pursuing court action, WPRI-TV reports the school committee will try to mediate the issue on its own.

>>Rhode Island Regulators Approve South Fork Wind Farm

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council is signing off on the South Fork Wind Farm.  The Providence Journal reports the key approval for the proposed wind farm in the Rhode Island Sound was given on Wednesday despite concerns about the potential environmental impact and effect on the fishing industry.  The wind farm, pending federal approval, will deliver electricity to Long Island, New York.

>>Drive-Through COVID Vaccination Clinic Saturday In Smithfield

(Smithfield, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee is announcing a first-of-its-kind public drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic.  This will take place on Saturday morning at the parking garage of Fidelity Investments in Smithfield.  Appointments are recommended, but not required.  McKee says the state is trying to reach 70-percent of the population being vaccinated.  Right now, the percentage of fully-vaccinated Rhode Islanders is fifty-one-percent.

>>Boutique Hotel To Open In Downtown Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  A new boutique hotel is opening in downtown Providence later this summer.  The Beatrice, which is set in the 1887 Exchange Building on Westminster Street, will include nearly fifty rooms.  It was developed by Joseph Paolino Jr., the managing partner of Paolino Properties and the former mayor of Providence.  The hotel will also feature the Bellini Restaurant, named for the Bellini cocktail whose inventor was the great-grandfather of the restaurant owner.

>>Harvest Kitchen In Pawtucket Is Back After Pandemic Break

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The pandemic caused a year-long closure of downtown Pawtucket's Harvest Kitchen, but the café operated by Farm Fresh Rhode Island has re-opened.  Harvest Kitchen is described as a culinary job-training program for youths ages 16-to-19 who are involved with the RI Department of Children, Youth and Families.  The café is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and closed on weekends.

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

06-03-2021 00:18:15

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A man who was assaulted at a party in Newport over the weekend died on Tuesday.  Masking is no-longer required in Rhode Island regardless of whether someone has been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.  The Brooklyn Nets have eliminated the Boston Celtics from the NBA Playoffs.

>>Man Who Was Assaulted At Weekend Party In Newport Has Died

(Newport, RI)  --  A violent assault at a rental property in Newport is now a homicide case.  Twenty-two-year-old Maximus Julian of Little Compton, a student in his last semester at the University of Rhode Island, died on Tuesday after the stabbing incident over the weekend.  The Newport Police Department says there was an altercation at a party at the house on Thames Street.  No arrests had been made as of Tuesday night.

>>Boy Who Didn't Get On School Bus Found Safe In Providence

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence boy who was reported missing on Tuesday was found safe.  The Providence School District put out a public alert about the student at Pleasant View Elementary School, eight-year-old Anthony Brown, saying he did not get onto his bus to go home.  Brown was found last night about three miles away from the school, having apparently walked through the city.

>>Outdoor Masking Requirement Dropped In RI Regardless Of COVID Vaccination Status

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Islanders who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated against COVID-19 are no-longer being asked to wear masks outdoors.  That was the updated guidance issued by Governor Dan McKee and the state public health department on Tuesday, which itself was based on a new directive issued last week from the CDC.  The new guidance covers outdoor live performances, youth sports and summer camps.  Unvaccinated people in the Ocean State are still being strongly-encouraged to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings and other close-contact situations.

>>Child Marriage Ban Passed By Rhode Island General Assembly

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island state legislature is passing a ban on child marriages.  The bill, which sets the legal marriage age at 18, now heads to the governor's desk.  Rhode Island would become the fifth state in the U.S. to enact such a ban.

>>Nets Eliminate Celtics; Fan Arrested For Throwing Bottle Is URI Student

(Brooklyn, NY)  --  The Boston Celtics have been bounced from the 2021 NBA Playoffs.  The C's lost in the second round to the Brooklyn Nets four games to one, capped off by a 123-to-109 win in Game 5 in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.  The series was marked by accusations of racism against Boston fans by former Celtic Kyrie Irving, who is now with the Nets.  Irving also generated controversy by stepping on the head of the Celtics logo on the T.D. Garden court at the end of Game 4.  A fan who was arrested for allegedly throwing a water bottle at Irving's head as he was going to the locker room, Cole Buckley, is a student at the University of Rhode Island and the school says he faces a possible suspension.

>>Speed Bumps Adjusted On Providence Street

(Providence, RI)  --  Some people are steamed about all the speed bumps that have been installed in Providence streets.  Now one of them is being altered.  WJAR-TV reports the city will adjust the slope of the bumps on South Angell Street near the Henderson Bridge.  Drivers complained the speed bumps were too high and were causing vehicle damage.

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

06-02-2021 00:13:30

RI Day of Portugal = events starting June 6th

RI Day of Portugal – events starting June 6th

 
June 2, 2021/RINewsToday

 

The 44th Celebration of the Rhode Island Day of Portugal will be held this year, having been postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The “Day of Portugal” is a holiday celebrated every year in June on every corner of the Portuguese-speaking world. Officially known as “Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas” (Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities), June 10th commemorates the death of the revered Portuguese poet, Luís Vaz de Camões in 1580. Camões is best known for his epic poem, Os Lusíadas, which is a tribute to the golden age of Portugal’s maritime exploration and discoveries.

 

The Portuguese in Rhode Island

 

In Rhode Island, 13 cities/towns are in the top 100 for percentage of Portuguese population in the US. The top 5 cities are East Providence (40.86% – 2nd in US) – Bristol (31.4% – 9th) – Tiverton (26.97% – 16th) – Warren (24.74% – 20) – Riverside (16.50% – 33) – Rumford – 15.55% – 36th) – Little Compton (12.38% – 45th) (http://zipatlas.com/us/city-comparison/percentage-portuguese-population.htm).

 

Portuguese maintains status on the state’s MBE – Minority Business Enterprise – list.

 

Portuguese immigrants make up only four-tenths of one percent (0.4 percent) of the entire U.S. population. But in Rhode Island, Portuguese immigrants make up 9.7 percent of the population. As a result, that’s the densest concentration of Portuguese in the country. Massachusetts is the second densest in the US.

 

RI Day of Portugal events in RI:

 

Events are being held in Rhode Island on several June dates.

 

Beginning on June 6th in Newport, several events will be held, with another major event on June 13th in Providence.

 

The RI Day of Portugal – Opening Ceremony – June 6th at 1pm at the Portuguese Discovery Monument in Newport

 

June 13th in Providence.  

 

 

For those who would like to go to Newport together, free Buses are available; but seats must be reserved. Buses leave from East Providence, at 11am.

 

In addition to the flag raisings, the RI Day of Portugal Heritage Festival will be held at Waterplace Park in downtown Providence from 1 to 9pm on Sunday, June 13th.

 

Traditional food, music, dance, a Waterfire Torch Procession, and a laser show will be held.

 

 

Sunday, June 13th – RI Day of Portugal Heritage Festival

 

 

June 29th – The RI Day of Portugal Wine Dinner

 

 

The Passion is back in 2021. RI Day of Portugal wine dinner is June 29, 2021. Special surprise… more details to come.Limited seating, Make your reservations today! The Capital Grille, 401-521-5600

 

For more information on RI Day of Portugal:

 

 

Ana Isabel dos Reis-Couto
President
Dia de Portugal em RI  |  RI Day of Portugal
401.225.2591

 

https://www.ridayofportugal.org/

 

 

 

_____

 

RINewsToday is a proud member of PALCUS

Rhode Island News Today

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A search off the Rhode Island coast was suspended on Monday.  Police are investigating vandalism to a war memorial in Providence.  The Bruins fall to the Islanders in overtime in their second-round NHL playoff series.

>>Search Called Off In Waters Off Southern RI

(South Kingstown, RI)  --  A search for a missing person in the water off the Rhode Island coast was suspended on Monday afternoon.  Authorities believe a man went into the water and never came back after his car was found in the parking lot of East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown on Sunday night.  The Coast Guard said the search focused on the area between the Charlestown Breachway and Black Point, Narragansett.  Over 40 nautical miles was covered.

>>Woman Rescued From River

(Barrington, RI)  --  A woman was rescued from the Barrington River yesterday.  EastBayRI.com reports two Barrington police officers were able to save the individual who had reportedly jumped into the river.  Police said she was apparently suffering a mental health emergency.  She was reportedly evaluated on the scene before being taken to a hospital.

[[ watch for updates ]]

>>Providence War Memorial Vandalized

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence War Memorial was found vandalized on Memorial Day.  The memorial, which is located downtown on La Salle Square, was reportedly covered in spray paint.  The Providence Police Department is investigating.

>>Michael Flynn Appears To Make Comments Supporting Military Coup In U.S.

(Dallas, TX)  --  Michael Flynn, a Rhode Island native who was the former national security advisor for President Trump, has made comments that appear to support a military-style coup in the U.S.  According to a CNN report, Flynn made the comments at an event attended by big-name QAnon believers.  When he was asked about whether a military coup similar to one that happened in Myanmar [[ MEE-ahn-mahr ]] could happen here, Flynn suggested it should.  Congresswoman Liz Cheney tweeted that "No American should advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States."

>>Bruins Lose To Islanders In Game 2

(Boston, MA)  --  The Boston Bruins lost Game 2 of their NHL playoff series against the New York Islanders on Monday night.  The final score at T.D. Garden, in overtime, was 4-to-3.  The best-of-seven East Division second round series moves to Long Island for Game 3 on Thursday.

>>Salve Regina Baseball Team Bounced From NCAA Tourney

(Hartford, CT)  --  The Salve Regina baseball team's NCAA tournament run is over.  The Seahawks lost to Wheaton College 7-to-4 in the Division 3 tournament on Monday.  Salve went 2-and-2 at the regional in Hartford, including a win over in-state rival Johnson and Wales on Saturday.

>>Testimony Received On Bill Proposing To Dissolve Providence Tourism Council

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Tourism Council could be dissolved if a piece of legislation gets approval in the Rhode Island General Assembly.  The Providence Journal reports the head of the council testified against the House bill last week which would redirect funding to the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Alexis Gorriaran [[ gore-EE-ARE-on ]] asserted that organization has little interest in the diversity of the Providence cultural community.  But supporters of the bill said there are too many tourism organizations in Providence, which is causing resources to be diluted.

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

06-01-2021 00:05:13

Mason Phelps - equestrian innovator, jumping derby & Newport ROundup Founder, dies at 72

The Palm Beach Post
 

Mason Phelps – equestrian innovator, Jumping Derby & Newport Roundup founder, dies at 72.

June 1, 2021/RINewsToday

Photo: The Palm Beach Post

Mason Phelps, a lifelong horseman, with deep Rhode Island connections and contributions, participated in many aspects of the equestrian world including as a rider/trainer, Olympic athlete, groom, event manager, governance leader, multi-media executive, and philanthropy/charity organizer. Phelps passing was announced by Phelps Media Group, “[Our] founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mason Phelps Jr.. Mason passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home in Wellington, Florida of an apparent heart attack. He was 72. With the passing of Mason Phelps, the entire equestrian community has suffered an unimaginable loss,” said Lenore Phillips, President of Phelps Media Group.

In Rhode Island

In the 1970s, Phelps lived in Portsmouth, at Glen Farm, owned by his maternal ancestor, Moses Taylor, who purchased it from the Vanderbilts with the intent of located an equine business. 

It was while at Glen Farm, that Phelps found yet another undiscovered talent — producing equine-related events. According to the Newport Daily News, “His International Jumping Derby at Glen Farm was a wildly successful event on the equestrian circuit for more than a dozen years, not only for its 220-acre English style banks-and-ditches course, but also for its unfettered after-party. The rowdy Newport Roundup drew more than 700 people in its heyday”. Wanting to support horses, riding, and children, Phelps formed the Aquidneck Island Pony Club, where every Saturday he provided free riding lessons and instruction in how to muck stalls and do other chores involving equine care. At its peak Phelps was educating 75 children on an average Saturday. In the 80s he replicated the Newport Roundup at the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club as a fundraiser for the U.S. Equestrian Team.

In 1976, Phelps founded, produced, and managed the first International Jumping Derby in Newport, which drew top athletes and was a major show on the jumping circuit through 1988. In 1977, Phelps founded and created the New England Horsemen’s Association Hunt Seat Medal, which is still a popular event today, held in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the late 1970s and 1980s, Phelps produced a driving event for the Newport Preservation Society in Newport, Rhode Island. The event was held over three days and included as many as 16 four-in-hand carriages that drove to Newport mansions for lunches, teas, and dinners; classic Newport stables that had ceased operation were opened for the event. In the 1980s, Phelps produced the Newport Roundup in Newport, Rhode Island, as a charity event for equestrians.

Mason Phelps showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival in 1992. Photo Courtsey of James Parker

Phelps was a rider and trainer in his early years, competing in eventing and the hunter/jumper ranks. He earned national and international recognition as an equestrian athlete. In 1968, Phelps was named Alternate to the U.S. Three Day Team that competed in the Mexico City Olympic Games. That same year, he was named the U.S. Combined Training Association’s Rider of the Year. Phelps began his career as a trainer in 1972, working for two years as an Assistant Trainer to the legendary Jimmy Williams at Flintridge Riding Club in Pasadena, California. Phelps later developed his own training stable for hunter/jumpers, working with riders on both the east and west coast until his retirement from competition in the late 1990s.

While still in his twenties, Phelps expanded his role in the horse world to include event manager. In 1970, Phelps created and produced the “AA Rated Xmas Show” in San Antonio, which is now a popular annual event and an integral part of the Texas equestrian community. In the early 1990s at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida, Phelps created innovative classes including the first equitation class for previous winners of the Maclay or the Medal Finals; an equitation class for riders who had represented the U.S. in an Olympic Games, Pan American Games or a Nations’ Cup; and the first hunter classic for the American Hunter Jumper Foundation, which was held in the grand prix Internationale Arena. Currently, Phelps is Chairman of the National Horse Show of America Ltd.

Phelps has also played an important role in horse sport governance, primarily in the 1980s. He was Chairman of Zone I for the former American Horse Shows Association (AHSA, now USEF), and was on the boards of both the AHSA and the USET. Phelps also served as president of the New England Horseman’s Council from 1985 through 1988. He organized an annual Gay Polo Tournament, for the Gay Polo League.

As a philanthropist, Phelps was instrumental in numerous charity and fundraising events in the equestrian world. In the 1980s, Phelps produced the Newport Roundup in Newport, Rhode Island, as a charity event for equestrians, with topnotch entertainment that included Sleepy LeBeef, Asleep at the Wheel, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Tammy Wynett. In 1996, Phelps was one of the founders of the Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF, formerly the Equestrian AIDS Foundation), a fundraising and charitable organization for equestrians in need. Phelps brother had died of AIDS. The Foundation is now called the Equestrian Aid Foundation, where it expanded its mission to include financial assistance those in the equestrian community who have suffered serious and lasting injuries from the sport. In 1998, Phelps produced the first Denim and Diamonds, a benefit party for the United States Equestrian Team (USET), and presented the popular event again in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2004, raising millions of dollars that supported the USET.

Phelps remained active in philanthropy, supporting the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, the Equus Foundation, Compass, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, the Hanley Foundation, and most recently, Back to Basics, which provides back-to-school essentials to children in need.

Recently, Phelps was involved in equestrian media. In 2001, he founded Phelps Media Group, Inc. International, an equestrian public relations firm, and counts as clients the USET Foundation and the National Horse Show, as well as many top-tier equestrian events, organizations, companies, athletes, and trainers. In 2006, he founded PhelpsSports.com, an equestrian news website. In addition to bringing international equestrian coverage to subscribers of the website, PhelpsSports.com has also sponsored numerous events including the PhelpsSports.com Palm Beach Dressage Derby in Loxahatchee, Florida; Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan; and the Junior/Amateur Grand Prix at the Syracuse Sport Horse Invitational in Syracuse, New York. Representatives of PhelpsSports.com have been credentialed for top international events around the world including the World Cup Finals for dressage and show jumping, and all three equestrian sports at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Family

According to the Palm Beach Daily News obituary, Phelps was born in Lake Forest, Illinois. His late father, industrialist Mason Elliott Phelps Jr. of La Jolla, was a graduate of Phillips Andover and Yale who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II. His late mother, Margaret “Peggy” Taylor, a graduate of Miss Porter’s School and Sarah Lawrence, was a patroness of the arts and a philanthropist in the California cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles.  His paternal grandfather, Mason Elliott Phelps, was part of the U.S. golf team that won the gold medal in the 1904 Summer Olympics. His maternal grandmother, Cecilia Evans Taylor of Buffalo, was a former master of the Genesee Valley Hunt. He is survived by his sister, Evans Phelps of Nevada City, California, where she served as mayor; three grandnieces, Erin Thiem, Megan Michelson and Larissa Roelofs; a grandnephew, Miles Michelson; and several great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews.

A memorial service is planned for the future.

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