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Monday, September 16, 2019

Why you should brush your teeth

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Even Faux News knows he's nuts

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Partners celebrate completion of new homes in Charlestown

Shannock Falls offers 43 affordable apartments adjacent to historic Shannock Village
Kyrie Perry, Rhode Island Housing 

State and local officials joined with representatives of RIHousing, Women’s Development Corporation (WDC), Washington County Community Development Corporation (WCCDC), and funding and community partners to celebrate the completion of new rental homes in Charlestown.

The 43-unit affordable apartment development known as Shannock Falls is comprised of two separate sites in Charlestown and Richmond. 

The Charlestown site features 11 apartments in four buildings, with 32 units at the Richmond location. Located along the banks of the Pawcatuck River, the design of the new buildings is consistent with the historic architectural detailing of the surrounding area.

The Zantac® cancer scare: what we know (and don't)

Media raises the alarm, but based on what?
By Will Collette

Image result for ranitidine cancer scareLast week, many network news shows featured stories about the Food and Drug Administration’s discovery of a cancer-causing chemical called NDMA in some batches of Zantac and its generic versions.

Since millions of Americans – including me – take ranitidine to control heartburn and acid reflux, the news caused quite a stir even though the news reports were very sparse on details.

The reason for the sparse details stem from the statements from the FDA and its European counterpart, the European Medicines Agency that did not contain a lot of crucial information. I have reprinted both agencies’ statements below.

We don’t know exactly how the NDMA got there, though I have seen some accounts that say a chemical reaction between ranitidine’s ingredients could cause its formation.

We don’t know if all, most or only a few batches of ranitidine contain NDMA.

We also don’t know what levels of NDMA are present, though we do have this observation in the FDA statement:
Although NDMA may cause harm in large amounts, the levels the FDA is finding in ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts you might expect to find in common foods.
We don’t know if there’s a technological “fix,” such as a reformulation that eliminates NDMA from the medication. We DO know there will be further, deeper study of this issue by the FDA and the EMA.

We don’t really know why the FDA and its European colleagues decided to issue their statements. 

Under Trump, we have rarely seen federal regulatory agencies put a lot of zeal into protecting public health over corporate profits. That makes the FDA statement, amplified by the European’s parallel statement, all the more concerning.

Despite that inference, neither agency is telling patients to stop taking ranitidine. Instead, you are told to keep taking the medication if you need it or talk to your doctor about treatment alternatives.

Except your doctor probably doesn’t know more about this issue that what’s been published. Further, treatment alternatives are limited since the entire class of “sartan” stomach acid inhibitors have this same issue. Last June, we went through a similar health scare with Prilosec® and its generics.

So what do you do? Personally, I do plan to discuss this with my doctor when I see her later this month. She also takes ranitidine so I plan to follow her lead.

We live in a world full of risks. We have to make daily choices about such risks versus whatever benefits those risks deliver. Not to minimize the Zantac alarm, I personally don't see enough information yet to make an intelligent decision about ranitidine's risks versus its benefits.

Here are the complete statements issued by the FDA and EMA.

“Don’t be evil”

Exorcising Evil at Google
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

throwing up the exorcist GIFFor the past two decades, Google’s Code of Conduct has included the phrase Don’t Be Evil. 

It used to be at the beginning of that document but now it is relegated to the end, appearing almost as an afterthought.

That turns out to be appropriate, given that Google can no longer pretend to be a paragon of virtue. 

The latest example of this move to the dark side is the announcement by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York State Attorney General that Google is paying $170 million to settle allegations that its subsidiary YouTube committed serious violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

It was said to have done this by collecting personal information from under-age viewers of online videos without their parents’ consent.

Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. will be facing more headaches. There have been recent reports that a large group of state attorneys general are getting ready to announce a major antitrust investigation of Google, whose search engine is essentially a monopoly and which has dominant positions in other areas as well.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

“I’m from Dow Chemical and I’m here to help you"

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Acres of parking lot will be removed and capped to contain contaminated soil outside Centredale Manor and Brook Village Apartments in North Providence, near the Johnston line. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)
Acres of parking lot will be removed and capped to contain contaminated soil outside Centredale Manor and Brook Village Apartments in North Providence, near the Johnston line. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)

The new director of the New England office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the latest and perhaps final phase of the cleanup of one of Rhode Island’s most polluted properties.

Before joining the EPA on Aug, 22, Dennis Deziel worked as a top lobbyist for Dow Inc., the chemical giant with a woeful environmental record. The company has a decades-long history of infamous pollution and public health scandals such as Agent Orange, Union Carbide, and defective breast implants. 

After dioxin contamination occurred at its chemical manufacturing plant in Midland, Mich., Dow concealed documents from government officials. The company was allowed to edit an EPA report about the company's pollution.

In 2013, Dow was ordered to pay $1.2 billion for the company’s involvement in a scheme to fix the price for urethane, the chemical used to make foam for furniture, packaging, and vehicles.

Deziel began work as EPA’s Region 1 administrator after five years at Dow as its director of federal government affairs. 

He visited the Centredale Manor Superfund site on Sept. 9 to formally announce a settlement with the owners of the contaminated site who are paying $42 million toward a $100 million cleanup. The work involves a 1.5-mile stretch of wetlands and commercial and residential property along the Woonasquatucket River. 

The cleanup includes potentially draining Allendale and Lyman Mill ponds to excavate some 156,000 cubic tons of contaminated sediment and removing and capping about 9 acres of parking lot. Contaminated soil will be sent to the state landfill or to a designated hazardous waste facility.

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Capping" contaminated sites is a popular "clean-up" option mainly because it is a lot cheaper than the alternatives. But being cheapest is far from being best. First, remember that at least some of the contaminated material is left in place. If the site was leaking into groundwater before, it will continue to do so except now it will have tons of capping material on top of it, squishing the material down and out the sides. Caps will inevitably leak and water will infiltrate through the sides. However, the site will look "clean" and for many politicians and even some residents, that's enough.   -Will Collette


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From the RI Community Food Bank

Empty Bowls Tickets Now On Sale!

Presented by Citizens Bank

Thursday, October 17, 2019
5:30 to 8 pm
Rhodes on the Pawtuxet

This special event brings together hundreds of local artists, over 35 local restaurants, and nearly 1,000 members of the community to envision a world without hunger, where all bowls are filled.
  • General Admission: $50 in advance/$60 at door
  • Patron Admission: $150 per person
    Includes VIP bowl selection, one drink ticket and our gratitude for your generous donation.
The concept is simple: guests choose a handmade bowl, enjoy delicious restaurant tastings, and go home with their bowl as a reminder that their support helps us fill all the empty bowls in our community.

Empty Bowls Raffle!

Enter for a chance to win a private five-course dinner for 8 at The Dorrance, complete with cocktail and wine pairings. Raffle tickets are $50 and only 150 will be sold. You do not need to be present to win.

Call 401-942-6325 to purchase your raffle tickets in advance.

Join us for a Community Volunteer Day

Saturday, October 5
9 AM to 12 PM
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
We need your help preparing food donations to distribute to our neighbors in need. Come out to the Food Bank and help us sort and pack food boxes and repack fresh produce. 
Children aged 7 and up are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.
Advanced registration is required.

Take a Tour With Us!

Do you want to learn how the Food Bank distributes 11.6 million pounds of food each year? 
Come out to the Food Bank and let us show you! This half-hour walking tour of the Food Bank takes you through our facility to show you how much we get done.
If you've ever wanted to visit, now's the time. We can work with your schedule to set up a tour. Email our Communications Coordinator Sam Howard.
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Check out our website

Our mailing address is:
Rhode Island Community Food Bank
200 Niantic Ave
Providence, RI 02907-3150

It's what's next for green energy

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff
A tidal current platform in the Cape Cod Canal will soon test its first underwater turbine. (Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative)
A tidal current platform in the Cape Cod Canal
will soon test its first underwater turbine.
(Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative)
Efforts to generate electricity from waves and tidal currents have slowed in southern New England, as offshore wind power takes a commanding lead in the renewable-energy portion of the so-called “blue economy.”

In recent years, tidal- and wave-energy programs at Brown University, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and the University of Rhode Island have curtailed their research and commercial collaborations.

At Brown, the Leading Edge project has shifted from an academic and commercial venture to a school-based laboratory-research project. 

Engineering students designed oscillating hydrofoils that generate electricity from rectangular blades that lift and rotate in strong currents. 

Faculty leaders, however, have gone to other schools or are on sabbatical, thereby halting commercial partnerships.

The program was funded by the federal Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (APRA-E) program, which supports energy initiatives that private investors consider too risky.

Leading Edge partnered with Portsmouth, R.I.-based BluSource Energy Inc. to build and test underwater turbines in the Taunton River and at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy at the entrance of the Cape Cod Canal.

Research Finds a New Way to Reduce Food Waste

‘Humanizing’ Produce Encourages Consumers to Overlook A Few Flaws

vegetables veggies GIF by Dr. Praeger's Purely Sensible Foods
Pity the poor blemished banana. In a society that equates beauty with quality, the perception that blemished produce is less desirable than its perfect peers contributes to 1.3 billion tons of wasted food a year globally.

That, in turn, raises the cost and environmental impact of feeding the world’s population.

Researchers are suggesting a potential solution – they found that ‘humanizing’ produce can change consumer attitudes toward fresh fruits and vegetables that are showing signs of age.

Study participants saw depictions of both fresh and slightly-past-its-prime produce in both anthropomorphized and unadorned states. 

Those who saw the aging produce staged to show human qualities rated it as more desirable than those who saw the same produce without the anthropomorphic effects.

The work, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, found that depicting imperfect-looking but still nutritious produce with human characteristics enhanced the food’s appeal.

What government for the rich looks like

It looks a lot like what we have now
Image result for poverty in america vintage
Yeah, Donald. Make America great again.
While the Trumpistas are presently plowing a multibillion-dollar subsidy into big grain farms, they’re using a tangle of federal red tape to deny a meager level of food assistance to millions of poor families.

To qualify for food aid, federal rules say that a family of three should have an income under $27,000 a year. 

But with rents, utilities, health care, and even food prices constantly rising, millions of Americans can’t make ends meet on such a low income.

Thus, 40 states have stepped in to loosen that restriction so families at least get the basic nutrition they need. 

Trump’s minions demean these people as welfare moochers, but overwhelmingly they’re working families, children, the elderly, and Americans with disabilities. 

The benefit is hardly lavish, averaging only $127 a month. But even this modest outlay has proven enormously successful in mitigating poverty.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Wyatt Prison board schedules meeting on the Sabbath perhaps to discourage Jewish protesters

It didn’t work
By Steve Ahlquist for UpRiseRI

“Board members, I am concerned for your souls,” said Law Professor Jared Goldstein. “The agreement before you is an agreement with evil. By voting for this agreement, you would dedicate yourself to maximize profits for the investors, paid for with the bodies of our brothers and sisters. Do not sell your souls for someone else’s greed.”
On Friday the Thirteenth evening 300 people attended the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation (CFDFC) meeting held in a basketball court across the street from the Wyatt Detention Center

The meeting was held by the governing board to vote on a new forbearance agreement that will have reaffirm the facility’s controversial agreement with the United States Marshal Service to house people detained under the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) zero tolerance border policy.

The forbearance agreement will also allow the board to enter into negotiations to sell the prison to a private, for-profit prison company such as CoreCivic, taking the governance of the facility out of pubic hands and public accountability.

The board had originally scheduled their meeting for Monday night, but cancelled it it citing “safety” concerns when they realized that a large number of people would be attending in the wake of the incident in which Wyatt Correctional Officer Thomas Woodworth drove his truck into protesters.

The meeting was scheduled for Friday, during Shabbat, with the full knowledge that many of the protesters with the group Never Again Action, are Jewish, and therefore many would be unable to attend. Whether this was done in ignorance, as a by-product of Christian hegemony, or as a deliberate act to blunt the efficacy of the protest is unknown. The CFDFC will not comment on this issue on the record.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Congratulations to Steve Ahlquist, not just for this great article, but for his comprehensive coverage of this issue and many others affecting the people of Rhode Island. He frequently covers issues in UpRiseRI that are covered no where else in Rhode Island's media. In Steve's original article, you will find numerous photographs as well as video of the events. Good work, Steve!   - Will Collette

What we're up against

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This is how it works

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It really is “YOUR MONEY”

Treasurer Magaziner reunites 4,000 Rhode Islanders with $1.4 million

Image result for Your money Rhode IslandRhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced that "YOUR MONEY", a program which automatically reunites Rhode Islanders with their missing money, is mailing checks to more than 4,000 people; returning a total of $1.4 million back to its rightful owner.

"We developed YOUR MONEY to make sure as many Rhode Islanders as possible get their missing money back in their pockets where it belongs," said Treasurer Magaziner. 

"Many families struggle to meet their expenses each month. This money can help them buy groceries, put gas in their car, or be saved in a 'rainy day' fund."

YOUR MONEY matches the state's unclaimed property database with verified address information so that money can be returned it its rightful owners automatically. Rhode Island is only the second state to adopt such a system. In many cases, individuals might not be aware they were missing unclaimed property until the check arrives in the mail.