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Friday, April 18, 2014

New Charlestown Police resource

For caregivers of persons with cognitive disorders

The Charlestown Police Department will be holding an informational meeting concerning the SafetyNet system, which is a system that provides technology to assist law enforcement in locating people with cognitive disorders, such as Autism, Alzheimer’s and other conditions, who may have wondered off and become lost. In Rhode Island there are several police and fire agencies that utilize the SafetyNet program.

The meeting will be held on April 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the Charlestown Police Department Community Room.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quarry ordinance undermined by mistakes

Corporate civil rights trump public safety
By Will Collette
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Voldemort won on April 14. Charlestown lost.
The Charlestown Town Council got an earful from attorneys representing Charlestown quarry operators about serious, if not fatal flaws, in the new ordinance that was apparently crafted in haste by Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero to regulate quarrying operations in Charlestown for the first time.

The Council was presented with a two-part decision. The first action before them was a proposed resolution to seek “enabling legislation” from the General Assembly that would grant Charlestown the authority to regulation quarries and sand pits. Town Solicitor Ruggiero noted that this resolution simply sought the state’s advance permission to enact a mining ordinance, but did not obligate the town to do so. The Council was warned by attorney Maggie Hogan that the resolution doesn't actually do what Ruggiero said it would do. Nonetheless, the Council adopted the measure, after extended debate, by 4 to 1 (Lisa DiBello voting no).  

The second decision before them was a complete re-write of last month’s Ordinance #362, now numbered Ordinance #364. The debate over that ordinance was even hotter and ended without a final vote.


Governor candidates debate the environment

Candidates to Share Views on Climate Change
By News staff

fall animated GIFPROVIDENCE — Four of the six candidates in Rhode Island’s 2014 gubernatorial race have accepted the invitation to participate in a forum on why climate change should be a top priority for state action.

The “Climate Change Colloquy” will be held Thursday, April 24, at Brown University’s List Art Building, Room 120, from 9-11 a.m. 

It is being co-sponsored by the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI), an umbrella group that consists of more than 60 environmental and advocacy organizations statewide, and ecoRI News, the main environmental news source for Rhode Island and southern New England. The event is free and open to the public.

Get your damned flu shot NOW

Flu Declared Widespread in Rhode Island Again

[Providence] Director of Health Michael Fine, MD today declared the flu to be widespread again in Rhode Island. This declaration triggers the requirement that healthcare workers who have not been vaccinated against the flu wear surgical masks during direct patient contact.

Rhode Island is seeing a second wave of flu that is even more intense than the first. The dominant strains in this late-season wave have been H3N2 -- which has a great impact on the elderly -- and influenza B.

‘MPG’ Politicized

The evolving definition of Miles Per Gallon
From gas-guzzling SUVs to fuel-frugal hybrids, energy-efficiency applies to a wide range of vehicles. With gas prices at an average of $3.50 or more per gallon these days, the miles-per-gallon measurement has become a more significant issue for Americans seeking to cut back on the cash they pump into the pump each week. 

But miles-per-gallon is also probably more misunderstood than in-car navigation systems, Bluetooth connections and other high-tech features common in new vehicles.

Bad pollen count this weekend

URI launches construction of LGBTQ Center

Ceremonial groundbreaking held April 16

KINGSTON, R.I. –State officials and members of the University of Rhode Island community broke ground today for a new LGBTQ Center on Upper College Road. 

When the $2.1 million, 4,300 square foot site is completed, URI's new center will be a safe and affirming place for all members of the community. 

URI is the first institution of higher education in the country to design and build a free standing LGBTQ Center.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

South County again rated best in Rhode Island

Also considering merger with southern Massachusetts hospital chain

hospital animated GIFBy Will Collette

South County Hospital is a great hospital and it’s not just me saying that. Once again, South County came out tops in the annual survey of hospitals conducted by Medicare for patient satisfaction. We’ve come to expect that of them.

But this year, not only was South County ranked best in Rhode Island, but the Number One hospital among all 176 New England hospitals, compared to their 18th place finish last year.

They were also the only hospital to be given an “A” rating for safety.

In general, Rhode Island hospitals improved greatly over last year. Four out of the top ten slots went to RI hospitals including the surprise quantum leap by Westerly Hospital which came in at #9 compared to their awful #121 ranking last year[1]. They left their new parent company, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, in the dust. L&M was ranked #144 out of 176.

A problem ignored is a problem solved

Science Stuff
By Tom Tomorrow

To save yourself a lot of time and worry, click here.

VIDEO: Why Peeps can't become astronauts

All in the name of science

Conservation isn't working

American energy usage jumps in 2013
From: Staff
awesome animated GIFDespite many individual efforts to decrease energy usage for 2013 increased by 2.3 Quadrillion thermal units over the previous year. These statistics have been monitored and presented by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in the most recent energy flow charts measuring renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy.

The annual flow charts are generated by the LLNL and illustrate the nation's consumption and use of energy. The Laboratory also has released a companion chart illustrating the nation's energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Americans' carbon dioxide emissions increased to 5,390 million metric tons, the first annual increase since 2010.

TONIGHT: Sen. Whitehouse holds free community dinner in South Kingstown

Macaroni & Meatballs this Wednesday

Wanna be a lifeguard?

Lifeguards Particularly Needed for State Swimming Facilities Including Lincoln Woods, Fort Adams, Goddard, Misquamicut, Scarborough and East Matunuck

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PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management is continuing its efforts to fill certified lifeguard positions in Rhode Island for residents 16 years of age or older.

There are several levels of lifeguard positions available at various state parks and beaches throughout the State. However, DEM is particularly in need of applicants for lifeguard positions at Lincoln Woods, Fort Adams and Goddard Memorial state parks, as well as at Misquamicut, Scarborough, and East Matunuck state beaches.

Pay ranges from $9.50 to $11.75 per hour based on location and position level. Lifeguards work 40 hours a week including weekends and holidays.

Which is more deadly - water or marijuana?

Posted by Marc Abrahams in Improbable Research

high animated GIFThere’s news about the literally grave danger that a feared drug might pose for someone somewhere someday. Details are in a new study. The study describes two persons who died from no obvious cause, and who—the doctors conclude — therefore must have died from the unknown amounts of marijuana that they are likely to have consumed at some point in the minutes, hours or days prior to their death:

Sudden unexpected death under acute influence of cannabis,” Benno Hartung, Silke Kauferstein, Stefanie Ritz-Timme, Thomas Daldrup, Forensic Science International, vol. 237, April 2014, pp. e11-e13.

“We describe the cases of two young men who died unexpectedly under the acute influence of cannabinoids. To our knowledge, these are the first cases of fatal cannabis smoking where full postmortem investigations were carried out…. 

After exclusion of other causes of death we assume that the young men experienced fatal cardiovascular complications evoked by smoking cannabis….The absolute risk of cannabis-related cardiovascular effects can be considered to be low…. Nevertheless, it is impossible to predict….”

The marijuana danger is comparable, in some ways, to the danger-of-death posed by another feared drug. This study describes four persons who died after ingesting extremely large amounts of water in a very short time:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Firefighters get burned by town

No Settlement as Heated Accord Turns Town Against Firefighters

20140315_125456 (2)Text and photos by Tracey C. O’Neill

EDITOR’S NOTE: You would think that men and women who put their own lives on the line every day to save lives and property of others would get more respect and appreciation – and not just when they actually GIVE their lives. Veteran journalist and occasional Progressive Charlestown contributor Tracey O’Neill has been closely following the maltreatment of firefighters in North Kingstown by their own Town Council for months. Here is a truncated version of her story on the latest outrage.

North Kingstown - As early as April 1, Elizabeth Dolan, North Kingstown Town Council President said the Town would continue its course of litigation with its firefighters union, IAFF Local 1651 NKFFA in the state’s Supreme Court. Dolan reiterated the Town’s intention at a Town Council meeting on Monday evening.

In an email response concerning the Town’s mailing of correspondence and settlement offer dated March 27, 2014 directly to its firefighters – International Association of Firefighters Local 1651, North Kingstown Firefighters Association – Dolan indicated that the union leadership had failed to respond to a Town settlement offer.

We pay Wal-Mart more than you know

URI Theatre to brings 'all that jazz' to Kingston with Chicago

Opening Day on April 17

KINGSTON, RI– The University of Rhode Island Theatre Department is proud to present its talented cast and crew in its performance of Chicago, the world-famous musical about fame, fortune, and “all that jazz." 

So "slick your hair and wear your buckle shoes..." for this show that runs Thursday through Saturday, Apr. 17-19 and 24-26at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday Apr. 27 at 3 p.m. There will be a special Donor Recognition Day Performance on Saturday, Apr. 26 at 2 p.m.

All performances will take place in the Robert E. Will Theatre in the Fine Arts Center on the Kingston Campus, Upper College Road. General admission is $20 and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased by calling 401.874.5843 or online at


By Robert Reich with video at the end of the article
Source: National Priorities Project

It’s tax time again, April 15, when our minds turn toward paying the taxes we owe or possibly getting a tax refund. But what we don’t think about enough is whether our tax system is fair. The richest 1 percent of Americans are now getting the largest percent of total national income in almost a century. So you might think they’d pay a much higher tax rate than everyone else. 

But you’d be wrong. Many millionaires pay a lower federal tax rate than many middle-class Americans.

Some don’t pay any federal taxes at all. That’s because they‘re allowed to deduct from their taxable income such things as large interest payments on mortgages for huge homes, also the costs of business entertainment and conferences  (aka vacations at golf resorts), and gold plated health care plans.

More good news about coffee

Coffee consumption reduces mortality risk from liver cirrhosis

coffee animated GIFNew research reveals that consuming two or more cups of coffee each day reduces the risk of death from liver cirrhosis by 66%, specifically cirrhosis caused by non-viral hepatitis. 

Findings in Hepatology, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, show that tea, fruit juice, and soft drink consumption are not linked to cirrhosis mortality risk. As with previous studies heavy alcohol use was found to increase risk of death from cirrhosis.

A 2004 report from The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year 1.3% of total death worldwide is caused by liver cirrhosis. Previous research shows that 29 million Europeans have chronic liver disease, with 17,000 deaths annually attributed to cirrhosis. Further WHO reports state that liver cirrhosis is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.

Water-skiing at the North Pole?

The Melting Arctic
From: Roger Greenway, 

ice animated GIF

As the Eastern US ends what seems to have been the most severe winter in memory, it is hard to remember that the global climate is still warming. A severe winter in a region doesn't mean that the entire hemisphere had an extreme winter. And it really doesn't imply much about long term trends. A key indicator of long term trends is the length of the Arctic melt season.

A new study by researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA shows that the length of the melt season for Arctic sea ice is growing by several days each decade. An earlier start to the melt season is allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation in some places to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness.

ice animated GIF

Monday, April 14, 2014

VIDEOS: Charlestown Tapas

More bite-sized bites of news
By Will Collette
Renowned Narragansett elder passes away

Our sincere condolences to the family of Dr. Ella Wilcox-Thomas Sekatau who was laid to rest with full tribal honors at the Narragansett Indian Cemetery in Charlestown on April 11. She died at age 85 on April 7. Her Narragansett name Sekatau means “Firefly Song of the Wind.”

She was a medicine woman and historian whose research was vital to the Tribe’s success in regaining federal recognition in 1983. 

She also labored hard to keep the Narragansett language alive and spread its use and the tribe’s history among generations of tribal members. Her son John Brown carries on her tradition.

Please click here for her obituary.
What’s missing from this list?
Give up?

Keep reading to find the answer....


No live blog tonight

Instead, enjoy some more tapas at midnight...

Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Antennae Galaxies in Collision 

Two galaxies are squaring off in Corvus and here are the latest pictures.

When two galaxies collide, the stars that compose them usually do not. That's because galaxies are mostly empty space and, however bright, stars only take up only a small amount of that space.

During the slow, hundred million year collision, one galaxy can still rip the other apart gravitationally, and dust and gas common to both galaxies does collide.

In this clash of the titans, dark dust pillars mark massive molecular clouds are being compressed during the galactic encounter, causing the rapid birth of millions of stars, some of which are gravitationally bound together in massive star clusters.

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