Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Short Takes: OMG, Charlestown unemployment hits a record at 19.1%

At 19.1%, it's worse than the state average 
By Will Collette


State reporting on municipal unemployment rates usually lags by several weeks behind that statewide numbers. When the state announced an official statewide count of 17.8%, I predicted Charlestown’s number would be close to that.

But I did not expect it to be 19.1%. I do expect that when the May numbers are released, they will be higher still, simply because that would track with the state and national trends.

The size of Charlestown's labor force shrunk, the number of people with jobs dropped and the number of unemployed almost tripled.

These numbers are the worst ever for Charlestown.

The Department of Labor and Training’s database goes back to 1990. Never has the unemployment rate been this high in Charlestown. The next highest number was 16.1% unemployment during January 2012 due to the Great Recession.

Plus, these numbers only reflect those workers who successfully signed on to get unemployment compensation insurance. It doesn’t include the many who have tried or are still waiting for a determination.

Whatever town budget we have after the votes are counted in the June 1 budget referendum - whether the CCA-proposed new budget or the 2018 budget - many of the budget assumptions about revenue and expenses no longer make sense.

Examples: Charlestown is not going to see the assumed amount of revenue from the beaches, now-cancelled major events at Ninigret Park or its share of the state restaurant and hotel tax.

There may be some offset due to reduced labor and overhead costs incurred by the town from what is sure to be very diminished summer activity, but I doubt it will be much given a lot of the costs are fixed. 

And how are all those unemployed Charlestown residents supposed to pay their taxes?

We probably won’t hire many or any summer temps. I sure hope we don't lay-off police officers or full-time town workers.

I’d really like to know what the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) that runs Charlestown have for a plan to deal with Charlestown’s unemployment crisis, aside from pre-paying bills or buying more open space. Maybe they'll give RHOTAP another try now that Deputy Dan Slattery has reinserted himself into CCA Party politics.

A factoid you probably don't want to hear

As of this writing, the US death toll from COVID-19 stands at 105,926. The entire population of South County, from Exeter to Block Island, Westerly to Narragansett is just over 103,000.

Rhode Island goes into Phase 2

Image
Governor Gina Raimondo is satisfied that Rhode Island is meeting the criteria she set out to allow more businesses to reopen, though under the strict rules of the “new normal.”

The daily death toll, hospitalizations, new cases and ICU use are all down enough to take the next step.

As she is quick to point out, we can see how well each step goes reflected in the pandemic statistics after two weeks.

In my own less frequent forays out to stores and markets, I’ve noticed people are doing their bit. I have not personally seen one person mask-less. Generally, I’ve seen excellent social distancing.

Despite efforts by idiot state Senator Elaine Morgan (R-Hopkinton), who represents the northern half of Charlestown, to try to agitate her far-right supporters to resist masks and social distancing, what I have seen is the opposite: people behaving like thoughtful good citizens.

AAA and Division of Motor Vehicles Business

If you need to renew your license, registration or conduct other routine DMV business and are a member of AAA, you’re in luck.

The AAA office in the Salt Pond shopping center in Narragansett re-opened for DMV business – by appointment only. 

Last October, I needed to renew my license. Because of the new RealID regulations, it was a nightmare that took more than two hours. Cathy’s license expired in April so we decided to take advantage of AAA’s re-opening to take care of that, even though the state had granted a 90-day grace period. 

We were met and processed outside the office and taken inside just a few minutes off our scheduled time to complete the process. 

It took about 15 minutes inside to complete the paperwork and photo taking for Cathy’s new RealID license. It was a big improvement over my pre-pandemic experience last October.

Stimulus money

2020 Irs Stimulus Debit CardWith no advance notice, IRS sent us our “Economic Impact Payment” in the form of a nondescript envelope from a “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

I almost threw it out since it looked like junk mail of the worst kind – an unsolicited credit card.

Apparently four million people also received the same mail and had the same reaction I did to the point where there have been a number of warning articles in the business media. CLICK HERE for one I found very helpful.

If you resist the temptation to throw out the envelope, you’ll find an inert debit card inside. You must call to activate it – a simple process – and then can use it like any other debit card.

If you tossed the envelope or lost the card, you can get in touch with EIPcard.com for more information about replacing it. Good luck with that.

The IRS offers these links for information and help, though my experience with them was disappointing: Economic Impact Payments: www.irs.gov/eipfaq Get My Payment tool: www.irs.gov/getmypaymentfaq .

Coronavirus testing

Though the URI drive-through testing site was moved to Central Falls, we now have two drive-through sites at CVS stores in South County

Locations:
  • CVS Pharmacy, 151 Franklin Street, Westerly, RI 02891
  • CVS Pharmacy, 1123 Boston Neck Road, Narragansett, RI 02882
At your appointment time, go to the pharmacy drive-thru window where you will be given a test kit and instructions to take the swab and stick way up your nose under the supervision of a CVS staff. Hand the test in when you’re done and you’ll get the results in three days or so.

They are NOT using the Abbott rapid-test kit being used elsewhere (including the White House). Those tests are coming under fire for way too many “false negatives” meaning the test can MISS the virus almost half the time. False positives have not been widely reported.

The next phase in the Dolt Rebellion

US anti-vaxxers aim to spread fear over future coronavirus vaccine ...
A significant segment of the right-wing revolt against public health measures to stem the pandemic are anti-vaxxers from the small, but organized movement opposing vaccination to prevent infectious diseases.

The one sure way to deal with COVID-19 as well as all other contagious diseases is to invent vaccines that give your body the antibodies to prevent the disease. If enough people get vaccinated, we see the “herd immunity” effect where disease spread stops because it runs out of people to infect.

This was how we eliminated smallpox and polio, and almost eliminated measles, mumps and rubella until the anti-vaxxers money-wrenched that.

Over a dozen vaccines for COVID-19 are in the works, many showing promise, so it’s possible we may have a vaccine or two to either provide complete protection or perhaps annual protection, similar to a flu shot.

Public health officials worry that not enough Americans will be willing to actually get vaccinated due to the general rise of anti-science as well as increase in anti-vaxxer sentiment.

A May 14-18 poll shows that only 49% of Americans plan to get vaccinated if and when a vaccine is developed. 31% are unsure and 20% won’t get vaccinated.

I just don’t understand anti-vaxxing – vaccines DO work and save countless lives. Personal freedom is irrelevant when it comes to public health and safety, which is why you don’t have the right to fire off an automatic rifle in a crowd of people. 

If you want to exercise your “freedom” to go unvaccinated, we should exercise our right to exclude you from human contact to prevent you from infecting others.

Human ingenuity at work

From France, the world’s center for fine dining, comes the ultimate solution to allow restaurants to reopen at or near full capacity.

Introducing dining à la dome where each patron has his or her own protective dome.


A man and a woman demonstrate dining under a Plex'Eat plastic shield Wednesday, May 27, at Paris restaurant H.A.N.D.
AP Photo/Thibault Camus
Chic and secure, the dome allows diners to see each other. I’m not sure about conversation since the dome does seem to resemble the classic “Cone of Silence” from the old series Get Smart.

Perfect for Rhode Island’s Phase 2 re-openings.

For outdoor dining, there’s the wonderful solution devised by a bar in Ocean City, Maryland where each diner has their own private table to ensure proper social distancing.

I did not make either of these two new approaches to dining.


The “social distancing tables” were designed by Revolution Event Design and Production, to give patrons a way to “drink safely” and stay “six feet apart” from other guests.
John Middlebrook via Storyful

Think about it

VIDEO: 100,000 is "close to zero," isn't it?

To watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hitGT3TkP9s&feature=emb_title

Save the Salt Marsh Pink

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Only two populations of salt-marsh pink are left in Rhode Island, and they are at risk from sea-level rise. (Hope Leeson/RINHS)
Only two populations of salt-marsh pink are left in
Rhode Island, and they are at risk from
sea-level rise. (Hope Leeson/RINHS)
David Gregg worries that not enough is being done to protect Rhode Island’s rare plants.

“There are a lot of plant species that we’re monitoring out of existence,” said Gregg, the executive director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey

“We check them every year, and there are often fewer of them each year. The best-case scenario is that they stay the same, but many populations are getting smaller and smaller.”

He believes that conservationists must be bolder during the climate crisis if native wild plants are going to survive in the coming decades. 

Rather than simply monitoring the status of rare plants in Rhode Island, he is advocating for the use of more active strategies to boost plant populations.

“There’s been a big debate among biologists about how active we should be in trying to save rare species,” Gregg said. 

“Are we going to end up gardening nature? Aren’t we bound to make faulty decisions? If we get involved in active management of rare species, aren’t we doomed to screw it up?”

With little left to lose in some cases, the Natural History Survey has chosen to partner with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Native Plant Trust — formerly the New England Wild Flower Society — on an effort to propagate select species of rare plants and transplant them into the wild to augment existing wild populations and establish new populations.


VIDEO: Space station flies over Charlestown again tonight

International Space Station to make four minute pass over Charlestown at 9:04 PM 
By Will Collette
Astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station. Shows the
Earth at the top and a gorgeous view of the Milky Way

As it often does, the ISS will make a pass over Charlestown for the second night in a row.

The National Weather Service forecast is for clear and cool weather for the overflight starting at 9:04 PM.

If you use binoculars, you may be able to make out the SpaceX craft attached to the station. They docked at 10:16 AM this morning.

The National Weather Service says our mostly sunny, smoggy  day will transition into a mostly night.

The ISS will appear in the north-northwest at 9:04 PM sharp at an angle of 29 degrees over the horizon.

It will travel across the sky up to a high of 42 degrees elevation, about half up the sky. Then it will cruise along for four minutes heading toward the east southeast where it will seem to vanish at about 10 degrees above the horizon.

The Space Station, like all other visible man-made satellites, is only visible when reflected sunlight hits it just the right way.

Trump cheats New England on food aid

Trump’s food aid program gives little to the northeast, where coronavirus hit hardest
By Isaac Arnsdorf for ProPublica


Image may contain: 1 person, hat and closeupDonald Trump’s signature food aid program is sending less relief to New York and New England than other parts of the country, even though the Northeast has the most coronavirus cases. Some states — Maine and Alaska at least — have been left out completely so far.

The regional imbalances are an unintended side effect of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s strategy in hiring private contractors to distribute food, the agency said. It is now looking for ways to reach areas that were passed over.

“USDA is evaluating how we might expand access to the program in areas that are underserved,” the agency said in a statement.

Out of $1.2 billion in the program’s first round, just $46 million is going to the Northeast. The region, which encompasses New York and New England, has the most coronavirus cases but received the least money of any region except the Mountain Plains, which has almost half as many people.

By contrast, the Southwest (including Texas) is getting more than five times as much money even though it has only about 50% more people and a quarter as many coronavirus cases.

Put another way, the Northeast has 10% of the country’s population and 33% of COVID-19 cases but is receiving only 4% of food relief dollars, according to ProPublica’s analysis of data from the USDA, the Census Bureau and Johns Hopkins University.


Saturday, May 30, 2020

If we had acted quicker, we could have prevented thousands of COVID-19 deaths

Fast-acting countries cut their coronavirus death rates while US delays cost thousands of lives
Joshua Aizenman, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences 


New research hints at why Germany’s death toll from COVID-19
was relatively low while Italy’s and America’s spiked.
 Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images
If cities across the U.S. had moved just one week faster to shut down restaurants and businesses and order residents to stay home, they could have avoided over 35,000 coronavirus deaths by early May, new research suggests

If they had moved two weeks earlier, more than 50,000 people who died from the pandemic might still be alive.

Those U.S. estimates, from a modeling study released May 20 by researchers at Columbia University, came to similar conclusions that I and my colleagues from the University of Southern California found in assessing policies and death rates around the globe in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our latest research looked at 60 countries worldwide over the first 100 days of the pandemic and found several recurring themes.

Overall, countries that acted quickly and implemented stringent measures that kept most residents at home as the pandemic started to spread were able to reduce their daily COVID-19 death rate faster than countries with looser restrictions. 

Countries that had aggressive policy interventions in place before their first coronavirus death, such as Denmark and South Korea, tended to have fewer deaths.

We also found that countries with large vulnerable populations benefited more from fast, strict policy implementation than others. 

For example:
  • Countries with older populations that quickly implemented stringent measures saw their death rates fall about 9% after two weeks, compared to death rates falling 3.5% in the youngest countries with similar rules.
  • Similarly, countries in cooler climates, which offer more ideal circumstances for the virus to spread, benefited more from stringent measures than warmer countries near the equator.
  • Countries with greater population density, more personal freedom and large numbers of residents working in jobs that leave them vulnerable to exposure also benefited more from quick action, but the difference wasn’t as stark as for those with older populations.
In general, countries with stricter rules saw their death numbers peak after about 40 days, compared to 50 days for countries that also acted quickly but had looser restrictions.


The debate over "taking a knee"

By Andy MarlettePensacola News Journal

Simple chart on COVID-19 risk

Image

Tiny beach birds making a comeback

By GRACE KELLY/ecoRI News staff

Rhode Island had 80 breeding pairs of the endangered bird last year. (Maureen Durkin/USFWS)
Last year Rhode Island had 80 breeding pairs of the piping plover,
an endangered beach bird. (Maureen Durkin/USFWS photos)
If you’re lucky, you will see them.

Piping plovers are little birds with rapid-fire motions that skitter across sand and pebbles to get back to their nests. 

They’re also endangered, with development, predators, and human activity threatening their nesting grounds and breeding efforts.

But, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the piping plover population on the East Coast is slowly making a comeback. 

The number of piping plover breeding pairs has increased from 1,879 in 2018 to 2,008 pairs as of last summer, a record high.

Also, as of last year, Rhode Island had 80 breeding pairs of the endangered bird, with 1.2 chicks fledged per pair. Connecticut had 57 breeding pairs, and Massachusetts 743, bringing the total amount of breeding pairs in New England to 980.

As humans have continued to flock to beaches — at least prior to the coronavirus pandemic — bringing with them dogs and food that attracts scavengers such as gulls and racoons, and with an increase in intense storms and relentless coastal development, the piping plover population had been in steady decline along the East Coast. 

In 1986, when the diminutive bird was listed under the Endangered Species Act, there were only 790 breeding pairs along the entire coast.


International Space Station flies over Charlestown tonite at 9:52

ISS will make 3-minute long journey across C-Town sky tonight at 9:52 PM
By Will Collette

CRS-20 - Final Dragon 1 arrives at the ISS - NASASpaceFlight.com

The National Weather Service forecast calls for mostly clear skies so chances are good for a viewing of the International Space Station as it flies over Charlestown tonight. Lately, we've gotten several 6-minute overflights, but in mostly cloudy skies. With mostly clear skies, the 3 minute viewing window should be enough.

Added bonus: Space X is scheduled to launch two American astronauts from Cape Canveral at 3:22 PM. Depending on timing, who knows? You may get lucky and be able to see them maneuver to close in on the ISS (you'll need binoculars or a telescope). 

NASA says the Space X craft is due to dock with the ISS at 10:20 AM Sunday. The docking process is an elaborate space ballet so again, who knows if it might be visible from Charlestown.

There are several ways to watch this Space X mission live: NASA is live-streaming the event on YouTube and on its website for desktop viewing. SpaceX will also be live-streaming the event on its YouTube channel.

Space X or not, the space station will appear as if out of no where at 9:52 PM sharp in the northwest at 34 degrees over the horizon.


What Parents Should Know

How do we keep kids safe as babysitters, day cares and camps reopen?
By Marshall Allen, Megan Rose and Caroline Chen for ProPublica


Reopening states after the COVID-19 lockdown raises unnerving questions for working parents who depend on some form of child care, from nannies to day camp.
Summer Camp 2020 | Wildlands Conservancy

Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader?

The short answer is that there are no easy answers. Every family’s budget and needs and risk tolerance are going to be different. ProPublica scoured the latest research and talked to seven infectious disease and public health experts to help think through the issues facing parents.

We were surprised to find the experts were reassuring. In fact, with the proper precautions and monitoring in place, most of them thought parents could safely rely on caregivers, day care centers and perhaps even counselors at sleep-away camp.

There’s also a hopeful nugget of information out of New Jersey. We called the state’s Department of Health to see if COVID-19 had been spreading within the child care centers that had opened April 1 to serve children of essential workers. There have been no reports of outbreaks of two or more cases, an official said.


Friday, May 29, 2020

Governor says not all essential workers are equal

Essential workers deserve hazard pay, so where are we with that?
By Steve Ahlquist in UpRiseRI

Essential vs non-essential – Workers WorldOn May 20, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, in answer to a question from reporter Bill Bartholomew, said that hazard pay for essential, frontline workers “is not something I’m considering.”

Instead, she is counting on the federal government and Rhode Island’s federal delegation to deliver some form of hazard pay in the next round of stimulus.

“I have been assured, as recently as [Tuesday] that in the next round of Federal stimulus that sort of hazard pay is very much on the table,” said Raimondo, adding the she would support such funding.

But then Governor Raimondo went on to separate frontline essential workers into two groups – healthcare workers, who are more deserving of hazard pay, and customer facing workers such as store clerks, janitors, delivery workers and more, who are not as deserving.

“I think it’s a bigger issue for healthcare workers. It’s a much bigger issue,” said Raimondo. “I’m open to [hazard pay], if the Federal government provides the finances. I am more focused on those sorts of bonuses for those people who are in the health care industry, who are daily in close contact with people who are sick.”


VIDEO: Mr. Baby Trump


 To watch this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj5HNzbJymI

Some helpful guidance from the Trump Administration

Pic of the Moment

A $300 charitable tax deduction, explained

Charitable giving is now partially deductible again
Benjamin A. Priday, Texas A&M University

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, including nonprofits. With millions of jobs lost, long lines are forming outside food pantries. Demands for a wide array of services charities provide are rising fast at a time when many Americans feel unable to give away as much money as they used to.


You may have missed it, but Congress tried to solve this problem.

In March, lawmakers approved a new tax break designed to encourage more charitable giving. The measure, tucked into the US$2 trillion economic relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will let some Americans deduct up to $300 in charitable donations from their taxable income, when they file their 2020 tax returns in 2021.

This small tax break apparently applies only in 2020 although that could change should any of the several related measures now pending become law. The IRS hasn’t yet made clear whether couples filing jointly who don’t itemize may deduct a total of $600.

Currently only Americans who itemize deductions on their federal tax returns get a tax benefit from donating to charity. Less than 15% of people filing returns itemize and the majority of them are well-off. But more than half of Americans donate money each year, and most of them get no tax benefit from it.

Like most economists who study philanthropy and taxes, I support letting more people take advantage of a charitable deduction. However, I believe it’s unlikely that this $300 deduction will do much to boost donations to nonprofits.

Only people who don’t itemize can use this charitable deduction, and only money given to tax-exempt nonprofits counts toward the $300 limit. Donated stock, furniture, clothes and canned goods don’t. Neither does giving to donor-advised funds or foundations.


Use by when?

New study highlights the importance of reducing global food waste due to date labeling
SAMANTHA WATTERS

Definition of "Sell By Date"? Food Expiration, Shelf Life Use By DatesMinimizing food waste is top of mind right now during the COVID-19 global pandemic, with the public concerned about the potential ramifications for our food supply chain. 

But even before COVID-19, given concerns about a rapidly growing population and hunger around the world, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) issued a global call for zero tolerance on food waste. 

However, the lack of regulation, standardization, and general understanding of date labeling on food products (such as “best by” and “use by” dates) leads to billions of dollars per year in food waste in the United States alone. 

Many people don’t realize that date labels on food products (with the exception of infant formula) are entirely at the manufacturer’s discretion and are not supported by robust scientific evidence. 


Unemployment benefits for hundreds of Rhode Islanders still frozen

ACLU sues over frozen unemployment insurance payments
By  UpriseRI 

Scattered Canary” Named In Unemployment Fraud Scheme – Frank on FraudACLU of Rhode Island cooperating attorneys Ellen Saideman and Lynette Labinger filed a class-action lawsuit on May 27 challenging the state Department of Labor and Training’s (DLT) actions in summarily freezing weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments to hundreds of Rhode Islanders without any notice or explanation.

The suit was filed three weeks after reports first emerged of the DLT freezing the payments of thousands of Rhode Island workers who had lost their employment. 

The lawsuit argues that the failure of the DLT to provide UI benefit recipients any notice whatsoever that their payments were being suspended violated their constitutional right to due process. 

While it appears that DLT has recently restored most of those suspended benefits, that is not true for the lead plaintiff Steven Hanson.

Hanson is a self-employed real estate appraiser with serious medical conditions, whose treating physician advised him to stop working two months ago because of the dangers posed by COVID-19 were he to be exposed to the virus. 

Hanson applied for unemployment, and received his first payment in April, but has not received one since. Seeking an explanation, he called DLT numerous times – and once waited about four hours on hold – without ever connecting to someone. To this day, he has not received any notice or explanation for the cessation of his benefit payments.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Deputy Dan Slattery returns to do a drive-by on the Charlestown budget

Former CCA leader decides to try to sway Charlestown voters
By Will Collette

Progressive Charlestown: Did Dan Slattery keep his 2010 campaign ...Before getting into the surprise Letter to the Editor by former town councilor and Charlestown Citizens Alliance leader Dan Slattery, I urge you: VOTE!

You have until the close of the polls on Monday, June 1 to vote on Charlestown’s proposed $16+ million town budget. I hope most of you have put your ballot in the mail so it arrives in Monday's mail at Town Hall. 

If you still have your ballot, you have two added ways to make it count. First, drop it off at the white drop-box outside and next to the main entrance to Town Hall. Second, you can go in person to the one open polling place – Charlestown Elementary School, 8 AM to 8 PM. Be sure to wear your mask.

And, I hope, you will vote NO to a very bad budget (CLICK HERE for my reasons for calling it that).

Now, let’s talk about Deputy Dan’s re-appearance in Charlestown politics.

Deputy Dan used to be a Charlestown Town Council member under the CCA Party’s banner. He served as vice-chair under Tom Gentz and did not run for re-election in 2014. He later moved out of Charlestown and he writes his May 27 Letter to the Westerly Sun Editor from North Kingstown.

Slattery mainly sticks to CCA Party boilerplate arguments for the proposed budget except for his opening paragraph where he asserts:
“As a former Charlestown Town Councilor and eight-year member of the town’s Budget Commission, I always made decisions and voted based on the facts. I believe any vote on financial matters or public policy should reflect what is best for the entire town and not special-interest groups. Don’t be misled by misinformation campaigns that paint this as a bad budget and offer alternatives that would adversely affect the town’s quality of life, such as a 15,000-seat concert venue in Ninigret Park.”
Wow. There’s a lot to unpack in this one paragraph. I think three Slattery claims deserve priority treatment: 

(1) how Slattery's actions were always acted based on the facts; 
(2) how budget decisions should be made without regard for special interest groups and 
(3) his amazing claim that somebody wants to use the budget surplus to build a 15,000 seat concert venue in Ninigret Park - where he got that, I don't know.

In his time in Charlestown, Deputy Dan was a non-stop fountain of Grade A horseshit, coming up with one whopper after another. He ALWAYS could be counted on to back special interest (i.e. CCA) schemes, many of them described in THIS article.

Finally, I think Deputy Dan’s fantastic notion about the 15,000 seat concert venue may be the way he remembers the Battle for Ninigret Park. That brutal and bloody battle started when Slattery confabulated a draft proposal by then Parks & Recreation Director Jay Primiano to get DEM recreation money for lights to allow kids to have a few extra hours of football practice time during the fall.

That idea never came to be but, in Slattery’s mind and by the power of mass hallucination in the minds of CCA followers this proposal somehow became a “football stadium” with tiers of bleachers and who knows what else. (That imaginary stadium may have morphed into Dan's imaginary concert venue.)

But wait, there’s MORE! 

According to Dan, the idea of this imaginary stadium was so abhorrent to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, custodians of the National Wildlife Refuge adjacent to Ninigret Park, that the Interior Department was on the verge of exercising its “right” to take Ninigret Park back from the town. This, because Deputy Dan had DOCUMENTS showing that Charlestown didn’t actually own Ninigret Park. (He was wrong - CLICK HERE.)

We actually had to bring in Elyse LaForest, regional head of the National Parks Service’s Federal Lands to Parks Program to calm people down and assure them that Charlestown DOES own Ninigret Park and the Interior Department had no intention of taking the Park back. And as the time to put up or shut came, Deputy Dan really didn’t have the documents he said he had.

That may have been the worst of Deputy Dan’s wild excursions with the truth, but there are others that are noteworthy.

Slattery, Charlestown’s Top Cop

Slattery frequently touted his federal law enforcement
credentials.
For example, there was the time he accused Frank Glista of dishonesty when Frank built a donation box that was set out at Ninigret Park events by Friends of Ninigret Park to raise small amounts for the benefit of the Park. 

At a town council meeting, Slattery waved a folder that supposedly held evidence to back up his claim of Frank's malfeasance.

So I filed an open records law request to SEE those documents. After a lengthy give-and-take with the Attorney General’s Office, Slattery admitted he was running a personal investigation without town authority

He never disclosed what was in that folder claiming it was his private property. I declined to appeal, even though the AG's office encouraged me to do so because at this point, Slattery's half-baked, unauthorized witch hunt had been exposed.

Slattery versus Alien Invaders

Slattery set off another wild goose chase because he had heard people were somehow encroaching on town properties. Allegedly, some gardeners had plots that spilled over into town-owned space. 

So Slattery got the Council to commission a broad search and inventory of all town properties – including some tiny parcels such as the spots along the road where we have storm water cisterns.

These were dubbed Charlestown’s Phantom Properties.

No evidence was found of Deputy Dan’s alleged encroachment. 

Nonetheless, Slattery wanted to fence or rope off these newly unveiled phantom properties and have them signposted against alien incursions. 

That idea died when other Council members did a little arithmetic and realized this would cost many thousands of dollars to deal with a largely imaginary problem.

Slattery versus the Water Board

Slattery launched another one of his crusades when he found out that his perennial enemy Frank Glista was negotiating with the Rhode Island Water Resources Board to sell undeveloped property he owned to be set aside by the Water Board to meet future water needs.

Slattery again confabulated the facts to claim this was a scheme to pump out Charlestown’s water and send it elsewhere. Plus, he claimed, the state Water Resources Board had no right to conduct any business in Charlestown without the Town’s expressed approval. This new "Slattery Doctrine" was supposed to apply to ALL state and federal agencies whose "agents" set foot in Charlestown.

He gave the state Water Resource Board director a 2-hour grilling, accusing him of every short of kidnapping the Lindbergh baby. His behavior was so awful that even Tom Gentz was moved to publicly apologize.

In fact, Frank Glista had every right as a private land owner to sell his land to whomever he wished. The state Water Board, as well as dozens of other state and federal agencies can and do conduct activities consistent with their mission within Charlestown’s boarders without the Council’s permission. 

And finally, if anyone but Frank Glista had decided to convert a nice big parcel of land into open space to protect water resources, the CCA Party would be jumping for joy.

RHOTAP

Truth be told, I miss Deputy Dan
I could go on with lots more Deputy Dan stories – we wrote 401 articles referencing Slattery. The earlier ones go into lots of juicy detail. But I will stop with one of my favorite Deputy Dan schemes. 

Dishonorable mention goes to Deputy Dan's "Australian Ballot" scheme - read about it HERE.

In 2012, when many families were still hurting from the Great Recession, Charlestown Democrats proposed a Homestead Tax Credit to give tax relief to full-time residents. 

The CCA Party stomped the idea to death because this would have caused modest tax hikes for rich absentee land owners who provide most of the CCA Party’s campaign revenue.

But the CCA Party knew it needed to do something to show it cared for cash-strapped Charlestown families, so they gave the job to Deputy Dan, their go-to guy.

He came up with the “Resident Home Owner Tax Assistance Program,” RHOTAP for short.

Under Slattery’s RHOTAP, a "truly needy" resident could petition a new 5-member citizen tribunal for tax relief by writing an essay about why you were truly needy, not at fault for your reduced circumstances and how tax relief would allow you to keep your home. 

If you oversold your need, leading the tribunal to believe you were too far in debt to be saved, you were S.O.L.

You had to give the tribunal all your financial records AND a signed authorization permitting the tribunal to rummage around in any records they wanted to examine.

Finally, you could be required to come before the tribunal to tell your story in person – presumably in public, given the state Open Meetings Law. I guess the model Slattery used was the old quiz show “Queen for a Day.”

This insane idea was referred to Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero for "review" and was never heard from again. Until now.

Bleach CAN bring down the number of coronavirus deaths

An up date from the RI Community Food Bank





COVID-19 Update

Reminder: Join Us for a Zoom Update Tomorrow 

This Friday at noon, join us for a Virtual Zoom Update where you can learn more about the work of the Food Bank during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

CEO Andrew Schiff will be joined by Rilwan Feyisitan, Executive Director of Community Action Partnership of Providence (CAPP), to talk about the ways we’re responding to the increased demand for food. Advanced registration is required. Click here to sign up.

Providence Business News: Starving for Help 

"It’s really affecting … many people who never imagined that they would be in this position.” Heather Hole Strout, Executive Director, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center
 
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the demand for food assistance has increased dramatically.

Read how the Rhode Island Community Food Bank and its member agencies are responding during this crisis in the latest Providence Business News.

Support Local Food Trucks

Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Food Bank's annual Truck Stop fundraiser - scheduled for Friday, May 29 - has been cancelled for this year. But we hope you'll still support the food trucks that were committed to this event.

Visit our website for truck information so you can find their locations and enjoy some delicious food while helping these great local businesses.

A special thanks to our Truck Stop sponsors, including Street Eats Festival Sponsor Stop & Shop, for honoring their commitment to support the Food Bank. 

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