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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Meal With A History

By Marylou Butler.  
Republished with permission from South Kingston Patch

Credit: Marylou Butler
Tucked into Usquepaugh village is the oldest continuous manufacturing business in all of Rhode Island. Kenyon's Grist Mill, 21 Glen Rock Rd., has been in operation since 1696. The only business that has them beat is the White Horse Tavern in Newport.

Originally, local farmers would bring their corn to be ground on the huge granite stones from a quarry in Westerly, and the miller would usually receive part of the cornmeal as payment for his services. When C.D. Kenyon purchased the mill in 1909, he realized that there was potential to sell the cornmeal branded with the Kenyon name. Product was transported by horse and buggy and delivered throughout the state. By 1916, the purchase of a Model T Truck helped expand their territory to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Welcome, Summer Visitors! Now get out!

This is NOT the Welcome Wagon
Charlestown has a love-hate relationship with its thousands of summer visitors. We sure do love your money, but, as a general rule, we can’t stand you. If we could do it, we’d set up collection points on the routes into town, take your money and send you on your way to Westerly, South Kingstown or anywhere but here. And you can’t use our restrooms, either.

In a week – on June 6 – Charlestown voters will decide whether to provide our two town beaches with basic sanitation. Now, in most towns, this would not be an issue because in a civilized society, adequate toilet facilities are not just a matter of decency, but of public health. 

But in Charlestown, there is a vocal though anonymous faction who say that if you don’t live within walking distance, you don’t belong at our beaches. Or you should just hold it until you drive home. Or you should pack it and take it out with you. And if we provide better beach facilities, that will only encourage more of you to come. I’m not joking.

What I Love about Charlestown

Guest post by Linda Felaco

I grew up here in RI, and at no point during the 23 years that I lived out of state did I ever consider myself to be anything other than a Rhode Islander.

A couple of years ago, having tired of the city, my husband and I decided to return to RI. At first we were looking mainly for acreage so our dogs would have more room to roam free than the postage stamp yard we had in the Maryland suburbs of Washington , D.C.

Initially, most of the properties that met our criteria were in the Foster-Glocester area. But the more we looked around, the more I kept hearing the echo of the wintertime refrain, “No school Fawsta Glawsta” and remembering how the entire area is buried under 10 feet of snow for 10 months out of the year. OK I’m exaggerating—a little. I told my husband, a fellow beach lover, “If we don’t buy somewhere where we reach the beach at a moment’s notice anytime the sun is out, we will always regret it.”

So we focused our search in South County , only to have one property after another turn out to be a complete disappointment. Then a property here in Charlestown came on the market, and here we are.

Living here has exceeded our expectations. I remember posting on my Facebook page about our first trip to town hall to get a copy of the deed on our property. After years of city life and dealing with faceless bureaucrats, it was a revelation to be able to walk into town hall, walk up to a counter (without even waiting in line!), and be pleasantly greeted by a live human being who actually answered questions ungrudgingly. If anyone who works in town hall reads this blog, I’m happy to pay your salary. Really. You folks are worth it.

Earth Care Farm is way cool. I live nearby and I took a walk down there with one of my dogs one day last fall and they gave me some bread to feed to the goats on my way out. My dog loved it; she has a thing for farm animals. I think if my dogs could talk, they’d say, “Thank you for bringing us here to Charlestown .”

Oh, and did I mention the beaches? Forty-five bucks to be able to spend all day every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day at a beautiful, unspoiled beach (two, even!) is a bargain beyond belief. My only gripe is that if nature calls … I’ve seen better gas station bathrooms. I’m just hoping everyone will vote to approve the proposed new beach facilities. On June 6!

Monday, May 30, 2011

DiBello threatens court action against the town

Town Council member Lisa DiBello

Today’s Westerly Sun carried a page one scoop by Chris Keegan with major developments in Council member Lisa DiBello’s case against Charlestown and numerous past and present town officials. 

DiBello’s attorney Robert Savage told Keegan he plans to ask the RI Human Rights Commission to allow DiBello to skip the administrative complaint process and take her case directly to RI Superior Court. Savage says he will ask for a jury trial if permission is granted. He also told Keegan he chose this approach to speed up the process. Plus, the state courts are more favorable to plaintiffs than the federal system. DiBello also filed a complaint with the federal EEOC and could have sought to move the case to federal District Court.

NOTE: there’s a big difference between DiBello’s lawyer telling a Sun reporter he “plans” to ask permission to take the case to state court and actually filing the suit in state court. In cases like this, each side jockeys for leverage to improve its bargaining position for a settlement.

Note also that filing a charge is not the same as proving a charge, contrary to a flurry of anonymous comments posted on the Providence Craigslist in March and April.

Get some BBQ in Shannock!

After cleaning up some family graves this morning we were taking the scenic route back through Shannock Village while musing about what to do about lunch. Then, just east of the post office, we saw a sign at the edge of the road announcing Kit Kat's Smoked BBQ.

We love Bar-B-Q (aka Barbeque or BBQ) but my first thought is that it's a leap of faith to start a BBQ business in South County. But the great taste of our lunch there is lingering with me as I write this and I plan to return. I hope you give it a try too.

Tracie and Hilbert Gibbs are a charming couple working hard to make a success of their catering business. They have six years of experience doing this but they're just bringing it to Southern RI. When they're not off catering they'll be serving Thursday through Sunday, 11 am until 8 pm, from the side of the street by their house at 200 Shannock Village Road.

This is your typical roadside BBQ operation so don't expect candles and cloth tablecloths. BBQ is meant to be eaten in a rustic environment. It's exceptional that they have a canopy over the picnic table. Many people will get their BBQ as takeout. They have special prices on takeout packs of meat, sides and 4 drinks.

We both had the pulled pork sandwiches (with 2 sides, cornbread and a soft drink for only 7 bucks each). They were really, really great. They also have ribs, chicken and beef brisket.

They make the type of BBQ that is slow-cooked and stresses the smoking and they top it off with a choice of two secret sauces that are both wonderful. The side dishes were just what you would expect with BBQ - between us we had potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. The corn bread was unique and very tasty, almost like a dessert bread.

While we were there they were getting a steady stream of traffic. We saw Amy Weinreich and her husband. Perhaps they will add their impressions in a comment.

Now people living south of Route 1 don't have to pack a lunch when they make the long trip up to visit Horseshoe Falls! Give it a try; I think you'll agree that it's a good choice. Their website is here. Think of them if you have an event needing catering.

Author: Tom Ferrio

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Letters wanted on tax plan

Rep. Helio Melo needs to hear from you
 Rep. Larry Valencia’s (Charlestown's junior state representative) communications director Robert Malin says the Chamber of Commerce is recruiting small businesses to write opposition letters to Larry’s proposed legislation to raise state income taxes on the top tax bracket.

I recently wrote in detail about Larry’s bill, the “95/5 Civic Responsibility Plan” (2011-H 6095). .

The RI Chamber’s position on this and all other tax increase proposals has been consistently “don’t do it.” Cut spending. Screw the poor. Take away public workers’ pensions. But don’t raise taxes on anybody for anything.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lest we forget

John F. Kennedy, our 35th president, was born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Charlestown Dems Tag Sale a Hit!

Thank you to everyone who came out in the fog, and later under cloudy skies, to the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee tag sale today. Lots of Progressive Charlestown readers were there. Rep. Donna Walsh was there for about half the day, spending most of her time talking to constituents. Later in the day, our friend Rep. Larry Valencia stopped by and dropped some money (thanks, Larry). His district covers the northern end of Charlestown while Donna represents the southern half.

I don't have the official numbers yet, but it looks like the final tally may end up doubling last year's take. And we were happy with last year's take.

Boosting sales this year was an entire table just for good quality jewelry.

Henry Walsh's famous duck plucker
But the highlight of the day was Henry Walsh's duck plucker. Henry has donated the duck plucker for each year's CDTC tag sale since 1956. But until today, no one was either worthy, or savvy enough to appreciate its potential.

But later in the day, I was at the table when a gentleman took one look at it and said, "ah, that's a duck plucker - I've got buddies in New Hampshire who've been looking for one for years."

 Now, I don't know if he's going to use it himself, or give it to his New Hampshire buddies, or use it for enhanced interrogation, but I'm glad to see the duck plucker go to someone who appreciates it. And the Henry Walsh Duck Plucker has made its last appearance at the annual Charlestown Dems sale.

Wonder how Henry is going to top that.

Author: Will Collette

Tribute: Gil Scott-Heron

Coming of age in the Sixties brought me to choose a lifetime's work as a social activist. Part of the rites of passage for my generation included not just an exploration of ideas and beliefs, but the cultural changes in music and the arts that moved in tandem with the upheavals in society.

Music meant a lot to us, especially when it spoke to the issues we felt were important.

I read tonight that one of the great musicians of that period, Gil-Scott Heron, died at age 62. Though Heron made great music throughout his life, and was hailed by some as the Godfather of Rap, he was so much more than that to me and many others.

As a black muscian, he was one of the first "cross-over" artists whose message was explicitly political. As much as I loved Sam and Dave, Otis Redding, Aretha, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, Martha and the Vandellas and so many of the great Motown and Atlantic Records artists who capitvated us white kids, Gil-Scott Heron's voice was the music of liberation.

I could go on about Heron, but instead, listen to him for yourself.

Author: Will Collette

Friday, May 27, 2011

Antics of CRABS

Before I start this article please look at our list of other Recent Articles on the right. We fear that we have so much information to publish for you that many people are missing important stuff. Be sure to see our article suggesting things to do in Charlestown this weekend. Please add comments for the ones I've missed.

Ok, now that you've done that I hope you find this article interesting ... and potentially alarming.

Good investigative reporters often get their stories through the nurturing of inside sources of information. I've been working hard to develop a source within the mysterious organization called CRABS; Charlestown Residents Against Beach Sanitation.

This evil group is trying to deceive the residents of Charlestown, against all common sense, to get the new beach facilities rejected at the polls on June 6.

You may have seen my articles describing my discovery of planning documents from CRABS (here and here). I hope you agree with me that it's despicable how they try to portray anyone who lives too far from the beach to walk as some terrible "other" to be excluded at all cost. Now I have more shocking facts to share with you, my loyal readers.

Beach toilet solution: Just in the nick of time

As our summer visitors arrive and just a week and a half away from Charlestown's June 6 vote on the proposed beach facilities warrant item, here is technology to the rescue.

From the innovators in Japan comes this new product that offers an incredibly inexpensive alternative to the proposed $1.2 million beach sanitation facilities. This information comes from the on-line Japanese magazine Japan Probe and, I swear, I did not make ANY of this up.

This product is right in line with the "bag it and pack it" alternative proposed by several anonymous CCA e-mailers. We're awaiting word from the Charlestown Citizens Alliance to hear whether they are endorsing this product as an alternative to the beach facilities proposal that will be on the June 6th ballot.

This innovative product is an Emergency Disposal toilet consisting of a bag, a cardboard stand, some special absorbent tablets and a trash-bag like poncho for privacy.

The instructions:
It is very easy to use this toilet.
  1. Put the colored bag over the cardboard stand.
  2. Place chemical pellets into the bag. They will solidify any liquids and absorb odor.
  3. Place the black poncho over yourself for privacy.
  4. Poop or pee in the bag.
  5. Tie the bag up. It is now ready for disposal.
Watch this informative video demonstration (in Japanese, not sub-titled):

Six Things To Do in Charlestown This Weekend

The big Memorial Day weekend is upon us and we have lots of reasons to get out and about. And you don’t even have to “go north of the Tower.”
  • Check out the tag sale on Saturday starting at 8 am Saturday on Old Post Road between Ocean Aire Motel and Genwood Drive.
  • Take a break from browsing the piles of treasure at the tag sale to visit the official opening of the new Charlestown Wine and Spirits (widely known as the Charlestown Package Store) a short drive west at 4625 Old Post Road. The Grand Opening is at 9 am Saturday.
  • The new Cross Mills Farmers Market starts this Saturday at 10 am. It’s across from the new fire station on Old Post Road and it will just be short walk back to the tag sale for more valuable bargains. This is not to be confused with the Charlestown Farmers Market run by the Charlestown Land Trust which has a Friday morning market at the Cross Mills Public Library (starting June 17). The Cross Mills Farmers Market is run by Katherine Tylawski and her initial list of vendors is Schartner Farms, Healey Farms, Stoney Hill Cattle Farm, South County Flowers, Dave's Coffee, Narrow Lane Orchards, Moonstone Gardens, Watch Hill Farms and Burnside Acres.
  • After all that shopping take a break at one of our great restaurants “downtown”. The weather should be nice so you may be able to sit outdoors at The Cove, The Breachway Grill, Johnny Angels, or The Bakery. Don’t forget the Hungry Haven; it’s north of Route 1 but just barely, in the Simple Pleasures complex. The Breachway Grill is now serving beer and wine.
  • Of course Sunday we have Charlestown’s great Memorial Parade. You’ve seen the signs around town so find a spot along the route before 1 pm and plan to go to Ninigret Park for ceremonies, food and drink after. The volunteer parade committee has created an event bigger than ever this year.
  • On Monday you can see the Memorial Day Parade held in the beautiful village of Carolina, north on Route 112, starting at 9 am. I've had the opportunity to march in this parade a couple times and it's wonderful seeing this historic village outside of a car.

 Author: Tom Ferrio

CCA’s Voices of Greed: turning derelict sprawl into a conservation development? Nope.

This second collection of anonymous messages packaged and forwarded by the Charlestown Citizens Alliance to its e-mail list is one of the worst hatchet jobs I’ve seen in a while. The target was a proposal to replace the derelict YMCA camp on Watchaug Pond with a beautifully designed group of ten mid-range homes. Most of the 27.5 acres, now covered with 15 decaying buildings (with old cesspools) and playing fields, would be set aside as conservation space.

This is the most recent design proposal for the moribund project

Most of the writers sound like members of the Sonquipaug Association, a group of mostly out-of-state cottage owners whose one-tenth acre plots lie just south of the Y camp. Some of them used the Y camp as an extension of their cramped back yards, even though it is fenced off private property. One mother described the joy her very young daughter took in frolicking among the debris and derelict buildings, drawing some aghast looks from Council members DiBello and Avedisian.

Progressive Charlestown has covered this issue extensively about this conservation development – before it was voted down by the Town Council on May 9th.

Another “victory” for CCA and its nameless voices of greed over an environmentally sensible propose. NOTE: most of the comments contain untrue or distorted information. CCA takes no responsibility for the irresponsible remarks of its supporters. Here are those voices:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Beach Facilities Information Session Today

Please consider attending the information session about the proposed new beach facilities at 1 pm today (Thursday, May 26) in the Charlestown Senior/Community Center in Ninigret Park.

The turn-out at the first session wasn't too good, about 10 people. We would like to see more people there today to show that people will vote with knowledge.

Of course, we can hope that you have learned enough here, in our articles, that you are already convinced to vote for the modest proposal and against the evil CRABS.

We heard that at least one person was looking for CRABS flyers, and CRABS supporters, at the first session on Tuesday. I guess we will have to increase our sarcasm some to make the fiction clear. Will and I did discuss showing up in crab suits of some sort to pass out CRABS-sponsored baggies for people to use when they visit the beach. We were debating between quart size and gallon size, definitely not the snack size. Alas, there wasn't enough time to prepare.

Author: Tom Ferrio

Energy – not free, not cheap and not without risk

Often missing from the debate over energy alternatives is honest talk about the real costs and risks associated with any energy source. It has certainly been absent in Charlestown’s distorted debate over wind energy, a debate that was IMO hijacked by anti-environmental NIMBYs spouting industry-funded propaganda.

And I must admit that my side in the debate – the side supporting renewable green energy – has been less than forthcoming in detailing the costs and risks connected to our proposals.

During the almost 20 years I worked as an organizer in the environmental movement, I heard the term “risk-benefit analysis” bandied about, usually by the bad guys. It used to piss me off because how you view risk and benefit depends a lot on who bears the risk and who reaps the benefit.

To add a little reality to Charlestown’s debate about energy, the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee will be hosting a movie night at the library, showing the film Gasland, which takes a hard look at those risks and benefits as they relate to Halliburton’s scheme to “frack” its way to making a fortune on natural gas reserves locked up in some forms of mineral deposits.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

FAQs about the Charlestown Citizens Alliance

What is the CCA? That’s the Charlestown Citizens Alliance. It is an unincorporated association started in 2006 now registered with the state as a political action committee. The Board of Elections ruled they were raising money to work on electoral issues.

Why should anyone care who or what they are? Right now, the CCA is Charlestown’s shadow government. They picked each and every member of the Planning Commission. Two of their long-time leaders head the Town Council and, with Lisa DiBello’s vote, hold the majority.

To ignore the CCA is like ignoring the Republican Party’s control over the U.S. House of Representatives, or the Tea Party’s control over the Republican Party. Or the corporate interests that control the Tea Party. To understand power, you don’t just look at the puppets, but at the puppet masters.

Why are the CCA leaders and supporters so sensitive to criticism? That’s a good question and I don’t know the answer. I have a theory that they were traumatized by their experience with Jim Mageau. Maybe when they hear criticism, they think somebody is about to shove a camera at them.

Maybe they’re not feeling enough love for having ousted Mageau in 2008 – and for about the 10th time in writing in Progressive Charlestown, I say thank you for that, but not for the rest of what you have done to this town. 

The CCA functions as Charlestown’s controlling political party. With that power comes heat from those of us who do not agree with their vision or their actions. If they can’t stand the heat, drop out. Go fishing. Go back to Florida. But stop whining.

To "Anonymous" - how to sign your name

As more people post comments, we're running into more sign-in problems. Unless you sign on with some recognized account, Google Blogger (our blogging service) makes you sign on as "Anonymous."

We don't have a technical fix for this problem, at least not yet. Sometimes (today, for example), I even have a sign-on problem even though I have a Google account and administrative rights on this blog. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to sign their comments because we believe that people should stand by their opinions and not hide who they are. We don't subscribe to the CCA's position on anonymity.

Linda Felaco and Beth Richardson have both suggested the simpliest solution, which is to sign your comments in the body text. And that's what they've done. I like Beth's approach of signing it at the top, rather that at the end. If you do something like, "Beth Richardson posting" or "Beth Richardson says," those words appear in the brief snippet under "Recent Comments" (right hand column).

Finally, despite its flaws, I suggest you consider signing up for a free Google account. Yes, Google wants to take over the world. Yes, Google is far from perfect. Yes, Google is part of the conspiracy to cover up the Death Star Nibiru. But a Google account allows you to set up your own news page, get free e-mail service, sign on to Progressive Charlestown (sometimes) and IMO most valuable of all, set up "Google Alerts."

As a professional strategic researcher, I use Google all the time. I keep track of dozens of topics of interest by setting up Google Alerts where I have Google watch for certain topics and search terms (e.g. "wingnut conspiracy"). Anytime those words appear on the web (and I can adjust where Google looks), I get an e-mail with a link.

We'll post an update if we come up with other ways to help comment posters liberate themselves from the cloak of darkness. And if any of you have ideas for a tech fix to this problem, please post them or e-mail us at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What the Frack?

The Wind Turbine Ordinance was one of the topics at the March 14, 2011 Town Council meeting at the Charlestown Elementary School.

During the discussion Mike Chambers commented about Rhode Island’s use of natural gas for utility generation, stating that it’s good because it’s produced in the USA and the electricity produced from natural gas costs less than wind power. When Mr. Chambers finished his statement Councilor Avedisian “went all Medieval on him” about the controversy of using fracking to produce natural gas. His point was that natural gas production has much more environmental danger than wind power. You can see that on the video starting here.

This is an aside but virtually no electricity in the USA is produced with petroleum, unlike Mr. Chambers’ implication.

If I were taking the NIMBY view I would say that I don’t care about fracking because that’s done in Colorado, Texas, New York, and other places while the wind turbines would be here. But I think it’s important to be informed because energy policy is important to all of us.

The huge amount of money involved in energy guarantees that you can find extremely biased information, both pro and con, for both wind power and natural gas production.

Reset the Doomsday Clock

Just because you’re still here doesn’t mean that Harold Camping’s Doomsday prophecy was wrong. Even though the 6 o’clock hour last Saturday passed without 200 million people getting “Raptured” away and without the giggunda-sized earthquake he predicted, Camping is sticking to his story.

According to his broadcast over his Family Radio Network Monday night (May 23rd), his prediction for May 21st came true. Except it was an “invisible judgment day.” According to Camping, this invisible event has now triggered the five-month clock counting down to October 21st when “the world is going to be destroyed all together, but it will be very quick,” said Camping.

Meanwhile, anyone who donated all their stuff to the Charlestown Democrats’ “Not the End of the World Tag Sale” is welcome to buy it back this coming Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM. Look for it at Old Post Road between Genwood Drive and the Ocean Aire Motel.

CRABS Slogans – Part 2

The letter I found at the Collection Center
Yesterday, I wrote about my discovery at the collection center, the secret files of CRABS.

Today I am reporting on more of the slogans CRABS was considering using to oppose the new beach facilities at Charlestown Beach and Blue Shutters Beach. (Of course I previously reported that Blue Shutters Beach may not even exist.)

But before I start, be sure to consider going to one of the information sessions scheduled for today and Thursday. Will talks about today’s session here and they are listed in our calendar. I wonder if the CRABS people will be there with banners (and torches and pitchforks) and passing out flyers with these slogans on them.

State Democrats reorganize

Last night, Cathy and I trekked north of the Tower for a meeting of the RI Democratic Party State Committee. Cathy and I were elected in 2010 to serve four-year terms as state committee delegates for House District 36.

The first order of business was the re-election of state officers and executive board members. We were pleased to vote for Party Chair Edwin Pacheco for a second term. After William Lynch resigned the position in 2010 to run in the primary for Congress, First District, Ed stepped into the position, foregoing his plans to run for re-election as state representative from Burrillville, to organize the party for the difficult 2010 election.

First beach facility info session Tuesday

You're invited to come to the first of two 3-hour information sessions on the proposed beach facilities warrant item that will be on the June 6th ballot (along with the town's $25 million 2012 budget).

That's Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. at the beautiful National Wildlife Service Kettle Pond Visitor's Center, 50 Bend Rd, Charlestown.

Tom and I have been talking about the dire need for basic facilties at the two town beaches for a while now and we urge Charlestown voters to approve the issuance of $1.2 million in bonds to make this project happen.

While the proposal doesn't satisfy everyone, it's a constructive approach to a long-neglected community problem.

The alternative is to strike up the band and sing what could become Charlestown's Town Anthem:

Groucho Marx from the Marx Brothers' classic "Horse Feathers"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Which Came First: Will or CRABS?

I went to the collection center this morning with my recycling and my monthly bag of trash. I got out of my Jeep® to throw the trash in the container and noticed a bag laying there on the ground. 

Trying to help out, I picked it up to toss it in but the bag tore and some papers, coffee cups and Snickers® wrappers spilled out. Glad I had gloves on, I started gathering the stuff up when I noticed something familiar on a sheet of paper so I looked more closely.

“Whoa”, I said to myself. Then I saw it was on the top of a letter:
Part of the letter I found - some bits blacked out (click to enlarge)

Will's proposed proxy group
As Sarah Palin has said, “WTF!” This looks like something right out of Will's article last week!

Then I see that many of the other sheets are the CCA emails of beach facility comments with notes written in the margins.

The first of those sheets I picked up contained the anonymous email CCA sent with the phrase “we love our rustic beaches” and scribbled in the margin is We love our rustic beaches, and nothing’s more rustic than a latrine. Vote no for beach toilets June 6.

Breachway Grill Update

Yet Another Update (May 23): They are running with the full menu now and Craig has a rudimentary website up (here), where you can download the menu. I'm happy to see they are bringing new menu choices to Charlestown and not trying to compete with the same items we already enjoy elsewhere.

They are still closed Monday and Tuesday this week. The paperwork issue with the alcohol license isn't fixed yet but it's close to being resolved. Craig hopes to be serving beer and wine on Wednesday.

Update to the Update (May 9): I talked to Craig Marr today and he wants to thank everyone who came out during the first weekend of operation. He's working hard to make the experience and food the best so give him your feedback before you leave.
  • Until Memorial Day they will be open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.
  • Starting Memorial Day they will be open 7 days per week.

In addition to their dining menu, they are adding a raw bar with oysters, clams and shrimp cocktail (technically, I guess the shrimp are not raw) from 4 to 7 pm on Thursday through Sunday.

Original Update article, posted May 6:
In a comment, Josh tells us that The Breachway Grill opened on Friday, May 6. Thanks Josh!

The entire Progressive Charlestown Northeast Headquarters staff will try it out in the next few days and give our faithful readers a report. (Yes, Progressive Charlestown is such a large organization that we have a Northeast Headquarters and a Southwest Headquarters.)

Cheers, Tom

Voices of Greed: Beach Toilets

The Charlestown Citizens Alliance puts a lot of effort into creating the illusion they channel Charlestown’s “voice of the people.” The CCA claims an e-mail distribution list of 1,000. That’s not a “membership” list because you can’t actually join the CCA.

They use this list to create a feedback loop: they send out anonymous comments supposedly from their list back out to their list, get more anonymous comments, send those out and so on.

Although, for such a large list, and the CCA's repeated claim that they are "swamped" with e-mails - but will get around to publishing them all, they actually send out very few.

The CCA takes no responsibility for false information, distortions and sometimes outright lies from their faceless followers. The CCA says it’s just providing a forum.

On projects the CCA dislikes – and that includes anything big or modern-looking – they run the feedback loop until the project dies. Then they declare another victory for “the people.”

But the voices you hear in the CCA echo chamber are not the “voice of the people” so much as they are the voices of greed. We’ll be sharing those voices with you so you can judge whether we’re being too harsh or not harsh enough.

First in the series are the anonymous voices of greed who oppose the June 6 ballot question asking Charlestown voters to approve bonds to build basic sanitary facilities at the two town beaches. Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant but facilities to help prevent our beaches from being Ground Zero for some water-borne epidemic. To be perfectly clear, Progressive Charlestown urges voters to vote YES on June 6, so please understand the following comments do not reflect where we stand on this issue.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The truth about cats

I’ve often needled Charlestown Family Planning Commissar Ruth Platner in this blog for her negative remarks about senior citizen affordable housing. She claimed older people are more likely to own cats and cats will kill birds. So of course, I wondered whether Ruth hates cats.

Patricia Curry Almeida called my comments “cheeky” and said that Ruth loves cats. Ms. Almeida said Ruth and her husband Cliff Vanover owned “a couple.”

I responded by saying that maybe Ruth has cats and might even like them, but she sure doesn’t like other people’s cats. I also asked if Ruth and Cliff’s cats stay indoors or are de-clawed. Or do they get to hunt the birdies on their farm.

I never got an answer.

After that, several commenters weighed in, mostly in support of cats, but cats that are well-cared for and kept indoors. I reported on studies showing that free roaming cats do indeed pose a threat to birds – in fact, a 500 times higher threat than the potential threat posed by large wind turbines.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

End of the World - Via Twitter

I've been following Twitter today for news of the End of the World and I have seen many good Tweets. Enjoy:

Do you think ol' Harold Camping forgot to carry the 1 in his calculations? #rapture

Just called Harold Camping. He said "April fools!" I said "dude it's May 21." he said "not according to my biblical math."

 If I was Harold Camping I would put my clothes in a pile, leave a note saying only I was good enough to be taken and run with the millions of net assets in my church.

Don't worry Harold Camping... if you're wrong, it's not the end of the world.

Harold Camping also predicted the world would end in 1994.... Which only happened for hard-core Nirvana fans.

I think we should all pretend the#rapture is happening so that when Harold Camping gets left behind later today he'll be livid

Ease up on Harold Camping; everyone guesses wrong sometimes: There was one time that I picked the Cubs to win the World Series....

In Biblical times, false prophets got stoned to death. in 2011, Harold Camping gets made fun of on twitter.

The Bible says only God knows the date of the rapture. Maybe He has to keep changing the date because Harold Camping keeps giving it away.

Harold Camping is to Christianity as Charlie Sheen is to Hollywood #rapture

Wonder if Harold Camping is going to host Saturday Night Live tonight?

Just in: Harold Camping seen leaving Office Depot after buying new calculator.

After this 'rapture' thingy gets over with, I think Harold Camping should run for political office. He's got the #brokenpromisesthing down.

My prediction: Failed Rapture predictor Harold Camping will be on next season's Dancing with the Stars

And a letter for Harold Camping followers here.

Author: Tom Ferrio (with lots of help)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Final Countdown

Well, there's less than 24 hours to go when we'll all find out who's saved and who's totally screwed.

Harold Camping's end of the world prediction certainly has the whole world buzzing. We'll have to do this more often. We'll get our next shoot when the Comet Elenin approaches the earth this fall (closest around September 10), and with it, more prophecies of doom.

I keep checking the Progressive Charlestown Doomsday Countdown Clock to see how much time is left. But in between, I have sampled all the wonderful new websites this moment of in history has brought.

There's even a website for how to prepare your pet for Rapture hour.

Then there's all the great end of the world music. Besides R.E.M.'s great "It's the End of the World," you can find other apocalyptical classics here. But here is one of my all-time favorites:


Charlestown Citizens Alliance: Class War by proxy

Could this be the message of the next CCA proxy group?
It's been quite a while since the CCA has taken a public position on a town issue. In a way, that makes sense, since the CCA became Charlestown's shadow government when it completed its total take-over of the Planning Commission and holds a majority on the Town Council, so long as Lisa DiBello votes with them.

Why take a public position when you run the government? To further avoid the need to take a position that might bite them in the future, the CCA aligns with opposition groups that spring up like mold on your deck furniture whenever anyone proposes to do something new and different in town.

So Ill Wind RI is the point group in opposition to wind turbines and the Sonquipaug Association plays that role in blocking a conservation development to replace the derelict YMCA camp on Watchaug Pond. These groups, and the CCA, echo each other's negative positions on such proposals.

But as yet, we haven't seen a CCA proxy group emerge to oppose the proposed beach sanitation facilities we should all vote to support when it's on the budget ballot June 6th. It's surprising, since the CCA e-bleats have been loaded with some of the most over-the-top negative comments you can imagine to oppose providing basic sanitary facilities to beachgoers.

CCA could play up hatred of outsiders

So, to fill the void, I offer these suggestions to the CCA and its sundry allies: give your proxy group a snappy name, like CRABS (Charlestown Residents Against Beach Sanitation) and play to your instincts. The CCA e-bleat comments generally favored providing no toilet facilities because that will only encourage non-residents to come to the beach. Some CCA correspondents noted that toilet facilities weren't necessary because they lived within walking distance of the beach. How nice for them!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Jammed up by the Navy

If your remote garage door opener or wireless keypad hasn't been working, the problem may not be in your equipment.

Radio signals coming from the Newport Naval Station's new Enterprise Land Mobile Radio System have been jamming garage doors all over Aquidneck Island. But the problem seems to have spread "way far." Like the 22 miles to my house. My garage remote hasn't been working. I thought it might be dead batteries. But it will apparently be a lot more complicated.

In a just-published piece in the ProJo, the Navy is reportedly suspending use of the system until June 3rd to allow residents enough time to contact their garage door installer to change their equipment. Some installers say they will do the fix for free. The Navy will not change its system to cease being a nuisance, clinging to the motto "The price of liberty is eternal jammed garage doors."

If your system hasn't been working, try it now.  As soon as I read the ProJo piece, I did and both my remote and keypad worked fine. Next, I'll have to call the installer about a permanent fix.

Read it here first: Mageau wants $20,000

A couple days ago, we heard a rumor that former Town Council member Jim Mageau had just sued the town for $20,000.

Actually, what Mageau really did was present the Town with a bill for $20,000 to reimburse him for his cost to defend himself from criminal assault charges rising from his famous altercation with CCA leader Cliff Vanover. Mageau’s claim was filed by one of his lawyers, Lynette Labinger. The claim is not itemized.

RI state law requires municipalities to indemnify town officials for costs that arise from their performance of their official duties. This legal requirement is not only the law, but it’s also fair and practical for municipalities to stand behind people acting on behalf of the town.

It's Official! Amy Weinreich Sworn In

On a much more pleasant note, the Town Council officially appointed Amy Rose Weinreich to be our new Town Clerk. The oath of office was immediately administered by her mentor, recently retired Town Clerk Jodi (Jo Jo) Lecroix.

Click on the arrow at the end of the line, below:
Agenda item 2. Appointment of Amy Rose Weinreich as Town Clerk Video