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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Narragansett terminates Town Manager Grady Miller

Town Council and embattled town executive agree on a severance deal 
Miller will be paid until April 2013
Ousted Narragansett town
exec Grady Miller
By Will Collette

Narragansett might be crazier than Charlestown. Who would have thought?

According to the Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch tonight, the Narragansett Town Council emerged from a 50 minute Executive Session with their Town Manager's resignation in their pocket.

Their grounds for doing so were even more ridiculous than those the Charlestown Town Council majority used to purge Town Administrator William DiLibero.

Their severance settlement was almost twice as generous.

The Changing Face of America

While the African-American and Latino communities are growing, our fight for civil rights and equality is far from over.
We've been hearing about it for years, and now the time has come. In May, the Census Bureau announced that for the first time, the birth rate of people of color exceeded that of whites: 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent.
The United States of America is still a majority white country, with whites comprising 63.4 percent of the total population. 

POSTPONED - Eco-reuse sale this weekend

POSTPONED: Reuse Sale Features Compost Tea, Sports Collectibles
By News staff

UPDATE: Due to the high probability of bad weather on Saturday, EcoRI is postponing their sale until next weekend.

PROVIDENCE — If you are in need of an organic concoction to help your lawn stay green and your plants grow, the annual ecoRI Reuse Sale will have just what you need. Our miracle grow is inexpensive, has already been used and won't harm the environment. In fact, it does the planet good.

The food scraps we’ve collected for the past year at local farmers markets has been cooked to perfection by ecoRI composting guru Michael Bradlee of Earth Appliance. We will be selling this compost and Bradlee's own compost tea concentrate called "From Me To You, Compost Tea Concentrate" — made by soaking or steeping compost in water, which then can be used for either a foliar application (sprayed on leaves) or applied directly to soil. Both are all-natural fertilizers.

Nobody cares anymore

Gay Superheros?
By Matt Bors

For the whole cartoon, click here.


'Raging' Drivers; Biting and Huffing

Road rage got the better of a 20-year-old Barrington man late Wednesday morning, May 23, after he allegedly pounded on the roof of a car driven by a woman with a baby in the back seat after he thought she cut him off at an intersection.

Both vehicles pulled off County Road in Barrington into the Police Cove parking area. While the woman was contacting the police, the man allegedly ran up to her vehicle and began pounding on the roof while yelling at her. Several police patrol cars raced to police cove, police said. 

Larry LeBlanc wants action on Whalerock wind farm

Whalerock seeks “expeditious decision” from the court

Larry LeBlanc's lawyer, Nick Gorham, is
pushing  for a decision in the case
By Will Collette

Developer Larry LeBlanc continues to press his proposal to build industrial-sized wind turbines on the moraine along the north side of Route 1 near King’s Factory Road.

A year ago, all of the parties, including the town of Charlestown, in all of the various lawsuits which were rolled into one big suit, signed an agreement to file all their various motions and memoranda to permit the judge to then make a ruling in this case.

But a full year passed, and still no decision, so LeBlanc, through his lawyer Nick Gorham filed a “Motion for Expeditious Resolution of All Claims” on May 8. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who do we know who looks like this?

Evil Eyebrows and Pointy Chin of a Cartoon Villain Make Our ‘threat’ Instinct Kick in
Triangular-shaped face. Psychologists have found that a
downward pointing triangle can be perceived to carry
a threat. (Credit: © Viktor Kuryan / Fotolia) — New research from the University of Warwick could explain why the evil eyebrows and pointy chin of a cartoon villain make our 'threat' instinct kick in.

Psychologists have found that a downward pointing triangle can be perceived to carry threat just like a negative face in a crowd.

In a paper published in Emotion, a journal of the American Psychological Association, Dr Derrick Watson and Dr Elisabeth Blagrove have carried out a series of experiments with volunteers to find out if simple geometric shapes can convey positive or negative emotions.

Tax Justice bills come down to the wire

Tax Equity Still a Question for Impending Budget Bill
One of the key ingredients in this year’s impending proposed budget from the House Finance Committee will be how to pay for existing services that have already been cut to the bone in recent years.

There’s the governor’s proposed 1 or 2 percent meals tax increase, which would raise some $20 to $40 million for education. There’s also Rep. Edith Ajello’s proposed soda tax, which would net another $40 million in revenue.

But the most talked-about revenue-increasing mechanism debated this year has been increasing income taxes on Rhode Island’s richest residents.

It’s Contagious! Narragansett Town Manager Miller On The Outs

Narragansett Town Manager about to be ousted
The Narragansett Town Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, in which it is expected to accept a termination agreement for manager Grady Miller, or to fire him.

According to an agenda posted on the Secretary of State’s website, the Narragansett Town Council will meet Thursday night to discuss the job performance and potentially fire Town Manager Grady Miller.

More news you can use

Charlestown doesn’t make Rhode Island silly law list…Narragansett town manager in trouble for “inappropriate” donation…MIT solves ketchup problem…Government study on studies
By Will Collette

Silly laws. Even though Charlestown law forbids spitting, throwing a snowball at a tree, letting a guest sleep in a tent in your backyard or standing on Creek Bridge, we did not make WPRI’s Top 12 Most Outrageous Laws in RI.

I think ours are pretty good, but the station picked such laws as Providence’s prohibition against keeping a pig in your house, the state law that forbids you from picking up seaweed and taking it home (except in Barrington where it’s OK), and another state law, still on the books, that requires you to make a loud noise, like beeping, when passing another vehicle on the left.

Maybe if Charlestown’s Town Council passes proposed Ordinance #349 on June 11, we’ll make next year’s list.

Things you’d like to know about the Charlestown Citizens Alliance – but were afraid to ask

2012 Field Guide to Charlestown’s shadow government, Part 1
By Will Collette

Former CCA President and present Town Council
Vice-President Deputy Dan Slattery
It’s time to update our Field Guide to Observing the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA), last updated in October. It’s been almost four years since the CCA took control of Charlestown’s government, riding the crest of the wave of anti-Jim Mageau sentiment.

One of the main things the CCA has proven in its two terms in control of town government is that they are even more adept at stirring up dissension and dividing the community than Jim Mageau ever was.

Unconvinced? Think Whalerock, the Y-Gate Scandal, Ninigret Park and their willingness to give over control of town property to the federal government, Dark Sky Lighting, “Kill Bill,” the Planning Commission’s plutocracy, “the riot of the rich,” disdain for fair taxation, attacks against small business, their hostility to families with children, beach toilets, Deputy Dan Slattery’s jihads and Uncle Fluffy’s gaffes.

By the end of June, we’ll see what the CCA intends to do about extending its reign of mismanagement for another two years when it comes time to announce candidates. But in the meantime, for your campaign season convenience, here are the answers to the CCA questions you’ve been dying to ask.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No Reckoning

No Reckoning: The RI Corruption Video Game
This morning, former Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling blamed the State of Rhode Island for the failure of his video game company. According to the Providence Journal, he blamed the state for not giving him more tax breaks. Additionally, the Journal reported, Schilling has lost “33 pounds in the past 45 days, which he calls a ‘surreal’ stretch.’”

What follows is an exercise in satire….

Crowded Spaces

Marine Spatial Planning New Tool
By MEREDITH HAAS/ News contributor

PROVIDENCE — The ocean has always been viewed as this endless abyss, the last frontier. Though largely unexplored, is it possible that the ocean is becoming too crowded?

In the past decade the world has seen a tremendous population explosion and increasing demands for resources to feed all the mouths at the table. 

And while conflicts for space and resources is nothing new for the history books, the extent to which the ocean is used and who, or what, is actually out there has surprised scientists, resource managers and policymakers alike.

Things that you really shouldn’t do

News you can use
By Will Collette

According to recently released studies and events there are many, many things you really should think twice about doing – but for reasons you may not have considered.

Here’s what I’ve got for you today.

You should not:
·        Eat sweets
·        Listen to loud music
·        Wear tight jeans
·        Watch Fox News
·        Shop at Wal-Mart
·        Build a home wind turbine

Reminders for Charlestown residents

Coming up over the next seven days
By Will Collette

Get help for federal problems.

On May 31st, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is sending his constituent service staff to set up a shop in Charlestown. If you have trouble with a federal agency – e.g. veterans’ benefits, Medicare, Social Security, small business loan, etc. – the Senator would like to make it more convenient for you to sit with one of his staff who can help you with the problem. 

His staff will be set up at the Cross Mills Public Library on Thursday from 5 PM to 7 PM. To ensure they have enough people on hand, they’re asking you to RSVP for Thursday, May 31st

Duck and Cover.

Monday, May 28, 2012

New jobs at the expense of old

Venture Captialism: Bain of the Stationery Market
 By Tom Sgouros in
Before 1986, did you use office supplies?  Did you buy ribbons for your typewriter, pencils, carbon paper, and blotter paper?  Did you buy floppy disks, plotter pens, and printer paper?  Or did you just find them on the street?

I ask because I keep reading that Mitt Romney created 90,000 jobs by helping Tom Stemberg found Staples, the office supply giant. But it seems that only 90,000 people work at Staples now, so how does that make sense that they created 90,000 jobs?

Don’t want to miss all the juicy news?

Here’s the easy way
By Will Collette

We try to publish between five and seven pieces a day in Progressive Charlestown – some we write, and some we share with you from other writers we find interesting and provocative.

Because we use a blog format where the newest articles push the older ones down the page, it’s easy to miss an article you might really want to read (whether you like what we write or not is immaterial). That’s especially true if you don’t check in every day because it doesn’t take too long before articles scroll over to the next page.

The easiest way to make sure you don’t miss any of our outrageous stuff, or our informative or public interest stuff, is to sign up for one of the free connection services, which you’ll find by clicking the link in the right-hand column that says “How to be notified of new articles.”

For your own good

Meet Droney
By Tom Tomorrow

Click here for the whole cartoon

Tastes of spring

Roasted Asparagus with Prosciutto and Fried Egg

Photos and text by KARA DiCAMILLO/ News contributor

If you’ve been reading my weekly local food column, you know from last week that I love asparagus season. I stopped at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown again this week to pick up a few more bunches, while it’s still available, and had to share this recipe.

The preparation for this is easy, and you can serve this dish for breakfast, lunch or even as a first course. You also can serve the asparagus as a side dish with just the prosciutto, but I like to top mine with a fried egg, which is classic Italian.

A Reflection

Memorializing My Fallen Comrades
Memorial Day. There must be millions of blogs, newspaper articles, documentaries, and cable specials being produced this weekend to bring attention to some aspect of the military’s dead.

I’d say, if one American spends 10 minutes this weekend watching an ABC special on American service members who have died in Afghanistan, that’s a win for consciousness raising. But as John Farmer recently wrote in The Star Ledger, Memorial Day isn’t what it used to be.

Astronomy Picture of the Day

At the Edge of NGC 891 

This sharp cosmic portrait features NGC 891. 

The spiral galaxy spans about 100 thousand light-years and is seen almost exactly edge-on from our perspective.

In fact, about 30 million light-years distant in the constellation Andromeda, NGC 891 looks a lot like our Milky Way.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A teachable moment

RI Needs to Learn from Mistakes of 38 Studios Deal

To the 379 people who just lost their jobs, I want to say something that no one responsible for this turn of events is going to say: I’m sorry. I doubt that will make you feel better, but I think it needs to be said, by someone.

You moved yourself and your families down here, you put your work into an artistic endeavor, and I’m glad you work in an industry that is so good as to reach out to you immediately (although I hear that unless you work for Valve, your work hours are crazy).

I wish you luck, and I hope you create great things in the future.

Feeding Obesity

The "Heart Attack Grill" takes pride in food that's deep-fried.
Attention foodies: There's a new craze in Cuisine World, and it's going 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the much-publicized healthy-eating movement.
It has nothing to do with dressing locally sourced beets and arugula with artisan balsamic vinegar. We're talking a big gooey Pizza Hut pepperoni pie with a long looping hot dog stuffed right into the crust around the entire circumference.
Hey, some might see the growing global problem of obesity as a crisis, but YUM! Brands, Inc., the conglomerate that owns Pizza Hut, sees it as a money-making opportunity.

The common wisdom about liberals and spending is wrong

President Obama and the Imaginary Spending Binge
Recently, I did something I shouldn’t have done, and I’d like to confess here.

Someone I don’t know wrote me a nice note about some things I have written and some banking issues I’m working on (more on this someday).
In the process of the note, he described himself as moderate Republican, “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”  This, it turns out, is one of my buttons because it implies that usually liberals aren’t fiscally conservative.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Definitely worth practicing

Male Songbirds Ardently Practice Their Songs Leading Up to Mating Season
 David A Gabel, 
Yellow Warbler

The male songbird attracts its female mate through the use of his song. However, before the bird becomes sexually active, it will painstakingly practice its song, adjusting the pitch of some notes, and making certain changes.

Their goal is to produce the same song as their father through trial and error. This leads to the bird singing the same tune over and over again, hundreds of times per day. For one bird, the Bengalese finch, this process of honing the perfect song takes 50 days of practice, beginning at the age of 40 days and ending at 90 days. At this point, the male Bengalese finch finally considers himself ready to serenade the females.

State enviro bills starting to move

Senate Committee OKs Paint Collection, Sea Walls
By TIM FAULKNER/ News staff

PROVIDENCE — Three major environmental bills recently made it out of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources. Other controversial bills were delayed a week. 

Paint can collection. The first producer responsibility bill (pdf) to pass out of committee this year establishes a collection program for leftover paint. If signed into law, paint stores will offer a paint drop-off service for unwanted oil-based and latex paints, beginning in 2014. [editor’s note: Charlestown’s Rep. Donna Walsh is the sponsor of the House version. The General Assembly’s target date for adjournment is June 8].

Take over an almost-new, previously owned bus

Occupy Americans Elect
Last week, Americans Elect, the not-a-political-party political party which achieved party status in Rhode Island, announced that it was ending its nomination process for President and Vice President of the United States.

American Elect attempted to use an online nominating process to run a third-party ticket for the White House. Unfortunately, beyond its long process for determining delegates, it was also largely established by hedge fund managers closely tied to Wall Street and its interests.

Indeed, some of its most vocal supporters (such as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times) basically were advocating for a “centrist” president; someone who wouldn’t be mean to Wall Street, yet would also be socially liberal.

Now that the dream of electing a not-Barack Obama is over, it’s time that Rhode Islanders considered what it means for us.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Scorpius in Red and Blue 
From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day

Cosmic dust clouds dim the light of background stars. But they also reflect the light of stars nearby.

Since bright stars tend to radiate strongly in the blue portion of the visible spectrum, and the interstellar dust scatters blue light more strongly than red, the dusty reflection nebulae tend to be blue.

Lovely examples are the wispy blue reflection nebulae near bright, hot stars Pi and Delta Scorpii (upper left and lower right) in this telescopic skyscape from the head of the constellation Scorpius.

Of course, the contrasting red emission nebulae are also caused by the hot stars' energetic radiation. Ultraviolet photons ionize hydrogen atoms in the interstellar clouds producing the characteristic red hydrogen alpha emission line as the electrons recombine.

About 600 light-years away, the nebulae are found in the second version of the Sharpless Catalog as Sh2-1 (left, with reflection nebulae VdB 99) and Sh2-7. At that distance, this field of view is about 40 light-years across.

Protecting the Environment Creates Jobs

Majority of Americans Agree
From: Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate and

The majority of Americans (58 percent) think that protecting the environment improves economic growth and creates new jobs.

The results are from a recently released poll by Yale University and George Mason University's climate change communication program.

Only 17 percent of the poll's respondents think that environmental protection hurts the economy and job growth, and 25 percent think there is no effect.

Don't fry

EPA: Protect Yourself from the Sun this Summer!
The beach can be the world's largest frying pan

Editor's note: as we approach Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of our summer, it's a good time to review some sun healthy advice.

The warming temperatures will bring many people out into the sun to get a little color on their skins. The sun, while being the source of all life on Earth, is also quite lethal if exposed for too long. As summer approaches, it is good to remember a few things about protecting your skin from the great ball of fire in the sky.

Preventing future Woodmansee controversies

House OKs changes to ‘good time’ law
Sen Sue Sosnowski & Rep. Teresa Tanzi with Delia
From the State House Legislative News Bureau

STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation aimed at preventing those serving time for particularly serious crimes from earning time off their sentences for good behavior.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski and Rep. Teresa Tanzi on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, was introduced in response to the potential release last year of Michael Woodmansee, convicted of killing 5-year-old Jason Foreman in 1975 in South Kingstown

Platner's ultimate power grab, Part 2

First the "Historic Village District," then the rest of town
Planning Commission Review - it won't hurt a bit
Ruth Platner’s big play
By Will Collette
Read Part 1 by clicking here

Most Charlestown property owners would be very surprised if they knew the extent to which town government controls the uses of their property already. Sometimes, the only time people find out is when they decide they want to do something with their property, need a building permit, and find themselves ensnared in Charlestown’s extensive regulations.

But the Planning Commission, unintentionally, has just made it easier for everyone to see the extent to which town regulations reach into property owners’ lives, through an ordinance that will dramatically consolidate and expand their power.

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed  proposed Ordinance 349 – coming up for a public hearing and likely Council vote on June 11 – and what it will do to businesses in Charlestown’s the "Historic Village District" – as well as homes (since the section on residential review is “reserved,” and will probably be filled in later.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how proposed Ordinance 349 affects the rest of town.

The second half of the proposed Ordinance 349 says that all non-residential activities within the Town shall require Development Plan Review or Major Land Development Project Review approval before a [building] permit for such is issued…”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

She said, he said

Raimondo Snips at Chafee; Governor Fires Back
As we predicted yesterday morning, the growing feud between Gov. Chafee and Treasurer Gina Raimondo was indeed Wednesday’s narrative – and after Raimondo stoked the fire by disparaging the governor on the Dan Yorke Show, Chafee fired back later in day.

“She’s free to be critical but she better be factually accurate,” Chafee said at a late afternoon press conference. “On this one she isn’t.”