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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Charlestown short subjects

Plovers on East Beach, non-profits at flea market, tag sale on Saturday, don’t eat those olives, and you WILL eat that rate hike
By Will Collette

No vehicles – especially ATVs – on East Beach

DEM has closed the sand trail through East Beach to all but pedestrian traffic. That ban will stand in place indefinitely. DEM is imposing the restrictions to give endangered piping plovers a chance to nest and raise their chicks.

Hopefully, someone will make sure that CCA Town Council boss Tom Gentz doesn’t mistake them for goose eggs and oil them.

"With the changes in beach habitat and populations, we especially need the help of beachgoers to protect piping plovers and respect sand trail closures," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "We are confident that the ongoing monitoring will enable us to reopen the sand trail to vehicles as soon as possible."

Sections of the East Beach off-road vehicle corridor may be reopened on or about August 1, if not sooner.

Free booth space for non-profits at the General Stanton Flea Market

General Stanton Inn owner Janice Falcone has announced that she is making booth space available at no cost this summer to non-profit groups. The market is open on weekends through the summer from 8 AM to 3 PM and draws about 5,000 people.

Speaking of…

Don’t forget to come to the Charlestown Democratic Town Committee’s tag sale on Saturday. Click here for details.

Job Lot olives recall

The RI Health Department issued a news release to warn consumers of the possible – but not confirmed – danger posed by Bel Frantoio brand Mediterranean olive-favor “Calcidica Sweet.” Calcidica Sweet only, not the other varieties from the same producer. These are the bright green olives that are really hot among olive lovers.

I had a couple containers in my cupboard of that particular variety – this brand makes a variety of pretty good olives – which I returned to our Westerly Job Lot for a store credit.

Blue Cross gets rate hike, but lower than requested

On May 28, I wrote a piece on a major premium rate hike on people who buy their Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage directly. Blue Cross’s application to the Health Department would have hiked the premiums for some individuals by as much as 59%.

Well, Blue Cross got some of what it wanted, but nearly so much as what it had asked. On his last day in office, state Insurance Commissioner Chris Koller granted Blue Cross some increases that he himself admitted “sucked.”

Just three days before the rate hike announcement, Koller told the RI Healthcare Reform Commission about his frustration with health care inflation, saying “Frankly, the 5 to 7 percent increase in medical [expense] trends sucks.”

For more detail on the approved rates, click here.