Menu Bar

Home           Calendar           Topics          Just Charlestown          About Us

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Charlestown Tapas: Another Flipper fight, local congrats, lists and more lists and more

Tasty bits of news for the sophisticated palate
By Will Collette

Filippi family continues to battle with Block Island neighbors

The Niantic tribe called Block Island Manisses and controlled the
island until attacked by Massachusetts troops in 1637
Rep. Blake “Flip” Filippi’s family continues to charm its Block Island neighbors with a new battle over noise. Seems that Flip and his brother Steve have bought the classic Hotel Manisses and Flip wants to make it into a summertime late-night jazz venue

The Filippis also own Ballard’s Inn and have been fighting for months with the town after the Filippi family decided to block off public access to the beach.

This new fight brought out neighbors in droves who objected to the plan for outdoor live music during the summer. A number of residents expressed a general distrust at what the Filippis had planned in general for the Manisses.

You know, if Flip Filippi wants to further expand his family’s hotel empire, maybe he ought to step up and buy the General Stanton Inn here in Charlestown after his BFFs on the Town Council killed the most recent – and only – offer to buy the Inn to prevent it from going dark. Some nice jazz music outside the General Stanton is just what Cross’ Mill needs.


Officer Scott being sworn in by Chief Allen. Screen shot
from the original PC article in 2014.
Charlestown Police Officer Lawrence Scott was featured in a Providence Journal article in an on-going series on race relations in Rhode Island. The ProJo noted that Officer Scott is CPD’s first African-American officer and that his hiring was the result of CPD Chief Jeff Allen’s conscious effort to diversify the CPD.

We reported his hiring in January 2014. I thought it was great that he was hired – still do – but in 2015, I wonder why it took so long. 

I also why the ProJo decided to make a fuss about it, treating Officer Scott as if he was the Jackie Robinson of rural Rhode Island policing with a headline, “In Charlestown, black officer working to inspire.”

But still, I commend Chief Allen and wish great success to Officer Scott.

Congratulations to the Quonset Air Museum. They not only got a six month reprieve on their eviction notice from the storm-ravaged warehouse they currently occupy, but an anonymous major donor has pledged to give whatever it takes to help them find a safe, permanent home. I’d sure love to see them move to Ninigret Park.

The Friends of the Charlestown Animal Shelter just received a $5,520 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation to offer free spaying or neutering to pets of residents in Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton. You may have received their newsletter in the mail a few days ago, a good remember that making a tax-deductible donation to the Shelter in lieu of presents is a fine form of Christmas gift. See more about the Shelter HERE.

In that same category is RI-CAN of Charlestown. Their thrift store which has actually been open for a while, just got a nice feature in the Westerly Sun. It’s another place to think about as you decide how to handle your holiday gift giving. And the Jonnycake Center in Westerly, featured here.

The good people at the URI Tick Center won a $2 million federal grant to figure out how to come up with tick-resistant clothing. Since I just came in from working outside and had to immediately pick a tick off myself, I am deeply and personally pleased they got this money.

Progressive Charlestown has been featuring the URI Tick Center on our main page almost since the day we started publishing PC.

The Charlestown Rathskeller Tavern got a nice feature piece on WPRI Channel 12 for its simple, but tasty seared scallops with mushroom risotto.

Once again, Westerly’s Ocean House, as well as the Watch Hill Inn, made the Conde Naste Travelers Award list for 2015.

On November 20, Ray Mott, co-owner of Mott & Chace here in Charlestown, told the Providence Journal about the top-priced house he sold in Charlestown this year. It’s a $4 million beachfront property at 159 Surfside Drive. That’s in Quonnie (Quonochontaug), of course where life is a little different than it is for the rest of us.

Best and worst

Charlestown once again was called out by HousingWorksRI for having one of the state’s worst records for affordable housing. As most readers know, the ruling Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) that has controlled town government since 2008 is adamantly opposed to affordable housing and has repeatedly tried to get the General Assembly to exempt Charlestown from the state mandate that 10% of housing stock should be affordable.

Only 2.1% of Charlestown’s residences are deemed affordable. We are only marginally better than the Foster and Richmond (both at 2%), West Greenwich (1.4%), Scituate (0.9%) and Little Compton (0.6%).

Newport topped the state ranking at 17.1%. Block Island was in the top 10 at 10.3%.

Central Falls, at 11.8%) also made the Top Ten. Surprisingly, Central Falls was ranked as the Rhode Island community that was the most tax-friendly place for retirees. Charlestown, by contrast, did not rank, meaning they were not in the Top Ten.

That pretty decisively debunks the CCA Party’s repeated claim that Charlestown is one of the most tax-friendly municipalities in Rhode Island. It’s not, and it’s getting worse every year since the CCA Party-controlled Town Council has raised Charlestown’s property tax rate every single year they’ve reigned in this town.

I once joked that Charlestown could effectively avoid its affordable housing mandate by annexing Central Falls (calling it North Charlestown) and riding off their good data. Now here’s a second reason: the CCA needs Central Falls to cover the bovine excrement they have been spreading about Charlestown’s tax climate.

Another rating piece tells us something we already knew about South County (a.k.a. Washington County). We are very respectably ranked at #349 out of a total of 3,111 counties in the United States for “scenery and climate.” While that doesn’t put us in the top 10%, we’re just outside the mark at 11.2%.

According to, Rhode Island gets top, or close to top honors for swearing. Measuring the daily usage of a number of different expletives, we stand out as champion cussers.

Yahoo Travel published what it calls “The Definitive and Final Ranking of All 50 States” where they claim to have used just about all of the criteria that counts to rank the 50 states in order. The worst state according to this rating is….FLORIDA!. Connecticut comes in at #44. Rhode Island beats them by being ranked #38, just ahead of Idaho and West Virginia. The #1 state, according to Yahoo Travel is Michigan (???), just beating out Maine for top honors. 

Somehow, I think Yahoo Travel oversold this listing as th
e “definitive and final” one.

Moving on, you should make sure you stay out of Providence if the U.S. comes under zombie attack. According to the real estate website Trulia, Providence (real estate listings here) is the worst city in the United States to be in if there is a zombie attack, which we all know is almost certainly going to happen soon. 

One of the key factors in Trulia’s calculations was the ratio of cemeteries to population. Smart thinking since that’s where zombies come from. As it turns out, Providence’s ratio of 11.5 cemeteries to every 50,000 people is the highest in the nation.

Blowing in the wind

Vortex Bladeless system, as it would look deployed off-shore
Yes, we all know that wind power is a forbidden concept in Charlestown. Under the leadership of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, Charlestown has all but banned any device of any size or technology that converts wind into electricity

But that means nothing to a growing green industry where smart people are figuring out ways to deal with some of the unintended consequences that do sometimes occur with standard, three-blade wind turbines.

One promising trend is to develop wind-to-energy that do not use blades at all. We recently printed a piece on a local company with a variation on that approach aimed mainly at eliminating noise. A more elaborate version, the Vortex Bladeless, was recently featured as promising for large-scale use.

The issue of practicality – i.e. can wind produce on a scale where it is economical and can really replace fossil fuels – has been answered by Denmark’s recent milestone – its wind turbines are now producing at a rate of 140% of the country’s needs. Yes, 140% meaning the whole country is powered by wind with 40% excess capacity it can sell to its neighbors.

As you think about the international push toward green energy – and Charlestown’s conspicuous indifference under the CCA – consider that the Associated Press just reported on the first confirmed case of cancer to a worker caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown that occurred as a result of Japan’s terrible earthquake.


South County Community Action, Inc. is looking for a Head Start Social Service/ERSEA Coordinator, and a Head Start Family Advocate

Ocean Community YMCA (Westerly, RI) is looking for Wellness Center Attendants.

Thundermist Health Center is looking for a South County Community Outreach and Engagement Specialist to work out of Wakefield.

To find out about public service jobs in and around Rhode Island, subscribe to the daily e-mail from Rhode Island Community Jobs, a project of the Swearer Center for Public Service at Brown University, please go to and click the link in right-hand column.