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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Charlestown budget hearing Monday night

Tax rate to rise for 8th consecutive year
By Will Collette

Screen shot from the Charlestown Tax Assessor webpage
If you only looked at the official published agenda, you would think that Monday night’s Budget Public Hearing wasn’t about the budget, but rather about what a new Charlestown civic group, the Friends of the General Stanton Inn, hope to get the town to do about one of its most treasured historical icons.

The citizens’ petition to put a $1.75 million ballot question to save the inn before the voters on June 6 at the town Financial Referendum has already been approved. It cannot be stopped by the Town Council, consisting entirely of Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) picks. 

The main thing we will learn at the Budget Hearing is the extent of the CCA Party opposition to this popular and commendable enterprise.

I have a theory that the CCA Party would like to see all eyes focused on the General Stanton Inn initiative and most of the time at the hearing devoted to discussing it.

That way, voters might be distracted from noticing that the proposed CCA Council budget contains the eighth consecutive tax rate hike, bringing the new property tax rate to $10.22, give or take a penny.

Since the CCA Party took control of Charlestown Town Government in 2008, they have raised Charlestown’s property tax rate by more than 42% - from $7.16 to a proposed $10.22. All the while, they shout from the rooftops that Charlestown has one of the lowest tax rates in the state – which is only true if you ignore how we have virtually none of the municipal services - water, sewage, fire protection, rescue service, trash disposal, etc. - that are built into the tax rates of most other municipalities. We still pay for all those services, but separately, so it doesn't show up in our general property tax rate.

Plus, the CCA Party continues to claim that its core financial principles are saving taxpayers money.

Since 2008, they have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to greatly expand the amount of land taken off the tax rolls as open space. This, according to CCA Party co-founder and current Zoning Board member Cliff Vanover, was definitely going to increase property values and thus reduce taxes. It hasn’t.

Since 2008, they have managed to thwart new family housing on Planning Commissar Ruth Platner’s theory that new housing for working families automatically means more kids in Chariho schools and higher costs to tax payers. As a result, Charlestown’s population has shrunk and aged, our enrollment in Chariho has dropped and Charlestown’s share of the costs of Chariho has declined. Despite all that, our taxes have gone up for eight years straight.

Since they’ve also asserted dominance over the Budget Commission, CCA budgets include the peculiar feature of taking town surpluses to pay for capital projects such as road works instead of using those surpluses for tax relief. Each year, we are promised this will “save taxes.” But for eight years in a row, our tax rate has gone up.

Based on comments printed in the CCA’s official website, it looks like CCA Party followers are going to challenge the General Stanton Inn initiative on financial grounds, despite assurances from none other than Charlestown Budget Commission chair Richard Sartor that the costs to taxpayers will be minimal compared to the tremendous benefit to the town.

In advance, I would say to each of those potential CCA Party objectors, “When will you start challenging the failed budget practices of your own Town Council? Why aren’t you raising a stink about 42.7% in tax rate hikes since the CCA took over?”

CCA supporters in many ways resemble the hardcore supporters of Donald Trump. They hold every CCA Party pronouncement as gospel. They call any information that casts doubt on the CCA Party “lies.” They believe anyone who opposes the CCA is motivated by hate.

We’ll see how much of that plays out at Monday’s hearing.

Here is the official agenda which includes links to the budget and the complete text of the Petition to save the General Stanton Inn:

Why we procrastinate

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Don’t tell Rep. Justin Price*

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Expanding human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programs to include males in Canada will help protect them against HPV-related cancers, according to an analysis published inCMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in Canada and is linked to cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, penis, anus and others, in addition to causing cervical cancer and anogenital warts. Men who have sex with men are at high risk of HPV-related diseases.

However, only three provinces -- Alberta, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- offer the HPV vaccine to boys through school-based vaccination programs. Manitoba and Quebec have pledged to extend their programs to boys in fall 2016.

Senate approves bill to make Henry Shelton Act more effective

Changes aim to help struggling families earn utility debt forgiveness

The Rhode Island Senate approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller (co-sponsored by Sen. Sue Sosnowski) making it easier for struggling families, particularly those transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing, to earn forgiveness for utility debt.

The legislation makes changes to the Henry Shelton Act, named after the longtime anti-poverty and social justice activist and founder of the George Wiley Center in Pawtucket, to allow people who enroll in the debt management plan to earn incremental forgiveness over the course of a year, instead of earning full forgiveness only if they successfully complete a three-year plan.

Senator Miller, who was also the sponsor of the Henry Shelton Act when it became law in 2011, said the three-year arrangement is proving to be less effective than hoped because those who are having trouble paying their monthly bills also struggle with paying down their debt on top of it, and if they cannot complete all three years of the current program, they get no relief.

The legislation passed today (2016-S 2087A) is based on Massachusetts’ utility debt forgiveness program. It will allow participants to get one-twelfth of their arrearage forgiven for every month of successful payment, for up to $1,500 of forgiveness in a year.

Be strong – eat chocolate!

Kingston University

sportsDark chocolate has already been hailed for its positive effects on cardiovascular health -- and now a study undertaken at London's Kingston University has found the tasty treat could help give sports enthusiasts an extra edge in their fitness training.

A team led by postgraduate research student Rishikesh Kankesh Patel discovered that dark chocolate provides similar benefits to beetroot juice, now taken regularly by elite athletes after studies showed it can improve performance. 

What really happened to the El Faro?

URI’s Inner Space Center helps discover voyage data recorder from El Faro wreck

Federal investigators announced they found the “black box’’ that could reveal why the El Faro cargo ship sank off the Bahamas in a hurricane last fall—and that the University of Rhode Island played a key role in the discovery.

URI’s internationally acclaimed Inner Space Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography provided telepresence technology—and its expertise—to assist with the search.

Dwight F. Coleman, center director, worked closely with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to install telepresence technology on the research vessel Atlantis, the Woods Hole ship that conducted the search.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ballot question to save the General Stanton Inn will go to the voters at June Town Financial Referendum

150 more signatures than needed certified

Budget hearing on Monday

By Will Collette

Reliable sources tell me that on April 26, the Charlestown Board of Canvassers certified 351 names on the petitions turned in by the Friends of the General Stanton Inn.

The group needed 200 signatures to bring the question of a $1.75 million town purchase of the iconic building before the voters at the June 6 Town Financial Referendum.

This question, as well as the entire Charlestown budget, which calls for the eighth property tax hike in a row, will be discussed at the May 2 Budget Hearing.

While subject to discussion, the petition puts the issue on the June 6 ballot whether or not the Town Council, consisting entirely of members of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) agrees.

If you read the comments posted by CCA Party faithful on the official CCA blog, it appears the CCA Party is, at best, lukewarm to the idea. After all, it’s not open space that would be protected, but rather Charlestown’s history.

And Rep. Justin Price applauds

The progressive web comic about anti-vaxxers.

Path to victory?

Pic of the Moment

Death on the job

Remembering Fallen Workers and Negligent Corporations

By Phil Mattera, editor of the Dirt Diggers Digest

Let's not forget the first responders who face death and injury every day

Workers Memorial Day (April 28) is not one of those holidays on which to give thanks and feel good. 

It is a time to be angry about the fact that nearly 5,000 people each year are killed on the job in the United States in accidents that in many cases were the result of management negligence. 

Millions more are injured or contract occupational illnesses. The just-published 25th edition of the AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job annual report makes for sobering reading.

While this day is a time to “remember those who have suffered and died on the job,” it should also be an occasion to point the finger at those corporations which have done the most to cause those outcomes. A list can be found by consulting Violation Tracker, the database my colleagues and I at the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First introduced last fall.

Attacking the “metabolic syndrome”

University of California - Irvine

While controlling blood pressure, blood sugar and LDL-cholesterol levels reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes, only 7 percent of diabetic participants in three major heart studies had recommended levels of these three factors, according to research from the Heart Disease Prevention Program at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.

The findings illustrate the need for persons with diabetes to better manage their blood pressure, blood sugar and LDL-cholesterol levels, which are prime indicators of future cardiovascular disease. 

Whether it’s Flint or Quonnie, this issue won’t go away

Improving water use, conservation starts with access to better water data

Water crises are percolating all around the United States, from droughts in the Southwest to lead in the drinking water in Flint, Mich. And yet very little is known about how water is used in the United States, who uses it and how much is used. This lack of data makes it difficult to make proper water use decisions and to improve water conservation efforts.

But thanks to two University of Rhode Island researchers, data about water use in Rhode Island may soon become more readily available. And they hope it will open the floodgates of data collection for the rest of the region and country.

According to Soni Pradhanang, assistant professor of geosciences at URI, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects data about water use only every 5 years. In Rhode Island, that data is provided by the Rhode Island Water Resources Board, which gathers information about drinking water, surface water, well water and other water sources from a wide variety of water utilities and users.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Charlestown water wars – the salt ponds

By LEIGH VINCOLA/ecoRI News contributor

Ninigret Pond in Charlestown, R.I., is a popular spot for boaters, fishermen and aquaculture. (Tom Richardson/New England Boating)
Ninigret Pond in Charlestown, R.I., is a popular spot for boaters, 
fishermen and aquaculture. (Tom Richardson/New England Boating)
Rhode Island’s coastal salt ponds are among the most treasured resources in the state. 

Ask anyone who frequents the ponds and they will tell you they are special. Point Judith, Potters, Winnapaug, Ninigret, Green Hill and Quonochontaug ponds run along the southern coast of the state from Point Judith to Westerly, and into Connecticut.

These ponds are coastal lagoons with shallow water that are separated from the ocean by a barrier, creating a protected environment that is popular for many activities. On a given day, you can find people boating, fishing, swimming, sunbathing and/or birding.

Aquaculture farms also are particularly suited for salt ponds, because of the shallow water and longer growing season. Rhode Island’s aquaculture industry is on a steady rise, and people with a vested interest in salt ponds have expressed concern about the proper management of aquaculture farm leases.

Once an aquaculture farm is set, the area can’t be utilized for other purposes. While the general sentiment across the state, both within and outside of marine industries, is that aquaculture is good for the economy, resistance has come from certain groups who are accustomed to enjoying the salt ponds without restrictions.

Fight back

North Carolina has passed a law forbidding transgender people from using bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities. It's time for cis people to join transgender people in a statewise piss-off: peeing and pooping outside!For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE

VIDEO: Donald Trump explains some of his foreign policy

Slowed down by 50% so you can take it all in. To watch this video on YouTube:

Holding back the sea

By TIM FAUKNER/ecoRI News staff

Homes and businesses, such as Ocean Mist, along a stretch of street in South Kingstown, R.I., are caught between an encroaching sea and Matunuck Beach Road. (ecoRI News)
Homes and businesses, such as Ocean Mist, along a stretch of street in South Kingstown, R.I., are caught between an encroaching sea and Matunuck Beach Road. (ecoRI News)

A throng of supporters of a proposed seawall intended to save a popular waterfront South Kingstown tavern left a recent public meeting deeply frustrated.

Many of the nearly 200 attendees hollered at the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) for not voting on a plan to install a fortified stone barrier that they claim would protect the Matunuck beach community and the Ocean Mist tavern.

The majority of the overflow crowd chanted, “Give us the wall” and “Make a decision” in the hearing room at the Department of Administration building during the April 26 meeting.

CRMC executive director Grover Fugate and CRMC chairwoman Anne Maxwell Livingston, however, repeatedly told the audience that the meeting was simply a review of a complicated proposal and not intended for public input or a vote by the 10-member council.

That ‘Natural’ Label Doesn’t Mean Much

The feds are finally cracking down on misleading labels, but you're still better off buying organic for now.
Scenario: You’re at the store, trying to make healthy yet frugal choices. You see several products labeled “organic” and others labeled “natural.”

You’re trying to buy good food and household products for less, and those organic items seem to cost a bit more. Maybe natural is just as good, right? What’s the difference?

It comes down to standards.

Federal organic standards ban the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and most synthetic ingredients in any certified organic product. So that organic label means something.

Natural, on the other hand, generally means nothing. It’s usually a feel-good label slapped on packaging to attract consumers who value their health and the environment to a product that may not be good for either.

From the guy who brought us 38 Studio

By Sarah

SchillingphotoAfter ESPN fired washed-up MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, and rightfully so, for posting an extremely transphobic image on his Facebook page, he decided that wasn’t enough hate, so now he’s added some racism to the mix.

Clearly pissed that he lost his job, Schilling decided to repost an image put out by conservative blogger and wannabe comedian Steven Crowder. 

In the image it throws noted writer and activist Shaun King under the bus in its pathetic attempt to be funny. Which, I’m sure to the myopic, racist and transphobic crowd Crowder plays to, is hilarious.

The image says:
“Liberal Logic:Shaun King: Fakes being a black man. Gets Promotion.Curt Schilling: Thinks men should use men’s bathrooms. Fired by ESPN.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Death Gap

The richest Americans now live 10-15 years longer than the poorest.
Image result for rich people live longerRich people live longer than poor people. No big news there — we’ve known that health tracks wealth for quite some time now.

But here’s what we haven’t known: The life-expectancy gap between rich and poor in the United States is actually accelerating.

Since 2001, American men among the nation’s most affluent 5 percent have seen their lifespans increase by more than two years. American women in that bracket have registered an almost three-year extension to their life expectancy.

Meanwhile, the poorest five percent of Americans have seen essentially no gains at all.

Now a three-year gain in average lifespan might not, at first glance, seem earth-shakingly significant. 

But consider this: If doctors could by some miracle suddenly cure all cancer, federal health officials tell us, the average overall American life expectancy would increase by just three years.

Protect yourself!

The progressive web comic about the North Carolina LGBT discrimination laws.

Flip’s Legacy: give the developers what they want

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — Several environmental bills are poised for votes and hearings this week. One of the most significant for supporters of open-space protection is an amendment (S2591 and H7651) to state building laws that allow wetlands to be included in calculations that determine a buildable lot and the number of units per lot.

The so-called “Dry Lands” bills are opposed by the Environment Council of Rhode Island (ECRI) and Save The Bay.

Both organizations point to legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2015 that creates statewide standards for wetland buffers and setbacks.

The regulations have yet to be issued by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). ECRI and Save The Bay say those standards are needed before new building rules can be acted on by the General Assembly.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 2015 legislation referred to was the first piece of legislation co-sponsored by Charlestown’s indy-Republican state Rep. Blake “Flip” Filippi. That legislation was opposed by Flip’s main supporter, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party).

New financial thinking drives green energy expansion

Green Finance Comes of Age in 2016
After years of volatility, green finance is emerging as a central part of our efforts to address climate change and transform our energy infrastructure.

Green finance is preoccupied with adapting to the impacts of climate change and/or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  

It is the means by which we can stream tremendous amounts of needed capital into emissions free sources of power.

Heart does affect your thinking

University of Waterloo

The fluctuations of your heartbeat may affect your wisdom, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.

The study suggests that heart rate variation and thinking process work together to enable wise reasoning about complex social issues. The work by Igor Grossmann, professor of psychology at Waterloo, and colleagues based at the Australian Catholic University, appears in the online journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Their study breaks new ground in wisdom research by identifying conditions under which psychophysiology impacts wise judgment.

Sell your Volkswagen back to Volkswagen

VW agrees to buy back or "fix" 600,000 cars in North America
From: , Triple Pundit

With only days to go before the deadline, Volkswagen AG (VW) and the U.S. government reached a partial settlement over how to deal with the automaker’s “dieselgate” emissions scandal.

Volkswagen agreed to fix or buy back some 500,000 vehicles caught up in the crisis. 

What wasn’t agreed upon is how much the company should pay in fines and compensation to consumers affected by the crisis.

Under the tentative agreement, VW will give the option of a fix or buy-back (at the company’s expense) to owners of affected 2.0-liter engine cars.

Discussions are ongoing as to how to address Audi and Porsche 3.0-liter vehicles that also contain the illicit software.

Kelley Blue Book estimated that the cost to buy back and fix affected vehicles could be around $7 billion, the New York Times reported.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This Industry is Literally Making a Killing

Big money in politics doesn't just drive inequality — it also fuels war.
The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump’s unorthodox candidacy.

The elections are also groundbreaking because they’re revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy.

Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.

The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in U.S. history. And this year’s races are predicted to cost even more. With the general election still six months away, donors have already sunk $1 billion into the presidential race — with $619 million raised by candidates and another $412 million by super PACs.

Big money in politics drives grave inequality in our country. It also drives war.


The progressive web comic about our terrible voting system.

It never stops

Pic of the Moment

First green energy. Now, yellow energy

University of Bath

(Left to right): Ph.D. student Jon Chouler; Senior Lecturer in the
Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr. Mirella Di Lorenzo;
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Petra Cameron.
Credit: Tim Gander
Researchers at the University of Bath have developed an innovative miniature fuel cell that can generate electricity from urine, creating an affordable, renewable and carbon-neutral way of generating power.

In the near future this device could provide a means of generating much needed electricity to remote areas at very little cost, each device costs just £1-£2. With growing global pressures to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, microbial fuel cells could be an exciting alternative.

A microbial fuel cell is a device that uses natural biological processes of 'electric' bacteria to turn organic matter, such as urine, into electricity. These fuel cells are efficient and relatively cheap to run, and produce nearly zero waste compared to other methods of electricity generation.

In practice, urine will pass through the microbial fuel cell for the reaction to happen. From here, electricity is generated by the bacteria which can then be stored or used to directly power electrical devices.

Hey, kids! Wanna hold a hissing cockroach?

This weekend at URI, hands on science for grade schoolers 

Children in grades kindergarten through 8 and their families will experience the fun and rigors of scientific investigation at the University of Rhode Island’s GEMS-Net Family Science Expo Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at URI’s Ryan Center, 1 Lincoln Almond Plaza, Kingston Campus.

GEMS-Net, which stands for The Guiding Education in Math and Science Network, is a collaboration of the University of Rhode Island’s School of Education, scientists and engineers from many URI departments, and 47 public schools in Rhode Island. 

GEMS-Net was founded in 1995 to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching and learning for kindergarten through grade 8. The program has received more than $3 million in external funding, mostly from the National Science Foundation. 

The Science Expo is free and open to the public and will feature 27 activities based on kindergarten through grade 8 curricula. Children and families will be able to hold and observe hissing cockroaches, engineer their own compost bin and design parachutes that help drop food to firefighters in harsh environments.

$1,400,000,000,000: Oxfam Exposes the Great Offshore Tax Scam of US Companies

"We can't go on with a situation where the rich and powerful are not paying their fair share of tax, leaving the rest of us to foot the bill."

Using an "opaque and secretive network" of subsidiaries in tax havens, top American corporations have stashed $1.4 trillion offshore, a new report from Oxfam shows.

With "a range of tricks, tools, and loopholes," for tax avoidance, the 50 largest U.S. companies, including well-known names like Goldman Sachs, Verizon Communications, Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, and Chevron, raked in $4 trillion in profits globally between 2008 and 2014, are contributing to inequality, the anti-poverty group said.

The report, Broken at the Top (pdf), states that such tax dodging is one of the "profit-making strategies of many multinational corporations."

As noted in the report: 

Monday, April 25, 2016

“With a carefully selected data set, you can do amazing things with statistics “

William Mathis was a school superintendent in Vermont. Since retiring, he has become Managing director of the National Education Policy Center and a member of the Vermont Board of Education.

In this post, which he wrote for this blog, he deconstructs a recent study by prominent economists about school reform. The idea of projecting how many trillions might be saved if the schools adopted certain test-based reforms rang a bell.

I checked my copy of Reign of Error and found that Eric Hanushek had predicted in 2011 that if the U.S. replaced the lowest-performing teachers with average teachers, we would match the test scores of Canada and Finland and generate an additional $112 trillion in economic output over our lifetimes. (Eric A. Hanushek, “Valuing Teachers: How Much is a Good Teacher Worth?” Education Next (Summer 2011).

The following article under review says the gains produced by raising NAEP scores would generate “only” $76 trillion in new economic output. Not sure why the future gains dropped from $112 trillion to $76 trillion. The article reviewed here can be found online at and will appear in the summer 2016 issue of Education Next (

The Cargo Cult Educational and Economic Reform Theory
By William J. Mathis

As U.S. Forces island-hopped across the Pacific during World War II, Melanesians noticed that the Yankees would land, immediately bull-doze huge landing strips, put up rows of lights and build a control tower. Great metal birds would then be attracted, land, and off-load tons of valuable cargo. 

Being quick learners and believing that if they built it, manna would come; the islanders dug landing strips out of the jungle, placed torches along the sides and built a bamboo tower to attract these birds. Thus was born a new version of the economic theory of the “cargo cult.”

With rigorous application of just such impeccable reasoning, Erik Hanushek, Jens Ruhose and Ludger Woessman have published their latest re-write, It Pays to Improve School Quality, as the feature story in the summer 2016 issue of Education Next

“Make my day”

clint eastwoodA highly exclusive, highly secretive club organized by and for Hollywood’s (relatively small) conservative community has spectacularly imploded – and like many bad things, this can be blamed on Donald Trump.

According to a recent announcement by “The Friends of Abe” – a club with members including Clint Eastwood, Gary Sinise, Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – the group will abruptly end after reported in-fighting and lack of enthusiasm caused irredeemable dysfunction .
“Effective immediately, we are going to begin to wind down the 501 c3 organization, bring the Sustaining Membership dues to an end, and do away with the costly infrastructure and the website,” the executive director, Jeremy Boreing, told members in an email, a copy of which the Guardian has seen.“Today, because we have been successful in creating a community that extends far beyond our events, people just don’t feel as much of a need to show up for every speaker or bar night, and fewer people pay the dues that help us maintain that large infrastructure.”
As the Guardian notes, one of the major reasons the celebrities can’t get along is because of the question of Donald Trump.

Labor mourns Prince’s passing

Prince Was a Champion for Working People

The world lost a musical icon. You can read about his impact as a musician and an entertainer elsewhere, but let's take a second to look at Prince's career-spanning fights on behalf of working people.

For more than 40 years, Prince was a union member, a long-standing member of both the Twin Cities Musicians Local 30-73 of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and SAG-AFTRA.

Beginning with "Ronnie Talk to Russia" in 1981 on through hits like "Sign o' the Times" and later works like "We March" and "Baltimore," Prince's music often reflected the dreams, struggles, fears and hopes of working people.

And he wasn't limited to words, his Baltimore concert in the wake of Freddie Gray's death raised funds to help the city recover. I got to sit on the right side of the stage, high in the rafters, to watch joyously.

Few of America's artists have so well captured the plight of working Americans as Prince, putting him in the line of artists like Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen as working-class heroes.

Kitty of the Week

Meet Chloe
Animal Rescue Rhode Island

Pet of the Week: Meet ChloeMeow! I'm Chloe, a 6 year old love bug who's just looking for a place to call my own.

Do you seek affection? I do!

If you also like petting, purrs, and paws kneading at your lap then I think we might have a LOT in common.

Unfortunately I don't like other kitties, so I'd do best in a furever home where I'm your only princess.

Sometimes I get a little talkative - but hey, I'm a big girl with a lot to say!

I'm looking for someone who enjoys quiet naps in the sun spots, and togetherness for the rest of our days. Might that someone be you?

“Pro-Life” or death

Violence and Death Threats Spike As Result Of False Planned Parenthood Smear Campaign

New research from the National Abortion Federation (NAF) shows a direct connection in the uptick in death threats against abortion providers and the release of the deceptively edited videos by the Center for Medical Progress last year.

The report states in part:

“Our 2015 statistics reflect a dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder, which coincided with the release of heavily-edited, misleading, and inflammatory videos beginning in July. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers.

“Three of those murders happened in November 2015, when Robert Dear opened fire at an abortion facility in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding nine others. This clinic is part of the Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the highly-edited, inflammatory videos. When police arrested Dear, he made a reference to part of the video smear campaign.

“… After each video, social media, blogs, and news websites were filled with inflammatory comments about the doctors who were misrepresented in the videos, including that they were ‘evil,’ ‘vile,’ ‘unhuman,’ ‘murderers,’ and that abortion providers ‘deserve everything they have coming’ to them.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Wednesday hearing on Charlestown’s preparations for major catastrophe

A sobering look at what could go wrong
By Will Collette

An ad hoc task force comprised primarily of Charlestown’s professional staff had the unenviable chore of thinking hard about all the things that could possibly go wrong in Mother Nature’s treatment of our town.

They had to rank those calamities by probability and severity and outline what we can do about them.

The Charlestown Natural Hazard Mitigation Committee’s (CNHMC) work product, Charlestown’s Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, will be up for a public hearing this Wednesday, April 27, from 6-7 PM at the Cross’ Mills Public Library. You can also send comments, deadline April 29, to

The plan is available for advance reading HEREhighly suggested if you plan to go to the hearing.

The Plan spans a total of 202 pages, with 123 pages of narrative, including the Executive Summary reprinted at the end of this article. 

There is also a collection of appendices including maps and some tables detailing the history of past natural disasters that have impacted Charlestown.

While the prose is mostly dry and professional, as you would expect from a group of professionals studying a serious problem, it is nevertheless a very interesting read.

You will learn quite a lot about Charlestown’s history, social structure, infrastructure and physical layout as the Committee reviews how natural events, such as hurricanes, winter superstorms and sea level rise caused by climate change, will turn the town upside down.

Here are some of the things I found especially interesting.