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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Charlestown Chunks #7

News nuggets you may have missed

By Will Collette

The CCA will also be rolling out its new
line of eco-fashions to wear in
conservation developments. You,
too, can become a tree. Or a shrubbery.
This seventh installment of Charlestown Chunks is another effort to report on smaller news items that really don't on their own warrant full-length article treatment.


The Charlestown Citizens Alliance is desperate to pass a new ordinance that would increase the scope of power for the all-mighty Planning Commission. Having once condemned “conservation developments,” the CCA now embraces them, but with a twist.

The new ordinance is essentially designed to be so onerous and complicated that no one is likely to try to build any new housing developments in town. It’s clearly another CCA power play.

Property owners angrily stormed the first hearing on the ordinance, forcing a continuance of the hearing to be bumped to the earliest possible date. Then, so many people showed up that the Council could not continue the hearing due to an over-capacity crowd exceeding Fire Marshal limits. 

Now the hearing is postponed to August 22 at 7 PM at the auditorium at the Charlestown Elementary School. Be sure to bring your balloons and banners.

Also postponed is former Westerly Democratic town chair Bob Ritacco’s pre-trial conference on the two counts of rape contained in a grand jury indictment. Pre-trial conference has been postponed until September.

She can’t always get what she wants

Here is the actual map LaBossiere included in her proposal for $375,000
to build new bike paths. There was also a second map that is equally
useless in telling you exactly where the path would go.
One article of faith in Charlestown is that CCA matriarch Faith LaBossiere always gets what she wants. Whether it’s a bike path in Ninigret Park that was not needed – and according to Faith would only cost $7000, except it ended up costing $266,927 plus interest – more regulations on landscaping, shrubbery or whatever, the Charlestown Citizens Alliance could be counted on to give her what she wants.

Until now. On July 18, the Town Council held a special meeting to go over a list of projects proposed for funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Faith snuck a project onto the list under the auspices of the illegally appointed “Block Island Sound Subcommittee” to spend $375,000 for 1.79 miles of new bike paths.

Aside from being improper on its face, Faith’s scheme is a revival of past biking schemes that would involve either asking property owners to give up land for the right of way or town purchase of land rights. Also the destruction of some portions of stone walls along the route. Variations of this scheme failed in the past due to those problems as well as liability issues – i.e. who pays when bikers inevitably get injured in a fall.

Then there is the money question, namely can Faith's cost estimates be trusted? Like Faith’s Folly in Ninigret Park, the one that Faith said would only cost $7,000 went over-budget by 4,000%. If you apply the same arithmetic to Faith’s new scheme, the final cost could be around $15,000,000.

Little details like this didn’t stop the CCA Council majority from giving Faith what she wanted in the past. However, on July 18, a miracle happened. Faith’s scheme was killed by a 4-1 vote, with CCA counselors Susan Cooper and retiring Councilor Bonnita Van Slyke voting NO.

Hooray Fidget!

Fidget is OK
Charlestown-based journalist Cynthia Drummond recently had a scare when her vet thought her beloved Corgi Fidgit might have cancer. But after a battery of tests, it turns out that the growths the vet thought might be cancer turned out to be “benign nodules.”

I’m very happy for Cynthia. I’ve gone through this kind of crisis with several companion animals in the past – usually not with as good a result – so I understand the range of emotions you go through as you try to get the right answers.

But in this case, Viva Fidget!

Fidgit is frequently featured in Cynthia's entertaining Tweeter site.

Party! Party! Party!

Now that Charlestown’s state Representative Blake “Flip” Filippi has decided to abandon his party and not run for re-election in the face of his first opponent since his initial election in 2014, I wonder what he’s going to do. 

Flip says he decided to quit because he wants to concentrate on an arcane lawsuit he has brought against the Joint Committee on Legislative Services. What’s the case about? How decisions are made in the General Assembly.

When Flipper’s attentions are not required on this crucial lawsuit that everyone in Rhode Island is watching with rapt attention (sarcasm alert!), Flip also has the family businesses on Block Island to tend to. 

Also, he needs to take care of his cute cows on his Lincoln ranch before he slaughters them to sell as organic beef.

It’s his Block Island businesses that probably need his attention most right now. Local police conducted a sting on establishments serving liquor to determine whether the laws on under-age drinking were being followed. For the most part, bars and restaurants, including Filippi family properties, were not carding young customers. They were issued warnings and told to knock it off.

According to the Providence Journal:

“However, Ballard's [a Filippi property]  issued a statement to ABC6, saying that they take the matter "very seriously and will be working with the police department to ensure best practices are enhanced and put in place immediately.”

No Red Flags in Charlestown

All but the most fanatical gun nuts generally support red flag laws designed to enable police to take guns away from people who are found to pose a danger to themselves and others. 

It was one of the better provisions of the bi-partisan gun bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by Joe Biden.

Rhode Island also has had a red flag law on the books.

The Boston Globe recently surveyed Rhode Island cities and towns and found that the red flag law was used 128 times in the four years since the law has been in effect.

Nearly every municipality has used the red flag law to take guns from dangerous people, some through the State Police where the town lacks its own police department (e.g. Exeter). 

Charlestown was one of the ONLY towns to report no instances where CPD intervened to takes guns away from a dangerous. Even Burrillville, which declared itself to be a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” where gun laws are not enforced, reported three instances where the red flag law was used.

Still hoping the feds bust Justin Price

Local nutcase legislator Rep. Justin Price (Trumplican- Richmond, Hopkinton, Exeter) took part in the January 6 Trump-led coup attempt in Washington. 

We know that because he tweeted all about it until Twitter revoked his account. He claimed he didn’t go inside the Capitol but got close enough to definitely I.D. the rioters as Antifa.

Aside from the debunked Antifa bullshit, by his own admission, Price must have crossed police lines to get close enough to make his bogus ID. 

I want to know WHY Price failed to take action against what he perceived to be enemies of the state. As a rough, tough former Marine, he took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. How about it, Justin?

The feds are slowly but surely rounding up legislators who broke the law on January 6, as they did with West Virginia state Delegate Derrick Evans who received a three month prison sentence after pleading guilty to felony civil disorder. I am hoping that Price will also be called to account for his actions on January 6.

Drought prompts Westerly to order stop to water wasting

South Kingstown has had water restrictions in place for years, but now Westerly has decided that it too must stop water waste. Almost all of Rhode Island is suffering a “severe” drought. Only a small strip of the coast, including the south end of Charlestown is in “moderate” drought. See map, below.

Nonetheless, all of us should be mindful of wasting water since our wells are drawing on aquifers that count on rain to recharge.

In Westerly, wasteful uses include watering lawns, filling swimming and wading pools, washing houses, cars, sidewalks, and boats, etc. 

Westerly residents with even numbered addresses can use water without restriction on even numbered calendars; odd address numbers, odd days.

It’s a warning for the first offense but $100 if you do it again.

Aside from stressing trees and withering gardens, the drought also boosts the chance of wild fires.