Dave's Column

Dave Richards for May 1st............

Dave Richards for May 1st…………

 

--I have an announcement to make.  Some of you have noticed and commented to me that for the first time in our 16 years of writing for The Call I’ve missed a few weeks in succession for no apparent reason.  There is a reason, and simply put I’ve just missed my publication deadlines.  Changes at the newspaper combined with changes in my work schedule have conspired to produce this.  A change was agreed upon to remedy the situation and our column will now be published on Wednesdays starting today.  I thank the folks at The Call for this accommodation.

 

--What I want to talk to you about next requires a little care in how I word it.  I have had a personal experience with the cost of a prescription medicine locally which left me with the impression I was being cheated by the pharmacy I’d been doing business with for some time.  There may be a better explanation for it than I was given, so in order to keep the lawyers out of this and any subsequent discussions, I’ll leave the names of the pharmacies out of it.  The entire reason for me bringing it up can be served by focusing on this one point:  Shop around for your prescription medications every few months.  Based upon what I experienced, I think some people may do much better if they just put the effort into periodically shopping for the best price.  I know I will.

 

  What happened to me is I received a telephone message to call the pharmacy I was purchasing a certain prescription medication from.  When I returned the call to the number on my pill bottle, a nice pharmacist politely told me something went wrong with my insurance, and my prescription should not have cost $12, as it had for years, but rather $53.  I explained that we do not use insurance for that prescription because it was more costly with insurance than to pay cash.  (crazy, eh?, but true)  She had no explanation for this, but regardless, the cost was now $53 and she didn’t want me to be surprised at the counter when I came in for a refill.  I thanked her and hung up the phone, with the distinct feeling that something very wrong was being hidden from me.  I decided to take action.

 

  A quick few phone calls to other pharmacies in the area found that all charged less for the same prescription.  In fact, one would sell me the same prescription for $8 per refill.  Needless to say, I switched and all has gone well since.  Happy endings for me, but I became concerned that some of you out there may just accept such a price increase needlessly.    

 

  Again, what I took away from this is that maybe there was exploitation going on and maybe there wasn’t, but I protected myself by shopping around for the best price and I’ve resolved to do this twice a year, in the spring and fall from now on.  I think you should, too.  Then we should tell our representatives and senators to get on the stick and come up with consumer protection legislation to prevent any possibility of abuses.

 

 

 

--I was initially happy to hear that Woonsocket City Councilor Julia Brown was resigning her council seat, effective today.  I wasn’t happy to see her go, nor was I happy that the city would need to endure the expense of electing her replacement.  No, the first thought that went through my mind is that long-time former councilor Roger Jalette might get the chance to win the seat.  This is not for political reasons, Roger and I have our differences regarding policy and such, no, this is on a strictly human level.  Roger stood next to me last November on Election Night as the returns came in from the voters at the end of the day.  He went to bed that night thinking he had won, and Julia had gone to bed thinking she’d come in 8th out of seven.  However, when the sun rose on Wednesday morning, they both learned that the opposite was true.  Good news for Julia.  Tough news for Roger.  I felt badly for his disappointing twist of fate.  Now, it appears he has a second chance, and Julia improves her life as well.  I just love it when there’s a chance for both sides to win.

 

 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for March 26th.............

Dave Richards for March 26th…………

 

--I must admit to a small degree of discomfort in bringing up this next subject.  Friends of mine, and of our overall Northern Rhode Island Community are having a fundraiser, a very nice one, and I hope you will buy a ticket and come.  It’s this Thursday, March 28th, at River Falls Tavern on the Market Square end of South Main Street next to the Museum. 

  The event includes food and music, which will start right at 6pm (doors open at 5:30) with a short speaking program afterward.  It will be a very nice night.

  Community Care Alliance, Woonsocket’s Premiere Community Action Organization, is honoring some wonderful people with their “Community Champions” award.  Among them, Lorna Cohen, who is Program Manager of the vitally important Agape Woonsocket HIV Support Services for her work helping people stricken with AIDS.  Emidio Rosa, who is the Supervisor of the CCA Family Support Center, who helps bring assistance and hope to families in crisis, and Tanja Kubas-Meyer, the Executive Director of The RI Coalition for Children & Families, who supports our local organizations that assist children and families from the state-wide perspective.  I will also be honored for my work with The Milk Fund and will accept the award on behalf of the many people who gathered with me to raise more than $57-thousand this past year to buy milk for those who need it.

  If you come you will enjoy a memorable night out with good food, music, and some very nice people.  I hope you do.  Tickets are $20 each and include the buffet dinner and music.  Call Wendy at 235-7245 or email me at the radio station and I’ll send you a web-link you can use to get your tickets online.  You’ll be helping some of the most devoted and committed people I know to help those in our community who need help most.  And you’ll have a great time, too!  See you Thursday!

 

--People who don’t like President Trump have been for months salivating over the prospect of the Mueller Report bringing them a shipment of free ammunition they could use to remove Mr. Trump from office or at least to so tie him up with defending himself that he has little ability to do anything else. 

  On the other side of this battle, those in favor of Mr. Trump, like the president himself, are breathing a sigh of relief and pointing out the difference between “obstruction of justice” and “criminal obstruction of justice”. 

  As the summary of conclusions contained in the Mueller Report came to light over the last few days, they were grasped by people who hate Mr. Trump as if they were the Holy Sword of Justice.  Unsatisfied with the lack of a damning indictment, they want more ‘dirt’ to be released quickly so they can use it against the president.  What a shame it is that people in such high elected offices can only hate.  I have no room in my life for this kind of hate from either side of the spectrum. 

  Let me make my position clear.  I am a supporter of the office of the presidency, not necessarily its present occupant, except to say that I believe this man should be treated with the same fairness and consideration which any other citizen of our country would expect.

  Putting extremist hate aside in the discussion for a moment, what I think people on both sides seem to be overlooking is that the “facts”, as written in the report of the investigation, might not actually be the truth.

  Has everyone forgotten that the entire investigation was politically motivated to begin with?  With that kind of pressure on the investigators, it would seem to me that the opportunities for skullduggery have been numerous.  We can only hope politics have not distorted the truth in this investigation.  But in common terms, it would be a ‘miracle’ if this report represented the truth and nothing but the truth.  It would be a miracle I would welcome.

  Consider this.  The fact that the Mueller Report pleases nobody completely does speak well for the possibility of it being accurate and truthful.  The truth, as they say, lies somewhere in the middle.

  There is one proposition I on which I think we should all be able to agree.  Anyone who organizes an effort to remove a duly elected president from office without an election is not the kind of American I was taught to be.   People who do that are un-American and wrong, regardless of how lofty they think their goals are, or how much of a jerk the leader is.

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for March 19th.............

Dave Richards for March 19th…………

 

--Do I dare?  Will I be sorry if I tell you that I think the winter of 2018-2019 is practically over?  Well, the astronomical change of the seasons is tomorrow, but as we all know, there is a “lag” usually between what the calendar says and what Mother Nature brings.  Still, we have daytime temperatures all in the 40s and above this week, so it’s really tempting to take a deep breath and ‘go for it’, don’t you think?

 

--Here’s a question to ponder.  “Is it really better to know ‘the truth’ about past events, or are we generally better off simply moving forward into the future tending to matters we can do something about?”

  I’ll tell you why I ask that question.  Just recently the big news in the forensic and crime world is the revelation that somebody thinks they know who the man was who was responsible for the so-called ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders in London in the late 1800s.  They think it was a then 23 year-old Polish immigrant who was trained to be a barber.  He was a suspect at the time, but the forensic science at the time couldn’t link him to any of the evidence.  Now, with DNA and other tests at humanity’s disposal, they think they have their man. 

  I say, “who cares”, it will help no one.  The man they claim did the killings was himself dead by the age of 54.  He died in an asylum.  Not a nice way to go.  But why bring it up now?  Probably because they can.

 I think that all this 21st century science would be better used to help the people living today.  In some cases it is.  We read with some regularity of a person living in prison who claimed their innocence and now today’s technology proves they were. 

 Another good use for this technology is to solve more recent murders, if they can.  The Doreen Picard murder comes to mind.  The problem with that is the same problem they have with the London example.  So much of the evidence available for re-examination cannot be held to the high standards of purity today’s legal system requires.  So, even when you do use modern technology to uncover new facts, the new information seems to stir up more controversy and ask more questions than they answer.

 So, to my point.  Even if you could find ‘the truth’, could you prove it to everyone’s satisfaction?  Not likely.  Who will benefit from renewed controversy and more questions?  I would not dare to imagine what family members of actual murder victims feel about this subject.  I do wonder, though.  And I wonder if they just want to move on to make use of their time to look forward rather than look back.

 Like all of us, I have a few of those family controversies which are not as serious as a murder in the family, thank God, but nonetheless occupy the minds of certain family members.  Some in my family, join me in keeping these matters private and “behind us” so as not to distract us from making progress with the rest of our lives.  Others just dwell on them.  Deaths in the family, wrongs which should have been righted but weren’t, just how much Native American blood do you have in you.  You know, all the things no one can do nothing about any more.  Who cares?  I don’t have time for it. 

 I also wonder what we can do to inspire people to move and think in a forward-looking fashion.  Looking back and keeping score is a breeding ground for mental illness and hate.  I suppose all we can do is to set a good example and concern ourselves with the truly important things. 

 Tomorrow.

 Happy Spring!     

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for March 5th...........

Dave Richards for March 5th…………

 

--Well, after what was statistically the most stormy weekend of the winter, the world is finally returning to normal today.  Except for making up the things which didn’t get done, that is.  Of all the stupid things our government tries to do, like legislate morality, how come nobody submits legislation to outlaw winter storms? 

  That is, as they say, a rhetorical question.  It’s not meant to be answered.

 

--Speaking of passing laws, I was terribly unsurprised to learn that the state representative who replaced Burrillville’s Rep. Keable in the last election has introduced legislation to completely revamp the Energy Facility Siting Act.  Why am I not surprised?  That darned power plant proposed for Burrillville was the last straw for the residents of that town who have tried everything they can think of and spent untold dollars to keep it from being built in their town.  They feel “the fix” has “been in” from the start and they are looking for a more level playing field. 

  Specifically, House Bill 5446 would raise the number of people who have absolute power in siting energy plants, for instance, from 3 to 7 and increase public and municipal participation and sensitivity to environmental concerns.  It would also speed up the application process so that well-funded applicants cannot drag things out until the locals run out of money.

   While it doesn’t say so in the law, they would like to repair the process so that three people, doing the bidding of the one person who appointed them, who may not be completely impartial, cannot do what they want with no regard to or recourse from the people who will have to live with it all.

   I’m not completely sure this step will work, but it does sound like a moderated effort, and I applaud people who have every cause to be emotional from their struggles for subduing their passions and moving deliberately and soberly to improve not only their lot, but the lot of others as well.

  

--I have figured it out.  The poor play of the Boston Celtics basketball club has baffled sports pundits across New England, but I think I know why the 17-time World Basketball Champs are in a monumental slump. 

  On Sunday afternoon, the Fabulous Denise was watching TV, I was listening to the Celtics game on my favorite local radio station.  I have not seen a Celtics game all season, I listen on the radio.  For no particular reason while changing channels, Denise stopped on the Celtics game on TV.  Then I saw it. 

  Every member of the Boston Celtics team was wearing tights.  Kelly green leggings!  I’ve never seen a basketball team do that before, and I think it is the answer to the whole problem of the uninspired play.  The players are simply over-heated and uncomfortable.

  You’ve seen the way basketball players sweat.  There’s a reason for that, you know.  When the human body sweats it is trying to cool itself off by producing liquid on the skin which, when it evaporates, cools the skin removing excess heat from the body.

  I don’t know everything, and even less about sports, I’ll admit it, but I had four sisters.  When it was cold outside and they needed warmth they wore tights.  When it was warm or they were being physical in normal temperatures they hated wearing tights. 

  That’s my theory.  Somebody call up Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge and give ‘em the word.  You can tell them it’s your idea, I don’t need the credit.

 

--With today being Shrove Tuesday in the religious calendar, commonly called “Fat Tuesday” or the French equivalent “Mardi Gras”, and the Lenten season beginning tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, I thought that as we prepare for fasting and sacrifice I’d leave you with a happy thought.  Yesterday I stopped in the market for supplies and as I walked by the bakery department I was stricken by the sea of green pastries. 

  St. Patrick’s Day is coming.

 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for February 26th..............

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Dave Richards for February 26th…………

--Before I start with all the opinion stuff, I want to communicate both my gratitude and my amazement at how well-run Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras Celebration was this year.  The Ball last Saturday night was just plain fun and comfortable and very, very memorable.  Being someone who has worked on a number of committees over the years, I am keenly aware of just how much work goes into all the hundreds of details from decorations to music to the food. 

  Perhaps I could better express what I’m thinking by telling you that if you or a group you belong to ever need a place to hold an indoor event……you must look into the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.  What they have done with that hall beneath the former sanctuary has transformed it into much more than the church basement it used to be.  And you’ll never find a more attentive, supportive, or hard-working staff than Wally, Domenic, and their friends at St. Ann.  They take the success of your event almost personally.  Check them out when you have a need.

 

--Mardi Gras itself signals the beginning of the Lenten Season.  So it is no surprise that Father John Kiley dropped me a note to tell me of an Ecumenical Lenten Program that Woonsocket area churches are planning on Wednesdays during lent at 7pm each week.  At each service there will be a free-will offering to aid the New Beginnings meal site on Rathbun Street.  Space does not permit me to list the dates and churches here, but you can find them on the web at www.WoonsocketRadio.com.  Thanks to Father Kiley for keeping us up to date with these important matters.

 

--Time to comment on a bill recently introduced in the RI General Assembly.  RI Senator Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has introduced legislation which would add a 1-percent state tax on the sale of hookah and vaping products.  No surprises there, levying taxes is what they do down there at the State House.   But what comes next in the official press release from the state house press department is what bothered me.

  The announced purpose of this new tax is to raise money to give to municipalities so they can educate people about the dangers associated with those products.  Okay, hold the phone.  What’s wrong with this picture?

  If they pass this law, the state will collect the tax.  After they collect it, they say they will give it to the cities and towns the tax was collected from.  The cities and towns can only spend this money to educate everyone that smoking hookah (flavored tobacco) and vaping (breathing in nicotine-laden smoke) is not good for you.  I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

  First, and this kinda goes without saying, who among you believes the state will collect a tax and NOT put the money into the General Fund to be used for “whatever”, raise your hand?  I thought so.  I am reminded that the proceeds from the Lottery Commission were supposed to go to fund education.  Instead the money goes into the General Fund.  Next point………

  Does anyone besides me see the irony of using the money to convince buyers of those products to not buy them?  If the effort is successful, you’ll eventually raise so little money that you won’t be able to afford to educate the last hold-outs.  Geez. 

 

--Before I go, a group calling themselves FlyersRights.org has raised an interesting point. 

  Recently, the mega-successful SouthWest Airlines has announced they will add to their massive itinerary flights to Honolulu, Hawaii.  I initially that that was a fine idea.  But this organization, which identifies itself as an advocate for the flying passengers of the world, points out that one of SouthWest’s business decisions which has helped its success through the years is that it operates only the same model of jet, the Boeing 737-800.   The trade-off of this decision is that this jet is somewhat cramped, especially in the aft sections, which is somewhat uncomfortable but manageable for a two or three hour cross country flight, but the minimum 6 hour travel time from the west coast of the U.S. to Honolulu will really be difficult for some travelers. 

  I have flown from Rhode Island to Honolulu with only one stop in L.A. and I can tell you the mind can only enjoy what “the seat” can tolerate.  And that was in a much larger jet run by American Airlines.  Let’s just say I didn’t look forward to the return trip.  I would definitely take this into consideration if contemplating that same trip in a smaller aircraft.

  Your mileage may vary.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

 

www.woonsocketradio.com

Dave Richards for February 12th..............

Dave Richards for February 12th…………

 

--The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts presents Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras again for the 25th consecutive year this month.  The festivities revolve around two distinct events.  The first, this Friday the Queen’s Coronation from 6pm to 8pm at Savini’s Pomodoro on Rathbun Street will see the five local ladies who have been selling tickets for a couple of months learn which one of them will be crowned Mardi Gras Princesses and which will be crowned Queen of the Mardi Gras. 

  Then, as her first official act as Queen of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, the queen will unmask the local man who has been playing the heavily-costumed part of King Jace XXV since Christmastime.  The two of them will reign over the Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday the 23rd  from 5:30pm to 10:30pm at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center on Cumberland Street. 

  Tickets for either event as well as raffle tickets are available until Thursday from any of the queen contestants, or by phoning Lorraine Cloutier at 401-762-9072.  Guesses to the true identity of the man playing King Jace XXV may be taken until 4pm Friday at either Woonsocket radio station or the offices of The Call, 75 Main Street.

  Not unlike Halloween, Mardi Gras started off as a religious festival which has evolved over the years to be a good excuse for a party for everyone with little real religious significance.  Holiday’s seem to have a life of their own, I think.

  Valentine’s Day has followed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as “Hallmark Holidays”.  At least Christmas is still a religious holiday here in the U.S., though it has developed additional themes.  And then there is St. Patrick’s Day.  Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, now there’s a holiday which has really gone through changes.  There was a lot of bigotry in this country years ago directed at the Irish.  But where there is a will there is a way.  When the Irish in Boston couldn’t get permission to have a parade on St. Patrick’s Day, they noted that on the 17th of March during the Revolutionary War, the British evacuated Boston.  So, “Evacuation Day” was celebrated in bean-town.  With a parade.  Although it had a distinctly green tinge to it.

  The point is a party is a party.  It’s a good chance to blow off some steam and release the tensions which build up with daily life.  Parties relieve stress.  And that’s a good thing.  As I always say, “Stress kills more people than guns…”.  We’ll see you at the Mardi Gras!

 

--Did you ever have a problem with the response you received from National Grid during an outage or construction situation?  Lt. Governor Dan McKee is on your side.  He visited us last week on the radio and told us of legislation he asked State Senator (and Woonsocket native) Roger Picard to sponsor in the senate which would essentially put Rhode Island utility customers on the same footing as those in Massachusetts.  It will, among other things, require the utilities to establish and review annually a plan of action to execute during weather (and other) emergencies which cause interruptions in service.

  It’s not only natural disasters Dan is concerned about.  He told us of an employer who has invested in new equipment to remain in Rhode Island and stay competitive.  The equipment is installed, but cannot be used because of lengthy delays by National Grid in upgrading the electrical service to the building.  And also a solar project which was quoted one price for connection to “the grid”, but when the bill came in it was more than doubled in cost.  We may not realize it, but there are people out there who are being victimized by a utility which suffers little consequence when their service is lacking.

   Public utilities enjoy special protections from government.  Dan thinks they should therefore be especially accountable to their customers.

   My take away from all this is that over the last couple of decades, the utility business has gone through many huge changes, but Rhode Island’s laws have not kept pace.  Dan wants there to be teeth in our state’s legal oversight of the utilities so that when things go wrong the government isn’t reduced to simply yelling and screaming their displeasure, they can compel the companies to respond in a more satisfactory way.  As much as I dislike adding more laws to our already bloated books, I see this effort as one of genuine protection for the consumer.  I support it.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

--30--

 

Dave Richards for February 5th............

Dave Richards for February 5th…………

 

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  Among other things, it can make otherwise kind and caring people do terrible things…….or fail to do what is right.

   I once served on a jury.  They say that broadcasters or people who write and read news are never empaneled on a jury, but they are wrong.  I was selected for a case in which a young man was accused of selling drugs at and near a school.  What’s more, when the case was given to the jury, the judge appointed me as the foreman of the jury.  She later told me it was because I paid careful attention to the testimony during the trial.

 The police officers made what appeared to be a convincing case against the accused.  There was lots of physical evidence and damaging testimony.  In the jury room we deliberated and examined all the hard physical evidence first-hand.  The gun, the ammunition, the scale, and we recalled the testimony of the witnesses. 

  Here’s my point.  There was no juror in that room who argued that the young man was innocent of the charges.  What they argued about, and what kept us in that room for two days before finally agreeing on a verdict of ‘guilty’, was the fear that such a heinous person might exact retaliation upon the individual members of the jury.  

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  I don’t know the Governor of Virginia.  I have no idea if he is a creep, a racist, or a really nice guy.  But I do know a virtual ‘trial by public opinion’ when I see one. 

  Does anyone out there remember the concept that two ‘wrongs’ don’t make a ‘right’?  Answering a wrong, real or imagined, with another wrong is just plain………..wrong.

  The Sunday morning TV chat shows this past weekend were filled with people who were NOT talking about the Super Bowl football game (thank goodness) but were instead all joining in a unified chorus of “he MUST resign”!  Even our own Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, who is the leader of the national governor’s group joined in on the chorus.  It’s scary.  I think mob mentality, fueled in no small part by social media, has fanned the flames of a blood-lust. 

  History is full of such episodes, which can happen even without the 21st century equivalent of malicious gossip, social media, of course.  The French Revolution comes quickly to mind.  The problem is that in this political climate no one dares speak out for the rights of the accused because they don’t want to take a chance at being the next victim of mob rule.

  Can you blame them?  There is no limit to the venom being spewed by careless people with opinions.  And, you know, everyone has one.  An opinion, that is.  I have mine.  And I like my opinions.  But I will not use my opinions to attack people in this manner.

  What ever happened to due process?  Oh, well, if everyone says they’re guilty, then they don’t deserve due process, is that it?

  Well, I suppose I’ve really done it now…..I have dared to speak publicly an opinion which differs from the mob.  I suppose I will now be next, right?  Simply because I believe in the rule of law over the rule of public opinion!

  And for those reading who have REALLY short memories, let me repeat before you reach for the rope.  I have no idea if this guy is a creep, or a racist, or a nice man.  I don’t need to know that.  What I need to know is that this country is made up of laws which are based upon English Common Law, the basic principle of which is “a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.”

  Before I close on this subject, let me just state one more thing.  What if Governor Raimondo, or any one of us, were accused of something we didn’t do by social media and what if the weight of public opinion took away our livelihood?  Would that be right?  Think about that before rushing to judgement.    

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for January 29th..........

Dave Richards for January 29th…………

 

--Before we get into state and local issues, I just want to make a quick comment on the big federal issue of the day.  The partial government shutdown has been suspended for now.  The battle is not over, it’s just a cease-fire.  My optimism that a final resolution will be next took a hit over the weekend when I saw something even more unattractive than bull-headedness.  Mocking.  They were mocking President Trump for calling the cease-fire, saying he “caved in” and they tried to humiliate him for thinking of the workers. 

  Mocking is destructive to reaching any compromise when one side will chide the other if they give in on a point.  It is tantamount to being a poor winner, and is certainly a factor in each side refusing to compromise for fear of being mocked.  And, as we all know, compromise is necessary to agreement and vital to progress at any level of government.

 

--It was with some sadness that I read last Friday of the departure from city service of Joel D. Matthews.  Joel and I have had our agreements and our disagreements over the years, and I’m not going to take either side in this matter.  But I think something must be said here.  Regardless of who is right and who is wrong I still think this is a rotten way for more than four decades of public service to end.  Just a rotten way, I say. 

 

--Here it comes, folks.  Judgement day for a General Assembly who has made a habit of spending money meant to be for other things than what they’re spending it on.

  Yes, I’m talking about scooping.  But I’m also talking about a bigger issue.  Really big.

  You’ll remember some years ago when the so-called “Tobacco Settlement” money came in that our intrepid legislators were having difficulty that year coming up with the cash for their budget. 

  Not to digress, but can you name me one year when that does not happen?

  So, we had these millions of dollars given to us as proceeds from a lawsuit with the caveat that the money was to be used to fund smoking cessation and related health program efforts.  But, instead the legislature used it to continue to spend more money than it had. 

  Some of us commented at the time that “someday you’ll have to pay for those programs and you won’t have the money to do it.”  Well, “someday” is here.

  The American Lung Association is about to release a study.  The study itself is embargoed until tomorrow, so I cannot quote it today.  But I can quote the headline on the press release sent to our station Monday.  “[The American] Lung Association Finds RI Failing to Fund Proven Tobacco Prevention Efforts.”  Ooops.  Our dirty little secret is out.  Now everybody knows we didn’t do what we promised to do.  And it really couldn’t come at a worse time.  We are once again wondering how to plug a big income hole in our budget, so there is no extra money to replace what we mis-appropriated years ago.  In the private sector, people go to jail for this.

  Forgive my cynicism but I don’t anticipate the leaders of the General Assembly today will be terribly concerned about the revelation that we broke our word.  After all, it has happened before.  I remember being taught in high school that when each state comes into the union, they promise to not make laws which conflict with the laws of the federal government.  Yet Rhode Island seems to be following other states in marching toward the eventual full legalization of marijuana, clearly in violation of federal law and the promise we made when we joined the Republic.

   Using the vernacular of years ago, the idea “Blows my mind” that the state of Rhode Island would legalize and promote the smoking of marijuana with the excuse of needing the money to, among other things, fund smoking cessation efforts!

  The late Joe O’Donnell of North Smithfield was a former Lt. Governor of our state.  Joe knew a lot about government.  Many years ago Joe told me history proves that when a government sanctions sin and vice in order to raise money to govern, it has already failed.  He was speaking during the debate of allowing a state lottery.  He said the easy money associated with such activities acts like an intoxicating drug to government.  It can never get enough of it, and it eventually clouds the judgement between right and wrong when trying to get more of it.  If Joe were still with us today, he would be very disappointed in the state he loved and served.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for January 22nd..............

Dave Richards for January 22nd…………

 

--This past weekend we witnessed a number of singular events.  After a number of ‘mild’ winters, we got an old-fashioned ice storm right up our noses, followed by bitterly cold temperatures for several days.  The Patriots won another trip to the NFL Super Bowl in a game which would have been labelled exciting even by the most casual of sports fans.  And the 10 Clues to the true identity of King Jace XXV, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras were released to the public.

  Judging from the initial reactions, the public is very impressed with King Jace XXV, and the guesses are starting to roll in.

  Since Helen Nichols handed me the job of finding and escorting King Jace more than 10 years ago, some members of the committee, who will go nameless at this writing, have always told me they “knew” who King Jace was well before he was unmasked.  In fact, to hear them tell it, they always have known immediately upon meeting him and reviewing the clues.  Others are equally as sure.

  Of course, we tell nobody, not even the committee, who is playing the part of Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras King.  Only me, The Fabulous Denise, the man playing the King, and their spouse ever know for sure. 

  The man playing King Jace is someone who, if their true name were mentioned, would be recognizable.  The clues below are designed to be both revealing and misleading.  Have fun!

King Jace:

 

1--His Favorite Color is Royal Blue.

 

2--Loves Chicken, Hates Veggies.

 

3--If It Were Up To Him, He'd Eat All Outdoors.

 

4--Like a Farmer, Spring and Fall are his Busy Seasons.

 

5--His Lucky Numbers are 0, 1, and 8.

 

6--Not A Snow Bird, But Heads South Whenever He Can.

 

7--Not Afraid of Controversy.

 

8--His Orbit Intersects Many Business Circles.

 

9--Offices Are Not Unfamiliar To Him.

 

10-You've Seen His Name Displayed in a Public Area.

If you think you know the true identity of the man playing King Jace, place one dollar in an official King Jace Quest envelope, available at both Woonsocket Radio Stations and the Offices of The Woonsocket Call Newspaper on Main Street.  All correct guesses will go into a drawing after the King is unmasked on February 15th, with half the dollars collected going to the winner.

Good Luck!

 

--As for the ice storm, it could have been worse, that’s for sure.  But I’d rather get two feet of snow than two inches of ice, if you want to know the truth.  Still, not to worry, there’s a thaw scheduled for mid-week with up to an inch and a half of rain and temperatures in the 40s.  This is good news for sidewalks and parking lots, but very bad news for roofs and gutters.  Be on the lookout for water damage to your property as a result of ice dams.  As I say, I’d rather have snow than ice.

 

--More than 4,500 airline flights were cancelled here in New England as a result of the weekend storm.  One of the 590 cancelled at Boston’s Logan Airport was supposed to have brought Joe Callahan back to us from a business trip to St. Louis, Missouri.  Last word is he might be getting back today.  It was only supposed to be a two day conference.  He left Thursday.  I didn’t ask, but if it were me, I’d have run out of underwear by now……..  Well, just keep repeating, life is ten percent what happens and ninety percent how you take it.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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Dave Richards for January 15th..........

Dave Richards for January 15th…………….

 

--Today is the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, on a routine passenger flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina used his experience and gifts of cool-headedness to save the lives of all aboard that aircraft by landing it on the surface of the Hudson River instead of crash landing it on the way to another airport. 

  As you will remember, moments after taking off from LaGuardia, Flight 1549 accidentally flew at hundreds of miles per hour into a flock of geese, several of which were sucked into the air intake of the two jet engines and which disabled both.  Repeated attempts to re-start the engines met with failure.  A “MayDay” message was radioed to air-traffic controllers who suggested possible airports nearby for an emergency landing.  But despite their best efforts, “Sully” knew that without either engine running, the aircraft had insufficient altitude to reach even the closest airport.  Rather than risk killing people on the ground as well as all aboard the aircraft, he made the decision to glide down to the surface of the river and hope for the best.  He put the fewest number of people in peril.

  Well, it worked.  Nobody on the ground died and 155 passengers survived to write books and do TV interview shows.  As his reward, Captain Sullenberger was brought before an inquest of the National Transportation Safety Board charging that he should have at least tried to make it to an airport and not risk the lives of the passengers and destroy an aircraft.  The result was an acquittal of the charges and agreement that under the unique circumstances which existed, “Sully” somehow ignored all the alarms and buzzers and blinking lights and made the right decision.  Put another way, when faced with A. B. or C. to choose from, he chose D.  And it worked.

  Today would be a good day, I think, to resolve that in a world where the available choices don’t do what needs to be done, we will make the hard choice not offered.

 

--Another person who did this was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  When the world gave him choices which did not move humanity forward, he chose another path.  He chose a path of peaceful resistance.  Surely, not all was peaceful around him, and he died from a bullet fired in anger and hatred, but in a world which gave him and his people the choice to suffer as second-class citizens or to hate and kill, Dr. King chose to love and peacefully demonstrate what was wrong that had to be made right.

  Relations between the races still are not as he would have wanted them to be.  Perhaps it is because he was taken from us at such a young age.  Perhaps because some who remain aren’t trying hard enough. 

  Our society celebrates birthdates, not because they are important by themselves, but because they are a convenient way for others to say they are glad you’re alive.  And truly…….what nicer thing can you say to another human being than that you are glad they live and that they mean something to you? 

 

--One of the news stories on the wire yesterday is the teachers’ strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Teachers there are walking the picket lines, unhappy that their demands for a more than six percent raise and reduced class sizes have not been met.  Geez.  They should try working as a teacher here in Woonsocket.  Negotiations here have been going on for more than a year as the workers try to regain what they gave back to the city when Woonsocket was in financial trouble, and yet the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild is not striking.  There are two good reasons for this.  First, strikes by teachers are illegal in Rhode Island, and the members of the WTG want to respect the law.  Second, there is a real sense of hope that this labor impasse will end soon.

  I had the chance to talk to Teachers’ Guild President Jeff Partington last week.  He told me that since the election of the new school committee and the replacement of the appointed panel, several members of the municipal side of the negotiating teams have been replaced, new members are getting up to speed on the history of the negotiations and Jeff said that even this week serious work is being done to achieve a compromise and agreement. 

  Jeff also told me that dozens of items in the negotiations have already been agreed to.  The few that remain are the tough ones, basically financial, and his sense of optimism is based on the attitude he sees from those on the other side of the table.  He doesn’t expect easy agreement on the last items, but he sees a spirit of “how do we get this done?” instead of “it ain’t gonna happen”.

  So, with two sides in the disagreement now seemingly dedicated to finding a way to agree in some way and to some extent, I feel a sense of hope as well.

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to dave@woonsocketradio.com or postal comments can be mailed to Dave Richards, c/o WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading. 

 

 

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