Town Council Names New Interim Fire Chief

Town Clerk Leigh Carney swears in Kevin C. Robinson of Marshfield, Mass., as interim East Greenwich  fire chief.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Town Council voted 3-1 to approve the appointment of Kevin Robinson of Marshfield, Mass., to serve as interim fire chief Monday. This follows the recent departure of former interim Fire Chief Christopher Olsen, who was appointed following the dismissal of Fire Chief Russell McGillivray on Nov. 6.

Council President Sue Cienki, Vice President Sean Todd and Councilman Andy Deutsch voted in favor of the appointment; Councilman Mark Schwager voted against.

Robinson served as fire chief of Marshfield for 12 years. He resigned days after being placed on administrative leave after a three-month investigation into alleged impropriety and ethics violations, according to a statement by Town Administrator Rocco Longo and reported in the Wicked Local Marshfield.

Town Manager Gayle Corrigan, who recommended Robinson’s appointment, released this statement in response to questions about his past work history:

“We are aware of his departure from the Town of Marshfield, where he climbed the ranks of the Fire Department over the course of his 37 year tenure. Chief Robinson comes highly recommended to us and his experience and credentials speak for themselves.”

Before the vote, Town Councilman Mark Schwager explained why he would be voting no.

“We’re now about to appoint our second interim fire chief in three months. Chief Robinson seems a reasonable candidate for the position. I have no ill will against the chief. But I have not been presented before tonight the chief’s credential’s or CV. The council did not interview the chief. We have not had a chance to review his references. At the present time, I have not seen the contract that he may sign tonight. So … I don’t have adequate information to make an informed decision and therefore will be voting no on this decision.”

Corrigan said she used the search firm Municipal Resources Inc. (MRI) out of New Hampshire to conduct the search – the same firm that located Chief Olsen. Corrigan said it had always been the plan to have two interim fire chiefs and that the search for a permanent chief would take place during the second interim chief’s four- to six-month tenure.

Later in the meeting, Council President Cienki conceded that they had asked Olsen if he could extend his stay but that he had declined.

Robinson steps into the position at a difficult time for the fire department. The town has blamed financial difficulties on high firefighter overtime and recently filed suit against the firefighters in an effort to change the platoon structure.

Obituary: Claire McCaffery Sharpe, 107

Claire (McCaffrey) Sharpe, a loving mother, grandmother and aunt passed away at the amazing age of 107 on Jan. 18, at the Saint Elizabeth Home in East Greenwich, R.I. She was predeceased by her husband Howard F. Sharpe in 1959. Mrs. Sharpe was born April 1, 1910, in Providence to the late Peter James and Mary Agnes (Scheuren) McCaffrey.

Claire was a member of Our Lady of Mercy Church and served as a Eucharistic Minister. She was a devoted Catholic and was faithful to the parish as they were also to her. She was the recipient of the Post “Golden” Cane as the longest and oldest resident in the Town of East Greenwich.

She is survived by her three daughters: Roberta McMahon (late husband Robert) of Warwick, R.I.; Kathleen Sharpe of East Greenwich, R.I., and Paula Hiebert (husband Theodore) of Homewood, Ill.; two grandchildren: Nicholas S. Hiebert (wife Eleanor Doig) of Concord, Mass., and Mary C. Hiebert (husband Clayton Shoppa) of Brooklyn, N.Y.; nieces: Anne McCaffrey of Seattle, Wash., Leah Miller of Riverside, Calif., and Ellen McKenna of South Kingstown, R.I. and a nephew: Paul McCaffrey of East Greenwich, R.I. She is predeceased by her brother, Joseph S. McCaffrey and sister Ruth McCaffrey.

Visitation and funeral gathering was Monday, Jan. 22, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home, 659 East Greenwich Ave., West Warwick, immediately followed with a Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 3rd Street, East Greenwich at 11 a.m. Burial followed in St. Ann’s Cemetery, Cranston, R.I.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Third Street, East Greenwich, R.I. 02818 or Saint Elizabeth Home, One Saint Elizabeth Way, East Greenwich, R.I. 02818.

Find the Carpenter-Jenks obituary.

Residents Challenge Numbers Used by Council to Justify Budget Actions

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The first statistic that caught Eugene Quinn’s attention was the 51 percent listed in a flyer from the Town Council that went out to residents last spring. The flyer said property taxes had increased 51 percent since 2011.

“From what I knew from my tax bill, it wasn’t anything near 51 percent,” Quinn said in a recent interview. Quinn moved to town 40 years ago, but other than an unsuccessful run for School Committee in 2012, he’d remained largely uninvolved in local government. The flyer changed that. Quinn, an assistant professor of mathematics at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, became a member of the School Committee’s finance subcommittee. And he started attending Town Council meetings.

At a Town Council meeting in early June, Quinn got up during public comment to question the 51 percent calculation. Council President Sue Cienki said she would set up a meeting for Quinn with then-Finance Director Kristen Benoit, but that never happened.

By June 19, the town had a new town manager (Gayle Corrigan) and by June 30, it had a new finance director (Linda Dykeman).

On his own, Quinn got some information about the tax rolls from now-retired Tax Assessor Janice Peixinho, but it was when he got ahold of the tax rolls themselves that he really got busy.

The tax roll is a public record of every single tax bill in town. Quinn liked that the rolls were just the numbers – “no assumptions, no calculations.”

He converted the tax rolls from 2011 and 2016 into text files and wrote some computer code (Python, for those of you who know of such things) to get the numbers out of that.  

“And when you do that you get a 13.23 percent median percent increase,” he said. Not a 51 percent increase.

Quinn produced a video to explain his work and asked the council to print a retraction. That did not happen.

In December, however, Cienki suggested meeting with Quinn to talk about that figure (as well as Cienki’s claim that the town’s unfunded pension liability is $86 million and Council Vice President Sean Todd’s assertion that the tax levy will be $100 million in 15 years).

The meeting took place Dec. 20 and included Cienki, Quinn, Todd and two additional residents – Anne Musella (who was there in support of Quinn) and Stuart Peterson (who was there in support of Cienki and Todd). Musella is a lawyer and is a member of the School Committee’s Transportation Subcommittee. Peterson, a financial advisor, was appointed to the School Committee in March 2016 (after a mid-term resignation by Deidre Gifford); he headed the finance committee for the School Committee until he lost his seat in November 2016.

In a statement issued last week by Quinn and Musella, they said Cienki said the town would publish corrected data on the tax increase between 2011 and 2016. 

After the Dec. 20 meeting, there was some effort to agree on a joint statement that would highlight both where the two sides agreed and where they did not. However, according to Quinn and Musella, that proved impossible.

From their statement (Dec. 20, 2017 meeting statement):

The three of us [Quinn, Musella and Peterson] could not come to a consensus on certain key issues, leaving us at an impasse before Peterson would provide complete comments. We have incorporated comments that Peterson did provide. We do not represent that the comments attributed to him fully articulate his position.

Those “key issues” are outlined in their statement here:

The major points of contention were: (1) whether we could all agree to accept as fact the pension documents prepared by Peterson (last spring for the teachers’ arbitration), and the data they contained without independent review; (2) whether we could accept as fact that projected expenditures will reach $100 million without complete supporting documentation; and (3) Peterson’s assertion that we agreed to have Cienki and Todd approve this joint statement before distribution.

In interviews last week with both Quinn and Musella, they said that Peterson and Cienki in particular were very unhappy with the teachers contract approved by the School Committee last spring after protracted negotiations.

“Their position was the School Committee absolutely gave away the store on the teachers contract,” said Quinn.

In that contract, teachers got no raise for the first year, a 2 percent raise in year two and a 2.25 percent raise in year three (in addition to previously negotiated step increases). But the teachers also agreed to health savings account (HSA) insurance, which is anticipated to lower health care costs for the district considerably.

Quinn and Musella said Peterson dominated the discussion on the tax levy and pensions. According to Quinn, Peterson arrived at the meeting with a stack of papers 18 inches high.

“Our intention was to understand the town council’s point of view, not Stuart Peterson’s,” Musella said.

Quinn said Todd’s assertion that the tax levy would jump to $100 million in 15 years was based on 4 percent tax increases (the maximum allowed) for the next 15 years. Tax increases in recent years (there was a tax decrease this year) have averaged in the 2 to 2. 5 percent range.

“I presented my argument that it wasn’t going to go up 4 percent every year,” Quinn said. To counter that, Peterson argued that deferred maintenance at the schools would increase the number. He also said interest rates would increase.

“We said, show us your computations,” Quinn said.

The unfunded pension liability discussion has centered on Cienki’s insistence that the state’s rate of return is too optimistic. But, Quinn said, if Peterson is correct that interest rates are going to go up, “that solves your investment return problem.”

“The meeting seemed to raise more questions than it actually answered,” Musella said. “Like, why did they invite Stuart Peterson to present this information instead of them?”

“At the end of the day,” said Quinn, “I would like to see policy driven by more careful analysis and more grounded in data. If we moved it a little closer to that [by meeting], it was worth it.”

Repeated attempts to contact Cienki for confirmation went unanswered. Todd and Peterson also failed to return phone calls.

A collection of documents and data referred to during the Dec. 20 meeting can be found here.

This Week in EG: Council to Vote on Interim Fire Chief

A weekly article that lists happenings in East Greenwich and nearby. If you have something you’d like to add, send your information to egreenwichnews@gmail.com.

Sunday, Jan. 21

Engaged East Greenwich meeting – This new community group is holding an organizational meeting to talk about upcoming projects (including installing Little Libraries) and results of a survey they conducted. They welcome residents to come and share their concerns. Learn more about the group on their Facebook page here. In the Community Room at the East Greenwich Police Station (176 First Ave.). From 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 22

Middle Road CLOSED just west of Route 2 – Middle Road will be closed between Route 2 and Stone Ridge Drive from 7 a.m. until it is completed later in the day. Detour signs will be posted and police will help direct traffic.

Exploring Mindfulness Meditation – Meditation at East Greenwich Free Library on first and third Mondays. No experience necessary; all are welcome. Free. 6:30 p.m. at the library. For more information about this program or the Friends of the Library, contact: friendseglibrary@gmail.com.

Town Council meeting – The panel meets in executive session at 6:30 p.m. to discuss candidates to the Town Manager advisory search committee, then will hold a brief public update on the search at 6:45 p.m. The regular session begins at 7 p.m. On the agenda, the council will vote on a new interim fire chief, approval of an employee social media policy and review of council rules and guidelines. At Swift Community Center.

Tuesday, Jan. 23

School Committee meetingOn the agenda, a schools-town discussion update, second reading of the EGHS program of studies, and a draft RFP for a programmatic audit (as discussed at their last meeting). In the library at Cole Middle School at 7 p.m.

Zoning Board meeting – The agenda (find it here) includes six items, including zoning variance request for a 9-unit residential development on Castle Street. The panel meets in Council Chambers at Town Hall at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 24

Lunch on the Hill – If you are looking for some good food and company, stop by the dining room at St. Luke’s Church on Peirce Street where you will find both. A free lunch is offered every week, sponsored by various local churches and restaurants – a different church-restaurant combination each week.From 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 25

Special Ed Advisory Committee meeting – Parents and others interested in special education are invited to attend EG SEAC’s monthly meeting. Committee members encourage parents with children who have an IEP to fill out a homework survey (find a link to the survey on the meeting agenda here). The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. In the Superintendent’s Conference Room at the School Department, 111 Peirce St.

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

Recycling is ON this week.

Register for email updates from the town – Sign up through the town’s Notify Me system and you can receive anything from a weekly email listing meetings and events to targeted emails about specific boards and commissions you are interested in. In addition, you will be notified in case of emergencies (i.e. parking bans, other important information). Click here to get started. And, for those who signed up before August, revisit the link if you have specific topics about which you’d like more information.

LOOKING AHEAD

Thursday, Feb. 1

East Greenwich Academy photo exhibit – If you’re interested in wonderful old photos and East Greenwich history, join us at the library in the Silverman Meeting Room on February 1st from 5 to 7 PM to look at the EG Historic Preservation Society’s exhibit of the East Greenwich Academy. Refreshments will be served and some former members of the Academy will be on hand. Photos will be on display for the entire month.

Friday, Feb. 2

Painting and Pastries Fundraiser – A fundraiser for the EGHS Class of 2020. In the cafeteria at EG High School at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 7

Public Forum on Homework – All are invited to attend this conversation about homework led by schools Supt. Victor Mercurio. There will be a second forum in January. In the library at Cole Middle School at 6:30 p.m.

If you have an event or meeting you would like to see here, send information to egreenwichnews@gmail.com.

Fire Dept. Rescues Puppy After Fall Through Cove Ice

cove, ice, puppy, rescue
EGFD Capt. Tom Mears holds the rope attached to Lt. Mert Greene, who is in the water closing in on the puppy.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The call came in just before 1 p.m. Friday – a puppy had fallen through the ice in Greenwich Cove off Scalloptown Park. By the time firefighters arrived, the dog had been in the water for maybe 20 minutes and a bystander said the dog had gone under, EGFD Capt. Tom Mears recounted.

“We had somebody in a suit and had the dog recovered within eight minutes,” said Mears.

The “somebody” in question was fire Lt. Mert Greene. Mears was in charge and handled the rope attached to Greene that was used to pull in the firefighter and the puppy (named Archie).

“After several minutes of warming, the dog seemed fine and went home with the owner,” said Mears.

Archie, the puppy rescue from Greenwich Cove after falling through the ice.

“Thank you to the EG Police and EG Fire departments for rescuing our pup in the frozen ice! Special thanks to Mert, our hero😊. Archie is feeling good –  exhausted, but doing fine,” wrote the owner on Facebook Friday afternoon.

 The firefighters practice ice rescues throughout the winter to be ready for instances just like this. Mears explained why the fire department rescues dogs after a practice earlier in January.
“When someone calls about an animal on the ice it’s only a matter of time before a citizen will try to go out to try to save it,” he said. “And then we end up with a disaster.”

 

 

How Come Town Manager Budget Line Is $82,000? … and Other Questions

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

When Finance Director Linda Dykeman presented her quarterly report to the Town Council Jan. 8 (2018.01.08_finance_report_YTD_expenditure_12.31.17), the budget line item for the town manager was $82,499, just as it had been in June, when the budget was passed and Tom Coyle was still town manager.

That number didn’t make sense in June 2017 (Coyle’s salary was $123,235) or in January 2018 (Town Manager Gayle Corrigan, hired June 19, makes $160,000). And, according to Dykeman’s second quarter report, the actual expenditure for the town manager was $80,000, just what you would expect halfway through the year for a town manager making $160,000.

So why is the budget line $82,499?

Town officials, including Dykeman, Corrigan and members of the Town Council, have failed to answer that question and others.

Other budget lines have been updated to reflect personnel (and subsequent salary) changes for, in particular, finance director. The 2018 budget released in May and passed in June showed a line item for finance director of $103,000 – exactly what then-Finance Director Kristen Benoit had been receiving. The budget that appeared on the town website in July, however, showed a budget line of $127,000, Dykeman’s salary. (Benoit was laid off June 30; Dykeman was named to the position that same day.) If the finance director line item could be updated, why not the town manager line item?

Other questions revolve around the budget line for legal services.

The total 2017 budget for legal was $172,500, with fees and services at $168,000 (the total of which was paid to the law firm of former Town Solicitor Peter Clarkin), $2,000 for claims reserve (money earmarked for an eventual claims payment) and $2,500 for functions and meetings.

The total 2018 budget is $322,500, with $145,000 going to fees and services (and at least $135,000 going to the law firm of current Town Solicitor David D’Agostino); $100,000 in claims reserve; $2,500 for incidentals; and $75,000 for professional/arbitration – a new line item.

According to Dykeman’s report, the actual expenditures halfway through fiscal year 2018 were $5,555 in claims reserves; $82,106 for fee and services; and $114,584 for professional/arbitration.

Dykeman said Jan. 8 that the overage in the professional/arbitration line (151 percent of a line item that did not exist before this year) was due to legal services for the Planning Department and collective bargaining-related expenses but town officials have failed to answer questions about how much of that $114,584 is for Planning legal services and how much is for CBA services and who exactly is getting paid for what. And, since the legal work for the Planning Department is being done by the assistant town solicitor, it’s unclear why that expense isn’t included in the budget line (fees and services) for the town solicitor.

Another question that has gone unanswered is about the fire chief budget line. The fire chief’s pay is budgeted at $102,642 but the town has spent $112,328 in the first half of the fiscal year. Former Fire Chief Russ McGillivray was fired in November, receiving six months wages because the town broke his contract. That could be part of the $102,642 number but former Town Manager Tom Coyle’s six-month payout does not appear to be included in the town manager actual budget number.

Repeated requests for answers to these questions have failed to yield responses.

 

Worm ‘Condo’ Moves Into EGHS for the Winter

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

David Abell had a problem – he didn’t know what to do about his worms.

He and his wife, Ellen, were planning their annual 3-month winter escape to Georgia but David was worried about his worm factory, a contraption that holds thousands worms in multiple layers. The Abells take their dog with them to Georgia, but the worms, they are a different story altogether.

Rather, they are a way for David to compost.

“When we lived in Wickford, we had no sewers and no garbage disposal, so I began composting in my backyard, using a bin I purchased from RI Resource Recovery Corporation on their composting program, and spreading the compost on our vegetable garden every spring,” he explained. “We were able to recycle or compost almost all of  waste from our home that way, although I couldn’t compost outside in the winter when it would freeze and not decay.”

Then he learned about worms. A friend offered him some red wrigglers in a bin and he kept them in his basement. Using worms to compost is called vermicomposting. Abell liked it and bought a worm factory.

The Abells recently moved to East Greenwich and their new home does not have a basement, so the worms went out to the garage, where Abell kept them from freezing using a “trouble light.” But that system wouldn’t work while the Abells were away for months in the middle of the winter.

“I had asked some friends from the choir if they had any suggestions on how I could take care of my worms while I was away down South,” he said. (True confession: David and I both sing in the choir at St. Luke’s Church). “Someone suggested asking the Biology Department of the high school.”

Abell contacted Nick Rath, chair of the EGHS science department. Initially, Rath thought he would just do Abell a favor by taking the worms, but once Abell filled him in on the worm factory, Rath realized the worms could be a nice teaching tool, especially for his Advanced Placement Environmental Science class.

So, on Tuesday afternoon, the worms made their big move from Pine Glen to the high school and Abell got a chance to describe to the students how he got involved and introduce them to the worms.

Vermicomposter David Abell explains to EGHS students how to keep his worm “condo” going while he’s away.

“I demonstrated feeding the worms,” said Abell. “There are thousands of worms in the bins, and many babies near the food. I told the students they could harvest the bottom bin by putting it on top, driving the worms down and out with a light, and drying out the compost to use on their plants. Then that empty bin could be lined with shredded paper and some earth, and prepared as a new feeding tray on top.”

“The worms are a great example of how we can use composting as a way to reduce our footprint a little bit,” Rath said.

“I thought that creating compost fertilizer from food scraps that would normally just end up in a landfill was a great way to help keep the environment clean and reduce your carbon footprint on a personal level,” said EGHS senior Alex Candow, a member of the class. “In addition to keeping the environment clean, the worm factory produces an extremely nutrient rich fertilizer that makes this even more beneficial for anyone who has a garden at home.”

He added, “I thought it was interesting that this all worked so naturally and that it was possible for hundreds of worms to live in a fairly small box.”

For David Abell, it’s been fun to learn about worms and he was happy that the science department was willing to take the worms for the winter.

So was Ellen Abell, who has found it hard to love her husband’s pet project.

As she said simply, “They’re disgusting!”

If you want to learn more about worms and vermicomposting, check out Rhode Island’s own Worm Ladies here.

Latest OMA Violations: Town Solicitor Stands by Town Council’s Actions  

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Town Solicitor David D’Agostino said the latest two Open Meetings Act violations – issued Friday by the state Attorney General’s office – were surprising and that he’s seeking clarification on one of them.

The violations concerned the failure to include discussion of restructuring (which resulted in job terminations) on the agenda for a Town Council executive session June 26, and the failure to properly notice a report about collective bargaining agreements during a regular meeting Aug. 28.  

In an interview Tuesday, D’Agostino noted the AG’s office did not find the violations “willful and knowing.” That’s in contrast to Superior Court Judge Susan E. McGuirl’s rulings on five other OMA violations from last summer, which she did find willful and knowing.

D’Agostino said on the first violation, he was checking with the Attorney General’s office to see if they knew that one of the people who filed that complaint – former town manager assistant Pam Aveyard – had since filed suit against the town for wrongful termination.

“I’m not sure what impact the Aveyard civil action would have had on the Attorney General’s decision,” he said.  

Although D’Agostino knew about Aveyard’s lawsuit (and different media outlets – including this one – had written about it), he said it was not his responsibility to notify the AG about it because he did not want to presume how the AG would rule.

“Me letting the Attorney General know beforehand may not have made any difference,” said D’Agostino. Still, he said, he wanted to know if the Attorney General’s office knew about the lawsuit before it made its ruling.

He did not explain what difference that might have made.

He said he also wanted to confirm that the council had already remedied that complaint. The council did vote on the reorganization plan at its meeting Nov. 20, which the AG’s response noted but D’Agostino said he still wanted clarification.

The second complaint concerned a 25-minute presentation to the Town Council on Aug. 28 – complete with Powerpoint – by an independent consultant from Ohio on the last two firefighter collective bargaining agreements that was not mentioned in the agenda but rather put forward in place of the town manager’s report.

D’Agostino argued that the town manager’s report had in the past “included various information from other departments.” But, he said, the AG probably found a problem with this particular use of the town manager’s report because it “was so segregated and went on for so long.”

He said based on what he now knows about the report in question, if asked for his opinion now he would probably counsel that the report be listed as a separate agenda item.

“You always learned from these experiences,” said D’Agostino. “The difference is you have to make a call at the time.”

The last time the Town Council was cited for an OMA violation was in 2005 (Tanner v. Town Council of the Town of East Greenwich), but D’Agostino declined to comment on the unprecedented volume of violations – seven now –  between June 19 and Aug. 28.

“In all fairness, the last OMA violation took place Aug. 28,” he said, adding that a lot had happened – pretty much complaint free – since then. 

Police Log: Snowbank DUI, Identity Theft, Warrants

 

By Bethany Hashaway

Tuesday, Jan. 2

10 a.m. – The Rhode Island State Police had arrested a Wyoming woman, 53, on an EGPD warrant. EGPD picked her up; she was arraigned before a bail commissioner and held without bail. She was turned over to the ACI.

6 p.m. – A Cora street resident told police that in September 2017, he got a letter from Cash Central telling him he owed $11,777.50 from a loan. The original loan was for $3,000. He contacted the company to report the fraud, telling them he hadn’t taken out this loan and didn’t know who would have his personal information. The company told him to report this to the police for the misuse of his identify.

Wednesday, Jan. 3

9:48 a.m. – An East Greenwich man told police that on Jan. 2, he received a call at 2:30 p.m. from a man with what sounded like a Middle Eastern accent. The man, who didn’t identify himself, said he was with Visa credit card and they could offer him zero percent on his Visa credit card. The EG man told police he gave the caller the last four digits of his social security and the last four digits on his credit card. After he gave the caller those figures, he started thinking it was a scam and told the man he wasn’t interested. The Visa person was nice about it and told him he would delete his information. The EG man told police he cancelled his credit card and was worried his identity may have been stolen.

5:20 p.m. – Police were called to the McDonald’s parking lot at 1000 Division St., for the report an hit and run accident. When police arrived they found a blue Toyota 4 Runner in the parking lot. The driver told police she was traveling northbound in the parking lot when another car backed out of parking spot and hit the rear driver’s side of her car. She told police the other driver begged her not to call police because he would be in trouble, that he would just pay her. When he learned the police were called he told her that he had to go and left. Police did checks on the other driver involved and checks showed that the car’s registration was suspended. Police issued a warrant for the driver.

Saturday, Jan. 6

9:30 a.m. – Police arrested an East Greenwich man, 66, at his home on a Third District Court warrant. The man was taken into custody and transported to EGPD for processing. Later he was transported to the ACI.

Sunday, Jan.7

8:03 p.m. – Police arrested an Attleboro man, 66, for driving while intoxicated after police noticed a car stuck in the snow near Sanctuary Drive. The driver of the car was standing outside of the car. Police talked to the driver, whose speech was mumbled. The man was also having a hard time staying balanced. When police asked him what happened, he told police he’d lost control as he came out of Sanctuary Drive and ended up in the snow bank. The man smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot. After the man failed field sobriety tests, he was taken into custody and transported to EGPD for processing. While at the police station, the man refused to take a blood alcohol test so he was issued a District Court summons on the DUI charge and a state Traffic Tribunal summons for refusing to take a chemical blood alcohol test, as well a violation for driving on an expired license and a suspended registration, after he was released to a friend.

Gill E. Thorpe, 86

Gill E. Thorpe, 86, of Wood River Junction, died Sunday, Jan. 14, at South County Hospital. Formerly of East Greenwich and Wickford, he was the beloved husband of Nancy (Aldrich) Thorpe.

Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Walter and Nora (Gill) Thorpe. Founded by his father, Gill was the pharmacist and owner of Thorpe’s Pharmacy in East Greenwich, with locations in Providence, Riverside and Warwick as well. He was also one of the founders of the East Greenwich Rotary Club in 1963. Gill was very active in various other community organizations throughout his life.

A true outdoorsman, Gill loved being on the water, especially racing sailboats, fishing, and cruising Narragansett Bay. Above all, Gill lived for time spent with his family.

Aside from his wife, he is survived by two daughters: Janet Thorpe and Susan T. Waterman, both of Wood River Junction; two grandsons: Richard R. Waterman, Jr. and Samuel T. Waterman; three granddaughters: Tyler A. Thorpe, Courtney E. Thorpe, and Allison G. Thorpe; and one sister: Nancy Widergren of Westerly. He is predeceased by his son: Richard E. Thorpe. He will be deeply missed by his loving family.

A private service will be held.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to Hope Hospice & Palliative Care Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, R.I. 02904; South County Hospital and Home Health Care, 100 Kenyon Avenue, Wakefield, R.I., 02879; or your favorite charity.

Visit the online obituary at the Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home website here.