How 56-Hour Week Works for NK Fire Department

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The East Greenwich Town Council will vote on whether or not to institute a three-platoon, 56-hour work week for the fire department at its meeting Monday night.*

Just down Post Road, the North Kingstown Fire Department has been operating under that system since 2012. 

In a four-platoon system, firefighters typically work 10 hours on, 14 hours off, 10 hours on, 24 hours off, 14 hours on, 96 hours off.

Under North Kingstown’s three-platoon system, firefighters work 10 hours on, 14 hours off, 24 hours on, 10 hours off, 14 hours on, 72 hours off, then the cycle repeats.

In East Greenwich, as in North Kingstown, the argument for the switch has been cost savings. EG Town Manager Gayle Corrigan began targeting what she has called unsustainable firefighting expenses even as a consultant for the town, before former Town Manager Tom Coyle was “separated” from the town last June and Corrigan was given his job.

So, how has it worked out in North Kingstown?

According to North Kingstown Fire Chief Scott Kettelle in a recent interview, the savings has been in health care costs because there are fewer firefighters. In North Kingstown, a decrease of 15 firefighters (the equivalent of one platoon) was achieved by not filling the spots of firefighters who retired or left. Health care costs roughly $15,000 per firefighter, according to NK Finance Director James Lathrop – totalling $225,000 a year for 15 firefighters.

Under Corrigan’s 3-platoon plan, the EGFD would lay off 6 firefighters, going from a department of 36 to 30 firefighters. EGFD health care savings based on NK costs would equal $90,000 a year under her plan.

If the Town Council approves going to a three-platoon system, what the town would pay firefighters remains unknown. Firefighters are paid an hourly wage; if they receive their same rate of pay for the additional 14 hours a week, that would not provide a savings.

In North Kingstown, when the three-platoon system was imposed, the town argued that firefighters were salaried and as a result it did not pay them for 14 extra hours. Instead, the town gave firefighters 10 percent more a year. If they had paid the hourly wage for the extra 14 hours, firefighters would have gotten a 33 percent increase in annual wages.

In September 2015, the town and the union signed a four-year contract that, by June 2019, will close the 23 percent gap. In other words, firefighters will be paid at the hourly rate they were making for the same position in 2011.

Kettelle said he was not sure how the change affects pension costs. While there are fewer people, those people are working longer hours, so their pensions will be higher, he said.

EG Town Manager Corrigan’s answer to high overtime costs is to add two “floaters” to each shift – essentially two extra firefighters who can fill in for people who are out (due to injury, illness or vacation) so minimum staffing levels are met. North Kingstown has three floaters per shift and, indeed, overtime costs have decreased in recent years. Still, this year’s overtime is budgeted at $550,000 and Chief Kettelle said the actual overtime number will be about that.

Do to long-term injuries and one firefighter’s decision recently to go join Cranston Fire, NKFD is down to two floaters on two shifts and one floater on one shift. Because the next fire academy isn’t until September, Kettelle said, that means the department won’t have someone available for service to replace that firefighter who left until early 2019.

“There’s 168 hours in a week. Those hours have to be covered,” said Chief Kettelle.

He said there is another cost to be factored in under the three-platoon system: wages under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). North Kingstown and East Greenwich both use a 28-day period under which firefighters can work 212 hours before they have to be paid overtime according to FLSA.

In a 28-day period under the 56-hour work week, one platoon works 196 hours, one platoon works 216 hours, and one platoon works 240 hours. For anyone who works more than 212 hours in a 28-day period (a person has to actually work those hours – illness, injury or vacation time does not count), the town has to pay an additional “half time” for those extra hours so they are making overtime pay (time and a half).

“You have to factor in the FLSA number,” Kettelle said. A few years back, North Kingstown hadn’t been calculating FLSA correctly and firefighters brought a complaint forward. The town eventually agreed with the firefighters and paid double damages back two years.

In East Greenwich, it could get more expensive since firefighters earn “collateral pay” for jobs such as dispatch, training, EMS coordinator – a lower hourly rate that does not count toward their 42-hour work week and so is not subject to regular overtime. But, under FLSA, work is work regardless of contractual arrangements, so FLSA costs could increase significantly in East Greenwich under a three-platoon system, Kettelle said.

East Greenwich’s FLSA costs now are roughly $10,000 to $12,000.

The legal fees to enact the three-platoon system are estimated at $1.5 million. East Greenwich labor legal fees are a mystery – the last bill the town received was for $140,000 for work through November.

Beyond the finances, Chief Kettelle said running a three-platoon system is hard.

“Operationally, it is more challenging then the four platoon system. You have 25 percent fewer bodies available to you,” he said. For Kettelle, that becomes most apparent during weather emergencies like heavy snow storms or hurricanes.

“We would typically hire back additional personnel for each vehicle and bring in more vehicles,” he said. But there are fewer people to hire back. And, unlike during a community-based emergency, such as a building fire, North Kingstown can’t rely on mutual aid from other communities since those communities are dealing with the weather event too.

“Under the four-platoon system, there’s always one platoon that’s completely off,” Kettelle said. Now, if he has to fill slots in a shift, he has to either get someone to stay at work after they’ve already worked their shift, or he has to bring someone in early before their regular shift starts.

“Now it’s a lot harder to fill overtime shifts. We are ordering people to work against their choice considerably more than we did under the four-platoon,” he said. “From the firefighter standpoint, under the three-platoon system, overtime is a burden not a benefit. Guys don’t want to work any more hours.”

Kettelle said North Kingstown has created an ad hoc committee made up of members of the fire department administration, the firefighters union and the town’s finance department to study the true cost of a three-platoon versus a four-platoon system. The panel has not begun that work.

* Town Manager Corrigan has recommended the Town Council approve the schedule change pending Superior Court Judge Susan McGuirl’s ruling on the town’s lawsuit that argues the town has the right to break the union’s contract to impose the change.





 

Trap and Safehouse Owner Buys Besos

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The Town Council Monday night approved the transfer of the Besos liquor license from Kristen Della Grotta to TJ Martucci, owner of Forge Road restaurants Safehouse and The Trap. Simultaneously, Besos restaurant manager Dana Wronski is leaving the restaurant at the end of the month. Della Grotta said Wronski, a singer when she’s not working in restaurants,  is moving to Nashville.

“It was the right time and he was the right person to take the restaurant to the next level,” said Della Grotta Monday.

Martucci said he wasn’t planning big changes for the restaurant and, in fact, was working with Wronski to make sure there is a smooth transition. The staff and head chef are staying put, he said.

Martucci said he’d admired Besos for a while.

“If all the restaurants on Main Street were for sale, I would still choose Besos,” said Martucci.



 

Share Your Thoughts at Free Community Dinner

The Rhode Island Foundation is offering East Greenwich residents a place to have a neighborly talk face to face over a meal May 1.

East Greenwich, R.I. – The Rhode Island Foundation is inviting East Greenwich residents to share their thoughts about the issues that are important to them at a community dinner May 1. The event is at the heart “TogetherRI,” a new initiative from the Foundation designed to get people talking face-to-face again in a time when social media is becoming increasingly coarse and divisive.

“We’re giving you the opportunity to listen, reconnect and inspire civil dialogue at a time when people are more ‘connected’ via social media, yet more disconnected from each other personally than ever,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “Our hope is that participants will meet someone new and will leave knowing that their voice was heard.”

The East Greenwich community dinner is scheduled for Tues., May 1, at the Varnum Memorial Armory, 6 Main St., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and the doors will open at 5:45 p.m. People can register to attend at togetherri.org, but RSVPs are not required.

“This is a place for everyone – no matter where they live or what they care about – to come together to strengthen social connections, to be heard, to discuss opportunities and challenges and to strengthen the foundation of our community,” said Steinberg.

For people who cannot attend the get-together in East Greenwich, an event is also scheduled in North Providence Thurs., May 3, at the Meehan Overlook, Governor Notte Park, 1801 Douglas Ave., from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The events are among the 20 get-togethers scheduled across the state through May 5. The full schedule of events is posted at togetherri.org.

“Each and every Rhode Islander has a role to play in ensuring our collective success. These conversations will be a neutral place for dialogue on topics that are critical to our common future, and a place where we hope the recent tendency toward divisiveness and polarization will be left at the door,” said Steinberg.

Independent, professional facilitators will guide the sessions. The University of Rhode Island’s Social Science Institute for Research, Education, and Policy will review the information shared at TogetherRI conversations and from brief, anonymous, participant surveys. The Foundation expects to announce the topline results at its annual meeting May 24 and to release a complete report this summer.

The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Working with generous and visionary donors, the Foundation raised $38 million and awarded $43 million in grants to organizations addressing the state’s most pressing issues and needs of diverse communities in 2017. Through leadership, fundraising and grantmaking activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit rifoundation.org.

This Week in EG: Town Council Vote, Touch-A-Truck & Race to the Stage

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.

Monday, April 23

Town Council meeting – On the agenda, a vote on restructuring the fire department and presentation of the 2017 audit. The meeting is preceded by a joint session with the ad hoc Advisory Town Manager Search Committee at 6 p.m. The regular session begins at 7. Both meetings take place at Town Hall.

Tuesday, April 24

Business After Hours – This month’s EG Chamber Business After Hours takes place at the Grille on Main, 50 Main St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Chamber members $5, non-members $10.

School Committee meeting – Agenda items include next year’s budget and discussion of the field trip policy. Find the complete agenda here. In the library at Cole Middle School starting at 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 26

Collecting Original Art The Friends of the East Greenwich Free Library will present a panel discussion will offer several perspectives on collecting art, with an emphasis on the How, Why and What of buying art today. Panelists include Cade Tompkins, contemporary art dealer and gallery owner Cade Tompkins Projects, Providence; Richard Whitten, artist and Professor of Painting and Art Department Chairperson at Rhode Island College; Catherine A. Sammartino, Partner at the law firm Sammartino & Berg LLP in Providence; and moderator Michael Rose, art historian, gallerist, appraiser, and gallery manager at the historic Providence Art Club. From 6 to 8 p.m. East Greenwich Free Library, 82 Peirce Street, East Greenwich. Designed for all levels of the collecting experience. Seating is on a first come, first served basis and subject to capacity. For more info, contact: friendseglibrary@gmail.com or visit www.eastgreenwichlibrary.org.

Friday, April 27

Seussical Jr. – Presented by Eldredge PTG and Experiments in Theater, this musical based on the stories of Dr. Seuss will be performed at EG High School Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8.

Saturday, April 28

Touch a Truck – The Greenwich Bay Woman’s Club is sponsoring Family Open House Touch-a-Truck at the Warwick Fire Station at 225 Potowomut Road from 9 to 11 a.m. They will be collecting canned goods for a local food pantry, so donations are encouraged!

Seussical Jr. – Presented by Eldredge PTG and Experiments in Theater, this musical based on the stories of Dr. Seuss will be performed at EG High School Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $8. 

Saturday, April 29

Race to the Stage – Performers competing for a spot on the program for Summer’s End – as well cash prizes – take the stage at the Odeum at 4 p.m. Live judges will ultimately select the winners, but audience response may help decide their fate. Tickets are $10 in Advance, and $15 at the Door.

OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE

Recycling is OFF this week.

Volunteers Needed for After Prom! This is as much fun as you will have all year. You get to meet new people, be surrounded by amazing creativity, and help a bunch of teenagers have a terrific After Prom. Click here to learn more.

EG Police Union Is Fundraising – This is an “all points bulletin,” if you will, to let you know the EG Police Union is soliciting sponsorships to its 2018 Yearbook and Business Directory, so don’t be surprised if you get a phone call. This is in advance of their Comedy Night at Quidnessett Country Club June 28 – the directories will be available then.

EGHS Class of 1960 Reunion – The East Greenwich High School Class of 1960 will be holding their 58th Reunion on Sunday, July 22, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the East Greenwich Veterans’ Firemen’s Hall on Queen Street in East Greenwich. People from EGHS classes before and after the Class of ’60 are welcome. For more information and detail contact Dan Shea (401-821-4521 or dsheajr@cox.net). To reserve your spot, send a check for $30 (per person) to Judy Briggs, 146 Sisson Road, Greene, R.I. 02827.

LOOKING AHEAD

 

Monday, April 30

CCK Community Supper – The monthly community dinner known as Christ Community Kitchen takes place in the dining room at St. Luke’s Church, 111 Peirce St., from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Various local churches take turns providing the food and volunteers. This month Rocky Hill School and St. Luke’s are collaborating on an Italian meal. The supper is free but donations are welcome. All are invited.

Tuesday, May 1

Together RI Community Supper – The Rhode Island Foundation is holding a series of community dinners around the state. The idea is to share a meal with other members of your community and get creative about the challenges and possibilities facing Rhode Island. It’s free. At the Varnum Armory, 6 Main Street, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is encouraged but not mandatory. Click here for more information and to register.

Friday, May 4

Into the Woods, Jr. – The award-winning Cole Drama Club will perform this musical based on fairy tales with a twist at East Greenwich High School at 7 p.m. (and again on Saturday at 4 p.m.). Tickets are $10 per person and will be available at the door and online at https://bit.ly/2pTjkSD. Find more information on the show on the Cole Drama Club’s Facebook page here

Saturday, May 5

EG Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet – The banquet will be held at the Quonset “O” Club at 2 p.m. Read all about the honorees and get additional information here.

Into the Woods, Jr. – The award-winning Cole Drama Club will perform this musical based on fairy tales with a twist at East Greenwich High School at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person and will be available at the door and online at https://bit.ly/2pTjkSD. Find more information on the show on the Cole Drama Club’s Facebook page here.

Sunday, May 6

May Fair 2018 – ”County Fair” is the theme of this year’s May Fair. The Barbara Tufts Co-op Preschool’s annual event features pony rides, bunnies, games, food, silent auction and lots and lots of fun. As always, at Academy Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

EG Athletic Hall of Fame Takes Place May 5

Among this year’s honorees are Bob Corr, Chris Della Grotta, Stephanie Gloria and Kristen Manson.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

The East Greenwich Athletic Hall of Fame will honor its 2018 slate of inductees as well as present special awards and the two Ucci Award scholarship recipients at its annual banquet Saturday, May 5, at the Quonset “O” Club.

In this year’s class are Bob Corr, Class of 1976; Allen Pritchard, Class of 1978; Chris Della Grotta, 1983; Stephanie (Balkcom) Gloria, 1989; Mike Kamin, 1991; Steve DiIuro, 1992; and Kristen Manson, 1995.

Michael Kamin, Class of 1991: A four-year varsity track and three-year basketball star, Kamin was a three-time All State shot put champion and javelin thrower. He holds school records in both events.

In basketball he was All State leading team to a State title and was a Street & Smith Honorable Mention All America. He helped EG to 1991 Class B State hoop title and was a Providence Journal Honor Roll Nominee.

At the University of Illinois he was a two-time letter winner in javelin and is one of the Illini’s top ten throwers of All-Time. In 1992 he was Top Male Student-Athlete and was All Academic Big Ten three times, also winning U of I’s prestigious George Huff Award.

Stephanie Balkcom Gloria, Class of 1989: Played four sports at EGHS. Cross Country, Basketball, Soccer and Track. She established five school records in three sports – track, basketball and soccer. Steph earned first team All Division honors 9 times and All State Honorable Mention 4x.

In college Balcom played club basketball one year and club soccer one year but made her mark running varsity cross country and track for the Fordham Rams. She was named All Patriot League in 1992 and placed in the PL’s top 15 Indoor track times for the Mile and the 3000. Her running sparked Fordham’s Patriot League title in 1990 and Metropolitan crown in 1992.

Stephanie Balkcom Gloria continues her running to this day and took a first place in the Don Davis Memorial 5K. She has also been a high finisher in several other Road Races in the Ocean State.

Robert J. Corr, Class of 1976: A first team All Class B selection in football at EGHS. Also a member of the track team. Next, at Governor Dummer Academy he played football and lacrosse and was named 2nd team Boston Globe Independent Prep Team as running back.

At Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, Bob was a four-year starter in Lacrosse and a three-year starter in football. He came to EGHS as a Freshman football coach and also did JV and assistant varsity before taking over the reins in 2002. As Head Varsity Coach he turned out an undefeated regular season team in 2004, which lost in playoff semi-finals. In 2005 EG lost in semis again, but in 2006 Bob piloted the Division iii Super Bowl champions. 2007 saw them rush into the semi-finals again before losing.

Corr founded the East Greenwich Alumni Football Association, which started the now traditional Annual Thanksgiving Eve Pasta Dinner.

Chris Della Grotta, Class of 1983: A four-year hockey standout for the Ice Avengers, he graduated in the top 10 of his class. Made the Phi Beta Kaplan Society and was first team All Division. Selected to RI All Star team, which won the 1983 New England Yankee Conference Tournament. He played in 127 games at EG and had 80 goals and 138 assists, giving him the All Time scoring record at 218 points. He was named MVP twice and his teams won Met B crowns three times.

At Bentley College he played four years of hockey getting two hat tricks as a freshman, with seven overall there and garnering six game-winning goals. He ended up as Bentley’s 9th All Time scorer by the time he graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting.

Allen Pritchard, Class of 1978: A four-year starter in both football and baseball and a three-year starter in wrestling, Pritchard was All Conference as an Outfielder (JR) and as a pitcher (SR) and was co-MVP. In wrestling he came in fourth in state at 185 as a senior.

He was one of two people ever outside of Warwick to be asked to play for Warwick’s American Legion Shields Post #43. At Elon College he was best pitcher in ’80 and ’81 and was #2 in the NAIA in ERA. He also won NAIA All District and All Conference honors and had school honors in victories and ERA marks.

He was elected to the Elon College Sports Hall of Fame and chosen to throw out the first pitch when Elon celebrated 100 years of baseball in a game versus Brown. He was invited to the St. Louis Cardinals for a tryout and played for the Johnson City Cardinals minor league team.

Stephen DiIuro, Class of 1992: Wrestling, football and baseball at EGHS, while playing soccer for EGSA travel teams during that period. DiIuro was a Wrestling All Stater and the 145-pound champion, also making All League. He was the Class B Sectional Champion. The team’s captain he was chosen as a Providence Journal Bulletin Winter All Star.

In football he was second team All State, first team All League, the Thanksgiving Day MVP and his team’s MVP. Steve was also named the Dr. Uno Uustal Award winner and EGHS Most Outstanding Male Athlete Award winner. He also served as student council president for two years. He graduated from URI with a B.S. in Management Science and Information Systems.

Kristen Manson, Class of 1995: A field hockey, basketball and softball star at East G., Manson went on to star in field hockey at James Madison University and coach at Central Michigan and then back at JMU. In field hockey she was All Division twice and All State twice while leading her team to state titles. She made All Tournament  and was the defensive MVP in the state All Star game. She also served as the Avenger captain.

In basketball she made All Division twice and was also Honorable Mention All State.

At James Madison, Kristen grabbed All Conference honors and was a NCAA Regional All American second teamer. She was the Lady Dukes team captain, team MVP and played in the North-South Senior All Star Game. In her time at JMU they were CAA Champs, an NCAA Final Four team, and were ranked in the top ten.

As an Assistant Coach at Central Michigan, she helped the Lady Chips take the 2002 MAC Field Hockey Championship.

The EGAHOF will also be honoring three local residents with special awards – Kerri Withrow Valentine, who will receive the Special Recognition Award; and Fred “BeBe” MacDonald and Bruce Roberts, will be presented with Golden Avenger Awards.

The Special Recognition Award goes to an Individual who has given of themselves selflessly in supports of athletics in the Town of East Greenwich and whose efforts are integral in perpetuating the town’s athletic tradition.

The Golden Avenger Awards are given to individual, who grew up in the town, had success

in athletics and have given back to the EG community throughout their lives, and, whose efforts have laid the groundwork for the town’s athletic tradition.

Kerri Withrow Valentine was a four-year field hockey standout at EGHS and captained the team her senior year. She returned the next year as an Assistant Coach and was part of the program, which won four state and seven division titles.

In 2004 she became EGYFH president, a program that has grown and grown under her direction. The EGYFH runs spring clinics, leagues and summer camps. It sponsors a high school summer league and a fall program.

In 2017, Valentine was nominated for the NFHCA Junior Hockey Award.

Fred “BeBe” MacDonald graduated from East Greenwich High School in 1950. As an Avenger he played four years of baseball, four years of football, four years of baseball, managed the basketball team and also was on the wrestling club team.

He served in the Korean War and, while in the service, also played baseball for his base team.

A lifelong quahaugger, MacDonald is still bullraking at the age of 86. He managed the Shell Fishermen’s Co-Op, Eastern Seafood, started Independent Fishermen’s Co-Op and built 10 condos on his property off Forge Road. To give back to his community, “BeBe” started a scholarship program for the children of quahauggers.

Bruce Roberts played for East Greenwich High School in the 1960s. He jokes that he had an intimate relationship with future Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri, as Roberts was the center and Carcieri the quarterback. Bruce also played for the excellent EG Townie teams of the early to mid ‘60s. Those teams won both the Rhode Island Semi-Pro Championship with an unbeaten season, and the next year took the Southeastern Massachusetts title with a 9-1 record.

After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Bruce coached lacrosse at schools out of state before moving back to East Greenwich and joining the LAX staff at East Greenwich High School, where he has been a valuable contributor to the success that Avenger teams have had on the lacrosse pitch.

Ucci Award Winners

Andrew Blessing, a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, baseball, plus a few others, and Jennifer Imbriglio, a four-sport athlete, have been chosen as the 2018 Ucci Award winners. They are both from East Greenwich High School.

Blessing was on the football team for three years and was the quarterback and captain. He also played basketball for three years and baseball for two. In between he played golf and was on the track and cross country teams.

Very active in the school, he was on the student council, Prom Committee and the Future Business Leaders of America. He helps out in the community by working with the EG Youth Basketball Association and is a camp counselor for Safety Town of East Greenwich, and is a standard bearer for the CVS Charity Golf Classic. He also served as a counselor for the East Greenwich Parks and Recreation and ran a pet-sitting business.

Andrew is a National Honor Society Member, a Rhode Island Scholar-Athlete Award winner, was second team All Division in football and made the All Academic team.

Blessing was a National Leadership Conference Qualifier for FBLA and helped EGHS to the freshman state title in cross country as a freshman. He was also named a Rhode Island Scholar Athlete in football.

Andrew is deciding between Bentley (for football), Holy Cross and Fordham (where he might walk on) and Boston College (for school only).

Imbriglio is equally accomplished. She played field hockey for four years, ran outdoor track for four and ice hockey for three with one year in indoor track.

She was on student council for four years, and the same with International Club, EG AfterProm, Airband and The Crimson Yearbook. To a lesser degree she was also involved with Avengers for Animals, Prom Committee, and the marching band.

In the community, Jennifer has participated in the R.I. National Guard Military Family Program, the Women & Infants Hospital Teen Volunteer Program, Our Lady of Mercy’s Vacation Bible Camp, OLM Bread Lines Volunteer and Junior Legion of Mary. She also coaches first to third graders in EG Youth Field Hockey, gives out toys, hats and gloves to children in West Bay Community Action, coordinates birthday parties at Aim High Academy, works at Wild Harvest Bakery and serves as an EGHS Tour Guide, was an original organizing member of Roomz Without Walls.

Imbriglio has also been nominated for the coveted annual SLTP Student Leader of the Year Award 2016-17, is a national Honor Society member, earned an Honorable Mention for the Premio de Plata (National Spanish Exam), was an AP Scholar, won the George Eastman Young Leaders Award and the Rhode Island Scholar Athlete Award.

Jennifer will attend Quinnipiac University in the fall and will play either club field hockey or varsity ice hockey.

The banquet – at the Quonset “O” Club, 200 Lt. James Brown Road, North Kingstown – begins at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. For tickets and more information, contact Jeff Santos at 884-3515 or jsantoseg@verizon.net, or Guy Asadorian at 884-4143 or guyasa821@gmail.com.

A note: The format for the Anthony “Tar Tar” Ucci Awards will change slightly for next year. A new application has been formulated and it will be distributed and announced at East Greenwich High School in early January. There will be a two-month period to apply and the applications will be submitted to Anthony Ucci, who will head a committee of Vincent and Joseph Ucci, David Ucci Sr. and Bruce Mastracchio, all nephews of East Greenwich’s true athletic legend. Winners receive a dinner, a plaque and a monetary scholarship award.

Main Street Stroll Schedule Mixes It Up This Year

Dog Stroll takes place May 31 while Chalk a Block contest has moved to July. 

East Greenwich, R.I. – The East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce has announced its Main Street Stroll schedule for 2018 and there are a couple of changes: Main Street is going to the dogs earlier this year, with the Dogs on Main stroll set for Thursday, May 31. Meanwhile, the annual Chalk a Block contest – traditionally on a Saturday in May – has moved to Thursday evening, July 26, paired with the Arts on Main stroll.

The Main Street Stroll series features businesses open late, live music and sidewalk vendors, creating a party-like atmosphere downtown.

Music on Main will take place on Thursday, June 21, coinciding with the summer solstice – the longest day of the year.

The Taste of Main stroll – when restaurants up and down Main Street offer samples – will be held on Thursday, Aug. 23.

The strolls start at 5 p.m.

 

Police Log: Fires, Hit-and-Run, and a Syringe

By Bethany J. Hashway

Monday, March. 26

5:58 p.m. – Police were called to assist EG Fire at Castle Street for a report of a structure fire. When police arrived, EGFD had put the fire out. It had started in a recycling bin next to the side of the house. A UPS driver saw the fire while delivering a package to the house and he alerted the homeowner. The homeowner was able to largely extinguish fire using a garden hose; when  EGFD arrived, they put out the rest of the small fire. It was unclear of how the fire started. There was some damage to the recycling bin and to a portion of the wood shingling on the south side of the house. 

Tuesday, March. 27

7:26 p.m. – Police cited a Providence man for possession of marijuana after he was involved in a car accident at Main Street and First Avenue. Police smelled marijuana on an injured passenger who was being treated at the scene by fire department personnel. Police asked the man if he was carrying any marijuana, noting that the fire department does not allow passengers to carry illegal drugs when being transported by rescue. The man denied having any marijuana, but police found a large plastic bag containing what later tested positive for marijuana in his pocket during a pat-down search. The man said he did not have a medical marijuana card. Police confiscated the marijuana and the man was taken to the hospital to be treated. Once tests determined that the substance was indeed marijuana, police mailed the man a citation.

8:29 p.m. – Police arrested a Warwick man, 66, for leaving the scene of an accident, after police were called to Post Road at the (former) Benny’s Plaza for the report of a hit-and-run accident. At the scene, the driver who had called the police said she had been driving southbound when a small Mercedes sedan pulled out of the Jason’s parking lot and ran into the passenger-side door of her car. The woman said the Mercedes fishtailed as the driver tried to get it under control, then the car drove off northbound on Post Road. Two people said they witnessed the incident and told the woman that the other car’s license plate was stuck on her passenger-side door.

Wednesday, March. 28

1:49 a.m. – Police stopped a Providence man for having dark tinted windows and after a licence plate check showed that the plates weren’t on file. The driver told police that he had just purchased the car and lost the dealer plates, so he placed his license plate from his old car onto this one until he was able to register the car. Police gave him a summons for driving an unregistered car, and gave him a warning on the illegal window tint. Police seized the license plates and the car was towed.

Friday, March. 30

2 p.m. – A Main Street resident told police she found a syringe filled with what looked like blood when she was doing yard work. Police took the syringe and disposed of it.

5:48 p.m. – A Queen Street resident told police that she gave her daughter permission to open a PayPal account with her Santander credit card in the beginning of March to buy a $4.99 teddy bear. During a recent visit to her bank, Santander, she learned her balance was low. It appeared her daughter had withdrawn $942.12 from her account using the PayPal account. She had the bank cancel the bank card.

Sunday, April 1

10:42 a.m EG police picked up a Cranston man, 52, from Cranston PD after he was arrested in that city on a warrant out of East Greenwich for larceny.

3:45 p.m. – Police were called to Ashbrook Run for a fire. Police found a large fire pit piled high with large pieces of furniture that had tumbled over beyond the confines of the fire pit, lighting nearly logs, branches and twigs on fire. The homeowner was trying to contain the fire but the fire department was called and extinguished the blaze. No one was injured.

Town’s 2017 Audit Shows $380,296 Surplus

The town had a $1.1 million surplus but the schools had a $728,808 deficit.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Nine months after the end of fiscal year 2017, the town’s audit shows an overall $380,292 surplus and an unrestricted fund balance of $6.4 million.

The audit was posted to the state Auditor General’s website last week (find it here). It has not yet been posted to the town website and was not available in the town finance department Tuesday.

The audit was due to the state by Jan. 1 – six months after the end of the town’s fiscal year.

Town officials received two extensions through March 31. According to state Auditor General Dennis Hoyle, the state got the audit on April 9.

The Town did not officially seek an extension beyond March 31,” Hoyle said via email. “As a matter of course, if we are in communication with a municipality and they need a few more days to complete beyond the approved extension date we allow that.”

In March, Town Manager Gayle Corrigan issued a letter to residents to explain why she had asked for the extensions, citing among other things an adverse legal ruling on the impact fees collected by the Fire District. According to the audit, the town will use $1.7 million from the fund balance to cover the impact fee settlement (page 16). 

In the town’s Management Discussion and Analysis letter (page 7, signed by Finance Director Linda Dykeman), it is noted that the town’s liabilities exceed its assets by $26.9 million.

According to Auditor General Hoyle, “It is not uncommon for governments, on their government-wide (full accrual) financial statements to have negative net position due to the recognition of pension and OPEB liabilities.”

Hoyle noted that East Greenwich opted to implement the new OPEB standard (GASB 75) standards in 2017, a year before it was required.  

“It appears most of the negative net position at June 30, 2017, resulted from the recognition of the OPEB liability,” he said, referring to audit note 23 (page 74) for details.

Other information from the audit:

The town administration was over budget by $464,913, largely due to legal claims and employee contract payout. Fire Department was over budget by a total of $143,739 – the overtime overage of $225,526 was offset by not filing the fire clerk’s position and lower salary and holiday pay.

In addition, the town’s tax rate for 2018 (the current fiscal year) is $23.66 per thousand, with 39 percent allocated for general government and 61 percent allocated for education. For fiscal year 2017, the town’s tax rate was $24.09 per thousand, with 45 percent allocated for general government and 55 percent allocated for education (page 13).



 

Just A Thought

By Bob Houghtaling

Last week I wrote an article extolling the value of philosophy and how schools would be so much safer if we hired more philosophers to help with life’s big issues. For this article I am hoping to highlight the importance of history, as both a subject and means for perpetuating our culture/traditions. Like philosophy, history is often considered soft (or just a collection of dates). Hopefully, by placing some emphasis on history, we might just come to remember the importance of learning about our past.

History teaches us where we came from. All Americans can recite the story of how Columbus sailed across the ocean with three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Andrea Doria. From there a New World would open up. After enslaving a few Africans, and killing some Indians, America became a place to inhabit and establish religious tolerance. Soon Cortez, Rocky Balboa, and countless others, would risk the high seas to establish new colonies. Every child clearly knows this.

Sure, from time to time, it could get rough, but eventually colonies became thriving states. Ted Williams would establish Rhode Island. James Oglethorpe would help create Georgia, and Penn and Teller would work to create Pennsylvania (along with Quaker Oats Cereal). These brave individuals formed the basis for our way of life. History also tells us that the American Revolution served as the template for today’s United States. Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington Carver, Gomez Addams and Alexander Hamilton all played vital roles in helping to form a new nation. Where would we be if it weren’t for all of those who stood tall against the British Umpire?

Without being taught history, Americans would never know that Manifold Destiny propelled us to expand our nation’s borders. Without history we would not know that Lincoln freed the slaves, Douglas Fairbanks rose from harsh servitude to great success speaking on behalf of Black Americans, and that America would soon become the “great smelting pot.”

From time to time we would be challenged. Franklin Roosevelt would have to roll up San Juan Hill to win the Spanish American War. Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and others would etch their names on the scrolls of history. We can never forget the importance of Richard Nixon teaching us about the value of special prosecutors. On top of this, great strides would be made on behalf of minorities and women along the way. Martin Luther, Rosa Parks, Christa McAuliffe, Barack Obama (the first Muslim president), Jim Thorpe, Colin Powell and Georgia O’Keeffe are but a few of those worth mentioning. One of the nation’s proudest moments was when Sugar Ray Robinson broke the sound barrier in 1947. This along with Louis Armstrong landing on the moon are accomplishments all Americans can be proud of.  

The point I am trying to make here is that learning history is important. It tells us where we have been. It can also help create a sense of culture and community. We can learn from the past and use this knowledge to build upon. When we forget our past a sense of mooring is lost. Surely we do not desire to live in yesterday – but tomorrow will be better for understanding the contribution of our forebears.

George Santayana once stated that, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” While many parents might not want their sons, or daughters to run off and become historians (or philosophers) encouraging them to develop an inquisitive appreciation for critical thinking, the past, and a sense of purpose might make life’s journey a little more meaningful.

Nations are kept together by communication, a sense of commonality and the ability to evolve. America is unique that way. We have plenty of problems, but possess the enormous capacity for change. When we are open to honest discussion, and reflection, growth can ensue. Our present days might be filled with questions that challenge, but by considering the past we might learn just how those of yesterday handled the tribulations at hand. While we might not be able to place a philosopher (like I called for last week) in all our schools, promoting the importance of history and civics could be a viable substitute. Intellectual ambivalence now calls for alternate facts and questioning the definition of “is.” We have to be able to discern the foolish from the factual.

As I attempt to highlight the importance of relationships, reflection and critical thinking, the importance of science and technology cannot be minimized. In addition, no pretense is being made that Philosophy and History are going to solve gun violence and other societal maladies by themselves. With this being stated, I do feel that enhancing culture, promoting a sense of community, and creating reasons for pride, are important for society to thrive.

With tongue-in-cheek these words are penned, but still with subtle truth. While often complex, the world’s concerns, at core, often contain fear, misinformation, greed and the survival instinct. Understanding, developing trust, cooperation, and a belief in something greater than the perfunctory, should all be factored into potential solutions. Philosophy and history give us the how’s and why’s that lead to our what’s. In essence they ask us to examine the human condition.

Just a thought.

Bob Houghtaling is the director of the East Greenwich Drug Program. 




 

EG Golf Club Closes Abruptly

The restaurant and golf club closed abruptly April 14.

By Elizabeth F. McNamara

East Greenwich, R.I. – Anyone interested in golfing at East Greenwich Golf Club Saturday found the parking lot gate closed and a security guard sitting in a car just inside the gate to keep people from gaining entry.

One year after the club and restaurant were taken over by lawyer and former state attorney general candidate Rob Rainville, they were abruptly closed.

The nine-hole golf course was public – golfers could pay by the day – but also had yearly memberships.

The security officer on duty Sunday said club members should contact New England Tech for more information. Rainville was leasing the property from New England Tech.

“It’s going to be closed a little while,” said the security officer, who said her information came from the school. “They don’t know exactly how long before they get that squared away.”

For Joe Bertrand, it was a blow. The East Greenwich resident said he golfs at the club multiple times a week, along with a group of retirees who’ve been coming to the club for years. He had golfed there last week.

Bertrand said Rainville had done a good job improving the course and the restaurant, which had been known as Bistro 9 but became The 4o1 under Rainville.

“The restaurant is gorgeous. The greens are fantastic. They gutted the whole place. He did a great job,” Bertrand said. He said Rainville had been there pretty much every day since taking over and that Rainville had had big plans.

“He was going to put a place where you could buy equipment, and something by the sixth hole where you could drink and eat,” he said.

“It was a shock to me,” he said of the closure.