Today In EG: Community Supper w/Nod To St. Patrick

rainy quahogger

Amidst the rain, a sign of summer – working to get the docks back in place for the season Sunday. Credit: EG News

Recycling is OFF this week.

Monday, March 31

Christ Community Kitchen dinner: This month CCK is celebrating the Irish with corned beef and cabbage. All are welcome. In the dining room at St. Luke’s Church on Peirce Street. Free but donations are accepted. 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 1

Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission: Here’s the agenda. At Town Hall. 6 p.m.

School Committee meeting: On the agenda is the 2014-15 calendar and a report from Aramark, the EGSD food service provider. In the library at Cole Middle School. 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 2

Cove Management Commission meeting: 4:30 p.m. at Town Hall

Planning Board meeting: The panel will discuss the draft wind ordinance. Town Hall, 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 3

Living Room Stories, v.4: The Living Room presents its fourth in a series of living storytelling events, this one titled “Wisdom for My Younger Self.” It features four presenters and there will be a chance at the end to share your own wisdom. Read more about the evening here. 1550 South County Trail (EG United Methodist Church). 7:30 p.m.

 

Mudslide Stops Amtrak, Closes Road To Scalloptown

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The road into Scalloptown Park covered with mud after a slide sometime overnight Sunday, March 30. Credit: EG News

A mudslide stopped train service through East Greenwich and closed the road into Scalloptown Park Sunday after heavy rain that started Saturday evening. Public Works Director Joe Duarte said the slide happened sometime overnight; someone called police to report the slide Sunday morning.

The slide washed down toward Greenwich Cove. Mud did not cover the tracks, but Amtrak cancelled service due to possible instability in that area, according to Duarte. Amtrak’s John Mandeville said the plan was to bring in some fill for the area near the tracks. He said train service would resume sometime Sunday, with trains slowing to 30 mph when they go through.

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A view of the slide from the train tracks looking toward Greenwich Cove. Credit: John Mandeville/Amtrak

He said this was the only stretch of Amtrak track closed because of the heavy rains.

The road into Scalloptown would be closed at least into Monday, Duarte said. The Dept. of Environmental Management would be contacted, Mandeville said, because charcoal ash used in earlier times to build railroad track beds was in the mud that slid down toward the cove.

The other areas of town affected by the rain were Division Street by Overbrook Lane, Shady Hill Road by South Road, and Shippee Road, but as of Sunday around noon, there was no real damage, “just areas where the edges of roads had washed out a little bit,” Duarte said.

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Credit: EG News

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EG Weekend: Peter Pan, Clown Town, Pets Needing Homes

Recycling is ON this week.

Friday, March 28

‘Peter Pan Jr.’: Everyone is invited to Eldredge Elementary’s production of “Peter Pan Jr.” Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. Friday at 6:30 p.m. $5 at the door.

Teen Center: The gymnasium at Eldredge Elementary is open most every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. for teenagers looking to shoot some hoops or some bull. All are welcome. To learn more, check out the F.A.C.E.S. website here.

Improv at Warwick Museum: Bring Your Own Improv (BYOI), now in its seventh season, is a weekly interactive improv show that welcomes audience participation. The audience can participate in one of three ways: Applaud at a scene you like, yell out fantastic suggestions, or jump up and join the performers on stage. They offer two shows: one for families at 7 p.m. and one for adults at 9 p.m. Warwick Museum of Art, 3259 Post Road, Warwick. $7, $3 for seniors and children 12 and under (at the early show).

Saturday, March 29

Clown Town this Saturday: This is Clown Town’s 49th year. Put on by the Greenwich Bay Women’s Club, Clown Town is a day of fun and games for children. In the auditorium and dining room at St. Luke’s Church on Peirce Street. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winter Farmers Market: The Coastal Growers Winter Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a wide variety of vendors, including Pat’s Pastured, Besto Pesto, Robin Hollow Farm and the Local Catch, to name a few. They also feature live music, with tables where you can listen to music and eat some yummy local fare. At the Lafayette Mill, 650 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown.

‘Peter Pan Jr.’: Everyone is invited to Eldredge Elementary’s production of “Peter Pan Jr.” today at 2:30 p.m. $5 at the door.

Sunday, March 30

EG Animal Protection League Open House: Every Sunday, the EGAPL opens its doors so people can meet the dogs and cats in need of permanent homes. You can find videos of some of the animals available for adoption here. At a NEW LOCATION: EG Animal Hospital, 4302 Post Road. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

 

Student’s Alarming Note Found To Be Benign

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A Hanaford student found a note containing a bomb threat Wednesday after school around 4:30 p.m. The student turned the note over to a teacher who gave it to Principal Beth Cauley. After several hours, the student who wrote the note was identified and officials determined the student had meant no harm, according to Cauley.
The student was interviewed by Cauley and School Resource Officer Bert Montalban and disciplined.
Here’s the note Cauley emailed to parents Wednesday night:
Good Evening Hanaford Families – 
I wanted to make you aware of a situation that occurred this afternoon after-school. At approximately 4:30PM a student found, and turned in a note to a teacher at the end of their activity. Contained in the note was a bomb threat. The teacher brought the note immediately to my attention. I then contacted both Dr. Mercurio and School Resource Officer Burt Montalban. Over the course of the last five hours, I have investigated handwriting samples and all evidence. The EGPD have also completed a full sweep of our school building. Through these efforts we have been able to confirm the identity of the student.

Based on all evidence gathered by the administration and the EGPD, there is no viable or actionable threat at Hanaford. Applicable disciplinary actions have been taken by our school district administration in accordance with district policy and state law.
I would like to thank all of you for your continued vigilance and concern for the safety of everyone here at Hanaford. 
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The Living Room Presents ‘Wisdom For My Younger Self’

What would you tell your 20-year-old self if given the chance? That’s the idea behind the latest Living Room Stories event. It’s an evening of live storytelling around the theme “Wisdom for My Younger Self.” And it’s taking place right here in East Greenwich on Thursday, April 3.

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The evening will feature five storytellers, each sharing a true, 10-minute reflection from his or her life. In a new twist on the program, the audience will have an opportunity to share wisdom that they would offer their younger self.

“Wisdom for My Younger Self” marks the fourth such storytelling event since creator Deb Walsh started The Living Room in 2012. Walsh calls her company a “conversation starter,” with “a mission to inspire people to share their life experiences in a community of like-minded people; take the time to look beneath the stories we hear and tell one another; and break through the ‘digital daze’ of our 24/7 technology-filled life.”

The speakers April 3 are Dennis Bucco, an Episcopal priest; Kristen Girourd, an interior designer; Betsy Fenik, a photographer; and Carolyn Dalgliesh, a professional organizer and author.

“The concept is both incredibly simple and remarkable profound, this act of telling and receiving stories,” said Walsh. “When people share a story, there is this element of true vulnerability and courage that gets telegraphed to the audience. When people hear another person’s tale of fear or loss or awakening or confusion, the story becomes a window into our own experience.”

You can order tickets ($20/$10 for students) through The Living Room website here or at the door. The event takes place at 1550 South County Trail (EG United Methodist Church), East Greenwich. 

For more information on the Living Room, visithttp://thelivingroompresents.wordpress.com/about/why-the-living-room/.

Misty Days at East Greenwich High School

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By Tim Sanzi

It sounds ridiculous, a joke, a pipe dream, to imagine that a bunch of teenagers could in a mere two days tap inner wells of inspiration and come up with ideas to literally change the world.

But that’s what happened when Choose2MatterEGHS took place at East Greenwich High School in February.

Choose2Matter began as one woman’s vision to empower students to identify what really matters to them and work to make a difference in that area. Founder Angela Maiers’ vision has grown to a movement, with Maiers traveling from school to school sharing her message that “You Matter.”

The first step was “heartbreak mapping,” identifying on sheets of large paper what breaks your heart in our world – in other words, what do you want to see changed? Students were encouraged to go into great detail during that phase of the event, exploring a particular issue and really figuring out what it would take to do something about it.

This life-affirming storm of brilliance brought about such groups as Real Girls Matter, an organization dedicated to fostering young girls self confidence, and 50 Shades of Green, built to increase suicide-prevention and depression awareness. It prompted one group of students to raise money for treatment for those with speech impediments, while inspiring another group to work toward demolishing the Common Core.

From there, the student groups got to work with mentors from every level of the “real world” – elected officials (including Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. James Langevin), corporate CEOs and educators. Students puzzled over and fumbled with their solutions many times along the way, but the end results were surprisingly deep. More than one mentor was impressed.

The underlying message? All people have something inside of them that makes them unique and gives them the ability to be influential in situations. Or, to paraphrase the C2M slogan: people matter. For Maiers and her partner Mark Moran, the sooner we all realize this, the better.

At EGHS in February, it wasn’t surprising that top students shone during C2M. What was really exciting was the strong participation by students who normally fly under the radar. That in itself was remarkable and, in a way, the best example of Maiers’ vision.

C2M at EGHS was supposed to span two days, but yet another snow day meant the entire event was squeezed into the last day before February break. The result was a day of furious thinking, collaborating and pure energy that should have taken a week to complete. Faced with all the excitement the day generated, Principal Michael Podraza and Asst. Principal Tim Chace decided to make Saturday the second day of Choose2Matter – for anyone who wanted to attend. Astoundingly, more than 50 students showed up and began working out the details of their projects and organizations with each other. Computers were whisked around, new organization Twitter accounts flourished and credit cards flew to buy website domain names.

Beyond all the great ideas, the simple and sincere trust students showed to one another became a primary value of this event. Seeing students who ordinarily wouldn’t have the courage stand in front of 600 of their peers with the faith that their ideas were valued was a great treasure of this event.

With countless scenarios and uncertainties flying in their head, students stood up and presented their heartbreak and solution to their peers, a often unforgiving audience. Speeches were made, and solutions explained that instantly invoked large cheers and applause from the student body. Students allowed themselves to be moved by the abundant energy and creativity.

For me, Choose2Matter wasn’t just an event. Rather, it was a mindset that seemed to hold fast in the air around East Greenwich High School. Its promise seemed to envelope the entire school in a mist of carefully woven potential.

Tim Sanzi is a freshman at East Greenwich High School.

 

Council Weighs $4.2 Million Sewage Treatment Plant Fix

The Public Works director outlined a $4.2 million plan to replace major aspects of the sewage treatment plant at the Town Council meeting Monday night. The proposal would include removing the roof to be able to replace the large equipment inside.

“We’ve been pushing off capital needs. At some point you have to take care of capital needs,” Duarte said. He said the machinery had reached the end of its life and would continue to require expensive repairs until it was replaced.

The main components in need of replacement are the eight very large rotating biological compactors (RBCs). The plant has two tanks with four RBCs per tank. Ever since large water users On Semiconductor and Bostitch left town, the system operates only one tank at a time. But, at this point of the plant’s life, parts are constantly breaking, Duarte said. Right now, the tank in use is down to three RBCs because the fourth is broken. There are two RBCs down in the other tank.

While the system has survived with only three of the four RBCs through the winter, Duarte said four were needed going into the summer, which is typically a tougher season for the treatment plant.

“We continue to do expensive repairs,” he said. “I’ve got a laundry list of things we’ve had to do since 2000 – fix a pump, fix an axle … “

Duarte said he’s been spending anywhere between $25,000 and $90,000 a year on repairs. To repair that one RBC will cost between $30,000 and $35,000, he said.

The $4.2 million estimate would cover replacement of the entire current system but not expand it. Duarte said a recent capacity study indicated there would be no need to expand the system in the foreseeable future. Even with adding the proposed Commons on Frenchtown Road development to the system, there would still be more than 400,000 gallons of unused capacity.

“Do you really anticipate having to use both tanks in the near term?” said Council President Michael Isaacs. “If the flows are such that you don’t anticipate using both tanks soon … do we have to replace all eight of these at the same time? Could we replace four of them now and see?”

“We need redundancy,” said Duarte, referring to the other tank as a backup system. He argued in favor doing the whole job at once, even it that meant waiting. “I would rather wait a year, two years, to get the job done right.”

The council’s hesitancy came from a reluctance to increase the town’s debt burden, which is finally starting to come down after a decade of increases.

At the same meeting Monday night, a representative of investment bank First Southwest detailed the town’s indebtedness as the council considered the possibility of refinancing some of that debt. That particular discussion was tabled but according First Southwest, the town owes a total of $83.5 million, though a more accurate number is $38.8 million after factoring in state Dept. of Education reimbursements for education building projects. That number drops to $79.3 million ($35.7 million counting RIDE reimbursement) as of June 30, then $73.2 million ($32.5 million) as of June 30, 2015. Without incurring further debt, the town’s debt would be down to $55.9 million ($24.3 million) as of June 30, 2018.

Spending on sewage treatment plant repairs would be financed through the state’s Clean Water Finance Agency (which is headed by EG’s own former town manager, Bill Sequino) at an interest rate one-third below prime. So, if the prime interest rate is 3 percent, the town would get its money for 2 percent interest.

Declining to vote on the proposal, the council asked Duarte for an estimate of repair costs over the next two years if replacing the system is put off.

For Duarte, it may not be this year, but he is adamant: “At some point we have to take care of our infrastructure.”

EG Little League’s New Challenger Division Welcomes Kids w/Disabilities

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East Greenwich Little League is starting a new division this year, for boys and girls with physical and intellectual disabilities.

EGLL’s John Sullivan said the success of Unified sports at EGHS and Cole Middle School got the organization thinking, why not us? Unified teams combine disabled athletes and typically developing peer “partners.” Cole has a Unified Basketball team and EGHS has both basketball and volleyball teams. The EGHS Unified Volleyball team is a two-time national champion.

Like the Unified approach, the Challenger teams will combine kids with and without disabilities. Each player will have a “buddy,” a non-disabled partner. Recruiting buddies hasn’t been difficult at all – Sullivan said they have more buddies than athletes right now. Now it’s time to boost the numbers of the players with disabilities.

The hope is to recruit enough players for two teams, so there can be more games at Cragan in addition to the games against Challenger Division teams in Coventry and Warwick.

The teams will mix boys and girls, ages 4 to 22 (participants have to have been born on or after May 1, 1992, and on or before April 30, 2010).

“Everyone’s welcome,” said Sullivan. “The game will be modified at every level.”

For instance, he said, if someone’s in a wheelchair and hitting a thrown pitch would be difficult, they will use a tee. Some players may need a soft-toss pitch – that works too. The game will also be shorter, two or three innings, with everyone getting a chance to bat. The teams will also take part in the annual EG Little League Parade in April.

The cost for athletes is $20, to cover the price of the shirt and hat. You can find more information about the league at their website here

Play Ball!

 

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Today in EG: Social Responsibility w/Social Networking

Recycling is ON this week.

Wednesday, March 26

‘Social Responsibility & Social Networking’ at Cole: As social media continues to evolve and digital platforms become increasingly utilized for education, students, parents, educators, and communities need to be prepared for this new and constantly evolving digital environment. In an effort to educate students of both the perils and opportunities that exist, members of the EGHS, Cole, Eldredge, and Hanaford PTGs, Citizens Who Care, and Bob Houghtaling present Dr. Larry Fillipelli, who will talk about the social responsibilities with social networking. Topics discussed will also include the dangers of posting inappropriate pictures and messages on social networking sites, sexting and the consequences of poor behavior choices online. At Cole Middle School. 7 p.m.

Looking Ahead to Saturday …

Clown Town this Saturday: This is Clown Town’s 49th year. Put on by the Greenwich Bay Women’s Club, Clown Town is a day of fun and games for children. In the auditorium and dining room at St. Luke’s Church on Peirce Street. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Winter Farmers Market: The Coastal Growers Winter Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a wide variety of vendors, including Pat’s Pastured, Besto Pesto, Robin Hollow Farm and the Local Catch, to name a few. They also feature live music, with tables where you can listen to music and eat some yummy local fare. At the Lafayette Mill, 650 Ten Rod Road, North Kingstown.