Goodbye, For Now

https://www.etsy.com/listing/127986154/gone-fishing-sign-black-distressed?ref=market
Credit: WoodnDoodads, etsy.com

Today is the last day East Greenwich News will be updated – I am putting the website on hiatus.

Why?

After a year of more-than-full-time work on this website, I find I am not able to do everything needed to make EG News a financial success. I began this adventure hoping to find someone to help run the business side of things. That person hasn’t surfaced.

Now, after some soul searching, I’ve come to realize I can’t fix this while continuing to run the website.

I believe in local news websites. I believe in a website’s ability to provide timely, relevant, engaging news and information about a community. I just haven’t been able to crack the code to make it doable. It’s crackable. Just not be me, right now.

What happens next? The website will remain live but will not be updated. If someone else or a group wants to give it a try, I would love to help that effort.

There are some people I’d like to thank:

First and foremost, my unbelievably supportive and patient husband, Neal McNamara, who has put up with a whole lot this past year and done it with grace.

Alan Clarke, who has been a sounding board and cheerleader and the person who I’ve turned to build ads for the site. Alan, it’s been a pleasure having you on my team.

Bil Herron was a huge help during the first several months, doing much of the the backend tech stuff and guiding me through some dangerous technological shoals.

Bob Plain, a true believer in the power of local journalism. Bob, without your inspiration and advice, I wouldn’t be a reporter and EG News never would have happened.

Deb Acheson, my friend and talented graphic designer, who created the EG News logo. It will live on!

Regular contributors – Patti DePriest, Bob Houghtaling and Bruce Mastracchio in particular – but also student bloggers and others. The town was lucky to have you writing for the website and I hope the town doesn’t have to go without your voices for long.

All those who contributed to EG News, from the man who would shove a $20 bill into my hand when he saw me on Main Street (you know who you are), to the four people who signed up to be “subscribers” at $5 a month, and to everyone in between (I think any future EG News would do well to focus more on a strong voluntary subscriber base). To all of the supporters, your belief in the website meant a great deal.

Thanks, too, to those town and school employees and public officials who fielded my questions in the six years I’ve been reporting here in East Greenwich. Your willingness to speak to me, to help me in my work, speaks volumes of your commitment to the people of this town.

EG News advertisers,  I’m very grateful to all of you who bought advertising on the website and the newsletter. Here’s to your continued success.

I thank you all for reading. See you around town.

 

Showcased Home: 30 Middle Road of “Christmas in the Barn” Fame for Sale

To merely say this custom built home has two bedrooms, and two and a half bathrooms in 3,100 square feet of living space does not do it justice.  The unique property, known to many for its annual “Christmas in the Barn” craft sales, has to be seen to be appreciated. Features in the home include large rooms, an open kitchen, loft space overlooking a family room that has a grand brick fireplace, cathedral ceilings, wood beams, skylights, artist studio, and lots of storage space, including an impressive attic. The backyard of the almost one acre makes you feel like you’re in the country when you’re actually in the heart of East Greenwich, and the property’s historic barn dates back to 1774. The home is connected to town water and sewer, and has gas heat.

There will be an open house on Sunday, April 19, from 12 to 2 p.m.

The price is $685,299. Shawna Scotti of RI Real Estate Services has the listing. For more information, call 401-369-1516.

 

If you would like a home to be showcased on East Greenwich News, please e-mail a high resolution (400×600) exterior photo and details about what makes it unique to patti.depriest@nemoves.com.

Ideally, houses chosen for East Greenwich News’ Showcased Home are newer listings with Open Houses that weekend. The final decision is solely that of the editor.

Patti DePriest is a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in East Greenwich. For questions or comments, please call 401-243-5041.

Bunny’s Pool Room: The Answers

billiard_conceptBy George Reed

Here are the answers to last week’s “So, Think You Know E.G.?” quiz on Bunny’s Pool Room. Missed it? Find the post here.

1. Where was Bunny’s Pool Room? 

4 King Street, the home of Main Street Music today. 

2. Where was Bunny’s original location? Hint, it was on the second floor of a building on Main Street.

148 Main Street, the site of Raku Sakura now.

3. What was Bunny’s real name?

Harold Swann

4. Bunny and his wife resided in a fine residence on _______ Street, at the corner of ______ Street.

The couple lived on Marion Street at the corner of Melrose Street, just a couple blocks away from the pool room.

5. How old would a lad have to be to take the rite of passage across Bunny’s threshold and play pool?

14 

6. Who were the four high school lassies who, in 1967, walked in – much to Bunny’s amusement – and shot pool? Hint: here are the first letters of their last names: ______ R____, _____ J______, _____ D____, and ______ C_____.

Bertie Reed Ducker (my sister!), Cathy Johnson, Cathy Duffy, and Debbie Carter.

7. What six quick steps would Bunny do to any table in order to play three-cushion billiards?

Bunny would install six hard rubber with green felt inserts. The inserts fit perfectly and transformed the table instantly.

8. How many regulation-size tables did Bunny have (no ridiculous-size tables here)?

6

9. How much was it to shoot a rack?   __¢

15¢

10. Who was Bunny’s right-hand man, the man who would substitute for Bun occasionally? Hint: his initials are G_____ T_____ and the last letter of his last name was “s”.

George Tibbits

11. Bunny’s Pool Room was open from around 1930 to until when? What a run, Bun!

Circa 1972. I was serving in the military in Germany so I don’t have the exact date. 


Author George Reed grew up in East Greenwich and was one of those lucky high schoolers who spent many a weekend night at Benny’s Pool Room.

 

EGHS Wall of Honor Ceremony: Memories, Inside Jokes, a Tear or Two

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Town Councilman Mark Schwager offers commendations from the council to the 2015 EGHS Wall of Honor inductees.

The East Greenwich High School Wall of Honor Ceremony is hitting its stride, with a record 144 people in attendance Wednesday night, the eighth such ceremony. It helped that one of the inductees was current physical education teacher and field hockey coach Deb McMullen – athletes in their teens, 20s and 30s turned out to celebrate the popular coach.

“Looking around, I kind of wish we had some sticks so we could go out to play. We have a ton of talent here,” McMullen said her current and former field hockey players.

Former Rhode Island First Lady Sue Carcieri was inducted and many of her large family – including former Gov. Don Carcieri (and 2013 Wall of Honor inductee) –were there to cheer their mother and grandmother. Mrs. Carcieri spoke most poignantly of the hardships her family endured after the untimely death of her father.

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2015 EGHS Wall of Honor inductee Sue Carcieri with her husband, former Gov. Don Carcieri.

“Not everybody starts out with everything handed to them,” Carcieri said. She recounted how she was able to attend URI because the school gave her a full scholarship – $1,000 a year!

Find Carcieri’s speech here.

Longtime St. Luke’s Music Director Priscilla Rigg, who retired just in January after 50 years, rounded out the female half of the inductee class of 2015.

“I think, gentlemen, that I’m the first musician to be inducted,” Rigg noted.

Find Rigg’s speech here.

McMullen, for her part, spoke of being able to work and live in East Greenwich.

“So, obviously, East Greenwich is an incredibly special place,” she said. “I grew up here. I went to school and graduated here. I had a vision to teach here … and it worked out, I was able to secure that job at Cole. And now we’re raising our family here.”

Find McMullen’s speech here.

Deb McMullen with her family.
Deb McMullen with her family.

Fred Brown and Otto Olson, deceased, were represented by family members Paul Brown and Eric Olson, who both spoke of how both Olson and Brown served their community not for praise, but because it was the right thing to do.

Find Paul Brown’s speech here and Eric Olson’s speech here.

In addition to the five inductees, Steve and Christine Bartlett were given the Wall of Honor Appreciation Award for their service to the town, most especially through their leadership of the Interfaith Food Pantry. Their daughter, Karen Seitz, accepted the award on their behalf.

Find Karen Seitz’s speech here.

If you have someone you’d like to nominate, contact founder Bruce Mastracchio at thebrooker23@yahoo.com or EGHS Wall of Honor committee head Bob Houghtaling at rhoughtaling2@verizon.net.

EGHS Wall of Honor inductee Priscilla Adams Rigg.
EGHS Wall of Honor inductee Priscilla Adams Rigg.
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Four of recipient Otto Olson’s children.
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Family members of recipient Fred Brown.
Karen Seitz, here with Town Councilman Mark Schwager, accepted the Appreciation Award on behalf of her parents, Steve and Christine Bartlett, during the April 15 EGHS Wall of Honor ceremony.
Karen Seitz, here with Town Councilman Mark Schwager, accepted the Appreciation Award on behalf of her parents, Steve and Christine Bartlett, during the April 15 EGHS Wall of Honor ceremony.

EG Weekend: Comedy at Odeum; Scott Carlson 5K at Goddard

more flower carpetFriday, April 17

Teen Center: Sponsored by the Town of East Greenwich and the Town Substance Abuse Program, the Teen Center is a weekly drop-in location for teens to gather and “hang out” with other teens. At the gymnasium at Eldredge Elementary. For more information, contact Bob Houghtaling at 401-230-2246.

Saturday, April 18

Comedian Poppy Champlin @ the Odeum: Champlin brings her comedy show to the Greenwich Odeum for the first time. 59 Main St., 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 19

Scott Carlson Memorial ALS 5K: The annual 5K race in of Scott Carlson, who died of ALS at age 39, takes place at Goddard Memorial Park. Carlson was an inspiration who remained positive even as his body failed him. Scott Carlson wouldn’t quit, so neither will we. Every participant receives a t-shirt and there are cash prices for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd female/male finalist. All of the money raised goes to the RI Chapter of the ALS Association and to aid ALS victims and their families. The race begins at 10 a.m. Get more information here.

EG Animal Protection League open house: 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 4302 Post Road, Cowesett. 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

And …

Vote for Matt Wegrzyn! Hood.com sponsors a $5,000 sportsmanship scholarship each year where New England high school seniors write an essay and try to get votes to move onto the interview round. Matt Wegrzyn is the only EGHS student in the running. Let’s help get him an interview! You can vote once a day until April 24th, here: http://hood.com/scholarship.

Kindergarten Registration for 2015-16: Here’s information on registering for kindergarten next year. Registration begins mid-April.

NYC day trips in May: Join Greenwich Bay Women’s Club for a New York City day trip, either May 16 or May 30. The trip includes a licensed NYC tour guide. The first stop is the Morris-Jumel Mansion for an hourlong tour, once George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution. We’ll continue south to midtown, for a stop at the famous Plaza Hotel’s Food Hall, created by Chef Todd English in the tradition of European food halls, and there will be lots of time to shop, eat, explore. The tour will then wind its way downtown to the Financial District for a guided walking tour through many interesting and historic sites, ending at Stone Street. This cobblestone street is closed to traffic but open to all of us enjoying one of its restaurants or bistros. Price includes deluxe motorcoach transportation, complimentary breakfast pastry, admission to and tour of the mansion and tour guide. You’re on your own for meals. For further information contact Lynnewolff@gmail.com or call 885-4376.

 

Patrolman’s Fast Action Saves Man From Oncoming Train

EGPD Patrolman Matthew White
EGPD Patrolman Matthew White

Patrolman Matthew White was only blocks away, Friday, April 3 – Good Friday, as it happened – when dispatch radioed about a man, possibly drunk or high, on the train tracks near the London Street underpass.

“I was in the right place at the right time when the call came in,” said White. “I was at Main and First, right at the intersection, heading north on Main Street when I got the call – lights and sirens, took a right on London, parked my car and just ran up to the tracks.”

As it turned out, he needed to be that close.

The man, who White recognized as someone who lives downtown, was about 50 to 70 yards away, south of the underpass, lying down on the western-most track. In the distance, White saw the train.

“I could see, running down the tracks towards him, the train coming. So I radioed to dispatch, ‘Have we stopped the trains?’ They confirmed they had. I said, ‘There’s a train coming northbound, towards us.’

“I just got down there as fast as I could because, you know, I don’t want to be out there. Nobody wants to be out there,” he said.

When he reached the man, White realized the man was too impaired to get himself off the tracks. And, too, the man seemed to be there on purpose.

“When I first tried to move him, he was dead weight. Then he realized what was happening and grabbed on to the rail on the track and wouldn’t release his grip.”

The man kept saying, “Let me go. It’s over. It’s over,” White wrote in his report of the incident.

Meanwhile, the train – White thought it was the Acela, the high-speed train, which probably hadn’t had time to stop – was closing in.

“I had to break his grip somehow,” said White. He struck the man twice on the shoulder blade. It worked. The man’s hands came free.

“I was able to grab him and flip him over and throw him over my left shoulder and I turned toward the fence,” White said. “At that point, the train was right there. I could see the driver. The only thing I could do was toss him from my shoulder over onto the grass. But I no longer had control of him at that point. So I jumped off the tracks to avoid getting hit by the train, and jumped on top of him to keep him safe.”

The area on the tracks where Patrolman Matt White rescued a man April 3.
The area on the tracks where Patrolman Matt White rescued a man April 3.

The train was loud, and forceful.

“You could feel the wind on your face.”

But the man was still fighting.

“He was flailing his arms, kicking, screaming, trying to get to that train. My worry then was that another train was coming from the same direction,” said White. He decided he needed to get the man over the 4-foot fence, farther away from the track.

Again, the man was dead weight. Again, White hoisted him over his shoulder and lifted him over the fence.

“At that point, I could hear everybody else coming – the sirens – so I knew that my backup was close. I just flipped him over. Proned him out on his stomach. I got his hands behind his back and cuffed him so his arms were no longer a threat.”

How much time had elapsed since he’d gotten the call? White isn’t sure, maybe a minute, maybe two.

“I think time is warped in that sort of situation,” he said. The man was taken to Kent Hospital for evaluation and detox. He was charged with trespassing on railroad tracks and has since returned home. White said he’s seen the man, who has waved at him, but they have not discussed the events of April 3.

White credited resident Heather Fague for calling 911 after she watched the man make his way over the fence and onto the tracks. She called to the man but he didn’t respond.

“He proceeded to walk southbound, where he finally fell and didn’t get up,” Fague wrote in a witness statement. “From where I was, it looked as if he was trying to kill himself…. I called 911 … after I realized his intention.”

“The call was good,” said White of Fague’s 911. “She said who it was. She said where he was. She stated that he was intoxicated. That gave me some time. When you’re responding to calls like that, it’s good to have a plan.”

He continued, “Of course, you try and plan it all. But you get there and you just act. It’s not even something you’re thinking about. This guy is going to die if I don’t move him. I need to move him. And if I stay out here much longer, I’m going to die. What am I going to do? You just act.”

White, 29, has been on the EGPD for three years. He is married and lives in South Kingstown.

When asked if he told his wife what happened, he said he had.

“I tell her things, but I don’t tell her things. I thought she needed to know about this,” said White. “She worries every day when I go out on the job. The last thing she says to me every night without failure is, ‘I love you. Stay safe.’”


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And, if you like what you’re reading, consider supporting East Greenwich News by clicking here.

 

Just Sold: Three East Greenwich Homes Sold

A property report of the homes purchased in East Greenwich, Cowesett and Potowomut from April 8 to 15, 2015.

279 Grand View Road

279 Grand View Road, EG

Date: 4/8/15
Sale Price: $392,000
Seller: Guy, Jr. and Ann M. Asadorian
Style: Colonial
Approx. Total Living Area: 2,759 sq. ft.
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 2.1

28 Mayflower Drive

28 Mayflower Drive, EG

Date: 4/10/15
Sale Price: $405,000
Seller: Donaldo and Vilma N. Guevara
Style: Colonial
Approx. Total Living Area: 2,052 sq. ft.
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 2.1

137 Peirce Street

137 Peirce Street, EG

Date: 4/14/15
Sale Price: $395,000
Seller: Richard L. and Sheila D. Brush
Style: Colonial
Approx. Total Living Area: 3,398 sq. ft.
Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 3

 

Just Sold homes listed on East Greenwich News are arranged by town and closing date as provided by the Rhode Island Multiple Listing Service.

Cover art is solely the decision of the editor.

Patti DePriest is a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in East Greenwich. For questions or comments, please call 401-243-5041.

Proposed $60.9 Million 2016 Budget Would Boost Taxes by 2%

Resident Robert Vespia asks a question during the public hearing Monday night on the 2016 budget.
Resident Robert Vespia asks a question during the public hearing Monday night on the 2016 budget.

Citing nearly $700,000 in lost revenue next year and with the schools seeking a higher percentage increase than in recent years, Town Manager Tom Coyle outlined his $60.9 million budget at a public hearing with the Town Council and School Committee Monday night (find his budget message here). The proposal would result in a 2.03 percent tax hike if enacted, but the Town Council has until May 15 to pass a budget and the panel plans to meet Monday through Thursday next week to review the budget with the department heads. The budget will not be final until the Financial Town Meeting June 9.

The proposed budget would result in approximately a $23.73 per $1,000 assessed property value. For someone with a house assessed at $400,000, that comes to a property tax bill of $9,492, a tax increase of $174 over this year. But this is a revaluation year, so Finance Director Kristen Benoit stressed that figures are “very approximate” at this point.

The schools budget, at $38.4 million, makes up 55 percent of the total town budget, with the town’s portion of $22.7 million, making up 34 percent. (Find the schools budget here.)

The largest single hit to the town’s budget is the loss of $335,000 from Warwick to act as the first responder to Potowomut. Warwick is building a small fire station in Potowomut, which is expected to be completed by July 1, the start of EG’s 2016 fiscal year. With that station in place, Warwick will no longer need East Greenwich to act as first responder. Runs to Potowomut make up 7 percent – 245 runs – of the fire department’s total runs, according to Fire Chief Russ McGillivray.

But, he said, subtracting those runs would not result in any significant savings.

“My main responsibility is to the Town of East Greenwich and there’s nothing we can cut to make up $335,000,” McGillivray said Monday night. Staffing, he said, wasn’t factored in for the coverage of Potowomut. Rather, the current staffing is “what the Town of East Greenwich needs.”

He said there could be some savings in gas (a Department of Public Works budget item), wear and tear on trucks, and manpower (if someone were to be injured while covering a call there), but that none of those were quantifiable.

Town Manager Coyle also listed $178,000 in lost revenue from the end of a four-year “transfer in debt service” that was built into the $52 million school bond issue.

On Tuesday, town Finance Director Kristen Benoit explained that loss this way: “A portion of that premium was put in a special fund to be used over four years to offset the cost debt service.”

On the plus side, the balance of the bond repayment has decreased by about $86,000, from $6.74 million this year to $6.65 million in fiscal year 2016 – still a big chunk of the budget.

The other two revenue hits come on the school side, through smaller payouts from the state Department of Education, $99,000 less in housing aid (school construction reimbursement) and $80,000 less in impact fees (reflecting less new residential construction).

The town’s budget includes $677,000 in capital expenditures, with the largest items being three new police cars ($125,000), a new tractor/loader/backhoe for the Department of Public Works ($140,000), and a pickup truck for the Parks & Rec Department ($60,000). The fire department is looking for $98,000 in capital expenses but that money comes out of the former EG Fire District’s impact fee fund, and thus is not supported by current tax dollars.

All town employees are scheduled, by contract, to receive a 2 percent salary increase, except for the fire department, which is in the final year of a three-year contract that calls for a 3 percent salary increase.

During the hearing, Councilor Sean Todd reviewed a list of questions the Town Council posed to the School Committee in March, on everything from school bus efficiencies (the district must have a seat for every student regardless of whether that student rides the bus daily or just occasionally, said Supt. Victor Mercurio) and bus monitors (they are state mandated and cannot at this time be replaced by cameras, re Mercurio) to health care costs (which are budgeted at $15,000 for a new hire, similar as it turns out to what the town budgets) and an increase in the line item for textbooks (even though high school students are using Chromebook computer devices now, there is still a need to refresh textbooks in the district, said Mercurio).

Town Council President Michael Isaacs restated his earlier request that the School Committee consider using $70,000 more from its $3.9 million fund balance. The school district is planning to spend $100,000 out of fund balance. It spent $170,000 out of the fund balance last year so Isaacs said he thought it was reasonable to ask that the schools do that again. EGSD Director of Administration Gail Wilcox explained why the fund balance – $1.5 million of which must be held in reserves as per agreement with its self-insurance health care program – was on the low side compared with several other districts in the state.

At the end of the public hearing, School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Mark remarked on the difference in the two governing bodies’ budget processes – the School Department’s budget is approved by the School Committee by March 15, after a series of public budget sessions with department heads, while the town is about to begin its public budget session process (with meetings planning Monday through Thursday evening next week).

After the meeting, Mark elaborated: “I wanted them to understand that the way we do our process, before we even show them anything, we have gone through the painful decisions we needed to make to be able to present a budget that was within the realm of what the town would consider to be fiscally responsible,” she said. “They have absolutely every right to ask us very hard questions about every line item in our budget. I do not begrudge them that at all. But I just wanted to make sure they all realized we had gone through that painful process ourselves and there were cuts that we made that were self-inflicted so that we could implement the equity [full-day kindergarten] model at Frenchtown and if we had had an extra $70,000, we wouldn’t have cut our maintenance budget so dramatically.”

The School Committee cut $246,000 from its overall maintenance budget.

She noted in other years the two sides started closer and there wasn’t as much need to negotiate. This year, however, would be different.

“It’s just going to be a back-and-forth,” she said. “We just have to continue the conversation. They’re just at the beginning of their budget process.”

When asked if she hoped the Town Council would find savings to bridge that $70,000 divide, Mark said, “That would be my hope.”

About 10 residents attended Monday night’s hearing. The Town Council’s budget sessions with town department heads begin next Monday, April 20. That meeting will be held at Town Hall and will include other council business. The meetings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week will be held in the dining room at Swift Community Center at 6 p.m.


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EG Police Reports: Train Track Rescue; Arrest for January Tire Slashings

EG policeThese reports come from the East Greenwich Police Department and are public information. An arrest does not mean the individual has been convicted of a crime. EG News does not identify those arrested for misdemeanor charges.

Thursday, April 2

8:58 a.m. – Police arrested a North Kingstown man, 24, on six counts of vandalism after he turned himself in for allegedly slashing tires on six cars parked on Kent Drive on Jan. 17. Police had been called to the house after neighbors had complained about noise from a house party. The party was breaking up by the time police arrived but that’s when partygoers noticed the slashed tires. According to an arrest report from April 1, an EG man admitted slashing one tire, while the friend with the knife slashed another eight tires. The NK man was processed, given a district court summons and released.

2:43 p.m. – An East Greenwich man turned in two firearms, saying he thought they had been a relative’s and he didn’t want them remaining on his property. They were a shotgun and an air rifle.

3 p.m. – An East Greenwich couple told police someone had fraudulently filed their tax return, which they learned when they went to their tax preparer.

3:30 p.m. – A Warwick woman who works as a real estate agent in East Greenwich told police she had received a call two weeks ago on her cell phone from a man who said he’d taken pictures of her after he drugged her at a party several months ago and that he is “around and is watching.” No number was listed on the cell phone. On this date, she got a second call from the man, who repeated his earlier message then added the calls would stop if she wore black stockings and he said she was beautiful. The man in both instances identified himself as Michael Anderson. No one at her office recognized the name and the woman said she had not been approached by anyone out of the ordinary at work or outside of work. The woman said she did not believe anyone had drugged her at a party. Police told the woman to contact her cell phone provider.

Friday, April 3

9:57 a.m. – An East Greenwich resident told police someone took both license plates off her car while it was parked in the driveway overnight. Another car was also parked in the driveway but it was not disturbed.

3:44 p.m. – An East Greenwich man was arrested for trespassing on the train tracks after police found him lying on the tracks. A woman had called police to report there was a drunk man walking on the train tracks near the London Street underpass. When police arrived, the officer saw the man lying across the west side tracks. The officer called dispatch for backup and told dispatch to contact Amtrak to halt all trains. The officer yelled to the man, whom he recognized, to get off the tracks, then he saw a train approaching on the tracks. The officer grabbed the man by the jacket, trying to get him off the tracks. The man kept saying, “Let me go. It’s over. It’s over,” and held tight to one of the tracks. The officer then hit the man twice on his back right shoulder, hoping to loosen his grasp. The man went limp but the officer was able to carry him over his shoulder. Then, with the train bearing down, the officer tossed the man to the side, about 5 to 10 feet away from the tracks, and dove onto the man to avoid the train. The officer stayed on top of the man to keep him from getting up until the train had passed, but then the officer saw another train was approaching. He carried the man to a fence, got him over the fence, followed, and held him down until backup and EGFD rescue arrived. The man was taken to Kent Hospital for evaluation and detox.

10:50 p.m. – Police were called to the parking lot at Pal’s Restaurant because of a man sitting in a car after closing time. The caller said the man appeared to be intoxicated. When police arrived, they found the car parked on King Street with the engine running and the man behind the wheel. Police noticed several white pills on the man’s shirt and on the passenger seat, as well as a half-empty vodka bottle on the passenger seat. The man appeared to be chewing several white pills and he appeared dazed. He mumbled and was hard to understand. He told police the pills were Valium. Police called EGFD rescue and helped restrain the man when he began to resist rescue help. The man, from Warwick, was taken to Kent Hospital; his car was towed from the scene.

Saturday, April 4

10:39 a.m. – An East Greenwich man said someone used his Social Security number to file a tax return in his name. The IRS said they thought the tax return was a fake and so did not pay out.


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Town Asks Judge to Dismiss Jury Award In Cole Construction Trial

Archie_R_Cole_Middle_School_2012_1024
Cole Middle School

Editor’s Note: This story was amended 4/13/15 at 11 a.m.

The lawyer representing the town in the Cole Middle School construction trial that ended last month has filed three motions, including one asking the judge to dismiss the $240,000 award against the town.

On March 25, an eight-person jury found the town liable for creating and maintaining a private nuisance during the construction of the new Cole and the demolition of the old school building from 2009 to 2011. It awarded the six plaintiffs – Chris and Susan Lamendola, Tom Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi, and Keith and Wendy Amelotte, all homeowners on Sarah’s Trace – $80,000 apiece.

The trial lasted three weeks, but much of the case was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Bennett Gallo in the final week of the trial when he accepted the argument made by defendants that the plaintiffs’ damage and negligence claims were not admissible. That meant defendants Gilbane Construction, architect/engineer SMMA, Strategic Building Solutions, Fleet Construction, Manafort Brothers, and Aldinger & Associates were off the hook, leaving only the town and school department (as one entity) to face the public nuisance claim.

Lawyer Michael DeSisto, on behalf of the town, filed the three post-trial motions on April 3. The first asks Gallo for a “remittitur” of the jury’s award – a reduction in the amount:

“Defendant moves for a remittitur on the grounds that, in light of the evidence presented at trial, the jury award is not only speculative but unreasonable, excessive and represents the passion and prejudice of the jury.”

The town argues that the jury did not follow Gallo’s instructions that they “could not award plaintiffs money for the alleged damage to their properties.” Rather, Gallo had told the jury they must confine their decision to award monetary damage to “interference with [the plaintiffs’] physical comfort or use and enjoyment of their real estate during the times of the private nuisance [i.e. the construction].”

The town says by awarding each plaintiff family $80,000, “the jury could not have followed these instructions.”

In the second motion, the town asks Judge Gallo to strike the “prejudgment interest” on the $80,000 awards given to the plaintiffs. When a plaintiff is awarded a sum of money, interested dating to the time the lawsuit was filed is added to it. In this case, the lawsuit was filed in 2011, making the interest per plaintiff $39,600, bringing the total award per couple to $119,800.

In the motion, the town argues prejudgment interest does not apply to judgments rendered against municipalities in tort actions.

In the third motion, the town asks Gallo to grant his earlier motion to dismiss the private nuisance claim just as Gallo had dismissed the damage and negligence claims during the trial.

The town’s argument:

“The Town contends that judgment as a matter of law should enter in its favor because Plaintiffs not only failed to prove the essential elements of private nuisance but the Town is immune based on the public duty doctrine. . . . Plaintiffs failed to prove that the Town acted unreasonably in constructing the new middle school and in using vibratory rollers and large tracked equipment on the project.”

A hearing on the motions will take place in Kent County Superior Court Thursday, April 23.

You can find all the EG News stories on the Cole construction lawsuit here.