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.



New England Tech Opens Dorm, Heralding Shift from Commuter to Residential School

The dorm rooms at New England Tech are mostly doubles, with shared bathrooms.

New England Tech’s first residential students moved in almost two weeks ago, another step in the university’s transition from its commuter school roots. The shift started when NEIT moved to East Greenwich in 2011. While a couple programs remain in Warwick, East Greenwich is been the main campus for NEIT’s nearly 3,000 students ever since.

To attract and accommodate residential students, NEIT also built a new student center attached to the main campus building, with a larger dining area and lots of spaces for students to gather and hang out. The school spent about $65 million on the dorm, upgrades to the main building as well as a couple outdoor basketball courts and soccer fields.

The new residence hall from the back. It’s shaped like a horseshoe.

“East Greenwich has the opportunity to become a really engaged college town,” said NEIT’s Lynn Fawthrop, vice president of enrollment management & marketing. “It’s a real opportunity for the businesses in town – college students are great consumers.”

The new dorm can hold 400 students. Fawthrop said residential students are being phased in. The residence director lives at the dorm with her husband and young child, as does another staff member. In addition, there are resident assistants, students who get free room and board in exchange for providing the first line of response for dorm residents in need.

Playing pool in the dorm’s downstairs communal area.

Fawthrop said the first two weekends have been uneventful but acknowledged that issues may arise.

“Not unlike every other college that has residence halls, there is the potential I guess,” she said. “We’ve been open two weekends and we’ve had no issues. We have pretty stringent expectations for them. And we keep them busy. Our students are in class a lot because we have 10-week quarters. To finish in 18 months for an associates degree or three years for a bachelor’s, our students are pretty focused academically.”

The building is outfitted with fire alarms that will be able to tell the EG Fire Department exactly where there’s a fire. Fire Chief Russell McGillivray said firefighters are spending time at the university right now getting familiar with

NEIT now has a mascot – the Tech Tiger.

the new dorm and student center. He said firefighters from Warwick and West Warwick will be visiting later this month, since they will probably have to respond there on occasion too.

“We need to make sure it’s not too big of a drain on town services,” McGillivray said. For small things, prank fire alarms for instance, “I’m hoping a little self-policing will stop that stuff before we have to respond.”

“At this point, we don’t anticipate any major disruption of town services,” said Police Chief Steven Brown. “We already go there quite often … for motor vehicle accidents, just minor stuff.”

Both McGillivray and Brown praised the school for hiring veteran public safety officials.

Brown said his biggest question is the potential for more pedestrian traffic on the already busy Division Street and South County Trail. What is a large group of students decide they want to go to a movie, he said. Does that become a problem?

“That’s unknown at this point,” he said.

– Elizabeth F. McNamara

Join the Statewide Chat on Public Education – But Make Sure to Register!

NR-Image-2On Monday, March 30, the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce is teaming with the state Department of Education for an activity-based education exchange which is part of the statewide planning process for Rhode Islanders at New England Tech.

The exchange in East Greenwich is one of several being held around the state. The goals are simple: bring communities together to talk about public education (K-12) and bring the voice of the community to the education process.

The session feedback will be collected and summarized to a 26 person state community team to develop the 2015-2020 plans for public education. The community team will work with the Rhode Island Board of Education on the plan development. The final product will be an actionable 7- to 10-page plan that describes a vision of Rhode Island public schools from 2015 to 2020.

The event is March 30 with check-in at 6:30 p.m. The exchange activity is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the New England Institute of Technology. The event is free and open to the public. Capacity is limited, those wishing to attend must RSVP in advance to the East Greenwich Chamber office by calling 401-885-0020 or by registering online at www.eastgreenwichchamber.com.

 

Looking Ahead, Stories for 2015

Over the past year, a few stories percolated along, updating with a chapter or two, but generally keeping a low profile. Some of them have been going on for years – and may yet continue beyond 2015 – but we suspect all of these will make some noise in the year ahead. Stay tuned.

Here are stories to follow in 2015:

1. In Countersuit, Odeum Corp. Accuses Erinakes Of Conflict of Interest

One of the first big stories for 2015 may be a ruling from Judge Brian Stern (himself an EG resident) on whether or not Steve Erinakes still has a stake in the Greenwich Odeum theater building. Stern is due to make a ruling on that and on the Odeum’s claim that Erinakes failed in his fiduciary duty to the nonprofit.

2. Town Settles Tax Dispute With Sarah’s Trace Homeowners For $70,000 and

Trial Date Set In Homeowner Lawsuit Over Cole Construction

We’re back in court for this next one. The lawsuit pitting Sarah’s Trace homeowners against the EG School District, the Town of East Greenwich and various construction-related entities is set to go to trial March 2, 2015 – four years after the suit was filed. The homeowners say construction of the new Cole Middle School caused cracks in their walls and foundations, threatening the structural integrity of the houses. In July, the town settled with homeowners over a lesser point, the assessed value of their houses.

3. Districtwide All-Day K Would Add $800,000 to Budget

All-day kindergarten seems to be a foregone conclusion, if state and national trends are any indication. But it won’t come cheap. To institute it in the next school year, it would cost $800,o00. There’s a vocal lobby of residents pushing full-day K. The question in 2015 is whether or not it will happen this September – partially or completely.

4. Moving School Start Later Is A Mindset, Says Sharon Principal

Another big issue is the idea of pushing back the start time an hour for middle and high school students. As with full-day K, much of the research supports such an idea. But some question how it would work – with after-school sports in particular – and whether the change would really give kids more sleep time, or just an excuse to stay up later.

5. New England Tech’s $120 Million Expansion To Bring Dorm to EG by ’17

Now, this is a sleeper story. East Greenwich is going to be learning from Bristol, Newport, Smithfield and Providence about what it means to be a college town, with New England Tech’s first dorm do to open by 2017.

6. The future of the Bostitch property.

No story to click on here, just some words from Town Council President Michael Isaacs at an October candidates’ forum that an announcement is in the offing on a plan to use the South County Trail facility.


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

 

R.I. Sen. Dist. 35 Candidates Gee & Callaghan In Debate

Republican Mark Gee and Democrat James Callaghan met in debate at New England Tech’s East Greenwich campus Monday, Oct. 20. They are running to replace Dawson Hodgson – himself a candidate for Attorney General – for state Sen. Dist. 35.

The debate was presented by East Greenwich News and sponsored by the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce and EG Rotary Club. ABC-6 newsman Mark Curtis moderated the debate.

Gee, from East Greenwich, is a businessman who serves on the EG Town Council. Callaghan, from Narragansett, is a lawyer who also serves on the Town Council for Narragansett.

The two candidates differed on paying back the 38 Studios bond, with Callaghan saying he wants to learn more but is leaning toward repayment, arguing it could be cheaper in the long run. Gee, meanwhile, said he did not favor repayment and was not intimidated by negative predictions from rating agencies.

On consolidation, Gee suggested focusing on one area, for instance trying to get all the teachers in all the school districts around the state included in one negotiation. Callaghan suggested “incentivizing” towns to consolidate services.

“In some respects, the way this district goes, the state goes,” Callaghan said, noting its size and that it comprises parts of four towns: East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.

On economic development, Callaghan said the state needs to focus on the tech industry, marine sciences and green technology.

“As a business person,” said Gee, “I am very nervous about empowering people … to give away state money to entice companies to come to Rhode Island,” he said. “Let’s forget about attracting new businesses. Let’s take care of the businesses we have already.”

You can watch the entire debate above or at the EG News youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-WlIbbL9jg&feature=youtu.be

You can also watch the debate on public access: Verizon Channel 37 (across the state) and Cox Channel 17 (in North Kingstown, West Warwick, East Greenwich, West Greenwich, Coventry and Exeter):

Wednesday, Oct. 29, at noon and 5 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 31, at 8 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 3, at noon.

School Committee Candidates On All-Day K, Later Start Times, Spending

Five of the seven candidates for School Committee candidates took part in a candidates forum Thursday, Oct. 16, at New England Tech. Hosted by East Greenwich News, the event was sponsored by the EG Chamber of Commerce and the EG Rotary Club and moderated by ABC6 newsman Mark Curtis. The candidates were Michael Fain, Christen Meyer, David Osborne, Jack Sommer and Yan Sun.

Candidates David Green and Mary Ellen Winter were unable to attend due to previous commitments.

The forum is available for viewing on the EG News youtube channel in segments (Opening Statements are above):

Keeping Costs Down – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYEWcd7Jfyw

Later School Start Times – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBETefBS7GU

All-Day Kindergarten – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grIhqPQN4Aw

Status of District’s Strategic Plan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i6ukBvmSho

Closing Statements – (to come later today)

The forum will also be aired in full (following the Town Council candidates forum) on Cox Channel 17 and Verizon Channel 37 five times before the Nov. 4 election, starting Monday, Oct. 20:

Sundays,  Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.
Mondays, Oct. 20, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.

 

Local Candidates Forum Oct. 16; Sen. Dist. 35 Debate Oct. 20

East Greenwich News is presenting a forum for Town Council and School Committee candidates Thursday, Oct. 16, hosted by New England Tech and sponsored by the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. It will be the only East Greenwich candidates forum before the Nov. 4 election and will be moderated by Mark Curtis from ABC 6.

There are eight candidates running for Town Council and seven candidates in the running for School Committee. All have been invited to participate. Town Council candidates will be up first – at 6 p.m. School Committee candidates will follow at 7:30 p.m. It will be held in Room N106 – the Media Presentation Theater.

On Monday, Oct. 20, EG News is presenting a debate between Republican Mark Gee and Democrat James Callaghan, candidates in the race for the state Senate Dist. 35 being vacated by Dawson Hodgson, candidate for Attorney General. That one-hour debate will also be hosted by New England Tech and sponsored by the EG Chamber of Commerce and begins at 6 p.m.

Here’s where YOU come in – what do you want to hear about from the candidates? Submit your questions to editor@eastgreenwichnews.com.

The forum and the debate will be videotaped for later viewing on public access and the EG News youtube channel. But don’t miss out – see the forum live.

Local Candidates Forum Oct. 16; Sen. Dist. 35 Debate Oct. 20

East Greenwich News is presenting a forum for Town Council and School Committee candidates Thursday, Oct. 16, hosted by New England Tech and sponsored by the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. It will be the only East Greenwich candidates forum before the Nov. 4 election and will be moderated by Mark Curtis from ABC 6.

There are eight candidates running for Town Council and seven candidates in the running for School Committee. All have been invited to participate. Town Council candidates will be up first – at 6 p.m. School Committee candidates will follow at 7:30 p.m.

On Monday, Oct. 20, EG News is presenting a debate between Republican Mark Gee and Democrat James Callaghan, candidates in the race for the state Senate Dist. 35 being vacated by Dawson Hodgson, candidate for Attorney General. That one-hour debate will also be hosted by New England Tech and sponsored by the EG Chamber of Commerce and begins at 6 p.m.

Here’s where YOU come in – what do you want to hear about from the candidates? Submit your questions to editor@eastgreenwichnews.com.

The forum and the debate will be videotaped for later viewing on public access and the EG News youtube channel. But don’t miss out – see the forum live.

 

 

New England Tech’s $120 Million Expansion To Bring Dorm to EG by ’17

New England Tech is starting a long-planned $120 million expansion that will bring dorms to the Town of East Greenwich, following the Planning Board’s unanimous approval last month of the school’s preliminary plan.

Work will begin immediately on expanding the dining hall in the main building. Construction of a 400-person dormitory will begin after the building is designed, possibly by summer 2015, officials said, with plans to open to students by fall 2017.

The expansion marks the next step in a plan that would ultimately transform a 2-year commuter technical school to a 4-year residential institution, including several additional buildings in the final buildout.

For now, the only new building will be the dormitory, which will sit south of the main campus building. Recreational facilities will soon follow, officials said, but no specifics were offered.

Stumbling blocks from an earlier meeting with the Planning Board included sewer use and traffic between the campus and the medical buildings to the south. But they had been settled by the time the board met with NEIT officials again, Sept. 17. With NEIT’s proposed expanded sewer use, Director of Public Works Joe Duarte said, it looked like the town’s sewer line could handle additional flows from New England Tech.

“We’re comfortable with what they’re proposing,” said Duarte, who said he needed to safeguard some of the sewer line capacity for potential future development on the South County Trail corridor. Capacity at the sewage treatment plant was never an issue since the town is using only about 60 percent of the plant’s total capacity. Rather, it was about making sure the pipes that carry the sewage to the plant could handle the flows.

Another issue that needed ironing out was the traffic flow between the campus and the medical office buildings. NEIT students will continue to be blocked from driving into the office complex via the existing access road but, in an agreement with the owner of the development, visitors to the medical offices will be able to use the access road to get to New England Tech Boulevard, which has a traffic light at the intersection with South County Trail.

“This is an exciting day for New England Tech,” said NEIT President Richard Gouse in a press release Wednesday. “This is the 2nd phase of our $250,000,000 campus development program in East Greenwich. This expansion will allow us to offer on-campus housing for the first time in our college’s 75-year history. We will also beexpanding our information technology’s facilities to more than 300,000 square feet. This will make us the region’s largest provider of collegiate-level technology-driven training. These changes will also allow our college to offer new and expanded degree granting programs in such related areas as information technology, advanced manufacturing, health sciences, architecture, engineering, video/audio production.”

 

Today In EG: Planning Board Resumes Hearing On NEIT Expansion

Recycling is OFF; yard waste pickup is ON (yard waste is being picked up every other week through September). For the full 2014 pickup schedule, click here.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

EGHS PTG meeting: This first meeting of the school year takes place in the EGHS cafeteria at 9:30 a.m. All parents and guardians of EGHS students are invited and encouraged to attend.

Affordable Housing Task Force meeting: The panel meets in Conference Room B (near the Town Clerk’s office) in Town Hall. Here’s a link to the agenda. 3:30 p.m.

Planning Board meeting: The panel will continue a hearing on New England Tech’s plan to expand the existing campus (including the addition of a dormitory). A link to the full agenda is here. Council Chambers at Town Hall. 7 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 18

CWC meeting: Citizens Who Care has its first meeting of the new school year this morning at 9:30 in the EG Police Community Room. All members of the EG community encouraged and welcome to attend. Click here to visit the group’s new website here.

Savor East Greenwich: The kickoff to this year’s EG Restaurant Week is a celebration of EG’s amazing culinary renaissance and fundraiser for the EG Animal Protection League. At the EG Yacht Club from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Click here a link for more information.

Meadowbrook Farms open house: Calling all Meadowbrook parents – tonight’s the night to visit your child’s school and classroom! 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 19

Goddard Park Farmers Market: Among the vendors at the Goddard Park market, several farmers, bakers (both for humans and dogs!), crafts, fish and poultry. Fridays through Oct. 31. 375 Ives Road. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

EG’s Third Annual Restaurant Week begins: East Greenwich’s 3rd Annual Restaurant Week is actually a 10-day culinary celebration. It begins Friday, Sept. 19 and goes through Sept. 28). You can find out more at the EG Chamber of Commerce website here.

Saturday, Sept. 20

Cub Scout Sign-Up Day: The Annual East Greenwich-area “Cub Scout Sign Up Day” is Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Goddard State Park. Boys and parents are invited to come for fun activities and to learn more about scouting. There will be games, lots of fun and it’s free. Representatives from East Greenwich Boy Scout Packs 3 and 4 will be on hand to answer any of questions. Scouting is a big activity in this community, and many Cubs go on to Boy Scouts at Troops 1 & 2 in East Greenwich, which produce some of the highest numbers of Eagle Scouts in the State of Rhode Island.

Author John Butziger at Symposium: Author John Butziger will be reading from and signing copies of his book, The Second Tree. In a story reminiscent of Crichton and Brown’s corporate and religious thrillers, John Butziger presents a potent mix of adventure, conspiracy, and the mystical. From the petty double-dealing of a culinary network channel to the high-stakes world of cyber-espionage, Butziger weaves a complex adventure where few can be trusted-and all want to control the power of The Second Tree. 1 p.m. at Symposium Books, 1000 Division St. (near Panera).

Singles Mingle @ Symposium: Dating websites are good, but Symposium Books is holding a weekly “Singles Mingle” from 5 to 7 p.m.

Playing Dead at the Odeum: Boston’s premiere Grateful Dead-experience band, Playing Dead, is coming to the Greenwich Odeum Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. Buy them online (here) or at the door.

Sunday, Sept. 21

First Annual Harvest Stroll @ Boesch: In honor of Rhode Island Land Trust Days, the East Greenwich Land Trust is hosting the 1st Annual Harvest Stroll at Briggs-Boesch Farm. There will be a guided tour of the farm (including the animals, the pastures and the woodland trails) at 10:30 a.m. followed by lunch provided by Pat’s Pastured. Reserve your space by contacting Julianna Berry at (401) 886-8645, jberry@eastgreenwichri.com.

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. EG Animal Hospital, 4302 Post Road, Cowesett. 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

International Day of Peace Event: Citizens Who Care is holding an International Day of Peace event, including a walk, speakers, food and music. At Swift Community Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Hear more about the International Day of Peace in Bob Houghtaling’s podcast with Lacey Feeley of URI’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace.

Poet Beatrice Lazarus at Symposium: Beatrice Lazarus will be reading her poetry and signing her books at Symposium Books, 1000 Division St., at 2 p.m.  There will be other readings, too, and discussion, followed by open mic.

And …

Alice Benvie Gebhart at Providence Art Club: EG glass artist Alice Benvie Gebhart’s show at the Providence Art Club – Memories in Glass – features new work that evokes memories of a childhood loved, lived and lost. Gebhart owns Heritage Art Gallery, 5580 Post Road, EG. The Providence Art Club exhibit runs through Sept. 26. 11 Thomas St., Providence.

EG Basketball Association 2014-15 registration: Register by the end of September and fees will be the same as last year. On October 1st, a late fee of $25 will be added to each registration. Registration closes Friday, October 17th. To register, go to eghoops.com and click on the Registration tab.