Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 11-28-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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12 OPINION NOVEMBER 29-DECEMBER 5, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER Notwithstanding the fact that my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is now in the rear view mirror, none- theless, the sentiments of that day endure. I am still suffused with gratitude for the examples of my par- ents and the commitment to public service by my sister, Alice, and brother, Bud. Nobody could have better friends than I do and whose generosity of spirit is an inspiration. Of course, I am very grateful to the Sisters of Mercy and the example of their lives served for the betterment of this world. I also am inspired by people I don't really know or whom I know some- what. This Thanksgiving was filled with examples of these folks in various pro- fessions who are standouts. By contrast the news is also punctuated by people who could have been heroes but who engaged in behav- ior far below the dignity of their occupation. Here are just a few examples: Mayor Brent Taylor – Besides being mayor of a small town, Mr. Taylor was also a soldier in the Utah National Guard. During his fourth tour of duty in a war-torn country and second deployment to Afghanistan, he was murdered by an alleged Afghan soldier he was training. While being separated from his wife and seven children his last missive home was to reiterate that "United we stand; divided we fall." His reminder was prescient given the torn fabric of our country. Far too many citi- zens create tribalism rather than unity. He also stands as a contrast to those in public office who think that being in office makes them a public benefactor rather than a public servant. Firefighters in California – Not too many people can claim that they have been to hell and back. The firefight- ers in Northern California most certainly can assert such a dubious distinc- tion. They and other first responders struggled hero- ically in putting out the raging fires and moving folks to safety. By contrast we see the penury of some firefighters who undermine the respect which rightfully belongs to their profes- sion. The recent charges against an East Greenwich firefighter who allegedly erased 111,000 files from town computers and the "visit" by some firefighters in Warwick to the office of Ken Block, a citizen, who has exposed staffing prac- tices that undermine the public fisc, are a couple of examples. Ever since The Station nightclub fire in West Warwick, most Rhode Island citizens treasure fire- fighters. It's a shame when the respect is undermined by such baseness. Ken Block – Speaking of Mr. Block, he is a trea- sure in this state. Putting his own money where his mouth is, he has routinely volunteered his consid- erable skills to root out waste. Judge Bennett Gallo – I am very proud to be an attorney since I see the profession as a guardian of justice for all. Last week, Judge Gallo made a tough but correct call when a child molester on parole was arrested on the basis that he gave a false address (originally correct) on his marriage license. The judge noted that the arrest wouldn't have happened with anyone else. Judge Gallo had the guts to rule against a police department and citizens who were picketing the neighborhood where this ex-felon resided in order to uphold the rule of law. Such examples of every- day heroism are sources of my gratitude – and I hope, yours. Violet is an attorney. She is a former state attorney general and Sister of Mercy. Everyone can choose to be a hero As a state, Rhode Island sadly continues to push in the wrong direction. And if you push in the wrong direction during these "good times" economically, it only turns much uglier when the bad times come. On Monday, the Providence Journal reported a wave of new state employee hirings – 212 "full-time equivalent" jobs – since July 1. More jobs, more taxes needed. On Saturday, WPRI-TV's Ted Nesi, in his weekly col- umn, pointed out another sobering statistic. He quoted the R.I. Community Food Bank's 2018 Status Report on Hunger. They wrote, "In November 2008, with the unemployment rate at 9.3 percent and rising fast, there were 91,000 Rhode Islanders enrolled in (food stamps); a decade later, with the unemployment rate under 4 percent, there are now about 159,000 Rhode Islanders enrolled." That is, with a "strong" economy, nearly one in six Rhode Islanders is on nutri- tional assistance. In the face of this deplorable fact, the state keeps hiring people, costing even more money. Wrote Amanda Clarke from the state Department of Administration, in a reply to the paper on the matter, "Much of the increase in recent hiring has been con- nected with addressing critical service needs in direct care and front-line staff including case workers and child pro- tective investigators." In other words, Rhode Island has more people in need than ever, and increas- ingly turns to its residents and businesses to bear the ever-rising burden of our near-socialist state. Voters, compassionate by nature, overwhelmingly support the status quo and worsening eco- nomic prospects for all. How does this end? I have an acquaintance, a multi- millionaire who behaved like "the guy next door" and lived a modest life with his wife. He considered living "the city life" with a move to a beautiful condo overlooking Waterplace Park, but in the end decided it wasn't worth paying the $36,000 per year in property taxes (no, that's not a misprint). He and his wife are in Florida now. For Rhode Island, there will be no more sales taxes, no din- ing out, no gas taxes, and cer- tainly no estate (or "death") tax. They are gone forever, and many, many like them will follow. Why? Because they can. Now, the state's addiction to increased revenue marches on. On Monday, legalized sports betting came to Twin River's casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. Now mind you, I am not anti-gambling. In fact, I just cashed in my ticket, bought in Las Vegas in June, for a Red Sox World Series win (I risked the princely sum of $25). So for me, my very few sports bets will be easier to make. But some are not so lucky, and cannot control their gambling addiction. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio upped the ante on even wider sports betting by calling for a future with bets taken on your smartphone. Sure, why not? However fast and however private the state can be in vacuuming away your hard- earned money is a winner, right? Next in line? Marijuana legalization. Damn the health hazards, full speed ahead! Out with the cigarettes, in with the weed! Can anybody explain to me how filtered cigarettes are such a hazard while the dangers of unfil- tered smoke from marijuana aren't even discussed? No matter, it's the money we need! The war on cigarettes wid- ened recently as U.S. gov- ernment regulators decided that they might ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. This came in the wake of the government's assault on Juuls, the smokeless devices that deliver nicotine, suppos- edly to those trying to quit regular cigarettes. Instead, the flavored vapors are attracting kids. Last week, as Massachusetts opened its recreational mari- juana stores for the first time, store owner Sam Barber, age 25, told the Journal "Some of the products have been culti- vated for taste as well. 'Like a nice wine,' Barber said of one strain, 'with a tropical flavor.'" If you can make any sense of any of this, please let me know. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze. Our growing addiction From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally owned and operated group of free weekly newspa- pers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 60,000+ copies are distributed to retailers, banks, offices, and restaurants and other busy spots. Circulation is audited by the Circulation Verification Council of St. Louis, Mo. and has earned its "Gold Standard Award." OUR MISSION It is the Mission of The Valley Breeze to facilitate a positive sense of community among the res- idents of Northern Rhode Island by providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and to provide information of local events and neighbors. It is our further Mission to provide the highest quality advertising at the lowest possible cost to retailers, professionals, tradespersons, and other service providers in order to enhance the economic well-being of our community. Thomas V. Ward, Publisher tward@valleybreeze.com James Quinn, Deputy Publisher jquinn@valleybreeze.com Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Doug Fabian, General Sales Manager doug@valleybreeze.com Barbara Phinney, Controller accounting@valleybreeze.com Founded in 1956 by The Burgess Family Volume LXIII, Number 39 November 29, 2018 valleybreeze.com @ Observer THE VALLEY BREEZE &

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