Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 03-28-2019

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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NO. SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | MARCH 28-APRIL 3, 2019 NORTH SMITHFIELD 13 campus as opposed to two discrete, entirely separate buildings." Under the proposed plan, North Smithfield High School would switch from a six-period-per-day schedule to a seven-period-per-day schedule similar to the one currently in use at North Smithfield Middle School. The plan, said St. Jean, would not signifi- cantly change the length of classes at the two schools, but instead would adjust some of the non-instructional minutes in the school day. The "flat schedule," he said, would make it easier for the school to devel- op partnerships in the community, especially as educational norms shift toward career and technical educa- tion and away from a traditional academic schedule. As an example, he pointed out the new schedule could allow the school to arrange for a software engineer or other expert to come in and work with computer science students at the same time each day. "On a rotating schedule you can't do that, because first period and last period is always different," he said. "It gives us some flexibility in being able to connect to industry and the community." The new schedule would also allow 8th graders at North Smithfield Middle School to take advanced courses at the high school in special cases. Parents, he said, can expect to receive additional information about the proposed schedule changes from school administrators in the coming weeks. Another possible change discussed by School Committee members last week was the introduction of a late bus at the middle and high school next year. Though members voted in favor of allowing administrators to move forward with the plan, St. Jean said the proposal is still in its early stages and requires feedback from the school community. "There are a couple of models that we are looking at providing a late bus service," he said. "We want to encourage our students to participate in after school clubs, to meet with their teachers if they have questions or need extra assistance." The model favored by School Committee members last week would involve buses leaving North Smithfield Elementary School stop- ping at NSMS and NSHS to pick up a second round of high school and middle school students about 50 minutes after their dismissal before delivering students of all ages to their homes. Though the plan would not incur any additional costs, according to district Transportation Director Bob Meo, St. Jean said administrators are still looking into whether having elementary and teenage students on the same buses poses any concerns. Committee member William Connell, who proposed the late bus idea, suggested the district identify one or two days per week when they would run the late bus. Members specified the bus would be open only to students staying after school for extracurricular activities or to meet with teachers and not those staying for detention. In addition to the changes dis- cussed during the meeting, St. Jean said the district is also considering slight changes to the NSHS gradua- tion requirements to align them more closely with those of neighboring communities as well as the introduc- tion of more unstructured academic time into the school day. Further information on the changes, he said, will be made available to parents as it becomes finalized. SCHOOLS From Page 3 The Valley Breeze spoke with federal, state and local officials and reviewed material available on the EPA web- site for updates on the status of Landfill and Resource Recovery and other contaminated sites within the town. Landfill and Resource Recovery Inc. Contamination at this site traces its history to 1974, when the prop- erty was developed into a large- scale landfill accepting commercial, municipal and industrial wastes, including an estimated one million gallons of hazardous waste. After a lengthy public debate, the landfill was closed and most of it capped in 1985. In 1995, at the instruction of the EPA, the remainder of the landfill was capped and a gas flare installed to burn off methane and other gases produced by the landfill. According to Hoshaiah Barczynski, the EPA remedial project manager overseeing the site, the flare current- ly operates about three out of every six days, as methane levels have decreased since it was first installed. During the last five-year review process, conducted in 2014, EPA officials discovered that hazard- ous chemicals had migrated east from the 28-acre landfill toward the wetlands surrounding Trout Brook. Since then, nearby homes on Pound Hill Road have undergone semiannual groundwater testing to monitor for the spread of chemicals, but the tests have not revealed any unsafe levels of site-related con- taminants up to this point, according to Barczynski. The EPA, she said, is currently conducting a parallel study to determine if the spreading groundwater contamination requires additional cleanup work. Depending on the findings, the agency may develop a remedial plan and accept public comment after the study results are published, likely in October. "Right now, we're in the process of doing an investigation," said Barzynski. "We come up with risk levels and if the risk level exceeds a certain level, then we would take an action." In February, town officials approved the construction of a 40-acre solar farm on a nearby prop- erty. Barczynski said the farm will not impact cleanup efforts on the site. She added that EPA officials have monitored nearby Slatersville Reservoir for possible contaminants and have not found evidence of a chemical spread to the reservoir from the landfill. "As of yet, we don't have reason to think that there's contamination going into or toward the reservoir at any levels that would cause risk to anybody," she said. Stamina Mills Stamina Mills is a five-acre former textile mill on the Branch River that began operating in the early 1900s. In 1969, an unknown quantity of BATTLE From Page One BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM A gas flare was installed in 1995 to burn off methane and other landfill gases at LANDFILL AND RESOURCE RECOVERY INC., one of several contaminated sites located in North Smithfield. See CLEANUP, Page 19 Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Independently Owned & Operated by George & Malanie Loya Wood Blinds • Shutters • Roman Shades Woven Wood • Custom Drapery Top Treatments • Verticals and more! Local: 401-356-4770 Call to schedule your free in-home consultation Consumers Propane 762-5461 BOUSQUET OIL 769-0146 139 HAMLET AVE. 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