Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 05-23-2019

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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6 WOONSOCKET MAY 23-29, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION WOONSOCKET – The city of Woonsocket is seeking volunteers to participate in the annual citywide cleanup on Saturday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to noon. This year's cleanup will target the historic Oak Hill Cemetery at 204 Rathbun St. The property was estab- lished in the 1800s as a forest cem- etery on the city's northern border and contains the graves of more than 3,500 people, including many of the city's founding residents. "There's a huge amount of history in that place," said Michael Debroisse, superintendent of solid waste and engineering for the city and coordina- tor of the cleanup. "It's unbelievable what that place looks like and who's buried there and how it goes back to the history of the city." Though not a city-owned cemetery, Oak Hill Cemetery boasts a long his- tory of providing a resting place for some of its most influential residents, including George Grant, Woonsocket's first mayor. It was also historically home to a potter's field where many of the city's poor were laid to rest. According to Debroisse, mainte- nance of the historical cemeteries in the city presents a challenge because many of the cemeteries have been abandoned without formal ownership. He credited the efforts of a group of volunteers led by city resident Christine MacWilliams for taking on cleanups at many historical cemeteries in recent years. "Anytime they go in there and do any kind of cleaning, we go out there and haul the brush away. For us, it's a win-win, because all we do is pick up the brush," he said. Unlike some other historic cemeter- ies, Oak Hill Cemetery is managed by a board of trustees who provide for a full-time caretaker of the property. Elizabeth Vangel, one of the Oak Hill trustees, explained the cemetery traces its roots to 1856, when Edward Harris donated the original 17-acre plot. At the time, there was a movement to establish "forest cemeteries" where citizens could be laid to rest in a natu- ral setting. "The whole idea of these particular cemeteries was to have these beautiful naturescapes that transform the land," she said. In the 1800s Oak Hill was the cemetery of choice for the city's most important residents, including mill owners, anti-slavery figures and heroes of the Civil War. It is also home to many monuments, including some that were moved there later to avoid falling into disrepair at aban- doned or converted mills. Vangel said the property is currently undergoing a major tree restoration, and board members are working with city offi- cials to have it listed as a national his- toric landmark. "We like to refer to Oak Hill as the historic soul of Woonsocket because we think it's the most important his- toric site," she said. Despite regular maintenance, the cemetery still struggles with the difficulties of existing in an urban area, including illegal dumping by residents. The June 1 cleanup will focus on removing trash and other debris from several areas around the property, including the potter's field. According to Debroisse, previous citywide cleanups have targeted parks, vacant lots and various neighbor- hoods. It was Mayor Lisa Baldelli- Hunt, he said, who suggested the focus of this year's efforts be on the Oak Hill property. Citywide cleanup will target historic Oak Hill Cemetery By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com The annual citywide cleanup will take place Saturday, June 1, at OAK HILL CEMETERY, a historic 17-acre property dating back to 1856. See CLEANUP, Page 21 Harris Library announces poetry winners WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Harris Public Library announces the winner of its annual poetry contest. All the winners will have a chance to read their poems and get their prizes on Wednesday, May 29, at 7 p.m., at the library in a special Poetry Night celebration. There will also be an open mike so everyone is invited to share their poetry. Here are this year's winners in order of age category: GRADES 3-5 • 1st Place: Grade 4, Abagael Glassey, "My Favorite Cat" • 2nd Place: Grade 4, Shrivats Pandey, "I Wonder" • 3rd Place: Grade 4, Jaeden Acevedo GRADES 6-8 • 1st Place: Grade 7, Catherine O'Roarke, "The Playground Bully" • 2nd Place: Grade 7, Cristian McKnight-Ide, "I am Poem" • 3rd Place: Grade 7, Angel Garcia, "Worldview" GRADES 9-12 • 1st Place: Nicole Dioh, "Odes of Appreciation" • 2nd Place: Olivia Antonelli, "A Piece of Me" • 3rd Place: Alexia Lescarbeau, "Puppet Master" ADULT • 1st Place: Brian Croteau, "Lost in Loneliness" • 2nd Place: Matthew Clemente, Untitled • 3rd Place: David Gracer, "Shard Twenty Four" do you know? valleybreeze.com has more than 500,000 page views every month? Ocean State Foot & Ankle Specialists 20 Cumberland Hill Road, Suite 210 Woonsocket, RI 02895 • 401-356-4262 Dr. Arun Karwal and Dr. Shaylyn McTeague are pleased to announce that Erik Haniuk, DPM has joined their practice. Dr. Haniuk grew up in New York where he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served in the military and began his medical career at West Point Hospital. Dr. Haniuk attended Kent State University for his medical degree and completed his internship at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. In addition to his busy schedule at Ocean State Foot & Ankle Specialists, he is completing his residency at Kent Hospital and will graduate his podiatric medicine and surgery residency with reconstructive rearfoot and ankle certification in June where he served as chief resident his final year. Dr. Haniuk is accepting new patients for treatments as minor as routine exams and podiatry treatment to more major issues like fractures of foot/ankle, joint replacement and Arthroscopy. To schedule an appointment, call 401-356-4262

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