Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 07-11-2019

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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JULY 11-17, 2019 BLACKSTONE 5 Police chief out following agreement with town BLACKSTONE – A months- long standoff between suspended Blackstone Police Chief Ross Atstupenas and town officials appears to be drawing to a close after the two parties came to an agreement last week, though town officials remain tight-lipped about the matter for the time being. Last week, Atstupenas's wife, Barbara Atstupenas, announced to supporters that the chief had reached an agreement with the town and would not be reinstated to his post. In April, the Board of Selectman accept- ed a decision by Town Administrator Daniels Keyes to place Atstupenas on paid leave amid an ongoing investi- gation of the entire Blackstone Police Department. The investigation had been initiated by a vote of the Board of Selectman earlier in the month. News of the agreement came min- utes after the board met in executive session to discuss the matter July 1. A public hearing for Atstupenas had previously been scheduled for the following day in the town administrator's office, but was can- celed following the meeting. Daniel Keefe, chairman of the Board of Selectman, declined to comment on the matter this week, saying only that the inves- tigation was complete and that more information would become available at a later date. "The Board of Selectman had an executive session, so until it's official I really can't comment," he said. The investigation has created a rift between officials and town residents, most of whom have ral- lied in support of the longtime police chief. Atstupenas, a town resident, has served as chief since 2000 and earned several accolades in that time, including serving as president of the New England Association of Chiefs of Police. Residents at a Board of Selectman meeting in May defended Atstupenas as a dedicated town servant and criticized the board and administrator's handling of the matter. Signs declaring "We support our police chief," meanwhile, have continued to crop up around town, reminding officials of the chief's wide base of local support. While residents have made their support clear, Blackstone police have doubled down in their criticism of the chief, a tension that is not new. Last July, members of the Blackstone Police Patrolman's Union took a vote of no confidence in the chief's leadership, passing the measure by a majority. In May, union President Patrolman David Laudon reminded board members of that vote, say- ing the union's position remains unchanged. Residents had mixed reactions to last week's announcement, some expressing relief that the parties had come to a mutual agreement while others questioned why residents were not allowed to attend a public hear- ing on the matter. Several expressed their frustration that the issue has continued to be discussed behind closed doors, with little information available to residents during the course of the investigation. By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com ATSTUPENAS Make balloon aliens at the Blackstone Library BLACKSTONE – In celebra- tion of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, Ed the Wizard will be hosting a free program at the Blackstone Public Library on Monday, July 15, starting at 11 a.m. Attendees will learn how to twist their own balloon aliens. No balloon twisting experience is required. Contact the library for more infor- mation at 508-883-1931. St. Paul Church will hold chowder dinner July 20 BLACKSTONE – St. Paul Church, 48 St. Paul St., Blackstone, will hold an all-you-can-eat chowder and clam- cake dinner on Saturday, July 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will feature red or white chowder and clamcakes. The cost is $10 per person. For more information, call 508-883- 6726. CCF offers free summer meals WOONSOCKET – Connecting for Children and Families has announced that they will provide free meals to children during the summer through their summer enrichment programs, which runs from July 8 to Aug. 16. These programs include Camp Discovery, Chillin' & Skillin' Summer Educational Camp, Woonsocket Middle School Get Connected Summer Camp, and Woonsocket High School's Stay Connected. The effort is made possible through CCF's partnership with the Summer Food Service Program. For more information, visit www. fns.usda.gov . Paint days offered at the Harris Library WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket Harris Public Library, 303 Clinton St., invites children and teens to paint days on Thursdays, July 11, 18 and 25, from 2 to 3:45 p.m. Each week will feature a different paint activity. Some of the paints change color in sunlight. Participants should wear clothes that can get paint on them. The library has all the supplies including smocks. Walk-ins welcome so long as there is space in the room. Children under 12 must be with an adult at all times. To register or for more information, call 401-769-9044, ext. 2. Harris Library offers Preschool Play-Dough Time WOONSOCKET – Preschool Play-Dough Time will take place on Tuesday mornings on July 16 and 23 as well as Aug. 6, 13 and 20, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., in the Children's Program room at the Woonsocket Harris Library, 303 Clinton St. The program is appropriate for children 3 through 6 with an adult caregiver. To register, call the Children's Room at 401-769-9044, ext. 2. IN BRIEF Witness again the last time we were one Never-before-seen footage and audio recordings take you straight into the heart of NASA's most celebrated mission as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embark on a historic trip to the moon. The 50th Anniversary Join Us For The Valley Breeze FREE Movie Night Friday, July 19, 7:30 p.m. • FREE Admission at The Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, RI To see the trailer, search "Stadium Theatre Apollo 11" NEXT FRIDAY! JULY 19!

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