Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 08-08-2019

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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18 OPINION AUGUST 8-14, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION If Rhode Island politi- cians spent money as though it were their own, taxpayers would see radi- cally different behavior. Instead, they have a "cook- ie jar" mentality, i.e. that it's other people's money so they can go on a spree. Citizens have only to go down the memory lane of financial fiascos past and present to document how little thought is given to spending tax revenue. Do you remember 38 Studios? How about the UHIP disaster that mush- roomed into a spending binge, yet Deloitte, the per- petrator of the burgeoning costs, was kept on to run the computer system? You probably chuckled about the "Cooler and Warmer" $5 million tourist campaign complete with footage from Iceland parading as a Rhode Island "hot spot." Outsiders thought the state was also quite foolish in using a logo that was supposed to be a sail but which they misinterpreted as a shark. Well, these examples are not just past history. The General Assembly just passed legislation that Gov. Gina Raimondo signed into law to move the state's primary in 2020 up a week. The import of the bill was to authorize the primary election the day after Labor Day. It is hard to imagine how the solons missed the obvi- ous problem with the date since they are enamored of watching voting dates and times in order to guarantee their reelection. In order to get the polls open in this instance, workers would have to spend Labor Day setting up voting booths and preparing voting places. The time and a half costs required by work on a legal holiday would add tens of thousands of dollars in costs to the municipali- ties. Oops! The Rhode Island Town and City Clerk's Association plans to ask the General Assembly to jettison the Sept. 8 date and move it to Sept 9 in order to avoid overtime. Of course, school children will have an early vacation from school, a move that, no doubt, further explains another reason for dismal education scores as the school year is interrupted. Far be it to schedule a pri- mary in August when the kiddies aren't in school. The legislature is pon- dering an early return in the fall to take up the gov- ernor's proposed no-bid, $1 billion dollar contract with IGT for gaming. Fortunately, the state has a luminary in the person of Alan Hassenfeld, the former chairman and CEO of Hasbro. While IGT is promoting a study it commissioned as to the economic benefit IGT pro- duces "directly, indirectly and induced," Hassenfeld correctly notes that the legislature should have out- side experts to analyze the proposed deal. "Get someone who runs a great lottery from around the country. Get someone from scientific and gaming technology who can tell you better where things are going," he admon- ishes. Hassenfeld correctly argues that the longevity of any contract must be carefully examined given the rapidity of technology changes. He noted that one only has to look at the fact that "5G" technol- ogy was unheard of years ago. Projecting the state of technology 20 years out is problematic. Further, other proposals should be vetted with regard to employment goals. While Hassenfeld has offered to fund such a study, the fact is that state leaders should pony up before any vote. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Labor Day vote setup newest mess Like a seed when it's put in the ground and cared for, Cumberland's Franklin Farm has grown and thrived, thanks to the devotion of a group of volunteers who have tend- ed the earth for more than a decade now. From turn- ing the soil to planting seeds, checking on irriga- tion or watching for pests, and finally, to gathering the summer bounty, they work. This year, more than 500 volunteers will also pitch in. Now in its "Lucky 13th" summer, last week the farm celebrated sending the 100th ton of fresh produce – that's 200,000 pounds in all – to the R.I. Community Food Bank, as well as local pan- tries. What an accomplish- ment! I'm also proud of the small role my Cumberland-Lincoln Rotary Club plays in the effort, having years ago donated to provide the irrigation system which brought much higher yields to the land. Picking nights – Mondays and Thursdays – are always a pleasure. I hope I can help more in my coming retirement. I should also mention the educational compo- nent of the farm, where school children are brought each spring and summer to learn about the land and its stewardship. I admit I've grown weary of people in Congress, or up at the Statehouse, or others, who go on about "help- ing others." The real work is here, at Franklin Farm, out of the lime- light. Congratulations and a hat tip go to Denise and Rob Mudge, Pam and Chip Thurlow, Julie Guerin, Carrie Almon, Frank Matta, and oth- ers on the board who toil on the farm year- round. (I'll also thank Rep. Mia Ackerman, who both advocates at the Statehouse for the less for- tunate and gets her hands dirty at the farm regularly. She's walking the walk!) May the blessings of Franklin Farm continue for generations to come. Well done, one and all! Five years? Is the R.I. Department of Transportation serious? They're asking for five more years before they get to the repaving of Route 146, from I-295 to the 146-146A split (West Acres Interchange)? Wow, that's some wait. Last year, it was so potholed that the owner of Ski Shop Plus was making fun of road conditions on his sign! He's in the area not far from Anchor Subaru/ Nissan and the Rustic Drive-In. I suppose the state is in a pickle. They have to fix bridges first, according to federal law, and you have to admit, they're doing that at a pretty good clip. So roads come second. But we have to wait five more years to fix the mess on 146 near Sayles Hill Road? That's way too long. Go Twins! It feels like we can wave goodbye to the Red Sox and move on to the New England Patriots this year, now that Tom Brady has a new contract (not that anyone was worried about him moving on to another team …) Go Patriots! Oh … and Go Minnesota Twins, and rookie manager Rocco Baldelli, the Woonsocket/ Cumberland/Hendricken baseball star. Still only 37, Baldelli is shining bright and his Twins are only slightly behind the Yankees and Astros in their winning percentage (as of Sunday). What a year! How great would it be to see Baldelli win the World Series in his first year? It's been done, right? Ask Alex Cora. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze. 100 tons of kindness From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET Volume XXIV, Number 20 August 8, 2019 @ Breeze THE VALLEY ABOUT US The Valley Breeze Newspapers are a locally operated group of free weekly newspapers serving the people of Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Smithfield, Scituate, Foster, Glocester, North Providence, Pawtucket, R.I., and Blackstone, Mass. Each Thursday, 58,500+ 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 James Quinn, Deputy Publisher Jack Birolini, Director of Sales Ethan Shorey, Managing Editor Barbara Phinney, Controller

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