Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 03-26-2020

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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Page 13 of 71

14 OPINION MARCH 26-APRIL 1, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION 14 EDIT Gov. Gina Raimondo has had a heap of criticism regarding her administra- tion of the state. Since the buck stops with her, the negative critiques were warranted. Even her most vehement detractors, however, have to give her credit for her strong leader- ship through the corona- virus epidemic. Her daily briefings will, no doubt, become her ultimate legacy as governor in trumping all the negative press she has heretofore been getting. I was reminded of the Blizzard of '78 when then governor, J. Joseph Garrahy, calmed Rhode Islanders as he appeared daily on television in his plaid flannel shirt for brief- ings. Folks then also had cabin-fever and temporary shortages of food and medi- cine because of a lack of access to suppliers because of the depth of the snow. Given the "hidden enemy," as President Donald Trump calls COVID-19, Raimondo has a more difficult task. It is not a situation where one single catastrophic storm came and went. Daily, the situation with the pandemic changes and promises to be a longer-term problem requiring a facility of lead- ership. So far the governor has met the task. It was a moment of pride for me, also, in seeing the leadership of strong women in addition to the governor. R.I. Department of Health Director, Nicole Alexander- Scott, MD, gave clear explanations as to what was as stake. Education Commissioner, Angelica M. Infante-Green, was ahead of the crowd in project- ing the need for online education and requiring the submission of remote instruction plans. If anyone ever had a doubt about the level of skill of women in leadership positions, all three of these women aptly answered that question. Kudos to them. Meanwhile, the public has to get with the pro- gram. Many are doing so but parents need to exert more direction with their respective children. Teens, in particular, perceive they are invulnerable. Yet, this is the time for lessons about community and doing what is in the common good. I have in the past lamented (and still do!) the lack of Civics education but the present circumstances can be a living lesson of social responsibility. I was interested in some folks' reaction to the Bishop ending Mass services for a time. He was right to do so. Since the underpinning of many religions is the practice of charity, the true nature of spirituality can be practiced by taking care of thy neighbor. Nothing sub- stitutes for the practice of good works. Chief among those "good works" is caring about all the folks who are out of jobs. While there is talk of two weeks, the length of time is still unknown. Certainly, the governor was on target in waiving the waiting period for collec- tion of unemployment ben- efits. Yet, there are many neighbors who are in jobs where they are ineligible for workers compensation. Hopefully, the character- istic generosity of Rhode Islanders will be manifest as they lend a helping hand. So, as I hunker down, I am mindful of all of you and hope to do all I can to alleviate any of your stress. I am blessed by wonder- ful neighbors, particularly Jack and Maria, who gener- ously share their evening meal with me. I hope and pray that the readers have the same access to caring Rhode Islanders. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general. Strong leadership at the top Docs vs. the economists It seems like a lifetime ago. It was a sunny but chilled day in Orlando, and I was in line with my wife and son at the new Star Wars attraction at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios. Later, we visited Epcot. Between the two parks, we probably walked past 10,000 visitors that day. It was Feb. 28, less than three weeks ago. Nobody was wearing a mask. Nobody had ever heard of "social distancing." With the rapid spread of Covid 19, a pandemic is now gripping the world – and Rhode Island. I've never seen anything like it before, and don't know how this movie ends. Politicians will tell us "Chin up! We're Americans!" I hope they're right. We can be exception- al people, and so far, we have been. We are blessed to have such smart and car- ing health care specialists working as hard as they are, but more sacrifice may be needed. For now, though, this is all about the cure, or at least a treatment we can all feel will stop the virus from killing us and our parents and loved ones. A vaccine, helpful in a year or two, means nothing now. We need to know in a week or two that we've found drugs or "cocktails" that will keep us alive, should we get very ill. Today, the economy is suffering as people lose jobs by the millions. Airlines are crushed; hotels and restaurants sit empty. In the White House, there are reports of disagree- ments between the doctors and economists. Doctors want everyone to keep dis- tance from one another, for as long as possible. Economists know the coun- try can't take this very long ... that even for America, the money to help the unemployed as well as keep their employers af loat will run out. We can keep "printing money," but not forever. Somebody has to buy our debt. Would you? And then there is this: We don't want to live this way. We drive. We play, we dine out. We love sports, on TV and at Little League fields. Some enjoy betting on games. We won't sit on the sidelines indefinitely. I have a feeling President Trump is listening to both sides, but his instincts are those of a businessman. He knows this work-less world and stay-at-home offices can't go on for months. I wonder, too. Why are things closed in the Dakotas or Montana? Is there a middle ground in this pandemic? Yes, New York and Seattle need to shut down. But does Bozeman? And not to drag politics into this human trag- edy, but Trump knows his presidency depends on the choices he makes in the days and next few weeks ahead. He's bet the ranch on the experiment taking place in hard-hit New York City right now. Short-term, chloroquine, hydroxychlo- roquine and azithromycin are the magic bullets. He needs this drug cocktail to slow the dying. Will they help? And then there's our state. Rhode Island will run out of money. No sales taxes, no income taxes, no open casinos. The state employ- ees' pension fund will now be severely stressed. Politicians won't talk about this now as they keep hop- ing things improve, natu- rally. And I hope they do. It's another reason we can't stay closed for too long. For people of faith, prayers are in order. For others like all those people I saw at Disney's Galaxy's Edge, "May the force be with you." Improvement may not be as "far, far away" as it seems today. Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze From the Publisher TOM WARD Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET Volume XXIV, Number 53 March 26, 2020 @ 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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