Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 04-09-2020

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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12 OPINION APRIL 9-15, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION By ETHAN SHOREY and JAMES QUINN Today seems as good a time as any to introduce our first new mission statement since this newspaper was founded in 1996. It's one we've been working on for some time, wanting it to properly reflect the value you help us bring to the communities we live and work in. "Making our communi- ties stronger by telling their stories" is a rallying cry for everyone, including: • You the readers of our five editions, who have trust- ed us and backed us every step of the way as we've told the stories of your communi- ties, highlighting the good and calling out the question- able, as well as supported the businesses that partner with us; • Our advertisers, who have made the commit- ment to their communities as they've built their own brands and customer bases; • And members of our news and advertising staffs, who continue to make their decisions based on how it helps our cities and towns. We make our communities stronger by sharing stories that bring about tangible change, on everything from taxes to schools, water problems to road projects, dispelling misinformation, disinformation, and finding answers along the way. But we also make them stron- ger by sharing stories that inspire, often ones you never knew you were missing until you opened these pages. Sometimes it might seem like it all happens by magic, seeing those papers show up in the newsstands each week since we were successfully launched nearly 25 years ago. The fact is, none of it would be possible without an unyielding commitment to quality local journalism and hard work by staff across all of our departments. We've spent many long nights and weekends making sure we hit those deadlines to keep this resource coming. You've probably heard how the worldwide economic meltdown has deeply impacted news sources across the country, and we haven't been immune to some of the pressures also felt by our advertisers. The truth is, even before the events of the past month, the nature of news-gathering was calling for more of an invest- ment from news consumers themselves. The Valley Breeze is free to our readers, and will remain free, but our hope is that those readers with resources to invest in journalism where they live will choose to take a more active role in this local news success story, joining advertisers in helping to bring it to the people each week. Though our company is well-positioned for future success and growth, we've long considered a scenario where we ask readers to invest in local news where possible. We're now inviting you to support what we do financially. Visit www.valley- and click on the "support" button. On a recent post from a resident asking people in one local community where they get their local news, every- one had the same answer: The Valley Breeze. We're eternally grateful for the trust you've placed in us to deliver accurate local sto- ries. We're here for the long haul, and we're so excited to tell your stories for many years to come. - Shorey is editor of The Valley Breeze Newspapers, spending his entire 14-year career finding and writing sto- ries that matter to our readers. Quinn is founding co-owner and deputy publisher of the company he helped start in 1996, and has worked long hours behind the scenes ever since delivering those stories to our communities. Defining our mission, calling you to help make us stronger I came across an article in Bloomberg Businessweek (3/30/20) which made some great points which I want to share. Author, Peter Coy noted that in economics there is no Hippocratic Oath, which states "First, do no harm." Because there has not been a pandemic of this scale there are no white-haired elders to guide us. Just as overwhelmed doctors even- tually will have to choose which patients to save and which to let go, leaders will have to decide which work- ers are most in need of and deserving of a rescue. Eventually, the author notes, we'll need to make agonizing trade-offs between saving lives and saving livings. Accordingly, one principle to policymakers to consider is that if they must do harm to the economy, make it reversible. Hurt but don't kill. Bend it but don't break it. Query whether that is being done right now. If the decisions around closings are not calibrated, hundreds of small enterprises will go out of business. Will the loss be permanent? Will high- functioning teams that take years to build be fractured? Now unemployed workers who thrived in a particular niche will flounder seeking jobs which require a different set of skills. Only keeping companies intact as much as possible can lead to a faster recovery. To date, while President Donald Trump squan- dered time to prepare, he is back on track. Congress has passed a viable eco- nomic package to underpin the economy. Gov. Gina Raimondo continues to show a deft hand at implementing strategies. Yet, the potential problem to address is still the plight of small businesses. Yes, Congress did set aside $250 billion for lending to businesses through banks involved with the Small Business Administration. Yet, there may be a fatal flaw or two with the program. For years, my brother, Bud Violet, has been involved in helping some 2,000 Rhode Island small businesses get SBA loans. He is my "go-to- guy" for analysis on small business preservation and the particular provisions of the recent Congressional action. He sees two problems: 1. The application for these loans involves much paper- work, taking hours to com- plete. Usually, professional advice is necessary because of the complexity of the questions and information needed. Only a simplified form and closing will advert the costs to small businesses who want to file for loans/ grants. 2. Banks will be reluctant to write smaller loans which start at $10,000 because they make no money. It actually costs them money because of the need to monitor the loan with bank personnel. Because of FDIC rules and fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders banks have little motivation to write loans which are five figures. Giving new money to debtors so they can pay interest on their old loans would ordinarily be considered malpractice, but for this environment. Banks need a new attitude and culture: that these com- panies are not zombies being propped up, but rather a new investment. Will banks step up to the challenge par- ticularly where small bridge loans are sought by compa- nies? The more damage busi- nesses suffer, the harder it will be for them to bounce back. Big businesses have lobbyists who will have the ear of Congress and President Trump to protect them. The "little guy/gal businesses" need to be vigi- lant and active to save them- selves. Violet is an attorney and for- mer state attorney general Painful trade-offs coming Poli-Ticks ARLENE VIOLET SHOREY QUINN Volume XXI, Number 33 April 9, 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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