Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-04-2020

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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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET | VALLEY BREEZE | JUNE 4-10, 2020 BLACKSTONE / THE VALLEY 7 Curbside pickup available at the Blackstone Library BLACKSTONE – The Blackstone Public Library is now offering con- tact-free curbside pickup for library materials. Each patron can reserve up to 20 items. Hours for curbside pickup are: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Only Blackstone library items will be available. Drive-up and walk-up patrons are welcome. Once the holds are placed, library staff will retrieve the items, bag them, and then call when they're ready to be picked up. Patrons must call from the parking lot upon arrival and have their trunk or car door already open. Returned materials must be placed in the book drop, which is available 24 hours a day. Registration for curbside pickup is required and must be done in advance. Those interested can call the library or click on "Calendar of Events" on the library's website at and register through Eventkeeper. Patrons can elect to place their own holds at home using their library card account, or can call the library for assistance. For more information, call 508-883- 1931. CVS opens 10 new testing sites WOONSOCKET – New COVID- 19 testing sites are now open at CVS Pharmacy locations around Rhode Island. The company announced last week it would open 10 new test- ing sites in several towns, includ- ing Narragansett, East Greenwich, Westerly, Johnston, West Warwick, Providence, Cranston and East Providence. The new sites utilize self-swab tests and require patients to stay in their cars as they approach a pharmacy drive-up window. A CVS Pharmacy team member observes the swab process to ensure it is done properly. Tests are then sent to a third-party lab for processing, with results expected in about three days. Appointments are required in advance, and patients can register at . The company has also opened a testing site in Bellingham, Mass., to serve residents of Massachusetts. BLACKSTONE – It's been nearly four months since candi- dates for the Board of Selectmen returned their nomination papers in February, and in that time, COVID-19 has driven thoughts of the town-wide election from many residents' minds. But candidates are hoping resi- dents will still cast their votes in the June 15 election, which was postponed from its original date of April 6. Residents will see four names in the running for Board of Selectmen when they arrive at the polls or receive their mail ballots. Incumbents Margo Bik and Gerald Rivet are seeking to hold onto their seats for another three-year term, while challengers Mary Bulso and Robert Kluchevitz are hoping to take their place. All four candidates, speaking with The Valley Breeze last week, agreed the financial fallout of the crisis is likely to be the biggest chal- lenge the town faces in the months ahead. With the full economic impact of COVID- 19 still uncertain, and residents and businesses reeling from months of staying at home, town officials are taking a cautious approach to next year's budget. Bik, who has served on the board for 12 years, praised the work of various town departments over the past few months, saying the town has pulled together to respond to the crisis and cut unnecessary funds. "I think everybody has pulled their weight, and I am so grateful," she said. Rivet also praised the town's response and said the town will have to adapt to getting less money from the state. Bulso said the board should work with business owners to make sure they're aware of all available assis- tance and focus on what's best for residents. Kluchevitz said he thinks it's pos- sible for the town to avoid a tax increase without cutting services, but they'll have to see how state aid pans out in the months ahead. "We need to dig down deep and figure out different ways to be able to operate town government going forward," he said. While candidates agreed the financial challenge poses a con- cern, they disagreed on how best to fund major town expenses going forward. Both Bik and Rivet con- tinued to support incorporating at least part of the cost of an estimat- ed $5 million water filtration sys- tem upgrade into water and sewer rates. Bik pointed out the upgrade will directly benefit ratepayers who could see a boost in property val- ues from the change. "There will be a lot of discus- sions when that gets moving," she said. Kluchevitz has been adamantly against funding the upgrade through water and sewer rates and instead supports financing it with a capital trust paid out of the PILOT agreement from the ANP power plant, the town's largest water user. Bulso said last week she thinks the issue should be put to a vote by town residents. Kluchevitz has also spoken out strongly against tax increases, sug- gesting the town could consider regionalizing some services to continue living within its means. A branch manager for Citizens Bank, Kluchevitz said his financial back- ground and previ- ous board experi- ence could help the town going forward. Rivet told The Breeze he's con- cerned about what he sees as "cliques" in town politics and wants to help break them up. He cited last year's investigation into the Blackstone Police Department as an example of the good work of the board over the past few years and said he thinks he speaks for the people of Blackstone. "I think I'm a good fit and a voice for them. I don't have any personal agenda whatsoever," he said. Bulso, a Finance Committee member and former member of the Historical Commission, sup- ports setting up a charter review commission focused on further engaging residents. A municipal project manager in the construc- tion industry, she also supports working with property owners to identify grant funding and investing in the town's education system to help keep students in Blackstone. "Because the school's losing so much in school choice, they keep coming back needing more money for the town. We have to look at would it be better spent renovating the school," she said. Bik, who works as vice president of a Needham-based venture capi- tal firm, said she thinks the town made great strides last year nego- tiating a new PILOT agreement with the ANP power plant and needs to continue supporting small businesses. All of the candidates acknowl- edged the difficulty of campaigning under social distancing measures and said they're not sure what to expect in terms of voter turnout. The town is allowing residents to vote by mail and early voting bal- lot. Requests for mail ballots are available on the town website. Budget uncertainty, water upgrades weigh on Blackstone town election By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer BIK RIVET BULSO KLUCHEVITZ Place your classified ad online at CONGRATULATIONS AUTUMN! I know this won't be the last time I get to brag about you. Keep making your dreams come true. Love, Your very proud Dad Autumn Casey Sending warm thoughts and big congratulations to a graduate we're so very proud of. Love, Grammy Kathie & Papa John

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