Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 06-25-2020

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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WOONSOCKET – Josh Lussier describes his friend, John Blain, as a "giant teddy bear" with a great sense of humor and a smile that could light up a room. "You could meet him for five min- utes and he would make an impres- sion on you somehow and some way," he said. Blain, he said, had always wanted a motorcycle, and had only owned one for three weeks when he was involved in a fatal crash at the inter- section of Diamond Hill and Walnut Hill roads. Blain was driving his motorcycle up Diamond Hill Road on June 7 when an SUV turned out of Walnut Hill too quickly in front of him. Blain was killed in the crash, while his friend, Kim Tanguay, suf- fered serious injuries. The driver of the SUV, 72-year-old Jeanne Fortier, was cited for failing to yield the right of way. But Lussier and Blain's family and friends think there was more than just an inatten- tive driver behind the crash. The intersection, said Lussier, has serious problems with visibility and speed, and he thinks action needs to be taken to prevent other accidents in the future. "I sat there for two-and-a-half hours the other day," he told The Breeze last week. "I was just sitting on that cor- ner watching, and I literally almost Friends of crash victim say change needed at intersection By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM Friends of John Blain, including, from left, JOSHUA PALIN, of Lincoln, JOEL CHERETTE, of North Smithfield, JOSH LUSSIER, of Woonsocket, GLEN BARTHOLOMEW, of Woonsocket, and TOM PERRON, of Lincoln, gathered on Sunday at the memorial where their friend was involved in a fatal crash on Diamond Hill Road on June 7. See INTERSECTION, Page 22 NORTH SMITHFIELD – A dis- pute over a local composting opera- tion is headed for the town Zoning Board after the owner, Frank Jacques, appealed a cease-and-desist order issued by the town back in January. Town Zoning Official Kerry Anderson issued the order after neighbors repeatedly complained that the composting business, located at 300 Buxton St., was creating an over- whelming smell in the neighborhood. The order accuses Jacques and a sub- contractor of illegally dumping food scraps and other materials in viola- tion of the town's zoning ordinance. Jacques has appealed the order, defending his composting business as a legally protected use under state law. The dispute taps into a long-run- ning argument about what constitutes "agriculture" and what kinds of farm- ing operations should be allowed in residential areas. Jacques maintains Buxton Street composting dispute headed for Zoning Board By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com See COMPOSTING, Page 22 NORTH SMITHFIELD – Staff at North Smithfield public schools will undergo diversity training as part of their professional development for the 2020-2021 school year, with an emphasis on "equity minded teach- ing" and "promoting a culture of validating students' identities and culture." According to Supt. Michael St. Jean, the School Department had already planned to focus on diversity next year prior to the events of the past few weeks, but, facing questions amid the national public outcry that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, presented their plans to the Diversity training coming to North Smithfield schools By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com See DIVERSITY, Page 21 ST. JEAN SOAK UP THE SUMMER SEASON! 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