Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 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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4 CUMBERLAND JUNE 25-JULY 1, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE | CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Town Council, in a resolution approved last week, is opposing Blackstone Valley Prep's action to accept a $4 mil- lion Paycheck Protection Program loan and asking the Office of the Attorney General to review the circumstances surrounding the loan and to take action if required. Councilor Stephanie Gemski said what BVP's executive board did to take a loan designed for small busi- nesses was "wrong and downright shameful," noting that the mayoral academies have been unaffected by the impacts of the pandemic in the form of layoffs or program cuts. Many have applied and did not receive a PPP loan, she said, and accepting a loan designed to keep people working was a "flagrant disregard and slap in the face" to those who didn't receive it. The council voted 5-2 to approve the resolution, with Council President Craig Dwyer and Councilor Mike Kinch voting no. Kinch indicated significant agree- ment with Gemski on the inappro- priateness of accepting the loan, calling it a "complete mistake" and saying the "PR was horrible," though he questioned whether the matter should be sent to the AG. Dwyer, meanwhile, ripped into his colleagues prior to the vote on the resolution, noting in response to Gemski's assertion that the PPP funding has run out that there's still significant funding left. Dwyer said the resolution would have been "a lot softer" without the part asking for a review by the AG. Though Gemski said BVP needs to decide whether it's a business or nonprofit, Dwyer said he thinks the school could be covered under both defi- nitions. Dwyer brought up the issue of race, saying the majority of the students at BVP, including more than 400 from Cumberland, many from his and Gemski's districts, are in minority populations. While the makeup of the school is largely minority, here were "seven coun- cilors of Caucasian descent" saying to those students, "you know what, you guys don't deserve this." "I'm sorry, I just can't take part in that," said Dwyer. Especially with what's going on with race rela- tions in the country right now, he said he's "not in favor of going for anything that would harm any stu- dent." Gemski disagreed that this has anything to do with race, saying it's all about a school wanting to be classified as a business instead of a nonprofit. She said this situation is wrong, and it's very clear that it's wrong. Councilor Bob Shaw said he was uncomfortable with race being brought up when the schools were set up to service students based on free and reduced lunch. Cumberland schools will continue to give millions of dollars to BVP to keep it going for local children, he said. Councilor Lisa Beaulieu said she found Dwyer's remarks "pretty offensive and disappointing," say- ing this clearly isn't an attack on children but criticism of adults for accepting funds they didn't need. She said mayors on BVP's board who represent the students in the school voted to send the money back because there was no real loss to the community. Mayor Jeffrey Mutter, who origi- nally voted to return the money, said his vote had nothing to do with race, saying all of those on the board are there to support excel- lence in education. Gemski thanked Mutter for voting against keeping the money. Kinch said officials should talk to the federal delegation about get- ting changes made on the criteria for the PPP loan. There could be another spike in the virus and a whole new round of loan funding, he said, and schools should not benefit like they're businesses. This was a "large misstep" by BVP, he said. BVP CEO Jeremy Chiappetta said this week that it's important to note that Forbes stated that there is still $120 billion remaining in PPP funding, meaning the school didn't take any money from local busi- nesses. "BVP brought federal dollars to Rhode Island to protect Rhode Island jobs," he said. "Almost all of our 300 staff members live in Rhode Island, with nearly a third living in our sending districts of Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln, and Pawtucket." In a statement last month, a BVP spokeswoman cited economic hardship and financial uncertainty as reasons for pursuing the loan, saying Rhode Island schools and communities are going to be facing enormous economic hardships in the coming months and it's essen- tial to bring in as many federal dol- lars as possible. Bridget Gadoury also noted how more federal money was expected to come to municipal- ities in the next round of funding. Councilor Scott Schmitt gave a succinct summation of why he was voting for last week's resolu- tion, saying what BVP's board did "stinks" and that "this is not what this program was made for." Shaw agreed with Gemski that if "this goes nowhere it goes nowhere," but he felt an obligation to at least raise the concern. He said he also thought it was impor- tant to send the matter to the AG's office. It's nothing personal against BVP, he said, but leaders of the school made a bad choice that was ethically questionable. In a June 16 letter to General Assembly leaders from Rhode Island charter school leaders, including Chiappetta, the group took issue with a provision in the state's supplemental budget "to claw back" federal PPP funding from charter schools. "First and foremost, we believe we did the right thing by applying for these funds," they said. "We all believed we had a fiscal responsi- bility to protect our students, our teachers and Rhode Island jobs during these unprecedented times. "At this moment, we also believe we have done the right thing for the state of Rhode Island's fiscal woes as we have accessed federal funding that will allow you to plug the state's deficit," they added. "We are grateful we made the decision not to return the money like some organizations did, as it would have forced you to make greater cuts elsewhere, impacting other Rhode Island organizations." The group noted that they don't know yet whether the PPP funding will end up being a grant or a loan, and they may not know for several months. "We did the right thing by our students, our teachers and the state; in return all we ask is that we be held revenue neutral and treated equitably from a funding standpoint going forward," they said. "There are so many unknowns right now with regard to future federal stimu- lus money. We ask that you recog- nize these unknowns and that there are potential scenarios where addi- tional federal monies could come to Rhode Island to support cities and towns that we may not be able to access. "Again, we are only seeking fair and equitable funding and do not want to be fiscally punished for try- ing to protect Rhode Island jobs. We are certainly happy to answer any questions you may have and respectfully ask for your consider- ation of our position. The Valley Breeze is committed to keep- ing in-depth news stories such as this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribu- tion to what we do every week at valley- breeze.com/support. Thank you as always for reading. Town Council asks AG for review of Blackstone Valley Prep loan By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com Town of Lincoln - Zoning Board of Review PUBLIC HEARING is meeting will be held utilizing Zoom Meeting and the Zoning Board Members will be participating remotely. e meeting will be live-streamed and can be viewed at lincol- nri.org under current meetings. When: Jul 7, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Topic: Zoning Board Meeting Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/91728492876?pwd=T1Z4V2lsSy9uS0E4R3Y3ZrZzlpdz09 Password: 153455 Or iPhone one-tap : US: +13017158592,,91728492876#,,,,0#,,153455# or +13126266799,,91728492876#,,,,0#,,153455# Or Telephone: Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or 833 548 0276 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0282 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5247 (Toll Free) or 888 788 0099 (Toll Free) Webinar ID: 917 2849 2876 Password: 153455 International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/awvuS3jKX NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD UTILIZING ZOOM MEETING ON TUESDAY, the 7th day of July, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. for the purpose of hearing appli- cations for a Special Use Permit, Variance or an Appeal from the Zoning Ordinance of the Town of Lincoln, Rhode Island. ese applications concern: Elizabeth Lasorsa, 4 Tattersall Drive, Lincoln, RI/Dooley LLC, 616 Smithfield Avenue, Lincoln, RI -Application for Special Use Permit for the operation of an adult daycare facility located at 616 Smithfield Avenue, Lincoln, RI. AP 6, Lot 426 ....................................................................................... Zoned: VCMU Elizabeth Lasorsa, 4 Tattersall Drive, Lincoln, RI/Dooley LLC, 616 Smithfield Avenue, Lincoln, RI -Application for Dimensional Variance seeking decrease number of parking spaces for the operation of an adult daycare facility located at 616 Smithfield Avenue, Lincoln, RI. AP 6, Lot 426 ....................................................................................... Zoned: VCMU Melissa Lawson, 26 Briarwood Road, Lincoln, RI – Application for Dimensional Variance for a backyard chicken coup to house a maximum of 6 chickens on property located at 26 Briarwood Road, Lincoln, RI. AP 32, Lot 122 ........................................................................................ Zoned: RS 20 omas F. & Pamela A. Ryan, 19 Memorial Avenue, Lincoln, RI – Application for Dimensional Variance seeking rear setback relief for the construction of a carport off an existing garage for prop - erty located at 19 Memorial Avenue, Lincoln, RI. AP 9, Lot 129 ........................................................................................... Zoned: RG 7 Centrica Business Solutions, 7484 Candlewood Road, Hanover, MD/Waterloo Way, 3900 North West Second Avenue, Miami, FL – Application for Special Use Permit for the installation of a utility scale roof top solar system for property located at 100 Higginson Avenue, Lincoln, RI. AP 01, Lot 133 ..................................................Zoned: MG Recreation/Commercial GWH, LLC, 640 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI – Application for Dimensional Variance seeking rear setback relief for the construction of a solar carport to be built over an existing parking area on property located at 640 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI. AP 31, Lot 012 ......................................................................................Zoned: ML 0.5 GWH, LLC, 640 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI – Application for Special Use Permit for the construction of a roof mounted solar panel on a carport structure located at 640 George Washington Highway, Lincoln, RI. AP 31, Lot 012 ......................................................................................Zoned: ML 0.5 David DeAngelis, Chairman, Lincoln Zoning Board of Review Request for Professional Services e Woonsocket Housing Authority, Woonsocket, RI will receive proposals for "Professional Services for Pest Control" for all seven properties for up to a three-year period. e submission date is ursday, July 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm. at the Woonsocket Housing Authority at 679 Social Street, Woonsocket, RI 02895. e RFP package will be available on line at www.woonsockethousing.org in Bid Opportunities under the Procurement heading. Questions regarding this proposal may be directed to Susan Castrataro at 401-767-8062 or Scastrataro@woonsockethousing.org. Robert Moreau, Executive Director "An Equal Employment Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer" TDD 1-800-745-6575

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