Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 07-30-2020

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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22 LETTERS JULY 30-AUGUST 5, 2020 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER Cavanagh the subject of offensive name-calling I agree with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that we live in a cul- ture that accepts violent language against women. During a public hearing between the Smithfield Town Council and the Smithfield Charter Review Commission, Mr. William Hawkins, an appointed member of the Charter Review Commission, called me "a Republican douchebag." I was in the middle of making a motion to reject a proposed amend- ment related to administrative con- tracts recommended by our solicitor, Mr. Vin Ragosta, when Mr. Hawkins yelled out "Republican douchebag." I paused, recognized his statement and continued my motion. The vote on this motion was five to zero. As a 76-year-old grandmother of eight and a council member for over 12 years, nothing surprises me. This is not the first time that a female member of the council has been spoken to or about in this way. I do think it might be the first time it has happened in a public forum. I have been contacted by other women who were at the meeting, and they equally expressed outrage concerning his language. I don't think that a person who exhibits this type of verbal public aggression should be appointed a member of any future board. I would also like to have this letter become part of the permanent 2020 Charter Review record. I will ask for a comprehensive list of the names of all who were in attendance at the Senior Center and everyone who signed in virtually. As we ended the five-hour meeting at 1 a.m., I was disappointed that I felt there has been no change in the division between political parties in Smithfield since I was first elected in 2004. MAXINE CAVANAGH Smithfield LED signs, which read "2020," to light up the night in Scituate. The pair chose to do the signs in Scituate blue, and they include nine sequences for the lights to flash and dance. Machowski said he and his neighbor worked on the project together with per- mission from Principal Michael Hassell. Machowski said he felt his fel- low classmates did not get the celebration or graduation that was deserved and wanted to give one last thanks to his class. "I wanted to do it to make my classmates happy and for people to remember our class," Machowski said. While he said he enjoyed the recorded virtual graduation cer- emony, Machowski felt he and friends missed out on graduation parties and spending the last few months together. He left a poster board near the signs for students to write mes- sages and sign their names, similar to a yearbook, Machowski said. He asked students to bring their own permanent marker for safety reasons. He said he hopes the lights will stay out front of Scituate High School for the end of the month to remind his classmates that they are distinctive. Machowski said he'll bring the signs to his home for his graduation party, planned in late August. The light display can be viewed at the high school, 94 Trimtown Road, evenings until 10:30 p.m. when the lights will be turned off out of respect for neighbors. SIGNS From Page 9 LINCOLN – For the first time in its history, members of the Lincoln Council of the Knights of Columbus say they've been denied help on the basis of their group's name. Criticism surrounding the legacy of Christopher Columbus has been on the rise across the nation, coming to a head locally with the removal of a Providence Columbus statue after protestors vandalized it. Members of the Lincoln Council, founded with a mission of charity, said the Columbus name has been problematic for would-be donors and media organizations over the last sev- eral months. Thomas Rossi, who helps run the Lincoln Council's food drive, said he recently sought a grant from a local nonprofit that has helped fund the council's charitable endeavors in the past. "To my chagrin, the answer came back a polite 'no, not this year.' The administrators thought that funding a Columbus-named organization was not in their best interest," he said. He went on to write to six other Rhode Island-based organizations to see whether they could help the council fund their food bank, which members began in March in response to COVID-19. Rossi said each of the six organiza- tions denied their requests, respond- ing that the Columbus name would not be well received by their mem- bers this year. The council later reached out to several local news outlets to pub- licize their upcoming blood drive, said Rossi. He said he assumed a blood drive would be "apolitical," with the goal of saving lives, but that three media outlets didn't respond to requests for publication. The club has teamed up with the Rhode Island Blood Center to hold a blood drive on Aug. 3 between 4 and 7 p.m. to collect needed donations. They're offering raffles for partici- pants, as well as free refreshments and other giveaways. "One said their parent company advised that they shouldn't be associ- ated with the name Columbus," Rossi said. Ray Hedenskog, Grand Knight of the Lincoln Council, said, "We were just trying to get the word out about the blood drive, but it doesn't fit their narrative." Hedenskog said the Columbus Club at 171 Jenckes Hill Road is "a com- munity center available with open arms to aid everybody and anybody. We're all unpaid volunteers who do the charitable work because we can." The club offers its rental hall free of charge to local nonprofits, veterans and other groups for meetings and fundraisers, only charging a rental fee for private parties. Rossi said monthly rentals helped pay their overhead and utility bills. When the coronavirus hit Rhode Island, gatherings were restricted and the club could no longer operate as it normally would. Instead of clos- ing its doors, members organized a weekly food drive they call "Leave No Neighbor Behind." Hedenskog said the Lincoln Council was one of the few Knights of Columbus groups in the nation to offer such a service. Though the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic organization, Rossi said they've helped "anyone who asks," including churches of other denomi- nations. "If we find out someone doesn't have food on a Friday night we'll bring a box to them. Sometimes we deliver baby formula and diapers. There's a lot of hurt out there right now," he said. Rossi and Hedenskog said they applied to seven local organizations for any amount of money to help with their food drive, hoping to purchase some perishable items for families. They say they were denied each time, quietly over the phone, based on their organization's name. "In the meantime we collected just under 3,000 pounds of food, distrib- uted 70 or 80 cases of meals ready-to- eat and aided more than nine charita- ble organizations and churches in the Blackstone Valley and in Providence," he said. "We're bringing huge stores of food every week for them to dis- tribute to hungry families." This week, Rossi said they were able to feed roughly 5,500 people. "Not one charitable organization or person declined the food, know- ing that it came from the Knights of Columbus," Rossi said. Call 401-333-1492 to learn more about helping the club with its efforts. Lincoln Knights of Columbus: We've been denied help due to name By NICOLE DOTZENROD Valley Breeze Staff Writer nicole@valleybreeze.com Place your classified ad online at classifieds.valleybreeze.com Join guided bike tour in Smithfield Aug. 6 SMITHFIELD – The Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council will host a guided bike tour through Smithfield on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 4 p.m. With funding from the Rhode Island Foundation, WRWC partnered with the town of Smithfield to build a signage and tour program that high- lights Smithfield's water resources. This roughly 10-mile ride will take participants on a scenic tour of Smithfield, with stops at each of the five "Jewels of Smithfield" signage locations, highlighting Georgiaville Pond, the Stillwater Reservoir (Stump Pond) and the Waterman Reservoir. The signs tell a story that most Rhode Islanders don't know about the industrial history of the reservoirs and the rich his- tory of Native American use of the Woonasquatucket River system. This bike tour will start and end near the boat launch at Stump Pond, and the expected ride should take about two and a half hours. Participants are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing when possible. Also participants must bring their own bike, wear a helmet and be prepared for some rolling hills. This trip is limited to 10 people and pre-registration is required. This bike ride is part of this year's Explore the Woonasquatucket recre- ational series. To register or view the full sched- ule, visit wrwc.org/events . SMITHFIELD NEWS Letters to the Editor Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers. Please: • Limit to 500 words. Longer letters may appear online only. • Letters on local or state topics and issues will take precedence over those on national issues. • No more than one letter per person every 8 weeks, please. • All letters must be signed and include a hometown. Send by e-mail to: news@valleybreeze.com, or mail to The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, Lincoln, RI 02865. In your time of need, The Valley Breeze & Observer will print your loved one's full obituary for a small charge. The paper also places the obituary on our web site, valleybreeze.com, as soon as it is provided to us by your family's funeral director. Notification to friends and neighbors is also made weekdays on WOON-AM radio announcements. Should you desire our services, kindly inform your funeral director. The full charge is $90, or $125 for lengthy obituaries, in the edition of your choice. You may place the obituary in any of our other editions for $50 each. Thank you. OBITUARIES

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