Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 02-17-2021

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 PROVIDENCE EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | FEBRUARY 17-23, 2021 NORTH PROVIDENCE 21 The state's 2019 report on locally administered pension plans showed that the fund lost about 8.1 percent on its funded status from 2012 to 2018, to 86.8 percent, and that num- ber was about 88 percent last year, said Lombardi. He said the town's actuary hasn't completed its work yet, but he's hoping that funding sta- tus could reach 90 to 92 percent with this latest positive news. "We did good," he said. "We had a great year, especially the last quar- ter." The fund for 160 or so active and retired officers had taken some loss- es, he said, largely due to drawdowns as some officers retired. "We're in good shape compared to most other communities," he said, noting that North Providence remains in the top three in the state for highest percentage of funding. North Providence is among the Rhode Island communities to have lowered their assumed rates of return since 2012, strengthening their fund- ing plans and reducing risk of under- funding. "Our police officers and their fami- lies will never ever have to worry," said Lombardi. It was Lombardi who successfully lobbied for the U.S. Department of Justice to allow the town to use the $20.6 million to fill a pension fund that had once been at 45 percent funded, saying no other money should be spent from the fund until permission was granted. "Thank God we got that money," said Lombardi this week. The town has also implemented cost of living increases for firefight- ers, he said, meaning everyone in public safety is being taken care of. Taxpayers continue to benefit from the improved standing of the pension fund. The town had been ordered to double its annual pay- ment of $860,000 into the fund prior to the Google-funded fix, so the town has been able to save that amount in each of the six years since the massive infusion, said Lombardi. The $860,000 equals about $1 on the tax rate, meaning the owner of a $300,000 home would likely be paying $300 more each year without it, not including a homestead exemp- tion. "That was another reason why I fought so hard to get that pension funded," he said. "It's a substantial amount of money." Former North Providence Detective James Watts originally assisted with the investigation of Google, helping to build a case against the search giant for distribut- ing online ads for Canadian pharma- cies that were illegally marketing prescription drugs to Americans. According to Lombardi, whether "we're funded at 75 percent or 90 percent, we're in good shape." A fully funded pension plan is one with sufficient funds to cover all cur- rent and future obligations. The approval of $20.6 million to fix police pensions was the first expen- diture from the Police Department's $60 million winnings from Google. There is now little money left in that fund, and a portion of what remains is earmarked toward a new munici- pal animal shelter. In addition to the 10 already made, he plans to have another 25 or so available to businesses as of this Thursday, Feb. 18, with business owners able to pick them up at his office. A senior at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass., the North Providence resident Quetta suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a hockey game on Jan. 26. In the weeks following his life- changing injury, the local school community has also rallied around 18-year-old AJ Quetta. The North Providence School Department has planned an event for next week to help support Quetta's recovery. On Feb. 25-26, all North Providence students and faculty will have the opportunity to participate in a "dress-down" day, and are encour- aged to wear green as a tribute to Quetta. They plan to sell green "AJ's Army" bracelets at the schools for $5, with proceeds going toward his recovery. Students will also have the chance to make get well cards for Quetta. Karen Bourke, the North Providence school employee who spearheaded the fundraiser, said her family has watched AJ grow up. "I knew we had to help support one of our own. This will be a very, very long journey for AJ and his family," she said. Members of the wider community can support the cause by purchasing AJ's Army lawn signs from Formats Printing or buying a T-shirt at livfo- . Bourke said the North Providence school fundraiser is the first, but not likely to be the last event for Quetta's family. "We have ideas for future com- munity events to show our continued support during his recovery," she said. "We want as many people as possible to be involved." Soon, a banner for Quetta will be strung up across Mineral Spring Avenue, and Bourke said larger, community-wide fundraisers are in the works. Support for Quetta has been immense. A GoFundMe set up for his treatment has garnered nearly $1 mil- lion, far surpassing its goal of $10,000. The Boston Bruins Foundation set up a website, -- , to help provide long-term financial and emotional support to the Quetta family. The Bruins have pledged a mini- mum of $100,000 in support, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has pledged an additional $25,000, and the Greg Hill Foundation has raised more than $150,000. After his injury, which occurred during a hockey game in Springfield, Mass., Quetta was transported from Baystate Health in Springfield to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he underwent surgery. On Feb. 12, AJ's family provided an update on his condition, announc- ing that he was being transferred this week to the Shepherd General Hospital in Atlanta. "The care he has received at Massachusetts General Hospital has been world-class. The doctors, nurses and staff have been outstanding. It's now time for the next step in his rehab process," the statement reads. Quetta will spend at least three months at Shepherd, which special- izes in the treatment of spinal cord injuries. "We would like to thank every- one for their continued support and prayers for our son," said AJ's father, Anthony Quetta Sr. "Words can't express our steadfast appreciation to all the donors during this time. This would not be possible without all the support we have received." He continued, "AJ realizes how awesome and incredible the support has been. He is determined to beat the odds and return to his family and friends. He is very motivated." PENSION From Page One One of many signs supporting AJ QUETTA is now up in front of North Providence High School. SUPPORT From Page One WHEN A ROOT CANAL FAILS A root canal is often thought of as a last stage effort to prevent a complete tooth removal leaving you with a crown. However, if a root canal does not work and you start to experience pain in that tooth again, there may be one more option available before pulling the tooth. An "apicoectomy," or root end surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes the very tip of the problem tooth's root as well as any infected tissue. The tip is then sealed off with a small filling, similar to a cavity. Unlike a root canal or tooth extraction, this procedure usually requires a few small stitches to close the gum and avoid possible infection. Root canal therapy may have had a bad reputation in the past as being painful, however, as most anyone who has experienced this procedure can attest, today's techniques make root canal a virtually painless, effective treatment. If you are experiencing pain or have unusual symptoms (before or after a root canal), call your dentist. Be aware of threats to your health, and take steps to prevent problems from occurring in the first place. If you don't have a family dentist at this time, we invite your call at DENTAL ARTS GROUP, 401- 521-3661. You'll find our full-service dental practice at 1136 Hartford Ave., Johnston. P.S. An apicoectomy can be accompanied by bone grafting to help the bone grow back if too large a void is left after the procedure. 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