“Ron & Jen’s Great Escape” 9-22-2021 – Ron St. Pierre & Jen Brien

Costly Trek

Apparently, cash won’t be king any longer when it comes to crossing the Pell Bridge. The bridge connecting Jamestown and Newport will switch to all electric toll collection at the end of October. Tokens to cross the bridge disappeared a decade ago and drivers had a choice of getting an E-ZPass electronic transponder or fork over $4 cash EACH WAY. Starting October 27th or 28th tolls must either be paid by E-ZPass or the driver will be sent a bill in the mail. And the price of crossing sans E-ZPass will be going up. At October’s end, bills in the mail will still be four bucks BUT beginning December 1st, that option increases to $6 or $12 bucks ROUND TRIP crossing.

Artificial Tree… All Too Real Price Tag

Going over the Pell Bridge isn’t the only thing going up in price. You can add artificial Christmas trees to the list. Balsam Hill, the biggest maker of fake trees, is raising its prices on  trees, wreaths, and garlands by roughly 20%. One of the driving forces is supply, but also shipping. The company says shipping costs are quadruple from what they were a year ago. Look for artificial trees to cost 25% more than last year. Maybe this is the year to celebrate Frank Costanza’s holiday brainchild FRESTIVUS as all it requires is a metal pole. No decorations because Frank found “tinsel, distracting.”

Gobble Early

Supermarkets are trying to avoid running out of Thanksgiving staples by ordering them early and putting them on store shelves NOW. Grocery chains started ordering holiday foods back in February to make sure they were on the shelves in time. Time to load up on pumpkin puree, canned cranberry sauce, and French’s French Fried Onions for the dreaded green bean casserole!

Don’t Worry… Be Happy

So where does Rhody rank among the happiest states in the whole USA? Wallet Hub looks at all 50 states across 31 metrics including depression rates, income growth, physical health, sleep rates, COVID-19 testing rates, and more. Utah finished first as the happiest state in the union with Massachusetts the top New England state at number 10. Surprisingly, Rhode Island finished 21st. The least happy state? West Virginia.

Call To the Hall

We attended the Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame induction dinner last Thursday and a good time was had by all. Ron had the “honor” of being the night’s  MC, welcoming seven new inductees for their broadcast excellence. Congrats to John Ghiorse, Frank Coletta, Karen Adams, Davey Morris, Mike Lyons, the late Jim Taricani and Mitch Dolan.


Ron St. Pierre is a veteran broadcaster whose career has spanned over four decades. Ron has programmed, performed on and managed WHJJ, WPRO, WWRX, 790 The Score in Providence, as well as WBZT and WKGR in West Palm Beach and WABC in New York City. Ron also anchored sports on WPRI Ch 12 in Providence. He is a member of both the Rhode Island Radio and Television and the City of Pawtucket Halls of Fame. He was born and raised in Pawtucket.

Jen Brien has over 20 years of radio broadcast experience having hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ with Ron as well as her own shows on WRKO and WBZ in Boston, WXTK on Cape Cod and WHAM in Rochester, New York. Jen was born and raised in Woonsocket and served six years in the Army MP Canine Unit.

Hazel, Ron’s dog, makes regular appearances.

“Ron and Jen’s Great Escape” podcast, a more lighthearted reaction to the events happening around us, can be found on YouTube and wherever you get your podcasts, with new episodes premiering Mondays and Wednesdays.