The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – this week in RI

Our list…

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

Memorial Hospital

Plans have been announced that Care New England, which owns the expansive, and now largely empty, former Memorial Hospital, is moving towards developing 50% of the campus property into a Veterans Wellness Center with residences. It’s a start to repurposing this area, though we hope a holistic approach will be used so that surrounding retail and other services will be encouraged, make this into a community and not another isolated building for a special population. Too many marooned seniors in high rises without convenient public transportation, grocery and drug stores, open spaces, etc. Not expected to be an economic boom to the downtown area, it’s hoped that the ever-struggling downtown will find new motivation to fix-up in a planned and structured way for all its residents.

Dr. Michael Fine

Pawtucket has named Dr. Michael Fine their health liaison. Unclear as to just what that role entails, certainly addressing the emergency medical needs of residents is a critical need not only for Pawtucket, but the impact on the greater Blackstone Valley and East Bay area, and the overload caused at Miriam Hospital, RI Hospital and other Providence based hospitals.

Coming to Rhode Island

Two companies now based in the Boston area are moving to Providence. Mutual of America described as a “big company with 20 employees” will move into the Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI building, and Boston Energy, a wind turbine maintenance company, plans to open with 50 employees (over the next 4 years). This follows GEV Wind Power’s announcement to move into North Kingstown with over 125 employees. Promoting Rhode Island has a base for wind turbine related businesses seems to be a focus.

Alex Trebek

Every time we hear of a dramatic recovery, or even partial victory over cancer, it leaves us all with hope. Alex Trebek, diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, will resume work on Jeopardy, having finished chemotherapy treatment.

Warwick School Lunch

Announced this week that all past debt for students using the free and reduced lunch programs in Warwick – over $15,000 – has been paid off. Additionally, $134,000 in donations will start the year off well for those accessing the school lunch program. A fresh new start, now to be run by West Bay Community Action. Parents, pay those bills right away if you can, or ask for help – you know what they say about mountains and mole hills.

The Bad

The National Democratic Party

As the “race to the White House” edges closer, we’re seeing candidates with early announcements already dropping out. But they never were serious contenders anyway. And now the #1 possibility, Joe Biden, continues his path of self-destruction with gaffe after gaffe, and statement and story inaccuracies. Ol’ Joe is surfacing as the only serious contender. How does that leave the party going into a tough election? One thing the party is leery of is a far-left platform, which polls consistently show has waning support among the majority of Democrats. What now?

School preparedness

Are we ready? A Providence teacher suffered a shock – not an electrocution tweeted by one reporter (!) – from a light switch. Soon the school was descended upon by electricians, checking safety from every outlet, switch and electrical area. We cross our fingers, take a deep breath, and get ready for school.

Teacher Absenteeism

As long as teacher contracts support X number of days a year, without qualification, expect disgruntled teachers to work to that contract. The new commissioner has asked teachers to talk to their colleagues who are “abusing the system” because it’s not everyone who is doing this. This bears watching – excessive absences might also be a beacon to see just how the new education developments are going. 

Hurricane Dorian

As it barrels down with a category 4 on Florida, we hope for the best and recognize another moment for us to pause in our thoughts to develop residential and commercial space too close to our coastlines. Extreme weather and planet warming challenges are all around us. Are we listening?

Speed, Red Light Cameras

Yes, we need to slow down in school zones. But we’ve always needed to do that. And after Providence had extreme reactions to the clunky camera systems installed last year around some of their schools, Pawtucket’s beginnings have had nothing but a whisper in response – as they move to expanding to over 30 cameras. Is all that really necessary?

Doorbells & Thermostats

So, our own electronic doorbells and high-tech devices may be recording us? Gathering data, too. Everyone is surveilling everyone. From phones to computers – to those cute RING doorbells and NEST thermostats. Caution, Will Robinson (millennials – google it!).

EEE Warnings

We need to know at a glance not just where EEE-mosquitos have been found, but where the risk is the highest. As we give kudos to Massachusetts for their helpful map, we look to Rhode Island and ask why can’t they be so helpful? See our story on this today.

The Ugly

Times of Despair

Two warnings have hit the media outlets hard in the last few days that should have us asking ourselves serious questions. Why are so many under the grip of addiction? Or substance use? Drugs to calm our souls. Drugs to help us concentrate. Vaping that is beginning to show dire consequences. Then we have cannabis – marijuana – pot. Have you not sat at a red light and wondered if a skunk got into your car? Nope, it’s not a skunk, it’s the wafting from the open window in the car or truck in front of you. Yesterday the Surgeon General issued warnings for pregnant women not to use cannabis for pleasure or to control morning sickness. Saying “this is not your grandmother’s pot” about its potency, warnings about the impact to the baby need to be heeded.

It’s clear we need more answers to those suffering. Especially from chronic pain. But also, to those suffering from “diseases of despair”, mental health, and physical health issues. But we also need to ask ourselves questions about how each of us can cope with a fast-paced life, given our individual circumstances. And how we want to live our life. Our fellow man is crying out for comfort.

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