Dave's Column

Dave Richards for December 11th...........

Dave Richards for December 11th….…………

 

--You’d have to be about my age, I think, to appreciate just how amazingly beautiful Woonsocket was last Saturday evening.  You’d have to remember how it was in this former mill city between the time the mills shut down, or left town, and now. 

  You see, I was very young in the days when the crowds clogged the sidewalks on Main Street.  I vaguely remember pushing through with my parents to get inside McCarthy’s Department Store or waiting to get a counter seat for a bite to eat across the street.  When I came ‘of age’, the whole place was in decline.  But now!

  Almost any Saturday night of the year when I drive down Social Street and through Monument Square I take a deep breath and sigh with great pride at the lights, the people, and the activity around our Stadium Theatre, Ciro’s Tavern, and Chans.  But this particular Saturday, as I passed by in front of Chans I looked up to see the Polar Express locomotive and all its shiny silver cars parked on the tracks which pass above Main Street and I know good memories are being made there.  People are coming to our city to have a good time.  But it doesn’t stop there……….

  In seconds I’ve driven up to the traffic light at Flynn/ Depot Square where I see a Woonsocket Police cruiser with lights flashing turning around to follow the horse-drawn wagon carrying visitors from one end of upper Main Street to the other during the Holiday Stroll.  The cruiser is there for the safety of the people on the wagon, of course, and though it’s driving very slowly, I decide to follow them both as they meander down Main Street.

  My first impression?  The lights are on!.  Not just on the street poles, but in all the shops!.  Even the Museum of Broadcast History, and I hardly ever see that place lit up!  At the Mullins Parking Lot there are the decorated Christmas Trees the school children decorate all lined up, the recreation of the famous McCarthy’s Talking Christmas Tree, and lots of people and activity.  Even Timmy’s New York Lunch is packed with patrons a little farther down.

  Across Young/Market Square I see the municipal parking lot is full, River Falls, Ye Old English, the new Christophers Kitchen and Bar, Millrace, and even the Museum of Work and Culture are all busselling.  But the best is yet to come……….

  Turning left onto Bernon Street I look to my right into River Island Art Park…..it is ablaze with countless multi-colored lights and Santa’s house!  So beautiful, it truly is a Winter Wonderland…….

  I’m sure you get my point.  What I saw in my city last Saturday was the best representation of what hard work, imagination, and ignoring the negative comments of others can bring.  Those who said years ago what Woonsocket needed was an atom bomb and a bulldozer, well, they were just plain wrong.  What we’ve built is the good that can happen when forward-thinking leaders and many good citizens get together to do the impossible. 

  Indeed, we have.  If I’d have told anyone 30, 40, or even 20 years ago that what happened here last Saturday could happen…….they’d have laughed me out of the room.

  Friend, there is no limit to what we can do if we work together.  Let us reject the hate and devicsiveness we see in our country.  Let us improve what we can improve and let us resolve to work on what we can’t improve today in the days and years ahead. 

  That’s how we got to where we are today.

  And by the way, if you believe in the power of prayer, and you are so inclined, in 10 days the Levitt Foundation will announce their decision of whether Woonsocket will again have Friday night free concerts in the park next summer.  This is a pivotal year for our participation.  We put in a good application, and we showed great community support with online voting.  There is nothing left for us to do now but to hope.  And pray.  We have competition this year.  “They” got our baseball team last year.  Please, God, let us keep our concerts next year.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for December 4th.....

Dave Richards for December 4th….…………

 

--The 2019 Milk Fund Appeal is now officially under way.  Auction, events, and the coupons to accompany your donation printed in The Call.  Look for paper Milk Bottles to appear in your local restaurants and stores in a few days.  Our daily Milk Fund Radio Auction has taken to its new afternoon timeslot (4 to 5pm) like a duck to water.  Bid calls are more than double the numbers seen in the previous morning time slot.  We are grateful and enthused.  Stay tuned for further developments……

 

--Just to finish up on a common topic of the last two weeks, I mentioned that nobody had contacted me to tell me they disagreed with my position on the proposed Massachusetts law, now passed by the state senate, which would outlaw plastic shopping bags and force shoppers to pay a 10 cent per bag tax on all paper bags.  Well, one email did arrive after I wrote those words.

  A well-spoken lady referred me to some videos which show graphically how destructive carelessly discarded plastic can be, bags or otherwise.  I’ve seen them.  Heck I know one of the producers.  And from my work aboard ship sailing the seas, I’ve seen the damage first hand, too.  But I think the point was missed. 

  My point is you can make a case on either side of the issue.  But as usual, the truth lies between the two extremes.  And I am against extremism.  I was taught, and I truly believe that a moderate course will engage more people to act together in a unified effort to solve the really big problems all of us face.  Facing them together is the best way, I say.  Dividing people with extremism is not the most effective way to success.

  Think of it this way.  You’re driving down the road at average highway speed.  Your car naturally drifts a little to the left and a little to the right.  You gently apply a mild corrective pressure on the steering wheel and the result is you appear to be moving in a perfect line with no loss of fuel or time.  But suppose you twisted the steering wheel to the right sharply when you drifted to the left.  Overcorrection, right?  Right.

  It’s the same way with people.  If you want to correct societal errors and you apply to radical a push in the opposite direction you will increase push-back from those who disagree with you and you’ll fail to gain the assistance of those who might have been persuaded by your cause, but not your rhetoric.  Here’s an example.

  Global warming.  It’s been going on since the Ice Age, thank goodness, otherwise Rhode Island would still be under a huge sheet of ice.  Scientists know the planet is warming up too fast.  They are correct.  But they just cannot get the general public to be as concerned about the negative effects of global warming because they just can’t make enough regular people believe that it’s an emergency.  So they waste time yelling “we’re all gonna die!”

  It’s not that we don’t see or don’t care, it’s that scientists just cannot sell us on working together by clanging the ‘bell of doom’.  Well, most people, anyway.  The people they CAN sell are the radical political people.  It didn’t take much persuasion to get alarmists to join in clanging the alarm.  But most of us regular folks know a con when we see it.  And when radical political people and professional activists get going on any topic, they know no limits of sensibility. 

  And they seem to forget, or never were around to experience the ‘cons’ we’ve had hoisted upon us in the past.  We remember the alarmist movement  of the 1960s and 70s declaring the over-population of the world was at crisis point and will be our short term doom if we didn’t change our lives and follow the activist leaders. 

  Then there was the one where the world was nearly completely out of oil.  Remember that one?  There’s “no more oil in the ground and we’re all gonna die”.  Right.  This time its ‘global warming’ and “we’re all gonna die.”

  Spoiler alert.  We ARE all gonna die.  Sooner or later.  I’m tired of everyone’s political agenda being dramatized as “the end of the world and we’re all gonna die if you don’t agree with me and do what I say”.  That’s where they lose me.  They also lose me when they start pasting labels on me as a retaliation for expressing myself for not agreeing with them. 

  There are answers out there.  Let’s gather them, vet them, debate them, and choose a course of action the majority of us can support and help implement without the activist political drama.  We don’t need drama, we need calm and deliberate action.

  And in case you hadn’t noticed………. 

  The population of the world is no longer at crisis point.  Advances in food production and the general increases in the cost of raising a family have done their work naturally.  The increases in cost of fossil fuels has made it financially viable to harvest the oil which was always there but not cheap.  And the cost of renewable energy is now coming into line with reality.  The masses are embracing it.  Without the drama.

  We will find an answer to global warming.  We’re already on our way.  Emissions limits in cars and manufacturing are already making a difference.  There’s an acceptance and enthusiasm for reusing and recycling materials which can continue their existence in another form or for another purpose.

   Be smart, be engaged, and care.  And remember, the ‘sky really wasn’t falling’, but there really was a ‘wolf’.

   Keep up the good work, America.  And don’t stop now. 

 

 --That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for November 13th

Dave Richards for November 13th….…………

 

--I’m not feeling much like writing this week.  A strange thing, when some important event happens which requires action and quick thinking, I’m right on it and I busy myself with what needs to be done.  Yesterday we buried my pal Dave Balfour.  Since his passing last Wednesday evening it has been busy, busy.  But now that there’s nothing else to be done I feel it.  The sadness, the finality of the separation.  We’ve all dealt with it.

It wasn’t a well-known fact, but Dave Balfour and I were very close friends on many levels.  We were not the kind of friends who go on vacations together or attend each other’s family birthday parties, but we quietly, looked out for each other’s interests and comforts.  We were fraternity brothers.  He sponsored my petition.  He always loved his earlier years in radio, I facilitated his return to the airwaves in his later years.  Little things like that, you know.    

As I say, the relationship was special.  When Dave’s wife, Dorothy, passed away and he fought hard to continue living on his own in his home in Cumberland, the temptation was to visit frequently and do things for him.  But that’s not what Dave needed.  He needed the adversity.  He needed someone to talk straight to him and tell him when he was wearing a dirty shirt.  Or to tell him ‘suck it up’ and keep moving when his knees would cause him pain.  That was what he really needed, and that was my role.

You see, Dave was a strong man.  And he was a fighter.  But like anyone,  he needed the encouragement to keep fighting.  It kept him going through three long months flat on his back in the hospital.  We all thought he’d make it out, right up to the last day.

However, in his second bout with pneumonia, the word came of the cancer in his stomach.  Well, Dave knew it was time to fold his cards and exit gracefully.  And that’s what he did.  Hours after the diagnosis which made it clear he would not be leaving the hospital alive, Dave literally said, “Well, I’ve had a good life.”  (he really said that), he sighed, and closed his eyes for good.  On his own terms.  A very strong man, indeed.

I want to thank all of the many people who have contact me and the staff with an outpouring of sympathy and good wishes.  I have relayed each message to Dave’s family as best I could.  I will remind those who are inclined to do so that the family has designated The Milk Fund for “in lieu of flowers” donations.  Checks can be mailed to the radio station at 985 Park Ave. in Woonsocket.

 

--Many times we look back and think that things were so much better in years gone by.  I see evidence of the opposite.  Oh, I do agree that life seemed to move a bit slower and simple comforts seemed more abundant, but “better”? 

When I was a lad, many Americans treated the members of our Armed Forces badly.  Not so today.  Yes, it is true that there used to be parades attended by thousands of people we don’t see any more.  But the fact is that there are fewer and fewer veterans able to walk in the parades.  And, if they all passed by in cars…..well, we can see a bunch of cars passing by almost any day, it won’t draw a crowd.  So we honor them in other ways today. 

For instance, the recent Veterans Appreciation Dinner held in Woonsocket packed the hall at the Senior Center, much to the delight of the veterans in attendance.  A 96 year-old veteran of World War Two made the front page of the paper with his remembrances of his time working with General Patton.  And it really wasn’t that many years ago that Rhode Island established the 265 acre official Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.  A beautiful place, indeed. 

All of these are improvements in my view.  They are different.  But ‘different’ isn’t always worse than what came before.

 

--Father Kiley writes to reminds us in an email about plans for the Annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Observance which will take place at St. Charles Borromeo Church, 190 North Main Street, Woonsocket on Sunday November 24th at 3pm.  The general public and church members of all faiths, and even no faith at all are invited to attend.  A free will offering collected at this service and given to the Harvest Community Church Men’s Shelter on North Main Street.  With our early debut of bitterly cold weather, it really drives home the need for shelters of refuge. 

When I was young, I never saw this kind of cooperation among churches.  I am glad I see it today. 

And I’m mindful that there are many people today who do not attend church regularly.  There may be many reasons for this.  There may be a concern that if they attended once someone there would pressure you to make a commitment or expect you to come back again and again.  Perhaps this would make a person uncomfortable.  But I can tell you that this service will have none of that.  If you wish, this can be a ‘one and done’ visit if that is what’s right for you.  But I can also promise you that if you do go, you will feel a benefit.   Give it a try.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for November 6th..................

Dave Richards for November 6th….…………

 

--The federal holiday observance of Veterans’ Day is Monday.  Of course, we should honor our veterans all days, but especially when it comes to Veterans’ Day.  Every community, it seems, has scheduled some public ceremony.  Good.  Here in Woonsocket we will gather at the U.V.C. Armed Forces Park on Davison Avenue on Monday, but this Friday afternoon Senior Services will hold a very special Veterans’ Appreciation Dinner at the Senior Center on Social Street beginning at 4:30pm.  In addition to live music and appropriate recognitions, a pot roast dinner will be served.  Linda Thibault is in charge of the program, so you know the event will be run with “military precision”.   She promises you’ll be out by 7pm with a warm feeling in your belly and in also your heart.

 

--A couple of comments on this past Monday’s Woonsocket City Council meeting.  Councilor Denise Sierra disagreed with a timeline explanation given to the council earlier in the session of what happened ‘behind the scenes’ in the apparently failed attempt to have the TAO group of Pawtucket purchase and put the former Woonsocket High and Middle School at Park Place to a useful purpose.  In fact, Denise went so far as to accuse Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt of telling lies.  The Mayor, in attendance, did not agree with nor did she appreciate that characterization of events, and she told Councilor Sierra so in no uncertain terms.  I think Council President Dan Gendron did an able job of stepping in to quench the heated exchange, but the fact remains, even though there are two sides to the controversy of what went wrong, the city is still stuck with an aging and deteriorating building complex it needs to find a useful purpose for. 

  I think it is right and proper that we all examine failures and disappointments in our lives to learn the lessons they can teach us and to take steps to insure they do not repeat.  But, it is my experience in life that beyond a sober examination of facts, emotions are better left out of the exercise.  The ‘blame game’ siphons off energy which can be better used to turn failure into eventual success.  The city as a whole has experienced a failure, and in the end it doesn’t matter who did what, the game of life continues.  The clock is running.  It is time to come up with another play and reverse our fortunes, I say.

 

--It was a sober examination of facts which I think prompted Woonsocket’s Public Works Director Stephen D’Agostino to list for the City Council the un-reimbursed expenses his department contributes to the annual Autumnfest celebrations.  For this past year it amounted to somewhere close to $30,000, much of it coming out of his department’s overtime fund.  Director D’Agostino pointed out to the councilors that with winter’s snow removal season yet to begin, the council should not be surprised if, after paying for the Autumnfest costs, he may run short of budgeted monies in the season ahead. 

  Councilors individually and collectively responded they found it useful to learn of the actual numbers involved, thanked the Director for the information, and promised him they’d keep his words in mind at budget time.  In fact, it was informally discussed that perhaps in the next budget cycle there should be a separate budget item for the city’s contribution to Autumnfest, to separate it from the DPW budget.  All agreed that the positive good Autumnfest brings to the city was worth the expense. 

  My take on this Autumnfest discussion?  I think it’s a shining example of how municipal government should work.  Concerned people initiate a lively discussion of important issues and then a consensus is reached to address the concerns of all parties.  Well done!

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 30th..........

 

Dave Richards for October 30th….…………

 

 

--The words of former U.S. President John Kennedy ring in my ears from time to time.  It just happened again. 

   In case you don’t remember Kennedy’s words, it was during a press conference where reporters were shooting questions at him rapidly.  He’d just answered a question about a decision he’d made when the next question from a reporter was, “But Mr. President, is that fair?”  Without missing a beat, Kennedy replied, “Sir, life isn’t fair.”, indicating there was no decision to be made in which all parties would be treated fairly but he had made a decision which he thought would be best for the country, even though it would hurt some people.

   I remember being stricken by the honesty of that comment.  We’re all used to politicians putting a spin on answers and trying to ‘please everyone’.  My dad taught me that “you cannot please everyone all the time, that’s a fairy tale for children.”   He added, “So grow up, son, and be unhappy.”  Harsh but honest words, I thought. 

   It was circumstances such as these which helped me to adopt an attitude of, “I can deal with anything if I know the truth about it.”  Notice I didn’t say “I can accept anything.”  Accepting and dealing with something are two very different things.

   I bring all this up as a study in honesty.  I was raised to appreciate honesty and to distrust those who do not practice it consistently.  Case in point.  I accompanied The Fabulous Denise on a shopping trip recently.  We noted the price of a gallon of milk had risen at a store we frequent, so we declined to buy it.  Moving on to the next store (we used to visit only one store, but that just isn’t practical these days. ) we noted the price of a gallon of milk was actually higher than at the previous store.  I asked Denise if she wanted to go back to the first store and she, of course, said it wasn’t worth it.  “Milk must have gone up in price everywhere, she concluded.” 

   Up to this point in the story I can imagine you’re asking yourself, “what’s the point?”  Indeed.  You’ll need this one last development to have the story make sense regarding honesty.  When we got to the checkout counter at that second supermarket, the price charged on that same gallon of milk was mysteriously the same as we’d been charged the week before.  Why?  Well, The Fabulous Denise is nothing if not thrifty.  She has one of those store cards they scan before processing your groceries at checkout.  It brought the price of the milk down to the price it was before the increase. 

   Which brings me to the obvious question.  If this store can afford to sell us that gallon of milk for the same price, why did they mark it with a higher price in the first place?  I mean, costs go up, we understand that.  But if they went up, how can they afford to sell it for the same price?  And what about those shoppers who don’t use the store card?  They will be charged more than necessary for the item.  Isn’t that predatory and dishonest?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.  But I do suppose it is ‘legal’.  Even though I benefitted this time, I am still very uncomfortable with the practice because it invades the privacy, even if voluntarily, and charges you a price for keeping your privacy.

 

--I’ve been told the reason stores use those little scan cards is so they can track your purchases to you.  They either sell this information to other companies for money or use it to target ads to you, or both.  I find that whole thing rather creepy.

   And speaking of creepy, I was at a Halloween party this past Saturday and met a man who works in computer software named Jim.  We exchanged the usual pleasantries and talked about our occupations.  I asked Jim what project he was working on just now and he told me he was developing software destined to go into one of the popular single-serving coffee makers.  He told me they wanted to know if customers were using the coffee maker’s cups or generic cups and what coffees they were drinking for marketing purposes.  I just shook my head.

   I knew, of course, that your television is sending info on what you watch, when, when you skip past commercials, and when you back the unit up to see something a second or third time.  I always thought that was creepy, too.  I’m told that the newest TVs now have cameras in them so you can take video calls while watching your favorite show using the Internet connection on your TV.  It would not surprise me if that camera were to be used by your provider for some other business purpose. 

   Think I’m crazy?  Okay, if I’d have told you 10 years ago that your cell phone is watching you through its camera, and that you’d own a smart phone which would stop playing you a video when it ‘saw’ you look away from the screen, what would you have said?  That feature has been around for years.

 

--Honesty and trustworthiness are in short supply these days, folks.  Treasure it when you find it.

 

 --That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 23rd..............

Dave Richards for October 23rd….…………

--Hi there, we haven’t been together on these pages since Autumnfest and the Athena’s Cup, so a lot has happened.  But it’s a lot of good memories and is now in the past.  This week came the “return to the daily grind” feeling you often get after a vacation or a holiday celebration.  So, let’s take a look at the news wire and pass a few comments this week, okay?

 

--Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is now 95 years old.  So it should come as no surprise he is in the hospital, recovering from his second fall in a month.  Falling is a leading cause of hospitalization among seniors.  And you don’t need to be 95 to do it.  Let’s face it, as much as we don’t like to talk about it when you get to be 95……well, as Romeo Berthiaume said it so eloquently Monday “you don’t buy green bananas”.  Yes, a flippant and humorous way to look at a very serious situation, but nonetheless it does somewhat euphemistically put into perspective that “you just can’t count on having a lot of time before the bus comes for you”, if you get my meaning.

  This reminds me to mention a couple of dear friends who ‘aren’t getting any younger’ and who are having some health challenges.  Alfredo M. Silverio hosted a weekly radio program in the Portuguese language for decades in Woonsocket.  Two years ago he had to give it up because transportation to the station on Sunday mornings would be uncertain.  I still keep in touch with Alfredo.  He’s about the same age as the former president these days, but word comes through mutual friend Manny Brandao that Alfredo is not at home today.  He’s in a nursing home.  We hope he’ll be home soon.

  And my somewhat-younger-than-Jimmy-Carter friend Dave Balfour is still in the hospital.  Dave is struggling to get back on his feet after having a very bad reaction to a combination of prescriptions he was taking.  It’s been a couple of months now, but we’re still all hopeful he can resume his duties on his daily ‘Do You Remember?’ program in a few weeks.  But it’s slow going.

  The bottom line in all this is nobody knows the future, so make the best memories you can today.  Go to a festival.  Break a Guinness World Record.  Don’t put it off.  You never know when that ‘bus’ will come.

  

--While I believe in living each day with vigor and optimism, there is a place in everyone’s life for serious deliberation and caution.  Take care in signing agreements, especially legal ones.  Commitment is important, but always try to have an escape route planned if the agreement goes sour. 

  I’m thinking now of the United Kingdom, still legally a part of the European Union, but wishing to no longer be such.  Word has come that Parliament has again failed to pass an agreement which would have hastened Britain’s exit from the E.U., commonly called the “Brexit”. 

  Since 51.9% of British voters elected to leave the E.U. in 2016, it has proven to be the most difficult thing Her Majesty’s government has attempted to do.  And it is still left undone.  In fact, the issue of leaving the E.U. has already claimed the Prime Ministerial career of P.M. Theresa May and threatens that of the present occupant of 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson.  It is an issue which certainly seems to be dividing the country.  Right down the middle.

  So, be careful what you sign.  Get good advice and read the fine print.

 

--Consider also that staying clear of law enforcement can avoid really difficult decisions in your future. 

  Case in point is the spot actress Lori Loughlin and her husband now find themselves in.  While other high profile people of the dozens charged in the college admissions scandal have opted to admit guilt and get it behind them, this couple says they will fight the charges.  This is not pleasing the prosecutors who want them to come to the bargaining table so they can mete out a punishment and go home without the cost and bother of a full court trial. 

  In fact, in order to pressure Lori and her husband even harder to ‘cop a plea’, they’ve leveled additional charges against them.  It gives the appearance that “the longer you fight, the more you will pay……” and could be seen as “throwing the book at them”.

  Will it work?  I don’t know.  It has been my experience that when someone takes a stand on a basic principle, like innocence, it is hard to shake them.  Unfortunately for Lori and her husband, we’re not talking about protesting a speeding ticket here.  When matters are this much in the public eye, you need to remember that the prosecutors also have motivation to dig in their heels. 

  Right now this couple has decades of prison time awaiting them if they are proven guilty at trial.  That means one thing to people in their 20s or 30s and an entirely different thing to people over 50 years old. 

  When I think of my friends who cannot live at home and people facing the prospect of living in jail, it makes me ever more grateful I can go home at night and sleep in my own bed.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 2nd..............

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Dave Richards for October 2nd….…………

 

--Before I start today’s lengthy rant, just let me remind you that this weekend is the proverbial “IT” for Jen Jolicoeur and her Athena’s Cup 107 mile long bra chain at River’s Edge Park in Woonsocket.  Offer to help if you can.  Thanks.

 

 

--I heard some people talking just the other day.  They were saying something I’ve said many times and discussed with others.  They think we should eliminate parties from politics and simply vote for individuals to do the job. 

 

  I think this is something we need to discuss again.  I remember some 20 years ago chatting with the late former R.I. Lt. Governor Joe O’Donnell about it and he disagreed.  I thought at first it was because he was a staunch Republican, but no, Joe insisted that without party organizations, like-minded candidates could not band together to get anything done and there would be gridlock all the time.  “Parties bring civility to politics”, Joe said.

 

  So I asked him, “what about the City of Woonsocket?  Our home rule charter calls for non-partisan elections and nothing goes wrong there because there is no party involved?  In fact,” I continued, “you hardly ever hear anyone talk about the elections being non-partisan.  Why wouldn’t that work state-wide or nationally?”   

 

  That’s when Joe tried to convince me that political parties came about, not because of the need for them in local politics, but as a means to organize the much larger groups of people involved in state and federal elections.  It was these large numbers, he told me, which were impossible to lead without some organizational mechanism.

 

  What he said made some logical sense to me at the time, so I backed down and never brought up the subject again in his presence.  But now I think I shall.  And not simply because Joe has gone on to his eternal reward…….because I think it is an idea whose time has come.  I’ll explain.

 

  Here in the 21st Century, there is a new attitude growing.  No longer are young people mainly concerned with banding together with others in organizations where they find like-minded individuals.  Today, everyone is an individual, and each of them are the most important individual in the world. 

 

  It used to be “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”  Today, “My needs are more important than your needs.” 

 

  So I don’t see a trend toward gathering in groups.  Today’s young people have little need for groups……unless, of course, they are the leader of the group.  Because it becomes much easier to get what you need when others will help you get it.

 

  You might think I’m being cynical.  Nope.  Just calling it as I see it.  And I see it a lot in my business.  It’s everywhere I go.  If I don’t agree with you, then I am “completely wrong and I must be subjugated, removed, or otherwise subdued”. 

 

  Let me stop there and make my point perfectly clear.  I’m not talking about “all young people”, I’m talking about trends.  Trends in how society is evolving.  It is not evolving toward giving selfless service to others.  And maybe it shouldn’t be, I don’t know.  That’s the tricky thing about the future.  You think you know what’s coming, based upon what has happened in the past, but nobody really knows. 

 

  I remember being part of the largest group of young people our country has ever known, the so-called “Baby Boomers” in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  We were a scary bunch of kids, as I recall.  Disrespecting traditions and our elders.  Protesting.  We had a whole new ‘value system’, if you could call it that.  Yeah, we thought we were gonna change the world.  Our elders thought we would destroy it.  Neither of us turned out to be right.

 

  Why get so upset about the current social changes?  I dunno, I really don’t.  Maybe we shouldn’t.  Maybe we should think back to the time when we were working on ‘completely changing the world’ and remember the lyrics of a popular song of the time.  The one from The Who….’Won’t Get Fooled Again’…remember?  “Smile and grin at the change all around, pick up my guitar and play….just like yesterday….then I get on my knees and pray.”   Or, as you old pal Salty Brine always said, “Brush Your Teeth and Say Your Prayers!”

 

  Or maybe, we can comfort ourselves with the words of ‘The Desiderata’.  “No Doubt the Universe is Unfolding as it Should………”         

 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 25th

Dave Richards for September 25th         …………

 

--The goal has always been to raise consciousness of breast cancer and to bring a world record to her home city.  It has taken Jennifer Jolicoeur ten long years to collect nearly 200,000 women’s bras, but the end of this awesome project is just over a week away.  October 5th is when the Guinness World Record representatives are scheduled to arrive in Woonsocket to witness the building of the longest chain of bras hooked together the world has ever seen, and to certify the feat officially, if we make it.

  That means “Game On” for Jennifer Jolicoeur’s Athena’s Cup crew to start hooking them together one by one on Saturday October 5th under the watchful eye of the Guinness reps.

  The City of Woonsocket has offered River’s Edge Complex on Davison Avenue to stage the event, where 1,000 boxes of donated, used bras will be delivered from storage for the world-record task.

  The resulting chain of bras is calculated to become more than a mile long, so you can just imagine how many people will be needed to work long hours to get them hooked in a single chain.  And I do mean ‘hooked’.  Guinness says we cannot staple them or sew them together, they must be hooked together with their own hooks and loops, complicating the task because, as you can imagine, a certain tension must be constantly applied between bras so they won’t unhook accidentally.  If they do, we’ve got to stop and hook them back up, taking precious time and effort.

  Jennifer tells me what she needs now is help.  Dozens, if not hundreds, of volunteers Jen playfully calls “Hookers” will be required to assemble the bra-chain.  If you want to volunteer, you’ll find a sign up form at this address on the Internet:   www.athenascup.org.  There you can tell them when you are available to help “hook” and if you can help to “unhook” the bra chain.  If you’re not comfortable with the Internet, call me at my radio station and I’ll fill out a form for you.  401-762-1240. 

  Yes, I said “unhook”.  After we hook together 200,000 bras for the world record volunteers are needed to reverse the process because the resulting chain of bras will be too long to haul away and you can’t expect the city to allow us to leave it there on the River’s Edge soccer fields, right?

 Many hands make light work, friends.  Please help raise breast cancer awareness and bring a world record from Austrailia to our own Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  It’s the weekend after next.  October 5th, 6th, 7th, and maybe part of the 8th  to make the record, maybe less time if we get a lot of help.

 If you simply cannot come to help us, you can donate money which will help a lot.  The Guinness people don’t come here for nothing, you know.

 To donate to The Athena’s Cup Campaign, send one or more bras, (yes we could still use a few more in case some break) with a $5.00 donation, to Athena’s Home Novelties, 640 Winter Street, Woonsocket, RI, 02895. For more information, or to make an online donation, visit www.athenascup.org. The Athena’s Cup is a registered 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. The Athena’s Cup has no paid employees. All public relations, marketing, bra collecting and counting has been supported by the generous time donated by Athena’s corporate staff and sales people.

  Like any event which happens at the beginning of a month, Athena’s Cup weekend will sneak up on you fast, so please make your decision to help today.

  I think the Athena’s Cup Event has the potential of bringing out the best of Woonsocket and is worth supporting whether you live in Woonsocket, know people who live in Woonsocket, or have ever visited Woonsocket.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 18th............

Dave Richards for September 18th         …………

 

--Before I get into some unusually specific comments on a matter of politics, I want to remind readers of this year’s Great Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the North Smithfield High School and Middle School for one day only.  This Saturday September 21st from 11am to 5pm.  The list of community and business sponsors is impressive.  The whole town comes out for this one. 

  The Great Pumpkin Festival features booths, entertainment, exhibitions, and the highlight of the day for the young ones, the Pumpkin Chuck where real pumpkins are launched into the air by a catapult.  Everything about PumpkinFest is a real crowd pleaser.  I hope you’ll take some time out of your Saturday wherever you are in the Blackstone Valley, fill your lungs with the clear North Smithfield air and just relax for a while.  The weather promises to be exemplary.

 

--Our newly-elected Woonsocket City Councilor Alex Kithes attended his first council meeting as an elected official and I’ve got to say one thing for him, he jumped right in.  Some newbies would have played the “wise old owl” game with a cautious ‘watch and listen’ attitude, but not Alex.  He made his presence and point of view known on nearly every vote of the lengthy agenda.

  Fulfilling a campaign promise, Councilor Kithes placed before the body a resolution condemning White Nationalism.  It was when this item came up for action that young Alex’s education as an elected city official began.  And I mean it just the way I wrote it. 

  It is an education to be exposed to and learn to understand the points of view of others.  It is a skill of vital importance to any person wanting to serve in government, since one cannot compromise with those one cannot understand.  And compromise is what political governance is all about. 

  I think that young people today operate at a distinct disadvantage to those who grew up in earlier generations because in their lifetime the public discourse has been running along the lines of extremes and intolerance where defeating and suppressing those who disagree with you (or worse) fail to agree with you, is commonplace.

  As I say, it’s not his fault.  But he’s a bright young man and I think he’ll learn quickly.  He had the right idea, but the wrong way to go about it.  His resolution was aimed at improving the world by denouncing intolerance, but it failed to address the real issue.  The real issue is people noticing the differences between people and not focusing on the similarities among us.

  Those of us who grew up on the 60s and 70s learned that if we train ourselves to not see the differences and only the commonalities among us, we cannot treat people differently because of those differences.  Without differences there can be no discrimination.  With commonalities clearly in focus we can bring people together to work together to make the huge changes needed to improve the future …..for all of us.

  To conclude, the travelling good-will performance group ‘Up With People’ got it right more than 50 years ago.  Forget “Down with This Group….and Down with That Group…” and put your efforts into “Up With Everybody”!  Defensiveness diminishes, bridges of cooperation are built, and society strengthens itself.

  The Beatles’ John Lennon also said it well.  “All we are saying is……Give Peace A Chance”.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 11th..........

Dave Richards for September 11th         …………

 

--It was 18 years ago today that America came under attack.  It is right and proper that we remember such an event.  There are lots of TV shows on the subject. 

  I now understand why my elders didn’t really want to talk much about World War Two.  They lived it.  It wasn’t fun.  It’s a memory they’d rather forget.  After 18 years, I now feel that way about Tuesday September 11, 2001.  But I certainly wouldn’t want to diminish the memory of those who suffered that day.

 

--I read on the news wire New York Governor Cuomo has signed a law that forces all school children in the State of New York to now pause for a moment of silence on September 11th each school year.  It will mean little or nothing to them.  In my opinion it is not the way to go and will not truly honor the people who should be honored.  I’ll explain.

  Do you remember when you were little and you were with your parents and somebody gave you something, maybe a toy or candy?  You might be excited about what you just received and forgot to thank the giver.  Of course, your parents would remind you…….”say thank you!”……and you always did, but the gratitude wasn’t as enthusiastic as if it had come from your own heart without the reminder. 

  Most of these kids weren’t born when the attacks happened.  Come to think of it……..none of them were.  It’s just like when your grandparents tried to get you to appreciate the hardships of The Great Depression.  You might try, but you don’t really ‘get it’.  And a law will not help you ‘get it’, either.

  Forced tribute is seldom sincere.

 

--“Sarah Palin and her husband seek divorce after 30 years”.  That’s the headline to what has to be a heartbreaking story.  Nobody knows what makes two people become friends.  Or in love with each other.

  I thought I understood it once.  It seems to me to be an accidental thing where the personal traits of one person simply don’t annoy the other person and vice versa.  It’s a special thing between two people.  Special and beautiful.  That’s makes it all the more tragic when for an equally unexplainable reason the magic disappears.  And more tragic still when children are involved.

  Now add into the mix the fact that one of them used to be a nationally recognized figure, and you have a recipe for not only heartbreak, which would be bad enough, but also the public and news media poking their noses into your painful personal business. 

  It ain’t about winning and losing.  Everybody loses something in a divorce.

  My dear friend the late Joe Ferierre once said, “Actually, I think they should make it easier to get a divorce, but very much harder to get married in the first place.  That would eventually solve the problem. “

 

--Alex Trebek is back on the air as host of Jeopardy.  They started taping the shows back in July and the new ones are just starting to be shown.  I’ve never heard of someone coming back from pancreatic cancer, but it appears Alex has.  We don’t know how long he’ll be able to keep it up, but it really doesn’t matter, does it?

  What truly matters is whatever time Alex has left, days, months, or years, that they be spent being useful and productive, don’t you think? 

  Alex is one of the few true ‘big shots’ I’ve spent time with.  Did I tell you that story?  Well, it came about because I lost on Jeopardy.  Actually, while that sounds somewhat entertaining, I never really got on the Jeopardy show, far from it.  I got blown out in the first round taking the prospective contestant quiz.  But because I failed so early and so completely, I had a very unique opportunity to have nothing to do while the testing for prospective contestants continued, and I spent that time sitting and casually chatting with Alex.

  Quiet and easy going, he lounged back in the folding chair next to mine as we relaxed and talked about his career and my career in broadcasting.  I remember thinking what superb posture he displayed on camera and yet he was just lounging with me, chatting.

  You could tell by how he talked how much he truly loved his work.  In fact, he went out of his way to tell me repeatedly he felt lucky working for Griffin Productions (then owner of the show) because they built the set for the studio and never took it apart and put it in storage during the off-season, the set was left ready for air all year round.  This, Alex explained, was key to how well the show worked on the air, and was different from other shows he’d worked where a monitor or buzzer or some technical device would malfunction during the taping of a game and they’d have to go back and perform ‘re-dos’.  Not cool, and, Alex noted, it never looked right on the air when we had to edit the new sections in.

  So, I’m delighted Alex Trebek can continue to work, and although we know the end will come to all of us someday, my wish for him is that God allows him to be working and happy on his last day.                                           

 

 --That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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