Posts

Dave Richards for June 12th..........

Dave Richards for June 12th…………

 

--I just finished recording the radio announcements promoting this Friday night’s Levitt AMP Free Concert in River Island Art Park and I am all charged up.  Part of making these recordings is to play snippets of the recordings of the performer who will appear on stage and I am just so impressed with the caliber of performer we will have on our stage I am at a loss for words. 

  The problem with being a radio and TV guy is that even when you are at a loss for words, your natural tendency is to keep talking anyway.  It’s what we do.

  The opening act of the night, and of the series, is a guy who goes by the name of P. Lowe.  He plays a contemporary style which is a blend of Portuguese, Latin, and African music called “Kizomba”.  But if you ask me it sounds like contemporary love songs.  It sounds great on the recording and I can’t wait to see him in person this Friday night.

  The featured act this week is a Rhode Island native called Chachi Carvalho.  He calls his music East Coast Hip Hop, but it’s not like any kind of hip hop I’ve ever heard before.  It’s great dancing music, very smooth. 

  Yes, it’s a shame I can’t play samples here in the newspaper as I can on the radio.  The sound is so professional.  I mean that, you know I grew up in the 1960s and 70s and there were a lot of local bands around then.  Heck, I was in one of them.   We were local and we sounded like a local band.  Not bad, but not national quality, if you know what I mean.  But these bands are world quality music, from the performance to the production, it’s all top quality.  And it’s FREE.  Just show up at River Island Art Park in back of the Museum of Work and Culture.  Bring a chair.  There will be food for sale, but you can bring your own if you want to.  You’ll have a great time.  But if you can’t come, we’ll have it on the radio live and streaming around the world on Internet TV so everyone can share in Woonsocket’s celebration!

 

--I am reminded of how the years seem to soften memories and attitudes.  It seems to me that every person who has been President of the United States has had a rough time of it while they were in office. 

  I remember hearing a report that on the morning of the day he was shot and killed, President John F. Kennedy was in Forth Worth, Texas reading the Dallas newspaper.  He noticed an ad someone had placed in that paper which addressed him and was quite impolite in listing the reasons he had a low opinion of Kennedy.  The report said that Mr. Kennedy looked up from the paper and commented to his wife Jackie, “We’re going into crazy country.”  When Jackie asked why he said that the president simply said, “There are some people there who don’t like what we’re doing.”

  You’ll find very few people today who will criticize Mr. Kennedy’s work the way they did back then. 

  So it makes me wonder about Mr. Trump.  If ever a president was criticized and ridiculed by the press, the public, and well, it seems sometimes like everybody……..it’s Mr. Trump.  But what do you think they’ll say about him 20 years from now?

  Will they say, “he kept us out of war by using the financial power of trade agreements.”  Or will they say something else?

  I’m not a fan of using tariffs as tools of international policy.  I know that the real losers when tariffs are raised on imported goods are the buyers of imported goods.  Namely, us.  But the way it has worked out with Mexico makes me wonder if this method of encouraging other countries to do what we want them to do has merit.  At least this time it seems to have.

  Time will tell.

 

--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 June 5th

 

Dave Richards for June 5th…………

 

 

--I just want to say that I have been appalled by the officiating by NHL Refs and Linesmen.  Sure, those of us watching TV have a certain advantage so it is possible we’d see, say a St. Louis player holding the arm of a Bruins player behind him so he can’t manipulate the puck.  And since we can see instant replays and they can’t, I do understand how they could miss where two St. Louis players team up to ‘sandwich’ a Bruins player between themselves and the boards with such great force that the Bruins player in question collapsed to the ice unable to skate.

  Why do I blame the officiating?  Simple.  I cannot believe the officials don’t know what is going on.  They can’t ‘miss’ that much illegal activity.  Which leaves me with the only logical conclusions.  They are either crooked or are copping an attitude that they’ll decide when to call something and when to let it go.  I would prefer to believe the attitude.  But I submit even just the attitude is wrong.  The sole purpose of the officials on the ice is to insure that all players play by the written and established rules.  So, if they’re going to refuse to call infractions, why have them?

  Thanks for letting me vent a little.  But there are more important things to ponder, I think.    

 

--The anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow.  When I was a small boy growing up in Pascoag, our next door neighbor, Mr. White, was a veteran of The Great War.  And even though this was some twenty years after the second world war, he still called it The Great War. 

  In the early years of the 20th Century, an ‘eternal flame’ was lit at New York’s Madison Square Garden.  Its purpose was so that “no one will ever forget those who died” in The Great War.  I know they meant it at the time, but now, more than 100 years later……….well, it’s very hard to remember what you never knew to begin with. 

  It may be impossible to remember those you never knew, but I think we can remember the lessons war has taught us.  And I think the lesson we need to remember is that even though one side in armed conflict may prevail, both sides lose in any war.  And what they lose is parts of their future. 

  For all the social strife, civil disobedience, protests and polarization we saw in the 1960s, the kids of that day did get it right.  They couldn’t make it stick, but they got it right.  Peace is the answer.  Avoid war at all costs.

  I know a few veterans who agree with that.

 

--You’ve heard me say on a number of occasions that I prefer things which unify society and dislike when laws or causes seek to divide people into groups.  I mean, do you remember the international touring group “Up With People”?  Their one and only message resonated with me.  There should be no “Up with this group” or “Down with the other group”.  It should be “Up with Everybody”, people helping each other to rise to the highest level they can attain rejecting any attempts to put people into groups based upon similarities with others. 

  You may remember me mentioning that my dear old mom was a very progressive and liberal politically.  She was also a feminist.  But nothing infuriated my mom more than someone saying “the first woman to do this”.  She’d lower her glance at me and remind me in the most stern of vocal tones, “if you want real equality, stop noticing if someone is male or female.  It’s all about whether they can do the job!”  That was my momma.  And I did get her point.  That’s why I shake my head in wonder when people place themselves in groups and demand the world recognize and support them because they are different.  This month it’s the LGBTQ group.  Oh, I know they keep adding letters on to that designation, but I noticed that none of the new letters are E for Everybody, so I’ll stop with 5 letters.

  I think I’ve made my point, so I’ll stop there.  Don’t look for the differences, look for the similarities.  That’s the best way to live together.  In peace.

 

--Before I go, just a word to our graduating students.  Tag.  You’re it.  Do a better job of running the world than your parents did.  We’re all counting on you.

 

--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 May 15th...........

Dave Richards for May 15th…………

 

--Yesterday morning I was posting my trivia quiz question on Facebook and Twitter and was disturbed by what I read.  Now, I’m not a fan of social media in general, but I do agree it has its place.   I had the staff at the radio station “fix” my Facebook account so I wouldn’t see any posts except the ones I make.  While I’m on the air in the morning I just don’t have time for that distraction.  But they weren’t able to do the same with the Twitter account and I made the mistake of seeing the posts just below mine yesterday morning.  I was very disturbed.

  There was some poster who claimed to be a woman who stated in no uncertain terms or language that the Rhode Island General Assembly had better pass the bills due for a vote yesterday which would codify in State Law the protections of the U.S. Supreme Court decision of years ago regarding abortion rights, commonly called Roe v. Wade.  She went on to post in a most threatening way that males had better learn their place in the new world where there are more women than men and that if men don’t, they will be destroyed.  “Good morning?   Who got up on the wrong side of the bed today?”, I asked myself.  And then the insults came in from male posters, or those who said they were males.  I figure you can never really know on social media if someone really is who they say they are.

  Threatening to eradicate “useless, redundant males”, as was expressed, is just plain hate speech, in my view.  And it seemed to be accepted by other females, which is even more disturbing, as nobody posted a word in disagreement.  I cannot accept this.  Sexist bigotry is no more acceptable when expressed by females than racist comments are when expressed by people of color.  Two ‘wrongs’ do not make a ‘right’, and those who have been ‘wronged’ in the past ought to know better.

  I think ‘wronging’ people with hatred and intent to do mental of physical harm is the way wars start.  Just pick up a history book.  They’ll all tell you the same story.  The one thing which humanity has (so far) failed to get right down through the ages, and which has led to the most death and suffering is the failure of people to “subdue their passions”.  Agree to disagree.  Make your feelings known at the ballot box.  And then for Heaven’s sake, abide peacefully by the decisions of election day.  The alternative is never ending feuding.  Just ask the folks in the Middle East. 

  It all starts with you, dear reader.  When you control your anger and refuse to seek hateful revenge against people who displease you, you have done your part to move the world forward toward peace.  Here’s another example……..

 

--I think Alex Cora, Mookie Betts, and the other Red Sox players who chose to not accept President Trump’s invitation to visit The White House last Thursday made a mistake.  I agree it is a personal choice, and I don’t deny them that.  Everyone who has strong opinions should express them.  I just think it is a mistake to miss an opportunity to express your opinions as effectively as possible.  I’ll explain.

  If you or I agree or disagree with a policy or action of our president, we should tell them so, politely and firmly.  It’s not only good citizenship, it’s common courtesy.  I mean, how will they learn to please us if we don’t tell them what we want?  And what better opportunity to tell them than when you see them in person?

  If you don’t go when the president invites you, as a protest, you can say that millions will know you are unhappy.  But those millions can’t do anything to improve your disapproval of the president’s decisions.  The one person who has the most to say about what he will do next is the man himself. 

  I think if you disagree, and you meet the man and ask him to help you, then you are doing what you should be doing.  If, after that, he continues along the same lines, well, then you have something to protest about.  But to not even take a given opportunity for a word with him is not only unfair to him and yourself, but it’s a sure road to further disagreement and a missed chance for understanding.

  We all have the right to protest and express our displeasure with our elected leaders.  But they are people, too, and I think we owe them a civil word now and again.

  There’s too much conflict in the world today.  Some of it could be avoided with a little effort on both sides.  BOTH sides.

 

--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 May 1st............

Dave Richards for May 1st…………

 

--I have an announcement to make.  Some of you have noticed and commented to me that for the first time in our 16 years of writing for The Call I’ve missed a few weeks in succession for no apparent reason.  There is a reason, and simply put I’ve just missed my publication deadlines.  Changes at the newspaper combined with changes in my work schedule have conspired to produce this.  A change was agreed upon to remedy the situation and our column will now be published on Wednesdays starting today.  I thank the folks at The Call for this accommodation.

 

--What I want to talk to you about next requires a little care in how I word it.  I have had a personal experience with the cost of a prescription medicine locally which left me with the impression I was being cheated by the pharmacy I’d been doing business with for some time.  There may be a better explanation for it than I was given, so in order to keep the lawyers out of this and any subsequent discussions, I’ll leave the names of the pharmacies out of it.  The entire reason for me bringing it up can be served by focusing on this one point:  Shop around for your prescription medications every few months.  Based upon what I experienced, I think some people may do much better if they just put the effort into periodically shopping for the best price.  I know I will.

 

  What happened to me is I received a telephone message to call the pharmacy I was purchasing a certain prescription medication from.  When I returned the call to the number on my pill bottle, a nice pharmacist politely told me something went wrong with my insurance, and my prescription should not have cost $12, as it had for years, but rather $53.  I explained that we do not use insurance for that prescription because it was more costly with insurance than to pay cash.  (crazy, eh?, but true)  She had no explanation for this, but regardless, the cost was now $53 and she didn’t want me to be surprised at the counter when I came in for a refill.  I thanked her and hung up the phone, with the distinct feeling that something very wrong was being hidden from me.  I decided to take action.

 

  A quick few phone calls to other pharmacies in the area found that all charged less for the same prescription.  In fact, one would sell me the same prescription for $8 per refill.  Needless to say, I switched and all has gone well since.  Happy endings for me, but I became concerned that some of you out there may just accept such a price increase needlessly.    

 

  Again, what I took away from this is that maybe there was exploitation going on and maybe there wasn’t, but I protected myself by shopping around for the best price and I’ve resolved to do this twice a year, in the spring and fall from now on.  I think you should, too.  Then we should tell our representatives and senators to get on the stick and come up with consumer protection legislation to prevent any possibility of abuses.

 

 

 

--I was initially happy to hear that Woonsocket City Councilor Julia Brown was resigning her council seat, effective today.  I wasn’t happy to see her go, nor was I happy that the city would need to endure the expense of electing her replacement.  No, the first thought that went through my mind is that long-time former councilor Roger Jalette might get the chance to win the seat.  This is not for political reasons, Roger and I have our differences regarding policy and such, no, this is on a strictly human level.  Roger stood next to me last November on Election Night as the returns came in from the voters at the end of the day.  He went to bed that night thinking he had won, and Julia had gone to bed thinking she’d come in 8th out of seven.  However, when the sun rose on Wednesday morning, they both learned that the opposite was true.  Good news for Julia.  Tough news for Roger.  I felt badly for his disappointing twist of fate.  Now, it appears he has a second chance, and Julia improves her life as well.  I just love it when there’s a chance for both sides to win.

 

 

 

--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 March 26th.............

Dave Richards for March 26th…………

 

--I must admit to a small degree of discomfort in bringing up this next subject.  Friends of mine, and of our overall Northern Rhode Island Community are having a fundraiser, a very nice one, and I hope you will buy a ticket and come.  It’s this Thursday, March 28th, at River Falls Tavern on the Market Square end of South Main Street next to the Museum. 

  The event includes food and music, which will start right at 6pm (doors open at 5:30) with a short speaking program afterward.  It will be a very nice night.

  Community Care Alliance, Woonsocket’s Premiere Community Action Organization, is honoring some wonderful people with their “Community Champions” award.  Among them, Lorna Cohen, who is Program Manager of the vitally important Agape Woonsocket HIV Support Services for her work helping people stricken with AIDS.  Emidio Rosa, who is the Supervisor of the CCA Family Support Center, who helps bring assistance and hope to families in crisis, and Tanja Kubas-Meyer, the Executive Director of The RI Coalition for Children & Families, who supports our local organizations that assist children and families from the state-wide perspective.  I will also be honored for my work with The Milk Fund and will accept the award on behalf of the many people who gathered with me to raise more than $57-thousand this past year to buy milk for those who need it.

  If you come you will enjoy a memorable night out with good food, music, and some very nice people.  I hope you do.  Tickets are $20 each and include the buffet dinner and music.  Call Wendy at 235-7245 or email me at the radio station and I’ll send you a web-link you can use to get your tickets online.  You’ll be helping some of the most devoted and committed people I know to help those in our community who need help most.  And you’ll have a great time, too!  See you Thursday!

 

--People who don’t like President Trump have been for months salivating over the prospect of the Mueller Report bringing them a shipment of free ammunition they could use to remove Mr. Trump from office or at least to so tie him up with defending himself that he has little ability to do anything else. 

  On the other side of this battle, those in favor of Mr. Trump, like the president himself, are breathing a sigh of relief and pointing out the difference between “obstruction of justice” and “criminal obstruction of justice”. 

  As the summary of conclusions contained in the Mueller Report came to light over the last few days, they were grasped by people who hate Mr. Trump as if they were the Holy Sword of Justice.  Unsatisfied with the lack of a damning indictment, they want more ‘dirt’ to be released quickly so they can use it against the president.  What a shame it is that people in such high elected offices can only hate.  I have no room in my life for this kind of hate from either side of the spectrum. 

  Let me make my position clear.  I am a supporter of the office of the presidency, not necessarily its present occupant, except to say that I believe this man should be treated with the same fairness and consideration which any other citizen of our country would expect.

  Putting extremist hate aside in the discussion for a moment, what I think people on both sides seem to be overlooking is that the “facts”, as written in the report of the investigation, might not actually be the truth.

  Has everyone forgotten that the entire investigation was politically motivated to begin with?  With that kind of pressure on the investigators, it would seem to me that the opportunities for skullduggery have been numerous.  We can only hope politics have not distorted the truth in this investigation.  But in common terms, it would be a ‘miracle’ if this report represented the truth and nothing but the truth.  It would be a miracle I would welcome.

  Consider this.  The fact that the Mueller Report pleases nobody completely does speak well for the possibility of it being accurate and truthful.  The truth, as they say, lies somewhere in the middle.

  There is one proposition I on which I think we should all be able to agree.  Anyone who organizes an effort to remove a duly elected president from office without an election is not the kind of American I was taught to be.   People who do that are un-American and wrong, regardless of how lofty they think their goals are, or how much of a jerk the leader is.

--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 March 19th.............

Dave Richards for March 19th…………

 

--Do I dare?  Will I be sorry if I tell you that I think the winter of 2018-2019 is practically over?  Well, the astronomical change of the seasons is tomorrow, but as we all know, there is a “lag” usually between what the calendar says and what Mother Nature brings.  Still, we have daytime temperatures all in the 40s and above this week, so it’s really tempting to take a deep breath and ‘go for it’, don’t you think?

 

--Here’s a question to ponder.  “Is it really better to know ‘the truth’ about past events, or are we generally better off simply moving forward into the future tending to matters we can do something about?”

  I’ll tell you why I ask that question.  Just recently the big news in the forensic and crime world is the revelation that somebody thinks they know who the man was who was responsible for the so-called ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders in London in the late 1800s.  They think it was a then 23 year-old Polish immigrant who was trained to be a barber.  He was a suspect at the time, but the forensic science at the time couldn’t link him to any of the evidence.  Now, with DNA and other tests at humanity’s disposal, they think they have their man. 

  I say, “who cares”, it will help no one.  The man they claim did the killings was himself dead by the age of 54.  He died in an asylum.  Not a nice way to go.  But why bring it up now?  Probably because they can.

 I think that all this 21st century science would be better used to help the people living today.  In some cases it is.  We read with some regularity of a person living in prison who claimed their innocence and now today’s technology proves they were. 

 Another good use for this technology is to solve more recent murders, if they can.  The Doreen Picard murder comes to mind.  The problem with that is the same problem they have with the London example.  So much of the evidence available for re-examination cannot be held to the high standards of purity today’s legal system requires.  So, even when you do use modern technology to uncover new facts, the new information seems to stir up more controversy and ask more questions than they answer.

 So, to my point.  Even if you could find ‘the truth’, could you prove it to everyone’s satisfaction?  Not likely.  Who will benefit from renewed controversy and more questions?  I would not dare to imagine what family members of actual murder victims feel about this subject.  I do wonder, though.  And I wonder if they just want to move on to make use of their time to look forward rather than look back.

 Like all of us, I have a few of those family controversies which are not as serious as a murder in the family, thank God, but nonetheless occupy the minds of certain family members.  Some in my family, join me in keeping these matters private and “behind us” so as not to distract us from making progress with the rest of our lives.  Others just dwell on them.  Deaths in the family, wrongs which should have been righted but weren’t, just how much Native American blood do you have in you.  You know, all the things no one can do nothing about any more.  Who cares?  I don’t have time for it. 

 I also wonder what we can do to inspire people to move and think in a forward-looking fashion.  Looking back and keeping score is a breeding ground for mental illness and hate.  I suppose all we can do is to set a good example and concern ourselves with the truly important things. 

 Tomorrow.

 Happy Spring!     

 

--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 March 5th...........

Dave Richards for March 5th…………

 

--Well, after what was statistically the most stormy weekend of the winter, the world is finally returning to normal today.  Except for making up the things which didn’t get done, that is.  Of all the stupid things our government tries to do, like legislate morality, how come nobody submits legislation to outlaw winter storms? 

  That is, as they say, a rhetorical question.  It’s not meant to be answered.

 

--Speaking of passing laws, I was terribly unsurprised to learn that the state representative who replaced Burrillville’s Rep. Keable in the last election has introduced legislation to completely revamp the Energy Facility Siting Act.  Why am I not surprised?  That darned power plant proposed for Burrillville was the last straw for the residents of that town who have tried everything they can think of and spent untold dollars to keep it from being built in their town.  They feel “the fix” has “been in” from the start and they are looking for a more level playing field. 

  Specifically, House Bill 5446 would raise the number of people who have absolute power in siting energy plants, for instance, from 3 to 7 and increase public and municipal participation and sensitivity to environmental concerns.  It would also speed up the application process so that well-funded applicants cannot drag things out until the locals run out of money.

   While it doesn’t say so in the law, they would like to repair the process so that three people, doing the bidding of the one person who appointed them, who may not be completely impartial, cannot do what they want with no regard to or recourse from the people who will have to live with it all.

   I’m not completely sure this step will work, but it does sound like a moderated effort, and I applaud people who have every cause to be emotional from their struggles for subduing their passions and moving deliberately and soberly to improve not only their lot, but the lot of others as well.

  

--I have figured it out.  The poor play of the Boston Celtics basketball club has baffled sports pundits across New England, but I think I know why the 17-time World Basketball Champs are in a monumental slump. 

  On Sunday afternoon, the Fabulous Denise was watching TV, I was listening to the Celtics game on my favorite local radio station.  I have not seen a Celtics game all season, I listen on the radio.  For no particular reason while changing channels, Denise stopped on the Celtics game on TV.  Then I saw it. 

  Every member of the Boston Celtics team was wearing tights.  Kelly green leggings!  I’ve never seen a basketball team do that before, and I think it is the answer to the whole problem of the uninspired play.  The players are simply over-heated and uncomfortable.

  You’ve seen the way basketball players sweat.  There’s a reason for that, you know.  When the human body sweats it is trying to cool itself off by producing liquid on the skin which, when it evaporates, cools the skin removing excess heat from the body.

  I don’t know everything, and even less about sports, I’ll admit it, but I had four sisters.  When it was cold outside and they needed warmth they wore tights.  When it was warm or they were being physical in normal temperatures they hated wearing tights. 

  That’s my theory.  Somebody call up Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge and give ‘em the word.  You can tell them it’s your idea, I don’t need the credit.

 

--With today being Shrove Tuesday in the religious calendar, commonly called “Fat Tuesday” or the French equivalent “Mardi Gras”, and the Lenten season beginning tomorrow on Ash Wednesday, I thought that as we prepare for fasting and sacrifice I’d leave you with a happy thought.  Yesterday I stopped in the market for supplies and as I walked by the bakery department I was stricken by the sea of green pastries. 

  St. Patrick’s Day is coming.

 

 

--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 February 26th..............

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Dave Richards for February 26th…………

--Before I start with all the opinion stuff, I want to communicate both my gratitude and my amazement at how well-run Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras Celebration was this year.  The Ball last Saturday night was just plain fun and comfortable and very, very memorable.  Being someone who has worked on a number of committees over the years, I am keenly aware of just how much work goes into all the hundreds of details from decorations to music to the food. 

  Perhaps I could better express what I’m thinking by telling you that if you or a group you belong to ever need a place to hold an indoor event……you must look into the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.  What they have done with that hall beneath the former sanctuary has transformed it into much more than the church basement it used to be.  And you’ll never find a more attentive, supportive, or hard-working staff than Wally, Domenic, and their friends at St. Ann.  They take the success of your event almost personally.  Check them out when you have a need.

 

--Mardi Gras itself signals the beginning of the Lenten Season.  So it is no surprise that Father John Kiley dropped me a note to tell me of an Ecumenical Lenten Program that Woonsocket area churches are planning on Wednesdays during lent at 7pm each week.  At each service there will be a free-will offering to aid the New Beginnings meal site on Rathbun Street.  Space does not permit me to list the dates and churches here, but you can find them on the web at www.WoonsocketRadio.com.  Thanks to Father Kiley for keeping us up to date with these important matters.

 

--Time to comment on a bill recently introduced in the RI General Assembly.  RI Senator Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has introduced legislation which would add a 1-percent state tax on the sale of hookah and vaping products.  No surprises there, levying taxes is what they do down there at the State House.   But what comes next in the official press release from the state house press department is what bothered me.

  The announced purpose of this new tax is to raise money to give to municipalities so they can educate people about the dangers associated with those products.  Okay, hold the phone.  What’s wrong with this picture?

  If they pass this law, the state will collect the tax.  After they collect it, they say they will give it to the cities and towns the tax was collected from.  The cities and towns can only spend this money to educate everyone that smoking hookah (flavored tobacco) and vaping (breathing in nicotine-laden smoke) is not good for you.  I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

  First, and this kinda goes without saying, who among you believes the state will collect a tax and NOT put the money into the General Fund to be used for “whatever”, raise your hand?  I thought so.  I am reminded that the proceeds from the Lottery Commission were supposed to go to fund education.  Instead the money goes into the General Fund.  Next point………

  Does anyone besides me see the irony of using the money to convince buyers of those products to not buy them?  If the effort is successful, you’ll eventually raise so little money that you won’t be able to afford to educate the last hold-outs.  Geez. 

 

--Before I go, a group calling themselves FlyersRights.org has raised an interesting point. 

  Recently, the mega-successful SouthWest Airlines has announced they will add to their massive itinerary flights to Honolulu, Hawaii.  I initially that that was a fine idea.  But this organization, which identifies itself as an advocate for the flying passengers of the world, points out that one of SouthWest’s business decisions which has helped its success through the years is that it operates only the same model of jet, the Boeing 737-800.   The trade-off of this decision is that this jet is somewhat cramped, especially in the aft sections, which is somewhat uncomfortable but manageable for a two or three hour cross country flight, but the minimum 6 hour travel time from the west coast of the U.S. to Honolulu will really be difficult for some travelers. 

  I have flown from Rhode Island to Honolulu with only one stop in L.A. and I can tell you the mind can only enjoy what “the seat” can tolerate.  And that was in a much larger jet run by American Airlines.  Let’s just say I didn’t look forward to the return trip.  I would definitely take this into consideration if contemplating that same trip in a smaller aircraft.

  Your mileage may vary.

 

--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.

 

www.woonsocketradio.com

Dave Richards for February 12th..............

Dave Richards for February 12th…………

 

--The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts presents Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras again for the 25th consecutive year this month.  The festivities revolve around two distinct events.  The first, this Friday the Queen’s Coronation from 6pm to 8pm at Savini’s Pomodoro on Rathbun Street will see the five local ladies who have been selling tickets for a couple of months learn which one of them will be crowned Mardi Gras Princesses and which will be crowned Queen of the Mardi Gras. 

  Then, as her first official act as Queen of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, the queen will unmask the local man who has been playing the heavily-costumed part of King Jace XXV since Christmastime.  The two of them will reign over the Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday the 23rd  from 5:30pm to 10:30pm at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center on Cumberland Street. 

  Tickets for either event as well as raffle tickets are available until Thursday from any of the queen contestants, or by phoning Lorraine Cloutier at 401-762-9072.  Guesses to the true identity of the man playing King Jace XXV may be taken until 4pm Friday at either Woonsocket radio station or the offices of The Call, 75 Main Street.

  Not unlike Halloween, Mardi Gras started off as a religious festival which has evolved over the years to be a good excuse for a party for everyone with little real religious significance.  Holiday’s seem to have a life of their own, I think.

  Valentine’s Day has followed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as “Hallmark Holidays”.  At least Christmas is still a religious holiday here in the U.S., though it has developed additional themes.  And then there is St. Patrick’s Day.  Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, now there’s a holiday which has really gone through changes.  There was a lot of bigotry in this country years ago directed at the Irish.  But where there is a will there is a way.  When the Irish in Boston couldn’t get permission to have a parade on St. Patrick’s Day, they noted that on the 17th of March during the Revolutionary War, the British evacuated Boston.  So, “Evacuation Day” was celebrated in bean-town.  With a parade.  Although it had a distinctly green tinge to it.

  The point is a party is a party.  It’s a good chance to blow off some steam and release the tensions which build up with daily life.  Parties relieve stress.  And that’s a good thing.  As I always say, “Stress kills more people than guns…”.  We’ll see you at the Mardi Gras!

 

--Did you ever have a problem with the response you received from National Grid during an outage or construction situation?  Lt. Governor Dan McKee is on your side.  He visited us last week on the radio and told us of legislation he asked State Senator (and Woonsocket native) Roger Picard to sponsor in the senate which would essentially put Rhode Island utility customers on the same footing as those in Massachusetts.  It will, among other things, require the utilities to establish and review annually a plan of action to execute during weather (and other) emergencies which cause interruptions in service.

  It’s not only natural disasters Dan is concerned about.  He told us of an employer who has invested in new equipment to remain in Rhode Island and stay competitive.  The equipment is installed, but cannot be used because of lengthy delays by National Grid in upgrading the electrical service to the building.  And also a solar project which was quoted one price for connection to “the grid”, but when the bill came in it was more than doubled in cost.  We may not realize it, but there are people out there who are being victimized by a utility which suffers little consequence when their service is lacking.

   Public utilities enjoy special protections from government.  Dan thinks they should therefore be especially accountable to their customers.

   My take away from all this is that over the last couple of decades, the utility business has gone through many huge changes, but Rhode Island’s laws have not kept pace.  Dan wants there to be teeth in our state’s legal oversight of the utilities so that when things go wrong the government isn’t reduced to simply yelling and screaming their displeasure, they can compel the companies to respond in a more satisfactory way.  As much as I dislike adding more laws to our already bloated books, I see this effort as one of genuine protection for the consumer.  I support 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 February 5th............

Dave Richards for February 5th…………

 

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  Among other things, it can make otherwise kind and caring people do terrible things…….or fail to do what is right.

   I once served on a jury.  They say that broadcasters or people who write and read news are never empaneled on a jury, but they are wrong.  I was selected for a case in which a young man was accused of selling drugs at and near a school.  What’s more, when the case was given to the jury, the judge appointed me as the foreman of the jury.  She later told me it was because I paid careful attention to the testimony during the trial.

 The police officers made what appeared to be a convincing case against the accused.  There was lots of physical evidence and damaging testimony.  In the jury room we deliberated and examined all the hard physical evidence first-hand.  The gun, the ammunition, the scale, and we recalled the testimony of the witnesses. 

  Here’s my point.  There was no juror in that room who argued that the young man was innocent of the charges.  What they argued about, and what kept us in that room for two days before finally agreeing on a verdict of ‘guilty’, was the fear that such a heinous person might exact retaliation upon the individual members of the jury.  

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  I don’t know the Governor of Virginia.  I have no idea if he is a creep, a racist, or a really nice guy.  But I do know a virtual ‘trial by public opinion’ when I see one. 

  Does anyone out there remember the concept that two ‘wrongs’ don’t make a ‘right’?  Answering a wrong, real or imagined, with another wrong is just plain………..wrong.

  The Sunday morning TV chat shows this past weekend were filled with people who were NOT talking about the Super Bowl football game (thank goodness) but were instead all joining in a unified chorus of “he MUST resign”!  Even our own Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, who is the leader of the national governor’s group joined in on the chorus.  It’s scary.  I think mob mentality, fueled in no small part by social media, has fanned the flames of a blood-lust. 

  History is full of such episodes, which can happen even without the 21st century equivalent of malicious gossip, social media, of course.  The French Revolution comes quickly to mind.  The problem is that in this political climate no one dares speak out for the rights of the accused because they don’t want to take a chance at being the next victim of mob rule.

  Can you blame them?  There is no limit to the venom being spewed by careless people with opinions.  And, you know, everyone has one.  An opinion, that is.  I have mine.  And I like my opinions.  But I will not use my opinions to attack people in this manner.

  What ever happened to due process?  Oh, well, if everyone says they’re guilty, then they don’t deserve due process, is that it?

  Well, I suppose I’ve really done it now…..I have dared to speak publicly an opinion which differs from the mob.  I suppose I will now be next, right?  Simply because I believe in the rule of law over the rule of public opinion!

  And for those reading who have REALLY short memories, let me repeat before you reach for the rope.  I have no idea if this guy is a creep, or a racist, or a nice man.  I don’t need to know that.  What I need to know is that this country is made up of laws which are based upon English Common Law, the basic principle of which is “a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.”

  Before I close on this subject, let me just state one more thing.  What if Governor Raimondo, or any one of us, were accused of something we didn’t do by social media and what if the weight of public opinion took away our livelihood?  Would that be right?  Think about that before rushing to judgement.    

 

--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.

--30--