The good, the bad, and the ugly… this week in Rhode Island

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Pools, schools, and...fools?

The good, the bad, and the ugly… this week in Rhode Island

 

We’re happy to give a GOOD after a BAD to the City of Pawtucket.


Set to open their Fairlawn Veterans Memorial Park Pool this past Monday, they found that - oops - they  didn’t have any lifeguards. Boo-hiss, of course. How could this happen? One can only imagine the disappointment of children who had waited for that day. But - hold that thought - within 3 days they found 2 lifeguards and are now set to open tomorrow - Saturday, July 5th (albeit with a few closed days coming up because of lifeguards prior commitments - and we do hope they’ll work on solving that inconvenience - meantime give them a call for the latest: 729-4712).

 

Couple this with the newly built Payne Park, with a children’s splash pad, renovated and lit basketball courts, a new playground, performance stage, walking path, and accessible exercise equipment (all to the tune of $1 million paid for by RIDEM & CDBG funds and a Parks and Recs bond), we are happy to turn that frown upside down on behalf of Pawtucket kids who can’t say  this summer ‘there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go’.

 

 

The Good

Staying with our pools theme, we recognize Cranston Mayor Allan Fung for taking swift action to put controls into place at the city’s public pool, The Budlong Pool, to protect families from the kind of violence that happened a few weeks ago. When those incidents happen, they can take-hold and become chronic and hard to put a stop to.

 

The Good

Well, how about this weather?  Anyone who had this - or next - week as vacation weeks should be very pleased with more sun than rain, and reasonable humidity levels. Get out and enjoy  this beautiful state.

 

The Bad

In an election year, statewide candidates running for, or trying to keep their elected office, can be seen walking in the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. But this year? No Governor. No statewide office holders, with the exception of Treasurer Magaziner (to our knowledge).  Kudos to our four congressional delegates who walked together - as well as Mayor Elorza & Mayor Fung - because we remember who doesn’t participate - as well as those who do.

 

The Bad

The Johns Hopkins Providence Schools report bomb. Holding no punches, it paints a picture of a failed Providence school system - from the physical state of the buildings, to discipline policies, curriculum issues, teacher absences and other fails, students’ behavior, and parental disengagement. More fault to go around than anyone wants to even know about it. A listening tour began and will end in a matter of days (cringingly reminiscent of the PawSox listening tour strategy). A lot of input, none of it all that new. And a head scratching, but well meaning idea from the new school superintendent to invite parents and the community to “paint their schools”. Whoa. The new superintendent has a short window to show she can lead. She should - and might - have carte blanche to do what she wants, and to get the money for it. The parents and the teachers seem to be behind her. The state’s leadership, too. Not being a Rhode Islander has both advantages and disadvantages, so her new assistant, Victor Capellan, Superintendent of Central Falls Schools should be a great asset. She needs to watch missteps, or she’ll be done before she starts.

 

More Good.

This week the Hope High School Auditorium Theatre Project, which had quietly been working on renovating the arts area, spoke up and showed us some of the first startling photos of the state of just one Providence school building. The photos were well beyond what anyone might have imagined, and should serve to motivate change on the fast-track.

 

This week WPRO Talk Show Host Tara Granahan spontaneously suggested that maybe there were companies out there who could help. Within an hour, two companies called in - one, Single Source Disaster Recovery offered $10K worth of evaluation using their expertise in mold and asbestos abatement. ClearPoint Builders offered $5K of contracting services, using their “green builder” expertise to help make a difference. The owner, Richard Rodi, said, “I’m a product of Providence schools - this is personal.” So much more is needed. And this will only make a small dent. This is NOT a problem that can be fixed by volunteer painters and services. There are 8 weeks to go - what’s the plan?

 

The Ugly.

This goes to a national issue. The protest about the use of the Betsy Ross flag. Betsy Ross, an upholsterer, was widely credited with designing the first American flag, which was used in the latter 1700s. Colin Kaepernick, who protested Nike’s patriotic sneaker release, resulting in the company pulling the sneakers off the shelves, kept silent about his feelings of racism about the “Betsy Ross” 13 stars flag symbolism, but on July 4th, he released a statement which was a quote by Frederick Douglass, from 1852: “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? This Fourth of July is yours, not mine…There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.”

 

The "Betsy Ross" design flag was displayed at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama. It has often been used at presidential inaugurations, and other historical events. It can be said that when we protest everything, we turn listening ears - deaf.


More Good.

Amidst criticism that the RI State House was not lit red, white, and blue - on July 4th, as if on cue, our beautiful State House showed its patriotic beacon to us all - Happy Independence Day!