Dave's Column

Dave Richards for May 22nd................

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 22nd…………….

 

--For those who don’t believe there is such a thing as “legislative creep” I offer this from a Press Release of the R.I. General Assembly.   “Measure 2018-S2530 is sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket).  This bill would expand the current law so that adult residents of Rhode Island would be “included” in the Department of Health immunization registry presently maintained for children.”

Remember when it was no big thing that the Department of Health wanted to keep records of what immunizations your kids had?  Guess what?  Now they want to keep tabs on you, too.  Of course, it’s for your own good, you know. 

  I say it takes no imagination to figure where they’re going with this.  Can’t you just see some self-righteous do-gooder in the General Assembly proposing a law sometime in the future mandating we all get immunizations for whatever they think we should get them for whether we want them or not?  I can imagine that.  And it begins with legislation such as this.  Legislation which is not even honest enough to tell you where they are hoping to end up.

  Oh, and just so I cannot be accused of withholding facts, this year’s bill does allow adults to “opt-out” of the registry if they go to the Department of Health and fill out a form.  This year they’ll let you opt-out, that is.  Next year?

 

--Before we meet again on these pages our nation will have observed Memorial Day 2018.  For weeks, Veterans groups and volunteers have been “flagging” the graves of deceased Veterans at area cemeteries with American Flags.  A true labor of love and dedication.  Area communities  will observe in their own ways.  For example, Blackstone has a celebration including fireworks.  North Smithfield has an absolutely charming parade.  Woonsocket will gather at the monument in the Veterans Park on Davison Avenue to honor our dead.  The Woonsocket event will be broadcast and streamed live for those who cannot attend.   

Almost everyone will do something this coming weekend to mark the holiday and the customary start of Summertime.  I feel I wouldn’t be doing my part without reminding everyone to consider personal and group safety when enjoying the great summertime weather.  Enjoy it.  Treasure it.  Make good memories.  But live to do it again next year.

 

--For those of you who travel the North Smithfield Expressway………wait.  Stop.  You don’t know what stretch of road that is?  Well, it’s the part of R.I.146 between the exit with R.I.146A just north of Branch River Village and running south to the West Acres Interchange where R.I.146A once again joins R.I.146.  They were going to call it the “Woonsocket, Union Village, and Branch Village By-Pass” when it was built in the early 60’s, but they couldn’t fit all those words on a sign.  So they just called it the “North Smithfield Expressway”.  Then the sign fell down. 

But I digress…… 

For those of you who do travel along the North Smithfield Expressway, you have no doubt observed the construction work to rebuild the overpass bridge for Woonsocket Hill Road.  You probably also noted some construction work a little further north at the Pound Hill Road exit.  That work, I am told is to construct the toll facilities for Governor Raimondo’s famous “Truck-Only Tolls”.  (Well, “Truck-Only” at first, that is.)  I think it’s a shame they are building them there, when just a bit south of there are the truck inspection turn-offs.  They’re not used much today for inspecting trucks, but if they used them for the tolls they’d save us a lot of construction costs, I think.  Why weren’t they used?  Simple.  Gotta get tolls from those CVS trucks turning off at Pound Hill Road to get to their warehouse.

But even that answer doesn’t make me feel right.  You and I both know a lot of people who work for CVS.  This company, started in Woonsocket by the Goldstein boys, has grown to the point that they could make the decision to move their headquarters and operations to another part of the country in 5 minutes over a bowl of soup.  It would be that simple.  So why would we want to give them any reasons to do that? 

I’m not afraid to tell you that I am more than just a little uncomfortable that the fate of our entire Northern Rhode Island region seems to be taken so lightly by a governor who clearly has high personal ambitions outside our state.  I personally feel that she just doesn’t care enough about the possible consequences because they won’t be her consequences……she’ll just leave……and leave us to deal with the calamity which would follow. 

If it did happen, it will be beyond any governor’s ability to reverse once it started.  It is for this reason that I think carelessly giving CVS another reason to move out of Northern Rhode Island is bad public policy for our entire region. 

  

--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 14th............

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 14th…………….

 

--You may have heard that yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court took an action which some say will ‘open the flood gates’ to sports betting across the nation.  You may have heard that this is the beginning of the end for honest sports play.  And you may have heard it’s the best thing to happen in years to the sports fan. 

  Depending on your perspective, all of the above may be true.  But I think we’re all hearing the usual exaggerations which predominate whenever there is an unknown.  It’s true, there is a lot which is unknown.  But here’s what we do know.

  The U.S. Supreme Court has declared ‘unconstitutional’ a 25 year-old law which banned, in all states except Nevada, betting on sports games.  The reason it gave for that decision is that the law didn’t regulate the gambling in all states except Nevada, it banned it.  The court’s opinion was the constitution says if the Federal Government would not regulate it, it was up to each State to regulate it.  I remember from Social Studies class in high school that ‘all powers not specifically given to the federal government by the Constitution are given to the States’.  The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the constitution in matters which come before it.  In this case, the Court ruled that Congress passed an unconstitutional law. 

  You may ask, “how could it take 25 years for the Supreme Court to decide this?”  Well, it didn’t take that long.  It took mostly that long for someone, in this case the Governor of the State of New Jersey, to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

  Now that it has been challenged and struck down, what will happen next?  Well, that depends on your perspective.  In Nevada, nothing new will happen.  In states like New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi and others, they’ll need to pass quick laws which regulate this type of betting to their states.

  A press release received at our radio station from the President of the Rhode Island Senate, Dominick J. Ruggerio, yesterday indicated at least his house in the legislature was not caught by surprise.  President Ruggerio said, “In anticipation of this decision, I introduced legislation this year to enable sports betting at the facilities where it has been approved by voters already, Twin River in Lincoln and the new venue being constructed in Tiverton.”  Other legislators were quick to support the idea with the same enthusiasm in which an inmate on death row would welcome a reprieve from the Governor.  Facing monumental budget issues, they are trying hard to keep their dignity as they reach for the sunglasses to hide their tears of relief.  The term “Giddy with Laughter” would not go too far in describing the mood of some legislators at the prospect of being able to spend the millions of new dollars this expansion of gambling will yield.

  However, I’m not happy with Rhode Island jumping on the “Sports Betting Boat”.  Don’t get me wrong, for the good things which can happen with these changes I am happy.  But there is a down-side to all this.  No, I’m not a pessimist.  Listen, we already have a state budget which is so dependent upon the traditional vices of smoking, drinking, and gambling, that if everyone suddenly ‘got religion’ and gave it up the entire Rhode Island State Government would have the life expectancy of an Ice Cream Cone on the Fourth of July.  I’m not eager to see it any more dependent on sin taxes than it is now.

  I have nothing against people having fun.  But we all know that some people have a hard time knowing when ‘enough is enough’.  For these people we have just made life much more perilous.  And this doesn’t even consider the extra temptations and pressures this will put on the athletes. 

  I know I sound like a ‘Debbie Downer’ with this talk.  I’m not happy I think this way, and I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s fun.  I am just remembering the words of a dear friend who turned out to be a ‘wise old man’.  Former Lt. Governor Joe O’Donnell and I used to amuse ourselves debating big and important topics over lunch.  Topics like the uselessness of party politics (my position) or the dangers of the expansion of gambling in the state (his position).  I have to say that Joe made a great point in his argument against the expansion of gambling which I never forgot.  He told me no matter how much gambling we allow we will never have enough money from it because the General Assembly will just spend more.  That, he concluded, is no way to run a government.

  Joe’s words have been proven true many times since then.  Rhode Island first allowed a state lottery “to fund education”.  Then it funded everything they needed money for.  They have casino gambling now and it’s still not enough money, our deficits have never been bigger.  Just over the border to our west we see the State of Connecticut also running terrible deficits despite having two of the largest casinos in this part of the world within their borders.  I can only conclude that fixing a budget deficit with gambling money has proven to be as effective as having Curley from The Three Stooges fix your plumbing. 

  Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was laudable in its wisdom.  I think the Supreme Court justices did their job well.  We can only hope and pray the leaders in each state exhibit the same level of wisdom.  

  You see, I can be a starry-eyed optimist. 

 

--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 8th...........

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 8th…………….

 

 

 

 

 

--Congratulations are going out this week to the Rotary Club of Woonsocket for their very successful ‘Rotary Days Touch-A-Truck’ event last weekend!  They really out-did themselves this year, even including a helicopter among the impressive vehicles put on display for the youngsters.  After last year’s all-day rains you might have understood if they kinda backed off this year, but they did not and when you added the picture-perfect weather we had on Saturday, they really knocked it out of the park this year.

 

 

 

  This is just one of the many ways the dedicated and caring members of Rotary make our community a better place in which to live.

 

 

 

 

 

--I was asked by The Fabulous Denise to thank everybody in our city and state government responsible for the six dollar tax rebate check she received in the mail yesterday.  She couldn’t wait to show it to me…….or to cash it.  As she wisely put it, “Every little bit helps!”

 

 

 

 

 

--I was recently asked to join the Board of Directors of the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance, known more commonly as the Blackstone Valley Buy Local Group.  I have always admired their work, so I accepted the invitation.  Some of the people who have lead the organization from the beginning have had changes in their lives, as happens now and again, and the members who have stepped up are full of new ideas and energy to take this vital group to ‘the next level’, as they say.  It’s really very advantageous to have the veteran leaders helping the new ones, what a great position to be in! 

 

 

 

  Outgoing Buy Local President Jeanne Budnick appeared on our station along with incoming President (and former Treasurer) Dave Gobeille to “pass the torch” recently, and you’ll be seeing them in display ads here in The Call.  President Dave reminds members to look in their postal mail for the yearly membership renewal letter, and asks those non-members who wish to join to message him on the Blackstone Valley Buy Local Face Book page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--I attended a meeting yesterday with some friends to hear all four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation speak on various topics. 

 

 

 

  You can probably imagine that I went there not expecting to learn anything new, since in a state the size of Rhode Island where we have a unique access to our Congressmen and Senators, we know each other and have discussed these matters before.  But I did learn something which made an great impression upon me, and I want to share it with you.

 

 

 

  Being in the broadcasting business, I hear all the news reports from Washington all day and every day.  The nature of the stories and the depth of the reported divisiveness troubles me.  Yet here I was in a room with 400 other people and nobody wanted to hear about the ‘latest tweet’ of the Chief Executive or the legal implications of the scandals and near-scandals we hear about on the news incessantly.  These people only wanted to know about how our representatives at congress planned to make their family’s lives better and more secure.

 

 

 

  Wow.  What an impression this meeting made on me!  When I’m with others from my profession, everyone is climbing over each other trying to trip up the congressman or senator into giving them the juicy sound-bite on what the news media has collectively decided is important to their audiences.  But here, nobody cared about “quotable quotes”.  They only cared about how the federal government was going to help or protect them and their families.

 

 

 

  And, as I sat there for those 75 minutes, I realized something else which impressed me even more.  I realized that these four leaders, all members of the Democratic Party, who I have criticized roundly and rightly, I think, in the past for spouting the “Party Line” of bashing President Trump first and then the Republican Party in general before answering any question………..didn’t do that once.  Not once.  They were talking to a roomful of regular people instead of reporters and they behaved like regular people themselves.  Regular, intelligent, rational people, all four of them.

 

 

 

  Remarkable.

 

 

 

  So I have resolved whenever I am with either a member of our congressional delegation, a state officeholder, or even a member of our municipal governments to remember to ask them questions that really matter first, and not go cheap and ask them about what’s “in the news”.  My colleagues may laugh at me, but I’ll bet I will get a more honest and true response to my questions than they will.  I like that idea…..because I hate the “Party Line”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--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 April 24th..............

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 24th…………….

 

--School is back in session and special events are popping up like dandelions.  Soon, even the dandelions will be popping up like dandelions.  In fact, except for a quick stop on Mother’s Day next month, it’s full speed ahead now until the unofficial start of summertime (Memorial Day weekend) and then summer school vacations. 

 

--One of the many events this week is scheduled for the St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center on Cumberland Street this Sunday afternoon.  The Rhode Island Wind Ensemble will perform a spring program in the grand hall with the acoustics performers yearn for and audiences come to hear.  

  For those not familiar with this type of music, don’t misunderstand, you’ll hear tunes both beautiful and familiar.  If you’re expecting stuffy classical music, you’ll be surprised to see no violins, no chelos, no big string basses.  You’ll find all the woodwind instruments, clarinets, flutes, saxophones, and more of them.  You’ll see the brass instruments, trumpets, trombones, baritone horns and tubas.  In fact, the only instrument with strings there will be the piano.

 The point I’m making here is this concert is for the average person who just likes nice and familiar music played in a relaxing atmosphere by talented people who truly love to play for you. 

  Let’s show these folks that Woonsocket appreciates good music by turning out in large numbers.  Tickets are available at The Honey Shop, Excel Salon, Pepin Lumber, Vose Tru-Value Hardware or on line at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center website. 

 

--It appears all the screaming about the FCC’s repeal of “Net Neutrality” hasn’t caught on.  I’m sure it’s because the average person has no idea how it will affect them.  They’ll start screaming again when their streaming TV service starts skipping and stuttering.  They’ll scream when their Internet provider tells them they need to pay extra money to watch streaming TV because they use “too much Internet” for the plan they have.  I predict it will be the start of one of the biggest scams of this decade and will be a boon to over the air broadcasts station.  The group we now call “Millennials”, so proud they live on the Internet and reject all previous forms of media will suddenly become activists when their Hulu and Netflix is no longer cheap. 

 

--Here’s another thing the Internet Generation will hate.  Congress is re-authorizing the Federal Aviation Agency, or F.A.A.. These folks regulate the airlines and aviation industry in general.  You’d think that is fairly routine and rather boring until you hear the whining and screaming from the companies who run computers that help you to buy airline tickets and hotel rooms, and general travel stuff.  

  The way I’m hearing it, the airlines would rather you buy tickets directly from them instead of shopping for the lowest price with computer companies like Captain Obvious and KAYAK and such.  So they’ve convinced the people at the FAA to change the rules governing large ticket selling operations in such a way that those computer companies can’t do it without additional information.  Information the airlines will not be required to provide.  

  I’m sure there’ll be plenty of whining and screaming about that.  But, if you’re smart, pick up the old 20th Century telephone, call your favorite local Travel Agency, and have them book your flights.  You’ll still save money, and you won’t have to worry about Net Neutrality getting in the way of your shopping, either.     

 

--I must end this week on a sad note.  A friend of mine passed away last Friday morning.  Her name was Jackie Boudreau.  It’s hard to write about Jackie’s passing without expressing a feeling of frustration.  Before I tell you why I’m frustrated, I need to say that I am not in the medical profession and what I’m about to write is purely my opinion, I don’t claim anyone did anything wrong. 

 Here is why I am frustrated.  From what I’ve been told about Jackie’s final illnesses, it seems clear to me that she didn’t have to die.  I am sure that if Jackie had been able to get certain tests done earlier her true illness would have been discovered much earlier.  Discovering cancer early is the best defense.  But the cancer fooled the doctors, masquerading as an infection and the tests which would have discovered the cancer could not be justified to the insurance company. 

 If this were 20 years ago, the insurance companies wouldn’t have been able to discourage the tests for financial reasons.  But……and this is the big “but”……..20 years ago medical science may not have been able to find the cancer and cure it.

 That’s the terrible frustration about all of this.  The medical science breakthroughs which can save people’s lives today that couldn’t have been saved before are denied because they are too expensive.  What good are advanced medical procedures if they are denied to those who need them?  It’s just so darned frustrating.  Medical professionals I speak to share my frustration.  They are forced to deal with these realities every day.  Some realities in this world are just an awful shame.      

  Jackie Boudreau was one of the kindest and most caring people I knew.  I will hold my memories of her close to my heart as long as I live.  I just wish she hadn’t suffered so at the end.

 

 --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 April 17th........

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 17th…………….

 

 

--State Senator Roger Picard visited our morning radio show yesterday.  His visit prompted me to think about a number of things I’d like to comment on here. 

  First, I’ll set up the situation.  We asked Roger about the new “truck” tolls on the highways, the budget process, “scooping” (when the legislature raids the private accounts of departments for money) and new legislation he has sponsored at the request of Attorney General Kilmartin.  It’s always fun to talk to Roger because he’s a man who keeps his passions within due bounds and agrees with you that things could be better in the state house.

  When asked why things are so messed up in the legislature, Roger explained, as he has before, that there’s a simple solution for every problem everywhere EXCEPT in the legislature.  Someone can have all the common sense in the world and it is of no use there.  In fact, there is no way to survive in the General Assembly except by politics and compromise.  But somehow Roger manages to survive, keep his temper, and plod along in slow but determined steps.  

  I don’t think I would survive there.   I think I would have become frustrated years ago and stepped down.  But Roger told me yesterday he will run for re-election this November.  He’s a better man than I.

  I teased him about the supposed “truck tolling”, telling him it was just a ruse.  I told him it is now conventional knowledge that once the first toll is taken, the truckers will take the state to court and the state will lose.  They will end up under court order to either abolish the tolls or to collect tolls from every vehicle, not just trucks.  Since they have already budgeted the toll money, abolishing the tolls will not happen.  I said it with some cynicism, but Roger didn’t join me in that attitude.  He told me that if what I said comes to pass, it would be the start of big changes in Providence.  He didn’t say what changes, but I got the impression that what he wasn’t saying was that all heck would break loose.

  Roger explained that the “scooping” phenomena, while it seems so wrong to so many people, is not as evil and money-grabbing as it appears.  He said that many state departments and agencies have ‘squirreled-away’ huge sums of money in special accounts.  These special account monies are not used for the department’s mission, but for others things like new cars for staff, etc.  Then they come to the legislature for more money, crying poverty and that they don’t have enough of it to complete their mission.  These are the accounts the legislature is “scooping” to balance their budget.  

  Well, when you put it THAT way, it doesn’t seem so evil, does it?  It actually sounds more like somebody’s trying to save the taxpayers some money rather than drunken sailors robbing people for more booze, doesn’t it?   

  “The budget process is all about priorities”, Senator Picard said.  Explaining “that’s where the real work happens.”  Everyone has their hand out.  Some are sincere and honest and will use their appropriations wisely to do the most good for the most people.  Some are playing the game.   Those are the people who will either ask for more than they need or less than they need knowing they can do better with an adjustment later in the year.  You have to figure out which ones are not honest and by how much.  It’s not easy.

  Regarding the legislation Roger introduced on behalf of the Attorney General, it addresses a problem where health insurance companies treat children differently than adults and will legislate a fairness that will save a lot of money for certain Rhode Island families.  Although I personally dislike when the state government compels insurance companies to cover certain medicines or procedures because it raises the cost of health insurance for everyone, I can see the validity of this request by the A.G. because it will serve to protect families.  Anyone who has raised or is raising a family knows how precarious finances can be during those years.  One sickness or injury of a child can send the entire family into a desperate state.  It makes sense to me.

 

--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 April 10th

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 10th…………….

 

--I want to open this week with a big hat tip to Woonsocket’s Parks and Recreation Director, Liz Kerrigan.  

  As I wrote last week, this past Sunday was the day of the Children’s Egg Hunt in Woonsocket.  This event depends almost entirely upon donations and volunteers.  Well, something went wrong with some of the volunteers Sunday, and we were missing a number of them.  Liz accepted the reality of the situation with grace and poise and somehow made it all work out.  Hundreds of kids and their parents or guardians still had a wonderful time.  What a professional! 

 

--This coming Saturday is the first day of trout fishing season in Rhode Island.  On this day each year the Woonsocket Elks organize the annual Children’s Fishing Derby at the pond at Cass Park.  Over the past week the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has transplanted hundreds of young trout from the hatcheries to Cass Pond.  These little critters are swimming around out there just waiting for the youngsters on Saturday morning.  

  It’s a great day of fun family memories every year.  In fact, I show up each year and snap pictures all around the pond and then post them on the radio station’s website in such a way that the moms and dads can download a full size copy of their pictures to have for free.

 The stories these youngsters have to tell each year.  The excitement of getting their first ‘bite’ and the triumph when they land their first fish.  And, of course, all those who fish have a story about the “one that got away”. 

  Some years it is wet, cold, and uncomfortable.  This year the forecast is for moderate weather.  In my experience, even on those years when it has snowed on the morning of the Fishing Derby there have been many families waiting to drop their lines at the official starting time of 6am.  But when the weather has been mild, like this year is expected to be, anglers will be lining up well before 5am, for sure.  That’s just a little friendly advice for those who haven’t been there before.  

  You need to register and get an angler’s number to fish during the Derby.  You can register the morning of the Derby at Cass Pond with the Elks, or you can pre-register at Pete’s Bait and Tackle Shop, 341 Burnside Avenue, Woonsocket. 

 The Fishing Derby is dedicated each year to the memory of the late Ernest Carignan, who lead the Elks in the Fishing Derby effort for many years before his passing, and is open to all Woonsocket children aged 12 and under.  A parent or guardian must be present and responsible for each angler.  Prizes will be awarded throughout the Derby, and trophies will be awarded for the biggest single fish and heaviest string of fish for both boys and girls, with the awards ceremonies broadcast on local radio. 

  You may wonder why I have spent so much time writing about a children’s fishing derby in an opinion column.  The reason is the point I wanted to make about memories.  I recently celebrated a birthday and this occasion is often one in which a man takes stock and examines how he has spent the gift of time thus far.  I noted that I have spent much of my lifetime looking forward, so busy running toward tomorrow that I often forgot to savor the day I was presently living.  I can’t do anything about how I have spent my life so far, but I can resolve to slow down a bit now.  And just like the man who learns to chew their food more slowly and carefully, I am enjoying the experience more.

  Please remember to slow down, folks.  Give this advice to the young people you know.  Take time to make good memories.  When we pass from this earth, memories are what we all become. 

 

--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 April 3rd................

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 3rd…………….

 

--Three of my favorite Springtime events are either here or almost here.  First, the month I’ve been waiting for since November, April is finally here!  Next, the City of Woonsocket Children’s Egg Hunt is this coming Sunday!  All children of city residents are invited to Rivers Edge Complex off Davison Avenue at……well, better make it 12:30pm this Sunday.  Dozens of prizes and cratesful of candies and eggs will be available on the three soccer fields literally for the taking when the horn sounds PROMPTLY at 1pm (no matter where you are at the time). 

  Note the location.  Rivers Edge Complex is the park with the Bike Path, Putting Green, and Soccer Fields.  Parking is located INSIDE the Park.  You must pull into the long driveway and drive to the parking area.  You do not see it from the road.   It is NOT the Veteran’s Park. 

  You’ll notice I told you to get there at 12:30pm.  There’s a reason for that.  Years ago when we had the Egg Hunt at another location it was easier to get to the fields for hunting if you arrived almost at the last minute.  Not so at Rivers Edge park.  You’ll be walking a bit further, and that takes time, so please plan for it.  All the other kids are not going to wait for yours to get there.  When the horn blows, the fields are stripped bare in a very few minutes! 

  The third event is the Children’s Fishing Derby coming up on Saturday April 14th at Cass Park in Woonsocket.  I’ll have more on that next week.

 

--Time now for our weekly rant.  I sometimes use this time to take a light-hearted look at a problem.  This is not one of those times.  This subject is just too serious to joke about.  

  I am increasingly disturbed by the sheer number of police shootings we are seeing in the news.  These horrible events must stop.  The solution is simple.  The deaths are totally needless and are, from what I can see in the reports, caused by somebody not following the rules.  Often they could be avoided if the suspect simply complied with the orders of law enforcement officers immediately and without argument.  The shooting of the unarmed person who reached for his cell phone INSTEAD of complying with the orders of police was a perfect example of this.  

  Every citizen of this country should, and now that I think of it, every non-citizen should also learn one simple fact which some of us have been and all of us should have been taught as children.  “When a police officer gives you an order, you comply immediately and without argument.”

  There will be plenty of time and opportunity later to explain yourself or offer proofs of your innocence.  But.  And we cannot stress this point too strongly……..BUT if you fail to comply immediately with the order of a police officer YOU ARE ALREADY WRONG!   Even if you are innocent of any crime, you have now broken the law for having failed to comply immediately.  It is called “obstruction of a police officer in the conduct of their duty”.  

  Comply first.  If you didn’t do anything wrong, you will be given every chance to explain it later and all you will have lost is a little of your time, not your life.  And if you did do something wrong, you will avoid tacking additional charges onto whatever you have coming.  By the way, if you think you can get away from the cops…….c’mon…….in the 21st Century?  You have a better chance of being hit by lightning than not being caught eventually (with evasion and flight charges added)……hey, they caught Bin Laden, you know. 

  Yes, I realize you may not be thinking rationally when one or more police officers make you the focus of their professional attention, perhaps with guns drawn, so now is the time, as you read this, to resolve that if you ever find yourself in such a situation you will not turn it into a death sentence.   

  Right now, while you have your wits about you, think for a moment.  You’ve got to realize that police officers are people just like you and me who are trained to take control of a situation quickly and completely and to protect themselves and others, yes, with deadly force if needed. 

  If you think you’re nervous in such a situation, police officers are, too.  They are on edge and tense, as anyone would be, when they draw their weapons.  They don’t know if you are hopped up on drugs.  They don’t know what crazy thing you will do which might prevent them from keeping their promise to come home from work to their family safely.  They are trained to take control………..and if you are not within their control, they will put you under their control.  Don’t challenge it, this is not a game. 

  So once again it’s not that we need any new laws.  We have the laws we need.  But we do not yet have the compliance with existing laws we need to make everyone safe.  Let’s make sure everyone gets this message that you are always wrong if you fail to comply with the order of a police officer.  This isn’t TV, you know.  This is real life.     

 

--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 27th..........

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for March 27th…………….

 

--It can be done!  Stage entertainers still can, even in the 21st Century, be successful without using bad language and abusive jokes. 

  I have often told stories of my Uncle Jim who was a performer on the live performance circuit they call Vaudeville.  He told stories about his years on the road.  Several of his stories centered around the difference between the finest theaters and the…..er……theaters you performed in which you didn’t put on your resume, shall we say.  Of course, the best places, the ones which paid the best and lead to the best jobs, required that you have a special talent.  If you weren’t special, you just didn’t get booked there.  But aside from that he told me the biggest difference was the language.  

  In those days there were bawdy ‘dance hall’ style places which sometimes included brief nudity and off-color jokes.  Not as far down the politeness ladder as burlesque, but certainly not a place you’d take your mother, either.  In actuality, most performers worked in such places.  They were just naughty enough to be fun for the masses, but not bad enough to be raided by the cops. 

  And then there were theaters like The Palace.  Every performer wanted to work there.  It was the 1920s version of network TV.  First-class.  But there were rules.  In fact, I read in a book by another vaudevillian, George Burns, there was a sign back stage at The Palace posted on the brick wall where all the performers would see it.  George said it read, “If you do not possess the talent to entertain our audiences without offending them, you do not possess the talent to take this stage.”  And they meant it, too.  One ‘slip’ and you got the hook and were handed your photos.  And being “handed your photos” in vaudeville was being fired, never again hired, and you could never say you worked there.

  I don’t know what the attraction is for foul language.  In my years I have worked with performers who claim their marketability decreased by a third and they lost money when they “cleaned up” their act for a while.  Pay-cable TV and more recently streaming media on the Internet are often said to be more popular because Over-The-Air broadcasters cannot allow offensive language in their programming.  I don’t get it. 

  Last week I had the surprise opportunity to go to a show in Providence.  We had given away tickets to a listener who found later they couldn’t go and turned them back to the station.  The Fabulous Denise and I decided to use them to see the famous comedian Jay Leno’s stage show. 

 I have always admired Jay somewhat.  He’s only about five years older than I am and we share some similar experiences, as he grew up in the Boston area and was working there when I was also working in Boston.

 I also admire Jay for having the strength of character to work on national TV for more than 15 years and still stand up to the terrible pressures a job like that will bring to challenge a person’s ethics, essentially unchanged.

 Unchanged, but improved.  Yes, Jay worked comedy clubs in Boston’s infamous ‘Combat Zone’ in the 70s, and he has, in places like that, told all those jokes you’d never tell your grandmother.  But hundreds of other people and I sat in that theater last week and listened to Jay Leno tell joke after really funny joke for 95 full minutes, non-stop, and it was all rated PG.  What an amazing talent it takes to do that!

 My admiration for him has soared since then.  Jay Leno has confirmed in real life what I have always believed.  When you are really and truly talented, you don’t need to use bad language to be successful.  

 Bad language is a crutch for lesser-talented performers.

  

--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 20th..........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for March 20th…………….

 

 

 --Happy Spring!  In recognition of the optimism this season brings, we will reverse our usual order of business this week and begin with the rant………

 

 --We all know the Rhode Island General Assembly, short of money and even more short of common sense, has been for years indulging in a favorite guilty pleasure of punishing people who smoke tobacco with new laws and “sin taxes” rising higher and faster than a rocket at Cape Canaveral.  It’s gotten to the point now that one needs an additional part time job just to fund their smoking habit.  

  If you think I’m being unkind to the General Assembly, or unduly kind to smokers, read this and judge for yourself. 

  Hardly a year goes by that state legislators don’t increase the size and cost of state government.  It’s wrong, and they know it, but it is what they do.  To pay for this expansion, they identify expected sources of income.  More than once they’ve increased the tax on cigarettes to pay for something new they wanted to pay for because all the cessation assistance funds from the tobacco companies were diverted to pay for expansions to the government they instituted still more years before that. 

  They start this procedure by figuring out how many packs of cigarettes they expect will be sold in the state next year.  They do the math and raise the tax to produce the income they need for their new project.  They’ve done this so many times, now, that the tax is many multiples more than the actual price of the product.  The only thing I can think of which is more crazy than all of this is that now there is a proposal in the General Assembly to raise the legal age to buy and use tobacco products.  The intent of this bill is obviously to discourage smoking.  

  Well, even an idiot can understand that, rightly or wrongly, the reality is that if you raise the age and decrease the number of people who can legally buy tobacco products, the tax revenue you can expect from those sales will be lower.  The result will be none of the projections made heretofore will be accurate and projects previously funded by the tax will go under-funded.  This will contribute to a deficit which is already, to put it kindly, ominous. 

  I think it is a shame that taxes on tobacco products and profits from casino gambling are two of the major sources of revenue we use to run our state government.  I can’t do anything about it, but I think it’s a shame.  However, I can say with certainty that if you’re going to earmark proceeds from the taxes to fund projects in the budget and then you pass a law to reduce the expected funding……..well, that’s just crazy in my book.  And I think it’s a dangerous kind of crazy.

  

--The preceding paragraphs notwithstanding, we will end our deliberations this week with a compliment to that same somewhat dysfunctional body.  Time for a tip of the hat for at least attempting to rid the General Laws of our state of useless and outdated statutes.  I’ve said for many years that there are just too many laws and we should remove one old law for every one we want to add.  They’re not going quite that far this time, they want to remove only three, but I say it is a step in the right direction. 

  I felt sure there were a few laws on the books we would not miss if they were gone, but even I was surprised to hear that there was a law making it illegal to test the speed of a horse on Rhode Island highways.  I don’t know why that was ever such a problem that it required a law to prevent it, but I’m thinking that law is a good candidate for extinction. 

  Others up for official removal are the law making it a crime to be a ‘second’ in a duel, and the law making it a crime to enter a building with the intent to steal poultry. 

  When you look at the matter closely you’ll see that ‘gentlemanly duels’ were replaced generations ago by ‘drive-by shootings’.  Therefore, being a ‘second’ or an assistant to a participant in a duel went out of style a long time ago, I suppose.  We won’t miss that law, will we?

  I do expect that it will still be illegal to steal poultry in our state, it just won’t be a separate crime when you enter a building intending to steal poultry.  Even the chickens aren’t likely to miss that law.  Well done, I say! 

  Sure, you may say that these three laws represent the “low-hanging fruit” of antiquated legislation, but I think even this triflingly little bit of common sense displayed in a place where common sense is in such short supply should be applauded.  Maybe now that they’ve tried it once and it didn’t hurt much……..they might do it again?  I hope so.

  

--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 6th..........

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for March 6th…………….

--For many years we have listened to doctors, clergy, or other officials lecture us about how almost anything we might wish to do that tastes good, feels good, or is otherwise desirable is “bad” for you and will lead to terrible consequences.  I’m like most of you, I listen to the warnings and I realize that sometimes these experts are right and sometimes they’re wrong.  

  I remember when my family was using real butter in our house.  Then came the experts telling us we’ll all die of heart attacks if we continue this horrible practice and we had better use Margarine, if we knew what was good for us.  Unfortunately, some years after that a new set of “experts” were telling us switching to Margarine was a big mistake and if we knew what was good for us we’d either switch back to butter or use nothing at all.

 I’m sure both of us could add a dozen more separate times the “experts” were wrong.  This kind of “crying ‘wolf’” scenario emboldens us all to disregard the warnings of “experts” more and more with each year.  But every now and again those “experts”, the “people-who-suppose-they-know” actually do get it right.  I was witness to this over the past week.

  A dear friend of mine, Bill Lally, who grew up in the Sheldonville section of Wrentham, died a miserable death last Saturday.  Bill succumbed to skin cancer.  The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and when you’ve lost the battle for your skin, you’ve lost your life.  Some of you may remember Bill.  We were young guys starting out in the radio business in the early 1970s together at what was then WWON radio.  Bill had far more on-air talent than I.  A well-articulated, deep voice, even in his late teens and early twenties, with a sharp and painfully dry wit.  Bill early in his career moved up to responsible positions in New York and then Los Angeles. 

  I said some of you may remember Bill for the brief years he worked in Woonsocket radio.  Whether you do or don’t, if you ever met Bill, you’ll remember his sun-tanned skin.  Bill nurtured that tan for many, many years.  I noticed it like everybody did, but it was none of my personal business, so I said nothing to him about it, except once to jokingly ask him if he were taking a “reverse Michael Jackson treatment”.  It wasn’t funny then, either, but Bill laughed.  He appreciated even a bad attempt at a joke.

 It seems clear today that getting too much exposure to the sun (or tanning lights) does nothing to you that you can detect while it is happening, except maybe a sunburn.  But 40 years later, when you’ve finished your career and are looking forward to a nice retirement is when it hits you. 

 If you are like me and got plenty of sun when we were kids because our parents honestly believed it was a healthy thing for kids to do, keep an eye on your skin.  Warts, moles, or birthmarks will usually give you early warning.  See a doctor.  Weeks and months could make a difference. 

  

--There is much discussion about President Trump’s announcement that he wants to protect jobs at home by placing substantial tariffs on steel and aluminum.  This is a matter of policy and a delicate balance of imports and exports and how they affect employment in any country.  I don’t think I understand these complexities well enough to comment on their merits.  But there was one remark the president made about these tariffs which did send up a red flag for me.  I didn’t catch it all, but the upshot and part of the quote was that he wasn’t concerned about starting a Trade War because “Trade Wars are easily won.” 

  Let me tell you why the thought behind these words concerns me.  The way I read the history books, in the years leading up to the second world war, a key causative factor behind Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, which thrust our nation into the world wide conflict, was steel, and a trade embargo.

 The United States, as I read, had agreed to sell massive quantities of scrap metal and steel to the Empire of Japan.  However, when Japan joined Italy and Germany to form the so-called “Axis” powers, the U.S. cancelled those contracts because they knew the scrap metal and steel was being used to build armaments and make us morally complicit with countries which were at war with our friends. 

 History describes the discussions between representatives of Japan and the U.S. as negotiations which were designed to camouflage preparations for Japan’s sneak attack.  Whether they were or not, the talks were supposed to actually be trying to get the U.S. to reverse our decision of cancelling the contracts to sell Japan the metals it sorely needed.  In hind-sight, it is clear that Japan was angered by our refusal to honor the contracts and they felt justified in attacking us. 

  If you look back in the history books you will see many military conflicts which had their start in trade disagreements.  Not all the time, but often enough to make me feel very uncomfortable when a world leader seems to think little real damage will come from a trade war.  I think any disagreement between sovereign nations has a potential to get out of hand and should not be taken lightly.

 

--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—