Dave's Column

Dave Richards for September 26, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 26th…………

 

 --Tonight is the night that Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and the Autumnfest Steering Committee hold a public reception for the 2017 Autumnfest Parade Grand Marshal, Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw.  It’s always a fun time, with many of the past Grand Marshals in attendance and I can tell you it is a night filled with unforgettable memories.  

  Autumnfest is the largest planned event in Woonsocket in any year.  To be selected to be the Grand Marshal is an honor which cannot help but fill one with great satisfaction in the choices they’ve made in life.  It seems the selection of each successive Grand Marshal sets ‘the bar’ higher for the next one.  It certainly did this time! 

 

--On the other hand, this next topic is about people who might have made better choices.  Last Sunday morning and afternoon I had a lot of work to do preparing for our part in the upcoming Autumnfest celebration, so I wasn’t watching what was going on in the news and I generally stay as far away as possible from social media anyway, the result being I was watching the football game later on Sunday when the announcers were making a big deal of the NFL players show of solidarity, protesting a statement from President Trump and I said to myself, “Oh dear, now what has that fool gone and done this time?”   

  I, of course, checked into the matter immediately and found it was just another opinion being expressed by him and being disagreed with by a huge number of people.  So what’s new?  Well, this time the protest stretched across the sea to the NFL game played by two American teams in England.

  My own reaction disturbed me because I don’t think anyone should think that way about their president, but we are being conditioned into reacting that way with one needless controversy after another.  This, I think, is not limited to me but rather it shows what I feel is a disturbing trend.  The president makes a statement in his usual un-diplomatic style with the predictable result of dividing people, many of whom react with protests.  I think a united America is better for our country, and I am becoming increasingly disturbed that Mr. Trump may actually succeed in finally uniting America……… AGAINST HIM!  This would not be good for our country. 

 Disagreement is going to happen, in fact, it is a healthy element in any lively debate and a cornerstone of our democracy.  However, a healthy society will at least attempt to reach agreement first, through compromise or persuasion based upon the facts.  Divisive opinions and blunt ‘wise-guy’ statements may be entertaining at the moment they are said, but they fail to move the larger civic agenda forward because people get focused upon the superficial entertainment and not on the underlying issues of importance. 

--Mr. Trump is not alone in this.  We have a citizen in our city who just cannot resist but to cause controversy.  Mr. Roland Michaud is, by all accounts, a very smart and successful man, maybe not to the same level, but remarkably like Mr. Trump.  He has his opinions and he has the right and means to express them publicly.  But just like the president, Mr. Michaud’s comments and opinions seem to stir debate and controversy instead of building consensus.  By failing to pass their comments through the filter of politeness, both men who otherwise might persuade other people to support their opinions are driven away instead.  I think this is a shame.  But it is their burden to bear and their choice to make. 

  I think in this great republic smart people who care are in short supply at all levels of government.  I find it a pity that some who do have the smarts and who do care cannot lead and govern because they cannot control their natural urges to be disagreeable.  Remember, you aren’t a leader if most people aren’t following you.  And these two men are beating potential followers away with the proverbial stick!

 I think that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Michaud have regrettably made themselves “unelectable” by their actions of late.  Let’s face it.  Do you think when Mr. Michaud’s term on the Woonsocket Zoning Board of Appeals runs out that anyone in office now will re-appoint him?  I don’t.  Further, do you think that the Republican Party will support Mr. Trump for presidential re-election?  I don’t.  Just like Teddy Roosevelt over one hundred years ago, I think the party will back someone else because they’d just have had enough of the “personality” which couldn’t be separated from the man’s accomplishments.

 I don’t write these words to embarrass either man I have mentioned.  Instead, I hope these words will strengthen them to moderate their actions for the remainder of their terms or to encourage others with the same gifts and tendencies to moderate their own……..before it’s too late for them.

 All Rhode Islanders live in Hope.

 

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

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 19, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 19th…………

--It was with a touch of sadness that we bade farewell yesterday to the cast and crew of the Up With People Show.  Their one week visit was full of happiness, hope, and wonderful memories.  They travel on from Cumberland to New Hampshire, then to Virginia, and then on to Mexico.  

  We knew when they came their visit would seem all too short.  But we also know that a part of us and our beloved Blackstone Valley travels with them to be deposited in other parts of the world.  The concept of “the melting pot” now extends well beyond the borders of the United States, as we slowly bring understanding and a voice of peace to people around the world through efforts such as Up With People.

  The two shows they staged at the Cumberland High School Wellness Center last weekend were their special gift of thanks to us for our hospitality, they said.  The shows were wonderful.  But the memories of their visit will be just as precious to those who took the time to meet and know them.  Safe travels, my friends!

  

--Thanks and congratulations to Elizabeth Featherston and her committee who put on an outstanding Great PumpkinFest in North Smithfield last Saturday!  So many families came and all had a fun time.  I was impressed by the smooth operation of the PumpkinFest, and delighted to see that my friend Peter Branconier and his friends were there helping to keep everyone safe and happy.  Well done!  Now, on to Settler’s Days in Manville this weekend!

 

--Following up on last week’s comments, I told you about my friend John who owns a radio station in the Florida Keys and how he struggled to get some of the locals down there to evacuate before Hurricane Irma hit.  

  Well, there was good news and bad news for John when he returned to his property.  The good news was that his studio and office building was damaged, but still standing and usable.  Better still, his radio towers were still mostly vertical and can be used while he arranges for permanent repairs.  That was remarkable, but, as he said, they built them extra strong because they knew about how hurricanes visited that area.  The guy wires were designed for 190 mile an hour winds, where many such towers elsewhere are designed to withstand only 110 mph winds. 

  Of course it’s not always the winds which cause towers to collapse, it’s the solid objects which become airborne and which get thrown into the tower which weakens them and brings them down.  John was lucky.  That didn’t happen.

  On the other hand, he had no utility power and no promise of when it would return.  He also could not generate power, either.  Water from the storm surge had gotten into the fuel tanks and there was no replacement fuel, so they had to wait.  By the end of the week, though, John was on the air, serving his islands with local news and information.

  I’m sure you’re waiting for a report on the fate of those neighbors John left behind when he evacuated.  The truth is he doesn’t know if the people he doesn’t see around town were killed or if they just haven’t returned from shelter yet.  It will be some time before we know.  

 

--I often caution against jumping to conclusions when hearing news reports.  My experience in the news business as a reporter has taught me that first reports, and sometimes even subsequent reports can either be in error or simply give the wrong impression.  A good example of this is the horrible news which came out of Florida last week that 8 elderly residents of a nursing home died for lack of air conditioning when the power was out for days.  

  I heard comments that the people who ran the nursing home and the staff were murderers and should end up in jail. 

  But as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now here’s the rest of the story”. 

  Evidence has been found and confirmed that the people in charge at that nursing home took extraordinary steps to secure help from the outside.  Not only did they contact local authorities, but when help didn’t come from them they called the personal cell phone of none other than the Governor of Florida to beg for his assistance.  It turns out that the tragedy actually happened because somebody forwarded the voicemail message on the governor’s cellphone to two other agencies which did not or could not help.  Anyway, help did not come in time for these 8 residents.  Not at all what we were lead to believe from the first news reports, was it?

 

--Before I go, I need to say a word about a friend of mine who died on September 8th here in Rhode Island.  I didn’t learn of his passing until it was too late to mention it last week.  

  The people you will miss the most when they are gone are the ones who lived life on their own terms, but who did so with such humor and love that they offended no one.  Russ Gorman was such a man.  I can’t tell you how old Russ was, he would never say.  Even his death notice had no birth date mentioned.  It was a game with him.  About 15 years ago, Russ invited all his friends to his “100th Birthday Celebration”.  It was a joke, of course.  Well, at least we thought it was.  No one knew for sure. 

  Russ counted among his friends and acquaintances movie stars and show business performers known world-wide which he met in his work as an astrologer.  Yet you’d never have known it, because Russ Gorman treated everyone he met with love and caring as if they were the most important person in the world.  Even a kid from Pascoag who loved radio so much he bought the first station he ever broadcast on was a recipient of his love.  And I can tell you this kid was very proud to have the longest-running daily astrology program in the world airing on his station.  To me, Russ Gorman was the biggest star I ever knew.

  

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

 Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 12th 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 12th…………

 --The fun continues in the Blackstone Valley this week.  The 100 student-cast members from 20 countries of the Up With People troupe arrived in Cumberland from Ohio last night and are now busily preparing for their two big musical shows this Friday and Saturday night at 7pm in the Cumberland High School “Wellness Center” (please don’t call it a gymnasium).  They’ll be making appearances on the radio, visiting schools, and working on community projects between rehearsals and getting to know us all better.  If you’ve never seen an Up With People Show, you’ll thank me for suggesting it to you.  I know this is a time-worn phrase, but I mean it quite literally…..you’ll never forget your first Up With People Show.  Of course, if you have seen one before…….you probably already have your tickets.  If you need more, they’re available at a lot of places, including our radio station.

 

--Elizabeth Featherston and her volunteers are ready for your visit this Saturday (from 10am to 4pm) to the Great Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the North Smithfield Middle and High Schools.  Too many features to name here, but I will say I’ll be broadcasting from the area of the car show in the upper parking lot near the football field.  I’d love to talk to you, so please drop by, you’ll have fun, I promise.  It’s just one of the long list of wonderful local community events we all enjoy this time of year.

  

--Great local events notwithstanding, the talk which seems to be engaging everyone’s interest is that of Hurricane Irma and her destructive trip to Florida this past weekend.  The timing of my publishing deadlines prevents me from giving a post-storm perspective of any value, but I thought you might like to hear the story of a friend of mine and his desperate attempt to save the lives of his neighbors who he felt were making a big mistake.

   John Smith, (yes, that’s his name) owns and operates a local radio station in the Florida Keys.  He dutifully broadcast all the announcements issued by his government when the hospitals were evacuated, then the tourists, and finally the mandatory evacuation order for permanent residents.  He was greatly distressed to hear some of his friends and neighbors say they would not evacuate, but would rather “ride it out as we did before”.  He tried to explain to them that this storm wouldn’t be “like the ones before”.  But they weren’t buying it.

   To understand the next part of the story, you need to understand us broadcasters.  When calamity strikes, broadcasters don’t go home, they staff their posts during emergency situations and serve their communities. They provide a valuable and efficient conduit from the government to the citizens, relaying emergency information designed to save people’s lives. 

   John wanted to stay and carry on the long traditions of the broadcasters before him.  But John knew that the police, fire, EMTs, were all leaving town.  Even if you could get a phone call through, nobody would be responding to 911.  He sent his family north to be with other family members in his native Kentucky.  Then he thought of a way to serve which made sense to him.  A way which would align his duty to his family, himself, and his community along the same course of action.

  He went on the air on Thursday morning and did the unthinkable.  He announced he was shutting down his radio station on Friday at noon.  He went on to say that anyone not evacuating along with him was likely not going to be alive when he came back.  He begged them to reconsider.  Sobering words.  But he hoped they would make an impact in the minds of those he needed to persuade.  

  When Friday came he did as he promised.  He signed off, unscrewed the transmitter from its rack, gathered a few vital computers and storage drives, and drove north to join his family.

   You might say he abandoned his post and shirked his rightful responsibility.  I would not.  I think John’s actions displayed the greatest measure of caring for the people of his town, showing in clear actions his belief that nobody could expect to survive this size of a storm and they should follow his example.  Besides, if you looked at it from a purely practical viewpoint, if all the people really did evacuate as they should, or if they died in the storm, he’d be talking on the radio to nobody anyway.  Worse, if the destruction was as bad as forecast, he might not be there to help anyone at all when they returned.  This was the best course of action.

   As I write these words on Sunday evening, early returns have proven John to be in the right.  In an email from his refuge Sunday, he said he honestly doesn’t expect to find the building which housed his radio studios and business offices in Marathon Key to be still standing when he returns, as that area got the worst-case-scenario winds and storm surge John had feared.

  If his antenna is still in the air, he need only return with the equipment he removed and evacuated with, turn it all on and he’ll be in business serving his community and those who return to rebuild it.  If Irma took the antenna, he will be allowed by the government to erect a make-shift antenna to get back on the air from a camper or trailer or other shelter he can tow down Route 1 to the land from which his station operated before Irma.  John expects to be back on the air by the time you read this. 

  Hopefully, the neighbors he left behind had a change of heart and will be alive to return, too.  We all hope so.  John did all he could for them.   

 

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

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 5th.....

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 5th…………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--As far as society is concerned, “summertime”, as differentiated from the astronomical season, is now over.  Schools are back in session, Labor Day has come and gone, and it won’t be long before the Christmas Gift Shopping ads start to pop up on TV.

 

 

 

  It invariably happens at this time of year that organizations which didn’t want to have their events during the summertime for one reason or another all plan their events on the same two weekends.  This weekend and the following one will see so many events taking place I doubt there will be anyone home anywhere in the area at one time or another.  I myself will be tied up all this weekend and will miss all other events like the daytime French Heritage Festival at River Island Park, though I’ll try to get free for the Soiree Saturday evening at OLQM to have some Beer and Dynamites with Romeo and the gang.

 

 

 

  The following weekend we have two concerts on Friday and Saturday nights with the cast of the Up With People Show in Cumberland, and sandwiched in between them is the Great PumpkinFest on the grounds of the North Smithfield High and Middle Schools during the day Saturday. 

 

 

 

  So here we go into what for me is “the busy season”, which begins just before Labor Day and ends about Valentine’s Day.   Everybody pick an event and go to the one you like best, but nobody should be staying home doing nothing.  Doing nothing is for the lazy days of summertime!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--From our “It-Could-Always-Be-Worse” Department…………..  Sixty-thousand people have been evacuated from their homes and businesses near Frankfort, Germany because they found another unexploded bomb dropped by the Allies during World War Two.  This one is a ‘biggie’, with an estimated ability to level and entire city block, if exploded.  This is the largest evacuation there since the end of WWII and includes two hospitals, all their patients and staffs, and a bank which is home to Seventy-Billion dollars-worth of gold reserves, just to make it interesting.  I think we can all be thankful that we don’t face this sort of problem in the U.S.A.

 

 

 

 

 

--I did receive the expected criticism from a few readers after my comments last week indicating my opinion that last weekend was too early to start sending massive assistance to Texas because the storm hadn’t ended and the real needs had not even been identified with clarity at that point.   I was asked by one reader where I “got off” telling people not to give.  Well, here’s what I was using for logic and information.  I have several friends in Texas.  One of them lives and works in Houston.  I was in contact with all of them during the time Hurricane Harvey was affecting southeast Texas.  My information was not gained through social media or 24-hour pay-cable TV news.  When the unsolicited public declarations of donations began, the man in Houston’s reaction was, “here come the show-boaters……….never let a good disaster go un-exploited.” 

 

 

 

  So you see, my rather unpopular opinion stems from the reaction of someone who was trapped amid the destruction while it continued.  His emotion resonated with me, because in my life I was taught to always assist others who need it to the point you can do so without injury to yourself or your family.  But I was also taught to do so quietly, without drawing attention to myself.  THAT is the most meaningful way to help your fellow creatures.  I was taught that drawing attention to oneself is the wrong way and expecting praise is the wrong reason to help.  Oh, it’s okay if someone singles you out afterward for a “thank you”, because it is their decision to do that.  But accepting gratitude graciously is far from what was going on at that point.

 

 

 

  Now, you may agree with me or you may not, that’s fine with me.  But that is the way I was raised and it is the way I raised my family.  And it is my opinion that now, as you are reading these words, is a good and reasoned time to seek out the way you want to assist the victims of this natural disaster and to give what you can.  The waters are receding.  The Interstate Highways are cleared.  They’re ready to accept your help now.  Do what you can, in the way that makes the most sense to 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 August 29th 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 29th…………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Last Saturday I picked up The Call and was delighted at what I saw on the front page.  Once again the Autumnfest Steering Committee shows its collective brilliance in the choice of Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 Autumnfest Parade.  What a great choice!

 

 

 

  Paul and I had first met each other when we both worked for Dave Daniels’ Save-Rite store which was at the time located at 84 Social Street, the present location of Woonsocket’s Senior Center. 

 

 

 

  Both Paul and I left Save-Rite to pursue our respective careers back then, and we were out of each other’s obits for years until just recently when he agreed to play the part of King Jace for our Woonsocket Mardi Gras.  My admiration for Paul increased as I watched him take real pride supporting the arts in our city.  Compared to me, he’s a quiet man, but you can tell when you are with him the deep feeling he has for helping others and his pride in our area.  What a deserving honor for such a great man!

 

 

 

  I’m looking very much forward to watching Paul pass by in the Autumnfest Parade this October!

 

 

 

 

 

--I mentioned this next thought to a group of people over the weekend and ruffled a few feathers.  But I sincerely believe in what I’m about to say, so I will risk ticking-off a few more people against the chance that someone might benefit from the thought. 

 

 

 

  I’m sure everyone reading this knows the trouble that the former hurricane Harvey continues to cause today in southeast Texas.  To be sure, residents there are suffering more than just upheaval in their lives.  I heard a report from a resident there who expressed out loud they thought they would have been better off if Harvey were a category 5 hurricane when it arrived, but had moved inland quickly.  You can understand that.  The worst storms are storms that are not necessarily the strongest, but those which move slowly away or stall overhead.

 

 

 

  What disturbed me over this weekend, and what precipitates this comment, is the irrational jump to start fundraising before the storm is even over.  It’s not the idea of sending relief to people in need, of course, but it’s the timing of the whole thing this past weekend which concerned me.  The storm isn’t even over, we don’t know the full scope of the destruction or even the needs of the residents there and yet people can’t wait to make public pledges.

 

 

 

  As an example, there was an entertainer last Sunday who pledged on social media that he would give $25,000 and challenged all other entertainers to do the same.  Yikes.

 

 

 

  I’m sure there will be a need for this generosity, at one point in time or another.  But before the storm is over?  That’s the part I question. 

 

 

 

  It has been my experience that during the course of storm recovery the government is first in and they tackle the biggest issues.  They are followed closely by the American Red Cross.  Each of those institutions has different abilities and limitations and work well together.  Later, other organizations come in to try to ‘fill in the gaps’ to address the needs which are still not filled due to the limitations of the others.  I’m thinking if I gave big too early, I wouldn’t be in a position to help later when previously unaddressed needs require my assistance.

 

 

 

  I think you see the point I’m making is that when another person is hurting, we feel a strong desire to assist.  This is good, but we must balance our urgent desire to help quickly with the understanding that southeast Texas will be in need of help for many months to come.  So I say to use your head, control irrational exuberance, and pace yourself.

 

 

 

  I want to say one last thing on this subject, and, again I really hate to bring this up, but you just know there will be creeps perpetrating scams out there soon.  They will solicit money in the name of Harvey relief that instead will mostly or completely go into the private pockets of the scam artists.  To the extent you can do so, scrutinize each request.  Yes, listen to your heart, but don’t let your heart speak louder to you than your head.  

 

 

 

  Be careful out there………….

 

 

 

--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 August 22nd.......

 

 

 

 

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 22nd…………

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Well, I sure am glad that eclipse stuff is over for another 7 years!  I can easily wait that long for the hubbub to return.  In 2024 the path of totality starts over Mexico, passes over Texas and heads toward the northeast, passing over cities like Buffalo and then out over the Canadian Maritimes.  It reminds me of the Carly Simon song “You’re So Vain”.  In that song there is a line which goes “you flew your Lear Jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.”  People will actually be doing that in April 2024, I think.  Well, maybe not with Lear Jets.

 

 

 

  The most remarkable thing I took away from the event was that scientists can actually calculate this event with the precision of minutes.  If you study the solar system and the cosmos at all, the enormous difficulty of just predicting it hits you with a realization that although mankind has progressed to this point, it still cannot change what will happen in any way.  This simultaneous realization of our significance and insignificance can boggle the mind.

 

 

 

  So now that it’s over for a while, was it worth it?  I suppose the answer to that question depends on whether you like that kind of thing.  Are you the kind of person who goes out of doors to watch meteor showers, or the space shuttle or International Space Station pass overhead?  If so, an eclipse would be something you’d be interested in experiencing. 

 

 

 

  While millions of people watched in one way or another.  I can report to you that hundreds of millions of people didn’t bother.  I suppose that puts the whole thing in perspective.

 

 

 

--This just had to happen.  President Trump worked in his first days in office to attempt to save money for the government.  But he is costing the government more money than most chief executives have………for security. 

 

 

 

  The latest report is that the U.S. Secret Service is out of money.  The more than one thousand agents working on Presidential Security have already cost more than the federally-mandated caps for salary and overtime allocated for the entire year of 2017 and it’s still only August.  The reason given is the substantially higher costs for protecting Mr. Trump and his family compared to his predecessors. 

 

 

 

  The Secret Service says they are protecting 42 people during the Trump Administration.  By comparison, Mr. Obama’s protection list numbered only 31 individuals.  That’s nearly 30% more people.  Add to that, Mr. Obama’s young children did not travel internationally in the same way as Mr. Trump’s adult children do and the fact that Mr. Trump has 4 different residences he visits, and he goes to one of them nearly every weekend, not Camp David, which has all security in place, as other presidents have done.

 

 

 

  It is easy to understand why all the money is gone in the Secret Service budget.  Of course, there’s not much we or they can do about it.  We can’t actually tell the president not to go home on the weekend or to tell his kids to stay put.  Nor can we decide to not protect them, since they would become targets in ransom schemes to extort either money or certain actions from our president.  No.  There’s no choice about that.

 

 

 

  So let’s just pony-up the dough and hope for the best.  A thousand agents.  Talk about boggling the mind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--Before I go, I just wanted to congratulate the Autumnfest Steering Committee and their Parade Committee in their choice of the URI Marching Band as the Headliner Band in this year’s Autumnfest Parade.  “That Ram Marching Band” is not only a top band representing our own University of Rhode Island (which is observing its 125th anniversary) but sports a number of top Blackstone Valley musicians in their group!

 

 

 

  You don’t get more local than that, I can tell you.  What a great idea!  Not announced yet (but it will be soon) is the name of the person who will be Grand Marshal of the parade.  Save the date:  Monday October 9th.  The parade will start at the Woonsocket Plaza, proceed down Diamond Hill Road to Social Street, turn left and disband shortly after reaching the entrance to Autumnfest at World War Two Veteran’s Memorial Park.

 

 

 

  I love summertime.  But Autumnfest makes losing summer totally worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--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 August 15th..............

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 15th…………

 

--This week we’ll look at the news wire.  Although, maybe we shouldn’t.  I mean to say the negativity and just plain craziness in the world reflected by today’s news stories is reaching proportions we haven’t seen in decades.  Here are some examples. 

 

--U.S. Senator Marco Rubio is said to be targeted for assassination by a Venezuelan drug trafficker.  Really?  It seems so.  The Florida Republican is said to be living under beefed-up security. 

  The crazy part of this is, if I were to decide to kill someone I wouldn’t advertise it in the international press.  Such actions could be bad for my health.  Totally crazy. 

 

--Political foes now have another reason to dislike President Trump.  Even when he denounced the hatred and bigotry displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend, he is now under fire for “not denouncing” the hatred and bigotry strongly enough.  If I were the president, I’d just give up on these people.  Even when you do what they want they criticize you for not doing it THEIR way.  Nuts.

  

--The author and theater critic Rex Reed once said that he didn’t know why Hollywood made remakes of films which bore no resemblance to the successful originals.  How dare they call them re-makes?  I was reminded of dear old Rex’ words yesterday.  Paramount Pictures is now in production for the sixth “Mission Impossible” movie.  This is where you insert those remarks.  I was a devotee of original Mission Impossible television series in the 1960’s and haven’t recognized or even completely understood any of the “sequels”.   Anyway, the publicity people at Paramount came up with a good one this time.  Actor Tom Cruise has supposedly been hurt doing one of his own stunts during filming.  It seems Cruise’s character was supposed to jump from one building to another and he instead missed his mark and hit the side of the building he was jumping to.  Kinda like the coyote in the Road Runner cartoons.  It was crazy there, too. 

 

--A new Rand survey paints a picture of the American workplace which hasn’t changed much from the 1960’s.  In it, workers report they are being pushed harder and harder to do more, increasing stress on the job.  Further, they report hostile workplace environments and unwanted sexual advances from co-workers.  The report goes on to say that workers are increasingly being forced to work during their personal time to satisfy their work demands.  After stating all that, the survey concluded by reporting that most workers thought their supervisors were considerate and supportive.  What part of that makes sense to you? 

 

--Nearly anywhere you go these days people are talking about the increasing tensions with North Korea.  Most are saying they wouldn’t worry so much except they perceive North Korea’s leader as ‘crazy’ and capable of doing anything.  I thought it strange to hear that, because I imagined that people in North Korea are saying the same thing about our leader.  

 

--This just in on the wire, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both denounced the violence and public display of racism and bigotry displayed this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.  No word yet on whether Mr. Trumps political foes liked those denouncements any better than Mr. Trumps.

  

--Go Daddy, a web-service company which among other things registers domain names, says it is no longer going to provide services to the website of “The Daily Stormer” after it published an article using sexist and obscene language toward Heather Hayer, the young woman who was killed in the violence in Charlottesville this past weekend.  Some people will publish anything on the Internet these days, and if you ask me, they are proving to be as crazy as the man who announced he would kill a U.S. Senator.

  

--Finally, authorities in London have announced they will stop Big Ben, the Great Bell in the clock tower of Westminster Palace.  For 157 years Big Ben has chimed hourly and is a tradition as British as Tea and Crumpets.

  Workers will need to do routine maintenance on the workings inside the clock and stopping it will improve the safety of those workers.  When asked if the familiar chimes will be missed, the reply was, “Well, maybe the tourists will, but everybody here uses their cell phones to tell time.”

   It’s a crazy world out there………be careful.     

 

 --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!  And…..Happy Birthday, Denise!

 

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Dave Richards for August 8th, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 8th…………

 

--The Summer of Seventeen rolls along with more outdoor activities than you can easily shake a stick at.  Fresh off last week’s National Night Out, Food Truck Event, and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish Festival comes CumberlandFest this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Cumberland’s beautiful Diamond Hill Park.  Starting with Rock the Park at 6pm on Friday night to the spectacular aerial fireworks display at 9pm on Sunday, there’s something which will appeal to everyone.  

  I can only list a few of the highlights here.  The local live entertainment on TWO stages, Sunday Car Show, Food Court, Carnival Rides, and local businesses and organizations in booths all along the circular path will make this year’s CumberlandFest a time to remember for everyone.  And you know you’ll be helping the young people of Cumberland in the bargain.  I hope to see you there!

 

--The news now is the Rhode Island Senate may take up the question of supporting the discussion of the deal to help the Pawsox build a new home in Pawtucket this fall.  I am delighted it will be discussed, because it should be.  RI Senator Marc Cote (D-Dist. 24, N.S/Woonsocket) visited us on the radio yesterday morning and he says the way he’s hearing it the House of Representatives is not as enthusiastic as the Senate is to discuss the matter, but they may still do it.

 I have heard a lot of emotionally-charged comments about this deal, mainly from the opposition.  That’s not the way to go about it, you know.  Or, you should know.  When making decisions about money, the logical mind must not be subdued by emotional arguments.  So let’s just put all this mularchy about the lesson of the “38 Studios Deal” aside.  This is not the same deal that was and anyone who thinks so has not done their homework.  I am not saying we need to rubber-stamp the proposed deal.  No, rubber stamping is for trivial matters, this is a serious matter and all partners are putting huge sums of money into the pot, if it goes through.  This matter needs the benefit of a lively discussion so all parties have the chance to give and take ideas and points of view and also, maybe compromise a bit while keeping the overall idea moving forward.  

  All that said, I think that the one thing we should all be able to agree upon is to get this matter on the table as soon as possible and come to some conclusion, either agreement to proceed or agreement to disagree and not proceed.  To do less than this before this year ends would not be doing our best.

 

--Okay, I understand.  The American public are better in a sprint than in a marathon when it comes to staying focused on issues of public importance.  The leadership of the General Assembly knows this, too.  So they drone on and on and postpone things and partially pass bills until the public’s attention has turned to something else and then both houses can do just what they want to do, quickly in one day, with few people even noticing.  They’re about to do it again. 

   As you know, neither the House of Representatives nor the Rhode Island Senate have finished their work for the year.  This mean nobody in our state is safe from having self-serving or special-interest bills rammed through and sent to the governor with little or no debate, or……..if you want my opinion……with little or no concern for who gets hurt. 

   You may think that since any act of the General Assembly needs to be signed by the Governor that we’d have some protection, but not in Rhode Island.   Gubernatorial vetoes in our state have little effect because of the way our state constitution is written and the fact that we have a virtual one-party system in the legislative branch. 

   No, we’ve got to get back to watching the Senate and House and make sure our respective representatives in each body hear about our wishes on the various issues, which are basically all the other issues except for the budget which have not been passed yet.

   So it’s back to the phones to make sure that our Reps and Senators have someone else’s voice in their ear besides the party leadership so they can hopefully make a choice which isn’t a simple rubber stamping of whatever the leadership wants or, has made a deal to deliver.

   I am lucky that as a member of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce I have an additional opportunity to make my feelings known through them, but you may have a trade group or other association you can use as well.  Regardless, nothing beats the effectiveness of phone calls to your Senator or Representatives’ homes to tell them what you think.  I know from speaking to many legislators that they really do appreciate the calls from constituents.

   Remember the quote, “The cost of Freedom is eternal vigilance”.  It may be tired, but it is true.  We may be tired, too, but we need to communicate our desires to our lawmakers as diligently now as we do in the first part of the year………maybe, in some cases, more diligently!

  

--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 August 1st, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 1st…………

  

--What a week this is going to be!  Starting later today the place to be is River Island Park in Woonsocket for our version of the Police National Night Out.  It’s a real community celebration including and especially featuring fun for the kids.  It starts at 4pm and goes until 6pm in Woonsocket, with similar events scheduled in local communities throughout the country. 

   Today’s event reminds me of a conversation I had some time ago with a police officer of my acquaintance.  We were talking about the ‘down side’ of being a cop and I asked him why he does it.  I expected him to say, “well, somebody’s got to do it” and just dismiss it.  But he didn’t.  He said, “because, Dave, if the bad guys don’t have organized opposition, they’ll take over.  It’s a law of nature, even if it does sometimes seem like shoveling against the tide, whether or not I personally make a difference every day I know that all the cops, together, always do.”  

  Events like todays are a great way to show people they do have a choice to take the positive path, the right path to a better society.

 

--Next, tomorrow at 6pm the four nights and one afternoon of fun begins at Park Square in Woonsocket as the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Roman Catholic Church Parish does what they’ve been doing since the 1950s, it’s their annual Parish Festival.  Yes, you knew it as the ‘Carnival’, and it’s the same fun, food, and excitement, but with the updated name of Festival which some people think has a bit more positive connotation.  I think there’s hardly a person in the Blackstone Valley who hasn’t attended this festival at least once, so I won’t go into a long description here.  Suffice it to say if you want to relive old memories or make some new ones, Park Square is the place to visit until Saturday night when the drawing for all the prizes take place. 

 

--August also is the last month of the “My Woonsocket Life” video project.  Some people who would like to tell of their life in our city find it inconvenient to come to the Woonsocket Harris Public Library’s video studio to do so.  For them, the “My Woonsocket Life Rhode Crew” is bringing the opportunity to you by setting up at both events I mentioned above, plus the Food Truck Night Friday I hadn’t mentioned.  Look for our big white radio and TV broadcasting truck as we host the Rhode Crew at each event.  Your participation in this historic project will help all of us make a better Woonsocket.  And think of the fun you’ll have as family and friends watch your video on the Internet afterward!

 

--Some of us received the bittersweet news last week that our friend Vimala D. Phongsavanh has taken a job in Washington D.C..  And, though she promises to return to Woonsocket for visits and maintains her property here, she will be making her unique contributions on a national level now as she will become the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, or N.A.P.A.W.F. for short.  

  Though we will all miss her, I’m sure you will join me in wishing our friend Vimala the best of luck and happiness as she follows her deep passion for improving the lives of Asian Americans across the country.

 

 --We were delighted to hear the recent announcement that the Rhode Island State Police has received a top accreditation for excellence.  I had the chance to see some of their excellent police work last week.  You’ll remember the reports of a ‘road rage incident’ on R.I. 146 northbound in which gunshots were reportedly fired by the occupant of one vehicle toward another.  This happened at about lunchtime on Tuesday.  The State Police were able to lift photos of the suspect vehicle from R.I.D.O.T. traffic cameras and publish them asking the public for any information they may have.  The following day, at about the same time of day, I happened to be driving north on 146 to Woonsocket, returning from a meeting in Providence, and I saw no less than five State Police cruisers parked at intervals on the side of the road.  Each had a ‘Statie’ carefully checking every car as it passed by them hoping that the suspect would be one who routinely drives the same places at the same time each day, as many of us do.  I didn’t hear if that process worked, but it was a great example of top police work from a top police organization.

 

--I have to be careful how I write this next thought.  There’s bound to be someone who misunderstands.  I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, you know, but I do have a point to make about how our society has changed the way it conducts wakes and funerals.  Be careful, now, here I go. 

  I attended two events this past weekend which couldn’t be more different………or more similar in my view.  The first was the wake and funeral of my good friend and fraternity brother C. Allen Buxton.  I noted how friends and family chatted with members they hadn’t seen in a while and told jokes about times they’d shared with Allen.  There were a few moments when the realization of our loss touched our hearts, but it was, on the whole, a pleasant gathering.

   The next day I attended a large backyard gathering of Denise’s family and as I watched this gathering chat and tell jokes and remember family members now passed, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the two gatherings.  The difference, of course, is the way we conduct wakes and funerals these days.  Seldom now do I see the wailing and crying I witnessed years ago.  It’s now replaced by a much more pleasant and positive atmosphere.  I think this is a good change, and I hope it continues.

 

 --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 July 25th.............

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for July 25th…………

 

 

--To follow up on a topic from last week, I took the opportunity to drive by the DMV Registry office on Pond Street in Woonsocket.  What I saw could be encouraging, but only to a point.  I did not see the line waiting for the triage booth coming out the front doors and down the path to the parking lot as I had in the past.  I did see what appeared to be long lines inside, though.  I hope the apparent improvement is lessening the suffering of those who try to comply with the laws of our state.

 

--I just have to say this, even though as I type I can hear certain people disagreeing with me.  I’ve had it with so-called “pitcher’s duels” in baseball this year.  I don’t get it and I’ve never got what some people see in these low-scoring affairs.  I say there is a reason there are nine players on each team.  I said NINE, not TWO.  You may well say to me, Dave, who cares what you think?  To that I reply, “I’m a spectator.  Baseball is a ‘spectator sport’.  I’m the customer.  What I think had darned better matter.” 

 

  There have always been pitcher’s duels.  I get that.  But I’m seeing duel after duel after duel this season, and I don’t like it at all.  Give me some offense, I say!.  There’s got to be a reason all those trees have died to give the other eight players something to hold in their hands, and it ain’t to swat flies.  Those trees died so players can hit baseballs with the bats, so the players should start doing it.

 

 --Congratulations are in order, I think, for State Representative Bob Phillips (D- Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and State Senator Roger Picard (D- Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) who joined together and engaged the support of the members of their respective houses to see a new law signed by Governor Raimondo last week.  Without going into too much detail, Rhode Island school districts will now be able to elect to make up for school days lost to weather or building issues with approved school work sent home with students, rather than having no choice but to add the lost days to the end of the school calendar.  Each community will have the option to adopt this policy or to not.

 

  Personally, I don’t see why any school district would not elect to enable this new option.  I admire the simple logic of this measure.  After all, it’s all about imparting knowledge to our young people, isn’t it?  It seems to me a reasonable compromise to exchange time at home for time in a class room when the class room time is lost through no fault of the student.

 

 

--From our “Time Marches On” Department:  I usually drive a small car.  It’s thrifty and very easy to park, which is important to me.  This, I suppose, comes from lessons learned in the 1970s when OPEC engineered an embargo which raised the price of gas and oil dramatically. 

 

  However, the social cycle we are now in demands luxury and status in automobiles.  Luxury pickup trucks and SUVs make up the majority of U.S. auto sales.  So, it will surprise no one that General Motors is considering discontinuing six models which are neither trucks nor SUVs.

 

  The Chevy Volt Hybrid, Buick Lacrosse, Cadillac XGS, the affordable Sonic, and even the venerable Chevy Impala may soon go the way of the Oldsmobile, relegated to history.  Hey, you can’t expect them to keep making them if they’re not selling, right?

 

 

--Finally, I found it interesting that just days after my comments on what a lousy job being White House Press Secretary for President Trump must be, that the current occupant of that office resigned.  It does make some sense that an executive like Mr. Trump would feel more comfortable with a financial professional on his team even if the financial professional knows nothing of how to handle the press.  As I review what I just wrote I realize how little it makes sense until you frame the thought with the understanding that Mr. Trump knows little to nothing of how to govern a nation, as evidenced by his decision to refuse an invitation to the NAACP convention in nearby Baltimore. 

 

  I think a leader who is adept at the special skills needed to engage and govern a nation of dissimilar peoples would do what former President George W. Bush did.  Mr. Bush attended the convention.  He was gracious and polite and listened attentively to what people there told him.  Even though neither side believed for a moment that his policies would be changed by the information he gained, who is to say that his decisions weren’t ‘moderated’ in some way by an understanding of the different points of view. 

 

   Regardless, even though they didn’t agree, Mr. Bush at least showed the NAACP the respect of attendance and civility.  What more could you ask of a leader?  We are not getting even that from Mr. Trump.  I hope this doesn’t come back to bite him in the future.  Remember, Donald Trump’s success as president is the success of all of us.  Frustrating, sometimes, isn’t 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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