Dave's Column

Dave Richards for December 11th

Dave Richards for December 11th…………….

 

--Today begins another of my favorite times of the year.  Tonight is the first of the High School Holiday Concerts we will record for broadcast on Christmas Day.  We begin tonight at Burrillville High School, where I attended my very first Holiday Concert in 1970, as a member of the band.  Then, this Thursday, for the 39th consecutive year we will be at Woonsocket High School, then continuing on to Mount St. Charles Academy on Sunday afternoon and concluding with a visit to North Smithfield High a week from today to see our old friend, Mr. Kevin Plouffe, who has returned to the Blackstone Valley at the helm of the NSHS Band. 

  Anyone who knows me even a little knows I am a big supporter of music in our schools.  The broadcast of the Holiday Concerts of our local schools offers me the opportunity to showcase the work of many hundreds of students in one great day of broadcasts.  It’s really remarkable what they can do.  Yes, we also broadcast high school sports, and that’s important, too.  But the music department in school seldom gets the headlines, so this is their “front page” day.  I hope you’ll attend the concert in your home town.

 

--The Annual Milk Fund Appeal continues until December 24th.  Last Friday the members of Cercle Laurier held a Beer and Dynamite event.  If you’re reading your paper early enough today, tune in to the daily Milk Fund Auction at about 8:30am as representatives bring Appeal Chair Lisa Carcifero a check for the proceeds.  As I write this, I don’t know the amount myself, but I’ve been told it’s amazing.

  Also, if you need an official Milk Fund plastic bottle to pass around at your party, phone the radio station at 762-1240 and we’ll give you one.

 

--Yesterday was “Green Monday”.  I like to think I am fairly well-informed.  That is, I know all about “Black Friday”, “Small-Business Saturday”, “Cyber-Monday”, “Giving Tuesday” and all the other ‘manufactured holidays’.  But not only did nobody tell me before yesterday that yesterday was going to be “Green Monday”, but they also forgot to tell me what it was supposed to be about.  I hope they had a nice day.

 

--I know you needed just one more rant about political correctness and intolerance, so here it is………

  If there’s one thing Americans have gotten really good at, it’s finding someone to blame for whatever in making them unhappy.  Or, if not making them unhappy, someone who is failing to make them happy.  Either one seems to be a crime these days.

  From the news wire comes word of a woman in Massachusetts who is blaming Amazon for her daughter being bullied.  Her daughter’s name is “Alexa”.  The woman wrote to the president of the company asking them to stop making devices named after females.  She said her daughter’s friends are taunting her by telling her to turn on their TV or lights, actions which the smart-speaker is supposed to be able to do.  The letter didn’t make it to the president before it was diverted to “inside teams” to be addressed.  Gee, my mom and dad never wrote to Walt Disney to ask him to stop producing the TV series “Davy Crockett”.  And yes, I got ribbed a lot about that growing up and have heard the song more than my share of times.  But I know they didn’t do it to antagonize me.  So we let it pass.  Not so in this century.

 

--The radio station in Ohio, WDOK, which refuses to play the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” because they got one complaint about the lyrics has been having a very tough time I am told.  They are the butt of jokes on local TV, newspapers, and other radio stations and also the subject of a boycott by listeners and advertisers. 

   I know you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.  I’ve taken the unpopular positions.  But I try use common sense when I do.  Just because someone who has a lot of hurt in their heart and wants to spread it around is also a member of a group or movement doesn’t mean that the whole group is intolerant.  There is too much love and caring in the members of the #ME TOO movement for me to believe they will act like bullies and terrorists simply because a radio station plays a popular 60 year-old song.  No, I don’t believe that any more than I believe that all Republicans support our president or that all Democrats hate Mr. Trump.  It’s just not reality.  One member does not a movement make.  But it was one person who told the radio station they would bring the wrath of the entire movement down upon the station that bullied the station into that regrettable decision and caused them to become a laughing stock of the industry. 

   I think we’re too ready to over-react to intolerance, folks, I really do.  Yes, there’s always going to be someone who wants to bully others into doing something.  But that’s not everybody, and I can’t believe a group of caring people will allow one person to make them do things which is out of character and against their better judgement.

   I am quite content to refrain from judging others and to hire professionals to do the judging which must be done for me in this life.  In the next life, it’s not even my decision.  And, for my activist friends who just aren’t happy unless they are making someone else unhappy………I wish you peace.

 

 --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 thank you for remembering The Milk Fund.

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for December 4th...........

Dave Richards for December 4th…………….

 

--From our Public Service Department, The 2018 Milk Fund Appeal is well under way.  In addition to our daily radio auctions, this Friday the folks at The Cercle Laurier Club on East School Street are holding a good old-fashioned Beer & Dynamite Fundraiser from 6pm to 9pm.  There’ll be music and games and plenty friends there as in the past.  Gary Lapierre and Steve Aucoin are in charge, and you can call 401-230-9880 for tickets.

 

--Nobody is 100% perfect.  That is a well and universally accepted fact.  But some come closer than others.  Let’s face it, if you show up and do your best work every day you will succeed most of the time, but once in a while, no matter how good and no matter how well-meaning you are, things will go wrong or you’ll be surprised by a circumstance.  Or you’ll take on a big project and no matter how convinced you are it will work out as you planned, life will step in and you will fail. 

  Of course, we all know that the most important thing then is what you do next.  If you are an exceptional person you will bind your proverbial wounds and move on to win another day.  I admire men like that. 

  President George H.W. Bush was such a man.  To see the outpouring of respect and affection he has received since leaving office, and now at the time of his death tells you that though he was a man and was not perfect……..he came admirably close.  Close enough to win the respect of the majority of the people.  Of course, it is customary for people to say complimentary things when someone dies.  But the genuineness of this affection we are seeing for Mr. Bush is uncommon, and I think deservedly so.

 

--I am lucky to know others who, although not as accomplished as the former president, go about their lives with a quiet and sincere dedication to doing their best every day.  These people earn the admiration of those around them.  One of these people is R. I. Senator Marc Cote.  In less than a month Marc will be replaced in his senate seat by Woonsocket City Councilor Mellissa Murray, who will be replaced in her council seat by her successor at the Woonsocket Inauguration Ceremonies tonight at the Stadium Theatre.  All are invited.    

  Marc decided it was time to step down earlier this year.  But his sense of community pride and spirit has never dipped, not one bit.  Marc wasn’t compelled to leave political life.  He just thought it was time to pass the torch on to someone else and he has done so, very much like he has done everything else.  Deliberately.  Quietly.  And with good humor.  A successful man and a man to be admired, I say.  And I wish him many more years of success.  

 

--Another man who is going about his business quietly is Bob Billington, President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.  Now, I’ve known Bob for probably 30 plus years.  I am frequently amazed at the projects he’s been able to organize and make work.  I remember how nuts I thought he was when he sold me a golden hammer pin to help fund a passenger boat for use on the Blackstone River.  You must remember that when I grew up, you could find the river with your nose sometimes. 

  The Blackstone Valley Explorer river boat was just the beginning, of course and that was 25 years ago.  Then there was the Samuel Slater Bed and Breakfast river boat.  And then there was this movie called The Polar Express which Warner Brothers made about the book written by Bob’s friend Chris Von Allsburg.  Bob said he’d like to take a real train and tell the story as it rode along real railroad tracks in the Blackstone Valley.  He said people would come from far and wide to ride such a train. 

  Of course, by this time I had learned not to doubt any idea that Bob Billington embraced, and, sure enough, The Polar Express Train Ride has taken its place next to Autumnfest as one of Woonsocket’s largest and most successful tourism events each year. 

  Bob was short-handed this past weekend as a mutual friend who is a regular cast member was away on travel, so I was asked to fill in.  Let me tell you, friend, I have always admired what Bob Billington can do when he engages the enthusiasm of others in a project.  But after seeing seven Polar Express train trips, each averaging nearly 400 passengers, the term “admiration” is no longer adequate.  I am in awe.

  The sheer scope of staging a production with hundreds of volunteers, including elves dancing under a huge Christmas tree at the “North Pole”, and the sheer expense of hiring an honest-to-goodness locomotive, to say nothing of the licensing of the movie’s musical recordings and all the rights fees WB requires would make a lesser man blanch.  But Bob does it, every weekend each November and December, adding at least one “something new” to the show each year.  So, if you haven’t taken the ride recently, you really need to go again.

  I have said many times that making good memories is the most important work of life, because when we die the good memories live on and are all that’s left of us in the end.  The good memories and happy faces I saw last weekend at Woonsocket’s Historic Train Station will live on for generations.

 

--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 thank you for remembering The Milk Fund.

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for November 13th...........

Dave Richards for November 13th…………….

 

--Well, now that the elections are over there’s a period of planning before the winners are sworn in to do their jobs.  Everybody is talking like they will work together with everybody, even though a week ago they were saying the world would end in ruin if those people were elected.  That’s nice to hear.  It would be even nicer if it would happen. 

  I have expressed my opinions about negative, hate-filled campaigning for office in these pages numerous times.  I believe what I’ve said.  Unfortunately for me, short-sighted people, people whose only goal is to win an election have proven again that if you sling mud louder and in larger quantities than your opponent you can win an election.  It’s hard to argue with people who point to this fact as proof that “negative campaigning works”.  Well it probably works to get someone elected. 

  But aren’t we losing sight of the “Big Picture” here?  What’s the reason we have elections in the first place?  Isn’t it to select those among us who will govern us for the next term of office?  I say it is.  The election is only the “first chapter” in the entire story.  If you prove yourself unworthy of trust in the beginning, how will you then govern?  Who will trust you when you need them to trust you, to follow you?  A leader is not a leader if people are not following them.

  Perhaps the people who say they promise to work together do mean what they say, but with the way this campaign has played out, I think it will be a lot to ask of people on all sides to ‘bury the hatchet’.  They may forgive, but will they forget?  I am concerned it may be too much to ask of a person to work together, but working together is vital to progress in any community.

  Let me put it another way.  In our personal lives we have relationships.  Blood relatives, relatives-through-marriage, and friends of all types.  It is understandable and quite normal that disagreements will erupt into a heated argument from time to time.  But it behooves both parties in the argument to observe a level of conduct which will allow the argument to be prosecuted without going “too far”.  This will allow parties to reconcile afterward and move forward.  However, if the heat of the argument crosses “the (proverbial) line”, nobody even wants to work together and progress is the eventual victim.  It’s not unlike the concept that you wouldn’t use a nuclear weapon to settle a trade conflict.  If either side crossed the line and did so, there would be no reconciliation afterward. 

  Those who have been married know also that even though it is natural for married couples to argue, there is a line you would never cross.  Words said in anger cannot be taken back, and trust between you and the other person will be destroyed for the sake of a moment’s satisfaction.

  It is this trust I spoke of which is vital to human relationships.  Think about it in its simplest form.  You shake a person’s hand trusting that they will not hurt you.  You compete against someone expecting they will not try to harm you during the contest.

  Putting the emotional component of negative campaigning, like grudges, aside for the moment, now that the trust has been damaged by the negative campaigning, how can someone expect to work together with a former opponent without that simple, healthy trust?   How, indeed.  It will take a person with an uncommon strength of character, resolve, and love of community to do so.  I sincerely hope we elected such people last week.  For all our sakes.

 

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

 

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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

8Dave Richards for October 30th…………….

 

 --I don’t know if you folks ever have trouble writing.  I usually don’t have much trouble thinking of things to write about.  My trouble comes when all I can think about, that is, the one topic which occupies my mind, is something I cannot or should not express myself about. 

   Don’t misunderstand me, it’s a free country and a citizen can say, within certain boundaries, what they wish to say.  But with all rights come responsibilities.  And after you say what you want to say you should be prepared to take what comes.

   This is where it gets ‘complicated’.  If you are a leader, there are certain things you should not say because the reactions to what you say could hurt people.  This is something our present President has had trouble coming to grips with, and he continues to say things which are designed to anger people rather than to inspire them to work together in a positive manner. 

   While I do not compare myself to the President of the United States for a minute, I do recognize that if I said what I really wanted to say sometimes, I would affect the lives of people who depend on me to keep my cool and represent them in a positive and constructive way.  So there are some things I don’t write about here or speak about in public because the little bit of relief I might feel in “telling it like it is” isn’t worth the consequences. 

   So it is with that backdrop of information that I tell you what’s bugging me, without really telling you in detail.

   Last week I was on a business trip when the deadline for the weekly column came up, so I actually wrote what you read last Tuesday on the Sunday before.  I commented again about negative political advertising and pointed out how proud and pleased I was that such negative attacks were not taking place in Woonsocket.  I remember thinking to myself as I wrote those words that I sounded like I was bragging that MY city is above such destructive and low behavior.  What I didn’t know was that before my words would be read by you, they would be wrong.

   I am just beside myself about this.  Yeah, I know, it’s like my dad told me.  “Grow up and be unhappy, kid.  Life’s like that”.  Well, I can dream and I can hope.  But I don’t dream and hope for a winning baseball team, no, I dream and hope that everyone, be they candidates for office or voters who will elect them, will reject negativity and embrace and promote positivity.

   It’s a shame we haven’t made more progress by 2018, but apparently we still have work to do.

   Reject negativity.  Negativity breeds hate.   We’ve all seen what hate can do, and no good person wants it.  Hate begins with negativity.  Hate begins with personal attacks.  Hate begins with words chosen without care for the effect they will have or who they will affect. 

   Promote positivity.  If you want a good example of how people who promote positivity do business, look at the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club.  Each and every player on that team complimented, uplifted, and supported each other for the positive things they did.  The atmosphere in the clubhouse was legendary and it was…….positive.   They had stars on the team, but they didn’t care about being a star themselves.  They tried to help their teammates to be stars, and as the history of the baseball season is written, each player took turns being a star in their turn.  And the combined “light” of those many stars in many games outshined the light of their opponents.  They not only won baseball games……….they won at life!

   So the next time someone tells you, “Nice guys finish last……”, don’t pick a fight with them.  Don’t call them names, or attack them personally.  That’s the wrong way to win. 

   Anyone who tries to win a race by “tripping” other runners doesn’t deserve to win.  Reject negativity.  When good people consistently reject negativity, society wins.  When society wins, everybody wins.  A rising tide raises all boats equally.

 

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

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 16th

Dave Richards for October 16th…………….

 

--The political season is heating up.  I’m happy to say that most of the candidates in our local races are conducting themselves with civility.  Not so in the broadcast advertising for candidates in the statewide and federal races. 

  If I could hear or see one of the candidates for Rhode Island Governor stand before and tell me what  they would do if they were elected, I’d be able to make a better decision.  Instead I am disgusted as Political Action Committees demonize the candidates they don’t like.  Look, nobody can be as good as their supporters make them out to be nor as bad as their opponent’s supporters try to make them look.  People are people.  We all have our good points and our points which need some work. 

  I suppose I should be somewhat comforted by the fact that neither Mr. Fung nor Ms. Raimondo are actually paying for these hate-filled commercials.  Political Action Committees are doing that.  Nothing stops the Political Action Committee from spreading hate in broadcast advertisements. 

  It is only relatively recently in this country’s history that political action committees have been able to act like angry mobs devoid of reason in their support of a candidate they like.  Even the candidates themselves cannot stop the PACs from spreading their hatred and mis-information.  And PACs supporting candidates on both sides are doing it.  In fact, the ads from the PACs are on the air far more frequently than ads from the candidates themselves.

  When this PAC advertising started, I thought it would die out a natural death.  I mean, nobody would believe such outrageous claims, the PACs would certainly realize they’re wasting their money.  But no, the public took the ads as entertainment, a kind of professional wrestling exhibition, so they continue on. 

  But I’m here to tell you that electing people to run our country isn’t an entertainment.  What entertainment can there be in claiming a woman who is a mother kills babies for political reasons?  Or that a person would blindly follow a president simply because they come from the same political party?

  I can tell you that if I were a governor I would want to dispatch my congressional delegation back to Washington, D.C. with orders to put an end to this legalized character assassination.  Just the mere fact that anyone would claim that a mother is a careless baby killer proves to me that whatever allows them to say those things is wrong.

  But wait.  Having said that, I realize that my thinking is wrong.  Because the thing that allows the PACs to say those awful things about another human being is the U.S. Constitution.  So the answer is not that we need a law to stop it.  The answer is that we need to show our disapproval at the ballot box.  Vote for neither of the candidates whose political supporters are spreading hatred instead of promoting the positive things their candidate will do if elected.  Vote for the third candidate if you wish.  Vote for no one in that race if that seems to be the thing to do.  But promise me you’ll show up at the polls and refuse to vote for hatred.  Vote only for candidates whose supporters do not spread hate.  It’s the only way to stop the hatred.

  You may say to yourself, “nice words, Dave, but you’re dreaming.”  If you think that, you are right.  I am dreaming.  I’m dreaming of a day when public figures conduct themselves within the due bounds of civility.  It can happen, so long as those of us who want it happen engage the support of others who also want it.  There are more of those people out there than you may think. 

  One such organization is the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.  I take my hat off to John Gregory and his organization who have organized a morning forum later this month at which all three candidates for governor have pledged to appear.  This will be a forum where all three candidates can stand up before the crowd and tell the audience what they will DO if elected.  Strict controls have been placed on the forum to promote decorum.  Only one candidate will be in the room at one time, so arguments between them should be curbed.  They will answer questions about the issues of running the state designed to educate the listener as to what they may expect if that candidate becomes governor.  It is not meant to be an entertainment.  It shouldn’t be.

  I don’t know if you’ve ever had the job responsibility of interviewing job applicants.  But if you have, I’m sure you’ll agree that about the last thing you would want was an applicant which came in and went on an on why it would be a big mistake if another candidate got the job instead of them.  And if the applicant at the interview spent all their time in the interview poking fun at the other job applicants, do you suppose you’d hire them?  I don’t think so.  Well, that’s precisely what we citizens are doing at the ballot box.  We are hiring people to work for us.  We should do it as soberly as we can.

  At least the Northern Rhode Island Chamber is trying to set the example.  I think we should all support this effort in all organizations.  Reject hatred from any side.  Set the tone for seriousness in the job selection process, don’t seek entertainment.  Look for the answers which will help you hire the right person for the job.

 

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

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 25th...............

Dave Richards for September 25th…………….

 

--I was happy to see that this area’s electric power distributor, National Grid, and the Mayor’s Office, City of Woonsocket are joining forces to educate the public about energy conservation.  We all learned about conservation years ago.  But over the years, conserving energy has gotten easier with the advancement of technology.  Now seems a good time for an update.  For instance, home owners might be eligible for discounts and rebates on things which will save energy like insulation improvements, light bulbs, faucet aerators and showerheads, Wi-Fi programmable thermostats, and no-cost recycling of a fridge or freezer, plus a $50 reward. 

  These are available to people right now, but many don’t know about it, and that’s why you’ll be hearing and seeing messages about these and more energy saving programs you are entitled to.  The best way to get started is to call for a Home Energy Assessment at this toll-free number:  1-888-633-7947.  I’ve taken part in these programs before and believe me, they are absolutely worth it.

 

--We received a press release yesterday from the candidate for RI Governor of The Moderate Party.  They are appealing the decision of the manager of WPRI-TV to exclude William Gilbert from the gubernatorial debate they are hosting at Roger Williams University this Thursday.  Included in the press release is a letter from Attorney James P. Howe putting forth his client’s position that, according to the written guidelines, Candidate Gilbert does meet all the qualifications to appear with the other candidates and take part in the debate. 

  I know Pat Wholey, the manager of WPRI-TV, and I have always known him to be a fair man.  I haven’t spoken to him about this matter, but I do know from personal experience it is impossible to please everyone in the realms of religion or politics.    

 

--I think it is very interesting that the school bus drivers in Providence are demanding a pension instead of a 401k plan for retirement.  The only reason I can think of for this is that the drivers don’t want to be in control of their own retirement funds…….OR maybe they don’t have any faith in the financial markets and want some other entity to be ‘on the hook’ for making retirement payments to them, even in the face of a possible future financial calamity.  I don’t know.

  Regardless of the reason, I wonder why it is important enough to them to call a strike over.  The trouble and inconvenience they are causing with this job action is, unfortunately, focused on the families of school children in the capitol city.  I doubt that the management of the bus company is feeling the pain the same way the taxpayers of Providence are.  This can only serve to anger the “unintended victims” of the job action, and we all know what that leads to. 

  We saw this happen with unionized teachers in years past with disastrous long-term results.  Well-founded or not, the anger such job actions generates in the public cannot be ignored.  It festers and churns until finally the public hates all union actions and even the members of unions and the unions themselves.  In the case of the teachers, even our legislature got into the act and passed a law making teacher’s strikes illegal in this state.  That kind of law can only happen with the consent of the voters.  Voters who have had their limit of being unintended victims.

  I’m sure in this case school bus driver union operatives did not set out to hurt voters and families and children.  But that is what has happened, whether intended or not.  The union and their members now must deal with that reality, because they, and members of all unions, will be held to account for it.  If it’s management you wish to ‘motivate’, direct your efforts at management, I say.  Do not use families with children as you would use an anvil to pound the thing you want to change.  An anvil takes half the pounding, you know.  And it hurts. 

   The bus drivers need to remember they are doing a disservice to all union members now and for years to come by hurting innocent people to win against management.  I have been a union member.  I recognize the importance of labor unions to this country.  But the trend in recent years has been away from unionization.  I think that trend is because of past labor actions which hurt innocent people.  Good people don’t want to hurt innocent people, so if they have a choice, they choose not to join a union.  A very disturbing trend, indeed. 

  Some of you reading this may think I am talking about the members of the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild, currently on a ‘work-to-rule’ action.  No, I’m not.  ‘Work-to-rule’ is not a strike.  It is a measured step.

  I would hope today’s Providence school bus union members would learn from the past and moderate their actions accordingly. 

 

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

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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

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

--Before we begin today, I just wanted to express my sadness and deep condolences to the family of Stephanie Chaplin, a wonderful woman who lost a battle with cancer last Sunday. 

  Stephanie and I shared one thing.  Our love for Autumnfest.  As a member of the Autumnfest Steering Committee, Stephanie worked with the Autumnfest Souvenirs.  It won’t be the same this year without her smiling face in the booth, but I know the members of the Steering Committee will be thinking of her at this 40th Autumnfest.  So will I.

 

--It’s only September, but already I want to SCREAM at the two major political parties in Rhode Island.  Yesterday I received another interminable negative and disgraceful press release, this time from the Rhode Island Republican Party characterizing the Democratic Governor’s administration and “Scandal Filled”.   They’re all so busy calling the other side creeps, the average voter is left with the impression that there are no trustworthy people of quality running for any office anywhere in government.  Knock it off, I say.

 

--Venom seems to be everywhere in the public debate and on any subject.  I’ve always thought that the popular opinion of the American Civil Liberties Union was unfair to them.  Before yesterday I had always thought of the ACLU as a group of people who were not afraid to take an unpopular position on issues of public importance if they saw someone’s rights being abused or a law being broken.  I was disappointed and disillusioned by their actions yesterday.   

   The deadline for this column arrived before the North Smithfield Town Council met last night to consider, among other business, a resolution of official support for a boycott against the Nike company, calling upon all departments of their town government to stop buying Nike products.  It doesn’t say so, but I suppose it is because Nike has hired as a spokesperson the football player responsible for many players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.  I don’t know how the town council voted, but that is not important to the point of my comments…

   The reason I object to the ACLU’s letter to the town council, warning them not to adopt such a resolution, has little to do with the thinly-veiled threat included in it, but it has everything to do with the what I consider to be an unprofessional comment contained in their press release.   I quote, “We recognize that the Town Council is free to express its views, however questionable they may be, on important political issues of the day”.  In my opinion, an opinionated comment such as that is unprofessional and has no place in such a letter.

 

  They went on to say, quoting here, “But to the extent any of the Town’s municipal agencies decide to take action consistent with the resolution, the Town and its taxpayers will face both legal and financial liability for violating the First Amendment. A government agency simply cannot ban the purchase of products from a company based solely on its political views.”

 

   I am repulsed and confused by that second quote.  I wonder why the ACLU would side with a multi-national corporation and abandon the rights of Rhode Island citizens to refuse to give do business with a company regardless of what their collective reason may be, if they think that company is not the kind of company they want to do business with.

 

  You can say that governments don’t have the same rights as individuals.  You can say it, but “No Sale” to me.  Our government is made up of individuals…….”of the people and by the people”…. So why does a government agency HAVE to do business with a company if they don’t want to?

 

  In my opinion, the entire concept of the ACLU being the champion of the disenfranchised and the Knight of your Rights is strained by their actions in this matter.  And I think that’s a shame because I do think we need what the ACLU’s mission is in our country.  I think they missed it this time.

 

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

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

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

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

 

--Before we get to today’s topic, I want to be sure to mention a great event scheduled for this Saturday in North Smithfield.  It’s the Great PumpkinFest.  Starting at 11am and going until 5pm, for one day only.  Nearly all of North Smithfield will turn out to meet and greet each other and as many of their neighbors from surrounding towns as will come. 

   The location is on the grounds of the North Smithfield Middle and High Schools at the intersection of State Routes 104 and 5.  There’s plenty of free parking right on the grounds and even handicapped parking. 

   It’s the best that the town has to offer.  Local vendors, local performers on stage, local volunteers helping you find what you’re looking for and tending the booths. 

  Look for the giant-sized versions of the popular games Twister and Operation.  And speaking of Giant, The Re-max Hot Air Balloon will be providing a bird’s-eye view of the area and offering rides aloft.  Bring your camera. 

  As the name implies, there will be pumpkins.  Hundreds of them!  You’ll see the “Greatest” (largest) Pumpkin grown in (Burrillville) Rhode Island there.  And some pumpkins will be launched into the air during the Great Pumpkin “Chuck”.  

  Make some time to visit The Great PumpkinFest this Saturday!

 

--I’m sure I’m not the first to point out to you that today is September 11th.  Up until 2001 the significance of that date to me was that it was my younger sister Robin’s birthday.  On her birthday in 2001 I forgot to call her to wish her a happy birthday.  It was that kind of a day.  She said she forgave me for that, but I was never sure. 

   I remember that in 2001 September 11th was a Tuesday that year, just like this year.  Unlike today’s forecast, the weather on that historic day was about the same in both Woonsocket and New York, crisp and cool, very much expectant of the Autumn weather to come.

  We all remember what we were doing when we first heard of the attacks, just like those of us who are old enough remember when we learned of JFK’s assassination.  Those moments stay with you your entire life.  In my case, these two world-changing events have something in common.  They both came with a second unforgettable moment shortly afterward.  It was the only two times in my life that I saw people actually killed on live TV, as it happened. 

  In 1963 it was when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy the previous day.  In the years since, I have never seen a re-broadcast of what I saw that day, only filmed highlights from a different angle.  Perhaps at that time there was no videotape recorder recording the picture from the camera that CBS-TV had trained on the scene as Oswald was brought down to the basement garage of the police station for transport.  What I saw was the silhouette of a man’s arm holding a gun in his hand on the right side of the TV picture.  I knew what it was and I instantly knew what was about to happen, though I couldn’t believe it.  The shadow of the arm with the gun then moved in front of the camera seconds after I first saw it and the man attached to the arm shot and killed Oswald on live network TV.  I was 8 years old then. 

  It was to be 38 years later that I would have the same feeling, the same thought, and the same feeling of helplessness as I watched people die. 

  The news of the first aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers came to me when, in the final seconds of the Coffee An’ program broadcast, our News Director burst into the studio to tell me a plane flew into a skyscraper in New York.  I pictured a Cessna or other small plane when he said that and I remembered that during World War Two a military plane crashed into the Empire State Building.  Instead of asking him on the air and extending the program with his bulletin, I closed the show and waited to hear the report in the regularly schedule newscast which followed less than a minute later. 

  Meanwhile, I went down to the news room to see the live TV coverage. 

  I was alone in the news room watching the TV monitor when the second jetliner came into view.  Again, my brain tried to process what I was seeing.  Was this a taped replay?  No.  One of the towers is burning, this is a second plane.  It’s going to crash.  “No!”, I yelled at the TV screen.  A second later, hundreds of people died in front of my eyes on live TV.  You don’t ever forget those things.

  Let’s take a moment today, any moment you choose, and just pause to say a silent prayer for victims of violence.  Whether on live TV or just walking home after school, their deaths are equally tragic.

 

--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 4th..............

Dave Richards for September 4th…………….

 

--A note of congratulations to all who organized and volunteered for the just concluded LevittAMP Woonsocket Concert Series.  A good time was had by all, and I hear talk of wanting to do it again next summer.  Stay tuned for further developments.

  This coming Saturday the Northern Rhode Island Council for the Arts will take over the River Island Art Park at 9am for the day long French Heritage Festival.  In addition to arts and crafts, exhibits, and food, two French-Canadian bands will play and it’s all free for you. 

  When we were growing up there were dozens of these celebrations.  These days, this is the big one.  Anyone who remembers the days when French was spoken in the stores every day and just about everywhere in Woonsocket will feel quite at home this weekend.  I think it warms the heart to go back to your childhood now and then.  And, for those who do ‘parlez vous’, you’ll really enjoy yourselves listening to the live musicians playing songs you’ll remember from years ago. 

  Then in the evening, the fun moves up the hill to the cafeteria of the Holy Trinity School (formerly Our Lady Queen of Martyrs) for a good old fashion Soiree, including more live entertainment, beer and dynamites and soft drinks and hot dogs.  Tickets are only $10.  Don’t miss it.  This kind of event is few in number and far between these days.

 

--Oh, and speaking of ‘dynamites’, I bumped into the President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Bob Billington, at last Friday’s concert in the park.  Bob was on a mission.  Now, I’ve learned over the years that when Bob Billington puts his mind to something, even the brave stand back.

  Bob told me he’s bugged by an article he was interviewed for by a reporter from a newspaper in Maine.  The reporter wanted his comments on the claim of the people of Madison, Maine who say that they, not Woonsocket, invented the Dynamite Sandwich.  Tom Tatro, of A Special Place, makes regular business trips to that area of Maine.  He brought Bob a supply of what these Mainers call “Dynamites”.  Now, Bob is working to organize a public challenge to prove Woonsocket is, indeed, the birthplace of the Dynamite Sandwich.  Stay tuned for further developments on what could develop into an “explosive debate.”

 

--I received a larger than usual number of comments about last week’s column.  Also unusual was the number of people who agreed with my sentiments.  Some thought that I made my point well, even without “calling out” the players by name.  Based upon this response, I feel the message of my comment is so important that I would do well to restate it for those of you who may have missed it. 

  If you agree with me that people in government should give up the “win at all costs and destroy anyone who disagrees with me” attitude, then you should vote accordingly. 

  One of the responses to last week’s column came from a former city official who told me when he was on the council years ago the members used to disagree all the time with each other on issues, but once the vote was taken they all put the disagreements behind them and moved on to the next bit of business, which they would then “vigorously discuss”, just as they did the previous issue.  There were no personal attacks or skullduggery, and the business of the city moved forward.

  I think there are too many weak personalities in politics these days.  I call them ‘weak personalities’ because it doesn’t take real strength to be an obstructionist.  That only takes hate and spite.  I say it takes true strength of character to work with people you don’t get along with, and a positive attitude which will eventually show a way to compromise.  And remember, a compromise is when both sides win a little and lose a little from what they originally wanted.  History is full of examples showing when one side wins all, it’s the beginning of the end.  Resentment sets in, resistance galvanizes, and the winner has to resort to more and more bullying to maintain their position until they eventually go too far and destroy themselves. 

  It starts with us, the voters.  Do not elect people who have no appetite for a lively debate and a civil acceptance of the views of others with an eye toward compromise. 

  I won’t vote 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

WOON AM & FM Radio

985 Park Avenue

Woonsocket, RI   02895-6332

 

Tel. 401-762-1240

Fax 401-769-8232

 

www.woonsocketradio.com

 

 

Dave Richards for August 28th

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for August 28th…………….

 

--It may have been because of the announcement of the impending death of U.S. Senator John McCain, but I saw a movie on TV the other day I’d never seen before.  It depicted the day to day conditions and survival of prisoners of war in Vietnam.  The movie was graphic, to a point.  It certainly opened my eyes.  Most of my buddies who served in the Vietnam Conflict won’t talk about what happened there.  Among the POWs who were highlighted in that movie was John McCain.  When I paused for a moment to think of what that man did during his life it fills me with awe.  In addition to his military service, becoming a U.S. Representative and then a U.S. Senator and running for the Presidency….?  It seems to me that any one of those would be enough for most people.  This man did it all.  Amazing!

 

--We seem to be in a time of unrest in our city.  Disagreement between departments of our own city government is at a level I cannot remember seeing in my 40 years as a broadcaster in Woonsocket. 

   Our City Council failed to come to terms with the Mayor over appointments to the School Committee.  It got so bad that finally the citizens took back the right to appoint members of the School Committee.  The Mayor vetoed the City Council’s changes to her budget and because a so-called “super-majority” was required to override that veto, the Mayor prevailed.  The Zoning Department allowed Rise Prep to relocate to 30 Cumberland Street, and now the City Council is hiring legal counsel to stop the school from operating there.  Now we hear the city cannot even come to accord with the teacher’s union and our teachers have no contract  Ugh!

   It is natural that sometimes people don’t get along.  When people don’t get along and yet are forced by circumstance to work together, it is, I suppose, not surprising that after a while tempers will flare.  But this is when they need to step up their game and to the hard work of government!

  Disagreement can be healthy and constructive.  But sometimes it can be an obstacle to progress and destructive to productivity.  From what I can hear and see, the standing disagreements among Woonsocket’s various leaders have now become destructive. 

  I try not to take sides or point fingers.  It’s tempting, but it would do no real good.  The people involved here don’t need me to tell them where the problems lie.  They also don’t want to listen to me preaching to them to stop keeping score and put aside the differences.  They don’t want to hear it, but it would do them good to consider it. 

   The big issue here is that everyone has an opinion.  And they like their own opinion and they like anyone who has the same opinion as they do.  And they don’t like anyone else who fails to share their opinion.  But that’s not how government works, friend.  Everyone needs to put their ideas forward.  If others agree, good.  If they disagree, then try to persuade them to see things your way.  If you fail to convince them to agree with you, it’s not time to dig your heals in and fight to the death.  That’s what children who don’t know better do.  What responsible adults are supposed to do is to find some way to work together, even if you cannot agree. 

   I think anyone in government who sabotages the efforts of another because they disagree with that other person should not be in government.  Politics is not supposed to be a ‘blood sport’.  It is supposed to be a select few working for the betterment of all.

   I realize the likelihood of the feuds suddenly ending simply because I wrote these words is poor.  But, if people who are offering themselves for our approval at the polls are people who cannot work with others who don’t agree with them………then we have chosen unwisely. 

  Let’s keep this in mind in the upcoming elections.

   A wise man once said that “Harmony is the strength and support of all institutions.”  Those working to promote a climate of harmony and cooperation are those who will succeed.  And those are the people we should elect to serve us.  Otherwise it will just be more childish ‘championship wrestling exhibitions’…….at the taxpayer’s expense.

 

--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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