Dave Richards for April 1st..........

Dave Richards for April 1st….…………


--I don’t know how the folks here at the newspaper do it day after day, but I can tell you it’s not easy coming up with something to write about that won’t depress everyone, including the writer.

  I’m sure you don’t want to read another column about these “unchartered waters” or “unprecedented happenings”.  Those phrases and others like them are quickly becoming cliché’ these days.   But, as with anything big and bad as this is, it tends to bring out the best and the worst in people.  Yes, the news wires are full of people mis-behaving, but the vast majority of people are quietly taking this disaster as it comes and complying with the restrictions imposed by our governments.  I can tell this.

  When I look at the news wire, I do see the stories about dum-dums like the preacher who was arrested by the county sheriff for conducting church services as a group.  But I can also tell you that the pages of anti-social behavior are shorter than usual.  Seriously.  Story count is down 30% to 40%.  Even in this world where it seems that anything out-of-the-ordinary becomes national news, where I might have two printed pages of novelty stories, I have recently been seeing less than a full page.  That tells me something.

  It tells me that we have just as many fools in the world today as we have always had.  And it proves to my satisfaction that there are far more good people in the world than bad. 

  The majority of families see to it that their children learn a new discipline inside the house and tend to their virtual class assignments.  The school departments and even the governor herself have all said they were prepared for less cooperation than they have received and they are delighted with the efforts of students and parents alike to make this new project work.

  Are there grumbles?  Yes.  It’s only natural that one might express displeasure with unwanted and uncomfortable change.  But the vast majority of people today are doing what they need to do to get through it with dignity and a smile if they can muster it. 


--There are those saying now that the real test will be a month from now when restrictions are still in place and the cheerful dispositions fade.  That may be so, but I feel confident that the vast majority will take a deep breath, breath a gentle sigh, and get back to what must be done.  I really believe that.

  Here’s something to look forward to.  Among the thousands of events which are being cancelled is this Saturday’s scheduled Children’s Easter Egg Hunt in Woonsocket.  I spoke this week with our Park & Rec Director, Liz Kerrigan, by telephone (of course), to see what her thoughts were regarding a reschedule of this very popular event.  She told me it’s just too early to pick a new date now.  Until you know when restrictions will be lifted you can’t even guess, she said.

  We both agreed, though, on one thing.  When our government leaders sound the ‘all clear’ and allow us to once again gather outside our homes, there will be a time of public rejoicing unlike anything seen in this century.

  Liz told me she’s planning on a BIG Independence Day celebration.


  Me too.


 --That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.









Dave Richards for March 18th...........

Dave Richards for March 18th….…………


--Well, well, well, things have certainly ‘gone south’ since we last met on these pages, dear friend.   It wasn’t totally unexpected, but it is disappointing.

  According to Governor Gina Raimondo, the number of people applying for unemployment benefits has “skyrocketed”.  Duh.  Unionized teachers who elected to be paid over 52 weeks will still have a check coming in, but private school teachers, school bus drivers and monitors, wait-service staff at restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are thrown out of work with no pay.  And the members of the above occupations are just a small example, space restrictions prohibit me from posting a complete list, even if I could.

  So, before you start griping about not being able to dine out in one of our great local eateries, think for a moment about the restaurant staff who are concerned about paying their rent or mortgage.  Compared to that, we have no problems.

  And thinking also of the owners of our local businesses who are forced to close to the public.  Imagine not being able to pay your taxes or rent or mortgage for both your family AND your family business.  Most of them are making the best of a bad situation and opening on a limited basis for take-out or drive through orders only.  Unemployment Insurance is not going to solve their problems.  If you truly want to do something to help, eat out more frequently than you normally would and take those meals home to eat them.  Perhaps with increased volume we can help make up the difference and these fine hard-working people will survive the crisis.


--Speaking of increased take-out volume…..they couldn’t keep up with the take-out volume last Sunday at the St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center “Luck of the Irish” corned-beef and cabbage dinner.  They were forced to cancel the Irish band and set up a table up in the parking lot for take-out.  Well, 150 pounds of corned beef was gone in the first hour of a three hour event.  Talk about volume!   A quick run out to the store to get some sliced ham was the best they could do for folks like The Fabulous Denise and me who arrived an hour and a half into the event.  Congratulations!


--It’s hard to think of any topic which isn’t affected by the COVID-19 virus restrictions.  But I’m sure we’d all welcome discussion of another variety for a change.  One such topic popped up on my computer screen yesterday.

  It’s from a young man called Derek Brennan who heads the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law.  I’ve never heard of the place, it could be made up.  But the idea he brings up is not a new idea.

  It’s the idea that if 40 percent of the population are “people of color”, as he puts it, then 40 percent of the police, fire, government administration, elected officials, and judges must also be “people of color”. 

  It’s not a new idea. 

  At the risk of stirring up the ire of people who think like this, I will put forth my opinion because this is an opinion column. 

  I respect their idea.  I think it is a great idea.  But in my experiences in life I have come to believe we can do better than that.  I think ‘proportionality’ only addresses part of the problem and causes other problems.  It’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough. 

  I believe if you really want change, ‘quotas’ will only slow the process of social change and the perfection of social justice.  I believe that only when we train ourselves and our children to see only the similarities in the people we share this planet with and reject seeing the differences among us that we will truly make a lasting progress. 

  Don’t you see? If you don’t see the differences, it is materially impossible to discriminate!  That should be our goal, I say, because ‘quotas’ REQUIRE us to see the differences.  ‘Quotas’ force us to deny one person an opportunity because they are not the same color or whatever you’re comparing.  And two ‘wrongs’ never have and never will make a ‘right’.

  If I seem like a ‘hippy’ of the 1960s or 70s to you with that point of view, I’ll accept that.  But I wasn’t.  A ‘hippy’, that is.  But I did see a lot of people get hired for only the reason that they were a member of a group which was ‘underrepresented’.  What happens next is human nature.  People resent being discriminated against.  Even if it is to give someone else a chance.  It hurts.  And it is the second ‘wrong’.

  Then, when the inevitable happens and a person with less talent or qualifications gets preferential treatment the resentment grows into bad attitudes, pushback, and more ‘revenge discrimination’ in the future. 

  It has to stop.  And I believe the only true way to stop it is to stop trying to legislate morality and treat everyone with respect, with regard only for a person’s ability and the content of their character.

  With the retirement on June 30th of Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Gilbert Indeglia causing a vacancy on that high bench, I hope you’ll agree that we need the best and wisest judge we can possibly find, regardless of their color, sex, or any other differentiation.

  See the similarities.  Change the world for the better without hurting more people along the way.


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.









Dave Richards for March 11th............

Dave Richards for March 11th….…………


--First, I want to thank all of you for your kind comments on last week’s column.  I wasn’t sure my words of caution would resonate, but they did and I think that says a lot about you, the reader. 

  So, one week later, the situation is worse.  There’s not a newscast which goes by without a story on how the coronavirus is impacting people’s lives.  Still, in the U.S. we are still counting the number of people who ‘might’ have come in contact with the virus, and the number of people who are confirmed to have it is still encouragingly low.

  It is harder to keep a clear perspective when you get closer to the trouble, so from here on it may become harder to know who is trying to scare you and who is trying to help.  I admit I had that question in my mind this morning when I heard on a national news broadcast that none other organization than the National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the usually trustworthy CDC, announced their recommendation that everyone in the country over the age of 60 should buy up a lot of supplies and hunker down in their homes, not going outside, until further notice.  You know, you used to be able to trust the CDC for careful and non-sensational comments on matters of public health.  But this one came disturbingly close to sounding like they are “pushing the panic button”.  Or maybe they are just choosing to protect themselves by agreeing with the sensationalists?  Maybe they figure, “it couldn’t hurt, so why not?”  I don’t know, but I have decided to cautiously continue with my life.  If they mean it they will say it again.

  There is some sane talk among all this.  Some people in our government do “get it” that it’s easy to tell someone to ‘self-quarantine’, but how do they go to work and pay their bills?  Unemployment insurance will be needed for them to survive, and that is being worked on by the government. 

  Certainly some jobs could be done by remote connection.  But most can’t.  Police officers.  Fire fighters.  Paramedics.  Doctors and nurses.  They cannot “phone it in”.  But these people come in contact with many other people in the course of their work.  They are at risk of contracting the illness themselves, and possible spreading it to others without knowing it. 

  No plan is perfect.  But I think overall we are taking a path of compromise to address the situation.  I mean, we certainly cannot tell over 350 million people to all stay home, can we?  I know they tried to do that in Italy, but it was already too late when they took that step.

  So keep washing those hands, gang.  Take other considerate measure to protect yourself and others.  And for Pete’s sake, if you’re feeling unwell, that’s the time to stay home!  It is true this virus spreads between people even if they are feeling well, but even more so among those who are ill. 

  And consider this.  Even if you have a simple cold or case of the common variety of flu that’s going around, that puts YOU in an especially vulnerable position to fall victim to and be unprepared to fight an even more virile illness which can put you down for a long time…..or more.


 --Keep a level head.  Take care.  We’ll get through this one.  Hey, with the advent of Daylight Saving Time last weekend, it’s easy to imagine the good weather we’ve been enjoying over the last few days coming back for good.  And there is a theory about this coronavirus that, like the regular flu, it generally goes away with the warmer weather.  That’s why countries in South America and Africa, where it is now summer, aren’t as badly hit with it. 

  Let’s hope they are right.


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.









Dave Richards for March 4th............

Dave Richards for March 4th….…………


--Today is March 4th.  It is the only day of the year which is not only one of the 366 consecutive dates of the calendar, but can also be used as a command.

  Locally we have used it to point out the positive and constructive things people do.  You see, ordinary people do extraordinary things, sometimes.

  Like the two paramedics recently commended by the Woonsocket City Council.  You never know when something will happen and somebody will rise to the occasion.  History is full of these stories. 

  Dad said it best when he told a very young me, “most of life is showing up and trying, Dave.  Opportunities are lost while you decide if you want to take them, so step up to the plate and swing the bat.  The worst you can do is strike out.  And don't worry about striking out.  It’s been done before, and by greater people than you.  Live life.  Try and fail bravely.  Try and win triumphantly.  Fear is your enemy.  In fact the only thing fear is good for is for making you brave.  You cannot be brave if you weren’t afraid first and then did what needed to be done in spite of the fear.”

  Dad had a lot of sage advice like that.  And since my dad is no longer with us, let me take the chance to remind you all to avoid those whose selfish purpose is to frighten you.  Yes, I’m going to talk about the coronavirus matter again.


--I have mentioned before in these pages my concerns over the decisions made by others in my profession.  Many of them are well-meaning people who don’t think about the effect their news stories have on the average person.  Sadly, a few do think about it and stir up fear anyway because they like doing it.

  In an episode reminiscent of global warming, there are people who just cannot control themselves and will seize any real situation and exploit it for their own political purposes.  First, we are told to pay attention to government advisories regarding the spread of coronavirus.  Then, people who work for the government or support an elected official tell you that coronavirus is caused by other people in the government the first group doesn’t like.  We know better than this, so we don’t buy that foolishness and we stop listening to it.  When we stop listening to them, they scream a little louder and make up stories to get our attention again.  Then they add numbers to the story which no one can really verify. 

  Oh my goodness.  A ‘death toll’.  This must be really serious or they wouldn’t be counting the dead, we think.  Then the stories hit, somebody “might” have it and they live near us! 

  I am ashamed at the alarmist stories being pushed on us by some members of my chosen profession.  And I wish you all will think about what is really happening here.

  Fact:  There really is a very serious illness out there.  It responds reasonably well to medical treatment available here in the U.S., if treated early.  They don’t have the same medical treatments available in Communist China, Iran, or apparently, in Italy.

  Another Fact:  The people of the world travel more today than at any time in history.  This provides an easy route from areas of widespread infection to other areas of the planet.  Because of this we all need to be mindful of how to avoid catching this virus and also mindful of how to help others from catching or spreading it. 

  Conclusion:  We really are all gonna die.  But not today.  And not from this coronavirus.  Avoid fear.  Take appropriate precautions, calmly and deliberately.  Help others you care about to do the same.  Brush your teeth and say your prayers.  But step up to the plate every day and live your life.  Do not let fear stop you from living.

  God Bless.


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.









Dave Richards for February 26th..............

--Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season for those who observe.  You know what that means, of course, yesterday was Fat Tuesday or the actual Mardi Gras Day.  Our Woonsocket Mardi Gras Ball last Saturday was the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen them all except for the ones the Jaycees put on in the 1950s.  Congratulations to the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts for a really fun time.

  Down in the city where Mardi Gras is best known, New Orleans, the crowds were huge, as expected.  The French Quarter parties were non-stop, and a few blocks away the parades drew capacity crowds. 

  I was disturbed by the news that the Mayor of New Orleans banned all tandem parade floats after two spectators died.  For the uninitiated, a tandem float is one which is so large it is divided onto two flatbed trailers which are hooked together like train cars and pulled by one truck.  Well, first a woman last Thursday and then a man on Saturday tried to cross the street while the parade was passing by trying to jump between the two floats, tripping, and being run over by the second trailer.

  I don’t know if the victims had been drinking.  Of course a lot of that goes on in The Big Easy during the Mardi Gras celebration, so it wouldn’t surprise me.  Regardless, it’s a horrible way to go.


--Some say I’m tempting fate by even discussing this out in the open, but I just can’t get over how lucky we’ve been here in the Blackstone Valley this winter.  Today and tomorrow the folks up north of us are getting a whopper of a snow storm and we’re only getting grazed by the southern edge and it’s all rain. 

  Global warming?  Probably.  But I’m not getting into the political guilt game.  I will point out that although we sometimes get clobbered by bad weather here in the Blackstone Valley, more often than not Mother Nature give us here an easy pass.


--Speaking of Easy Pass.  It was recently announced that Governor Raimondo’s plan to charge a toll on all big trucks just isn’t bringing in the dough she promised the general assembly it would when they voted to back her on the proposal.  When you deduct the legal fees she’s had to pay to defend her plan, that’s probably even less money raised to plug the budget deficits. 

  Okay, it happens.  Sometimes plans just don’t work out.  But it seems to be happening regularly.  Like when they put sports betting into Twin River and the revenue just didn’t match what they said we’d take in. 

  If I were a member of the legislature, I’d never believe the income estimates proponents of new revenue plans offer.  Better to be surprised if it happens than to be disappointed (and responsible to make up the difference) when it doesn’t.

  Getting back to the tolls.  The way I understand it, this whole plan to toll the truckers is going so poorly, and the money being taken in is so far below estimates that they are making a change.  Well, that makes sense, if a plan isn’t working, I think we should make a change.  But they change they’re making just doesn’t make sense to me.  They’ve built only about half the gantries which will charge the tolls.  But instead of making efforts to build the rest of the planned gantries quickly so they can go online and get the money rolling in, they’re going to cancel building them at all to “save money”. 

  I hate to be negative, but the whole idea just smells to me.  Everybody makes mistakes.  When you get caught in one, at least be honest about it, admit it, apologize, and try to make it right.  This whole thing hasn’t seemed honest from the start.

  But I’m not complaining.  With fewer toll gantries, when they finally decide to toll other types of vehicles, it will be easier to dodge them.


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.


Dave Richards for February 19th.............

Dave Richards for February 19th….…………


--We’ll start with a quick reminder to you and a hearty congratulations to King Jace XXVI, Dominique Doiron, his Queen Lori Thuot, and Princesses Tabitha Westerhuis and Ashley Robitaille, the Royal Court for this Saturday’s Woonsocket Mardi Gras Ball to prepare for a Great Party. 

  Great food, Great music, Great memories!

  Thanks to the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts for continuing this yearly event and great tradition!  We’ll see you at the Mardi Gras!


--Last week I commented on my hopes that the race for the presidential endorsement by the major political parties might be getting a bit more serious-minded.  No sooner had these thoughts been put to paper and then to print did I receive unsolicited emails from Democrats and Republicans alike which were rude and pushy.  One was even accusatory.  It claimed I was standing by and doing nothing while President Trump personally marked her for defeat at the hands of her Republican opponent.

  Firstly, I don’t contribute to political campaigns.  In my position, it just is too complicated a matter.  So the question gets to be, “how did these people get my email address?”  I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. 

  Secondly, if I were asking a stranger for financial help, would I send an email with these words (all CAPS) in the Subject Line?.....“FINAL NOTICE”

  The message in that email didn’t impress me much, either.  I’ve redacted response email addresses and “click to donate” buttons.  Otherwise, these words are copied directly from the email sent to me……..

"This is your final notice to activate your membership to show Speaker Pelosi and our women candidates in tough races support by contributing to our Spread the Love Fund. We haven’t seen your donation come through yet.

Speaker Pelosi is counting on you to help her defend her majority this year.

we’re running out of time.

Our deadline for the Spread the Love Fund is at MIDNIGHT.

  End quote.  I spared you the long list of politically-charged accusations against the president which ended the email.”

  Not to be outdone by the Democrats, I received this email purporting to be from Republican Whip Steve Scalise…………..again, I quote.

“Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m disappointed. I emailed you last week. I emailed you over the weekend. I emailed you yesterday. We’re short of our mid-month goal and House Democrats raised a ground shaking $137,6OO,OOO this cycle AND just broke another fundraising record...

Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m disappointed, Friend.

I emailed you last week. I emailed you over the weekend. I emailed you yesterday.

I’m asking you personally to contribute before midnight -- if you help in the next 2 hours, I’ll even guarantee that it’s 5OO% matched: Believe me, I wouldn’t be coming to you for a FOURTH AND FINAL time unless it was absolutely critical.”

  End Quote.  As you can see, both sides are acting like they are at war.  Besides politeness, I can’t help but feel that honesty is also a casualty of this ‘war’.  And it is in this attitude I find fault on both sides.

  We are not at war.  We are in the peaceful process of selecting a temporary occupant of a very powerful government office.  We should not be acting like little children at play, pretending the fate of all the world hangs on the success or failure of our mission. 

  Only grown-ups can vote in this election.  That is because it is presumed that grown-ups will, unlike children at play, treat a situation with the seriousness and respect for reality it truly deserves, and not, like children at play, make believe that we must win at all costs, just for the thrill and entertainment of it.

  Is there any question why the presidential candidates themselves sometimes act like children at play when party operatives act just that way?


--On a far more serious subject, today is the 38th anniversary of the murder of Doreen Picard and the brutal beating of Susan Laferte in the laundry room of their home on Front Street in Woonsocket.  Few of us who were alive and in Woonsocket at that time will forget the emotions and frustration resulting from this horrible crime.

  I think about this dark time in our city now and then and I wonder.  This kind of event always makes people wonder, and I’m no different.  The “what-ifs”, and the threats over the telephone.  I know members Doreen’s family say they were threatened and I believe it because even I was threatened over news coverage our station broadcast….and also what we refused to broadcast. 

  This case divided the Woonsocket Police Department into two factions at a time we needed them most.  It was not a good time to be on the force for anyone.  The WPD is no longer divided.  I have to believe that if this murder took place today that a lot of bad things which happened after the murder wouldn’t happen now.  I hold on to that one bit of positivity very tightly.

  There is much more I could say, but I won’t.  Re-living it won’t help anyone.  I do, however, want to say this, hoping it may help.  If Susan or Nicole or the rest of Doreen’s family read these words, I pray you have found peace in your hearts and I want you to know that I have not forgotten the terrible injustices you have suffered. 


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.



Dave Richards for February 13th...............

Dave Richards for February 13th….…………


--I am forming a new opinion of how this country is changing.  Looking back at the recent presidential preference voting, I continue to see the battle between young and old developing.  And between those who act sensibly and those who do not.

  I have the distinct impression after seeing the results of the New Hampshire primary that quiet, sensible people are coming back into fashion, while loud and ‘entertaining’ people may be going out of style. 

  Look at the strong showings of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.  Now look at the less-than-expected results for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Conventional wisdom would have indicated that Bernie and Liz should walk away with very strong showings in New Hampshire since they  both come from the states which border The Granite State.  Yet, Liz just didn’t appeal to them, and Bernie’s early appeal is flagging. 

  Is it possible that people who don’t yell and pound the table and call their political adversaries names are a breath of fresh air?  Maybe.  But, of course it is too early to tell.  I can hope, can’t I?

  If it turns out to be a trend, then won’t Mr. Trump be at a disadvantage in the fall?  Could be.  But I still haven’t changed my mind that if Trump behaves like a president, he will be re-elected.  That, however, is a tall order for this president.


--You may recall my observations in past writings that the great civil unrest we see today reminds me of a similar condition in the 1960s.  I’ve done some further studying of the history books.  For those who subscribe to the notion that social sentiment is cyclical, as I do, I offer this observation.

  About every 50 to 60 years a wave of ‘hyper-liberalism’ seems to occur.  This intense craving for ‘change’ of any kind can be seen today.  We also saw it in the 1960s.  Searching further back, the years immediately before the turn of the 20th century were the same.  That general era brought the downfall of the trusts and the establishment of the middle class.  You know, many people don’t remember President Theodore Roosevelt as a ‘flaming liberal’, but he was just that in his day, and for his entire political career going all the way back to his early days as a Customs Collector in New York City.

  50 to 60 years before that there was the great tumult regarding slavery and State’s Rights.  The result was the U.S. Civil War, touched off by the election of another man we don’t generally think of as a liberal, Abraham Lincoln.  But he was a political liberal, have no doubt about it, and his newly-minted Republican Party was the party of ‘change’ in the mid-19th Century. 

  60 or so years before Mr. Lincoln there was the American Revolution, and the establishing of our Republic.  If you don’t think the founding fathers were liberal thinkers and people of ‘change’, you’d better take another look at them.

  So, in light of this observation, and in further light observing the men and women of today at the local, state, and federal levels of government who also crave ‘change’, what comfort can conservatives and moderates take in the upcoming election?  Perhaps only that as surely as these cycles have repeated in history, this cycle will also pass. 


--There’s a song I play on the radio in which an old man sings to a young man,  “I know what it’s like to be young……..but you don’t what it’s like to be old.”  It’s the age old battle between youthful exuberance and mature experience.   The last time this cycle came around I was a young man who wanted to change the world.  This time I am a man of experience who cautions the young, as I was once cautioned, to subdue their passions and push on into the future with measured steps and a concern for avoiding unintended consequences. 

  I think I’m in for as rough a ride as I gave the elders of my day. 

  But if we all play our roles sincerely and with conviction, we will all have done our best work on this earth.


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.









Dave Richards for February 5th...............

Dave Richards for February 5th….…………


--With the Super Bowl behind us, it’s full speed ahead to Valentine’s Day and, in Woonsocket……..Mardi Gras!

  Yes, those fun-loving folks at the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts are at it again with Woonsocket’s version of New Orleans’ (a.k.a Party City U.S.A.) winter festival.  We have a few comments to make about Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras history, but before that, let’s look at the 2020 edition.  Here are the facts, directly from the script of the radio announcements heard on all Woonsocket frequencies.

“Do You Know King Jace?

King Jace the 26th, the Mysterious Monarch of The Woonsocket Mardi Gras is a man from the area who is well known.  Here's are the clues to the King's true identity.

King Jace XXVI Clues

1.  2 degrees separate him from others.

2.  Is Woonsocket born and raised.

3.  Is a cruiser who loves opera.

4.  Is impatient with impatient people.

5.  Supports those who support their community.

6.  Hates seafood, loves the big apple.

7.  Loves it when he and ‘things’ work out.

8.  Serves those he works with.

9.  Will someday return to Paris.

10. Not used to this much hair.

If you think you know the name of the man playing King Jace, place a dollar in an official King Jace Quest envelope, available at both Woonsocket radio stations, and The Woonsocket Call newspaper offices on Main Street.

King Jace will be unmasked by the Queen of the Mardi Gras right after she is crowned at Savini's Pomadoro Restaurant on Sunday February 16th. 

After the unmasking, a drawing will be held from all correct guesses and the winner will receive 2 free tickets to the Mardi Gras Ball on the following Saturday, February 22nd, at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center Hall.  Tickets for the Coronation, Unmasking and Ball are available by calling Lorraine Cloutier at 762-9072 or from any Mardi Gras Queen contestant.

Do you know King Jace?”


--Public Service Announcement over.  Now a few words on how Mardi Gras has changed over the years.

  In 1954, the Woonsocket Jaycees thought it would be a great idea to put on a Mardi Gras celebration here.  After all, at that time there were more French-speaking people per capita in Woonsocket than any other city in North America.  The first year it was a wonderful, fun time.  But the second year, 1955, was completely ‘over-the-top’ and out of control. 

  Now, if you’re working your tail off to have a great event it is hard to believe there could be a down-side to it being a great success.  But, as the Jaycees of 1955 learned, there is a down-side.

  Reading from newspaper coverage in the February 17, 1955 edition of The Call, not only were the various events well attended, but several had to be broadcast over our local radio station because venues were at full capacity and more people still wanted to attend.  Now that is a good definition of success for sure, but then………….

    Four days later, as Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras wrapped up it is reported in The Call that more than 150,000 people watched the half-mile Mardi-Gras parade.  Yes, you are correct, it is virtually impossible to fit that many people into a half-mile stretch of downtown Woonsocket.  They were on top of buildings, hanging out of windows, clinging to fire escapes, and using any vantage point to see the parade, which was a ‘hum-dinger’ by all accounts.  But there was a ‘story behind the story’.

  A similar number of people never saw the parade because they were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on all roads leading into the city.  Woonsocket’s police force (of 36 members in 1955) was augmented by civilian auxiliary members within the city, but pandemonium was developing in the outskirts.  The Rhode Island State Police were called and dispatched from the Lincoln barracks to assist.  But the “Staties” couldn’t get to Woonsocket due to the miles of traffic jams and were forced to drive north to Woonsocket in the southbound lanes of Louisquisset Pike (Rt. 146) to reach their deliver their assistance. 

  Additional help was even requested from the Civil Air Patrol, whose airborne members reported the automobile grid-lock extended more than 8 miles out from the city. 

  Reading the actual accounts reported at the time in the local newspaper clearly give one a sense of utter…………….WOW. 

  The explanation for this huge problem was simply that February 21, 1955 was an abnormally warm and nice weather day with a high temperature around 50 degrees.  The weather was so nice that on that day over 300,000 people thought it would be a lovely day to take in a parade.

  In subsequent years, normally cold weather for the month put an end to the reveling until the Centennial Committee brought it back in 1988 with native son Noel Pincince serving as King Jace.  Noel will be at this year’s ball, greeting attendees, by the way.

  It’s funny how when we reminisce about “The Good Old Days” we forget what they were “really” like, isn’t it?  So, to those who say……..”it ain’t like it used to be”…….I say…GOOD!


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.





Dave Richards for January 22nd...........

Dave Richards for January 22nd….…………


--I’ve fielded a number of questions from listeners and readers asking me to comment on the recent news that thousands of people have been let go by one of the huge corporate broadcasting companies.  I’ll repeat my answer here.

  It’s true.  One of the two largest publicly-traded radio companies having just emerged from court-supervised re-organization under federal bankruptcy laws has taken advantage of recently-passed FCC rule changes to cut human staffing of their radio “properties”, as they call them.

  To explain, with the advancement of computer-controlled equipment we use in radio these days, the FCC, the folks who regulate the broadcasting industry, were persuaded that maybe nothing bad would happen if we broadcasters were allowed to run our stations by machine and not even have someone in the office to answer the phones when staffing was tight.  After all, phone calls could be forwarded to another phone electronically. 

  It made sense for small broadcasters who had small staffs and who had to visit with advertisers during the business day, that maybe the door could be locked for part of the business day to allow staff to tend to out-of-station business if they were short-handed due to sickness or such as that. 

  But to our large corporate broadcaster with thousands of radio stations, it meant that five or six of their stations could run with no staff at all and be controlled by a seventh station group in a large city hundreds of miles away.  The temptation of that kind of cost savings was just too much to ignore for them.  The result as we have seen is thousands of hard-working people, some who have worked at their stations for decades, are now unemployed.

  While the actions of one greedy and selfish radio owner seems to give all broadcasters a ‘black eye’, and while some have pounced upon the opportunity to predict that ‘radio is dead’, the truth is radio is still doing just fine.  I am happy to report that both Woonsocket radio stations are serving their audiences with fully-staffed studios and fully-staffed offices.  While we don’t speak to each other directly of such things, I feel confident in saying that neither of us have any intention of failing in our service to the community we are licensed to serve. ……

  Because we are broadcasters. 

  There are many differences between Woonsocket’s two radio companies.  But the one thing that we share is that we are radio broadcasters.  Professionals, all our lives in this business because we love it.  We are not stock manipulators.  We are not impersonal corporations who accumulate hundreds and thousands of radio stations.  We are local people who love our neighbors and are grateful to serve them in the craft we’ve loved since we were kids.  And, may I say, this difference is precisely why we are here today and why we both have staffs who have been with us for decades.  And audiences who have been with us just as long.

  I’m proud of what I do for a living.  I’m grateful I can do it.  Please, don’t paint lifelong family broadcasters with the same brush as huge publicly-traded corporations who just happen to work in the same business. 

  Do you remember the corner drug store?  Wouldn’t it be a shame if your local radio station disappeared the way they did?  We are in this business for a different reason than the large, corporate broadcaster. 

  We are here for you.


--Up to now I have never been a fan of large, sweeping changes in public governance.  I was concerned that experience is a valuable thing and we shouldn’t change out too much of it at one time.  I’m more of an “evolution” instead of “revolution” guy.  But recently I’ve been persuaded that even in a revolution…….little actually changes in the long run because the people who actually do the work of government, the bureaucrats, just keep things going in SPITE of changes in leadership. 

  If you elect a good leader who can get along and govern with care and concern for all, things go along great.  If you elect a jerk who has drunk their own Kool-Aid and cares little for anyone else but themselves, the bureaucrats will keep the place stumbling along until another choice is made.  In this respect, I have great faith in the ability of our republic to survive well beyond our own years.  And with that faith comes a new perspective.

  I noticed yesterday that a friend of mine is becoming stressed-out about the impeachment drama now unfolding in Washington.  I tried to calm him, but I don’t know how successful I was.

  My advice is if all this impeachment foolishness is getting you down, just ignore it.  Impeachment, trial, conviction or not, it’s just a lot of people who think they are important mis-behaving.  The people who really count and who really keep this world spinning are the so-called ‘working stiffs’ who keep the all essential systems working in SPITE of the leaders. 

  I think in actual fact, government leaders have very little to do with whether you’re happy or not.  You do.  Remember, life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how you take it.  So, impeachment?  Take it with a grain of salt…….

  Will it matter if every member of the RI General Assembly, the Governor, and all the other state government officers are replaced?  Nope.

  Not one little bit…………….Have a nice day!


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.






Dave Richards for January 15th............

Dave Richards for January 15th….…………


--Now that we are firmly set into the new year, let’s have a holiday!  Yes, nobody planned it this way, but Monday is the holiday we commemorate the birthday of a man who sacrificed much to change much.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

  A dedicated committee of caring individuals has been working to put on four full days of events, beginning this Friday the 17th and concluding on Monday the 20th.  For a full listing, check the news section on the front page of our website,


--After MLK Day is Superbowl Sunday.  And though our Patriots will be watching the game along with us, you just know whichever teams are playing will be the top teams in the league.  Yes, they say that on ‘any given Sunday’ any team can beat any other team.  But the teams who actually do it, (win) can only be described as ‘special’.  Or, in this case, “Super”. 

  My pick?  Well, I don’t really know enough about the game to have a real pick, but I know I want the Tennessee Titans to win.  The reason is simple.  The Titans beat the Patriots.  And I don’t want my team to have been beaten by just another team.  No, if I have my way and if my team loses, I would much rather to have been beaten by the best team in the league.  There’s no shame being beaten in the early rounds by the team who takes the Championship Crown.


--Right after the big football game will come Mardi Gras festivities in Woonsocket.  The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts is hard at work organizing two great events in February.  King Jace, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, has been selected and you’ll be seeing clues within the week and getting your chance to take a guess which well-known man is playing the part this year.  The prize is different this year, the winner will receive two free tickets to the Mardi Gras Ball on the 22nd at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.

  But right now as King Jace romps around the valley taking pictures at familiar landmarks to go along with the clues we’ll publish, the real heavy-lifting is being done by a group of young women who are selling hundreds of tickets to everyone they meet.  These are the women competing to become Queen of the Mardi Gras in a ceremony to be held the Sunday before the Ball, February 16th at Savini’s Pomodoro restaurant in Woonsocket.  There are prizes to be won, and in addition to reigning over the Mardi Gras with King Jace and riding with him in the Autumnfest Parade this fall, the Queen’s first duty after being crowned that day will be to unmask King Jace and find out who he really is.

  It’s all great fun!


--We certainly have enough going on to distract us from the vicissitudes of winter weather, that’s for sure.  Speaking of which, an increasing number of my friends and neighbors are wintering in warmer climates like Florida these days.  But the winters here in Rhode Island are becoming more and more tolerable, in my view.  Really.  Don’t you seem to remember who we lost sight of the grass sometime in December and the storms just kept coming and coming until Spring came in March when ‘mud season’ began.  I’m certainly not complaining that we’ve had a number of comparatively mild winters in this century.  I’m just hoping Mother Nature doesn’t try to make up for lost time over the next couple of months.


--Regardless of what the weather brings, I can always recharge myself with my Winter Mantra……….

C’mon, April!


--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.