Friday, November 7
To everyone in Council District 3, the Monastery Heights area of town: Jeff Kearns, the council member you voted out of office Tuesday, did not "vote to develop the Monastery," despite the claim of an 11th-hour campaign piece that arrived in your mailboxes Tuesday from Jim Scullin.
Last-minute campaign lies like this are protected under First Amendment rights thanks to a test case brought in Smithfield, - so expect to see more of it.
As Mayor McKee departs for... more
Thursday, October 23
Most of the reporters for the Breeze and Observer papers work side by side on the second floor of our Lincoln office, separated only by cubicle walls.
And while we discuss all of our story ideas every Thursday morning, by the following Monday those story budgets have changed as news leads develop. By early in the week, interaction is limited as everyone concentrates on meeting deadlines for their own Breeze and Observer editions.
And that’s how Smithfield reporter Melanie... more
Wednesday, January 15
Confirming what the Cumberland School Committee already knows, a researcher with Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center has published a study linking later school start times to "improved sleep and mood in teens."
The article, “Later School Start Time is Associated with Improved Sleep and Daytime Functioning in Adolescents,” appears in the current issue of the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.
School board members considered delaying the early... more
Tuesday, January 7
Every now and then, Cumberland Town Clerk Sandra Giovanelli asks me to post an opening on one of the town boards or commissions that will be filled by the Town Council.
There are really two kinds of openings on local boards and if you're interested in volunteering your time to the town, you need to read between the lines to understand what's being offered. While the town announces all upcoming appointments, the truth is that if the member whose term is expiring wants to keep on... more
Friday, October 25
There’s a woman somewhere in town, who’s apparently the mom of a Cumberland High School freshman, who’s managed to stir up Town Council, School Committee and even The Valley Breeze office with her passionate claims that freshman don’t have textbooks this year.
That’s prompted Supt. Phil Thornton to survey every freshman teacher at CHS, he says, where he found no evidence of missing texts.
In fact, he said, he has an account set aside just to purchase an occasional textbook if... more
Wednesday, October 2
I’m back in town after a 10-day vacation (Greek islands cruise that I highly recommend) to find the state Department of Transportation has removed the two old construction signs on Route 116 that I complained about. Town Administrator Joe Almond and state Sen. Ryan Pearson both lent their muscle to this little victory over roadway pollution.
But still offending drivers, at least me, are the broken down signs calling for reduced speeds when the high school is in session. They haven't,... more
Friday, September 13
The thing about roadway signs is how they begin to blend into the landscape. And no matter how ugly, it seems you begin to not see it anymore.
That’s the case, I guess, with this broken sign on Route 116 in Lincoln, one of the main gateways into town.
Actually, if you’re driving from Ashton into Lincoln, you’re greeted with not one but a series of dismaying messages.
First a disclaimer: There’s a snide truism about newsrooms that says something like “news is what the... more
Friday, September 6
The good news keeps coming for Cumberland high school.
After CHS students added to 8 points to their math proficiency NECAP scores this year, Rhode Island Monthly’s annual school rankings in the September issue lists Cumberland High School 7th-best in the state. That’s up a slot from last year and it comes with a “most-bang-for-the-buck” star shared with Barrington.
While Cumberland’s $11,038 per student spending glares out of the chart – the only school below the $12,000 mark... more
Thursday, August 29
The National Grid engineer and attorney who waited until 11:20 p.m. weren’t amused, I’m sure, but their petition to the Town Council last Wednesday was unusual.
It seems that Cumberland prohibits barbed-wire fencing except in industrial or agricultural areas with Town Council “authorization.” Who knew?
Their plans for a new high-voltage substation within the Highland Corporate Park included seven feet of chain link fence topped by a foot of barbed wire.
Monday, August 26
Friends around Cumberland who quiz me about the “real story” may feel like they’re getting a special insider’s view, but really there’s very little that I wouldn’t be willing to share with anyone who asked.
So that’s what this new blog, or online journal, is all about - the back story if you will, news bits that for many reasons doesn’t find their way into a regular new story.
What this new blog won’t do is offer up my personal opinions about local issues.
Instead, I’m... more