TOM WARD – In a roundabout way, I’d say traffic’s better

TOM WARD – In a roundabout way, I’d say traffic’s better

Don’t look now, Cumberland anti-social media boo-birds, but those dreaded roundabouts that everyone was making fun of a year ago ... well, they work! I know it’s a bit early to raise the “mission accomplished” banner, but it’s clear to many drivers that, when used properly, the traffic is moving much more smoothly at the Diamond Hill Road (Route 114, Exit 22) and I-295 exit, especially during the afternoon rush hour. Soon, the state DOT will be mopping up and suspending work for winter, but will be back next spring to finish the job. And in the meantime, we’ll have to see how snow plowing works out if we have a big storm. Still, all in all, for all of our bellyaching, it seems things will be getting better. Until, that is, they remove the entire bridge over 295 and mess it all up again.

But you know, it’s Thanksgiving, and maybe we ought to give thanks for safe roads, bridges that aren’t falling down – and yes, clean water in new pipes under our roads – no matter the inconvenience and source of funding.

Well done!

Here’s a toast to North Providence Police Chief David Tikoian, who retired from the State Police and began a two-and-one-half year stint as North Providence chief to “right the ship,” in his words. It’s been a busy few years as he announces his retirement. Tikoian leaves as the department wins its professional accreditation. The public noticed the building of a grand new police station, but much was happening for the better behind the scenes, too.

Tikoian will be replaced by Deputy Chief Arthur Martins on Jan. 1. My best wishes go out to both men, and the department.


The Scituate School Committee might want to do a bit more research before privatizing custodial services for the schools. They might also check in with Cumberland, whose careful stewardship of money in the busing of children has led to bus driver unionization. Durham School Services, the town’s school bus vendor, has had trouble finding drivers, and kids don’t get to school on time. Parents and educators are complaining. Now, higher wages and costs will follow.

The towns are going in opposite directions.

In Scituate, Joshua Homerston, president of the custodians union, notes that most of the custodial staff of 20 have been in town for years, and he claims the pay – between $14 and $20 per hour – is the lowest in the state.

I’m no expert, and I know nothing about the productivity of the Scituate staff or their workload, but it’s hard for me to imagine you’ll get dependable employees to work for less, considering any private owner plans to make a profit, too.

“We don’t cost that much,” says Hammerston. “We’re a drop of water in the (school funding) bucket,” he said. It’s hard to argue with that.

Tom’s time

It seems we can brush off the happy talk of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady playing forever. By any reading of his official stats, he’s at the end of his career, and admirers like me pray he doesn’t hang around until he’s embarrassing and hard to watch.

Maybe he can limp to another Super Bowl, maybe not. Thank God for the defense. But the Patriots have to get serious in looking for their next quarterback. The party’s almost over.

Ward is publisher of The Valley Breeze


The roundabout in Chepachet works well. Traffic jams in Chepachet on Route 100/102 are no longer there. Albeit slowly, everybody just keeps moving through the intersection now.