Dave's Column

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

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Dave Richards for February 26th…………

--Before I start with all the opinion stuff, I want to communicate both my gratitude and my amazement at how well-run Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras Celebration was this year.  The Ball last Saturday night was just plain fun and comfortable and very, very memorable.  Being someone who has worked on a number of committees over the years, I am keenly aware of just how much work goes into all the hundreds of details from decorations to music to the food. 

  Perhaps I could better express what I’m thinking by telling you that if you or a group you belong to ever need a place to hold an indoor event……you must look into the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.  What they have done with that hall beneath the former sanctuary has transformed it into much more than the church basement it used to be.  And you’ll never find a more attentive, supportive, or hard-working staff than Wally, Domenic, and their friends at St. Ann.  They take the success of your event almost personally.  Check them out when you have a need.

 

--Mardi Gras itself signals the beginning of the Lenten Season.  So it is no surprise that Father John Kiley dropped me a note to tell me of an Ecumenical Lenten Program that Woonsocket area churches are planning on Wednesdays during lent at 7pm each week.  At each service there will be a free-will offering to aid the New Beginnings meal site on Rathbun Street.  Space does not permit me to list the dates and churches here, but you can find them on the web at www.WoonsocketRadio.com.  Thanks to Father Kiley for keeping us up to date with these important matters.

 

--Time to comment on a bill recently introduced in the RI General Assembly.  RI Senator Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) has introduced legislation which would add a 1-percent state tax on the sale of hookah and vaping products.  No surprises there, levying taxes is what they do down there at the State House.   But what comes next in the official press release from the state house press department is what bothered me.

  The announced purpose of this new tax is to raise money to give to municipalities so they can educate people about the dangers associated with those products.  Okay, hold the phone.  What’s wrong with this picture?

  If they pass this law, the state will collect the tax.  After they collect it, they say they will give it to the cities and towns the tax was collected from.  The cities and towns can only spend this money to educate everyone that smoking hookah (flavored tobacco) and vaping (breathing in nicotine-laden smoke) is not good for you.  I’m still shaking my head in disbelief.

  First, and this kinda goes without saying, who among you believes the state will collect a tax and NOT put the money into the General Fund to be used for “whatever”, raise your hand?  I thought so.  I am reminded that the proceeds from the Lottery Commission were supposed to go to fund education.  Instead the money goes into the General Fund.  Next point………

  Does anyone besides me see the irony of using the money to convince buyers of those products to not buy them?  If the effort is successful, you’ll eventually raise so little money that you won’t be able to afford to educate the last hold-outs.  Geez. 

 

--Before I go, a group calling themselves FlyersRights.org has raised an interesting point. 

  Recently, the mega-successful SouthWest Airlines has announced they will add to their massive itinerary flights to Honolulu, Hawaii.  I initially that that was a fine idea.  But this organization, which identifies itself as an advocate for the flying passengers of the world, points out that one of SouthWest’s business decisions which has helped its success through the years is that it operates only the same model of jet, the Boeing 737-800.   The trade-off of this decision is that this jet is somewhat cramped, especially in the aft sections, which is somewhat uncomfortable but manageable for a two or three hour cross country flight, but the minimum 6 hour travel time from the west coast of the U.S. to Honolulu will really be difficult for some travelers. 

  I have flown from Rhode Island to Honolulu with only one stop in L.A. and I can tell you the mind can only enjoy what “the seat” can tolerate.  And that was in a much larger jet run by American Airlines.  Let’s just say I didn’t look forward to the return trip.  I would definitely take this into consideration if contemplating that same trip in a smaller aircraft.

  Your mileage may vary.

 

--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.

 

www.woonsocketradio.com

Dave Richards for February 12th..............

Dave Richards for February 12th…………

 

--The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts presents Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras again for the 25th consecutive year this month.  The festivities revolve around two distinct events.  The first, this Friday the Queen’s Coronation from 6pm to 8pm at Savini’s Pomodoro on Rathbun Street will see the five local ladies who have been selling tickets for a couple of months learn which one of them will be crowned Mardi Gras Princesses and which will be crowned Queen of the Mardi Gras. 

  Then, as her first official act as Queen of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, the queen will unmask the local man who has been playing the heavily-costumed part of King Jace XXV since Christmastime.  The two of them will reign over the Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday the 23rd  from 5:30pm to 10:30pm at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center on Cumberland Street. 

  Tickets for either event as well as raffle tickets are available until Thursday from any of the queen contestants, or by phoning Lorraine Cloutier at 401-762-9072.  Guesses to the true identity of the man playing King Jace XXV may be taken until 4pm Friday at either Woonsocket radio station or the offices of The Call, 75 Main Street.

  Not unlike Halloween, Mardi Gras started off as a religious festival which has evolved over the years to be a good excuse for a party for everyone with little real religious significance.  Holiday’s seem to have a life of their own, I think.

  Valentine’s Day has followed Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as “Hallmark Holidays”.  At least Christmas is still a religious holiday here in the U.S., though it has developed additional themes.  And then there is St. Patrick’s Day.  Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, now there’s a holiday which has really gone through changes.  There was a lot of bigotry in this country years ago directed at the Irish.  But where there is a will there is a way.  When the Irish in Boston couldn’t get permission to have a parade on St. Patrick’s Day, they noted that on the 17th of March during the Revolutionary War, the British evacuated Boston.  So, “Evacuation Day” was celebrated in bean-town.  With a parade.  Although it had a distinctly green tinge to it.

  The point is a party is a party.  It’s a good chance to blow off some steam and release the tensions which build up with daily life.  Parties relieve stress.  And that’s a good thing.  As I always say, “Stress kills more people than guns…”.  We’ll see you at the Mardi Gras!

 

--Did you ever have a problem with the response you received from National Grid during an outage or construction situation?  Lt. Governor Dan McKee is on your side.  He visited us last week on the radio and told us of legislation he asked State Senator (and Woonsocket native) Roger Picard to sponsor in the senate which would essentially put Rhode Island utility customers on the same footing as those in Massachusetts.  It will, among other things, require the utilities to establish and review annually a plan of action to execute during weather (and other) emergencies which cause interruptions in service.

  It’s not only natural disasters Dan is concerned about.  He told us of an employer who has invested in new equipment to remain in Rhode Island and stay competitive.  The equipment is installed, but cannot be used because of lengthy delays by National Grid in upgrading the electrical service to the building.  And also a solar project which was quoted one price for connection to “the grid”, but when the bill came in it was more than doubled in cost.  We may not realize it, but there are people out there who are being victimized by a utility which suffers little consequence when their service is lacking.

   Public utilities enjoy special protections from government.  Dan thinks they should therefore be especially accountable to their customers.

   My take away from all this is that over the last couple of decades, the utility business has gone through many huge changes, but Rhode Island’s laws have not kept pace.  Dan wants there to be teeth in our state’s legal oversight of the utilities so that when things go wrong the government isn’t reduced to simply yelling and screaming their displeasure, they can compel the companies to respond in a more satisfactory way.  As much as I dislike adding more laws to our already bloated books, I see this effort as one of genuine protection for the consumer.  I support it.

 

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

Thanks for reading.

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

Dave Richards for February 5th…………

 

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  Among other things, it can make otherwise kind and caring people do terrible things…….or fail to do what is right.

   I once served on a jury.  They say that broadcasters or people who write and read news are never empaneled on a jury, but they are wrong.  I was selected for a case in which a young man was accused of selling drugs at and near a school.  What’s more, when the case was given to the jury, the judge appointed me as the foreman of the jury.  She later told me it was because I paid careful attention to the testimony during the trial.

 The police officers made what appeared to be a convincing case against the accused.  There was lots of physical evidence and damaging testimony.  In the jury room we deliberated and examined all the hard physical evidence first-hand.  The gun, the ammunition, the scale, and we recalled the testimony of the witnesses. 

  Here’s my point.  There was no juror in that room who argued that the young man was innocent of the charges.  What they argued about, and what kept us in that room for two days before finally agreeing on a verdict of ‘guilty’, was the fear that such a heinous person might exact retaliation upon the individual members of the jury.  

 

--Fear is a terrible thing.  I don’t know the Governor of Virginia.  I have no idea if he is a creep, a racist, or a really nice guy.  But I do know a virtual ‘trial by public opinion’ when I see one. 

  Does anyone out there remember the concept that two ‘wrongs’ don’t make a ‘right’?  Answering a wrong, real or imagined, with another wrong is just plain………..wrong.

  The Sunday morning TV chat shows this past weekend were filled with people who were NOT talking about the Super Bowl football game (thank goodness) but were instead all joining in a unified chorus of “he MUST resign”!  Even our own Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo, who is the leader of the national governor’s group joined in on the chorus.  It’s scary.  I think mob mentality, fueled in no small part by social media, has fanned the flames of a blood-lust. 

  History is full of such episodes, which can happen even without the 21st century equivalent of malicious gossip, social media, of course.  The French Revolution comes quickly to mind.  The problem is that in this political climate no one dares speak out for the rights of the accused because they don’t want to take a chance at being the next victim of mob rule.

  Can you blame them?  There is no limit to the venom being spewed by careless people with opinions.  And, you know, everyone has one.  An opinion, that is.  I have mine.  And I like my opinions.  But I will not use my opinions to attack people in this manner.

  What ever happened to due process?  Oh, well, if everyone says they’re guilty, then they don’t deserve due process, is that it?

  Well, I suppose I’ve really done it now…..I have dared to speak publicly an opinion which differs from the mob.  I suppose I will now be next, right?  Simply because I believe in the rule of law over the rule of public opinion!

  And for those reading who have REALLY short memories, let me repeat before you reach for the rope.  I have no idea if this guy is a creep, or a racist, or a nice man.  I don’t need to know that.  What I need to know is that this country is made up of laws which are based upon English Common Law, the basic principle of which is “a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty by due process of law.”

  Before I close on this subject, let me just state one more thing.  What if Governor Raimondo, or any one of us, were accused of something we didn’t do by social media and what if the weight of public opinion took away our livelihood?  Would that be right?  Think about that before rushing to judgement.    

 

--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 January 29th..........

Dave Richards for January 29th…………

 

--Before we get into state and local issues, I just want to make a quick comment on the big federal issue of the day.  The partial government shutdown has been suspended for now.  The battle is not over, it’s just a cease-fire.  My optimism that a final resolution will be next took a hit over the weekend when I saw something even more unattractive than bull-headedness.  Mocking.  They were mocking President Trump for calling the cease-fire, saying he “caved in” and they tried to humiliate him for thinking of the workers. 

  Mocking is destructive to reaching any compromise when one side will chide the other if they give in on a point.  It is tantamount to being a poor winner, and is certainly a factor in each side refusing to compromise for fear of being mocked.  And, as we all know, compromise is necessary to agreement and vital to progress at any level of government.

 

--It was with some sadness that I read last Friday of the departure from city service of Joel D. Matthews.  Joel and I have had our agreements and our disagreements over the years, and I’m not going to take either side in this matter.  But I think something must be said here.  Regardless of who is right and who is wrong I still think this is a rotten way for more than four decades of public service to end.  Just a rotten way, I say. 

 

--Here it comes, folks.  Judgement day for a General Assembly who has made a habit of spending money meant to be for other things than what they’re spending it on.

  Yes, I’m talking about scooping.  But I’m also talking about a bigger issue.  Really big.

  You’ll remember some years ago when the so-called “Tobacco Settlement” money came in that our intrepid legislators were having difficulty that year coming up with the cash for their budget. 

  Not to digress, but can you name me one year when that does not happen?

  So, we had these millions of dollars given to us as proceeds from a lawsuit with the caveat that the money was to be used to fund smoking cessation and related health program efforts.  But, instead the legislature used it to continue to spend more money than it had. 

  Some of us commented at the time that “someday you’ll have to pay for those programs and you won’t have the money to do it.”  Well, “someday” is here.

  The American Lung Association is about to release a study.  The study itself is embargoed until tomorrow, so I cannot quote it today.  But I can quote the headline on the press release sent to our station Monday.  “[The American] Lung Association Finds RI Failing to Fund Proven Tobacco Prevention Efforts.”  Ooops.  Our dirty little secret is out.  Now everybody knows we didn’t do what we promised to do.  And it really couldn’t come at a worse time.  We are once again wondering how to plug a big income hole in our budget, so there is no extra money to replace what we mis-appropriated years ago.  In the private sector, people go to jail for this.

  Forgive my cynicism but I don’t anticipate the leaders of the General Assembly today will be terribly concerned about the revelation that we broke our word.  After all, it has happened before.  I remember being taught in high school that when each state comes into the union, they promise to not make laws which conflict with the laws of the federal government.  Yet Rhode Island seems to be following other states in marching toward the eventual full legalization of marijuana, clearly in violation of federal law and the promise we made when we joined the Republic.

   Using the vernacular of years ago, the idea “Blows my mind” that the state of Rhode Island would legalize and promote the smoking of marijuana with the excuse of needing the money to, among other things, fund smoking cessation efforts!

  The late Joe O’Donnell of North Smithfield was a former Lt. Governor of our state.  Joe knew a lot about government.  Many years ago Joe told me history proves that when a government sanctions sin and vice in order to raise money to govern, it has already failed.  He was speaking during the debate of allowing a state lottery.  He said the easy money associated with such activities acts like an intoxicating drug to government.  It can never get enough of it, and it eventually clouds the judgement between right and wrong when trying to get more of it.  If Joe were still with us today, he would be very disappointed in the state he loved and served.

 

--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 January 22nd..............

Dave Richards for January 22nd…………

 

--This past weekend we witnessed a number of singular events.  After a number of ‘mild’ winters, we got an old-fashioned ice storm right up our noses, followed by bitterly cold temperatures for several days.  The Patriots won another trip to the NFL Super Bowl in a game which would have been labelled exciting even by the most casual of sports fans.  And the 10 Clues to the true identity of King Jace XXV, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras were released to the public.

  Judging from the initial reactions, the public is very impressed with King Jace XXV, and the guesses are starting to roll in.

  Since Helen Nichols handed me the job of finding and escorting King Jace more than 10 years ago, some members of the committee, who will go nameless at this writing, have always told me they “knew” who King Jace was well before he was unmasked.  In fact, to hear them tell it, they always have known immediately upon meeting him and reviewing the clues.  Others are equally as sure.

  Of course, we tell nobody, not even the committee, who is playing the part of Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras King.  Only me, The Fabulous Denise, the man playing the King, and their spouse ever know for sure. 

  The man playing King Jace is someone who, if their true name were mentioned, would be recognizable.  The clues below are designed to be both revealing and misleading.  Have fun!

King Jace:

 

1--His Favorite Color is Royal Blue.

 

2--Loves Chicken, Hates Veggies.

 

3--If It Were Up To Him, He'd Eat All Outdoors.

 

4--Like a Farmer, Spring and Fall are his Busy Seasons.

 

5--His Lucky Numbers are 0, 1, and 8.

 

6--Not A Snow Bird, But Heads South Whenever He Can.

 

7--Not Afraid of Controversy.

 

8--His Orbit Intersects Many Business Circles.

 

9--Offices Are Not Unfamiliar To Him.

 

10-You've Seen His Name Displayed in a Public Area.

If you think you know the true identity of the man playing King Jace, place one dollar in an official King Jace Quest envelope, available at both Woonsocket Radio Stations and the Offices of The Woonsocket Call Newspaper on Main Street.  All correct guesses will go into a drawing after the King is unmasked on February 15th, with half the dollars collected going to the winner.

Good Luck!

 

--As for the ice storm, it could have been worse, that’s for sure.  But I’d rather get two feet of snow than two inches of ice, if you want to know the truth.  Still, not to worry, there’s a thaw scheduled for mid-week with up to an inch and a half of rain and temperatures in the 40s.  This is good news for sidewalks and parking lots, but very bad news for roofs and gutters.  Be on the lookout for water damage to your property as a result of ice dams.  As I say, I’d rather have snow than ice.

 

--More than 4,500 airline flights were cancelled here in New England as a result of the weekend storm.  One of the 590 cancelled at Boston’s Logan Airport was supposed to have brought Joe Callahan back to us from a business trip to St. Louis, Missouri.  Last word is he might be getting back today.  It was only supposed to be a two day conference.  He left Thursday.  I didn’t ask, but if it were me, I’d have run out of underwear by now……..  Well, just keep repeating, life is ten percent what happens and ninety percent how you take it.

 

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

Thanks for reading.

--30--

 

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

Dave Richards for January 15th…………….

 

--Today is the 10th anniversary of the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, on a routine passenger flight from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte, North Carolina used his experience and gifts of cool-headedness to save the lives of all aboard that aircraft by landing it on the surface of the Hudson River instead of crash landing it on the way to another airport. 

  As you will remember, moments after taking off from LaGuardia, Flight 1549 accidentally flew at hundreds of miles per hour into a flock of geese, several of which were sucked into the air intake of the two jet engines and which disabled both.  Repeated attempts to re-start the engines met with failure.  A “MayDay” message was radioed to air-traffic controllers who suggested possible airports nearby for an emergency landing.  But despite their best efforts, “Sully” knew that without either engine running, the aircraft had insufficient altitude to reach even the closest airport.  Rather than risk killing people on the ground as well as all aboard the aircraft, he made the decision to glide down to the surface of the river and hope for the best.  He put the fewest number of people in peril.

  Well, it worked.  Nobody on the ground died and 155 passengers survived to write books and do TV interview shows.  As his reward, Captain Sullenberger was brought before an inquest of the National Transportation Safety Board charging that he should have at least tried to make it to an airport and not risk the lives of the passengers and destroy an aircraft.  The result was an acquittal of the charges and agreement that under the unique circumstances which existed, “Sully” somehow ignored all the alarms and buzzers and blinking lights and made the right decision.  Put another way, when faced with A. B. or C. to choose from, he chose D.  And it worked.

  Today would be a good day, I think, to resolve that in a world where the available choices don’t do what needs to be done, we will make the hard choice not offered.

 

--Another person who did this was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  When the world gave him choices which did not move humanity forward, he chose another path.  He chose a path of peaceful resistance.  Surely, not all was peaceful around him, and he died from a bullet fired in anger and hatred, but in a world which gave him and his people the choice to suffer as second-class citizens or to hate and kill, Dr. King chose to love and peacefully demonstrate what was wrong that had to be made right.

  Relations between the races still are not as he would have wanted them to be.  Perhaps it is because he was taken from us at such a young age.  Perhaps because some who remain aren’t trying hard enough. 

  Our society celebrates birthdates, not because they are important by themselves, but because they are a convenient way for others to say they are glad you’re alive.  And truly…….what nicer thing can you say to another human being than that you are glad they live and that they mean something to you? 

 

--One of the news stories on the wire yesterday is the teachers’ strike in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Teachers there are walking the picket lines, unhappy that their demands for a more than six percent raise and reduced class sizes have not been met.  Geez.  They should try working as a teacher here in Woonsocket.  Negotiations here have been going on for more than a year as the workers try to regain what they gave back to the city when Woonsocket was in financial trouble, and yet the Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild is not striking.  There are two good reasons for this.  First, strikes by teachers are illegal in Rhode Island, and the members of the WTG want to respect the law.  Second, there is a real sense of hope that this labor impasse will end soon.

  I had the chance to talk to Teachers’ Guild President Jeff Partington last week.  He told me that since the election of the new school committee and the replacement of the appointed panel, several members of the municipal side of the negotiating teams have been replaced, new members are getting up to speed on the history of the negotiations and Jeff said that even this week serious work is being done to achieve a compromise and agreement. 

  Jeff also told me that dozens of items in the negotiations have already been agreed to.  The few that remain are the tough ones, basically financial, and his sense of optimism is based on the attitude he sees from those on the other side of the table.  He doesn’t expect easy agreement on the last items, but he sees a spirit of “how do we get this done?” instead of “it ain’t gonna happen”.

  So, with two sides in the disagreement now seemingly dedicated to finding a way to agree in some way and to some extent, I feel a sense of hope as well.

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to dave@woonsocketradio.com or postal comments can be mailed to Dave Richards, c/o WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading. 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Richards for January 1st.......

Dave Richards for January 1st…………….

 

--Well, Happy 2019 to all, including all those nice but mis-guided people who predicted the world would end long before now!

  Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, any more scary, any more uncomfortable, and any more precarious…….time passes and proves fools of us all.  In this, I suppose there is comfort in knowing we can count on something.

  Yes, some things don’t change from year to year.  Political conflict among people seems to be one of them.  Hundreds of positions are left unfilled in the federal government, which, I suppose isn’t as big an emergency as it would have been if half the federal government wasn’t in shutdown. 

  This periodic game of “chicken” the executive and the congress play from time to time shows no sign of ending, especially because the House of Representatives is completing the flip from Republican to Democratic control. 

  Well, they say you should never “dare a man with nothing to lose”.  With the clock counting down to Democratic control, it seems to me that Mr. Trump had nothing to lose in flinging the desperate “Hail Mary Pass” of a federal shutdown in order to bring pressure on the congress. 

  This is another case of ‘when millionaires fight each other, the common people get hurt’.  Yes, thus it has ever been……..but I can’t help but wish we could change that.  When we were growing up, we promised ourselves we’d change the world.  We didn’t change that part.  I hope the kids can.

 

--I’ve written on these pages a number of times about how I see the political world going through cycles, from liberal to conservative and back and forth like a pendulum.  I not only write about it, I believe it.

  I wrote before the 2016 presidential election that we’d had plenty of time with a liberal-leaning government and I predicted the country would now go in the other direction and elect a conservative administration.  I’m not blowing my own horn here, the reason I bring that up is a news story we broadcast yesterday that U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren, the poster child for liberal politics, has made public what so many already knew.  That she has officially established a committee to explore if 2020 is the year she will run for President of the U.S..

  My first reaction to this news was……..”Gee, that’s only next year…..2020 seemed so far away once.”  And with that realization firmly in mind I came to grips with my second reaction.  A liberal candidate may well be elected in 2020 as a backlash reaction to the personality of the present occupant of the White House.  My third thought was that the ‘political pendulum’ has not had time to swing back away from the liberal zenith and may well be jerked back in the liberal direction unnaturally early. 

  I’m not sure if that’s good for the country.  A natural rhythm of left/right, left/right has always been best in the past.  Like breathing out and breathing in.  If you were in the midst of breathing in and had only half filled your lungs before being forced to breath out again, it would leave you short of air.  I hope you can see the comparison.

  So we trudge on into the new year hoping for the best……..

 

--It is at this time of the year that many of us indulge in a little game of predicting what the new year will bring.  When I look ahead, I see a distinct trend of conflict.  Yes, I’m sorry to say that I think it will be another year of people refusing to get along, refusing to compromise, and generally being selfish.  I hope I’m wrong on that.

  But I can also predict positive things for 2019.  I predict that we will have 10 more wonderful Free Concerts in the River Island Art Park this summer…..and that will be great.  Right now Meg Rego and her crew are in the process of hiring the bands and performers.  You can help them by suggesting possible acts.  Go to the website.  www.neighborworksbrv.org and click on the Levitt-AMP tab.  Then type in the name of your favorite band or performer.  All suggestions will be considered.  Maybe you’ll be seeing the act you suggest perform this summer in the park!    

 

--Before I go, I want to thank you all for your support of The Milk Fund.  While all the donations have not yet been counted, I feel it is safe to tell you that the 2018 Milk Fund Appeal, under the leadership of Lisa Carcifero, has surpassed last year’s totals.  Exact totals will be published later in the year when we close the books.

  I am also delighted to announce that Lisa has agreed to be 2019 Milk Fund Chair……and she’s already started organizing this year’s effort. 

  In some ways, the new year is looking brighter already!

 

--I’ll close this week with my favorite new year’s salutation…….”May you and I be wishing each other a Happy New Year one year from today!”

 

--Thanks for reading.  And thanks for remembering The Milk Fund.

 

 

 

--30—                                                   

 

 

 

 

 

Dave Richards for December 18th................

Dave Richards for December 18th…………….

 

--Before we get to today’s topic, let me just sneak in this public service announcement.

  Our Milk Fund Auction is doing so well we have now surpassed the total amount collected in 2017’s auction.  We appreciate the support and remind you that an additional auction has been added at 11am this Thursday, December 20th.  Our guest auctioneer that day will be former Woonsocket Mayor Charley Baldelli.  It will be a memorable broadcast. 

  Later on Thursday, I hope you’ll join me for another Milk Fund event, the “Soup for Supper” event from 5:30 to 7:30pm.  It will be a “soup buffet” where, for a donation of $15 you can sample soups and stews made by Jermaine of Bugg’d Out Barbecue, Grumpy’s Restaurant, and local chef Michael Heroux.  Of course there’ll be friends, fun, and complimentary items, with proceed going to the Milk Fund.  It was well attended last year, and I expect the same again this year.  My thanks to all involved.

 

--Boy, how things have changed over the past twelve months!  As 2017 wound down there was much talk about the president’s tax bill passing congress and there were only rumblings of bad times ahead for the Trump presidency, but not enough that a dyed-in-the-wool optimist like me would be concerned about.  Fast-forward to today and the president’s lawyer is going to prison, he has gone through staffers faster than he can hire and train them, and even a guy who really needs a job, like former New Jersey governor Chris Christy, won’t work with him.

  The optimist in me says, “cheer up, it can’t get much worse….”.  But the realist in me says, “Oh yeah?  Just watch!”.

  The interesting thing to think about now as the fires burn in the Trump administration and the firefighters run around like Keystone Kops, is what kind of person we will be allowed to vote for in the next presidential election?  At least, I think that’s interesting, and it will take our mind off the mess we made this time.

  If you recall, we were only really given a choice of two in the last election.  Yes, a couple of dozen people ran for president, but by the time voters in Rhode Island could vote, there were really only two.  Somebody else narrowed down the field for us.  I have to tell you I didn’t feel that either candidate was the right choice, I really didn’t. 

  Some people are now saying that we chose the wrong candidate.  They say that if Secretary Clinton had won the 2016 election things would be different.  Of course they would be different, that’s a silly thing to say.  “Would they have been better?” is my reply.  I say there would have been trouble if either candidate had won.  Four more years of liberalism would have divided this country as surely as a hyper-conservative egotist has divided it.  It’s very much like, “do you want the snake bite or the hemlock?”  Either way, you know you’re going to have a bad day.

  So let’s get back to the original question, who can the two major political parties put up to run in 2020?  Keep in mind that the campaigning will begin in 2019, and…..well, you know how close 2019 is. 

  Do you suppose there will be an “anything but Trump!” movement?  Do you suppose Trump will run for a second term?  Well, I think we’ll see both of those things happen, I really do.  To think for a moment that a man with the personality we’ve seen displayed by Mr. Trump will not run for re-election is beyond consideration.  Of course he will!  And, if his party won’t nominate him, I have no trouble at all in expecting Mr. Trump to run as a third party candidate, even if he has to organize the third party himself. 

  Crazy, you say?  It happened once before.  When Republican President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to run, but his party wanted another man instead, Teddy ran anyway on the “Bull Moose” ticket.  He didn’t win, but Teddy Roosevelt didn’t have as much money as Mr. Trump does……or a “Twitter” account!

  Some will say a third party candidate simply cannot win the presidency.  Well, it’s never happened before, but that doesn’t mean it cannot happen.  I seem to remember that Mr. Perot put up a credible fight a number of years ago.  And he wasn’t as charismatic a figure as Mr. Trump, was he?

  Regardless of what happens over the next year, I expect it will be a wild ride for us all.  And while some will despair at what such a veritable circus will do to our country, I calm myself by remembering that so long as we have the U.S. Constitution as the rule of law, we cannot truly fail. 

  There goes that optimist part of me again…………….

 

--Friend, next Tuesday is Christmas Day.  The good people at The Call will be taking a well-deserved day off with their families.  Therefore, there will be no column next week.  Please accept my heartfelt wishes that you will find peace and warmth in your heart this year.  Put your troubles aside for a day, make good memories, and please each other.  Merry Christmas to all my Christian and non-Christian friends.  Yes, non-Christians, too.  As I am reminded by the words of my Jewish friend the late Dr. Tom Kottle, “Dave, don’t’ ever feel uncomfortable wishing everyone you know a “Merry Christmas”.  Nobody celebrates Christmas like the Jews.  And we have a blast watching you folks have a good time.”

  See you next year!

Thanks for reading.  And thanks for remembering The Milk Fund.

 

 

 

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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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