Dave's Column

Dave Richards for November 21st............

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for November 21st 

 

--With Thanksgiving just days away, I’m getting excited for this, my favorite of all the holidays.  Thanksgiving has everything I love in a holiday.  It has the annual Woonsocket High vs. Cumberland High School football game, which we broadcast each year, (and I LOVE live remote broadcasting).  It has family.  It has food.  And it usually has good memories.  What more could you ask for from a day?  All my favorite things!  So, even if you don’t come from Woonsocket or Cumberland, please consider going to the high school football game in your home town and make a day of it.

  

--I’m not happy with my opinions on Black Friday.  I’m not happy because I see only one positive thing in it, really.  And I also think the day which started off as an inside thing within the retail industry has become diluted and ineffective and, well, worse than a cliché’.  It has become a joke.  I mean, really.  How many people do you know will wait for weeks to buy that Honda Accord on the day after Thanksgiving to save a “ton of money”? 

 Now, the one positive thing I’ve seen come out of the so-called “Black Friday” phenomenon is Small Business Saturday.  Yes, it did start as a promotion by the American Express credit card company to offer some balance to the consumer gluttony of Black Friday.  But the idea behind Small Business Saturday is essentially a good one.  There are more small merchants in this country than there are big box stores.  And, I can personally attest to having the nightmare in my head of what would happen if “Goliath” really did beat “David” in the retail wars.  It would just be so wrong.  

  So please make your plans now to walk calmly and purposefully to your local merchant this Saturday.  You’ll know who they are.  They’re the stores which don’t have idiots camping out in front of them for days, and who advertise in the local newspaper and on local radio instead of the national TV outlets.  You can’t miss them.  They’re real nice people who treat you like a friend and a neighbor because…………..you are one.

 

--By the time we get together next week our 2017 Milk Fund Radio Auction will have begun.  For the first time ever, we are actually starting in November.  This is because the way the days of the week play out this year, with Christmas Day falling on a Monday, we would lose 4 auction days if we waited to December 1st.  We hope you understand, and that you will tune in both on radio and on the internet and bid to support our favorite Christmastime charity, The Milk Fund.  It’s what Greater Woonsocket does to help ourselves each year. 

 

--Here’s a Rhode Island trivia question for you.  “Name the real life Rhode Island family band that the 1970s network TV show The Partridge Family was based upon………….”   If you said Newport’s The Cowsills, you get an extra quahog with calamari and coffee milk! 

 I was thinking about that this past weekend when I heard that one of the singers and actors of The Partridge Family TV show, David Cassidy, was hospitalized with worsening health problems.  By the time you read this he may have actually passed, since he was listed in critical condition as I wrote these words.  The reports tell us he was surrounded by family and friends while several of his internal organs continue to fail.  This is sad. 

 It made me think of a member of my own family.  My loved one had a very difficult childhood which over time grew into a very difficult early adulthood.  To the horror of our family, drugs were involved.  She just couldn’t choose good friends or spouses which were good for her and she got into a lot of trouble.  Our prayers were eventually answered when she finally met a good man and straightened her life out.  But serious damage had been done. As the years passed, she ended up with a lot, and I mean a lot of internal health problems. 

 Growing up in the 60s and 70s, we always heard about the dangers of drug use.  When you’re very young, it doesn’t hit home.  But later in life it can hit you very hard when damage which was caused to internal organs you didn’t notice when you were young becomes damage you cannot ignore…..and, in some cases, damage you cannot overcome. 

 We were told that David Cassidy needs both a liver and a kidney transplant.  But considering his self-announced dementia, I’m not sure if he would be a candidate for such a life-saving operation, since doctors may feel other patients may make better use of the transplanted organs.  It’s all just sad, really sad. 

 But let it be known that the warnings of future consequences we give young people today about the effects of recreational drug use are not just “Boogie Man Stories”.  People are really dying younger than they need to die as a result of their ‘youthful indiscretions’.  And that’s what really bothers me about the current movement to decriminalize marijuana.   

  

 

--On the lighter side, sometimes you just gotta laugh at the timing of certain events.  Two weeks ago I wrote in these pages that I thought the Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, was the wrong man for the job and that he should find work elsewhere.  Then, last week, as if he had read my column, Goodell made national headlines when his demands for severance were made public.  How would you like to have $50 million, your own private jet, and paid healthcare insurance for you and your family for life, just for leaving your job?  Remember, I never said the man was stupid, just the wrong man for the job and he must go.  But if that’s what it costs to make him go away…………..I’m not sure it’s worth 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 November 14th

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for November 14th

 

 --As a guy to grew up during the Vietnam War, you can probably imagine just how much change I have personally witnessed in the way Americans treat their active military and their veterans.  I have several close friends who served in Vietnam.  One came back and struggled to live a normal life for many years.  Another threw his uniform and medals in the ocean and never admitted to having served to anyone, not even to the woman he eventually married.  Both were treated badly by Americans upon their return from doing their duty. 

  Never in my lifetime have our active military and our veterans been treated with so much respect as they are now.  In fact, it’s gotten to the point where people are competing among themselves in how the support our troops. 

 Good.

 

--I had a good laugh watching TV last Sunday while watching my overnight recording of Saturday Night Live.  Two weeks back the comedian Larry David was the host of the show and during his opening monologue he told a joke which must have worked better in rehearsal than it did on the live show.  It was a mistake and it will happen in any industry.  The joke was about what a guy in a Nazi concentration camp would say to a girl in the same camp as a “break the ice” first line.  Mr. David was flamed in social media afterward for making any joke related to that situation.  I saw it, it wasn’t all as bad as some said it was, but the joke clearly failed.

 What made me laugh this week was in a totally different show, different sketch, they used a clip of Larry David himself ranting about comedians who make jokes about concentration camps, and demanding they “should rot in H----!” 

  I admire someone who can laugh at their own folly and improve themselves from their mistakes.   

 

--Since we last met on these pages a week ago, President Trump, who continues his trip overseas has struggled to stay in the headlines.  It’s not that he hasn’t tried, but how do you compete for top billing in the news when dozens of well-known show business and political people are accused one after another of sexual misconduct?  I hesitate to list them here because there will likely be another dozen between the time I write these words and the time you read them. 

  In some cases, the accused denied the allegations.  In others, there was admission and a plea for forgiveness.  But with so many people being accused, I am becoming concerned with what happens next.  On the one hand, people might just accuse anybody with no proof and let a lynch-mob mentality in the public destroy the accused before they even have their day in court.  We saw marches this past weekend from a group called #Me Too, encouraging everybody who has a story to tell to come out and tell it.  I hope they tell it honestly. 

 We must, of course remember that someone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not on the 24 hour pay-cable news channels.

 While that would be wrong, I’ll tell you what else that could happen which would also be wrong.  That is if so many people are accused of sexual misconduct that it no longer matters to anyone but the alleged victims.  That may sound far-fetched to you now, but you know how the average person just starts “turning off” the news when it gets tiresome? 

 So, as I say, either extreme would be wrong and we need to guard against that. 

 You may have noticed I have not used gender-specific words in talking about the many sexual misconduct allegations.  Well, I do try to be careful, but wouldn’t you know over the weekend came news of a claim from a man who claimed that noted homosexual actor George Takei drugged and molested him years ago.  I suppose it happens between women, too. 

 At this point you might go analytical and point out how nearly all of us have sexual sides to us so there is perhaps the potential for millions of us to misbehave, but I’m not buying it.  Every one of us also have hands and feet but only a small minority of us use them to commit crimes.  There may be “reasons”, I suppose, if you think of these things like a psychologist does, but I remain unconvinced that there are any valid excuses.  Somebody just makes bad choices and somebody else becomes a victim.

 What can we do about this?  I’m sure some people will have no trouble at all proposing new laws and penalties because that’s what these people always do.  But I think that is the wrong way to go about it.  There are plenty of laws and penalties to discourage sexual misbehavior right now, more than ever before.  The way I see it, the people who cannot control themselves now won’t be able to control themselves any better if the penalties are stiffened.  The death penalty does not stop people from committing murder.

 I say the only effective way to reduce all crime, including sexual misbehavior, is to focus on raising our young people to be caring and thoughtful individuals and to take responsibility for their deeds. 

 Easier said than done.  But nothing this big is ever easy.

 

 

--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 November 7th.............

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for November 7th

 

--Once again the National Football League is in trouble.  Trouble, I believe, it brings upon itself.  The owners, who own the league, some time back hired what I believe to be a weak commissioner.  This man will do anything he’s told to do.  Which means, when controversial issues come up, he’ll always do the expedient thing and not necessarily do the right thing.  

  When the New England Patriots were having their way with their opponents on the field and going to the Super Bowl frequently, some of the owners didn’t like it.  Because of that, the commissioner didn’t like the Pats.  He did his best to reverse the fortunes of the Patriots in order to appease the other owners.  He made expedient decisions.  The Pats won anyway, or perhaps, in spite of it.

 When the protests began and players decided to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem, it was bad.  Many owners, where the expediency begins, didn’t want to appear to be stifling social commentary (because that would be bad for business) so they ordered the commissioner to look the other way.  Once again, expediency has its price.  Viewership of NFL games has taken a tumble as the American public has voted to disapprove of a league which has no backbone. 

  They say, if you don’t take a stand for something, you’ll stand for anything.  However, the American public finds it a shallow argument when athlete millionaires protest social injustice on the job by disrespecting national traditions.  The players should have thought better of this, and observed the public’s earlier reaction to famous actors and actresses who use their notoriety to protest.  The American public doesn’t buy it.

 Add to that, I see a very big difference between the two.  When the actors or actresses are protesting, they are doing it on their own time, not during the shooting of a Hollywood film.  The football players are in uniform, on duty, and inside the building in which they work.  In my opinion they have taken the matter way farther than the actors and actresses protests, which didn’t work for them.  What could the players be thinking, if indeed thinking was part of the process? 

 If the football players were on their own time, out of uniform and not in the football stadium when they chose to protest, I would be defending their actions, I would.  Personal protests should be conducted on personal time.

 Can you imagine if you had saved up your money and took your family to a place like Disney World, for example, and a costumed character there decided to step out of character and protest something they didn’t like in front of all the visitors to the park?  If you can imagine that, you can imagine what happens next.  The employee will be summarily dismissed and escorted from the park because, as we were taught when we were children, there is a time and a place for everything.

 Do you have a right to peaceably protest in this country?  You certainly do!  Do you also have a responsibility to protest without causing harm to others?  You certainly do! 

 Famous sports broadcaster Vin Scully loves to watch NFL football games.  At a speaking engagement recently he was asked what he thought of the player protests and he said frankly, “I miss watching the games, I do.  But I simply shut the TV off and won’t watch what is happening now.  I hope it ends soon, because I really miss it.”

 Famous pizza maker Papa John’s invested a ton of money into being named the official pizza of the NFL.  Falling TV ratings are making that investment a big mistake for them and they are holding the league responsible for their mis-management of the issue which is costing Papa John’s plenty.  They won’t be the last company to re-examine their advertising with NFL games.  I assure you there will be more.  Expedient decision making causes this kind of trouble. 

  Now we hear that the same football players who have been causing so much damage to their sport and to those who invest money in the sport are demanding a ‘sit-down’ meeting with the league to air their grievances.  Grievances?  To me that sounds like a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.  And the tragedy of it is you can’t even blame the commissioner any more………..he was the wrong guy for the job when he took the job…..and he’s just doing what he’s told.    

 The problem is……leaders are not leaders if they only do what they are told to do.  They are followers.  In my opinion, the NFL needs leadership to stop the bleeding and start the healing.  The NFL needs a new commissioner.

 

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

Thanks for reading! 

 

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Dave Richards for October 31st.........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for October 31st

  

--Tonight is Halloween.  Thank goodness the weather in our area will be good enough for the kids to have some fun safely.  Can you imagine if the weather we had Sunday night was scheduled for this night?  

  I remember when I was growing up you were sure to never get sick on October 31st.  If you didn’t go to school, you couldn’t go out Trick-Or-Treating, right?  And if the weather was bad……….well, you never got a “make-up” day for Halloween.  If you missed it for any reason, you couldn’t go out the next night, remember? 

  The number of years you could go out on Halloween were definitely numbered, too.  Maybe seven years, if you were lucky.  And, if you had a bunch of younger siblings, as I did, some of those “golden years” were spent shepherding your brothers and sisters around.  It just wasn’t the same, you know.

 Despite the shortcomings, Halloween was always a hit.  I mean, for Christmas you had to be on your best behavior or you were doomed.  But for Halloween you could be ‘a little naughty’ and it was all part of the fun. 

 Today we see more adults enjoying Halloween than when I was growing up, but for different reasons, of course.  Except for a peanut butter cup or two, adults generally are not in it for the candy.  They’re in it for the fun.  Some for the costumes.  Some for the slight misbehavior.  And some are still in it for the fun of watching the kids have fun.

 Whatever your reason, keep it safe but let your hair down a bit and “howl” tonight.  Just remember tomorrow is a day of obligation for Catholics.  I always thought that put the whole thing into balance, somehow. 

 

--The gales of November have begun.  And with them, the winter weather patterns.  In the summertime, just before a storm hits the wind picks up, the temperature drops, and just after the storm is over the wind is still.  In a winter storm pattern in New England the storm starts with little fanfare, the temperature rises during the storm, and when the storm ends the wind picks up and the temperature drops.  The storm we saw this past Sunday night, even though it formed in the tropics, played out like a winter storm.  So, according to Mother Nature (who never did learn to read a calendar) it is now Winter.  

  It is at this time of year that the skies are often in turmoil, as the adjustment is made by the northern latitudes of our planet.  This is the reason November is my least favorite weather month.  It is also the reason that tomorrow I start saying my favorite winter phrase…….”C’mon April”!

  

--Speaking of this time of year, those of us who prefer to decorate a live tree for our Christmastime celebration will need to ante-up about ten percent more doe this year.  The story goes that a lot of former tree farmers have left the business leaving too few farmers to meet the demand.  The fir trees we traditionally use at this time of year grow at just one speed, you cannot rush them.  So, fewer farmers mean fewer trees and fewer trees means higher prices.  Say, I wonder if we could all switch to bamboo trees for Christmastime?  They grow incredibly fast and you can grow six of them in the same space it takes for a fir tree.  Not sure it would catch on in New England, though. 

 

--Before I go this week I wanted to say a word about some troubling news I’ve been reading on the wire from Spain.  You don’t often hear of trouble in that country, at least not in the recent past, but they have big time trouble brewing there now.  The people in the northeast province of Catalonia have voted in their parliament to press for independence from Spain.  They did this as the Spanish Senate approved emergency measures designed to take control of the area and remove the leaders of the independence movement.  Over seven million people reside in Catalonia.  That’s a lot of people. 

 I hope you will join me in a prayer that this disagreement somehow avoids bloodshed.

 

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

  Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 24th, 2017

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for October 24th

 

--We will start this week by recognizing two local events which address serious problems of our time.  First, this Saturday at 11am at River Island Park in Woonsocket, Bishop Herson Gonzalez and a group of concerned clergy and community leaders will gather to orchestrate the Woonsocket Day of Prayer. 

  At first mention, you probably think this is very nice, but not for you.  I would disagree. 

  No matter how you choose to pray, or to whom or what, if you consider it carefully for even a moment I think we can all agree that prayer is a good thing for everyone.  You may pray to a deity, a savior, or a saint.  Or you may just sit in reflective thought, sorting out circumstances in your own mind.  These differences mean little when compared to the beneficial effects anyone can enjoy from the act of praying.

  In my experience, praying, in whatever form, brings positive results to every life.  I think it is not engaged-in nearly often enough.  Whether you are a member of an organized church, or even if you haven’t quite sorted it all out yet, you’ll feel good and heal yourself from the inside out by joining in at Woonsocket’s Day of Prayer this Saturday.  It’s not about bringing people together with one belief.  It’s about bringing people together, regardless of their beliefs.

 Bringing people together is good for any community.  This event does it in a refreshing and renewing way.  I offer my applause and appreciation to those behind the Woonsocket Day of Prayer and their sincere efforts to bring our community together.

 Before I close on this subject, I thought I’d include part of a press release I received from them outlining he preliminary plans.  Look to see who is involved.  I think you’ll be as impressed as I am.

Working Program for Woonsocket Day of Prayer 2017

A Call To Prayer - Father Peter Tierney 

1. The Lord’s Prayer: Pastor Valerie

2. Welcome to WDP: Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt

3. National Anthem: Calvary Singers

4. Prayer [for] Local Government Officials: Pastor Dorian Parker      Governor, Senators, Congressmen, Mayor, City Council

5. Safety and prayer for Wild Fires in California: Chief Shatraw

6. Prayer For Hurricane Victims in Houston, Florida & Puerto Rico: Pastor Axel Ramos

7. Speaks about Safety (Las Vegas Massacre): Chief Thomas Oats

8. Prayer of City-Wide Repentance: Pastor Eugene Kinlow

9. Prayer For Woonsocket Economic Revival: Pastor Ricci

10.Prayer For Peace: Father Dennis Reardon

11. Love Thy Neighbor: Father John Kiley

12.Prayer For Spiritual Revival: Pastor Jeff Mount

13.Prayer For Families: Pastor Rebecca Lambert

14.Prayer For Educators and Students: Asst. Superintendent Jenny Chan-Remka

15.Prayer For Orphans, Widows, Elderly, Prisoners, Hungry and Homeless: Leo Fontaine

16.Prayer For People Suffering with Additions: Rev. Jeffery Thomas

17.Prayer For Victims of Domestic Violence: Father Henry Wos

  The Woonsocket Day of Prayer is this Saturday, October 28th, at 11am at River Island Park.

 

 

 --There’s a lot to be concerned about these days.  And there are a lot of ways to die.  I think one of the most insidious ways to die is from Alzheimer’s Disease.  I’ve seen it up close in both friends and family, as you may have.  It is death by torture for the victim.  And it is an agonizing heartache at best for on-looking friends and family.  That’s why I wanted to tell you about the Alzheimer’s Partnership in Bellingham which is having a free Caregiver’s Forum, conducted by trained professionals, on November 17th  at 12:45pm at the Bellingham Senior Center on Blackstone Street. 

  Please reserve your spot by November 14th by calling 1-800-272-3900. 

  You know, here at the radio station we see Silver Alert Missing Person Messages come into the newsroom with regularity and it is notable that the majority seem to be for people suffering from Alzheimer’s.  It’s a terrible thing.  You can also phone Michelle Kohn at the Bellingham Senior Center at 1-508-966-0398 if you need more information about the event.

 

 

--On a lighter note, Halloween is getting to be a really big holiday in recent years.  We have a store in Woonsocket which is dedicated exclusively to Halloween costumes and decorations.  This year they opened a second location in our city.  Business must be good.   

  Driving around the area this past weekend I saw many properties decorated quite nicely already.  A business on Pulaski Blvd. in Bellingham was festooned with dozens of huge inflatable Halloween character decorations, and one porch in Woonsocket sported several very real looking coffins standing up against the railings.  It well may be that Halloween decorations are becoming equal to those of Christmas this year.

 It’s all in good fun, I suppose, though we should be sure to consider the feelings of those whose deeply-held beliefs disapprove of any of this.  But the rest of us can have our fun.  Hey, not everybody celebrates Christmas, either!  Just keep a thought for safety and………”Don’t lose your head”………heh, heh!

 

 

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

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 17th

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for October 17th

 --This just in, out-of-work NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will not get a quarterback job this season.  How do I know this?  Well, I really don’t, I’ve just come to that conclusion after hearing that he’s filed a grievance against the league charging NFL owners with collusion because no one has hired him yet. 

 Talk about an attitude!  He had a job.  He quit his job.  But he quit his job before being hired for his next job.  That’s a mistake waiting to happen in my book.  Then, (probably due to his controversial behavior, but who knows for sure?) no team was interested in hiring him.  Maybe they didn’t want to take on that kind of public relations baggage.  Maybe they were happy with the staff they already had. 

  Whatever the reason, Kaepernic is unemployed six weeks into the season and he says everyone else is to blame.  He’s filed papers charging all NFL owners with a felony because nobody would hire the guy who started the “Kneeling for the National Anthem” protest. 

 I have my own opinion about the protests.  I could never protest in that way.  I’d choose another, more respectful way for myself.  But others can do what they wish so long as they aren’t hurting anyone.  However, I think Mr. Kaepernick has actually hurt himself.  And I think he will not make anyone hire him by charging them all with collusion.  Would YOU want to hire someone who accused you of that? 

 A worker’s stock in trade is their skills and reputation.  The San Francisco 49ers put up with his attitude and the negative publicity because he has skills.  They didn’t fire him.  He quit on them and left the team.  The reputation one earns by blaming everyone else for their mistakes is not an attractive one.  I would think a 29-year old would have thought about that before quitting on a team who put up with a lot to keep him. 

 I hope this man gets work.  Nobody who wants to work should be unemployed.  But he’s not making it easy on himself, that’s my opinion.

 

--Now for this week’s rant.  “Professional Democrats”, that’s what I call members of the Democratic Party whose public actions and statements only echo the party line regardless of what they may think.  These party automatons are screaming at the top of their voices against President Trump’s executive action last week stopping federal subsidy payments to health insurance companies.  They say the move ending what the president called a “bailout for the health insurance companies” will drive health insurance premiums higher and hurt people.

  I have two things to say about this.  First, I’m shaking my head because the Democratic party-line sounds like a bunch of Republicans talking, seemingly caring for large insurance companies.  And the Republican president and his Republican associates are denouncing federal subsidies for business.  This role reversal is even more puzzling when I add in my own personal experience into the mix.  You see, my health insurance premiums nearly doubled soon after the “Affordable Health Care Act” (aka ‘Obamacare’) took effect.  I have never paid so much for health insurance in my life as I do now.    

 For a time I thought maybe I had just fallen through a crack in the new system.  Then I learned my brother-in-law, who suffered a brain injury in a car accident some years ago and who doctors monitor closely, can no longer get the required MRI tests because his health insurance no longer covers them.  

 It makes me wonder just how many other people there are out there who are being hurt by the federal insurance mandates which were supposed to make healthcare affordable for all.  I began to wonder if the Republicans were telling the truth about Obamacare.  When both sides in an argument lie, it’s hard to know if they ever tell the truth.

 The Democrats originally told us that if everybody bought healthcare insurance the price would come down enough so that everybody could afford it.  It is obvious to me that something has gone terribly wrong, that it has been wrong from the beginning, and telling us it we should just be patient while the bugs were worked out was poor advice for a public being hurt by a law which was bullied through congress without the moderating and improving effects of consensus.

 I’m a patient and moderate man, but if the Democratic nattering nabobs of negativism prove to be right this time, and my health insurance premiums shoot up yet again under the present Republican measures, I believe I will lose my patience with the whole blessed lot of them.

 For practical purposes we only have two political parties.  The only thing either of them seems to be good at right now is hating the other party.  It’s hate and spite at any cost.  It reminds me of the horrible situation children endure as their parents fight toward divorce, each parent so focused on doing their hated spouse harm that the children become the actual victims of the fight.  In this scenario, the American public would be the victims of the two irresponsible political parties. 

 

 

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

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 10th.........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for October 10th

 

 --You know, I’ve been working in Woonsocket for a lot of years.  I’ve seen Woonsocket in the days when I would approach them as a businessman and I’ve been treated as if it had been a good day until I walked into their office.  I am delighted to report that those days are gone.  There is a fresh spirit of cooperation which I’ve experienced first-hand and I want to tell you about it.

  A while back I realized I would need to find a new vantage point from which to broadcast the Autumnfest Parade.  I saw Police Chief Oates and asked him who in his department I needed to talk to to discuss my new plans.  Let me tell you, before I even had time to return to my office to send an email I was contacted by Lt. Colouro who offered to meet me at the site.  As it turned out, the lieutenant had some great ideas which I incorporated into my plan.  I Have always been treated well by the W.P.D., but never so positively and with such an attitude of trying to say “yes” first and then council me on how to make it work best.  My thanks to all and a hearty congratulations! 

 

--Speaking of Autumnfest, the 2017 edition is now in the history books.  As I write these words while the festival continues, I just have to mention a few things I’ll always remember about this one. 

  The weather.  Well, the weather is the weather, but for all the alarm and pointing at the screen that the pretty boys and pretty girls on the TV weather shows, we really had a lot of luck.  With just a few exceptions, the predicted showers and rain fell somewhere else, not on Autumnfest.  

  The Parade.  Somehow we managed to sneak that ten division gem in between showers.  Yes, the crowds were smaller at curbside this year, but they were enthusiastic.  And what a parade they saw!  Topped off by the URI – That Ram Band, who came into the park after the parade and put on an impromptu concert for early birds on Monday.

 The Fireworks.  All I can say is that display is the best I’ve ever seen, seriously.  You couldn’t even catch your breath between the barrages of salutes and color! 

  The Mega-War deserves a special mention here.  Among the highly spirited high school teams were teams from the Woonsocket High School Music Department, who came in 3rd place.  But the heart-touching scene took place after the checks were awarded to the winners and the combo team of workers from the Woonsocket Dept. of Public Works and Planet Fitness gave their winning checks to the music students.  Very, very nice. 

  Perhaps the most fun I had this year was the grudge pull tug-of-war between the Autumnfest Steering Committee and the Woonsocket Rotary club.  This single-pull spectacle took on all the theatrics of a Vince McMahon production, complete with attempted cheating and false bravado.  It was, perhaps, the best example of good community spirit I’ve witnessed in a long time.

  It all just goes to show you that you don’t need perfect weather to have a whale of a lot of fun!

 

 

--On to other topics………….as predicted, the push is on to reform the nations’ gun laws after the mass-shooting in Las Vegas.  The usual people are pounding the podiums asking how many people will die before guns are outlawed, a rhetorical question at best.  But they did get a toe-hold suggesting that an accessory used by the shooter in Las Vegas, the so-called “bump stock” should be eliminated and that may happen. 

 

 

--As the late great president Ronald Regan used to say, “there you go again.”  He’s say that referring to someone who was being disagreeable.  So we know the topic of standing up at the playing of the national anthem is a show of respect we were all taught to show.  We also know that some NFL players have been kneeling in protest at the start of many of their games.  President Trump has made his feelings known on the matter, causing many more players to protest.  Then, this past weekend, Vice-President Pence attended an Indianapolis Colts game, observed the protesting players there and raised the volume in this debate by leaving the game in a protest of the protesters.

  I won’t be long winded about this.  My mother taught me a valuable lesson when I was very young.  If I mis-behaved but I wasn’t really hurting anyone, she’d just ignore me.  Eventually, I’d get tired of it and stop.  I should let my mother lose on both sides in this controversy.  Then they’d learn.

 

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

 Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for October 3rd.........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for October 3rd…………

  

--Okay, gang, here we go!  The 39th annual Autumnfest celebration takes place this weekend, October 7th, 8th, and Monday the 9th.  Anyone who has read my words in these pages over the past almost four decades knows my sincere and complete support for our Annual Family Fun Festival.  It’s the biggest planned event which happens in Woonsocket in any year. 

  I know you’ll be there if you can for the food, fireworks, and Monday’s 10 Division Parade.  The Consumer Showcase offers a great opportunity to begin holiday shopping or to get ideas.  The Rotary Stage will present numerous local performances, including our headliner, the legendary Brian Duprey, who has spent so many years away from us entertaining millions with his incomparable Frank Sinatra tribute that he’s missed a bunch of Autumnfests.  It will be great to see Brian again, and to meet his young bride for the first time.

 And let us not forget the Dodge Ball and Mega-War sports events!  More information is available at our radio station website or at Autumnfest.org.

 We’ll see you this weekend at Autumnfest!

 

--One of the disadvantages of living in a society as well-connected as we are today is that we frequently suffer from too much information about big news events, like the shootings in Las Vegas.  With this in mind, I’m thinking you don’t need to read another tedious, table-pounding, emotional couple of paragraphs.  Good.  I don’t want to write them. 

  Yesterday morning I was filling in on our Coffee An’ program and I was asked for my words on the subject.  Before walking into the studio, I read a number of statements from elected officials.  They were “obligatory” statements.  Hey, what can you say about something that bad which doesn’t sound inadequate, I understand.  But people like presidents and congressmen and senators have to say something lest they be accused of not caring at all.

 These high elected officials cannot say or write what I’m about to write to you now, because candor and frankness never sounds right when people are frightened or hurt.  They cannot say it, but I will. 

 When tragedies such as the Las Vegas shooting happen, there is confusion.  Fear causes additional injuries as people, without knowledge or the benefit of communication with authorities take action without thinking.  The old adage, “it’s not so much the fire in the theater which kills you, it’s the stampede to escape which takes so many lives”.  Thank God this was an outdoor event!  But the confusion takes its toll regardless.  First responders have to somehow deal with a panicked crowd while they try to learn what precisely is going on and determine how to stop it.  It takes time.  Meanwhile the gunman continues the killing, causing still further confusion in the crowd.

 That law enforcement stopped him as soon as they did is a tribute to their professionalism.  Nobody expects this to happen.  How could they?

 But now comes the more noise and confusion.  I’m not speaking of the initial panic during the shooting, I’m talking about the second-guessing and the actions of those who will attempt to use this tragedy as a tool to get their way.  It is already starting as I hear discussions along the lines of “this would not have happened if we had real gun control in this country” and “they should have known this would happen when they put balconies on the high-rise hotel.  What were they thinking?  Why was it allowed?”.  Oh, yes, everybody can tell you what could have prevented the incident AFTER it happens.  I think this discussion is better had by government officials, not the general public.  In my opinion, society is better served if the general public which has no work to do regarding the Las Vegas tragedy simply moves on with their lives.

 Yes, I realize how harsh that sounds.  But there is a point I’m trying to make with that statement. 

 People who perpetrate these anti-social acts have their reasons, no matter how misguided or sick they may be.  Some, I’m sure, don’t even think about how it ends up for themselves, or they are satisfied with the idea that they may be killed by law enforcement in the end.  Some, I suppose, may be thrilled with that prospect.  But I think all of them are looking for attention.  And, I think, they reason they are making a profound statement of some kind and their deaths will be meaningful to whatever message they are trying to promulgate.

 To just simply move on with our lives shows them, and people like them, the ultimate contempt for what they did and for their message, whatever it may have been.  Remember the worst thing you can do to another human being is to not care about them.

 Don’t “martyr” their message.  There is nothing we can do to stop what has happened.  But if we do not honor the sacrifice of the perpetrator’s lives by discussing why they did it, hopefully other would-be perpetrators will think sacrificing their lives won’t be worth it.

 What it all really comes down to is what my old pal Salty Brine always said, “Brush your Teeth and Say your Prayers.”  You’re not going to be able to control the world, the best you can hope for is to take care of the things which are yours, and to put the rest in the hands of God.

 

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

Thanks for reading! 

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Dave Richards for September 26, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 26th…………

 

 --Tonight is the night that Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and the Autumnfest Steering Committee hold a public reception for the 2017 Autumnfest Parade Grand Marshal, Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw.  It’s always a fun time, with many of the past Grand Marshals in attendance and I can tell you it is a night filled with unforgettable memories.  

  Autumnfest is the largest planned event in Woonsocket in any year.  To be selected to be the Grand Marshal is an honor which cannot help but fill one with great satisfaction in the choices they’ve made in life.  It seems the selection of each successive Grand Marshal sets ‘the bar’ higher for the next one.  It certainly did this time! 

 

--On the other hand, this next topic is about people who might have made better choices.  Last Sunday morning and afternoon I had a lot of work to do preparing for our part in the upcoming Autumnfest celebration, so I wasn’t watching what was going on in the news and I generally stay as far away as possible from social media anyway, the result being I was watching the football game later on Sunday when the announcers were making a big deal of the NFL players show of solidarity, protesting a statement from President Trump and I said to myself, “Oh dear, now what has that fool gone and done this time?”   

  I, of course, checked into the matter immediately and found it was just another opinion being expressed by him and being disagreed with by a huge number of people.  So what’s new?  Well, this time the protest stretched across the sea to the NFL game played by two American teams in England.

  My own reaction disturbed me because I don’t think anyone should think that way about their president, but we are being conditioned into reacting that way with one needless controversy after another.  This, I think, is not limited to me but rather it shows what I feel is a disturbing trend.  The president makes a statement in his usual un-diplomatic style with the predictable result of dividing people, many of whom react with protests.  I think a united America is better for our country, and I am becoming increasingly disturbed that Mr. Trump may actually succeed in finally uniting America……… AGAINST HIM!  This would not be good for our country. 

 Disagreement is going to happen, in fact, it is a healthy element in any lively debate and a cornerstone of our democracy.  However, a healthy society will at least attempt to reach agreement first, through compromise or persuasion based upon the facts.  Divisive opinions and blunt ‘wise-guy’ statements may be entertaining at the moment they are said, but they fail to move the larger civic agenda forward because people get focused upon the superficial entertainment and not on the underlying issues of importance. 

--Mr. Trump is not alone in this.  We have a citizen in our city who just cannot resist but to cause controversy.  Mr. Roland Michaud is, by all accounts, a very smart and successful man, maybe not to the same level, but remarkably like Mr. Trump.  He has his opinions and he has the right and means to express them publicly.  But just like the president, Mr. Michaud’s comments and opinions seem to stir debate and controversy instead of building consensus.  By failing to pass their comments through the filter of politeness, both men who otherwise might persuade other people to support their opinions are driven away instead.  I think this is a shame.  But it is their burden to bear and their choice to make. 

  I think in this great republic smart people who care are in short supply at all levels of government.  I find it a pity that some who do have the smarts and who do care cannot lead and govern because they cannot control their natural urges to be disagreeable.  Remember, you aren’t a leader if most people aren’t following you.  And these two men are beating potential followers away with the proverbial stick!

 I think that both Mr. Trump and Mr. Michaud have regrettably made themselves “unelectable” by their actions of late.  Let’s face it.  Do you think when Mr. Michaud’s term on the Woonsocket Zoning Board of Appeals runs out that anyone in office now will re-appoint him?  I don’t.  Further, do you think that the Republican Party will support Mr. Trump for presidential re-election?  I don’t.  Just like Teddy Roosevelt over one hundred years ago, I think the party will back someone else because they’d just have had enough of the “personality” which couldn’t be separated from the man’s accomplishments.

 I don’t write these words to embarrass either man I have mentioned.  Instead, I hope these words will strengthen them to moderate their actions for the remainder of their terms or to encourage others with the same gifts and tendencies to moderate their own……..before it’s too late for them.

 All Rhode Islanders live in Hope.

 

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

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 19, 2017

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for September 19th…………

--It was with a touch of sadness that we bade farewell yesterday to the cast and crew of the Up With People Show.  Their one week visit was full of happiness, hope, and wonderful memories.  They travel on from Cumberland to New Hampshire, then to Virginia, and then on to Mexico.  

  We knew when they came their visit would seem all too short.  But we also know that a part of us and our beloved Blackstone Valley travels with them to be deposited in other parts of the world.  The concept of “the melting pot” now extends well beyond the borders of the United States, as we slowly bring understanding and a voice of peace to people around the world through efforts such as Up With People.

  The two shows they staged at the Cumberland High School Wellness Center last weekend were their special gift of thanks to us for our hospitality, they said.  The shows were wonderful.  But the memories of their visit will be just as precious to those who took the time to meet and know them.  Safe travels, my friends!

  

--Thanks and congratulations to Elizabeth Featherston and her committee who put on an outstanding Great PumpkinFest in North Smithfield last Saturday!  So many families came and all had a fun time.  I was impressed by the smooth operation of the PumpkinFest, and delighted to see that my friend Peter Branconier and his friends were there helping to keep everyone safe and happy.  Well done!  Now, on to Settler’s Days in Manville this weekend!

 

--Following up on last week’s comments, I told you about my friend John who owns a radio station in the Florida Keys and how he struggled to get some of the locals down there to evacuate before Hurricane Irma hit.  

  Well, there was good news and bad news for John when he returned to his property.  The good news was that his studio and office building was damaged, but still standing and usable.  Better still, his radio towers were still mostly vertical and can be used while he arranges for permanent repairs.  That was remarkable, but, as he said, they built them extra strong because they knew about how hurricanes visited that area.  The guy wires were designed for 190 mile an hour winds, where many such towers elsewhere are designed to withstand only 110 mph winds. 

  Of course it’s not always the winds which cause towers to collapse, it’s the solid objects which become airborne and which get thrown into the tower which weakens them and brings them down.  John was lucky.  That didn’t happen.

  On the other hand, he had no utility power and no promise of when it would return.  He also could not generate power, either.  Water from the storm surge had gotten into the fuel tanks and there was no replacement fuel, so they had to wait.  By the end of the week, though, John was on the air, serving his islands with local news and information.

  I’m sure you’re waiting for a report on the fate of those neighbors John left behind when he evacuated.  The truth is he doesn’t know if the people he doesn’t see around town were killed or if they just haven’t returned from shelter yet.  It will be some time before we know.  

 

--I often caution against jumping to conclusions when hearing news reports.  My experience in the news business as a reporter has taught me that first reports, and sometimes even subsequent reports can either be in error or simply give the wrong impression.  A good example of this is the horrible news which came out of Florida last week that 8 elderly residents of a nursing home died for lack of air conditioning when the power was out for days.  

  I heard comments that the people who ran the nursing home and the staff were murderers and should end up in jail. 

  But as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now here’s the rest of the story”. 

  Evidence has been found and confirmed that the people in charge at that nursing home took extraordinary steps to secure help from the outside.  Not only did they contact local authorities, but when help didn’t come from them they called the personal cell phone of none other than the Governor of Florida to beg for his assistance.  It turns out that the tragedy actually happened because somebody forwarded the voicemail message on the governor’s cellphone to two other agencies which did not or could not help.  Anyway, help did not come in time for these 8 residents.  Not at all what we were lead to believe from the first news reports, was it?

 

--Before I go, I need to say a word about a friend of mine who died on September 8th here in Rhode Island.  I didn’t learn of his passing until it was too late to mention it last week.  

  The people you will miss the most when they are gone are the ones who lived life on their own terms, but who did so with such humor and love that they offended no one.  Russ Gorman was such a man.  I can’t tell you how old Russ was, he would never say.  Even his death notice had no birth date mentioned.  It was a game with him.  About 15 years ago, Russ invited all his friends to his “100th Birthday Celebration”.  It was a joke, of course.  Well, at least we thought it was.  No one knew for sure. 

  Russ counted among his friends and acquaintances movie stars and show business performers known world-wide which he met in his work as an astrologer.  Yet you’d never have known it, because Russ Gorman treated everyone he met with love and caring as if they were the most important person in the world.  Even a kid from Pascoag who loved radio so much he bought the first station he ever broadcast on was a recipient of his love.  And I can tell you this kid was very proud to have the longest-running daily astrology program in the world airing on his station.  To me, Russ Gorman was the biggest star I ever knew.

  

--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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