Dave Richards for May 29th…………….
--Having just finished the Memorial Day weekend, it’s back to the grindstone for all of us. For our secondary school students, it’s the last break before either graduation or matriculation. Although sometimes it is both. I see sometimes they have special ceremonies when a youngster finishes Kindergarten, 3rd Grade, or moves to the Middle School. At first I thought it diminished the importance of the High School Commencement, but it’s harmless, really. There’s no reason we shouldn’t celebrate the little things in life. And, when you’re that little, the little things are bigger than they seem to others.
--We had a great crowd show up at the United Veterans’ Council Armed Forces Park yesterday, and that’s nice. I do remember when I was growing up in the 1960s that Memorial Day activities were falling out of favor due to the public dislike of the Vietnam War. The public wanted us out of there, but our leaders not only stayed in, but they drafted even more young men and escalated the hostilities by the end of the decade. Frustrated, many Americans took their frustrations out on the poor guys who fought. I have one friend who finished his hitch, got off the ship, threw his duffle bag and uniform in the harbor and never mentioned his service to anyone until recently. When I mentioned my friend to a Vietnam Era Veteran last week, he told me more guys did that than anybody knows.
Today things are different, thankfully. We can now separate the troops from the leaders in our minds, and that’s a good thing. I overheard two men talking recently and one said to the other, “Remember when we were kids they used to tell us we could be anything we wanted to be? And the other guy says, “Yup”. Do you remember they told us that anyone could even grow up to be President of the United States? The other guy again says, “Yup. Ain’t it a shame they were right?” Then the first guy says, Yup.
Like I said, at least now we can differentiate between the leaders and the troops.
--I received some good news from Father Kiley the other day. He tells me that the people of St. James Church in Manville have just finished re-furbishing the parish rectory and turned it into a new convent to welcome three sisters who will minister in area health facilities. Father Thomas Ferland, pastor at St. James, will be joined by Bishop Thomas Tobin to offer the Mass of Blessing to dedicate the new convent this Thursday.
Father Kiley makes the point in his note to me that in an era such as ours, this is quite a positive and unique occurrence. Congratulations to the parish, and welcome to the Blackstone Valley, sisters!
--In apparent response to my words last week about my concerns that Governor Raimondo’s zeal to toll trucks may have an adverse effect on CVS’ relationship with Northern Rhode Island, I received an email in which a reader felt moved to vent-off their frustrations with Woonsocket’s apparent blunders with big business. They brought up Wal-Mart’s exodus to North Smithfield and others. They commented on the bickering between the legislative and executive branch in open meetings. And they wondered how long the few businesses in East Woonsocket’s Diamond Hill Road Business District will survive. This reader also brought up Woonsocket’s supplemental tax bills of a few years ago.
They signed their email, so I do want to comment on it. I don’t want to mention their name, however, I don’t have permission for that. And, since I will disagree with them here, I will not ask for permission.
I said I will disagree. That’s not totally true. I agree there have been regrettable things happen in our city over the years. I also cringe when I hear my elected officials bickering in public. And nobody liked the additional tax bills. But you need to remember that life is 10% what happens and 90% what you do about it. I’ve analyzed some of our recent losses to study the story behind the story.
The Wal-Mart incident was simply not the fault of city leaders. They did all they legally could to help Wal-Mart. Residential neighbors of the Wal-Mart facility were the ones who objected to the expansion and they were successful in securing financial backing by businesses in that area so they could tie-up Wal-Mart’s planned expansion in court. By the way, one of those businesses closed down after Wal-Mart moved out of the neighborhood. I always thought that proved the opposition was short-sighted.
The supplemental tax bills were unavoidable after the Woonsocket School Department failed repeatedly to adjust to decreases in financial support from the State. They simply had no choice.
That leaves the bickering in public. Well, you have me there. I have always felt that moms and dads may have fights, but that they shouldn’t fight in front of the kids. I liken what we are seeing here to that.
But I think I can say with confidence that a probable by-product of the upcoming municipal elections may actually be more civility between the branches of city government. If I am right about that, then, as the late former Mayor Francis Lanctot often said, “This, too, shall pass.”
I think we can also take heart in the new businesses which are slowly moving into the Diamond Hill Road Plazas. Even McDonalds is showing they are here to stay with further investment. And someday ……someday………the registry will move up there from Pond Street. I don’t think Pond Street will miss the Registry as much as the Registry will benefit the plazas. Just think……..hundreds of people drawn to the plazas every day, forced to stand in line for hours……….I’ll bet they’ll be hungry and thirsty after that!
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. Thanks for reading.