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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  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 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: or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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