Dave's Column

Dave Richards for June 5th.............

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for June 5th…………….

  

--Romeo Berthiaume was on our Monday radio show telling us he had heard that after months of discussion the final decision regarding Woonsocket’s Holy Family, Sacred Heart, and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Roman Catholic Churches is in.  This summer the three parishes will officially merge into one parish which will probably be called Holy Trinity Community.  Not everybody is happy about this change, of course.  That is understandable.  Few people embrace changes they have no control over. 

  To be sure, nobody had much control over this.  And when I say “nobody”, I include the leaders at the Diocese of Providence in that group.  Sure, they are the ones responsible for the final decision, but what were their options?  I used to do technical work for the Diocese years ago when Bishop Gelineau was in charge.  There were closures in those years also.  It was heart-wrenching for the leaders as much as the parishioners then, I can tell you from my personal observations.  I have no reason to expect it was any different for Diocesan Leaders this time.  

  Perhaps it is easier to understand the situation with an analogy.  Imagine you are a passenger in an airplane.  Everything seems to be going well to the passengers, but something is wrong with the engines.  They are using too much fuel.  They don’t have enough fuel now to finish the flight.  They can shut down two of the three engines to conserve fuel, but the plane will need to fly lower and the flight will be bumpy.  There are sure to be passengers who object to the bumpy ride, but the alternative is not finishing the flight.  Continue with one engine or maybe not reach the destination with three engines gulping fuel.  It comes down to that.  Survival with discomfort or possibly not surviving.

  When the decision needs to be made, it needs to be made.  It’s not time to complain about how you got into the position of needing to make the decision or finding blame. 

  Anyway, that’s the way I see it.  Yes, I know you’re thinking it’s easy for me because I don’t belong to Sacred Heart or Holy Family parishes.  But that’s not true, either.  In my heart I am disappointed for members of these parishes.  But I am subject to the same economic realities as they face.  We all are.  Let’s all focus on building a stronger, combined parish and hope we see a change in The Church’s fortunes in the future.    

  

--News came yesterday that the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with a cake-maker who refused to make a wedding cake for two people who were getting married because they were of the same sex.  Original news reports indicated the objection was on religious grounds.  Well, that was a surprise to me!  

  I am surprised because I see all the laws and change going in the opposite direction as this decision suggests. 

  Of course, when the controversy arose I couldn’t understand why anyone would escalate the question up to the highest court in the land.  I struggle with the idea that this couple decided to do it, and I find it easier to imagine that some litigious group did it as part of their mission, not the couple’s.  I mean, any young couple I have known would simply go to another cake shop and the penalty for the baker who refused is that they would lose a sale.  Supreme Court challenges are pricey to say the least.  Somebody else had to bankroll it.

  I have known people who are convinced by some pastor at their church that hate and bigotry are rightful expressions of disapproval for whomever the pastor disapproves of.  It’s a shame that still happens in this day and age, but it does.  I personally prefer to try to get along with everyone and wish them happiness in life so long as they are not attacking me or my loved ones.  I believe strongly in positive acts of caring and love, so I would not belong to a church that taught me to do rotten things to people who aren’t hurting me.  But not all of us have those kinds of convictions.  They are called “followers”.  And there seems to be no shortage of young bucks out there who will exhibit control over their followers.  That’s what I think happened here.  And then five out of the seven members of the Supreme Court agreed they didn’t want to rule that people couldn’t live according to their religious convictions, regardless of how they came by them.

  

--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 May 29, 2018

 ­­­­­­­­­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: 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 May 22nd................

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 22nd…………….

 

--For those who don’t believe there is such a thing as “legislative creep” I offer this from a Press Release of the R.I. General Assembly.   “Measure 2018-S2530 is sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth A. Crowley (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket).  This bill would expand the current law so that adult residents of Rhode Island would be “included” in the Department of Health immunization registry presently maintained for children.”

Remember when it was no big thing that the Department of Health wanted to keep records of what immunizations your kids had?  Guess what?  Now they want to keep tabs on you, too.  Of course, it’s for your own good, you know. 

  I say it takes no imagination to figure where they’re going with this.  Can’t you just see some self-righteous do-gooder in the General Assembly proposing a law sometime in the future mandating we all get immunizations for whatever they think we should get them for whether we want them or not?  I can imagine that.  And it begins with legislation such as this.  Legislation which is not even honest enough to tell you where they are hoping to end up.

  Oh, and just so I cannot be accused of withholding facts, this year’s bill does allow adults to “opt-out” of the registry if they go to the Department of Health and fill out a form.  This year they’ll let you opt-out, that is.  Next year?

 

--Before we meet again on these pages our nation will have observed Memorial Day 2018.  For weeks, Veterans groups and volunteers have been “flagging” the graves of deceased Veterans at area cemeteries with American Flags.  A true labor of love and dedication.  Area communities  will observe in their own ways.  For example, Blackstone has a celebration including fireworks.  North Smithfield has an absolutely charming parade.  Woonsocket will gather at the monument in the Veterans Park on Davison Avenue to honor our dead.  The Woonsocket event will be broadcast and streamed live for those who cannot attend.   

Almost everyone will do something this coming weekend to mark the holiday and the customary start of Summertime.  I feel I wouldn’t be doing my part without reminding everyone to consider personal and group safety when enjoying the great summertime weather.  Enjoy it.  Treasure it.  Make good memories.  But live to do it again next year.

 

--For those of you who travel the North Smithfield Expressway………wait.  Stop.  You don’t know what stretch of road that is?  Well, it’s the part of R.I.146 between the exit with R.I.146A just north of Branch River Village and running south to the West Acres Interchange where R.I.146A once again joins R.I.146.  They were going to call it the “Woonsocket, Union Village, and Branch Village By-Pass” when it was built in the early 60’s, but they couldn’t fit all those words on a sign.  So they just called it the “North Smithfield Expressway”.  Then the sign fell down. 

But I digress…… 

For those of you who do travel along the North Smithfield Expressway, you have no doubt observed the construction work to rebuild the overpass bridge for Woonsocket Hill Road.  You probably also noted some construction work a little further north at the Pound Hill Road exit.  That work, I am told is to construct the toll facilities for Governor Raimondo’s famous “Truck-Only Tolls”.  (Well, “Truck-Only” at first, that is.)  I think it’s a shame they are building them there, when just a bit south of there are the truck inspection turn-offs.  They’re not used much today for inspecting trucks, but if they used them for the tolls they’d save us a lot of construction costs, I think.  Why weren’t they used?  Simple.  Gotta get tolls from those CVS trucks turning off at Pound Hill Road to get to their warehouse.

But even that answer doesn’t make me feel right.  You and I both know a lot of people who work for CVS.  This company, started in Woonsocket by the Goldstein boys, has grown to the point that they could make the decision to move their headquarters and operations to another part of the country in 5 minutes over a bowl of soup.  It would be that simple.  So why would we want to give them any reasons to do that? 

I’m not afraid to tell you that I am more than just a little uncomfortable that the fate of our entire Northern Rhode Island region seems to be taken so lightly by a governor who clearly has high personal ambitions outside our state.  I personally feel that she just doesn’t care enough about the possible consequences because they won’t be her consequences……she’ll just leave……and leave us to deal with the calamity which would follow. 

If it did happen, it will be beyond any governor’s ability to reverse once it started.  It is for this reason that I think carelessly giving CVS another reason to move out of Northern Rhode Island is bad public policy for our entire region. 

  

--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 May 14th............

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 14th…………….

 

--You may have heard that yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court took an action which some say will ‘open the flood gates’ to sports betting across the nation.  You may have heard that this is the beginning of the end for honest sports play.  And you may have heard it’s the best thing to happen in years to the sports fan. 

  Depending on your perspective, all of the above may be true.  But I think we’re all hearing the usual exaggerations which predominate whenever there is an unknown.  It’s true, there is a lot which is unknown.  But here’s what we do know.

  The U.S. Supreme Court has declared ‘unconstitutional’ a 25 year-old law which banned, in all states except Nevada, betting on sports games.  The reason it gave for that decision is that the law didn’t regulate the gambling in all states except Nevada, it banned it.  The court’s opinion was the constitution says if the Federal Government would not regulate it, it was up to each State to regulate it.  I remember from Social Studies class in high school that ‘all powers not specifically given to the federal government by the Constitution are given to the States’.  The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret the constitution in matters which come before it.  In this case, the Court ruled that Congress passed an unconstitutional law. 

  You may ask, “how could it take 25 years for the Supreme Court to decide this?”  Well, it didn’t take that long.  It took mostly that long for someone, in this case the Governor of the State of New Jersey, to ask the Supreme Court to rule on the matter.

  Now that it has been challenged and struck down, what will happen next?  Well, that depends on your perspective.  In Nevada, nothing new will happen.  In states like New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Mississippi and others, they’ll need to pass quick laws which regulate this type of betting to their states.

  A press release received at our radio station from the President of the Rhode Island Senate, Dominick J. Ruggerio, yesterday indicated at least his house in the legislature was not caught by surprise.  President Ruggerio said, “In anticipation of this decision, I introduced legislation this year to enable sports betting at the facilities where it has been approved by voters already, Twin River in Lincoln and the new venue being constructed in Tiverton.”  Other legislators were quick to support the idea with the same enthusiasm in which an inmate on death row would welcome a reprieve from the Governor.  Facing monumental budget issues, they are trying hard to keep their dignity as they reach for the sunglasses to hide their tears of relief.  The term “Giddy with Laughter” would not go too far in describing the mood of some legislators at the prospect of being able to spend the millions of new dollars this expansion of gambling will yield.

  However, I’m not happy with Rhode Island jumping on the “Sports Betting Boat”.  Don’t get me wrong, for the good things which can happen with these changes I am happy.  But there is a down-side to all this.  No, I’m not a pessimist.  Listen, we already have a state budget which is so dependent upon the traditional vices of smoking, drinking, and gambling, that if everyone suddenly ‘got religion’ and gave it up the entire Rhode Island State Government would have the life expectancy of an Ice Cream Cone on the Fourth of July.  I’m not eager to see it any more dependent on sin taxes than it is now.

  I have nothing against people having fun.  But we all know that some people have a hard time knowing when ‘enough is enough’.  For these people we have just made life much more perilous.  And this doesn’t even consider the extra temptations and pressures this will put on the athletes. 

  I know I sound like a ‘Debbie Downer’ with this talk.  I’m not happy I think this way, and I don’t want to spoil anyone else’s fun.  I am just remembering the words of a dear friend who turned out to be a ‘wise old man’.  Former Lt. Governor Joe O’Donnell and I used to amuse ourselves debating big and important topics over lunch.  Topics like the uselessness of party politics (my position) or the dangers of the expansion of gambling in the state (his position).  I have to say that Joe made a great point in his argument against the expansion of gambling which I never forgot.  He told me no matter how much gambling we allow we will never have enough money from it because the General Assembly will just spend more.  That, he concluded, is no way to run a government.

  Joe’s words have been proven true many times since then.  Rhode Island first allowed a state lottery “to fund education”.  Then it funded everything they needed money for.  They have casino gambling now and it’s still not enough money, our deficits have never been bigger.  Just over the border to our west we see the State of Connecticut also running terrible deficits despite having two of the largest casinos in this part of the world within their borders.  I can only conclude that fixing a budget deficit with gambling money has proven to be as effective as having Curley from The Three Stooges fix your plumbing. 

  Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was laudable in its wisdom.  I think the Supreme Court justices did their job well.  We can only hope and pray the leaders in each state exhibit the same level of wisdom.  

  You see, I can be a starry-eyed optimist. 

 

--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 May 8th...........

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for May 8th…………….

 

 

 

 

 

--Congratulations are going out this week to the Rotary Club of Woonsocket for their very successful ‘Rotary Days Touch-A-Truck’ event last weekend!  They really out-did themselves this year, even including a helicopter among the impressive vehicles put on display for the youngsters.  After last year’s all-day rains you might have understood if they kinda backed off this year, but they did not and when you added the picture-perfect weather we had on Saturday, they really knocked it out of the park this year.

 

 

 

  This is just one of the many ways the dedicated and caring members of Rotary make our community a better place in which to live.

 

 

 

 

 

--I was asked by The Fabulous Denise to thank everybody in our city and state government responsible for the six dollar tax rebate check she received in the mail yesterday.  She couldn’t wait to show it to me…….or to cash it.  As she wisely put it, “Every little bit helps!”

 

 

 

 

 

--I was recently asked to join the Board of Directors of the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance, known more commonly as the Blackstone Valley Buy Local Group.  I have always admired their work, so I accepted the invitation.  Some of the people who have lead the organization from the beginning have had changes in their lives, as happens now and again, and the members who have stepped up are full of new ideas and energy to take this vital group to ‘the next level’, as they say.  It’s really very advantageous to have the veteran leaders helping the new ones, what a great position to be in! 

 

 

 

  Outgoing Buy Local President Jeanne Budnick appeared on our station along with incoming President (and former Treasurer) Dave Gobeille to “pass the torch” recently, and you’ll be seeing them in display ads here in The Call.  President Dave reminds members to look in their postal mail for the yearly membership renewal letter, and asks those non-members who wish to join to message him on the Blackstone Valley Buy Local Face Book page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--I attended a meeting yesterday with some friends to hear all four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation speak on various topics. 

 

 

 

  You can probably imagine that I went there not expecting to learn anything new, since in a state the size of Rhode Island where we have a unique access to our Congressmen and Senators, we know each other and have discussed these matters before.  But I did learn something which made an great impression upon me, and I want to share it with you.

 

 

 

  Being in the broadcasting business, I hear all the news reports from Washington all day and every day.  The nature of the stories and the depth of the reported divisiveness troubles me.  Yet here I was in a room with 400 other people and nobody wanted to hear about the ‘latest tweet’ of the Chief Executive or the legal implications of the scandals and near-scandals we hear about on the news incessantly.  These people only wanted to know about how our representatives at congress planned to make their family’s lives better and more secure.

 

 

 

  Wow.  What an impression this meeting made on me!  When I’m with others from my profession, everyone is climbing over each other trying to trip up the congressman or senator into giving them the juicy sound-bite on what the news media has collectively decided is important to their audiences.  But here, nobody cared about “quotable quotes”.  They only cared about how the federal government was going to help or protect them and their families.

 

 

 

  And, as I sat there for those 75 minutes, I realized something else which impressed me even more.  I realized that these four leaders, all members of the Democratic Party, who I have criticized roundly and rightly, I think, in the past for spouting the “Party Line” of bashing President Trump first and then the Republican Party in general before answering any question………..didn’t do that once.  Not once.  They were talking to a roomful of regular people instead of reporters and they behaved like regular people themselves.  Regular, intelligent, rational people, all four of them.

 

 

 

  Remarkable.

 

 

 

  So I have resolved whenever I am with either a member of our congressional delegation, a state officeholder, or even a member of our municipal governments to remember to ask them questions that really matter first, and not go cheap and ask them about what’s “in the news”.  My colleagues may laugh at me, but I’ll bet I will get a more honest and true response to my questions than they will.  I like that idea…..because I hate the “Party Line”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

--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 April 24th..............

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 24th…………….

 

--School is back in session and special events are popping up like dandelions.  Soon, even the dandelions will be popping up like dandelions.  In fact, except for a quick stop on Mother’s Day next month, it’s full speed ahead now until the unofficial start of summertime (Memorial Day weekend) and then summer school vacations. 

 

--One of the many events this week is scheduled for the St. Ann Arts & Cultural Center on Cumberland Street this Sunday afternoon.  The Rhode Island Wind Ensemble will perform a spring program in the grand hall with the acoustics performers yearn for and audiences come to hear.  

  For those not familiar with this type of music, don’t misunderstand, you’ll hear tunes both beautiful and familiar.  If you’re expecting stuffy classical music, you’ll be surprised to see no violins, no chelos, no big string basses.  You’ll find all the woodwind instruments, clarinets, flutes, saxophones, and more of them.  You’ll see the brass instruments, trumpets, trombones, baritone horns and tubas.  In fact, the only instrument with strings there will be the piano.

 The point I’m making here is this concert is for the average person who just likes nice and familiar music played in a relaxing atmosphere by talented people who truly love to play for you. 

  Let’s show these folks that Woonsocket appreciates good music by turning out in large numbers.  Tickets are available at The Honey Shop, Excel Salon, Pepin Lumber, Vose Tru-Value Hardware or on line at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center website. 

 

--It appears all the screaming about the FCC’s repeal of “Net Neutrality” hasn’t caught on.  I’m sure it’s because the average person has no idea how it will affect them.  They’ll start screaming again when their streaming TV service starts skipping and stuttering.  They’ll scream when their Internet provider tells them they need to pay extra money to watch streaming TV because they use “too much Internet” for the plan they have.  I predict it will be the start of one of the biggest scams of this decade and will be a boon to over the air broadcasts station.  The group we now call “Millennials”, so proud they live on the Internet and reject all previous forms of media will suddenly become activists when their Hulu and Netflix is no longer cheap. 

 

--Here’s another thing the Internet Generation will hate.  Congress is re-authorizing the Federal Aviation Agency, or F.A.A.. These folks regulate the airlines and aviation industry in general.  You’d think that is fairly routine and rather boring until you hear the whining and screaming from the companies who run computers that help you to buy airline tickets and hotel rooms, and general travel stuff.  

  The way I’m hearing it, the airlines would rather you buy tickets directly from them instead of shopping for the lowest price with computer companies like Captain Obvious and KAYAK and such.  So they’ve convinced the people at the FAA to change the rules governing large ticket selling operations in such a way that those computer companies can’t do it without additional information.  Information the airlines will not be required to provide.  

  I’m sure there’ll be plenty of whining and screaming about that.  But, if you’re smart, pick up the old 20th Century telephone, call your favorite local Travel Agency, and have them book your flights.  You’ll still save money, and you won’t have to worry about Net Neutrality getting in the way of your shopping, either.     

 

--I must end this week on a sad note.  A friend of mine passed away last Friday morning.  Her name was Jackie Boudreau.  It’s hard to write about Jackie’s passing without expressing a feeling of frustration.  Before I tell you why I’m frustrated, I need to say that I am not in the medical profession and what I’m about to write is purely my opinion, I don’t claim anyone did anything wrong. 

 Here is why I am frustrated.  From what I’ve been told about Jackie’s final illnesses, it seems clear to me that she didn’t have to die.  I am sure that if Jackie had been able to get certain tests done earlier her true illness would have been discovered much earlier.  Discovering cancer early is the best defense.  But the cancer fooled the doctors, masquerading as an infection and the tests which would have discovered the cancer could not be justified to the insurance company. 

 If this were 20 years ago, the insurance companies wouldn’t have been able to discourage the tests for financial reasons.  But……and this is the big “but”……..20 years ago medical science may not have been able to find the cancer and cure it.

 That’s the terrible frustration about all of this.  The medical science breakthroughs which can save people’s lives today that couldn’t have been saved before are denied because they are too expensive.  What good are advanced medical procedures if they are denied to those who need them?  It’s just so darned frustrating.  Medical professionals I speak to share my frustration.  They are forced to deal with these realities every day.  Some realities in this world are just an awful shame.      

  Jackie Boudreau was one of the kindest and most caring people I knew.  I will hold my memories of her close to my heart as long as I live.  I just wish she hadn’t suffered so at the end.

 

 --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 April 17th........

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 17th…………….

 

 

--State Senator Roger Picard visited our morning radio show yesterday.  His visit prompted me to think about a number of things I’d like to comment on here. 

  First, I’ll set up the situation.  We asked Roger about the new “truck” tolls on the highways, the budget process, “scooping” (when the legislature raids the private accounts of departments for money) and new legislation he has sponsored at the request of Attorney General Kilmartin.  It’s always fun to talk to Roger because he’s a man who keeps his passions within due bounds and agrees with you that things could be better in the state house.

  When asked why things are so messed up in the legislature, Roger explained, as he has before, that there’s a simple solution for every problem everywhere EXCEPT in the legislature.  Someone can have all the common sense in the world and it is of no use there.  In fact, there is no way to survive in the General Assembly except by politics and compromise.  But somehow Roger manages to survive, keep his temper, and plod along in slow but determined steps.  

  I don’t think I would survive there.   I think I would have become frustrated years ago and stepped down.  But Roger told me yesterday he will run for re-election this November.  He’s a better man than I.

  I teased him about the supposed “truck tolling”, telling him it was just a ruse.  I told him it is now conventional knowledge that once the first toll is taken, the truckers will take the state to court and the state will lose.  They will end up under court order to either abolish the tolls or to collect tolls from every vehicle, not just trucks.  Since they have already budgeted the toll money, abolishing the tolls will not happen.  I said it with some cynicism, but Roger didn’t join me in that attitude.  He told me that if what I said comes to pass, it would be the start of big changes in Providence.  He didn’t say what changes, but I got the impression that what he wasn’t saying was that all heck would break loose.

  Roger explained that the “scooping” phenomena, while it seems so wrong to so many people, is not as evil and money-grabbing as it appears.  He said that many state departments and agencies have ‘squirreled-away’ huge sums of money in special accounts.  These special account monies are not used for the department’s mission, but for others things like new cars for staff, etc.  Then they come to the legislature for more money, crying poverty and that they don’t have enough of it to complete their mission.  These are the accounts the legislature is “scooping” to balance their budget.  

  Well, when you put it THAT way, it doesn’t seem so evil, does it?  It actually sounds more like somebody’s trying to save the taxpayers some money rather than drunken sailors robbing people for more booze, doesn’t it?   

  “The budget process is all about priorities”, Senator Picard said.  Explaining “that’s where the real work happens.”  Everyone has their hand out.  Some are sincere and honest and will use their appropriations wisely to do the most good for the most people.  Some are playing the game.   Those are the people who will either ask for more than they need or less than they need knowing they can do better with an adjustment later in the year.  You have to figure out which ones are not honest and by how much.  It’s not easy.

  Regarding the legislation Roger introduced on behalf of the Attorney General, it addresses a problem where health insurance companies treat children differently than adults and will legislate a fairness that will save a lot of money for certain Rhode Island families.  Although I personally dislike when the state government compels insurance companies to cover certain medicines or procedures because it raises the cost of health insurance for everyone, I can see the validity of this request by the A.G. because it will serve to protect families.  Anyone who has raised or is raising a family knows how precarious finances can be during those years.  One sickness or injury of a child can send the entire family into a desperate state.  It makes sense to me.

 

--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 April 10th

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 10th…………….

 

--I want to open this week with a big hat tip to Woonsocket’s Parks and Recreation Director, Liz Kerrigan.  

  As I wrote last week, this past Sunday was the day of the Children’s Egg Hunt in Woonsocket.  This event depends almost entirely upon donations and volunteers.  Well, something went wrong with some of the volunteers Sunday, and we were missing a number of them.  Liz accepted the reality of the situation with grace and poise and somehow made it all work out.  Hundreds of kids and their parents or guardians still had a wonderful time.  What a professional! 

 

--This coming Saturday is the first day of trout fishing season in Rhode Island.  On this day each year the Woonsocket Elks organize the annual Children’s Fishing Derby at the pond at Cass Park.  Over the past week the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has transplanted hundreds of young trout from the hatcheries to Cass Pond.  These little critters are swimming around out there just waiting for the youngsters on Saturday morning.  

  It’s a great day of fun family memories every year.  In fact, I show up each year and snap pictures all around the pond and then post them on the radio station’s website in such a way that the moms and dads can download a full size copy of their pictures to have for free.

 The stories these youngsters have to tell each year.  The excitement of getting their first ‘bite’ and the triumph when they land their first fish.  And, of course, all those who fish have a story about the “one that got away”. 

  Some years it is wet, cold, and uncomfortable.  This year the forecast is for moderate weather.  In my experience, even on those years when it has snowed on the morning of the Fishing Derby there have been many families waiting to drop their lines at the official starting time of 6am.  But when the weather has been mild, like this year is expected to be, anglers will be lining up well before 5am, for sure.  That’s just a little friendly advice for those who haven’t been there before.  

  You need to register and get an angler’s number to fish during the Derby.  You can register the morning of the Derby at Cass Pond with the Elks, or you can pre-register at Pete’s Bait and Tackle Shop, 341 Burnside Avenue, Woonsocket. 

 The Fishing Derby is dedicated each year to the memory of the late Ernest Carignan, who lead the Elks in the Fishing Derby effort for many years before his passing, and is open to all Woonsocket children aged 12 and under.  A parent or guardian must be present and responsible for each angler.  Prizes will be awarded throughout the Derby, and trophies will be awarded for the biggest single fish and heaviest string of fish for both boys and girls, with the awards ceremonies broadcast on local radio. 

  You may wonder why I have spent so much time writing about a children’s fishing derby in an opinion column.  The reason is the point I wanted to make about memories.  I recently celebrated a birthday and this occasion is often one in which a man takes stock and examines how he has spent the gift of time thus far.  I noted that I have spent much of my lifetime looking forward, so busy running toward tomorrow that I often forgot to savor the day I was presently living.  I can’t do anything about how I have spent my life so far, but I can resolve to slow down a bit now.  And just like the man who learns to chew their food more slowly and carefully, I am enjoying the experience more.

  Please remember to slow down, folks.  Give this advice to the young people you know.  Take time to make good memories.  When we pass from this earth, memories are what we all become. 

 

--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 April 3rd................

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for April 3rd…………….

 

--Three of my favorite Springtime events are either here or almost here.  First, the month I’ve been waiting for since November, April is finally here!  Next, the City of Woonsocket Children’s Egg Hunt is this coming Sunday!  All children of city residents are invited to Rivers Edge Complex off Davison Avenue at……well, better make it 12:30pm this Sunday.  Dozens of prizes and cratesful of candies and eggs will be available on the three soccer fields literally for the taking when the horn sounds PROMPTLY at 1pm (no matter where you are at the time). 

  Note the location.  Rivers Edge Complex is the park with the Bike Path, Putting Green, and Soccer Fields.  Parking is located INSIDE the Park.  You must pull into the long driveway and drive to the parking area.  You do not see it from the road.   It is NOT the Veteran’s Park. 

  You’ll notice I told you to get there at 12:30pm.  There’s a reason for that.  Years ago when we had the Egg Hunt at another location it was easier to get to the fields for hunting if you arrived almost at the last minute.  Not so at Rivers Edge park.  You’ll be walking a bit further, and that takes time, so please plan for it.  All the other kids are not going to wait for yours to get there.  When the horn blows, the fields are stripped bare in a very few minutes! 

  The third event is the Children’s Fishing Derby coming up on Saturday April 14th at Cass Park in Woonsocket.  I’ll have more on that next week.

 

--Time now for our weekly rant.  I sometimes use this time to take a light-hearted look at a problem.  This is not one of those times.  This subject is just too serious to joke about.  

  I am increasingly disturbed by the sheer number of police shootings we are seeing in the news.  These horrible events must stop.  The solution is simple.  The deaths are totally needless and are, from what I can see in the reports, caused by somebody not following the rules.  Often they could be avoided if the suspect simply complied with the orders of law enforcement officers immediately and without argument.  The shooting of the unarmed person who reached for his cell phone INSTEAD of complying with the orders of police was a perfect example of this.  

  Every citizen of this country should, and now that I think of it, every non-citizen should also learn one simple fact which some of us have been and all of us should have been taught as children.  “When a police officer gives you an order, you comply immediately and without argument.”

  There will be plenty of time and opportunity later to explain yourself or offer proofs of your innocence.  But.  And we cannot stress this point too strongly……..BUT if you fail to comply immediately with the order of a police officer YOU ARE ALREADY WRONG!   Even if you are innocent of any crime, you have now broken the law for having failed to comply immediately.  It is called “obstruction of a police officer in the conduct of their duty”.  

  Comply first.  If you didn’t do anything wrong, you will be given every chance to explain it later and all you will have lost is a little of your time, not your life.  And if you did do something wrong, you will avoid tacking additional charges onto whatever you have coming.  By the way, if you think you can get away from the cops…….c’mon…….in the 21st Century?  You have a better chance of being hit by lightning than not being caught eventually (with evasion and flight charges added)……hey, they caught Bin Laden, you know. 

  Yes, I realize you may not be thinking rationally when one or more police officers make you the focus of their professional attention, perhaps with guns drawn, so now is the time, as you read this, to resolve that if you ever find yourself in such a situation you will not turn it into a death sentence.   

  Right now, while you have your wits about you, think for a moment.  You’ve got to realize that police officers are people just like you and me who are trained to take control of a situation quickly and completely and to protect themselves and others, yes, with deadly force if needed. 

  If you think you’re nervous in such a situation, police officers are, too.  They are on edge and tense, as anyone would be, when they draw their weapons.  They don’t know if you are hopped up on drugs.  They don’t know what crazy thing you will do which might prevent them from keeping their promise to come home from work to their family safely.  They are trained to take control………..and if you are not within their control, they will put you under their control.  Don’t challenge it, this is not a game. 

  So once again it’s not that we need any new laws.  We have the laws we need.  But we do not yet have the compliance with existing laws we need to make everyone safe.  Let’s make sure everyone gets this message that you are always wrong if you fail to comply with the order of a police officer.  This isn’t TV, you know.  This is real life.     

 

--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 March 27th..........

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for March 27th…………….

 

--It can be done!  Stage entertainers still can, even in the 21st Century, be successful without using bad language and abusive jokes. 

  I have often told stories of my Uncle Jim who was a performer on the live performance circuit they call Vaudeville.  He told stories about his years on the road.  Several of his stories centered around the difference between the finest theaters and the…..er……theaters you performed in which you didn’t put on your resume, shall we say.  Of course, the best places, the ones which paid the best and lead to the best jobs, required that you have a special talent.  If you weren’t special, you just didn’t get booked there.  But aside from that he told me the biggest difference was the language.  

  In those days there were bawdy ‘dance hall’ style places which sometimes included brief nudity and off-color jokes.  Not as far down the politeness ladder as burlesque, but certainly not a place you’d take your mother, either.  In actuality, most performers worked in such places.  They were just naughty enough to be fun for the masses, but not bad enough to be raided by the cops. 

  And then there were theaters like The Palace.  Every performer wanted to work there.  It was the 1920s version of network TV.  First-class.  But there were rules.  In fact, I read in a book by another vaudevillian, George Burns, there was a sign back stage at The Palace posted on the brick wall where all the performers would see it.  George said it read, “If you do not possess the talent to entertain our audiences without offending them, you do not possess the talent to take this stage.”  And they meant it, too.  One ‘slip’ and you got the hook and were handed your photos.  And being “handed your photos” in vaudeville was being fired, never again hired, and you could never say you worked there.

  I don’t know what the attraction is for foul language.  In my years I have worked with performers who claim their marketability decreased by a third and they lost money when they “cleaned up” their act for a while.  Pay-cable TV and more recently streaming media on the Internet are often said to be more popular because Over-The-Air broadcasters cannot allow offensive language in their programming.  I don’t get it. 

  Last week I had the surprise opportunity to go to a show in Providence.  We had given away tickets to a listener who found later they couldn’t go and turned them back to the station.  The Fabulous Denise and I decided to use them to see the famous comedian Jay Leno’s stage show. 

 I have always admired Jay somewhat.  He’s only about five years older than I am and we share some similar experiences, as he grew up in the Boston area and was working there when I was also working in Boston.

 I also admire Jay for having the strength of character to work on national TV for more than 15 years and still stand up to the terrible pressures a job like that will bring to challenge a person’s ethics, essentially unchanged.

 Unchanged, but improved.  Yes, Jay worked comedy clubs in Boston’s infamous ‘Combat Zone’ in the 70s, and he has, in places like that, told all those jokes you’d never tell your grandmother.  But hundreds of other people and I sat in that theater last week and listened to Jay Leno tell joke after really funny joke for 95 full minutes, non-stop, and it was all rated PG.  What an amazing talent it takes to do that!

 My admiration for him has soared since then.  Jay Leno has confirmed in real life what I have always believed.  When you are really and truly talented, you don’t need to use bad language to be successful.  

 Bad language is a crutch for lesser-talented performers.

  

--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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