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All Pawtucket All The Time header image 1

Serve Rhode Island SAFE-D (Storm Assistance For Elderly & Disabled) Bulletin:

January 25th, 2015 · No Comments

Serve Rhode Island SAFE-D (Storm Assistance For Elderly & Disabled) Bulletin:

Serve Rhode Island SAFE-D (Storm Assistance For Elderly & Disabled) Bulletin:

 VOLUNTEERS WILL BE NEEDED FOR UPCOMING STORM – TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY

SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER

HERE 

Thank you!  Serve Rhode Island staff will contact you soon to assign snow shoveling jobs for elderly and disabled in your area. 

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A Valentine’s Celebration That’s Fun And That Won’t Stress Kids

January 25th, 2015 · No Comments

Valentine’s Day is the most over-rated “non-holiday” ever.  We’re sure that there is a reason why adults celebrate it by buying overpriced flowers and chocolates but for many kids, it can be stressful and embarrassing but since it seems that it’s here to stay, What To Do With The Kids has a few suggestions to make it fun for the kids.

First try not to emphasize the “I love you” or boyfriend/girlfriend aspect.  Young kids do not understand while the older kids may feel awkward and uncomfortable.  Use the Valentine theme as an excuse for a party.  Something to do, just for fun.

Some schools have banned Valentine’s Day while others refer to it as “Red and White Day.”  Many teachers who do celebrate it ask their young students to bring enough valentines for everyone in their class.  Although many parents may feel that there is a life lesson to be learned when a kid doesn’t receive a Valentine, we suggest that they get a pass for this one day.  Parents can volunteer to bring in cookies, cupcakes or other treats with a red, white and pink theme or they can volunteer to help decorate the class room the night before as a surprise for the kids the next day.

The Valentines themselves can get expensive and if you wait too long, may not be available.  Why not have the kids make their own as an afternoon activity?  All they need is some paper, a few crayons and a few suggestions on what they can do.  Look online for some design ideas.  Skip the “I love you” and have them write “to my friend on Valentine’s Day” and make sure that everyone in their class gets a card by asking the teacher for a class list.  What To Do With The Kids has a number of fun and colorful Valentine’s that can be downloaded quickly.

Some high schools use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to raise funds.  Students can order in advance a valentine gift to be delivered anonymously to a teacher or student.  The gift can be something simple as chocolates, a flower or even a chocolate flower.  The deadline for orders would be a few days before so that there is enough time to buy the gifts.  They are then delivered to the students during the first class on Valentine’s Day.

Why not have a Valentine’s Party on the closest weekend?  It can be just like a birthday party but without the cake and presents.  Have the kids come dressed in red, white or pink.  Play a few games, make a valentine craft and serve food with a red, white or pink theme.  Cookie cutters can make heart shaped sandwiches and food coloring can make almost any food look pink or red.

If your kid would like to give an adult such as a teacher a valentine’s gift, why not make it different?  Have the kids make a card and make a small donation to the Heart Association in that person’s name.  After all, flowers will die and chocolate will just go to their hips but a donation to a charity helps many others.

After Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to save some of the valentines for use in other crafts.  Some have great designs and images that can be used later on.

For more Valentine’s party ideas, along with downloadable party invitations and Valentines, visit

www.whattodowiththekids.com

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Pawtucket Issues Parking Ban

January 24th, 2015 · No Comments

 PAWTUCKET – The Department of Public Works has issued a parking ban for the period between 6:00 p.m. Saturday, January 24, and 8:00 a.m. Sunday, January 25.

 Residents and visitors to the city are asked to park off-street for the entire period of time. A full listing of available public parking lots is below and available on the City’s website www.pawtucketri.com. Individuals using these lots are asked to vacate the lots within two hours of the end of the parking ban, in this case, by 10:00 a.m. Sunday, January 25.

 Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to call Public Works at 401-728-0500 ext. 284.

 During snow parking bans, parking will be available throughout the city in the following municipal lots:

 West Side parking areas: Morley Field off Moshassuck Street; Veterans Park ball field off Smithfield Avenue; Nathanael Greene School parking lot, 285 Smithfield Avenue; St. Edward Church parking lot, Weeden Street; Elizabeth Baldwin Elementary School parking lot, 50 Whitman St.; Slater Junior High/Cunningham School parking lot, 281 Mineral Spring Ave.; parking lot at intersection of Marrin and Pine streets; parking lot at intersection of George and Grace streets; Francis Varieur Elementary School parking lot at 486 Pleasant St.; Max Read Field off Pleasant Street; municipal parking lot at intersection of Dexter Street and Andrew Ferland Way; parking lot at intersection of Humes and Broad streets; City Hall parking lot along Roosevelt Avenue; the 3rd level of the City’s parking garage across from the School Administration Building at Park Place.

 East Side parking areas: Parking lot at intersection of Broadway and Exchange Street; Agnes Little School parking lot, 60 South Bend St.; Henry J. Winters Elementary School parking lot, 481 Broadway; Curvin McCabe Elementary School parking lot; 466 Cottage St.; Flora Curtis Elementary School parking lot, 582 Benefit St.; ball field parking lot at intersection of Sweet and Daggett avenues; parking lot at intersection of Littlefield Street and Armistice Boulevard; Fallon Memorial Elementary School parking lot at 62 Lincoln Ave.; Newport Avenue parking lot beside the fire station; Slater Park ball field parking lots.

 A number-coded map showing all alternate offstreet parking locations in the city is available in the right hand column of the home page of the city website at

www.pawtucketri.com.

Vehicle removal: All vehicle owners are required by city ordinance to move their vehicles out of the designated municipal parking areas within two hours of a parking ban being lifted or face towing and a fine of $100.

 Sidewalk snow removal required: According to city ordinance, the owner, occupant or other responsible person shall have snow and ice removed from a sidewalk intended for pedestrians not later than the first 12 hours of daylight after the end of a snowstorm. Violations are subject to fines beginning at $25 for a first offense.

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Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail

January 24th, 2015 · No Comments

A Pawtucket JPG 782

Momentum, public support builds for proposed stop

Pawtucket and Central Falls are a step closer to having a commuter rail stop on the Providence – Boston MBTA line.  Last night, at a public meeting hosted by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and the Cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls, officials noted that the station planning was at the mid-point of a lengthy process to establishing the station.

 Mayor Donald Grebien, of Pawtucket, kicked off the meeting by pledging strong support for the project from the City.  He noted that Pawtucket has been working to re-establish a rail stop for ten years, and while government doesn’t move fast enough, he expects to see the station completed within the next 5 years.  The City of Central Falls was represented by Planning Director, Steve Larrick.  Larrick noted that Mayor Diossa, also a strong proponent for the station, was in Washington D.C. meeting with Rhode Island’s congressional delegation to discuss a number of projects, foremost, a commuter rail stop.

The meeting was well attended by the public and entertained positive comments and constructive feedback regarding: station access for pedestrians, bikes and RIPTA service, development opportunities, landscaping and connections to the recently announced

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park

 ABC 6 News ran an exclusive feature on the future of commuter rail in Pawtucket and Central Falls, interviewing Grebien and the Executive Director of the Pawtucket Foundation, Aaron Hertzberg. “Initial analysis says that ridership numbers will be in excess of 1500 passengers a day. That’s 1500 people that are connecting to jobs and connecting to educational opportunities. That’s businesses gaining access to employees. That’s development for Pawtucket and it’s what we need,” said Hertzberg.

Primary access to the proposed station would be located near the intersection of Pine Street and Goff Avenue in Pawtucket and, make use of public-private partnerships to provide parking.  The station would also be accessible from Barton Street, not far from dense residential and commercial neighborhoods in Pawtucket and Central Falls.

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Micro-Financing Opportunity for Rhode Island Artists In Rural Communities

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

State Arts Council Announces a Financial Training and Micro-Financing Opportunity for Rhode Island Artists in Rural Communities

Professional Development Opportunity for Artist to Build Their Business, With Emphasis on Artists in Rural Communities

 The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), in collaboration with 

The US Department of Agriculture

 (USDA) and the

New England Foundation for the Arts

(NEFA), announced that it would be working with 

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA’s)

to bring its

Assets for Artists

program to Rhode Island for a second year, this time with a focus on artists in rural communities. Assets for Artists is a grant and training program offering matching funds of $1,000 ($2,000 for artists meeting low-income eligibility criteria), as well as free workshops and professional training to improve artists’ financial and business skills. Participating artists will be enrolled in the Assets for Artists programs for two years or until they meet their program goals – whichever comes first. The application deadline is February 20, 2015. There is no application fee or tuition cost.

 This year with the support of a grant from the US Department of Agriculture, Rhode Island’s Assets for Artists program is recruiting artists living in communities that meet the USDA’s definition of “rural”. These include Burrillville, Charlestown, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, Exeter, Foster, Glocester, Hopkinton, Jamestown, Johnston, Little Compton, Narragansett, New Shoreham (Block Island), North Kingstown, North Smithfield, Richmond, Scituate, Smithfield, South Kingstown (including villages of Kingston, Wakefield & Peace Dale), Tiverton, West Greenwich, and Westerly.

 Governor Gina Raimondo congratulated the State Arts Council on this professional development initiative, saying, “The contributions of our artists and creative entrepreneurs is vital.  This program provides the tools and resources these individuals need to build businesses that contribute to our creative economy and creates opportunities for Rhode Islanders.”

RISCA Executive Director Randall Rosenbaum said, “We are thrilled to have the support of the USDA and NEFA to bring MASS MoCA’s Assets for Artists program to Rhode Island.  We know that investments in Rhode Island’s creative businesses can have a dynamic impact on our state’s economy. We’ve seen tremendous success with the previous cohort of Rhode Island artists who participated in the Assets for Artists program, so we’re thrilled to open the door to a new group of artists across our state, and we’re especially excited to reach deeper into the less populated parts of Rhode Island where we know there’s amazing creative-entrepreneurial talent.”

 Participating artists will attend free trainings that include a dynamic single-session “bootcamp” on personal finance for artists led by Esther Robinson of 

ArtHome,

a full-day business planning workshop with Sarah Guerrette, senior trainer for

Coastal Enterprises, Inc 

a legal training workshop for artists taught by Jim Grace of the 

Arts and Business Council of Greater Boston

and an arts marketing intensive taught by Deborah Obalil. Assets for Artists staff will also provide free one-on-one coaching to help the participants complete an arts business plan to guide them in using their matching grant funds.

 More information – including profiles of past participants – is available at

www.assetsforartists.org.

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449,316 Boxes Of Girl Scout Cookies Arrive This Week

January 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

 It’s Girl Scout Cookie Time Again!

 Warwick, R.I. (January 22, 2015) – Girl Scouts from Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England (GSSNE) have been taking orders for Girl Scout Cookies, the seasonal treat, since December. And, beginning this week, more than 37,443 cases will be transported from the shelves of Paul Arpin Van Lines warehouses to customers in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and Pawcatuck, CT.

 Girls from Southeastern New England are selling Thin Mints, the most popular Girl Scout cookie, Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lots, Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Shortbread, and Cranberry Citrus Crisps for $4 per package. There is also a new variety to try this year – gluten free “Trios”, a peanut butter oatmeal cookie nestled with chocolate chips, which is available on a limited basis for $5 per package.

 Kelly Bates, meteorologist for WJAR NBC 10, is the council’s 2015 Honorary Cookie Chair. Kelly, a Girl Scout alumna, will be a spokeswoman for the 2015 Girl Scout Cookie Sale and champion for the 5 key life skills girls develop while participating in the sale.

 The Girl Scout Cookie program is the country’s largest and longest-running girl-led business in the country and helps girls develop financial, leadership and life skills, including goal setting, money management, people skills, business ethics, and decision making. Girls set sales goals, create marketing plans, and decide how to spend the proceeds within their troops. Troops use their proceeds for trips, events, and have the option to donate a portion of their proceeds to a community service project. The beneficiary of the 2015 Cookie Sale Service Project is A Wish Come True, Inc., which grants wishes to children ages 3 through 18 who have a life threatening illness and live in Rhode Island and areas of Southeastern Massachusetts. To learn more about Rhode Island’s oldest wish granting organization, visit www.awish.org.

 This year, for the first time in its history, girls from local troops will be part of Girl Scouts’ new national Digital Cookie platform, a revolutionary addition to the Girl Scout Cookie Program that will enhance and expand the program’s ability to teach girls new skills for business and life. Through the Digital Cookie platform, local Girl Scouts will be able to take in-person cookie orders from customers and, for the first time, automate cookie shipments through a unique transaction application designed specifically for Girl Scouts. Customers who buy cookies from girls using the application will be able to have their order processed, paid for, and confirmed right in front of their eyes. The platform places an emphasis on the safety of girls and customers alike and offers an online experience that allows girls to learn about digital money management using dashboards to track their sales and goals, and teaches modern skills while aligning with the interests of today’s girls.

 The proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Sale remain in the local area – Rhode Island, southeastern MA and Pawcatuck, CT — and provide support for recruitment and training of volunteer leaders, outdoor programs and troop camping, camp and property maintenance, and educational programs.

 Come January 24, Girl Scouts will also begin to sell cookies at booth sales outside local grocery stores and other retail locations. To locate a nearby booth sale, download the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder mobile app, available on iTunes or Google Play, or at www.gssne.org. Booth sales generally take place through the end of March.

 About the Girl Scout Cookie Sale

The $760 million Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led business in the country and generates immeasurable benefits for girls, their councils and communities nationwide. In fact, many successful business women today say they got their start selling Girl Scout cookies! For more information about the Girl Scout Cookie Sale, visit

www.girlscoutcookies.org.

 

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Raimondo Statement On Rhode Island’s Unemployment Rate

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today released the following statement following the announcement of the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate.

 “I am pleased that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since March 2008. However, Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains significantly higher than other New England states and the national average. Too many people are still struggling — we must do more to create opportunity and make sure that everyone can make it in Rhode Island. We will build the skills of our people, create the conditions to attract entrepreneurs and to encourage our existing businesses to grow, and foster innovation throughout the state.”

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ACLU And RI Homeless Advocacy Project Statement On Legislation To Make It A Felony To Obstruct Traffic

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

The Rhode Island Homeless Advocacy Project and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island issued the following statement in response to the Senate introduction of a bill today that would make it a felony to “loiter” on a highway, causing a “distraction” or “delay” of motorists.

“Legislation introduced by Senator Raptakis today, ostensibly to deal with protesters creating a public safety hazard by blocking roadways, is both short-sighted and unnecessary. The bill, S-129, would make it a felony to cause the ‘interruption, obstruction, distraction, or delay of any motorist,’ punishable by between one and three years in prison for a first offense. On its face, this legislation is unnecessary because there are already statutes under which individuals can be charged for this conduct, as happened to several protesters involved in the I-95 demonstration in November.

 “Apparently feeling that the punishment isn’t severe enough, the Senator would like to give these mostly young people a felony record, potentially impacting severely their future employment, housing and other opportunities for the rest of their lives. The introduction of the bill this week is particularly ironic, considering that we just celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose historic Selma-to-Montgomery march had to have been one of the country’s greatest “obstruction, distraction or delay” of motorists ever. Do we really want to reserve a prison cell for three years to hold his successor?

“The bill also has the potential to curtail the civil liberties not only of lawful protesters but also of individuals experiencing homelessness and living in poverty. The legislation’s broadly-worded and ambiguous language leaves open the possibility that individuals panhandling on sidewalks or medians – a means of survival and a legal exercise of one’s First Amendment rights – could be accused of distracting motorists and jailed under the proposed law.

“Such use of this legislation has negative consequences both for the individual charged and for our state more broadly. To charge an individual attempting to meet his or her basic needs in a legal manner with a felony is both cruel and illogical. Both the court proceedings and the subsequent incarceration of the individual are extremely costly to the state. Furthermore, because of a felony conviction’s impact on employment and housing, the charge could also lengthen bouts of homelessness, which are expensive to taxpayers.

 “If Senator Raptakis’ intention is to ensure public safety, this end could better be achieved by fostering constructive dialogue between the police and marginalized communities – whether communities of color protesting unequal treatment or the homeless community securing basic needs – about collaborative solutions to the injustices they face daily. Filling the prisons even more is not the answer.”

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Audit Shows Continued Improvement In Pawtucket’s Overall Financial Position

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

Long-Term School Deficit Eliminated, Grebien: Pleased by Progress, Focused on the Challenges Ahead

 PAWTUCKET – The final audit for fiscal year 2014, released earlier this month, shows that the City of Pawtucket ended the year with a total surplus of $4.8 million and the Pawtucket School Department had an operational surplus of over $500,000.

 The City’s revenues were $2.7 million higher than budgeted, largely due to greater than anticipated prior year tax collections, and increased rescue service revenue, partially due to the implementation of the City’s third rescue. “We have worked to implement best practices and be more aggressive in pursuing delinquent taxpayers and we are seeing the results,” said Mayor Donald R. Grebien. “These practices have helped position the City so that we have not had to raise taxes two years in a row.”

Additionally, the City’s expenditures were $1.7 million under budget. “As we work to improve services to our residents every day, we continue to watch our bottom line closely. Through the hard work of our employees and sound management, we came in under budget again last year,” said Mayor Grebien. The City had budgeted a surplus of $400,000.

The City’s “rainy day fund” now sits at roughly $10.7 million. “We continue to rebuild our previously-depleted reserves, and remain focused on improving our overall financial position and bond rating,” said Grebien. Finance Director, Joanna L’Heureux has previously said that 10% of budget is a national standard for reserves that the City targets. “With City and School spending of around $200 million, we are about halfway there,” said L’Heureux. “It’s a matter of sustaining the growth and positioning ourselves to be able to react to any unforeseen emergencies.”

 Grebien thanked U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representative David Cicillene for their role in securing the SAFER Grant which is currently helping to offset Fire Department expenditures. “The City owes a great thank you to our federal delegation as the SAFER Grant is saving Pawtucket $4 million over the life of the grant and, in turn, is helping us rebuild our reserves.”

 Grebien cautioned that the City still has a lot of work in front of it, “We have a stronger financial foundation but still need to continue to reinforce it and build on the work that has been done to date. There are still many financial challenges in front of us. The safer grant is ending this year, most negotiated contracts are in place but some are still pending, the OPEB liabilities still need to be controlled, reinvestment in our infrastructure needs to begin in earnest as we can no longer afford to defer maintenance, and there are concerns about what could happen to municipalities with the looming projected state shortfalls.”

 The audit also shows that the combination of the School Department FY 2014 operating surplus and the City’s early payment this year toward a lingering school deficit payment plan from FY 2010 resulted in the first overall positive fund balance for the Pawtucket School Department since FY 2005.

 “We have come a long way since the city was on the brink of bankruptcy four short years ago, but we still have a long way to go. We will continue to work to improve our city’s finances and bond rating, while balancing the impact on our taxpayers. I am heartened by the progress we have made and excited about the road ahead,” concluded Grebien.

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Pawtucket Library Family Movie Night

January 21st, 2015 · No Comments

The Pawtucket Public Children’s Library will host a Family Movie Night on Wednesday, February 4th, at 6 p.m.

Join Winter the dolphin and her team of people in their second adventure as they try to find Winter a companion so that she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital.

Participants are invited to bring snacks and a drink. Children 10 and older may attend without a caregiver.

The program is free and no registration is required.

For more information, call 401-725-3714, ext. 209, or e-mail

childrens@pawtucketlibrary.org

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