Open Space Opportunity in Cranston

Here is the latest update from Steve Stycos, successful Democratic candidate for City Council in Cranston (winning with 66% of the vote in the primary!):


The Cranston City Council will consider Mayor Fung’s proposal to protect 50 acres of forest and farmland at its September 27 meeting at 7 PM at City Hall. The Moreau property is on Natick Avenue. If approved, 20 acres will remain a horse farm, while the city will promote passive recreation on the other 30 acres. The project will cost $1.2 million of which the city will pay $300,000 from accumulated building impact fees. The US Natural Resource Conservation Service will contribute another $600,000 to protect the land, and the Moreau family will donate the final $300,000.

Protecting 50 acres for $300,000 of city money is a cheap. Contact your city council member with your opinions or attend the meeting.


The Rhode Island gubernatorial candidates will debate Tuesday September 28 at the Slavin Center at Providence College at 7PM. Attendance is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To sign up, call 621-8048 or email The questioners will be members of several environmental groups.


Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association will hold its annual meeting Monday October 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm in the William Hall Library Community Room. There will be a discussion of a proposed landscape plan which would remove and plant trees in the park next to the Stillhouse Cove.


Fall colors on the Pawtuxet River should be at their peak for Friends of the Pawtuxet’s October 16 canoe trip. Canoes are available for an hour to paddle the calm Pawtuxet and enjoy the bright yellow, orange and red leaves of maple, black gum and poplar trees. Great blue heron, turtles and muskrats are also commonly seen. If you are nervous in a canoe, we will supply a guide. Trips leave at 9, 10 and 11 AM. Adults $3 and children $1. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call 573-7054. The event is part of the annual Pumpkin & Paw Paw Festival at the market.


Elizabeth Coombs’ composting workshop will be Saturday at 10 AM at the market. Sign up email or just show up. About 20 people attended our first market pot luck last Saturday at the Aspray Boat House.


Starting September 23, the William Hall Library will be open on Thursdays from 12 noon to 8 PM. Currently on display at the library are photographs by Gerardine Cannon entitled “Swans of Stillhouse Cove.” Other fall programs are listed below:.

September 25th, 10 – 1 PM: Register for Citizenship Classes.

October 2nd, 2 PM: The Historical Fatima. Learn the history of the Fatima and the impact on the Catholic Church. Free and open to the public.

October 4th, 3 – 4:30 PM: After School Lego Club meets first Monday of the month. For children ages 6 and older. Call or email Megan for registration information.

October 4th, 7 PM: The Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association Annual Meeting.

October 19th, 6 PM: The West Bay League of Women Voters will be hosting a “Candidates’ Forum.”

See you at the market.

Corporate Spy

So, I went to a chain restaurant here in R.I., and the bill had an offer to win $1,000 by filling out a customer-satisfaction survey. There was a web address and a code number.

I could certainly use the bucks, so I logged on. It turns out that they can identify the restaurant and the actual waiter who waited on us, and if I wanted to be horrible I suppose I could have flamed him, though he did nothing wrong.

Actually, in working-class solidarity, I made sure to give him some creds.

It’s all too complicated and 1984 for me. I think I’ll go local next time.

Thirteenth Storm

Matthew, the thirteenth named storm of the season, is making its way North in the Atlantic. Tonight is the Harvest Moon–quite lovely having cleared some low clouds in the East and now hanging silver and large in the sky.

First day of Autumn feels like the last breath of summer. It’s a good time to start new projects that require fortitude and concentration. I still remember the smell of the book-bag I carried to St. Benedicts. I can thank the nuns there for a strong grounding in English grammar and a motivation to study martial arts. If a nun comes at me now, I will block and dodge, but not counter. I do retain some respect.

Soon I’ll be dealing with my windows. Will I find the cash and energy to put in vinyl replacements, or cover the whole mess with plastic like we did in the seventies? Probably the latter, but that works okay. And there’s the pleasure of ripping it off when Spring returns.

Autumn Begins

Last Day of Summer, Prospect Park

We have warm, clear weather for the first day of Fall. There’s a huge Harvest Moon, I tried to photograph it– but it came out looking like a blurry dot.

Here’s the State House, with a train arriving at the station.

I joined with some friends to observe the Autumnal Equinox by playing drums at the Temple to Music at Roger Williams Park. Through the marble columns we watched the moon rise over the  pond, followed by the planet Jupiter, an evening star.

Jupiter was so bright that it left a trail of light on the pond, next to the bright sparkles of the reflected moon. What a show– and for free.  Tonight the moon is full, Jupiter and Uranus visible below, and looks like it will be clear. Get out and see it if you can.

Follow the Money

We all develop an almost unconscious skill– judging the message by the messenger. Like when you half-notice a commercial about clean water, green energy, we care… we’re Beyond Petroleum…

Well, it’s hard not to flash on exploding oil rigs and dying birds. It’s a survival skill to not trust words over actions.

But when the message is appealing, and constant, and on the TV every thirty seconds– and the messenger is some bland organization like ‘Committee for a Better America’ ( I just made that name up, though there may be one)– it’s hard to sort out motive. Motive, of course, is the essential information you need when someone is trying to get your money or vote.

The ‘Citizens United’ decision by the Supreme Court lets corporations act as persons in the political realm. They’re persons just like us except more powerful. Kind of like the gods in Greek myths. Except they’re real. Don’t tick them off.

The Senate is voting on a measure today that would require big money to show its face. This is essential if we are to evaluate the flood of political speech coming our way. We need to know the interests of the speaker. The Disclose Act is a very mild reform, but it’s a start.

The Senate has before it a measure, known as the Disclose Act, that would fix this mess; the House has already passed its version. Unfortunately, it has not been able to attract any Republican support and therefore is short of the necessary 60 votes. In its current form, the measure would go beyond expanding disclosure requirements to prohibit certain kinds of corporations — for example, government contractors — from seeking to influence federal elections. But supporters are said to be willing to strip out all but the disclosure portions of the legislation and to delay its effective date until after the upcoming election.

Follow this link to the Washington Post for the rest of the article.

Mi Vida Local–Diner Edition

(Observer was right about the Spanish grammar)

My Mom was talking about the good old days when she went to RISD in the 50’s. “There was this diner we went to, it was run by two brothers who were in WWII.”

“Louie’s!” I cried. I used to go there in the 70’s for their incomparable steak and cheese or fish and chips.

I’ve been back a few times lately, and wanted to add them to ‘Mi Vida Local’ list where I highlight unique local businesses– alternatives to corporate culture and often better and cheaper.

So follow this link to Louie’s.

Louie’s brother, Dom, left some years ago to open the Geneva Diner on Douglas Ave. This reporter will send a dispach as soon as I stop off there for lunch. Louie and Dom are no longer with us, but the family still carries on. I got the Shepherd’s Pie special there today and had to take half home– they make real mashed potatoes and generous portions.

Mi Vida Local List

Louie’s Restaurant
Acme Video
Silver Star Bakery
United BBQ
Stamp Egg Farms
East Side Prescription Center
Yacht Club Soda
Mangiarelli’s Fruitlands
Four Mile River Farm

The Arbiters of “Over”

Baseball legend Yogi Berra once famously remarked, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” But when is something over? Really over? Is it when the fat lady sings? Why should she decide? Who made her the arbiter of “over”? What if she declares it over prematurely, because she’s grown bored and is jonesing for a big bucket of KFC? What happens then?

Maybe it’s over when a panel of economists emerge from their Fortress of Solvitude to say it’s over:

U.S. recession ended June 2009, NBER finds

The U.S. recession that started in December 2007 ended in June 2009, making it the longest slump since World War Two, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER, a nonprofit group that determines when recessions begin and end, said the economy bottomed out in June 2009, followed by a slow expansion. The group said the 18-month recession was the longest since a pair of 16-month slumps in 1973-75 and 1981-82.

Yet the NBER also cautioned that its findings bear no relation to the current state of the economy or represent a forecast about the future. If another downturn occurs anytime soon, the NBER said, it would constitute a separate recession…

“In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity,” the NBER said. “Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [full story]

Well, gee, I’m overcome with ebullience. Break out the Champale. To heck with the Cheez Whiz, this occasion calls for Velveeta. Let the revelry begin!

If I appear sarcastically dismissive of this announcement, it’s because I am. Not because I dispute the panel’s economic findings, but because it all seems a tad out of touch with the economic realities of most Americans. It will take more than a modest uptick in the gross domestic product or other indicators to convince me that the Great Recession is over. A whole lot more. This country has barely begun to climb out of the massive hole that Wall Street and their political bedfellows drove us into. We’re no more out of that hole than the 33 Chileans are out of the mine they’ve been trapped in since August 5. (Of course, that didn’t stop some psychologist in Chile from recently declaring that “the worst is now over” for the miners.) A sliver of daylight should not be mistaken for a recovery. It’s not even close.

So put the Champale back on ice. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.