Level 2 and 3 Sex Offenders at Harrington Hall (ACI)

It came to the attention of City Officials late last week, that the State has begun transferring LEVEL 2 and 3 Sex Offenders to Harrington Hall, a homeless shelter located on the ACI property.  An anonymous flier was distributed in the Garden Hills neighborhood over the weekend alerting residents of the situation.

The community has not been officially alerted of the placement of numerous (the total number is currently unconfirmed) sex offenders at that location.  Since Harrington Hall is a homeless shelter, all residents are released into the community daily at 7am when the shelter closes!

There is a community meeting scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 7pm at the Cranston East Auditorium and I urge all to attend as local and state officials will be on hand to discuss the placement of sex offenders and (lack thereof) of community notification.

Cranston Police Contract

I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a bigger story about this on the ProJo’s website tomorrow, but around 1 pm today they posted a small article on their blog about a hot topic in Cranston right now: the Police Department contract.  In case anyone missed the outcome of last week’s Finance Committee Meeting, Mayor Fung and the Police Union reached a tentative contract agreement and it was tabled by the Cranston City Council’s Finance Committee until April.  Which means it won’t be sent to the full committee (if they vote to do so) until the April meeting at the earliest.  There were at least 2 articles in the ProJo and 1 in the Herald about this last week and all are available online.

Today’s article said that Mayor Fung announced today that: “the council leaves me with no choice but to begin layoffs. I cannot prepare a budget based on assumptions that the City Council will vote in favor of any labor contract with concessions. I must budget savings for the taxpayers only through layoffs.” 

According to the article, the proposed layoffs will begin next Monday, but it did not provide additional details.

Is this politics as usual–based on a Republican mayor and the 9- member Democratic Council?  Will it lead to other municipal unions being less likely to make concessions if they don’t think the council will approve them (as mentioned in the article)?  Will the Council members put forth suggestions and options based on the proposed contract?  The red-line draft of the proposal is posted on the City’s website.

The ProJo articles always feature a comments section, most of which I typically ignore, but I did find one post interesting.  It alluded to one of the current council members preparing himself for a 2010 mayoral run.  Any guesses as to who that may be?

Lots to discuss (as always) in Cranston…

Only in Rhode Island…

As a native Rhode Islander, I’ve often heard the phrase “Only in Rhode Island…” and that can run the gamut from 3 Degrees of Separation for all RI residents to yet another political scandal.  I was having lunch with some friends at the Nordstrom Café (3rd floor of Nordstrom’s at the Providence Place Mall) earlier this week and the views there are some of the best in Providence.  We sat at a table that had a view of the State House and I started thinking of some things that could only happen in or are unique to RI.

1.     How many RI’ers have actually been inside of the State House? (They do have tours.)

2.     What percentage of RI’ers have never been to Block Island? (I’m sure there are some of you out there on Kmareka.)

3.     How many children in Providence, Woonsocket, Central Falls or other urban communities in RI have never been to the beach or swimming in the Atlantic Ocean?

4.     Cabinets: This one has always baffled me since people always refer to “cabinets” as a RI drink.  I’ve been here for almost 30 years and have never even seen one advertised, let alone had one.  Do they really exist and if so, where?

5.     We have 3 state colleges and a good number of RI’ers have attended at least 1 of them (attended all, degrees from 2 for me).   Why are people not more concerned about the drastic cuts facing higher education that will affect the entire state’s future??

Just some thoughts from me to get the new Kmareka site up and running, feel free to share some of your own “Only in Rhode Island” thoughts or experiences too.

Help a Child’s Dream Live On

Every so often, I find a story that really touches me in the news.  One that isn’t full of violence, destruction or hatred. Although the story of Matthew McIntyr’s wish to help adopted children, like himself, is not the one that his family would have necessarily written since Matthew passed away at age 9 last June; they are doing all they can to make his wish of helping other children in need of adoption a reality.

The McIntyre family of Cranston adopted Matthew, a former resident of Boys Town in Portsmouth, RI, in 2003.   He had been abused as a small child and through Boys Town he became a member of the McIntyre family.  After he passed away in June 2008, his family established the Matthew McIntyre Memorial Fund to assist children like him who are placed at Boys Town and hope to make the transition to a family of their own.

The Fund’s first event will be held Friday, February 27 at 6:30pm at the West Valley Inn and the money raised at the dinner will assist Boys Town to provide the opportunity for children to experience recreational, educational and other activities that fall outside of the Portsmouth facility’s budget.

For more information about the Fund or to reserve tickets for Friday’s dinner, please visit http://www.MatthewMcIntyreMemorial.com or contact Denise or Paul McIntyre at 828-0001.

Cranston Schools: Cranston Citizens Better Start Paying Attention

A discussion was started on Facebook by Don Botts regarding the School Department’s Budget proposal last week.  Don’s “open letter” has created a lot of discussion and debate between residents and elected officials, something that I know everyone at Kmareka loves.  Thank you to Don for getting the ball rolling on this one!  

Cranston Schools: Cranston Citizens Better Start Paying Attention

I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but the Superintendent of Cranston Schools recently released his proposed budget for the next school year. There is also a Powerpoint presentation to go along with it (I assume he used this when addressing the School Committee). Among the highlights:

* elimination of middle school sports
* elimination of hockey at Cranston East
* elimination of Girls cross country and possibly tennis at Cranston East
* elimination of EPIC
* elimination of elementary school strings

There is a nice little pie chart included which shows how the total budget is being allocated. Do you realize that 89% of the total school budget goes towards salaries and benefits? Do you realize that step increases for teachers this year totals over $1 million, which just about equals the amount of money the programs being eliminated cost?

Don’t wait until it is too late. Start attending school committee meetings. Pay attention to what is going on in East Providence, and think about how it can apply to our city.

Proposed budget: http://cpsed.net/super/budget09-10/budget09-10.htm
Powerpoint (use IE): http://cpsed.net/super/budget09-10/budget09-10_files/frame.htm

Big Week for Cranston Residents!

There are two important meetings this week for Cranston residents. The second Comprehensive Plan Update meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 16 from 6-8pm at the Cranston Senior Center on Cranston Street. The Housing section will be discussed on Tuesday evening. (Meetings will be held every Tuesday through August 20 and the goal is to cover all elements of the Plan Update by then.) The sections can be viewed on the Cranston City’s website here. Feedback can be sent in advance to the Planning Department: Peter Lapolla (Director): plapolla@cranstonri.org,
Jason Pezzullo (Principal Planner): jpezzullo@cranstonri.org.

On Thursday, July 18, a public meeting has been scheduled by State Representative Peter Palumbo regarding residents’ concerns about RIPTA buses being detoured through the Garden City neighborhood due to new weight restrictions on the bridge at Pontiac Avenue at Garden City Drive. In addition to the Cranston Administration, representatives from RIPTA have been invited. The meeting will be held at Western Hills Junior High School at 7pm.

Both of the issues are of importance and members of the public are encouraged to attend the two meetings!

Cranston Comprehensive Plan Draft: Now Available Online

As promised by the Planning Department, the drafts from sections of the Comprehensive Plan Update are now online for residents to download and review. The drafts of the following sections are posted online: Historic Preservation, Housing, Natural/Cultural Resources, Open Space, and Services & Facilities. The Introduction to the Comp Plan is also there. The PDF’s can be found at the city’s website here.

At the first workshop, Peter Lapolla announced that the department would create a forum for residents to post feedback about the various elements of the update. That is not there yet, but hopefully it will be soon. No date has been set for the next workshop, but once it is, I will be sure to share it. From what I have heard, the goal is to have the final draft of the Comp Plan Update done by September.

The Cranston Herald will be doing ongoing coverage of the Comp Plan Update process and the first article was in Thursday’s edition and can be found here.

Until the forum is live, I recommend sending any feedback you have to the Planning Department. Peter Lapolla asked that the subject of any messages regarding the Comp Plan be: FEEDBACK COMP PLAN. In addition to the Planning Department, I sent mine to the administration, City Council and some department heads.