What is the Knight Foundation’s Vision for Urban Renewal? We Just Got More Hints – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

The Knight Foundation took another step forward in its work to bolster U.S. cities recently, by identifying 126 finalists in its Cities Challenge. All 26 of Knight’s communities of focus for the challenge are represented in the pool of finalists and the winners will divvy up $5 million in funding.

Over 7,000 ideas were submitted for the challenge, coming from public and government organizations, design experts, urban planning organizations, and individual citizens.

via What is the Knight Foundation’s Vision for Urban Renewal? We Just Got More Hints – Workforce | Labor | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Steve Stycos Creates Plan to Improve Cranston’s Open Space – Cranston Herald

I spent a few hours this past Saturday helping Steve Stycos and a bunch of other people plant trees in Meshanticut Park in Cranston. It was great to experience again how good it feels to do something that makes the outdoors better for everyone. The article below describes in detail Councilman Steve Stycos’s plans to revitalize our open spaces in Cranston. I’m sure we will need a volunteer brigade to help make this happen. I hope to be able to help. For more on this story:

Stycos creates parks plan to improve city’s open space – Cranston Herald.

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 environmentcouncil@earthlink.net. 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 ab02905@yahoo.com 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.

Farmer’s Market Featuring Visit From Jim Langevin

Steve Stycos update:


This week’s Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market will include a cooking demonstration and a visit from Congressman Jim Langevin.
Congressman Langevin will visit the market at 10:00 AM. He will stay about 45 minutes to speak with people individually or in small groups. Meanwhile, Edgewood’s Maureen Morgan, former owner of Morgan’s Fancy, will be doing a cooking demonstration with free samples.
Next week, June 12, the market will be held in the parking lot of William Hall Library. This will only be for June 12 because Gaspee Days makes it impossible to use the Rhodes on the Pawtuxet site.


A little known pond full of spadderdock, Cranston’s finest graffiti, signs of the flood and a chance to smash invasive species will all be part of an unusual hike along the Pawtuxet River Saturday morning June 5. The walk will start at 9:30 AM at the corner of Park View Boulevard and Weingrof Boulevard in Cranston (meet at the railroad tracks). The one mile walk will end at the farmers market and rides back will be available. This is a good walk for kids. Long pants are recommended. For more information call Steve Stycos at 461-2618. Those needing a return ride should leave a message so we will know if a second car will be needed.


The Cranston City Council sent a revised Comprehensive Plan back to the Ordinance Committee for reconsideration after objections to a zone change were raised by the West Bay Land Trust, Cranston Save Open Space and others. The move was a temporary victory for the West Bay Land Trust, Save Cranston’s Open Space and all environmentally concerned citizens.
The Ordinance Committee, which previously voted unanimously to approve the zone change, will reconsider the move at its Thursday June 17 meeting at 7 PM in City Council chambers. This change alters zoning for property along Pippin Orchard Road from two acre lots to half acre lots, quadrupling the development potential. The Cranston Planning Department estimates that if approved, the plan will cost taxpayers up to $3.1 million more in services (schools, police, roads, etc) than it would produce in tax revenue. Mayor Fung opposes the change which was prompted by developer Albert Scaralia, Ward 2 Councilman Emilio Navarro and City Council President John Lanni. The issue is not settled, however. Please contact your city councilman and/or the three at large council members before the meeting and attend the meeting.


An Urban Pond Procession will be held June 12 to highlight environmental issues at Mashpaug Pond and the ponds in Roger Williams Park. The walk will start at the Mashpaug boat house (off Reservoir Avenue behind Ocean State Job Lot) at 10 AM, pass the Liberty Elm Diner at 11 AM and end at the Temple To Music in Roger Williams Park for free music and good at 11:45AM. The Big Nazo Puppets, Community Music Works, the Extraordinary Rendition Band and the New England Drummers will all perform at the temple. The event is being organized by Pawtuxet’s Holly Ewald. For more information: ejlri.worldpress.com.


June 16th, 6:30 PM: The Hall Library Book Group will be discussing the seminal work by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451. Please call or email to register for this free program.

June 16th, 6:30 PM: Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.

June 21st, 6 PM: Green Your Home with Sam Brusco. Save money by making your home more energy efficient and earth friendly. Call Sam at 632-0765 to reserve your space for this free program.

June 22nd, 6:30 PM: 2010 Summer Reading Kickoff program. Children can start their Summer Reading Game at the free kickoff program.

June 28th, 6 PM: Rhode Island Housing program for first time home buyers.

See you Saturday at the market.

Steve Stycos on Markets, Land Deals, and Happenings in Cranston

School Committee member Steve Stycos provided the following update through his e-newsletter:


Alan and Bob Fratantuono of Moosup River Farm attended the market last week, selling asparagus and Ingrid Fratantuono’s preserves. Other vendors, including Warwick beekeeper Bernie Bieder, will join the market during the next month. Last week, Richard Duquette, who in past years sold “hens and chicks,” spiraea and other plants, stopped by the market to say he is recovering from major surgery, but may return in the fall.

If you would like to help promote the market, we need people to ask local businesses to display our attractive poster in their shop windows. The poster was designed by Juan Cano. If you want to help put up posters, please respond to this email.

The market accepts EBT cards for recipients of SNAP/food stamps and debit cards. All transactions start at the recycling table.


Saturday’s market (May 22) will feature a bird walk along the Pawtuxet River, guided by Mike Kieron, assistant curator of the Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History. Please bring binoculars, but not dogs. Children are welcome, but should be at least seven years old. The walk begins at 8 AM in the lower Rhodes on the Pawtuxet parking lot.


Edgewood’s Wenley Ferguson, Save The Bay’s habitat restoration coordinator, will lead a salt marsh walk at Cranston’s Stillhouse Cove May 25. The short walk starts at 6:30 PM in hopes of viewing horseshoe crab mating during a spring moon tide. Wenley will also discuss the Stillhouse Cove restoration efforts. The walk will start at the cove’s southern end, at the junction of Ocean Avenue and Narragansett Boulevard. All welcome. Rain date is May 26.


A controversial proposal to change zoning to allow more development in western Cranston will be considered by the Cranston City Council Monday Mat 22. The amendment, which was approved by the Ordinance Committee May 13, would rezone 95 acres near the junction of Pippin Orchard Road and Laten Knight Road to allow quarter acre lots.

Mayor Fung and City Planner Peter Lapolla oppose the proposal which they estimate could cost the city $3.1 million more in school, road and public safety costs than it would raise in tax revenue. Potentially, Lapolla told the council, the change could allow 155 new housing lots. City Council President John Lanni, Ward 2 Councilman Emilio Navarro and Ward 4 Councilman Robert Pelletier defended the change as a way to promote economic growth and allow middle class people to purchase homes. The landowner, Albert Scaralia, is a major contributor to the Cranston Democratic Party and city officials, including Navarro and Fung.

Several speakers, including Rachel McNally of Save Cranston’s Open Space, Katie King and Steve Stycos of the West Bay Land Trust and residents Mary Genco and Dale Saccocio urged the council to reconsider the environmental and financial costs of the change to the proposed city comprehensive plan. The Ordinance Committee (with Ordinance Committee chair Anthony Lupino absent), however, voted unanimously to send the amended comprehensive plan to the full council.

Earlier this year the council approved a zone change, proposed by Ward 5 Councilman Richard Santamaria, to allow Stop & Shop to build a supermarket on Warwick Avenue. Since then Stop & Shop developer Richard Baccari has been implicated in a scheme to bribe four members of the North Providence City Council to receive a zone change for another Stop & Shop building.

If you are opposed to subsidizing development in western Cranston or support keeping part of our city rural, contact your city councilman. The meeting Monday May 24 begins at 7 PM at City Hall.


May 24th, 6 PM: Sam Brusco on renovating a home without spending a fortune. Sam will share his knowledge about permits, architects and construction for homeowners who are considering a renovation project.

May 19th, 6:30 PM: Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.

May 19th, 6:30 PM: Reading in the Hall. The William Hall Library Book Group will discuss Sue Miller’s The Senator’s Wife. This is a searing novel of infidelity and politics at the highest level. Call or email to register.

May 26th, 6 PM: Cranston High School East Jazz Band and Jazz Combo will perform on the lawn. Directed by Mark Collozzi, the Jazz Band will perform standards as well as some contemporary pieces. Join us for the opening concert of the 2010 season. The rain date is May 27.

June 9th, 12:30 PM: This month’s Brown Bag Poetry will feature local author and poet John Long. John will be reading from “Seaward Edge” and his latest collection of poetry. Bring your lunch to this free program.

See you Saturday at the market.

Marteka: Hangin’ with the Stoppleworth Gnomes

It was an amazing decision that my mother, Ann Stoppleworth, made to sell 55 acres of open space to the town of Tolland, Connecticut. To the degree that I supported my mother and helped her carry out the transaction, I am proud to be part of a legacy of creating a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy, including the magical gnomes. From the Hartford Courant:

A shaft of sunlight escapes to the forest floor and illuminates a thick clump of ferns like a spotlight highlighting a singer on a stage.

Gnarled roots from a huge tree uncoil over a rock ledge covered with moss and lichen.

Welcome to gnome country.

We all probably see the same images when we think of gnomes: bearded little forest folk with conical hats, hanging out under a mushroom or smoking a pipe or doing some gardening. (Or going to some exotic destination via Travelocity.)

Gnomes are on my mind as I hike through the Stoppleworth Conservation Area, a 55-acre nature preserve in Tolland. Maybe it’s the moss, the ferns, the boulders shaded by evergreens that have me looking around for the mythical creatures. Or maybe it’s the letterbox — part of a scavenger-hunt system of clues and hidden containers — declaring the preserve as the home of Napoleon Gnome. Whatever the reason, Stoppleworth draws you in as soon as you pass through the split-rail fence from the parking lot. [full text]