2016-05-05 / Opinion


Accomplishments Galore

While the calendar pushes us ever closer to “accomplishment season” when traditional graduations garner congratulations, we think there are accomplishments that should be acknowledged for this week.

Marvin L. Abney, the Newport and Middletown representative has just been named chairman of the House Finance Committee. This means that another Newporter has now risen to one of the most influential seats in our state legislature. Abney's joining Teresa Paiva Weed on Smith Hill represents quite a one-two punch for us islanders. At the Statehouse each year, the HFC is where the action is, because that is where state spending proposals are vetted for the first time.

Back on the island, from our Newport This Week newsroom, we look out at the workers leveling the foundation and positioning new pieces of curbing for the new Broadway “streetscape.” In this space over the months we have reported from time to time that the job seemed to be falling behind and businesses were fraught with concerns about inconvenienced patrons.

Now, it seems, improvements to this vital Newport artery are AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Several of the eateries are relaying that business has had some good spikes. Patrons are showing their empathy by negotiating the sidewalk and parking obstacles. (Remember there is alternate parking in the front lot of the police station). So, to all city officials and construction workers who have made the process move along, we applaud you and your efforts.

We’d also like to tip our hats to the intrepid Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) folks who struggled mightily and succeeded in removing the very large body of a yearling humpback whale that washed ashore on a private stretch of sand near Hazard’s Beach.

For a variety of logistical factors the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Mystic Aquarium Stranding Team were all unable to lend the city a hand with this substantial challenge.

Finally, the state DEM, with the assistance of the city harbormaster, got the job done. Rhode Islanders have no qualms excoriating the state government and its agencies when one job or another goes unfinished. In this instance, we thank DEM for its work. Mr. Nicholson, mark their number in your Rolodex.

Finally, Newport This Week enjoyed its own moment in the spotlight, capturing four writing awards at the Rhode Island Press Association’s annual awards dinner. The citations included: Olga Enger for her feature on a female pedicab driver; James Merolla for his art review of a Swanhurst Chorus spring play; and columnist Joe Berkeley for his story on Peter Shope’s world sailing championship. In addition, the newspaper’s editorials were described as being “excellent in presenting opinion, attention to concerns of community and creating calls to action where appropriate. Readers were well-served.”

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