2017-06-08 / Opinion



Community Vigilance is Critical

To the Editor:

Every time I ride my bike along Ocean Drive or take a walk on America’s Cup, I am struck by the natural beauty of our city by the sea. And I feel incredibly fortunate to call it home and to wake up every morning to its salty air and bustling streets. I also feel incredibly proud of the work we are doing as a community to strengthen our climate resilience and to protect our families, homes environment, and economy, especially given the glut of alarming news out of Washington.

First, steep cuts are proposed for federal environmental protection funding to states, and now President Trump is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Accord – an unprecedented global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change. Now, more than ever, our work and vigilance at the community level is critical.

As a state, Rhode Island has been out front on climate change, continuing to invest in clean energy and to adapt to a new reality of warmer weather, rising seas and increased flooding and storms. We’ve constructed the nation’s first offshore wind farm. We are the fourth-most energy efficient state in the nation, according to the American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy. We continue to grow our green economy, with more than 14,000 jobs now supported. And we are working to assess and fortify critical infrastructure across our state.

In Newport, we’ve already experienced the devastating impact of a changing climate. In 2012, SuperStorm Sandy paralyzed our coastal city, knocking out power to thousands of homes, ravaging our shoreline, and damaging priceless landmarks and tourist attractions such as Cliff Walk. In the wake of Sandy, portions of Cliff Walk, one of Newport’s most popular tourism draws, were closed off for more than two years, as a $5.2 million restoration was completed.

We must continue to build on efforts to assess and mitigate our risk and to plan for and adapt to expected climate-related changes. Recently, the city of Newport has taken action to evaluate and invest in our wastewater treatment systems, which are especially vulnerable to storm surge and flooding. This is an important step in the right direction. And we must keep going.

There is considerable work in front of us to protect our historic and beautiful community. As a coastal town, Newport is uniquely vulnerable to a changing climate: our homes, businesses, scenery, and infrastructure – from drinking water to transportation and healthcare. The impacts are far reaching and potentially devastating.

President Trump has signaled a troubling shift in our national posture on this issue. Still, we shouldn’t be deterred but, instead, should deepen our resolve and continue to work with communities across Rhode Island, and the region, to strengthen our climate resilience and propel our city forward.

David Allard
Democratic Candidate for
State Senate

Euer Will Advance RI

To the Editor:

Clean Water Action is pleased to announce their endorsement of Dawn Euer’s candidacy in the special election for the state senate seat in District 13.

For many years, Dawn has been working to make Newport County a more resilient and sustainable place.

Over the last decade, Dawn has been directly involved in efforts to protect coastal communities from flooding and sea level rise, reduce litter in Newport and plastic pollution in its surrounding waters, and expand alternative transit networks for Aquidneck Islanders.

Dawn understands the critical role our environment will play in moving our state forward. She has repeatedly shown her commitment to creating a vibrant economy for all Rhode Islanders while at the same time protecting and preserving our natural assets. She has earned Clean Water Action’s endorsement because of this commitment.

Johnathan Berard
Clean Water Action
Rhode Island state director

Sea Rise Discussion

To the Editor:

I’d like to invite everyone who has an interest in the long-term preservation of our beautiful and historic city to join me in an important conversation occurring in Newport next week.

The Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (RI EC4) will visit Newport City Hall Wednesday, June 14, meeting with the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission and municipal officials about developing efforts to defend our city from the effects of climate change. The meeting is scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the council chambers.

Local officials will discuss the city’s resiliency priorities and needs, as well as ongoing projects to protect Newport from sea rise and related effects of climate change. I will be there to discuss my bill requiring municipal planning board members to participate in free training on the effects of rising sea levels and development in flood plains, and other recommendations made by a commission I led last year to look for ways to better prepare for the effects of rising seas. The event will include the premiere of a short documentary by the Department of Health, “Rhode Island’s Changing Climate: Building Resilience Through Local Solutions.”

Sea level has risen 10.6 inches since 1930, as measured by the Newport Tide Gauge. We must not wait until disaster is upon us to act to protect property and resources in our city. I encourage anyone with an interest in protecting our island to join us for this discussion.

Rep. Lauren H. Carson
D-District 75, Newport

Euer Endorsement

To the Editor:

Usually I don’t trust anyone under the age of 80, but in one case, the case of Dawn Euer, it was easy to make an exception. I am supporting Dawn Euer in the race for state senate and I’d like to tell you why.

I’m voting for Dawn because I’ve seen her in action working to improve our community. When she advised the anti-casino group (Citizens Concerned About Casino Gambling) during the campaign to defeat the expansion effort at Newport Grand, Dawn proved she is intelligent, politically astute, legally agile and knowledgeable. Her engagement and advice were welcome and effective. She made a difference and we were all grateful for her involvement.

I’ve also seen her manage the effort to develop a community plan for Newport’s trees, parks and open spaces, while serving as the project manager for the Newport Open Space Partnership. She did a terrific job orchestrating and balancing community input, managing numerous meetings, organizing details and pulling together all the elements of the plan. Preserving our environment is a core value for Dawn, and given the nature of Newport and Jamestown, I believe it is for you, too.

I am voting for Dawn Euer in the Democratic primary on July 18 because I believe she will make a real difference as our senator and I hope you will join me. Dawn will honor us with her service and help give us the government we deserve.

Dave Wixted

R.I. Laws on Lyme Disease Acknowledged

To the Editor:

The State Department of Health recently posted, on its website, the Rhode Island Laws (of 2002-2014), governing medical care, patient rights and insurance coverage. It has also published the ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society). Guidelines for testing, diagnosis and treatment, the only protocol endorsed by the NGC (National Guidelines Clearinghouse).

To access this data, search online for “RI DOH Tick Borne Diseases,” prompt “Lyme Disease Department of Health,” and click on “Statutes” to view the laws. On the same prompt, scroll down to “Publications” to ‘Health Care Providers" and read the ILADS Guidelines.

For more information and referral to “Lyme-literate” doctors and practitioners, contact a local support group: lymenewport@gmail.com in Rhode Island or bcmldsg@yahoo.com in Rehoboth, Mass.

Jane Barrows

Thanks to a Gracious City

To the Editor:

In early February 2017, we began planning our 50th wedding anniversary trip to Newport, where 50 years earlier, as a U.S. Coast Guardsman, I had attended a Navy school. We had only been married for two days when I left for the school and was gone for three months, without my wife.

We began searching for travel information online and immediately found the Discover Newport website. I telephoned Discover Newport and spoke, at length, with a delightful lady working there. She was an enthusiastic advocate for Newport and was a wonderful source for relevant, useful information for both Newport and the surrounding area.

She immediately sent a packet of information covering everything from maps, to lodging, to dining and other attractions.

Over the next few months, as we planned the various details of the trip, I frequently called my initial contact at Discover Newport, seeking additional information.

Upon arrival, a transit bus delivered us from T.F. Green Airport directly to the Visitors Center that was only a short walk to our hotel. The Visitors Center and Discover Newport literally became the hub of our Newport activities, that included transportation, purchase of tickets, and even souvenir gifts.

While in the city, we were fortunate to meet and speak with Evan Smith, the president and CEO of Discover Newport, as well as other members of his executive staff. What wonderful, kind and gracious people they are!

Newport and the surrounding areas should be proud of these individuals representing them and directing the management of Newport’s fine tourism and visitor facilities and programs.

Twiggs D. Randall III
(Near Charleston, S.C.)

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