2017-10-12 / Opinion


PC Upgrade No 'Success'

To the Editor:

After reading that nonsense "DMV Computer System Upgrade a Success" (a letter in the Oct. 5 edition of NTW), I was going to respond with a critical, detailed note (e.g., statistics about: how much larger the other states are that were referenced, how much lower their per capita debt is, how Rhode Island ranks at the bottom of just about every economic measure/ comparison, how my own qualifications justify my criticism, etc.), and even include comments on the fake looking, letter-size plain copy paper "document" that replaces the compact old-style registration certificate, but I decided to keep it simple so here goes: To call a project that went years beyond and well over budget "a striking success" borders on the delusional.

Robert McCourt

Bravo, Broadway Street Fair!

To the Editor:

The Newport Opera House Theater and Performing Arts Center is proud to have been a sponsor and participant of the second annual Broadway Street Fair. Our commitment to Broadway merchants, Washington Square, and the community is year-round, but this special event has a special place in our hearts. Only in its second year, the Broadway Street Fair already feels like a fixture of Newport life, when the summer season recedes and we join friends and family for a day of fun, food, performance and community. Bravo to our talented local artists who performed, and congratulations to all involved for another immensely successful year!

Board and Staff of the Newport
Opera House Theater and
Performing Arts Center

Embracing Change and Recyclables

To the Editor:

In March 2016, the Newport City Council passed an ordinance to prohibit the distribution of single-use plastic bags in all stores beginning on Nov. 1. This ordinance is the result of months of work by the City of Newport, Newport’s Energy & Environment Commission and Clean Ocean Access. The Newport Re-uses subcommittee was formed as a public information initiative which has been working with businesses and residents to acclimate our city to the coming change.

The response has been extremely positive from all corners of the community. We are pleased to have heard from many residents who feel this initiative is a long time coming, and they are very supportive of the shift away from single-use plastic bags. We are working with businesses to clarify the types of bags that are allowed and to help find solutions that work for them. Additionally, thanks to a generous donation from a local resident and environmental steward, the Newport Re-uses team has been able to hand out thousands of reusable bags at schools, the library, food banks, senior centers, City Hall, and various public events. We were at the Broadway Street Fair this past weekend and handed out almost 1200 reusable bags! It was a wonderful experience and we were able to hear from so many residents who are enthusiastically embracing the shift away from plastic and towards reusables.

As the ordinance goes into effect Nov. 1, we feel our community is ready and willing to eliminate single-use plastic bags. The ordinance, and the collective vision of the City of Newport, Newport Re-Uses and Clean Ocean Access is a sending a strong positive message that we value our environment. Please visit www.newportreuses.com for more information.

The Newport Re-uses Team:
Jamie Bova, Susan Taylor,
Lynn Underwood Ceglie,
Melissa Pattavina, Kim Salerno,
Dave McLaughlin, Maria D.
Herrera Ximenez, Kristie
Gardiner, Kara DiCamillo

Common Sense Needed on Memorial

To the Editor:

Let me understand this new concept of traffic flow which the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (DOT) has suggested for Memorial Boulevard.

Motorists are once again being asked to be inconvenienced by bicyclists. Motorists are expected to abide by traffic rules but bicyclists appear to not have to stop at stop signs and traffic lights. Will the bicyclists be expected to stop at the new HAWK pedestrian crossings? We are told bicyclists are expected to obey traffic laws, but we all know they don’t, nor are they held accountable by the police. So, pedestrians beware – the motorists will be expected to stop, but watch out for the bicyclists.

From the described new traffic flow, I do not see where it will help the local motorists trying to merge onto Memorial Boulevard with parking and more bicyclist lanes.

Making Memorial Boulevard one lane going east is lunacy. Already there are backups of cars waiting to turn left into the local neighborhoods. Then once you get down towards the beach the two lanes often back up because of the light at the Newport/Middletown line. The two lanes have to merge into one lane before the light and that back up can be quite extensive. Turn it into one lane by the beach and you will have the backup going up Memorial Boulevard. Complicate this with parking and empowering bicyclists will create a bigger mess than there already is.

Newport City is now recognized as an Arboretum. By narrowing the median for parking spaces, many, many, trees will be either taken down or their root structures will be compromised. Is this how we celebrate becoming an Arboretum by killing and taking down trees?

Tell DOT to go back to Providence and mess up their traffic flow. We don’t need them in Newport.

Stephanie McLennan

Food Challenge Showed Commitment

To the Editor:

Wow. When we first conceived the plan to hold a food challenge on the island last year we had no idea how the idea would be received. It seemed a slightly crazy thing to ask people to do, but these desperate times require desperate measures, so why not give it a try?

Last year 60-plus people jumped in to make that first try work; this year more than 200 of you did. This year we had 17 community sponsors help us get the word out and 10 restaurants that served a locally sourced dish. Both local print and online media helped describe our efforts, including a piece that captured the difference we were able to make in institutional purchasing on the island through the support of Salve Regina University and Sodexo.

We now have no doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the way we eat, and grow our local food economy. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, we now have no doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the way we eat, and assist our local food economy. We look forward to what will be possible in 2018. We see your support as bold and visionary community leadership, and we send deep appreciation for your willingness to get involved in a slightly crazy thing.

Bevan Linsley and Lisa Lewis

Good News from the Potter League

To the Editor:

Suffering is a part of life, like it or not. Catastrophic happenings, like earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, typhoons, and massive wildfires are becoming more frequent for some unknown reason. Recently we have seen Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria causing massive floods, power outages, injuries, death, and ruin. We witnessed horrendous wildfires in the West and two terrible earthquakes in Mexico. Are these wake-up calls to change our way of life?

The volunteer response has been inspiring. People came from all over the country and from all faiths, opening their hearts with love, compassion, and kindness. We saw a nun in a habit cutting branches of trees with a chainsaw, strangers rescuing people and animals in polluted waters. All of this was sad and heartbreaking to see. Those at home have prayed and donated water, clothing, toiletries, food and money.

Even during such hardships, victims have not given up hope. Through troubled waters, their faith came alive. One woman went from shelter to shelter singing "Amazing Grace" to boost the evacuees' morales. Miraculously, a couple unable to be rescued had to deliver their baby with help from the police dispatcher. Mother and baby are doing fine. And some good news: the Potter League for Animals has taken in 28 dogs and 12 cats!

It was so great that President Trump announced a National Day of Prayer for the victims. May God continue to bless the USA.

Elizabeth Watts

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