2017-12-07 / Opinion


Salve and Its Services Provide Many Benefits

To the Editor:

The proposal of Salve Regina University to build two new dorms on their campus will result in many benefits to Newport.

Moving the junior class to on-campus housing will reduce the current need for parking in dense neighborhoods throughout the city, reduce back-and-forth traffic to classes, and reduce traffic within the Salve campus. Students in the new dorms will only be allowed one parking space at their dorms and will not be permitted to park their cars anywhere else on the campus. They will be more inclined to walk and use public transportation, and badly needed rental units in the city will become more available. Salve also will provide any necessary law enforcement, which will improve public safety.

Salve now incidentally helps provide security for the whole Bellevue Ochre Point neighborhood, including the Breakers site. Salve also provides overflow parking for the Breakers during the busy Christmas season. When the Breakers parking lot is full, their security personnel direct visitors to the Salve library parking lot. If anything in that neighborhood is problematic, it is the Breakers property, which is expanding without adding any additional parking, and which hosts the megabuses which damage our roads, trees and air quality.

Salve has been in that neighborhood since 1947, and with the exception of the design of the O’Hare building, has been a great steward for their properties. It is the only site on Cliff Walk that is completely open to the public. It is essentially a huge public park with sweeping vistas that preserves critical open space.

Salve keeps our economy going when tourism is decreased, educates many of our local professional and human service workers including nurses, teachers and law enforcement, offers critical resources for military veterans, the Naval War College and active duty military, and provides community service where the need is greatest.

Judith A. Byrnes

Fresh Perspective Needed

To the Editor:

I read with dismay recent reports that two former city council members who were voted out in the last election are being considered to fill the vacated seat of John Florez on the Newport City Council.

Our city faces nearly unsurmountable obstacles.

Education: Our city’s ranking in education is near the bottom for the state. We are giving our kids a substandard education, combined with the realities that have an elementary school bursting at the seams and an inadequate middle school, and near unsafe high school in the few years ahead.

Economic: We have been dragging our feet for years as we see the dire need to attract families to an area which does not provide a year-round economy. Our dependence on tourism has reached its peak.

Housing: We have maxed out our public housing and new home sales are being incurred by landlords, out of state, or part time residents. Our city’s year-round family population has been dropping each year. The average family or millennial cannot afford to buy a home here.

I say these as a parent of a child in Pell, and as a small business owner here in Newport.

The rumor mill says that the will of the voters may be thwarted by the appointment of a recently discharged council person. I urge concerned citizens of all backgrounds to bring some fresh thinking and apply this week for the city council.

Let’s send a message that we do not want to recycle politicians and kick the can further down the street.

Michael W. Smith

Honoring Fallen Heroes

To the Editor:

The Portsmouth Garden Club had an opportunity to assess the town cannon and its wooden holder while we did a new planting display for 2017 and the upcoming season spring 2018 at Legion Park in front of town hall. At that time we notified the town administrator and town council of the need to rebuild the wooden cassion (cannon carrier) and refurbish the cannon itself. The wood had rotted and the cannon was in need of, at the very least, a coat of paint.

We are so very pleased to be able to say thank you to Manuel Sousa, the volunteer restorer and to Brian Woodhead of the Public Works Department for the excellent job of restoring the cannon. It was re-installed last week and we have put up the Christmas decorations to honor the members of our military who gave their lives in the service of our town and country. Our group made 13 wreaths and numerous evergreen swags to be placed on town buildings, including the cannon, and we hope that all will take a minute to observe the display and think of our fallen heroes at this holiday time.

Roberta Stevens
President Portsmouth
Garden Club

Bah Humbug!

To the Editor,

I just returned from a ride down the main business section of our city and have to say I have seen brighter cemeteries. The local merchants want Newporters to shop locally yet as a group they fail to make the street joyous and inviting. Years ago they had the Downtown Business Council and decorated for all the major holidays but today they do nothing but whine when they get very little action and it’s their fault.

If each merchant were to put up $100 and the larger stores a little more, I would think they could get the area a decent amount of holiday décor and that could increase yearly as the old would still be there and new things added yearly.

Even a little Christmas music playing outside would help, they could have a few stores play Sirius Christmas so the same stuff would be heard all over.

Right now downtown Newport is as inviting as an empty dumpster. It’s too late for this year but in time to plan for 2018. Merry Christmas.

Jack Milburn

Thank You Newport for a New Tradition

To the Editor:

My wife, daughter and I recently had the pleasure to spend a couple of days in Newport. As Brits abroad we didn’t really know what to expect from Halloween as we don’t really do it in England. It was a wonderful experience to find the towns’ shops giving candy to the children dressed up and touring to town to trick or treat. Entering one shop my daughter was asked if she was trick or treating, but we were rather embarrassed by her lack of costume. “Oh, just tell anyone who asks you have come dressed as a tourist!” And with that she gave my daughter a paper bag to collect her candy. In another shop another lovely lady suggested we try her daughters, road that night as the whole street would be dressed for Halloween. After returning to our hotel and improvising an outfit we visited the street and had one of the most memorable events of the whole holiday. It was fantastic to see the community spirit that this event generated, young and old having fun. Some of the houses looked amazing as did the people and even their pets.

I wanted to write and thank the good people of Newport for welcoming us into their tradition. My daughter now wants to holiday in the USA every Halloween.

Peter, Susan and Alice
East Cowes, Isle of Wight,

Local Groups Help Us Live Responsibly

To the Editors,

Over the past 45 years, we have recognized and acted upon threats to our environment, and taken action to clean up our local water resources, reduce pesticide use, reduce or prevent the release of toxic substances to our environment, and protect and preserve wild species. But pressures on local ecosystems continue. Clearly, from the tone of recent government policy and executive orders, we can take none of this progress for granted.

Planet earth is so unlike the billions of other barren rocks hurtling through space, which are incapable of supporting life as we know it. We do know this. Our species cannot survive inside a shopping mall, or on a paved road, or in a comfortable home. We depend utterly on the complex interaction of millions of species that create a habitable environment on the planet. Our only source of oxygen on this rock is abundant plant life; our only hope for abundant plant life is complex decomposition and nutrient recycling by myriad insects, fungi, and bacteria. We require a rather narrow range of conditions, from temperature to levels of carbon dioxide and other gases, and acidity in order for these systems to thrive.

We also have come to learn that hoping for some saving grace to come from a distance is not adequate. We have a responsibility to learn to live in such a way that our local environment reflects our need to sustain life on this planet. Acting locally is an essential part of living responsibly on this planet. We are blessed to have the organizers, staff and volunteers of organizations such as Aquidneck Community Table, Clean Ocean Access, the Aquidneck Land Trust and so many others who are engaging us in the practice of responsible living.

The Aquidneck Land Trust has an exceptional opportunity to protect and preserve the Little Creek Preserve off of Braman’s Lane, nearly 16 acres including spring and headwaters, pond, brook and forest habitat. With a deadline of May 1 to raise $358,000, the need is urgent. Let’s show the progress we have made in learning to live locally and to support a robust and resilient life-support system in our own neighborhood by contributing to the Land Trust’s efforts to protect Little Creek Preserve. Acting to strengthen and sustain our local ecosystem is perhaps the most valuable gift we can offer to our friends, our neighbors, our community and our families.

Stephen B. Leslie

Se Habla Español

I am delighted to see that in recent editions of Newport This Week, with the “News Briefs” on page 5, items are included with a Spanish translation.

I have a solid foundation in conversational Spanish but no opportunity to put it into practice.

If there are any social or educational encounters that are offered from time to time where I could go to engage in Spanish conversation with native speakers I welcome people to contact me at nptmoose@cox.net.

Thanks very much.

Ronald Marsh

No Design Standards?

To the Editor:

I know this is old news but I just chanced upon a Oct. 5 copy of Newport This Week and there is a rendering of the proposed hotel on Long Wharf. What a pity and shame on the owners, no sensitivity.

An ugly square box sitting on the edge of our lovely harbor. No concession to the fact that this is an old colonial town with some great historical buildings. The hotel next to it is bad enough but at least they have some gables in the roof line.

However we only have ourselves to blame, there should be an ordinance to pass upon the architectural merits of new construction.

Bruce Berriman

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