2018-03-22 / Opinion


A Special Nod to Teachers

To the Editor:

Wouldn’t it be a pleasant surprise to open the paper one day and find a letter to the editor from a parent who wanted to recognize one of their child’s teachers for all of the “extra” things they do, things that aren’t in contracts? We will start the trend…

Thank you, teachers, for…

• Spending your own money to be sure that there are basic supplies in the classroom for our child’s classmates.

• Investing your own time writing grants to be able to purchase more sophisticated items for my child’s classroom.

• Staying after school, and coming in early, to help our child.

• Arranging field trips and other excursions throughout the year, knowing how much extra energy it requires to keep track of the forms, keep students on track when off school grounds, collecting money, arranging buses, contacting the cafeteria multiple times to be sure lunches are all set, getting colleagues to rearrange their schedules so your students don’t miss out on anything back at school.

• Regularly sending home newsletters and other forms of communication about what is going on, taking the time to send home assessment sheets, which keep us well informed of our child’s progress all year.

• Attending professional seminars and workshops on your own time, and paid for with your own money.

• Giving up many days of unpaid family time to go into school to set up your classroom.

• Spending your own money and weekend time to set up for pep rallies, Illuminated Garden nights, setting up community partnerships, chaperoning proms, dances and lock-ins, arranging field days, collecting tickets at games, organizing STEM night, setting up art shows, putting on music concerts, penny carnivals, math nights, etc.

• Inviting us to watch our child perform.

• Putting yourself out there to learn the new technology available and practicing it on your own time.

• Advocating for all students on a daily basis, fighting for class size so that our children don’t slip through the cracks, speaking up when you see things that could be improved, not allowing the behavior of some to ruin it for the greater good, advocating for what is best for our children.

• Taking your own time to write meaningful letters of recommendation for college and scholarships, for reading over college essays and offering valuable suggestions.

• Planning truly touching closing ceremonies.

• Taking time away from your own family to get assignments corrected, providing meaningful feedback.

• Writing meaningful emails that give specific information about how our kids are doing, calling and being willing to meet anytime we ask.

• Recognizing a special moment or achievement that our child accomplished by writing a personal note to our child about it.

There are many other things that you do that we failed to mention! We had to cut over 300 words of thanks to get this published.

Thank you, teachers! You have truly made a difference in our children’s lives and we will forever be grateful for that.

Kelly and Melissa Turner

U.S. Didn't Act Alone

To The Editor:

I began reading with great interest James Merolla's article regarding the rededication of Miantonomi Memorial Tower, but stopped dead at the sentence, “This Memorial Day the 56 names on those two shields will be restored while planners reach out to the descendants of the Newport Doughboys who saved Europe the first time.”

As a proud naturalized America citizen, I honor America’s contribution to both world wars, but feel that contention dishonors British, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian forces who played a large part in both wars and got there sooner. My Uncles Fred and Bert (who was 16 when he joined up) would be outraged. My father was too young for World War I, but went on to serve in World War II, cutting short his honeymoon to be in London to commit to the war effort.

It would be appreciated when referring to America’s part in both war efforts, if the word “saving” was replaced by “helped to liberate” which is more accurate and honors all those who served.

Jacqueline Tomlinson

Inexcusable Inequity

To the Editor:

I recently attended a two-day Racial Equity Seminar sponsored by the Newport Health Equity Zone (HEZ). The seminar trainers came from the Racial Equity Institute in North Carolina, an organization that has been in existence for many years and sends their staff across the United States to bring awareness of racial inequities.

The seminar was led by a team of three: two African Americans and one Caucasian. After the first day’s work they went out to eat and enjoyed Newport’s seafood and chowder. On the second evening they were referred to a restaurant by one of the seminar participants. It was a cold, rainy evening and when they entered the restaurant only one other couple was seated in the dining room. They were led through that dining room and seated against the back door of the empty room.

The three of them briefly discussed why they might have been seated in the back room. The white woman went back to the hostess station and asked to be reseated. They were then led back to the front room without an explanation of why they were put in the back in the first place. We were told of their experience the next morning. A discussion followed and you can imagine the range of feelings in the room – everything from anger to embarrassment. For three out-of-town professionals to be treated in this way was inexcusable.

I’ve thought about this situation many times since. Could our tourists be treated in this manner? It’s the offseason, are local residents regarded this way? Is this a restaurant management decision or an employee acting on her own? Do other businesses in Newport discriminate in this way?

For all who make Newport their home and those who depend on out-of-town guests for their livelihood, this is a huge wake-up call. Managers need to revisit staff training procedures to enable good and fair customer service for all.

Penny Fitch

Council Opens Door on Affordable Housing

To the Editor:

There is widespread agreement that the City of Newport is one of the most desirable places in the world to visit. Indeed, we are frequently listed in many travel magazines as a foremost vacation destination. No one in Newport would disagree.

But, we also want to be known as a city where people want to work, send their children to school, and raise their families. For a lot of us, this dream has been realized. Yet, we know that far too many others do not even make an attempt to live here because it is said that housing is far too costly. Unfortunately, the flight of our youth is a well-established fact.

The Newport City Council took a giant step forward recently to address this problem in its near-unanimous vote in support of the proposal to convert the former Cranston-Calvert School into housing units that will be much more affordable to the average person. In the process, the City Council opened the proverbial door to a number of people who might not have otherwise been able to afford to live in Newport.

The Newport Democratic City Committee has long held that adequate and safe housing is absolutely essential for the well-being of any person in this country. We send our congratulations and appreciation to the City Council for demonstrating concern for people and for recognizing that municipal government has a key role in helping its citizens in this manner. Such leadership has been outstanding and most deserving of commendation.

Thanks, too, to City Manager Joseph Nicholson and his staff for all their help with this initiative.

J. Clement Cicilline
Chair, Newport Democratic City

No to 24-Hour Casino

To The Editor:

Having negotiated a rather weak agreement with the developers of the Tiverton Casino, the Tiverton Town Council is about to consider operating hours. The casino is requesting approval of a 24-hour operation and license to serve alcohol and food. There is no precedent for these hours.

When operating in Newport the casino had closing times of 1 or 2 a.m. as do other establishments that serve alcohol and food. Operating 24 hours would place existing establishments at a disadvantage and create a precedent for those. If the concern is keeping homeowners in their homes, there are better methods than the one proposed. Many states have homestead exemptions, which reward longer-term residents. These can be implemented in many forms, a single exemption based on a time period or periodic exemptions based on years in a residence.

Of course, the ideal solution would be for the town council to do a better job in managing income and expenditures in order to reduce taxes. Other sources of income are available, including parking fees, town-sponsored events, educational series and development, to make Tiverton more attractive to a wider range of businesses.

Michael Serotta

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