July 7th, 2011
NORTH KINGSTOWNâ€”North Kingstown Town Manager Michael Embury sat behind his desk Tuesday afternoon with a stack of papers, emails and phone messages to sift through after the long holiday weekend and, on the surface, he should have had a smile on the face.
After all, the numbers from the end of June were in and, at the close of the fiscal year, the town is set to finish 2011 with a net surplus. But itâ€™s hard for Embury to think positively about the state of finances in NK, especially with what promises to be a long, hard road ahead in 2012 and 2013.
NARRAGANSETTâ€”Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Deborah Gist held a talk recently about the adoption of a Environmental Literacy Plan (ELP) which will be integrated into the curricula of schools state-wide. Gist has identified that teaching about environmental safety in the classroom is necessary for developing a well-rounded educational experience.
Forty-four more units of affordable housing are underway in Coventry.
Construction started in January on the new units that will be behind Dollar Tree and Hyde Music on Tiogue Avenue.
Entrance to Coventry Meadows will be on Edith Street, off of Arnold Road.
Edith Street will be continued and loop around right inside the new Coventry Meadows complex.
It will be a six-building complex and the first building is now nearing completion.
The affordable housing units are being built by Coventry Housing Associates Corporation, more commonly known as the Coventry Housing Authority.
Coventry Housing was started in 1963 â€śto provide housing opportunities to low-income households for the citizens of the Town of Coventry,â€ť according to their website.
The money for this new project was awarded at the end of 2010.
Coventry Housingâ€™s executive director, Julie A. Leddy, said when they applied for the funding the fact that they were â€śready to goâ€ť was in their favor.
Work started the Monday after New Yearâ€™s Day, she said.
The main utilities for all of the buildings will be tied into the first building. That building will hold a Community Hall and laundry facilities for the whole complex.
It will be completed first and then they will go building-by-building to complete the other housing units.
The foundations of the other five buildings have already been laid.
Inside the main building that houses the Community Hall, there will also be four housing units.
When it is completed they will begin filling those units.
As they complete each of the other buildings, which will house eight units each, they too will be filled with tenants.
All the site work should be done, Leddy said, allowing them to â€śwork our way out.â€ť
Theyâ€™ll start with the buildings closest to the main building, she said.
By September, they hope to have the first units ready.
The units will have one, two or three bedrooms.
Leddy explained how each unit will have its own entrance and there will be no hallways to walk through.
It will be built right into the grade, she said, that the units, though two-levels, can be accessed at ground level on each side.
Residents will drive right up to their own unit, she said.
There will also be a separate patio outside of each one, she said.
Coventry Housing has other units for the elderly or disabled and these units, though the same individuals could apply for them, are more suited for family housing, Leddy said.
Coventry Meadows will have a totally separate waiting list than The Crossroads, Coventry Housingâ€™s other family-style affordable housing complex.
The Crossroads is located on Lacolle Lane in Coventry and has been at full occupancy since it opened. It is a 32-unit facility opened by Coventry Housing in 2003.
By DAVID PEPIN
Steps have been taken (literally) to make sure the historic steps at Town Hall will be repaired and ready to welcome visitors again by mid-July.
It may have been a holiday week in North Kingstown but that doesn't mean the news slows down.
This week, the Standard Times brings you up-to-date information on North Kingstown's 2011 budget, including what appears to be a $233K surplus when all is said and done.
In addition, we update you on the progress made by Exeter's Woody Hill School, which is undergoing a restoration. Plus, we preview this weekend's Wickford Arts Festival.
All that and more in this week's Standard Times. Pick up a copy today!
SOUTH KINGSTOWN â€“ Ruth Tomlin Gronneberg was awaiting her granddaughterâ€™s arrival from New York on June 17 on the platform of the Kingston station. The wind was strong as the train zoomed by, knocking the 91-year old South Kingstown off her feet, her husband, Edward Gronneberg said.
Well, itâ€™s finally happened. By the time you read this weâ€™ll know whether Dr. Phil Thornton is going to stick around as the superintendent of North Kingstown schools.
He came into the job as the unanimous choice of the school committee with members like Melvoid Benson and the late Doug Roth singing his praises. Dr. Thornton has made it plain that if he goes out it will be largely due to the rancorous relationship with â€śsome membersâ€ť of the committee.
By DAVID PEPIN
While the athletic fields at East Greenwich High School have received a major facelift the bad two years, the dugouts on the baseball diamonds have remained lingering blemishes.
John Mahoney and the Diamond Baseball Club, a group of baseball team parents and boosters, are hoping to change that.
Mahoney briefed the School Committee Tuesday night on his groupâ€™s plans to improve the dugouts, lengthening them and building cinderblock structures and roofs. The current dugouts offer a fence, a bench and little else, or as Mahoney put it, â€śa metal cage.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s a great facility, but these dugouts donâ€™t fit the bill right now,â€ť he said.
Without taking a formal vote, the committee gave its blessing to the plan. Chairwoman Deidre Gifford referred Mahoney to the Fields Committee, which Superintendent Victor Mercurio plans to convene next month to review plans for the dugout construction with an eye toward School Committee approval at its Aug. 16 meeting.
Mahoney said if the go-ahead is given then and details such as a construction plan and liability insurance are finalized, he and a group of parents can have the varsity field dugouts built by the beginning of November. He said they have raised $2,500 already, with each dugoutâ€™s cost estimated between $4-5,000.
Gifford said use of the town impact fee fund, which is covering the cost of the new concession stand being built at the football field, is also a possibility.
The new dugouts are necessary for safety reasons, he said â€“ from disturbances both climatological and parental.
â€śThereâ€™s no privacy in these dugouts for the coach to talk to a player. The first game we were able to use the varsity field last year, we had a situation where a parent got into it with a coach and the police had to be called,â€ť said Mahoney.
Another reason covered dugouts are needed, he said, is the baseball fieldsâ€™ location, about a quarter-mile from the school building.
By KENDRA LEIGH MILLER
Special to the Times
NORTH KINGSTOWNâ€”Itâ€™s been just over two decades since Joanne Sbrega first opened The Little Miracle Early Leaning preschool but after years of teaching and seeing more than 800 children come through the doors, her journey has officially ended.
The last field day and graduation at the pre-school, located at 860 Quidnessett Drive in North Kingstown, took place Friday morning with plenty of ice cream, huge blow-up bouncy toys and shared, fond memories.
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ If you enjoy seeing the 40-plus American flags flying in Wickford during this yearâ€™s Fourth of July celebration, you can thank Bill Pennoyer who started the tradition in 2004, aided by Updikeâ€™s Newtown Cub Scout Pack 1.
Bill, a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, is 68 and is passionate about Old Glory.