WMO features future weather forecasts in runup to Climate Summit

The World Meteorological Organization, to help build awareness of the local impacts of climate change, solicited fictional weather reports from the year 2050 from around the globe, and will be hosting the videos on their YouTube channel all month, according to a post on their web site. Here's the teaser:

The Climate Summit will take place at the United Nations on Sept. 23.

The weekend before, on Sunday, Sept. 21, several hundred thousand people are expected to participate in the People's Climate March in New York, calling on the world leaders attending the Summit to take action.

If you're interested in participating, buses will be running from Rhode Island to the event.

Portsmouth Dems share auction list for Clam Boil

clamboil14_thumb.jpgThe Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee hosts their annual Clam Boil next Sunday, and they've shared a list of the awesome auction bargains that will be available during the event. You can find out more and buy tickets online at portsmouthdemocrats.com.

Check out these awesome auction items that will be available.

15 Point Road restaurant, Portsmouth, $25 gift card 
Ace Hardware, Portsmouth, gift certificate, value $25 
Allen's Wine and Spirits, various items
Ann Carleton Cleaning, certificate for 2-hour general house cleaning, value $60
Anthony's Seafood, Middletown, $25 gift card
Aquidneck Pools and Spas, $25 gift certificate
Becky's Barbecue, Middletown, Dinner for Two, value $25
Blue Plate Diner, Middletown, $25 gift card (two available)
Car care basket, donated by a friend
Carlone’s Florist (to come)
Chase Deli & Pizza $25 gift card
Cindy's Country Cafe of Portsmouth, breakfast for two (two available)
Classic Pizza, Tiverton, gift certificate for large cheese pizza 
Domina's Agway, birdfeeder and birdseed, value $35
Deborah Winthrop Lingerie, $25 gift certificate 
Dunkin Donuts (to come)
Ferrera's package store, gift baskets 
Foodworks, $25 gift certificate
Framed pictures, donated by Val and Jim Seveney
Frosty Freeze, $5 gift certificate (two available) 
The Green Grocer, Portsmouth, Gift Bag of Natural Goodies 
Good Spirits, Middletown, Cinnamon Tequila, value $30
Green Vale Vineyards, Portsmouth, Skipping Stones Wine (one case as separate prizes)
Green Valley Country Club, Portsmouth, gift certificate for a foursome with carts, value $100
Hampton Inn & Suites, Providence, one night stay, donated by Michael Buddemeyer
High Point Salon and Spa, gift certificate for Spa Facial, value $75
Irving's Shoes, $10 gift certificate 
Island Books, Middletown, $40. gift card 
Island Garden Shop (to come)
Joe Matose, framed artwork,  value $30, and several pieces of unframed art
K-Cup Coffee Holder, value $30, donated by Marge Levesque and Rich Gottlieb
Kiwi Burst, $10 gift card 
Lacerda Farms, bag of potatoes (three available)
Leisure Limousine, $100 gift certificate
Leo's Ristorante, Bristol, $15 gift card (two available)
Margarita gift set, value $30, donated by Sylvia Wedge
Martino's Pizza, Portsmouth, $20 gift certificate
Mizu Japanese Cuisine, Middletown, $10 gift certificate (two available) 
Newport Athletic Club, one month free membership, value $100
Newport County Dinner Club, $25 membership book
Newport Grand Slots, $25 gift cards (four available)
Newport Playhouse, dinner and show for two
Newport Vineyards, Tour and Tasting for four
North End Pizzeria, $15 gift card 
Peak Fitness (to come)
Paradise Cleaning and Restoration, Middletown, gift certificate one any size area rug cleaning
Patriot Petroleum, $25 gas gift certificate (two available)
Portsmouth Publick House, $10 gift card (four available)
Quic-Kutz, Middletown $15 haircut certificate (two available)
Rose Perfect Nails, Middletown, manicure gift certificate, value $30
Sakonnet Grooming & Pet Wellness, $20 gift certificate
Scampi restaurant, $20 gift card (two available)
Schultzy’s Snack Shack, $20 gift certificate 
Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, Rhode Island State Flag (two available)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, autographed Tiffany plate
Stage Door Dance Studio, $25 gift certificate
Steve's Famous Pizza, $15 gift certificate
Stone Bridge Seafood, two 1.25-pound lobsters 
Stop & Shop, Middletown, $25 gift card (two available)
Supercuts, 15 haircut gift certificate (two available) 
Tennis Hall of Fame, two tickets to matches next summer with passes to museum
Therapeutic Massage (1/2 hour), Kay Kriger, Diane Myers, Beverly Peirson, value $40 (three available)
Travers Plumbing and Heating, one septic pump out, value $215; one service call, value $75
Vallari's Martial Arts, Middletown, two private lessons, 1 Month of classes, uniform, value $200 (two available)
Valley Inn, Portsmouth, $50.00 gift certificate 

Full disclosure: I am a member of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee.

Tiverton's Bistro 524 to close

14aug30_524.pngIn an e-mail sent to patrons last night, owner Karen DeLeo announced that the popular Tiverton restaurant Bistro 524 will be closing on September 20. The restaurant, which opened in 2012, was run by DeLeo and co-owner and chef, Steven Osman who passed away earlier this year.

In the e-mail, DeLeo describes a "difficult journey" that began with the passing of her partner Osman, and thanks everyone who supported the restaurant.

Our family has loved Bistro 524 from the first time we visited, especially our son, Jack, who firmly believes that they make the best Mac & Cheese in the world (on the menu, it's Lobster Mac & Cheese, but they always make it for him without the lobster.) I'm a big fan of their Lemon and Pea Risotto.

We'll certainly be stopping by for dinner a few times over the next weeks, and I hope some of our friends and neighbors will do the same. Our thoughts go out to Ms. DeLeo, the wonderful staff of Bistro 524, and the family and friends of Mr. Osman.

Consultant, neighbors respond to DEM on Portsmouth landfill extension

Response from APE.

Two weeks ago, the RI Dept. of Environmental Management responded to a request for a time extension by the company conducting capping operations at Portsmouth's former town dump, and yesterday they released two replies, one from the firm's environmental consultant, and the other from the so-called "Landfill Committee." Both letters address DEM's additional conditions for an extension, a commitment to an end date, and immediate action on final cover for areas already capped.

The consultant, Tim O'Connor & Company, responding on behalf of Arthur Palmer Enterprise, seeks to justify the extension and offers guarantees on timing. O'Connor reiterates their contention that a "lack of active construction projects" contributed to their ability to source fill material, and expands on their assertion about uncertainty of approvals from the CRMC to address additional areas discovered at the edge of the site. "Those series of events created a lack of predictability" which, they say, "hindered Mr. Peter's [the site manager] ability to negotiate with contractors."

"With these events now behind us," the letter continues, "APE and Mr. Peter are willing to commit that the project will complete accepting impacted soils above the residential Direct Exposure Criteria within the next twelve months. It may still be necessary to accept residential soils to finish the cap after that period."

Responding to the second request by DEM, for quick action on finishing and seeding the eastern, already capped part of the site, O'Connor says, "APE understands RIDEM's concerns and proposes to continue final capping activities along the residential boundary as a stipulation of RIDEM approving the final BUDA renewal. APE will complete these capping activities within six months of RIDEM's BUDA approval."

The response from the "Landfill Committee," signed by Debra Cardoza, is a four-page reiteration of previous complaints about the site, and is copied to the Town Council and state legislators. "We will strongly encourage the Council to use this opportunity to object to a further expansion of this project that was initially presented as a one year effort. It is long past time that this deposit of contaminated soils in Island Park comes to an end."

Read the consultant response and the letter from the Landfill Committee.

Portsmouth plans Heritage Day Sept. 20

Leonard Brown House, photo: Friends of the Brown House.

Portsmouth's first "Heritage Day" will be held Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Leonard Brown House in Glen Farm, and the organizers promise an afternoon of "telling stories of our past to guide our future" at this free, family event.

Three local groups — Preserve Portsmouth, the Portsmouth Historical Society, and
the Portsmouth Community Theatre — are collaborating on the event, which will be held from 1-3pm (The rain date is Sunday, September 21.) Here's what the organizers plan:

Discover Portsmouth’s agrarian roots in a beautiful historic family setting. Period games and activities hosted by Preserve Portsmouth will be offered for the little ones. Portsmouth Community Theatre actors will dress in period costumes and share stories of historical figures who lived and worked in the Glen area of Portsmouth. Members of the Portsmouth Historical Society will teach you how to “card wool” and wash with a washboard.

Those who attend the event will receive walking guides to Glen Farm and a driving tour of historical sites in Portsmouth.

The Leonard Brown House is located at historic Glen Farm, Linden Lane off Rt.138 (East Main Rd), Portsmouth RI.

For additional information, or to join the efforts, contact Gloria Schmidt at Schmidtgh@gmail.com phone 401-683-0787.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

Portsmouth Dems host annual Clam Boil September 7


Always a fun afternoon of delicious traditional food, great auction bargains, and time to meet local and state-wide politicians who'll be stopping by (just two days before the primary!) You can get tickets online at portsmouthdemocrats.com.

Full disclosure: I'm a member of the Portsmouth Democratic Town Committee.

DEM sets conditions for Portsmouth dump capping extension


The RI Dept. of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued new requirements for the company capping Portsmouth's former town dump, according to documents released by DEM this afternoon.

In a letter dated July 8, AP Enterprise, the firm engaged in the capping project, had requested RI DEM allow another one-year extension on the project back in July, citing delays in getting a CRMC approval and limited availability of suitable soil from construction projects. Similar arguments about the "weak economy" and lack of construction were featured in a similar request a year ago.

Today's response from DEM Principal Environmental Scientist Mark Dennen took a tougher line than the prior request, requiring a plan to address two major concerns before it will allow work to proceed. DEM said that while it recognizes the reasons AP Enterprise is struggling to complete the work, it notes

As these are not under the Department’s control, we are concerned that extending an approval based on economic factors will result in a BUD with no foreseeable conclusion and ultimately no closure. Our main concern is to minimize the impact to the surrounding neighborhood. To that end, the Department needs some assurance that work at the site will lead to a conclusion of capping activities in a reasonable time frame.

Additionally, DEM asks AP Enterprise to complete work on areas of the site which are already suitable for final covering operations.

[L]ocations in the eastern portion of the site that abut residential properties could be brought to final grade and loamed and seeded at any time. The Department believes that final capping activities should proceed as quickly as possible.

Read AP Enterprise's renewal request and DEM's response.

Portsmouth issues RFP to manage Melville Campground

Click to embiggen. Image: Town web site

The Town of Portsmouth, RI, has issued an RFP for vendors to manage their 153-acre, 123-site campground, located within the Melville Recreation Area, according to documents posted on the town web site. A pre-proposal meeting is set for September 10, and the deadline for bids is October 3.

As described in the Town's RFP, the Melville Pond Campground is located on the west side of Portsmouth, and features a nine-pond waterway, hardwood and pine forest, substantial marsh areas and hiking trails leading to the Narragansett Bay. Melville Campground currently is open Apri1 1 to November 1. The campground contains 123 sites, of which 32 have water, electric, and sewer hook ups for RVs, 34 have water and electric for RVs. Campground includes camp office and store, pavilion, and a single family home that will be available to vendor year round.

The Campground has yearly gross revenues of about $220k, according to Town documents, and has operated in the black in 4 out of the last 5 years. Among the key criteria identified in the RFP is "an Operations Plan that clearly demonstrates the proposer’s plan to provide services and maintain facilities including a capital plan."

Read the full RFP on the Town web site, PortsmouthRI.com.

Car show to benefit RI Endometriosis Foundation

Cruise Night 2014.jpg
Click to embiggen.

On Monday, August 18, 2014, please join A&W Restaurant and The Endometriosis Foundation of Rhode Island for the second annual “Cruise Night.” This car show aims to raise funds and awareness of endometriosis, which affects more than 5.5 million women in the United States.

The event starts at 5:30pm at A&W 460 Putnam Pike Greenville, RI. Entry is free, and cars will be judged and awarded. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. All funds donated are tax deductible and will benefit The Endometriosis Foundation of RI.

Details and more about the Endometriosis Foundation on Facebook at or email them at endofoundationri@gmail.com

The Endometriosis Foundation of RI is a 501c3 non-profit corporation.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

RIDE launches blended learning initiative

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and The Learning Accelerator (TLA), a nonprofit organization supporting the implementation of high-quality blended learning, today announced an ambitious initiative to make Rhode Island the first fully “blended-learning state” in the nation. Blended learning is the combination of traditional, face-­to-­face teaching with elements of personalized, online, competency­-based education that leads to improved student engagement and achievement.

“Through our laws and regulations on digital learning, our Innovation Powered by Technology Model School grants, and our Wireless Classroom Initiative, Rhode Island demonstrates our state’s unwavering commitment when it comes to using technology to advance teaching and learning,” said Rhode Island Board of Education Chair Eva-Marie Mancuso. “We are very grateful that The Learning Accelerator has recognized our commitment and will work with us to take digital learning to the next level in our state.”

“This partnership with The Learning Accelerator recognizes and furthers our commitment to basing instruction on the needs of every individual student,” added Deborah Gist, Rhode Island Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education. “Digital learning in all of its forms provides, literally, unlimited educational resources for every classroom, allows our schools to design flexible instruction schedules, and enables students and teachers to work closely together at a pace that is right for each student. With these funds, we will continue our commitment to innovation powered by technology.”

The partnership will initially engage in two major initiatives:

  • Development of a an integrated Five-Year Strategic Plan for Rhode Island that will position blended learning as an engine for system change, and
  • Creation of a communications campaign intended to fully accelerate blended learning throughout the state.

“States and state actors create conditions—beyond policy— that are critical to high-quality blended schools and innovation,” said Lisa Duty, Partner at The Learning Accelerator. “Together we are pursuing system-level changes and identifying the resources and critical shifts necessary to lay the foundation for more personalized, blended learning.”

Both TLA and RIDE agree that pursuing a student-centered vision of learning and transformative outcomes, with explicit goals in mind, is key. States will need to wrestle with the problems they’re trying to solve, and get clearer about operationalizing the relationship between blended learning — still in development — and their desired outcomes.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.