John McDaid's blog

Portsmouth Water district to flush mains next week

The Portsmouth Water District will be flushing water mains from 8pm to 4am next week, according to this schedule sent to local media today:

Oct 6 Willow Lane and Sprague Street., Bristol Ferry Road to Camara Drive and Mitchell Road, and side streets.

Oct 7 Bristol Ferry Road from Cherokee Drive to Bayview Avenue, Boyds Lane to East Main Road and side streets. East Main Road from Sprague Street and Child Street to Boyds Lane and side streets, including Viking Drive area.

Oct 8 Island Park and Hummocks Point areas.

Oct 13 Sprague Street to Freeborn Street, Turnpike Avenue and side streets; West Main Road from Statue Way to Sprague Street and side streets.

Oct 14 East Main Road from Child Street to Clements and Aquidneck Place and side streets to Sakonnet River. Also Common Fence Point.

Oct 15 Common Fence Point.

PWFD notes that "Discoloration of the water is expected during and after the flushing. Flushing in one area may create discolored water in other areas. Customers are advised to avoid washing clothes and those with hot water tanks are advised to avoid drawing hot water during the flushing hours and until any discoloration has cleared. It is expected that the water will clear by midday after the flushing. Customers may also experience low water pressure during the flushing."

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

02871, Localblogging, pwfd

Portsmouth landfill capping project enters final covering phase

The Portsmouth landfill capping project is now officially closed to any soil not meeting residential standards, according to a letter sent from RI DEM to Arthur Palmer Enterprise (APE) and released to the media this afternoon. According to the terms set forth by DEM in their original approval of the project, the only work allowed on the site now is the grading and shaping of the final cap which must be completed within the next year.

Here's what RI DEM Principal Scientist Mark Dennen said in his cover note:

The following letter was sent on Monday to APE as confirmation that the Beneficial Use Determination, allowing the site to accept alternate soils meeting industrial/commercial standards has expired. As per the original approval, the remaining cover soils at the site will need to meet residential standards. Site closure is required within 1 year.

You can download the DEM letter here.

02871, Localblogging, landfill, Landfill capping

Reading tomorrow night with ARIA authors in Cranston

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 9.29.38 AM.pngTomorrow night, three local science fiction writers will be reading at the Elephant Room in Cranston, and I'll be one of the folks on the program. The event is part of the monthly "Lively Literati" reading series, sponsored by the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA).

The event will feature readings by Tabitha Lord, K.H. Vaughn and yours truly, and will run from 6:30-8:30pm at the Elephant room, 2170 Broad St., Cranston. Maps and contact info on the Elephant Room web site.

If you're in the neighborhood, hope you'll consider dropping on by.

02871, Localblogging, sf

PBA hosts 5K run to benefit PHS scholarship fund

pba_run.pngThe Portsmouth Business Association is hosting a "Summer’s End" 5K Run/Walk on September 26 to benefit the PHS Scholarship fund.

PBA is hosting their 3rd annual 5K run/walk on Saturday, September 26th in Common Fence Point. It's a flat course with scenic water views. Leashed pets and baby strollers are welcome!

The race begins and ends at the Common Fence Point Community Center. (Directions)

Sign up online. $20.00 entry fee until Sept 24th. $25 on day of race. First 100 entrants receive a premium Spor-Tek running shirt.

All proceeds go to the Portsmouth High School Scholarship Fund
Each year, the PBA awards $1,000 scholarships to two exceptional Portsmouth High School students.

Contact John C. Farley at

Editorial note: Written from a PBA press release.

02871, Localblogging, PBA

PHS top school in Rhode Island blood donations

Portsmouth High School students donated the most blood this year of any school in the state, according to an e-mail sent to parents today by principal Bob Littlefield. Littlefield thanked all those who contributed, complimented PHS donors on their "mature, courteous, and respectful" work with the RI Blood Center. From Littlefield's note:

Not only did we have the most units of blood donated in relation to the size of our student body, but we generated more units than any other school.

The effort started back in July of 2014 with our summer drive and ended with our last drive of the year in May.

Throughout the year Portsmouth Patriots have given of themselves to help others. Hopefully, they learn to make regular blood donation a part of their every day lives for many years to come.

Equally important, though, is the praise we receive regularly from the staff at the RI Blood Center on how mature, courteous, and respectful our students are. And this praise comes from professionals who work in schools throughout Rhode Island. Our blood drives are organized, quiet, and make little disruption to the school day. This is a great example of Patriot PRIDE.

Editorial note: Written from a PHS group email.

02871, Localblogging, PHS

Busking at Bowen's Wharf on Monday, July 27


Click to embiggen. Image courtesy of Newport BridgeFest

Monday night from 6-8pm I'll be busking on Bowen's Wharf as part of the Newport BridgeFest, the week-long celebration of local musicians that "bridges" the Folk and Jazz Festivals. More than 50 local musicians will be playing at nine venues around Newport next week — you can get the schedule and full details at Hope you can drop on by!

02871, Localblogging, Music

Rep. Edwards tax relief bill for property development becomes law

edwards.jpgGov. Gina Raimondo has signed legislation introduced by House Majority Whip Jay Edwards (D-70 Portsmouth) that creates an exemption from taxation for certain residential property developments that are being built on speculation, according to a state house news release.

“This legislation will encourage economic activity in the construction industry,” said Rep. Edwards. “The economy is starting to turn around, the state’s unemployment rate has dipped below 6 percent, and that’s certainly good news; but things are still lagging in the construction industry, especially in the building of new homes. We’re not seeing the type of construction activity we associate with summer. This bill will be just the shot in the arm the construction industry needs to encourage growth.”

Under the legislation (H5044), new construction on development property would be exempt from the assessment of taxes as long as the owner files an affidavit claiming the exemption with the local tax assessor at the start of the project. The assessor would then determine if the property on which the new construction is located is development property. If the real property is development property, the assessor would exempt the new construction from the collection of taxes on improvements, until such time as the real property no longer qualifies as development property.

“Rhode Island has an inventory of old homes, many of them expensive and not energy efficient,” said Rep. Edwards. “And few market rate middle class homes are available or being built, compared to luxury or subsidized units. With the many fees already assessed to the building industry — impact fees, permit fees, review fees — it is no wonder that construction companies are disinclined to build homes on speculation or undertake rehab projects that are going to be a financial burden in the way of real property taxes until the properties can be sold.”

The law defines development property as “real property on which a single family residential dwelling or residential condominium is situated and said single family residential dwelling or residential condominium unit is not occupied, has never been occupied, is not under contract, and is on the market for sale.” It also includes improvements and/or rehabilitation of unoccupied single family residential dwellings or residential condominiums which the owner purchased out of a foreclosure sale, auction, or from a bank.

The legislation received the support of the Rhode Island Builders Association. In testimony presented to the House Committee on Municipal Government when the bill was heard, the RIBA cited an industry study, showing that a healthy construction industry would create $404 million in addition income for Rhode Island households, would generate $60.2 million in additional tax revenue for the state, could create more than 9,000 new jobs (thereby reducing the unemployment rate by two percent).

Editorial note: Written from a state house news release.

02871, Localblogging, GA

Local legislators score well on "Freedom Index" (i.e., they mostly fail)

The "nonpartisan" RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity has released their 2015 ranking of Rhode Island legislators, their self-styled "2015 Freedom Index," according to an e-mail sent to followers this morning, and the good news for Portsmouth is that most of our reps are solidly on their naughty list, coming in with sub-zero scores.

Portsmouth state reps Ray Gallison (D-69), Jay Edwards (D-70), and Dennis Canario (D-71) all came in at a -7, tied with such progressive stalwarts as Teresa Tanzi and Art Handy. Portsmouth's Republican senator, Chris Ottiano (R-11), scored an awesome -15, just a point above the "worst" score for that chamber (which was bagged by our neighbor to the south, Lou DiPalma (D-12). (Yay, Senators!)

Oh, btw, SoPo Republican Dan Reilly (R-72) was the only local who cracked positive territory with a "1" rating, which almost put him in their top 10 with folks like Mike Chippendale and Doreen Costa. Maybe next year, Dan.

As you might have noticed, I use any pronouncements from the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity like spit in an avalanche: Whatever direction they go, I head the other way.

P.S. Is it just me, or does their logo look like a shark fin? Appropriate.

02871, Localblogging, RI center for freedom and prosperity

Portsmouth Water District incumbents re-elected comfortably

The results for yesterday's election for the Portsmouth Water and Fire District offered no surprises, as the incumbents (and sole declared candidates) for each position were all elected by near-unanimous margins, according to tallies provided to the media.

For the two open positions for Tax Assessor, Ted Czech received 64 votes and Michael Nott 54. For Tax Collector, Fred Faerber received 55 votes (with 1 write in) and Treasurer Allen Shers was returned to office with 63 votes (also 1 write in.)

A total of 69 votes were cast in an election where there were 12,779 eligible voters, for a turnout of 0.54%.

Congratulations to our re-elected officials, and thanks to everyone who took time to vote!

02871, Localblogging, pwfd