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.

02871, Localblogging

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.

02871, Localblogging, Landfill capping, landfill

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.

02871, Localblogging, Portsmouth Historical Society, Preserve Portsmouth, Portsmouth Community Theater

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.

02871, Localblogging, Landfill capping, landfill

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.

02871, Localblogging, Town of Portsmouth, Melville Campground

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.

02871, Localblogging

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.

02871, Localblogging, edtech, education

Nexperience brings VR to Warwick Mall

Nexperience pod at Warwick Mall.

Nexperience, a Rhode Island-based startup, has opened a demo booth at the Warwick Mall to showcase their software development chops for the Oculus Rift, a cutting-edge virtual reality headset. For $5, you can don the headset and headphones and spend about two minutes in an immersive VR world.

This reporter (and his excited 14-year-old assistant) stopped by on Saturday to try out their software, and both came away impressed. The demo on offer, called "Volcano Rush," features an intense virtual roller coaster whose corkscrews and inversions may leave you queasy if you have problems with the kind of discordant vestibular inputs that VR can trigger. Set in a craggy, mountainous prehistoric terrain with volcanic activity, it provides quite an interesting backdrop for the coaster.

The ride is extremely smooth, and this reporter was able to freely move his head in all directions with no noticeable latency. There are good levels of detail on most of the visible surfaces, nice textures throughout, and some really nice spark effects. The one dinosaur that makes an appearance could use a few more polygons, but that's a minor quibble.

The company has already gotten some ink in the ProJo and deserves some support. If you're in the Warwick area, why not stop by and check it out.

Nexperience web site

Localblogging, 02871, Info tech, Tech & culture

Dolen leaves Aquidneck Island Planning Commission

After ten years at the helm of Aquidneck Island’s regional planning commission, Tina Dolen has resigned as executive director to take another leadership position. At AIPC, Dolen spearheaded numerous regional projects that received state and federal recognition and acclaim, including the West Side Master Plan (2005) and the Aquidneck Island Multi-Modal Transportation Plan (2011). During her tenure, Dolen brought over $3 million to Portsmouth, Middletown and Newport for regional projects.

While serving AIPC and the three municipalities of Aquidneck Island, Dolen received four fellowships to Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, awarded by the Hassenfeld Family Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation.

In preparation for the release of surplus Navy property, she brought representatives from the Navy; the state of Rhode Island; and Portsmouth, Middletown, and Newport to a weeklong residency course at Harvard’s Kennedy School to build partnerships for municipal acquisition of 225 acres of surplus Navy property. Through the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Dolen helped acquire funding to support the municipalities through the planning and implementation phases. Final disposition of the former Navy properties has not yet been announced by the BRAC offices in Philadelphia.

“It was a pleasure to work with our local, state and federal leaders, AIPC’s generous funders and the many citizens who helped us develop projects to improve the quality of life on Aquidneck Island.” said Dolen. “Moving to Aquidneck Island in 2004 to assume the position of AIPC executive director was a wonderful decision. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Newport and the island.”

Ray Berberick, CEO of Small Business Solutions from Portsmouth and an AIPC Board member stated: “Tina’s work on the West Side Master Plan, the proposed bike path, and the transportation study demonstrate her commitment and her expertise,” commented Berberick. “She laid a road map for us with many exciting plans to make common sense improvements that will benefit all islanders.”

Gladys Lavine, of Middletown, serving her second term on the AIPC Board, said, "The AIPC will miss Tina as she moves on to new challenges. Tina’s been a vital spirit for the Commission. The bike trail, the island-wide traffic study, the initiation of the BRAC process and more are the results of her tireless efforts. Tina’s vision of what can be achieved when the three island communities work together will remain a guiding principle of AIPC."

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

02871, Localblogging, AIPC

Reps Canario and Edwards deliver education grant


Rep. Dennis Canario (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Little Compton, Tiverton), center, is joined by Rep. John G. Edwards (D-Dist. 70, Tiverton, Portsmouth), right, during presentation of a $2,000 legislative grant to the Tiverton Education Foundation. Accepting the check on behalf of the organization are, from left, Deborah Pallasch, Diane Saana and Linda Larsen. The Tiverton Education Foundation raises money through donations, grants and fundraisers to be used for unbudgeted or enrichment programs within the Tiverton schools to help stimulate students’ academic achievements and enrich their learning environment.

Editorial note: Written from a press release.

02871, Localblogging, GA