City Council & Mayor Talk Budget
The East Providence City Council began 2020 budget deliberations in a September 25th public budget workshop at City Hall. The council perused the proposed $166 million budget proposed by Mayor Bob DaSilva. “This budget represents our priorities and vision for the community. This budget has been crafted with much care over the past few months taking input from department and division heads, the school department and the community. My goal as mayor of this fine city is to make East Providence the first place you choose to live, work, educate and raise your families. As you read through the budget, you will see where our priorities lie and for me it is working to make East Providence number one,” wrote DaSilva in his opening budget message.
One issue which may complicate the budget process is the disclosure from the independent audit that the city has with held $6.5 million dollars from the school department in state reimbursement dollars over time. The city has been informed that these dollars are directly owed to the school system. While acknowledging that the money belongs to schools, Mayor DaSilva is reluctant to turn it over at once. Additionally DaSilva removed $950,000 from the school department proposed budget the school department planned for capital expenses to replace windows and security entrances at some schools and to replace a boiler at Kent Heights School. Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Crowley told the council that she wants build a security entrance at Riverside Middle School, similar to the barrier at Martin Middle.
"I am very concerned about the $950,000 cut which we just learned about,” Crowley told the council during the initial budget presentation in early September. Noting all of the recent improvements the district has made to schools infrastructure Crowley added that, "I am really concerned about what we can continue to do."
Ward 3 City Council member Nate Cahoon expressed an opinion that the $950,000 cut be reinstated to the school budget. "I've communicated that to the Mayor," Cahoon said. At large councilor Bob Rodericks indicated that he would like further clarification on the $6.5 million budget surplus. "I'd like to know what developed here and why this wasn't previously disclosed. I'd like to ask Paul Luba (state financial advisor) to address this before the council.
Council President Robert Britto has scheduled a series of public budget workshops with the council voting on a final budget by the end of October. "Once we conclude the workshops, we'll have public comments and everyone will have input," said Britto.
At the September 25th workshop the council while not formally voting on anything, did express an initial desire to cut some $124,000 after reviewing budget proposals from the Mayor's office, technology, City Clerk and its own City Council budget. The biggest area for spending reductions came from salary cuts to the Mayor's staff. That action was not received well by Mayor DaSilva. The council will peruse the budget proposals for departments of Law, Canvassing, Finance, Tax Collector and possible others at workshops on October 2nd, 9th, 10th, 16th and 23rd if needed.
"This budget delivers for our community a plan to pay for an amazing new high school and other city school improvements, greater access to the waterfront, an open for business mentality, investments in our parks and continued support of our city's services and people. I see a great future for this city and this budget will help to get us there. It's an honor serving you as your first mayor and I will continue to work hard on your behalf," concluded DaSilva in his opening statement.
E-Filing Comes to City Hall:
East Providence has joined the list of local communities which have added an electronic option for filing land record documents. East Providence has become the 6th municipality in Rhode Island to complete this project and go live. "East Providence is now fully equipped to e-Record for land record documents in the City Clerk's office. This is a method of delivering and returning documents between the submitter and the recorder. It allows Notaries to notarize real property electronic documents with electronic signatures," said City Clerk Samantha Burnett.
"This method was implemented to keep us in compliance with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UTEA) that was proposed by the Uniform Law Commission. It is also in alignment with the Rhode Island House Bill 7080/ Senate Bill 2145 that passed in July 2018 and effective as of July 2019. In essence, the UTEA makes it legal to e-Record," Burnett added.
According to the City Clerk the benefits of having e-Recording (besides being in compliance with state law) are:
- Higher efficiency - our clerks will begin to see less incoming mail and less counter transactions; the clerk's office will receive documents in real time. In many cases, this will speed the process up by at least 3-5 days for customers;
- Lower costs - no longer need to pay postage in returning documents;
- Increased accuracy in document tracking;
- Faster, more assured and accurate ACH revenue tracking - the city is set up through eRecording vendors for disbursements once they collect the accurate amount owed for recordings;
- Better document control, rejection and resolution process.
"You can e-record your documents online through Simplifile right now in City of East Providence," states a statement on the city web site. "Simplifile makes it easy to e-record all of your documents online. You don’t have to leave the office, use the mail, or stand in line – saving you time and money. If you have a PC, high-speed internet access, and a scanner, you have what you need to start e-recording in City of East Providence. Join thousands of title companies, banks, and attorneys that are already e-recording with https://simplifile.com/services/e-recording/e-recording-counties/e-recording-in-Rhode-Island/e-recording-in-City-of-East-Providence-Rhode-Island/
Burnett credited a process which involved legal, finance, IT and the mayor. "I would be remiss to not recognize everyone who helped with this, especially the work that Kevin Lewis, our Municipal Services Clerk for Land Evidence had in this process. Both him and Leah Stoddard, our Deputy Clerk, were absolutely instrumental with this process. Whether it was researching, numerous calls with vendors to ensure the roll out was seamless and advocating this process, there was much time and effort they invested. A thank you to both of them," she added.
"Simplifile’s service is free for all communities and recording jurisdictions, introducing no additional burden on county budgets or taxpayers. In fact, it actually saves your county money by greatly reducing the need for postage, ink, paper, and envelopes," said a statement from Simplifile on its website. The process claims to provide one service for all e-recording management; route documents between offices; automate document reception and return; configure to current ystems; provide for simple payments and detailed reporting; city will have full control over the recording process; reduce lines and increase office efficiency; avoid scanning, stamping, and return mailings and reduce costs and help communities go green.
Delays in East Bay Water Pipeline Repairs:
Bristol County Water Authority Director, Pam Marchand has stopped the just begun work on the East Bay water line repairs. A BCWA official discovered paperwork problems with mandated filings. The Biszko Compant may lose its contract to do the job it was awarded. A leak in the main feed that serves Barrington, Warren and Bristol caused East Providence to make an emergency connection with the BCWA. An emergency City Hall briefing was held in April in which the Mayor and BCWA Director, Pamela M. Marchand, addressed the community at large regarding the water leak which occurred in the main water supply for the East Bay system (Barrington, Warren, Bristol).
"On April 9th, the BCWA learned of water coming up in the parking lot in the Port of Providence. This supply line runs 160 feet under the Bay from the Port of Providence to Pawtucket Avenue in East Providence and then on to the East Bay communities. It is not a feed for East Providence," said a statement from Marchand at that time.
At a city council public hearing on April 24th, city council members were in agreement that "something has to be done, sooner rather than later," in the event the over 50 year old main water supply for East Providence were to fail. Both BCWA and East Providence get their water from Providence Water through separate cross-bay pipelines. Neither water system has a backup water supply as both are completely reliant upon Providence Water. The East Providence 32 inch steel water main, constructed in 1967, sits under the bottom of the Providence River. The BCWA 24 inch steel main, built in 1998 is encased in a tunnel just below the river bottom. It is that BCWA line that is currently leaking. There is a current 16 inch interconnection between the two systems which is insufficient to meet either system's water demand. It is not a transmission main.
After narrowing the problem the BCWA had hired the Biszko Company to repair the under bay pipeline. According to the BCWA, "the PVC pipe will be pulled through the length of the pipeline from East Providence to the Port of Providence. This will essentially create a “pipe within a pipe,” sealing off the two leaks (about 1/3 of the distance under the River) which were discovered at welded joints during a May inspection of the pipeline. The rest of the steel pipeline that was inspected appears to be in excellent condition."
Repair of the pipeline was expected to take 8 weeks, barring unexpected findings and inclement weather. "BCWA will remain connected to the East Providence supply during the repair. The estimated cost for the project is approximately $3.4 million, including a contingency for unexpected conditions," said the authority statement.
As the work began on September 23rd, it was abruptly ordered stopped by BCWA Director Marchand. Work had begun in Providence where the pipeline enters the bay and also in East Providence on the grounds of the Silver Spring golf course on Pawtucket Avenue. It is planned by the BCWA that work can continue soon on the project. BCWA will remain connected to the East Providence supply during the repair. East Providence officials are monitoring any local impact that may occur.
City Personnel Hearing Board Decision Tabled
A possible change in the city Personnel Hearing Board language was tabled after councilman at large Bob Rodericks withdrew the proposed changes. The City administration had requested that the hearing board remain intact but no longer be involved in the certification of applicant lists. It would have changed one of the powers of the personnel hearing board by shifting it to the HR director. The power was to certify promotional lists during the hiring process for employees. The Mayor and HR Director said this is being asked for "because we have recently lost potential employees because, while they went through the hiring process, the board did not meet to certify the hiring process."
Early in the process, HR Director Victor Santos told the city council that members would receive three letters of recommendation from current board members supporting the change. However, the council had not received any letters and did receive one letter from one member who recommended against the change. That board member asked her letter to be read into the record at a council meeting.
HR Director Santos wrote an email to City Clerk Samantha Burnett objecting to and questioning her authority to read the letter in public. Burnett was given the letter and asked to read it by Ward 4 Councilman Ricardo Mourato.
At the September 17th council meeting, the issue was scheduled for second passage. The council balked at approving the changes. Santos addressed the council and asked for approval. "I can't support this tonight. We were told we would get three letters of approval from the board (personnel)," said Rodericks. "We received none to this date, except one which was in opposition. Further, I am troubled that you would write to and chastise our city clerk. That's part of her job to read our correspondence when asked," said Rodericks. "She works for us."
"I didn't think I chastised her," responded Santos. The matter was tabled unanimously by the council.
City Announces Appointments & Retirements:
Mayor Bob DaSilva and the Police and Fire Departments have issued a series of press releases last month in which City administrators have either been hired or retired.
East Providence Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian Retires:
The Mayor's office announced the retirement of Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian. "Chief Elmasian retired from East Providence Fire Department after nearly 33 years at EPFD. In the interim, Glenn Quick has been appointed Acting Chief of the department until a thorough process to pick the chief’s successor is conducted. We thank Chief Elmasian for his years of dedication to the city of East Providence and wish him well on his retirement,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said.
“The residents of our community know that when they are in an emergency, the fire and police departments will be there to assist them with the highest professional standards,” DaSilva added.
Elmasian, who was appointed acting chief in 2012 by then East Providence City Manager Peter Graczykowski, was officially named fire chief in September 2013, a position he held until his
retirement in late September.
The former chief was responsible for 120 firefighters and EMS personnel within the four East Providence fire stations. In his capacity as chief, Elmasian oversaw a number of functions
including: directing senior officers to update the department’s standard operating guidelines for Marine 3, establishing the employee handbook and implementing a mentoring program for
newly hired firefighters.
Included in Elmasian’s list of accomplishments is his securing of a $215,000 fire-prevention grant to advance education initiatives and to procure new equipment. Elmasian held a number of certifications including Fire Instructor, RI State Fire Academy Instructor, RI EMT-C, NFPA 1001 (Firefighter Level I & II), 1021 (Fire Officer), 1041 (Fire Instructor), 1031 (Fire Inspector), 1033 (Fire Investigator I), 1521 (Incident Safety Officer) and IAAI (Fire Investigation Technician).
Elmasian has been a member of the Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs since 2014. He’s also a member of the International Association of Arson Investigators and National Fallen
Firefighters Foundation- Coordinator of RILAST.
Elmasian, an experienced drummer, also dedicated his time over the last 10 years as a member of the Rhode Island Professional Firefighters Pipe and Drum Band.
Prior to joining the East Providence Fire Department, Elmasian was a firefighter/EMT-I with the Barrington Fire Department and callman firefighter with the Seekonk Fire Department.
City Planning Director Retires:
The city announced that Diane M. Feather, A.I.C., acting director of the East Providence Planning Department has retired after serving as acting planning director for the city since 2017 and chief planner since 1990.
“It has been my privilege to serve the city and citizens of East Providence for over 29 years in the Planning Department,” Feather said. “I thank the knowledgeable, hard-working, professional staff of planners in the department, as well as the many colleagues in departments of the city who have been part of working for the future of the city.
“My very best to Mayor DaSilva and to all the volunteers who serve on the boards and commissions of the city as they continue the hard work. I can’t thank everyone enough for a wonderful and fulfilling 29 years. I look forward to spending more time in my long-time home and neighborhood in Riverside.”
As chief planner, Feather authored the plan that became the driving force for the creation of the East Providence Waterfront Special Development District.
“Diane Feather has been a huge advocate for this city,” Mayor DaSilva said. “She has been instrumental in overseeing the planning of numerous projects throughout the city from the rehabilitation of Rumford Chemical mill, now a vibrant, mixed-use development, to many recreation projects including a reflection garden and splash pad park. “We wish Diane a happy and healthy retirement,” DaSilva added.
During Feather’s time with the city she was able to bring $850,000 in Volkswagen settlement money to East Providence for the implementation of a storm water management plan for Sabin Point Park.
Feather is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Planners. She also served as president of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Planning Association (RIAPA) from 2006-2010.
"When she is not at City Hall, Feather can be found volunteering her time with many organizations including the East Providence Waterfront Special Development District Commission and the Design Review Subcommittee of the Waterfront Commission," added the City statement.
Mayor names former City Manager director of Planning and Economic Development Department:
The Mayor has named William J. Fazioli as the first director of the city’s newly formed Planning and Economic Development Department. Fazioli, who will oversee the new economic development and planning divisions, will be responsible for overseeing development opportunities and business growth in the city and identify opportunities to expand development for arts and culture within the city.
“I believe that Mr. Fazioli’s skills and experience both as the chairman of the East Providence Waterfront Commission and as a financial consultant to municipal governments will only boost the city in being the desirable community to live, work, educate and raise a family,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said.
As a member of the commission, Fazioli was tasked with transforming the district into a model of urban revitalization by championing the commission’s mission to redevelop 300 acres of vacant property.
Fazioli is no stranger to municipal government and bolstering economic development. The East Providence resident also served as city manager of East Providence from 2004-2006, where he successfully attracted a new operations center for a major bank, which added hundreds of jobs to the workforce.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to contribute to Mayor DaSilva’s vision to expand the city’s tax base and increase job opportunities for its residents,” William Fazioli said. “In a short period of time, the mayor, along with the steadfast efforts of the Planning Department under the direction of Diane Feather have created a strong pipeline of compelling projects that can transform East Providence.
“I plan to build on the city's strong assets including its waterfront, blossoming arts and culture community and strong fiscal condition,” Fazioli added.
Prior to joining the city in this new capacity, Fazioli was director at Public Financial Advisors PFM, a municipal advisory firm in Providence. Before that he was senior vice president at First Southwest (Hilltop Holdings), where he advised municipal and local government clients on fiscal management.
Fazioli earned a master’s degree in public administration from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs, University of New York at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Rhode Island College.
Fazioli has also dedicated years of civic service to a number of boards, associations and commissions including the Rhode Island College Alumni Association, the East Providence Charter Review Committee and the New England States Government Finance Officers Association.
Police Department Promotes Officer Cheri Almeida:
Officer Cheri Almeida was sworn in by Mayor Bob DaSilva to the rank of detective corporal of the East Providence Police Dept. on Friday, Sept. 21, 2019.
“Each day, in every municipality including East Providence, investigators are performing essential services that help promote positive change in their communities and there’s no doubt Det. Cpl. Almeida will do exactly that,” Mayor DaSilva said.
Almeida, who has been a member of the force for 18 years, was sworn in before her family, Chief William Nebus, Major Christopher Francesconi and her fellow School Resource Officers Tammy David and Doug Borden.
“After serving many years mentoring students as an SRO we are lucky to have Corporal Almeida return to headquarters to begin her next chapter as an investigator, Chief Nebus said. “The transition should be easy for Det. Almeida since she will start her new assignment in the Juvenile Division.”
Prior to being promoted to Det. Cpl., Almeida served as School Resource Officer, a member of the Patrol Division and member of the Community Policing Unit. Almeida served nine years as a SRO at Martin Middle School where she served as a liaison between the school and police department.
“We’ve been blessed the past nine years to work with SRO Cheri Almeida,” said the Martin Middle School administration. “Our team will miss her, but she is on to great things and she will always be a wildcat.”
Almeida, a member of the Juvenile Hearing Board, has a long history of working with juveniles both in the local schools and community at large. She has instructed and participated in mentorship programs, youth violence prevention programs, safety awareness programs and Kids and Cops camps.
Almeida has received many awards while employed by the EPPD including: the Exceptional Service award, two Honorable Service awards and three unit citations. In addition, Almeida is also an active shooter response training instructor.
Almeida, who studied education at Rhode Island College and Criminal Justice at the Community College of Rhode Island, served her country as a member of the Rhode Island National Guard (Military Police).
East Providence Fire Department promotes new Lieutenant:
The East Providence Fire Department has promoted a new lieutenant. Firefighter Joseph W. Burns was sworn in by Mayor Bob DaSilva to the rank of lieutenant of the East Providence Fire Dept. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
“The promotion to a leadership position is a natural transition for Joseph Burns who has exhibited decades of professional service to this community,” Mayor DaSilva said.
Lt. Burns, who has been with the East Providence Fire Department for the past 24 years, was a member of the 24th Training Academy and appointed to the EPFD in July 1995.
“Joe is a valued firefighter who will be a great leader and lieutenant,” Acting Chief Glenn Quick said. “He’s an even-keeled, by-the-book kind of guy. “He’s a family man and all around great guy who will lead with pride and professionalism,” Quick added.
Burns, an EMT-Cardiac, is also a member of the HazMat team and the Technical Rescue Team. Upon his promotion, Lt. Burns will be the officer of Engine 3, Group D.
Burns studied physical education at Rhode Island College and liberal arts at the Community College of Rhode Island.
Police Department has promoted Sgt. Jeffrey Mace to Sergeant:
Sgt. Mace, who is currently assigned to Rhode Island State Police’s Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children and Rhode Island Joint Cyber Task Force, will be assigned to the East Providence Police Dept.’s Patrol Division once he trains his replacement at RICAC.
“In just a short time as an officer, Jeffrey Mace has already accomplished so much both on the force and with outside agencies,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said. “The city is eager to see what this dedicated officer will do in the coming years in his leadership role of sergeant,” Mayor Bob DaSilva said.
“Sgt. Mace is a dedicated public servant with years of service with the City of East Providence and Rhode Island State Police task force and we are thrilled to promote him to sergeant,” Chief Nebus said.
Mace, a 16-year veteran of the East Providence Police Department, joined the department in 2003. Mace worked in the EPPD’s Patrol Division before being promoted to the Detective Division working in the Major Crimes and BCI Units.
Mace, who is a member of the East Providence Police Special Reaction Team (SRT), serves as a firearms instructor and a chemical/less lethal munitions instructor. In addition, Mace is a Glock and H&K Armorer.
In addition to his work in law enforcement, Mace also has extensive training from the Dept. of Justice and U.S. Secret Service in computer and mobile device forensics.
Mace, who has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University and a master’s degree in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security from Salve Regina University, is also an adjunct instructor at Salve Regina University where he teaches mobile forensics.
East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva has appointed Sarah K. Frew to the position of tax assessor.
Frew, who will work under the direction of the city’s finance director, will oversee the planning and directing of assessment programs including appraisal of real and personal property and
preparation of an assessment roll and tax toll. In addition, Frew will be responsible for the preparation and administration of the division’s budget and forecasts of tax revenue during city’s
budget process. Frew will also manage the Assessment Division staff including assistant assessors and clerical employees. “Ms. Frew, who has more than 17 years of experience in revaluation management and assessment experience, is returning to the city of East Providence’s Assessment Division after having worked 10 years in the division,” DaSilva said. “We are thrilled to have someone with her knowledge, experience and dedication back on the payroll.”
Prior to joining the city of East Providence, Frew was a tax assessor with the Town of North Smithfield where she developed tax rates that applied to all property classes, worked directly
with the finance director and town administrator on the town’s budget process and implemented policies and procedures for the department and staff.
From 2007-2017, Frew worked as an appraisal technician with the city of East Providence where she was responsible for processing and maintaining assessment records on Computerized Assisted Mass Appraisal System (CAMA) and tax administration software. During that time, Frew also assisted with the preparation of the motor vehicle excise tax roll and the analysis of data pertaining to valuation of personal property and real property. Before joining the city of East Providence the first time, Frew was an office manager and CAMA support technician with Northeast Revaluation, located in Warwick, RI. Frew is a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers. She earned her high school diplomat at Johnston High School.
East Providence Mayor Bob DaSilva appoints Laura Jones to Senior Services Director:
Jones, who will work under the direction of the city’s recreation director, will oversee all programs, services and activities pertaining to the East Providence Senior Center. Jones will also
be responsible for overseeing the Senior Center facility, managing the Senior Center staff and volunteers and coordinating the multiple Senior Center programs.
“Ms. Jones, who has more than 15 years in human services roles, has extensive knowledge and experience in several health and human services areas,” DaSilva said. “She has big shoes to fill, but as I’ve said in the past, strong leaders require strong successors and I am confident that Ms. Jones has what it takes to advance the center.” Robert E. “Bob” Rock, current senior center director, will remain in his current role during the transition.
Prior to joining the city of East Providence, Jones held a number of positions with the Rhode Island Parent Information Network Inc. (RIPIN), where some of her key functions included providing oversight on programs on everything from funding and grant writing to training and skill building.
Jones was director of Health Initiatives at RIPIN from 2015 until just recently when she left her post at RIPIN to join the city of East Providence. Prior to being named director, Jones held several other titles including director of health and human services programs, resource specialist for the Office of Special Health Care Needs and medical home program supervisor for the Pediatric Practice Enhancement Project.
Jones is a member of many organizations including the Family Voices Leadership Team, Community Health Workers of Rhode Island Steering Committee and Chronic Disease Stakeholder Team, to name a few. Jones earned her Bachelor of Sciences in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island and has additional training as a certified community health worker.
Police make DUI arrest, four children found in car:
On Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019, Sgt. Michael Rapoza observed a vehicle travelling west in the eastbound lane on Warren Avenue, in the vicinity of Brightridge Avenue. Sgt. Rapoza immediately attempted to stop the vehicle, but it continued travelling at a reduced rate of speed, eventually coming to a stop. Upon approaching the vehicle, Sgt. Rapoza observed four children ages 10 and under, inside the vehicle. The operator of the vehicle was identified as Lester Morgan, 59 of Norwich, Conn.
Mr. Morgan was unable to answer basic questions and displayed signs of significant impairment. Based on these observations, officers conducted a series of field sobriety tests. After the conclusion of the tests, Morgan was placed in custody and a subsequent search of his vehicle and person was conducted.
Officers located the following:
- Approximately 1 gram of suspected cocaine
- One 15 mg OxyContin tablet
- Approximately 5 grams of marijuana
- Empty bottle of whiskey
Mr. Morgan is charged with the following:
- DUI B.A.C Unknown (Child Under 13 as Passenger)
- Possession of Schedule I-V (Cocaine)
- Possession of Schedule I-V (OxyContin)
- Driving in Possession of Controlled Substances
- Refusal to Submit to Preliminary Breath Test
- Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test
- Possession of Marijuana
The children’s parents and guardians were located. It was determined that none of the children were related to Mr. Morgan and he was a family friend that was driving them home from an event. The children were transported to the police station and were reunited with their proper caregivers.
500 KW Generator Brought in to Supply Harbor View Manor
The 9-story Harbor View Housing complex in Riverside, RI, lost all of its power on Friday, August 30th around 1 pm. An emergency generator provided power to the common areas, hallways and the elevators but not to individual rooms. City officials were contacted late Friday by Ward 4 Democratic Chairman Frank DeVall with initial reports of a building power outage. DeVall reported that the complex had no electricity, no air conditioning for the mostly elderly residents but the elevators were working.
Mayor Bob DaSilva investigated and reported back to the City Council, DeVall and others. "The Harbor View Manor is experiencing an electrical problem. Residents are without power and those residents using landlines may not have working phones. The emergency generator is powering the elevators, hallways and common areas. The Housing Authority is aware of the problem and will need to connect a generator to power the apartments. The work to connect the generator will start some time tomorrow (Saturday)," DaSilva told all 5 City Council members. A 500 KW generator is needed.
Ward 2 councilwoman Anna Sousa, a Registered Nurse, asked about "residents who have medical equipment that needs to be hooked up to electricity. What can we do in the interim?" asked Sousa. "Staff is going door to door, the hallways and elevators have electricity and the fire department has responded to assess the situation," DaSilva replied. DaSilva told the council that a repair company, Amity Electric, will "have to replace the entire service from the transformer to the building. It's a major project."
National Grid was called but determined that the problem was not with their equipment and couldn't help until local repairs are made. Amity Electric of Wyoming, RI responded. "Upon arrival it was discovered that the underground feeder from the transformer to the building main service had detonated underground," company spokesperson Jeff Vaillancourt told Mayor DaSilva. The equipment and wiring involved is owned by the City and not National Grid.
"Does this (accident) happen often," DaSilva asked Vaillancourt. "Yes, it was basically a short circuit, wires detonated after time. This wiring method is probably over 50 years old," added Vaillancourt. "It happens, this will be the third one that we've done in New England this summer," he said.
East Providence Housing Authority Chairman Dick Smith was also on the scene. "It's a tough job and luckily everything fell into place on a holiday weekend. Our main concern is the safety of the residents," said Smith. "At least there is full power to the building for now," said Smith.
The company will supply a temporary power generator in the interim as they come back to permanently fix the problem. The problem has continued through September 26th as Amity Electric struggles to fix the problem.
Harbor View Manor, constructed in 1966, consists of 131 units in its 9 story structure. There are 25 efficiency units, 97 one bedroom units and 9 two bedroom units. It is serviced by two elevators and two stairways. A community room provides access to tenant organized activities such as bingo, and craft classes. There is a kitchen on site, where lunch, provided by the Ocean State Senior Dining Program, is served during the week. The building sits just behind the East Bay Bike Path and in close walking distance to Riverside Square's Pizza and Ice Cream shops, auto repair, a bus line, the Bike Path, and other small businesses. The City is currently in the beginning of a new Riverside Square revitalization effort.
Ward 4 councilman Ricardo Mourato and at large councilman Bob Rodericks held a residents informational meeting in which company officials and housing authority members also were present. Residents voiced their concerns and were satisfied with the response to the power outage, although admitting to anxiety that the fix would be soon. The federal housing authority is responsible for the complex, not the city of East Providence directly. All repair costs will be covered by the authority and not the city budget.
The massive generator shut down unexpectedly on Sunday September 22nd but was quickly repaired and restarted. Company officials are promising a resolution to the matter very soon, possibly as of this writing.
EP Firefighters Hold Annual Freaky 5K Road Race:
The East Providence Firefighters Local 850 will be holding their 13th annual Freaky 5K road race on Sunday October 20th at 10 AM. The race will take place at the Rumford Station 30 North Broadway. This race is designed for runners and walkers of all skill levels and all ages. Tasteful costumes are encouraged. If you are selected best costume, you will be featured on our t-shirt in 2020. Race day activities include medals, music, food (Including Firehouse Chili and Avenue N pulled pork), and fun! Web site is epfdfreaky5k.com<http://www.epfdfreaky5k.com> to pre-register.
Senator Valerie Lawson Complaint is Dismissed:
The Rhode Island Ethics Commission has dismissed a state Republican Party complaint against East Providence State Senator Val Lawson, District 14. Lawson voted to support a bill which kept teacher contracts status quo until a new agreement is agreed upon. The commission ruled that Lawson was within her right to cast the vote.
The republicans felt that Lawson's union leadership position meant that she shouldn't vote on that or other education issues. Lawson had asked for an advisory ruling before her vote. “I am grateful to the members and staff of the Commission for being available to us in the Senate when we have questions. I carefully followed the guidance of the Senate’s attorney and the Ethics Commission staff on this matter, and I will always abide by their recommendations. I am happy to put this matter behind me. I am honored to represent the residents of East Providence, and will continue to advocate fiercely on their behalf,” replied Lawson after receiving the ruling.
Bay View honors Mercy Day with alumna guest speaker Cindy E. Burke, Esq. '02 panel focused on immagration and refugees
On Tuesday, September 24, the St. Mary Academy – Bay View community came together to celebrate Mercy Day - the annual celebration of the first House of Mercy’s opening, in Dublin, Ireland, in 1827. Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, devoted her life to the poor, sick and uneducated, and on this day every year, Bay View honors her legacy of caring and compassion. Bay View students are excused from classes for the day in order to come together around a select topic related to one of the Sisters of Mercy’s five critical concerns - Immigration, the Earth, Racism, Women and Nonviolence. This year the theme was Mercy Cries Out for the Refugee.
“The Sisters of Mercy’s commitment to immigrants comes out of our deep belief in the dignity of each human person created by God and out of more than 150 years of ministering to and with immigrants in schools, hospitals, parishes and social service centers,” reads the Sisters of Mercy web page on immigration. “With our presence throughout Latin America, we witness firsthand the deepening poverty and violence that force families to flee their homes in search of economic and physical security.”
The day began with a liturgy focused on immigration, with guest presider Rev. David A. Costa, from St. Thomas Moore Parish, in Somerset, Massachusetts. The liturgy was followed by an educational component related to the theme. Middle and Upper School students attended a talk with guest speaker, Cindy E. Burke, Esq. ’02, an immigration, international and family lawyer, and a follow-up panel discussion with four members of a family from Honduras seeking asylum in the U.S. and two members of the Burke Law Group, who accompanied and assisted Ms. Burke with her work at the Texas border.
“Coming back to Bay View made me look at my short life and realize how I have come full circle, all because of the education and support I received from Bay View in my teen years,” said Ms. Burke. “I feel so proud to be an alumna, so proud of the educational experience the girls get here, and I am eternally grateful to the adults who shaped me today.”
Lower School students participated in activities focused on diversity and cultural awareness, including plans for a diversity bulletin board, a sing-along and select readings from a curated collection in the Lower School library. The day concluded for the Lower School with a celebration of diversity through traditional dress, with students donning attire from their cultural and ethnic backgrounds in a showcase for their peers.