Monday, June 29, 2009

George Sisson, Bristol treasure, dies Sunday June 28 at age 89

George Sisson died in Bristol at St. Elizabeth's nursing home Sunday, June 28. George was a unique individual and usually greeted people with a question on a topic he thought you knew more about than he did (which was not always the case). We will miss his gentle soul, his insatiable curiosity and also his tenacity in getting thing done in all things he believed in. Among many projects, he was involved in saving Coggeshall Farm, the creation of the bike path to Providence, saving Linden Place and the Bristol Statehouse. Please leave a comment and tell us your experiences with George. Below is the Providence Journal obits written today. Another tribute/obits will come out in Monday's Pro Jo July 6, 2009.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Fishing Tax: Is it 'bureaucratic bovine scatology'?

This is a thoughtful letter written by Bristolian, Mike Byrnes, to the editor of the Bristol Phoenix. To date, it has not been published. It is addressed to all Salt Water Fisherman in RI.

The June 11, 2009 Bristol Phoenix contained an editorial on an issue that every Rhode Island fisherman should note with great concern. The editorial “Here comes the tautog tax” outlined the impact House Bill-6226 that is presently making its way through the legislative process. The Phoenix editorial makes a strong case that this bill adds yet another unnecessary tax, is a nuisance in that it requires the registration and a license to fish in our bays and harbors. For more than 300 years Rhode Islanders have been able to go to the shore or take a boat into the bay and seek their luck without government interference and the payment of a tax. We should all ask why the federal government is pushing coastal states to enact legislation that will force salt water fishermen to get an annual license. The rationale in the House Bill is that registering salt water fishermen will allow the National Marine Fisheries Service and DEM to better assess recreational catch numbers for effective stock assessment. But recreational fishermen catch only about three percent of the total catch – a statistically insignificant number. And in a dubious assumption the bill expects that salt water fishermen will accurately report their catch numbers. As we all know fishermen tend to be more enthusiastic than accurate. The House Bill maintains that this will be “a convenient and inexpensive licensing process”, but it does not explain how this program will be implemented beyond some reference to a web based application. Nor does it explain at the starting cost of $7 per license how much revenue will be generated. Furthermore, it does not address how the revenues will be used to: “support better fishing assessments”; “improved and expanded opportunities for the public to access the marine waters of the state”, and “effective management programs that optimize benefits and opportunities for Rhode Island recreational fishermen”. Pardon me, but in plain language this qualifies as bureaucratic bovine scatology! The Phoenix editorial was more kind and termed this “tortured rationale”. Both terms fit quite well. Additionally, this $7 tax will also pay for: “administering and enforcing ($100 fines); a “state-approved vendor to develop and administer a web based service”; “authorized licensing agents”; and “collection and transmittal of license fee revenues”. Those who fish in Mt Hope Bay will have to get two licenses as schooling bass and blues do not respect state boundaries. Make no mistake, government regulation of fisheries is important and recreational fishermen by and large abide by these limits, but this federal and state law is nothing but an unnecessary imposition on the liberty of Rhode Islanders. I will have to see if the “Independent Man” still graces the dome of our state house.

Michael T. Byrnes
244 Metacom Ave

Bristol's Alteris Renewables (formerly SolarWrights) installs wind turbine funded in large part by students in North Carolina

Local renewable energy company works with students to install wind turbine in Boone, North Carolina.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Newly formed East Bay Wind Consortium receives $140,000 in grant money

Walter Burke, Diane Williamson, Diane Mederos and Ken Marshall announced at Wednesday's Town Council meeting that the newly formed East Bay Energy Consortium has received $140,000 in grant money from the RI EDC through the Renewable Energy Fund to create a feasibility study for wind turbines in the East Bay region for multiple sites involving many towns in our region. The Rhode Island Foundation funded $40K of this money. The attached PBN article notes this as well as the other groups that received grants.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some New Good Food

• As noted a while back, there is a new food business on Thames Street where Northwind Sports used to be next to A Jour Jewelry called Organically Good. They have finally opened (last Monday) and have gourmet sandwiches, organic salads, smoothies, condiments and yacht provisions. The sandwiches and salads are made from organic produce from Wishing Stone Farm in Little Compton. They will also be selling organic breads (whole wheat, rye and white) made by Bristol Bakery. The business was founded by best friends, Travis Dewire and Victor Melfa, both Babson College 2008 grads who studied "entrepreneurship". Open for lunch only. Telephone: 401 253 0300. They are currently offering a promotional discount: Buy one salad or sandwich and get another one half off. 

• Jennifer Cavallero at The Beehive Cafe on Franklin Street has overhauled the menu there with new chef Eli. They are open for breakfast, lunch and tea time and note that they are "not quite a restaurant, but almost one". Just listen to some of the new items on the menu and it changes frequently:
Potato Flatbread Sandwich baked in the oven with roasted vegetables, homemade tomato sauce, goats cheese and mozzarella. (I want that one!)
Roasted Mushroom Sandwich with greens, pesto, tomato and goat cheese

Indian "Butter Chicken" sandwich with greens and curried carrots

Roasted Cod Sandwich (Friday-Sunday only)

French Toast of the Day (They also just added Pancakes!)

Queen Bee Chocolate Cake, Lemon Squares, Shortbreads

Espresso drinks, organic teas, and  smoothies

Hours: 6:30 am - 6 pm weekdays; 7:30 am - 6 pm weekends
Telephone: 401 396 9994 (They also cater small functions.)

Bristol Charter Review Commission appointments are made.

At last nights Town Council meeting, nine of fourteen people were chosen to make up Bristol's Charter Review Commission. They are: William Rizzini, Barbara Healy, John Francis IV, Tony Teixeira, Ed Correia, Joe Parella, Mike DeMello, Fausto Anguilla and Gerald Walsh. Congratulations to all. It is hoped that the people who were not chosen may be brought in and heard as consultants in various areas of expertise after the group has formed. However, the Town Solicitor made it clear that the current charter reads that "no more than nine" people may be on this commission eliminating the option for "alternates". The meetings will be posted and open to the public.

Are your trees defoliating?

There is a new pest defoliating local trees - especially maples, cherries, and blueberry bushes called "winter moth".
The caterpillar was first noticed on Cape Cod in MA in 2003 and in Rhode Island in 2005.  Coggeshall Farm has plenty. Ditto Juniper Hill Cemetery. The best way to treat the disease is with a parasitic predator wasp that kills the moth after being eaten by it from the inside out. Apparently Cape Cod has used this method with success but it takes a long time (years) to work. Spraying with a pesticide is another method although drifting spray is a real problem and is also toxic to bees. The moths can be seen flying between Thanksgiving and Christmas and are attracted to light. They were thick on the road to Coggeshall Farm last winter. Apparently the moth can kill a tree if they successfully defoliate it two years in a row.  Sam ("trees - r - us") Kinder, Bristol Tree Warden and Kinder Tree Company president is investigating the best way to approach the problem locally. He is joined by his associate and scientist Clem De Jardin. If you have questions please call Sam or Clem at Kinder Tree Company on Hope Street in Bristol at 253 7700. Post a comment to let us know how you made out. Thank you Halsey Herreshoff for bringing this problem to the attention of the Town Council.

Spartina to be planted on Silver Creek mud flats

Walter Burke, Director of Bristol Parks and Recreation, reports that after the Bristol fourth of July celebration, a team of Eagle Scouts will be working in tandem with biologist Wenley Ferguson from Save the Bay to plant spartina sea grass on the sinking mud flat in Silver Creek opposite Sip 'n Dip. (Seen in photo above in front of Guiteras School) Geese and swans have totally destroyed this unique estuarian habitat pulling up and eating the native grasses that used to cover the island. After planting, the team will discourage geese and swans from returning by running transparent monofilament line from stakes in a grid pattern. This will allow smaller shore birds and ducks to use the island (under the monofilament) as a natural healthy habitat and hopefully -  if it works -  keep the geese and swans away.

Blogger note: The spartina shoots were planted yesterday Wednesday, July 8 by eagle scouts and a crew from Save the Bay. Word has it that this was the eagle scout project of Anthony Marshall. Ken and Christine Marshall's son. Great job. Thank you.

Rep. Ray Gallison holds his own and gets apology from FERC chair

Representative Ray Gallison (above) holds his own, risks being arrested and receives an apology from FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) Chair over being barred from an LNG meeting for refusing to sign a non-disclosure statement that would prevent him from speaking out against LNG. 

On another subject, we hear that Rep. Ray Gallison was able to secure a Bristol Warren Regional School bonus of $800,000 (for regionalizing) that the General Assembly on Smith Hill in Providence was ready to cut from the budget. Thank you Ray Gallison for keeping a tight look out for Bristol!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Power of Standing Still

This past weekend this poem was recited as part of a toast at my best friends second wedding in Maine.
It was written by Robert Frost on the occasion of his daughter's engagement.

The Master Speed
by Robert Frost

No speed of wind or water rushing by
But you have a speed far greater. You can climb
Back up a stream of radiance to the sky,
And back through history up the stream of time.
And you were given this swiftness, not for haste
Nor chiefly that you may go where you will.
But in the rush of everything to waste,
That you may have the power of standing still—
Off any still or moving thing you say.
Two such as you with a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sir Ken Robinson video talks

Below are two video links: One to RISD's 2009 commencement address by Sir Ken Robinson (on right with Senator Reed in photo above). It's funny and inspiring. About 30 minutes long. The second link is a talk he gave at a TED Conference in 2006 on how as we grow older we grow less creative. The TED talk is about 15 minutes. He is the recent author of a best selling book titled:
The Element: How finding your passion changes everything

Greyhound Racing Injury Records Revealed. Banning greyhound racing in RI is a good idea.

For the first time ever,  a Massachusetts greyhound advocacy group ( has been able to locate official greyhound racing injury records from the state of Arizona for the year 2008. According to reports provided by the Department of Racing, more than five hundred greyhound injuries were reported. These injuries include dogs that suffered broken legs, broken backs, dislocations, amputations, paralysis and eventual euthanasia. It would be interesting to compare these statistics with the ones from the state of Rhode Island but securing RI records to date has not been possible. The greyhound industry in RI is very enmeshed in the slot machine business. (The dog people get a percentage cut.) Never is a negative word spoken about dog racing by the adoption group at Lincoln/ Twin River because of their association with the track. This is not the case in other states with greyhound racing. If you can bear it, go to this link to read a list of 17 pages of injury statistics:

Attached is a link to a recent article (6.23.09) from PBN on shutting down greyhound racing in the state of RI.

Below is a sample letter to the Providence Journal in support of closing down RI greyhound racing at Twin River written 6.23.09

Pro Jo article: June 27, 2009
House Votes to Require Greyhound Racing at Twin Ruver

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rockwell School evacuated Thursday, June 18 due to toxic odor from pesticide spray

Reported from NBC News Ch 10 in Providence,RI

Rockwell School was evacuated around 1 pm today due to a Gibson Road neighbor who was spraying pesticides nearby.

Published: June 18, 2009

BRISTOL, R.I.—Ten people were sent to a hospital Thursday when they were sickened by an odor that the wind blew into a Bristol school.

The Rockwell School on Hope Street was evacuated at about 1 p.m. Officials said eight students and two staffers were treated.

Officials said the odor came from a neighbor who was spraying trees with a pesticide.

The building was aired out and people were allowed back in.

Officials said there is no lingering danger from the fumes. The smell came from a common pesticide available in stores.

Blog note: This should come as a wake up call to everyone using pesticides in densely settled residential neighborhoods especially in windy Bristol. Great care should always be used especially near young people who are more suceptible to the adverse effects of these toxins. "Common pesticides" sold in most hardware stores does not make them any less lethal. Please use with great care and dispose of responsibly.

New iPhone to be released tomorrow Friday, June 19

New iPhone 3 S (S stands for speed) to be released tomorrow. Click on the link below to read an excellent review by NY Times Personal Tech expert David Pogue. As he explains, the good thing is that anyone who owns an older iPhone can update to this latest version through iTunes and take advantage of most of the new features.
If you are an iPhone user please let us know what you think and leave us a comment.

SBH on Ch 10 TV at 5 pm tonight discussing their water sampling program

Tune into Channel 10 TV News at 5:00 pm tonight and see the report on Save Bristol Harbor's Water Sampling Program and its partnership with the URI Watershed Watch! The interview took place at 10:30 am this morning (Thursday June 18) at one of the sampling sites (Windmill Point) and included several interviews with volunteers; of course they'll "edit" things down to a 60(?) second piece but, whatever the final outcome, I'm sure it'll go a long way toward reinforcing the credibility of SBH's efforts!
Keith, Joe, Chip and Bob

Keith Maloney
Chip Cavallaro
Joe Arruda
Bob Aldrich

All people noted above are Board Members of SBH and participate in the Water Sampling Program

Save Bristol Harbor (SBH) works to preserve the health, safety and integrity of the coastal waters and natural resources of Bristol RI.  SBH provides informed leadership of the promotion of responsible environmental practices, the support of educational initiatives and the formation of strategic partnerships to ensure that the long term interests of our community are protected.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Three photos from Santo Cristo and Firefighters Processions, June 14, 2009

Osprey back on the radio/cell tower on Rte 24

It is good to see the pair of osprey have returned to their nest high up on the cell/radio tower overlooking the RWU Baypoint Convention housing at the intersection of Route 24 and Route 138. 
What a view they must have...including the new Portsmouth wind turbine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Two local processions on Sunday, June 14

Two processions and related activities are taking place on Sunday, June 14. 

The Bristol Firefighters Memorial Procession will start at 1 pm after a mass at St Mary's . It will leave from the headquarters at the corner of Church and High Streets and wind down to Rockwell Park across from Aidan's where services begin. Bagpipes will be played. Speaker of the day will be Roswell Bosworth Jr., publisher of the East Bay Newspapers for 25 years from 1974 to 1999.

The next procession will begin at 3 pm Sunday and is part of the Portuguese Santo Cristo Feast weekend that starts on Friday at St. Elizabeth's Church on Wood Street. This event dates back for hundreds of years to the islands of the Acores. Clergy and other organizations as well as many philharmonic bands from local churches will accompany the participants. The procession will begin at the church on Wood Street and travel along Wood, Franklin, Magnolia, Bayview, High and Franklin Streets eventually returning to St. Elizabeth's church followed by dancing, livestock auctions, live music and traditional Portuguese food including malassadas. Photo above from last year.

New Dog (and cat) Trainer in Warren

Seems like with winter behind us, many people want to get a puppy (or adopt an adult dog) and are looking for places to socialize and train them. In Bristol, most people end up driving to Westport MA or Seekonk MA to get the necessary training. Finally, since February 2009, we have an excellent trainer in our own backyard - behind the Cutler Building complex in Warren RI. Her name is Alexandra Morgan and her website is
She is on the ground  level of a clean, cavernous building that is partitioned off into teaching and daycare/play spaces. She is just starting a new round of 4 different eight week classes for puppies and older dogs. She also provides doggie day care at $10 a day from 6 am to 6 pm - ($9 a day for five days a week). She has been doing this for about 25 years - soon after she graduated from Brown in 1984. She also makes house calls and consults on separation anxiety, socialization issues, house breaking, natural dog foods and has written many articles (some on the website) on dog/cat related topics. She is a certified Delta Society Animal Evaluator and Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. 
Welcome her to the neighborhood, give her a try and get that new dog to be your new best friend:

Alexandra Morgan Animal School
84 Cutler Street, #7
Warren RI
401 434 3687
508 336 4854

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Potter League Grand Opening is Saturday June 20

Speaking of dogs, the Potter League is having their Grand Opening on Saturday, June 20 at 10 am with an Open House on both Saturday and Sunday. Their new building is an amazing achievement. We are lucky to live so close to this animal care, training and educational center. Not only is this one of the best (and greenest) animal care facilities in RI but also one of the best in the USA. Click once on image above for larger viewing.

Nathanael Greene celebrated author giving free talk at RI Historical Society in Providence

Thursday, June 18, 6:30 pm, Gerald M. Carbone, will be giving a free talk called
"If These Walls Could Talk...Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution"

In writing, Nathanael Greene: A Biography of the American Revolution, Gerald Carbone drew on his 25 years of research experience as a newspaper reporter to ferret out facts on this overlooked hero. Much of the book was previously published in serial form in the Providence Journal, and Carbone has been recognized as an expert on Greene by the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, the University Club of Providence, and the RIHS.
When the Revolutionary War began, Nathanael Greene was a private in the militia, the lowest rank possible, yet he emerged from the war with a reputation as George Washington's most gifted and dependable officer--celebrated as one of three most important generals. Upon taking command of America's Southern Army in 1780, Nathanael Greene was handed troops that consisted of 1,500 starving, nearly naked men. Gerald Carbone explains how within a year, the small worn-out army ran the British troops out of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and into the final trap at Yorktown. Despite his huge military successes and tactical genius Greene's story has a dark side.
The lecture is at the RIHS at the John Brown House
52 Power Street
Providence RI
RSVP: Dalila Goulart at the RIHS: 401 331 8575 ext. 45 or email:

Newport and Bristol Tourism groups to merge

At last Wednesday evenings regular Town Council meeting (Mary Parella absent), the council after some deliberation approved a merger between the Newport County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the East Bay Tourism Council to improve local tourism. The Newport Bureau is made up of 6 districts: Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Jamestown, Little Compton and Tiverton. The East Bay Council is made up of three towns: Bristol, Warren and Barrington. When and if the merger is complete, each of the nine towns will have a Town Council appointed representative on the newly formed larger group to be called The Newport and Bristol County Convention and Visitor Bureau. This merger will favor Bristol which ranks third after Newport and Middletown in tourism. Newport has 4000 hotel rooms: Bristol, Warren, Barrington combined have around 80. The money to fund the advertising/marketing comes from the RI State Lodging "bed tax" and as you might guess Newport gets alot more of it than Bristol. (About 2.3M vs $40K) It was stated by James Farley, executive director of Mount Hope Farm, that RI State Representatives Ray Gallison and Doug Gablinski were both in favor of the merger as well as the Downtown Bristol Merchants Association and the Bristol Museums Association. Kristen Swanberg, president of the East Bay Tourism Council, Jim Farley, Halsey Herreshoff, Lloyd Adams all spoke in favor and also noted that timing to get this passed in this years legislative session is important. Evan Smith, executive director of the Newport Bureau, presented the information.
The Warren and Barrington Town Councils must approve the merger before state legislature votes on the bill. (No comments to date have been heard from either the town of Warren or Barrington.)
Note: The East Bay Chamber of Commerce and a group called Destination Bristol (the Heritage Trail connection) are not a part of this merger although their goals are related.

More free public parking will soon be available downtown

Thanks to the Dianes -  our Town Administrator and our Director of Community Development - and their arrangement with Russell Karian, Robin Rug owner, we will soon (after it has been striped) have the use of a large public parking lot on the corner of Church and Thames Streets. The lot has been leased to the Town of Bristol on a trail basis for the months of June, July, August and September. There will be no overnight parking allowed, no boat trailers allowed and no charge or time limit to park there.
Please pass the word and get some value out of this fabulous offer! Use it or lose it.

Bristol Historical Society New Goree walking tour on Saturday June 13 at 10 am with Kevin Jordan

The Bristol Historical Society will host a walking tour led by Kevin Jordan PhD, former RWU Professor and Chair of the Historic Preservation Department, on an area of northern Wood Street called New Goree where African Americans historically lived. Dr. Jordan is an expert on this little known Bristol topic. The tour will begin at the Society on Court Street at 10 am. Free to members. Call 253 7223 for more information.

Strawberries are ripe for picking

Local pesticide free strawberries can be purchased on east Franklin Street at the little farm there that usually advertises potatoes!
A place where you can pick your own strawberries now is at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown.
The farm is located at 915 Mitchell's Lane in Middletown RI
Tele: 401 847 3912 or
By the way, if you've been too busy to notice, now is the time to stop and smell the roses. They are beginning to come into bloom all over town -  even in this cold and drizzly weather!

New community string program in partnership with Bristol/Warren Schools

Did you see the photo of the two sisters (ages 8 and 9) being fitted for violins from Guiteras School last week in the Bristol Phoenix? This is just one of many new programs happening in Bristol due to available funds from the Kickemuit Education Foundation and the Fund for Civic Activities from Roger Williams University (part of the PILOT agreement between the university and the town). The Civic Activity fund will award $25,000 twice a year to community projects until the year 2027. For further details, application forms and grant deadlines go to:
Another RWU grant recipient was the Kickemuit River Council. They will publish and mail a brochure informing Bristol residents on how to care for their septic systems. The brochure was developed in cooperation with RI DEM and parallels a new ordinance (2009-05) passed at last weeks Town Council meeting authorizing the inspection, repair and replacement of worn out cesspools and septic systems over a seven years period that are located outside the town sewer system. (A copy of this ordinance can be found on the town's website

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Water Conservation yields many benefits

Providence Business News Editorial (May 18, 2009)

It may sound odd, but the Ocean State is grappling with a potential water shortage. And the impact on the economy could be serious.

The issue first surfaced three years ago when Amgen announced that it wanted to double daily water usage at its West Greenwich facility. A subsequent conflict with the Kent County Water Authority was only resolved when the General Assembly guaranteed that the bio-pharmaceutical firm would get the fresh water it needed to run its production lines.

But it became clear that if other companies wanted to build facilities that used water in large quantities (and many of the highly prized biotechnology enterprises do just that), something would have to change.

The Coalition for Water Security – an environmental/development/industry group formed to address the issue – has found that the state has enough fresh water at its disposal to meet current and future needs, presuming that the state is smart about how that water is used.

What is not smart is diverting 76 percent of Rhode Island household summer water usage to maintain verdant lawns. The coalition suggests limiting the number of days per week for watering, or establishing a standard, per-person water-usage target, with excess use incurring premium pricing.

The R.I. Water Resources Board is undertaking a multiyear study of the Hunt, Annaquatucket and Pettaquamscutt rivers to see what water conservation measures would be most effective.

The bottom line is the state needs to get serious about carefully stewarding its water resources – the economic and environmental cost of continually sucking more water out of the ground for vanity’s sake has taken that option off the table.

(pb blog note: A brown lawn is not a dead lawn. It is only temporarily dormant.
All the more reason to save roof run off with rains idea so old it is new again.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sal Parella dies at age 82 on May 30, 2009

Click once on image above to enlarge image and text.

Visiting hours are at the Sansone Funeral Home, Wood Street from 5 - 8 pm, Wednesday June 3, 2009. The funeral service will be on Thursday, June 4 at 11 am at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Sal will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Salvaged and Recycled House Parts - Old and New

Many people when renovating (if they can still afford it), like to source recycled old house parts to match the age, period and style of their homes.  Below are several quality salvage places nearby. 

New England Demolition and Salvage
73 Cove Street
New Bedford, MA 02744
Tel: 508 992 1099; Email:
Principals: Harry and Jeanine
Open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 to 5 pm

Brooklyn Restoration Supply
12 Gorman Road
Brooklyn, CT 06234
(not far over the RI state line off of Rte 6)
Tel: 860 774 6759
Principal: Rudy Rzeznikiwicz
Open 'by chance of appointment'

Scott’s Woodworks (excellent for rehabbing old window sash)

30 Cutler Street

WarrenRhode Island 02885

Tel: 401-743-2083

Principals:  Scott and Marilyn Matheson


Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Charlestown RI

Offers good quality building materials at reduced prices that change weeky.

Inventory ranges from doors,windows, countertops to paint, lumber, ovens, sinks

They also provide good recycled reusable building materials.

Tele: 401 213 6716 best to call to check inventory often


Open Friday and Saturday from 9 - 2 pm