Editorial: Highs and lows from last week

Editorial: Highs and lows from last week

(High) The long awaited and much anticipated dredging of certain areas of Winnapaug Pond in Westerly is getting closer to fruition. The state Coastal Resources Management Council and the state Department of Environmental Management have issued a public notice about the project and will accept public comment until Dec. 22. Opponents can request a hearing. The project has to be completed by Jan. 31 to meet environmental regulations. The dredging is intended to clear out sand and silt that has come in through the breachway during storms, especially Superstorm Sandy. This is a pond full of activity and boaters and it will be good to get it back to full use. 

(High) A compromise was reached regarding a popular middle school poject in which students raised funds, planned and budgeted for a shopping trip to a local supermarket to prepare boxes of food for the WARM Center during the last week of school in December. New Superintendnet Mark Garceau thought the fundraising aspect combined with the planning, shopping, packaging and delivery over a week’s time took too much time away from traditional learning. The project has been streamlined with some iot done after school, and Seaside Pharmacy donated $1,000 to help with the food purchase. The project lives, students still get a real life lesson, needy community members still get food and as a bonus, students learned the art of compromise.    

(Low) Last week’s public hearing on the proposed Invenergy power plant drew about 300 people to Charlestown Elementary School and there weren’t many supporters. While the plant would be built far from here in Burrillville, the developers have contracted with the Narragansett Tribe to supply a back-up water supply for cooling. The anticipated need could drain between 15,000 to 724,000 gallons per day, transported by truck. And the whole deal is secret, with the state Energy Facility Siting Board condoning this lack of transparency. This is a bizarre and unfair situation that needs to be corrected.

(High) The Hopkinton Town Council is taking steps to ensure that abandoned properties don’t further lower the value of nearby properties by crafting an ordinance that gives the town authority to levy fines if such properties are not maintained. Council President Frank Landolfi said the town had been receiving complaints about several abandoned properties, most of them the consequences of foreclosures. Town officials have repeatedly asked the owners to maintain the properties but had no enforcement capabilies and therefore had little success. The new ordinance will create a database of these properties and owners will have to register them and pay a fee of $100 the first year $200 the second and $300 the third year. Failure to register a property would result in a $500 fine. The council is expected to vote on the ordinance Dec. 18. 


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