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Greetings dear friends and kind readers and welcome back to the the Front Porch for our first visit of April 2022, where the sun rose at 6:25 a.m., will set at 7:16 p.m., and where we're continuing to pray for the people of Ukraine, for peace and peacemakers, and to count our many blessings.

We're also sending congratulations and best wishes to Paul J. Gingerella, new chief of the Westerly Police Department and just the 28th person to ever hold that role. Paul's mom, Ann Marie Liguori, his dad, George, and his sister, Jackie Gingerella Longo, are longtime family friends and much-loved members of the community, as is Paul, of course! Congratulations Paul!

Congratulations also to Westerly native Christopher Koretski, who was awarded the Presidential Service Award from Anna Maria College during the school's Celebration of Success and Service Ceremony for outstanding humanitarian service. Koretski, an Anna Maria alumni, is a Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Firefighter/EMT and son of Betty-Jo Cugini and Phil Koretski. The award is presented to "individuals who exemplify the College’s mission and values." Well done, Christopher!

In the small world department, I had a text the other day from my cousin, Carol Sweeney Boyd, who grew up in Milton, Mass., lives in Middletown, R.I., but spends part of the year in Naples, Fla. "I ran into a sweet Westerly couple who know you," Carol wrote. Well, lo and behold, that sweet couple was none other than Carmela and Harry Luppe! And yes, how sweet it is!

Speaking of cousins, if you're wondering if your "cuzz" really is your "cuzz," or if you're a budding genealogists, you might want to stop by the Westerly Library Thursday evening to hear a talk being sponsored by the Dante Society called "Acri Family Trees: Connecting Your Italian Roots" by Bill Mitchell. Bill is an amateur family historian who recently moved back to Westerly with his wife, Paula Alice Mitchell (daughter of the late Virginia Alice), according to Dante Society Secretary Cathy Potter (who also told me that Paula recently donated her wedding gown to the Westerly Armory where it is presently on display). Cathy said that Bill, an editor of the "Acri Family Trees" project hosted by Ancestry.com, enjoys connecting Westerly people with relatives from Acri.  

I had an email from Theresa Watson from the Westerly Lodge of Elks, who asked me to share the news that the Elks is accepting nominations for their annual Mother-of-the-Year Award for 2022. If you know a deserving mom, you can send a letters detailing all the wonderful things about her to: The Westerly Elks, 1 Dixon St., attention Mike Pietrallo.

What a treat to hear from my dear friend Marion Markham, the artistic director of the Colonial Theatre who was excited to share the news that she will be directing the company's summer play, Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot," and that auditioning has already begun. The company is "actively seeking actors for the show," she said, and is particularly looking for a local child actor between the ages of 8 and 3 to play the role of "the boy." "It is a great opportunity for a youngster who is theatrically inclined," she added. Marion also said the Colonial has a "brilliant new managing director," named Brian Edward, who is "smart, funny and off to a great start taking care of all things Colonial." The Colonial also has a brand new website, so interested actors can find out more by visiting colonialtheaterart.org 

April Fools Day may have come and gone, and this silly story may be a month old now, but there were plenty of chuckles when Brian Amaral, a writer for the Boston Globe, shared the story about a woman named Caroline Contrata who came upon a sign at the end of Manatuck Avenue that was "equal parts concerning and confusing." Contrata, Amaral said, had "been going to East Beach in Westerly for decades, but about two years ago, [after] a homeowner posted signs warning people to stay off, along with ropes and posts," she was so upset, she stopped going to East Beach.

"But last fall," Amaral writes, "amid a broader discussion about coastal access pathways, she decided to go back for another look at the access points." That's when she saw a new sign that read:

"BEACH ACCESS ALLOWED WITH PERMIT ONLY. VILOATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED.”

What? No beach access with a permit? And what, pray tell is a VILO-ator? Find out more next week! Until then, happy April, stay safe, be kind and ciao bella!

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