Greetings dear readers and thoughtful friends and welcome back to the Front Porch for our final August visit of 2021, where the sun rose this morning at 6:12 and will set this evening at 7:23, and where we are sending our best to the people in New Orleans who are dealing with Hurricane Ida's destruction and counting our blessings that Hurricane Henri didn't wreak too much havoc in our neck of the woods ... although it did give us a reminder of how dangerous hurricanes can be and of how wise it is to be prepared.

Speaking of our friends in New Orleans, here's an item that was too late to mention in last Thursday's Guide section: the Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band, a New Orleans institution featuring Keith Frazier (one of the founding members), will appear live at the United Theatre Wednesday night. Fans of HBO’s "Treme" will remember their legendary Tuesday night gigs at the Maple Leaf. Make sure to check out the United's website to keep abreast of changes, additions and adjustments (and to see the fun video put together by our friends at Gnarly Bay) and to learn more about the upcoming collaboration between the theater and Savoy Bookshop and Café when Patriots Hall of Famer Andre Tippett joins author Jeff Benedict (who wrote "Dynasty," the bestselling book about The Patriots) scheduled for Sept. 8. 

Speaking of music, while the world said a sad farewell to the great Charlie Watts last week, I learned that the memorable Rolling Stones drummer had a connection to Rhode Island when I read Ted Nesi's weekly column "Nesi’s Notes" on Saturday when he told us that one of his fans, Bill Shields, told him that Watts was "a somewhat regular visitor to North Kingstown, where his daughter owned a house until just a couple of years ago." Located on Old Boston Neck Road, just north of the Jamestown Bridge exit, the home was built by Charlie's daughter, Seraphina Watts, and her husband, Barry Catmur.

While the pandemic continues to rage (in part because too many people remain unvaccinated), cancellations are beginning to trickle in. Sally Owens and Carol Fortier informed me that members of the Westerly College Club decided it would be best to postpone their fundraiser, "The Accessories & Gift Event" (originally scheduled for Sept. 25) until springtime. And my pal Sandra Vitterito wrote to tell me that the reunion picnic originally planned for Sept. 11 for members of the Westerly High School class of 1958 at the Bocce Club has been canceled. 

Speaking of the pandemic, those of you interested in boosting your immune system might want to think elderberries and take a glance at the newly-designed website of Westerly's Nicole Yakaitis, whose business, Gobble Mountain, has been "through the roof" since the delta strain of COVID has entered or lives, according to her dad, Tim Yakaitis. The Yakaitis family started the elderberry syrup company last year and have watched it grow and grow as more and more people become more and more committed to strengthening their immune systems, Tim said.

Attention local runners: on your mark, get set and go to your calendars to save the date. Members of the venerable Westerly Track and Athletic Club have just announced another "Westerly Track Club Runners Reunion" scheduled for Sept. 15 at the Malted Barley on High Street in downtown Westerly beginning at 5 p.m. Track club pioneers Larry Hirsch, Jim Hirst, Jim Crowley, Joe Light and Nick Bottone are the key planners who are once again putting together an event they hope will attract a strong turnout.

Bird lovers will be happy to know that the Audubon Society of Rhode Island feels it is safe for Rhode Islanders to resume bird feeding activities but urges us to remain vigilant in keeping feeders clean. Readers may remember that earlier this summer, the society issued advisories calling for residents to remove bird feeders and baths in response to a mysterious illness infecting juvenile songbirds. Visit the society's website for tips on how best to sanitize feeders and other tips. If you observe or hear of any sick or dead birds, contact the RIDEM Division of Fish and Wildlife by calling 401-789-0281 or by emailing dem.dfw@dem.ri.gov.

Well dear readers, remember please remember that if you value life, you too can save lives by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Appointments are available now at Bill Quirk's Seaside Pharmacy and the Westerly Education Center as well as at a number of locations around the state. Visit vaccinateri.org/ for more information. Please also remember we're all in this together, so maintain proper social distances, mask up, wash your hands, stay safe, be kind, and ciao bella!

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