Dave's Column

Dave Richards for October 2nd..............

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Dave Richards for October 2nd….…………

 

--Before I start today’s lengthy rant, just let me remind you that this weekend is the proverbial “IT” for Jen Jolicoeur and her Athena’s Cup 107 mile long bra chain at River’s Edge Park in Woonsocket.  Offer to help if you can.  Thanks.

 

 

--I heard some people talking just the other day.  They were saying something I’ve said many times and discussed with others.  They think we should eliminate parties from politics and simply vote for individuals to do the job. 

 

  I think this is something we need to discuss again.  I remember some 20 years ago chatting with the late former R.I. Lt. Governor Joe O’Donnell about it and he disagreed.  I thought at first it was because he was a staunch Republican, but no, Joe insisted that without party organizations, like-minded candidates could not band together to get anything done and there would be gridlock all the time.  “Parties bring civility to politics”, Joe said.

 

  So I asked him, “what about the City of Woonsocket?  Our home rule charter calls for non-partisan elections and nothing goes wrong there because there is no party involved?  In fact,” I continued, “you hardly ever hear anyone talk about the elections being non-partisan.  Why wouldn’t that work state-wide or nationally?”   

 

  That’s when Joe tried to convince me that political parties came about, not because of the need for them in local politics, but as a means to organize the much larger groups of people involved in state and federal elections.  It was these large numbers, he told me, which were impossible to lead without some organizational mechanism.

 

  What he said made some logical sense to me at the time, so I backed down and never brought up the subject again in his presence.  But now I think I shall.  And not simply because Joe has gone on to his eternal reward…….because I think it is an idea whose time has come.  I’ll explain.

 

  Here in the 21st Century, there is a new attitude growing.  No longer are young people mainly concerned with banding together with others in organizations where they find like-minded individuals.  Today, everyone is an individual, and each of them are the most important individual in the world. 

 

  It used to be “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”  Today, “My needs are more important than your needs.” 

 

  So I don’t see a trend toward gathering in groups.  Today’s young people have little need for groups……unless, of course, they are the leader of the group.  Because it becomes much easier to get what you need when others will help you get it.

 

  You might think I’m being cynical.  Nope.  Just calling it as I see it.  And I see it a lot in my business.  It’s everywhere I go.  If I don’t agree with you, then I am “completely wrong and I must be subjugated, removed, or otherwise subdued”. 

 

  Let me stop there and make my point perfectly clear.  I’m not talking about “all young people”, I’m talking about trends.  Trends in how society is evolving.  It is not evolving toward giving selfless service to others.  And maybe it shouldn’t be, I don’t know.  That’s the tricky thing about the future.  You think you know what’s coming, based upon what has happened in the past, but nobody really knows. 

 

  I remember being part of the largest group of young people our country has ever known, the so-called “Baby Boomers” in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.  We were a scary bunch of kids, as I recall.  Disrespecting traditions and our elders.  Protesting.  We had a whole new ‘value system’, if you could call it that.  Yeah, we thought we were gonna change the world.  Our elders thought we would destroy it.  Neither of us turned out to be right.

 

  Why get so upset about the current social changes?  I dunno, I really don’t.  Maybe we shouldn’t.  Maybe we should think back to the time when we were working on ‘completely changing the world’ and remember the lyrics of a popular song of the time.  The one from The Who….’Won’t Get Fooled Again’…remember?  “Smile and grin at the change all around, pick up my guitar and play….just like yesterday….then I get on my knees and pray.”   Or, as you old pal Salty Brine always said, “Brush Your Teeth and Say Your Prayers!”

 

  Or maybe, we can comfort ourselves with the words of ‘The Desiderata’.  “No Doubt the Universe is Unfolding as it Should………”         

 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

--30--

 

Dave Richards for September 25th

Dave Richards for September 25th         …………

 

--The goal has always been to raise consciousness of breast cancer and to bring a world record to her home city.  It has taken Jennifer Jolicoeur ten long years to collect nearly 200,000 women’s bras, but the end of this awesome project is just over a week away.  October 5th is when the Guinness World Record representatives are scheduled to arrive in Woonsocket to witness the building of the longest chain of bras hooked together the world has ever seen, and to certify the feat officially, if we make it.

  That means “Game On” for Jennifer Jolicoeur’s Athena’s Cup crew to start hooking them together one by one on Saturday October 5th under the watchful eye of the Guinness reps.

  The City of Woonsocket has offered River’s Edge Complex on Davison Avenue to stage the event, where 1,000 boxes of donated, used bras will be delivered from storage for the world-record task.

  The resulting chain of bras is calculated to become more than a mile long, so you can just imagine how many people will be needed to work long hours to get them hooked in a single chain.  And I do mean ‘hooked’.  Guinness says we cannot staple them or sew them together, they must be hooked together with their own hooks and loops, complicating the task because, as you can imagine, a certain tension must be constantly applied between bras so they won’t unhook accidentally.  If they do, we’ve got to stop and hook them back up, taking precious time and effort.

  Jennifer tells me what she needs now is help.  Dozens, if not hundreds, of volunteers Jen playfully calls “Hookers” will be required to assemble the bra-chain.  If you want to volunteer, you’ll find a sign up form at this address on the Internet:   www.athenascup.org.  There you can tell them when you are available to help “hook” and if you can help to “unhook” the bra chain.  If you’re not comfortable with the Internet, call me at my radio station and I’ll fill out a form for you.  401-762-1240. 

  Yes, I said “unhook”.  After we hook together 200,000 bras for the world record volunteers are needed to reverse the process because the resulting chain of bras will be too long to haul away and you can’t expect the city to allow us to leave it there on the River’s Edge soccer fields, right?

 Many hands make light work, friends.  Please help raise breast cancer awareness and bring a world record from Austrailia to our own Woonsocket, Rhode Island.  It’s the weekend after next.  October 5th, 6th, 7th, and maybe part of the 8th  to make the record, maybe less time if we get a lot of help.

 If you simply cannot come to help us, you can donate money which will help a lot.  The Guinness people don’t come here for nothing, you know.

 To donate to The Athena’s Cup Campaign, send one or more bras, (yes we could still use a few more in case some break) with a $5.00 donation, to Athena’s Home Novelties, 640 Winter Street, Woonsocket, RI, 02895. For more information, or to make an online donation, visit www.athenascup.org. The Athena’s Cup is a registered 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. The Athena’s Cup has no paid employees. All public relations, marketing, bra collecting and counting has been supported by the generous time donated by Athena’s corporate staff and sales people.

  Like any event which happens at the beginning of a month, Athena’s Cup weekend will sneak up on you fast, so please make your decision to help today.

  I think the Athena’s Cup Event has the potential of bringing out the best of Woonsocket and is worth supporting whether you live in Woonsocket, know people who live in Woonsocket, or have ever visited Woonsocket.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 18th............

Dave Richards for September 18th         …………

 

--Before I get into some unusually specific comments on a matter of politics, I want to remind readers of this year’s Great Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the North Smithfield High School and Middle School for one day only.  This Saturday September 21st from 11am to 5pm.  The list of community and business sponsors is impressive.  The whole town comes out for this one. 

  The Great Pumpkin Festival features booths, entertainment, exhibitions, and the highlight of the day for the young ones, the Pumpkin Chuck where real pumpkins are launched into the air by a catapult.  Everything about PumpkinFest is a real crowd pleaser.  I hope you’ll take some time out of your Saturday wherever you are in the Blackstone Valley, fill your lungs with the clear North Smithfield air and just relax for a while.  The weather promises to be exemplary.

 

--Our newly-elected Woonsocket City Councilor Alex Kithes attended his first council meeting as an elected official and I’ve got to say one thing for him, he jumped right in.  Some newbies would have played the “wise old owl” game with a cautious ‘watch and listen’ attitude, but not Alex.  He made his presence and point of view known on nearly every vote of the lengthy agenda.

  Fulfilling a campaign promise, Councilor Kithes placed before the body a resolution condemning White Nationalism.  It was when this item came up for action that young Alex’s education as an elected city official began.  And I mean it just the way I wrote it. 

  It is an education to be exposed to and learn to understand the points of view of others.  It is a skill of vital importance to any person wanting to serve in government, since one cannot compromise with those one cannot understand.  And compromise is what political governance is all about. 

  I think that young people today operate at a distinct disadvantage to those who grew up in earlier generations because in their lifetime the public discourse has been running along the lines of extremes and intolerance where defeating and suppressing those who disagree with you (or worse) fail to agree with you, is commonplace.

  As I say, it’s not his fault.  But he’s a bright young man and I think he’ll learn quickly.  He had the right idea, but the wrong way to go about it.  His resolution was aimed at improving the world by denouncing intolerance, but it failed to address the real issue.  The real issue is people noticing the differences between people and not focusing on the similarities among us.

  Those of us who grew up on the 60s and 70s learned that if we train ourselves to not see the differences and only the commonalities among us, we cannot treat people differently because of those differences.  Without differences there can be no discrimination.  With commonalities clearly in focus we can bring people together to work together to make the huge changes needed to improve the future …..for all of us.

  To conclude, the travelling good-will performance group ‘Up With People’ got it right more than 50 years ago.  Forget “Down with This Group….and Down with That Group…” and put your efforts into “Up With Everybody”!  Defensiveness diminishes, bridges of cooperation are built, and society strengthens itself.

  The Beatles’ John Lennon also said it well.  “All we are saying is……Give Peace A Chance”.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for September 11th..........

Dave Richards for September 11th         …………

 

--It was 18 years ago today that America came under attack.  It is right and proper that we remember such an event.  There are lots of TV shows on the subject. 

  I now understand why my elders didn’t really want to talk much about World War Two.  They lived it.  It wasn’t fun.  It’s a memory they’d rather forget.  After 18 years, I now feel that way about Tuesday September 11, 2001.  But I certainly wouldn’t want to diminish the memory of those who suffered that day.

 

--I read on the news wire New York Governor Cuomo has signed a law that forces all school children in the State of New York to now pause for a moment of silence on September 11th each school year.  It will mean little or nothing to them.  In my opinion it is not the way to go and will not truly honor the people who should be honored.  I’ll explain.

  Do you remember when you were little and you were with your parents and somebody gave you something, maybe a toy or candy?  You might be excited about what you just received and forgot to thank the giver.  Of course, your parents would remind you…….”say thank you!”……and you always did, but the gratitude wasn’t as enthusiastic as if it had come from your own heart without the reminder. 

  Most of these kids weren’t born when the attacks happened.  Come to think of it……..none of them were.  It’s just like when your grandparents tried to get you to appreciate the hardships of The Great Depression.  You might try, but you don’t really ‘get it’.  And a law will not help you ‘get it’, either.

  Forced tribute is seldom sincere.

 

--“Sarah Palin and her husband seek divorce after 30 years”.  That’s the headline to what has to be a heartbreaking story.  Nobody knows what makes two people become friends.  Or in love with each other.

  I thought I understood it once.  It seems to me to be an accidental thing where the personal traits of one person simply don’t annoy the other person and vice versa.  It’s a special thing between two people.  Special and beautiful.  That’s makes it all the more tragic when for an equally unexplainable reason the magic disappears.  And more tragic still when children are involved.

  Now add into the mix the fact that one of them used to be a nationally recognized figure, and you have a recipe for not only heartbreak, which would be bad enough, but also the public and news media poking their noses into your painful personal business. 

  It ain’t about winning and losing.  Everybody loses something in a divorce.

  My dear friend the late Joe Ferierre once said, “Actually, I think they should make it easier to get a divorce, but very much harder to get married in the first place.  That would eventually solve the problem. “

 

--Alex Trebek is back on the air as host of Jeopardy.  They started taping the shows back in July and the new ones are just starting to be shown.  I’ve never heard of someone coming back from pancreatic cancer, but it appears Alex has.  We don’t know how long he’ll be able to keep it up, but it really doesn’t matter, does it?

  What truly matters is whatever time Alex has left, days, months, or years, that they be spent being useful and productive, don’t you think? 

  Alex is one of the few true ‘big shots’ I’ve spent time with.  Did I tell you that story?  Well, it came about because I lost on Jeopardy.  Actually, while that sounds somewhat entertaining, I never really got on the Jeopardy show, far from it.  I got blown out in the first round taking the prospective contestant quiz.  But because I failed so early and so completely, I had a very unique opportunity to have nothing to do while the testing for prospective contestants continued, and I spent that time sitting and casually chatting with Alex.

  Quiet and easy going, he lounged back in the folding chair next to mine as we relaxed and talked about his career and my career in broadcasting.  I remember thinking what superb posture he displayed on camera and yet he was just lounging with me, chatting.

  You could tell by how he talked how much he truly loved his work.  In fact, he went out of his way to tell me repeatedly he felt lucky working for Griffin Productions (then owner of the show) because they built the set for the studio and never took it apart and put it in storage during the off-season, the set was left ready for air all year round.  This, Alex explained, was key to how well the show worked on the air, and was different from other shows he’d worked where a monitor or buzzer or some technical device would malfunction during the taping of a game and they’d have to go back and perform ‘re-dos’.  Not cool, and, Alex noted, it never looked right on the air when we had to edit the new sections in.

  So, I’m delighted Alex Trebek can continue to work, and although we know the end will come to all of us someday, my wish for him is that God allows him to be working and happy on his last day.                                           

 

 --That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for August 28th..............

Dave Richards for August 28th…………

 

--Congratulations to Meg Rego and her volunteers for an outstanding Levitt AMP Free Concert series.  The final one, last Friday, was packed.  So many people, cool bands, food trucks, a children’s play area, even a little alcohol for those who wanted it made for wonderful memories and cries for “let’s do it again next year!” 

  I’m glad they feel that way, because we’re going to have to mobilize the email voting process again, just like we did in 2017 and 2018.  The Levitt people have already opened the website to vote for your community to receive the $25,000 seed-grant to make it all happen in 2020.

  In a private conversation, I asked Meg what she thought the chances were that Woonsocket would win for a third consecutive year.  She told me our chances have never been better, because the Levitt people know us and know we built a better ‘year two’ than we had the first year.  They’ll want to see us do even better in a year three.  However, she added, we will need to show the same email vote support we had in the previous years or it won’t happen. 

  So there you have it, Woonsocket.  Navigate your web browsers to https://grant.levittamp.org/voter-registration-page/  and tell them you want to see a third year of the Levitt AMP Woonsocket concerts next year.

 

--Well, we now know what Rob Gronkowski is going to do now that he’s not catching footballs thrown by Tom Brady.  He’s adding his voice to the ever increasing confusion of civil disobedience related to marijuana. 

  Yes, I know what he really said is he’s going to work to convince the major league sports organizations to allow players to use CBD products which are currently banned in all professional sports.  But it’s still just more civil disobedience.  If only proponents of marijuana in all of its forms would have simply focused on removing it from the federal list of controlled substances we would have avoided years of controversy.  I cannot believe that if all the effort which has been expended in civil disobedience by individuals and States had been focused where it would have counted that those who believe in the change would surely have triumphed by now.

  And finally, I cannot feel good about the lessons we are teaching our young people in going about this whole matter in such an indirect and, I believe, dishonest way.

  ‘Gronk’ has said that since he has retired from NFL play and no longer needs to be concerned with chemical blood tests which check for drug use he has found great relief from his pain by using CBD products.  He wants that for all players.  I can certainly understand that.  It’s a very compassionate and laudable use of his celebrity status.  But it is also more ‘end-run’ activity which doesn’t change the issue.  CBD comes from a controlled substance.

  I’ve spoken on this issue a number of times, so some of you may recognize these words.  Some of you probably think I am against the legalization of marijuana.  You would be wrong.  I would be very pleased if marijuana were removed from the federal list of controlled substances if that’s what the majority of people wanted.  I would be relieved the debate would be over.  I’m tired of this debate, which has been raging for all of my adult life.  I have no interest in using the stuff myself, but then I have no interest in drinking alcohol much, though I do once in a while under the right circumstances.  That’s a personal choice.  If they finally made marijuana legal in this country I don’t know if I’d use it.  Maybe once in a while, under the right circumstances, just like alcohol.  But I’ll tell you I’d raise a glass to the congress that finally puts an end to the debate.  It’s going to happen, there is no doubt.  When the feds decided they would not enforce the federal laws in States which passed laws in conflict, the proverbial Genie was out of the bottle and the federal government lost this war. 

  So let’s sign the peace treaty already.  Now.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for August 21st..........

Dave Richards for August 21st…………

 

--Before we begin today’s deliberations, I want to lend my support to the Athena’s Cup Bra Collection. 

  Last Monday’s Car Show and Food Truck event at Market Square was postponed due to rain to this coming Monday, same place, same time, 5 to 8:30pm.  Among the classic cars on display Monday will be a beautiful 1958 Cadillac owned by the grandfather of a friend of mine, Jennifer Jolicoeur.  Jen’s a Woonsocket girl who has built a $4-Million business right here in her home town.  Her heart is here and she is dedicated to promoting her city, so much so that she wants to bring an honest-to-goodness Guinness Book World Record to Woonsocket. 

  Several years ago Jennifer started the Athena’s Cup charity to bring attention to breast cancer research.  Thousands have been raised and donated to organizations like Gemma.  But Jen wanted to do more.  So she started to collect and hook together the largest chain of ladies bras the world has ever seen.  And she’s about to do it.

  I’ll save the details for another time.  Let’s focus on the fact that Jen has a little over 195,000 bras donated at this point but she needs 200,000.  It’s remarkable that the last 5,000 is the hardest to collect, and that’s why she needs everyone’s help.

  She, and her friends and supporters of the Athena’s Cup (which includes Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt) are putting the last push to collect bras into high gear at Monday’s Car Show and Food Truck event.  Bring your ill-fitting or worn-out bras to Market Square during the event.  Each donor will receive a ‘Thank You Ticket’ which will enter them into a raffle for some delightful spa products from Athena’s.  If you can’t make it Monday, you can bring them to our radio station weekdays from 8am to 4pm or Athena’s HQ on Winter Street.  But make it Monday for the raffle.  You’ll feel good you took part in putting Woonsocket “on the world map” for a very worthy cause.

 

--We’ve had a fairly hot summer here in the Blackstone Valley.  But it’s been much hotter in other parts of our country.  Figures I read yesterday indicate that so far this summer 300 infants have been killed or seriously injured by being left in cars by their parents or guardians.  If it were only one, it would be too many, of course.  The shocking part is that the figure used to be 32 and this is a nearly ten-fold increase. 

  In cooperation with the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association and our state government agencies, mine and other radio stations are broadcasting urgent messages free of charge to remind adults about the problem.  But let’s take a step or two backward in time, shall we?

  Everyone can see that the reason for the increase in infants being left in hot cars is because the baby is quiet and in an approved car seat which is in the BACK SEAT of the car.  You can’t see the baby while you drive, and unless they are crying you don’t even know they are there.  I always thought putting babies where you couldn’t look over and see they were okay was a bad move.  What if they would choke?  When I brought this up at the time I was told “that seldom happens.”, an answer which just wasn’t good enough for me.  But ‘well-meaning’ legislators made it a law you had to do it.  Why?

  I’ll tell you why.  Because automobile manufacturers and insurance companies convinced law makers that the back seat was safer than the front seat.  While that may be true, there are other considerations, in addition to the ones I’ve raised above.  Today’s cars are safer than any other models in automotive history.  Better crumple zones.  Air bags which come in from 12 different directions in the event of a crash.  Automatic driver assist with obstruction avoidance.  The list goes on.

  I still say that when you consider everything, the situation has changed and babies are, in the current era, safer in the front seat of a vehicle and the laws should be changed to reflect this development.  It’s better for baby, better for the parents, too.  And it’s certainly better than babies dying quietly in the back seat of a car, with the horror of a loving parent who finds they have killed their baby in a terrible mistake, and then parents facing legal charges for negligent homicide…….all for being human.

  Time for a change. 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

--30--

 

Dave Richards for August 14th.............

Dave Richards for August 14th…………

 

--Okay, now President Trump has sent out another obviously inappropriate “Tweet” on the social media platform agreeing with a heckler who called CNN anchor Chris Cuomo a “Fredo”.  I guess today it’s considered as bad as the “N”-word to Italians.  Cuomo got steamed and participated in a heated and profane exchange with the heckler.  CNN says it supports Cuomo.  O-f-f-f-f Co-u-r-s-e they do, anything resembling a dog fight, street brawl, or train wreck that will bring ratings is A-OK with CNN brass.  After all, they’ve lost any pretense of respectability years ago in my professional opinion.

  If the guy worked for me, and used profanity on the air, it would not be condoned and he’d have been on the carpet in my office pronto for a review of his future employment with the company, if you get my meaning.  Of course, the penalties for profanity are different for an FCC licensed over-the-air operation than for a pay-cable channel, but you’d think the standards for a national organization like CNN would be at least as high as for a local radio or TV station, wouldn’t you?

  And speaking of local TV, I saw a clip the other day of a young lady reporter for Channel 10 TV who, while she was doing a live report on the air, had her microphone nearly ripped from her hand when a by-stander jumped on camera and yelled something into her mic to be broadcast.  The reporter showed her professionalism by pulling the mic back from the trouble-maker and finishing her report as if it hadn’t even happened.  That reporter could work for me any day!  Wish I had caught her name, but congratulations to her and let’s hope more people in radio and TV follow her example and keep cool under pressure.   

 

--When I was young, the worst thing you could call someone was a Communist, or its vernacularal equivalent, a “Commie”.  It was meant that you were un-American, a person unfit to live among us.  Most people who got tagged with that label actually weren’t members of the Communist Party, of course.  It was just a slur someone who didn’t like you hung on you to cause you trouble. 

  There were Communists living in our country, of course.  Some of them did spy on the rest of us and make reports to Communist officials.  But you didn’t see them.  The really dangerous people stayed in the shadows, by choice, so they could be more effective at their work of disrupting American society. 

  Most people understood this and most of us know that the people who were called Communists weren’t.  The real ones were hidden from us.

  Fast forward the old time machine to today.  Being a Communist is no big deal anymore.  If you called someone a “Commie”, most people would say, “so what?  Who cares?”  I think this is why you never hear anyone being called a Communist today.  Today “Racist” is the new Communist! 

  We’ve come a long way from calling playground foes “Booger-Heads” and “Super-Creeps”, haven’t we?  Whatever we can call someone we don’t like that will hurt their feelings or cause others to not like them is what we’ll call them even though we know it isn’t true.  It’s so simple, every time you don’t like someone, today all you need to do is call them a racist.  But, just like in the school yard and back in the days of the Cold War, the ones who get the new label of today are not what they are called.

  Here’s the problem.  There really are racists out there.  And, just like the communists of decades ago, they stay out of sight.  They agitate from the background.  They plant the seeds of hate and doubt and then stand back for others to finish their dirty work. 

  What’s really dangerous, in my view, is that we will eventually call so many people ‘racists’ who aren’t, that real racists will be empowered to ply their divisive trade un-impeded because the public is de-sensitized to the term.

  What can be done?  Well, the first thing we could do is not believe it when someone is called a ‘racist’ in anger by another.  Or, we could go back to calling people ‘Super-Creeps’ and ‘Booger-Heads’. 

  Or maybe we could stop acting like children and try to argue matters of public disagreement intellectually instead of emotionally.      

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

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Dave Richards for August 7th.................

Dave Richards for August 7th…………

 

--I’d love to make a comment or two on yesterday’s special election for Woonsocket City Council, but I am limited to not knowing who won due to the timing of my deadline for this column.

   I will say that I thought yesterday’s election had the potential to be one of most American we’ve seen in a long time.  I say that because we had two candidates who waged a spirited campaign and there was a clear difference between their approaches to the job.  It was then left, as it should be, to the voters to make their choice.

   By the time you read this the turnout numbers will be known, but I observed personally that about twice as many voters appeared to have voted as the July election based upon the number of people who had voted when the Fabulous Denise and I presented ourselves at the Holy Trinity Church Hall.

   Regardless who has prevailed, I applaud both candidates for running a spirited and uncommonly positive campaign.  And I wish a positive campaign were not so uncommon.

 

--We don’t travel as much these days as we used to.  But I do remember my first experience with Resort Fees.  I was booked by my favorite travel agent into what was then my favorite hotel on the Las Vegas strip, The Riviera.  We had had a lot of good memories at “The Riv” and I was kinda sad to see it torn down.  But one not-so-good memory was the last time we stayed there. 

  When we checked in, a $50 per-night “Resort Fee” was added to the bill.  I was taken by surprise and not happy at all.  I phoned my travel agent who told me they have no control over it, that some hotels, in response to a “room rate war” were lowering their room rates, but using these surprise resort fees to make up the money they use to get from the room rate.

  I was told they use that resort fee money to pay for “free” use of the pool, “free” water in your room, “free” access to the exercise room and things like that.  I told them I don’t want to use the pool, or any of those other amenities.  Why should I be forced to pay for them?  Well, there was no option to avoid paying for what I didn’t use.   I was stricken by the similarity of the hotel resort fees to a pay-cable TV bill.  You are forced to pay for things (channels) you won’t use (watch) and have no recourse other than to not do business with the pay-cable company.

  Certainly not fair.  But wait.  I read now that these resort fees have become so prevalent that the Attorneys General of the State of Nebraska and the District of Columbia have filed suit against hotels, charging them with Deceptive Pricing. 

  You see, those resort fees are hidden from you in all advertising.  If you go online, all you will see is the artificially low room rate, that it.  You aren’t even told how much the resort fees are until you’ve booked your room, or, as in my case, when you check in after a long and tiring trip.  A heck of a time to tell you, I say.  You’ve been traveling for about 6 hours altogether and you’re standing there with your luggage just hoping to get into a room to clean up and rest. 

  I have visited Las Vegas more than a dozen times over the years for business and pleasure.  That time at The Riviera was my last. 

  Now I read that MGM Resorts has increased their resort fees at all their Vegas properties.  In a statement from management, they are completely justified.  Maybe so, but I think they are not fair and not the way I would ever treat a guest in my house.

  I do hope these lawsuits gain some traction and that the Attorneys General of other states, like Rhode Island, get the same idea as Nebraska and D.C. got. 

  Now that I think of it, Rhode Island has some pretty good consumer protection laws.  I noted a while back that I saw a particular item at a store in Massachusetts which bore a price lower than that of the same item in a Rhode Island branch of the same store chain.  Upon further examination, the Massachusetts price tag had deducted the value of a rebate coupon which you had to mail in to the manufacturer.  That’s another case of making a decision to buy and when you get to the register to pay you are forced to pay more money than was on the price given. 

  I don’t know about you, but I have been stiffed by a manufacturer in the past on a promised rebate, and I was out that money with no recourse except to never buy that manufacturer’s product again.  Of course by that time it was too late for me.

  But in Rhode Island, the law says that if a rebate is offered, it cannot be used to make the product appear less expensive unless you can walk out of the store with the product for that price.  It’s the “Instant Rebate” at the register.  I call that a fair way to do business and I think it’s a consumer protection law that Rhode Island can be proud of and Massachusetts should aspire to pass.

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for July 31st................

Dave Richards for July 31st…………

 

--Tonight is big memory night.  Tonight starts four nights and one day of reliving old memories and making new ones at the Holy Trinity Carnival at Park Square in Woonsocket.  Although the church legally changed the name of the parish from Our Lady Queen of Martyrs to Holy Trinity a little more than a year ago, this is the first year that change will be applied to the carnival.  In fact, the display ad in The Call calls it the “1st Annual” Holy Trinity Carnival, even though it’s been known under its previous name for more than 60 years. 

  When a change like this occurs, it affects different people in different ways.  Some people want a clean break with the past.  Others will accept the name change but cherish the memories of the past.  I’m with the latter group.  The promotional announcements have been running on the radio for weeks now, and every time I mention it to people they know just what I’m talking about, regardless of the name.  And they all have great memories of the summer church carnival at Park Square. 

  Some remember courting their eventual spouses there.  I’m in that group, too.  I used to take Denise there back when I was the only one who called her “Fabulous”.  It helped that the carnival was usually right around her birthday.  Others mention when they used to raffle off a new car there, back in the days before a new car cost more than $10,000.  Today, the car is gone, but the $10,000 raffle remains.  No problem, I like money better than cars anyway.

  Everyone has a fond memory of this carnival.  So now it’s time to come out to that same stretch of grass at Park Square and relive your memories and make some new ones with people you care about.  The Holy Trinity Church Carnival at Park Square, even if tonight is the “1st Annual”, was more than 20 years old when Autumnfest started.  Think about it.  See you there.

 

--I remember a private conversation I had with a police officer friend of mine one time in which the subject came around to how they felt about their work.  They kidded about it at first, saying how it seemed to be a ‘growth industry’, but then they turned serious for a moment and told me, “It’s like shoveling against the tide.  Keep it up and you question sometimes if you’ll ever beat it.  Give up for just a day and you know you’ll be overwhelmed and you’ll drown”.  He said, “we keep catching the bad guys and putting them away, but they keep making new bad guys.  It’ll get to you if you let it.”  I asked how he finds the courage to keep going.  He told me, “sometimes there’s a moment when I get tired or disgusted or a little bit of both.  It happens, even to us.  But then I think for just another moment of what this world would be like to live in if good people gave up and let the bad guys win.  That thought is so terrible that it gives me just the little kick I need to ‘shake off the fatigue’ and get back into the fight.”

  I left the conversation there, not wanting to dwell on a topic which clearly affected my friend so much.  I never asked them about the creeps who troll the streets with video cameras making up stories or trying to goad police officers into anything which might be caught on camera and used on social media.  But if I had asked him, I suppose he’d have said, “so long as they aren’t breaking the law, let ‘em have their fun.”

  What’s my point in bringing this up?  I read a news story recently about the ACLU of Rhode Island joining the fight of a group called The Accountability Project which is trying to get internal records of employee discipline from the Pawtucket and Woonsocket police departments.  I surely hope these requests are for a high purpose and not for targeting individual officers who will be victimized by people with selfish motives.  I am reminded that history is full of examples of self-righteous individuals who caused, perhaps unintended, trouble.  But trouble nonetheless.

 I think everyone needs to remember here that we are hiring human beings to do a job for us (police work) so we don’t need to do it ourselves.  It takes an exceptional individual to be a police officer.  But even though we ask them to do what is sometimes inhuman work, they are human.  As such, they may err.  Following their good character, they will improve themselves.  Everyone deserves to have the latitude in their jobs to do that.

  Today we rightly honor those in the military for their service.  I think we should honor equally those who put on the badge and serve us in our police departments every day.  What would happen to our world if good people stopped choosing police work as a career?  It can happen. 

  Years of societal abuse of public school teachers is already causing teacher shortages in key disciplines.  Some states are so short of public school teachers they are offering to pay for the complete education of anyone who will come to that state and teach there for five years after graduation.  Think about that. 

  It’s so easy to criticize.  Too easy, sometimes.  Give respect, get respect. 

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Dave Richards for July 24th...............

Dave Richards for July 24th…………

 

--A story I read from the Boston news wire got me thinking.  The story read that lawmakers on Beacon Hill were angry because two officials with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles simply didn’t show up to a committee meeting to be grilled by a legislative sub-committee.  They just didn’t show up.  No explanation.

  We know that an audit is being conducted as part of the investigation into the out-of-state-infractions scandal, but that’s not due to be completed until September.  It appears from this story that a certain sub-committee couldn’t wait for the audit and wanted to grill these two registry officials right now.  I thought about it for a minute.  I couldn’t come up with one logical reason why they should do that, other than to conduct a circus for their own amusement or political profit. 

  What would they ask these two people which would make any sense?  Would they ask “Why were the notices from other states ignored?”  Well that’s a silly question to ask, really.  Nobody is going to say they even knew they were being ignored if they have half a brain in their head.  It’s already been established that in the day to day workings of the registry, when the notices came in from other states they were placed in the Inbox but nobody checked the Inbox.  At least that was the initial comments I heard.  It’s plausible.  And the investigation will find the truth of the matter.

  So what should a good citizen do when they are called upon to “testify” by a group of legislators whose only interest is to ask leading questions and to make you look bad so they can look good doing it? 

  The way I was raised, you respond respectfully to the request to appear.  But when you do appear, if they start in with the “so when did you stop beating your wife?” kind of questions, you just remind them you are there because you respect the high office the questioner holds and you wish they would respect themselves and their high office as much as you do.

  Don’t be evasive.  Don’t work hard to offer answers you know will be unhelpful.  Just ask them politely to ask their questions in a way you can answer them honestly and completely.  Without emotion.  Without hidden agenda.  And so long as they refrain from acting like a pulpit pounding preacher or a bad rendition of Perry Mason, you’ll all get along just fine and you’ll do what you can to help them do the business of the people. 

  And there’s the key.  When the legislative members are doing the business of the people everything works.  It stops working when they are doing the business of getting re-elected or qualifying for a TV interview or a desired committee assignment. 

  Does anyone here think for a moment that someone at the Mass. RMV looked at the infraction notices from other states and said to themselves, “let’s just ignore these.” ?  Of course you don’t.  Nobody thinks that. 

  So tell me, what questions would you ask someone at the RMV if they appeared before you which wouldn’t make you (not them) look stupid?  Think about that.  Then think better of doing it at all.

  We can expand upon this idea to the endless congressional committee hearings in Washington, D.C.  Personally, I’d feel better letting the FBI conduct investigations and have them report their findings to congress.  I pick the FBI because it’s the closest thing I think we have to a federal police force.  Law enforcement professionals should investigate.  Law makers should make laws. 

  But that’s not the way it is in reality.  Congress will conduct their own investigations, because that ‘Genie has been out of the bottle for a long time’, as the old saying goes.  But I think if congress wants the respect of the American people they should act respectfully to those who testify.  Because each time they don’t, the next people called upon to testify will become more defensive and evasive and, in short, less respectful of people who don’t appear to be respecting themselves……..or the high public office to which they’ve been elected.

  The late, great George Nasuti said it best, “Give Respect, Get Respect.”   

 

--That's what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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