2005-11-10 / Letters to the Editor

LETTERS

Recreation and the theater

It has come to my attention that my level of participation in the Jamestown Community Theatre has been publicly called into question, and the organization itself has been inaccurately portrayed as an independent group making use of the Community Center. Without speculating on the motivation for such statements, I offer the following information so that your readers may be better informed and reach their own conclusions.

Immediately after the Jamestown Community Theatre’s first production in the fall of 1990, the group donated half the cost of exit and emergency lighting for the Community Center. In 1993, the Community Theatre became affiliated with the town Parks and Recreation Department. Operating as a town recreation program, the Jamestown Community Theatre is completely self-funded. The group deposits all of the proceeds from its shows into a dedicated town account which is used for startup funds for upcoming shows and improvements to the group is also required to provide a permanent seat on its board of directors for a voting town representative, and should the group disband, all tangible assets become the property of the town of Jamestown. These stipulations enabled the Jamestown Community Theatre to be insured by RI Interlocal Trust as a town program, at no additional premium to the town. Over the years, the group has periodically used a combination of surplus show proceeds from the town account, donations, and sponsorship funds to make improvements and purchases which benefit all of the users of the Community Center. Here is a list:

• 1991, contributed 50 percent of the cost of exit and emergency lighting: $750.

• 1993 to 1995, undertook a major project to convert the stage area into a more functional and safe performing space for large groups. In roughly chronological order:

• Removed side walls and low ceiling from stage area to create better access to the stage and allow for easier changes of sets and scenery.

• Installed a fly system

which provides for interchanging of backdrops and set pieces by raising and lowering, and installed light bars for lighting installations.

• Installed a backstage door and outdoor staircase for access to the stage from outside, which also created an emergency exit from the stage area in case of fire.

The combined cost of the above three items was about $3,000, plus countless hours of volunteer labor under the expert guidance of volunteer Bar Wharton, who designed the rigging and provided basic plans.

• Purchased portable staging system: $7,993.

1996 to present: • Donated 50 percent of the cost of a hard-wired fire alarm system for the building: $2,580.

• Replaced outdated fuse box and installed a new electric panel and wiring to safely serve the demands of lighting and other electrical equipment: $1,715.

• Contributed 75 percent of the cost of insulating the ceiling and upper walls in the stage area and installation of firecode ceiling tiles and Sheetrock: $2500.

• Purchased scaffolding: $1,620.

• Purchased fire retardant main curtain, rear curtain, side drapes and backdrop: $9,301.

• Purchased 300 new upholstered folding chairs: $5,997.

• Purchased skirting for the portable staging system: $1,197.

• Installed long-range sound reinforcement over the stage area: donated.

Total contribution: $36,653.

Additionally, at its June 13, 2005 board meeting, the group discussed a contribution to the Community Center sprinkler-system project. A motion to donate $5,000 toward any deficit in the town’s capital funds for the project was made and seconded. The group awaits details on the financial status of the project before deciding whether to allocate funds to this specific project, or to other needed improvements to the building.

All of the above expenditures improve safety and access for all Community Center users, or represent equipment that is regularly loaned free of charge to other civic groups, including but not limited to the Rotary Club, the Jamestown Community Chorus, the Conanicut Island Art Association, the Lions Club, PTO, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the annual tree lighting, the Friends of the Jamestown Library, etc. The Jamestown Community Theatre also makes an annual award to one or more deserving Jamestown high school seniors.

All cast and crew members of JCT productions must be Jamestown residents. All pay an annual “membership” fee which, at $15 for an individual and $25 for a family, is comparable to the registration fees for other recreation department programs. Each production lasts about 10 weeks. Participants rehearse two or three times per week, more often during “production week.” This is similar to the time frame for most youth sports activities and other programs. The cast and production staff of each show usually total between 100 and 150 volunteers of all ages, and the audiences total in the thousands. Despite its high visibility, the time dedicated to overseeing this program is no greater than that spent on other recreation department activities, and is required since it is a town sponsored program. I have held the town’s seat on the theater board since its inception, by mutual agreement of the town and the group. My frequent personal participation in productions, however, takes place mostly on my own time, and helps fulfill the group’s stated mission of “fostering the growth of the arts, culture, and social awareness and education of youth and adolescents of the Jamestown community through the joint involvement of Jamestown youth and adults in the theatrical experience.” Historically, such worthy goals for our youth have been universally supported in Jamestown, especially by our elected leadership, and the appropriateness of recreation department participation in the achievement of such a mission has been unquestioned. Witness the enthusiasm and support for the grant funded Teen Center program, initiated and overseen by the recreation department.

Throughout the year, I dedicate regular office time to organizing, fundraising and scheduling for a broad array of other programs and special events, as well as devoting considerable after hours and weekend time to the hands-on supervision of those activities. My work on behalf of the Jamestown Community Theatre represents only a small portion of that overall effort.

Matthew J. Bolles, director of

Parks and Recreation

Tourney thanks

On Saturday, Oct. 8, the rain delayed the 5th Peter C. Clarke Memorial Golf Tournament. Due to the intermittent showers, attendance was a little low, but 28 brave players to the links and finished at least nine holes. All in all, a great time was had by all.

Special thanks to our tee sponsors: Mansions & Manors, Jack’s Electric, Integrated Management Solutions, Village Motors, Mike Swistak of Wickford Insurance, Michael Mikolay of Sovereign Bank, ReMax Bayview, Charlie Masso, Act II, Simpatico Kitchen Dogs, New England Auto Center, Detroit Collision, Jamestown Hardware, Trattoria Simpatico, Gold Gyms of South Florida, Conanicut Marine Services, Attorney Gloria Dahl, Diane Hurley, Oscar Benson Birmingham, Central Garage, Island Rubbish Service, Evan Corporation, Catherine Jamieson Salon, Murphy’s Law, RI Turnpike & Bridge Authority, Island Realty, House of Pizza, Noel and Fuzzy, and Wayne & Phyllis Wilkie,

Thanks also to our raffle contributors: Providence Beverage, Conanicut Marine Services, Kerry Clarke, Jamestown Fitness, World Gym, Page’s liquors, Jamestown Hardware, Trattoria Simpatico, Eagle Quest Golf Dome, Bay Voyage Inn, R & R Gallery, Jamestown Designs, Stonecraft Sterling, AJ Martin Company, Greg Gamon of US Foodservice, Theatre Family Restaurant, Bob Goode of Aquidneck Lobster, Jamestown Oyster Bar, Anita Haircut, Secret Garden, Jamestown Golf Course, Stearns Farms Reality, and Grapes & Gourmet.

And a thank-you to Kathy Westall, Amanda & Kerry, Linda Wallace and Phyllis Bedard for all your help.

This year’s tournament is to benefit the Jamestown School Yearbook and selected various charities.

Thanks to all participants and volunteers, especially Joe and Harriet Mistowski.

Francis Hamilton & Bob Clarke,

tournament organizers

Highway barn water

The following letter was recently sent to the Town Council and copied to the Press.

Councilors:

The last design plan submitted to RIDEM by GZA, the town’s engineering firm, designates the water supply that is to be used by the town’s Public Works Department at the proposed highway garage as non-potable. The plan shows a waterline from a nonpotable well on Lot 47 going across the landfill to the highway garage on North Road.

A non-potable well can contain concentrations of various chemicals such as volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds as well as heavy metals. The Jamestown landfill has exhibited all of these compounds with some exceeding safe drinking water standards.

Non-potable water is dangerous and therefore its use is restricted: no dermal contact, inhalation, or ingestion exposure. In short, it should not be used for drinking, showering, contact with skin, clothing, or food.

Although non-potable water can be filtered, filters pose problems. No single filter removes all contaminates and none are fail safe. Examples include:

1. Carbon treatment — removes some VOCs, but not heavy metals.

2. Reverse osmosis — removes some metals, but not VOCs and semiVOCs.

Also not practical for a large system because 75 percent of water is wasted.

3. Ozone — removes phenols, but not metals. Also can produce harmful byproducts in drinking water. Example: if bromide is present in raw water, ozone reacts with it to form bromate, a known carcinogen.

4. Distillation — removes heavy metals, but not VOCs or semi-VOCs.

Filtration systems also must be meticulously maintained. For carbon filters the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry conducted an Exposure Investigation. They noted that depending on contaminants showerheads and filters became clogged within two months. They recommended that filters be replaced every three months, more so if showers last more than 1 1/2 minutes to 10 minutes per day.

“The effectiveness of a carbon unit also depends on the extent of contact between the carbon and untreated water. Channels can form within the filter allowing some water to bypass the filtering material, short circuiting treatment.

“Healthy Drinking Water for Rhode Islanders, Activated Carbon Treatment of Drinking Water Supplies, RIDOH & URI, April 2003

Using a non-potable water supply for DPW workers is a human health exposure which should not be contemplated. As Town Councilors, a safe water supply is your responsibility. You cannot depend on the Department of Environmental Management, Office of Waste Management, to weigh in on this subject. Their only jurisdiction is to remediate the landfill. Water choice is yours alone.

Once the garage is built, however, and the workers are exposed to nonpotable water, OSHA will weigh in. Regulation 1910.141(b) (2) (i) (iii) “Non-potable water shall not be used for drinking, washing of any portion of the person, cooking, washing of food, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, or personal service rooms (i e rest rooms), or for washing of clothes.”

Jamestown faces enough serious health problems without exposing workers to water which knowingly contains dangerous pollutants.

James Cardi, MD,

1181 North Main Rd.

Empty Bowls thanks

The response to the Empty Bowls night was overwhelming! Thank-you to all who came and supported this fight against hunger.

We raised over $5,500 (from the sale of 356 bowls, spoons, and napkins, plus 40 T-shirts) which will be donated to the RI Food Bank, North Kingstown Food Pantry, Jamestown Food Closet, and the Jonnycake Center.

This was a combined effort of: the Lawn Avenue Middle School, the Melrose Avenue Elementary School, the after-school programs, Ann Defley, Louise Brendlinger, Kim McDonough, Ali’s Challenge, the Parent Teacher Org, the Jamestown Press, Yankee Housewrights, McQuade’s Marketplace, House of Pizza, Superior Baking Company, Ace’s Pizza, Village Hearth, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Horton’s, Belmont Market, Stop ‘n’ Shop, the Salvation Army, many parents, and the children of Jamestown.

Our objectives were:

• To raise as much money as possible to fight hunger.

• To increase awareness of hunger and foster an attitude that doesn’t allow it to exist.

• To nurture the creative process through finding new solutions to old problems.

• To provide a powerful learning service project for students.

We think we did it! If you didn’t have the opportunity to buy a bowl, spoon, and napkin, we’ll have the few left available at the Teen Craft Fair at the library in December. All the proceeds from that sale will go to the RI Food Bank.

Many thanks again.

Julia Montminy, Liz Perez, Trish Van Cleef, Liz Byrne, Eleanor

Hanson, and Linda Faria, parent

organizers of Empty Bowls

Good deed

While on a bicycle ride in Jamestown last month, I lost my change purse. It contained some cash, bank card, drivers license, and a treasured “lucky” silver dollar dated 1878.

Thanks to the honesty and effort of a state DEM parks & recreation employee at Ft. Wetherill at Beavertail, my lucky silver dollar came back to me!

He apparently found my purse while working at Beavertail. I had stopped at the lighthouse to shed some clothing and had left it on a post. He made a few phone calls and determined that a Jamestown resident with the same last name did in fact know me. He delivered the purse to him fully intact. The individual would not leave his name. He said he was “only doing his job.”

It is indeed gratifying and heartwarming in today’s sometimes-greedy and selfish society to be the beneficiary of such a good deed! I am very grateful! Thank you, anonymous sir!

Ellen LaFazia

Tiverton, RI

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