2007-01-18 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

For the many island residents who had their homeowner's policies yanked out from under them and are now paying four or more times what they once were, there is a glimmer of light on the horizon.

Concerned legislators met with representatives of insurance companies for three hours last week in an attemptto glean from them the reasons the cancellations went out. There didn't appear to be many good answers to the inquiries.

To get some idea of the reactions of lawmakers to the meeting, we asked Jamestown Rep. Bruce Long to fill us in.

He said that in reaction to the skyrocketing increases and/or non-renewals of homeowners' insurance policies the Rhode Island House has formed an ad hoc committee.

"I understand the costs and issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, but to place Rhode Islanders in this untenable position without demonstrable justification is simply unacceptable. So far the testimony given, in my opinion, doesn't add up. We have been told that projections indicate that our homes are in peril of a future natural-type disaster. We understand the concept of insurance and shared risk, but to go to your mailbox and find a non-renewal notice or overly stringent requirements is unfair," Bruce said.

He added that more hearings will be held and "legislation is anticipated." Bruce noted that the ad hoc committee was initiated by Reps. Paul Crowley of Newport, and John Patrick Shanley of South Kingstown.

Thanks for the update. Bruce said he'd keep us informed as events develop.

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Some weekends at the transfer station, affectionatly known as the dump, it's like Christmas morning.

On the unloading platform, visitors might find toys that children have outgrown, furniture that has outlived the times, working electrical appliances for people who may have use for them, plus all sorts of interesting former personal possessions. Near the metals container, there may be bicycles and lawnmowers that need only the fine touches of a mechanically diverse individual.

Last Saturday morning in a light rain, a child's table with various games built in on top, three storm doors, a wicker trunk that seemed beyond saving, a garden hose, a picture frame, a light bulb, two pairs of girls ice skates, four matching dining chairs with cushions, and about a dozen and a half books that the rain was slowly soaking sat waiting.

All free for the pickin'.

We asked dump meister Harry Curfman what was the most unusual thing that he can remember that was brought in. He couldn't put his finger on any one item and said, "A lot of different stuff comes in." Looking over the current collection, he explained that he held on to the beat up wicker trunk a little longer than usual because "there are good brass pieces on it that could be used by someone with a similar trunk."

How long does he leave the stuff on the platform? Pointing at the books, he said usually about a week, but after this rain, "come Monday most of it will go in," indicating the container in which we throw our stuff.

Harry pointed out pictures with telephone numbers tacked to the wall on the platform. They showed two rooms with shiny wooden cabinets. He explained that although the cabinets were only a couple of years old, a resident was renovating and offering the old units free. Harry had suggested the pictures rather than have the cabinets ruined by the weather.

Sounds to us like he has things well under control at the dump and best of all remembers that old adage, one person's junk is another person's treasure. We hate to use that overworked phrase, but we will anyway because that's what makes a visit to the dump just like Christmas morning.

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One happy guy is Chris Crawford whose Colts advanced again in the NFLplayoffs.

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Kudos to police Sgt. Keith Woodbine. Good guys don't always finish last.

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Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic says we should get it right the first time around.

"Puppy training is one of the most critical phases of dog ownership. Many people feel that puppies are just puppies and that training can come later, but starting young improves the likelihood of having a well-behaved, obedient pet, and the training process actually strengthens the bonds with the owners. The first thing to do is have a consistent schedule with your dog. Walks to go potty, feeding times, and bedtimes should all be kept as regular as possible, and the dog will soon learn what is expected of it.

"The puppy should be rewarded with praise and treats when doing what you want, whether sitting quietly or when doing their business in the yard. Using treats to distract dogs from bad behavior like barking or chewing on the furniture only confuses the dog and possibly rewards the bad behavior. Doing some reading on proper puppy training can accelerate the process and avoid the frustration of having to try to re-train your pet when they are older."

Woof!

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Many happy returns to Dick Wing, who was 63 last Friday. Hugs, please!

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Boy Scout Troop 1's ski trip to Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire scheduled for last weekend was cancelled due to no snow.

If the weather stays cold, the Scouts will try it again the weekend of Feb. 9, 10 and 11.

*** Who really is Mark Haddad?

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You can tell newcomers to the island. When they get out of their cars, they lock them.

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Patty Vandal writes, "I would like to thank the good Samaritan who took the time to leave me a note in my car door informing me that my right rear tire was low. I don't get in on the right side and I never would have noticed it. They found a screw in the tire at the garage and fixed it for me. I really appreciate this person's thoughtfulness."

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The Jamestown PTO will sponsor a Family Movie Night Friday, Jan. 26, at the Melrose school.

"Barnyard" will be shown from 4:30 to 6:30 and "Antibully" from 7 to 9.

Moviegoers are advised to bring a blanket or low-back beach chair. All children must be accompanied by an adult chaperone.

Admission is $3 per person and includes a piece of pizza and juice box. Candy, popcorn, and additional pizza and drinks will be sold. Each ticket will be entered into a raffle.

Hmmm, candy, popcorn, and extra pizza.

However, in the school newspaper, Jamestown Warrior, an unsigned note to parents reads, "The Health and Wellness Committee has informed us that we are unable to sell Girl Scout cookies at the schools. We appreciate your cooperation regarding this matter."

Does one sense a bit of inconsistency here?

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Kudos to island residents named to the dean's list at the University of Rhode Island for the fall semester. They are Caroline H. Anderson, Andrew F. Aveledo, Janice B. Barron, Iris S. Bohensky, Andrea C. Brayman, Kyle M. Carlson, Bethany C. Clarke, Adam C. DiLuglio, Christopher C. Hart, Clifton T. Hart, Corey A. Lester, Lydia M. Lis, Michael A. Nadeau, Qian Q. Ni, Marisa R. Nixon, Keith W. Simmons, Rosita V. Smith, Sarah J. Smyth, Richard S. Tutalo, Alexander H. White, Rachel A. Wigton, and Rebekah L. Wigton.

Great job!!

*** Be true!

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Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. You can e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com, or drop your items off at the Jamestown Press office.

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