2007-05-10 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

On May 18, Alice Dunn will graduate with high honors from the CCRI School of Nursing as a registered nurse.

That would not be an unusual statement, particularly this time of the year, except that Alice has achieved it by trekking to night courses in all types of weather for 13 years.

She also achieved something else. Something more important. She raised three sons the past 15 years on her own. Nathan, 21, is at New England Tech, Russell, 19, at URI, and Wyatt, 17, is a junior at North Kingstown High School.

With Mother's Day on Sunday, Alice gets our nod as the island's mother of the year.

During all those years her studies took her to hospitals throughout the state on weekends and Monday evenings. On other nights, for eight years, she waited tables at East Side Marios's in Newport and worked part-time at the Jamestown Early Learning Center. When she could, she drove her children around. "I did everything you have to do with kids," she said.

Eleven years ago she came to work at the Jamestown Press as business manager and is now general manager. Her desk at the paper looks out through the front door and up Clinton Avenue to where her home is located. "I could keep a good eye on the kids," she quipped, adding that they gave her little trouble and she sensed her children understood how tough it was to get by and helped her as much as possible as they grew older. She said the Press job gave her the flexibility to do all the things that she had to do with her children.

We asked if becoming a nurse had always been her dream? No, she replied laughing, and explained that when she started taking courses she was taking care of two separate elderly women. "One of them I was cooking for and helping her get settled nights. The other was a Saturday job that entailed being more or less a companion for the woman. I thought that taking a course would be a good thing to do if I were to continue in private duty."

Now 55, Alice came to Jamestown from New Hampshire when she was 2. Her father had opened Hammond Hardware, well-remembered by long-time residents.

In addition to her three sons, the well-known beagle, Rocket, now 15, and cats Billy and Daisy, both 12, share the Dunn home.

She told us that for the past 13 years "I did nothing but work, raise kids and study," so, we asked her what she was now going to do with the pressure off and all the spare time on her hands.

"I'm going on in the fall to the URI College of Nursing. My goal is to have my masters when I'm 60."

*** Another shell was added to the arsenal this week with a fireworks donation from Patricia Venable and Amy Ciuffreda of Ave. B. We'll be glad to blow up their money and yours, too! Send your check to the Fireworks Fund, Box 1776, Jamestown, 02835, or drop it off at the Jamestown Press office.

KA-BOOM!!

***

Jeff Hunter has joined other islanders, Martin Hellewell and Fred Pease as performers in the Tubaphonia Concert this Saturday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the North Kingstown High School auditorium.

Jeff will play tuba, Martin the double-bell euphonium, and Fred the sousaphone. Martin is co-organizer of this free event that will be entitled "An Armed Forces Salute."

Musicians of all ages from the tri-state area will bring their low, conical brass horns including baritones and euphoniums, opheleids and helicons and tubas of all sizes.

Nationally renowned tubist and conducter Gary Buttery will again lead the talented assemblage.

Martin said the performance occurs one week before Armed Forces Day, "so we will parade the colors and salute our veterans and armed forces with patriotic tunes, melodies and anthems."

The concert will also feature a prelude to the Echo Taps Worldwide which starts at Flanders' Field, Belgium, at 11 a.m. (GMT) on May 19, (Armed Forces Day), and here in the U.S. at 11 a.m. (EDT), continuing westward by time zones.

At that ceremony at the Rhode Island Veteran's Cemetery in Exeter, islander Ed Kurtz will play taps on his trumpet and join the other three brass horn players from Jamestown.

***

Ed Gillis said he saw a coyote on Highland Drive "that was the size of a German sheperd."

***

I know a little bit about a lot of things, but...................

***

Heidi Lessard at The Secret Garden last Sunday said that with the weather forecast for a cold night it was the first time in the 10 years tshe has been there that she was going to have to bring the plants inside so late in the spring.

Must have something to do with that darn global warming.

*** Congratulations to three Jamestown youths who participated in the 2007 Newport YMCA Youth Triathlon April 28 and ended up first in their individual age groups, one of whom was the overall winner.

Noah Simmons was the first to complete the triathon. He competed in the 7- and 8-year-old boys group. In the 7- and 8-year-old girls competition Eliza Kallfelz was the first to finish in her class, as was Emily Kallfelz in the 9- and 10-year-old girls group.

The event consisted of a 2-mile bike ride, a 1-mile run, and a 100- yard swim.

***

Some 300 people consumed 74 pounds of pasta and 60 pounds of meatballs Saturday night and helped send the Boy Scouts of Troop 1 to camp this year.

It was the troop's annual Pasta Supper fund-raiser at St. Matthew's and the event's quartermaster, Maryann Toppa, said serving desserts and coffee outside this year was a big success.

Scoutmaster Dave Volpe set the troop members' assignments. Assisting chefs Jim Archibald and John Keavy in the kitchen were scouts Drew Matley, John Chase, Sal Morenzi and Nathaniel Hopkins. Hosts were Brian Volpe and Kyle Wright. Dylan Walsh oversaw the dinner traffic and Michael Brendlinger was in charge of the desserts. Headwaiters were Shane Farrelly, Chris Waterman, Eric Archibald and Cam Toppa assisted by waiters Daniel Bailey, Nick Lutes, Hayden Maclean, Josh Nolan, Evin Barrett, Nick Dalton, Sam DiGaspar, Nick Hanson, Patrick Bretti, Nick Fay, Vaughn Nelson-Lee, James Perry, Jack Tregenza, Jamie Mielde, Colin Toth and Bud Oldewurtel.

The Dutra Farm donated the Rhody Fresh milk and McQuade's contributed all the pasta.

Great job, guys!!

***

Those planning to attend the Conanicut Island Art Association's annual meeting are reminded to get their reservations in by Monday, May 14. Karen Krider says the information is needed in order to know the number of dinners to plan for at the PAC Club.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and feature world-renowned artist and Jamestowner John Mecray as guest speaker. In addition, Karen said there is "some great news to report."

"People are welcome to join the Art Association and attend," she added.

For additional information call Jocelyn Donaghue at 423-3297.

Keep your pets cool, says Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic in his Pet Tip of the Week.

"As our pets and we are spending more time outdoors, make sure to take adequate precautions to avoid heat and sun-related injuries. Make sure pets have access to shade and clean water at all times. Monitor pets for signs of heat stress including excessive panting, weakness, or disorientation and contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of those signs.

"Be especially careful with older animals and with short-faced dogs like pugs and bulldogs that tend to have more breathing issues normally. Exercise your pets n the morning or evening and avoid the mid-day heat as much as possible. And finally, shaving a long-haired dog may help them stay cool, but it can also lead to increased risk of sunburned skin so be careful about how much time they spend in direct sunlight after they have been shaved."

ARF!!

***

Don't forget the giant yard sale at the Jamestown School on Melrose Avenue, Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon to benefit 10-year-old Payton Watson who is being treated for leukemia.

Come early, it's going to be a biggy.

***

Isn't it just a little over the top closing a school down for a week because of a broken thermometer?

My mom used to drop and break them regularly.

Things must be slow at the DEM.

***

Sunday is Mother's Day. Get those reservations in, or else!

Tuesday is Peace Officers' Memorial Day.

***

Be true!!

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

Return to top