Providence Launches Safe Stations – SustainPVD, February 13, 2018
Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction? Providence Safe Stations is your connection to recovery. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can visit any of Providence’s 12 fire stations, speak with the trained staff on duty, and immediately get connected to treatment support and services. Providence Safe Stations is free and provides a welcoming environment for when you’re ready for recovery. Learn more at pvdsafestations.com.
The City is hiring a part-time Health & Sustainability Program Associate – SustainPVD, February 13, 2018
The Program Associate will support the Offices of Sustainability and Healthy Communities Office by assisting with community events and programs, managing social media, crafting fresh and engaging content, and executing other strategies to support community programs related to health and environment. The position offers an opportunity to learn about local government while helping Providence neighborhoods become healthier and greener. This position reports to the Director of Sustainability in collaboration with the Healthy Communities Office, Department of Communications, and Community Relations. Apply here>>
Venue, Environmental Justice Debated at LNG Hearing – ecori.org, February 5, 2018
PROVIDENCE — Attendees entering Veterans Memorial Auditorium last Wednesday night were greeted with a pat-down and bag search, and were prohibited from carrying in computers, food and beverages.
Several of the 60 or so on hand for the Jan. 31 “listening session” hosted by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) complained about the rigorous security measures and location of the venue, on the Avenue of the Arts near the Statehouse and DEM headquarters.
“If this is some sort of statement on how seriously DEM takes public involvement in their processes then it’s a joke. A total and complete embarrassment,” said Aaron Jaehnig of the Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Others noted that prior hearings were equally uninviting for residents from the South Providence and Washington Park neighborhoods, where a waterfront liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility has been proposed. One of the project’s previous hearings was held at the city’s police headquarters.
Roger Williams Park Conservancy Names Megan E. Fischer Inaugural Executive Director – rwpconservancy.org
The Roger Williams Park Conservancy has announced Megan E. Fischer as its first-ever executive director.
Fischer will be responsible for leading the Conservancy to achieve its mission and strategic goals. She will foster Board development, create and manage a strategic plan, develop appropriate programming, and implement a financial sustainability plan for the Conservancy.
Employment Authorization for Haitians with TPS Automatically Extended Until July 21, 2018
WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that current beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) under Haiti’s designation who want to maintain that status through the program’s termination date of July 22, 2019, must re-register between Jan. 18, 2018, and March 19, 2018. Re-registration procedures, including how to renew employment authorization documentation, have been published in the Federal Register and on uscis.gov/tps.
All applicants must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status. Applicants may also request an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by submitting a completed Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, at the time of filing Form I-821, or separately at a later date. Both forms are free for download on USCIS’ website at uscis.gov/tps.
USCIS will issue new EADs with a July 22, 2019, expiration date to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs. Given the timeframes involved with processing TPS re-registration applications, however, USCIS is automatically extending the validity of EADs that show an expiration date of Jan. 22, 2018, for 180 days through July 21, 2018. Additionally, individuals who have EADs with an expiration date of July 22, 2017, and who applied for a new EAD during the last re-registration period but have not yet received their new EADs are also covered by this automatic extension. These individuals may show their EAD indicating a July 22, 2017, expiration date and their EAD application receipt (Notice of Action, Form I-797C) that notes the application was received on or after May 24, 2017, along with this statement, to employers as proof of continued employment authorization through July 21, 2018.
On Nov. 20, 2017, former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke determined that disaster-related conditions in Haiti, upon which the country’s original designation was based, no longer supported its designation for TPS and announced the termination of the status. The Acting Secretary made her decision to terminate TPS for Haiti after reviewing country conditions and consulting with appropriate U.S. government agencies. She also delayed the effective date of the termination for 18 months from the current expiration date of Jan. 22, 2018, to allow time for an orderly transition. As a result of the delayed effective date, Haiti’s TPS designation will end on July 22, 2019.
Henrietta White-Holder Helps Immigrants Make a Home in RI – rimonthly.com, January 5, 2018
They call her “Auntie.”
Henrietta White-Holder is the founder and executive director of Higher Ground International (HGI), a nonprofit serving the West African communities of South Providence. But that doesn’t capture the pivotal roles she plays in so many people’s lives, so they sum it up with that simple term of endearment: Auntie.
When a young man who was forced to be a child soldier in the Liberian civil war needs to finally tell the story he’s never shared, even with his own family, he calls auntie Henrie, or Tonia, her Liberian name.
When an immigrant family struggles to navigate the unfamiliar bureaucracy of their child’s school, Auntie Henrie guides them.
When elders find themselves isolated and alone, without any family to care for them or any peers to socialize with, Auntie Henrie brings them together.
She doesn’t do this because it’s her job, she does it because she simply can’t ignore suffering. If she doesn’t help, who else will? “I’ve lived in this community and I can’t just sit idly by and see the same struggles continue over and over again,” she says. “Not only here, but back home as well. That is why I have to stand up and make difference.”
Providence has one of America’s largest West African immigrant populations, but few social service agencies know how to reach it. HGI has that reach, providing literacy classes, job and computer training, professional skills and elder care.
2018 Reading Across Rhode Island selection is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – rihumanities.org, December 15, 2017
Reading Across Rhode Island, Rhode Island’s One Book, One State community read program kicks off its 16th year by inviting everyone to join in the reading of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Reading Across Rhode Island is a program of the Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, made possible through a vibrant collaboration of librarians, teachers, book group leaders and readers from across the state. The 2018 program runs from January through May with readers in Rhode Island classrooms, libraries, community centers, bookstores and book groups invited to join discussions and participate in local community events such as lectures, exhibits and dramatic interpretations centered on this year’s selection.
Hope & Thyme: A New Food Space at 1577 Westminster – wbna.org, December 2017
In 2010, WBNA developed the first floor of its then-newly-constructed building at 1577 Westminster Street expressly for a grocery store. After co-op food market Fertile Underground – having operated in the space for six years – closed its doors earlier this year, we sought a grocer once again to bring fresh, locally-sourced and healthy food to our neighborhood.
Turnaround Arts: Providence Schools Celebrate the Season with Performances and Community Events – artculturetourism.com, December 2017
On December 6th the Roger Williams Middle School Choir sang at the State House and their performance (along with all of the State House performances) will be shown on Ocean State Network (OSN) on Christmas Day.
Proposed LNG facility in Providence gets state agency OK – projo.com, December 12, 2017
Despite the vociferous objections of protesters, a controversial project to build a liquefied natural gas facility on the Providence waterfront cleared an important hurdle on Tuesday night when state regulators determined that the project does not violate Rhode Island’s coastal policies.
Liquor Store Hours Bill, June 20, 2017
A new bill is being introduced to both the RI house and senate which would limit liquor sales to no earlier than 9:00 am. This would be beneficial for our neighborhoods as some liquor stores open at 7:00 am.
The House hearing on moving liquor store openings from 7am to 9am is Tuesday 6/20 at the Rise of the House (5pm).
Please attend to show support and testify for this bill.
Please help to spread the word.
The House version of the bill will be heard by the Municipal Government Committee, but that hearing has not yet been scheduled. It will probably be next week. Community voices on this issue are very much needed. I’ll keep in touch in case I hear about the scheduling before you do.
Here’s the text of the House Bill: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText17/HouseText17/H6339.pdf
The bill to change opening time of liquor stores to 9:00 am was heard in the Senate on 6/14. I understand that the Mayor’s Office for Healthy Communities and and Sgt. Tejada from the Police Department were present to speak in support of the bill but no residents or other stakeholders were present. It is reported that the Senate committee recommended to hold it for further study.
Here’s the text of the Senate bill: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText17/SenateText17/S0940.pdf
Earlier this month, Senator Metts (District 6) introduced a bill to push back opening hours to 9AM from 7AM. That bill was held for further study.
Now, Representatives Williams, Almeida, Diaz, Hull, and Slater are introducing a similar bill, which also proposes to push back opening hours to 9AM from 7AM. I have attached this new bill for your reference.
A public hearing will be held, Tuesday, June 20, at 5:00PM at the State House in Room 203. Interested individuals are encouraged to testify! If you are unable to testify in person, you may submit written testimony. Matthew Shumate, Deputy Director of Partnerships for the City of Providence, has graciously offered to submit your testimony for you if you email it to him at email@example.com by 2:00PM tomorrow. You can also contact Matthew at 401-688-3557 with any questions.
Mashapaug Park, June 19, 2017
The Providence Parks Department has developed a conceptual plan for a new park, Mashapaug Park. This is a transformation of the Gorham Silver site off Reservoir Avenue. The new park is based on ideas and feedback received from neighbors last year. The plan so far is quite minimal due both to funding limitations and also to the idea that as people continue to use the area more and more, the next steps for development will become more obvious. Further development will be based on how residents are using or want to use the park. As of now, plans for a walking trail, benches, and some signage are being put forth.
A bid package will be circulated within the next month by the Parks Department to find a contractor to complete the work. The Parks Department has received preliminary approval from the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to move forward on this plan.
If anyone would be interested in discussing putting together a “grand opening” event to celebrate the new park – likely sometime late summer or fall – please contact:
An Appeal for 1292 Westminster Street
HDC Hearing on June 26, 2017, at 4:45pm (444 Westminster)
Most urban planners agree that one of the keys to a vibrant and healthy city is the mixed-use nature of its built environment: commercial properties fueling the local economy by offering services and jobs mixed with residential dwellings and open spaces such as parks and green space.
On Monday, June 26, developers of 1292 Westminster Street will come before the Providence Historic District Commission (HDC) to present plans for demolition of the existing structure and construction of a four story building in its place that has 36 market-rate one bedroom units, 20 parking spaces and no retail on the ground floor.
The current structure (most recently owned by New Covenant Church) contains four ground floor retail spaces. These units have the potential to be the central anchor of a retail core on our main street of Westminster, which WBNA, neighbors, local developers and city planners have been working to sustainably revitalize for decades.
New owner, Mike Lemoi, has a previous development plan for the property that was mixed use and included ground floor retail. WBNA asks neighbors and local businesses to come to the HDC meeting on June 26 to testify and appeal to Lemoi to include ground floor commercial space once again in his plans, so that his development can contribute to the growing vibrancy in the neighborhood.
Great strides are being made towards revitalizing our main streets with the recent and pending opening of new restaurants, stores, and cafes along Westminster and Broadway. This important part of Westminster Street could bring us one step closer to the densely commercial urban stretches of Wickenden Street, Olneyville Square, and Hope Street.
These streets serve neighbors, contribute to the local economy and make for a SWELL (Shop, Work, Eat, Live, Learn Locally) neighborhood. Economically, providing ground floor retail along the Westminster Street side of the property makes good sense, and would be a winning situation for both the community and the developer.
Local business owners, please let 1292 Westminster’s new owner know about the vitality of your business and the importance of growing our neighborhood’s commercial main streets. Neighbors, please be heard on what it means to you to live in a walkable community that has access to local services and products.
Historic District Commission Meeting
What: Project Review of 1292 Westminster
When: Monday, June 26, 2017
Where: 1st Floor Conference Room of Joseph A. Doorley, Jr. Municipal Building at 444 Westminster Street
Why: Advocate for development that benefits both developer and the community
Plans for 1292 Westminster submitted to HDC
Know a Theatre: The Wilbury Theatre Group – americantheater.org, May 30, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Wilbury Theatre Group sits at the intersection of three neighborhoods in Rhode Island’s capital city. The company presents edgy new work at its home in the historic Trinity Square Theater at the Southside Cultural Center. We spoke to founding artistic director Josh Short via email to learn about producing theatre in the state known for its sandy beaches and college towns—and in the town known for the legacy theatre Trinity Rep.
Peek Inside Private Properties at Festival of Historic Houses – rimonthly.com, May 25, 2017
More than a dozen properties in the Upper Elmwood Historic District in Providence will welcome the public for self-guided tours.
Providence City Council President Luis Aponte Pleads Not Guilty To Four Charges – ripr.org, May 10, 2017
Providence City Council President Luis Aponte pleaded not guilty after being arraigned Wednesday on four charges related to his campaign finances.
Providence’s low self-esteem on display for decades to come?
Check out WBNA Executive Director Kari Lang’s Op-Ed in Providence Business News about two hotel proposals slated for development along the I-95 Service Road, a gateway to our west and south side communities.
Gilbert Stuart and Roger Williams to Participate in National Turnaround Arts Program – providenceri.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Providence Public School District, the Providence Department of Art, Culture + Tourism and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts have announced that DelSesto, Gilbert Stuart and Roger Williams Middle Schools will join Turnaround Arts at the start of next school year.
Providence’s Broad Street to be Latino cultural corridor – Providence Journal, April 13, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and other community leaders on Thursday announced $4.3 million in investments in the Broad Street corridor and a new effort to rebrand the neighborhood as Providence’s Latino cultural corridor.
Natural-Gas Leak Puts Pressure on Fossil-Fuel Projects – ecoRI News, April 1, 2017
PROVIDENCE — National Grid is keeping quiet about a March 29 natural-gas leak on Allens Avenue, but critics of the major expansion of natural-gas infrastructure taking place across the region are speaking up.
Anne Grant: Neighborhood Doesn’t Share in City’s Rise – Providence Journal, March 28, 2017
From where he sits at The Providence Journal, Mark Patinkin sees a city rising (“Time to celebrate Providence’s rising fortunes,” March 11, 2017). From our home on the Southside, we see a city in collapse.
While downtown investors roll out the red carpet for four new hotels and multi-million-dollar Ivy League expansions, some want to sweep homeless people in our direction. Patinkin sees that “panhandling has taken some of the shine off Providence. … Challenges indeed remain.”
Let’s talk about those.
Hearings Scheduled for Providence LNG Facility – ecoRI News, March 21, 2017
Expect large crowds at upcoming hearings for the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project slated for the Providence waterfront.
The Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) is hosting the public meetings, scheduled for April 26 and May 9. Due to public outcry about the $100 million project, the location of the meetings will likely be held at a site that can accommodate a big turnout.
The controversial project has been somewhat slow to progress since it was announced in 2015. Numerous construction efforts at the 42-acre site on the Providence River have created confusion about what is being built and who is responsible for the many permits and approvals.
Most Providence neighborhoods aren’t recycling properly – Providence Journal, March 20, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – When garbage is collected across Providence’s East Side Monday morning, approximately 36% of it will be recycled, a rate that compares favorably to nearly every community in Rhode Island. But as trash is picked up in other parts of the city throughout the week, the recycling rate will plummet, falling under 1% in some of the Providence’s poorest neighborhoods, an Eyewitness News review of waste collection data shows.
Ward Weathers: Neighborhood bears too many of society’s burdens – Providence Journal, February 23, 2017
It should have been no surprise that residents of Elmwood and South Providence lashed out at former Mayor Joseph Paolino over his plan to create a halfway house for the homeless in the middle of an already overburdened neighborhood (“A big thumbs down,” news, Jan. 25). If you corner and beat an abused dog, sooner or later it is bound to bite.
Sprint will give mobile devices to 250 Providence high school students – Providence Journal, January 27, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As part of the Sprint’s 1Million Project, 250 Providence high school students will receive a free mobile device and free wireless connectivity as the pilot program kicks off at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School Friday.
South Providence resists Paolino’s plan for St. Joseph’s – rifuture.org, January 24, 2017
No good deed goes unpunished. Joe Paolino relearned this lesson the hard way today when he formally announced his plan to turn part of St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Providence into 140 affordable housing units for homeless and indigent people.
Paolino’s plan to provide housing to homeless faces community backlash – wpri.com, January 24, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino’s Tuesday press conference to announce his plans to convert St. Joseph’s Hospital into a social service center and housing complex for the needy quickly turned into a community rally opposing the project.
Paolino wants to convert St. Joe’s Hospital into center for social services, housing, – wpri.com, January 23, 2017
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino confirmed Monday he has purchased St. Joseph’s Hospital in South Providence and plans to convert it into a social service center that will also provide long-term housing to more than 300 homeless people.
Opponents Ask State to Halt Providence LNG Project – ecoRI News, November 4, 2016
PROVIDENCE — Opposition is growing as plans advance for a new natural-gas facility on the city’s waterfront.
Providence Community Library Receives 2016 RI Literacy Award, November 1, 2016
The Rhode Island Literacy Award recognizes literacy partnerships with the state library community. The Providence Community Library was chosen as this year’s awardee for their Spanish language GED program, which grew out of expressed needs in the community and has served more than 500 students over the last five years.
“Some participants have gone on to enjoy life-changing opportunities. PCL’s GED teacher, Hipolito Reyes (at right), has made a huge personal contribution to this program’s success. … We have 90 students enrolled in the current year and with this award, PCL will be able to buy more materials and expand our library collection for future classes.” -Michelle Novello, Program Coordinator, Providence Community Library
This award is administer by The Rhode Island Center for the Book with the generous support of David Rubenstein and the Library of Congress.
Chicago Native Offers Providence Ray of Hope – ecoRI News, August 20, 2016
PROVIDENCE — If kids are having problems in the city’s schools or on its streets, there’s a good chance that Brother Ray Smith knows about it.
Top Lawmakers Ignore Waterfront Environmental Concerns – ecoRI News, August 17, 2016
PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s elected representatives didn’t even flinch when, right before the 2016 session ended, they OK’d putting a bond to expand the Port of Providence, which included the possibility of using taxpayer money to fill in 31 acres of Narragansett Bay, on the Nov. 8 ballot.
South Side Says No to More LNG in Providence – ecoRI News, July 19, 2016
PROVIDENCE — The Port of Providence could become home to another fracked-gas facility this year, if all goes according to National Grid’s plan. The proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) compressor station is budgeted at $180 million and poses significant threats to the health and safety of residents in the area, according to a report by the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI).