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Bobby, Carrie, and their three children, Caylee, Landon and Sophie of Smithfield, winners of our walking series, had a blast making memories and getting into the spirit at The Blackstone Valley Polar Express Train Ride in November.

Choosing the right orthodontist isn’t easy. Until you hear what our patients have to say. When I was told that my child needed braces, my neighbor suggested Dr. Romani. And when I asked her why, she smiled and said: “Well, look what she did for my teeth, and now that Anthony is old enough, she’s taking care of his smile as well…in fact, it was my dentist that recommended Dr. Romani and I’m so glad he did.” –Manuela C, Chepachet office patient See for yourself why so many neighbors and dentists recommend Romani Orthodontics. Call today for a free comprehensive evaluation. Dr. Kirsten Romani Certified Elite Preferred Provider of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen ®



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10/16/17 2:58 PM

Smithfield’s All-Lit-Up Christmas Parade By Brittni Henderson

Smithfield’s All-Lit-Up Christmas parade will be back for its fourth ride on Saturday, December 7th at 4pm. The parade will begin at Smithfield High School; continue down Pleasant View Avenue, heading towards Deerfield Drive. The numerous floats and displays make their way up Lisa Ann Drive, towards Lucille Drive, and eventually onto Austin Avenue. Upon completion, the Christmas tree on the

Village Green will be lit for the first time amongst the sound of holiday music ringing through the air. The parade’s procession is possible due to the hard work of volunteer committee members, including co-chairs Representative Thomas Winfield and Kate McAdam-Prickett from the Smithfield Senior Center. Other volunteers include Captain Ken Brown, Chief Bob Seltzer, Dorothy Swain,



Christmas Parade SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2019 - 4:00pm

Parade route begins at Smithfield High School and ends at the Village Green. 4

Parade route begins at the Smithfield High School and ends at the Village Green2019 December (Greenville Center across from the Fire station) for the Lighting of the Tree!

Review Your Trust Annually Review Your Trust Annually Your Trust Annually To Protect Your Assets To To Protect Protect Your YourAssets Assets

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300 Front Street, Lincoln, Rhode Island, 02865-0089 (401) 726-5577

300 Front Street, Lincoln, Rhode Island, 02865-0089 (401) 726-5577

The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law. The Court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law. The Court does not license or certify any lawyer as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.

Ann Marie Donahue, Charlie Walsh, Karen Armstrong and Robert Caine. In honor of this year’s parade landing on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, two Veterans have been named Grand Marshals. Alonzo “Lonnie” Thurber and Robert “Bob” Buonacorsi will he joined by another special guest, Noah Antunes, who has been named Junior Grand Marshal for this parade. Antunes is currently undergoing treatment for Burkitt Lymphoma and became a local celebrity as he was welcomed home from the hospital with his own parade of supporters in October. Last year’s parade had over 60 participants and twice as many spectators as the previous year. This year is expected to have a similar turn out, with more cheer than ever before. Also returning in this year’s parade is the winner of the “What Christmas Means to Me” essay competition. The winner of this contest will be crowned the Illuminator of the parade and is assigned a special vehicle to ride upon for the day. The winning writer also has the great honor of illuminating the

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Christmas tree. One of biggest and most exciting raffles to support the parade is the Snowball Drop Raffle, which was held on November 16, 2019. This involved selling 500 numbered golf balls and coinciding raffle tickets. The golf balls were dropped from a ladder on a Smithfield Fire Truck and those that landed on the bullseye won the corresponding dollar amount, either $100, $200, or $300. The winners were announced on Facebook.



By Robert W. Seltzer

Winter and the holiday season are both upon us Here are some safety tips to guide you through both Space Heater Safety

Do not use accelerants like gasoline or lighter fluid to start a fire.

• Only use space heaters with an Underwriter’s Laboratory approval or other recognized national testing laboratory.

• Use a metal container with a lid to remove ashes.

• Keep a three-foot clearance between all heating equipment and anything that can burn.

• Do not use plastic, paper, or cardboard containers to remove ashes, as those materials could easily catch fire.

• Turn off portable space heaters whenever leaving a room and before bed.

• Place metal container with embers far away from your home and any combustible material.

• Do not use your oven to heat your home.

• Do not vacuum hot embers.

Fireplace Safety

General Fire Safety Considerations

• Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a licensed professional before burning.

• Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.

• Always burn dry, clean wood.

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

• Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.

• Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one. •


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• Replace batteries at least once a year, or immediately if the low battery warning chirps. • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

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Display and Demonstration, Bouncy House and The Kidbus December 2019 Sponsored by: Smithfield Fire Department, Home Depot and Papa Gino’s

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Live Christmas Trees

• Clear snow away from vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace during and after a snowstorm.

• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.

• Keep generators outside and away from doors, windows, and vent openings.

• Before placing in stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.

• Have heating system and chimneys inspected each year before use.

• Keep tree at least three feet away from any heat source.

• Open the damper when using a fireplace.

• Add water to tree stand daily.

Holiday Decorations Safety Candles If you like to burn candles, there are some safety tips you should keep in mind. • Blow out candles when you leave a room or go to bed. • Avoid using candles in the bedroom or other areas where people fall asleep. • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily and place on a sturdy, clutter-free surface. • Keep hair and clothing away from the flame. • Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle.

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• Make sure tree is not blocking an exit. The Lights • Use lights that have the label of an Underwriter’s Laboratory approval or other recognized national testing laboratory. • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree. • Always turn of tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

Happy holidays from the men and women of the Smithfield Fire Department! 7

Advocate and community leader John J. Tassoni, Jr. named lobbyist for the Rhode Island SPCA RIVERSIDE -- The Rhode Island Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has announced that John J. Tassoni Jr., a former state senator and social justice advocate, will represent the organization’s interests in business legislation and regulations and government actions within the state for the 2020 legislative session. John J. Tassoni, Jr. Tassoni is also publisher of Common Ground, a radio talk show host, a mediator and a former union executive. In the senate, his advocacy for fair labor practices, affordable health care, substance use treatment, assistance for the homelessness and animal rights, earned him high praise among constituents and citizens. Additionally, he authored several pieces of legislation with regard to animal safety and protection, including sponsoring legislation that bans the use of carbon monoxide gas

chambers for animal euthanasia, mandatory spaying and neutering of cats and a bill that protects the interest of pets that become part of a court proceeding. “As a former senator, John Tassoni worked tirelessly to support the mission of the R.I. SPCA, and played a critical role in the passage of several key bills to improve the health and well-being of the animals in the state,” said Joseph Warzycha, Rhode Island SPCA president, in a press release. “We look forward to this new relationship and working with John to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” The RISPCA is charged with the sole purpose of protecting animal life in all situations that might endanger them. Founded in 1870, the society was the first humane organization in Rhode Island and is the third oldest humane organization in the United States. It is the only nonprofit animal welfare organization in the state that is legally able to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases.   Warzycha added that Rhode Island is ranked sixth in the nation for animal welfare laws by the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

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PETto benefitDRIVE Saturday, December 14th 8am ~ Noon 543 Putnam Pike, Smithfield ~ RISPCA Wish List Below ~ For more information call 401.451.1305 or email

Wish List

CATS Canned Cat Food (paté style)* Wood Stove Pellets Small Litter Boxes Small Cat Beds Catnip & Toys Cardboard Scratchers

DOGS Canned Dog Food* String Cheese, Hot Dogs, Peanut Butter, Dog Biscuits Dog Treats (no rawhide) Kong©, Nylabone© & Durable Toys Dog Waste Scoop Bags

SMALL ANIMALS CareFresh© Pet Bedding Wood Stove Pellets Oxbow Small Animal Food GIFT CARDS Petsmart, Petco, Target, Walmart,Stop & Shop, Shaws, Staples, Home Depot, Gas Cards Monetary Donations Welcome

FOSTER CARE PROGRAM Top Loading Cat Carriers KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) Esbilac (Puppy Milk Replacer) Heating Pads (w/out auto shut-off) Extra-Large Puppy Pads Rolled Cotton Non-Clumping Cat Litter OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS Paper Towels, Tissues Toilet Paper, Stamps Copy Paper (8.5x11) Liquid Hand Soap Hand Sanitizer Powdered Laundry Detergent Dryer Sheets Latex Surgical Gloves Trash & Ziploc Bags (all sizes) Clorox Bleach, Window Cleaner

*Our cats and dogs are on the Hill’s Science Diet shelter feeding program. Keeping the animals on a consistent diet helps them stay healthy while they are at the shelter. We are unable to use donations of other kinds of dry cat or dry dog food here at the shelter. Dry food that we cannot use is donated to other shelters or low-income pet owners. RISPCA IS A NON-PROFIT 501C3

RISPCA • 186 Amaral Street, Riverside, RI 02915 • (401) 438-8150 • The Smithfield Times, Inc.


Thank you for your continued support! Merry Christmas and Health & Happiness in the New Year!

From Our Family to Yours,

Representative Greg Costantino and Family


December 2019

The Garden at LaPerche By Joe Siegel Students at R. C. LaPerche Elementary School will soon be getting an education about the art of gardening. Jim Cogswell, who works as a money manager and realtor, approached the school administration about planting a garden. The first planting will begin in the spring. Cogswell said they would start with cold-weather crops such as green peas, carrots, and radishes. “I’ve always wanted to secretly become a farmer,” Cogswell explained. “I approached the Principal (Julie Dorsey) to see if they had any kind of garden program going forward and she said they tried a few times but they didn’t have much follow-through.” The school had some raised beds which Cogswell noticed hadn’t gotten much use. “It was something where I was hoping to come in, really give some time, and have (the students) understand a little bit more about gardening,” Cogswell said. “What we’re trying to do is show them where their food comes from. Let them discover what it’s like to have to take care of a garden and watch something grow.” Every grade level will be participating in the program, even the school’s special needs classes. The students will be responsible for maintaining their own raised beds. Cogswell hopes that when the students complete the

school year next June, they can turn it into a “viable garden that actually grows more expensive crops like cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers.” The food will be donated to needy families and to visitors at the Smithfield senior center. The 14 raised beds were completed on November 2. All the materials were donated from local businesses and individuals including Blackbird Farms, State Senator Steve Archambault, D-Smithfield, Stillwater Investments LLC, Semper Home Loans, Blackie’s Restaurant, Breezy Knoll Daycare, Nu look Sealcoating, Junk N More, The Smithfield Times, Atwill-Conroy DDS, Jim Fontaine CPA, Hometech improvements, and Seascape Landscaping.

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By Ron Scopelliti

Hey Siri, are you listening? There’s been a lot of potential for paranoia in my life. I grew up during the Cold War with the ever-looming threat of nuclear annihilation, which I was constantly reminded of by the “fallout shelter” signs in my elementary school. And as a teen I spent too much time watching dystopian sci-fi movies, and considering the numerous ways the world could fall apart. But I never feared that my mind might succumb to D’AMICO • BRIDAL • CITIZENS • GIA CERTIFIED

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paranoia until the day my iPhone started keeping track of my breakfast habits. A few days previously, I’d decided to switch from coffee to tea for breakfast, and I generally steep my tea for three minutes. After about three days of using the timer on my phone to do this, the phone spontaneously started asking me each morning if I’d like to set my timer for three minutes. When I switched back to coffee, it eventually caught on and stopped giving the reminder. Now, I’m waiting for the morning that it reminds me to descale my Keurig. It doesn’t stop with breakfast. My phone knows my whole schedule. It knows when I leave for work and tells me my expected travel time as soon as I start my car. It then remembers where I parked, and tells me how long it should take to walk back to my car. So far it hasn’t told me to walk faster if I’m falling behind its estimate, but I can see it happening. Now I’m starting to suspect my phone of being involved


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December 2019

in conspiracies that I can’t quite prove. For instance, I stopped in a Shaw’s supermarket recently and bought two boxes of rice pilaf mix. Three days later when I logged onto Facebook, an ad from Shaw’s came up for a sale on the exact rice mix that I’d bought. I hadn’t paid for it with a credit card or used a store loyalty card, so how did Facebook know to target me? I’m sure my phone had something to do with it. I think that, since I’ve bought that brand of rice at stores where I have used loyalty cards, I’m on some sort of master list of rice buyers. And when my GPS realized I had gone into a Shaw’s, this was somehow cross-referenced and analyzed and filtered through algorithms too complicated for anyone with a liberal arts degree to comprehend. And it was therefore determined that I should be targeted for a direct appeal from whatever complex conglomerate now owns Shaw’s. The rice situation shouldn’t bother me, but what if I actually led a more exciting life than that of a rice-eating suburbanite? What if I were a gangster? Would my iPhone sell me out, and set me up for a hit the next time I went out to buy pastry? After the hit men had done their deed, would their smartphones remind them to leave the gun, but take the cannoli? Probably only if they bought their phones in Calabria. I suppose the more real threat is from Saudi Arabia, now that it’s been alleged that their government was receiving intelligence from Twitter employees. I tend to avoid Twitter, just because of my anti-social nature. But if I ever needed to justify being a Twitter-phobe, the fact that user info was allegedly being spread to a royal family suspected of dismembering a journalist is a pretty good reason. Luckily, I’m not planning any visits to Saudi consulates soon, and there’s no way I’m going to the country itself, at least not until they take down that skyscraper that looks like the Eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings. But I’m being alarmist. When has this grand web of technology ever been anything but helpful to me? Who cares if someone’s keeping track of where I park, or how many times I’ve viewed different versions of the “Woman Yelling at Cat” meme. I should stop worrying and learn to love my phone. It’s not spying; it’s just looking after me. Right? Back in 1967, Richard Brautigan wrote a poem called “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” in which humanity was, well I guess you can surmise it from the title. You can debate whether the poem is serious or ironic, but either way it was certainly ahead of its time. So has the poem come true? It’s a bit of a stretch to suppose that Siri, despite her dulcet voice, has any loving grace in her. But at least I’m being watched over by machines that want to save me money on rice.

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Robert Buonaccorsi

Speaker Joseph DeAngelis

The Late Saverino (Sammy) Seropiglia

Charlene Winfield Capuano

The Late Donald Mercier

Senator John J. Tassoni, Jr.

Councilwoman S. Jean Cerroni

Colonel Stephen O’Donnell

Anthony Torregrossa


December 2019


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New Standards at Smithfield High School By Sophia DeJesus Recently, there’s been a change in the ranking and academic honors system at Smithfield High School. On October 29, 2019, principal Daniel Kelley announced there is an adjustment to the way honors and high honors are calculated for students at Smithfield High. Announced at the end of the first quarter, many students --especially juniors and seniors-were panicked about the new standards and how it would affect their ranks within the school. For the students at the high school to achieve honors, they must achieve a quarterly GPA (grade point average) of a 92 or better, and have no grade lower than 87. As for high honors achievement, students must achieve a quarterly GPA of 95 or better, and have no grade lower than 90. Some might argue that the new standards are too much for the teens, however, Assistant Principal, Tammy Koller, says, “we want you to do the best you possibly can, and sometimes a motivating factor for students is honor roll. If students want to make honor roll, they will obtain it. I think every student is motivated to be successful, though I think sometimes, some want something more than others.” From the administration’s point of view, the new standards are a positive change, and they are based upon the school

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wanting to make the honors system more in line with the academic excellence students attain. But do the student’s view it that way too? Maegan Grant, a junior at SHS, believes that the new standards are unfair to the students who are taking multiple honors or AP classes. She says, “the entire change is negative for these students who not only work their butts off for school, but have jobs, play sports, have family events, friends, etcetera. I think the new standards are too hard to achieve for students who are taking upper level classes.” Bailey McGarry, also a junior at SHS, disagrees with the changes as well. During a conversation, she mentioned that students are already stressed out about their rank --which will be eliminated for class of 2023 and after-- as well as grades. The new standards just add to the stress. Bailey stated, “the criteria is the same as the criteria at the middle school, but the expectations and workload are much higher and more involved at the high school level. I think this just adds another thing to stress about accomplishing for SHS kids.” The changes for honors designation are to take place during the second quarter of this school year, and there are students who are not happy about it. Achieving honors and

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high honors from this point on may be more difficult, however, Ms. Koller believes, “we need to look at things as a healthy challenge,” and honors is a designation that does not define students. When asked for advice she would give to students who are

aiming for honors and high honors achievement, she said, “to achieve success, you have to do your part, and you have to organize your time. Plus, you [must] have a social life, everybody deserves that!”

Sophia DeJesus is a 16 year old student at Smithfield High School. She is a first degree black belt at Mastery Martial Arts, and has been training for almost eight years. Not only is she a student there, but she is also a junior instructor. She works with students of all age groups and loves to watch them learn and grow. When she’s not at karate, she enjoys watching Netflix, and reading her favorite books. Some authors Sophia enjoys include, J.K. Rowling and Jenny Han. Along with reading, she also loves drawing and painting. This school year, Sophia even decided to challenge herself and take an AP art class.

portunity to attend a weeklong journalism camp. Over the week, she worked alongside students from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Staying at Regis College in Weston, MA, and working in the computer lab at Simmons College in Boston, she learned new writing techniques, and also got to practice her digital art skills. Sophia and 17 other students worked together with NEHSJC alumni, editors from the Boston Globe, and other esteemed journalists to create a newspaper called The Catalyst. There, she was able to fine tune her interviewing skills and explore journalism even more.

At a young age she discovered a love for writing, and over the years she’s continued to work on her skills. In her freshman year of high school, she took a journalism class and decided to take writing more seriously. During the summer of her sophomore year, she got the op-


Sophia often embraces challenges and works tremendously hard in everything she does. She believes that in order to be successful and happy, you must first have a good work ethic and always try your “level 10 best.” In her opinion, she owes this type of mindset to her mother. Her mom has always been supportive of her academics and encourages her to try new things. Ready for a new opportunity, Sophia is thrilled to be writing for The Smithfield Times. She can’t wait to bring light to the events happening at Smithfield High School and hopes to entertain her readers.

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SENIOR SCENE One of my favorite jams is “Dance to the Music” by Sly & the Family Stone. The song makes it real “easy to move your feet,” which is a good thing, according to a study published recently in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study indicates that us older folks can reverse the signs of aging in the brain with regular exercise, and that dancing is the most effective form of activity to slow down the mental and physical decline we must endure. In addition, Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld, lead author of the study based at the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Germany, says it’s possible that exercise can counteract age-related declines in our minds and bodies, and that the dancing participants showed improved balance. Now if that isn’t motivation to get off the couch or the recliner to boogie, I don’t know what is. Volunteers that averaged age 68 were recruited for the study and assigned either an 18-month weekly course of learning dance routines or endurance and flexibility training, according to the Frontier website. Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus region of the brain, an area that can be prone to age-related decline and is affected by diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It also plays a key role in memory and learning as

By Paul V. Palange well as keeping one’s balance. To assess whether one type of exercise is better than another, the exercise routines given to the volunteers differed. The traditional fitness training program mostly consisted of repetitive exercises such as cycling or Nordic walking, but the dance group participants were challenged with something new each week. According to Dr. Rehfeld, the dance group learned different routines of different genres such as jazz, square, Latin-American and line dancing. To keep the learning fluid, steps, arm patterns, formations, speed and rhythms were changed every second week, and the doctor and her colleagues found the most challenging aspect for the participants was to recall the routines under the pressure of time and without any cues from the instructor. Those extra challenges are thought to account for the noticeable difference in balance displayed by the people in the dancing group, according to Frontier. Rehfeld and her colleagues are using the results to test new fitness programs that have the potential of maximizing anti-aging effects on the brain.

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She told Frontier her team is evaluating a new system called “jymmin,” a combination of jamming and gymnastics. The sensor-based system generates sounds – melodies and rhythm -- based on physical activity. The doctor explained that because dementia patients react strongly when listening to music, researchers want to combine the promising aspects of physical activity and music in a feasibility study. Like many people, Dr. Rehfeld says she believes everybody would like to live an independent and healthy life for as long as possible. Physical activity is one of the lifestyle factors that can contribute to that, and she is convinced dancing is a powerful activity that challenges seniors mentally and physically and has a positive impact. If you believe, too, and want to do more than put on your favorite music and dance with your companion at home, you can check out zumba and yoga dance classes at the Smithfield Senior Center or zumba classes at the YMCA of Smithfield. You can obtain more information by

calling the center at (401) 949-4590 or going online to www.; or contacting the YMCA at (401) 949-2480 or going online to To learn various dance styles, you can search the Internet for a studio near you. Two places that I came across are The Dancing Feeling at 2429 Post Road in Warwick, (401) 7360110; and Jeff Allen’s Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio at 332 Atwood Ave. in Cranston, (401) 331-1400. Dance lessons might be a cool holiday gift for a friend or loved one that has expressed an interest in improving his or her moves in the ballroom or acquiring some new steps. Speaking of the “season,” I hope everyone has happy holidays. They can be stressful for some and depressing for others. But if people don’t sweat the small stuff, stay resilient and open their hearts to others, there’s a good chance they might enjoy the moment. Peace.

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How Italian Americans keep old-world Christmas traditions By Jane Fusco In a state where one in five claim Italian ancestry, R.I. holds the distinction of having the highest population of Italian Americans per capita in the country, according to the most recent American Community Survey estimate. According to the National Italian American Foundation, 19% of Rhode Islanders identify themselves as having Italian American heritage. Most Italian-Americans are forever faithful to the traditions of their homeland, especially at Christmas time. Though decorations and sales start appearing in stores before Halloween, our Italian ancestors started observing the Christmas season on Dec. 8, with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, followed by the Feast of Santa Lucia on Dec. 13, who brings gifts for the children, until the arrival of La Befana, the good witch who delivers candy and presents on January 6, the eve of the Epiphany. Legend has it that the old Befana was too busy cleaning the house to help the Wise Men find the baby Jesus. Now the aged wanderer flies around on her broomstick looking for the Christ child on the eve of Epiphany. La Befa-


na is thought to sweep the floor with her broom before she leaves, which some believe is symbolic of her sweeping out their troubles of the year. When it comes to exchanging gifts, a visit from the jolly old elf at midnight on Dec. 24 is still the highlight of the sea-

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son. Some families still refer to the benefactor as Babbo Natale or Father Christmas. The Christmas season usually begins with baking mountains of cookies, because, after all, Italians are all about cookies. There are usually plenty of other cakes and breads to fill the dessert table, but the cookies always take center stage, and are at the ready throughout the holiday season. Many of the recipes are regional, having been carried over from all parts of Italy. Some of the more popular ones include frosted ricotta biscuits adorned with colored sprinkle; struffoli, fried dough balls in a honey syrup; biscotti (twice baked) slices; knot-shaped anginetti cookies with icing; Sicilian cuccidati, cookies with a fig paste; and pignoli pine nut cookies, among so many others. Panettone, a sweet bread with dried fruit that originated in Northern Italy also makes its annual appearance, as does the torrone, a toffee and nut-filled nougat. Holiday decorations always include the presepe, or nativity, and is a key element of the season. The presepe is traditionally put out at the start of the season on Dec. 8, without the figure of the baby Jesus, who isn’t placed into the crib or manager until Dec. 24. Other decorations include food as centerpieces for Christmas feasts, and the ceppo or Yule Log that is burned throughout the season. On Christmas Eve, it is common for dinner to be meatless.” La Vigilia” (the vigil) with the Feast of the Seven Fishes, remains a significant part of the holiday. This ancient tradition  stems from the Roman Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on the eve of certain holidays. The number seven is also rooted in Catholicism; where there are seven sacraments, seven days of creation, and seven deadly sins. The La Vigilia meal typically includes baccala (salted dried cod fish), capitone (eel), calamari (squid), scungili (conch meat) and vongole (clams). To satisfy the palate of the more Americanized members of the family, shrimp, crab or lobster, may be added. And don’t forget the roasted castagne (chestnuts)! While most children write letters to Santa with their wish lists, children in Italy write letters to their parents, telling them how much they love them. The letters are wrapped and placed near the father’s plate at Christmas Eve dinner and read throughout the meal. After this feast, there might be a card game or two, or just some friendly conversation as the time to attend “la Santa Messa,” or midnight Mass, approaches. Christmas Day is all about the joy of “la famiglia” or the family, where more feasting - this time with meat and pasta takes place, along with visits to extended family members and friends, and keeping the traditions alive. Now that’s an Italian Christmas! BUON NATALE & FELICE ANNO NUOVO. (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year).

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By Peg Brown

The Infamous “Burp” Although you’re likely to hear many loud actual “burps” in appreciation of your holiday meals, the burp I am remembering was instrumental in helping to create what was the centerpiece of every 1970s bride’s Christmas and New Year’s celebrations—the lime green or strawberry Jell-O concoction complete with the obligatory pineapple and walnuts that graced all of our special occasions-- made possible by the Tupperware Jell-O mold. If you are of a “certain age” you will remember that Tupperware was the Cuisinart and Keurig of most household kitchens. Invented by Earl Tupper, a native of Berlin, NH, it quickly replaced those cute pastel plastic “hats” with white elastic bands that your grandmother used to keep leftovers fresh. The “burpable, bouncing, unbreakable containers” that we know as Tupperware dominated post-World War II domestic kitchen cabinets as refrigerators grew larger and market trips became less frequent. Everything from tumblers to containers for hams, cereal, half-gallons of ice cream (remember when they were really half-gallons?), juice servers and a tower of serving and storage bowls lurked behind those kitchen doors, ready to fall out and attack whenever you were searching for the matching lids. As I was walking with a friend through a recent local Christmas bazaar, I passed a Tupperware vendor’s booth. I did a double-take and backtracked to confirm that the products I saw on display, complete with Disney characters for graphics, were “genuine” Tupperware. I was assured they were. Hence the dreaded Jell-O mold memory and, as my quirky brain wave responded, a topic that focuses on the holidays. (It’s a stretch, I know. Bear with me, it gets more interesting, and has a strong local connection.) As a young bride, with Yankee in-laws and a mother-in-law who was a home economics teacher, the holiday meals that I was allowed to host were-----stressful. I had married into a family in which a wedding required registering at Tilden-Thurber for “good” china, crystal and sterling silver (remember those lime

green boxes?)—NOT remotely related to my upbringing. Undoubtedly when presented my Jell-O salad complete on a silver tray, I am sure I missed seeing the “you must be kidding” eyerolls. I thought I was being very “modern.” Back to the vendor. She mentioned that Tupperware headquarters is now located in Florida, but I had remembered that Tupperware had once had a factory in Rhode Island. I decided to do some research. Earl Tupper attended Bryant College located in downtown Providence in the 1920s. He became a landscaper, lost that business during the depression and eventually ended up working as a chemist for DuPont. There are several stories about how he came to invent what has become an iconic example of creative engineering. Inspired by the lid of a paint can, he decided to invert the design, creating the waterproof seal that, with the burp, creates a vacuum. Earl himself added that he was also inspired by a story that a man had cut himself on a shattered water glass. He looked at a sheet of polyethylene given to a man that didn’t know what to do with it and created his first plastic product. “I knew I had something, a tumbler that wouldn’t break and wouldn’t cut anyone’s foot.” I’d like to say that “the rest is history,” but the Tupperware story is not without its social controversies and a larger debate about women’s roles in the economy. Earl’s first factory was in Grafton (1938), and in his early years he marketed his products through retail outlets—not so successfully. The Tupperware legacy really belongs to Michigan natives, Brownie Wise and her husband, who were having great success selling Tupperware through the home-sales method. In 1947, Earl reached out to Brownie, hired her to replicate her model of what became the Tupperware Party, and withdrew his products from retail stores. In this post World War II environment, when women who

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had been working in various positions during the war effort resumed a more domestic role as thousands returning war veterans reentered the work force, the Tupperware Party offered job opportunities and extra income to women who were perhaps looking for an “outlet.” (See authors’ notes.) In the 1960s, Tupperware hosts were subject to a strict dress code, with skirts and stockings to be worn at all times, and white gloves when making “carrot calls.” (Carrot calls were made door to door, asking residents to do an experiment by sealing carrots in Tupperware and, several days later, comparing them with carrots stored in any other container. It was a way to schedule more parties.) Social change and the dawn of the feminist mystique often resulted in ridicule of the Tupperware party model as reinforcing the domestic role of women, with its focus on a coffee klatch stereotype. Other, more positive, feminist views felt that women who were pregnant or otherwise not working could develop income-producing career opportunities. Neither view negates that the Tupperware Party model was marketing genius. Earl himself was not without his conflicting views on women’s roles. While his alliance with Brownie Wise earned him millions, he fired her in 1958 reportedly because he was looking to sell the company and thought having a woman as a key executive would limit his company’s appeal. He did sell the company to Rexall in 1958 for $16 million, divorced his wife, gave up US citizenship to avoid taxes, bought an island in Costa Rica, and reportedly

slept with a pistol under his pillow, fearing robberies, until his death in 1983. His connection to Rhode Island and especially to Smithfield is historic. The Tupperware company had a design center and mold facility in North Smithfield, which it closed in 1990, moving its consolidated operations to Orlando. They had employed over 130, many of whom were given the opportunity to transfer to Florida. In 1967 Tupper donated 428 acres, then valued at $300,000, to Bryant College (Bryant’s website says 220 acres). Now home to Bryant University, the new campus was dedicated in April, 1972. A sign--“Tupper Campus” --once located at the entrance has been removed. Tupper’s gift is now recognized with a small commemorative plaque installed at the beginning of the main walkway when the campus was renovated in 2002. (hmmm!) Earl Tupper was an eccentric, reclusive inventor who according to his closest friend, “never appeared anywhere socially. He never became a public person in any way. He would only speak to people one on one. That’s the way he was. He was a perfectionist, and he believed totally, 100 percent in an individual having the right to go to the top.” (J. Dempsey, Worcester Telegram and Gazette, March 4, 1992.) Ironic given that the party plan drove Tupperware’s success. In 2007, Tupperware still had over 1.9 million direct sales persons. Tupperware items can be found on display in the Museum of Modern Art and the Natural Museum of Modern History.

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By Ron Scopelliti

The Smithfield Charter Review Commission The 2020 election may be nearly a year away, but a small group of Smithfield residents are already at work on what may be some of the most important items on the local ballot. On November 6, the latest version of the Smithfield Charter Review Commission held their first meeting at Town Hall. The commission will be meeting twice a month until June to recommend changes to the Town Charter, which will then be voted upon in next November’s election. The Town Charter is a 30-page document that sets the rules by which Smithfield’s government operates. These range from overarching subjects as the current Town Council/Town Manager form of government, to more minute details, such as the formulas for determining the town’s Capital Reserve Fund and Land Trust Reserve Fund. During a recent interview with The Smithfield Times, Town Manager Randy Rossi described the charter informally but succinctly as “the manual for the town.” The entire document is available to the public at SmithfieldTownCharter.pdf.

In order to keep the Charter current and relevant, it’s stipulated that every fifth year, a nine-member Charter Review Commission will be appointed to “review the operation of the Charter of the Town, and propose to the [Town] Council such amendments, if any, as it may deem necessary and advisable.” The Commission holds regular public meetings from the time of their appointment until June of the following year, when they bring their recommendations before the Town Council for a public hearing. The Council then chooses which, if any, of the recommendations will make it to the ballot. According to Rossi, the recommendations that are approved by the Town Council will then be submitted to the Board of Elections in August, and will be placed on the ballot of the November 3, 2020 election. “To go into effect,” he said “they would have to be passed by Owner and Operator Dale Calcione



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the voters.” All that is required is a simple majority. Each time the charter is reviewed, it opens up the potential for sweeping changes in the way the town is run. “They could revamp the full operations of the town if they wanted to,” Rossi said, “from structure of government, to election season, terms of office, the budget process… The manual for the town could change.” There are several issues that have come up regularly since the charter was first approved in 1992. “Changing the form of government from a town manager to a mayor – that’s always brought up,” he said. “Putting in term limits for boards and commissions, or councils, or school committee – that’s always brought up.” Changing the budget process to having a budget board, is also frequently discussed. The last update of the charter, approved on Dec. 18, 2014, included, among other items, changes to the required qualifications of the Town Manager, changes to the management of Town Clerk’s position, and the establishment of the Historic Preservation Commission. The current Charter Review Commission was chosen after the town solicited for participants, and received 20 applications. The applicants were interviewed in closed sessions by the Town Council on Sept. 18 and Sept. 24. At the Oct. 15 Town Council Meeting, the following nine members were appointed to the commission: Alfred Costantino, John Emin, William Hawkins III, Michael P. Iannotti, Albert Nani III, Paul M. Santucci, Beverly Tobin, Trish Williams, and Thomas Winfield. During the meeting, Town Council President Suzy Alba said that the group represented all political parties, unaffiliated voters, and all demographics within our community. During their first meeting on November 6, Costantino was named chairman of the commission, and Winfield was named vice-chair. The group also announced its plan for subsequent meetings to take place on the first and third Wednesday of each month, 6 p.m., at the Smithfield Senior Center in Deerfield Park. All meetings are open to the public, and the Senior Center was chosen as the preferred venue to better accommodate a large audience. Though the initial meeting of the Charter Review Commission was open to the public, there was nobody in the audience. As with other town meetings, the Charter Review Commission meetings will be announced on the town website, More information on the commission members, and members of the town’s other boards and commissions, is available at






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Merry Christmas, and Tidings of Comfort and Joy By Jim Ignasher Josephus was born shortly before Christmas in Salzburg, Austria, to an unwed mother and an absent father, and as a young boy grew up knowing hunger and going without. But he was blessed with poetic and musical talents, often singing, or playing the guitar at a local church. At the age of nineteen he entered the Seminary to become a priest, and was ordained four years later. His first assignment was to minister at a church in Mariapfarr, a beautiful village nestled in the mountains of central Austria. That winter, perhaps inspired by the way the bright moon illuminated the snow covered town and surrounding countryside, he wrote a poem which he kept along with others he’d written over the years. Then poor health caused him to return home for treatment, and after his recovery, he was assigned to St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf. It was there he befriended Franz Gruber, a school teacher who often played the church organ at mass. Legend has it that on Christmas Eve of that year the organ wasn’t working properly, but it’s possible that Josephus simply wanted a unique musical score for his first Midnight Mass at St. Nicholas. In either case, he brought his friend the poem he’d written in Mariapfarr two years before, asking that it be set to music. Franz looked it over, and within hours presented Josephus with a sheet of music intended for the guitar, which Josephus softy played while the choir sang the words. The beautiful melody was well received by all in attendance. Like many songs of long ago, this one could have easily faded into obscurity and lost to history, but such was not to be. The carol eventually wound up in the hands of traveling musicians, and within a few years it had crossed both borders and oceans, and has since been translated into hundreds of languages making it perhaps the best known Christmas carol of all time. Have you guessed it yet? Josephus was better known as

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Father Joseph Mohr, (1792 – 1848); the poem he wrote in Mariapfarr was “Stille Nacht”, better known as “Silent Night”; first introduced on December 24, 1818. Perhaps we like to think of Christmas carols as a relatively modern invention, but as a point of fact singing at holidays and festivals dates back more than 2,000 years, even pre-dating Christmas itself. Maybe it’s the re-makes of Christmas “classics” that give the impression that the music is more contemporary, but many of today’s popular carols are older then we might imagine. One of the oldest carols still enjoyed today is “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, written in its original form in 1739 as “A Hymn For Christmas Day” by Charles Wesley. The words have changed somewhat over the years. For example, the original version began, “Hark how all the Welkin rings, Glory to the King of Kings”. In 1843, a parish priest from Roquemaure, France, asked Placide Cappeau, a local merchant and parishioner, to write a Christmas poem for the Midnight Mass. Cappeau submitted a work titled “Cantique de Noel”, which was later given to Adolphe Adam and set to music. The song was first sung in Roquemaure in 1847, and today we know “Cantique de Noel” as “Oh Holy Night”.

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December 2019

Closer to home, there was James L. Pierpont, who was born in Boston in 1822. At the age of ten he attended boarding school in New Hampshire, but after a few short years, left school to join the crew of a Whaling ship. Finding sea life agreeable, he also did a stint in the U. S. Navy before returning to New England. Here he met and married Millicent Cowee and the couple settled in Medford, Massachusetts. James had a talent for song writing, and according to a bronze plaque in the Town of Medford, in 1850 he composed a song based on a pleasant winter’s day experience he’d had while at boarding school. Ironically, the tune wasn’t meant to be a Christmas carol, but instead one to be sung at Thanksgiving, which is why it was first performed at a Thanksgiving Day concert in Savannah, Georgia, in 1857. The song was slow to gain popularity, even after some editing and being re-released under a new title in 1859. Yet today it’s one of the most recognizable Christmas carols. The original title of the song was “One Horse Open Sleigh”, but we know it today as “Jingle Bells”. In 1865 English born William Chatterton Dix was only 28-years-old when he fell ill and was bedridden. During his recovery he began reading the Bible and eventually penned the popular carol, “What Child Is This?” to be sung to the tune of a centuries-old English folk song, “Greensleeves.” Yet there are some well known carols that are comparatively modern. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, is but one example. The original story of Rudolph, (Who was almost named Rollo, or Reginald.), was written in 1939 by Robert L. May for a children’s book. It was later set to music, and Gene Autry’s 1949 recording of the song hit number one on the Billboard pop singles charts. Furthermore, the well known 1964 animated Christmas special (still aired to this day) has made Rudy the most recognized reindeer in the world. And by a show of hands, how many knew that the original title of the 1951 song, “Silver Bells”, was “Tinkle Bells”? It was changed for obvious reasons. Another relatively modern Christmas carol is “White Christmas”, written in 1940 by Irving Berlin, and first performed by Bing Crosby on his radio show on Christmas Day, 1941, shortly after America had entered World War II. What many don’t know is that this carol has an introduction which is often omitted, which goes like this: “The sun is shinning, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway. There’s never been such a day, in Beverly Hills, L.A. But it’s December the 24th, and I am longing to be up north.” There are those who’ve done remakes of “White Christmas”, but personally, I think Bing’s rendition is the best. Merry Christmas, and tidings of comfort and joy.

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City of Providence Announces Transitions in Finance Leadership Mancini Appointed CFO, Silveria First Woman in City History Appointed Director of Finance PROVIDENCE, RI - Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today announced transitions in the City of Providence’s finance leadership team. Lawrence J. Mancini, current Director of Finance, is to be appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and current Deputy Director of Finance Sara Silveria will be appointed to Finance Director-desLawrence J. Mancini ignee. Once approved by the Providence City Council, Silveria will be the first woman in City history for the senior role. A graduate of Bryant University and Providence’s own Mount Pleasant High School, Mancini has served the City of Providence for more than three decades in several capacities including Acting Director of Administration, Deputy Director of Finance and Deputy City Collector, where he gained critical municipal finance experience at all levels. As CFO, Mancini will provide executive-level analysis and lead strategic planning to manage the City’s financial affairs. Mancini will also be the lead financial official for all financial transactions, spearheading or directing negotiations associated with the development of revenue opportunities. In addition to his


extensive city service, Mancini received the 2017 Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC) Robert M. Goodrich Public Service Award, given annually to a municipal employee for distinguished service. “It is an incredible honor to be appointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer for the capital city,” said Lawrence J. Mancini. “We’ve accomplished so much to put Providence on solid financial footing, but there is still much more work to do. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Providence to the best of my ability to ensure our city’s long-term success and growth.” The appointment of the Director of Finance is subject to City Council approval. In August 2019, Standard & Poor’s Financial Services affirmed the City’s bond rating, upgraded its outlook to “Positive” and credited the City’s budget management practices, including the adoption of more realistic budgetary assumptions and careful monitoring of expenditures as major factors in improving city finances. The City realized a $10.3 million surplus in Fiscal Year 2016 and a $5.44 million surplus in Fiscal Year 2017 which helped erase a $13.4 million cumulative deficit earlier than expected, as well as $9.2 million operating surplus in Fiscal Year 2018.

December 2019

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By Diane L. Marolla, LICSW

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) “Shorter daylight hours can affect sleep, productivity and state of mind. Light therapy, also known as phototherapy, may help. It uses light boxes emitting full-spectrum light to simulate sunlight.” - Dr. Andrew Weil By the time you read this article, we will be a month into the days being shorter. The long summer days are a distant memory. Many of us struggle with the time changes each fall and each spring. When we drive to work, it is dark, and when we drive home from work it is dark. In the fall, we “fall back”, and gain an extra hour. In the spring, we “spring ahead” and lose an hour. At the end of the day, our bodies have their own internal mechanisms and the “falling back” and “springing forward” have an impact on our physical and mental health. Each year, as we go through this process, not knowing why we must do it in the first place, there are calls for changing the laws and ending this practice. As a child, I would ask my father the reason, and he would tell me it had something to do with the farmers. As an adult, I feel this annual ritual is pointless. As a mental health professional, I know that seasonal depression is a real disorder, and many individuals suffer during this time of year.

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According to the research, the time change disrupts our mood, and our sleep. According to WebMD’s article on Seasonal Depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder), there are a couple of theories. The first theory is that “certain hormones made deep in the brain trigger attitude-related changes at certain times of the year.” This same article discusses a second theory that “less sunlight during fall and winter leads to the brain making less Serotonin, a chemical linked to the brain.” Simply said, Serotonin is the chemical in our body that effects our mood and motor skills. According to, Serotonin is “considered a natural mood stabilizer. It is the chemical that helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting.” I call Serotonin the chemical in our body the “feel good” chemical. Also, according to, Serotonin also helps “reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds, stimulate nausea, and maintain bone health.” And when they say the head and the gut are connected, they are. Serotonin is found in our stomachs and controls bowel movement and function. People with SAD, according to the NIMH (National In-


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stitute of Mental Health) may “overproduce the hormone melatonin. Darkness increases production of melatonin, which regulates sleep.” Melatonin is the hormone that regulates our sleep. The symptoms of seasonal depression (SAD) during the winter months are the same as major depression. Symptoms include: • Having poor energy • Poor concentration • Feeling depressed almost every day • Feeling agitated • Problems sleeping • Thoughts of death or suicide Additionally, these “winter blues” as some people refer to them will cause symptoms of: • Overeating (and craving carbohydrates) • Weight gain • Sleeping too much • Wanting to “hibernate” and not socialize with others The treatment and therapies for SAD are the same as major depression, so it is important you seek the appropriate treatment from a qualified health professional. Treatment includes: • Medication (antidepressants) • Psychotherapy (talk therapy with a licensed mental health counselor) • Light therapy (exposing yourself to a “light box” so that you are replacing the lost light due to the season with artificial light). Also, expose yourself to as much “natural light” as you can. Go for a walk in the morning, and at lunch time to expose yourself to more natural light.

• Vitamin D (Vitamin D is found in sunlight and food. Those diagnosed with SAD are found to have low Vitamin D levels. The studies regarding the effect of taking a Vitamin D supplement are mixed.) • Exercise and good nutrition of course always promote better mental and physical health. Other recommendations for addressing low mood and energy this time of year, are what we should all be doing all year long. These include: • Watching our caffeine intake. • Do things that promote good sleep. Have a “nightly ritual” where you “wind down” before you go to bed. Lay off watching television and looking at electronic devices. Television, computers, tablets, and smart phones all stimulate the brain. Take a nice relaxing bath before bed. Do gratitude journaling or read a book. Meditate. When it is time for bed, make sure your bedroom is completely dark and cool. Spray your pillow and sheets with lavender. • Nicotine and alcohol plain and simply are never healthy. As I always say, just don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol. A note to the readers of my monthly article – I want to wish you peace, joy and good health during the holiday season. It is an honor and a privilege to write this article every month. I hope you enjoy reading it. In 2020, if you would like me to write on a topic, or if you want to share your healthcare story with me, please send me an email at

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By David Huestis, Historian, Skyscrapers, Inc.

Geminid Meteor Shower Mooned Out and Other Celestial Offerings As quickly as it started, 2019 will soon be in the history books. I for one am happy to see it go. A cloudy and rainy spring, hot and humid heat waves during the summer, then the EEE mosquito threat have conspired to prevent casual stargazers and amateur astronomers alike from enjoying the night sky and all the wonders it holds. It would be great if we could end the year on a high note, but the sky gods are not smiling down on us for December. Though the Geminids are the best meteor shower of the year, peaking on the night of December 13-14, the Full Moon on the 12th will overwhelm all but the brightest meteors. To complicate matters further on the peak night, that bright moon will be sitting right in the middle of the Gemini constellation. While you won’t require my usual star map to find Gemini, the proximity of the Moon to the region of the sky from where the meteors appear to radiate (near Gemini’s brightest stars, Castor and Pollux), will certainly reduce your meteor count. However, one does not have to look directly at Gemini to catch a few of the brightest shooting stars. In fact, the Geminids are fairly bright and also have a reputation for producing exploding meteors called fireballs, My point: if the weather cooperates on peak night do not give up on the Geminids. You might just glimpse a few bright Geminids as they enter our atmosphere at 21.75 miles per second. Later in the month don’t forget that the Winter solstice begins at 11:19 p.m. on the 21st. Notice how low an arc the Sun travels across the sky. After this date and time the Sun’s arc will rise higher and higher each day as it appears to travel northward in our sky, reaching the Vernal Equinox (Spring) on March 19, 2020, at 11:50 p.m. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). The apparent shift of the Sun’s position in the sky is the result of the Earth’s fixed axial tilt of 23.5 degrees as it revolves around the Sun. See my column Reason for the Seasons ( to refresh your knowledge on this topic. Also, as we approach the holiday season, many folks often ask me about the mystery of the Christmas Star. An unabridged version

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of my latest treatise on this topic can be found on the Skyscrapers website at Unfortunately, as we move into December, Jupiter will set soon after sunset, and Saturn will follow within 90 minutes. Since the local observatories don’t open until 7:00 p.m., these beautiful worlds will be unobservable. However, there are a wide variety of other objects to view. As long as the observatory grounds are accessible, the telescopes will be available for you to explore “deep sky” objects within the brightest constellations of the night sky. The Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy will be well placed for exploration. Many open star clusters and beautiful double stars will await your scrutiny. And our solar system’s two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, will show as small blue-green orbs in the telescopes available. Knowledgeable sky interpreters will be on hand to introduce you to these and other celestial wonders. Be sure to visit each observatory’s website prior to setting out for a field trip to these facilities, as wintry conditions can force unexpected closures. And finally, I am always looking for a great sky scene that you can easily image with just a simple camera. Just after sunset on December 28, look towards the southwest sky. A waxing crescent Moon will be a mere three degrees (6 full moon diameters) from brilliant Venus. This event definitely merits being recorded. Seagrave Memorial Observatory (http:/ in North Scituate is open to the public every clear Saturday night. However, in December Seagrave will be closed on the 14th. Ladd Observatory in Providence is open every clear Tuesday night. However, Ladd will be closed on Christmas Eve (24th) and New Year’s Eve (31st). The Margaret M. Jacoby Observatory at the CCRI Knight Campus in Warwick is open every clear Wednesday night. However, this observatory will be closed on Christmas Day night (25th) and New Year’s Day night (Jan 1). Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown is open every clear Friday night year-round. Happy holidays and clear skies to all.

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PAYNE’S PICKS MOVIE RELEASES Little Women – December 25 - Did you know several scenes in the latest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel Little Women were filmed in Massachusetts? It makes sense, since the story is set in a town loosely based off of Concord. The eighth adaptation of Alcott’s novel, this version was written and directed by Greta Gerwig, who also directed the highly acclaimed film Lady Bird in 2017. While the cast includes names like Meryl Streep, Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronana, and Laura Dern, I suspect Gerwig is trying really hard to make an overt social statement with the film, as she did with Lady Bird. In a New York Times review, Amanda Hess writes, “The result is a meta tale that cracks open the world of ‘Little Women’ to make a larger point about the stories we tell about women and girls.” Directors with blatantly obvious agendas tend to turn me off, because it feels like they’re trying to prove something even more than entertain the audience (which is really all I care about these days), but Gerwig could still surprise me. 1917 – December 25 - A lot of families (including my own), head to the movies on Christmas. Perhaps you’re of the mindset that a war film is more festive – or entertaining – than Little Wom-

By Sarah Payne en. Thankfully, 1917, directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty and Revolutionary Road), will premiere the same day. At a Deadline event, producer Pippa Harris shared a bit about the inspiration for the film: “Sam’s grandfather was in the First World War and told him a number of stories when we were kids and from that Sam got it in his head to tell a WWI story. He and Krysty [Wilson-Cairns] went and read every first-person account in the Imperial War museum and many other sources and from that created a fictional story.” What’s even more fascinating is the entire film is made to look like one continuous shot, so you feel like you’re actually in the trenches with the soldiers.

MOVE REVIEWS El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie - Netflix has been killing it lately with what seems like an endless stream of original content. Variety reports the company paid $15 billion in 2019 alone to ramp up this part of the business. I suspect a lot of it goes unwatched, simply because of all the choices people have today (including binging old favorites like The Office and Friends – guilty!). But Netflix made the right bet to exclusively release El Camino, which had 6.5 million viewers its opening weekend. I think the film lives up to the hype, but I was a bit disappointed that Breaking Bad fans didn’t really learn anything new about the ending to the story. The film certainly caters to diehard fans, as if each scene is a wink to an inside joke only someone who’s seen the whole series will understand. I’m not sure I needed this chapter of the story to see that Jesse ends up OK, but it is fun to re-visit beloved characters in a new context (which is why I’m so excited for the next season of Better Call Saul!).

TV REVIEW Living with Yourself – Season 1 - A co-worker recently asked if I had watched Netflix’s new show Living with Yourself. I told her I did and she asked what I thought of it. I paused. It’s difficult to explain how I feel about the show. It stars Paul Rudd as a middle-aged man looking for a quick fix for his depression and overall ineptness. In the process, he ends up with a clone who’s a healthier, happier version of himself, but with all the same memories. The plot raises interesting questions about humanity and happiness. Do we need the inner struggle and fallibility to be happy? To be human? It’s a bit depressing, but there are many funny moments in the show, too. I like the way the story is told from Rudd’s character in one episode and the same events are told from the clone’s perspective in the following episode. It hasn’t yet been picked up for a second season, but the finale leaves that open as an option.


December 2019

Local Woman Business Owner Receives Distinctive ACMPE Fellowship Smithfield, R.I., Nov. 4, 2019 – Julie Sylvestre, the owner of Grey Ledge Medical Management, formerly Comprehensive Practice Management Services, was recently awarded a Fellowship in the American College of Medical Practices (FACMPE) by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). This honor is the most prestigious designation one can earn in the medical practice management profession. It signifies superior standards of performance and professional competency. The road to achieve this honor was one of hard work and perseverance. In 2002, Julie joined Comprehensive Practice Management Services as Director of Operations and, after continued success, she eventually became co-owner of the company. Two years later and after hours of studying, Julie took the ACMPE certification exam. Julie passed both the multiple choice and essay-based exams and achieved her certification to become one of a few thousand professionals nationally with the CMPE designation. Julie forged ahead, concentrating on her family, her career goals and focusing on the next step within the ACMPE, Fellowship recognition. The FACMPE requires the submission of a professional paper or series of case studies by members who have already earned the CMPE designation. Julie decided to focus her extensive research on areas that a practice should concentrate on when merging with or being purchased by another organization. She interviewed numerous practices throughout New England and presented her paper to the committee. The grading committee commented that it was too regionally focused and a re-write, concentrating on the national impact, was suggested. After the ACMPE’s request, Comprehensive Practice Management Services continued to thrive and Julie began discussions with her business partner to purchase his shares and become the sole proprietor. While creating her business plan, capitalizing on her desire to expand the company’s service area and re-branding the company as Grey Ledge Medical Management, Julie was invigorated. The criteria for the FACMPE had recently changed in her favor; business plans could now be submitted. Julie sent her plan and was informed that the ACMPE Fellowship Committee had accepted and approved her submission. Julie officially received her Fellowship distinction at the MGMA’s National Meeting in New Orleans this October. In November, she will complete Bryant University’s graduate certificate program in Innovative Healthcare Leadership, which is designed for professionals in the healthcare sector or related fields, who wish to advance their career and develop expertise in the business management and leadership of healthcare. She continues to be a proud woman owned business visionary in the state. You can learn more about Julie Sylvestre and Grey Ledge Medical Management at

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U. S. Marine Corps Sergeant Wilfred L. Noiseux of Esmond was honorably discharged and returned home after serving two-and-a-half years in Vietnam with the 3rd Marine Division. ­— PFC Allen H. Uttley of Greenville was home on a14-day furlough. ­— On November 29 a fire broke out at the Greenville Grange Hall which was located on Austin Avenue just in from Putnam Pike. Thanks to the quick actions by firemen the building was saved, but it had suffered significant damage to its interior. The building had once been a school, and one item of historical interest that was rescued while flames still threatened the structure was the large bronze school bell still hanging in the belfry. While it served as a school, classes for grades 1 – 4 were held on the first floor, and grades 5 – 8 were held on the second. The classrooms were heated with wood stoves. Graduations were simple affairs as the classes seldom numbered more than five or six. The school closed when the William Windsor School on Route 44 opened in the 1930s. The former Grange Hall remained standing into the early 1980s before giving way to “progress”. Today a row of small businesses occupies the land. As for the historic school bell, it has survived, and is today displayed at the Winfield Funeral Home in Greenville. If one looks closely at the bottom rim they will notice a few chips – “battle damage” suffered during its rescue as it was dragged from the fire. ­— On December 12 the Reservoir Rangers Drum and Bugle Corps held their third annual Christmas party at the Balfour-Cole American Legion Post. Sixty members of the corps and their parents attended.

By Jim Ignasher

to the look of Christmas. ­— On December 14 the town held two events in celebration of the Christmas Season. The first was the annual tree lighting ceremony held at 4:45 P.M. on the Greenville Common where a Nativity had been erected by the Apple Blossom Club. The program included short addresses by church leaders from St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Greenville Baptist Church, and St. Philips Catholic Church, followed by Christmas carols and refreshments. The tree was lit by Senator F. Monroe Allen. The second event was held at 7 P.M. at the Town Hall which had been decorated with lights and wreaths, as well as a Nativity on the front lawn. Santa arrived on the back of a Georgiaville fire truck and distributed small gifts to children while adults sang Christmas carols and enjoyed refreshments. Both events had been timed so that citizens from both sides of town could attend each of them. ­— A meeting of Slack’s Pond residents was held where it was voted that the name of their association be changed from the Blue Gill Derby Association to the Slacks Reservoir Improvement Association. ­— Bryant College, (Now Bryant University), unveiled its plans for the new Tupper Campus to be built on “Memory Hill” on Douglas Pike. The public was invited to view architectural drawings and models of the Unistructure and dormitories that were to be constructed. ­— On December 19 and 20, the Smithfield Drama Club presented “Kaleidoscope 70”, a song and dance variety show, at the Smithfield High School. ­—


On the night of December 24th, NORAD radar control reported tracking a strange aerial object circling the globe while stopping briefly at every home. Military jets were scrambled to intercept and identify, but the mysterious aeronaut seemed to keep one step ahead, and was never sighted. One doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to solve this X-File.

On December 13 several inches of snow fell over the area, clinging to trees and creating a “winter wonderland” lending

Merry Christmas.!

Two DJ’s, Jim Pride, and Mike Sands, from radio station WICE broadcast their show live from the party, and gave away twelve long playing records, (Known as “LPs” in the 1960s) as prizes.



December 2019

COMMUNITY EVENTS Smithfield’s All Lit Up Christmas Parade will take place on December 7 at 4pm. The parade leaves Smithfield High School and ends at Greenville Center for the lighting of the tree. Cortland Place is holding its annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 10am to 3pm on the first floor. There will be a large Raffle Event, Straw Raffle, Bake Sale, and White Elephant Table. Vendors Space Available. Anyone interested in renting space at the Bazaar can call Donna at 949-3880 ext. 116. Georgiaville Baptist Church Annual Christmas Cookie Sale will be held on Saturday, December 14th from 9am until sold out at 100 Farnum Pike, Smithfield. What is better than homemade cookies for gift giving! Come early for the best selection. Proceeds benefit the Sunday School program. Mastery Martial Arts Smithfield will be hosting a Parents’ Night Out Nerf Party/ Black Lite Blaster night on December 13 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at their 9 Cedar Swamp Rd. location. This event will allow parents to have an opportunity to enjoy a night out or time to themselves while their children are hav-

ing fun in a safe environment. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Smithfield Education Foundation, a local nonprofit that raises funds for and awards grants to Smithfield Public School teachers. For more information or to register, please call 401-231-5425, or sign-up at blasternight-parents-night-out. $20 for the first child and $10 for each additional sibling. Registration limited to the first 25 kids (ages 6 - 11.) Pizza and refreshments will be served. The North Scituate Baptist Church will be holding its annual Christmas Faire during the North Scituate Christmas in the Village Candlelight Stroll on Friday, December 6 from 3-8 and Saturday, December 7 from 9-3. There will be a large selection of Christmas arrangements made with fresh greenery. The Faire will feature a White Elephant Table, Book Nook with toys, CDs and puzzles, Handmade items and a large Penny Social/Raffle with many Gift Certificates from Area Businesses. Take home some freshly baked goodies or Vermont Cheese. Visit the Holly Berry Café for a hot meal or snack. We have added a Children’s Shopping Room where an adult will help your child purchase and wrap gifts for loved ones. The church is located at 619 West Greenville Road with plenty of parking.

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Everything We Needed It’s almost Christmas! Yes, I guess you already know that.  You’ll have to excuse my enthusiasm, but I can get a bit over the top this time of year.  I like the decorations, bright and colorful ornaments, television specials, even the holiday music that seems to play from Halloween to Christmas.  When I hear Jingle Bells, I feel inspired to sing along. And, I am a big fan of all the holiday desserts and treats.  Truth be told- when I see all those chocolate, caramel, hazelnut, peppermint – well, you get the point- holiday treats, I absolutely lose control. Yes, when I enter a room and see them lined up in a colorful display, I feel a bit woozy, a little out of breath, my heart might even skip a beat.  It’s just wonderful.  It brings me back to my childhood.  And my mother’s Christmas bonus.  Every year, my mother’s boss would give out a Christmas bonus.  I would never know the exact day she’d get it. She liked to keep it a surprise. But, as soon as the first week of December hit, I knew it wouldn’t be long.  I would wait with anticipation.  I would start thinking about what we were going to buy. I would look through the grocery flyers from the RESIDENTIAL


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expensive stores and start making a mental list. And, then, finally, on that special day, I would walk in the door from school and just know. My mother had that look on her face. It was joy. There was just a spectacular energy in the room.   Before I could get settled in, off we would go- on our way to the expensive specialty stores that only sold treats and desserts for our yearly visit. My mother would let me pick out the items. So, as you might guess, I would pick out anything and everything that looked delicious, exotic and expensive. Calories and price didn’t matter.  We were going to have a feast.   When we got home, we carefully placed all the treats on our best Christmas platters, the ones that she kept in tissue paper in the back of the cupboard. We would take out our napkins with poinsettias on them. We would set aside a special plate for my father, who worked the night shift as a police officer. Then, as we listened to Christmas music on the radio, we would dig in. We talked about anything and everything, until we were too full, and just a little bit – maybe a lot - sick from all the sugar. I can’t remember exactly what we bought, or what we talked about, but I remember vividly how I felt that night.  I can still feel that special tinge of excitement and joy I felt as I walked in the door to see my mother waiting. I can feel the absolute pride, appreciation and happiness I felt picking out and sharing those special treats with her. And, I can still feel that magical feeling that made me think – on that night- everything was totally right in our little world. That night we had everything.  We had delectable treats and love, kindness, appreciation, undivided attention and time. Pretty awesome gifts. It was just magical how my mother’s Christmas bonus could buy us all that- simply everything we needed. 

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A Bowling Night was held at the Town Hall Lanes in Johnston on October 25. $5,500 was raised to benefit the Smithfield’s Department of Human Services who provide assistance to members of the community in need. Town Manager Randy Ross (left) and Taylor Graziano of SHS joined the fun.

Stephen Erbe, Chairman of the P.A.C. Music festival committee presents Father Valentine with a donation to the church food closet for families in need on behalf of the committee and the club members. The music fest also donated on behalf of the band Mill Rats to their charity Geoffrey Wilkes Fund and on behalf of the Band Street 45 to the Riverside Sisters as a thank you for donating their time at the music fest. The Committee also made a donation to the Antunes Family on behalf of Noah Strong. The Club members are Noah Strong, Go Noah, looking for a little help.


The Snowball Drop Raffle was held in Deerfield Park on November 16 to raise money for the All Lit Up Christmas Parade. 500 Golf Balls were dropped from the ladder truck. Thank you to Chief Seltzer and the SFD!

December 2019

The Smithfield Rotary Club honored 11 local Veterans at their annual Veterans Breakfast on November 13 at Bryant University.

The Annual Halloween Party at the Smithfield Sr. Center was a big success.Featured here were the Golden Girls and Father Christmas among many other great costumes!

Lucky traveled all the way from Haiti to RI in search of a better life. At 4 months old he was hit by a car and broke both femurs. Due to a lack of resources, dogs in this condition are typically euthanized but Haiti Street Dog Project funded his surgery and now he’s walking like a champ! He will most likely have arthritis and be special needs his entire life. Through the entire recovery process his tail never stopped wagging. He is such a strong willed pup.  This 8 month old Potcake is sweet, super happy, and playful. He’s currently 22 lbs and will be a pretty petite boy when full grown. He has grown up in a large dog pack but seems to be a bit timid of new dogs here in America. I think he just needs time to adjust and trust. He does well with cats! Meet Jack! He is a 7 month old Potcake who traveled all the way to RI from Haiti and ready for adoption. Jack is a snuggle bug who loves to be on your lap. Our Haiti pups never had toys growing up and didn’t know how to play with them.. except Jack! He picked up on it instantly and boy does he love his toys! He’s a little mountain climber and likes to sit on the back of furniture. Jack is such a good boy when playing with the other pups and has even done well with street cats. Jack is good in the car and a great bed time snuggler. If you are interested in meeting one (or both) of them please fill out an application at The Smithfield Times, Inc.


TOWN OF SMITHFIELD READY TO BEGIN PARTNERSHIP WITH LINCOLN & CUMBERLAND Smithfield, RI – The Town of Smithfield is set to begin its partnership with the Towns of Lincoln and Cumberland on December 1st at the Blackstone Valley Municipal Animal Shelter, 25 Wellington Road, Lincoln. Over the last few weeks, the Police Chiefs and Animal Control Officers from the three communities have been working collaboratively to iron out mutual policies and procedures to ensure a smooth transition process. Starting on Sunday, December 1st, Smithfield animals will be housed at the Blackstone Valley Municipal Shelter in Lincoln. The change location of the animals will have no effect on the great service that will continue to be provided by our two animal control officers in Town. Smithfield residents looking to contact animal control will continue to use (401) 233-1055 and for an emergency call the Smithfield Police Department at (401) 2312500. “This partnership is a great start to other potential collaboration between the three communities and even more statewide,” said Randy Rossi, Town Manager. “The Blackstone Valley Municipal Animal Shelter provides an upgraded facility with numerous amenities on the 17.6 acre property for the animals.” As part of the agreement, the Town of Smithfield will pay the Town of Lincoln $1,000 per month for the use of the facility which includes the housing, feeding, care and adoption for all animals picked up by our animal control officers.



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December 2019

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The Smithfield Times December 2019  

The Smithfield Times December 2019