On May 4, residents of South Kingstown will be voting on an $85,000,000 school bond referendum.
That’s a pretty high amount for town residents to go on the hook for, mainly because the town’s student enrollment has been steadily declining but also because the cornerstone component of the proposed works, the high school, would not be newbuild but conversion of an existing school building. Two miles AWAY, by the way, from its current in-town location.
As there would be state funds involved, the project itself, its costs and its proposed funding sources have to be approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education. (Link here to the town’s facility application submitted to RIDE).
So the Ocean State Current reached out to RIDE with the questions below and received the indicated answers.
The innocently named “2021 Act on Climate”, H5445, has been ominously rocketing through the General Assembly. It passed the full House on March 23 and the full Senate is scheduled to vote on it this afternoon. If it passes, it will have cleared the General Assembly and presumably be sent straight on to Governor Daniel McKee for his action within seven (ten?) days.
Informally dubbed “Rhode Island’s Green New Deal”, H5445 would mandate the reduction to zero by 2050 of greenhouse gases in Rhode Island – a goal that could only be accomplished by eliminating the use of all fossil fuels and transitioning entirely to renewable energy sources, wind and solar; i.e., from reliable, reasonably priced energy sources to intermittent, exorbitantly expensive ones. More about it here, including why the effective date of substantial implementation would be 2026, not thirty long years from now.
But perhaps we are missing something. Have proponents of the bill answered the critically important question about cost of implementation?
On its one year anniversary, it would be irresponsible not to look at the effectiveness of the COVID-19 lockdown. Florida and California vividly demonstrate that the answer is “completely ineffective”: the two states have had similar outcomes to very different approaches, making it clear that lockdowns did not and do not work to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19.
Lockdowns, even if they worked exactly as hoped, were never a good solution because of the enormous public health and other consequences they inflict. One year later, it is clear, as they do not achieve even their hoped-for goal, that they are entirely destructive with zero public health benefit.
Now, let’s look at where Rhode Island stands on the original reason for a lockdown: two weeks to flatten the curve and not overwhelm hospitals. Below is the trend of Rhode Island’s hospitalizations; specifically, Column U, “Currently Hospitalized” of this sheet:
4/28/2020: 375 (Spring, 2020 peak)
By this original goalpost, Rhode Island can open up fully, now. (Please stop with the agonizing and ineffective baby steps.) More to the point, the state never needs to lock down again for this (or any) reason. This is because, to her credit, former Governor Gina Raimondo set up COVID-19 field hospitals. While they were recently shut down because COVID-19 cases have dropped markedly, they will remain in place in the event of a surge.
The evidence and observed science one year into COVID-19 lockdowns is blaring and indisputable: they do not work. All states can and should open up immediately, fully, without restrictions – including nursing homes with reasonable protections. Refusing to do so is to deny the plain evidence and prolong the needless suffering and very serious health and other consequences of lockdowns.
One doesn’t have to be a climate-change skeptic to wonder why our elected officials would pursue an agreement that hands over some of their authority in order to impose a significant burden on the people they represent for a small benefit to others… all just as Rhode Islanders struggle to regain their feet from the COVID lockdown that the same governor imposed through executive order.
Apparent unemployment insurance correspondence from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) sent to an address in Mississippi joins the list of examples of problems handling the government program.
An RI Department of Health employee fears retaliation as she’s ordered to attend a meeting with multiple state officials after going public with concerns about nursing home oversight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
US Senate Candidate Allen Waters joins CEO Stenhouse on this episode of “In The Dugout.” They discuss his support for the Center’s Catch-UP ESA program. This innovative policy idea would tap unspent federal funds to empower parents to customize supplemental programs for their children. These one-time Catch-Up ESAs, available to all qualified students in the state, would also immediately fill major gaps in the five-year Providence schools reform plan, by addressing current student needs. The program would be funded by unspent federal CARES Act funds.