URI Today: U.S. Rep. James Langevin to host Coastal Resiliency Symposium at the University of Rhode Island

URI Today: U.S. Rep. James Langevin to host Coastal Resiliency Symposium at the University of Rhode Island

KINGSTON, R.I., — U.S. Rep. James Langevin, along with a number of University of Rhode Island experts, will convene for a symposium on the topic of extreme weather conditions, including storm surge and flooding, as they affect military installations and the Rhode Island coastline.

URI faculty with expertise in storm modelling and mapping, response and resiliency, ocean and civil engineering, and geologic oceanography will participate in the symposium to be held Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m., in Corless Auditorium at URI’s Bay Campus, 215 South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island. Registration is at 9:30 a.m.

A 2018 Department of Defense study indicated that more than half of the 3,500 U.S. military’s sites located both in the U.S. and internationally are affected by instances of extreme weather.  Storm surge, here in Rhode Island as well as other coastal regions, can be a particular risk, with more than 200 domestic sites alone reporting flooding—an increase of more than 500 percent over the number reported in 2008.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Jonathan W. White, former commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanographic Command, will deliver the keynote address. White has a B.S. in oceanographic technology from the Florida Institute of Technology and holds a master’s degree in meteorology and oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

He was commissioned through Navy Officer Candidate School in 1983, and has had operational shore assignments at Jacksonville, Florida; Guam; Monterey, California; and Stuttgart, Germany, where his joint duty included Special Operations Command Europe, and strike plans officer for U.S. European Command during Operation Allied Force in Kosovo and Serbia. White commanded the Naval Training Meteorology and Oceanography Facility, Pensacola, Florida, and was the 50th superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory.

White’s sea tours as a naval oceanographer include commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group 12, where he completed deployments on board USS Saratoga (CV 60) and USS Wasp (LHD 1). He was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) in August 2012 as he assumed his duties as director, Task Force Climate Change, and Navy deputy to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Rear Admiral White retired in 2015. He presently serves as president and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Symposium panelists and topics are:

  • Christopher D.P. Baxter, professor, ocean, civil and environmental engineering— “Engineering’s Role in Resiliency and Educating the Next Generation.”
  • Austin Becker, assistant professor, coastal planning, policy and design— “Stimulating Transformational Thinking for Long-Term Climate Resilience.”
  • John King, professor, geological oceanography— “Climate Model Predictions and Trends in Observational Data for Coastal Environments.”
  • Pamela Rubinoff, coastal management and climate extension specialist, Coastal Resources Center and Rhode Island Sea Grant— “Engaging Decision Makers in Resilience.”

Congressman Langevin, URI President David M. Dooley, and URI’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development Peter J. Snyder will speak at the symposium.

The event is free and open to the public, however, registration is suggested. For more information, and registration link, visit: uri.edu/coastalresilience.

Warwick Beacon: Textile comeback: Innovation revitalizes industry

Warwick Beacon: Textile comeback: Innovation revitalizes industry

By Mary Johnson

Fifteen years ago, Amerisewn, in Cranston, made carrying cases for Apple computers, eyeglass cases, and sports bags. Today, CEO John Caito designs and manufactures high tech gear that protects military, law enforcement and mental health industry employees from stabbing, slashing and explosives.  

The reason for the change?

“Low dollar items go overseas,” said Caito, “complex items stay here in the U.S.”

Caito said the company combines “both advanced and traditional materials in unique ways.” The facility includes rows of sewing machines and workstations where employees cut patterns and fabric to make riot gear and other protective gear. It’s bright, clean and organized, but appears low-tech, although it is actually quite advanced. Caito said the company incorporates fabric, foams, plastics, leather and Kevlar, among other materials, to make the protective gear to withstand impact, slash or stabs, because they haven’t found a wonder material that does it all yet. He said the team is always thinking about ways to make the gear lighter, more durable, and better able to withstand attack, and they spend a significant amount of time doing research to stay on top of current trends, materials and fabrics.

Amerisewn was one of ten companies exhibiting their work at the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network launch last week at the Historic Slater Mill in Pawtucket. RITIN, as it’s known, was formed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center to foster collaboration among textile companies, designers and university faculty from URI, RISD and Brown. At the event, Senator Jack Reed spoke of uniforms and gear being developed and tested for the military that includes nanotechnology and electronic circuitry. “The uniform I wore in 1967 and 1970 as a paratrooper and cadet doesn’t cut it,” said Reed. “It’s not your granddad’s textiles any longer.”

Michael Woody, the CEO of Trans-Tex, LLC and the President of RITIN, is a man on a mission to “change the hearts and minds” of Rhode Islanders about textile industry. “It’s no longer the dark and dirty factory full of dangerous equipment that they see in the history books,” he said.

Smart fabrics

“Some advanced textiles” he added, “are apparel made of smart fabrics that monitor blood pressure or heart rate.” Rhode Island companies, he added, also make goods that are not widely recognized as textiles, because they are not clothing or apparel, such as “fabrics for structures, the automotive industry and the marine industry; fabrics for medical devices, and fuel storage.”

The Cooley Group, headquartered in Pawtucket with a facility in Cranston, is one such company. “Cooley textile products are very different from the textiles people typically associate with clothing and fabrics,” said Dan Dwight, The Cooley Group’s CEO. Cooley textiles are “coated with polymer or other chemistry formulas to serve a specific market application” said Dwight.

For instance, the company makes a textile coated with “a proprietary urethane-based chemistry formula that is fabricated into combat raiding craft for the U.S. Military Special Forces,” according to Dwight. Once fabricated from the Cooley “rolled goods,” the craft can be carried in a backpack and inflated and deflated as needed, making the forces more mobile and less likely to be discovered during military operations.

Cooley also makes a product that, sadly, hasn’t yet caught on in Rhode Island. It’s a membrane that is injected into the pipes under the road to create a barrier inside, allowing “municipalities to re-line old and leak water and sewage pipes without having to dig up streets.” Dwight said application of the “cost effective and environmentally sustainable technology is much more prevalent in Europe than in North America.”

Innovation vouchers

Both Amerisewn and the Cooley Group, along with six other Rhode Island textile companies, receive Innovation Vouchers from the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to support research and development. This funding allows the companies to partner with university professors and students to explore innovative ideas for new materials or processes.

The Cooley Group has partnered with faculty at URI to explore technology to bring billboards into the modern age with sensors and other tools to collect and distribute information.  “The Innovation Voucher work Cooley is doing with URI facility and students has given Cooley access to additional technical resources to support our global growth through new products,” said Dwight.

At the event last week, hosted by RITIN in partnership with the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation [including Congressman Jim Langevin], Real Jobs RI, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, Polaris MEP, the Rhode Island Manufacturing Association, the URI Business Engagement Center and the Slater Mill Museum, staff from Cooley Group, Amerisewn, and eight other companies exhibited the products their goods are part of, while more than 100 people, manufacturers, university faculty, students, and government officials, talked shop.

“We are constantly developing new products for new end use categories and networking with other companies to maximize our capabilities. That’s the key to our success,” said Steve Perry, Senior Vice President of Darlington Fabrics, which makes high performance fabric for NFL teams and NASA Astronauts. “RITIN is a very important organization to Darlington because it facilitates collaboration between the diverse group of textile companies in our state.”

Vibrant industry

During the past year, RITIN has leveraged funding from the RI Commerce Corporation and the Department of Labor and Training to host networking events like these, collaborate with Polaris MEP to host a Design Week panel, and host an exhibit at the Providence Mini Maker Faire help promote the modern textiles sector to the general public through a new website and ongoing social media campaign. “Rhode Island has a vibrant textile industry,” said Whitehouse, who founded RITIN with the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center, “I hope RITIN will take stars and make sure they form into a constellation.

The organization also conducted a survey of textile companies to better understand industry needs, uncovering an urgent need to attract younger employees into an industry that will lose a significant portion of its workforce in the next decade.

“Textile companies provide a solid career paths for those with college degrees and those who chose to enter the workforce immediately after high school,” said Christian Cowan, Center Director of Polaris MEP, which provides day-to-day management for RITIN and is an affiliate of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP). According to NIST data, the state employees approximately 2,500 people in the textile sector and the average earnings was above the national average, at $52,404 annually.

Caito, who graduated from a vocational high school with a degree in cabinet making, said, “It’s important in manufacturing to try to get better every day and never stop learning. Manufacturing is a team and everyone’s job is important for that team. If kids new how many types of industries and interesting opportunities there were using textiles they would be amazed.”

RITIN’s website, at www.ritin.org, created by Walsh and Associates of East Greenwich, features video profiles of three Rhode Island textile employees that Woody said represent the diverse range of job opportunities available for individuals of varying education levels:

Anjali Khemani, an Associate for Design and Innovation at Pawtucket, RI-based Propel, LLC, recently earned a Master’s degree in textiles from Drexel University and moved to Providence because of the innovation underway in the local textile industry. “My focus at Propel is computer programming,” said Khemani. “There are so many textile companies that are looking for people that can write code and develop programs. Our industry has switched from the dull and dusty of years past to advanced technologies and customized solutions.”

Tom Jeronimo, the Director of Color Management at Kenyon Industries in Kenyon, shares his journey of being an auto mechanic before beginning his manufacturing career in an entry-level production job 20 years ago. “I had a passion for fixing cars but several friends were in the textile industry and encouraged me to join them,” said Jeronimo. “It’s a decision I’ve never regretted. Many of my friends and family members had a totally outdated perception of what textile manufacturing is like. I tell them they would be amazed at how clean our plant is. Things have changed in the past 20 years. The career avenues in textiles today are pretty much limitless.”

Clean Water Action: Clean Water Action Announces Rhode Island Endorsements for the 2018 General Election

Clean Water Action: Clean Water Action Announces Rhode Island Endorsements for the 2018 General Election

SOURCE: CleanWaterAction.org

PROVIDENCE – Clean Water Action is pleased to announce its list of endorsed candidates for the 2018 general election being held on Tuesday, November 6th.

“Rhode Island’s natural resources are our state’s greatest asset, and we need to do everything in our power to make sure that we protect them,” said Johnathan Berard, Clean Water Action’s Rhode Island State Director. “These candidates have earned our endorsement because of their commitment to safeguarding our environment and public health. They have pledged their support for policies that will reduce consumption of single-use plastics and plastic pollution, protect our drinking water supply and water resources, and move swiftly towards a vision of 100% renewable energy for our state.”

Clean Water Action Rhode Island proudly endorses the following candidates for US Congress, Governor, Treasurer, and the General Assembly:

U.S. Senate

  • Sheldon Whitehouse (D)

U.S. House of Representatives

  • David Cicilline (D), House District 1
  • Jim Langevin (D), House District 2

Governor

  • Gina Raimondo (D)

Treasurer

  • Seth Magaziner (D)

State Senate

  • Adam Satchell (D), District 9
  • Dawn Euer (D), District 13
  • Val Lawson (D), District 14
  • Dennis Lavallee (D), District 19
  • Josh Miller (D), District 28
  • Jennifer Douglas (D), District 34
  • Bridget Valverde (D), District 35

State Representative

  • Christopher Blazejewski (D), District 2
  • Rebecca Kislak (D), District 4
  • Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D), District 5
  • John Lombardi (D), District 8
  • Anastasia Williams (D), District 9
  • Grace Diaz (D), District 11
  • Joseph Almeida (D), District 12
  • Arthur Handy (D), District 18
  • David Bennett (D), District 20
  • Justine Caldwell (D), District 30
  • Carol Hagan McEntee (D), District 33
  • Teresa Tanzi (D), District 34
  • Kathleen Fogarty (D), District 35
  • Lauren Niedel-Gresh (D), District 40
  • Michael Steiner (D), District 41
  • John “Jack” Lyle, Jr. (R), District 46
  • Michael Morin (D), District 49
  • Karen Alzate (D), District 60
  • Katherine Kazarian (D), District 63
  • Liana Cassar (D), District 66
  • Jason Knight (D), District 67
  • Laufton Asencao (D), District 68
  • Susan Donovan (D), District 69
  • Dennis Canario (D), District 71
  • Terri Cortvriend (D), District 72
  • Deborah Ruggiero (D), District 74
  • Lauren Carson (D), District 75
NK Standard Times: RI receives funding to battle opioid epidemic

NK Standard Times: RI receives funding to battle opioid epidemic

By Alex Trubia

WASHINGTON, D.C .– On Tuesday, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, and Governor Gina Raimondo announced $12.6 million in federal funding for Rhode Island’s battle against the opioid epidemic.  

Rhode Island’s share from a grant program at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) rose from $2.1 million last year to $12.6 million as a result of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, also known as the Omnibus Appropriations law.

All four members of the delegation voted for the Omnibus, which included a $3.3 billion boost this year for opioid funding, with $142 million set aside specifically for states with the highest mortality rates from overdoses.

“This boost in federal funds will help those on the frontlines prevent drug abuse and treat addiction,”  said Reed. “This is a smart investment in the health and well-being of people and our communities.”

Whitehouse, who is also the author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, legislation guiding the federal response to the opioid epidemic that was signed into law in 2016, said Rhode Islanders have been “fighting courageously against opioid addiction” and have “made real gains.”

“To protect those gains, and to honor the people walking the long, noble road of recovery, we need to fund efforts that work,” Whitehouse added. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in the delegation to support this funding and the work of everyone on the front lines of this crisis in Rhode Island.”

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, there were 323 accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island last year, down from 336 in 2016–a year in which, as per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rhode Island had the ninth highest drug overdose death rate of any state in the nation.

Langevin said he was also proud to fight alongside the rest of the state’s delegation for “this substantial funding increase and help deliver necessary resources to combat the opioid overdose epidemic in Rhode Island.”

“This public health crisis requires a comprehensive approach, and I remain dedicated to supporting these critical efforts at the federal level,” he added.

The funding is part of a $930 million round of grants nationwide that was first authorized by Congress in 2016 in the 21st Century Cures Act, which allocated $1 billion in funding for states to prevent and treat addiction.

Cicilline said it’s this type of federal funding that will “help save lives here in Rhode Island by providing resources to programs fighting this epidemic.”

“Rhode Island has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis and so many Rhode Island families have been devastated as a result,” he said. “The magnitude of this public health crisis requires a comprehensive national strategy and significant federal resources to finally end this epidemic.”

And Raimondo said the opioid overdose epidemic is “the biggest public health crisis facing Rhode Island today,” which is why the delegation has “launched an aggressive effort to combat it with every tool at our disposal.”

“This funding will be absolutely critical as we continue to fight to save lives,” the governor said.  “Rhode Island is fortunate to have outspoken advocates in our congressional delegation, and I thank each of them for their steadfast commitment to fighting this crisis.”

The grant will go to Rhode Island’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to help prevention efforts, expand treatment capacity for medication assisted treatment as well as residential treatment for individuals and families, launch mobile treatment and induction services to reach under-served areas, increase availability of recovery support services and recovery housing, create a statewide pre-arrest diversion program and purchase lifesaving Naloxone.

ProJo: Hundreds pay tribute as Bristol post office is renamed in memory of fallen soldier

ProJo: Hundreds pay tribute as Bristol post office is renamed in memory of fallen soldier

By Linda Borg

BRISTOL, R.I. — A Bristol native who died serving in Afghanistan was honored Sunday for his patriotism on one of the country’s most patriotic streets.

More than 200 people along with Gov. Gina Raimondo and the entire congressional delegation turned out to dedicate the Bristol Post Office on Hope Street in memory of 1st Sgt. P. Andrew McKenna Jr.

“It’s wonderful we should be here on this most patriotic street in America,” said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “Go forward 100 years. A child will come through the post office doors and ask, ‘Who was Sergeant McKenna?’ and his mother will say, ‘Let’s look it up.’ And his memory will be revived again, as it should be.”

When terrorists breached his defensive perimeter with a truck bomb in Kabul on Aug. 7, 2015, McKenna ran toward attackers, helping to repulse them while losing his own life. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest military honor, and the Purple Heart. A Green Beret assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, he was deployed overseas six times, and received the Bronze Star during his first tour in Afghanistan.

“We owe him the debt of gratitude forever,” Raimondo said. “How many of us would have run toward fire, toward danger? His humility was the most distinguished thing about him. He did it because it was the right thing to do.”

McKenna always wanted to be a soldier.

As a child, he rarely took off his “Army” uniform, and friends remembered how he organized the neighborhood kids into one band of brothers or another.

“From the youngest age, he wanted to be a soldier,” said Robert McKenna of Bristol, a cousin. “He’d gather the local kids and off they’d go on their mission.”

McKenna traveled far from home during his nearly 20 years of service, but he never forgot what made Bristol special.

Three years ago, he was honored at the Bristol Fourth of July parade for traveling the farthest — from Afghanistan — to his hometown. The town bestowed an American flag that had once flown above the White House.

A month later, he was gone.

His mother, Carol McKenna, was a bit overwhelmed by this latest tribute, which was hardly the first. A stretch of Route 114 between the Warren Bridge and the Mount Hope Bridge has been renamed in his honor. A monument sits in front of the Bristol VFW Club.

“If he was here, he’d say, ‘I can’t believe people are doing this,’” said Carol McKenna. “I have mixed emotions. I’d give all of this up in a heartbeat…. He was a special man.”

Even those who didn’t know McKenna personally had some connection to his family. The mother whose son, an Eagle Scout, helped build the monument on Hope Street. The neighbor who has a photograph of him as a little boy, dressed in his uniform.

“It’s a small town,” Pam Meyer said. “People come out.”

Sgt. Maj. Calvin Boersma served with McKenna in Afghanistan. He said Andrew saved his life.

Boersma described the boyish side of McKenna, the young soldier who liked to tear up North Carolina on his motorcycle, the guy who gave friends a thumbs-up if he liked their girlfriends.

But he also recalled a man who was fiercely loyal, no matter how far away his buddies were. When one soldier was in a bad way, McKenna showed at his house and forced him to get out of bed and go outside. The friend later described that encounter as a turning point.

“He loved his town and his country,” Boersma said. “His patriotism was driven by how he grew up. I don’t think there could be a better place in the world to commemorate him.”

ProJo: $2M grant to establish Zero Suicide initiative in Southern R.I.

ProJo: $2M grant to establish Zero Suicide initiative in Southern R.I.

By G. Wayne Miller

RICHMOND, R.I. — Already a leader in mental-health awareness and services, the South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds collaborative has received $2 million in federal funding aimed at reducing suicides. The funding was announced Monday at Harvest Acres Farm, whose owners, Cindy and John Duncan, lost their teenage daughter to suicide.

The funding will enable the collaborative to establish its “Zero Suicide in Washington County” initiative, described by the state Department of Health and three members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation in a joint statement as a “wide-ranging program for health care providers across the region to screen for the warning signs of suicide and provide vital services to further assess and care for those at risk of suicide.”

Dr. Robert Harrison, director of the project, described it as “both a system and a culture change [and] also the most effective program proven to drastically reduce suicides in health care systems for the initiative. Yale New Haven Health/Westerly Hospital is proud to collaborate with South County Health and every other major health care organization in the region to prevent the most preventable death — suicide — in Washington County.”

Among other significant efforts, South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds has joined the international Mental Health First Aid effort, which now includes the University of Rhode Island, whose provost, Donald H. DeHayes, sits on the collaborative’s board.

“We can mount this program in South County because of the strength of South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds, a collaboration of healthcare providers, the school systems, URI, our community action agency, business partners and many other social service agencies,” said South County Health president and CEO Lou Giancola.

The $2 million in funding will flow from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“This initiative is a comprehensive approach that has brought in advocates and family members who have been impacted by suicide to bring help, hope, and light to those in need who are going through a dark time,” said Senator Jack Reed.

Said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “Making sure health care professionals have the training and resources to lend care and support to those fighting depression and thoughts of suicide will go a long way toward getting us to zero suicides.”

Added U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, whose district includes South County, “Suicide is preventable, and we need to do all we can to save these lives.”

While providing direct services and raising funds for mental-health causes and awareness, Harvest Acres Farm also memorializes Cassie Duncan, who lost her life to suicide during the Christmas 2005 holidays. Fourteen years old and an artist, Cassie had not shared what she was experiencing.

“It’s absolutely incredible how far we have come,” Cindy said in May, as Harvest Acres marked yet another expansion of its programming. “It’s a true blessing. Cassie and God are smiling and I couldn’t be happier.”

South County now joins a growing movement to reduce suicide. In May, Butler Hospital announced its own Zero Suicide initiative.

NavSea News: NUWC Newport hosts Advanced Naval Technology Exercise

NavSea News: NUWC Newport hosts Advanced Naval Technology Exercise

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport hosted the 2018 Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) Human Machine Interaction (HMI 18) Aug. 30-31 at its Narragansett Bay Test Facility (NBTF).

Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman James Langevin both visited the exercise and spoke to assembled dignitaries and participants on Aug. 30.

“Anyone who operates underwater can appreciate new technology that has enabled remotely operated vehicles to be so much more powerful and capable, whether it is computers or communications or planning systems,” said Whitehouse.

Langevin added, “ANTX showcases the importance of partnerships between Navy, academia, and industry in driving American innovation, which in turn enables our technological superiority on the battlefield. I can think of no better way to present technology development and innovative maritime systems – these are several things the Ocean State is very good at.”

Additional speakers included Senior Executive Service (SES) member Ron Vien, division technical director at NUWC Newport; Capt. Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport’s commanding officer; Rear Adm. John Tammen, the Navy’s director of undersea warfare, and Dr. William Burnett, SES, deputy commander and technical director to the Commander Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC) in Stennis, Mississippi. CNMOC was one of the government partners at ANTX HMI 18.

“We’re expanding the overarching goals of ANTX: collaboration, innovation, and fleet feedback,” said Vien.

ANTX is an annual multi-day event originally created by NUWC Division Newport to demonstrate future Navy technologies in action today. Naval warfare centers, universities and industry partners were invited to showcase their latest unmanned systems and related technologies. ANTX provided a low-risk environment in which scientists and engineers evaluated their technological innovations at the research and development level before they become militarized and integrated at the operational level thus providing a glimpse of tomorrow’s technologies.

ANTX HMI 18 was the largest ANTX event hosted at NUWC Newport in terms of the number of participants, vehicles, and technologies since the exercise series began in 2015. This exercise involved more than 55 participants from industry, academia and government as well as fleet personnel who provided critical feedback to participants

Consistent with the human machine interaction theme, participants identified science and technologies that enable or achieve coordinated detection, localization, tracking and/or targeting for undersea, surface and air environments. With this focus in mind, the exercise explored ways in which these technologies enable human trust in machines to support operational decision making.

“It is critical to develop a wide array of weapons and sensors to overmatch our adversaries,” Langevin said, “UUVs present a variety of opportunities to protect our naval assets and project power and gather information and conduct operations in conjunction with the traditional fleet all over the world.”

“I look forward to ANTX every year. I’m so excited about what has been accomplished so far and the prospects for ANTX in the years ahead,” said Whitehouse. “This is a growth part, not just for the defense sector, but for the technology of our country. I want to make sure Newport stays at the forefront of it.”

NUWC Division Newport, part of NAVSEA, is one of two divisions of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. NUWC Division Newport’s mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures. NUWC’s other division is located in Keyport, Washington.

Warwick Post: Congressional Delegation Wins $633K for new WFD Rescue

Warwick Post: Congressional Delegation Wins $633K for new WFD Rescue

By Rob Borkowski

WARWICK, RI  — Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation announced  the Warwick Fire Department will receive a $633,789 grant for a new rescue truck, part of $1,113,758 in federal funding awarded to the city, Little Compton, North Kingstown, and Woonsocket.

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline announced the grants for Warwick’s new truck and to help North Kingstown, Little Compton, and Woonsocket fire departments upgrade essential equipment.

The federal funds were awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, according to an announcement from Sen. Jack Reed’s office.  AFG grants are designed to supply critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources necessary to protect local communities.  Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation helped include a total of $350 million for AFG firefighter equipment grants in the 2018 Omnibus Appropriations law.

The WFD will purchase a new, tandem-axle heavy duty rescue vehicle that will replace a dated, 26-year-old medium duty model that responded to over 1,600 incidents in 2016 alone.  The new heavy duty vehicle will help firefighters with extrications, large vehicle stabilization, Advanced Life Support (ALS) medical response, surface and shoreline water rescue, rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue and structural firefighting.

The North Kingstown Fire Department will use its $268,605 grant to replace its outdated Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) currently in use by firefighters.  The purchase includes new SCBA units, SCBA bottles, and face pieces.  The equipment will be used by firefighters during emergency response situations to ensure safe breathing amid fires and other situations involving toxic air quality.

The Little Compton Fire Department is receiving a regional $211,364 grant alongside the Woonsocket Fire Department to purchase new power cots, which are battery operated stretchers capable of lifting very heavy patients, incorporated with a hydraulic lift system that loads/unloads the power cot from the ambulance.  The goal of the purchase is to reduce injuries to the department’s firefighter/EMTs, increase the safety of patients by decreasing cot drop incidents, and enhance the department’s operability throughout the region.

“It is critical that our firefighters possess quality tools that are suitable to meet the grueling demands of their profession,” said Langevin, a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, which oversees the AFG program. “These highly competitive federal grants will help protect the health and safety of our first responders and the communities they serve.”

“I am very grateful to Senators Reed and Whitehouse and Congressman Langevin for their hard work to secure us the funding for this very necessary apparatus,” said Warwick Mayor Joseph J. Solomon.  “The safety and well-being of all who live and work in our community and who travel through Warwick each year is of paramount importance to me and our public safety officials.  This heavy-duty rescue vehicle will further ensure that we are able to respond to any crisis quickly and effectively. We are very fortunate to have a Congressional delegation that advocates so strongly for Rhode Island’s emergency responders and work tirelessly for our communities. I look forward to their continued support in the future for similar efforts to assure the ongoing safety of T.F. Green International Airport’s travelers and our community overall. ”

“Our emergency responders deserve access to the best equipment possible so they can do their jobs safely and effectively. This funding will not only benefit our firefighters, but all Rhode Islanders,”  said Cicilline.

“These federal funds will help enhance public safety, improve emergency response capabilities, and provide our firefighters with the resources and equipment they need,” said Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee that oversees FEMA funding.  “I am grateful to our firefighters for the life-saving work they do and I will continue working hard at the federal level to support them and help them get the job done safely and effectively.”

“These grants will help equip our first responders with cutting-edge gear to do their job safely and effectively,” said Whitehouse.  “We’re grateful for everything they do to keep our communities safe.”

WPRI: Five RI fire departments to split $3.8M federal grant

WPRI: Five RI fire departments to split $3.8M federal grant

By Anita Baffoni

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cumberland, Saylesville, Smithfield, West Warwick, and Woonsocket Fire Departments will be the beneficiaries of a $3.8 million federal grant, Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation announced Friday.  

The grant is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) SAFER Grant and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) programs.

The grant will go toward the hiring of 28 new firefighters and safety equipment among the five fire departments.

  • Cumberland Fire Department will use its $303,879 SAFER grant to hire two new firefighters
  • Saylesville Fire Department will use its $143,790 SAFER grant to hire one new firefighter
  • Smithfield Fire Department will use its $1,886,122 SAFER grant to hire 13 new firefighters
  • Woonsocket Fire Department will use its $1,535,130 SAFER grant to hire 12 new firefighters
  • West Warwick Fire Department will use its $6,819 AFG grant to purchase a thermal imaging camera

“These federal funds will help ensure fire departments are well-staffed and well-equipped,” U.S. Sen. Jack Reed said. “Adding these additional firefighters will improve the level of service and public safety,”

“Making sure our fire departments are equipped with enough personnel and the proper equipment is vital to the protection of our communities,” Congressman Jim Langevin added.

Since 2001, more than $38 million in AFG grants have been awarded to Rhode Island fire departments and nearly $43 million in SAFER grants since 2005, according to the delegation.

WJAR: Westerly train station reopens with art gallery

WJAR: Westerly train station reopens with art gallery

By Miles Montgomery

WESTERLY, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, and Rhode Island Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti, Jr. joined the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly to celebrate the reopening of the Westerly Train Station Friday.

Following Amtrak’s change to online and mobile smartphone ticketing, the station was closed for the last two years. The new station features an indoor waiting area, access to restrooms while providing a new arts venue for the local Westerly community. The station will be closed Sunday to Tuesday but will open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“This project is a fantastic example of what can be accomplished through successful partnerships. The state, local community and the Artists’ Cooperative worked together on a solution that will provide a vital service to the public while expanding the cultural fabric of the community,” Raimondo said.

“It is great to see this historic train station being reopened to welcome travelers and art lovers alike. Instead of just a platform for passengers, it will serve as a platform for talented local artists to showcase their work in this unique setting,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. Senator Reed is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development , who worked to provide record funding for Amtrak in 2018, some of which will help Westerly Train Station make needed improvements to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“This creative approach for reopening the Westerly Train Station provides a temporary home for the Artists’ Cooperative of Westerly, ensuring the public retains access to the works of local artists. I applaud the Gallery and RIDOT for working together to support Rhode Island’s art economy,” Langevin said.

“Westerly Station is an important part of our transit infrastructure,” Alviti said. “It is wonderful to see it come back to life with a new tenant. We appreciate the willingness of the Artists’ Cooperative to welcome Amtrak passengers. It creates a sense of vitality.”

Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly President Arlene Piacquadio said, “The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly is pleased to join with RIDOT and the Ocean Community United Theater to unite our community through the arts with work of local artists displayed in the Westerly Train Station.”

The gallery is expected to remain in the station until renovations are completed on its former location, the United Theatre complex. The complex will be home to the gallery and will be the first satellite location of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School when the renovations are finished.

The Westerly station, owned by RIDOT, has served passengers since 1912 and provides service for Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, including nine stops on weekdays and six stops on weekends.