Another town, another story

By RUDY CHEEKS  |  June 29, 2011

Also in North Kingstown, the superintendent of schools, Dr. Philip Thornton, widely considered to be a fine education official, has been appointed to fill the vacant position of superintendent in Cumberland. Thornton's primary reason for leaving NK? It would seem it has to do with (in his words, quoted in the article) "major philosophical differences with several members of the School Committee." The School Committee members were identified by Spetrini as Bill Mudge and Joe Thompson. Mudge, in particular, has been a severe adversary, accusing Thornton of being "unethical."

While not knowing the personalities or any "back stories" on these conflicts in North Kingstown, it seems that someone should be paying heed to Rodney King's now famous admonition, "Can we all get along?" At this time of economic stress and crumbling civic institutions, when sustaining and nurturing communities seems more challenging than ever, King's words seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.


Last week in this space I wrote about a report from the University of Maryland that studied the cities of Providence and Pawtucket and how they had successfully utilized the arts to advance economic development in their respective communities. I heard from a couple of readers who are more knowledgeable about certain aspects of the issue than yours truly. Here is what they had to say.

Linda Dewing, a real estate broker with Places and Spaces Realty in Pawtucket who handles the Riverfront Lofts, wrote to tell me that, while Morris and Phyllis Nathanson certainly deserve kudos for their contribution to the success of the mill conversion project, Ranne and Ray Warner were also key figures at the inception of Riverfront Lofts, Ranne as developer and Ray as architect. Thank you, Linda.

I also heard from David Everett, the principal planner for the City of Providence's Department of Planning & Development: "I just read your reference in the Phoenix to the Knowledge District as synonymous with the Jewelry District. As a member of the 'Green the Knowledge District' leadership team (an Ocean State Consortium of Advanced Resources — aka OSCAR— pilot) and a city planner, this widespread misunderstanding is frustrating. The KD is actually a larger and potentially expanding area currently extending south to Public Street to include the hospitals as well as CCRI, the Met School, etc. The Jewelry District will live on!"

Once again, thank you, David. (I'm also quite pleased to hear that the city's principal planner had a great time at a Young Adults show at the Met a few weeks back. It is that sort of an admission, David, that could get you bounced from municipal government and back to foraging for nuts and berries in the far reaches of West Warwick.) The whole Jewelry District/Knowledge District thing gets a little confusing for us old-timers whose primary connection to the area was hanging around the original Met and Leo's in the 1970s and '80s. I'll make sure to spread the word to everyone at Nick-a-Nee's and the South Street Cafe.

And one more thought on Pawtucket: I love seeing Pawtucket native Brady White on the new Cardi's "Christmas in July" commercials in print and on television. Brady was "Santa to the Stars" in Hollywood for many years (head to for details) and is now back home in Pawtucket at the center of the universe. And a tip to Ken McGill, the chairman of the Pawtucket Hall of Fame committee — it's time to nominate Brady. He has made a national name for himself and has also been involved with a large number of local charitable causes. Ho-ho-ho!

Send sparklers and Pulitzer-grade tips

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