31 October 2010

A Look Ahead to All Saints Day

Tomorrow (1 November) the Church celebrates the Solemnity of All Saints, a time to honor all the saints - those we know, as well as the countless ones we don't know (meaning everyone in heaven).

The readings assigned for the day are Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; and Matthew 5:1-12. The Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 24 (24:1-6).

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio has a good reflection related to this special observance - a reminder that each of us is called to holiness:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: All Saints Day Means Holiness is for All

To assist readers in focusing on this day, Fr. Austin Fleming, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Concord, MA, has posted in his blog (A Concord Pastor Comments) a recorded version of the Litany of the Saints set to music by John Becker:

Concord Pastor: Litany of the Saints: All you holy men and women. . .

Finally, here is a reflection on All Saints Day by Fr. Peter Rocca, C.S.C., and the singing of the Litany of the Saints from the 2009 All Saints Day celebration at Notre Dame University's Basilica of the Sacred Heart:

YouTube: Litany of Saints at Notre Dame University

Reflections on This Sunday's Readings

Today the Church observes the Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The assigned readings for the day include Wisdom 11:22-12:2 (included in yesterday's post related to the book of Wisdom), 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2, and Luke 19:1-10 (the familiar story of Zacchaeus, the short tax collector who climbed a tree to see Jesus).

For some reflections on these readings, please visit:

Fr. Austin Fleming: Too short? Too tall? Too this? Too that? Or not enough . . . ?

Fr. John Kavanaugh, S. J.: Zacchaeus

The Christian Origins of Halloween

I recently ran across a blog post related to the Christian (Catholic) origins of Halloween.  There are a few similar takes on this subject, although there are some (minor) differences in historical interpretation. The links below will take an interested person to some of these accounts. (When I was teaching my seventh grade students at Saint Patrick School in Providence, I tend to use the version as given in the first link.)

To access these historical overviews, please visit:

St. Anthony Messenger: Halloween and Its Christian Roots

Beliefnet: Surprise: Halloween's Not a Pagan Festival After All

Catholic Culture: Halloween or All Hallow's Eve Activities

EWTN: Halloween: Its Origins and Celebration

About.com: Urban Legends: Halloween History and Origins

30 October 2010

A Reflection Starter from the Book of Wisdom

A reflection starter from today's Office of Readings (Wisdom 11:21-12:2,11-19):

"Who can resist the might of your arm? Indeed, before you the whole universe is as a grain from a balance, or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth. But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook the sins of men that they may repent. For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? But you spare all things, because they are yours, O LORD and lover of souls.

"Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little, warn them, and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD!

"Neither out of fear for anyone did you grant amnesty for their sins. For who can say to you, 'What have you done?' or who can oppose your decree? Or when peoples perish, who can challenge you, their maker; or who can come into your presence as vindicator of unjust men? For neither is there any god besides you who have the care of all, that you need show you have not unjustly condemned; nor can any king or prince confront you on behalf of those you have punished. But as you are just, you govern all things justly; you regard it as unworthy of your power to punish one who has incurred no blame. For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all. For you show your might when the perfection of your power is disbelieved; and in those who know you, you rebuke temerity. But though you are master of might, you judge with clemency, and with much lenience you govern us; for power, whenever you will, attends you. And you taught your people, by these deeds, that those who are just must be kind; And you gave your sons good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins."

Questions Raised Over Manning of Portland (ME) Fireboat

A recent Portland Pres Herald article examined the Portland Fire Department’s manning of its fireboat company (Engine Company 7) as it also strives to provide medical coverage for Peaks Island. As the article mentions, the assigning of one of the company’s firefighters to assist in providing emergency medical coverage to the island has led to some delayed responses on calls involving the fireboat.

To access the article from the Portland Press Herald, please visit:

Portland Press Herald: Portland fire chief defends split crew on fireboats (23 OCT 10)

Background Information:

Portland Fire Department

Portland Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 740

City of Portland

Wikipedia: Portland, Maine

Peaks Island

29 October 2010

Overall Value and Impact of Home Fire Sprinkler Incentives Underscored in New Fire Protection Research Foundation Study

Incentives for sprinkler installations in new U.S. homes are becoming increasingly common due to building codes and ordinances, and in recognition of the life safety benefits these systems provide. That’s according to Incentives for the Use of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in the U.S., an October 2010 study released by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The report - which is the second part to a study released in 2008 that looked at the costs associated with home fire sprinklers - underscores the considerable influence incentives can have on building costs and the overall cost of a sprinkler system.

“For years, myths and misconceptions about residential sprinkler systems have proliferated among some groups, which have effectively worked to deter homeowners from even considering installing sprinklers in new construction,” says Jim Shannon, NFPA president and CEO, in a prepared statement. “The Research Foundation’s work debunks those fallacies with real-life examples, which demonstrate that the proper incentives can and do motivate homeowners and builders to install sprinklers.” In that process, Shannon notes, those communities are becoming better educated about sprinklers’ true feasibility.

Conducted for the Foundation by Newport Partners, LLC, with an advisory panel consisting of representatives from NAHB, ICC, NIST, fire service, home builders, and sprinkler contractors, the study evaluated the nature and impact of incentives by identifying, characterizing, and estimating the approximate value of sprinkler system incentives found in communities across the U.S. In-depth interviews were conducted among sixteen communities (including Gorham, ME, and Montpelier and Hartford, VT).  Each of these communities offered one or more incentives to encourage the use of sprinkler systems in new single-family homes. Incentives were categorized as financial trade-offs, on-site design flexibility, and off-site design flexibility, while the beneficiaries of different incentives were the homeowner, builder, or developer.

The report’s key findings include :

  • A representative selection of builder-oriented incentives could offset approximately one-third of the cost of a sprinkler system for a new home. Examples of builder-oriented incentives included reduced or waived fees and reduced fire ratings for building assemblies.
  • Incentives expected to accrue to builders were found to have the largest estimated value, totaling $1,949 per building lot; developer-oriented incentives were estimated to offer a value of $1,271/lot. Incentives relating to homeowners were lower, with a total first-year value of $145/lot.
  • Each of the homeowner-oriented incentives (e.g. reduced property taxes) was found to have recurring benefits. When valuing these incentives over long-term, they compare more favorably to the values for builders and developers.

Newport Partners completed the Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment report in 2008, which found the cost of installing sprinkler systems to the home builder averaged $1.61 per sprinklered square foot. They examined installation costs and insurance premium discounts associated with the installation of home fire sprinkler systems in 10 communities.

To access this report, please visit:

NFPA: Incentives for the Use of Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems in U.S. Communities (2010)

To access the Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment report, please visit:

NFPA: Home Fire Sprinkler Cost Assessment (2008)

24 October 2010

Timex Unveils New Sundial

Timex Group USA has donated a replacement clock (sundial) to the Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, CT.

The sundial being replaced was originally a gift from the United States Time Corporation, as Timex was then known, in 1956. It has been removed from the side of the building to be rebuilt. The new one is also a gift from Timex and is being built by Global Scenic Services in Bridgeport.

Both the previous sundial and the current one are the only sundials known to be calibrated to Eastern Daylight Saving Time.

To access the Connecticut Post article on this event, please visit:

Connecticut Post: Timex unveils new sundial on Shakespeare theater (23 OCT 10)

Background Information:

Stratford Festival Theater  (a.k.a. Shakespeare Theatre)

Timex Group USA

Timexpo: The Timex Museum, Waterbury, CT

Town of Stratford

Reflections on This Sunday’s Readings

Today is the Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Times, and the readings include the familiar parable (from saint Luke’s Gospel) of the Pharisee and the tax collector: Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; and Luke 18:9-14. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 34. To access these readings, please visit:

USCCB: Readings for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In a reflection on today’s readings (in his homily of today), Abbot Brian Wangler, O.S.B., of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, ND, writes:

“Pride is the sin of good people. Fundamental to pride is self-deception. We can easily see pride in others, but it is hard to see in ourselves. There is, so to speak, the Black Devil and the While Devil. The Black Devil tempts us to break the law. He tempts us to lie, steal, cover up wrong we have done and get a thrill out of getting away with doing something sinful. The White Devil tempts us to obey the law and glory in our obedience.

“Pride is the sin of the virtuous person. It is the sin of the successful person, the righteous person and of the law-abiding person. The Pharisee was all that. He was not greedy, dishonest or adulterous. He fasted twice a week and paid 10% of his income to the church, or to the temple in his day. He was a good person, a pillar of the community, a pillar of the church.

“There was only one problem. He was completely disconnected from God. And, in most ways, he was disconnected with other people. He only brings in other people to drag them down.

“Pride is a sin of the soul. Most other serious sins are more related to the body. Lust, gluttony and envy are, each in their own way, more physical. They are more related to hormonal drives, to physical pleasure or to comparison of oneself to another. Pride is of the soul. It is a sin that isolates us from God. The Pharisee goes to the temple to pray. It is the right thing to do. But he is unconnected with God. He simply speaks to himself. Pride isolates a person. It leaves them cut off from God and others, depending on how great the pride is. . . .

“The difference between the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector is one of attitude. The Pharisee does not need God. He is already perfect in his own mind. He is a prime candidate for pride. Pride has long been considered the worst of all sins. The Tax-Collector needed God. . . .”

In his reflection on today's Gospel reading, Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio notes that the parable teaches us a lot about pride, humility and . . . insanity:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: The Pharisee, the Publican, and Humility

In a related commentary, Msgr. Charles Pope reflects on humility in prayer:

Msgr. Charles Pope: On Humility in Prayer

And Father John Kavanaugh, S. J., reflects on self-righteousness:

John Kavanaugh, S. J.: The Word Engaged: Self-Righteous

Russell Shaw on a Biomedical Pandora’s Box

Writer Russell Shaw, who often writes about Catholic-related events and concerns, has commented on recent news items concerning two biomedical-related events, each of which raised concerns about using morally bad means to achieve good ends.

To read Mr. Shaw's commentary, please visit:

Russell Shaw: The Biomedical Pandora’s Box (22 OCT 10)

A Reflection Starter from Saint Francis de Sales

“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” –Saint Francis de Sales

23 October 2010

Providence College Rated a Top Catholic School

The Dominican Province of St. Joseph Blog has posted an item entitled "Providence College: A Top Catholic School."

To access this post, please visit:

Dominican Province of St. Joseph Blog: Providence College: A Top Catholic School

22 October 2010

A Thought Starter from Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

NFPA Announces Second Lowest Level of U.S. Smoking-material Fire Deaths in Nearly 30 Years

A new report released by the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that the number of smoking-material related fire deaths in the U.S. dropped below 700 in 2008, representing the second lowest level since 1980. While several factors can be credited for the latest decline, NFPA points to new fire-safe cigarette legislation as an important component of the decrease.

A total of 114,800 smoking-material fires resulted in an estimated 680 deaths, 1,520 injuries and $737 billion in direct property damage in 2008. (Smoking materials are defined as lighted tobacco products, but do not include matches or lighters.)

Smoking-material fires have been down by 66% from 1980 to 2008. NFPA’s report says this long-term trend is due to fewer people smoking and to standards and regulations that now require mattresses and upholstered furniture be made with materials more resistant to cigarette ignition, among other factors. However, the most recent drop in smoking-material fire fatalities can also be attributed to “fire-safe” cigarette legislation, which mandates that cigarettes be produced with reduced ignition strength, and carry a lower propensity for burning when left unattended. NFPA launched the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes in 2006 with the goal of getting fire-safe cigarettes in every state across the country. Prior to the formation of the Coalition, two states had passed legislation. As of February, all 50 states had passed similar bills. The laws are now in effect in 47 states.

According to Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communications, nearly all home smoking-material fires are unintentional, and are most often caused by some human error in control or disposal.

Other notable findings from NFPA’s report show:

  • Most of the fires caused by smoking materials and related losses occur in homes, including apartments.
  • Roughly equal shares of deaths resulting from smoking-material fires were in bedrooms (36%) as in living rooms, family rooms and dens (33%).
  • One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire. The risk of dying in a home fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.

As with virtually all types of fires, there are many steps people can take to prevent smoking-material fires. NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration worked collaboratively to develop the following safety tips, which primarily focus on safe storage and disposal of cigarettes:

  • If you smoke, smoke outside.
  • Whenever you smoke, use deep, wide, sturdy ashtrays, which should be set on something solid and hard to ignite, like an end-table.
  • Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they are out. Dowsing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
  • Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
  • To prevent a cigarette fire, you have to be alert. You won’t be if you’re sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Smoking should not be allowed in a home where medical oxygen is used.

To access the complete report, please visit:

NFPA: The Smoking-Material Fire Problem (September 2010)

21 October 2010

EPA Technical Assistance to Help Concord, NH, and Rhode Island Communities with Sustainable Growth and Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen Concord, NH, and the KeepSpace Program in Rhode Island as two of eight recipients nationwide to receive targeted technical assistance on growth and development issues. EPA, among other concerns, is aware of the challenges faced by local governments in addressing infrastructure constraints, protecting water quality, setting development standards, and creating options for housing and transportation. Each of these projects will receive approximately $65K in consulting services in addition to direct assistance from EPA staff.

The Concord project is designed to support the city in its efforts to sustainably redevelop historic properties in its downtown core. Concord is considered to have the most diverse downtown in the New Hampshire, with approximately sixty buildings that date back to the 1800s or early 1900s - buildings that house nearly 200 retail and restaurant businesses as well as over thirty law offices and dozens of nonprofit organizations and government agencies. EPA notes that the same quality that makes the downtown a wonderful place to work or visit is also one of its most significant challenges, since the need for regular maintenance is exacerbated in buildings that are over 100 years old.

Concord has sought assistance from EPA to identify ways in which they can support redevelopment of historic properties that comply with new energy-efficient and green building standards, while still conforming to state historic preservation codes. Currently, the perception of local developers and investors that it is too costly and time-intensive to comply with both sets of standards is preventing the redevelopment of these buildings, and this perception is hindering achievement of larger community-wide goals for smart growth and sustainable development. This technical assistance effort is designed to offer concrete solutions to Concord's challenges, as well as guidance for a national audience on the ways in which they can create a regulatory framework that supports the sustainable, green redevelopment of historic buildings.

To assist Rhode Island communities with their challenges, the EPA team will work with Rhode Island Housing, the coordinating body for the KeepSpace Advisory Committee, which consists of several of the state’s government agencies and statewide nonprofits engaged in smart growth implementation. The purpose of the technical assistance is to identify programs, policies, and funding streams that can be aligned across state agencies to support more sustainable communities and develop metrics to assess the effectiveness of this coordination. This work is intended to mirror the cross-agency coordination at the Federal level under the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

The national Smart Growth Implementation Assistance projects from EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities will focus on key topics central to the Partnership's work: cross-departmental coordination of sustainability policies, cities undergoing economic transition, infrastructure financing, historic preservation as part of downtown revitalization, and incorporating climate change adaptation as part of long-term plans.

All of these projects are being coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which began in June 2009, when U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson came together to announce that they would work together to coordinate federal actions on housing, transportation, and environmental protection. This interagency collaboration is designed to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. Coordinating federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services is designed to meet multiple economic, environmental, and community objectives with each dollar spent.

For more information:

EPA: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance

HUD-DOT-EPA Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities

Partnership for Sustainable Communities Progress Report

20 October 2010

October Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 2010 marks the seventh annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During this observance, DHS is encouraging Americans to follow a few simple steps to keep themselves safe online - to keep their own personal assets and information secure and to help improve the overall security of cyberspace.

As part of this initiative,
DHS is encouraging a number of cybersecurity actions during month and beyond. These actions include:
  • Making sure anti-virus software and firewalls is installed, properly configured, and up-to-date; setting the computer to automatically update (New threats are discovered every day, and keeping software updated is one of the easier ways to protect oneself from an attack.).
  • Updating the operating system and critical program software (Software updates offer the latest protection against malicious activities.); turning on automatic updating if that feature is available.
  • Backing up key files; if important files are stored on a computer, copying them onto a removable disc and storing it in a safe place.


National Cybersecurity Awareness Campaign

National Cyber Security Alliance

19 October 2010

Reflection Starter

"Have you ever watched a stonecutter at work? He will hammer away at a rock for perhaps a 100 times without a crack showing in it. Then, on the 101st blow, it will split in two. It is not that blow alone which accomplished the result, but the 100 others that went before as well." - Source Unknown

18 October 2010

CPR's A-B-C Is Now C-A-B

The American Heart Association (AHA) is re-arranging the ABCs of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in its 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommending that chest compressions be the first step for lay and professional rescuers to revive victims of sudden cardiac arrest, the association said the A-B-Cs (Airway-Breathing-Compressions) of CPR should now be changed to C-A-B (Compressions-Airway-Breathing).

“For more than 40 years, CPR training has emphasized the ABCs of CPR, which instructed people to open a victim’s airway by tilting their head back, pinching the nose and breathing into the victim’s mouth, and only then giving chest compressions,” said Michael Sayre, M.D., co-author of the guidelines and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee, in a prepared statement. “This approach was causing significant delays in starting chest compressions, which are essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body. Changing the sequence from A-B-C to C-A-B for adults and children allows all rescuers to begin chest compressions right away.”

In previous guidelines, the association recommended looking, listening, and feeling for normal breathing before starting CPR. Now, compressions should be started immediately on anyone who is unresponsive and not breathing normally.

All victims in cardiac arrest need chest compressions. In the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest, victims will have oxygen remaining in their lungs and bloodstream, so starting CPR with chest compressions can pump that blood to the victim’s brain and heart sooner. Research shows that rescuers who started CPR with opening the airway took 30 critical seconds longer to begin chest compressions than rescuers who began CPR with chest compressions.

The change in the CPR sequence applies to adults, children and infants, but excludes newborns.
Other recommendations, based mainly on research published since the last AHA resuscitation guidelines in 2005:

  • During CPR, rescuers should give chest compressions a little faster, at a rate of at least 100 times a minute.
  • Rescuers should push deeper on the chest, compressing at least two inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants.
  • Between each compression, rescuers should avoid leaning on the chest to allow it to return to its starting position.
  • Rescuers should avoid stopping chest compressions and avoid excessive ventilation.
  • All 9-1-1 centers should assertively provide instructions over the telephone to get chest compressions started when cardiac arrest is suspected.

For more information about the new CPR Guidelines, please visit:

Official 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR & ECC

17 October 2010

Saint André Bessette

Brother André Bessette, C.S.C (Congregation of Holy Cross), a doorkeeper whose ministry to the sick led him to be called the “Miracle Man of Montreal” became the first saint of this congregation when Pope Benedict XVI canonized him (and five others) in St. Peter’s Square today.

Born Alfred Bessette to Isaac and Clothilde Besette on 9 August 1845, in Montreal, Brother André entered Holy Cross in 1870. He worked as a porter at a Montreal school run by the congregation and began to earn a reputation as a healer and miracle worker. Bessette’s biographers recount tales of crippled rheumatics healed and fever-stricken schoolboys made suddenly well, often aided by “Saint Joseph's oil,” which Brother André rubbed on wounds and sick limbs after burning it before a statue of the patron saint of his religious order.

More than seventy years after Brother André's death in 1937, millions of pilgrims travel each year to Saint Joseph's Oratory, which he founded in Montreal in 1904. Brother André was declared Venerable by the Catholic Church in 1978 (the first of three steps toward sainthood), and Blessed in 1982 (the second step). Pope John Paul II said of him, “We venerate in Blessed Brother André Bessette a man of prayer and a friend of the poor, a truly astonishing man. . . . In each age the Holy Spirit raises up such humble witnesses of the Gospel, who turn things topsy-turvy.”

The Providence Journal article listed below refers to some relatives of Saint André. One of the relatives mentioned is Louise Barba, with whom I used to teach at Saint Patrick School in Providence. Louise taught the 4th grade. For several years before the school made the transition from a K-8 school to a high school (Saint Patrick Academy), she made an annual pilgrimage to Saint Joseph's Oratory with a group of 8th grade students. This pilgrimage, on the last weekend of September, usually deeply touched the hearts of the participants.

Recent Articles/Comments about Saint André:

Providence Journal: Saintly man (14 OCT 10)

Fr. Andrew Gawrych, CSC: The Seven Crosses of Br. André’s Life

Fr. Austin Fleming: A saint who opened doors... (17 OCT 10)

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB: Upcoming Canonization

Background Information:

Congregation of Holy Cross

Oratory of Saint Joseph, Montreal

16 October 2010

New Hampshire Farm Uses Crop Loss as Opportunity

DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, NH, has had a very challenging year, including losing 90 percent of its apple crop to a killing frost in the spring. To help make up for these losses, the farm is playing host to the "Haunted Overload."

To access a Foster’s Daily Democrat article on this initiative and related issues, please visit:

Foster's Daily Democrat: Scare tactic: Lee farm transforms into haunted house to help recover from poor harvest (14 OCT 10)

Additional Information:

New England Apple Association

Former Mill Complex Destroyed in Pawtucket (RI) Fire

A five-alarm fire has destroyed the former Union Wadding mill complex at 125 Goff Avenue in Pawtucket, RI. The initial alarm was transmitted at approximately 2330 hours on Wednesday, 13 October.

Media Reports:

The Times: Fire destroys Union Wadding mill complex  (15 OCT 10)

Providence Journal: Massive fire destroys vacant mill in Pawtucket (15 OCT 10)

WJAR-TV: General alarm fire burns old Pawtucket mill (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: Massive fire ravages Pawtucket mill (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: Mill fire evacuees feared pets' safety (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: Mill fire sends smoke over Providence (14 OCT 10)

WJAR-TV: Pawtucket Mill Fire Investigation (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: Mill fire investigation underway (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: ATF to probe Pawtucket mill fire (15 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV: Other trouble at Union Wadding mill (14 OCT 10)

WPRI-TV Video Gallery: Video & pictures of Pawtucket mill fire

Providence Citywide Fire Network: 5TH ALARM PAWTUCKET RI

Providence Citywide Fire Network: General Alarm 125 Goff Ave Pawtucket

Providence Citywide Fire Network: General Alarm Pawtucket RI.

Providence Citywide Fire Network: General Alarm Pawtucket RI

Big Dog Fire Photography: General Alarm Pawtucket RI 125 Goff ave

Big Dog Fire Photography: Day after the general alarm in pawtucket ri

RIHotshots: General Alarm Pawtucket 125 Goff Ave

NRI Fire Photos: General Alarm Pawtucket, RI 125 Goff Ave October 14, 2010

Background Information:

Pawtucket Fire Department

City of Pawtucket

Wikipedia: Pawtucket, RI

The Lofts 125 - Lofts & Condominiums in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Google Map: 125 Goff Avenue, Pawtucket, RI

National Friends of Libraries Week, 17-23 October

During the week of 17-23 October, the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) is coordinating the fifth annual National Friends of Libraries Week.

This observance is designed as a two-fold opportunity to celebrate. Friends of libraries groups use the time to promote their group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. The celebration also offers an opportunity for library staff and board members to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.

In a 2006 survey of association members, 754 respondents reported raising more than $11 million dollars to support libraries with an average annual donation of more than $50,000. Eighty percent of respondents indicated they support their library through advocacy efforts with primary focus on local or municipal government and the general public. The top three goals were to prevent cuts to library budget, increase library budget, and general public awareness. Friends also support their library by coordinating programs, volunteering in the library, promoting the library in the community, and advocating for libraries on the state and national level.

In preparation for this observance, ALTAFF created public service announcements with ALTAFF national spokesperson Paula Poundstone, in which Poundstone explains her “unbalanced relationship” with her public library until she joined the Friends to help raise money for her local library. “It’s funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women,” said Poundstone. “The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers, and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed.”

To access the Paula Poundstone PSAs, please visit:

   Paula Poundstone/Friends of Libraries U.S.A. P.S.A.

13 October 2010

Willimantic, CT, 3-Alarm Fire Leaves 26 Homeless

A three-alarm fire on Sunday, 11 October, heavily damaged two apartment buildings, at 17-19 Clark Street and at 117-119 Union Street, and three automobiles in Willimantic, CT. Responding firefighters rescued one person from the Clark Street building. In addition, two firefighters were injured during the battle against the fire.

Media Reports:

Norwich Bulletin: 26 people homeless after Willimantic fire (12 OCT 10)

Norwich Bulletin Photo Gallery: Willimantic Fire

Providence Citywide Fire Network: Willimantic 3rd w/ladder rescue (11 OCT 10)

Norwich Bulletin: Willimantic apartments razed after devastating fire (13 OCT 10)

Background Information:

Willimantic Fire Department

Town of Windham, CT

Wikipedia: Willimantic, Connecticut

Google Map: 17-19 Clark Street, Willimantic, CT

11 October 2010

Lyme Selectman Works to Restore Graveyards That Have Disappeared

Today’s edition of The Day (New London, CT) ran an interesting article about Peter Lord, a selectman in the town of Lyme, and his avocation of restoring graveyards that have disappeared.

These cemeteries, many of them quite old, have disappeared because natural growth overran them. Mr. Lord, with a group of dedicated volunteers, is working to find them, restore them, and maintain them.

To access this article, please visit:

The Day: Lyme cemeteries rise again from the earth (11 OCT 10)

10 October 2010

Mannheim Steamroller Plays “Monster Mash”

As Halloween approaches, here is a treat: Mannheim Steamroller plays “Monster Mash”:

YouTube: Mannheim Steamroller - 'Monster Mash'

A Reflection on Today's Readings

In today's assigned readings, we read a First Testament account and a New Testament account of a healing of leprosy:

First Reading (2 Kings 5:14-17):

Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy.

Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,"Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant."

Elisha replied, "As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;" and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused.

Naaman said: "If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD."

Gospel Reading (Luke 17:11-19):

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"

And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests."

As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.

Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio wrote a reflection on these two readings and on the gratitude we owe to God for creating us and saving us. Dr. D'Ambrosio notes that we can never adequately repay God, and so owe Him a lifetime of gratitude.

To access this reflection, please visit:

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: Thanksgiving - Namaan and the 10 Lepers

A Priest Who Knew Saint Maximilian Kolbe

National Catholic Register has published an interview with Father Lucjan Krolikowski, O.F.M,  who was a seminarian at Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s seminary at Niepokalanow in Poland. Father Krolikowski, age 91, is a Conventual Franciscan friar at the Basilica of Saint Stanislaus in Chicopee, Massachusetts.

To access this interview, please visit:

National Catholic Register: The Priest Who Knew St. Maximilian Kolbe

Background Information:

American Catholic: Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Saint Stanislaus Basilica

Marytown, the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe

09 October 2010

Saint Francis de Sales Reflection Starter

A reflection starter from Saint Francis de Sales:

"In our duties we must work calmly and with composure, performing them as promptly as possible and as well as we can."

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

A song of praise for today: "Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven" (lyrics: Henry F. Lyte, melody: John Goss):

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
In His hands He gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Widely yet His mercy flows.

Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!

Angels, help us to adore Him;
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Audio versions:

Cyberhymnal: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

YouTube: St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, Praise my soul the king of heaven

Background information and reflection:

Center for Church Music: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven

08 October 2010

Pittsfield, MA, Celebrates 200th Anniversary of First County Fair

A few days ago was the 200th anniversary of "The Cattle Show and Agricultural Fair," an event which took place on the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, "green" on 1 October 1810 – considered to be the first county fair in the United States.

To access a Berkshire Eagle article on this event, please visit:

Berkshire Eagle: In 1810, county fairs were born (1 OCT 10)

Georgetown (ME) Firefighters Give Pumpkins to Students

Recently, as Georgetown, ME, Central School students were leaving school for the day, local firefighters met them outside the front doors and handed out free pumpkins for the students to take home in celebration of autumn and Halloween.

For a Times Record article on this event, please visit:

Times Record: Georgetown Fire Department gives a pumpkin to each student at school (8 OCT 10)

The Importance of Children Playing Outside

In a recent commentary in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, Medford (MA) writer and editor Phil Primack wrote about the importance of children having opportunities for unstructured outside play time.

To access his essay, please visit:

Boston Globe Magazine: The unused playground (12 SEP 10)

A growing concern is being raised about children and other people spending too much time away from the outdoors. Sentiments of this nature have come from the President of the United States; from national, state, and local recreation and park agencies and associations; and from other people of a variety of different backgrounds.

A number of federal agencies are working together to promote the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, an effort to promote and support innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect Americans to the outdoors. This initiative includes a 21st century conservation agenda designed to build on successes in communities across the country and to start a national dialogue about conservation that supports the efforts of private citizens and local communities.

For more information about this initiative and other resources related to connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors, please visit:

America's Great Outdoors Initiative

Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Children & Nature Network

Outdoor Foundation

Outdoor Nation

06 October 2010

Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America

Funded by a grant from The Century Council, George Mason University researchers have completed a research project seeking to understand the cultural and environmental factors that can lead to underage drinking.

This study was commissioned because there is limited qualitative research on underage drinking. Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America used literature review, focus groups with youths and adults, annual telephone surveys, key informant interviews, expert interviews, and on-line surveys to try to gain as full a picture of teen drinking culture as possible. The target population ass adolescents under age 18, incorporating primarily youth of high school and late middle school age.

As many adults are aware, teens view drinking as a rite of passage into adulthood. Teens cite stress as one of the main reason why they drink, putting less emphasis on peer pressure as a reason to drink. They don’t understand the damage that alcohol consumption can have on them, or the legal, educational and social consequences that drinking alcohol can have.

The study also offers some recommendations on how parents and community leaders can reduce underage drinking. Some of these include:

  1. Maintain a positive perspective that changing the circumstances and cultures surrounding teen drinking is attainable.
  2. Create community-wide strategies and develop long-term initiatives that include parent education. Messages about alcohol should be clear and consistent throughout the community and match what teens experience in their own lives.
  3. Provide a range of extracurricular activities so that youth have other outlets of feeling connected rather than hanging out and drinking.
  4. Establish opportunities for teens to talk frankly and openly about alcohol and other concerns either with parents, other teens or school and community leaders.

To access the complete report, please visit:

George Mason University: Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America

To access an executive summary of the report, please visit:

George Mason University: Understanding Teen Drinking Cultures in America Executive Summary

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Releases Reports on Restraint Use and Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released two reports that estimate that seat belts saved more than 72,000 lives during the five years between 2005 and 2009, while child restraint systems and minimum drinking age laws saved hundreds more during 2009.

According to the reports, Lives Saved in 2009 by Restraint Use and Minimum Drinking Age Laws and Seat Belt Use in 2010 – Overall Results, the use of seat belts in 2009 saved an estimated 12,713 lives, while motorcycle helmet use prevented an additional estimated 1,483 deaths.   In addition, the report estimates that between 2005 and 2009, motorcycle helmets saved 8,328 lives.  The report also estimates that 623 lives were saved in 2009 by 21-year-old minimum drinking age laws, and that 309 toddlers were saved (aged 4 and under) because of child restraints.

“As impressive as these figures are, they could be, and should be, even more impressive,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told a gathering of state highway safety officials at a recent meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association.  “If we had 100 percent compliance for seat belt and motorcycle helmet use, we would have saved an additional 4,420 lives in 2009.”

To access these reports, please visit:

NHTSA: Lives Saved in 2009 by Restraint Use and Minimum-Drinking-Age Laws (September 2010)

NHTSA: Seat Belt Use in 2010 - Overall Results (September 2010)

In addition, on the eve of the recent 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood  announced that distracted driving-related crashes claimed 5,474 lives and led to 448,000 traffic injuries across the U.S. in 2009. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009 – the same percentage as in 2008.

The NHTSA study found that the proportion of fatalities associated with driver distraction increased from 10 percent to 16 percent between 2005 and 2009, even as overall traffic fatalities fell in 2009 to their lowest levels since 1950. According to NHTSA data, the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group.  Sixteen percent of all under-20 drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted while driving.  Of those drivers involved in fatal crashes who were reportedly distracted, the 30-39 year old group had the highest proportion of cell phone involvement.

To access this report, please visit:

NHTSA: Distracted Driving 2009 (September 2010)

05 October 2010

2010 Fire Prevention Week: “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with!”

Smoke alarms save lives and can cut the risk of dying in a fire in half. However, smoke alarms must be installed, maintained and working properly to do so. That’s according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which is promoting “Smoke Alarms:  A sound you can live with!” as the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign. Fire Prevention Week is his week - the week of 3-9 October. NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for 88 years.

“By now, most families know that smoke alarms are a vitally important element of home fire safety, and have at least one,” says Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of communication in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, far fewer people are familiar with some of the newer recommendations for smoke alarms. Without incorporating these updated measures, many families may not be as well protected from fire as they think.”

NFPA recommendations regarding smoke alarms include:


  • At least one smoke alarm should be located on every level of the home, including the basement, as well as in every sleeping room and outside each sleeping area.
  • NFPA strongly recommends either installing combination smoke alarms, or both ionization and photoelectric alarms, in the home. An ionization alarm is typically more responsive to a flaming fire, such as a pan fire. A photoelectric alarm is typically more responsive to a smoldering fire, as might occur where a lighted cigarette is dropped on a sofa. Combination smoke alarms have ionization and photoelectric capabilities.
  • Whatever type of smoke alarms is chosen should carry the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection; when one sounds, they all do. This is particularly important in larger or multi-story homes, where the sound from distant smoke alarms may be reduced to the point that it may not be loud enough to provide proper warning, especially for sleeping individuals.
  • A licensed electrician can install either hard-wired multiple-station alarms, or wireless alarms, which manufacturers have more recently begun producing. An electrician can also replace existing hard-wired smoke alarms with wireless interconnection capabilities.
       Maintenance and Testing:
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button, and make sure everyone in your home knows their sound.
  • If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they’re 10 years old (or sooner) if they do not respond properly when tested.

Fire departments throughout New England and rest of the country are hosting activities during Fire Prevention Week to promote the “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with!” campaign locally. These educational, family-oriented activities are designed to help everyone learn more about the power of smoke alarms, newer options for installing and maintaining them properly, and ultimately, how to better protect themselves and loved ones from fire.

For additional information about Fire Prevention Week, smoke alarms, and this year’s campaign, “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with!”, please visit:


04 October 2010

Four YouTube Views of the Presidents of the United States

For a couple of entertaining YouTube presentations listing the U.S. Presidents, please visit:

YouTube: Animaniacs - Presidents

The Presidents by Jonathan Coulton

(The Animaniacs presentation covers Washington through Clinton, and the Jonathan Coulton presentation covers Washington through the second Bush.)

For a serious list, please visit:

YouTube: The 44 Presidents of United States of America

and for a rap version of the 44 Presidents, please visit:

YouTube: 44 Presidents by Rhythm, Rhyme, Results

03 October 2010

A Word of Hope from Habakkuk

Today's first reading, from the First Testament book of Habakkuk, definitely resonates with the challenges being faced throughout the world during these times. Yet it also contains a message of hope for each of us:

How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen!
I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene.
Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord.

Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

                                     - Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4

Reflections on Saint Thérèse

Many Catholics have a devotion to one or more of the saints in heaven. This is often the result of a connection the person feels with the particular saint – a connection that may be based on having gone through similar life events and/or on having the same occupation and/or any one of a number of other things.

Over the years I’ve developed a devotion to Saint Francis de Sales (patron saint of writers) and Saint John Bosco (patron saint of editors). Although I was initially attracted to each of these two saints because of the writing/editing connection, the connection became deeper as I read and reflected about these saints and their spirituality. I gradually embraced their spirituality, and it became more and more a part of my life.

One saint I did not pay a lot of attention to was Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (a.k.a. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux or the Little Flower). I did though like and appreciate her effort at doing little things well.
I have known many people who had a deep devotion to her. I seem to remember my grandmother (Gramma Lopatosky – Dad’s mother) having a statue of Saint Thérèse. Saint Adalbert’s Parish in Providence (RI) held an annual novena to St. Thérèse. And the list could go on and on.

Probably my first in-depth introduction to the Little Flower was several years ago at a Saint Patrick School faculty day of renewal at Shrine of the Little Flower in Nasonville, RI. At this particular event, Sister Grace Coffey gave an in-depth background about Saint Thérèse.

After this day, I did come to appreciate this saint more. I also began to make her “little way” more a part of my life (it ties in very well with Salesian spirituality).

Last year I got laid off from St. Patrick School as it began its transition from a K-8 school to a high school. I did not know what the future would hold, but I was confident that the Lord would take care of everything in His time. I just had to do my part.

Sure enough – after putting out a number of résumés, doing a bit of networking, and applying for a number of different positions, I received one positive response (from an employee benefit administration company in East Providence). I was interviewed, but nothing happened for a while. Then I was called in to complete the hiring process – I had been accepted. The date I came in to complete this process – October 1st, the feast day of Saint Thérèse.

Not only that, but I had recently lost one of my rosaries (one I had received from EWTN), the one I usually carried in my pocket. Right around the the same time I was hired, I received a mailed set of rosary beads from a another St. Thérèse shrine (part of a promotional effort). I had these blessed by Father Bailey, our pastor, and this became the set I carry in my pocket.

I’m not one who believes in coincidences, and I find these two events very interesting. It is still a work in progress, but I do find myself praying a bit more for the intercession of Saint Thérèse, the Little Flower.

Background Information:

Shrine of the Little Flower, Nasonville, RI

Thérèse of Lisieux

3-Alarm Fire in Central Falls, RI

On Friday, 1 October, a three-alarm fire struck a 4-story, wood frame residential building at 88 Sacred Heart Avenue in Central Falls, RI.

The initial alarm was transmitted at 2225 hours. Central Falls firefighters were assisted at the scene by companies from Cumberland, Lincoln, and Pawtucket; and Providence companies covered the Central Falls station.

Media Reports:

WPRI-TV: Two firefighters hurt fighting blaze (2 OCT 10)

Big Dog Fireground Photography: 3rd alarm Central Falls RI 88 Sacred heart ave

Providence Citywide Fire Network: 3rd Alarm In Central Falls

Wellinvolved Fireground Photography: "10-01-10 88 Sacred Heart Avenue 3rd Alarm" and "Overnight Fire In Central Falls"

Background Information:

Central Falls Fire Department

City of Central Falls

Wikipedia: Central Falls, RI

Google Map of 88 Sacred Heart Avenue, Central Falls, RI

02 October 2010

Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for October

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October is: "That Catholic universities may more and more be places where, in the light of the Gospel, it is possible to experience the harmonious unity existing between faith and reason".

His mission intention is: "That World Mission Day may afford an occasion for understanding that the task of proclaiming Christ is an absolutely necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity".

October Is Crime Prevention Month

October is Crime Prevention Month, an annual observance since the National Crime Prevention Council initiated it in 1984. Crime Prevention Month is an opportunity for government agencies, civic groups, schools, businesses, and youth organizations to reach out in educating the public, showcasing accomplishments, and exploring new partnerships in facing the challenge of crime in our communities and in our society.

This month has become a time for recognizing and celebrating the practice of crime prevention, and, at the same time, promoting awareness of related issues including victimization, volunteerism, and creating safer, more caring communities. Among other activities, the month-long observance is often used to spotlight successful crime prevention efforts on the local, state, and national levels.

For the past few years, the National Crime Prevention Council has developed a theme for the month's observance and for continuing activities to carry the message throughout the upcoming year. This year’s theme is "The Circle of Respect: Are You in it?" It is based on the Circle of Respect, a new initiative of the National Crime Prevention Council. The Circle of Respect’s mission is "To promote respect as a way to manage conflict and prevent criminal behavior."

As Ann M. Harkins, National Crime Prevention Council President and CEO, said in her introduction to the the council's related resource kit, "Respect is an important element in all that we do. A person with respect for his or her community and its citizens is less likely to join and contribute to the destructive forces of a gang. A partner in a respectful dating relationship is unlikely to commit relationship violence. A person with respect for a classmate or co-worker is unlikely to bully that person or engage in workplace violence, cyberbullying or sexting. We firmly believe that if we encourage respect, we can have an impact on crime and how individuals treat one another."

For more information about the National Crime Prevention Council’s Circle of Respect initiative, please visit:

      Circle of Respect

Saint Francis de Sales Thought Starter

Today's quote from Saint Francis de Sales: "It is not necessary to always feel strong. It is sufficient to have hope that we will be strong enough at the proper time and place."