Below are news and briefs from around the Blackstone Valley.
Shotgun deer hunting season to begin
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management reminds all Rhode Islanders that, for safety reasons, they must wear solid, daylight fluorescent orange when in State management areas and undeveloped state parks during the shotgun deer hunting season, which opens on Saturday, Dec. 5.
All hunters, including archers, are required to wear 500 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange clothing during the shotgun season. Waterfowl hunters hunting from a boat or blind, over water or field, and when done in conjunction with decoys are exempt from the orange requirements. Archers are exempt from wearing orange in areas of the state that are limited to hunting by archery-only.
Throughout all shotgun deer seasons, all other users of state management areas and designated undeveloped State parks also must wear at least 500 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange material. For all hunters and management area users, the orange clothing should include a hat and vest worn above the waist and visible in all directions. An orange vest that’s 20 inches long by 25 inches wide has 500 square inches of surface area.
The shotgun season for deer in Zone 1 runs from Saturday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 20. The shotgun season for deer in Zone 2 is from Saturday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 13. From Saturday, Dec. 26 through Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, hunters may hunt only on private lands for antlerless deer in Zones 1 and 2. The statewide bag limit is two antlered deer, and no more than one antlered deer can be harvested in Zone 3. The bag limit for antlerless deer is three in Zone 1, and two antlerless deer in Zone 2 and Zone 3.
The season for shotgun deer hunting in Zone 4 (Block Island) will be open on select weekdays through Feb. 26, 2021, as published in the state’s 2020-2021 Hunting and Trapping Abstract. Hunters should call the New Shoreham Police Department at 401-466-3220 for check station information. There is an unlimited bag limit for antlerless deer on Block Island.
Deer hunting hours are the same this year as in prior years: one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. For more information on seasons, bag limits, zones, and regulations, review the 2020-21 hunting abstract.
All deer hunters are required to obtain written permission annually for all deer hunting on private lands. DEM has developed a courtesy card, available on the DEM website, for hunters and landowners to sign that gives the dates for permissions and contains A Hunter’s Pledge regarding principles of conduct. DEM encourages private landowners to allow hunters to hunt deer on their property, where feasible, during deer hunting seasons as this is a sound management technique that benefits deer habitats and regulates population growth.
Hunters are required to report their deer harvest online at www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish within 24 hours of harvest. Deer must be tagged in the field, with a valid deer tag for the appropriate season, immediately upon taking. Those who do not have internet service or cellular data access may call DEM’s Division of Fish & Wildlife at 401-789-0281 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday to report their harvest.
Hunter education is offered as part of DEM Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter Education Program. Safety training is required by law in Rhode Island for beginning hunters. To date, more than 40,000 people have completed a hunter safety course in Rhode Island, helping to reduce related accidents in the state and elsewhere. A complete schedule of hunter educational offerings is available here.
To purchase a hunting license, or for more Information about Rhode Island’s hunting and fishing licensing system, visit www.dem.ri.gov/huntfish. The site also acts as a portal to help plan adventures that make the most of Rhode Island’s great outdoors. It links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, trails, and natural areas through a variety of maps, as well as certification information for hunter safety and boating safety.
National Grid scam alert
With a recent increase in scams announced by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office and National Grid, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association is warning the public to be vigilant of scammers posing as bill collectors.
Customers have reported receiving a phone call with an automated message alleging to be from National Grid. The message informs the customer that they have a past due balance and demands payment. The message threatens that the customer’s service will be immediately shut off if payment is not received.
Scammers will often demand payment through non-traditional means, like an electronic money order or a pre-paid debit card. This should be an immediate red flag. No legitimate vendor will ever demand money via these means. Additionally, these scammers use a variety of methods to prey on their victims including phone calls, texts, email solicitation or in-person visits.
“With the recent uptick in utility bill scams, it is important to remain cognizant so that you and your loved ones do not get taken advantage of,” said Lincoln Police Chief and RIPCA President Brian Sullivan. “If you receive any suspicious calls, or believe that you are a victim of a scam, please do not hesitate to contact your local police department.”
To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, RIPCA recommends that residents follow tips outlined by National Grid and the Attorney General’s Office:
- Customers should always contact National Grid using the toll-free telephone numbers listed on the billing statement. If you are provided a phone number that does not match the numbers on the billing statement, the call may very well be a scam.
- If you believe you are current on your National Grid account, it is likely that a call seeking payment is not valid. Hang up and call the customer service number listed on your billing statement.
- Verify that you are speaking with a National Grid representative by asking them to confirm the last five digits of your National Grid account number. National Grid representatives will know your account number; never offer that information to a caller.
- If the caller doesn’t know your account number and you have any doubt the caller is a National Grid representative, or if they have any questions about account balance and are fishing for information, take charge and hang up immediately. Call National Grid or the Office of the Attorney General.
- National Grid may ask for a payment over the phone but will leave the method of payment up to the customer.
- National Grid will not contact customers demanding immediate payment by wire transfer, pre-paid debit cards, iTunes cards, Green Dot Money-Pak or any other pre-paid card service.
- Never offer personal or financial information to someone who you cannot identify.
- Every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in and call National Grid or your local police department.
- Whenever in doubt, don’t hesitate to call National Grid or your local police department.
- Customers who receive suspicious calls should contact National Grid’s Customer Contact Center at 1-800-322-3223.
For more information, visit ngrid.com/scam.
To report a scam, residents are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 401-274-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dec. 7 deadline for annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest
The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission has announced the annual essay contest for the upcoming holiday event.
“Every year, this essay contest tends to be one of the most enjoyable aspects of our yearly celebration and the commission and event attendees truly look forward to what our state’s youth have to say regarding the legacy of Dr. King,” said Rep. Raymond Hull, the commission chairman. “Although this year has been difficult for us all, there is an opportunity to reflect upon and put into action the teachings of Dr. King during this time of uncertainty and I encourage all of our students to participate in this year’s contest.”
Four winners will be chosen – two middle school students and two high school students – and each winner will receive a $100 prize. The contest is open to all middle and high school students in Rhode Island.
The contest rules are as follows:
· Entries must be from RI middle or high school students
· Essays must be typed in the Microsoft Word format and limited to 500-750 (middle school) or 750-1000 words (high school)
· Essays must include completed Entry Forms and be submitted individually as the original work of only one student
· Essays and Entry Forms MUST be electronically submitted to MLKRICommission@gmail.com
· The Commission and the Providence Journal reserve the right to promote, publish, and/or distribute any or all entries.
The deadline for applicants is Monday, December 7 and more information can be attained at MLKRICommission@gmail.com.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday will take place virtually on January 18 and can be watched on Capitol TV or streamed at http://www.rilegislature.gov/CapTV/Pages/default.aspx.
DEM to host workshop on draft hydroflurocarbon regulation
The Department of Environmental Management will hold a virtual public workshop next month to review the draft Rhode Island “Prohibition of Hydrofluorocarbons in Specific End-Uses” regulation. HFCs are potent man-made greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. In the absence of national policies and federal action, DEM has been working in collaboration with the United States Climate Alliance and other states to adopt similar legislation to lead the transition to refrigerants with lower global warming potentials which pose lower overall risk to human health and the environment.
A virtual public workshop will be held on Friday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. on the draft rule. The purpose of the workshop is to present an overview of the draft rule and provide an opportunity for stakeholder feedback. DEM expects to initiate the formal rule-making process during the first quarter of 2021. Due to the Covid-19 emergency, which prevents the Department from holding public meetings in-person, the public workshop will be held virtually in accordance with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Executive Order 20-05.
Pre-registration for the workshop is required, visit https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=VGrKUmVENUa_82XQqEEiiMeIvfZuDlRPgTgFYWfXyQlUMDBRQUhWSzNITkVDTkRBS0ZKSU9VUUs5SSQlQCN0PWcu
Zoom Meeting information will be shared with those who have pre-registered. All participants will be muted upon joining the meeting. Following a presentation on the draft rule, DEM will open the line for feedback with instructions provided to participants.
The full text of the draft rule is available on the DEM website at: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/air/climate-change-hfc.php
For questions about the workshop or more information, contact Allison Archambault, Supervising Air Quality Specialist of DEM’s Office of Air Resources at Allison.Archambault@dem.ri.gov.