Around the Valley: New round of SBA loans, free wildlife sessions


Autumnfest Steering Committee announced

The Autumnfest Steering Committee held their first meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 12,  and announced that the executive committee selected the following people to be on the 2021 Steering Committee:

– Adam Brunetti will serve as secretary as well as media/PR/website/social media coordinator.
– Lisa Carcifero will serve in a newly established role as senior activities coordinator.
– Jennifer Cunanan has been appointed as the arts & crafts coordinator.
– Donna Coderre will be in charge of special events for Autumnfest.
– Tom Gray will be the parade coordinator for 2021 after many years as
the Kidsfest Coordinator.
– Cynthia Henderson will continue her role as the souvenirs coordinator.
– Pam Jalette will be in charge of the Rotary Beer Tent.
– Cindy Johnston will be the treasurer of Autumnfest.
– Kristi Keith will be the regional fundraising coordinator in 2021.
– Susan Kirwan will continue in her role of previous years as Park
Management Coordinator.
– Dave Lamoureux will once again be in charge of operations for 2021.
– Matt Lamoureux will be taking on Kidsfest in 2021.
– Daniel Lanagan will be once again the local fundraising coordinator for Autumnfest.
– Emily Laramee will be the Food Row coordinator.
– Steve Laramee will continue is his role as the entertainment coordinator.
– Garrett Mancieri will be the general chairperson of Autumnfest in 2021 for the third consecutive year.
– Tyler Martin will be the exhibitor showcase coordinator.
– Nancy Phillips will once again serve as buttons coordinator for 2021.
– Kristin Quinn kicks will take on the role of sports and fitness coordinator.
– Allen Rivers will continue on in his position as Rotary president liaison.
– Stephanie Santoro will be co-vice chairperson for the first time.
– Bill Schneck will return this year in his role as calendar raffle coordinator.
– Judy Sullivan will once again serve as co-vice chairperson for 2021.
– Dan Tvaroha will be the Autumnfest volunteer coordinator again in

“I can speak for the whole committee and tell you all how excited and anxious we are to bring our celebration back to the community,” said Mancieri. “We have made much progress over the past few years to ensure the success and longevity of the organization for this year and many more years to come. We know how much the region looks forward to Autumnfest every year and our team is committed and dedicated to making 2021 a wonderful experience to reunite, give back, and bring fun, laughter, and happiness to the community that we all love.”

Free Seasonal Wildlife sessions

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Division of Fish & Wildlife will host a series of four Seasonal Wildlife Solution Sessions beginning next month. Rhode Islanders are invited to join DEM’s Wildlife Outreach Team to discover effective strategies for coexisting with our native wildlife. Sessions are designed to address common seasonal conflicts between humans and wildlife and provide the public with guidance. Each session will cover the life history of the focal species, rules and regulations, solutions, and research being done in our state, and will include a dedicated time for questions. The winter and spring sessions will be presented virtually.

“Rhode Island is a small state and as the population grows, wildlife habitat will overlap with our backyards, and we will gain new wild neighbors. These sessions will arm homeowners with the knowledge they need to feel safe and comfortable solving wildlife issues that commonly arise,” said DEM Technical Outreach Assistant Gabby De Meillon. “Understanding why animals behave in a certain way, or why we only see them during certain seasons, will help build confidence and provide background information that we hope participants will share to assist neighbors and friends.”

All sessions are free to the public thanks to support from the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program. Registration information can be found at:

The programs will be held as follows:

Nocturnal Nuisances – Coyotes, Foxes and Fishers

Virtual Session, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Nocturnal mammals are greatly misunderstood, and most of their fear-instilling actions are simply a part of their life history and strategy for survival. Still, these critters can certainly become a nuisance, especially when they begin to den under decks and dine out of chicken coops. Learning why these creatures behave the way they do is the key to finding resolution. This session will help you identify what is attracting these animals to your yard and how to make your property less hospitable. Learn about the discoveries made by the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study and get a first look at the new Fisher Project.

Black Bear Basics

Virtual Session, Wednesday, April 7, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

American black bears disappeared from Rhode Island and much of New England following colonization, but with populations in surrounding states growing, Rhode Island will soon see their return. Already, black bear sightings are becoming more frequent and concerns about encounters are common. If communities can come together and integrate bear-conscience strategies, we can avoid problems with bears in advance of their establishment. This session will address what to do when encountering a bear, how to avoid drawing bears to your yard, and present the results of the DEM American Black Bear Study.

Vegetable Vandals – Rabbits, Groundhogs and Deer

July 2021 | Dates and Times TBD

The bane of many gardeners’ existence are these three critters. Half-eaten tomatoes and munched-on magnolias are enough to drive anyone to their wits’ end. While these creatures may seem impossible to manage, there are measures you can take to defend your garden. As frustrating as these fuzzy felons may be, they are important to Rhode Island’s ecosystem, acting as valuable natural resources in our state. This session will give you tools to protect your crops and cover the rules and regulations for hunting, trapping on private property, and highlight the New England Cottontail Project and Deer Program. For updates this session, email:

Noisy Neighbors – Bats and Squirrels

October 2021 | Dates and Times TBD

The pitter-patter of small feet is not so adorable when it’s coming from your attic. These small mammals may just be trying to find a warm home, but yours is taken. These tiny mammals are tricky to remove effectively and if exclusion is done improperly, it can lead to ineffective and unfortunate results. It is imperative that these animals are safely and properly excluded from homes. This session will cover the appropriate time and measures for removal of your noisy neighbors, how to prevent them from returning, and the research underway on bats in Rhode Island. For updates this session, email:

For more information on Rhode Island’s wildlife, visit

SBA loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is reopening to new applicants and offering more flexibility within the program. It is also offering a second round of funding for qualifying recipients.

In 2020, the PPP helped nearly 18,000 Rhode Island businesses secure more than $1.8 billion in funding.

Below is a list of updates and opportunities:

• Reopening for new applicants. If you have not yet received PPP you will be able to apply. “First draw” PPP forgivable loans will be available for 2.5x your monthly payroll. Learn about eligibility requirements here. To learn more about the application process and how to apply, contact your bank.

• Those who have already received PPP may be eligible for a second round of funding. Qualifying businesses that experienced at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020 may apply for a “second draw” forgivable loan for 2.5x your monthly payroll – or 3.5x your monthly payroll for accommodation and food service businesses. Contact your original PPP lender to learn how to apply. More information on this can be found here.

• Starting Tuesday, Jan. 19. The SBA application portal recently opened for certain smaller lenders, including community banks and credit unions, and will open to all participating lenders on Tuesday, Jan. 19. For more information, click here.

• Lender list available. R.I. Commerce has reached out to lenders to determine which are open to new R.I. applicants. Consult this growing list of lenders that are receiving inquiries from new applicants.

• Other updates for existing PPP recipients. The recent federal stimulus legislation includes several important updates for existing PPP recipients, including increased forgiveness flexibility and updated tax treatment.

Those with questions about PPP are asked to fill out the form here.

Additionally, the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center is available to answer additional questions about SBA loans at no cost. Learn more and register for free, confidential business advice here.

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