Around the valley: Woonsocket PD recruitment, pandemic economic report


OSJL donates 30,000 backpacks

Ocean State Job Lot has announced that its recent “Buy-Give-Get” program has resulted in the collection of 30,000 backpacks, all of which are being donated to the children in need, including children of military families, prior to the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

As part of the “Buy-Give-Get” program which ran from July 8 through August 2, any customer who bought a backpack at OSJL for $15 and gave it back to the store as a donation to children in need, got a $15 Crazy Deal Gift Card to be used for a future purchase at any OSJL store. 

The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation partnered with the New England Patriots Foundation and the USA Veterans Military Support Foundation, both of which collected school supplies through their own networks as part of the program, to distribute the backpacks to children in need across the region. On August 17, volunteers from OSJL’s stores and Rhode Island-based distribution center and corporate office gathered at Foxborough Terminal near Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. to help stuff a portion of the backpacks with donated school supplies. Beginning August 18, the school supply-stuffed backpacks were distributed to children across New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Police recruitment

The City of Woonsocket is holding open competitive examinations to establish an eligibility list for the position of police officer. Applications must be submitted online via by 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, with a non-refundable $50 testing fee. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, US citizens, possess a valid driver’s license and a high school diploma or equivalent, and have no felony convictions.

The probationary salary rate for the job is $789 per week, and rises to $1,079.47 per week after probation. The city of Woonsocket provides benefits including, but not limited to, paid vacation, paid holidays, sick leave, medical and dental insurance, longevity incentives.

The recruitment process is expected to take several months to complete, starting with a written test on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 8 a.m. at Woonsocket Middle School. Applicants who pass the written exam are invited to take the fitness assessment on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8 a.m. at Woonsocket Middle School. Applicants who pass the written and fitness assessment are invited to the oral board, projected for the week of October 25 – 29 at the Woonsocket Police Department.

Applicants who successfully complete these stages will be placed on a hiring list that is active for a period of at least six months and up to two years. Prior to employment, applicants on the hiring list are subject to an extensive background check, psychological assessment, and a medical examination, as well as a fitness test by the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy.

For more information, contact Capt. Edward Cunanan at

New report estimates effect of pandemic  on Rhode Island economy

A report released by the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, Office of Revenue Analysis confirms that the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic diverged in 2020 for business sectors across Rhode Island, producing a “K-shaped” recovery as the year progressed.

The ORA commissioned Chainbridge Software LLC, of Fairfax, Va. to estimate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Rhode Island’s economy in 2020. The report used Rhode Island sales tax data for the analysis and looked at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by sector relative to an estimated pre-COVID-19 pandemic baseline.

Among the reports, key findings:

  • Effectively, Rhode Island’s economy as measured by taxable sales and categorized by economic sectors in the report, experienced a “K-shaped” recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with sectors represented by the leg of the “K” still down from pre-COVID-19 baseline projections while sectors represented by the arm of the “K” at or above the pre-COVID-19 baseline projections.
  • The Retail sector, particularly the hardware subsector that includes building materials and garden equipment, proved to be the best-performing portion of the state’s economy.
  • The state’s experience with the COVID-19 pandemic was characterized by four phases: (i) initial onset of coronavirus and shut down; (ii) retrenchment of coronavirus and reopening; (iii) resurgence of coronavirus and pause; and (iv) introduction of coronavirus vaccines and returning to normal.
  • The retail trade sector – broadly defined – weathered the COVID-19 Pandemic much better than the services sector.
  • The best performing retail trade sector was hardware, comprised of building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, which never experienced a decline in taxable sales relative to its estimated pre-COVID-19 baseline in 2020.
  • The worst-performing services sector was Accommodation, comprised of hotels and lodging, which saw a significant drop in taxable sales in phase 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic with some recovery in the later phases. The sector never attained its estimated pre-COVID-19 baseline projections.

Tickets on sale for Autumnfest kickoff party

The 2021 Autumnfest Steering Committee is now selling tickets to the 43rd Autumnfest Kick-Off Event to commence the start of the celebration including honoring this year’s Grand Marshal, Jennifer Jolicouer.

Jolicouer, a North Smithfield resident, was selected to be our 2020 Grand Marshal but due to the cancellation of Autumnfest last year, the committee made the decision to celebrate her contributions to our community in 2021. Jolicouer is the president/CEO of Athena’s Home Novelties, which just recently purchased a new headquarters in Highland Park in Woonsocket. She led a successful attempt called the “Athena’s Cup” to bring a Guinness World Record to the city with the largest bra chain and in so doing brought awareness to breast cancer. Jolicouer has been active in the community for many years with her support to organizations such as Sojourner House, CCF, March of Dimes, Woonsocket Adopt-a-Family, Hearts with Hope, Gloria Gemma, Relay for Life, Milk Fund, and many more.

A limited number of tickets are available for the Autumnfest Kick-Off Event to be held on Thursday, Sept. 23 at The Pomodoro in Woonsocket from 6- 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person, $60 per couple or a table of 8 for $300. Sponsor tables are also available for $500 which includes a VIP table of 8, sponsor name at entry, sponsor name during ceremony, sponsor name on website page, complimentary bottle of champagne, and professional photo with our 2021 Grand Marshal. Light dinner options and cash bar will be available. There will be a speaking program followed by music and dancing with Buddy D DJ. 

For more information, contact Special Events Coordinator Donna Coderre at (401) 374-1455 or or visit to purchase tickets. 

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