Around the Valley: Wine Garden, Memorial Walkway, ombudsman program


Veterans walkway

American Legion Post 85 in Woonsocket is creating a Memorial Walkway on River Street dedicated to veterans as part of a new Memorial Park. Those who wish to sponsor a brick with a veteran’s name on the walkway are asked to fill out the form found here, and return it to the post along with a check for $50.

Blackstone Valley nonprofits win grants to help residents cope with COVID-19 crisis

The Rhode Island Foundation has announced that three Blackstone Valley nonprofits are among the organizations that will share nearly $450,000 in grants to help Rhode Islanders cope with the continuing effects of the COVID-19 crisis. With these latest grants, the Foundation has awarded more than $21 million in pandemic relief since March 2020.

“Even when the state began gradually re-opening as more and more Rhode Islanders answered the call to get vaccinated, we went on raising money and making grants to benefit Rhode Islanders hit hard by the crisis,” said Neil D. Steinberg, the Foundation’s president and CEO. “We will continue working with engaged and generous donors across Rhode Island and determined nonprofits partners as our state moves from crisis relief to long-term recovery.”

Pawtucket Central Falls Development Corporation, RiverzEdge Arts in Woonsocket and the Samaritans of Rhode Island in Pawtucket are among the organizations receiving grants.

The Samaritans received $20,000 to improve the responsiveness of its digital suicide prevention services, targeting cell phone users, persons with disabilities, teenagers and non-English speakers. The work will include improving user experience across multiple devices, including mobile, laptops, desktops and tablets; and updating the content management system, graphics, photography, functionality, navigation tools, usability, loading times, browser compatibility and security.

Also receiving grants are the Parent Support Network of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Communities for Addiction Recovery Efforts, The Providence Center, Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina, Rhode Island Rescue Ministries, Oasis International, Beautiful Day, Be the Change, Cambodian Society of Rhode Island, College Visions, The Herren Project, Hope & Main, Justice Assistance, Be Great For Nate, John Hope Settlement House, New Bridges for Haitian Success, Project Weber/RENEW, Southside Community Land Trust, Saint Rose’s Church Corporation, The Village Common, The San Miguel School, Stages of Freedom, Sophia Academy and South County Habitat for Humanity.

For more information, visit   

Ombudsman program open to older RI residents

An ombudsman is someone who is concerned with protecting the civil and human rights of persons receiving long-term care services. Each state is required by federal law to have an ombudsman program. Their services are always free of charge and all inquiries are held in strict confidence.

The Rhode Island State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and those receiving hospice or licensed home care who have been victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation and/or misappropriation of property. Ombudsmen work to resolve problems these individuals face and affect change at the local, state, and national levels to improve quality of care.

The organization strives to be a compassionate voice for those who may not have anyone to advocate on their behalf. They also educate residents and their loved ones, letting them know they have rights and encouraging them to use their voice to self-advocate. Among the facilities they help include the residents of the RI Veteran’s Home and Eleanor Slater Hospital.

Kathleen Heren, the RI State Long Term Care Ombudsman, said their primary mission is resolving disputes objectively by investigating complaints brought forth by either the resident or their supporters.

“We help those who have simple questions about our services to those who believe their loved ones are being mistreated in a care facility setting,” she said. “Our office is located here in Warwick, but our services are available throughout the entire state. We solve problems while championing those who seek our help.”

Heren works along with her dedicated staff of nurses and social workers who are also certified Long Term Care Ombudsman. The program, which is contracted through the Office of Healthy Aging is a federal program that began in 1972 as a demonstration project in a few states. It is now federally-mandated in all 50 states under the Older Americans Act that is administered by the Administration of Aging.

Ombudsman responsibilities include:

• Supplying the consumer advice in selecting a long-term care facility

• Explaining residents’ rights and other federal and state laws and regulations affecting long term care residents and facilities

• Attempting to resolve issues between residents’ families and facilities

• Preparing guidance on Medicare and Medicaid coverage

• Giving guidance on matters of powers of attorneys and advanced directives

• Investigating complaints of inadequate staffing and medical services being provided to residents, such as medication, nutrition or personal hygiene

• Representing residents in 30-Day Notice Hearings.

RISLTCOP is located in the Alliance for Better Long Term Care building on 422 Post Road in Warwick. Although they are housed in the same office, the programs are separate entities. RISLTCOP is an employee of the Alliance for Better Long Term Care works all the time with the state Ombudsman. There is a Long-Term Care Ombudsman Advisory Board that works solely with the Ombudsman Program.

RISLTCOP also seeks qualified individuals to become Certified Long Term Care Volunteer Ombudsman. Volunteers visit with residents in long term care facilities and advocate on their behalf. They help to get questions and concerns addressed regarding their care. Potential volunteers are carefully screened and undergo a training program before they are sent out into the field.

Heren said the rewards are many and go far beyond simply volunteering. Anyone looking to make a difference in the lives of long term care residents, may email Lori at

RISLTCOP is supported by federal funding, state grants through the Office of Healthy Aging and philanthropic giving through private donations, under the umbrella of the Alliance for Long Term Care.

For more information about these and other services the RISLTCOP provides, call (401) 785-3340 or toll free at (888) 351-0807 or visit their website at

Wine Garden added to Autumnfest

The Autumnfest Steering Committee and the Rotary Club of Woonsocket have announced that a Wine Garden Tent will be set up near the main entertainment stage at the festival this year. The Wine Garden will be available to those 21 years of age and over and will be open Saturday, Oct. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Rotary Beer Tent will once again be providing their own entertainment at Autumnfest. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to enter the Beer Tent.  The entertainment schedule is listed.

Friday- Oct. 8: 7-11 p.m., What Matters

Saturday-Oct. 9: Noon – 1:45 p.m., Paul Juneau

2– 6 p.m., Dudemanbro

7 – 11 p.m., Witz End

Sunday-Oct. 10: Noon – 1:45 p.m., Briana White

2 – 6 p.m., Nothing Personal

7 – 11 p.m., World Premiere

Monday-Oct. 11: 1 – 2:45 p.m., Ray Nault

3 – 7 p.m., Scott Fowler & Southbound

Autumnfest has also expanded Food Row and will feature the following list of food vendors:

AJ’s Catering; Broaster House; The Ice Cream Machine; Missy’s Family Restaurant; Woonsocket Lions Club; Boy Scouts – Troop 2; Classic Solutions, Inc; Del’s Lemonade; Gyro & Souvlaki, LLC; Krakow Deli; St. Agatha’s/Precious Blood Parish; Bugg’d Outt BBQ; CYO of Northern R.I., Inc.; Holy Trinity Parish  and Mickey G’s.

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