The Village Common Newsletter - September 2020
If you are having difficulty reading the newsletter click below:
View this email in your browser
New Village in Edgewood Signs Memorandum of Agreement with The Village Common
By Carol Shelton
William Hall Library in Edgewood

We are the “new kids on the block,” or to be more accurate, “in the Village.” With support and expert advice from Suzanne Francis, President of The Village Common (TVC), an enthusiastic group of neighbors in the Edgewood section of Cranston has been meeting monthly to begin the process of organizing a mutual support organization in our community. In July, a Memorandum of Agreement with TVC was signed, bringing us one step closer to creating a vital organization in a neighborhood that is a special place for those of us who dwell here.

Edgewood is bordered in the north by the Providence neighborhood of Washington Park, and in the south by Pawtuxet Village, with its excellent coffee shops, restaurants and other small businesses. We consider ourselves fortunate to have the beauty of the Bay at our eastern border, and Roger Williams Park to the west, where there are wonderful walking and bicycles paths and places to play ball or have picnics in a beautiful setting. One of Edgewood’s many attractions is the lovely late 19th and early 20th century homes here, and our William Hall Library is a well-used treasure. For the older members of the community who have spent many decades raising families here, the thought of leaving in the process of “downsizing” is anathema. We hope our Village will be able to help them stay.

Much of the work of the Edgewood Steering Committee was done virtually in the spring. We reached out to a variety of community leaders and to be consistent, we developed a questionnaire enabling us to gather information on community needs with some uniformity. As has been true in other communities, transportation issues and technological support came up as key needs. Many in our group have already participated in volunteer orientations and we have selected members to serve on TVC’s Coordinating Council as well as small subcommittees working on communications materials and issues of inclusion.

At our meetings in July and August, two of the four Cranston mayoral candidates spoke to us separately about their visions for the city. We were able to share our desire to improve life for those of us who wish to remain in Edgewood as we age, and in general to support our vibrant and diverse community.

We are currently reaching out to the community to attract volunteers and members, and hope that our Village can be launched at a time when it is safe to have the community come together to celebrate an organization that will serve the our needs and those of our neighbors well into the future.

Voting: The Cornerstone of Democracy
By Jo Ellen Mistarz

My parents voted in every election, and in retirement they served as poll workers. I never miss an election, and I always vote in person. This year will be different for me. I am using a mail ballot.

Many Village members and volunteers have expressed their concerns about voting safely during the pandemic. Worried about ballots arriving in time, some have said, “I’m putting on my mask and my gloves, and I’m going to the polls.” There are options. Now you may vote at the polls, vote early in person, drop off your absentee ballot at secure sites, or place your absentee ballot in a mailbox.

No matter which you choose, follow these simple steps.

  1. Make sure you are registered by going to:
  2. Follow the deadlines. For the September 8 RI statewide primary, the voter registration deadline and mail ballot application have passed. For the November 3 general election, register to vote by October 4. Make sure your mail ballot request is received by 4 pm, October 13, and your completed ballot is received by 8 pm November 3.
  3. Vote in person early or go to the polls. If you vote in person, take every precaution and wear a mask. Keep a safe social distance. The early voting period for the September State primary is August 19 – September 8, and the early voting period for the November general election is October 14 – November 2. Early sites are less likely to be crowded. To locate your early voting site at your local board of canvassers, go to
  4. Vote absentee. Mail or hand deliver your ballot in a sealed envelope to the Board of Elections at 2000 Plainfield Pike, Suite A, Cranston, RI 02921. Or, hand deliver the sealed envelope to one of the 24-hour drop box locations at all boards of canvasser sites in RI. If you change your mind about using a mail in ballot, please notify your local board of canvassers.

Call us at 401-441-5240 (401-400-5599 in Barrington) if you need assistance of any kind. And no matter what you choose to do, please choose to vote.

By Rosalind Ladd
Photo by Phil West

Do you need to have a ceiling light bulb changed? Or a new battery put into a smoke detector? Have a sticky window that just won't open? If you put in a call to the Providence Village for Household Help, you might get to meet John Harkey. John comes with the skills to get things fixed around the house and with a smile that shows his delight in being helpful. "There is no better feeling, " he says, "than to do something that enhances the life of others."

John's skills are self-taught. When he and his wife moved into their first house, he bought a copy of the Reader's Digest "How To..." book and it has been his guide ever since. Lured to Providence forty years ago by the training that RISD offers, they liked it here and stayed. John pursued his career as a self-employed commercial photographer and the Harkeys settled comfortably into a neighborhood that many other artists also call home.

Leisure time finds John biking or meeting the challenges of ocean kayaking. He and his wife have enjoyed extensive travel, though this year found them, alas, having to cancel a trip to Sicily and a hiking trip to the Grand Tetons.

Currently John serves on the Providence Village Steering Committee, which brainstorms programs for people to enjoy while staying safely at home (see the PV Calendar on the web site). He and Patrice Moscow have generated the very helpful list of Covid-19 resources, also on the website. John has, indeed, found ways to enhance the life of others.

Barrington Village Keeps Growing!
By Laura Young

Barrington Village has been growing steadily during the summer of 2020. New members have signed on, and volunteers have been oriented, vetted, and are ready to assist members. We have provided transportation, done errands, provided tech help, and assisted with finding resources. We have followed COVID 19 safety protocols with PPE and support and training from The Village Common of RI. Monday nights at Latham Park have been fun. There is always a breeze, and the weather has been great for our chance to enjoy the setting sun together, while wearing masks and physically distancing.

A special note from our Home Tasks Lead: If you have had or are having difficulty in driving into or out of your garage; rear view mirror scrapes or worse, there is an easy fix to end this problem. For relief, call the Barrington Village at (401) 400-5599 and leave a message for Allan Klepper.

Barrington Village Steering Committee Has Exciting Plans for the Fall
By Laura Young
Barrington Village Sunset Appreciation on Mondays
Photo by Laura Young

September will bring a return to regular Steering Committee meetings, and an organized outreach effort for 2021 leadership development. A Nominating Committee has been formed to guide us.

Retreat, Reflection and Renewal will take place in October, bringing founding members and volunteers together (virtually, most likely) to share their thoughts and ideas. A Community Forum (again, this may be virtual) in November will inform the general community about our progress and our plans and invite their participation. In December, we will join our partner villages in celebrating the culmination of year one of The Village Common of RI at the annual meeting.


A new weekly walking program for The Village Common will begin in mid-September, led by TVC Board Member Bonnie Ryvicker. Another walking program available this summer and into the fall is focused on Brown University, with individual guides for an outdoor tour of campus. See a description of both programs below.

Village Common Walks with Bonnie Ryvicker

Baby, it’s hot outside. For too long the heat has kept me indoors and turned me into a couch potato! But autumn is just around the corner so it’s time to get moving again. Would you like to join me for a walk?

The Village Common is starting a weekly walking program with a different location every week. Please join me at 10:30 AM, Tuesday, September 15th at the Pawtucket end of Blackstone Blvd. for a fun walk that suits your ambition. We’ll maintain a safe physical distance. Wear comfortable shoes, bring water and a smile behind your mask. If you can’t make it this time, call me so I can let you know of the next one. My number is; 401-580-5341. I look forward to seeing you then. ~ Bonnie Ryvicker

Photo credit: Bonnie Ryvicker gives a talk at the JCC, photo by Phil West

Guided Walks at Brown University
By John Harkey
Martin Puryear's Slavery Memorial (2014)

Get outside this summer or fall and take a walk around Brown University with a Providence Village member associated with the school as your walking partner. Visit the Sports complex and its life sized Kodiac Bear, then on to the new Wellness Center and Dorm, past the rising Performing Arts Center, the Main Green to talk about the varied architectural styles, the Martin Puryear Slavery Memorial, the Henry Moore sculpture, and so much more.

Contact one of these 3 volunteers, select a day and time, then take a stroll along tranquil campus pathways that suits your ability and interest.

Carol Delany, after retirement from Stanford, was a fellow at John Carter Brown Library researching her book on Columbus. She also taught part-time in the Religious Studies Department, and has lived in Turkey doing research.

Contact Carol at or her cell phone 401-787-5860

Joe Fisler has had 3-generations at Brown: father graduated in 1925, Joe in 1963 (he captained the ’63 tennis team), and his daughter and her husband are professors of computer science there. He was a student interviewer, was on his class reunion committee and in fund campaigns.

Contact Joe at or his cell phone 757-903-7782

Bill Twaddell graduated from Brown in 1963 to become a career diplomat in the Near East, South America and in 7 African Embassies. He has served on Brown’s Board of Trustees, and on committees for Campus planning and public art, and is now on the John Carter Brown Library Board of Governors.

Contact Bill at

Need a ride to the Brown campus? Call a Village Service Coordinator at 441-5240. When you walk, maintain social distance, carry water and a cell phone if you have one, wear a mask, a hat, and comfortable shoes.

Ready to go? Study up with this brief campus guide:

Try out this Virtual tour:

Or preview the construction projects at

If you’d like to be a walking partner for another Village member and to meet them in your favorite location, or for more information on this program, please contact John Harkey at, or 401-369-9545.

Remembrance of Helen Dorsey
By Anne Connor

Our member, Helen Dorsey (aged 92), passed away peacefully at Hulitar Hospice Center with her children, Diana Dotson and Blinn, at her side. Born on January 18, 1928, Helen was a child of the Midwest and lived quite a life. Providence Village volunteer Tele-Tree operator, Anne Krause, spoke with Helen regularly and remembers Helen’s meeting movie stars while writing about gourmet cooking for LOOK Magazine. She would interview them and learn their interests relating to this subject. Among the names were Angela Lansbury, Rosalind Russell, Dolly Parton, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Mae West. And on one occasion, Bette Davis sent a car for her! She also met Paul Newman. She attended the Oscars 12 times! After that career, she got a degree from UCLA in order to teach English as a Second Language to people who wanted to become citizens.

According to her obituary, in addition to her children, six grandchildren survive her. Her friends and family remember her curiosity, intellect, perseverance, independence, love of conversation and desire to help others. We will miss her presence in our lives.

By Joy Twelves

Each month we choose a different area of the home to check for safety. Our focus this month is on the bedroom and living room.


  • Bed should be placed for easy access to bathroom
  • Large area rugs should be secured to the floor with double sided tape
  • No scatter or throw rugs
  • Curtains/blinds should be open during the day to optimize natural light
  • Closets should have interior lights
  • Electric and phone cords should be placed out of the way to prevent tripping
  • Light switches should be rocker style (see image)

REMEMBER: Our primary goal is to prevent falls, which is one of the main reasons folks end up having to leave their home.

Nature Notes from Phil West
Video & text by Phil West

They rightly say "busy as a bee." These honeybees work quickly and carefully, extracting pollen and fertilizing the flowers as they go. They know the showy flowers are sterile but that the tiny inner blossoms will reward them. Even a big bumblebee doesn't deter the honeybees. Such beauty beside a sidewalk!

Honeybees on White Lacecap Hydrangea 
The Village Common of RI
Board of Directors
Suzanne Francis, President
Jim Maxwell, Past President
Anne Connor, Secretary
Peter Viner-Brown, Treasurer

Lenore Bunting, Lorraine Keeney, Pat Mattingly, Susan McCalmont, Bonnie Ryvicker, Terry Percelay, Joe Santarlasci, Phil West

The Village Common of RI
Advisory Council

Barry Fain, Jay Glasson, Beverly Ledbetter, Lynette Lopes, Marcus Mitchell, Herbert Rakatansky, Corinne Calise Russo, Barbara Sokoloff, Bill Twaddell, Phil West

Newsletter Staff
 Wendy Oliver
Design: Josh Kemp   
Writers:  Jane Adler, Sue Bayley, Anne Connor, John Harkey, Rosalind Ladd, Vivian Malloy, Jo Ellen Mistarz, Wendy Oliver, Diane Strommer, Eliza Sutton, Phil West 
Photography:  Jane Adler, John Harkey, Phil West,
Obituary Assistance: Anne Connor, Phil West

Please contact us at:
Donate to The Village Common of RI
Copyright © 2020 Village Common of RI, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp