Art Seen: Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center — the Pride of Woonsocket

At the start of my professional life I had the opportunity to work at Trinity Square Theatre, building scenery designed by a world-renowned set designer: Eugene Lee. Lucky me! Theater offers so much in the way of great positive interaction with other creatives all working toward one common goal. It’s a vast soup poured into a funnel leading to opening night. Just great. Theater is second to none as an educational experience, and Rhode Islanders are very fortunate to have so many different performing arts facilities, studios and classes to choose from. On the top of my new list is the pride of Woonsocket, the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Center, and there’s a bright future ahead with the passing of Question 5 on the recent ballot.

I decided to pay them a visit as there are great rumors circulating about the theater, its terrific team, and what looks to be more major renovations to add to their already beautifully restored theater and facilities. What a glorious place to visit. First an introduction by executive director, Cathy Levesque, and the seasoned president, Armand Desmarais; then a red carpet tour by the building manager, Jim Keegan, all before interviewing Lisa Surrette, the educational director who I was there to meet and interview. What a great team of friendly, warm and articulate folks. These impressive folks are proud and positive in their mission.

Lisa Surrette is a sparkling example of the people you hope to meet in theater and especially in education. Still with a twinkle in the eyes, she offered impressive numbers of the summer and year-round enrollment and the ongoing productions, performances and activities (too much too mention here), and we chatted about shared experiences in teaching and her role as the education director at the Stadium. Amidst many distractions (she’s a busy lady) she graciously toured me through a class in progress and showed me some of the tech-people working on stage, all spiced with joyful facts she shared. Soon we were joined by a member of their staff, 20-year-old Adam Landry, who, among other roles at the Stadium Theatre, is currently directing this fall’s Willy Wonka… production as part of the Stadium’s Young Actor’s Academy. The young director is already deeply immersed in the life of theater and while sharing a few smile-filled sentences, I felt one of those Zen moments in life; seeing the young me, while he was speaking to the older version of himself. It was wonderful.

A society can be appraised by its treatment of its own youth. As a lifelong creative and active participant in the arts, I cannot stress how important this gem of an organization is to the area and community at large. This is a remarkable place for great things to happen for young people. With its expert team of terrific professionals, selfless volunteers and the overall community support, we can expect only good things can come from the Stadium Theatre, which boasts a colorful lineup of professional productions and first-rate entertainment. If you haven’t already, you should visit them at 28 Monument Square in Woonsocket or online at stadiumtheatre.com.  And most of all, please support the local arts.

Nikola Tesla: (Not Quite) Celebrated Visionary

Forefront of Electricity, Nikola Tesla

nikolaThere have been many golden ages throughout history, times of enlightenment and unbound creativity when the human race advanced forward by leaps and bounds. Times when we dared the impossible and soared beyond our wildest dreams. Times such as the Renaissance, The Industrial Age, the Space Age and the Electric Age. The Electric Age was marked by the transition from candles and hand cranks to lightbulbs and motors. It was also during this time when the infamous “War of the Currents” was waged and we decided whether alternating current or direct current would be welcomed to power our homes. (Fortunately, in 1973 we came to our senses and decided AC/DC was the way to go, but that’s another story.) While most people are familiar with names like Edison and Westinghouse, there’s one that’s been largely forgotten until recently: Tesla. No, I’m not I’m not talking about the car, but the man for whom it was named.

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian immigrant who came to our shores in 1884 and was central to some of the most important technologies we have today. He worked for Edison and sold patents to Westinghouse and was a firm believer in alternating current. Tesla was also responsible for inventing the AC induction motor used in applications all over the world for industrial applications all the way down to that fan that’s keeping you from sticking to the couch. Induction motors were an important advance since they required fewer mechanical parts and could offer better durability and speed control. Hydroelectric power is also credited to Tesla and now powers a portion of the US. Hydroelectric dams such as the one at Niagara powers all of the Northeast and the Hoover Dam in Nevada powers Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas of California, Nevada and Arizona. Hydroelectricity is also one of the cleanest types of renewable energy out there.

Not only was Tesla at the forefront of electricity, he was envisioning the next set of wireless technologies. Yes, wireless technologies … before the 20th century had even dawned. He created a wirelessly controlled boat, sent messages wirelessly and even built a wireless power transmitter in New York. Known as Wardenclyffe Tower, it was built to be an intercontinental radio transmitter and power transmitter, but it never became operational due to funding issues. In short, investors at the time couldn’t see the promise of free wireless electricity for all. Wardenclyffe Tower was related closely to the Tesla Coil we have today. While you won’t see many practical applications for the coil itself outside of an electricity demonstration, it would be the basis for a wireless electrical transmission system. The coil’s design is also simple enough that it could be built in your home, and people already have. The wireless boat gave rise to cellular phones in that it proved that not only could information be encoded into radio waves, but that an unlimited number of channels within those waves were accessible. Frequency hopping cellphones employ this idea to great effect. And while Edison may typically get credit for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, it was Tesla who invented the neon lightbulb, a far cheaper alternative that lights most businesses, factories and some homes today.

While researching this article I asked myself the almost hackneyed question, “What if Tesla could see the world today, a mere 70 years after his death?” I figured he’d probably say, “I told you so,” but after speaking with Tesla expert Marc Seifer, PhD and author of Wizard: the Life & Times of Nikola Tesla and Transcending the Speed of Light: Quantum Physics and Consciousness, I’d like to change my answer. Marc writes:

Tesla would be very concerned that we are still running our world on coal, nuclear power and oil. He would compel us to use renewable forms of clean energy such as hydroelectric power, wind, solar and geo-thermal. Tesla wrote about this throughout his entire life with major articles on this topic in the 1930s.

By now you’re probably wondering, if he was so great, why is he relatively unknown? Tesla was a great engineer and a visionary, but he wasn’t a great businessman. Unfortunately, his employers and rivals usually got the credit for his bits of genius. On the bright side there is a growing movement to remember this remarkable man and what he contributed to the world. Comic artist Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal, helped run a crowdfunded campaign to purchase the old Wardenclyffe Tower and turn it into a Tesla Museum. It was an electrifying success. There will also be a large conference about everything Tesla in Toronto on his birthday. Others in the community are trying to get July 10, Tesla’s birthday, marked as a world holiday so we can all recognize and unite behind his world changing visions.

I only have enough room on this page to scratch the surface of everything that Tesla did for the world; I highly recommend you spend a few minutes reading about him at your local library. Oh, and one more thing, he even had a theory that would explain away the Higgs-Boson and provide an alternate explanation for how gravity works. No big deal or anything …

Growing Awareness: The Story of Seeds

How a RI Whole Foods Market and an independent director are shedding light on the seed crisis

Open Sesame Poster

by Despina Durand

The upcoming July screenings of Open Sesame: The Story of Seeds are the end result of a serendipitous ambition sparked by the film itself. Bonnie Combs, Marketing team leader at the University Heights Whole Foods Market, saw the film when it screened at the Cable Car Cinema & Cafe this past April after a friend of hers in the bakery at Whole Foods told her about how she had contributed to the Kickstarter that funded the film.

Open Sesame is a documentary that looks at the struggle between seed farmers and big agri businesses, such as Monsanto, over who has the rights to seeds. Seeds, the film argues, are the source of all life, and the basis of civilization. Without them, none of the things that we have today would exist. The move to patent seeds has gravely endangered biodiversity and farming.

Open Sesame director Sean Kaminsky, based out of Brooklyn, did not intend to make a full length film about seeds. The project started as an idea for a short film when he realized that the things he had been reading about seed patenting had a lot in common with the conversations happening around proprietary formats in digital media. (Proprietary formats are processes of encoding files that mean that they can be only opened with a specific program. For example, .doc, .ppt, and other Microsoft file formats.)

“I felt like they were turning seeds more into information than food,” Kaminsky explained.

But he discovered as he set off to his interviews that it was a very emotional topic. Sophia Maravell of the Brickyard Education Farm, one of his subjects, told him that 95% of the vegetable biodiversity has disappeared in the last 100 years. Each interviewee prompted him to speak with another on the subject, snowballing the project to a new level.

“It crept up on me.”

Combs originally approached the RISD Metcalf auditorium to screen the film, but while she awaited a response, she learned that the Cranston Public Library had started a seed library of their own, and they quickly agreed to host a screening of Open Sesame. Combs still wanted a screening in Providence, and ultimately Metcalf got back to her with an affirmative.

Kaminsky will be at the screening at the William Hall Library in Cranston, on July 30, to talk with the audience about the film. The following day representatives from the Seed Savers Exchange will lead a workshop on saving and sharing seeds.

“What I felt was that I wanted to leave people feeling inspired and hopeful, rather than in a place of anger and sadness,” Kaminsky explained of Open Sesame’s contrast with the trend of food documentaries to leave viewers drained or frustrated by the actions and indifference of big business. Kaminsky’s hope is that the film will inspire people to engage in learning more about seeds, advocating for them, and even saving them.

And from the way Combs has reacted, it seems he has already succeeded. Combs described how the film left her wanting to bring people together to educate them about seeds. And she has already thrown herself head first into the issue; she is going on a retreat to Decorah, Iowa for a summer conference hosted by the Seed Savers Exchange.

“It takes so much to make a film– you want to believe it will make a difference, and to know that it impacted someone so much. It’s been really inspiring,” Kaminsky said of Combs.

But Kaminsky does not want to tell people how they should engage with what they learn, and realizes that not everyone will in the same way.

“If there is only one thing you can do, plant a seed,” he said. The experience of planting a seed is powerful, he explained. Putting it into the earth and watching it grow connects us to our ancestors who created civilization through the millions of seeds they planted and cultivated.

Combs’ journey has mirrored Kaminsky’s. From that first screening, she has tapped into the local seed saving culture. She learned that the person who requested that first screening of the film at the Cable Car was Bill Braun who runs the Ivory Silo Seed Project in Westport. He will be one of the speakers at the Providence screening of Open Sesame. The issue has swept her up. She wants to make it a priority for people to know about the importance of seeds. And she has high hopes.

“Bringing people together with an interest in a topic is the greatest thing. It’s so rewarding,” Combs said.

Open Sesame: the Story of Seeds will be screening July 24 at 7pm at Metcalf Auditorium. And July 30 at 6pm at William Hall Library. The seed saving workshop will be July 31 at 6:30pm. For more on the film visit  www.opensesamemovie.com.

Top Things to do in Newport this Summer


Take a Break From The Beach

If you’re heading to Newport this summer, you’re probably thinking the beach or maybe the cliff walk, but the city has more to offer than just sun and sand. A leisurely stroll down Thames street is always fun, but here are some things to try if you’re in the mood for something new!

Dinner Train
The Newport Dinner Train takes diners back to the golden age of railroads with delicious food and ocean views. The 22-mile train ride includes events like “Romancing the Rails,” “Afternoon of Elegance” and family night. The train departs from the depot at 19 America’s Cup Ave. and business casual attire is required.

Newport Harbor Shuttle
The Newport Harbor Shuttle is a convenient, cost-effective way to experience the sights in the harbor. The boat departs from Perrotti Park and stops at Fort Adams, Bowen’s Wharf and Goat Island. The biggest advantage of the shuttle is you can hop on and off to your heart’s content for just the initial ticket price! The harbor shuttle is located at 39 America’s Cup Ave.

Naval War College Museum
Learn about the naval history of New England and Narragansett Bay at the Naval War College’s Museum. The building was formerly the Newport Asylum for the Poor and is now a National Historic Landmark, and the exhibits focus on the development of the permanent naval fixtures in the city. The museum is located at 686 Cushing Rd.

Old Colony and Newport Railway
The Old Colony and Newport Scenic Railway takes you on a relaxing locomotive ride along the west shore of Aquidneck Island through Newport and Middletown. The line was originally built to provide steamships from Fall River with a railway connection. The train leaves from the depot on America’s Cup Ave., and the train runs most Sundays at 11:45am and 2pm.

Newport Tower (Old Stone Mill)
The round stone tower located at Touro Park may not be as flashy as the Marble House, but many visitors find its history fascinating. The interesting part: the 28-foot structure was probably built sometime in the 17th century and is commonly thought to be a windmill, but there is no hard evidence that points to exactly what it is. Other theories speculate that it’s a Viking tower, an observatory or a Chinese lighthouse. Come see Newport’s answer to Stonehenge for yourself and formulate your own hypothesis. Touro Park is located between Mill St. and Pelham St.

Ghost Tour at Fort Adams
Come to Fort Adams for a nighttime ghost hunt and explore the paranormal side of this famous Newport attraction. Fort Adams has a handful of other educational options, including tours highlighting the military aspects and daily life in the fort, but this is perfect for those interested in the supernatural. Join the Rhode Island Paranormal Society as they take you on a guided tour beneath the walls and explore dark tunnels of this centuries-old structure. Ghost tours will be hosted on July 18, Aug. 15 and Sept. 19 and go from 10pm to midnight.

Newport Art Museum – Events
When you’re all tired out from the beach, head indoors and take in some culture at the art museum. Their current summer exhibition is “Very Simple Charm: The Early Life and Work of Richard Morris Hunt in Newport, 1858-1878.” Hunt was a preeminent American architect known for designing many famous structures in Newport (including The Breakers) and around the US. In addition, the museum hosts a number of special events, including an “Appraisal Day,” where you can get a professional appraisal for your art or jewelry (June 21), a lecture on Picasso’s obsession with Degas (July 8) and a metal crafting workshop/drum circle (July 28). The museum is located at 76 Bellevue Ave.

Newport Murder Mystery
Come see the Newport Murder Mystery troupe for a night of mysterious, family-friendly fun. The company describes themselves as “murder professionals” who are committed to C.R.I.M.E. (Creative Role-Playing Interactive Mystery Experiences). Currently, two alternating performances make up their “Summer of Sin” roster: “Mobsters and Molls” pits swingers and flappers against each other for a whodunnit set in the jazz age, and “Ballgowns, Bling, and Betrayal” is a classy affair set in 18th century high society. The shows are held at the John N.A. Griswold House at the Newport Art Museum and the performances take place on Saturdays throughout the summer.

Irish History Museum on Thames
Newport is probably most famous as a summer playground for the country’s most ostentatious millionaires, but the city also has some interesting working-class history. Located in the heart of Newport’s famously Irish Fifth Ward neighborhood, The Irish History museum is a non-profit organization that takes visitors through the experience of the Irish immigrants in Newport. Irish immigrants were instrumental in creating some of the iconic Newport elements; they were recruited to construct Fort Adams and, later, worked in many of the mansions. The museum is located on 648 Lower Thames St. in Newport and is open Thursday – Sunday from noon – 5pm. Admission is by donation.

The 40-odd minute ride to Newport from Providence can seem like a huge undertaking for a Rhode Islander, but activities like these make it worth the drive. No matter what you’re interested in, Newport offers New England residents plenty of options to get out and try to forget that the long, grueling winter ever happened.

RHD-RI Serves Up Pizza World


The Cool Collective Presents an Exciting Multi-Media Experience

The Cool Collective from the Resources for Human Development-Rhode Island (RHD-RI) presents an original play, Pizza World for one weekend only on Friday, June 6 at 7pm and Saturday, June 7 at 2pm at 95 Empire Street, Providence. An exciting, multi-media presentation, in development since last September, “Pizza World” is the story of a body’s journey through alternative realities filled with paranoia, existential crises and pizza. Adrienne Berry, who currently oversees this particular division of the RHD in Rhode Island says, “It’s very exciting to see this performed. We’re looking forward to the audience reaction.”

The script, music, video, costumes and light design are all the creative work of the artist members of the RHD’s Cool Collective. Resources for Human Development – Rhode Island (RHD-RI) is a non-profit, arts-based day program that serves people with disabilities. However, in the Cool Collective, all of the members identify themselves as artists, musicians and actors. Their belief is that “art breaks the barriers that separate people with and without disabilities.”  This multi-faceted organization also runs many other programs that serve a younger demographic and even provides members with help searching for employment.

“All our work is client-driven,” shares Berry. “It’s amazing to see what talents they have when given this kind of freedom. They even built the set pieces.” A small, devoted staff helps to facilitate the work done by the Cool Collective. At each creative session, the group critiques its own work making suggestions and changes. Their work space is in Pawtucket, but they have collaborated with AS220’s Black Box to perform in the 95 Empire space in downtown Providence.

The all-ages event on June 6 and 7 will include a room for psychic readings, a chance to meet with the performers and artists, and a gallery display of art that will include sale items. A soundtrack of the music from Pizza World will be available for purchase, along with refreshments. Proceeds will go to support the Outsider Artists of RHD-RI. Seating is limited; tickets are a suggested $10 on a sliding scale. Buy tickets at pizzaworld.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.

According to Berry, the group has already collaborated with other organizations such as the Dirt Palace in Olneyville and AS220 in Providence at which they currently have an artist in residence. Berry hopes to form collaborations with many more groups and organizations, eventually to have a statewide network that support a similar mission. Currently the RHD-RI serves over 100 clients in three locations.

Their website contains an amazing amount of information, and is well-organized. Brimming with detail about their work and services, it is easy to navigate. For more information about the program, to volunteer or to make a contribution of goods, please visit their website at rhdri.org. They can also be found on Facebook.

Get Me to the School on Time


A Providence elementary school introduces a new initiative that focuses on school absences and  aims to get children, who walk to school, there and on time.

It’s the end of another school day at the Mary Fogarty Elementary School in South Providence and hundreds of kids scatter in different directions. Some take a bus home, while others meet their parents in the playground behind the school.

Then there are two dozen-plus children who are part of a new initiative called The Walking School Bus, aimed at making sure kids who have to walk, but are late to school  or chronically absent, get there on time.

It’s a pairing of adult professionals and volunteers who help kids walk to and from school.

“The majority of the kids who were having problems with absenteeism lived within a mile of the school,” said Stephen Hourahan, chief advancement officer for Family Service of Rhode Island, a social service agency that launched the walking school bus program last year. It’s part of a children’s initiative project aimed at helping a specific neighborhood with a variety of needs, from healthcare to education. In this case Fogarty Elementary — in the heart of South Providence — is the pilot for the program.

There are similar programs in other parts of the country, but the focus is on obesity and exercise. This one is unique in that it focuses directly on absenteeism.

“Some kids live at home without parents,” Hourahan said. “Parents are on a third shift, they’re sleeping when the kid gets up to go to school. They just weren’t getting them to school.”

Ally Trenteseaux helps coordinate the walking bus. She and others who work for Family Service combine with community volunteers to get nearly three dozen children on three different routes to and from school every day. Half a dozen children from the Bailey Elementary School a few blocks away have their own route as well.

“Attendance has improved with all of the kids. They went from chronically absent to almost near or perfect attendance,” Trenteseaux said.

We tagged along in all kinds of weather. From a raw foggy afternoon to bitterly cold mornings that take your breath away. The walking bus is there every day. And so are the kids, gathering in the morning to go to school, then again in the afternoon to go home. The conversations are animated and the kids appreciate having company on what, for some, is a very long walk.

The School Department does not provide buses for elementary-aged children who live within a mile of their schools, which means some kids have to cross major intersections when they walk, including Broad Street.

“I’m scared to cross the intersections by myself, never mind with six kids when you only have two hands,” Trenteseaux said. “It’s scary and I’ve always wondered what happens to the kids we aren’t able to reach out to because we do have a wait list. They kind of just latch onto you and it’s great. New walkers play shy at first,’’ she added. “But they’ll latch right onto you, they’ll hold your hand, they’ll tell you stories. You learn so much about them in just the 20 to 25 minute walk.”

Scott Mello, a captain in the Providence Fire Department, volunteers two times a week. Mello oversaw the latest fire training academy and rotated in groups of recruits throughout this fall to walk with the kids.hummel4

“The age dilemma to them is very interesting,” he said. “To them, 21 years old is very old. So they think all the adults are 21. So they look at you and say, “Are you 21?'”

Family Service wants to expand the program, but needs volunteer walkers to supplement the professional staff. “The program coordination is very simple and something that we can handle easily. It’s just we need more manpower,” Trenteseaux said.

Most of the volunteers are hooked.

“We’re talking about simple solutions,” Hourahan said. “We’re not talking about something that’s rocket science; it’s very simple to get out and meet the kids, make sure they get to school on time, then go off and do your job. And if you can do it in the afternoon, come back and help us.”

We asked Mello what his pitch would be for prospective volunteers.

“You come and see what I’ve experienced. When you see little children coming out of their homes, in this weather alone, you’re going to want to go back and help out. You have to arrive, to achieve. If you don’t arrive at school, there’s no way they’re going to achieve or get any decent grades if they’re absent. It’s impossible.”

If you want to see the video version of this story go to www.hummelspotlight.org. If you know of a person or organization who you think deserves the Spotlight, send an email to info@hummelspotlight.org



Dash Around Town – New Urban Arts

DASH-Papier machet statue of liberty by Asia Jordan at the _NEW URBAN ARTS_ center

Mentors’ and students’ collaborative art

Do you want to make a difference? Well, if you don’t know anything about the New Urban Arts Center for mentors and students, shame on you. Many of the mentors are from Providence, like Rhode Island poet laureate, Rick Benjamin. These mentors foster creative talents in interested and dedicated high school kids.

Go and check it out. It’s very impressive place filled with interesting and energized folks like development director Daniel Scheiber, director Elia Gurna, and Tamara Kaplan who is in organization and finance. These people, among others, work hard to make a difference with the people who matter the most – the new generation of young people. Paving the future is not easy, but “… we want people to find out what their values are and what drives them, and to merge and build a community that empowers youth so they can develop a creative practice that they can sustain for life, even if they are not necessarily going onto art school,” says Daniel Schleifer. And he means it. So go check this organization out and see what you might be able to do to make a difference. Tell them Angelo sent you.

The New Urban Arts Center can be found at 705 Westminster Street in Providence.


A Surefire Way to Make Lasting Memories

Summer camp is a great time for kids to get a break from school – and truth be told, from their families. It’s a chance to enjoy swimming, arts and crafts, and nightly campfires.

And while they do all of that and much more at Camp Surefire in West Greenwich, the 80 kids who go there every summer also continually monitor what they eat and test their blood sugar levels throughout the day. That’s because every camper has type 1 diabetes, what used to be called juvenile diabetes. For some of the campers here, it’s all they’ve ever known.

“These kids come in here and they look around and they know that everybody is in the same boat,” said Dr. Gregory Fox, a pediatrician who has been the medical director for 13 of the camp’s 15-year existence. “Nobody is embarrassed about anything. Their meters come out, their insulin shots, they don’t really care. It’s really fantastic.”

They call it Camp Surefire because early on, somebody said the camp was a surefire way to learn about diabetes. The families pay on a sliding scale, with donations and grants helping to subsidize the costs.

It started out as a single weekend with 25 kids at a campsite in Coventry and has since expanded to five days. Three years ago, they moved to URI’s Alton Jones campus in West Greenwich and they now have 80 campers, 25 counselors, a group of URI pharmacy students and a medical team of about a dozen that provides around-the-clock coverage.

“Kids don’t just show up with their backpacks and start for the session,” Dr. Fox said. “They have all the medical supplies. We have medical volunteers to recruit. We have nurses and nutritionists.”

Dr,-Gregory-FoxFor an outsider, it doesn’t take long to see that diabetes is a 24/7 condition that requires a lot of attention.

“Something that you and I take for granted – we eat something, our pancreas does the job, our blood sugar stays in a very, very tight range. If kids with diabetes eat too much, their blood sugar is going to go very, very high and that can make them sick or if they take their insulin and don’t eat enough their blood sugar is going to go very, very low,” Dr. Fox said.

That’s why a good portion of each day revolves around meals. All the carbs are listed, portions carefully measured and everything counted and calculated. Blood glucose testing is built into the schedule four times a day and always available as needed, as it was during a campwide capture-the-flag game on a hot day early in the week.

Many of the campers have been coming here for years, some now moving into leadership positions.

“I love it here because nobody stares at you funny when you’re testing your blood sugar or asking you questions about what’s a pump,” said Isabella Channel, who was a Leader in Training this year. “I feel normal here.”

This year the campers also got a visit from Kris Freeman, an Olympic cross country skier who has diabetes. He talked about not letting it get in the way of anything the kids want to do. The slogan on his shirt said it all: “Diabetes doesn’t go away at camp – it just doesn’t stand in the way.”

Most of the kids here are from Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, but some come from as far away as New York. Dustin Baker grew up in East Greenwich and now lives in Pittsburgh. Baker, the camp’s program director, is one of the few who does not have diabetes.

“And immediately what hit me was the respect I have for them for managing it and doing everything they have to do to keep it under control,” said Baker. “I think a lot of people … don’t think about all the things they have to do at mealtime to keep their blood sugars in check or what they have to do before they go to sleep.”

Dr. Fox says as much as the kids enjoy camp, it is equally important for their parents, many of whom have spent years getting up in the middle of the night to monitor their child’s blood glucose levels. Fox and the medical staff rotate overnight coverage at camp.

Dr. Fox says social media has helped connect the kids after camp ends, providing a support network throughout the school year.

“Part of what we’re looking to do is create relationships, because a lot of times these kids do feel like they’re alone,” Dr. Fox said. “But if they make one friend at camp who they can call when things are not going right or they’ve had a bad day, if they have just that one person who gets it that they can call, then we’ve really done our job.”

If you know of a person or organization who you think deserves the Spotlight, send an email to info@hummelspotlight.org


Best Books to Bring to the Beach

By Bobby Forand


I have been to the beach four times in the last calendar year – to attend a wedding, to watch my son surf with Surfer’s Healing, to go for a walk with my girlfriend in hopes of making her bad day better and to work on this article. The beach is awesome, but I’m not the type to spend the day there.  For those who are, here are some good local beach reads to occupy you during swimming, tanning and people watching.

crazy heartCrazy Heart, by Tom Cobb

A story about a has-been country singer trying to keep up with life. This is a great read that is also a quick one. If you have an iPod and iPad, you can be really daring by reading the book while watching the movie and listening to the soundtrack at the same time. That will blow other beachgoers’ minds.



the lost villageThe Lost Villages of Scituate, by Raymond A. Wolf

This is my home and possibly one of the forgotten stories in Rhode Island history. So many people were put out when the reservoir was built, and this book goes into detail about that.  Read this guiltily while taking sips out of your bottle full of city water.




423817_10151239372341654_807399338_n1Mae, by Dick Martin

This is a great biography about the life of a strong-willed woman, and it sounds like it could be about almost anyone who lives in this great state. I especially enjoyed that Mae grew up right near me and liked learning how different Olneyville was back then.




Untitled-1The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, by HP Lovecraft

This is for those who spend the summer complaining about the heat, the noise and how much they hate summer. Reading HP Lovecraft’s creepy tales will remind you that fall is right around the corner and it won’t be long until you’re breaking out the hoodie from the closet. Read this while listening to The Misfits for twice the “Halloween is coming” feel.



the bonesThe Bones of Gary Hayman and the Search for Samuel Finn, by Jason Carpenter

This is about children who were able to escape from Rhode Island’s infamous mental institution, Ladd School. It’s hard to believe that this is a true story, but it is. I work in this field, and it’s great to see how far understanding of people with disabilities has come.




dictionary RIThe Rhode Island Dictionary, by Mark Patinkin and Don Bousquet

You live in Rhode Island or at least know enough about the state to read this article. This is a humorous definition of Rhode Island, and every local will get every joke.




the widowless soulThe Windowless Soul, by Jeff Zurowski

Like Machine of Death, this is a self-published book. These fiction and non-fiction poems take you into Mr. Zurowski’s world and provide a peek at the trials and tribulations that he has endured.




mug of woeMug of Woe, edited by Kyle Cranston and Jenn Dlugos
Riddled with stories by local writers, the Mug of Woe series won “Best Anthology” at the 2012 “Beach Book Festival” in New York. These collections of very short anecdotes (none is more than a few pages) aim to make you feel better about yourself, life, and everything by humorously chronicling tales of woe.




polo espressThe Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg

If the beach you are enjoying has a gift store anywhere within 50 miles, your kids are going to ask you to stop there so you can buy them something. Hand them this book and tell them, “No because Christmas is coming soon.” When they complain, remind them that Santa is watching.  That should buy you at least a few minutes of peace to read the other books on this list.

This One Time, at Film Camp

Why would you go on some long, expensive vacation this summer where all you do is stand in line and get treated like crap by bleach-blonde nerf herders with a semester of community college under their belt and more acne than brains? You shouldn’t!
Nor should you ship your spawn off to any number of Walmart-sponsored day camps chaperoned by slack-jawed yokels and creepy Mister Rogers look-a-likes where they will be forced to swim in bodies of urine-tainted water and probably catch lice.
Sleep-away camps are no better. Your kids will just smoke pot and imbibe copious amounts of four loko only to be chopped in half by a masked killer while trying to lose their virginity.
If you really want your summer camp fix, just watch Meatballs, Earnest Goes to Camp, or Camp Nowhere and save yourself a whole mess of aggravation.
Or better yet, send the little scamp over to one (or all) of these excellent film and art programs happening all over Rhode Island this summer. These are professionally run, quality programs where kids and teens can learn filmmaking, cooking, dance and many other fun and educational arts-related skills.

Rhode Island School of Design Continuing Education offers many classes and certificate programs for kids and teens throughout the summer, including classes in animation, digital video production, and a Young Artist Program where artists ages 7 and up participate in printmaking, claymation, ceramic sculpture and more.
Where: RISD campus Providence
When: Classes begin June 10
Contact: ce.risd.edu

KidsEye™ Summer Camp with Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF) is in its 15th year! KidsEye is an intensive and fun five-day summer camp held at the University of Rhode Island that exposes young people to the basic elements of the filmmaking process, culminating in a premiere screening of their finished work.
Where: URI Kingston campus
When: July 8 – 12
Contact: film-festival.org/kidseye.php

RIIFF offers another wonderful teen summer film opportunity for high school juniors and seniors, including those who just graduated. The youth film jury is a program where students will attend multiple screenings, Q&As and other events during the Rhode Island International Film Festival. It’s not a class, but it is a great way to get young filmmakers involved in critique and discussion.
Where: Multiple locations throughout RI
When: August 6 – 11
Contact: film-festival.org/YouthJuryProgram2013.php

URI, Adoption RI and First Star is having the First Star URI Academy for Foster Youth where students entering 9th grade will get full on-campus immersion with a month of academic classes, including media and communication, video game design, web design and videography. Students will receive college credits and have fun learning many different skills such as martial arts, cooking, yoga and painting.
Where: URI Kingston campus
When: July 1 – August 3
Contact: Matthew Buchanan: 401-865-6000; firststar.org

VSA Arts Rhode Island is also premiering “Adventures in Video Game Design” with Central Falls Expanded Learning where Central Falls students in grades 7 through 10 will work with a digital media artist and learn how to use computers and digital tools to create their own video game. No prior experience is necessary.
Where: Central Falls
When: July 8 – August 14; Mondays and Wednesdays 12:30 – 3 pm
Contact: Jeannine Chartier , VSA arts RI Director 401-725-0247; programs@vsartsri.org
Andrea Summers, Central Falls School District 401-727-7726 x 21030; Asummers@cfschools.net

Hendricken High School will put on a summer camp for boys and girls ages 12 to 16. Programs include New Artist Writer’s Workshop, where students will learn the fundamentals of playwriting or screenwriting through practical demonstrations, guest lectures and hands-on exercises, and Summer Screen, a week-long camp in filmmaking where students will write, produce, edit and star in their own short films. Hendriken’s summer program will also offer Showchoir and Stage workshops.
Where: Hendricken campus Warwick
When: July 1 – August 16
Contact: Richard Silva, Director of Arts: arts@hendricken.com

Everett Company’s Summer Arts Program includes film as well as dance and theater. Students will work with professional artists in intense and fun classes, including filmmaking, acting, hip-hop and creative dancing. Students must be at least 10 years old to participate.
Where: 9 Duncan Ave Providence
When: Session one is July 15 – August 2 and Session 2 runs from August 5 – August 23
Contact: 401-831-9479 or everettsummerarts@gmail.com
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many more educational and fun programs for you and your brood to get involved with this summer all over New England Do it!