January 16 Newsletter

Meeting Date:  January 11, 2022

Reporter:  Art Norwalk


Bob Murphy praised the club’s new Little Library as a Big Inspiration: creative and civic-minded.


Pres. Holly reminded members to observe government policies to wear masks except when eating or drinking.
Rob Black reminded members to mail in their ballots for election of officers and directors by February 3.
Mary Brewster is seeking additional volunteers to become pen pals with students at Kizirian Elementary School. All it takes is writing about one letter a month to show a youngster that you care.
The Little Library will be officially dedicated at 1:45 pm Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Brown St. Park behind Hope High School. Members are encouraged to attend.
Holly reported that acknowledgment letters will be going out to Gala sponsors next week.
Stay tuned for these items:
  1. The Good Works Committee is exploring a food drive for a local food pantry as our next hands-on project.
  2. Anthony Landi and Bob Murphy are exploring club sponsorship of an outing for San Miguel students to a PC basketball game.


  • Margaret Kane said the cold weather showed her that masks can be a good thing.
  • Pete Brock was happy that the Pats made the playoffs. (Last night's game didn't go well though.)
  • Don Saracen said his son’s 90 pound dog made its way into the bathroom where his daughter-in-law had started running a bubble bath. The pooch took first crack at the bath, then retired to the master bedroom for a nap in their bed, complete with bubbles.
  • Anthony Hollingshead welcomed PP John McGinn as a new Friend of Providence Rotary.
  • Rob Black had a buck for his granddaughter’s first birthday.
  • Kris David reported that she and Don Saracen had appeared on Service Matters, the district’s radio program.


Guest speaker URI Economics Professor Len Lardaro gave us an unflattering portrayal of the current state of the state’s economy.
Prior to Covid, he said Rhode Island was in a weak position with years of low to negative growth. Then we took “a big hit” from the pandemic-induced recession, particularly in the service industries that have become the biggest players in our economy since the decline of manufacturing.
While we were not "first in" to this recession, we are likely to repeat our recent pattern of being "last out" of the severe downturn because of its depth and the continuing weakness of the state’s business climate.
“We were so far down that what we need now is restoration, not just recovery.”
Prof. Lardaro cited two key factors in Rhode Island’s poor economic position.
First, the 1987 shift from a manufacturing-dominant economy to one anchored in the service industries. This resulted in a decrease in full-time jobs with benefits, often replaced by part-time jobs without benefits, and a pattern of permanent layoffs instead of the historic situation where factory workers could expect to be rehired when things got better. The chart shows the magnitude of the change.
Second is the state’s continuing failure to address the many structural deficiencies that have produced poor showings in so many regional and national business climate rankings. Growth, he said, must be earned and we have not done what needs to be done.
Lardaro sees no indication that the state will use its massive infusion of federal pandemic aid for the kinds of investment that will bring long-term benefits, describing our reaction to the funding as “a sugar high.”
You can follow Len's writings and thoughts about the economy at llardaro.com.
Club Information
Tuesdays at 11:45 AM
Providence Marriott
1 Orms Street
Providence, RI 02904
United States of America
Lunch is served at 11:45 AM; meeting begins at noon.
District Site
Venue Map
Upcoming Speakers
Jan 18, 2022 11:45 AM
Pen Pal Initiative
Jan 25, 2022 11:45 AM
RI's Housing Crisis
Feb 01, 2022 11:45 AM
Duxbury Social Justice Initiative
View entire list
Executives & Directors
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Assistant Treasurer
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Immediate Past President
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