Friends and Fellow HistWick Members,
On behalf of Mike Donohue, President of the HistWick board and members of the board of directors, below are a few notes on upcoming HistWick activities and other village topics of interest:
 
Charlie Weber’s Video: The Wickford Walk, a 26-minute documentary on the Wickford Marker Project, will air on Rhode Island PBS television on Friday, April 5th at 8 pm. The video was previewed at the HistWick annual meeting several months ago to rave reviews. After the broadcast we will post the link to the video on the HistWick website. Production of the program was sponsored by HistWick and the North Kingstown Arts Council, filmed and directed by Charlie Weber (Deb Sabo’s son/Bill Sabo’s grandson), and largely narrated by Town Historian and HistWick board member, Tim Cranston.
 
The HistWick Holiday Kitchen Tour: The kitchen tour was a great success with almost 200 tickets sold. We thank the village merchants who sold tickets, the village citizens who opened their homes to be on the tour, and especially those HistWick members who organized the event, including Mary Ann Hackett, Ellen Dacey, Sheila Skiffington, Nancy Gauthier, Nora Hall, Kate Church, Esther Jackson, and Phyllis Pesaturo.
From the proceeds of the tour, HistWick will donate $1,000 to the North Kingstown Food Pantry and use other revenues for historic preservation projects throughout the village. Thank you all for your support.  KitchenTour 2018 Poster
 
Marker Illustrations Now Available as Note Cards and Prints: The illustrations from the first round of the historic markers are now available in the form of sets of notecards with two of each illustration (a total of 10 cards) with envelopes. The price for the set, encased in a plastic sleeve, is $15.00 per set and can be ordered by contacting HistWick board member Jenny Bourgeois at bourbunch@gmail.com. The cards are beautiful.
HistWick has also produced a set of 50 signed and numbered 16” by 20” giclee prints of the Main Street marker illustration by artist Harley Bartlett. Proceeds from the sale of these prints will be divided between HistWick and the artist who produced the artwork. We expect that this will be the first in a series of prints of the illustrations from the other four original markers that HistWick will produce annually over the next four years. You can obtain the signed prints from the first illustration by contacting Jenny Bourgeois at bourbunch@gmail.com.
 
Notes on the North Kingstown Town Council Meeting, December 17, 2018: There were several items before the North Kingstown Town Council of interest to HistWick members and indeed the entire community.
 
1 The future of Wickford Elementary School. The Town Council met in executive session before the regular meeting to discuss the future of the Wickford Elementary School. In open discussion during the regular meeting, the council decided to ask the town manager and town staff to prepare a Request For Proposals (RFP) within the next sixty days for future use of the property. The motion carried unanimously. HistWick members Tim Wasco and Amy Sonder spoke during public comment and asked the council to include local residents in discussions on the RFP and Town Council Chairman Greg Mancini assured both that citizen input would be part of the considerations.
 
  2.  The renovations and use of the Old Town House. Three options regarding the ongoing program to rebuild/reuse the Old Town House were presented to the council by Phil Bergeron, head of the Department of Public Works. Phil said that the building has been stabilized through the use of town money, grants and other locally raised funds, including window replacement, etc. The town also has a $43,175 grant earmarked for further modifications. The first and least costly option would be to do enough to use the property as a museum or other similar type facility. Under this scenario a minimum of interior work would be done. The second and somewhat more expensive option would allow use of the building for meetings, etc. for three seasons of the year, but not in winter as no heat source would be included in this option. The third and most expensive option would be to convert the building into a year around facility to be used for meetings, etc. This would require an investment in a heating system.
After a lengthy discussion, a majority of the council members voted to approve the first option and directed the town manager to proceed with this as the council’s preferred choice.
HistWick continues to support this project, most recently by donating $5,000 for the replacement windows for the building.
  3.  Appointments to boards and committees. The council made several appointments to various town boards and committees. A notable exception was the Wickford Plan Committee (WPC) for which ten local citizens volunteered to serve on the committee, including several new prospective members. The council deferred these appointments pending a study by the town manager to see if the functions of the WPC could be combined with the work of the Wickford Economic Development Advisory Board (WEDAB) to reduce the number meetings in which town boards and commissions need the assistance of town staff. The manager was asked to return to the council within sixty days with his recommendations.
4.  Dave’s Fresh Marketplace statute extension. The council also voted unanimously to give Dave’s Fresh Marketplace a six month extension to comply with the town statute recently adopted requiring stores to no longer offer single-use plastic checkout bags. A representative of Dave’s was present at the meeting and assured council members that the market would comply with the new town requirement on or before July 1st.
Time to Renew HistWick Membership for 2019
HistWick’s success depends on your support—our neighbors and friends. If you have already renewed your HistWick membership, thank you! If you haven’t done so, please consider renewing your membership for the coming year. Membership levels are: Donor $100 (members at this level will receive a set of the marker note cards in thanks for their contribution); Supporter $50; and Individual/Family $25. Please send your check to our post office box: HistWick, PO Box 261, North Kingstown, RI 02852. And, if you have an email or address change, please let us know. We are very appreciative of your continued support.
Support Local Merchants: Please consider supporting the town and its merchants by your holiday shopping whenever possible. It’s estimated that for every $100 spent in a local store, $43 stays in the community. For every $100 spent in a national chain store, only $13 stays in our community. Wickford village shops offer a wide range of items for sale. And when shopping, please wish the merchants a merry Christmas as well. Just as you do, village merchants help support HistWick in many ways.
The HistWick Board of Directors wishes all of our members and friends very merry holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019. We always welcome your comments and suggestions to make HistWick an even stronger organization with its dedication to historic preservation and education throughout the village of Wickford.