Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Kiss a Sailor!

Naval Station Newport is planning on spending a hundred million in various base projects this yr. & next. The large crowd hearing this news stood & applauded. I thought the Guv was going to kiss Command Officer Captain Michel Poirier, after he made the announcement, as well he should.
The C of C lunch today feated the new naval base commander (a former submariner). You'll get all the details on Ch. 10, or Projo, or East Bay papers, etc. later. This was a big deal with the Guv, Lt. Guv Roberts, & Treasurer Caprio there. Sen. Paiva-Weed, Rep., Jackson, & Rep. Rice were also present. No go on Rep. Coaty, Sen. Gibbs, or Rep Long. Didn't see any local elected officials either. The Middletown Econ. Advisory group was a co-sponsor & they were there along with Shawn Brown (interim Town Admin.) & Town Planner Wolanski.

How will this transfer economically to the area is debatable. The new schools that are coming are of short-term duration (the longest is 6 mos.) & few families. Still, we fared better than most (all?) during the recent BRAC. We have a lot of people to thank for this- Sen. Reed & Rep. Kennedy, local Lege leaders, SENEDIA, Keith Stokes (the local point man), and, lest we forget former Sen. Chaffee. Would we have fared so well without a Republican Sen.? Perhaps not.

The economy here is certainly not the worst I've ever seen, but it ain't good. It's been many a year since I've seen real estate so absolutely lousy with no relief in sight. The foreclosures are affecting not just lower priced housing, but more expensive homes. Renters have deserted the area for cheaper areas. This affects almost everyone. Local businesses which have been here for awhile are gonzo. Restaurants are deader than usual. All those anticipated naval contracts are drying up with r&d monies diverted to the War. And if they don't materialize soon, we'll be in for even more closures.
More details on exactly what the future plans are for the base are now being developed by the Admiral of the region. A Contractor's Conference is being planned for Feb. 25 (details later) with many sponsors; including, the C of C & Middletown Econ. Advisory Committee which suggested that the town hire the Mayforth Group for the coming year to advocate for the town (which they are doing quite sucessfully).

So kiss 'em while you can! We love the Navy!
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