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South County may see a strong rebound to its tourism season this summer after a pandemic padlock, say many bellwether organizations that have already seen a seasonal uptick in customers and cash pump into the local economy.

“I am completely booked up,” said Robin Leclerc, a Narragansett real estate agent and investor in several rental properties for year-round rentals. “All of June, July and August are taken, and I’m getting calls every day.”

At Brewer’s Yacht Sales in Wickford, David McKenney, boat sales broker, quipped, “All us brokers have more people wanting boats than boats to sell them.”

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Just a year ago Easter and Passover services transformed into online-only gatherings, but liberation — a shared aspect of both celebrations — is now bringing a breakaway for some to have full or partial in-person get-togethers.

Clergy in a few South County denominations reported this week they will have indoor services this year. Others said, however, they will continue livestream, recorded services or hybrid high-tech with limited in-person meetings.

“We lamented having to spend Passover Seders away from loved ones, again!” exclaimed Rabbi Ethan Adler of Narragansett’s Congregation Beth David about last week’s Passover marking the Jews’ liberation from Egyptian slavery .

“However, some families were able to have some family members join them physically — which was joyful,” he added.

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A lot of free time at home, a willingness to explore and a grandmother’s old Italian recipes are a few of the ingredients that went into Carolena’s, the new family bakery in Narragansett’s North End.

Started by Rick and Jenn Armstrong and their daughters Caroline, 7, and Lena, 5, (the bakery got its name from the girls), Carolena’s had a busy soft opening March 20 and 21. The family filled lots of zeppole orders for St. Joseph’s Day.

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Although the legendary Charlie O’s Tavern will soon disappear under the waves of time, longtime patrons say they will remember forever how this restaurant glued together friends, food and fun.

This local landmark — more important to loyal customers than the National Trust for Historic Preservation — is scheduled for demolition sometime in April. The nearly 80-year-old building will be replaced with a new, sleeker, high-end pub.

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Gilbane, Inc. has sold the Narragansett Pier Marketplace, which includes several small retail businesses adjacent to the Belmont/IGA property owned by the town, for $1.8 million.

Town records show the buyer is Beachcomber Properties LLC, a real estate holding firm organized in February and managed by two Wakefield men, Scot Hallberg and Eric Bell, according to state filings.

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The $11.2 billion state budget that Gov. Dan McKee presented Thursday is only part of the spending picture for local towns that also stand to get millions of federal dollars to help them recover from COVID-19.

After reductions for administrative costs, South Kingstown is poised to receive about $9 million in municipal grants from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law last week by President Joe Biden, Town Manager Rob Zarnetske said. South Kingstown officials were set to meet in a workshop Wednesday night to discuss the effect of the federal stimulus bill locally. 

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If COVID-19 is the teacher, there’s many lessons that the disease has taught in a class that no one really wanted to take.

Topping the blackboard list of these lessons, said North Kingstown psychiatrist Anthony Gallo, is the time-worn reminder that we are not invincible and control outside ourselves is often an illusion taken for granted.

“You have control over yourself, your actions, your attitude,” he said about a point of view many other people mentioned in interviews with The Independent. They also coupled it with a lesson about discovering resilience.

In addition, he and others said the pandemic taught lessons about accepting what cannot be controlled.

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A once-deteriorating very old and very shabby house at 80 Narragansett Avenue has new looks, making it the envy of the block.

The 134-year-old home is not only refurbished inside and out, but it now has features its owners a century ago could never have even dreamed of.

There’s a steam shower, different-colored ambient lighting inside, iPad-like digital control systems for intercoms, temperature settings, window shades going up and down and other technology-driven conveniences.

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Local educators say they are pleased that state officials are recognizing the importance of prioritizing school employees in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine so schools can resume a path toward operating normally again.

Teachers, administrators and staff in North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Narragansett will see immediate action, as clinics are opening this weekend for them to get their shot.