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Sandi Gardner is proud of the U.S. space mission to Mars — as only a mother can  be — after seeing her son, Nate, help to make the recent landing there a success.

While North Kingstown is a long, long way from Mars, she watched eagerly as the mission showed that a critical technology for the heat shield, which her son helped to test the reliability of, protected the Mars Perseverance rover during launch and landing.

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Those with keen eyes may have noticed some peculiar groupings popping up in yards around town the past few weeks: pink lawn flamingos, accompanied by a sign that says “You’ve Been Flocked.” It’s called flocking, and it’s the newest fundraising effort by the North Kingstown High School Class Council to support the senior class while also spreading some cheer during a tough time.

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It’s no secret that the past year has not been a kind one to small businesses, with the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdowns, restrictions and limits leaving many scrambling to survive, something which many businesses sadly have not.

In such trying times, it’s good to have an ally to help navigate the troubled waters, and that’s exactly what the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director Kristin Urbach have sought to be to the business community of North Kingstown, through applying for and receiving several grants to adapt to new challenges and keep places in business, as well as turning to virtual meeting spaces to allow for business owners and leaders to network with each other while still practicing social distancing.

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Music-makers — the dreamers of dreams — at area high schools didn’t let COVID-19 become a nightmare taking away their passions and desires when state education officials offered no help to salvage their programs.

An intrepid group of administrators, teachers and students instead mirrored British poet Arthur W.E. O’Shaughnessy’s words about these dreamers wandering by lone sea breakers, yet being the movers and the shakers from his poem “We Are the Music-Makers.” 

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The three-way intersection of Brown Street, Phillips Street and Boston Neck Road has long been a headache for motorists, pedestrians, residents and business owners alike in Wickford, with the sounds of honking horns and angry motorists and pedestrians a daily occurrence and accidents frequent as drivers confused about who has the right of way – with a stop sign from one way, a yield sign for another way and nothing for the third way.

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COVID-19 vaccinations for those 75 years and older are continuing in South County at the South Road Elementary School, but hampered by having fewer doses than needed for this population of residents.

For instance, North Kingstown has 3,000 residents in this category. It received only 130 doses to cover vaccinations given last Sunday and a few days later on Wednesday for this group, said Town Manager Ralph Mollis. 

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Food delivery is a small part of Roy Ring’s business at North Kingstown’s Carriage Inn, he says, yet it’s also a large part of his strategy to keep his restaurant COVID-19 competitive against pandemic poachers looking to steal business.  

“Every time you put your food in someone else’s mouth, you are building your brand,” said Ring, restaurant owner, noting it costs him nearly 26% per order when using popular delivery service DoorDash.

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The North Kingstown School Committee unanimously approved the North Kingstown High School Program of Study for the 2021/22 school year during a relatively brief meeting via Zoom Tuesday night, with some new classes added, graduation requirements adjusted and tweaks to the Running Start and Success Academy programs made.

Ahead of the vote, Shivali Finklestein, NKHS Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning, gave a presentation outlining the changes she oversaw.

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In the memory of the late civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Towards An Anti-Racist North Kingstown (TANK), put on their first public event via Zoom, “Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy: Our Community in Action,” Monday night, featuring a candle light vigil, music, art and talks from members and activists.

The group was first started in October, with founder Jen Lima saying she was inspired by a similar group in South Kingstown.

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The national debate over getting the COVID-19 vaccine has some South County emergency responders waiting to roll up their sleeves to get inoculated.

A survey by The Independent this week showed that both South Kingstown and North Kingstown police departments had about 50% of sworn personnel take up the offer to be vaccinated, while about 75% of eligible Narragansett officers got the shot.