Passenger count at Green Airport, Warwcik continues to drop; down 7% from the same period last year.  Higher ticket prices, the aggravation of dealing with TSA boarding procedures and competition from Boston, Worcester and Hartford airports draw potential customers away.
Yet a check with  airfarewatchdog.com reveals some pretty good prices this month. Examples$178 RT to Ft. Lauderdale, FL (FLL);  $188 RT to Orlando, FL (MCO); $226 RT to Tampa, FL (TPA); $226 to Chicago, IL (MDW) ; $210  to Dallas (DFW) ; $251 to Austin Tx (AUS) and $208  to West Palm Beach (PBI).
Right now Delta offers non-stop service to Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul; Jet Blue flies non-stop to Orland and Fort Lauderdale. Southwest serves up non-stops to Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Denver (seasonal), Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers (seasonal), Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach (seasonal). United Airlines jets non-stop to Chicago-O'Hare, Newark, and Washington-Dulles and US Airways goes non-stop to  Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington-Reagan National daily. All other destinations need a connecting flight.


So Washington state and Colorado have legalized marijuana for retail sale and distribution. And there are a bunch of state reps and senators that  think Rhode Island should go that way too. But what do they experts think?   A panel of medical experts gathered at Butler Hospital this week and condemned the acceptance of marijuana as a harmless drug, saying that cannabis is especially harmful to adolescents and saps their motivation to work hard in school. Journalist W. Zachary Malinowski reports Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said that the drug effects memory, coordination, vision and judgment, and 9 percent of Americans are addicted to marijuana. She said that adolescents who use the drug before the age of 17 have an addiction rate of 16 percent.
Woonsocket resident Dr. Stuart Gitlow, acting president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said that drug addiction is based on three characteristics: genetic abnormality, abnormal coping skills and living in a society where the drug is accepted and promoted. He wondered why the United States seems determined to legalize marijuana and ignore the problems associated with the drug.
And Rhode Island is well on our way as the state has permitted the opening of two marijuana dispensaries in Providence and Portsmouth for patients licensed by the state Health Department to buy marijuana for an assortment of ailments, including glaucoma, HIV-AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis. A third dispensary, also called a compassion center, is scheduled to open in Warwick this fall. State law permits a maximum of three medical marijuana dispensaries.
Kevin A. Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida and co-founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), railed against what he said were the marijuana industry’s attempts to lure young people to the drug. He said that edibles such as marijuana-tainted gummy bears, chocolate bars and popcorn are ways to appeal to youngsters. He noted that it has been a problem in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana for anyone over 18 years old. The Providence forum should serve as a guidepost to legislators about being too trendy in giving the green light to  access to marijuana as they do chocolate bars.


When voters turn out November 4th there are other decisions to made besides selecting a governor and other state officials.  This year, voters will consider requests for $248 million in the form of four separate bond questions. Taxpayers will be responsible if they pass them and they usually do.
The biggest request -- $125 million -- is for a new engineering school at the University of Rhode Island. A further advance for the state's university that has seen millions invested in recent years.
A bond for the creative and cultural community would invest $35 million into fixing up theaters. Among the arts organizations to benefit is The Stadium Theater Conservatory; $2,108,400 would be set aside for set construction; costuming; rehearsal, voice, acting and dance studios and administrative spaces. As earlier announced in  this column the Stadium is expanding into a building next door.  The Stadium Conservatory will house set and prop, costuming and rehearsal space.
On the less exciting side, there's a plan to split the RIPTA bus hub in Kennedy Plaza to two other locations at a cost of $35 million.
Finally, for clean water, open space and healthy communities, there is a  request to voters to approve $53 million: money would be used to buy farm land to stop development; waste-water treatment plant rehab and cleaning up mill sites with "brownfield" pollution. Another 18 would be encumbered for new  exhibits at Roger Williams Park Zoo and $3 million to refurbish the park itself.

Former  Mayor Leo Fontaine stopped by WNRI yesterday to participate in a series of programs on past mayors of Woonsocket. Opening the interview Fontaine declared "the election is over. I am not mayor anymore...and certainly the current mayor doesn't need me to come and try to make it more difficult. We are a community need to pull closer together and rally to try to bring ourselves out of this."
Fontaine explained after he left his fourth floor City Hall office as mayor, he went to work the next day in the family business and was not unemployed. Fontaine tries to stay involved spreading time among family, work community activities including a current term on the board of directors of the Beacon Charter School.
On the budget commission Fontaine said "we knew it was coming anyway." Nobody likes it but they were able to advance state funds for education and take hold of city spending.
On the water treatment plant, Fontaine says the order came in 2008 to clean up discharge into the Blackstone River. Fontaine said his administration tried to delay the project but now the time is here to build it. He still prefers the design, build and operate concept with outside vender running the plant. He also eliminated the North Smithfield site as a plant location feeling uncomfortable having a "vast asset" located in another community.But he is not in charge, so he sits back and watches the events unfold.
On Landmark Medical Center Fontaine is relieved that the sale was completed and Landmark landed on the city tax rolls.
On state issues, Fontaine will vote for Alan Fung for governor. He gives credit to Gina Raimondo for bringing on pension reform, but feels Fung "will bring a check and balance to state government." Fung has balanced budgets, created jobs and brought city wide pension reform to Cranston. He did concede Raimondo would make an excellent governor too.
On Secretary of State, Fontaine likes both Catherine Taylor and Dan McKee. Fontaine is undecided who to endorse. He knows both candidates and respects their abilities.