June 18, 2003

On Wednesday, June 18, 2003, the NAVSTA Newport Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) gathered at the Officers' Club for their monthly meeting. The meeting began at 7:10 p.m. and ended at 9:03 p.m.
In attendance were John Vitkevich, Kathy Abbass, Thomas McGrath, David Brown, John Lennon, Susan Hester, Emmet Turley, James Myers, Thurston Gray, Tom Reardon, Howard Porter, Manuel Marques, Claudette Weissinger, Howard Chilton, Judith Chilton, David Dorocz (NAVSTA), Commander William B. Stewart (NAVSTA), Kathy Marley (NAVSTA), Gregg Kolhweiss (NAVSTA), Paul Kulpa (RIDEM), Kymberlee Keckler (USEPA), Pamela Harting-Barrat (USEPA), and David Peterson (USEPA).

Mr. John Vitkevich opened the meeting and welcomed the group. Mr. Howard Chilton and Mrs. Judith Chilton, from Newport's Goat Island, were welcomed and introduced to the RAB as new prospective community members.


There were no changes to the minutes of the April meeting. Mr. Vitkevich asked for a motion to accept the minutes, which was seconded and then carried.


Presentation by the Public Information Committee David Brown

Dr. David Brown gave a special presentation to review the RAB Public Information Committee program. Enclosure (1) is a copy of the slide show presented.

Dr. Brown asked the group for their ideas on how the RAB can best serve the community and integrate activities with outside organizations.

Dr. Kathy Abbass suggested the RAB develop a Speakers Bureau to establish and maintain communication with the local communities. Dr. Abbass further stated that this idea could be discussed in more detail during RAB meetings.

Mr. Gregg Kolhweiss stated inviting state colleges and universities to participate, as well as attending meetings with local civic organizations, may be helpful.

Mr. John Lennon stated local school departments have educational professionals that provide input to the local community. Mr. Lennon further stated environmental consultants, who are not under contract with the Navy, would also be an asset and a beneficial learning source to the RAB.

Ms. Susan Hester suggested that a special invitation be sent to public officials, cordially inviting them to attend a RAB meeting.

Dr. Pamela Harting-Barrat stated that the more information the community has about the Navy's environmental clean up program, the more civic organizations would become involved to lend their expertise.

Ms. Claudette Weissinger stated she would like to learn more about the current clean up processes and suggested that educational speakers would be beneficial.

Mr. Thomas McGrath stated that better planning would improve the effectiveness of the RAB's work with the community.

Membership Committee Thurston Gray

Mr. Thurston Gray announced there are presently 19 community members. There were 13 community members present at the meeting.

Mr. Gray told the RAB that the Mission Statement for the Restoration Advisory Board has recently been revised. He asked that the community members review the document so that the final Mission Statement may be prepared for their signatures.

Mr. Vitkevich told the community members that a letter will be sent to all RAB members who are not actively involved with the RAB. The newly revised Mission Statement states there are two types of community membership: active and inactive. Members not actively involved will be carried as inactive members.

Mr. Gray stated he would like to establish a community based website, that the public may easily access to learn more about the RAB. Mr. Gray further stated he would like the website to include specific links, to allow the reader access to interesting sources of information. The Navy will look into establishing a website that can be administered by the RAB.

Planning Committee Thomas McGrath

Mr. Thomas McGrath stated he is preparing a specific list of topics to be presented for discussion in the upcoming RAB meetings. Mr. McGrath will present the updated planning schedule to the RAB at the next meeting.

Mr. David Dorocz stated the next RAB meeting on July 16, 2003, will include an Open House to present the Fact Sheet for the Old Fire Fighting Training Area (OFFTA) Soil Clean Up.

Mr. John Vitkevich requested that the meetings be held at an off-base location to allow for easy access by the local communities. The three recommended sites are as follows: 1) The Middletown Town Hall, 2) the Oliphant School Administration Building; and, 3) the Ramada Inn in Middletown.

Education Committee Kathy Abbass

Dr. Kathy Abbass presented a draft introductory training manual for review and comment by the RAB Community members. The manual layout includes a summary of each of the Navy restoration sites with historical information, and also provides illustrations.

Dr. Abbass told the RAB a grant has been received so that the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) may look for British Shipwrecks in the local waters. RIMAP is currently trying to locate the historical ship the Endeavor. Dr. Abbass stated that there is a good chance the Endeavor may be found here in the area.

Dr. Abbass further stated that there are also American revolutionary shipwrecks here in Rhode Island. These ships are harder to identify, since there were approximately twenty-six known British revolutionary warships that went down in this area.

Project Committee Emmet Turley

Enclosure (2) is the project committee report by Mr. Emmet Turley. Mr. Turley volunteers his time and attends RAB meetings to lend his expertise, in support of the RAB's activities. The report details Mr. Turley's accomplishments.


The next meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) will not be held at the Officers' Club.

The Open House for the OFFTA and RAB Meeting will be held at the following location

Oliphant School Administration Building
Front Entrance
26 Oliphant Lane
Middletown, RI

The Open House will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Attendees are welcome to stay and attend the regularly scheduled RAB meeting, which will follow from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the same location.

(1) Public Information Committee Slide Show presentation (603 KB)
(2) Project Committee Report (38 KB)