Judge's Order Is Music to Their Ears

A driver's failed appeal of her traffic ticket earned J-DAPA $500 toward a new sound system at Johnston High School.


What started as an $85 traffic ticket turned into $500 to help provide Johnston High School with a new sound system, Mayor Joseph Polisena explained during a recent interview at .

Here's how it happened, according to the Mayor: A woman stopped by Johnston Police for running a red light appealed the guilty ruling she'd received at . When her case reached the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal, a judge there ordered the woman to pay $500 to an organization in Johnston.

"I got the call asking me where the money should go, and I thought of J-DAPA," Polisena explained, referring to the Johnston Drama and Performing Arts group, one of three organizations looking to raise more than $18,000 to install a new system in the JHS auditorium.

On Tuesday morning, Polisena presented the check to J-DAPA Director Donna Tellier and her husband, Ron, joined by school committee Chairwoman Janice Mele, committee member Robert LaFazia, and Supt. Dr. Bernard DiLullo.

During an interview after the presentaton, Donna Tellier explained that the funds will bring J-DAPA one step closer to making the sound system a reality.

"Being $1,000 short [of J-DAPA's original goal], we were like 'Yes!'" Tellier said, adding that the Johnston High School PTSO and Johnston Music Association are also working to raise money for the sound system. "We lead the mission off, and it was taking much longer than we had hoped — we didn't know it would be that expensive — so we approached the other organizations, because they use the auditorium, too."

J-DAPA has been at work for at least the last year seeking donations and holding performances at the high school to raise money for the system.

The PTSO has also been hosting fundraising events at the high school — including last December's and the recent show featuring "The Deaf Comic" Mike Murray — to cover its share of the cost.

Tellier explained that the Music Association also pays for the high school band's trips — meaning any extra money that J-DAPA raises will preserve those opportunities for the student musicians. And the JHS Class of 2012 made its own donation toward the work, Tellier noted.

"Every little bit helps," Donna Tellier explained, adding that the groups are still working to raise money over the summer so that the installation can be completed in time for the start of school in September. "We're pushing for that."

PMA Industries of Johnston is providing the equipment, which will include a sound booth, a 24-channel mixing board, and new speakers in the auditorium, Ron Tellier said.

Donna Tellier said that the best way to make donations is by mail, to:


c/o 11 Simmons St.

Johnston, RI 02919

Find out more about J-DAPA, including photos of their recent performance of The Story, by visiting the J-DAPA Facebook page.

Robert "Bobby" Giarusso July 12, 2012 at 02:37 PM
This article is evidence that law enforcement has become a revenue arm for the town and the state and how quickly the town rubs it everyones face. Safety and wellbeing of our citizens comes second to revenue generation. Police are instructed to issue tickets to speeders and those with expired inspection stickers rather than patrol neighborhoods building positive relationships with members of the community. I don't blame the police. They're doing their job. I blame the lack of leadership or lack of leadership. The money grabs are blatant and they'll continue unless we as an electorate demand better from those who are supposed to be serving us. I can tell you having lived in other states the relationship between police and citizens in this area is dismal compared to other similar sized towns across the country. In other communities outside of RI where I've lived the police are riding bicycles in neighborhoods, walking around parks, and introducing themselves during recreational and town events. In these communities, there is a higher level of respect for the police. When someone is issued a ticket, you know the police officer was being fair and it was deserved. In RI you always have doubt in your mind- deserved or revenue motivated?
Brieanna July 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
This article is an example of money finally going a deserving organization and cause instead of someone's pocket. Should the police have a better relationship with the public? Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. However, the woman ran a red light which is extremely dangerous. She broke the law and endangered lives- she deserved to face some punishment.
Robert "Bobby" Giarusso July 14, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I agree Brieanna that she should face some punishment. Every dollar collected from traffic and parking tickets should be donated to a charity. Take the financial incentive for the cities and towns out of the equation and focus on safety of the public.
Peter A. Filippi III July 16, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The seat belt law is the biggest offender followed by “rolling stops” and “going a few miles over the speed limit” all to make payrolls. We need to reduce our local police dept. and bring in private security that could patrol, respond to accidents including police details etc… The budget is approximately $11 million that could be cut by a minimum of $4 million; our mayor would refer to this as “thinking outside the box” in which he never does because he personifies a system that needs to be replaced. Every day taxpayers are being ripped off via all the nonsense in the contracts, Proud Republican Mayoral Candidate Peter A. Filippi III


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