The local real estate market is hot. The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says 2017 was a record year for single-family home sales, with over eleven-thousand sold. There was also a significant increase in the sale of multi-family homes and condominiums. Association President Joseph Luca says the biggest problem was a lack of inventory, especially in the starter home market.
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is part of a coalition of 22 attorneys general seeking to stop the rollback of net neutrality. A petition for review has been filed with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. beginning a lawsuit against the FCC and the federal government. Kilmartin calls the rollback anti-consumer and says a free and open Internet ensures equal access to information and promotes innovation in the digital economy. He warns repeal would have serious consequences for consumers and businesses in Rhode Island and elsewhere.
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner says Rhode Island's aging school buildings must be a priority. He notes that an engineering study shows school districts have an immediate need for more than two-billion-dollars in repairs. Magaziner says every district in the state has at least one building that does not meet basic warm, safe and dry standards for students. He says the state must make a once-in-a-generation investment so that students have a fair chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Rhode Island's December unemployment rate is four-point-four percent. That's one-tenth of a percent higher than the November number. The Department of Labor and Training says about 500 jobs were lost last month. The national jobless rate for December is four-point-one percent.
Fire officials are saying the cause of an explosion and fire in Providence was an extension cord. The fire happened around 9 a.m. yesterday at Monk Road and Enfield Avenue. A couple on the second floor suffered minor injuries. The house was a total loss.
House Democrats don't like what they see in a current proposal for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says the issue will not go to a November voter referendum. After an hour-long closed-door session with fellow Democrats, Mattiello says the General Assembly will ultimately make a decision on the proposed 85-million-dollar plan. He says his colleagues want the proposal improved so the state doesn't bear as much of a financial burden.
Governor Raimondo's nine-point-four-billion-dollar budget calls for voters to approve a 250-million-dollar bond so the state can spend one-billion-dollars on a five-year school reconstruction plan. Another part of the governor's budget that was presented yesterday to the House supports gambling at two casinos and would bring in 23-million-dollars. House leaders are wary about that part of the spending plan.
Rhode Island officials have agreed not to enforce a state law that limits the number of registered sex offenders at homeless shelters until a judge rules on the legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island says the decision followed a closed-doors conference with a U.S. district judge Tuesday. Lawyers argue the state's 10-percent limit on the number of shelter beds given to registered sex offenders is unconstitutional.
The lawyer for a Republican state senator being investigated by state police says his client has decided not to step down. Sen. Nicholas Kettle's attorney, Paul DiMaio, said on Wednesday that Kettle doesn't believe he committed a crime, and will stay in his seat. DiMaio said on Tuesday that Kettle likely would step down after state police confirmed they were investigating Kettle. Police haven't said what they're investigating.
House Democrats are going to meet in a closed-door caucus this afternoon regarding the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium proposal. The Senate passed the plan Tuesday that authorizes taxpayers to cover 38-million-dollars of the estimated 83-million-dollar price tag for a new ballpark. It remains unclear whether House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello will ultimately support the bill. PawSox ownership is threatening to leave Rhode Island unless a new stadium is built.
Providence Police are looking for the two men who stole a new speed camera. The 80-thousand-dollar camera was stolen from its location on Peace Street earlier this week. Police say the two people used a dark-colored Dodge pickup truck to haul the camera away.
Hospitals across the state are seeing increased cases of the flu. State Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott is urging everyone to get a flu shot. So far this flu season, there have been 203 people hospitalized, with 94 just this week
ABC-6 News reports that the Rhode Island Fire Marshal is investigating a fire on Old Farm Road in Little Compton early this morning, after the home owners drove to the fire station to alert the department.
The fire broke out just after midnight.
When crews arrived on scene, heavy fire could be seen coming from the garage of the home.
The Newport Daily News reports that Carolyn Rafaelian, the founder of Alex and Ani, is launching a new group of full-scale restaurants this year and the flagship will be on Thames Street. A spokesperson says the new Bar and Board restaurant will be in the former People's Credit Union building on Thames St., with an opening is planned for May 1.
The Newport Daily News reports that the city is proposing to sell the Armory building on lower Thames Street to the National Sailing Hall of Fame for a little less than $2 million, according to parties involved in the negotiations.
The purchase-and-sales agreement has to be approved by the Sailing Hall of Fame's board of directors and by the Newport City Council, but leaders in both parties are not anticipating any problems.
A trash collector picked up and rescued an injured owl while working in Coventry. The Coventry Public Works Department said on Facebook that one of their trash collectors noticed an owl sitting too close to the road on the employee's route Tuesday. City Animal Control were soon called to the scene while the driver waited with the owl.
A physician and political newcomer says he's running for governor as an independent. Doctor Luis-Daniel Munoz says he'll focus on improving schools, job creation and access to health care. There's one other independent candidate and three Republicans in the race. Incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo may also face a Democratic primary challenge.
State police are investigating state Senator Nicholas Kettle. Authorities would not say why they were at his home in Coventry yesterday morning seizing cell phones and computers. Kettle's lawyer Paul DiMaio says the investigation has nothing to do with Kettle as an elected official but, rather, a breakup with a girlfriend. DiMaio says that Kettle will likely resign from the General Assembly.
A proposal to provide public subsidies to fund a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium is moving to the House. Two bills were approved yesterday in the state Senate. Under the proposal, the state would pay 23-million-dollars of the 83-million-dollar stadium. The House Finance Committee will review the plan.
Governor Raimondo is optimistic as she heads into her fourth year in office. The governor gave her State of the State address last night touting lower unemployment, new construction projects and repairs to aging infrastructure. Raimondo touched on her proposed budget, which will be released tomorrow. Part of that proposal is one-billion-dollars to be spent over the next five years on school repairs to be partly funded by a 250-million-dollar bond referendum on the November ballot.
According to the Newport Daily News, the town of Middletown is considering adding about 200 resident-only parking spaces at Sachuest Beach by closing the Second Beach Family Campground.
The proposal was rolled out for the first time Tuesday night by the Town Council's Beach Evaluation Committee as a way to help address longstanding gripes from some locals about the shortage of beach parking on busy days, where all the lots can fill by 10 a.m.
Gov. Gina Raimondo will deliver her State of the State address tonight, seeking to convince voters she is making progress on tackling the state’s problems even as her opponents ramp up their criticism ahead of the November election. Raimondo is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at the State House before a joint session of Rhode Island’s 113 state lawmakers and other dignitaries in the House chamber
Gas prices have fallen slightly in Rhode Island, to an average $2.51 per gallon for regular unleaded.
AAA Northeast says its weekly survey on Monday found that the price of gas in the state had fallen an average of two cents per gallon from last week.
The price in Rhode Island is two cents below the average price nationally, of $2.53 per gallon.
But it's 20 cents higher than at this time last year, when gas was averaging $2.31 per gallon in the Ocean State.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says he's opposed to construction of the Invenergy power plant in Burrillville. He says he plans to seek court permission to file a brief in Superior Court challenging the plant's water-supply plan. Kilmartin remarked that much has changed since the plant was proposed in 2015. He added that there's growing evidence it's not needed and is not in the best interest of taxpayers or the state's natural resources.
There's a bill that would give Internet users in Rhode Island more protections. Warwick Representative Evan Shanley's legislation would protect people from having their personal information disclosed by operators of commercial web sites or online services. The bill notes that personal information is being collected, shared and sold in ways not considered or covered by current state and federal laws. The measure has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Norwegian Air is dropping its flight from T.F. Green Airport in Warwick to Bergen, Norway. The biweekly flights are being shifted to Shannon, Ireland. Travelers who have already booked flights to Norway will get a refund or can reschedule their flight. The airline is also reducing the number of weekly flights to Edinburgh, Scotland, from four to three.
A five-thousand-dollar reward is being offered leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for setting two fires in Warwick. The fires happened about two hours apart yesterday morning on Strand Avenue and Sea View Drive. No one was injured, but both homes are heavily damaged. The owner of one of the homes only lives there during the summer.
Gov. Gina Raimondo is pushing for a bill that would give the governor power to veto parts of the state budget. The governor says that she's launching a stronger push for line-item veto power this year. Most states already allow governors to strike individual budget items without having to veto an entire appropriations bill. A bill has been introduced in Rhode Island to give voters the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment.
Rhode Island is offering grants to help grow local farm and food businesses and increase the competitiveness of their products in the marketplace. The Department of Environmental Management says $380,000 is available through two grant programs that have invested about $3 million in the state. DEM Director Janet Coit says farming and fishing are increasingly vital to the state's economy.
U.S. Jack Reed has presented a 92-year-old World War II veteran with military honors he earned during the war but never received. Reed said Saturday that Willard "Bud" Voigt now has his overdue Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other prestigious honors. Voigt, of Warwick, grew up in Fall River and joined the U.S. Army after graduating from high school in 1943. Voigt served with the 90th Infantry Division in France.
State residents can once again access their unemployment claims online. Flooding at the Department of Labor and Training's data center in Cranston forced the web site to go off line Saturday morning. By yesterday everything was up and running again.
Governor Gina Raimondo is planning to tout the state's economic success and education in the State of the State address. Raimondo is to address both chambers of the General Assembly tomorrow at 7 p.m. The governor will outline how incentives and job training has helped the state recover from the recession.
Authorities say they have recovered a missing man's kayak. The kayak of 46-year old Michael Perry was found around 10:30 a.m. yesterday in East Providence. Perry has been missing since Friday afternoon after he went kayaking at Conimicut Point in Warwick.
A descendent of T.F. Green Airport's namesake says she opposes a proposal to change the name of the Rhode Island airport.
Keena Palmer, the grandniece of former Gov. Theodore Francis Green, says officials should instead add "international" to the end of the airport's name.
House Majority leader Joseph Shekarchi previously announced a bill to change the name of the Warwick airport, saying he wants the name to reflect the airport's international status.
CVS Health Corp. plans to install medication disposal units in dozens of pharmacies around Massachusetts as part of the state's effort to fight opioid abuse.
The units allow customers to safely dispose of prescription painkillers that have expired or are no longer being used.
Rhode Island is looking for its first youth poetry ambassador. Rhode Island Poet Laureate Tina Cane and the Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council on the Humanities are partnering to look for a high school student to serve in the role. The winner will have an opportunity to publish a guest column in The Providence Journal, have their poetry featured on public buses and record an episode for Cane's podcast.
Some Rhode Island residents say they were forced to wait hours in the emergency room, and state officials say the flu is to blame.
The state Department of Health says they have seen "higher than usual" volumes at emergency departments statewide. A spokesman says the driving factor has been an extremely significant jump in flu cases across the state.
Bipartisan members of New England's congressional delegations have introduced a bill to prohibit oil and gas drilling off the New England coast. The New England Coastline Protection Act would prohibit oil and gas extraction activities in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It's a response to the Trump administration's plan to open nearly all U.S. coastlines to offshore oil and gas drilling.
A special election for Senate District 8 in Pawtucket is set for April 3rd. The vote is needed to fill the seat vacated by the departure of Senator Jaime Doyle. Citing his struggle with alcohol, Doyle unexpectedly announced his immediate resignation on Tuesday. If more than one candidate from either party qualifies to be on the ballot, a special primary will be held on February 27th.
The state is proposing an investment of nearly one-and-a-half-million-dollars in resources to foster families. Governor Gina Raimondo says it's part of her administration's effort to increase the number of children in foster care and reduce the number living in group homes. The governor says there's a need for 250 loving, supportive families for children currently in institutional care.
Brown University is mounting a challenge to the sale of Care New England to Boston-based Partners HealthCare. In a campus letter, Brown President Christina Paxson says the sale to Partners is not in the best interest of Rhode Island and not in the best interest of Brown and its medical school. Partners is closely aligned with Harvard Medical School. Brown is partnering with Prospect Medical of California in an effort to buy financially-struggling Care New England. Prospect is already in Rhode Island, operating Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima Hospital.
A two-thousand-dollar reward is being offered after several cats were left abandoned at the Newport Shipyard. The Potter League for Animals says someone found the cats in lobster crates and brought them to the shelter. The cats were covered in flea dirt and scabs and were malnourished. The reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for abandoning the cats.
National Grid is reducing its proposed rate hike with the state Public Utilities Commission. The utility initially sought a 71-million-dollar rate hike for electric and gas. It has now reduced that amount by about 25-million-dollars. The utility cites the recent federal tax changes as the reason for the reduction. If approved, the rate increase would not take effect until September.
A number of people were hurt and two are being treated for serious injuries after explosions on a barge in North Kingstown. Authorities say the explosions happened while work was being done on a barge at Senesco Marine around 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Fire officials say there were multiple injuries and two people were taken to Rhode Island Hospital. One person has burns over 70-percent of his body, while the other suffered severe leg injuries.
The Newport Daily News reports that The Newport City Council unanimously approved Wednesday night a three-year labor contract for police officers that will provide them with a total pay increase of 6 percent over the life of the contract.
The council members approved the new personnel salaries on first reading, with a second and final vote scheduled for Jan. 24.
The Newport Restoration Foundation announced Wednesday that Mark Thompson will serve as the organization's next executive director, replacing Pieter Roos who left at the end of February last year. Thompson begins work on Feb. 5.
Thompson has been serving as the executive director of the Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum in St. Leonard, Maryland, since 2011
Two Rhode Island medical marijuana dispensaries have lost their ability to accept debit cards after Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week reversed an Obama-era policy not to prosecute marijuana cases. Dispensaries in Warwick and Portsmouth are accepting only cash and checks. Both used a payment processing company that worked with a bank in Massachusetts, where the U.S. attorney says there's no guarantee medical marijuana operations won't be prosecuted.
Kevin Boles is returning in 2018 for his fifth season as manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Kevin Walker is the new pitching coach after three seasons in that position at Double-A Portland. Rich Gedman returns for a fourth year as Pawtucket's hitting coach. The PawSox home season begins on Friday, April 6th.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is joining the Senate Finance Committee. Whitehouse says that in his new assignment he'll work to protect Social Security, Medicare and making the tax code fairer for middle-class families. Two Republicans, former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders and Coventry Representative Robert Nardolillo, are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Whitehouse in his bid for re-election this year.
A House bill is being introduced soon to make DUI with a child under 13 in the vehicle a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, stiff fines and license suspension. Coventry Representative Robert Nardolillo says there's been an increase in the number of DUI cases involving children in the vehicle. Companion legislation is expected to be filed in the Senate by Providence Senator Mary Ellen Goodwin.
Several brands of ice cream bars are being recalled in Rhode Island because they could be contaminated with listeria The treats are manufactured by Fieldbrook Foods Corporation and labeled under the Hood and Stop and Shop brands. The products being recalled are orange ice cream bars and chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bars. Anyone who purchased the products can return them for a refund.
An electrical fire is being blamed for the partial evacuation of Providence Place Mall. The fire happened around 6:30 last evening. The third floor and cinema area were evacuated to the lower levels as firefighters dealt with the situation in the parking garage. Everything was back to normal about an hour later.
Classes are resuming today at two Cranston schools that have been closed because of water issues. Cranston East High School closed Monday after a pipe burst, while Edgewood Highland Elementary School has been closed since last week after water from a burst water main cascaded into the school's first floor. Classes for Edgewood Highland students will be held at the Norwood Avenue School until the mess is cleaned up. Preschool classes will be held at Rhodes School.
A flood watch is being issued for all of Rhode Island and southern New England. The National Weather Service expects the heaviest rain to fall tomorrow night into early Saturday. As much as four inches of rain could fall along the coast. The rain, combined with melting snow, could cause localized flooding along streams and clogged storm drains.
Rhode Island's official tall ship is moving to Virginia.
A foundation in Alexandria, Virginia, has purchased the 110-foot sloop-of-war Providence.
The Tall Ship Providence Foundation says the ship will arrive in its new homeport in the summer of 2019.
The foundation bought it for $175,000 and is renovating it to host maritime educational programs.
The sloop Providence was built for the 1976 bicentennial and is a replica of John Paul Jones' first command ship.
Many female lawmakers are wearing black at the Rhode Island Statehouse in solidarity with the Time's Up movement and as a statement against sexual misconduct. Female senators and House members were asked to wear black on Tuesday. More than a dozen lawmakers posed for pictures at the speaker's rostrum after the session started, flexing their muscles like Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female empowerment.
Ikea is eyeing Warwick as the possible site of a new store. GoLocalProv-dot-com reports that the Swedish furniture and home goods store has been in discussion with city officials about different locations. One location is reported to be near the city line with West Warwick on Route 2.
Crews are busy cleaning up the Warwick City Hall Annex after a pipe burst this past weekend, causing damage. The tax assessor and the building and planning departments sustained substantial damage. Those services will operate from the old John Green Elementary School on Draper Avenue starting today. Working from the temporary location may last as long as six weeks.
State Senator Jamie Doyle is stepping down due to his battle with alcoholism. In making the announcement yesterday, Doyle says he needs to focus on his recovery and family. Doyle has held the seat since 2004. Doyle's immediate resignation means there will have to be a special election to fill the Senate District Eight seat.
Legislation for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium is moving forward. The Senate Finance Committee approved the plan yesterday. The bill now goes to the full Senate, which is expected to vote on it Tuesday. Approval of the financing bill still needs to come from the House.
Frustrations are rising as two Cranston schools remain closed today due to weather related damage.
Governor Gina Raimondo met with school superintendents from across Rhode Island at the State House Tuesday following days of damage, closures and cleanup at local schools.
Raimondo said she plans to unveil a proposal next week for funding the rebuilding of schools across the state.
Rhode Island has agreed to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleged systemic abuse and neglect of the nearly 2,000 children living in state custody.
State officials and the advocacy group Children's Rights on Monday announced the settlement of the lawsuit first filed in 2007.
Under the terms of the settlement, the state Department of Children, Youth and Families must meet a number of new requirements. For example, it is barred placing children in shelters. It also agrees to put children in group homes or residential treatment centers only when they need that level of care.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has hired a former Obama administration official to help tackle the state's opioid crisis. Former Democratic Sen. Tom Coderre will return to the state as a senior adviser to the governor. Raimondo's chief of staff says Coderre will help coordinate various departments and agencies to respond to the opioid crisis.
Coderre worked in the state senate from 1995 to 2014 before Obama appointed him as a senior adviser in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
His salary is reported at $150,797 a year.
The Senate Finance Committee is now scheduled to consider public financing bills today for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. The bills address lease and financing issues and redevelopment plans. The committee was originally set to consider the bills last Thursday, but the General Assembly session was canceled due to a snowstorm.
The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission is being asked to recalculate National Grid's current rates and proposed six-percent electric rate increase. Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee wants the PUC to adjust rates to reflect the reduction of the federal corporate tax from 35-to-21 percent. McKee says unless rates are adjusted, consumers will be substantially overpaying National Grid.
City, state and federal officials are hailing yesterday’s launch of the 6-10 Interchange project. The 410-million-dollar project will use an approach that will save time and money according to the state Department of Transportation. Governor Gina Raimondo says that for too long, the disrepair of the interchange near downtown Providence, symbolized Rhode Island's failure to invest in itself.
Restrictions are being placed on a metal recycling company in Johnston. Residents have complained about explosions coming from the Sims Metal Management facility as well as the smell. City Council last night mandated that Sims cease the explosions and that shredding can only be done between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays.
Gas prices have ticked up two cents per gallon in Rhode Island.
AAA Northeast says its weekly survey found that the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gas grew to $2.53.
That's four cents above the national average of $2.49 per gallon.
It's also 7 percent higher than at this time last year, when prices were averaging $2.35 per gallon, a difference of 18 cents.
Marco Camacho is back on the Newport City Council.
According to the Newport Daily News, the council voted 4-2 Monday evening to appoint Camacho to the councilman-at- large position that was vacated by Councilman John Florez, who resigned effective last month. Camacho previously served on the City Council as the Ward 1 councilman beginning in 2012 and served as vice chair from 2014 to 2016.
WPRI-TV reports a man wanted for a deadly shooting in Dorchester was arrested Sunday in Middletown.
Boston Police say Marquis Martin, 28, of Roxbury was hiding out at a hotel in Middletown. Officers from the Boston Police Fugitive and Homicide units made the arrest with the assistance of U.S. Marshals and Rhode Island law enforcement. Authorities forced their way into Martin’s motel room, and took him into custody without incident. He had been on the run for a little more than two months.
Hospitals in Rhode Island are treating dozens of storm-related injuries as the region gritted through a deep freeze that followed a powerful blizzard. Hospitals in Providence and Newport have treated at least 16 heart attacks, 16 snowblower or shoveling injuries, 7 motor vehicle accidents, 1 case of frostbite or hypothermia and nearly 30 other snow-related injuries.
Programs that help the homeless in Rhode Island have been awarded nearly $5.8 million in federal funding.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed announced that grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will support 38 homeless assistance programs that deliver safe, affordable housing and supportive services.
The federal grants will be administered by HUD, coordinated at the state level by Rhode Island Housing and jointly administered by nonprofits.
An officials portrait of former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is set to be hung in City Hall. Taveras' official mayoral portrait will be unveiled April 7 at a ceremony in City Hall. The Democrat served as mayor from 2011 to 2015.
The Senate Finance Committee is now scheduled to consider public financing bills this week for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. The bills address lease and financing issues and redevelopment plans. The committee was originally set to consider the bills last Thursday, but the General Assembly session was canceled due to the winter storm.
A new name is reportedly being considered for T.F. Green Airport. The "Warwick Beacon" reports the state Airport Corporation is considering a name change to Rhode Island International Airport. A change would require approval from the General Assembly. The airport is currently named for Theodore Francis Green, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator.
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