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1540 WADK.com Updates

Veteran State Senator Not Seeking Re-Election

State Senator Paul Fogarty is not running for another term.  The 61-year-old Glocester Democrat has served in the Senate since 1998.  Earlier this year Fogarty's brother, former Lieutenant Governor Charlie Fogarty, announced he'll retire as the state's director of elderly affairs at the end of June.

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Seasonal Providence-Newport Ferry Starts Today

Today marks the start of seasonal ferry service between Providence and Newport.  State and local officials will be on hand for the 2018 maiden voyage of the ferry, which will depart from the Providence terminal on India Street at 12:30 p.m.  Ferry service will be offered through Columbus Day weekend.  More information is available online at ridethebayri.com.

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Date For Opening Of Tiverton Casino & Hotel

The opening date for the Tiverton Casino and Hotel is now September 1st, a month earlier than previously expected.  The Twin River property will feature one-thousand slots, 32 table games, 84 guest rooms, food and beverage amenities.  Located just off Route 24 near the Massachusetts border, the Tiverton location replaces Newport Grand.

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Hurricane Season Predicted To Be A Bit Calmer This Year

NOAA is predicting a near or above-normal hurricane season this year in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean.  In its forecast released on Thursday, the weather service says ten to 16 named storms are expected, five to nine of which are going to be hurricanes, and one to four will become a Category Three or higher storm.  Hurricane season officially starts on June 1st.

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Air Quality Alert In Effect For Rhode Island

An Air Quality Alert is in effect in Rhode Island today.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is issuing the alert for potentially unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone.  The alert is in effect from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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Law Enforcement Ready To Enforce New Hands-Free Driver Law

Rhode Island police officers are reminding motorists that a new law mandating hands-free driving is starting next Friday.  A press conference was held at an I-95 overpass in Providence on Thursday for a discussion about how the new law will be enforced.  Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association President and Central Falls Police Chief James Mendonca is urging drivers to make arrangements now to go hands-free. 

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Two Gun Control Bills Passed By State Senate

The state Senate is passing two gun control bills.  The "red flag" law allows a judge to issue a protection order against gun owners who are deemed an extreme risk.  The other bill bans bump stocks.  Both pieces of legislation now move on to the Rhode Island House.

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Amended Speed Camera Legislation Passes House

A bill affecting the new speed camera program in Providence is passing the state House.  The bill reduces the cost of an initial violation from 95 to 50-dollars, requires increased signage for speed zones and reduces the hours of operation for the cameras.  The original legislation had a tiered fined system, which was amended on Thursday. The Senate will next consider the legislation. 

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Men Seeking Priesthood On Decline

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says no men have applied for its seminary program in the fall. The Rev. Chris Murphy says it's rare that there are no new applicants to Our Lady of Providence Seminary, but the church is not in crisis mode. He said Tuesday they are looking at new ways to reach men who may be thinking about priesthood. Four priests in the Providence Diocese are scheduled to retire this year. One man will be ordained into the priesthood in June

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Hospital Chain Says It's Sold

One of Rhode Island's largest hospital chains has signed an agreement to sell itself to Boston-based Partners HealthCare pending regulatory approval. Care New England first announced its intent to sell to Partners more than a year ago. On Wednesday, the company said it is preparing regulatory filings and is ready to move forward with the deal. Details of the agreement were not made available.

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Ocean Race Attendance: Over 100K Flocked To Newport This Month

Details are being shared regarding the number of people who attended the stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race in Newport this month.  Over 100-thousand people came to Fort Adams State Park over the nearly two weeks of festivities and about eight-thousand people showed up on the day the competing boats arrived from Brazil, according to Sail Newport officials.  There were also nearly 900 volunteers.  Racers departed Newport on Sunday for the next leg of the race, which will finish in Wales.

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Pawtucket Bringing In Developer

The city of Pawtucket is bringing on a development consultant as part of its efforts to get a new baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency on Wednesday voted to bring on Sterling Project Development to assist in the preparation for development around the proposed ballpark at Slater Mill and throughout the downtown district.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said last week that there's still a chance for a deal for a new PawSox stadium, but had previously rejected a Senate-passed plan for the state's share in the 83-million-dollar project.

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Senate Passes Foreclosure Mediation Act Extension

The state Senate is approving legislation to add five years to the life of an expiring law that affects homeowners facing foreclosure.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Harold Metts, extends a July 1st sunset provision in a 2013 law requiring mortgage lenders to offer mediation to those homeowners in an effort to prevent it.  The action on Wednesday comes just two days after Attorney General Peter Kilmartin held a press conference urging lawmakers to pass the extension.  The legislation moves to the House, where there is a companion bill. 

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RI-Based Deepwater To Operate New Wind Farm

A surprise announcement is being made by Rhode Island regarding a new offshore wind farm.  Deepwater Wind, which was one of the three hopefuls competing for a renewable energy contract with Massachusetts, didn't get that bid on Wednesday but got a consolation prize of sorts: a 400-megawatt project commissioned by the Ocean State in the same general area of federally leased ocean space.  The new farm will be ten times the size of the Block Island wind farm, which Rhode Island-based Deepwater manages.  The next step will be to enter negotiations with National Grid, which will submit a proposed contract to the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission for review.

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Westerly Workers Injured In Quarry Blast

Two workers in Westerly were injured during a planned quarry blasting on Wednesday.  The blast was bigger than expected and the workers were hit by debris, which also damaged several buildings, according to town officials.  The state bomb squad is investigating.  One worker has already been released from Westerly Hospital, while the other was taken to Rhode Island hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

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RI State Police Announce Motorcycle Gang Bust

Forty-nine people are under arrest after a year-long investigation of motorcycle gangs operating in northwestern Rhode Island.  State police said on Wednesday that 53 illegal guns and a large quantity of marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin were seized in connection to the arrests, which were conducted without incident in a series of predawn raids. A state police spokesperson says the investigation started after detectives learned some of the most violent biker gangs in the country were establishing local chapters. 

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Leaders Urge Sale Of Troubled Hospital

Local leaders are urging the owner of the shuttered Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket to consider an offer from another company to buy and reopen the hospital. The letter was sent to Care New England by state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley and the mayors of Pawtucket, Cumberland and Central Falls. CharterCare Health Partners announced a proposal last month to buy the hospital. At the time, Care New England said it was skeptical about the offer's feasibility.

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Boil Water Order At URI Conference Center

There's a precautionary one-minute boil water order at the Whispering Pines Conference Center at URI's W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.  Bottled water can be used as an alternative.  The state Department of Health says the precaution is necessary because the water system lost pressure, which means there's a risk of contamination with bacteria such as E. coli and other organisms.  The advisory will remain in effect until the system is disinfected and testing shows satisfactory bacteria results.

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One Bridge Opening, Another Closing In E. Providence

The Potter Street Bridge in East Providence is scheduled to reopen next Tuesday.  It's been closed since mid-March for repair work.  When the Potter Street Bridge reopens, the nearby Purchase Street Bridge will be closed up to four months for repair work.  It's all part of the state Department of Transportation's multi-bridge project in East Providence.  

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Drug Court Magistrate To Discus Opioid Crisis

Drug Court Magistrate John Flynn is going to be at the State House Thursday afternoon to discuss Rhode Island's opioid crisis.  He'll brief members of the House on the court's efforts to deal with the epidemic.  Several bills designed to address the health crisis are pending in the General Assembly.   

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Another Cianci Is Running For Political Office In Providence

Steven Cianci, a cousin of former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci, is running for Providence City Council. Steven Cianci made a formal announcement on Tuesday. He is challenging Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan in Ward 5. 

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Man Accused Of Selling Fraudulent Immigration And SS Documents

The U.S. Justice Department says a Providence man has been arrested for allegedly creating and selling fraudulent immigration and social security documents using stolen personal information. Eufemio Aguilar, a Mexican national who has a pending application for lawful resident status, has appeared in federal court and is being detained on a criminal complaint related to the matter, according to prosecutors. Aguilar is accused of creating and selling the fraudulent federal government documents since at least last August. 

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ICE Criticized During Immigration Lawsuit Hearing

A federal court hearing is scheduled to stretch into a second day on Wednesday for a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's immigration policy impacting married couples. Lillian Calderon of Providence, who is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU suit, was arrested and detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when she began the citizenship process earlier this year. She is married to a naturalized citizen. During Tuesday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf told regional ICE director Thomas Brophy that immigration officials broke the law when they arrested illegal immigrants like Calderon earlier this year.    

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Coast Guard Says Owner Of Unmanned Kayak Located

The U.S. Coast Guard says the owner of a kayak that was found off the coast of Warwick on Tuesday has been found. The Coast Guard began a search for a person in the water after someone reported the kayak drifting near Conimicut Point Beach. The Coast Guard shared the update yesterday at around 4 p.m. on social media, after the call for the adrift kayak came in at around 7 a.m.  

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Only One Taker To Run RI Gambling Business

The Rhode Island Lottery says only one company submitted a bid to run the state's sports betting business. Lottery spokesman Paul Grimaldi tells The Providence Journal IGT was the only company to put in a proposal to run sports betting at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and a casino that will open soon in Tiverton. Grimaldi says IGT's submission has been sent to the Technical Review Committee within the Lottery for approval.

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RI Gas Prices Up For Holiday Travelers

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up another five cents per gallon ahead of the holiday weekend. AAA Northeast says Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.95 per gallon. That's three cents high than the national average. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 64 cents higher than it was a year ago. As Memorial Day approaches, and despite rising gas prices, about 1.7 million New Englanders are expected to travel by car.

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Job Fair Today In Providence

There's a free job fair today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Roger Williams Park Casino.  Fifty employers will be recruiting applicants at the fair which will also provide a professional career coach, resume assistance, printing, copying, interview tips and on-site childcare.  State Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell organized the fair in response to the link between joblessness, poverty and gun violence.  The Providence Democrat says every step taken toward reducing poverty is a step toward a safer future for communities.

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Senate Finance Committee Meets Twice This Week

The Senate Finance Committee is meeting twice this week.  Today  the committee will hear a presentation from Education Commissioner Ken Wagner and discuss follow-up information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  On Thursday, more than a dozen tax-related bills will be considered by the committee.   

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State Announces Partnership With Several Companies

The state is entering into partnerships with four companies that will bring two-thousand-permanent jobs, more than one-thousand construction jobs and 800-million-dollars in private development to Rhode Island.  The state Commerce  Corporation on Monday  approved Qualified Jobs incentives for three companies.  It has also approved investments at Quonset Business Park to allow Electric Boat to accelerate the hiring of 13-hundred new workers.   State officials say the two-thousand new permanent jobs will offer a wide variety of employment opportunities.  

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Roger Williams University President To Retire

Roger Williams University President Donald Farish is planning to retire when his current contract expires next year, according to the university.  Farish will be concluding an eight-year tenure as president.  The school describes Farish's work in a press release as transformational in the categories of community engagement, college affordability and equity.  The Roger Williams board of trustees will conduct a national search for  a new president. 

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Virgin Pulse Merger Announced

Providence-based Virgin Pulse and Minneapolis-based RedBrick Health are announcing a merger.  The two entities say the move will create the world's largest, most comprehensive digital health and engagement company.  The combined organization will be based out of Virgin Pulse's corporate headquarters in Providence, and will maintain a major office in Minneapolis.  The move comes a week after Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson visited the Providence campus.

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Providence-Newport Ferry Returning For Holiday Weekend

Ferry service from Providence to Newport is returning.  Seastreak will be operating an expanded service this year, running from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.  Later ferry times will be added to allow guests to attend popular events in both cities, according to the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Ticket prices will remain the same as last year: ten-dollars for adults and five-dollars for children.

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Call Issued For State Lawmakers To Extend Foreclosure Assistance Law

The Rhode Island General Assembly is being urged to preserve protections for homeowners in the state facing foreclosure.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin was joined by mayors, state lawmakers and housing advocates on Monday urging an extension of the state's Foreclosure Mediation Act, which will sunset on July 1st if no action is taken.  State Representative Mary Messier and Senator Harold Metts have introduced legislation to lift the sunset, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday but has been held for further study in the House.  The law requires homeowners struggling with their mortgage payment to be given the opportunity to meet with their lender and an independent mediator to review their options, with the goal of staying in their home.

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Congressional Delegation Announces First Responder Funding

Rhode Island's congressional delegation is announcing that the state is to receive over seven-million-dollars in new federal funding.  The money is going to help emergency responders and their partners prepare for and react to a range of crises and security challenges, including natural disasters, according to an announcement from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline on Monday.  The national preparedness funds are being awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Charges Being Filed Against Alleged Ambulance Thief

Charges are being filed against a Providence man who allegedly stole an ambulance from Rhode Island Hospital and drove it into Connecticut on Monday.  Johnny Kimbrough faces charges of vehicle theft, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license after being apprehended by Connecticut State Police near North Stonington, following a pursuit that was initiated by West Greenwich police on Interstate 95 early yesterday morning.  The Providence Police Department says Kimbrough has a lengthy criminal record in the city.  Providence officials say the practice of first responders leaving ambulances running when they take a patient into a hospital will change immediately following the incident. 

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Volvo Ocean Race Fires Back Up

Participants in the Volvo Ocean Race are onto the next leg of the race.  Boaters left Newport on Sunday after spending about a week and a half there, and are headed to Wales.  At a summit for the race on Friday, state officials announced several new initiatives aimed at reducing plastic pollution in Narragansett Bay and the state's ocean coastlines.

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E.Providence Concert Presenter Lost Portland Contract After Legal Problems

The recent past of the new concert presenter for shows at Bold Point Park in East Providence is being called to attention.  Alex Gray entered a guilty plea to a domestic violence charge in Portland, Maine, last October. The East Providence City Council transferred the liquor and entertainment licenses for the live music venue to Gray's company, Waterfront Concerts, by a unanimous vote last month.  Following the plea, the city of Portland took away the contract with Gray's company and entered into a new partnership with Live Nation, the largest concert presenter in the country.

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Multiple Colleges And Universities Hold Commencement Ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2018 were held for several institutions of higher learning in Rhode Island this past weekend.  Providence College sent its 100th graduating class through the doors of the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday, with author David McCullough serving as the commencement speaker.  The former EPA administrator during the Obama administration, Regina McCarthy, spoke to the University of Rhode Island's graduating class yesterday, the 132nd commencement for that school.  Ceremonies were also held at Roger Williams and Bryant universities on Saturday, and Johnson and Wales University on Friday.

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Hasbro Add Fragrance To Play-Doh

Hasbro has trademarked the scent of Play-doh. The toy company on Friday announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has recognized Play-doh's distinctive scent with a registered trademark. The Pawtucket based toymaker describes it as a "sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough."

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UHIP Upgrade Still On Hold

A major upgrade to the problem-plagued computer system for Rhode Island benefits programs has been delayed. The work to the Unified Health Infrastructure Project scheduled for Saturday has been pushed back to June in order to "ensure a quality upgrade." UHIP Special Master Deming Sherman says he expects the system will be compliant with federal regulations by the end of June despite the delay.

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RIDOT Has New Bridge Cleaning Trucks

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has new bridge cleaning trucks.  RIDOT says six specially outfitted vehicles will increase the ability to maintain bridges with regular cleaning to remove road salts, sand and other debris.  On average, the trucks are capable of cleaning up to six bridges a day, depending on their size.  Four bucket trucks have also been purchased that will allow crews to clean the underside of bridges.  

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Bill To Ban Unhealthy Food Ads In School

Legislation to ban unhealthy food advertising in Rhode Island schools is moving through the General Assembly.  The House has passed a bill to ban ads for foods that do not meet minimum nutritional standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Supporters say that with a dramatic increase in the number of obese children, the goal is to promote healthy eating habits.  The House-passed bill now goes to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation.   

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Public Warned About A Telephone Scam

Rhode Islanders are being warned about a telephone scam.  Scammers posing as deputy sheriffs are calling people to make arrangements to pay phony fines and bonds.  State Police advise that people should not respond to any calls from someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff or from the Capitol Police who are seeking payment of fines or bonds.

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Woonsocket City Council Moves Toward Marijuana Cultivation

The Woonsocket City Council is reportedly going to act soon on the effort to regulate indoor cultivation of medical marijuana. The council is expected to establish a committee today to draft legislation to cover issues such as location, licensing and fees.  Indoor marijuana farms are legal under state law, but have been banned in Woonsocket under an amendment adopted by the council in 2016.  City Councilman James Cournoyer says it's still unclear who will serve on the committee to draft an ordinance lifting the ban.

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Newport Theater To Show Saturday's Royal Wedding

The Jane Pickens Theater in Newport will show the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday morning.  It starts with a catered breakfast at six a.m. The wedding ceremony is expected to start at seven a.m.  Tickets are 25-dollars.

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Suspect Sought For Credit Card Fraud

North Smithfield police are looking for a credit card fraud suspect.  Police say he used stolen credit card information to withdraw 19-hundred-dollars at a Walmart store on March 31st.  The stolen information belongs to a Florida woman.  A surveillance video of the suspect is posted on the police department's Facebook page.  

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Warwick Beach Fees Put On Hold

Proposed beach fees in Warwick for the coming season are now on hold.  Mayor Joseph Solomon says his decision is based on concerns from city residents.  He says it will also allow time for a detailed financial analysis of the proposed fees. 

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DCYF Hires New Training School Director

The Rhode Island Training School is going to have a new executive director by the end of the month.  The Department of Children, Youth and Families has hired Larome Myrick, who currently works for the Ohio Department of Youth Services.  There were several violent incidents at the Training School last year which prompted a review and a series of recommendations to improve the situation.

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Mattiello: PawSox Stadium Deal Still Possible

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is saying there's still a chance for a deal for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Without elaborating, Mattiello says there's a framework that could work.  The speaker has rejected a Senate-passed plan for the state's share in the 83-million-dollar project to be 23-million dollars.  Worcester has expressed strong interest in luring the PawSox to that central Massachusetts city.

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Rhode Island Jobs At Just Under Half-A-Million

The state of Rhode Island is setting a new jobs record for the fifth time in seven months.  Data released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor indicates there are currently 499-thousand-300 jobs in the state, and the number of Rhode Islanders working is the highest in a decade.  It was noted in a press release that Rhode Island has added over 16-thousand jobs since Governor Gina Raimondo took office in 2015, and that there are nearly 42-thousand manufacturing jobs in the state currently, the most since May of 2009.

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"Red Flag" Gun Bill, Bump Stock Ban Pass Senate Committee

Bills banning bump stocks and creating a "red flag" law for police to disarm some individuals in Rhode Island are advancing.  The state Senate Judiciary Committee gave its approval on Thursday, setting the stage for the full Senate to take up the legislation as soon as next week.  The House approved its version of the bills last month.  The measures were introduced in response to recent mass shootings in the U.S.

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Bomes Theatre In Providence Changing Hands

The city of Providence is announcing the transfer of the historic Bomes Theatre on Broad Street.  A local developer will oversee the complete renovation of the theatre into a mixed-use building, according to an announcement from the city on Thursday.  The nearly century-old Bomes was acquired by the Providence Redevelopment Agency in 2004, and the agency will transfer the property to the developer, Fernando Tavares, in exchange for a two-point-two-million-dollar renovation investment.

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Some Speed Camera Offenders In Providence Will Get Automatic Refunds

The city of Providence is sharing details of the settlement reached regarding a class-action lawsuit filed over the city's new speed camera system.  Drivers who were cited by the cameras on or before April 15th will get an automatic 20-dollar refund or reduction in fines, depending on whether they've already paid the ticket.  Drivers could receive full refunds if they challenge the tickets in court and are found not responsible.  A judge still needs to formally approve the settlement.

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CCRI Graduates Fill The Dunk

The Community College of Rhode Island held its graduation ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence for the first time on Thursday.  The arena was just about at full capacity as many of the 21-hundred graduates received their degrees.  CCRI President Meghan Hughes told the Class of 2018 that it represented the highest-graduating class in 18 years.

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Providence Firefighter Hurt In Rollover Crash

The driver hurt in a rollover crash in I-95 in Providence late Tuesday night is a Providence firefighter.  It took first responders about 30-minutes to free Derrick Campbell from the wreckage in the southbound lanes near the Public Safety Complex.  Investigators say Campbell was not impaired and it's possible that he fell asleep at the wheel.

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Two People Charged In Smithfield Drug Bust

Two people are facing charges as the result of a two-month drug investigation in Smithfield.  Police say that Alaina Bonafiglia, of Johnston, was selling cocaine at Copperfield's Burger & Beer House, where she has been employed.  Also charged is John Manfredi of Providence. They both are charged with cocaine possession, intent to deliver and conspiracy.

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Woman Who Is Part Of Immigration Case Gets Stay Extended

A Rhode Island woman who was detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement earlier this year is getting an extended stay of removal. Lillian Calderon is the lead plaintiff of a class-action suit filed by the ACLU challenging the Trump administration's pattern of separating married couples who are going through immigration cases. Calderon, who was detained by ICE for nearly a month after starting the citizenship process in January, was given a second stay of removal after her original stay expired this past Saturday. The new extension is good through mid-August.   

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State Senator Introduces New Marijuana Legalization Bill

State Senator Joshua Miller is introducing new legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island. The Cranston and Warwick Democrat has put forth similar bills previously, but says this new proposal will mirror the tax structure of Massachusetts, where recreational pot sales are scheduled to become legal in July. And, Miller says the state will keep some of that tax revenue from Rhode Islanders who will otherwise cross the state line to buy weed.  

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New Projections Put Rhode Island In The Black

Rhode Island is on track for a 32-million-dollar budget surplus to finish the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The state provided that update on Wednesday, saying that revenue is about 65-million-dollars higher than the original forecast. State officials note that departments are still over-spending by tens of millions of dollars.  

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DMV Says Licensing System Should Be Restored

The Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles says its licensing service should be back online on Thursday. A disruption with the national clearinghouse took the service offline on Wednesday. It was the second time the licensing service had been disrupted in recent weeks.  

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East Greenwich To Reorganize Fire Department

The East Greenwich town manager and the fire chief are now authorized to restructure the fire department.  The town council voted 3-to-2  Monday night for implementation of the plan by early June.  At issue is concern about the amount of overtime pay for firefighters.  The union is opposed to the restructuring, arguing it will increase the burden on already over-worked firefighters.

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Workers Hurt As Zoo Animal Escapes

An 800-pound takin briefly escaped its enclosure yesterday morning at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. Two zoo workers and a veterinarian suffered non-life-threatening injuries when the animal became aggressive during a routine hoof procedure and charged out.  A capture team was able to track and tranquilize the takin named Har-Lee, and get it back inside his enclosure.  A takin is described as part-goat and part- antelope and native to the Himalayan Mountains.

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Former Executive Director Charged With Stealing $100K From Trust

Rhode Island State Police have arrested a former union official they say embezzled more than $100,000 from a union representing health care professionals. Police say 33-year-old Christopher Matteson, of Harrisville, was arrested Tuesday on charges including embezzlement and forgery. Authorities say Matteson took the money between June 2016 and July 2017 while he was executive director a continuing education program for the United Nurses & Allied Professions of Rhode Island.

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Providence Commission Not On Board With New Tower

The Providence City Planning Commission is voting against recommending a zoning change for a proposed new skyscraper to the Providence City Council. A New York developer had proposed a six-hundred-foot residential tower on former Route 196 land at Dyer and Dorrance streets. Any building taller than one-hundred feet in the area needs city approval.  

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Speed Camera Legislation Passes House Committee

A bill regulating speed cameras in Providence is making its way through the Rhode Island House. WPRI-TV reports the Judiciary Committee passed legislation on Tuesday night requiring first-time speeding offenders to receive a warning, and second-time offenders to receive a 50-dollar fine. The bill will also require more signs to warn drivers of the cameras and limit when they can be active. This comes as the city announced some details this week of a settlement from a class-action suit against the cameras, including that drivers will get partial refunds from previously-issued tickets. 

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MLB, NBA, PGA Officials Propose Sports-Betting Fee

North American major league sports organizations are trying to get in on legalized sports-betting action in Rhode Island. Representatives from the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Professional Golfers Association Tour entered testimony at a state Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday on a proposal to include legalized sports-betting at the Twin River Casino. The hearing took place a day after the United States Supreme Court struck down a ban on sports-betting for individual states. The major league sports officials proposed a one-quarter-of-a-percent fee for leagues on any bet made involving their games. 

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Storms Briefly Knock Out Power

Severe weather hit parts of Rhode Island on Tuesday. National Grid reported several-hundred power outages across the state after storms rolled through in the evening hours. As of midnight, power was back on for virtually everyone. The National Weather Service reports a tree fell on a house on Coventry last night.  

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Gasoline Prices In Rhode Island Continue To Rise

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up another five cents per gallon.AAA Northeast said Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.90 per gallon. That's three cents higher than the national average.The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 59 cents higher than it was a year ago. AAA found gas in Rhode Island selling for as low as $2.69 per gallon and as high as $3.09. AAA says a number of factors are contributing to rising prices, including geopolitical tensions and higher crude oil prices.

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Gorbea Touts Voting System Upgrades

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says the state should use $3 million in federal funding to help update its voter registration rolls and implement new audit systems. Gorbea outlined how Rhode Island should use the money to boost its election security Monday. The funds were given to the state through the Help America Vote Act.

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Warwick Mayor Holds Last Full Day In Office

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is moving on. Avedisian held his final full day in office on Monday after 18 years as mayor. His final act was to preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new hotel. Avedisian is taking over the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.

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Board Of Elections Affirms Decision On E. Providence Elections

There's an update to the situation in East Providence where City Council members wanted to cancel this year's election and double the length of their terms. Several councilors recently pointed to a 2012 referendum that hasn't been enforced, which extended the terms from two years to four, and said they wanted to enforce it. But the Rhode Island Board of Elections affirmed a decision on Monday by the city's board of canvassers that says City Council elections should be held this fall, and that the terms should be for four years going forward.  

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Virgin Leader Richard Branson Visits Providence

Billionaire Richard Branson was in Providence on Monday. The founder of the Virgin Group visited Virgin Pulse, one of the companies in his portfolio, for the first time and talked to employees. GoLocalProv reports Branson commented on having interest in turning the Superman Building in Providence into a hotel.

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Interest-Free Loans For Lead Pipe Replacements Offered

The City of Providence and the Providence Water Supply Board are teaming up to offer a new loan program for lead water pipe replacement. Homeowners can receive three-year, no-interest loans for the replacement effort. A little over a million dollars in funding is being approved for the effort, and the water supply board notes it costs an average of three-thousand dollars to replace the lines.  

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Partial Refunds Being Offered As Part Of Speed Camera Settlement

More details are being shared about the settlement reached between the City of Providence and plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed over the city's new speed cameras. Information released on Monday indicates anyone covered in the suit would get a hearing to challenge their summons if they received it on or before April 15th, and would be entitled to either a partial refund or reduced fine. The full information of the settlement is expected to be released after a federal judge approves the settlement

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Arrest Made In Westerly Hit-And-Run Case

An arrest is being made in a hit-and-run case in Westerly. Zachary Service of North Stonington, Connecticut was picked up on Monday and charged in connection to the incident that injured a Westerly teenager on April 28th. Service was arraigned in District Court in Wakefield and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. The victim is recovering from serious injuries, according to authorities.  

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