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1540 WADK.com Updates

Warwick woman gets prison time in Medicaid fraud scheme


A Warwick woman charged with cheating Rhode Island's Medicaid program out of more than $250,000 will spend six months behind bars.

The attorney general's office reports Wednesday that 57-year-old Deborah Brown was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison, with four to serve. She will spend the first six months in prison and 3½ years in home confinement. She was also ordered to pay $263,000 in restitution.

Brown pleaded no contest last month to obtaining money under false pretenses, submitting false bills and failing to file tax returns.

Prosecutors say while she worked for a medical equipment and incontinence supply company, she submitted false bills to the state Medicaid program for medically unnecessary incontinence supplies, then withdrew the money from company accounts.

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RI lawyer disbarred for $46M plot that targeted dying people


A lawyer who ran a $46 million investment scheme that exploited terminally ill people has been disbarred.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court on Wednesday disbarred Joseph Caramadre.

Caramadre's law license was suspended in 2014 after he was convicted. The disbarment is retroactive to 2014.

Caramadre took out bonds and annuities using the personal information of terminally ill people, then collected when they died.

He pleaded guilty in 2013, but tried to withdraw his plea, saying he was innocent and had received an inadequate defense. A judge let the guilty plea stand. Caramadre's appeal was unsuccessful.

He is currently serving a 6-year term at a federal prison in Massachusetts. He is scheduled to be released in 2018.

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Federal preschool grants awarded to New England states


Four New England states are among 18 states getting more than $247 million in federal grants to continue expanding access to high-quality preschool for children from low- to moderate-income families.

The share of the funds announced Wednesday includes $15 million for Massachusetts, $11.7 million for Connecticut, $7.3 million for Vermont and $6 million for Rhode Island.

This is the third year of the awards jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says Rhode Island's congressional delegation stood firm and staved off the elimination of funding for the preschool development grants.

Rhode Island is 1 of 6 states and the only one in New England that federal education officials say met or exceeded enrollment targets.

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RI aims for leadership in 5G wireless networks


Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's positioning the state to be the first to deploy fifth-generation wireless technology, known as 5G.

The governor said Wednesday that the state has issued a request inviting recommendations from national telecommunications firms for making the state a hub for 5G networks. Responses are due by Jan. 13.

Internet connections in 5G are expected to be up to 100 times faster than today's 4G networks.

Rhode Island Chief Innovation Officer Richard Culatta says the state's small size, population density and regulatory flexibility make it a good place to test new models.

U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler has called developing 5G a national priority. The European Union is also aiming to have 5G technology deployed by 2025.

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RI sees slight bump in home sales, facing housing shortage


Single-family home sales have ticked up slightly in Rhode Island along with the median sales price.

Sales were up nearly 5 percent in October compared to October 2015.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says the median sales price was $235,000, also nearly 5 percent higher than last year. The group says that's the highest the single-family home market has seen at the beginning of the fourth quarter since 2007.

Multifamily house sales increased nearly 27 percent compared to October 2015.

The number of homes for sale fell 16 percent though, and the group says more properties will need to be listed or else next year's numbers could be affected.

Officials with Rhode Island Housing say the state is facing a serious housing shortage.

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Store owner under fire for display of Hillary Clinton doll


An 81-year-old Rhode Island store owner has come under fire on social media for his display of a Hillary Clinton plush toy that dangles from a metal hook inside the store.

Online comments mounted after a woman wrote a Facebook post on Tuesday about the pant-suited "Lyin' Hillary Doll" displayed near a Trump sign at the Pleasant View Orchards store in Smithfield.

Owner Tony Polseno Jr. said Wednesday a customer had purchased the doll online and gave it to him. The doll makes statements that include, "Not a single one of my emails was classified," when it's squeezed.

Yelp and Facebook commenters are offended by the doll's placement. Polseno says those comments reflect a misunderstanding and that the doll wasn't meant to be offensive.

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Gas prices up 2 cents per gallon in RI, to $2.20


Gas prices are up an average of 2 cents per gallon in Rhode Island.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released on Monday that the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular has risen to $2.20.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.05 and as high as $2.39 per gallon.

The Rhode Island price is 7 cents higher than the national average of $2.13.

Last year at this time, the price of gas was 6 cents lower, at $2.14 per gallon.

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RI gets $130 million in health care funding


The federal government is awarding Rhode Island about $130 million over the next five years to bolster the state's health care services and improve the way Medicaid care is delivered.

Gov. Gina Raimondo on Monday announced the funding agreement with the U.S. Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services.

She says it builds on the state's Medicaid reforms that saved the state $70 million this year.

The federal money will mostly go to providers. Some of it will also be used for a partnership with public universities to train health care workers.

The federal agency will have to renew the agreement in 2018.

State Secretary of Health and Human Services Elizabeth Roberts expresses optimism that the support won't be reversed by Republican President-elect Donald Trump because it's a bipartisan cause.

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Closing arguments held in sports institute embezzling trial


Prosecutors say the founder of the Rhode Island-based Institute for International Sport pillaged his creation.

Closing arguments were held Monday in Washington County Superior Court in the trial of Dan Doyle, who created and ran the institute.

Doyle, of West Hartford, Connecticut, faces 18 counts, including embezzlement and forgery. Prosecutors say Doyle couldn't account for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Rhode Island state government and two philanthropists.

Defense attorney Michael Blanchard argued there may be some civil liability resulting from the institute's finances, but no criminal act. He also suggested that the institute's board may be to blame.

Prosecutor J. Patrick Youngs told jurors that the board existed only on paper and that Doyle ran the institute, which was created to help forge international ties through sports.

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Small, clean energy projects chosen to boost power grid


Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has chosen to move forward with 25 small-scale clean energy projects designed to help address New England's electricity constraints.

The projects, which were announced Monday, were selected from more than 100 submitted proposals and came from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. They include solar, wind and energy efficiency projects that officials say will generate approximately 402 megawatts of power for the region's grid.

Power contracts with Connecticut's two electric distribution companies, Eversource and United Illuminating, still have to be negotiated and will need regulatory approval from the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

PURA also needs to approve renewable energy projects chosen by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a separate three-state effort to generate cleaner and less expensive energy.

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Judge says security not adequate in Providence County courts


Superior Court Presiding Justice Alice Gibney says security remains inadequate in Providence County courthouses and will affect the scheduling of civil trials and other court proceedings.

Gibney on Monday called the sheriffs' department "woefully understaffed" and said until the situation is rectified, "all dates certain, trials or hearings should be considered in limbo and not etched in stone."

Gibney says she's also rescinding the Superior Court's open invitation to student field trips.

Gibney says essential court calendars will continue to operate daily, but on a staggered schedule to ensure adequate security.

She says she does not anticipate the shortage will affect criminal matters.

The Superior Courts have been operating on a reduced schedule since June, when the sheriffs' shortage was first announced.

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I-95 commission to pay for cost study of high-rise proposal


The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission is seeking a cost analysis on a New York City-based developer's proposal to build three high-rises on former Interstate 195 land in Providence.

A spokeswoman says the commission will pay $10,000 for the study to Real Estate Solutions Group. The New Jersey firm studied Rhode Island's economic-incentive tools for Gov. Gina Raimondo in 2015.

Jason Fane, president of The Fane Organization, is seeking permission to build the Hope Point Towers, which would connect at ground level and rise up at varying heights- 33, 43 and 55 stories tall. That's higher than anything else in the city and beyond what's currently allowed by zoning regulations.

The commission hopes the study will be ready by its Dec. 12 meeting.

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State archives exhibition chronicles indigenous history


A new exhibition at the Rhode Island State Archives chronicles the history of the region's indigenous peoples.

The exhibit runs through December in the state archives office in downtown Providence.

Items on display include photographs, several deeds between colonists and tribes in the Narragansett Bay area, petitions from tribal members concerning disposition of their lands, and acts and resolutions of the Rhode Island General Assembly affecting Native American rights.

The exhibit is called "First Nations who helped form Rhode Island" and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 337 Westminster St., in Providence.

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Closing arguments set for today in sport institute trial


Closing arguments are set in the two-month-long embezzlement trial of the founder of a Rhode Island-based international sport institute.

Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, says closing arguments are set for today in Washington County Superior Court in the trial of Dan Doyle, the founder of the Institute for International Sport. The defense rested its case Wednesday.

Doyle, of West Hartford, Connecticut, faces 18 counts, including embezzlement and forgery. Prosecutors have said Doyle couldn't account for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Rhode Island state government and two philanthropists.

Doyle has disputed that and at one point threatened a sit-in and hunger strike in the courtroom over complaints that he is not receiving a fair trial.

He was also briefly hospitalized for an undisclosed medical condition.

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Navy to fulfill veteran's wish to be buried at sea


The U.S. Navy will fulfill the wish of a veteran to be buried more than 200 miles off the New England coast where a submarine sank five decades ago.

A submarine from the Naval Submarine Base in Groton will transport the cremated remains of Navy Capt. Paul "Bud" Rogers to the area where the USS Thresher sank in 1963. Navy officials declined to release the burial date.

Rogers, from Wernersville, Pennsylvania, died last year at the age of 86. He was supposed to be on the Thresher on the day it sank, but was replaced at the last minute by someone with more experience.

All 129 men aboard the sub died. Navy officials have blamed a leak in the sub's engine room.

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RI casino project moves forward in divided town


A plan to build New England's newest casino near the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border is moving forward after narrowly winning approval from voters in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

But some remain wary of the project, noting declining casino revenues in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Voters this month approved a ballot question to allow Rhode Island casino operator Twin River Management Group to transfer its license for the aging Newport Grand slots parlor to a new Tiverton casino that will be built about 400 feet from the border with Fall River, Massachusetts.

The measure easily won statewide approval, but it passed by just 368 votes in Tiverton, which has a population of about 16,000.

The project for a new casino and adjacent hotel must still get approval from town planning authorities before it can be built.

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Gov. Raimondo sets RI statehouse Christmas tree lighting


The annual lighting of the Christmas tree in the Rhode Island Statehouse rotunda has been scheduled.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the tree lighting ceremony and holiday celebration will take place on Thursday. She will host the event with her husband, Andy Moffit.

The original tree, a 14-foot-tall Fraser fir donated by a tree farm, was removed after staff decided it was too puny. It was replaced by a 20-foot-tall Balsam.

The lighting ceremony will feature a visit from Santa and performances by two school choirs and the Rhode Island Army National Guard's "Governor's Own" 88th Army Band.

Unwrapped toys will be collected to benefit local children in need.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. The tree will be lit at 6:15 p.m.

The public is invited to attend.

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Police using social media in investigations, public outreach


Police in Rhode Island are embracing social media as an effective tool to help solve their investigations and connect with residents.

Coventry police Chief Col. John MacDonald says that Facebook has replaced the traditional neighborhood watch. Police can post photos of a shoplifting suspect or a vehicle used in a crime to receive tips.

Woonsocket Detective Jamie Martin says an operation in which police have used fake Facebook profiles to monitor underage teens receiving sexually explicit messages from men has led to 17 arrests.

The Rhode Island State Police is partnering with the state Department of Transportation's Office of Highway Safety this month to raise public awareness of impaired driving. The agency plans to share videos of the outcomes of car accidents under the hashtag #BeyondTheCrash.

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5 hospitalized after car hits tree in Fall River


State police say three adults and two children from Rhode Island were hospitalized after their vehicle crashed into a tree in Fall River over the weekend.

Trooper Dustin Fitch says the crash happened at the Route 24 South on-ramp by the Tiverton line shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday.

Fitch says the driver, a 37-year-old Tiverton man, suffered facial cuts and bruises after the tree went through his windshield. His injuries aren't considered serious.

He says the vehicle's other occupants, a 7-year-old girl, 13-year-old boy, 21-year-old man and 38-year-old woman, were all from Tiverton and taken to Rhode Island Hospital mostly for observation. No one was identified.

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Hillary Clinton spotted shopping in RI bookstore


Hillary Clinton is recovering from her election loss in part by shopping for books with her family in Rhode Island.

In a speech last week to the Children's Defense Fund, the former Democratic presidential nominee said there have been a few times since her Nov. 8 loss to Republican Donald Trump that all she wanted to do was "to curl up with a good book."

On Sunday, she was spotted at The Savoy Bookstore in Westerly with her husband, their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

Bookseller Jessica Wick tells The Day newspaper that the family was low key and it seemed like they just needed reading material. She said Clinton was kind, gracious and graceful.

Rhode Island is friendly ground for Clinton. She carried the state by more than 15 points.

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RI gas prices fall 3 cents per gallon ahead of Thanksgiving


Gas prices in Rhode Island have fallen slightly, just in time for Thanksgiving travel.

AAA Northeast in its weekly survey Monday found the price of self-serve, regular gas had fallen 3 cents per gallon from last week, to an average of $2.18.

That's still 4 cents higher than the national average of $2.14 per gallon.

It's also 5 cents higher than a year ago, when gas was averaging $2.13 cents per gallon in Rhode Island.

AAA spokesman Lloyd Albert says almost 9 of every 10 Thanksgiving travelers plan to go by car.

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Anti-Trump rally calls on Rhode Island leaders to act


Hundreds of people have rallied at the Rhode Island State House to demand that state leaders counteract policies proposed by President-elect Donald Trump that would affect immigrants, social services and reproductive rights.

Several hundred people rallied inside the State House on Monday.

They want the state's Democratic-led government to use all the tools at its disposal to defend against Trump's agenda. The rally was organized by the Rhode Island Working Families Party and a new group formed after the election called Resist Hate RI.

Activists delivered a letter to the offices of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and legislative leaders calling for legislation that would block state and law enforcement from detaining and helping to deport people for civil immigration violations.

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House Speaker Mattiello still beating Frias after recount


A recount has confirmed that Rhode Island Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is still winning the race to keep his legislative seat over Republican challenger Steven Frias.

The state Board of Elections recounted ballots in the tight race on Monday. Results won't be certified until next week.

Mattiello says he's pleased with the results and ready to begin working on his priorities, such as phasing out car taxes. Democratic lawmakers have already unanimously nominated him to be speaker again when lawmakers convene in January.

Frias had requested a recount after the unofficial tally showed him losing by 74 votes to Mattiello. The recount actually widened Mattiello's winning margin to 85 votes.

Frias has also asked the elections board to investigate alleged mail ballot irregularities in the suburban Cranston race.

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Student hospitalized after mercury spill in Brown dorm


A Brown University student has been taken to a hospital and one floor of a dormitory was evacuated after a mercury spill on campus.

A university spokesman says an 18-year-old student called campus public safety officials at about 10:30 p.m. Monday to report that she had broken a thermometer and a small amount of mercury had leaked out onto the floor. The student reported a burning sensation on her hand.

A state Department of Emergency Management hazardous materials unit responded and evacuated the fourth floor of Camplin Hall.

Students were allowed back in their rooms at about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The condition of the student taken to the hospital was not immediately known, but officials say it was precautionary.

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Big blue bug in Providence to switch on Christmas lights


The big blue bug that overlooks Interstate 95 in Providence is about to light up again.

Providence pest control company Big Blue Bug Solutions plans to switch on nearly 7,500 holiday lights illuminating its iconic termite mascot tonight

It's the 24th annual lighting of the bug. This year it's also commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Two World War II veterans from North Providence - 96-year-old Thomas Anthony Cardarelli and 92-year-old Placido Femino - will be there to flip the switch.

If it rains, the lighting ceremony will be delayed until Tuesday night.

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Activists push Rhode Island leaders to resist Trump agenda


A liberal political organization that helped elect a slate of newcomers to the Rhode Island General Assembly is now pushing the Democrat-led state government to resist the agenda of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

The Rhode Island Working Families Party and a group called Resist Hate RI are scheduled to hold an event Monday afternoon inside the State House.

They are calling on state lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo to use the state's powers to protect immigrant communities, preserve social services and defend reproductive rights.

The Working Families Party is a national political organization that recently formed a Rhode Island chapter. It backed several Democrats who won legislative seats in this month's election, including some who ousted incumbent Democratic lawmakers they portrayed as too conservative.

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Foe dubs proposed Providence high-rises 'towers of evil'


A New York developer who says he wants to transform the skyline of Rhode Island's capital city is meeting skepticism from some Providence leaders, including one who has jokingly coined the project the "three towers of evil."

Fane Organization President Jason Fane says his proposed trio of luxury residential skyscrapers could be a new symbol for the city's ambitions to become an innovation hub.

Fane unveiled the project last week to a commission that is overseeing the redevelopment of land made available when the state moved Interstate 195.

Providence City Council President Luis Aponte says it's unattractive and out of scale with the area.

Fane's proposed complex would dwarf the state's current tallest building, known as the Superman building. He says today's Providence skyline looks out of date.

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Financial aid workshop offered for college-bound students


U.S. Sen. Jack Reed is hosting a financial aid workshop for students who need help paying for college.

The Rhode Island Democrat says he wants to connect college-bound high school students and their parents with experts to learn about how to access available financial aid.

The free workshop is scheduled for 6 this evening at the Community College of Rhode Island's Knight Campus in Warwick.

Reed says the financial aid opportunities are out there and he wants to make sure Rhode Island residents know their options. He says many families don't even realize they are eligible, and never apply.

The 90-minute seminar will address financial aid options available at the federal and state levels, eligibility criteria and the application process, among other topics.

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Brown University says students vandalized US flags


Brown University's president says she believes students were responsible for vandalizing American flags set up on campus for a Veterans Day ceremony last week.

Christina Paxson said in a statement Wednesday that the vandalism was appalling and not in line with the Ivy League school's values.

The school had planted the flags along the College Green's walkways. Paxson says a large number of flags were removed and left lying on the ground. Some were torn from their stakes or had their stakes broken.

She says an investigation indicates that a small number of Brown students were involved. They could face sanctions for violating the university's code of conduct. The school's policy is to keep disciplinary matters confidential.

Paxson says she's proud of other students who replanted and guarded the flags.

 

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Fishermen hopeful Trump will change Atlantic's 1st monument


New England fishermen who opposed President Barack Obama's creation of the Atlantic Ocean's first marine national monument are hopeful President-elect Donald Trump will abolish it, shrink it or allow fishing inside it.

Trump, a Republican, hasn't specifically addressed the monument. He has said he'd undo Obama's policies he views as executive overreach.

Obama, a Democrat, has protected more land and water using national monument designations than any other president.

Fishing industry advocate Robert Vanasse says with a Trump White House and GOP-controlled House, "It's a new day."

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument consists of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains off New England's coast. Obama created it in September.

Environmentalists say they'll fight any effort to change it.

Trump's spokeswoman couldn't immediately be reached.

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Brown students join in protests of Trump deportation plans


Students at Brown University have joined campuses across the country to demand students and employees be protected against immigration proceedings following the election of Republican Donald Trump as president.

Hundreds of students walked out of their classrooms and activities at the Providence campus Wednesday afternoon.

Students at dozens of colleges are calling for their colleges to become havens for people who may face deportation. Trump has vowed to deport millions of people who are in the U.S. illegally.

At Brown, many students wore black clothes and carried signs saying "no human is illegal" and "#SanctuaryCampus."

Organizers say students are showing solidarity for the sanctuary campus movement and calling on Brown to protect students, their families and staff members from immigration proceedings and to protect minority students.

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R.I. GOP picks first woman House minority leader


The tiny Republican minority of the Rhode Island House of Representatives has picked a new leader and the first woman to assume the role.

West Warwick Rep. Patricia Morgan said Wednesday she will succeed current House Minority Leader Brian Newberry.

Newberry had announced earlier this year that he planned to step down as leader. His preferred successor was Foster Rep. Michael Chippendale, but the 11-member caucus voted 6-5 earlier this week in favor of Morgan. A final vote in support of Morgan was unanimous.

Morgan, a financial adviser, was first elected in 2010 and has been the deputy minority leader. She's known for speaking out for fiscal and ethical reforms.

Block Island Rep. Blake Filippi, a former independent, will be the GOP's minority whip.

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U.S.C.G. rescues windsurfer stranded on rocks off coast


The U.S. Coast Guard says a windsurfer was rescued after she became stranded off the coast of Rhode Island.

Officials received a report around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday from a windsurfer who said his partner's board had failed and she became stranded on rocks near the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge.

Authorities say a 45-foot Coast Guard boat couldn't get close enough to reach the woman, so a crewman jumped in, swam to her and helped her get off the rocks and across about 15 yards of water into the rescue boat.

The Coast Guard says the unidentified woman is in good condition.

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Raimondo concerned about Trump but keeping open mind


Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's trying to remain calm and constructive as she braces for how the Democratic-led state will fare under the administration of Republican President-elect Donald Trump.

The governor told reporters Tuesday she's waiting to see if how Trump governs will match his campaign rhetoric.

She is concerned about rollbacks of health care policy and civil rights, but she's encouraged by Trump's promise to improve infrastructure. She says she hopes the Trump administration will preserve job training programs that have been a priority of her administration and President Barack Obama.

She says she won't compromise on values and it's time to fight harder for important causes. She says she's spent the past week hugging and trying to reassure her kids, staff, fellow churchgoers and others.

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RI could follow Massachusetts on legal pot


Rhode Island leaders are looking at following Massachusetts on the path to legalizing recreational marijuana.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday she'll take a more serious look after Massachusetts voters approved a pot legalization ballot measure last week.

The Democrat says it's not a race to get ahead of the neighboring state. She wants to get the regulations right and remains concerned about safety.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he's ready to take up legislation next year because marijuana will become readily available to Rhode Islanders traveling across the Massachusetts border, causing concerns without the tax revenues to address them.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio says he's also preparing to act.

Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Massachusetts on Dec. 15 but retail sales won't begin until at least 2018.

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New program pairs farmers, entrepreneurs with free legal aid


An environmental advocacy organization has launched a program in Rhode Island to pair local farmers and food entrepreneurs who want to start or expand their businesses with lawyers willing to provide free legal aid.

The Conservation Law Foundation's "Legal Food Hub" opened in Rhode Island Tuesday.

Foundation spokesman Josh Block says the goal of providing free legal services is to ensure that communities have access to healthy food options, grown locally.

He says four dozen Rhode Island attorneys are already involved in the hub.

The program started in Massachusetts in 2014 and expanded into Maine. CLF says more than 150 individuals and businesses have received help with permit regulations and tax code questions, among other issues.

CLF plans to launch the program in Connecticut next year and expand it nationally.

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RI lawsuit demands $1 million from HP Enterprise


Rhode Island is amending its lawsuit against Hewlett Packard Enterprise to demand $1 million it says it's owed over an unfinished project to build a new computer system for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Tuesday the lawsuit was being amended because the company missed a payment to the state last week.

The state sued HP Enterprise this month in state Superior Court, saying it has paid more than $13 million for a computer system that hasn't been fully delivered. The sides met for court-ordered mediation.

A judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order at the state's request requiring the Palo Alto, California-based company to continue working on the long-delayed project.

The company has said it met its contractual obligations. A spokesman has declined to comment further.

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General Assembly candidates seek recounts


At least two candidates for the Rhode Island General Assembly are seeking recounts after unofficial election results show them losing to incumbent lawmakers.

The state Board of Elections says recount requests are due today by 4 p.m. The board hasn't yet certified election results.

Republican attorney Steven Frias has requested a recount after the unofficial tally shows him losing by 65 votes to Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Frias is also asking the elections board to investigate alleged mail ballot irregularities in the suburban Cranston legislative race.

In a neighboring Cranston state legislative district, Democratic attorney Christopher Millea is seeking a recount in his race against Republican state Rep. Robert Lancia.

There are also recount requests for council races in Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence and West Warwick.

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20 indicted in RI criminal gambling operation


Authorities in Rhode Island say 20 people have been indicted by a grand jury on charges connected to an organized multimillion dollar criminal gambling conspiracy.

The state attorney general's office said Tuesday the charges stem from an eight-month investigation dubbed Operation Free Roll.

State police announced the arrests in April. They said authorities had broken up two bookmaking operations in Narragansett and Warwick and seized more than 300 pounds of marijuana.

The indictments say the suspects took wagers on sports contests, set betting lines and collected money.

Most of the suspects face charges of conspiracy to commit organized criminal gambling and organized criminal gambling. They are scheduled to be arraigned next month.

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Fire at Urgent Care in Barrington sends 1 person to hospital


One person was sent to the hospital Tuesday night after a fire started at an Urgent Care in Barrington.

The fire happened just after 8 p.m., which is the time the building closes to the public.

The fire was contained to the basement but sent smoke throughout the building.

There is no word on the condition of the person who was injured, but police say they do not believe it is life-threatening.

Police are still investigating to determine the cause.

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RI gas prices down 4 cents


Rhode Island gas prices are on the decline.

AAA Northeast reports Monday that self-serve, regular is selling for an average of $2.21 per gallon. That's down 4 cents from the previous survey but still about 4 cents above the national average of $2.17.

The average price of gas in Rhode Island was $2.16 a year ago at this time.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.09 per gallon in Rhode Island and as high as $2.30 cents. That's a range of about 21 cents.

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HP Enterprise ordered to keep working on Rhode Island system


A judge has ordered Hewlett Packard Enterprise to continue working on a long-delayed project to build a new computer system for Rhode Island's Division of Motor Vehicles.

Superior Court Associate Justice Michael Silverstein on Monday issued a temporary restraining order at the state's request to block the Palo Alto, California-based company from walking off the unfinished job.

The judge notes the sharp divide between the parties over the contractual obligations, the company's threat to walk away and the harm the state would suffer.

The state sued HP Enterprise this month, saying it has paid more than $13 million for a computer system that hasn't been fully delivered. The sides met for court-ordered mediation.

The company has said it met its contractual obligations. A spokesman declined to comment further Monday.

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RI's tallest building to open for free tours


Rhode Island's tallest building is opening for another set of free public tours.

A spokesman for building owner David Sweetser, of Massachusetts-based High Rock Development LLC, announced Monday the so-called "Superman Building" will open for three tours on Nov. 19, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10.

The 90-minute tours will include the vault, the banking hall and the 25th floor. The tours will be led by members of the Providence Preservation Society. The reservation website will go live at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Five public tours were held between July and September.

The Art Deco-style skyscraper opened in 1928 as the Industrial National Bank Building. It has been vacant for more than three years. High Rock has been pushing to get public money to help pay to redevelop it.

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RI men allege discrimination by Wal-Mart


Two former security workers at a Rhode Island Wal-Mart say in federal lawsuits filed against the retailer that they were victims of racial discrimination.

Robert McCutcheon and James Braddock worked as "asset protection associates" at the Providence store. They say that they loved their jobs, and saw room for advancement and long-term careers.

The men, who are both black, allege they were called "gangstas" by their supervisors, subjected to racial stereotypes, sent into largely minority neighborhoods to retrieve shopping carts, and denied promotions based on race.

They are seeking unspecified damages and are asking the court to find Wal-Mart in violation of state fair employment laws and the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company denies the allegations and does not tolerate discrimination.

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NYC developer proposes 3 high rises on former I-195 land


A New York City-based developer is seeking to build three high rises on former Interstate 195 land in Providence.

Jason Fane, president of The Fane Organization, told the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Monday he wants to build three high-end residential towers on the land.

Fane says the separate "Hope Point Towers" would connect at ground level and rise up at varying heights- 33, 43 and 55 stories tall. The project could cost between $400 and $500 million to build.

He says he wants to build roughly 1 million square feet, or more, on a one-acre parcel between Dyer Street and the intended park space located west of the Providence River.

Vice Chairman Robert Davis told Fane the commission will conduct a financial analysis of the project.

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RI animal welfare groups share $470,000 in grants


Rhode Island animal welfare groups are sharing in nearly $470,000 in grants to pay for things such as cages for a wildlife rehabilitation program and one to help people spay and neuter pets.

The Rhode Island Foundation is funding the grants, with help from several donors.

Twenty-eight animal welfare programs received money, including the Ocean State Animal Coalition of Warwick, which received nearly $50,000 to provide low-cost spay and neuter services for needy dog and cat owners around the state.

The Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown is receiving money to add outdoor cages to house a growing number of animals and birds.

The Robert Potter League for Animals in Newport was also given a grant to expand a program to educate the public about coyotes.

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Hundreds attend second anti-Trump rally in Providence


Hundreds of people were in Providence protesting the election of Donald Trump as president.

A Saturday afternoon rally drew over 300 supporters to the Rhode Island State House.

The "Rally Against Trump" was organized by the Socialist Alternative RI. On its Facebook page, the group says the protest is "for everyone who refuses to be silent" and an opportunity to "demonstrate our disapproval" of Trump's agenda.

Among a host of issues, the group opposes Trump's proposed wall along the Mexico border and deportation of immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission.

It's the second anti-Trump rally in held Providence since the election. Hundreds also gathered last Wednesday at the State House, chanting "Love Trumps Hate" and "Not My President."

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Mayor pledges to help protect immigrants


Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is pledging to help protect those living in the country illegally from deportation under President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

Elorza said Sunday he's been in touch with the mayors of Los Angeles and New York City and told them Providence stands with them.

Elorza said on Sunday that Providence is "not going to sacrifice any of our people."

Providence has refused to hold for federal immigration officials those charged with a civil infraction.

Elorza, whose parents emigrated from Guatemala, said he'd continue the policy even if the federal government threatens to pull money from the city.

The Democratic mayor said the city will host a community meeting on Wednesday to give people a chance to share their concerns and fears.

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Army Corps proposes lifting 341 structures along coast


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a nearly $60 million plan to lift up 341 private structures along four Rhode Island coastal towns in an attempt to reduce potential damage from flooding caused by storm surges.

The plan would cover homes and some businesses around barrier beaches and salt ponds along 28 miles of shoreline in Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.

The plan is the result of a federally-funded study launched in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The study considered several options to enhance protection along the Washington County shore, which sustained damage during the 2012 storm.

Officials say federal funding would pay for 65 percent of the project and the state would determine how to cover the remaining cost.

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Speaker Mattiello wins District 15 seat, Frias won't concede


Un-official election result numbers place House Speaker Nick Mattiello as the winner of the hotly contested District 15 seat by 65 votes.

The results came in at the Board of Elections Thursday after hours were spent going through mail in ballots. Mattiello's opponent, Steven Frias is not conceding and is requesting a recount.

The Speaker held a caucus in Cranston less than an hour after those results came in. He was re-elected unanimously as Speaker during that meeting.

The un-official results came just two days after initial numbers placed the Speaker behind opponent Frias by 147 votes.

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Campout to raise awareness of homelessness on Veterans Day


A former homeless veteran and dozens of homeless people will hold a campout at Rhode Island College to help raise awareness of the issue on Veterans Day.

Michael Galipeau is leading the event. He says veterans are more vulnerable to homelessness and often opt out of staying in shelters because the overcrowding can trigger combat-related trauma. He says shelters often do not provide enough safety for veterans and many end up sleeping on the streets.

The event begins at 11 a.m. Friday and runs through 11 a.m. Saturday.

Many Rhode Island College students and faculty plan to join the campout and have breakfast in the morning.

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Tiverton Casino Moving Forward After Local Approval


The 75 million dollar Tiverton Casino is still a go.

The “Twin River Management Group’s” new venture was approved statewide Tuesday night, but it also needed a green light from the locals in order to pass.

Mail-in ballots were counted Thursday night and the measure was supported by over 4,000 votes.

The Tiverton Casino will be built just a stones throw from the Massachusetts border.

Supporters say it will keep Rhode Island competitive and bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

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DHS to respond to feds after threat to cut funding


Rhode Island officials plan to respond to a warning they received from a federal agency regarding its new benefits system.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Service told the state human services department in a letter this week that the federal agency will cut off financial aid to its food assistance program unless it submits a corrective action plan for its new operating system in two weeks.

Rhode Island is transitioning to a new, $364 million computer system for administering the public benefit. But the system has been mired in problems including delayed payments and long wait times.

Health and human services director Melba Depena Affigne says she's confident they'll be able to provide the info the federal agency needs and that they won't reach the point where funding will be removed.

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Ex-RI Junior League treasurer pleads no contest to theft


The former treasurer of the Junior League of Rhode Island has admitted to embezzling more than $126,000 from the women's organization.

Kimberly Moore pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of felony embezzlement over $100. Under the terms of the plea, Moore has been convicted and was sentenced to three years of home confinement. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $76,159 to the organization and $50,000 to two insurance companies.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said that if the case had gone to trial, the state would have shown that the 49-year-old Moore began siphoning money from the business checking account of the Junior League in September 2012.

In December 2014, the Junior League noticed money missing from its accounts. Rhode Island State Police conducted a forensic audit.

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Hundreds protest Trump election at RI State House


Hundreds gathered on the steps of the State House in Rhode Island's capital city to protest the election of Donald Trump as president.

Crowds chanting "love trumps hate" and "not my president" rallied at the building on Wednesday in Providence after the Republican Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's presidential election.

Warwick resident Anthony DiDomenico held a picket sign with the word "NO" written on it. He said he was worried about the welfare of women he knows who are abuse victims.

College student Lexer Grande says he feels threatened by a Trump presidency as a married gay man.

City police and state troopers were present as the group marched through the city and made their way back to the State House.

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FAA investigating small plane crash in RI


The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of a small plane crash in the Rhode Island town of Hopkinton.

The crash occurred in a wooded area and was reported by the pilot around 4:15 p.m. Tuesday. Crews cleared the scene within 20 minutes.

Officials say the crash was likely the result of an engine dropping in mid-flight. The pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in a field area, but overshot his target and ended up in a tree line.

The unidentified pilot wasn't injured. The plane is expected to be removed over the next couple of days.

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New England mobster, an 'old-school wise guy,' dies at 75


A member of the New England mob who was convicted of trying to hire someone to kill a rival mobster has died in Rhode Island two weeks after being released from federal prison. Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent was 75.

Johnston Police Chief Richard Tamburini says St. Laurent died early Monday at a hospital of what appears to be natural causes. He had several health problems.

Tamburini called him "one of the old-school wise guys."

St. Laurent had a long criminal record but was most recently in prison for the murder-for-hire plot that wasn't carried out. Authorities say he told the hit man to deliver a message before shooting the victim in the head, telling him to say: "This is from The Saint."

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Gas prices up 1 penny per gallon to $2.25 in RI


Gas prices are creeping up in Rhode Island.

AAA Northeast says its weekly survey on Monday found the price of a gallon of regular gas rose a penny from last week, to an average $2.25 this week.

That's 3 cents higher than the national average of $2.22 per gallon.

It's also 8 cents higher than last year at this time, when the price for gas in Rhode Island was $2.17 per gallon.

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Ethics, casino measures to be decided by RI voters


Rhode Island voters will help choose a new president, decide whether to expand the authority of the state's ethics commission and determine whether to allow a new casino as they cast ballots at polls around the state.

Polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

At the top of the ballot, voters will decide between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

It's the first presidential election in Rhode Island where voters will have to show photo ID. Those without one will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

Voters will also be asked whether to amend the state constitution to give the ethics commission authority to investigate and sanction state lawmakers.

Question 1 asks voters to allow a new casino to be built in Tiverton, on the Massachusetts border.

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3 injured, 1 critically, in Woonsocket crash


Police say three people were injured, one critically, when two cars collided in Woonsocket.

Police Chief Thomas Oates says the crash happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday. He says a man was hospitalized with injuries that could potentially be life-threatening.

Oates says two other people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No one was immediately identified.

Further details about what led up to the crash weren't immediately available. Authorities are investigating.

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RI chooses 'people's poet' as new poet laureate


Rhode Island has a new state poet who's also known for her work bringing professional writers into public schools.

Tina Cane was appointed poet laureate on Friday by Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Raimondo says the East Providence resident is a people's poet because she has made the arts and creative self-expression more accessible for kids. She's founder and director of an educational program called Writers-in-the-Schools, RI.

Cane's poetry has been published in many journals. She has published a book-length poem and has two forthcoming books.

Cane replaces Rick Benjamin, who left for a job at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The search for a new state poet attracted some attention earlier this year when one of the candidates, Christopher Johnson, accused Providence police of unjustly arresting him because he's black.

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Brown University introduces data science initiative


Brown University has introduced a new data science initiative that will include a master's degree program.

University President Christina Paxson said researchers will analyze big data to solve problems from health care delivery to modeling climate change.

The new master's program is starting to recruit its first group of graduate students.

It will be affiliated with the departments of mathematics, applied mathematics, computer science and biostatistics.

The initiative will also collaborate with Brown's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America to look at how data and access to data affect society, culture and privacy.

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RI voters can register on Election Day


Rhode Island residents who missed October's voter registration deadline can still vote for president if they register on Election Day.

State law allows same-day registration, but only to vote in the U.S. presidential election, not state or local races.

Each city and town has a designated location where eligible adult citizens can go on Tuesday to register to vote and cast a ballot for their choice for president and vice president. In most communities same-day registration is at the city or town hall, except in Coventry, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton and Providence, which have designated other locations.

It's the only exception to Rhode Island's requirement that a person be registered to vote at least 30 days before voting in an election.

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RI voters to decide 7 ballot questions


Rhode Island residents are set to vote on seven statewide ballot questions, and elect two members of Congress and fill many contested seats in the state's General Assembly.

Tuesday's ballot questions include a casino proposal in Tiverton, a constitutional amendment to give an ethics commission authority to investigate and sanction state lawmakers and five bond measures totaling $227.5 million.

The bond questions ask voters to allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to improve seaports in Providence and at Quonset Point, to build affordable housing, university buildings and a new veteran's home and expand recreational areas. The state estimates the total cost after two decades of interest will be nearly $365 million.

Some towns and cities also have local ballot measures or contested seats for local offices.

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Driver apparently overdoses with daughter, 4, in car


Police in Rhode Island say a driver apparently overdosed while her 4-year-old daughter was in the back seat, and that another passenger pulled over and stopped the car by grabbing the wheel and pulling the emergency brake.

Police Chief Elwood Johnson Jr. says officers found the 32-year-old woman unresponsive and unconscious in a stopped car in Richmond early Friday. They gave her the opioid reversal drug naloxone.

Police say an off-duty nurse pulled over and administered rescue breaths until the driver regained consciousness.

A passenger in the front seat told police the driver passed out after struggling to control the car.

The driver was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. Her daughter wasn't hurt.

Police declined to comment on the driver's condition or whether she'll be charged.

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Man hurt after crashing into cars at dealership


Police say a driver was critically hurt after he clipped a pole and crashed into as many as seven vehicles parked at a car dealership in Johnston.

Police say the car had been driving on U.S. Route 6A on Sunday morning when it left the road and struck a telephone pole. Police say the car then hit several parked cars in the parking lot of Grieco Honda.

The driver was taken to a hospital with multiple fractures. His name hasn't been released. Police say the driver was the only occupant in the vehicle.

Authorities say the parked cars were totaled. Dealership leaders declined to comment.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the crash. They say speed appears to have contributed to the wreck.

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Groups get grants to expand services in downtown Providence


Three nonprofit social services groups will receive more than $350,000 to expand their work in downtown Providence.

The Rhode Island Foundation made the announcement on Monday. It comes after complaints from business leaders of increased panhandling and other problems downtown.

Foundation CEO Neil Steinberg says the money will go toward helping people find housing, jobs, and services such as treatment for mental health and substance abuse.

The money will be shared among Amos House, Crossroads RI and the Providence Center, and includes funding for things including a program that puts people who panhandle to work cleaning roadways and vacant lots in Providence.

The grants will fund services for six months. The foundation says a business group plans to raise additional money to extend the services beyond that.

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RI has more registered voters than would be expected


Rhode Island has more registered voters than would be expected based on census numbers.

Rhode Island should have 592,672 voters based on U.S. Census Bureau estimates of the number of adults and the percentage registered to vote in the 2008 presidential election.

But 781,770 people are registered, an excess of about 32 percent.

The percentage of excess voters is the highest in New England.

Excess voters can wind up on the rolls when voters die or move without elections officials noticing.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is trying to clean up the voter list.

Rhode Island is working with other states to detect people who move. It has begun online voter registration, which makes it easy for voters to change their addresses.

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Elections officials urge voters to send in mail ballots soon


State elections officials are urging absentee voters to send in their mail ballots soon.

The Board of Elections strongly recommends that ballots be mailed by tomorrow to ensure delivery by the deadline, 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The board says it's making the recommendation because ballots sent through first-class mail may take longer to be delivered than in past elections.

A postal service spokeswoman told the Providence Journal that delivery standards were changed two or three years ago. It can take two business days to send mail within Rhode Island.

The postal service has said ballots should be mailed no later than Saturday.

The newspaper reports that the elections board has received about 18,000 mail ballots so far.

Voters can bring their ballot to the elections office on Branch Avenue in Providence.

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Democratic House speaker outspends GOP challenger 6-to-1


Rhode Island's Democratic House speaker is outspending his Republican challenger 6-to-1 in a heated race for a General Assembly seat.

Campaign finance forms filed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello show he has spent about $187,000 since the election season began in July as he fights to keep his legislative seat representing western Cranston.

Republican candidate Steven Frias has spent far less during the same period, about $28,000.

The last campaign finance reports due before Tuesday's election were filed this week. Mattiello's forms show he has spent about $76,000 in the second half of October but still has nearly $230,000 in his account.

Mattiello also has a political action committee that has spent about $72,000 since the summer on political consultants and helping other Democrats running for office.

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Sport institute trial to resume after hospitalization


The embezzlement trial of the founder of a Rhode Island-based international sport institute is expected to resume after he was released from a hospital.

The daughter of Dan Doyle, the founder of the Institute for International Sport, says he plans to return to court Thursday after being released from the University of Connecticut Health Center.

Doyle, of West Hartford, Connecticut, faces 18 counts, including embezzlement and forgery.

Doyle last week threatened to initiate a sit-in and hunger strike in the courtroom over complaints he is not receiving a fair trial. The trial began in September and was put on hold this week.

Meg Doyle didn't disclose her father's medical condition but says the family holds Rhode Island responsible for the hospitalization because it's been perpetrating a "witch hunt" against him.

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HP Enterprise, RI, must meet for mediation


Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the state of Rhode Island are planning to meet for court-ordered mediation over an unfinished project to build a new computer system for the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

The two sides are scheduled to meet today. The appointed mediator is a retired chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

The state sued the Palo Alto, California-based company on Tuesday seeking an injunction that would block HP Enterprise from walking off the long-delayed DMV system upgrade.

Gov. Gina Raimondo said on Wednesday evening that the state won't be bullied by the company. She also revealed that she had a tense conversation about the dispute with CEO Meg Whitman.

The company has said it's met all its contractual obligations.

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