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1540 WADK.com Updates

Woman Finds Surprise In Raimondo Ad

A Massachusetts woman says she was surprised to see a glimpse of her late step-father in historical footage used for a campaign ad for Rhode Island's governor. Denise Kryzek says that she was watching television when a clip of her father working as a wire spinner appeared in a campaign ad for Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo. Kryzek says she sent a letter to the governor's office saying how thankful she was to see her father again, and Raimondo visited her home in Seekonk Thursday morning.

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Westerly Council Supports Bicycle/Pedestrian Lane Loop

The Westerly Town Council is supporting a planned bicycle and pedestrian lane loop in Misquamicut, funded through the state's Green Economy Bond.  Three alternatives were proposed by a consultant, and  the council favors the least expensive one.   The proposed dedicated lane, which would be separated from several roads with painted lines, markings and posted signs, now goes to the Bicycle Path Study Committee for more input.

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Dentist Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

A North Providence dentist is awaiting sentencing in October.  Lawrence Stephenson of Lincoln pleaded guilty in federal district court on Tuesday to tax evasion.  The U.S. Attorney's Office says Stephenson admitted that in 2011 he started diverting some of his practice's business receipts into a personal bank account and failed to report over one-million-dollars in taxable income. 

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New Website For Startups And Small Businesses

There's now a website to help startups and small businesses in Rhode Island.  Launched by the Rhode Island Foundation, the site's intent is to be an online directory for information about low and no cost help with borrowing, marketing, local regulations and taxes. RIBizBuilder-dot-com has more than 100 listings of available resources and services. 

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Central Falls Mayor Travels To Southern Border

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa is part of a delegation of mayors that have traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border. The bi-partisan group was expected to speak out this morning against the immigration policy.  The visit to Tornillo, Texas, comes the day after President Trump signed an executive order to keep families together following the outcry about separating children from their parents.  The mayors are calling for the immediate reunification of separated families.    

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Swarm Of Bees Closes School Playground

A swarm of honeybees caused the closure of a school playground in Providence today.  It happened outside the Alan Shawn Feinstein Elementary School on Broad Street.  The swarm reportedly flew away before beekeepers could remove them.

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Declaration Of Candidacy Filing Deadline Approaching

The deadline to file a declaration of candidacy form in Rhode Island is quickly approaching.  Candidates for Congress or statewide office must deliver or mail a signed form to be received by the Secretary of State's Elections Division on June 25th, 26th or 27th by 4:00 p.m.  Candidates for the General Assembly or municipal offices must deliver or mail a signed form to their local board of canvassers by 4:00 p.m. on the same dates.   

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Grand Opening For New Drug Treatment Center For Teens

A new drug recovery center is open in Providence.  The Jim Gillen Teen Center had a grand opening on Thursday, although staffers have been working with patients since the beginning of the year.  The center provides one-on-one meetings with teenagers addicted to drugs and allows them to connect with others.

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E. Providence Council Member Allegedly Harassed City Employees

East Providence City Councilman Brian Faria's  behavior is under scrutiny.  At a meeting on Wednesday, it was revealed that dozens of city employees have reported harassment by Faria.  An investigation also found that he spent an all-nighter in City Hall in April allegedly photocopying hundreds of documents, one day after he had filed a public records request looking for all other public records requests dealing with him.  The Attorney General's office is on the record as saying the actions are alarming, but not criminal.

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Alleged Democrat Use Of Rent-Free Space Called Into Question

The watchdog group that filed a complaint over use of rent-free campaign space by Republican candidate for governor Allan Fung is expanding the grievance.  Common Cause Rhode Island on Thursday asked the Rhode Island Board of Elections for a wider investigation into Cranston-based Carpionato Group's contribution of rent-free offices to politicians in the city in both parties.

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General Assembly Passes Tanning Ban

In other legislative action on Thursday, the House passed a pay-equity bill, while the Senate passed legislation aimed at protecting minors left unattended in a motor vehicle.  The General Assembly passed legislation prohibiting the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners in their third trimester, banning the sale of puppies that aren't fully weaned without written approval and distinguishing pet-sitters from professionally operated kennels.  It also passed a proposed law headed to the governor's desk that prohibits minors from using tanning facilities

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PawSox Stadium Bill Heading To Full House

The Rhode Island House version of legislation providing a pathway for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium is moving forward after receiving approval from the House Finance Committee on Thursday.  The full House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Friday, and then it would need approval in the Senate, which passed its own version of a stadium-financing bill earlier this year.  The new version asks for 45-million dollars to be covered by the PawSox, and another 38-million covered by tax revenue from the city and state, and most of the money would be borrowed in bonds not guaranteed by the state. 

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AMA Opposes CVS-Aetna Merger

The American Medical Association is urging regulators to reject the proposed merger of Woonsocket-based CVS and Aetna insurance.  The AMA says its opposition is based on evidence that the merger would substantially lessen competition in many health care markets, to the detriment of patients. The president of the AMA announced the opposition earlier this week at a hearing on the proposed deal before the California Department of Insurance.

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Report: New Airline Would Fly From Green

The founder of JetBlue Airways is reportedly planning on starting a new airline that would focus on secondary airports such as T.F. Green.  The aviation publication "Airline Weekly" reports David Neelman's Moxy Airlines will be a low-cost carrier with amenities similar to JetBlue.  The new airline could be reportedly be in operation by 2020.

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Erosion Forces Move Of Beachfront Houses

Some beachfront cottages are being moved inland in South Kingstown.  About two-dozen cottages at Roy Carpenter's beach in Matunuck are being impacted by hundreds of feet of shore erosion since the 1950s.  The houses will be moved about a quarter-mile.  Another couple-dozen cottages in the village were previously moved back in 2012 after Superstorm Sandy hit.

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RI Worst State To Take A Road Trip

A new WalletHub study ranks Rhode Island dead last in the category of road trip destinations in the United States.  The report gives the state particularly bad marks for high cost of car repairs and low total percentage of designated national parkland.  Massachusetts was ranked 25th in the study, while Connecticut was right in front of Rhode Island at number 49. 

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RI Emergency Services Manager Takes Federal Post

The director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is taking a new position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The White House announced on Wednesday that Peter Gaynor will be FEMA's new deputy administrator.  Gaynor's resume also includes being the emergency management director in Providence and being enlisted in the United States Marine Corps for over two decades. 

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House Approves Airport Name Change, Senate Approves Hospital Testimony Bill

In other legislative action on Wednesday, the House approved a bill that would rename the T.F. Green Airport to the Rhode Island International Airport.  The Senate passed a bill that would give the attorney general and the state health department the authority to make hospital executives testify under oath when hospital sales or mergers occur.  The General Assembly passed the following: a bill amending the state's sexual offender registration and community notification laws, legislation called the School Social Workers Quality Assessment Act, a bill sponsored by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin calling for increased penalties for bad contractors, and a new law requiring hospitals to offer flu vaccines to patients 65 or older.

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House Committee To Vote On PawSox Stadium Proposal

The House Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a stadium-financing bill for the Pawtucket Red Sox on today.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said yesterday that the PawSox have told him they are "interested" in the General Assembly passing his proposed ballpark financing plan.  The bill would need approval from the Rhode Island Senate, which passed a different iteration of the bill earlier this year.  The House version funds the stadium with bonds backed only by revenue generated around the stadium.

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General Assembly Passes State Budget

Governor Gina Raimondo is planning to sign a state budget that is headed for her desk.  The Rhode Island General Assembly completed its approval of a nine-point-six-billion-dollar budget with a Senate vote on Wednesday.  The budget includes sports wagering at Rhode Island's two casinos, for which lawmakers expect to bring in 23-and-a-half-million bucks in 2019.  The budget also includes another year of free tuition at Community College of Rhode Island, and continued local car tax relief. 

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Chariho Superintendent Undergoes Brain Surgery

Chariho School Superintendent Barry Ricci is recuperating from brain surgery.  Surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital recently removed a tumor after Ricci started experiencing problems with the left side of his body.  He says it was caught early and hopefully he'll make a full recovery .

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Cranston Library Waves Fines For Young Borrowers

The Cranston Public Library is waving late fines for young borrowers.  The goal is to encourage children and teens to return materials and use the library without fear of a mounting bill.   Library officials say over 22-hundred young people's library cards are currently blocked due to overdue fines.  A spokeswoman says penalizing them makes the libraries seem unwelcoming.

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Quarry Owner Cleared Of Wrongdoing

Officials have ruled the quarry blast that injured two town employees and damaged multiple buildings accidental. The state Fire Marshal's Office found the blast at the Westerly quarry did not violate state law or the state fire code. The Fire Marshal's Office has reinstated the quarry's blasting license after the owners promised to use an air horn to warn of upcoming explosions.

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CVS Pharmacy Announces Universal Prescription Delivery

CVS Pharmacy is now offering prescription delivery from all locations.  The Woonsocket-based retailer says it is the first national drugstore chain to offer such a service.  Same-day delivery will be available in six major cities, including Boston, while customers elsewhere can have their medications delivered as quickly as the next day.

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RI Woman Who Directed "Frozen" Gets Disney Promotion

East Providence native Jennifer Lee is being appointed as the new chief creative officer for Walt Disney Animation Studios.  Lee is best known for writing and directing the Disney feature "Frozen," for which she earned an Academy Award.  Lee is taking over for John Lasseter, who announced earlier this month that he plans to step down at the end of the year from that position at both Disney and Pixar studios after dealing with sexual harassment allegations. 

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Providence Fountain Fix Coming Soon

Plans are being made to fix the dysfunctional DePasquale Square fountain in Providence's Federal Hill section.  The city of Providence is including about 210-thousand dollars in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year to fix the fountain.  Controversy erupted earlier this month when plants were placed in the lower section of the fountain as a temporary solution.  They've since been removed.

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Pawtucket Mayor Pleads For PawSox Stadium Deal

Time is running out for the state of Rhode Island to pass a funding bill for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium.  That was the message from Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien at a House Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday night  Grebien told committee members that if a bill doesn't pass by the end of the Rhode Island legislative session this week, that likely means the team is leaving, as the city of Worcester is trying to lure the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate

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Speed Camera, Presidential Tax Return Bills Among Those Passed Tuesday

There was a huge flurry of activity in both chambers of the Rhode Island legislature on Tuesday as the current legislative session draws to a conclusion.  The House of Representatives passed a ban on indoor tanning for minors. Bills that passed both chambers on Tuesday included legislation addressing the controversial Pawtucket transfer station, and another that aims to eradicate substandard automobile airbags.

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Lawsuit Over Fatima Hospital's Insolvent Retirement Plan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, CharterCare, the current owner of Fatima Hospital, and others are being sued over the hospital's insolvent Saint Joseph's pension plan.  At issue is a retirement plan created by the diocese in 1965 which went into receivership last August with about 27-hundred recipients facing proposed deep cuts in benefits.

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Raimondo Joins Opposition To Border Policy

Governor Gina Raimondo says the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the border is quote, "not American, not Christian, not moral and inhumane."  Raimondo also says that though the state has not been asked to, she would not deploy Rhode Island National Guard troops to the southern border.  

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Rhode Island Braces For Pine Beetle Attack

Environmental officials in Rhode Island are preparing for an attack from a pine-killing beetle.The southern pine beetle has travelled north as the climate warms. Scientists first discovered the species in the state in 2015. The rice-size beetles chew tunnels under the bark that disrupt the flow of nutrients and kill the pines in a few months. Trees ooze toxic resin as a defense. Officials use traps that mimic trees and contain pine scent. Beetles are lured into the traps and killed. The state has also used burns to help forest health.

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Gas Prices Down This Week in RI

AAA Northeast says Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.93 per gallon, down two cents from a week ago.That's four cents above the national average of $2.89. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 64 cents higher than it was a year ago.AAA found gas in the state selling for as low as $2.74 per gallon to as high as $3.09.Northeast Senior Vice President Lloyd Albert says an upcoming oil exporter meeting in Vienna, Austria could influence gas prices and "likely decrease crude oil prices."

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Upgrade On Way For UHIP System

A major software update is coming for the troubled computer system for Rhode Island benefits programs. Officials set a target date for the upgrade to the Unified Health Infrastructure Project for June 23. Special Master Deming Sherman says the software update will depend on "successful testing," but his goal is having the state in compliance with federal regulations by the end of June.

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Agreement Reached To Get New Technology To Naval Center Quicker

The Naval Undersea Warfare Center has announced a significant new agreement with a Middletown-based group. The Newport center and the Undersea Technology Innovation Consortium will enter into a three-year agreement to speed up the federal contracting process for the acquisition of prototype undersea technology and innovative maritime systems. Senator Jack Reed, a ranking member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, says the move will allow for priorities to be streamlined. Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, also attended yesterday's announcement.

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Complaints Filed Over Reported Rent-Free Allan Fung Campaign Space

Governor Gina Raimondo and Republican candidate for governor Patricia Morgan are filing complaints with the Rhode Island Board of Elections against candidate Allan Fung. The complaints cite a report that indicated Fung was allowed either free use of an office space for his 2016 campaign for mayor of Cranston, or was allowed to rent it at a below-market rate. While Raimondo and Morgan call that an illegal campaign contribution, a spokesperson for Fung characterized the complaints as a desperate attempt to grab headlines by candidates who feel threatened by poll numbers. The watchdog group Common Cause also filed a complaint with the elections board over the matter on Monday.  

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"Dreamers" Can Drive In Rhode Island Thanks To New Law

A new law allowing anyone with current or past status in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to get a driver's license in Rhode Island is now law. Governor Gina Raimondo signed the legislation, sponsored by state Senator Michael McCaffrey and Representative Shelby Maldonado, on Monday. Raimondo said it was one thing that could be done at the state level, while calling on the federal government and Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship for children who were brought into the country illegally. President Trump has cancelled DACA, which was an Obama-era policy, but it has been kept alive through court decisions.  

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Temporary Parking Restrictions For Roadwork In Newport

Temporary parking restrictions are now in place for neighborhood roadwork in Newport.  Broken sidewalks are being replaced and roads repaved on Curry Avenue off  Bedlow Avenue.  The project will move from street-to-street in that neighborhood.  The work is expected to take several weeks to complete.

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Community Networking Events For Seniors

The first in a series networking events for Rhode Island seniors kicks off  tonight.  Participants will have a meal and discuss ideas for creating age-friendly communities.  The Community Table series hosted by the Age-Friendly Rhode Island Coalition, is part of the Long term Care Coordinating Council plan to expand social opportunities for older adults.  Today’s  kick off is at 5:30 p.m. at Finn's Harborside in East Greenwich.     

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Car Excise Tax Phase Out Enters Year Two

With House passage of the 2019 state budget on Friday, the phase out of the automobile excise tax is moving toward year two.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello calls it an unfair, regressive and oppressive tax.  The budget contains nearly 55-million-dollars to replace lost revenue for cities and towns, because the tax is imposed locally, and not by the state.  The Senate takes up the budget this week.   

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'Fun-Sized' Tourism Campaign Reaps $1.9 Million In Bookings

Rhode Island officials say the state's new "Fun-Sized" tourism campaign is working to the tune of $1.9 million in hotel bookings. The state's Commerce Corporation says the campaign has led to more than 6,000 hotel bookings since it launched in November, as well as more than 4,000 flights to the state. An official says the campaign could have added $11 million to the state economy based on visitor's spending.

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Sen. Reed To Announce Award For Undersea Warfare Center

Sen. Jack Reed is planning to announce a new, multimillion dollar award for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Reed says the award will help fund a consortium that will allow for the testing of prototypes and ultimately enhance the capabilities of the nation's undersea operations. Reed plans to offer more details on the award at an 11 a.m. event  today.

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U.S. Defense Secretary Speaks To Naval War College Graduates

The Naval War College in Newport was the site of a military leader talking about threats from Russia and China for the second time in less than a week on Friday. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, speaking to this year' graduating class, warned that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, are attempting to undermine the moral authority of the United States and criticized Russia's military actions in Crimea and Ukraine. Mattis also expressed the belief that China is seeking to reproduce its authoritarian model elsewhere as it expands.

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Black Bear Sighting In Westerly

The Westerly Police Department is warning about a black bear visiting the area. Authorities posted a picture of the bear on Facebook on Saturday night and said it was seen roaming the Narragansett Avenue area of the town. The police department says if you see the bear, do not approach it, and contact either the Westerly PD or the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Residents are also being encouraged to remove any outside bird feeders and ensure garbage is secured in covered cans.

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Hearing Set For Tuesday On PawSox Stadium Bill

Another hearing in the Rhode Island House is set for Tuesday to discuss the latest version of the deal to finance a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium. The bill, supported by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, removes a state safety net on the potential borrowing authorized in the Senate version of the bill, passed earlier this year. Mattiello said on Friday that he is not comfortable with some of the changes the city of Pawtucket has proposed to the legislation, including the expansion of a dedicated tax zone to help fund the stadium.

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House-Passed Budget Includes Sports-Betting Arrangement

The Rhode Island Senate is set to take up the state budget this week after the state House passed it on Friday. The nine-and-a-half-billion-dollar budget includes a revenue agreement for sports-betting at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and the yet-to-be-opened casino in Tiverton. It also calls for 250-million dollars in borrowing to fix run-down Rhode Island schools. Republican efforts to re-route revenue from 911 fees and to eliminate prevailing wage were defeated.  

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Pre-Summer Heat Forecast Today

Summer hasn't officially arrived on the calendar but New Englanders are bracing for some very summer-like heat. Forecasters say temperatures in Boston today could approach or even top the record of 94 degrees set back in 1929 for that date. Some school districts in the region are considering early dismissals. Lowell  school officials are considering cancelling classes altogether because the city's aging school buildings get too hot.

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Statehouse Dome To Turn Black And Yellow

The dome of the Rhode Island Statehouse is going to be lit up like a bumblebee. The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is working with the state to raise awareness of the importance of protecting pollinators. The dome will be illuminated in black and yellow   tonight. It'll look that way each night throughout the week for "National Pollinator Week." The Audubon Society says the striped dome will "bee" hard to miss.

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Credit Card Fraud Suspect Being Sought

Coventry police are looking for a credit card fraud suspect.  Investigators say a woman used a stolen credit card last week to buy a Galaxy 7 Tablet from a Walmart.  Two surveillance photos have been posted on the  department's Facebook page.

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Newport GOP Committee Endorsing Morgan

Patricia Morgan is getting the endorsement of the Newport Republican Committee in her run for governor.  In announcing it's support for the West Warwick state Representative, the committee says Morgan has a history of fighting for lower taxes, less spending and going after corruption.  Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and businessman Giovanni Feroce are also vying for the Republican Party nomination.

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State Launches Opioid Epidemic Ad Campaign

Rhode Island is launching an advertising campaign to address the opioid epidemic.  It focuses on the misuse of prescription opioids and over prescribing.  The goal is to prevent and reduce the misuse of opioids by young people.   The ad campaign on social media outlets and TV is supported through federal funding and private donations.

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Candidate For Governor Drops Out To Run For RI Senate Seat

Rhode Island Democrat Paul Roselli says is dropping out of the governor's race to run for a state Senate seat instead. Roselli said in a YouTube video announcing his decision Thursday that he is running for the Senate District 23 seat being vacated by Sen. Paul Fogarty. Fogarty, a Democrat, had announced in May that he would not seek re-election. Roselli says while he's dropping out of the governor's race, he does not intend to "sit on the sidelines." He says he plans to support Matt Brown in the primary election because he feels Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo will lose the general election.

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RI House Passes Hair Braiding Bill

A bill has passed the Rhode Island House of Representatives to deregulate the business of African-style hair braiding. House lawmakers passed the bill Thursday to exempt natural hair braiders from the state's requirement for hairdressers and cosmeticians to be licensed. Practitioners say it's a cultural tradition and art form that shouldn't be subject to cosmetology rules.

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Historic Newport Mansion Has New Welcome Center

A welcome center at the Breakers Mansion in Newport is finally open. About six-hundred attended the opening of the welcome center on Thursday, which took more than five years to put together after architectural plans were shared with the public. The project faced intense opposition from neighbors and a group that included members of the Vanderbilt family, which built the house. Nearly half-a-million people are estimated to visit the historic landmark annually.

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Connecticut Signs Up For Electricity From Deepwater

Providence-based Deepwater Wind is helping the state of Connecticut enter the wind energy market. The state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection awarded its first offshore wind project to Deepwater for a two-hundred-megawatt system this week. Deepwater was awarded a four-hundred-megawatt project for Rhode Island last month.

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Nursing Home Agreement Finalized

A tentative agreement is officially being reached between the Rhode Island  Office of Health and Human Services and almost 60 aggrieved nursing homes. Under the terms, the nursing homes will drop a lawsuit and will receive a two-and-a-half-percent increase in Medicaid reimbursements, rather than an eight-and-a-half-percent cut that was originally contained in a proposed state budget. Rhode Island taxpayers were on the hook for 24-million dollars in additional payments to the nursing homes after a well-documented missed appeal of the suit from an attorney who has since stepped aside. 

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RI House Passes Kristen's Law

A controversial law that would allow for a sentence of up to life in prison for dealers who sell drugs that lead to fatal overdoses is one step closer to Governor Gina Raimondo's desk. House lawmakers passed Kristen's Law, named for a woman who died from a fentanyl overdose, 55-to-14 on Thursday. The legislation will need to go back to the Senate because an amendment was added to the House-approved version. Raimondo says she plans on signing the legislation, despite urging by the Rhode Island Medical Society in a letter on Wednesday to veto the measure.
 

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Owner Of Adrift Boat Located, But Coast Guard Still Investigating

The U.S. Coast Guard says the owner of a boat found drifting near the Jamestown Bridge has been found but they are still asking the public for information about seeing a person in the boat on the water yesterday. Coast Guard officials say there's a possibility that someone else took it. They say a bottle of orange juice was found in the empty boat. 

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Goddard Park Beach Reopens For Swimming

It's okay to swim at Goddard State Park Beach in Warwick.  A ban on swimming had been issued a few days ago due to high levels of bacteria in the water.  The state Department of Health says based on the latest water samples bacteria levels are now within acceptable limits.  

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RI Unemployment Down Slightly

Rhode  Island's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May is four-point-four percent.  That's a tenth of a point lower than the April rate.  Rhode Island-based jobs increased by 12-hundred in May.  The national jobless number for last month is three-point-eight percent.

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State Budget Vote Expected On Friday

A General Assembly vote on the state's nine-and-a-half-billion-dollar budget is expected tomorrow.  Still unresolved are newly-proposed changes to the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium bill.  Acknowledging that time is running short, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says his staff is reviewing the amended version of the legislation, however, he says he's not sure it will be considered by the end of the week.  There has been no comment from PawSox ownership on the latest version of the bill. 

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Ferry To Newport This Afternoon Is Canceled

The 2:30 ferry trip from Providence to Newport this afternoon is canceled.  The state Department of Transportation says it's because of a routine Coast Guard Safety inspection.  Service alerts and updated schedule information is available online at ridethebayri-dot-com.

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Brown Breaks Backpacking Benchmark

Brown University is now the record-holder for most backpacks stuffed with school supplies within one hour. The university says hundreds of staff members gathered at Meehan Auditorium on Wednesday to stuff three-thousand backpacks for children attending the Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative. The previous Guinness World Record was 15-hundred-12. Employees reportedly only needed five minutes to do it.

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HealthSource Customers Can Now Pay Premiums At CVS

HealthSource RI customers are now able to pay their monthly health insurance premiums at CVS Pharmacy stores. The new option was announced by the state and the Woonsocket-based pharmacy this week. HealthSource RI Director Zachary Sherman says residents lose coverage every month because they've missed a bill payment or paid too late, and that the new partnership will increase the likelihood that customers stay covered. 

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RISD Design Partnering With Infosys Tech Company

India-based tech company Infosys is announcing a new design center in Providence. The design and innovation hub will go up this summer as part of a newly-announced partnership with the Rhode Island School of Design. Infosys says it will focus on hiring designers who are trained in the new program as part of its commitment to hire five-hundred American workers in Rhode Island over the next five years.  

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Work Necessitates New Traffic Pattern On I-95 In Providence

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is announcing a new traffic pattern for Interstate 95 in Providence due to work on the Blackstone Street Bridge replacement project. Officials say the divided highway configuration on I-95 north and south will go up near Exit 19 in the last week of June and last for about three months. Traffic lanes will be separated by a barrier, and through-traffic will need to pass on either side of the lane split. RIDOT says this will be the same scenario that was used for Route 95 work last summer, and that motorists should not stop or switch lanes.

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Contract Uncertainty Could Mean Large Warwick PD Retirement Wave

A large number of Warwick police officers could soon be headed for retirement. The "Warwick Beacon" reports the local police union has indicated that nearly 20 percent of the department's 172 uniformed officers are considering the move due to uncertainty regarding a new collective bargaining agreement. As many as 18 officers have already started the retirement process, according to the newspaper. The current police contract expires at the end of this month, and the Warwick City Council is scheduled to vote on a new deal on July 17th. 

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Coventry Fire Official In Hot Water Steps Down

The chairman of the Coventry Fire District Board of Directors is resigning after he was charged with sexual assault. Frank Palin was arrested in Canton, Massachusetts last month for allegedly assaulting a woman with dementia while working as a nurse practitioner. Palin is due back in court for a pre-trial conference at the end of July.

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John Lewis Regrets Endorsing RI Governor Over Pal

Civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis says he didn't know his friend was running against Gov. Gina Raimondo when he endorsed her. The Democratic congressman says he would have remained neutral or endorsed Matt Brown, who he called a "very, very good friend." Brown, a former Rhode Island secretary of state, announced in April that he was challenging Raimondo in the Democratic primary.

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Lights Out In Warwick On Tuesday

Rhode Island utility company National Grid says a car crash knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in Warwick. A National Grid spokesman  says the crash happened in West Warwick Tuesday. About 2,400 customers lost power, and several schools were dismissed an hour early as a result.

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Wedding Bells Ahead For Elorza

The wedding bells are ringing for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. A spokesman for the city has confirmed Tuesday that the mayor is engaged to his longtime girlfriend Stephanie Gonzalez. The couple is expecting their first child later this month, and a wedding date has not been announced.

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Public Asked To Report Wild Turkey Sightings

Rhode Islanders are asked to report sightings of wild turkey hens to help researchers.  The state Department of Environmental Management is evaluating the wild turkey population which is believed to be growing.  Sightings can be reported via a brief online survey available on DEM's website or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

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Beach Enforcement In Westerly Results In Citations

An enforcement effort to create a family-friendly environment on beaches in Westerly is resulting in mounting citations.  A dozen alcohol-related citations were issued last week to three separate groups at East Beach and Misquamicut State Beach.  Police say the periodic enforcement is intended to prevent negative behaviors and alcohol-related emergencies.  Since May 22nd, 43 citations have been issued for various violations.  

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Naval War College Forum Features Military Leaders

Leaders from the Pentagon spoke at the Naval War College in Newport on Tuesday for a military strategy forum. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson and Commandant of the Marines General Robert Neller talked about new naval and cyberwarfare capabilities from China and Russia and how it threatens American interests. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer also spoke at the forum, the 69th in the college's history.

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Health Officials Report High Levels Of Bacteria At State Beach

The Rhode Island Department of Health is recommending the closure of Goddard State Beach in Warwick for swimming because of high bacteria counts. The department says water quality analysis will be conducted. You can get up-to-date information on when swimming will be allowed again by calling the RIDOH beach telephone line at 401-222-2751. 

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Voter Deadline Coming Up For September Primary

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea  is reminding registered voters that Thursday is the deadline for removing their party affiliation for the September 12th primary. Eligible voters should visit vote.ri.gov to make sure their voter information is up-to-date. Rhode Island has a semi-closed primary, which allows unaffiliated voters to vote in either party primary, according to the Gorbea's office. Registered Republican and Democrat voters can vote only in their own party's primary.

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