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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2013-12

Rhode Island population


For the first time since 2004, Rhode Island's population has increased according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  As of July first, there were 12-hundred more people in the state than the previous year.  The estimated population is a little over 1,051,500.  Population numbers are used to disburse federal funding and determine the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The state is getting closer to possibly losing one of it’s house seats.

Police patrols


Rhode Island State Police will be out in force tonight looking for drunk drivers.  According to the Journal, 561 people have been arrested this year for D.U.I.

No Bright Night tonight


For the first time in 27 years, there will be no official New Year’s Eve celebration in Providence tonight.  Since First Night ended in 2003, the city hosted Bright Night but that event has had trouble with funding and was canceled back in July.

Newport City Hall


Newport City Hall has heat again.  The building closed on Friday with boiler problems.  The issue was resolved early this afternoon.

Flu in Rhode Island


Unlike some states including Massachusetts, flu is not yet widespread in Rhode Island.  Nevertheless, state health officials say the rate in the Ocean State could increase in the next few weeks. The state D.O.H. director, Doctor Michael Fine, urges anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot yet to do so soon.

Newport 375th anniversary


Newport’s 375th anniversary gets underway as Portsmouth wraps up their 375th anniversary.  A turnover ceremony will be held tomorrow.  For a preview of Newport’s anniversary year, go to the podcast page on wadk.com. 

Pedestrian run over


It started with an argument and ended with one man with life-threatening injuries.  The AP reports, a pedestrian jumped on a car after a dispute in Pawtucket.  The driver sped away and the pedestrian fell off and was run over.  The driver was caught in Attleboro.  Police are investigating.

Bristol fire


Bristol firefighters were called to a fire on Charles Street around 3am this morning.  NBC 10 reports it was in mixed use building near the corner of Charles Street and Wood Street. 

Newport wind advisory


The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Newport.  It is in effect Sunday at 5pm to Monday at 1am.  The gale warning remains in effect from 4pm this afternoon to 1 am Monday.  You can always get the latest forecast whenever you need it at wadk.com. 

Pell Bridge petition


A Christmas Eve head-on crash on the Newport Pell Bridge could be the reason for a surge in signatures on a petition calling for a median barrier on the span.  The number of signatures on the online petition started in October by the group Citizens United for Bridge Safety has nearly doubled in the past week to almost 600.  Both drivers in the Christmas Eve crash were hospitalized.  Among the petition's signers is a Newport resident whose godmother was killed in a head-on collision on the bridge in 2010.

West Warwick woman identified


The medical examiner's office says a woman found dead in West Warwick on Christmas night is 42-year-old Toni Ferrazzano.  She was a resident of West Warwick.  Her burned body was found in a wooded area when firefighters responded to a brush fire near St. Joseph's Cemetery.  Officials say Ferrazzano died of fire-related injuries but they are awaiting autopsy test results to confirm the exact cause of death. 

Recycling Christmas trees


Christmas trees headed to the state Central Landfill should be stripped of tinsel, lights, ornaments and tree stands.  The trees are ground up into compost material.  People are advised to check with their city of town for the dates when local curbside tree pickups are scheduled.

Unemployment extension


With Rhode Island tied with Nevada for the highest unemployment in the country, about 5,000 Rhode Islanders will lose their unemployment benefits tomorrow.  Senator Jack Reed and Nevada Senator Heller from Nevada are sponsors of legislation that would extend benefits for another 3 months.  The Journal reports a possible vote could happen January 6th.

Burned body in West Warwick


The investigation continues after a woman's body was found in a wooded area of West Warwick on Christmas night.  The burned body was discovered when firefighters responded to a brush fire near St. Joseph's Cemetery.  The remains were taken to the state medical examiner's office. 

Warren man arrested for murder


David Sousa of Warren has been arrested and is awaiting extradition to Massachusetts for a murder in Swansea last year.  According to the AP, he was indicted for strangling Lisa Mello.  He’s currently being held at the A.C.I.  

Home prices


Wind turbines in Rhode Island have no effect on property values according to a study recently released from the University of Rhode Island.  The sale prices of 48-thousand houses in the state over the past 15-years were analyzed.  The research finds that turbines may cause a drop in value of less than one-half of a percent for houses within a half-mile of a turbine, which is within the study's margin of error.  Rhode Island's first wind turbine was built in 2005. 

Pell Bridge accident drivers indentified


The drivers have been identified from the Christmas Eve car accident on the Pell Bridge that put two people in the hospital in serious condition.  According to Channel 10, 75 year old Elijah Swift of Exeter was driving a pick up truck that crossed the line into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle head-on.  Swift and the other driver, William Oberg from Warwick, are both at Rhode Island Hospital.    

Tax breaks


A bill to give pickup truck owners the same tax break as those who buy or trade-in a regular car has been pre-filed.  Lincoln state Senator Edward O'Neil says pickup trucks have become just another family vehicle, and should be offered the same deduction.  O'Neil's bill exempts the trade-in value of pickup trucks under six-thousand pounds gross weight from sales tax, as long as they are not used commercially.

Abandoned puppy


More than 100 calls have been received from people hoping to adopt an abandoned puppy.  The three-month-old Jack Russell terrier mix was rescued from a dumpster in Pawtucket last Friday.  The city's animal control officer says the pup appears to be in good shape.  The Journal reports officials will start screening adoption applications tomorrow.

Christmas buses


Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses will operate on a Sunday/Holiday schedule today in Observance of Christmas.  More information is available online at ripta.com.  Regular weekday service will resume tomorrow. 

Bridge is safe


The bridge that carries the Wampanoag Trail, Route 114, over the East Shore Expressway in East Providence is structurally safe.  The bridge was checked out by state Department of Transportation inspectors after it was hit by the top of a truck yesterday morning.   Police say there were no injuries. 

Health Care deadline


Nearly three-thousand people enrolled for health insurance in the first two weeks of December through HealthSource RI, the state's ObamaCare marketplace.  According to new figures, that's more than the total number of enrollees for October and November.  Rhode Islanders buying insurance have until December 31st to select a plan with coverage starting the next day, as long as they pay by January sixth.  In a statement, Healthsource RI Director Christine Ferguson asks people to be patient due to the high number of calls. 

Hernandez case continues


A lawyer for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez wants a court-imposed gag order.  Attorney Michael Fee alleges prosecutors and police have leaked information about the murder case.  Assistant Bristol County District Attorney William McCauley denies the allegation.  The judge has ordered both sides to outline steps to prevent unauthorized statements to the news media.  Hernandez is charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd last June

R.I. State Police enforcement


Rhode Island State Police are stepping up enforcement for D.U.I. through New Year's Day.  Extra patrols will be looking for drunk drivers and violations like seat belts, aggressive driving and texting.

East Greenwich fire


A fire on Brookside Drive in East Greenwich is under investigation.  According to NBC 10, the fire broke out last night around 10:30.  No one was home at the time and no one was injured.

Revamped shut-off policy


The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission has deferred action on revamping the winter utility shutoff policy.  The PUC's chairwoman said more time is needed for public input, and to explain reasons for the changes.  The Journal reports that under the new rules, the definition of low-income would change, and the utility shutoff moratorium would run from November first to April first, rather than the current April 15th end date.

Patriots Sunday


The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens square off in a key AFC clash Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.  The Patriots are trying to lock up their fifth straight AFC East title after losing 24-20 at Miami last weekend.  New England is 10-and-4, two games ahead of the Dolphins for the division lead.  The Ravens are on a roll, having won four straight to move into the sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture at 8-and-6.  Baltimore pulled out a dramatic 18-16 win at Detroit on "Monday Night Football" thanks to Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal in the final minute, his sixth field goal of the game.

Target lawsuit in R.I.


Two Rhode Island residents are filing a nationwide class action lawsuit against Target over the retailer's massive data breach.  Target officials announced Thursday the security breach could involve credit and debit card information for as many as 40-million customers.  In their suit, William Knowles and Patricia Doyle accuse the retail giant of violating the Federal Stored Communications Act and of breaching an implied contract to safeguard the confidential financial information of its customers.  The suit was filed Friday in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island.

Rate Hike


The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission is granting approval for National Grid to raise residential electricity rates by 12-percent starting January 1st.  The rate hike will add nearly ten-dollars to the monthly bill for a household that uses 500 kilowatt hours of electricity.  National Grid attributes the increase mainly to the higher price it is paying to buy electricity.  Customers who encounter problems paying their electric bill due to the rate hike are urged to contact the utility.

Foreclosure relief for some Rhode Islanders


A national settlement is expected to bring financial relief to Rhode Islanders victimized by improper foreclosures and/or deceptive mortgage practices.  The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 49 attorneys general reached the two-billion dollar settlement with Ocwen Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries.  In Rhode Island, Ocwen will provide more than nine-and-a-half-million dollars in first lien principal reductions as part of the settlement. 

Rhode Island Housing Deputy Director has been fired


Rhode Island Housing’s Deputy Director has been fired.  Gayle Corrigan claims it was because she wanted a criminal investigation into possible finance irregularities at the Urban League of Rhode Island.  The Journal reports Richard Godfrey of Rhode Island Housing would not say why she was fired because they don’t comment on personnel matters.

R.I. unemployment down


Rhode Island's unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percent last month to nine-percent.  According to the state Department of Labor and Training the state gained 14-hundred jobs in November.  It's the first time the state has had four straight months of job growth since 2003.  The national unemployment rate for November was seven-percent. 

EB agreement


A 25-year lease agreement has been reached between General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Quonset Development Corporation.  Governor Chafee says under the agreement, EB will expand by about 42 acres at the Quonset Business Park. The submarine manufacturer currently leases 100 acres in addition to the 33 acres it owns for various types of manufacturing and hull fabrication.

No apology from Bishop Tobin


A petition has been delivered to Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin asking him to apologize for comments about the late Nelson Mandela. Last week, the bishop praised Mandela's life of public service, but he was critical of Mandela's support of abortion.  Tobin says he respects the opinion of Faithful America, and hopes its members will respect his opposition to abortion which reflects the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Raimondo makes it official


State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is running for governor.  Her official announcement was delivered yesterday in a video emailed to supporters and posted online.  It ends months of speculation and sets up a Democratic primary against another first-term office holder, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.  Businessman Ken Block and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung are running for the Republican nomination. 

Hernandez lawsuit


The family of Odon Lloyd is not waiting for the outcome of the criminal case against Aaron Hernandez.  They’re pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against Hernandez according to the Herald News.    

Jamestown Schools


Jamestown schools will need more money next year to cover increases in health insurance and tech upgrades.  The Daily News reports school officials said new state standards require improved computers.  They will also be negotiating new contracts for teachers and the clerical staff. 

Petition to the Bishop


A petition with reportedly nearly 20-thousand signatures on it will be delivered to Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin today.  A group of Catholics associated with an online organization called Faithful America, is demanding Tobin apologize for criticizing the late South African President Nelson Mandela for his position on abortion.  Last week, Tobin issued a statement praising Mandela's life of public service, but critical of his role in liberalizing South Africa's abortion laws. 

EDC name change


The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation is re-branding.  They are planning on name change to Commerce R.I. at the first of the year.  According to the Journal, The General Assembly passed legislation that caused the change.

2000 new jobs


A former industrial area near T.F. Green Airport and the commuter rail station will now be known as Centre City Warwick.  State and city officials hope to attract a mix of condominiums, hotels, restaurants and retail businesses.  Officials hope it will also generate 2000 jobs.

Caramadre get 6 years


A Cranston estate planner has been sentenced to six-years in federal prison followed by community service. Prosecutors say Joseph Caramadre engaged in an investment scheme targeting the terminally ill.  They say he conspired to steal and use the identities of dying people, and made millions-of-dollars in illegal profits from insurance companies and brokerage firms for himself and others, when those people died.  His co-defendant was sentenced to a year in prison.

aaron's last wish


Here is a link to the story of Aaron Collins and his brothers cross country trip to tip!

 

http://aaroncollins.org/

Health Source R.I. in Newport today


Health Source RI, the state health insurance marketplace, will host a seminar this afternoon (12:30p-4:30p) at the Newport Public Library.  The event is intended to help you navigate the Affordable Care Act.

Sales Tax update


The Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Sales Tax Repeal meets tomorrow at the State House.  The commission was created to study all aspects of the current sales tax system, including a possible repeal of the tax.  The panel is expected to report its findings and make recommendations to the General Assembly in February. 

Twin River buys in Mississippi


Twin River Casino’s parent company is buying The Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi.  According to The Journal, it cost 250 million dollars.  They deal should close in June.

Red Sox New Year's Eve


The Red Sox will cap off the 2013 championship year by hosting the first-ever "New Year's Eve at Fenway Park."  It's an ice skating and sledding event from 5-to-10 p.m. on December 31st for families from throughout New England.  The World Series trophies will be on display and available for photos.  Tickets are available online at redsox.com/newyears.

New State Troopers


Three dozen men and women will be sworn-in as Rhode Island state troopers this afternoon.  They were selected from more than 16-hundred applicants and began 22-weeks of intensive training in July.  Today's ceremony is set for one p.m. at Rhode Island College. 

Exeter recall vote


The political fate of four of the five members of the town council in Exeter will be decided by voters tomorrow.  The recall effort was mounted by opponents of their proposal to have the attorney general's office oversee the gun permit process for carrying concealed weapons, rather than the town clerk.  Gun rights advocates say the council members ignored their concerns that the proposal would make it more difficult to get a permit.

Broadway Streetscape in Newport


The Rhode Island D.O.T.  has set it’s priorities for projects that need funding and a 1 million dollar Broadway streetscape  in Newport is on the top of the list.  There’s a public hearing on Friday morning to go over the projects.

Newport Jazz Festival Tour


The 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival will also include a tour.  17 concerts in February and March will highlight artists selected by George Wein.  The closest show will be in Boston.

Rabid Fox


A dead gray fox found in East Greenwich on Monday was rabid.   The state Department of Environmental Management doesn't know how long the animal had been dead, or if it's the fox that reportedly attacked several people last month.  Area residents are warned it's likely the fox transmitted rabies to other animals before it died. 

Humanist banner


A group called the Humanists of Rhode Island is protesting religious symbols at the State House.  In response to the Christmas tree and the Jewish menorah on display at the State House, the group has hung what it calls a "seasonal banner" there, promoting the separation of church and state.   The group says the government of the United States, and Rhode Island in particular, is "secular by nature and design."

Tennis Hall of Fame


The International Tennis Hall of Fame will tear down 4 buildings on Memorial Boulevard and move another building to build a new tennis complex.  According to the Daily News, they got the go ahead yesterday from the Newport Planning Board. 

Exeter gun vote


Gun rights advocate, Rodney Santos from Exeter says the Exeter Town Council met illegally in June.  According to the Journal, he asked the Attorney General to look into the council breaking the Open Meetings Law.  Exeter residents will vote this Saturday to recall 4 town councilors that want the state to control concealed weapons permits instead of the town clerk.

T.F. Green could go global


Regularly scheduled year-round international flights from T.F. Green Airport could soon be a reality.  The president of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation says negotiations with an international carrier are ongoing.  Kelley Fredericks says he thinks there's about an 80-percent chance an agreement will be reached. 

Identity Breach for over 1,800 Rhode Islanders


A computer system security breach at JPMorgan Chase may have exposed personal data such as email addresses and bank account information of more than 18-hundred Rhode Islanders. Those potentially affected include people receiving unemployment benefits, temporary disability insurance or child support via prepaid debit cards. The state Department of Labor and Training announced yesterday the breach happened between July and September.  There is no evidence of misuse of personal information, however, as a precaution, JPMorgan Chase is offering free credit monitoring for one year to those affected by the breach.

Bishop Tobin reflects on Nelson Mandela


Bishop Thomas Tobin says while there is much to admire about the late Nelson Mandela, including his personal courage and defense of human rights, there is a part of his legacy that is not praiseworthy.  Tobin says the former South African president promoted and signed a bill into law in 1996 that liberalized the country's abortion laws. 

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung with Dave Rogers


If you missed the interview with Cranston Mayor and candidate for Governor, Allan Fung, go to the podcast page and listen to The Open Forum with Dave Rogers.

The Pell Center


The Pell Center at Salve Regina University says the news story of the year is NSA spying.  According to the Journal, this is the first time The Pell Center has made such a designation.

Tiverton Fire


Fire officials are investigating a fire in Tiverton on Saturday night.  Everyone got out ok but one firefighter was injured. 

Unemployment Benefits


Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are among 32 lawmakers who are urging extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.   If Congress doesn't act by the end of the month, benefits will stop for nearly one-and-a-half-million people at the end of the year, and millions more will have no benefits after their initial 26 weeks of unemployment insurance ends during 2014.  Reed, Whitehouse and the other senators say unemployment insurance is a lifeline to people searching for work in a “challenging economy.”

Patriots Sunday


The Cleveland Browns head to Foxboro Sunday to play the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.  The Browns lost 32-28 at home to Jacksonville this past Sunday.  Cleveland quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are both dealing with concussions, possibly leaving Cowboys practice squad acquisition Alex Tanney in line to start.  The Pats pulled out a 34-31 win at Houston last weekend and lead the AFC East at 9-and-3.

Ex-con convicted


An ex-convict is headed back to prison after being found guilty of fatally shooting a 17-year-old girl in May of 2011.  A jury handed down its verdict against Leron Porter on Friday following a month-long trial.  They deliberated only five hours.  Police said Porter shot and killed Tiphany Tallo during a dispute with her older sister in their home that was allegedly over a boyfriend.  Tallo's sister was stabbed and her mother assaulted in the attack carried out by Porter and several members of his family.  He had been released from federal prison just two weeks before Tallo was murdered.

Probation for Mary O'Rourke


It’s 5 years probation, 9 months home confinement and a fine for Mary O’Rourke for her role in the scheme that cost the Navy 18 million dollars.  She also has to help pay 470,000 dollars in restitution.  According to the Journal, she was an executive with Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow that had offices in Middletown and Ralph Mariano’s girlfriend. 

"Operation Gas"


A two-year investigation has resulted in dozens of arrests and the dismantling of the MS-13 street gang.  U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says the probe, dubbed "Operation Gas" also resulted in the seizure of 23 kilograms of heroin, 100 grams of cocaine, 400-thousand-dollars in cash, 15 guns and a dozen vehicles.  Neronha says 36 people were arrested and a dozen have been deported or face deportation on immigration violation charges.  The operation began as an investigation into heroin trafficking from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala into Rhode Island.

Portsmouth Man Sentenced


A 3 year sentence for another person involved in the Navy kickback scheme has been handed down to Russell Spencer of Portsmouth according to the Journal.  The former Navy subcontractor received the light sentence for the same reason as Anjan Dutta Gupta did.  They both cooperated with the investigation into the scheme that cost the Navy 18 million dollars. 

R.I. Flags at half-staff for Mandela


Governor Chaffee ordered flags in Rhode Island flown at half-staff on public buildings and grounds until sunset on Monday in memory of Nelson Mandela.  The former South African president and anti-apartheid leader died yesterday at the age of 95.  Chafee issued a statement calling Mandela a historic leader who dedicated his life to "fighting for freedom, social justice and racial equality."

Deadly crash


An 80 year old woman was killed in a single car crash yesterday in Portsmouth.  After the accident she was taken to Newport Hospital where she died.  Her identity has not been released.

Newport Jazz Festival


They made it official.  As WADK reported last week, a third full day has been added to next summer's 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival.  The festival will now start on Friday, August 1st, with the day devoted to emerging jazz musicians. The additional day is being funded in part by a 40-thousand-dollar grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. 

Deep Water Wind


State officials ok’ed agreements that will allow Deep Water Wind’s under water transmission cable to come ashore at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett.  According to the Journal, the state properties committee approved easements in return for 1.7 million dollars.  Deep Water Wind still needs permits from other state agencies to move forward with the wind farm off Block Island.  

Navy Scam Sentencing


The founder of Advanced Solutions for Tomorrow, which had offices in Middletown, faces sentencing for his role in the scheme that stole 18 million dollars from the Navy.  According to the AP, Anjan Dutta-Gupta  pleaded guilty in 2011 to bribery.  He’s one of 6 people convicted in the scam.

7 Million Dollar Settlement


Police shot Marc Kilcline 9 times and now the town of North Kingstown has offered to pay 7 million dollars in damages to his family.  The confrontation back in 2009 left him permanently paralyzed and he passed away in April.  According to the Journal, police say the mentally ill Kilcline charged at them with a knife and the police shot him.  His family filed a lawsuit in 2010 and the settlement will be paid by the town’s insurance company.      

Christmas Radiothon on Talk of the Town 12/4


Click here for the items needed.

State Christmas Tree


The invitation for this year's annual State House tree lighting calls it a "Christmas tree."  The last two years the event sparked criticism when Governor Chafee decided to call it a "holiday tree."    Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin issued a statement supporting the decision to resume calling it a "Christmas tree."  The tree lighting in the State House rotunda is set for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday with Secretary of State, Ralph Mollis.

R.I. United Way Outreach


United Way of Rhode Island has a new outreach van that will travel the state to help those calling 211.   The United Way 211 Outreach Van will provide private meeting space for counseling on issues ranging from payment of utility bills and food assistance to care for children and aging parents.

Eliminating HIV/AIDS


The state Department of Health is launching an initiative to eliminate HIV infections and AIDS in Rhode Island by 2018.  It includes a multi-media campaign to promote condom use, and routine testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. In Rhode Island, 22-hundred people are living with HIV and an estimated 400 others don't yet know they are infected.

Injured Birds


The Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown is busy.  They are working with a hawk that was burned at the Central Landfill and a snowy owl found with a broken wing at Quonset State Airport.  According to the Journal,  both birds are expected to survive.

Affordable Housing


A commission to assess the effectiveness of affordable housing legislation passed in 2004, will meet today. The joint House and Senate Housing Act Implementation Oversight Commission is made up of legislators, local government representatives and housing experts. The meeting is scheduled at four p.m. at the State House.

Quonset Business Park visit


Members of the House of Representatives will tour the Quonset Business Park tomorrow. The tour and briefing will allow lawmakers to get a look at growth and development there, and hear about future plans.  More than 95-hundred people are employed by 175 companies at the park.  A similar tour was conducted for members of the state Senate last month.

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