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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2017-07

PawSox brass meet with Worcester city officials

Worcester is stepping up its efforts to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to the city.

PawSox brass including chairman Larry Lucchino and vice chairman Mike Tamburro - a Worcester native - met with by City Manager Ed Augustus, Mayor Joe Petty and other officials last week to discuss a possible move.

The visit included a tour of the Canal District neighborhood adjacent to a vacant property, the site often mentioned as a possible location for a ballpark.

The Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate's lease at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket runs out in 2020 and the team wants a new ballpark.

Rhode Island officials have said they want to keep the team, but have not been able to reach a financing deal for a new stadium.

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RI budget impasse: Governor wants vote this week

Gov. Gina Raimondo is pushing for a vote this week to end a lengthy impasse between the House and Senate over the state's $9.2 billion budget.

Raimondo told reporters on Tuesday that her top priority is to pass a budget this week. She says Aug. 1 is the day the state is supposed to send increased aid for schools and local communities, and passing a budget will make that possible.

Rhode Island has been operating without a budget since July 1, after a disagreement between the House and Senate over the details of a car tax cut that was House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's top priority.

The 25-day stalemate is causing uncertainty in local governments and school districts as state government operates at last year's spending levels.

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Decades-old suit against juvenile detention center settled

A lawsuit filed 46 years ago by inmates at a juvenile correctional facility in Rhode Island has been settled.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday that issues at the Rhode Island Training School have been resolved.

The lawsuit was filed in 1971 challenging conditions at what was then called the Rhode Island Boys' Training School, and reforms were ordered in 1972.

The ACLU joined the case in 2001 and both sides agreed on new reforms, including the construction of a new facility.

Amy Fettig, deputy director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, says Rhode Island is the first corrections system in the country to comply with standards recommended by the Annie Casey Foundation, which aims to reduce youth incarceration and improve detention conditions.

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Developer's plan for Providence skyscraper approved

A Rhode Island Commission has approved a revised proposal to build a 46-story skyscraper on the Providence waterfront.

The Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission cast their vote Tuesday night in favor of New York City developer Jason Fane's proposal. Fane has scaled back his original plan of building three towers in the space previously occupied by the interstate.

His revised Hope Point Tower proposal includes 7 townhouses, 400 rental apartments and about 100 condominiums. The space would feature retail shops on the ground level.

Fane's legal council says they will next petition for a zoning change so his project can be taken up by City Council. If approved, the building would be the tallest in the city.

Fane is seeking $15 million in state tax credits for the project.

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RI home sales boom shows no signs of slowing down

Rhode Island's real estate market is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of single-family homes were up more than 10 percent in June when compared to the same month a year ago, while median prices jumped more than 12 percent year over year.

The median price of $275,000 is the highest it's been since September 2007.

Association President Brenda Marchwicki says prices are being driven by high demand and lack of inventory, and are not predicated on a speculative market fueled by subprime mortgages as they were in 2006 and 2007.

There were 3,888 houses for sale in Rhode Island in June, down from 4,662 in June of 2016.

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RI gas prices down a penny

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Rhode Island has risen by a penny in the past week.

AAA Northeast reports Monday that self-serve, regular is now selling for $2.26 per gallon. That's 2 cents per gallon lower than the national average, but a nickel higher than the Rhode Island price one year ago.

AAA found gasoline selling for as low as $2.09 and as high as $2.44 per gallon in the state.

A continuing global glut of crude oil has helped keep gasoline prices in check, but AAA warns that that could change when OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers meet this week to decide whether to extend production cuts.

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Boaters asked to slow down for whales off N.E. coast

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking boaters off the southern New England coast to slow down because of the presence of rare whales.

The federal agency says endangered right whales were spotted in the area July 16. The agency is extending a voluntary speed restriction order, asking mariners to avoid the area south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, or proceed at 10 knots or less until July 30.

North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world. The animals are vulnerable to injury and death from vessel strikes.

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ACLU sues Cranston again over panhandling ban

 

An ordinance that bans panhandling on busy roads in Cranston is the subject of another federal lawsuit.

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday sued the city, saying the ordinance passed in February violates the First Amendment.

The conflict is part of a long-running battle in Cranston, which last year acknowledged that a city panhandling ban instituted in 2015 was unconstitutional. The city agreed to settle a different ACLU lawsuit and stop enforcing the ordinance.

The new ordinance was described as a safety measure.

The ACLU says the ordinance is similar and still covers the same kinds of activities. They say it criminalizes poverty.

A spokesman for Mayor Allan Fung calls it narrowly tailored and says it prevents "dangerous circumstances within busy roadways and intersections."

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Officials ID man who died after diving near state park

Rhode Island officials have identified a Massachusetts man who died after diving in the water around a state park.

The state Department of Environmental Management says 35-year-old Jesse Andrade, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, was reported in distress close to Beavertail State Park in Jamestown on Sunday afternoon.

The Coast Guard took him to shore, and first responders administered CPR while taking him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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Speaker, Senate president have 'productive' budget meeting

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio have indicated they may be close to resolving the state budget impasse.

Mattiello said in a statement Tuesday that he and Ruggerio had a "very productive meeting" over coffee. He says they will continue to meet in the near future.

Ruggerio issued a similar statement, saying he hopes the two can reach a conclusion "that benefits all Rhode Islanders in the near future."

The two Democratic leaders have been feuding over who bears responsibility for the two-and-a-half-week-old standoff over the state's $9.2 billion budget. The 18-day stalemate is causing uncertainty in local governments and school districts as state government operates at last year's spending levels.

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Council calls for school probe after abuse allegations

The Providence City Council has moved forward with a resolution calling for an independent investigation of a school that state officials say failed to properly report molestation allegations.

The council's education committee amended the proposed resolution Monday.

The resolution would have the Providence police conduct the investigation into Harry Kizirian Elementary School's handling of the accusations against gym teacher James Duffy.

Duffy is accused of groping three fifth-grade girls. He has been charged with five counts of child molestation and did not enter a plea during his arraignment June 29.

The school board has ordered retraining for all top Providence school administrators in the proper reporting of sex abuse allegations.

City council is expected to vote on the resolution Thursday.

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State police issue $57,000 fine for overweight truck

The Rhode Island State Police has issued a $57,000 fine against the company that owns the flatbed truck that was ruled too heavy for state bridges.

Police announced the fine against Bay Crane Northeast Tuesday.

The company's truck was stuck on the side of Interstate 95 in Warwick for several days in June because its load, a 560,000-pound (254,011-kilogram) generator, was seven times higher than the legal weight limit for loads without a permit. The state's maximum allowable load without a permit is 80,000 pounds (36,287 kilograms).

The truck reached its final destination in Medway, Massachusetts July 14.

The fine issued by the state police Commercial Enforcement Unit is believed to be the largest issued for a motor-vehicle violation in the state.

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Euer wins District 2 primariary handily

Dawn Euer, an attorney and activist who fought for marriage equality in Rhode Island, won Tuesday's Democratic primary for state Senate District 13 by a landslide, getting twice as many votes as her nearest challenger.
Euer now heads to the general election Aug. 22 against Republican Michael Smith, Green Party candidate Gregory Larson and independent Kimberly Ripoli.
The Newport Daily News reports that, according to the uncertified results, Euer defeated Newport City Councilman John Florez, Newport School Committee Chairman David Hanos and David Allard, a state Department of Education employee and a former outreach coordinator for Gov. Gina Raimondo, by a 2 to 1 margin.

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Kin sue to stop inheritance as grandad, mom die mysteriously

The family of a man suspected in the 2013 slaying of his millionaire grandfather has filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire accusing him of killing his grandfather and possibly his mother, who was lost at sea during a mother-son fishing trip.

The family says Vernon, Vermont, resident Nathan Carman wanted to collect a multimillion-dollar inheritance.

Eighty-seven-year-old real estate developer John Chakalos was found fatally shot at his Connecticut home. Carman was a suspect, but no one was arrested.

Carman survived the 2016 fishing trip near Rhode Island after the boat carrying him and his mother sank. Mom Linda Carman is presumed dead.

Her sisters sued on Monday. They've asked a judge to block Nathan Carman from collecting money from his grandfather's estate.

Nathan Carman has denied any involvement in his grandfather's death. He says he didn't sabotage the boat.

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RI DMV set to reopen after closure for new computer system

Offices of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles are set to reopen for regular business after the agency installed its long-delayed new computer system.

The DMV says it's reopening all its offices today on a walk-in basis, but says people should expect long lines and wait times.

Work to launch the computer system began in May. The work has meant DMV offices had to shut down temporarily, and then required appointments when they reopened.

As of today, people will be allowed to walk in to DMV branches without making an appointment.

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RI senators, congressmen slam GOP health care bill

Rhode Island's senior senator says the Republicans' proposed changes to health care could cause a collapse of the whole system.

Sen. Jack Reed joined with the rest of the state's congressional delegation Monday to denounce the GOP bill. Reed appeared in Providence with fellow Democrats Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Reps. David Cicilline and Jim Langevin.

Langevin said the bill could affect thousands of Rhode Islanders, while Cicilline said it "undermines our values as Americans."

Whitehouse said, "There is not enough lipstick in the world to cover this pig."

Reed also took the opportunity to wish Republican Sen. John McCain a speedy recovery. Action on the GOP health care proposal was delayed after the 80-year-old Arizona senator underwent surgery to remove a blood clot.

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Gas prices in RI up by 2 cents this week

Gas prices in Rhode Island are up by two cents this week.

AAA Northeast said Monday the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.25 per gallon. That's the same as the national average but three cents higher than the average price in the state a year ago at this time.

AAA found the price of self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.09 to as high as $2.40.

AAA officials say the increase follows a period of "solid demand and some declines in the glut of crude oil" that have kept prices low this summer.

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Flynn returns to hometown, surfing in respite from scandal

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn sits at the center of probes into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. He's seeking sanctuary in the Rhode Island beach town where he grew up surfing and skateboarding.

Flynn grew up the sixth of nine siblings crammed into a 1,200-square foot house in Middletown, a blue-collar neighbor of ritzy Newport.

Friends and family say Flynn has been spending his summer surfing at beaches near the home he built there years ago, and trying to figure out his path forward.

They say he has begun work again as a consultant after shutting down his old firm and is not letting the allegations bother him. Flynn's brothers and longtime friends believe he'll be exonerated.

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Gas prices in RI down 3 cents per gallon

Gas prices in Rhode Island have dropped by three cents this week.

AAA Northeast said Monday that the price of self-serve, regular gasoline is averaging $2.24 per gallon. That's one cent higher than the national average of $2.23.

It was the fifth straight week that the state average has decreased. The state was averaging $2.27 per gallon a year ago at this time.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.09 and as high as $2.49 per gallon.

AAA says the Fourth of July holiday will likely increase demand for gasoline but not enough to cause a significant price increase.

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Fire at college dorm being investigated as arson

A fire in a dorm at Rhode Island College is being investigated as arson.

Firefighters were called to Sweet Hall shortly after 4 a.m. Monday and determined there was a fire in a bathroom stall.

Providence Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Jutras said there was smoke and water damage. The dorm was vacant at the time and no injuries were reported.

The state fire marshal and arson investigators are trying to determine what caused the fire.

The public college in Providence enrolls about 8,000 students.

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Sen. Whitehouse visits troops in Afghanistan on July 4th

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says it was emotional and inspiring to spend July Fourth with troops in Afghanistan.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, led a group of senators to Pakistan and Afghanistan for the holiday weekend. They visited a military base in South Waziristan and met with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad before traveling to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Whitehouse said Tuesday it was emotional because service members in Afghanistan are constantly in harm's way and constantly making the nation proud. He called The Associated Press from Bagram airfield.

McCain has traveled to Afghanistan in past years for July Fourth.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue are on the trip.

They met with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

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Child injured after car crashes into Taco Bell

Police say a child was injured after a car crashed into a Taco Bell.

The car crashed into the Warwick store Tuesday afternoon and became wedged in the entryway.

Police say the child was hurt when he was hit with flying glass. He was treated at the scene.

The car has been since removed, and officials estimate the building requires $20,000 to $30,000 worth of repairs. No other injuries were reported.

The dining room has been closed, but the restaurant's drive-thru is still open. It is unclear what led to the crash.

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DMV launches new system reservations required

The Department of Motor Vehicles is launching a new computer system but it may mean some temporary inconvenience for some Rhode Island residents.

Starting today and through July 17, the DMV will only be accepting customers who made reservations in advance. That's to give staff time to get used to the new $19 million system.

Customers arriving at department offices should either print out a confirmation of their reservation with a bar code, or have it available on their phone.

No one will be allowed into a DMV office without a reservation during this period.

To help ease the transition, the agency is extending July expiration dates for licenses and registrations until September, and also extending temporary license plates from 20 days to 40 days.

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Man arrested after loaded gun found in diaper bag

Rhode Island State Police say a Providence man was arrested after troopers found a loaded handgun in a diaper bag during a traffic stop.

Police say 21-year-old Karon Williams was a passenger in the car stopped by troopers for a traffic violation on Interstate 95 in Richmond on Friday. Police say the gun was found in the bag between Williams' legs.

Williams faces gun possession and child abuse charges. Police say his 6-month-old daughter was in the car at the time. The infant was turned over to the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth & Families.

He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. It couldn't be determined Sunday if he has an attorney.

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RI GOP event honoring Sean Spicer canceled

A Rhode Island Republican Party fundraiser honoring White House press secretary Sean Spicer has been canceled.

Spicer was set to headline the fundraiser scheduled for Sunday evening. The location was not disclosed.

Spicer grew up in Barrington,.

Chairman Brandon Bell said Sunday the event has been canceled but did not give a reason.

Tickets for the event had cost a minimum $250. Tickets to a private VIP reception before the event cost $1,000.

Bell says Spicer will be honored at a later date.

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Electronic message sign hit, destroyed by vehicle

Police in Warwick are investigating after a vehicle hit and destroyed an electronic message board .

Sgt. John Kelly says the message board trailer owned by the city was alerting motorists to a fireworks show planned for Monday at Oakland Beach. He says a car hit the message board on Sunday, totaling it, then fled the scene.

The message board is used to inform the community of events.

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Providence gets $3.4M in federal funds to reduce lead paint

Providence will receive $3.4 million in federal funding to ensure homes are free of lead-based paint.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced the funding.

With help from Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, the city secured funding from a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program to expand the Lead Safe Providence Program, which coordinates lead hazard reduction activities.

Reed and Elorza say the money will help Providence perform 230 risk assessments for owners to identify lead hazards, make 200 homes lead-safe and reduce environmental health hazards at 140 homes.

They say hundreds of Providence children live in neighborhoods with deteriorating, aging homes.

Elorza, a Democrat, says children deserve safe, healthy housing without the risk of lead exposure and serious health concerns associated with lead paint.

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Health officials wary as wet spring leads to mosquitoes

A wetter-than-normal spring in the Northeast is behind a bumper crop of mosquitoes as Americans begin grilling and enjoying outdoor activities.

The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University reports it was the fourth-wettest spring on record from West Virginia to Maine.

That's raising concerns about a corresponding spike in mosquito-borne illnesses. But the presence of mosquitoes doesn't necessarily point to a spike in West Nile virus, Eastern equine encephalitis or the Zika virus.

Public health officials are monitoring the situation.

West Nile cases in humans have been reported in seven states. EEE has been detected in mosquitoes in Texas, Mississippi and Florida. There also have been more than 100 Zika cases, all associated with travel outside the U.S.

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