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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2017-10

Hasbro Will Hold Toy Convention Again In 2019

Hasbro's HASCON event is returning to Providence, but toy and game enthusiasts will have to wait until 2019. The Pawtucket-based company announced yesterday it will host the second-ever HASCON event from September 6th to the 8th, 2019, at the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin' Donuts Center. The first HASCON took place this past September, offering a behind-the-scenes look and a showcase of their brands to families and fans of all ages. It also included meet-and-greet opportunities with Mark Wahlberg, Stan Lee, David Ortiz, Dude Perfect and many more.

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Mayor, City Council Member Call For Licensing Board Chair Resignation

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is calling for Juan Pichardo, the city's licensing board chairman, to step down from the role. The announcement on Monday came after shots were fired at the Penthouse Club on South Water Street over the weekend. City Council member Seth Yurdin, whose ward covers the club, said the incident happened just a day after the board failed to move forward with a hearing to revoke the club's license, and he is supporting Elorza's request.

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Federal Prosecutors Announce Charges In Major Drug Case

Almost two-dozen people are being charged in federal court in Providence in connection to a major drug investigation. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Providence says the case, dubbed Operation Panamera, has resulted in the seizure of at least 45 kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutors said on Monday that hundreds of kilograms of fentanyl and cocaine are believed to have been moved through Rhode Island and Massachusetts by the drug-trafficking group that was targeted. The arrested individuals include a Dominican national and several Florida residents.

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Governor Signs Domestic Violence Gun Law

Domestic abusers are being prevented from owning guns in Rhode Island. Governor Gina Raimondo signed legislation on Monday that bans firearm possession by anyone who is named in a domestic order of protection issued by a court, after the General Assembly recently passed the bill. Raimondo called the signing the end of a hard-fought battle and says the law will save lives. State Representative Teresa Tanzi and State Senator Harold Metts were the bill's lead sponsors in the assembly.

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Providence Public Schools Mostly Re-Opening, Other Schools Remain Closed

Providence public schools are re-opening on Tuesday after closings were announced on Monday due to Sunday's storm and the subsequent power outages. There are two exceptions - George West and Pleasant View elementary schools will be closed as they remain without electricity. Providence will open the Neutaconkanut Recreation Center on Plainfield Street and the West End Recreation Center on Bucklin Street to serve breakfast and lunch today. Many other school districts in the state are closed, including Bristol-Warren, Conventry, East and West Greenwich, Foster-Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Cumberland, Warwick and West Warwick.

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Utility Company Still Working To Restore Power After Storm

National Grid says it could be days before electricity is fully restored to all of the Rhode Island customers currently without it. A major rain and wind storm Sunday night led to almost one-third of the utility's Ocean State base reporting an outage by noon yesterday, and National Grid's online outage map indicated the outage number finally dropped just below one-hundred thousand overnight Monday. Utility officials say there are almost 160 crews working to restore service. Governor Gina Raimondo, who surveyed storm damage in Warwick on Monday, tweeted Monday evening that workers are going as fast as they can to restore power and mitigate damage from the storm.

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Traffic Pattern Changes Today For Bridge Work

A single-lane alternating traffic pattern is scheduled to be implemented on Route 112 at the Richmond-Charlestown line today.  It's to begin work replacing the Carolina Bridges, a series of 70-year-old bridges across the Pawcatuck River and related old mill waterways.  The state Department of Transportation says full-time lane closures will be in place for about three years. 

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Call For Greater Hurricane Recovery Efforts

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is calling for increased efforts to restore power in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  He's one of 35 Senate Democrats who say the Trump administration's lack of coordination and failure to move quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria threatens power grid recovery efforts and jeopardizes health and safety.  In a letter to administration officials, the senators say homes, hospitals and infrastructure including drinking water and sewage treatment systems, desperately need power restored.  

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Landmark Medical Center Owner Is Fined

The state is fining the owner of Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket one-million-dollars.  It's over Prime HealthCare Services' effort to convert Landmark from for-profit to non-profit status.  Prime reportedly didn't wait for state approval to change Landmark's status which is a violation of state law.  When the California-based company bought the struggling hospital in 2013, state officials said they approved the deal in part because Landmark would become a for-profit that pays property taxes. 

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Work This Week On Busy Providence Street

Weather permitting, work is scheduled this week along North Main Street in Providence.  A concrete crosswalk is to be poured in the vicinity of the old State House as part of a pedestrian safety project.  One of the two travel lane will be closed for several days to allow time for the concrete to harden and cure.  Delays are likely and drivers are advised to plan on extra travel time.  

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RI firefighters training counterparts from Greece

Firefighters from Rhode Island have been busy training some visiting counterparts from Greece.

The Westerly Fire Department and others have formed a partnership with the Athens-based Union of Hellenic Fire Service Volunteers. Organizers say it's helping to equip Greek firefighters with new skills.

Makis Tsiougris, president of the Greek volunteer firefighter group, says that training opportunities are scant in Greece.

Tsigouris says he and the other Greeks participating in the sessions feel "fortunate and very thankful."

About two dozen Greek firefighters came to Rhode Island this past week for intensive instruction. Watch Hill Fire Lt. Christopher Koretski and other state firefighting officials say improving cultural understanding is an added benefit.

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Officials celebrate completion of Amtrak station upgrades

Officials are celebrating the completion of upgrades and high-speed rail track improvements at an Amtrak station in Rhode Island.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, , Gov. Gina Raimondo, state transportation officials and Amtrak representatives plan to gather Monday morning at the Kingston Station in South Kingstown.

The improvements are designed to improve safety and efficiency for Amtrak trains, create level train boarding with new platforms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and improve station amenities.

Amtrak says the improvements cost $41 million, funded in part by a $26.5 million federal grant. Amtrak says it provided the rest of the funding and managed the design and construction.

Amtrak says a new third track will enable high-speed trains to safely bypass regional trains stopping at Kingston.

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Storm knocks out power, forces school closures

Hundreds of thousands of customers were left without power after a storm brought high winds and heavy rains to southern New England.

Electric utilities National Grid and Eversource combined were reporting more than 300,000 customers without power in Massachusetts as of about 7 a.m. Monday.

About 152,000 Eversource customers were without power in Connecticut, while United Illuminating reported about 5,700 customers in the dark.

National Grid had more than 140,000 customers without power in Rhode Island.

The weather prompted dozens of schools to cancel classes or delay the start of school.

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Coventry Teacher Wins Prestigious Award

A Coventry High School English teacher is the winner of a prestigious education award.  Lauren Hopkins is a Milken Educator Award winner for excellence in teaching.  She says she'll use the 25-thousand-dollar cash prize on books for her classroom.   Hopkins is the only winner of the national award this year in Rhode Island.   

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Woonsocket May Seek Grants For Land Purchase

Woonsocket may seek up to 800-thousand-dollars in state grants to help buy about 55 acres of open land.  The property might otherwise be converted into housing.  The City Council has approved a resolution authorizing city officials to apply for the grants.   The council president says it's not a certainty the city will purchase the land, but he says the resolution keeps its options open.  

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Temporary Closure Of Westerly DMV Branch Extended

The temporary closure of the DMV branch in Westerly is being extended to November 30th.  It was closed last month due to elevator repairs to its second floor office in Westerly Town Hall.  The repair work is taking longer than anticipated.  As a result, the DMV branch in Wakefield will continue its expanded schedule and will be open on Friday's until further notice.

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Controversial Party Leader Quits Democrats

Joseph DeLorenzo says he's leaving the Democratic Party because it's not the party he's known and worked hard for over the years.  The former Cranston state representative says the party's far left wing wants to get rid of anyone who doesn't agree with its agenda.  His decision comes as pressure mounted for his removal from a leadership position over his recent comments about sexual harassment.  State Democratic Party Chairman Joseph McNamara says Central Falls Mayor James Diossa is replacing DeLorenzo as 2nd vice chair of the party.

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Channel Restrictions For Bridge Demolition Is Postponed

The temporary closures of the river channel for demolition of the old Sakonnet River Bridge is postponed until November 13th.  RIDOT says vessels will not be allowed to use the channel from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday for about a month.  The channel will reopen to marine traffic each day at 6 p.m., and all day on Sundays.

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Workers' Cooperatives Bill Is Signed

Legislation allowing for the creation of workers' cooperatives is now law in Rhode Island.  The legislation was ceremonially signed by Governor Gina Raimondo yesterday.  Worker-owned cooperatives are businesses owned and governed by their employees.  Supporters say workers' cooperatives increase productivity by empowering workers.

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Pressure Mounts For Party Official's Resignation

Pressure is growing for the resignation of state Democratic Party 2nd Vice-Chair Joseph DeLorenzo.  The Democratic Party Women's Caucus says it has enough signatures to call an emergency meeting to oust DeLorenzo for dismissive comments about sexual harassment at the State House.  A Caucus spokeswoman says Governor Gina Raimondo, Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman Jim Langevin are among those who have signed the request for the emergency meeting.  DeLorenzo is a former Cranston state representative who has apologized for his comments.  

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Assistant High School Principal In Altercation Resigns

An assistant principal at Central High School in Providence is out of a job.  Thomas Bacon resigned yesterday after his involvement in an altercation with a student on Monday caught on social media video.  Bacon has not been charged with a crime, while the 15-year-old boy involved is charged with two counts of simple assault

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Bridge Closure In East Providence Next Week

The Newman Avenue Bridge in East Providence is going to be closed for one day next Week.  The closure is necessary for the installation of concrete beams as part of a project to replace the bridge.  It will be closed for 24 hours starting at six a.m. next Wednesday.

 

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Westerly Police Looking For Church Thief

Westerly police are seeking the public's help to identify a church thief.  The man is wanted for stealing a sound board from the Immaculate Conception Church earlier this month.   A surveillance photo of the suspect is posted on the Westerly Concerned Citizens Facebook page.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the police.

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More Benny's Locations To Close

More Benny's locations will close within the next week.  The Rhode Island-based retailer announced last month that it would close all of its locations by the end of the year.  Locations in Seekonk, Mansfield, Cranston and Warwick are scheduled to close between October 31st and November 2nd. 

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PC Investigating Complaints Of Racism

Providence College is investigating two incidents of racial bias.  A photo was posted to a social media site yesterday morning by a student that was deemed inappropriate, offensive and included a racist slur.  A letter sent to everyone on campus didn't mention the second incident.

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Plan To Acquire Vacant Homes Moves Forward

The Providence City Council is giving preliminary approval to the mayor's plan to seize more than 100 abandoned properties.  The proposal would allow the city's redevelopment agency to use eminent domain, purchase or tax sale to acquire the properties.  Once the city owns the sites, they will be resold to developers.  The council's second vote on the proposal will be November 2nd. 

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Committee Chair Says No Vote On Stadium Without Owner Finance Info

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee says there will be no vote on the PawSox stadium without additional financial information.  Chairman William Conley says the team's owners need to turn over profit and revenue information.  The team's consultant says it will revisit providing additional financial information.

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New commission on legalizing marijuana in RI meets for first time

The 19 members of a new study commission to look into legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island met for the first time Wednesday, setting up plans to take testimony and study data from other states over the next several months.

The commission was formed by the legislature earlier this year, tasking the members with studying the effects of legal marijuana and reporting back its findings. 

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Hawkins Street Bridge In Providence Is Closed

The Hawkins Street Bridge in Providence is closed.  The bridge which crosses the West River and Route 146 was closed Tuesday night on the recommendation of the state Department of Transportation.  Area residents are advised to seek alternate routes.   It's scheduled for work in fiscal 2019, but the city will reportedly attempt to make repairs sooner.

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RI Doctor Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges

The operator of a now defunct pain-management practice is awaiting sentencing in January.  Doctor Jerrold Rosenberg of North Providence and Jamestown pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to receiving kickbacks for prescribing an addictive Fentanyl spray painkiller.  He's admitted he fraudulently indicated his patients had breakthrough pain from cancer when they did not in order to get insurance approvals for the prescriptions.  Rosenberg faces prison time, fines and restitution when he's sentenced.

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Legislator Calls Approval Of PawSox Stadium Crucial

State Senator Elizabeth Crowley says approval of public funding to help build a baseball stadium in Pawtucket is crucial.  The Central Falls Democrat warns that with the announced closing of Memorial Hospital, losing the Pawtucket Red Sox could send the city sliding back into dark economic times.  Crowley says after listening to hours of testimony, she believes it's a good deal for taxpayers and critical to the economies of Pawtucket and the entire state.

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Stolen Batteries Recovered

A recycling business in Pawtucket is out the 600-dollars it paid for three-dozen batteries stolen from an East Providence school bus yard.  Police say Berger and Company Recycling contacted them after hearing of the reports of the stolen batteries after unknowingly buying them from two men.  The two men provided their IDs to the business when making the sale and police are following up on that information. 

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Black Business Association Head Blasts Raimondo

The head of the Rhode Island Black Business Association is blasting the Raimondo administration and the state Commerce Corporation for a lack of support.  Lisa Ranglin says Governor Raimondo talks about small business development but says her organization has seen very little support for black businesses.  Ranglin says a 100-thousand-dollar grant is nice, but millions are going to big corporations.  She says black businesses need to create jobs, too.

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PawSox Won't Disclose Team's Profits

The owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox claim they shouldn't have to reveal their profit and revenue numbers in order to have the state float 71-million-dollars in bonds for a new stadium.  The refusal comes in written answers to questions from the state Senate Finance Committee.  PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino says the team has provided financial information and the request is for proprietary details.  The team has provided a balance sheet indicating the team's liabilities and assets.

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Two Providence School Administrators On Leave After Separate Incidents

Two administrators at Providence's Central High School are on paid leave after involvement in separate violent incidents.  In one incident, a staff member was elbowed by a student and in the other, an assistant principal tried to break up a fight between two students.  A video of the second incident shows an adult holding a male student on the floor.  The mother of the student in the video says  her son has epilepsy and is upset he was arrested. 

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Democrat Regunberg bids for RI Lt. governor

State Rep. Aaron Regunberg has kicked off a run for lieutenant governor.

The Providence Democrat made the announcement Tuesday in Warwick.

The run potentially pits him against incumbent Democratic Lt. Gov. Dan McKee. A McKee spokesman says on Tuesday that McKee will announce his plans for the coming election on Nov. 7. He would not comment on what post McKee is considering.

The 27-year-old Regunberg was first elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. He led the push for legislation mandating paid time off for workers who call in sick.

He is a graduate of Brown University and also founded the Providence Student Union to advocate for the rights of public school students in the city.

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Tiverton police helps recover teen in sex-trafficking case

A 16-year-old from Tiverton is safe following a nationwide effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to stop child trafficking.

The FBI’s Providence office with help from police departments in Tiverton, Rhode Island State Police, and the FBI’s Boston office arrested Jerry Isme, of Dorchester, for sex-trafficking a minor.

It was part of “Operation Cross Country XI,” which focused on cracking down on operations running out of hotels, casinos, and truck stops.

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Dolphins Spotted In Upper Narragansett Bay

There are Atlantic dolphins in upper Narragansett Bay.  They were spotted over the weekend near the Mount Hope Bridge.  It's unusual sight that far up the bay. Area fishermen speculate the dolphins are feeding on unusually large amounts of small bait fish schooling in the upper bay. 

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Annual Operation Holiday Cheer Kicks Off

The 15th annual Operation Holiday Cheer is now underway.  It's a seasonal initiative to send care packages to Rhode Islanders in the  military who are away from home during the Christmas season.  Due to recent deployments, it's anticipated more than 500 care packages will be shipped, the highest number in recent years.   

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Home Sale Prices Up In RI

The median price for a single-family house in Rhode Island is more than 261-thousand-dollars. That's up 13-percent for September from the previous year.  Prices for condominiums rose 18-and-a-half percent and up 22-percent for multi-family houses.  The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says low inventory is causing the price hikes.

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Effort To Mitigate Prescription Opioid Abuse

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is joining a bipartisan group of attorneys general urging healthcare companies to initiate programs to mitigate prescription opioid abuse.  Among the steps suggested, limiting the supply of opioids to seven days and limiting the daily dosage of opioids.  Kilmartin says everyone, including pharmacy benefit managers, needs to be involved to effectively end the opioid epidemic. 

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Commitments To Hire Displaced Hospital Workers

Efforts are underway to protect staff that will be displaced if Care New England follows through on plans to close Memorial Hospital.  Governor Gina Raimondo says she has secured commitments from Lifespan and CharterCare hospital groups to hire the hospital's employees.  She says they have enough vacancies for all of Memorial Hospital's nearly 700 workers. 

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UHIP Vendor To Credit The State

Deloitte Consulting, the vendor responsible for the trouble-plagued computer system at the Department of Human Services, has agreed to credit 58-and-a-half-million-dollars to Rhode Island.  It will cover any fines from the Food and Nutrition Services as well as other expenses.  Deloitte recently revealed the discovery of thousands of unprocessed claims in the benefits-eligibility system.  Since its launch in September of 2016, the United Health Infrastructure Project, known as UHIP, has had problems affecting various social service benefits.

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At Home Moving Warwick Location

After a squabble with Home Depot over what it can sell, At Home is moving its Warwick location from Bald Hill Road to Rhode Island Mall.  The company has been limited to what it can sell at its current location because of a non-compete clause in the lease agreement.  At Home will move into the top floor of the former Sears store, while Raymour and Flanigan will move to the lower level.  BJ's Brew House will move into the former Sears Automotive site. 

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Downtown Providence Hotel Has New Owners

The Providence Biltmore Hotel is changing hands.  Chicago-based AJ Capital Partners will convert the downtown hotel built in 1922 to its collection of Graduate Hotels located in college towns.  The company says renovations to the 294 rooms will be completed by the spring of 2019.

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Fung To Make Second Run For Governor

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is making another run at becoming Rhode Island's governor.  Fung made the announcement in front of about 200 supporters last night at Chapel View.  Fung lost his 2014 run to Governor Gina Raimondo and took jabs at a failed tourism campaign and the troubled state benefits program under her administration.  Fung joins Republican House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan who announced her bid for governor on Monday. 

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Senate Finance Committee Considers Finances For PawSox Stadium

The Senate Finance Committee is looking  at the financing proposal for a new PawSox stadium.  Team executives at last night's meeting said cost overruns are their biggest concern, but they would pay under the proposal.  The team's proposed share of the stadium's cost is a greater percentage than those of a number of minor league stadiums that have been built the last ten years.  The team's share at 33-million dollars is nearly half the cost of the proposed 71-million dollar project.  

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Gas prices in RI down 2 cents this week

The price of gas in Rhode Island is down two cents this week and continues to fall from its post-hurricane spike last month.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that self-serve, regular is averaging $2.58 per gallon. That's 12 cents more than the national average- $2.46 -and 34 cents higher that the average state price a year ago at this time.

Gas prices reached an average price of $2.73 per gallon after Hurricane Harvey. The price has now fallen 15 cents since September.

AAA's Lloyd Albert says that despite recent declines, drivers are still paying some 35 cents more for gas than they did at the same time last year.

AAA found regular gas selling for as low as $2.34 to a high of $2.70 per gallon

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Republican Morgan announces run for RI governor

Rhode Island House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan is running for governor.

The West Warwick Republican made the announcement in a video message released Monday morning. She becomes the first Republican to announce a run for the office currently held by Democrat Gina Raimondo.

In her message, the 67-year-old Morgan says she has seen her constituents struggle with a stagnant economy. She says the state needs leadership and a clear vision of what needs to be fixed.

Morgan, an Ohio native, is a financial adviser and former teacher.

Morgan was elected to the House in 2010, and became minority leader in November 2016. She previously headed the state Republican Party.

Republican Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, who ran against Raimondo in 2014, is expected to launch his run for governor on Tuesday.

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Fung to announce run for Governor

The list of names vying for Governor Gina Raimondo’s seat continues to grow.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is set to announce his candidacy in the race for governor on Tuesday.

Fung is scheduled to host a special event Tuesday where he is expected to officially make his announcement.

The Cranston mayor ran in 2014 and lost to Governor Raimondo.

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Open House And Ball Yard Sale

The second annual Open House and Ball Yard Sale is this Saturday at McCoy Stadium.  From 11 a.m. until two p.m. fans can walk the warning track, sit in the dugouts, visit the PawSox and visitors clubhouses, and see the batting tunnel.  Additionally, actual 2017 game-worn camouflage jerseys, memorabilia, and equipment will be available for purchase.    

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T.F. Green Named A Top Ten Airport

T.F. Green Airport is named one of the top ten airports in the country by Conde Nast Traveler magazine.  It reports fliers say the airport is easy to reach and to navigate.  It also note there's been an increase in international service in addition to budget flights. T.F. Green is ranked ninth on the magazine's top ten list.

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Federal Funding For Neighborhoods And Housing

Rhode Island is getting nearly two-and-a-half-million-dollars in federal funding primarily for affordable housing.  The money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development is earmarked for East Providence and Woonsocket.  It will be used for new affordable housing units and to help the homeless.  

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Rating Agency Downgrades Care New England

Care New England's rating is being lowered from BB to BB- by the Wall Street credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's.  The move comes following last week's announcement the hospital group will close Memorial Hospital after a deal for its sale collapsed.  Care New England is struggling financially and Standard & Poor's says the lower rating reflects a prolonged period of weak financial performance.   A Care New England spokesman says the rating downgrade reinforces why Memorial Hospital must close and why the hospital group is being sold to Massachusetts-based Partners HealthCare.  

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Missing Central Falls Man Found

A missing Rhode Island man has been found. Police in Central Falls announced on Monday they located Juan Marty Garcia, who has Alzheimer's disease. A Silver Alert was issued after Garcia apparently drove away from his home without a cell phone or medication. No further information was shared by police regarding Garcia's condition.

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North Smithfield Accident Victim Named

Police are identifying the victim of a car accident in North Smithfield. Elaine Guy of Harrisville was killed in the two-car wreck on Monday morning on Great Road. Police say one car crossed the center line and struck the other vehicle. Authorities say Guy died at Landmark Medical Center, while the other driver suffered minor injuries. 

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Dem. Party Higher-Up Apologizes For Sexual Harassment Comments

Rhode Island Democratic Party official Joseph DeLorenzo is issuing an apology for his comments about sexual harassment allegations recently made by State Representative Teresa Tanzi. The second vice-chair of the party expressed skepticism during a recent interview on Newport radio station WADK about Tanzi apparently being told she could get bills passed in exchange for sexual favors. He said on Monday he never meant to minimize the issue of sexual harassment and notes it is a very serious issue. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello called for DeLorenzo to apologize on Friday, while many other Democrats have called for him to resign. 

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Protests, News Conference Held After EPA Action Regarding Scientists

The controversy is continuing over three scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency being pulled from scheduled speeches at a presentation on the state of Narragansett Bay. Several-dozen protesters gathered outside the Providence headquarters of the environmental group Save the Bay yesterday, where the conference was being held, accusing the EPA of censoring its scientists. Senator Jack Reed held a news conference with the rest of Rhode Island's congressional delegation, saying the political interference that led to the scientists not speaking is a disservice to public health. An EPA official told the "Providence Journal" after yesterday's conference that the cancellation of the speeches from the EPA scientists was due to a miscommunication that has been blown out of proportion. 

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Community with chemicals in drinking water to get update

Rhode Island officials will be holding another community meeting in Burrillville, after chemicals were detected in the drinking water.

The Health Department and Department of Environmental Management are set to hold a meeting Monday evening at Burrillville Middle School.

Health officials alerted people earlier this month that tests showed slightly elevated levels of perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAs, in the Oakland Association water system.

The agencies say they will provide updates on what they're doing to address the chemicals and to sample private wells in the area. They'll also discuss the state's preliminary investigation into the site, as well as bottled water distribution.

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EPA keeps scientists from speaking about report on climate

The Environmental Protection Agency has kept three scientists from appearing at an event in Rhode Island about a report that deals in part with climate change.

The New York Times reports EPA spokesman John Konkus confirmed on Sunday that agency scientists would not be speaking at the event Monday in Providence. Konkus did not provide an explanation.

The event is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, New England's largest estuary.

A spokesman for  U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says the event will go on as planned and the report will be released. The report finds that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish.

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Foundry Man Debuts On Top Of Apartment Building

A new art display is honoring the industrial past of Providence.  The Foundry Clock Man was hoisted on top of the Promenade Apartments on Friday, depicting an early-20th-century worker pushing a functioning clock.  The sculpture, which was created by Peter Diepenbrock of Jamestown, is a tribute to Brown and Sharp Manufacturing Company, which was based in the city's Foundry Campus. 

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Republican Candidacy Declared For RI Governor

House GOP minority leader Patricia Morgan has officially announced her bid for governor.

Morgan announced her candidacy through a video posted  early Monday morning, becoming the first republican candidate so far to formally announce a campaign against Governor Gina Raimondo in the 2018 election.  

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Man Accused Of Impersonating DCYF Worker To Sign Out Student

A Providence man is being accused of impersonating a social worker while trying to sign out a female high school student.  The Portsmouth Police Department says Armando Hernandez went to Portsmouth High School on October 13th and claimed he was a DCYF worker, but didn't have any identification.  U.S. Marshals and state troopers arrested Hernandez this past Friday.  He pleaded no contest to the charge of impersonating a public official in Newport District Court.

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Opponents Call For Referendum On PawSox Stadium

They may not be in the majority, but opponents of public financing of a new PawSox stadium in Pawtucket are asking for a referendum on the issue.  However, there were more in favor of moving forward with a financing plan at last night's Senate Finance Committee meeting at Bryant University in Smithfield.  The proposed legislation says the Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency would raise 71-million dollars through a bond sale to be paid off over 30 years.  The committee meets again Tuesday at the State House.

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Benny's Closing More Stores

Rhode Island-based Benny's is closing more stores and has nearly reached the half-way mark to have all of them shuttered by the end of the year.  Locations in Groton, Connecticut and Fairhaven, Massachusetts are next on the list to close on October 24th and 25th.   That will leave 15 stores left in the once thriving chain. 

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Changes coming to Mega Millions lottery game

Lottery officials say Mega Millions starting jackpots are going to be twice as large.  It's also going to cost twice as much to play starting next Saturday.  The starting jackpots will increase from 15-million dollars to 40-million dollars.  Lottery officials say the odds of winning the jackpot will be one in 300-million. 

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Bridge repairs to cause traffic delays

The ramp from 1-95 West to 95 South will be reduced to just one lane as Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials begin bridge repair work Friday night.

The DOT will begin work at 7:00 p.m. Friday.

Crews are replacing a bridge joint to remove a dip near the Rhode Island Hospital campus.

The work will fix a problem discovered after the bridge project was completed.

The DOT is advising drivers to plan extra travel time and to consider alternative routes.

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Board kills directive to bury power lines at park

A state board has killed a directive for an electric company to bury power lines at a Providence park after more than a decade of fights over the issue.

A National Grid spokesman says burying the lines at India Point Park would be costly and risky. The company has proposed instead rerouting the lines and strapping them to the side of a bridge to carry them across to East Providence.

David Riley, who heads a group that has long supported burying the lines, says doing so would provide a civic and scenic benefit.

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Parts of New England in 'moderate drought'

A stretch of unusually warm and dry fall weather has pushed portions of New England back into drought.

That's according to the latest survey of conditions by the U.S. Drought Monitor .

Nearly 43 percent of Connecticut and 32 percent of Massachusetts are considered to be in "moderate drought."

Portions of Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are also reporting moderate drought conditions due to the recent shortage of rain.

Still, the conditions are nowhere near as serious as one year ago at this time when a large swath of the New England region was experiencing severe or even extreme drought.

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RI lists 7 sites in bid for Amazon

Rhode Island is offering several possible sites where Amazon could locate its second headquarters.

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation announced that it had submitted its proposal to the e-commerce giant on Thursday as Amazon accepts bids to host the $5 billion project.

Rhode Island's bid includes seven possible locations: Providence, Pawtucket-Central Falls, East Providence, Warwick, North Kingstown, Richmond and Woonsocket.

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Brown orchestra conductor let go days before concert

Brown University officials say their orchestra conductor has been relieved of his duties ahead of the upcoming weekend concerts.

Brandon Keith Brown is no longer serving as a visiting assistant professor of music and orchestra conductor at the Ivy League school.

A university spokesman says she is not at liberty to disclose the details and  Brown said Thursday he was unable to comment.

Daniel Harp, cello and chamber music teacher at the university, will take over as a guest conductor for this weekend.

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RI Democratic Women's Caucus calls for removal of party chair

Calls are now growing louder in Rhode Island to throw a top Democrat overboard following comments he made in a radio interview.

The Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus issued a statement Wednesday calling for Joe DeLorenzo to resign.

The push came after comments he made to radio host John DePetro saying Representative Tanzi should reveal who harassed her at the Rhode Island State House.

DeLorenzo is currently the second Vice Chair of the State’s Democratic Committee.

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio also called for DeLorenzo’s ouster Thursday morning.

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Ex-head of Elections Board files new lawsuit against it

The former Rhode Island Board of Elections executive director is suing the board again after his previous lawsuit was dismissed in June.

Robert Kando filed his lawsuit in state Superior Court Monday. Kando is alleging the board violated his due process rights, the state Whistleblower's Act and the Open Meetings Act when they fired him in August 2016.

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Another Endorsement For PawSox Stadium

The Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is endorsing a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  The group says a new ballpark will create economic development not only in downtown Pawtucket, but in neighboring Central Falls, Cumberland and Lincoln as well.  The stadium proposal has also been endorsed by several other chambers of commerce.  Last night the Pawtucket City Council voted to support a 15-million-dollar bond as the city's share of public funding to help finance the project. 

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Pawtucket Mayor Disappointed By Hospital Closing

Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien says he's extremely disappointed by Care New England's decision to close Memorial Hospital.  He says the closing could have been avoided and that the needs of the community should not be dismissed for profit.  Care New England says Memorial Hospital has been losing money for years.  The closing was announced yesterday after a proposed sale to California-based Prime Healthcare collapsed. 

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Gov. Raimondo Reacts To Memorial Hospital Closing

Governor Gina Raimondo says with the announced closing of Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, she's urging Care New England to save as many jobs as possible by reassigning staff elsewhere in its system.  Memorial has about 800 employees, 600 of them are full-time. The governor says the closing of the financially-struggling hospital is a reflection of the changing way that medical care is delivered.

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State House Sexual Harassment Investigation

The attorney general's office and the state police are launching an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment at the State House.  South Kingstown State Representative Teresa Tanzi says  earlier this week, a colleague told her sexual favors would help advance her legislation.  Investigators say they will not comment further with regard to the status or direction of the inquiry.  

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Bridge Repair Project To Affect Weekend Traffic On I-195 West

Motorists can expect weekend delays along westbound Interstate-195 as part of a bridge repair project.  Starting Friday at 7 p.m. the number of lanes to Interstate-95 south in Providence will be reduced to one.  The lanes are expected to reopen around 5 a.m. Monday.

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Five Arrested In Check Fraud Scheme

Five people are facing charges in connection with a check fraud scheme and two more are at large.  The investigation started after a retired Providence firefighter told police he thought his check number had been copied.  Authorities say 30-year old Shantel Meza worked at Citizens Bank in North Smithfield and would take customers' information and pass it along to others involved.  Customers are being told to check their bank statements for any suspicious activity.

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Warwick Teachers, School Have Tentative Agreement

The Warwick Teachers' Union and school officials have reached a tentative contract agreement.  The agreement was reached at a meeting that wrapped up shortly after midnight this morning.  The leading issues have been class sizes, salary increases, and the number of sick days.  The teachers have been working without a contract for more than two years. 

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Fans Support New PawSox Stadium

Public support for a new PawSox stadium is outweighing the opposition if gauged by last evening's public hearing in Providence.   The House Finance Committee hearing was just that, four hours of comments from the public.  But members still have questions after the PawSox had just released financial information requested by the committee last week.  That information listed the team's assets at more than 18-million dollars, but team owners say business will decline if they remain in the aging McCoy Stadium.

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Hospital to close after proposed sale falls through

One of the largest hospital chains in Rhode Island says it will close Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket after a deal to sell it to a California-based health system fell through.

Care New England on Tuesday said its board voted Monday night to close the facility.

The Providence-based nonprofit health system had taken over the struggling hospital in 2013. It had been working to sell the hospital to Prime HealthCare, which owns a hospital in Woonsocket. But negotiations recently fell apart because the two sides could not agree on terms.

The state Department of Health will need to sign off on the closure.

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City council OKs resolution supporting PawSox stadium

The Pawtucket city council will support legislation that calls for the city and the state to commit $38 million toward a new stadium for a Boston Red Sox minor league team.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Council approved a resolution encouraging the General Assembly to allow the city to bond up to $15 million for the cost of the proposed Pawtucket Red Sox stadium.

The council voted 6-2, with one council member abstaining. The resolution isn't needed to pass the legislation.

The PawSox says the team's longtime home, McCoy Stadium, is out of date and wants to replace it.

Critics have said the deal should not rely on taxpayer money. Supporters worry the team will leave Pawtucket.

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WWII veteran, 98, honored in RI for his service

A 98-year-old U.S. Navy veteran who served during World War II has been awarded two medals for his service.

US. Rep. Jim Langevin on Tuesday presented the awards to U.S. Navy electronics technician Russell Johnson at Langevin's district office in Warwick. The native Rhode Islander worked as a trained machinist before he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1944. He was responsible for maintaining radar.

Johnson was stationed at Quonset Point and also has served in Norfolk, Virginia. He retired from service in March 1946.

Johnson received the World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Honorable Discharge Button and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.

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I-195 Redevelopment District Commission chair resigns

The chairman of Rhode Island's I-195 Redevelopment District Commission says he's resigning.

Chairman Joseph Azrack made the announcement Monday night. Gov. Gina Raimondo  has accepted his recommendation to name commission Vice Chairman Robert Davis as chairman.

The commission was created in 2011 to oversee the sale and marketing of land made available in downtown Providence by the relocation of Interstate 195. Ground recently was broken for the area's first project, the Wexford Science & Technology innovation center.

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RI Foundation to award grants to innovators

The Rhode Island Foundation is offering $600,000 in grants to people with bold ideas for moving the state forward.

It's the seventh year of the fellowship program, sometimes called Rhode Island's genius grant.

The foundation has made some changes this year.

It's offering three fellowships of up to $200,000 over a four-year period instead of two fellowships of up to $300,000 over a three-year period.

The fellowships will now be called Carter Fellowships for Entrepreneurial Innovation, rather than Rhode Island Innovation Fellowships. They're funded by philanthropists Letitia and John Carter.

Applicants don't need to live in Rhode Island, but must commit to living in Rhode Island during the term of the fellowship if they win.

The application deadline is Dec. 19. The foundation expects to announce the recipients in April.

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Only Opposition From Town Will Be Considered In Power Plant Decision

Burrillville officials are not happy about a decision suppressing opposition from cities and towns around the state to a proposed power plant.  The Energy Facility Siting Board approved the request from the Invenergy which wants to build the plant in Burrillville. The EFSB ruled that only Burrillville's opposition resolution will be considered in making its decision.  Those opposed to the power plant's construction cite the environmental impact to the community.

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Coventry Puts Temporary Halt To New Sewer System

The Coventry Town Council is putting the brakes on a new sewer system for now.  Hundreds of residents opposed to the project packed last night's meeting.  The residents are upset that they would be charged as much as 20-thousand-dollars to hook into the system, which has started along Hazard Street.  The council agreed to send out surveys to see how many residents want a sewer system.

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Passage Of Pawtucket Stadium Resolution Not Done Deal

The Pawtucket City Council is holding a special meeting tonight to deal with questions regarding financing of the proposed PawSox stadium.  The council expects to vote on a resolution for the General Assembly to authorize the city to bond 15-million-dollars for its share of the stadium's costs.  But passage of the resolution is not a done deal as some council members have issues with the wording of it.

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Wild turkey flies into orthodontics office's waiting room

An orthodontics office in Rhode Island has received an unexpected patient in their waiting room - a wild turkey who crashed through the office window.

Pezza Orthodontics in Cranston says in a Facebook post they thought the office had been robbed when they found the windows broken Monday.

Staff quickly figured it out when they saw a wild turkey on one of the waiting room chairs.

The office says the glass has since been cleared and the room disinfected. It will take a few weeks to replace the window, and the office has apologized to patients for the inconvenience.

The office says that they do not take turkeys as patients.

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Entangled dock line blamed for tall ship crash

The owner of a tall ship that crashed into four other boats in Rhode Island after a seafood festival is blaming the incident on a dock line that became entangled on its two propellers.

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry crashed Sunday in Newport Harbor. No one was injured.

On Monday, the 200-foot, three-mast ship was still blocking a channel into the Newport Yacht Club, preventing a cruise ship from disembarking passengers.

The group that owns the ship says the engine lost power after its propellers became entangled, but did not run aground. The Coast Guard had said on Sunday that the ship had run aground.

Ownership says it's working with the Coast Guard to work out a way to move it safely.

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Gas prices in RI down 4 cents this week

Gas prices in Rhode Island are down four cents this week.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.60 per gallon. That price is 13 cents above the national average- $2.47 -and 36 cents higher than the average price in the state a year ago at this time.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling in Rhode Island for as low as $2.37 per gallon and as high as $2.76.

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Middletown police Lt. charged with domestic assault

A Middletown police lieutenant is facing domestic assault charges, according to the Middletown Police Department.

Rhode Island State police arrested 50-year-old Lieutenant Richard Gamache, of Middletown, on Saturday during a traffic stop on Route 6 West at Glenbridge Avenue in Providence.

State Police say the driver, 38-year-old Tiffany Walaski, of North Providence, was driving erratically and at a speed of 90 miles an hour on Route 6 at approximately 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

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Lawmaker To File Bump Stock Ban Bill

North Kingstown State Representative Robert Craven is planning to introduce a bill to ban bump stocks.  Those are devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire hundreds of rounds per minute like automatic weapons.  Craven says in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, his bill will make the sale and possession of bump stocks illegal in Rhode Island.

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Warwick Teachers Ordered To Stop Job Actions

There's now a temporary restraining order barring Warwick teachers from any kind of job action.  A Kent County Superior Court judge issued the order after classes were canceled yesterday at the Oakland Beach, Park and Robertson elementary schools due to an apparent teacher sickout.  Sickouts forced the cancellation of classes at Pilgrim High School and Warwick Veterans Junior High earlier this month.  The union denies any coordinated job action.  Teachers have been working without a contract for two years and a mediation session is scheduled on Wednesday. 

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25-year-old Man Killed After Shooting in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Police say a 25-year-old man who was listed in critical condition after a shooting in Providence, Rhode Island has died. Authorities say Shawn Montrond died Saturday night at the Rhode Island hospital where he was being treated. Officers found Montrond with life-threatening injuries following a shooting Oct. 7.

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Three Warwick District Elementary Schools Closed

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) - A Rhode Island school district is taking its teachers' union to court after what it says is another sickout amid ongoing contract negotiations. Three Warwick district elementary schools closed Monday because so many teachers called in sick. Superintendent Philip Thornton says he has filed for the court to intervene, and expects a hearing Monday at the Kent County Courthouse. The Warwick Teacher's Union has said there was no official union-sanctioned action.

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Tall Ship Crashes into Four Other Boats

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - The owner of a tall ship that crashed into four other boats in Rhode Island after a seafood festival is blaming the incident on a dock line that became entangled on its two propellers. The 200-foot, three-mast ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry crashed Sunday in Newport Harbor. No one was injured. On Monday, it was still blocking a channel into the Newport Yacht Club, preventing a cruise ship from disembarking passengers.

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Winning Mega Millions Ticket Sold In E. Providence

One of the two winning Mega Millions lottery tickets is being held by someone who purchased it at an East Providence gas station.  The winners will split 43-million dollars for picking the numbers two, seven, 18, 26, 31 and Mega Ball 12.  The other winning ticket was sold in Michigan. 

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Warwick School Closed Due To Teachers Sick-Out

Students at Oakland Beach Elementary School have today off from class.  School officials say the Warwick school is closed because of the number of faculty is not sufficient to open it.  This is the third teacher sick out within the last two weeks. 

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Wanted: 2 holiday trees for Providence

The city of Providence is asking residents to help it find two perfect trees for its annual holiday tree lighting and display.

City officials say one should be a 35-foot- to 45-foot-tall spruce or fir. That one will be displayed on the steps of Providence City Hall.

The second should be a 15-foot to 20-foot spruce or fir tree. It will be displayed at the Alex and Ani Center Skating Rink in Kennedy Plaza.

Providence residents can nominate a tree on their property, and the city will come take it away.

The City Hall tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 1. A tree lighting ceremony at the rink is scheduled for Dec. 2.

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Interstate 95 bridge work completed ahead of schedule

The portion of the highway starting at Exit 4 in Exeter that was closed Friday evening was opened just before 9 a.m. Sunday, about 20 hours early.

The work was initially scheduled to continue until 5 a.m. Monday. Traffic had been diverted onto Route 3.

The state D.O.T. has said the rapid bridge replacement method will save nearly $1 million and four months of delays.

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Tall ship loses power, hits boats in Newport Harbor

The U.S. Coast Guard says the tall ship SSV Oliver Hazard Perry lost power and hit multiple boats before going aground in Newport Harbor.

Coast Guard officials say the ship was leaving the Bowen’s Wharf seafood festival Sunday evening when it lost power and began to drift in the harbor..

The SSV Oliver Hazard Perry is a civilian training and educational vessel based in Newport.

There were 12 crew members aboard at the time. There were no reported injuries or pollution.

An investigation is ongoing.

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RI College to host former US representatives

Rhode Island College is participating in the "Congress to Campus" program.

The program sends bipartisan pairs of former representatives to schools for two days.

Former U.S. Reps. Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, and Gil Gutknecht, a Minnesota Republican, are visiting Rhode Island College in Providence on Monday and Tuesday.

The program is administered by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress and sponsored by the Stennis Center for Public Service and the Center for Democracy and Citizenship.

Current U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, is also scheduled to participate Monday.

The panel discussions are free and open to the public, though seating is limited.

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Cargo company expecting 300 new jobs in RI

A Dallas-based company has reached lease agreements with Rhode Island's main airport and a North Kingstown business park as it plans a new service that is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the state.

Pinnacle Logistics plans to fly cargo into T.F. Green Airport in Warwick and move it to a warehouse at Quonset Business Park. The company will lease enough space to park two jets at the airport and will have the option to park two more as needed.

The company has been recruiting workers since last month and has said it expects to hire about 300 people.

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Contentious town sewer plan to be put on hold

Officials in Coventry are planning to put a sewer plan on hold after angry residents complained about high assessment costs.

Coventry Town Manager Graham Waters said he will ask the Town Council Friday to halt new projects while he reviews the town's sewer plan.

Several residents have sent in complaints after they were told they would have to pay assessments of close to $20,000 for sewer installations.

A public discussion on the sewer projects is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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Section of I-95 in Exeter to close for bridge replacement

A section of Interstate 95 northbound is set to be closed for a few days so crews can replace a bridge.

The state Department of Transportation says the section of the highway starting at Exit 4 in Exeter will be closed starting Friday at 9 p.m and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday.

Traffic will be diverted onto Route 3.

The department says its approach to the project, known as a rapid bridge replacement, will save nearly $1 million and four months of delays, compared with traditional construction methods.

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New hotel coming to Providence

The construction of a new hotel in Providence  officially got underway Friday morning.

Ground was broken on the $30 million project Thursday morning.

The Hilton Homewood Suites will be located on Exchange Street near the old post office.

The project is a joint venture between Paolino Properties and First Bristol Corporation, and it is expected to create hundreds of new jobs.

The hotel will have 120 rooms.

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Halloween spending to hit record high

WPRI- TV reports that Halloween spending is set to hit record levels this year.American consumers are expected to spend $9.1 billion in 2017 for Halloween, with $3.4 billion on costumes, $2.7 billion for candy, $2.7 billion for decorations and another $410 million for greeting cards. Marketing and retail expert Kristen Regine said Wednesday more people are planning to celebrate Halloween this year, which will create a spending spike.

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VNA of Rhode Island announces closure

ABC- 6 News reports that hundreds of patients and staff were left scrambling, after the Visiting Nurse Association of Rhode Island announced Wednesday it's closing by December 20th, blaming financial constraints.

This is the second home-based provider to shut down in as many months--after HomeFront Health Care in August.

The Rhode Island Partnership for Home Care is blaming frozen Medicaid reimbursement rates from the state. 

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Retired hospital workers protest possible pension cuts

Retired hospital workers in Rhode Island are protesting an effort to cut their pensions by as much as 40 percent and criticizing the response of the Roman Catholic diocese that established their failed pension plan.

About 100 people marched Wednesday in Providence to decry the potential cuts to pensions for former workers of St. Joseph's and Our Lady of Fatima hospitals. Some carried signs with images of Bishop Thomas Tobin and messages such as"Where's our moral leader?"

The diocese says its financial responsibility to the fund ended before the current problems.

Pension managers say the fund does not have enough money to pay promised benefits. The plan was found to be insolvent in August.

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Police department sued over union boss' right to free speech

The American Civil Liberties Union says it's suing a Rhode Island police department on behalf of a union president who accuses it of violating his right to free speech.

The ACLU of Rhode Island says it filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Johnston Police Department for retired detective James Brady.

Brady, as union president, said last year, officer and union member Adam Catamero was straightforward and all-business and was fired because his superiors didn't like how he did things.

The lawsuit alleges police Chief Richard Tamburini violated Brady's free speech rights by suspending him without pay for two days for his comments. It seeks an order invalidating the policies under which Brady was disciplined.

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Fire commissioner faces charges after alleged altercation

A Rhode Island fire commissioner is facing charges after police say he was involved in an altercation at a public safety union hall.

Deputy Police Chief Douglas Ciullo says 51-year-old Paul Santoro turned himself in Wednesday for charges of simple assault and disorderly conduct.

The charges followed an alleged altercation between Santoro and 34-year-old former Cumberland Fire Commissioner Christopher Parent at a Cumberland union hall Saturday.

Santoro is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 24.

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Warwick Veterans Jr. High School closed

Veterans Junior High in Warwick closed Wednesday morning after a high number of teachers and staff members called out.

This comes after the Warwick Teachers Union took a vote of “no confidence” in the superintendent and school committee chair.

A contentious school committee meeting also took place Tuesday night.

Last week, school at Pilgrim High School had to be canceled because 91 teachers and staff called out sick.

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Group Says Columbus Statue Should Be Moved To Federal Hill

The head of the local chapter of the Sons of Italy is asking that the Christopher Columbus statue be moved to the area it mostly represents.  Don Angelo's request for the statue to be moved to Federal Hill comes after the statue, currently at Elmwood and reservoir Avenues, was covered in paint by vandals Monday.  Angelo says rather than defacing statues he would prefer to talk, starting with Native Americans.  Darrell Waldron with the state Indian Council plans to contact Angelo.

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Report Shows There's Not Enough Affordable Housing

There's not enough affordable housing in Rhode Island.  The new report from HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University shows that the improving housing market last year meant higher prices and fewer homes and apartments for families making less than 50-thousand dollars annually.  Only two communities, Central Falls and most of Providence had homes that were affordable.  There was also a 32-percent increase in foreclosures last year a sign that some homeowners are cash strapped.  

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Warwick Teachers' Union Votes No Confidence In School Administrators

Two school administrators are getting a vote of "no confidence" from the Warwick Teachers' Union.  Union president Darlene Netcoh in a statement says School Committee Chair Bethany Furtado allows Superintendent Phillip Thornton to do whatever he wants.  The announcement was made at last night's school committee meeting with many parents supporting the union's vote.

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Legislators Want More Financial Info On PawSox Stadium

The state's House Finance Committee wants to see the Pawtucket Red Sox balance sheet, but PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino is holding back.  State Representative Kenneth  Mendonca asked about the balance sheet several times during last night's four hour meeting in Providence.  At one point Lucchino told Mendonca "We would take this under advisement."   Lucchino did promise legislators a letter from the team's accountants.

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Burrillville Residents Strongly Oppose Power Plant

Burrillville residents are up in arms about a proposed power plant.  The town opposes the plant and says if built will impact the quality of life.  At a meeting at a packed Burrillville High School last night the town said the plant to be built by Invenergy is not needed to meet the area's needs.  The Energy Facility Sitting Board will ultimately approve or reject the plan by the end of the year.

 

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Police Looking For Woman Using Stolen Debit Card

Police are looking for a woman who's using a debit card stolen in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  Authorities say the woman has been seen at several banks in northern Rhode Island cashing checks using the card.  Police suspect the woman is part of a larger group of thieves that steal purses from vehicles and then use the identification to obtain cash. 

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Barge Sinks In Providence River

Authorities are investigating any possible environmental damage from a barge that sank in the Providence River.  The barge, equipped with a crane, sank around 4:30 p.m. yesterday.  The barge had been anchored along the river for nearly two years.  The owner will be responsible for removing the barge and any cleanup costs.

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Bridge Closure This Weekend I-95 In Exeter

The Tefft Hill Trail Bridge on I-95 north in Exeter is going to be closed this weekend, weather permitting.  RIDOT says the closure will be in effect from nine p.m. this Friday through five a.m. next Monday as part of a bridge replacement project.  Traffic will be detoured off the highway at exit 4 to Route 3 north.

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Tolling Data Privacy Protection Policies

Privacy protection is going to be implemented in connection with electronic tolling for large commercial trucks.  Both the state Department of Transportation and the state Turnpike and Bridge Authority say their intent is to ensure that all data collected will be vigilantly protected.  RIDOT also says it plans to coordinate with the American Civil Liberties Union to address any privacy concerns.    

 

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House Finance Holding A PawSox Stadium Hearing

The House Finance Committee is holding a State House hearing on the PawSox Stadium proposal this afternoon.  The committee will review the legislation which calls for 38-million-dollars in public funding from the state and the city toward the cost of building an 83-million-dollar ballpark on the Apex property in downtown Pawtucket.  The committee will hear from representatives of the Pawtucket Red Sox, the city and the state.   Public testimony will be heard at a second hearing next week. 

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Christopher Columbus Statue Vandalized In Providence

In Providence on Columbus Day, a statue of the Italian explorer was vandalized.  Red paint and an obscenity were found on the statue located on Elmwood Avenue Monday morning.  The holiday has generated controversy in recent years.  There's a movement to abolish Columbus Day in favor of Indigenous People Day to recognize those who supporters say are the victims of European colonization.

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New law creates panel to attract sailing events to state

A new law will create a permanent state commission aimed at helping attract national and international sailing events to the state.

The law passed last month and signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo creates the Rhode Island Sailing Events Commission.

The panel is expected to identify, evaluate and provide recommendations to assist nationally and internationally recognized sailing and marine events. Co-sponsor Rep. Kenneth Marshall names the Volvo Ocean Race's 2015 stopover in Newport as one of many successful sailing events that have taken place in the state. A report commissioned by Sail Newport estimated the race's economic impact at more than $47 million.

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RI College gets grant for first-generation pupils

Rhode Island College has been awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to prepare students for graduate school who are the first in their families to earn a college degree.

The state's congressional delegation announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement grant will be distributed over five years to help low-income, first-generation college students prepare for graduate school.

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James Woods says his retirement announcement was a mistake

Oscar-nominated actor James Woods says his career is not going to end in a real estate announcement.

A press release offering Woods' Rhode Island lake house for sale had included news he was retiring. But Woods tells The Washington Post last week's announcement was a mistake.

The 70-year-old Woods says his real estate agent, Allen Gammons, had read him a draft of the release but he "didn't hear 'retirement.'"

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RI gets federal grant for emergency preparedness

Rhode Island has been awarded a federal grant to ensure its emergency responders can effectively respond to incidents involving hazardous materials.

Sen. Jack Reed announced the funding for the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency Friday. The agency is getting a Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness grant for about $125,000 to help it better respond to hazardous materials transportation incidents.

The grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

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Suspect in Army Reserve weapons theft reaches plea deal

A man charged with stealing 16 guns from an Army Reserve facility in Massachusetts, escaping from a Rhode Island prison, and trying to rob two banks, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors that could put him behind bars for 15 years.

James Morales' deal with federal prosecutors was made public Friday. A change-of-plea hearing is scheduled for Nov. 13.

The deal calls for a 15-year sentence, but the judge is not bound by prosecutors' recommendations.

Authorities say Morales stole the guns from an Army Reserve center Worcester in November 2015. He was captured in New York days later. He escaped from the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls on Dec. 31 and recaptured five days later after allegedly trying to rob two Boston-area banks.

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James Woods retires from acting, selling RI home

James Woods, who graduated from Pilgrim High School in Warwick in 1965 and has starred in movies such “The Way We Were” and “Casino,” is selling his vacation home in Rhode Island.

Woods recently announced that he has retired from the entertainment business.

While the address was not disclosed, Woods said the house consists of two lakefront properties. Some of its most notable features include beaches, as well as multiple dock areas and a cobblestone boat ramp.

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5th grader faces charges after bringing BB gun to school

Police say a child is facing criminal charges after he brought a BB gun to his elementary school.

The principal at Hope Elementary School in Scituate swiftly confiscated the gun after the 5th grader told a friend about it.

School officials say they did not call parents or place the school on lockdown as there was no immediate threat.

Officials say the  events were not connected to a middle school student who threatened to "shoot up the school" last week.

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Providence police begin training with body cameras

Providence police officers have begun training to use body cameras while on patrol.

The department says officers are training throughout the month of October, and that all their cameras will be fully operational within around two to three months.

Mayor Jorge Elorza calls them an innovative tool that will enhance community policing. Col. Hugh Clements says the cameras will provide increased accountability and help to maintain transparency.

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Few young immigrants apply for DACA renewal in RI

Officials say only 72 young immigrants living in the country illegally applied to renew their application for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in Rhode Island.

There are about 1,200 "Dreamers" living in the state, but only 200 to 250 qualified for renewal under guidelines set by President Donald Trump's administration.

Only recipients whose benefits expire between Sept. 5 and March 5 can apply for renewal under the guidelines.

Those who completed their application were able to make use of ov. Gina Raimondo's offer to cover the $495 renewal fee. The number does not include those who applied through local colleges.

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Warwick high school canceled due to teachers calling in sick

Classes today at Pilgrim High School in Warwick have been canceled after more than half of its teachers and staff called in sick amid ongoing contract negotiations with the union.

The school says 91 out of around 140 teachers and staff called in sick on Friday.

All other Warwick schools remained open.

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Gov. Raimondo slams biggest media outlets in RI

Gov. Gina Raimondo is slamming Rhode Island's biggest media outlets for what she sees as critical or insufficient coverage of her administration.

Raimondo said at Brown University Tuesday she's relying more on social media and "micro local media

WJAR-TV frequently interviews Raimondo, who says it used to be a "nice back-and-forth" but now it's billed as going one-on-one, like a fight motif.

"One-on-one" is commonly used to describe exclusive interviews.

Raimondo called The Providence Journal a "shadow of its former self," with fewer reporters. She says broadcast news has become almost like talk radio.

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RI congressmen seek to ban 'bump stocks' on guns

Congressmen from Rhode Island want to ban devices that can enable a rifle to fire continuously, like an automatic weapon.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, said Wednesday he's co-sponsoring a bill with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, to ban "bump stocks" and other devices that can enable a rifle to fire continuously. Democratic U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, and other Democrats also signed on.

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, also a Rhode Island Democrat, said he introduced a similar bill Wednesday in the House of Representatives.

Authorities say the Las Vegas gunman had 23 guns with him at the hotel and 12 bump stock devices.

The Sunday rampage killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500. Cicilline says this cannot become "the new normal."

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Highway exits in Rhode Island to be renumbered

Highway exits in Rhode Island will soon look different to motorists.

The state Department of Transportation said Wednesday it is launching a highway renumbering program late this fall, starting with the entire Interstate 295 corridor from Warwick to the Massachusetts border in Cumberland.

The program will include other limited-access highways.

The new exit numbers will be keyed to mile markers. The system lets drivers know how far they need to travel to reach their off-ramp. RIDOT says it will also make it easier to expand future interchanges since the entire highway wouldn't have to be renumbered to accommodate a new exit number.

Temporary signs indicating the old exit number will be installed with the new signs.

A map showing the new and old exit numbers for I-295 can be found at RIDOT's website .

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Providence mayor expects $10M budget surplus

Providence's mayor says his administration believes the city posted a budget surplus of more than $10 million in the most recent fiscal year, wiping out the city's cumulative deficit.

Mayor Jorge Elorza said Wednesday that a surplus of that size would leave the city with a positive balance of $7 million and provide it with its first "rainy day fund" since 2011.

The figures have not been audited by an outside firm. Audited numbers will be available at the end of the year.

The City Council's finance chairman said the positive projections result from cooperation with Elorza's administration, but said the city must remain "vigilant" about spending.

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DMV Reservation: Adjudication reinstatements only

The Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate their reservation program starting today.

Customers looking to have license and or registration reinstatements after adjudication must use the program.

Any customers who fall under this category can log on to the DMV website to make their reservation.

It is important to note that any customers making a reservation should bring with them a copy of their reservation confirmation or reservation number available at check-in and have proof of identification.

According to the DMV, some services, such as transactions for driving records, remain available on a walk-up basis.

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Former US Attorney Neronha launches run for AG

Former U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha  has launched his campaign for Rhode Island attorney general.

Neronha made the announcement that he's running as Democrat on Tuesday, before a crowd gathered in his hometown of Jamestown.

Neronha says he's running because when President Donald Trump decided that his work for the people of Rhode Island was finished, Neronha decided that it wasn't.

Neronha was one of 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama who was ordered to resign by Trump in March.

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ACLU blasts RI for failures on benefits system

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the state is failing to comply with court-ordered terms of a settlement over the troubled rollout of a new computer system that has caused problems for thousands of people getting food stamps and other benefits.

The ACLU on Tuesday says the state is violating a court order from seven months ago, when it settled a lawsuit over the $364 million computer system, called the Unified Health Infrastructure Project, or UHIP.

It says it plans to go back to the court to ensure that families who need food stamps are getting them in a timely way.

Department of Human Services Director Courtney Hawkins declined to comment on specific issues raised by the ACLU, but said the state has made progress.

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Providence City Hall installs opioid overdose antidote box

A device designed to help rescuers save people suffering from opioid overdoses has made its way into Providence's City Hall.

Mayor Jorge Elorza unveiled the building's new NaloxBox  on Tuesday. The box is meant to give bystanders easy access to the opioid overdose antidote naloxone (nuh-LAHX'-ohn).

Geoff Capraro, a Brown University professor and emergency room doctor, worked with a group at Rhode Island School of Design to design and build the box, which has already been installed at several social services organizations in the area. He says he hopes the box will become a common sight, like defibrillators and fire extinguishers.

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NE Patriots show off customized Boeing 767

The New England Patriots are celebrating the inaugural flight of their very own Boeing 767.

The team will be at T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island Wednesday heading to Florida, where they play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday.

They'll take their customized aircraft, which is painted with the team's logo and red-white-and-blue colors, and includes the Pats' five Lombardi trophies painted on the tail.

In a video the team posted online , Jim Nolan, chief operating officer of Gillette Stadium, explains the team can now bring all their people and equipment on every trip. He says they've installed the widest and largest seats the plane can handle, and added five inches of legroom beyond what a typical first-class seat has.

The team has two of the planes and will use one as a backup.

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Gas prices in RI down 3 cents this week

Gas prices in Rhode Island are down three cents this week.

AAA Northeast said Monday the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.66 per gallon. That price is 11 cents above the national average of $2.55.

The average price of gas in Rhode Island was 47 cents lower- $2.19 - a year ago at this time.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling in the state for as low as $2.46 per gallon and as high as $2.75.

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Police Looking For Man Who Walked Away From Group Home

East Greenwich Police are looking for a man who walked away from a residential group home.  Authorities say 25-year old David Onasile was last seen September 26th and was spotted in Providence near Orms and Charles Streets around 2 p.m. Sunday.  Onasile is a black man five feet eight inches tall and 260 pounds.

 

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Airport Runway Extension Opens

Officials are hoping the recently opened runway extension at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick will increase the facility's marketing.  Officials say the extension has already helped land four new airlines with 16 new routes.  The extension, which opened with a ribbon cutting yesterday, increased the runway to 87-hundred feet.  The Rhode Island Airport Corporation announced last night that the airport is now the official airport of the New England Patriots.

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Man Arrested For Crashing Into House, Leaving Scene

The driver of a car is facing multiple charges after his vehicle hit a house and he allegedly left the scene.  The accident happened after Midnight yesterday morning on Broad Street in Central Falls.  Police say 21-year old Jose Perez Garcia, who also struck two cars before driving into the house, was arrested a short time later.  A passenger, Ismael Salinas, was trapped in the back seat of the car and is in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital.

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North Providence Fire Under Investigation

Fire authorities are investigating the cause of a fire in North Providence.  The fire happened around 6:30 last evening at Douglas and Mineral Spring Avenues.  Two people were safely rescued from a second floor fire escape.  Authorities say the second and third floors are heavily damaged.  

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House committee to hold 2 hearings on PawSox stadium plan

The House Finance Committee has scheduled two hearings this month on legislation about public financing for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.

The first hearing - scheduled for Oct. 10 at the State House - is designed to give committee members a chance to review the legislation including the terms of the deal, the soundness of its assumptions, and implications for the city and the state.

The hearing will include representatives of the PawSox and the City of Pawtucket. There will be no public testimony at the first hearing.

A second hearing - scheduled for Oct. 18 - will focus on public testimony.

Written testimony will also be accepted in advance of or during the hearing.

The Senate Finance Committee has already held two hearings on the proposal.

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RI memorial will honor Cape Verdean veterans

Officials have broken ground on a memorial in Rhode Island that will honor Cape Verdean veterans.

More than 200 people attended the groundbreaking ceremony at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Saturday.

The Cape Verdean Veterans Memorial will be constructed in Exeter in the coming months.

Among those in attendance Saturday were U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Avelino Rose, a 93-year-old World War II veteran and native of the West African nation.

Kasim Yarn, director of the state Office of Veterans Affairs, says events like the groundbreaking are needed for the community to come together and stand against bigotry.

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State looks at services for hearing impaired children

Lawmakers recently approved establishing a legislative commission to study early intervention services during a rare fall session.

It will have 24 members, including legislators, medical professionals and groups that work with deaf and hard of hearing children.

Rep. Arthur Handy and Sen. Stephen Archambault, both Democrats, sponsored legislation to create the commission.

Handy says there seems to be variation in whether younger children who are deaf or hard of hearing get the services they need. He says the commission's goal is to ensure they're properly connected to the available services early, regardless of socioeconomic background, location or anything else.

The commission is supposed to report back to the General Assembly by February.

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Two injured in small plane crash on Block Island

Police  say two people have been injured in a small plane crash on Block Island.

New Shoreham Police Chief Vincent Carlone says the two occupants were airlifted to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries on Sunday.

He says the plane overshot the runway while trying to land and ended up in a field.

Airport officials tell The Providence Journal the crash happened at Block Island State Airport.

The two people were not immediately identified.

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RI officials send condolences to Las Vegas

Rhode Island officials are expressing their shock and sending condolences to Las Vegas, after at least 50 people were killed in a shooting at an outdoor country music festival.

Gov. Gina Raimondo says she and her husband are grief-stricken by the tragic news.

Sen. Jack Reed says his heart goes out to the victims, and he's sending his thanks to the brave first responders.

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner says that with the news coming out of Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, he's calling on people to look out for each other and "do our part to build a better world."

More than 200 people were injured in the shooting. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

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