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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2018-04

University Teaming Up With Brewer Guild For Craft Beer Course

Johnson and Wales University is announcing a new partner for a previously announced beer-brewing curriculum.  The school's College of Culinary Arts is teaming up with the Isle Brewers Guild, a craft beer co-op in Pawtucket, to augment the Professional Craft Brewing Certificate program.  The four-course, 22-and-a-half-credit curriculum is for professionals and home brewers, and doubles as a minor for full-time undergraduates enrolled at the university.  The Guild will serve as an experiential education site for one of the program's capstone courses.

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Flap Between T.F. Green And Uber

Uber is moving its ride-share operation out of T.F. Green Airport.  The company says starting Tuesday, drivers will no longer receive pickup requests at the airport because T.F. Green doubled the price of its airport pickup fee, making it the most expensive airport pickup fee in the United States.  The Rhode Island Airport Corporation released a statement criticizing Uber's decision and reminded customers that they still have the option of utilizing ride-share competitor Lyft at the airport.  

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Racial Disparities In RI Traffic Stops

New data is revealing racial and ethnic disparities in traffic stops in Rhode Island.  The state transportation department last week shared an analysis from Central Connecticut State University of about 237-thousand stops made by Rhode Island law enforcement in 2016.  Despite the lack of correlating evidence of contraband, the report indicates eleven-point-four-percent of motorists stopped were observed to be black and 13-percent were Hispanic

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Chafee Comments On Election Tampering

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he remains skeptical about the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election as he considers whether to launch a bid to regain his old U.S. Senate seat. Chafee said Friday that he doesn't think the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller will "amount to anything." He said he regrets that the country is spending valuable resources on it.

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Westerly Mosquito Spraying Rescheduled For Today

Friday's  planned aerial spraying in Westerly is now rescheduled for today between eight a.m. and two p.m.  Officials say an environmentally friendly larvicide that poses no risk to people will be sprayed across 500 acres of Chapman swamp and nearby swampland. The goal is to control mosquito breeding in swamps and other habitats.  

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Sting To Receive Honorary Degree From Brown

Award-winning singer-songwriter Sting is going to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brown University.  He was a founding member of the award-winning rock band The Police, and he's a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  With his wife, Trudie Styler, Sting founded the Rainforest Foundation Fund in 1989 to protect the world's rain forests.  Styler, who is an actress, film producer and human rights activists, will also be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters at Brown's commencement on May 27th. 

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Wraps Taken Off Providence Tower Project

A New York developer has unveiled his design for what would be the tallest building in Rhode Island, but he still faces strong opposition from Providence community groups. Fane Organization President Jason Fane unveiled a rendering Wednesday for his proposed Hope Point Tower project at a City Plan Commission meeting. He is seeking to have zoning rules changed to build the 600-foot tower overlooking a planned park.

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Mosquito Spraying At Chapman Swamp In Westerly

Weather permitting, the town of Westerly will start mosquito spraying today across 500 acres of Chapman swamp and nearby swampland.  Officials say the aerial spraying applies an environmentally friendly larvicide that poses no risk to people.  The goal is to control mosquito breeding in swamps and other habitats.  The spraying is scheduled  between eight a.m. and two p.m.

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Veteran Legislator Not Seeking Re-Election

A veteran member of the state Senate is not running for re-election and will retire from public office at the end of his current term.  Senator Marc Cote has represented District 24 in North Smithfield and Woonsocket for 24 years.  The Democrat says he plans to focus on his career as a commercial real estate broker.  Cote says it's been an honor to serve and he's really enjoyed his time in the Senate.

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Dual Language Learning Bills Introduced

Two state legislators are introducing legislation to establish and require funding for dual-language education in Rhode Island. Representative Grace Diaz of Providence and Senator Frank Ciccone the Third have filed separate bills in the House and Senate authorizing the state education department to establish a dual language immersion fund. Diaz says dual and English-language learners are becoming an increasingly large group of students in Rhode Island.

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Warwick State Rep. Says He's Not Interested In Mayor Vacancy

Rhode Island House Majority Leader Joseph Shekarchi says he isn't seeking the seat being vacated by Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who is taking the CEO position at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Shekarchi, who was previously considered a serious contender for the job, announced on Thursday he is seeking re-election to his House seat and is supporting Warwick City Council president Joe Solomon for the mayoral post. Avedisian has been the mayor since 2000.   

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DeRobbio Officially Throws Hat Into Ring For Providence Mayor

Former Providence School Board member and superintendent Robert DeRobbio is formally stepping into the race for Providence mayor. DeRobbio is challenging incumbent Jorge Elorza in the Democratic primary this September, joining two other candidates. He said his campaign will focus heavily on reforming education in the city.

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Hearing Scheduled Soon For East Providence Term Extension Attempt

The Rhode Island Board of Elections is scheduling a hearing to decide if East Providence council members can extend their terms from two to four years. The hearing is to take place on May 14th. The East Providence board is citing a 2012 referendum that said terms for council members were to be extended from two to four years, but the city never made the change. State Attorney General Peter Kilmartin also took action this week to ask the Rhode Island Supreme Court to clarify what's allowable.  

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Municipal Court Trials For Those Nabbed By Speed Cameras Postponed

Trials related to speed-camera tickets in Providence are being pushed back. The city's municipal court has decided to postpone the three trials scheduled for next month as the city goes through the mediation process of a federal class-action suit against the cameras. This comes as the state Senate Judiciary Committee heard a bill yesterday that would relax the rules for the cameras. The bill, introduced by Providence Senator Ana Quezada, would require flashing speed signs near the cameras and give first offenders a written citation.

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Energy Company, Power Plant Opponents Attend Hearing

It's almost decision time for a proposed one-billion-dollar natural gas power plant in Burrillville. The Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board listened to opening statements from town representatives, conservation lobbyists and Invenergy on Thursday. The town and the Conservation Law Foundation say the plant is unnecessary and would have a negative environmental impact, but Invenergy officials say the plant is needed to fulfill local energy demands. The next meeting is scheduled in July.

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RI Part Of New Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium

The first regional gun violence research group is being announced by a gaggle of states, including Rhode Island. Six states, also including Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, as well as Puerto Rico, are taking part in the effort, according to a press release from the state of Delaware. The consortium fills a void left by the federal government's 1996 ban on the use of federal funds to study gun violence.  

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State Awarding Environmental Grants

The state is awarding three-million-dollars in matching grants to 15 communities.  The Department of Environmental Management says the grants will fund 19 projects statewide to develop or renovate recreational areas.  Governor Gina Raimondo says clean, safe and attractive parks and recreational facilities provide residents with economic, health and environmental benefits.

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Raimondo To Face Democratic Primary Challenge

Matt Brown is going to challenge Governor Gina Raimondo in a Democratic primary.  He was elected as secretary of state in 2002 and served one-term.  He then lost to Sheldon Whitehouse in a primary for the U.S. Senate in 2006.  Three Republicans and an independent are also in the race for governor. 

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Chafee Interested In Return To The Senate

Former Governor Lincoln Chafee says it's likely he'll run for the U.S. Senate in a Democratic primary against incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.  Running as the Republican incumbent, Chafee lost his U.S. Senate seat to Whitehouse in 2006.  He was elected governor in 2010 as an independent, but did not run for a second term.  Two Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination to challenge for the U.S. Senate seat.

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Avedisian To Be New RIPTA CEO

Longtime Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian zhin   is going to be the new chief executive officer of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. The RIPTA board chose Avedisian Wednesday afternoon.  He has been the mayor of Rhode Island's second-largest city since 2000.  Governor Gina Raimondo says Avedisian has been an advocate for public transportation and an excellent choice to run RIPTA.

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American Revolution Museum Gets Providence Native's Journal

The Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia is adding to its public display the original journal of a Rhode Island man who was captured by the British during the war. The journal of Providence native Christopher Hawkins was discovered about two decades ago in the closet of a direct ancestor and was recently donated by her son, according to a press release from the museum. Hawkins tells the story of joining a privateer ship at the age of 13 to fight the British, how he was captured and eventually escaped from the infamous "Jersey" prison ship.

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Blue Cross Streamlining Access To Youth Mental Health Program

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island is supporting a new behavioral care model for children and teenagers facing mental illness. The company says in a press release says it's simplifying access to the Mindful Teen program at Bradley Hospital and working to expand the model of care in the future. Officials say it's an alternative to inpatient hospitalization and focuses on early intervention. Blue Cross says one in five Rhode Island children, ages six to seventeen, has a diagnosable mental health issue.

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Hard Hat Recall Notice

Several types of hard hats manufactured in Mexico and imported for distribution through the Honeywell Safety Products facility in Smithfield are being listed in a recall notice. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the product types are Fibre-Metal E2 and North Peak A79 hard hats, which are being recalled because they can fail to protect users from impact. The commission says the recall affects 148-thousand hard hats that were sold in the U.S. and Canada. 

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Developer Wants To Build 600-Foot-Tall Providence Building

A developer is trying to construct what would become the tallest building in Rhode Island. Jason Fane, the president of The Fane Organization in New York, revealed the design for the proposed Hope Point Tower at a Providence City Plan Commission meeting on Wednesday. The residential building would go up six-hundred feet on the old I-195 land on Dyer Street. For the building to become reality, the plan commission has to approve a zoning change, as the current height limit for a building in that area is one-hundred feet.  

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Warwick City Council President Will Serve As Acting Mayor

Warwick City Council President Joseph Solomon is taking aim at the city's mayoral vacancy. Longtime Mayor Scott Avedisian is taking the position of director at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. Solomon, who will become the acting mayor when Avedisian steps down, released a statement saying he intends to run for mayor following the completion of the current term. Avedisian says he will wait to leave office until after the deadline for a special election passes.  

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Jeb Bush Lectures At Brown

Former presidential candidate and Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a lecture to Brown University students on Wednesday. The event took place just days after his mother, Barbara Bush, was buried following her death last week. Jeb said his father, 41st president George H.W. Bush, who was hospitalized hours after the burial, will hopefully be released on Friday. Bush, speaking in an international affairs lecture series, said he doesn't believe the United States can maintain a meaningful presence in the world unless the issue of lack of social and economic mobility is addressed

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Bills Focusing On School Safety, Abuse Reporting Passed In Senate

The Rhode Island Senate is passing a pair of bills focusing on the safety of schoolchildren. One of the bills, sponsored by Senator Hanna Gallo, codifies the existence of the Rhode Island School Safety Committee into state law and requires that school districts provide the committee with safety assessments every three years for review and recommendations. The other bill, sponsored by Senator Maryellen Goodwin, clarifies the circumstances in which school officials should report possible sexual abuse. 

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State GOP Calls For Speaker Mattiello To Step Down

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is facing calls to resign from the state's Republican Party after the state board of elections ordered him to repay about 72-thousand dollars in campaign expenses. The board investigated a complaint filed by the state GOP that claimed Mattiello used his political action committee to spend much more than the allowable amount on his 2016 campaign. Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell claimed in a statement that Mattiello would not be in office if not for the illegal activity. Mattiello told reporters on Wednesday that he made a mistake but did nothing intentionally wrong.  

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Opposition To Expansion Of Junk Health Insurance

Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are opposed to a regulation that would allow the use of short-term health care plans to create what are described as junk insurance plans.  They say those plans would raise premiums for older Americans, reduce access to quality coverage and harm those with pre-existing conditions.  The Senators are urging the Trump administration not to finalize the proposed rule, and instead work with Congress to give all Americans choices for affordable health care.

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Seekonk River Advisory Issued After Sewage Discharge

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is advising the public to avoid contact with water from the Seekonk River.  The DEM says an estimated 215-thousand gallons of sewage entered the Blackstone River due to an apparent blockage.  The department says Narragansett Bay Commission crews were able to disinfect a portion of the discharge with chlorine and stop the overflow on Monday.  The advisory is in effect until sundown on Thursday. 

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Voters Approve Sale Of Old Library In North Kingstown

North Kingstown is being directed to sell its former library and more recent town hall annex.  Voters overwhelmingly approved the question concerning the 19th-century building in Wickford at a special referendum on Tuesday.  A developer has proposed renovating the library and turning it into a dining and entertainment location.

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Providence Mayor Boasts No New Taxes In Budget Proposal

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says his fiscal year 2019 budget does not include any new taxes for the fourth consecutive year.  Elorza proposed the 745-million-dollar budget at City Hall on Tuesday.  He said the budget also includes more than three-million-dollars for the city's rainy day fund once again, and it marks the fourth consecutive year the city will be making 100-percent pension payments.  The budget is calling for 20-million-dollars to be borrowed in bonds for improvements to school buildings.

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AG Wants Court To Review Board Term Extension Attempt

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is seeking a ruling from the Rhode Island Supreme Court regarding the length of terms for current members serving on the city council and school committee of East Providence.  East Providence voters passed a charter change in 2012 to amend two-year terms to four-year terms for board members, but candidates have continued to be elected to two-year terms since then.  A "Providence Journal" story over the weekend indicated several council members want to extend their terms based on the referendum.  Kilmartin said on Tuesday that he received a citizen complaint about the issue earlier this month. 

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Governor Signs Executive Order On Net Neutrality

Governor Gina Raimondo is signing an executive order affecting net neutrality in Rhode Island.  The move on Tuesday came a day after the Federal Communications Commission issued new rules allowing Internet providers to block or slow content, or charge content providers more for so-called "fast lanes."  The executive order requires Internet service providers that contract with the state to commit to the principle of previously defined regulations.

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Warwick Mayor Expected To Be Named New RIPTA Director

It's being widely reported that Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian will step down to become the director of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.  Governor Gina Raimondo said on Tuesday that she recommended Avedisian for the position to the RIPTA board, which is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on the appointment of a new CEO on Wednesday.  Avedisian himself has declined to confirm reports.  He has served as Warwick mayor since 2000, the longest term in the city's history.

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Probe Uncovers Lax Emergency Training

Navy employees at Naval Station Newport deliberately falsified first-responder training records, leaving firefighters without critical experience in emergency situations, a federal investigation found.
The Office of Special Counsel told President Donald Trump in a letter Tuesday that a Navy inspector general investigation, prompted by a concerned firefighter at Naval Station Newport, found thousands of faulty or falsified training records.

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Set-Up Begins For VOR As 100,000+ Expected To Flock To Newport

It's the calm before the storm, but by May 8, Fort Adams will be transformed into the Volvo Race Village ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport – the only one in North America during the world-famous race. The race came to Newport in 2015 and drew 131,000 people. Sail Newport is expecting the same amount of people, if not more, this time around, and that means big money for the city and the state.

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Warwick Lawyer Facing Charges

A Warwick lawyer has been charged with embezzling $1.2 million from his clients. The Rhode Island State Police say 57-year-old Vincent Mitchell was arrested Monday and charged with 10 counts of embezzlement and fraudulent conversion over $100. Mitchell voluntarily told the Rhode Island Supreme Court disciplinary counsel's office in August that he had taken $1.2 million from 10 clients for unauthorized personal use.

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Whitehouse Pays Visit To Middletown Group

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says the nation needs to do more to clean up and prevent marine debris. Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, visited Clean Ocean Access, a Middletown nonprofit, on Monday to call on the U.S. House to pass his bill to address marine debris, the "Save Our Seas Act." Whitehouse was marking global Earth Day, which was on Sunday. The Senate has passed the bill.

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House Judiciary Committee To Hear Firearms Bills

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear several firearms-related bills today.  One would allow only police officers or those previously approved to carry a gun on school property.  Other bills would restrict the possession and sale of new assault weapons, ban high-capacity magazines and raise the legal age to 21 to buy a rifle or a shotgun. 

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Environmental Officials Say It's Coyote Time In RI

Don't feed the coyotes, goes the latest warning from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.  Officials are advising residents that this is the time of year when the animals may often be seen in populated areas and neighborhoods looking for food.  DEM says coyotes that find easily obtained food resources may become bold and habituated to human activity, which could put small pets at risk.  Coyote attacks on people are very rare.

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Hasbro Reports Big First-Quarter Loss

The closure of Toys R Us is having an impact on Hasbro.  The toy company released its first-quarter financial estimates on Monday, indicating a 16-percent drop in net revenues and a net loss of 112-million-dollars.  Hasbro says the liquidation of Toys R Us in the United States and the U.K. resulted in the decrease in revenues, but chairman and CEO Brian Goldner said in a statement that Hasbro is working to put the disruption in the rear-view mirror. 

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East Providence Council Term Extension Attempt Has Election Board's Attention

The Rhode Island Board of Elections could soon be meeting to talk about East Providence City Council members reportedly attempting to double the length of their terms.  A "Providence Journal" story over the weekend indicated several council members want to turn their two-year terms into four-year terms based on a 2012 city referendum which authorized the extension, but was never implemented.  That move would eliminate the need for an election this upcoming fall.  The "Journal" now reports a member of the elections board, with the backing of the board chairman, is calling on the full board to get together as soon as possible.

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Providence Mayor's Budget Address Scheduled Tonight

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is set to deliver his 2018-2019 budget to the City Council on tonight.  City teachers who have been working without a contract since the end of last August are planning a protest at City Hall.  Over a thousand teachers attended Elorza's state of the city address in February.  Elorza's administration has released few details about the budget outline.

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Safety Of New Center For Psychiatric Patients Questioned

A Cranston state representative is expressing concern about psychiatric patients being transferred out of the Eleanor Slater Hospital to the Roosevelt Benton Center, both in Cranston.  The latter, a former training school, is being renovated ahead of the move, which was authorized because a state commission found there were too many suicide risks at the hospital.  But the Benton center was the site of violence and vandalism incidents involving juvenile offenders last year.  Republican Robert Lancia says there are a lot of unanswered questions from the state regarding security measures and he's scheduling a public forum.

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Top Political Candidates Release Tax Returns

Despite no law requiring it, a majority of Rhode Island politicians running for election this year have released their tax returns.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and leading GOP challenger Allan Fung have made the top pages of their 2017 tax filings public.
Also, Matt Brown, who has not officially declared if he is running for governor, has released his returns.
The only gubernatorial candidate who refused outright was former Republican lawmaker Joe Trillo.
Trillo, running as an independent, who was the state campaign chairman in 2016 for President Donald Trump, said “I don't think it is anybody's business.”
GOP candidates Patricia Morgan and Giovanni Feroce said they will release their returns when they are ready.
Both have filed for extensions.

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Gas Prices Rise 10 Cents Per Gallon In RI

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up 10 cents per gallon. AAA Northeast said Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.75 per gallon. That's a penny lower than the national average. AAA says prices are now at the level last seen during the summer of 2015. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 40 cents higher than it was a year ago. AAA found gas in Rhode Island selling for as low as $2.62 per gallon and as high as $2.99. AAA says demand is up and inventories of oil and gasoline are down. Prices are likely to continue rising.

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Teens Build Towers, Model Vehicles For Science Fair

Teenagers from across the state have shown off their building skills and ambitions at the annual Science Olympiad in Providence. For some, that involved hoping their balsa wood tower could withstand weights without breaking in half. The event held Saturday at Rhode Island College was a preliminary round for high school and middle school students before a national tournament in Colorado in May.

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Former RI Chief Justice To Address MSU Grads

Former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank J. Williams will be the commencement speaker for Mississippi State's three graduation ceremonies taking place next month. Approximately 3,200 students will receive degrees during May 3 and May 4 ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum. Williams, a noted historian and current president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, has played key roles in making MSU one of the nation's leading centers for study of the American Civil War.

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Earth Day Cleanups In Rhode Island

There were plenty of people celebrating Earth Day in Rhode Island on Sunday. The Save the Bay organization reports it had 167 volunteers who picked up over eleven-hundred pounds of trash at Fields Point in Providence. Plus, the organization says about 150 volunteers combined to pick up nearly eight-hundred pounds of refuse at Conimicut Point Park and Salty Brine State Beach.

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About A Million Dollars In Grants For Providence Library

Senator Jack Reed is announcing some new funding for the Providence Public Library. Reed says the library is receiving a federal grant worth roughly half-a-million dollars, plus matching funds by partner organizations to test and distribute new adult education and workforce development library practices. The project will build upon and expand programs and practices already in place at libraries in Chicago and Los Angeles, according to a press release.

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Narragansett Bay Shellfish Have Plenty Of Food After Algae Bloom

University of Rhode Island scientists say the annual algae bloom in Narragansett Bay this past winter was the largest on record. They say the huge numbers could result in a big uptick in shellfish that consume algae for food. Large amounts of rainfall received in October was the reported cause. 

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Providence Plans Education Summit

Providence is holding an education summit to solicit feedback that will help shape policies and programs to improve teaching and learning. Mayor Jorge Elorza said Friday that the "All In" education summit will be held May 12 at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex. The mayor says the summit, the second of its kind, allows the voice of the community to influence decisions for the future of education in Providence.

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Trees In Warwick Cut Down By Mistake

Officials in Warwick are working to replace dozens of trees that were mistakenly cut down on land behind an elementary school. A contractor working on a sewer project mistakenly cleared the field behind Warwick's John Brown Francis School last week. About 40 trees were removed, many of them oaks. The sewer authority has agreed to replant and landscape the area, likely by transplanting mature trees to the site.

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Trio Charged For Counterfeit Cash In Richmond

A man and a woman from New York City are facing counterfeit money, conspiracy and credit card fraud charges.  Richmond police say they seized thousands of dollars in bogus cash and arrested the pair last week.  The man was held pending a court appearance on outstanding warrants in New York, the woman was arraigned and released on personal recognizance.  Additionally, Richmond police say earlier this month a Norwich, Connecticut, woman was charged for using counterfeit cash in town.

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Regulators Recommend Reducing Rate Hike Request

State regulators are recommending a significant reduction in the size of the gas and electric rate increases sought by National Grid.  They say an increase of eleven-point-three-million-dollars is needed rather than the nearly 46-million-dollars requested by the utility company.  The recommendation is based on testimony from eleven expert witnesses. The rate request is pending before the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

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Pawtucket Mayor Involved In Vehicle Crash

Pawtucket police say that based on circumstances, no charges are being filed in a collision between a car driven by Mayor Don Grebien and another vehicle.  It happened around 9:45 Saturday night.  Grebien says he was not injured, but that his wife suffered a concussion.  The driver and a passenger in the other car complained of pain and both women were taken to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment.

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RIDOT Unveils Construction Season Plans

RIDOT says there are going to be over 100 projects statewide as the spring construction season gets underway.  It starts with upgrades to the Horton Farm Bridge, which carries the East Shore Expressway to I-195 in East Providence.  It's only 34-years-old, but officials say it's structurally deficient because of heavy traffic flow and a lack of maintenance.

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Slight Drop In RI Jobless Rate

Rhode Island's March unemployment rate is four-and-a-half percent.  That's a tenth-of-a-percent lower than the February figure according to the state Department of Labor Training.  Nationally the March jobless rate is four-point-one percent.

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Grad School Of Oceanography, Two Other Schools Create Consortium

The University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography is entering into a partnership with two other institutions to operate the research vessel "Endeavor" for its final years at the school's Narragansett Bay campus.  The East Coast Oceanographic Consortium, formally created in January, also includes the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, the University of New Hampshire, and eleven other associate members.  The National Science Foundation, which owns the vessel "Endeavor," is receiving a proposal from URI to host and operate a new ship. 

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Governor: Contractor Will Pay Any Cost Associated With UHIP Problems

Governor Gina Raimondo is reacting to a federal warning issued to Rhode Island over the mismanagement of the state's food stamp program.  The USDA said this week in a letter to the state that the problematic rollout of the computer system known as UHIP could lead to the loss of almost a million dollars in federal funding.  Raimondo said on Thursday that UHIP's contractor, Deloitte, will pay any potential penalties, not Rhode Island taxpayers.

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Stun Gun Push In Rhode Island

The same week as the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled against a ban on possessing stun guns, a state representative is trying to get them legalized in Rhode Island.  Fourteenth District Representative Charlene Lima is crafting a stun gun ownership bill for the second time in two years.  Last year's bill didn't make it out of committee.  Lima says she was inspired by the decision in Massachusetts to reintroduce the measure.

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Police Use Narcan To Save Overdose Victim While Making Drug Arrest

The Coventry Police Department is sharing a story about how a man was saved from an overdose while officers were making an unrelated arrest.  Police say Samuel Jackson of Providence was arrested during a traffic stop on Thursday after a week-long narcotic investigation stemming from complaints about drug deals being made near the Coventry Greenway bike path.  During the arrest, an unrelated vehicle arrived on the scene, and the driver reportedly told police his passenger was overdosing on drugs.  Detectives administered four doses of Narcan to the victim, and were able to revive him, according to the Coventry PD.  He was taken to Kent Hospital and later released.

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State Education Department Shares Graduation Info For Class Of 2017

The Rhode Island Department of Education is releasing the latest graduation rate numbers for high schoolers.  The department says the four-year rate for public school students rose to 84-point-one-percent, a one-point-three-percent increase over 2016 and an eight-percent increase since 2010.  While graduation numbers for black students, students with disabilities and low-income students saw healthy gains, RIDE notes the graduation rate for Hispanic students only increased by a third of a percentage point, and went down one-point-four points for English learners.

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Brown University Gets 100-Million-Dollar Gift

Brown University is the recipient of a 100-million-dollar gift to fund research into brain and nerve disorders.  The endowment comes from long-serving trustee and 1961 Brown graduate Robert Carney and his wife Nancy Carney.  University President Christina Paxson says the donation will help establish Brown as a leader in devising treatments and technologies to address brain-related disease and injury. 

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CCRI Officials Say Free Tuition Boosts Enrollment

Enrollment of students straight out of high school is up more than 40-percent at the Community College of Rhode Island.  Officials say the biggest reason is free tuition through theRhode Island Promise Scholarship program.  It's designed to cover tuition and fees for full-time students.

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Former Providence Mayor Gets Ticket From Speed Cameras

The new speed cameras in Providence are apparently not sparing anyone.  GoLocalProv reports former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and current City Solicitor Jeff Dana are among the thousands of motorists who have received a ticket.  Dana said last month that Taveras' law firm, Greenberg Traurig, was hired by the city to defend it against a class-action lawsuit against the cameras.  A judge last week ordered the city and the group suing it to go through mediation to settle the dispute.

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AFSCME Reports Tentative Deal Reached With State

A tentative agreement on a new contract is being announced between Governor Gina Raimondo's administration and Rhode Island's largest state employee union.  The "Providence Journal" reports the deal involving Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees involves a seven-and-a-half-percent raise over a three-year period.  AFSCME officials say ratification votes could be scheduled for the coming weeks.

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Warning Issued Over UHIP Problems

Rhode Island is getting a warning from the federal government about a possible suspension in funding due to mismanagement of food stamps.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture said this week in a letter to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services that it continues to monitor Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program concerns following the implementation of the state's integrated eligibility system in September 2016, better known as UHIP.  The agency says it has found the state's progress on the issue insufficient and is issuing a formal warning of a suspension of up to nearly a million dollars in federal funding for administrative costs of the food stamp program.  Rhode Island now has 30 days to respond with correctional actions or evidence of compliance.

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New Accusations Against Former Chaplain At Middletown School

New charges are being filed against a former Episcopal chaplain of Saint George's School in Middletown.  Howard White Jr. was indicted last week by a grand jury in Haywood County, North Carolina, for the alleged rape and molestation of two teenagers while he worked at a church in Waynesville, in the western part of the state.  White is currently serving a prison sentence in the Suffolk County House of Corrections after he pleaded guilty last year to abusing a student in Boston in the 1970s.  Law enforcement officials in North Carolina are working to extradite him when he is released from prison.

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Fuel Excise Tax Proposed At Green Airport

There's a bill in the House that proposes a seven-percent excise tax on jet fuel at T.F. Green Airport.  "The Providence Journal" reports it would generate over three-million-dollars annually to help the airport make infrastructure improvements.  The bill is in the House Finance Committee for consideration.

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DCYF Worker Threw Away Sensitive Information

The state Department of Children, Youth and Families says the risk of a data breach is low as the result of a flash drive being accidentally thrown away.  The agency says it's password protected and encrypted.  DCYF says an employee mistakenly discarded the flash drive containing the personal information of about one-thousand children in foster care, including social security numbers.  Other agencies including the Attorney General's office, the Rhode Island Family Court and the Social Security Administration have been notified

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Golf Course Closed Over Apparent Dispute Between Tenant And Owner

A West Bay golf course is closed. A spokesman for New England Tech, which owns East Greenwich Golf and Country Club, says that it is looking for a new tenant to operate the course and restaurant. The previous tenant, Robert Rainville, says the closure over the weekend was due to a rent dispute and says he hopes to work out a resolution. 

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Hasbro Launches Toy-Recycling Initiative

Hasbro is announcing a new toy-recycling program. The company says consumers can collect and send Hasbro toys and games to TerraCycle, a global leader in product recycling, which will turn them into materials that can be used in the construction of play spaces, flower pots, park benches and other uses. More information on the pilot program is available at HasbroToyRecycling.com.

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URI Working On New Bomb Sensor

The University of Rhode Island is developing new bomb detection technology. The school says the Digital Dog nose, created by chemical engineering professor Otto Gregory, could soon be placed at subway and train stations, airports and shipping ports. Gregory and his students have been working on the project for the last 15 months and completed a prototype last summer which was tested at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, according to a press release. The work is being funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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Report Lauds RI For Pre-School Progress

The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University is publishing its report on the state of pre-school in the United States in 2017. The report indicates Rhode Island is one of three states, along with Alabama and Michigan, that met all ten of the institute's new benchmarks for minimum state preschool quality standards. While the report notes Rhode Island was one of 12 states that had programs enrolling less than ten percent of four-year-olds in the 2016-2017 school year, it also shows that the state now enrolls more than a thousand children. That's an increase of more than two-hundred percent in the two years since Rhode Island began receiving federal preschool development grants.

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Several School Walkouts Planned For RI

More school walkouts are planned for later this week. According to the website NationalSchoolWalkout.net, demonstrations are scheduled for Friday, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, to protest violence in schools and the lack of change that has occurred to stop it. In Rhode Island, walkouts are planned for the Wheeler School in Providence, Woonsocket Middle School, Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, and Exeter West Greenwich High School.

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Statements Released After Death Of Barbara Bush

Rhode Island politicians are reacting after First Lady Barbara Bush died on Tuesday at the age of 92. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo released a statement calling Bush an inspiration to generations of Americans who championed causes including civil rights and education. Congressman David Cicilline said he was deeply saddened by the death, and said she devoted her time in the White House to improving literacy for children and adults, among other endeavors. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said Bush will be remembered for the strength and dignity she demonstrated while serving as First Lady.

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Car Vadalism Spree At URI

Police at the University of Rhode Island say swastikas and lewd images have been carved into more than a dozen cars in the past two weeks. Police say the images have been found on 13 cars at the Kingston campus since April 4. Officers have been reviewing surveillance footage and patrolling parking lots, but have not identified any suspects. The school says it condemns all vandalism but said "the hateful and offensive nature of these incidents deserves the strongest repudiation."

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RI Gas Prices Up This Week

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up two cents this week. AAA Northeast said Monday in its weekly survey that self-serve regular is averaging $2.65 per gallon. That's six cents below the national average of $2.71. AAA says gas prices are the highest they've been in six months and are likely to continue rising.

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Governor Attending Out-Of-State Events

Governor Gina Raimondo is on the road giving speeches and raising money for her re-election campaign.   A spokesman says she's scheduled to attend an event today for female CEO's in San Diego.  Then she travels to Washington, D.C. for a Wednesday morning address to construction trade-union officials.  Raimondo's office says that in California she's highlighting Rhode Island's investments in education and job training.  In D.C. she'll discuss her administration's focus on infrastructure improvements.

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RI Eviction Rate Highest In New England

New data shows Rhode Island had the highest eviction rate in New England in 2016.  The statistics from Princeton University indicate there were more than five-thousand evictions in the Ocean State that year.  There were nearly 16-hundred in Providence that nearly tripled Boston's rate.  "The Providence Journal" also reports experts say one reason for Rhode Island's high eviction rate is a lack of access to free legal assistance.

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Problems Reported At Simmons Farm Petting Zoo In Middletown

A quarantine order is being issued for a petting zoo in Rhode Island. The state department of environmental management is investigating the connection between the zoo at Simmons Farm in Middletown and several recent reported cases of cryptosporidiosis, a disease spread through contact with feces of an infected person or animals. Specifically, state officials say one child and two adults who have been diagnosed reported having contact with goats at petting zoo events in the last week of March.

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UHIP Contractor Gets Extended Through Next Year

The vendor responsible for Rhode Island's notorious UHIP computer system is getting a work extension. The Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services said on Monday that the contract with Deloitte was being extended until March of 2019. Deloitte officials just last week apologized to legislators at a hearing for the problems with the 2016 rollout of UHIP, which was supposed to make access to benefits like food stamps and Medicaid more efficient but has been plagued by severe technical problems.

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No Problems With Allegiant At TF Green, Airport Officials Say

A new report is detailing problems on Allegiant Air flights. "60 Minutes" ran a weekend story citing public documents that indicate there have been a high number of aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure issues, emergency descents, and unscheduled landings. A Rhode Island Airport Commission spokesperson says that the commission has only had positive experiences with Allegiant since they began operations last year at TF Green Airport, and that Allegiant has not experienced any safety incidents related to local flights.

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Storm Dumps Several Inches Of Rain Throughout RI

Monday's storm was a windy soaker in parts of Rhode Island. The National Weather Service says the wettest spot was Smithfield, where two-point-three-two inches of rain was measured, and more than two inches fell in Burrillville, North Providence and the Coventry village of Greene, as well. The top wind gust was 58 miles per hour, measured in Warwick. About 16-hundred power outages that were reported throughout the state by National Grid were resolved as of overnight, according to the utility's online outage map.

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Truck Toll Delay To Cost RI Estimated $20M In Lost Revenue

Transportation officials say the state won't begin its new truck tolls until at least the end of May, a delay that's expected to cost the state an estimated $20 million in lost revenue.Transportation Director Peter Alviti Jr. told lawmakers last week the department is still testing tolls. He says the governor wants to be absolutely sure they're functioning correctly before they go online.

Officials had initially said they planned to begin tolling large commercial trucks by December, and then pushed that back to March.

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Pawtucket Pulling Back Tickets From Parking Ban Last Month

The city of Pawtucket is refunding motorists who were issued parking tickets during the not-so-mighty nor'easter that struck last month. City Council voted unanimously at last week's meeting to rescind nearly 250 tickets, at a hundred bucks a pop, which stemmed from a parking ban that was put in place on March 21st. Forecasters had predicted up to eight inches of snow for the forth nor'easter to hit New England in the month of March, but it fizzled out.

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ACLU Appealing Providence Student Housing Ordinance Decision

The ACLU is appealing to the Rhode Island Superior Court a lower court ruling upholding the constitutionality of a Providence housing ordinance prohibiting more than three college students from living together in certain parts of the city. The ACLU sued in 2016 on behalf of four Johnson and Wales University students who were impacted by an ordinance passed by the city the previous year, which was due to concerns about the negative impact of student housing in certain neighborhoods. The ACLU noted in a press release that the Rhode Island Superior Court judge who upheld the ordinance had strong reservations about its effectiveness. 

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Power Outage Fixed In Newport

National Grid has restored electricity in Newport. About three-thousand customers lost electricity Sunday night, but the utility's online outage map indicated overnight that service had been restored. The "Newport Daily News" reports the outage also caused malfunctioning traffic lights and forced firefighters to rescue people stuck in an elevator at Gurney's Newport Resort and Marina on Goat Island. A National Grid spokesperson told the newspaper the outage was caused by a fault in a feeder line.

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DEM Issues Ash Warning

State environmental officials are asking residents to be careful when disposing of ashes. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says now through mid-May is the traditional spring fire period and the improper disposal of wood stove ashes is a frequent cause of wildfires during this season. Ben Arnold, principal forest ranger, says ashes can hold hot embers for several days.

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Call For More Courthouse Security

Officials say more security is needed at courthouses in Providence following a shooting incident outside the Garrahy Judicial Complex last Thusday.  It's the second time in recent months that gunfire has erupted outside a court building in the city.  State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell says the streets are becoming the battlefields for gangs who lay in wait for rivals to emerge from court appearances.  Suttell and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin say more armed state troopers and Providence police officers are needed both inside and outside courthouses.

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Lawmaker Wants Armed College Police

One local lawmaker is making an effort to arm police officers patrolling two of Rhode Island's college campuses. Rep. William O'Brien is calling for the arming of police officers on the campuses of Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island. O'Brien said the bill was created in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 people.In a statement , a spokesperson for RIC said they are on board with the idea.

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Public Urged To Report Potholes In Providence

The public is urged to report potholes in Providence by using the city's 3-1-1 app.  By calling 3-1-1 or using the app, a service request can be submitted.  Mayor Jorge Elorza says the number of complaints against the city for vehicle damage caused by potholes has dropped 81-percent in the last three years.

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Survey: Raimondo Among Least Popular Governors

A new survey puts Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo in the bottom ten in a survey of the nation's governors.  The survey from the website "Morning Consult" gives Raimondo a 39-percent approval rating, 50-percent disapprove and 11-percent have no opinion.  The survey finds Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is the most popular governor in the nation and Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy is the most unpopular.

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Campgrounds Opening Today, Trout Season Starts Saturday

Four state campgrounds are opening for the season today. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says Burlingame, Charlestown Breachway, Fishermen's Memorial and George Washington Memorial State Campgrounds will all be open. DEM is also reminding everyone that trout-fishing season starts tomorrow.

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Transition Fair Held For Students Of Closed School

Former Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute students are trying to figure out what the next step is in their educational journey. Students attended a transition fair on Thursday sponsored by the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to find out their options. The West Warwick school with locations in several other states unexpectedly closed last week, citing issues of accreditation and financial problems.

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Providence College Commencement Speaker Selected

Providence College has announced this year's commencement speaker. Historian David McCullough will deliver the speech for the school's 100th undergraduate commencement on May 20th. McCullough has won multiple Pulitzer prizes for books focusing on past U.S. presidents and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

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Center Span Of Old Sakonnet River Bridge Removed

An East Bay bridge has been taken down. The center span of the old Sakonnet River Bridge was removed Thursday. The bridge, which connected Tiverton and Portsmouth, has been unused since a new bridge opened in 2012. The rest of the bridge is expected to be taken down by 2020. 

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Care New England Responds To Hospital Purchase Plan

Care New England isn't reacting positively to CharterCare Health Partner's proposal to purchase Memorial Hospital. A CNE spokesperson released a statement saying the announcement came as a surprise, and that the plan is unfeasible considering previous conversations with CharterCare about buying Memorial proved fruitless. A United Nurses and Allied Professionals spokesperson added the announcement was a farce. CharterCare CEO John Holiver said on Thursday the company was preparing to make a ten-million-dollar capital investment and would purchase the hospital property and infrastructure as part of the deal.

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UHIP Contractor Apologizes At Hearing

The contractor behind the much-maligned UHIP system in Rhode Island is issuing an apology. Officials from Deloitte testified for the first time at a State House hearing on UHIP at a House Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday night. They told legislators they were sorry for the impact the issues had on residents who were looking to sign up for things like Medicaid, food stamps and other assistance programs. Deloitte said at last night's hearing that it would have been a good idea in retrospect to go through a test-run before launching the system in September 2016.

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House Passes Laws On Guns, Revenge Porn, DACA Drivers

A number of bills that passed through committee earlier this week are now clearing through the full Rhode Island House of Representatives. The House passed legislation banning bump stocks and allowing authorities to disarm someone who displays warning signs of possible violent behavior, or red flags as the legislation is worded. The House also passed a law making it a crime to post pornographic images of people without their permission, known as revenge porn. Another bill passed allowing Rhode Islanders enrolled in the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to get driver's licenses, regardless of what happens with DACA in the future.

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Company Adds Big Blue Bug Mile-Marker on I-95

The nearly 60-foot long blue termite that overlooks Interstate 95 in Rhode Island is now even harder to miss. Big Blue Bug Solutions put up a billboard in Providence on Tuesday alerting drivers that their building and its "World Famous Big Blue Bug" are only a mile away. Company vice president Tony DeJesus says that they get visitors from all over the world looking for the bug known as Nibbles Woodaway. It has been a landmark for drivers for nearly 40 years.

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Bryant To Unveil New Macot

Bryant University's new mascot will make his official debut in a red carpet ceremony. School President Ronald Matchley says the mascot has all the traits of "the best damn bulldog in the country." The private university in Smithfield  welcomes Tupper II today. The school's first official bulldog mascot, Ironclad Tupper I, collapsed and died of an apparent stroke during the college's Festival of Lights in December.

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Grocery Delivery Service Expanding In RI

Instacart is expanding in Rhode Island.  The grocery delivery service is available in the Providence area.  Starting later this month it will be available in Middletown, Portsmouth, Newport and Jamestown.   The expansion is expected to create more than 100 jobs.  Shoppers can order items from several retailers, including Shaw's, Stop & Shop, CVS and BJ's Wholesale Club via Instacart's website.

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Ceiling Collapses Closes An East Greenwich School

A ceiling collapse is the reason the Eldridge Elementary School in East Greenwich was closed today.  No one was hurt when a large section of plaster fell in the Gym yesterday.  School officials say testing found no evidence of asbestos.  

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Drivers Urged To Be Cautious In Work Zones

This is National Work Zone Awareness Week. Rhode Island drivers are being urged to drive carefully in work zones as seasonal road repair projects get underway.  Nationwide, more than 700 people die and 25-thousand are injured annually in work zone-related accidents.  Governor Gina Raimondo is asking drivers to obey signs and slow down noting that workers are sometimes just a few feet from moving traffic.

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Two RI Trucking Companies Indicted

Two Rhode Island trucking companies and their owners are under federal indictment. They are accused of a scheme to falsify federally mandated safety inspection reports to allow trucks needing repairs to haul scrap metal.  CDE Corporation and Winsor Hill Hauling and Recycling Corporation, located in Johnston, and the owners, Leslie Cucino of Foster and Robert Cucino of Johnston, are each charged with one count of conspiracy and six counts of false statements. 

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Newport City Council Agrees To Allow Armory Sale

Newport's city council is moving forward with the possible sale of the city's armory building.  The "Newport Daily News" reports the council voted 4-to-3 on Wednesday to approve a letter of interest, to be drawn up by city administrators, regarding the potential sale to the National Sailing Hall of Fame.  The price tag would be about one-point-seven-million-dollars.

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Pawtucket Warning Of Rabies Danger

The Pawtucket Police Department is telling residents to watch out for rabid animals and to get their pets vaccinated.  Officials say a cat attacked by a skunk in the city recently was taken for treatment and determined to have rabies.  The police department says as the weather gets warmer, people are at increased risk for contact with wild animals that carry the disease, including skunks, foxes, raccoons and bats, plus stray cats and dogs.

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Secretary Of State Briefing Addresses Election Matters

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is providing a briefing on improvements made in the elections administration and cybersecurity.  Gorbea spoke to political and civic leaders on Wednesday on the state's progress on 17 recommendations made by a task force she convened after the 2016 elections, ten of which she says have been completed.  They include the passage of automatic voter registration, post-election audits legislation and the implementation of electronic polling.

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Winner Of Special Senate Election To Be Sworn In

A new state senator is set to be sworn in today.  Senator-elect Sandra Cano, representing District 8 in Pawtucket, will be sworn in at 2 p.m. in the Senate Lounge of the State House.  Cano, a Democrat, recently won a special election to fill the vacant Senate seat.

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School Safety Bill Passes House

The House of Representatives is passing legislation introduced by Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello which examines school safety in Rhode Island.  The bill would codify the existence of the Rhode Island School Safety Committee into state law and require school districts to provide the committee with safety assessments every three years for review and recommendations.  Mattiello says with the school shootings that are happening, safety assessments of school buildings cannot be ignored and he says many districts have either delayed or ignored conducting them.  The measure moves on to the Senate.

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Schools Being Allowed To Fly Just Under 180-Day Requirement

The Rhode Island Department of Education is allowing some schools to skirt the 180 days of education requirement due to emergency closures during the current school year.  A spokesperson for the department says that 25 schools affected by power failures or broken water lines have been given the okay to fall one or two days short of the requirement.  Officials say more than a dozen more requests are pending, while two requests from the Exeter-West Greenwich and Woonsocket school districts have been denied because they requested the waiver from a closure caused by snow.

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Allan Fung Releases Economic Policy Bullet Points

Republican candidate for Rhode Island governor Allan Fung is releasing his economic policy plan.  The Cranston mayor says he wants to lower the state sales tax to five-percent and reduce occupational licensing, permitting and business incorporation fees to the lowest in New England.  Fung also says he wants to introduce a business concierge program, which he says has been successful in Cranston.  Fung is the second GOP candidate this week to outline his economic platform if elected governor.

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Mediation Agreed To In Speed Camera Lawsuit

There's an update to the federal class-action lawsuit filed over the new speed camera program in Providence.  Retired Superior Court Judge Mark Pfeiffer has been appointed to serve as mediator after both sides agreed to the arbitration.  A spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza also says that the language in the tickets received by motorists has been updated in the wake of the suit, which alleges that the violation notices do not specifically cite Rhode Island speeding laws.  A judge earlier this week refused a request for a temporary restraining order against the use of the cameras pending the outcome of the suit.

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New Plans For An Old Hotel

The new owners of the Providence Biltmore Hotel are planning to open a restaurant on the 18th floor.  The space was turned into a function room when a previous restaurant closed in the mid 1980's.  There are also plans to restore the exterior glass elevator.  The plans for the nearly 100-year-old hotel were unveiled at a meeting of the Downtown Design Review Committee. 

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RIPTA Launches Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's annual customer satisfaction survey is now underway.  RIPTA says the survey being conducted from now through May 6th, will help the agency to better understand rider's opinions about current service and prioritize improvements. The questionnaire is available by clicking the survey link on RIPTA's web page.

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Coast Guard Rescues A RI-Based Fisherman

A fisherman is reported in stable condition after being rescued by the Coast Guard.  The 25-year-old man was airlifted early Tuesday morning from "The Reaper," a Point Judith-based fishing boat which was 80 miles southeast of Montauk, New York, at the time.  The stricken man experienced what appeared to be a seizure, and hit his head when he fell.  He was flown to T.F. Green Airport and taken to Rhode Island Hospital.  

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Judge Denies Restraining Order Against Traffic Cameras

A federal judge has refused a request for a temporary restraining order against the use of traffic speed cameras in Providence.  The restraining order was sought pending the outcome of a class-action lawsuit filed by opponents of the cameras.  They argue the city has failed to provide drivers with due process protections.  The issuing of thousands of 95-dollar tickets resulting in hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in fines has caused a controversy.

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Bicycle Rental Company Being Purchased By Uber

 A bicycle rental company with plans to expand into Providence is being acquired by Uber.  "TechCrunch" reports Uber is spending about 200-million-dollars on the purchase of Jump, which operates in Washington, DC and also plans to expand into New York and Sacramento.  Jump users can rent electric, power-assisted bikes that automatically lock and can be left anywhere without a docking station.

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Trump Picks Judge Whose Nomination During Obama Administration Stalled

President Trump is nominating a familiar name for a federal judge seat in Rhode Island.  The White House said on Tuesday that Trump intends to select Mary McElroy to serve as district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island.  McElroy was recommended by Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse in 2015, but her nomination stalled.  She currently serves as Rhode Island's public defender.

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Giovanni Feroce Gets Specific With Governor Goals

Republican candidate for Rhode Island governor Giovanni Feroce is outlining his campaign platform.  Feroce's proposals at a speech in East Greenwich on Tuesday included eliminating Rhode Island's income and estate taxes, and making the state a right-to-work zone in 2025.  The former Alex and Ani CEO said the state should use blockchain technology to save money.

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Senate Passes Revenge Porn Bill, House Committee Forwards Several Bills

The Rhode Island House and Senate were both busy on Tuesday.  The Senate passed a bill making revenge porn and sextortion illegal, two years after Governor Gina Raimondo vetoed similar legislation, but this version is being called a compromise.  The House Judiciary Committee approved two gun-control bills -- one banning bump stocks and another creating a so-called "red flag" law -- and a bill allowing so-called Dreamers, or DACA recipients, to maintain driver's licenses in Rhode Island even if DACA protections are stripped.  Those bills will be forwarded to the full House for consideration on Thursday.

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Biotech Company Expands Into Rhode Island

Governor Gina Raimondo is announcing the expansion of a biotechnology company into Rhode Island.  Amgen will build a new 160-million-dollar bio-manufacturing plant on the current Amgen Rhode Island campus in West Greenwich.  The new facility is expected to create about 150 high-skilled manufacturing jobs.  The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation has approved nearly nine-and-half-million-dollars in tax credits to help fund the project.

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Traffic Alert Issued To Newport Drivers

Newport Police would like to alert the public about some road work coming up in the City.National Grid Gas will be conducting maintenance on the gas main around Thames St and Dixon Street tomorrow.There will be excavation work in the middle of the road, maybe traffic impassable in the area.A detour will be in place for southbound traffic on Thames St. Work will begin after 9 a.m. and officers will be in place to help with the traffic flow.

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PSA Campaign Launched On Distracted Driving

The six New England states are joining forces for what is being called the region's first coordinated public education campaign against distracted driving. The campaign includes a public service announcement that features police officers from each of the six states discussing crashes blamed on distracted drivers. Maine and Massachusetts will soon be the only New England states that do not ban all hand-held cellphone use by drivers.

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Newport Prepares to Host Sailors in VOR

The countdown is officially on for the start of the Newport portion of the Volvo Ocean Race.The Newport Daily News reports that on Sunday afternoon, supporters of the around-the-world sailing race came together at Fort Adams State Park for a pep rally that marked the 30-day window before the event starts here with the opening of the Volvo Ocean Race Village.

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Proposed Bill Would Exclude Veteran Pensions From State Tax

Local legislators are hoping to keep veterans in Rhode Island by excluding their pensions from state income tax.

Republican Rep. Robert Lancia of Cranston is calling on the state to create a new tax exemption for income derived from military pensions. He hopes this will convince more veterans to remain in the state.

Rhode Island is one of a few states that fully taxes income derived from those specific retirement funds, which Lancia says leaves veterans at a "severe disadvantage”.

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New Providence Shelter Opens

A renovated apartment building designed to house dozens of disabled and homeless people has opened in Providence. Officials and housing advocates attended a ribbon cutting last week for the new Dean Street Studios, formerly the Advent Apartments. About $9 million was spent to rehab the building, which has 51 units and will offer on-site behavioral health services from the Kent Center for Human and Organizational Development.

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State Drug Overdose Deaths Down

State health officials say the number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island declined in 2017 after years of steady increases. There were 323 deaths last year, down from 336 in 2016. That's about a 4 percent decrease. Health Department Director Nicole Alexander-Scott says it's a "small bit of momentum" that's energizing.

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New Car Insurance Option May Be Too Invasive For Some

A new car insurance company in Rhode Island is offering a cheap option for drivers, but there's a catch: You have to let it monitor your driving on a daily basis.  Officials with Hi-Road Assurance Company says their new plan tracks drivers with a cell phone app and rewards them with discounts that vary month to month based on driver safety.  Drivers get a score and projected discounts after each trip.

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Filming For Crime Movie In Providence

Filming for a new motion picture in Rhode Island is wrapping up.  Scenes for the movie "Vault" were shot this past week in the Superman Building in Providence.  It's a real-life mobster story based on Federal Hill, starring Clive Standen.  Producers hope to have the film released next year.

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Portrait Of Former Providence Mayor Unveiled At City Hall

A new portrait of former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has been unveiled.  Ceremonies were held at Providence City Hall on Saturday.  Taveras was the 37th mayor of the city and the first Latino mayor.  The portrait was painted by Rhode Island artist Harley Bartlett.

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Waterfire Seeking Donations For New Access Boat

Waterfire is seeking donations for a new boat for its access program.  The boat provides free rides on the river for people with mobility issues or disabilities.  The goal of a fundraising campaign to purchase and retrofit a new pontoon boat is ten-thousand-dollars.

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RI Is Joining Lawsuit Against The EPA

The City of Chicago and a coalition of 15 attorneys general, including Rhode Island AG Peter Kilmartin, are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator, Scott Pruitt.  The lawsuit argues that Pruitt and the agency are violating the Clean Air Act by unreasonably delaying a mandatory obligation to control methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources. The coalition says methane is a potent greenhouse gas and its emissions pose a significant danger to the environment and public health. 

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Warning Issued About Aggressive Tax Scam

As the tax filing deadline approaches, the Rhode Island attorney general's office is warning about an increase in the frequency and aggressiveness of IRS scam phone calls.  People have reported receiving frequent calls threatening immediate arrest for failure to make a payment for supposed owed taxes.   Since the scam first surfaced several years ago, authorities say the technology scammers use to appear they are calling from the IRS has become sophisticated.  Anyone receiving such calls is advised to hang up and contact the the attorney general's consumer protection unit.

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RI's Pitch To Amazon Released

In its pitch to be home to Amazon's second headquarters,Rhode Island offered the vacant so-called Superman building in downtown Providence.  It also promised to improve infrastructure and noted its proximity to Boston and New York.  The proposal which was publicly released by the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation after "The Providence Journal" filed an open records complaint, does not include proposed financial incentives.  The "Journal" reports that information was redacted because Governor Gina Raimondo doesn't want other companies to know what Amazon was offered.

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Popular Hamburger Chain Coming To RI

A popular hamburger chain is coming to Rhode    Island.  Shake Shack is planning to open a restaurant on Thayer Street in Providence next year.  The chain started in 2004 in New York City and now has more than 90 locations around the country. 

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Speed Camera Court Hearings Are Postponed

All speed camera hearings in Providence Municipal Court are reportedly postponed for this month.  Court dates for drivers planning to challenge their 95-dollar tickets will be rescheduled.  The city is facing a federal class-action lawsuit challenging the camera program.  Opponents are seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the city from issuing more tickets or collecting fines until the lawsuit is resolved. 

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Car Break-Ins Investigation In Coventry

Police are investigating several car break-ins over the last few days in Coventry.  The mid-day incidents happened while the vehicle owners were shopping along Tiogue Avenue.  According to a witness, a thin Hispanic man wearing gloves was seen getting into a red Dodge Caravan with Massachusetts plates in the vicinity of one of the break-ins. 

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Federal Funding For Bus Tunnel Repairs

The bus tunnel between South Main and Thayer streets in Providence is getting 900-thousand-dollars in federal funding.  The money will finance engineering and design improvements to enhance safety inside the more than century old tunnel.  The RhodeIsland Public Transit Authority says ten-percent of its riders use the tunnel under College Hill daily.

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Bill To Allow Medical Marijuana In Schools

There's a bill in the House to allow school nurses to administer smokeless medical marijuana products to students with a prescription.  Providence Representative Scott Slater says it would be helpful to children who suffer from conditions such as seizures.  The bill also provides protection from criminal prosecution and limits civil liability for school nurses who administer smokeless marijuana products to eligible students.  

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Governor Announces Gun Safety Working Group

Governor Gina Raimondo says her newly formed Gun Safety Working Group is going to be chaired by Narragansett Town Manager James Manni, a former state police major, and Doctor Megan Ranney of Rhode Island Hospital.  Other members of the group represent law enforcement, mental health, non-profit, public policy and education.  The group will meet monthly to discuss and develop recommendations to counteract gun violence.  Announcing the group today, the governor says with Congress dragging its feet, state's need to step up and take action to keep communities safe.

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CVS Health Shares Info On New Kidney Disease Initiative

Rhode Island-based CVS Health is announcing a new effort in the fight against chronic kidney disease.  The company said this week that the new initiative will focus on early identification of the disease and the expansion of home dialysis in order to enhance care for patients.  CVS Health says nearly 700-thousand Americans have end-stage renal disease and nearly half-a-million of those patients are on active dialysis.

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Police: Mayor's Missing Coin Collection Recovered

Coventry police have solved the case of Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's stolen coin collection.  Robert Hunt of Coventry was arrested on March 25th after officers responded to a disturbance at his apartment.  Police say they found the Chinese coin collection, which Fung said was taken during a car break-in seven years ago, plus a sawed-off shotgun and drugs.  Hunt reportedly told officers he purchased the coins at a yard sale.

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RI Man Charged With Elder Fraud

An indictment is being returned by a federal grand jury in Providence against a Pawtucket man in an elder fraud case.  The U.S. Justice Department says Shawn Whitfield is charged with ten counts of mail fraud and 29 counts of wire fraud.  He is accused of participating in a telemarketing lottery scam based in Jamaica that targeted U.S. citizens, mostly seniors.  Whitfield is among more than 250 defendants worldwide named in criminal, civil and forfeiture fraud cases following an announcement of a coordinated sweep of elder fraud cases in February by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

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Person In Officer-Involved Shooting ID'd

The individual reportedly shot by a Tiverton policeman on Wednesday is being identified.  Police Chief Patrick Jones says Scott Banville pointed a high-powered rifle at authorities who were responding to a domestic violence call at a Tiverton home.  The officer who shot Banville has been identified as Lieutenant Scott Beaulieu who has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation from the Rhode Island Attorney General's office. Banville was listed in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital after being hit twice in the chest.

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RI Readies For Trout Fishing Season

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is preparing for fishing season by stocking around 80,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout in waterways around the state. The season runs from April 14 to Nov. 30. According to the American Sport Fishing Association, recreational freshwater fishing contributes more than $36 million to the state economy each year. A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to participate.

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Proposals Sought For Sports Betting

Rhode Island issued a call for proposals for a company to run sports betting at the Twin River casinos, should the U.S. Supreme Court rule to allow it. It was reported that the Rhode Island Lottery is seeking to award the contract in time to start taking wagers in October.Gov. Gina Raimondo has included potential revenue from legalized sports gambling in her nearly $9.4 billion state budget plan. The administration is counting on at least $23.5 million in revenue if sports betting starts Oct. 1.

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Raimondo Pitches School Construction Plan

Gov. Gina Raimondo told lawmakers her plan for school construction is a chance to make a “once-in-ageneration” investment.
Raimondo called the plan, which was part of a $9.4 billion budget proposal released in January, a $1 billion solution for a $1 billion problem. The plan calls for asking voters to authorize $250 million in bonds for the first phase of funding.

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Raimondo Concerned By EPA Rollback Decision

Governor Gina Raimondo says she's concerned by a U.S. EPA decision to rollback greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks.  She says a strong national program for fuel efficiency and reduced gas emissions is vital.  Raimondo says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's decision would weaken the program.   

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Salve Regina President Retiring After Decade At Post

The president of Salve Regina University is retiring next year.  Sister Jane Gerety issued that notice on Wednesday.  Gerety was inaugurated as the Newport school's seventh president in 2009 and was previously a member of the board of trustees.  Salve Regina's current board has formed a national committee to search for a replacement.

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Business School Closure Impacts West Warwick Campus

A technical school with a campus in Rhode Island is closing.  Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute abruptly announced the shutdown on Wednesday, effective immediately due to financial challenges.  The school has a location in West Warwick as well as multiple locations in Connecticut and New York.

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Dogs Rescued From Korean Meat Farm Arrive

Four dogs rescued from a meat farm in South Korea are now in Rhode Island.  The animals were moved to the Potter League for Animals in Middletown on Wednesday after traveling from San Francisco to Boston.  The meat farm, near Pyeongchang, was recently closed as the Humane Society International works to put a stop to such operations.  The Potter League plans to put the dogs up for adoption.

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RI Man Arrested For Incident At Boston Airport

A Narragansett man is accused of attacking a Massachusetts State Police officer at Logan International Airport in Boston.  Kevin Luczak was arrested on Tuesday night and arraigned in East Boston District Court on Wednesday.  Police responded to a reported incident involving a man on an inbound flight and say they encountered him in the baggage area when he walked toward an officer and sprayed a liquid solution in his face.  Reports indicate a scuffle ensued and Luczak was arrested after another trooper intervened.

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MLK Assassination Anniversary In RI, Elsewhere

Rhode Islanders remembered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Wednesday, 50 years after his assassination.  Speakers talked about King's message of peace at an assembly at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence in Providence.  Earlier yesterday, there was a similar gathering at the MLK Community Center in Newport.  Also, the Rhode Island State Council of Churches sponsored a bus trip to Washington for a march.

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State To Buy Farms To Help New Farmers

Rhode Island is launching a program to buy farms and sell them to new farmers for dirt cheap. A farm bought for $500,000, for example, could then be sold for $100,000. It's an unconventional approach to ensure that farming remains viable. The National Farmers Union knows of no other state that buys farmland to sell to farmers at less than market price. Other states give tax credits and loans to beginning farmers.

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Senate Passes Bill To Ban Tanning For Minors

The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit minors from using tanning facilities in the state. Rhode Island law already requires minors to have written consent from parents to use a tanning facility, but this law would remove that option. The legislation was sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin. The bill includes an exemption for minors with a prescription for "ultraviolet radiation treatment" from a doctor.

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GOP State Rep Opposes Program Cuts

State Representative Robert Nardolillo is opposed to 18-million-dollars in funding cuts to programs for the mentally and physically disabled.  The Raimondo administration's proposed 400-million-dollar budget for the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, cuts spending on services provided by private organizations to individuals with disabilities.  Coventry Republican Nardolillo says it makes no sense to increase the overall budget while reducing funding for programs that benefit more than 37-hundred Rhode Islanders with special needs. 

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Buffalo Bills Sue Former Benrus CEO

The Buffalo Bills are suing former Benrus CEO and Republican candidate for governor Giovanni Feroce for nearly one-million-dollars.  The NFL team claims Feroce made a promotional deal for Benrus to be the official timepiece of the Buffalo Bills.  Giant clocks were installed around New Era Field and the company only made its first installment of 87-thousand-dollars.  The Bills later learned that Feroce didn't have the rights to the watch company's trademark when the deal was cut in 2014. 

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Balloons Banned On Block Island

The sale and distribution of balloons on Block Island are banned after a vote yesterday by the New Shoreman Town Council.  The ban goes into effect Monday and carries a fine up to 200-dollars.  Officials say balloons are not biodegradable and pose an issue to the Block Island community and the ecosystem.

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Cano Wins Special Election

Democrat Sandra Cano is the winner of the special state Senate election in Pawtucket.  Cano defeated Republican Nathan Luciano.  The seat became vacant after Democrat Jamie Doyle stepped down in January, saying he was dealing with alcoholism.  Cano has served on the Pawtucket City Council since 2014.

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RI State Police To Review Overtime Policies

State Police said they are reviewing their overtime policies following a scandal involving nearly 30 current and former officers in Massachusetts.
It was reported that money paid to State Police officers for overtime and road details totaled $5.6 million between July 2016 and June 2017.
Maj. Timothy Sanzi said even though the system is under review, State Police is confident it “provides oversight and accountability.” Sanzi is the state police executive administrative officer.

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Police Search Finds Nothing At Middle School

The Newport Daily News reports that Gaudet Middle School was locked down Tuesday morning for close to an hour in response to reports of an unauthorized student in the building.
Officials say a room-to-room search of the entire Aquidneck Avenue building by Middletown police starting about 9:10 a.m. turned up nothing. Police deemed the building safe and cleared the scene at about 10.

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Senate Passes Repealer Committee Bill

A proposal to create a legislative committee that would recommend repeal of outdated laws is moving forward.  The Senate has passed a bill to establish a General Assembly Joint Committee of the Repealer.  The bill's sponsor, Warwick Senator Erin Lynch Prata, says the new committee will be a big step forward to ensure the state's laws are adapted to the 21st century, and that no law dating back decades, is hurting the state economically. 

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RI Joins Travel Ban Case

Seventeen attorneys general, including Rhode Island's Peter Kilmartin, are opposed to President Trump's third travel ban.  They have filed a brief ahead of arguments to be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court later this month.  A lower federal court imposed a preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the ban that would prevent people from six Muslim-majority countries entering the U.S.  Kilmartin says the travel bans are unconstitutional and would have a significant financial impact on Rhode Island if allowed to be enacted.

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Federal Grant For Providence Police Department

The Providence Police Department is the recipient of 700-thousand-dollars in federal funding.  The Smart Policing Innovation Grant comes from the U.S. Department of Justice.  It will support efforts to develop a strategy to reduce repeated use of emergency services by those dealing with alcohol or drug addiction and mental health issues.  The police department will work on the project in conjunction with The Providence Center and Roger Williams University. 

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Lt. Governor To File Consumer Protection Bill

Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is planning to file consumer protection legislation.  It would protect those doing business with alternate electric suppliers while protecting potential savings from the practice.  McKee says the goal is to ensure electric customers enrolled in a term plan with an alternate supplier will be dis-enrolled at the end of the term to protect them from being placed on a more expensive rate plan.     

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Bank Robbery Under Investigation

Tiverton Police are investigating a bank robbery.  The heist happened around 9:20 a.m. yesterday at the Bank of Newport on Main Road.  Investigators say the robber gave the teller a note claiming he had a weapon.  The robber left with an undisclosed amount of cash. 

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I-195 Bridge To Close For Repairs

Motorists who travel an area of Interstate-195 in East Providence may need to take an alternate route as a bridge project gets underway.  One of the on-ramps from Veterans Memorial Parkway and Warren Avenue will close tomorrow.  The bridge that carries the parkway over I-195 and connects with the Washington Bridge will close for repairs.  The ramp will remain closed until the end of next year. 

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Jeweler Sentenced In Fraud Scheme

The owner of a jewelry company is spending the next four years behind bars.  Gerald Kent, owner of Kent Jewelry, was sentenced yesterday in Providence for a five-million dollar fraud scheme.   Court documents show Kent sold fraudulent unpaid invoices to a Chicago firm. 

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Local Leaders Oppose Census Citizenship Question

Rhode Island state and community leaders are raising concerns about the 2020 census. Mayors from Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and groups such as Common Cause said Monday they're concerned about how a census test is being conducted in Providence County and about last week's announcement a citizenship question would be added to the census. President Donald Trump's administration says data will help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act.

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RI Workplace Laws Examined

The Rhode Island house speaker has announced the members of a new legislative commission that will review the state's workplace laws involving sexual harassment. Democratic Rep. Teresa Tanzi sponsored legislation to create the commission, which passed in March. She alleged in October that a high-ranking lawmaker told her sexual favors would allow her bills to go further. Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello on Monday named the 10 members who will serve on the commission with Tanzi.

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Pair Busted For Purse Snatching

Police have arrested two people connected to recent purse thefts. Colonel John MacDonald of the Coventry Police Department says two men were arrested in a Walmart parking lot. Nineteen-year-old Tyrell Rivera-Carpenter and 22-year-old Randolph Carpenter, both of Providence, were detained after their descriptions matched surveillance footage of previous thefts.

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RI Gas Prices Continue To Rise

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up four cents this week.AAA Northeast said Monday in its weekly survey that self-serve regular is averaging $2.60 per gallon. That's six cents below the national average of $2.66. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 35 cents higher than it was at this time last year, when it sold for $2.25 per gallon. AAA found gas selling for as low as $2.51 per gallon and as high as $2.71 in Rhode Island. AAA says gas prices are rising across the country due to the change in season.

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Scholarships Available For RI Media Students

Students interested in pursuing a career in media could be getting a leg up on the cost of college. Rhode Island Public Broadcasting Service (WSBE-TV) is offering a new $15,000 scholarship to high school seniors considering a career in broadcasting, communications or journalism. High school seniors from the station's broadcast area in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts who plan to attend a four-year college are eligible to apply. The deadline to apply is April 6

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RI Supreme Court Going Back To School

The Rhode Island Supreme Court will hear oral arguments at Lincoln High School in a tradition known as "riding the circuit." The state's high court will hear three cases at the school on Wednesday. Chief Justice Paul Suttell says it's an opportunity to take their work out of Providence and show the students and the public how their justice system operates.

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RI Begins Tree Giveaway Program

Some yards across the state will be getting shadier. A group of Rhode Island organizations are giving away 1,000 trees as part of an energy saving effort. The program helps homeowners reduce utility costs and conserve energy while beautifying neighborhoods. The Department of Environmental Management says trees play an "important role" in cooling homes and reducing stormwater pollution. The trees can save $30 annually in heating and cooling costs. Registration to reserve a tree opens today.

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URI To Broadcast From Research Vessel

Students from the University of Rhode Island will answer questions about oceanography during live broadcasts from the school's research vessel. Eight students from the honors program leave tomorrow for a six-day oceanographic research expedition on the RV Endeavor. They're studying whale and zooplankton interactions with the environment that occur in waters off Rhode Island. The broadcasts are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday.

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DEM Recruiting For Summer Jobs

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is recruiting qualified lifeguards for summer jobs at state beaches, parks and campgrounds.  Other available positions include park rangers, beach managers, laborers and clerical support.  Applications must be submitted online  at dem.ri.gov.

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Westerly School Committee Supports Gun Legislation

The Westerly School Committee is backing legislation to declare schools as gun-free zones.  The legislation supports efforts at the state level to ban firearms on school property except by members of law enforcement.  The school committee chairwoman says she supports concealed carry laws, but that no one other than police officers should have firearms on school grounds.

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Detour Scheduled To Start In East Providence

A major detour is scheduled to begin this week in East Providence.  The I-195 west on-ramp from Veterans Memorial Parkway and Warren Avenue will be closed on Wednesday for bridge replacement work.  The project is expected to be completed late in the fall.  Detour signs will be posted and RIDOT warns drivers to anticipate a longer commute.

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Senate Opposition To House-Passed Bill

Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse have joined  41 Senate colleagues vowing to block what they say is a Republican effort to curtail the civil rights of people living with disabilities.  They say the House-passed bill would gut the bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act.  They argue the ADA Education and Reform Act would isolate those living with disabilities as the only federally-protected class forced to rely on education, rather than strong enforcement, to exercise their basic civil rights.

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Miller Makes Renewable Energy Push

A state lawmaker wants to require fossil fuel plant developers to invest in renewable energy. Democratic state Sen. Joshua Miller introduced a bill to require anyone who seeks to build a power plant that uses fossil fuel as its primary or secondary fuel to also build or invest in renewable energy generation in Rhode Island. Miller, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Cranston and Warwick, says that if the state is truly committed to a sustainable future, it must start steering investments more toward renewable sources and away from fossil fuels.

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