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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2018-07

Gas Prices Up An Average Of 2 Cents In RI

Drivers in Rhode Island are paying a little more at the pump than they were a week ago.AAA Northeast said Monday that its latest weekly survey of gas prices found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.89 per gallon in Rhode Island, up 2 cents from the previous week.The current U.S. average is 4 cents lower at $2.85 per gallon. AAA says demand for gasoline rose around the country over the past week while supplies dropped. 

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Great White Shark Caught Off Beach

Fisherman Michael Lorello was very surprised when he dragged up a net off the coast of Rhode Island.

Inside, a 6-foot-long great white shark was showing off its teeth and moving about, very much alive. Lorello had caught the fish Sunday morning three-quarters of a mile from Misquamicut Beach. The shark was on the boat for less than 10 minutes, and then quickly released back into the water. Lorello's photos and videos of the brief catch on Facebook have been shared over 23,000 times. One of the videos shows the shark thrashing on board the boat as crewmembers approach it to send it back into the Atlantic. Lorello says he thinks the fish was about 400 to 500 pounds, and has "never experienced" anything like this in his two decades as a fisherman.

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RI Representative Filing 3D Gun Ban Law

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is introducing a bill to ban 3D printed guns.  The Democrat says the legislation, to be unveiled in the House on Tuesday, will prohibit the 3D printing of plastic firearms that cannot be detected by commonly used security checkpoints.  The bill comes after a federal judge allowed a Texas nonprofit to resume posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns.  The Congressman calls the weapons a disaster waiting to happen.

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Suit Accusing Blue Cross Of Interfering With Hospital Sale Dismissed

Rhode Island's largest health insurer is settling a lawsuit with a company that alleged anti-trust law violations.  Both Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Massachusetts-based Steward Health Care System filed motions for dismissal in federal court on Monday for a suit that alleged Blue Cross conspired to stop Steward from acquiring Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.  The case was filed in 2013, when the hospital was in receivership.  Neither party is sharing details of the settlement. 

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Judge Judy Buying Newport House

TV's Judge Judy is buying a house in Newport.  A statement from Gustave White Sotheby's international Realty indicates Judge Judy Sheindlin, who has presided over televised court proceedings for more than 20 years, is purchasing the "Bird House" estate for nine-million dollars with her husband.  The house was previously owned by Campbell Soup heiress and philanthropist Dorrance Hill Hamilton, who died last year. 

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Judge Nixes East Bay Solar Farm Plan

A judge is striking down local approval of a solar farm in Portsmouth.  Superior Court Judge Brian Van Couyghen has reversed the town's zoning board of review's approval of a permit for a two-point-nine-megawatt farm, saying it represented an improper manufacturing use in a residential area.  The town's solicitor says the ruling is being reviewed, while an attorney for Portsmouth Solar, the company that was planning to operate the farm, says it disagrees with the findings.

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Spicer Attorney Denies Statements Made By Man At Book Signing

Responses are being made to the claims from a man who says former White House press secretary Sean Spicer called him a racial slur and tried to fight him in high school.  An individual identified as Alex Lombard was captured on video making those claims in Spicer's presence while he was signing copies of his new book at a store in Middletown on Friday.  The Newport Daily News talked to multiple classmates and a professor at Portsmouth Abbey School, where Lombard and Spicer both went, who said the incident didn't happen or they didn't recall it happening, while one other student verified Lombard's claims.  Spicer attorney Michael Bowe released a statement saying Lombard's accusations are false and criticized the press for publishing a defamatory statement.  

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Another Providence Home Invasion Reported On Saturday

Police are investigating yet another home invasion in Providence.  This one happened on Sunday morning at a multi-unit residence on Public Street.  Police report three armed men tied up residents and held them at gunpoint while they ransacked the place.  No injuries were reported.  There have now been over a half-dozen reported home invasions in the city this summer, with the most recent before this weekend's coming last Wednesday, at a home on Mercy Street. 

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Providence Council Passes Bond Question To Voters

The Providence City Council is asking voters to decide on a 160-million-dollar school repair bond question this November.  The council voted unanimously to add the question to the ballot on Monday in its final meeting before a summer recess.  Between the local question and a statewide school infrastructure question, Providence residents could be on the hook for 410-million dollars in borrowing total.  

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Eight RI Fire Departments Get Financial Boost

Eight Rhode Island fire departments are getting about $765,000 in federal funding to replace aging breathing equipment for firefighters. U.S. Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse say the money will help eight fire departments in Scituate, Foster and Coventry. The Rhode Island Democrats visited with firefighters in North Scituate Friday. The funding is awarded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Deal Reached To Keep Newport Music Festivals In Place

Rhode Island is reaching an agreement to keep the Folk and Jazz Festivals at Fort Adams State Park in Newport for the next four decades.  Governor Gina Raimondo and festival foundation chairman George Wein made that announcement on Saturday.  A renewed lease with the state environmental management department will allow the foundation to utilize the former Museum of Yachting building.  This weekend's folk festival included a surprise performance by the band Mumford and Sons.

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Spicer Book Signings Draw Protesters

Protesters found their way to former White House press secretary Sean Spicer in Rhode Island this weekend as he visited the state to promote his new book.  Alex Lombard, who claimed he went to Portsmouth Abbey school with Spicer in the late 1980s and said he called him a racial slur, had to be removed from a book-signing event at Barnes and Noble in Middletown on Friday.  Some protesters were kept away from a signing at the Barrington Books store in Barrington on Saturday, and there were no protests at a follow-up event in Cranston.

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Another Strike Possible For Hospital Nurses

Nurses at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital are looking to the future now that a three-day strike has ended and they are back to work.  Lifespan is agreeing to resume negotiations on a new contract on August 8th after a "cooling-down period" but local United Nurses and Allied Professionals president Linda McDonald says that's not soon enough.  McDonald says if the next round of negotiations does not result in a new deal, another strike will be authorized. 

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Twenty People Arrested For Alleged Food Stamp Fraud

Twenty people are facing charges after a food stamp fraud investigation by Rhode Island State Police.  The arrested individuals, including nine people from Providence and three from Warwick, are accused of obtaining about 14-thousand dollars in food stamps and other public assistance benefits, according to a statement from police on Friday.  Anyone convicted of the crime of fraudulently obtaining public assistance could be sentenced up to five years in prison.

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Richmond School Destroyed By Fire

A South County school is a total loss after a fire devastated the structure on Sunday.  Nearly two-dozen fire departments were called out to the Meadowbrook Waldorf School in Richmond.  The state fire marshal's office is investigating.  Officials at the pre-kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school say they're working to determine where classes will be held. 

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Sean Spicer Book Signing Scheduled

Former President Trump press secretary Sean Spicer is making an appearance in Middletown this evening. Spicer is planning to sign copies of his new book "The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President" at Barnes and Noble on West Main Road. A book-signing event scheduled for Saturday in Seekonk at a BJ's Wholesale Club was canceled because of political concerns, according to the book's publisher.

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RI State Police K-9 Named Dog Of The Year

A Rhode Island State Police dog is receiving a national honor. The department says Canine Unit member Ruby has been selected as the Search and Rescue Dog of the year and is a finalist for the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Award, to be named in September. Ruby and her handler, Trooper Daniel O'Neill, were nominated based on a search-and-rescue case last fall, when they found a young man alive but barely conscious in the woods in Glocester. 

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ACLU Criticizes Warwick Plan To Charge Students

The American Civil Liberties Union is miffed about proposed student fees in Warwick. The group on Thursday called on Rhode Island Commissioner of Education Ken Wagner to reject a request from the Warwick School Committee to allow the school district to charge students for busing them to school and for participation in school sports activities. The ACLU says not only are those fees contrary to law, they are also contrary to Rhode Island's longstanding policy of ensuring free public education. 

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Tesla Plans For RI Expansion On Hold

It's becoming less clear if electric car manufacturer Tesla will sell its vehicles in Rhode Island. The company received permission from the state last year to open a new store in Warwick, but a spokesperson for Mayor Joseph Solomon told The Providence Journal on Thursday that it will not be coming to the city at this time. California-based Tesla declined to comment. 

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United Natural Foods Acquiring Supervalu

Providence-based United Natural Foods is acquiring grocery company Supervalu. The purchase, announced on Thursday, is for nearly three-billion dollars and includes the assumption of outstanding debt. Supervalu, headquartered in Minnesota, is one of the largest grocery wholesalers and retailers in the United States. United Natural Foods is the primary distributor for Whole Foods Market. 

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Providence Mayor Releases Statement On GoLocalProv Deal

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the city's legal team is conducting a review of a contract the city had with media outlet GoLocalProv. Council President David Salvatore called on the website to return over 67-thousand dollars it received for publishing public notices for two years on a no-bid contract. Elorza faulted previous council president Luis Aponte for entering into the deal and said it reeks of cronyism. 

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RI Officials Woo Blockchain Companies

Rhode Island is trying to bring in the blockchain industry. Representatives from dozens of companies gathered for a conference at the Omni Providence Hotel on Thursday and heard from Governor Gina Raimondo and numerous other government officials. Blockchain is a new computer technology that made the cryptocurrency Bitcoin possible. 

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Nurses End Strike At 2 RI Hospitals, Return Today

The three-day strike by unionized workers against Lifespan's Rhode Island and Hasbro Children's hospitals ended at 3 p.m. Thursday, giving way to a 24-hour lockout period. Lifespan and the state Department of Health have said that patients are safely receiving care inside the hospitals during the strike. Other hospitals in the state have reported an influx of patients who might otherwise have been treated at Rhode Island and Hasbro Children's.

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Officers Take Knife-Wielding Man Into Custody

Authorities say police officers in Rhode Island drew their weapons on a man armed with a knife while responding to a fight.The Newport Daily News reports police were called to the fight at a home in Portsmouth around 1:40 a.m. Wednesday.Officers at the scene found 47-year-old Richard Pinkham outside the home holding a large hunting knife. Police ordered Pinkham to drop the knife, and he complied. Afterward, police say he exposed himself and ran toward a sword that was embedded into the ground. An officer used a stun gun to subdue the man and take him into custody.

 

 

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Algae Blooms Close Two Providence Ponds

The state is telling people to avoid contact with two bodies of water because of blue-green algae blooms. They are the Roosevelt Lake portion of the Roger Williams Ponds and Mashapaug Pond in Providence. The Rhode Island Department of Health is adding the beach at Larkin Pond Campground in Kingston to its current list of places where swimming is off-limits due to high bacteria counts.

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Emerald Ash Borer In RI For First Time

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental management is advising that a destructive, invasive pest has been found in the state for the first time. It's the Emerald Ash Borer, which the department says was found in South County during a monitoring survey. The bug attacks ash trees and leaves visible tunnels shaped like the letter S. The spread of infested material by humans, including firewood, has accelerated the borer's spread. 

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N. Providence Schools Superintendent, Under Scrutiny, Steps Down

North Providence Schools Superintendent Bridget Morisseau is resigning following alleged misuse of school funds. The town's school committee accepted Morisseau's resignation after a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday night. North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi says questionable credit-card expenses possibly totaling up to 12-thousand dollars are being examined by an auditor.  

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Providence Councilman Withdraws Proposed Student Housing Amendment

Providence City Council member Seth Yurdin is no-longer supporting an amendment that he introduced to an ordinance regulating the number of college students that can live in off-campus housing. Yurdin's proposal would have allowed up to four undergraduate students to live together. A previous rule passed by the council set an occupancy limit of three for both graduate students and undergrads. Yurdin now says he wants a repeal of the three-student rule, calling it discriminatory.  

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Board Of Canvassers Rules On City Council Candidate's Eligibility

The Providence Board of Canvassers is determining that City Council candidate Oscar Vargas is an eligible voter in the city and can therefore stay on the ballot. Ward 15 Councilwoman Sabina Matos filed a complaint with the board arguing Vargas, her would-be opponent, lives in Warwick. The canvasser board also voted Wednesday to remove one signature from the nominating papers of Ward 10 councilman Luis Aponte after a complaint from a challenger. Aponte owes the Rhode Island Board of Elections nearly 50-thousand dollars in fines because of overdue campaign finance reports.

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Nurse Strike Starts Fourth Day

There is one more full day of strike activity scheduled for Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital nurses and other personnel. They were joined by patients, paramedics and firefighters on the picket line on Wednesday in a show of support. The strikers are set to return to work Friday afternoon. 

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American Product Showcase At White House Features RI Business

A Pawtucket company represented Rhode Island on Monday during President Trump's "Made In America Product Showcase."  Colonial Mills is a rug production business that has been in operation for more than 40 years.  Products from all 50 states were displayed at the White House.  Trump said American manufacturing has returned in a big way and he defended his trade policies.

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More Swimming Activity Restrictions Due To Bacteria, Dangerous Surf Conditions

The state of Rhode Island is continuing to be busy managing beach activity.  Goddard Park Beach and Kent County YMCA Upper and Lower Pond in Warwick, Echo Lake Campground Beach in Glocester, Camp Hoffman Beach and Kingston Camp in Kingston are all closed for swimming because of high bacteria counts.  RIDOH is reopening Conimicut Point Beach in Warwick after bacteria counts dropped to a safe level.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is restricting swimming to knee-deep at Misquamicut State Beach, Charlestown Breachway and East Matunuck due to continued dangerous surf conditions.

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Governor Signs Home Care Provider Registry Bill

Governor Gina Raimondo is signing new legislation establishing a new registry for home care providers.  The action took place yesterday at the Goldsmith Manor in East Providence for legislation establishing an individual provider model which will be able to collectively bargain.  The state will train, certify, set wages and qualification standards, and will maintain a list of certified providers.  The bill's proponents hope it will bump Rhode Island up from its current low ranking in terms of investment in home care.

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Providence Council President Calls Predecessor's Media Agreement Into Question

Providence City Council President David Salvatore is criticizing an advertising contract the city had with the website GoLocalProv.com.  Salvatore wants the site to return over 67-thousand dollars it received in a no-bid contract to publish meeting notices, and says it's a strange arrangement for the city after having looked at an audit of previous city contracts.  The deal was reached with former council president Luis Aponte and expired earlier this year.  GoLocalProv published a story claiming Salvatore is attacking the site for an unflattering report.

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Today Is Day Three Of Hospital Strike

Rhode Island Hospital President Dr. Margaret Van Bree says patients are no longer being diverted as a nurses' strike stretches into a third day.  The hospital had been diverting certain emergencies to other hospitals in the state while replacement nurses were installed.  The Providence Journal reported other hospitals did see an uptick in patients on Tuesday.  Striking nurses and other employees at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital are expected to continue picketing until Friday.

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Raimondo Campaign Spending Plan Tops $6 Million

WPRI-TV reports that Gov. Gina Raimondo plans to spend $6.2 million on her re-election campaign through the end of the year, according to a new filing with the R.I. Board of Elections.Statewide candidates in contested primaries were required to file disclosures Tuesday for the state’s matching funds program, which offers taxpayer money to help them run their campaigns. Raimondo is the only one of the six major-party candidates who is not participating in the program, but she is still required to provide information for it.

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New Customer Service Center For AG's Office

The new Customer Service Center of the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office in Cranston is officially open.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Monday.  The building located on Howard Avenue in the Pastore Complex houses the Consumer Protection Unit, the Diversion Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Identification.

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Impact Of Hospital Strike

While nurses and other health care workers are on strike, Rhode Island Hospital will still accept trauma patients, burn patients and those with cardiac arrest and respiratory problems in the emergency room.  It's the only Level 1 trauma center in the state.  Pediatric patients will still be taken to the ER at Hasbro Children's Hospital.  Others, including stroke patients, will be diverted to other hospitals. 

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Reed Announces Bonus For RI Beaches

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says Rhode Island has been awarded federal funding to monitor water quality at beaches. The Rhode Island Democrat said Monday that he worked to fund the program after Republican President Donald Trump's budget proposed cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which awards the grants. Reed discussed water monitoring in Bristol, Rhode Island with environmental officials. Nationally, $9.3 million was allocated, of which Rhode Island is getting $201,500.

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Raimondo Wants Free Tuition Expanded

Rhode Island's governor says she'll try to expand the state's free tuition program if she's elected to a second term. Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday she wants to offer free tuition at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. Currently it's offered at the Community College of Rhode Island.

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Lt. Governor Working To Reduce Cost Of Paint Recycling

Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee is announcing a plan to reduce paint recycling fees.  McKee says he will collaborate with the General Assembly on a plan to transfer the management of a paint-recycling program back to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.  Paint Care, a national organization which was authorized to handle the issue in Rhode Island in 2014, arbitrarily sets fee structures without meaningful state oversight and is collecting more than what is necessary to run the program, according to McKee.

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Clinging Jellyfish Found In Narragansett

The Rhode Island departments of health and environmental management are advising on the presence of a small jellyfish with a painful sting.  The clinging jellyfish was recently found in Point Judith Pond in Narragansett after several people contacted the state saying they experienced painful welts and stinging sensations while in the pond.  The species is not known to inhabit ocean beaches or other sandy areas but instead is found in areas not heavily used for swimming.  People shellfishing or recreating are encouraged to take precautions such as wearing boots or waders.

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Providence Off-Campus Rental Policy Could Change

The Providence City Council is considering changing an ordinance limiting how many college students can live in one house.  A proposal from Ward One Councilman Seth Yurdin would limit the number of undergraduate students living in an off-campus residence to four, which is one more than the current ordinance allows.  The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit after the original rule passed in 2015, alleging it was discriminatory.  A Superior Court judge ruled earlier this year that the ordinance was valid.

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Nurse Strike Begins

Hundreds rallied outside Rhode Island Hospital on Monday for the first day of a unionized nurses' strike.  Last-second negotiations between representatives of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals and Lifespan broke down on Monday.  No incidents were reported on the picket line.  The strike is expected to last the rest of the work week.

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RI Gas Prices Continue To Sink

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Rhode Island continues to sink. AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.87 per gallon, two cents lower than last week. That's three cents higher than the national average and 61 cents per gallon higher than it was a year ago. AAA found self-serve, regular gasoline selling for as low as $2.69 per gallon and as high as $3.09 in Rhode Island.

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Twin River Casino Announces Merger

Twin River Casino is entering into a merger agreement with Delaware-based Dover Downs Gaming and Entertainment. The proposed transaction, announced on Sunday, will turn Twin River into a publicly-traded company. Twin River also owns and manages Newport Grand Casino, which will close when Tiverton Casino Hotel opens in September. The merger is subject to the approval of Dover Downs stockholders and regulatory agencies. 

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Bird Scooters In Providence

A new mode of transportation that has been popping up in cities across the U.S. is now available in Providence. Bird electric scooters appeared in the streets of the city on Friday, as well as two locations in Massachusetts. They can be rented through a smartphone app and left wherever. Providence officials said the move was unexpected.  

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Nurse Strike Set To Begin Today

Nurses and other staff at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital are expected to begin a strike today. The Rhode Island Department of Health says it is coordinating directly with hospital leadership to ensure that safe, quality care continues to be delivered during the work stoppage this week. Other health care systems in the state say they are prepared, also, and anticipate an increase in patients. 

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New Customer Service Center For AG's Office

Starting today the new Customer Service Center of the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office will be open in Cranston.  The building located on Howard Avenue will house the Consumer Protection Unit, the Diversion Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Identification.  All in-person state and national background checks will be done in Cranston, and will no longer be available at the attorney general's downtown Providence office.

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Median Price For Houses In RI Rising

The median price for a single family house in Rhode Island is up to 290-thousand-dollars. That's the highest median price since July of 2006.  The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says June's median is a five-and-a-half percent increase since June of 2017.  The median price has also risen for multi-family houses and condominiums.

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Governor: Hackers Tried To Get Into State Servers

Governor Gina Raimondo says there was a cyberattack on state government servers about a month ago.  She says the attempted hack was detected and cybersecurity experts were able to block the attempt and protect the information being sought.  The governor says hackers may have been trying to shut down state government or steal personal information.  

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RI Foudation Awards Medical Research Grants

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded about $340,000 in seed funding to promising medical research projects. The foundation said Friday that it is awarding the grants to 16 projects to help researchers advance their projects to the point where they can compete for national funding. 

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CCRI Plans Events To Talk About The School And Free Tuition

Recruiters from the Community College of Rhode Island are traveling the state to answer questions about the school and its free tuition program. The Rhode Island Promise program offers two years of free tuition at CCRI. It began in the fall. Recruiters plan to be in Woonsocket, Pawtucket and Providence today and in Newport,  Narragansett and Westerly Tuesday. Additional information is available online .

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Bike-Sharing Program Coming To Providence

Providence is getting its first bike-sharing service. City officials said on Thursday that there will be four-hundred bikes provided by JUMP, which is owned by ride-share company Uber, next month. The initiative is being co-sponsored by Lifespan, Tufts Health Plan and RIPTA. There will be dozens of stations where riders can park and pick up the electric pedal-assist bikes. 

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Four Beaches Currently Closed For Swimming

The state department of Health is restricting swimming at two beaches at Larkin Pond in Kingston due to high bacteria counts. They are Camp Hoffman and Kingston Camp. Beaches at Kent County YMCA Lower Pond and Conimicut Point in Warwick remain closed for swimming. The department says swimming is allowed again at Camp Grosvenor Beach in North Kingstown.

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Former State Senator Wants Voyeurism Charges Dismissed

Former state Senator Nicholas Kettle is asking to have video voyeurism charges dismissed. An attorney for Kettle filed a motion in Kent County Superior Court on Monday asking for three counts to be dismissed, arguing illicit photos he allegedly took of his former girlfriend without her knowledge and then shared with a friend were taken in New Hampshire, and therefore are outside of the jurisdiction of Rhode Island courts. Kettle was the youngest lawmaker in the General Assembly when he was elected in 2010. He resigned after being arrested in February. 

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Cox To Leave Flint Audio-Video Store

Cox Communications is parting ways with a Middletown store that has been in the news for alleged customer voyeurism. A spokesperson for the company says Cox is in the process of removing its retail counter from Flint Audio-Video. Four employees and the store's two owners are facing charges for allegedly scheming to access and share the nude images of customers who brought in electronics.

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Trillo Says Campaign Sign Will Stay Up Despite Town Ordinance

Independent candidate for governor Joe Trillo is remaining defiant against the town of Narragansett's stance against campaign signs on the property of a family member. Trillo is facing potentially thousands of dollars in fines for violating an ordinance that says political candidates can't put up signs until 60 days before an election. He appeared in Narragansett municipal court for a hearing on Thursday, where a judge continued the case until August 23rd. Until then, Trillo says the signs will stay up and that the action is constitutionally protected.

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Raimondo Signs Women's Health Care Bills

Governor Gina Raimondo held a bill-signing ceremony for three women's health care bills on Thursday. One law requires health insurers to provide a full year of access to contraceptive care, another aims to remove barriers to safe and affordable mastectomies, and the third allows pregnant minors to access prenatal care without parental consent. Speaking at the Women's Health Practice at Kent County Hospital, Raimondo referenced the presidential nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and said proactive steps must be taken to protect women's rights. She encouraged the General Assembly once again to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act to enshrine the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law.

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National Grid Seeks Wintertime Electric Rate Hike

National Grid is asking for a 19-percent electric rate increase for it’s  Rhode Island customers. The proposal, submitted to the Public Utilities Commission this week, would equal an average increase of nearly 19 dollars per month for a residential customer who uses five-hundred kilowatt hours. The utility company says the increase, which would go into effect in October and last until next March, is needed to pay for the higher cost of the purchase of electricity from suppliers. 

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Nurse Strike Vote Passed, Strike To Start Next Week

Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital nurses are set to begin a strike on Monday. The local chapter of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals voted yesterday to authorize a strike that will run until Friday after members rejected a final three-year offer. Hospital parent company Lifespan says it's disappointed in the action and notes that it is prepared for "business as usual" when it comes to inpatient and outpatient services thanks to temporary staffing.

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RI Law Aims To Prevent Suicides At Public Colleges

 

 

 

Rhode Island is the latest state to require public colleges to do more to prevent suicides. The governor recently signed a measure into law that requires public colleges and universities to establish a plan for promptly addressing students' mental health needs. The new law strongly discourages relying solely on off-campus services. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says 11 states now have a law addressing suicide prevention in higher education.

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Election Complaint Filed Against Providence City Councilor

The Board of Canvassers is likely to consider a complaint against longtime Providence City Councilor Luis Aponte in early August.  His Democratic primary opponent, Pedro Espinal, is questioning at least one signature on Aponte's nomination papers, and he wants all the signatures discarded.  Aponte says he personally collected all the signatures and that they are legitimate.

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Police Tapped Alleged Biker Leader's Phones For Almost A Year

Details are being shared about how the Rhode Island State Police wiretapped the alleged leader of a biker gang.  Police announced nearly 60 arrests earlier this year as part of "Operation Patched Out," and the seizure of guns and drugs being allegedly trafficked by gangs.  New court documents indicate authorities tapped the phones of alleged Pagans Motorcycle Club leader Deric "Tuna" McGuire of Burrillville for nearly a year.  Most of the transcripts are of conversations between McGuire and another Pagans member who reportedly helped set up a Rhode Island chapter of the club. 

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Hazmat Situation In West Greenwich

Crews have cleaned up a hazardous material spill in West Greenwich.  A chemical spill was reported at the Cranston Trucking Company at around 9 p.m. Wednesday after workers accidentally punctured a barrel that released a corrosive chemical.  The substance was deemed not a threat to the public.  Fire officials say one person suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

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RIDOT Reports First Month Of Truck Toll Totals

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is releasing data from the first month of truck tolling.  RIDOT says nearly 626-thousand dollars were collected from the two toll gantries, an amount which was slightly above expectations.  The transportation department is planning public comment meetings on July 27th after submitting an environmental assessment for another ten gantry locations.  The tolls are the subject of a recently announced lawsuit.

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City Council Committee Votes Against Zoning Change For Proposed Skyscraper

Another "no" vote is being issued against a proposed new skyscraper in Providence.  A city council ordinance committee voted on Wednesday to deny a zoning change that would allow for the 46-story Hope Point tower.  The full council will make a decision with the committee's recommendation in mind later this year.  The Providence Plan Commission voted not to recommend the zoning change for the luxury apartment tower, proposed by New York City-based developer Jason Fane, back in May. 

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Matt Brown Releases Economic Plan

Rhode Island candidate for governor Matt Brown is releasing his economic plan for the state.  The Democrat said yesterday he plans to cut red tape and create incentives for cities and towns to unlock a housing construction boom, helping create 40-thousand new homes in the state over the next decade.  Brown also said he wants to build a 100-percent clean, renewable energy system, creating 11-thousand jobs in the process, end corporate handouts while cutting taxes and fees for small businesses, and raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour.

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New Job Training, Higher Education Center In Northern RI

Governor Gina Raimondo is announcing a new job-training center in Woonsocket.  Raimondo said on Tuesday that a public-private partnership comprised of Amica, CVS Health, Fidelity and AAA Northeast will establish the Northern Rhode Island Higher Education Center.  The center is modeled on the Westerly Education Center, which Raimondo established earlier in her term.  A specific location in the city for the new center has not been determined yet. 

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Three More Beach Closures

The Rhode Island Department of Health is making more beach management decisions because of high bacteria counts.  Swimming is off for the Kent County YMCA Lower Pond beach in Warwick, Camp Hoffman Beach in Kingston and Camp Grosvenor Beach in North Kingstown.  The department says swimming is okay now in Goddard State Park Beach in Warwick and Kingston Camp Beach in Kingston. 

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State Treasurer Looking For Pension Transparency

Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner is calling for new transparency requirements for pension plans managed by religious organizations.  Magaziner joined retired members of the Saint Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island pension plan to call on lawmakers to craft a new bill.  Magaziner called it unacceptable what is happening to those retirees, whose pension plan is in receivership.  Plan members are involved in a class-action lawsuit against Bishop Thomas Tobin, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence and the hospital operators. 

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Hassett, Providence City Councilman For Two Decades, Not On Ballot

Providence's longest-serving city councilman is not on the ballot for this year's election.  The Providence Board of Canvassers says Terrence Hassett only got 47 of the required 50 citizen signatures before the deadline.  Hassett had represented Ward 12 since 1997.  That gives newcomer Katherine Kerwin an apparent clear path to being elected, with no other names on the ballot.

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Lightning Strike On Chimney Included In Tuesday Weather

Rhode Island didn't appear to get hit as bad as other southern New England states when storms rolled through on Tuesday.  There was a report of a lightning strike blasting a chimney and causing it to be on fire in Burrillville.  The storm caused numerous flooding and downed tree problems in Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to the National Weather Service. 

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Hospital Says Nurses' Union Proceeding With Strike Plans

A work stoppage for nurses at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital is becoming more likely after the hospital said the nurses' union made the decision to strike late Tuesday.  Hospital parent company Lifespan says it's moving forward with its promise to take ten-million dollars off the contract offer it had made and spending the money for temporary staffing.  The strike is expected to begin Monday.  A mediator had been brought in this week to try to prevent a strike. 

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RI Gas Prices Down This Week

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Rhode Island is down this week.AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.89 per gallon, a penny lower than last week.That's two cents higher than the national average and 64 cents per gallon higher than it was a year ago.AAA found self-serve, regular gasoline selling for as low as $2.68 per gallon and as high as $3.09 in Rhode Island.

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Raimondo Targets Plastic Pollution

Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed an executive order aimed at reducing plastic pollution. The governor signed the order Monday at Scarborough State Beach in Narragansett. The "tackling plastics" order establishes a task force to recommend the best ways to avoid unnecessary use of disposables, prevent waste and increase recycling.

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DMV Advising Of New Online Perk

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is providing a new online option.  Commercial driver's license holders can now save themselves a trip to the DMV when they have to submit medical certifications.  The General Assembly passed legislation during its recent session to streamline the CDL process by allowing drivers to submit medical certificates electronically.

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Lip Sync Challenge In Coventry

The Coventry fire and police departments are the latest to participate in the hash-tag Lip Sync Challenge.  The latest social media craze is being taken up by law enforcement and emergency responders all over the U.S.  Coventry officers are challenging their colleagues in Warwick to respond.

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Algae Bloom Notice For East Providence

The Rhode Island Department of Health and the state environmental management department are issuing an expanded notice about a blue-green algae bloom in East Providence.  People are being advised to avoid contact with water from Central Pond, Turner Reservoir, Omega Pond, and the portion of the Ten Mile River that flows from Turner Reservoir to Omega Pond.  All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking, should be avoided. 

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Rhode Island Politicians Criticize Trump-Putin Summit

Rhode Island's Congressional delegation is hammering President Trump for his comments at the Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Trump on Monday appeared to go against U.S. intelligence officials on the topic of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  Congressman David Cicilline called the press conference held by Trump and Putin a colossal embarrassment for America, while Senator Jack Reed said Trump sounded like Putin's press agent. 

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Road Work Almost Done In Middletown

The Newport Daily News reports that the Two Mile Corner road improvement project is nearing completion in Middletown. A State Department of Transportation spokesman says that the work where the East and West Main roads meet, along with the intersection of West Main and Coddington Highway, is expected to be done by the end of September. He said that is about five months later than originally planned, mainly due to weather delays with utility work.

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Weekend Fire At Newport Apartment Building

The Newport Daily News reports that no one was injured in a fire that damaged at least the top floor of a three-story apartment building on 248 Broadway on Sunday afternoon. Fire crews were still on the scene around 3:30., and Fire Chief Brian Dugan had few details because a report on the blaze and response had not been submitted at that time.

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Hearing Set For Providence Skyscraper Plan

The Providence City Council is holding a public hearing about a proposal to build what would be the tallest skyscraper in Rhode Island. The council's ordinances committee will hold the hearing Wednesday. Billy Kepner, council spokesman, says it's the first time residents can voice their concern or support directly to council members.

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RI Natives Are Emmy Award Nominees

Several Rhode Islanders are being considered for Emmy awards. The nominees include Kevin and Matthew McManus of Warwick for their work on the Netflix comedy "American Vandal", in the category of Outstanding Writing for Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special. Central Falls native Viola Davis has been nominated for her role as Annalise Keating in "Scandal" on ABC in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series category.

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Date Announced For Governor's Bay Day

The date is set for the 2018 edition of Governor's Bay Day in Rhode Island. Governor Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on Thursday for Sunday, July 29th. Parking will be free at all state beaches that day and people can fish salt waters without a license. This is the 30th edition of Governor's Bay Day.

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More I-95 Closures For Pawtucket Bridge Replacement

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is announcing a new four-night closure period for Interstate 95 as part of a bridge replacement project in Pawtucket. Detours will be posted. RIDOT says the closures at Exit 27 will begin the night of July 22nd. Workers are installing structural components of a new bridge that is replacing the Pine Street Bridge. 

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Beach Swimming Closure Updates Posted

Swimming is being banned at two more Rhode Island beaches, while the activity is being allowed again at two others. The Rhode Island Department of Health says high bacteria counts were measured at Kingston Camp Beach and Goddard Park State Beach in Warwick. Camp Grosvenor Beach in North Kingstown and Briar Point Beach, or Lake Tiogue in Coventry, are open for swimming again.

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Attorney Says Surveillance Tapes In Carnevale Case Are Gone

Rhode Island State Police lost or destroyed extensive amounts of undercover surveillance footage in a criminal case against former state representative John Carnevale. That accusation was made by Carnevale's attorney in a motion filed in Superior Court last week. A grand jury indicted Carnevale in 2017 on perjury charges after he allegedly lied to the Providence Board of Canvassers about where he lived. Police had set up cameras on a telephone pole outside the Providence residence in question. 

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Verizon Worker Arrested For Video Voyeurism

A southeastern Massachusetts man working as a technician for Verizon is being charged with intentional computer access and video voyeurism in East Providence. Police say Derrick Calvano of Dighton was installing service in a woman's home last week and asked her if she wanted to connect any electronic devices and she gave him her iPad. The woman then reportedly received a text message indicating a video of hers had been sent to an unknown number while Calvano had the iPad. A Verizon spokesperson says the company is conducting an internal investigation.

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Another Providence Home Invasion Reported On Saturday

A second home invasion in as many days is being investigated by Providence detectives. Police reports indicate five or six suspects who were armed and wearing masks broke into a home on Lisbon Street overnight Saturday. Authorities say two people were home and one of them was assaulted.

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RI Medicaid To Now Cover Hepatitis C Virus

Rhode Island has revised its Medicaid policy to cover the cost of treatment for people living with the Hepatitis C virus. Until now, individuals with the potentially deadly blood-borne virus could only receive coverage if they experienced severe liver damage or cirrhosis. The Providence Journal reports the change follows an upwelling of support to bring the state into compliance with federal guidelines.

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URI To Sail New Research Vessel

The National Science Foundation has selected a group of oceanographers in New England to operate a new research vessel. The University of Rhode Island said Thursday the $100 million vessel will be delivered to its Graduate School of Oceanography in 2021. URI, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the University of New Hampshire formed the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium to apply for one of three new research vessels awarded nationwide.

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Cicilline Takes Action Following FBI Agent Hearing

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is ordering the release of closed-door testimony from embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok.  Republicans on Capitol Hill pressed Strzok on Thursday about anti-Donald Trump text messages he exchanged during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Strzok was booted from Robert Mueller's Russian probe last year after the text messages surfaced.  During yesterday's hearing, Democrats claimed Republicans were cherry-picking Strzok's testimony given to several House committees from June, and Cicilline questioned why it couldn't be released, tweeting that Republicans couldn't come up with an excuse.

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RIDOT Moving Forward With More Tolls

Despite a lawsuit being filed against the first two, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation is asking for public comment for another ten truck tolls.  RIDOT on Thursday announced the posting of its environmental assessment for the toll locations on I-95, I-295, U.S. Route 6, and Rhode Island Route 146 in nine cities and towns.  The report concludes the tolls will present minimal or zero environmental negative impacts.  Public hearings are being scheduled in Warwick, Providence and Central Falls on July 27th. 

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Health Department Closes N. Kingstown Beach For Swimming

The Rhode Island Department of Health is closing another beach for swimming due to high bacteria counts.  The newest affected beach is Camp Grosvenor in North Kingstown.  The only other beach currently closed for swimming is Briar Point in Coventry. 

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Corrections Officer Guilty Of Smuggling

A state corrections officer from Rhode Island is facing possible prison time after he pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into a prison to an inmate in Massachusetts.  William Holts of Pawtucket was planning to smuggle 100 suboxone strips into the prison in Norfolk in exchange for two-thousand-dollars.  Holts reportedly had smuggled drugs to the inmate several times before his arrest in May.  His sentencing is now set for September 17th. 

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Nurses Reject Lifespan Contract Offer

Unionized nurses at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital are rejecting a three-year proposed contract.  A spokesperson for United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5098 said Thursday night that a ten-day strike notice will be issued as a result.  But, union officials are calling for Lifespan executives to return to the bargaining table in the meantime.  The union represents more than 24-hundred employees.
 

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Newport Schools To Get $800,000 For Student And Teacher Computers

The Newport Daily News reports that The Newport City Council gave unanimous approval last night to the appropriation of $800,000 from the city's reserve fund to purchase Chromebooks and laptops for students in all three city schools. School Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain said the funding would pay for 387 Chromebooks for students at Rogers High School, 301 for students at Thompson Middle School and 600 for students at the Pell Elementary School.

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RI Lawmaker Looks To Repeal Blue Law

A Rhode Island lawmaker says he tried to repeal a 200-year-old law about dueling because he figured no one would be prosecuted for that these days. Surprisingly enough, the state's attorney general recently charged someone with violating a section of the law last fall for arranging a fight. House Majority Whip John Edwards introduced dozens of bills to repeal old and unconstitutional laws. None of them passed both chambers.

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Navy Now Allowing Females To Hairstyle

The Navy says it will now allow servicewomen to sport ponytails and other hairstyles, reversing a policy that long forbade them from letting their hair down. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson says it makes the Navy more inclusive. A female sailor announced the new policy Tuesday with Richardson. Lock hairstyles are also now allowed. Wider hair buns too. At the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island Wednesday, women said they're excited to switch from buns to ponytails.

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Westerly Officials Trying To Reduce Litter At Beach

A trash problem is being addressed at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly.  Town officials say a trash dumpster is being placed at the beach exit.  The state is agreeing to waive tipping fees for the dumpster.  Previous solutions included giving beachgoers trash bags as part of a carry-in, carry-out policy, but the bags were being left on the beach.

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Hurricane Chris Won't Hit Rhode Island, But Still Having Impact

Surfers took advantage of waves generated by Hurricane Chris on Rhode Island's south-facing coastline on Wednesday.  Being in the water became dangerous for some yesterday, as lifeguards at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett told WPRI-TV that at least one person had to be rescued from a rip current.  Massachusetts officials have closed Horseneck Beach in Westport because of high surf conditions.  The National Weather Service says Chris will pass well east of the region. 

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ACLU Suing Newport Grand Casino

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is suing the Newport Grand Casino for sex and age discrimination.  The ACLU filed the claim in federal court in Providence yesterday on behalf of a female employee who said she was being paid significantly less than a younger male employee performing the same duties in the same position.  The suit seeks a ruling declaring the casino's conduct unlawful, damages and the amount the employee would have received in the absence of the discrimination. 

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Brown Drops Standardized Test Essay Requirement

Brown University is dropping the SAT essay and ACT writing test requirement for applicants.  University officials say not all schools that offer free school-day SATs in the U.S. include the essay portion, so the requirement may be discouraging talented students from applying at Brown.  A report from "The Washington Post" indicated Brown was the last Ivy League school to still have the requirement in place. 

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SEC Fines Firm For Raimondo Campaign Contribution

A firm is being fined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an improper donation made to the campaign of Governor Gina Raimondo.  The SEC says an associate at California-based Oaktree Capital made the one-thousand-dollar contribution in 2014 despite the fact that the company provided advisory services for the state's public pension plan, in violation of pay-to-play laws.  A spokesperson for Raimondo's campaign says the contribution was returned after it was flagged.  Oaktree has agreed to pay a fine of 100-thousand dollars. 

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Brown University Shares Plan To Help RI Economy

Brown University has released a plan that shows how the school can improve Rhode Island's technology economy. The university published the "Brown and the Innovation Economy" report Monday. According to the plan, "talent, innovation and entrepreneurship" are all at integral parts of the plan. The report outlines five goals that include developing and retaining talent, engaging with local industry, increasing commercialization of university research, improving the environment for entrepreneurs and building stronger ties with cities like Boston. 

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Lawyers For Mattiello Associates Seek To Close Contempt Case

Lawyers for two people formerly associated with Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello ask the state Superior Court to close a contempt case filed against them. The case centers on a mailer that said a Republican opponent was endorsing Mattiello instead of her party's nominee. Lawyers for former Mattiello campaign operative Jeffrey Britt and bit player Theresa Graham say that the closing of the case against Mattiello effectively closed the entire case.

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Candidate For Governor Accused Of Diabilty Discrimination

A former worker for the Rhode Island State House has accused Republican gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan of disability discrimination. According to the complaint filed June 28, Morgan violated Rachel Masciarelli's civil rights when she fired her from her job as a policy analyst in 2017. Morgan has denied her claims, saying Masciarelli was instead fired due to her poor work ethic.

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Roger Williams University Appoints Interim President

Roger Williams University is appointing a replacement for school president Donald Farish following his sudden death last week. The school announced on Tuesday that Provost Andrew Workman will take on the new position on an interim basis. RWU had planned a search for a new president after Farish announced his plans to retire, and the university says the search will continue as planned.

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E-Permitting Process In Providence Announced

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is announcing a new way to get permits in the city. The digital Special Permit System aims to offer streamlined access to necessary permits and applications for special event organizers. It can be accessed on the city's website, ProvidenceRI.gov.

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VA Nurse Accused Of Swapping Out Opioids

A nurse employed at the Providence VA Medical Center is facing charges for allegedly tampering with and stealing prescription opioids. The U.S. Justice Department says Jared Scott of West Warwick pleaded not guilty in federal court in Providence on Tuesday to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with stealing liquid opioids for his own personal use and replacing them with saline. Scott faces up to ten years in prison on the charge of tampering with a consumer product and four years for fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance if convicted. 

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Truck Toll Opponents File Suit

As was promised, a lawsuit is being brought against Rhode Island's new truck toll system. The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Providence by the American Trucking Associations, of which the Rhode Island Trucking Association is an affiliate, Cumberland Farms, M-and-M Transport Services and New England Motor Freight against Rhode Island Department of Transportation director Peter Alviti, Jr. The parties claim the truck-only-toll system, in place on I-95, violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

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World War Two Education Center Coming To South Kingstown

A new World War Two education center is planned for South County.  The non-profit World War Two Foundation in South Kingstown recently announced the project, to be erected in a former department store in Wakefield.  The foundation's founder says it will include artifacts, books, lectures, veterans' speaking events and more.  The goal is for it to be open by September.

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New Rules Announced For Opioid Prescriptions In RI

Rhode Island is updating regulations on opioid prescriptions.  The state said on Monday that the rules now require healthcare providers to have a conversation with their patients on the risks of taking such a prescription, to indicate the diagnosis code or codes on the prescription, and to co-prescribe naloxone to patients who are at a higher risk for overdose.  Department of Health officials say the updates will help Rhode Island move forward after previously making significant strides in reducing the number of opioids that are prescribed. 

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Superfund Cleanup Settlement Announced

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and federal agencies are announcing an agreement to clean up a Superfund site in North Providence and Johnston.  Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the Centredale Manor site has been a national priority for nearly two decades.  The settlement includes cleanup work in the Woonasquatucket River and bordering residential and commercial properties along the river.  The companies, Emhart Industries and Black and Decker, are expected to pay 100-million dollars for the cleanup effort.

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Coast Guard Rescues Missing Boater

The U.S. Coast Guard is reporting a rescue of a boater who was found near the Sakonnet River on Monday.  Eighty-year-old Peter Horan was set to sail from Cuttyhunk to New Bedford in his cabin cruiser "Best Friends" but didn't check in, prompting his caretaker to call the Coast Guard shortly before noon.  Crews reportedly searched Buzzards Bay when a radio call was overheard paging Horan.  He was escorted to family and medical services awaiting him at Sakonnet Harbor.

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RI Hospital Announces New Nurse Contract

An agreement is being announced between Rhode Island Hospital and the union representing its nurses.  Union officials say a vote from members on the three-year deal is scheduled on Thursday.  Local 5098 of the United Nurses and Allied Professionals represents over 24-hundred employees at Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital. 

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Senators Have Critical Responses To SCOTUS Pick

Rhode Island's U.S. senators are reacting to President Trump's pick of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court justice.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says special interests approved the nominee and that Kavanaugh will have to convince him that he can be an independent judge.  Fellow Democrat Jack Reed said he opposed Kavanaugh's nomination to a lower court seat because of his overtly partisan background, and he does not believe he's a good fit for the Supreme Court.  The Senate must confirm Trump's pick.

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RI Gas Prices Drop 2 Cents

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Rhode Island is down this week.AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.90 per gallon, or two cents lower that last week.That's four cents higher than the national average and 67 cents per gallon higher than it was a year ago at this time.

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Newport Schools Seeking $800,000 For Student And Teacher Computers

The Newport Daily News reports that The Newport  City Council on Wednesday night will take up a proposed $800,000 expenditure for school technology that would be appropriated from the city's reserve fund. A council majority has voiced public support for providing the money to the School Department as long as certain preconditions were met. Council members made it clear that their support for the technology expenditure depends on the state Department of Education agreeing that it would be a “nonrecurring expense” and not be added to the School Department's budgets in the future.

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Grants Offered By RI Foundation

The Rhode Island Foundation is offering $120,000 in grants to emerging arts and cultural organizations in minority communities. The foundation says its Expansion Arts Program targets organizations focused on the cultural practices and traditions of the state's diverse communities. The foundation says it wants to nourish these traditions and build the capacity of organizations that strengthen their communities.

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New, Larger DMV Office Opening Soon In Woonsocket

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is getting closer to open a new location in Woonsocket. The branch is scheduled to open next month at a renovated former fast food restaurant on Diamond Hill Road, replacing the current DMV office on Pond Street. Transportation officials say the new location will have more clerk stations, leading to possibly less wait time for drivers.

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Some Swimming Areas Re-Opened

There are updates on the status of closed swimming areas in the Ocean State. Tiogue Lake and Briar Point Beach in Coventry remain off-limits and local emergency management officials say they'll continue to monitor water quality. On Friday, the Rhode Island Department of Health re-opened Peabody's Beach in Middletown and Camp Watmough Beach in Glocester for swimming. 

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Owners Of Troubled Audio-Video Store Arrested

More arrests are being made in the case of alleged illegal accessing and sharing of nude photos of customers at a tech store in Middletown. The owners of Flint Audio Video, Gary Gagne and Daniel Anton, both of Jamestown, were arrested on Friday, bringing the total arrests in the case up to six. Gagne and Anton face charges of conspiracy and solicitation to fraudulently access computers, according to Rhode Island State Police.

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Warwick Dealing With Excess Rats

A neighborhood in Warwick is dealing with a serious rat infestation problem. Neighbors in the Governor Francis neighborhood are the ones being affected, with some catching more than a dozen of the rodents in roughly a week's time. Sewer work being done in the area is believed to be the culprit. Project officials say an extermination company has been hired to look into the issue.

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Lawmakers Providing Info On Recently-Passed Bills

The Rhode Island General Assembly is continuing to highlight bills that were recently passed by Governor Gina Raimondo. On Friday, legislators noted a new law that bans vaping in the workplace, one that raises the penalty for driving drunk with child passengers, and another that will expunge criminal records for crimes that have been abolished. More information on the laws passed from the most recent legislative session are available on the General Assembly's website.

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Joe Trillo's Yacht Takes On Water

Rhode Island governor candidate Joe Trillo is thanking the Coast Guard and the Charlestown Harbormaster for assisting when his yacht struck a rock on Sunday. The Coast Guard says a 911 call was received from the 65-foot "Lady M" at around 11 a.m. stating they were taking on water near the Charlestown Breachway after the accident. The harbormaster reportedly removed all four passengers and crew, including Trillo, safely. The independent candidate tweeted a photo of the yacht earlier this month on the water with a large campaign sign draped over it.

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One Hundred Treated For At Bristol Parade

The count is now approximately 100 people who were treated for heat-related issues at Wednesday's 4th of July parade in Bristol.  At least 20 were taken to hospitals for further treatment. The situation was bad enough that a level 2 mass casualty incident was declared.  With high temperatures and humidity, the feel-like temp during the parade was close to 100-degrees.

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New Bike Shuttle Across Bay Bridges

A new shuttle service is being offered for bicyclists who want to cross the bridges to Newport.  The RI Bridge Bike Shuttle program began at the end of June and is a partnership that includes the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.  Bike riders are currently not allowed to get across the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazano bridges.  The service is free and reservations can be made online.

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Federal Regulators Issue Citations After Westerly Explosion

Federal citations are being issued against a Massachusetts blasting company after two workers were injured in an explosion at a Westerly site back in May.  The action comes from the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration against Uxbridge-based A-1 Drilling and Blasting.  Monetary penalties have not yet been issued.  Blasting at the site resumed in the middle of last month and the state fire marshal's office ruled the incident to be accidental and did not declare any violations.

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James Woods Says Agent Left For Political Reasons

Rhode Island native and actor James Woods is claiming he was dumped by his agent on Independence Day for political reasons.  Woods tweeted that the agent, Ken Kaplan, texted him, saying he felt patriotic and didn't want to represent him anymore.  An outspoken conservative, Woods described Kaplan as a political liberal and said if he was really patriotic, he'd appreciate Woods' free speech rights.

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Roger Williams University President Dies

The president of Roger Williams University has died.  The university says Donald Farish passed away on Thursday at the age of 75 at a Boston hospital after a sudden and serious illness.  Farish became the tenth president of Roger Williams in 2011 and was planning to retire in June of 2019, when his current contract expired.

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Fireworks Believed To Be Cause Of Woonsocket Fire

Fireworks are the apparent cause of a residential fire in Woonsocket.  Several families were displaced after the blaze that was reported early Thursday morning.  The Woonsocket Fire Department says debris from the fireworks was placed in a trash can and eventually caught the outside of the house on fire. 

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Woman In Apparent Drowning Incident Identified

The woman who died after being found in a South County pond on Tuesday is being identified. South Kingstown authorities say the victim was a 78-year-old named Judith Barnett, who was from the town.  Barnett had been reportedly swimming with her granddaughter at Larkin Pond and was believed to have drowned.

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Newport No Longer Hosting Black Ships Festival

The city manager's office released a statement on Tuesday indicating the Newport-Shimoda Sister City Celebration is being held next week, and is not affiliated with the Black Ships Festival, which is being held in Bristol.  Newport had hosted the Black Ships Festival for more than three decades, which commemorates Rhode Island native Matthew Perry's arrival in Tokyo Bay and opening of diplomatic relations with the Japanese.  But, apparently, there was a falling out with the Japan-America Society, which owns the naming rights and had filed a lawsuit.

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Tiverton Police Reward Good Drivers With Gift Cards On Fourth

The Tiverton Police Department said it was looking for good drivers on Independence Day to reward them with gift cards.  The department posted on Facebook saying in honor of the nation's independence, officers were giving those good-habit drivers cards courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts and Sakonnet River Grille in Tiverton.  The cards were for five dollars, ten dollars, and of course, one was for 17 dollars and 76 cents.

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Dozens Treated For Heat Exhaustion At Bristol Independence Day Parade

Some people required a trip to the hospital after attending the 233rd Bristol Fourth of July Parade.  Local fire officials said the heat resulted in about 50 being treated at a field hospital set up at the Bristol Fire Department, but a dozen needed further treatment at Rhode Island Hospital.  A Mass Casualty Incident was declared before activities started yesterday as a precaution to make it easier to ask for assistance from other first responder agencies. 

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Eight Boaters Ejected From Vessel In Narragansett

An operator of a Boston Whaler boat is being cited after a rescue operation in Narragansett on Wednesday.  The Coast Guard says four adults and four children were ejected from the 18-footer after it hit a wake at an excessive speed at the Port Judith breachway at around 12 p.m.  The operator, who was not ejected, was cited for the boat being overloaded and for not having a registration, according to the Coast Guard.  No injuries were reported.

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Over 650 Citations Issued Since Hands-Free Law Took Effect

Law enforcement officers are reminding drivers to put down their hand held-devices while behind the wheel of a vehicle.  A new law went into effect June first prohibiting drivers from using their phone while driving.  As of Monday, 668 citations had been issued.  State police have more troopers patrolling roadways this week for the holiday who will be specifically looking for drivers holding their phones.  

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Natural Gas Project In Providence Gets Initial Federal Approval

A controversial energy project in Providence is clearing a key hurdle.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued a favorable environmental assessment for the 180-million-dollar liquefied natural gas processing plant being proposed by National Grid for the Fields Point waterfront section of the city.  The public can comment up until July 25th, and a final decision from FERC is expected later this year.

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State Democratic Party Endorsements Being Scrutinized

Several endorsements by the state Democratic Party are not sitting well with some people.  The party has endorsed Michael Earnheart over State Representative Moira Walsh in a primary race, despite the fact that Earnheart supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race.  Governor Gina Raimondo weighed in on the situation on Tuesday, tweeting that the party should be endorsing candidates who stand against the Trump agenda.  Another endorsement that ruffled feathers was for John Carnevale, who is facing perjury charges and who was previously indicted on sexual assault charges, over incumbent Ramon Perez. 

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Raimondo All Finished With Bill Reviews

No bills remain to be passed by the state legislature in 2018 following a busy start to the week for Governor Gina Raimondo.  She has signed 188 and vetoed five.  Among the bills signed were several pieces of legislation expanding access to women's health care.  Raimondo also signed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover mental health services the same way other chronic conditions are covered.

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RIDOH Issues Heat-Related Precautions

As the high heat and humidity continues,Rhode Islanders are being urged to take protections.  The Department of Health says extreme heat can be dangerous, especially for the young and the elderly.  Precautions include staying hydrated but avoiding alcohol or liquids with high amounts of sugar.  

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RI Is Suing Big Oil Companies

Rhode Island is suing big oil companies for the effects of climate change and costs related to protecting the state.  A complaint filed Monday in Providence County Superior Court says the fossil fuel companies knowingly contributed to climate change and the catastrophic consequences to the state, its residents, economy, eco-system and infrastructure.  The lawsuit seeks damages from 21 defendants including ExxonMobil, BP and Shell. Rhode Island is the first state to challenge big oil in court. 

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Elorza Enacts New City Budget

The mayor of Rhode Island's capital city has signed its fiscal year 2019 budget. Mayor Jorge Elorza has signed the over $748 million spending plan for the fiscal year of 2019 on Monday. Elorza says he's excited about the "robust investments in youth and education." The budget includes $75,000 in funding to launch a menstrual hygiene products program for middle and high school, and a $1 million allocation to the summer jobs program. It proposes a $20 million bond for school infrastructure work.

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Health Department Closes One More Beach, Re-Opens Another

The Rhode Island Department of Health is recommending the closure of another beach for swimming.  Health officials say there are high bacteria counts forcing the action at Echo Lake Campground in Glocester.  RIDOH says swimming can resume at Lincoln Woods State Park Beach in Lincoln, based on results from water samples.  Oakland Beach in Warwick, Camp Watmough's Beach in Glocester and Briar Point Beach in Coventry also remain closed to swimming.

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RI Congressman Touts Gun Control Bill

Representative Jim Langevin joined other officials on Monday in Providence to talk about the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act.  Langevin last month introduced the legislation, which increases gun dealer auditing and provides the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with more well-defined enforcement mechanisms to prevent illegal gun sales.

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Providence Mayor And Fiancée Announce Birth Of Child

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and his fiancée, former Central Falls Councilwoman Stephanie Gonzalez, are announcing their first child.  The baby boy, Omar Ernesto Elorza Gonzalez, was born on Friday.  Elorza says he will spend some time with family this week and will remain in contact with the mayor's office. 

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Providence City Councilwoman Says Opponent Doesn't Live In City

Providence City Councilwoman Sabina Matos is accusing her Democratic primary opponent of not living in Providence.  Matos filed a complaint on Monday with the city's Board of Canvassers regarding Oscar Vargas, claiming he lives in Warwick.  She wants Vargas and his wife removed from the city's voter list, which would disqualify him from running in September.

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Governor Raimondo Signs Bills, Issues Vetoes

Governor Gina Raimondo is vetoing several bills.  The vetoes on Monday night were a bill that would have made it a felony to socially isolate seniors, another that would require the growing of marijuana to be disclosed in real estate transactions, and an insurance bill dealing with surplus line insurance.  Raimondo also signed over a hundred bills into law.

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Truck Fire On I-95 In Providence Causes Backups

Interstate 95 in Providence is back to normal after significant backups were caused by a truck fire on Monday afternoon.  It happened at around 2 p.m. at the Branch Avenue exit on the northbound side.  At one point, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation said all travel lanes on I-95 north were blocked. 

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RI Gas Prices Drop 3 Cents Per Gallon

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Rhode Island is down just in time for Fourth of July holiday travel.AAA Northeast reports Monday that self-serve regular has dropped 3 cents in the past week to an average of $2.92 per gallon.That's 7 cents higher than the national average and 68 cents per gallon higher than the year-ago average.And even though prices are at their highest point for Independence Day since 2014, they are still 7 cents lower than they were on Memorial Day.AAA found self-serve regular selling for as low as $2.69 per gallon to as high as $3.09.

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Wadensten Withdraws From Lt. Governor's Race

Businessman Karl Wadensten is out of the running for the Rhode Island lieutenant governor's race just a few days after entering it. Wadensten released a statement on Friday saying he did not do a good-enough job earning the endorsement of the Republican Party. The president of South County-based Vibco Vibrators said in interviews last week that he had also been considering a run for governor.

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After Brief Impasse, Providence Budget Passes

A city budget is being passed in Providence just ahead of the new fiscal year. City Council voted unanimously on Friday to approve the 749-million-dollar tax-and-spending plan, which includes no tax rate increase. A minor disagreement between the council and Mayor Jorge Elorza slowed down the budget for about a week; council leaders initially referred to the situation as an impasse.

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Raimondo Signs PawSox Stadium Bill, Kristen's Law

Governor Gina Raimondo is signing the bill allowing for public financing of the Pawtucket Red Sox Stadium. The bill now moves on to the PawSox to decide if they'll accept it, but Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has said he's not overly-optimistic that the team will do so, as it is being courted by the city of Worcester. Raimondo has also signed Kristen's Law, which enacts harsher penalties on drug dealers who sold to someone who died of an overdose. 

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Immigration Rallies Held In Ocean State

Rhode Island was the site of several immigration-themed rallies on Saturday. Hundreds of people turned up for the demonstrations in Providence at the State House and in Cranston at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection building. Massive rallies were held in more than seven-hundred cities across the nation on Saturday calling for the Trump administration to reverse its immigration policies.

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Bristol Post Office To Be Renamed For Local Hero

The U.S. Senate has voted to honor a national hero in his hometown of Bristol.  The town's post office will soon bear the name of Army 1st Sgt. Andrew McKenna. Sgt. McKenna died in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan in 2015.

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Ferries Running For Parade Goers

Rhode Island ferry service will be offered for the first time for spectators at the nation's oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration. The state Department of Transportation says it's offering ferry service to Bristol for the first time for anyone hoping to avoid the heavy traffic leading to the parade route. Officials say about 100,000 people turn out for the parade typically. The ferry normally travels from Providence to Newport.

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Former WH Press Secretary To Visit RI

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is returning to Rhode Island later this month for book signings at several locations. His memoir is being released July 24th and will reportedly provide a behind-the-scenes look at his seven months in the White House at the start of the Trump administration. Spicer grew up in Barrington.

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Former City Councilor Running For Mayor In Warwick

Former Warwick City Councilor Sue Stenhouse says she's running for mayor.  Former Republican Mayor Scott Avedisian recently left to become CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.  In 2006, Stenhouse was an unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state.  Former City Council President Joseph Solomon, who is now serving as acting mayor, is also running for a full term.  

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