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1540 WADK.com Updates

Group Sues Over Police Gang Database

 A Providence group is filing a federal lawsuit over the city police department's policy of storing information on suspected gang members. The Providence Youth Student Movement says the so-called gang database violates parts of the Providence Community-Police Relations Act, which covers police misconduct, and the group has concern that it further enables racial profiling. 

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Major Project Opens In I-195 District

The first big project on former I-195 land in downtown Providence is opening its doors. A ribbon-cutting was held for the Wexford Innovation Center on Wednesday. The tenants include the Cambridge Innovation Center, Brown University and Johnson and Johnson.

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Pawtucket Converting Street Lights To LED

Pawtucket is going to convert all its street lights to energy efficient LED lighting. Installation begins next month and should be completed by mid-January. Mayor Donald Grebien says the transition will save money and make the city more environmentally friendly. He says the goal is to make Pawtucket cleaner and greener.

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Airport Air Quality Monitoring Program Is Extended

A bill extending air quality monitoring at T.F. Green Airport for two years is now law. The legislation was signed yesterday by Governor Gina Raimondo. In addition to quarterly reports, the Airport Corporation is required to complete twenty-months of air quality monitoring data for submission to the state Department of Health. Airport monitoring for pollutants started in 2008.

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Brown's President Disappointed By Failed Hospital Talks

Brown University President Christina Paxson is disappointed that merger talks between Care New England and Lifespan have ended. She says the university continues to believe that a merger, in close partnership with Brown, would provide enormous benefits to Rhode Island in terms of health care and job growth. Paxson says Care New England and Lifespan are valued partners to Brown's medical school and will continue to be so in the future.

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CT, MA And RI Governors Meet

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are talking and say they will continue to so. They met this week in Willimantic, Connecticut, to discuss issues including energy. infrastructure and transportation. The governors say that as bordering states, it's important to discuss regional issues. The next meeting is in Rhode Island in October.

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Viola Davis Again Nominated For Emmy

Central Falls native Viola Davis is once again being nominated for an Emmy for her work on the show How to Get Away With Murder. Davis is nominated for Lead Actress in a Drama Series, which she previously won in 2015, becoming the first black woman to do so.

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DCYF Names Police Captain To Lead Child Protective Services

 A Providence police veteran is taking a position with the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Captain Dean Isabella will oversee the Child Protective Services unit, which investigates child abuse allegations. Isabella is scheduled to begin next month. 

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Former Central Falls Superintendent Named New Interim Superintendent In Providence

Former Central Falls schools superintendent Frances Gallo is being nominated to become the interim superintendent of Providence schools. Gallo was at Central Falls for eight years until her retirement in 2015 and is expected to start on September 1st.

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Blue Cross Replacing United As Medical Plan Administrator

The Rhode Island Department of Administration says Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island is being selected to administer the state's medical plans for employees and retirees. Blue Cross Blue Shield is replacing United Health Care, which started administering the plans in 2005. A contract is expected to be finalized later this year. 

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Barry Remnants Pose Threat Of Damaging Storms, Heavy Rain

The remains of Barry are moving through Southern New England this week. The National Weather Service says Barry will bring some strong-to-severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts, especially from noon today through this evening. Heavy downpours can also be expected with one-to-two-inch-per-hour rainfall rates.

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Warwick School Committee Approves Additional Funds

The Warwick School Committee is approving more spending for the school district's sports teams and other items. The school committee approved a resolution at a meeting last night that corresponded to the Warwick City Council's approval of four-million dollars in additional funding to address a priority funding list, which included sports. The committee's approved resolution now bounces back to the council. Fall sports programs get underway next month.

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Thousands-Of-Dollars Stolen From Campaign Fund

There's a criminal investigation into the theft of 15-thousand-dollars from Cranston Mayor Allan Fung's campaign account. The money was noticed missing last month and investigators determined the theft happened in New York. Fung is at a conference in Washington, D.C. and has been unavailable for comment.

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No Deal: Hospital Merger Talks End

There's no deal as Lifespan and Care New England merger talks have ended. Care New England announced yesterday that it was withdrawing for a number of reasons. The merger talks had been initiated at the request of Governor Gina Raimondo after she pushed Care New England to drop its proposed takeover by Boston-based Partners HealthCare. 

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Jump Bike Fees Going Up In Providence

Jump bike rental fees in Providence are going up. The Uber-owned company's cost for a 30-minute rental will be nine-dollars, up from two-dollars. An hour-long ride will cost 18-dollars instead of four-dollars-ten-cents. City officials say they've contacted Uber about reconsidering the price changes.

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Real Jobs RI Program Adding Commercial Construction

The Real Jobs Rhode Island worker training initiative is being expanded. Governor Gina Raimondo said on Monday that it will now cover commercial construction employers. Real Jobs RI has developed partnerships in multiple fields, including in the defense sector, and with companies including Electric Boat. 

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Officials Trying To Find Reviewer Of DCYF

The process of reviewing the Department of Children, Youth and Families is still being worked out. DCYF Director Trista Piccola announced last Wednesday she was leaving and said the agency would undergo an independent review in partnership with the Rhode Island Coalition for Children and Families. But, The Providence Journal reports the coalition said the next day that it doesn't think anyone working currently with the DCYF should conduct the review.

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Wing Chau Sworn In As U.S. Marshal

New U.S. Marshal for Rhode Island Wing Chau was ceremonially sworn in at the federal court building in Providence on Monday after having started the job back in May. Chau was nominated by President Trump, and the nomination was supported by Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. It's believed that Chau is the first Chinese American to hold the position.

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Warwick City Council Meets To Discuss Funding School Sports, Clubs

People in Warwick who are upset about cuts to high school sports programs are holding out hope they'll be restored for the upcoming school year. The Warwick City Council met Monday to discuss adding funding to sports and also some club activities which got the ax from the school committee earlier this year. 

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Langevin Bill To Curtail Drug Trafficking

Congressman Jim Langevin is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill to establish a task force to stop the flow of fentanyl and other opioids in the U.S. He says Rhode Island continues to be among the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic. Langevin says a multi-pronged approach is needed to solve the ongoing public health crisis.

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Federal Funding For Emergency Preparedness

Rhode Island is getting five-and-a-half-million-dollars in federal funding for emergency preparedness. Most of the funds will go to hospitals and health care systems to prepare for and be able to respond to health emergencies ranging from terrorism to epidemics. Senator Jack Reed says it's a smart investment to bolster public safety and public health.

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Commissioner: School System Worse Than Report Suggests

Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green discussed her impressions of the system at the eighth and final forum about the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy report. She says the big takeaway is, "things are actually worse than the report indicates." She says she heard about a child who had 11 English teachers in one year. About 200 people attended the forum Saturday in Providence.

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Festival Producers Announce Commitment To Music Education

The producers of the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival are helping pay for music education in three local schools. Newport Festivals Foundation Executive Producer Jay Sweet says as long as the festivals call Newport home, they'll work to ensure every public school student has access to outstanding music education. The foundation asked music teachers from the Claiborne Pell Elementary School, Thompson Middle School and Rogers High School about their needs.

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Second Lottery For Pre-K Seats

The Rhode Island Department of Education is announcing several-hundred new seats will be open in state-funded pre-Kindergarten programs this fall. While many of the new seats will be filled by families that have already been selected from a previous lottery, a second lottery is now open for families in Coventry, Warren, and Woonsocket. Parents and families must submit their applications by the end of this month to be considered.

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Twin River Makes Noise About Proposed IGT Contract

The operator of Rhode Island's two casinos is fighting Governor Gina Raimondo's plan to award a contract extension with IGT, which regulates the state lottery and provides most of the video-slot machines at the casinos. Twin River Worldwide Holdings took out a full-page ad in The Providence Journal last week blasting the one-billion-dollar, 20-year, no-bid contract, which will be considered by state lawmakers later this year. The Journal reports Twin River has made an unsolicited proposal to the state to drop IGT at the end of its contract and instead bring on Twin River for all lottery and gaming services. Meanwhile, the chairman of IGT tells WPRI-TV that Twin River approached the gaming giant and asked for a cut of business in exchange for support of the extension.

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