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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2014-06

Senate Meets Today About Newport Grand

The Senate convenes today to reconsider legislation on table games at Newport Grand.  The Senate will consider a measure that would place a referendum on the ballot this fall on whether to allow table games at the electronic slot parlor.  The bill was previously approved by a vote of 24 to two, but is being taken up again to make sure it is passed by the necessary majority of two-thirds of sitting senators.  The Senate needs 26 votes to reach that threshold.

State Now Has An Official Appetizer

Rhode Island style calamari is now the official appetizer for the state.  Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation providing the official designation for the state's preparation of calamari.  Rhode Island calamari is made up of squid rings that are fried and tossed with cherry peppers.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says promotion of the state's multi-million-dollar squid industry will help fishing, hospitality and tourism interests in Rhode Island.

Hospitals Notifying Patients Of Potential Exposure To Measles

Hospital workers at Roger Williams Medical Center and at Rhode Island Hospital are reaching out to people that may have been exposed to a patient with measles.   The patient visited two hospital emergency rooms including Rhode Island Hospital between 3 and 6 in the morning on Saturday. The second potential exposure occurred at Roger Williams Medical Center between 6:30pm and 10pm.  Once hospital workers indentify people who may have been exposed they may recommend vaccination if needed.

Department Of Corrections Employee Facing Charges Of Wage Fraud

A special education teacher for the state Department of Corrections is facing charges accusing her of wage fraud.  State Police say Anne Kernick of Narragansett submitted false time cards for hours she did not work between March and June of this year.  Kernick is charged with obtaining money under false pretenses and filing a false document, and is free on 20-thousand-dollars bail.  She has been employed by Corrections as a teacher since 1989.

Tiverton Beach Fees Go Up Tomorrow

Tiverton is increasing beach parking fees at Grinnell’s Beach and Fogland Beach.  The new fees for non-residents will be $10 weekdays, $20 on weekends.  The money from the fees will go for beach maintenance.  The new fee structure takes effect tomorrow. There is no parking fee for residents at the beaches.

Senate Called Back To Reconsider Newport Grand Referendum

Lawmakers have been called back to the Statehouse by Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed. The Monday session was called to have senators reconsider legislation that outlined terms of the agreement that would expand table games at Newport Grand with voter approval.  The legislation was passed with a 24-2 vote late in the evening as the General Assembly was hurrying to adjourn, 12 senators did note vote. Appropriation measures need a two-thirds majority vote all al those elected, not just present for the voting.  The measure needs 26 yes votes. WJAR reports that Paiva Weed said legal advisers don’t believe such a majority is needed in this case but a re-vote will be held nonetheless. 

Today Is National HIV Testing Day

Today is National HIV Testing Day, and the state Department of Health is urging Rhode Islanders between the ages of 13 and 64 to get tested.  Health officials say people should talk to their doctor about being tested for HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases during regular check-ups.  DOH says regular testing will help insure a person's long-term health, as well as the health of sexual partners and others. 

Tiverton Police Crack Down On Illegal Fireworks

Tiverton Police executed a search warrant at 15 Main Road as the result of an investigation into the sale of illegal fireworks. Department officials are reminding the public of the state’s fireworks laws and that Tiverton Police will be strictly enforcing those laws.

Newport City Manager Leaving

Newport City Manager Jane Howington is expected to officially resign today. According to the Daily News, Howington met with Mayor Harry Winthrop yesterday afternoon to let him know of her decision. Howington has been the city manager for 2 ½ years.

Former House Speaker Reports Outstanding Loan From Lobbyist

New documents filed this week by former House Speaker Gordon Fox show that he had a personal loan from a registered lobbyist for years.  The loan was disclosed in statements filed with the Ethics Commission this week. The paperwork said he had an outstanding debt to Ray Rickman, a lobbyist, of more than $1000. Back in March the FBI, The IRS and other authorities raided Fox’s Statehouse office and home.  Details on that investigation have not been released.

Calamari Legislation Being Signed Tomorrow

Governor Chafee will sign the legislation to make calamari the official appetizer of Rhode Island. The signing ceremony will be held at the town dock in Narragansett tomorrow.

2015 Newport District Teacher Of The Year Announced

The Newport Public Schools announced the 2015 Newport District Teacher of the year.  Congratulations to Ms. Barbara Kane O’Neill. O’Neill serves as a special educator for grades three and four at Pell Elementary School.  She has been in the district for 26 years.

Cranston Police Looking For Bank Robber

Cranston Police are investigating a bank robbery at the Santander Bank on Reservoir Avenue.  A young man wearing baggy blue jeans, red sneakers a bluish/green striped t-shirt and a green Boston Celtics cap, walked into the bank yesterday about 12:30 and handed a note to an employee at the bank demanding money and threatening to have a handgun. Pictures of the suspect are posted on the Cranston Police Facebook page. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Cranston Police Detective Bureau at 477-5143.

Newport City Council Approves Budget

The Newport City Council approved the final budget for the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1st.  The budget includes an increase in funds to the school department as well as a tax increase of a 35 cents per thousand for residential property owners bringing the new tax rate to $12.06 per thousand. The commercial tax rate will increase by 49 cents to $16.72 per thousand.

Cianci To Run Again

The 73-year-old former mayor of Providence wants his old job back.  First elected in 1974, Vincent "Buddy" Cianci has resigned twice in the past following felony convictions.  He announced his decision to run yesterday afternoon shortly before the deadline to declare candidacy.  The mayor's office is open because incumbent Angel Taveras is running for governor. 

20 Year Old Providence Man Arrested On Child Pornography Charges

Members of the RI State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested Gregory Lombardi Jr., 20, of Providence for Possession of Child Pornography and Transfer of Child Pornography. This is the third time since 2012 that Lombardi has been arrested on charges related to child pornography. He will be arraigned in Providence District Court on Tuesday.

Coventry Mother and Daughter Reported Missing

Coventry Police are asking for help to find a woman and her seven-month-old daughter.  Bethany Richardson was last heard from in a text message Monday afternoon but she never showed up for a medical appointment.  She was on foot and had no extra clothing or supplies.  Anyone with information is asked to contact either Coventry Police at 826-1100 or their local police department. 

Newport Police Identify Two Subjects From Monday Shooting

Newport Police have identified two potential suspects from a shooting incident that happened on Monday at the Festival Field Apartment Complex on Girard Avenue.  Police responded to a call of a person being shot.  When they arrived they found the victim, a 21 year old male, suffering from a single non-life threatening gunshot wound. He was transported to Newport Hospital for treatment. Police are working to identify any additional suspects and urge anyone with information regarding this non-random incident to call 845-5764.

Sakonnet Bridge Toll Equipment May Be Up For Sale

The General Assembly eliminated the toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge and now the RI Turnpike and Bridge Authority is deciding what should be done with the tolling equipment.  Some of the equipment may be used on the Newport Bridge.  They are also considering selling it.

Conimicut Point Beach In Warwick Is Reopened For Swimming.

Conimicut Point Beach in Warwick is reopened for swimming.  The state Department of Health gave the okay based on water samples that show bacteria has dropped below acceptable levels.  Conimicut Point had been closed to swimmers late last week.

Man Who Took Portsmouth Girl Pleads Guilty

Daniel Berger, the man who took a 13 year old Portsmouth girl to his New Jersey home last summer after meeting her online, pleaded guilty to a charge of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.  Berger is facing a seven year, three month prison sentence.

Portsmouth Budget Approved

The Portsmouth Town Council approved their budget for the upcoming fiscal year last night. The almost $58 million dollar budget includes a 2.4% increase in the tax rate and increases the appropriation for schools by almost 2%.

RI Mosquito Tests Results Are In

The first mosquito test results of the season in Rhode Island are negative for two infectious viruses.  According to the state Department of Environmental Management all 104 mosquito pools from 15 traps statewide found no evidence of West Nile Virus or eastern equine encephalitis.  DEM will test weekly during the mosquito-biting season. 

Parking Fees At Tiverton Beaches Going Up

Tiverton is increasing beach parking fees at Grinnell’s Beach and Fogland Beach.  The new fees for non-residents will be $10 weekdays, $20 on weekends.  The money from the fees will be used for beach maintenance.  The new fee structure takes effect July 1st. There is no parking fee for residents at the beaches.

Session Ends Without Action On Some Bills

The General Assembly concluded its 2014 session on Saturday without taking action on a number of bills.  Some of the bills that are stalled include the legalization of marijuana and a bill to determine whether the state should turn over the health insurance marketplace to the federal government.

Gambling Revenue To Newport Could Grow Substantially

Newport will receive millions in additional funds from gambling revenue if voters approve a ballot question allowing table games at Newport Grand.  A bill approved by the General Assembly would give the city an increase in slot machine revenue from 1.01 percent to 1.45 percent.  It would also give the city around $1.5 million per year in the first six years after developers make their $40 million dollar investment. After the six years, the city would get $1 million dollars per year or 1.45% of slot revenue, whichever is greater. The question to approve the table games will be on the November ballot for local voters in Newport.

20 Year Old E.G. Woman Hits State Police Cruiser

Nicole DiLello of East Greenwich is facing several charges including DUI and underage possession of alcohol.  The 20 year old allegedly crashed her car into a state police cruiser which had stopped to assist a disabled vehicle. It happened early yesterday morning on Route 95 north in Providence.   DiLello was hospitalized after complaining of pain. No one else was hurt.   

Naval War College Held Graduation Ceremony

The Naval War College held its graduation ceremony on Friday in Newport.  There were more than 350 military officers and government employees in the graduating class.  The graduates were addressed by Navy Admiral John Richardson, the director of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program.

Newport Fire Under Investigation

A two alarm fire in Newport is under investigation. WJAR reports that calls for 64 Bedlow Avenue came in about 10:24pm Friday night after a report of heavy smoke and flames coming from the home. Everyone got out of the 3 family home safely and the investigation as to how the fire got started is underway. 


RIPTA Bus Service Returns Today In Tiverton

RIPTA Bus Service from Tiverton is returning today morning. Bus service had stopped in 2008 due to weight limits on the old Sakonnet River Bridge. There are three weekday bus runs to Providence from the Fish Road Park N Ride and three returning weekday runs in the afternoon. Information on RIPTA Passes and schedules is available at RIPTA.com

Parking & Detour Information For Newport's 375th Anniversary Parade

The Parade will proceed south on Broadway from One Mile Corner, parade units will be staging on Broadway and the surrounding side streets in the morning beginning at 9:30am.  Broadway will be closed to traffic north and south bound beginning at 10:30am from One Mile Corner to Washington Square. There will be no parking signs posted today on Broadway from One Mile Corner into Washington Square with parking restritions from 8:30am -2pm tomorrow.  Expect delays and seek alternate routes.

Tolls On Sakonnet River Bridge End At Noon Today

Toll collection on the Sakonnet River Bridge ends today at noon.  The toll was eliminated by the state budget signed into law by Governor Chafee yesterday.  Instead of the toll, a one-cent increase in the state gas tax will go into effect on July first to help fund bridge and road projects.

Newport Bermuda Race Starts Today

The 49th Newport Bermuda race starts today at 12:50. More than 150 boats participate in the 635 mile ocean race that lasts three to six days. The race has five divisions and the trophies get awarded at a ceremony at the Government House in Bermuda.

Newport's 375th Anniversary Celebration Parade

Newport’s 375th Anniversary celebration continues this weekend with a parade on Saturday.  The parade will start at 11am and go from One Mile Corner to Great Friends Meeting House where there will be a community cookout at 2pm.

RIPTA Detours 3 Routes In Newport Saturday

RIPTA will detour 3 routes on Saturday to accommodate Newport’s 375th Anniversary Celebration.  Broadway will be closed from Admiral Kalbfus Road to Marlborough Street.  The detour will be in effect from 10am until 1pm.  You can get detailed detour route information their website RIPTA.com

High Bacteria Counts Close A Beach In Newport And A Beach In Warwick

Conimicut Point Beach in Warwick and King Park Beach in Newport are closed to swimming due to high bacteria levels.  The state Department of Health will okay reopening those beaches when the bacteria count returns to normal levels.  Updated beach information is available online at health.ri.gov.

State Police To Question House Members

State Police investigators want to question every House member who voted to create the loan program used to benefit 38 Studios.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he's cooperating fully and is happy to assist investigators.  Less than two months after the 125-million-dollar Job Creation Guarantee Program was enacted in 2010, a 75-million-dollar loan was used to lure 38 Studios from Massachusetts.   Rhode Island taxpayers were left to pay about 90-million-dollars to bond investors when the company collapsed in May of 2012.  

Minimum Wage Bill Passed By The General Assembly

Rhode Island’s minimum wage legislation was passed by the General Assembly.  The Senate had already approved the measure and it now heads to Governor Chafee for a signature.  The minimum wage will go from $8 to $9 per hour in January.

Tiverton Police Ask For Help To Identify Armed Robbery Suspect

Tiverton Police are looking for a suspect in a armed robbery that took place yesterday afternoon.  The robbery took place about 2pm at St. Angelo Hardwoods on Eagleville Rd. The suspect displayed a handgun and demanded money the money in the cash draw.  Anyone who may have observed anything suspicious in that area yesterday afternoon is being asked to contact the Tiverton Police Department at 625-6717.  A description of the suspect and further details can be found on the Tiverton Police Departments’ Facebook page.

East Greenwich Store Owner Arrested

An East Greenwich store owner was arrested yesterday and is being charged with selling synthetic marijuana.  Rakeshkumar Patel, the owner of East Greenwich Farm, sold the substance to undercover officers from Newport that were working on the investigation with East Greenwich Police detectives. Police seized over $54,000 in cash and Patel is scheduled to be arraigned in court today.

RI Has Lowest Gun Death Rate In The Nation

Rhode Island has the lowest gun death rate in the nation.  The data released yesterday by the Violence Policy Center says that Rhode Island’s gun death rate was 3.14 per 100,000 people. The national gun death rate is more than 3 times that at 10.38 per 100,000 people.  Louisiana had the highest per capita gun death rate at 18.91.

82 Year Old Injured In Single Car Crash

An 82 year old Little Compton woman was flown by medical helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital after her car rolled over and crashed near Crandall and Blueberry road in Tiverton.  Rescue crews had to cut the roof and the doors off the car to get Harriet Miller free.  There has been no report on her condition at this time.

Forum On School Unification Set For Monday

The Newport County Unified High School Exploratory Committee will be hosting an informational forum Monday night.  They plan on laying out some of the options available if Newport and Middletown communities approve the school unification question on the November ballot. Approval would allow them to pursue a joint high school. The meeting is at 7pm on Monday and will be held at the Newport Campus of CCRI.

Shotgun Shells Found Near Barrington School

Police are investigating the discovery of shotgun shells near a Barrington school.  Parents have been notified the shells were found last week in a box in the parking lot of the Primrose Elementary School.  Anyone with information is asked to contact Barrington Police.

Rare Orange Lobster In Charlestown

The Nordic Lodge in Charlestown in currently the home of a rare orange lobster.  The lobster was found in a crate delivered to the restaurant from Maine. The orange colored shell is only found in 1 in 10 million lobsters. They are reaching out to local aquariums to see if they have an interest in keeping this rare breed.

Governor Requires Insurers To Cover Substance Abuse Medication

Governor Chafee has signed legislation that will now require insurance companies to cover medication used to treat substance abuse patients.  It was part of a package of bills that was introduced to try to address the spike in overdose deaths in the state.

RIPTA Bus Service Returns To Tiverton

RIPTA Bus Service from Tiverton is returning Monday morning. Bus service had stopped in 2008 due to weight limits on the old Sakonnet River Bridge. There will be three weekday bus runs to Providence from the Fish Road Park N Ride and three returning weekday runs in the afternoon. Information on RIPTA Passes and schedules is available at RIPTA.com

$7.5 Million In Superstorm Sandy Funds Coming To RI

Senator Jack Reed announced that Rhode Island will be receiving $7.5 million dollars in Superstorm Sandy funds for coastal restoration projects.  The money will be used to help restore beaches, marshes, wetlands and rebuild shorelines. Middletown will be getting a little over $2.3 Million for the Sachuest Bay Coastal Resiliency Project and URI will be getting over $1.2 million, $400,000 of which will be for coastal projects in Newport, Warwick and North Kingstown.

Middletown Town Council Approves Putting School Unification Question On Ballot

The Middletown Town Council approved a measure that will place a school unification question on the Nov 4th ballot.  The question involves the unification of Newport and Middletown High Schools.  Officials for both towns have been meeting since the beginning of the year on ways to merge the schools in an effort to offer better educational opportunities to students and save money.

$8.7 Billion Dollar Budget Heads To Governor

Rhode Island’s $8.7 billion dollar budget has cleared the Senate and is on its way to the Governor for approval.  The budget includes a cut in the corporate tax, an increase in the gas tax and eliminates the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Hernandez Pleads Not Guilty

Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty yesterday to assault charges from a prison scuffle that involved another inmate.  His not guilty plea came the same day that his lawyers asked a judge to dismiss the murder charge for the 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd.  Hernandez also has charges against him for killing two men in Boston back in 2012.

Hernandez Due Back In Court Today

Aaron Hernandez is back in court today to be arraigned on charges stemming from a February brawl with another inmate.  Hernandez also has other pre-trial motions before the court surrounding the death of Odin Lloyd whose was murdered on July 17th of last year.  Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges in that case and the charges related to a double murder in Boston back in 2012.

Last American Whaling Ship Stops In Newport

The last surviving ship from America’s 19th Century Whaling Fleet arrived in Newport yesterday and is tied up at Fort Adams.  The Charles W. Morgan is on a 3 month journey along the New England Coast. It was the Morgan’s first sailing voyage since 1921. It will also make stops in Boston, Vineyard Haven, and New Bedford.

No Drones Allowed At Bermuda Race

Drones will not be allowed over the start of the Newport Bermuda Race this Friday. Race organizers fear spectators could fly drones to take photos or video, posing a hazard to sail boats and helicopters.  The Rhode Island Airport Corporation says state and local police will enforce the ban.

Chikungunya Virus Found In RI

Rhode Island has its first known cases of a mosquito-borne virus common to the Caribbean.   The state Department of Health says the Chikungunya virus has been diagnosed in two people who recently returned from the Dominican Republic. Symptoms usually start three to seven days after a bite and can include sudden fever, severe joint pains, and a rash.  Most people feel better in about a week.

$8.7 Billion Dollar Budget In Front Of Senate Finance Committee

The $8.7 Billion dollar budget passed in the House last week now makes its way to the Senate Finance Committee today.  The proposed budget cuts the state corporate tax, increases estate tax, eliminates the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, increases the gas tax and covers the next bond payment for the failed 38 Studios.  Once the panel endorses it, it will go to the full Senate.

URI Teller Headed To Prison

Fred Randall a former senior teller at the University of Rhode Island has been sentenced to 4 years in prison and was ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution after pleading no contest to an embezzlement charge.  Randall is accused of stealing money from the school’s Feinstein College of Continuing Education over a 6 year period.  Randall reports to prison on July 1st.

RI House Passes $8.7 Billion Dollar Budget

The Rhode Island House passed an eight-point-seven-billion-dollar budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year around 12:15 this morning.  The plan was approved on a 63-12 vote after almost nine hours of debate. It includes money for the next 38 Studios bond payment and eliminates tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.  It now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

Perkins' Contract Not Being Renewed By Newport School Committee

Newport teachers and families are showing their support for Jane Perkins. Perkins has been the lower school principal of the Pell School for the past year.  The School Committee voted this week not to renew Perkins’ contract for the upcoming year. Teacher and parents have voiced concern that this move could mean the school will only have one principal. The School Committee is looking into restructuring and additional Administrative support for the school which has almost 900 students.

55th President Of US Naval War College Named

Rear Admiral Philip Howe has been named as the 55th president of the US Naval War College. Howe succeeds Rear Admiral Walter Carter who was recently named head of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Twin River Blackjack Dealer Arrested

A 31 year old Blackjack Dealer at Twin River was arrested yesterday. The State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit arrested Luis Pabon of North Providence on 8 counts of cheating and 2 counts of paying an amount greater than required.  Pabon was closely monitored over the past three months after the Lottery informed State Police of possible collusion between Pabon and casino patrons. Pabon is scheduled for pre-arragnment in Providence Superior Court on August 14th.  He could be facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.  

Senate Approves $1 Per Hour Minimum Wage Increase

The Senate approved a bill yesterday that would raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $9 per hour.  The $1 increase would take effect in January.  The bill also has the support of the House leadership and the governor.

Median Barrier Will Be Installed On Pell Bridge

A median barrier is to be installed on the Pell Bridge as a safety measure.  The concrete block barrier separating the eastbound lanes from the westbound lanes is intended to prevent crossover crashes. The Turnpike and Bridge Authority says the barrier will be installed early next year, following completion of steel repairs this year. 

House To Vote On Budget Today

Lawmakers in the House are set to vote on the $8.7 billion dollar budget today.  The proposed budget eliminates the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge, pays the next installment of the 38 Studios bond debt, cuts corporate tax and reduces estate tax.

Newport's First Budget Reading Approves More Money For Schools

The Newport City Council met and approved the first reading of the budget yesterday.  Included in that budget is a $418,000 budget increase for the School Department. The city was planning a 2.9% increase in taxes for the next fiscal year, however, the city’s Finance Department will need to review those numbers and see what adjustments are needed in the tax rate since the schools were given more than originally planned. The second and final reading of the budget is scheduled for the June 25th meeting.

Airport Corporation Gets A $6 Million Dollar Grant

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation has received a $6 million dollar grant to continue work on expanding a runway at T.F. Green Airport.  The plan to expand the primary runway will accommodate bigger planes and international flights.  The expansion will affect the ball fields at Winslow Park. The grant will pay for construction and relocation of new softball fields, walking trails and a concession stand to a new area near the airport.

Ana Riley To Head Portsmouth School District

Ana Riley will be the new head of the Portsmouth School District. Riley is the current superintendent of schools in Dartmouth and will begin in Portsmouth July 1st.  The Portsmouth School Committee unanimously approved her appointment at their meeting last night. Riley has a three year contract and will be paid $152,000 a year.

Newport City Council Meeting Tonight

The Newport City Council meets tonight. On the agenda is the 2014-2015 budget. The School Committee has asked for a 4% increase to help with rising costs expected in the upcoming year. Even if they get that increase they will still have to make over $2 million in cuts to eliminate a deficit. The meeting will is at 6:30 in the program room of the Newport Public Library. The vote on the final reading of the budget will take place at the June 25th meeting.

Christa Durand To Lead Newport Hospital

Lifespan has selected a new leader for Newport Hospital. Christa Durand was selected after a six month search and will join the hospital on August 1st.  Durand currently holds an executive leadership position at New London’s Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

Polls Open Until 8pm In Portsmouth

Registered voters residing in the Portsmouth Water and Fire District are heading to the polls today to vote for the Water Commissioner and the Clerk. The polls will are open until 8 tonight at the District’s office at 1944 East Main Road. As required by the recent change in State Law, voters will be required to show identification to vote in the District’s election.

European Flights From T.F. Green May Happen By Next Spring

Two airlines may start offering flights to Europe from T.F. Green Airport four days a week. The head of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation says he's in final negotiations and announcement of the flights could be made as soon as next month.  If a deal is reached, the international flights could begin next spring. 

Survey Says RI is 4th Worst State To Make A Living In

Rhode Island is the fourth worst state to make a living in according to a MoneyRates.com survey.  The survey says the state's high cost of living neutralizes a high average income and a low state income tax burden.  It also notes the state's high unemployment rate, and workplace conditions that its says are below average. 

Kempenaar Valley Project Begins Today In Middletown

Construction on the stormwater management project for a gravel wetland in Kempenaar Valley in Middletown is beginning today. When completed the gravel wetlands system will catch rainwater runoff and filter it before the water goes back into the brook and Easton’s Pond.

Local School Classifications Released

The Rhode Island Department of Education has release the 2014 School Classifications. Locally, Middletown High School and Portsmouth High School were identified as “commended” schools. You can review the accountability and achievement status of schools in your district at eride.ri.gov

FAll River Man Turns Himself Into Middletown Police

Patrick McElroy of Fall River turned himself into Middletown Police yesterday.  McElroy learned that there was a warrant out for his arrest after being captured on video breaking into the Frosty Freeze on East Main Road. He was processed by Middletown Police and is being held until his arraignment.

30% Of RI Schools Need Improvement

More than 30-percent of public schools in Rhode Island need improvement according to the state Department of Education.  The annual report ranks the state's 277 public elementary, middle and high schools on factors including student proficiency in math and reading, and graduation rates.  The lowest performing school districts are Central Falls, East Providence, Pawtucket, and Providence. 

Providence VA Has Long Wait Times

The Providence VA Medical Center was found to have one of the longest average wait times for patients seeking their first primary care appointment. An audit shows the average wait time was about 74 days. Only seven facilities nationwide had longer wait times.

Senate Approves Ban On Cell Phone Use While Driving

The RI Senate has approved a bill that would ban the use of any “non-hands-free personal wireless communication devices” while driving.  If the House approves, this law will ban cell phone use while driving and could go into effect in June of 2017.

Four RI Restaurants Recognized

Four Rhode Island restaurants are being recognized as the result of the 33rd annual Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport on Saturday.  Melville Grille in Portsmouth, and The Mooring in Newport, placed second and third in the Seafood Chowder Category.   Trio in Narragansett and 22 Bowen's in Newport, were first and third respectively in the Creative Chowder Category.

Burrillville Native Appointed By President Obama as U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent

Navy Rear Admiral Walter Carter has been appointed by President Obama as the new superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.  Carter is a Burrillville native and is currently serving as the president of the Naval War College in Newport. He would be promoted to the rank of vice admiral. The appointment still needs U.S Senate approval. 

North Kingstown Town Beach Open

The North Kingstown Town Beach is okay for swimming. On Friday, the state Department of Health recommended closure due to high levels of bacteria. But yesterday it was announced that bacteria levels had dropped within acceptable limits.

Director Of Newport Art Museum Leaving

Lisa Goddard, the Director of the Newport Art Museum, will be leaving her position in early 2015.  As director she has worked to increase community outreach, education, and fundraising efforts.  Goddard has lead the museum since 2008.

Proposed Budget Would Eliminate Sakonnet River Bridge Tolls

A proposed state budget for the fiscal year that starts July first would cut the corporate tax and revamp the estate tax and eliminate the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.  Lawmaker's unveiled the $8.7 billion dollar budget proposal last night.  It makes no changes to the seven-percent sales tax. It would raise the state's 33-cent a gallon gas tax by a penny next year and raise the state’s vehicle inspection fee from $39 to $55.  Included in the budget proposal is a $12.3 million dollar payment due to investors in the failed 38 Studios video game venture.  A full floor vote is expected next week.


Navy Looking To Ban Tobacco Products

The Navy may be the first military department to put a ban on tobacco products. The plan would prohibit tobacco sales on Navy Ships and bases. The ban is getting some push back due to the fact that the ban overreaches on a habit that is unhealthy, but is still legal.

Portsmouth Sustance Abuse Survey Results Are Released

The Portsmouth Prevention Coalition has released the results of their latest Portsmouth Health and Wellness Survey. The substance abuse survey finds that alcohol and marijuana use top the list as drugs of choice. 1200 Portsmouth students in grades 7-12 were surveyed in May with 50% of all high school seniors surveyed reporting they used marijuana in the past 30 days and 65% of seniors surveyed reported drinking alcohol during the previous month.  You can get the details on the survey at the towns’ website. PortsmouthRi.com

Mohegans Are Getting Into The Burger Business

Connecticut's Mohegan Tribe is getting into the hamburger business.  The Mohegans have entered an agreement to bring 16 locations of the Colorado based chain Smashburger to New England.  Mohegan officials say they chose Smashburger because of its superior product offerings and reputation as a fast growing, successful franchise.  Their locations will be in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Wakefield Man Pleads Guilty To Fraud

The operator of Sears of Wakefield pleaded guilty to mail fraud. Joseph Kilty admitted that he defrauded Sears out of more than $150,000. Kilty deposited the money into his own accounts rather then the retailers. He will be sentenced in September. The penalty for mail fraud is up to 20 years in prison. He could also be fined as much as a quarter of a million dollars.

Portsmouth Water District Election Set For June 11th

On Wednesday, June 11th ,registered voters residing in the Portsmouth Water and Fire District will head to the polls to vote for the Water Commissioner and the Clerk. The polls will be open from 7am to 8pm at the District’s office at 1944 East Main Road. As required by the recent change in State Law, voters will be required to show identification to vote in the District’s election.

Narragansetts Looking At Navy Surplus Land

The Narragansett Indian Tribe has put in a claim to take possession of surplus Navy Land.  The request, that includes the Navy Hospital, was made through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and could shake up the plans that the local communities have for redevelopment. The issue will be discussed in the executive session of next weeks Newport City Council meeting.

Budget Plan Could Eliminate Sakonnet River Bridge Toll

The House budget plan will be unveiled tonight. Included in that plan is creation of an infrastructure fund for statewide projects and elimination of the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge. Both the House and Senate committees have been working on a compromise with the governor’s office. If the toll is eliminated it is unclear what will happen with all the equipment that has been installed. The price tag for the installation of that equipment was around $5 million dollars.

Free Day At The Beach

Governor Chaffee signed and executive order yesterday declaring Sunday July 27th as the state’s annual Bay Day.  Entrance to the state’s beaches will be free that day.

Cumberland Teen Reported Missing

A 16-year-old Cumberland teen is reported missing.  Margaret Weece was last seen Tuesday according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. She is five-feet-three-inches tall, about 190 pounds, with blonde hair dyed black. Her lip is pierced.  She may be traveling in a white 2005 Chevy Cobalt with RI license plate number MG 307. Anyone with information on her whereabouts should call 911 or call the Cumberland Police at 333-2500.

February School Vacation May Disapear

The executive board of the Rhode Island Association of School Superintendents is suggesting eliminating the February school vacation, starting in the 2015-2016 school year.  It would be replaced by a four-day Friday through Monday weekend for the Presidents' Day holiday.  The reasons for the suggested change include eliminating the need to make up snow days in June and providing more continuity between the Christmas break and the April vacation.

Senate Committee Meeting Tonight On Table Games Question

The Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affiars will be meeting today at the State House. Scheduled for consideration is a bill to put the table game question in front of Newport voters on the upcoming ballot.

House Finance Committee Budget Hearing Tomorrow

The House Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow on the proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.  Legislators are expected to discuss issues ranging from a corporate tax and bridge tolls to a 67-million-dollar deficit.   The new fiscal year starts on July first. 

Newport School Committee Looking For Budget Increase

The Newport School Committee held its budget meeting yesterday. The Committee is looking for a 4% increase. That request was submitted to the City Council for consideration and will be on the agenda at their meeting next Wednesday night. 

RI Troops Heading to Kuwait

There will be a send off ceremony at the Quonset Air National Guard Base for about 70 soldiers from a National Guard unit based in North Kingstown. The unit will train at Fort Hood in Texas before heading overseas to Kuwait for a yearlong deployment.

Senate Hearing Tomorrow On Table Game Question For November Ballot

The Senate Committee on Special Legislation and Veterans’ Affiars will be meeting Wednesday at the State House. Scheduled for consideration is a bill to put the table game question in front of Newport voters on the upcoming ballot.

Portsmouth Wind Turbine Future In Question

The Portsmouth Town Council will meet tonight at 6pm in the Town Hall Chambers to discuss whether or not to repair or dismantle the wind turbine generator. After three years of operation generating power, the Town Turbine gearbox failed in June of 2012 and it has not generated power since.

Middletown Budget Approved-Unification Question Will Be On November Ballot

The Middletown Town Council met last night and approved the $70 million dollar budget for the next fiscal year.  Included in that budget was a 2.3% tax increase to help fully fund the School Committees budget request. In that meeting they also approved putting a non-binding question on the November ballot with regards to unification of Newport and Middletown High Schools.

Jamestown Voters Approve Budget

Voters in Jamestown approved the $22.7 million dollar budget for 2015. The budget increased over a half million dollars, which is about 2.4% over the 2014 budget. Despite the increase in the budget there will be no tax increase for Jamestown residents.  The tax rate will remain steady at $8.75 per thousand.

Newport School Committee Budget Meeting

The Newport School Committee meets on the 2015 budget today. That meeting will be held at the Public Schools’ Administration Center at 2pm.

Former State Rep Guilty Of Unlawful Appropriation

A Superior Court jury says a former Providence state representative is guilty of unlawful appropriation.  Prosecutors argued Leo Medina pocketed 28-thousand-dollars from a life insurance policy on a friends daughter who died in 2007.  Medina was found not guilty of embezzling and obtaining money under false pretenses.  Bail was set at ten-thousand-dollars with surety and he was ordered to surrender his passport.  Medina is due back in court later this month.  

RI's Teacher Of The Year

Rhode Island's Teacher of the Year is a Ponagansett High School science teacher.  David Moscarelli teaches alternative energy, biology, physical science, and environmental science.  He's been a teacher at Ponagansett for 22-years.  With the honor, Moscarelli is now a candidate for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year award. 

State Senate Approves Bill Requiring Abuse Prevention Class

The State Senate has approved legislation that would require public school instruction on sexual abuse, abduction and ways to prevent victimization.  The bill introduced by Senator James Doyle requires the State Department of Education to develop a program for students in kindergarten through 8th grade that will be age appropriate and taught as part of health education classes. A companion bill is pending in the House.

Middletown Town Council Meets On School Unification

The Middletown Town Council will meet tonight and on the agenda is the high school unification issue.  The council is expected to vote on whether or not to place the issue on the ballot in November.  The meeting will be at the Town Hall at 7pm.

First Lady In RI Today

First Lady Michelle Obama is going to be in Rhode Island today for the ceremonial start of construction of a new submarine.   She will be the guest of honor this afternoon at the keel-laying ceremony for the USS Illinois at Electric Boat's Quonset Point shipyard.  Mrs. Obama is the official sponsor of the Virginia-class submarine. 

Governor Urges Residents To Be Prepared For Hurricanes

With the start of the hurricane season, Governor Chafee is urging Rhode Islanders to be prepared.  The season officially started yesterday and ends in November.  Chafee says with as many as six hurricane's projected to affect the Atlantic coast this year, people should make every effort to be ready for severe weather. 

Possible Salmonella Contamination Of Chia Seed Powder

Health Officials are warning residents of possible salmonella contamination of three products containing sprouted chia seed powder. According to the AP, the Department of Health says the recalled products were made by Navitas Naturals and were sold at A Market in Newport, Green Grocer in Portsmouth and Whole Foods locations throughout the state. No illnesses have been reported in the state so far. You can get details on the warning and recall on the Department of Health website…health.ri.gov


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