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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2015-05

Beret manufacturer wins contract worth more than $29 million

The federal government has awarded a Rhode Island firm a contract worth more than $29 million to produce berets for American military personnel.

The Woonsocket Call reports the U.S. Defense Department's contract with The Brickle Group is the largest the textile manufacturer has won in years.

Max Brickle, president of the Woonsocket-based company, says the firm is looking to double the workforce of their beret division in light of the contract.

The division currently makes up about 15 percent of Brickle's 130 employees.

The contract comes on the heels of the so-called "Brickle Amendment," adopted by the House of Representatives on May 14. The amendment reforms defense procurement regulations that favored foreign competition over domestic operations.


Portsmouth picks former Navy official as administrator

Portsmouth has tapped a former top Navy official to serve as the town's administrator.

The Newport Daily News reports that Richard Rainer, who most recently served as the chief operations officer for the U.S. Navy- NATO Joint Force Command in the Netherlands, will take the job on July 1.

He replaces John Klimm, who left the post earlier this year for a similar job in Aiken, South Carolina.

Rainer was the director of international studies at the Naval War College in Newport from 2008 to 2012.

Blue Angels To Headline R.I. Air Show

Aviation enthusiasts will head to North Kingstown this weekend for the annua lRhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show.  The big event will take place at Quonset State Airport.  The Navy's famous Blue Angels flight squad will be the headlining act.  The demonstration team has already given some Ocean State residents a show this week as they have been practicing their precision flights over lower Narragansett Bay the past several days.

Tax Plan Offered For I-195 Land

Rhode Island Senate Majority Leader Dominic Ruggerio is offering a tax stabilization plan for vacant Interstate-195 land in Providence.  Ruggerio says the high tax rates have become an obstacle to job creation and development in Providence.  He says every developer that has expressed interest in I-195 land has said they would not proceed without tax stabilization agreements.  Ruggerio hopes to hold a hearing on the measure next week.

Man Arraigned For Grandfather Murder

A Woonsocket man says he's not guilty of murdering a 78-year-old grandfather during a 2013 home invasion.  Leopoldo Belen is facing 13 charges related to the incident where Delor Cabral was shot and killed in his Ontario Street apartment.  Belen is currently being held without bail on unrelated sexual assault charges.  Wilbert Richardson is now officially cleared in Cabral's death, as he spent ten months in jail after an eyewitness named him as the attacker.

Hearing Scheduled On Bridge Plan

A legislative committee is planning a hearing for next week on the budget amendment offered by state leaders to repair Rhode Island's bridges.  Governor Gina Raimondo and legislative leaders are planning to impose a toll on large commercial trucks to pay for the bridge repair and maintenance.  The hearing is planned before the House Finance Committee late in the afternoon on June second.


Speaker Says Budget Deal Close

Rhode Island House Speaker Nick Mattiello says their reworked version of Governor Gina Raimondo's budget will be released soon.  Mattiello says most of Raimondo's economic development proposals will remain in the new plan.  He also says the package will increase the income tax exemption for Social Security recipients past what the governor offered.  Mattiello says he doesn't expect assistance for a new minor league baseball stadium in Providence to be included in the budget.

Providence Schools Losing Federal Aid

Providence schools are going to have to get by without nine-million-dollars in federal funding in the upcoming school year.  Some of the lost money had been anticipated by school officials, but they are now being forced to make new cuts to balance the books.  One thing that won't occur is teacher layoffs, as they are not allowed this year under the new teacher contract.  The district budget for the 2016 fiscal year is currently 353-million-dollars.

General Assembly leaders want to raise minimum wage to $9.60

Leaders in the General Assembly have agreed to raise the minimum wage to $9.60.

Lawmakers were considering raising the $9 hourly minimum by $1.10 to $10.10 per hour beginning Jan. 1. Gov. Gina Raimondo supports that increase.

But organizations representing small businesses, the hospitality and food industries, home health care and hospice agencies, and others say they can't afford it.

Leaders of both chambers are amending the proposals to $9.60 per hour, effective Jan. 1.

The bills will be considered in committee on Wednesday in the Senate and Thursday in the House.

If passed, this would be the fourth year in a row Rhode Island raises the minimum wage.

Connecticut is raising its rate to $9.60 in 2016 and $10.10 in 2017.

The proposal in Rhode Island doesn't address 2017.


After 8 years, RI unemployment rate drops out of 10 worst

Rhode Island has dropped out of the top 10 states with the worst unemployment rate for the first time in nearly eight years.

The state's 6.1 percent unemployment rate in April ranked 12th in the nation.

According to the state Department of Labor and Training, it's the first time Rhode Island hasn't ranked in the top 10 since June 2007.

Department spokesman Mike Healey says at that time, Rhode Island's 5 percent unemployment rate put it 11th among states, tied with Wisconsin.

In March, Rhode Island's unemployment rate of 6.3 percent put it 10th among states, tied with Georgia.

The national unemployment rate in April was 5.4 percent, seven-tenths of a percentage point less than Rhode Island's rate.


Providence Man Guilty Of Sex Trafficking

A Providence man is admitting to his role in a sex trafficking operation.  Kemont Bowie pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, sex trafficking of a child and transporting a minor for sexual activity.  Bowie faces a possible life sentence, admitting that he and two others plotted to traffic a runaway teenage girl for sex. 


State Receives EPA Cleanup Grants

Rhode Island is receiving one-million-dollars from the federal government to clean up contaminated sites in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.  The brownfield grants come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The I-195 Redevelopment Commission in Providence is receiving 200-thousand-dollars to clean a parcel contaminated by a jewelry manufacturer.  Pawtucket will get 600-thousand-dollars to clean three polluted parcels, and Central Falls gets 200-thousand-dollars to clean a contaminated industrial site on Broad Street.

State Leaders Announce Transportation Plan

Governor Gina Raimondo and state legislative leaders have a plan to address Rhode Island's crumbling transportation infrastructure.  Governor Gina Raimondo says the state is last in the nation in the condition of its bridges, and that needs to change.  Titled RhodeWorks, the program will fund repairs to 150 structurally deficient bridges and to prevent 500 others from becoming deficient.  A fee on commercial vehicles will generate revenue to pay off the bonds for the program. 

PawSox To Continue With Providence Plans

The Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group says they plan to continue with the vision of late principal owner James Skeffington.  Principal owner Larry Lucchino says they will continue to pursue Skeffington's plan for a new stadium on former I-195 land along the Providence waterfront Lucchino says the stadium will be a gem, and they plan to honor Skeffington's dream and goals.  Skeffington died suddenly May 17th after suffering a heart attack while exercising.

Senate committee to vote on proposed minimum wage hike

Rhode Island’s lowest paid workers could soon be getting another raise.

The Senate Labor Committee is set to vote today on legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

If approved, the $1.10 increase would go into effect January 1.

It would mark the fourth wage hike in as many years

The federal minimum wage is $7.25.

Treasurer launches new initiatives to increase transparency

Treasurer Seth Magaziner says Rhode Island will only invest in funds from now on that allow their performance, fees, expenses and liquidity to be made public.

Magaziner says the public has a right to know where the money is invested and how it's performing. He says he's asking the state's existing fund managers to comply too.

The new investment policy is one of several initiatives Magaziner announced Tuesday to increase transparency.

The treasurer's website now has a data portal for publications and datasets the office produces. For the first time the office is reporting investment-related fund expenses charged to the state's pension portfolio.

There's a new calendar for contract end dates and proposed dates for new requests for proposals.

Magaziner says a commitment to transparency will produce better financial results.


Students rally in Providence for bus passes

High school students in Providence are calling on the city's mayor to reduce the minimum distance students must walk to school to qualify for a bus pass.

Students rallied Tuesday at Providence City Hall, marching for five miles past Mayor Jorge Elorza's office. The Providence Student Union says this represents the roundtrip distance more than 1,000 students in Providence walk to and from school each day.

They say Elorza promised while campaigning last year to reduce the minimum distance to two miles, but that hasn't happened. Currently, a student must live at least 2.5 miles from school to qualify for a bus pass.

Elorza says he looks forward to meeting with the students to talk about immediate steps, such as offering students reprieve during inclement weather or partnering with RIPTA.


Cargo plane lands safely despite landing gear malfunction

A Rhode Island Air National Guard cargo plane has landed safely after its landing gear malfunctioned.

Colonel Peter Parente says three C-130 crew members manually landed the plane after the system that lowers the landing gears failed over North Kingstown late Tuesday.

No injuries were reported. North Kingstown police and fire responded to the scene for support.

Parente says the malfunction is a standard issue that can happen, and the crew was successful in their handling of the situation. He says the crew had been conducting routine flight training when they noticed an issue with the hydraulics that control the flaps of the landing gear.

The plane circled the area as the three crew members re-energized the hydraulics. Officials say hydraulic malfunctions like this are common.


Cicilline Joins Free Brady Movement

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is joining the movement to clear the name of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.  Cicilline yesterday posted a picture of himself on Twitter holding a sign reading Free Brady.  Brady recently received a four game suspension from the NFL amid accusations that he was aware team staffers were deflating game footballs.  Cicilline says he joins with other Pats fans in calling for Brady to be reinstated immediately.

Providence Launches Midnight Basketball

Providence is launching a midnight basketball league.  Mayor Jorge Elorza says the league will provide healthy community interaction and alternative night recreation for young adults.  Registration for the basketball league is underway at Providence Recreation on West Drive.  Games will be played from nine p.m. until midnight at four different locations around Providence.

Late RI Tax Deadline Next Year

Rhode Island taxpayers will have a few extra days to get their returns in next year.  The state Division of Taxation says next year's filing deadline will be April 18th, three days later than usual.  The reason for the later date is that Emancipation Day falls on Saturday, April 16th and the holiday will be celebrated on Friday the 15th.  Since Rhode Island typically follows in the federal  rules, the date is being pushed back to the 18th as well.


Man Gets Life For Double Murder

A Massachusetts man is being ordered to serve four consecutive life sentences for the 2009 murders of two men in Providence.  Nigel Nichols of Brockton was convicted in February on two counts of murder and other offenses.  A jury finds that Nichols shot and killed David Thomas and Domingo Ortiz and injured 18-year-old Dwayne Thomas.  The shooting occurred in December of 2009, and apparently followed Nichols being teased by the victims over his level of toughness.

Plan To Target Trucks With Tolls

Rhode Island officials are looking at a plan to impose tolls on large commercial trucks to fund a billion-dollar bridge reconstruction program.  The user fee on trucks would be collected electronically and is expected to generate around 100-million-dollars a year.  The money would be used to repay a 700-million-dollar bond that would be used for bridge repair.  Most of the money would go towards bridge repairs at the Routes Six and Ten connector, with the rest earmarked for other troubled bridges around the state.

Leader of Armenian Apostolic Church to visit Providence

An Armenian church will welcome a head of the Armenian Apostolic Church later this month.

Sts. Vartanantz church says Catholicos Aram I will visit the Providence church on May 30. He is one of two heads of the Oriental Orthodox religion and is based in Lebanon.

Catholicos Aram I is expected to visit the Armenian Martyrs Memorial Monument in the city's North Burial Ground. Then, he'll give traditional blessings and deliver remarks at the church.

Parishioners will then have an opportunity to approach the church leader to receive personal blessings.

The church says Providence's Armenian community is one of the nation's oldest, with immigrants arriving from 25 different countries beginning in the American Industrial Revolution. The state currently has three Armenian churches.


RI Foundation awards health-care groups more than $250,000

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $250,000 in grants to five health-care organizations to expand and improve primary care services.

The philanthropic organization awarded grants to the Comprehensive Community Action Program, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, The Providence Center, Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Parent Information Network.

Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg says the grants help make health care more accessible and affordable to Rhode Islanders.

The grants are made available through the RIGHA Foundation Fund, which was created when Harvard Pilgrim Health Care acquired the former Rhode Island Group Health Association.

Harvard Pilgrim Health and the RIGHA Foundation transferred its $1.6 million endowment to the foundation in 2010. The foundation says Harvard Pilgrim Health continues to make annual payments to the fund.


Michelle Kwan joins state arts council board

Two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan is among four new board members of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

The state Senate recently confirmed the new appointments, made by Gov. Gina Raimondo. Joining Providence resident Kwan are Kate Blacklock of Providence, Carmen Diaz-Jusino of Providence and Lorén Spears of Charlestown.

Kwan is a five-time world figure skating champion and nine-time U.S. figure skating champion. She retired in 2006 and is a senior adviser for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

Blacklock is an artist who has taught industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design since 2002. Diaz-Jusino is the program director for the Center for Women & Enterprise in Providence. Spears is the executive director of Tomaquag Museum in Exeter.


Lawmakers call for new laws to protect schoolchildren

A bill that would make it a felony to use a computer to threaten students at a school is being considered by Rhode Island lawmakers.

Rep. Deborah Fellela says she introduced the bill out of concern over threats made last year in three local school systems.

The Johnston Democrat says the state should stiffen the penalties for using computers to make threats against schoolchildren.

The measure has cleared the House and now heads to the Senate.

Under the bill, a first conviction would be a misdemeanor. A subsequent conviction would be a felony.

Letters were sent in October threatening schoolchildren in Cranston, Johnston and Warwick. The exact nature of the threats wasn't disclosed.

Legislators said at the time they would push for legislation making threats against schools or schoolchildren felonies.


Sens. Reed, McCain lead visit to Vietnam, Singapore

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jack Reed are leading a delegation of senators to Vietnam and Singapore.

McCain, an Arizona Republican and former Vietnam POW, chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee while Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, is the panel's ranking member.

Reed's office says the senators will meet this week with government officials and other Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to discuss security and economic issues in the Asia-Pacific region.

The year marks 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War.

In Singapore, Reed's office says the delegation is scheduled to take part in the 2015 Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue The meeting will include defense ministers and other officials from the region. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is also scheduled to attend.


Kilmartin asks state to regulate marijuana oil manufacturing

The state's attorney general is asking the General Assembly to pass a bill prohibiting medical marijuana patients and caregivers from extracting a high-potency oil from marijuana.

Democratic state Sen. Frank Ciccone III of Providence is sponsoring the bill on behalf of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

The legislation would allow only compassion centers to extract butane hash oil from marijuana, following the rules and regulations to be promulgated by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The manufacturing process involves forcing extremely flammable butane through the marijuana. Pot users have caused fiery explosions as they try to make the oil in crude home-based laboratories.

Kilmartin says Colorado, Oregon and Washington have similar prohibitions on producing homemade butane hash oil.

He says Rhode Island needs to address this public safety problem.


Quarry Fall Victim Identified

The man who fell 80 to 100 feet to his death Sunday at an old quarry in Westerly has been identified as 28-year-old Jack Daniels.  According to police, he had been riding motorcycles in the area when he fell, but Police Chief Ed St. Clair notes he was not on a bike at the time of the fall.  Daniels fell to his death around 2 a.m. Sunday, and police have interviewed the other people with whom he was riding.

Pedestrian Killed Monday Night In Coventry

Police are investigating the death of a woman in Coventry who was hit by a car just after 9 p.m. Monday.  The woman's name has not been released, and the driver who hit her is cooperating with police.  Authorities say that person is not facing any charges as yet.  The woman was pronounced dead at Kent Hospital.

Neighborhood Health Plan Of R.I. Expects Big Savings

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island is expecting savings of at least two-point-seven million dollars in its first year though home visits by caregivers.  The "Providence Journal" reports the savings could actually double that amount due to the overwhelming success to date of the Health Home program.  The health insurer identified 450 Medicaid patients in January who were likely to have large medical bills and frequent healthcare needs and dispatched a team to work with them at home instead of having them go to the hospital.


R. I. Senate approves bill to repeal outdated laws

The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill aimed at getting rid of the state's outdated statutes.

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Thursday to create a joint committee within the General Assembly to review laws and recommend which ones are no longer needed. The legislature would consider the suggestions at the start of each new year.

It is still the law in Rhode Island, for example, that every person guilty of profane swearing and cursing shall be fined up to $5.

Democratic Sen. Erin Lynch, the bill's sponsor, says general laws also have become littered with outdated or burdensome statutes that may be hindering economic growth or business development.

A companion bill is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.

The proposal hasn't gained traction in the House in previous sessions.


Grizzlies, tigers part of Roger Williams Park Zoo expansion

The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence has unveiled plans to add a new education center and rainforest building as well as tigers, grizzly bears and moose by 2035.

Zoo officials announced the 20-year plan Wednesday, saying it will be completed in three separate, $25 million phases lasting between five and seven years each.

The zoo has requested bids to design a rainforest building with a rising path allowing visitors to see animals at different levels. The current education center would be converted into a reptile house.

The second phase calls for new penguin, seabird and sea lion exhibit as well as a gift shop and admission area.

The third phase will add the new animals. Four new restroom buildings and more than 400 parking spaces also will be added.


Misquamicut town official drops case against street vendors

Officials say they no longer plan to prosecute two Misquamicut businessmen for selling ice cream and other frozen treats in an alleged violation of a street vendor ordinance.

The Westerly Sun reports George Manko was informed Wednesday by his lawyer that Assistant Solicitor Leo Manfred decided to drop the case against him. Manko was charged last June with 16 counts of violating the ordinance for selling shaved ice from his Hawaiian Desserts trailer on Atlantic Avenue.

A July 2014 case against Kenneth Adams was also dropped. He's charged with four counts of violating the ordinance.

Town council says recent modifications to the street vendor ordinance were designed to allow a limited number of vendors to work in the town.

Twin River slots not expected to rise in move to Tiverton

The head of Twin River says a proposed casino in Tiverton would include about 1,100 slot machines, about the same number as at Newport Grand.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John E. Taylor Jr. said at a question-and-answer session Thursday that table games would include blackjack, craps and roulette, but probably not poker.

The Newport Daily News reports  that he says a casino of the size being proposed would likely contribute about $4 million a year in taxes on gambling, property, food and beverages.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates the gambling center in Lincoln, is seeking to buy Newport Grand and move to Tiverton. Taylor said the sale awaits state regulatory approval.

Tiverton officials and state lawmakers also must approve a November 2016 referendum on the state and local ballots.

Providence Residents Rally Against Violence

A crowd of Providence community leaders are calling for an immediate end to growing violence in the city.  The clergy and other community activists are urging an end of the cycle of violence that began with a killing outside a city hookah bar last Friday night.  The gang related incident is being blamed for a spike in shootings since then, culminating with a shooting that left two young men injured on Wednesday.  Police say they have identified persons of interest in several of the shootings, but no arrests have been made.

Rhode Island Unemployment Rate Falls

Rhode Island's unemployment rate is continuing to decline.  The state Department of Labor and Training says the unemployment rate dropped slightly to six-point-one percent in April.  The report indicates that the state gained 600 jobs during the month, and the number of unemployed people dropped by one-thousand.  The Rhode Island workforce currently stands at 553-thousand people, which is nearly two-thousand workers more than March levels.


Ten Men Busted In Prostitution Sting

Ten men are facing charges after they were all allegedly caught in a Central Falls prostitution sting.  The operation involved three undercover female police officers posing as prostitutes and making themselves available on city streets.  When men approached the women for sex, they were arrested.  Seven of the suspects are charged with soliciting from a motor vehicle for indecent purposes, while three others are charged with procurement of sexual conduct for a fee. 

Roger Waters To Play Newport Folk Festival

Roger Waters is signing on to perform at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24th.  The Pink Floyd co-founder has never been known as a folk performer, but will reportedly perform a set of music geared for the festival.  July 24th is the only day that is not currently sold out for the festival, which runs from the 24th to the 26th in Fort Adams State Park.

Newport Man Arrested For Child Porn

A Newport man is facing charges accusing him of possessing and transferring child pornography.  State Police say 30-year-old Marc Mathis was identified by law enforcement as the owner of an Internet connection where child porn was being shared.  A court ordered search of his home on Oak Street in Newport took place yesterday, and Mathis was taken into custody.  he's charged with possession and transfer of child porn, and is free on five-thousand-dollars bail.


NAACP urges Providence mayor to promote more black officers

NAACP officials are urging Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza to appoint a black police officer to the rank of major in the Providence Police Department.

A study commissioned by the NAACP shows the highest rank held by a black officer in the city is sergeant.

James Vincent, president of the NAACP's Providence branch, tells the Providence Journal  that a high-ranking black officer would help foster community trust.

The NAACP also calls for a new community service division to oversee outreach efforts and the recruitment of police officers of color.

Vincent says the lack of diversity at the command level "jeopardizes the relatively good" relations that have developed between police and the community.

Twin River To Talk Casino In Tiverton Tonight

Officials from Twin River will be holding a gathering to address the public on a proposal to move Newport Grand to Tiverton.

Twin River wants to build a new casino bordering the Massachusetts line in Fall River, with slot machines and table games.

The town council and the general assembly would need to approve of the move in order for the casino to have any hope of being built. If approved, the proposal could be on the ballot next year.

The meeting with the public this evening, will be held at the Lil Bear Sports Pub on Main Road in Tiverton at 6 p.m.

Providence Refunds Bonds For Savings

The city of Providence is saving more than six-million dollars by successfully refunding 146-million dollars in bonds.  The city is taking advantage of more favorable market rates, and state law will allow the city to retain 80 percent of the savings.  Mayor Jorge Elorza says this is a clear win for the taxpayers of Providence, who deserve to know that their tax dollars are being used effectively.

Police Probe Attempted Abduction

Police in Warwick are investigating an attempted child abduction.  Police say a 12-year-old girl was walking home from school on Tuesday when a man approached and pulled her backpack.  The girl says she immediately ran home and alerted her parents to the incident, which she says took place near Osceola Avenue.

Invitation To Clinton Event Released

Invitations to Hillary Clinton's fund raiser next month in East Greenwich have begun circulating in Rhode Island.  The event is being held June 10h, with ticket prices starting at one-thousand dollars per person.  Those who pay ten-thousand dollars get to attend an additional host reception, with 27-thousand dollars providing full admission to all of the evening's events.  The location of the event is not yet revealed, with donors told they will find out where the event is when they RSVP.

Two Men Shot In Providence

Two men are wounded after being shot inside a parked car in Providence.  Police say the two victims are in their late teens or early 20s, and both were conscious after being shot on Sassafras Street.  One of the men was shot in the neck, and the other was hit in the torso.  Both men were rushed to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment, and police are trying to determine who is responsible for their injuries.

Woman Struck By Bus In Providence

A woman is injured after being hit by a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus in Providence.  The incident happened before five o'clock yesterday afternoon on Broad Street, and the woman was pinned underneath the bus.  Airbags were needed to lift the bus off the woman, who was rushed  to the hospital in very critical condition.  The 31-year-old victim has been identified as Bobbi Moore and the incident remains under investigation.


Providence owed more than $1M in overdue detail fees

Providence officials say the city is owed more than $1 million in police and firefighter detail fees from private contractors.

Detail fees are charged to businesses and organizations that require police or firefighters on hand, including at bars, nightclubs, festivals or other events.

The Providence Journal reports the city pays police and firefighters up front when a detail is required and is supposed to get reimbursed.

A City Council Finance Committee report shows that more than 180 businesses and organizations owe the city $1.2 million in fees.

The mayor's office says the city has established an escalating scale of warnings that culminate in a bill being turned over to a collection agency after six months.


Warren woman arrested for tree-sitting protest of pipeline

A 26-year-old Warren woman has been arrested for a tree-sitting protest of a proposed natural gas pipeline expansion.

Sherrie Anne Andre was charged Tuesday afternoon with trespassing, resisting arrest, obstruction and disorderly conduct.

Andre had suspended a wooden platform in the tree near a Spectra Energy compressor station in Burrillville early Tuesday. Police say she was in the tree for about five hours.

Andre is a member of Fighting Against Natural Gas, or FANG. The group says the tree is on land that would be cleared if the gas compressor station were upgraded to expand the Algonquin pipeline, which brings natural gas to New England from shale formations.

Rhode Island airport to offer flights to Germany, Cape Verde

Rhode Island's T.F. Green Airport is adding international options this summer.

Starting in June, the airport will begin offering flights to Frankfurt, Germany, and Cape Verde off the western coast of Africa.

The airport has a revamped area for U.S. Customs and Border Protection where agents can welcome travelers into the United States through Rhode Island.

The customs area received $110 million in upgrades could begin operating as soon as June 2, though the area had existed for years.

Kelly Fredericks, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, tells WJAR-TV the goal is to make the airport more competitive. He says he will likely propose rebranding T.F. Green as an international airport.


Funeral services scheduled for PawSox president Skeffington

Funeral services have been scheduled for James Skeffington, the principal owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, who died Sunday evening.

A spokeswoman for the PawSox said Tuesday that Skeffington's wake will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence. The funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the same cathedral.

Skeffington suffered a heart attack while jogging near his home in Barrington. Skeffington was a Providence native. He was 73.

His death has led to questions about the next step for the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Skeffington was the team's public face and lead advocate for a plan to move the team to a new stadium in downtown Providence.


Mom makes bus assault suspect turn himself in

Providence police have identified the man accused of punching a public bus driver in the face thanks to the suspect's mom.

Police asked for the public's help in identifying the man who punched a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority driver on May 6.

The man, who had a cut on his hand, was apparently angry that the bus driver refused to take him to the hospital, which was not on the driver's route.

RIPTA publicly released surveillance photos the suspect and the mother of 24-year-old Jose Rivera Lopez recognized her son and made him turn himself in.

Lopez is charged with simple assault.

Postal Workers Charged With Check Thefts

Four U.S. postal workers are facing charges accusing them of stealing over a million-dollars worth of U.S. Treasury checks.  Prosecutors say Joan Mustafa, Erick Garzon, Brenda Canuelas and Jesus Rivera conspired to steal hundreds of checks from the providence mail processing and distribution center.  Some of the checks were sold on the streets for a fraction of their value, while others were deposited into fraudulent bank accounts and quickly withdrawn.  All four suspects are free on bond.


Rhode Island Rent Among Highest

A new report indicates that Rhode Island has the 18th highest home rental rates in the country.  The report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition says Rhode Island has one of the biggest gaps between the average wage of a renter and the earnings needed to afford a two bedroom apartment.  The nation's highest rental costs are in Hawaii, and the lowest prices are in Puerto Rico.

Man Guilty Of Child Sex Assault

A Providence man is facing a likely prison term after being convicted by a jury on child molestation and sexual assault charges.  The jury convicted 69-year-old Antonio Acosta on charges accusing him of molesting a young girl from when she was 11-years-old until she was 14.  The victim reported the abuse to a school counselor, which led to an investigation by Pawtucket Police and Acosta's arrest.  Acosta remains free at least until his sentencing.


Lucchino To Play Key PawSox Role

Pawtucket Red Sox principal owner Larry Lucchino is expected to take a more active role in stadium negotiations.  A spokesperson for the team says in light of the death of fellow principal owner James Skeffington, Lucchino will become the team's point person in stadium talks.  Lucchino is also president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox.  Skeffington had been leading negotiations that sought to move the team to a state of the art new ballpark that would be located on the Providence waterfront.


In 100 speeches, senator pushes for action on climate change

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has now preached the dangers of climate change from the Senate floor 100 times.

The Rhode Island Democrat gave his 100th "Time to Wake Up" speech Monday.

In prepared remarks, Whitehouse reflected on the mounting effects of carbon pollution. He discussed the political obstacles to addressing climate change, notably pressure from the fossil fuel industry stifling Republican cooperation.

He says his top reason to act is Rhode Island, the "Ocean State."

Whitehouse wants to impose a fee on carbon emissions. He plans to announce details in June.

He's hopeful public pressure will lead to the passage of comprehensive climate change legislation.

Whitehouse gave his first speech in the series April 18, 2012.

He says he wants to shine light on the facts, science, and the polluters' "scheme of denial."


Rhode Island Fast Ferry awarded 20-year transport contract

A coastal Rhode Island company has been awarded a transport contract for a new Deepwater Wind project.

 North Kingstown's Rhode Island Fast Ferry won the 20-year contract to operate a specialized boat for construction and maintenance of a five-turbine wind farm. Deepwater Wind will install in waters near Block Island this summer.

The new vessel will be built by Warren's Blount Boats and will transport workers to and from the offshore wind farm. It will be the first of its kind in the country.

The boat is expected to be ready to provide crew and equipment support in spring 2016 in advance of Block Island Wind Farm's turbine installation.

Rhode Island Fast Ferry will spend $4 million building the vessel.


Reed staffer to lead Newport County Chamber of Commerce

A staffer for U.S. Sen. Jack Reed has been chosen as the next head of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce.

The group's board of directors on Monday announced it had selected Erin Donovan-Boyle as its new executive director.

She will succeed current Executive Director Jody Sullivan, who is retiring in June.

Ed Lopes, the board's chairman, says she has a deep knowledge of the community, experience in government and financial acumen.

Donovan-Boyle work's as outreach director for Reed's Rhode Island office. She previously served as executive director of the Ocean State Tall Ships group, and as campaign manager for former Secretary of State Ralph Mollis.


Volvo race Newport stopover attracts about 125,000 people

The number of visitors to the Newport stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race exceeded officials' expectations.

Organizers of the 12-day celebration said Sunday it attracted about 125,000 people. They say the city had expected 60,000 to 80,000 visitors.

Sail Newport executive director Brad Read says the stopover had 20,000 visitors on Saturday, making it the event's busiest day.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad says Newport drew nearly four times as many visitors as Miami did when it hosted the stopover in the 2011-2012 race.

Frostad says Newport has been offered an exclusive two-month negotiating period to secure the return of the race in 2018.

The six sailing teams in the global race left Newport on Sunday, heading for Lisbon, Portugal. The race ends in June in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Developer Lands Extension For I-195 Project

A developer seeking to create private student housing on former Interstate-195 land now has until July 1st to reach a tax stabilization deal with Providence.  Texas based Friendship and Clifford LLC has an agreement to purchase more than an acre of the reclaimed highway land for well over two-million dollars.  However, the developer needs to reach a tax stabilization agreement because the city's commercial tax rate is very high.

Cumberland Home Destroyed By Fire

A multi-family home is destroyed following a fast moving fire in Cumberland.  The six unit home on Titus Street caught fire yesterday afternoon and quickly spread through the upper floors.  All of the residents and two cats were able to get out of the building safely, with one of the cats jumping to safety from a third floor window.  The cause has not been determined and remains under investigation.

Overhaul Complete At Tennis Museum

A major overhaul is complete at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport.  The results of the three-million-dollars in renovations and upgrades to the property will be revealed on Wednesday.  Changes include new multimedia exhibits and better access, and much of the old Newport Casino building has been restored.  Other projects are still in the works, including new tennis courts and a new grandstand at the stadium grass court.

VA Town Hall Meeting This Week

The Providence VA Medical Center is holding a town hall style meeting this week.  The event is designed to allow veterans, patients, family members and the public to comment on the facility and the care being delivered there.  The meeting is being held Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the medical center on Chalkstone Avenue in Providence.  Before the meeting, the Veterans Benefits Administration is holding a benefits clinic at the facility.

Suspect Sought In Pawtucket Shooting

Police in Pawtucket are looking for a suspect in a weekend shooting.  Police say 20-year-old Mark Cruz of Cumberland is identified as the person who fired shots early Saturday morning that wounded a man on Jenard Drive.  The victim drove himself to the hospital after the shooting, which reportedly occurred after an argument between the two men.  Cruz is considered armed and dangerous, and anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to contact Pawtucket Police.

PawSox Owners Say Stadium Needs Work

The owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox say it would cost 65-million-dollars to make McCoy Stadium into a state of the art facility.  The owners say that steep price tag explains why the team needs a new stadium, but the city says that number is extremely high.  PawSox principal owner James Skeffington refused to provide the report when questioned by the Providence Journal.  Pawtucket city officials say the team has refused to share their report with them as well.

New food assistance program launches for low-income seniors

A new food assistance program is launching in Rhode Island to help low-income seniors.

The Rhode Island Community Food Bank will distribute monthly food boxes containing items such as cereal, canned vegetables and fruits, pasta, and seasonal foods as part of the federally-funded Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

The initiative is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs and the food bank.

Rhode Island U.S. Sen. Jack Reed worked to insert language in an appropriations bill so Rhode Island and six other states could start participating, and secured more than $100,000 in federal funding for it.

Reed and representatives from the agencies will be at the Providence food bank Monday to celebrate its start.

The food bank serves about 12,000 seniors each month.


RI Foundation awards more than $200,000 to nonprofits

The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $200,000 to 33 nonprofit organizations that serve Newport County.

The philanthropic organization says the grants are made available through its Newport County Fund. The fund offered grants of up to $10,000 each in areas such as arts and culture and the environment.

Baby Steps of Newport received $10,000 to support its educational programs for families with infants and toddlers. Visiting Nurse Services of Newport and Bristol Counties received $5,000 to train staff on working with patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

The Foundation says an advisory committee made up of Newport County residents determined how to allocate the funding.

The fund has awarded more than $2.8 million in grants for programs in Jamestown, Little Compton, Middletown, Newport, Portsmouth and Tiverton since 2002.


Students at several Rhode Island colleges graduate

It was a big weekend for college graduations in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island College handed out 1,493 baccalaureate degrees and 305 graduate degrees Saturday. Honorary degrees were awarded to Scott MacKay of Rhode Island Public Radio and Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts.

Bryant University also held its commencement Saturday, with journalist and author David Maraniss as speaker.

More than 1,000 students received degrees Sunday from Providence College. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love was awarded an honorary degree.

The University of Rhode Island awarded 668 graduate degrees Saturday and 3,204 undergraduate degrees Sunday. Neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi, a Cranston native, received an honorary doctor of science degree.

Salve Regina University handed out 653 degrees during its 65th commencement Sunday. Two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters.


Sailing teams depart Newport, start 7th leg of global race

The competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race have departed Newport heading for Lisbon, Portugal.

The six sailing teams in the four-ocean, 45,000-mile race set out Sunday afternoon in light 10-knot winds for the seventh leg of the global race. The teams arrived in Newport over a week ago from Itajai, Brazil.

The Spanish boat MAPFRE led the race fleet out of Newport after winning the in-port race Saturday on Narragansett Bay.

Newport was the only North American stopover on this year's race. The stopover was hosted by public sailing center Sail Newport and tourism center Discover Newport.

The race got underway in October when the teams left Alicante, Spain. A seventh team was forced to suspend racing after its boat smashed into a reef in November.

The race ends in June in Gothenburg, Sweden.


ProvPort receives permission to expand operations

The Providence Redevelopment Agency has given permission to the corporation that runs the city's port facilities to expand.

The Providence Journal reports ProvPort will expand onto a 14-acre parcel of land near the end of Fields Point. The parcel lies between land now owned by ProvPort and Save The Bay.

The PRA endorsement means ProvPort will lease the land for $140,000 a year through July 2036 and use it to expand its terminal and port operations.

ProvPort's plans call for spending about $1.4 million to develop the site, a former landfill. The parcel will be cleared, graded and paved and perimeter fencing will be installed. ProvPort will also spend about $300,000 to restore the open space portion of the parcel.

Save The Bay officials endorsed the plan.


Pair Charged In Drive By Shooting

Two men are facing charges in connection with a drive by shooting last week in South Providence.  Police say Johnny Pena and Wilmer Rosario are accused of shooting Elias Medina in an apparent gang related incident May sixth.  Both men are charged with felony assault and are being held on bail.  Medina drove himself to the hospital after being shot, where he was treated and released.

Death Of Disabled Client Investigated

The death of a male client of a state licensed program for the developmentally disabled is being investigated.  The call to 911 was made from a nonprofit day program on Commerce Street in Pawtucket last Thursday as a medical emergency.  Officials with RHD Rhode Island that runs the program are confirming the death but are not releasing any other information, citing federal medical privacy laws.  The program received over two-million dollars in federal funds last year.

Town Approves Full Day Kindergarten

North Kingstown is introducing town-wide, full-day kindergarten in the fall.  The town school committee this week approved spending more than a half-million dollars to expand all-day kindergarten to all four elementary schools.  A pilot program was run at one of the elementary schools this year to help the town prepare for the rollout at the other schools.  Officials say the reading scores are significantly higher among children in the full-day program as opposed to the half-day students at the other three schools.

Pawtucket Man Accused Of Cyberstalking

A Pawtucket man is accused of cyberstalking a college student who already has a restraining order against him.  Police say George Gould never had a relationship with the female victim, but he had been interested in her for more than a year.  The woman was forced to obtain a restraining order last year to stop Gould from harassing her at her Providence Place job.  Gould is accused of violating the order by sending the victim numerous e-mails, sending her gifts and driving past her home.

Providence Streetcar Plan Scrutinized

A plan for a 100-million-dollar streetcar in Providence is being scrutinized by city officials.  A hearing was held on the project before the City Council finance committee last night.  Supporters told the panel of how the streetcar connecting the Providence Rail Station to Rhode Island Hospital will spur economic development.  Others are concerned about the price tag, especially the 57-million dollars that represents the city's share of the costs.

Secretary of state dismisses 38 Studios lobbying cases

The Rhode Island Secretary of State is dismissing cases against three people accused of lobbying violations in the 38 Studios deal, including ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea hired former U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente to review the cases.

Ex-38 Studios director Thomas Zaccagnino and attorney Michael Corso had been ordered to file retroactive reports or face a fine. Corrente says both orders would likely be overturned in court because of procedural deficiencies in existing lobbying statutes.

A final order hadn't been issued on whether Schilling violated lobbying laws. Corrente says there are similar procedural problems in that case.

Schilling's failed video game company got a $75 million state-backed loan.

Corso's attorney says Gorbea made the right call in vacating the orders.

Gorbea wants to overhaul the lobbying laws.


Historic home near Brown University to get makeover

An historic home near the Brown University campus is set to get a makeover this summer.

The school announced Wednesday that Bannister House, built in 1854, will be fully renovated and returned to its original wood exterior.

The home will be sold to a Brown faculty or staff member after renovations are complete through the Brown-to-Brown program. The school says it has successfully renovated and sold 12 homes through this program.

Celebrated African American painter Edward Mitchell Bannister and his wife, Christiana, rented the home from 1884 to 1899. The home's namesakes were its most famous residents.

The house was remodeled in 1930, when its original wood shingles were replaced with brick. The school says the home has been vacant and in disrepair for two decades.


R.I groups ask schools to delay using PARCC test

The ACLU-Rhode Island, NAACP and 13 other organizations are asking school committees in the state to postpone using the new state assessment to qualify students for high school graduation.

The Providence Journal reports the letter asked school officials to avoid using scores from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) for graduation and grading purposes until its intended date in 2020.

PARCC is a standardized test taken by elementary and secondary schools.

Education officials had made 2020 the year in which PARCC scores would be tied to high school graduation in order to give school districts time to prepare students. But the Council for Elementary and Secondary Education later revised the policy to allow schools to make it a requirement as early as 2017.


RI speaker: Lawmaker shouldn't resign after no contest plea

The speaker of the Rhode Island House says a former member of his leadership team should not resign his seat after he pleaded no contest to personal use of campaign funds.

Rep. Joe Almeida, a Providence Democrat, pleaded no contest on Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of using campaign money for himself.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello tells The Providence Journal that it sounded like a case of bad record keeping and characterized it as a slight indiscretion. He said he's glad the distraction is behind Almeida.

Almeida was originally charged with a felony count of unlawful appropriation of more than $1,000 in campaign funds. Police said he could not account for more than $6,100 in campaign money.

Almeida, a retired police officer, resigned as deputy majority whip after his arrest.


Interim Newport city manager declines offer to keep job

Newport's interim city manager has turned down an offer from the city council to keep the job.

The Newport Daily News reports the city's mayor says Joseph Nicholson told council members he would not stay on "for all the tea in China," and plans to return to his work as an attorney and city solicitor.

Nicholson took the job on an interim basis after former City Manager Jane Howington resigned last July.

Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano says 50 applicants have applied for the job. She says a consulting firm has suggested 12 finalists, but the council is still considering other applicants.

She says the council hopes to begin the interview

process in June and hopes to appoint a new city manager in August.


State Insect Bill Approved

A bill that would make the American burying beetle the official Rhode Island state insect is moving closer to becoming law.  The state Senate approved the measure yesterday, and a companion bill must now be passed by the House.  The measure was proposed by North Kingstown Senator Susan Sosnowski.  She says school children informed her that Rhode Island is only one of four without a state insect.

RI Woman Accused Of Fraud

A Woonsocket woman is facing federal charges accusing her of a scheme that defrauded undocumented immigrants.  Patria Zuniga is accused of defrauding the immigrants in the Worcester, Massachusetts area who were seeking to become permanent residents of the U.S.  She allegedly ripped off more than 600-thousand dollars from the immigrants between 2010 and 2012.  She was arrested yesterday, and faces a maximum of 20-years in prison if convicted.

Hillary Clinton Set For RI Fund Raiser

Hillary Clinton is headed to the Ocean State to raise money for her presidential bid.

Rhode Island Public Radio says Clinton is slated to hold a fundraiser next month at Democratic activist Mark Weiner's East Greenwich home.

Two of Clinton's campaign officials visited Providence last month to establish her Rhode Island headquarters.

The Democratic favorite swiftly hit the campaign trail after launching her 2016 presidential campaign in early April, leaving by van from her New York home to Iowa.

Gov. Gina Raimondo announced in April she'll support Clinton even if former Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) decides to run. Chafee has formed an exploratory committee to consider a Democratic presidential campaign.

Clinton campaigned for Raimondo during the governor's race.


Woonsocket Rape Suspect Arrested

A man wanted for the rape of a woman last week in Woonsocket is in police custody.  Police say Reynaldy Rios was arrested yesterday in Brockton, Massachusetts and charged as a fugitive from justice.  Rios allegedly used a gun to sexually assault a woman in the Morin Heights section of Woonsocket.  Rios will be arraigned on the fugitive charge today in Brockton District Court.

Economist Says State Loses On Ballpark

A sports economist says the deal proposed by the Pawtucket Red Sox to move the team to Providence would be bad for taxpayers.  College of the Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson appeared yesterday in Pawtucket to talk about the stadium issue.  Matheson says the expensive stadium is not likely to generate enough economic activity to justify the huge investment.  The new PawSox owners are seeking an incentive package of more than 100-million dollars to relocate the team to Providence.

Whitehouse Co-Sponsoring Vets Disability Claims Bill

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is co-sponsoring a veterans disability claims bills.  Supporters say it's intent is to help address oldest claims pending with the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Currently vets wait an average of more than three-years to get a decision on an initial disability claim, and then nearly three more years for a verdict on appeals. 

Mayor Says New Bedford Can't Afford Pawsox

New Bedford's mayor says the idea of luring the Pawtucket Red Sox to his city is a "non-starter."  The New Bedford "Standard-Times" reports Mayor Jon Mitchell says the city doesn't have 120-million-dollars in incentives to give the PawSox ownership to build a stadium.  A city councilman has raised the idea of moving the team to the Whaling City.  The new owners say the team won't stay in Pawtucket, and they've proposed a riverfront stadium in Providence.

State Receiving Funds For Oyster Study

The University of Rhode Island is receiving a 182-thousand-dollar federal grant for a study on oysters.  The funds will help URI researchers to study the effects of food borne disease outbreaks on state oyster farmers.  The study is designed to help the oyster industry to understand how a food borne illness outbreak would impact consumption and demand. 

Former Police Chief To Head DMV

Former Cranston police chief Walter Craddock is the next administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles.  In addition to his former police service, Craddock is an attorney and an assistant college professor of criminal justice.  He will take over a state agency with around 180 full time employees and an annual operating budget of around 22-million-dollars.

Board Sued Over OMA Violations

The Warwick Retirement Board is being sued by the state attorney general's office for violating the Open Meetings Act.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says the panel discussed matters in closed session that should have been talked about in public.  Kilmartin alleges that the violation occurred at a meeting on March 18th.  The board manages the Warwick municipal pension fund.

Toddler Killed In Highway Crash

The child who died in a fiery crash on Interstate-95 in Warwick Monday night is being identified as three-year-old Adonis Clark.  The boy was strapped into a child seat in the rear of a car that crashed in the median of I-95.  The car struck a tree and burst into flames, with other drivers rushing to pull the victims from the car.  Critically injured are Robert Souza and Lindsey Clark, with five-year-old Savannah Clark hospitalized with less serious injuries.

Neighbors Express Stadium Concerns

Residents in the Jewelry District of Providence are expressing concerns about plans for the Pawtucket Red Sox to relocate to the city.  While some residents expressed support for the 85-million-dollar stadium plan, others are worried about what the ballpark would do to the neighborhood.  Around 40 people attended the meeting of the Jewelry District Association to learn about the stadium proposal and express their feelings about the plan.

Gas prices up four cents

Gas prices on average in Rhode Island are up four cents from last week, according to the latest weekly survey from AAA Northeast.

Self-serve, regular unleaded in the Ocean State currently averages $2.64 a gallon. Prices in the state are 28 cents higher than a month ago, but the Rhode Island average is still two cents less than the national average of $2.66.

A year ago at this time, Rhode Island’s average was more than a dollar higher at $3.70.

The cheapest current price in Rhode Island is $2.49 a gallon, while the most expensive measured by AAA is $2.76.

The auto club predicts that car travel for Memorial Day  will be up 5.3 percent, to 33 million travelers, compared to last year. That would be the highest volume in ten years. Gas prices are on track to be the cheapest they’ve been for the holiday in at least five years, the club said.

Barrington Man Charged In Ponzi Scheme

A Barrington man is accused of ripping off investors of more than eleven-million-dollars in a Ponzi scheme.  Officials say Patrick Churchville used his ClearPath Wealth Management company to bilk investors.  Investigators say he would use money taken from new investors to pay off older ones, while continuing to divert millions of dollars for his own use.  He is also accused of taking steps to conceal his illegal activity.

Congress Oks renaming post office for Rhode Island nun

Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed says legislation to name a post office in Providence for the late community activist Sister Ann Keefe has passed in Congress.

The legislation to honor the Roman Catholic nun known for her charitable work was sponsored by the state's congressional delegation. The Senate on Monday passed the legislation sponsored by Reed and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. U.S. Reps. David Cicilline and Jim Langevin sponsored it in the House, where it passed it last month.

The post office at 820 Elmwood Ave. in Providence will be renamed for Keefe, who died in January at the age of 62.

A former teacher and social worker, Keefe joined a ministry at St. Michael the Archangel church and worked for decades to improve education and health, and to help end hunger and homelessness in Rhode Island.


Officials searching Rhode Island coast for beluga whales

A Connecticut aquarium is working with other authorities to check on the health of three beluga whales spotted off the coast of Jamestown.

Officials from Mystic Aquarium and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries are working with local authorities to find the whales.

The team is searching Narragansett Bay to determine if they need to help the whales.

The aquarium's lead veterinarian Dr. Allison Tuttle said in a statement only video footage posted on Facebook is available for now, but the whales seem to be behaving normally.


Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial breaks ground in Providence

The long-planned Rhode Island Holocaust Memorial has celebrated its ceremonial groundbreaking.

Construction of the memorial, near the World War I and II memorials in Memorial Park on South Main Street in Providence, is expected to begin in days.

The memorial features six black granite columns of increasing height, representing the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust. The columns will mark a curving path, lined with railroad ties, which leads to a spherical white stone symbolizing the future.

The Holocaust Memorial has been 10 years in the making since David Newman, a Holocaust survivor, began a campaign for it.

Officials say the project's cost has been the reason for the delays.


Child dies, 3 injured in Warwick crash

State police say a child has died in a fiery rollover crash on Interstate 95 in Warwick.

A second child and two adults were injured in the single-vehicle crash just after 9 p.m. Monday.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Two adults were taken to Rhode Island Hospital in serious condition. And a second child was transported to Hasbro Children's Hospital. The nature of their injuries was not disclosed.

No names or ages were released.

Investigators say the vehicle rolled over and caught fire, but the exact cause remains under investigation.


RI governor seeks to drop 'Taylor Swift tax' proposal

Gov. Gina Raimondo has suggested eliminating a proposed tax on luxury vacation homes, the so-called "Taylor Swift Tax," after projections show state revenues are up by about $143 million.

Raimondo announced Monday that she would have omitted the tax from her March budget proposal had she known about the surplus. The Raimondo administration had originally proposed the tax to alleviate the state's budget deficit, estimated at $190 million.

The tax was named for the pop singer who owns a beachfront mansion in Westerly.

Lawmakers who took part in the state's semiannual revenue estimating conference say state revenues will be up by $106.8 million this year and $36.6 million next year.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said last month he hoped the state would have enough money to eliminate the proposed tax.


Rhode Island House OKs 3 bills to reform mail ballot process

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed three bills to reform the mail ballot process during state elections.

The bills aim to simplify the requirement for the time mail ballots must be securely stored and increase transparency and voter turnout.

The first bill would change the time mail ballots must be stored from the first day in September in the second year after the ballots are cast to simply 22 months after the election.

The second bill requires ballot counting sessions to be advertised on state websites and removes a requirement to preserve outer ballot envelopes.

The third bill allows mail ballot applications to serve as an affirmation form for inactive voters, if the application address matches where the voter is registered.

Companion legislation must pass the Senate.


High temperatures lead to early opening of RI beaches

Rhode Island officials have opened three state beaches two weeks early because of the summer-like temperatures in the state.

Scarborough, Roger Wheeler and Misquamicut beaches were open over the weekend.

They also will be open next weekend , along with Lincoln Woods State Park in Lincoln and Goddard State Park in Warwick. Those beaches will be closed on weekdays until May 23.

Rhode Island beaches traditionally open on Memorial Day weekend.

The early opening means lifeguards are on duty and the showers and bathrooms are open. It also means officials are now charging for parking at the beach. It is $14 for Rhode Island residents and $28 for non-residents during weekends.

City councilor wants New Bedford to discuss PawSox pitch

The new owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox say they want to move the team to Providence. But officials in New Bedford are interested in becoming the next home of the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate.

City Councilor Steve Martins has filed a motion for the city to discuss becoming the home for the team.

Martins and fellow councilor Kerry Winterson have lined up two potential sites for a new stadium. One is right along the waterfront, similar to the proposed ballpark in Providence.

Martins and Winterson say they are willing to give the PawSox time to work on a deal with Rhode Island officials.

Martins says New Bedford would consider taking an aggressive approach in obtaining the team if a deal falls through.


Kilmartin Warns Of Tech Scam

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is warning Rhode Island residents about a return of a tech support scam.  Kilmartin says residents have been receiving unsolicited phone calls from a person claiming to be tech support for a virus protection software company.  The caller tricks the person into allowing the scammer to access their computer remotely, then installs a virus or malware on the machine.  The scammer then tries to charge a big fee to repair the computer, and people are being urged not to fall victim to the scam.

Block Island Ferry Seeks Rate Increase

The company that operates the Block Island Ferry is looking for a ten-percent rate increase on their traditional slow speed ferry service.  Interstate Navigation is asking state regulators to approve the increase because of rising dock and vessel maintenance.  The Narragansett based company says their request does not include the high speed ferry service to Block Island, just their slower speed vessels and the rates for vehicles.


Power Goes Out In Providence

The lights are back on in Providence after a line issue knocked power out in Wayland Square.  The outage occurred at around three p.m. yesterday, and it took National Grid crews hours to get the power back on.  Only around 60 customers were affected, but the outage hit one of those customers hard.  The Red Stripe Providence restaurant was forced to close for the night, losing business on one of the busiest restaurant days of the year.

Arrest Made After Deadly Stabbing

A  suspect is in custody after the deadly stabbing of a mother in East Providence.  Police say a Christine Santurri was stabbed to death in Bullock's Point Village Mother's Day morning.  Police believe the killer is the woman's ex-boyfriend Yuland Stanfield, who was arrested after trying to swim across Bullocks Cove shortly after the incident.  The couple have a history of domestic violence, and Santurri was apparently in the process of taking out a restraining order against Stanfield.

R.I. inmate sues state, seeks $50 million

One of Rhode Island's most litigious inmates seeks $50 million in his latest lawsuit against the state.

The Providence Journal reports Calvin Walker's federal court complaint says correctional officers employed a "secret strategy" to limit use of the law library for minority inmates, effectively blocking their access to the court system. The suit also advocates for overnight prison visitations to "help preserve the family unit."

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Palombo says the suit is "procedurally flawed," makes allegations settled years ago and cites old constitutional infractions beyond any statute of limitations.

Walker is serving 60 years for terrorizing eight people in a Newport mansion in 1986 before raping one and escaping with $1 million in jewels.

The 58-year-old has lost at least five previous lawsuits against the state.


Rhode Island woman wins $1M on Las Vegas game show

A Rhode Island woman is saying goodbye to student loans after winning the $1 million jackpot on a Las Vegas game show.

Fifty-six-year-old Susan Campagnone of Cranston won the jackpot in January on "The Monopoly Millionaire's Club", a TV show based on the Hasbro board game.

The episode is set to air at 7 p.m. Sunday on Providence Fox affiliate WNAC-TV.

"Monopoly Millionaire's Club" is also a game offered by the Rhode Island Lottery and other state lotteries. Players can enter the number from their lottery tickets online for a chance to attend the game show in Las Vegas.

Campagnone says the money will go toward repaying her and her son's student loans. She does not plan to quit her job but says the money will certainly make life easier.


Raimondo Initiatives Fare Well In Poll

 A new poll indicates that more than half of Rhode Island voters like the state's new leadership slate.  The poll says 54-percent are optimistic that Governor Gina Raimondo and other new state officials will provide stronger leadership.  A majority also believe that Raimondo's targeted tax credits will create jobs in the state.

Providence Teachers Get Raise

Providence teachers are getting raises of more than four percent over the next three school years in their new contract.  The tentative agreement calls for a one-percent pay hike for teachers in the upcoming school year.  The teachers would receive raises of one and three-quarters percent in the 2016-2017 school year, and one and a half-percent in the following school year.  Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says the deal positions city schools to make progress on his goal to improve achievement at every school.

Summer Session On Ballpark Possible

House Speaker Nick Mattiello says a special session could be held over the summer on the Providence baseball stadium issue.  The Pawtucket Red Sox are seeking free land and 120-million-dollars in state subsidies to move the team to the Providence waterfront.  While Mattiello says he would prefer not to have a summer session, he says anything is possible. 


Former Senator Appeals DUI Conviction

Former West Warwick state Senator Stephen Alves is appealing his recent drunk driving conviction.  A judge Monday found Alves guilty of driving under the influence in connection with a crash with a tractor trailer in Lincoln that left his Mercedes totaled.  The judge then sentenced Alves to one year of probation, loss of his driver's license for 90 days and one year of required use of an ignition interlock device.  He must also perform community service and undergo substance abuse treatment.


Raimondo Talks Jobs With Construction Workers

Governor Gina Raimondo is telling Rhode Island's working men and women that her comprehensive jobs plan will create opportunities for those working in the trades.  Raimondo addressed around 200 workers in the trades last night in Cranston, promoting her Ocean State Wave plan.  A key component of her plan is to end the moratorium on school construction that has lasted for three years.  The governor also says she wants to make sure Rhode Island workers are given preference when the construction contracts are awarded.

Providence To Sign Agreement With Teachers

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and the head of the city teachers union will sign a tentative contract agreement today.  Teachers in Providence have been without a contract since the beginning of the school year.  Teachers and the city went into mediation after the union voted down an agreement reached with then Mayor Angel Tavaras.  Teachers will be voting on the proposal in the near future.


Providence College warns of armed men asking for smokes

Providence College officials are warning students about two gun-toting men who have been threatening people who refuse to give them cigarettes.

Police Maj. Thomas Verdi tells the Providence Journal  his department is increasing patrols after several students reported they were approached by the men near campus on Tuesday night.

He says the suspects would ask for a cigarette, then pull a gun when their request was rebuffed.

Police says the suspects threw a glass bottle at two people who they had approached on Pembroke Avenue. Another man says he was punched in the face by one of the suspects. A third group said they heard gunfire after the men left.

Police have not made any arrests.


Warwick chemical company pleads guilty to violations

A Warwick chemical company has been fined $200,000 after pleading guilty to violating federal environmental regulations.

Mann Distribution, LLC, also known as Mann Chemical, LLC, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence on Tuesday to violating the Clean Air Act by failing to develop and implement a risk management plan to minimize the chance of hydrofluoric acid spills, and for failing to protect workers, the community, and emergency responders in the event of a chemical release or fire.

The company was also placed on three years' probation, ordered to develop a plan and issue a public apology.

An inspection by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 determined that Mann failed to develop and implement a risk management plan while storing 92 drums of hydrofluoric acid weighing 46,000 pounds.


Providence man shot in head, drives himself to hospital

Police are investigating a drive-by shooting in Providence that left one man in a hospital with a gunshot wound to his head.

The victim tells police he was driving in the area of Prairie Avenue and Oxford Street around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when he was shot by someone in a nearby car.

WJAR-TV reports the victim remained conscious after being struck in the head and drove himself to the hospital, despite his injuries. A passenger in the victim's car was unharmed by the gunfire.

Officials didn't identify the victim, but say he's in his early 20s.

Police say they don't have any suspects.


Would-be RI bank robber thwarted by bullet-resistant glass

Police say some bullet-resistant glass helped prevent a bank robbery in Pawtucket.

Police say a man wearing a nylon pantyhose mask entered the Woodlawn Credit Union at about noon Tuesday brandishing a handgun and demanding money.

But police say the tellers, who were behind the bullet-resistant glass, simply walked away from the counter.

The would-be robber then fled. Nobody was injured.

No arrests have been made.


Police open substation at Cranston Housing Authority manor

A Rhode Island housing complex known for criminal activity has some new tenants — the police.

The tallest building in Cranston, the 13-story Knightsville Manor, is the new location for a police substation. Officers at the manor will have 24-hour access to the same databases available at police headquarters.

In addition to the placement of the substation, police say a new community-policing campaign includes the installation of surveillance cameras and is expected to include a greater effort to screen out problem tenants.

Police say Knightsville Manor had become the site of drug-dealing, fights and other problems.

The space, technology and office furniture were donated to police by the Cranston Housing Authority.


RI man under investigation for allegedly taking headstones

Officials say a state employee who works at the Rhode Island Veterans' Memorial Cemetery is being investigated by an arm of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for taking discarded headstones estimated to be worth more than $80,000.

A spokesman from the state Department of Human Services confirmed a state employee is currently under investigation for allegedly taking 202 headstones from the Exeter Cemetery to use on personal projects. He says the employee has been taking headstones for several years.

He tells WPRI-TV the stones still had the veterans' names on them but he would not name the employee or comment on that person's job status.

The VA's policy requires all discarded headstones to be destroyed.

House speaker to hold closed-door caucus on PawSox proposal

 House speaker Nicholas Mattiello has called for a closed-door Democratic caucus to discuss the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium proposal.

Mattiello spokesman Larry Berman says all House Democrats have been invited to Wednesday's meeting.

The new owners of the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox are asking for a deal that would give them about $120 million in state subsidies over 30 years if they build a ballpark in downtown Providence.

Mattiello has hired Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist to evaluate the proposal. Zimbalist is also a consultant for major league baseball's commissioner's office.

He will be paid $225 per hour by the General Assembly to weigh the pros and cons of the proposal.

Some House members have expressed concerns over a publicly funded stadium.


Whitehouse Wants Highway Funding Plan

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is urging congressional leadership to put a long term highway funding plan in place.  Whitehouse took his message to the Senate floor yesterday, saying a serious bipartisan effort is needed to avoid a funding crisis.  Rhode Island has some of the worst roads in the nation, and Whitehouse says his constituents need a long term plan to address the problem.

Billboard Urges Marijuana Legalization

A billboard is now in place over Providence that urges the state to regulate and tax marijuana.  The billboard rose yesterday morning and carries a message for state lawmakers who are considering an investment in a minor league baseball stadium in Providence.  The group Regulate Rhode Island says legal marijuana would mean millions in new tax dollars, along with the creation of jobs and increased tourism. 

New State Pier Opens In Newport

A new state pier is open at Fort Adams State Park in Newport.  Construction on the pier began over a year ago in an effort to improve public access to Narragansett Bay.  Governor Gina Raimondo was among the dignitaries on hand as the pier was officially opened yesterday.  Raimondo says completing this type of project demonstrates that Rhode Island is ready to welcome residents and tourists and show what the state has to offer.

Hagan McEntee Wins Primary

South Kingstown Councilwoman Carol Hagan McEntee is the winner of the Democratic primary for the special election to fill the vacant 33rd district House seat.  Hagan McEntee defeated Susan Cicilline Buonanno by more than 100 votes to advance to the special election.  The winner will replace Donald Lally, who cited personal reasons when he abruptly resigned in March.  Cicilline Buonanno is the sister of Congressman David Cicilline, and she faced criticism for using a Cranston school e-mail account to conduct campaign business.

Developers: Financing secured for $650M New Bedford casino

A New York development firm proposing a Foxwoods resort casino on the New Bedford waterfront says it has secured financing and brought on former Foxwoods CEO Scott Butera as a partner.

KG Urban Enterprises said Monday it is submitting the required financial and organizational information to the state Gaming Commission ahead of a 5 p.m. deadline. The company proposes a $650 million casino on a former NStar power plant site.

It is among three applicants vying for the state's last resort casino license, which is reserved for the southeastern region. A Rush Street Gaming subsidiary is proposing a $650 million resort in Brockton and a proposal is also in development in Somerset.

Andrew Stern, the son of former NBA Commissioner David Stern, is KG Urban's managing director and principal.

Ex-Rhode Island lawmaker convicted of drunken driving

A judge has found a former Rhode Island state senator guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Providence Journal reports Judge Elaine Bucci also sentenced Stephen Alves on Monday to a year of probation and 90-day loss of his driving license followed by a year of using a breath alcohol ignition interlock device.

Alves was charged after his Mercedes Benz ran into the back of a tractor trailer on Route 146 on Jan. 15.

His attorney, former House Speaker William Murphy, argued the state didn't prove its case. The judge said she was persuaded by witnesses who said Alves was unsteady and smelled of alcohol, and a videotaped conversation he had with police.

Murphy said he'll consider an appeal. Alves also faces a charge of refusing to take a chemical breath test.


Omni Hotel reaches 3-year deal with unionized workers

The Omni Hotel in Providence has reached a three-year contract agreement with the union representing 170 of its workers.

The deal was announced Monday after four months of bargaining. It includes wage increases and protections against excessive workloads.

Houskeeper Miguelina Almanazar tells the Providence Journal  that under the contract her pay will rise to almost $16 an hour. She says she was making $11.50 an hour at the hotel in 2010.

Omni Hotels and Resorts bought the 564-room hotel adjacent the Rhode Island Convention Center from the Procaccianti Group in the fall of 2012.


Twin River casino officials meet with proposed site town

Officials from the proposed Twin River casino have started building a relationship with the Rhode Island town targeted for the group's project.

Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates the gaming center in Lincoln, announced two weeks ago it had an agreement in principle to buy Newport Grand. The group wants to move its operation to Tiverton.

Twin River Chairman John Taylor met with the Tiverton Town Council Monday, along with more than 200 interested citizens, to discuss his project's development.

Taylor said he was at the meeting "with a clean slate," and hoped to get community input on the new casino's look, size, and amenities.

Taylor says a $500 million destination casino is not in his plans, referring to the large-scale proposed casino in nearby southeastern Massachusetts.


Former owner of quarry seeking dismissal of larceny charge

The former owner of a Westerly quarry is seeking to have a larceny charge against him thrown out.

Samual Cocopard of Chester, Connecticut, was arrested in January on charges he illegally gave away $20,000 of stone from Copar Quarries to satisfy a personal debt.

His attorney, John R. Grasso, tells the Westerly Sun  that Cocopard should not have been charged, in part because he co-owned the quarry, and because there is no credible information about the value of the stone in question.

Cocopard pleaded not guilty in February and is due back in Washington County Superior Court on May 29.

Police say the stone was being given as restitution to settle a 2009 larceny charge Cocopard faced in Connecticut


Two RI Students Named Presidential Scholars

Two Rhode Island high school students are being recognized as Presidential Scholars by the Obama administration.  The state selections are Victoria Araujo of Charles Shea High School in Pawtucket, and Joshua Beck from South Kingstown High School.  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the scholars demonstrate what can be done when students challenge themselves and set the highest standards. 

PC Students Want Bottled Water Off Campus

Students pushing Providence College to stop selling bottled water on campus say it looks like their efforts are not likely to succeed.  Several student activists met with the college president yesterday to discuss the issue.  The group were disappointed to learn that the school signed a new multi year contract with Coca-Cola last year that calls for the sale of Dasani bottled water.  They were informed that in order to make such a change, the school would have to renegotiate the contract with Coca-Cola.

Consultant Hired To Review Stadium Plan

The state House wants another set of eyes to review the minor league baseball stadium proposal in Providence.  House Speaker Nick Mattiello has hired Massachusetts based economics professor Andrew Zimbalist as a consultant on the project.  The professor at Smith College in Northampton will earn 225-dollars an hour advising Mattiello on the project.  The Speaker says he believes the people of Rhode Island can do better than the current offer, where the state would pay millions of dollars.


Whitehouse proposes extended military foreclosure protection

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says he has introduced legislation to help protect military service members from losing their homes to foreclosure.

The Rhode Island Democrat said Saturday he has introduced a bill to extend one that is due to expire this year. The law protects service members for a year after they return from active service. Whitehouse says that protection should be made permanent. He says National Guard members and reservists who leave their full-time civilian jobs for active service often need more time to regain their financial footing.

Whitehouse made the announcement at his annual veterans' breakfast and resource fair at the Rhode Island National Guard Armory. U.S. Rep. David Cicilline also attended along with National Guard Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride and Providence VA Medical Center director Dr. Susan MacKenzie.


Providence schools chief to resign at end of school year

Providence Superintendent of Schools Susan Lusi announced Friday that she will resign at the end of the current school year, saying she will pursue "other professional opportunities."

Lusi, who had led city schools for the past four years, did not elaborate on the reasons for her resignation.

Mayor Jorge Elorza said in a statement that he and the city school board will immediately begin a search for Lusi's replacement.

City officials said that during Lusi's tenure as superintendent, graduation rates have increased from 65 percent to 71 percent, dropout rates have declined from 21 percent to 14 percent and reading scores have improved in grades 4 and 11.

Lusi previously was superintendent of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, schools and assistant commissioner of the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


Stadium proposal could affect I195 environmental plan

The Pawtucket Red Sox proposal to build a new stadium in Providence could affect a broader environmental permit for the redeveloping the land that includes the site.

The Providence Journal reports a master environmental permit for the former Interstate 195 district was drawn up by multiple agencies to allow the use of parkland for storm water mitigation. Under that plan, businesses could get partial credit from the parkland for storm water they are required to treat on their individual parcels. The master permit was intended to streamline environmental review and speed development.

The team has proposed building the new stadium on 6 acres, including the park, owned by the 195 Commission. If the state approves that proposal, the environmental agencies say they may have to go back to the drawing board for the permitting plan.


DiPalma to serve on transportation committee at conference

Rhode Island state Sen. Louis DiPalma has been appointed to the Transportation Policy Committee at the Council of State Governments' Eastern Regional Conference.

The committee focuses on creating a safe national transportation system and supporting policies that will ensure investment in the region's transportation infrastructure.

DiPalma, a Democrat, says investment in bridges and roads creates jobs, makes sure employees can get to work and attracts businesses to the state.

The purpose of the conference is for state policymakers, business leaders and the academic community to exchange ideas.

The 18 jurisdictions in the region include the 11 northeastern states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

The conference will take place Aug. 16-19 in Wilmington, Delaware.


Rhode Island police parade honors officers killed on duty

Police organizations from around the Northeast have gathered in Rhode Island for an annual tribute to officers killed in the line of duty last year.

The Providence Journal reports that thousands of people gathered along the route of the annual Aquidneck Island National Police Parade on Sunday.

The marchers went from West Main Road in Middletown to Washington Square in Newport. The gathering also honored the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Fraternal Order of Police by two Pittsburgh patrol officers.

Newport police Lt. Lt. Frank C. Rosa Jr., vice president of the parade committee, 127 police officers in 2014 died of injuries sustained while on duty.

Rosa said "It's important that we don't forget the service and the ultimate sacrifice that these officers gave in the line of duty for community service."

Rhode Island man advertising to find wife a kidney

A Kent County man is getting creative in his search to secure a kidney donor for his wife.

Jim Small, of Warwick, is exhausting all avenues to find a donor to match his wife's rare type O-negative blood.

WJAR-TV reports Small first started with a sign on the back of his pickup truck that read, "Type O Blood. Wife Needs Kidney. Please Donate," along with his phone number. He now operates an online campaign spreading the same message.

Small's wife was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease over 20 years ago.

April Small is on a list to receive a transplant, but would be able to have the surgery mmediately if she can provide her own donor.

More than 2,000 new RI businesses registered in Q1

More than 2,000 new businesses registered with Rhode Island's Department of State in the first quarter of the year.

Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea announced Thursday that 2,077 new businesses were registered between Jan. 1 and March 31.

The department says this is a 30 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2014, when 1,591 new businesses were registered. This is also an increase of 4.4 percent from the same time period last year, when 1,989 new businesses registered.

Gorbea says the increase is a reflection of the growth in the state's economy and the promise of job creation.

More than 70,000 limited liability companies and for-profit and non-profit corporations currently are registered with the department.


State senators learn more about pension deal

State senators are learning more about the deal that would resolve years of legal wrangling over Rhode Island's landmark public pension system overhaul before they're asked to vote on the settlement terms.

The governor's office, treasurer's office and attorneys for both sides held a briefing for the Senate Thursday.

Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says she expects a bill to be introduced before Tuesday. She says she can't say whether it'll face opposition — 10 senators weren't in office when the pension overhaul was approved in 2011.

A bill hasn't been introduced in the House.

The state has struck a deal with most of the public sector unions and retirees suing over higher retirement ages and cuts to cost-of-living increases.


Providence Fire Department promotes 24 firefighters

The Providence Fire Department has promoted 24 of its members to various ranks.

Mayor Jorge Elorza, Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare and fire Chief Clarence Cunha were at City Hall for the promotional ceremony on Thursday.

The mayor says the firefighters in the department are "as fine as they come." He congratulates them on their promotions.

The fire chief says firefighters of this caliber will move the department "in the right direction."

The members of the fire department who were promoted are an assistant chief of department, an EMS battalion chief, two fire captains, a fire prevention captain, two rescue captains, 11 fire lieutenants and six rescue lieutenants.


Some music at Fort Adams being silenced by red tape

A plan to put on up to 10 concerts this year at Newport's Fort Adams State Park is in jeopardy over a snag in the state approval process.

Michele Maker Palmieri, president and CEO of Newport Waterfront Events, tells the Newport Daily News  she can't book artists to play at the fort until they have a specific date, but the state won't approve a date until an artist is booked.

Newport Waterfront Events will be producing two concerts this month to coincide with the stop on the Volvo Ocean Race. The group also plans a reggae show and a concert with three finalists from the TV show "The Voice" this month.

The Newport Folk and Jazz festivals have exclusive concert rights at the fort for July and early August.


Election Day Bake Sale Bill Passes

A bill that would allow bake sales to be held at Rhode Island polling places on Election Day is heading to Governor Gina Raimondo's desk.  The bill was previously approved by the Senate and the House granted their approval yesterday.  Bake sales had gone on in state polling places for years before they were banned by Cranston, which claimed the sales were technically a violation of state law.  The bill approved yesterday allows the sales as long as they do not interfere with the orderly operation of the election.

Charges Remain Against Former Senator

Drunk driving charges are not being dropped against former state Senator Stephen Alves.  The judge in his trial refused to dismiss the case after the prosecution began and quickly rested their case yesterday.  They say the West Warwick resident failed a roadside sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer after a January crash on Route-146 in Lincoln.  The defense will begin their case on Monday for Alves, who served seven terms in the Senate before losing his seat in 2008.


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