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1540 Updates Archives for 2015-07

Coordinated Regional Speed Enforcement Effort

The six New England states are joining in a coordinated crackdown on speeding drivers.  The coordinated and simultaneous enforcement mobilization was to be announced today.  The goal is to reduce speed-related crashes, injuries and deaths on both state and local roads.

Elorza Wants New Firefighter Platoon System

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is pushing the firefighters union to accept the three platoon system in the fire department.  Elorza says shifting from a four platoon system to three platoons could save the city five-million-dollars in overtime and callback pay.  The new system takes effect on Sunday, and Elorza is hoping to reach a negotiated agreement on the change.  Union officials say the new system will generate its own overtime that will reduce the savings city officials hope to realize.

Pair Guilty Of Operating Meth Lab

Two Cranston men are facing long prison terms after pleading guilty to operating a methamphetamine lab in a Cranston housing complex.  Nicholas Selser and Michael Fortes have both pleaded guilty to a long list of federal drug charges.  Police stormed an apartment at D'Evan Manor in February and determined that the two men had been making meth there.  Selser and Fortes have been held without bail since their arrest.

State To Target Impaired Boaters

Over the next two weeks, the state of Rhode Island is taking aim at people who would drive their boats under the influence of alcohol.  Department of Environmental Management marine units will join state police in the enforcement effort.  There were 43 boat crashes investigated by the state last year, with three of those involving deaths.  Convictions for boating under the influence can bring fines up to 500-dollars and a six-month watercraft license suspension.

Council Candidate Busted For Election Fraud

Providence City Council candidate Franchesco Franco and his campaign manager are accused of election fraud.  Franco and Migdalia Rivera are accused of tampering with mailed ballots that were submitted during the 2014 primary election.  Franco and Rivera are charged with violating state election laws, and both are due in court to answer the charges in September.  He finished third in a three-way primary for the City Council.

Raimondo Plans DCYF Overhaul

Governor Gina Raimondo says a complete overhaul is coming to the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families.  Raimondo says the agency is in crisis, and operates under an extremely dysfunctional system.  The governor says this will not be a tinkering, it will be a major overhaul and fundamental restructuring and turnaround of the agency.  Raimondo says the agency is also failing financially, wasting tens of millions of dollars on service contracts with no performance management.


Providence Plans Parent School Forums


Providence public schools are planning a series of public forums to introduce parents to interim Superintendent of Schools Chris Maher.  Forums are being held in several locations across the city over the next three weeks.  The first one takes place next Tuesday night at the Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex on Thurbers Avenue.  Parents are encouraged to attend the forum closest to their home and share their thoughts on the present and future of city schools.

Police Bust Mobile Meth Lab

A Glocester man is being accused of operating a mobile methamphetamine lab out of a car.  Police say the vehicle driven by 40-year-old Kevin Lewis was pulled over by a Glocester police officer on a family court warrant on Tuesday.  During the stop, the officer smelled a strong odor associated with meth making and discovered a one-pot meth cooking apparatus in the trunk.  Lewis is being held without bail on federal drug charges. 

Environmental Officials Watch Fish Kill

Environmental officials are growing concerned about a large fish kill in the Providence and Seekonk rivers.  Officials say the fish kill began July 17th in the upper Seekonk River, and is being caused by low alcohol levels in the water.  It's estimated that thousands of fish have died because of the low oxygen event.  The cause is believed to be a combination of warm temperatures, low rainfall amounts and decomposing algae.

Tractor Trailer Struck By Train

The driver of a tractor trailer is injured after his rig was struck by a freight train in Woonsocket.  Police say the crash occurred at around ten p.m. yesterday near the intersection of River and Fairmount streets.  The train apparently clipped the back of the tractor trailer, causing it to flip over.  The unidentified male driver of the truck was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life threatening.

Cranston Council Cancels Fung Report Meeting

There was no special meeting of the Cranston City Council to discuss a report on the police department critical of Mayor Allen Fung.  The mayor called the meeting last night to discuss the report, but it was cancelled when council members decided not to participate.  The report has not been released to the public, and some council members are concerned about attending a closed door meeting that they cannot speak about publicly.  Fung is seeking an opinion from the state attorney general on whether the report can be released.

Gang Member Impersonates A Street Worker

Providence police investigating a murder say a reputed gang member impersonated a street worker.   An 18-year-old man has been charged with murder in the stabbing death of man earlier this month, but the search continues for accomplices.  WPRI-TV reports the impostor accompanied a 16-year-old boy who was questioned by detectives.  The executive director of the organization that runs the street workers program calls the incident disappointing.

ACLU Wants Mayor Fung To Release Report

The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Cranston's mayor to release a state police report.  Among other things, the report cites political interference in the Cranston Police Department by Mayor Allan Fung and his staff.  The ACLU says Fung's plan to consult with the attorney general about what can be released under the Access to Public Records Act is unnecessary.  It says the city shouldn't use the open records law as a shield to withhold information from the public.

Providence Sets Ticket Sales Record

Providence College has generated an all time high in athletic ticket revenue.  The Friars are reporting just under three-million-dollars in ticket sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30th.  The strong sales are the result of the school's first ever men's hockey national championship and an appearance in the men's NCAA basketball tournament.  Athletic fund raising is growing as well, with donations reaching six-million-dollars a year.

Westerly Cops Sue Over Union Dues

Five part time Westerly police officers are suing the town, police chief and the police union.  The four current cops and one former officer say their rights were violated by being forced to pay union dues of 13-percent of their salary.  The lawsuit seeks to stop Westerly from seizing forced union fees and declare the collective bargaining agreement provision unconstitutional.  The lawsuit was filed this week in Providence federal court.

Union Seeking Minimum Wage Hike

The union representing care givers for the elderly and the disabled want to see those workers making a minimum of 15-dollars an hour.  The union representing around four-thousand health care workers in Rhode Island says a recent effort in Massachusetts has spurred on their movement.  They say front line workers serving vulnerable people should not have to live in poverty.  A rally for the higher wage is being held tomorrow in Pawtucket's Slater Park.

No Parking Garage At PawSox Stadium

There will be no parking garage in the plans for a minor league baseball stadium in Providence.  Senate President Teresa Pavia-Weed is confirming that the current plans no longer include the garage.  Negotiations are continuing between the Pawtucket Red Sox, the city and the state over plans to build a new ballpark on former Interstate-195 land on the Providence waterfront.  Pavia-Weed says it's unclear whether a special session will be called later this year to address the stadium issue.

Air Quality Alert Issued For Today

Rhode Island health officials are issuing a warning about today's air quality.  The state Department of Environmental Management says air quality is expected to reach unhealthy levels this afternoon and evening in parts of Rhode Island.  People with underlying health issues and respiratory problems are encouraged to remain in air conditioning   until conditions improve.  People are also encouraged to carpool and take other steps to reduce emissions during high ozone periods.

Station Nightclub Fire Band To Play In Maine

The band whose indoor pyrotechnics started the Station nightclub fire is returning to New England for the first time since then.  "The Providence Journal" reports Great White is playing on August 15th in Mechanic Falls, Maine.  With a death toll of 100, the Station fire in West Warwick on February 20th, 2003, is the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history. 

No Evidence Of West Nile Or EEE

There's no evidence of West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Rhode Island.  The July 13th test results of 124 mosquito pools from traps statewide are negative.  Test results from the State Health Laboratories are pending from 145 pools collected on July 20th.  Despite the negative findings thus far, health experts urge the public to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.    

Burglary Suspect Arrested

A man is under arrest accused of a series of burglaries.  Police arrested James Stanzione at an East Providence apartment complex and say he is responsible for breaking into a pair of homes on Thursday morning and two additional ones on Sunday.  Police accuse Stanzione of slipping into the windows of the homes and burglarizing them of wallets, cell phones and cameras.  Police say surveillance video from a convenience store led them to Stanzione.  They say Stanzione was purchasing something while using a stolen debit card.

Home Struck Twice By Lightning

A Tiverton home shook after a tree on its property was struck not once but twice by lightning.  Tiverton fire says the house on Main Road was hit by back to back lightning strikes early Monday morning.  Fire officials say the home is also a daycare and there were children playing inside at the time of the strikes.  No one was injured during the strikes.  The home did suffer a loss of power.

Woman Arrested For Hiring Hitman

A woman is in custody after police say she hired a hitman to kill one of her neighbors.  Michelle Larracuente is charged with soliciting another to commit murder and soliciting another to commit first-degree arson.  Providence police say Larracuente approached an undercover officer about wanting to murder another police officer's mother.  Larracuente is said to have asked the undercover officer to injure the woman, burn down her house and vandalize another home for money.  Larracuente is currently on home confinement after she was released on 100-thousand-dollars bail.

Poisonous Snake Victim Home

A man who was bitten by a poisonous snake is back home.  John Hunter was bitten by a copperhead snake on Thursday while he and his wife were working in their yard.  Hunter was bitten while trying to remove the snake from his yard.  After five days of treatment he was finally allowed to return home.  The snake is currently being held by the Department of Environmental Management which is investigating how the snake ended up in the Hunter's yard.

Man Claims To Be Stabbed By Unknown Man

Police are looking for suspects after finding a man with a stab wound.  James Hazard told police he was stabbed by a Jamaican man with dreads and facial hair when they found him in Providence yesterday.  He had one stab wound in his stomach and is in the hospital.  It's not known what led up to the stabbing. 

Family Escapes Home Fire

No one is injured in a Bristol apartment fire.  Investigators say the blaze broke out Saturday afternoon at a unit on Wood Street.  All five family members living in the apartment were able to escape the flames.  Investigators didn't say how much damage was caused by the blaze and they're investigating the cause. 

Driver Rear Ends Taxi, Injures Seven

Police are looking for a hit and run driver.  Authorities say the driver rear ended a taxi on Saturday in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood and injured seven people riding inside.  Investigators say none of the injuries the passengers in the taxi sustained were life threatening.  Police did not immediately release a description of the suspect vehicle. 

Motorcyclist Killed In Crash

State police are looking into a deadly motorcycle crash on Interstate 95 in Providence.  Investigators say Kerlence Pierre was changing lanes Saturday night when he lost control of his bike and slammed into the back of an S-U-V.  State police say no charges will be filed against any of the drivers on the road with Pierre.  It's still not known if drugs or alcohol were a factor. 

Three Arrested For Assaulting Officer

A Coventry officer is injured responding to a street fight.  Police say the officer was called to the scene early Saturday morning on Magnolia Lane about three men fighting.  Police say the officer was hit with a car mirror as a van fled the scene.  Police caught up to the men later in the morning.  Only one of the men, Matthew LaRoche, was charged with assaulting an officer.  All three are facing simple assault and disorderly conduct charges. 

Stay Out Of Blackamore Pond

Health officials want you to stay out of Blackamore Pond in Cranston.  State health and environmental officials announced yesterday they found blue-green algae blooms in the pond.  Swimming, boating and fishing in the lake are now banned until the toxic algae subsides.  The health department says pets and children are at the biggest risk for adverse effects from going in the water. 

Man Accused Of Stealing From Cars

A man accused of stealing items from a Pawtucket car is arrested.  Police say Andrew McIlmail had gone through at least a couple other cars on Central Avenue late Wednesday night.  Police reportedly found a back pack belonging to the 20-year old with things he'd taken from a car.  McIlmail is facing four charges, including tampering with an automobile, according to WPRI-TV. 

Eight Arrested For Exploiting Children

Eight men are behind bars for crimes including sex trafficking of a minor and indecent solicitation of a child.  The men were all arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a 14-year old girl who investigators say they found in New Jersey in April.  All eight men were arrested this week and police say their investigation is ongoing.  One man is facing federal charges in the case. 

Assault, Car Theft Suspect Back In Rhode Island

A man is back in Rhode Island facing assault and reckless driving charges.  WPRI-TV reports Jonathan Torres was extradited yesterday after being held in Massachusetts for nearly three months.  He reportedly assaulted his sister and took her car from a Pawtucket home in April, leading police on a high speed chase that ended in North Attleboro.  He's facing five assault charges in addition to five other counts, including reckless driving.  He'll be behind bars until his next court appearance in October.

Study Aboard In Cuba Through URI

Starting next February, students at the University of Rhode Island can spend a semester in Cuba.  The university is partnering with the Institute of Philosophy in the capital city of Havana.  Students will stay in an apartment complex and learn about economic development in Latin America.  The three-month program will also feature a short internship.  Students can start applying for the program in a week. 

Earthquake Rattles Providence Area

The U.S. Geological Survey is confirming that a small earthquake shook Rhode Island early yesterday morning.  The earthquake was 2.3 magnitude, and it struck the Providence area before 4 a.m. yesterday.  No injuries or damage is being reported from the quake.  Around 90 people reported the earthquake to the National Earthquake Center after it occurred.

Loaded Gun Found In Carry On

A 33-year-old man is facing charges after he allegedly tried to carry a loaded handgun onto a plane at TF Green Airport.  TSA agents made the discovery as David Allen of Providence tried to enter the gated area.  The incident occurred Tuesday morning as Allen tried to board a plane to Baltimore Washington International Airport.  Allen faces up to ten-years in prison if he's convicted.

Man Accused Of Molesting Child

A Woonsocket man is facing a formal indictment for allegedly molesting a girl under the age of 14-years-old.  A Providence County grand jury has indicted 52-year-old Michael Powell on three counts of child molestation and one count of indecent exposure.  Powell is being held without bail.  He's scheduled to be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court August 12th.

Council Approves I-195 Land Tax Plan

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza today will sign an ordinance establishing a tax break program for large projects on former Interstate-195 land.  The ordinance establishes that projects between ten and 50-million-dollars or more on the land will receive a 15-year tax break package.  The owner would pay no property taxes in the first year under the plan, then would only pay taxes on the land itself in the second through fourth years.  The rate would then begin rising incrementally until full taxation is achieved in year 15.

Chief Medical Examiner Placed On Leave

Rhode Island's chief medical examiner is being placed on administrative leave.  The move by the state health director comes as Christina Stanley's office deals with accreditation issues and a large case backlog.  The office was recently downgraded by the National Association of Medical Examiners because of the case backlog.  It has also suffered because of understaffing and leadership turnover.

Residents Succeed In Blocking Tiverton Project

People in Tiverton have succeeded in stopping a 100-million-dollar development from taking place.  Amid fierce resident opposition, the Town Council this week rejected the Tiverton Glen commercial development on Main Road.  The project was first proposed as Tiverton Crossing in 2013, but was later scaled back into the plan that is now rejected.  A previous shopping center development for the same tract of land was also shot down by the town in 2006.

Kilmartin Plans Open Government Summit

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is hosting an open government summit on Friday in Bristol.  The at the Roger Williams School of Law summit will feature a presentation explaining  Rhode Island's open meetings and records laws.  The summit will also feature a question and answer session with members of the open government unit.  The summit is free and open to the public, but people planning to attend should register with the state attorney general's office.

Former Providence Official Sues City

Former Providence Public Works Director Paul Thomas is suing the city and former Mayor Angel Tavaras over his firing in 2012.  Thomas alleges that he was fired because he refused orders to hire unqualified people made by the Tavaras administration.  The suit alleges that he was ordered to hire the unqualified candidates because of their ethnic background.  The suit seeks damages and reinstatement as public works director.


Raimondo Reconvenes Children's Cabinet

Governor Raimondo is bringing the dormant state Children's Cabinet back to life.  The cabinet was created by a state law passed in 1991, but cabinet members had not met since 2007.  That all changed yesterday, when Raimondo reconvened the ten member committee.  The governor says it's unacceptable that the panel did not meet for so long, saying the state must do better for its children.

Leaders Endorse Executive Pay Raises

State legislative leaders are on board with raises Governor Raimondo is giving some members of her cabinet.  Senate President Teresa Pavia-Weed and House Speaker Nick Mattiello both say the requests are reasonable.  Raimondo's plan to increase the salaries of the six lowest paid members of her cabinet to 135-thousand dollars a year.  State Republican Chairman Brandon Bell says the raise proposal is absurd.

No West Nile Virus Detected In State

Testing for West Nile Virus and Triple-E continue across Rhode Island.  The Department of Environmental Management says test results from over 100 pools of mosquitoes all are negative for both viruses.  Despite the negative tests, people are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to eliminate breeding grounds around their homes.  Mosquitoes breed in standing water, and a single cup of water can produce hundreds of mosquitoes.

Westerly Boater Improving After Incident

An 18-year-old Westerly man injured in a boating mishap in Narragansett Bay is recovering from serious injuries.  Harrison Gatch was initially in serious condition in the hospital after suffering a severe arm injury.  Gatch apparently fell from the boat after it began having mechanical issues, and his arm was cut by a propeller.  Gatch has been upgraded to good condition at Rhode Island Hospital.

RI Lags In Child Well Being

A new report indicates that Rhode Island ranks in the bottom half of the nation in overall child well being.  The Kids Count Data Book rates Rhode Island 31st in the nation, down five spots from last year.  The report takes into account economic, health, education, family and community factors in ranking the states.  Rhode Island ranks well behind the five other New England states in the report.


Raimondo Seeks Health Care Efficiencies

Governor Gina Raimondo is forming a working group charged with finding ways to cap health care spending.  Raimondo yesterday signed an executive order creating the Working Group for Healthcare Innovation.  The panel is composed of health care professionals, patient advocates, members of the business community and policy makers.  Raimondo says they are continuing to take bold actions like this to keep people healthier.


Former Chafee Aide Struck And Killed

A bicyclist who was struck and killed Friday night in Warwick was a former aide to Senators John and Lincoln Chafee.  Police say 64-year-old Charles Hawkins was walking his bicycle across Bald Hill Road when he was struck by a car.  The North Providence resident was rushed to the hospital but did not survive.  He was struck by a 1976 Datsun 280Z driven by a 23-year-old Cranston man, who is not charged with any offenses at this time.

Reed Blasts GI Bill Benefit Waste

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is upset with the large number of questionable unaccredited educational institutions that have received GI Bill benefits.  Reed is one of several senators who have written to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on the issue.  They say the VA is charged with protecting veterans from unscrupulous entities by only allowing accredited institutions with strong instruction practices.  They say 260-million-dollars in GI Bill money went to unaccredited institutions between 2009 and 2014.

Cranston Officials Upset By Settlement

Two Cranston councilors are unhappy with a settlement with a police captain at the center of a ticket writing scandal.  Captain Stephen Antonucci allegedly ordered a flurry of parking ticket writing in the wards of council Majority Leader Paul Archetto and councilman Steven Stycos.  He was charged with numerous violations of department rules but is being allowed to retire in April of next year with full benefits.  In exchange, Antonucci cannot sue the city or the department.

Council Panel To Weigh Hotel Proposal

The Providence City Council's Finance Committee will gather this week to consider a proposal to place a new hotel where the vacant Fogarty Building stands.  A developer is seeking to pay no property taxes in the first three years.  The developer will pay eleven-percent in the fourth year, with eleven-percent increases until year 13 when full taxation would begin.  The building was built in 1968 and closed in 2003, and has been the subject of several redevelopment proposals since then.


New Law Provides Offender School Buffer

A newly enacted law seeks to provide a buffer between school children and Rhode Island's most dangerous sex offenders.  The law extends the current distance a level three sex offender must live from a school from 300 feet to one-thousand feet.  Level three sex offenders are considered to be the highest risk of reoffending.  The new law impacts more than 200 level three offenders registered with the state.

Man Dies In Jamestown Scuba Accident

A Connecticut man is dead following a scuba diving incident off the coast of Jamestown.  The unidentified 40-year-old man was found unresponsive in the water near Fort Wetherill yesterday morning.  The man was diving with a group of people when he began having difficulty.  State environmental management police are investigating.

Swimmer Drowns In Narragansett

Officials are confirming that a 14-year-old girl who was pulled from the water off Narragansett has died.  Maia Stanton of Southfield, Massachusetts was snorkeling with her father when she disappeared Wednesday afternoon.  Stanton was pulled from the water after being missing for around two hours, and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Changes Coming To Hospital

Major changes are coming to the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital.  Governor Gina Raimondo says changes in management and the day to day operation of the hospital are coming in the next few months.  Studies have shown that inefficient operation and poor leadership have hurt the hospital, which has a main campus in Cranston.  Raimondo says the state wants better care for the vulnerable patients at the hospital, and for tax dollars to be spent wisely. 

Woman Dies In Providence Place Fall

A 35-year-old woman is dead after she apparently jumped from a Providence Place parking garage.  Police say the 35-year-old woman was running from Nordstrom security when she ran into the garage and jumped from the first floor ledge.  She suffered severe injuries in the fall, and was pronounced dead a short time later at the hospital.


Fugitive From Puerto Rico Caught

A man wanted for murder in Puerto Rico is in custody in Providence.  Pedro Torres was arrested when members of a federal violent fugitive task force saw him enter a home on Goddard Street in Providence.  Torres is wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred last August.  Police searched the Goddard Street home after his arrest and say an illegal handgun and crack cocaine were located.

State Jobless Rate Drops Slightly

Rhode Island's unemployment rate is down slightly.  State labor officials say the unemployment rate in June was five-point-nine percent, which is down slightly from May's adjusted rate of six-percent.  Just over nine-thousand people collected unemployment benefits in the state in June.  That's 16-hundred people fewer than June of last year. 

3 workers injured after porch collapse causes 25 feet fall

Three workers were injured after they fell 25 feet when the porch they were working on in New Bedford collapsed.

Fire officials say the second- and third-floor porches collapsed on Wednesday morning as work was being done on the three-story home.

The men told police they were on the third floor making arrangements to remove the porch and install windows.

Police say 39-year-old Polin Andrade and 42-year-old Concepcion Andrade suffered neck and back injuries and were taken to Rhode Island Hospital.

Another worker, 34-year-old Carlos Moreno-Ochoa, sustained a leg injury and told police he planned to take himself to St. Luke's Hospital.

City inspectors and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were at the scene.


Whitehouse Urges Action On Dark Money

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is demanding a federal crackdown on abuses in the campaign finance system.  Whitehouse says some organizations take advantage of loopholes to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on elections in secret.  He says the problem is especially bad with 501-C-Four social welfare organizations.


Swimmer Reported Missing Found

A teenager who went missing while snorkeling off the shore of Narragansett was pulled unresponsive from the water.  A large scale search was ordered at around two p.m. yesterday when the teenage girl was reported missing.  After around two hours of searching, the girl was found and taken to the hospital.  The girl's name, age and condition were not being released as of early this morning.


Charges Dropped In Parking Lot Sex Case

Charges are being dropped against a man and a woman accused of having sex in the parking lot of a Woonsocket Family Dollar store.  Prosecutors say they have no eyewitnesses who saw Danny Domenic Folco and Jennifer Bonsante having sex against a wall at the Clinton Street store.  The couple denied having sex when police arrived, but they were arrested days later when someone posted a video of their act on the Internet.  However, police say they cannot proceed without a witness and dropped the charges.

National Grid Plans LNG Facility

National Grid is planning a 100-million-dollar refrigeration system in Providence to help meet the demand for liquefied natural gas.  The utility plans to capture natural gas from an existing pipeline and cool it into a liquefied form.  Currently National Grid receives liquefied natural gas by truck, and it takes over 23-hundred truck deliveries to fill its storage tank at Fields Point in Providence.  Demand for liquefied natural gas is growing worldwide, but National Grid says none from the new system would be sold overseas.

Governor makes American burying beetle RI state insect

It's official: the American burying beetle is now Rhode Island's state insect.

Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the bill into law Wednesday and also announced a beetle-drawing competition to celebrate the state's newest symbol.

Third-graders at St. Michael's Country Day School in Newport had advocated for naming the beetle the state insect to raise awareness of its need for protection.

The American burying beetle was declared endangered in 1989. The species can be found on Block Island and in a handful of western states.

Raimondo says she is looking forward to seeing the entries for the beetle-drawing competition.

She says she wants to see beetles drawn as true Rhode Islanders, sipping on a Del's lemonade or hanging out on the beach.

The winning drawing will be displayed in the State House.

Swimmer Struck By Boat In Westerly

A man is injured after being struck by a boat in Westerly.  Officials say 56-year-old James Delisle was swimming off East Beach near Watch Hill when he was hit by an unidentified boat that did not stop.  The incident occurred off the coast not far from the home owned by pop star Taylor Swift.  Delisle was taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries after yesterday's incident.

Sonic Plans First RI Location

Rhode Island is getting its first Sonic Drive In restaurant.  The first Sonic in the state is opening in September on Putnam Pike in Smithfield.  Sonic currently has 35-hundred locations, including eateries in neighboring Massachusetts and Connecticut.  The first New England Sonic opened in Peabody, Massachusetts in 2009.  The new location will have indoor dining for up to 70 people, and will also have ten drive up stalls that will be served by carhops on roller skates.

Teenager Sought In Gun Break In

Providence Police are trying to locate a 14-year-old boy wanted in connection with a gun theft.  Police are not identifying the boy, but say they have linked to the July fifth break in on Algonquin Street.  The teen allegedly stole a nine millimeter handgun, ammunition and various electronics from a friend's home.  He then is accused of taunting his friend on Facebook about the thefts and threatening his family.

Unused Cable Ruled Out In Beach Blast

Officials are ruling out an unused cable buried under the sand as the cause of a Narragansett beach explosion.  The cable used to power lights on the Galilee Breachway jetty, which is now solar powered.  The cable was de-energized in 2007, and officials are confident that it did not cause the blast at Salty Brine State Beach on Saturday.  A Connecticut woman suffered broken ribs in the blast.

Raimondo Signs Racial Profiling Bill

A bill passed by the legislature in an effort to root out and eliminate racial profiling in Rhode Island is now law.  The measure requires police departments to collect racial data on all traffic stops and submit their numbers annually to the state.  The measure signed by Governor Gina Raimondo yesterday also bans searches of pedestrians without probable cause of criminal activity.


No Raimondo Vetoes This Session

For the first time in decades, the Rhode island legislature has not seen a single bill they passed vetoed by the governor.  The deadline for Governor Gina Raimondo to sign or veto bills has passed, and she has either signed or allowed all bills sent to her to become law.  One includes a measure that requires all police departments in the state to collect racial data on traffic stops conducted by police.  Raimondo is planning a ceremonial bill signing for that measure today in Providence.

Firefighters Hurt Battling Providence Blaze

Eight firefighters are injured following a large fire in a vacant Providence apartment building.  The fire broke out yesterday afternoon at the large building on Portland Street.  Arriving crews found the building heavily involved in flames, and there were initial reports of people trapped on the third floor.  Two firefighters suffered injuries related to electricity, another fell down some stairs and five others suffered eye injuries. 

Warwick Man Guilty In Escort Murder

A Warwick man is facing decades in prison after being convicted of murdering an escort he met through the web site  James Adams was found guilty by a Providence jury yesterday of murder for the killing of Mary Grier in 2012.  Her body was found stuffed behind a couch in a Cranston garage that was linked to Adams.  He was also convicted of robbing another escort and a woman he met at a bar.


Protest Held At Proposed Stadium Site

A visit to the riverside property sought for a baseball stadium in Providence by a Pawtucket Red Sox official brought out a small group of protesters.  Around 50 people came out to oppose the plan yesterday, saying the land should be used as a park.  Others on hand complain that Pawtucket is a struggling city that cannot afford to lose the team.  The PawSox are seeking a lease deal where the state would provide 150-million-dollars to the team over 30 years for moving to Providence.

Raymond Tempest Murder Conviction Overturned

A judge is vacating the murder conviction of Raymond Tempest, convicted in the 1982 murder of a woman in Woonsocket.  The ruling comes after a hearing where Tempest's attorneys argued that DNA evidence clears him of killing Doreen Picard.  The judge refused to release Tempest on bail, scheduling a hearing on the matter for August fourth.  Picard was 22-years-old when she was killed in 1982, and Tempest was convicted of the crime a decade later.

Suspect Charged With Excessive Speeding

A Warwick man is accused of driving his car 121 miles per hour on Interstate-295 in Lincoln.  State Police say 63-year-old Louis Picard was clocked on radar driving nearly twice the 65 miles per hour speed limit Saturday morning.  Police say that once Picard was stopped, he failed a field sobriety test and later a chemical test at the barracks.  He's charged with first offense DUI and reckless driving, and was released without having to post bail.

Man Abducted Outside Nightclub

Police are trying to identify suspects who abducted a man outside a Providence nightclub.  Police say the victim was grabbed outside the club on Snow Street early yesterday, then driven to several ATM machines.  The suspects demanded the victim's card and PIN number, then withdrew cash several times before leaving the man in Olneyville.  The victim was not injured during the incident, and no arrests have been made.

Miss Rhode Island Third In Pageant

Miss Rhode Island is the second runner up in the Miss USA Pageant.  Anea Garcia of Cranston reached the top ten of last night's event after the swimsuit competition, and the top five after the evening gown competition.  However, she had a rough time with the question portion of the evening, needing the question repeated and then delivering an incomplete answer.  Garcia is a sophomore at Roger Williams University and is hoping to become an attorney after college.


Man Charged After Wrong Way Drive

A West Warwick man is facing charges after he was spotted driving drunk on Interstate-95 in Warwick.  Police say Brian Rutter was forced to a stop by fast acting state troopers as he headed south in the northbound lanes early yesterday morning.  State Police credit the 911 callers for averting a serious accident, because without the notice he may not have been stopped in time.  Rutter is charged with first offense driving under the influence and reckless driving.

Beach Blast Possible Natural Event

Rhode Island officials are trying to determine whether a small explosion on a Narragansett beach was an unusual natural event.  The explosion at Salty Brine State Beach Saturday morning sent Kathleen Danise of Connecticut to the hospital for treatment of cracked ribs and other injuries.  The beach was evacuated, but there is no evidence an explosive device was involved.  Officials are now treating the blast as a possible natural event from a ground disturbance of some kind.

Report: explosion at Salty Brine Beach

WPRI-TV reports that police and firefighters have responded to Salty Brine Beach for a report of an explosion.

The Department of Environmental Management confirms that they received reports of an explosion on the beach and a person injured at about 11:15 Saturday morning.

Officials say a 50 year-old woman was hurt in the apparent explosion after she was thrown onto the rocks of the jetty. She was taken to South County Hospital but no further information on her condition is currently available.

The DEM subsequently requested that a bomb technician from the state fire marshal’s office respond to the scene but the cause of the explosion has not yet been determined.

Salty Brine Beach is closed as officials investigate and police may expand their perimeter further.

Financial woes shut Warwick homeless shelter after 25 years

 Financial troubles have forced a homeless shelter in Warwick to close.

The Rhode Island Family Shelter announced Thursday it suspended its emergency shelter program as of last Sunday. It had been in operation for more than 25 years.

Rhode Island Family Shelter Executive Director Patti Macreading says families living in the shelter have been relocated.

She says the board of directors is looking at options for resuming the emergency shelter program. The shelter's affordable housing program has not been affected by the closure.

Macreading says the seven permanent affordable housing apartment units on the shelter's second floor will continue to be occupied.


Woman, 78, hit by car, thrown through glass window

 Police say a 78-year-old woman in Rhode Island is in critical condition after being hit by a car and thrown through a store window.

It happened on Thursday morning in South Kingstown. Police say the woman, who has not been identified, was walking on the sidewalk in front of a store when she was hit by a car that was pulling into a parking spot.

The woman was pushed through the store's front glass window and sustained severe leg injuries.

Police say she was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital Trauma Center, where she remains in critical condition.

Police say no criminal charges have been filed.

The store closed on Thursday afternoon due to minor structural damage from the crash.

The South Kingstown Accident Reconstruction Unit is investigating the incident.


Cat Tests Positive For Rabies In Middletown

Residents of a Middletown neighborhood are being warned after a cat tested positive for rabies.  The cat was living in a feral colony in the East Bay Village section of town when it was killed by a dog.  The cat was then tested and confirmed to have been infected with rabies.  Anyone who has had recent contact with feral cats in the West Main Road section of Middletown is urged to contact the state Department of Health.

Public Defender Recommended For Judgeship

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse are recommending public defender Mary McElroy to be a federal judge.  The senators say McElroy is highly qualified and would serve on the federal bench with distinction.  This is the first step in the confirmation process, and the senators say they will support the Cranston resident throughout the process.  She would replace Judge Mary Lisi, who will become a senior judge in October.

Warwick Homeless Shelter Closes

A longtime Warwick homeless shelter is suspending operations amid a financial crisis.  Rhode Island Family Shelter says it was forced to close this week after 25 years of around-the-clock service to the community.  The families who had been living at the shelter have been moved to other facilities.  The Board of Directors is looking at options that will allow the emergency shelter to resume operations.  The seven affordable housing apartment units on the second floor of the shelter will remain occupied.

Providence Shooting Victim Dies

A man who was shot and wounded in Providence on Sunday has died from his injuries.  Dimitri Perry was shot in the head, and was being treated at Rhode Island Hospital until his death yesterday.  The Providence resident was found gravely wounded outside a car on Nebraska Street early Sunday morning.  No arrests have been made, and police believe Perry was targeted by his attacker in a possible gang related incident.

Council Passes Tax Stabilization Plan

The Providence City Council is giving its approval to the tax stabilization agreement for the I-195 Redevelopment District.  The measure establishes the level of tax credits for projects on the land formerly occupied by the highway.  The agreement reached with legislative leaders and Governor Gina Raimondo also covers the Capital Center Redevelopment District.  Raimondo says the agreement shows what can happen when businesses and labor groups work together towards a common goal.

Firefighter With Cancer Denied Disability

A Cranston firefighter request for a disability pension because of colon cancer is being rejected by the state Retirement Board.  The panel voted seven to six to reject Kevin Lang's appeal, likely sending the case into workers compensation court.  Lang is a smoker, and the city argues that the cancer is not a job related medical condition.  He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2012 after serving as a Cranston firefighter for almost two decades.

Union To Picket Rhode Island Hospital

An informational picket is scheduled for today outside Rhode Island Hospital.  Unionized nurses, therapists and other professionals at the hospital have voted to issue a ten day strike notice to the hospital.  They plan a 2:00 p.m. picket in front of the hospital, where officials say they are disappointed by the strike vote.  The contract between the hospital and the union expired June 30th, and the two sides are working under a one month extension.


South Street Landing Project To Begin

Work is set to begin this summer on the South Street Landing project in Providence.  The initial construction will be of the parking garage that will serve the complex.  The landing project is designed to bring about development in the jewelry district and on land recently freed up by the relocation of Interstate-195 in the city.  The garage will help serve the 220 unit apartment building and the education center that will be part of the project.

Arrest Made In Killing Of Barber

A Providence man is facing charges in connection with the killing of a barber last summer in East Providence.  Thomas Mosley is accused of shooting Yusuf A'Vant as he cut a customer's hair last August.  The killing occurred at the shop A'Vant operated on Pawtucket Avenue.  Mosley was arraigned on a murder charge yesterday and ordered held without bail.


NY Official Named Education Commissioner

Dr. Ken Wagner of New York is Governor Gina Raimondo's choice to become Rhode Island's next education commissioner.  Wagner currently serves as senior deputy commissioner for education policy at the New York state Department of Education.  He previously served as a principal and assistant principal at a Long Island, New York middle school.  The state Board of Education will consider the appointment next week.

State Police Make Holiday DUI Arrests

Rhode Island State Police say 13 drivers were arrested on state roads and highways over the Independence Day holiday weekend.  Police say Juan Polanco-Duarte of Providence was driving drunk with three children in his car in the most serious case of the weekend.  Also charged during the holiday period was Tanner Barnes of Cranston, who is facing his second DUI charge in the last five years.  State Police say they will continue to target drunk drivers, speeders and aggressive drivers to keep the roads and highways safe.

Indictment Issued In Young Woman's Killing

A convicted felon is under indictment for the murder of a 24-year-old woman in her Providence apartment in March.  A grand jury is accusing Daniel Tejada of killing Ashley Masi a short time after the woman posted an ad for escort services on Backpage-dot-com.  Police say they developed evidence that Tejada responded to Masi's online ad shortly before her death.  Tejada is currently being held on a violation of supervised release in an unrelated case, and will be arraigned on the murder charge in the near future.

Raimondo To Reveal Education Commissioner

Governor Gina Raimondo is planning to announce her selection for the state's next education commissioner today.  The selection comes after a nationwide search that was preceded by a statewide listening tour.  The governor says that during the tour, she met with parents, students, teachers and administrators to better understand what the state needs in a new commissioner.  Previous Commissioner Deborah Gist left to take the superintendent of schools job in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Former Speaker Fox Reports To Prison

Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox reported to a federal prison in Pennsylvania yesterday to begin serving his three year prison term for corruption.  Fox will serve his sentence at a minimum security prison camp located 20 miles from Scranton.  Fox admits that he took a 52-thousand-dollar bribe from the owners of a Providence restaurant.  He also admits to stealing more than 100-thousand-dollars from his campaign fund.

Patino Gets Life For Killing Child

Michael Patino will be spending the rest of his life in prison for the killing of a six-year-old Cranston boy in 2009.  Patino was convicted of causing a tear in Marco Nieves' intestine and other internal injuries through blunt force trauma.  Patino was convicted at trial, where prosecutors introduced text messages he reportedly sent admitting to the boy's mother that he had struck him.  Patino was convicted of second-degree murder at trial this past spring.


R.I. Seeks Tourism Marketing Help

Rhode Island is looking for some tourism marketing help.  The state is issuing a request for proposals for a marketing team that will create a five-million-dollar tourism and branding campaign.  The effort is being led by state Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, who says he expects a campaign of the highest quality to be the result.  He says the state needs a unified tourism brand to put forward a message that can help drive the tourism economy.

Waterfront Development Eyed In Pawtucket

Plans are being formed for a large development along the Seekonk River in Pawtucket.  City officials are expected to join officials with the Peregrine Group as they announce the development plan today.  It's expected to include commercial and residential buildings on eleven acres of waterfront property.  The project is expected to cost more than 40-million-dollars.


Search Continues For Barrington Man

The search continues today for a Barrington man who has been missing since last week.  Stas Antons disappeared Thursday having last been seen at Barrington Beach, where his boat was found anchored.  Antons is a triathlete who has competed in Ironman events that involve swimming, biking and running.  The search area is being expanded today to include Conimicut Point in Warwick.


Providence Homicide Victim Identified

Police are identifying the latest Providence homicide victim as Joao Dos Santos.  The 27-year-old Pawtucket resident was shot and killed while involved in a car chase.  Police believe Dos Santos was targeted by his attacker, and that the killing may be gang related.  No arrests have been made, and police are trying to identify the shooter.

Former Speaker Heads To Prison

Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox heads to prison today.  Fox must report to United States Penitentiary Canaan in Waymart, Pennsylvania by two p.m.  The facility features a high security prison and a minimum security satellite camp, where Fox will likely be serving his time.  Fox was sentenced to three years in federal prison for his conviction on bribery and campaign finance fraud charges.

Replica Of French Ship Coming To Newport

A replica of the "Marquis de Lafayette" is sailing into Newport.  The Revolutionary War frigate will dock at Fort Adams to begin several days of tours, reenactments, and celebrations.  The three-masted, 216-foot vessel will arrive around noon on Wednesday.

Providence Celebrates 4th Of July

Thousands of people celebrated Independence Day in Providence.  Police kept a close eye on the festivities in India Point Park on Saturday due to a threat of terrorism alerted across the nation.  Visitors were thrilled by exciting music and glowing fireworks.


Rhode Island Expands DNA Tests

Convicted criminals in Rhode Island are getting an opportunity to prove their innocence via DNA.  The state is among the first to pass a law allowing court-mandated DNA tests of evidence.  Senator Michael McCaffrey co-sponsored the Senate version of the bill, with Senator Erin Lynch supporting the law.

Rhode Island Talk Show Host Barber Dies

Rhode Island talk show host Dave Barber is dead.  The long-time broadcaster died Saturday at a hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.  Barber was known for hosting "Straight From the Gavel" on Capitol TV.  He was 60.

Tax Credits To Help Students With Loans

Tax credits are included in the state budget to help students with loans who are studying STEM subjects.  Credits would be capped at one-thousand dollars per year for an associate degree, and four-thousand for a bachelor's or six-thousand for those with post-grad degrees.  The plan is to inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Catholic Church Vandalism Investigated

An investigation is underway at the Our Lady of the Rosary parish.  Parishioners at Mass yesterday could see thousands of dollars worth of damage which was the subject of the services.  Father Escobar said the pulpit will remain broken to show vandalism can happen anywhere.


Panel Ends Electric Switching Fee

The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission is putting an end to National Grid adding a billing adjustment fee for those who buy power from competitors.  National Grid began adding the charge when customers changed from their standard offer to electricity suppliers who charge much less.  While National Grid did not break any laws with the fee, regulators believe it is not helping the effort to generate a vibrant electricity market in Rhode Island.

Bishop Urges Opposition To Same Sex Marriage

Providence Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin wants people to reject same sex marriage.  Tobin is encouraging people to exercise conscientious objection to same sex marriage.  The bishop's effort comes following last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says same sex marriage is legal across the country.  Tobin says he's offering encouragement and support to people who are deeply troubled by the court's ruling.

East Providence Man Charged With Molestation

An East Providence man is free on bail after being arrested and charged with child molestation.  Police say 61-year-old William Christensen is charged with two counts of second degree molestation of a child under the age of 14.  Police are concerned that there may be other victims in the case.  East Providence Police are urging any parents of children who have had contact with Christensen to call them immediately.


Restaurants Ordered To Pay Back Wages

Four restaurants in Providence are being ordered to pay 135-thousand-dollars in back wages to a total of 17 employees.  The affected workers are from Cafe Paragon, Better Burger Company, Mile and a Quarter and Andreas Restaurant, all owned and operated by Andrew Mitrelis.  The restaurants are accused of not paying for all hours worked, paying straight time when overtime should have applied and not paying any hourly wages to some tipped employees.


Whitehouse Fighting For More Highway Aid

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says he's working to bring federal dollars to help rebuild Rhode Island's crumbling roads and bridges.  Whitehouse says he has added a measure to a highway finance bill that would help pay for the planned reconstruction of the Interstate-95 connector with Routes Six and Ten in Providence.  That project alone has an 800-million-dollar price tag.


Tiverton asks permission to pile more in landfill

Tiverton is requesting permission from the state Department of Environmental Management to expand the height of its landfill by 3 feet.

Stephen Berlucchi, the director of the town's Department of Public Works, tells the Newport Daily News the expansion of the 33-acre landfill would allow it to remain open for two more years.

The landfill is currently expected to reach capacity in January, 2017.

Once it is closed, trash from Tiverton would be shipped to Johnston.

Berlucchi says allowing the expansion would save about $900,000 in hauling fees and tipping fees.

It also would give the town more time to raise money for capping the landfill, which is expected to cost about $9 million. The town now has $6 million in its closure account.

Border Fireworks Sellers Cashing In

Rhode Island fireworks stores located near the Massachusetts state line are reporting brisk sales as the Independence Day holiday.  Most fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, and many residents are slipping into Rhode Island to stock up for the holiday.  Fireworks sellers expect the sales to continue to increase through the rest of the week.  Those near the border also say they expect many of their customers to continue arriving to shop in vehicles with Massachusetts license plates.

Bristol Man Sentenced For Child Porn

A Bristol man is heading to prison for five-years for possession and distribution of child pornography.  Mathew Antignano was found in possession of over seven-thousand child porn images and 180 videos depicting children involved in sex acts.  Antignano was identified as a suspect last summer, when an Internet address being used to share child porn was linked to him.  Antignano has been jailed since his arrest, and his time spent behind bars will count towards his sentence.


State Lawmakers Get Modest Raises

Rhode Island state lawmakers are getting a small raise.  New federal cost of living calculations mean a one-point-six percent raise for members of the legislature.  That amounts to an increase of 242-dollars a year, bringing their annual salary to 15-thousand, 414-dollars.  The Senate President and House Speaker earn double the salary of a rank and file lawmaker.

Governor Raimondo Signs Budget

Rhode Island's new fiscal year begins today, and the state budget is officially in place.  Governor Gina Raimondo signed the eight-billion-dollar budget package yesterday, hours before the new fiscal year began.  The signing ceremony came as tensions lingered between state House and Senate leaders over the end of the legislative session.  House Speaker Nick Mattiello says he hasn't spoken to Senate President Teresa Pavia Weed since the session ended.

Tax Deal Reached On Former Highway Land

Details are emerging on the tax stabilization plan for the former Interstate-195 land in Providence.  The deal reached between the city, legislative leaders and the governor's office creates a two tiered system of tax credits.  Projects costing over ten-million-dollars automatically receive 15-year tax programs that reduce the amount of commercial taxes.  Projects over 50-million-dollars would receive 20-year tax package, which is designed to attract a large scale development quickly.


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