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1540 Updates Archives for 2015-09

Agency Lands Hospital Records Grant

A state agency working to modernize medical records in Rhode Island is receiving a big boost from the federal government.  The Rhode Island Quality Institute has landed a four-year, eight-million-dollar grant to help expand the use of electronic medical records.  The money will help the group reach out to the state's 15-hundred primary-care physicians to help them integrate electronic records.  This is the third grant the agency has received in the last month.

Glocester Man Guilty Of Making Meth

A Glocester man is admitting that he manufactured methamphetamine inside a vehicle.  Federal prosecutors say Kevin Lewis was found by police with a batch of meth cooking in the trunk of his car on July 28th.  Police had stopped Lewis because of a warrant for his arrest on an unrelated matter when the meth discovery was made.  Lewis will be sentenced at an unspecified later date.

Pawtucket Man Dies Following CT Crash

A Pawtucket businessman who was involved in a fiery truck crash earlier this month in Connecticut is dead from injuries suffered in the crash.  John Martins owned Sterry Street Towing and several other businesses, including the Checker Club restaurant.  He was driving a heavy-duty wrecker on Interstate 95 in North Stonington when it suffered a tire blowout, crashing down an embankment and bursting into flames.  Witnesses were able to pull Martins from the burning truck, but his injuries were severe and he failed to recover.

More 38 Studios Red Flags Revealed

More details continue to emerge from the thousands of pages of depositions and other information on the failed 38 Studios deal.  Two analysts reportedly told the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation on a conference call before the deal was finalized that they wouldn't do it.  However, the analysts were only hired to study the video game industry, and did not include any recommendations about the loan in their report.  The state was left on the hook for more than 70-million-dollars in loan guarantees when 38 Studios folded in 2012. 


Rhode Island Hospital Cutting Jobs

Around 200 jobs are being cut at Rhode Island Hospital.  The Providence facility announced yesterday that the affected workers are in the process of being notified that their positions are being eliminated.  However, officials say they expect most of those who are losing their jobs will land other positions within the Lifespan health system.  Rising costs are being blamed by the hospital for the need to trim payroll.

Panel To Choose Tourism Vendors

Rhode Island's Commerce Corporation is ready to choose a vendor to craft the state's tourism and branding campaign.  More than 50 companies from across the country have submitted applications for the contract.  The panel will gather tomorrow and begin the process of selecting vendors.  The tourism campaign is expected to focus on promoting Rhode Island as a great place to live and work.

Cranston Police Legal Bill Grows

The legal bill for Cranston police in dealing with a pair of misconduct lawsuits is continuing to grow.  Officials say the bill for attorneys defending the city has grown to over one-million-dollars.  The lawsuits were filed by city officers who had been accused of misconduct while Marco Palumbo was chief of police.  Among the costs are the money police officers were paid while on administrative leave.

Costantino Denies 38 Studios Role

The former state House Finance Committee chair is rejecting allegations that he helped bring 38 Studios to Rhode Island.  Steven Costantino was identified in depositions released last week as the lawmaker who recommended an increase in the business loan program.  The the 70-million-dollar loan guarantee given to the company became a loss when 38 Studios folded in 2012.

Brown Receives Huge Donation

Brown University is receiving a huge donation from the family of philanthropist Alan Hassenfeld.  The 12-million-dollar gift is designed to help establish a center at Brown to research childhood autism, asthma and obesity.  The money is designed to forge a collaboration between Brown, Hasbro Children's Hospital and Women and Infant's Hospital. 

Providence Council Wants Answers Over Deficit

The Providence City Council is planning to get more involved in monitoring city finances.  The discussion about the budget is on the council's Finance Committee meeting agenda for tonight.  The council is looking to be more involved after learning that the city budget finished the 2015 fiscal year with a deficit of over five-million-dollars.  City officials are expected to explain steps that will be taken to make sure the current fiscal year does not end with another huge deficit.

Sleepy Driver Hurt In Crash

A Providence woman is injured after apparently falling asleep at the wheel and crashing her car on Interstate 95 in Attleboro.  Massachusetts State Police say the unidentified 23-year-old woman was driving a 2015 Subaru when she struck the beginning of a section of guard rail.  The woman's car was heavily damaged, and she was taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.  Police say the woman's injuries were lessened because she struck an attenuator that is designed to absorb the impact of a crash.

Bikers Busted For Weapons Offenses

Three members of a Pennsylvania motorcycle club are expected in court this morning after being arrested in West Greenwich on weapons charges.  State Police say they made a motor vehicle stop on Interstate 95 Saturday and discovered weapons in the vehicle, including a nine-millimeter handgun.  Driver Thomas Severns of Philadelphia is being held without bail on weapons offenses.  Two other men in the vehicle were also charged with weapons offenses and were held after failing to post bail.

Audit To Examine Cranston Police Issues

An audit is being conducted to determine the cost of problems identified in the Cranston Police Department.  Cranston City Council President John Lanni Jr. says he believes the legal bill and other costs related to the scandal will soar over one-million dollars.  The auditor will take into account any financial settlements paid by the city in determining the final cost.  The audit will stretch back several years, and will span the term of former city police Chief Marco Palumbo.


2 Hurt In Woonsocket Porch Collapse

Two people are injured following a porch collapse in Woonsocket.  Officials say the porch of a triple-decker building on Ninth Avenue collapsed yesterday morning.  A man and a boy who were on the third-floor porch at the time of the collapse were hurt.  Both victims were conscious and alert when they were taken to a hospital for treatment.  The victims have not been identified by police.

Providence Homicide Victim Identified

A man who was shot and killed over the weekend in Providence is being identified as a 48-year-old city resident.  Police say Robert Denson was found dead from apparent gunshot wounds on a sidewalk along Hillcrest Avenue on Saturday morning.  His body was found by an area resident.  Denson becomes the 13th homicide victim of the year in Providence.

Fire Damages Home In Providence

An investigation is underway in Providence after a two-story house caught fire.  The flames broke out yesterday near Roger Williams and Narragansett avenues.  Everyone was able to get out safely.  Fire officials believe the cause is electrical.

Wilson's Of Wickford Closes Its Doors

A longtime men's clothing store in North Kingstown is closing its doors for good.  Wilson's of Wickford is shutting down after 71 years in business.  The family that owns the store says despite their effort, they can't afford to stay in business.  The store will close on October 2nd.

RI Commissioner Wants Firefighters' Union To Reimburse City

A Providence public safety commissioner wants the firefighters' union to pay up.  Commissioner Steven Pare is calling on the union to reimburse the city for overtime wages.  WPRI-News says firefighters had to work extra hours when several union officials called out to picket an event last week hosted by the mayor.  Pare estimated the cost of overtime to be about 31-hundred dollars.

Local Priest Has Ties To The Vatican

A Providence priest with ties to the Vatican is sharing his memories of the Pope, who's visiting the U-S this week.  Monsignor Carlo Montecalvo tells WPRI-TV he celebrated a Mass with the Holy Father last year.  He says Pope Francis is a very humble man who hopes to bring people to a simpler place.  The monsignor also says he also celebrated with John Paul the Second, when he was in Rome for his 25th anniversary as a priest.


1 Dead In Boat Crash Off Watch Hill

One person is dead following a boating crash that occurred near the Watch Hill Lighthouse.  The Coast Guard says a 60-foot Viking Yacht ran over a 25-foot boat, causing the smaller vessel to capsize.  Rescuers were able to pull the male victim from the boat, but he did not survive.  Westerly Police and state Department of Environmental Management law enforcement officers are investigating.

Social Worker Busted For Child Porn

A licensed Rhode Island social worker is accused of possessing and transferring child pornography.  Police say they began investigating James Norman of Warwick after receiving a tip regarding a person using e-mail to send child porn.  Police arrested Norman as they executed a search warrant at his home on Monday.  He is currently being held on a 50-thousand-dollar bond.  If he makes bail, Norman must not have any contact with children under the age of 16 and cannot use the Internet.

2 Dead After Newport Murder-Suicide

Two people are dead following a shooting in Newport.  Police say an unidentified 35-year-old man shot and killed his friend at William and King streets early yesterday morning.  Police say the man immediately turned the gun on himself and took his own life.  The men were co-workers and longtime friends, and apparently got into a loud argument on the street before the shooting.

State Pension Fund Has Rough August

Rhode Island's pension fund took it on the chin in August.  General Treasurer Seth Magaziner says the state pension fund lost 250-million-dollars in August.  He says Chinese markets led a global downturn of the stock market, and the losses would have been worse if the state wasn't diversified.  The balance is still well over seven-billion-dollars, despite the loss of more than three-percent of its total value in August.

Raymond Tempest Allowed To Remain Free

Raymond Tempest Jr. will remain free on bail after having his murder conviction thrown out over the summer.  The Rhode Island Supreme Court is allowing Tempest to remain on home confinement with electronic monitoring.  The bail will be in place as the state's highest court reviews the decision to overturn Tempest's murder conviction.  He had served 23 years of an 85-year prison sentence when his conviction was vacated in July on the strength of DNA evidence that appears to exonerate him for the killing of Doreen Picard in Woonsocket.

Lawmaker Lands State House Contract

State Senator Frank Lombardo is performing some of the work renovating the largest hearing room at the Rhode Island State House.  Lawmakers are forbidden by law from bidding on state contracts, but Lombardo's status as a subcontractor apparently is acceptable under the rules.  Lombardo's part of the renovations involves the moving of air conditioners into the sub basement of the State House.  Lombardo frequently handles sheet metal work for the contractor that landed the air conditioning contract.

Pair Guilty Of Gun Trafficking

Two North Carolina men are admitting they imported illegal weapons into Providence.  Prosecutors say Kinmonte Brown and Dennis Wells trafficked more than a dozen handguns from North Carolina into Providence between last November and January of this year.  Both men have pleaded guilty to federal charges that include conspiracy and selling firearms without a license.  They will be sentenced in December.

Central Falls Mayor To See Pope Francis

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa is heading to Washington, DC to attend the White House welcoming ceremony for Pope Francis.  Diossa was invited by President Obama to attend tomorrow morning's ceremony.  Diossa says that as the first Latino mayor of Central Falls, he's honored to help welcome the first Latino pope to the U.S. for the first time.  Pope Francis has appearances scheduled in Washington, New York City and Philadelphia during his five-day visit to the U.S.

Cranston Man Sentenced For Meth Lab

A Cranston man will spend two years in federal prison for operating a methamphetamine lab.  Nicholas Selser admits that he manufactured meth inside an apartment at the D'Evan Manor housing complex.  The lab was discovered when federal, state and local law enforcement conducted a raid on the apartment in February.  Selser admits that he used the one-pot method of making meth, which is simple but extremely dangerous, as it can lead to an explosion or fire.

Housing Plan For I-195 Land Dropped

A Texas developer is abandoning plans for a 60-million-dollar student housing complex on former Interstate 195 land in Providence.  Dallas-based Friendship and Clifford did not provide the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission with a reason for its decision.  The Pawtucket Red Sox abandoned their plans to place a minor league baseball stadium on the former highway land this past weekend. 

Middletown Man Launches Bike Mission

A Middletown man is riding his bicycle across the country in an effort to help homeless veterans.  Rick Hart left his Middletown home on Saturday with a plan of heading south before turning to the west and heading to California.  Hart says the message of his ride is that the men and women who served the country now need help.  Hart recently resigned from a full time sales job to embark on the cross-country journey.

Lawmaker Proposing Drone Regulations

Bristol state Representative Raymond Gallison is continuing his effort to place drones under more state regulation.  Gallison says drones are becoming more affordable and accessible, and laws need to be put in place to protect the privacy of state residents.  He's again filing legislation that would prohibit drone use within five miles of TF Green Airport and any military installation in the state.

Protesters Rally Against Racist Fliers

The distribution of racist fliers in East Greenwich earlier this year is causing residents to act.  Over 200 people came out yesterday for a rally and walk on Main Street showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement.  The fliers were thrown into people's driveways in June, and organizers say it took some time to craft the appropriate response.  The walk was designed to raise awareness and make it clear that the town will not stand by and let racist actions take place without a response.


Cranston Police Officer Injured

A Cranston police officer is injured after his cruiser was involved in a crash with a pickup truck.  Police say the unidentified officer was responding to a call when the crash occurred on Park Avenue in the city's Edgewood section.  The officer was taken to a hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.  The driver of the pickup truck was not hurt.

PawSox End Providence Baseball Plan

The Pawtucket Red Sox are ending their quest to place a new baseball stadium on former Interstate 195 land in downtown Providence.  The team announced the decision over the weekend, and say there are currently no other locations in Providence being considered.  The PawSox plays in Pawtucket's McCoy Stadium, and the possibility now exists that the team could be moved out of state.  However, team officials say they are still looking at other sites in Rhode Island.

Father Accused Of Knifing Son

A Providence man is facing charges in connection with the stabbing of his son with a steak knife.  Police responded to a home on Power Street early yesterday morning and found John Cronin Sr. in the driveway with a head injury.  His adult son told police that Cronin stabbed him during an argument in the kitchen, and he pushed his father's head into a cabinet in self defense.  Cronin was treated at the hospital, then was arrested and held on charges.

10 Dogs Seized From Warwick Home

Ten dogs are now in shelters after being removed from a Warwick home that officials say was in horrible condition.  Officials say the house was filled with animal waste and shredded mattresses, although the dogs overall are not in bad health.  The owner of the home apparently lives in a different building on the property, and is not facing any charges at this time.  However, the case remains under investigation.


Man Accused Of Sex Trafficking

A Providence man is accused of sex trafficking a 17-year-old Texas girl.  Dujuan Harris was arrested in June after the teen's father helped locate the girl at a house in Providence.  Harris is accused of luring the girl to Rhode Island, then putting her to work as a prostitute.  Harris is now indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of sex trafficking of a child and transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal activity.


Cranston To Settle Officer Suit

Cranston is set to pay city police Major Todd Patalano 300-thousand-dollars to settle a wide ranging lawsuit he had filed.  Patalano claimed in the suit that the Cranston mayor, police chief and some officers waged a vendetta against him.  In exchange for the settlement, Patalano agrees to drop the claims against the mayor and other individuals named in his lawsuit.  A countersuit against him is also dropped as part of the settlement deal.


State Jobless Rate Down Again

Rhode Island's unemployment rate is continuing to decline.  State labor officials say the seasonally adjusted jobless rate was five-point-six percent in August, down from five-point-eight percent in July.  Despite the drop, Governor Gina Raimondo says the state's number is still higher than the national unemployment rate.  She says state government remains focused on growing the economy and continuing Rhode Island's comeback.


Patriots Donate To Sojournor House

The New England Patriots are pledging to donate 50-thousand-dollars to the Sojournor House in Providence.  The donation is designed to help the facility to provide more transitional housing to people trying to escape from domestic violence.  Patriots owner Robert Kraft is also promising an additional 50-thousand-dollars if the facility raises that amount in their fundraising campaign.  Sojournor House is the only Rhode Island facility to receive funds from the team.

Man Charged In Crash While Racing

A Massachusetts man is facing a reckless driving charge after crashing his car on Interstate 195 in East Providence.  State Police say Stephen Conti was racing another vehicle in his Nissan 350Z in the highway's eastbound lanes when he crashed into a light pole and an embankment.  Conti and a passenger were able to avoid serious injury while escaping from the car as it burst into flames.  Conti is free on one-thousand-dollars bail.

Teenager Sentenced For Sex Trafficking

An East Providence teenager is receiving a 15-year prison sentence for the sex trafficking of two teenage girls.  Jmaire Wray admits that he and co-defendant Reginald Chaney offered up the two girls for sex online and arranged meetings with men.  The 16-year-old Wray will be incarcerated as a juvenile at the Rhode Island Training School until he's 19 years old, when he will move to adult prison for the rest of his term.

Board Of Elections To Act On Director

The Rhode Island Board of Elections is issuing a final warning to Executive Director Robert Kando.  The board has informed Kando that he will be fired from his 143-thousand-dollar-a-year job in January unless his performance improves.  The panel initially voted in executive session in June to terminate Kando in 90 days if his work didn't show improvement.  The 90 days passed this week, and the panel has voted to give him another  three months to right the ship.

State Poverty Rate Unchanged This Year

Rhode Island's poverty rate is holding steady.  The U.S. Census Bureau says Rhode Island's poverty rate was just over 14 percent in 2014, which is unchanged from 2013 levels.  That places Rhode Island's rate at 27th in the nation with a total of 145-thousand people living in families earning below the poverty line.  Nationally, the poverty rate in 2014 was 15-and-a-half-percent, which is a slight decrease from 2013 numbers.

More West Nile Mosquitoes Found

More mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been detected in Rhode Island.  State officials say that mosquitoes trapped September 8th in Tiverton have tested positive for West Nile.  Officials say this second positive test is not a surprise, as neighboring states have been reporting positive tests as well.  People are encouraged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and pants, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Man Guilty Of Selling Unapproved Treatment

A Providence businessman is admitting that he sold unapproved cancer treatment and prevention products.  James Feijo also pleaded guilty to tax evasion during a recent appearance in Providence federal court.  The cancer products were sold through various web sites, a call center and through promotional materials and publications.  Feijo remains free on bond, and will be sentenced in January.

Security Hired For Elorza's Home

Providence firefighters are working to make sure that threats to burn down Mayor Jorge Elorza's home are not carried out.  The firefighters union has hired security to watch Elorza's Silver Lane home after the threats were made.  They were posted on Facebook pages supporting the firemen in their battle with the mayor over schedule changes designed to save the city money.  The security is costing the union 500-dollars a day, and will remain in place until police finish their investigation into the threats.


Court Filings Coming In 38 Studios Mess

Most of the court filings in the 38 Studios case are expected to be released to the public next week.  The trove of documents have been under seal as the case worked its way through the courts.  Among the thousands of pages of documents will be transcripts from 67 depositions taken in the failed state investment.  Rhode Island lost more than 70-million-dollars of taxpayer money when former Major Leaguer Curt Schilling's video game company went bankrupt in 2012.

Pawtucket Mayor Wants McCoy Study

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien says reinvestment in McCoy Stadium is the only viable option for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Grebien says there is overwhelming opposition to a waterfront stadium for the PawSox in Providence.  He says further delay could cause the team to look out of state for a new home.  Grebien has written to Governor Gina Raimondo to request a meeting of all stakeholders on keeping the team in Pawtucket.

Three Boats Burn In Portsmouth Marina

Three boats are badly damaged following a fire at a marina in Portsmouth.  The fire broke out yesterday at the Hinkley Company Marina, with one boat engulfed in flames when crews arrived on the scene.  The fire had spread to a pair of other boats, and two of the three damaged vessels eventually sank.  A sailboat that did not sink suffered severe damage in the fire, which remains under investigation.

Former Senate Leader Hawkins Dies

Former Rhode Island state Senate Majority Leader John Hawkins is dead after suffering a stroke.  Hawkins is credited with helping to create the state lottery during his decade in the Senate that ended in 1976.  In 1993, then Governor Bruce Sundlin appointed Hawkins to head the Rhode Island Lottery, a position he held for two stormy years.  Hawkins lost his wife in 2003 and had no children.

Pawtucket Man Charged With Drug Trafficking

A Pawtucket man is being held without bail on charges accusing him of trafficking crack cocaine.  Federal prosecutors say Jose Gomez made crack sales to undercover officers from his Pawtucket home where two small children were also found.  Prosecutors say the children were found locked and unattended in a room where crack cocaine was left on a window sill.  Gomez is also accused of trading crack cocaine for firearms. 

Warwick Man Sentenced For Bank Fraud

A Warwick man is heading to prison for five years for stealing 600-thousand-dollars from two Rhode Island banks.  David Alcantara was convicted of transferring the money from customer bank accounts into accounts he controlled.  The money was quickly withdrawn as cashier's checks.  Alcantara was also convicted of a conspiracy to pass counterfeit 100-dollar bills in several Northeast states.

Junior League Treasurer Arrested

The former treasurer of the Junior League of Rhode Island is accused of embezzling 125-thousand-dollars from the organization.  Police began investigating Kimberly Moore last year when the Junior League executive board removed her from the position.  Moore allegedly stole the money by writing herself checks with the Junior League checking account, making transfers into her own accounts and using their ATM card to withdraw cash.  Moore is free on 25-thousand-dollars bond, with a court date scheduled for November.

Police Probe Threats Against Elorza

Providence Police are investigating threats made against Mayor Jorge Elorza.  The mayor's office confirms that threats were made over the weekend, including at least one threatening to burn down Elorza's home.  The threats were made on a Facebook page supporting firefighters in their battle over work hours with the mayor.  However, the firefighters union says they were not made by any of their members.

Drone Store Plan Irks Warwick Residents

Some Warwick residents are expressing their displeasure with a store specializing in drones that is now open.  City Cloud Drones held the grand opening of their Jefferson Boulevard store over the weekend.  The opening drew a handful of protesters, who say the drones being sold there destroy personal privacy.  The store opens as drones continue to grow in popularity, yet have not been regulated by state government.

Providence Cracks Down On Illegal Clubs

Providence is cracking down on illegal nightclubs that have been operating in the city.  Mayor Jorge Elorza says the city recently shut down a nightclub that was operating illegally in an old mill building.  Elorza says illegal nightclubs are dangerous, as they endanger lives with public health and safety violations.  In at least one case, officials say generators were set up on the roof of the building to provide power to the nightclub floor.

Whitehouse Offers Coast Protection Bill

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is proposing a bill that seeks to protect the nation's coastline from strong storms and rising sea levels.  The National Oceans and Coastal Security Act would create a fund to help educate people about these issues and adapt to them.  It would be funded through a diversion of revenues from offshore energy development.  Whitehouse says the oceans and coastlines are the foundation of the economy, and must be protected for generations to come. 

Student Accused Of Throwing Cigarette At Cops

A Providence College student is accused of throwing a lit cigarette at police officers.  The incident occurred early Saturday morning on campus, when the officers saw a cigarette fly at their cruiser as they drove by a group of students.  Officers stopped and quickly identified 18-year-old Michael Dorman as a suspect.  Dorman initially refused to provide identification, but instead ran and was tackled a short time later on a college lawn and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Man Shot Dead In Providence

A 38-year-old Providence man is dead after being shot in the city's Fox Point neighborhood.  Police say Kyle Machado was found shot early yesterday at Ivy and Trenton streets, and he was pronounced dead a short time later.  Machado becomes the 12th homicide victim of the year in Providence.  No arrests have been made, and police are working to identify Machado's killer.

Natural Gas Rate Cut Proposed

National Grid is proposing a substantial drop in natural gas rates for the upcoming heating season.  The company's proposal would lead to a drop of around ten-percent in a customer's normal gas bill.  National Grid says the availability of inexpensive natural gas from Pennsylvania shale fields is helping to drive down rates.  The company's electric customers are also expected to see decreased rates when those numbers are announced next month.

State Helping Parents Save For College

The state of Rhode Island is looking to provide parents with a jump start in saving for their children's college education.  General Treasurer Seth Magaziner says anyone who opens a CollegeBound Fund account this month will receive a 25-dollar contribution.  Magaziner hopes the incentive program raises awareness and encourages families to save for future education costs.

Twin River Discusses Tiverton Casino

Tiverton residents are taking a hard look at Twin River's plan to open a casino in town.  Twin River hopes to close Newport Grand and transfer the casino license for that facility to a new casino in Tiverton.  Casino officials held a workshop with residents and officials in Tiverton last night to hear concerns and to gather ideas about design and amenities.  Around 60 people came to the meeting, although Twin River officials say they have met privately with hundreds of other Tiverton residents and officials.

Anniversary Of Terrorist Attacks Today

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the nation.  Governor Gina Raimondo has ordered all U.S. and Rhode Island state flags to half-staff today to honor the thousands of people killed in the attacks.  The state will hold a ceremony in the bell area of the State House in Providence this morning.  Raimondo will be joined by State Police officials and other dignitaries at the ceremony.

Arbitration Ordered In Fire Dispute

Providence and its firefighters are heading to arbitration to settle a dispute over Mayor Jorge Elorza's fire department restructuring.  A Superior Court judge has ruled that Elorza had the right to make schedule changes designed to reduce overtime costs.  However, the judge says the complaints by firefighters should be resolved through the grievance arbitration process.  More than 40 firefighters have already filed grievances over the changes, which require them to work three shifts totaling 48 hours every six days.

Driver Saved From Burning Car

A man is lucky to be alive after being pulled from a burning vehicle following a crash in Smithfield.  The man was driving a car that struck another vehicle on Interstate-295 yesterday, then slammed into a rocky embankment and burst into flames.  A few people who witnessed the crash immediately rushed to the burning car and pulled the driver to safety.  The crash caused the shutdown of the highway's northbound lanes for around an hour.

Man Sought In Road Rage Shooting

Police in Providence are looking for a New York man accused in a road rage shooting last week.  Police say Arturo Alonzo Mora became enraged when he learned that his sister was assaulted on Broad Street on August 30th.  He reportedly rushed to intervene, and shot two people who were not involved.  Mora remains on the loose, and is wanted on two counts of felony assault with intent to commit murder and conspiracy.

Pension Revocation Sought For Grave Robber

The state is revoking the pension of a former public employee who stole grave markers from the state veteran's cemetery.  The Rhode Island Retirement Board took the action against Kevin Maynard yesterday.  Maynard was arrested after investigators found that he lined his shed and garages with veteran grave markers from the cemetery where he worked in Exeter.  State Treasurer Seth Magaziner says they are acting to protect the integrity of the state retirement system.

Warwick Supe Search Down To Two

Warwick has reduced the number of candidates for their superintendent of schools down to two finalists.  One is Providence school administrator Lori McEwen, and the other is Cumberland Superintendent Phillip Thornton.  The finalists will hold public forums next week at Toll Gate High School, with McEwen appearing Tuesday and Thornton on Wednesday.  The pair were selected from a pool of 23 applicants.

No Bail For Stabbing Suspect

A judge is denying bail to a Providence man accused of killing a woman and wounding three others last week.  David Allison is accused of stabbing Elba Feliciano in a Commodore Street apartment.  Before she passed away, police say she identified Allison as her attacker.  He's also accused of stabbing three other women inside the apartment.  They are expected to survive.


Public Defender Nominated For Judgeship

President Barack Obama is nominating state public defender Mary McElroy to the federal bench.  McElroy has been the state Public Defender since 2012.  Prior to that service, she was an assistant in the office for more than a decade.  President Obama says McElroy is a distinguished public servant and a valuable addition to the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island.

Treasurer Seeks To Remove Adviser

Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner is moving too quickly replace the state's financial adviser, First Southwest.  The company is named in the lawsuit over the failed loan to Curt Schilling's 38 Studios.  A spokesman for the treasurer says First Southwest seeking to block the state from reaching settlements is a major conflict of interest.  The state is seeking to recoup more than 70-million taxpayer dollars lost when 38 Studios went bankrupt.


No Settlement Over Firefighter Work Week

It appears that a judge will be forced to settle the dispute between the city of Providence and its firefighters.  The two sides spent weeks in mediation over changes the city made to work schedules that are designed to save money.  A Superior Court judge is now trying to decide whether the union has the right to seek arbitration over the changes.  Mayor Jorge Elorza says the city spends nine-million-dollars a year on firefighter overtime, and that has to stop.

Warwick Enters PawSox Discussion

Warwick wants the Pawtucket Red Sox to consider three sites in the city for a possible baseball stadium.  Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian has reached out to the team in hopes of beginning discussions.  He says the sites are all near the airport, mass transit, hotels and restaurants.  A team spokesperson says they remain focused on the I-195 land in Providence for the ballpark.

Work Progressing On New Train Station

Construction is progressing on renovations to the Providence Amtrak station.  The nearly seven-million-dollars in changes are designed to make transit more appealing, making it easier for passengers on foot and on bicycles to take the train.  The station is the 15th busiest station out of more than 500 used by Amtrak.  Plans for a larger scale renovation of Providence Station are expected to go out for bid in 2018.

School Uniforms In Central Falls

A school uniform policy is in full effect this year in Central Falls.  A voluntary uniform program was put into effect last year, and officials say participation dropped as the year moved forward.  Central Falls is encouraging students to manually comply with the new rule.  Those who repeatedly ignore the rule will lose privileges, including Friday night dances and school club events.

New 38 Studios Hearings May Occur

New hearings may be called into Rhode Island's 75-million-dollar failed investment in Curt Schilling's 38 Studios video game company.  State legislative leaders say the expected release of a large amount of documents related to the deal will warrant new hearings.  House Speaker Nick Mattiello says it's appropriate that the House Oversight Committee review the documents, especially depositions of testimony that the panel had previously sought by subpoena.

Man Dies In Police Custody

An investigation is underway after a man died in the custody of Providence police.  The 63-year-old man was arrested after he was freed from a stuck elevator at the Carroll Towers apartments and began fighting with police at the scene.  The man asked for medical assistance while in the back of the police cruiser, then he stopped breathing.  The man was brought directly to the hospital, but died a short time later.


Coast Guard rescues 3 in boat adrift off Block Island

 The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued three people from a pleasure craft that was adrift 45 miles off Block Island.

The Coast Guard says it received a distress call from the captain of the vessel Blitzen around 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

The captain told them the boat was having engine troubles and was adrift.

The 87-foot Coast Guard cutter Hammerhead responded and was towing the vessel to a Jamestown marina.


Woman dies 3 months after falling beneath Providence bus

A Coventry woman who tripped and fell beneath a bus in Providence in May has died.

Bobbie Moore died Monday. She tripped and became trapped beneath the bus May 20 as it pulled away from the bus stop.

A RIPTA spokeswoman had said surveillance video from the bus showed that Moore tripped and fell as she approached the bus.

The driver was put on paid leave, which is standard practice.

RIPTA says riders should not approach, chase or try to flag down a moving bus.


Brown announces use of investigators in sex assault cases

 Brown University has announced that trained investigators will be used to help handle complaints of sexual and gender-based violence.

The Providence Journal reports  the university announced Thursday that investigators will conduct interviews, gather evidence and prepare a report to the university's Title IX council that resolves complaints.

A university task force recommended in April an investigator model for complaints and establishing an advisory council to monitor progress in setting procedures to address sexual harassment and assault.

The use of trained investigators was among the recommendations in the report for gathering evidence and conducting toxicology tests for drugs or alcohol.

Hundreds of students protested last March accusations that the university mishandled a sexual assault case in October.


Council limits college students in residential neighborhoods

 The Providence City Council has approved an amendment to the city's zoning ordinance that limits the number of college students who can live in an off-campus single-family house to three.

The amendment approved Thursday was introduced by Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan who heard from residents of her neighborhood near Providence College that single-family homes were being purchased and rented to college students.

She says students crowding into homes brought additional noise and traffic to residential neighborhoods, diminishing the quality of life.

The ordinance requires a second vote by the council, which is scheduled for Sept. 17. The changes will not affect existing leases of single-family properties.

For purposes of the ordinance, a college student is defined as an individual enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student at any university or college.


Fundraising Campaign To Help Lonely Tagger

A fundraising campaign is underway to help the man known as the lonely graffiti tagger to pay his 12-thousand-dollar damage bill.  A judge ordered Devin Costa to make restitution to property owners forced to clean up his graffiti.  The online fundraising effort began Wednesday and raised over one-thousand-dollars in the first day alone.  Costa was arrested in April after police posted a surveillance photo of the tagger in action.

Central Falls Installing Alert System

Central Falls is installing a new state-of-the-art emergency alert system for city schools.  Mayor James Diossa says the system will allow school staff to send an immediate and silent alert to other staff or police if an emergency develops.  Officials say the system is a proactive tool that will allow the city to deal with a broad range of situations that can arise in public schools.  Central Falls is becoming the first municipality in Rhode Island to implement this system. 

Warwick Beaches Reopened To Swimmers

State health officials are recommending the reopening Oakland Beach and Conimicut Point Beach in Warwick to swimmers now that bacteria levels in the water have subsided.  The news is not as good in Portsmouth, where health officials have recommended the closure of Sandy Point Beach to swimmers.  The Department of Health will retest the water at Sandy Point Beach today, and it will be reopened when bacteria levels have dropped.


ACI Locked Down After Threat

The medium security section of the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston is again locked down.  Officials say the lockdown was called yesterday after death threats were made against correctional officers in a letter that was sent from inside the prison.  A tactical team was called in yesterday to search every cell in the targeted area for contraband and weapons, along with evidence to determine who is making the threats.  This is the second time in the last eight days that the prison has been locked down because of threats.

Crane May Have Caused Building Collapse

Officials say a mistake by a crane operator may be the cause of a building collapse at Bryant University that injured six workers.  A witness told investigators it's likely that a crane operator pulled a steel beam too far, causing the athletic building under construction to collapse on Tuesday.  The incident at the Smithfield school left six workers suffering from injuries not considered life-threatening.  Federal workplace safety officials are continuing to investigate the incident.

Four State Beaches Closed By Bacteria

Elevated levels of bacteria in the water is causing the closure of four Rhode Island beaches.  The beaches are the Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown, Conimicut Point and Oakland beach in Warwick, and Easton's Beach in Newport.  The state Department of Health says it will continue to monitor the water quality, and will recommend the reopening of these areas to swimmers once the bacteria amounts drop below acceptable levels.

State Closes Fiscal Year With Surplus

Rhode Island's 2015 fiscal year is officially closed.  Governor Gina Raimondo says the final numbers show that the state closed the fiscal year that ended June 30th with a 166-million-dollar surplus.  The governor says spending was 21-million-dollars lower than projections, while revenues were 24-million-dollars more than expected. 

State Settles With Construction Firm

A company that performed drywall work at the University of Rhode Island is agreeing to pay a 730-thousand-dollar settlement over alleged wage violations.  Cardoso Construction is paying to settle claims that it failed to pay more than 30 workers on the project a prevailing wage.  The company was also accused of misclassifying 27 other workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them prevailing wages and benefits.  Cardoso was a subcontractor on the Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center project.

Six Hurt In Bryant Building Collapse

Six workers are injured after an athletic building under construction at Bryant University collapsed.  The 78-thousand-square-foot steel structure collapsed on the six male workers, leaving some of them trapped.  All were conscious when they were rescued from the debris and taken to the hospital for treatment.  None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

State Police Probe DCYF Finances

Rhode Island State Police are investigating the possibility of financial crimes at the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.  Police say officials at the troubled agency requested the investigation, although the exact focus of the probe has not been revealed.  Governor Gina Raimondo announced last month that she planned to completely overhaul the agency after inheriting its 16-million-dollar budget deficit. 


State Clean Energy Sector Grows

Governor Gina Raimondo says Rhode Island's clean energy sector is growing.  Raimondo says the sector currently supports ten-thousand jobs, and added more than 600 positions in the last year.  The governor projects that Rhode Island will add 16-hundred new clean energy jobs over the next year.  She says Rhode Island is further leading on this issue with the creation of the nation's first off shore wind farm.

Coventry Fire District Tables Layoff Talk

The financially troubled Coventry Fire District is not going to consider layoffs at this time.  The district board of directors cast the vote yesterday despite only having around half of the 50-thousand-dollars needed to make Friday's payroll on hand.  The vote came after angry exchanges between supporters of the firefighters and those who want the district shuttered.  The board instead voted to enter closed door negotiations with the firefighters union in the near future.

Massachusetts Gaming Hall Hurts RI

A new gambling operation near the Rhode Island border in Massachusetts is putting a dent into revenues at Twin River Casino and Newport Grand.  The two Rhode Island casinos generated 41-million-dollars in video gaming revenues in July.  That's down six-percent from the take at Newport Grand and Twin River in July of last year.  The Plainridge Park Casino opened in June in Massachusetts, generating 18-million-dollars in slot revenues in their first month of operation.

Accelerated Bridge Inspection Complete

Transportation officials are confirming that an accelerated inspection of Rhode Island's 230 structurally deficient bridges is complete.  The DOT says the program has resulted in the immediate repairs of several bridges.  These include the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge in East Providence and the Mineral Spring Avenue Bridge in Pawtucket.  Federal statistics show that one out of every five Rhode Island bridges is structurally deficient.

AG Challenges Blue Cross Rate Hike

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is heading to court to try to block a proposed ten-percent premium hike by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island.  The insurer had initially sought an 18 percent increase, which was first cut to 14 percent and further cut to ten percent.  Kilmartin is suing state Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner over her approval of the ten-percent hike, saying it should have been lowered further.  Kilmartin wants the court to set aside all increases and freeze rates until the case is resolved.


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