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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2016-03

ACLU would represent Warwick media outlets in potential suit

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island has agreed to represent two Warwick media outlets if a Warwick school official files a defamation suit over the publishing of a public document.

The ACLU announced Wednesday it will represent the Warwick Beacon and the Warwick Post if the Warwick School Department's outgoing director of human resources, Rosemary Healey, files suit.

An upcoming report examines how Healey and school administrators handled sexual misconduct allegations against a teacher.

Healey's lawyer, Jeffrey Sowa, has ordered the Beacon and Post to "cease and desist from publishing any matters relating to" Healey. Sowa says the publishers would "not be insulated from liability" if they release the report.

The Attorney General ruled the report is a public record.

RI education chief unveils school choice plan

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner has unveiled a plan to give teachers and principals more authority in running their schools.

Wagner outlined the School and Family Empowerment Package in an address Wednesday to the state's General Assembly.

His plan would allow schools to make decisions on topics ranging from textbooks to the school day and personnel.

It would also give parents more choices by allowing schools to accept students who live in another town or city.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, who chose Wagner to lead the education agency last year, has said she wanted to introduce an inter-district school choice initiative based on the one adopted in Massachusetts more than two decades ago.

The education commissioner gives an address each year to lawmakers about the state of education.

RI governor says Iceland video may draw tourists

Rhode Island's governor says people searching for Iceland online are finding her state instead because of a goof in its tourism video and she's hoping they'll visit.

The state's tourism video has been mocked on social media for showing a prominent concert hall in Reykjavik. Embarrassed state tourism officials quickly yanked the video off YouTube on Tuesday.

But Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo looked on the bright side on Wednesday. She says maybe more tourists will come now.

An editing company has taken responsibility for the mix-up.

The scrutiny of the video has led to the discovery of an error on a newly redesigned tourism website. The smallest state has less than 2 percent of the nation's historic landmarks, not the 20 percent listed.

5 charged with running marijuana oil labs in RI

Authorities say five Rhode Island men are facing federal charges in connection with several fires allegedly sparked by drug oil labs.

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha on Wednesday announced that five men have been charged with endangering lives by running clandestine drug labs that used highly flammable butane to produce potent marijuana oil.

The charges against one of the men stem from a July 31 fire in South Kingstown that killed 27-year-old Brett Carrano of West Warwick. Authorities say the two were running a lab to produce butane hash oil, which is used to extract THC from marijuana.

Two others are charged in connection with a March 2015 fire at a mill building in Providence. Another man is charged in a fire at a Westerly apartment building.

$48M office, medical services complex planned in Warwick

Developers are planning to build a $48 million office and medical services complex in Warwick.

Warwick Hotel Associates' project includes a 100-room addition to the Crowne Plaza complex and three office buildings. It also includes a 35,000-square-foot medical facility that state Rep. Joseph McNamara, a Democrat, says will usher medical tourism to the region.

Kelly Coates, senior vice president of the Carpionato Group that owns Warwick Hotel, says he can't confirm the name of the medical company that's moving into the complex but says an announcement will be made within the month.

The finished project will encompass 120,000 square feet of retail and commercial space in addition to the 100 rooms at the Crowne Plaza.

Carpionato hopes to break ground this summer.

RI tourism video features Reykjavik, Iceland

A Rhode Island tourism video designed to draw visitors to the state has been yanked off YouTube after viewers complained it showed Reykjavik, Iceland.

The state's economic development agency posted the video online Tuesday for a new campaign.

The video features a skateboarder outside a glass building and has a narrator saying, "Imagine a place that feels like home but holds enough uniqueness that you're never bored." People on social media said: Hey, that looks like the Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik.

Designer Greg Nemes visited Iceland in October and says he recognizes the "unmistakable building." Social media users agree with him, posting side-by-side photos.

A spokeswoman for the state economic development agency confirms it's Harpa. She says a local editing firm was told to use only Rhode Island footage but "a mistake was made."

Conservationists to press on for Atlantic Ocean monuments

Environmental conservationists dealt a blow by President Barack Obama's decision not to create a national monument in the Atlantic Ocean say they will keep pressing for preservation.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality said last week that Cashes Ledge is not under consideration for monument status. Conservationists wanted the undersea mountain chain to become the first such monument in the Atlantic.

Supporters of conservation in the Atlantic held a news conference on Tuesday in which they said Obama's action does not close the book on attempts to preserve Cashes Ledge. They also say they will press on for protections for New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts, an area off of Massachusetts targeted by environmentalists.

Commercial fishing groups have opposed the creation of monuments in the Atlantic.

US Navy picks Electric Boat as prime contractor for new sub

The U.S. Navy has chosen General Dynamics Electric Boat to be the prime contractor for a new class of ballistic-missile submarines.

The Navy strategy, released Monday night, describes how submarine construction will proceed over the next decade.

Electric Boat is already designing 12 ballistic-missile submarines to replace the current fleet of 14.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, says Groton-based Electric Boat will perform about 80 percent of the construction work for the ballistic-missile submarines. Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia will do the rest.

The two shipyards build attack submarines under a teaming agreement.

Courtney says the Navy has emphatically declared its submarine construction priorities and now has a plan for achieving them.

He says the strategy means billions of dollars and thousands of jobs for southern New England.

Care New England announces layoffs

Care New England says it has laid off 58 workers in a bid to cut costs.

The hospital group announced the layoffs in a statement Tuesday.

Care New England President and CEO Dennis Keefe says labor represents 70 percent of the cost of health care. He says layoffs are a "last resort."

Care New England says most of the positions were based at Memorial Hospital, which employs approximately 900 people.

The group announced last month a plan to scale back services at the hospital by eliminating positions and closing its maternity ward and intensive care unit.

It says the most recent layoffs are unrelated to the proposed restructuring of the hospital.

The group says it's worked over the past month to decrease costs and increase revenue across the system.

Police ID 53-year-old man who died after car rolled over him

Authorities have released the identity of a 53-year-old man who died after his vehicle rolled over him.

Police say Richard Ferrara, of Providence, had gotten out of his car and walked behind it when it rolled backward into him.

It happened around 11 a.m. Tuesday in a parking lot near the Hilton Providence hotel.

Emergency crews were able to free Ferrara but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A police report indicates the car was in neutral and the ignition was on.

Police say the incident appears to have been an accident.

Man's conviction for 2012 murder overturned by high court

A man's conviction for a 2012 murder in Warwick has been overturned by the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The court on Tuesday vacated the conviction of Tony Gonzalez and sent the case back for a retrial.

The court said there was substantial evidence against Gonzalez but that police violated his constitutional rights by entering his Providence home and arresting him without a warrant. It found the evidence obtained during and after his arrest was not admissible in court.

Gonzalez was convicted in the January 2012 shooting death of Carl Cunningham, Jr. Police said at the time that Gonzalez went to his ex-girlfriend's home to confront her new boyfriend and ended up fatally shooting another man who was there.

The attorney general's office said it was reviewing the decision.

Gas prices up 7 cents to nearly $2 a gallon in RI

Gas prices in Rhode Island are up another 7 cents per gallon and nearing $2 per gallon for the first time since early January.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey Monday that the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular was $1.99.

The price rose 25 cents in the past month.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $1.87 and as high as $2.07 per gallon.

The Rhode Island price is still below the national average of $2.04 per gallon.

Last year at this time, the price of gas was 37 cents higher, at $2.36 per gallon.

AAA says a rebound in oil prices, seasonal increases in fuel demand and refinery slowdowns sparked an increase.

RI foreclosures down 28 percent in 2015

A new report shows that the number of home foreclosures in Rhode Island was down significantly in 2015 compared to the previous year, but the number of "underwater" homes was up.

HousingWorks RI's end-of-year report showed there were 1,182 residential foreclosure deeds filed in the state last year, down 28 percent from 2014.

Rhode Island, however, ranked fifth in the nation for residential properties in "negative equity," meaning that the mortgage is more than the worth of the home.

This number of "underwater" homeowners represented 13.5 percent of Rhode Island's mortgaged homeowners in the last quarter of 2015, down from 15.8 percent in the same period in 2014.

The year-end findings by HousingWorks RI at Roger Williams University, a nonprofit research group, were included in its quarterly report released Monday.

RI lawmaker joins GOP, loses House leadership spot

A state lawmaker is set to lose her leadership position in the Rhode Island House of Representatives after becoming a Republican.

Rep. Karen MacBeth, of Cumberland, announced Monday she's switched her political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. She will be the 12th GOP member of the Democrat-controlled House.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says the switch means he'll be replacing her as chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee because it's a leadership position.

The committee has been investigating the state's failed 38 Studios deal.

Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell says he's proud to have MacBeth join the GOP.

MacBeth tells the Providence Journal she might also run as a Republican for Congress against Democratic U.S. Rep. David Cicilline.

Man accused of fatally stabbing nephew held without bail

A man accused of fatally stabbing his nephew and injuring his brother has been ordered held without bail.

Pleas of not guilty were entered Monday on behalf of 20-year-old Jared Rogers to charges of murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Police say he stabbed his nephew, 19-year-old Michael Rogers, and his brother, 30-year-old David Rogers, Saturday at their Warwick home and then fled. He was later caught in North Providence.

Michael Rogers died from his injuries. David Rogers is in stable condition.

Police allege Jared Rogers stabbed the men with a kitchen knife after an argument.

A bail hearing is scheduled for April 11.

He's been appointed a public defender. A woman who answered the phone at the public defender's office said nobody was available to comment.

TransCanada to sell dams in Columbia Pipeline Group deal

TransCanada is looking to sell its New England power generation business, including hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River, as part of its effort to finance its $10 billion acquisition of Houston-based Columbia Pipeline Group.

TransCanada bought 13 hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers from USGen New England in 2005.

The Valley News reports the Wilder, Bellows Falls and Vernon, Vermont, dams are among the assets TransCanada plans to sell. TransCanada also plans to sell its Kibby wind development in Maine; its generation plants in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and New York and its power marketing business

TransCanada, which had proposed the Keystone XL oil pipeline, has challenged the U.S. government's rejection of the project.

Providence train station gets nearly $7 million in upgrades

Local and state officials are celebrating improvements to the Providence train station.

Mayor Jorge Elorza, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed and officials from the state Transportation Department and the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority recently announced the completion of nearly $7 million in upgrades.

The funds were used to add amenities for bicyclists, update signs, improve landscaping and create a more welcoming space for riders. They also fixed water seepage in the station's garage.

Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, helped obtain the federal funds.

Officials say the station attracts more than one million Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority passengers each year.

Helicopter lifts air conditioning units to roof of mall

A cargo helicopter is lifting air conditioning units to and from the roof of the Providence Place Mall.

The Skycrane helicopter is moving 23 of the old units off the roof and replacing them with 23 new ones.

Providence Place Mall Spokesman Dante Bellini says each unit weighs 17,000 pounds.

Police on Sunday blocked off streets in the area as the helicopter hoisted cargo to and from the lawn of the nearby train station.

The operation should be completed Sunday.

Florida man issued citation after crashing into restaurant

Police say a Florida man was issued a citation after he crashed his car into the front of a Newport restaurant.

33-year-old James Bell, of Jacksonville, Florida, told police he was trying to get to Naval Station Newport when he crashed his car into Mama Leone's restaurant. It happened just before 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Police say Bell suffered lacerations to his face. No other injuries were reported.

Police believe Bell failed to navigate a nearby rotary, causing him to lose control and crash. They also believe speed was a factor.

He was issued a citation for speeding and failure to maintain control of his vehicle.

In good company: Retirement community boasts 6 centenarians

With roughly 72,000 centenarians in the United States, it's not all that unusual to find several clustered in the same city.

But to have several living under the same roof in the same city?

That's rare, says Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University.

A wealthy retirement community in Providence, , boasts six centenarians. The oldest, Elsa Zopfi, is 104 years old. The youngest, David Richardson, celebrated his 100th birthday on Sunday.

Robert Kenyon, who is 102 years old, says he doesn't think about his age all that much, he just tries to take one day at a time.

Samuel Bender, who is 100 years old, says he thinks about all the adventures he had. He says life has been an achievement.

1,000 trees to be given away this spring to homeowners

State environmental officials are working with the Arbor Day Foundation to give away 1,000 trees this spring to help homeowners conserve energy, reduce utility costs and beautify their neighborhoods.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says a single mature tree can save $30 annually in heating and cooling costs when planted properly.

Registration for the Energy Saving Trees Program opens Monday and is required in order to reserve a tree.

The trees are four feet to six feet tall and will be distributed in three-gallon containers.

Homeowners will receive planting and care instructions and guidance to maximize energy savings.

DEM has scheduled tree pick-up events in Westerly and Portsmouth in April and in Providence and Woonsocket in May.

Visit www.arborday.org/RIDEM for more information and to register.

HealthSource RI to move call center to East Providence

Rhode Island's health insurance exchange is moving its call center from Providence to East Providence.

Thursday will be its last day at the current call center at 70 Royal Little Drive in Providence.

HealthSource RI will close that call center Friday and open at its new location at 401 Wampanoag Trail in East Providence on April 4.

HealthSource RI officials say the new location is accessible by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority Route 32 bus and there's ample free parking.

They say customers should expect longer call wait times on the days leading up to the closing due to the transition.

The call center's telephone number will remain the same.

Customers will be able to drop off documents and payments as before, but in-person assistance won't be available.

Pell Bridge high-speed toll lanes to close today for work

The high-speed tolling lanes for the Pell Bridge are scheduled to be closed for a few weeks so crews can update the tolling equipment.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says the open road tolling lanes are expected to be closed from Monday until Wednesday, April 13.

It says drivers should expect delays during the morning and evening commutes during that period.

The authority says the new equipment is expected to more accurately read E-ZPass transponders and license plates.

The concrete road will also be replaced.

RI governor to introduce school choice initiative

Gov. Gina Raimondo is taking a page from neighboring Massachusetts as she prepares to introduce a school choice initiative letting parents send their kids to schools in another town or city.

Education Commissioner Ken Wagner plans to detail the proposal Wednesday in an address to the Rhode Island General Assembly.

The Democratic governor's plan is part of a broader education agenda that has sought to balance between the perspectives of reformists who favor charter schools and more parental choices and traditional school districts already hurt by declining enrollment.

Raimondo has said school choice is one of several factors that helped Massachusetts schools rocket ahead of Rhode Island's over the past two decades.

Critics say it's more important to prioritize other investments such as teacher recruitment and early childhood education.

Bill letting dogs in outdoor restaurant areas passes House

A bill to allow diners to bring their dogs to outdoor seating areas at Rhode Island restaurants is headed to the state Senate.

The state House of Representatives passed the bill overwhelmingly on Wednesday. The bill had been introduced by Rep. Charlene Lima.

The Cranston Democrat's bill says restaurant owners could determine the amount of space where dogs are allowed and would allow those owners set limits on the dogs' sizes and breeds.

Restaurants would also be able to deny entry and eject patrons with dogs.

Restaurants would be required to display a written notice of their policy allowing dogs, which would have to be leashed at all times and never left unattended.

Seeing holes in effort to bridge 'word gap' in poor children

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted a high-tech idea in Providence, to spread across the nation when his foundation gave $5 million to launch a program to improve the vocabularies of preschool children.

Three years later, more than 500 low-income families have strapped audio recorders on their toddlers that count each word they hear in a day. Social workers also visit homes to coach parents on talking more to their kids.

But it's still not clear if the Providence Talks initiative should be a national model to close the so-called "word gap" separating poor and wealthy households.

Brown University Professor James Morgan is an expert in early childhood literacy. He says it's a well-intentioned idea but he worries about how much is being devoted to an unproven solution.

RI unemployment rate in February unchanged at 5.4 percent

Rhode Island's unemployment rate was unchanged in February, holding steady at 5.4 percent.

Numbers released on Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training show the state's jobless rate is five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national rate of 4.9 percent. The national rate also did not change from January to February.

The state unemployment rate has fallen one percentage point since February 2015, when it was 6.4 percent.

Rhode Island had one of the highest unemployment rates for years during the recession and is still struggling to recover the jobs it lost.

The number of unemployed residents rose by 100 from January, while the number of Rhode Island-based jobs rose by 300.

Councilwoman probed for sending kids to schools elsewhere

 A Johnston councilwoman is being investigated by the town solicitor after a news report that she sends her triplets to school in Narragansett.

Mayor Joseph Polisena tells the Hummel Report they're reviewing Stephanie Manzi's homestead exemption after learning her children were attending school in Narragansett.

The Narragansett superintendent is also investigating.

The Hummel Report filmed Manzi taking the children from Johnston to Narragansett multiple times and dropping them off at the high school.

Manzi and her husband, a police officer, own a 700-square-foot cottage in Narragansett. The couple isn't divorced, but Manzi says they're living apart while the children attend high school. She says she continues to live in Johnston.

Johnston passed a law last year to recoup money it spends to educate students illegally enrolled in the town's schools.

Yacht captain blamed in boat crash that killed fisherman

Rhode Island investigators have blamed a New Jersey yacht captain for a boat crash that killed a fisherman from Connecticut.

The Westerly Sun reports that the state Department of Environmental Management found that 76-year-old Cooper Bacon, of Cape May, New Jersey, should have changed course or slowed down to avoid 81-year-old Walter Krupinski's boat.

The crash happened on Sept. 22, 2015, off Watch Hill, in Westerly.

Krupinski, of Stonington, Connecticut, had finished fishing and was headed to shore when the 60-foot Viking yacht operated by Bacon plowed into his 23-foot boat, crushing and killing him.

Bacon has been charged with various navigation offenses, each of which carries a maximum $100 fine. He could not be reached for comment.

Krupinski's widow says she plans to sue.

Woman convicted in nephew's beating death seeks new trial

A Woonsocket woman convicted of second-degree murder and conspiracy in the 2004 beating death of her 3-year-old nephew is seeking a new trial.

The Providence Journal reports Katherine Bunnell is arguing that her trial lawyer didn't adequately represent her.

Bunnell's boyfriend, Gilbert Delestre, was also convicted in the boy's killing.

Bunnell's new attorney, James McCormick, says a witness should've been called to distinguish between which of the child's injuries were because of Bunnell and which came from Delestre.

McCormick told a Superior Court judge on Thursday that Delestre delivered the fatal blows.

Bunnell was previously represented by Gerard Donley, who was later disbarred. Both Bunnell and Delestre were sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole plus 10 years.

The attorney who represented Delestre said Thursday he couldn't comment.

Police identify woman found dead in Woonsocket home

Woonsocket police say the body of a woman found in her home is that of an 81-year-old whose death is being considered a homicide.

Police identified the woman as Constance Gauthier on Thursday. Details of her death are being withheld pending an investigation.

Officers responded to her home Wednesday morning for a welfare check. When they arrived they found her dead inside.

GE announces site of new Boston headquarters

General Electric has pinpointed the site of its new Boston headquarters.

The company announced Thursday that it purchased land in South Boston from Procter & Gamble.

The site along the Fort Point Channel includes two older and mostly empty buildings and a parking lot, and is currently part of P&G's Gillette campus. It's across the channel from a central U.S. Postal Service facility and the South Station transportation hub.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. GE plans to build a new building and move to the site in 2018.

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt discussed the move at the Boston College Chief Executives Club.

GE announced in January it was moving its corporate headquarters to Boston from Fairfield, Connecticut.

GE is talking with Rhode Island officials about opening a branch office in the state.

2 men charged in large-scale marijuana operation

Police say they've arrested two men involved in a large-scale marijuana-growing operation in two Glocester homes.

Fifty-six-year-old James Maffio and 54-year-old Roger Simpson, both of Glocester, are each charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and cultivate and conspiracy.

Police on Tuesday executed search warrants at the men's homes after a monthslong investigation.

Police seized more than 100 marijuana plants, 20 pounds of processed marijuana, $28,000 in cash and a 2005 Lexus.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

They're due back in court May 21.

Online court records don't list attorneys for the men.

Colleges face legal backlash from men accused of sex crimes

U.S. colleges trying to respond decisively to complaints of sexual assault are getting slammed with lawsuits from men who say they've been unfairly suspended or otherwise punished.

At least 75 men have sued their schools since 2013, complaining largely of reverse discrimination and unfair disciplinary proceedings.

Most of the men were never charged with a crime because the accuser didn't go to police or authorities decided there wasn't enough evidence.

Schools say they feel caught in the middle.

On one side is the U.S. Education Department, which is demanding colleges deal firmly with reports of sexual assault. On the other side are students who say they are not getting a fair shake.

Jury finds Providence man guilty of fatal stabbing on bus

A jury has found a Providence man guilty of murder in the stabbing death of his ex-wife aboard a public bus in Portsmouth.

Jurors returned the verdict against 49-year-old Christopher James on Wednesday after one day of deliberations following a seven-day trial.

Attorneys for James had argued that he was mentally ill when he killed 46-year-old Terry Chiodo in February 2013 and couldn't have planned the killing.

The prosecution's psychiatric experts said there's no evidence James suffered from any major mental disorders.

Prosecutors said throughout the trial the stabbing was premeditated. They said James wanted to reconcile with Chiodo but she refused.

Prosecutors said James took a bus from Providence shortly before the stabbing to Portsmouth, where Chiodo was on her way to work.

Elderly woman found dead in Woonsocket home

An elderly woman has been found dead in her Woonsocket home, and police are calling her death suspicious.

Officers responded to the home Wednesday morning for a welfare check. When they arrived they found the woman dead inside.

Police say the cause of death has not been determined, but is considered suspicious.

Authorities have not released the name of the woman, pending notification of her family.

No other details were immediately released. The investigation is ongoing.

Explosive linked to Europe attacks easy to make, detonate

An expert says the explosive linked to the Brussels attacks is preferred among violent extremists in Europe because it's fairly easy to make and detonate.

Explosions on Tuesday at the Brussels airport and in a subway killed 31 people, plus three suicide bombers, and wounded more than 270 people.

Belgium's chief prosecutor has said that investigators found 15 kilograms of the explosive known as TATP at the house where the suspects in the attacks stayed before going to the airport. TATP also was used in the Paris attacks.

Jimmie Oxley is an explosives expert and University of Rhode Island professor. She describes TATP as a volatile, sensitive explosive.

She says the materials are readily available and it's fairly easy to make a functional device.

RI home sales up 24 percent in February

Sales of single-family homes in Rhode Island jumped 24 percent in February from the same time a year ago, and the median price rose 12 percent.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors on Tuesday says the size of the jump may be due in part to last year's harsh winter, which put a damper on home sales during the beginning part of 2015.

The median price of a single-family home rose last month to $217,300.

The group says Rhode Island is getting closer to a seller's market, because the faster pace of home sales is starting to outstrip supply.

Condo sales surged 57 percent in February with the median sales price up five percent.

Sales of multi-family homes rose 31 percent and the median sales price rose nearly 10 percent.

Police investigating patient abuse at Zambarano hospital

Rhode Island State Police are investigating claims of patient abuse at the Zambarano unit of Eleanor Slater Hospital.

The state Department of Administration has confirmed that nursing assistants Lyn Latondresse and Lynda Proietti have been placed on paid leave as a result of the ongoing investigation.

An Executive Office of Health and Human Services spokesman declined to comment on the investigation.

WJAR-TV first reported the news.

The Burrillville hospital serves about 120 long-term patients suffering from chronic illness, behavioral issues and brain and spinal cord injuries. It's run by the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

Goldman Sachs pumps $10 million into RI businesses

Goldman Sachs is committing $10 million to help small businesses grow and create jobs in Rhode Island.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo and Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn announced the program at a Providence bike shop Tuesday.

Rhode Island will be the 30th region to participate in the banking giant's 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. It's the first time it's been done at a statewide level.

Half of the $10 million will go toward free business and management education courses through the Community College of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island School of Design.

Cohn says the course is rigorous and is like an accelerated MBA program for small business owners.

The other $5 million will be used to make loans to small businesses through intermediary BDC Capital.

Environmentalists, fishermen question new cod fishing rules

Environmentalists and commercial fishermen both say they are fearful of proposed changes to the federal rules that govern New England's beleaguered cod fishing industry.

The rules govern an industry that has fed New England for centuries and is now in steep decline. Most codfish sold to consumers in the region are from foreign countries.

Regulators typically split New England's cod into two stocks, Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. They want to slightly raise the Gulf of Maine quota but more dramatically cut the Georges Bank quota.

The proposal also includes a reduction in the number of fishing trips that would be accompanied by an "at-sea monitor." The monitors collect data used to manage the fishery. Environmentalists oppose a reduction in monitoring.

The new rules could apply by May 1.

RI lawmaker calls for halting refugee resettlement

A Rhode Island lawmaker is calling on President Barack Obama to temporarily halt the immigration of refugees into the United States as a response to Tuesday's deadly attacks in Belgium.

Republican Rep. Robert Nardolillo, of Coventry, sent the letter to Obama on Tuesday.

Nardolillo says the attacks in Brussels this week and Paris last year show the president should stop accepting refugees in order to prevent a similar attack from happening on U.S. soil.

Rhode Island refugee resettlement groups began welcoming a small number of Syrian families this year.

The U.S. State Department plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. It has said that all refugees go through rigorous security screening.

Opponents have argued that extremists might use the refugee program to enter the U.S. and launch an attack.

Founder of Cool Moose Party in RI dies at 58

The founder of the Cool Moose Party who ran a half-dozen times for governor or lieutenant governor of Rhode Island has died. Robert Healey was 58.

Barrington Town Council President June Sager Speakman says police told her Healey died Sunday night. Healey was a resident of Barrington.

The medical examiner's office says his cause of death is pending.

Healey was known for his long-flowing beard and unconventional campaign. He was an attorney who ran for governor or lieutenant governor seven times from 1986 until 2014. He founded the Cool Moose Party in 1994 and later ran as a Moderate Party candidate.

He ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, pledging to abolish the office.

In 2014, he surprised many by winning 21 percent of the vote in a three-way gubernatorial race while spending only $36 on his campaign.

Gas prices up 7 cents to $1.92 per gallon in RI

Gas prices took another big jump in Rhode Island, up 7 cents per gallon in a week.

AAA Northeast says its weekly survey Monday found the average price of a gallon of regular had climbed to $1.92. AAA says the price has risen 18 cents in the past three weeks.

The Rhode Island price is still below the national average of $1.98 per gallon.

Last year at this time, the price of gas was 25 percent higher, at $2.40 per gallon, or 48 cents more than now.

Sun breaks though after Northeast snowstorm

The sun is shining in parts of New England after a spring snowstorm that wasn't as bad as originally expected.

The snow is expected to quickly melt as temperatures rise into the 50s by midweek.

The National Weather Service says Stratham, New Hampshire, appears to have gotten 8.5 inches while Hampton got 7.3.

In Massachusetts, Oakham got 7.5 inches of snow while several Merrimack Valley communities got more than 6 inches. Boston got 3.6.

In Connecticut, Tolland got 6.5 inches while Vernon got 6. In Rhode Island, Burrillville had the most in the state, with 6 inches.

Portland, Maine, got 6.7.

Providence man pleads guilty to shooting outside nightclub

Authorities say a Providence man has pleaded guilty to a gang-related shooting outside of a city nightclub.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced Monday that 24-year-old Denzel Barboza pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a pistol without a license and related crimes.

Prosecutors say Barboza is a member of the Harriet Street, or H-Block, street gang.

They say Barboza and co-defendant Raymond Figueroa argued with rival gang member Angel Toj moments before Barboza shot Toj in the head Dec. 12 outside the Roxy nightclub. Figueroa is accused of providing Barboza with the gun.

Toj survived but lost vision in his right eye.

Figueroa is charged with possession of a firearm. He's being held on bail. His attorney declined to comment.

Barboza's sentencing is scheduled for May 26.

Brown to open center for first-generation college students

Brown University is opening a center for its students who are the first in their families to attend college.

The Ivy League school is set to open a First-Generation College Student Center in its sciences library this summer.

Brown recently announced the center will have a $30,000 annual budget. The center will have office and meeting space, a lounge and shared classroom and event space.

Brown says it wants to have a dedicated home for resources to help these students navigate college life.

Students have pushed for more activities, programs and resources to support first-generation students. Brown has offered more in recent years.

The college says those efforts led to an expansion of its First-Generation College Student Initiative.

First-generation students comprise about 16 percent of Brown's undergraduate student body.

Navy funds autism-screening app, hoping for help with PTSD

The Navy is paying for research into an app to screen for autism in the hopes that it could eventually be tweaked to look for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Developmental and trauma disorders might at first appear strange bedfellows.

The researchers and a PTSD expert for the VA say it could be an exciting new direction, though another PTSD expert is skeptical.

Facial expressions can indicate the presence of autism, PTSD and other disorders.

The Autism & Beyond app uses a smartphone camera and an algorithm to read children's facial expressions and assess their emotional responses.

A program officer in the Office of Naval Research says the app could be expanded to PTSD to monitor people over time if speech and other signals are taken into account.

RI Judiciary seeks input on probation sentencing

The Rhode Island Judiciary is asking for public comment on proposed changes to the probation sentencing rules.

The changes to the Superior Court rules and sentencing benchmarks would allow probationers to petition the court for early termination of their probation and establish a higher standard to declare someone a violator of probation.

They're in response to recommendations from Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo's working group to reform the state's criminal justice system and reduce costs arising from the high rate of recidivism.

The sentencing guidelines have already been revised to include guidance on how much probation should be imposed for a sentence.

The changes must be confirmed by the Supreme Court after a period of public comment.

Comments must be submitted to the Supreme Court by April 12.

RI lawmakers to consider GMO labeling

Rhode Island lawmakers are debating whether to require food companies to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services is set to hold a hearing on the legislation Tuesday.

The bill would require GMO labeling if four other states adopt similar laws.

Sen. Donna Nesselbush, a Pawtucket Democrat, introduced the bill.

Her bill would affect all raw and packaged food products with genetically engineered ingredients.

Vermont is set to become the first state in the country to require GMO labeling in July.

General Mills said Friday it will start nationwide labeling of products that contain genetically modified ingredients to comply with the Vermont law.

Maine and Connecticut have passed laws that require such labeling if other nearby states put one into effect.

RI lawmakers consider multiple gun law bills

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering more than a dozen bills that would either strengthen or relax gun restrictions in the state.

The House Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on weapons-related legislation Tuesday.

Two bills introduced by Democrats would block people convicted of certain domestic violence offenses from owning or buying guns.

A Democrat-backed bill would criminalize owning or selling of ammunition-feeding devices that can accept more than 10 rounds.

A Republican-sponsored bill would prohibit using state funds to enforce federal firearms rules.

Bipartisan legislation would allow for the automatic renewal of a gun permit or license. Another bipartisan bill would allow people who have concealed carry permits issued by Massachusetts, Connecticut and other states to carry concealed guns in Rhode Island.

RI Planning Division names new associate director

The Rhode Island Division of Planning has chosen a new associate director.

Department of Administration Director Michael DiBiase announced Wednesday that Parag Agrawal will begin his new role April 18.

Agrawal was most recently planning director for the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

DiBiase says Bridgeport is "a national model in sustainability and green planning."

Agrawal says he looks forward to enhancing residents' quality of life through the creation of employment, transportation and housing opportunities.

Agrawal was previously a senior planner for the Montgomery County Planning Department in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a planner for the Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning Office in Annapolis, Maryland.

He holds a master's degree in city and regional planning from Ohio State University.

Agrawal replaces former Associate Director Kevin Flynn, who retired in December.

Raimondo nominates 3 to Education Board's Council

Gov. Gina Raimondo has nominated three new members to the Rhode Island Board of Education's Council on Postsecondary Education.

The Democratic governor announced Wednesday she had selected Vivian Caruolo, Heather Crosby and Timothy DelGiudice.

Raimondo will submit their names to the Rhode Island State Senate for approval.

She says the nominees will "expand opportunities for Rhode Island families" by strengthening the state's colleges and universities.

Caruolo is a deputy at the United States Property and Fiscal Office for Rhode Island, Crosby is the founder and owner of Matheys Lane Capital Management, in Providence, and DelGiudice is a senior program manager at defense contractor Raytheon.

Caruolo, Crosby and DelGiudice would replace John Smith Jr., Kerry Rafanelli and Judith Ouellette, whose terms have ended.

Providence to allow alcohol in public during NCAA tournament

Providence is temporarily suspending its open-container law as the NCAA tournament gets underway.

The Providence Journal reports the city will allow people to walk around in public with alcohol in some places downtown and in the Federal Hill neighborhood when the tournament begins Thursday.

A mayoral spokeswoman says people may walk around with alcohol from Dorrance to Empire streets between Fountain and Washington streets from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Open containers will also be allowed on Atwells Avenue between Acorn Street and Garibaldi Square from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

NCAA rules prohibit the Dunkin' Donuts Center from selling alcohol at its March Madness basketball games Thursday and Saturday.

Thursday is also St. Patrick's Day.

Judge OKs police brutality lawsuit against Providence, RISD

A federal judge is allowing a police brutality lawsuit to move forward against the city of Providence, multiple Providence police officers and two public safety officers at the Rhode Island School of Design.

U.S. District Judge William Smith on Tuesday ruled that Luis Mendonca (men-DON'-kah) can pursue claims of malicious prosecution, assault, false imprisonment and other counts after he was beaten in 2009 while in handcuffs and left in a coma.

The beating by former Providence police Det. Robert DeCarlo was caught on video. The lawsuit singles out DeCarlo for allegedly violating Mendonca's civil rights and assault and battery.

Smith says eight total counts may proceed to trial.

DeCarlo was convicted in 2011 of assault but that was later overturned. He ultimately pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and resigned.

Don't leave them kids alone: State lawmakers target parents

Parents who fear the judgment of neighbors if they left kids alone at home or in a car now have more than a 'tsk, tsk' to worry about in Rhode Island.

State lawmakers are debating a bill that would punish parents for leaving a child under 7 years old alone in a car.

They've also proposed legislation to ban kids under 10 from being home alone and some preschoolers from going outside for recess in freezing weather.

Some parents say they've had enough and are fighting back.

Smithfield mother Rema Tomka says it's impossible to legislate parenting and common sense.

Memorial set for 8-year-old who wished to be famous in China

A candlelight memorial has been scheduled for an 8-year-old Rhode Island boy whose dying wish to become famous in China reverberated around the world.

Dorian Murray died last week. The Westerly boy had been diagnosed with a rare and untreatable form of pediatric cancer.

Dorian told his father he wanted to be famous in China before he went to heaven. His father posted the wish on Dorian's Facebook page, urging people to use the hashtag #DStrong. It spread across the globe.

People from as far away as Australia sent him photos and well wishes, along with celebrities including Justin Bieber and Conan O'Brien.

Murray's parents have invited the public to celebrate Dorian's life Sunday evening at the Westerly High School track. Attendees are asked to bring their own flameless candle.

Fans use Lovecraft's fame to promote Providence's weird side

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft's writings are trying to use the growing fame of the early 20th century fantasy-horror writer to promote Providence's weird side.

Lovecraft so identified with Rhode Island's capital city that he wrote "I am Providence" in a letter. His headstone bears the phrase. Some of Lovecraft's best-known works are set in Providence.

Tuesday marks the 79th anniversary of his death. A light rain fell as about 20 people gathered where Lovecraft's childhood house once stood for the unveiling of a marker.

The nonprofit Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council placed the marker as part of a broader effort to foster the weird fiction and art community in Providence and highlight Lovecraft and other writers and artists.

RI senators pass online voter registration

Rhode Island could soon become the 32nd state to allow online voter registration.

State senators voted 30-6 on Tuesday to pass legislation to create an online portal for electronic voter registration.

Senate Republicans voted against it.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere says they support the idea of online voter registration but want more safeguards to protect against voter fraud.

Democratic Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea used Twitter to thank the Senate for passing the measure she championed and would implement if it were law.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo also supports it. She expects to sign it into law after either the House or Senate passes the other chamber's bill and sends it to her desk.

The House voted last month to pass an identical bill.

Police capture man who escaped from holding cell

Authorities say a 34-year-old Providence man who escaped from police custody has been captured.

Michael Drepaul was caught just after 5 p.m. Tuesday on Deborah Street.

Drepaul had escaped from a Providence police holding cell about four hours earlier. He'd been arrested on charges related to a Feb. 25 shooting during a robbery at a city convenience store.

Police say the door of the cell may not have been locked shut.

It's unclear whether Drepaul faces additional charges related to the escape.

Opening statements made in Hernandez friend's murder trial

The prosecution and the defense have given opening statements in the murder trial of a friend of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez.

Ernest Wallace is charged with murder in the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park in North Attleborough. Hernandez was convicted last year of first-degree murder in Lloyd's slaying and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg said Tuesday in Fall River Superior Court that Lloyd's shooting could not have been carried out without Wallace's cooperation.

Wallace's attorney, David Meier, said his client had no idea what Hernandez planned and was not an "active participant" in Lloyd's murder.

Hernandez and Wallace are from Bristol, Connecticut. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Steve Wynn dismisses rival Massachusetts casino project

Casino mogul Steve Wynn says he doesn't care about a rival casino being developed south of Boston by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe.

Wynn made the comment Tuesday during a rare public visit to Massachusetts as the Cape Cod-based tribe pitched its own casino plan to state gambling regulators.

Wynn said he met with area mayors and lawmakers to discuss his proposed Boston-area casino, tentatively titled the Wynn Boston Harbor.

Wynn's project on the Everett waterfront had been expected to break ground this spring but has been put on hold pending a series of legal challenges.

Wynn said he had no plans to meet or negotiate with Somerville, the neighboring city challenging the state environmental permit for his $1.7 billion casino.

Gov. Raimondo open to letting voters decide to legalize pot

Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's open to the possibility of letting Rhode Island voters decide if they want to legalize recreational marijuana.

The Democrat told reporters Tuesday she's also willing to consider a marijuana legalization bill being debated by state lawmakers but says there's no need to hurry.

She says it's more important to create good regulations and properly address safety concerns than to rush ahead for the economic advantage of allowing the commercial sale of marijuana before other states.

Raimondo says she talked recently with Colorado's Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper about lessons learned since his state legalized marijuana beginning in 2014.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he's considering a non-binding referendum question for the November ballot. He says the House must first take up the current legislation.

Gas prices in RI go up another 8 cents per gallon

Gas prices this week have increased across the nation, including in Rhode Island.

AAA Northeast says its weekly survey released yesterday found the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular gas increased 8 cents from last week, up to $1.85.

Rhode Island's price is 9 cents lower the national average and 59 cents lower than the in-state price this time last year.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling in Rhode Island for as low as $1.73 and as high as $2.09 per gallon.

Prices last week increased for the first time since November.

AAA says a rebound in oil prices and refinery slowdowns have sparked an increase.

URI selects new head of school of nursing

The University of Rhode Island has named an associate dean at Boston College's nursing school to leads its own school of nursing.

Barbara Wolfe, associate dean for research and professor at the Connell School of Nursing at BC, takes over at URI this summer after a nationwide search. She succeeds Mary Sullivan, who has served as interim dean of nursing since 2012.

In addition to her work at BC, Wolfe also held faculty positions in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Wolfe calls URI's nursing school an "esteemed, thriving, and enriching community," with "exceptionally gifted students, faculty, and staff, as well as steadfast, supportive alumni."

Wolfe holds adult psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist board certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Possible norovirus outbreak at Coventry elementary school

The state Department of Health is investigating a possible outbreak of norovirus at a Coventry elementary school, after 35 percent of its students were absent last week with symptoms.

Superintendent Michael Convery said in an email to parents that more than 200 students and 10 teachers at Washington Oak Elementary were out sick Friday.

Convery said as of yesterday that the number of students who were absent due to the illness had dropped to five.

Convery says the school will likely hold off on testing students for norovirus unless there's another spike in symptoms.

Health officials say children should be free of symptoms such as fever and vomiting for at least 24 hours before they return to school.

The school was sanitized over the weekend.

Officials announce plan to improve bus service in Providence

Officials have announced a new transit corridor meant to improve rush hour bus service in parts of Providence.

The 1.4-mile "enhanced transit corridor" will connect the Providence train station to downtown, the Jewelry District and the hospital district.

The corridor would offer bus service an average of every five minutes during peak hours.

The project replaces a long-planned streetcar line, which died earlier this year.

Senator Jack Reed points out that the bus plan saves about $100 million in capital costs from not having to lay rails in the ground for a streetcar.

The bus plan will be paid for in part by a $13 million federal grant that was awarded for the streetcar. The state will pay an additional $4 million for capital costs.

Cranston police respond to ACLU over human trafficking bust

Cranston police are defending a recent human trafficking sting after the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the operation for arresting adults seeking consensual sex.

Police Chief Michael J. Winquist issued a statement yesterday saying these operations target the people who make human trafficking profitable.

He says even one arrest for human trafficking makes the operation successful.

The ACLU on Sunday issued a statement saying the operation conflated trafficking with prostitution, which harms victims and penalizes consenting adults.

A team that included federal, state and local officials conducted the operations last week in Cranston.

Seventeen people were arrested, including one woman charged with prostitution and human trafficking. Fourteen men were charged with procurement of sexual conduct for a fee.

RI officials urge residents to file taxes for free

Rhode Island officials are urging residents to use programs offered by the state and the Internal Revenue Service to file their taxes online for free.

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin held an event in Cranston on Friday to demonstrate the "Free File" programs offered by Rhode Island and the IRS.

They say they're highlighting the fact that people who earn $62,000 or less are generally eligible to use name-brand tax preparation software products to prepare and securely file their tax return online for free.

Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, says the important service ensures low- and moderate-income people receive their full refund.

The programs can be accessed at www.irs.gov/freefile and at www.tax.ri.gov , under the "E-File Income Tax."

In Atlantic salmon fight, Greenland proves a sticking point

Federal officials are outlining an ambitious plan to try to save the Atlantic salmon that they say will require cooperation from Inuit fishermen in faraway Greenland.

The salmon were once found from Long Island Sound to Canada. Their populations have cratered. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the final remnants of the wild population in U.S. waters live in a handful of rivers and streams in central and eastern Maine.

The fish leave Maine rivers for the sea in the spring, and most eventually end up off Greenland. A new report issued by NOAA says reducing Greenland's salmon fishery is critical to saving the salmon. Greenland has a salmon catch quota of 45 tons per year.

NOAA's plan also says more Maine dams need to be removed so salmon can spawn.

Top RI lawmakers deny requests for email records

A bill in the Rhode Island Senate could make the emails of state officials a public record.

Three of Rhode Island's top four lawmakers and Gov. Gina Raimondo denied a recent request by The Associated Press to disclose a week's worth of emails.

Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Democratic Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and Republican Minority Leader Brian Newberry all said it would create a chilling effect if constituents knew their emails were not confidential.

Lawmakers can voluntarily disclose emails but only Republican Senate Minority Leader Dennis Algiere did so in response to AP's request.

A Senate bill backed by open government advocates would make elected officials' emails public unless the communications have nothing to do with official functions or influence.

RI awarded $650,000 to fight opiate addiction

Rhode Island has been awarded $650,000 in federal funding to help fight opiate addiction in the state.

Rhode Island's congressional delegation recently announced the grant.

They say the money will allow East Bay Community Action and Thundermist Health Center to provide the life-saving antidote naloxone and additional resources to help treat opiate abuse and addiction.

The funding is provided by the Health Resources and Service Administration and disbursed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Rhode Island Department of Health says it identified 248 accidental drug-related overdose deaths in 2015.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted 94-1 to pass a bill that would create grants to bolster state and local programs targeted at preventing opiate addiction. Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, sponsored the measure.

Police: Man faces charges after assaulting officer

A man accused of domestic assault was arrested after police say he kicked an officer in the groin.

Officers responded to a home Saturday on Steere Avenue where a woman said 24-year-old Ross Amos had punched her repeatedly in the face and broke a ceramic plate over her head.

Police found Amos sitting in a locked car on Hyatt Street. An officer attempted to pull him out through an open window.

Police say they used pepper spray because Amos continued to resist and he kicked an officer in the groin during the struggle.

Amos faces charges of domestic felony assault, simple assault and resisting arrest.

It's unclear whether Amos has an attorney who could comment.

Hearing set for bill to allow immigrant driver's licenses

A hearing is scheduled this week on legislation that would allow the state Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver's licenses to people who are in the country illegally.

The bill will go before the House Committee on Judiciary on Tuesday.

Immigrants who apply for the special licenses would need to have lived in Rhode Island for at least two years. The licenses would be color-coded in a way that prevents them from being used as a form of identification.

Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams, of Providence, recently introduced the legislation. Sen. Frank Ciccone, a Providence Democrat, introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

Similar legislation stalled last year.

Ciccone has said he hopes this year to build on the success of a similar law that took effect in neighboring Connecticut.

Christian McBride named to lead Newport Jazz Festival

Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride has been named artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival as impresario George Wein (ween') moves to secure his legacy at the festival he founded 62 years ago.

The Newport Festivals Foundation, which also runs the Newport Folk Festival, announced on Thursday that McBride will work side-by-side with Wein and take the reins for the 2017 festival.

McBride is a bassist, composer and educator. He has played regularly at Newport for years.

The Newport Jazz Festival was the first of its kind and has hosted some of the most famous acts and memorable performances in jazz.

Wein is still actively involved in both the jazz and folk festivals at age 90 and has been moving to put them on firm footing for the future.

New England lawmakers propose seceding from Eastern Time

Some corners of the United States are proposing bold alternatives to daylight saving time as most Americans brace themselves for losing an hour of sleep this weekend.

California has a bill that would ask voters to abolish the practice of changing clocks twice a year. Lawmakers in nearly a dozen other states, from Alaska to Florida, are debating similar measures. And some lawmakers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island want to go even further, seceding from the populous Eastern Time Zone and throwing their lot in with Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico.

Rhode Island Rep. Blake Filippi hopes most of New England would join the shift to Atlantic Time, one hour east. He says nearly everyone he speaks with would prefer more evening light to first thing in the morning.

RI unemployment rate drops to 5.3 percent in January

Rhode Island's unemployment rate dropped slightly in January to 5.3 percent, down one-tenth of a percentage point from December.

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training released employment numbers for January on Thursday and says it represents the lowest unemployment rate in the state since August 2007.

The state rate is four-tenths of a percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate of 4.9 percent.

The unemployment rate in Rhode Island has fallen 1.2 percentage points since January of 2015.

The state says the number of jobs based in Rhode Island fell by 600 from December, while the number of employed residents increased by 200 during the month.

Man charged in fight over gas station customer's ethnicity

A Connecticut man has been accused of starting a fight at a gas station over a customer's ethnicity.

The Westerly Sun in Rhode Island reports that 47-year-old New London resident John Pickering is charged with driving under the influence and interfering with police.

Police say Pickering asked a man at the gas station about his ethnicity and became aggressive. The confrontation was broken up quickly with no injuries.

Officers who were called to the Shell Service Station say Pickering locked himself in his car and refused to identify himself. Police say they smelled alcohol. Pickering got out of his car after several minutes and was taken into custody.

He is scheduled to appear March 21 in New London Superior Court.

Pickering declined to comment.

Military to check for water contamination at 664 sites

The Defense Department says the military is beginning to check whether chemicals from its firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater at hundreds of sites nationwide.

The department tells The Associated Press it identified 664 of its fire or crash training sites and the services have just begun the process of evaluating those sites to assess the risk to groundwater.

California has the most, with 85, followed by Texas, with 57, Florida, with 38, and Alaska and South Carolina, each with 26.

The Navy is now giving its personnel at a landing field in Virginia bottled water and testing nearby after the discovery of perfluorinated chemicals in drinking water.

And several congressmen are raising concerns about the safety of drinking water near two former Navy bases in suburban Philadelphia.

Elderly Man Hit, Killed By Car In Warwick

An elderly man is dead after being hit by a car in Warwick.  The 83-year-old man was crossing Main Avenue yesterday morning when he was hit by a 92-year-old woman.  Police say the victim wasn't in the crosswalk.  He was taken to the hospital but died shortly after.  As of yesterday afternoon his name hadn't been released.  Criminal charges aren't expected to be filed against the driver

Man To Remain Jailed In Girlfriend's Killing

A Providence man is behind bars without bail in connection to the death of his pregnant girlfriend.  Born Smith was in court yesterday and charged with murder and arson stemming from Aliss Collins' death.  Last November, Collins was found dead in her Cranston apartment.  Smith is accused of beating the woman and setting her apartment on fire.  The victim was eight-months pregnant at the time of the incident but it's unknown if Smith was the father.

Police Searching For 4 Men In Providence Attack, Robbery

Police are searching for a group of suspects that attacked a man in Providence.  Bernabe Quex was walking along Messer Street earlier this week when he was followed by four men.  Police say one of the men grabbed his arm and asked him for his cell phone.  When he tried to get away, he was beaten and hit in the head with a gun.  The group ran away with his wallet and cell phone.  So far no suspects have been arrested but an investigation is ongoing.

Bill Banning Drivers From Using Cell Phones Gets Senate Okay

A proposal to ban cell phone use while driving is getting the green light from the Rhode Island Senate.  The bill passed yesterday and is now heading to the House for approval.  Under the ordinance, violators face a 100-dollar fine.  There are 14 states across the U.S. that already have a similar law in place - including New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut.  It's already illegal to text while driving in Rhode Island.

North Smithfield Police Cracking Down On Phone Scammers

Police in North Smithfield are hoping to put an end to telephone scams.  The North Smithfield Police Department is raising awareness about the scammers by posting notices at local businesses to inform potential victims.  The caller usually claims to be with the IRS or a law enforcement agency and will ask the person to wire money.  Anyone who thinks that they've been targeted is urged to call police.

RI Lawmakers To Consider Cyber-Harassment Bill

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal to embarrass a person online.  The proposal would target social media activity that makes a person, quote, "feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested."  If a person is found guilty of cyber-harassment under the ordinance, they may face up to a year in prison or a thousand-dollar fine.  Opponents say that if passed, it could lead to harmful, unintended consequences.

Man Accused Of Filming Teenage Girl In The Shower

A Narragansett man is accused of filming a teenage girl in the shower.  Jeffrey Sidelinger was in court yesterday after police found a small camera hidden in the bathroom of his Twin Leaf Trail home.  Police haven't released the 17-year-old victim's name but confirmed that she isn't related to the suspect.  Sidelinger is charged with voyeurism and the incident remains under investigation.

$3.5M On The Way To Rhode Island's Homeless Programs

Millions of dollars are on the way to Rhode Island to support the state's homeless programs.  A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced yesterday that three-point-five-million-dollars will go toward the state's 64-hundred homeless housing and service programs.  HUD is expected to award more grants in the spring.

Providence Fire Captain Fired For Insubordination

A Providence fire captain is out of a job.  Dennis Tucker was fired last week after a three-member trial board voted to terminate Tucker for, quote, "failure to take responsibility for his subordinates."  A public safety spokesperson says Tucker refused to take disciplinary action against firefighters who were taking advantage of the sick-time policy.  The fire captain had been with the department for 27 years.

Robert Redford To Shoot Movie Locally

Actors Robert Redford and Jason Segel will be among the Hollywood types heading to Middletown and other locations in the state for the upcoming filming of “The Discovery.”
The Rhode Island Film Office announced Tuesday that filming for the sciencefiction love story is scheduled for March and April.
A production crew is using the former Berkeley-Peckham School in Middletown as its base of operations for the film, which is directed by Charlie McDowell and also stars Rooney Mara and Nicholas Hoult.
Gov. Gina Raimondo said the state’s unique locations make it the perfect place to film a movie.
There’s no word on exactly where filming will take place, however an advance team is working to secure several locations, including a mansion in Newport, a cemetery and a medical facility.
This marks the second time in five years that one of Middletown’s former schools has been the headquarters for a Hollywood production. In 2011, Wes Anderson used the old Kennedy School on West Main Road as his base for filming “Moonrise Kingdom,” featuring Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton and Bruce Willis.

Rhode Island boy, 8, who battled with terminal cancer dies

An 8-year-old Rhode Island boy with terminal cancer who told his father he wanted to be famous in China has died.

Dorian Murray's family says he died late Tuesday night.

Dorian had a rare and untreatable form of pediatric cancer. He was diagnosed when he was 4. His treatment was stopped after cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid.

Earlier this year, the Westerly boy told his family he wanted to be famous in China before going to heaven. His father posted the wish on social media, urging people to use the hashtag #DStrong, and it spread across the globe.

Since then, Dorian received the key to the city of Cranston and state lawmakers passed a General Assembly resolution marking Jan. 20 as "#DSTRONG Day" in his honor.

Microsoft joins Rhode Island in K-12 computer science plan

Rhode Island is partnering with Microsoft and other organizations to bring computer science education to all of the state's public schools.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced the initiative Monday that taps professional engineers to volunteer to help teachers and their students learn coding skills.

A consortium that includes local universities and the tech giant's philanthropic arm will introduce new courses in elementary through high school.

Raimondo said the goal is to prepare young people for jobs in the tech-driven economy and narrow racial and gender disparities in the field.

RIDOT proposes overhauling Cumberland intersection

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is proposing an overhaul of a busy Cumberland intersection that's been flagged as potentially dangerous.

The department's proposed overhaul of the intersection of Interstate 295 and Diamond Hill Road includes adding roundabouts and doing work on several lanes and ramps.

The nearly $5 million plan would call for roundabouts to be built on either side of I-295 to accommodate the off-ramps. Slight adjustments would be made to neighboring intersections to ease the flow of traffic.

RIDOT says the area has had more than 170 crashes over a four-year period. The intersection is flagged as one of the state's top 10 intersections for "high injury potential" crashes.

The department's estimated timeline doesn't call for a final design plan until late next year.


Parents of boy with cancer start foundation in his name

The parents of an 8-year-old Rhode Island boy with terminal cancer have set up a foundation in his name.

The Dorian J. Murray Foundation is aimed at bringing awareness to childhood cancer by providing emotional and financial support to families dealing with pediatric cancer.

Dorian told his family earlier this year he wanted to be famous in China before going to heaven. His father posted the wish on social media, urging people to use the hashtag #DStrong, and it spread across the globe.

Dorian's family says his health has deteriorated and they are awaiting his "peaceful transition to heaven." His treatment was stopped after cancer cells were found in his spinal fluid.

The family is now focused on spending Dorian's last days by his side.


Man Tased In Providence After Traffic Stop

A man is accused of attacking an officer in Providence during a routine traffic stop.  Police say after a car was pulled over on Whittier Avenue Sunday night a man jumped out of the passenger's side and ran off.  The patrolman followed him, but the suspect refused to listen to the officer's commands.  A police sergeant arrived shortly after and saw the man fighting with the patrolman, causing him to Tase the suspect.  The officer was hospitalized and treated for minor injuries.

Governor Unveils Plan To Expand Computer-Science Classes

Governor Gina Raimondo is hoping every public school in the state will begin offering computer-science classes.  Raimondo announced a plan yesterday so that every campus is on track to offer the courses by the end of next year.  Currently, only one-percent of public high schools are offering computer-science programs.  The state Department of Labor and Training revealed that there will be four-thousand computer-related jobs in the state by 2022.

Westerly Officer Caught Sleeping In Cruiser, Picture Goes Viral

A photo of a Westerly police officer caught sleeping in his cruiser is going viral on social media.  The officer was working an overnight shift when he was spotted snoozing behind the wheel near Canal Street and Industrial Drive.  Police Chief Edward St. Clair released a statement yesterday saying the officer has his full support.  The officer's name hasn't been released and the issue is being dealt with internally.

Suspects In Middletown Death To Remain Behind Bars

Two suspects are in prison without bail for allegedly killing a man in Middletown.  Todd Sullo and Lavern Price were in court yesterday and charged with murder and conspiracy.  The pair was arrested last week in Connecticut after Mark Lussier was found dead at the Quality Inn in Middletown.  The victim was found in a bathtub and investigators believe he had been there for hours before he was found. 

Police Searching For Drive-By Shooting Suspect In Providence

Police are searching for the person responsible for shooting a man in Providence.  Police were called to a home near Pearl and Clifford streets on Sunday night after a bullet went through a man's living room wall.  The man was struck in the wrist and hospitalized with minor injuries.  A police spokesperson says the suspect is believed to be driving a silver sedan.  An investigation is ongoing.

Local groups awarded grants for access to historic records

 The Rhode Island Foundation has awarded more than $28,000 in grants to promote public access to historic records.

The foundation says the grants are from a fund created by philanthropist Herman Rose in 1986.

Among those awarded the funds include groups working to document African-American history, expand library services and document local histories in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence will use its grant to digitize architectural drawings related to the construction of the Providence Athenaeum and Arcade by 19th-century architect Russell Warren.

Other projects include creating recordings of long-time Latino residents for a Latino oral history collection, preserving objects for display at Glocester's 18th-century farmhouse the Dr. Reuben Mason House and converting video tapes to DVD at the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol.


ACLU wants officials to rescind anti-panhandling ordinance

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island wants Providence officials to rescind an anti-panhandling ordinance that's not being enforced.

Mayor Jorge Elorza recently agreed to suspend enforcement of the prohibition after the ACLU sent him a letter in January calling for the change.

The ACLU says they want the ordinance rescinded, but city officials say stopping enforcement is "sufficient."

The ordinance was passed in 2002 and prohibits certain forms of "aggressive solicitation" in public spaces including parking lots, highways and streets. The ACLU raised concerns over whether the ordinance was constitutional and impacted the rights of the poor and homeless.

The ACLU argued that the ordinance prevents the homeless population from earning a living.


Rhode Island Seeking Unpaid Fines

The Rhode Island court system is cracking down on people who have overdue fines and fees.  The "Providence Journal" reports that court officials have made a mass mailing to people who collectively owe the state 81-million dollars.  People who have outstanding fines have 30 days to pay up or have their names and city of residence published on the judiciary website.  Rhode Island's Traffic, District and Superior Courts are owed more than 113-million dollars related to criminal cases, but the current collection effort is focused on fines that have been due for more than 90 days.

Father, Teen Crash Land Plane After RI Visit

A father and daughter are lucky to be alive after their plane crashed on the way back from Rhode Island.  Officials say Louis Obergh and his daughter, Rachel, were returning from the University of Rhode Island when they went down in an industrial park in Hauppauge.  The plane crashed after the father said it started experiencing an engine-related problem.  The FAA is looking into the cause of the accident.

NY Man Charged With Child Molestation

A New York man is being formally charged with molesting two young girls in Cranston.  Jonathan Phillips was indicted yesterday on child molestation charges in connection to the incidents that allegedly took place from 2011 to 2013.  He's expected to return to court later this month. 

Rhode Island Lawmakers To Consider Cellphone And Driving Ban

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are considering a bill that would ban drivers from using their cellphones.  The legislation would make it illegal for people to use their phones while behind the wheel.  The Senate is expected to consider the proposal this Wednesday.  Similar laws are already in place in 14 states, including New Hampshire and Vermont.

Police Release Names Of Siblings Killed In Pawtucket Car Crash

Police are releasing the names of two siblings who died in a Pawtucket car accident.  Police say Derrick Joslyn and his sister, Tiffany Joslyn, were driving in a car with Derrick's wife when they were struck by another car on I-95 Saturday afternoon.  Their car rolled and was hit by a van.  Three other people were hospitalized with minor injuries.  It's unknown if charges are being filed, but an investigation is ongoing.

Car crashes into Pawtucket business

A car crashed into a building in Pawtucket Thursday.

The crash took place on Smithfield Avenue at the Star 67 lounge, with the car damaging the lower part of a concrete wall.

The driver waited for police to arrive.

Crews at the scene said no one was injured.

It is unknown what caused the crash at this time.

2 Arrested In Middletown Hotel Homocide Case

After a high-speed chase on route 95 in Connecticut, police arrested two individuals allegedly connected to a homicide that occurred at the Quality Inn, located at 936 West Main Road, Middletown.

Police responded to the hotel shortly before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 for a reported "suspicious death" and found the body of 51-year-old Mark J. Lussier of South Carolina partially submerged in the bathtub.  

“Due to the condition of Mr. Lussiers body, it appeared that he had been in the tub for several hours,” said Middletown Lt. Jason Ryan in a prepared statement.

After an autopsy pointed to foul play, police issued an arrest warrant for Lavern Price, 49, of 102 Park Holm Newport and Todd Sullo, 41, of 80 Robbins St. Providence.
“With the assistance of the Providence Police Department and the U.S. Marshalls Office, it was determined that they were in New York City,” said Ryan.

A member of the Middletown Police Department assigned to the US Marshalls Fugitive Apprehension Unit, along with other unit members and the Connecticut State Police, were able to track the suspects as they left New York City in Lussier’s vehicle. The Connecticut State Police attempted to stop the vehicle near exit 60 on route 95,  which eventually led to the suspects crashing their car and they were arrested.

Officials seeking to collect $81M in delinquent court fees

The Rhode Island Judiciary wants to collect more than $81 million in unpaid court fees.

Judiciary spokesman Craig Berke says the state sent out 276,000 letters this week to residents in an attempt to settle past-due bills.

Berke says $113.2 million is owed to the traffic, superior and district courts, but $81 million is delinquent. He says lawmakers asked the judiciary to request the money.

A resident claimed that he paid his fee more than 20 years ago but still received a letter. Berke says court personnel will have to look up the individual case for anyone who wants to contest their fee.

The House Judiciary Committee chair and vice chair didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Cranston residents fed up with trash at private cemetery

Rhode Island residents with loved ones buried in a privately-owned Cranston cemetery say they're fed up with the trash piling up near the headstones.

One headstone at Oakland Cemetery was completely buried in trash and there is broken glass and fallen tree limbs everywhere.

John Santosuossa says he takes his 8-year-old daughter to visit her mother's gravesite, and calls the mess "disgusting."

He says the cemetery's owner, Russell Dodd, does not return phone calls. City officials say they can't reach Dodd either and there's little they can do because the cemetery is privately owned.

Dodd previously said he can't afford to clean the cemetery and blamed the mess on people who go there to grieve.

The city is hoping volunteers step up to clean the mess.

RI General Assembly passes Tiverton casino bill

Worried that casinos built in Massachusetts will draw away money, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed a bill Thursday to put a proposed Tiverton casino on the November ballot.

The bill seeks voter approval for building a casino and 84-room hotel just yards from the Massachusetts border that would replace the aging Newport Grand.

The State Senate voted 33-2 to pass the legislation Thursday. The House of Representatives approved it with a 69-4 vote on Wednesday.

Its passage in both chambers sent the bill late Thursday to Gov. Gina Raimondo, who said in a statement she supports the measure as a way of keeping the state competitive and creating jobs. She has a week to sign it.

If voters in Tiverton and statewide approve the casino in November, the state would get 15.5 percent of proceeds from table games and 61 percent from video machines. The town of Tiverton, which has fewer than 16,000 people, would also keep a portion and be guaranteed at least $3 million a year, with the state picking up for any shortfall.

Navy Band Northeast to perform concert


Navy Band Northeast will perform as a part of the Navy Band Northeast’s Chamber Music Concert Series on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Ochre Court.
The concert will feature a variety of small ensembles that will perform works by Verdi, Copland, Ewazen, Rutter, Sousa and more. The ensembles include a Trumpet Quartet, Trombone Quartet, Woodwind Trio and various other woodwind and brass combinations.
For more information, call 841-2506 or visit www.usnwc. edu.


2018 Volvo Newport Stopover Dates Set

The Volvo Ocean Race announced Wednesday that the race’s next stopover in the city will take place between May 8 and May 20, 2018. The racing yachts are expected to arrive here from Brazil between May 8 and 10.
The boats will leave Newport on May 20 for the trans-Atlantic crossing to Cardiff, Wales, the first stopover in the United Kingdom in 12 years, Volvo also announced on Wednesday. Cardiff, the capital and largest city of Wales, has been chosen for the first time as a Volvo Ocean Race stopover.
Volvo formally announced in October at the Statehouse in Providence that the race would be coming to the state in May 2018 for the second time, after a successful stopover for the boats in May 2015.

Once again, Newport will be the only North American stopover on the round-the-world sailing race.


AG sues breast milk jeweler, says it owes $10k to customers

The Rhode Island attorney general is taking legal action against a company that makes jewelry from breast milk.

Several people filed complaints last summer against MommyMilk Creations, with some saying they had been waiting nearly two years for products.

Director of the Consumer Protection Unit Martha Crippen says  that authorities are still receiving complaints.

The attorney general's office last month filed a lawsuit against the company and its owner, Allicia Mogavero, asking her to refund customers' money.

Crippen says Mogavero still owes approximately $10,000 to more than 100 customers from all over the country.

The company has 20 days to respond to the suit. Mogavero did not respond to the station's requests for comment.


Dump truck fire at city building ruled arson

The state Fire Marshal's Office says a dump truck fire at the Pawtucket Department of Public Works has been ruled arson.

The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday on Armistice Boulevard.

Investigators say someone cut a hole into a surrounding fence and used gasoline to set fire to a parked dump truck.

The fire caused between $125,000 and $175,000 in damage. The investigation continues.


House passes Tiverton casino bill

The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would put a proposal to build a Tiverton casino to a statewide vote.

The House voted 96-4 on Wednesday in favor of making it the first question on the November ballot.

A Senate committee also voted on Wednesday to move the same bill forward.

Casino operator Twin River Management Group wants to build the casino near the Massachusetts border to replace its aging Newport Grand. The state and the town of Tiverton would get some of the gambling proceeds.

State and Tiverton voters must approve the casino.

House Finance Chairman Raymond Gallison, a Bristol Democrat, says lawmakers are moving quickly in hopes of countering two competing casino proposals in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Senate is schedule to vote on the legislation today.


Middletown Teachers, schools set date for mediation

Middletown teachers and school district negotiators are scheduled to meet with a mediator on March 17 to discuss a new contract.
According to the Newport Daily News, Superintendent Rosemarie  Kraeger and union President Lisa Wood confirmed the date with mediator Vincent Ragosta on Tuesday. It is seen as a positive step in the stalled talks to avoid the costly and involved arbitration process.
The last time the two sides met at the negotiating table was in mid-January.


RI Senate mulls ban on caffeine powder for minors

The Rhode Island Senate is set to decide whether to ban the sale of powdered caffeine to minors.

Lawmakers were scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday but postponed it to Wednesday.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, of Central Falls, says pure caffeine products are as dangerous as alcohol and shouldn't be sold to people under 18. Crowley sponsored the bill.

She cites the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which advises consumers not to use powdered caffeine.

The FDA says two young men in Ohio and Georgia died after using the product. Ohio has since outlawed it.

The FDA says that one teaspoon has as much caffeine as 28 cups of coffee.

The Rhode Island Senate recently voted to ban the sale of powdered alcohol and vapor alcohol.


House committee approves sending casino question to voters

The House Finance Committee has provided the first of several approvals to put a question about a proposed Tiverton casino on the November ballot.

The committee unanimously approved the bill on Tuesday.

The General Assembly is scheduled to vote this week on sending the question to voters.

The legislation would guarantee at least $3 million each year to Tiverton if the casino is built.

Tiverton is located near the Massachusetts border and has a population of fewer than 16,000.

Casino operator Twin River Management Group wants to build the 85,000-square-foot casino and hotel complex to replace its aging Newport Grand after Newport voters rejected a proposed expansion.

The legislation could go to a full vote in both chambers by the end of the week.


Driver, 4 passengers hospitalized after RIPTA bus crash

Authorities say an investigation is underway after a Rhode Island Public Transit Authority bus crash in downtown Providence sent five people to the hospital.

Police say the bus was traveling north on Francis Street when it struck a light pole near the Amtrak station around 2:10 p.m. Tuesday.

RIPTA spokeswoman Barbara Polichetti says four passengers and the driver were hospitalized after the crash. She says the injuries don't appear to be serious.

Polichetti says speed doesn't appear to have played a role in the crash. Police say the driver of the bus appeared to have been in normal physical condition at the time of the incident. No chemical test for alcohol or drugs was given.


Portsmouth man, 20, dies after car hits tree

Police say a 20-year-old man is dead after a single-car crash in Portsmouth.

Police say the Portsmouth man was driving south on Turnpike Avenue on Tuesday night when his car crossed the double yellow lines and struck a tree on the opposite side of the roadway.

He was taken to St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River where he was pronounced dead. Police declined to identify the man Tuesday night, however, The Newport Daily News  reports that friends and former Portsmouth High School classmates identified him as Raymond Oliver.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Northeastern Governors Coalition taps Baker, Raimondo

Massachusetts Gov. has been elected chairman of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors, and Rhode Island Gov. has been elected vice chairwoman.

Members of the coalition unanimously approved the governors last week during its annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

Baker, a Republican, said in a statement Monday he'll continue to tackle the opioid and heroin epidemics and transportation and energy issues that affect the Northeast region.

Raimondo, a Democrat, says she looks forward to working with Baker on key issues including modernizing the region's transportation infrastructure.

Amtrak's operations in the Northeast corridor were a focus of the coalition's meeting.


More than 30 arrested in Woonsocket drug sting

Authorities say a nearly yearlong investigation into drug trafficking in Woonsocket has led to the arrest of more than 30 people.

Woonsocket's acting Police Chief Capt. Michael Lemoine said Monday that authorities focused on the Veterans Memorial housing complex, with police and federal agents buying illegal drugs more than 60 times during "Operation Zero Tolerance."

Authorities say it began last year and they seized more than 350 grams of crack cocaine, about 25 grams of heroin and about 5 grams of fentanyl, a substance that's 50 times more potent than heroin.

Eleven of the suspects are residents of the housing complex. Twenty-nine people have been arraigned in Providence on charges including delivering a controlled substance and conspiracy.


Care N.E. to cut services, jobs at Memorial Hospital

Care New England has announced plans to scale back services at Memorial Hospital.

The hospital announced Monday that it will eliminate a number of positions as well as its maternity ward and intensive care unit.

Care New England Spokeswoman Susan McDonald told WJAR-TV the company doesn't know how many jobs will be eliminated or which departments will see cuts.

Care New England CEO Dennis Keefe says the Affordable Care Act, the hospital surplus in Rhode Island and the flagging inpatient income at Memorial are reasons for the restructuring. Keefe says the ACA's emphasis on preventive care rather than hospital stays forces facilities to be more streamlined.

Care New England took over Memorial in 2013.

The union that represents nurses at the hospital is opposed to the changes.


Rhode Island gas prices down again

 Rhode Island gasoline prices have fallen for the 13th consecutive week.

AAA Northeast said Monday that its weekly survey found self-serve, regular selling for an average of $1.74 per gallon, 2 cents lower than last week.

Rhode Island's price is a penny lower than the national average and 63 cents lower than the price at this time last year.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as $1.64 and as high as $1.84 per gallon.


Some RIPTA fares rising Tuesday

Rhode Island bus fares are on the rise.

The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is reminding passengers that some fares are rising on Tuesday.

The base cash fare for a one-way trip will remain $2, but transfer tickets, seven-day passes and monthly passes have increased.

A transfer ticket is doubling from 50 cents to $1; a seven-day pass will increase from $23 to $25; and the monthly pass is jumping from $62 to $70.

RIPTA CEO Raymond Studley says the bus network has not had fare increases since 2010.



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