Steve Conti
Steve Conti
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1540 Updates Archives for 2018-05

State 911 System Disrupted

A technical glitch in Rhode Island's E-911 system led to a 45-minute outage. State police say the difficulties occurred Wednesday morning between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Thirty-six people tried to call 911 while the system was disrupted. The operators could hear the callers, but the callers couldn't hear the person responding. The operators were able to use caller ID to call them back from a landline and assist them.

RI Reports Spike In Drug Overdoses

Rhode Island's Department of Health has issued an alert of an increase in the number of drug overdoses statewide. The agency says nearly 50 percent more overdoses were reported the week of May 21 to 27 than a typical week. On the average week, hospitals report 29 overdoses. Last week, there were 44 reported, none of which were fatal. A spokesman says this is the first statewide alert. The system keeps first responders and policymakers appraised of overdose activity

Rhode Island Teacher Of The Year Announced

A sixth-grade science and social studies teacher has been named Rhode Island's Teacher of the Year. Charlene Tuttle was presented the award at a surprise ceremony at The Lawn School in Jamestown Wednesday morning. In her time at the Lawn School she has created a program to help students build underwater vehicles, ran an after-school coding program and worked with Roger Williams University to study the environment.

Deepwater Wind Reveals Details About Impact Of Wind Farm

Deepwater Wind is releasing the numbers it says will be generated by a new wind project in federally leased ocean space.  The Providence-based company announced yesterday that the Revolution Wind project could result in as many as eight-hundred construction jobs, and that Deepwater will invest 250-million dollars locally on the project, including 40-million dollars for ports.  Deepwater officials say they will not seek or receive any state tax incentives or credits.  The state announced it was purchasing four-hundred megawatts of electricity from a Deepwater wind farm near Martha's Vineyard.

Man Pleads Guilty To Bank Account Fraud

A Providence man accused of stealing personal banking information of several people and using it to access their accounts is pleading guilty to federal bank fraud and identity theft charges.  Jamal Mansaray admitted to fraudulently obtaining a total of 74-thousand dollars, according to the U.S. Justice Department.  The Providence Police Department began an investigation that pointed to Mansaray after someone tried to cash a check drawn on an account belonging to a retired Providence firefighter last September.  Mansaray is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in August.

Overnight I-95 Closures Coming Soon

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is announcing the schedule for the closure and rehabilitation of the Pine Street Bridge in Pawtucket.  RIDOT says the structurally deficient bridge is being supported by wooden timbers and must be completely replaced.  The bridge, which carries northbound traffic over the Interstate 95 corridor, will close on Sunday night, June 10th and will remain closed for four months.  

Dip In I-195 Causes Traffic Troubles

Miles-long traffic backups were the reality for motorists on Route 195 eastbound on Wednesday. RIDOT tweeted at around 12:30 p.m. that the traffic was due to an area of settled pavement in East Providence, which also caused delays to pop up on I-95 north and south, Route 6 and 10 inbound and Route 146.  The transportation department says all lanes have been re-opened, and the depression in the highway was likely related to an old utility patch. 

Several Bills Headed To Governor's Desk

The Rhode Island General Assembly is passing bills focusing on revenge porn and sextortion, public school safety and the banning of advertising of unhealthy food in schools.  The revenge porn bill is a compromise between the General Assembly, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and Governor Gina Raimondo after Raimondo vetoed similar legislation in 2016.  The school safety bill creates the Rhode Island School Safety Committee and requires school districts to conduct safety assessments every three years.  The unhealthy food law would forbid the advertising of food that does not meet the minimum nutritional standards set forth by the USDA under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

RI Gas Prices Approaching $3 Per Gallon

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up another four cents per gallon.AAA Northeast says Tuesday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.99 per gallon.That's three cents above the national average of $2.96. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 65 cents higher than it was a year ago.AAA found gas in the state selling for as low as $2.78 per gallon to as high as $3.19.AAA Northeast Senior Vice President Lloyd Albert says there is hope for lower prices because reports indicate that OPEC may raise production levels to help ease global supply concerns.Motorists are paying the highest prices to fill up since 2014.

Gina Raimondo Formally Announces Bid For Second Term

Governor Gina Raimondo is making her re-election bid official.  The state's first woman governor posted an announcement about her campaign on social media yesterday.  Raimondo says Rhode Island's economy has greatly improved during her first term.

Survey Indicates Worsening Feeling From Parents On Student Safety

A new survey commissioned by the Rhode Island Department of Education is reflecting how parents feel about school violence.  The survey, details of which were shared on Tuesday, notes that there was a nine-percent decrease from 2017 in the number of parents who responded positively in the school safety category, according to the department.  About 119-thousand students, teachers and parents responded to the annual study. 

Senate Passes Legislation Mandating Harsher Sentences For Drug Dealers

The Rhode Island Senate is passing a bill which allows for a sentence of up to life in prison to be the penalty for dealing drugs that result in a fatal overdose.  "Kristen's Law" was filed at the request of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin in honor of Kristen Coutu, who died from a fentanyl overdose in 2014.  Opponents, including 15 organizations that signed on to a letter sent to lawmakers last week, believe the bill will actually make it more difficult to fight the opioid crisis.  Following a 22-to-11 Senate vote, the bill now moves on to the House.

House Speaker Supportive Of New PawSox Stadium Plan

Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is indicating that he will now support a revised bill for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Mattiello told reporters on Tuesday that he expects House leaders to introduce the amended Senate bill on Thursday, which he says will remove the state safety net from local borrowing for the stadium.  The same stadium cost-sharing agreement would be kept from the Senate bill, which would have the PawSox pay 45-million dollars, and the state and Pawtucket would pay 38-million.  Mattiello had previously resisted the stadium plan out of stated concern for its impact on taxpayers. 

Bomb Threat Investigation At Portsmouth High School

No bombs were found at Portsmouth High School on Tuesday after authorities responded to a reported threat.  Students were evacuated at around 1:30 p.m. and kept at the school's football stadium for over an hour.  Police are now investigating the origin of the threat.

Seasonal Block Island Coast Guard Station Opens

The Coast Guard Station on Block Island is open for the season.  The station has 29-foot response boats and crews available around-the-clock.  The stations' crews are responsible for search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and recreational boating safety missions.

Stormy Daniels Tour Hits Providence

Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who says she was paid to stay quiet about an alleged affair with President Trump, is coming to Providence.  The Cadillac Lounge tweeted over the weekend that Daniels will be at the Providence adult entertainment club on Sunday, June 24th, and will perform two shows.  Daniels has been touring clubs across the country this year following revelations about the alleged affair.

Cranston In Front Of Warwick For Second-Most Populated City

Cranston is now ahead of Warwick for the title of second-largest city in Rhode Island, according to the newest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  As of July 1st, 2017, Cranston had 81-thousand-202 people, versus 80-thousand-871 for Warwick.  The mayor of the latter city, Joseph Solomon, said in a press statement on Friday that the change is a direct result of continued expansion at T.F. Green Airport.  Providence remains number one with an estimated population of just over 180-thousand.

Sting Serenades Brown Grads

Brown University graduates got a song from the artist Sting during the school's 250th commencement on Sunday.  Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, belted out the ballad "My One and Only Love" before receiving an honorary degree, along with his wife, Trudie Styler, for their activist work in saving rainforests.  Brown says over 27-hundred students earned their degrees this past weekend.

Rhode Island Ferry Loses Power

A Rhode Island ferry is back in service after losing power near Martha's Vineyard over the holiday weekend. The "Ava Pearl", a vessel from Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry in North Kingstown, had to be towed to Tisbury with 75 passengers on board early Sunday night. No injuries were reported. The company's owner tells the "Vineyard Gazette" there was a problem with the ship's emergency stop button in a preliminary review.

Rhode Island Veterans Celebrate Memorial Day

Memorial Day ceremonies took place across Rhode Island on Monday.  Governor Gina Raimondo participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter.  Over a dozen parades were held throughout the state.  A service for the more than 17-hundred Rhode Islanders named on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument will be held in Providence on Wednesday morning. 

State House Speaker Calls For Dems Budget Caucus

State House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is calling for a caucus of his chamber's Democrats to talk about the proposed 2018 - 2019 budget today.  It is reported the group will talk about budget priorities this afternoon.  Governor Gina Raimondo released her original nine-point-four-billion-dollar budget proposal in January that called for a 250-million-dollar commitment to school repairs and authorizing sports betting to increase revenue. 

Quarry Owner To Meet With Westerly Officials

The owner of a quarry in Westerly is going to meet with town officials there today.  Chunks of granite from a scheduled blast pelted a public works truck, parked cars and three buildings last Wednesday.  The interim town manager says procedures and best practices will be discussed at the meeting.  Putnam, Connecticut-based Rawson Material bought the quarry in March.  

RIDOT Will Process Claims For Damaged Vehicles

The state Department of Transportation is going to process claims from vehicles damaged  last Friday morning in Warwick.  As many as 18 vehicles were disabled after going over loose steel plates on the bridge that carries Route 4 north over I-95.  RIDOT says the contractor is insured to cover the cost of the claims.  The damage was primarily flat tires.  

Website: Chafee Run For Office Is Off Again

According to the website, Lincoln Chafee’s on-again, off-again run for office in 2018 is now over. In late April, the former United States Senator and Governor of Rhode Island Chafee told GoLocalProv that he would challenge Sheldon Whitehouse in the Democratic primary for United States Senate in September. Last night, Chafee the website that he would not be seeking elective office in 2018.

Veteran State Senator Not Seeking Re-Election

State Senator Paul Fogarty is not running for another term.  The 61-year-old Glocester Democrat has served in the Senate since 1998.  Earlier this year Fogarty's brother, former Lieutenant Governor Charlie Fogarty, announced he'll retire as the state's director of elderly affairs at the end of June.

Seasonal Providence-Newport Ferry Starts Today

Today marks the start of seasonal ferry service between Providence and Newport.  State and local officials will be on hand for the 2018 maiden voyage of the ferry, which will depart from the Providence terminal on India Street at 12:30 p.m.  Ferry service will be offered through Columbus Day weekend.  More information is available online at

Date For Opening Of Tiverton Casino & Hotel

The opening date for the Tiverton Casino and Hotel is now September 1st, a month earlier than previously expected.  The Twin River property will feature one-thousand slots, 32 table games, 84 guest rooms, food and beverage amenities.  Located just off Route 24 near the Massachusetts border, the Tiverton location replaces Newport Grand.

Hurricane Season Predicted To Be A Bit Calmer This Year

NOAA is predicting a near or above-normal hurricane season this year in the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean.  In its forecast released on Thursday, the weather service says ten to 16 named storms are expected, five to nine of which are going to be hurricanes, and one to four will become a Category Three or higher storm.  Hurricane season officially starts on June 1st.

Air Quality Alert In Effect For Rhode Island

An Air Quality Alert is in effect in Rhode Island today.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is issuing the alert for potentially unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone.  The alert is in effect from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Law Enforcement Ready To Enforce New Hands-Free Driver Law

Rhode Island police officers are reminding motorists that a new law mandating hands-free driving is starting next Friday.  A press conference was held at an I-95 overpass in Providence on Thursday for a discussion about how the new law will be enforced.  Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association President and Central Falls Police Chief James Mendonca is urging drivers to make arrangements now to go hands-free. 

Two Gun Control Bills Passed By State Senate

The state Senate is passing two gun control bills.  The "red flag" law allows a judge to issue a protection order against gun owners who are deemed an extreme risk.  The other bill bans bump stocks.  Both pieces of legislation now move on to the Rhode Island House.

Amended Speed Camera Legislation Passes House

A bill affecting the new speed camera program in Providence is passing the state House.  The bill reduces the cost of an initial violation from 95 to 50-dollars, requires increased signage for speed zones and reduces the hours of operation for the cameras.  The original legislation had a tiered fined system, which was amended on Thursday. The Senate will next consider the legislation. 

Men Seeking Priesthood On Decline

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence says no men have applied for its seminary program in the fall. The Rev. Chris Murphy says it's rare that there are no new applicants to Our Lady of Providence Seminary, but the church is not in crisis mode. He said Tuesday they are looking at new ways to reach men who may be thinking about priesthood. Four priests in the Providence Diocese are scheduled to retire this year. One man will be ordained into the priesthood in June

Hospital Chain Says It's Sold

One of Rhode Island's largest hospital chains has signed an agreement to sell itself to Boston-based Partners HealthCare pending regulatory approval. Care New England first announced its intent to sell to Partners more than a year ago. On Wednesday, the company said it is preparing regulatory filings and is ready to move forward with the deal. Details of the agreement were not made available.

Ocean Race Attendance: Over 100K Flocked To Newport This Month

Details are being shared regarding the number of people who attended the stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race in Newport this month.  Over 100-thousand people came to Fort Adams State Park over the nearly two weeks of festivities and about eight-thousand people showed up on the day the competing boats arrived from Brazil, according to Sail Newport officials.  There were also nearly 900 volunteers.  Racers departed Newport on Sunday for the next leg of the race, which will finish in Wales.

Pawtucket Bringing In Developer

The city of Pawtucket is bringing on a development consultant as part of its efforts to get a new baseball stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  The Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency on Wednesday voted to bring on Sterling Project Development to assist in the preparation for development around the proposed ballpark at Slater Mill and throughout the downtown district.  House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said last week that there's still a chance for a deal for a new PawSox stadium, but had previously rejected a Senate-passed plan for the state's share in the 83-million-dollar project.

Senate Passes Foreclosure Mediation Act Extension

The state Senate is approving legislation to add five years to the life of an expiring law that affects homeowners facing foreclosure.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Harold Metts, extends a July 1st sunset provision in a 2013 law requiring mortgage lenders to offer mediation to those homeowners in an effort to prevent it.  The action on Wednesday comes just two days after Attorney General Peter Kilmartin held a press conference urging lawmakers to pass the extension.  The legislation moves to the House, where there is a companion bill. 

RI-Based Deepwater To Operate New Wind Farm

A surprise announcement is being made by Rhode Island regarding a new offshore wind farm.  Deepwater Wind, which was one of the three hopefuls competing for a renewable energy contract with Massachusetts, didn't get that bid on Wednesday but got a consolation prize of sorts: a 400-megawatt project commissioned by the Ocean State in the same general area of federally leased ocean space.  The new farm will be ten times the size of the Block Island wind farm, which Rhode Island-based Deepwater manages.  The next step will be to enter negotiations with National Grid, which will submit a proposed contract to the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission for review.

Westerly Workers Injured In Quarry Blast

Two workers in Westerly were injured during a planned quarry blasting on Wednesday.  The blast was bigger than expected and the workers were hit by debris, which also damaged several buildings, according to town officials.  The state bomb squad is investigating.  One worker has already been released from Westerly Hospital, while the other was taken to Rhode Island hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

RI State Police Announce Motorcycle Gang Bust

Forty-nine people are under arrest after a year-long investigation of motorcycle gangs operating in northwestern Rhode Island.  State police said on Wednesday that 53 illegal guns and a large quantity of marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin were seized in connection to the arrests, which were conducted without incident in a series of predawn raids. A state police spokesperson says the investigation started after detectives learned some of the most violent biker gangs in the country were establishing local chapters. 

Leaders Urge Sale Of Troubled Hospital

Local leaders are urging the owner of the shuttered Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket to consider an offer from another company to buy and reopen the hospital. The letter was sent to Care New England by state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley and the mayors of Pawtucket, Cumberland and Central Falls. CharterCare Health Partners announced a proposal last month to buy the hospital. At the time, Care New England said it was skeptical about the offer's feasibility.

Boil Water Order At URI Conference Center

There's a precautionary one-minute boil water order at the Whispering Pines Conference Center at URI's W. Alton Jones Campus in West Greenwich.  Bottled water can be used as an alternative.  The state Department of Health says the precaution is necessary because the water system lost pressure, which means there's a risk of contamination with bacteria such as E. coli and other organisms.  The advisory will remain in effect until the system is disinfected and testing shows satisfactory bacteria results.

One Bridge Opening, Another Closing In E. Providence

The Potter Street Bridge in East Providence is scheduled to reopen next Tuesday.  It's been closed since mid-March for repair work.  When the Potter Street Bridge reopens, the nearby Purchase Street Bridge will be closed up to four months for repair work.  It's all part of the state Department of Transportation's multi-bridge project in East Providence.  

Drug Court Magistrate To Discus Opioid Crisis

Drug Court Magistrate John Flynn is going to be at the State House Thursday afternoon to discuss Rhode Island's opioid crisis.  He'll brief members of the House on the court's efforts to deal with the epidemic.  Several bills designed to address the health crisis are pending in the General Assembly.   

Another Cianci Is Running For Political Office In Providence

Steven Cianci, a cousin of former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci, is running for Providence City Council. Steven Cianci made a formal announcement on Tuesday. He is challenging Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan in Ward 5. 

Man Accused Of Selling Fraudulent Immigration And SS Documents

The U.S. Justice Department says a Providence man has been arrested for allegedly creating and selling fraudulent immigration and social security documents using stolen personal information. Eufemio Aguilar, a Mexican national who has a pending application for lawful resident status, has appeared in federal court and is being detained on a criminal complaint related to the matter, according to prosecutors. Aguilar is accused of creating and selling the fraudulent federal government documents since at least last August. 

ICE Criticized During Immigration Lawsuit Hearing

A federal court hearing is scheduled to stretch into a second day on Wednesday for a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's immigration policy impacting married couples. Lillian Calderon of Providence, who is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU suit, was arrested and detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when she began the citizenship process earlier this year. She is married to a naturalized citizen. During Tuesday's hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf told regional ICE director Thomas Brophy that immigration officials broke the law when they arrested illegal immigrants like Calderon earlier this year.    

Coast Guard Says Owner Of Unmanned Kayak Located

The U.S. Coast Guard says the owner of a kayak that was found off the coast of Warwick on Tuesday has been found. The Coast Guard began a search for a person in the water after someone reported the kayak drifting near Conimicut Point Beach. The Coast Guard shared the update yesterday at around 4 p.m. on social media, after the call for the adrift kayak came in at around 7 a.m.  

Only One Taker To Run RI Gambling Business

The Rhode Island Lottery says only one company submitted a bid to run the state's sports betting business. Lottery spokesman Paul Grimaldi tells The Providence Journal IGT was the only company to put in a proposal to run sports betting at Twin River Casino in Lincoln and a casino that will open soon in Tiverton. Grimaldi says IGT's submission has been sent to the Technical Review Committee within the Lottery for approval.

RI Gas Prices Up For Holiday Travelers

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up another five cents per gallon ahead of the holiday weekend. AAA Northeast says Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.95 per gallon. That's three cents high than the national average. The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 64 cents higher than it was a year ago. As Memorial Day approaches, and despite rising gas prices, about 1.7 million New Englanders are expected to travel by car.

Job Fair Today In Providence

There's a free job fair today from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Roger Williams Park Casino.  Fifty employers will be recruiting applicants at the fair which will also provide a professional career coach, resume assistance, printing, copying, interview tips and on-site childcare.  State Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell organized the fair in response to the link between joblessness, poverty and gun violence.  The Providence Democrat says every step taken toward reducing poverty is a step toward a safer future for communities.

Senate Finance Committee Meets Twice This Week

The Senate Finance Committee is meeting twice this week.  Today  the committee will hear a presentation from Education Commissioner Ken Wagner and discuss follow-up information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  On Thursday, more than a dozen tax-related bills will be considered by the committee.   

State Announces Partnership With Several Companies

The state is entering into partnerships with four companies that will bring two-thousand-permanent jobs, more than one-thousand construction jobs and 800-million-dollars in private development to Rhode Island.  The state Commerce  Corporation on Monday  approved Qualified Jobs incentives for three companies.  It has also approved investments at Quonset Business Park to allow Electric Boat to accelerate the hiring of 13-hundred new workers.   State officials say the two-thousand new permanent jobs will offer a wide variety of employment opportunities.  

Roger Williams University President To Retire

Roger Williams University President Donald Farish is planning to retire when his current contract expires next year, according to the university.  Farish will be concluding an eight-year tenure as president.  The school describes Farish's work in a press release as transformational in the categories of community engagement, college affordability and equity.  The Roger Williams board of trustees will conduct a national search for  a new president. 

Virgin Pulse Merger Announced

Providence-based Virgin Pulse and Minneapolis-based RedBrick Health are announcing a merger.  The two entities say the move will create the world's largest, most comprehensive digital health and engagement company.  The combined organization will be based out of Virgin Pulse's corporate headquarters in Providence, and will maintain a major office in Minneapolis.  The move comes a week after Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson visited the Providence campus.

Providence-Newport Ferry Returning For Holiday Weekend

Ferry service from Providence to Newport is returning.  Seastreak will be operating an expanded service this year, running from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend.  Later ferry times will be added to allow guests to attend popular events in both cities, according to the Providence Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau.  Ticket prices will remain the same as last year: ten-dollars for adults and five-dollars for children.

Call Issued For State Lawmakers To Extend Foreclosure Assistance Law

The Rhode Island General Assembly is being urged to preserve protections for homeowners in the state facing foreclosure.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin was joined by mayors, state lawmakers and housing advocates on Monday urging an extension of the state's Foreclosure Mediation Act, which will sunset on July 1st if no action is taken.  State Representative Mary Messier and Senator Harold Metts have introduced legislation to lift the sunset, which is scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday but has been held for further study in the House.  The law requires homeowners struggling with their mortgage payment to be given the opportunity to meet with their lender and an independent mediator to review their options, with the goal of staying in their home.

Congressional Delegation Announces First Responder Funding

Rhode Island's congressional delegation is announcing that the state is to receive over seven-million-dollars in new federal funding.  The money is going to help emergency responders and their partners prepare for and react to a range of crises and security challenges, including natural disasters, according to an announcement from Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline on Monday.  The national preparedness funds are being awarded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Charges Being Filed Against Alleged Ambulance Thief

Charges are being filed against a Providence man who allegedly stole an ambulance from Rhode Island Hospital and drove it into Connecticut on Monday.  Johnny Kimbrough faces charges of vehicle theft, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license after being apprehended by Connecticut State Police near North Stonington, following a pursuit that was initiated by West Greenwich police on Interstate 95 early yesterday morning.  The Providence Police Department says Kimbrough has a lengthy criminal record in the city.  Providence officials say the practice of first responders leaving ambulances running when they take a patient into a hospital will change immediately following the incident. 

Volvo Ocean Race Fires Back Up

Participants in the Volvo Ocean Race are onto the next leg of the race.  Boaters left Newport on Sunday after spending about a week and a half there, and are headed to Wales.  At a summit for the race on Friday, state officials announced several new initiatives aimed at reducing plastic pollution in Narragansett Bay and the state's ocean coastlines.

E.Providence Concert Presenter Lost Portland Contract After Legal Problems

The recent past of the new concert presenter for shows at Bold Point Park in East Providence is being called to attention.  Alex Gray entered a guilty plea to a domestic violence charge in Portland, Maine, last October. The East Providence City Council transferred the liquor and entertainment licenses for the live music venue to Gray's company, Waterfront Concerts, by a unanimous vote last month.  Following the plea, the city of Portland took away the contract with Gray's company and entered into a new partnership with Live Nation, the largest concert presenter in the country.

Multiple Colleges And Universities Hold Commencement Ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2018 were held for several institutions of higher learning in Rhode Island this past weekend.  Providence College sent its 100th graduating class through the doors of the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday, with author David McCullough serving as the commencement speaker.  The former EPA administrator during the Obama administration, Regina McCarthy, spoke to the University of Rhode Island's graduating class yesterday, the 132nd commencement for that school.  Ceremonies were also held at Roger Williams and Bryant universities on Saturday, and Johnson and Wales University on Friday.

Hasbro Add Fragrance To Play-Doh

Hasbro has trademarked the scent of Play-doh. The toy company on Friday announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has recognized Play-doh's distinctive scent with a registered trademark. The Pawtucket based toymaker describes it as a "sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough."

UHIP Upgrade Still On Hold

A major upgrade to the problem-plagued computer system for Rhode Island benefits programs has been delayed. The work to the Unified Health Infrastructure Project scheduled for Saturday has been pushed back to June in order to "ensure a quality upgrade." UHIP Special Master Deming Sherman says he expects the system will be compliant with federal regulations by the end of June despite the delay.

RIDOT Has New Bridge Cleaning Trucks

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation has new bridge cleaning trucks.  RIDOT says six specially outfitted vehicles will increase the ability to maintain bridges with regular cleaning to remove road salts, sand and other debris.  On average, the trucks are capable of cleaning up to six bridges a day, depending on their size.  Four bucket trucks have also been purchased that will allow crews to clean the underside of bridges.  

Bill To Ban Unhealthy Food Ads In School

Legislation to ban unhealthy food advertising in Rhode Island schools is moving through the General Assembly.  The House has passed a bill to ban ads for foods that do not meet minimum nutritional standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Supporters say that with a dramatic increase in the number of obese children, the goal is to promote healthy eating habits.  The House-passed bill now goes to the Senate, which has passed similar legislation.   

Public Warned About A Telephone Scam

Rhode Islanders are being warned about a telephone scam.  Scammers posing as deputy sheriffs are calling people to make arrangements to pay phony fines and bonds.  State Police advise that people should not respond to any calls from someone claiming to be a deputy sheriff or from the Capitol Police who are seeking payment of fines or bonds.

Woonsocket City Council Moves Toward Marijuana Cultivation

The Woonsocket City Council is reportedly going to act soon on the effort to regulate indoor cultivation of medical marijuana. The council is expected to establish a committee today to draft legislation to cover issues such as location, licensing and fees.  Indoor marijuana farms are legal under state law, but have been banned in Woonsocket under an amendment adopted by the council in 2016.  City Councilman James Cournoyer says it's still unclear who will serve on the committee to draft an ordinance lifting the ban.

Newport Theater To Show Saturday's Royal Wedding

The Jane Pickens Theater in Newport will show the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday morning.  It starts with a catered breakfast at six a.m. The wedding ceremony is expected to start at seven a.m.  Tickets are 25-dollars.

Suspect Sought For Credit Card Fraud

North Smithfield police are looking for a credit card fraud suspect.  Police say he used stolen credit card information to withdraw 19-hundred-dollars at a Walmart store on March 31st.  The stolen information belongs to a Florida woman.  A surveillance video of the suspect is posted on the police department's Facebook page.  

Warwick Beach Fees Put On Hold

Proposed beach fees in Warwick for the coming season are now on hold.  Mayor Joseph Solomon says his decision is based on concerns from city residents.  He says it will also allow time for a detailed financial analysis of the proposed fees. 

DCYF Hires New Training School Director

The Rhode Island Training School is going to have a new executive director by the end of the month.  The Department of Children, Youth and Families has hired Larome Myrick, who currently works for the Ohio Department of Youth Services.  There were several violent incidents at the Training School last year which prompted a review and a series of recommendations to improve the situation.

Mattiello: PawSox Stadium Deal Still Possible

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is saying there's still a chance for a deal for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Without elaborating, Mattiello says there's a framework that could work.  The speaker has rejected a Senate-passed plan for the state's share in the 83-million-dollar project to be 23-million dollars.  Worcester has expressed strong interest in luring the PawSox to that central Massachusetts city.

Rhode Island Jobs At Just Under Half-A-Million

The state of Rhode Island is setting a new jobs record for the fifth time in seven months.  Data released on Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor indicates there are currently 499-thousand-300 jobs in the state, and the number of Rhode Islanders working is the highest in a decade.  It was noted in a press release that Rhode Island has added over 16-thousand jobs since Governor Gina Raimondo took office in 2015, and that there are nearly 42-thousand manufacturing jobs in the state currently, the most since May of 2009.

"Red Flag" Gun Bill, Bump Stock Ban Pass Senate Committee

Bills banning bump stocks and creating a "red flag" law for police to disarm some individuals in Rhode Island are advancing.  The state Senate Judiciary Committee gave its approval on Thursday, setting the stage for the full Senate to take up the legislation as soon as next week.  The House approved its version of the bills last month.  The measures were introduced in response to recent mass shootings in the U.S.

Bomes Theatre In Providence Changing Hands

The city of Providence is announcing the transfer of the historic Bomes Theatre on Broad Street.  A local developer will oversee the complete renovation of the theatre into a mixed-use building, according to an announcement from the city on Thursday.  The nearly century-old Bomes was acquired by the Providence Redevelopment Agency in 2004, and the agency will transfer the property to the developer, Fernando Tavares, in exchange for a two-point-two-million-dollar renovation investment.

Some Speed Camera Offenders In Providence Will Get Automatic Refunds

The city of Providence is sharing details of the settlement reached regarding a class-action lawsuit filed over the city's new speed camera system.  Drivers who were cited by the cameras on or before April 15th will get an automatic 20-dollar refund or reduction in fines, depending on whether they've already paid the ticket.  Drivers could receive full refunds if they challenge the tickets in court and are found not responsible.  A judge still needs to formally approve the settlement.

CCRI Graduates Fill The Dunk

The Community College of Rhode Island held its graduation ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence for the first time on Thursday.  The arena was just about at full capacity as many of the 21-hundred graduates received their degrees.  CCRI President Meghan Hughes told the Class of 2018 that it represented the highest-graduating class in 18 years.

Providence Firefighter Hurt In Rollover Crash

The driver hurt in a rollover crash in I-95 in Providence late Tuesday night is a Providence firefighter.  It took first responders about 30-minutes to free Derrick Campbell from the wreckage in the southbound lanes near the Public Safety Complex.  Investigators say Campbell was not impaired and it's possible that he fell asleep at the wheel.

Two People Charged In Smithfield Drug Bust

Two people are facing charges as the result of a two-month drug investigation in Smithfield.  Police say that Alaina Bonafiglia, of Johnston, was selling cocaine at Copperfield's Burger & Beer House, where she has been employed.  Also charged is John Manfredi of Providence. They both are charged with cocaine possession, intent to deliver and conspiracy.

Woman Who Is Part Of Immigration Case Gets Stay Extended

A Rhode Island woman who was detained by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement earlier this year is getting an extended stay of removal. Lillian Calderon is the lead plaintiff of a class-action suit filed by the ACLU challenging the Trump administration's pattern of separating married couples who are going through immigration cases. Calderon, who was detained by ICE for nearly a month after starting the citizenship process in January, was given a second stay of removal after her original stay expired this past Saturday. The new extension is good through mid-August.   

State Senator Introduces New Marijuana Legalization Bill

State Senator Joshua Miller is introducing new legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island. The Cranston and Warwick Democrat has put forth similar bills previously, but says this new proposal will mirror the tax structure of Massachusetts, where recreational pot sales are scheduled to become legal in July. And, Miller says the state will keep some of that tax revenue from Rhode Islanders who will otherwise cross the state line to buy weed.  

New Projections Put Rhode Island In The Black

Rhode Island is on track for a 32-million-dollar budget surplus to finish the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The state provided that update on Wednesday, saying that revenue is about 65-million-dollars higher than the original forecast. State officials note that departments are still over-spending by tens of millions of dollars.  

DMV Says Licensing System Should Be Restored

The Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles says its licensing service should be back online on Thursday. A disruption with the national clearinghouse took the service offline on Wednesday. It was the second time the licensing service had been disrupted in recent weeks.  

East Greenwich To Reorganize Fire Department

The East Greenwich town manager and the fire chief are now authorized to restructure the fire department.  The town council voted 3-to-2  Monday night for implementation of the plan by early June.  At issue is concern about the amount of overtime pay for firefighters.  The union is opposed to the restructuring, arguing it will increase the burden on already over-worked firefighters.

Workers Hurt As Zoo Animal Escapes

An 800-pound takin briefly escaped its enclosure yesterday morning at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. Two zoo workers and a veterinarian suffered non-life-threatening injuries when the animal became aggressive during a routine hoof procedure and charged out.  A capture team was able to track and tranquilize the takin named Har-Lee, and get it back inside his enclosure.  A takin is described as part-goat and part- antelope and native to the Himalayan Mountains.

Former Executive Director Charged With Stealing $100K From Trust

Rhode Island State Police have arrested a former union official they say embezzled more than $100,000 from a union representing health care professionals. Police say 33-year-old Christopher Matteson, of Harrisville, was arrested Tuesday on charges including embezzlement and forgery. Authorities say Matteson took the money between June 2016 and July 2017 while he was executive director a continuing education program for the United Nurses & Allied Professions of Rhode Island.

Providence Commission Not On Board With New Tower

The Providence City Planning Commission is voting against recommending a zoning change for a proposed new skyscraper to the Providence City Council. A New York developer had proposed a six-hundred-foot residential tower on former Route 196 land at Dyer and Dorrance streets. Any building taller than one-hundred feet in the area needs city approval.  

Speed Camera Legislation Passes House Committee

A bill regulating speed cameras in Providence is making its way through the Rhode Island House. WPRI-TV reports the Judiciary Committee passed legislation on Tuesday night requiring first-time speeding offenders to receive a warning, and second-time offenders to receive a 50-dollar fine. The bill will also require more signs to warn drivers of the cameras and limit when they can be active. This comes as the city announced some details this week of a settlement from a class-action suit against the cameras, including that drivers will get partial refunds from previously-issued tickets. 

MLB, NBA, PGA Officials Propose Sports-Betting Fee

North American major league sports organizations are trying to get in on legalized sports-betting action in Rhode Island. Representatives from the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and Professional Golfers Association Tour entered testimony at a state Senate Finance Committee hearing on Tuesday on a proposal to include legalized sports-betting at the Twin River Casino. The hearing took place a day after the United States Supreme Court struck down a ban on sports-betting for individual states. The major league sports officials proposed a one-quarter-of-a-percent fee for leagues on any bet made involving their games. 

Storms Briefly Knock Out Power

Severe weather hit parts of Rhode Island on Tuesday. National Grid reported several-hundred power outages across the state after storms rolled through in the evening hours. As of midnight, power was back on for virtually everyone. The National Weather Service reports a tree fell on a house on Coventry last night.  

Gasoline Prices In Rhode Island Continue To Rise

The price of gasoline in Rhode Island is up another five cents per gallon.AAA Northeast said Monday its weekly survey found self-serve regular selling for an average of $2.90 per gallon. That's three cents higher than the national average.The average price of gasoline in Rhode Island is 59 cents higher than it was a year ago. AAA found gas in Rhode Island selling for as low as $2.69 per gallon and as high as $3.09. AAA says a number of factors are contributing to rising prices, including geopolitical tensions and higher crude oil prices.

Gorbea Touts Voting System Upgrades

Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says the state should use $3 million in federal funding to help update its voter registration rolls and implement new audit systems. Gorbea outlined how Rhode Island should use the money to boost its election security Monday. The funds were given to the state through the Help America Vote Act.

Warwick Mayor Holds Last Full Day In Office

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is moving on. Avedisian held his final full day in office on Monday after 18 years as mayor. His final act was to preside over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new hotel. Avedisian is taking over the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority.

Board Of Elections Affirms Decision On E. Providence Elections

There's an update to the situation in East Providence where City Council members wanted to cancel this year's election and double the length of their terms. Several councilors recently pointed to a 2012 referendum that hasn't been enforced, which extended the terms from two years to four, and said they wanted to enforce it. But the Rhode Island Board of Elections affirmed a decision on Monday by the city's board of canvassers that says City Council elections should be held this fall, and that the terms should be for four years going forward.  

Virgin Leader Richard Branson Visits Providence

Billionaire Richard Branson was in Providence on Monday. The founder of the Virgin Group visited Virgin Pulse, one of the companies in his portfolio, for the first time and talked to employees. GoLocalProv reports Branson commented on having interest in turning the Superman Building in Providence into a hotel.

Interest-Free Loans For Lead Pipe Replacements Offered

The City of Providence and the Providence Water Supply Board are teaming up to offer a new loan program for lead water pipe replacement. Homeowners can receive three-year, no-interest loans for the replacement effort. A little over a million dollars in funding is being approved for the effort, and the water supply board notes it costs an average of three-thousand dollars to replace the lines.  

Partial Refunds Being Offered As Part Of Speed Camera Settlement

More details are being shared about the settlement reached between the City of Providence and plaintiffs in a class-action suit filed over the city's new speed cameras. Information released on Monday indicates anyone covered in the suit would get a hearing to challenge their summons if they received it on or before April 15th, and would be entitled to either a partial refund or reduced fine. The full information of the settlement is expected to be released after a federal judge approves the settlement

Arrest Made In Westerly Hit-And-Run Case

An arrest is being made in a hit-and-run case in Westerly. Zachary Service of North Stonington, Connecticut was picked up on Monday and charged in connection to the incident that injured a Westerly teenager on April 28th. Service was arraigned in District Court in Wakefield and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. The victim is recovering from serious injuries, according to authorities.  

Trillo Critical Of School Rankings

Independent candidate for governor Joe Trillo calls the state’s latest education ranking abominable.  24-7 Wall Street has reviewed data in the Quality Counts report from Education Week.  According to the data, the state's graduation rate is 82-percent, and eighth-grade national assessment testing found proficiency in math at only 32-percent and just under 35-percent for reading.  Trillo says the low numbers are a wake-up call to taxpayers that the state's education system is failing students.  

More Than Eight-Thousand Checks Being Mailed

More than eight-thousand checks are being mailed out to Rhode Islanders this week as part of the "YOUR Money" initiative.  The checks are for unclaimed funds totaling more than one-million-dollars.  General Treasurer Seth Magaziner says the average check is about two-hundred-dollars.  Magaziner notes that for hard-working families a little extra cash can make a big difference.  

RI Anticipates Revenue From U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that strikes down a federal law banning gambling on sports in most states is good news for Rhode Island.  Governor Gina Raimondo's budget already anticipates more than 23-million-dollars in revenue from sports betting at Twin River Casino.  The governor's office says the state is in the process of choosing a vendor and developing the infrastructure to begin sports betting in the fall.  House and Senate leaders are praising the high court's decision to allow legalized sports betting.

Navy Holds Ceremony For New Submarine

The U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for a new submarine at Quonset Point Naval Station on Friday. The initials of the sponsor of the "USS Hyman G. Rickover", Darleen Greenert, were welded onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the vessel. This will be the second sub named for Rickover, who was the original director of naval nuclear propulsion.   

Rhode Island College Class Of 2018 Graduates

Rhode Island College is celebrating its 164th undergraduate class. The college conferred over 13-hundred degrees at a ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence on Saturday. Former GAP president and CEO Jeffrey Kirwan, a 1993 RIC graduate, delivered remarks during the ceremony.

Hasbro Shows Appreciation For Police Catching Play-Doh Thief

Hasbro is getting some free Play-Doh publicity courtesy of a Massachusetts police department. Authorities in Leicester say they received a package from the Rhode Island toy company last week filled with Play-Doh and a note recognizing the work that officers put into a recent case. A shoplifting suspect had apparently tried to cover up a surveillance camera by putting the substance on it, but left a perfect fingerprint.

Man Wrongly Incarcerated For Murder Files Suit

A Providence man is suing the Providence Police Department and the state of Rhode Island for wrongly implicating and imprisoning him for a murder he didn't commit. "The Providence Journal" reports Wilbert Richardson filed the suit last week in federal court. Richardson was imprisoned for over a year-and-a-half for the stabbing death of Delor Cabral in 2013 before the state realized it lacked evidence. Richardson is seeking unspecified damages and is asking the court to direct the city and state to be better-trained. 

Two Wrong-Way Crashes Result In DUI Arrests

Two motorists are facing DUI charges for allegedly causing separate wrong-way crashes in Rhode Island over the weekend. Rhode Island State Police reports indicate the first crash happened Saturday night shortly before 7:30 on Route 4 in East Greenwich, and the second happened at around 2 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 95. The drivers are listed in the respective accidents at Corey Stott Miller of Pawtucket and Cameron Wambolt of West Warwick. Police say it's very fortunate that no one was seriously injured in either crash. 

Coast Guard Searching For Source Of Flares

The U.S. Coast Guard is looking for the source of several flares that were apparently shot from an area of water near Bullocks Point in East Providence. A tugboat reported seeing the flares shot from there on Sunday night, but nothing was found. The Coast Guard is asking mariners to keep an eye out for anyone who may be in distress.

Care New England Reports First Quarter Loss

Care New England is reporting a net loss of seven-million-dollars for the first quarter of this year.  Rhode Island's second largest hospital system says it's still experiencing significant losses from Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, which was closed earlier this year.  The company says it's other holdings, Butler, Kent, Women & Infants hospitals and the Visiting Nurses Association had positive earnings for the period from January through March.  

Bill To Legally Allow Fentanyl Test Strips

There's a bill in the House to legalize possession and distribution of test strips to detect fentanyl laced heroin and other drugs.  Brown University researchers have found the test strips accurately detect the presence of fentanyl in street drug samples.  Fentanyl was linked to more than 60 overdose deaths in Rhode Island in 2017.  Supporters of the bill say the strips could be a valuable tool for police and emergency medical workers.  

RIDOT Announces Restrictions At 6-10 Interchange

Parts of the left and right shoulders at the Route 6-10 interchange in Providence are going to be closed starting today.  The state Department of Transportation says the changes are needed for utility work prior to reconstruction of the interchange.  RIDOT may also close a travel lane on Route 10 south in the work zone periodically.  However, all lanes will be open during peak travel times.

Train Station District Plans Shared

Plans are being made for a new development district in Pawtucket.  Local and state officials were on hand last week for an announcement regarding the Conant Thread District, which will center around a new train station near the border with Central Falls.  Tens of millions of dollars in funding has been committed to build the new station and surrounding transit hub by 2021.  Pawtucket officials also anticipate the district will include residential and commercial development opportunities.

South County Beaches Opening This Weekend

Three state beaches are opening this weekend.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says the South County beaches that are opening are Scarborough north, Roger Wheeler, and Misquamicut.  The beaches will be open weekends only until Memorial Day, when they'll start to be open daily.

State Revenue Forecast Looking Brighter

Projected revenues for the state of Rhode Island are going up.  According to the state's biannual Revenue Estimating Conference, revenues in the 2017-2018 and the 2018-19 budget years are about 135-million-dollars higher than previously forecast.  Income tax collections appear to be the driver of the increase.  State legislators will begin crafting a budget for the next fiscal year in July.

State Wants To Use Volkswagen Money For New RIPTA Buses

Governor Gina Raimondo is announcing a proposed mitigation plan for Rhode Island's share of a 14-and-a-half-million-dollar share of a federal settlement with automaker Volkswagen.  Raimondo says the state wants to use the funds to replace retiring diesel buses with electric buses in the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority fleet.  The governor says some money will also be used to develop a charging station network around Rhode Island for light-duty electric vehicles.  Volkswagen was ordered to pay when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered the company cheated on its vehicle emissions standards. 

Child Advocacy Group Announces Reform Measures

A non-profit advocacy group is announcing what it calls a victory for children in Rhode Island.  The group, called Children's Rights, says a settlement agreement was approved in federal court in Providence on Wednesday in a longstanding class-action suit to improve practices and outcomes for children in state care.  Children's Rights says some of the changes the state will implement include ending the practice of putting children in short-term shelters, reforming assessments, keeping siblings together and properly investigating allegations of abuse or neglect.

Settlement Reached In Providence Speed Camera Lawsuit

Both the city of Providence and attorneys for the group that sued the city in federal court over a new speed camera program say a settlement has been reached.  Details of the settlement, which was ordered to be reached by a judge, have not been announced.  The plaintiffs argued the ticketing program violated state law.  A recent proposed bill in the Rhode Island legislature would require warning signs for motorists entering a camera zone.

Stranger Drives Off In Running Car With Children Inside

The Providence Police Department is searching for a suspect who they said drove off in a car with someone else’s children inside. Authorities told NBC 10 News that a man was parked on the side of Washington Street waiting for a family member Wednesday night around 9:45. The car was running and his two children were in the backseat. Police said an unknown suspect ran up to the car and jumped in before driving away. Authorities said they later found the car and the children, who were not harmed, on Elmwood Avenue in Providence.

Census Workers Covering Gaps In Providence County

The U.S. Census Bureau says nearly a thousand workers will begin going door to door to collect information from households in Providence County.  Specifically, the census takers are targeting those who did not respond to the original 2018 Census Test.  Officials are asking for cooperation and note that it's against the law for the Census Bureau to publicly release responses in any way that could identify an individual or a household.  A newly added citizenship question on the census has prompted legal action from the cities of Providence and Central Falls, and the state of Rhode Island.

New Hands-Free Cell Phone Law Starts Soon

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation and Rhode Island State Police are letting drivers know about the upcoming new law requiring hands-free cell phone use.  Federal and state leaders held a press conference on Wednesday at the Triple-A headquarters in Providence to discuss the law, which directs police to pull over a motorist who is observed holding a phone while driving.  A fine of up to 100-dollars is possible for the offense but can be waived for first-time offenders who show proof of purchasing a hands-free device.  The change takes effect on June 1st. 

Corrections Officer Charged With Trying To Smuggle Drugs For Inmate

A corrections officer from Rhode Island working at a Massachusetts Correctional Institute facility is accused of conspiring to smuggle drugs for an inmate.  William Holts of Pawtucket was arrested on Wednesday.  The U.S. Justice Department says Holts advised the inmate last week that he was willing to smuggle Suboxone strips into the MCI facility in Norfolk in exchange for cash.  A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Eleven RI High Schools Nationally Recognized

Eleven Rhode Island schools are being recognized by U.S. News and World Report in it's 2018 edition of Best High Schools.  The highest ranked school locally is Classical High School in Providence.  Others recognized are Barrington, Chariho, North Smithfield, Cuffee Charter, Mount Hope, Beacon Charter, Blackstone Academy Charter, Blackstone Valley Prep, Johnston and West Warwick.  Factors used by the magazine to compile the rankings include performance on standardized tests, level of preparedness for college coursework, and graduation rates.   

Several Religious Congregations Say "Guns Into Plowshares"

Several religious congregations in Providence are observing turn "Guns into Plowshares" this weekend to honor Mother's Day.  Clergy will urge support for what they describe as common sense gun laws and display firearms that will be turned into garden tools by area metal artists.  The participating congregations are the First Baptist Church, the First Unitarian Church, the Central Congregational Church and Temple Beth-El

Westerly Council Drops Plan To Ease Parking Ban

The Westerly Town Council is dropping a proposal to lift a parking ban on Bluff Avenue in Watch Hill.  The "Westerly Sun" reports opponents of the proposal to add as many as 27 public parking spaces say it would detract from the look of the village.  Coincidentally, singer Taylor Swift's mansion is located on Bluff Avenue.

Candidate For Governor Wants Potholes Fixed

Former state Representative Joe Trillo wants the Department of Transportation to focus on fixing potholes.  Running as an independent for governor, Trillo says RIDOT should stop work on major projects for a week to deal with the pothole problem.  RIDOT says snow and heavy rain in recent months has made the annual problem created by winter weather even worse this year.

Volvo Ocean Race Boats Arrive In Newport

The boats in the Volvo Ocean Race are now in Newport.  The vessels competing in the around-the-world race left Brazil last month.  Newport is the only North American stop.  They'll leave on May 20th, headed for Wales.  In the meantime, thousands of visitors are expected at Fort Adams State Park for various festivities related to the race.

ACLU Opposes Proposed Airport Advertising Regulations

The ACLU of Rhode Island is against proposed regulations to restrict the types of advertising allowed at T.F Green Airport.  The regulations proposed by the Airport Corporation would allow it to ban advertising including the promotion or endorsement of political positions, or that contain religious symbols.  The ACLU says it's researching the constitutionality of the proposal, arguing it's at odds with basic First Amendment principles of free speech. 

Status Of RI Pensions Highlighted In New Report

Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner is releasing a regular report detailing the status of each of the 34 locally-administered municipal pension plans in Rhode Island. For the first time, Magaziner's office notes the report includes individual report cards on the health and outlook of each plan. The pension plans carry a combined unfunded liability of nearly two-and-a-half-billion dollars, and over a third of the plans are in critical-funded status, according to a press release. Magaziner says the report cards clearly show that many of the pension plans face significant challenges.

Pedestrian Bridge Over Providence River Won't Be Finished This Year

There's another delay in the construction of a pedestrian bridge over the Providence River. The Rhode Island Department of Transportation says the project, which was supposed to take two years after ground was broken in 2016, will now stretch into late 2019. Officials say the delay is due to a necessary re-design of steel components. The bridge is on top of the piers of the former Interstate 195 bridge.  

Senate Committee Approves Car Parts Bill

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee is approving a bill that expands the use of after-market parts for repaired motor vehicles. The committee on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 2679, which says insurance companies cannot mandate the use of the parts which are less than 48 months beyond the date of manufacture. The current law is 30 months. The Auto Body Association of Rhode Island was a major supporter of the bill, but insurance industry officials warn it could result in higher premiums for Rhode Island drivers.  

RI U.S. Representatives, Senators, Criticize Trump's Iran Action

Rhode Island's Congressional delegation is reacting negatively to President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. The agreement lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for tight restrictions on the country's nuclear energy program. Senator Jack Reed called the decision irresponsible, while Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Ciccilline used the word reckless. Congressman Jim Langevin said the president is once again threatening U.S. national security and international stability with the decision.  

Gas Prices In RI Continue To Rise

AAA Northeast reported  Monday that the average cost of a gallon of self-serve, regular gas ticked up 3 cents in the past week to an average of $2.85.That's four cents above the national average and 52 cents higher than the per-gallon price in Rhode Island a year ago.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.75 and as high as $2.99 per gallon.

An organization spokesman says crude oil prices topped $70 a barrel on Monday, and geopolitical tensions have forced the market upward.

Providence Destroys Misused Vehicles

Providence officials used an excavator to destroy over a dozen forfeited dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles. Seventeen vehicles were destroyed Monday morning at the public works building. City council passed an ordinance last year banning ATVs and dirt bikes from Providence streets over safety concerns.

RI Looks To Create Inspector Gereral Position

A legislative committee will consider proposals to create an inspector general's office in Rhode Island to prevent fraud and mismanagement with public money. The Senate Rules, Government Ethics and Oversight Committee will hear testimony on the three bills Wednesday. Each proposal would establish an inspector general as an independent agency tasked with preventing fraud, waste and mismanagement in state government.

3 RI Beaches Make "Best" List

Three Rhode Island beaches are on a list compiled by "The Boston Globe" of the 20 best beaches in New England.  Easton's Beach is ranked 13th,  Scarborough State Beach is 14th and the South Kingstown Town Beach is ranked 15th.  Six Massachusetts beaches make the list, two in New Hampshire, four in Connecticut and five in Maine.

Funding Announced For Prudence Island Pier Rehab Project

Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline are announcing a one-point-one-million-dollar grant to rehabilitate the Prudence Island Ferry Dock Pier in Bristol.  The federal funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The congressional delegation says the current pier has deteriorated significantly over time, and that rehabbing the dock will mean the possibility of additional ferry service from Bristol to Newport and Providence.

Groundbreaking Held For New Barrington Middle School

Construction of the new Barrington Middle School is underway.  A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Monday for the replacement to the current 60-year-old school, which was closed for several days last year after a roof leak.  The new middle school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019. 

Morgan Trying To Avoid Expensive Fee For Google Settlement Info

Rhode Island House Minority Leader and Republican candidate for governor Patricia Morgan is trying to shed light on how the state is spending a major settlement.  Morgan filed a motion in Kent County Superior Court on Monday asking for relief from a 37-hundred-dollar fee the state attorney general is demanding to produce documents related to the spending of the 230-million-dollar settlement with Google for dishonest advertising practices.  Morgan claims she's being stonewalled in her effort to get the information.  She has previously proposed spending what is left of the money on security upgrades in schools.

RI GDP Growth Noted In Latest Report

Rhode Island's economy is growing more quickly than other states' in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.  That's according to new data being released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which reports Rhode Island's gross domestic product grew two-point-seven-percent during the final quarter of 2017.  Elsewhere in Southern New England, the GDP in Massachusetts and Connecticut grew by a total of two-point-four-percent.

Newport Man Dies In Middletown Crash

The Newport Daily News reports that a 56-year-old Newport man died Monday after being seriously injured when his scooter collided with a Jeep that morning on Valley Road.
The man's identity has not been released by police. The accident happened about 8:52 a.m. in front of 73 Valley Road, the Eye Health Vision Centers office.

VOR Arrivals In Newport Expected Earlier Than Thought

The Newport Daily News reports that the Volvo Ocean Race boats are approaching Newport Harbor at faster-than expected speeds, so most of the crews are expected to arrive between 8 p.m. and midnight tonight. Some estimates put the first boat arrivals even earlier.
Workers were scrambling at the Race Village all day Sunday at Fort Adams State Park preparing for the welcoming party this evening.

Navy Going Solar In Newport

The U.S. Navy has signed a lease to add solar panels to land it owns near a naval station in Rhode Island. Naval Station Newport says the Navy and Solar Breakers, LLC signed a 37-year lease to complete a large off-base solar photovoltaic facility and a combined heat and power plant at the station. The planned 21-megawatt solar park is scheduled to begin operating in the summer of 2019.

Brown Making Dining Adjustments For Poorer Students

Brown University is launching two new measures in the 2018-2019 school year to ensure students with the highest financial need have sufficient funds for full meal plans. The school will provide all undergraduates who have a zero-dollar parent contribution with additional scholarship funds to cover the full cost of tuition, fees, housing and meals, according to a press release last week. Brown will also run a one-year pilot program to cover textbook costs for first-year undergrads with the zero-dollar contribution.

EPA Getting Involved In Coventry Apartment Case

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating lead contamination at the notorious Harris Mills Lofts apartment complex in Coventry. An EPA official confirmed the case last week to This comes after State Senator Leonidas Raptakis sent a letter to the Coventry Town Council to discuss complaints from residence about water leaks, mold contamination and lead exposure at their meeting this month.

Central Falls Joins Providence, State In Census Suit

The city of Central Falls is joining the city of Providence and the state of Rhode Island in a class-action lawsuit challenging a newly-added citizenship question to the U.S. Census. Central Falls joined the suit last week, which is being handled by the New York attorney general's office. There is concern that the citizenship question will lead to illegal immigrants not answering the survey, which could cause a loss of federal funding in communities that don't have an accurate population snapshot. 

East Side Providence Councilman Won't Run Again

Providence City Councilman Sam Zurier is announcing he will not be running to keep his seat for a third and final term. Zurier, who represents the East Side in Ward 2, announced the decision over the weekend in a weekly newsletter. Zurier said many of his constituents may prefer a change in priorities and he also cited the term limits rule voted into the Providence charter in 2006 as a factor.  

Feroce Civil Arrest Order Cancelled

A civil arrest order for Rhode Island candidate for governor Giovanni Feroce is being cancelled.  Feroce made a payment on Friday on a debt owed to a clothing supplier earlier last week, leading to the cancellation in Rhode Island District Court. Feroce claimed the debt was a misunderstanding that had to do with the receivership of his former company, Benrus. A landlord for Feroce's former Benrus store in Rochester, New York filed court documents on Friday seeking an 88-thousand-dollar default judgment against Feroce.

Raimondo Signs Mental Health Executive Order

Governor Gina Raimondo has signed an executive order focused on mental health care access. The order was signed on Friday at the Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket with former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy, a mental health advocate, among those in attendance. Raimondo says the goals are to improve access to care, lower costs, and kill the stigma associated with mental disorders. Raimondo notes that nearly one in four adults in Rhode Island have a mental health diagnosis.  

William Shatner Commencement Speech In Providence

"Star Trek" actor William Shatner delivered the commencement address on Sunday to nearly 12-hundred New England Institute of Technology graduates. Shatner received an honorary doctor of humane letters as part of the festivities at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. He talked about the changing world the graduates are a part of and the need to end things like global warming.  

Tall Ship In Newport On Tuesday

The Coast Guard Barque Eagle is expected in Newport  tomorrow,  the same day the race village opens for the stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.  The Eagle, which is the largest active American Tall Ship, is used as a Coast Guard training vessel.  It will be docked at Fort Adams State Park and open for public tours.

Worcester Business Owner Predicts PawSox Move Likely

A Worcester businessman claims the Pawtucket Red Sox are close to making a move to the central Massachusetts city.  The "Worcester Business Journal" reported last week the man making the prediction has knowledge of the ongoing talks, and says there could be an announcement as soon as next month.  However, Rhode Island Public Radio reports that a consultant for the PawSox downplays the Worcester businessman's comments.  He says progress is being made between all parties involved in talks about a new stadium in Pawtucket.  

Bill To Update RI's Explosives Law

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is sponsoring a bill to update Rhode Island's law on bombs and other explosive devices.  It deals with loopholes that have hindered charges being filed following incidents such as last last month's discovery of a pressure cooker bomb in West Greenwich.  Mattiello says much has changed since the explosives law was written in 1957, and he says updates are needed to protect the public from the threats that exist in today's world. 

Dambruch Continues As RI U.S. Attorney

Stephen Dambruch is now Rhode Island's court appointed U.S. Attorney.  His appointment, effective Friday, was made by U.S. District Court Judge William Smith.  Dambruch had been acting, and then interim U.S. Attorney since March of 2017, when former U.S. Attorney Peter Nerohna was fired by the Trump administration.  With the appointment, Dambruch will continue in the position until a presidential nominee wins Senate approval. 

East Bay Recovery Center Opens

An opioid recovery center is now open at Saint Michael's Episcopal Church in Bristol.  Governor Gina Raimondo attended yesterday's grand opening.  Organizers say the program does not have long-term funding, but they're confident it will get the support it needs.

Candidate Fung Releases Government Reform Proposal

Republican candidate for governor Allan Fung is proposing ten-year term limits for members of the General Assembly.  It's part of a government reform package the Cranston mayor released yesterday.  He also wants tougher photo ID rules, creation of an inspector general's office and  line-item veto authority for the governor.   In a news release, Fung's campaign says the proposals show he's ready to bulldoze Smith Hill.

Chafee Still Undecided On Future

Former U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee says he'll take more time to mull a bid to regain his Senate seat. Chafee surprised many last week when he said he would likely challenge U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in a Democratic primary, and he told The Associated Press he'd likely decide this week. On Thursday, he said he would seek more feedback and possibly commission a poll.

State Adds Recreational Acreage

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is announcing the preservation of about a hundred acres of open space in Glocester for public recreational use.  The property abuts DEM's Durfee Hill Management Area, which, along with the George Washington Management Area, consists of about 52-hundred acres of state-owned protected lands.  State officials say the acquisition will enhance recreational opportunities in the northern part of the state.

Formal Announcement Made On Electric Boat Plans

General Dynamics Electric Boat made it official on Thursday in announcing plans for expansion at its Quonset Point base.  Electric Boat will hire about 13-hundred new employees and undergo a nearly 800-million-dollar expansion.  Rhode Island is spending 14-million-dollars to improve the infrastructure in the business park and is committing up to 20-million-dollars in tax incentives for Electric Boat.

Lawmaker Looks To Resolve Rift At Airport

A Rhode Island lawmaker is pitching a legislative fix to the ongoing battle between officials at T.F. Green Airport and the ride-hailing company Uber. Rep. Gregory Costantino, a Democrat, plans to introduce a bill this week that would limit the fees the airport can impose on Uber drivers, setting a cap at $3. The Providence Journal reports Uber suspended its service at the airport after officials imposed a $6 fee for each pickup.

Elorza Funraising Well In Front

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza continues to lead the field of potential opponents as he prepares for his re-election campaign. According to the Rhode Island Board of Elections, the Democrat has $661,000 cash on hand.  Elorza raised $71,000 and spent $74,000 during the first quarter of 2018.

DOT Considering Guardrail At Crash Site

The state Department of Transportation is reportedly considering installing a guardrail at the site of a deadly crash in Barrington.  "East Bay RI" reports officials are trying to determine if guardrails could improve safety on New Meadow Road.  A 24-year-old man was killed last month when his car slammed into a utility pole and went into the Barrington River.

Developer Buys Newport Grand Property

The Newport Grand property is being purchased by a developer for over ten-million-dollars.  Carpionato Group of Johnston says it plans to build retail, restaurant and office space on the more than 23-acre site.  Twin River Management Group says the current gaming operation will be moved to Twin River-Tiverton when that casino opens in the fall.  

Morgan Says RI Fiscal Condition Not Good

House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan claims Rhode Island is in worse financial shape than it appears.  The Republican candidate for governor says if she's elected, she'll eliminate truck tolls and reduce taxes.  Morgan also says that as governor, she'll direct Commerce RI, the state's economic development agency, to revise and reduce business regulations and that she'll work to create three business parks around the state.   

AG Kilmartin Suing EPA Over Greenhouse Emissions

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its rollback of federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks.  He says emission standards have curbed greenhouse gases, reduced oil consumption and saved drivers money at the gas pump.  Kilmartin has joined a coalition of 17 states and the District of Columbia, in a fight to defend limits on emissions.  

CVS Health Says First-Quarter Numbers Are Solid

CVS Health is announcing operating results for the first quarter of 2018.  The company says it posted net revenues of 45-point-seven-billion dollars, representing a two-point-six-percent increase, with a net income of 998-million-dollars.  CEO Larry Merlo says the results were solid and looking forward, the Aetna transaction, approved by shareholders of both companies in March, will provide CVS Health the means to further lower health care costs.

Electrocution Victim Identified As Arborist

Police are identifying the victim of an electrocution in South Kingstown.  The individual killed in the incident on Tuesday was Gregory Hanna, a South Kingstown resident who was doing tree work in a bucket truck. Authorities are continuing to investigate but say the incident appears to have been an accident.

Record Highs Approached On Wednesday

Some places in Southern New England broke the 90-degree mark for high temperatures on Wednesday. The National Weather Service says the record high for the Providence area was 92 degrees, set in 2001.  The official high recorded at T.F. Green Airport yesterday was 89. 

Senate Passes Several School Bills

The Rhode Island Senate is passing several bills focusing on schoolchildren.  One bill, sponsored by Senator Adam Satchell, would require the Department of Education to collect information on the number of social workers in Rhode Island schools and the services they are providing, and report that information to the General Assembly.  Another Satchell bill passed by the Senate creates a permanent joint commission on out-of-school-time learning.  The Senate also passed a bill sponsored by Senator V. Susan Sosnowski that would forbid the advertising of unhealthy foods to children in schools.  All of those pieces of legislation move on to the House. 

State Offering Incentives For Electric Boat Expansion

Governor Gina Raimondo is scheduled to formally announce an incentives deal on Thursday for defense contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat.  State officials said on Wednesday that Rhode Island has agreed to offer up to 20-million-dollars to help the submarine maker grow its Quonset Point manufacturing center and hire more than 13-hundred new workers to build nuclear submarines.  Electric Boat anticipates spending over 800-million-dollars on the expansion project, which is expected to break ground this summer.  The move comes just a couple days after the state of Connecticut announced incentives to help General Dynamics add employees and expand its main site in Groton.

Gun Incident At RI College

Police say 39-year-old Rahim Caldwell had an "outburst" Monday afternoon in Rhode Island College library and began yelling about a gun.  Caldwell refused to talk with campus security and was arrested for disorderly conduct with some resistance. He had a mental health evaluation at Rhode Island Hospital, and was released. Caldwell is scheduled in court on May 17. Rhode Island College says campus police determined there was no gun on the campus.

New Distillery In Rhode Island

A new distillery is open in Rhode Island.  White Dog Distilling had a ribbon-cutting at its facility in Pawtucket last week.  This is the third distillery in the state and the first in the northern part.

Hasbro Adds Power Rangers Brand

Hasbro is announcing its acquisition of the iconic Power Rangers brand.  The company said on Tuesday it has signed a 522-million-dollar purchase agreement with Saban Properties to acquire the Rangers and several other toy lines.  Hasbro and Saban had previously announced a licensing agreement in February.  Hasbro is set to roll out its first set of Power Ranger products next spring.

State Senator Wants Council To Talk About Troubled Apartment

State Senator Leonidas Raptakis is asking the Coventry Town Council to discuss complaints filed by residents living at a controversial apartment building.  Raptakis sent a letter last week indicating the people living at the Harris Mill Lofts have had concerns about roof leaks, loose cement, mold contamination and other problems for years, and they say nothing is being done.  Coventry's next town council meeting is scheduled for May 14th.

Feroce Missing Court Appearance Prompts Action

A Rhode Island District Court judge is ordering Republican candidate for governor Giovanni Feroce to appear in court.  The former CEO for Alex and Ani, as well as Benrus, owes eight-thousand-dollars to Broder Brothers, a clothing supplier, and failed to show up for a court hearing for the unpaid judgment, according to court records.  Feroce's attorney says he was out of state on business on Tuesday and has every intention of fulfilling the wishes of the court. 

Hot Days Ahead, Air Quality Alert In Place

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is issuing an Air Quality Alert for all of the state on Wednesday.  The state says due to high ozone levels, people with sensitive breathing conditions should avoid being outdoors in the evening hours.  Temperatures are dramatically increasing today and tomorrow, with predicted highs in the 80s.

Man Dies From Apparent Electrocution

One person is dead after an electrocution incident in South Kingstown.  Police aren't naming the victim currently but say it was a 29-year-old man who was found in a bucket truck on Ledge Road on Tuesday at around 4:45 p.m.  National Grid says the individual came into contact with one of the utility's wires.  The incident is being investigated.

Bill Would Let Seniors Volunteer For Property Tax Credits

Lawmakers in Rhode Island are considering letting senior citizens reduce their property taxes by volunteering for their cities and towns. State Sen. Cynthia Coyne, a Democrat, introduced a bill that would authorize towns to offer tax credits for people over 60 years old in exchange for volunteer hours. The bill calls for granting the volunteers the equivalent of a minimum wage in property tax credit. It would cap the credit at $1,500 annually.

Providence Unveils Large Building Energy Efficiency Program

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has unveiled a voluntary energy savings program aimed at helping the city meet its climate goals through energy efficiency. Elorza said Monday that the program challenges the owners of large buildings to commit to a 20 percent reduction in energy by 2025 measured against a baseline taken in 2015. Elorza said climate change is a real threat to cities like Providence

Raimondo Campaign Fundraising Is Smooth Sailing Currently

Governor Gina Raimondo is well ahead of her opponents running for election this year in the campaign fundraising department. Raimondo's campaign announced on Monday she raised roughly one-point-three-million dollars in the first quarter this year, which is over a million dollars more than the closest Republican candidate, Allan Fung. Raimondo now has nearly four-and-a-half-million dollars in her re-election war chest, according to Board of Elections filings. 

Outgoing Warwick Mayor Announces Exit Date

Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian is setting his last day on the job. Avedisian says he'll leave on May 15th and take two weeks of unused time off before heading to his new job as CEO of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority in June. The timing helps the city avoid a special election, with City Council President Joseph Solomon taking over as acting mayor.  

Bills Filed To Allow Providence Water Supply Board Sale

New legislation is being introduced in the House and Senate allowing the Providence Water Supply Board to be acquired by an outside group. Narragansett Bay Commission chairman Vincent Mesolella  says the agency is having serious discussions with Providence officials about acquiring the supply board. Mesolella adds the legislation was introduced at the commission's request. Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has suggested selling the water supply board as a way or raising hundred of millions of dollars to pay down the city's pension deficit.  

State Seeking Self-Driving Vehicle Plans

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is accepting proposals from companies who want to test automated vehicle service. The Rhode Island Transportation Innovation Partnership Mobility Challenge would specifically aim to fill a transportation gap between downtown Providence and the city's Olneyville section. RIDOT says requests for proposal are due by the mid-summer and it plans to have a contract awarded in the fall. Initial testing of pilot mobility service could occur by the end of the year.

RI Gas Jumps 7 Cents Per Gallon

As expected, gas prices in Rhode Island continue to rise.AAA Northeast reports Monday that the average cost of a gallon of self-serve, regular jumped 7 cents in the past week to an average of $2.82, a penny higher than the national average.That's 48 cents higher than the per-gallon price in Rhode Island a year ago.AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.66 and as high as $2.99 per gallon.An organization spokesman says crude oil prices topped $68 a barrel on Monday, and the spiking cost of crude as well as increased demand during the summer travel season will continue to drive up prices at the pump.


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