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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2020-02

Auto Shop Owners:State Getting Stricter With Vehicle Inspections

Vehicle inspectors in Rhode Island are warning drivers that the state is enforcing stricter inspections. Digital cameras were distributed to every inspection station in the state this month, and a number of strategically-taken photographs must be uploaded to an archive. Specifically, the state will be looking for things including a properly-displayed license plate, tint, and lights on the instrument panel. Auto shop owners tell the publication this is going to mean drivers have less margin of error.

Special Elections On Tuesday For City Council Ward, House Seat

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is reminding voters about two special elections coming up on Super Tuesday next week. Three Democrats - Nick Cicchitelli, Anthony Santurri, and John Goncalves -- are running for a Providence City Council seat, Ward 1, in a primary. Gorbea's office notes the winner will be the only name on the ballot for the general election in April, as there are no Republicans or independent candidates in the race. Another is a special election to fill the 56th District Rhode Island House seat previously held by Shelby Maldonado. The Secretary of State website only has one candidate listed for that, Democrat Joshua Giraldo.

Grand Jury Testimony Turned Over In Britt Case

State prosecutors have turned over grand jury testimony to the defense in the money-laundering case against Jeffrey Britt. He served as an aide to Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for his 2016 re-election campaign and was charged for alleged actions that led to a controversial endorsement mailer. Testimony transcripts from key witnesses, including Shawna Lawton, the Republican candidate whose mailer is at the center of the allegations, was provided on Wednesday.

New Administrator Named For Veterans Home, Report Released

A new temporary administrator is being announced for the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol. The state Office of Veterans Services says it'll be Paul Murgo, whose experience includes administrator at Eleanor Slater Hospital. On Thursday, a Rhode Island National Guard-conducted review of the Veterans Home, which has cost millions of dollars over-budget to run, was released to Governor Gina Raimondo. It found problems including staffing shortages causing more overtime and recommended hiring additional staff.

Bullet Found At Middletown School

A bullet found at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown caused a shelter-in-place order on Thursday afternoon. The bullet was reportedly found by a student in a hallway. Middletown police reportedly investigated and the order was lifted after about an hour. A report indicates police determined a student had brought an ammunition round from home.

Providence Is Hosting Skating Championship

Providence is hosting the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Three-thousand skaters from 93 teams across the country are competing. Organizers say the event is an economic boost for hotels and restaurants. The competition runs through Saturday.

Rhode Islanders Monitored For Coronavirus

The state Department of Health announced today that 26 Rhode Islanders have been self-quarantined voluntarily to be monitored for coronavirus. They recently returned from China and self-monitoring has been ongoing since February 3rd.    Health officials say all but six people have completed monitoring and three of those six are expected to finish today. So far, there have been no confirmed coronavirus cases in Rhode Island.

Three RI Chefs Beard Award Semi-Finalists

Three Rhode Island chefs are semi-finalists for this year's James Beard awards. They are James Mark of Big King and Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway, both in Providence in the Best Chef in the Northeast category, which includes all of New England. Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina of Bar Cino in Newport is a nominee in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category. The finalists will be announced on March 25th.

Senate Passes Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

A bill to ban plastic bags statewide is going to the House. The Senate yesterday passed the Plastic Waste Reduction Act introduced by Senate President Dominick Ruggerio. Under the legislation, retailers would be banned from providing any single-use plastic checkout bag or any paper checkout bag that is not a recyclable paper bag or a paper carryout bag at restaurants. More than a dozen Rhode Island communities have already enacted plastic bag bans.

Pioneering Astronaut To Speak At PC Commencement

The first woman of color in space is being picked to be the commencement speaker for Providence College this year. Dr. Mae Jemison, an engineer, and physician in addition to astronaut will speak at the ceremony at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on May 17th. Jemison was on the Space Shuttle Endeavor for a mission in 1992.

RISD Graduate Student's Postal Stamp Design Unveiled

 A Rhode Island School of Design graduate student's artwork is being used on a U.S. Postal Service forever stamp. Camille Chew's stamp commemorates the Chinese Lunar New Year with a blue rat mask: it's the Year of the Rat. The stamp was unveiled at RISD on Wednesday. Chew is from Ithaca, New York.

Middletown Police LT. Convicted In Records-Tampering Case

A suspended Middletown police lieutenant has been found guilty of nearly a dozen felony counts in a jury trial. Richard Gamache was convicted in Superior Court in Newport on Wednesday on charges stemming from allegations he altered or deleted police records for his girlfriend Tiffany Walaski and fraudulently tried to get a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher for her. Those discoveries were reportedly made after Gamache and Walaski were arrested on domestic violence charges. Gamache is scheduled to be sentenced in April.

State Senate Passes Field Trip Funding Bill

The Rhode Island Senate is passing a bill aimed at fixing the state's public school field trip conundrum. Many school districts canceled field trips last year following an advisory opinion from the former education commissioner which said school departments may not charge students to participate. Senate Bill 2327 allows school committees to include funds for field trips when creating a school budget and allows schools to raise supplemental funds. The measure moves to the Rhode Island House of Representatives, which has passed similar legislation.

Frequent Candidate/Political Activist Dies Suddenly

Christopher Young, a frequent candidate for various offices and a longtime political activist in Rhode Island is dead. In a post on Facebook, his wife, Kara Young, says he suffered a medical event, most likely a heart attack, while driving last night on I-95 in Warwick. He was headed home after testifying at a State House hearing.

Senate Passes Bill To Raise Jurors Fee

A bill to raise the daily fee paid to Superior Court jurors is headed to the House for consideration. The Senate has passed the measure to raise the amount from 15-to-25-dollars a day starting July first. Pawtucket state Senator Elizabeth Crowley says while jury duty is a civic responsibility, it can be a burden to those losing wages while away from their jobs.

Reed Urging Bipartisan Corona Virus Legislation

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed is urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation providing more than three-billion-dollars to respond to corona virus concerns. He's also asking the White House to be more proactive in preparing for and responding to the virus. Reed says it's not time to panic and that there's still time to get it right with adequate funding and preparation.

PawSox Looking For Singers

In the team's final season in Rhode Island, the Pawtucket Red Sox are offering fans a chance to sing the national anthem before a game at McCoy Stadium. Auditions for all ages will be held at the Warwick Mall on March 8th from noon to four p.m. Singers will have two minutes to perform the Star Spangled Banner, God Bless America or America the Beautiful.

Speed Camera Proposal In E.Providence

There's a proposal in East Providence to install speed cameras in school zones. Residents had the opportunity to voice their opinions last night in a meeting at City Hall. If approved, East Providence would be the third Rhode Island city to install the cameras joining Providence and Pawtucket.

Lifespan Creates Emergency Coronavirus Task Force

Lifespan is preparing for the possible spread of coronavirus into Rhode Island. An emergency task force has been created to monitor the situation. Additionally, an inventory has been taken at every Lifespan hospital to ensure there is an adequate supply of masks and other protective equipment.

Express Lanes Being Added At Some State Beaches

Express lanes are coming to some of Rhode Island's state beach parking lots this year. The Providence Journal reports five of the eight surf beaches on the state's southern shores will have the lanes installed in time for Memorial Day Weekend, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Utilizing the license plate-reading system will be Scarborough North and South, as well as Roger Wheeler in Narragansett, East Matunuck in South Kingstown and Misquamicut in Westerly. The state recently brought on Hartford-based LAZ Parking to run operations at the eight state beach lots; the Journal report indicates the company is carrying out site inspections this week.

West Greenwich Mining Operation Fined BY DEM

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has cited the operator and owner of a quarry mining and processing facility in West Greenwich for ongoing environmental violations. The DEM says the notice of violation is to Hopkins Hill Sand and Stone and Hopkins Hill Realty for violations of state water protection laws stemming from the mining of sand and stone at a facility on New London Turnpike. The enforcement action carries a 68-thousand-dollar penalty. The DEM notes the site is adjacent to the Big River Management Area.

Taxes For High-Income Brackets Proposed

There are multiple bills proposing to raise taxes on the highest-earning Rhode Islanders. One bill being introduced by state Senator Ryan Pearson and state Representative Gregg Amore would adjust the rate on income earners over 500-thousand dollars from five-point-nine-nine to six-point-nine-nine percent and dedicate the revenue to education. Another bill from state Senator William Conley and Representative Karen Alzate focuses on a tax bracket of 475-thousand dollars. The rate adjustment in that legislation would be from five-point-nine-nine to eight-point-nine-nine percent.

Providence's Aging Fire Truck Fleet Discussed

Replacing the fire trucks of Providence has become a hot topic, and it was discussed at a City Council Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday. Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare [[ parry ]] said the fire department's fleet is old and noted some of the equipment issues that have recently been reported with the trucks, but he said the vehicles are safe. Pare said the city has no formal replacement plan in place and that it needs to speed up the truck replacement rate.

Group Homes On Probation After Child Advocate Report

Three group homes in Providence have been put on probation after an investigation by the state child advocate's office. The Department of Children, Youth and Families has taken the action against the homes run by Boston-based Communities for People. The child advocate's office said there was improper supervision of children and incomplete record-keeping. Communities for People is also temporarily closing two other group homes in Providence as it conducts a review.

Doherty Considering Run For Governor

Former Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Brendan Doherty is considering a run for governor. Doherty confirms he's had some conversations about a candidacy but that it's too early to make a commitment. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2012 as a Republican and now he's a registered Democrat. Several other high-profile Democrats are expected to run in 2022 as incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo is term-limited.

Multiple Contractors Are Facing Charges

Seven contractors are facing felony charges and ten others are charged with misdemeanors for failing to comply with a final order from the Contractors' Registration and Licensing Board. Final orders are entered when every effort has been made to reach a resolution between a contractor and a client over a complaint. The attorney general's office says the defendants were given ample opportunity to resolve their situations and they will be held accountable through restitution to homeowners and fines.

GOP Chair Criticizes House Democrats

Rhode Island Republican Party Chair Sue Cineki is criticizing House Democrats for keeping campaign donations from Speaker Nicholas Mattiello while he's facing a grand jury investigation. She says some House members are very dependent on Mattiello to finance their campaigns. Cineki says the speaker's donations are intended to buy influence and that it's a corrupt system that must end. A grand jury is looking into Mattiello recently ordering an unauthorized audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Big Papi Estate Sale This Saturday

Retired Red Sox legend David "Big Papi" Ortiz is holding an estate sale this weekend. There will be a lot of Big Papi items as well as furniture, glassware, gym equipment, and designer clothes. The sale is Saturday from eight a.m. to four p.m. at the Ortiz home in Weston, Massachusetts.

Proposed Bike Path Linking Tiverton And Fall River

City officials in Fall River are seeking public input on the design for a proposed six-mile bike path across the state line into Tiverton. The Mount Hope Greenway would include a cycling and walking path along rail tracks and the coast of Mount Hope Bay. There's a March 12th meeting scheduled at Fall River's Government Center.

Bill Clinton Speaking At Brown Next Month

Not just former United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, Brown University is going to also have former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak at a lecture next month. Clinton will appear at Brown on March 19th, according to the university. A report from the Brown Daily Herald indicates tickets will be released early next month to students, faculty, and staff. Theresa May will speak at Brown on March 4th.

RI Going After Fine Scofflaws

The state of Rhode Island is increasing efforts to collect unpaid fines. The Boston Globe reports the state has filed lawsuits against about two-dozen individuals who have been fined, including former Providence City Councilor Luis Aponte; he was fined by the Rhode Island Ethics Commission last year following an investigation that led to him stepping down. The Department of Revenue's Central Collections Unit, established by state legislators last year, estimates it could go after 12-million dollars in outstanding debt, according to a spokesperson.

Real ID Pilot At DMV Underway

The Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles launched a Real ID reservation pilot program at its Cranston office this past weekend. The pilot program is set to take place on two Saturdays a month. You can make a reservation on the DMV website. Beginning October 1st, Real ID-compliant licenses or other accepted forms of ID such as a passport will be needed for air travel.

Testimony Sought In Case Against Former Mattiello Campaign Aide

A judge is being asked to force the state to turn over grand jury testimony in a case against Jeffrey Britt, an aide to Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for his 2016 re-election campaign. Britt has been charged with felony money laundering and a misdemeanor charge of making a prohibited campaign contribution. He has denied the charges, which stem from alleged actions in the 2016 campaign leading to a controversial mailer endorsing Mattiello. The motion to compel was filed last week in Kent County Superior Court.

Former U.K. Prime Minister To Visit Brown

Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May is going to speak at Brown University next week. She will deliver the 100th Ogden Memorial Lecture on International Affairs on Wednesday, March 4th. The event is free, but tickets are required and may be obtained online at brown.edu/ogden.

T.F. Green Receives Federal Grant

T.F. Green Airport is the recipient of a nearly five-million-dollar federal grant. The funding will be used to renovate the 24-year-old terminal and buy over an acre of a vacant property. Renovation work is expected to begin this summer.

House Speaker Mattiello To Face GOP Opponent

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is going to face a Republican challenge for his seat representing District 15 in Cranston. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung announced Monday that she's filed a notice of organization with the state Board of Elections which she says allows her to start fundraising and launch a campaign. She's the wife of Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. In a statement, Democrat Mattiello says he'll run on his record of accomplishment leadership.

Protective Netting Extended At McCoy

The Pawtucket Red Sox will have expanded safety netting at McCoy Stadium this season. It will now cover the first and third-base lines and the on-field luxury suites. Team officials say the net can be lifted, so fans can still get autographs from players.

Final Structure Imploded At Brayton Point

An implosion brought down the last portion of the old Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts on Saturday. This was a five-hundred-foot chimney. The former power plant's massive cooling towers and other buildings came down last year.

Warwick Sewer Authority Cited For Wastewater Discharge

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is citing the Warwick Sewer Authority. The DEM says this is for environmental violations arising from the collapse of sewer pipes in the city's wastewater collection system resulting in a wastewater discharge into several bodies of water in 2018. The enforcement action includes a penalty of over 27-thousand dollars. The problem resulted in a shellfishing closure in part of Narragansett Bay, among other action. The Warwick Sewer Authority is appealing.

TGI Fridays In Warwick Closed

The TGI Fridays in Warwick is closed. The restaurant, which was the only TGI Fridays in Rhode Island, went out of business yesterday. This appears to be permanent and a sign on the door invites customers to visit another location in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

Woonsocket Man Sentenced For Road Rage Incident

A Woonsocket man is sentenced to five years in the ACI for reckless driving after a fatal crash. The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office says Mitchell Savard was sentenced on Friday. Prosecutors said in 2017, Savard was involved in a road rage incident on I-295 in the Johnston area that killed one person and injured another. Savard's license was taken away for three years upon his release.

One Person Headed To Prison For Providence Shooting

 A Providence man is being given a nine-year prison sentence for his role in a fatal shooting. John Minaya was sentenced on Friday for the fatal shooting of Devin Burney in 2017. Burney was shot as he left the Noah Lounge in South Providence. Prosecutors dropped charges including murder against Minaya in a plea deal reached earlier this year which saw him admit to discharging a firearm and conspiring to commit felony assault with John Nunez, who remains under indictment with a warrant for his arrest. Nunez has not yet been found.

P- Bruins Host Thunderbirds, Penguins This Weekend

The Providence Bruins wrap up their longest homestand of the season this weekend. The P-Bruins host the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Then on Sunday it's the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center for a 3:05 p.m. puck drop. The Bruins sit in third place in the AHL Atlantic Division through 53 games played.

RIDOH Puts Out Coronavirus Update

It has been quiet on the coronavirus front in Rhode Island, but this week the Rhode Island Department of Health is making its second announcement since the outbreak began. The health department's update is that it is continuing to take extensive preparedness measures, including coordinating with other state agencies, healthcare providers and other partners as efforts are ongoing at the federal level to respond to the international situation. There have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Rhode Island, according to RIDOH.

The DMV Offering Saturday Hours For Real ID

The Division of Motor Vehicles is going to have Saturday hours from 8:30 a.m.-to-12:30 p.m. twice a month through October at its Cranston headquarters for Real ID transactions. A reservation is not needed and can be made online. Real ID will be required to board domestic flights or to enter certain federal buildings. Real ID walk-in service is available at all DMV branches and at Triple-A offices for members during regular business hours.

New School Superintendent On The Job

The new Providence school superintendent is on the job.  Harrison Peters started his first-day Thursday greeting bus monitors at a bus yard followed by a meeting with students at the Gilbert Stuart Middle School. Peters came to Providence from the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida.

RI Diamond Award Winners

A list of 2020 Diamond Award winners from Triple-A Northeast is out. The only Five Diamond recipients were Ocean House in Westerly's Watch Hill and COAST restaurant in the Ocean House. Four other restaurants and a dozen other hotels in Rhode Island received Four Diamonds. Triple-A says Diamond recipients consistently exceed expectations by providing guests highly personalized and memorable experiences.

Bill Would Ban Outdoor Release Of Balloons

There's a bill in the General assembly to ban the intentional release of balloons. Bristol Representative Susan Donovan's bill would not stop balloon sales, only the outdoor release. It has widespread support from environmental groups who say balloons litter the waterways and landscape, pose a significant threat to wildlife and are nuisance to the commercial fishing industry.

Warwick Students Have To Make Up Days

Students at Toll Gate High School and Warwick Area Career & Technical Center are going to have to make up three days after the campus was closed because of a water main break earlier this month. The state commissioner of education has rejected the district's request for a five-day waiver of the 180 school day requirement. 

DEM Issues Brush Fire Warning

The Department of Environmental Management is warning the lack of snow could cause an increase in the threat of brush fires. Rhode Island is currently well below average for snowfall this winter. DEM warns that with no snow on the ground it takes very little sun and wind to dry out and ignite leaf litter. The department is offering brush fire training to volunteer fire departments.

Report: CVS Subpoenaed By Feds

Woonsocket-based CVS says it has received a subpoena on behalf of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking about the role of its pharmacies in the opioid crisis, according to a Bloomberg report. CVS said the subpoena was sent by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the DEA last month. Federal authorities are reportedly looking into possible violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act.

Some Providence Teachers Union Members Get Notices

Providence Public Schools is sending a displacement notice to members of the Providence Teachers Union. About three-dozen members who work in the central office were informed yesterday as part of the new superintendent's reorganization plan. A school district spokesperson said these are not layoffs.

Legislation Calls For Commission To Oversee DCYF

 A new bill is being introduced in the Rhode Island House to have the Department of Children, Youth and Families be overseen by a legislative commission. This would be a nine-member panel. The DCYF has most-recently come under criticism for the death of a nine-year-old girl in Warwick.

State Democratic Party Executive Director Leaving For Bloomberg Campaign

Rhode Island Democratic Party executive director Cyd McKenna is leaving for a position on Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign. McKenna will work as Bloomberg's political director in Rhode Island. Her last day in the executive director position was Tuesday.

Founding Documents Of Providence On Display

The founding documents of Providence are now on permanent display at City Hall. Dating back to the 1600s, the documents are housed in a museum-quality case with climate control, light protection, and an alarm. They had previously been stored in the state archives.

Bills To Address High Cost Of Prescription Drugs

 A package of eight bills to address the high cost of prescription drugs in Rhode Island is now in the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. Supporters say the bills would provide a pathway to import less-expensive medication from Canada. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate.

State Supreme Court Rejects Governors Request

The state Supreme Court is rejecting Governor Gina Raimondo's request to unseal grand jury documents in the 38 Studios investigation. The video game company went bankrupt leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for a 75-million-dollar state loan guarantee. In its ruling, the high court says the governor doesn't have the standing to seek the release of grand jury proceedings just because of public interest. A spokesman for the governor says Raimondo is disappointed people won't gain more insight into the failure of the 38 Studios deal.

Brown University Proposes A New Dorm Complex

Brown University is proposing a dormitory project to house 375 additional undergraduates by the Fall of 2022. The location on Brook Street would require the demolition of several houses and a commercial strip mall that has several businesses and a Providence police substation. Brown will hold a series of community meetings with stakeholders and neighborhood residents to present details of the project.

Raimondo Defends Presidential Candidate Bloomberg

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is defending Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg. He's been targeted for criticism since claims resurfaced that he helped foster a sexist work environment at his media company. The governor says Bloomberg has apologized, acknowledged mistakes and learned from them. Raimondo recently endorsed the former New York City mayor saying he's the best candidate to face President Trump in November.

Jamestown 4th Fireworks Show Will Continue

The Fourth of July fireworks show in Jamestown is saved. The Rocket Hogs organization, which had organized the event for several decades, announced earlier this month that it was looking for a new group to take over the tradition. A new group has been formed and will run under the name "Jamestown Lights and Magic". This year, the event will be held on July 3rd.

Toll Gate Set To Re-Open After Extended Break

Warwick's Toll Gate High School is set to re-open after a water main break forced its closure. The city's public schools are on vacation to start this week, so Toll Gate won't open until Thursday, but school officials said the school has been cleaned up and is ready to go. Toll Gate was closed all of last week.

Recent DUI Arrest Prompts Reintroduction Of Bills

Following the news about a man being arrested for drunk driving in Rhode Island twice on Valentine's Day, new DUI laws are being re-introduced. Two of the bills from state Senator Leo Raptakis would increase the penalties for those convicted of drunk driving resulting in death or serious injury and would increase from five to ten years the period during which prior DUI convictions qualify a person for increased penalties for subsequent convictions. The third bill would require the license plates of a vehicle to be confiscated if the owner is arrested for driving with a suspended license.

Temporary Bridge Closure In Bristol

The northbound lane on Hope Street at the Silver Creek Bridge in Bristol is going to be closed temporarily. RIDOT says it's to demolish and replace a portion of the structurally deficient bridge. The closure begins on March 2nd and will last through mid-June. A second closure to rebuild the second half of the bridge won't begin until a couple of days after the Bristol Fourth of July parade.

AG's Office Hosting An Expungement Open House

The attorney general's office is hosting an expungement open house to help Rhode Islanders with criminal records evaluate their eligibility. Expungement destroys or seals a record of certain types of criminal convictions. It can be helpful in several ways including the ability to find a job and housing. The open house is from six-to-eight p.m. tonight in Providence at the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.

Hospital Closing Impacts Blackstone Valley Communities

 An independent report says the closing of Memorial Hospital has adversely affected health care in Blackstone Valley communities including Central Falls, Cumberland and Pawtucket. The report urges that an affordable urgent care be opened in the area. Care New England says it closed Memorial Hospital in 2018 because it was struggling financially.

Red Sox Owner Acknowledges Fans Anger

Red Sox owner John Henry says he understands that fans are angry and heartbroken with the Mookie Betts trade to the Dodgers. He claims everyone in the organization had hoped to avoid a trade. However, Henry says the tough call to trade Betts for maximum value was made when it became apparent a contract extension was unlikely. Betts will be a free agent at the end of the upcoming 2020 season.

PC Is Fined By The Big East

The Big East is fining Providence College for violating conference rules. It's imposed a five-thousand-dollar penalty because fans stormed onto the court at the end of the Friars upset win Saturday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. PC beat the 10th ranked Seton Hall 74-71.

Suspects Charged Due To YouTube Video

Five people are facing multiple charges as the result of a multi-agency investigation based on YouTube videos. Police say they were seen in the videos bragging about dealing drugs and illegal gunplay. The suspects are residents of Coventry, West Warwick, and Scituate.

Mentored Youth Wild Turkey Hunt Announced

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is announcing the first mentored youth wild turkey hunt. The two-day event for kids ages 12 to 15 kicks off April 24th at Addieville East Farm in Mapleville, then on the 25th, the hunt takes place in northwestern Rhode Island. A current Rhode Island hunting license and a turkey tag are required. Anyone interested must apply to The Light Foundation, which is a partner in this event, by April 1st.

Memorial Bench Dedicated For Pascoag Fire Lt.

There is now a memorial bench in honor of a Burrillville fireman who died two years ago. A granite bench was unveiled at Veterans Memorial Park last week for the late Richard Jenks, who was a Pascoag fire lieutenant. Jenks, a 30-plus-year veteran of the fire department, died after responding to a fire in 2018.

Cranston Police Say Missing Woman Has Been Found

The Cranston Police Department says a missing elderly woman has been found. Virginia Bunker was reported missing Monday morning. The police department said she has early onset dementia and had just moved to Cranston from Vermont last week to live with her daughter. Bunker was reportedly found near the Vermont border, in Massachusetts.

Bill To Require Civics Education In Schools

There's a bill in the House that would require civics courses in Rhode Island schools. Smithfield Republican state Representative Brian Newberry says he's submitted bill out of concern that civic literacy is declining nationwide. The legislation has bipartisan support.

Housing Grants Awarded To Three Organizations

Three Rhode Island organizations are the recipients of 725-thousand-dollars in federal grants for affordable housing. The money is from NeighborWorks, a nonprofit chartered by Congress that supports a network of nonprofit organizations nationwide. Senator Jack Reed says the federal funding will help strengthen neighborhoods to help more people afford quality housing.

Visiting Comedian Complains About A Providence Hotel

Monty Python veteran comedian John Cleese is not too impressed with his hotel accommodations in Providence. The creator of Faulty Towers was in town over the weekend for a show yesterday afternoon at the VETS. In a tweet, he complained that his room at the Omni Hotel was cold and that management wouldn't provide a heater because it would be a fire hazard. In a later tweet, Cleese said the room got warmer because he has the power to tweet, adding quote, so much for corporate America.

URI Receives Opioid Education Grant

URI is preparing to launch an outreach program to residents in rural parts of the state. A one-million-dollar federal grant will be used to offer education and training about opioid overdose and substance use disorder. Staff from the university's College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and Cooperative Extension, will visit farmers' markets. fairs, festivals and other events. They'll discuss opioids, provide information about how to obtain naloxone, the overdose antidote, and offer related health counseling.

P-Bruins Win Both Weekend Home Games

The Providence Bruins took both games at home this weekend. The Bruins beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-to-2 on Friday and were 3-to-0 winners over Laval on Sunday. It's a President's Day afternoon affair today as the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the Dunkin' Donuts Center for a 3:05 p.m. puck drop.

Airport Parking Operator To Take Over Parking At Beaches

The state of Rhode Island is announcing a new vendor to operate parking facilities at the state's eight surf beaches. The Department of Environmental Management has selected Hartford-based LAZ Parking, which operates other parking spaces across the country including at T.F. Green Airport. The DEM says LAZ Parking will deliver improved traffic flow as part of a modernization effort. LAZ will start running things in May.

Three-Dollar Movie Theater Given Cease-And-Desist Letter

In case you missed this: an East Providence three-dollar movie theater was recently shut down. According to GoLocalProv.com, a letter from the city of East Providence to the owner of East Providence Cinemas on Newport Avenue cited a bounced check for renewing a license, and the city issued a cease-and-desist order for the business last month. A Facebook post from a moviegoer shared on GoLocalProv claimed people were escorted out of the theater in the middle of a movie that was being shown. The theater's website as of today does not show any upcoming releases.

Pawtucket, North Providence Combining Emergency Services

Emergency dispatch services are being merged between North Providence and Pawtucket. Officials say the joint operation will be in North Providence starting next month. On the Pawtucket side, Mayor Donald Grebien said the shared services will lead to improved public services. North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi adds other communities could possibly join the combined dispatch.

Man Arrested For Driving Drunk Twice On Valentine's Day

A Warwick man is facing charges for being arrested twice for drunk driving on Valentine's Day. Patrick Cahill was first arrested at around 2:30 a.m. Friday after multiple calls came in about a wrong-way driver on I-95 north in Warwick. Cahill was reportedly back on I-95 north at around 9 p.m. that night and going the correct direction this time, but still arrested for drunk driving while going through East Greenwich. He was one of a dozen arrests made by state police as part of a two-day enforcement period, according to the RISP.

Letter Posted After State Rep's Allegations Of Slur Use

An open letter is posted from a Rhode Island state representative regarding a colleague's claim of a racial slur being used against her. Last Thursday during debate about a minimum wage bill, state rep Anastasia Williams spoke on the House floor; she started off by quoting the beginning of the song "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo, then said someone had the audacity to use the slur to describe her. The person was unnamed, but on Sunday, a letter was posted online by Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell addressing the situation. She said that she has never used the slur.

P-Bruins Hosting Penguins Tonight, Rocket Sunday

The Providence Bruins continue their longest stretch of home games this season with two at the Dunk this weekend. The P-Bruins host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight, then the Laval Rocket on Sunday. The top four teams in each AHL division make the playoffs; the Bruins are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

Sean Spicer Getting Newsmax Show

Rhode Island native Sean Spicer is getting a new gig. The first press secretary for President Trump will host a daily cable talk show on Newsmax TV. The conservative network says "Spicer and Company" will debut the evening of Super Tuesday, March 3rd. Since his departure from the White House, Spicer, who grew up in the East Bay area, has released a book and been on Dancing with the Stars, among other things.

Jessica Meir Video Chat Hosted By Brown

Brown University alum and astronaut Jessica Meir spoke to Brown students and faculty on a live video feed from the International Space Station on Thursday. Meir was one of the participants in the first-ever all-female spacewalk. Meir talked about the most remarkable thing she has observed on the ISS, being how thin the atmosphere is, and that it makes you realize how important it is to protect it.

RI House Passes Minimum Wage Increase

The minimum wage in Rhode Island is one step closer to increasing. The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation to raise the wage to eleven-fifty an hour on October 1st. The bill goes to the Senate, where an identical version was approved last week. Rhode Island's current minimum wage is ten dollars and fifty cents.

Another Busy Gun Day At State House

The Rhode Island House passed legislation on Thursday banning 3D-printed guns and other untraceable firearms. The legislation moves to the Senate, which has passed a similar bill. Also yesterday, Governor Gina Raimondo and state Attorney General Peter Neronha called for new control bills, including bans on guns in schools and bans on assault weapons.

Amtrak Adding Stops In Westerly

Amtrak is adding stops at the railroad station in Westerly. Effective on March 16th, the number of southbound trains stopping in Westerly will increase from four to five. The northbound number will go up from three to six. An Amtrak spokesman says the additional service will give people a more efficient travel experience.

House Speaker And Senate President Support Klobuchar

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is supporting Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination. Senate President Domnick Ruggerio is also backing Klobuchar. Governor Gina Raimondo has endorsed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg in the race for the party's nomination.

Westerly School Committee Rescinds Vote

The State Street Elementary School in Westerly is not going to be closed after all. The school committee rescinded a previous vote to close the school at the end of the academic year. The initial decision was made due to complaints about the building's infrastructure.

Bruins Beat Montreal, Celtics Host Clippers

In hockey, the Bruins beat the Montreal Canadiens at home last night, 4-to-1. Through 58 games this NHL season, the B's have 35 wins and own the best record in the league. Boston hosts Detroit on Saturday. In basketball, the Celtics have one more game tonight against the LA Clippers before the NBA All-Star break.

Work Starts On Breachway In Charlestown

Construction of boat ramp improvements at the Quonnie Breachway in Charlestown is underway. That's according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and The Nature Conservancy. The plan is to replace the existing ramp by the end of April and add new floating docks, which are expected to be installed by next fall.

House Oversight Committee To Get Medical Transportation Update

The Rhode Island House Committee on Oversight is set to hear an update today from the troubled vendor that provides non-emergency transport for elderly and Medicaid patients. Missouri-based Medical Transportation Management has been the subject of numerous complaints since starting a contract with the state at the beginning of last year. The committee has met several times since to oversee improvements.

State Says It Will Keep $30 Million Of Deloitte Settlement

The state of Rhode Island is announcing it will be able to keep part of a special payment by Deloitte, the company that built the infamous UHIP program. According to Governor Gina Raimondo's administration, a deal has been reached with federal regulators to keep 30-million of the 50-million-dollar penalty, with the rest of the money going to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service. The settlement was part of an extension agreed to last year to have Deloitte continue running UHIP.

More Grand Jury Testimony Related To Convention Center Audit

Grand jury testimony is continuing to be received this week regarding the controversial audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center. The state auditor general, Dennis Hoyle, and convention center general manager Larry Lepore both appeared to testify in court in Warwick on Tuesday, the second day of testimony. Convention center authority executive director Jim McGarville told reporters after he testified on Monday that the conversation was mostly related to the circumstances around why House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello ordered an audit of the convention center in December.

Big Names To Headline Newport Jazz Festival

Some big names are headlining this year's Newport Jazz Festival. Organizers now say high profile performers will include Norah Jones, Wynton Marsalis, and Diana Krall. The festival is scheduled for August 7th through the 9th.

Warwick Residents Warned About Scam

Warwick residents are being warned about a scam. Police say intended victims get a call from someone claiming to be a police officer. The caller claims to have a warrant for the person's arrest and says the case can be resolved through payments in the form of gift cards, digital payment or cryptocurrency. Anyone receiving such a call should hang up and notify the authorities.

Boston Red Sox Name New Interim Manager

The Boston Red Sox are naming a new interim manager. Bench coach Ron Roenicke  is being promoted. He was previously the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, winning 342 games and losing 331 with the team from 2011 to 2015. The move comes less than two weeks before the Red Sox play their first spring training game.

Frontier Suspends Denver-Providence Flights

Frontier Airlines is reportedly suspending all flights from Providence to Denver International Airport. The announcement was made Tuesday. The reason was not immediately known. Frontier still offers non-stop flights from Providence to three destinations in Florida.

Jump Bikes Coming Back In Providence

Jump bikes are returning to Providence. The bright-red ride-share bikes, the first of their kind in Providence, first appeared in the city in September of 2018 but were pulled last August after numerous reports of misuse. The bikes will be rolled out this spring, according to a city spokesperson. Mayor Jorge Elorza recently said Jump was working to make the bikes more secure.

House Passes Field Trip Funding Bill

The Rhode Island House is passing legislation allowing school districts to raise money for field trips and other extracurricular activities. The bill, which is running parallel to similar legislation in the Senate, arose from public schools canceling events last year in response to a directive from the Rhode Island Department of Education warning districts not to charge mandatory fees. That directive came after the ACLU and Rhode Island Legal Services raised concerns about low-income families being put in a difficult spot. The Senate version is scheduled for a committee hearing today.

Brown Extends President's Contract

Brown University President Christina Paxson's contract is being extended for an additional three years. The Corporation of Brown University has unanimously approved the extension citing what it describes as her eight years of accomplishments. Paxson says she considers it a privilege to serve the Ivy league university.

Longtime East Greenwich Restaurant Is Closing

After 25 years, the Outback Steakhouse on Division Street in East Greenwich is closing for good on Sunday. The company says employees will have transfer opportunities or receive a severance package. The only other Outback's in the immediate area are located in Bellingham and Seekonk, Massachusetts.

Clean Up Continues At Toll Gate High School

The cleanup is continuing at Toll Gate High School in Warwick. The first floor was flooded by a weekend water main break. It's unclear how much it will cost to repair the damage. The building is closed for the week and the school department is applying to the state for a waiver so students don't have to make up the five days at the end of the year.

School Custodians Protest In Scituate

School custodians in Scituate are opposed to a proposal to outsource cleaning services. The district is reportedly considering hiring a private company to help save money. The custodians are concerned about a loss of benefits or jobs. The school committee is expected to discuss the proposal at tonight's town budget meeting.



Court Rules In Case Involving Tribe, Pipeline

The U.S. Court of Appeals has made a decision on a case involving the Narragansett Indian Tribe. The tribe petitioned for a review of an order of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denying its motion to intervene in a natural gas pipeline certificate, claiming the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company was authorized to build a pipeline across sacred tribal grounds in Massachusetts. In a decision issued by the federal appeals court, it was noted that the tribe lacked standing to seek relief because by the time it filed its petition for review, the damage was already done.

Block Island Wind Farm To Go Offline For Cable Work

Work is being announced to re-bury the transmission line of the Block Island Wind Farm. Orsted says one of the two cables will be re-buried starting in the fall and finish by Memorial Day. In the meantime, the company says the offshore wind farm, the first in the nation, will have to go offline. Orsted says ratepayers will not be responsible for any cost of this endeavor, which is being undertaken because the cable was not buried deep enough and has occasionally been exposed.

Grand Jury Hears Testimony About Authority Audit

Testimony is being received by a grand jury convened to hear about why an audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority was ordered and then canceled. The Providence Journal reports testimony began yesterday from leaders of the convention center authority, including executive director James McCarvill, who had written to the state police asking for an investigation. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he ordered a performance audit of the convention center after learning of possible financial issues there from James Demers, the former convention center head of security and a friend of the Speakers.

Elorza Delays Talking About School Takeover In Address

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza's "State of the City" address on Monday drew some attention for perhaps burying the lead of the topic of the city's failing public school system. The state takeover of the Providence district was briefly referenced halfway through the speech. Elorza instead had a progressive "New Providence" theme for his speech, pointing to infrastructure improvements, increased development, and fighting climate change. Another topic that was noticeable for only being briefly mentioned was the city's unfunded pension situation.

URI Celebrates New Residence Hall

URI is celebrating the completion of a new residence hall . Brookside Hall can house 500 students in apartment-style suites with several single-occupancy bedrooms, a full kitchen, and two bathrooms. It also has a 40-seat cafe open to the entire campus.

GOP Congressional Challenger Emerges In 2nd District

Former state Representative Robert Lancia says he running for Congress in the 2nd District. The Cranston Republican was defeated in his bid for reelection to the House in 2018. He says during his two terms in the General Assembly he worked in a bipartisan manner and fought to make state government transparent and accountable. Incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin has held the office since 2001.

Retired Sports Writer Honored At Brown University

Brown University is recognizing retired Providence Journal sportswriter Bill Reynolds. He was given an award Saturday by his alma mater prior to Brown's basketball game against Harvard. In addition to his decades at the Journal, Reynolds has authored several books and he was an accomplished collegiate basketball player at Brown. Next month, he's being inducted into the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.

P-Bruins Lose Twice To Bridgeport

The Providence Bruins lost both games of a home-and-home series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this weekend. Bridgeport hosted the P-Bruins and beat them on Saturday 4-to-2, while the Sound Tigers needed overtime to beat Providence at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday, 2-to-1. Yesterday's game kicked off a six-game homestand for the B's.

New Organizers Needed To Keep Jamestown Fireworks Show Going

A new sponsor is being sought for the traditional Fourth of July fireworks display in Jamestown. The two individuals who have organized the privately-funded Jamestown Rocket Hogs event are stepping down after doing this for about a decade. A message of thanks for past support and donations was issued over the weekend.

Purple Heart Given To Woonsocket Vietnam Vet

 A long-overdue Purple Heart medal was awarded to a Vietnam veteran from Woonsocket on the first day of this month. Congressman David Cicilline formally presented the Purple Heart to Ernie Boisvert at the American Legion in Woonsocket. According to Cicilline's office, Boisvert, an Army Specialist 5th Class, was hit in the face with shrapnel from ordnance that killed his lieutenant in one of the most significant battles of the war in Pleiku, Vietnam in 1967. Cicilline said Boisvert was never formally treated and never received recognition for his sacrifice during the battle.

Toll Gate High School Closed This Week

 Warwick Mayor Joseph Solomon says a major water main break at Toll Gate High School over the weekend is necessitating the school's closure this week. Solomon says the break from Saturday has been fixed, but that the all-week closure of the high school and career center is needed because to clean up. The mayor said in a statement that officials realize this is a major inconvenience, but that they have to ensure that the building is safe and clean for students.

P- Bruins Have Two Games vs. Bridgeport This Weekend

The Providence Bruins have an away and home game this weekend. The Bruins go to Bridgeport to play the Sound Tigers on Saturday night at 7:00. The Bruins and Sound Tigers both come back to the Dunk on Sunday for a 3:05 p.m. puck drop. That's going to be the first of six straight home games for the P-Bruins.

Lifespan, Coastal Medical Announce Agreement

Lifespan is looking to add Rhode Island-based Coastal Medical to its healthcare system. The organizations said in a joint announcement yesterday that they have a definitive agreement that is expected to be completed by the end of this year. According to multiple media outlets covering the news, Lifespan and Coastal Medical both say the affiliation won't require state regulatory approval. Coastal has 125 primary care physicians in the state.

RI House Passes Hometown Police Chief Gun Check Law

The Rhode Island House yesterday by a 58-to-7 vote passed legislation to require a gun buyer's hometown police chief to be sent the firearm application. The bill was filed after last year's fatal shooting at an apartment complex in Westerly; the shooter had purchased a gun from a firearms dealer in Richmond, where police were reportedly unaware that the buyer had a history with Westerly law enforcement which included threatening to buy a gun and kill himself and his estranged wife. The measure now moves to the Senate, where similar legislation has been introduced.

Gov. Signs Medical Cannabis-Related Legislator

Governor Gina Raimondo was quick to sign a law on Wednesday repealing the veto power legislators gave themselves over state regulations on marijuana. The Rhode Island House and Senate both passed the repeal on Tuesday, ending a power struggle to license the state's half-dozen incoming medical cannabis dispensaries. A spokesperson for Raimondo says the governor on Wednesday was to file in court to withdraw her lawsuit against the House speaker and Senate president over the issue.

RI Hotel Among The Among 50 Best

U.S. News and World Report says Ocean House in Watch Hill is 25th among the 50 best hotels in the country. It's also ranked number one in Rhode Island. The magazine describes Ocean House a culinary gem, praises its guest rooms and says there is ample space for groups or bridal parties. The rankings are based on industry awards, hotel star ratings and guest reviews.

Bill To Fund School Field Trips

A bill is going to be introduced in the General Assembly allowing school committees to budget funding for field trips. It would guarantee all students have the same access to field trips and would allow schools to raise supplemental funds. The legislation would also let parents and guardians donate toward the cost, but does not allow schools to directly ask families for money to pay for trips.

Providence Cop Hit State Police Cruiser

The driver who slammed into a parked State Police cruiser on I-95 north in Warwick late Tuesday night is a Providence police officer. The officer was reportedly off-duty at the time. State Police are investigating the cause of the crash and Providence police will also conduct an internal investigation. The officer and the state trooper were treated for minor injuries.

Providence Fire Truck Loses Two Wheels

Just days after the Providence firefighters union raised concerns about the condition of the aging fleet, there's been an incident. A ladder truck returning from a call yesterday morning lost two wheels near the intersection of East Franklin and Point streets. Ladder Two out of the Messer Street station was repaired at the scene.

Men's Basketball: Providence Upsets Creighton

Providence College men's basketball notches an upset win over Creighton on Wednesday. A.J. Reeves led the way for the Friars with 22 points as PC beat the number-21-ranked Blue Jays at the Dunk, 73-to-56. Providence moves to a 6-and-4 Big East Conference record and 13-and-10 overall. The Friars have eight regular-season games left before next month's Big East Tournament.

RITBA Selects New Executive Director

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is naming its first woman executive director. Lori Caron Silveira was selected as the agency's eighth executive director and officially began at the start of this month. The RITBA says Silveira has years of experience with the RITBA and other quasi-state agencies in Rhode Island. The position's previous holder, Buddy Croft, retired.

New Solar Project Contract Involves All Three RI Electric Utilities

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources is announcing a contract for a new solar project sited near Hartford, Connecticut. The state says the project has agreed to provide power at a fixed price of five-point-three cents per kilowatt hour for twenty years and is projected to produce enough electricity to power more than 18-thousand homes annually. For the first time, National Grid, Pascoag Utility District and Block Island Utility District - the three electric utilities in Rhode Island - will share the output of a project, pending approval by the Public Utilities Commission.

Prov. Social Services Agency Re-Opens Food Pantry

The Community Action Partnership of Providence is back in the business of running one of the largest food pantries in the city. The social services agency had to leave its previous location at the Elmwood Community Center last July because of unsafe building conditions. The food pantry welcomed in families at its new site on Broad Street on Wednesday.

Minimum Wage Increase Bill Passes Senate

The Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill to increase the state's minimum wage to eleven dollars and fifty cents per hour. It's a scaled-back increase plan from the original, which put the state on a path to a fifteen-dollar-per-hour wage. The bill now goes to the Rhode Island House.

RI's Congressional Delegation Reacts To Impeachment Acquittal

Rhode Island's Congressional delegation is reacting to President Trump's impeachment acquittal in the U.S. Senate. Congressman David Cicilline tweeted the verdict is not the product of a real trial and not an exoneration and said the President's alleged actions that led to the charges against him constituted a cover-up. Congressman Jim Langevin also criticized Senate Republicans for not conducting an impartial trial and commended Democratic Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse for voting "guilty" on the impeachment articles of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Whitehouse himself called the trial, quote, "a sordid spectacle."

A Route 6 On-Ramp To Close Permanently

The Tobey Street on-ramp to Route 6 west in Providence is being permanently closed on February 18th. It's one of seven structurally deficient bridges being replaced as part of the Route 6/10 Interchange project. A new bridge over Tobey Street will be built over the next two years. RIDOT will establish a detour and does not anticipate significant delays or congestion.

Bloomberg Makes Campaign Stop In Providence

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg says he's the un-Trump on issues like gun control, climate change, and clean energy. The former mayor of New York City made a campaign stop in Providence yesterday morning. Bloomberg says President Trump is dividing the country. He says he's running to unite the country.

Portsmouth Man Faces Drug Charges

A 52-year-old Portsmouth man is facing several drug charges as the result of an investigation that started in November. Authorities say Frank Rego was seen selling drugs from his home, which is within 300 feet of a school.  During a search of the house on East Main Road , they found bags of marijuana packaged for distribution and 19-thousand-dollars in cash. Fifty-four marijuana plants were also seized during a search of a second house connected to Rego.

Gov. Raimondo Endorses Bloomberg

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is endorsing Mike Bloomberg for the Democratic presidential nomination. She says the billionaire and former New York City mayor is a problem-solver with a track record of delivering results. Raimondo will be a national campaign co-chair, serving as an advisor and making campaign appearances on Bloomberg's behalf.

Forestland Added To Management Area In W.Greenwich

A total of 28 acres of forestland is being added to the Tillinghast Pond Management Area in West Greenwich. That's according to an announcement from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and The Nature Conservancy. The acreage is for public recreational use, including hunting.

Full-Court Buzzer-Beater Shot Number One On Top 10

A Narragansett High School basketball player made an unbelievable shot in a game on Monday. Senior Colby Corson made a full-court, one-handed buzzer-beater basket against Pilgrim as the two teams played down to the wire in Warwick. Narragansett was down three and the successful shot forced overtime. Narragansett went on to win the game, 83-to-78, and that shot was the number one play the next day on ESPN's SportsCenter.

Budget Proposal Affecting Veterans Home Covered At Hearing

The financially-challenged state-run nursing home for veterans was the focus of a Joint Committee on Finance, Special Legislation and Veteran Affairs hearing in the Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday. Senator Walter Felag of Bristol, whose district includes the home, called the part of Governor Gina Raimondo's budget proposal that would impact the home "insulting". The proposal includes taking all of a veteran's monthly income to live at the home, instead of the current amount of 80 percent; it would also take deceased veterans' estates in probate court if there is no next of kin, and increase the fee for veterans' spouses to be buried next to them. At the same time, the governor's proposal increases a monthly stipend for veterans and covers therapy costs, something that was taken away in a recent policy change.

Bloomberg To Campaign In Providence

Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg is holding a campaign event in Providence today. Doors open at 9:45 a.m. for the event at the Wexford Innovation Center, District Hall on Dyer Street.  His campaign says Bloomberg will share why he's the best candidate to defeat President Trump in November.

RI Health Director Says Coronavirus Fueling Racism

The director of the Rhode Island Department of Health says fears about the coronavirus are fueling anti-Chinese racism. Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott says health department staff who are receiving calls from the public are hearing stories of fear and discrimination.  in a letter to department employees, Alexander-Scott says it's important to understand that a person's nationality alone is not a factor for coronavirus. So far, eleven cases have been confirmed in the United State, none in Rhode Island.

Report: Convention Center Officials Subpoenaed

 At least three Rhode Island Convention Center officials have reportedly been subpoenaed by a grand jury. The subpoena's come amid an investigation into why House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello recently ordered an unauthorized audit of the agency. Mattiello subsequently canceled the audit. A spokesperson for the attorney general's office would neither deny or confirm if there is an active grand jury looking into the issue.

Coventry Police Chief Is Retiring

Coventry Police Chief John MacDonald is retiring after 25 years with the department. He will be the State Army Aviation Officer with the Rhode Island National Guard. MacDonald has been a member of the Guard for over 28 years, earning a bronze star and commanding a Black Hawk Helicopter Company in Iraq in 2005.

Bill To Prevent Unexpected Medical Costs

A bill now in the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee would prevent unexpected bills from out-of-network medical providers in Rhode Island. It limits emergency room charges to the in-network rate for insured patients and requires hospitals to notify people in advance if non-emergency services are going to be handled by an out-of-network provider. The bill's supporters say surprise medical expenses can bankrupt people.

Iowans At Brown University Participate In Caucus

Ten Iowans at Brown University took part in their state's presidential caucus Monday night via satellite link.    it was one of 87 satellite caucuses created by Iowa Democrats to allow more people to vote. Delegates, observers and supporters of various candidates gathered in a campus auditorium for the event.

Prov. Firefighter Union President Says Vehicle Fleet Getting Old

The president of the Providence firefighters union is calling attention to issues with the department's vehicle fleet. In a letter addressed to Providence City Councilman James Taylor, who serves as the chair of the council's Special Committee on Public Safety, union president Derek Silva says the vehicles have lost the use of their brakes, fire apparatus catches fire and there have been numerous other issues. Silva said the Providence Fire Department has one of the oldest vehicle fleets compared with other urban departments in the state.

Sports-Betting: State Does Better In This Year's Super Bowl

The Rhode Island Lottery announced on Monday the sports-betting results from Sunday's Super Bowl. The lottery said gamblers bet five-and-a-half-million dollars through Sportsbook RI and lost just over 800-grand. The state will take in about half of that revenue. Last year, when the hometown New England Patriots were in it, Sportsbook RI paid out almost two-and-a-half-million dollars in winnings.

Twin River Announces New Providence HQ Plan

Twin River is announcing its planned new company headquarters at the Wexford Innovation Center in Providence. Last week, Twin River, which operates the state's casinos, announced an agreement to form a new company with IGT, the state's lottery runner, which would allow Twin River to provide video slot machines at the casinos, pending state approval; this as legislators consider a contract extension for IGT. If everything goes through, Twin River says it expects to move into the new space next year.

No Black Mold Found In JCLS Office

No black mold is found in the Joint Committee on Legislative Services office at the Rhode Island State House. The committee is being scrutinized right now for the motives of authorizing an audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority. Last Monday, the office was evacuated and items were removed because of a declared mold emergency reportedly caused by a broken steam pipe. A report from an inspector indicated a "moderate" amount of mold was found in the office, but again, not the dangerous black mold.

National Guard Armory Fire In Providence

The cause of a fire in a National Guard Armory in Providence is under investigation.  Firefighters were called to the building on North Main Street Sunday afternoon when flames erupted on the second floor. There were no reported injuries.

Bill To Prevent Unexpected Medical Bills

There's a bill in the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee to prevent unexpected and very high bills from out-of-network medical providers. It limits emergency room charges to the in-network rate to insured patients and requires hospitals to notify patients in advance if non-emergency services are going to be handled by an out-of-network provider. The bill's sponsor, Jamestown Representative Deb Ruggiero, says surprise medical bills can bankrupt families and individuals.

Candidate For Mayor Wins Firefighters Endorsement

 A Cranston candidate for mayor is getting the support of the city's firefighters union. A union spokesman says Republican City Council President Michael Farina believes that public safety is a priority. Several candidates are expected to run to succeed outgoing Mayor Alan Fung. He's term-limited from seeking re-election.

Warning About Utility Bill Collecting Scam

Electric and gas customers in Rhode Island are being warned about scammers posing as bill collectors. Over the past several weeks there has been a spike in the number of reported scam attempts targeting both residential and business customers. The attorney general's office says scammers use phone calls, texts, emails, and in-person visits. They inform customers they have a past due utility bill that requires immediate payment to avoid service being disconnected.

Red Sox Equipment Truck Headed To Florida

In an annual sign that spring is on the way, the Red Sox equipment truck left Fenway Park yesterday headed to Fort Meyers, Florida. It makes the nearly 15-hundred mile trip to the Sox spring training site carrying a cargo of baseball equipment and supplies. Pitchers and catchers report on February 11th, and position players are due in camp on February 16th.

Red Sox Equipment Truck In Pawtucket Today

The Pawtucket Red Sox are welcoming in the Boston Red Sox equipment truck today before it goes down south for spring training. The equipment truck is scheduled to arrive at McCoy Stadium at 1 p.m. Anyone who brings a non-perishable food donation will receive a complimentary general admission ticket for PawSox opening day on April 9th. This is the final season for the PawSox before they move to Worcester.

Tom Brady Pulls Fast One In Super Bowl Ad

Six-time Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave Pats fans a big scare on Super Bowl Sunday. During the Big Game, a commercial ran featuring Brady saying, quote, "They say all good things must come to an end, that the best just know when to walk away", and then he says he has a major announcement. But it turned out he was reading a script for Hulu, and he said, quote, "I'm not going anywhere". Brady is an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.

State Board Of Elections Set To Relocate

The Rhode Island Board of Elections says it will take up its new location in Cranston later this month. The board will officially begin operations at its new building on Plainfield Pike on February 10th, leaving its previous headquarters in Providence. The state board says the new facility features a state-of-the-art multi-purpose room designed for hearings, training, and post-election audits, expanded mail ballot-processing capabilities and more.

Deadly Vehicle vs.Pedestrian Incident In Middletown

A woman was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle in Middletown on Saturday. Police say the motorist backed out of a driveway and across Ward Avenue and hit two people in a yard, killing Gertrude Mackin of Middletown. The second person who was hit was reportedly listed in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital. The incident is being investigated.


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