1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2020-03

Mill Fire On Pawtucket-Central Falls Line

A massive fire blazed through a group of mill buildings on the Pawtucket-Central Falls line early Saturday morning. This was at the Conant Thread complex. Fire officials say over two-hundred residents from nearby apartments were displaced. The cause of the fire is being investigated. The National Weather Service said the fire was picked up on radar.

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Providence Closes Two Businesses Who Allegedly Violated Patron Limit

The city of Providence said on Sunday that it has issued closure orders to a pair of businesses that violated the new limit to one-hundred patrons enacted due to the coronavirus. The violation letters went to the Wonderland strip club on Allens Avenue and Parkview Bakery Café on Broad Street. The closures are to remain in effect until further notice.

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Coronavirus Impacts State Court Calendar; Closures Include Casinos

Here's a list of coronavirus-caused closures in Rhode Island announced this weekend. The state court system's calendar is canceled this week, and the federal courthouse in Providence is closed starting today until further notice. Providence City Hall is closed for two weeks. Also on the list: the Twin River casinos, the Newport mansions, YMCAs in the state, and the Roger Williams Park Zoo.

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Westerly Girl With COVID-19 Reportedly Got Autograph From Infected NBA Player

Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said on Friday that two children in the town tested positive for coronavirus and that one of them got an autograph from one of the two Utah Jazz players who have also tested positive. This was from when the Jazz played at the Boston Celtics on March 6th. Lacey didn't say which of the two players gave the autograph to the child.

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Entire School Community Quarantined; No Change On RI School Status

Rhode Island's coronavirus "positive" number remained at 20 on Sunday. A data update from the state also indicated about 23-hundred people in Rhode Island are being asked to self-quarantine, including about 17-hundred students and others from Cranston High School West as one of the positives is a student there. Rhode Island has gone unchanged from its plan to have schools just be off for this week thanks to a rescheduled spring vacation, while neighboring Massachusetts announced Sunday night that all schools in that state are closing for three weeks. Governor Gina Raimondo is directing child care centers in Rhode Island to close.

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Movie-Filming Tax Credit Legislation Goes To Gov's Desk

A motion picture tax credit bill is passed by the General Assembly. The legislation amends the current program by allowing productions to access tax credits even if the majority of the production is not done within the state, if a minimum of ten-million dollars is spent in the state within a year. The bill heads to the governor's desk.

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January 2020 Unemployment Report In Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training said Thursday that the unemployment rate in January dropped to three-point-four percent. That rate was one-tenth of a percentage point lower than December and three-tenths of a percentage point down from January 2019.

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Lifespan Cuts Jobs After Fiscal Year In The Red

Lifespan has announced the elimination of 87 jobs as part of a restructuring effort. Lifespan says it laid off 55 people from its corporate services office, and that another 216 employees have agreed to retire by March 28th. President and CEO Timothy Babineau says Lifesan lost 35-million dollars in Fiscal Year 2019.

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RIIL Basketball, Hockey Championships Being Played

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League is keeping the lights on this weekend for winter sports championships. A number of boys' and girls' basketball Sweet 16 playoff games were played on Thursday. Basketball and ice hockey action will continue this weekend. The Rhode Island Interscholastic League says there will not be any fans allowed and that the effort is being made to have all the games streamed.

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Entertainment Licenses Revoked In Prov. For Emergency Declaration

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza declared a state of emergency on Thursday over the coronavirus pandemic and said all entertainment licenses in the city would be temporarily revoked. Restaurants and bars can stay open but cannot serve over one-hundred people at a time. All city events scheduled for the next two weeks are being postponed and non-essential public meetings are being canceled. Providence Municipal Court Chief Judge Frank Caprio announced the closure of the court until further notice because of the virus. The Providence Bruins' season was halted yesterday as part of the American Hockey League's decision to suspend games.

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Brown And RISD Campuses Will Close

Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design are the latest schools moving to virtual online learning because of the coronavirus threat. Both schools say the change will be effective at the end of the month. Additionally, all residence halls on both campuses will close on March 22nd, and students will have to complete the semester from their homes or an alternate location.

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Atlantic 10 And Big East Tournaments Are Canceled

The Atlantic 10 and the Big East Tournaments are now canceled due to the threat of the coronavirus. The University of Rhode Island Rams were to begin tournament play in Brooklyn, New York, against an opponent that would have been determined.  The Providence College Friars were scheduled to play Butler University at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Several other college conferences have also canceled their tournaments.

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Diocese Announces Dispensation From Mass Obligation

The Diocese of Providence is going to continue offering Masses, however, due to the threat of the coronavirus, Catholics are released from their obligation to attend Sunday Mass for the time being. Parishioners over 60 years of age and anyone with underlying health conditions are especially encouraged to take advantage of the dispensation. Pastors and Catholic school administrators are also directed to carefully evaluate the advisability of holding any social events scheduled for a parish or school.

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Visitor Restrictions Implemented At RWMC And Fatima Hospitals

A no visitor policy is now in effect at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence until further notice. CharterCARE Health Partners says it's an effort to protect patients and staff and limit potential exposure to the coronavirus. All patients, including those arriving for outpatient procedures, are advised to access both hospitals via Emergency Department entrances where they will be screened and directed to the appropriate location. A no visitor policy is also in effect at all Lifespan and Care New England hospitals.

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Providence School Superintendent Announces Priorities

Providence School Superintendent Harrison Peters says he has 34 priorities. The new state-appointed superintendent released a ten-page plan this week. Priorities include a review of the transportation policy, reducing employee vacancies, a recruitment drive to attract diverse and effective teachers and a school facilities capital plan.

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Events Canceled At Convention Center/Vets Auditorium

Several events scheduled at the Rhode Island Convention Center are now canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus. Among the cancellations is the Rhode Island Home Show which had been planned for early next month. Two Rhode Island Philharmonic concerts, tomorrow night and Saturday night, at Veterans Memorial Auditorium have been postponed. The orchestra says other performances will also be rescheduled should it become necessary.

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Ethics Commission OK's Probe Of Providence Public Safety Chief

The Providence Ethics Commission approved an ethics probe of city Public Safety Chief Steven Pare on Wednesday night. The complaint, filed by Providence City Councilman James Taylor, is that Pare allegedly declined to hire a fire chief because the move would affect his salary. The Ethics Commission after taking the vote to approve the investigation said the city had already hired an attorney to conduct an investigation, which apparently is already complete. The commission said that action was premature.

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More Schools Doing Online Classes, ACI Visitor Restrictions, More Cancellations

Coronavirus-related isolation efforts are continuing in Rhode Island. Community College of Rhode Island, Providence College, and the University of Rhode Island are all switching to online classes, joining many other institutions of higher learning in New England. The Rhode Island Department of Corrections suspended all visits to the Adult Correctional Institution on Wednesday. The Rhode Island Convention Center is canceling several events, including the Rhode Island Home Show.

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Ethics Commission OK's Probe Of Providence Public Safety Chief

The Providence Ethics Commission approved an ethics probe of city Public Safety Chief Steven Pare on Wednesday night. The complaint, filed by Providence City Councilman James Taylor, is that Pare allegedly declined to hire a fire chief because the move would affect his salary. The Ethics Commission after taking the vote to approve the investigation said the city had already hired an attorney to conduct an investigation, which apparently is already complete. The commission said that action was premature.

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State Guidance: No Events of 250 People Or More

New guidance issued over the coronavirus crisis by Governor Gina Raimondo and the state Department of Health to Rhode Islanders on Wednesday was to avoid events with 250 or more people. The state says the guidance is in line with what is being recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, intended to slow the transmission of COVID-19. The Newport City Council cited the new guidance in taking another vote on whether to revoke the license for this weekend's Saint Patrick's Day Parade; the updated vote yesterday, the second in as many days, was unanimous to revoke the license, meaning the parade will not happen.

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New State Representative To Be Sworn-In

The newest member of the House is going to be sworn into office today. Joshua Giraldo was elected last week to fill the vacancy in District 56 in Central Falls, left by the resignation of Shelby Maldonado. He's been chief of staff to Central Falls Mayor James Diossa since October of 2015.

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State House Hearing On Gun Legislation Postponed

Last night's scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun legislation was postponed due to concern about the coronavirus. The postponement was recommended by the director of the state Department of Health because a big crowd was expected at the hearing. All other House committee hearings were held as scheduled.

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Care New England Announces No Visitor Policy

There's now a system-wide no visitor policy at Care New England hospitals because of the coronavirus. The policy is in effect at Kent, Butler and Women & Infants hospitals. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of medical and nursing supervisors. Lifespan implemented a similar policy at its hospitals earlier this week.

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Charlestown Council Votes Against Solar Ordinance Proposal

The Charlestown Town Council voted unanimously on Monday against a solar energy ordinance proposed by a solar developer. Attorneys for Stamford, Connecticut-based Freepoint LLC proposed a zoning amendment that would allow a commercial solar facility near the northern end of the town. The developers had reportedly been exploring solar projects in Charlestown for several years.

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Funding For Doulas Announced In Providence

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza announced funding on Tuesday for local doula service providers. Doulas are non-medical professionals who provide physical, emotional and informational support to pregnant women. City Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune said black women in the U.S. experience some of the worst maternal health outcomes in the nation, and that doulas play a vital role in increasing their survival rates. Four applicants were awarded five grants of four-thousand dollars each.

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RIIL Boys' Hockey Championships Moved To URI

Brown University's decision to not hold large-scale events is causing a ripple effect for Rhode Island high school sports. The RI Interscholastic League says it was notified Monday Brown cannot host the Division One and Two boys' hockey championships, and that Providence College is also not available. The R-I-I-L says those games will now be played at Boss Arena on the University of Rhode Island campus, beginning Friday.

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More Learning, Other Adjustments By RI Colleges And Universities

Colleges and universities in Rhode Island are continuing to make adjustments this week in response to the evolving coronavirus threat. Bryant University and Roger Williams University are switching to online classes. Brown University is reportedly considering that switch as well. Brown and Community College of Rhode Island are suspending college-sponsored domestic traveling and canceling large-attendance events.

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Newport Council Decides On Saint Patrick's Parade

The Newport Saint Patrick's Day Parade is apparently back on. It initially looked like fears of spreading coronavirus had put the parade on ice, but Newport's City Council voted 4-to-3 last night not to revoke the permit for the event, resulting in the parade going on as scheduled, according to reports. Other New England cities this week, including Boston, have canceled their Saint Patrick's parades, while in Rhode Island, a parade was held in Pawtucket this past weekend. Regarding Newport's,  the Rhode Island Department of Health had recommended to the organizers of the parade that the event be canceled or postponed.

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RI Coronavirus Case Total Increases By Two

The Rhode Island Department of Health's laboratories are identifying two additional cases of the novel coronavirus. That brings what had been a non-moving number this week up to five total in the Ocean State, pending confirmation from the CDC. The first person is a woman in her 50s whose recent travel history included Egypt. The second person is a woman in her 30s whose infection source is currently unknown; the state says she is a healthcare worker at a Rhode Island hospital. RIDOH says both individuals are recovering at home.

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Trinity Rep Waives Ticket Exchange Fees

Due to concern about the coronavirus, Trinity Rep in Providence is waiving the ticket exchange fees for anyone who wants tickets for a later performance or future production. More information is available by contacting the box office. Additionally, management says the level of frequency of cleaning and disinfecting public spaces in the theater has been increased.

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Dunkin' Stops Refillable Cup Program

Dunkin' Donuts is temporarily stopping the refillable cup program due to concern about the coronavirus. Customers are advised to leave their reusable mugs at home for the time being as a safety precaution.

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Coronavirus Concerns Impact Legislative Hearings

Due to concern about the coronavirus the public is now allowed to submit written testimony rather than appearing in-person at House and Senate hearings at the Rhode Island State House. Testimony can be emailed to slegislation@rilegislature.gov. The written testimony will be distributed to committee members and placed in the public record.

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Sick Passenger Hospitalized After Arrival At Airport

 As concern about the spread of the coronavirus increases, a passenger arriving at T.F Green Airport yesterday morning with flu-like symptoms has been hospitalized. The person was on a Southwest flight that originated in Orlando, Florida. Airport officials say they were notified by the arriving aircraft and protocols were immediately activated to assess, assist and take the individual from the plane to a hospital minimizing exposure to other passengers.

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Newport Named Host City For Sail 2022

Newport is going to be the only North American stop for the 2022 Ocean Race. Rhode Island is one of the ten stops during the eight-month, 38-thousand nautical mile race around the world. It will be the third consecutive time that Sail Newport and Fort Adams State Park have been a host for race competitors.

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Governor To Sign Minimum Wage Bill

Governor Gina Raimondo signed a bill yesterday raising Rhode Island's minimum wage. As of October first, the minimum will be eleven-dollars-50-cents per hour. Currently, the hourly rate is ten-dollars-50-cents.

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Visiting Restrictions At RI Nursing Homes

Effective immediately, Rhode Island nursing homes are limiting visiting hours and screening everyone who arrives for symptoms as a precaution against the coronavirus. Residents will only be allowed to leave for essential appointments. The Department of Health says the restrictions are critical to protect the state's most vulnerable population, many of whom are frail and/or have health issues.

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CVS Offering Free Prescription Drug Delivery

Woonsocket-based CVS Health is taking action to allow patient access to medication as the coronavirus spreads. Effective immediately, the company is waiving charges for home delivery of prescription drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people at higher risk for COVID-19 to stay home as much as possible. CVS says free home delivery will help ensure patients of all ages have every available option when it comes to filling prescriptions.

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New Powers Approved For Woonsocket To Shut Down Bars

 A new city law in Woonsocket is giving local officials emergency powers to shut down city bars.  City Councilors voted unanimously last week to approve the new law, similar to one in Providence, requested by public safety officials. The City Council, sitting as the Board of License Commissioners, will be able to close down an establishment for up to 72 hours until a hearing can be held, according to City Council President Daniel Gendron.

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NWS Says Daily High Temp Record Broken In Providence

The National Weather Service said Providence broke a record high temperature for Monday. The temperature reached 72 degrees. The previous record for the date of March 9th was 70 degrees, set in 2016.

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New Bill Aimed At Settling Shoreline Access Dispute

A new bill has been introduced in relation to an incident last year when a man was arrested on a Rhode Island beach for trespassing while picking up seaweed. The arrest prompted calls for clarification on shoreline access, something that is constitutionally-guaranteed for Rhode Islanders. A 1982 state Supreme Court case established the boundary as the mean high tide line, but there has been conflict about where exactly that boundary is. The new legislation from Representative Terri Cortvriend and House Minority Leader Blake Filippi says the shoreline rights can be exercised within ten feet of the most recent high tide line.

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Mattiello Friend Goes Before Grand Jury

 Former Rhode Island Convention Center security chief James Demers appeared Monday before a grand jury that has been looking into the circumstances around an audit ordered by House Speaker Nick Mattiello. Demers, described as a close friend of Mattiello, had been the subject of an internal investigation at the same time the audit of the convention center was ordered. Demers had no comment for reporters yesterday as he left the Kent County Courthouse.

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Other Coronavirus News...

Here are other headlines  on the coronavirus in Rhode Island. Lifespan now says it is not allowing any visitors to its adult units; Hasbro Children's and Bradley Hospitals will have modified policies to allow for accompaniment by one parent. Brown University says three students are being tested for coronavirus, and that they are being isolated pending test results; Brown has also announced it's canceling a speaking event featuring former U.S. President Bill Clinton next week. And in Newport, the Saint Patrick's Parade scheduled for Saturday is being canceled amid coronavirus concerns, according to multiple media outlets.

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Unemployment, Disability Rules Relaxed, Worker Hotline Established

Governor Raimondo on Monday also focused on the coronavirus' impact on workers. She announced measures to temporarily expand access to unemployment and the temporary disability insurance programs. And the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training now has a hotline for people with work-related coronavirus questions. That number is 401-462-2020. So far, the number of people that are supposed to be in self-quarantine because of the virus in the state is about three-hundred.

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Gov. Declares Coronavirus-Caused State Of Emergency

Governor Rina Raimondo on Monday declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island over the novel coronavirus outbreak. Raimondo said the declaration allows the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency to establish "mobile support units" and it allows for quick access to the National Guard. Other states that have declared states of emergency over the virus outbreak have included California, Florida, New York, Oregon, and Washington. Rhode Island's positive coronavirus total is at three. 

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Two Community Meetings Planned On Health Care

Two public meetings are planned to ensure access to healthcare services in Central Falls and Pawtucket. The meetings will gather public input on recommendations contained in an independent report on the impact of the closure of Memorial Hospital in 2018. The six p.m. meetings are scheduled Tuesday, March 24th at Jenks Junior High in Pawtucket and Wednesday, March 25th, at Central Falls City Hall.

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Allowing Chronically Ill To Get Experimental Drugs

A bill allowing chronically ill people to obtain experimental drugs not yet federally approved but in the final stages of testing is now in the Senate for further consideration. The bill passed last week by the House would establish the conditions for the use of experimental treatments. Warwick state Representative Joseph McNamara says the intent of his bill is to give terminally ill Rhode Islanders the right to try anything that might help them. Similar legislation has been filed in the Senate.

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Coronavirus Concerns On Area Campuses

As of yesterday, URI is suspending all international travel until May first, subject to changing circumstances because of the coronavirus. At Brown University international travel is also suspended and all events of 100 people or more are postponed, canceled or must be offered virtually. Roger Williams University has suspended its study-abroad program. Bryant University says all students returning from abroad are to stay home for two weeks before returning to campus.

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Lifespan Hospital Discouraging Patient Visits

Lifespan is strongly discouraging any patient visits due to the spread of the coronavirus. The hospital group says minimizing the number of people will help protect patients and health care workers. The Lifespan network includes Rhode Island, Hasbro Children's, The Miriam, Newport and Bradley hospitals.

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Coronavirus Cancels Innovation Center Events

 All special events at the Venture Cafe in the Wexford Innovation Center in Providence are canceled until further notice. The decision was made due to concern about the spread of the coronavirus. In an announcement, the organization also says it plans to replace weekly in-person programming with virtual events temporarily starting this Thursday.

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Virtual Learning Plans To Address Coronavirus Threat

Warwick state Representative Joseph McNamara is asking the state Department of Education to establish remote learning protocols to address the coronavirus threat. He says with the possibility the virus could disrupt school-based learning, there should be alternatives to allow students to continue their studies.  State law allows for virtual learning plans, but to date a Department of Education spokesperson says no plans have been approved. However, the spokesman says the department will support any district that applies for virtual learning plans.

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RI Lottery Director Retiring

Rhode Island Lottery Director Gerald Aubin is retiring this spring. Governor Gina Raimondo said Rhode Islanders have benefited for decades from having someone with Aubin's experience and expertise at the helm of the Lottery. The announcement comes as state lawmakers continue to consider a proposed lottery contract extension for International Game Technology or IGT.

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New North Smithfield Police Chief Has Started

The new chief of police is on the job in North Smithfield. Tim Lafferty was appointed to the position last week after serving 23 years with the department. Lafferty replaced retiring chief Steven Reynolds.

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Education Comm. Provides Providence Schools Turnaround Update

A turnaround plan for the Providence Public School District is going to be finalized next month. That was according to Rhode Island Education Commissioner Angelica [[ ahn-HELL-ick-uh ]] Infante-Green at an event on Saturday at Asa Messer Elementary School where "community design teams" unveiled recommendations for improving the school district. Infante-Green said the plan will include many of those recommendations. The state took over the school district after an extremely-critical report from Johns Hopkins last year.

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Principal Reports Racially-Insensitive Comments Made By Students About Coronavirus

 Warwick Veterans Middle School Principal David Tober is sounding the alarm about racially-insensitive comments allegedly made to Asian-American students about the coronavirus. The Providence Journal reports Tober has sent a letter to parents which claims comments about Asian-American students having the coronavirus or being responsible for the virus are occurring. Tober called this unacceptable and said any faculty or staff who hears it should immediately address it, and he also wants families to talk to their kids about making such comments.

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Coronavirus Concern Prompts New Visitation Protocol From Lifespan

Lifespan is now "strongly discouraging" any patient visitation at its hospitals because of the coronavirus. This includes family and friends going with those who have to make trips to the hospital's emergency departments. Children 12 and under, even siblings, cannot visit Hasbro Children's Hospital and are discouraged from visiting patients in all other locations. Lifespan says in a news release it knows this is a hardship for patients and families but says minimizing the number of people in its hospitals will greatly safeguard patients, families and caregivers.

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Positive Coronavirus Cases In RI Total Now At Three

The Rhode Island Department of Health on Friday confirmed one additional presumptive-positive case of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total in the state to three. The health department said the woman in her 60s, who works at the Smithfield Avenue Nursery in Pawtucket, had direct, face-to-face contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 in New York late last month. On Saturday, the state updated the following statistics: 30 negative coronavirus test results in state labs, 12 pending tests, and about 250 people in self-quarantine because they had direct contact with a person with the virus.

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ACE Charter In Providence Closing

The Academy for Career Exploration charter school in Providence is closing. The school requested the closure, effective at the end of June, approved by the Rhode Island Council for Elementary and Secondary Education on Wednesday, according to a report,  ACE opened in 1997 and was initially called the Textron Chamber of Commerce Academy. It has faced pressure from the state over student performance issues.

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Bill Punishing Media Outlets For "Selective Reporting" Pulled

A bill introduced by a Rhode Island lawmaker that would prevent news media outlets from, quote, "selective reporting" on criminal cases and other matters was withdrawn Thursday, a day after it was introduced. The legislation, called "The Stop Guilt by Accusation Act", was sponsored by Pawtucket state Senator Sandra Cano. It proposed a fine for media outlets that report the initial coverage of a criminal case but then do not report the outcome. Critics assailed the bill as anti-freedom of the press.

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Blood Center Says Coronavirus-Related Action Canceling Drives

The Rhode Island Blood Center says coronavirus fears are keeping healthy donors away and that it has an urgent need for blood and platelet donors. The blood center says half of its donations come from blood drives that are hosted by schools, organizations, and businesses, and that as these groups take precautions in response to the virus outbreak, several blood drives have been canceled this month. The RIBC says it is seeking to double the blood reserves it has now so it can prevent shortages if coronavirus cancellations continue. Donors can give at six centers throughout the state.

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Food Network: RI Bakery Among The Best

The Food Network says Rhode Island's Seven Stars Bakery is among the best in America for bread. It says Seven Stars uses freshly milled flour and a slow fermentation process which gives its bread deep flavor, superior texture, and a longer shelf life. In addition to locations on both the East Side and West Side of Providence, Seven Stars is also located in Cranston, East Providence, and Pawtucket.

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Lady Gaga To Perform At Fenway Park

Lady Gaga is scheduled for a concert at Fenway Park on August 5th. It will be one of six U.S. tour stops this summer. Tickets go on sale March 16th. Her last performance at Fenway was in 2017.

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Hundreds Of Rhode Islanders Self-Quarantine

About 200 Rhode Islanders are under self-quarantine due to the coronavirus. It's because of exposure to a person confirmed to have COVID-19, which is caused by coronavirus. So far there are two cases in the state, one confirmed and one presumptive.

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Gov. Recommends Cancellation Of School Trips Abroad

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is recommending the cancellation of school trips abroad because of the coronavirus. She also says she's evaluating the state's response to the threat. The governor says her decisions regarding the virus will be based on science and evidence.

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PC Men's Hoops Wins, URI Takes Loss

In college basketball, Providence keeps on rolling with an 80-to-74 win over Xavier at home on Wednesday. The Friars notched their fifth consecutive win with just one regular-season game left before tournament time. The University of Rhode Island men's hoops team lost at home Wednesday to number-three-ranked Dayton, 84-to-57, with also just one game left to play in the regular season.

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Court Upholds Ruling In Little Compton Land-Taking Case

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has let a ruling stand in a land ownership case. A 2017 Superior Court judge determined Karen Carroll owned 13 acres of land in Little Compton through the state's adverse-possession law. Carroll's late husband's hobby was to find and take land that was off the state tax rolls.

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Minimum Wage Increase Legislation Goes To Governor's Desk

The Rhode Island General Assembly is approving a one-dollar minimum wage increase. Final votes were taken in both chambers on Wednesday to approve bills sponsored by Senator Erin Lynch Prata and Representative David Bennett. The legislation, headed to the governor's desk, would raise the wage to eleven-fifty an hour on October 1st.

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Saint Raphael Academy Closed For Additional Week

Saint Raphael  Academy in Pawtucket is going to be closed for an additional week after a faculty member tested positive for the coronavirus. Principal Daniel Richard provided the update to parents yesterday, adding that students who were in contact with the faculty member during a recent trip to Europe will be under self-quarantine for another week. According to a report, the Saint Ray's girls' basketball and boys' hockey teams are being allowed to compete in their playoff games this week, after school officials told the Rhode Island Interscholastic League none of the players on the teams have shown any coronavirus-related signs.

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Updated Coronavirus Numbers Shared By State

Governor Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott will be holding a media availability this morning to provide updates on the state's coronavirus response. On Wednesday, the state shared the following info: the number of positive cases, including presumptive-positive, has not changed. The number of negative test results at the state health department's labs is 11, while the number of pending tests is seven. The number of people who are currently instructed to self-quarantine in the state because of direct contact with someone who has COVID-19 is about two-hundred.

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Bryant University Names New President

The new president of Bryant University is an economist and economic development expert. Dr. Ross Gittell has been the chancellor of the Community College system in New Hampshire since 2012. He will succeed Ron Machtley [[ make-lee ]], who is retiring at the end of the 2020 academic year.

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Two Charter Schools Reopen After Environmental Cleaning

Two charter schools are open again after environmental cleaning because of coronavirus concerns. The Achievement First Academies in Providence and Cranston were closed Monday and yesterday while a staff member was being tested for the virus. Her results were negative. The woman had been on a recent rip to Italy and reportedly displayed symptoms when she returned.

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East Greenwich Student's Sick Sibling Tests Negative

The ill sibling of an East Greenwich elementary school student has tested negative for the coronavirus. The Meadowbrook Farms Elementary School was closed abruptly Tuesday as a precaution after the principal was notified by a parent that one of the family's children had developed a fever and cough. The family had traveled to Europe in February.

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Police Investigating Break-In At Cicilline Home

Providence police are investigating a break-in Tuesday at Congressman David Cicilline's home. It's unclear if anything was stolen from the house on the East Side. Cicilline was in Washington at the time.

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Governor Raimondo Now Backs Biden

Governor Gina Raimondo is now supporting former Vice President Joe Biden's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. She says she doesn't regret having initially supported Mike Bloomberg who dropped out of the race after his poor Super Tuesday finish. Raimondo says she's pleased with Biden's strong showing and that it's time for Democrats to make sure he's the next president.

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Interviews For Newport School Committee Applicants

Eight applicants for a vacant seat on the Newport School Committee are being interviewed this week. Two sessions of questioning by members of the City Council will be open to the public with the second scheduled for 5:30  tonight at City Hall. The vacancy was created by Kathleen Silvia's resignation in late January. Whoever is chosen will swerve until someone is elected in the November election.

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House Vacancy Filled In Special Election

A vacancy for House District 56 in Central Falls is now filled. Joshua Giraldo was unopposed in Tuesday's special election. He succeeds former state Representative Shelby Maldonado who resigned late last year.

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State Senate Passes Movie Production Tax Credit Bill

The Rhode Island Senate passed a motion picture tax credit bill on Tuesday night. The legislation amends the current program by allowing movie productions to use tax credits even if the majority of the production is not done within the state if the production spends a minimum of ten million dollars in Rhode Island in a twelve-month span. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

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Goncalves Wins Providence City Council Primary Election

The winner of a special primary election for a Providence City Council seat is John Goncalves. Three Democratic candidates were in the race for the Ward 1 seat. No Republican entries were in the race, meaning Goncalves will be unopposed on the ballot in the general election next month.

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Preventative Coronavirus Measures From Hasbro, CVS, Providence VA

More action is being taken in Rhode Island in response to the coronavirus. Rhode Island companies Hasbro and CVS are enacting travel restrictions for employees. And the Providence VA Medical Center says that it will screen all patients and visitors for coronavirus symptoms before they can enter the facility.

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Wife Of Positive Coronavirus Patient Is Self-Quarantined

The superintendent of the East Providence School District on Tuesday acknowledged that the husband of a teacher in the district was one of the presumptive-positive coronavirus cases announced by the state. That man has since been confirmed as the first positive case. Superintendent Kathryn Crowley said the teacher at Silver Spring School attended school for two days and is symptom-free, but she is voluntarily quarantined for two weeks. Crowley added that a second teacher in the district went on a vacation to Italy last month and has decided to stay home this week out of an abundance of caution.

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First Positive Case Of Coronavirus In RI Confirmed

The CDC is confirming the first case of coronavirus in Rhode Island. This was one of the two presumptive-positive cases announced over the weekend by the Rhode Island Department of Health associated with a trip to Europe organized by Saint Raphael  Academy in Pawtucket. Results for the other initial presumptive-positive case are still pending, while officials said test results were negative for a third person on the Saint Ray's trip that had been listed this past weekend. 

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Elementary School In East Greenwich Abruptly Closed

The Meadowbrook Farms Elementary School in East Greenwich is closed for cleaning as a precaution due to coronavirus concerns. The abrupt closure was prompted when the principal was told by a parent that one of the family's children woke with a fever and cough. The family recently traveled abroad. The sick child does not attend East Greenwich public schools but is the sibling of a student at the Meadowbrook Farms Elementary School.

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Second Unattended Child Incident At Casino

A 38-year-old Pawtucket man is charged with a felony for leaving his three-year-old son unattended in a car at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln. Jermaine Jenkins allegedly admitted to police that he left the child on Sunday to go into the casino for a couple of minutes. On Saturday, a Providence man was charged for leaving his three-year-old son unattended in a car at the casino.

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Loaded Gun Found At T.F. Green Airport

An unidentified Cranston man says he forgot he had a loaded gun with him at T.F. Green Airport. The TSA says a .45 caliber handgun was found in the man's backpack. Airport police confiscated the weapon and questioned the man before he was released. Less than two weeks ago a woman was arrested at the airport when a loaded gun was found in her handbag.

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Tiverton School Employee Tests Negative For Coronavirus

A Tiverton School Department employee has tested negative for the coronavirus. Superintendent Peter Sanchioni says the person was recently in Italy and chose to be tested to ensure the safety of students and staff. He also says the maintenance crew is deep cleaning surfaces in school buildings

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Privatization Plan For Scituate Public Schools Custodians Scrapped

Custodian workers in Scituate Public Schools are keeping their jobs. The Scituate School Committee on Monday decided not to privatize maintenance services and to hold on to the current staff, according to the president of the custodians' union. Custodians protested the proposal to outsource cleaning services last month after learning what the school district was reportedly considering.

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Warm February, Tied For Least-Snowy In Providence

The National Weather Service says in a climate summary for Providence that last month was the sixth-warmest February on-record. The average temperature was 36-point-3 degrees, over four degrees above normal. The weather service also said February 2020 tied with February 1984 for the least-snowiest.

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Salve Regina, Roger Williams Pull Students From Italy

A half-dozen Salve Regina University students studying in Italy are coming back to the United States due to the coronavirus. A university spokesperson says students were contacted on Friday and it was strongly recommended they come back as soon as possible, according to a report from The Newport Daily News. Roger Williams University also tells the newspaper it has suspended its study-abroad program in that country and has begun the process of returning students home.

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Public Input Sought On Providence Schools

An event to solicit public input regarding the Providence public school system is planned for this Saturday. The so-called Community Design Day event will be held at the Asa Messer Elementary School. The state Department of Education is hosting the event seeking feedback on strategies to improve schools. The state took over the trouble-plagued system last November.

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Cranston City Councilor Hints At Mayoral Run

Cranston City Councilor Ken Hopkins says a big announcement is coming soon. He made the comment on Facebook over the weekend. As many as five people may get into the race to succeed Republican Mayor Allan Fung who is term-limited from seeking reelection.

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East Providence Superintendent Non-Committal

East Providence Superintendent Kathryn Crowley will neither confirm or deny that the wife of a man confirmed to have coronavirus teaches at the Silver Springs Elementary School.  She does say all public school superintendents have been in contact with the state Department of Health and have reviewed recommended guidelines. There are currently no plans to close any public schools in the state.

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Coronavirus Could Be More Widespread In RI

State Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott says coronavirus could be more widespread in Rhode Island that is currently known. In a briefing for reporters, she says four people have been tested, two have been positive, one was negative and results on one are pending. Alexander-Scott says a man in his 40s is hospitalized in stable condition and a teenager is at home with mild symptoms. Nearly 70 people who have traveled to affected areas overseas either have or are being monitored.

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Two Special Elections Today In RI

There are two special elections in Rhode Island today. One is a race to fill a vacancy for state representative in House District 56, which includes Central Falls. The second is a primary election for the Providence City Council seat from Ward 1, which includes part of downtown, the East Side, and the Jewelry District.

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Coronavirus Risk Impacting RI Schools

The East Providence School Department is taking preventive measures to address the threat of coronavirus. It has been and will continue sanitizing its buildings and school buses. Achievement First Mayoral Academy in Providence is closed today  pending the outcome of a staff members test results. St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket is closed for the week after a man in his 40s and a teenage girl who were both on a school-sponsored trip to Europe in February have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

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PC Men's Basketball Team On Four-Game Win Streak

The Providence College men's basketball team is on a good run heading into the last couple of regular-season games. PC beat 12th-ranked Villanova on Saturday, 58-to-54 for its fourth-straight win. The Friars end the season with home games against Xavier and DePaul on Wednesday and Saturday, then it's the Big East Tournament starting March 11th.

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Bristol Yacht Club Re-Opens After Fire

The Bristol Yacht Club, which was significantly damaged by a fire in 2018, has re-opened.  Club members held their first dinner inside the renovated space on Friday. A re-dedication ceremony for the re-built yacht clubhouse was held earlier last month. The Bristol Yacht Club was founded in 1877.

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RI'ers Told Not To Panic Over Coronavirus Cases

Governor Gina Raimondo and Health Department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said at a Sunday press conference that there's no need for panic over the first presumptive cases of coronavirus in the state. They said the risk for Rhode Islanders of getting coronavirus is low and that people should take common-sense precautions such as a flu shot, washing hands and staying home if they feel sick. The positive coronavirus cases must still be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.

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State Announces First Cases Of Coronavirus

The first "presumptive" positive cases of coronavirus in Rhode Island are being announced by the state. The RI Department of Health says the two individuals- a man in his 40s and a teenager- went on the same trip to Europe in mid-February organized by Saint Raphael Academy in Pawtucket. Also, a third person - an adult in her 30s - is being tested and is at home with mild symptoms. The health department says all three were in Italy, which is currently a hotspot for the virus in Europe. The health department says all 38 people who went on the trip organized by Saint Raphael's will be self-monitoring for symptoms for two weeks with public health supervision, and that the academy will be closed for the rest of this week.

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