(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: A man was arrested after an armed standoff in Providence last night. Two police officers in Seekonk, Massachusetts have been cleared of wrongdoing in connection to a fatal shooting last month. A data breach at the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority is being investigated.
>>Man Arrested After Armed Standoff In Providence
(Providence, RI) -- A man was taken into custody after an armed standoff with police in Providence that lasted nearly three hours Wednesday evening. Negotiators convinced Elliot Britto to surrender from a residence on Ledge Street at around 6 p.m. No injuries were reported. Britto was taken to Rhode Island Hospital for an evaluation. Charges are pending.
>>Seekonk Officers Cleared In Fatal Shooting
(Seekonk, MA) -- The Bristol County Massachusetts District Attorney's Office is clearing two police officers in Seekonk of wrongdoing for a fatal shooting. Reports indicate Jeffrey Groulx of New Hampshire was caught in a breaking-and-entering at the New England Tire Care store on Route 6 on November 28th. Groulx crashed a stolen vehicle while trying to flee police and shot at the unnamed officers with an assault rifle as they attempted to render aid. They returned fire, resulting in his death. The D.A.'s office says Groulx had a long history of using deadly weapons for violent crimes.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,062
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported sixteen new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday. The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-62. There were over three-thousand new virus cases.
>>Warwick Mayor Reveals COVID Diagnosis
(Warwick, RI) -- Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi has COVID-19. Picozzi says he is experiencing symptoms of the virus. He says he is fully-vaccinated and has gotten a booster shot. Picozzi says he will perform his mayoral duties while working from home.
>>Glocester Town Council President Has Died
(Glocester, RI) -- The president of the Glocester Town Council has died. The Providence Journal reports Julian Forgue passed away on Monday. The council's vice president told the newspaper he had gone to the hospital with an apparent heart attack a few weeks ago. Forgue was in his third year on the board.
>>RIPTA Data Breach Under Investigation
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office is investigating a data breach at the RI Public Transit Authority. Thousands of Rhode Islanders, including current and former state employees who say they never worked for the agency or took public transit, have been receiving letters that said their personal information was compromised. The breach reportedly happened over the summer, but the victims were not notified until this month.
>>Friars Win Over Seton Hall
(Providence, RI) -- In men's college basketball, Providence College beat Seton Hall University at home Wednesday night, 70-to-65. The Friars are off to a 12-and-1 start this season. PC next plays at DePaul on New Year's Day.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island reported nearly thirty new COVID deaths over the holiday weekend. A white Rhode Island legislator is being criticized for a tweet about her black friend. The New England Patriots are placing several players on the COVID-reserve list.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,046
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported 28 new coronavirus deaths over the Christmas weekend. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State as of Tuesday's update Was three-thousand-46. Nearly seven-thousand virus cases were added this past weekend.
>>Route 95 Crash Victim ID'd
(Undated) -- The Massachusetts State Police is identifying the victim of a fatal crash on I-95 in Mansfield. The crash last Thursday killed Manny Roman of Attleboro. Authorities are continuing to investigate.
>>State Rep Criticized For Tweet About Black Friend
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island state Representative Patricia Morgan is under fire for a racially-charged tweet. Morgan, who is white, said she had a black friend who became hostile towards her, and she blamed the teaching of critical race theory. The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Political Action Committee called the tweet offensive and said the Republican Morgan should be removed from her House committee assignments.
>>New Rule Aims To Keep Wandering Police Officers In Check
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island police officers are working under a new regulation this year. The Providence Journal reports the state Police Officers Commission on Standards and Training adopted a policy which requires police to be re-certified if they jump from one department to another. The commission says this is meant to address a nationwide trend of quote-unquote "rogue" officers from landing at a new department without a review. Previously, a Rhode Island police officer's certification remained intact for three years after they left an agency.
>>Patriots Go On COVID List
(Foxboro, MA) -- The New England Patriots have a number of players on the COVID-injury list. It currently includes backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and linebacker Matt Judon. The players might be able to return in time for Sunday's game versus Jacksonville.
>>Men's Basketball: Providence College Hosts Seton Hall
(Providence, RI) -- Providence College men's basketball returns to action Wednesday night. The Friars have been off since December 18th. It will be a pair of top-25 teams as PC hosts Seton Hall at the Dunkin' Donuts Center at 7 p.m.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: The Patriots lost to Buffalo on Sunday and lost the division lead as a result. Two twin brothers from Rhode Island are killed in a highway crash in Massachusetts. Gas prices in the Ocean State have dropped seven cents in the last month.
>>Patriots Lose To Bills
(Foxboro, MA) -- The New England Patriots no-longer have the division lead following a 33-to-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Mac Jones completed just 14 of 23 passes for 145 yards and registered two interceptions. Damien Harris had 103 yards rushing for the Pats and scored the team's three touchdowns. New England fell to 9-and-6, but the Patriots are still in the playoff bubble. They host Jacksonville next Sunday.
>>Twins From RI Killed In MA Crash
(Pawtucket, RI) -- Two twin brothers from Rhode Island were killed in a motor vehicle crash in Massachusetts on Friday morning. According to state police, the single-car wreck happened on Interstate 195 in Mattapoisett. WPRI-TV reports authorities have identified the victims as Alberto and Ruddy Morales of Pawtucket. The crash is under investigation.
>>North Providence Police Issue Missing Teen Alert
(North Providence, RI) -- The North Providence Police Department is asking for the public's help to find a missing 15-year-old boy. Jules Lopes was reportedly last seen on December 16th. Lopes is known to frequent the area of the Providence Place Mall, according to the police department, which has description details of the missing teen on its Facebook page.
>>Longtime Warren Pizzeria Owner Dies After Catching COVID
(Warren, RI) -- A popular pizza shop owner in the East Bay has lost a battle with COVID-19. Steve Balasco, who was 61, owned Balasco's Pizzeria in Warren for over three decades. Balasco was reportedly stricken with COVID-related pneumonia. His family released a statement calling Balasco a giant in the community who always put others first.
>>Providence Apartment Temporarily Evacuated
(Providence, RI) -- A Providence apartment complex was briefly evacuated on Sunday. WJAR-TV reports firefighters responded to a residence on Chestnut Street for a boiler overheating yesterday afternoon. Some smoke was found throughout the building, but not fire. There were no injuries reported.
>>Rhode Island Gas Prices Down Slightly
(Undated) -- Rhode Island gas prices are inching downward. The current average price for a gallon is three dollars and 35 cents, according to RhodeIslandGasPrices.com. One month ago, the average in the Ocean State was three-42.
by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,
Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)
Did you know a caregiver, family member, or friend who provides care to a Veteran can also receive the VA vaccine and booster shot at the VA? For COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, we define a caregiver as a family member or friend who provides care to a Veteran. Caregivers may help a Veteran with personal needs like feeding, bathing, or dressing. They may also help a Veteran with tasks like shopping or transportation.
Question – How do I get a booster shot from Providence Veterans Administration? Mike C, Mapleville, RI
Answer – The easiest would be to call your VA provider directly, (401) 273-7100, Ext. 13021 or the COVID-19 clinic to schedule an appointment:
RINEWSTODAY.com contacted the Providence Veterans Medical facility, (401) 273-7100 , select zero for operator, and when operator answers tell them you are inquiring about the booster shots. A pre-recorded message will communicate to the caller the following information:
1. Current clinic is open from 7:30am-3:30pm. Veterans, spouses, and caregivers are eligible for boosters.
2. Providence VA clinic is offering both boosters; as of December 22, 2021, Providence VA Medical clinic is offering Pfizer and Moderna boosters.
3. The clinic is currently scheduling appointments.
4. Walk-ins are also welcomed.
5. If you would like to schedule an appointment, leave your last name, and last four of your social security numbers, and the clinic will call you back and schedule an appointment.
Veterans with COVID-19 booster appointments are reminded of the following policies at the Providence VA Hospital:
Veterans with out-patient appointments will be allowed one caregiver if they are needed to assist Veterans to their appointments.
Veterans and Visitors will continue to be screened with screening questions and temperature checks.
All Veterans and visitors need to be masked while at the Medical Center. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided.
VETTIP Don’t forget to bring your vaccine record card with you.
Another option, is to contact your VA provider thru MyHealthVet.com and send a secure message:
More Information on COVID-19 booster shots and additional from va.gov:
COVID-19 booster shots and additional doses.
We follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on COVID-19 booster shots and additional vaccine doses.
Why experts recommend booster shots and additional doses
COVID-19 vaccines continue to work well to prevent severe illness and death. Together, vaccines and booster shots provide the best protection against coronavirus variants like Delta and Omicron.
We expect these 2 variants to be the major causes of COVID-19 over the holidays.
Data shows that booster shots and additional doses can help people stay fully protected:
A booster shot can help you stay fully protected over time. Data shows that protection against milder illness lessens over time. This is especially true for certain groups of people. The CDC recommends that everyone who is at least 18 years old should get a booster shot. Teens ages 16 to 17 can also now get a booster shot. Learn about getting a booster shot.
Some people need an additional dose to get full protection. Certain groups of people may not have had a strong enough immune response from the first 2 doses. These groups should get both a third dose and then a booster shot 6 months after their third dose. Learn about getting an additional dose.
Note: Scientists are still studying how strong protection from the current COVID-19 vaccines will be against the new Omicron variant. But the vaccines offer strong protection against other variants. If we do find that there’s a variant different enough that a current vaccine won’t protect against it, you may need to get an updated vaccine. That shouldn’t prevent you from getting a booster now.
Getting a booster shot
The CDC recommends that everyone who is at least 18 years old should get a booster shot. Teens ages 16 and 17 can also now get a booster shot.
When to get your booster shot
If you got 2 doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine: Get your booster 6 months after your second dose.
If you got the single-dose Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine: Get your booster 2 months after you got your vaccine.
Which vaccine to get for your booster
If you’re at least 18 years old, you can choose which vaccine to get for your booster dose. This is based on CDC recommendations that allow you to choose the same or a different type of vaccine for your booster.
The CDC now strongly recommends getting either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for your booster.
Teens ages 16 and 17 can only get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for their booster dose. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only vaccine currently authorized for teens ages 16 and 17.
Not all VA health facilities have all types of vaccines right now. And facilities may offer different vaccines at different times. Confirm that the facility has the vaccine you want before you come in to get your booster.
If you have questions about which vaccine to get, talk to your health care team.
Send a secure message to your VA provider.
How to get a booster shot at VA
· You can only get a booster shot if you completed your primary vaccine series.
· If you’re a Veteran who receives care through VA
· Your local VA health facility will contact you when you’re due for your shot. Your facility may offer you a booster by appointment or in a walk-in vaccine clinic.
VFW State Commander Wants You – Christmas Carolers on Christmas Morning
Veterans of Foreign War State Commander Dora Vasquez-Hellner will lead Christmas carolers Christmas morning bringing cheer and holiday spirit to our veterans at the Rhode Island Veterans Home, Bristol, RI.
Hellner is looking for volunteers to participate as carolers. She encourages Christmas attire to lift the Veterans spirits at the Veterans home. Even if caroling is not your thing, show up and be part of an effort to bring holiday cheer to the veterans.
Unbeknown to many, a good portion of the Veterans have no family or friends, many outliving their own children. Moreover, their Christmas will be residing in their home, the Rhode Island Veteran Home.
With the challenges of staffing, the Veterans home will have skeleton staff to care and ensure the safety of the 127 current residents at the home.
Hellner, a retired First Sergeant, hopes the morning caroling will bring some holiday cheer to the Veterans at the home.
VETTIP: Be on time. Hellner being a retired airborne first sergeant, special forces group will be starting promptly at 900am.
Carolers and all participants will gather in the back parking lot of the Veterans Home at 0845 on Christmas morning and then proceed from courtyard to courtyard of neighborhoods A, B, C, D and E to sing carols and bring cheer to the 130 residents.
All activities will be outdoors; please dress for the weather. Holiday costumes and attire are highly encouraged.
Song books, hot chocolate, and water will be provided. Comrades are encouraged to bring snacks and treats to share. More information: email email@example.com
January 22, 2022, 2-8 p.m., Rhode Island National Guard Reunion, Orlando Florida, 13110 Lake Mary Jane Road, Orlando FL., $20 per person. More information contact Patti Ryan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, email@example.com, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838).
Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028
Denny’s, Hartford Save Johnston Offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).
Outback Steakhouse 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021
99 Restaurant & Pub: The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID
Advance Auto Parts 10% for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 07/28/2021
Bass Pro Shops: Bass Pro Shops offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).
BJs Wholesale Reduced membership fee. J’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021
Lowes. Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to Activate Your 10% Discount
Our way of saying “Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items.
Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, ID.me.
ID.me is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.
GameStop is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through ID.me
Home Depot Home Depot offers a 10% OFF military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.
Kohls 15% Kohl’s offers active military, veterans, retirees ,and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.
Jiffy Lube. HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY!
We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:
Tioque Ave, Coventry RI
Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI
Park Ave, Cranston RI
Michaels Stores offers a 15% OFF military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, Veterans and family members. How to get:
1. Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.
2. Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.
3. Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.
O’Reilly Auto Parts 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.
If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward , firstname.lastname@example.org: the business’s name , location, and military and Veteran discount offered
If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci, email@example.com, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)
John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.
Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.
Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.
He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Multiple people are hospitalized after a police chase and crash in Attleboro, Massachusetts Wednesday night. COVID deaths and cases are increasing in Rhode Island. The Ocean State's largest hospital system is announcing a new visitor policy.
>>Crash After Shooting, Police Chase In Attleboro
(Attleboro, MA) -- A shooting in Attleboro turned into a police chase and car crash Wednesday night. Someone in an SUV allegedly fired shots at parked cars on James Street at around 8:30 p.m. The SUV reportedly drove off from an officer's attempt to pull them over and crashed into another vehicle on County Street. Multiple occupants, including the three shooting suspects, were taken to the hospital.
>>Ruling Issued On Fall River Officer-Involved Shooting
(Fall River, MA) -- A police-involved shooting in Fall River last month was justified, according to the Bristol County Massachusetts District Attorney. Police responded to the residence of Anthony Harden for a previous domestic violence incident. Harden reportedly attempted to stab an officer during a struggle and a second officer, who was not identified, fatally shot him. The D.A.'s office said the use of force complied with Fall River Police Department policy.
>>Two Bank Robberies In Downtown Providence
(Providence, RI) -- There were two bank robberies in as many days earlier this week in downtown Providence. The Citizens Bank on Kennedy Plaza was hit on Monday. Then on Tuesday, it was the Santander on Financial Plaza. Police say the robberies are not connected.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,015
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported nine new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-15. There were over 14-hundred new virus cases.
>>RI University Delays Semester Start; More Schools Requiring Booster Shots
(Undated) -- Salve Regina University in Newport is delaying the start of the spring semester by one week because of coronavirus concerns. Classes at Salve will now begin on January 17th. Meanwhile, Rhode Island appears to trending towards having its institutions of higher learning require booster shots for next semester. Joining the list are Bryant University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
>>Lifespan Requiring Vaccination Or Negative COVID Test For Most Visitors
(Providence, RI) -- Lifespan is requiring proof of COVID vaccination or a negative virus test for hospital visitors. The new policy takes effect next Monday. The test has to be a PCR that was administered within 48 hours. There are several exceptions to the new policy, including end-of-life visits. Lifespan's network includes Rhode Island Hospital and Hasbro Children's Hospital.
>>Woonsocket Directing ARPA Money To Shelter, Feed Homeless
(Woonsocket, RI) -- The city of Woonsocket is directing American Rescue Plan Act money to homeless services after a public outcry. The Providence Journal reports the City Council on Monday authorized spending seventy-thousand dollars to house the local homeless at the Woonsocket Motor Inn for the winter. Another fifty-grand goes to the New Beginnings soup kitchen. Members of the public criticized the city last month for spending ARPA money on items including a synthetic ice rink and upgrades to the city council chambers instead of what they said was a more-pressing issue.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island's COVID death toll has gone over three-thousand. Another university in the Ocean State is requiring coronavirus booster shots next semester. More than a half-dozen juveniles have been arrested in connection to vandalism at a historic railroad property on Aquidneck Island.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll Goes Over 3,000 In Rhode Island
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island's coronavirus pandemic death toll reached a grim milestone on Tuesday by going over three-thousand. The state reported eight new virus deaths yesterday and nearly nine-hundred new cases. Governor Dan McKee said three-thousand deaths is heartbreaking and urged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors as the Ocean State deals with one of its largest virus surges since the pandemic started.
>>Johnson & Wales Announces COVID Booster Shot Requirement
(Providence, RI) -- Johnson and Wales University is requiring coronavirus booster shots for students and staff in the 2022 spring semester. JWU is the latest Rhode Island school to announce the requirement on top of a vaccine mandate that was introduced at the start of the school year. The others are: the University of Rhode Island, Brown and Salve Regina University.
>>Providence Bruins Games Postponed
(Providence, RI) -- Multiple Providence Bruins games have been postponed because of American Hockey League COVID protocols. The P-Bruins were set to play at the Syracuse Crunch tonight and next Tuesday the 28th at the Toronto Marlies. Providence also had its road game versus the Belleville Senators wiped off the schedule last Saturday.
>>Arrests Made In Connection To Rail Car Vandalism
(Middletown, RI) -- Eight children have been arrested in connection to vandalism incidents this year at the historic Old Colony Rail and Newport trains in Middletown. Extensive property damage was reported following the most-recent incident earlier this month. The Middletown Police Department, which made the arrests after reviewing security footage, says some of the juveniles were also involved in vandalism at the rail site in May. They range in ages from 12-to-16 and are all from Portsmouth.
>>Hunters Face Poaching Charges
(Jamestown, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management says five people were recently arrested for alleged illegal hunting activity. A boat was reportedly observed poaching ducks and geese while under power in lower Narragansett Bay. Police arrested the suspects upon their return to the boat ramp and seized the waterfowl that was shot. The birds were donated them to the Center for Southeast Asians in Providence.
>>Proposed Apartments For Former Wyndham/Sheraton Near T.F. Green
(Warwick, RI) -- A former hotel next to T.F. Green Airport in Warwick is being converted into apartments. The Providence Business News reports The Cru Hotel on Post Road, which previously operated under the Wyndham and Sheraton brands, will be redeveloped to host nearly two-hundred units of workforce housing, according to a proposal from a developer. The apartments could be ready by the end of next year.
Photo: 401 Health is the Rhode Island app where you can store your vaccination status, track symptoms, if necessary, and get other information on COVID-19. This app is an update of the Crush COVID app, developed at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in RI.
RHODE ISLAND & VICINITY
Gov. McKee will hold a COVID press conference TODAY at 2pm – we will post a link on Facebook and Twitter.
Rhode Island announces 401Heath Mobile App – an update of the Crush COVID-RI app offers a convenient option for those who received a COVID-19 vaccination to access their verified record with the touch of a button. It’s now available wherever you get your apps on your smartphone. 401 Health can be used by businesses and organizations to verify vaccination records.
Legislators want to pause nursing home minimum staffing requirement legislation that was to take effect in January due to staffing shortages from COVID.
Lifespan’s Dr. Timothy Babineau said, in an op ed to the Providence Journal: “Many of our employees have left the workforce, unable to continue the fight against not only the disease but also against willful propagation of misinformation and the unwillingness of some to take the necessary steps to contain spread of the virus.”
Testing for the holidays: For those who are asymptomatic but are looking for a test before the holidays, the state is expanding access to rapid testing at six existing testing sites. (Previously, people who were asymptomatic received PCR tests at these sites.) Testing is also available for symptomatic people at these locations. Appointments are still needed for these rapid tests. These six sites are:
– Barrington Shopping Center
– Blackstone Valley Community Health
– Cranston Parkade Storefront
– Rhode Island Convention Center Ticket Booth
– Smithfield VFW
– Warwick Shopping Plaza
People must make appointments to be tested at these sites at portal.ri.gov. PCR tests will still be used for asymptomatic K-12 tests at these sites. To help the testing sites run smoothly, people are asked to arrive on time for their appointments. There are also testing available at many local community sites such as CVS stores, etc.
Chapel View Shopping Center in Cranston will remain open until the end of the year for vaccinations.
TODAY: Community based COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be held Tuesday, December 21 in Providence, Newport, Central Falls, and Westerly. In addition, the COVID-19 vaccine is available at state vaccination sites, in many healthcare providers’ offices and pharmacies throughout Rhode Island. To register, visit C19VaccineRI.org and click “Upcoming Community Vaccination Clinics.”
3:00pm-6:00pm Ebenezer Baptist Church 475 Cranston Street Providence J&J, Moderna, Pfizer (12+), Pfizer (5-11)
3:00pm-6:00pm Edward King House Senior Center 35 King Street Newport Pfizer (12+) & Moderna 11:00am-1:00pm
Smith Hill CDC 400 Smith Street Providence J&J, Moderna, Pfizer (12+) 8:15am-10:45am
The Learning Community 21 Lincoln Ave Central Falls Pfizer (5-11) 2:00pm-4:00pm
Westerly Senior Center 39 State Street Westerly Pfizer (12+) 3:00pm-7:00pm
South Side Elementary Charter School 135 Prairie Ave Providence Pfizer (5-11)
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu set out a plan to require vaccination proof for restaurants, fitness centers and other indoor venues. City employees will be required to be vaccinated. During the announcement, workers could be heard singing and chanting in opposition.
Brown & URI Men’s Basketball Game canceled due to COVID
5 Providence restaurants move to proof of vaccination: Owners of Bayberry Garden & Bayberry Beer Hall in Providence will now require proof of vaccination crediting bad experiences trying to ask and/or enforce mask wearing. The owners of East End, Dolores, and Nolan’s’ in Providence have also announced vaccination proof will be required.
The Newport Restaurant Group – 11 restaurants – has a policy of proof of vaccination or mask wearing.
RI House Republicans seek to “restore the rule of law and representative government” and called on their colleagues to “go on the record regarding the Governor’s willful disregard of this law we just passed to impose harmful mandates on our residents and businesses.” They say emergency powers cannot last more than 180 days and only the GA can extend them.
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) announced today that starting January 15, 2022, paper fare products will no longer be accepted on buses. These products include monthly passes, day passes, seven-day passes, and 10-ride passes. Also, as of January 15, 2022, RIPTA will no longer be issuing transfers on buses and all trips will be exact change only. Cash payments will still be accepted on buses, but no change cards will be issued if it is not exact payment. The Wave system gives passengers the option of paying their bus fare with either a reloadable smart card or a new mobile app and is already being used by 40,000 RIPTA passengers.
2.1M COVID test kits are being delivered to 102 Massachusetts towns to be distributed to individuals below the poverty line.
Rhode Island is making an initial supply of 100K test kits available to test 10% of the population.
“Have Jobs Will Travel,” a program of the RI Manufacturers Association, involves transporting workers in an express commuter van to an employment destination, such as from Woonsocket to Quonset Point Commerce Park, where Toray is located.
Researchers at Brown University and RI Hospital have invented a new COVID test called “The Bubbler”, a glass tube with a mouthpiece that could be adapted for use by patients at hospitals, workers in offices and travelers in transportation hubs, ships and planes.
Harvard is moving to remote operations for the first three weeks of January.
Cape Cod Hospital beds are filled to capacity at this time.
Mass. College of Liberal Arts enrollment has fallen 35 percent in the last two years.
Treasurer Seth Magaziner is proposing the following to address the emergency room staffing shortage:
Use federal stimulus funding to immediately boost compensation for nurses, CNAs, and techs in emergency room settings.
Call up the National Guard to assist with administrative and technician functions, freeing up nurses to focus on the work only they can do. Ohio did this on Saturday.
Grant temporary reciprocity for healthcare workers with medical licenses in neighboring states.
Temporarily suspend licensing requirements to allow certain trained medical professionals such as EMTs, paramedics, and retired nurses to assist in hospitals.
Ensure all hospital employees have access to counseling services to help them cope with the burnout they are experiencing.
Rhode Island must prioritize building out the talent pipeline for care delivery by investing in training healthcare workers by increased support of the nursing programs at URI and RIC as well as more alternative workforce credentialing programs and high school CTE programs to train technicians and other healthcare workers, providing them with competitive compensation and student loan forgiveness to retain talent.
Massachusetts Dept. of Heath says unvaccinated residents are 5x more likely to become infected than those fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated residents 31x more likely to become infected than those fully vaccinated w/a booster.
NATIONALLY & INTERNATIONALLY
President Biden was in close contact with aide who later tested positive for COVID.
The Delta variant is taking up 20% of ICU beds across the country.
CVS is running Twitter ads for their Minute Clinic services as opposed to going to the hospital emergency room for symptoms of COVID19.
The Omicron variant will take over in a few weeks.
Inside the NHL it is predicted that the season will be paused because of the spread of COVID among players and attendees.
Washington, DC has reinstituted its mask mandate.
Several state first night events have been canceled – LA is one – NYC is considering.
CDC now says Omicron is the most prevalent – over Delta variant – doubling every two days.
The National Hockey League put the Bruins’ season on hold Saturday as an outbreak of COVID-19 engulfed the team.
Queen Elizabeth will not gather with her family this year.
One cruise ship has 48 positive members on board.
Moderna says its ½ dose booster shot raises antibody levels 37-fold. They are looking at developing another booster specific to omicron. While half-dose shots are being used for most Moderna boosters, a full-dose third shot has been recommended for people with weakened immune systems. Pfizer’s testing likewise found its COVID-19 vaccine triggered a similarly big jump in omicron-fighting antibodies. The vaccines made by Pfizer and by Moderna, both made with mRNA technology, are used by many countries around the world to fight the coronavirus.
First Omicron death reported in Harris County, Texas
Testing lines are to be found throughout the US – at home test kits are hard to come by.
6 states have called in the National Guard to help at hospitals, testing sites, vaccination clinics, etc.
The pandemic has caused about 1% of the physician workforce to retire early. The remaining 99% have about ½ considering early retirement.
Mount Sinai Health System’s emergency departments are seeing about 20% more patients — with all conditions — in recent days, but so far they’re seeing more “treat-and-release” coronavirus patients than in earlier waves.
NYC’s Time Square celebration is up in the air – decision before Christmas will be made – at present it is an outdoors event with proof of vaccination. Last year it was essential workers.
National shortage of snow plow drivers – pay is so high for private work that they are not willing to work for cities/towns.
The Netherlands Becomes Latest European Country to Enter Full Lockdown
5 Hospitals in Ohio took ads out begging people to get fully (3) vaccinated:
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Islanders can now show proof of COVID-19 vaccination with a mobile phone app. URI is the latest school to require COVID booster shots. A man has pleaded guilty in a bizarre federal case involving Tom Brady.
>>RI Mobile Phone App Updated To Include Vaccine Proof
(Providence, RI) -- Showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island has become easier as the state begins a new "mask-or-vax" rule. The mobile app 401Health has been updated to allow for vaccine verification. The free app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores. An executive order mandating masks for 30 days in large-scale indoor Rhode Island venues went into effect on Monday, but for smaller places, there's an option to go maskless if you have gotten your shot.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,998
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported six new coronavirus deaths over the weekend. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-998. Rhode Island reported nearly four-thousand new virus cases.
>>URI Requiring Booster Shots; Men's BB Game Wednesday Canceled
(Kingston, RI) -- The University of Rhode Island is requiring COVID booster shots for students and faculty returning for the spring semester. Other schools in the state that have previously announced the requirement include Brown and Salve Regina University. In related URI news, the coronavirus outbreak impacting the men's basketball team has forced the cancelation of Wednesday's game versus Brown.
>>Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty To Pandemic Relief Fraud
(Providence, RI) -- A Rhode Island man is pleading guilty to defrauding coronavirus relief unemployment programs. The Justice Department says the Warwick Police Department found 29-year-old Courtney Hilaire sleeping inside a stolen car last July. Police reportedly found items including dozens of counterfeit credit cards and fraudulent drivers' licenses. Federal prosecutors say Hilaire admitted to using stolen information to apply for federal pandemic relief funds from Rhode Island and seven other states.
>>Plea Agreement In Case Involving Tom Brady Super Bowl Rings
(Los Angeles, CA) -- A plea deal has been reached in the case of someone illegally obtaining and selling three Super Bowl rings they claimed belonged to Tom Brady's nephews. Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles said Monday that Scott Spina, of New Jersey, posed as a former New England Patriot so he could buy three family versions of their 2016 Super Bowl ring with the name 'Brady' on them. Spina sold one of those rings at auction three years ago for over 300-thousand dollars, and prosecutors say he has agreed to plead guilty to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and mail fraud.
>>Major Vandalism To Old Colony Rail Cars On Aquidneck Island
(Middletown, RI) -- Police in Middletown are investigating vandalism on historic railroad property. Graffiti, broken windows and other damage was found at the Old Colony Railroad trains this month. The trains, which were used for educational and family trips, were last active in 2015. The owners say they've had vandalism before, but it was never this bad.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island schools are continuing to deal with violence threats. A new mask-wearing rule starts today as the Ocean State deals with a winter COVID surge. The Patriots' win streak has come to an end.
>>Barrington High School Remote-Learning Because Of Shooting Threat
(Barrington, RI) -- Barrington High School is going virtual for the final three days of class before the winter break because of a shooting threat. Someone wrote in a school restroom that there would be a shooting on Tuesday the 21st. The threatening message remains under investigation.
>>Two Woonsocket Students Arrested
(Woonsocket, RI) -- Two students were arrested for allegedly making school violence threats in Woonsocket on Friday. Both were 12 years old. One student was apparently overheard making threatening comments at Beacon Charter High School. The Valley Breeze reports the other student, who went to Villanova Middle School, allegedly posted a threat on TikTok. Authorities say he was found with a knife.
>>New Hybrid Mask Rule Takes Effect Today
(Providence, RI) -- Monday is the start of a new executive order on mask-wearing by Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Mask-wearing is being required at indoor establishments that host 250 people or more. That includes places like the Dunkin' Donuts Center and the state casinos. Smaller venues can let customers in mask-free, but they will have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The Providence Journal reports the order calls for state inspectors to visit businesses for enforcement, and that potential penalties, including fines, have not yet been set. The new mandate is in effect for 30 days as Rhode Island is seeing its biggest virus surge in a year.
>>Patriots Lose To Colts
(Foxboro, MA) -- The New England Patriots' winning streak is over after a 27-to-17 road loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The Pats had won seven in a row. With the loss to the Colts, New England has a 9-and-5 record and is one game ahead of Buffalo. A crucial game versus the Bills is next for New England. It's being played at Gillette Stadium next Sunday afternoon.
>>URI Men's BB Game Canceled Because Of COVID
(Kingston, RI) -- The University of Rhode Island men's basketball game scheduled for Sunday was canceled because of a coronavirus outbreak on the team. The Rams were scheduled to play the College of Charleston in Washington, DC yesterday afternoon. There is no word on the status of URI's next game versus Brown on Wednesday.
>>Pawtucket City Panel Likes Unified High School Proposal At McCoy
(Pawtucket, RI) -- The city of Pawtucket is giving consideration to demolishing McCoy Stadium and constructing a new high school. A subcommittee voted unanimously to move forward with the plan to build the campus totaling nearly a half-million square feet. The new high school would replace the two existing schools in Pawtucket. Mayor Donald Grebien says McCoy Stadium, is quote, "sadly vacant". The Pawtucket Red Sox triple-A baseball team relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts this season, leaving their longtime home at McCoy.
Masking – Testing – Vaccinations: Many changes were made yesterday in Rhode Island, in response to the increased number of cases of COVID19, the stress on Rhode Island hospitals, and the anticipation of the Omicron variant becoming the dominant variant here. Notably, while the Omicron variant seems to be less serious in how sick a person gets – it is at least twice, and perhaps many times more, contagious. While vaccinations can be about 70% protective, boosters are considered critically important in keeping COVID19 manageable. Breakthroughs of people who have received vaccines – and boosters – can happen.
The state published all the details of the new protocols, including allowing the RI Department of Health to levy fines for certain non-compliance by businesses.
Keep in mind that as you travel from state to state, regulations will be different.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Several Rhode Island schools are dealing with shooting threats this week. Rhode Island's unemployment drops slightly. The Patriots look for eight wins in a row in Indianapolis on Saturday.
>>School Threats Investigated
(Undated) -- A Rhode Island school district gets caught up in a national TikTok trend of threatening gun violence. The Newport Daily News reports one such threat was investigated and deemed non-credible at Tiverton High School on Thursday. The Tiverton Police Department is providing an added presence. Authorities are also investigating a shooting threat at Barrington High School. Someone wrote a message in the school's restrooms saying there would be a shooting on December 21st. Barrington students say right now, they are not comfortable returning to the school.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,985
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported five new coronavirus deaths on Thursday. The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-985. The number of new virus cases reported in Rhode Island yesterday was one-thousand-92.
>>Coach, School Teacher, Former Star Athlete Dies After Getting COVID
(Cranston, RI) -- A Cranston school community is mourning after a COVID-related death. Meaghan McGonagle was the girls' and boys' volleyball coach at Cranston High School East and also worked as a teacher. She was 41. Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins told WPRI-TV she was in good health and had received a vaccine. McGonagle was the all-time leading girls' basketball point-scorer for Pilgrim High School in Warwick.
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>>Snow In Forecast For SNE, Focus Is Northern MA
(Undated) -- Snow is in the forecast for Southern New England on Saturday. The National Weather Service is predicting up to four inches in northern Massachusetts. Less than an inch is predicted for southeastern Mass and most of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Forecasters say there will be a changeover to a wintry mix and rain by Saturday night.
>>Unemployment Rate In RI Nearly At Five Percent
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island's unemployment rate is down to five-point-one-percent, according to the Department of Labor and Training. The rate in October was five-point-three-percent. Rhode Island's unemployment rate in the first month of the coronavirus pandemic ballooned to 17-percent, but the rate has almost returned to pre-pandemic numbers.
>>Patriots Hope To Keep Win Streak Going Versus Colts
(Indianapolis, IN) -- The New England Patriots are looking for their eighth win in a row this weekend. The Pats are on the road versus the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. With four regular season games left to play, the Patriots have shocked the NFL by not only competing for a playoff spot this season, but in contention for the top spot in the conference to earn a first-round bye.
FollowingGovernor McKee’s announcement yesterday, the office released a statement and it was not soon after that statements were released by the Diocese of Providence, the RI GOP and the RI Small Business Coalition.
This is a developing story:
Governor McKee Announces Comprehensive Actions to Address COVID-19 Cases and Alleviate Pressure on Hospital Systems While Keeping Schools Open for In-Person Learning and Preventing Economic Disruption to Small Businesses
McKee Thanks the More than 76% of all Rhode Islanders Who Have Completed a Primary Vaccine Series, Urges Rhode Islanders to Get a Booster
Comprehensive Actions Announced by McKee Utilize the Tools That We Know Work to Stop the Spread While at the Same Time Provide Flexibility for Small Businesses
Joined by the Rhode Island Department of Health, representatives of the medical community, members of the small business community, the State’s whole of government COVID-19 response team, and Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Governor Dan McKee today announced comprehensive actions to address an increase in COVID-19 cases and alleviate pressures on our hospital systems while keeping schools open for in-person learning and preventing economic disruptions to small businesses.
“The health and safety of Rhode Islanders must always be our top priority,” said Governor McKee. “The comprehensive actions that my Administration is announcing today focus on what we know works to stop the spread of COVID-19 and alleviate pressures on our hospital systems. I want to thank all the Rhode Islanders who have stepped up to get vaccinated — and I’m now urging you to get your booster shot.”“The comprehensive set of actions that the Governor announced today focus on the tools that will get us through this surge in cases and help alleviate capacity issues and stress on our health care systems,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “Masks are effective at limiting the spread of COVID-19, and getting your primary vaccine series and your booster dose makes it much less likely that you will get seriously ill from COVID-19. There are dozens of vaccination opportunities all throughout Rhode Island every day. If you have gotten your primary series or your booster dose, get vaccinated today.”
Actions to Curb Cases and Hospitalizations using Masking and Proof of Vaccination
The Governor announced several temporary measures to bring additional layers of mitigation during the holidays when more time is spent gathering indoors. The measures fall into three categories and focus on both masking and proof of vaccination. These temporary measures will go into effect on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Proof of vaccination includes screenshots or printouts from the State’s vaccine record lookup portal (portal.ri.gov), in addition to your vaccination card or a photo of your vaccination card.
Indoor venues (including retail, restaurants, venues of assembly, and entertainment establishments) with a capacity of 250 persons or more:
Masking will be required of employees and patrons inside venues with a capacity of 250 or more regardless of vaccination status.
This will apply to all recreation and entertainment establishments, all historical and cultural establishments, all religious and faith-based organizations, and all retail or service businesses conducting operations in indoor venues.
Indoor venues (including retail, restaurants, venues of assembly, and entertainment establishments) with a capacity of fewer than 250 persons:
Masking or proof of vaccination will be required of employees and patrons inside venues with a capacity of fewer than 250 persons.
Establishments can adopt either:An across the board indoor masking requirement,An across the board vaccination requirement,Or allow individuals to either be masked or show proof or vaccination.
This applies to recreation and entertainment establishments, historical and cultural establishments, religious and faith-based organizations, and retail or service businesses conducting operations in indoor venues.
The above policy also applies to catered events of fewer than 250 guests.
Office-based businesses, manufacturers and other public or private employers
All office-based businesses, manufacturers and other public or private employers with indoor operations shall require either masking or proof of vaccination for all persons on their premises.
Establishments can adopt either: An across the board indoor masking requirement, An across the board vaccination requirement, Or allow individuals to either be masked or show proof or vaccination.
Actions to Improve Testing Accessibility and Test Result Wait Times
In addition to temporary masking and proof of vaccination measures, Governor McKee is taking action to strengthen the state’s COVID-19 testing strategy. Rhode Island currently leads the nation in tests per capita.
Governor McKee announced that the State will distribute 100,000 at-home rapid COVID-19 test over the next two weeks. Health Equity Zones and community partners will support the distribution of tests to residents. Using these tests, Rhode Island will be able to test approximately 10% of its population over the next two weeks. The Governor has requested an additional 1 million at-home rapid tests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will allow the State to provide rapid tests to all 39 cities and towns.
Rhode Island is currently processing the highest volume of PCR tests than at any other time during the pandemic response. Governor McKee has directed RIDOH and the Department of Administration to swiftly explore additional laboratory capacity to help reduce COVID-19 PCR test result turnaround times.
Additionally, Governor McKee announced that Rhode Island will continue to expand its test to stay initiative. Test to stay enables students who have been exposed to COVID-19 — but are asymptomatic — to test each day before going into school instead of having to quarantine. The initiative helps keep kids in school and reduces interruptions to learning. Test to stay will be expanded to East Providence, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Barrington, Tiverton, Blackstone Valley Prep and the Learning Community.
Actions to Address Hospital Staffing Capacity
Governor McKee is also taking steps to address workforce challenges across Rhode Island’s hospital systems.
Governor McKee today sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell requesting FEMA medical personnel to assist in the State’s response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations by providing emergency staffing for local hospital systems. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency is currently working with hospital leadership to complete the formal FEMA Resource Request process.
Governor McKee also announced that he will be forming the Governor’s Working Group on Health Care Staffing Capacity. The group will be made up of both state and private sector leaders in the health care and workforce sectors. Together, they will explore additional short- and long-term solutions to the health care staffing challenges facing Rhode Island. Additional details will be shared next week.
“Care New England fully supports Governor Daniel McKee’s newly unveiled COVID-19 protocols that will directly address the issue of community spread, during the pandemic. Care New England, as other health systems throughout the state, is dedicated to treating patients, and in many cases, saving lives. We must do everything within our power to mitigate the spread and keep Rhode Islanders healthy this winter, as we see COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations rise,” said James E. Fanale, MD, President and CEO, Care New England Health System.
“These actions are greatly welcomed and needed. The pandemic has driven burnout among healthcare workers to crisis levels. The situation in our hospitals remains extremely difficult — we have far fewer healthcare workers to care for patients than we did even a year ago. Many patients are presenting with more acute illnesses and conditions requiring longer inpatient hospital stays and more intensive treatment. In addition, the post-holiday rise in COVID and flu infections are putting additional pressure on our already stressed workforce. Public health measures including vaccination, masking and social distancing will help reduce the burden on the health care system and help to bring this pandemic to an end,” said Lifespan President and CEO Timothy J. Babineau, MD.
Businesses that have questions on these new measures can call the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation hotline at (401) 889-5550 or complete an electronic form at taskforce.dbr.ri.gov.
Statement of Bishop Thomas J. Tobin on the New Mask Mandates in Rhode Island
As it has from the beginning of the pandemic, the Diocese of Providence will continue to cooperate fully with state directives regarding the response to the pandemic. Accordingly, I encourage Catholics of the Diocese of Providence to follow state guidelines and to wear a mask whenever they are attending Holy Mass, and other church services or public programs.
At the same time, no individual should be turned away from Mass or singled out if they choose not to wear a mask. Such individuals may have good and substantive reasons for not doing so. In addition, in keeping with our approved policies, liturgical ministers (e.g. priests, deacons, ministers of Holy Communion, altar servers, cantors, choir members) are not expected to wear masks while actively participating in the liturgy.
As I have done on multiple previous occasions, I strongly urge all Catholics of the Diocese of Providence (clergy, religious and laity) to receive approved vaccines as soon as they are eligible to do so. Being vaccinated is a commitment to the common good, an act of charity for our brothers and sisters, and an expression of our respect for the dignity of human life.
As we prepare to celebrate the special hope and joy of the Christmas Season, let us renew our fervent prayers that Almighty God will lift this terrible pandemic from our midst and will give healing, comfort and peace to all.
RI Small Business Coalition concerned for burdens on small business – the Coalition’s statement:
“Today, Governor McKee took action to mitigate the rising stress on our hospital systems due to COVID-19. The RI Small Business Coalition recognizes the current health situation and appreciates the Governor working with us during his decision process.
We do not support any mask policy that puts additional burdens on our small businesses. However, we are pleased to see businesses under 250 will not be forced with a full mask mandate.
For the larger venues, where more than a thousand are together indoors, implementing a short-term universal mask policy is a measured approach.
The RI Small Business Coalition also calls on the Department of Health to improve measures that will help the health situation, such as providing test kits to small businesses, improving the availability of vaccines and testing, quicker turnaround on PCR testing, and other measures outside a potential mask mandate. We welcome a meeting with RIDOH to communicate our solutions and listen.
To our small business community, you have fought tirelessly the past two years and now is not a time to give up. We will get through this short-term bump in the road and are confident we’ll have a strong 2022 together. Thank you.”
RI House Republicans respond to Governor’s new round of COVID mandates:
“The Governor’s new round of mandates seek to address the healthcare staffing crisis caused by his ill-advised Department of Health Regulation (216-RICR-20-15-8) that led to the termination of hundreds of unvaccinated nurses and doctors –forced to leave their profession, despite successfully tending to the COVID-19 sick for over a year. If the Governor is serious about solving our ICU bed shortage, he would see that the healthcare vaccine mandate is repealed. Rather than this Department of Health folly being remedied, the Governor has now imposed additional unenforceable measures that infringe on the people of Rhode Island’s privacy. The crisis we face is from inadequate ICU bed staffing, as demonstrated by the Governor’s letter to FEMA. Additionally, federal monies were allocated to Rhode Island that could specifically address our hospital staffing crisis. Yet, not one proposal has been offered.
Due to the Department of Health’s failed healthcare vaccine mandates, Governor McKee now attempts to force Rhode Islanders to show their proof of vaccination medical papers to their employers, and require masks to attend events or services within certain indoor venues. Many thousands of Rhode Islanders will not show their employers their medical records, nor patronize businesses if forced to don masks.
We were promised that the vaccine would return us to normal, and as a result, hundreds of thousands of Rhode Islanders got vaccinated, making Rhode Island one of the most vaccinated states in the country. This is not how people in a free society live.
To make matters worse, the Executive Order issued contradicts state law that limits declarations of a State of Emergency to 180 days. A variant, by its nature, is not a new emergency. Rather, the legislature must act to continue a State of Emergency beyond 180 days. We are a nation of laws and individual privacy, both of which the Governor disregards for political expediency.This latest Executive Order resolves the question which the Governor has continuously refused to answer for months: Under what circumstances will this state of emergency end? The answer apparently is – it won’t end.”
— The Rhode Island House of Representatives Minority Office Members: Blake A. Filippi; Michael Chippendale; George Nardone; Representative Brian C. Newberry; David J Place; Justin Price; Robert Quattrocchi; Sherry Roberts. For more information, please visit our website at www.rihousegop.org
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: A new mask-wearing requirement is being issued for Rhode Islanders to address the latest coronavirus wave. The city of Pawtucket is purchasing a landmark property. A report has been released about alleged inappropriate body fat tests conducted by the former boys' basketball coach at North Kingstown High School.
>>New Mask Requirement Issued To Address Rhode Island COVID Surge
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee on Wednesday announced new actions being taken to fight the latest COVID-19 surge. A new mask-wearing requirement was issued for indoor venues with a capacity of 250 or more people. For smaller venues, there's a choice between masking or proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The order, which takes effect Monday, is in effect for 30 days and will be re-evaluated after that. Rhode Island is also distributing one-hundred-thousand at-home COVID test kits over the next two weeks. McKee said he is requesting another one-million test kits from the federal government.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,980
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported five new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-980. Rhode Island reported over 11-hundred new virus cases yesterday.
>>Johnston School Buses Returning To Service
(Johnston, RI) -- The Johnston School District now says school buses will be running normally. WJAR-TV reports the assistant superintendent said buses would be running on Thursday. Officials previously said parents would have to start dropping off and picking up their kids until the holiday break because bus drivers had to go into quarantine. Johnston Public Schools had to close one of its elementary schools this week because of a coronavirus outbreak.
>>Pawtucket Purchasing Apex Property
(Pawtucket, RI) -- The city of Pawtucket is finally closing on the purchase of the landmark Apex department store building. The riverfront property, which is on the other side of I-95 from where a new soccer stadium is being built, was once under consideration as a new home for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Pawtucket City Council signed off Tuesday on a court-approved settlement to buy the Apex site for 17-point-7-million dollars.
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>>Report Released On Basketball Coach's Alleged Fat Tests
(North Kingstown, RI) -- Part of an independent investigative report has been released concerning allegations against former North Kingstown High School boys' basketball coach Aaron Thomas. The report features interviews with former students who claim they were subjected to quote-unquote "naked fat tests" with Thomas. The second part of the report from attorney Matthew Oliverio is expected to be released next month. The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office is also investigating the matter.
>>Providence Commission Approves Waiver Request For Citizens Bank Building Redevelopment
(Providence, RI) -- The Providence City Plan Commission is approving a waiver that was requested for the redevelopment of a historic building. The Omni Group requested the waiver in order to add first-floor residential units to the Citizens Bank building on Westminster Street. Citizens vacated the century-old building in 2019, and the property was listed as endangered by the Providence Preservation Society.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is approaching three-thousand coronavirus deaths. There will be an expanded police presence at Barrington High School following the discovery of a shooting threat. Police pursue a stolen beer truck in Providence.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,969
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported a dozen new coronavirus deaths this weekend. The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State as of Monday's update was two-thousand-969. There were over 24-hundred new virus cases.
>>Security Increasing At Barrington High School After Threat Found
(Barrington, RI) -- Security is going up at Barrington High School after a gun violence threat was found written in a school bathroom. The Barrington superintendent informed parents on Monday that there would be an increased police presence at the high school until the winter break. The Barrington Police Department asked gun owners yesterday to account for their firearms and make sure they were stored safely.
>>Beer Truck Stolen In Providence
(Providence, RI) -- Providence police pursued a stolen beer truck on Monday. The beverage truck from Cranston-based distributor McLaughlin and Moran was offloading at A-to-Z Liquors on Douglas Avenue when Jeremy Fellela of Cranston allegedly got behind the wheel and took off at around 3 p.m. The low-speed chase reportedly ended about a mile-and-a-half west with a crash into a pole at Isabella and Longwood avenues. Providence police said an unknown amount of alcohol spilled out of the truck's open loading door during the incident.
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>>Man Sentenced For Attempted Child Enticement
(Providence, RI) -- A Rhode Island man is being sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempting to entice a minor. The Justice Department says Thomas Hammond of Lincoln communicated with undercover officers of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations thinking he was talking to the stepfather of a ten-year-old girl in Warwick. The DOJ says when Hammond was told the stepfather was sexually abusing the girl, he proposed to join him and arranged a meeting. Hammond worked as a real estate agent in Providence.
>>Abandoned Providence School Being Renovated To Hold Classes Again
(Providence, RI) -- An abandoned school is being renovated in Providence to become a quote-unquote "swing space" for students whose own schools are being fixed up. The city is spending 30-million dollars to make Windmill Street Elementary operable again. Windmill has not hosted students in a decade. WJAR-TV reports there have been at least two fires set inside the building in recent months. The project is expected to be completed before classes start in the fall of 2023.
>>Men's BB: URI Beats Milwaukee
(Milwaukee, WI) -- The University of Rhode Island men's basketball team beat the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Monday night, 82-to-58. The Rams are now 8-and-3 this season. URI plays College of Charleston next at the Holiday Hoops Fest in Washington, DC on Sunday.
24/7 News Source 12/13/2021 01:41:49 Rhode Island Summary AM
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island has reported its first case of the newest COVID variant. Providence sees its 23rd homicide of 2021. The RI Department of Transportation is working to fix a problem with its toll gantries for commercial trucks that is causing passenger vehicles to get charged.
>>Rhode Island Reports Omicron COVID Variant
(Providence, RI) -- The state of Rhode Island is reporting its first case of the omicron coronavirus variant. Half of the states in the U.S. have identified the variant, according to the CDC. In a statement on Saturday, Governor Dan McKee urged Rhode Islanders to get vaccinated, boosted, tested and to consider wearing masks in crowded public places. McKee plans to announce actions this week to address the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the Ocean State.
>>Fatal Shooting In Providence Saturday
(Providence, RI) -- The Providence Police Department says a 33-year-old man was fatally shot near Providence College on Saturday night. GoLocalProv.com reports the victim of the shooting on Huxley Avenue was James Owens, a popular rap artist who performed under the name "Hammer Beanz". This is the 23rd homicide in the capital city this year.
>>One Dead In Central Falls Fire; Providence Fire Hospitalizes Several
(Undated) -- There was a fatal apartment fire in Central Falls this weekend. An 80-year-old man was found dead after a fire was extinguished in a unit on Jenks Street on Friday afternoon. The victim's name has not been released. Elsewhere, three people were hospitalized after a fire in a multi-family home on Plainfield Street in Providence Saturday morning.
>>Storm Causes Power Outage At T.F. Green Airport
(Undated) -- A storm brought high winds to Rhode Island on Saturday. Some flights at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick were delayed because of a power outage caused by a downed electrical line. The top wind speed reported by the National Weather Service in the state was 63 miles per hour near Block Island.
>>RIDOT Acknowledges Toll Gantries Are Mistaking Cars For Trucks
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is working to fix an issue with its highway toll gantry system. The gantries are only supposed to be tolling trucks, but RIDOT says nearly two-thousand passenger cars have had their E-ZPass accounts charged. Officials say those drivers will be reimbursed. Rhode Island's truck toll system, which went online in 2018, is the subject of an active federal lawsuit.
>>New Scoreboard, Observation Deck Coming To Gillette Stadium
(Foxboro, MA) -- Enhancements are being made to Gillette Stadium. According to the New England Patriots, the largest outdoor high-definition stadium video scoreboard in the country is being installed in Gillette's north end zone. An observation deck is being added to the stadium's lighthouse. The team says the project is expected to be complete by the start of the 2023 NFL season.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee is resisting calls to return to an indoor mask mandate. More than two-hundred-thousand COVID cases have now been recorded in the Ocean State. A body found in the water could possibly be a ferry passenger who went overboard in Narragansett Bay this week.
>>Governor McKee Resists Calls For Indoor Mask Mandate Return
(Providence, RI) -- Governor Dan McKee resisted calls to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in Rhode Island on Thursday. Medical leaders in the state are expressing support for the return of the mandate to ease the coronavirus surge that is putting additional strains on hospitals. McKee lifted the masking restriction in May. The governor said at a press conference yesterday he's not ready to reverse that, and said his administration is relying on Rhode Islanders to make the right decisions.
>>Rhode Island Goes Over 200K COVID Cases
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island has recorded over two-hundred-thousand coronavirus cases since the pandemic started. The milestone was passed on Thursday when the state added nearly 15-hundred new virus cases. Two more virus deaths were counted yesterday to raise the Ocean State pandemic death toll to two-thousand-951.
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>>Body Washes Up In Bristol
(Bristol, RI) -- Authorities are working to determine if a body found in the water in Rhode Island is a missing woman who fell off a ferry. The body was reportedly found near the Lobster Pot restaurant on Hope Street in Bristol on Thursday. The Coast Guard conducted a search in Narragansett Bay for the Prudence Island Ferry passenger who fell overboard earlier this week. She has not been identified.
>>Providence Board Revokes Club's Liquor License After Shootings
(Providence, RI) -- A Providence club has lost its liquor license after repeated shootings. The Providence Board of Licenses made the move against the Revel Lounge on O'Connell Street Thursday. Three people were injured in a shooting at the club in October. A fatal shooting took place outside Revel in August.
>>New Contract For Bristol-Warren School Bus Drivers
(Bristol, RI) -- A strike is being avoided for bus drivers in the Bristol-Warren School District. WJAR-TV reports a spokesperson for Teamsters Local 251 confirmed a new contract was reached with First Student on Thursday. The school district had notified parents about the possibility of a strike.
>>Warwick Hotel Being Used As Homeless Shelter
(Warwick, RI) -- A Warwick hotel is being used as a homeless shelter this winter. Crossroads Rhode Island is renting the NYLO Hotel off Route 5 until March using Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. The hotel has enough room for one-hundred-fifty people. Neighbors have expressed concerns about an uptick in crime, but those living at the hotel say they just want a chance to be off the streets this winter.
>>Hockey Rink To Be Named For A.J. Quetta
(Attleboro, MA) -- The New England Sports Village in Attleboro is re-naming one of its ice rinks for A.J. Quetta. The Bishop Feehan High School boys' hockey player suffered a serious spine injury during a game earlier this year. Quetta, a North Providence native, graduated from Bishop Feehan this spring and is returning to the team as an assistant coach. A dedication ceremony for A.J. Quetta Rink is taking place next Saturday.
No Omicron case identified in RI yet – cases are in both MA and CT with 21 states, total.
Hospitals in Massachusetts are now over capacity – 120% at capacity in trauma rooms at UMass Memorial
RI has doubled its number of hospitalized in one month – now at 225+
Two large state vaccination sites – Sockanosset site and East Providence site – will close next week as the state move to more community vaccination sites. Dec. 18th will be final day. – Rhode Island will be running approximately 100 COVID-19 vaccination clinics in settings such as schools, churches, senior centers, and many other community sites over the next month. These clinics are in addition to the vaccination opportunities in pharmacies and the offices of many primary care providers. A list of community clinics can be found at: covid.ri.gov/vaccination. COVID-19 booster doses are available at many of these clinics. As a part of this shift to community located vaccination opportunities, operations at Rhode Island’s remaining State-run and municipal-run vaccination sites will wind down. The last day of vaccinating at Sockanosset Cross Road (100 Sockanosset Cross Road, Cranston) will be December 18th, and the last day for regular operations at the East Providence vaccination site (585 Taunton Avenue, East Providence) will be December 29th. The vaccination site at Sockanosset has administered approximately 211,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since opening in January 2021, and the East Providence site has administered approximately 21,000 doses since opening in May 2021. All COVID-19 vaccination options will continue to be available at C19VaccineRI.org. Schedules and appointments for these vaccination sites will continue to be available at vaccinateRI.org. Rhode Islanders can continue to call the COVID-19 information line (401-222-8022) or 2-1-1 for information about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines.
Some RI students and staff are waiting at home for 4 to 5 days for their test results as the state experiences lengthy delays.
Maine is calling in the National Guard as hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated patients.
Mark Patinkin, a well known Providence Journal writer, has tested positive after being fully (3) vaccinated – he had mild symptoms and points to a family Thanksgiving gathering of 10 people who traveled to northern New England.
Gov’s Press Conference: Funding “Rhode Island Rebounds”:
Investing in RI small businesses and people. 38.5 M for children – 32 M for small business – 29 M for affordable housing – 13M for hard hit tourism/hospitality/event industries as a down payment towards more. Additional $6M for growing childcare needs. Spent over 3 years – and we should be eligible for bonuses after that if we do it right. We needed to get $65M out in housing assistance, and we got $70M out so no money was given back.
The Rev. Joseph D. Santos, 62, who was the administrator of Holy Name Parish on Providence’s upper East Side
The RI Municipal Police Academy is having a breakout, canceling the remainder of classes, will graduate attendees, but no ceremony will be held.
Beacon Diner in EG will close due to pandemic issues of business, staffing, etc.
CODAC, a nonprofit that treats people with addiction disorders says they’ve never had an employee shortage like this – losing 2 employees most recently to Chick-fil-a and Petco because they had to earn a living for their families – report on NBC10
MBTA will cut one of every two runs due to lack of riders and drivers.
Gov. McKee issued a statement Wednesday night asking people to get vaccinated, get boosted, and wear masks when in high risk areas – he says nothing is off the table as the state’s case #s rise and begin to overwhelm our hospital.
Providence, the Rhode Island Foundation, Providence Foundation and Crossroads Rhode Island announced a new collaboration to address homelessness and creation of a dedicated fund supported in part by corporate donors. $495,000 will support a new citywide mobile diversion program for Providence residents experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
Cases are rising in congregate facilities – as of Dec. 8, 2021 – new cases in last 7 days:
Apple Clipper Rehab, Westerly – 5 to 9
Berkshire Place, Providence – 25 to 29
Evergreen, East Providence – 10 to 14
Jeanne Jugan, Pawtucket – 10 to 14
Pawtucket Falls, Pawtucket – 5 to 9
Summit Commons, Providence – 10 to 14
West View Nursing, West Warwick – 15 to 19
Highlands, Providence – 5 to 9
Bridge at Cherry Hill, Johnston – 10 to 14
Winslow Gardens, East Providence – 5 to 9
A few others have “less than 5” and some have numbers elevated from previous weeks.
Data Update: Dec. 8, 2021
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
Judge blocks effort to mandate vaccines for federal employees
Only 1/3 of Americans say they will stop dining in restaurants; less than 25% are canceling holiday plans; 28% say they will cancel meeting with family.
Half of all COVID infections are coming from 6 states – Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois.
100,000 new infections per day.
National hospitalizations are up 25% from last month.
Norwegian Cruise lines with 17 infected has left Louisiana.
240 companies surveyed say they will give their employees raises over 3.5% (to retain workers)
The EMA, together with the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said that a mix-and-match strategy could give nations more options in inoculation campaigns as much of the continent seeks to contain the latest virus surge
South Africa is seeing a doubling of cases of the Omicron variant – however, no uptick in deaths, and little uptick in hospitalizations – the new strain seems to be more contagious, but less serious.
Early evidence is showing that Omicron may be more highly contagious, but less severe. It is now in 21 states. Many of infected are young and healthy. Those who are getting very sick are those without being vaccinated and boosted.
CDC expert: Everyone in the United States is either going to get vaccinated or going to get COVID.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Wednesday that people might need a fourth Covid-19 shot sooner than expected after preliminary research shows the new Omicron variant can undermine protective antibodies generated by the vaccine the company developed with BioNTech.
NYC Mandate: First in the nation to have vaccine mandate beginning on Dec. 27th for private employers. Also, those ages 12 and over need to show proof of 2 vaccine doses to go into dining, fitness, and entertainment venues. Beginning Dec. 14th, children ages 5-11 required to have at least 1 vaccine for indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues. Children mandates also include after school sports and cultural activities.
Oslo party appears to be omicron superspreader event. All attendees fully vaxxed & had tested negative pre-event. 1 attendee recently returned from S Africa At least 13 now confirmed infected w omicron; dozens of others tested positive, awaiting sequencing
Starting on December 6, air travelers aged two and older, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, are required to show documentation of a negative viral test result taken within one day of the flight’s departure to the United States before boarding. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. That includes all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals. If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel). Exemptions will be considered on an extremely limited basis. Please visit the CDC for more information about exemptions and the requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19, including types of accepted tests for all air passengers arriving in the United States.
Rio de Janeiro has canceled their New Year’s Eve celebration due to Omicron
There were 35,000 attendees at the Anime conference in NYC where the first known case of the Omicron variant was detected in the US – they have all been contacted.
Manhattan workers going back into the office are being advised to dress down, not to wear corporate logo-wear, and avoid subways – many are offering car service after dark. 15 friends of the first American to test positive for Omicron who had attended the Anime convention have now tested positive for COVID, unknown if it is Omicron variant.
Russia reports first cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant
The FDA authorized the use of Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 dual-antibody therapy in treating mild to moderate symptoms in all children, including newborns, who are at risk of severe illness.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island has gotten its first snow of the season. Large-scale COVID vaccination sites in the Ocean State are closing up. The Rhode Island State Police is putting out a PSA about the upcoming phase-out of the 3-G network.
>>Rhode Island Sees First Snowfall Of Season
(Undated) -- Rhode Island is getting its first snowfall of the winter. Snow began falling in Providence Wednesday night and continued overnight Thursday. The National Weather Service predicted most of the Ocean State would measure less than an inch. The weekend forecast for Providence calls for a temperature warmup and chances for rain.
>>McKee Asking Rhode Islanders To Take COVID Seriously Over Holidays
(Providence, RI) -- Governor Dan McKee appealed directly to Rhode Islanders on Wednesday in a video message urging them to take COVID-19 seriously over the holidays. McKee said not doing so presents a risk to the progress that the state has made in the pandemic. McKee said over 95-percent of adults have been at-least partially-vaccinated and said now is the time to get booster shots. Rhode Island reported zero new COVID deaths on Wednesday and about seven-hundred new virus cases.
>>Rhode Island Transitioning To Community Sites In Vaccination Campaign
(Providence, RI) -- The McKee administration is closing the last state-run mass coronavirus vaccination clinic. The final day for the Sockanosset Cross Road site in Cranston will be Saturday, December 18th. The governor's office says Rhode Island is transitioning to community-based vaccination sites. About a hundred clinics will be in operation over the next month. A list can be found at covid.RI.gov/vaccination.
>>Fall River Police Chief On Leave, Planning To Retire
(Fall River, MA) -- Fall River Police Chief Jeffrey Cardoza is taking a medical leave from the department and will retire in March, according to the mayor's office. The 54-year-old Cardoza was named police chief in June 2020 after a long career with the city police department. Fall River police captain Paul Gauvin has been named acting chief.
>>RI State Police Warning About 3G Network Phaseout
(North Scituate, RI) -- The Rhode Island State Police is reminding residents to be aware of the upcoming phaseout of the 3-G network. People with older mobile phones may need to upgrade their devices to ensure access to 911. The state police says you should check with your mobile provider. Cell phone companies are planning to phase out 3-G next year.
>>Newport Woman Survives After Eating Poisonous Mushroom
(Newport, RI) -- A Newport woman survived after eating a poisonous "death cap" mushroom. Susan King tells The Newport Daily News she was foraging for lion's mane mushrooms in her yard when she unwittingly also picked the death cap, which was white-colored, cooked it and enjoyed a meal. But then King became sick and wound up in the emergency room of Newport Hospital. Doctors say King was very lucky.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: It's not looking like Rhode Islanders will be measuring a lot of snow today. The new top federal prosecutor in RI has been approved. Proposed regulations have been released for supervised drug use sites in the Ocean State.
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>>Snow Forecast For Rhode Island Wednesday
(Undated) -- The National Weather Service is not expecting much snow to fall in Rhode Island on Wednesday. The latest forecast indicates most of the state is looking at less than an inch. People living north of Route 295 could see one-to-two inches. Still, the weather service says the timing of the snow might impact the Wednesday evening commute.
>>Police Academy Interrupted By Virus Outbreak
(Lincoln, RI) -- A coronavirus outbreak is forcing the latest class of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Training Academy to wrap things up early. The RI State Police says seven recruits contracted the virus, but none have been hospitalized and almost all are without symptoms. The recruits had three days remaining in a twenty-week course and will receive their certificates. However, the state police says the difficult decision was made to cancel the graduation ceremony.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,949
(Providence, RI) -- The state of Rhode Island reported one new coronavirus death on Tuesday. The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-949. Rhode Island reported over one-thousand new virus cases.
>>Senate Confirms Next U.S. Attorney In RI
(Providence, RI) -- The next U.S. Attorney for the state of Rhode Island has been confirmed. The Senate approved Zachary Cunha [[ CUNE-yuh ]]] for the job on Tuesday night. Cunha is currently the head of the U-S-A-O's civil division.
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>>Providence Man Sentenced For Sex Assault
(Providence, RI) -- A Providence man is being sentenced to thirty years in the ACI for sexual assault. The state attorney general's office says Victor Tavares committed the assault on a woman at a residence on Douglas Avenue in Providence in 2012. The A.G.'s office says a co-defendant in the assault, Franklin Johnson, was sentenced to jail in 2018.
>>Proposed Regulations Released For Rhode Island Supervised Drug Injection Sites
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health is unveiling proposed regulations for the establishment of supervised drug injection sites. Governor Dan McKee signed legislation over the summer authorizing a two-year pilot program for the sites, which the state is referring to as harm reduction centers. The regulations include making sure all staff is trained in the administration of anti-overdose medication. A public hearing on the proposed rules, hosted by the state health department, is set for December 14th.
>>PC Beats Vermont, Rhody Wins Over Sacred Heart
(Undated) -- In men's college basketball, Providence defeated Vermont at home on Tuesday, 68-to-58. The University of Rhode Island hosted Sacred Heart and won 72-to-62. The Friars host Central Connecticut at the Dunk on Saturday. URI plays at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee next Monday.
Bob Dole a seriously wounded World War II hero, a Kansas politician who served in the House from 1961 to 1969 and the U.S. Senate from 1969 until 1996, who unsuccessfully ran as the Republican candidate against Bill Clinton for President in 1996, dies at age 98, after a long illness.
According to the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Senator Robert J. Dole died in his sleep on early Sunday morning. While no cause of death was reported the former Senator was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last February. While funeral arrangements have not been announced, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Dole, one of the longest serving Republicans in the Senate’s history who served as Senate Majority leader from 1985 to 1987 and from 1995 to 1996, will lie in state in the United States Rotunda on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021. A formal arrival and departure ceremony will be held on Thursday morning. Dole will join just 34 others, including government officials and military officers, who have had this honor in the U.S. Capitol since 1852.
“Putting his life on the line to defend our nation, he was awarded two Purple Hearts for his valor and sacrifice on the battlefield – and, when he came home, served as an inspiration to millions of Americans living with disabilities. From the Well of the House to the Floor of the Senate, as a presidential candidate and as an elder statesman, he was one of the foremost advocates for our servicemembers, veterans and military families,” stated Pelosi, in a statement announcing Dole being given the nation’s highest honor to lie in state in the Capitol.
“Senator Dole exemplified the Greatest Generation, and while I never had the pleasure of serving in the Senate with him, his reputation and his achievements, and most of all his character proceeded him, said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I always admired his steadfast advocacy for Americans with disabilities, and his love for this country,” he added.
Adds Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, “Whatever their politics, anyone who saw Bob Dole in action had to admire his character and his profound patriotism. Those of us who were lucky to know Bob well ourselves admired him even more. A bright light of patriotic good cheer burned all the way from Bob’s teenage combat heroics, through his whole career in Washington, and through the years since.”
Fixing Social Security
Back in the late 1970s, President Ronald Reagan reacted to Social Security’s short-and long-term financing crisis funding crisis by charging the National Commission on Social Security Reform (NCSSR), chaired by Alan Greenspan, by making recommendations on strengthening the program’s financial viability to Congress.
There were NCSSR members of the bipartisan Commission who did not believe there was an impending fiscal crisis, believing that it was being politically blown out of proportion. Like today, there were philosophical differences in how to keep Social Security solvent.
The political polarization that resulted in hammering out recommendations kept the NCSSR from making its original deadline to issue its report. Reagan was forced to extend the life of the Commission, and this ultimately gave time for the 15 members to reach a compromise.
However, even with the NCSSR compromise, there was still political gridlock in Congress as to how to fix Social Security. But a chance reading of Dole’s article on Social Security published in the January 3, 1983 issue of the New York Times, brought Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) together on the Senate floor with the Kansas Senator. Ultimately it was these two seasoned Senators who put political differences aside to draft a bipartisan compromise to allow the passage of NCSSR’s recommendations, including taxation of Social Security benefits and increasing the retirement age for receiving full benefits.
Dole and Moynihan’s “Gang of Seven”, including three NCSSR members and two Reagan advisors, came up with a politically acceptable time frame of payroll tax increases and spending reforms that both the Democrats and Republicans could accept. Meeting outside the halls of Congress, the so-called “Gang of Seven,” Dole, Moynihan, three other members of the Greenspan Commission and two Reagan advisors, came up with a timetable of payroll tax increases and spending reforms that legislators of both parties could accept. On April 20, 1983, President Reagan signed the Social Security reform into law.
Reaching Across the Aisle
In a statement, President Joe Biden noted that even though he and Dole often disagreed on issues during his time in the Senate, “he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most.”
“He and Ted Kennedy came together to turn Bob’s lifelong cause into the Americans with Disabilities Act — granting tens of millions of Americans lives of greater dignity,” said Biden.
“When he managed the bill to create a federal holiday in the name of Martin Luther King, Jr. — a bill that many in his own caucus opposed — I will never forget what he said to our colleagues: “No first-class democracy can treat people like second-class citizens,” noted Biden.
Finally, Biden noted Dole’s support of another bipartisan effort, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This initiative provided school meals and food for nursing mothers and young children. “It saved the lives of countless young people who would otherwise have died in infancy — and brought dignity to tens of millions of families at home and abroad. This work, for Bob, was about more than passing laws. It was written on his heart,” said Biden.
Known for his integrity and trustworthiness, this statesman, war veteran, patriot, knew how to work across the aisle to pass Senate bills that would help seniors, the disabled, and the needy, oftentimes in opposition to his caucus. He put the nation first above politics.
Hopefully, Congress can clearly see Dole’s political legacy of being bipartisan in legislating. It’s not too late.
Herb Weiss, LRI’12 is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly and its sequel, Taking Charge: Vol 2 More Stories on Aging Boldly, go to herbweiss.com.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: A woman reportedly fell off a ferry into Narragansett Bay Monday night. A driver for Rhode Island's non-emergency medical transport service is charged with DUI in connection to a fatal crash last month. The Patriots beat the Bills on Monday Night Football to run their win streak to seven.
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>>Search For Person In Water In Narragansett Bay
(Bristol, RI) -- The United States Coast Guard responded to a person in the water in Narragansett Bay on Monday night. The Bristol fire chief says a woman fell overboard from the Prudence Island Ferry at around 6 p.m. The woman was not immediately located, and the Coast Guard indicated it would continue searching overnight Tuesday.
>>Driver For Medical Transport Service Charged With Causing Fatal Crash
(Providence, RI) -- A driver for the state of Rhode Island's non-emergency medical transport service is facing charges for a crash last month which killed a patient. Coventry police are charging Dauda Elegushi of Providence with DUI and driving without a license for the fatal crash on Main Street on November 27th. WJAR-TV reports the victim was identified by family members as Lina Russo of Coventry. Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee on Monday called the incident involving a subcontractor of Medical Transportation Management disturbing. McKee says all options are on the table to hold MTM accountable.
>>Patriots Beat Bills For Seventh-Straight Win
(Orchard Park, NY) -- The New England Patriots have won seven games in a row and now hold the position of best record in the conference after a 14-to-10 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday night. Gusty winds and cold temperatures affected both teams at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The Patriots mostly ran the ball, with running back Damien Harris scoring the only touchdown. New England is off until Saturday, December 18th, when they visit Indianapolis.
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>>First Snow Of Season For Much Of SNE Wednesday
(Undated) -- The National Weather Service says Wednesday will bring the first snowfall of the season for many in Southern New England. The forecast calls for one-to-two inches for most of the region except coastal Massachusetts. The weather service says the snow is expected to fall during the evening commute.
>>Man Arrested For Graduate Hotel Stabbing
(Providence, RI) -- An arrest has been made in connection to a stabbing at a downtown Providence hotel. Damani Green of Providence is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon for the incident at the Graduate Hotel over the weekend. The two victims were reportedly attending a birthday party when an argument broke out, leading to the stabbing.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,948
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported seven new coronavirus deaths over the weekend. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-948. There were about two-thousand new virus cases.
>>First Jamestown Canyon Virus Case In RI In Almost Decade
(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health is reporting the first human case of the mosquito-driven Jamestown Canyon virus in the state since 2013. Deaths from the virus are rare, according to the CDC, but some people who get it develop meningitis or encephalitis. The RI health department says the person who tested positive is a resident of Kent County in their 50s who has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised the emergency use authorization (EUA) of bamlanivimab and etesevimab (previously authorized for pediatric patients 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms, or about 88 pounds), to additionally authorize bamlanivimab and etesivimab administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in all younger pediatric patients, including newborns, who have a positive COVID-19 test and are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. This revision also authorizes bamlanivimab and etesevimab, to be administered together, for post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19 in all pediatric patients, including newborns, at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
“Now all patients at high risk of severe COVID-19, including children and newborn babies, have an option for treatment and post-exposure prevention. Children under one year of age who are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 may be at particularly high risk for severe COVID-19 and this authorization addresses the medical needs of this vulnerable population,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “While today’s authorization includes post-exposure prevention of COVID-19 in children, this therapeutic option is not a substitute for vaccination. Vaccines remain our best tool in the fight against the virus and there is a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for children 5 years of age and above.”
Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens, such as viruses. Bamlanivimab and etesevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells. Bamlanivimab and etesevimab bind to different but overlapping sites on the spike protein of the virus.
In February, the FDA originally authorized bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together to treat mild-to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age or older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high-risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. In September, the agency authorized its use for post-exposure prevention of COVID-19 in certain adults and pediatric individuals (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) who are at high-risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.
To support today’s action, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, administered together, were studied in a clinical trial of 125 pediatric patients (14 adolescent patients received placebo), all with at least one risk factor for severe COVID-19, to evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics of treatment in pediatric patients. Patients weighing less than 40 kg (88 pounds) received doses of bamlanivimab and etesevimab adjusted for their body weight, to achieve comparable exposures to adults and adolescents receiving the authorized dose. Given the similar course of COVID-19 disease, the authorization of bamlanivimab and etesevimab in younger pediatric patients, including neonates, is supported by safety and efficacy data in adolescents and adults, together with additional pharmacokinetic and safety data from the clinical trial in pediatric patients.
Serious adverse events including hypersensitivity, anaphylaxis, and infusion-related reactions have been observed with bamlanivimab with and without coadministration of etesevimab. Possible side effects of bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together include nausea, dizziness, pruritus, and rash.
The FDA is working with sponsors of all currently authorized therapeutics to assess the activity against any global SARS-CoV-2 variant(s) of interest and is committed to communicating with the public as we learn more.
Under the EUA, fact sheets that provide important information about the emergency use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, to be administered together, must be made available to health care providers and to patients, parents and caregivers. These fact sheets include dosing instructions, potential side effects and drug interactions.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: A patient using Rhode Island's non-emergency medical transport service died after a crash last month. The Patriots play the Buffalo Bills on the road in a key Monday night matchup. Another mansion is sold on Bellevue Avenue in Newport.
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>>Windy Monday In SNE, Measurable Snow Possible Wednesday
(Undated) -- The National Weather Service says the potential exists for a period of potentially-damaging wind gusts in Southern New England on Monday. The weather service is predicting gusts up to 40 miles per hour in northern Rhode Island and up to 50 in the southern part of the state. Forecasters say accumulating snow is possible across parts of the region on Wednesday.
>>Patient Dies After Non-Emergency Medical Transport Crashes
(Providence, RI) -- The provider of non-emergency medical transportation for the state of Rhode Island is under renewed scrutiny after a patient died in a crash. The Providence Journal reports the crash which involved a subcontractor of Medical Transportation Management happened on Route 117 in Coventry on November 27th. The names of the driver and the patient have not been released. Governor Dan McKee called the incident inexcusable and said all options are on the table to hold the St. Louis-based MTM accountable.
>>Fatal Crash On Route 146 In Uxbridge MA
(Uxbridge, MA) -- A Rhode Island man died in a crash on the Massachusetts part of Route 146 on Saturday night. The Mass State Police says two vehicles collided on the northbound highway in Uxbridge at around 9:30 p.m., which resulted in a three-hour closure. A car being driven by Jonathan Marmol of Woonsocket reportedly crossed over from the southbound side and was involved in a fiery crash with an SUV. The other driver had minor injuries.
>>Stabbing At Downtown Providence Hotel Under Investigation
(Providence, RI) -- Providence police are investigating after two men were reportedly stabbed at the downtown Graduate Hotel over the weekend. Authorities say the stabbing happened after an argument broke out at a birthday party. The victims were reported in stable condition at Rhode Island Hospital.
>>Patriots Versus Bills Monday Night
(Orchard Park, NY) -- A grudge match Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Tom Brady could be looming. The Pats are looking for seven wins in a row as they battle the Buffalo Bills on the road Monday night. New England, in its second year without Brady, has been led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones who is nearing three-thousand passing yards. Meanwhile, Brady threw four touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including two to Rob Gronkowski, in a 30-to-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
>>Mansions Selling In Newport
(Newport, RI) -- Another mansion has sold on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport. Sotheby's International Realty says the "Ocean View" went for 16-million dollars. TheNewportBuzz.com reports the buyer is Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter, making this his second purchase on Bellevue Ave this year. The website reported Walter also purchased Clarendon Court, the former home of Sonny von Bulow, for 30-million dollars, setting a state record.
Aquidneck Land Trust Welcomes Ocean Hour Farm as the Next Steward of “Swiss Village”
and Surrounding Property
The SVF Foundation (SVF) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, announced today that it has completed its 20-year mission to cryo-preserve the genetics of rare and endangered domestic livestock breeds and granted a conservation easement to Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) governing approximately 24 acres of land in conjunction with its sale of the property at 152 Harrison Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition, SVF said that Ocean Hour Farm will operate the property.
“The SVF Foundation’s goals have been attained,” said SVF Executive Director Peter Borden, “and it’s time to preserve the property and pass it on to a new steward.” Conservation easements are binding agreements between a landowner and a land trust that permanently restrict development to protect the land’s conservation values. The conservation easement is the primary tool that has been used by ALT to protect critical open space on Aquidneck Island. SVF will donate the proceeds of the property sale to the Hamilton Family Charitable Trust to be dedicated to charitable purposes on Aquidneck Island, thus continuing the Hamilton family’s commitment to the community.
Founded in 1999 by Mrs. Dorrance H. Hamilton, the SVF Foundation has been operating since 2002 on two historic properties. The first, considered the main campus, was most famously developed by Arthur Curtiss James in the early 1900s. In 1916, James added the Surprise Valley Farm, or what locals referred to as the “Swiss Village” because of its resemblance to the southern region of Switzerland. The second property, a nearby 11-acre site, was formerly part of Hammersmith Farm. The SVF’s 15 buildings on the site include animal facilities, a procedures laboratory, an infirmary, a cryo-room, offices, and residences.
“We are honored to build on the legacy of the SVF Foundation and serve as the next stewards of this unique and beautiful land. Our goals for the future include integrating regenerative agriculture practices, developing experiential education programs, and continuing a robust science program,” said Rob MacMillan, a representative of Ocean Hour Farm.
Borden noted that early in his tenure, a large commercial hospital building was removed, restoring five acres of impervious cover to pasture and open space. “Mrs. Hamilton wanted to restore the historic exteriors of the Swiss Village, which were severely dilapidated at the time, while rehabilitating the interiors for a multitude of modern uses,” he said, adding that a 3,500 square foot post-and-beam barn was constructed for the housing of critically endangered livestock as well as the processing of genetic material. In April of 2003, SVF was awarded the Preservation Project Award by Rhode Island’s Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission.
“The permanent conservation of this historic treasure is tremendous news for our community,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of Aquidneck Land Trust. “We are grateful to the SVF leadership for their commitment to preservation, and we thank Ocean Hour Farm for becoming the next stewards of this superb property.”
More About SVF Foundation
The SVF Foundation was founded in 1999 by Dorrance H. Hamilton, a long-time Newport, R.I. resident and philanthropist whose interests included the preservation of important historical buildings and landscapes. Generous in spirit and vision, Mrs. Hamilton provided funding to meticulously renovate the 12 original buildings on the SVF’s farmstead in Newport.
SVF’s mission was the preservation of rare and endangered breeds of food and fiber livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats). To that end, SVF, with the assistance of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, collected and cryopreserved over 100,000 samples of germplasm (semen and embryos), blood and somatic cells from over 1,100 animals, representing 36 breeds.
Over the course of the project, SVF thawed embryos from approximately 30 of the cryopreserved breeds, which were then transferred to surrogates, proving, upon birth, the viability of the collection process. This treasure trove of genetic material now resides at the Dorrance Hamilton Cryo Conservation Laboratory, at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. www.svffoundation.org
More About Aquidneck Land Trust
Aquidneck Land Trust’s time-sensitive mission is to preserve and steward Aquidneck Island’s open spaces for the lasting benefit of the community. The organization has conserved 2,641.11 acres on 85 properties across Aquidneck Island since its founding in 1990. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.ailt.org.
Assisted Living & Nursing Home facilities are seeing an uptick in cases. Winslow Gardens in East Providence, an assisted living facility, has an outbreak of over 30 people, which followed a lifting of visitation policy. 1 person is a staff member, and approx. 6 have been hospitalized for their symptoms, which are not considered to be serious. All members had been vaccinated with 3 shots except for 1 unvaccinated resident.
The Tech Collective has announced it will close at the end of 2021 due to declining business attributable to the pandemic.
The PC-URI Basketball Game will be held this weekend, after a year off due to the pandemic.
The P-Bruins are not playing as they have several cases in team members.
From Dr. Michael Fine, in a recent writing on his blog: “Covid is back in Rhode Island. The Omicron variant is out there. We don’t know what it means yet. We’ve had 200 preventable deaths in Rhode Island since the end of June, and almost 200,000 preventable deaths in the US in that time. I’m stunned. This is what a culture of narcissism buys us. People are quitting their jobs and dropping out left and right – and good for them! But the pandemic won’t relent until all of us push back and speak up. And mask inside. And stay home until the pandemic lifts. The pandemic still seems like the first plague to me. It won’t relent unless and until we change.”
NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL
The Omicron variant is detected in 8 US states.
The Omicron variant has quadruped in 3 days in South Africa.
Some hospital admissions in South Africa are among young children – as early as under 2 years old.
Italy strengthens its pandemic passport beyond a negative test – to fully vaccinations.
First two cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in India
8 states in the US now have cases of Omicron
Oxford University says no evidence yet that vaccines won’t protect against severe disease from Omicron
Only 210,000 jobs were added back in November.
Unvaccinated people in Germany will be barred from most businesses, except for grocery stores and pharmacies, officials announced
Pres. Biden’s presser announcing new guidelines:
New variant cause for concern, not panic.
Fighting this with science and speed.
Experts say COVID cases will continue to rise. WhiteHouse.gov for full plan:
1. Expanding booster campaign to provide shots to all eligible adults – 100 million are eligible – all those over 18 years old and who were vaccinated before June should go get it now – 80,000 locations coast to coast. Asking pharmacies to expand hours and days, and send text messages too those who have been vaccinated to remind them to get a booster shot. AARP will reach out to 38 million members, and also help arrange rides for those who need it. 64 million on Medicare, the US Govt will reach out to them. Any federal employee will be given paid time off for their booster or a family members – asking private employers to do the same thing.
2. Working with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson to work on contingency vaccines, in case they are needed. Working with FDA and CDC for fast approval.
3. Children’s vaccine for 5 and over – 35,000 locations to go to – vaccines.com for sites – launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics – one stop for the whole family – holding them at community centers – some will be mobile clinics.
4. Children under age of 5 – strongly support research on developing vaccines for children under 5 – critical, but we need to move carefully. Test to stay policies will allow students to stay in classroom and test frequently when a positive case in the classroom happens.
5. At home tests – more tests made available for home use, free of charge. We have 8 options. Health insurers must cover the cost of at-home tests. Insurers will also cover PCR tests. For those not covered we’ll offer thousands of sites to go and pick up a test free and take it home.
6. Improve care for those who get COVID. Surge response teams for overrun hospitals and communities. Monoclonal antibody teams. We’re going to triple these teams from 30 to 90.
Increasing availability of other medications developed by real scientists, such as antiviral medications.
7. We need to go to where it came from – COVID. We also need to help vaccinate the rest of the world. 289 million vaccines to 110 countries. New effort to accelerate vaccinations to rest of the world.
8. International travelers to US: All inbound travelers must test within 1 day of departure, regardless of vaccination status and nationality. Extending this for mask wearing at all public transportation through the winter months.
French govt has said about the 5th wave: according to Gabriel Attal, “the objective” of the government is to allow “the French to spend Christmas together”
Public school teachers’ unions around the country are proposing “self-taught” Fridays—in other words, a four-day work week—citing the stresses of the pandemic.
In an interview with Dr. Jha, by G. Wayne Miller of the Providence Journal, Dr. Jha explained the urgency around vaccination: “Vaccinated people most times won’t even get infected, so the virus is not going to be multiplying,’ Jha said. ‘Even if you get infected, [the virus] will be there for a much shorter period of time and you’re not going to give the virus as much chance to mutate. No question there’s a lot more replication happening among unvaccinated people, and replication is the heart of mutations that lead us to’ variants such as omicron.”
From South Africa, perhaps some good news – as doctors post their impressions – with cautions that this is early on and a developing virus:
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Protestors made noise at a tree-lighting ceremony at the Rhode Island State House on Thursday night. The North Providence high school hockey player who suffered a career-ending injury in a game earlier this year is now on the team's coaching staff. The ACLU of Rhode Island says a lawsuit filed over discrimination against a medical marijuana patient is being settled.
>>Encampment Directed At RI Lawmakers; Protestors Attend State House Holiday Event
(Providence, RI) -- Homeless advocates in Rhode Island are trying to send lawmakers a message. WJAR-TV reports an encampment has been set up this week outside of the State House to press for the spending of federal pandemic relief money on homeless resources. Channel 10 reports a tree-lighting ceremony at the Capitol attended by Governor Dan McKee on Thursday night was disrupted by protestors. One group was the homeless advocates, and the other was there to demand an end to the healthcare worker vaccine mandate and the pandemic state of emergency.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,939
(Providence, RI) -- The state of Rhode Island reported four new coronavirus deaths on Thursday. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-939. There were over nine-hundred new virus cases.
>>Conviction Reached Following Fatal Road Rage Incident In Pawtucket
(Providence, RI) -- A Central Falls man is being convicted in a road rage killing in Pawtucket. The state attorney general's office says a Superior Court jury found Jairo Esdel Galva guilty of second-degree murder on Monday. Prosecutors say Galva fatally shot Joel Rosario, who was also from Central Falls, at the intersection of Lonsdale and Mineral Spring Avenues last Halloween. A sentencing is pending.
>>Injured High School Hockey Player Joining Coaching Staff
(Attleboro, MA) -- Bishop Feehan High School hockey player A.J. Quetta is returning to the team as an assistant coach. Quetta, a native of North Providence, suffered a major spinal cord injury in a game in January which ended his playing career. Quetta graduated in June. The team says his presence as a coach will be a driving force.
>>New Executive Director For Providence Police Oversight Board
(Providence, RI) -- The civilian police oversight board in Providence is getting a new executive director. The City Council appointed Ferenc Karoly, a former police officer, to the position with the Providence External Review Authority on Thursday. Former executive director Jose Batista was fired last year for going against the board and releasing videos to the public of an arrest conducted by Providence sergeant Joseph Hanley. Hanley was later convicted of assault for using excessive force and he was sentenced to probation.
>>ACLU Announces Settlement In Medical Marijuana Rights Case
(Westerly, RI) -- The Rhode Island ACLU says an important lawsuit dealing with the employment rights of medical marijuana patients is being settled. A ruling in state Superior Court four years ago determined a Westerly company, Darlington Fabrics, discriminated against Christine Callaghan when she was dropped from consideration for a paid internship because she was a card holder. The ACLU says Darlington Fabrics has agreed to compensate Callaghan and change its drug use policy to consider applicants who are authorized medical marijuana patients.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is working on releasing a coronavirus proof-of-vaccination app. A man is sentenced to prison after a large cache of guns was seized during a traffic stop on Route 95. Drivers who take the Newport Bridge are being informed they will have to pay more without E-ZPass.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,935
(Providence, RI) -- Three new coronavirus deaths were reported in Rhode Island on Wednesday. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-935. Rhode Island reported over eight-hundred new virus cases yesterday.
>>RI Vaccination App To Be Released; Test-To-Stay Expanded
(Providence, RI) -- Governor Dan McKee said during his weekly COVID briefing on Wednesday that his administration will soon-release a smartphone app that Rhode Islanders can use to prove their vaccination status. The vaccination record app will be voluntary, according to the governor. McKee also said that all Rhode Island school districts can begin using the so-called "test to stay" program after a successful trial run in Westerly. Under this model, students who are close contacts of COVID cases can remain in school instead of going into quarantine if they take daily virus tests.
>>COVID Cases Cause Providence Bruins Games To Be Rescheduled
(Providence, RI) -- The American Hockey League has postponed all of this weekend's Providence Bruins games because of a coronavirus outbreak impacting the team. The Bruins were set to play at the Dunkin' Donuts Center versus Hartford on Friday, at Bridgeport on Saturday, and return home on Sunday to battle Utica. Don Sweeney, the general manager of the Boston Bruins, said on Tuesday that Providence "had a significant breakout" associated with their travel schedule last weekend, which included games in Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
>>Man Sentenced After Guns Seized During Route 95 Traffic Stop
(Providence, RI) -- A North Carolina man is being sentenced after a routine traffic stop on I-95 in Rhode Island led to the seizure of a large weapons stockpile. The Justice Department says Anthony Mondrez Thompson of Charlotte received an eight-year prison term on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms. A state police trooper conducted the stop in West Greenwich in 2017. Prosecutors said Thompson was transporting a dozen loaded, high-powered firearms, and added that several of the seized weapons were stolen.
>>Cost Of Traveling Pell Bridge Higher Without E-ZPass
(Jamestown, RI) -- The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority is notifying drivers that the cost of going over the Newport Pell Bridge is increasing for those who do not have E-ZPass. The bridge's toll system was recently converted to all-electronic. Any vehicle that does not have an E-ZPass transponder will receive an invoice charging three dollars per axle, or six dollars for a passenger vehicle.
>>Men's BB: Providence College, URI Win, Play Each Other Next
(Providence, RI) -- Men's college basketball: Providence College beat Texas Tech 72-to-68 at the Dunk on Wednesday. Rhode Island won at Harvard, 64-to-57. The Friars and the Rams play each other next on Saturday afternoon in Providence.
Governor McKee announces up to $1.7 million in grants to expand internet access for low- and moderate-income Rhode Islanders across state
Governor Dan McKee held a news conference yesterday to announce the awarding of up to $1.7 million to support increased internet access for low- and moderate-income households, helping to bridge the digital divide, in communities across Rhode Island. This is part of a national plan that includes $65 billion for broadband access nationally.
In Rhode Island, 49,573 families or 12.2% of households, are not connected to the internet and another 34,936 families or 8.6% only have access via a smartphone and data plan, making nearly a quarter of Rhode Islanders under-connected, according to the 2019 US Census’s American Community Survey.
“Our Administration is committed to boosting internet connection throughout the state,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Today’s awards will help Rhode Islanders better access reliable and affordable high-speed internet and the valuable resources it provides. This funding will complement additional awards and investments that will be made in this area in the near future, and I thank President Biden and our federal delegation for their continued support of this important funding.”
The awards are funded by Community Development Block Grants (CDDBG) and managed by the state’s Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD). Winners were selected following an RFP process operated through OHCD.
“As the COVID crisis has laid bare, broadband and high-speed internet is not a luxury, but a necessity,” said Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor. “Today’s announcement helps expand access across Rhode Island, connecting residents, businesses and organizations. We are pleased to take this important first step – one of many planned – to ensure Rhode Islanders have the tools needed to succeed in this digital age.”
The funded communities and proposed projects are:
City of East Providence (up to $367,000)
The City of East Providence is seeking to leverage planned municipal infrastructure improvements to provide open access Wi-Fi in targeted Census tracts, largely overlapping with the City’s designated Opportunity Zone. This project will also support digital literacy trainings in partnership with East Providence Housing Authority, the East Providence Library, EBCAP, the Boys and Girls Club, and the senior center as well as device access for households through the East Providence School District.
City of Newport (up to $980,000)
Newport Housing Authority, via the City of Newport, has applied to build a fixed wireless broadband solution to service upwards of 600 residential units in their Park Holm and Chapel Street areas. It would also create added internet capacity at the NHA’s Florence Gray Center, where the Newport Boys and Girls Club is also located. This would enable students to access distance learning, working parents to engage in remote work, and seniors to maintain social connections and leverage telehealth opportunities. The project will support installation and configuration of the equipment and system as well as technical support required to ensure its success. Ongoing access fees plan to be supported by the Newport Housing Authority to ensure free access for all residents in the specified service areas.
City of Providence (Up to $99,000)
The City of Providence plans to use funds to purchase and install technology that will expand internet access throughout the City’s 11 community recreation centers as well as the Recreation Department Headquarters. This access is planned to be available both inside the facilities as well as in the nearby vicinity of the centers, allowing for public internet access during good weather or when the centers are closed as well.
Domestic Violence Resource Center (Up to $4,200)
Locations in South County, RI
This grant will permit the Domestic Violence Resource Center to increase its Wi-Fi capacity and add a workstation, equipped with a laptop, to the agency’s safe home, serving victims of domestic violence and their families. This project will allow residents better and faster access to the technology necessary for them to seek employment, make appointments, etc.
Forest Farm Assisted Living/Town of Middletown (Up to $20,000)
This grant will support the build and deployment of a wireless broadband solution throughout the three-floor Forest Farm Assisted Living facility, supporting improved office internet access as well as ubiquitous access for the 49 residential units throughout the building.
Neighborworks Blackstone River Valley (Up to $92,500)
The project will support the build of high-speed (gigabit) fiber-optic internet access to three multi-use renovated industrial buildings in the Millrace District on Woonsocket’s Main Street. The project will support access for 70 affordable live/work units as well as supporting public access for 500 residents in adjacent public spaces and 150 youth in the community learning center within the Millrace District.
North Providence Housing Authority (Up to $21,000)
North Providence will leverage this grant to provide blanket access to broadband internet to all six of the Authority’s sites throughout the city. Ongoing access costs for internet will be covered through NPHA operating funds.
One Neighborhood Builders (Up to $125,000)
This project will provide improvements to an operating community internet network in Olneyville, providing a three-time improvement to the latency of the network and create network redundancies that more fluidly funnel internet traffic, improving speeds and reliability for the 2,100 households the network is designed to serve.
Pawtucket Housing Authority (Up to $3,200)
This project will update and improve the Wi-Fi access points for five community rooms across Pawtucket Housing Authority. The project would support installation of two new access points in each of the community rooms, ensuring that residents can access high-speed internet, even if they cannot obtain internet in their homes.
Town of Cumberland (Up to $35,000)
The project will expand free Wi-Fi throughout the senior center and its grounds in order to address the “grey divide.” The Town will additionally create a “bank” of ten laptops/Chromebooks for use by seniors while at the center. The system capacity will support in excess of 30 concurrent users; the new laptop/chrome books can support 10 users at any time.
Town of Smithfield (Up to $38,000)
The project will permit expanded use of the internet for persons who currently receive essential services at the East Smithfield Neighborhood Center. The improvements will enable high-speed Wi-Fi both in the building as well as outside the facility, with sufficient capacity to allow at least 25 users concurrently. The technology upgrades will allow program participants to have supported telemedicine appointments, reorder prescriptions, and reconnect virtually with family and friends. The grant will also purchase a dozen new laptops/Chromebooks, with four of the devices having adaptive features.
(Undated) -- Here is the latest news: Five new Rhode Island COVID deaths were reported yesterday. A Providence man who was accused of an armed standoff last month has been charged in connection to the U.S. Capitol riot. The New England Revolution have been bounced from the playoffs.
>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 2,932
(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island reported five new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday. The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to two-thousand-932. There were over seven-hundred new virus cases.
>>First Rhode Islander Charged In Connection To Capitol Riot
(Boston, MA) -- The first Rhode Islander has been charged in connection to the January 6th U.S. Capitol riot. Timothy Desjardins of Providence is accused of assaulting a police officer with a broken table leg. Desjardins was allegedly involved in an armed standoff with Providence police in November at his barbershop on Atwells Avenue. He is the eleventh arrest in connection to the Capitol breach that has been made by the FBI's Boston division.
>>Police Cruiser Crashes Into Home In Warwick
(Warwick, RI) -- A Warwick police officer reportedly crashed into a home on Tuesday. The crash happened near the intersection of Post Road and Greene Street at around 3 p.m. The marked police car was responding to a call when it collided with another vehicle. There were no major injuries and the house apparently avoided significant damage.
>>Loose Horse On The Highway In Taunton
(Taunton, MA) -- Motorists were joined by a horse on Massachusetts Route 140 in Taunton on Tuesday morning. Authorities responded to the animal galloping along the highway at around 11 a.m. It took about a half-hour to secure the horse, and it was reunited with its owner.
>>Revolution Knocked Out Of MLS Playoffs
(Foxboro, MA) -- The New England Revolution have been eliminated from the Major League Soccer playoffs. The Revolution tied with New York City FC before losing on penalty kicks in the conference semifinals at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday night. New England finished with the top record in the regular season and head coach Bruce Arena was named coach of the year.
>>Rhode Island HS Football Trick Play Goes Viral
(Johnston, RI) -- Video of a trick play that was run in a Rhode Island high school football game is going viral. Johnston was playing Pilgrim High School on Thanksgiving morning and was on the goal line trying for a touchdown. Wide receiver Joey Acciardo went into motion and performed several acrobatic flips. The distraction worked as Johnston was able to score and ultimately won the game. Acciardo, who is a senior, trained at his mother's dance studio in Johnston when he was younger and has been on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.