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1540 Updates Archives for 2022-02

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Rhode Islanders show tokens of support for Ukraine.  Vaccination clinics are held to bolster the numbers in the Providence school community with the goal of ending a mask mandate.  In men's college basketball, Providence and Bryant will both be the number-one seed in their conference tournaments.

>>Rhode Islanders Thinking Of War-Torn Ukrainians 

(Undated)  --  Rhode Island is showing support for the people of Ukraine who are suffering from the military attack by Russia.  The Rhode Island State House was lit up in the blue-and-yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag over the weekend.  WPRI-TV reports two Ukrainian churches in Woonsocket held a joint prayer service.  Meanwhile, some Rhode Island liquor stores are pulling Russian products from their shelves, according to a story from Channel 10.

>>RI Gas Price Update

(Undated)  --  Rhode Islanders are on alert for increasing gas prices being caused by the war in Ukraine.  The average price for a gallon in the Ocean State is currently three dollars and 58 cents, according to  That's an increase of about twenty cents from a month ago.  President Biden said on Thursday that the U.S. and other countries will release emergency oil barrels from their reserves to mitigate the spike in the cost of gasoline.  Russia is one of the world's leading oil producers.

>>With Vax Rates Lagging, Masks Staying On In Providence Schools

(Providence, RI)  --  Officials are trying to drive up student COVID-19 vaccination rates in Providence Public Schools in order to lift masking requirements.  Rhode Island is allowing public school districts to take off the masks next week, but Providence is not ready to lift their mandate right away.  About one-third of the school district's student population is currently vaccinated.  A couple of vaccine clinics were held on Sunday.

>>Care New England Says "Too Early" To Tell On Offer

(Providence, RI)  --  Care New England is responding to a sales offer.  The Providence Journal reports according to a spokesperson for the health system, it is too early to say if the sales pitch from StoneBridge Healthcare will be entertained.  Pennsylvania-based StoneBridge previously offered to buy Care New England in 2020, but was rejected.  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office earlier this month put the kibosh on a proposed merger between C-N-E and Lifespan, Rhode Island's two largest hospital groups.

>>Hundreds Of Guns Seized From Burrillville Property 

(Providence, RI)  --  A Burrillville man is facing federal weapons charges.  The Justice Department says Ronald Andruchuk was arrested on Thursday.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Burrillville Police Department seized over two-hundred firearms and ammo from Andruchuk's home. Officers were responding to the residence for the ninth team in recent months to investigate reports of shots fired.  The DOJ says Andruchuk is charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and making false statements in a gun purchase application.

>>Men's Basketball: Providence, Bryant Win Regular Season Titles

(Undated)  --  Rhode Island college basketball fans have plenty to be excited about with the NCAA tournament right around the corner.  The Providence College men's team clinched its first Big East regular season championship with a 72-to-51 win over Creighton at the Dunk on Saturday.  Bryant's men's basketball team also won the regular season title in the Northeast Conference on Saturday, beating Wagner at home 78-to-70.  PC has one final regular season game at Villanova on Tuesday night.  Bryant will host the first round of their conference tournament on Wednesday.

Jim McCabe/nf        RI)  PA) 
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-28-2022 02:43:10

The crafting of Rhode Island's first State Plan on Caregiving

The crafting of Rhode Island’s first State Plan on Caregiving – Herb Weiss

February 28, 2022/Herb Weiss


By Herb Weiss, contributing writer on aging issues


Rhode Island has the distinction of having one of the highest percentages of adults aged 85 and over in the country. In 2017, out of a population of 1,060,00 there are more than 136,000 caregivers providing 114 million hours of care, says AARP Rhode Island.  More Rhode Islanders will be thrust into caregiving roles in the coming years.


In response to the continued aging of Rhode Island’s population, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging (OHA) and Family Caregiver Alliance of Rhode Island officially released Rhode Island’s first State Plan on Caregiving.  The state’s new Plan for Caregivers serves as the framework for the crafting and implementation of new policies, as well as the expansion of various existing programs and partnerships to assist caregivers. The Plan serves to strengthen and advance the shared mission of OHA and the Family Caregiver Alliance of Rhode Island at the United Way (FCARI)  to promote choice, independence, empowerment, and the overall well-being of older adults, individuals with disabilities, and their caregivers.  FCARI is supported with funds from OHA.


As an advocate for caregivers throughout the state, The FCARI serves as the administrator of the 29-page Plan which extends through Sept. 2023. 


The Plan…




A Call for Supporting Rhode Island’s Caregivers


“The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated many of the challenges faced by our older adults and their caregivers, particularly social isolation,” said Interim Director Michelle Szylin announcing the release of this report on Sept 24, 2021. “Caregivers have a tough job and often receive little support. Through the development of this State Plan, we’re showing our commitment to strengthening resources available for our caregivers and better supporting the important work they do across our state,” she says.


Adds Maryam Attarpour, Program Manager, Family Caregiver Alliance of Rhode Island at the UWRI, “Caregiving has been and will always be a major part of the fabric of our society.” Attarpour says that the new State plan puts the needs of family caregivers first. “Our goal is to create a state that is equitable, inclusive, and supportive of our family caregivers, and the loved-ones they care for,” she says.


According to the statement, the State Plan on Caregiving also builds on the state’s existing efforts to meet the needs of Rhode Island caregivers of any age.  It provides an overview of the existing support network available for family caregivers to access as well as addresses the work that remains to ensure equitable access to resources and advocacy. 


One of the key areas of support that the plan focuses on is developing a comprehensive, robust website and social media presence for FCARI that will serve as a hub of information for resources and information for caregivers. It will also ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion for Rhode Island Caregivers and those for whom they care, too.


The State Plan will also ensure that the caregivers of Rhode Island seeking long term services and supports are identified and provided with information assistance and advance  opportunities for digital access (iPads, notebooks, computers and phones) to better serve and support Rhode Island Caregivers.


Over the years, the Rhode Island General Assembly has worked closely with aging advocates to enhance supports and resources for the state’s caregivers.  The State Plan calls on lawmakers to review existing laws to determine if they need to be refined or better funded.  It also suggests that legislation that has been submitted and not passed as well as laws and policies from other states be reviewed for “relevancy for supporting Rhode Island family caregivers.


Putting a Face on Family Caregivers


On Feb. 15th, Maureen Maigret, Chair of the state’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council’s Aging in Community Subcommittee, told members of the Rhode Island House Oversight Subcommittee on Aging & Senior Services, the importance of hammering out sound policy to support the state’s growing number of caregivers.


Maigret painted a picture of the typical care recipient, citing the 2020 Report, Caregiving in the U.S., to the attending House lawmakers. “Eighty nine percent of the care recipients are a relative, with 50% being either a parent or parent-in-law, spouse/partner (12%), grandparent/grandparent-in-law (8%), sibling/sibling-in-law (7%), adult child (6%) or nonrelative (10%), she said, noting that the average care recipient’s age is 68.9.


While 61% of the caregivers are women, 39% are men, adds Maigret, noting that 61% are white, 14% African American and 17% Hispanic.  The age of most caregivers falls between ages 60-65, says Maigret, noting that younger adults also find themselves having to provide caregiving chores.  Twenty-four percent of persons ages 18-34 and 23% of person’s ages 35-49.


It’s not easy to be a caregiver, says Maigret. She warned that caregivers should be considered “the hidden patient” because they are at risk for becoming depressed, extremely fatigued, stressed, feeling overwhelmed, being socially isolated, losing income and having physical health problems.


Maigret’s presentation was followed by a panel led by Acting OHA Director, Michelle Szylin, and her staff who provided information on programs OHA offers to assist caregivers including subsidized respite, home care and adult day services and special pilots to support those caring persons with Alzheimer’s disease.


“Although our legislature and Governor have been supportive of funding programs to support caregivers, the growth of our older population means more persons will need to become caregivers,” said Maigret. “We need better state programs and services to provide physical, emotional and financial support, and enhanced access to information about available resources,” she said.


Maigret adds: “There is also an urgent need to address the direct care worker crisis by providing the workers with fair and competitive wages.  Many caregivers need to supplement the services they provide with paid caregivers if they are in the workforce, or need to take care of other family needs. Yet due to the low wages paid for personal care workers, it is not always possible to find such help.”


For a copy of the State Plan on Caregiving go to


Herb Weiss, LRI’12, is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to





Herb Weiss, LRI’12, is a Pawtucket writer covering aging, health care and medical issues. To purchase Taking Charge: Collected Stories on Aging Boldly, a collection of 79 of his weekly commentaries, go to

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Northern Rhode Island is under a Winter Storm Warning today.  The RI Health Department is proposing to ease the rules for vaccinating healthcare workers against COVID.  The Rhode Island Attorney General is appealing the sale of National Grid's local electric service. 

[[ watch for updates ]] 

>>Snow For All Of Rhode Island On Last Weekend Of Winter 

(Undated)  --  Northern Rhode Island is under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service until midnight Friday night.  The warning for Providence County calls for snow totals of four-to-seven inches and a light glaze of ice in some spots.  The weather service says snowfall rates of one-to-two inches per hour will make travel very difficult this morning.  The rest of Rhode Island is expected to get two-to-four inches of snow and sleet, except for Block Island which is forecast to get less than an inch. 

>>RI Health Department Proposing To Ease Healthcare Worker Vaccine Requirement 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health is proposing to ease the ban on healthcare workers who are unvaccinated against the coronavirus.  A proposal posted for public comment on Thursday would allow workers who are not up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations to come back to work, as long as they wear a medical-grade N-95 mask when transmission rates are substantial.  The comment period ends on March 25th.  Health department spokesperson Joseph Wendelken points to the fact that about 94-percent of the healthcare workforce is vaccinated, and he says the state is shifting to managing COVID-19 as an endemic.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,406

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported two new coronavirus deaths on Thursday.  The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-406.  There were about two-hundred new virus cases.  Despite the drop in COVID cases from the winter spike, the state still says Rhode Island is in the "high risk" category for virus transmission. 

>>RI Attorney General Appealing National Grid Sale 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office is appealing the approval of the sale of National Grid by the state's Division of Public Utilities and Carriers.  The A.G.'s office is concerned that Pennsylvania-based PPL Corp. will not do enough to meet the standards of the Rhode Island Act on Climate, which was updated in 2021.  PPL is acquiring United Kingdom-based National Grid's Rhode Island business, known as Narragansett Electric Company, in a deal worth about four-billion dollars.  The attorney general's appeal was filed in Rhode Island Superior Court after state regulators approved the sale on Wednesday. 

>>Need Stressed For New Dunkin' Donuts Center Roof 

(Providence, RI)  --  The executive director of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority says the Dunkin' Donuts Center needs a new roof.  Wednesday night's Providence College men's basketball game was delayed by water on the court from a leak.  Daniel McConaghy tells WJAR-TV the Convention Center Authority has petitioned the state and governor's office for seven-point-five-million dollars to replace the roof which is the original from when the building opened fifty years ago as the Providence Civic Center.  McConaghy says arena workers are mitigating the issue that caused the roof leak this week. 

>>P-Bruins Versus Checkers, Wolf Pack This Weekend  

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Bruins play twice at the Dunkin' Donuts Center this weekend.  The P-Bruins host the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night at 7:05.  The Bruins visit the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, then both teams go back to Providence for a Sunday afternoon game which starts at 3:05. 

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) PA)  
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-25-2022 02:46:01

RI Veterans: Did you Know?


RI Veterans: Did you know? 25 February 22 – John A. Cianci

February 25, 2022/John Cianci


by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)


Did you know widows, widowers, and or dependent children could be eligible for a monthly VA pension if the deceased veteran served at least 90 days active duty and the survivor countable income (VA has deductions for medical expenses, etc.) is less than $18, 867 annually.


Did you know to be eligible your net worth must be less than $138,489, which does not include  your primary residence, car, and basic home items.


Did you know the amount could be up to $19,000 annually?


Widows, Widowers, and Dependents Could Be Eligible for Monthly VA Survivors Pension Worth Hundreds


Survivor’s Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit that is payable to a low-income, unmarried surviving spouse of a deceased veteran with wartime service. The pay rate for this benefit has been set by Congress. This pension benefit comes as a monthly payment.


The maximum survivors pension rate is set annually by Congress, and eligibility is based on income and net worth (including assets such as bank accounts, investments, and real estate other than your primary residence, car, and basic home items).


In 2022, the top rate for surviving spouses ?will range from just under $9,900 a year to about $19,000, depending on whether they have children and qualify for other VA benefits. The actual payment amount is the difference between your income and your maximum pension rate.


What is the VA definition of war-time service for this benefit?


  • For service on or before September 7, 1980, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a wartime period.
  • If the Veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, they must have served a total of 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty with a least one day during a wartime period.


VETTIP – The mentorship I have benefited from the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Veterans in advocating and assisting veterans and families taught me ONE basic rule; always guide veteran and or family member to apply for a benefit, and let the VA deny the benefit.




Because the rules are so complex and always changing. Moreover, if the rules for eligibility changes and benefit previous denied, the applicant could reapply and be entitled to thousands of dollars of retroactive benefits. From first-hand knowledge, and providing assistance, the Italian American War Veterans of the United States ( ITAM) organization assisted widows and family members, many receiving over $50,000 in retroactive benefits, totally estimated $6 million in retroactive in the last two years.


For example, a veteran never served in Vietnam, however, he was on active duty for two years stationed at Fort Devens MA from 1965-1967 during the Vietnam War. The veteran’s service qualifies his widow for the survivor benefit, as long as she meets the other eligibility.


Another example, veteran joined the Rhode Island National Guard (RING) in 1966. He attended basic training and advance individual training at Fort Sill, OK for almost 3 months. He served ten years in the RING and was discharged in 1976. The veteran’s service qualifies his widow for the survivor benefit, as long as she meets the other eligibility.


Last example, Veteran was a member of the reserve or guard and since May 1983. She was activated in January 1991. She was stationed at Fort Picket, VA from February to May 1991 awaiting medical clearance to deploy with her unit. However, her unit returned from Kuwait before she was medically cleared. She was released from active duty in July 1991. The veteran’s service qualifies because (1) at least one day of service was during a time of war (2) veteran completed required active duty she was qualified, which was less than the 24 months of, however eligibility is because the veteran completed the required amount of time activated for.


What are other qualifications for VA Survivor Benefits?


  • A surviving spouse must have married a service member who died on active duty, active-duty training, or inactive duty training, or
  • Married the deceased Veteran before January 1, 1957, or
  • Married the veteran at least one year before the veteran’s passing, or
  • Had a child with the veteran and lived with the Veteran until their death


You can be eligible for dependents or survivors benefits as a divorced common law spouse. Your common law marriage, and divorce, must have been valid under your state’s law, and you must otherwise qualify for the benefits.


Children may be eligible if they are any of the following:


  • Under the age of 18.
  • Between the ages of 18 and 23 and enrolled in a VA-approved educational/training institution.
  • Permanently incapable of self-support prior to the age of 18.


How do I apply for Survivors Pension?


To complete an application, use VA Form 21P-534EZ “Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits”, and mail or fax it to the VA Pension Management Center (PVMC)


To submit a pension application to this office, mail it to:

Department of Veterans Affairs
Pension Intake Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365


VETTIP – Attach a copy of the veterans DD214 to the application. If you don’t have the DD214, more likely than not, the town or city tax department would have a copy,  if the veteran had requested tax exemption for his military service.


Don’t get overwhelmed by the bureaucracy of the VA, if you think you are eligible for the VA survivor fill out the applications. If you need assistance, reach out to veteran organizations service officers who can assist you completing the application and do not charge any veteran or family member for their assistance.


For more information on VA Survivors Benefits, information below was retrieved on February 23, 2022, from


Learn about VA Survivors Pension benefit rates.


Learn about VA Survivors Pension benefit rates. If you qualify for this benefit as a surviving spouse or dependent child, we’ll base your payment amount on the difference between your countable income and a limit that Congress sets (called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate, or MAPR).


  • Your countable income is how much you earn, including your salary, investment and retirement payments, and any income you may have from your dependents. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (paid medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income.
  • Your MAPR amount is the maximum amount of pension payable to a Veteran, surviving spouse, or child. Your MAPR is based on how many dependents you have and whether you qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits. MAPRs are adjusted each year for cost-of-living increases. You can find your current MAPR amount using the tables below.


Example: You’re a qualified surviving spouse with one dependent child. You also qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits. Your yearly income is $10,000.


Your MAPR amount = $18,867
Your yearly income = $10,000
Your VA pension = $8,867 for the year (or $739 paid each month)


What’s the net worth limit to be eligible for Survivors Pension benefits?


From December 1, 2021, to November 30, 2022, the net worth limit to be eligible for Survivors Pension benefits is $138,489.


On October 18, 2018, we changed the way we assess net worth to make the pension entitlement rules clearer. Net worth includes your assets and annual income. When you apply for Survivors Pension benefits, you’ll need to report all of your assets and income.


Note: If your child’s net worth is more than the net worth limit, we don’t consider them to be a dependent when we determine your pension.


Read our definitions below:


Assets include the fair market value of all your real and personal property, minus the amount of any mortgages you may have. “Real property” means any land and buildings you may own. Your personal property assets include any of these items:


  • Investments (like stocks and bonds)
  • Furniture
  • Boats




Assets don’t include:


  • Your primary residence (the home where you live most or all of the time)
  • Your car
  • Basic home items like appliances that you wouldn’t take with you if you moved to a new house


Read more about how we define “assets”:


Annual income


Annual income is the money earned in a year from a job or from retirement or annuity payments. It includes any of these:


  • Salary or hourly pay
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Overtime
  • Tips


We’ll subtract certain expenses from your annual income when we assess net worth. We call these applicable deductible expenses. They include:


  • Educational expenses
  • Medical expenses you’re not reimbursed for


Read more about how we define “annual income”


An example of net worth and eligibility


If you had $121,000 in assets and $14,000 in annual income, then your net worth would be $135,000. This is less than the net worth limit of $138,489. So, you would be eligible for Survivors Pension benefits.


What’s the 3-year look-back period for asset transfers?


When we receive a pension claim, we review the terms and conditions of any assets the survivor may have transferred in the 3 years before filing the claim.


If you transfer assets for less than fair market value during the look-back period, and those assets would’ve pushed your net worth above the limit for a VA Survivors Pension, you may be subject to a penalty period of up to 5 years. You won’t be eligible for pension benefits during this time.


Note: This new policy took effect on October 18, 2018. If you filed your claim before this date, the look-back period doesn’t apply. (A look-back period never includes a date before October 18, 2018.)


What’s a penalty period?


A penalty period is a length of time when a survivor isn’t eligible for pension benefits, because they transferred assets for less than fair market value during the look-back period. This may apply if those transferred assets would’ve caused the survivor’s net worth to be over the limit mentioned above. However, not every asset transfer is subject to this penalty.


If we determine you’re subject to a pension penalty, we wouldn’t pay pension benefits during the penalty period.


Find your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) amount


Date of cost-of-living increase: December 1, 2021
Increase factor: 5.9%
Standard Medicare deduction: Actual amount will be determined by SSA based on individual income.


For qualified surviving spouses with at least 1 dependent:

If you have 1 dependent child and… Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):
You don’t qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits  12,951 
You qualify for Housebound benefits  15,144 
You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits  18,867 
You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits and you’re the surviving spouse of a Veteran who served in the Spanish-American War (SAW)  19,438 




  • The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/Minimum Income Annuity (MIW) limitation is $9,896.
  • If you have more than 1 child, add $2,523 to your MAPR amount for each additional child.
  • If you have a child who works, you may exclude their wages up to $12,950.
  • If you have medical expenses, you may deduct only the amount that’s above 5% of your MAPR amount ($647 for a surviving spouse with 1 dependent).


For qualified surviving spouses with no dependents:

If you have no dependents and… Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):
You don’t qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits  9,896 
You qualify for Housebound benefits  12,094 
You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits  15,816 
You qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits and you’re the surviving spouse of a Veteran who served in the Spanish-American War (SAW)  16,456 




  • The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)/Minimum Income Annuity (MIW) limitation is $9,896.
  • If you have medical expenses, you may deduct only the amount that’s above 5% of your MAPR amount ($494 for a surviving spouse with no dependent child).


For qualified surviving children:

If you’re… Your MAPR amount is (in U.S. $):
A qualified surviving child  2,523 




March 19, 2022, 1pm – 5pm, Rhode Island veterans Home, Bristol RI, St Joseph’s and St Patrick day Celebration for resident veterans at the Rhode Island Veterans Home hosted by the Italian American war Veterans of the US, Inc and Auxiliary, Berard Desjarlais American Legion Post #88 and Auxiliary ,  War Car Cruise, and Veterans of Foreign War Post #237    , Bristol RI.


If you are interested in volunteering, contact ITAM at (401) 677-9828 or email for more information on volunteering; looking for volunteer accordion player for Italian music and other traditional Italian and Irish ideas.


March 24, 2022, 2pm, Rhode island Veterans Home, Bristol, RI, women veterans and active-duty women are invited to the annual tea event which also will recognize Women’s Military History.


All Military Active-Duty Women and Women Veterans are invited to the RI


Veterans Home to honor and celebrate the annual tea. All services, all eras, all wars, please come and enjoy coffee, tea, and refreshments. Recognize Women’s History Month by telling your stories or listen to stories of Women who served in the Military, Women who served their country in many ways,and legacy of achievements.




AARP offers a free career center for veterans, The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 


March 11-13, Friday thru Saturday 11am thru 8pm. VFW is hosting a veteran community outreach program at the Warwick Mall, Community Booth. For more information, call Tiger at 401-677-9374 .






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 Ave, 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


AT&T Wireless Discount
Active Duty, Reserves, National Guard, Spouses and Veterans get 25% off on mobile phone services. Just present identification or proof veteran status to any AT&T store


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. BJ’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, 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


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% discount offers for 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.




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 – 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.


T-Mobile offers up to half off military discount wireless plans. Save $25 per line on up to four lines with the Magenta Military signature plan, and $35 per line on up to four lines with the premium plan, Magenta Plus Military. The military programs are available to active-duty military, veterans, retirees, and reservists.


Verizon Fios
Veterans, active-duty military, retirees, and reservists can receive a discount on either new or existing Verizon Fios services (Internet, TV, Landline). Offer includes $10 off Fios Triple Play, $5 off Fios Double Play, or $5 off standalone internet.


Verizon Wireless
Active-Duty military and all Federal Government employees can get 15% discount on monthly plans $35 and above and 25% off accessories.


Xfinity Residential
If you are currently serving in the military or you are a veteran Xfinity offers a $100 Visa® Prepaid card and $25 Xfinity Coupon that can be used toward your next Xfinity On Demand rental or purchase or as a credit toward your bill




If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward ,  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,, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)




To read all columns in this series go 




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.

Your Coronavirus Update



Your Coronavirus Update – Feb. 24, 2022

February 24, 2022/RINewsToday




TD Garden in Boston to drop proof of COVID-19 vaccination requirement


Vaccination mandate set for 2/28 for Providence Police – approximately 30 officers face firing


Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back this year.


The Boston State House is now open to the public again.


Boston dropped its proof of vaccination requirement for gyms, restaurants, and other indoor businesses.


Sen. Jack Reed wants to add to the Restaurant Relief bill from US Congress


Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott will receive the Public Service Award from the Rhode Island Foundation at its Annual Meeting in May.


Gov. McKee Press Conference

Important to vaccinate children – clinics being held in schools, community, and faith based locations in CF, Prov, Pawt, Woon and schools w/rates less than 25%.


Under 40% of Rhode Islanders have a booster shot – we have work to do.


COVID is now seen as a preventable, treatable disease.


Dr. McDonald: School nurses and teachers play an important role in helping children learn that they can trust the vaccine. We need to see the importance of stabilizing the virus. The disease is preventable and treatable. With 2 vaccines you are 6 times less likely to get hospitalized. If you are boosted, you are 55 times less likely to get hospitalized. This is the most well studied vaccine – billions of doses have been given at this point. The vaccine is safe and effective for your child. Parents who are “not deciding” to vaccinate “are deciding” the risk for their children and families.


Dr. McDonald: We need to be healthier. We need to not go to work and school when we are sick. Messages of public health are important. We are obese. We have too much diabetes. Too many have high blood pressure. We need to be healthier.


HEZ – Health Equity Zones are important. Customized public health in your neighborhood.


ACI/Wyatt – Boosters? Health audit? Masks? – Dr. McD: plenty of available. We don’t routinely inspect facilities.





From the WHO on the new variant: Based on available data of transmission, severity, reinfection, diagnostics, therapeutics and impacts of vaccines, the group reinforced that the BA.2 sublineage should continue to be considered a variant of concern and that it should remain classified as Omicron. The group emphasized that BA.2 should continue to be monitored as a distinct sublineage of Omicron by public health authorities.


The CDC has withheld publication of data for 18 to 49 year olds on need for boosters to fight COVID – which would have impacted college people having to get a booster before returning to school.


FDA considering 2nd booster (4th shot) in a few months


Justin Bieber has COVID and has paused his world tour


The city of Chicago announced it will not mandate masks in bars but will mandate masks in schools.


150,000 were in attendance at the Daytona 500, as opposed to the 30,000 at 2021’s limited attendance


Boris Johnson announces end of almost all COVID-19 restrictions in England


Close to 100,000 restaurants have closed in the United States since the pandemic began, which is 15% of all restaurants – a number that has sent the entire industry reeling.


Television news anchor, Neil Cavuto, had COVID for the 2nd time, and with MS and being a cancer survivor, ended up in the ICU in critical shape – he had been off the air for weeks and returned this week.


Queen Elizabeth tests positive for COVID


The German government expects vaccinations with the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine Nuvaxovid to begin across the country over the course of this week


New York scraps health care workers booster mandate to avoid ‘staffing issues’


Israel to accept unvaccinated tourists starting March 1st.


COVID pill, Paxlovid, is now easier to find in every state.


In a New York Times article on long COVID: “It’s unclear why some people develop long Covid and others don’t, but four factors appear to increase the risk: high levels of viral RNA early during an infection, the presence of certain autoantibodies, the reactivation of Epstein-Barr virus and having Type 2 diabetes”.


The USA Freedom Convoy of truckers is headed to Washington, DC on March 2nd, to protest mandates.


Those who are living with disabilities, chronic illnesses or are immunocompromised because of medications or cancer treatment feel that their needs are not being considered as states open back up and lift mask mandates.


Dr. Anthony Fauci said he understands the desire to return to a sense of normalcy, but he also wants to make sure the country doesn’t ease up too soon.


ART! Anthony Salemme, in putting the pieces back together

ART! Anthony Salemme, in Putting the Pieces Back Together – Bristol Art Museum

February 23, 2022/Nancy Thomas


by Nancy Thomas


National Show Featuring Collages and Constructions that Explore Impact of the Pandemic


The Bristol Art Museum today announced the opening of a new, national juried exhibit comprised of artwork from across the country, Putting the Pieces Back Together, opened on February 12th and running through Friday, April 1st. An artist reception will be held on Thursday, March 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibit features a collection of collages and constructions that express the idea of putting life back together in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.



Anthony Salemme, a Providence artist, is featured on Thursdays in RINewsToday, with his recipes of unique combinations of food, celebrating an international flair on American cooking. He has 2 collages in this national show, chosen out of 430 entries.


His entries are: Mixed Greens and Mixed Green Salad, each 12”x12” on Birch Panel


“With interest from artists across the country, this national exhibit of collage and construction invited artists to express themselves about the impact of the pandemic,” said the Museum’s Exhibition Curator, Mary Dondero. “Artists were invited to cut, rip, layer, and paste, re-contextualize, digitally stitch, create and build art from fragments that suggest new narratives, explore human relationships that reveal coded memories, dreams, or desires. The result is a collection of unique pieces that document the pandemic from several perspectives representative of many geographic locations throughout the country.”


University of Rhode Island 


Professor of Art Bob Dilworth served as juror for the national exhibit.


“This national call not only provides an opportunity to highlight the practice of these disciplines, but it also gives expression in a time of challenge and defiance to what we have come to term ‘the new normal,’” said Prof. Dilworth. “It is encouraging to see how creativity reflects real life as artists compose, build and construct with whatever materials are at hand – fabric, paper, metal, rope, wire, or nails; as they reorganize, readjust, acclimate, reorient and reacquaint themselves to this unique moment. In this regard, each work in the show is a triumph.”


Prof. Dilworth received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1973 and his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1976. Currently he teaches painting, drawing, design, and African American Art History at the University of Rhode Island. His work and academic contributions have been recognized by the Rhode Island Foundation and the University of Rhode Island Research Council. Prof. Dilworth’s art has been reviewed regularly in the New England press as well as in Florida, New York, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas. His work is widely collected, from the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, to the Fairmont Hotel Corporation, San Francisco. A recipient of the 2014 Rhode Island Council for the Arts Painting Fellowship, he is also a Board member of the Newport Art Museum.


Salemme said, “My inspiration for this series comes from a collection of conscious and subconscious thoughts, observations and influences during Covid and of travel in densely forested areas of the Caribbean and South and Central America.


The flora, fauna, human and animal forms that are common?in my abstract jungle landscapes are “fractions” of what I see in my mind’s eye.


There are many layers to each painting as there are many layers in life, the unidentifiable surfaces and intersecting lines slowly unfold as the painting progresses to being complete. Some of the images are distinct to the viewer while others reveal themselves more slowly.


Throughout each painting and collage, I feel more connected to who I am and my surroundings.

The process involves some strong decisive lines to form a vague familiar form, location and season. Through travel and everyday life, I experience great anticipation to see extraordinary places and things in a new context.”



“Collage, assemblage and constructions were widely used in the 20th century and continues today, as this exhibition will attest,” added Prof. Dilworth. “Putting the Pieces Together, is by no means a definitive statement but, as mentioned before, a snapshot; intended to spark conversations around building art from fragments of our lives in unfamiliar times. It is meant to explore how art may provide a path to new relationships in a period when social distancing has become the standard. And it is determined to suggest new narratives when all others seem exhausted in this era of uncertainty.”


We’re All in This Together, a community exhibit featuring photographs of artists’ expressions of life during the COVID-19 pandemic on view at the Rogers Free Library complements the Putting the Pieces back Together exhibit. Nearly 100 images were submitted for consideration, with 64 selected. Artists were invited to submit photographs for consideration that were taken between 2020 and 2021 that express an aspect of their experience in the midst of, or as we emerge from, the global pandemic. The exhibit is now on view until Wednesday, March 23.



Founded in 1963, the Bristol Art Museum encourages the creation, promotion, and appreciation of the arts through rotating exhibitions and educational opportunities. Community outreach programs and partnerships are central to our goal of engaging diverse audiences in the arts of our time. The Museum aims to enrich the cultural life of the community and region through eclectic exhibitions and educational programs, and to be an accessible community resource for future generations.



Posted in 

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island is under a Winter Storm Watch for up to nearly a foot of snow in some places.  Governor Dan McKee is officially running for a full term.  CVS is closing its pharmacies for a half-an-hour per day to give people working there a break starting next week. 

[[ watch for updates ]] 

>>Rhode Island Under Winter Storm Watch 

(Undated)  --  Winter isn't over yet in Rhode Island.  The National Weather Service has placed the Ocean State in a Winter Storm Watch for a possible heavy snow event late Thursday night through Friday evening.  The weather service prediction this morning was three-to-seven inches of snow for Bristol, Washington and Newport counties, and four-to-ten inches for Providence and Kent counties. 

>>Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee Running For Reelection 

(East Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee is officially running for re-election.  McKee, the former lieutenant governor who took over for Gina Raimondo when she became U.S. Commerce Secretary in 2021, kicked off the campaign for a full four-year term at a plastic manufacturing plant in East Providence on Tuesday.  McKee was backed by the mayors of Cranston, Woonsocket, Johnston, North and East Providence, Lincoln and Bristol.  He pledged that his campaign would cover all 39 Rhode Island cities and towns.  The Democrat McKee touted his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic and the state's top rankings in vaccination and testing rates. 

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,404

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported two new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-404.  The daily number of new virus cases reported yesterday was one-hundred-64.  There were one-hundred-fifty COVID patients counted in Rhode Island hospitals. 

[[ note nature ]] 

>>RI Man Sentenced For Child Pornography Offenses 

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island man is being sentenced for child pornography crimes.  The Justice Department says 24-year-old Jacob Munroe of Pascoag was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday.  Munroe pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of materials last Novembers.

>>CVS Closing Pharmacies To Give Workers Breaks 

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  CVS says starting next Monday, many of its pharmacies will begin closing for a half-hour a day to give their workers a lunch break.  The Providence Business News reports the policy will affect all Rhode Island and Massachusetts locations, according to a CVS official.  The break time is from 1:30 to 2 p.m.  CVS says this will give pharmacy teams a predictable and consistent daily pause while minimizing disruptions to patients. 

>>Men's Basketball: URI Loses To Bonnies, PC Plays Xavier  

(Undated)  --  In men's college basketball, the URI Rams fell on the road to St. Bonaventure Tuesday, 73-to-55.  Rhody is limping into tournament time having lost three straight and with three regular season games to go.  They host Duquesne on Saturday.  Providence College welcomes Xavier to the Dunk Wednesday night at 7:00.  The Friars picked up a 71-to-70 overtime win at Butler on Sunday.

>>NFL Team Hiring RI Native Liam Coen As New Offensive Coordinator

(Undated)  --  ESPN reports the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams are expected to hire Liam Coen as the team's new offensive coordinator.  The native Rhode Islander was a standout quarterback at La Salle Academy in Providence.  Coen's resume includes serving as the quarterbacks coach for Brown and URI.

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) MA) 
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-23-2022 02:47:06

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Republican congressional candidate in Rhode Island in 2016 is admitting to getting help from the Russians.  A vessel transporting automobiles from Europe to Rhode Island is ablaze in the Atlantic Ocean.  A change is being proposed to Rhode Island's new "straw law".

>>Former RI Congressional Candidate Admits To Soliciting Russian Campaign Help

(Washington, DC)  --  A former Rhode Island congressional candidate is admitting he contacted a Russian intelligence source for help against 1st District incumbent David Cicilline [[ siss-uh-LEE-nee ]].  The admission is part of an agreement with the Federal Election Commission to settle allegations of violating a federal campaign law against H. Russell Taub, who ran as a Republican against the Democrat Cicilline in 2016.  The F-E-C said Taub received documents that were apparently stolen as part of the Russian effort to interfere with that year's election.  Taub was released from prison last month after pleading guilty to wire fraud and campaign finance violations in 2019.

>>Car-Carrying Vessel On Fire In Atlantic 

(North Kingstown, RI)  --  A cargo ship carrying several-thousand high-end cars which was ticketed for an arrival in Rhode Island is on fire in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Firefighters were still battling the blaze on the Felicity Ace Monday after about two-dozen crew members were rescued off the Azores last week.  The ship, which originated out of Germany, was headed for the Quonset Development Corporation's Port of Davidsville in North Kingstown.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,402

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported five new coronavirus deaths over the weekend.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State rose to three-thousand-402.  There were nearly six-hundred new virus cases.  The COVID hospital patient count as of Monday's update was one-hundred-45.

>>Pets Killed In East Providence, Woonsocket Fires

(Undated)  --  Several pets died in Rhode Island house fires on Monday.  Eight dogs perished after a fire on Walnut Street in East Providence at around 2:30 a.m.  Several more animals were killed in a fire on Grove Street in Woonsocket which broke out at around 12:30 p.m.  No people were home at the East Providence fire.  In Woonsocket, WPRI-TV reports a mother and two children escaped without injury and were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

>>Men From RI And MA Punished In Poaching Investigation 

(Helena, MT)  --  Three men from Southern New England have been fined after a poaching investigation in Montana.  Richard LeBlanc and Marc Federico of Rhode Island and Stephen Schenck of Massachusetts were all ordered to pay fifty-thousand dollars in restitution.  Montana officials say the hunters committed numerous violations.  LeBlanc, who allegedly led the hunting party, had his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges suspended for ten years in the state.

>>Proposed Change To Rhode Island's New Law Covering Restaurant Straws

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island's new "straw law" could be getting tweaked.  The law that went into effect at the start of 2022 bans restaurants from including straws with a drink order unless they are requested.  WJAR-TV reports new legislation has been proposed to allow fast food businesses to hand out straws without that question being asked.

Jim McCabe/nf     RI)  MA) 
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-22-2022 03:50:06

Getting to no...rejecting the Lifespan, Care New England Merger

Getting to no… rejecting the Lifespan, Care New England merger application – Richard Asinof

February 22, 2022/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


RI Attorney General nixes merger between Care New England, Lifespan, calling them out for failure to produce an integration plan that detailed the costs and benefits of such a merger.




There is a new public health sheriff in town. R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha slammed the door shut on the proposed merger between Care New England and Lifespan, the state’s two largest health systems.


At a hastily called news conference held on Thursday morning, Feb. 17, Attorney General Peter Neronha announced his decision to reject the merger application – as well as his plans to join the Federal Trade Commission in a lawsuit opposing the merger on anti-trust grounds in federal court in Providence.


With members of his legal team seated to his left, [including Civil Division chief Miriam Weizenbaum, Kathryn Sabatini, chief of Policy, Dan Sutton, deputy chief of Policy, and Jessica Rider, the Health Care Advocate], in a public display to recognize their hard work and diligence, Attorney General Neronha spoke for nearly an hour, then briefly answered questions.


He demolished the arguments put forth by proponents of the merger, in convincing fashion, calling bullshit on the failure by Care New England and Lifespan to produce an actual integration plan – only a promise to do so once the merger had been approved.


“The parties had been, frankly, unwilling or unable to describe with any precision how they intended to integrate these two [health] systems and deliver on the benefits they promised,” Attorney General Neronha told the assembled news media. “What they wanted this office to do, under the Hospital Conversions Act, was to make a decision [approving the merger], and let them figure it out later [how they were going to make it work]. That is rubber-stamping a transaction. And, that is something that this office, as long as I am here, will not do.”


Attorney General Neronha shared his great frustration that, after months of requesting an integration plan for the merger – including a personal request he made directly to the Dr. James Fanale, president and CEO of Care New England, and to Dr. Timothy Babineau, president and CEO of Lifespan, what was received was not an integration plan, but a promise to create such a plan sometime in the future in a document known as the Chartis Report. “Just read the first line,” Neronha said, which began: “The parties will develop…


Neronha voiced his disappointment at what he deemed the lack of response by the two health systems. “What is the plan? What are the costs? Can you pay for it? Because, if I don’t know those things, I can’t weigh it against the potential harms.”


Neronha then rattled off many of the questions that remained unanswered: “Do the parties have a credible plan to effectuate the merger? Can they integrate these two systems? And can they deliver on their promised benefits. Can they do it? Do they have a plan to do it? What is it going to look like? Where is it going to be? Who is it going to employ? Who is it not going to employ? Who is going to lead it? What kind of care is it going to provide? Where is it going to provide it? What is going to be new? Where are those new services going to be?”

Neronha said he could not approve a transaction if he didn’t know what it is. “I can’t approve a transaction if I don’t know what it is. I can’t approve something if you don’t tell me what the plan is.” Without a detailed plan, Neronha continued, it was difficult to answer the question: Did the combined system have the financial wherewithal to deliver on any promised benefits?

Getting to no
In rejecting the proposed merger of the state’s two largest health systems, Care New England and Lifespan, Neronha argued:

• The merger was a clear violation of anti-trust laws, using two different metrics to show that the merger was presumptively unlawful and in violation of antitrust laws.

The Attorney General first presented a slide showing the market power of Care New England and Lifespan when it came to inpatient hospital beds in Rhode Island, showing that the merged entity would have a total of approximately 1,586 inpatient hospital beds, three times the amount of 535 inpatient hospital beds available at the other five acute care hospitals in Rhode Island. [See second image above.]

“Compared to everyone else not involved in this transaction, they already have a lot [of beds],” Neronha began. “Look at those bed numbers, they have a ton of beds, they already control the market separately. Who is going to compete with them? Intuitively, you don’t have to be an antitrust expert to understand that. What does it mean for you and your family? It means that you are going to spend more on health care.”

Neronha then addressed the concept of market share. “Let us talk about …market share,” Neronha said. “We are not pulling these numbers out of newspaper articles or from thought leaders. These numbers come out of the research that we did, based on real data that we had available. This is what it showed. That, if this merger [were to be] approved, a single health care system would control:

• 75 percent of all inpatient acute care hospital beds in Rhode Island

• 80 percent of Rhode Island market for inpatient hospital care

• 79 percent of the Rhode Island market for inpatient psychiatric care

• 60 percent or more of the Rhode Island market for many outpatient surgery specialties

• About 50 percent of commercial health care spending will be on patients whose primary care physician is part of the merged system’s three Accountable Care Organizations [ACOs] The three ACOs are Integra [Care New England], Coastal Medical [Lifespan]. and the Lifespan Health Alliance [Lifespan[.

• The new system would employ 67 percent of Rhode Island’s full-time registered nurses working in a hospital

“Remember our metric,” Neronha said, which is that market share over 30 percent is presumptively anticompetitive under antitrust law [emphasis added] when determining whether a proposed merger violates antitrust law.

“Thirty percent is the metric. And these are the numbers [for the merged entity combining Care New England and Lifespan in market share] – 75 percent, 80 percent, 79 percent, 60 percent, 50 percent, and 67 percent.

“Why is inpatient care such an important metric in our decision? Because when you are evaluating antitrust, you are looking at product market and a geographic market. And the product market that is used most often around the country is inpatient acute hospital care. “

“We analyzed other markets, but that is where almost everybody starts, in the courts and elsewhere, when we are evaluating antitrust. It is the best product market for analyzing antitrust.”

Neronha also asked his team to look at both Massachusetts and Connecticut, for comparison purposes. “We talked about Massachusetts. For years, Partners, now Mass General Brigham, was, and is, considered to be, if you will, “the big dog” in Massachusetts. They are the [health system] regulators in Massachusetts worry about.”

Neronha cited studies showing that Mass General Brigham’s market share in Massachusetts is:

• 20 percent of all inpatient acute care hospital beds in MA statewide

• 27 percent of MA statewide market for inpatient hospital care

• 27 percent of MA statewide market for outpatient care

In Connecticut, Neronha continued, “where Yale New Haven [health system] is considered to be the ‘big dog,’ they have 31 percent of the statewide market for inpatient hospital care.”

Neronha: “We are talking about 30 percent by metric [as being unlawful], and here [in Rhode Island], we are talking about more than double that, in the most important product market of all.”

But wait, there’s more. Utilizing a second metric to show market concentration and market power, known as the HHI Index, to determine whether the merger would violate antitrust law, a review by the experts retained by Attorney General Neronha showed that before the merger, Rhode Island would have had a baseline HHI Index score of approximately 3,315, showing a highly concentrated health care market.

The proposed merger would raise the score by more than 3,100 points, for a total of an overall HHI Index score of 6,499 points, according to Neronha.

Neronha displayed a slide of a bar graph that showed all the cases in the last 18 years where the FTC had sued to block a merger because of antitrust concerns, related to HHI Index increases. “And the Lifespan/Care New England is much higher than any others. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the parties, or anyone else, that this transaction creates a serious antitrust problem,” Neronha said.

• The parties had never provided detailed evidence of having an “integration plan,” detailing the benefits achieved, and how much it would cost – only a promise to develop such a plan once the merger had been approved.

“Don’t give us a set of objectives,” Attorney General Neronha said, expressing his frustration that Care New England and Lifespan had failed to produce an actual integration plan for the proposed merger, despite repeated requests. “Don’t speak in generalities. Don’t give us things that all sound good. Tell us exactly what you are going to do, where you are going to do it, who you are going to affect, and then let us know how you are going to pay for it. Getting answers to those questions proved to be elusive [emphasis added].”

• The merged entity would operate outside the capacity of any effective regulatory umbrella in Rhode Island to control the increasing costs, pegged at a minimum increase of 9 percent by experts.

“I fight with health insurance companies all the time, those of you [in the news media] who follow this office know we are always objecting [to rate increases],” Attorney General Neronha said. “I know, Richard, you follow that [the first of several shout outs to ConvergenceRI during the news conference]. I have no love for the way that insurance companies raise their rates. It’s not personal; I just think they go up way too much.”

Neronha continued: “But when you talk to insurers, they know that their ability to have any leverage in negotiating rates – remember, those rate increases are passed on to all Rhode Islanders. It will be very difficult with an entity with an 80 percent market share.”

All the evidence, the Attorney General argued, pointed to how such a high concentration of market power resulted in higher health care costs. “Across the country, over and over and over again, what studies [have shown], and experts have recognized, that mergers that result in high market concentration, lead to an increase in health care costs. Dr. Pflum, our expert hired to examine Rhode Island data, confirmed what has happened nationally and what will happen here. He concludes that the increased leverage of the new [merged] system could increase prices starting out by at least 9 percent.”

Neronha said further: “We all know that insurers don’t eat those costs [emphasis added]. Insurers pass those costs on to consumers through higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Whether you are buying your health care on the individual market, or whether you are a small business or a large one, buying it for your employees, consumers and small businesses and employers are all going to have pay those costs.”

Neronha then debunked the idea that the R.I. Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner and a rate cap placed on hospital rate increases could constrain such a merger entity with so much market power.

“The OHIC Commissioner [Patrick Tigue], for [whom] I have a lot of respect, acknowledges that OHIC rate caps are insufficient to control the anticompetitive nature of this merger,” the Attorney General said. “These are his words: ‘Rate caps are insufficient by themselves to adequately mitigate the risks to affordability resulting from higher prices that could materialize following the proposed merger of CNE and Lifespan.’”

According to Neronha, the OHIC Commissioner then warned about the likelihood of operating in an unregulated environment. “We regulators, like myself, this office, and the Department of Health, should evaluate ‘the likely price effects of the proposed merger of Care New England and Lifespan, assuming an unregulated environment.’”
Neronha asked, rhetorically: “So, what does that tell me?” and answered: “Don’t count on OHIC, and Rhode Islanders shouldn’t count on OHIC, either.”

Neronha then elaborated on the problem with depending on OHIC rate caps in a merged environment. “The problem with relying on OHIC’s rate caps – listen, this is why the commissioner said it, he understands what the limitations are – they could be overridden by the R.I. General Assembly at any time.”

The OHIC rate cap, Neronha continued, “Only applies to inpatient hospital services, they don’t apply to physician groups. They don’t apply to services performed in non-hospital facilities; they don’t apply to ambulatory surgery centers – and, as everyone knows, that is where medicine is going. And, rate caps don’t do anything to help with the other problems, the non-price problems arising from the elimination of competition.”

Editor’s Note: In PART Two, ConvergenceRI will detail Attorney General Peter Neronha’s responses to the problem of “conditions” not being able to solve the antitrust concerns, and the undetermined role that Brown University played in the proposed merger.

Part two here:,7087

Part three here:,7091


Richard Asinof

Richard Asinof is the founder and editor of ConvergenceRI, an online subscription newsletter offering news and analysis at the convergence of health, science, technology and innovation in Rhode Island.

To read more stories by Richard Asinof:

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: It's been nineteen years since the Station Nightclub fire.  A California man faces a federal charge after jumping off the Route 195 bridge last week.  The average Rhode Island gas price has gone above three-fifty per gallon.

>>19th Anniversary Of Station Nightclub Fire 

(West Warwick, RI)  --  Sunday marked the 19th anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire.  One-hundred people died and more than two-hundred were injured in the fire at the indoor venue in West Warwick during a concert in 2003.  People gathered for an annual memorial at the site of the fire yesterday.  Local company Stanley Tree Service hung up several long strings of lights to honor the victims and first responders.

>>Bridge Jumper Faces Federal Charge

(Providence, RI)  --  The man accused of trafficking firearms in a rideshare vehicle and then jumping off a bridge to escape police is now facing a federal charge.  The Justice Department says one count of possession of firearms by a convicted felon has been filed against Joseph Darosa of Modesto, California.  The DOJ says Darosa left East Providence with the guns in a Lyft last Wednesday and was stopped on Route 195.  Darosa was arrested after reportedly jumping off the Washington Bridge connecting to Providence.

>>Big Warmup This Week, Winter Not Done Yet Though

(Undated)  --  Springtime temperatures are in the forecast for Southern New England to start the week.  The National Weather Service says it'll get into the 50s in Providence on Monday and Tuesday, then the 60s on Wednesday.  More seasonal temps will return for the final weekend of February as highs will drop back into the 30s.

>>Gas Up To Three-And-A-Half Bucks Per Gallon

(Undated)  --  The average gas price in Rhode Island has increased about twenty cents in the last month, according to  The current reported price is three dollars and 52 cents.  Some experts think parts of the U.S. will top five dollars a gallon by Memorial Day amid energy cost concerns associated with the crisis in the Ukraine.

>>A Providence School Is Closing

(Providence, RI)  --  A Providence elementary school is closing.  The Providence Journal reports staff at Fortes Elementary were informed last week, according to the vice president of the Providence Teachers Union.  A spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Education says there are plans to merge with the other school that shares the building on Daboll Street, Lima Elementary.  Fortes also hosts Achievement First Charter School, which has an operation agreement with the city that expires this summer.

>>P-Bruins Win Over Wolf Pack, Beat Bears Twice 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Bruins have won three in a row.  The P-Bruins came out on top in all three games they played this weekend.  They beat the Hershey Bears at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Friday and Sunday by scores of 5-to-0 and 4-to-1.  In between, Providence picked up a 3-to-1 road win versus the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday.  The Bruins have two home games at the Dunk next weekend.

Jim McCabe/bs           RI) CA)
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-21-2022 03:39:01

RECALL: Infant Formulas

Health Advisory Issued for Similac Alimentum and EleCare Powered Infant Formulas


The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is advising consumers that federal health officials are investigating four infant illnesses related to products from an Abbott Nutrition facility in Sturgis, Michigan. All of the cases are reported to have consumed powdered infant formula from this facility. These illnesses include three Cronobacter sakazakii infections and one Salmonella Newport infection. All four cases related to these complaints were hospitalized and Cronobacter may have contributed to a death in one case.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to use Similac Alimentum or EleCare powdered infant formulas if:


  • The first two digits of the code are 22 through 37 and
  • The code on the container contains K8, SH, or Z2, and
  • The expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later.


The code is printed on the product packaging near the expiration date (see image of product label attached). Additional information on products made by Abbott Nutrition is available on their website


These powdered infant formulas have the potential to be contaminated with Cronobacter, a bacterium that can cause severe foodborne illness primarily in infants. Cronobacter infections are rare but are especially high risk for newborn infants.


FDA has done an onsite inspection at the Michigan facility. Findings to date include several positive Cronobacter results from environmental samples taken by FDA, and adverse inspectional observations by FDA investigators. A review of the firm’s internal records also indicate environmental contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii and the firm’s destruction of product due to the presence of Cronobacter.


Products that do not contain the information listed above are not impacted by this advisory. This advisory does not include liquid formula products or any metabolic deficiency nutrition formulas.


More information on Cronobacter and infant formula is available on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cronobacter bacteria can cause severe, life-threatening infections (sepsis) or meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes that protect the brain and spine). Symptoms of sepsis and meningitis may include poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes), grunting breaths, and abnormal movements. Cronobacter infection may also cause bowel damage and may spread through the blood to other parts of the body.


If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should notify your child’s healthcare provider and seek medical care for your child immediately.



Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Rhode Island gets a taste of spring before winter strikes back.  The RI Attorney General's Office is giving the thumbs-down to Lifespan and Care New England's merger proposal.  More details about the suspect who reportedly jumped off the Washington Bridge this week.

>>RI Weather: Springlike Temps Followed By Wind, Biting Cold 

(Undated)  --  Southern New England is riding a late-winter weather roller coaster.  Temperatures reaching the 60s on Thursday melted last weekend's snow.  Rain and gusty winds blasted through the Providence area overnight Friday.  The National Weather Service has all of Rhode Island under a High Wind Warning until 9 a.m. Friday.  Temperatures are taking a sharp drop downward tonight, into the teens.

>>Feds, Rhode Island Attorney General Oppose Healthcare Merger 

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha has rejected a proposal to merge the state's two largest healthcare systems.  Neronha says the proposed partnership involving Lifespan and Care New England, as well as Brown University, would result in higher healthcare costs and lower quality.  The Federal Trade Commission is also filing a lawsuit against the merger for similar reasons.  Lifespan president and CEO Dr. Timothy Babineau said the goal remains to create Rhode Island's first fully-integrated academic healthcare system.

>>Multi-Hub Providence Public Transit Plan Reportedly Scrapped 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Business News reports Rhode Island officials have scrapped a plan to split up the capital city's public transportation hub across three locations.  RIDOT and RIPTA are holding virtual hearings on February 24th and March 8th to focus on a proposed new transit center on Dorrance Street to replace the current hub at Kennedy Plaza.  The idea to spread out the bus centers was widely criticized by riders and other community members. 

>>Route 195 Bridge Jumper Was Allegedly Trafficking Guns In Rideshare

(East Providence, RI)  --  A suspect who jumped off a bridge between Providence and East Providence Wednesday night is accused of ordering a Lyft and using it to illegally traffic over a dozen guns.  More details were provided Thursday on the arrest of Joseph Darosa of Modesto, California.  Police said the unaware Lyft driver transporting Darosa, who had been under investigation, was stopped on the Route 195 bridge and Darosa got out and jumped into the Seekonk River.  He survived.  Authorities seized four stolen guns from the vehicle.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,397

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported four new coronavirus deaths on Thursday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-397.  The state counted about three-hundred new virus cases and less than two-hundred COVID hospital patients.

>>Warwick School Remains Closed For Mold Remediation 

(Warwick, RI)  --  Students will not be returning to Sherman Elementary School in Warwick until at least December, according to a report from WPRI-TV.  The building has been closed since the beginning of the school year due to the discovery of a mold issue.  The Warwick School District says the school has to be completely renovated. 

>>P-Bruins Host Bears Twice, On Road Versus Wolf Pack 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Bruins are playing three games this weekend.  The P-Bruins host the Hershey Bears at the Dunkin' Donuts Center Friday night at 7:05.  Providence visits Hartford to play the Wolf Pack on Saturday night.  Then it's a return to the Dunk to play the Bears again on Sunday.  That game starts at 3:05 p.m. 

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) CA)  
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02-18-2022 02:55:12

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: New political boundary maps have been approved by Rhode Island legislators.  A Rhode Island police chief is becoming the town manager.  Two eight-game winning streaks, two different results on Tuesday for the Boston Celtics and the Providence College men's team.

>>Redistricting Plan Approved By Rhode Island Legislature

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Journal reports the Rhode Island General Assembly has approved the state's new political boundaries.  The maps drawn by the legislature's redistricting committee now go to Governor Dan McKee's desk.  Lawmakers are given the task once a decade after they receive updated population numbers from the U.S. Census.  The Journal reports there are no major changes to the state's two congressional districts.  In an effort to address so-called "prison gerrymandering", the new maps would count inmates of the ACI with sentences of two years or less at their former addresses for the first time.

>>RI Under High Wind Watch

(Undated)  --  All of Rhode Island is under a High Wind Watch from the National Weather Service from Thursday night to Friday morning.  The weather service says southwest winds of 25-to-35 miles per hour with gusts up to 60 are possible.  Damaging winds could blow down trees and power lines, and travel could be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,393

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported five new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-393.  The number of new virus cases was two-hundred-19, and the COVID hospital patient count was one-hundred-93. 

>>Woonsocket DMV Reopening

(Woonsocket, RI)  --  The Woonsocket branch of the Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles is reopening on Wednesday.  A water main break forced the office on Diamond Hill Road to close on Monday.  The DMV says reservations are required, there will be no walk-in customers allowed. 

>>Westerly Police Chief To Become Town Manager

(Westerly, RI)  --  Westerly's police chief is transitioning to the role of town manager.  The Sun reports the Westerly Town Council on Monday unanimously approved having Shawn Lacey take the position permanently.  Lacey has been the interim town manager since September.  The Westerly native has been with the police department since 1988.  He will resign from his police chief job and be sworn in as town manager at the end of this month. 

>>Friars Lose, Celtics Win

(Undated)  --  The win streak is over for the Providence College men's basketball team.  The Friars lost to Villanova at the Dunk on Tuesday, 89-to-84.  PC had won eight games in a row.  Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics have increased their winning streak to nine after they demolished the 76ers in Philadelphia last night, 135-to-87. 

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02-16-2022 02:42:08

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: A Newport shooting victim has been identified.  Southern New England gets a surprise snowstorm.  Construction has started on a commercial wind farm off the Rhode Island coast. 

>>Victim Of Shooting Reported At Newport Bar ID'd

(Newport, RI)  --  Police have identified the victim of a fatal shooting at the Friendly Sons of Newport Social Club overnight Monday.  Reports indicate the shooting claimed the life of Yordi Arevalo of Newport.  A second victim was taken to Rhode Island Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and released.  Newport authorities are still investigating, and they have not yet given details about exactly where the shooting happened at the club's address on Farewell Street. 

>>Medical Examiner: Gunman In Shootout With Police In Providence Killed Himself

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island medical examiner's office is determining the cause of death for the gunman in last week's prolific shootout with the Providence Police Department.  The state says Scott Maclean died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Maclean was allegedly armed with a large cache of guns and exchanged hundreds of rounds with police while barricaded in his home on Denison Street last Thursday. 

>>Two Student-Athletes Injured, One Critically, In DUI Crash 

(Exeter, RI)  --  A man is facing charges including DUI for a crash over the weekend which injured two members of a Rhode Island boys' high school hockey team.  Alexander Krajewski of North Kingstown was reportedly involved in the two-vehicle crash in Exeter at Ten Rod Road and Arcadia Road on Saturday night.  Justin Lake, the head coach of the West Warwick, Exeter and West Greenwich co-op program, tells The Providence Journal the players who were injured were seniors Kevin MacDonald and Matt Dennison.  State police reported the passenger, Dennison, was in critical hospital condition.  Lake said the families of the players appreciate the community support they have received, but they are asking for privacy at this time.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,388

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported twelve new coronavirus deaths over the weekend.  The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-388.  The number of COVID patients in Rhode Island hospitals has dropped below two-hundred. 

>>NWS Says Snow "Outperformed" Forecast 

(Undated)  --  Weather forecasters are trying to figure out how they missed the big snowstorm in Southern New England this weekend.  The National Weather Service reported a top measurement in Rhode Island from the Sunday-to-Monday snow event of ten-point-eight inches in Smithfield.  Many other places in the Ocean State got at least a half-foot.  The weather service in Boston acknowledged in a tweet yesterday that the snowfall outperformed its forecast, and it says it will share details of what caused this to happen next week.

>>Construction Of South Fork Wind Farm Begins 

(Undated)  --  Elected officials in New York on Friday celebrated the start of construction of a utility-scale wind energy farm off the coast of Rhode Island.  The South Fork Wind Farm is being built to feed electricity to homes on Long Island.  The power companies behind the plant are Orsted of Denmark and New England-based Eversource.  South Fork is scheduled to go online in 2023.

>>Men's Basketball: URI Loses To Dayton 

(South Kingstown, RI)  --  The University of Rhode Island men's basketball team lost at home to Dayton on Monday night, 63-to-57.  The Rams had previously snapped a six-game losing streak over the weekend.  With last night's loss, they are 13-and-11 overall and 4-and-8 in the Atlantic 10.  Rhody has five regular-season games remaining before the conference tournament in March. 

Jim McCabe/jb          RI) NY) LI)  
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02-15-2022 02:59:03

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Snow is expected to wrap up in Rhode Island on Monday morning.  A suspect in a Providence murder has been arrested.  COVID in the Ocean State is trending downward.

>>Spring Temps Give Way To Measurable Snow

(Providence, RI)  --  Southern New England is going through a typical weather whiplash.  Following a historic blizzard in late January, we had a warmup into the 60s last week.  Now, it's back to snow.  The National Weather Service says the Providence area measured nearly a half-foot on Sunday.  Rhode Island remains under a Winter Weather Advisory from the weather service until 8 a.m. Monday for one-to-two additional inches. 

>>Providence Murder Suspect Arrested Out-Of-State

(Providence, RI)  --  An arrest has been made in connection to a fatal shooting in Providence.  Derek Sheppard was apprehended in the Savannah, Georgia area over the weekend.  Sheppard was wanted for the murder of Bernadette Ortiz at a residence in the Valley section of Providence, on Harold Street, last week. 

>>RI Mother, Others Charged After Child's Drug Death 

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Three people are being charged with murder for the death of an infant in Pawtucket.  Police reportedly responded to a residence on Sayles Avenue in December for an unresponsive two-year-old boy who later died.  It was determined through an investigation that the child died from fentanyl intoxication.  The mother, Jessaline Andrade of Cranston, is also charged with child neglect. 

>>Teen Killed In Apparent Shooting Accident In Johnston

(Johnston, RI)  --  A teenager's shooting death in Johnston is being investigated as an accident.  The Johnston Police Department says a 15-year-old was found dead at a home on Cedar Street over the weekend.  No arrests were immediately made. 

>>Two Picked Up For East Providence Bank Robbery

(East Providence, RI)  --  Two people have been arrested for a bank robbery in East Providence.  Dashawn Diaz and Terrence Lafauret, both residents of Providence, are charged with second-degree robbery and one count of conspiracy.  Authorities say they robbed a T.D. Bank branch on Newport Avenue last week.

>>Rhode Island's Coronavirus Winter Spike Is In Rear-View Mirror

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island's daily coronavirus caseload has dropped to its lowest level since the beginning of the winter.  At the height of the largest spike in the pandemic's two-year history, the Ocean State's seven-day case average was nearly seven-thousand.  As of this weekend, the average had dropped to under six-hundred.  Fewer Rhode Islanders are dying from the virus compared to the COVID spike from the previous winter, as nearly 80-percent of the state is fully-vaccinated.

>>Friars, Celtics Both Carrying Eight-Game Win Streaks

(Undated)  --  Basketball fans in Rhode Island are being treated to a couple of long winning streaks.  Both the Providence College men's team and the Boston Celtics have won eight games in a row.  The Friars beat DePaul at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Saturday, 76-to-73 in overtime to continue their best start since the early 1970s.  The Celtics won over the Atlanta Hawks at T.D. Garden on Sunday, 105-to-95.  Both teams play their next game on Tuesday. 

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02-14-2022 03:16:05

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Officials say an armed standoff in Providence on Thursday involved more gunfire than ever before.  A bill that would permanently allow takeout alcoholic beverages from Rhode Island restaurants is headed to the governor's desk.  Patriots' great Richard Seymour is going to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

>>Providence Police Involved In Major Shootout

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré [[ parry ]] says Thursday morning's police standoff involved more bullets and carried greater risk for officers than any other gunfight they've ever encountered.  The standoff happened after police responded to a domestic disturbance at a home on Denison Street in the Charles neighborhood.  The resident, Scott Maclean, reportedly fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition, but no officers were hit.  Maclean was found dead after a fire broke out in the house. 

>>Providence Homicide Victim ID'd, Suspect Sought

(Providence, RI)  --  More details have been released about a homicide in Providence on Wednesday.  The victim of a fatal shooting at a home on Harold Street has been identified as Bernadette Ortiz.  WPRI-TV reports Ortiz's boyfriend, Derek Sheppard, is wanted for the murder.  The Providence Police Department says Sheppard should be considered armed and dangerous. 

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,375

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported six new coronavirus deaths on Thursday.  The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-375.  The COVID patient count in Rhode Island hospitals remains below three-hundred.

>>Rhode Island Legislature Approves Making Takeout Alcoholic Beverages Permanent

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island General Assembly has approved a bill that permanently allows restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages in takeout orders.  The change was initially meant to be a temporary aid for the struggling industry to get through the coronavirus pandemic, but lawmakers said they couldn't ignore its popularity.  The state legislature has also approved a bill to allow restaurants to continue outdoor dining without seeking local municipal approval until April of 2023.  Governor Dan McKee tells WJAR-TV he plans to sign both measures. 

>>Richard Seymour Selected To Pro Football Hall

(Inglewood, CA)  --  Former New England Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour is among the next group of NFL greats that will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Seymour, the tenth Patriot to get the call to the Hall, won three Super Bowls in New England and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times during his twelve-year career.  He also played for the Oakland Raiders. 

>>P-Bruins Host Americans, Visit Thunderbirds This Weekend 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Bruins have a pair of games this weekend.  The P-Bruins host the Rochester Americans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center Friday night at 7:05.  Providence then has a road game versus the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday night.  The Bruins have won 18 of their first 36 games and would make the American Hockey League playoffs if the season ended today.

Jim McCabe/jb        RI)  

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TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-11-2022 02:50:10

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Mask mandates for Rhode Island schools and businesses are being lifted.  The city of Pawtucket revokes the license of a cigar lounge following a deadly shooting.  A popular fall music festival in Charlestown is being canceled.

>>Mask Mandates Coming To An End In RI

(Providence, RI)  --  An improving coronavirus picture is leading Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee to lift mask-wearing mandates.  McKee's administration says the school mask mandate will end on March 4th, after which time local districts will be allowed to make their own decisions.  An executive order for Rhode Islanders to wear masks while patronizing indoor businesses or show proof of COVID vaccination is being lifted on Friday.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,369

(Providence, RI)  --  Four new coronavirus deaths were reported in Rhode Island on Wednesday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-369.  There were over five-hundred new virus cases.

>>Providence Police Investigating Homicide 

(Providence, RI)  --  Providence police are opening up the second homicide investigation of 2022.  WJAR-TV reports a woman was shot to death on Harold Street in the city's Valley section at around 11:00 Wednesday night.  The victim was not immediately identified.

>>City Revokes License Of Cigar Lounge Linked To Deadly Shooting

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  WLNE-TV reports the Pawtucket City Council voted 7-to-1 Wednesday night revoke the business license of Fab City Cigar Lounge for a deadly shooting.  The incident took place outside of the lounge on Newport Avenue last month, but stemmed from a fight that happened inside.  Fab City, which is expected to appeal the decision, was faulted at last night's meeting for not being more proactive in breaking up the dispute that led to the death of 36-year-old Qudus Kafo [[ cue-dis CAH-foe ]].  One other person was injured.  Trequan Baker of Providence is being charged with the double-shooting.

>>Rhode Islander Sentenced In Case Related To Meningitis Outbreak Scandal

(Providence, RI)  --  A Rhode Island man is being sentenced to time served in connection to the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak scandal of 2012.  The Justice Department says Robert Ronzio of North Providence, the former national sales director of the compounding center, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the FDA.  Ronzio testified at the trials of three other compounding center defendants.  According to federal prosecutors, the N-E-C-C attempted to hide the fact that it was distributing drugs in bulk.  Ronzio admitted that the compounding center used work-around methods to maintain its pharmacy status and avoid heightened regulatory oversight.

>>Popular South County Music Festival Canceled 

(Charlestown, RI)  --  A longtime music festival in Charlestown has been canceled.  This year was set to be the 24th year of the Rhythm and Roots festival at Ninigret [[ NIN-uh-gret ]] Park on Labor Day weekend.  Festival producer Chuck Wentworth said he is stepping away for health reasons.

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02-10-2022 03:15:02

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: The Rhode Island Legislature is considering whether to extend Governor Dan McKee's coronavirus pandemic emergency authority.  A southeast Massachusetts teenager is sentenced to prison for a fatal stabbing.  Rhody basketball has lost a half-dozen straight.

>>Legislative Committees Approve Extension Of McKee Emergency Powers 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Providence Journal reports two committees in the Rhode Island General Assembly approved an extension of Governor Dan McKee's pandemic emergency powers on Tuesday.  Without action from the state legislature, a number of the governor's executive orders will expire next Monday, including school and business mask mandates and allowing cities and towns to hold remote meetings.  The full House and Senate are set to vote on the extension on Thursday.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,365

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported two new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-365.  There were about four-hundred new virus cases yesterday.

>>Fall River Teen Sentenced For Fatally Stabbing His Cousin

(Fall River, MA)  --  A Fall River teen is being sentenced to prison for a fatal stabbing.  The Bristol County, Massachusetts District Attorney's Office says Michael Holloway will spend at least a decade behind bars for the stabbing of his cousin, 17-year-old William Wheeler Junior in 2019.  Holloway was 16 at the time.  D.A. Thomas Quinn said the two had a close relationship, and that they were involved in a fight which produced the spontaneous act of violence.  Holloway pleaded guilty to charges including manslaughter in Superior Court last week.

>>Woman Depicted In Providence Mural Loses House In Fire 

(Charlestown, RI)  --  A woman featured on a mural in downtown Providence is continuing to deal with adversity.  The profile of Lynsea Montanari is part of a mural focusing on Narragansett Indian Tribe history which is located at 32 Custom House Street.  WJAR-TV reports there was a fire at Montanari's family home in Charlestown over the weekend, and it was a total loss.  The house was unoccupied at the time.  Montanari was seriously injured in a car crash, also in Charlestown, in 2020.

>>East Providence Bank Robbed

(East Providence, RI)  --  A bank was robbed in East Providence on Tuesday morning.  The incident happened at the T.D. Bank on Newport Avenue at around 10:30 a.m.  Police say the suspect passed a note to a teller and got away with about three-thousand dollars.

>>Men's Basketball: URI Loses To VCU

(Richmond, VA)  --  The University of Rhode Island men's basketball team has lost six games in a row.  The Rams fell at Virginia Commonwealth University Tuesday night, 73-to-64.  Rhody is 12-and-10 overall and 3-and-7 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.  They return to Kingston to play Davidson on Saturday.

>>Patriots Rehire Joe Judge

(Foxboro, MA)  --  The New England Patriots have announced that former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is returning to Foxboro as an offensive assistant.  Judge worked for the Pats mostly in the special teams department from 2012 to 2019.  He was the Giants head coach for two seasons, with a record of 10-and-23.

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02-09-2022 03:08:13

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Governor McKee is planning to provide an update about Rhode Island's school mask mandate.  A family member of a Providence house fire victim says she suffered serious burn injuries.  A new book covers the New England Patriots "Deflategate" scandal.

>>McKee Planning To Give Update On Masking Requirement For RI Schools

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Dan McKee's office is reportedly reviewing the state's school mask mandate.  Governor McKee plans to provide an update at his regularly-scheduled weekly press conference on Wednesday.  Several other states in the Northeast, including Connecticut, have just announced that their school mask mandates are coming to an end.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,363

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported nine new coronavirus deaths over the weekend.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State as of Monday's report was three-thousand-363.  There were about 16-hundred new virus cases.  The number of COVID patients in Rhode Island hospitals is two-hundred-86.

>>Watch Out For Slick Road Conditions Tuesday Morning 

(Undated)  --  The National Weather Service is warning people driving on Rhode Island roads this morning to watch out for hydroplaning.  A half-inch-to-an-inch of rain fell overnight, which could combine with melting snow to cause big puddles on the streets.  After the rain moves out Tuesday morning, the weather service is calling for dry weather for the next seven days.

>>Providence House Fire Victim Suffers Significant Burns

(Providence, RI)  --  The father of a Providence fire victim says his daughter has a long recovery road ahead.  Drumins Errera spoke to WPRI-TV about 28-year-old Rosa Martinez, who was pulled from a house fire on Louisa Street on Sunday afternoon.  Errera says Martinez is being treated for burns on 25-percent of her body, and he is asking everyone to pray for his daughter.  The fire remains under investigation.

>>Another Providence House Fire Monday, I-95 Closed For Car Blaze

(Providence, RI)  --  Another house fire in Providence displaced nearly a dozen on Monday afternoon.  Everyone got out safely from the home on Mawney Street when the blaze broke out at around 12:30.  Channel 10 reports the home is not believed to be a total loss, and the fire was apparently electrical in origin.  More fire activity in the capital city Thursday night, as Route 95 south was backed up for miles from an all-lane closure because of a car fire at around 11:00.  There were no immediate reports of injuries.

>>Supermarket Ice Cream Recalled 

(Providence, RI)  --  The Rhode Island Department of Health is advising consumers about a grocery store ice cream recall.  Batch Ice Cream flavors including vanilla, ginger and mocha chip are being recalled because they are potentially-contaminated with listeria.  The effected ice cream was distributed to Market Baskets and Roche Brothers Markets in Massachusetts and Big Y stores in Mass and Connecticut.

>>New Book About "Deflategate" 

(Foxboro, MA)  --  A newly-released book is alleging the NFL intentionally withheld a report that could have exonerated former New England Patriot Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.  In the book "Playmakers," sports-writer Mike Florio writes that the NFL monitored the pressure of game balls for the entire 2015 season as part of its investigation into allegations that Brady intentionally manipulated the pressure of footballs he used.  Those numbers were never released.  Florio writes they would have shown that atmospheric conditions and temperature resulted in wide fluctuations in ball pressure, much like the fluctuations seen in the balls Brady was accused of tampering with.  The book claims the NFL's general counsel squashed the report to help the league save face since Brady had already served a four-game suspension in connection to the scandal.  

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02-08-2022 02:41:02

Black History Month activities in Rhode Island

Screen Shot 2022-02-06 at 4.22.09 AM

Black History Month activities in Rhode Island

February 6, 2022/Ann Clanton


by Ann Clanton, “Speak-Up” contributing writer


Photo: Langston Hughes


An American lawyer and civil rights activist who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court once said of Black History Month, that it’s “recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.” Rhode Island’s humanities, arts, and civil rights community have a February lineup of programs to entertain and educate Southern New England throughout the entire month. Here is a listing of ways to celebrate Black History Month in the Ocean State:


TODAY:  Langston Hughes Committee (LHCPRC) – Sunday, February 6, 1pm: The Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading Birthday Celebration! Looking Back to Move Forward. This virtual celebration, live streamed from the Providence Public Library’s Donald J. Farish Auditorium, including music by the incomparable Becky Bass, interviews with Anne Edmonds Clanton, the LHCPR’s visionary founder, and Ramona Bass-Kolobe, widow of esteemed Langston Hughes scholar George Houston Bass; and highlights from 29 years of celebrating this beloved intergenerational event, blending the magnificent words of Langston Hughes spoken through the voices of the community with the sounds of Jazz. Copy and paste the following link to register.


Wednesday, February 9, 6pm – Stages of Freedom and The Redwood Library of Newport present Rhode Island Black Literature and The Black Press in RI: A Conversation with Robb Dimmick and Ray Rickman. To register for this free event, go to the following link.  An examination of writings by and about Rhode Island African Americans documenting black life in the Ocean State, including those on slavery, the brave Black Regiment, the church, biographies, fiction as well as black newspapers.


Saturday, February 12, 6-8pm – HeARTspot Art Center and Gallery Opening Reception and Black History Show Juried by Gem Barros. Exclusively featuring artists who are part of the African American community, this show showcases a wide array of art from painting, photography, and sculpture, realism and abstraction, and a wide variety of subject matters. Selected artists include Chandra Akerblom, Gem Barros, Shawndavid Berry, Mayté Castillo, Sydney Darrow, Danielle DePeza, April Doran, Tishawna Dunphy, Matthew Hill, Morgan Jamieson, Fitzcarmel LaMarre and Joseph Mushipi.


Saturday, February 19, 2pm – The Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island celebrates the 150th anniversary of poet and author, Paul Laurence Dunbar with a screening and discussion of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival official selection, BEYOND THE MASK: PAUL LAURENCE DUNBAR. Brown University graduate and documentary filmmaker, Fredrick Lewis will discuss his film. A reception will follow the film. Registration required. To register go to the link at the Southside Cultural Center of Rhode Island’s ( website.


February 26, 2:00 p.m. The Rhode Island Slave History Medallions (RISHM) presents “Benevolence and Success in the Era of Slavery: Duchess Quamino and William Ellery Channing”, Channing Memorial Church, 135 Pelham Street, Newport, and simulcast live online at YouTube live from the Channing Memorial Church, 135 Pelham Street, Newport, and simulcast live online at YouTube: “A Rhode Island Slave History Medallions marker will be placed at the historic William Ellery Channing home at 24 School Street on Historic Hill in Newport. For more information, please contact RISHM director Charles Roberts at






Ann-Allison Clanton was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. As principle of Ann Clanton Communications, Ann has more than two decades of experience as a communications and public affairs consultant. She has written features and profiles articles for the Providence American Newspaper and Ethnic Online Magazine.

Among the notable persons interviewed include former U. S. Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Cornell West, former Florida Congressman Allen West (R-FL) and Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus first African American Ringmaster, Johnathan Lee Iverson.

Ann is the founder of the Rhode Island Black Film Festival and a founding member of the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists.

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Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  A federal lawsuit is filed against Rhode Island's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.  It will be a little less cold in Rhode Island this week.  Friars basketball is on fire. 

>>Suit Filed Over Rhode Island's Healthcare Worker COVID Vax Mandate 

(Providence, RI)  --  A hearing is set for Monday afternoon in a federal lawsuit against the state of Rhode Island over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.  Dr. Stephen Skoly, a dentist and oral surgeon from Cranston, is suing Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee and interim health department director Dr. James McDonald.  According to the suit, Skoly claims he was wrongfully denied a medical exemption from the vaccine because he has a history of Bell's palsy, and getting the shot would present a risk associated with that disease.  Skoly, who has been banned from his practice since October, also says he has natural immunity after recovering from the coronavirus.

>>Woman Pulled From House Fire In Providence 

(Providence, RI)  --  A woman was pulled out of a burning home in Providence on Sunday.  Firefighters rescued the 28-year-old from a house on Louisa [[ loo-WEE-suh ]] Street on the Lower South Side at around 2 p.m.  WJAR-TV reports the victim is in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

>>Slight Warmup This Week 

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island is rebounding from a big freeze.  There is a slight chance for a wintry mix on Monday for the Providence area, according to the National Weather Service forecast, but it will be mostly dry for the rest of the week, and high temperatures will bump up to the 40's.  After Rhode Islanders spent all of last week cleaning up from a blizzard, WPRI-TV reports the State Police responded to about three-dozen crashes on Friday caused by a burst of freezing precipitation. 

>>Average RI Gas Price Remain Above $3 

(Undated)  --  The average Rhode Island gas price has rebounded back to where it was at the beginning of the winter.  The total currently reported by is three dollars and 40 cents.  One year ago, the average gas price in the Ocean State was two-43. 

>>Men's BB: Providence College Keeps Win Streak Going 

(Washington, DC)  --  The Providence College men's basketball team has run its winning-streak this season to seven games.  The Friars picked up a road victory versus Georgetown on Sunday, 71-to-52.  PC has a 20-and-2 overall record for the first time since the 1972-73 season, and they are 10-and-1 in the Big East Conference for the first time ever.

>>Providence Bruins Split With Phantoms, Penguins 

(Undated)  --  The Providence Bruins split two road games this weekend.  The P-Bruins lost to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 5-to-1 on Friday.  They notched a 2-to-1 overtime win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Saturday.  Providence is back at the Dunkin' Donuts Center this upcoming Friday night versus Rochester. 

Jim McCabe/jb         RI)  

Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-07-2022 03:10:12

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news:  Two-dozen people are hospitalized after a fire at a physical rehab facility in Coventry.  Much more apartment space could soon be coming to the downtown Providence area.  Thieves once again target a motorsports store in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

>>Fire At Coventry Rehab Facility Hospitalizes Two-Dozen 

(Coventry, RI)  --  Two-dozen people are in the hospital after a fire at a Rhode Island nursing home.  Crews were called out at around 9 p.m. Thursday to the Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center of Rhode Island in Coventry.  There was a massive statewide EMS response to transport the injured residents to medical care.  WJAR-TV reports they were mostly hospitalized for smoke inhalation.  Dozens of other patients at the facility were temporarily displaced.

>>Rhode Island Under Winter Weather Advisory Today 

(Undated)  --  Another round of winter weather is impacting Southern New England one week after the region was hit by a blizzard.  The National Weather Service has all of Rhode Island except for Block Island under a Winter Weather Advisory until Friday night.  Accumulating snow is not in the forecast for Rhode Island today, but the Ocean State is expected to get a wintry mix.  Public school districts including Providence and Warwick are holding classes virtually as a result.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,341

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported seven new coronavirus deaths on Thursday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-341.  The COVID patient count in RI hospitals was three-hundred-28.  WPRI-TV reports two cases of the so-called omicron "stealth" sub-variant have been detected in Rhode Island, according to the director of the state health department.

>>EPA Announces Settlements Over Chemical Usage

(Undated)  --  Several companies in Southern New England have reached settlements with the Environmental Protection Agency over the use of toxic chemicals.  The EPA says Manchester Street LLC in Providence, which has a facility located in an environmental justice area, failed to file a timely report about using ammonia in 2018 and 2018 and was fined over 11-thousand dollars.  Similar allegations were made against two other businesses, Clean Harbors of Bristol, Connecticut and CertainTeed in Norwood, Massachusetts.

>>Developer Chosen For Providence Apartment Project; Superman Building Negotiations Happening

(Providence, RI)  --  A preferred developer has been selected for a mixed-used apartment project along the Providence River.  The I-195 Redevelopment District Commission this week went with Boston-based Urbanica LLC, which is planning a six-story building on South Water Street.  In related news, state officials say negotiations are underway to redevelop Rhode Island's tallest structure, the "Superman" building in downtown Providence, into residential units.

>>Former Rookie Providence Cop Sentenced For Causing Crash 

(Providence, RI)  --  A former rookie Providence police officer is being sentenced to 90 days in prison.  The Providence Journal reports Stephen Kennedy of Cranston pleaded no contest in Superior Court to charges of driving to endanger and driving under the influence of fentanyl.  Kennedy was on I-95 in Warwick when he hit a state police cruiser in February 2020.  The trooper avoided major injuries, and two police dogs that were inside were unharmed.

>>Motorbikes Stolen From Seekonk Store Again 

(Seekonk, MA)  --  A Seekonk, Massachusetts store is once-again hit by a group of thieves.  MotorSports Nation off Route 6 says about a half-dozen motorbikes valued at ten-thousand dollars each were stolen on Wednesday.  The store was hit by a similar burglary in December.  Police are investigating.

Jim McCabe/nf      RI)  MA)  CT) 
Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 
02-04-2022 03:00:09

RI Veterans: Did you know?


RI Veterans: Did you know? 3 February 22 – John A. Cianci

February 2, 2022/John Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Itlalian American War Veterans (ITAM)


UPDATE VA Emergency Community Care 



Last week I was involved in a six-car accident in Burrillville, RI.  Due to the impact of being rear-ended and sandwiched between a car and truck, I suffered injuries that required immediate medical attention. An ambulance transported me from the accident  scene to the local hospital.


Immediately upon arrival at the hospital, I identified myself as a veteran and all services needed by me would be billed to the VA. 


After being discharged from the hospital, the following day, I notified the VA Emergency Care, calling 1-844-724-7842. A representative came on the line, and after providing some additional details, I was given a confirmation number for future reference.


Comrades, I cannot emphasis the importance of understanding the benefits and procedures of how and when a veteran can use community urgent and emergency care without the VA pre-approval. 


VETTIP – Recommend you save the VA Emergency Care number 1-844-724-7842 on your cell phone. In addition, place the information with emergency contact information. Moreover, explain to your spouse, care-giver, family, or someone caring for you the VA Emergency Care procedures. 


Understanding and knowing could save a veteran thousands of dollars of co-payment and or erroneous billing by private care providers. 


More information on when and how you can use community emergency room care: 


Did you know during a medical emergency, Veterans should immediately seek care at the nearest medical facility? A medical emergency is an injury, illness or symptom so severe that without immediate treatment, an individual believes his or her life or health is in danger. 


If a Veteran believes his or her life or health is in danger, call 911 or report to the nearest emergency department right away. 


Veterans do not need to check with VA before calling for an ambulance or going to an emergency department. During a medical emergency, VA encourages all Veterans to seek immediate medical attention without delay. It is, however, important to promptly notify VA within 72 hours of presenting to the emergency room.


Veterans, their representatives, and in-network community providers should report instances of a Veteran presenting to a community emergency room to VA within 72 hours of the start of emergent care. Out-of-network providers are encouraged to notify VA as soon as possible.


Notifying VA in a timely fashion is important because:


Allows VA to assist the Veteran in coordinating necessary care or transfer, helps ensure that the administrative and clinical requirements for VA to pay for the care are met and may impact a Veteran’s eligibility for VA to cover the cost of emergency treatment.


Case-specific details are necessary for care coordination and eligibility determinations. Providers, Veterans and representatives can utilize any one of the following options to report emergency services:


·      Online: Emergency Care Reporting

·      Phone: 844-72HRVHA (844-724-7842)

·      In-person: Appropriate VA official at the nearest VA medical facility


The person contacting VA should be prepared to supply the information shown in the table below. If the caller is unable to supply all information, VA will engage with the appropriate parties to attempt to collect the information.




GI Bill Users Required to Verify Attendance


Did you know all GI Bill users are required to verify attendance each month before receiving any payments? 


A new rule took effect in August requiring many Post-9/11 GI Bill users to verify their school attendance with the Department of Veterans Affairs each month before receiving any payments. Starting this December, that requirement will be expanded to all Post-9/11 GI Bill recipients.


For all GI Bill users who are attending a technical school, also known as a “non-college degree” or NCD school, must verify their school attendance with the VA each month in order to receive their Monthly Housing Allowance, according to a VA press release.


For most students, this will be done via text message.


After enrolling in courses, students will receive a text message from the VA inviting them to enroll in text message verification. They can reply “Yes” to opt in.


At the end of each month, students will receive a text from the VA asking whether they are still enrolled in classes. If they respond affirmatively, their Monthly Housing Allowance will be sent to their bank at the beginning of the following month, the release says.


Those who fail to verify their attendance with the VA for two months in a row will have their housing allowance payments withheld until they do so, it adds.


If students don’t receive the text message, don’t opt into the service, or don’t have a mobile phone, they will be required to contact the VA by calling the GI Bill hotline at 888-442-4551 to receive payment.


Comrades, if you did not receive your monthly GI Bill stipend on February 1, 2022, the aforementioned requirement could be the reason.






AARP offers a free career center for veterans, . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment.  


Federal Hill Veterans Coffee House, 9-11am, Monday, February 7, ROMA Deli, Atwells Ave, Providence RI. The pm Open House, The Italian American War Veterans will be hosting the monthly coffee house, which meets the first Monday of every month at ROMA. If you are a veteran or active duty solider, come on out and join ITAM for some Italian toast and pastries. All veterans and their guest are invited. For more information, contact John at or (401) 567-9838.


Northern Rhode Island Coffee House, Tuesday, February 8, 9am-12 noon, Burrillville Allied Veterans Council host the monthly coffee house, which meets the second Tuesday of every month at the American Legion Post 88, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville. The Town of Burrillville Veteran Service Officer, Linda D’Andrea Peck and the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci are available to assist veterans in applying and understanding their veterans. 








Applebees – 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, 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 


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.




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. 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 ,  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,, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)




To read all columns in this series go to:



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.

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Lawmakers heard from Rhode Island Public Transit Authority officials about a data breach this week.  Local hospitals are getting more staffing help from the government.  "That's a wrap" on the filming of Hocus Pocus 2.

>>Legislative Hearing Held Regarding RIPTA Data Breach 

(Providence, RI)  --  A data breach in the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority's computer system is affecting more people than previously thought.  Officials at a state legislative committee hearing on Monday revealed that the breach of personal healthcare plan information has affected 22-thousand, up from 17-thousand.  The breach includes many state workers who had no involvement with RIPTA.  It happened in August, but RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian [[ AV-uh-DEE-zhin ]] told lawmakers notifications were not sent out until December because a limited number of personnel reviewed the breach in order to prevent further exposure.  UnitedHealthcare, Rhode Island's former health plan administrator, was originally scheduled to testify at Monday's hearing but was a no-show, citing an ongoing investigation from the attorney general.

>>Senate President Ruggerio Tests Positive For COVID-19

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio [[ roo-JEER-ee-oh ]] has tested positive for COVID-19.  The result showed up as part of a weekly testing routine for state senators and staffers.  Ruggerio, who is vaccinated and boosted, is asymptomatic.  State Senator Hanna Gallo is presiding over sessions while he is in quarantine.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,329

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported thirteen new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday.  The pandemic death toll in the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-329.  There were about nine-hundred new virus cases in yesterday's daily report.

>>More National Guard Help Summoned

(Providence, RI)  --  Governor Dan McKee is announcing that the Rhode Island National Guard is providing additional support to hospitals in the state.  Thirty members will be deployed starting this week.  Their duties will mainly include patient transportation within the facilities.  Last month, the RI National Guard was used to help Butler Hospital in Providence and with the state's overall vaccination and testing efforts.

>>Fatal Stabbing In Pawtucket 

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  Pawtucket is dealing with its third homicide in less than two weeks.  Reports indicate a man was stabbed during an argument near a package store on West Avenue at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.  Police are investigating the stabbing, along with two shootings that happened in the city in January.

>>Filming Of Hocus Pocus Sequel Concludes

(Undated)  --  Filming has wrapped up for Hocus Pocus 2.  The sequel to the popular Halloween film was shot in Rhode Island.  Locations included Federal Hill and the Cranston Armory in Providence, a cemetery in East Providence, and a farm in Lincoln where a 17th-century Salem, Massachusetts village was built.  The movie will air on October 31st, 2022 on Disney Plus.

>>Men's BB: Friars Beat St. John's, URI At Fordham 

(Undated)  --  In men's college basketball, Providence defeated St. John's on the road Tuesday, 86-to-82.  PC has won a half-dozen in a row.  The Friars play next at Georgetown this upcoming weekend.  The University of Rhode Island tips off at Fordham Wednesday night at 7:00.

Jim McCabe/nf      RI)  MA) 

Copyright © 2022
TTWN Media Networks Inc. 

02-02-2022 02:48:09

Rhode Island Foundation awards nearly $500,000 in grants for animals

Rhode Island Foundation awards nearly $500,000 in grants for animal welfare

February 1, 2022/RINewsToday


Uses include funding low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and wildlife rehabilitation


The Rhode Island Foundation announced it has awarded nearly $500,000 in grants to dozens of animal welfare programs across the state. The funding will support a range of uses including low-cost vet care for pets of low-income households, preparing animals for adoption and wildlife rehabilitation.


“The generosity of our donors and the commitment of our grantee partners is expanding humane education, increasing care options for shelter animals and pets owned by low-income households, and improving the quality of animal care in Rhode Island,” said Adrian Bonéy, who oversees the Foundation’s Program for Animal Welfare (PAW). “Their work is producing innovation, new approaches to animal welfare and increasing the number of animals receiving direct care across Rhode Island.” 


The single largest recipient is the Potter League for Animals, which received a total of $100,000. The grants include $20,000 to support veterinary care at its Animal Resource and Adoption Center in Middletown; $10,000 for humane education programming in Newport County, $30,000 to subsidize surgeries and transportation at its Spay and Neuter Clinic in Warwick and $40,000 to purchase medical supplies for its Pets In Need clinic in East Providence.


“We believe that by supporting the most vulnerable pet owners, they, in turn, are not forced to make difficult decisions about paying for veterinary care over other necessities. These programs keep families whole by providing pet food, temporary housing, veterinary care, behavior advice, and other essentials that keep pets out of shelters,” said Potter CEO Brad Shear.


The other recipients include the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in East Providence, which received $34,000 to support illness and minor emergency care, vaccination clinics and municipal animal control officer training; the Providence Animal Rescue League, which received $15,000 to support vaccine and microchipping clinics, and veterinary care for surrendered animals; and the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown, which received $28,000 to purchase a portable x-ray machine for its clinic.


PAW funds organizations that promote and provide humane treatment of animals or work more generally on the welfare of animals. Grants are for projects or programs that have a positive impact locally or statewide on animal care, education about the humane treatment of animals, and animal welfare in general.


The Rhode Island Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive funder of nonprofit organizations in Rhode Island. Through leadership, fundraising and grant-making activities, often in partnership with individuals and organizations, the Foundation is helping Rhode Island reach its true potential. For more information, visit


Addressing a failed system

Addressing a failed system – Richard Asinof

February 1, 2022/Richard Asinof


by Richard Asinof, ConvergenceRI, contributing writer


Photo: Tina Spears, executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island.


An interview with Tina Spears, executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island


As a blizzard descended on the Northeast, the way that we define community and neighborhood has become self-evident, much like the truths contained in the Declaration of Independence. Who will help the disabled neighbor shovel out?


The question is not an abstract one. Will Gov. Dan McKee, wearing his URI cap, come to the rescue? That is an unlikely scenario – despite the Governor’s posturing as he gives briefings from his post at the emergency command center in an election year.


Will the news media step up to the plate? That is an equally improbable solution – unless there is a Good Samaritan story in it to cover, or there is an iced-coffee to use as a measuring stick.


Will the landlord shovel the walks and clear the parking area, as legally required? That is doubtful – given her past history of neglectful behavior when it comes to snow removal.


Isn’t there a community agency that will provide the shoveling services? Probably – that is the likely answer too many might give, parroting back the answer given in all those ads by George Foreman, saying: “That’s not my problem.”


Sometimes, however, friends simply look out for friends, and neighbors look out for neighbors. It is a small world, after all.


Living in an inclusive world
We are all connected and interdependent with each other, bound together – even if some have a hard time acknowledging the common ground that exists. It is not all about eating chocolate cake and calamari, despite what some political pundits and newspaper columnists would have you believe.


The crises of the last two years around public health, sparked by the onslaught of COVID, and the breakdown of the safety net for Rhode Island’s must vulnerable residents, have not occurred in a vacuum.


The failure to raise Medicaid reimbursement rates for providers is a failure that falls directly upon the shoulders of legislative leaders for the last decade. Rather than face the political reality of raising taxes to pay for needed services, legislative leaders – and Governors Raimondo and McKee – have put the burden instead on community service providers, asking them to perform as if they were heroic “catchers in the rye,” desperately trying to save all the babies and children from falling, falling.


All of the technological prowess in the world – delivered by the likes of Deloitte or by expensive business consulting firms such as Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company – have not been able to remedy the underlying problems in Rhode Island. Instead of investing in direct client services, the state’s money has been invested and diverted into paying for technological fixes. It is a human problem.


One of the most important – and most under-reported – processes now underway is the Senate legislative commission examining the role of the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, led by state Sen. Josh Miller. What has emerged from the hearings, covered extensively by ConvergenceRI, is the gap – more like a gaping maw – that exists between how human services are aligned and their actual delivery.


ConvergenceRI asked Tina Spears, the executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island, headquartered in Cranston, and a member of the Senate legislative commission, to share her insights, from the providers’ perspective, a voice that is too rarely heard. Here is the ConvergenceRI interview.


ConvergenceRI: Why do you think it has been so hard to have your voice and the voices of your colleagues heard about the current crisis in low reimbursement rates by Medicaid? What do you think is the best strategy to remedy that?
SPEARS: Fundamentally, I believe it is linked to a long-standing stigma and or misunderstanding of the needs of people with disabilities, behavioral health conditions, and more generally, people on Medicaid. This system is often viewed as a drain, and an expense, instead of an investment in the well-being of our community or our economy.


We have a dynamic in which the state says, “This is what we are willing to pay for clinical, residential, or community based services,” that has no relevance to cost, which does not match how the state contracts with other industry vendors of service.


For example, when the state contracts with a technical IT vendor, let’s say Deloitte, to build a system, Deloitte priced the cost of what the state was asking for.


Deloitte said, “Our labor cost is x and our material cost is y, and this is what we can do for a sum of money.”


While the state will negotiate a better price if possible, they do so in a limited fashion, and the vendor is able to do the work asked of them. Or, so we hope.


For health and human service providers, whose “product” is to support Rhode Island residents, there is no pricing model that supports current labor markets or business costs to do so.


Providers are given a budget or a fee schedule and told to go make it work. We’re in a fundamentally weaker position than other vendors; because the people we serve continue to be marginalized, and our services are not deemed as valuable.


It’s not like providers can pull up stakes and go, “Oh, well, we’ll just go to Massachusetts then.” We work here in Rhode Island for Rhode Islanders, that’s who we serve and want to serve.


How we remedy that is assessing cost and pricing and funding services to ensure their existence for Rhode Islanders who need them. Rep. Julie Casimiro has sponsored a bill to do just that, H7180. The Senate bill is on its way, sponsored by Sen. Louis DiPalma.


ConvergenceRI: Your work as a member of the Senate commission looking at R.I. EOHHS has no doubt been eye-opening. What has most surprised you from the hearings? What have you learned?
SPEARS: The most eye-opening moments have been the misalignment of the policy intent of R.I. EOHHS and the actualization of the organizational outcomes that were expected by the statute that created R.I. EOHHS.


I believe the commission will work to draft recommendations once we have completed the hearings, so I will hold comments until we have fully concluded our review.


What have I learned? That the best intended policy can have poor outcomes if alignment with the investments and operational structures does not occur.


ConvergenceRI: If you could create and launch a billboard campaign to address the gaps in funding and care in Rhode Island, what would it say?
SPEARS: We [the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island and its member agencies] are constantly discussing how we talk to the public and policymakers about this. Right now, I think our billboard campaign would say, “It’s time to include everybody.”


Because that’s fundamentally what this is about: the inclusion of people with disabilities and behavioral health conditions in our society. This is very much a civil rights issue. And we don’t get to a place of inclusion and integration if we don’t have a well compensated professional, experienced workforce, if we don’t have providers who can take in new clients.


Our social media hashtag is #StableWorkforceStableLives, and I think that also sums up the issue well. The health and human services system is destabilized [that was true even before the pandemic, but the pandemic made it worse]; its workforce turns over incredibly quickly because they have been undervalued. Our members need stability in their workforce to provide the stability in their clients’ lives and bring about a state that’s fully inclusive of people with disabilities.


Oh, and if you know of anyone who wants to fund a billboard campaign, get them in touch with me, I’ll take that in a hot second!


ConvergenceRI: Would you like to see witnesses sworn in under oath when they testify before commissions and legislative hearings? Why?
SPEARS: I can see the value of implementing this practice to ensure information that is presented, and deliberated upon, is, in fact, accurate, and informs policy and appropriations decisions. But this is not something I have taken a great deal of time to consider the pros and cons of.


ConvergenceRI: If you could have a one-on-one interview with the Governor, what would you ask him?
SPEARS: I would ask him, “Where do you stand on ensuring access to care for people with disabilities and behavioral health conditions?” I would ask him if he understands the tremendous struggle people with disabilities and behavioral health conditions, their families, and the professionals who support them are going through right now?


I would ask him, assuming he wins, what does Rhode Island look like for people with disabilities and behavioral health conditions after his time in office? No one else in Rhode Island is in a better position to deliver continuity and planning for an inclusive state than the Governor. So how does he get us to that? How does he put us in a place to ensure that if the crisis is solved, some future person like me won’t be asking a future governor to solve the exact same crisis? This could be the Governor’s legacy. I think that would be a great legacy to leave Rhode Island.


Knowing the health and human service workforce sector is one of the largest in the state, has he thought about how the community organizations that employ that workforce fit into his economic plans?


ConvergenceRI: Do you have any initial thoughts about how R.I. EOHHS should be re-organized?
SPEARS: What has been clear through this process is the need for aligning our investment strategies with our policy objectives in the health and human service system. The fact that the access to services is seriously compromised today leads us to the question: Why is there a disconnect between the funding and the programs when R.I. EOHHS was designed to align them?


While there is no single answer to this question, one key take-away for me, as a commission member, is the need to understand who is ultimately making the policy and investment decisions. Based on testimony, directors of agencies suggested strong alignment and partnership with R.I. EOHHS, yet public and community testimony suggests there are significant problems.


It sounds to me, based on testimony, the Governor’s office and/or the Office of Management and Budget are the ultimate decision makers on investments and policies. If this is the case, I do wonder if there is a need for R.I. EOHHS if the Governor and OMB are not willing to defer decision-making to EOHHS.


ConvergenceRI: What questions haven’t I asked, should I have asked, that you would like to talk about?
SPEARS: I think the one thing that can be overshadowed by the technical conversation is the human side of what we are deliberating on. Today, we have a critical decision to make as a state. Do we, or do we not, support inclusive lives in our communities?


We have a terrible access-to-care crisis for adults and children with disabilities and behavioral health conditions. Forty short years ago, we deinstitutionalized and committed to community models of support, and that policy decision changed lives and our communities.


That system is in fact failing, and people are suffering. We have to ask ourselves if we are going back to institutionalization, or are we investing in the ideal of inclusion and the civil rights of people with disabilities and mental illness.


When we discuss this important issue, we have to constantly remind ourselves how our decisions have immediate and long-term impacts on the lives of Rhode Islanders.


Tina Spears, M.P.A., is the executive director of the Community Provider Network of Rhode Island, headquartered in Cranston.



Richard Asinof


Richard Asinof is the founder and editor of ConvergenceRI, an online subscription newsletter offering news and analysis at the convergence of health, science, technology and innovation in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island News Summary

(Undated)  --  Here is the latest news: Police have released the name of the victim of a weekend shooting in Pawtucket.  Another Democrat joins the field to replace Rhode Island Congressman Jim Langevin.  Tom Brady says he has not yet made a retirement decision.

>>Pawtucket Shooting Victim ID'd

(Pawtucket, RI)  --  The victim of a fatal shooting in Pawtucket is being identified.  Police say Jovani Velez of Cumberland was shot near Broadway and Carnation Street on Sunday night.  This was the second gun-related homicide in Pawtucket in January.  Authorities are continuing to investigate the shooting over the weekend and the January 24th incident at the Fab City Cigar Lounge on Newport Avenue, which are not believed to be related.

>>Train Incidents In Westerly, Stoughton MA

(Undated)  --  A couple of train mishaps took place in Southern New England on Monday morning.  An MBTA train was involved in a crash with a car on the Providence-Stoughton line in Stoughton, Massachusetts.  Meanwhile in Rhode Island, an Amtrak train hit a maintenance vehicle that was stuck on the tracks in Westerly.  No injuries were reported, but service was disrupted.

>>Another Democrat Running For Langevin's Seat 

(Warwick, RI)  --  A Democratic candidate is joining the race for the Rhode Island 2nd Congressional District.  Joy Fox is a former top staffer to incumbent Jim Langevin and former governor Gina Raimondo.  Fox, a resident of Warwick, says we need a representative in Congress who knows the district and is willing to fight for every family.  She is the fourth Democrat in a field that includes Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner.

>>DOJ Indicts Massachusetts Town Official In Fraud Case 

(Providence, RI)  --  A Massachusetts town official is being indicted for fraud stemming from her role as a property manager for a Rhode Island condominium association.  The Justice Department says Cheryl Sullivan, who is the chair of the board of tax assessors in Dedham, was arrested by FBI agents on Monday.  The feds allege Sullivan, acting as the property manager for the River Island condo group in Woonsocket, used nearly fifty-thousand dollars in association funding for her own personal use.  Sullivan pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment yesterday and has been released on bond.

>>Coronavirus Death Toll In Rhode Island: 3,316

(Providence, RI)  --  Rhode Island reported 14 new coronavirus deaths over the weekend.  The pandemic death toll for the Ocean State increased to three-thousand-316.  The state reported nearly 24-hundred new virus cases.  The number of COVID-19 patients who are in Rhode Island hospitals has decreased to three-hundred-69.

>>Brady Addresses Retirement Questions, McDaniels Leaving For Head Coaching Job

(Foxboro, MA)  --  Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is going on the record to say he has not yet made a decision about retirement.  Brady, who just finished his second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told Jim Gray on the "Let's Go!" podcast he is still going through the process and says he will make a decision when the time is right.  In other Patriots news, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has officially signed on to become the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Jim McCabe/Source Staff/nf       RI)  MA) 
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02-01-2022 02:44:07


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