Elevated levels of bacteria in the water is causing the closure of four Rhode Island beaches. The beaches are the Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown, Conimicut Point and Oakland beach in Warwick, and Easton's Beach in Newport. The state Department of Health says it will continue to monitor the water quality, and will recommend the reopening of these areas to swimmers once the bacteria amounts drop below acceptable levels.
Rhode Island's 2015 fiscal year is officially closed. Governor Gina Raimondo says the final numbers show that the state closed the fiscal year that ended June 30th with a 166-million-dollar surplus. The governor says spending was 21-million-dollars lower than projections, while revenues were 24-million-dollars more than expected.
A company that performed drywall work at the University of Rhode Island is agreeing to pay a 730-thousand-dollar settlement over alleged wage violations. Cardoso Construction is paying to settle claims that it failed to pay more than 30 workers on the project a prevailing wage. The company was also accused of misclassifying 27 other workers as independent contractors to avoid paying them prevailing wages and benefits. Cardoso was a subcontractor on the Anna Fascitelli Fitness and Wellness Center project.
Six workers are injured after an athletic building under construction at Bryant University collapsed. The 78-thousand-square-foot steel structure collapsed on the six male workers, leaving some of them trapped. All were conscious when they were rescued from the debris and taken to the hospital for treatment. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.
Rhode Island State Police are investigating the possibility of financial crimes at the state Department of Children, Youth and Families. Police say officials at the troubled agency requested the investigation, although the exact focus of the probe has not been revealed. Governor Gina Raimondo announced last month that she planned to completely overhaul the agency after inheriting its 16-million-dollar budget deficit.
Governor Gina Raimondo says Rhode Island's clean energy sector is growing. Raimondo says the sector currently supports ten-thousand jobs, and added more than 600 positions in the last year. The governor projects that Rhode Island will add 16-hundred new clean energy jobs over the next year. She says Rhode Island is further leading on this issue with the creation of the nation's first off shore wind farm.
The financially troubled Coventry Fire District is not going to consider layoffs at this time. The district board of directors cast the vote yesterday despite only having around half of the 50-thousand-dollars needed to make Friday's payroll on hand. The vote came after angry exchanges between supporters of the firefighters and those who want the district shuttered. The board instead voted to enter closed door negotiations with the firefighters union in the near future.
A new gambling operation near the Rhode Island border in Massachusetts is putting a dent into revenues at Twin River Casino and Newport Grand. The two Rhode Island casinos generated 41-million-dollars in video gaming revenues in July. That's down six-percent from the take at Newport Grand and Twin River in July of last year. The Plainridge Park Casino opened in June in Massachusetts, generating 18-million-dollars in slot revenues in their first month of operation.
Transportation officials are confirming that an accelerated inspection of Rhode Island's 230 structurally deficient bridges is complete. The DOT says the program has resulted in the immediate repairs of several bridges. These include the Park Avenue Bridge in Cranston, the Pawtucket Avenue Bridge in East Providence and the Mineral Spring Avenue Bridge in Pawtucket. Federal statistics show that one out of every five Rhode Island bridges is structurally deficient.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is heading to court to try to block a proposed ten-percent premium hike by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island. The insurer had initially sought an 18 percent increase, which was first cut to 14 percent and further cut to ten percent. Kilmartin is suing state Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner over her approval of the ten-percent hike, saying it should have been lowered further. Kilmartin wants the court to set aside all increases and freeze rates until the case is resolved.
The so called lonely tagger is avoiding time behind bars for his vandalism spree in Providence. Devin Costa admits that he painted messages about being lonely on roofs and walls around the city. Costa agrees to pay over 12-thousand dollars in restitution for the damage he caused, and is ordered not to trespass in the future.
Two men are injured after being shot in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in Providence. Police say one of the victims was shot three times at the Broad Street location, including once in the head. The second victim was shot in the abdomen, and both were taken to the hospital. No arrests have been made, and police are working to identify suspects in the case.
Toy maker Hasbro is looking to help Pawtucket deal with bullying. Hasbro is set to provide the city with a 130-thousand-dollar grant to train teachers in all city schools in a system designed to prevent bullying. The system was developed by a non-profit anti-bullying group in San Francisco to define a process for dealing with bullying and harassment. Hasbro is hosting an event this morning at the Rhode Island Convention Center to further discuss the grant.
The financial problems continue at the Coventry Fire District. The district was unable to make payroll for their 14 firefighters on Friday, and it appears likely they will be laid off. The district is one of four in Coventry that provide independent fire services to town residents. District Board Chairman Frank Palin says they asked residents to quickly submit their quarterly tax payments, but that effort did not provide enough revenue.
The Providence City Council wants to hold a closed door meeting next week to talk about the work schedule lawsuit filed by city firefighters. The suit seeks to block changes in work schedules that Mayor Jorge Elorza says will save Providence five-million dollars a year. The City Council wants to hold an executive session September 8th to talk about their legal strategy in dealing with the lawsuit. Discussions of pending lawsuits is one of the reasons the council is allowed to exclude the public from meetings and enter executive session.
A new study shows the New England region is in danger with its energy infrastructure. Trade groups representing the oil and natural gas industries funded a study that predicts energy costs will go up and hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry will be lost across the region if improvements aren't made by the end of the decade. The New England Coalition for Affordable Energy released the 68-page report yesterday.
A pizza delivery driver in Coventry inadvertently busted a marijuana growing operation when he had police check on the well-being of a regular customer who didn't answer the door. Police arrested James Clement Van Pelt the Third when they arrived to find the operation. Police found plants, seedlings and nine pounds of marijuana.
Four Warwick beaches on Greenwich Bay are recommended for closure because of high bacteria levels. The Department Health is calling for the closure of City Park Beach, Conimicut Point Beach, Goddard Memorial State Park Beach and Oakland Beach. The storms that hit the earlier this week are to blame. Officials say they are still monitoring water quality levels to see when they're safe again.
Governor Gina Raimondo is making a pitch to the defense industry. She told industry executives yetserday she plans to move Rhode Island to an innovation-based economy. She says the defense industry is critical to the local economy and the state is revamping workforce training. "The Providence Journal" reports that during a conference in Newport the governor announced that today the state will unveil a program tailored to the needs of defense companies.
Police in Central Falls are reporting the arrests of 30 people in a prostitution sting. Police say the arrests came over a three month long sting operation that used undercover female officers posing as prostitutes. The areas targeted by the sting were high traffic areas where quality of life complaints have been recorded. Most of the suspects in the case are due to answer prostitution related charges next month.
Members of the Cranston Western Little League team are back in Rhode Island after being eliminated from the World Series. The team was eliminated by a squad from California on Monday. They returned to Rhode Island last night, and were honored with a brief rally at Cranston Stadium. Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and House Speaker Nick Mattiello were among the officials on hand to welcome the team home.
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is urging the rejection of a 12-million-dollar settlement in the lawsuit over his failed video game company. The lawsuit seeks to recoup some of the state's failed investment used to lure Schilling's 38 Studios to Rhode Island from Massachusetts. The state contends that the taxpayer investment in the company was over 100-million-dollars, with 74-million still outstanding. The state lost its investment when 38 Studios folded up operations in 2012.
A small home near TF Green Airport in Warwick is the target of an investigation in neighboring Massachusetts. The Bristol County District Attorney's office requested a search of the home on Louisiana Avenue. The State Police crime van was parked outside the home for several hours yesterday. Police and prosecutors are not revealing the reason for the search.
The principal owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox is looking at new options for a new stadium location. Larry Lucchino toured a eight acre site on Victory Place in the Jewelry District of Providence yesterday. The tour came a day after a meeting where a large group of Providence residents spoke against the team's planned location for the ballpark along the Providence River. The team has been looking to site their stadium on former Interstate-195 land that was originally planned for a park.
A new report places Rhode Island among the safest states in the nation. WalletHub's study takes into account factors that include the number of deadly crashes, occupational injuries and weather-related property loss. Rhode Island is eighth on the list, led by having the safest workplaces in the nation, along with safe homes and communities. Massachusetts is listed as the nation's safest state, with Mississippi the least safe.
A Providence man is facing new sex trafficking charges involving a teenage girl from Texas. Dujuan Harris is charged in federal court with sex trafficking and transporting a minor for the purpose of sexual activity. He was already being held without bail on related state charges. He allegedly made friends with the underage girl over the Internet and convinced her to run away with him.
The University of Rhode island is rescinding a parking fee it planned to impose on graduate assistants. The decision came just before around two-dozen graduate assistants held a protest to object to the 100-dollar fee. They claim the fee would have been a violation of their collective bargaining agreement. The union says graduate assistants only earn around 15-thousand-dollars a year, and the fee would be a pay cut.
Cranston Mayor Allan Fung says the vote of no confidence in him by the City Council is nothing more than political theater. The resolution passed by a narrow five-to-four vote, followed by Council President John Lanni calling for Fung's resignation. Fung rejects that call, saying he will continue working towards earning back the confidence of residents.
One woman is dead and another is charged with domestic murder following an incident in Middletown. Police say Melissa Sue Ann Castle strangled her domestic partner after an argument yesterday morning. Rachael Kilroy was pronounced dead by the medical examiner, who is working to determine the cause of death. Castle is being held without bail.
Providence officials are still trying to figure out what caused city swimming pools to become so cloudy that they had to be closed for the year. The pools were shut down because of fears that lifeguards would not be able to see someone at the bottom because of the cloudy water. Officials tried chemical treatments and even drained the pools, but that did not fix the problem. All of the pools were painted over this past spring, and tests are being conducted to determine if the paint is causing the cloudy water.
The National Governor's Association is choosing Rhode Island to host its 2017 summer meeting. The group's nine-governor executive committee has settled on Rhode Island for the event in July of 2017. Rhode Island was brought under consideration after Governor Gina Raimondo extended the invitation. The state last hosted the NGA summer meeting in 2001.
The ride is over for the Cranston Western Little League team. The New England representative in the Little League World Series was eliminated by the West regional champs from Bonita, California yesterday. Cranston Western was no match for Bonita, which scored six runs in the third inning en route to a ten-to-three victory. Bonita moves on to face the Great Lakes regional champion from Kentucky.
Unionized Rhode Island state troopers are receiving ten-percent raises following a ruling from an arbitrator. The raises cover the period between May of 2013 through next April. The pay hike is well over the average increases for other state workers during the same period, which is around six-percent. The decision also grants officers a one time 500-dollar electronic device stipend, and pays detectives overtime instead of comp time for working over 40 hours a week.
The Cranston City Council has no confidence that Mayor Allan Fung can lead city government. The council approved the resolution of no confidence last night by a five-to-four vote. The resolution blames Fung's apparent mismanagement of the city police department as a key reason for the vote. The council also says Fung failed to give clear and accurate reasons for his actions.
A state prisoner is back behind bars after failing to return to the Adult Correctional Institution from a work-release program. Michael Russo was reported missing from the prison Saturday night after not coming back from a North Providence auto body shop. After a few hours of freedom, Russo called the prison and surrendered. Russo is serving five years for felony assault, and now faces a possible three more years in prison if convicted of escape.
A woman is recovering after being hit in the head with a baseball bat in Providence. The woman says she was walking with a friend on Plainfield Street early yesterday when they were attacked by four women. The victim was able to identify the woman who hit her with the bat, but indicated that she doesn't want to press charges. Police are continuing to investigate.
The former treasurer of a softball coaches association is jailed on charges accusing him of theft from the organization. Steven Zina of Bristol allegedly stole more than 12-thousand-dollars from the Rhode Island Softball Coaches Association. Zina has two other similar cases pending with Bristol Police that involve thefts from nonprofit organizations. He's charged with embezzlement and other offenses, and is scheduled to appear in court today.
A North Providence man is dead after driving his car the wrong way onto I-95 and crashing head-on into another vehicle. Police say the incident occurred in Providence early Saturday morning. Armondo Gomes apparently entered the highway at Providence Place Way and crashed into a minivan about 200 feet later. The driver of the minivan was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.
The Cranston City Council is planning to take a vote of no confidence in Mayor Allan Fung at tonight's meeting. The measure against the Republican mayor is sponsored by three Democrats, including Council President John Lanni. The resolution comes after a scathing State Police report into problems with the police department, which accused Fung of meddling in police business. A Fung spokesman says the resolution is political grandstanding.
Cranston Western is expected to play their first Little League World Series game today. The New England regional champions will face off against a team from Taylor, South Carolina this afternoon in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Cranston Western is the eighth Rhode Island team to earn a trip to Williamsport, with the last being Cumberland American in 2014.
Crews are removing any old cables that remain under Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett. The decision to remove the abandoned cables from under the beach was made after an unexplained explosion at the beach last month. A Connecticut woman suffered injuries in the blast. Officials believe hydrogen released into the sand by a corroding old cable caused that explosion.
Two men accused of killing a man who lived on his boat off Warwick are being held without bail. Richard Baribault and Troy Gunderway are accused of killing 70-year-old Fernando Silva. His decomposing body was found August 15th in Warwick Cove. Police believe the suspects went to the boat with the intent on robbing Silva of money from a recent keno win.
The Providence school board is being sued by an assistant principal who claims members are discriminating against him. Rodolfo Vargas says board members are blocking his career advancement because of his Hispanic origin. Vargas filed his lawsuit this month in Providence federal court. He claims that despite being qualified and certified, the school board repeatedly passed him over for promotions.
Rhode Island's unemployment rate is continuing to decline. State labor officials say the jobless rate was five-point-eight-percent in July, which is almost two percent lower than July of last year. The number of unemployed people in the state is a little over 32-thousand, which is the lowest level since September of 2007. The state gained 33-hundred jobs in July, and has now regained two-thirds of the jobs lost to the recession.
A skunk that attacked a person in South Kingstown last week has tested positive for rabies, state environmental officials said.
The animal was euthanized and tested at the State Health Laboratory.
The Department of Environmental Management and the Department of Health said the skunk was in the vicinity of Roy Carpenter’s Beach when it attacked a person Saturday.
People exposed to the skunk were evaluated and are undergoing treatment. Officials said they are concerned that other people or pets may have encountered the skunk and not come forward.
People who may have had contact with the skunk or any wild animal near the private beach are urged to contact the health department.
People whose pets may have had contact are asked to call South Kingstown Animal Control.
Gov. Gina Raimondo is taking a vacation in New Hampshire with her family before resuming a normal schedule sometime next week.
Raimondo spokeswoman Marie Aberger said on Wednesday that the Raimondo family will spend a few days in New Hampshire, where they have vacationed in previous summers.
Aberger said the rest of the time, the governor will be “enjoying Rhode Island’s worldfamous beaches.” Raimondo and her husband have two school-age children.
The Portsmouth Fire Department will receive a federal grant to purchase protective gear for its firefighters, members of the Rhode Island congressional delegation announced Wednesday.
The $14,767 grant comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG) and the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) program.
SAFER and AFG are competitive grant programs designed to aid fire departments and emergency medical service organizations in meeting their equipment, training and other needs.
Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders have won more than $26 million in AFG awards since 2001, and $14.5 million in SAFER awards since 2005.
Only one Rhode Island high school is listed among the top 500 public high schools in the country. The only state school on the Newsweek list is East Greenwich High School, which is 186th. The report cites the school's 98-percent graduation rate and 93-percent of graduates heading to college as reasons for making the list. Newsweek's report says Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Virginia is the nation's top public high school.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is in Guatemala on an official visit to the South American country. The mayor reportedly has met with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina to discuss a possible sister city arrangement. Providence would become sister cities with Antigua, Guatemala, which is one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. Elorza and President Perez Molina met at the presidential palace in Guatemala City on Tuesday.
The first finding of West Nile Virus in Rhode Island is being confirmed by state officials. The Department of Emergency Management says mosquitoes trapped in North Kingstown on August 12th have tested positive for West Nile. Positive tests in mosquitoes are uncommon but are expected in this time of year, and no human cases have been reported. People are urged to take steps to avoid mosquito bites until the season ends, which is usually after the first frost.
A man is heading to prison for decades for the 1990 killing of Michael Holliday in Providence. The case went unsolved for more than two decades until Daniel Serrano confessed to police in December of 2013. Holliday was found beaten to death in a vacant apartment on Somerset Street in Providence in February of 1990. Serrano told investigators that his conscience caused him to confess to the killing.
It appears unlikely that Rhode Island lawmakers will take up a possible deal for a minor league baseball stadium in a special session later this year. House Speaker Nick Mattiello says he expects it will be January at the earliest before lawmakers address the stadium issue. The Pawtucket Red Sox are seeking an agreement with the city and the state to relocate to former Interstate-195 land on the Providence waterfront. Mattiello says the current terms of the proposal are significantly different than the initial one offered by the team.
The latest mosquito test results are negative in Rhode Island for both West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The results are from 105 mosquito pools from 37 traps set statewide the week of August 3rd. However, the state Department of Environmental Management cautions that West Nile Virus has been detected in neighboring states. The public is advised to take precautionary steps to avoid mosquito bites.
An anti-ballpark bumper sticker campaign has surfaced. WPRI-TV reports it's part of a grass roots effort in opposition to a proposed taxpayer-subsidized stadium in Providence for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The first proposal from the team's new owners is being reworked after it was rejected. According to Channel 12, a spokeswoman for the Pawsox says if a ballpark isn't built in Providence, the team will leave Rhode Island.
The release of a man who's served 23-years in prison is on hold. It was expected that Raymond "Beaver" Tempest would be freed to home confinement yesterday pending his retrial. But a state Supreme Court judge issued the hold order until the full court can consider the case. Last month a Superior Court judge vacated Tempest's murder conviction in the 1982 death of Doreen Picard of Woonsocket. His lawyer says DNA evidence that wasn't considered at trial proves that someone else killed Picard.
Police are investigating the deaths of two brothers in Rhode Island. Chris Mann was found shot to death last Thursday in Brockton. His brother, Kevin Mann, was killed three months ago outside a hookah bar in Providence. Investigators are working to determine if the incidents are related. Additional information hasn't been released.
Police are searching for a missing man in Cranston. Kerry Mello was last seen more than a week ago at his girlfriend's Silver Lake apartment. His girlfriend told officers that when she returned from work late last week Mello had disappeared. His family says it's unlike Mello to not contact his relatives, especially his mother. Anyone with information about the 36-year-old man's whereabouts is urged to call police.
A judge is allowing a former North Providence police chief to serve the remainder of his prison sentence at home. In 2012, John Whiting was sentenced to five years, with six months to be served in prison. He was found guilty of stealing money from a dancer at a strip club and leading officers on a car chase during Tropical Storm Irene. His lawyer has asked for home-confinement for the remaining sentence, citing medical and marital problems.
A homeless man is spending the next 30 years behind bars in connection to a deadly attack in Rhode Island more than two decades ago. Daniel Serrano turned himself in to police in 2013. He told investigators that he was responsible for the bludgeoning death of Michael Holliday in 1990. Serrano was convicted of first-degree murder. He has an extensive criminal history including drug arrests, breaking-and-entering and gun possession charges.
Providence is ranked 91st overall in a ranking of the most and least educated cities. Providence's ranking is based on a survey of the 150 largest U.S. statistical metropolitan areas. Factors considered include percentage of adults with a bachelor's degree or higher, average quality of universities and public school ranking. Ann Arbor, Michigan, is ranked the most educated city and Brownsville, Texas, the least educated.
Hundreds of people are mourning the loss of a soldier in Warren. Friends and family attended the funeral for Sergeant Peter Andrew McKenna, Jr. yesterday morning at St. Mary of the Bay Church. State flags were raised to half-staff yesterday and people lined Main Street waving American flags. McKenna died earlier this month in Afghanistan at the NATO facility. He was a 17-year veteran.
A driver is expected to be okay after a power line fell onto their car in Warwick. Emergency crews responded to the scene yesterday afternoon on West Shore Road. Police say a tree brought down the electric lines, but no word as to what caused the fall. At least one person was stranded. An investigation is ongoing.
A second arrest has been made stemming from the death of an Army veteran in Pawtucket. Jose Rodriguez was arrested late last week in South Providence. Colby Mendonca and his roommate, Russell Gleason, were in a parking lot last month when they got into an argument with strangers. Mendonca was killed, and the second victim was badly injured. Rodriguez and another suspect have been charged with murder.
A man is hospitalized after an ATV crash in Portsmouth. Police say Samuel Harrington of Newport was driving the all-terrain vehicle Sunday night when he hit a guardrail and was thrown into the woods. The 19-year-old was in critical condition as of yesterday afternoon. An investigation into what caused the crash is underway.
Police are releasing the name of an 80-year-old man who was killed in a Rhode Island bike race. Peter Murphy of Connecticut was killed over the weekend after crashing into a parked car on South County Trail. The victim suffered several head injuries and died later in the hospital. He was participating in the North East Master Cycling Association race in Charleston at the time of his death.
Democrat Michael Sepe is running for mayor of Cranston. The election is 15 months away, but Sepe says he's ready to start knocking on doors and find out what residents are thinking. Sepe is hoping to take on incumbent Republican Allan Fung in next year's election. He has placed 25-thousand-dollars of his own money into a pair of campaign bank accounts to get things moving forward.
The air quality is expected to be poor in Rhode Island today. State health officials say elevated levels of ground level ozone are expected today. The condition can cause breathing problems for the elderly and people with underlying medical problems. People who have respiratory issues are encouraged to limit outdoor activity and stay in air conditioning until the air quality improves.
An elderly man is dead after riding his bicycle into the back of a stopped pickup truck in Charlestown. The unidentified 80-year-old man was participating in a North East Master Cycling Association race when the crash occurred. The man was riding on South County Trail when he hit the back of a pickup truck that had stopped on the shoulder. The man was wearing a helmet, but officials say he suffered a severe head injury in the crash.
The Cranston Western Little League team is heading to Williamsport. Cranston Western defeated a team from New Hampshire yesterday to advance to the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania. This is the second time Cranston Western has headed to Williamsport, the first time being in 1996. In that series, Cranston Western finished second behind a team from Chinese Taipei.
Friends and family are devastated by the loss of a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier from Bristol. A funeral was held yesterday in Warren for First Sergeant Peter Andrew McKenna, who was killed in Afghanistan August seventh. McKenna was remembered as a local hero who selflessly served his country. He's the first Rhode Island resident to be killed in overseas fighting since April of 2012.
Two men are facing federal charges after law enforcement officials discovered 14-hundred marijuana plants growing in a Providence building. The discovery was made at a converted mill building on Branch Avenue during a raid on Wednesday. Officials also confiscated 14-thousand-dollars in cash and a handgun. Richard Yang is facing marijuana charges and William Ricci weapons offenses.
Police are investigating the death of a 20-year-old man in Exeter. The unidentified man apparently fell from a cell phone tower off Yawgoo Valley Road yesterday afternoon. Firefighters were called to the scene after the young man apparently fell, and the medical examiner was called in a short time later.
Rhode Island is receiving more than one-million-dollars from the federal government to help clean up contaminated sites. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields grant will also be used to train workers for environmental jobs. The state's congressional delegation joined EPA officials to announce the grants yesterday in Central Falls. A 200-thousand-dollar grant will be used to clean up the waterfront site, a former factory and auto shop that is polluted with arsenic and other dangerous items.
Rhode Island's poet laureate is leaving for a new job in California. Rick Benjamin has informed Governor Gina Raimondo that he is resigning his post as state poet laureate January 15th. He's leaving in order to take a teaching and administrative position at the University of California-Santa Barbara. The state Arts Council will now begin the process of finding Benjamin's replacement.
National Grid's plans for a 100-million-dollar liquefied natural gas system in Providence is being met by some local resistance. National Grid wants to install a system that would cool natural gas from a nearby pipeline and store it in liquid form at Fields Point. The existing tank would be used, but the liquefied gas would not have to be trucked in from the Boston area any more. Opponents say the system would pose a danger to surrounding communities because of emissions and the possibility of an accident.