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1540 WADK.com Updates

Suspect in homicide arrested in Middletown


State Police made an arrest in Middletown of a suspect wanted for homicide conspiracy in New York City.  They found Dennis James of the Bronx at 78 Beacon Street in Middletown where he was taken into custody without incident.

Ex-Speaker Fox has chosen a lawyer


Former House Speaker and criminal defense attorney Bill Murphy is one of the lawyers representing ex-Speaker Gordon Fox.  Fox resigned the leadership position last month after state and federal investigators raided his State House office and his Providence home.  Murphy says he cannot comment on the investigation.

State pension trial can move forward


A judge is rejecting the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the overhaul of the public employee pension system.  The decision means the lawsuit filed by the unions can proceed to trial in September.  The judge had put off a decision while both sides tried to reach a settlement.  The ruling comes after months of mediated talks collapsed earlier this month. 

Boston Marathon backpack hoax update


The man accused in Tuesday night's backpack hoax near the Boston Marathon finish line is being held on 100-thousand-dollars bail.  Authorities say 25-year-old Kevin Edson is charged with possession or use of a hoax device and making a false bomb threat.  He's been sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and he's is due back in court early next month.

Warren Planning Board


The old American Tourister mill in Warren is closer to becoming an apartment complex and commercial space.  The developer’s preliminary conversion plan has been approved by the Warren Planning Board.  WPRI TV reports the developer still needs final approval to move forward.

Naval Station Newport surplus land


At the next Middletown Town Council meeting on Monday, the council will get information from the Deputy Director of the Coastal Resources Management Council.  At issue is the Federal Coastal Zone Consistency Determination for disposal and reuse of surplus property at Naval Station Newport.  They will also hear from the state D.O.T. regarding the reconstruction of Two Mile Corner.   

Boston Marathon bomb hoax


A suspect is facing charges in connection with suspicious backpacks that were left in the vicinity of the Boston Marathon finish line last night.  Witnesses say the man was barefoot, wearing a long black veil and yelling “Boston Strong."  The area was evacuated, and the backpacks were detonated by the bomb squad as a precaution. 

Allan Fung's tax plan


Republican candidate for Governor Allan Fung is proposing a 200 million dollar tax reduction package.  Fung's plan lowers the state's corporate, estate and sales taxes.  To cover the tax cuts, Fung says he would trim state spending, cut the state workforce by five percent, and forgo repaying the debt on 38 Studios.  Fung says his plan would improve the business climate and increase jobs in Rhode Island.

North Kingstown woman's offer rejected by MADD


Mothers Against Drunk Driving is rejecting a five-thousand-dollar donation from a North Kingstown woman.  Jayne Donegan agreed to make the donation in exchange for dismissal of charges connected to an alleged underage drinking party in her home in January.  MADD issued a statement last night saying it's "not right to accept money under these conditions." 

Illegal cesspools


Some homeowners across the state have started to receive violation notices regarding the state’s laws for cesspools.  The D.E.M estimates there are around 300 cesspools that are illegal.  The Journal reports the fines could be as high as 2,500 dollars. 

R.I. Tea Party protest


The Rhode Island Tea Party is criticizing government for the state's high unemployment rate. The president of the Tea Party claims there is abuse of taxpayer funds in Rhode Island.   At a State House rally yesterday, members complained about issues including the Affordable Care Act, taxes, and the federal debt. 

U.R.I. arms campus police


The University of Rhode Island will arm its campus police officers. The issue gained traction last spring when the Kingston campus was shut down after a report of someone with a gun.  A URI spokeswoman says while not everyone agrees with the decision, the University cannot consider itself immune to threats of violence. Until now, URI was the only state university in the country with an unarmed police force.

Jamestown Police make DWI arrest


Jamestown Police arrested Lawrence Brew of Kenyon, R.I. for D.W.I. and refusal to submit to a chemical test.  Brew has been arrested 3 previous times for D.W.I. including in 1996, when it resulted in the death of a 68 year old woman who had been walking on Main Street in South Kingstown. 

Newport school budget


The Newport School Committee and the Newport City Council workshop is planned for tomorrow night at the Thompson Middle School.  On the agenda is the fiscal year 2014 budget. 

Nuala Pell service set for next week


The funeral service for Nuala Pell is Monday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport.   The widow of the late Senator Claiborne Pell died Sunday at the age of 89.  A reception will follow the service at the Pell Center at Salve Regina University.

Post office open late for tax filers


The big post office on Corliss Street in Providence will be open until nine p.m. tonight for last-minute tax filers.   Mail dropped in the collection box at that location before nine o'clock will get an April 15th postmark.  Postal customers are warned if they are using a collection box somewhere else today, they should check the last pickup time to make sure the mail has not already been collected.

Block and Raimondo new endorsements


Ken Block has picked up the endorsement of the citizens group call Rhode Island Taxpayers in his bid for Governor.  Gina Raimondo now has the support of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 57.  According to the Journal, their campaigns released the information on the endorsements.

Sheldon Whitehouse on HHS Secretary


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says it will be good to have a new Health and Human Services Secretary now that the Affordable Care Act is in effect.  The U.S. Senate is preparing for confirmation hearings on the replacement for Kathleen Sebelius.  Sheldon Whitehouse appeared yesterday on Fox News Sunday.

Coyotes on Aquidneck Island


A campaign is being launched to raise awareness about the coyote population on Aquidneck Island and elsewhere in the state.  The goal is to keep pets and people safe.  More information is available online at coyotesmarts.org.

Nuala Pell passes away


Nuala Pell passed away Sunday morning at Newport Hospital. The late Senator Claiborne Pell’s wife died at the age of 89.  According to the Journal, her last major public appearance was with her grandson Clay Pell when he announced his candidacy for Governor.

State union deal


A tentative contract agreement has been reached between the state and its public employee unions.  It's a four-year deal retroactive to July first of 2013.  State employees will receive two-percent wage increases three times over the next 18 months.  For the first time the unions have agreed to health insurance deductibles and there will also be increases for medical and pharmaceutical co-pays.   The contract must still be ratified by members of Council 94, American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, and a coalition of smaller unions.

Narragansett Bay environmental studies


Rhode Island’s Science and Technology Advisory Council will announce today the recipients of over 800,000 dollars in grant money.  According to the Journal, most of the projects involve environmental study in and around Narragansett Bay.  The money comes from the state’s general fund and federal money from The National Science Foundation.

Master Gardeners in Middletown


The U.R.I.  master gardeners continue the soil testing tour.  They will be at Paradise Valley Park in Middletown tomorrow from 11am to 1pm.   

Brown University poll results


Brown University has released the findings of a new poll.  The results show Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras are in a statistical tie for the Democratic nomination for Governor.  It also revealed that 47 percent of Rhode Islanders support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for person use.

Newport County property taxes


The property taxes in all the counties in Rhode Island are higher than the national average.  The Journal reports the highest property tax bill in the state is in Bristol County and in second place was Newport County. 

Proposed school bus bill


A House committee is considering a proposed bill that would require an adult be waiting at a school bus stop in order for the child to be allowed off the bus.  WPRI TV reports the bill would apply to all students in grades K through 6. 

Warren 18 year old turns himself in


An 18 year old from Warren is facing charges in connection with a stabbing on Sunday night.  Police say the teen turned himself in yesterday and is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon in connection with the stabbing of a 20 year old in Rehoboth.

Newport City Manager is up for new job


Newport City Manager, Jane Howington, is being considered for the city manager job in Brunswick, Ohio.  An Ohio newspaper is reporting Howington is set for an interview on the 17th next week.

Governor weighs in on pension settlement


Governor Chafee says various options are being considered on how to go forward with the proposed state pension settlement.  Five of the six unions that sued the state over the pension overhaul enacted in 2011 have approved the settlement. The police union which rejected the deal is the smallest of the groups. In the meantime, a Superior Court judge has ordered both sides back into mediation. 

R.I. drug overdose death rate increases


The number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island since the start of the year is now at 75.  The state Department of Health says of the 71 overdose deaths screened so far, 46 tested positive for the powerful prescription medication fentanyl. 

North Kingstown Senator suggests funding help for drug overdose problem


State Senator Dawson Hodgson from North Kingstown says the state should use some of the money from the recent 230 million dollar Google settlement to address the drug overdose problem.  Patch.com reports much of the money remains unspent and is intended for law enforcement.   

Pell Award announced


Trinity Rep's annual Pell Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts is going to a married couple.  This year's recipients are Academy award nominated film actor Richard Jenkins and his choreographer wife, Sharon Jenkins.  The award will be presented at a black-tie gala on June 9th.   Richard Jenkins is a former artistic director at Trinity who has appeared in more than 60 films and was nominated for a 2007 Oscar for his role in "The Visitor."

Newport City Council salutes Rogers girls basketball team


At tonight’s Newport City Council meeting, the council will recognize the Rogers High School Girls Basketball team for winning the title of Division II Girls basketball champions. 

State pension deal goes back to mediation


A proposed settlement in the state pension overhaul case is back in mediation. A Superior Court judge yesterday ordered talks to resume after retirees in the smallest of the six public employees unions that have to approve the settlement, rejected the deal.  Supporters say the settlement is preferable to a court fight and would save the state billions of dollars.  Opponents of the deal want the state to fight the unions in court.

East Bay legislators weigh in on sales tax


Two East Bay legislators will unveil bills today to lower the state's 7 percent sales tax.   Representative Jan Malik and Senator Walter Felag co-chaired a special commission last year that considered the possibility of eliminating the tax.  They say their bills represent issues discussed during the commission's hearings.  According to the Tax Foundation, California has the highest sales tax in the country with Rhode Island in a five-way tie for second highest.

Chariho students arrested


Two high school students and a middle school student are facing charges connected to drugs in hard candy.  According to Richmond police and the Chariho Regional School District, the candy was not given to any unsuspecting students.  Authorities became suspicious late last month when a student required medical attention after eating a marijuana-laced candy. The state Department of Health is conducting toxicology tests.

R.I. AG warns of scam


The public is being warned that a "grandparent scam" has resurfaced in Rhode Island.  The scam targets the elderly and usually starts with a phone call from someone who poses as a grandchild in trouble or in some cases, someone claiming to be a police officer or attorney.  In every case the caller claims there is an emergency and requests money be sent immediately via a wire transfer.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin warns that if someone asks for money by Western Union or MoneyGram, it's probably a scam.  

NUWC dedicates new facility


The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport dedicated a new 24.3 million dollar Electromagnetic Sensor Facility yesterday.  Senator Jack Reed said the facility is part of the premier place for U.S. research, development, testing and evaluation to develop new undersea warfare systems.  Congressman David Cicilline added research, development and innovation are the drivers for U.S. superiority around the world.   

Pension settlement vote


Attorneys representing public employee unions and retiree organizations say the vote from municipal police union members was to not approve the state pension settlement.  A Superior Court judge has ordered the parties back to mediation. 

Rhode Islander's trust level for government


A poll finds 58 percent of Rhode Islanders have either little or no trust in state government to handle problems.  According to the Gallup poll only 40 percent have a great deal or fair amount of trust in state government.  All 50 states were polled between June and December of 2013.  

Jack Reed at NUWC today


Senator Jack Reed will be on hand today at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Electromagnetic Sensor Facility at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport.  The facility will certify and repair imaging and optical systems, electronic warfare equipment, periscopes and other submarine communication systems. 

Ciciline gets challenged


First District Congressman David Cicilline is facing a Democratic primary challenge.  Political newcomer Matt Fecteau of Pawtucket officially kicked-off his campaign yesterday.  He's an Army veteran who served two tours of duty in Iraq. 

R.I. canine cops will help at Boston Marathon


Five Rhode Island State Police K-9 units will help provide security at the upcoming Boston Marathon.  WPRI-TV reports the Massachusetts State Police are requesting the assistance from Rhode Island and other states.  The 118th Boston Marathon is scheduled for Monday, April 21st. 

U.R.I. master gardeners in Middletown


U.R.I. master gardeners spent some time yesterday testing soil at Prescott Farm in Middletown.  Carol Nagle of Newport says the group will offer free testing to the public at various locations across the state over the growing season.  The Journal reports they will also be testing soil at the East Farm Spring Festival in May at the U.R.I. farm in South Kingstown. 

D.E.M. closes Bristol Harbor to shell fishing


The Rhode Island D.E.M. has closed the waters to shell fish harvesting in Bristol Harbor and around Hog Island.  Elevated flows and bacteria levels from the Bristol Wastewater Treatment Facility and heavy rain caused the closure.

Loughlin won't run


Republican John Loughlin has decided against a run for Congress versus David Ciciline.  Loughlin said he did not think he had enough time to raise enough money to mount an effective campaign.    

Another candidate to replace Gordon Fox opens campaign


A community organizer is running for the House seat being vacated by former House Speaker Gordon Fox.  Aaron Regunberg, the founder of the Providence Student Union, says he's running to make sure public schools are providing a high quality education.  The 24 year old Chicago native is a Brown University graduate.  Fox resigned the speakership last month after state and federal investigators searched his Providence home and State House office.  He also announced he won't seek reelection. 

Health Source RI sign-ups


The number of Rhode Islanders enrolled for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act surpasses projections.  Healthsource RI says more than 92-thousand people signed up for insurance coverage by last Monday's deadline.  That includes nearly 28,000 who selected a private health insurance plan and more than 64,000 who enrolled in Medicaid. 

Cranston Police Captain's fate


Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is requesting a police captain be fired.  He says Captain Stephen Antonucci ordered police officers to target specific wards of the city with parking tickets, the morning after the City Council rejected a proposed police contract last fall.  No criminal charges have been filed against Antonucci, but the mayor says he violated several department rules and regulations.  The acting police chief has suspended Antonucci.  Mayor Fung says the state police investigation is closed. 

Middletown Town Council


The Middletown Town Council will look at proposed budgets and the capital improvement plan for the fiscal year 2014-2015 at their next council meeting on Monday.  Also on the agenda is the proposed remedial action plan for site 17 at Naval Station Newport.   

Quonset Business Park pier repairs


Faster access to 6 million dollars for repairs to damaged piers at the Quonset Business Park has been approved by the House of Representatives.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Robert Craven from North Kingstown.  The Journal reports the bill for the federal grant money now moves on to the Rhode Island Senate for approval. 

R.I. Hospital violation


Rhode Island Hospital is under orders to take immediate action after it was found in violation of infection control policies. The orders stem from a recent incident where a patient with potential measles symptoms was not placed in a private room.  A hospital spokesperson says that further tests showed the patient did not have measles.  Nevertheless, the spokesperson says the hospital has complied with most of the action required and will meet the deadline as ordered by the state Department of Health. 

DUI driver sentenced in South Kingstown fatality


A man who police say was drunk when he was involved in a fatal crash nearly two years ago is headed to prison.  The crash on Route 2 in South Kingstown in August of 2012 killed a 53 year old woman.  James Mulcahey was sentenced yesterday in Washington County Superior Court to 15 years in prison with eight years to serve after agreeing to a plea deal.  He is to report to the ACI later this month.

Naval Station Newport addition


The Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport will dedicate a 24 million dollar Electromagnetic Sensor Facility on Monday.  Under construction since October of 2011, the new building replaces a facility on Naval Station Newport’s Pier Two.   

Think tank thoughts on R.I. budget


The Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity is calling for a 220 million dollar cut in the nearly three-and-a-half billion dollar proposed state budget.  The think-tank suggests eliminating things like an increase in the state’s historic preservation tax credits, as well as doing away with some grants and programs including the state Council on the Arts.  The group says the money saved could be used for tax cuts and infrastructure improvements among other things. 

Narragansett Beer sales


Narragansett Brewing Company has made the top 50 list in a ranking compiled by the Brewers Association.  The is the first time the brewery has cracked the top 50 nationally based on sales volume.  Narragansett sold 65,000 barrels of beer last year, an 18 percent increase over 2012.  Anheuser-Busch was ranked number-one.  

9 arrested across the state on child exploitation charges


Nine people are charged with child exploitation as the result of state-wide sweep.  Local, state and federal authorities executed 11 search warrants yesterday.  Seven men are facing child pornography charges.  The eighth man is charged with Indecent Solicitation of a Minor and Third Degree Sexual Assault.  The ninth man faces a Video Voyeurism charge. 

Loughlin considers running for Congress


Republican John Loughlin is considering another run for Congress.  He lost a close race in the First District to Democrat David Cicilline in 2010.   Loughlin says he'll know in a week or so if he'll launch a campaign.

Shots fired in Westerly


Police are investigating shots fired that hit two parked cars and a building in Westerly.  According to the police chief witnesses say a car sped away just after the apparent gunshots were heard late Monday afternoon.   Investigators do not think the cars or the building were intentionally targeted. 

Sakonnet River Bridge toll


The toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge is going to stay at ten cents at least through mid-May if Governor Chafee signs legislation passed by the House and Senate.   The authority to impose the dime toll would have expired yesterday without legislative action.

Misquamicut Beach lawsuit


A beach access lawsuit has gone to court.  Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is suing several property owners on Misquamicut Beach in Westerly.  The Journal reports 7 waterfront homeowners have tried to block public access to the beach. 

Health Source R.I. deadline


More than 26,000 Rhode Islanders are now enrolled for private health insurance through HealthSource RI.  Nearly 50,000 people used the HealthSource RI marketplace to sign up for Medicaid, the government program for low-income individuals. The deadline to sign up for private health insurance was midnight last night.  The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty starting this year.

R.I. Congressional delegation on tax code


The Rhode Island congressional delegation is calling for reform of the federal tax code.  Senator Jack Reed says the code is full of special interest provisions and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse calls the need for reform "acute." Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline also say a major overhaul is essential.  They made their comments during yesterday's annual Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

Nurse at Narragansett High arrested


A nurse at Narragansett High School is facing drug possession charges.  The 52-year-old Charlestown woman was placed on administrative leave a few weeks ago after she was found unconscious in her car.  Police say they found drug paraphernalia and heroin in the vehicle.  The woman is free on personal recognizance pending a court appearance later this month. 

Turning lane on Bristol Ferry Road in Portsmouth


A portion of Bristol Ferry Road in Portsmouth will have a temporary middle lane for left turns.  D.O.T. officials met with the town council about the change.  According to WPRI TV, the town council will vote on a permanent plan in July.     

Shell fishing ban


There is no shellfishing allowed in Point Judith Pond and Potters Pond.  The closures are due to anticipated unacceptable water quality caused by the heavy weekend rainfall.  The state Department of Environmental Management says the ban will be lifted when test results indicate the water quality is safe for shellfishing.

Health Source RI deadline today


Today is the enrollment deadline for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act through HealthSource RI, despite a federal extension announced last week. Because Rhode Island operates its own insurance exchange web site rather than depending on the federal government, it can set its own deadlines. Enrollees must complete their application and select a plan by 11:59pm tonight, and pay by April 23rd, for coverage that begins May first.

Flood warning


A flood warning is in effect for the Pawtuxet River in Kent and Providence counties until tomorrow night, or until it's canceled. The river's flood stage is nine feet and it was already over that stage by yesterday morning due to heavy weekend rain. The National Weather Service expects it will rise through at least ten feet before it recedes. A flood warning is in effect for the Pawcatuck River in Westerly until tomorrow. It was already over the flood state of seven-feet yesterday morning. 

Port of Davisville


The Port of Davisville gets its first shipment of Hondas today.  According to the Journal, Senator Reed will be among the officials with the Quonset Development Corporation to witness the delivery.  The federal government is sending 100 million dollars to Quonset for upgrades on roads, bridges, piers and freight rail. 

New Speaker's goal


New Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is pledging to unify the House.  He says every member will have a voice as to what bills get to the floor for a vote.  He was elected speaker last week when Gordon Fox resigned the position after state and federal investigators raided his State House office and Providence home. 

D.N.A. samples for violent crimes


Rhode Island is moving closer to a law requiring a DNA sample from anyone arrested for a violent crime.  The Senate has passed a bill that has the support of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.  Current law requires a DNA sample only after a person is convicted of a felony.  The bill passed yesterday goes to the House for its consideration.

Gang threat at A.C.I.


The Department of Corrections is investigating what a spokeswoman says was an anonymous death threat against a correctional officer.  The threat prompted a lock down of the maximum security unit yesterday while a weapons search was conducted.  No weapons were found.  The guard's union, however, says the inmate who made the threat has ties to a "notorious gang."  The union also says the inmate threatened retaliation against other corrections officers in the community.    

West Greenwich heroin bust


State Police received a tip that a female traveling from New York to Rhode Island would be carrying a large amount of drugs, the date and time she would be in the area and the vehicle she would be driving.  A trooper from the Hope Valley State Police barracks was on patrol on 95 in West Greenwich when he spotted the vehicle.  Ada Almonte of Rhode Island was arrested with 11 ounces of heroin worth over 31,000 dollars. 

Tiverton bomb threat


A Tiverton teen has been arrested for a bomb threat he allegedly made to Tiverton High School.   The threat was made on toilet paper in a bathroom.  18 year old Alexander Wahl posted 10,000 dollars bail. 

Coventry contractor arrested


A contractor from Coventry has been arrested for the misappropriation of over 90,000 dollars in client funds.  The State Police Financial Crimes Unit claims clients gave money up front to Scott Ferguson and he did not complete the projects.  He’s also accused of passing a bad check.

New Speaker of the House making changes


New House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello is moving quickly to make committee assignment changes.  Those who supported his rival, Representative Michael Marcello, are being replaced.  Mattiello became speaker on Tuesday after Gordon Fox resigned. 

 

Mattiello has appointed Leo Skenyon as his Chief of Staff.  The Journal reports Skenyon is a long-time traffic court clerk and started his political career as deputy press secretary for Claiborne Pell.

A.C.I. investigation


State police are investigating possible misconduct by staff at the ACI. The director of the Department of Corrections says he ordered the investigation.  Earlier this month four prison staff were placed on administrative leave as part of an internal investigation over an alleged seance.

South Kingstown senator's bill on calamari


It’s not just a trivial novelty.  That’s the message from those supporting legislation that would make calamari the state’s official appetizer.  Senator Susan Sosnowki from South Kingstown and Representative Joseph McNamara of Warwick are sponsoring similar bills to call attention to the actual economic impact of calamari and the fishing industry.  According to the Journal, the assistant to the director at the state Department of Environmental Management, Robert Ballou says they support the proposal. 

Bristol County health


The annual County Health Rankings rate Bristol County as the healthiest area of Rhode Island.  The rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are based on more than two dozen factors.  Those factors include smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods.

Infections in hospitals in R.I.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you are more like likely to get some kinds of infections in a Rhode Island Hospital than other parts of the country.  The details were just released in the Healthcare Associated Infections Progress Report. 

School bus accident in Portsmouth


3 children were taken to Newport Hospital this morning after a snow crashed into a school bus in Portsmouth.  The snow plow did not stop at the end of Middle Road and hit the bus at the intersection of Union Street.  The student's injuries were considered minor.  The rest of the students were transferred to another bus.

New Speaker of the House in R.I.


Cranston Democrat Nicholas Mattiello is the new speaker of the Rhode Island House.  He says his priorities will include economic stimulus and job growth.  Mattiello's election by an overwhelming roll call vote yesterday comes after state and federal investigators raided the State House office and Providence home of now former Speaker Gordon Fox last Friday.   Neither investigators or Fox have commented on the status of the investigation. 

Senator Reed challenger has setback


A federal judge is denying a request from a would-be U.S. Senate candidate for a temporary restraining order. Republican Raymond McKay is a Warwick city employee who has been planning to challenge Democratic Senator Jack Reed in the November election.  But the judge says Warwick has the right to enforce an ordinance that prevents classified city employees from running for office. 

State Senator apologizes for "F" bomb


A state Senator is apologizing for shouting an obscenity at a gun-rights activist during a recent State House event.  Cranston Democrat Joshua Miller and the gun-rights supporter had a brief confrontation following a news conference in support of legislation to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and other gun safety measures.  Miller says despite the emotions of the moment, it does not justify the language he used.  

Newport School budget


This year’s Newport School Department’s budget is on the agenda for tonight’s city council meeting.  Communications from Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain and Dr. Charles Shoemaker, Chairman of the Newport School Committee, are expected.   

Red Sox trophy coming to R.I.


The Red Sox World Series trophy is coming to Providence.  It will be on display at the Rhode Island Home Show at the Convention Center from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday evening April 3rd.  People will have the chance to have their picture taken with the trophy.

Portsmouth fire


The Portsmouth Fire Department battled a blaze at 49 Hathaway Drive this morning.  Smoke detectors alerted the family of 6 and they all made it out.  The cause of the fire was accidental and is still under investigation. 

"Winter" storm


Forecasters say most of Rhode is going to miss the brunt of a powerful storm packing high winds and heavy snow which is expected to batter Cape Cod and the Islands from late tonight into tomorrow. A blizzard watch is in effect for the Cape and Islands with a winter storm watch for southeastern Massachusetts and Newport County.  Snowfall totals for our area will be around 3-6 inches.

Gordon Fox makes it official


Gordon Fox has submitted a letter of resignation to the Secretary of State officially stepping down as Speaker of the Rhode Island House.  On Friday his State House office and his Providence home were raided by state and federal investigators.  Fox says he will represent his district through the end of the year, but he will not seek re-election.  Both state and federal authorities are declining comment.

Vote today for R.I. Speaker of the House


The vote for the new Speaker of the House is today.  Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and House Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello are vying for the top spot. 

Speaker's Chief of Staff resigns


Rhode Island Speaker of the House Chief of Staff Frank Anzeveno is retiring.  After Gordon Fox stepped down, Anzeveno cleaned out his office this weekend and issued a statement Monday.  The Journal reports that he knew for a while that Fox would not seek another term and anticipated a new Speaker of the House would be bringing in new staff. 

Jack Reed challenger waits for results of court hearing today


There is a federal court hearing this afternoon on a challenge to a city ordinance in Warwick.  The ordinance bars "classified" city employees from seeking elected office.  Republican Raymond McKay works for the city and says he intends to run against Democratic Senator Jack Reed.  McKay says he's hopeful the court will protect his rights as an American citizen.  

2 vying for Speaker of the House post


Two powerful Democrats are claiming they have the votes to be the next House Speaker. Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello and House Oversight Chairman Michael Marcello are vying for the top spot.  Mattiello emerged from a closed-door meeting with representatives last night saying he's confident about tomorrow's election.  The scramble for the job follows the weekend announcement that current Speaker Gordon Fox is resigning.   Fox is stepping down from the Speaker position in the aftermath of a raid Friday on his State House office and Providence home by state and federal investigators. 

Matunuck sea wall


The state Coastal Resources Management Council had approved a wall to protect against erosion on the South Kingstown shore two years ago.  But now, concerns are being raised about the environmental impact along Matunuck Beach Road.  According to the Journal, the council will have to take another look after a Superior Court Judge ruled those concerns had not been sufficiently addressed.

Newport school year


The Newport School Committee will be discussing the 2014 fiscal year budget at their next meeting.  Tomorrow night they will also get updates on the early learning center and the school year calendar.

New flu strain in R.I.


The state Department of Health is warning about a flu strain that is causing more severe illness especially affecting the elderly. The H3 strain is different from the H1N1 strain that has been most common this season. The H3 strain caused the death of an 89-year-old man in a nursing home late last week.

Lifesaver Award for saving Pell Bridge would-be jumper


Governor Chafee will present certificates of promotion to 32 members of the state police tonight at Rhode Island College. One trooper and 2 citizens are being recognized with the Lifesaver Award for their efforts in saving a suicidal person from jumping off the Newport Pell Bridge in April 2013.

Gordon Fox resigns post as Speaker of the House


Rhode Island Speaker of the House Gordon Fox has resigned as Speaker after law enforcement raided his home and office on Friday.  He wants to finish his term for District 4 but will not seek re-election. 

Speaker Fox has office and home raided by law enforcement


Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox had his office and home raided by federal and state law enforcement today.  The Journal is reporting authorities were handling containers labeled evidence.  A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed the F.B.I. and the I.R.S. are involved and the state police executed federal search warrants. 

Rhode Island TV Stations ownership change


WJAR TV and WPRI TV will soon be owned by the same company.  The Wall Street Journal reports the Media General is buying LIN Media for 1.6 billion dollars.  There is no word yet which station will be spun off.  

R.I. unemployment down


Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is down for the third straight month.   The February rate was 9 percent, that's a drop of two-tenths of a percentage point from January according to the state Department of Labor and Training.  The national unemployment rate last month was 6.7 percent. 

Rhode Islanders warned of scam


Rhode Islanders are being warned about a possible medical scam.  A caller claiming to be with a "medical compensation company" or from the state department of health asks questions about a recent surgery and seeks personal information.  State officials say the caller refuses to provide a company name or contact information and hangs up if questioned.  People are reminded not to give out any personal information and report any such call to the attorney general's Consumer Protection Unit.

Sakonnet toll extension


The Rhode Island full House and Senate voted yesterday to extend the Sakonnet River Bridge 10 cent toll to May 15th.  David Darlington from the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority says the extra time could be used to look for a permanent solution.  The authority agreed to the extension.

Chafee to make EDC name change official


Legislation to rename the Economic Development Corporation as the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation awaits Governor Chafee's signature.  The name change actually took effect on January 1st, but the Chafee administration determined that "technical clarifications" were needed to protect some of the more than 17 million dollars in federal grants the agency administers. 

State and local police step up enforcement


State and local police will be stepping up enforcement in the “Click it or Ticket” campaign next week.  The extra effort will be funded by money from R.I. Department of Transportation Office on Highway Safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Roger Williams University gets grant


Roger Williams University will receive a 145,000 dollar grant from the Rhode Island Office of Higher Education.  The money will go towards a partnership with the public schools in Providence to improve math for English Language Learners.  According to the Journal, 5 elementary schools will be affected.

State and local police stepping up enforcement


State and local police will be stepping up enforcement in the “Click it or Ticket” campaign next week.  The extra effort will be funded by money from R.I. Department of Transportation Office on Highway Safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority agrees to new deadline


The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has agreed to extend the legislature's deadline from April 1st to May 15th for an alternative funding plan. The authority also voted yesterday to raise tolls on the Newport Pell Bridge if the General Assembly blocks a toll increase on the Sakonnet River Bridge. 

H.U.D. money coming to R.I.


The Housing Authorities in Newport, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket will be the biggest recipients for money coming from H.U.D.  WPRI TV reports 12.6 million dollars is coming to Rhode Island from the federal government for public housing.

Monster Shark Tournament wants to come to Newport


The Newport City Council will hear from the Boston Big Game Fishing Club at the next council meeting.  They hope to bring the 28th annual Monster Shark Tournament to Casey’s Marina in July.   

Governor Chafee vacation time


Governor Chafee is going to the Democratic Governors Association's Ski Weekend in Big Sky, Montana.  A spokeswoman says there will be two roundtable discussions, one focused on energy and the other on nutrition. The spokeswoman says Chafee is using vacation time and that all expenses are being paid by the DGA. 

NUWC mathematician honored by the Navy


Richard Thornton at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport has been named the winner of the Department of the Navy Test and Evaluation Award in the Small Program Outstanding Tester category.  The Portsmouth mathematician is the alteration installation team manager and test director for several submarine projects.  

Jobs coming to North Kingstown


A food company that makes sandwiches and other ready-to-eat products for more than 175 companies including 7-Eleven and Starbucks, is moving its regional operations to the Quonset Business Park in North Kingstown.  Greencore USA says the new facility will initially employ 370 people when it opens in the spring of 2015.  Governor Chafee's office says construction on the new facility will start soon. 

Sakonnet River Bridge saga continues


The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it would return the Sakonnet River Bridge and the Jamestown Bridge to the state and raise the toll on the Newport Bridge if the tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge were not raised by April 1st.  The state Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously yesterday to extend the deadline to May 15th.   According to the Journal, State Rep. John Edwards of Tiverton is recommending the House Finance Committee should do the same. 

 

The House Finance Committee is reviewing legislation that would provide funding alternatives for roads and bridges.  The transportation infrastructure option could raise 1 billion dollars over 10 years according to bill sponsors.

PC Friars sexual assault scandal


As the Friars get ready for tournament play, Brandon Austin and Rodney Bullock are the subjects of sexual assault allegations by a female PC student.  The Wall Street Journal is reporting Providence Police are investigating.

Health Source RI social media campaign


Healthsource RI is now targeting uninsured young adults between the ages of 22 and 33 via social media.   The so-called Nag Tool Kit teaches parents how to connect with their kids via Snapchat videos, Tinder, OK Cupid, tweet or vine videos to encourage them to enroll for health insurance. 

Zombies in Kennedy Plaza


Teenage Zombies will wander around Kennedy Plaza in Providence this afternoon.  They will be walking examples of the effects of tobacco-related disease according to the state Department of Health.  The Zombies will give smokers cessation resource guides and stress the dangers of tobacco.

Gun control


Gun control advocates are pushing for passage of a proposed ban on the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines in Rhode Island.  The House Judiciary Committee will consider the proposed ban and several other gun-related measures this afternoon.  Representatives of several groups say they will be at the State House to lobby for what they describe as sensible gun safety reform.

Newport Fire UPDATE


A fire in Newport around 11:30 last night has claimed the life of a 33 year old Newport man.  WPRI TV reports a truck caught fire near Andrews Express and Storage Warehouse on Fir Street.  The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

McKay delays announcement for campaign


Would be Republican U.S. Senate candidate Raymond McKay is delaying the official start of his campaign to unseat Democrat Jack Reed.  He's seeking a restraining order to protect his job as a city employee in Warwick.  An ordinance prohibits classified city employees from running for elected office.  McKay argues the ordinance is unconstitutional. 

NECAP replacement


The state will give a trial run to a new testing program for high school students.  The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers is intended to replace the NECAP next year.  According to the Journal, the field test starts next week and will evaluate the program.   

Seal found on street


Police are investigating the discovery of a dead seal on a street in Providence.  Authorities responded to Evergreen Street yesterday morning.   A sign was left with the marine mammal that said, "Free Seal To a good home, Naps a lot, Housebroken."  The carcass of the young seal was taken to the Mystic Aquarium. 

Sheldon Whitehouse back from Ukraine


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is back from a quick trip to Ukraine.  He was part of a bipartisan Senate contingent.  Whitehouse says the United States should take steps to punish Russia if President Vladimir Putin continues his aggression against the former Soviet republic.  Yesterday, voters in Ukraine's Crimean region voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia.

R.I. woman killed in Syracuse


A Rhode Island woman has been killed in Syracuse.  Rhode Island College professor, Jennifer Cook was walking with her mother when an 86 man driving a pickup truck hit her and her mother.  According to WPRI TV, her mother is being treated for her injuries.  The accident is under investigation. 

Drag racing on Pell Bridge


Two men were arrested over the weekend for drag racing on the Newport Pell Bridge.  State Police caught Marco Basile and Curtis Lussier going 91 miles per hour on the East bound side of the bridge. 

Group wants faster action on Pell Bridge barrier


A group called Citizens United for Bridge Safety is circulating a petition for a permanent barrier on the Pell Bridge.  They are planning on attending the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority meeting on Wednesday. 

Committee looks at toll options


The House Finance Committee will meet tomorrow to review legislation that would redirect money in the state budget to fund bridge maintenance and eliminate the toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

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