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1540 WADK.com Updates


State environmental officials have not found West Nile virus in the latest round of mosquito tests in Rhode Island.

The Department of Environmental Management said Wednesday that 96 mosquito samples from 26 traps set statewide on Aug. 9 tested negative for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis.

Earlier this month, the agency reported one confirmed finding of West Nile virus and one confirmed finding of EEE in a mosquito sample in Rhode Island. There are no confirmed human cases in the state.

West Nile has been detected in mosquito samples trapped in Massachusetts and Connecticut. EEE was found in a mosquito trapped in southeastern Massachusetts.

The agency traps mosquitoes weekly and tests them at the state health laboratories.

Test results are pending for 32 traps set on Aug. 15.

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A Rhode Island man has pleaded no contest to charges he collected unemployment insurance benefits while he was working.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Wednesday the case against 50-year-old David Bassett has been continued for one year because Bassett paid full restitution of $18,777 at the time of his plea. He pleaded no contest to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses.

Prosecutors say the Johnston resident failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training on various dates between December 1, 2007 and March 31, 2012.

Prosecutors say Bassett was working for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 99 in Cranston at the time.

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Police are investigating after the body of a 27-year-old man was pulled from the Pawtuxet River in Cranston near a popular spot for thrill-seekers to jump and swim.

Rescue crews discovered the body of Alexander Higham in about 10 feet of water on Wednesday night following an extensive 90-minute search.

The West Warwick man had reportedly been jumping off the Arkwright Bridge into the river with friends when he did not resurface.

Swimmers told police the depth of the water underneath the historic 1888 steel-truss bridge ranges anywhere from 3 to 15 feet. Cranston Police Chief Bill McKenna says a lot of debris was found under the surface.

Police say Higham did have minor health issues but investigators don't believe drugs or alcohol were a factor in his death.

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Officials say Bryant University's men's basketball team is safe and unharmed in Italy after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked three regions of the country earlier this week.

Tremors from the quake woke the Bulldogs coaching staff and players at their hotel in Rome when it struck at about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Head coach Tim O'Shea says he was startled by the sound of hangers in his closet knocking together before seeing news of the earthquake on TV.

The team is currently touring Italy for a series of exhibition games.

The Bulldogs were scheduled to play their first game on Wednesday in Spoleto, which sits about 20 minutes from one of the hardest-hit areas. The game was canceled after the gym they were scheduled to play in sustained minor damage.

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An autographed Patriots helmet stolen from a Foxboro restaurant two weeks ago has been returned.

The thief was caught on surveillance video on the evening of Thursday, August 11th stealing the helmet and then running out before paying his bill.

The man called Skipjack’s the following day owning up to it and saying he would mail the helmet back.

The package came in yesterday with the stolen helmet plus eighty dollars in cash for his bill along with a note to the general manager saying, “sorry for the trouble!”

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A 20-year-old Narragansett man is facing charges related to a rollover crash on Block Island that killed a 17-year-old passenger.

Brandon McCrave was arraigned Tuesday. He's charged with driving under the influence of liquor, death resulting and related offenses.

Police say it is McCrave's second DUI offense in five years. Online court records did not list a lawyer for McCrave.

Police say McCrave was driving a Jeep Wrangler at a high rate of speed Monday in New Shoreham when he missed a corner. The Jeep left the road and overturned, ejecting the 17-year-old passenger, who died at the scene. Two other passengers were uninjured.

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Sales of single-family homes in Rhode Island rose 7.5 percent in July from a year ago, while the median price rose almost 10 percent to $262,500.

The Rhode Island Association of Realtors said this week that sales activity slowed in the condominium market, which fell 6.6 percent from a year earlier, and in multifamily homes, which fell almost 10 percent.

The median price of condos also declined, by more than 5 percent, but the median sales price of multifamily properties grew more than 10 percent to $190,000.

The group says there are signs of a more tempered market in single-family homes heading into the fall.

There was a more than 13 percent decrease in the number of homes for sale.

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A small plane has made an emergency landing on a sandbar in Massachusetts.

The pilot told state police that he was forced to land his plane on a sandbar in the Quabbin Reservoir in New Salem on Tuesday afternoon due to mechanical issues.

Officials say 42-year-old Guilluame De Ramel of Newport  was the only person on the plane, and was not hurt. The plane remained intact.

It was not immediately clear where the plane departed from or where it was headed to.

An investigation is ongoing.

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Providence officials are testing the city's emergency siren systems.

The Providence Emergency Management Agency says testing of the Port of Providence Sirens Warning System began on Tuesday and will continue for two weeks, ending Sept. 2.

PEMA says the sirens will go off around 12 p.m. Monday through Friday. There may be two to three soundings of the sirens. The sirens will not be tested on weekends.

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The lobster industry's difficulty getting enough bait could be about to get worse because of upcoming closures in the herring fishery.

Herring is the preferred bait for lobster fishermen, who use the fish to lure the valuable crustaceans into traps. But herring have been in short supply this year because fishermen aren't catching many of them in offshore New England waters.

Fishing managers have instituted limits on inshore herring fishing to try to ensure a steady supply of herring throughout summer.

The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is also closing an area off eastern Maine to herring fishing from Aug. 28 to Sept. 24.

The shortage of bait has not yet appeared to impact the price or availability of lobsters to consumers. Many fishermen say bait has been expensive.

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The developer of a proposed multi-story apartment building on land near Providence Station has applied for a variance with the city's Building Board of Review to allow construction to begin.

The application, filed by Capital Cove Development LLC, describes the structure as being six stories high with the first two floors reserved for parking.

The proposed 2.5-acre site on Smith Street sits next to Capitol Cove, an existing apartment building currently being rented by the developer to Johnson & Wales University for use as a dormitory. It is across the street from the Roger Williams National Memorial.

The land was the subject of a 2014 tax stabilization agreement with the city. The deal outlined the development of two more residential buildings on the site.

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More money is on the way to Rhode Island fire departments.  U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, with Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, announced yesterday that 385-thousand dollars is being split between the Lincoln, Narragansett and Pawtucket fire departments.  The money will be used to buy new equipment, protective gear, training and other resources.  The money is being made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

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Prices at the pumps are a little higher compared to last week in Rhode Island.  Triple-A reports that the average price for regular gas has gone up two-cents since last week, bringing it to two-dollars-15-cents per gallon.  However, it's still less than the average price for gas one year ago which was at two-dollars-47-cents.

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U.S. Marshals are warning Rhode Island residents about a jury duty scam.  A spokesperson announced yesterday that they've received an uptick in reports about scammers calling people and threatening to arrest them if they don't pay a fine for missing jury duty.  The Marshals Service says they don't call people and ask for personal information over the phone.  People who believe that they've been targeted are encouraged to call their local police department.

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A Providence nightclub is keeping its doors locked until the Board of Licenses makes a decision about its fate later this week.  The panel heard testimony yesterday about a stabbing outside Van Gogh Lounge on Saturday morning.  They're expected to decide on Thursday whether or not to keep the nightclub open.  Iquan Arnum was arrested in connection to the incident, and two men were taken to the hospital.

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A Central Falls woman is accused of stabbing her boyfriend.  Destiny Simas was in court yesterday and charged with domestic assault.  Police were called to her home yesterday morning after receiving reports about a disturbance and discovered Simas' boyfriend suffering from a stab wound.  The victim was taken to the hospital but is expected to be okay.  Simas is prohibited from contacting the man and is slated to appear in court again in October.

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The Providence Board of Licenses has ordered an immediate temporary closure of a nightclub following a stabbing and assault there over the weekend.

Providence police Sgt. David Tajeda told the board at Saturday's emergency hearing that police arrested 22-year-old L'Quan Arnum in connection with the stabbing. Online court records didn't list a lawyer for Arnum.

Tajeda says Arnum was on a party bus with about 20 passengers. Police recommended that Van Gogh Lounge be closed in case passengers on the bus tried to retaliate.

The violence happened outside the club around 2 a.m. Saturday. The stabbing victim was taken to an area hospital in critical but stable condition. The second victim was taken to a hospital for an evaluation.

The club must remain closed for 72 hours.

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Rhode Island officials are advising residents to avoid contact with water in a pond where a toxic blue-green algae bloom has been detected.

The state Health and Environmental Management departments said Friday people should not ingest water or eat fish from Warwick Pond in Warwick. Pet owners should not allow pets to drink the water or swim in it.

Test results are pending and are expected next week.

Skin contact with the algae can cause irritation of the nose, eyes and throat, and swallowing the water can cause diarrhea, vomiting and nausea and more rarely, serious complications. Anyone who has had contact with Warwick Pond and experienced those symptoms should contact their health care providers.

People are advised to avoid bright green water or algae they may see elsewhere.

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Rhode Island environmental officials are asking the public to report sightings of beetles that could cause extensive damage to trees.

The Department of Environmental Management is seeking reports about Asian longhorned beetles and emerald ash borers or any insect resembling them.

These beetles haven't been found in Rhode Island, but have been spotted in nearby Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Asian longhorned beetle has a large, glossy black body with irregular white spots. It's about one inch long.

The emerald ash borer is metallic green. It's about half an inch long and typically emerges between June and August. DEM set traps for it.

DEM asks people to slide a piece of cardboard underneath the beetle, if possible, and place it in a jar. The beetles don't bite. Report the finding to DEM.

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A nonprofit in Providence has been awarded nearly $600,000 in federal funding to help expand training opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout Rhode Island.

The state's congressional delegation announced the grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Southside Community Land Trust.

The agriculture department has a beginning farmer and rancher development program. Nationwide, it's awarding $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate the next generation of farmers.

Southside Community Land Trust will use the money over three years to expand the reach of their training. The program provides training and technical assistance, provides space at farm incubator sites, offers apprenticeships on farms and helps farmers secure their own farmland.

The land trust says more than 425 beginning or aspiring farmers and ranchers are expected to benefit.

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East Providence police and the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal's Office are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of whoever was responsible for two arson fires last month.

Det. Lt. Raymond Blinn says both of the fires were started around 2:15 a.m. on July 25.

The first blaze was reported at a home on Earl Avenue by a neighbor. Blinn says the fire was started in a truck and then spread to a boat and garage.

While firefighters were extinguishing the first fire, the same resident who called it in reported that his own car was on fire across the street.

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A Jamaican national who is a convicted felon has been sentenced to prison for carrying a loaded gun and re-entering the country illegally.

Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says 45-year-old Marlon Straw, of Hyde Park, Massachusetts, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Providence to 46 months behind bars followed by three years of probation. Straw will be subject to deportation proceedings following his sentence. He pleaded guilty May 23.

Prosecutors say Rhode Island State Police stopped a car being driven by Straw's wife in Exeter on March 31, 2015, for speeding. Straw provided troopers with false names and was arrested. Troopers later found a loaded pistol in his long underwear and sock.

Straw was previously removed from the United States and deported to Jamaica on August 29, 2013.

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Employees at U.S. Navy contractor Electric Boat are taking voluntary furloughs, but the company says that won't delay the delivery of submarines.

The Groton, Connecticut-based manufacturer says 138 employees at its Rhode Island facility volunteered for a 45-business day furlough.

Spokesman Timothy Boulay says the furloughs are needed because of late deliveries of major components, general materials and specialized raw materials.

He says the deliveries are late because of a multitude of issues involving several suppliers occurring simultaneously. The employees are mostly welders, pipefitters and shipfitters.

Boulay says the company is still on track to meet contracted delivery dates.

Electric Boat has 11 submarines in various phases of construction in Rhode Island, Connecticut and at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

The shipyards build Virginia-class attack submarines under a teaming agreement.

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Two Rhode Island men have pleaded no contest to unemployment insurance benefit fraud.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says 27-year-old Jonathan Flores, of Pawtucket, was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution. He pleaded no contest to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses.

Prosecutors say Flores collected $7,273 in employment insurance benefits while he was working between April 12, 2014 and July 31, 2014.

Warwick resident Robert Wright also pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses. A judge sentenced Wright to five years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution.

Prosecutors say the 71-year-old Wright collected $6,981 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was working between December 18, 2010 and January 17, 2012.

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A group of Providence firefighters were relieved after an infant near-drowning victim began breathing again and crying as they brought her through the doors of Hasbro Children's Hospital.

Firefighters were called to a home on Crandall Street just after 2:30 p.m. Wednesday following reports that a 6-month-old girl was found unresponsive after nearly drowning in a bathtub.

Acting Battalion Chief Stephen Capracotta says the baby was motionless and blue when first responders arrived at the home. The firefighters immediately began attempts to resuscitate the infant, which continued on their way to the children's hospital.

Firefighter John Wheeler says he started crying after he carried the baby in his arms through the emergency room doors and she resumed breathing.

The condition of the girl is unknown. Police are investigating the incident.

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University of Rhode Island officials say internal auditors are investigating several complaints regarding the school's Department of Housing and Residential Life.

URI spokeswoman Linda Acciardo tells The Providence Journal  the complaints were made through anonymous calls to the school's Ethics Hotline beginning last November.

Acciardo says the complaints involve administrative and management issues. She declined to comment further on the specifics of the complaints because the investigation remains active.

The complaints were also reported to the state Office of Internal Audit.

According to the Department of Housing and Residential Life's website, approximately 6,200 students live in 21 undergraduate residence halls, three undergraduate apartment complexes and one graduate apartment complex.

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An 18-year-old Rhode Island man was killed when the bicycle he was riding struck the side of a trailer being towed by a dump truck.

Cranston police say it happened around 9:45 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Western Promenade and Park Avenue.

Investigators say Sunkashka Soch, of Providence, was riding his bicycle at a high rate of speed when he entered the flow of traffic on Park Avenue without stopping and then crossed the westbound lane. His bike struck the trailer as he entered the eastbound lane.

Soch was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The operator of the dump truck was identified as 61-year-old Joseph Gonsalves, of Warwick. There's no word on whether he will face charges.

The incident remains under investigation.

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A Tiverton cemetery has buried two men in the wrong plots, and officials are trying to broker a solution.

One family wants their loved one to stay put, while the other wants their loved one put in the grave site they picked.

In October, a 65-year-old man was placed in the wrong family plot at Pocasset Hill Cemetery.

In March, an 87-year-old man who was supposed to be buried in that plot died. He was buried in the other man's plot. His family wants him to be moved to the plot they own. The move is opposed by the 65-year-old's family.

The head of the town cemetery commission says moving them would be "ridiculous."

The town solicitor says they're working on an agreement to switch the bodies.

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The president of the Rhode Island Senate is withdrawing her membership on the Newport Democratic City Committee after almost 30 years in the group.

Committee Chairman Bud Cicilline wrote in an email last month that Teresa Paiva Weed asked to be withdrawn as a member because her schedule doesn't allow her to attend meetings.

Weed's biography on the Rhode Island General Assembly website says she's been a member of the committee since 1988.

Weed is facing a re-election challenge from Republican Sav Rebecchi. She says she hopes to win another term as Senate president next January. The Democrat represents Jamestown and Newport.

Weed couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

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On the heels of the drowning death of a 6-year-old boy in Warwick this past weekend, city officials have announced that two beaches will no longer be staffed by lifeguards this season.

Lifeguards won't be on duty at Conimicut and Warwick City Park beaches for the rest of the summer season, which ends after Labor Day.

City officials say the announcement was made in response to a shortage of lifeguards, many of whom are students returning to school at this time of the year. The city employs 17 lifeguards.

Press Secretary Courtney Marciano says this has happened in the past and the city will warn beachgoers with posted signs.

Six-year-old Jamir Steward drowned Sunday at Warwick City Park. An investigation into his death is ongoing.

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Wrecking crews have been busy this week demolishing a historic mansion in the village of Wakefield that operated as an inn for 80 years until its closure.

An excavator sunk its teeth into the Larchwood Inn for the second day on Tuesday, bringing down the dilapidated 1831 structure piece by piece.

The mansion was a prominent mill owner's residence that was converted into an inn in 1926 and remained so until it shuttered in 2006.

Diann Browning, Larchwood's last owner, was forced to close the inn after renovations needed to meet Rhode Island's fire code were deemed too expensive.

The property's current owner, Roland Fiore, is working with a New York company to develop a 72-bed Alzheimer's care center and nursing home on the land.

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Construction on the nation's first offshore wind farm is in its final phases.

Deepwater Wind's five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, is expected to be making electricity this fall.

Crews at the site are working on the tower sections for the fourth turbine this week. They'll begin working on the blades in the coming days, then the tower sections for the fifth, and final, turbine.

The $300 million project is expected to power about 17,000 homes.

Developers, federal regulators and industry experts say the opening will pave the way for many more wind farms that will eventually provide power for many Americans.

Deepwater Wind says it proves that wind farms can be built along the nation's coast.

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Massachusetts' only casino collected nearly $180 million in gambling revenues in its first year of operation.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission reported Monday that Plainridge Park's revenues resulted in more than $88 million in state revenues from taxes and other assessments.

The state initially projected about $105 million in gambling taxes from the Plainville slots parlor and harness racing track, but those projections were lowered to about $83 million.

Monthly revenues have remained at around $11 million to $13 million.

The facility opened June 24, 2015. It's taxed on 49 percent of its gross gambling revenue. Eighty-two percent of that goes to the state, and 18 percent goes to a fund subsidizing the horse racing industry.

Plainridge Park General Manager Lance George says it's pleased with its performance.

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Gas prices in Rhode Island are unchanged from last week, staying at an average $2.13 per gallon for regular unleaded.

AAA Northeast says its weekly survey released Monday found the average price in Rhode Island is one cent higher than the national average of $2.12 per gallon.

Lloyd Albert, AAA Northeast Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, says mid-summer gas prices have not been this low since 2004.

A year ago at this time, gas cost $2.55 per gallon in Rhode Island. That's 42 cents per gallon more or around 20 percent higher than the price now.

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State environmental officials have not found West Nile virus in the latest round of mosquito tests in Rhode Island.

The state Department of Environmental Management said Monday that the remaining 168 mosquito samples from 32 traps set statewide on Aug. 1 tested negative for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis.

Last week, DEM reported that a sample of mosquitoes collected Aug. 1 in Chapman Swamp in Westerly tested positive for EEE. It's the only confirmed finding of EEE in Rhode Island this year.

West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes in Rhode Island two weeks ago for the first time this year. The virus has also been detected in mosquito samples trapped in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The agency traps mosquitoes weekly and tests them at the state health laboratories.

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Work has begun on the resurfacing of a street in downtown Providence.

Construction crews on Monday were scraping pavement and digging in front of fire hydrants on Fountain Street. The project is expected to take two to four weeks.

City Deputy Chief Engineer Natale Urso says the asphalt will likely need to cure until mid-September.

The street's makeover is part of the city's ongoing street resurfacing program.

In 2014, work began to revamp LaSalle and Emmett squares to change the traffic pattern around Kennedy Plaza and convert Empire Street to a two-way.

A city spokeswoman says the plan to narrow Fountain Street by one lane and widen the sidewalks has been put on hold while officials consider having sidewalk cutouts for buses along the street.

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Six months after Gov. Gina Raimondo announced an ambitious plan to offer computer science at every Rhode Island school by December 2017, the state is on track to reach its goal.

Richard Culatta, Raimondo's chief innovation officer, tells The Providence Journal about half of the state's public schools will have met this standard by the time they open later this month.

Culatta says the state is well ahead of its target for high schools.

Raimondo's plan seeks to address the skills gap between Rhode Island's graduates and high-paying jobs in the tech field.

The state has partnered with Microsoft, Code.org, Bootstrap and local universities to develop the curriculum and training for teachers. The governor allocated $260,000 for teacher training in her budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

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A man has died while participating in a charity swim in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay.

The 56-year-old man was participating in the 40th annual Save The Bay Swim on Saturday morning when he was found unresponsive near Potter's Cove in Jamestown. He was pulled from the water and taken to Newport Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police haven't identified the man pending notification of his family.

Jamestown police say the man appears to have suffered a medical problem. The state Medical Examiner's Office will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The swim is a fundraiser for Save The Bay, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Narragansett Bay.

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A man in Rhode Island is in critical condition after his leg got caught underneath the tire of a public bus as he tried to board.

It happened at about 5:15 p.m. Saturday outside of a grocery store in Providence.

Providence police Lt. George Smith says 49-year-old Alfredo Alomar was running after the bus as it pulled away from the stop when he lost his footing and fell. His right leg and foot were caught beneath the vehicle's rear tire.

Rhode Island Public Transit Authority spokeswoman Barbara Polichetti says there were no passengers on the bus at the time. She reminds pedestrians not to chase after a bus.

A Rhode Island Hospital spokeswoman on Sunday confirmed Alomar remains in critical condition.

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A candidate trying to unseat the incumbent mayor of Rhode Island's fourth-biggest city isn't a Democrat or Republican.

He declares himself a member of the "Sick of Scandals" movement, and state election officials are allowing him to include the phrase on the ballot next to his name.

John Arcaro says he has a party platform that corruption-weary Pawtucket residents can get behind.

Independent candidates who don't belong to a registered party in Rhode Island can declare a political principle. It's included on the ballot if it's no more than three words.

Candidates in other states have gone as far as changing their names to show what they stand for. One added C.P.A. to his last name and was elected Kentucky's state treasurer in the 1980s.

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Hundreds of initiatives throughout Rhode Island will share in more than $18 million in grants from the Rhode Island Foundation.

Among the projects receiving the funds include initiatives to help the homeless, to train public school teachers in teaching English as a second language and to help expand the Newport Jazz Festival.

The foundation says it spent $18.2 million in the first half of 2016.

The foundation was established in 1916. It works with donors and recipients to fund the needs of the people of Rhode Island.

Among the projects it is working on for its centennial is a $10 million campaign to restore Roger Williams Park with new signs, expanded paths and repairs to several of the park's buildings.

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Police say a 6-year-old Rhode Island boy drowned in waters off the beach at Warwick City Park over the weekend.

Lt. Joseph Petrarca says that officers were dispatched to the city-run park at about 5:50 p.m. Sunday after lifeguards called in to report the missing boy.

Swimmers were evacuated and lifeguards had beachgoers form a human chain to walk into the water to search for the boy. The victim was found by someone in the chain not far from the shoreline.

Petrarca says the boy was transported to Kent Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Officials say the victim wasn't a Warwick resident. He was visiting the park with family.

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Officials say a proposal to build a pedestrian bridge over the Providence River that was marred by several long delays is back on track following recent negotiations.

State transportation spokeswoman Lisbeth Pettengill says Rhode Island Department of Transportation officials expect to award a bid for the project in October.

The DOT and the I-95 Redevelopment District Commission reached an agreement to spend about $6 million more than an earlier estimate for construction because July bids exceeded the $13.2 million allocated for the project.

The bridge would connect downtown Providence to the city's College Hill and Fox Point neighborhoods.

Sharon Steele, president of the nonprofit Building Bridges Providence, says it's time to celebrate after trying to get the bridge and parks built for 10 years.

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A Providence city councilman has denied charges he misused campaign funds and embezzled more than $127,000 from a youth organization he founded.

Kevin Jackson pleaded not guilty Wednesday. Jackson's attorney says his client doesn't plan to resign from the council.

Investigators say Jackson embezzled money between 2009 and 2016 from the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field organization.

Investigators say he used the money to support his campaign during his 2014 re-election bid, and to pay for clothes, car repairs and Netflix charges.

Jackson is also accused of using $12,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including paying a state Board of Elections fine.

The Democrat resigned from his position as majority leader in May but kept his seat on the council.

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A Rhode Island man has been sentenced to prison for conspiring to transport minors to motels across the state and in Massachusetts for the purpose of sex trafficking them.

Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says Reginald Chaney, of East Providence, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years behind bars followed by five years of probation. Chaney pleaded guilty on May 10.

Authorities say police responded to Hasbro Children's Hospital on January 28, 2015, for a report of sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old girl.

A subsequent investigation revealed that the 21-year-old Chaney and two male juveniles posted nude photographs online of the girl and a 15-year-old girl. Chaney and the co-conspirators then transported the girls to motels in Rhode Island and Massachusetts to offer them for prostitution.

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The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority has released plans for a 10-year, $223.4 million maintenance project on the four Narragansett Bay bridges it owns.

The authority will spend an average of $22 million per year on repairs to the Newport Pell Bridge, the Mount Hope Bridge, the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge and the Sakonnet River Bridge.

According to the plan, more than half of the spending will go toward the Pell Bridge.

Earl "Buddy" Croft III, the authority's executive director, says the project is an expensive undertaking, but it's important to let motorists know the bridges are safe.

The project will be funded through loans that will be repaid by toll revenue from the Pell Bridge and the authority's share of the state's gas-tax collections.

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has released an advisory stating that they believe an East Providence sex offender convicted of torturing and killing small animals will kill again.

Environmental officials tipped off animal shelters to 25-year-old Anthony Stravato, a Level 3 sex offender who was released from prison last Friday. Stravato served an eight-month sentence for the brutal mutilation and slaying of his mother's cat in 2014.

The state's licensed animal-care facilities were also warned about Stravato's girlfriend, who environmental officials believe may help him adopt or purchase animals to harm.

Department of Corrections spokesman J.R. Ventura says Stravato's case deserves special attention based on his past history of violence, propensity to re-offend and other factors.

A court order prohibits Stravato from having any contact with animals.

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Rhode Island officials are warning that Eastern equine encephalitis has been found in mosquitoes in the state for the first time this year.

The state Department of Environmental Management said Wednesday that a sample of mosquitoes collected August 1 in Chapman Swamp in Westerly tested positive for the disease.

The agency says the finding is not unexpected. The positive mosquito pool is a species that primarily bites birds and is largely responsible for maintaining the virus in the bird population. There are no confirmed human cases of Eastern equine encephalitis in Rhode Island.

West Nile virus also was found in mosquitoes in the state last week. It has also been detected in mosquitoes in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Mosquitoes are trapped weekly by DEM and tested from late June through September.

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The latest round of mosquito samples collected in Rhode Island have tested negative for West Nile virus just days after the disease was confirmed in the state for the first time this year.

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management reported last week that it found mosquitoes carrying the virus in Pawtucket from traps set on July 25.

The agency, which traps mosquitoes weekly, said Tuesday that remaining samples from the same 37 traps have all tested negative for the West Nile virus and another mosquito-borne disease, eastern equine encephalitis.

It's still waiting on test results from traps set on Aug. 1.

There have been no human cases in the state this year.

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The price of a gallon of gasoline in the state of Rhode Island has dropped seven cents in the past week.

AAA Northeast said Tuesday its weekly survey found the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular gas was $2.13, the lowest price in the state since April.

The price is significantly lower than the in-state price at this time last year, which was 46 cents higher at an average $2.59.

The price is one cent above the national average of $2.12.

AAA says prices at this point in the summer haven't been this low since 2004.

AAA found self-serve, regular gas selling in Rhode Island for as low as $1.94 per gallon and as high as $2.30.

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's redoubling the state's efforts to help veterans.

The governor ceremoniously signed six bills affecting veterans at Warren Town Hall on Tuesday.

Raimondo says she wants state officials to reach out to veterans to find out what they need and do more to help them get jobs.

She says the state hasn't done enough to care for its more than 70,000 veterans and that they deserve a proper homecoming.

Among the laws include legislation to allow private employers to provide hiring preferences for veterans and to protect jobs for Rhode Island residents serving in the National Guard. Veterans applying for benefits can now get free copies of medical records.

Another law bans dogs from Rhode Island's veterans' cemetery, with the exception of service animals.

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Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's still cleaning up the mess that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling made in Rhode Island, but she says "best of luck" to him if he runs for office in Massachusetts.

The governor made the comments Tuesday when asked about Schilling's plans to run for office.

Schilling, a Massachusetts resident, said on Facebook on Monday that he'll run for state office first, then the presidency in eight years. He also criticized Rhode Island politicians.

Schilling moved his failed video game company 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million state loan guarantee.

Rhode Island is suing Schilling and several others involved.

Raimondo says she's fighting to get tax dollars back and that Schilling isn't popular in Rhode Island.

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A Rhode Island woman has pleaded not guilty to charges she drove the wrong way on the highway while drunk.

State police say Jadali Burgess, of Woonsocket, was arraigned Tuesday. She's charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. She was released on personal recognizance.

Police say a trooper working a road construction detail on Route 295 in Johnston spotted a vehicle driving the wrong way around 3 a.m. Monday. The trooper was able to position his cruiser in the vehicle's path so that it came to a stop.

Police say the 21-year-old Burgess showed signs of impairment and failed field sobriety tests.

Burgess is due back in court Aug. 23.

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A study has found that noise from shipping in North Atlantic waters is impacting the feeding behavior of humpback whales.

Writing in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters Wednesday, researchers found that some whales in the Gulf of Maine changed their foraging behavior due to ship noise. Some decreased the speed that they descended while others demonstrated fewer side-rolls - a technique used by the whales for feeding on the sand lance fish.

Humpbacks migrate to the Caribbean to mate and give birth and return to New England waters in the spring to feed. They live up to 50 years but face a myriad of threats, from ship strikes to becoming entangled in fishing gear. One dead humpback washed up on a New Hampshire beach in June.

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The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is investigating after a running boat with blood and broken glass inside turned up at a marina in Warwick

Lt. Steve Criscione says the DEM was notified of the suspicious boat after it had become entangled with another vessel at Brewer's Marina at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.

The boat was found with damage to its hull and blood on the deck. Officials determined the vessel had recently been in an accident.

Criscione says boat accidents are common, but it's unusual for investigators to find nobody aboard upon their arrival.

Environmental police are investigating the incident as a boat accident, but are considering the possibility that the vessel was stolen.

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Authorities say an accident in Coventry sent one person to the hospital and seriously damaged a Central Coventry Fire Department truck, which narrowly missed hitting an auto mechanic shop.

Police Col. John MacDonald says the crash occurred at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday when the fire truck was unable to avoid a collision with a vehicle that had entered the intersection of Tioga Avenue and Hopkins Hill Road.

Officials say the fire truck was headed to a medical emergency and had its lights and sirens activated at the time of the accident.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to Kent Hospital for treatment of injuries that aren't life-threatening. No firefighters were injured.

Fire Chief Peter Lamb says the damaged truck is the station's reserve engine.

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Officials say more than 15,000 tickets have been sold on the new Providence-to-Newport ferry service.

The service that started July 1 has sold out on about three dozen trips. Weekends have been the strongest with a total ridership in the 600 and 700s on Saturdays and Sundays.

The 149-seat ferry connects India Point Park in Providence and Perrotti Park in Newport.

The pilot program runs seven days a week through Labor Day. Officials will look at the numbers at the end of the season to make a determination on the service for next year.

The state Department of Transportation may consider trips from Providence to places like East Greenwich, Bristol or Wickford.

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Relatives of 100 people killed in a 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire and survivors are upset that the site is a stop in "Pokemon Go."

The Associated Press learned of the Pokestop when visiting the site last week. The site in West Warwick is currently surrounded by a fence while a memorial is built.

Family members and survivors called it outrageous when informed by the AP about the stop and called for it to be removed.

They were also not happy that the game incorrectly describes the fire as having killed 200 people, double the number killed.

An email to game developer Niantic was not immediately returned.

Pokestops have been removed from the atomic bomb memorial park in Hiroshima, Japan, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and other sites.

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An East Providence man is facing charges after police say he molested a 13-year-old child he met online.

21-year-old Andrew DaSilva was arrested Saturday. He's charged with first-degree child molestation.

East Providence police launched an investigation after a parent reported that DaSilva may have sexually assaulted her child.

During the investigation, police learned that DaSilva was also under investigation in Burrillville after he solicited what he believed was a 13-year-old child for sex over social media. The child in that case was actually an undercover officer.

On Saturday, the officer, posing as the 13-year-old, arranged to meet with DaSilva at a nearby Burger King. DaSilva fled the restaurant when officers approached him. He was apprehended nearby.

It's unclear whether DaSilva has a lawyer.

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A group of about 50 disabled veterans took part in the Veterans Affairs New England Summer Sports Clinic in Rhode Island for a week in July.

They kayaked, waterskied, cycled and sailed - activities designed to get them thinking more about what they can than can't do.

The rehabilitation clinic is open to veterans with spinal cord injuries, amputations, vision loss, mental health issues and other disabilities.

Fifty-two-year-old Marine veteran Joyce Ralph sometimes stays at her home in Halifax, Massachusetts, instead of riding her bike or doing other activities. She says she feels too anxious because of her post-traumatic stress disorder.

Ralph thought she would be too scared or fatigued to water ski, but she did it. She says she learned to push herself.

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The Providence Board of Licenses unanimously voted to close a nightclub in the city for three days after four men were stabbed outside earlier this week.

Police say a fight broke out behind a laundromat across the street from Flow nightclub at about 1:15 a.m. Monday. Four men suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries after they were stabbed during the altercation.

Three of the victims were treated for their wounds and released. One remains hospitalized.

The board voted to close the club Monday night as police continue their investigation. A subsequent hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, where board members will discuss whether to shut down the club permanently or allow it to reopen.

Additional options include requiring the club to change its security procedures or hire a police detail.

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State police say a wrong-way driver who killed himself and a Jamestown police officer in a crash on Interstate 95 had alcohol and marijuana in his system.

State police on Friday released the findings of their investigation into the May 23 head-on accident in East Greenwich.

Troopers say 23-year-old Dejae Pizarro of Bedford, Massachusetts, drove his car northbound on I-95 southbound and struck another car driven by 24-year-old Ryan Bourque of Coventry shortly after midnight.

Bourque was heading home after finishing a shift as a Jamestown police officer and died on the one-year anniversary of his graduation from the police academy.

Authorities said a toxicology report showed Pizarro's blood-alcohol content was 0.195, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. The report said he also had marijuana in his system.

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The Puerto Rican Cultural Festival and Parade later this month in Providence has been canceled because organizers haven't paid nearly $17,000 in fees to the city.

The festival cancellation was announced Friday after city officials declined to grant a permit because of the unpaid police and park fees.

A city ordinance bans groups from getting permits if they are more than 60 days late in paying for police or fire details. City officials say the festival group owes about $14,300 for past police details and nearly $2,500 in parks fees.

There has been a Puerto Rican festival in the city every summer since 1984.

The president of the festival group says she's in talks with officials in Central Falls to hold the festival there.

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Hundreds of thousands in federal funding has been awarded to protect Narragansett Bay.

Rhode Island's congressional delegation announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded nearly $620,000 to support the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve's work to preserve and restore the bay's coastal and estuarine ecosystems.

The research reserve is a partnership between NOAA and the state's Department of Environmental Management to promote informed management and sound stewardship of Rhode Island's coastal resources.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says Narragansett Bay is Rhode Island's most important natural resource.

The Democrat says the money will help the research reserve protect the coastline and help the state address the effects of climate change.

The research reserve encompasses 4,453 acres of land and waterways on Prudence, Patience, Hope and Dyer islands.

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A new law in Rhode Island requires police to get a warrant before seeking location data collected by smartphones and other mobile devices.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo ceremonially signed the bill into law earlier this week. She officially signed it last month.

Mapping data on cellphones can track a user's movements as the devices connect from one cell tower to another.

Providence Democratic Rep. Edith Ajello says the legislation she sponsored makes obtaining that data subject to the same legal standard as other personal information.

The law aims to curtail what's known as "tower dumps." That's when service providers give police cellphone information about everyone who was near a particular tower.

The law provides exceptions, such as an emergency call for help, when search warrants aren't needed.

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A memorial to mark the site of a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island that killed 100 people is nearing completion, and organizers say it has raised more than $1.9 million out of the $2 million it needs to build it and maintain it in perpetuity.

Station Fire Memorial Foundation president Gina Russo says the memorial park is expected to be finished in October, bringing to fruition a project that has been years in the making.

Russo was among more than 200 people injured in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire, which started when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White set fire to flammable foam that lined the inside of the club.

Russo says she is ready to be done, and says support from the community has been overwhelming.

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Providence police say they have thwarted an attempted midnight heist from a jewelry store after an alarm drew the attention of a patrolman.

 When the patrolman heard an alarm sounding at Rachana Jewelry, he saw a man in a dark blue hoodie running away into the woods behind the building.

Police said a 24-year-old man in the hoodie was found on his stomach among the trees with gloves, a cellphone, a walkie-talkie and black ski mask.

Police said they found a second man behind another tree with a lit headlamp and a cellphone that he tried to throw away. The two were arrested.

Police were working Sunday to identify the two men.

Investigators said they found footprints around a square hole cut into the roof that opened down into the store.

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Dogs are banned from Rhode Island's veterans' cemetery under a new state law that imposes a $500 fine on pet owners who break it.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is scheduled to hold a signing ceremony Tuesday at Warren Town Hall for the pet ban and several other new laws affecting veterans.

Lawmakers introduced the legislation after cemetery visitors said it was disrespectful for dogs to roam the state's Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter.

Service animals are exempted from the ban.

The other new laws allow private employers to provide hiring preferences for veterans; protect jobs for Rhode Island residents serving in the National Guard; and allow veterans applying for benefits to get free copies of medical records.

The event is ceremonial. Raimondo has already officially signed the bills into law.

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State and municipal offices will be closed throughout Rhode Island on Monday as the state marks Victory Day.

Rhode Island is the last state to recognize the holiday.

It marks the Japanese surrender in World War II in 1945, which put an end to the war.

Public buses are operating on a holiday schedule, and trash pickups are delayed a day.

The post office is still delivering mail, and federal offices and most retail stores will be open.

There have been attempts over the years to drop the holiday.

Critics note that the state doesn't celebrate the Allies' victory over Germany a few months before Japan surrendered.

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The state Republican Party is calling for the resignation or expulsion of State Representative John Carnevale.   The Democrat announced last week he won't seek another term after Providence election officials determined he doesn't live in the district he represents.  GOP Chair Brandon Bell says taxpayer's shouldn't continue to pay for fraud.  Carnevale's term expires at the end of this year.   

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There's an undisclosed financial settlement between a prep school in Middletown and as many as 30 alumni who say they were sexually abused.  According to a joint statement, a mediator will oversee individual awards that Saint George's School will make to the abuse survivors.  The abuse complaints range from the 1970s up to 2000.  A state police investigation ended with no criminal charges.  The results of an independent investigation are expected soon. 

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State leaders are meeting to discuss the state's drought problem.  Officials are expected to decide today whether to declare a statewide drought because of the shortage of rainfall this year.  They'll also decide if more areas across the state will face water restrictions.  Currently, multiple communities are urging residents to limit water use. 

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The dean of Mount Hope High School in Bristol is stepping down.  William Pabst resigned on Tuesday after a drug-related arrest last month.  Police say Pabst was pulled over after driving erratically and allegedly had cocaine and prescription pills with him.  School officials say he stepped down because of "personal reasons" and that it was his decision. 

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Rhode Island officials say the state pension fund lost $466 million during the past fiscal year, shrinking its assets by more than 5 percent from just under $7.7 billion to $7.5 billion.

Officials with the Office of the General say that 2016 marks the second straight year the fund lost money because benefits payouts outweighed the return on investments and contributions.

The market value for investments in the Employees' Retirement System of Rhode Island also fell by $26 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

David Ortiz, Gen. Treasurer Seth Magaziner's spokesman, says the poor investment performance was due to a "highly volatile year in the financial markets."

Ortiz says the diversification of the fund's investments protected it from a larger fall.

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In Providence this week, civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson took the opportunity to check out the city-sponsored Providence Midnight Basketball League.

Jackson, who was in town for the funeral of longtime friend and major Democratic donor Mark Weiner, attended two league games at Bucklin Park on Tuesday night. Jackson spent time with locals and spoke to players in the middle of the court.

He said that Providence is headed in the right direction with the league, which he says offers hope and inspiration to the community.

Jackson praised the city for attempting to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, but he says more work can be done.

Jackson says he hopes to relay what he learned in Providence to leaders in other communities.

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