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1540 WADK.com Updates

Rhode Island elections officials are weighing a proposal that would allow voters with cellphone cameras to prove they voted by taking a selfie photo.

The Board of Elections' legal counsel says the proposal would modify regulations to allow voters to photograph themselves, but not others, at polling places statewide.

The proposal is one of several under consideration by the board. Another potential change would allow bake sales in the general area of polling places.

The selfie proposal is backed by the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, says the restrictions are in place to prevent vote selling, and proof of voting through a selfie could make it easier to sell votes.


Rhode Island is acquiring 590 new electronic voting machines that will be used for the fall elections.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea on Thursday unveiled the new equipment, which replaces machines from the 1990s.

The Democrat says the vote-scanners will be secure and report results quickly because they use wireless technology.

The paper ballot will be different from what Rhode Island voters have used for many years. Voters will now fill in ovals instead of connecting arrows.

Nebraska-based Election Systems & Software made the machines, known as the DS200. The state is paying $9.28 million for the equipment and maintenance through an 8-year lease, with option to purchase.

Municipalities will also get new printers allowing poll workers to print ballots if they run out on the day of the election.


Rhode Island's unemployment rate grew slightly in June to 5.5 percent, the highest level of joblessness so far this year.

Numbers released on Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training show that unemployment rose by one-tenth of a percentage point after holding steady for six consecutive months.

The national unemployment rate also went up in June, to 4.9 percent.

About 400 more people were unemployed in the state, even as the number of jobs grew by 1,700.

The retail trade created the largest number of new jobs, followed by the health industry, manufacturing and professional sectors. Information jobs also increased because of the return of Verizon workers from a strike that began in mid-April and continued through May.

Construction jobs continued to decline.


In the waning hours of a dramatic and contentious Republican National Convention, not everyone was sticking around for the headliner.

Giovanni Cicione is flying home to Rhode Island on Thursday, disheartened by what he has seen in Cleveland this week.

The former head of the Rhode Island Republican Party was a delegate for U.S. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who was booed Wednesday after declining to endorse nominee Donald Trump.

Cicione says he's disturbed by the nationalist fervor of Trump supporters and decided to skip Trump's acceptance speech. He was a member of the platform committee and says he tried unsuccessfully to make it more inclusive.

The state's other Cruz delegate, Rob Sullivan, stayed to show unity against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Most of the other delegates are Trump supporters.



A trial in a lawsuit filed against Brown University by a student who was suspended after what he says was a consensual sexual encounter, but which a fellow student reported as a sexual assault, is underway.

The bench trial before U.S. District Judge William Smith began Tuesday.

The student was suspended for two years under a Title IX process he argues is unfair. He wants to be reinstated and seeks to stop Brown from handling complaints using the current process.

Brown says the procedure was fair and the hearing panel had a rational basis for its finding.

Universities around the country have faced similar lawsuits from men who say they were falsely accused amid a push by federal authorities aimed at getting schools to better address sexual assaults on campus.


The operators of the Port of Providence have reached an agreement with an environmental group over a $20 million state-financed proposal to expand the city's deep-water seaport.

ProvPort announced Tuesday that it is changing its plans to address concerns raised by Save The Bay.

The port operator is abandoning plans that would have filled up to 31 acres of Narragansett Bay and will instead restrict its proposed expansion to existing land.

ProvPort also says its land acquisition won't benefit owners of the Rhode Island Recycled Metals scrap yard, which has been repeatedly cited for environmental violations.

Save The Bay Executive Director Jonathan Stone says he's pleased that ProvPort listened to the group's concerns.

Rhode Island voters are being asked to approve the bond proposal in November.


A longtime Providence police officer has admitted to stealing a gun and more than $9,000 in cash from the department's evidence room.

63-year-old Michael McCarthy pleaded guilty Tuesday in Providence Superior Court to embezzling more than $100. He was sentenced to one year of home confinement.

Charges of larceny and receiving stolen goods were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

McCarthy, of Warwick, is a 36-year veteran officer. He was suspended after his arrest in 2014.

Providence police launched an investigation in 2014 after a diamond ring recovered from a theft disappeared. An audit of the evidence room revealed that other items were missing.

McCarthy was assigned to the evidence room for several years. Prosecutors say he embezzled cash from 2005 through 2014.


Rhode Island officials say a lawmaker who's been questioned about his residency asked a police officer to write him parking tickets at his Providence home.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare confirmed Tuesday that Democratic Rep. John Carnevale had contacted a police lieutenant, who "feels uncomfortable with the request."

Pare says it's "highly unusual" for someone to ask for a parking ticket.

The issue comes up after a monthslong news station investigation revealed Carnevale owns a Johnston home he hadn't declared on ethics filings. The station never found him at the Providence home where he says he lives.

Carnevale is a retired Providence police sergeant. A message left for his attorney hasn't been returned.

The Providence Board of Canvassers is reviewing Carnevale's residency. State police also are investigating him.


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 Health and Environmental Management departments said Tuesday people should not ingest water or eat fish from Melville Pond in Portsmouth. Pet owners should not allow pets to drink the water or swim in it.

Officials say Aquidneck Island's public drinking-water supply is not at risk because Melville Pond is not used for drinking water.

The advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

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.

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


A Rhode Island police dog will be safer on the job, thanks to a bullet-resistant vest donated by a charity group.

The Warwick Police Department say the German shepherd named Fox will receive the vest from Vested Interest in K9s, a nonprofit group based in Taunton, Massachusetts.

The protective equipment is sponsored by Cranston resident Libby Distasio. It will be embroidered with the phrase "In Memory of D'Strong" in honor of Dorian Murray, an 8-year-old Westerly boy who died in March after battling a rare form of pediatric cancer.

The vest will be ready in about two months.

Vested Interest in K9s has provided more than 1,900 protective vests for dogs across the country since 2009. A $1,050 contribution allows the group to donate one vest.


Two people were injured after a car has smashed into a building in South Kingstown Tuesday.

According to police, the car was traveling down Southwinds Drive and crossed Kingstown Road around 1:18 p.m. The Ford Fusion reportedly passed over two lanes of traffic, went into the driveway of Kingston Auto Sales and Service and continued into the side of the building.

One victim was the elderly driver and the other was a customer inside the store.

The driver was transported by ambulance and the man inside the store was flown by LifeStar helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital.


Rhode Island's governor has hired a Providence city administrator to be her top aide.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday that Brett Smiley will be her new chief of staff beginning after Labor Day.

Smiley has been Providence's chief operating officer since Mayor Jorge Elorza took office last year. He also ran for mayor in 2014 before dropping out of the Democratic primary to support Elorza.

Raimondo says she chose him for his financial and managerial experience, including his work handling Providence's budgets and structural deficit and overseeing a construction boom.

He replaces former Chief of Staff Stephen Neuman, who left last month to work on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in Michigan.

Raimondo's acting chief of staff, David Cruise, a former state lawmaker, will become a senior adviser.


Gas prices have fallen slightly in Rhode Island, to an average $2.22 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

AAA Northeast says its weekly survey released Monday found the average price of a gallon of gas had fallen 2 cents since last week.

Nationally, the price was averaging $2.21 per gallon.

The price is significantly lower than it was at this time last year, when gas was averaging $2.73 per gallon in Rhode Island.

That price is 51 cents higher than today, or 23 percent more.


A federal judge in Rhode Island has dismissed a lawsuit brought over the nation's first offshore wind farm.

The lawsuit was filed last year by plaintiffs including the Rhode Island Manufacturers Association. It argued utility National Grid's deal approved in 2010 to buy power from the wind farm violated federal law and would result in a significant increase to their electric bills. It sought to block the power purchase agreement.

The five-turbine wind farm is being constructed by Deepwater Wind just offshore from Rhode Island's Block Island.

The manufacturers' group sued National Grid, Deepwater Wind and members of the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission. Deepwater had called the complaint baseless.

U.S. District Judge William Smith on July 7 found the lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations had expired.


The Connecticut and Rhode Island congressional delegations have reached out to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in support of a proposed rule to designate a dredged material disposal site in Eastern Long Island Sound.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the EPA Monday expressing the importance of "preserving and protecting the environment" in the region.

They argue that transporting dredged materials to other sites, like the Rhode Island Disposal Site, will increase carbon emissions from ships and the risk of dredged material spills.

The EPA determined a new site was necessary in the Long Island Sound region following a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan issued in January. Two dredging disposal sites in the area will be closed.

The periodic dredging of harbors and channels is essential to safe navigation.


Fire officials say a small powerboat caught fire and sank off India Point Park in the Providence River.

Acting Providence Battalion Chief Stephen Capracotta says the flames engulfed the boat around 9 p.m. Monday.

Providence and East Providence Firefighters extinguished the blaze and most of the powerboat sank below the surface just off rocks along the waterfront.

The Coast Guard says the boat's owner wasn't on board during the fire. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Rhode Island's tallest building is opening for free public tours.

The so-called "Superman Building" has been vacant for three years. The owner, Massachusetts-based High Rock Development LLC, has been pushing to get public money to help pay to redevelop it.

High Rock announced on Monday that five 90-minute tours were scheduled from July to September.

High Rock's David Sweetser says he wants Rhode Islanders to be able to enjoy the views from the 26-story building and appreciate the architecture and history of the building.

Within hours of the announcement, all the tours were booked. A High Rock spokesman says they plan to add more.

The Art Deco-style skyscraper opened in 1928 as the Industrial National Bank Building.

The tour will include the vault, the banking hall and the 25th floor.


The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is looking for volunteer osprey nest monitors in Westerly and other southern Rhode Island communities.

There are approximately 12 nests in Westerly and only a handful of monitors.

This summer, a total of 100 volunteers are watching 246 nests. That's 25 more nests than in 2015.

Officials say monitoring the nests provides valuable information on population trends and also on the population health of fish and conditions of local waters.

The osprey population has rebounded since DDT, an insecticide that weakened the shells of their eggs, was banned in 1972. The large fish-eating raptors are now common summer residents of Rhode Island and Connecticut. They typically migrate to South America in the winter.


The group that runs the famed Newport jazz and folk festivals is expanding.

The Newport Festivals Foundation has acquired Bridgefest, which spans the week between the folk and jazz festivals. Organizers say they hope to add local music and some bigger names to the weekday festival and give music lovers reason to stay in Newport for the week.

Jill Davidson, festival director for the folk and jazz festivals, says they hope to expand the festival over the coming years and to make it more of a weeklong celebration.

The three-day Newport Folk Festival starts Friday and features acts including Patti Smith, Alabama Shakes, Elvis Costello and Flight of the Conchords. The following weekend, Chick Corea, Norah Jones and Angélique Kidjo headline the jazz fest.


Housing agencies in Rhode Island have been awarded a total of nearly $1 million in grants to help low-income residents gain job skills and financial independence.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed announced the "Family Self-Sufficiency Program" grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The funding was awarded to housing authorities in Central Falls, Coventry, Cumberland, East Greenwich, East Providence, Narragansett, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence and Warwick.

Reed says the investment will help people gain skills and increase their earning power, while reducing the need for rental subsidies or other public assistance.

Public housing agencies will work with community partners to help assisted housing residents find work, access job training resources and achieve financial independence.

Rhode Island Housing is also receiving nearly $200,000.


The state treasurer's office says that a total of $11.7 million in unclaimed property was returned to nearly 9,000 Rhode Islanders in the last fiscal year.

The office of General Treasurer Seth Magaziner oversees more than $265 million in property that's waiting to be reclaimed.

The office returned $11.7 million in unclaimed property to 8,860 people in the 2016 fiscal year.

Magaziner says his office is working hard to reunite people with their money and property. Many of the claims processed average a few hundred dollars.

He asks people to visit the office's website to reclaim property.

Unclaimed property can include money left in old bank accounts and safe deposit boxes, uncashed paychecks, unused gift certificates, unreturned utility deposits, uncollected insurance payments and forgotten stocks and dividends.


Drivers who don't have their E-ZPass mounted properly will soon be charged more to cross the Newport Pell Bridge.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority will charge the fee when a transponder isn't properly mounted and a toll booth employee needs to raise the gate, beginning today.

RITBA says it's making the change because of safety concerns and unnecessary traffic delays.

Rhode Island residents with an E-ZPass are currently charged 83 cents to cross the bridge. Non-residents and drivers without an E-ZPass are charged $2 per axle.

The fee for an improperly mounted transponder is $2 per axle. RITBA may charge repeat offenders a $25 administration fee, plus the toll cost.

RITBA says it repeatedly had over 1,000 motorists per month needing assistance because of improperly or unmounted transponders.


Amazon is coming to Massachusetts and looking for potential employees across the region.

Three information sessions will be held this week in Rhode Island. The first one will take place Tuesday morning at the Providence netWORKri Career Center. A morning session and an afternoon session will be held Thursday at East Bay Community Action in East Providence.

Amazon is scheduled to open a 1.2-million-square-foot fulfillment facility in Fall River on Sept. 21.

Bristol County Training Consortium Deputy Director Holly Hill-Batista says looking outside of Massachusetts will provide the Seattle-based online retailer with more potential employees.

Hill-Batista says a total of nine information sessions will be held throughout the region this week.

Several information sessions were previously held in Fall River.


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

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Kevin Jackson was indicted Wednesday on two counts of unlawful appropriation, one count of embezzlement and related crimes.

Prosecutors say Jackson unlawfully appropriated campaign finance contributions and used them for personal use between October 2014 and July 2015. He's also accused of filing false campaign finance reports with the state Board of Elections.

Investigators allege Jackson embezzled $127,153 from the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field organization, between 2009 and 2016.

Jackson's attorney declined to comment on the charges.

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


The Westerly yacht club is making a historic change to its men-only policy.

Members voted Wednesday night to change the policy at the nearly century-old club and allow women as full members. It passed by a 79 percent margin, satisfying a two-thirds majority as required by club bylaws.

This was the second vote within about a month.

In June, members voted to uphold the policy, but decided to reconsider after dealing with fallout from their decision.

The old policy allowed wives as associate members, but they couldn't vote. Women who were not married to a male member couldn't join, even as associate members.

The new policy takes effect immediately. The club says anyone can apply, and their names will be added to a waiting list.


Salve Regina university has been awarded a $39,000 grant from the National Park Service to conduct a site documentation project on a historic battlefield in South Carolina.

A spokesman for Salve says students in the Cultural and Historic Preservation program will study the Sadkeche Fight, a battle associated with the Yamasee War. The goal is to identify the probable location of the battle.

The war began in April 1715 as members of the Yamasee tribe attacked English settlers in colonial South Carolina.

Assistant Professor Jon Marcoux says a battlefield from the Yamasee War has never been located.

The grant is one of 20 awarded nationally. It's administered by the NPS's Battlefield Protection Program to support work that safeguards and preserves significant American battlefield lands.


Rhode Island's congressional delegation has announced a total of $17.8 million in federal funding to help Providence and Cranston hire and train new firefighters.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat, says the funding will help fill a total of 95 firefighter positions that were vacated due to normal attrition and left empty because of economic hardship.

Providence will receive approximately $15 million to hire 80 firefighters. The rest will go to Cranston to hire 15 firefighters.

The funding is provided through the competitive Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.

The federal grants will cover the cost of the new hires for the next two years.


A Providence man has pleaded guilty in the killing of a South Carolina man in a Middletown hotel.

Forty-one-year-old Todd Sollo waived indictment Wednesday in Newport and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 51-year-old Mark Lussier of Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

Sollo was sentenced to life in prison under the plea agreement. A Newport woman charged in Lussier's death still faces a trial.

Authorities say Lussier, formerly of Exeter, was found partially submerged in a hot tub at the Quality Inn in Middletown on March 1.

Authorities say the three were drinking together all day on Feb. 29, then went back to Lussier's room. They say Sollo beat Lussier to death and left his body in the tub.


Authorities have identified a 57-year-old man found dead following a small fire in a Newport building.

The flames were reported just before 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Newport Tradesman Center. Police say the state medical examiner's office identified the body found as Luke Walker of Middletown.

Officials say the fire was controlled in about 10 minutes and was contained to one unit. They don't know what started the fire or what caused Walker's death, however, they don't believe the fire was suspicious.

Investigators were back at the scene on Wednesday.


A Rhode Island environmental group is opposing a $20 million state-financed proposal to expand the city's deep water port.

Save The Bay says the Port of Providence expansion could lead to filling in 31 acres of Narragansett Bay.

The group says the plan seems to be based on an expansion plan that includes land acquisition, infrastructure upgrades, and filling in the shoreline for new ship berths.

The group says the plan could also benefit the owners of the Rhode Island Recycled Metals scrap yard, which has been repeatedly cited for environmental violations.

Lawmakers last month added the ProvPort bond to a $50 million bond for a pier project in North Kingstown. Voters are being asked to approve it in November.

ProvPort spokesman Bill Fischer says the plan may not require shoreline filling.


A Rhode Island city has been ordered to pay more than $20,000 in legal fees racked up by a saxophone player who challenged its policies on street performers.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of Manuel Pombo alleging Providence violated his right to free speech by arresting him for playing his saxophone on a public sidewalk. A settlement reached in January allows Pombo to perform on public property and solicit donations, called busking.

Lawyers for the ACLU were seeking nearly $28,000 in legal fees. The city filed a motion contesting that amount. A federal magistrate ordered payment of nearly $22,000.


Rhode Island tourism officials say a new campaign to draw visitors to the Ocean State is poised to go live later this month.

The Commerce Corporation is asking residents to continue submitting photos via Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #myRIstory to be used in the campaign. Digital advertisements are scheduled to go live July 25.

The state reached out to Rhode Islanders after a botched announcement in March for its multi-million dollar tourism campaign, including a slogan, "Cooler & Warmer," that was rejected by state residents.

Soon after, it was revealed a scene from a promotional video for Rhode Island mistakenly featured a clip from a concert hall in Reykjavik.




The Rhode Island Department of Justice has named a new federal criminal chief and deputy criminal chief.

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha on Tuesday announced the appointments of Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland to the position of criminal chief and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra Hebert to the position of deputy criminal chief.

Neronha said in a statement that Ferland and Hebert are "experienced, talented attorneys with sound judgment and excellent leadership skills."

Ferland joined the U.S. Attorney's Office in May 2010, after having served as a Rhode Island state prosecutor for more than 20 years.

Hebert joined the office in June 2006, after having served as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Texas and as an officer in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.


A Providence deputy police chief has been chosen as the new police chief in Woonsocket.

Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt on Tuesday introduced Thomas Oates as the department's new head. Oates was selected out of five finalists for the job. The 36-year Providence Police Department veteran is expected to take the position by early August.

Oates says he's looking forward to getting to know the city's residents and its police officers. He will oversee 90 officers and 16 civilian workers in the department.

The chief position had been vacant since Chief Thomas Carey retired in February.


Authorities say a man was found dead following a small fire in a Newport building.

Fire officials say the flames were reported just before 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Newport Tradesman Center.

Officials say the fire was controlled in about 10 minutes and was contained to one unit. The state medical examiner took the man's body from the scene. He wasn't immediately identified.

Newport police and fire departments, state police and the state fire marshal are investigating.


A police officer in Warwick is recovering after he was hit by an SUV while trying to direct traffic during a late-night power outage.

Warwick Police Capt. Brad Connor said the driver of the vehicle that hit the officer on Sunday night has been charged with driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a chemical test.

Connor says the driver, Warwick resident Thomas Horne, was taking a left onto Warwick Avenue from Sandy Lane when he crossed into the direction of oncoming traffic and struck the officer.

It's unclear if Horne has a lawyer who can comment on his behalf.

The officer was treated for a leg injury and released from the hospital several hours later on Monday morning.



A district attorney's office in Massachusetts is conducting a preliminary investigation based on information it received from the Rhode Island State Police about sexual abuse allegations at a prestigious boarding school.

The state police investigation into dozens of allegations of abuse of students at St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island, concluded in June with no criminal charges.

Police say they turned over some of their information to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office in Massachusetts and the Waynesville Police Department in North Carolina.

The Suffolk County district attorney's office says it has undertaken a preliminary investigation based on the referral, but can't comment further.

Waynesville police didn't immediately comment.


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

AAA Northeast reports Monday that its weekly price survey found self-serve, regular selling for an average of $2.24 per gallon.

That's 1 cent per gallon above the national average and 51 cents lower than the Rhode Island price a year ago.

AAA found self-serve, regular selling for as low as $2.15 per gallon and as high as $2.60.


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 133 mosquito samples from 33 traps set statewide on June 27 tested negative for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis.

Results from additional samples collected from 36 traps set on July 5 are pending.

The agency says the best prevention against mosquito-borne illness is avoiding bites.

Residents are urged to use mosquito repellent but with no more than 30 percent DEET, put screens on windows and doors and eliminate areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed.

The agency traps mosquitoes weekly and tests them at the state health laboratories. Weekly advisories on test results are issued from late June through September.


Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee has been named chairman of the National Lt. Governors Association.

The Democrat was nominated Friday at the group's annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As chairman, McKee will lead the association's 17-person executive committee in directing policy discussions and setting the group's general business agenda.

McKee called the nomination a tremendous honor, saying he looks forward to "working with lieutenant governors from both parties and every region."

McKee has been chairman of the group's Policy Resolutions Committee since July 2015.

The NLGA is the professional association for lieutenant governors in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

The group's website says it aims to foster interstate collaboration and improve the efficiency of state and territorial administration.


Officials have broken ground on a $90 million project to extend the runway at the T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.

The Rhode Island Airport Corporation celebrated the start of the project Monday morning with a ceremonial groundbreaking and remarks from Gov. Gina Raimondo, Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation.

The plan to extend the runway 1,500 feet had been under study for more than decade before it was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011.

Airport President Peter Frazier says the extended runway will eliminate the need for weight restrictions on airplanes leaving T.F. Green. He says it also gives the state the opportunity for long-haul service.

The deadline for testing the new runway is December 2017, with the official opening date to be announced.


More than 150 people gathered in downtown Newport in support of the Black Lives Matter movement after a week of violence across the nation.

The group marched on Saturday afternoon to call for changes after the police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week.

Speakers urged the crowd to get involved in grassroots efforts to improve law enforcement across the country.

Seneca Pender, of Middletown, organized the rally. He told the crowd that the senseless killings of black people "have to stop."

Pender also thanked law enforcement officers who provided security at the rally in Newport and denounced the deadly attack Thursday on police officers at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas that left five officers dead.


As his fundraising begins picking up ahead of the Republican presidential convention, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has a lot of catching up to do in Rhode Island.

Federal campaign records show he raised just over $13,000 from Rhode Island residents through the end of May, compared to $786,000 donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Democrat Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the state's April 26 primary but was second in contributions, raking in $368,600.

The average donation to Sanders was $39.50, not quite the $27 national average that Sanders regularly touted on the campaign trail but far smaller than his competitors. Clinton's average was $226, and Trump's $321.

Even long-shot Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor who dropped out last fall, has pulled in more Rhode Island cash than Trump.


License plates commemorating farm labor leader Cesar Chavez, the Rocky Point park along Narragansett Bay and the Lupus Foundation could be showing up on Rhode Island cars.

Among 45 bills signed into law Wednesday by Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo are several allowing specialty license plates.

The plates cost $40 each. Proceeds are split between the state and the special cause. Proceeds from the Chavez plates go toward a scholarship in his name affiliated with the Rhode Island Foundation.

One law allows special plates for Brown University, Providence College and other private Rhode Island colleges and universities.

This year's state budget also expands the use of "Gold Star Parent" plates for residents who lost a son or daughter on military duty. It drops some fees and creates a new plate design.


Homeowners near the T.F. Green Airport will receive new windows and doors, duct work and other systems to help block out jet noise, thanks to a federal grant.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says $9.3 million was awarded for jet noise mitigation near the airport in Warwick.

The airport's main runway is currently being extended by 1,500 feet, to a total of 8,700 feet. It's scheduled to be operational in late 2017.

Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, says that about $900,000 of the grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation may be used to buy three homes from people seeking to relocate.

The remaining funding will be used for sound insulation mitigation.

About 750 residents in 76 single family homes, 142 condominiums and 82 apartments are expected to benefit.


Casino opponents are heading to federal court in their bid to block the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's plans to build a resort in southeastern Massachusetts.

Lawyers for 25 Taunton residents opposed to the project are expected to argue Monday in Boston federal court that the U.S. Department of Interior wrongly placed 151 acres of land in trust for the Cape Cod-based tribe.

The group argues in its February lawsuit that the department's decision was based on a faulty interpretation of the Supreme Court's ruling in a 2009 case involving the Narragansett Indian tribe in neighboring Rhode Island.

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, which isn't a party in the suit, broke ground on its First Light Resort and Casino in April. It hopes to open the first phase next summer.


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 Tuesday that 119 mosquito samples from 33 traps set statewide on June 20 tested negative for both West Nile and eastern equine encephalitis.

Results from additional samples collected from 33 traps set on June 27 are pending.

The agency says the best prevention against mosquito-borne illness is avoiding bites.

Residents are urged to use mosquito repellent but with no more than 30 percent DEET, put screens on windows and doors, and eliminate areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed.

The agency traps mosquitoes weekly and tests them at the state health laboratories. Weekly advisories on test results are issued from late June through September.


Gas prices in Rhode Island are down three cents this week.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the average price of a gallon of self-serve, regular gas has dropped to $2.27 in the Ocean State. That's three cents lower than last week's average.

Rhode Island's price is the same as the national average.

The in-state price at this time last year was 52 cents higher, at an average $2.79 per gallon.

AAA found self-serve, regular gas selling for as low as $2.15 and as high as $2.36.

AAA says it's unusual for gas prices to decrease after Memorial Day.


Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo says she's pleased and not surprised that the FBI won't recommend criminal charges against Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while secretary of state.

The Democratic governor says that "everybody agrees it was careless" for Clinton to use the private email server.

Her words echoed those of FBI Director James Comey, who on Tuesday called Clinton's actions "extremely careless" but said criminal charges are not appropriate.

Raimondo has long backed Clinton's presidential campaign.

She says Clinton has to continue to work on building trust but that she expects her to win the election in November.

Raimondo says Clinton is the only candidate in the race who is qualified and fit to be president.


Maine regulators are considering intervening to help fix a bait shortage that threatens to affect its signature business, the lobster-fishing industry.

Lobstermen typically use herring for bait, and regulators and members of the fishing industry say there's a shortage of them.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources met Tuesday afternoon to discuss what role it can play. A spokeswoman says that it anticipates passing rules based on Tuesday's discussion.

Members of the fishing industry say the problem is that not enough herring are being caught on Georges Bank, a key fishing area off Massachusetts. The lack of bait is a problem for lobstering in all the New England states.


Rhode Island state police won't release their report into dozens of sexual abuse allegations at a prestigious boarding school because the matter is being investigated in other states.

The investigation into allegations of abuse of students at St. George's School in Middletown concluded in June with no criminal charges.

Police denied a request by The Associated Press for the investigative report on Tuesday.

The denial says police determined the report isn't releasable under state law because of ongoing investigations in other state jurisdictions.

Attorney Eric MacLeish represents some of the victims. He says he's aware of potential criminal cases that could be brought in North Carolina and Massachusetts against former St. George's staff members.


The numbers are in from the inaugural weekend of the new Providence-to-Newport ferry service.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation says more than 1,000 people took advantage of the service over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Officials say from July 1 through July 4 approximately 1,300 people took the ferry from Providence to Newport. All of the morning trips to Newport were sold out, and all but one of the midday trips reached capacity.

The new service is a pilot program, and will run 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.

Fares are $10 for adults each way and $5 for children, seniors and those with disabilities.


Crews have recovered a small plane that crashed off the coast of Rhode Island.

The plane carrying an AT&T banner went down Monday in the Bonnet Shores area of Narragansett Bay, and was lifted out of the water Tuesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will now examine the plane to try to determine why it crashed.

The pilot, identified as 26-year-old Jeremiah Coholan, of North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, suffered only a small scratch and declined medical treatment.

This is not Coholan's first plane mishap. In January, he was flying a different plane when he was forced to make an emergency landing on a snow-covered field near Rochester, New York.


Authorities say a Rhode Island financial adviser has agreed to plead guilty to orchestrating a $21 million Ponzi scheme.

The U.S. Attorney's office on Tuesday announced that court documents indicate that Patrick Churchville, of Barrington, will plead guilty to five counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud stemming from crimes authorities say he committed between 2008 and 2011.

Prosecutors say the 47-year-old Churchville used $2.5 million of investors' funds to purchase his home in Barrington and failed to pay more than $820,000 in personal federal income taxes.

He's also accused of misappropriating approximately $21 million dollars of investment money to operate his business, ClearPath Wealth Management, LLC.

Churchville is also a defendant in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission civil matter.


Two Rhode Island agencies are warning the public of a possible exposure to rabies after a report of an animal biting several customers at a Walmart in Westerly.

Officials from the state Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management say at least two customers were reportedly bitten by the animal on Monday between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Officials say the two individuals haven't come forward to seek treatment.

The departments say that anyone who had physical contact with a small black mammal inside or around the store should contact the DOH for an assessment. The animal has not been tested but officials are operating under the assumption that it could have rabies.

The agencies say that once symptoms appear, rabies is fatal in people and animals.


A Rhode Island man was injured in an explosion after officials say he was trying to make his own fireworks over the July Fourth holiday.

The explosion happened Sunday afternoon in West Warwick.

The state Fire Marshal's office says the Coventry resident was tampering with fireworks in a garage when it happened.

The man went to the hospital before officials arrived on the scene. His condition wasn't immediately available on Monday. No other injuries were reported.

A bomb squad conducted a controlled explosion of the remaining fireworks after deeming them unsafe to dispose of or move from the scene. The garage sustained major structural damage as a result of both explosions.

Officials say the victim may face charges for tampering with the fireworks.

The investigation is ongoing.


A new Rhode Island law bans the sale of powdered caffeine to minors.

It was one of dozens of bills signed into law by Gov. Gina Raimondo in late June.

People who are under 21 years old and are convicted of possessing powdered caffeine could face up to a $500 fine. The maximum penalty for people convicted of selling it to minors would be $3,000 or up to three years in prison for multiple offenses.

Concentrated caffeine powder is far more potent than coffee. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises consumers not to use it.

The FDA says two young men in Ohio and Georgia died after using the product. Ohio has since outlawed it.


A new program in Rhode Island is getting a $500,000 federal grant to help people being released from prison find jobs and reintegrate into the community.

The Providence/Cranston Workforce Development Board will use the U.S. Department of Labor grant to launch the RHODES to Employment Program.

The program will provide work readiness, career counseling, employment, educational and case management services for people who will soon be released from the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston to reduce recidivism.

They can continue to use the services after their release.

About 120 participants will be selected based on need.

The state's congressional delegation recently announced the funding.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, says people who have paid their debt to society should have opportunities to successfully transition to the workforce.


The Rhode Island labor department is warning people filing unemployment claims that this is one of the busiest times of the year for its call center.

The Department of Labor and Training says claims filed by bus drivers, substitute teachers and school food-service workers increased substantially when the school year ended.

The department says it expects to receive 5,000 claims during its peak summer period.

The department recommends filing online instead of calling and gathering all relevant information before doing so.

It also recommends keeping handy the confirmation number that's provided after filing a claim, to quickly locate and check the claim's status later.

Mondays and Tuesdays are the call center's busiest days, while Thursdays and Fridays are the least busy.

The center does not take calls on Wednesdays.


Authorities say a woman is dead and her husband remains hospitalized after a fire broke out at their mobile home in Coventry.

Crews arrived at the scene Monday night for a report of a gas grill explosion. They arrived and found the trailer engulfed in flames.

Police say officers managed to rescue the husband but were unable to reach his wife in time. Her body was found inside the home after firefighters contained the blaze.

Police say the husband was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries that don't appear to be life-threatening. Two police officers were taken to Kent County Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The couple's names are being withheld pending family notification. The State Fire Marshal's office is investigating.


A small plane carrying an AT&T banner has crashed off the coast of Rhode Island.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded to the crash Monday afternoon in the Bonnet Shores area of Narragansett Bay.

The Coast Guard says a nearby boater rescued the 26-year-old pilot, Jeremiah Coholan, of North Dartmouth, Massachusetts, from the water. The pilot was evaluated by emergency crews on land and received only a small scratch.

There's no word on why the single-engine propeller plane plunged into the bay.

The Coast Guard says it is monitoring the crash site and will help to salvage the wreckage.

Agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.


The U.S. Department of Defense has honored a Rhode Island manufacturer for its support of National Guard and Army Reserve employees.

Hope Valley Industries was one of 15 employers out of nearly 2,500 nominees to receive the 2016 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award.

The North Kingstown manufacturer was cited for giving a service member deployed to Afghanistan a pre-departure gift of $1,000 to help with last-minute expenses. The company also provided a six-month plan for recovery upon the injured service member's return home from deployment.

Three other companies in the state have been selected for the award in the last 20 years. Citizens Bank won in the 1990s. Cardi's Furniture received the award in 2006 and CVS in 2015.


A new flight service is connecting the Azores to Rhode Island.

Gov. Gina Raimondo was among the officials celebrating at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick when the inaugural flight landed Thursday.

It was the first of Azores Airlines' weekly summer flights to and from Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel. The service on a 222-seat Airbus 310 will continue through Sept. 1.

The nonstop flight is meant to appeal to tourists visiting the Portuguese islands in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, including many families in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts with Azorean roots.

It's the third international service offered from the Providence area in the past year. The others are year-round flights to Cape Verde and seasonal service to Frankfurt, Germany.


Rhode Island's governor has vetoed her second bill.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo rejected a bill that would have changed the way the state recognizes foreign drivers' licenses.

The bill would have affected international students and others in the state on temporary academic or work visas, as well as some immigrants with permanent legal residency using licenses from their home countries.

Raimondo says it was well-intentioned legislation but foreign students can already freely drive in Rhode Island using a valid foreign license.

By making them apply to the state DMV and certify the validity of their licenses, Raimondo says the legislation was at odds with an international road traffic treaty signed by the United States.

It's only the second bill Raimondo has vetoed since taking office last year.


CVS Pharmacy has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle allegations that dozens of its Massachusetts pharmacies violated federal law by filling forged prescriptions for addictive painkillers and other controlled substances.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced the settlement with the Woonsocket based drugstore chain Thursday.

CVS says it entered into the agreement to avoid the expense and uncertainty of further legal proceedings.

Ortiz's office says the settlement resolves two investigations by the Drug Enforcement Administration after reports of forged oxycodone prescriptions. One involved hundreds of forged prescriptions at 40 CVS stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The other involved 120 forged prescriptions at 10 CVS stores in and around Boston.

CVS says it has tightened its policies and procedures to help its pharmacists determine whether a prescription is legitimate.


A judge has upheld a decision to fire a white Rhode Island police sergeant who made racially offensive remarks about a black officer.

Superior Court Judge Alice Gibney on Thursday found Providence Sgt. David Marchant's remarks were "hurtful, demeaning, degrading, and racist."

The incident happened in December 2014, when Marchant responded along with a black patrolman to a suspicious package at Brown University.

When Marchant was asked by his supervisor later if he followed proper protocols, he said he had the black officer handle it and if the black officer got sick it wouldn't be a problem because "he's a black guy anyway."

Marchant was fired following a disciplinary hearing in November 2015.

Marchant says the remark was a joke. He argued the firing was unfair.


Ferry service between Providence and Newport is launching just in time for the holiday weekend.

The new route begins Friday morning and lasts through the tourist season, until Sept. 5.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is running the service.

Gov. Gina Raimondo says the ferry will offer a new way to beat the traffic, enjoy Narragansett Bay and connect the state's two most popular cities for tourists. RIDOT Director Peter Alviti says it's also a great way for families to see the bay without a private boat.

The service costs $10 one-way for adults and $5 for children, seniors and those with disabilities.

The trip takes one hour, and the ferry includes bar service.


Rhode Island State Police say they are stepping up traffic enforcement over the holiday weekend.

Col. Steven O'Donnell says that there will be a substantial number of additional troopers out on the roads during the July 4th holiday weekend. He says they will be targeting speeders, aggressive drivers, seat belt violators and impaired drivers.

The police say the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays of the year due to drunken driving crashes.

O'Donnell is also encouraging people to designate a sober driver or call a taxi or someone else for a ride if needed.

They ask that people call 911 if they see someone who is driving and appears to be impaired.


A charity set up by the late Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci is giving out $48,500 in scholarships to students and grants to community groups.

Cianci's family also says they are merging two Cianci charities to form a new one. The Cianci Educational Foundation will give out scholarships and support the arts, urban development and other causes Cianci valued.

Cianci died in January at age 74.

Fourteen college-bound students will each receive $1,000 scholarships. Eight groups, including WaterFire, the Providence Preservation Society and the Anthony Quinn Foundation will receive grants.

Rick Simone, who is working with the family, says the new foundation will start July 1. He says in addition to the scholarships and grants, they plan to host quarterly "Cianci Talks" on subjects such as arts and culture.


A Rhode Island yacht club that allows only men as members is dealing with fallout of the policy, as at least one event there has been canceled and a local hospital says it won't book future events there.

The membership of the Westerly Yacht Club voted this month to uphold the policy. Celebrities including Taylor Swift and Conan O'Brien have homes in the seaside community.

Performer Dave Kane said Tuesday that he canceled his planned one-man comedy show booked for January at the club.

A spokesman for Westerly Hospital says a Thursday event they planned will go on, but they will not book future events there until the policy changes.

The club's commodore did not immediately comment.

The club allows wives as associate members, but they can't vote.


A new Rhode Island law is requiring elementary schools to give children at least 20 minutes of recess each day.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the school recess legislation into law on Monday.

The mandate takes effect immediately and requires schools to provide at least 20 consecutive minutes of free play.

The law also allows schools to treat recess as instructional time so that they don't have to extend the school day to meet the requirement.

Parent groups had pushed for the recess mandate and had wanted to ban teachers from taking a child's recess away as punishment. That ban was dropped in the compromise legislation that passed the state's General Assembly this month, but the new law says teachers should make a good-faith effort not to withhold recess.


The Providence School Board has passed a new policy that aims to strengthen the district's support of its transgender and gender-expansive students.

The policy provides guidelines on restroom usage, physical education classes and intramural sports teams while also establishing a Transgender and Gender Expansive Student Point Team for further support.

School Board member Robert Gondola, who sponsored the initiative, says the policy further underscores the district's commitment to providing an inclusive learning community to all students.

Under the policy, transgender and gender-expansive students are free to select the restroom of their choosing and have the option for private bathrooms and separate changing areas. Gender identity and expression will now also be considered when selecting the physical education and sports programs that students participate in.


The treasurer of a Rhode Island children's charity has admitted to stealing nearly $186,000 from the organization.

Authorities say Robert Lonardo, of Burrillville, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Providence to one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the 67-year-old Lonardo began withdrawing funds from the bank accounts of the Rhode Island Association for Cardiac Children in January 2013, following the death of his mother, who founded the charity. They say Lonardo withdrew money for his own personal use up to August 2015.

The charity raises funds for hospital equipment, children's cardiac treatment and research and families whose children need surgery for cardiac disease.

Lonardo is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 16. He faces up to 20 years in prison.


Workers at ProvPort have been unloading the 240-foot-long turbine blades that will ultimately be used for the nation's first offshore wind farm, off Block Island.

Deepwater Wind says dockworkers began unloading the 15 blades on Tuesday. They are scheduled to be brought to the Block Island Wind Farm site by boat in August.

The company says several other steps have been progressing as they work to complete the five-turbine wind farm.

A 6.5-mile cable that will connect the wind farm to Block Island has been installed. And a 17-mile cable that will connect Block Island with the mainland reached Block island last week.

Deepwater Wind says it will complete the cable connections between the wind turbines next month.


An assistant attorney general from Newport has been sworn in as Rhode Island's newest Superior Court judge.

Maureen Keough's ceremony took place at the State House rotunda in Providence on Tuesday.

Gov. Gina Raimondo says Keough would be ready to hit the ground running and operate an effective courtroom.

Keough, a deputy criminal chief of the attorney general's office, is filling the opening created by Judge Edward Clifton, who retired last year.

The Newport woman began working with the attorney general's office in January 1999.

Keough says she's "truly humbled" and thanked those who played a role in bringing her to this point.





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