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1540 WADK.com Updates Archives for 2014-01

R.I. graduation rate is up


The high school graduation rate in Rhode Island is up 3 percentage points for 2013.  Student’s performance on the NECAP test is improving as well.  The Journal reports latest numbers were just released by the Department of Education.  The complete NECAP numbers will be part of a report due on February 13th.

State of Education in R.I.


State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist delivered her annual "State of Public Education" address to the General Assembly yesterday.  She cites improvements in scores on national achievement tests and implementation of a new high school diploma system as examples of progress the state has made.  The state's latest graduation rates and the results from last fall's student assessment tests are to be released today.

Amber alert mother pleads not guilty


The 34-year-old woman who triggered a nationwide AMBER Alert when she fled with her six-year-old son to Washington State earlier this month, has been ordered held on 50-thousand-dollars bail with surety.  Andria Britt's attorney entered a not guilty plea on her behalf yesterday in Providence Superior Court.   A judge also ordered Britt to have no contact with her son or the boy's father, and to undergo drug and mental health evaluations. 

R.I. evictions


Bills have been filed in the House and Senate to prevent tenants from being evicted from foreclosed properties without just cause.  Currently, tenants living in foreclosed houses have only 90 days before they can be evicted without cause.  The legislation would prevent banks from evicting tenants until the property is sold to a new owner.  It also specifies the new owner would have to be a non-financial institution in order for an eviction to take place.

North Kingstown woman arrested


A 51-year-old North Kingstown woman has been charged with violating the state's social hosting law after police responded to a house on Wilbert Way. Authorities allege she hosted an underage drinking party attended by a large number of teens.  She also faces charges including obstructing a police officer. She will be formally arraigned next month.

R.I. ACLU objects to mandatory flu shots


The state chapter of the ACLU is against a proposal to require mandatory yearly flu shots for children between the ages of six-months and five-years of age, before they enter preschool or daycare programs.  Those who are not immunized, even for medical or religious reasons, would have to stay home during flu outbreaks.  The ACLU says the regulation proposed by the state health department imposes a "significant burden" on parents without long-term benefit to public health.

Newport shooting


The investigation continues into the shooting at the Festival Apartment complex in Newport.  Police say the victim sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound.  Newport Police detectives have not released additional information.

2,000 lose health benefits in R.I.


As a result of the state trying to cut back on enrollment in Rite Care, about 2,000 low income parents won’t have health care tomorrow.  The state expected those affected would enroll with Health Source RI, Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange mandated by the federal government.  According to the Journal, the Governor’s office confirmed that about 2,000 parents have yet to enroll in a new plan.

Middletown fire


Fire destroyed a Middletown home yesterday.  Everyone got out ok before fire crews arrived.  It took about 45 minutes to extinguish the flames at the home on Sunset Hill Street.  According to ABC 6, the cause is under investigation.

Clay Pell on You Tube


Clay Pell is running for Governor.  He released a you tube video prior to his official announcement in his bid for the top job in the state.

Ralph Mollis is running for Lt. Governor


Secretary of State Ralph Mollis has launched his campaign for lieutenant governor.  His announcement at a news conference yesterday sets up a Democratic primary against Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee.  There are no announced Republican candidates.  Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts can't seek re-election due to term limits.

Breakers welcome center


In a 4 to 1 vote, The Zoning Board of Review approved the welcome center at the Breakers Mansion.  The plan presented by the Preservation Society of Newport County would replace the temporary visitor’s center with a 4.2 million dollar complex.  According to The Journal, those opposed to the plan were concerned the center infringes on a national landmark.    

Tiverton maintenance foreman


The fate of the Tiverton maintenance foreman may have been decided.  Bob Martin had been accused of working on his own properties on town time.  NBC 10 reports the Tiverton Town Council is working on a resolution to the issues and will release details later this week.

Medicaid in R.I.


The attorney general's Medicaid Fraud Unit recovered more than eight-million-dollars for the state's Medicaid budget in 2013.  The unit entered into settlement agreements with pharmaceutical companies for off-label billing and/or overbilling the state, and with physician’s practices for overbilling and coding errors.  In a news release, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says Medicaid is one of Rhode Island's most expensive programs and cannot be "plagued with fraud, waste and abuse." 

Clay Pell's announcement


Democrat Clay Pell will announce tomorrow whether or not he's running for governor.  The 32-year-old grandson of the late Senator Claiborne Pell has never run for public office.  Two well-known Democrats, state General Treasurer Gina Raimondo  and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras are already in the race for the party nomination.  

Tenants in R.I. foreclosures


Legislation will be filed to prevent banks from evicting tenants living in foreclosed houses until the property is sold to new owners.  The legislation states the new owner would have to be a non-financial institution in order for an eviction to take place.  Currently, tenants living in foreclosed houses have only 90 days before they can be evicted without cause.  Sponsors of the tenants' rights legislation will hold a State House news conference on Thursday.

Breakers welcome center battle continues


The Preservation Society of Newport County continues their battle to build a welcome center at The Breakers.  They meet with Newport’s Zoning Board tonight as part of their appeal of the Newport Historic District Commission’s rejection last August.  The Journal reports both sides in the fight are willing to take the case to Superior Court. 

Armed robbery in North Kingstown


North Kingstown Police are looking for an armed robber.  He walked into The Dollar Tree Store on Post Road wielding a handgun and demanding cash.  ABC 6 reports he drove off in a dark Jeep Cherokee. Anyone with information is asked to call police.   

Flu clinic tonight


As the flu spreads across the state, The Rhode Island Department of Health is hosting a series of flu clinics.  They will offer vaccinations tonight from 5-8pm at the Narragansett Senior Center. 

Latest Newport accident victim identified


The victim of the deadly pedestrian accident yesterday afternoon on Bellevue Avenue in Newport has been identified.  Sharon Gerlach from Middletown died last night at Rhode Island Hospital.  Lt. Fitzgerald of the Newport Police says the investigation continues.   

R.I. unemployment rate is up


Rhode Island's seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment rate went up a tenth of a point in December to nine-point-one percent. That compares to a rate of nine-point-nine-percent in December of 2012. 

Taveras calls for another minimum wage hike


Democratic candidate for governor Angel Taveras supports a hike in Rhode Island's minimum wage to ten-dollars-ten-cents an hour by 2018.  He says the minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living and the increase would directly benefit tens-of-thousands of people.  The state's minimum wage was increased to eight-dollars an hour on New Years Day. 

Two Newport pedestrian accidents


Robert Silva has died after being struck in his wheel chair crossing Memorial Boulevard in Newport.  He died in the hospital after 2 surgeries following the accident.  Matthew McColgan of Middletown was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian and driving without insurance. Police are still investigating.    

 

Newport Police are also investigating another accident involving a pedestrian.  A woman was hit while crossing Bellevue Avenue yesterday afternoon.  Lt. Fitzgerald of the Newport Police says the victim died at Rhode Island Hospital last night.

 

 

Mount Hope Bridge jumper


A woman that jumped off the Mount Hope Bridge was rescued yesterday by the fire department.  She was sent to Rhode Island Hospital.  Police did not release the woman’s name. 

Deer trapped in Tiverton


Tiverton rescue crews and the D.E.M. freed a deer that was trapped in a crevice.  Tiverton animal control expects the deer to recover.

Naval Station Newport


Members of the General Assembly will get an update today on the Navy's presence in Rhode Island.  The commanding officer of Naval Station Newport is expected to brief lawmakers on the Navy's economic impact on the state.  He was invited to give the briefing by Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed and House Speaker Gordon Fox.

State Rep. Dennis Canario


The state is looking at requiring labels on foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.  State Rep. Dennis Canario thinks consumers should know more about what they are buying.   

Murder investigation needs help


Police are now seeking the public's help to solve a murder in Warwick last May.  A sledge hammer described as unique, was found near the body of 66-year-old John Fay.  Investigators say the hammer has a custom-made handle, weighs two-and-a-half pounds and is ten-inches long.  WPRI-TV reports police think it's an old tool that may have been taken from someone's house or toolbox.

Amtrak still affected by the weather


Amtrak will operate a modified schedule again today for Acela Express and Northeast Regional service between Boston and Washington due to extreme weather conditions.  Passengers with reservations that require changes will be re-booked on other trains.  Other Amtrak services in the Northeast Corridor are expected to operate on a normal schedule.

Newport Jazz Festival


The lineup has been announced for this summer's Newport Jazz Festival.  Headliners for the festival's 60th anniversary include Wynton Marsalis and Bobby McFerrin.   The festival is set for August first through the third at Fort Adams State Park and the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino. 

Jobs plan


Senate leaders have unveiled a detailed seven-point plan designed to address the state's high unemployment rate.  The goal is to improve training to give job seekers the skills employers are looking for.  Rhode Island's nine-percent unemployment rate is tied with Nevada for worst in the country.  Lawmakers say easing the job crisis is their number-one priority. 

Volunteers needed to help the elderly


Volunteers are sought to shovel snow for the elderly and disabled residents statewide.  Serve Rhode Island says volunteers can sign up online at serverhodeisland.org, or by calling 401-331-2298.  Anyone in need of help with shoveling can call the United Way's 211 help line.

Regional travel


Due to the winter storm that has hit the region, Amtrak will operate a modified schedule in the Northeast Corridor today.  Acela Express and Northeast Regional Service will operate with reduced frequency between Boston and Washington.  Most arrivals and departures at T.F. Green Airport were canceled last night. Passengers are advised to check with their airline regarding flight status this morning.

Morning commute


With gusty winds, forecasters have warned that blowing and drifting will cause poor visibility and make driving conditions difficult.  Additionally, with temperatures in the teens and single digits, the National Weather Service says wind chills will be dangerous with feel-like temperatures today below zero.

Jobs crisis


Saying the jobs crisis is their number one priority, Senate leaders will unveil an action plan today to address the needs of the unemployed.  State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed says the goal of the legislation is to help train those looking for work.  Legislators say despite Rhode Island's high unemployment rate, many companies say they can't find the skilled workers they need.

Gas prices in Rhode Island


The price for a gallon of gas in Rhode Island dropped about three-cents in the last week according to RhodeIslandGasPrices.com.  The average price is currently three-dollars-49-cents.  The national average is three-dollars-27-cents per gallon. 

Clay Pell announcement


Clay Pell has an announcement planned for Tuesday the 28th at the Rhode Island Convention Center.  The Journal reports he’s expected to say whether or not he plans to run for Governor.

Winter storm warning


A winter storm warning has been issued for Rhode Island.   Snow is expected to start during the day and the National Weather Service says the heaviest snowfall will be tonight.  Accumulations will generally fall in about the 6-12 inch range.  Temperatures will plummet by tomorrow and wind chill will also be a factor for the rest of the week. 

Newport School Committee


The Newport School Committee and the Newport City Council will hold a special workshop tomorrow night at City Hall at 5:30pm.  On the agenda will be the fiscal year 2014 budget.

Gun rights rally


Supporters of gun rights rallied at the State House yesterday afternoon. Speakers said their Second Amendment rights are threatened by bills pending in the current session of the General Assembly.  According to the Journal, two gubernatorial candidates, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras were among elected officials singled out at the rally as opponents of gun rights.

Amber Alert child is home


Daniel Britt is back in Rhode Island with his father following last weeks’ Amber Alert.  His mother had taken him to Washington State and is now charged with child snatching.  According to NBC10, Daniel will return to school tomorrow.     

RIPTA holiday schedule


Rhode Island Public Transit Authority buses will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule today in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday.  Flex service will not be available, except for Route 210 Kingston. Regular service resumes tomorrow.

David Darlington from R.I. Turnpike and Bridge Authority


Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority Chairman David Darlington says the reflective dividers on the Pell Bridge will go up soon.  They arrive on Monday and the install starts Tuesday. The installation should take about 2 weeks.  Safety measures may eventually include a permanent concrete barrier.

Meth lab in Newport


D.E.A. agents found a meth lab in a room at The Harbor Base Pineapple Inn in Newport.  The suspect, accused of cooking the meth in the room, is in custody.

Amber Alert child found


A nationwide AMBER alert for a six-year-old Woonsocket boy has been canceled. Rhode Island State Police say Daniel Britt was found yesterday unharmed north of Seattle, Washington.  His mother Andria Britt, is in custody facing charges for taking him from Rhode Island in violation of a court order. The boy was reported missing January 8th.

Pell Bridge dividers


Reflective dividers will be installed on the Pell-Newport Bridge.  The reflective posts are part of an effort to improve safety on the bridge which may eventually include a permanent concrete barrier.  The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority expects to have a final report on safety options before its next board meeting in March. 

Congressman Cicilline appointment


Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.  Cicilline says he looks forward to working on issues including gun violence prevention, voting rights and internet privacy.  He calls his assignment to the influential committee "a deep honor."

Little Compton illegal house transfer


Two Massachusetts men have been arrested for obtaining a house in Little Compton under false pretenses.  The Journal reports John Jeannetti and Glen Conlon convinced the homeowner to transfer ownership to settle a potential foreclosure.  A District Court judge in Newport set bail at 5,000 dollars personal recognizance.

Middletown pick up


Middletown will be picking up Christmas trees next week.  For more info, call 842 6519.

Amber Alert update


A nationwide AMBER Alert has been issued for a six-year-old Rhode Island boy.  Daniel Britt was reported missing January 8th.  Police believe the boy is with his mother, 34-year-old Andria Britt.  They think she may have left the state in violation of a court order.  She was driving a 2004 red Ford Focus.  Police have added the suspect’s father’s car to the alert.  It’s a gray Chevy Astro van that could be following the Focus. For more information on the Amber Alert, come back to wadk.com.

The Governor's State of the State


Governor Lincoln Chafee delivered his final State of the State address last night. He covered issues including education, jobs and energy and declared Rhode Island is poised to emerge from a difficult period.  He said the state will keep getting stronger if it follows a deliberate course and avoids quick fixes.

Chafee's budget


The Governor is proposing an eight-and-a-half-billion-dollar budget for the fiscal year that starts July first.  His proposal includes cutting the corporate tax down to six-percent.  It also freezes state college tuition, includes money for public works projects and adds an additional 38-million-dollars in education aid to cities and towns.  The budget also includes increases in driver’s license and registration renewal fees, and a series of steps to reduce Medicaid spending by more than 40-million-dollars.

 

State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed from Newport likes that the Governor put in place money for bridge repair and maintenance.   

Special Commission report on bridge funding


The special legislative commission looking at funding options for bridge maintenance released its final report with no consensus on what to recommend.  They do believe they would come up with legislation to fund bridge upkeep and roads throughout the state.  The Journal reports state Senator Lou DiPalma from Middletown says it will not include a toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

ID to vote in R.I.


The first test of the new voter ID law in Rhode Island comes next Tuesday.  There will be a special primary election on the 21st for state representative in Woonsocket.  Secretary of State Ralph Mollis says voters must show a proper photo ID for a regular ballot. Registered voters without a photo ID have the right to a provisional ballot.

Chafee's State of the State


Governor Lincoln Chafee will deliver the annual State of the State address tonight.  He’s also expected to release his next budget.  This will be Chafee's final State of the State address since he's not running for re-election.

Block responds to Raimondo


Businessman Ken Block says the plan General Treasurer Gina Raimondo unveiled Monday as she launched her campaign for governor won't help the state's sagging economy.  Block, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, says Democrat Raimondo's plan continues the pattern of quote, "unsustainable tax and spend liberalism."  In a statement, he says he has a plan to save one-billion-dollars over four-years by cutting costs and targeting fraud.  The Journal reports a  Raimondo spokesman calls her plan socially conscious and fiscally responsible. 

R.I. joins Target investigation


Rhode Island is joining a multi-state investigation of the data breach that put 110-million Target customers at risk. Last month it was revealed that personal credit card and debit card information had been accessed by computer hackers.  In announcing that his office will join with other attorneys general in the probe, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says endangering people's economic security is "unacceptable."

Westerly Walmart crash


A van crashed into the Walmart in Westerly early this morning.  NBC 10 says the driver was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries.  The store was closed for an inspection and re-opened about an hour later.  Police are investigating.

Newport Hospital change


Gus Cordeiro has left Newport Hospital as president.  Lifespan President and CEO Timothy Babineau had no explanation for the change.   Babineau will lead the recruitment for a new president.  In the interim, Arthur Sampson will be at the helm.    

Gina Raimondo makes it official


State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has officially launched her campaign for Governor.  During a kickoff event yesterday, she outlined a plan she says is intended to "jump start Rhode Island's economy." Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is already in the race for the Democratic nomination. 

North Kingstown Republican to challenge Kilmartin


State Senator Dawson Hodgson is expected to announce his candidacy for attorney general today.  The North Kingstown Republican was a state prosecutor from 2005 to 2010.  Hodgson will be the only announced challenger so far, to challenge Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's bid for a second term. 

Rep. Finn from Middletown


The General Assembly will look at laws banning assault style weapons and the capacity of magazines during this session.  But Representative Linda Finn of Middletown will not bring back her bill for a statewide gun registry.  The Journal reports she will consider supporting legislation that would make some domestic violence offenders give up their guns. 

Middletown construction project


Due to the lack of a reliable source of hot asphalt, the CB Utility Construction Company has decided to delay the return to work on Forest Avenue in Middletown for at least one more week.  CB Utility workers will continue to monitor the road on a daily basis to address any problems which may occur.

Fung tells fatal accident story again


After Cranston Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung told the story again about a fatal car accident he caused in 1989, he held a press conference yesterday to discuss it.   According to the Journal Fung says he was 18-years-old and driving home from college when he "lost consciousness" and hit a 41-year-old Pawtucket man who was changing a tire.  The charges were dropped when he was not indicted.   He says neither drugs nor alcohol were involved and the crash was thoroughly investigated before his record was expunged.  Fung says he wanted the public to know what happened because he's running for Governor.

Missing Brown student found dead


The Brown student that has been missing since New Year’s Eve has been found dead.  Dana Dourdeville was alone in a kayak, duck hunting in Fairhaven.  His body was found on the shore near Wood’s Hole in Falmouth yesterday. 

Cicilline on Ariel Sharon


Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline says the late former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon served with "courage, commitment and an unshakeable sense of duty." Cicilline says as Prime Minister, Sharon paved the way toward a more secure future for Israel and the region.  Sharon died on Saturday at the age of 85.

Flu clinics in the area


With flu now widespread in Rhode Island, several vaccination clinics are scheduled this week.  The vaccine will be available free of charge in Bristol, Jamestown, Portsmouth, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren and more towns around the state.  More information is available on the state Department of Health web site at health.ri.gov. 

Portsmouth Town Council


At their next meeting, the Portsmouth Town Council will discuss recent incidents at Fieldstones Grille and The Island Tap.  Police Chief Thomas Lee has asked the board of licenses to review the events from December.  According to patch.com, police arrested a Fieldstones employee on drug charges and The Island Tap was serving after hours.

R.I. native going to the Olympics


Cranston native Marissa Castelli has been named to the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating team. Castelli and her partner, Simon Shnapir from Sudbury, Massachusetts, will compete at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, next month. They successfully defended their pairs title over the weekend at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.

Bishop Tobin responds to flu


With flu now widespread in Rhode Island, Bishop Thomas Tobin says Catholics with flu symptoms should not attend Mass.  He's also advising priests to refrain from asking people to exchange the Sign of Peace during Mass.  He also recommends that Eucharistic ministers use hand sanitizer and that the "Precious Blood of Christ," holy wine not be distributed during Holy Communion.  So far this season, 51 people have been hospitalized with flu in Rhode Island. 

Flu clinics in Newport and Portsmouth


There is a flu vaccination clinic tomorrow at the Pell School in Newport from 10a to 1pm and Monday at the Portsmouth High School from 5pm to 8pm.

The Air Show is back


The Rhode Island National Guard Open House and Air Show will be back this spring.  Last year's show was canceled because of federal budget cuts known as sequestration.  The Navy's Blue Angels will headline the show May 17th and 18th at the Quonset Air National Guard Base. 

Chariho High closed today


A plumbing issue has closed Chariho High School and the Chariho Career and Technical Center.  They both are expected to re-open on Monday.

R.I. State Police will investigate in Cranston


The Rhode Island State Police will investigate the alleged parking ticket scandal in Cranston. Mayor Allan Fung says he asked the state police to step-in based on new allegations that have surfaced and to strengthen public confidence in the investigation.  Last month two City Councilman said their districts were targeted in a parking ticket blitz because they voted against a labor contract that the city's police union supported.  Mayor Fung says the tickets in question in those wards will be dismissed.

Health Source RI updates lawmakers


The House will get an update today from the head of Healthsource RI, the state's health insurance marketplace for the federal Affordable Care Act.  The informal meeting with Christine Ferguson is intended to help representatives answer questions from their constituents about the law.   The briefing in the House Lounge late this afternoon is open to the public

Flu now widespread in R.I.


Flu is now widespread in Rhode Island according to the state Department of Health.  The declaration means any healthcare workers who have not gotten a flu shot, must now wear surgical masks when directly involved in patient care.  So far this season, there have been 51 flu-related hospitalizations in Rhode Island. The flu is now widespread in at least 25 states, including neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Narragansett church bell lawsuit


A judge has ruled against John Devaney in his lawsuit against the Town of Narragansett,  the state, the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope.  The Narragansett resident was not happy with ringing church bells.  According to the Journal, U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan is suggesting that his lawsuit be dismissed. 

Interfaith vigil


An interfaith vigil focused on poverty was held at the State House yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" speech.  Speakers included Governor Lincoln Chafee and legislative leaders.  Vigil participants read the names of elected officials at the federal and state level, asking them to govern wisely.

Senator Reed on unemployment extension


As Democrats and Republicans battle over how to pay for extending long-term unemployment benefits, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed says people who have been out work for a long time need assistance.  About 5,000 Rhode Islanders lost their benefits at the end of December.

Duck hunters die in Westport


Two duck hunters that died when their boat capsized in the Westport River have been identified.  Steven James of Marshfield and Robert Becher of Cromwell, Connecticut were tossed into the frigid waters Tuesday before 8 a.m.  They were in a 16-foot aluminum skiff in choppy waters, high winds, and temperatures in the single digits.  Survivor Gregg Angell of Westport is expected to recover.

Senator Teresa Paiva Weed's priority


The 2014 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly has begun.  The issues facing lawmakers are a projected deficit in the next budget year, taxes, public employee pension reform and bridge tolls.   In prepared remarks, Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed declared the economy is the top priority of the legislative session. 

R.I. health care deadline extended


The deadline for the first health insurance premium payment through Healthsource RI has been extended.  The state's Obamacare marketplace notified 23-hundred people who enrolled for private insurance by December 31st, that if they pay by four p.m. today, their coverage will be retroactive to January first.  The original deadline was this past Monday. More than 11-thousand Rhode Islanders enrolled in private health insurance plans by the end of December. 

Breakers welcome center


At the end of the month, the Newport Zoning Board of Review will hear arguments on the appeal from the Preservation Society of Newport County on the welcome center at The Breakers.  The Daily News reports the lawyer for the opposition has asked for more time.  Newport’s historic district commission rejected the welcome center idea last summer.

Saunderstown man to challenge Langevin


A Saunderstown man plans to challenge long-time 2nd District Congressman Jim Langevin next year. The Journal reports that Republican Rhue Reis is a contractor and poker tournament manager at Foxwoods Resort Casino.  The state Republican Party chairman says Reis will formally announce his candidacy later this month. 

Extreme cold affects travel


Due to the forecast of extreme cold, Amtrak will operate a modified schedule today between Boston and Washington.  The railroad says Acela Express and Northeast Regional service will operate, but warns travelers should anticipate reduced frequency.  Passengers with reservations that require changes are being notified and will be booked on other trains.

Sakonnet River Bridge tolls on the agenda


It's back to work today for the Rhode Island General Assembly.  Sakonnet River Bridge tolls, 38 Studios debt, the budget and pensions are expected to dominate the session. House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed will gavel their respective chambers to order at four p.m. 

Senator Reed on unemployment extension


The Senate delayed a vote until today on extending unemployment benefits because snow delayed many senators' flights back to Washington.  RI's Senator Jack Reed says people on long term unemployment haven't given up their job search.  They are looking because they desperately need work.  Republicans including Alabama's Jeff Sessions agree they need continued unemployment checks, they just want Democrats to cut something out of the budget to pay for them.

Health care


More than 11-thousand Rhode Islanders enrolled in private health insurance plans through the state's health-benefits marketplace as of December 31st.   However, Healthsource RI says only 65-hundred had paid their first month's premium which was due yesterday for coverage to be retroactive to New Year's Day.  Those who missed yesterday's deadline but pay by January 23rd, will be covered starting February first.  Healthsource RI plans to release more detailed data next week.

Bitter cold


Bitter cold has moved back into Rhode Island.  After a brief reprieve with relatively mild weather yesterday, the National Weather Service says temperatures are not expected to get out of the teens today. Above-freezing temperatures are not expected until Friday.

Murder suspect arrrested


Rhode Island authorities are holding a suspect in a Fall River shooting leaving a man dead on an apartment building loading dock.  They say 26-year-old David Rodriguez died soon after the shooting at around 1 a.m. yesterday.  William Tate was arrested for the incident later yesterday afternoon in East Providence. 

Welcome home


After a 60 day deployment in Kuwait, 60 members of the Rhode Island Air National Guard returned home yesterday.  The Journal reports they met their family and friends at Quonset Air National Guard base.

General Assembly


The 2014 session of the Rhode Island General Assembly begins tomorrow at four p.m. The opening session is always held on the first Tuesday in January. The full House and Senate usually meet on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.  Pensions, the budget and tolls are all on the agenda.

State Police holiday season


Rhode Island State Police made 37 drunken driving arrests between mid-December and New Year's Day.  Troopers also issued nearly 900 speeding tickets, handed out more than 270 summonses for seatbelt or child restraint violations, and responded to 321 motor vehicle crashes.  Additional patrols during the holiday period were funded by the state's Office on Highway Safety.  

Newport Mansion sold


The CEO of Alex and Ani paid cash to buy the Newport Mansion, the Wyndham Estate.  Giovanni Feroce says other wealthy Americans should consider buying property in Newport and not limit it to tourist attractions.  The estate sits on 12 acres with over 12,000 square feet.  According to ABC6, Feroce grew up in West Warwick.   

Dog rescue


A German Shepard dog has Coventry firefighters to thank for rescuing him from the icy Pawtuxet River.  Firefighters Stephen Mann and Joseph Hartman wore special ice rescue suits and used an ice rescue sled to get the pooch out of a hole in the ice near Laurel Avenue.  Medics warmed the dog up in an ambulance before using his dog tags to get the dog back to its owner.

Transportation affected by the storm


Due to the severe winter weather,  T.F. Green Airport advises to check on flight status before heading there.  RIPTA cautions there could be some bus service delays and that information is available by calling 781-9400 or online at ripta.com.  Amtrak will run a modified schedule meaning reduced frequency in the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington.   Peter Pan Bus Lines canceled service until at least mid-day today.  

 

The storm has canceled flights and ferry service to Block Island.  New England Airlines says it hopes to resume service sometime later today. Interstate Navigation Company says resumption of ferry service will depend on how quickly conditions improve as the storm moves away. 

Governor Chafee on the storm


Governor Chafee says despite the winter storm, state government will remain in full operation today.  However, he says the adverse weather policy will be in effect for state employees whose shifts begin this morning.  Any employees who cannot get to work or are unable to complete their shift because of weather conditions, may seek permission to use "annual leave, personal leave or leave without pay" to make up for the time.

Storm info


Most public, private, charter and parochial schools in Rhode Island canceled classes for today.  Classes are also canceled at Bryant University, all campuses of the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and Rhode Island School of Design.  The Newport Naval War College, Roger Williams University, Brown and the University of Rhode Island also canceled today's classes.  For the complete school list, click on the Winter Weather icon on wadk.com.

Track the storm at wadk.com


Track the storm at wadk.com and get your complete list of school closings, business closings, parking bans, community agencies and more.   

 

Weather

 

Cancellations

Challenger to Senator Reed


A potential challenger to Senator Jack Reed has emerged.  Raymond McKay, head of a conservative group called the Rhode Island Republican Assembly says he's interested in challenging Reed. 

Winter Storm


A winter storm warning has been issued for Rhode Island through tomorrow morning.  Light to moderate snow is expected to accumulate one-to-three inches today.  Snow will become heavy at times tonight with blowing and drifting as northeast winds increase with gusts to 35 miles-per-hour.  Total accumulations of 8-to-12 inches is expected by mid-day tomorrow.  The higher accumulations will be to our north and east with less to our south and west.

Pats tickets


A limited number of individual New England Patriots playoff tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. next Monday.  All playoff ticket orders will be processed through Ticketmaster.  No tickets will be sold at Gillette Stadium.  The Patriots will host Cincinnati, Indianapolis or Kansas City in an AFC Divisional playoff game at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night, January 11th. 

Ocean plunges


Annual New Year's Day plunges into frigid ocean waters will be held today.  The Charlestown Plungers will hit the water at Charlestown Town Beach to benefit the Rhode Island Center Assisting Those In Need.  The Winter Wish Swim at Bristol Town Beach will benefit Children's Wishes of Rhode Island.  The Penguin Plunge at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett benefits Special Olympics Rhode Island.  The Dip for Multiple Sclerosis will be held in Matunuck.  And, the Penguin Plunge to help the homeless will be at Misquamicut Beach in Westerly.

R.I. minimum wage


The new year starts with a raise for low-waged employees in Rhode Island.  The minimum hourly rate bumped up to eight-dollars an hour effective today.  That's the same  as in Massachusetts.  The national minimum wage is seven-dollars-25-cents.

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