Archive - Feb 2014 - News Article
PAWTUCKETâRhode Island State Troopers from the Lincoln Woods Barracks, including a Criminal Investigation Unit and Collision Reconstruction Unit, are investigating the circumstances behind the fatal wrong-way crash that occurred on Interstate 95 in Pawtucket early Friday morning.
Rhode Islandâs nation-worst unemployment rate, its lagging economy and projected out-year budget deficits in the hundreds of millions makes being governor a difficult job.
Allan Fung, a Republican running to be the next governor, says that is exactly what makes the position attractive to him.
âI want those challenges, I want those responsibilities; I really do,â the three-term Cranston mayor said in an interview on Wednesday with The Times. âItâs not about a title. Itâs about the challenges this state is going to face and whoever is going to be governor, he has to be ready for it.
Editor's note: This column was first published on Feb. 24, 2014 in The Times and The Call.
One of the selling points General Treasurer Gina Raimondo employed in
pushing for the pension settlement you may have seen something about in the news lately is that it brings "certainty" and "finality" in that it puts an end not only to the slew of lawsuits challenging the 2011 law, but also the court challenges to the 2009 and 2010 pension reform efforts.
And so it does. Until the next time.
North Smithfield Rep. Brian Newberry, the House Republican leader, has
PAWTUCKET â In promoting the ambitious renovations and construction of school buildings as outlined in a Facilities Master Plan, school officials have been counting on receiving about 80 percent reimbursement on the project costs. But can they take that figure to the bank?
The answer appears to be yes, but not without a few variables.
PROVIDENCE â A former mayor whose corruption conviction was thrown into question by an appeals court struck a deal that would allow him to be freed from prison after serving half his two-year sentence.
Charles Moreau, former mayor of the financially troubled city of Central Falls, agreed in a deal filed on Wednesday to plead guilty to a new charge of accepting a bribe. As part of the deal, federal prosecutors recommended Moreau be sentenced to time served.
Moreau could be released as soon as Friday, when a hearing on his case is scheduled before U.S. District Judge John McConnell.
PAWTUCKET â Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, organizations, families and individuals (including many Times readers), The Times was able to donate $9,201 to the Salvation Army of Pawtucket from the annual Merry Christmas Fund.
Kathleen Needham, controller of The Times/The Call newspapers, presented a check in that amount to Salvation Army Capts. Glenys and Juan Urbaez on Tuesday at the monthly board meeting held at the Salvation Army headquarters on High Street.
PAWTUCKET â Itâs that dreaded time of year when teachers, typically the newer ones, get a âpink slipâ from the school district they have been working so hard to impress. It all has to do with budgetary projections and state law, which requires that any teachers facing a potential job cut in September must be notified by March 1.
Yet, for the first time in many years, the number of teachers pink-slipped this year has been cut by more than half, due to a collaborative effort between school administrators and the teachers union.
CENTRAL FALLS â Should TV news programs dealing with violent or tragic
events come with one of those âparental warningâ notices that precede shows with sexual or violent content?
State Rep. Agostinho Silva said he has heard from parents who think they should and he has introduced legislation he says is aimed at âstarting a conversation,â toward action that would probably have to take place at the federal level.
The language of his bill is fairly broad. It says the Public Utilities
The chief executives of the Blackstone Valleyâs two biggest cities, Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, say they canât tap property taxpayers for the hundreds of thousands of dollars that it would cost their communities to make the changes in the proposed settlement of the state pension lawsuit.
PAWTUCKET â Three real estate developers have been given the go-ahead from city officials to submit formal plans to develop the failed hotel property at 45 Division St.
PAWTUCKET -- Itâs hard to believe that gleeful cries of âbingoâ on a girlsâ night out would one day turn into tearful cries for help in dealing with an obsession that almost cost one local woman her self-respect, job and family.
Itâs gambling addiction, and for those caught up in it, the mental and physical pain and collateral damage to loved ones can be just as devastating and difficult to overcome as alcohol or drug addiction.
CUMBERLAND â When Paul H. Rose was a young boy growing up in East Providence, his mother was always leery about what little woodland critter she might find hiding underneath his bed.
Snakes, frogs, grasshoppers, it didnât matter. If he could catch it, he brought it home.
âIâve loved animals ever since I was a little boy,â he says, âMy mother was always afraid of what she might find in the basement on any given day.â
Nearly 60 years later, Rose is still fascinated by the animal kingdom, and has devoted most of his life to looking after the welfare of creatures great and small.
PAWTUCKET â With more snow, such as has been the case this winter, comes more requests for shoveling assistance for the cityâs elderly residents. Hoping to boost volunteer participation in a program that works to shovel sidewalks for seniors, Mayor Donald Grebien held a press conference on Friday to enlist more volunteers.
PAWTUCKET â While saying they donât agree with all of the school renovation plans as outlined, the City Council on Wednesday approved the first phase of the School Departmentâs Facilities Master Plan that will upgrade Potter-Burns and Nathanael Greene Elementary Schools.
The council gave its approval to Phase 1 of the proposed master plan, with a price tag not to exceed $32 million. Phase 1 calls for a system-wide upgrade of the districtâs technology infrastructure and renovations to the Potter-Burns and Nathanael Greene elementary schools.
PAWTUCKET â Pawtucket Police are trying a new tactic, the âRhode Island Most Wantedâ network, to track down a man accused of committing fraud against a local funeral home.
Pawtucket Police have posted on the online website that they are looking for Martin âMartyâ Szuch, 72, who has addresses in Providence, North Providence and Cranston. Szuch is wanted on a charge of obtaining money under false pretenses in a case that dates back to 2010. He has also allegedly committed similar crimes in the past, police said.
CENTRAL FALLS â Convicted contractor Michael Bouthillette, the owner of Certified Disaster Restoration Corp. and a friend and supporter of former Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau, is still trying to collect over $30,000 from the city for work done in late 2006 and early 2007 at the Adams Memorial Library.
Editor's note: This column first appeared in The Times on Feb. 17. Read Jim Baron's column every Monday in The Times and The Call.
In the end, despite all their bravado and bluffing, neither the unions nor the state officials battling over the 2011 pension reform law wanted to take their chances on how the five wise souls of the RI Supreme Court would rule on the constitutional issue at stake: Can the General Assembly make legislative changes to employee pensions after the workers and retirees have spent their careers paying into the system?
PAWTUCKETâAn intoxicated man accused a Pawtucket Police officer of striking him with his cruiser outside of a Walgreens pharmacy early Monday evening and then threatened a group of witnesses at knifepoint who sided with the officer, Pawtucket Police said.
PAWTUCKET â In a nod to the current economy, the city and Pawtucket firefighters' union have agreed to a new, three-year contract that offers more in the way of job stability than pay increases. The City Council will be considering the pact for approval at Wednesday night's council meeting.
PAWTUCKET â Another ceiling collapse, this time in an unused room at Slater Middle School, has prompted an emergency meeting of the School Committee to be held Monday night.
Interim Schools Supt. Patti DiCenso said the room, across from the assistant principalâs office, had been closed off for occupancy due to concerns about the stability of the ceiling during an inspection of the cityâs older school buildings last summer. The inspection had been called after a drop ceiling in a basement classroom at the Potter-Burns Elementary School gave way last fall.