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February 20th, 2014

School upgrades get council’s nod

February 20, 2014

PAWTUCKET — While saying they don’t agree with all of the school renovation plans as outlined, the City Council on Wednesday approved the first phase of the School Department’s 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 district’s technology infrastructure and renovations to the Potter-Burns and Nathanael Greene elementary schools.

Fraud suspect makes RI’s ‘Most Wanted’

February 20, 2014

PAWTUCKET — Pawtucket Police are trying a new tactic, the “Rhode Island Most Wanted” 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 “Marty” 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.

February 19th

C.F. will fight lawsuit by Bouthillette to get paid for library work

February 19, 2014

CENTRAL FALLS – 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.

POLITICS AS USUAL: Will the pension deal hold?

February 19, 2014

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?

Man pulls knife on crowd, police

February 19, 2014

PAWTUCKET—An 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.

February 18th

Firefighters OK contract

February 18, 2014

PAWTUCKET — 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.

February 17th

Asbestos abatement needed at Slater

February 17, 2014

PAWTUCKET — 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 principal’s office, had been closed off for occupancy due to concerns about the stability of the ceiling during an inspection of the city’s 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.

Five arrested after pistol-whipping incident at party

February 17, 2014

PAWTUCKET — It was an invitation that four young men could have done without.

Pawtucket Police say five people were arrested Sunday after allegedly pistol-whipping and robbing four men who had been lured to an after-hours party in the basement of a house at 85 Daniels St.

February 16th

Lincoln police HQ plan to be revised

February 16, 2014

LINCOLN – Town Administrator T. Joseph Almond will propose a revised plan to construct an addition to the police headquarters wing of the municipal complex when he presents his fiscal 2015 budget to the Budget Board on Wednesday.

The project to add a two-story addition and renovate the existing police department space had been proposed as a two-phase project last year, with the initial phase of approximately $1.9 million being appropriated for the new construction.

February 14th

Finally, a pension agreement

February 14, 2014

PROVIDENCE – A complex and intricate proposed settlement of the lawsuits challenging the watershed 2011 pension reform law provides minor sweeteners in benefits to state and municipal employees and retirees while preserving the lion’s share of the savings to state and local taxpayers.

Seventeen animals removed from condemned home

February 14, 2014

PAWTUCKET — In an apparent case of pet hoarding that has spiraled out of control, city officials on Friday condemned a house at 403 Liverpool St. and removed 17 animals that resided there.

February 13th

Storms spark big run on salt, melt products

February 13, 2014

The change from heavy snow to rain as another storm battered the area Thursday afternoon had area highway department officials crossing their fingers that it might also mean a reprieve in the use of rock salt for the storm.

Rock salt is mixed with the sand highway departments lay down on roads as part of their storm cleanup efforts and has been in short supply this season due to the wide reach of winter weather across the country.

Pawtucket Republicans regrouping

February 13, 2014

PAWTUCKET — Their ranks might be small in number, but the Pawtucket Republicans are a unified group who are still meet regularly and maintain a voice in their party's statewide organization.

February 12th

RI legislators introduce bill to legalize pot

February 12, 2014

PROVIDENCE – With Colorado and Washington State having legalized the possession and sale of recreational marijuana earlier this year, and a poll of Rhode Island voters showing 53 percent of Rhode Islanders favoring the legalization, regulation and taxing of the drug for sale to adults, legislation to do just that has been introduced in the General Assembly.

Central Falls’ lone Catholic school to close

February 12, 2014

CENTRAL FALLS — Due to declining enrollment and financial deficits, the Square Mile City is losing its only Catholic school.

The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy, located at 909 Lonsdale Ave., will close at the end of the school year, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence. The news was announced to faculty, staff and parents by letter on Tuesday, and an informational meeting for parents was scheduled for Wednesday night at the school.

February 11th

Father says police beat handcuffed son

February 11, 2014

PAWTUCKET—Lloyd E. Mumford, Sr. admits he wasn't there when Pawtucket Police arrested his son on a domestic violence warrant on January 30, but he says he doesn't like what he sees in a video taken by someone who was.

February 10th

Sisson Street house shot at once again

February 10, 2014

PAWTUCKET — A multifamily house on Sisson Street that was shot at on Jan. 24 was sprayed with several bullets again late Sunday night, Pawtucket Police said.

Just before midnight, police received a call that someone had fired shots at the window of a house at 182 Sisson St. Police found the remains of a spent round of ammunition between two panes of glass, but no one was injured.

Pension settlement in the air

February 10, 2014

PROVIDENCE – After more than a year of haggling cloaked in the secrecy of a Superior Court judge’s gag order, lawyers for Gov. Lincoln Chafee, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and several state and municipal employee unions appear to have reached a settlement in the unions’ challenge to the landmark 2011 pension reform law, called the R.I. Retirement Security Act.

But no deal can be consummated until it is, in effect, ratified by the General Assembly, which would have to vote to approve any changes to the law they passed in a special legislative session more than two years ago.

February 9th

Oh no, G.I. Joe, you’re 50!

February 9, 2014

Jared Zampini of West Warwick was never really into G.I. Joes as a kid. He liked monsters instead and Joe hardly ever tangled with one of those.

When Zampini, 31, was growing up in the 1980s, the popular G.I. Joe action figure had morphed into characters like “Duke,” “Roadblock,” “Gung-Ho,” and other fictional anti-terror fighters from the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy line, comic books and cartoon series.

This year, G.I. Joe turns 50 and even though he’s half-a century old and a bit long in the tooth, he can still kick butt.

Low cost and big demand causes spike in heroin use

February 9, 2014

PAWTUCKET — The news about a rise in heroin overdoses in Rhode Island, coupled with the national coverage of the apparent heroin-related death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, has thrust the centuries-old opioid in the spotlight. Yet, while it’s acknowledged by police and medical professionals that a “bad batch” of heroin is making the rounds — one that is laced with the powerful synthetic drug fentanyl — the problem of a seeming resurgence of the hippie-era drug is complex and delves into areas of accessibility and affordability.


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