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Cumberland Fire District to recoup most of embezzled funds

March 31, 2014

CUMBERLAND – The chairman of the Cumberland Fire District’s Board of Trustees Monday said the district will recover most of the money that was allegedly embezzled by the district’s former treasurer-collector Karen B. Lambert.

The money will come in the form of an $83,000 insurance payout, reimbursement for roughly the same amount of money allegedly stolen by Lambert who was arrested last week, says James Leonard.

March 30th

Flanders: state constitution requires an update

March 30, 2014

SMITHFIELD – “Shall there be a convention to amend or revise the (Rhode Island) constitution?”

That question will be on the ballot given to all voters in the November election.

Former R.I. Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders, for one, will answer that question in the affirmative.

March 28th

Chief Coutu fundraising walk set for Sunday

March 28, 2014

PAWTUCKET—The Chief Coutu Memorial Walk/5K Road Race will be held in Slater Memorial Park, Pawtucket, on Sunday, March 30. A two-mile walk will begin at 9 a.m., followed by the fully sanctioned 5K race at 10 a.m.
Proceeds will be used to create a park dedicated to the memory of Central Falls Fire Chief Robert A. Coutu and his son, Fire Chief Rene R. Coutu. The park will be located at the corner of Lewis and Hunt streets in Central Falls. It will be dedicated on International Firefighters Day, May 4, at noon.

March 27th

POLITICS AS USUAL: Fox farewell didn’t end the game; it kicked it into gear

March 27, 2014

Editor's note: This column was first published on March 24, 2014

When House Speaker Gordon Fox banged the gavel to close last Thursday’s session of the House of Representatives, he had no idea he was performing that function for the last time.
In one whirlwind weekend, the State Police and federal agents raided Fox’s home and his Statehouse offices, Fox resigned the speakership, and that touched off palace intrigue and plots to take the crown in political huddles in different parts of the state.

Teacher accused of assault

March 27, 2014

PAWTUCKET—A Slater Junior High School teacher was charged Thursday with assaulting a 13-year-old student in an incident that allegedly occurred at the school on March 18.
The teacher has been identified as Richard C. Koster, 49, of 142 Warren Ave., Cranston.

March 26th

THIS JUST IN: 2 firefighters confirmed dead in Boston blaze

March 26, 2014

2 firefighters dead in Boston brownstone fire
BOSTON (AP) — A Boston city councilor says two firefighters have died in a fire that ripped through a brownstone.
The fire started Wednesday afternoon in the four-story building in the densely populated Back Bay neighborhood. Smoke and flames fanned by strong winds poured from the roof and windows for hours.
Councilor Josh Zakim represents the area and confirms the firefighters' deaths.

New store still not open

March 26, 2014

SOUTH ATTLEBORO — With its sleek styling, gleaming shelving and floors, and modern check-out stations that can be seen through the front doors, the new Market Basket on Newport Avenue sure looks ready to be filled with food items and customers.
Yet, the 2013 holiday season originally targeted for the Market Basket's debut has come and gone, and three months later, there is still no word on when the supermarket, a 78,500-square-foot anchor store in the Bristol Place Shopping Center just over the Pawtucket line, will open its doors.

March 25th

R.I. has a new speaker

March 25, 2014

PROVIDENCE – When push came to shove, most of the House of Representatives fell in line to elect Cranston Rep. Nicholas Mattiello as speaker by a landslide; only six stood by challenger Rep. Michael Marcello of Scituate, while six others abstained.

E.P. man to be tried for murder, again

March 25, 2014

EAST PROVIDENCE – A Providence County Grand Jury has indicted Andrew Jett of East Providence in the 2012 murder of his then girlfriend Michelle Busby.
Jett, 54, of 71 Metacomet Ave., was indicted on one count of murder and is scheduled to be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court on April 16.
Busby, 50, was found murdered inside the home she shared with Jett at 71 Metacomet Ave. Police say Busby was killed on Aug. 24, 2012 by Jett, who left the state in Busby’s Jeep Commander. Both vanished a few days before Busby's body was found.

March 24th

Longtime Speaker's office chief of staff retires

March 24, 2014

PROVIDENCE – Majority Leader Nicholas Mattiello has emerged as the front runner in the momentous vote to pick a new Speaker of the House of Representatives scheduled for later today, but challenger Michael Marcello says he has enough votes to make a fight of it.

Mattiello said on Monday that he has at least 48 votes. Marcello claims to have 33 votes. One of them has to be wrong, because there are only 75 members of the House of Representatives. It takes 38 votes to win the Speaker’s gavel and both Democrats and Republicans get to cast a ballot.

March 23rd

RWU students have ambitious plans for Pawtucket

March 23, 2014

PAWTUCKET — It often helps to have a fresh pair of eyes look at a difficult problem. In the eyes of a group of graduate students from Roger Williams University, the rundown, vacant Conant/Coats & Clark Thread Mill property can be revived in numerous ways so as to be a vibrant area once again.

March 21st

Feds raid Speaker's office and home

March 21, 2014

PROVIDENCE – House Speaker Gordon D. Fox was hobbled by the taint of misconduct on Friday as state and federal agents raided his home and Statehouse office for evidence – of what, no one is saying just yet.

March 20th

Vandals target school playground

March 20, 2014

PAWTUCKET—Despite some problems that have occurred with vandalism, the playground at the Curtis Elementary School on Benefit Street has been kept unlocked and open to members of the community.
“It's open seven days a week,” said Curtis School Principal Jean Friend. “It is left unlocked.” She said there was a period when it had been locked after some mulch and an area that was being reseeded was damaged, but it has been unlocked now “for awhile.” She added, however, that there have still been some occasional issues with vandalism.
Read the full version of this story in today's newspaper.

March 19th

Students to be homeless for a night

March 19, 2014

PAWTUCKET — The 2014 6th Annual Catholic High School Homeless Sleep Out, unfortunately could not be held at the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul this year.
Instead, it will be hosted by Saint Raphael Academy tonight. There will be a Diocesan Professional Day the following day—so all Catholic High School students in the Diocese of Providence will not have school. The five schools participating in the Homeless Sleep Out are St. Raphael Academy, Bishop Hendricken, LaSalle Academy, the Prout School, and Bayview Academy.
Two-hundred students are expected at this event.

Ex-Pawtucket cop indicted

March 19, 2014

NORTH SMITHFIELD – A statewide grand jury has indicted a former Pawtucket police officer accused of choking and raping his girlfriend last year.
Stephen Ricco, 41, of 1 Tupperware Drive, was indicted on one count each of first-degree domestic sexual assault; domestic strangulation; and two counts of domestic assault. The former two charges are felonies.
The alleged incidents took place in Ricco’s condo on Nov. 28, state prosecutors said. Ricco has been held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions since his arrest, the same day.

March 18th

Central Falls schools could face restructuring plan

March 18, 2014

CENTRAL FALLS—The Central Falls Schools Superintendent has come up with a proposal that she said would integrate special education classes across all grade levels while better accommodating the school district's increasing primary school population.

March 17th

Students to get first look at new assessment test in spring

March 17, 2014

LINCOLN – The local public schools are about to make the shift from one statewide student assessment system, the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP), to its replacement and will be giving students a first look at the change this spring.
The initial round of testing under the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is being done on a practice basis in Rhode Island school districts and will be used as a database for the state Department of Education to adjust the testing process before it becomes the new assessment of student achievement.

March 14th

Pawtucket Boys & Girls Club breaks ground on expansion

March 14, 2014

PAWTUCKET — If you build it, they will come...to learn, use computers, make music, and play sports. Next year, local youths will have a new, state-of-the-art place to gather thanks to an addition to the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket's facility at One Moeller Place.

March 13th

Cumberland bond rating is upgraded

March 13, 2014

CUMBERLAND – In recognition of the town’s strong budgetary performance and good management practices, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has raised Cumberland’s general obligation bond rating one notch to “AA” from “AA-”.

A bond rating for a town is like a credit rating for a person. The Standard & Poor’s Rating Services bond rating system uses an alphabetical scale from AAA - indicating an extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments - down to D, marking an obligation that is in default.

For full story, see Friday's print edition of The Times.

POLITICS AS USUAL: Endorsements do matter

March 13, 2014

Editor's note: This column was first published in The Times on March 10.
Let’s start off by acknowledging that, by and large, political endorsements, particularly from an individual, don’t mean a heck of a lot.
But last week, former state senator and three-time Democratic gubernatorial candidate Myrth York made a minor splash by announcing her support of Democrat Gina Raimondo. This interested those of us in the political/media complex for three reasons.

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