Sunday Local Roundup: December 11, 2016



City balks at 14% water increase

With Warwick customers of the Kent County Water Authority already paying nearly twice what Warwick Water Division customers pay, the city objected this week to Kent County’s request for rate increases that would boost bills by more than 14 percent starting in January. “What else is new?” Timothy Brown, general manager of Kent, said yesterday when informed the city would object. City Solicitor Peter Ruggiero appeared before the Public Utilities Commission Wednesday to argue the increases are excessive. The Warwick Beacon has the details.

State asked to review special ed

Mayor Scott Avedisian and Superintendent Philip Thornton have jointly requested the state Department of Education conduct an “expedited” review of the district’s special education program “to assure that our work is aligned with research-based best practice and to assure that our entire learning community, including the public at large whom we serve, is provided accurate information on same.” The request, made to Mary Ann Snider at RIDE, came the morning after the City Council unanimously approved a resolution calling on the School Committee to retain an independent investigator to follow up on escalating complaints concerning the treatment of special needs students. The Warwick Beacon has more.

Calling all organists!

Trinity Episcopal Church in Pawtuxet Village is giving away two organs. The manual electric Lowrey organ with a pedal board and speaker and the manual Allen organ with a pedal board are valued at approximately $1,000 each and are about 30 years old. A new owner can take one or both in return for a donation to the church. Interested? The Warwick Beacon has more information.

Sidewalk program has few takers

Despite a cost-sharing program available since July 1, residents see little improvement in the city’s sidewalks. The Sidewalk Replacement Cost Sharing Program provides a financial incentive for homeowners, but not business owners, to replace old sidewalks and a $50,000 budget, yet only $10,000 has been allocated to date. The Cranston Herald has more.


Construction delay to cost thousands

The Town Council will soon decide whether to spend an estimated $80,000 for a temporary paving coat on Cross Street. The paving would be put in place for the winter construction break and then torn up when work on the road reconstruction project resumes in the spring. The Westerly Sun details why the project is running behind schedule.

Aphids scare Christmas tree buyers

The Tick Encounter website at the University of Rhode Island has a few unsettling quotes on its homepage these days. They are from people who have unknowingly purchased aphid-infested Christmas trees. The problem is that people mistake the aphids, which are harmless, for ticks, which are common and dangerous disease-carrying arachnids. So, how do you tell the difference? The Westerly Sun has the details.

Narragansett dissolves EDC

Narragansett voted to dissolve its Economic Development Committee (EDC) on Monday night. The 3-2 town council vote came after roughly an hour of public testimony, during which residents spoke on both sides of the argument. The Narragansett Times details why one councilor says the EDC is significantly flawed.


Stopping to smell the roses

Small, independent flower shops may be under siege from online merchandisers and chain stores, but Nys Flowers was often so busy that co-owners Ernest Picard and Eileen Faford practically worked around the clock, stopping just to go home, shower and eat. But as The Woonsocket Call reports, the owners have decided to retire and sell the business.

More than a gym

Answering what they say is a calling to help others, Rich and Alyssa Gingras recently opened The Parkinson’s Place in Pawtucket, an exercise facility for people with movement disorders. You can learn more by reading Erica Moser’s story in The Times.

Who shot Petu?

When her pet cat Petu went missing one day last month, Lori Negrotti feared something was amiss. It was worse than she could have imagined. Three days later, Petu was found dead a couple of blocks away from home, killed by a small-caliber bullet. Russ Olivo writes about the heartbreaking case in The Call.

Murder conviction confirmed

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has affirmed the Providence County Superior Court’s conviction of Jose Lopez for his role in the 2013 Christmas Eve murder of 21-year-old Ryan Almeida at the Galego Court housing complex in Pawtucket. Jonathan Bissonnette has the story in The Times.


Citizens, historical society join forces

Citizens Bank is building a new corporate campus in Johnston, and the financial institution has taken an active role in the community, most notably by helping groups like the JHS and other various non-profits with projects. The Johnston Sun Rise has more on efforts to clean up a piece of history.

Toys for Tots success

“This is a must stop for my wife Patty and me,” Frank Lombardo, a Johnston state senator who represents District 25, said Saturday night. “We’re honored to take part in such a great, meaningful and important tradition.” The Lombardos placed several unwrapped new toys in the back end of a Johnston Fire Department reserve rescue vehicle that was already filled with dozens upon dozens of new toys, games, and stuffed animals. The Johnston Sun Rise has more on the drive.


Crimetown Episode 5: Buddy Cianci, would-be governor, cleans up garbagemen

Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci’s ambition was never any secret. He’d make a deal with whoever he needed, to get what he wanted. History shows that was Cianci’s downfall. In episode 5 of The Providence Journal’s “Crimetown,” scheduled to be available online on Sunday, hear why, as a one-time Cianci foe former Mayor Joseph Paolino says, a theatrical strike of city garbagemen became “the best thing to happen” to Cianci.

R.I.’s Spalding leaving EPA worried but hopeful

As a political appointee, former Save The Bay chief Curt Spalding must give up his regional EPA administrator’s seat upon President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. In an interview, he acknowledged “trepidation” and “anxiety” about the future of the nation’s environmental watchdog agency. The Providence Journal has the exit interview.

Holiday smiles for families in need

Dozens of families paraded through the doors of Achievement First Elementary School Saturday afternoon in their holiday best. They walked away with a mix of free haircuts, free makeup applications and the centerpiece of it all – a free holiday photo. There were also free hot wieners from Olneyville New York System and lots of smiles. The Providence Journal has more on the special program.


Medical marijuana facility eyes Swansea

There’s a single road off GAR Highway where a medical marijuana facility could be sited in this town. A national leader in the burgeoning market, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with projects in other states, wants to make a $4 million investment that could bring dozens of jobs and add substantially to the tax base, those involved with the project and selling the property said. The Fall River Herald News has more on the possible facility.

Westport may consider marijuana moratorium

Image shows a burning joint of marijuana with swirl of smoke and  grey background

The Planning Board is proposing a bylaw change that would lead to a moratorium on recreational marijuana facilities. Planning Board Chairman James Whitin met with selectmen last week and received the nod for the Planning Board to hold a hearing next month on this proposal and three others. The Fall River Herald News has more on how it would work.

Overcoming the dangers of energy efficient homes

Visitors got the chance to learn about the science of a safe, healthy and energy-efficient home at BCC’s new Building Science Test Cabin. The Fall River Herald News has more about this mockup of a small apartment or home with various built-in appliances such as a water heater, a stove, dryer and state-of-the-art mechanical ventilation equipment.

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