Central Falls

Courtesy of the Shelton family

Henry Shelton, a Roman Catholic priest turned social justice and political activist, longtime voice in Rhode Island for those who had none, passionate advocate for the poor and dispossessed  and thorn in the side of the state’s business and political establishment, died Wednesday at home in Cranston surrounded by his family. He was 86.

VICTOR CASALE/CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE VIA FLICKR

The corporation that runs a detention facility in Central Falls is responding to the announcement that the federal government plans to stop using some private prisons.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates says privately run prisons are both less safe and less effective than low-security federal prisons. That’s why she’s directed the federal government to stop renewing contracts with private prisons.

Officials running the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls say they haven’t received official word from the federal government about their future contracts.

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa
Aaron Read RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa joins RIPR's Chuck Hinman and Scott Mackay for a discussion of school funding, politics, and housing and the arts in Central Falls.

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa
Aaron Read RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa joins Political Roundtable to discuss how to improve relations the  between police and minorities, the Rhode Island business climate and the proposed commuter rail station for Pawtucket and Central Falls.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Central Falls High School has just graduated more than a dozen seniors who are the first in Rhode Island to receive special recognition for speaking and reading two languages. 

Ryan T. Conaty

  Four years after exiting bankruptcy, Central Falls may be able to lower property taxes. The decrease is part of the 2017 budget plan released Thursday by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa. If approved it would be the first property tax cut in a decade.

After exiting receivership in 2012, Central Falls had to follow a strict financial path toward solvency. The plan dictated an annual four percent property tax increase over five years. But this new budget proposal includes a 3.4 percent property tax cut; the reduction comes a full year earlier than expected.

RIPR FILE

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed.

In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.’’

Providence Diocese

The young mayor of Rhode Island's smallest city, James Diossa, will travel to Washington D.C. this week as Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. Diossa was invited to the country's capital by President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Diossa will be part of the Pope's arrival ceremony Wednesday morning.

Elisabeth Harrison

Students and teachers are returning to classrooms across Rhode Island, including Central Falls, where a new superintendent has just taken charge. 

RIPR File

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Rhode Island five grants totaling more than a million dollars to clean up contaminated properties across the state.

The money will help with the cleanup of contaminated sites in the cities of Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Dr. Ken Wagner, Governor Gina Raimondo’s pick for state Education Commissioner, spent Thursday morning at Calcutt Middle School in Central Falls. It was his first site visit since his nomination’s announcement Wednesday. The students demonstrated to Wagner how to operate bottle rockets.

Wagner finishes up as New York Deputy Education commissioner Friday, and says his post in Rhode Island would begin in August.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

One of Rhode Island’s most controversial school leaders is retiring. Fran Gallo, the superintendent of Central Falls public schools, steps down on Friday. Her tenure included the firing and re-hiring of high school teachers, which thrust Rhode Island into the center of a national debate over public education. Gallo sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison at her office in Central Falls to look back on the firings, and what she’s learned from Rhode Island’s smallest school district.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court has approved disgraced former Mayor Charles Moreau’s request for legal fees dating back to his days as mayor and before he was convicted on federal corruption charges. The high court overturned a Superior Court decision that denied both Moreau and the Central Falls legal fees for their challenge to the state law that allowed the city to be put into receivership.

Rhode Island has received $1 million dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency to help clean up local brownfields; areas contaminated by toxic substances.  The money will go toward cleaning up areas in Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence.  

Scott Mackay RIC commencement 2015
Rhode Island College

RI Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay delivered the commencement speech at Rhode Island College Saturday, May 16th. He was granted an honorary doctorate of journalism. 

Good Morning. Most of you are from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so you get what I mean: That by virtue of your degrees today, you are all officially "wicket smaht."

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