scott mackay

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.

  In bad news for the Rhode Island economy, the unemployment rate inched up to 5.6 percent in August  from 5.5 percent in July and the Ocean State-based jobs dropped by 700, according to data released today by the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The state jobless rate was higher than the national unemployment rate, which stood at 4.9 percent. The DLT also said the data shows that the July job losses, the state has about 5,800 more jobs than at this time last year.

John Bender / RIPR

A Providence police investigation of the August 24th accident in which a Peter Pan bus driver hit and killed a Cumberland woman in Kennedy Plaza has resulted in no criminal charges against driver Matthew Reidy of Taunton, Mass.

Michelle Cagnon, 30, of Cumberland was struck by a bus operated by Reidy as she was walking on Washington St. in Kennedy Plaza.  She died as a result of the accident and was pronounced dead at the scene. The decision against criminal charges came after what police called “an extensive” investigation and reconstruction of the events that led to her death.

Sophie Kasakove

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence NAACP, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to begin a formal national search for a new state police superintendent to replace Col. Steven O’Donnell, who is retiring after more than five years on the job.

Vincent said a national search is necessary because the top brass of the state police currently lacks any women or minorities in a position to apply for the job.  "We need a national search so that Rhode Island can get the best possible superintendent.’’

First Southwest Company, one of the financial institutions involved in the ill-fated 38 Studios deal, is objecting to the state’s recent settlement agreement with two other banks in the ongoing lawsuit against actors in the video game fiasco.

Lawyers for First Southwest filed a memorandum in Rhode Island Superior Court objecting to the settlement with Barclays Capital and Wells Fargo Securities, which, if approved by the court, would yield just under $26 million in payments to the state.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

  James Doyle, the popular, longest serving mayor of Pawtucket and a fixture in the city’s political leadership for generations, died Friday night. He was 78.

And old-school politician universally known as `Jim’ who climbed the city’s Democratic political ladder, Doyle served for six terms as mayor, until the end of 2010, when Don Grebien won election.

A social studies teacher at Pawtucket West High School, now Shea High School, Doyle was active in Democratic politics. He was first elected to the city council in 1970 and was reelected 13 times.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  Rhode Island’s unemployment rate held steady in July as the state’s economy added about 1,400 jobs, according to the latest data from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.

The numbers show that the state’s economy is growing slowly, picking up jobs, but not yet adding all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession.  Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is above the national rate of 4.9 percent and significantly higher than the Massachusetts rate of 4.1 percent. The Bay State added about 7,300 jobs in July.

Kenneth Zirkel/Creative Commons License

  Christina Bevilacqua, the talented intellectual and public face of the Providence Athenaeum for more than a decade, is stepping down from her post as director of public engagement at the library on September 1st.

As public engagement director, Bevilacqua has developed new audiences for the historic library on Benefit Street and cemented the Athenaeum’s reputation as a top cultural center in Rhode Island. She was crucial to organizing such programs as the celebrated Salon Series and the Marcel Proust Reading Group.

Wikimedia Commons

  Democrat Hillary Clinton got some good news from Pennsylvania today with a Suffolk University public opinion survey showing her up 9 points in the Keystone State over Republican Donald Trump in the presidential election.

In a four –way contest with Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson the mix, Clinton led Trump, 46 to 37 percent. Johnson got 5 percent and Stein was at 3 percent with 9 percent undecided.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s economy remains in the doldrums. That’s the takeaway from the latest unemployment and jobs data released Thursday by the state Department of Labor and Training

The state’s jobless rate inched up from 5.4 percent to 5.5 percent in June.  The good news is that the state gained 1,700 jobs. The bad news is that job growth remains sluggish, with a decline of 100 jobs in the first six months  of 2016.

Calling all literate Rhode Islanders and Ocean State ex-pats: For a great read get thee to the bookstore (or Internet if you must) and get Bruce DeSilva’s latest Rhody-centric mystery novel "The Dread Line." It goes on sale in September.

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.

John Bender / RIPR

The environmental organization Save The Bay on Monday sharply criticized the proposal for a $20 million taxpayer-financed port development project on the Providence waterfront.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

  Rhode island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee has been elected chairman of the National Lieutenant Governors Association. The Cumberland Democrat won  the post last week at the group’s annual meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

As chairman, McKee will preside over a December 2016 confab in Arizona, a March 2017 meeting in Washington, D.C. and the annual summer meeting in Nashville.

McKee, a former Cumberland mayor elected as lieutenant governor in 2014, will also lead the group’s 17-member executive committee in directing policy discussions.

RIPR FILE

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has barred the National Grid utility and the state Division of Public Utilities from shutting off gas and electric service to about 4,000 Rhode Islanders who have medical conditions.

The ruling, from Judge Netti C. Vogel, bans utility shutoffs from those with medical conditions, such as the seriously ill and disabled, until at least September 26. The action comes after a lawsuit filed by the Rhode Island Center for Justice, which challenged state procedures for cutting off service to those with medical  conditions.

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