WOONSOCKET

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, Neil Steinberg, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation visits the program to discuss the latest push to shop local, the foundation’s legislative priorities and his take on the CVS move to build a technology hub in Boston.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

In late August, the power was shut off at the River United Methodist Church. The church, in the heart of downtown Woonsocket, was about a thousand bucks in arrears on its electric bill.  The guy from National Grid apologized for doing what he had to do.

Church members, who specialize in doing a whole lot with very little, scrambled to do what they always do.   They took food from freezers and refrigerators and headed to a nearby park to feed hungry people. 

Fernand St Germain
Wikipedia

Former U.S. Rep. Fernand  "Fred"' St Germain, who rose from modest roots in French-Canadian Woonsocket to become one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, D.C., only to meet defeat in 1988 among allegations of ethical misconduct, has died. He was 86.

St Germain, a Democrat, first elected in 1960 with President John F. Kennedy, was known for paying vigorous attention to constituent services and bringing federal programs, especially housing for the elderly, to Rhode Island.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The televised air wars have started in the Democratic primary for governor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders if voters are paying attention yet.

As the weeks dwindle towards the September primary, the advertising rhetoric among the major Democratic candidates has heated up. This is especially true of the campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo.

The Woonsocket City Council is planning to take up a proposal that would allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards if they have a special zoning permit. Woonsocket City Clerk Christina Harmon-Duart says this is the second time that the idea has been proposed.

"This was brought up last year and it was defeated, and they're bringing it back with more restrictions."

Woonsocket would join a number of Rhode Island towns that already allow residents to raise chickens for their eggs. 

Woonsocket schools will offer full-day kindergarten starting in the fall.  The school department says it will come at no extra cost to taxpayers.

Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan says about 7 percent of first graders are held back each year because they are reading below grade level. To close that gap, the school department will offer more than 500 children full-day kindergarten in 22 classrooms.

This will require eleven new teachers and eleven new teaching assistants. The school department says that can be paid for with federal grants and a boost in state aid.

When it comes to health insurance, "in-network" means a provider or facility that's contracted with your insurer to provide services at an agreed-upon rate. "Out-of-network" means a provider or facility that doesn't have an agreement with your insurer. Whether in-network or out-of-network providers and facilities are covered, and to what extent, depends on your particular health insurance plan.

Students and faculty at Woonsocket High School are mourning the loss of athletic director George Nasuti. He died Tuesday night, the school community received the news Wednesday morning.

Nasuti’s family said he was refereeing a basketball game in Burrillville Friday night when he fell and hit his head on the court.  The Woonsocket Call reports that Nasuti then went into a coma.

Woonsocket Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan sent out a statement to the school community notifying them of Nasuti death, “we are all better people for having George in our life.”

CVS

Rhode Island based CVS-Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores starting this year. CVS said it is the first national chain to make this move.

The goal is to have cigarettes and other tobacco products off the shelves at its more than 7,600 stores by October 1st. CVS-Caremark’s CEO calls selling tobacco inconsistent with the store’s purpose.

CVS plans to launch a smoking cessation program in the spring, offering information on how to quit and treatment at its pharmacies.

RIPR FILE

Woonsocket voters go to the polls next week to elect a state representative to replace Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, who was recently elected mayor of that city.  The election represents the first time that photo identification will be required of voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union is reminding Woonsocket voters to be sure to take along a photo id when they head to the polls Tuesday. Woonsocket is holding a special election to fill the House seat vacated by newly-elected Woonsocket Mayor Lisa-Baldelli Hunt.

The secretary of state’s office will hold a lottery Friday to determine the ballot placement of names for a special primary election in Woonsocket. Four candidates are competing in the January 21st primary for the state rep seat formerly held by state Rep Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.

Baldelli-Hunt resigned her state rep seat after winning election as mayor of Woonsocket last month. The primary election could decide who succeeds Baldelli-Hunt, since the four candidates are all Democrats.

Get ready for the first serious snow of the year, and a storm of a different sorts in Exeter. Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get to it.

It's Friday, do you know where your column is? Right here. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free as always to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and follow me on the twitters.

RIPR FILE

The new mayor of Woonsocket, Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, is slated to be inaugurated this evening Tuesday.  Baldelli-Hunt is taking on the job after winning four terms as a state representative.

House Speaker Gordon Fox plans to swear in Baldelli-Hunt during a 7 pm ceremony at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket.  Her uncle, Charles Baldelli, a former mayor in the city, will emcee the event.

Baldelli-Hunt beat two term Republican mayor Leo Fontaine in an election last month. The change comes as Woonsocket continues to wrestle with financial problems.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Kids Count is out with an issue brief on the high school graduation rate in Rhode Island.  The latest statistics show that while the four-year graduation rate is increasing, a gap remains between affluent students and their lower-income colleagues.

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