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.

Tuesday is the last day on the job for Raymond Bacon, co-manager of Woonsocket’s Museum of Work & Culture. Bacon’s retirement ends 16 years working at the museum.

Before his time at the museum, Bacon spent 30 years as a high school teacher. Before that he worked his way through college at The French Worsted Mill. That experience, Bacon said, helped connect him to the people whose lives are chronicled at the Museum of Work and Culture. He said he knew some of the people in the pictures on display.

Special to RIPR

Who says off-year elections aren't interesting? Some random news and observations:

1. Women candidates came up big in Central Falls, albeit in uncontested races, winning five of seven City Council seats. The extent of this kind of female presence is unusual in RI municipalities, although four of five Barrington town councilors are women.

Woonsocket Residents Vote For Change

Nov 6, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

In Woonsocket, voters have chosen a new mayor.

They voted by a more than 2-1 margin to elect  State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, ousting incumbent mayor Leo Fontaine.

Baldelli-Hunt will take the reins of a city that severely raised property taxes to avoid bankruptcy.  Like many residents, voter Farid Latash said the city's financial problems are frustrating.

"Big problem with the taxes.  Nobody working.  Nobody got no money.  They keep raising taxes, raising everything.  That's about it," said Latash.

Election Day In Woonsocket And Central Falls

Nov 5, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

Woonsocket election officials are expecting about a third of eligible voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s mayoral election. State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt faces current Mayor Leo Fontaine in the municipal election, which also features races for city council.


Tuesday’s Election Day in Woonsocket and Central Falls where a number of municipal offices are up for grabs.

The most hotly contested race is in Woonsocket where Mayor Leo Fontaine is fending off a challenge from State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.  She got three times as many votes as he did in the October 8th primary, turning the Mayor into an underdog.  The two have debated five times in recent weeks.

In addition to the mayoral race, Woonsocket voters will choose seven city councilors from 14 candidates.

In Woonsocket Monday, a dedication ceremony will be held for a non-profit that helps people avoid the pitfalls of payday lenders. It's known as the “Capital Good Fund.”

Capital Good Fund is a brick and mortar store that offers people an alternative to high priced payday lenders.  Funded by a 57-thousand dollar grant from the United Way, it expects to help 600 people a year, according to founder and director Andy Posner.

The deal still has to close, which officials expect by sometime in December. But now some of the hard work begins. How exactly do you turn a faltering hospital around?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center is about to turn the page on a long and challenging chapter in its history. The struggling hospital has received regulatory approval to be acquired by a for-profit hospital chain called Prime Healthcare. That means an end to five years of uncertainty for employees, patients, and the community.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Today is the deadline for state regulators to decide whether an out-of-state hospital chain can acquire Woonsocket's Landmark Medical Center. The decision will mark the end of five years of uncertainty for the struggling hospital.

Landmark has been in receivership, a kind of bankruptcy, since 2008. It's flirted with several different potential buyers who got cold feet for one reason or another and pulled out. It's battled the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, for higher payments.

State Police To Be Outfitted With Tasers

Oct 14, 2013

Rhode Island state police have a new weapon in their war on crime.

Rhode Island state police have purchased Tasers for all troopers and are training them in their proper use. 

State police commander Colonel Steven O’Donnell said the aim is to prevent the use of firearms where possible.

"The feedback is great. It’s another tool to protect them and to protect other people. And they’re a great tool on the street. People know what a taser does so when you deploy a taser you get a lot more compliance instead of just verbal commands," said O'Donnell.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

State agencies are allowing more public comment, until October 7, on the proposed sale of Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center to a for-profit chain as the deadline for a decision on the deal approaches.

Though previous deals have fallen through, Woonsocket officials are still hopeful about a yes vote.

One of three suspects in the murder of a Woonsocket gas station manager has pleaded guilty to his role in the crime.

Jose Santiago entered the guilty plea Thursday during jury selection. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said no deals were cut to secure the plea.

"He came in and pled guilty to all the charges. There’s no plea arrangement with Mr. Santiago. He pled guilty and we will recommend what we believe is the appropriate sentence at sentencing," said Nerohna.


Senator Jack Reed is in Woonsocket Tuesday, bringing a gift from the federal government.

Senator Jack Reed has secured $1.5 million for the Woonsocket Head Start program.  The money won’t be enough to make up for sequestration cuts, according to Reed’s office.

Woonsocket will still lose 30 Head Start slots this fall. Statewide, some 370 slots will be lost.

Nationwide, sequestration has forced Head Start to eliminate and reduce services for more than 57-thousand children for the coming school year, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.