The death penalty contretemps between Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the usual gang of talk show babblers and assorted right-wing nuts has ended with a raft of sound and fury…signifying not much.

Citing Rhode Island’s long tradition of opposition to the death penalty, Chafee argued against the death penalty for Jason Wayne Pleau, who in 2010 robbed, shot and killed David Main, the manager of a Woonsocket gas station.

The man at the center of a legal tug-of-war between Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the U.S. Attorney’s office over the death penalty will plead guilty to murder charges and will not face the death penalty.

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha’s office says 35-year-old Jason Pleau will plead guilty by way of a federal indictment for the 2010 robbery and murder of a Woonsocket gas station manager. And as part of a plea deal his office will not seek a death sentence.  


The Shaw’s supermarket chain says it’s closing six underperforming stores. Four are in southeastern Massachusetts and two are in the Rhode Island communities of Westerly and Woonsocket. 

But the closures won’t necessarily mean massive layoffs. A spokesman for Shaw’s said the company will try to avert layoffs by absorbing the affected employees into their remaining stores.  After the closures of the stores in Westerly and Woonsocket there will be eight Shaw’s stores left in Rhode Island.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island regulators have deemed Prime Healthcare’s application to buy Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center complete.

Now the Attorney General and Department of Health can begin their official review of California-based Prime Healthcare’s bid to buy the troubled community hospital. That review begins July 1st and ends October 28th under Rhode Island’s Hospital Conversion Act.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Been wondering what's happening with Landmark Medical Center? So has Woonsocket's mayor, Leo Fontaine. He wrote a letter to Governor Lincoln Chafee, pleading with him to weigh in on the process, use his influence to somehow resolve it. Problem is, regulators say that won't help.

Here are excerpts of the mayor's letter to the governor, a copy of which he apparently emailed to several newsrooms, but not to the primary regulators involved in approving or denying Prime Healthcare's application to buy to Landmark Medical Center:

Advocates for Rhode Island’s cities and towns are criticizing the budget passed Tuesday by the House Finance Committee.  The Finance Committee cut a planned increase in state aid to local communities.

The Finance Committee cut back a hike in local aid proposed by Governor Lincoln Chafee in his budget. The associate head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, Peder Schaefer, also serves on Woonsocket’s budget commission. He said the reduced aid will hurt struggling communities.

Tax Hike For Woonsocket Residents

May 23, 2013

A tax hike is on the way for Woonsocket residents. The House has passed a supplemental tax leaving home owners with additional $240 dollars a year 5 year period.  The tax will help close the city’s 17 million dollar budget gap. Woonsocket City Councilman Roger Jalette says he does not support the proposal.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island is responding to a lawsuit claiming that it stymied Steward Health Care’s bid to acquire Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.

Steward is the Massachusetts-based, for-profit health care chain that tried to acquire Landmark, which has been in receivership for several years. Steward filed suit in Superior Court this week claiming Blue Cross thwarted those plans purposefully to maintain what Steward calls an unlawful monopoly on commercial insurance and hospital services.

Putting an end to speculation about her next move, state Represenative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt announced Tuesday that she's a candidate for mayor in Woonsocket.

Here's part of her statement:

Bradley Campbell/RIPR

The budget commission that’s running the city of Woonsocket has asked area lawmakers to introduce a bill that would authorize a $2.5 million dollar supplemental tax increase.  It’s part of a plan to bail out the financially distressed community.

The average Woonsocket resident would pay an additional $150 in property taxes and $90 in vehicle taxes under terms of a supplemental tax bill introduced by two state lawmakers. The aim is to raise $2.5 million. It’s part of a larger plan to erase a $17 million deficit over the next five years.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Attorney General and Department of Health officials say they’re suspending their review of Prime Healthcare’s application to buy the Woonsocket-based Landmark Medical Center.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Nothing says home quite like a white picket fence, and Jacqueline Dowdy’s got one surrounding her light green triple-decker. Her grandparents bought the place more than 40 years ago. Back then, they lived on the first floor.

“My parents lived on this floor, this is the apartment I grew up in,” says Dowdy. “And I had an aunt, one of my mother’s younger sisters, who lived on the third floor.”

Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, your tips and thoughts are welcome at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org. Let's get to the list.

The fight for fiscal stability in Woonsocket and mixed news on Rhode Island's economy. That’s part of the discussion this week on Political Roundtable with guest Woonsocket City Council President John Ward.

Woonsocket City Council President John Ward is our guest on Bonus Q+A as we talk Woonsocket's economy, its upcoming mayoral race, consolidation, the historic tax credit, and other issues.