Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

"Trumpcare" Could Cut $200M From Medicaid, Destabilize HealthSource RI

Rhode Island health officials are busy analyzing the potential impacts of the Republican plan to replace Obamacare. Proposed funding cuts to Medicaid - the health insurance program for the poor - could mean covering fewer people or reducing payments to health care providers.

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Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Burrillville Power Plant Faces New Legal Hurdles, Opposition Over Sale Of Water

The gas-fired power plant that Invenergy wants to build in Burrillville faces more legal hurdles this week.

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The Rhode Island Department of Health today was following up about a dozen reports of suspicious powders that came in over the weekend. None of the tests involve people who fear Anthrax contamination. A department administrator says the first lab results were expected this afternoon, but its not clear if word of negative tests would be released to the public.

    Providence – A local professor is heading to Italy this week to take in part in meetings about forming a new government in Afghanistan. Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady teaches Middle East politics at Providence College, but is also leader of the Afghan Social Democratic Party in exile.

    Ahady has been an advisor to the former King of Afghanistan. He plans to ask the king not to make too many concessions to the Northern Alliance in planning a new government.

    Providence – Providence will not, for now, drop an illegal weapons charge against an Amtrak passenger who says he carries a knife as a religious symbol. Sher Singh, who practices the Sikh religion, was taken off a train and arrested the day after the terrorist attacks.

    Singh?s lawyer, Mark Laroche claims police searched and arrested his client, because Sing wears a turban and has dark skin. The state?s concealed weapon law, says Laroche, violates Sikhs? right to practice their religion.

    Providence – The Coast Guard has lifted the restrictions it had imposed on the Port of Providence.

    The lifting coincides with the departure of a French cargo ship which the Coast Guard escorted out of Narragansett Bay at about 10 a.m. today.

    Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Joel Roberts said additional restrictions could be imposed again depending on circumstances.

    ?It will be different from ship to ship, port to port, vessel to vessel," he said.

    The Coast Guard established a security zone around the port and part of the Providence River on Monday afternoon.

    The Port of Providence is closed for security reasons.

    The closure coincides with the arrival of a French-registered cargo ship.

    "The reason the Port of Providence was closed was that we had our first cargo vessel call in the port since the invasion of Afghanistan and it was also the vessel's first United States port of call," said Coast guard spokesman Lieutenant Joel Roberts.

    He said the port and a portion of the Providence River are closed indefinitely.

    Following the attacks on terrorist camps in Afghanistan, Rhode Island is in a state of "heightened alert."

    Governor Almond has ordered an increased law-enforcement and National Guard presence at high-risk locations -- but Green State Airport was the only one he would name.

    Rhode island National Guard Major Michael McNamara says all guard facilities have been warned to increase their vigilance with security measures but there have been no reports of anything out of the ordinary.

    Rhode Islanders are reacting with mixed emotions to the beginning of military action against the perpetrators of last month?s terrorist attacks.

    While some posted signs of support on highway bridges or in stores windows yesterday while about 40 protesters gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse in Providence.

    ?The U.S. has no concept that there are reasons behind this and we have to explore those reasons and push for peace all over the world as opposed to making Afghanistan more of a breeding ground for fundamentalists who are pissed at our government,? one man said.

    Members of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation are voicing support for the military strikes that began in Afghanistan yesterday. Democratic Senator Jack Reed and Congressmen James Langevin and Patrick Kennedy say it?s an appropriate response to the September 11 attacks on the United States. ?These individuals are people that hate democracy and hate America and everything that we stand for. It was not going to stop there. These are people who would continue to attack America given the opportunity.

    Johnston – Johnston High School was evacuated today, after an apparent prank that sent more than 20 students and teachers to the hospital.

    Johnston Police arrested a 15 year-old boy, who is a student at the school for the prank. The boy put chlorine tablets in a soda bottle with rubbing alcohol, which released chlorine gas, according to police. He faces a felony charge of placing a bomb in the school.

    A recently completed survey provides the first statistical hints about how much the national tourism slump is affecting Rhode Island. The survey released at a tourism summit shows that 76% of hotels and restaurants responding have had decreases in business since September 11. Nearly half the businesses responding have already cut workers or are planning lay offs.

    Many tourism leaders are asking for immediate state assistance. But top state lawmakers attending the summit want to wait before committing state funds.

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