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On Politics
5:10 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Block Dings Dems & Fung; Touts Himself as Change Agent

Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Block used a Statehouse news conference Wednesday afternoon to present a hat trick of related assertions: 1) Rhode Island Democrats are bad for previously supporting former House Speaker Gordon Fox; 2) rival GOP candidate Allan Fung is wrong to accept campaign contributions from members of the police union Fung negotiates with as mayor of Cranston; 3) all this, combined with Block's distance from politics as usual, makes Block the embodiment of change in the race for governor.

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Health Care
4:14 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Flu Declared Widespread A Second Time This Season

Syringes filled with flu vaccine
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

For the second time this season, the Rhode Island health department has declared flu widespread. That means that any unvaccinated health care workers must wear surgical masks around patients until the declaration of “widespread” is lifted. Flu was declared widespread in Rhode Island for most of January and February this year. But the health department says this time is more intense than the first.

The dominant strain now affects the elderly, in particular. 13 people have died from flu in Rhode Island this season, all of them in their 80s and 90s.

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Health Care
3:51 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

House Committee Considers Bills to Legalize Pot, Expand Medical Marijuana

State lawmakers are scheduled to consider several marijuana-related bills this evening. At issue is expanding access to medical marijuana and, once again, legalizing the drug for anyone over the age of 21.

Seven marijuana-related bills are before the House Committee on Judiciary. One would legalize marijuana for all adults, regulating it like alcohol and taxing sales. That’s been proposed before and failed, but other states have since legalized it.

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Environment
1:46 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

DEM Issues Expedited Citations To Property Owners In Violation Of State Cesspool Law

If you have a cesspool within 200 feet of a drinking well, a public reservoir, or the coastline, expect to receive a $200 citation in the mail from the Department of Environmental Management. The deadline to replace cesspools with a septic system or to connect to a municipal sewer system has passed.

Cesspools are holes in the ground used to get rid of human waste from buildings. The untreated waste seeps into the soil and contaminates ground and surface waters. A law to phase out cesspools focuses on cesspools within public drinking water supplies or the coastline. 

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On Politics
1:35 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Taft-Carter Rejects State Motion to Dismiss Pension Lawsuit

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter has denied a state motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the 2011 overhaul of Rhode Island’s pension system.

In her ruling, Taft-Carter found that there is “an implied in-fact contract” between the state and the public employees challenging the pension overhaul.

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RI Higher Education
1:16 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

URI Breaks Ground On New Center For LGBTQ Community

An artist rendering of the center, which will house offices, a conference room, and a multi-use spaces.
Credit URI

The University of Rhode Island broke ground this morning on a center for the school’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. The center is unique among college campuses.

URI says it’s the only school in the nation to design and build a center specifically for the LGBTQ community.  State officials were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, and state senator Frank Ferri, who championed Rhode Island’s push for legal same-sex marriages.  Annie Russell is the center’s director.

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On Politics
11:53 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Campaign Finance Angle Emerges In Gordon Fox Probe

A state police officer can be seen in former Speaker Gordon Fox's office during the raid on March 21
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The investigators who raided former House Speaker Gordon Fox's Statehouse office and East Side home on March 21 appear to be examining Fox's campaign fundraising.

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On Politics
11:14 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Ajello, Tsiongas Endorse Regunberg for State Rep

Aaron Regunberg, a candidate for the state representative seat being vacated by former House speaker Goron Fox, has won the endorsement of Representative Edith Ajello and former rep Nick Tsiongas.

Ajello, who lost her post as chair of the House Judiciary Committee after Nicholas Mattiello won the fight to succeed Fox as speaker, is a liberal favorite on Providence's East Side. Tsiongas formerly represented the East Side's Mount Hope and Summit neighborhoods.

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Weather
11:10 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Looks Like Spring, Feels Like Winter

Icicles hanging from trees in downtown Providence. It's April.
Credit John Bender / RIPR

Rhode Islanders may have had to dig those winter coats back out this morning.

After a warm weekend, with highs in the sixties, residents woke up to sleet, and icy windshields.

The National Weather Service reports that temperatures dropped into the low thirties overnight, with just under a half inch of precipitation measured at T.F. Green Airport.

And though the skies have cleared up temperatures are expected to hover in the forties Wednesday, with lows in the twenties.  Only slightly warmer weather is predicted for the rest of the week.

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The Education Blog
9:08 am
Wed April 16, 2014

URI Begins Construction on LGBTQ Center

The University of Rhode Island breaks ground Wednesday on a new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center.

URI officials say the start of construction is groundbreaking in more ways than one. They believe URI is the first university in the country to have a separate building dedicated solely as an LGBTQ center.

In the past, URI has faced criticism for being an unfriendly campus to gay and lesbian students. The university has also faced accusations that officials forced out a popular advisor, Andrew Winters, who worked on gay and lesbian issues.

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