The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, in a continuing crackdown on workplace wage fraud, has announced that it has ordered an East Providence construction company to pay more than $300,000 in civil penalties, back wages and interest for fraudulently filling out weekly payroll records and wrongly classifying workers as independent contractors.

The leaves are falling, and fight over truck tolls remains hot and heavy. So thanks for stopping by for my weekend roundup. As always, your tips and feedback are welcome via my email and you can follow me all week long on the twitters. Here we go.

This was the season a freshman might have started at quarterback for the Bryant University football team. Tucker Beirne, a 6-2, 225-pounder from Coral Gables, Fla., looked like a player who could follow in the footsteps of 2014 graduate Mike Westerhaus, who stood third on Bryant’s all-time passing list with 4,929 yards. Beirne’s father David played lacrosse at Bryant in the 1980s and currently sits on the Bryant board of Trustees, so Tucker already knew about the Bulldogs football program.


The Rhode Island School of Design inaugurates Roseanne Somerson Friday during outdoor ceremony in Providence. Somerson took over as interim president following the abrupt departure of former President John Maeda in 2013.

Somerson began at RISD, as a photography major in 1971. She returned to RISD, and helped create the school’s first undergraduate furniture design program.

State Rep. Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick), deputy minority leader in the House, stopped by our studio to talk about a variety of issues facing the state.

David Silverman/

In a strikingly personal statement on, Bulldogs' Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Chris Burns describes what it was like to conceal his identity for many years. The former Bryant basketball player writes that he finally decided to come out in June, following the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

Courtesy of Chris Torres

Rhode Island Working Families, the new progressive/labor advocacy group, has hired Chris Torres, an experienced organizer with past Ocean State experience, as its state director. Torres is slated to formally start his new job November 15.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor Gina Raimondo said Thursday that a newly released impact study on her truck toll plan shows that the proposal will help Rhode Island’s economy.

The study by Regional Economic Models predicts the toll plan could boost the state’s gross domestic product by $538 million. The study also predicts the governor’s toll proposal will create a net increase of more than 6,000 jobs.

In a statement, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello says he’s digesting the impact study.

Federal officials are collecting public comments this week about National Grid’s proposal to build a liquefied natural gas facility in Providence. Residents can sign up to speak at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 8 at Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

This week, new details have emerged about financial mismanagement at the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. A second audit has revealed the former director of the child welfare agency may have violated state ethics rules by getting paid to be a consultant for a vendor DCYF was overseeing.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Mayor Jorge Elorza’s administration has reached a tentative agreement on a three-year contract with Local 1033 of the Laborers International Union of North America, which represents city employees in City Hall, the School Department and the Parks and Public Works Departments.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

It's not just financial irregularities plaguing the child welfare agency. There are lists of reforms officials must tackle - including 20 specific recommendations from a group of lawmakers.

When the state’s child welfare agency told the General Assembly it would need another cash infusion to make it through the end of the year, a group of lawmakers decided to dig in to the root cause of the agency’s financial problems.

The altercation allegedly involving seven University of Rhode Island football players and members of a fraternity in the overnight hours Sunday could have long-term ramifications for coach Jim Fleming and his program.

Sanctions in the wake of a fraternity raid by URI football players in 1996 dealt the program a blow from which it never recovered during his tenure, former coach Floyd Keith told me after he announced his resignation, effective the end of the 1999 season.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Five Republican lawmakers and one independent unveiled a proposal Wednesday to steer $875 million to improving Rhode Island's decrepit bridges over 10 years without imposing tolls on trucks and without the borrowing costs in a competing plan backed by Governor Gina Raimondo.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Reason to Hope

Oct 7, 2015

  There are times when despair seems to saturate our lives.  The sudden death of a loved one, which is followed by the loss of a job on the same day as the ominous cancer diagnosis, which happened a mere three weeks after receiving the foreclosure notice on one’s house.  You get the idea.  All of us have bad days now and then, but for some there are those bad weeks, or months, or even years.  In the midst of it all, it sure can be hard to find reason to hope, but hope we must.  And that’s what we hear from Doreen Conca Engel.

Doreen Conca Engel serves as a Guidance Counselor and the Director of the Benilde Program at St. Raphael Academy in Pawtucket.