The Education Blog
9:46 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Panel Recommends Changes for School Construction

Rhode Island's School Housing Aid Task Force wants to set aside 1 percent of the state sales tax for school construction.

The panel has been working on a series of recommendations as the state prepares to lift a moratorium on  school construction projects.

Other recommendations include the creation of a quasi-public agency to oversee school construction funding, assess facilities statewide and move away from a funding model heavily dependent on bonds.

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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

A judge has rejected a state motion to dismiss the public pension lawsuit.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

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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