Central Falls

Scott Mackay RIC commencement 2015
Rhode Island College

RI Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay delivered the commencement speech at Rhode Island College Saturday, May 16th. He was granted an honorary doctorate of journalism. 

Good Morning. Most of you are from Rhode Island and Massachusetts, so you get what I mean: That by virtue of your degrees today, you are all officially "wicket smaht."

Central Falls' community health center is at capacity, officials say, in its current building. Now, Blackstone Valley Community Health Care has acquired a three-story medical building from Memorial Hospital for $720,000 at 1000 Broad St. in Central Falls.

Health center officials say they plan to move in toward the end of 2016, when $5 million dollars in renovations are complete. The new center will be able to accommodate more than 10,000 patients and will add about a dozen new clinicians.

John Bender / RIPR

This story is part of our series “Rising Tide” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Lawyer, former Central Falls receiver, and former state Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the outlook on Rhode Island's pension conflict, whether gag orders are a good idea, and lessons from the fiscal crisis in Central Falls.

For more Flanders, listen to his conversation with us on Bonus Q&A.

RIPR FILE

Once again, Rhode Island politics is ensnared in a public employee pension controversy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says it’s time to put this issue in our collective rear view mirror.

It’s well past time to get beyond the noisy debate over public employee pensions in Rhode Island. It’s a joust that has ensnared  the Statehouse for more than a generation. It has long pitted the business community against public employees and their union leaders, fractured relations between conservatives and liberals and led to tortuous attempts for years to shore up the system.

File/Ryan T Conaty

Since August, 2010, the Rhode Island Public Radio newsroom has been headed up by News Director Catherine Welch. Friday is Catherine’s last day. She’s leaving for a job in Orlando, Florida where she will be news director at the public radio station WMFE.

Orlando is the 33rd largest television market in the country, and WMFE is a growing station covering Orlando, Daytona Beach and the Space Coast. Catherine has family in Central Florida and is looking forward to being closer to them as well.

81 percent of the class of 2014 earned a diploma within four years, according to the latest numbers from the Rhode Island Department of Education. The state's high school graduation rate ticked up one percentage point from 2013, and was up four percentage points from 2011.

Dropout rates dropped by one percentage point to 8 percent.

New numbers out of Rhode Island Kids Count show the number of children living in poverty has grown nearly five percent since the start of the Great Recession.  Kids Count RI executive director Elizabeth Burke-Bryant sat down with Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison to go over the numbers.

The latest report on child poverty in Rhode Island found in 2013 44,923 children under the age of 18 lived below the federal poverty threshold. That’s 21.5%, and higher than the rate of 15.5% in 2008.

Elisabeth Harrison

Central Falls Superintendent of Schools Fran Gallo plans to retire at the end of the school year.

The school board says its members officially accepted her letter of resignation on Tuesday night.

"The Board accepted Dr. Gallo’s decision with deep regret and equally deep appreciation for her eight years of service to the children and families of Central Falls," the board said in a written release announcing that Gallo will step down on June 30th.

RIPR FILE

Congressman David Cicilline is bringing the chair of the congressional Immigration Task Force to Rhode Island Wednesday evening to discuss the president’s executive order on immigration.  The public forum will focus on preventing residents from getting caught up in scams.

That’s been a problem since President Obama issued an executive order back in November that offers a legal reprieve to some in the country illegally and parents with children who are U.S. citizens.

The Golden Age Grease Caper gives us hope - at least those of us who are closing in on that rock solid verification of old age, that sure fire boarding pass for the bus to Foxwoods and the complimentary roll of quarters.

The Golden Age Grease caper provides one of those cherished, you’re-never-too-old moments that can be warmly, eagerly embraced as a ringing geezer declaration of independence. 

Personally, I’m taking it as irrefutable proof that 70 is the new 65.        

Lydia Rogers/File / RIPR

For more than 80 years, Theresa Landry has taught Rhode Islanders how to dance. But Landry will hang up her tap shoes and close her studio for good Saturday.

For generations, students have tapped and turned at the Theresa Landry Dance Studio on Dexter Street in Pawtucket. But the building’s been sold, forcing Landry to retire. And at 93 years old, she’s ready. “Well I think God is telling me that it’s time for me to have more time for myself and my family,” she said.

The Department of Labor and Training has stepped in to help the more than 70 workers laid off from the Osram Sylvania plant in Central Falls. The plant shut its doors last Friday.

Those former plant workers are now receiving benefits from a federal program that provides career counseling and helps them pay for amongst other things the commute to job training or to relocate. DLT spokesman Mike Healey said this federal program is more generous because it targets factory workers who tend to be older and have worked most of their lives in the plant.

A Rhode Island superior court judge has named a long-term receiver for the financially troubled Wyatt Detention Center. Lawyer Jonathan Savage will take the reins at the Central Falls prison, which has been losing money and facing declining inmate populations. Savage’s task will be to find a way to help dig the detention center out of the red.

The facility entered a form of bankruptcy in June after losing millions a year for years. It also owes nearly $100 million dollars in outstanding bond debt.

The troubled Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls has entered receivership. The facility has been losing money for a while and contributed to the city’s financial woes.

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