Central Falls

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.


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.

John Bender / RIPR

The Central Falls Library is looking to expand its programming for students.  The library got a big boost from actor Alec Baldwin at a fundraiser over the weekend.

Alec Baldwin cracked jokes before a packed crowd at the Fete Ballroom in Providence before reading a James Thurber short story.

"We’re going do a little short stories, and some poetry and some Shakespeare.  You can keep getting drunk too, like you normally do here," said Baldwin.

Actor Alec Baldwin will be in Rhode Island this weekend to help raise money for the Central Falls library. The event, called “Baldwin for Books” features the actor along with Central Falls students and teachers reading passages from literature. There will also be a raffle to read Shakespeare with Baldwin. The library’s executive director Joel Pettit  says he doesn’t know why the actor is helping the library, but has an idea.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Central Falls mayor James Diossa has called a meeting for Monday to see if the city can keep the Osram Sylvania plant open. The lighting manufacturer plans to shutter the plant in September.

Lighting manufacturer Osram Sylvania has announced it will close its plant in Central Falls. The company said the closing is due to changes in the light bulb industry.

Osram Sylvania said it needs to close the Central Falls plant so it can focus on its move from traditional lighting to solid-state lighting, such as LED light bulbs.

There were fewer children in Rhode Island last year with elevated lead levels in their blood. Improvements to housing played a big role in the decline.

Most of the drop in lead levels took place in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick and Tiverton. In Providence, the city has made sure children couldn’t live in rental homes unless they were certified as lead-free.  Also, the city’s water authority monitored lead levels in drinking water.

Elisabeth Harrison

Award-winning actor Viola Davis made a stop at Bryant University on Friday during the annual Women’s Summit.

The theme of this year’s conference: “being the CEO of your own life.”

Davis says part of what has made her successful as an actor is her experience growing up in Central Falls.

"Every experience growing up in a dysfunctional family with alcoholism, with poverty, with being the geek always into theater and the Rhode Island State Drama Festival, that has been the wellspring of me as an actor," Davis said.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Charles Moreau, the former mayor of Central Falls is a free man. 

Moreau served thirteen months of a two-year prison sentence for pleading guilty to corruption charges.

However, in separate case, a federal appeals court found the same charges did not constitute criminal activity.

Moreau’s conviction was vacated on the grounds that he would plead guilty to a new charge of bribery.

U.S. Attorney General Peter Neronha says that while he’s unhappy the Moreau walked free, at least Moreau was convicted of a new charge.