Central Falls

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.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Former Central Falls mayor Charles Moreau could find himself a free man as early  as Friday, despite his conviction for corruption.  A ruling in another case has through his conviction into question because he guilty to taking a gratuity.

Former Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau could be freed as early as Friday from federal prison, according to a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha.

Moreau was convicted of bribery and has served 13 months of his 2-year sentence in a Maryland federal prison. Since his conviction, a federal appeals court has ruled in an unrelated case involving a businessman and a legislator in Puerto Rico. That ruling said federal law does  not ``criminalize gratuities’’ and dismissed the charges against both men.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

For several years we’ve been following the struggling Central Falls School district.

The high school grabbed national headlines when it fired all of its teachers back in 2010.

The fired teachers were later rehired by the district, but the firings left Central Falls High School in an uproar.

Three years later, Rhode Island Public Radio's Education reporter Elisabeth Harrison found signs of progress at the school, but scars from the mass firings remain.

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa is appointing Matthew Jerzyk, formerly deputy city solicitor in Providence, as city solicitor in Central Falls, effective January 6.

It's Friday, do you know where your column is? Right here. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free as always to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and follow me on the twitters.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Rhode Island Kids Count is out with an issue brief on the high school graduation rate in Rhode Island.  The latest statistics show that while the four-year graduation rate is increasing, a gap remains between affluent students and their lower-income colleagues.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A four-month long investigation has resulted in the arrests of nearly three dozen accused drug dealers. The investigation targeted narcotics activity in Central Falls.

Starting in June Central Falls police noticed an uptick in shootings. They suspected it was drug related so they called in the state police to help them out.  The result was the arrests of 35 individuals over a four month period and the seizure of a sizable collection of illegal drugs, said Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Steven O’Donnell.

Special to RIPR

Who says off-year elections aren't interesting? Some random news and observations:

1. Women candidates came up big in Central Falls, albeit in uncontested races, winning five of seven City Council seats. The extent of this kind of female presence is unusual in RI municipalities, although four of five Barrington town councilors are women.

Election Day In Woonsocket And Central Falls

Nov 5, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

Woonsocket election officials are expecting about a third of eligible voters to cast ballots in Tuesday’s mayoral election. State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt faces current Mayor Leo Fontaine in the municipal election, which also features races for city council.

RIPR FILE

Tuesday’s Election Day in Woonsocket and Central Falls where a number of municipal offices are up for grabs.

The most hotly contested race is in Woonsocket where Mayor Leo Fontaine is fending off a challenge from State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.  She got three times as many votes as he did in the October 8th primary, turning the Mayor into an underdog.  The two have debated five times in recent weeks.

In addition to the mayoral race, Woonsocket voters will choose seven city councilors from 14 candidates.

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