Central Falls

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.


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.

Ryan T. Conaty

Last night I attended one of what could be the first of 39 more public forums, put on by the state's health department, around Rhode Island. And it wasn't what I thought it would be.

Three years after a state order to dramatically overhaul Central Falls High School, a new report finds evidence of progress. The Education Alliance at Brown University conducted the study, which finds school culture and parent involvement have improved significantly.

The graduation rate at Central Falls High is up from 48 percent in 2009 to 70 percent last year. Superintendent of Central Falls Schools Fran Gallo says it took an all-out effort from school staff to keep students from dropping out.

A developmentally disabled pregnant woman who’s been missing for a week has been found safe and sound. 

A man who had seen a missing poster of Luisa Pena noticed her walking down a street in Central Falls and contacted police.  Pawtucket police Major Arthur Martins said it’s unclear where Pena has been for the past week but she appears to be in good condition.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Pawtucket police say there is no reason to believe a missing, pregnant woman has been abducted.  Relatives of 21-year-old Luisa Pena have expressed concern that she was kidnapped by men she had accused of sexual assault. But Pawtucket police spokesman Major Arthur Martins says there is no evidence of that.

Pena vanished last Wednesday from her aunt’s home in Pawtucket. Relatives say she has the mind of a ten-year-old, has difficulty expressing herself and can’t drive.

John Bender / RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa will run unopposed for re-election in November, and he leads a city that still bears scars from its closely watched municipal bankruptcy.

The group Leadership Rhode Island stepped in after the bankruptcy and tried to convince Central Falls residents to get more engaged politically.

Rhode Island Public Radio's Elisabeth Harrison asked Leadership Rhode Island’s Executive Director Mike Ritz for some analysis of the upcoming mayoral race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

The mayor of Central Falls, 28-year-old James Diossa, won’t face any competition when voters in Rhode Island’s smallest city go to the polls in November. Diossa is backing a slate of city council candidates – and most of them don’t face any competition, either. The tiny and financially struggling city is still emerging from the shadow of bankruptcy. But the political landscape marks quite a change from last year, when Diossa beat the city’s former police chief to win election as Central Falls’ first Latino mayor.