Central Falls

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.

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.

RIPR FILE

An educator who works in Central Falls has decided not to run for mayor of Providence.  The decision by Victor Capellan leaves the field with just one Latino candidate.

Capellan is a longtime political activist who took steps to organize a campaign earlier this year. He said the demands of his job as a deputy school superintendent in Central Falls are why he’s pulling out of the race.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa won’t have any competition when he seeks re-election this fall.  Diossa won election last year as the first Latino mayor in the predominantly minority city.

Diossa will have a clean shot to win a three-year term when Central Falls voters go to the polls in November. The 28-year-old mayor says he’s humbled by what he calls a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Today we celebrate the glorious history of the American labor movement. While unions have a storied past RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what the future holds.

Labor Day in Rhode Island has long been more than a summer’s end holiday. For decades, union leaders and their members have celebrated a movement that assimilated immigrants, fought vigorously for better pay and working conditions and was a fulcrum in the creation of a strong middle class.

John Bender / RIPR

Students across Rhode Island are returning to school this week, but a new report suggests that some of them are not well served. The Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University finds Latino students in the state’s urban schools are as much as three grades behind their white peers. The institute is releasing its findings today, and Director Ana Cano-Morales is here to talk more about them.

The City of Central Falls plans to repair and pave 16 roads. Mayor James Diossa said the Pawtucket Water Supply Board is ripping up the roads to make repairs to water mains. Instead of just patching the roads back together, the city will completely repave them.

“Pawtucket Water Supply opens up the roads and they were willing to grid the roads and leave it to the point where we just have to cover it with asphalt,” said Diossa, “so that’s why it’s very, very cheap for 16 roads.”

A spokeswoman for Memorial Hospital said that three first responders were treated there for heat exhaustion after battling a five-alarm fire at a chemical company in Central Falls. Dyana Koelsch said none of those first responders had been admitted to the hospital.

Temperatures crested 90 degrees today, adding to dangerous conditions for firefighters and rescue workers.

The fire started today in an old mill building, most likely during a mixing process that involved toxic chemicals.

Ryan T. Conaty

The city of Central Falls has taken steps to be more accessible to residents. Starting next Tuesday and continuing on the second and last Tuesday of every month, Central Falls City Hall will be open until 7:00pm.

On the same Tuesdays, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa will hold “office hours” where city residents can come to his second floor office and meet with him. The office hours will be from 4:30 to 7:00 pm.

Diossa said he is making the changes to accommodate the busy schedules of the city’s hard-working residents.

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