James Diossa


Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, a Democrat, has joined mayors from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and 14 other cities in saying they are ready and willing to accept even more refugees than the Obama administration has proposed.

In a letter to the president, the mayors said, ``We will welcome the Syrian families to make homes and new lives in our cities.’’

Providence Diocese

The young mayor of Rhode Island's smallest city, James Diossa, will travel to Washington D.C. this week as Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. Diossa was invited to the country's capital by President Barack Obama and the First Lady. Diossa will be part of the Pope's arrival ceremony Wednesday morning.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien are slated to visit Arjona, Colombia, this week to explore cultural exchanges.

"Central Falls has a rich Colombian heritage and I look forward to exploring ways to strengthening our relationship to make Central Falls stronger - specifically regarding economic development, education, and urban planning," Diossa said in a statement.

Grebien said he's excited to build on Pawtucket's sister-city relationship with Arjona.

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?


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

This week marked the one-year point until Rhode Island's decisive 2014 primary. Welcome back to my Friday column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to stay posted via Twitter. Let's head in.

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.