Portsmouth

RIPR FILE

In Newport, volunteers are gathering on the city’s Cliff Walk to clean up the tourist attraction and the ocean access points near it. The event is organized by the Aquidneck Island-based nonprofit Clean Ocean Access.

Clean Ocean Access director Dave McLaughlin says the group has collected some 50 tons of trash during area beach cleanups over the last decade.

Wikimedia Commons

Portsmouth is considering a no-smoking ordinance that could make all of Aquidneck Island’s public beaches and parks smoke free. The town council voted Monday to draft the ordinance, which could be approved as early as September.

Neighboring Newport and Middletown already have similar bans in place.

Portsmouth Town Administrator Richard Rainor says he’s not sure what penalty the ordinance might carry, but he believes it will still be effective.

Chris Hunter / Collective Thought Media

The Aquidneck Land Trust has acquired 72 acres of land in Portsmouth to conserve as open space. The Land Trust recently purchased the parcel for $3 million. The scenic property at St. Mary’s Church includes 25 forested acres.

Land trust executive director Chuck Allott said the property at St. Mary’s Church includes forested land that neighbors St. Mary’s Pond, one of Aquidneck Island’s drinking water supplies.  “So it's a very important drinking water, watershed protection parcel and it's also an important habitat property because of that forested land.”

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment The Bottom Line.

This week, Dave and Mark talk with National Grid spokesman David Graves. They go over the permitting process of stringing new power lines around the island, and why a growing hunger for juice has forced the utility to upgrade.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

National Grid said the tremendous growth on Aquidneck Island has prompted it to spend $93 million on upgrading its power system there.

The utility said the current system is outdated and will soon be overwhelmed. How outdated is it? Well, one substation was built in 1949.

Wikimedia Commons

Officials in Middletown say slow internet speeds are driving away business, and they’re urging  Newport and Portsmouth to help pay for a faster internet for all of Aquidneck Island.

Courtesy RI DOT

The state is slated to begin charging a new 10-cent toll on the Sakonnet River Bridge next Monday.  Yet it’s not exactly clear how the state will collect that money.

The General Assembly added the 10-cent toll, basically as a placeholder, at the end of the legislative session. The legislature took that action because the absence of a toll on the new span could prevent the state from adding one at a later date. State Rep John Edwards of Tiverton says the toll remains unpopular in the East Bay.

Portsmouth Girl Was Victim of Internet Predator

Jul 26, 2013

Portsmouth police said a girl who went missing Wednesday, but has since been found alive, was the victim of an internet predator.

Portsmouth police said the 13-year-old was found alive at 1:00 am Thursday in an apartment in Haskell, New Jersey. The man who allegedly took her there, 27-year-old Daniel Berger, has been charged with transporting a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.  Police said Botelho went with Berger willingly but that he should have known she was a minor just by looking at her.

A worker who fell from the Mt Hope Bridge Tuesday has died, according to the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

OSHA/Rhode Island director Patrick Griffin said a worker fell 30 feet while scaffolding was being removed after a painting job.  The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority said it was 70 feet. He landed on the deck of the bridge.

The accident happened at around 8:30am Tuesday and was reported to OSHA at 9:00 am.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Portsmouth residents are celebrating that town’s 375th anniversary this year.  Sunday, the focus was on one of the town’s founders: Anne Hutchinson. 

Protecting themselves against the heat of the sun with a red, white and blue striped tent, about 200 Portsmouth residents showed up at Founders Brook Park to celebrate the life of founder Anne Hutchinson.  Three new granite benches, each bearing a quotation attributed her, were unveiled.  And documentary maker Elizabeth Vangel was on hand to fill in the uneducated about her life.

New Bikeway on Aquidneck Island in the Works

Jul 16, 2013

Progress continues for an 18-mile bike path on Aquidneck Island, which will extend from the new Sakonnet River Bridge in Portsmouth to the Newport beaches. 

Tina Dolen, the Executive Director of the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission, says that ideas for a bikeway began in 2004 when the Commission produced the West Side Master Plan.  She adds that this project will cost them less time and money than another bike project, the Shoreline Bikeway, also in the works. 

Dolen states that this development will be beneficial for everybody.

The town of Portsmouth is continuing to challenge the imminent imposition of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

The town is appealing a federal court decision issued last week which allowed the tolling to proceed. Portsmouth town solicitor said they’ve asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals for an expedited ruling on their request for an injunction because the tolls are scheduled to start next month.

Courtesy RI DOT

The House Finance Committee is slated Tuesday to consider a bill to block a toll planned for the Sakonnet River Bridge. The legislation would use a different approach to pay for bridge maintenance.

Legislation co-sponsored by state Representative John Edwards uses increased vehicle inspection fees and other sources to pay for keeping up bridges. The bill would also expand the oversight of the state Turnpike and Bridge Authority to cover all bridges longer than 700 feet.

Prudence Island Ferry to Halt Service in December

Apr 26, 2013

Prudence Island residents are worried about how they’ll get to and from the island this winter.  Owner Bruce Medley says he’s ready to retire after running the only ferry service to the island for 43 years.

Medley is in favor of a bill in the statehouse that would create a quasi-public agency to run the ferry.  He says this would make the service eligible for federal funding. 

The town of Portsmouth has banned feeding wild animals as part of a plan to crack down on coyotes.   The town council voted unanimously Monday night on a rule that bars residents from leaving food outside in any area where a coyote or other wild animal could get to it. 

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