Providence

The calendar keeps zipping along, with August coming up fast. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. Your tips and comments are welcome and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

WerbeFabrik / Creative Commons License Via Pixabay

As states grapple with rising opioid abuse, needles left in parks and city sidewalks are becoming a bigger problem.

It takes months to organize high-profile summer concerts like the Newport Folk Festival, but these days, you can start your own impromptu Folk Fest with little more than an idea and a five-day Kickstarter campaign.

At least, that’s how organizers launched the Fox Point Folk Festival last weekend. They took over a block of Wickenden Street with music, hammocks, and even a giant Jenga block tower. 

Rosie Nalle / RIPR

Skateboard wheels hit the pavement Wednesday across Rhode Island's capital city to celebrate national "Go Skateboarding Day." Dozens of skaters gathered in downtown Providence, where a local skateboard company set up ramps and rails for riders to use.

For at least one of those riders, Carlos Garcia, skateboarding is a sport like no other. Garcia has been skating in Providence since the late 1990s.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

Providence Police arrested a former public bus driver, accused of stealing bus fares. The driver has been charged with felony embezzlement.

RIPR FILE PHOTO

Providence city councilors will soon vote on a new budget that would increase spending on public schools for the first time in seven years. The district wants to use some of that money to improve its struggling middle schools.

John Bender / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has signed the Police-Community Relations Act, a major effort to address concerns about city police. It took more than three years to get the measure passed.

The Police-Community Relations Act took shape thanks in large part to a dedicated group of supporters who refused to let the measure die. They framed it as an effort to tamp down on police profiling based on race, gender, and sexuality.

RIPR File Photo

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is calling on Providence to halt plans to reroute traffic on a road near the Cranston border. Fung hosted a community forum on the proposed change Tuesday evening.

RIPR FILE

The new Ward 3 candidate is Republican David Lallier Jr. 

Courtesy of Rhode Island State Archives

The anniversary of Rhode Island's declaration of independence from the British Empire in 1776 is being marked Wednesday.

Rhode Island repealed legislation pledging its allegiance to the crown -- two months before any of the 12 other colonies.

John Bender / RIPR

Kevin Jackson, the longest serving member of the Providence City Council, lost his seat by an overwhelming majority in a recall election Tuesday.

John Bender / RIPR

That’s about a two percent increase overall from the current year budget. 

RIPR FILE

The Providence-based hospital organization Care New England has signed a letter of intent to merge with the Boston-based organization Partners HealthCare, Care NE announced Wednesday.

The Providence City Council Ordinance Committee has voted to send a downtown smoking ban to the full council. The ordinance would prohibit smoking in a roughly nine-block area in front of Kennedy Plaza and City Hall.

Community advocates say the policy is targeted at the homeless. That’s because  they say previous bans on smoking in nearby park and bus terminals have pushed homeless onto the surrounding sidewalks.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

A spokeswoman for the State Police confirmed the investigation Thursday. In March, a grand jury subpoenaed the city of Providence for Aponte’s payroll information. The city complied with the request, according to a spokeswoman for the city.

The move comes after the state Board of Elections referred to the attorney general’s office last September a lengthy report about Aponte’s finances.

Investigators have not specified the nature of the probe. State Police confirmed the investigation, but declined to comment further.

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