WOONSOCKET

Students and faculty at Woonsocket High School are mourning the loss of athletic director George Nasuti. He died Tuesday night, the school community received the news Wednesday morning.

Nasuti’s family said he was refereeing a basketball game in Burrillville Friday night when he fell and hit his head on the court.  The Woonsocket Call reports that Nasuti then went into a coma.

Woonsocket Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan sent out a statement to the school community notifying them of Nasuti death, “we are all better people for having George in our life.”

CVS

Rhode Island based CVS-Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores starting this year. CVS said it is the first national chain to make this move.

The goal is to have cigarettes and other tobacco products off the shelves at its more than 7,600 stores by October 1st. CVS-Caremark’s CEO calls selling tobacco inconsistent with the store’s purpose.

CVS plans to launch a smoking cessation program in the spring, offering information on how to quit and treatment at its pharmacies.

RIPR FILE

Woonsocket voters go to the polls next week to elect a state representative to replace Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, who was recently elected mayor of that city.  The election represents the first time that photo identification will be required of voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union is reminding Woonsocket voters to be sure to take along a photo id when they head to the polls Tuesday. Woonsocket is holding a special election to fill the House seat vacated by newly-elected Woonsocket Mayor Lisa-Baldelli Hunt.

The secretary of state’s office will hold a lottery Friday to determine the ballot placement of names for a special primary election in Woonsocket. Four candidates are competing in the January 21st primary for the state rep seat formerly held by state Rep Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.

Baldelli-Hunt resigned her state rep seat after winning election as mayor of Woonsocket last month. The primary election could decide who succeeds Baldelli-Hunt, since the four candidates are all Democrats.

Get ready for the first serious snow of the year, and a storm of a different sorts in Exeter. Welcome back to my weekly column. As always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to follow me on the twitters. Let's get to it.

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.

RIPR FILE

The new mayor of Woonsocket, Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, is slated to be inaugurated this evening Tuesday.  Baldelli-Hunt is taking on the job after winning four terms as a state representative.

House Speaker Gordon Fox plans to swear in Baldelli-Hunt during a 7 pm ceremony at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket.  Her uncle, Charles Baldelli, a former mayor in the city, will emcee the event.

Baldelli-Hunt beat two term Republican mayor Leo Fontaine in an election last month. The change comes as Woonsocket continues to wrestle with financial problems.

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.

Tuesday is the last day on the job for Raymond Bacon, co-manager of Woonsocket’s Museum of Work & Culture. Bacon’s retirement ends 16 years working at the museum.

Before his time at the museum, Bacon spent 30 years as a high school teacher. Before that he worked his way through college at The French Worsted Mill. That experience, Bacon said, helped connect him to the people whose lives are chronicled at the Museum of Work and Culture. He said he knew some of the people in the pictures on display.

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.

Woonsocket Residents Vote For Change

Nov 6, 2013
Wikimedia Commons

In Woonsocket, voters have chosen a new mayor.

They voted by a more than 2-1 margin to elect  State Representative Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, ousting incumbent mayor Leo Fontaine.

Baldelli-Hunt will take the reins of a city that severely raised property taxes to avoid bankruptcy.  Like many residents, voter Farid Latash said the city's financial problems are frustrating.

"Big problem with the taxes.  Nobody working.  Nobody got no money.  They keep raising taxes, raising everything.  That's about it," said Latash.

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.

In Woonsocket Monday, a dedication ceremony will be held for a non-profit that helps people avoid the pitfalls of payday lenders. It's known as the “Capital Good Fund.”

Capital Good Fund is a brick and mortar store that offers people an alternative to high priced payday lenders.  Funded by a 57-thousand dollar grant from the United Way, it expects to help 600 people a year, according to founder and director Andy Posner.

The deal still has to close, which officials expect by sometime in December. But now some of the hard work begins. How exactly do you turn a faltering hospital around?

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