WOONSOCKET

RIPR FILE

Senator Jack Reed is in Woonsocket Tuesday, bringing a gift from the federal government.

Senator Jack Reed has secured $1.5 million for the Woonsocket Head Start program.  The money won’t be enough to make up for sequestration cuts, according to Reed’s office.

Woonsocket will still lose 30 Head Start slots this fall. Statewide, some 370 slots will be lost.

Nationwide, sequestration has forced Head Start to eliminate and reduce services for more than 57-thousand children for the coming school year, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.

A group of citizens has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in an attempt to stop a supplemental tax increase in Woonsocket.  Woonsocket officials hope to use the tax to overcome a persistent budget crisis.

But the lawsuit filed on behalf of several taxpayers claims the supplemental tax doesn’t comply with the General Assembly legislation that authorized it. The legislation was based on Woonsocket being able to reach almost 4 million dollars in other budget savings. But the suit says that since almost 3 million of the savings are subject to legal action, that may never be realized.

Woonsocket and Pawtucket are asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to intervene in their effort to get more funding from the state. The districts filed briefs late last week, arguing they do not receive enough state aid to meet the state’s basic education requirements. The districts claim their students are being denied equal access to an education, in violation of their rights under the state constitution.

RIPR FILE

The governor’s office is asking you, the public, about what it’s like to live and work in the Ocean State. Residents are being asked to speak their minds at a series of public forums this week.

The forums are part of an initiative out of the governor’s office called RhodeMap RI. It’s a project analyzing the state’s business climate and economic competitiveness. The goal is to travel across the state, listen to residents about what it’s like to get job, buy a home and get an education in the state, then use that feedback to develop policy.

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CVS Caremark Settles With The SEC for $20M

Aug 2, 2013

CVS Caremark has entered into a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The settlement ends a three year investigation.


A Rhode Island man at the center of a capital punishment battle between the state and federal government has changed his plea to guilty to avoid the death penalty.

Pleau to Plead Guilty; Avoid Death Penalty

Jul 31, 2013

The man at the center of a legal tug-of-war between the state and federal governments over the imposition of the death penalty is scheduled to enter a plea Wednesday that will send him to prison for the rest of his life.  Jason Pleau has agreed to change his plea to guilty to avoid capital punishment.

Nearly three years ago, Jason Pleau shot Woonsocket gas station manager David Main in the head and stole 12-thousand dollars from him.  Wednesday, Pleau is scheduled to plead guilty to robbery, conspiracy and using a firearm in a crime of violence. 

The death penalty contretemps between Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the usual gang of talk show babblers and assorted right-wing nuts has ended with a raft of sound and fury…signifying not much.

Citing Rhode Island’s long tradition of opposition to the death penalty, Chafee argued against the death penalty for Jason Wayne Pleau, who in 2010 robbed, shot and killed David Main, the manager of a Woonsocket gas station.

The man at the center of a legal tug-of-war between Gov. Lincoln Chafee and the U.S. Attorney’s office over the death penalty will plead guilty to murder charges and will not face the death penalty.

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha’s office says 35-year-old Jason Pleau will plead guilty by way of a federal indictment for the 2010 robbery and murder of a Woonsocket gas station manager. And as part of a plea deal his office will not seek a death sentence.  

RIPR FILE

The Shaw’s supermarket chain says it’s closing six underperforming stores. Four are in southeastern Massachusetts and two are in the Rhode Island communities of Westerly and Woonsocket. 

But the closures won’t necessarily mean massive layoffs. A spokesman for Shaw’s said the company will try to avert layoffs by absorbing the affected employees into their remaining stores.  After the closures of the stores in Westerly and Woonsocket there will be eight Shaw’s stores left in Rhode Island.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island regulators have deemed Prime Healthcare’s application to buy Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center complete.

Now the Attorney General and Department of Health can begin their official review of California-based Prime Healthcare’s bid to buy the troubled community hospital. That review begins July 1st and ends October 28th under Rhode Island’s Hospital Conversion Act.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Been wondering what's happening with Landmark Medical Center? So has Woonsocket's mayor, Leo Fontaine. He wrote a letter to Governor Lincoln Chafee, pleading with him to weigh in on the process, use his influence to somehow resolve it. Problem is, regulators say that won't help.

Here are excerpts of the mayor's letter to the governor, a copy of which he apparently emailed to several newsrooms, but not to the primary regulators involved in approving or denying Prime Healthcare's application to buy to Landmark Medical Center:

Advocates for Rhode Island’s cities and towns are criticizing the budget passed Tuesday by the House Finance Committee.  The Finance Committee cut a planned increase in state aid to local communities.

The Finance Committee cut back a hike in local aid proposed by Governor Lincoln Chafee in his budget. The associate head of the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, Peder Schaefer, also serves on Woonsocket’s budget commission. He said the reduced aid will hurt struggling communities.

Tax Hike For Woonsocket Residents

May 23, 2013

A tax hike is on the way for Woonsocket residents. The House has passed a supplemental tax leaving home owners with additional $240 dollars a year 5 year period.  The tax will help close the city’s 17 million dollar budget gap. Woonsocket City Councilman Roger Jalette says he does not support the proposal.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island is responding to a lawsuit claiming that it stymied Steward Health Care’s bid to acquire Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket.

Steward is the Massachusetts-based, for-profit health care chain that tried to acquire Landmark, which has been in receivership for several years. Steward filed suit in Superior Court this week claiming Blue Cross thwarted those plans purposefully to maintain what Steward calls an unlawful monopoly on commercial insurance and hospital services.

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