WOONSOCKET

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?

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center is about to turn the page on a long and challenging chapter in its history. The struggling hospital has received regulatory approval to be acquired by a for-profit hospital chain called Prime Healthcare. That means an end to five years of uncertainty for employees, patients, and the community.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Today is the deadline for state regulators to decide whether an out-of-state hospital chain can acquire Woonsocket's Landmark Medical Center. The decision will mark the end of five years of uncertainty for the struggling hospital.

Landmark has been in receivership, a kind of bankruptcy, since 2008. It's flirted with several different potential buyers who got cold feet for one reason or another and pulled out. It's battled the state's largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, for higher payments.

State Police To Be Outfitted With Tasers

Oct 14, 2013

Rhode Island state police have a new weapon in their war on crime.

Rhode Island state police have purchased Tasers for all troopers and are training them in their proper use. 

State police commander Colonel Steven O’Donnell said the aim is to prevent the use of firearms where possible.

"The feedback is great. It’s another tool to protect them and to protect other people. And they’re a great tool on the street. People know what a taser does so when you deploy a taser you get a lot more compliance instead of just verbal commands," said O'Donnell.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

State agencies are allowing more public comment, until October 7, on the proposed sale of Woonsocket’s Landmark Medical Center to a for-profit chain as the deadline for a decision on the deal approaches.

Though previous deals have fallen through, Woonsocket officials are still hopeful about a yes vote.

One of three suspects in the murder of a Woonsocket gas station manager has pleaded guilty to his role in the crime.

Jose Santiago entered the guilty plea Thursday during jury selection. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said no deals were cut to secure the plea.

"He came in and pled guilty to all the charges. There’s no plea arrangement with Mr. Santiago. He pled guilty and we will recommend what we believe is the appropriate sentence at sentencing," said Nerohna.

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.  

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