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April 10th, 2012

'We need some rain — and we need it soon'

April 10, 2012

Al Bettencourt lives in Burrillville, but his one-acre vegetable plot looks like it’s part of the Sonoran Desert.
“It’s all cracked,” says the executive director of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau. “It’s too dry. We need some rain and we need it soon.”
Across the region, a virtually snowless winter has given way to one of the driest springs on record, pushing the region to the edge of drought, raising concerns among farmers and prompting government agencies to issue fire hazard warnings.

Public speaks out for Landmark

April 10, 2012

WOONSOCKET – A public hearing conducted by Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and the state Department of Health on the proposed acquisition of Landmark Medical Center by the Steward Health Care System of Massachusetts made one thing absolutely clear Monday-- area residents and public officials, Landmark's employees and most importantly its patients all want the 114-bed acute care facility and its Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island (RHRI) to remain open.

April 7th

Schools mull policy rollbacks

April 7, 2012

WOONSOCKET – The School Committee will consider toughening requirements for a passing grade and attendance in local schools when the panel meets on Wednesday.
School Committeewoman Vimala Phongsavanh is proposing that the committee raise a passing grade to 70, the requirement that had been in place until the committee voted last year to lower it to a grade of 60 as a way to retain more at-risk students in school.
The committee, at that time, also modified the penalties for absenteeism for similar reasons.

C-3 center a ‘fitting tribute’ to Longtin’s dedication to city

April 7, 2012

WOONSOCKET – Think of a place where a young person can get help with their homework from a certified teacher, meet with friends in a safe setting and even spend a little time thinking about college or a future career.
If you are picturing an afterschool program at a local school, think again. It’s the new Mary A. Longtin C-3 (College, Community and Career) Center.
The center, which was dedicated Thursday afternoon, offers its visiting young people two classrooms and a computer center all created in a 3,500-square-foot former industrial building at 120 Northeast St.

April 6th

U.S. Attorney explains his stance on pot dispensaries

April 6, 2012

WOONSOCKET – Sometimes painted as the Molly Hatchet of the Rhode Island medical marijuana movement, putting the axe to the state’s three proposed compassion centers before they had a chance to open, U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says he just wants to make sure everyone knows where his office stands on the issue so there will be “no surprises” when, and if, a dispensary opens up.

Senate panel gives Steward nod

April 6, 2012

PROVIDENCE – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has scrapped a proposal to amend the 15-year-old Hospital Conversions Act and substituted language proposed by Steward Health Care that will facilitate its purchase of the troubled Landmark Medical Center.
The new version of the bill would eliminate the provision that a for-profit hospital corporation like Steward is prohibited from applying to buy a second hospital for at least three years after it acquires one.

Bus provider withdraws threat to end service

April 6, 2012

WOONSOCKET — In an about-face, Durham School Services has agreed to provide student transportation services for the rest of the year even though it’s owed more than $500,000 by the cash-choked Woonsocket Education Department, school officials announced Thursday.
School Supt. Giovanna Donoyan said the company had previously advised the WED it would discontinue service on Monday unless the department satisfied the debt. The Warrenville-Ill.-based transportation giant changed its mind after a conference call with company executives, state revenue officials and the office of Mayor Leo Fontaine.

April 5th

Blackstone Valley parks get windfall

April 5, 2012

WOONSOCKET — Good news seems hard to come by lately in this cash-strapped city, but a bit surfaced yesterday as state officials announced a grant of $125,000 for improvements to Cass Park, the city’s largest tract of open, public space.
The award was among $4.2 million worth of recreational grants for 23 communities announced at the State House by Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit.

April 3rd

City tax hike now in hands of General Assembly

April 3, 2012

WOONSOCKET – Now that the City Council has approved sending out a supplemental tax bill, the focus shifts to the General Assembly, which must grant the proposal its blessing before the measure becomes law.
Legislative actions taken in support of locally driven initiatives are known as enabling bills and are often considered ministerial functions of the General Assembly.
But the controversial supplemental tax bill might not be a slam dunk.
“I would think it would be open for debate,” said Larry Berman, a spokesman for House Speaker Gordon Fox.

April 2nd

Council votes 6-to-1 for tax hike

April 2, 2012

WOONSOCKET — Despite an outpouring of protest, the City Council voted in favor of a 13 percent supplemental tax hike for 2011 that will cost homeowners and businesses hundreds of dollars, all in hopes of keeping the teetering city from going broke in the days ahead.

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