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March 8th, 2012

Fitch sinks city's bond rating

March 8, 2012

WOONSOCKET — Citing surging deficits driven by deficient financial controls in the School Department, Fitch Ratings knocked down the city’s bond rating four notches Wednesday from BBB- to BB-.
The move puts the city’s $117 million portfolio of general obligation bonds in junk territory on the Fitch scale for the first time. The old rating was Fitch’s lowest investment grade.
“Unfortunately, it’s not something we didn’t expect,” said Mayor Leo T. Fontaine. “Clearly the pressure from the school department’s $10 million deficit was the last straw for Fitch.”

March 7th

Steward seeks new contingencies

March 7, 2012

WOONSOCKET — The company that wants to buy Landmark Medical Center is seeking to add new contingencies to the original terms of the sale to allow for the possibility that maternity and psychiatric wards could be eliminated, along with the personnel needed to run them.
Steward Health Care System’s original asset purchase agreement, or APA, is scheduled to expire on Friday. But the parties are due back in Superior Court that morning on a motion to extend the agreement and incorporate the new terms with the potential, at least, to become dealbreakers for Steward.

Hasbro lays off 55 in the state

March 7, 2012

PAWTUCKET (AP) — Toy maker Hasbro on Tuesday laid off 55 employees in Rhode Island, part of a larger downsizing that comes just months after announcing an expansion into Providence, company officials said.
Company spokesman Wayne Charness said in a statement that about 170 workers are being laid off worldwide because of the “underperformance” in Hasbro's U.S. and Canadian divisions, which are under new leadership. He also cited the company's need for “different skill sets” in its workforce.
The layoffs will affect workers in Pawtucket and Providence.

March 6th

Road rage leads to spitting

March 6, 2012

WOONSOCKET — One motorist allegedly spit at another during an apparent case of road rage Sunday — and he was charged with assault for doing it.
Police said Talubeh Njie, 39, was also arrested for driving without a license when he showed up at police headquarters about 7 p.m.

City on the fiscal brink

March 6, 2012

WOONSOCKET — As Gov. Lincoln Chafee and his fiscal advisers looked on, Mayor Leo T. Fontaine disclosed for the first time last night that the School Department’s cumulative projected deficit has ballooned to a staggering $10 million for the last two years.
Speaking in the most dire terms, Fontaine laid out a roadmap for program cuts, departmental consolidations and a supplemental tax bill to fill to gap, but he said that any plan of action must be executed very quickly because the city is fast running out of cash and won’t be able to pay its bills by the end of the month.

March 5th

Woonsocket officer pleads not guilty to DUI

March 5, 2012

By RUSS OLIVO

WOONSOCKET — A city policeman is free on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to charges of driving under the influence in District Court Monday.
The charges were brought against Patrolman Steven Fairley by members of his own department after an incident that occurred on Feb. 25, police said.

March 4th

OES: Supporting community, becoming better people

March 4, 2012

Jan M. McIntyre-Ba joined the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a Masonic youth service organization, when she was 12 years old.
Her mother, Frances, had also been a Rainbow Girl, and her grandfather was a Mason, so Freemasonry, the oldest fraternal organization in the world, was something she was intimately familiar with even at a young age.

POLICE PROMOTION

March 4, 2012

After being promoted to Woonsocket police sergeant, Matthew Richardson has his new badge pinned on him by his girlfriend, Holly Landry, during a swearing-in ceremony at police headquarters Friday. Richardson, who joined the department in 2004, holds multiple commendations for his police work.

School audit numbers to be released Monday

March 4, 2012

WOONSOCKET – City officials will be releasing the findings of an ongoing mid-year audit of school department spending when the City Council meets for a work session Monday evening.
Council President John F. Ward invited members of the School Committee to the session while speaking at the School Committee's meeting at the Hamlet Middle School this past Wednesday.

March 2nd

Town at odds over fire tax bills

March 2, 2012

PROVIDENCE – Two conflicting bills — one that would put a cap on the amount Cumberland fire districts can increase their tax levy and another that would allow the Cumberland Hill Fire District to implement a four-tier tax classification program – were heard by the House Municipal Government Committee Thursday.

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