Side of the Rhode: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not -  June 3, 2016

Thursday, June 02, 2016
Russ Moore, GoLocalProv MINDSETTER™

  • HOT

    Viola Davis

    In GoLocal's estimation, the superstar actress who rose from childhood poverty in Central Falls to become one of the most well-respected actresses in the world is the greatest living Rhode Islander. And it's hard to argue. Davis has won two Tony awards, an Emmy and a SAG award and has been nominated for an Oscar. But what really impresses me is how much she gives back. Davis is a big fundraiser for several Rhode Island causes including donations to Central Falls High School. 

     
  • HOT

    Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (RET)

    The New York Post is reporting that Middletown-native Gen. Mike Flynn is on the short list of Vice Presidential candidates for Donald Trump. It's a long shot that the 33-year military man who is an Afghanistan Veteran would be tapped as Trump's nominee for Vice President, but it's good press for Rhode Island that's he is being considered. 

     
  • HOT

    Dollars For Scholars

    A group of volunteers, Hope High School graduates all, held their annual scholarship dinner and handed out thousands of dollars scholarships to hard working, and in most cases, underprivileged students who achieve excellence in their studies in spite of their difficult circumstances and backgrounds. Kudos to this organization for lending a helping hand to hardworking students.

     
  • HOT

    Patricia Morgan

    The Republican state legislator shouldn't have accepted or requested grants herself, but Morgan deserves credit for vehemently fighting against legislative grants in the present. Morgan correctly points out that the grants are nothing more than a political slush fund used by legislative leadership to keep representatives in line. While they fund some good causes, there are much better mechanisms to get the money to those programs. 

     
  • HOT

    Scott Avedisian

    The Mayor of Warwick was in the news this week for resigning as Chairman of RIPTA. The agency has been plagued by some accidents, 3 deaths and dozens injured over the two years. But don't expect this to negatively affect "The Teflon Don of Warwick", who is up for reelection this year, but will be a heavy favorite in the city against his opponent, Democrat Richard Corrente. Avedisian enjoys broad support from both Warwick Democrats and Republicans, so don't be surprised next November, "why doesn't Avedisian ever run for higher office."

     
  • HOT

    RI Oral Health Foundation

    The Rhode Island Oral Health Foundation will hold its 5th annual Mission of Mercy free dental clinic on Saturday, June 4th and Sunday, June 5th at the CCRI Flanagan Campus in Lincoln. The program, now in its 5th year of existence, is an effort to provide dental services to those who otherwise couldn't afford them. Thank you to all the dentists and their volunteers who make this a reality!

     
  • HOT

    Ben Bentil

    The sophomore superstar basketball player from Providence College has disappointed some fans with his decision to leave the school to enter the NBA draft. But Bentil is making the correct decision based on is remarkable season last year. He showed that he deserves to play in the NBA, and if scouts are wise, he should be selected in the first round. 

     
  • NOT

    The Providence Journal

    The state's biggest newspaper made a big mistake by criticizing Representative Carlos Tobon for failing to make it to a legislative hearing about the highly controversial community service grants. It would have been nice to see the Projo apologize so that everyone could move on. That would have taken away the fodder for the holier than thou speeches from House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Representative Anastasia Williams that we all had to suffer through on Tuesday. 

     
  • NOT

    Nicholas Mattiello

    What's the old saying about throwing stones and glass houses? Yes, the Providence Journal made a big mistake. But boy does the RI Speaker of the House of Representatives have some nerve taking to the rostrum and berating others for their mistakes. Let me remind you that this is the man who claims he knew nothing about 38 Studios, despite being House Majority Leader (number 2 in command, at the time), knew nothing about former Representative Ray Gallison's past ethical mishaps, despite the fact that they were publicized, and urged Governor Gina Raimondo to hire former Representative Donald Lally, whose hiring has led to an Ethics Commission investigation. 

     
  • NOT

    Gina Raimondo

    The Governor is undeniably an incredibly intelligent woman. That, however, is what makes some of her decisions and blunders so frustrating. The Governor had to know that hiring Donald Lally last year shortly after leaving the state legislature was going to not only cause a controversy, but in all likelihood, also violate the state code of ethics. So it was no surprise that when the RI Ethics Commission announced this week that it found probable cause that the hiring did. Raimondo needs to shy away from making political decisions to appease the General Assembly and instead do the right thing. If the state legislature pushes back, she should use the bully pulpit and the press to counter their political attacks. 

     
  • NOT

    Donald Lally

    The Rhode Island Ethics Commission on Tuesday found probable cause that former Rhode Island State Representative Donald Lally violated state revolving door provisions, just like all the folks who understand good government said he was doing before this happened. Lally should have known better so it's hard to feel sorry for him. 

     
  • NOT

    Hillary Clinton

    A state department audit has revealed that the Democratic Presidential candidate violated federal records rules pertaining to the preservation of private email servers while she was secretary of state. This isn't a good sign for Clinton, as it will add to the notion that she engages in corruption. Further, a few polls came out last week showing Republican nominee Donald Trump ahead of her for the first time in months. 

     
    • HOT

      John McConnell

      It was a good week in the news for the federal judge after he made two popular, common sense rulings. First McConnell ruled that the oldest synagogue in the United States will remain under the control of its congregation, the Touro Synagogue in Newport, instead of Shearith Israel. The dispute arose over two sets of bells that the Newport congregation had agreed to sell to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for more than $7 million back in 2011. McConnell also ruled this week that Eugene "Neil" Fachon could continue experimental treatment for a dangerous form of pediatric cancer he is fighting.

       
    • HOT

      Avon Cinema

      The historic Thayer Street Theater--a cool venue known for showing movies marketed towards people looking for something different than typical Hollywood "blockbusters"--hosted the International Ocean Film Tour on Monday. Providence filmmaker Carlos Andres Toro's film "The Edge: A Sharklovers Guide to the Sea" was picked as one of the Tour's feature films and was shown on Monday.

       
    • HOT

      Theresa Agonia

      Miss Rhode Island 2016, who doubles as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, appeared on the John DePetro show this week to promote the pageant. She was subject to criticism for her appearance since DePetro is still subject to a union boycott over some of his comments about teachers union members, but good for Agonia for appearing on the show and not letting petty politics prevent her from promoting the issues she believes in.  

       
    • HOT

      Brian Principe

      The Providence City Councilman who represents Federal Hill as well as portions of downtown and the west end was selected as the body's majority leader on Thursady night, in the wake of Kevin Jackson's arrest by state police for embezzlement and campaign finance violations. Here's hoping Principe can help lead the body effectively during some turbulent times as these. 

       
    • HOT

      United Nurses and Allied Professionals

      The nurses union held a press conference with elected officials on Wednesday to call on Governor Gina Raimondo to halt efforts to shut down primary care services for patients at Pawtucket's Memorial Hospital. That hospital is critical for patients, particularly in Pawtucket, East Providence, and Central Falls, and the state should do everything in its power to protect that asset and prevent Care New England from closing services there. 

       
    • HOT

      Brown Lacrosse

      The Brown University Bears continue their quest for the NCAA Lacrosse Championship on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Brown Stadium when they take on Navy, who is coming off an upset victory over Yale last Sunday. Here's hoping Brown can win and continue their quest to bring a national championship back to Providence. 

       
    • NOT

      Karen MacBeth

      The boat sank before it even left the dock. The state representative from Cumberland, who a few weeks ago switched political parties from Democrat to Republican, and announced a run for Congress against David Cicilline has changed her mind and dropped out of the race. MacBeth told GoLocal when she announced she didn't think money would be an issue -- "I'd be starting fresh, but that's OK" she said, but somewhere along the line she figured out she was up against an opponent with a formidable war chest, and wasn't up for the task of getting on the blower on a daily basis to sing for her supper. 

       
    • NOT

      Mark Weiner

      Reporting from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post has tied a $2 million commitment from the Clinton Foundation to a for profit energy company named Pioneer Energy that is owned in part by Rhode Island’s Mark Weiner--a longtime Clinton backer and fundraiser from Rhode Island. It's starting to look like the Clinton Foundation is little more than a tool to award friends of the Clintons. 

       
    • NOT

      Patricia Morgan

      Make no mistake about it: the Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives is one of the best legislators in the state of Rhode Island, routinely standing up for average citizens against special interest groups. But it wasn't a great week in the news after GoLocal revealed that Morgan, who has vehemently criticized legislative grants since the resignation of former House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison, herself asked for a legislative grant for the Gaspee Days Parade in Warwick this year, and asked for thousands from former House Speaker Gordon Fox in previous years. 

       
    • NOT

      Bernie Sanders

      The socialist from Vermont has defied almost all reasonable expectations throughout his campaign, even winning several states including Rhode Island in dominant fashion. But the writing is on the wall, and its clear that Hillary Clinton is going to win the nomination. Sanders should be gracious and acknowledge his defeat. Instead, he has vowed to continue on. What's worse, when his supporters at the Nevada Democratic convention were unruly, at best, and in some cases, downright violent, he sent out a weak statement that didn't fully condemn them. That, from a candidate who couldn't condemn the violence at the Trump rallies fast enough. 

       
    • NOT

      Trinity Rep

      The theater company is under fire from the Brown University theater community for its casting decisions, particularly with how they relate to race. The students point out some questionable casting decisions in a recent production of "To Kill A Mockingbird", and for producing "Oklahoma" a play that has been criticized for whitewashing over the racism of that period. Trinity's Joe Wilson Jr. responded in kind, but it's not the kind of PR anyone is looking for there. 

       
      • HOT

        Nicholas Mattiello: The House Speaker deserves credit for putting forward a bill that will ask voters to amend the state constitution in a way  that makes legislators subject to the Rhode Island Ethics Code once again. The bill also has the support of the Senate leadership as well as Common Cause, a good government group that's been fighting for this issue since 2009 when the Ethics Commission was stripped of its power to police the state legislature. I've been more critical of Speaker Mattiello than anybody, but give him his due, the master level was eliminated under his leadership and now the RI Ethics Commission will be re-empowered under his tenure. 

         
      • HOT

        Nicole Alexander-Scott: The Director of the Rhode Island Health Department and co-chair of the Governor's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force deserves credit for the plan, released this week, that would spend $4 million in next year's budget to expands access to peer recovery and supports medication assisted treatment at the Department of Corrections in order to prevent overdoses. It's a detailed, thoughtful plan, which should be implemented immediately to address this overdose crisis. There were 250 people who died from overdose last year, an increase of 250 percent since 2011. 
         

         
      • HOT

        Peter Kilmartin: The Rhode Island Attorney General doesn't go out of his way to attract attention and that may hurt his image. But he deserves credit for enforcing the law fairly in Rhode Island, regardless of how politically powerful a person might be. The most recent example of that being the arrest of Providence City Council Majority Leader Kevin Jackson, who is accused of misappropriating $12,074.06 in campaign contributions for his personal use and embezzling $127,153.02 from the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field organization. 
         

         
      • HOT

        John DePetro: The morning talk radio host at 630 WPRO, who occupies the 9-12 slot, and is technically still the subject of a boycott by union members, took to the offensive on Wednesday when he organized a rally at the statehouse in criticism of Governor Gina Raimondo. DePetro points out that the Governor is too preoccupied with raising her profile on the national level and not concerned enough with raising up the state she is responsible for governing. Would anyone be surprised if DePetro's favorabilty rating was higher than Raimondo's?

         
      • HOT

        5th Hottest: The verdict is in and according to Travel + Leisure Magazine, Providence has the 5th most attractive people in the country! Although we dropped from second place last year, only Miami, San Diego, Charlestown, and Los Angeles have better looking people than us. For all our issues, at least we're a good looking bunch!

         
      • HOT

        Dale LePage New England Pride TV: LePage, an award winning singer, has launched his new show, "New England Pride TV", which he hopes will improve the perceptions and relations of the gay, lesbian and transgender community. While he's at it, LePage also promises to be witty, entertaining, and funny, in addition to informative. We've come quite a long way with respect to gay rights and acceptance, but there's much more ground to cover. Here's hoping that this show continues to bridge that divide and have some fun while doing it. 

         
      • HOT

        Peter Manfredo Jr.:  "The Pride of Providence" comes out of retirement tonight at Twin River Casino tonight to take on Vladine Biosse tonight. Manfredo, who starred on NBC's The Contender back in 2005, is truly one of the sport's good guys--you'd be hard-pressed to find a more hardworking, humble, and genuine gentleman. Here's hoping Manfredo emerges victorious once again, for the 41st time, tonight. 
         

         
      • NOT

        Kevin Jackson: The arrest of the Majority Leader of the Providence City Council by state police for for allegedly misappropriating campaign contributions and embezzling from the Providence Cobras, a youth track and field organization, is disappointing, to put it mildly. Like everyone else, Jackson should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, but his arrest highlights another rough week in Rhode Island government. 
         

         
      • NOT

        Jed Thorp: The RI Public Radio staffer is showing media bias by complaining that GoLocal covered the statehouse rally held by Patricia Morgan and John DePetro. Thorp is not aware or may not care that GoLocal covers hundreds of events including #BlackLivesMatter, Libertarians, pro-immigration, anti-immigration, Bernie Sanders rallies, Bill Clinton rallies, Donald Trump rallies, and just about everything in between. Criticizing coverage of Rhode Islanders speaking out seems misguided, but worse, it is simply un-American. Folks have the right to demonstrate and they have the right to seek media coverage.  Sometimes, the media coverage is critical. Thorp’s political bias falls into the ever present criticism of public television and radio that the government funded, non-profits are politically biased. Lastly, Providence Journal columnist Mark Patinkin covered the event and wrote an (admittedly good) column about it. Does Thorp have a problem with him too?
         

         
      • NOT

        Chad Mellen: What a coincidence! Less than two weeks after GoLocal broke the story that former A.T. Cross CEO Chad Mellen has been volunteering at the RI Commerce Corporation, following the farcical tourism campaign roll out, the organization announced $1.9 million in tax credits and incentives to A.T. Cross on Monday. That's not a good look so far as ethics is concerned and raises questions as to whether Mellen is really there working to help us, or his old friends.  P.S. Does he have some stock that might benefit?
         

         
      • NOT

        RIPTA: Three people have been killed by Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) buses in the past two years and dozens more have been injured. Meanwhile, a lawsuit has been filed over the death of a 9-year old girl who was killed in a RIPTA accident last year. All of this raises questions about the state agency's safety and training programs. 

         
        • HOT

          Marvin Abney:

          Elected in 2012, the state representative from Newport has embarked on a meteoric rise through the Rhode Island House of Representatives. It’s not the circumstances Abney would have chosen considering the fact that his predecessor, Ray Gallison, leaves among a cloud of controversy, but for Abney to assume what’s arguably the third most powerful post in the House, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, in just his fourth year, is remarkable.

          Abney has a good opportunity to serve the state well as he boasts some much-needed financial experience, having served on the Board of Governors for the Newport Health Care Corporation and the Board of Corporators for BankNewport.

           
        • HOT

          Kevin Jackson:

          The Providence City Councilman who represents Mount Hope has taken some criticism for it, but he really deserves credit for helping make the skateboard park at Billy Taylor Park a reality. The idea behind the skateboard park, which some of the neighbors don’t like, is to expose inner city children to skateboarding—a cool idea. Moreover, the project was achieved with a $5,000 federal grant and free labor.

           
        • HOT

          Patricia Serpa:

          The veteran lawmaker, who represents portions of Coventry, Warwick, and West Warwick, was appointed to lead the House Oversight Committee amidst the shakeup in the House of Representatives this week. Serpa’s ascension to the helm of the Oversight Committee is a great opportunity as it gives Serpa the power to scrutinize state departments and agencies, and she’s a capable leader. But she has big shoes to fill since the position was vacated when Karen Macbeth, who led the committee effectively and aggressively, became a Republican.   

           
        • HOT

          Emily Levy:

          The CEO and Co-founder of PICCPerfect developed an antimicrobial, moisture wicking fabric that helps keep an IV in a patient’s arm. The medical accessory is as fashionable as it is effective. The Newport resident, who will graduate from Babson College this year, developed the colorful and stylish PICC line protectors while battling Severe Chronic Lyme Disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2007. PICCPerfect was this year’s Rhode Island Business Plan Competition’s “Student Line” Winner

          PHOTO: Twitter 

           
        • HOT

          Kenny Baker:

          Did you know that the original Star Wars movies featured an actor playing R2-D2, the lovable, brave little robot? (Neither did I.) Well, at this year’s Rhode Island Comic Con, you’ll be able to meet Kenny Baker, the actor who portrayed R2-D2. It will be Baker’s only appearance in America this year. Rhode Island Comic Con, which was a smashing success in 2015, continues to load up for this year with big names. 

          PHOTO: Wikipedia

           
        • HOT

          Boston Red Sox:

          It’s early in the season, but Red Sox fans have to be happy with what they’re seeing as of late, as the team sits atop the American League East Standings, swept the Yankees over the weekend, and star designated hitter David Ortiz is hitting the cover off of the ball. Can the Sox carry their winning ways into the summer? 

           
        • NOT

          Ray Gallison:

          The details are a fuzzy, but former House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison, who represented portions of Bristol and Portsmouth, resigned his seat this week due to “personal legal problems” and the federal bureau of investigation is involved, according to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. Gallison is the latest in a long line of Rhode Island legislators who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

           
        • NOT

          Stephen S. Neuman:

          The Governor’s Chief of Staff was managing legislation to regulate DraftKings, a fantasy sports website, at the same time his wife applied for a job at the company earlier this year. This is a major conflict of interest and yet another controversy for Gina Raimondo to deal with in what’s been a tough year so far for the governor. 

           
        • NOT

          Gina Raimondo:

          Another week brings another public relations gaffe by the Gina Raimondo administration. This week, GoLocal reports that the daycare center at CCRI's Knight Campus (which had been there for eight years) was told they were no longer welcome at the school due to "space constraints" -- the same month that Goldman Sachs announced it was using the school for its small business initiative. The symbolism of this move plays into the worst caricatures of Governor Raimondo, with children being evicted while making way for Wall Street titans. And I'm sure local cartoonists are about to have a field day with this one. 

           
        • NOT

          Nicholas Mattiello:

          At this point, there’s absolutely no evidence that Gallison’s problems extend to the level of public corruption, so it’s premature to suspect that his problems reflect on the House of Representatives. However, the problem for Speaker Mattiello is that the general public will likely perceive the issue as an example of his poor judgment of character since House Finance Chairman is widely regarded as the number three position in the body. Oftentimes in politics, perception is more important than reality.

           
        • NOT

          Water Privatization:

          The City of Providence is going to consider selling the Providence Water Department in an attempt to shore up the city’s finances due to budgetary shortfalls and red ink as far as the eye can see. This is a bad idea on many levels, the least of which being the environmental concerns and the impact the move could have on our drinking water. Here’s hoping Mayor Jorge Elorza shelves this bad idea immediately. 

           
        • NOT

          5th Highest:

          Rhode Island has the 5th highest cost per prisoner in the United States, according to graphiq. The state spends roughly $18,000 more per prisoner than the national average. The state needs to address this issue and find ways to reduce the cost of imprisoning people in our state—even if that means releasing non-violent drug offenders. 

           
          • HOT

            Seth Magaziner: The Rhode Island General Treasurer announced at a press conference this week that the Rhode Island pension fund will vote against the corporate board nominees in companies in which it invests if those nominees are not at least 30 percent female or racial minorities. The announcement signals a commendable commitment to diversity from the Treasurer's office. 
             

             
          • HOT

            Ray Watson: He was recently chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship. The $300,000 grant, funded by Letita and John Carter, is aimed at increasing and fostering cultural tourism. A lifetime resident of Providence's Mt. Hope section, Watson will use the grant to to launch an initiative designed to expand multi-cultural tourism and improve cultural cohesion.
             

             
          • HOT

            Newport Tree Society: The Newport Tree Society, along with Arboretum and the Daffodillion Project hosted a public celebration in honor of 2016 Arboretum Week yesterday. This year, Newport officially became the first city in the United States to boast four professionally accredited arboretum--The Newport Arboretum, The Newport Mansions Arboretum, The Arboretum at Salve Regina, and the American Museum of Illustration Arboretum on Bellevue Avenue. It's a cool feature that adds to the allure of "The City By The Sea". 

             
          • HOT

            Laufton Longo: The Vice President of the Young Democrats of Rhode Island wrote an interesting MINDSETTER column this week opposing the use of solitary confinement for prisoners, particularly prisoners under 21. The United Nations has declared that solitary confinement that lasts more than 15 days is the equivalent to torture. Longo is correct to point out that solitary confinement is antithetical to the notion of rehabilitation. 

             
          • HOT

            Kristen Catanzaro: The North Providence Councilwoman has announced that she will take on North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi in this year's mayoral election. Catanzaro is making some big promises, such as stabilizing the town's tax rate and improving its infrastructure, so it should be interesting to hear her plans to make those plans a reality. But it's good to see what will ultimately be a competitive race shaping up in North Providence, as competition brings out the best in everyone. 

             
          • HOT

            Neighborhood Health Plan: The Rhode Island health insurer announced that it will offer heath insurance plans to people displaced by the UnitedHealth decision to not participate in the state health insurance exchanges that have been set up to accommodate Obamacare. “Neighborhood’s primary goals are the same today as they were when we were founded almost a quarter of a century ago. We’re not here to make our shareholders richer, but to make our community stronger," said Brenda Whittle, Neighborhood’s Vice President of External Affairs.

             
          • NOT

            Steven Pare: Paul Valletta Jr., the lobbyist for the Rhode Island State Association of Firefighters, pointed out this week that the City of Providence's Public Safety Commissioner, Steven Pare, recently (through the Deputy Safety Commissioner) sent a grant proposal to the federal government that states firefighters are overworked to the point of exhaustion. Yet just last year the city administration testified that this wouldn't be the case when a bill to prevent this type of shift change was before the legislature. The administration has yet to reconcile these two facts, as Valletta points out.

             
          • NOT

            Don Lally/Gina Raimondo: Former Narragansett State Representative Don Lally submitted his resignation from his state job in Governor's office, GoLocal reported on Thursday. Lally left the state legislature last year and was appointed to the Governor's office and then "loaned out" to the RI Department of Business Regulation at a salary of $87,057, which many criticized as an end-around of the state's revolving door statute. The fact that Lally resigned just a week ahead of his hearing before the Rhode Island Ethics Commission suggests that Raimondo and Lally didn't have much confidence in their position.

             
          • NOT

            Zika: The first Rhode Island case of the mosquito transmitted illness that is known to cause a fever, rash, joint pain, headache, muscle pain, and conjunctivitis was announced earlier this week. The person who is afflicted with the virus is a 60-year-old male who has recently traveled to Haiti. The Rhode Island Department of Health is claiming to be aggressive on this issue and have identified that the mosquitoes that transmit the disease aren't located in Rhode Island. Zika is a major threat to pregnant women.

             
          • NOT

            Pawtucket Red Sox: The Pawtucket Red Sox cancelled their "Presidential Primary Day" at the ballgame scheduled for Saturday after, unsurprisingly, they received significant criticism and complaints from fans who didn't want a day at the ballpark politicized. It's surprising that the team management needed fans to point this out. What was next month's plan, having fans sit in sections based on their religious beliefs?

             
            • HOT

              Michael Solomon: The former Providence City Council President and 2014 mayoral candidate (who sources say is considering another bid) called Mayor Jorge Elorza "divisive" for placing the blame for the city's financial woes on his predecessors. Solomon is correct. Leadership isn't about placing blame. It's about working collaboratively with stakeholders to find reasonable solutions. 

               
            • HOT

              Dennis Franczak: Franczak's firm, Fuseideas, an advertising agency with offices in Boston and Providence, was one of the five finalists for the RI state tourism account last October. It didn't get the accound. But Fuseideas recently won a top award for the Outstanding Tourism Campaign of the Year for their work on Visit Big Sky in Montana. The benefit of hindsight always makes criticism easier, but the fact that Rhode Island failed to select this firm was a mistake.

               
            • HOT

              Christina Contreras Fox: The First Vice President of the Young Democrats of America told GoLocal this week that she will support a peaceful protest against Donald Trump if he does, in fact, visit the state before this month's Presidential Primary. That's encouraging since, as Fox points out, Rhode Island was founded as a haven for religious liberty, and Trump supports banning Muslims from entering America. It's nice to see rationality would be represented by at least part of our state.

               
            • HOT

              Stan Lee: Get you calendars out all of you comic book fans. The co-creator of Spider-Man and so many other iconic comic book characters will be attending Rhode Island Comic Con this November. Rhode Island comic Con 2016 (which was a huge success last year) will take place from November 11th to the 13th at the Rhode Island Convention and Dunkin' Donuts Center.
               

               
            • HOT

              James Diossa: The Mayor of Central Falls recently tells GoLocal  that parking meters in Central Falls were eliminated about 20 years ago, and the mom and pop businesses there are very happy with their removal. Diossa said that he doesn't envision the city reinstalling them any time soon. Perhaps Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza should take a page out of is Diossa's book given the opposition from Wickenden Street businesses to any new meters. 

               
            • HOT

              Paul Adler: Lifespan, which includes Rhode Island Hospital and its Hasbro Children’s Hospital; The Miriam Hospital; and Bradley Hospital, the nation’s first psychiatric hospital for children, has named Paul Adler as Senior Vice President and General Counsel. The appointment will take effect on June 1. Best of luck to Adler and here's hoping he makes adequate staffing levels of nurses and support staff a priority. 
               

               
            • HOT

              James Sheehan: The state senator from North Kingstown deserves credit for his continued advocacy to pass an ethics reform bill that would give voters a chance to restore the Rhode Island Ethics Commission's power to police the General Assembly. Sheehan came under fire from House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello last weekend, who criticized his ethics bill, saying it was the "worst" he has ever seen. But readers should remember that Sheehan is a staunch advocate of good government causes like ethics reform.

               
            • NOT

              Peter Alviti: The director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation was caught on video being very unprofessional with a member of the public who was asking about alternatives to the 6-10 connector repair. "Let me tell you something, pal", Alviti barked at the audience member. The last few weeks have shot some serious holes into Governor Gina Raimondo's assertion that she hires the best, brightest, and most professional people. 

               
            • NOT

              Verizon: The telecommunications giant is playing hardball with both of its workers unions--the IBEW and the Communications Workers of America. Union leaders say the company has threatened to transfer workers to remote locations for weeks at a time, offshore jobs, and close down call centers if their demands aren't met. Keep in mind, Verizon is one of the most profitable companies in the country. This is the antithesis of hot. 

               
            • NOT

              Elizabeth Warren: The US Senator from Massachusetts seems to publicly hold many of the same "progressive" ideological positions as Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Both advocate for policies that they believe would strengthen the middle class--regulating big banks, progressive income taxes, and a higher minimum wage. Yet for some reason, Warren hasn't endorsed Sanders. Many believe that lack of support cost him victory in the Massachusetts primary, which he lost by a razor thin margin. Standing on the sideline with your mouth shut isn't leadership. Warren's inaction must be frustrating to some progressives. 

               
            • NOT

              Pawtucket Red Sox: It's a small sample size and the weather has been cold, so hopefully it doesn't portend problems the rest of the year, but attendance at the Pawtucket Red Sox's first 6 games is down 50 percent from last year. It wouldn't hurt their cause if Red Sox Chairman Larry Lucccino would consent to an interview with GoLocal so that he can discuss his vision for the team. 

               
            • NOT

              Providence Teachers Union: The Providence Teachers union has been experiencing some infighting, and the rhetoric has heightened ahead of its election on May 11th. Challenger Melissa Cimini, a 19-year special education teacher, alleges that current leadership has advocated for enough support staff in the classroom, to the detriment of students and is running for President. Meanwhile, current President Maribeth Calabro argues that current leadership has advocated effectively for the needs of teachers and students. Can't we all just get along?

               
              • Warmer

                Allan Fung

                The Mayor of Cranston had a good week in the news. First GoLocal reported that taxes have increased just 6 percent over Fung's tenure for the city's median taxpayer--less than 1 percent per year. Further, Cranston City Councilman Michael Farina switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican this week, which gives Fung the ability to veto any ordinance or resolution that the Democrat controlled council passes without concern of an override. 

                 
              • Warmer

                Rhode Island GOP

                It's hard to imagine this past week going much better for the state Republican Party than it did. The party picked up a seat in the state legislature when Karen MacBeth left the Democratic Party, a seat on the city council when Michael Farina left the Democratic Party, and basked in the embarrassment from the Governor's state marketing campaign roll out. Can the GOP build on this momentum as we enter campaign season?

                 
              • Warmer

                Karen MacBeth

                The state representative from Cumberland switched parties, leaving the state Democratic Party and becoming a Republican. MacBeth also said that she is considering challenging Congressman David Cicilline in this year's election. That's a tall order indeed, but MacBeth saw her name recognition get a boost earlier this week. The GOP, however, would be better off if MacBeth runs for reelection and keeps the seat in the Republican column. 

                 
              • Warmer

                U.S. BANANAGRAMS challenge

                Four students from Rhode Island have qualified to compete in the live grand finale of the inaugural U.S. BANANAGRAMS challenge in Rhode Island on April 9. Twelve students in total, out of 10,000 other students who competed in the challenge, will be taking part in the final competition. BANANAGRAMS, developed in Rhode Island by the late Abraham Nathanson, challenges players to create connected words with tiles. The game is educational in that it helps students with spelling and vocabulary.

                 
              • Warmer

                Aaron Regunberg and Gayle Golden

                Regunberg, a state representative from Providence and Goldin, a state senator from Providence have sponsored a bill that passed the state legislature this week that allows for online voter registration and update their voter information online. It's a good, common sense idea that helps make Rhode Island government more accessible and helps bring us into the 21st century.

                 
              • Warmer

                Coast Guard House

                The iconic Rhode Island restaurant located right by the ocean in Narragansett was named one of the best beach bars in America by thrillist.com. Somehow, the Coast Guard became well known all over the country even before the state began its $5 million marketing campaign! 

                 
              • Cooler

                Gina Raimondo

                It's hard to imagine the Governor's new state marketing campaign roll out going any worse. First the administration unveiled a new state logo that was confusing and underwhelming--featuring the words "cooler" and "warmer", which lacks any obvious context. Then the state's new tourism video featured a building that's located in Iceland, a chef that died 6 months ago, and a restaurant that's located in Massachusetts. It was a humbling week for Raimondo, who told us about the importance of hiring the best and brightest people when she was elected in 2014.

                 
              • Cooler

                Tony Simon

                The Chief of Staff for Mayor Elorza refused to allow the press into a meeting that the city held on Wednesday to discuss the city's panhandling issue. It's hard to understand the rationale behind the decision since downtown developer Joseph Paolino, who despite being a former mayor is really just a member of the public, was allowed into the meeting. Why shouldn't the public be allowed to gather information about this issue that was shared at the meeting?

                 
              • Cooler

                Jorge Elorza

                The Mayor of Providence promised to provide the financials from last year's International Arts Festival -- as well as minority business participation -- when GoLocal went to the kickoff of PVDFest 2016 last week to ask the Mayor about a no-bid contract awarded for catering at last year's event.

                The Mayor had promised GoLocal the information -- recorded on videotape -- but not one but two requests by GoLocal since being told the information would be forthcoming have not been responded to by City Hall.  It's definitely not cool to not make good on your word; if the documents don't in fact exist, that's straight out not hot -- at the very least.

                 
              • Cooler

                Recall Raimondo

                An online petition has been circulating that would attempt to recall Governor Gina Raimondo over some of her controversial appointments to cabinet positions and the hiring of a former legislator for a job in state government. The petition was signed by Republican State Representative Robert Nardollilo (Coventry). But the state constitution only allows for recalls if the Governor has committed a crime or violated the state code of ethics--and Raimondo has done neither. Elections have consequences. When your side loses, you have to live with them--not just call for a new one since you didn't like the results. 

                 
              • Cooler

                Robert Driscoll

                Yes, Providence College athletics has had a very good past few years. But it was disappointing that the school, when announcing the signing of Men's Basketball Head Coach Ed Cooley to a long term extension, didn't release the details of the contract. Friars basketball fans pay good money for their season tickets, and therefore they should have a right to know how much the college is paying the head coach. Driscoll and Cooley should make that information public immediately. 

                 
                • HOT

                  Keith Olivera

                  The President of the Providence School Board is on a quest to bring light to the fact that males of color in the Providence school system are suspended from school at higher rates than white students, and achieve lower levels of academic success than their white and female peers. It's encouraging to see Olivera isn't afraid to address this issue and will make sure that there isn't any racial profiling taking place in the school district.
                   

                   
                • HOT

                  Providence

                  This week, GQ Magazine called Providence "the coolest city in the United States,"  citing smart college students, chic hotels, and cool bars and restaurants as the primary reasons. It's a strange phenomena that outsiders often give our capital city (and state) tons of love, while us natives come off so negative. Here's a hypothesis: outsiders don't have to deal with our government; we do.
                   

                   
                • HOT

                  Patricia Serpa

                  The state representative who represents portions of West Warwick, Coventry, and Warwick was recently named to the National Humane Legislators Council. Serpa has built a reputation as a staunch advocate for animal rights and her advocacy for animals has made her a credit to the state legislature.
                   

                   
                • HOT

                  Providence Police Department

                  In less than a 1 week span, the Providence Police Department seized 11 illegal guns from (alleged) criminals. Yes, it is frightening that there are so many firearms terrorizing the streets of our capital city. But the police department is showing some much-needed aggressiveness in combating the problem.
                   

                   
                • HOT

                  International Arts Festival

                  The inaugural Providence International Arts Festival takes place this weekend on Kennedy Plaza and Washington Street in downtown Providence. There will be foods, music, art and spectacles from around the world, and a parade on Kennedy Plaza on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m., so get to the capital this weekend to expand your cultural horizons and have a good time.
                   

                   
                • HOT

                  American Pharoah

                  Despite all the talking points of the skeptics--horses are no longer bred for distance, American Pharoah isn't bred to go long, his times in the Preakness and Derby were too slow--the beautiful Bay colt won the Belmont Stakes and thus the Triple Crown in dominating fashion. It's a great story; but now the bigger question remains. Will all the positive press help revive a dying sport?

                   

                  Photo courtesy of "American Pharoah" by Maryland GovPics

                   
                • NOT

                  Projo Editorial Board

                  Nobody wants the status quo in Rhode Island--backroom deals, special interest pandering, misspending of taxpayer money--changed more than me. But the Providence Journal, which hired the uber-connected lobbyist Joe Walsh to kill a provision in the state budget (numerous times) that would repeal an arcane law that forces municipalities to pay to advertise meetings in newspapers (when everyone in Rhode Island has internet access) is not the organization to lead the 'reform Rhode Island's insider culture charge'. "Do as we say, not as we do", is a hypocritical message.
                   

                   
                • NOT

                  Christine Ferguson

                  The former Director of Healthsource RI and the RI Department of Health and Human Services was arrested by Jamestown Police for violating the state's "social host law", which means she is accused of providing a minor with alcohol. Like everyone else, Ferguson should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, however; she did not have a good week in the news.
                   

                   
                • NOT

                  Ann Canole Twomey

                  The Chairwoman of the Newport Miantonomi Memorial Park Commission recently left a City Councilman John Florez a disgusting voicemail that implies he's "not a real Newporter" and a "carpetbagger from Colombia". Ms. Twomey may have lived in Newport a long time, but she made herself look small and foolish with such ignorant comments. We've all said things we didn't mean when angry, so here's hoping she makes this right by apologizing and resigning her post. 
                   

                   
                • NOT

                  Pawtucket Red Sox Move

                  More than 10,000 Rhode Islanders have signed a petition opposing the plan to move the team to a new stadium in Providence. That should show lawmakers and Governor Raimondo that Rhode Islanders are certainly in no mood to subsidize the wealthy team owners in this business venture of theirs.
                   

                   
                • NOT

                  Nathan Bishop Middle School

                  The school backtracked on the decision, but initially announced it had cancelled graduation ceremonies this year reportedly due to the fact that about a third of the class would have been excluded due to behavioral issues. If that's the case, it's not fair to the other two-thirds.
                   

                   
                  • HOT

                    Marty Walsh

                    If Rhode Islanders want to see what real leadership looks like, take a look at Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who told the Olympic Committee to get lost on Monday, because he refused to put Boston taxpayers at risk. " I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away. I refuse to put Boston on the hook for overruns. And I refuse to commit to signing a
                    guarantee that uses taxpayer dollars to pay for the Olympics," the mayorsaid. With respect to the Pawtucket Red Sox, Rhode Island political leaders need to understand Walsh's point that no deal is better than being ripped
                    off.

                     
                  • HOT

                    James Langevin

                    The Congressman, who has been wheelchair bound since he was a teenager after an accidental discharge of a firearm, commemorated the 25th anniverary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, alongside other
                    advocates for the disabled last weekend. Look, not everyone has to agree with all of Langevin's political stances, but everyone can appreciate the fact that the Congressman is an inspiration to those living with disabilities. And the fact that he's fighting to do more on that front means he deserves kudos.

                     
                  • HOT

                    Paul Archetto

                    The Cranston councilman lands himself on this week's "hot" list for questioning why the mayor called the police on an individual who called his house at around 9 p.m. last week. "I served in the General Assembly. I'm in my 7th year on council.  I've gotten calls well into 11 [PM], midnight,  1 [AM] during ticketgate," said Archetto.  "I'm used to it." Imagine that neither Archetto, nor countless other Rhode Island officials, call the police when people call them for information.

                     
                  • HOT

                    Jeff Britt

                    Maybe it's time Rhode Islanders start listening to the Rhode Island political operative? First Britt warned Pawtucket residents that former House Speaker John Harwood's tenure was coming to an end during an election almost 15 years ago. Then in 2012, he ran Mark Binder's insurgent campaign on the East Side of Providence against former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who later pled guilty to taking a bribe. Last year, as Ken Block's campaign manager, he told anyone who would listen that there was more than met the eye to "ticketgate" in Cranston.

                     
                  • HOT

                    Donald Grebien

                    The Pawtucket Mayor has released a much-needed plan to revitalize the city's downtown, which would "create a larger geographic “downtown” by strengthening the connections between the recent mill redevelopments and the commercial Main and Exchange Street corridors, and by attracting and fostering the growth of new market segments and diversity to fuel a downtown renaissance." It sounds great on paper, but now the Mayor needs to try and implement it. In any event, it's a good start.

                     
                  • HOT

                    Jorge Elorza

                    The Mayor of Providence has reorganized and streamlined the office of constituent services in a way that he believes will make it more efficient and effective. It remains to be seen if he'll be successful, butthe fact that he's trying is a good sign. "When people call this office they know that they will be greeted by a friendly, responsive member of our
                    team and that they will receive a call back in a timely manner with astatus update. Taxpayers deserve the highest quality city services and I am committed to making sure that we are constantly working to provide the best
                    possible experience for our residents," he said.

                     
                  • NOT

                    Allan Fung

                    The cover letter from the investigation of the Cranston Police Department by the Rhode Island State Police painted the Cranston Mayor in a very negative light. "Complaints were also received about political interference and influence from you and your staff, as well as the extraordinary relationship between the IBPO, Local 301 President Stephen Antonucci, the Chief of Police Marco Palombo, and you". The letter adds that Fung refused to fully comply with the investigation, and even worked to undermine it. All this, and the full report hasn't yet been released. Yikes!
                     

                     
                  • NOT

                    Brandon Bell

                    When asked for commet on "Cranston Policegate" by GoLocalProv this week, the Rhode Island GOP Chairman said that Fung had "courage" when he called in the state police to investigate the Cranston Police Department last year. What Chairman Bell didn't say was the fact that the Mayor only called on the state police hours before the City Council was about to make the same request.  Yes, Bell was in a predicament when asked about the Cranston situation, but its seems like "I need more information", would have been enough of a comment.

                     
                  • NOT

                    Pawtucket Red Sox ownership

                    Now that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has shown the Olympic Committee the door and made a strong stand for fiscal responsibility, that may very well put pressure on Rhode Island political leaders to stand up for the taxpayers and reject a deal that enriches the wealthy owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox at the expense of average Rhode Islanders. Here's hoping that that's the case anyways!

                     
                  • NOT

                    4,076

                    That's the amount of people still living in Rhode Island without a home according to the most recent numbers from the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless. That number was highlighted this week after advocates
                    held a candlelight vigil for a homeless man named Michael Lewis, who died on the streets of West Warwick in late June. Fortunately, the number of homeless in RI has dropped in recent years, but until that number drops to
                    0, there is work to be done.

                     
                  • NOT

                    Measles

                    One week after parents and families in Barrington were alerted that their children were in contact with someone who may have the virus, the Rhode Island Department of Health is still awaiting test results from the Centers For Disease Control to show whether or not that is, in fact, a case of measles. This whole situation just highlights, once again, how
                    important it it to have children vaccinated for this dangerous diseases.

                     
                    • HOT

                      Barack Obama

                      Last week was fantastic for the President thanks to the Supreme Court, and  he saw his approval ratings bump up as a result. First, the Obamacare subsidies were ruled legal, which basically upheld the law, and then court ruled in favor of gay marriage nationwide. Those are two big wins for the President which should cement his legacy.
                       

                       
                    • HOT

                      Michael Riley

                      The former Congressional candidate and GoLocalProv MINDSETTER has literally shaped and driven the story about how the Providence pension system has loaned money to the City of Providence--and the shady accounting that coincided it--with his tenacious commentary on the situation. Riley, who was often criticized for bringing the situation to light, was proven to have been correct all along this week when Mayor Jorge Elorza outlined a plan to pay off the loan over the next few years.

                       
                    • HOT

                      John Jacobson

                      The Providence real estate professional who has been an outspoken critic of tax stabilization agreements (TSA), made some valid points at the city council meeting this week, where he pointed out that the TSAs are usually a good deal for the state because they bring in income and sales taxes, but don't do as much for the City of Providence. Jacobson makes an excellent point, and he's right to point out that Providence deserves more consideration in the composition and implementation of these deals.
                       

                       
                    • HOT

                      Dave Belisle

                      The Cumberland Little League all-star team coach, who made national headlines last summer after making a passionate and classy speech to his team after they lost to Texas in last year's Little League World Series, is now featured (along with the Cumberland Little League team) in the new Kellog's Frosted Flakes commercial. Belisle set a good example for youth sports coaches nationwide with his good sportsmanship last year, and if anyone deserves to be in the new Kellog's commercial, it's Belisle.
                       

                       
                    • HOT

                      International Oktoberfest

                      Newport's loss is Providence's gain. The International Oktoberfest, which features seasonal brews and German cuisine, will be held this year at India Point Park on October 17th and 18th, and should be a good addition to Providence's cultural landscape and will be another good opportunity to feature the state's capital city.
                       

                       
                    • HOT

                      Happy July 4th

                      Tomorrow marks the United States of America's birthday. Hopefully everyone enjoys the cookouts and fireworks celebrations that will be taking place this weekend and remembers what makes us great--our freedoms. They should always be cherished and safeguarded.

                       
                    • NOT

                      Peter Kilmartin

                      The Rhode Island Attorney General came under fire from progressive activists this week for opposing the renewal of the Good Samaritan Act, which guarantees that those who suffer a drug overdose and those who report an overdose will not be charged with a crime. Kilmartin's opposition to the law, which was allowed to sunset on July 3, is based on the fact that it hampers the ability of law enforcement to keep drugs off our streets--a reasonable position, and make no mistake about it, Kilmartin deserves credit for working hard to to keep our streets drug free. But saving a life that would otherwise be lost to overdose should trump that stance.
                       

                       
                    • NOT

                      Ebola Virus

                      Two months after the World Health Organization declared Liberia ebola-free, new cases of the scary disease have been recently confirmed. It is absolutely imperative that world health officials get control the situation before it in order to prevent another outbreak like the one that took place last autumn.
                       

                       
                    • NOT

                      Tax Cheats

                      GoLocalProv's Stephen Beale highlighted the state's 50 biggest tax cheat businesses yesterday and the list includes heavy hitters such as Applebee's and The New York Times. Overall, the The Division of Taxation has 38,000 delinquent accounts, which total $69.5 million. That's not fair because it forces those who do pay their taxes (on time) to make up the difference.
                       

                       
                    • NOT

                      RI Stimulus Funds

                      The state of Rhode Island spent just 9-percent of the $1.1 Billion it received, about 95 million, on repairing deficient bridges and crumbling roads in The Ocean State. It's ironic considering the fact that the state department of transportation figures that the state needs to spend roughly that amount to fix our deficient roads and bridges. It's hard not to see the Obama stimulus package--at least how it was spent in Rhode Island--as a case of missed priorities. 
                       

                       
                    • NOT

                      Kevin Maynard

                      The Charlestown resident will agree to plead guilty to stealing granite gravestones from  from the Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, which he used for flooring at his home in Charlestown. Stealing from the a graveyard for your own personal use is pathetic and hopefully Maynard receives a sentence that dissuades others from committing a similar crime.
                       

                       
                      • HOT

                        Chapel Grille

                        The Cranston restaurant has announced that it will honor gift certificates up to $100 in value, from the Faial Restaurant, from July 27 to August 1. Faial closed abruptly, and for good, earlier this month, leaving those with gift certificates out of luck. That was until Chapel Grille stepped forward. The two establishents had absolutely no relationship, but the Chapel Grille wanted to do someting good or Rhode Islanders. If that's not good corporate citizenship, I'm not sure what is.
                         

                         
                      • HOT

                        Daniel Martin

                        Martin has been selected as the new warden at the Wyatt Detention Facility located in Central Falls. Martin has 27-years experience working in the field of corrections, so here's hoping the new warden can lead the facility effectively as it emerges from receivership and onto more solid financial footing.
                         

                         
                      • HOT

                        Joseph McNamara

                        The state Democratic Party Chairman is taking steps to increase participation in the party. The Chairman sent out a press release asking interested Rhode Island Democrats to become caucus members for the 2016 elections. Caucus members "discuss the role of opportunities of constituency groups, identify potential candidates for local and state offices, and help the party counsel and train candidates", according to the release. 
                         

                         
                      • HOT

                        Nellie Gorbea

                        The Secretary of State bounced back from a tough news cycle last week, by announcing that the state has received a $35,000 grant from the Knight Foundation's Knight Prototype Fund that will be used to promote increased voter participation among Rhode Island's youth. A more educated, informed, and involved youth voter population would be good not just for youngsters, but the whole state as well.
                         

                         
                      • HOT

                        IYRS

                        The IYRS School of Technology hosted a gala event two weeks ago that featured The Beach Boys and raised over $1 million for the school, which is dedicated to teaching highly technical and deeply craft oriented career skills. That's a good sign for a school educating students in important areas such as the marine trades--exactly the type of jobs Rhode Island needs.
                         

                         
                      • HOT

                        #300 Women

                        A grass roots organization comprised of (primarily) minority female volunteers has elected a new board of directors including Diana Garlington, President;. Kira Wills, Vice President; Lisa Scorpio, Social Media and PR; and Leah Seaton, Treasurer. The group is currently volunteering at the Providence Midnight Basketball League Games, but will continue to do what they can to improve our community. It's always nice to see good people stepping forward to do what's right to make things better!

                         
                      • NOT

                        Allan Fung

                        The Mayor of Cranston actually decided to order a police investigation after a former Woonsocket Mayoral candidate, who also co-hosts a weekend radio show on 630 WPRO, called his house around 9 p.m. on Monday evening to ask him why there was a police detail at one of the Pawtucket Red Sox listening tour stops (in Cranston). Look, I get that the mayor was unhappy to be pestered with a (relatively) late night phone call, but Fung's overreaction was highly inappropriate--to put it mildly. Let's hope nobody calls the police on the mayor next time he's running a phone bank for one of his upcoming elections.

                         
                      • NOT

                        Gina Raimondo

                        Ironically, both major candidates in last year's gubernatorial contest find themselves ice cold this week. The Governor ran a campaign last year promising to grow jobs, and her first budget focuses on empowering the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to facilitate the process. Yet the Commerce Corporation didn't even have a single meeting with Teespring, Rhode Island's hottest company that's been compared to Uber and AirBNB, before it decided to move to Kentucky and take its 300 manufacturing jobs with it. That's incompetence.
                         

                         
                      • NOT

                        Angel Taveras

                        It's been more than 6 months since Taveras formally left the mayor's office last year, but the bad news won't subside for the former mayor for some reason. RINPR reports that the former Mayor is being sued for allegedly firing a former public works director in 2012 for refusing to hire unqualified individuals. 

                         
                      • NOT

                        RI-DLT

                        A faulty mail sorting machine at the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training accidentally caused Social Security Numbers of as many as 832 Unemployment Insurance customers to be misdirected and exposed to the wrong employers or customers. Let's hope the individuals in question suffer no financial harm due to the error, both for their sake and the sake of the state.
                         

                         
                      • NOT

                        Deadbeats

                        Golocal's Stephen Beale reports this week that there is currently $318 million in child support owed by Rhode Island men. That's unacceptable. People who have children should have the integrity to support their children.
                         

                         
                        • HOT

                          Nicholas Mattiello

                          The House Speaker (Democrat-Cranston) clearly had a good week in the news after the state budget passed the House of Representatives with unanimous support and in record time. Yet the amount of support and swift passage mean there's little in the way of controversy--not that it's a great budget. Here's hoping it really is a "jobs" budget and not just a status quo budget that was marketed that way.
                           

                           
                        • HOT

                          Patricia Morgan

                          If Morgan wasn't a state representative (R-West Warwick, Coventry), there wouldn't have been any debate on the budget. Morgan proposed taking away $500,000 in marketing money that the state pays to Newport Grand's wealthy owners to market the slot parlor and using it to implement lean government initiatives. The House voted it down, of course, but at least someone is thinking outside the box and for herself instead of just going along to get along with leadership.
                           

                           
                        • HOT

                          William Walaska

                          The Senate passed legislation that would change the revaluation schedule in Rhode Island from every 3 years to every five years, which would save the state's municipalities millions over the next decade. The revaluations have little to do with property taxes since when the values collectively rise, or fall, the tax rates are adjusted correspondingly, so this is good common sense, pro-taxpayer legislation from the Warwick Democrat.
                           

                           
                        • HOT

                          Jennifer Barrera

                          The Director of Lucy's Hearth, a homeless shelter for women in Middletown, was voted to receive the 2015 Harlequin More Than Words award for her tireless work at the shelter. The shelter will receive a $15,000 donation thanks to Barrera's victory. 

                           
                        • HOT

                          Jorge Elorza

                          The Providence Police Department has rounded up 30 alleged gang members in an undercover sting called "Operation Zombie". The defendants were charged with drug related charges, and much credit goes to the Providence Police Department, as well as Elorza for working to make the streets safer. 
                           

                           
                        • HOT

                          Emily Sisson

                          Providence College's standout long distance runner didn't merely win the national championship in the 5,000 meter race; she dominated and humbled the competition at the legendary Hayward Field in Oregon, winning by the whole stretch. It was the perfect way to end her stellar collegiate career for the Friars, but here's hoping we haven't seen the last of Sisson. Could the Missouri native be representing the red, white, and blue at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil? Let's hope so!

                           
                        • NOT

                          RI Republicans

                          The Republicans knock on doors during campaign season telling their neighbors (and the media) that they're the opposition party with different ideas, which would fix Rhode Island. The Democratic leadership, they argue, has steered the state in the wrong direction. How can they continue to make that argument when they've all supported the state budget?
                           

                           
                        • NOT

                          Michael Stephens

                          The new Recreation Director has a big job on is hands, as he inherits a department that is in utter chaos--with crumbling infrastructure and recent accusations of sexual assault against a former coach who committed suicide shortly after. Can Stevens bring the department into line considering the fact that he'll be on the road so often during the winter refereeing collegiate basketball games?
                           

                           
                        • NOT

                          Dominick Ruggerio

                          The Senate Majority Leader has resurrected the proposal to place tolls on highways across the state that will (initially, at least) only toll trucks. Ruggerio is actually calling the proposal an effort to stimulate the economy, as if increasing Rhode Island's cost structure benefits the economy.
                           

                           
                        • NOT

                          34th:

                          According to WalletHub.com, the state of Rhode Island has just the 34th strictest laws against Driving Under the Influence. There is no excuse for drinking and driving, and if this study is accurate, it is time for the state legislature to begin looking at strengthening our laws against this senseless irresponsibility.
                           

                           
                        • HOT

                          Nike

                          GoLocalProv reported this week that Nike is currently surrounded by controversy across the globe. The company funds champion track coach and running legend Alberto Salazar, who has come under allegations of doping his runners, is alleged to have made payments to the Brazilian soccer team that seem more like bribes and kickbacks according to the US Justice Department, and recently saw a trade deal in Congress that it was heavily backing go down in flames. Yikes, what a bad week!

                           
                          • HOT

                            James Monteiro

                            The Executive Director of The Billy Taylor House in Providence has been chosen by Echoing Green, a global non-profit, for a fellowship to launch the Prison Bridge Program Initiative-- aimed towards reducing recidivism rates in Rhode Island by increasing post secondary educational graduation rates among the state's prison and ex-offender populations. Out of more 3,629 applicants, Monteiro was just one of 52 chosen fellows. It's a wise choice, as Monteiro is known for his leadership in mentoring folks in need of a second chance.
                             

                             
                          • HOT

                            Gina Raimondo

                            The Governor made a strong stand in defense of our state's charter schools last week when she said that she wouldn't sign any bills that would compromise the existence of the state's charter schools, some of which boast of the best student performance in the state. It's nice to see the Governor stand up for charter schools and school choice.

                            Photo courtesy of Richard Mccaffery 
                             

                             
                          • HOT

                            CVS Health Charity Classic

                            Rhode Island's premier golf tournament begins anew on Sunday, June 28 with a pro-am event that's free to the public. Now in its 17th year, the tournament raises money for local charities in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts. 
                             

                             
                          • HOT

                            Nicholas Mattiello

                            The House Speaker seems to have had a change-of-heart with respect to tolls. Though he initially stood alongside Governor Gina Raimondo and Senate Majority Leader Dominick J. Ruggerio a few weeks ago when the measure was unveiled, the House Speaker is now the only thing standing between toll gantries being constructed across the state. Here's hoping he holds firm, as Rhode Island has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

                             
                          • HOT

                            Brown University

                            Rhode Island's Ivy League school now boasts of two Presidential contenders--former Senator, Governor, and Warwick Mayor Lincoln Chafee on the Democratic side and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on the GOP side. They're both considered long shot candidates, but it's still good press for the school to have two graduates in the running. And if politics has taught us anything, it's that anything is possible. Who knows, maybe one of them will end up living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue someday.
                             

                             
                          • HOT

                            Gary Sasse

                            Sasse seems to be one of the few Rhode Island political talking heads who isn't breaking out the champagne bottles and acting as if the new budget solves all of Rhode Island's problems. The new budget contains some positive changes such as cutting the sales tax on energy costs for businesses, but there aren’t any major reforms that will change the dynamic in Rhode Island.
                             

                             
                          • NOT

                            Allan Fung

                            The Cranston Mayor has to be kidding, right? The man who welcomed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (whose administrators tied up the George Washington bridge to increase traffic there to hurt a political adversaries) and accepted his endorsement in the race for Governor last year, is criticizing Governor Raimondo and her administration for closing a bridge in Cranston, saying it's political and timed in a way to help pass her toll plan to fund infrastructure. He may be right, but he's certainly not the person to levy the charge!
                             

                             
                          • NOT

                            Robert Lancia

                            The state representative from Cranston made some regrettable comments about the Providence school department this week on the House Floor while advocating for charter schools, saying "there is no learning taking place in the Providence School System". While the Providence School System certainly needs improvement, to say there is no learning taking place there is unfair to the hardworking students and teachers in the capital city. To his credit, Lancia later took back his comments.
                             

                             
                          • NOT

                            Laura Adams

                            More than 8 out of every 10 Rhode Island doctors fail to participate in the state's electronic information exchange, despite the fact that the federal government has poured in tens of millions of federal dollars since its inception. Meanwhile, the state has spent $2 million on the program since 2010. Adams, as President and CEO of the RI Quality Institute (which is charged with leading the implementation of electronic medical records) must do a better job convincing more doctors to sign onto the system.
                             

                             
                          • NOT

                            The Vanderbilts

                            The blue blood American family is in a battle with the Newport Preservation Society over the organization's plan to construct a welcome center on the property.  The Vanderbilts, and other people opposed to the plan. believe the welcome center will compromise the integrity of the property; but here's the thing, the Vanderbilts no longer own the property, and shouldn't be interfering with the plans that would actually add culture and much-needed revenue to the mansion.
                             

                             
                          • NOT

                            Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

                            The death penalty is a controversial issue of which reasonable, intelligent people can disagree upon. However, if anyone deserves the ultimate punishment, it's Tsarnaev. Hopefully the survivors can take solace in knowing that the whole ordeal has finally come to an end.
                             

                             
                            • HOT

                              Steven Forleo: The Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) English professor who also serves as the adviser to the student-run college newspaper, The Unfiltered Lens, deserves credit for speaking out against the politicization of CCRI and all the "outcome based" funding that will only compel social promotions at the school. This week, Forleo criticized the Goldman Sachs grant that will supposedly be used for "workforce development" saying the school is better off outside of the reach of those "frat boys". Nice to see that there's someone with courage around here.

                               
                            • HOT

                              Gina Raimondo: The Governor was ranked 38th in Fortune Magazine's list of 50 World's Greatest Leaders. That's high praise indeed. The magazine cited her spearheading of pension reform as the rationale for her landing on the prestigious list. The list contains other business leaders, politicians, musicians and even athletes from across the world. 

                               
                            • HOT

                              John Edwards: The Majority Whip of the Rhode Island House of Representatives (D-Tiverton) deserves kudos for sponsoring legislation that strengthens the state's campaign finance law. The legislation, which cleared the House this week, makes entities or individuals who campaign for or against questions presented to voters at local financial town meetings, or local elections involving charter amendments subject to the state campaign finance laws. It's a positive step forward and the state should do more to increase transparency.

                               
                            • HOT

                              Rhode Island Housing Market: The Rhode Island Association of Realtors reported this week that year over year house prices increased  by 24 percent from February 2015 to February of this year. The median price of a single family home also increased by 12 percent over that same time period.
                               

                               
                            • HOT

                              Providence Tourism/ The Dunk/Larry Lepore: The capital city had an excellent weekend as far as tourism was concerned with the NCAA tournament (which was referred to as Providence's Super Bowl) and the San Guiseppe Festival on Federal Hill. The city experimented with open container drinking, and by all accounts, went smoothly and was a good time was had by all. 

                              The crowd at the Dunkin's Donut Center was the best of any of the sites in the tournament.
                               

                               
                            • HOT

                              Ed Cooley: If someone had told Providence College Men's basketball fans when Cooley was hired 5-years ago that the team would win 1 Big East Tournament, and go to the NCAA tourney for 3 years in a row--they'd be elated. Yes, the team suffered a disappointing loss in the NCAA tournament last Saturday to the far superior North Carolina Tarheels. But Providence College Men's Basketball is in good hands with Cooley at the helm.
                               

                               
                            • HOT

                              Happy Easter: Here's hoping everyone has a great Easter holiday. Easter is a great reminder for all of us, even none Christians, that the hope springs eternal, particularly at the onset of the spring season. And if you're looking for a peaceful dinner with family, try to not discuss Donald Trump on Sunday!

                               
                            • NOT

                              Jorge Elorza: First GoLocal reported that the Mayor personally hired Providence dispatcher Jenny Roungreuang, who is now suspended for allegedly giving her boyfriend--a convicted felon--confidential police information, despite the fact that she wasn't on the list of three recommended individuals. GoLocal later revealed that Blackstone Caterers -- located on Aquidneck Island -- received a no-bid contract for the Providence International Arts Festival last year. The Mayor's Adfministration was non-responsive to long-time city employer Teppco after raising the company's taxes by $1 million annually -- a 400% increase. The company has now closed and 36 workers are unemployed.

                              Not a great week in the news for the mayor who campaigned relentlessly against cronyism in 2014. 

                               
                            • NOT

                              Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse: It was disappointing to see the state's two Democrat US Senators heralding a new $10 million investment by Goldman Sachs in Rhode Island for its "10,000 Small Businesses Initiative" this week. They're helping Goldman Sachs execute their publicity tour to try and repair the company's image after its actions brought the US economy to its knees in 2008, triggering The Great Recession. Let's keep in mind that Reed and Whitehouse have received $68,500 and $32,500 in campaign and PAC contributions from Goldman Sachs employees over their careers. 
                               

                               
                            • NOT

                              Deborah Ruggiero: The state representative from Jamestown has submitted legislation to regulate fantasy sports websites. Ruggiero's legislation would require the sites to pay an initial registration fee of $50,000, and $20,000 each subsequent year, to Rhode Island, as well as 20 percent of all funds generated from Rhode Island residents. That's a very steep price to charge the companies. If passed, the legislation could very well force the sites to preclude Rhode Islanders from playing fantasy sports in order to avoid the steep licensing fees.

                               
                            • NOT

                              Seth Magaziner: The state General Treasurer's Office is charging Forbes' columnist Edward "Ted" Siedle roughly $10,000 for portions of his records requests pertaining to the state's pension funds investments in real estate. The General Treasurer's office argues that it is a laborious process to retrieve these records and costly to taxpayers. But that's a tough argument to make since Magaziner prides himself on transparency. 
                               

                               
                            • NOT

                              Cancer Rate: The state of Rhode Island, according to data from Health Indicators Warehouse and graphiq, has the second highest cancer mortality rates in the nation. The cause of this isn't known, and that certainly warrants it for further study and research. We all know someone who has been stricken with cancer and it's time for the science community to start making some much-needed progress against the disease. 
                               

                               
                              • HOT

                                Gina Raimondo

                                The Governor had a good week in the news after announcing that she would support a referendum asking the people of Rhode Island if they agree with the legalization of marijuana. It's a great idea appeal to directly to the electorate on this issue and then act on their wishes one way or another.

                                 
                              • HOT

                                STEAM Box

                                If you missed GoLocalTV this week, this non-profit organization engages Providence students by helping them learn and apply lessons in science, technology, engineering, arts and math to build cool projects like "hover boards," digital applications, and coding for websites. In a time when leaders are looking to engage kids in what interests them, this organization has figured it out. Steam Box is looking to take students on a trip to Japan this year, and is trying to raise money to make the dream a reality. Visit their GoFundMe page at if you'd like to help.

                                 
                              • HOT

                                Brandon Bell

                                Let's give the Chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party credit for speaking out against the General Assembly's legislative grant program in light of the news that the Mayforth Group, which employs former Rhode Island Development Corporation Executive Director Keith Stokes, was on the receiving end of grant money--proving that when you're connected, you're always connected. Bell is right to speak out against the state legislature's pork barrel program.

                                 
                              • HOT

                                Philip McKendall

                                Providence resident, and former city council candidate, Phil McKendall is marketing a meatball mix from his top secret recipe. The tasty "Nana's Original Italian Meatball Mix", is a family recipe that's easy to use. While he hopes it will soon be available on a national level, it is currently being offered at East Side Market. It's nice to see innovation taking place here in Little Rhody.

                                 
                              • HOT

                                International Tennis Hall of Fame

                                The Newport Tennis Club has refused to cut ties with superstar tennis player Maria Sharapova after admitted to testing positive for the banned substance meldonium, which is a legal drug prescribed to treat heart conditions. Several other of her sponsors including Nike, have since cut ties. But good for the Tennis Hall of Fame, for remaining loyal. It's never fair to judge someone by their worst moments (within reason) and there's no reason why Sharapova cannot make amends for this kind of infraction. It's not like she committed a capital offense.

                                 
                              • HOT

                                NCAA Tourney

                                The tournament's return to Providence means only good things for the city, and thus the state. Besides a good time had by all the sports fans, it's a great chance to showcase the capital city and bring in some much-needed revenue by way of sales tax dollars.

                                 
                              • NOT

                                Ava Anderson

                                In January, GoLocalProv reported that Matthew Michael, the Director of Compliance and Enforcement Division of the USDA’s National Organic Program, found that the company marketed its Essential Oil product as organic, in violation of the USDA organic regulations. Now, questions have arisen as to what the newly re-branded company "Pure Haven" have done to rectify the problems that were brought to light in January--namely proving that the products are, in fact, organic There have also been some product labeling issues that have been brought to light recently. Hopefully, the company will work to make sure those problems are resolved.

                                 
                              • NOT

                                Keith Stokes

                                The former Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation recently came to a settlement with  the Securities & Exchange Commission over fraud charges related to the issuance of the failed 38 Studios Bonds. Earlier this week, the Providence Journal reported that the state legislature issued $225,000 in state grants to the Newport Chamber of Commerce in recent years, which also spent nearly half that amount paying the politically connected lobbying firm, The Mayforth Group, where Stokes is employed. The whole situation sheds light on corrupting influence of state grants.

                                 
                              • NOT

                                Jorge Elorza

                                The Providence City Council discovered that there were two people working in the Providence Fire Department under the same line item and under the same job description. When the issue was brought to the attention of the Mayor's office, it responded by assigning one of them, former Rhode Island State Trooper William Trinque, to the administration's office, with a pay raise. That doesn't look like the actions of someone concerned with saving taxpayer dollars.

                                 
                              • NOT

                                5th Highest

                                Rhode Island has the 5th highest overall tax burden in the nation according to a recent study by Wallethub.com. As the study points out, "differences in state tax obligations — as well as the services for which tax dollars are allocated — can drive residents out of or draw them in to a state and thus impact the strength of local economies." The state needs to learn to reduce spending if it will ever wants to have a lower tax burden.

                                 
                              • NOT

                                Parking Meters

                                The city administration has said repeatedly that Providence needs to grow, not tax, its way out of its budget problems. That makes sense. So why is the city installing additional parking meters all over the city, which will discourage people from coming here and hurt small businesses located where the additional meters are being installed.

                                 
                                • HOT

                                  Nicholas Mattiello:

                                  The Rhode Island Speaker of the House has signaled a willingness to pass a bill that would re-empower the state Ethics Commission to police the General Assembly. That's welcome news since there's no reason that the state legislature isn't subject to the same code of ethics that every other public official in the state must adhere to. 

                                   
                                • HOT

                                  Joseph Polisena:

                                  Citizens Bank announced Wednesday that it will build a new corporate campus in Johnston. Citizens will move roughly 3,200 employees from the current Cranston location to the new site. The move represents a win for the Johnston Mayor, since it would be devastating if those jobs were moved out of state. 

                                   
                                • HOT

                                  Father Brian Shanley:

                                  Let's give the Providence College President some credit--he has agreed to most of the demands from the student activists who are trying to promote some much-needed diversity on the campus. Here's hoping the two sides continue what's becoming a more productive dialogue. 

                                   
                                • HOT

                                  Vinny Pazienza:

                                  The five time world boxing champ, all-around Rhode Island icon and tough guy, is poised to return to national prominence once again. According to LA times writer Glenn Whip, "Bleed For This" the new movie about Pazienza's inspiration comeback after a near fatal car accident is on the 2017 Oscar's Watch List. Pazienza’s movie getting an Oscar nomination is something that would make the awards cool again!

                                   
                                • HOT

                                  Kris Dunn and Hassan Martin:

                                  Kris Dunn became the first Big East basketball player since Patrick Ewing to win the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year and the Conference Player of the Year. That’s great company. Down in Kingston, Martin took him some hardware of his own. Although he's currently sidelined with a knee injury, the star URI Rams basketball won the Atlantic 10 conference's "defensive player of the year" honors. Martin becomes the first URI player to win the award since it's inception in 1997.

                                   
                                • HOT

                                  Bernie Sanders:

                                  Defying the polling and the odds, Sanders scored a tremendous upset victory in Michigan on Tuesday, cementing his standing in the race. His momentum and his campaign cash guarantee that he’ll be continuing on for at least another month. Will Rhode Island “feel the Bern” when it holds its primary? Or will Little Rhody remain “Clinton Country”?

                                   
                                • NOT

                                  Donald Grebien:

                                  The Mayor of Pawtucket hired one of his tenants to work in the city's Parks department shortly after becoming mayor in 2011. The matter is currently being investigated by the Pawtucket Police Department. But the matter is something the Rhode Island Ethics Commission is going to have to review. Even if it doesn't violate any statutes, it certainly doesn't seem right to have someone as a tenant that you hired to work for the city you lead. 

                                   
                                • NOT

                                  Derogatory and Hateful Tweets: The state of Rhode Island is one of the most derogatory states in the country according to a survey of over 12 million "tweets" or messages posted on Twitter, according to adobo.com.

                                  The site reportedly reviewed Tweets from June 2014 to December 2015, “looking for slurs and other prejudiced language against Black people, Hispanic/Latino people, women, gays and lesbians, transgender people, people with disabilities, and people of size, whom the study refers to as overweight.” Come on Rhode Island, we're better than that!

                                   
                                • NOT

                                  Mount Saint Charles:

                                  GoLocalProv broke the news last week that the Woonsocket Catholic high school had implemented a ban on transgender students from the school. The school claimed that the school didn't have adequate facilities to support them. The school deserves some credit, however, for coming to its senses and reversing the ban earlier this week. When you’re wrong, changing your position is the smart thing to do.

                                   
                                • NOT

                                  38 Studios:

                                  The zombie story that is 38 studios just keeps finding its way back into the news. This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Wells Fargo, and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation with fraud for their role in making the ill-fated bond deal a reality. As more news develops, it’s clear that the Rhode Island 38 Studios Hangover is well-deserved. It's up to the state government to earn the trust of the people. 

                                   
                                • NOT

                                  Elorza and Fire Department Relations:

                                  The fractured relationship between the Mayor and the Providence Fire Department intensified earlier this week when the administration fired a Providence Captain with 25-years of experience for failing to enforce disciplinary measures. It's hard to see which side is right on this issue, but it signals further turmoil. And that's not good for anyone. 

                                   
                                  • HOT

                                    Lincoln Chafee

                                    It's official! Lincoln Chafee, the former mayor, governor, and US Senator has entered the race for President of the United States. Chafee is considered a longshot by nearly every single pundit, but he does bring some interesting ideas to the debate, such as clemency for NSA leaker Edward Snowden, adopting the metric system, and a much less aggressive foreign policy. 

                                     
                                  • HOT

                                    Gina Raimondo

                                    The Governor's office announced this week that they've received more than 500 calls and emails concerning the proposal to build a taxpayer financed stadium in Providence for the Pawtucket Red Sox, and about 98 percent of them were opposed to it. To Raimondo's credit, it does look like the Governor is getting the message that the people of Rhode Island are sick and tired of being mistaken for easy targets.

                                     
                                  • HOT

                                    Christopher Maher

                                    The Providence School Board has unanimously selected Maher to become the district's interim superintendent. Maher already has experience working with the Providence School District, as he served as  Mass Insight Education's--a public education consultancy firm--Vice President, which has worked with Providence. Here's hoping Maher helps improve the district.

                                     
                                  • HOT

                                    Nicholas Mattiello

                                    House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's spokesman, Larry Berman, has told several media outlets that the House won't have enough time to make an informed decision on whether or not to build a shiny, new stadium in Providence for the wealthy owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox with taxpayer dollars. Mattiello deserves credit for refusing to rush into a potential deal and the longer it takes for the situation to play out means that we'll get more, not less transparency.

                                     
                                  • HOT

                                    Wes Welker

                                    The former New England Patriots superstar wide receiver tells Golocal this week that the air pressure in a football has very little, if anything to do with the outcome of a game.  Nice to hear some truth telling from one of the best pass catchers in the league over the last 10 years.

                                     
                                  • NOT

                                    Sheldon Whitehouse

                                    The Junior Senator from Rhode Island suggested in a Washington Post Op-Ed that climate change deniers from the fossil fuel industry could possibly be prosecuted under federal RICO statutes, otherwise known as racketeering, and he compared them to the tobacco companies that deceived the general public about the cancer risks of smoking. That's a far stretch considering even the science community has a wide range of opinions on the effects of climate change.

                                     
                                  • NOT

                                    Larry Lucchino

                                    Lucchino, the President of the Boston Red Sox, and the face of the ownership group of the Pawtucket Red Sox, needs to explain why the team in Boston pays millions of dollars in property taxes to the Massachusetts capital, but insist on getting a free ride from the City of Providence. Does anyone else get the feeling that Curt Schilling told Lucchino that we Rhode Islanders are easy marks?

                                     
                                  • NOT

                                    RI Tourism Icons

                                    Three of Rhode Island's biggest tourism spots are currently mired in legal battles. Ocean Mist, the popular oceanfront bar located in South Kingstown is fighting the construction of a seawall; the Vanderbilt family is fighting the construction of a "welcome center" at the Breakers (despite the family has been stingy in donating to the non-profit in recent years); and the Touro Synagogue is amidst a dispute over who exactly owns some of the property at the building. Let's hope these three tourism hot spots can get past their issues and continue to bolster RI's economy.

                                     
                                  • NOT

                                    Economic Development Director Search Committee

                                    Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has apparently irritated several members of the search committee put in place to select the new Providence Economic Development Director, when he selected  Mark Huang, who once founded a clean-tech venture capital fund, against their advice. First of all, Huang seems qualified for the job. And secondly, the search committee needs to realize that Elorza, not the search committee, will be judged on the performance of the city economy--so he was wise to pick someone he feels comfortable with.
                                     

                                     
                                  • NOT

                                    High Paid Union Bosses

                                    They work for private employers and if their employers, the union members they serve, want to pay them more than 6 figures a year, that's completely up to them. However, not that everyone who advocates for low-income folks has to be Mother Teresa, but when you're making more than $100,000 per year, you don't have the street cred to lead the fight to hike the minimum wage. 

                                     
                                    • HOT

                                      Ken Wagner

                                      The new RI Commissioner of Education seems to have all the right tools in his arsenal to improve education in our state--an impressive resume including experience in New York's Department of Education, and a belief in the need for objective standards to assess student performance. But will he hold firm against the forces that stand in the way of education reform in a state that needs it?
                                       

                                       
                                    • HOT

                                      RI-ACLU

                                      The ACLU is suing the City of Providence due to the fact that it has arrested Manuel Pombo, a musician who frequently plays on public streets, on one occasion and threatened him with arrest several other times. Last I checked, America is supposed to be a free country, and that should mean that Pombo has the right to play his saxophone on the city streets. Kudos to the ACLU for standing up for freedom of expression.

                                       
                                    • HOT

                                      RI Beauty Queens

                                      Olivia Culpo, the former Miss Universe from Rhode Island, took a principled stance against Donald Trump's extremely insensitive comments about Mexican immigrants by refusing to participate in this year's Miss USA pageant as a judge. Then, 20-year old Cranston native Anea Garcia finished third in the pageant, which was held Sunday night.
                                       

                                       
                                    • HOT

                                      Memory of Dave Barber

                                      The former talk show host who later went on to host "Straight from the Gavel", a state legislature produced program that features legislators talking about what they believe to be their accomplishments in the statehouse, passed away last week after suffering a stroke about two weeks prior. Barber, a Michigan native who made RI his home, was a gifted interviewer and always comported himself as a perfect gentleman. He'll be missed.
                                       

                                       
                                    • HOT

                                      New England Patriots

                                      This week provided some good news for New England Patriots fans. First, reports surfaced that Tom Brady will take the fight to federal court if his 4-game suspension isn't reduced to 0. Brady obviously leaked the information in order to send a strong message to the NFL Commissioner that unless the NFL wants to go to court, they best reduce his suspension. Then the team signed superstar place kicker Stephen Gostkowski to a 4-year extension. 

                                       
                                    • NOT

                                      Nellie Gorbea

                                      The Secretary of State's Office sent a chummy congratulations letter to the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox in February over the issue of lobbying registration, but the opponents of a new, taxpayer-funded stadium got a letter with a much harsher tone over the same issue. What's more, Gorbea is so tone deaf she didn't even see the difference between the two letters. Once again, the message is clear: in Rhode Island, if you're well-financed with connections to the state government, politicians will treat you like family. If you're a grassroots outsider trying to do what's best for the state, you'll be treated like an outcast. 
                                       

                                       
                                    • NOT

                                      Seth Magaziner

                                      When he was a candidate for the job, the General Treasurer said on numerous occasions that when he was in office, he would fire the state's financial adviser, First Southwest, since the state is suing the firm for fraud, along with other serious charges for its role in the 38 Studios debacle. Yet Magaziner is Treasurer, and First Southwest continues its role as the state's financial adviser. Did Magaziner think we'd all have post-campaign amnesia?
                                       

                                       
                                    • NOT

                                      Legislative Grants

                                      Cranston got about twice the money in legislative grants from the House of Representatives for recreation programs than Providence, despite the fact that Providence has a outnumbers Cranston in youngsters by 2.5-1, and poverty level is three times lower than that of Providence. Gee, isn't it a coincidence that the RI Speaker of the House is from...Cranston! If you didn't know better, I bet you'd have never guessed!
                                       

                                       
                                    • NOT

                                      Agnes Keating

                                      The co-chair of Newport Polo has refused to answer questions about the condition of a horse that was severely injured during a match last Saturday. Keating only responded with generalities when asked about the condition of the horse, keeping polo fans and people who care about the welfare of animals in the dark. Yes, accidents do happen, but being opaque about them does nothing good for the sport. 
                                       

                                       
                                    • NOT

                                      Salty Brine Beach Explosion

                                      The mysterious explosion took place last Saturday afternoon, yet there's still no information that's been released detailing what exactly caused the explosion. It's looking like we may never know exactly what caused that unsettling blast, but here's hoping it never happens again.
                                       

                                       
                                      • HOT

                                        Jorge Elorza

                                        The Mayor has expanded city youth recreation programs, with the Midnight Basketball League, which takes place on Tuesday nights from 8-12 pm, being the biggest addition. The city's recreation programs are either free, or cost a nominal fee (and nobody is turned aside for inability to pay said fee). Kudos to the Mayor for working to keep kids involved in sports programs, where they learn discipline and the virtue of teamwork, instead of the streets where the lure to get into trouble exists.

                                         
                                      • HOT

                                        Peter Kilmartin

                                        Perhaps you took a ride to the beach last weekend to enjoy some sun and sand, and had to fork over $14 to park at state beaches like Scarborough ($28 if you're from outside Rhode Island). If that irks you, you're not alone. Kilmartin recently proposed making parking at RI beaches free in order to increase tourism, and engaging the arts community to help pay for the beach maintenance costs. Visiting the shoreline in The Ocean State should be free!

                                         
                                      • HOT

                                        Newport Music Festival

                                        Today marks the beginning of the Newport Music Festival, which will run through July 26.  The festival, now in its 47th season, boasts a wide variety of concerts that will please classical music aficionados and casual listeners alike. For more information, take a look at the festival brochure at here
                                         

                                         
                                      • HOT

                                        Gina Raimondo

                                        The Governor has signed an executive order to create the Justice Reinvestment Working Group, which will look for ways to make the state's criminal justice system more affordable and effective. The goals of the working group are "ensuring limited resources are focused on the most serious crimes, reducing recidivism and analyzing racial disparities; and improving treatment of mental illness and substance abuse." Those are good goals, and that means we're off to a good start, so here's hoping the group is productive.

                                         
                                      • HOT

                                        Charles Lombardi

                                        The North Providence Mayor, who has often found himself often at odds with the firefighters union in his city, has come forward saying he doesn't think the state legislature should reduce the management rights of local cities and towns but instead should study the issue of the cost of fire protection in total. The Mayor has a point because if the cost of fire protection in RI isn't affordable for the taxpayers, it doesn't benefit anyone.
                                         

                                         
                                      • HOT

                                        USA Women's World Cup

                                        The USA Women's Soccer team is right back where they belong--on top. The USA easily bested the Japanese team last Sunday and avenged their 2011 loss in the process. Even more encouraging for both soccer and women's sports is the fact that viewership ratings for the game were enormous. More people watched that game than Game 6 of the NBA Finals (the deciding game).
                                         

                                         
                                      • NOT

                                        Lincoln Chafee

                                        The former Rhode Island US Senator and Governor hasn't had a very good few weeks in the news with various newspapers and websites deeming his presidential campaign as quirky and unusual. Further, Bernie Sanders is the man with the momentum coming from the left--not Chafee. If Chafee wants to get some traction for his campaign, he'll need to make himself seem more credible before both voters and the media, and talking about the metric system isn't the way to do that.
                                         

                                         
                                      • NOT

                                        Barack Obama

                                        The President's Affordable Care Act was marketed as a measure to keep down the cost of health care. But Blue Cross & Blue Shield of RI is asking for rate increases anywhere from 13-18 percent depending on the plan, which contradicts the stated goal of Obamacare. The President's legacy hinges on whether or not the Affordable Care Act will truly be affordable for the average person paying their own way. So far, things don't look  well on that front.

                                         
                                      • NOT

                                        Central Coventry Fire District

                                        The beleaguered fire district received the worst possible rating from the Insurance Service Organization, which rates fire departments around the country, after a recent survey was completed. The rationale behind the rating was a lack of proper training, which the fire district says it will work to correct.
                                         

                                         
                                      • NOT

                                        3rd Worst

                                        GoLocalProv reported this week that RI has the third worst urban roads in the nation--something that should come as no surprise to drivers across The Ocean State. We can argue about the best method to go about fixing out crumbling roads, but no one can deny that they need to be fixed.
                                         

                                         
                                      • NOT

                                        Pension Fund Management Fees

                                        Stephen Beale reports that the state pension fund paid roughly $5 million in commissions in 2014 to money managers for managing funds that they didn't even yet posses. It's an industry-wide practice that pays the money to the fund managers based on the notion that they're doing "research" into where to invest the money. But it's also a practice that the RI pension fund should abandon as money managers should know how to invest money before they seek to do business with Rhode Island.
                                         

                                         
                                        • HOT

                                          Sgt. Steve Courville

                                          The Providence Police Sergeant showed incredible poise and compassion last Saturday (January 30th) when he was called to the Henderson Bridge amidst reports that a man was standing on the ledge and threatening to jump off. Courville calmly assured the man that he was there to help and that whatever problems the man was facing could eventually be overcome. In doing so, Courville saved the man's life. That's a shining example of the great work done by the men and women of the Providence Police Department on a daily basis.

                                           
                                        • HOT

                                          John Pagliarini

                                          The new state senator who represents portions of Portsmouth and Bristol has wasted no time sponsoring a bill that would amend the Rhode Island constitution to make certain that cars and small trucks are never tolled in the Ocean State, which was heard this week. Rhode Islanders already pay among the highest taxes and fees in the nation, and Pagliarini deserves credit for trying to make sure just one more tax isn't placed upon us.

                                           
                                        • HOT

                                          Gary Sasse

                                          The former Department of Administration Director, long-time Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council Executive Director, and well-respected Rhode Island pundit must be breathing easy right now after Florida Senator Marco Rubio's expectation defying third place finish in the Iowa Caucus. Sasse serves as Rubio's Rhode Island campaign manager. If the Republican establishment continues to coalesce around Rubio and he secures the nomination, Sasse soon may be sought after for advice on the national level as he is here in Rhode Island.

                                           
                                        • HOT

                                          Paul DiSilvestro, MD

                                          The head of research with the Women's Oncology Program at Women & Infants Hospital is part of a team affiliated with the Gynecologic Oncology Group that uncovered more inherited genetic mutations linked to ovarian cancer. The new information will allow for patients to be screened for the at risk genetic mutations and allow for women to make better informed decisions about their health care in the future.

                                           
                                        • HOT

                                          CharterCARE Health Partners

                                          The organization announced the opening of a new outpatient program designed to offer a new structured support system to help folks recover from opiate addiction. Their Integrated Behavioral Center will be located on the Roger Williams Medical Center Campus and will feature a multi-disciplinary treatment team including physicians, nurses, and therapists. Anything that can help folks struggling in the throes of addiction is a positive development.

                                           
                                        • HOT

                                          XO Cafe

                                          According to Town & Country, an upscale lifestyle magazine, the North Main Street eatery is the state's most romantic restaurant, thanks to its location (the historic John Updike House), trendy dishes, and it's name. Fortunately for Rhode Islanders, we're blessed with so many cool and romantic restaurants to choose from when Valentines Day rolls around (too many to name). But Town & Country has a point, you really cannot go wrong with XO.

                                           
                                        • NOT

                                          Providence College

                                          GoLocal reported on Wednesday that a group of Providence College students refused to allow a group of fellow students into a party they were hosting solely on the basis of their skin color. The students who were turned away were black and the students hosting the party were white. To make matters even worse, beer bottles were reportedly thrown at the the black students and racist comments were directed at them. The students who did this inexcusably racist act should be punished severely. Anything less isn't fair to the victims, as well as the rest of the Providence College community.

                                           
                                        • NOT

                                          David Coughlin

                                          The state representative from Pawtucket (District 60) sent out a flyer to district residents stating that he is "pleased that the plan by the Pawtucket Red Sox to build a stadium in Providence is now dead" and that he'd continue to fight to keep the Pawsox in Pawtucket. That sounds nice. The problem is nobody has heard Coughlin say anything like this until now. That's because last summer, when a dedicated group of activists were fighting the Providence proposal, Coughlin remained silent so as not to offend House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, who was a proponent of subsidizing a move to Providence.  Sorry Representative, but you cannot have it both ways.

                                           
                                        • Gina Raimondo

                                          The Governor's new budget proposal calls for an additional $500 million in bonding. That's a half billion dollars in additional state borrowing to fund some of her pet programs and other initiatives that she believes will help grow the economy. But what happens when the money, and the interest on the money, needs to be paid back to the Wall Street Tycoons that lent it to us? The effect of this borrowing will hamstring future governors and legislatures. The legislature would be wise to eliminate, or vastly scale back the size and scope of borrowing proposed by the Raimondo administration.

                                           
                                        • NOT

                                          Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

                                          The Chamber of Commerce, which is supposed to be a pro-business organization, has come out in favor of the truck toll. The plan will levy a brand new tax on our economy, and the effects will be felt by all Rhode Island businesses, as the truckers will be forced to pass on the costs by way of higher prices. The Chamber should be encouraging the state government to spend the money it already collects more effectively instead of endorsing a new tax and borrowing scheme.

                                           
                                        • NOT

                                          Donald Trump

                                          Sorry Donald supporters, but if politics were football, than "get out the vote" efforts would be the equivalent of blocking and tackling. And what happens to teams that don't block or tackle well? They lose. And that's precisely what Trump did in Iowa when he eschewed the prevailing wisdom of political campaigns by not failing to focus on his field operation. Don't be surprised if Trump continues to under perform, unless he can quickly change his priorities.

                                           
                                          • HOT

                                            Louisa Chafee (on Right): The daughter of former Rhode Island US Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee, and her sailing partner Bora Gulari, have qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. The duo qualified at the Nacra 17 World Championships when they held the lead in the race and remained the top-ranked U.S. boat at the race's end. Best of luck to Chafee and Gulari at the Olympic games.

                                             
                                          • HOT

                                            James Sheehan: Let's give the State Senator from North Kingston credit for his perseverance. Despite the fact that all indicators say that he's got a better chance of hitting the moon with a slingshot than getting his ethics reform bill passed, Sheehan continues to advocate for the state to give the Rhode Island Ethics Commission authority over the state legislators who use their position to enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents. It's a common sense, good government bill, and Sheehan is a good man for fighting for it, even though he's against all odds. 

                                             
                                          • HOT

                                            David Salvatore: The Providence City Councilman deserves credit for being one of the few individuals who consistently talks about Providence's dangerous financial liabilities--both short and long term. As Fitch, one of the big three ratings agencies, recently noted in its bond downgrade of Providence, the city's nearly $2 billion combined pension and healthcare liabilities will weigh down the city for decades. 

                                             
                                          • HOT

                                            Joe Trillo: The boisterous Republican state representative from Warwick was an early backer of Donald Trump, and if things play out in South Carolina the way polls suggest they will--a convincing Trump victory--Trump will be the likely nominee. That will make Trillo look like a man with some serious foresight--further increasing his stock within the Republican Party. 

                                             
                                          • HOT

                                            Sheldon Whitehouse: The junior United States Senator from Rhode Island would make a lot of sense as a Supreme Court nominee, according to an article in The Washington Post last week. Whitehouse, for his part, has told media outlets that he's not interested in the position at this point because he wants to remain a US Senator, but the fact he has been mentioned as a logical possibility is a tremendous honor.

                                             
                                          • HOT

                                            Derek Wagner and Champe Speidel: The two Rhode Island chefs are semifinalists for the 2016 James Beard Foundation restaurant and chef awards--among 19 other semifinalists in the Northeast. Wagner is the chef at Nick's on Broadway and Speidel is the chef at Persimmon in Bristol. Congrats to these two excellent cooks for receiving such an honor.

                                             
                                          • NOT

                                            Mark T. Ryan: The former Providence Journal executive who is now a principal at Moses Afonso Ryan Ltd., wrote an OP-Ed piece in the Providence Journal on Wednesday encouraging Rhode Islanders to be positive, scale back the negativity, and be thankful that we have such excellent state leaders. Since the Providence Journal won't do it, I'd remind Rhode Islanders that Ryan's firm paid a $4.4 million settlement in the 38 Studio's lawsuit for their role in bringing about the disaster. Further, his firm has profited handsomely from all the bond work they've done over the years. It's pretty easy to be positive when you're an insider who profits from the state government, Mr. Ryan. 

                                             
                                          • NOT

                                            Father Brian Shanley: It's quite evident that the unrest at Providence College created by a lack of racial diversity and other issues pertaining to race and culture at the school could have been prevented if the administration had acted sooner and more seriously to rectify the concerns of the students. Instead, the school has moved at a snail's pace to address the legitimate concerns of the students, which led to the sit in at the President Shanley's office earlier this week. Here's hoping the school will sincerely become more proactive on the issue of racial sensitivity as it moves forward. 

                                             
                                          • NOT

                                            Nicholas Mattiello: The Speaker of the House of Representatives did not do himself any favors when he pulled three Democrats--Ray Hull (Finance), Joseph Solomon (Judiciary), and Robert Phillips (Corporations)--off of key respective legislative committees after they voted against the truck toll proposal last week. Representatives should be appointed to committees based on their talents, capabilities, and experience--not for following orders from leadership. 

                                             
                                          • NOT

                                            Providence Place Mall: The Providence Place Mall was subject to two incidents of violent crime last weekend, including a stabbing on Friday evening and a robbery at knife point on Saturday. The Providence Police Department and the owners of the mall need to work together to make sure people feel safe coming to the mall.

                                             
                                          • NOT

                                            Jorge Elorza: There seems to be consensus among the media and political observers that there simply isn't any urgency inside the Elorza administration to address the fact that the city is drowning in red ink. Elorza promised bold leadership during the 2014 campaign, and ignoring the city's long term debts isn't exactly the type of leadership we need.

                                             
                                            • HOT

                                              Joe Paolino

                                              The former Providence Mayor delivered a tremendous eulogy for the late, iconic Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr., earlier this Monday. It was a nice tribute to a mayor who did so much to put Providence on the map over the course of 3 decades.

                                               
                                            • HOT

                                              Dan Reilly

                                              The Republican state representative who represents portions of Portsmouth and Middletown was particularly impressive on the House floor during the debate over truck tolls on Wednesday. Reilly proposed placing a legislative cap on the number of toll gantries at 14, which would have given the legislature more oversight over the department of transportation (and thus more accountability). The measure was voted down by Democrats, but the process highlighted Reilly as an articulate, thoughtful legislator with a bright future. 
                                               

                                               
                                            • HOT

                                              James Langevin

                                              The Congressman, who co-founded and co-chairs the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, will likely see his national profile rise after President Barack Obama released his cybersecurity plan earlier this week. The plan, which Langevin will help spearhead through Congress, affirms the importance of the issue, which Langevin has championed for a decade.
                                               

                                               
                                            • HOT

                                              Los Andes

                                              The popular Chalkstone Avenue eatery was named as one of the top 100 places to eat in the United States by Yelp, the popular website used for ranking restaurants. Los Andes came in at number 54--not bad for a country as big as the USA. This ranking should only increase the restaurant's already high level of popularity. 
                                               

                                              Photo courtesy of Los Andes Facebook Page

                                               
                                            • HOT

                                              Robert Lancia

                                              The Republican State Representative from Cranston will host the first Black History Month Rhode Island Youth Reading Club event at the statehouse on February 15th along with community leaders Kobi Dennis, Sean Holley, and Allen Williams. Rhode Island youngsters and their families are encouraged to come to the statehouse at 5:30 on that day for the book readings, which will help teach youngsters the importance of Black History in the USA. Free books will be available for the children who attend.
                                               

                                               
                                            • HOT

                                              Providence Residents

                                              According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, our capital city has the nation's fifth most attractive people in the country. The rankings are decided by voting from the magazine's readers. Providence residents actually dropped from where they were ranked last year, which was second. But all things considered, fifth in the nation still means we're a pretty good looking group.
                                               

                                               
                                            • NOT

                                              Jorge Elorza

                                              The Mayor, in his state of the city address, attempted to portray the capital as "resurgent."  While there are certainly good things happening in Providence, Elorza made it seem like he's not worried about the serious financial liabilities that hang over the city like an albatross. To make matters worse, the administration was unable to provide a list of the 30 projects that he said were ready to begin in the city, when asked for it by GoLocal. Was the state of the city rooted in reality at all?
                                               

                                               
                                            • NOT

                                              John "Jay" Edwards

                                              Once the state legislature's greatest opponent of tolls, the House Majority Whip spent the last two weeks pressuring legislators to vote for the RhodeWorks tolling plan. Some might say it's ironic that there are no gantries planned for the East Bay, where Edwards is a representative. I guess the House Minority Whip only opposes tolls when they're planned for his district.
                                               

                                               
                                            • NOT

                                              Gina Raimondo

                                              If you thought the only unfair taxation proposal coming from Governor Gina Raimondo this year was the truck toll plan, think again. The Governor has also proposed a medical marijuana tax of $150 per plant for patients and $350 per plant for caregivers. It's hard to think of a more heartless proposal than a new tax on something that sick people rely on for pain relief. If the tax is enacted, many of the patients will no longer by able to afford the to purchase the medical marijuana. If the state wants to generate tax money through marijuana, than it should legalize it for recreational use and levy taxes on it. 
                                               

                                               
                                            • NOT

                                              Rhode Island Hospital

                                              The Hospital is reviewing its internal practices after it balked at providing the full name of one of its employees, a nursing assistant referred to as "Danny", who was accused of sexual assault, to Providence Police. There is no reason why any organization should delay giving the police the information they need to make sure justice is served on behalf of victims. 
                                               

                                               
                                            • NOT

                                              Tobacco Control

                                              The American Lung Association has released its "State of Tobacco Control" report for the state of Rhode Island. And while the state scores well in the area of tobacco taxes and smoke free air, the state scored poorly in the area of tobacco prevention and control program funding as well as access to cessation services. The state needs to do more to make sure that people don't begin smoking and when they do, they get help quitting. 
                                               

                                               
                                              • HOT

                                                Christopher Maher

                                                It remains to be seen whether or not the interim superintendent of the Providence School department will be given the job permanently, but he received a ringing endorsement from Providence City Council President Luis Aponte earlier this week. Aponte even compared him to Michael Jordan in describing the city's dragging it's feet in making a final decision on the issue. That's high praise!

                                                 
                                              • HOT

                                                John Marion

                                                The Executive Director of Common Cause Rhode Island continues to be a champion of good government in Rhode Island. This week, Marion advocated for the enactment of a bill that would empower the Rhode Island Ethics Commission to police the state legislature. Almost without fail, when there's a good government bill being heard in the legislature, Marion is there fighting the good fight. Rhode Islanders, should follow his lead.

                                                 
                                              • HOT

                                                Steven Brown

                                                The Executive Director of the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the City of Providence over the enactment of an ordinance to prohibit 3 or more college students from living together in a residential house. Brown is correct to point out that the ordinance will do little, if anything to make neighborhoods more quiet, but will certainly infringe on the freedoms of property owners and renters.

                                                 
                                              • HOT

                                                Brandon Bell

                                                The Chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Party came out with a sharply worded press release critical of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello this week. Bell criticized Mattiello for demoting representatives from committees for voting against toll a few week ago, and called on Mattiello to allow the passage of a bill to empower the Rhode Island Ethics Commission to police the state legislature.

                                                 
                                              • HOT

                                                Ken Block

                                                The former Moderate Party Founder who later turned Republican Party Gubernatorial hopeful in 2014 raises an interesting point this week when he pointed out that Neighborhood Health Plan's board is comprised of many members from community health centers throughout Rhode Island. Those same community health centers are reimbursed by  Neighborhood to service a portion of the state's Medicaid population. That's a concern that should be addressed. Kudos to Block for uncovering it.

                                                 
                                              • HOT

                                                Allie's Donuts

                                                The legendary North Kingston donut shop has been named one of the 33 best donut shops in America by Thrillist.com. The website's judges ate donuts and then argued over which were best, and they decided that Allie's is one of the 33 best in the nation. And with Allie's landing on the list, who can really question their methodology?

                                                 
                                              • NOT

                                                Jorge Elorza

                                                The city is strapped for cash, with a cumulative deficit of more roughly 13.4 million staring it down. Yet that being the case, the administration has spent tens of thousands of dollars to hire an outside firm to search for a new school superintendent as well as a new fire chief. The time has come for the city to being pinching pennies--then the dollars will follow.

                                                 
                                              • NOT

                                                Paul Doughty

                                                The President of the firefighters union in Providence made some outlandish statements about the city's efforts to hire a new chief for the fire department in a GoLocal story on Wednesday, stating: "...anyone that comes here right now has to be an idiot, as this dysfunction is legendary." There may be problems in the Fire Department, but that's all the more reason to hire a strong leader to bridge the gap between labor and management. There are plenty of non-idiots who would like to work here as fire department chief.

                                                 
                                              • NOT

                                                Establishment Republicans

                                                There's been so much talk  on the national level about which candidate the GOP establishment support would coalesce around and put a stop to Donald Trump's candidacy. But all that sound and fury is really insignificant as it just doesn't seem to matter. Even with establishment champion Jeb Bush gone,  and all those endorsements and campaign cash sent to Rubio, Trump still scored a devastating victory in Nevada. Let this be a lesson in political science: the establishment is nothing if it loses the trust of its base.

                                                 
                                              • NOT

                                                Racism

                                                Unfortunately, Rhode Island was given another reminder of how far we still need to go to eliminate the scourge of racism from our state when GoLocal reported that a church pastor in Johnston was sent a disgraceful, racist letter. The racist letter was sent to the lawyers of Reverend Chris Abhulime of Kings Tabernacle Church, who is involved in a lawsuit with Johnston over zoning issues and claims of discrimination. Unsurprisingly, the letter was sent anonymously, since racists tend to be as cowardly as they are ignorant.

                                                 
                                              • NOT

                                                Sex Trafficking

                                                Former State Representative Joanne Giannini makes some astute points about the subject of sex trafficking in her MINDSETTER Column earlier this week. As Giannini points out, much progress has been made over the last decade, including banning indoor prostitution and forbidding minors from working in strip clubs. But as long as websites that facilitate trafficking, such as backpage.com, are allowed to operate with impunity, the battle cannot be declared won.

                                                 
                                                • HOT

                                                  Michael Sepe

                                                  The Chairman of the Cranston Democratic Committee is poised to take on Republican Mayor Allan Fung in next year's mayoral election on Cranston. The Chairman has shown he is serious about the race, having loaned 25,000 dollars of his own money to his campaign. It remains to be seen whether Sepe can raise the additional money and create the organization he needs to win, but given the Cranston Police Department scandal, he is in with a decent shot.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  Paul Doughty

                                                  The Providence Firefighters Union, led by Doughty, their president, offered free rides home last night to people who had too much to drink wouldn't have been able to drive safely. This was the second year of the program's existence, and was a classy move by the Providence Fire Department.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  John Taylor

                                                  Maybe the doomsday predictions for Twin River were completely wrong. The Chairman of Twin River Casino lands himself on this week's hot list after an article ran in The Boston Globe which claimed that Rhode Island's casino is vastly outperforming Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, Massachusetts. The article posited that area gamblers prefer the larger size of Twin River and more gaming options, which is a tremendous advantage for Twin River.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  Gas Prices

                                                  Golocal reports this week that the average gas price in Rhode Island is inching down towards $2 a gallon. That's a huge relief for the average Rhode Islander, and a boon the economy, as it means consumers have more money to spend on other purchases. It's also a huge feather in President Obama's cap, as president's, rightly or wrongly, tend to get credit or blame for the price of gas.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  Mystic Aquariam

                                                  Here's a nonprofit making an investment in the tourism economy right outside of our little state. The aquarium is slated to begin a construction project that will build a new Ocean Conservation and Research Center that will expand the Aquarium's scientific focus on aquatic animal health and behavior. The project will renovate the existing aquatic animal study center and construct a new building, all of which will promote marine animal care and health practices in both aquarium and zoo settings and in natural habitats.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  RI NAACP

                                                  It's not easy to fight for equality in society without being polarizing, but the strong leaders of the Providence branch of the NAACP, including President Jim Vincent, and Youth Council Leader Pilar McCloud have found ways to do exactly that. The local NAACP always makes its voice heard on relevant issues of racial equality in society and civil rights, and brings rational, and logical points to the debate. For that, the local NAACP chapter was named "RI's Nonprofit of the Year" by GoLocal--a much deserved honor!

                                                   
                                                • HOT

                                                  2016

                                                  The beginning of the new year is always a time of hope for so many Americans. And for a state whose motto is "hope", let's hope 2016 brings peace and prosperity to us all. 
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • NOT

                                                  Gina Raimondo

                                                  The Governor's inability to understand that she cannot build consensus without transparency remains her biggest obstacle to moving the state forward and implementing her agenda.  She still refuses to reveal the locations of where she plans to put toll gantries that would be constructed as a result her controversial truck toll proposal. Instead, the governor's office sent the Republicans in the House of Representatives a group of documents, one of which detailed the roads in Rhode Island back in 1882. It's baffling that someone as brilliant as Raimondo cannot grasp such a simple concept. 
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • NOT

                                                  St. George's

                                                  The exclusive Prep School located in picturesque Middletown, has admitted, after denying it for decades, that at least 23 students were molested by faculty members and staff at the school. The school face a lawsuit that could force it to pay tens of millions in restitution that could very well threaten the school's financial viability.

                                                   
                                                • NOT

                                                  The House GOP

                                                  The statehouse Republicans have been very aggressive, and effective in fighting the Governor's truck toll plan, yet one of the biggest political disappointments from the last year was the fact that every single member of the House Republicans voted for Speaker Nicholas Mattiello's budget, despite the fact that it included a new tax on health insurance, a new tax on vacation rental homes, and increases in cigarette taxes. Hopefully the House Republicans have learned their lesson and will be not just vote for a bad budget because they liked one or two things in it. 
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • NOT

                                                  Teresa Paiva Weed

                                                  Most of the talk surrounding the Raimondo Rhodeworks Proposal, which would build new toll gantries thoughout the state that would supposedly be only for trucks (I'm skeptical), has centered around the House of Representatives. But that's only because House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, at least at first, resisted the plan. Paiva Weed, however, acquiesced immediately. If she hadn't, perhaps the plan wouldn't have as much momentum as it does.
                                                   

                                                   
                                                • NOT

                                                  New England weather

                                                  There's nothing like the unpredictability of the weather in the North East. On Christmas, everyone was walking around in shorts and without jackets. Yet 4 days later, the area was blanketed by a storm that dropped snow, sleet, and rain all over the state of Rhode Island, which obstructed the morning commute. At least the weather keeps us guessing!

                                                   
                                                  • HOT

                                                    Christina Paxson

                                                    The President of Brown University was elected to the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Paxson will help oversee the pursuit to promote growth and financial stability in the region from Maine to Connecticut. It's another big position for Paxson, in addition to her role as President of one of the most prestigious universities in the world.
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • HOT

                                                    Mike Stenhouse

                                                    The former professional baseball player and leader of the the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity--a Rhode Island based think tank, has brought forward some reasonable privacy concerns about the implantation of tolls on the road, since toll gantries will be able to capture and record the vehicles passing through.  "Rhode Islanders should be wary about turning over our private, personal travel information to an increasingly big-brotherish government via electronic tolling on trucks and cars," Stenhouse tells GoLocal. The fact that Rhode Island already has enough revenue to fix its bridges already is reason enough to oppose new tolls, but the privacy issue is another, previously not though of and another valid reason to stand against the tolls. 

                                                     
                                                  • HOT

                                                    Providence

                                                    The state's capital city was named one of 52 cities in the world to go and visit in the year 2016 by the New York Times in their annual "Places to Go" issue. The city's arts, culture, and cuisine are what landed us on the list, according to the article. It is somewhat ironic how people from outside Rhode Island, almost without fail, love our state more than our own residents.
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • HOT

                                                    Jack Reed

                                                    The Senior US Senator made a wise and class decision to invite Jim Vincent, the President of the Providence Chapter of the NAACP to be his guest at the Presidential State of the Union  (Obama's last) on Tuesday evening. It didn't make headlines like the controversial invite of Kim Davis, a town clerk from Kentucky who refused to issue gay marriage licenses last year, by Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, but it was a nice gesture to recognize someone who works hard to advocate for civil rights in our state every day.
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • HOT

                                                    Charlie Baker

                                                    While Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is struggling here at home, everything is coming up roses for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. This week, the Boston Globe reported that General Electric has decided to move to Boston. Landing a Fortune 10 company is a huge feather in Baker's cap, and it's economic development that Rhode Island badly needed. 
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • HOT

                                                    John Lombardi

                                                    The former long-time city councilman, acting mayor, mayoral candidate, and current state legislator and municipal judge, told GoLocal last weekend that he's considering taking another shot at the city's top job. On social media and around town, his announcement was met largely with encouragement. It's too early to be talking about the mayoral election of 2018, but the city could do much worse than John Lombardi. (Also, outgoing school board president Keith Oliveira is also mulling a bid of his own.)
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    Gina Raimondo

                                                    Unfortunately, when it comes to economic development, it's win or go home. And while all reports say that Rhode Island was close to landing GE, the company's decision to go to Boston (as reported by The Boston Globe) instead is a loss for team Raimondo--regardless of how it gets spun. The relocation of GE to Boston could help the Rhode Island economy, particularly in housing, but it's not much a consolation prize. 
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    Brown University

                                                    While Brown President Christina Paxson had a good week in the news, Brown University deserves criticism for its plan to demolish 7 buildings it owns on College Hill near Thayer Street and turn them into a parking lot. The move would significantly change the character of the neighborhood, and to replace it with a parking lot does not seem like a huge improvement.

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    William P. Robinson III

                                                    Golocal reported on Thursday that the current Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice helped block an effort by a former St. George's student that would have brought  attention to sexual abuse that allegedly took place at the school in the 1980s. Robinson, who was representing St. George’s at the time as an attorney with the Providence law firm of Edwards and Angell, tried to force Jane Doe, now known to be Anne Scott, to reveal her identity in the lawsuit that alleged rape and molestation by the school's then athletic trainer. Robinson even went so far as to argue that a consensual sexual relationship may have taken place, when the girl was 15 at the time the alleged molestation took place. (The St. George's sexual abuse story was first reported by The Boston Globe).

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    Bishop Tobin

                                                    The Diocese of Providence has an extensive child protection and outreach policy to "...make every effort to communicate openly and in a timely manner with the public through the news media and other available means...", about any abuse of minors. Yet despite that policy, the Diocese would only make a vague, if not downright evasive statements when questioned by GoLocal about a former employee at the Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul in Providence, named Antony Tedeschi, refusing to give specifics about his job or periods of employment. Tedeschi, a former teacher's aide, was previously arrested for second degree child molestation for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old boy at  Esek Hopkins Middle School, in Providence, on October 23, after another aide observed Tedeschi "inappropriately touching" a 13-year-old male student. 
                                                     

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    Bristol Parade Route

                                                    If it isn't broke, why try and fix it? That's the common retort I continue hearing from people who cannot understand why the Bristol Fourth of July Committee is examining a shortening of the route in order to compensate for high July temperatures. But if heat is an issue, people should be made aware of it beforehand so they can take necessary precautions. The Parade Route should be left as it is since it works just fin
                                                     

                                                    Photo: Flickr/H.C. Williams

                                                     
                                                  • NOT

                                                    PowerBall

                                                    If I don't hear about the massive, multi-state lottery again for another 5 years it will be be too soon. It seems anywhere I go, or whenever I turn on the television or radio I hear people fantasizing about how hitting the lottery would somehow save their lives. If winning the lottery is what it would take to bring happiness into your life, it's time to examine your priorities. And instead of wasting money on lottery tickets, why not give your expendable cash to charity?

                                                     
                                                    • HOT

                                                      John A. Pagliarini

                                                      The Republican from Tiverton is poised to become the next state senator after amassing a 70 vote lead after election night over James Seveney, an establishment backed Democrat, pending the counting of approximately 200 mail ballots. Pagliarini, a well-respected lawyer, ran on a platform of opposing tolls, and should bring a fresh, independent voice to the state senate.

                                                       
                                                    • HOT

                                                      Truck Toll Opponents

                                                      Pagliarini's victory in Senate District 11 should serve as one focus group for the rest of the state as a referendum on how the public feels about the implementation of truck tolls throughout Rhode Island. In sum, they didn't like it. Further, a group of about 100 or so Rhode Islanders rallied at the statehouse earlier this week in opposition to new tolls.

                                                       
                                                    • HOT

                                                      Keith Oliveira 

                                                      The President of the Providence School Board has resigned in protest, alleging micro management by the Elorza administration. Oliveira was already reportedly in danger of losing his presidency to upstart statehouse lobbyist Nicholas Hemond, but the President decided to go out in a blaze of glory, speaking his mind and defending the important issue of the independence of the Providence School Board, instead of going quietly into the sunset.

                                                       
                                                    • HOT

                                                      Buddy Cianci

                                                      The iconic former two-time mayor of the capital city is engaged to be married to his girlfriend, former sports reporter Tara Marie Haywood. Congrats to the former mayor who is showing us that it's never too late to find true love.

                                                       
                                                    • HOT

                                                      Rhode Island Special Olympics

                                                      Thousands of individuals took the Polar Bear Plunge at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island on New Year's Day. The event marked the 40th year raising money for the great cause, which has raised more than $2.5 million for the Special Olympics Rhode Island over the 4 decades.

                                                       
                                                    • HOT

                                                      Nicholas Hemond

                                                      The resignation of Providence School Board President paves the way for the Providence lawyer and statehouse lobbyist to take control of the Providence School Board. Hemond has built an impressive list of statehouse clients, and now that he's set to take control of the school board, the young lawyer has cemented himself as one of the state's biggest political movers and shakers.

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      Michelle Smith, Associated Press

                                                      In 2014 she plagiarized GoLocal’s investigation about plagiarism – you would think that after the Associated Press had to correct her work and credit GoLocal’s reporting she would learn the lesson. But, this week after Kate Nagle unveiled the concerns by Benefit Street area residents about special treatment for a carport -- who turned out to be Patriot’s Danny Amendola -- it happened again. Amazingly, the AP’s Smith was able to replicate all the journalism in less than a day pawning off Kate’s work as her own. 

                                                       

                                                      Photo courtesy of Linkedin

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      Jorge Elorza

                                                      The mayor has come under fire from multiple sources this week. First, Elorza was accused of interfering with the Providence school board and making decisions that were based upon political considerations instead of the best interests of the students. Then, Elorza was criticized by the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats (who endorsed him for Mayor), for his support of special tax breaks for developers after saying he opposed such deals while running for mayor.

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      Providence East Siders

                                                      The City of Providence has a $13 million cumulative deficit with the city pension fund in shambles, the fire department is in chaos, and the school board President has just resigned in protest. While those serious problems are just the tip of the iceberg, what's really got the East Siders of Providence all riled up is the fact that Patriots star wide receiver Danny Amendola has a carport at his house. Let's get our priorities in order folks.

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      Gina Raimondo

                                                      It's difficult not to view Republican John Pagliarni's victory in state senate district as a blow to Raimondo's toll proposal. Give credit to Pagliarini, who sensed the antipathy towards Raimondo's toll plan, at least in his district, and capitalized on it by making his opposition to the plan a central tenet of his campaign. Raimondo backed Pagliarini's Democratic opponent, and the loss signifies a rebuke to her plan.

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      Brady Sullivan

                                                      The New England developer with properties throughout New England is currently the subject of a lead contamination lawsuit at Mill West in Manchester, NH. Correspondingly, a petition has been sent to the EPA with over 20,000 signatures that asks agency to monitor all of the developer’s properties throughout the country. The developer's subcontractor in question at the New Hampshire property reportedly did the same kind of work at the Tourister Mill in Warren.

                                                       
                                                    • NOT

                                                      St. George's

                                                      The Rhode Island state police say the investigation into sexual assault allegations at St. George's is expanding, despite the fact that it's unclear how many individuals are under investigation at this point. Earlier this week, the state's Episcopal Bishop apologized for the abuse that took place there. Meanwhile, three of the victims called for an independent investigation at a press conference in Boston. These are dark times for the picturesque Middletown Prep School.

                                                       
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Memory of Buddy Cianci

                                                        The iconic Mayor of the City of Providence died on Thursday morning. Cianci was a controversial figure in the City, but nobody can deny how many good things the mayor did for the city. Cianci basically modernized the city (think: the Providence Place Mall, the convention center, water fire) and made it known as "The Renaissance City" in the nineties. Cianci will be never be forgotten by Rhode Islanders, and here's hoping he rests in peace.

                                                         
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Jorge Elorza

                                                        The Mayor of Providence handled the first snowstorm of his second year in office like an expert--a stark contrast to the blunders that took place during last year's massive storms. Granted, the storm wasn't as big as some of last year's storms, but the city's adequate response despite some faulty weather forecasting means the Mayor (and all the other city workers involved in the cleanup) deserves credit for a job well done. 

                                                         
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Mario Hilario

                                                        The channel 10 anchor has received the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership's 1st Memorial Peter Koch award. The award, given in honor of the late Koch, a longtime member of the Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership's Board of Directors and CEO of Koch Eye Associates, was given to Hilario for his commitment to the organization since he joined in 2008. The organization brings mentors into the classroom for one on one time with students on a weekly basis. 

                                                         
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Housing Market

                                                        The Rhode Island housing market is robust once again. The housing market saw the most housing sales totals since 2004 last year and the highest median sale price since the year 2008--the year the market crashed. That's good news for the Rhode Island economy, so let's hope that trend continues as we move forward. 

                                                         
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Hugh Clements:

                                                        The Providence Police Chief was recently named President of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association. Clements has provided steady, level-headed leadership in the Providence Police Department since his appointment in 2012 and despite Providence's designation as a sanctuary city for illegal immigrants, which could frustrate some chiefs, Clements should provide the organization with the same strong leadership as he's displayed in the Providence Police Department.

                                                         
                                                      • HOT

                                                        Paul Jabour

                                                        The state senator from Federal Hill continues to keep the pressure on Governor Gina Raimondo and the issue of using money from state college foundations to fund government expenses. Jabour will ask Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to review the statutory authorities of the URI Foundation and the RIC Foundation to determine whether those two boards have the statutory authority to enter into special arrangements at the Governor's behest. Jabour has also introduced legislation to have the appointment of the state's new "Innovation Officer" be subject to General Assembly approval similar to that of other cabinet members. 

                                                         
                                                      • NOT

                                                        Gina Raimondo

                                                        As of Thursday afternoon, after the news of Buddy Cianci's passing, the Governor failed to order the flags to fly at half staff, for reasons yet to be explained. You don't have to be a fan of the iconic former Providence Mayor to realize that he's easily the most famous Rhode Islander of the modern age, and arguably our most famous resident of all time. He did a lot for the City of Providence and he deserved to have the flags lowered in his honor. 
                                                         

                                                         
                                                      • NOT

                                                        Edward Achorn

                                                        The editorial pages editor of the Providence Journal was probably Buddy Cianci's fiercest critic, and that's fine. But Achorn posted a link of the Providence Journal's article about Cianci's passing on Thursday with a caption that read "Twice-convicted felon passes...". It's fine to disagree with someone. It's also fine to strongly dislike someone. But insulting a man on the day of his death by emphasizing only the negative aspect of his legacy is, in a word, classless. 

                                                         
                                                      • NOT

                                                        Aaron Regunberg

                                                        The state representative from the east side of Providence has introduced a bill that would raise state income taxes, in some cases as much as 7 percent, on the state's high income earners, in order to give struggling cities and towns a financial boost to their coffers. While the intentions are admirable, the state shouldn't be giving high income residents and incentive to live elsewhere (like Massachusetts) as some revenue is better than none. Instead, the cities and towns should rid themselves of waste, inefficiencies, and outdated practices in order to save money and bolster their budgets. We have a spending problem in Rhode Island, Mr. Regunberg, not a revenue problem.  

                                                         
                                                      • NOT

                                                        Ken Block

                                                        The Republican candidate for Governor is a staunch good government watchdog and very valuable to the state. But Block was a bit over-the-top with his criticism of the new firefighters contract in Cranston agreed to by Mayor Allan Fung (his Republican primary opponent who bested him in 2014) and the Cranston Firefighters Union this week. Block criticized the contract's 6 percent raises, but the raises are over a 3-year period, which equals just a 2 percent raise per year. And Block also drew attention to the 3 percent cost-of-living-adjustment (cola) in the pension system, which are admittedly troubling. But those colas have long been in the contract and aren't a new benefit. 

                                                         
                                                      • NOT

                                                        Ava Anderson Non-Toxic

                                                        The founder and namesake of the company stepped down from the the organization earlier this week and that it was changing names, citing online bullying as the rationale behind the decision. But GoLocal later reported that the company was carrying products that lacked some of the organic ingredients that were listed on the products. The company blamed their suppliers, but it's hard to believe that the company lacked the capability to test its own products. 

                                                         
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Dorian Murray

                                                          The 8-year-old boy from Westerly who is battling cancer wanted to be known by people on The Great Wall of China, so with the help of his new friend, Patriots superstar Rob Gronkowski, a social media blitz with the hashtag #DStrong began, and it brought his effervescent smile to people all across the world. Dorian's courage, positiveness, and strength while facing adversity should be an inspiration to us all. You might be able to bench press 300 pounds, but you'll never be as tough as #DStrong!

                                                           
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Paul Jabour

                                                          The Rhode Island State Senator from Providence and URI Foundation Board member called on Governor Raimondo to return the $7,000 in funding from the URI Foundation that she planned on using to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, pointing out that the board never voted on the expenditure. Jabour also said he didn't think the expenditure would be approved were it to come to a vote. Shortly after GoLocal reported on the story, Raimondo decided against going to Davos for the World Economic Forum and vowed to return the money.

                                                           
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Uzo Okoro

                                                          The Brown University Senior has been selected as one of 6 students to receive the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship, which is named in honor of AIDS educator, activist and reality television pioneer Pedro Zamora, who passed away over 20 years ago from an AIDS-related illness. Okoro, a public health major, will attend The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown, next year, where she will pursue her medical degree. 

                                                           
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Robert Lancia

                                                          The Cranston State Representative submitted a series of bills this week aimed at helping Rhode Island military veterans. His proposals would "exempt the amount of military pension which is included in federal adjusted gross income from the state income tax", give veteran owned businesses a preference for state contracts, and also create a Transitioning Veterans’ Small Business Loan Program. The proposals would cost the state revenue, but they're good ideas since the state should do all it can to help our veterans.

                                                           
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Animal Rescue League RI

                                                          The non-profit is launching a new program called "Paws to Read" that will promote reading of Rhode Island children in grades 1-4 while also familiarizing them with the animals at the shelter as they will be reading in the presence of a shelter animal. The program is a good way for the students to practice their reading and spend some time with the lonely animals away from their cages. The program should be a win-win-win, with the students getting reading practice, the animals getting socialization time with the children, and the folks who adopt the animals will be getting animals that are better off for it.

                                                           
                                                        • HOT

                                                          Tom Brady

                                                          Everything pointed to a New England loss last weekend. Their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, were riding an  11 game winning streak, while the Patriots had lost 4 of their last 6 games. Also, there was turmoil in the Patriots locker room with Chandler Jones going to the hospital the weekend prior under suspicious circumstances. But when you have Brady, nothing else seems to matter. Brady had three total touchdowns (two passing and one rushing) and threw for over 300 yards, with no interceptions. The numbers aside, his passes were thrown with unbelievable precision, sometimes between three defenders and into the arms of his receivers. The Patriots might not win the Superbowl, but with Brady still in charge, I'm not picking against them

                                                           
                                                        • NOT

                                                          Gina Raimondo

                                                          It was another rough week for the Governor. The Brookings Institution Study of the Rhode Island economy was underwhelming and seemed to suggest a government that should pick winners and losers instead of creating favorable economic conditions and letting the market decide. Then, shortly after being criticized by URI Foundation member and State Senator Paul Jabour for using foundation money for her trip to Davos without a board vote on the issue, she decided to cancel the trip. The move suggests that she realized her method of funding the trip was a mistake.

                                                           
                                                        • NOT

                                                          Representative Bobby Nardolillo

                                                          The state representative from Cranston made some strange comments in a GoLocal article about Rhode Islanders who support Donald Trump earlier this week. Nardolillo doesn't support Donald Trump--and good for him. But he went on to say he supports Marco Rubio because he sees a side of himself in the candidate. It's hard to see how a fourth-generation funeral home director is similar to a first-generation American whose parents were Cuban immigrants (other than they're both being young). Then, despite the fact that he doesn't like Trump, he said he would support him if he was the nominee anyhow, comparing it to biting into a raw onion. "You have to do it, but I wouldn't like it." When was the last time you had to bite into a raw onion?    

                                                           
                                                        • NOT

                                                          Providence Firefighter Retirements

                                                          The unrest in the Providence Fire Department that began when Mayor Jorge Elorza's realigned he platoon shifts last summer doesn't seem to have abated. GoLocal reported on Wednesday that there are 14 members of the Providence Fire Department slated to retire this month, including a member of the command staff, which means there will be only two members of the command staff on the force. According to Paul Doughty, the President of the Providence Firefighters Union, roughly 15 firefighters retire on an average year. Over the the past year, there have been 55. 

                                                           
                                                        • NOT

                                                          12th Worst

                                                          Rhode Island ranks 12 worst in the nation for racial integration according to WalletHub.com. The study takes into account "employment and wealth" and "education and civic engagement", according to the website's report. If the study is even relatively accurate, that is completely unacceptable and Rhode Island needs to do more work to eliminate racial inequalities.

                                                           
                                                        • NOT

                                                          Seth Magaziner

                                                          State retirees have been sent incomplete tax forms and the Rhode Island General Treasurer's Office is advising retirees to wait for the correct forms to be sent out or to go online to obtain the correct forms. The Treasurer is blaming the mistake on a "vendor error", but at least part of the blame should go to the Treasurer as he is ultimately responsible for hiring the vendor and getting the forms to the retirees. (Retirees are being advised that the state tax has been properly withheld, despite the fact that the form they received didn't contain that information.)

                                                           
                                                          • HOT

                                                            Karen Macbeth

                                                            The state legislator from Cumberland who chairs the House Oversight Committee deserves kudos for vowing to initiate a probe into allegations of heavy handedness by House leadership after learning of the resignation of Rhode Island Independent Contractors' Association Executive Director Bob Lafleur, who claims he was bullied by statehouse leadership during the truck tolls debate. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello denies this, but it's good that Macbeth has reportedly said she'd take an impartial look at it. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • HOT

                                                            John Igliozzi

                                                            The Providence City Council's Finance Chairman raised some interesting points in a GoLocal article on Tuesday. Igliozzi said the city spends too much time looking at scenarios far into the future based on assumptions and not enough time trying to solve immediate issues, like finishing the city's property assessment revaluations so that it can accurately craft a predictable, balanced budget. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • HOT

                                                            Harry Adler

                                                            The owner of Adler's Hardware, which has been located on Wickenden Street for almost 100 years, is calling on the city to abandon plans to install parking meters on that side of the city. Good for Adler for speaking up since parking meters provide an incentive for people to avoid the city as opposed to going into it. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • HOT

                                                            Twin River

                                                            A proposal that would put a question before state voters and voters in Tiverton to build new casino there is sailing through the state legislature amidst little to no opposition. The lack out outcry over the proposal is a good sign for Twin River's chances of opening as it looks to expand its reach in Rhode Island.
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • HOT

                                                            Dewayne Boo Hackney & Phyllis Huntley Evans

                                                            The two community activists were honored at Providence City Hall's 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame Awards last week for their efforts to improve the community for people of color. Hackey is the founder of "It's On Us", a citywide effort to end violence. Evans is a stalwart advocate and supporter of the children in the minority community.
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • HOT

                                                            Friars Basketball

                                                            The Providence College men's basketball team gutted out a gritty win at home against a scrappy Creighton team on Wednesday evening. Despite a disappointing February, the Friars still find themselves in the thick of the NCAA tournament projections. And in March, when hope springs eternal, that's all that matters. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • NOT

                                                            Bob Lafleur

                                                            The former Rhode Island Independent Contractors' Association Executive Director Bob Lafleur said he stepped down on Monday after being subject to and blowing the whistle on intimidation taking place during the truck tolls debate. That may, or may not be true, but RIICA President Matt Olsen disputes it. Olsen also said that Lafleur engaged in name calling of truck toll proponents in the run up to the session-defining vote. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • NOT

                                                            Jamie Doyle

                                                            The Valley Breeze reported that the state senator from Pawtucket has failed to pay a court ordered $6,843 debt to a woman who owns a medical billing company. The two previously did business together. The revelation cannot be pleasing to Doyle, who with an almost mocking tone, called on someone to challenge him in this year's election. He bragged about his margin of victory the last time he was challenged, shortly before voting for the truck toll legislation. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • NOT

                                                            Delegate Diversity

                                                            Rhode Island went for President Barack Obama big in the last two Presidential elections, but that's not reflected in our delegate diversity. GoLocal reported this week that a new study by Wallethub.com shows that  Blacks in Rhode Island rank the lowest for percentage of delegates for both parties per Black population of any state in the U.S. at recent conventions. Rhode Island must do better on political inclusiveness and diversity. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • NOT

                                                            Flu

                                                            The Rhode Island Department of Health reports that the influenza virus is now "widespread" in Rhode Island and as a result, has called on all unvaccinated health care workers to wear surgical masks while on the job. Rhode Islanders would be wise to avoid shaking hands, and maybe even keep a safe distance from others until this virus runs its course. 
                                                             

                                                             
                                                          • NOT

                                                            David Quinn

                                                            The Providence Tax Assessor has failed to adequately explain to Teppco, a propane terminal operator that has been located in the city since 1971, why it was billed $1 million more in property taxes in 2015 than it was in 2014. If the city wants to grow its tax base, all city officials need to be as business friendly as possible, keeping in mind that businesses are the city's best customers.
                                                             

                                                             
                                                            • HOT

                                                              Gina Raimondo

                                                              The Governor wisely dismissed the Pawtucket Red Sox owner's preposterous proposal that would force taxpayers to foot the bill for $120 million in subsidies over 30 years. And of course, she said all the right things, talking about protecting taxpayers, so she's hot for now. However, it remains to be seen whether the new owners will still be given a sweetheart deal at taxpayer's expense.
                                                               

                                                               
                                                            • HOT

                                                              RI NAACP

                                                              The Rhode Island Chapter of the is hosting its 102 annual Freedom Fund Breakfast tomorrow from 9:00-11:30AM at the Providence Marriott Hotel on Orms Street. The event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery, Associate Professor and Director of Black Studies at Providence College who will speak about the importance of embracing diversity in our society. 

                                                              Photo courtesy of providence.edu

                                                               
                                                            • HOT

                                                              Ted Siedle 

                                                              The Forbes columnist and former SEC investigator has reached is funding goal on kickstarter.com that will allow him to conduct another investigation into the Rhode Island pension system. It should be interesting to see what he produces given that current General Treasurer Seth Magaziner promised us more transparency, better returns, and a move away from the opaque hedge fund investments. Siedle's investigation is a mechanism to hold the Treasurer accountable.

                                                               
                                                            • HOT

                                                              James Diossa

                                                              The city of Central Falls has compelled the owner of a massage parlor called Palm Tree Day Spa, located just three blocks away from the City Hall, to turn in his licenses and close up shop, according to a Providence Journal report. The city was concerned that the establishment was taking advantage of women.

                                                               
                                                            • HOT

                                                              Housing Prices

                                                              The median housing price for a Rhode Island single family home rose above $200,000 for the first time since 2004 in the first quarter of this year. That's a good sign for homeowners, real estate agents, and people looking to sell their properties, and a good bellwether overall for the Rhode Island economy.
                                                               

                                                               
                                                            • HOT

                                                              Pat Ford

                                                              Rhode Island's rabble-rouser and talk radio caller turned part-time talk show host (Saturday nights at 6:00 on WPRO) deserves kudos for organizing a diverse coalition of Rhode Island political groups--from the RI Tea Party to the Progressive Democrats of RI--to attend the 195 Commission's meeting that discussed the proposal to move the Pawtucket Red Sox to Providence.

                                                               
                                                            • NOT

                                                              James Skeffington

                                                              When you're begging the taxpayers to fund your latest business venture, it would be nice to act in good faith by keeping your word. But that's the opposite of what Skeffington is doing considering he promised to reveal how much his law firm made from the Pawtucket Red Sox stadium bonds refinancing over 10 years ago, but has reneged on it.

                                                               
                                                            • NOT

                                                              Susan Cicilline Buonanno

                                                              The sister of Congressman David Cicilline has had an ethics complaint filed against her for having allegedly used public property for campaign activity--Buonanno is running for the vacant House of Representatives Seat in Narragansett. The complaint alleges that Buonnano sent out emails from her Gladstone Elementary School email address, and used her office telephone as the primary contact number on campaign finance reports.

                                                               
                                                            • NOT

                                                              8th Highest

                                                              GolocalProv reported that our state has the eighth highest insurance premium penalties for high risk drivers this year, according to a WalletHub report. There's just another example of Rhode Island's high cost structure.

                                                               
                                                            • NOT

                                                              Hillary Clinton

                                                              It's starting to seem like there's a big correlation between donations made to The Clinton Foundation and speech fees paid to Bill Clinton by people with business interests that would have been affected by decisions at the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State. That's not a good thing for Hillary Clinton's presidential hopes. But is anyone really paying attention?

                                                               
                                                              • HOT

                                                                RI-NAACP Youth Council

                                                                The youth council of the local NAACP chapter, under the stalwart leadership of the energetic Pilar McCloud, took part in a 127 mile long march over 5 days this past week! Their portion of the march went from Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC. They marched to mobilize activists to fight for a national agenda that creates a fair criminal justice system, enhances voting rights, creates jobs with fair wages, and fosters an equitable public education system. The march took place under sweltering heat (88-92 degrees at some points) and monsoon like rain, but the youngsters returned stronger and even more resolute in pursuit of justice than they were before they started.

                                                                 
                                                              • HOT

                                                                Barack Obama

                                                                The President of the United States had a good week in the news. Obama admonished liberal college students for their desire to be coddled and shielded from ideas and arguments they don't agree with. Then Obama invited Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas high school student who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, to the White House. Obama was wise to take a stand against racial profiling.
                                                                 

                                                                 
                                                              • HOT

                                                                Bryant University

                                                                The United States Department of Education released its college scorecard. And it was Bryant University that has the best return on investment according to the study. The formula takes into account college costs, graduation, debt and post-college earnings. Those things, plus more, considered, Bryant gives students the best return on their tuition and time investment.

                                                                 
                                                              • HOT

                                                                Bishop Thomas Tobin

                                                                The state's Catholic Bishop and leader of the Providence Diocese has seen his profile rise on a national stage as a critic of Pope Francis. Quoted in a Washington Post article, Tobin suggested that the pontiff is too eager to accommodate the secular attitudes of the day at the expense of what Catholics believe are universal truths. One doesn't have to agree with Tobin to respect his courage in standing firm alongside his beliefs and conscience. 

                                                                 
                                                              • HOT

                                                                Michael Silverstein

                                                                The judge in the 38 studios civil case lands himself on the "hot" list for the second week in a row. Silverstein rejected a motion to have portions of the Wells Fargo sealed documents redacted earlier this week. Silverstein, thanks to agreeing to unseal the redacted documents and depositions in the 38 studios case, is beginning to seem like one of Rhode Island's biggest open government advocates.

                                                                 
                                                              • HOT

                                                                Will Blackmon

                                                                The Rhode Island native has once again earned himself a spot on an NFL team. The defensive back and special teams kick returner was signed by the Washington Redskins earlier this week. Here's hoping the former Bishop Hendricken standout has plenty of success with his new team.

                                                                 
                                                              • NOT

                                                                Gina Raimondo

                                                                GoLocal reported this week that Raimondo forced out Xinsheng Sean Ling, the original founder of Nabsys, from the company, when he raised concerns that a crucial piece of technology was lacking in the genome mapping startup company back in 2009. That calls Raimondo's judgement and business acumen into question now that the company has gone out of business, potentially costing the state and Raimondo's former venture capital fund, Point Judith Capital, millions of dollars.

                                                                 
                                                              • NOT

                                                                Barrett Bready

                                                                Like his friend and ally Gina Raimondo, the former CEO of Nabsys turned a deaf ear to the warnings from company founder Xinsheng Sean Ling about lack of crucial pieces of technology that were needed to maket the genome mapping startup a success. Bready, who along with his wife has donated over $15,000 to Raimondo's campaign funds, remains a member of the I-195 Commission. We need people with judgement and who know how to listen serving on that crucial commission, not folks who just happen to know the right people. 

                                                                 
                                                              • NOT

                                                                Slater Fund

                                                                The state and federal funded technology investment fund has plenty of egg on its face now that Nabsys, the genome mapping technology company has closed up shop. The Slater Fund had invested roughly $1 million in the company and that's comprised of all taxpayer dollars. Adding insult to injury, the Slater Fund once bragged about Nabsys, calling it a success story. 

                                                                 
                                                              • NOT

                                                                Providence School Department

                                                                The Providence School Department has come under fire by long time state senator Harold Metts, according to a GoLocalProv report this week. Metts is concerned that the school department is increasingly being led by white folks and therefore is under-represented by people of color. Metts is right to call for a Providence School Department administration that's as diverse as the student body.

                                                                 
                                                              • NOT

                                                                Jorge Elorza

                                                                It's been hard to follow the Mayor's logic on the platoon restructuring of the fire department with respect to the court battle that's followed. When RI Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Lanphear ruled that the union can go to grievance arbitration with the city over the issue, Elorza said he was "excited" about the decision.Yet just days later, Elorza and the city decided to appeal the decision. The mixed signals coming out of city hall can be, at time, as confusing as they are frustrating.

                                                                 
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Anthony Roberson

                                                                  Roberson, a Providence detective, noticed other welcome back to school events taking place throughout the country, and decided to organize something similar at D'Abate Elementary School in Providence on Tuesday morning. He put together a group of successful men of color, to welcome the students on Tuesday. Roberson plans to put an all female event together later this year.

                                                                   
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Seth Magaziner

                                                                  The Rhode Island State Treasurer has taken steps to replace First Southwest as the state's financial adviser. The state is suing the company for fraud, among other things, over its role in the ill-fated 38 studios fiasco. Meanwhile, First Southwest has petitioned a judge to block a settlement with several other parties. Magaziner's actions move are long overdue, but in this case, later is better than never.

                                                                   
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Rhode Island YWCA

                                                                  The YWCA of RI will hold it's 11th annual Women of Achievement Awards on September 29 at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln. The YWCA will honor 13 Rhode Island women at the luncheon for their accomplishments in improving our state. The YWCA selected the honorees based on the organization's values, which are "empowering women, eliminating racism and promoting peace, justice and dignity for everyone".

                                                                   
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Michael Silverstein

                                                                  The judge in the 38 studios case has ordered the release of sealed documents from the case. The lack of accountability from the 38 studios fiasco has all but paralyzed the state. With the document release, the public will have more information about the ill-fated deal. And that's a good thing.

                                                                   
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Droners

                                                                  The Rhode Island based startup that takes photos from drone technology is on the rise. Forbes Magazine as well as Wired have written articles about this up and coming company. This is the type of company Rhode Island needs to spark the innovation economy. The challenge is to keep them here and find many other like Droners.

                                                                   
                                                                • HOT

                                                                  Joe Kelly

                                                                  The Boston Red Sox season has been abysmal. But starting pitcher Joe Kelly gives the Red Sox and their fans something to look forward to next April. Kelly became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez (in 1999) to win 8 starts in a row on Wednesday night. That's impressive.

                                                                  Photo courtesy of kenjancef/Flickr

                                                                   
                                                                • NOT

                                                                  Gina Raimondo

                                                                  The Governor announced another initiative that might make for a good headline that improves her poll numbers, but won't do much more. The Ocean State Grad Grant, which will be issued through RI Housing, will offer recent college grads down payment help on a home purchase worth 3.5 percent of the cost up to $7,000. But today's Millenials starting their careers, in this job market, need flexibility. They don't want to be tied down to a house.

                                                                   
                                                                • NOT

                                                                  Scott Avedisian

                                                                  The Warwick Mayor wants the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox to change their plans and move to his city instead of Providence. But suggesting a different location doesn't change the fact that most Rhode Islanders don't want to subsidize the wealthy Pawtucket Red Sox owners Field of Dreams. Besides, does Avedisian think that anyone wants to take in a baseball game while listening to the roar of jet engines landing at T.F. Green?

                                                                   
                                                                • NOT

                                                                  Torey Malatia

                                                                  The new boss over at Rhode Island Public Radio enters his new job with a much-needed fresh start. Malatia, who will serve as Rhode Island Public Radio's President, CEO, and General Manager, resigned as head of WBEZ/Chicago Public Media amidst scrutiny over lackluster ratings two years ago. Malatia however is credited with launching "This American Life" for WBEZ back in the early nineties. 

                                                                   
                                                                • NOT

                                                                  Providence College and Brown University

                                                                  The students who live off campus near Providence College and Brown University are up to their old tricks again. They're drinking in public, littering, and making lots of noise. Let's face it: The schools need to create stricter penalties for students who cause a nuisance to their host community. And the students need to show a little more respect for their neighbors.

                                                                   
                                                                • NOT

                                                                  ESPN

                                                                  The sports programming leader, fresh off its inaccurate reports over the "Deflategate" controversy last year, which it apologized for a few weeks ago, has doubled down with yet another baseless report about the New England Patriots and the "Spygate" fiasco. The new reporting contains nothing but old news and unsubstantiated allegations without any hard evidence or proof.

                                                                   
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    Jim Vincent

                                                                    The Executive Director of the state's chapter of the NAACP finds himself on the "hot" list for the second week in a row for defending the Dunkin' Donuts employee who wrote "Black Lives Matter" on a coffee cup given to a police officer. Yes, the employee was out of line for writing on a customer's cup, but as Vincent points out, it's not like she wrote something that was either incorrect or inherently offensive. Also, to say "all lives matter" distracts from the fact that minorities are treated differently in our society, and that needs to stop. As usual, Vincent adds some logical and level-headed discourse to the debate.

                                                                     
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    Aaron Regunberg

                                                                    The Representative from the East Side of Providence weighed in on the Dunkin' Donuts worker controversy by reaffirming, both on his Facebook page and in a GoLocal article that yes, black lives matter. What shouldn't matter is the color of someone's skin, but unfortunately, it still seems to matter way too much. Regunberg was right to point that out.

                                                                     
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    RI Good Government Groups

                                                                    Five Rhode Island good government organizations, comprised of ACCESS/RI, the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Press Association, the New England First Amendment Coalition, and the League of Women Voters of Rhode Island have sent a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo beckoning her to force state agencies, which she oversees, to be more transparent and responsive to open records and information requests. Sunlight is the best disinfectant to corruption, and with serious questions peculating around the management of the DOT and DCYF, the time has never been more ripe for transparency.

                                                                     
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    RI General Assembly Republicans

                                                                    The Republicans from the state legislature this week outlined a plan to repair the state's bridges by using money currently in the state budget, as opposed to relying on tolls or additional borrowing. The state of Rhode Island has a budget that's roughly $8 billion--so it's not unrealistic, especially given the waste and fraud in the budget, to find the money need to fix our bridges, already in the budget. It's time to tighten the belt in Rhode Island, instead of putting more pressure on taxpayers.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    Alan Tenreiro

                                                                    The Principal of Cumberland High School has been honored as the nation's top principal by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. It's a well-deserved honor considering that under Tenreiro's leadership, the school has seen increases in academic achievement, graduation rates, and the number of students getting excepted into great colleges.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • HOT

                                                                    James Langevin

                                                                    The Congressman recently hosted a field hearing in which he heard from representatives from the Rhode Island and German business and education communities to explore opportunities to expand apprentice programs in America--particularly in Rhode Island. Apprentice programs in Germany and Switzerland are prevalent, and give students the chance to achieve on-the-job training and businesses the chance to help develop a workforce where employees have the skills companies need. Kudos to Langevin for taking the initiative to help develop similar programs here.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • NOT

                                                                    Tony "The Dancing Cop" Lepore

                                                                    The dancing cop is a Rhode Island icon, but maybe Tony should just stick to dancing? Lepore called on everyone to boycott Dunkin' Donuts nationwide because an employee in Providence wrote "black lives matter" on a police officer's cup? The economy in Rhode Island is bad enough as it is, so we don't need a boycott over someone writing a slogan on a cup. Secondly, the fact that a massive portion of a whole segment of our population believes that their lives aren't valued is a much bigger problem than a teenage worker offending a police officer.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • NOT

                                                                    Fantasy Football

                                                                    Fantasy football might be a lot of fun for sports fans, but it looks identical to the other games of chance that create gambling addictions, according to professionals who treat them. And the only reason fantasy football is legal is because during 2006, when Congress was passing a law to make online poker illegal in the United States, sports industry lobbyists convinced Congress to carve out an exception for fantasy sports, arguing that it's a skill based game. Only the corrupting influence of money in politics could convince someone that fantasy sports is skill based but poker isn't. 
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • NOT

                                                                    Will Ricci

                                                                    The Secretary of the State GOP recently attended a fundraiser for Democrat Congressman David Cicilline, alongside Cicilline's former opponent, Matt Fecteau. (He also recently posed for a photo with Democrat Virginia Governor and Clintonite Terry McAullife.) The state GOP has a rough go of it raising money for their own candidates and party, so the last thing any of their members should be doing is attending fundraisers for Democrats. And such hobnobbing with the opposition may discourage individuals who are thinking of running as Republicans, and that's the last thing the party needs.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • NOT

                                                                    Providence FOP

                                                                    Yes, the police officer in question had a right to be peeved that a Dunkin' Donuts employee took it upon herself to write a slogan on his coffee cup. But the response from the Providence Fraternal Order of Police was so over-the-top and hysterical it was borderline embarrassing. Instead of calling an emergency union meeting and whining, the officer should have kindly told the employee that he and his fellow officers work hard every day to protect black citizens in Providence, and that he didn't appreciate the innuendo. That's not currently the case. 
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                  • NOT

                                                                    Anastasia Williams

                                                                    The John Hope Settlement House--along with Board Chair Representative Anastasia Williams--have been prevented from taking part in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program after Rhode Island Department of Education investigators found no proof that the money was being expended for its intended uses. Williams, a state representative from Providence, should have known better.
                                                                     

                                                                     
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      Christopher Maxwell

                                                                      The President of the RI Trucker's Association has released a plan that wouldn't require the state to create a new tolling mechanism for truckers. The plan would rely on increasing registrations for truckers, increasing the diesel tax, and refinancing bonds. The plan is less than ideal, but it's much better than instituting new tolls that will discourage business, increase traffic, and let's face it, eventually be expanded to include passenger cars.
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      Sherry Roberts

                                                                      The Republican state representative from Coventry announced the development of a jobs guarantee program between Electric Boat and Coventry High School’s Regional Career and Technical Center earlier this week. Roberts had previously envisioned a program that would allow students from Coventry High School’s Regional Career and Technical Center to partner with Electric Boat, which would give them a leg up in seeking employment at the company. This week, the dream became a reality. 
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      Volvo Ocean Race

                                                                      It's looking like the highly successful Volvo Ocean Race, which stopped in Newport earlier this year, is planning on returning to the City by the Sea once again in 2018. That's welcome news for Rhode Island, as the event drove tens of millions into the economy.
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      Brandon Bell

                                                                      The Chairman of the state Republican Party deserves some credit for calling out Democrat House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for his refusal to consider passing good government ethics bills that would strengthen oversight over the state legislature. Now Bell needs to do more to encourage House Republicans to take a more adversarial role against House Leadership, and do more to fight for ethics and good government.
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      Providence Police

                                                                      It was a good week for the Providence Police Department after they identified the suspect in the What Cheer Record store theft, making it only a matter of time before the suspected thief is brought to justice, as well as the suspect in the hit and run of a Providence Fire Fighter.  The Providence Police are much better off doing what they do best, bringing criminals to justice and keeping us safe, (instead of over-reacting to a teenage Dunkin Donuts employee writing a slogan on a cup.)
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      URI Men's Basketball

                                                                      It's a  make or break season for coach Dan Hurley's Rams Men's basketball team this season, but there's plenty of reason to believe it will be more make than break for Rhode Island. The Rams return of standout Junior guard E. C. Matthews, and forward Hassan Martin were both picked pre-season Atlantic 10 conference First Team by the Coaches and select media. In that same poll, the Rams were picked to finish second in the conference, which would all but guarantee and end to their NCAA Tournament drought.
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • HOT

                                                                      GOP Policy Group

                                                                      The small opposition faction continues to be out front on the tolling issue, refusing to take the Governor's bond proposal at face value.  On Wednesday, the group, spearheaded by Rep. Patricia Morgan, held a press conference picking apart the due diligence of the Raimondo Administration on such points as the Governor's analysis only looks at the economic impact for ten years, when the new bond proposal is for 30 -- and the GOP group says that $12 million in annual toll revenue in Governor's plan is "unaccounted for."  Let's hope that the more they ask questions, the more answers RI taxpayers will get with a $500 million bond -- seven times that of 38 Studios -- on the line. 
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • NOT

                                                                      Rhode Island Men

                                                                      And you thought the sputtering economy, government corruption, and long winters were the only things putting a damper on our state, ladies? Think again. According to a survey done by the dating app Clover, Rhode Island is home to the the ugliest men in the nation. Sorry ladies! (At least we have excellent restaurants, right?)
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • NOT

                                                                      Gina Raimondo

                                                                      One of the bright spots of the gubernatorial campaign was the fact that all the Democratic candidates promised to commission a special investigation into the demise of 38 studios during one of the debates. During a recent WPRI Channel 12 interview, however, Raimondo flip flopped on her position, saying she doesn't think paying for an investigation is a worthwhile expenditure of state resources. That's so not hot.

                                                                       
                                                                    • NOT

                                                                      Harold Metts and Juan Pichardo

                                                                      The two senators from Providence voted for the state budget, and now they're complaining about it! Both have written letters to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority asking it to cancel a plan that will force residents who are elderly or disabled and whose income is no higher than 200 percent of the poverty level to pay a half fare for their bus rides (they currently ride free). Yes, the rate hike for the poor was one of many things to hate about the budget. But if these two were as adamantly opposed as they claim they are, they would have voted against the budget.
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • NOT

                                                                      Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                      Give the House Speaker some credit, he's not shy. In fact, he's been anything but bashful about making saying, loud and clear, that he doesn't care about strengthening our Ethics laws. Mattiello recently told a Providence Journal Republican, that he is not considering a bill that would make the state legislature subject to the Rhode Island State Ethics Commission--an absolute no-brainer of the  bill that the state desperately needs. 
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                    • NOT

                                                                      Vanessa Toledo-Vickers

                                                                      The owner of Manchester 65, a nightclub in West Warwick that features rock bands, gangster rappers, and a bi-weekly "fetish night", was on the receiving end of more bad press this week. GoLocal reported that her establishment is currently the defendant in a lawsuit filed by property owner Evolution Mill — and is facing an eviction hearing in November. 
                                                                       

                                                                       
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Viola Davis

                                                                        The Central Falls native got a much deserved Emmy Award earlier this week for as best actress in a drama for her role in How To Get Away With Murder. Davis latest victory is another chapter in the inspiring rags to riches story of Davis, who grew up in extreme poverty. Davis has truly become a symbol of hope for those who started their lives under unfortunate circumstances. 

                                                                         
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Providence Stadium Opponents

                                                                        The poorly funded, grassroots opponents (many of which with wildly different political ideologies who joined together for a common cause) of building a new stadium on the relocated route 195 land in Providence scored a major victory when the team announced it had abandoned plans to build a taxpayer funded stadium there. This doesn't mean that Rhode Island taxpayers won't ultimately be forking over tens of millions of dollars to build a new stadium for the wealthy Pawtucket Red Sox owners, but it does mean the taxpayers have at least won round 1 of the fight. 

                                                                         
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Richard Jenkins

                                                                        It was really an awesome night for Rhode Island at the Emmy's on Sunday. In addition to Davis, Rhode Island's own Richard Jenkins scored his first Emmy victory for his performance as Outstanding Actor in a limited series for his work on Olive Kitteridge. Jenkins, who has had fantastic performances in so many movies over the years, including The Visitor, Let Me In, and Burn After Reading, (to name a few), had to beat out former Oscar winner Adrien Brody to win the award.   
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Mike Stenhouse

                                                                        The CEO of the Rhode Island based free market think tank, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, makes a good point in a GoLocalProv this week article about the non-profit institutions in Rhode Island. Stenhouse pointed out that the organizations are wealthy, influential, yet still don't pay their full fair share of taxes.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Pope Francis

                                                                        You don't have to agree with all of the Pontiff's political views to respect this man's humility and awesome Christian perspective. Francis turned down an opportunity to have dinner with Washington DC's most influential lawmakers last night and instead dined with homeless folks, whom he called the city's most vulnerable. The Pope is teaching us all a lesson about the value of helping those less fortunate than ourselves.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • HOT

                                                                        Kris Dunn

                                                                        Providence College's standout point guard was named Blue Ribbon's Preseason Player of the year. Blue Ribbon is an extensive publication that's about as deep into college basketball as humanly possible. So that's about as high praise as one can get. However, the ranking does give Dunn high expectations and pressure in the upcoming year that he hopefully will live up to. He's going to  need to be awesome if the Friar's are going to return to the NCAA tourney.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        38 Studios Documents

                                                                        The release of the 38 Studios documents stemming from the depositions in the civil lawsuit should have sent smoke out of the collective ears of every honest citizen in Rhode Island. The documents showed us that former Governor Donald Carcieri, former Speaker Gordon Fox (who now resides in federal prison on an unrelated corruption charge) and former House Finance Chairman all lied about the origin of the disastrous 38 Studios deal. More and more, Rhode Island government seems like an instrument for the insiders to profit at the expense of the general population.

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        Lincoln Chafee

                                                                        It continues to remain rough sledding for the Rhode Island presidential candidate. Poll after poll continues to find literally no support out there for the former Warwick Mayor, and Rhode Island US Senator and Governor. Further, given previous Chafee's insistence on extreme measures of separation of church and state (remember his refusal to have a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony when he was Governor) raises questions as to whether or not Chafee would be a gracious host to Pope Francis in the future, assuming he did somehow win the Presidential election. 
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        Brown University

                                                                        According to a survey of Brown University students, roughly 25 percent of women at the school who participated in the study experienced "unwanted sexual touching" since entering the school. The numbers were similar to what was found at the other 27 schools participating in the survey and suggests that something needs to be done nationwide to change the culture on college campuses.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                        The House Speaker has argued that Governor Gina Raimondo should not grant drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants through an executive order. That may please some people who think the undocumented are the cause of all our problems (they're not), but what was most annoying were Mattiello's comments. Mattiello referred to the legislative process as "designed to be open and transparent." I don't know how he can make that argument considering the fact that legislative leaders have admitted  that they negotiate important budget matters with one another behind closed doors. What he calls an open and transparent process often looks like nothing but window dressing.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        Voter Initiative

                                                                        The Providence City Solicitor has rejected a bid by Providence voters to create a petition opposing the construction of a baseball stadium somewhere in the city for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The opinion seemed based on solid legal footing, but it's a setback for direct democracy, once gain, in Rhode Island.
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                      • NOT

                                                                        Draft Kings

                                                                        Yes, the fantasy football website is making money hand over fist. But the Massachusetts Attorney General's office has launched an investigation into whether or not the website engages in illegal online gambling. It's hard to see how the website isn't based on gambling considering how the players wager money and hope their selections of players win them money in return. In any event, the investigation could have far reaching implications. 
                                                                         

                                                                         
                                                                        • HOT

                                                                          Tom Brady

                                                                          The New England Patriots star quarterback will be right where he should be on the NFL's opening night next Thursday, starting the game and watching the Superbowl banner being raised beforehand. Federal Court Judge Richard Berman vacated a 4-game suspension for Brady that was imposed by the NFL over his "more probable than not" role in deflating footballs before games, and encouraged both sides to work out a fair settlement outside of court. Let's face it, even if Brady knew about a scheme to take a minuscule amount of air pressure out of the footballs, let call it was it was, an equipment violation that should've been subject to a small fine at most. 
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • HOT

                                                                          Nicole Alexander-Scott

                                                                          The state's Director of Public Health will serve as the honorary chair of the annual 2-mile AIDS Walk RI that is happening  on Sunday, September 13 that begins at the statehouse and begins at noon with a speaking program. The walk is a good opportunity to spread awareness about the still devastating disease (despite the medical advances over the last decade), and the need for testing, and for comprehensive services for people living with the disease.
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • HOT

                                                                          Brown University Males

                                                                          The ladies and gay males of Tinder have spoken, and according to them, the males at Brown University are hot. Brown University had the 12th most "swipe rights" in the country according to the company's survey last spring semester. Not so hot were Boston College dudes, who reportedly ranked last.
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • HOT

                                                                          No Bully

                                                                          The non-profit organization that trains schools how to use student empathy to stop bullying has partnered with the City of Pawtucket and Hasbro, to make the city's schools bully free. The non-profit will train teachers on how to more effectively recognize bullying, and how to neutralize it before students become victimized. It's nice to see the city of Pawtucket, and Hasbro, a good corporate citizen, step forward to help address this problem. Students need to be concerned with learning, not their safety, when they go to school.  

                                                                           
                                                                        • HOT

                                                                          Bananagrams

                                                                          The Providence based game company, whose namesake award winning word game, which was founded by the late Pawtucket native Abraham Nathanson, announced its first Official Bannagrams Tournament will take place early next year. The tournament is free to enter and open to 500 schools throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It's nice to see Rhode Island based companies doing cool things for Rhode Island schools. And it makes sense since it's an educational game. 
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • HOT:

                                                                          Providence College Basketball

                                                                          Well the men's team no longer has LaDontae Henton or future superstar Paschal Chukwu, they've got Ludacris! The A-list rapper/hip hop artist will headline the men's and women's team's late night madness party to kick off the basketball season this autumn. Hopefully the rapper remembers to lay off his trademark vulgarity. 
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • NOT

                                                                          Dan McKee

                                                                          Last year, when he was a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, McKee called for a "third party investigation into 38 studios by an independent" investigation into the demise of 38 studios. Since he's become the state's Lieutenant Governor, he hasn't led the charge on the front the way he did when he was a candidate. And McKee was supposedly leading an effort to bring regionalization to Rhode Island's municipal governments, but that effort has bore no fruit as of yet. Is the reformer he claimed to be, or is he just politics as usual?
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • NOT

                                                                          Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                          Maybe the House Speaker isn't as powerful as everyone thought after all. The Speaker promised a fall session to discuss tolls and a potential stadium deal (and taxpayer funded subsidy) for the wealthy Pawtucket Red Sox owners, but that hasn't been scheduled yet, and the discussion surrounding a potential fall session has gone quiet. Also, his comments make it seem like he is content with the investigation into the 38 studios demise, and that makes him sound out of touch with the electorate.
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • NOT

                                                                          Bryant University

                                                                          The school year got off to a bad start for Bryant University as what was supposed to be the school's new training facility partially collapsed on Tuesday morning, injuring six individuals (reportedly, none of the injuries are life threatening). The new training facility was supposed to open this winter and include a full sized-football turf field for training for lacrosse, field hockey, football and other sports. 

                                                                           
                                                                        • NOT

                                                                          Jorge Elorza

                                                                          The Mayor's relationship with the Providence Firefighters Union doesn't seem to be getting better any time soon. The firefighters union has scheduled a rally to take place next Tuesday, just before the next city council meeting at city hall. Elorza is right to look for budget savings, since the city is in a very difficult financial position, but it just seems like the mayor is losing the public relations battle on this issue.
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                        • NOT

                                                                          Providence Graffiti

                                                                          The historic Lippitt House, located on Hope Street, was subject to some nasty graffiti last week, and neighbors caught the miscreants on video doing their disgusting deed. Graffiti is as disrespectful as it is disgusting, and plagues the whole city of Providence as well as most other communities in Rhode Island. Kudos to the east side residents for capturing the criminals on video and reporting it to the authorities though. 
                                                                           

                                                                           
                                                                          • #13 Wesleyan University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 49

                                                                            Location: Middletown, CT

                                                                            Score: 2.73 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $47,244

                                                                            Business Insider: "With roughly 2,900 undergraduates on a 316-acre campus overlooking the Conn. River, Wesleyan uses its small size to provide highly personal faculty support and customizable programs of study to students.

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #12 Boston University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 45

                                                                            Location: Boston, MA

                                                                            Score: 2.79 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $44,910

                                                                            Business Insider: "A concrete campus located in the bustling city of Boston, BU has nearly 100 study abroad programs in 23 countries, an active social media presence with more than 200 Facebook pages and groups, and 20-plus NCAA Division I varsity sports, including a multiple NCAA national championship-winning hockey team."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #11 Wellesley College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 44

                                                                            Location: Wellesley, MA

                                                                            Score: 2.86 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $43,544

                                                                            Business Insider: "Madeleine Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Diane Sawyer are among the nearly 37,000 living alumni of Wellesley College, an institute with an unwavering commitment to empowering women to make a difference in the world."

                                                                            "Students are central to decision-making at this liberal arts college: They serve on major committees of the board of trustees, participate in faculty search, and contribute to strategic planning."
                                                                             
                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #10 Middlebury College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 40

                                                                            Location: Middlebury, VT

                                                                            Score: 2.94 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $57,075

                                                                            Business Insider: "Renowned for leadership in language instruction and environmental studies, Middlebury emphasizes close interaction between students and faculty as the core of its education. All courses are taught by faculty members, rather than graduate assistants, and 65% of classes contain fewer than 20 students."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #9 Tufts University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 37

                                                                            Location: Medford, MA

                                                                            Score: 3.07 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $46,598

                                                                            Business Insider: "Tufts University encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary studies at its two colleges, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. An overwhelming 90% of students are enrolled in the first, which boasts a liberal arts college feel in a research-rich environment."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #8 Boston College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 36

                                                                            Location: Boston, MA

                                                                            Score: 3.09 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $46,088

                                                                            Business Insider: "Boston College jumps four spots on our list, thanks in part to its tremendous growth in recent years. Undergraduate applications have soared 75% over the past decade, and voluntary giving by alumni has increased the university's endowment to $1.9 billion."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #7 Amherst College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 27

                                                                            Location: Amherst, MA

                                                                            Score: 3.31 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $58,744

                                                                            Business Insider: "Ranked the second-best liberal arts school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, Amherst College climbed four spots on our list this year."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #6 Williams College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 23

                                                                            Location: Williamstown, MA

                                                                            Score: 3.40 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $46,600

                                                                            Business Insider: "Williams was number 27 on last year's list, but our readers voted it up to No. 23 this time around. A top liberal arts college, Williams is set to host its own TEDx conference for students and faculty in January 2014."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #5 Brown University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 20

                                                                            Location: Providence, RI

                                                                            Score: 3.60 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $45,612

                                                                            Business Insider: "Brown is known for being the most individualistic of the Ivies, and with some of the happiest students."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #4 Dartmouth College

                                                                            Overall Rank: 9

                                                                            Location: Hanover, NH

                                                                            Score: 3.96 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $46,752

                                                                            Business Insider: "At 4,200 enrolled undergraduate students, Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivies. But its size has no bearing on the prestige of its programs; the school was ranked No. 1 in undergraduate teaching courses by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth year in a row."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #3 Yale University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 5

                                                                            Location: New Haven, CT

                                                                            Score: 4.25 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $44,125

                                                                            Business Insider: "Our readers were not shy in praising Yale's hardworking professors: 'Yale is still the best ranking... school thanks to it[s] high profile faculty," one respondent pointed out. 'It's them who keep Yale in the top.'"

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
                                                                             
                                                                          • #2 Harvard University

                                                                            Overall Rank: 3

                                                                            Location: Cambridge, MA

                                                                            Score: 4.42 out of 5

                                                                            Tuition and Fees: $42,292

                                                                            Business Insider: "For the third year in a row, Harvard has held fast at No. 3. Harvard's most popular majors (or "concentrations," as they're called there) are economics and political science, and the Crimson school has been hailed for its think-outside-the-box approach to learning."

                                                                            Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

                                                                             
                                                                            • November 27

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              100 block, Taber Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 28

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              200 Block, Olney Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 29

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              Tockwotton street and Water Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 29

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              300 block, Rochambeau Ave

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 29

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              700 Block, Hope Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 29

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 Block, Benefit St. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 30

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, Medway St. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • November 30

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              100 block, Congdon street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 1

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              100 block, Pittman St. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 1

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, Pratt Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 2nd

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, Trenton Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 3

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              100 block, meeting street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 3

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 Block, Fremont street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 3

                                                                              Larceny theft

                                                                              300 block, Blackstone Blvd. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 3

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, Locust Stret

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 3

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, Camp St.

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 4

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              Benefit St. & Bowen St. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 4

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              400 block, Elmgrove Ave

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 4

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              Main St and Jenkins St

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 5

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              400 Block Hope St. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 5

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              Olney St and Boylston Ave

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 6

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              500 block, Angell st. 

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 6

                                                                              Larceny Theft 

                                                                              1 block, Larch Street

                                                                               
                                                                            • December 9

                                                                              Larceny Theft

                                                                              1 block, 8th street

                                                                               
                                                                              • Competing Polls

                                                                                Dueling Polls

                                                                                The Brown University Poll released on Sunday has Clinton leading. 

                                                                                Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 43 to 34 percent with 16 percent undecided. Sanders leads among voters under the age of 45.

                                                                                Sanders garners 48 percent of those under 45 to Clinton’s 34 percent. Clinton wins 52 percent of voters age 65 and older, with 23 percent for Sanders. 

                                                                                Women strongly favor Clinton, at 47 percent versus 30 percent for Sanders. Among men, Clinton received 39 percent of the likely vote to Sanders’ 38 percent. 

                                                                                Clinton’s strongest support lies with African American voters, at 63 percent, to 13 percent for Sanders. A majority of Latino voters favor Clinton, 55 percent to 36 percent for Sanders. Among white voters, Clinton’s lead is less decisive: 42 percent to Sanders’ 35 percent, according to the Brown poll.

                                                                                New Public Policy Polling surveys in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island conducted on behalf of VoteVets.Org Action Fund found that in Rhode Island:

                                                                                * Sanders has a 49/45 lead;
                                                                                * Clinton’s up 54/40 with "actual Democrats" in RI;
                                                                                * Sanders is up 67/28 among independents planning to vote in the Democratic primary and that gives him the overall lead.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Bernie Bash

                                                                                Bernie 2016 to Host Rhode Island Primary Results Watch Party 

                                                                                U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders' Rhode Island campaign on Tuesday will host an Election Day party in Providence to watch returns. Joe Caiazzo, the campaign's Rhode Island state political director, will speak to the gathered staff and volunteers.

                                                                                Rhode Island is one of five states voting on April 26. 

                                                                                Party Info

                                                                                8:30 p.m. Primary Results Watch Party, Garden Room, Biltmore Hotel, 11 Dorrance Street, Providence

                                                                                Information for the public: Doors open at 8:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is encouraged. 

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Sanders Supporters Mad

                                                                                Sanders Supporters Furious with Gorbea

                                                                                Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is coming under stinging criticism for the organization and lack of polling places available for tomorrow’s primary in RI. Much of the criticism has come from those supporting Bernie Sanders that fear long lines will deter new voters. Gorbea has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

                                                                                Gorbea ran for Secretary of State on a platform of expanding access for voters. Her campaign web site promised that she would “ensure fair, fast and accurate elections.”  

                                                                                In one post to Gorbea’s Facebook page, Kevilina Burbank wrote,”Do you think people are flat out stupid? In a record breaking voter turnout year, you close 60 polling places *after* what happened in AZ? You'll be voted out. It's a matter of time.”

                                                                                In response Gorbea wrote, “We don't think people are stupid. In Rhode Island, polling places are overseen by the Board of Elections. They traditionally open fewer polls for presidential primaries because voter turnout us usually much lower. It is great to see such enthusiasm around the presidential primary this year. We encourage everyone to bring that enthusiasm to the polls tomorrow. If you can't get to the polls tomorrow, be sure to go to your local board of canvassers today to cast an emergency mail ballot.”

                                                                                Gorbea’s Defense

                                                                                "The Secretary is not going to second guess the Board of Elections who worked closely with the Board of Canvassers. There are clearly defined roles for the Secretary of State, and the Board of Elections, who is not under the purview of the Secretary of State," said Gorbea's spokesperson Nicole Lagace in a phone interview with GoLocalProv.

                                                                                "This was a data-driven decision by the Board of Elections based on past presidential primaries -- it's great to see so much enthusiasm this year. The fewer polling places are a direct result of previous turnouts. In 2008, there were 177. In 2012, when there was a dismal turnout, there were 135.  This year it will be 144.  If more people turn out this year, then the Board of Elections will likely increase that number for the next election," said Lagace.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Clinton x 3

                                                                                Three Clinton Visits in a Week

                                                                                Former President Bill Clinton visited last week. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came in on Saturday to Rhode Island. Monday, former President Clinton came back again -- his second visit in a week.

                                                                                On Monday, the former President visited both Woonsocket and Providence.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Sanders Crowd

                                                                                How Big Was Sanders Crowd?

                                                                                Sunday's Bernie Sanders crowd was big, but the key to Sanders' success on Tuesday is getting young voters out. Sanders needs to turn out the energy and the momentum of the Roger Williams Park crowds and turn it into primary votes.

                                                                                Photo: Amy Espinal

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Common Cause Cautions

                                                                                Warnings Being issued

                                                                                Common Cause Rhode Island is calling on voters to take extra precautions ahead of tomorrow's Presidential Preference Primary.

                                                                                "In light of the decision by the state Board of Elections to consolidate the number of polling places, and the anticipated high turnout, we urge Rhode Islanders to be prepared before they vote," says John Marion, Common Cause executive director. "The three most important pieces of information every voter should know are the location of their polling place, who will be appearing on their primary ballot, and what forms of Photo ID they should bring with them."

                                                                                Marion noted, however, "Registered voters should also know that even if they do not have a proper ID they can still cast a provisional ballot which will be counted once their registration is verified."

                                                                                The organization urges voters who can to vote at off-peak hours, avoiding the early morning and after work rush. Additionally, Common Cause calls on local Boards of Canvassers to make sure that voters with disabilities and elderly voters who may not be able to wait in extended lines are given sufficient accommodations. 

                                                                                Common Cause is a partner in the national Election Protection Coalition , which helps all American voters, gain access to the polls and overcome obstacles to voting. Voters are encouraged to call 1-866-OUR-VOTE if they encounter problems at the polls.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Trump Numbers

                                                                                A Big Win in RI Matters

                                                                                Trump needs every delegate to reach the much needed 1,237 to win the GOP nomination. As of today, Trump has secured 845 delegates and he needs all 19 Republican delegates in RI.

                                                                                As of Monday, there were still 731 GOP delegates uncommitted.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • DOJ

                                                                                U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI Prepared to Respond to Complaints of Election Fraud & Voting Rights Abuses

                                                                                U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced Monday that Assistant United States Attorney Terrence P. Donnelly will be the point person in RI in his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for Tuesday's Presidential primary elections.

                                                                                The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur. "The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on Election Day," said the DOJ.

                                                                                To report suspected election fraud or voting rights abuses at the polls in Rhode Island, the United States Attorney’s Office can be reached by the public at (401) 709-5068.  In addition, the FBI field office in Rhode Island will be prepared to receive allegations of voting fraud and other election abuses at (401) 272-8310.

                                                                                 
                                                                              • Clinton Party

                                                                                Hillary for Rhode Island to Hold Primary Night Watch Party in Providence

                                                                                The Clinton campaign will host a primary night watch party in Providence for grassroots volunteers and voters from across the state to "come together and watch primary night election results."

                                                                                "Attendees will have the opportunity to cheer Clinton on and share with other supporters why they believe that she is the best candidate to break down barriers holding Rhode Islanders back," says the campaign.

                                                                                Primary Night Campaign Watch Party
                                                                                WHEN: Tuesday, April 26 at 8:00 PM
                                                                                WHERE: G Pub, 61 Orange Street, Providence, RI 02903

                                                                                 
                                                                              • No Cruz

                                                                                Kasich, Sanders, Clinton and Trump All Came

                                                                                Ted Cruz was the only GOP or Democratic candidate NOT to visit Rhode Island, but his campaign did send out the below email to build support with Rhode Islanders.

                                                                                TED CRUZ FOR PRESIDENT

                                                                                RHODE ISLAND PRIMARY
                                                                                TUESDAY APRIL 26

                                                                                TED’S CONSERVATIVE PRIORITIES

                                                                                HONOR & PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION
                                                                                CRUSH THE WASHINGTON CARTEL
                                                                                REPEAL OBAMACARE
                                                                                GROW THE ECONOMY
                                                                                DEFEND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
                                                                                RESTORE AMERICAN LEADERSHIP GLOBALLY
                                                                                FIGHT FOR TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE
                                                                                PROTECT THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN
                                                                                DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD
                                                                                STOP AMNESTY
                                                                                STOP THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL
                                                                                ABOLISH THE IRS
                                                                                PROTECT & HONOR OUR VETERANS
                                                                                END COMMON CORE
                                                                                DEFEND THE 2ND AMENDMENT

                                                                                 
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Seth Magaziner

                                                                                  The General Treasurer had a good week in the news after the New York City Retirement System Chief Executive Officer implemented a new policy that will require any firm that manages that fund's pension money to provide complete fee disclosures beforehand. But New York is following the state of Rhode Island's lead, as Magaziner implemented a similar policy for the Rhode Island pension fund earlier this summer. Magaziner's investment strategy and his reliance on hedge funds remains highly questionable, but he has been strong on transparency thus far into his tenure. 
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Luis Aponte

                                                                                  The Providence City Council President finds himself in a key position regarding the fate of the Pawtucket Red sox. The council President said earlier this week that he intends to hold talks with the team's new owners about a potential move to Victory Place in Providence. Aponte pointed out that there needs to be leadership on this issue from somewhere, and it seems like it may be falling directly into his lap. Here's hoping the talented politician from South Providence can make some progress on what's thus far been a debacle. 
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Delta Dental

                                                                                  The dental insurer made donations totaling over $1 million to support oral health for the disadvantaged population in Rhode Island earlier this week. The insurer funded worthy organizations including the Samuel Sinclair Dental Center at Rhode Island Hospital ($350,000), Blackstone Valley Community Health Care ($350,000), Providence Community Health Centers ($350,000), Scituate Health Alliance ($15,000) and the Thundermist Dental Tent at Operation Stand Down ($12,000).
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Kobi Dennis

                                                                                  The Providence Community organizer deserves a shoutout for stepping forward and calling for Rhode Islanders to boycott the scheduled October 28 "Chief Keef" concert. Dennis pointed out that Rhode Island doesn't need to support a rabble rouser who promotes violence and gangster activity.  
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Winter

                                                                                  Experts weighing in on the prospect of this winter in a GoLocal article on Wednesday seemed to think that Rhode Island won't be in for as severe as a winter as last year. While predicting the weather on a seasonal basis is highly unpredictable, the thought of a less severe winter is certainly welcome news.
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                  Brown Football

                                                                                  The football team put on an amazing offensive display against Ivy League rival Princeton, who was previously undefeated and favored over Brown, in last Saturday's 38-31 victory. The Bears hope to continue their momentum as they take their 3-game winning streak into winless Cornell this Saturday.
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                  Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                  Either the House Speaker doesn't get it, or he just doesn't want to. Mattiello told a group of Rhode Island businessmen at the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council Annual Dinner (RIPEC) that the state doesn't need to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the 38 Studios fiasco, and instead needs to move on. Mattiello is to stubborn to realize that the state cannot move on, and the specter of 38 Studios will continue hanging over the state government, and that includes his desired initiatives and projects, like an albatross.
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                  Donald Grebien

                                                                                  Look, it's understandable that the Mayor of Pawtucket wants to do all in his power to make sure he keeps the Pawtucket Red Sox in is city. But at this point, Grebien is starting to look desperate, pathetic, and unwilling to move on, since the Pawtucket Red Sox owners have made it more than obvious that they hate McCoy stadium. Here's the thing: there are more baseball teams in the world than the Pawtucket Red Sox, and plenty of them would be more than willing to play an affordable brand of ball here in Pawtucket. It's time to go find them!
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                  Energy Efficiency

                                                                                  The City of Providence ranks 32 out of the top 50 cities in America for energy efficiency according to the American Council of Energy-Efficiency Economy. The analysis was based on a combination of factors ranging from public lighting for performance maintenance strategies. Meanwhile, the city of Boston ranked first in the nation. It might be a good idea for the city to begin developing a new, long-range energy efficiency plan.
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                  Gina Raimondo

                                                                                  The Governor's Toll Plan continues to be filled with questions and holes. News surfaced this week that the Governor's administration asked the federal government for permission to be able to toll the underside of bridges. The development is just another piece of evidence that the administration rushed the proposal during the last legislative session and suggests that the state needs to rethink it's whole plan. And yes, it's time to start living within our means and finding ways to fix our infrastructure with the state's $8 billion budget.  
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                  James Woods

                                                                                  Perhaps Rhode Island's most famous and talented actor of all time, the thespian isn't doing himself any favors when he starts hurling personal insults at politicians. Woods called Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders an "utter moron" on twitter earlier this week. There's nothing wrong with entering the political discourse, but when you resort to personal attacks, you're not doing your argument any favors. 
                                                                                   

                                                                                   
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Malcolm Farmer III

                                                                                    Farmer will receive the Brighter Futures Award, which is given annually to a person or organization making an outstanding contribution to the well-being of children, at a ceremony on October 20th at the Convention Center. Farmer, an attorney, has devoted his life to fighting for civil rights. In the late sixties, Farmer moved to Mississippi to help African Americans fight for civil rights against state and local governments that practiced segregation. When he returned to Rhode Island, he continued his advocacy for minorities as a Providence City Council member and as Executive Director of the Governor's Commission on Crime, Delinquency and Criminal Administration. The honor is well-deserved.

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Teny Oded Gross

                                                                                    The Executive Director of the Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence will be leaving Rhode Island for Illinois, where he will create a group similar to the one he ran here. Gross is a tireless advocate of teaching the virtues of finding common ground to resolve disputes, encouraging youngsters to steer clear of the violence of gang life, and caring for victims. Through his actions, and those of the group he led, Gross has put into practice (and taught) the teachings of intellectual giants like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi --namely, that the answer to violence is not more violence, but peace. Rhode Island's loss will be Chicago's gain.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Sam Zurier

                                                                                    The councilman from the East Side of Providence had some harsh words for the Elorza administration in his most recent letter to his constituents (which he posts on his website). And Zurier, normally a soft-spoken guy, has good reason to be angry considering  the administration now admits that the city ran a $5 million deficit after claiming just two months ago that the budget was balanced. That's alarming, and Zurier, and everyone else who cares about Rhode Island is right to be concerned. As Providence goes, so goes Rhode Island.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Brown University

                                                                                    The state's Ivy League University did an excellent job managing it's endowment fund over the last year. The school earned a 5.7 percent return on investment, which brought the fund up to $3.3 billion. Perhaps the state of Rhode Island, which got a meager 2.2 percent return (I have struggled to find a state pension fund or major endowment with a lower return) should outsource the management of its fund to Brown? (The school also rescinded it's honorary degree from Bill Cosby--another wise move.)
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Jim Vincent

                                                                                    The President of the Rhode Island Chapter of the NAACP had some insightful comments on crime in our capital city earlier this week. While the numbers have technically gone down, he said, the city cannot rest on its laurels. "We understand there are budget constraints and a new class coming in, but we need to get back to that community policing model -- regardless of what those numbers say," said Vincent. "Any crime is too much crime, and unless it's gone from five million to zero, there's a need to better". We're lucky to have such a level-headed, yet passionate person running the state's NAACP.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Robert Watson

                                                                                    The former House Minority Leader from East Greenwich has emerged as one of the heroes of 38 Studios fiasco. Before the legislation that paved way for this monstrosity was passed, Watson prophetically stood up on the House Floor and told the other legislators that the bill would lead to a scandal that they'd be reading about print media for a decade to come. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the other legislators were too scared of angering former House Speaker Gordon Fox to listen to Watson's wisdom. We need more legislators like Watson who do what they feel is right instead of trying to fit in.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                    Devin Weinberg

                                                                                    A senior at Moses Brown High School, Weinberg will donate 100 literary classic novels to Hope High School. The youngster from Cranston created his own non-profit, Providence Reading Olympics, (through money he earned working at TeeSpring), and raised enough money to purchase the 100 books from Barnes and Noble. Weinberg hopes to expand the program to other cities in Rhode Island. Here's hoping he remains in the state for decades to come.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                    Jorge Elorza

                                                                                    Two months ago the mayor told the general public that the city had basically closed the fiscal year with a balanced budget. Now, Elorza is singing a different tune.  The administration announced this week that the city ended the year with a $5 million deficit. It's alarming that the administration's math could be off roughly $5 million just two months ago, and to make matters worse, the mayor traveled to China this week and thus not around to explain what happened. 
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                    Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                    The House Speaker has been in full control of the Rhode Island House of Representatives for two years and has steadfastly rejected the idea of investigating the demise of 38 Studios. Now, with the previously sealed documents from the state's civil lawsuit public and the damning information contain therein, the Speaker has agreed to hold hearings. If the Speaker had foresight, he would have held these hearings as soon as he became the legislature's top dog.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                    Don Carcieri

                                                                                    The state Republicans always wanted to believe that the former Governor was this good government guy, but the release of the previously sealed 38 Studios documents tell us otherwise. Carcieri was aware of the 38 Studio's deal long before the summer of 2010 and worked to bring it fruition by trying stifle dissent from other Republicans so that it could become a reality and simultaneously keeping rank-and-file legislators in the dark. 
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                    Providence

                                                                                    The capital city was ranked the worst in the country by the popular website Wallethub for people with disabilities. Providence found itself ranked last due to its poor economic development, quality of life, and health care. We need to improve those categories as that would benefit everyone, not the least of which would be our disabled population.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                    RI Commerce Corporation

                                                                                    It seems only fitting that the successor to the (EDC) would somehow land itself on the "not hot" list the week after the 38 Studios sealed documents and testimony, which were quite revealing (to put it mildly), were released. The Commerce Corporation has selected two out-of-state firms to run the state's $5 million tourism campaign. There were firms here in Rhode Island, including well-respected firms like PriMedia, Duffy and Shanley, and Atom Media, who could have done an excellent job and kept jobs here and revenue in our state.
                                                                                     

                                                                                     
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      Jorge Elorza: 

                                                                                      The mayor deserves credit for clamping down on prostitution in our capital city, particularly that being perpetrated on backpage.com. Providence Police announced the arrests another 13 men on April 16 and 17 who attempted to solicit a prostitute on the web page (they arrested 22 in a similar sting on April 2). The mayor has sent a loud and clear message that those who seek to take advantage of women should not try that here because we don't want it, and it won't be tolerated.
                                                                                       

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      YWCA RI

                                                                                      The Young Women's Christian Association's Rhode Island Chapter hosted the seventh Annual Women Holding Office Celebration on Monday, and featured a documentary about how the political landscape for women seeking to hold office in Rhode Island has improved over the last several years. Hopefully this trend inspires more talented female candidates who want to improve our state to step forward and run for office.
                                                                                       

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      Pilar McCloud

                                                                                      McCloud, a member of the NAACP's local chapter who holds a leadership position on the organization's youth council, absolutely stole the show as the Master of Ceremonies at the organization's May Breakfast last Saturday. McCloud, a ball of fire and a gifted public speaker (to put it mildly), got the crowd engaged and fire up about civil rights. It's nice to see the local chapter of the NAACP in good hands with leaders like Jim Vincent, McCLoud, and Leah Williams Metts and so many others, involved.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      Michael Riley

                                                                                      It turns out that the former Congressional candidate and finance expert's warnings about the Providence pension system's lack of proper accounting--city officials admitted this week that the system reported having $62 million more than it actually has--were spot on all along. Maybe it's about time everyone starts paying more attention to Riley's critiques (not just about Providence, but about pension issues across Rhode Island).

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      Providence College Students

                                                                                      Golocal reported this week that a group of Providence College joined a professor to protest racial profiling on campus after several incidents where students and the professor felt like victims of profiling. There's no place for racial profiling in the 21st century, least of all at a college who's motto reads "Veritas", or 'truth'. PC administration must take steps to eradicate this immediately.
                                                                                       

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                      Mother's Day

                                                                                      Let's face it, every day should be Mother's Day; but this Sunday, don't forget to thank that mom in your life for everything she does. She may not be perfect, but remind her that you think she is.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                      Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                      The House Speaker claims to be a champion of the taxpayer, but he sure loves spending their money. It's become more than evident that Mattiello is just clamoring at this point to give the new Pawtucket Red Sox owners a sweetheart deal at every Rhode Islander's expense considering that he's hired a consultant, Andrew Zimbalist (on our dime, of course), who has already told RI-NPR that the stadium is a great proposal.
                                                                                       

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                      Tom Brady

                                                                                      I know that the superstar Patriots quarterback will never really be "not hot" in New England, but the "deflategate" report that was released by the NFL on Wednesday stained his reputation across the country. It's not the crime of the century, but it does seem like Brady knew more about the football tampering than he's let on.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                      45

                                                                                      There are currently 200 people who are getting a pension from the state of Rhode Island or one of its local governments that retired at the age of 45 or younger. We're in an age where people are living longer and healthier lives, and there's no reason for someone to need to retire at 45. That kind of abuse strains budgets and crowds out revenue for everything else. Isn't 50 the new 30 anyway?

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                      Racial Disparities in School Suspensions

                                                                                      The Rhode Island Chapter of the ACLU pointed out that racial disparities in high school suspensions reached their highest level in a decade. Discipline should not be metered differently based on a student's skin color, and school administrators need to make certain that punishments aren't being levied more harshly on racial minorities going forward.

                                                                                       
                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                      Unpaid Festival Permits

                                                                                      The City of Providence, particularly the Board of Licenses, needs to stop issuing permits for festivals and events which already owe the city tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid police details. Doing so only sets a bad example and encourages other organizations to not pay their police detail bill.
                                                                                       

                                                                                       
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        Memory of George Patrick Duffy

                                                                                        Duffy, a former Rhode Island Reds Radio Broadcaster was a legendary youth sports coach in his beloved Pawtucket, and had the Slater Park baseball fields named for him years before he died. Duffy, who died last weekend at 94, was a stern, strict coach, but he taught his players that a strong work ethic and good self-discipline are more valuable than raw talent. No one can live forever, but the life lessons Duffy taught his players over his remarkable 7 decades of will coaching live on.

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        Gay and Lesbian Friendly Providence

                                                                                        According to Nerdwallet, Providence is the 4th most LGBT friendly city in the United States. That's a good thing for Rhode Island, which was founded on the basis of tolerance and freedom. Let's hope Providence continues it's tradition of not merely tolerance, but embrace of people with alternative lifestyles.
                                                                                         

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        RI Oral Health Foundation

                                                                                        The Foundation will host it's fourth annual free dental clinic at CCRI's Flanagan Campus in Lincoln on Saturday, May 30 from 6 a.m. until capacity is reached and on Sunday, May 31 from 6 a.m. until capacity is reached. Dental Health is vital, but so many Rhode Islanders are struggling and can't afford a trip to the dentist. Kudos to the Oral Health Foundation for doing a great thing this weeknd!
                                                                                         

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        Jorge Elorza

                                                                                        The mayor announced this week that he has ressurected the Midnight Basketball Program, a collaboration between the City of Providence and various non-profits thoughout the city. The new mayor clearly realizes that sports are a great way to keep youngsters out of trouble and help them learn life lessons and he deserves credit for reviving the midnight basketball program this summer.

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        WPRO

                                                                                        Although the station has fired general manager Barbara Haynes, it still features a strong lineup of local news talk all day long, and that's something unique to Rhode Island. WPRO has had a strong hand in making politics Rhode Island's professional sport and there's no indication that that's coming to and end.
                                                                                         

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                        Barrett Hazeltine

                                                                                        The Brown University Dean will be honored by the The Met School’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship during a brunch on June 14th, and will be inducted into the Rhode Island Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Hazeltine's reputation for inspiring students to become entrepreneurs and his devotion to teaching are what's landed him these honors, GoLocalProv reported yesterday. 
                                                                                         

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                        Double Dipping

                                                                                        This isn't about the ignoramus that puts his chip into the dip bowl twice. GoLocalProv's Stephen Beale reports that there are scores of Rhode Island pensioners who are working for state and local governments in Rhode Island. And you thought retirement was for people who were too old to do their jobs.

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                        Larry Lucchino

                                                                                        The President of the Boston Red Sox and leader of the ownership group that recently purchased the Pawtucket Red Sox told reporters earlier this week that the state of Rhode Island must "be flexible" with the new team in its pursuit to move the team to Providence and have taxpayers subsidize the new stadium. Why does everyone involved in the negotiations, from House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello to Lucchino act like it's the team that has all the leverage here? Will anyone stand up to Lucchino?

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                        Gina Raimondo

                                                                                        GoLocalProv's Kate Nagle broke the story that the Governor is looking to toll roads in Rhode Island last weekend. Yes, the state of Rhode Island has an infrastructure problem, with more than half of its bridges being deficient. But is the answer really to make us less business friendly by putting tolls on the roads that (initially at least), only trucks will pay? Of course not!

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                        IndyCar Race

                                                                                        The announcement that the race is headed to Boston instead of Providence marks another loss for the Providence Economic Development Department. Providence officials had been in negotiations with the race since at least 2013, but it was officially announced this week that the race is headed to Boston on Labor Day weekend of 2016.

                                                                                         
                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                        Times² Academy

                                                                                        A teacher at the Charter School was put on administrative leave for questioning the policies and educational approaches and outcomes at the school. School leaders should understand that open dialogue and asking questions are the very basis of thinking and education. This decision makes the school look like it has something to hide.
                                                                                         

                                                                                         
                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                          Josh Fenton

                                                                                          The newest kids on the block now have the longest tenured leader in media. With the dismissal of former WPRO station manager Barbara Haynes this week, GoLocalProv CEO Josh Fenton now is the longest serving tenure leader of a media company that covers statewide issues in Rhode Island.  Projo, all the TV stations and the leading radio groups have all seen recent leadership changes. Even closer to home GoLocal is the only statewide media company with local ownership.

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                          Frank Williams

                                                                                          The former Chief Judge of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, who helped forge a settlement between the state and the public sector unions which resulted in a settlement agreement earlier this year, has been appointed the mediator in the 38 studios lawsuit. Hopefully, Williams can get the two sides to agree to settle the case in a way that makes the state whole on some of the money it lost.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                          28th

                                                                                          The city of Providence was ranked the 28th most fit city in the country according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Mayor Jorge Elorza and new Recreation Director Mike Stephens say they'll work on improving even more, and that's a good thing as it will only put a downward pressure on our health care costs.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • Gina Raimondo

                                                                                          Gina Raimondo

                                                                                          RINPR's Scott McKay reports that the Raimondo administration has hired an East Providence firm to study the feasibility of installing central air conditioning in the Rhode Island statehouse. That's a move that's long overdue. For far too long, rank-and-file representatives who don't have access to the comfy air conditioned offices of the leadership, as well as the general public have suffered too many long hours in that stifling hot building.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                          Charlene Lima

                                                                                          The State Representative from Cranston is once again prepared to lead the fight to stop paying the 38 studios bond payments. House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello has already made it clear that he wants Rhode Islanders to pay for those bonds (which they don't legally owe), but it's still nice to see someone in the state legislature standing up for what's right.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                          Ray Di Pasquale

                                                                                          The President of CCRI has announced that he isn't going to seek a renewal of his contract, which expires at the end of the month.  Under Di Pasquale's tenure, the school saw it's largest graduating class ever (in 2012) and he also led the school's first ever capital campaign, which raised more than $5 million that went towards improvements for the library, dental lab, and theater. 
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                          Seth Magaziner

                                                                                          The state Treasurer's office has charged Edward "Ted" Siedle, a former SEC lawyer, Forbes.com columnist, and finance industry critic, who is conducting another forensic investigation into the RI pension system, $7,625 for his open records requests. That's interesting coming from a Treasurer who claimed to be all about transparency on the campaign trail last year. 
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                          Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                          After the unfortunate passing of former Red Sox President James Skeffington this week, Mattiello issued a statement expressing his regret, which was obviously a classy thing to do. But aside from the sadness everyone feels about Skeffington's passing, the statement made it seem, once again, like a new stadium being constructed with major taxpayer dollars is a done deal. Why is Mattiello constantly downplaying the state's leverage over the team to get a good deal for the taxpayers of RI?
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                          Providence Foundation

                                                                                          The Providence Foundation has come forward and endorsed the corporate welfare scheme that would force taxpayers to subsidize a shiny new stadium for the wealthy owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox. Of course, members of the board of the Providence Foundation are conflicted. Duncan Johnson, a former law partner of the recently departed James Skeffington, serves on the Executive Board, as do several Brown University top appointee--and Brown has stated that the school would use the field for activities.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                          26th

                                                                                          The state of Rhode Island ranks just 26th in the nation for biking according to the League of American Bicyclists. That's not bad, but since we're the smallest state and we care about reducing carbon emissions, this is an area where we can and should do better. 

                                                                                           
                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                          Lack of Judicial Diversity

                                                                                          Is Rhode Island's government ever going to reflect the diversity of our people? NAACP Providence branch President Jim Vincent pointed out to Golocal this week that the state's population is comprised of roughly 25 percent of people of color, yet of the 800 judges and magistrates in Rhode Island, you could fit the judges of color into a compact car. Not hot.
                                                                                           

                                                                                           
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            Peter Kilmartin

                                                                                            The Attorney General has brought a lawsuit against the Warwick Retirement Board for violating the state's Open Meetings act when it held a meeting earlier this March but didn't give the public a 48-hour notice, and also discussed matters behind closed doors that should have been held out in public view. Rhode Island is lucky to have an Attorney General with a commitment to transparency and who will hold public bodies accountable when necessary.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            Victor Matheson

                                                                                            The Holy Cross economist laid down some serious straight talk on Wednesday afternoon. The well-respected professor made it clear that public subsidies are great for minor league baseball team owners, but do very little for the economy. He also pointed out that if Rhode Island takes a hard-line stance with the team, Massachusetts leaders certainly aren't in a rush to offer the team taxpayer money.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            Teresa Paiva Weed

                                                                                            The Women's Fund of Rhode Island selected the Senate President to receive this year’s Susan L. Farmer Award, due to “her pioneering roles in government leadership and her support for Rhode Island’s groundbreaking Temporary Caregivers Insurance program.” Paiva Weed also recently came out in support of getting rid of the mandatory minimum corporate tax, which is a burden on small businesses that we don't need.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            David Salvatore

                                                                                            The Providence City Councilman deserves credit for showing leadership by speaking out against the Providence Street Car Proposal. The Proposal might be an interesting concept if the city weren't drowning in red ink and had school buildings in need of serious repairs. There are clearly other, more important priorities for the capital city right now. 
                                                                                             

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            Dollars for Scholars

                                                                                            Hope High School's Dollars for Scholars, an affiliate of Scholarship America, awarded 11 Hope High School seniors awards totaling 24,000, which included the $10,000 Louis B. Mendelsohn Entrepreneur Award; the $4,000 James M. Flink Memorial Award; and the $4,000 Hope Class of 1962 Award; as well as six $1,000 awards, at its
                                                                                            second Annual Awards Dinner at Dwares JCC, 401 Elmgrove Avenue on Tuesday. Here's hoping the recipients go on to do great things for not only themselves, but their community.
                                                                                             

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                            Providence Cannabis Convention

                                                                                            The first ever Cannabis Convention held in Providence will take place this Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon, at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The convention will focus on the use and effectiveness of cannabis as a medicinal plant and the need for more education about the technology, economics and medical basis of the industry.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                            Joe Almeida

                                                                                            The State Representative from South Providence will get one year of probation and a 1,000 fine after accepting fault on a misdemeanor charge stemming from an investigation into his campaign finance reports. Fortunately for Almeida, the charge was reduced from a felony down to a misdemeanor, but it wasn't a good week for him in any event.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                            Warwick Retirement Board

                                                                                            The Retirement Board should know better than to hold a meeting less than 48 hours after the notice of said meeting was posted and to discuss issues in a closed session that should be discussed out in the open. Kudos to former Warwick Councilman Robert Cushman for bringing this issue to light.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                            RIPTA Assault

                                                                                            A ruffian inexplicably punched a RIPTA bus driver in the face while exiting the bus last week in Providence. Anyone with information on this senseless act of violence should contact Providence Police Detective Lieutenant Michael Figueiredo at (401) 243-6376.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                            David Cicilline

                                                                                            The Congressman isn't in any electoral trouble, but had to sting to see his sister, Susan Cicilline Buonanno, lose a special election Democratic primary for a House seat in Narragansett last week--a race she raised about 30 times more money than her opponent. One would think a sitting Congressman would have been able to do more for his sister in his own state.

                                                                                             
                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                            14th Unfriendliest

                                                                                            Travel + Leisure ranks Providence the 14th most unfriendly city in the nation due to our "bookishly aloof" demeanor and, apparently, for being huge geeks. Hey, at least we fared better than Boston, which ranked the 5th most unfriendliest city; and of course, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, New York City topped the list! 

                                                                                             
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              Donald Grebien

                                                                                              The Mayor of Pawtucket is teaching us a valuable lesson: persistence pays off. For several months, the new Pawtucket Red Sox ownership has insisted that they would be moving the team out of McCoy Stadium regardless of whether or not a deal in Providence could be brokered. But the group softened its rhetoric this week and even indicated a willingness to stay put. That's a big momentum swing in Grebien's favor, who has been steadfast in making the case that the team's best bet is to stay put. 
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              Cyd McKenna:

                                                                                              The MIT and Harvard graduate who has been seen on photoshoots with Elizabeth Hurley and once wrote a book with Giovanni Feroce for Alex and Ani, has taken a job with the Providence City Council as it's Chief of Staff. McKenna has previously worked for the City of Providence and for former Mayor Buddy Cianci's campaign. McKenna is a solid hire for the city council as it adds someone with multi-dimensional experience to the office. 
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              Blake Filippi

                                                                                              The state representative from Block Island plans to introduce legislation that would ban the tolling of passenger cars on Rhode Island highways. I take Governor Gina Raimondo at her word when she says she will never seek to implement tolls on cars. So it follows logically that the governor and the other legislators should support Filippi's idea since we all agree that passenger cars shouldn't be tolled. It's nice to see some legislators do take the initiative to protect Rhode Islanders!
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              RI Economy

                                                                                              It's been a long time coming, but this year, the Rhode Island economy is finally showing some signs of life, according to University of Rhode Island Economics Professor Leonard Lardaro. "At this point, it is very clear that the pace of Rhode Island’s current recovery that began to accelerate in the second quarter gained further momentum throughout the third quarter," Lardaro wrote. The labor participation rate is still below pre-recession levels, but the state does appear to be moving in the right direction.
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              Buy Nothing Day

                                                                                              In an age of vapid consumerism that almost all of us fall trap to at one point or another, Buy Nothing Day is a good opportunity to remember what matters most--helping those in need. It takes place on Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, and there will feature 10 sites throughout Rhode Island collecting coats for those in need. I hope you'll join me in donating a coat. 
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • HOT

                                                                                              Providence College Men's Hockey

                                                                                              For the first time since 1983, the undefeated Providence Friars Men's Hockey team is ranked first in both national polls. That ranking will be on the line tonight as they take on Boston University in a rematch of last year's national championship game. Go Friars!
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • NOT

                                                                                              Erik Wallin

                                                                                              With all due respect to Wallin (and plenty is due), and with the utmost appreciation for the work he will continue to do for homeless veterans at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island as it's executive director, it's hard to not to see the group's withdrawal from the Rhode Island Coalition for the homeless as an overreaction. Wallin argues that the Coalition for the Homeless has overstated the progress that is being made to help the state's homeless veterans. But even if Wallin's claim is true, why withdraw from a group that otherwise does so much good for our state and the cause of eliminating homelessness? Not to be cliche, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • NOT

                                                                                              Dan McKee

                                                                                              Another week goes by, and it's another week of silence on the 38 Studio's issue from Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee. It's funny that he was so outspoken during the campaign about the issue, calling for an independent investigation into the issue, but now that he's in the cozy confines of the Lieutenant Governor's office, he's no longer leading the charge. It's sad, since he does have a bully pulpit to do so. 
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • NOT

                                                                                              Mediterraneo

                                                                                              Once one of the hottest and most chic restaurants in the state of Rhode Island, the Federal Eatery closed its doors for good earlier this week. Owner Gianfranco Marrocco said he received an offer too lucrative to refuse and sold the property. To Marrocco's credit, all of the employee's at the restaurant have been offered jobs at other establishments that he also owns. (And Marrocco will also open up a new Biergarten restaurant, which should be a fanatic addition to the city's character. )
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • NOT

                                                                                              Pawtucket Red Sox Ownership

                                                                                              The new ownership group of the Pawtucket Red Sox, led by former Red Sox executive Larry Luccino and Charles Steinberg, look like the gang who can't shoot straight. First, they tell us that they're definitely moving the team. Now, they're backing off that guarantee. The threats to move the team have irked Rhode Islanders and diminished the once beloved Rhode Island brand, as evidenced by the fact that the team posted its worst attendance rate since 1993 this year. 

                                                                                               
                                                                                            • NOT

                                                                                              Rhode Island GOP

                                                                                              Robert Paquin, the former Executive Director of the Rhode Island GOP who was let go earlier this year thanks to pathetic fundraising by the state party, had some harsh words on social media for his former employer. Paquin said he was mismanaged by the former GOP Chairman, harassed by other members of state GOP leadership, and was criticized by rank-and-file racist and homophobic party members. Hopefully, the party gets its act together, because the state desperately needs a two-party system and the intellectual diversity that it encourages. 
                                                                                               

                                                                                               
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                Aaron Regunberg

                                                                                                The state representative from the East Side of Providence took a courageous stand in support of helping refugees from Syria. "“Too often in times of tragedy, fear leads people toward nationalistic and prejudiced actions, rather than the humanitarianism that is so badly needed in this fractured world. Fanning the flames of xenophobia and bigotry does nothing to increase safety, prevent further tragedy or increase understanding of the complicated problems causing refugees to flee their homelands despite the uncertainty of their futures abroad." The representative is spot on. There is no reason to give in to xenophobia, which is basically letting the terrorists win.
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                Seth Magaziner

                                                                                                Let's give the General Treasurer some due credit for replacing First Southwest, whom the state is suing for fraud, among other things, for its role in the 38 Studio's debacle. The move was way overdue, to say the least, as it's unconscionable that we're taking advice from someone we're suing.. Magaziner has also replaced the current managers of the state's College Bound Fund with Invesco, a well respected national firm.

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                Giovanni Feroce

                                                                                                The former Alex and Ani CEO and now the owner of BENRUS, the chic men's clothing brand, opened up a store location in Providence yesterday. It's nice to see business investment taking place in Rhode Island. Feroce was also in the news for putting his $12 million Newport home on the market to help him finance BENRUS. Feroce is in it for the long haul and putting his money where his mouth is. 
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                Bradley Hospital

                                                                                                The East Providence Hospital was recently named  "Top Performer on Key Quality Measures" for 2014 by The Joint Commission, the leading accredit or of health organizations in the U.S, for for reaching and maintaining excellence in accountability measure performance for impatient psychiatric services. Having such a high quality institution in our state is a credit to Rhode Island.
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                Joseph DeQuattro

                                                                                                It turns out that the owner of Pane e Vino Ristorante, the tremendous Federal Eatery, will be opening a new restaurant at the location where Mediterraneo was for the past two decades, in the same section of the city. It's nice to see that one restaurant with excellent food and service is being replaced by another that will undoubtedly also feature the same. 
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • HOT

                                                                                                LaSalle Cross Country

                                                                                                For the second year in a row, both the boys and the girls cross country teams at LaSalle Academy won the championship at the New England meet, with David Principe winning the race for the boys team. Now both teams are onto the Northeast Region meet Nov. 28 in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. Here's hoping both teams will once again make Rhode Island proud!
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • NOT

                                                                                                Representative Bobby Nardolillo

                                                                                                Nardolillo was one of the first state representatives to come to call on Governor Gina Raimondo to refuse to accept any refugees from Syria simply because one of the attackers in the Paris, France massacre was a refugee. That type of generalization is dangerous, and would inadvertently, and ultimately help ISIS recruit more terrorists as it would fan the flames of radicalization due to increasing desperation in Syria. Knee-jerk reactions that feed the public's most base fears are no way to govern. We're supposed to be better than that. We're Americans.  
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • NOT

                                                                                                Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                It's just one year after her historic election as Governor, and it's clear that Raimondo has plenty of work to do if she's going to have a successful term. She is perceived as a strong leader, but if perception isn't backed up by reality, that's not going to mean anything. The Governor has seen key businesses like TeeSpring leave the state. The PARRC test scores were horrible. And the governor has been awful on transparency. At times, it seems the only place the governor can go is up. 
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • NOT

                                                                                                PARCC Scores

                                                                                                The students of Rhode Island scored woefully on the standardized test that measure's student progress. Two thirds of all the students in grades 3-10 last year did not meet expectations in English Language Arts/Literacy (ELA) and math. This is clearly not acceptable and it is evidence that the state needs bold education reform.
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                              • NOT

                                                                                                Angel Taveras

                                                                                                The former mayor's legacy was dealt another blow last week when a federal judge dismissed the city's lawsuit against its former pension adviser, Buck Consultants. The former mayor's administration sued the company, claiming that its projections were faulty and cost the city money. But the lawsuit was always a publicity stunt considering that financial consultants just tell city administrations what they'd like to hear anyway.
                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                  One of the bright spots of the Mayor's first year in office has been his focus on city recreation programs to help keep kids off the streets, teach them discipline and other life skills that will serve them for decades. Recently, the mayor, in conjunction with the police and school departments, kicked off the Police After School Sports program. Providence Police Officers will serve as basketball and flag football coaches (and mentors) to middle school youngsters. 
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Mark Curtis

                                                                                                  Formerly of WLNE ABC 6, started his new position this week in West Virginia, at West Virginia Media Holdings in Charleston, as the organization's Chief Political Reporter. Curtis was always a talented journalist, so it wasn't surprising to see him land a new position elsewhere relatively quickly. Rhode Island's loss will be West Virginia's gain.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Paul Suttell

                                                                                                  The Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice, who is responsible for the administration of the state court system, announced this week that Newport will host the 2018  Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State ‍Court Administrators. It was a good get for the not only Newport, but also the state of Rhode Island, as it will enhance tourism here.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Brown University

                                                                                                  Golocal had the exclusive that Malia Obama, the President's oldest daughter, made her second visit to the school this year last weekend. The fact that she has visited the school twice signals that she's seriously considering the University, which would be a huge feather in the school's cap. Obama would be the third child of a U.S. President to attend the school, following in the footsteps of John F. Kennedy Junior and Amy Carter. 
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Kendra Borden

                                                                                                  The English teacher at Samuel Slater Junior High in Pawtucket, was named the Rhode Island winner of the 2015 Milken Educator Award.  The award carries and unrestricted cash award of $25,000, and is given to teachers who show a passion for education and an effectiveness to equal it. This award, coupled with Cumberland High School Principal Alan Tenreiro being named Principal of the Year last week, highlighted the fact that Rhode Island has some superb educators.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • HOT

                                                                                                  Kris Dunn

                                                                                                  The superstar point guard for the Providence College Men's Basketball team continues to rack up preseason honors. This week, he was named Preseason Player of the Year, in the Big East Coach's Poll. Multiple publications have named him a first team all-American. Friars fans like myself are in for a fun year of watching this special player do his thing, and fortunate that Dunn didn't go straight to the NBA last year.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                                  Lincoln Chafee

                                                                                                  Unfortunately for the former Warwick Mayor, US Senator, and Rhode Island Governor, Chafee missed a major opportunity on the national stage during the first Democratic Primary Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Inexplicably, Chafee struggled mightily to explain his vote to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, as well as his vote for the Patriot Act, two questions he should have anticipated and had excellent explanations--like Hillary Clinton did on her tough questions. Instead, Chafee had some truly baffling answers to those questions, seeming unprepared. Did Chafee do any preparation for such a crucial moment? In any event, it's hard to see how Chafee can salvage his Presidential campaign.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                                  Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                                  The House Speaker has dismissed the Republican Policy Group's proposal to fund bridge repairs in Rhode Island without raising tolls, taxes, or borrowing money, calling it "a recycled proposal. A flawed plan." No, Mr. Speaker, but what are recycled plans and flawed proposals are those that raise and institute new taxes and borrow money in order to put off difficult decisions until another day--making those decisions more difficult as opposed to cutting wasteful spending. The Speaker's comments are discouraging considering that he promised to work together with Republicans when he was voted House Speaker over 2 years ago. That's definitely not hot!
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                                  Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                  Golocal MINDSETTER and finance professional Michael Riley raises a very astute point in his most recent column about the state of municipal pension systems in Rhode Island. When Raimondo was a candidate for Governor, she said that the municipal pension plans would be a subject for the next Governor to address. With most of the state's pension plans, in worst shape than before the farcical Municipal Pension Commission disbanded, without accomplishing anything, of course,  the time has come for serious municipal pension reforms. But where is the leadership on the issue now going to come from?
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                                  Anastasia Williams

                                                                                                  New documents revealed this week show that if the State Representative from Providence had stepped down as Board Chairwoman of the John Hope Settlement House, the non-profit organization wouldn't have been excluded from receiving federal funds going forward. Williams, as well as Board Treasurer Walter Morgan, apparently refused to step down, and therefore the organization has been stripped of federal funding for lacking any proof that the funds were actually expended properly. The situation raises serious questions as to why Williams is still serving as Board Chairwoman.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                • NOT

                                                                                                  Providence

                                                                                                  Forbes Magazine has ranked the Providence Metro area as the 20th least affordable city in the United States. The high cost of housing, which is a persistent problem here, was listed as a key contributor to landing our capital city and neighboring area on this list of shame. It could be worse, however, as Boston was actually ranked second worst in the nation and New York City was ranked the worst.
                                                                                                   

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                    Say what you want about Mayor Elorza, but thus far into his tenure, his administration has been decidedly pro-transparency. Elorza's press office is always willing and able to field difficult press inquiries directly, and handles open records requests in a timely manner. That's not something you can say about every city administration or statewide officeholder in Rhode Island, and Elorza deserves recognition for that.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    Karen MacBeth

                                                                                                    The state representative from Cumberland finds herself in the spotlight as chairwoman of the suddenly more powerful House Oversight Committee as the committee conducts hearings into what exactly led to the 38 Studio's debacle. MacBeth earned praise this week when she called for an investigation into the fee paid to Gordon Fox ally Joe Corso for the 38 Studio's transaction.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    Robert Boehm

                                                                                                    The new President of the Providence Police Department is off to a good start in his new position. Boehm told GoLocalProv earlier this week that "[Police] are concerned about the city’s finances.  The [new] contract’s not going to mean anything if the city goes bust.” Boehm sounded like a level-headed leader who will take a big picture view of the interests of his union with those comments. Here's hoping that his sensible sounding rhetoric is backed up by similar action.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    Representative Joe Almeida

                                                                                                    The state representative has called on Mayor Jorge Elorza to appoint a black police officer as a new major in the Providence Police Department. Let's face it: the time has come for the leadership of the department to start to better reflect the diversity of our city.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    RI Comic Con

                                                                                                    After months of highs and lows anticipation, including an attempt at media censorship by the convention organizers that was eventually rescinded, and the announcement of A list celebrities like Lou Ferrigno attending, the event finally begins today. Here's hoping it's a complete success and a good time had by all. The event is an important event for the Rhode Island tourism industry.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                    Foodies

                                                                                                    The website Gogobot has ranked Providence the third best "mid-sized" city for foodies in the nation, thanks to its diversity of food, restaurants, farmer's markets, fast food joints, and food trucks. The capital ranked lower than only Cambridge and San Mateo. I've never been to San Mateo, but Providence has much better food than Cambridge!
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                    Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                    The Governor needs to get serious about transparency. Since her inauguration, her office and the majority of the state government departments have been difficult to reach and respond to open records requests the way Bill Belichick would if someone asked for a copy of his playbook. The people of Rhode Island deserve and demand better. The Governor would be wise to emulate some of her allies and proteges--namely, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and State Treasurer Seth Magaziner--who, despite their own flaws, are good on transparency.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                    Rhode Island Commerce Corporation

                                                                                                    GoLocal reported that a memo sent from Helena Foulkes, a highly respected CVS executive, and signed by two other board members in 2012, highlighted the problems in the RI Economic Development Corporation--including dysfunctional management, petty politics blocking important initiatives, and needless procrastination. Of course, the memo was ignored. Roughly 3 years later, the current Governor has made the organization (which has since been renamed the RI Commerce Corporation), a centerpiece of her plan to create job growth. That shouldn't exactly engender confidence in Rhode Islanders since the organization has never been effective.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                    WPRO

                                                                                                    The hits keep coming for Rhode Island's local all-day political talk radio station. Earlier this year, the station lost its General Manager Barbara Haynes, and highly respected sales manager Joe Lembo was let go from the organization. Last week, it was announced that highly respected young reporters Kim Kalunian and Andrew Augustus were departing. The station still boasts a highly respected talk radio lineup, anchored by Providence political living legend Buddy Cianci, but the losses do seem to be piling up.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                    Fenway Partners

                                                                                                    The private equity firm, which manages $30 million in Rhode Island pension fund money, was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week for failing to disclose conflicts of interests. The company, it's affiliates, and its executives agreed to pay roughly $10 million in restitution, which will be placed into a fund to help harmed investors, according to the SEC.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                    Providence Pension System

                                                                                                    GoLocalProv reported this week that roughly half of the Providence Police Department is eligible for retirement as of right now. That's a frightening thought because it would put another huge strain on the already incredibly frail city pension system. As time goes by, it's looking more and more like former Mayor Angel Taveras's pension reform did nothing but give city residents and workers a false sense of security.
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Green Airport

                                                                                                      Rhode Island's mid-size, but highly convenient airport, has been named the 3rd best airport in the country by the 28th annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice survey, and that speaks volumes about the strong leadership of Fredericks, the organization's President and CEO. The airport can be frustrating for Warwick residents who live close by, because, well, it's an airport. But it remains an economic engine in Rhode Island that provides convenient travel and excellent customer service and is crucial to the state's economic development efforts.  

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Shopping Local

                                                                                                      Providence has been ranked the nation's 11th best city for shopping local by Yelp, the website that allows users to review their experiences as consumers. Maybe instead of standing in line for several hours outside of some big box store today, Rhode Islanders would be better off patronizing some of our hardworking locally owned businesses?
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Vincent "Buddy" Cianci

                                                                                                      It was a scary moment at the unveiling of his mayoral portrait last week when the former mayor felt light-headed and unsteady on his feet and had to be transported in an ambulance to the hospital. But just like every other time the former mayor has stumbled throughout his life, he was right back on his feet in seemingly no time at all, leaving the hospital and attending post event celebrations within an hour. Despite the scare, it was still a nice evening for the former mayor, his family, and friends. 
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Dollars For Scholars

                                                                                                      The local charity aimed at raising money for Hope High school's standout students is in full gear, and the holiday season is their make or break time.  Last year, Dollars for Scholars was able to award scholarships to some extraordinary students from extremely difficult backgrounds, and they're looking to do it again this Spring. So if you're looking for a worthy cause, head over to www.hopehigh.dollarsforscholars.org to make donation.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Boston Bruins

                                                                                                      It's been a very good week for the Boston Bruins. Going into Wednesday, the team had won three straight games, and found itself rising quickly in the standings. And Golocalprov reported on Tuesday that the team currently ranks as the 5th most valuable franchise in the NHL according to a Forbes Magazine analysis--topping off a week of all postive news.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                      Thanksgiving

                                                                                                      Hopefully, everybody had a wonderful feast yesterday and a great time enjoying the holiday with my personal holy trinity: friends, family, and football. But let's do our best to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving all year, not just in November. Let's be grateful and celebrate the friends and famiy still here with us, the things we can do, and the things we do have--at all times--not just in late November.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                      Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                      The mayor's decision to demote interim fire chief Scott Mello and hire former chief George Farrell as a consultant to help manage the fire department is, at best,  a confusing decision.  Given the fact that there's a huge level of animosity between Farrell and the firefighters union, it makes a settlement between the administration and union over the platoon realignment more difficult.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                      Tony Lepore

                                                                                                      At first blush, it looks a lot like poetic justice. Tony Lepore, AKA "The Dancing Cop", was fired by the Elorza administration from his dancing and directing traffic act due to public outcry calling for  his ouster after he organized a rally against Dunkin Donuts after one of their workers wrote "Black Lives Matter" on an officer's cup. While it would be easy snicker at what looks a lot like karma (Tony loses his gig after calling for someone else to lose theirs), it still seems like yet another over-reaction, this time by the administration. Let's face it, The Dancing Cop is a Rhode Island icon--a unique part of our culture--so it's hard to see why he should be fired over the exercise of his free speech. The answer to injustice is not more injustice.

                                                                                                      Photo courtesy of Jeff Nickerson

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                      Ben Nascenzi

                                                                                                      The Johnston Building Inspector referenced a church pastor's race inappropriately during a taped phone call (unbeknownst to Nascenzi), that was laced with profanity, between himself and a contractor. He referred to the Reverend Dr. Chris Abhulime,  the church pastor, as "that fucking black owner". Both adjectives were inappropriate and irrelevant to the matter at hand. A person should be defined by their character, not their skin pigmentation.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                      Steven Pare

                                                                                                      The Providence Commissioner of public safety made has made some highly questionable decisions over the last week. First, he demoted the city's interim fire chief Scott Mello and cited circumstances outside of Mello's control (firefighters becoming sick or injured) as his reasoning. Then he fired Rhode Island icon Tony Lepore, AKA The Dancing Cop, telling him he's no longer to carry on his dancing and directing traffic routine. Yes, Lepore's behavior last month was obnoxious (organizing a rally to call for a 17-year-old girl's firing from Dunkin Donuts for writing a slogan on a cup), but it's hard to see why it merited his firing.
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                      Thanksgiving Shopping

                                                                                                      Believe it or not, and this may shock many Americans, but there are things more important than consumerism. Therefore, I hope you'll join me in boycotting retail stores that open up on Thanksgiving and deny their employees of time that should be spent with their friends and families. There's no reason why the hustle, crowds, and general misery that accompanies holiday shopping can't wait until (at least) Black Friday. (Don't expect to see me waiting in Black Friday lines either, I'll be buying nothing, and instead donating a coat to the Winter Coat Exchange I hope you'll join me.)
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Luis Aponte

                                                                                                        The Providence City Council President clearly gets it. There are four properties before the city council seeking extensions to their tax stabilization agreements (Monohassett Mill, Pearl Street, Rising Sun Mills, and 100 Fountain Street). Critics point out that that everyone should pay full taxes, but the sticker shock to the tenants that would be created by the expiration of these agreements would create more foreclosures and blights at these four properties. That's the opposite of what we need in our capital city. It's good to see Aponte is supportive of making sure that doesn't happen.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Providence Fire Department

                                                                                                        Even if you side with Mayor Jorge Elorza's over his restructuring of the platoon system in the fire department in an attempt to save taxpayer's money, you still have to appreciate the hard work done by the men and women in uniform. Their hard work was most recently exemplified by their quick work last Sunday to save the Textron Building, which caught fire. It's just one high profile example of the superb work done on a daily basis by the fire department.
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Michael Correia

                                                                                                        The Providence Councilman has had enough of the annoying graffiti in our capital city. Correia has stepped forward and offered a $1,000 bounty or reward for any tip that leads to arrest and prosecution of a gratti tagger that is hitting the area he represents. Good for him, as we can all agree that this vandalism has to stop.
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Modern Diner

                                                                                                        Pawtucket's legendary and iconic diner received a shout out from The Food Network's Top 5 Restaurant's show. The show highlighted the restaurant's Custard French Toast as a specialty dish. The dish originated fifteen years ago when owner Nick Demou made too much vanilla pudding, so he thinned it down and served it as custard on French toast made from thick-cut Texas toast. Just thinking about it makes me want to stop in and have some!

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        The Gordon School CyborGators

                                                                                                        The team from East Providence won first place in the state's FIRST LEGO League State Qualifying Tournament on Saturday, November 21st. As part of the competition, the students invented solutions to help reduce trash and create their own Lego Mindstorms robot to accomplish trash themed "missions" on a playing field.
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Bob Driscoll

                                                                                                        Life is good for the Providence College Athletic Director. The Providence College Men's Basketball team is back in the top 25 rankings after a strong showing in the Wooden Legacy Tournament on the west coast. And the defending NCAA National Champion Men's Hockey team is currently undefeated and looking every bit like a threat to repeat.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Mount Hope Cowboys, Pee Wee Football Team

                                                                                                        In other good local youth news, the Mount Hope Cowboys Pee Wee Football team will compete in the Pop Warner National Championship being held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World from December 5 th - 12 th. To help them get there, you can donate at the team's GoFundMe Page. 
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                        Brian Newberry

                                                                                                        The Minority Leader this week questioned the purpose of Governor Raimondo's educational Funding Formula Group (accusing the Governor of living in a "tone deaf bubble") -- and why Republican legislators were glaringly absent.

                                                                                                        “I was immediately struck by the lack of Republican legislative appointments to this important high profile endeavor despite the Governor’s ability to squeeze four Democratic legislators onto the 29 member committee," said Newberry, who then looked into it after its announcement.  “First they ignored it. Then the stonewalling began."
                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        "This is bizarre behavior with only two explanations. Minority representation provides transparency so the whole operation may be a sham with an ulterior motive. If so, current members ought to be resentful that their time is being wasted and their good names are being unwittingly used to provide cover for something. The other explanation is that the Governor lives in a tone deaf bubble with no care for public perception and this is another in a long line of missteps such as hiding the ball on her truck toll plan, fighting common sense public records requests and generally trying to prevent public scrutiny of her actions."

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                        Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                        Another organization comes forward charging the Governor and her administration with lacking transparency. Christopher Maxwell, the president of the Rhode Island Trucking Association, said that numerous requests to the administration have been ignored. Maxwell is spearheading an effort to thwart the Governor's toll plan. The Governor needs to start taking transparency much more than she has, because it's apparent that it's not just the media griping about the administration's opaqueness.
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                        Tony Lepore

                                                                                                        Providence's former "Dancing Cop" used a poor choice of words on Facebook when he described his frustration at being uninvited to perform his dancing and directing traffic routine in East Providence, saying "People are making an impression of me that isn't true...you people of color out there know this also." Look, Lepore is a nice guy, but it's become clear that he needs to be more sensitive when speaking.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                        Olivia Culpo

                                                                                                        You might be wondering how is it possible that the former Miss Rhode Island, Miss USA, and Miss Universe could find herself on the "not hot" list? Well, Culpo, according to multiple reports, broke off her relationship with former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow over his abstinence vow. (Tebow is a devout Christian.) But Culpo knew about Tebow's beliefs before she began dating him (or, at least she should have known given how public he's been about those beliefs). That is not hot.
                                                                                                         

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                        RIDE:

                                                                                                        The Rhode Island Department of Education was forced to revise and update the results of the PARCC Test that's currently being used in Rhode Island to evaluate students. After a GoLocal investigation revealed several inconsistencies in the departments data, RIDE found that some students were inaccurately coded, causing the scores to be reported higher than they should've been.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                        Gun Violence

                                                                                                        Another week goes by, and America is victim of another mass shooting--this time in San Bernadino California, where 14 were killed and at least 17 were wounded. It's time for America to get real and enact some common sense gun control reforms. No, they won't prevent every instance of gun violence, but something needs to be done to curtail these occurrences.

                                                                                                         
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Keith Oliveira

                                                                                                          In an age when our public officials are hyper-sensitive to doing whatever will please the most powerful special interest group or political boss (think: state legislators) in the interest of their own survival, the current Providence School Board President is a breath of fresh air and a good example for others to emulate. Oliveira has been outspoken in defending the independence of the school board and critical of the administration's funding of the school department, highlighted by his vote against budget last year. Oliveira may be ousted as Board President for his principles, but he stands as a shining example of standing up for what one believes is right--not what's popular or expedient.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Edward "Ted" Siedle

                                                                                                          The Forbes.com writer who has been highly critical of hedge fund investing, and therefore former Treasurer and current RI Governor Gina Raimondo and current Treasurer Seth Magaziner, lands himself on Institutional Investor's list of top 40 most influential people on pensions. Here's the kicker, neither Raimondo or Magaziner made the list, despite the fact that Raimondo once dismissed Siedle as a "blogger" when he criticized her a couple of years ago. 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Joseph Solomon Jr.

                                                                                                          The state representative from Warwick deserves some credit for pre-filing a bill that would create a sales tax holiday in Rhode Island next year. That's a brilliant idea and would generate millions of dollars in economic activity that everyone would agree that we need like blood.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Bank RI

                                                                                                          The good folks over at Bank RI collected over $1,400 gifts for underprivileged children this holiday season. Each branch featured a giving tree and individuals from the bank and throughout the community donated gifts, featuring bicycles, Lego sets, dolls, board games, action figures, sports equipment and remote control cars , among other things, for youngsters who will be all smiles today thanks to their efforts. 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Saint Mother Teresa

                                                                                                          The news broke late last week that a second miracle has been attributed to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and therefore she is slated to be sainted by the Catholic Church. Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, Mother Teresa set a wonderful example of devoting one's life to helping others that are in poverty. She will remain someone that people will emulate, at least in their own little ways, for centuries to come.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Ed Cooley

                                                                                                          For the first time since 1978, the Providence College Men's Basketball team is ranked 10th in the nation in the AP Poll. Also, for the first time since the seventies, the Friars have been ranked in the top 25 in consecutive seasons.

                                                                                                          Coach Cooley, a Providence native, has the program moving into a direction few believed possible just 4 years ago. It remains to be seen, however, if the team is a legit national championship contender, but the fact that that's a topic of discussion is a huge feather in Cooley's cap. 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NICE

                                                                                                          Christmas

                                                                                                          Here's hoping everyone has a very safe and Merry Christmas today. Let's keep the Christmas spirit all year long!

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NAUGHTY

                                                                                                          Consumerism

                                                                                                          There's a real war on Christmas folks, but it's got nothing to do with people wishing you a Happy Holiday instead of a Merry Christmas. The real attack on Christmas is the culture so obsessed with material possessions that it has conditioned children, for generations, to expect gifts on a day that's supposed to be about so much more. Let's try and remember that it's wonderful to be generous and give gifts, but Christmas is about so much more than that. 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NAUGHTY

                                                                                                          Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                          There was some large talk from the Governor's Office earlier this fall about how it would be more responsive to open records requests and would make  transparency a bigger priority as they move forward. But thus far, that rhetoric has failed to be backed up by action. Here's hoping Raimondo makes a bigger commitment to transparency in 2016.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NAUGHTY

                                                                                                          Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse

                                                                                                          A study done by the Lugar Center at Georgetown University — founded by former Indiana Senator Dick Lugar, found that Rhode Island's two senators are among the most partisan of the last 22 years. The partisanship and polarization in Washington is undoubtedly a problem in the country, and this study makes it clear that our two sitting senators are part of that problem.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NAUGHTY

                                                                                                          Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                                          The Speaker of the House had the job of the Host of RI Statehouse's Capitol TV position posted with a salary range of between $40,000 and $50,000. So why was Margie O'Brien Reed hired for the position at a salary of $70,000? Look, I think Reed is a fabulous person for the job as she is undoubtedly a very talented individual and excellent reporter. Yet this issue isn't about her at all, but instead calls into question to transparency of the House of Representatives. 

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                        • NAUGHTY

                                                                                                          Seth Magaziner

                                                                                                          GoLocal MINDSETTER Michael Riley actually listened to the promises of then-candidate for General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and is holding him accountable for those what he said. Can you imagine someone is actually holding politicians accountable for what they promised? Riley is right to point out that we hard some large talk about the great returns we were going to get from the pension fund in 2014, but in 2015, that promise came up empty.

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            Frank Williams

                                                                                                            Let's face it: when all is said and done, former Chief Justice Frank Williams--who was appointed Special Master in the state pension lawsuit case--got it done. You don't have to like it, but the settlement of the case will save taxpayers (and union members) millions of dollars in legal fees, and years of frustration as the case travels up and down the court system, and eliminate any risk of taxpayers losing out on pension reform as a whole.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            Lincoln Chafee

                                                                                                            The former Governor was always a staunch proponent of settling the pension lawsuit case by negotiating a settlement as opposed to litigating it, and he was right to angle for that resolution. And Chafee should also receive credit for supporting pension reform in the first place, which for some reason, he never seems to get.

                                                                                                            Plus, he's running for President!

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            Providence Police Department

                                                                                                            The Providence Police Department conducted a sting that arrested 22 people attempting to engage in the act of hiring prostitutes. The message is clear: it's illegal to directly pay for sex in Rhode Island.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            Shelby Maldonado

                                                                                                            The state representative from Central Falls has submitted a bill that would have the state increase its library aid to distressed communities, which would help children from the poorest communities in our state.  "Access to libraries is the single most important learning tool available to impoverished children," she noted. It would be a relatively small investment for the state, but would pay large dividends over the long term. 

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            25th Least Obese

                                                                                                            GoLocalProv reported earlier this week that the city of Providence is the 25th least obese city in the nation. The city has a relatively active population that eats comparatively healthy, and this should help lower our health care costs going forward.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • HOT

                                                                                                            Ocean State Job Lot

                                                                                                            The retail giant held a massive food drive earlier this week to benefit the least fortunate in our state and region. It's always nice to have corporations that are also good corporate citizens, like Ocean State Job lot, in our state.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                                            Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                                            We've heard some very large talk about "jobs and the economy" from the House Speaker. But here we are 4 months into the legislative session, and the state legislature has done hardly anything to improve the economy. Talk is cheap, and the honeymoon is over, and it's time for results.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                                            Car Taxes

                                                                                                            Wallethub.com reported this week that the state of Rhode Island has the highest car taxes in the country (an average of over $1,100). That's no surprise to the people paying the taxes. But while much has been made about the valuation process of cars, please keep in mind that even if the valuation changes, the rates will simply be increased to make up for lost revenue. It's a spending problem here.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                                            April 15

                                                                                                            Don't take it out on the messenger, but next Wednesday is the day taxes must be paid. Does anyone out there think we get a good return on investment for our tax dollars?

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                                            Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                            Just like Mattiello, Raimondo is great at paying lip service to improving our state's economy. But then why hasn't she attended any Economic Development Commission meetings since she's become Governor?

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                          • NOT

                                                                                                            Streetcar Proposal

                                                                                                            As GoLocalProv MINDSETTER Brian Jencucas so eloquently points out in his recent column, the proposal to build a streetcar in Providence would be a complete waste of taxpayer dollars for a city that is extremely short of cash and facing huge liabilities. Let's fill potholes before we start spending cash on streetcars.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            • #10

                                                                                                              Carly Fiorina (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $3,665

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) contributions to date: 1

                                                                                                              Notes: The Republican has a grand total of 4 people contriburing to her campaign in Rhode Island. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #9

                                                                                                              Donald Trump (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $4,385

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 1

                                                                                                              Notes:  The FEC shows Tump having 7 contributions from 6 Rhode Island donors as of the the most recent reporting period. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #8

                                                                                                              Chris Christie (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $5,400

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 2

                                                                                                              Notes:  The New Jersey Governor has just two contributions from Rhode Islanders to date, both maxing out. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #7

                                                                                                              Marco Rubio (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $5,469

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 1

                                                                                                              Notes: Rubio saw Rhode Islanders make 17 contributions to his campaign so far.  

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #6

                                                                                                              Ben Carson (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $9,051

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 0

                                                                                                              Notes: Dr. Carson has't seen any one-time contributions in Rhode Island above $500, but FEC reports shows 108 individual contibutions having been made to his campaign (and again, an invidual can give multiple times until they meet the limit). 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #5

                                                                                                              Ted Cruz (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $12,178

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 0

                                                                                                              Notes:  Cruz notched three $1,000 contributions from Rhode Islanders, but like a number of other candidates, is seeing individuals giving smaller amounts, multiple times -- Rhode Islanders have gone to their checkbooks 106 times so far for Cruz. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #4

                                                                                                              Martin O'Malley (D) 

                                                                                                              Total: $31,400

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 4  

                                                                                                              Notes:  The former Marlyand Governor has gotten contributions from former Secretary of State candidate Guillaume de Ramel, Lifespan CEO Tim Babineau, and former staffer -- and now Raimondo Deputy Chief of Staff -- Eric Beane. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #3

                                                                                                              Bernie Sanders (D)

                                                                                                              Total: $33,521

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 0

                                                                                                              Notes: Not suprisingly, the Vermont Senator has not notched any Rhode Islander stroking one-time max-out checks (he has seen several $1,000 donors), but he has seen Rhode Islanders reach into their pockets 270 times so far for his campaign. 

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                            • #2

                                                                                                              Jeb Bush (R)

                                                                                                              Total: $58,200

                                                                                                              Max ($2,700) RI donors to date: 20

                                                                                                              Notes: For Jeb Bush, it's go big or go home in Rhode Island.  Of his 22 donations in Rhode Island,  20 have been top-level.  The big donors include PawSox part-owner Habib Gorgi, as well as Prov Equity guys Jonathan Nelson and Glenn Creamer (and wife).

                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              • 8.

                                                                                                                Rev. Brian Shanley

                                                                                                                Providence College

                                                                                                                Salary- $54,808 (Rank-489th)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $0

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total-0%

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- $371

                                                                                                                Time in position- 7 years

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 7.

                                                                                                                Sister Jane Gerety

                                                                                                                Salve Regina University

                                                                                                                Salary- $68,431 (487th)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $0

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total-0%

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- $1,107

                                                                                                                Time in position- 3 years

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 6.

                                                                                                                Christina Hull Paxson

                                                                                                                Brown University

                                                                                                                Salary- $394,721 (241st)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $350,000

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total- 88.7%​

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- N/A

                                                                                                                Time in position- < 1 year

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 5.

                                                                                                                Donald J. Farish

                                                                                                                Roger Williams University

                                                                                                                Salary- $427,077 (209th)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $379,736

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total- 88.9%​

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- $3,095

                                                                                                                Time in position- 1 year

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 4.

                                                                                                                Richard I. Gouse

                                                                                                                New England Institute of Technology

                                                                                                                Salary- $674,795 (86th)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $489,468

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total- 72.5%​

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- $12,537

                                                                                                                Time in position- 41 years

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 3.

                                                                                                                Ruth J. Simmons

                                                                                                                Brown University

                                                                                                                Salary- $676,324 (85th)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $642,080 

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total- 94.9%​

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- N/A

                                                                                                                Time in position- 11 years

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                              • 2.

                                                                                                                Ronald K. Machtley

                                                                                                                Bryant University

                                                                                                                Salary- $737,262 (71st)

                                                                                                                Base Pay- $501,560

                                                                                                                Base Pay/total- 68%​

                                                                                                                Compensation per $1m total expenditures- $5,703

                                                                                                                Time in position- 16 years

                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                • Seth Yurdin

                                                                                                                  Councilman Seth Yurdin was first elected in 2006 to represent Ward One of Providence, and was re-elected in 2010.

                                                                                                                  Between 2011-2015, his committee appointments include:

                                                                                                                  • Chairman of the Committee on Ordinances
                                                                                                                  • Member, Committee on City Property
                                                                                                                  • Member, Committee on Rules
                                                                                                                  • Member, Subcommittee on Healthy Communities & Women
                                                                                                                  • Chairman, Committee on Ward Boundaries
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Samuel D. Zurier

                                                                                                                  Councilman Sam Zurier was elected the Council person for Ward 2 in November 2010, and began his first term in 2011.

                                                                                                                  He serves on the following committees:

                                                                                                                  • Committee on Finance
                                                                                                                  • Committee on Ordinances
                                                                                                                  • Chair, Special Committee on Education
                                                                                                                  • Special Committee on Ways and Means
                                                                                                                  • Special Committee on Women and Healthy Communities
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Kevin Jackson

                                                                                                                  Councilman Kevin E. Jackson joined the Providence City Council in 1995, and was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Councilman Jackson, a Democrat, represents Ward 3, which includes the Hope and Mount Hope neighborhoods.

                                                                                                                  Committees:
                                                                                                                  Chairman, Committee on City Property, 2007-2011
                                                                                                                  Member, Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal, and Planning, 2007-2011
                                                                                                                  Chairman, Committee on Finance, 1999-2007
                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr.

                                                                                                                  Councilman Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr. was first elected to the Council in 2006, and re-elected in 2010 to represent the North End of Providence.

                                                                                                                  His committee assignments include:

                                                                                                                  • Chairman, Committee on Urban Redevelopment, Renewal and Planning
                                                                                                                  • Chairman, Committee on Claims and Pending Suits
                                                                                                                  • Member, Committee on City Property
                                                                                                                  • Special Committee to Study and Make Amendments to PERA, 2007-2011

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Michael A. Solomon

                                                                                                                  Councilman Michael Solomon was first elected in 2006, and was re-elected in 2010 to represent the Elmhurst and Mount Pleasant neighborhoods.

                                                                                                                  Councilman Solomon was elected Council President for the 2011-2015 term. He is one of two council members of the Providence Water Supply Board.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Michael J. Correia

                                                                                                                  Councilman Michael Correia began his term representing the people of Ward Six in January 2011 after being elected to the Providence City Council in November 2010.

                                                                                                                  As President of the Providence Crime Watch Association, he has organized residents to combat crime throughout the city. Since 2005, he has led the Annual National Night Out Against Crime, a rally against violence and crime, as it passed through his community. He also is a member of the Sixth Ward Working Committee, a neighborhood group that has worked closely with the Police Department to reduce graffiti, vandalism, and other forms of crime. He has supported the Stranger Danger Program for children and the SAFE Program, which teaches practical self-defense to the elderly.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • John J. Igliozzi

                                                                                                                  Councilman John J. Igliozz has served Ward 7 since 1997

                                                                                                                  He serves on the following committees:

                                                                                                                  • Chairman of the Committee on Finance in 2007 and 2011
                                                                                                                  • Chairman of the Committee on City Property
                                                                                                                  • Member of the Committee on Public Works
                                                                                                                  • Serves on the Board of Park Commissioners and the Providence Housing Authority
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Wilbur W. Jennings, Jr.

                                                                                                                  Councilman Wilbur Jennings was first elected the councilman for the eighth ward in November 2010, and began his term in January 2011. He worked for the City of Providence in varying capacities for 28 years, eventually attaining the position of Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent of several divisions of the Department of Public Works.

                                                                                                                  He also serves on the Providence Community Action Program’s (ProCAP) Board of Director.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Carmen Castillo

                                                                                                                  Carmen Castillo was elected Councilwoman for Ward 9 in a special election in November 2011, and began her first term in January 2012. Currently, she is a union steward, and also a member of the Executive Board for UNITE HERE Local 217.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Luis A. Aponte

                                                                                                                  Councilman Luis Aponte was first elected to the Providence City Council in 1998, representing the Tenth Ward neighborhoods of Lower South Providence and Washington Park. He was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  In addition to having served as the Council Majority Leader (2003-2007), Councilman Aponte has served on various committees, including the Committee on Finance, the Special Commission on State Legislation, the City Council Rules Committee, and the Committee on Ward Boundaries, which proposed the new ward map to the City Council in February 2002. In addition, Councilman Aponte is one of two council representatives on the Providence Redevelopment Agency.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Davian Sanchez

                                                                                                                  Councilman Sanchez is currently enrolled at Johnson & Wales University (JWU), and is pursuing a bachelor’s in Financial Service Management.

                                                                                                                  Councilman Sanchez has the distinction of being the youngest Dominican-American elected official in the United States, as well as the youngest member elected to the Providence City Council.

                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Terrence M. Hassett

                                                                                                                  Councilman Terrence M. Hassett was first elected to the City Council to represent Ward 12 in Providence in 1997 in a special election. He was re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. 

                                                                                                                  Hassett was elected Council President Pro Tempore for the 2011-2015 term, and currently serves on the following committees:

                                                                                                                  • Chairman of Committee on Public Works
                                                                                                                  • Member of Committee on Finance
                                                                                                                  • Member of Committee on Ordinances
                                                                                                                  • Member of Committee on Urban Renewal, Redevelopment & Planning
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • Bryan Principe

                                                                                                                  Bryan Principe is a newly elected member of the City Council, his term commencing in January 2011.  Though new to elective office, he has been actively engaged in the community for years.   Bryan has participated in community cleanups, tree plantings and neighborhood festivals. 

                                                                                                                  He serves on the following committees:

                                                                                                                  • City Plan Commission
                                                                                                                  • West Broadway Neighborhood Association
                                                                                                                  • Ward 13 Democratic committee
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                • David A. Salvatore

                                                                                                                  David A. Salvatore began his first term as the councilman for the fourteenth ward in January 2011. Since taking office, his primary focus has been financial and pension reform in the city. He was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Pension Sustainability, which issued a report and made recommendations—many of which were adopted—to stabilize the pension system and reduce the system’s unfunded liability.

                                                                                                                  David’s current committee assignments are:

                                                                                                                  • Chairman, Special Committee on Ways and Means
                                                                                                                  • Vice-Chairman, Committee on Ordinances
                                                                                                                  • Member, Special Committee on Education
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    Victor Capellan

                                                                                                                    It's been a good year or so for the new Superintendent of Central Falls Schools. After flirting with a mayoral bid of his own last year, he backed off and backed Elorza, and then earlier this year he became Providence Democrat Party Chairman. Capellan is clearly good at politics, now let's hope he can deliver for Central Falls school children.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    College Hill

                                                                                                                    The East Side neighborhood was ranked the fourth most beautiful neighborhood in America by thrillist.com, a major lifestyle website. The neighborhood achieved that distinction thanks its beautiful and historic architecture.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    Nellie Gorbea

                                                                                                                    The Secretary of State had a good week in the news after unveiling legislation that would allow voters to register online to vote, improve the integrity of voter rolls, allow early in-person voting, and strengthen rules regarding the handling of mail ballots. All of those reforms would be a positive step towards more participation in our Democratic system.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                                    Elorza announced the "Buy Into Spring" initiative late last week, a marketing campaign that will encourage retail shopping in the capital city. Best of all, the city of Providence will offer two hours of free parking every Saturday from April 18 until May 9.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    ACLU of Rhode Island

                                                                                                                    Give the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union some credit for calling out Motel 6 and the Warwick Police Department for requesting a list of all patrons who have stayed at the hotel and giving it up respectively--all without notifying those patrons. As the ACLU pointed out, people who stay there expect to be treated like guests, with some degree of privacy, not potential criminals.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • HOT

                                                                                                                    Providence College Hockey

                                                                                                                    The Providence Friars men's hockey team won the national championship last week on the heels of great goal tending by Junior Jon Gillies, who was signed this week by the Calgary Flames, as well as a lucky bounce (directly into the opposing net) on the other side of the ice. Having the best college hockey team in the nation--that's hot!

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                                    Pawtucket Red Sox

                                                                                                                    First GoLocalProv reported that the team owners brought in consultants to study the economic impact of the team being located in Providence who have a reputation for telling their customers exactly what they want to hear. Then the owners had the gall to ask Rhode Island taxpayers to spend more than $100 million on a stadium that will cost $85 million to build.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                                    Aaron Hernandez

                                                                                                                    The former Patriots star tight end was found guilty of murdering Oden LLoyd, his former friend. It's simply unspeakable how someone who was seemingly on top of the world could commit a crime as senseless as it was heinous.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                                    Deval Patrick

                                                                                                                    The former Massachusetts Governor is sure cashing in on his former position as Governor. First, he took a job as a $7,500 a day lobbyist on behalf of the 2024 Olympics, and then it was announced this week that he landed a job at Bain Capital--the financial firm Mitt Romney was vilified for co-founding during the 2012 Presidential election by Democrats like Patrick.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                                    Providence Police Department

                                                                                                                    The Providence Police Task Force has been suspended after reports of a community activists son being roughed up by police officers for no reason. The Task Force is oriented towards keeping the community safe, and the fact that it has been suspended due to complaints against police officers is unfortunate and if the accusations are true, it is unacceptable.

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                  • NOT

                                                                                                                    Providence College Celebration

                                                                                                                    The students at Providence College should be ashamed of themselves for acting in an unruly manner when they celebrated the hockey team's national championship. It's fine to celebrate and even get loud, but to act in a riotous manner, and for one student to have thrown a bottle that struck a Providence Police Officer in the head, causing a concussion, is sickening. Why spoil such a tremendous accomplishment?

                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      David Cicilline

                                                                                                                      The Congressman has proposed a bill that would make it illegal for states to pass laws like the bill recently passed in Indiana that makes it legal for businesses to discriminate against individuals by citing "religious freedom." Let's face it: discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation is a hallmark of ignorance--not religious freedom.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      James Sheehan

                                                                                                                      The State Senator from North Kingstown was among the first of a chorus of legislators calling to end the gag order in place concerning the pension lawsuit settlement. Sheehan rightly pointed out that Judge Sarah Taft-Carter's gag order seems a lot like censorship.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                                      The Governor smartly came out against Indiana's recently passed law that allows businesses to discriminate against individuals on the basis of religious freedom. Rhode Island is a welcoming and inclusive place, and the Governor does not support policies that would allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

                                                                                                                      "Not only do we recognize marriage equality in Rhode Island, but we have comprehensive anti-discrimination laws on the books that cover sexual orientation," Marie Aberger, Governor Raimondo's Press Secretary, told GoLocalProv. "We are working to strengthen our economy in Rhode Island by attracting innovative companies to invest and grow here. Being open, inclusive, and tolerant is an important ingredient in building a 21st century economy – and being a place people are proud to call home."

                                                                                                                      The Governor also appointed 12 members to the long vacant Commission on Women this week. The commission will focus on women's issues, particularly the issue of increasing pay equity for women when compared to men with similar jobs. 

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      Pension Settlement

                                                                                                                      Though the official settlement deal's details continue to trickle out (thanks to the gag order), the fact that the vast majority of the workers and the administration have agreed to settle the suit is a positive thing as it locks in most of the savings and avoids any risk of losing the case. Now, it's up to the legislature to vet the deal and make sure it works well for their constituents

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      John Prince

                                                                                                                      GoLocalProv reported earlier this week that John Prince, who filed a complaint with the Providence Police Department earlier last autumn after two Providence Police Officers confiscated his phone that he was using to tape the officers after they followed him to his home, was found to have a valid complaint by the police department. Two officers were disciplined for their actions, according to a spokeswoman for the Public Safety Commissioner.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • HOT

                                                                                                                      Providence College Men's Hockey

                                                                                                                      There is magic in Friartown after all. Just over one week after a disappointing end to the men's basketball season, the men's hockey team scored a dramatic victory in the NCAA Hockey tournament and a berth to the Frozen Four--their first since 1985--which takes place next weekend.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                                      Frank Williams

                                                                                                                      The retired Supreme Court Chief Justice receives an annual pension worth roughly $146,000 a year, but Rhode Island taxpayers will be expected to fork over even more cash to him, as wpri.com reported that Williams will be paid by the State of RI and the public sector unions due to his ongoing efforts to settle the pension lawsuit as "Special Master." If you thought that Williams was volunteering as a favor to the taxpayers who have treated him so well during his career, you were badly mistaken. 

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                                      Sarah Taft-Carter

                                                                                                                      Of course, nobody knows how much Williams will be paid, because Taft-Carter has shrouded the proceedings around the pension lawsuit and potential settlement in secrecy. Taft-Carter's attempt to keep the people of Rhode Island in the dark about such an important issue that will be vital to Rhode Island's financial footing going forward has been nothing short of disgraceful.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                                      Gatehouse Media

                                                                                                                      Maybe the move to outsource the copy editing of the Providence Journal to Texas wasn't a smart move? The paper accidentally published the social security number of a family member of a Warwick student who is trying to decide what college to attend in it's recent Sunday edition. Yikes.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                                      Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                                      It's surprising to see that the mayor's top level staffers are exclusively white as was reported by GoLocalProv on Wednesday. One would have expected Elorza to appoint a cabinet that more properly reflects the diversity of our capital city.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                    • NOT

                                                                                                                      Hate Speech

                                                                                                                      Following the on heels of a Facebook post last week that harshly compared Christianity to Islam, GoLocalProv reported last Saturday that a Woonsocket Zoning Board member shared a highly offensive Facebook post of a Marine pointing a gun at President Obama's head. How can the city of Woonsocket keep this person on the zoning board?

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                                        The Governor's budget was largely well-received thanks in large part to her gifted public speaking abilities during her presentation to a joint session of the state legislature last week, combined with the fact that her proposal doesn't raise broad based taxes. But will the budget cause more problems than it will solves thanks to a restructuring of the state debt that spends the savings instead of paying it down?

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        Pension Lawsuit Settlement

                                                                                                                        The state and its public sector unions appear to be heading towards a settlement of the pension lawsuit that resulted from the pension reform bill passed in 2011. If the negotiated agreement is close to what was agreed to last year, before being struck down, it will be a win for taxpayers, because it will lock in roughly 90 percent of the original savings without the risk of losing all of them.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        Jean Philippe Barros

                                                                                                                        The state representative from Pawtucket has filed legislation to allow communities that had specific dog breeds prohibited prior to last years legislative action that struck down those local ordinances to have those bans reinstated. Barros is right, local governments should have the right to protect their citizens in the ways they see fit.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        Rhode Island's Bars

                                                                                                                        Rhode Island has 6.49 bars per 10,000 people, and that means Rhode Island is "the drunkest" state in New England, according to Find The Best, a website that specializes in rankings. All kidding aside, there's nothing wrong with raising a pint or two, and tourism is a major driver or the economy, so this is a cool distinction as long as folks call a cab or designate a non-drinker as the driver.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        Rhode Island Foundation

                                                                                                                        The Rhode Island charitable organization announced recently that it is awarding Rhode Island students roughly $500,000 in scholarships. The scholarships vary and are based on anything from gender to geographic location in Rhode Island, but one thing they all have in common is that they represent a dream come true to anyone who receives them, as foundation Executive Director Neil Steinberg pointed out.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • HOT

                                                                                                                        March Madness

                                                                                                                        Every basketball fan's favorite time of year is upon us and in Rhode Island this year it's extra special as Providence College plays its first (hopefully of a few) game tonight at roughly 10 p.m. in the NCAA tournament while the URI Rams are making their way through the NIT. Best of continued luck to our local teams!

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                                        Jorge Elorza

                                                                                                                        The Providence Mayor started the week off hot when he moved to revoke a liquor license from an East Side bar suspected of paying a bribe to former House Speaker Gordon Fox, but turned not hot later on when he refused to answer questions about the qualifications of his new Parks Director. The buck stops at Mayor Elorza's desk, and if he believes in his appointments, he should stand by them and defend them--not dodge questions.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                                        Fires

                                                                                                                        Yes, fires are literally hot, but what's not hot is the fact that there have been major fires over the last two weeks, including one in Warwick at the Westgate condominiums on Quaker Lane that caused over 100 people to lose their homes and pets as well as a fire in Providence that the burnt down the building containing the Cannabis Producers Association located on Kinsley Avenue. Here's hoping those displaced by the fires land on their feet sooner rather than later.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                                        Rep. Gregg Amore

                                                                                                                        The State Representative from East Providence who is also a History Teacher has proposed a bill that would allow and seemingly encourage parents to opt out of taking the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test, which is a test that will replace the NECAP test and measure student capabilities. We need to make sure our students are meeting high standards in education to prepare them for challenges of a 21st century workforce, and one key way to do that is through standardized testing. Amore should encourage his students to stand up to challenges, not back down from them on the basis of their being too hard.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                                        Rep. Donald Lally

                                                                                                                        The longtime state representative from state representative who represents North Kingstown and Narragansett has unexpectedly resigned from his House Seat citing the desire to spend more time with family and at his full-time job. It's hard to fault a guy for wanting to spend more time with family, but one would assume he could've thought of this before seeking reelection last fall. Now, taxpayers will have to pay for a special election.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                      • NOT

                                                                                                                        WLNE-TV ABC 6

                                                                                                                        The TV station has parted company with news reporter and anchor Mark Curtis. Curtis was always an intuitive and effective news person, and it was surprising to see the station cut ties with such a professional.

                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Gina Raimondo

                                                                                                                          The Governor called for an increase in the minimum wage, which would benefit the hardworking people at the bottom of the economic food chain by giving them additional income, and that means more purchasing power. There are so many minimum wage jobs in our state, and the people who perform them shouldn't be forced to live in poverty.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Blue Cross

                                                                                                                          The state's dominant insurer has doled out $319,000 in grants to community organizations that work to combat childhood obesity. It's a smart investment by Blue Cross because it will not only improve the quality of life of children, it will also cut down on health care costs in the long run.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Rhode Island College

                                                                                                                          The state college is investigating whether or not it can revoke an honorary degree that the school conferred on former House Speaker Gordon Fox in the wake of news that he admitted to taking a bribe as a member of the Providence Licensing Board. There should be consequences for when public officials use their public office for their own private, personal gain.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Dan Jaehnig

                                                                                                                          The NBC 10 Anchor will be subjecting himself to a "roast" in order to raise money for the Fund for Community Progress on March 20 at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, starting at 5:30 p.m. The charity event will raise money for the 25 non-profit organizations across our state that work to create fairness and opportunity for all Rhode Islanders.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Nellie Gorbea

                                                                                                                          The Secretary of State deserves credit for reminding the new Pawtucket Red Sox ownership that they're not above the law. WPRI reported this week that Gorbea sent the Pawtucket Red Sox a letter saying the team needs to make sure they comply with lobbying laws.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • HOT

                                                                                                                          Shawn Parker

                                                                                                                          Kudos to the President of the CCRI faculty who has spoken out against legislation that would unfairly crack down on CCRI by implementing "performance-based funding" and give unprecedented power to the Commissioner of Post-Secondary Education. The legislation puts way too much of the onus on teachers and legislative leaders need to be asked why they're not proposing a similar mechanism to fund elementary and secondary education--goose, gander, and all that.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                                                          Seth Magaziner

                                                                                                                          The RI General Treasurer looks much more like a go along to get along guy than the reformer he promised Rhode Islanders he was on the campaign trail. GoLocalProv's Stephen Beale reported yesterday that Magaziner has refused to make public the opaque hedge fund contracts agreed to by his predecessor, Governor Gina Raimondo, despite promising to increase transparency on the campaign trail.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                                                          James Skeffington

                                                                                                                          GoLocalProv reported this week that the RI Convention Center has been costing taxpayers roughly $25 million per year, and about $450 million since its inception, despite the fact that voters never approved this expenditure. Who was the mastermind behind the plan that brought the Convention Center into existence? That would be James Skeffington, who is now the face of the new Pawtuket Red Sox ownership. Will RI get fooled again?

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                                                          Nicholas Mattiello

                                                                                                                          The House Speaker is understandably opposed to the enactment of a "line item veto" in Rhode Island (it would weaken his power), which would allow a Governor to veto a certain portion of a bill instead of the whole thing. The line item veto is not only a common sense mechanism that the vast majority of other states have that would prevent the legislature from "bundling" bad laws into bills that are, for the most part, good. NOT hot.

                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                        • NOT

                                                                                                                          Lisa Baldelli Hunt

                                                                                                                          The Rhode Island Ethics Commission has fined the Woonsocket Mayor for hiring her son and some of his friends to work for the city last summer for a seasonal program for the Department of Public Works. It wasn't the crime of the century, but such blatant nepotism can't go unpunished.