Sunday Local Roundup: November 27, 2016

Hyper-Local Headlines from Where You Live

WEST BAY

Drivers adjust to 2-way travel through Apponaug

Apponaug Circular Project / Madeleine Wright
Apponaug Circular Project / Madeleine Wright

After more than 40 years of counter-clockwise traffic around the core of Apponaug Village, two-way travel was restored to Veterans Memorial Drive and its extension Tuesday, but don’t count on a GPS knowing. While there were delays, especially during the late afternoon commute Tuesday, there wasn’t a single accident police report. Reviews of the circulator, which depends on roundabouts rather than traffic signals to handle traffic flow, were generally favorable with the common belief things will improve as motorists grow accustomed to the system. The Warwick Beacon has an updating on the ongoing project.

After fire, new Westgate opens Dec. 1

Courtesy: @trip336
Courtesy: @trip336

It looks just like it did before the fire, but looks can be deceiving. The new Building C of Westgate condominiums on Quaker lane is remarkably similar, yet vastly different, than the structure that was rapidly consumed by fire on March 11, 2015. The building, with 38 condominiums and five basic layouts, are outfitted the way they were before the fire but look strikingly different with modern color schemes, new appliances, flooring, kitchen countertops and bathroom fixtures. The Warwick Beacon has more on some of the other changes.

Next steps in effort to curb panhandling

Panhandler signAn ongoing national trend to criminalize panhandling on city streets in an effort to promote motorists’ safety has become a hot-button issue in Rhode Island, but under Mayor Allan Fung’s administration the ordinance on the books in Cranston was suspended indefinitely until the new city council resumes next year and can negotiate an alternative to curtailing the panhandling problem without infringing on First Amendment rights. The Ordinance Committee voted down an updated panhandling policy on Thursday, Nov. 17, in a 4-2 defeat to the mayor’s plan, which would have prohibited vagrants from waylaying drivers from median strips along roadways. So where does it go from here? The Cranston Herald had more.

SOUTH COUNTY

School dedicates ‘buddy bench’ to Dorian Murray

Springbrook Elementary School students,Jaevon Price,8, and Bella Austin,9,unwrap a buddy bench as Principal Susan Martin looks on at a bench dedication in memory of Dorian Murray at the school playground on Wednesday,Nov.23,2016.Dorian died on March 8, 2016, after a courageous battle with cancer. | Christine Corrigan, The Westerly Sun

On Wednesday morning, with family members and hundreds of his young friends present, the Springbrook School community dedicated the buddy bench to Dorian Murray, the 8-year-old whose courageous fight against cancer, #DStrong hashtag and wish to become famous before going to heaven inspired thousands around the world. The buddy bench, meant to encourage goodwill and foster friendships during recess and in the classroom, is inscribed with the words: “In loving memory of Dorian Murray, who was a friend to all.” The Westerly Sun has more on this special tribute to a special little boy.

New signs lead shoppers to downtown parking

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Public parking lot behind and next to the Westerly Senior Center. Christine Corrigan/The Westerly Sun

There’s no parking in downtown, a ubiquitous complaint heard for years. But two longtime observers of the area wonder if at least part of the problem is one of perception, not an actual shortage. With that in mind, Lisa Konicki, Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce president, and Wendy Brown, Westerly-Pawcatuck Downtown Business Association president, teamed up with town officials to create new signs to make sure motorists know public parking is available. Read more in The Westerly Sun.

Job training center poised for partial opening

A submarine hull that will be used as part of the training curriculum the at the Westerly Higher Education and Industry Center is in the process of being installed at the Railroad Avenue facility in Westerly. Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016. | Harold Hanka,The Westerly Sun

As if to christen the Westerly Education Center, a segment of a submarine hull was moved into the facility this week. In a matter of a few months, the hull will be part of a hands-on classroom, used by individuals looking to develop the trade skills necessary to build new subs for Electric Boat. The Westerly Sun has more on the innovative program.

Refuge closing for youth hunters

Image (1) Deer.jpg for post 140511Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge will host its annual deer hunting opportunity for youth hunters from Dec. 3, through Dec. 23. During this time, the refuge will be closed to the public, including the parking lots, nature trails, and kayak launch. The Westerly Sun has more information.

BLACKSTONE VALLEY

Race proves every vote counts

Rhode Island Board of Elections signFormer Central Falls Mayor Thomas Lazieh was deemed the winner of the election for the Ward 5 seat on the City Council during a recount at the Board of Elections in Providence last week. Lazieh won by a single vote, proving that each ballot counts. See the details in The Times.

Sacred icons restored at local church

1Four years after a devastating fire destroyed iconography at St. Michael Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America recently helped parishioners celebrate the recovery and the new growth the church experienced in the aftermath. The Woonsocket Call has more.

Adoptive parents honored for opening hearts and homes

“Parents who have stepped forward to take children into their homes and into their hearts are true heroes,” Rhode Island Family Court Chief Judge Michael Forte said during the recent observance of National Adoption Day when several parents added a collective 24 children to their families. Read more in The Times and The Call.

Tanked: Major milestone for beer cooperative

tank
Photo: Ernest A. Brown | Pawtucket Times

The delivery of massive fermentation tanks and other state-of-the-art brewing equipment to the Isle Brewers Guild on Main Street in Pawtucket was another milestone in the project to open the craft beer cooperative early next year. Get a progress report in The Times.

Brotherhood: Friendship forged through football

Saints
Photo: Ernest A. Brown | Pawtucket Times

Saint Raphael Academy seniors Jaylen Encarnacion and Xavier Torres developed a brotherly relationship by playing football together for years, including four at the Catholic high school in Pawtucket. Read about their special connection in The Times and The Call.

NORTHWEST

Johnston shores up local dams

U.S. Senator Jack Reed recently joined Mayor Polisena, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Director Janet Coit, engineers and dam safety officials for a press conference at Almy dam in Johnston highlighting the need to repair “high hazard” dams across the state and country. Photo: Johnston Sun Rise

On April 11, 1840, a severe rainstorm that lasted for two days hit Johnston. Water behind the then upper Simmonsville dam rose, and on the morning of the 13th, the dike gave way. A wall of water 11 feet high rushed downstream, collapsed another dam and struck the Simmonsville mill village with a vengeance. Eighteen people died, including eight members from one family. It remains one of the worst dam failure disasters in Rhode Island’s history. The Johnston Sun Rise has more on what the town is doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Town turkey grace’s gov’s Thanksgiving plate

Celebrating a family tradition, the Baffoni family proudly presented a 20-pound turkey and fresh eggs for the governor’s table. (JOHNSTON SUN RISE PHOTO)

A turkey born and raised in Johnston had a special place at Governor Gina Raimondo’s family table this Thanksgiving. Since 1935, and now in its fifth generation, the Baffoni family’s poultry farm has been dedicated to raising and dressing all-natural poultry. Their 80-acre farm is equipped to house roughly 25,000 chickens and 1,200 turkeys, which are fed an all-natural diet in a cage-free environment. The Johnston Sun Rise has more details on this long-held tradition.

PROVIDENCE

 

Drug cartels, dirty money, and an RI couple

cartel-case-projo-photo
Providence Journal Photo

The saga put Little Rhody under the international spotlight in the 1990s, linking a local businessman and his wife with Colombian drug cartels. Patrick Burns, author of the self-published book “The Coin Store,” says, “It’s got all the twists and turns of a novel that you make up, but it’s all true.” The Providence Journal gives you a look at the book that digs into the case.

RI pension system locked into underperforming investment

Gov. Gina Raimondo (D-Rhode Island) addresses issues with the new UHIP online benefits system.

Point Judith Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Governor Gina Raimondo before she entered politics, is holding on to an underperforming Rhode Island pension system investment at least one year longer than anticipated, according to General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. The Providence Journal digs into this complex issue, taking a look at how much the state pension system has lost and why Magaziner says the investment doesn’t make much sense for the state.

SOUTHEAST MASSACHUSETTS

Protest group calls for resignation amid Westport farm abuse

This dog was one of hundreds found on a Westport property during a 2010 animal cruelty investigation.
This dog was one of hundreds found on a Westport property during a 2010 animal cruelty investigation.

A group of tenant farm protesters plans on attending this Monday’s health board meeting and demanding that two of its members resign. The Protest Westport Tenant Farm founding member Roxanne Houghton said she and fellow member Jodi Greenleaf will be calling on fellow protesters to attend the selectmen and health board meetings on Monday and call for the resignation of two members who were on the board when authorities unveiled a historically bad animal abuse case at the 70-acre American Legion Highway tenant farm. The Fall River Herald News has more.

A man with a van and a plan: Fill it with toys

fill-the-van
Herald Photo

It was a chilly afternoon, dark skies and a little rain. Out in the parking lot of the Fall River Walmart, they didn’t care. That’s where a gold-colored, customized van, vintage 1972, was parked, side door slid back to show the toys. The van was from the New England Van Council. The toys inside were donated by shoppers, and would eventually find their way to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. The Fall River Herald News has more on the unique holiday toy drive.

Social service agencies prepare for busy times

fall-river-social-services
Junior Girl Scout Troop 1052 made Thanksgiving cards for guests at the First Step Inn. Photo: Herald News | Jack Foley

“Who’s next?” Chrystal Arpa called out and seeing a woman stand up said: “Come on over Sweetie.” Seated at her desk in a large waiting room that does double duty as a food pantry, Arpa and the woman spoke quietly. The woman was there to ask for help, as are all Arpa’s clients at Citizens for Citizens. Then Arpa handed over a bag stuffed with food and wished the woman well. The Herald News has more on how the city’s social service agencies are preparing for one of their busiest times of the year.