Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cost of Narragansett Bay Commission's CSO project has jumped from $389M to $1.4B

Sewer rates set to spike if massive RI tunnel project gets OK

By Ted Nesi
Published: December 29, 2015, 2:36 pm  Updated: December 29, 2015, 6:22 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State officials plan to make a decision next month on whether to approve the third and final phase of one of the largest infrastructure projects in Rhode Island’s history – and the major hike in sewer rates required to pay for it...

The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC), the quasi-public agency responsible for wastewater treatment in northern parts of the state, has asked DEM to approve a revised version of Phase III that would cost $815 million through 2038. Phase III had been slated to be done by 2025 – at a cost of $750 million – but in June the commission issued a report recommending the timeline be extended 13 years to spread out the financial burden on ratepayers.

Full Story

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WPRI: As Elorza names new school board members, president’s status is uncertain

Dan McGowan, Reporter
Published: December 10, 2015, 4:31 pm  Updated: December 10, 2015, 9:28 pm

On Wednesday, the City Council Finance Committee approved the school board nominations of Lorraine Lalli and Ivette Luna and the reappointment of Nicholas Hemond. The full council must still approve all three appointments. Full story

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blackstone Blvd traffic

Meeting to Discuss Proposed
Traffic Controls on Blackstone Boulevard

Over the past year, a group of Blackstone Boulevard residents have met with the Public Works Department to construct a plan to install traffic controls on Blackstone Boulevard.  The plan calls for a combination of 24 speed lumps/humps, 19 raised crosswalks and 3 signs, which you can view by clicking on these links: Map 1, Map 2, Map 3 and Map 4.  The City is holding a public hearing to solicit comment concerning the plan, which will take place Monday Night, December 14 at 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at Nathan Bishop Middle School.  Public comments are invited, and people who have a strong view for or against are encouraged to attend and speak.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Providence obtains CodeRED Emergency Notification System

CodeRED is an emergency notification service that allows emergency officials to notify residents and businesses by telephone, cell phone, text message, email and social media regarding time-sensitive emergency information.

Types of emergency messages that people may be alerted to could be Amber Alerts, notifications of hazardous incidents, boil water advisories, evacuation notices, parking bans, and severe weather alerts.

Providence Emergency Management is encouraging residents, commuters and businesses to sign up for this system and download the free CodeRED app. The service is free and easy to sign up for. Simply visit the City of Providence website or the Providence Emergency Management website and click on the CodeRED feature.

If you have any further questions, you can contact the PEMA Preparedness Coordinator Michael Previty at 401-680-8096 or

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Community meeting on Brown Inst'l Master Plan: Wed 12/2, 5:30 pm‏

Wednesday, December 2, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Brown's new Applied Math Building (170 Hope St at George St), Room 108 (first floor seminar room).
Refreshments will be served.


From Sam Zurier:

Providence needs to grow its tax base to keep tax rates affordable.  As a result, you are invited to join me for a Community Meeting To Discuss Economic Development.  We will hear from Mark Huang, the City's Economic Development Director and Stefan Pryor, the State's Secretary of Commerce (or his designee).  It will take place at the Hope High School Cafeteria, Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 6:30 - 8:00 p.m.  I hope to see you there.

Intro to Property Tax Evaluation Process

Monday, November 23, 2015

GoLocalProv: Critics Raise Questions Over Proposed Statewide Teacher Contract

Friday, November 13, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal News Editor

Critics of a potential statewide teacher contract are warning of implications should the state move away from district level negotiations, as a Senate committee is currently considering its potential and is expected to report on its findings in January. Full Story

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

League of Women Voters Conversation: Funding Libraries, December 1

A Providence Conversation

Revisiting State Assistance to Rhode Island Libraries

Please come chat with 

Karen Mellor, Director, RI Office of Information and Library Services

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

133 Dexterdale Rd, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM.

For more information, contact, (401) 272-0422

Providence League of Women Voters Study-Paper on Library Funding 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Summit Neighborhood Association: Public Education Forum‏

On Thursday, November 19th from 7:00-8:45, the newly-formed Education Committee of the Summit Neighborhood Association will host an education forum in the Community Room of the Rochambeau Library.

The purpose of this meeting is to gather our neighbors' views on public education in Providence--what it is, what it is not, and what you want it to be.

The specific topics are up to you! Please come share your success  stories, your concerns, and your dreams so we can advocate for the schools our neighborhood wants.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

WPRI: Here’s why RIDOT says a truck-toll bond would save RI $612M

Transportation agency explains rationale for borrowing $600M to repair bridges

By Ted Nesi
Published: November 2, 2015, 6:40 pm  Updated: November 9, 2015, 6:46 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The debate over Gov. Gina Raimondo’s toll proposal is actually multiple debates rolled into one.

Among the questions: Should the state spend more money on bridge repairs, and if so, how much should it spend? Should the state institute a toll on large trucks, and if so, how should it work? Should the state float a bond backed by the toll revenue and get the money up front, even though it will have to pay interest? Full Story

Federal Debt Financing Tools

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Providence League of Women Voters Study-Paper on Library Funding

After poring over documents and interview notes from subcommittee members,  Maureen Romans authored this Study Paper on State Funding of Libraries. 
We plan to hold a meeting early in December to discuss this report.
Meanwhile, please read it beforehand.
Joan Retsinas

Monday, November 2, 2015

City Budget & River Road

News from Sam Zurier's 10/25 Ward Letter

City Budget
The Auditor General sent a Letter to our Mayor and City Council President (with copies to the City Council members) stating his concerns about Providence's finances.  Moving forward, the Auditor General's letter breaks important new ground by specifically directing our City's administration to obtain the advice and consent of the City Council before submitting a new, more effective deficit reduction plan.

The River Road Project
The Seekonk Riverbank Alliance seeks to enhance the River Road area as a public park.  In June, they held a charrette seeking public input about what features the park should have.  One major concern that neighbors stated was that any redesign should preserve the automobile access to River Road in both directions.  Recently, the group prepared a proposal that satisfies this concern.  They published diagrams of the proposal including an Overview, and renderings of a Plaza at the foot of Irving Avenue, the Meadow area and the Narragansett Boat Club area.  The group will be holding a public meeting to discuss the proposal on Thursday, November 5 at 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the Planning Department, 444 Westminster Street.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Quasi-Publics and Debt

The reason why the state goes through “quasi-public” agencies like the Commerce Corporation (formerly the Economic Development Corp., or EDC) and the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority for non-general-obligation debt?

Not-So-Quasi-Publics and Unconstitutional Debt
by Justin Katz on October 27, 2015
Anchor Rising & Ocean State Current

The League Joins with other Groups to Voice Concerns about Transparency

You can read more about the issue as reported on RIPR (

Text of the letter

Providence Parks + Recreation

Find Upcoming Activities and Programs 

Reserve Parks and Recreation Facilities 
The City of Providence has parks, athletic fields, and recreation centers that are available for group use or rental throughout Providence. Permits are required for all reservations.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Economic Analysis of Truck Toll Plan

Governor Gina M. Raimondo and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jonathan Womer announced the findings of the RhodeWorks economic impact study conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI).

Economic Impact Study

Constitutional Amendment Study

For anyone interested:
The LWVUS Constitutional Amendment Committee will study the process of amending the U.S. Constitution. Study website

Additional material is being shared on a Yahoogroup. The suggested readings from members of the Yahoogroup may be found here. Materials from the Yahoogroup are often updated as group members find new materials, so check back frequently.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Elorza seeking applicants for Providence School Board

By Linda Borg

Journal Staff Writer

Posted Oct. 7, 2015 at 3:32 PM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Mayor Jorge Elorza announced Wednesday that the Providence School Board Nominating Commission is seeking applicants to serve on the Providence School Board.
“The Providence School Board is essential for making our school system the best that it can be,” said Elorza. “If you are passionate about improving our public schools, then I ask you to apply to serve the city and the students of Providence on the School Board.”
The nine school board members are each appointed to three-year terms. Terms are staggered to have three positions up for renewal every year. School board members whose terms are expiring may apply and be considered for reappointment. This year’s applicants are being considered for appointment to a term beginning in 2016 and going through 2019.
The School Board application deadline is 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2015. The School Board job description and online application are available at:
The School Board Nominating Commission will conduct a public forum with selected applicants once the application period has closed. The commission then makes recommendations to the mayor, whose nominees will be reviewed by the City Council.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hurricane Joaquíin - useful links and phone numbers


Know your local emergency evacuation routes by visiting the RIEMA website at

Visit to Register with CodeRed and receive free emergency notifications from local and state officials.


Individuals with special healthcare needs should consider enrolling in the Rhode Island Special Needs Emergency Registry either online at or by calling 211.

Have ready access to utility contact information to report outages and other emergency situations:

  • National Grid - (800)-465-1212
  • Pascoag Utility District - (401) 568-6222
  • Block Island Power Co. - (401) 466-7754

Remember to treat all downed utility lines as live and dangerous.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

September 16 Providence LWV Conversation‏

A Providence Conversation:

A New Voice on the Providence School Board

The Providence League of Women Voters

Invites you for

Conversation over coffee and dessert with:

Mark Santow, PhD

historian, parent, and

new member of the Providence School Board

Come here his experiences as he grapples with charter schools, budgets, contracts, and testing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

49 Humboldt Avenue, Providence, 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

For more information, e-mail:, or phone (401) 272-0422

Thursday, August 27, 2015

WPRI: Providence reminds parents of important school resources

Shaun Towne; Reporting by Kelly Sullivan
Published: August 26, 2015, 11:13 pm

The Providence School Department sent out some important reminders for parents Wednesday as the new academic year looms. Full Story

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Gov. Raimondo unveils $20M fund for school construction

Dan McGowan, Reporter
Published: August 11, 2015, 2:12 pm  Updated: August 11, 2015, 9:46 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Making the case that Rhode Island schools need to be “safer, better and healthier” learning environments, Gov. Gina Raimondo on Tuesday launched a new program aimed at repairing and refurbishing aging schoolhouses across the state.

Known as the Rhode Island School Building Authority (SBA), the governor said the program and its advisory board will oversee the school construction process, starting with an independent assessment of all of the state’s school buildings.

The SBA is funded with $20 million from the new 2015-16 state budget, money that will be used to immediately assist schools will smaller construction projects over the next year. Those projects will be determined in the coming weeks and Raimondo said work could begin as soon as September.

Full story

Mayoral assistance with City services‏

The Mayor’s Center for City Services is a new constituent service office. Located on the first floor of City Hall, City Services provides a streamlined and responsive experience for anyone seeking assistance from the city. Residents can stop in, or simply call 421-CITY to speak directly with a staffer.

City Services is also expanding to every corner of Providence to better connect with residents. A new, mobile City Services van is traveling to locations throughout the city, providing the same high-quality service available at City Hall. And there will be Community Office Hours – a new initiative that brings City Services staff directly into supermarkets, community events and other locations.

The first Community Office Hours are Tuesday, August 11 at Compare Foods, 863 Broad Street, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 15 at the Hope Street Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Providence Schools: Parent Forums: August 4, 6, 13 and 17

Come and meet Providence Schools Superintendent Chris Maher and share your views on the direction of our schools and how to make them stronger!
Time and Locations

Thursday, July 23, 2015

WPRI: Councilman seeks to block ex-pols from spiking their city pension

Dan McGowan, Reporter
Published: July 22, 2015, 9:27 am  Updated: July 22, 2015, 8:43 pm

Councilman David Salvatore said Wednesday he plans to introduce an ordinance that would prevent politicians who also held a municipal job from counting their time in elected office toward their pension credits. Full Story

Friday, July 17, 2015

WPRI: Providence tax rate still ranked among highest

By Ted Nesi
Published: July 16, 2015, 5:00 am  Updated: July 16, 2015, 5:37 pm

This marks the second year in the row that the study pegged Providence’s rates at fourth-highest. The city’s ranking has improved somewhat in recent years – it topped the list in both 2011 and 2012, but then bankrupt Detroit took the crown. New York City and Chicago ranked third- and fourth-highest, respectively.
Full Story

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Providence Journal Editorial: Ease and integrity

U.S Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is urging fellow House members to support a bill that would automatically register people to vote when they do business at their state’s motor vehicle department...

On its face, the change sounds reasonable. Although registration does not present a daunting obstacle to those who take their civic duties seriously, making registration easier can’t hurt in the effort to boost turnout...

At the same time, any move to change voter registration procedures must be approached first and foremost with a focus on ensuring the integrity of our elections. Are the motor vehicle departments in Rhode Island and other states up to the task of handling far more instances in which people want to register to vote? And if they are, are proper safeguards in place to prevent duplication, fraud or the registration of non-citizens to vote?
Full Story

Former Providence councilwoman tapped for new city job

Dan McGowan, Reporter
Published: July 15, 2015, 12:39 am  Updated: July 15, 2015, 10:02 am

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence City Council didn’t look far for its latest hire.

City Council President Luis Aponte said Tuesday he has brought in former Councilwoman Balbina Young to work as an “administrator and liaison” to the city clerk’s office, a newly created position in city government. The job, which was not advertised to the public, has a pay range of between $57,000 and $60,000, Aponte said.

“She’s got years and years of institutional knowledge,” Aponte told “With her years in leadership on the council, she understands the challenges on the council and in the clerk’s office.”  Full Story

Providence Water Supply Board asks for up to $39M in revenue bonds to combine offices

By John Hill

Journal Staff Writer

Posted Jul. 13, 2015 at 11:15 PM

PROVIDENCE — The Providence Water Supply Board wants to leave its current offices on Academy Avenue in Providence and Scituate Avenue in Cranston and consolidate them on property off the Route 6-10 connector near Mashapaug Pond, according to documents on file with the city and state.
PWSB spokeswoman Dyana Koelsch said due to a confidentiality agreement she couldn’t say where the board wants to move, but according to a resolution pending before the City Council and testimony submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission, the new location is 125 Dupont Drive off Niantic Avenue; a site currently occupied by a Bank of America facility. Full Story

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

GoLocal Prov: Providence Rhode Island Defaulted June 30, 2015…So What

Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Michael G. Riley, GoLocalProv MINDSETTER™

The City of Providence Rhode Island defaulted midnight June 30, 2015 on a $62 million dollar debt to the City of Providence Pension plan. That very same day Greece defaulted on $1.7 billion due to the IMF. Both Greece and Providence continue to operate as governments. Fitch and Moody’s rate Greece Debt as “junk”, while Providence Rhode Island debt is rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investor Services and by Fitch as BB.

Full Story

Road and Bridge Data by State

The Highway Trust Fund is set to expire on July 31. Without action from Congress, federal funding for transportation will come to a screeching halt -- and with it, so will traffic in many places. Over the last six years, Congress has passed 33 short-term measures rather than funding transportation for the long term. And our transportation system -- our roads and bridges, especially -- is in a dire state of disrepair because of it. The attached fact sheet shows us this. Experts agree:  The only way to prepare our transportation system for the next generation is to stop this cycle of short-term measures and pass a long-term transportation bill.

Road and Bridge Data by State

NBC 10 I-Team: Firefighter severance costing city millions

The NBC 10 I-Team has learned Providence firefighters are retiring in droves, and their pensions are only part of the cost city taxpayers must cover...

As of July 1, at least 33 firefighters, including the chief of the department, had put in their retirement papers.  That’s more than double the number that retired in 2014, when just 13 firefighters hung up their hats...

Sources within the fire department tell NBC 10 that the battle over shifts with City Hall has morale at an all-time low, and many veteran firefighters would rather retire than work a 56-hour shift.

Full Story

Friday, July 3, 2015

Providence Firefighters’ Raise Could Trigger Millions in Raises for Teachers

Friday, July 03, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal Contributor

A clause in the recently agreed upon Providence teachers' contract could trigger millions in additional costs to the city, if the city's firefighters see a significant pay increase in light of Mayor Jorge Elorza's platoon change proposal.
The new three-year teachers' contract language stipulates that if other municipal unions receive more than a 1% raise during the years of the contract, that teachers would get that same amount -- as a firefighters are being tapped to get as high as a 5% increase, due to potential changes in their work schedules if a platoon change shift moves forward.

Full Story

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Things to think about in the Tax Stabilization Plan

GoLocal Prov: Critics Raise Questions Over New 195 Tax Break Plan for Providence
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal Contributor

Community leaders -- and real estate professionals -- were among those who raised questions about Providence's stake in the newly brokered plan for a standardized tax stabilization agreement (TSA) for development of the 195 land on Tuesday night.

Full Story

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

WPRI: 9 things to know about Rhode Island’s charter school battle

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – As the clock ticks down on the 2015 legislative session, Rhode Island lawmakers are set to consider several pieces of legislation that could slow the growth of charter schools in the state.

But why is the General Assembly seeking to make changes and why is Gov. Gina Raimondo saying she won’t sign the bills into law if they’re approved?

Here’s an overview.

Friday, June 5, 2015

RI Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan

Interested in the future of waste management in RI? Read the newly adopted RI Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, "Solid Waste 2038." At current loading rates, 2038 is the year RI's Central Landfill will reach capacity.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Providence Stadium: Strike Out or Home Run?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Friedman Auditorium, Metcalf Research Building, 190-194 Thayer Street

Free and open to the public. Registration required. Get tickets here.
Reception at 6 p.m., program begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Taubman Center for Public Policy joins with Rhode Island Public Radio to convene a panel of experts to address the proposed relocation of the Pawtucket Red Sox to a new stadium in downtown Providence. More

This event will be live streamed and will be taped for airing on Rhode Island Public Radio.

Providence League Annual Meeting/Barbecue - Monday, June 8‏

An invitation and a reminder:

Providence League of Women Voters
Annual Barbecue/Social/Meeting (in that order)

Monday, June 8, 5:30 pm.
603 Angell Street, Providence

Come enjoy the spring evening.

Not quite a potluck – we will have a main dish plus sides.

If you can, please bring a dessert.

RSVP, (401)351-2269

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fourth and Final Strategic Plan Prototype Released for Feedback! - May 27, 2015‏

The final version of the strategic plan is taking shape, but you still have time to give the Ambassador Design Team your feedback.  This prototype includes revisions to third prototype, including the visions of success and the strategies for action within each priority area.  

Please go to to watch a short introductory video, download prototype 4 of the strategic plan, and respond to the brief (six-question) survey, which focuses on your high-level feedback regarding the quality, scope, and focus of prototype 4.

The survey will be open until 8 a.m. on June 1. After we close the survey, we will collect and gather the feedback into a report that will  inform the Ambassador Design Team’s final revisions. We expect to bring a final plan forward next month.

You can read the reports of the feedback from the other prototypes on the RIDE web site at

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Citywide Conversation

Please Join

Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Councilman Kevin Jackson, and Councilman Sam Zurier for a Citywide Conversation.

Monday, June 15at 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Nathan Bishop Middle
101 Sessions St, Providence, Rhode Island 2906

Join the conversation about how we can work together
to benefit our city.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Providence LWV study of library funding: meeting March 27, 10 am‏

Library Funding: The State’s Responsibility
Over the past few months a subcommittee of the Providence LWV has been gathering information on the status quo of library funding, as well as on possible changes. Summaries of interviews and background material are online (contact Joan or Hollie Courage for the URL/web address). 

We are meeting Wednesday, May 27, 10 am, at 344 Taber Avenue, to plot the next step in this Providence LWV study. A report? A forum? Any preliminary conclusions? 
Even if you haven't been part of the committee, we welcome your participation.
If you would like to contribute to this discussion, please review the materials, and come.

Joan Retsinas
phone 401-272-0422

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Providence Transition Committee Reports

These reports contain valuable input and insight into the needs and priorities of residents and stakeholders throughout Providence. There were 10 subcommittees: City Services; Economic Development; Education; Ethics, Transparency + Open Government; Arts, Culture + Cuisine; Housing + Neighborhood Development; Public Safety; Sports, Recreation + Youth Programming; Strategic Opportunities; and Sustainability.

Transition Committee Report

Also available at: Open Data Portal

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A City Braces for Its Ballpark to Go the Way of Its Mills
FEBRUARY 24, 2015

The icy reminder of a baseball truth has blown down from New England, down from a Rhode Island city forever described as gritty, or struggling, or, more politely, challenged. No doubt you have seen signs for this brown-brick metropolis along the interstate, on your way to someplace else: Pawtucket, population 71,000...

Now Pawtucket is also home to this familiar lesson: Beyond the game’s innate poetry, which has seduced generations of hacks to summon their inner Whitman for every slam-bam double play, professional baseball is a cold business, as emotional at its core as an expectorated spray of tobacco juice.

Full story

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coordinated Assault on Endangered Species Act

America’s strongest and most important law for protecting wildlife, the Endangered Species Act, is under a coordinated assault. Since January, over 30 bills and amendments have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate that would dismantle the Act, including eight extreme bills in the Senate that received a hearing last week.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), passed in 1973, has helped prevent the extinction of numerous species, including the Bald Eagle, Whooping Crane, Brown Pelican, Peregrine Falcon, and more. While many species are recovering thanks to the ESA, hundreds of species continue to be in dire need of its protections. The bills introduced in Congress, however, would only serve to accelerate extinction.

Full Story

Grassroots Providence Procession Draws Attention To Water Issues

Rhode Island Public Radio
11:47 AM SAT MAY 16, 2015

A group of artists, scientists, educators, and residents who want to promote the health of urban ponds will march in a parade later today in Providence for the eighth year in a row. Mashapaug Pond and its watershed in the Pawtuxet River basin are the centerpieces of the Urban Pond Procession. The pond is on the state’s list of impaired waters. It’s not a safe body of water in which to swim or fish.

Full Report

Many R.I. lawmakers could gain from pension deal

Providence Journal
By Katherine Gregg

Journal State House Bureau

Posted May 17, 2015 at 2:00 AM

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — At least a third of Rhode Island’s part-time lawmakers have a potential personal stake in the proposed settlement of the legal fight over dramatic 2011 pension cuts aimed at saving taxpayers $4 billion over the next two decades.

That includes the 10 state lawmakers already collecting pensions — ranging from $7,402 a year to more than $74,000 — from the state-run retirement system covering state workers, public school teachers and municipal employees. For them, there is an opportunity for a series of boosts in their pensions they might not otherwise see for years.

Full Story

Panel studying charter school funding issues report

STATE HOUSE – The Special Legislative Commission to Study and Assess Rhode Island’s “Fair Funding Formula,” led by Rep. Jeremiah T. O’Grady (D-Dist. 46, Lincoln, Pawtucket) issued its findings today after hearing testimony from advocates and representatives from public schools, charter schools, municipalities and the Department of Education over the course of three months. While making no formal recommendations, the commission’s report found that certain high-cost expenditure burdens were disproportionately borne by public sending districts and that charter schools, through the Fair Funding Formula’s tuition calculation, saw increases in their respective tuition payments as a result...

Press Release

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty,
PublicistState House
Room 20Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-2457

Related stories:
Consultant: Closing some Warwick schools necessary and unavoidable
North Kingstown school board approves district-wide all-day kindergarten

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Brown's Commencement/ Reunion Weekend 2015‏

Brown University’s 247th Commencement exercises take place on Sunday, May 24 on the College Green. The ceremony will conclude Brown’s three-day Commencement/ Reunion Weekend and mark the official end of the University’s semiquincentenary celebrations, the 250th anniversary of Brown’s founding.

Brown’s 250th celebration began in March 2014 with fireworks on the College Green. As the celebration enters its final weekend on Friday, May 22, a four-minute firework display will follow the Senior Sing at Campus Dance, just after midnight.  In consideration of our neighbors, the twenty-second finale will be significantly quieter than a standard firework display.

Information on traffic patterns, street closings, and parking bans

Any questions or concern contact:
Katie Silberman
Community Liaison; 863-3717

LWV library study - next steps

Please come to a Library Funding Committee meeting:
Wednesday, May 27, from 10 am to noon.

We have collectively interviewed a slew of librarians about the Library Funding formula, have gathered written information about formulas. Now we need to look at all the material and decide what needs to be/ can be done next (The information is available to committee members online.)

For more information: Call Joan Retsinas 272-0422

Monday, May 11, 2015

Report finds that R.I. meets all early learning quality standards

Rhode Island is among the best in the country for the quality of early learning programs.

A report that the National Institute for Early Education Research released today (May 11, 2015), “The State of Preschool 2014,” finds that Rhode Island is one of only five states to meet all ten standards, or benchmarks, for the youngest learners. This marks the 5th consecutive year that Rhode Island has met all 10 standards.

Full Story

PawSox owners to present stadium plan to Jewelry District Association – May 12, 2015

Presentation on Proposed PawSox Stadium – James Skeffington
Monthly JDA Meetings are open to the public

You’re invited to attend.
Next meeting: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Meeting time: promptly at 4:00 pm to approximately 5:30 pm.

Meetings are held the second Tuesday of every month. Each meeting offers updates on local issues and reports of JDA action, as well as occasional guests from city government departments, businesses, universities and others whose ideas and/or actions are important to the Jewelry District.

Meeting Location:

Brown University Continuing Education Department
200 Dyer Street, Providence

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Climate Council needs board members

Posted: May 04, 2015 4:30 PM EDT
Updated: May 04, 2015 4:30 PM EDT
By NBC 10 News

Nominations are now being sought for the new Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Science and Technical Advisory Board...

Nominations should be submitted no later than May 15, 2015 to Elizabeth Stone in the DEM Director's Office at, by fax at 222-6802, or by mail to the DEM Director's Office in Room 425 at 235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908. Interested individuals are encouraged to include a current resume or bio, cover letter and contact information.

A link to the Resilient Rhode Island Act and the complete list of the activities of the Science and Technical Advisory Board can be found at:

Full Story

Monday, May 4, 2015

Downtown Baseball Stadium Discussions

Sam Zurier announced in his May 3 Ward Letter that he will co-host a public meeting with State Representatives Aaron Regunberg and Edith Ajello, and State Senator Gayle Goldin to share the information we have, and invite all of you, as members of the general public, to share your thoughts, opinions and ideas.  The meeting will take place on Monday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m. at the Hope High School Cafeteria.  The formal discussion will begin at 6:30.  Refreshments will be served.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

NBC 10 I-Team Exclusive: RI court costs out of whack

Posted: Apr 27, 2015 7:17 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 28, 2015 11:46 AM EDT
By Katie Davis, NBC 10 I-Team Reporter

NBC 10 began investigating the state's unpaid court costs in February, and learned criminals owe Rhode Island taxpayers more than $70 million.

But, the I-Team also learned that chasing that cash isn't always worth the cost. In some cases, Rhode Island taxpayers spend more to lock people up than those people ever owed.

Full Story

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Action Alert: Ethics

The League of Women Voters believes that the Ethics Commission must once again have oversight and jurisdiction over the General Assembly.

Representative Marcello’s House Resolution No. 5374 and Senator O’Neill’s Senate Resolution No. 56 are being considered at this moment on Smith Hill. If the legislation passes, voters will decide whether or not to amend the RI Constitution, restoring the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission over the General Assembly. Contact your representatives and senators and ask them to support these two bills.

For more information:
Call To Action: Strengthen RI's Ethics Commission, LWVRI in Action
Editorial: For ethics oversight, Providence Journal

Saturday, April 25, 2015

195 Commission Meeting on Stadium proposal 4/27 at 4 p.m.

Opposition Mounting Against Providence Sox Stadium Proposal
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal Contributor

The 195 Commission reversed its decision to hold its meeting on the proposed Providence stadium Monday in closed session, announcing Friday it would now hold Monday's meeting open to the public, but public opposition to the proposed deal continues to grow. Full Article

Meeting Information
Date: April 27, 2015
Time: 04:00 PM
Location: Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Suite 101, Providence, RI 02908
Filed on: April 20, 2015 at 02:30 PM

Friday, April 24, 2015

RIDE - Prototype Release and Strategic Plan Process Update - April 24, 2015‏

Rhode Island 2015-2020
PK-12 Strategic Plan for Education

Give feedback to the Ambassador Design Team!

The Ambassador Design Team has developed the third prototype!  This prototype contains revisions to the values and priorities, as well as newly drafted strategies and outcomes describing the vision for success. For the prototype and more information

The third prototype will be open for public feedback through May 4, 2015 at 8:00am.

A Providence Conversation - A Woman’s Perspective: New Voices on the City Council

A Providence Conversation

The Providence League of Women Voters invites you to

A Woman’s Perspective: New Voices on the City Council

Conversation over coffee and dessert with:

  • Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) and Mary Kay Harris (Ward 11)
Both are newly elected; both replace men.

Hear why they ran and the obstacles they faced.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015
30 President Ave, Providence, 7:00 to 8:30 pm

For more information, please contact, or phone 401-272-0422

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Narragansett Bay Commission Recognized by EPA for Environmental Achievements

Release Date: 04/22/2015
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017
BOSTON – Two winners in Rhode Island were recognized today at EPA’s 2015 Environmental Merit Awards ceremony. The environmental leaders were among 27 recipients across New England honored for helping to improve New England’s environment... (Full Story)

The Narragansett Bay Commission, Providence
The Narragansett Bay commission owns and operates Rhode Island’s two largest wastewater treatment facilities and is a leader in protecting the water quality of Narragansett Bay. Over the past year, the commission has shown its commitment to the bay by going beyond what was required of it for wastewater treatment. The commission is a leader in water quality monitoring in the state, voluntarily measuring nutrients to monitor how well its infrastructure investments work, and to find potential sources of contaminants. Monitoring showed that dissolved inorganic nitrogen levels in the bay last summer were the lowest since monitoring began. Over the past few years, the commission started a collaborative evaluation of sustainable solutions to improve water quality that brought together experts from environmental agencies and academia. In 2014, the commission also made significant progress in addressing pathogens, which led to a great improvement in shell-fishing. So far, the commission’s combined sewer overflow project has treated more than 6 billion gallons of flow that would have entered the bay untreated. The Narragansett Bay Commission has installed three wind turbines at Field’s Point, creating the first wind farm in the state and generating nearly half the energy used by the plant. The commission worked with University of Rhode Island researchers to measure greenhouse gas emissions from aeration tanks so it could correctly measure its carbon footprint. Lastly, the Commission collaborated with the state university, EPA, and several state agencies to reduce consumption of fossil fuel-based energy at each of the 19 treatment facilities in Rhode Island. This program success has led to similar analyses of state drinking water plants, public schools, and municipal buildings.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

RIPTA Launches Online Transit Fare Survey

Is it easy for passengers to buy tickets and passes to ride the bus? Do we offer the types of fare products they are looking for? The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) wants to know how passengers feel about their fare pricing and products, and is inviting their passengers to take their Transit Fare Study Survey. It is available on RIPTA’s website now through May 1, 2015. Also, copies of the survey are available at the customer service window at Kennedy Plaza and our Commuter Resource Team will be making it available to passengers at various locations, including some Park ‘n Ride commuter lots.

Full Story

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Free electronic recycling at Wheeler A.M. Weds. 4/22

Wheeler School Free Electronics Recycling Event

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015
    7:30am 10:00am

    The Wheeler School 216 Hope St Providence, RI, 02906

Bring your used electronics to be recycled at this event hosted by the Wheeler School Eco Club. Goodwill will be accepting anything with a plug (except for tube TVs). The funds raised from the collection of electronics are reinvested in training programs offered by Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

City Services/Bonds/Meeting on Potholes

Many thanks to Councilman Sam Zurier for providing the following information via his
April 19 Newsletter.

City Services Study - City Council
A comprehensive review of staffing of city services in the City of Providence, RI, containing recommendations to streamline departments and reduce costs.
by D'Amico Consulting, April 1, 2015

Presentation by the City's bond financial advisers and legal counsel concerning the requirements of bond financing, the components of the City's credit rating, the City's bond financing tools and the anticipated availability of capital finance for future projects in the coming years.

Review by the City's Internal Auditor of the current inventory of outstanding bonds issued by the City.

PLOWING, POTHOLES AND PARKING - a meeting with city leaders sponsored by CHNA.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
6:30pm  8:00pm
Gilder Center for the Arts at the Wheeler School

Friday, April 17, 2015

PawSox Consultants Overestimated URI Ryan Center Attendance by Millions

Friday, April 17, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal Prov Contributor

The consulting group hired by the new ownership group of the Pawtucket Red Sox was the same one retained by the state to conduct the business plan for the University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center in 2000 -- and furnished attendance projections for the Center which proved to be overinflated by nearly 30% over the course of its first ten years.

Full Story

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook Now Available!

The 2015 Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook was released at their 21st Annual Breakfast on Monday, April 13, 2015.

To order a hardcopy

Free Parking and Do Over Saturday

Buy Into Spring, a campaign to encourage residents and visitors to shop locally in Providence after the long winter.

To make it easier to patronize shops and restaurants, Providence will offer free, 2-hour parking beginning this Saturday in select areas, April 18 and continuing each Saturday through May 9. Please click here for exact locations.

April 18 is also Do Over Saturday – a chance to “do over” those missed outings and take advantage of great discounts and savings from statewide participants – many here in Providence.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chafee for President?

For what it's worth:

Why Chafee for President actually makes sense  |  April 9, 2015
By Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes

Why I love that Linc Chafee wants to run for president
By Bob Plain on April 9, 2015

The RI Communities With the Highest Post-Employment Benefit Liabilities

Friday, April 10, 2015
Russell J. Moore, GoLocalProv Contributor

There has been plenty of attention and scrutiny involving the pension crisis and settlement over the past several years, but there's another liability that’s facing local governments around the country and in Rhode Island.

In addition to pensions, local governments have promised workers pension benefits, known as OPEB, to cover their bills in their retirement years.

What's OPEB?
Municipal governments have promised workers OPEB benefits, which stands for "other post-employment benefits", the vast majority of which are health care benefits in the form of providing health insurance

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting

April 15, 2015 – 4:45pm
444 Westminster Street, First Floor


Roll call

  1. Approval of meeting minutes from March Commission meeting
  2. Discussion of possible Roger Williams loop road closure
  3. Discussion of ideas for improving pedestrian and bicycle conditions generated from February Commission meeting
  4. Discussion and review of DPW plans for Pleasant Valley Parkway, Smith Street, Charles Street, Elmwood Avenue, Valley Street, River Road, Smithfield Avenue, and Washington Street


Let your voice to be heard@ Comm. Meeting

Dear Neighbor:

We are pleased to inform you about an important event taking place on Thursday, April 9th at 6:30pm at the Dr. Martin Luther King School, located at 35 Camp Street, Providence.

This event will give you an opportunity to tell us what you think our community needs to improve, and let your voice to be heard.  So please join us and feel free to make copies of the attached flyer, to hang and share, and invite friends, neighbors and community partners.

To participate, please RSVP to Donna Miele at You may also complete the Community Needs Survey at  We look forward to seeing you, and thank you for helping us to spread the word.

Majority Leader Kevin Jackson                Seth Yurdin
Councilman –Ward 3                                  Councilman-Ward 1          

Samuel D. Zurier
Councilman-Ward 2

Friday, April 3, 2015

I-195 Redevelopment District Commission Meeting – April 6, 2015

A meeting of the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission will be held at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, 315 Iron Horse Way, Providence, Rhode Island, on MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2015, beginning at 5 P.M.

Meeting includes: Discussion and Vote regarding Adoption of the 2014 City of Providence Zoning Ordinance.

Green Living: See where recycling magic happens on R.I. landfill tour

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation offers public tours from late March to early November, taking visitors from the Materials Recycling Facility to the top of the landfill itself.

Full Article
By Krystal Noiseux
Special to The Journal
Posted Mar. 30, 2015 at 12:01 AM

RIRRC Tour Information:

Providence Parents Frustrated With Repeated School Department Delays

Friday, April 03, 2015
Kate Nagle, GoLocal Contributor

Providence parents are saying they're feeling stuck in the dark with information on school lotteries.

Parents in the City of Providence are taking the school department to task for not providing information about the public school lotteries for neighborhood schools, after being told the lotteries were supposed to take place in February -- and the latest information on the Providence Public School Department (PPSD) website as of Thursday stating the lotteries were to occur the week of March 23...

A Facebook group called "PVD Kindergarten Countdown" was formed, where parents have been voicing their frustrations.  

Full story

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is embarking on a transit fare study that will review all fare products it offers as well as the rates that are charged. One of the main goals of the study –  which is expected to take about four months ­– is to determine if RIPTA is offering the types of fare products (such as all-day passes, or 15-ride passes) that best meet passengers’ needs.

The first two community meetings will be held in Providence and are scheduled for Tuesday, April 14, 2015  in the auditorium of the Providence Foundation, 30 Exchange Terrace, Providence.  There will be an early session from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and evening session from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Street Sweeping to Begin April 5, Yard Waste Collection Begins April 13

Street Sweeping Schedule from the City Council

Single Payer
Raimondo cherry picks data, overstates issues in Reinventing Medicaid
By Steve Ahlquist on March 31, 2015

Two single-payer advocacy groups, Rhode Island Chapters of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and HealthCare-Now, have prepared a report that is highly critical of Governor Gina Raimondo’s Reinventing Medicaid initiative.

The PNHP/HCN-RI report identifies five areas of concern and concludes that “Governor Raimondo has made it impossible” to achieve the goal of developing “a plan to improve the quality of care Rhode Islanders receive and reduce the costs for Rhode Island taxpayers.”

H5387, a single-payer health care bill introduced by Representative Aaron Regunberg.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Citywide Conversation on City Services and Education 3/31

Citywide Conversation on City Services and Education tomorow, Tuesday, March 31st from 6-8 pm. The conversation will be held at the Silver Lake Community Center at 529 Plainfield Street, and it will be the first of many opportunities to share your ideas at different venues across the City.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Providence facing school budget crunch

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Several members of the Providence School Board are calling on the Elorza administration to increase the city’s contribution to the school department for the first time in five years, as officials scramble to close a projected budget shortfall.

School officials told the mayoral-appointed school board Monday that they’ve narrowed a $34.7-million gap in the budget that takes effect July 1 down to between $6 million and $10 million, but the cuts identified could harm students and teachers across the city, according to board member Keith Oliveira.

Full Story

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pension settlement

Providence Journal
R.I. municipalities holding emergency council meetings on pension settlement
By Katherine Gregg  Posted Mar. 25, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

Table showing the potential added cost to Rhode Island cities and towns of a proposed settlement in the lawsuit over the state's pension overhaul.

Reminder: “Technology and Community Engagement.” - 3/26

Thursday, March 26, 6:30 pm
“Technology and Community Engagement.”
Speakers: Andy Cutler, Founder of Achievery
Sue Ellen Kroll, Director of Grants and Strategic Partnerships, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities
Facilitator: Joan Retsinas, LWV member

An informal reception will follow.
Where: The Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope St, Providence
(Parking is available at the lot across the street).
Note: Attendees with limited mobility can park in the drive at the entrance off Angell Street.  That entrance has 6 steps with handrails. Once inside, the doorways are wide enough to accommodate wheel chairs. If you need to park in the drive, please notify the Museum in advance (453-0688).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Secretary of State's Transition Committee Report

Nellie Gorbea's 12 member Transition Committee worked with her to outline important areas to address over the next four years. Their report entitled Restarting Rhode Island is now available. The report’s recommendations have a common goal: develop a stronger connection between Rhode Islanders and their government.  Click here to read more.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Providence Parent Academy

Providence Public Schools, in collaboration with the Paul Cuffee School, is launching the Providence Parent Academy, a community-driven initiative designed to provide families with the tools and resources they need to become more meaningfully engaged in their children’s education.

For more information or to register by phone, please call (401) 456-0686 or (401) 453-2626. To register online, visit:

Monday, March 16, 2015

Addresses of convenience

By Will Collette on March 16, 2015
RI Future

One of the nice things about owning several properties is that when it comes to politics, you have lots of choices about where you can say you live. I’m not talking about the formal definition of legal residence, but “addresses of convenience.”

Having an address of convenience gives you the choice of where to vote or where to run for office. You can shop around to find the most advantageous choice. Not necessarily a legal choice, but one that is rarely ever challenged.

Full Article

Here are the 15 bills Mayor Elorza wants the General Assembly to approve this year

By Dan McGowan, Reporter
Published: March 15, 2015, 11:53 pm  Updated: March 16, 2015, 10:00 am

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – From increased state aid to changes to the car tax, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has asked state lawmakers to approve a slew of bills he believes will help Rhode Island’s capital city during his first year in office.

Elorza submitted the city’s annual legislative agenda to the 21 state representatives and senators who make up the General Assembly’s all-Democratic Providence delegation Friday, a day after Gov. Gina Raimondo released her first budget proposal.

Full Article

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Education: Strategic Plan Process Update - March 13, 2015‏

Last month, the 26 members of the Ambassador Design Team released their first prototype for the plan, which consisted of a set of values statements.  Through surveys and through community meetings, the team members sought and received feedback on this prototype.  Based on this feedback, the team has now released its second prototype, which includes revised value statements and a set of priorities that will serve as the organizing principles for the strategic plan.

The second prototype is now available for your feedback through March 22, 10 pm.

To provide feedback:
Step 1: Open the “Values and Priority Statements” PDF found here:
Step 2: Watch the short video linked on that web page, which provides an introduction to the process.
Step 3: Review the prototype and fill out the survey to respond to the work of the ADT.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Superintendents: Refusal of PARCC exam could impact schools’ federal funding

By Susan Hogan
 Published: March 12, 2015, 9:56 pm  |  Updated: March 13, 2015, 12:21 pm

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — In just four days, thousands of Rhode Island students will be taking a new standardized test, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam.

Many students won’t be taking the test though, because their parents are refusing to let them participate. Rhode Island doesn’t have a formal policy that allows students to opt out of taking the exam, and with so many refusing to take it – school superintendents around the state were forced to respond...

Several school superintendents made it very clear that decision could result in a loss of federal funding for certain schools, which are required to have at least a 95% participation rate.

R.I. shields emails from public scrutiny

Providence Journal
Posted Mar. 13, 2015 at 2:01 AM
By Kenneth Kramer

 It is the annual Sunshine Week, when U.S. newspapers publish stories about public records and the difficulty in obtaining some of them. Public records are generally defined as records, regardless of their physical form (so email would be included), made or received in connection with the transaction of official business by any government agency...

 The federal law governing public records is called the The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but each state has its own laws, and there are quirks.
-In Rhode Island, email correspondence of elected officials is not public (See

Full Article

TEDxProvidence 2015

Tickets on sale Now for TEDxProvidence 2015
PROVIDENCE, RI - The Providence Speaking Society is proud to announce the 4th Annual TEDxProvidence. This event will take place on Saturday, May 2 at the Columbus Theater from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the Columbus Theatre and online at Eventbrite[read more]

Governor Gina M. Raimondo's Fiscal Year 2016 budget

Yesterday Governor Raimondo presented her proposed budget and has posted it, an interactive version, and fact sheets online.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Charter school funding

Charter school funding takes center stage at RI State House
Posted: Mar 11, 2015 4:28 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 11, 2015 4:28 PM EDT
By NBC 10 News
State lawmakers are taking a closer look at funding charter schools.
The special legislative commission studying the education funding formula's methods for financing charter schools will meet from 3:00 - 5:00 pm Friday, March 13, in Room 101 of the State House.
In November a report was published calling for greater transparency and public control over charters and their management associations.

The commission meeting is open to the public and also available on Capitol TV (Channel 1013 for Cox HD; Channel 15 for Cox and Full Channel; Channel 34 for Verizon).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"League Day at the State House" on Tuesday, March 24

The LWVRI is pleased to announce that Gov. Gina Raimondo will be the guest speaker at the annual "League Day at the State House" on Tuesday, March 24.

The meeting begins at 3 with registration and socializing. Members are encourage to invite their legislators to come and meet the League. At 4 p.m, we'll move into the Governor's reception room for a report on “The State of the League”—presentations on League outreach, advocacy, Convention 2015, and other League reports. The Governor will speak at 5.
Cost is $10.
Registration Deadline: March 20
The registration form is In the current Voter or download it here. You can register on line, too, at
Remember, bring two or more guests, and your registration is free.  However, you must register  as space is limited

•3:00pm — Registration and social time for League members and guests.
•4:00pm — "The State of the League" -- presentations on League outreach, advocacy, Convention 2015, and other League reports.
•5:00pm — Keynote: Governor Gina Raimondo
•6:00pm — Wrap-up

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Providence Community Development


The City of Providence, Department of Planning and Development invites you to a series of conversations about your priorities for housing and community development needs throughout the city.

The Community Development Division will be gathering the input from these meetings and using it to shape future spending and project priorities and to update the City's Consolidated Plan - which guides the city's spending on housing and community development.

Some of the topics covered will be: affordable housing; homelessness; senior services; parks and recreation; services for families, adults, and children; accessibility and mobility; persons with HIV/AIDS; lead paint and other unhealthy or unsafe housing issues; economic development; and public safety.

Schedule of Meetings

To RSVP, please contact Donna Miele at
Please complete our Community Needs Survey:

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Providence Budget - a moving target

Why Providence faces a multimillion-dollar budget shortfall - Full Story

By Dan McGowan, Reporter
 Published: February 18, 2015, 3:30 pm  |  Updated: February 18, 2015, 5:51 pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Welcome to Providence, where even bean-counting comes with bravado.

The city’s internal auditor and former Mayor Angel Taveras are at odds over the state of Providence’s finances, with the auditor claiming the city is facing a $23-million budget gap for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and Taveras saying that prediction is exaggerated...

Now for another question. Why, on his way out the door, would Taveras tell the new mayor that Clarkin is “often wrong”?

Because the internal auditor’s projected shortfalls have rarely come to fruition, in part because the predictions were made many months – in some cases, years – before an actual budget deficit would be realized. In other words, the city budget is a moving target.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Governor Henry Lippitt House Forums

The League of Women Voters and Generation Citizen will partner with Governor Henry Lippitt House Museum for Three Conversations, open to the public.

When: March 12th, 19th and the 26th, 6:30 pm, followed by an informal reception.
Where:    Lippitt House Museum, 199 Hope Street, Providence.

The forums:
March 12:  East Side Engages Providence.
Speakers  Lorne Adrain, former Providence Mayoral candidate; Cali Almy, Wheeler School Community Service Learning Director; and Albert Dahlberg, Director of State and Community Relations at Brown’s Swearer Center. The discussion will focus on how the East Side engages in politics and the community.

March 19: Latino Education and Engagement.
Speakers Anna Cano- Morales, Director of Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University; Soljane Quiles, Social Studies and Civics teacher at Highlander Charter School; and Jose Baptista, President of the board of directors for sister organizations Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund and Rhode Island Latino Political Action Committee.  They will discuss how the largest growing ethnic group in Rhode Island is changing politics.

March 26:  Technology and Community Engagement.
Speakers Andy Cutler, founder of Achievery, and Sue Ellen Kroll, Director of Grants and Strategic Partnerships Rhode Island Council for the Humanities. They will discuss how to blend technology with history for community outreach and engagement.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Education: Updates on the Strategic Plan Process

The Ambassador Design Team met together for the first time on January 10, 2015 for a full-day launch session to kick-off the design process.  The team learned about the process and began their work by analyzing the survey results to draft insights about Rhode Islanders’ thoughts on public education in our state. 

The ADT met again on January 28, 2015 to produce the first prototype: a draft set of values that will anchor and guide the strategic plan and later, its implementation. The ADT developed this prototype through hours of individual and collective review of the survey results and extensive exploration of their individual perspectives on public education.

These value statements are now available for public feedback through February 8, 2015 at 10 pm. 
We welcome — indeed urge! — you to take the time to contribute your own thoughts.

The process for providing feedback is simple and should take less than 30 minutes.

Step 1: Open the "values prototype" PDF found here:
Step 2: Watch the short video linked within the PDF, which provides an introduction to the process.
Step 3: Review the values and fill out the survey linked within the PDF to respond to the work of the ADT.

The Team’s support staff will regularly post resources, materials, and the draft prototypes on the RIDE web site at

Virtual Tour of RI Resource Recovery Corporation (Entire Facility)

Virtual Tour

Ever wonder what happens to your recycling when it leaves the curb? Your leaf and yard debris? Your trash? Ever wonder if you can recycle more than what goes in your bin? Or what to do with a substance labeled with words like "flammable," "combustible," "toxic" or "poison?" In this video you'll get a complete tour of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation - owner and operator of the RI's central waste facilities.

For everything you need to know about RI's recycling program, please visit us at

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monday, Feb. 2: Schools Closed, Parking Ban in Effect at 2AM

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Providence Public Schools Closed Tomorrow, Monday Feb. 2, 2015

Citywide Parking Ban in Effect at 2AM; Garbage and recycling Collection on Holiday Schedule

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting – February 18, 2015

Providence Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission Meeting
 February 18, 2015 – 5PM
444 Westminster Street, First Floor

Open public discussion of ways in which the City of Providence
can improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, culture, and safety


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Ready Providence

City of Providence Snow Facts
  • Over 130 pieces of equipment are available for every storm, including plows, tractors, snow blowers, graders, loaders and pickup trucks.
  • Materials and equipment are housed at one central location in Providence.
  • Public Works replenishes supplies after every storm.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snow in Providence (Hotline, parking, plowing, sidewalks, trash, ordinances, etc.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rhode Island Education Results in Context

by Justin Katz  on January 21, 2015

The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity today unveiled an online interactive application that allows anybody with an Internet connection to analyze scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests for Rhode Island (or any other state) in comparison with other states, as well as by demographic group.  The following are some key observations that the Center has highlighted (see here for a more-extensive, but still short, review):

•Previous performance improvements from earlier in the 2000s have flat-lined in recent years
•Overall performance is worst among all New England states
•Hispanic performance is last among New England states
•Low income student performance is also last in this region
•As a group, states with relatively strong school choice options improved in 2013 among every demographic group, whereas Rhode Island either lost ground or didn’t gain any.

Charter schools tuition a major topic of study commission

By JESSICA BOISCLAIR, Valley Breeze Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE - Members of a special state legislative commission meeting weekly to analyze the state's funding formula are promising to thoroughly scrutinize the financial impact of charter schools on local school districts.

The 12-member commission met for the first time on Jan. 15 and elected state Rep. Jeremiah O'Grady, of District 46 in Lincoln and Pawtucket, as chairman.

The commission was created according to House bill 8359 for the sole purpose of studying how well the formula has worked for cities and towns.

Full Story

General Assembly bill would earmark small percentage of R.I. sales tax for school construction projects

Published: January 22, 2015 01:00 AM
By Linda Borg
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Sen. Ryan W. Pearson is proposing using a small percentage of the state’s 7-percent sales tax to pay for school construction in an effort to encourage school districts to maintain their buildings rather than wait until they are falling apart.

Full article

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nathanael Greene the unsung general of the American Revolution

Providence Journal
Home > opinion > commentary
R.L. Bullock: Nathanael Greene the unsung general of the American Revolution
Published: January 20, 2015 01:00 AM
Without the efforts of General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island in the American Revolution, we might all be paying homage to the Queen of England today. As we prepared for the Christmas festivities in his beautifully preserved 1770 Coventry homestead, which Nathanael built to be near his father’s iron foundry, it seemed sad that he only spent a few years in it himself.

Full story

Monday, January 19, 2015

School Funding - Snow Plowing - Police/Fiscal Policy

Excerpts from City Councilman Sam Zurier's
January 18, 2015 Ward Letter
This week’s Ward Letter discusses school funding, snow plowing and responsible fiscal policy

The Rhode Island House of Representatives organized a commission to study the impacts of the 2010 school aid funding formula, particularly in terms of the interactions between charter schools and host public school districts...  Slide show Report

Now is a good time to remind everyone of how to reach the Department of Public Works with your snow plowing questions.  The main telephone number is 467-7950, which works Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  This is helpful for 40 hours a week, which is slightly less than a quarter of the time.  Unfortunately, snow storms are not limited to the working week...

This past Thursday (January 15), the City Council held its first official business meeting since taking office.  Among the items discussed was a Resolution eleven of my colleagues co-sponsored urging funding for two new police academy classes, with the goal of adding 80 to 100 officers to the force...

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cicilline Announces Series of “Voice Your Priorities” Workshops

WASHINGTON, DC – As U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) develops his legislative work plan for the 114th Congress, he will host four public forums designed to engage Rhode Islanders with the legislative process in Washington. The "Voice Your Priorities" workshops will provide Cicilline an opportunity to hear directly from First District residents about their concerns and priorities, and ensure their voice is heard as Cicilline shapes his legislative agenda for the new two year session.  More

Saturday, January 24th
11:00 a.m. at the Newport Police Station Community Room
     120 Broadway in Newport
3:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Public Library
     1464 Diamond Hill Road in Cumberland

Saturday, January 31st
11:00 a.m. at the Greenville Public Library
     573 Putnam Pike in Greenville
3:00 p.m. at the East Providence Public Library
     41 Grove Avenue in East Providence

Friday, January 16, 2015

NPR: A New Study Reveals Much About How Parents Really Choose Schools

The charter school movement is built on the premise that increased competition among schools will sort the wheat from the chaff...

But an intriguing new study from the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans suggests that parent choice doesn't always work that way. Parents, especially low-income parents, actually show strong preferences for other qualities like location and extracurriculars — preferences that can outweigh academics.
Full Story

Zoning Training Session

The City of Providence Department of Planning and Development invites interested members of the public to attend a zoning training session on Tuesday, February 3rd at 5:00pm at 444 Westminster Street in the first floor cafeteria space.

City staff will provide an overview the general organization of the new Zoning Ordinance and provide guidance on how to use the Use Matrix, Use Standards, and Use Definitions. Changes to the City's zoning districts, and other hot topic items including parking, trees and landscaping, signs, and site development standards relating to lighting, accessory structures, accessory uses, and encroachments will also be discussed.

Please call 401-680-8400 for more information. No RSVP is required.

This event is open to all members of the public.

New Providence Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map

A new Providence Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map were officially adopted on November 24, 2014 and became effective on December 24, 2014. The new Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map are the product of a multi-year collaborative effort between residents, business owners, developers, institutions, numerous City departments, and other stakeholders.
A User's Manual is also available and provides a brief overview of the organization of the new Zoning Ordinance and general purpose of the various articles of the ordinance, and summarizes of some of the key ordinance sections-- including zoning districts, uses, parking standards, site development standards, and  administration. This manual is for informational purposes only.

The official zoning ordinance, zoning map, and User's Manual can be found on the City's website at the following link:

3 important RI health care stories you might have missed

January 15th, 2015 at 11:24 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The end of the year is often a time when news stories that might otherwise receive a lot of attention get overlooked while people are busy with the holidays. That’s even more true in a year like 2014, when Rhode Islanders were recovering from a huge election season and preparing for new leadership.

One example of this phenomenon was health care. While the future of HealthSource RI continues to get a lot of attention, three other things that happened in December deserved a closer look than they got. Together, they give some sense of what public and private leaders in the local health sector are expecting to focus on in 2015.
Full Story

Thursday, January 15, 2015

League Positions

Impact on Issues is an indispensable resource for League leaders. A clear understanding of LWVUS positions, how they interrelate and how they can complement and reinforce state, local and Inter-League Organization (ILO) positions, will strengthen the League’s “Impact on Issues” at all levels of government.

See League positions on:

HealthSourceRI — A Year Later

by Mike Ryan

A year ago, we wrote about the massive changes happening in health care – Obamacare on the national level, HealthSourceRI and changes at Blue Cross Blue Shield and other RI institutions, as well as how those things were expected to change the lives of local residents, especially artists, musicians and others in professions that historically often slipped through the cracks in the healthcare systems...

So, where have we come from there? Healthcare will never be an easy thing to fix, and insurance will always be complicated, but we checked in with sources at HealthSourceRI, BlueCross/BlueShield, our new governor’s office, and the Tune In & Tune Up program at the RI Music Hall of Fame to find out what’s changed since last year, and what they think lies ahead.

Study: RI cities, towns face $5B retiree shortfall

By Ted Nesi, WPRI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island cities and towns owe their current and former workers more than $5 billion in retirement benefits with no money set aside to pay for them, a new state study has found.

In a report issued this week, the Local Pensions and OPEB Study Commission found that 52 local jurisdictions – 39 cities and towns, nine local school departments, and four regional school districts – have accumulated unfunded liabilities of more than $2 billion for pension benefits and $3 billion for other post-employment benefits, or OPEB, which is primarily retiree health care.

PDF: Read the local pension commission’s full report