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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

RIBA Business and School Closing System

Rhode Island Broadcasters Association

Businesses and Schools can now contact one organization to report closings, cancellations, and other announcements due to inclement weather OR emergency messaging.  RIBA will forward the message immediately to our members stations. THE SYSTEM IS LIVE 365 DAYS A YEAR TO ACCEPT PUBLIC SAFETY INFORMATION TO OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS.  YOUR INFORMATION WILL BE SENT IMMEDIATELY TO THE WEBSITES OF ALL OUR MEMBER STATIONS.  NEWSROOMS WILL BE NOTIFIED OF YOUR ACTIVATION OF THE MESSAGE VIA TEXT AND EMAIL ALERTS.
View a list of Stations that participate in the RIBA cancellation program 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

PPS Symposiums 2014

In November the Providence Preservation Society held a series of symposiums on the future of Providence. About

See videos of the event on YouTube Congressional Pensions Update

Q: Can members of Congress retire and receive their full pay after serving one term?
A: No. Only senators are eligible for a pension after one term, but it won’t be their full salary.

(includes information on how to calculate and health benefits)

Monday, January 5, 2015

NPR: The Providence crime myth

Unless you were living in the abandoned East Side tunnel during the Providence mayoral campaign, you listened to round after round of desultory electioneering rhetoric about high crime in the city.


NPR: Parsing HealthSource RI Enrollment Data

HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.
It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.


2015 General Assembly

The Providence Journal compiled a list of occupations for members of the RI House and Senate.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

City-wide inauguration events‏

Dear Community Leaders,

We are marking the inauguration of Mayor-elect Jorge O. Elorza with a city-wide celebration, and a call to community service.

Meg Clurman
Inauguration Director
Office of Mayor-elect Jorge O. Elorza

For more details about the following - Click Here
Saturday, Jan. 3, 10:00am – 2:00pm
One Providence Day of Community Service Food Drive. Please contribute non-perishable food items

Sunday, January 4th 12:00 - 3:00 PM
Children’s Inaugural Celebration at Providence Children’s Museum

Monday, January 5 – Inauguration Day
1:30pm: Seating opens for Inauguration Ceremony, steps of Providence City Hall
2pm: Inauguration Ceremony
3:00pm: Reception with Mayor Elorza, City Hall, second floor