What’s in…What’s out this week…4-28

 

 

IMG_3347What’s in …What’s out…
What’s in…
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza revealed his City budget Wednesday night. According to WPRI the highlights include no tax hike in the car tax and property taxes, funding for new police and fire academies, a boast in school funding and municipal identification cards similar to those issued in New York City, Detroit and New Haven. This is a new idea for Providence which will provide identification cards for a minimal fee to individuals in the country illegally or those who do not have a license or state identification card.

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May is Melanoma Awareness Month…Kudos to Dr. Ellen Frankel, Medical Director at Rejuvaderm Medi Spa, for reminding us on Facebook of the dangers of Skin Cancer. It only takes a few minutes to protect yourself by applying sunscreen before sunbathing. And let’s also remember that tanning salons and tanning beds can also be harmful to your skin. It’s that time of year again when we enjoy the outdoors by outdoor activities, cookouts and going to the beach. Protect your skin and let’s be careful out there.
Pawtucket Red Sox Mega Baseball Stadium....Plans were revealed this week to build a new PawSox facility on the Apex property in Pawtucket. Plans were revealed this week for “a park within a park” concept which would be a ballpark serving as a multi-purpose venue hosting community events, including concerts, hockey, school events and plans for a open park like area. Estimated costs of this project are not know yet but it is being touted as a stadium to be used all year round. Funding sources have not been identified yet and the State of Rhode Island’s involvement in this process is not known. One thing to remember is that Mayor Grebien of Pawtucket and the people of Pawtucket fought very hard to keep the PawSox in Pawtucket and were against a new Providence stadium funded by the taxpayers. Will they change their tune for Pawtucket?
RI can say goodbye to McCoy stadium, a city landmark which was the love of the late Ben Mendor, because it will cost an 68 million to renovate it.
The question is will Pawtucket and the PawSox carry enough weight in our General Assembly to get state funding? Stay tuned.
What’s out….
The Aaron Hernandez story…A sad ending this week in the Aaron Hernandez story, in which the former New England Patriot took his own life.
A media blitz has hit Facebook with stories about his sexuality, notes he left behind and his personal al life. Whatever you feel about Mr. Hernandez, his family deserves their privacy and time to mourn him without trying to answer questions about his life.

Care New England Layoffs– It’s sad news indeed that Care New England has announced a “wide array” if layoffs with the majority happening at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence. There will also be a small impact at Butler, Kent, and Memorial Hospitals. No information yet on how many will be laid off. Keep in mind that these hospitals serve many on a daily basis but are crucial to woman and children services too.

Double Refund Checks…About 500 Rhode Islanders received two identical state tax refund checks due to “human error” according to a state official. This gets more bizarre by the day. We have so many people waiting for checks but yet some get double. The state is evaluating current controls to prevent this from happening again.

What’s in, what’s out this week..Marijuana, Easter Hunt, Cloudy skies of United…

2016 Election Marijuana Whats Next

What’s in….
The Marijuana debate…is alive and kicking at the State House this week according to the Providence Journal. Proponents for the legalization of recreational marijuana argue that pot shops will be popping up across the state line as early as 2018 making legalization of marijuana urgent. The Police Association provided 36 pages of testimony detailing over 250 law enforcement issues that police departments have seen with marijuana since 2008. These crimes included 36 cases of breaking and entering, nine shootings, four homicides, nine fires and four explosions. The Rev. Jamie Washam of The First Baptist Church in America favors legalization of marijuana saying “Jesus never threatened arrests and jail.” “We need to change our drug policy so we can both respect a person’s freedom of conscience and address real issues of addiction and abuse.”

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Kudos to former U.S. Rep.Patrick Kennedy who has been very active with the anti- legalization group that he founded “Smart Approaches to Marijuana.” This week the group released a report giving a “conservative estimate” of legalization costs, including regulation, drugged driving cases, hospital visits, homelessness and workplace injuries would cost more than $61 million. My concern has always been for the well being of our young who I believe will be effected in so many ways if marijuana is legalized. Not only is there concern that legalization will lead to other drugs and more crimes but other consequences . Our children are having a hard time now getting employment. Some employers require drug testing as a criteria for employment. Federally, marijuana is still illegal and the State Attorney General is vehemently against legalization. Why must we be amongst the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana and then endure potential harmful consequences to our children and our state just because Massachusetts has legalized recreational use of marijuana? There is talk of a study commission that might be created to answer some of the questions that keep popping up. Let’s hope if there is a study commission that all of the parties concerned are included.

Providence Councilman David Salvatore’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt..

is scheduled for this Saturday, April15, 2017 from 10:00AM to 12:00PM at Fargnoli Park on Smith Street. It is always a fun event for families. Kudos to Councilman Salvatore for his community outreach!

Visits with the Easter Bunny…will be at the Roger Williams Park Carousel…Friday April 14, 2017 and Saturday April 15, 2017 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM. Don’t forget your camera!

Happy Easter Everyone!🐰

What’s out….

Drugs and more drugs……”Operation Triple Play”, was revealed Thursday by the FBI as a major drug investigation involving Providence, Woonsocket, Cranston, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Fifteen people were arrested, according to NBC 10, in the sting operation which was named after three brothers who headed the drug ring. The drug traffickers are all drug felons who had been previously deported to the Dominican Republic and are living under stolen identities. The street value of the drugs seized is nearly $700,000 in cocaine, crack cocaine and cutting agents. According to authorities, these traffickers were high level operatives in the Rhode Island area.

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The cloudy skies of United Airlines…According to lawyers for a passenger who was dragged off a United Airlines flight Sunday, the passenger suffered a broken nose, concussion and loss two front teeth.

The 69 year old passenger, Dr. David Dao will need reconstructive surgery.

Many of us saw the horrific video of Dr. Dao being forcibly dragged from the United Airline’s airplane. Regardless of the circumstances, United Airlines has ruined their reputation and probably their business. Their cloudy details of the incident have changed so many times, one has to wonder what were they thinking and how did they expect to get away with it?

What’s in…What’s out, Ivanka,Syria, Innovation office…read this week’s ins and outs..

 

What’s in, What’s out….

What’s in….

Tara Granahan….Kudos to Tara Granahan for permanently getting the morning talk show time slot on Wpro 630 radio. It’s good to see a woman finally getting into what has lately been a male dominated field. Best of luck to her and stay tuned, I’m sure there is more to come!

Ivanka Trump...Like her or not, Ivanka Trump has clearly positioned herself to be a top advisor to her father, President Donald Trump. She has even taken an office in the White House and remains poised to take on more responsibility in the new Administration. Could this involvement be filling the void of Melania Trump not being so involved in her role as First Lady? Ivanka has been making all the press rounds and appearances. The hit song, “We are family” seems to be the theme of this Administration. Let’s stay tuned as we see if this turns out to be an asset or a liability.

Rhode Island Movie Director Tom DeNucci and his production company will be making a Christmas movie (The Santa Files) in Rhode Island starring Ed Asher, Patrick Muldoon and Brooke Langton. Ed Asher is best known for his role as ” Lou Grant” on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I’m sure the scenery will be beautiful.
What’s out…

Child Abuse ....A Providence couple has been charged with 1st and 2nd degree child abuse of their three month old infant who was not breathing when rescue crews arrived on the scene. The couple admitted to biting the child and stretching his legs . The child has critical injuries and is fighting for his life with multiple fractures to the arms, ribs and skull. Kudos to the Providence rescue workers who revived the child. It’s time like these, we realize how important our laws are to protect children and how much we need them.

RHode Island’s 1st Innovation officer…Richard Culatta is out as the Innovation officer as he said he is leaving for a job in Washington, DC. This highly criticized position, was supported by grants that Mr.Culatta said he raised himself. His office Is located at Rhode Island College, which is also the home of the RI College Foundation which channels the grants to fund the Innovation office. Let’s hope there is an evaluation of this position and office to see if it’s needed. With all the problems at DCYF and the UHIP payments, why do we need a position like Innovation officer?

The Syrian Government….is suspected of the chemical attack on a small town in Syria. Our news media showed video of children gasping for air, dying in the streets and being carried by distraught parents. This crime against humanity cannot be ignored. We Americans like to complain about so many things, but seeing how other countries treat their own people should remind us that we need to be united as a nation. God please help the Syrian people at this time.  As I write this the TV has just announced the bombing of a military air field  in Syria by the United States. This story is just beginning.

What’s in…What’s out …4-1-17

What’s in..What’s out…

What’s in…

The Rhode Island Child Advocate is rightfully making 31 recommendations after investigating the death of four children and the near death of two other children. The families involved were already known to the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The Child Fatality Review Panel disclosed the recommendations which included a 67 page report outlining issues to improve the safety of children. A complete overhaul of this department is needed now. It’s time for the State of Rhode Island to put our most vulnerable children first. The findings in these cases are troubling with information that DCYF had received reports to their Hotline of various incidences of abuse in some of these cases with no follow up according to the Child advocate’s report.

It’s time for the DCYF Director Trista Piccola to work with Jennifer Griffith, the Child Advocate, to implement the necessary changes to protect these children. Oversight and immediate changes are needed to ensure results.

New safe and Secure Baby Court…The Rhode Island Judiciary has just created a new court whose purpose is to reunite parents with their babies as quickly and safely as possible, offer a secure exit from the child welfare system and to provide services for babies at home. This count will also focus on improving the well being of infants in foster care, according to Chief Family Court Judge Forte who announced the new court.

This definitely will improve the system and give a better understanding to parents and guardians of the system. It’s a win win for our children who need these services.
UHIP backlog increases to almost 28,000 cases….There are approximately 27,821 Backlogged cases in the state’s Unified Health Infrastructure project (UHIP) according to Target 12 News. Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Anya Rader Wallace was quoted saying ” It’s still a work in progress and will be for some time, but we have made great progress just in the few weeks I’ve been here….”.
If this is progress then what is a backlog? This certainly is a black eye on the State Administration. The inability to correct this mess shows a lack of leadership and a lack of caring for the people who are severely affected by this debacle.

What’s out…

Cranston Teacher Arrested and Accused of Sexually Assaulting 4 Children….
Cranston Police have charged Charles Pearson, a teacher at Cranston West High School , with 12 counts of Second Degree Sexual Assault on Thursday evening. The children range in age from 14 to 16 years of age. Anyone having any information , may contact the Cranston Police Special Victims Unit, Sergeant Lori Sweeney at 401-476-5037.
State revenues down… As reported in the Providence Journal revenues are $27.3 million or 1.3 % behind estimates made in November and estimated used by Governor Gina Raimondo when she did her budget proposal. Updated estimates are usually know in May at the Revenue estimating conference done by state experts to study the state’s finances. It could get better or it could get worse. Will there be enough money to do all the proposals being drafted by the Governor and The General Assembly such as free two year tuition, the car tax phase out and a new PawSox stadium? Stay tuned as we find out which acts are in play.