Easter Sunday Futurecast

April 19th, 2014 at 11:49 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

We’ll get another nice day on Easter Sunday.  Expect sunshine and afternoon highs in the 50s. 

Here’s the setup:  an area of high pressure will be moving across northern New England.  As this happens, our winds will turn from the north to the northeast and eventually southeast.   

 Fcst_Map_650x366

 Live Pinpoint Doppler 12: 7-Day Futurecast | Closings and Delays | WPRI.com Flight Tracker

These winds, while light, will keep things a little cooler than what we had on Saturday.  Areas to the south and east of Providence will be a little cooler than areas to the north and west.

SNE_FCST_650x366

 Expect highs in the 40s and low 50s south and east of of Interstate 95, while along I-95 and areas to the west and north will be in the mid to upper 50s. 

Whether you are spending your holiday on the Cape, along the south coast of RI or in the northern part of the state, the weather looks fine! Enjoy!

Here’s the outlook for Providence…

Daily-Graphic-2_650x366

 -Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo


Cold Front Makes it Mild Today

April 19th, 2014 at 8:23 am by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A cold front will move through today, but it will actually be milder by the afternoon.  So how does that make any sense?

This air behind the cold front is not actually that cold…instead it should be called a cool front.  In addition, after the front moves through, it will force winds to be form the west-northwest.  That is a “land” direction for us, meaning that we will get dry and mild breezes instead of the cooler sea-breezes that often affect us this time of year.

The front will bring in some clouds, but overall we are looking at more sun than clouds.  Winds will also be busy during the afternoon; some gusts of 25 to 3o mph are possible.  Other than that, a nice Saturday!

-Pete Mangione

SAT_SAT_AFTERNOON


The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

April 19th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site, The Saturday Morning Post

Happy Saturday! Here’s another edition of my weekend column – as always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to tnesi@wpri.com. For quick hits all week long, follow @tednesi.

1. Happy Easter!

2. Tim White, Dan McGowan and I spent a lot of time reporting on the Gordon Fox investigation over the past five days, and we know a good deal more today than we did a week ago. As we reported Tuesday and Wednesday, just before the March 21 raids investigators visited longtime Fox aide Ruth Desmarais in search of campaign-finance documents, and they also sought information from the R.I. Board of Elections. (“They were not searching my house,” Desmarais told Tim in an interview, “but that is all I will tell you.”) Fox has been the treasurer of his own campaign-finance account for the last 10 years, giving him responsibility for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash (though he’d designated Desmarais as his point person with elections officials). Just this week, as we reported Thursday, investigators sought additional information about Fox from the Providence city treasurer’s office; Fox has earned money from the city on and off since 1996. Put it all together and this is looking more and more like a classic “follow the money” case. What we don’t know, of course, is where the money leads. It’s important to reiterate that Fox has not been charged or even identified as the target of all this activity; that said, he and his lawyer have said nothing to counter the widespread impression that he’s in a jam.

3. Bob Walsh of the NEARI teachers’ union had plenty to say on this week’s Newsmakers – never a surprise when it comes to the loquacious labor leader. But one of his most interesting comments was about new House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, whose victory was generally viewed as a defeat for progressives. “I reject that premise,” Walsh told us. “Some of my newer, more naive friends in politics – including some elected folks who are also progressive – were supporting [Mike] Marcello, and some of my progressive friends who were elected leaders, including in the legislature, supported Nick Mattiello. I did not see this as a progressive [defeat].” He added: “The chamber hasn’t changed. There are still 75 folks there with a whole diversity of opinions, many of whom agree with me.” It will be interesting to see the reaction to Walsh’s comments on Rhode Island’s Future, where Bob PlainTom Sgouros and more recently John Speck have all given voice to progressive displeasure at the elevation of Mattiello to the speakership.

4. Speaking of the speaker, he has a tough road ahead in putting together a 2014-15 budget over the next two months. On the one hand, Mattiello is under pressure to deliver on his promises of cuts in the corporate and estate taxes, and he knows the political importance of notching some quick wins in his first months. On the other hand, the math is looking increasingly tough thanks to soaring Medicaid enrollment, weak tax receipts, newly negotiated raises and the Sakonnet toll issue. The upcoming revenue estimating conference, which will set the final terms for this year’s budget debate, looms large because of the role it will play in shaping Mattiello’s options. (Keep an eye on combined reporting.) There’s also the question of where Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed – a fierce protector of social services – will come down, and what the new dynamic is between the two chambers in the Mattiello era. Lots to watch.

5. Don’t miss Pew’s fascinating Next America report on the nation’s fast-changing demographics.

6. Our weekly Saturday Morning Post dispatch from WPRI.com reporter Dan McGowan: “The high-profile super PAC created in part to help Treasurer Raimondo become Rhode Island’s next governor has gotten off to a sleepy start in 2014. The American LeadHERship PAC, founded by former congressional candidate Kate CoyneMcCoy, reported raising just $1,000 during the first quarter of year and now has $43,013 on hand, according to Federal Election Commission reports filed this week. The PAC came under fire earlier this year after Ted reported that prominent pension reform backers John and Laura Arnold contributed $100,000 last August, leading gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras to renew his call for the Democratic candidates for governor to sign a ‘People’s Pledge’ to limit independent expenditures in the race. CoyneMcCoy told WPRI.com she is still considering getting involved in the race, but indicated she is ‘paying very close attention’ to what unfolds with the pledge. ‘I will do whatever most positively impacts the race for Gina Raimondo,’ she said. As for the status of the pledge itself, Common Cause executive director John Marion said says there’s little new to report. ‘The People’s Pledge is still around,’ he said. ‘The campaigns are running it by their lawyers at this point. Still waiting for a couple to get back to me.’”

7. Fortune senior editor Dan Primack this week criticized pension-watcher Ted Siedle as part of an extended critique of Pando Daily’s David Sirota (whose writing on John Arnold was referenced in this space last month). While the piece was mostly about New Jersey, Primack also argued Sirota should have disclosed that Siedle’s work in Rhode Island was funded by the Council 94 union. As for Siedle’s contribution to Sirota’s story, Primack wrote: “Siedle’s quote is unintelligible. I mean it sounds bad, but is total gibberish. I dare you to make sense of it.” Siedle shot back on Twitter that Primack is an apologist for the financial industry, which Primack dismissed by referencing his reporting on kickback scandals.

8. Via The Phoenix’s Phil Eil (among others), check out this terrific 1947 short film about Rhode Island by the travelogue filmmaker Carl Dudley. It’s like stepping into a time machine.

9. The Democratic primary for secretary of state is heating up a bit. Nellie Gorbea kicked things off this week by releasing her tax returns and calling on her opponent, Guillaume De Ramel, to do the same. De Ramel is the wealthy scion of a prominent family, and presumably his returns would show a rather impressive income; he declined to release them, and Gorbea duly knocked him for it. (How much does that resonate with voters?) Later in the week, De Ramel struck back by trumpeting a new endorsement from Rep. Grace Diaz, D-Providence. Diaz is vice chair of the Rhode Island Democratic Party – and, like Gorbea, a Latino woman, which De Ramel’s campaign will no doubt emphasize down the stretch.

10. Andera CEO Charlie Kroll is on his way out after selling the company for a cool $48 million, though he says the firm will remain in Providence under new ownership. While Kroll is optimistic about Rhode Island’s startup scene, he says one thing preventing small local companies from growing is a lack of capital – specifically, middle-stage capital when they’re out of infancy but aren’t ready to attract big-money out-of-state investments the way Andera and Swipely have. “There is a middle segment there, once you’ve gotten past the $50,000 seed investors, before you’re ready for venture capital – there’s a role for the half-million-dollar angel investor,” Kroll said on this week’s Executive Suite. That role has been filled in recent years by the taxpayer-backed Slater Technology Fund, but its annual appropriation has been shrinking. “We really need to find, collectively, a solution to what do the very young companies do in order to get to the point where they’re ready to raise venture capital, because there’s a funding gap there at the six-figure range,” Kroll said.

11. The looming sale of Providence-based RBS Citizens Financial Group continues to get less attention locally than you’d expect. The most recent developments: Citizens failed a Fed stress test last month, complicating Royal Bank of Scotland’s efforts to sell it off over the next few years. “The Fed has been very cautious in terms of permitting larger acquisitions among the bigger banks,” Jennifer Thompson, an analyst at Portales Partners LLC, told Bloomberg News recently. “The fact that you now have some internal control issues would probably make a potential acquirer think twice about doing a deal.” For more on Citizens’ cloudy future and why it matters to Rhode Island, check out this post from last year.

12. A loyal Saturday Morning Post reader – my Dad – strongly contested my reference last week to a “can of Morton Salt,” saying Morton Salt has always come in a box. He makes a strong case, though the cylindrical shape of the Morton container has always seemed more can-like to me.

13. Here’s a roundup of the latest Campaign 2014 endorsements we’ve received: the Local 57 Operating Engineers, the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council, the North Smithfield Democratic Town Committee and the New Shoreham Democratic Town Committee all endorsed Gina Raimondo … the Barrington Democratic Town Committee endorsed Gina Raimondo, Nellie Gorbea and Seth Magaziner … Rep. Grace Diaz endorsed Guillaume De Ramel … and the Rhode Island Brotherhood of Correctional Officers endorsed Frank Caprio.

14. If you missed them the first time around, now’s your chance to check out some of the other items we published this week: ahead of Easter, the five candidates for governor shared their religious faiths … the unions and retirees won another court victory in the pension lawsuit … weightlifting firefighter John Sauro says he’ll sue the city to get back his disability pension … the unemployment rate dipped to 8.7% … Angel Taveras laid out his legislative agenda for Providence and announced more City Hall staff changes … and nobody knows how much Rhode Island’s soaring Medicaid enrollment will cost.

15. I joined Rhode Island PBS for this week’s edition of “A Lively Experiment,” along with Wendy Schiller, Maureen Moakley and Pablo Rodriguez. Watch tonight at 7 p.m. on WSBE Learn (Ch. 36.2), Sunday at noon on WSBE-TV (Ch. 36.1) or online at the RI PBS blog.

16. Set your DVRs: This week on NewsmakersRobert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island. Watch Sunday at 10 a.m. on Fox Providence. This week on Executive Suite - Andera CEO Charlie Kroll. Watch Saturday at 10:30 p.m. or Sunday at 6 p.m. on myRITV (or Sunday at 6 a.m. on Fox). See you back here next Saturday morning.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi


Weightlifting ex-firefighter plans to sue for $7M over pension

April 18th, 2014 at 6:22 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Retired Providence firefighter John Sauro – who was collecting a tax-free disability pension when he was seen in Target 12 undercover video lifting weights – has filed a notice with city officials that he intends to sue the city for $7 million for taking away his pension.

Read the rest of this story »


Ahead of Easter, RI governor hopefuls discuss their faiths

April 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s Holy Week and Passover for Christians and Jews around the world, and among those commemorating the solemn religious periods will be the five major candidates for Rhode Island governor, all but one of whom say they’re Christians.

Read the rest of this story »


Rhode Island jobless rate falls to 8.7% in March

April 17th, 2014 at 2:13 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.7% in March, new data released Thursday shows.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 8.7% from 9% the prior month and is now at the lowest level since September 2008, the R.I. Department of Labor and Training said in a statement. By comparison, last month’s unemployment rate was 6.7% nationwide and 6.3% in Massachusetts.

Read the rest of this story »


Target 12: City records subpoenaed on Gordon Fox

April 17th, 2014 at 11:09 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Add the city of Providence to the list of those contacted by law enforcement officials regarding former House Speaker Gordon Fox.

A spokesperson for the city told Target 12 federal investigators on Wednesday “subpoenaed city documents related to Gordon Fox,” but declined to say what records were requested. He said the city is “fully cooperating” with law enforcement officials.

Read the rest of this story »


What a Difference a Day Can Make

April 16th, 2014 at 1:53 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Mark Twain said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes, and it will change”.  He’s not kidding! We’ve seen wild temperature swings during the past week.    We were in the 70s three out of the past 6days, but a strong cold front took care of that as cold temperatures arrived after heavy rain, strong winds and some wintery precipitation blew through the region.

Live Pinpoint Doppler 12: 7-Day Futurecast | Closings and Delays | WPRI.com Flight Tracker

Temperatures

Here are the 24 hour temperature differences between Tuesday at 11am and Wednesday at 11am.

Temp_Change_Social

Pretty dramatic!

Rainfall

Read the rest of this entry »


Judge Taft-Carter: RI pension lawsuit can move forward

April 16th, 2014 at 12:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s public-sector unions and retirees have won another court victory in the battle over the 2011 pension law.

Read the rest of this story »


Investigators contacted elections board about Gordon Fox

April 16th, 2014 at 10:37 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The director of campaign finance at the R.I. Board of Elections said Wednesday his office has been contacted by investigators seeking information about former House Speaker Gordon Fox, whose home and State House office were raided by state and federal law enforcement officials last month.

“I can confirm that the board has been contacted by law enforcement officials regarding Rep. Fox,” Richard Thornton wrote in an email to WPRI.com. “However, the board does not disclose the nature or substance of any communications with law enforcement officials concerning any ongoing investigation being conducted by either the board or law enforcement agencies.”

Read the rest of this story »


Gordon Fox’s campaign finance records sought in probe

April 15th, 2014 at 5:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White and Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Investigators visited former House Speaker Gordon Fox’s longtime executive assistant at her home in search of campaign finance records just before last month’s stunning raids on the Providence Democrat’s home and office, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

The new revelations about investigators’ contact with Ruth Desmarais and their interest in campaign finance offer the first clues after nearly a month of speculation about why Fox was in their crosshairs March 21.

Read the rest of this story »


Taveras agenda backs pension, weapons bills

April 15th, 2014 at 5:09 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Criminals serving life sentences would be ineligible for pensions, cops would have an easier time seizing weapons and litterers would face stiffer penalties under a variety of state legislation backed by Providence mayor and gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras.

Taveras is scheduled to testify Tuesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of ten bills that comprise the city’s legislative agenda for 2014, according to Meaghan McCabe, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

Read the rest of this story »


RI income tax revenue 26% below forecast in March

April 15th, 2014 at 2:53 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island officials warned Tuesday that state tax revenue for the current budget year may come in below forecasts after income tax revenue came in far below expectations for March.

Read the rest of this story »

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Cost of soaring Medicaid enrollment in RI is still a mystery

April 15th, 2014 at 1:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Obamacare will likely cost Rhode Island more money than state leaders expected. But nobody knows exactly how much yet.

Figures obtained from the Chafee administration by WPRI.com show 34% of the 64,590 Rhode Islanders who signed up for Medicaid from October through March using the state’s new Obamacare marketplace, HealthSource RI, were eligible before the new law expanded the rules for who could sign up.

Read the rest of this story »


Strong Front to Bring Soaking Rain, Strong Winds

April 15th, 2014 at 8:18 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

There is going to be a major temperature change over the next 24 hours as a strong cold front sweeps out the warm air from the last few days and replaces it with a much colder air mass.  As that transitions occurs, rain and wind are moving through.  In fact, scattered showers began developing overnight, blocking out the lunar eclipse for southern New England stargazers.  Those scattered showers are continuing to pop-up this morning and into this afternoon ahead of the main area of soaking rain.  Heavier rain is expected to move in by late afternoon and evening and then continue into the night.

Here’s what to expect:

RAIN: 1-2″ with isolated higher totals.

Our area is now under a flood watch until Wednesday morning.  We are mostly concerned with street and poor drainage flooding for this evening, but our swollen rivers and streams will need to be watched for possible flooding if higher rainfall totals occur. temp 1

WIND:  Southerly winds 20-30mph with gusts up to 50mph. 

A Wind advisory is in effect from noon until midnight, when most of the stronger gusts are expected.  Smaller branches and tree limbs could fall leading to isolated power outages.  Minor coastal flooding is possible during this evening’s high tide (around 8:30-9pm) due to the strong southerly winds pushing water to the shoreline. temp 2

TEMPERATURES:  Near 65 this afternoon and then tumbling to near 33 by dawn Wednesday.

Mild air ahead of a strong cold front will keep temperatures above average for one last day.  Even this evening starts mild, with temperatures in the 50s as late as 10pm before rapidly dropping into the 30s once the cold front moves through.  We’ll have to watch northwestern suburbs, where temperatures may fall below freezing for a few hours, with some icy spots possible on untreated surfaces.  temp 1temp 2

 


Blogger Hull hired for top City Hall post

April 14th, 2014 at 3:22 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brian Hull, a former owner and editor of the left-leaning Rhode Island’s Future blog, has landed a job in Providence City Hall.

Hull will serve as Mayor Angel Taveras’ director of municipal and intergovernmental affairs, a position that has been vacant since Will Farrell left the administration earlier this year to start a lobbying firm.

Read the rest of this story »


Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday Morning

April 14th, 2014 at 11:09 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Weather permitting, we’ll be able to see a rare treat in the skies early Tuesday morning — a Total Lunar Eclipse.

Courtesy: NASA

Courtesy: NASA

In this astronomical set up, the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon, with the Earth casting a shadow deep into space.  The moon will pass into that shadow and will appear to slowly disappear before culminating with a reddish glow.   It will happen early in the morning, but it would be worth waking early for a look.

Eclipse_Social

Here’s the timeline…

1:20am: The moon begins to fall into the outer part of the shadow called the penumbra.  It’ll take awhile before you’ll be able to notice the moon moving through this part of the shadow.  You may notice the moon starting to look a little dimmer.

1:58am:  The partial eclipse begins.  This is when the moon begins to move into the darker part of the shadow — the umbra.  A reddish/blackish shadow will move across the moon.  What will be interesting to watch is how dark the sky becomes.  Stars which you didn’t see earlier in the night will begin to appear as a “second night” develops.

3:07am: Total eclipse begins.  This is when the moon’s disk is completely within the umbra.  If you were standing on the moon, the sun would be completely blacked out by the Earth.  From the Earth’s perspective, the moon will have a reddish-orange glow.

3:46am: Mid-eclipse.  The moon is in the middle of the umbra…the darkest part of the shadow.  The moon will likely continue to take on a reddish-orange look but could be greyish, as well.

4:25am:  The total eclipse ends as the moon is completely out of the umbra and partial eclipse begins again.

5:33am: Partial eclipse ends as the moon passes out of the penumbra shadow.

 

Courtesy: Bob Horton, Brown University

Courtesy: Bob Horton, Brown University

What causes the reddish look to the moon?

It’s the same effect that causes the reddish sunrises and sunsets — refraction, which is the bending of light by the Earth’s atmosphere.  Other factors can influence the color including cloud cover, pollutants and volcanic ash.  A clear sky would produce a bright eclipse, while clouds, pollutants and ash would create a darker red or almost a black-look to the moon.

Live Pinpoint Doppler 12: 7-Day Futurecast | Closings and Delays | WPRI.com Flight Tracker

Of course this is very weather dependent.  There will be a cold front working through the Eastern part of the United States Monday night and early Tuesday morning.  This will bring lots of clouds to Southern New England.  However, it is possible that there could be some breaks in the clouds early Tuesday morning.  It’s worth waking up to check on the sky, because the some clouds could create a neat, spooky-look to the blood-red moon.  If you miss it, don’t worry, there’s another lunar eclipse not too far away…on October 8th of this year.

-Meteorologist T.J. Del Santo

 


Watch Executive Suite: Ayars, Dadekian on RI food, farms

April 14th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Monday Winds of Change

April 14th, 2014 at 12:03 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Temperatures will be a little warmer on Monday, but it will also be windier.  For much of Sunday, winds were from the south.  With a chilly ocean, this had a major cooling effect at the coast keeping temperatures in the mid 50s.  But the southerly winds also had a cooling effect in Providence as the cooler air came right up the bay.

On Monday, winds will be from the southwest instead of the south.  This wind direction has a little more of a “land” influence to it; that’s why Providence should be a few degrees warmer.  Here is a snapshot at 2PM on Monday.

SNE_Temperature_Forecast_GO_Blog

 

Enjoy these temperatures while we have them, because big changes are on the way.  Some spots could be below freezing by Thursday morning! -Pete Mangione

 


Watch Newsmakers: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

April 13th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Mild Again on Sunday…with Some Changes

April 12th, 2014 at 11:12 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

After a beautiful Saturday, we’ll see another very mild day on Sunday with some slight changes.

A warm front to our north will cause some rain showers in Northern New England; meanwhile another warm front will lift across Southern New England during the afternoon on Sunday. 

Fcst_Map_Social

This second front will bring more humid air over the relatively chilly ocean water.  This will cause the air to cool and with the higher humidity in place, low clouds and fog could form more readily.  Expect low clouds and fog to develop during the afternoon and evening along the coast line.  Read the rest of this entry »


Sea Breeze Effect is On This Weekend

April 12th, 2014 at 8:47 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Air temperatures will try to warm into the 60s and 70s this weekend, but ocean temperatures are still in the 40s.  What does that mean? A sea breeze of course!  While this will affect our weather on both Saturday and Sunday, there will be a few key differences in the way each day develops.

SATURDAY (TODAY)

Winds will start from a “land” direction (west-northwest) during the morning.  They will then start to bend from the south-southwest through out the day.  But because the process will take a while to happen,  I would not be surprised if the coast hits the low 60s during the late morning and early afternoon.  From the mid to the late afternoon, the sea breeze effect will start to take over and pull temperatures back down into the low 50s.

SUNDAY

Wind will be stronger and more consistent through out the day from the south.  Because of this, the coast may never make it out of the mid 50s; inland areas should make it into the mid 60s.  Basically, look for a BIG difference between coastal and inland areas.  Here is a snapshot of Sunday early afternoon temperatures.

ffdasfdasa

 

Note the Providence temperature in the low 60s.  Providence and other areas adjacent to Narragansett Bay can be tricky because winds from the south can create a cooling affect from “bay breezes”.  That’s why on Sunday, places away from the bay (like Smithfield) should end up warmer then Providence.

Have a good weekend! -Pete Mangione

 

 


The Saturday Morning Post: Quick hits on politics & more in RI

April 12th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, The Saturday Morning Post

By Dan McGowan

Even Batman takes vacations, so I’m fillingdan in for Ted while he’s living large in Washington, D.C. As always, send your takes, tips and trial balloons to dmcgowan@wpri.com and tnesi@wpri.com. For quick hits all week long, follow @danmcgowan and @tednesi.

1. Friday afternoon’s announcement that mediation has failed and the Rhode Island pension law will go to trial Sept. 15 all but guarantees the process will continue when a new governor takes office in January, but how long could it go? Former R.I. Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders believes it could be more than a year before the dust finally settles. Flanders told WPRI.com Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter could render a decision before the end of this year, but that the case will ultimately head to the state’s highest court. “That court can move relatively quickly when it wants,” Flanders said. As it currently stands, the trial will begin a week after the Sept. 9 Democratic gubernatorial primary that includes Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Clay Pell. While Raimondo will probably take the brunt of the criticism from union members, a trial will also likely force Taveras and Pell to take a position on the 2011 pension law once and for all. Flanders said he believes the state will ultimately prevail. “My view all along has been the state has the better case here,” he said.

2. Even when Batman is on vacation, he knows how to help out in a pinch. Here’s the first of two Nesi dispatches for the week: “Brown University is once again making jaw-dropping predictions about this year’s primary for governor. In a repeat of the methodology I noted last October, Brown’s new poll says 395 of the 600 Rhode Island voters in its general-electorate sample are likely to vote in the Democratic primary, implying a voter turnout level of roughly 66% in the upcoming Sept. 9 Democratic primary. As I said before, this would be a massive increase over the 18% of registered voters who turned out for the hard-fought 2002 Democratic primary between Myrth York, Sheldon Whitehouse and Tony Pires. Additionally, Democratic primary electorates are different from general electorates – the voters are typically more concentrated geographically in the urban core around Providence, especially in a year like this one where the capital city will also have an open mayoral race on the same ballot. So while Brown’s top-line finding – a tight race between Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras, with Clay Pell far behind – isn’t so absurd as to be dismissed out of hand, it should be treated with extreme caution for now. (As for the tiny 86-voter Republican primary survey – any result that carries a margin of error above 10% should be taken with a full can of Morton Salt.)”

Read the rest of this entry »


RI pension mediation ends; trial set for Sept

April 11th, 2014 at 2:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s landmark pension law is heading to trial.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said Friday the state and its major labor unions have ended court-ordered mediation talks after eligible police officers voted to reject a proposed pension settlement. The two sides are now set to head to trial Sept. 15.

Read the rest of this story »


‘Superman’ owners appeal city tax bill

April 10th, 2014 at 5:42 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The owners of 111 Westminster Street is asking the city to adjust the value of the vacant skyscraper known as the Superman building – a request that would reduce the amount of taxes owed on the property.

David Sweetser, whose real estate investment firm High Rock Development owns the Superman building, has filed a property tax appeal with the Providence tax assessor’s office that would lower the taxes on the building that has been empty since last April, according to spokesman Bill Fischer.

Read the rest of this story »


Brown poll: Raimondo has slight lead over Taveras

April 10th, 2014 at 10:53 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo is clinging to a slight lead over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, but more than a third of primary voters are still undecided, according to a Brown University poll released Thursday.

The new survey of 600 registered Rhode Island voters – including 395 Democratic primary voters – put Raimondo in the lead with 29.4%, with Taveras close behind at 25.8%. Clay Pell finished a distant third at 9.6%. More than 35% of those polled said they were still undecided.

Read the rest of this story »


‘Superman’ building owners seek $39M from taxpayers

April 9th, 2014 at 12:08 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The owner of Providence’s tallest building is again seeking $39 million in state support to help turn the vacant skyscraper into a mixed-use facility that would include office space and rental apartments, a project he says will create more than 1,000 jobs in Rhode Island’s capital city.

Read the rest of this story »


Layoffs hit storied Providence law firm Edwards Wildman

April 8th, 2014 at 1:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Edwards Wildman is cutting 52 jobs in 10 of its 16 offices worldwide, spokesman John Tuerck confirmed Tuesday. The targeted employees are 42 administrative staff members and 10 lawyers. Tuerck declined to disclose whether the Providence office is among the 10 affected.

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Chafee: RI may continue pension deal without police

April 8th, 2014 at 1:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday the state may consider moving forward with its pension settlement without the eligible police officers who voted to reject the deal.

“There are various options and that might be one,” Chafee said following a news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Tuesday morning.

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Rhode Island to improve jobs for mentally disabled

April 8th, 2014 at 11:44 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Developmentally disabled Rhode Island residents who for years performed manual labor for little money will have the opportunity to secure “real jobs with real wages” under a settlement announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Rhode Island said the ten-year agreement will require the state to provide employment and daytime services that will give approximately 3,250 developmentally disabled residents the opportunity to work in a traditional work setting rather than so-called sheltered workshops that segregate employees.

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