August 22, 2019

News Briefs


City Elections Are Set For September and November
After many weeks of conjecture and city council wrangling over a 2012 voter referendum on terms of office which was ignored, the Rhode Island State Board of Elections ruled that East Providence will indeed have a local election for City Council and School Committee in 2018. A newly constituted local board of canvassers also agreed with this edict.

The following candidates have been certified to be placed on the ballot for a September primary and or the General election in November:

The biggest surprise was in Ward 4 where embattled councilman Brian Faria did not return nomination signatures for re-election. His opponent, Ricardo Mourato, will be alone on the ballot in November. Other announced Ward 4 candidates did not file nomination papers.

Ward 1 incumbent councilman Robert Britto is unopposed as is Ward 3 candidate Nathan Cahoon. Cahoon will leave the school committee. Incumbent Joseph Botelho decided against running again for his Ward 3council seat and had announced that he would instead run for the District 14 State Senate seat. However, Botelho did not file for that race either.

Ward 2 Incumbent council member Anna Sousa will face a challenge from newcomer Joshua Perreira.

The City Council-at-Large seat being vacated by James Briden will have two candidates in November. Robert "Bob" Rodericks will face Kalyn Chattelle. Former board of canvassing member Tom Riley announced for the at-large council seat but submitted less than the required number of signatures and is not qualified to be on the ballot. Two others did not return papers.

All school committee candidates are unopposed, including newcomer Karen Oliveria who will be replacing Nathan Cahoon in Ward 3. Incumbents Charles Tsonos, Anthony Ferreira, Jessica Beauchaine and Joel Monteiro will return.

For full time city Mayor, Roberto DaSilva, James Russo, Chrissy Rossi and Albert Quatrucci qualified to run in the September primary. The top two vote-getters will move on to the November election.

At the State House:
Gregg Amore is unopposed for his District 65 House seat. Others have either a primary or general election in November:

Incumbent Rep. Katherine Kazarian is challenged in the September Democratic primary by Elizabeth Clupny. The primary winner will face Independent Christopher Holland in November.

Newcomers Democrats Jose Serodio and David O’Connell will oppose each other in September for the seat being vacated by Rep. Helder Cunha. Announced candidate Brian Coogan did not file.

Newcomers Valerie Lawson and Delmar Condinho will face off in the September primary to replace the Senate District 14 seat being vacated by Dan DaPonte. Joe Botelho had announced an intention to run but didn't file papers.

Incumbent Senator William Conley in Senate District 18 will face a November challenger, Independent Jack Peters.

Incumbent Democrat Cynthia Coyne will be challenged by Republican David Aucoin for the Senate District 33 seat (Barrington/Riverside).

Councilman Faria Court Ordered to Return City Documents
Superior Court Judge Maureen Keough ordered troubled Ward 4 councilman Brian Faria to return the close to 300 documents that he had taken from a closed City Hall last April. In an overnight visit to a closed, locked City Hall that lasted from 7 pm on a Saturday night until 5 am the next Sunday morning, Faria copied documents from the Legal department after convincing custodians to give him access.

Faria was also ordered by the Judge to "stop contacting city employees after hours and not to post legal opinions issued by the city on Facebook." Faria had until Tuesday, July 24th at 5 pm to return the copied documents. Faria had been posting quotes from city lawyers and others on Facebook social pages.

Faria’s lawyer, former Speaker of the House John Harwood, said the Faria investigation was a “political hatchet job by the city.” The City wants the records back to determine if sensitive and confidential information was among the documents taken by Faria. "This is a real liability the city is facing," an independent city attorney told the Judge.

City Council Denies Faria Request for Legal Fees
Also at its July meeting the city council voted 4-0 with one abstention, to deny the request of embattled Ward 4 councilman Brian Faria for legal fees due to his dispute with the city which has ended up in court. Faria filed a request with the council claims committee to be reimbursed for legal fees. In their public disclosure of the private claims committee meeting, the council noted that they unanimously rejected Faria's claim. Faria abstained when voting on the claims committee action in public session.

City and Schools Start Budget Process for 2018-2019
In a first look at the 2018-2019 East Providence school department budget, the school committee was given a look at personnel expenses by Superintendent Kathryn Crowley at a July 24th budget session. The committee was told that just about all September positions are in place with only a few decisions left to make. Whiteknact School Principal Teresa Medeiros is leaving to work in Connecticut. A replacement will be recommended before school starts up.

Personnel spending will increase some $3M from last fiscal year due to recent employee contract negotiations and associated needs. The news wasn't all negative as the committee was told that the actual increase may reach $1.7M because of various grant funding availability. Crowley said that the district is only going to show about 1 new staff member when all is finalized. The district is also expected to show an increase in state aid.

The high school is adding an in-school suspension staff member and will be losing Assistant Principal Greg McCarthy who is being assigned to an Assistant Principal position at Francis Elementary School. McCarthy's position at the high school is expected to be filled soon.

Still to be worked out in the budget are the district's other operating costs. Continuous budget sessions are scheduled during the summer and the City Council also noted at its July 24th meeting that they are formulating budget planning as well. "I want to see us get ahead of this process," said Ward 3 councilman Joe Botelho. Acting City Manager Chris Parella said that the city department heads and he are working to do just that.

Senate District 14 Committee Faces Election
With the retirement from the Senate District 14 seat of long time Senator Daniel Daponte, there will also be an election of members seeking to join the senatorial district committee. The district committee serves to endorse a party's candidate for that office and attend political functions. Delmar Condinho is the choice of the incumbent district committee which includes Daniel Daponte, Maria Lindia, Nuno Silva, Manuel F. Sousa and Fernando C. Pereira. An opposition slate is also seeking election to the District 14 committee including Mildred Morris, Marc Furtado, Julie A. Silva, Charles Tsonos and Kevin Braga. This non-endorsed committee is supporting Valerie Lawson to succeed Daniel Daponte. Only residents who live within the Senate District 14 boundaries can vote for these committee members. Lawson and Condinho will face off against each other in the September democratic primary. The winner will be unopposed in the November 2018 election.

RI Dept. of Health Issues Alert
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) issued a press release and are advising people to "avoid contact with Turner Reservoir in East Providence due to a blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria) bloom in the pond. Blue-green algae can produce toxins, including microcystins, that can harm humans and animals. All recreation, including swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking, should be avoided. People should not ingest water or eat fish from Turner Reservoir. Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins and thus owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice. Skin contact with water containing blue-green algae commonly causes irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. Common health effects associated with ingesting water containing algal toxins include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Rarer health effects include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. Young children and pets are at a particular risk for health effects associated with algal toxins. People who have had contact with these ponds and experience those symptoms should contact their healthcare provider. If you come into contact with the water, rinse your skin with clean water as soon as possible and, when you get home, take a shower and wash your clothes. Similarly, if your pet comes into contact with the water, immediately wash your pet with clean water. Do not let the animal lick algae off its fur. Call a veterinarian if your animal shows any symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, including loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a day or so after being in contact with water. People are cautioned that toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible. It is possible that blue-green algae blooms may be affecting other water bodies in Rhode Island. People are advised to avoid contact with water bodies that exhibit bright green coloration in the water or at the water surface and/or dense floating algal mats that form on the water's surface. The water may look like green paint, thick pea soup, or green cottage cheese. To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact DEM's Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 or and if possible, send a photograph of the reported algae bloom."

Police Department Makes Arrest
According to a press release from the East Providence Police, Derrick Calvano, age 47, of Dighton, MA was arrested on July 13, 2018 on the charges of Intentional Computer Access and Video Voyeurism.

On 7/11/18 the East Providence Police Department received a complaint from a female who stated that she had just moved into her apartment and that she was having Verizon installed. Calvano, who was the Verizon tech, was doing the installation. At one point during the installation, Calvano asked the female if she had any devices that she wanted to connect with her Verizon services. The female stated she did and handed her personal i-Pad over to Calvano so he could connect her device.

A short time later, after handing over her i-Pad to Calvano, she received a text message on her i-phone alerting her to a video that had just been sent from her i-Pad to an unknown number with a 508 area code. The message, which was of a very sensitive and personal nature, had been sent during the time that Calvano had her i-Pad.

East Providence Detective, Jeffrey Mace, also a member of the Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force investigated the case and on 7/13/18, the investigation resulted in the arrest of Calvano.

Detective Mace, along with the ICAC Task Force and the RI State Police Computer Crimes Unit were also involved in the Flint Audio Visual arrests that involved similar allegations.

The East Providence Police Department urges everyone to use caution whenever turning over their personal electronics to others for service and repairs.

City Development Continues
Diane Feather, AICP, is acting planning director and Pamela Sherrill, AICP, is waterfront planner and executive director of the East Providence Waterfront Commission. Together they have stated that "Robust large and small-scale development continues in East Providence . The city’s Planning Department and Waterfront Commission are reviewing many large and small scale new construction and renovation proposals. In the southern waterfront alone, additional potential development could include up to 500,000 s/f of commercial development (including hotel, restaurant, entertainment, as well as office), with 300 to 500 residential units. Job growth in this area could be 200 to 300 employees, not including the seasonal employees of the Waterfront Production/Live Nation Bold Point Park entertainment venue. In the northern waterfront, a developer has proposed redevelopment of existing buildings for over 100 residential units.

An additional developer in the northern waterfront has presented a concept for a mixed office and residential development with 45,000 s/f of high tech commercial, 45,000 of community retail, and 450 residential units, all with shoreline access. Construction is nearing completion on the 83,000 s/f. University Orthopedics, many high-end duplex condos are now occupied and work is nearing completion on the first of three 45-unit apartment buildings at Kettle Point. Public access to the East Bay Bike Path and the Providence River shoreline will follow.

It is encouraging to see private investment in marginal “Main Street” corridors and squares. Public investment and city zoning revisions have also induced this development, in response to the continually improving economy. The Rhode Island Commerce Corp.’s Main Street Improvement Fund has granted the city $75,000. The funds will be focused near the Warren Ave. intersection with Waterfront Dr. in Watchemoket Sq. The project is aimed at ensuring safe vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access to the waterfront. The draft scope includes wayfinding and branding signs, linkages to existing arts and entertainment businesses, new dedicated pathways to the waterfront, landscaping, and aesthetic lighting. This funding opportunity allows the city to create the environment for a successful arts and entertainment district as well as a safe and inviting entrance into the waterfront.

Taunton Ave., which prior to the construction of I-195, was the main east-west thoroughfare in the city, is also seeing private investment. A developer has proposed redevelopment of a long-term vacant building to include mixed-use second floor residential units and first floor retail.

Another, on a site where a former theatre stood, is also proposing a mix of residential units and ground floor retail. Other businesses that have recently reinvested along Taunton Ave. include an enlarged and updated liquor store/cigar lounge, an established popular bakery, and a sandwich shop, all added to the existing uses including government offices and a library. Improvement of Taunton Ave. to a vibrant mixed-use street, on a transit line, with 24-hour activity has been a long-term goal of the city.

City Issues Press Release on AARP Community Challenge Grant
The City of East Providence is one of two awardees in Rhode Island announced by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for its 2018 AARP Community Challenge Grant Program. AARP Community Challenge, part of the Livable Communities Initiative, awarded a total of $1.3 million to fund 129 “quick action” projects across the country, helping communities make immediate improvements and jumpstart long-term progress to support residents of all ages. Nearly 1,600 applications were received by AARP nationwide from non-profits and government entities for the program.

East Providence was awarded $10,000 for improvements to the Onna Moniz-John Park/Central Avenue Playground that will enhance the existing features of the park by providing places of rest and social interaction that include park benches, game/chess tables and cement surfaces to ensure ADA accessibility. These items will also compliment the 30’ X 30’ splash pad that will be installed this summer by providing an area for grandparents and caregivers over the age of 50 to supervise their children.

Acting City Manager Christopher Parella stated, “This grant will support our efforts to provide diverse and high quality recreational experiences to all residents of the City, and particularly those with special needs and/or reduced recreational opportunities, including our senior citizens and wheelchair users, in a safe environment”.

Acting Planning Director Diane Feather stated: “I am proud of staff members Patrick Hanner and Johanna Walczak for preparing an excellent grant application documenting an opportunity to augment an on-going City and grass-roots project that stood out to the selection committee and was one of only two projects awarded in Rhode Island – the only municipality – and was selected along with 129 other awardees from a total of over 1,600 applications nationwide.” Ms. Feather noted she is thankful to the AARP 2018 Community Challenge Program for the City’s selection from among many other worthy submissions. She noted that Central Avenue Park is located in a densely populated neighborhood with a growing population of persons 50 and over whose health will benefit from the increased active offerings and the interaction with persons of all ages at the Park rather than isolation.

Ninth Annual Police-Community National Night Out - August 7th
The East Providence Police Department, in cooperation with the E. P. Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association invite the community to be a part of its ninth annual National Night Out 2018 on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. East Providence is joining thousands of communities nationwide for the “35th Annual National Night Out” crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, which is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), will involve over 16,000 communities from all 50 states. In all, over 38 million people are expected to participate in “America’s Night Out Against Crime”.
National Night Out is designed to:

  • Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness
  • Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime efforts
  • Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships
  • Send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

"This is a great opportunity for local businesses and organizations to come out as a community and get some exposure. Hand out some free promotional items, candy, or do a simple craft with the kids. This is a totally free event so you cannot sell anything or collect any money," said Publicity Chair - Rosemary Perry Oliver.
For more information on becoming involved in this 8th Annual event in East Providence, contact: Scott Rose-President-E.P. Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association at: 401-529-5639 or or Sgt. Mark Norton at: 401-435-7600.

"This is East Providence's Ninth Year..Participation in a National Event, to bring Community Relations between Our Police Department and the Citizens of East Providence. Since we organized this fun evening in 2009 at Rose Larisa Park, we had to move to the Senior Center's grounds," said Oliver.

"Every year since the word got out our residents have enjoyed the exhibitions, music, first responders vehicle's, etc. Children have had a ball jumping in bouncy houses, touch a truck and trying to win a prize. The adults had fun walking around and meeting old friends," added Oliver. "Also there will be hot dogs and other snacks available."

Supporting food vendors are: Uncle Tony's Pizza - Simple Greek - Burrire Bowl -Buffalo Wild Wing - Frank's On The Go-Food Truck.

Other sponsors include: AYSO 715 United Soccer - Bay Coast Bank - Beehive Childcare - Blue Cross of RI - Brain Injury Association - Dunkin Donuts Safety Van - EP Library - EP Lion Association - EP Knights of Columbus - Godspeed Church - Greenwood Fire House (Fire Trucks) - Liberty Tax - Light House Baptist Church - Narragansett Council of Boy/Girl Scouts - N BX Bikes - NE Martial Arts - New York Life (Finger printing-for children's & seniors) - O'Hara Senior Care - PETCO - Friends of Ponham Rocks - Santa Bob & His Helper - Seekonk PD (Dog Demo) - EPPD (Dog Demo) - East Providence Police Dept. S.W.A.T. Mobile.

Other Supporters are: Target - East Bay Tobacco Youth - East Bay Community Action - AAA - T.D. Bank - Self Defense Training - R.A.D (EPPD) - Frito Lay - Rhode Island Blood Center ( Donations will be Excepted in their Bus) - Pawtucket PD.- McGruff Crime Dog - Harley Owners Groups- #2522 - EP Mohawks.

EPCPUAA President - Scott Rose, VP - Jack Rose, Treasurer-Secretary - Tony Oliver, Publicity Chair - Rosemary Perry Oliver and EP Community Officer - Mark Norton.

1st Annual EPPD Detective Division Charity Golf Tournament
The East Providence Police Detective Division is sponsoring a charity golf tournament to benefit the New England Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors. The C.O.P.S. organization is dedicated to assisting the families of officers who are killed in the line of duty and this year New England has been very busy with 5 officers killed in the line of duty, one of which was just last month. There are spots still open for the tournament and we are still accepting raffle items and tee sponsors.

Date: Monday August 13, 2018
Time: 9:00 am Shotgun Start (8am registration)
Location: Agawam Hunt
15 Roger Williams Avenue
East Providence, RI 02916

Format: Scramble
Price: $125 pp (includes 18 holes of golf, cart, and lunch).
Prizes & Large Raffle!!!
Tee Sponsorship: $100

For more information, please contact Lt. Raymond Blinn at (401) 435-7600 x 20025.

The Looff: East Providence Arts Festival Coming August 11th
The East Providence Arts Council is proud to announce the return of The Looff – East Providence Arts Festival on August 11th from 11am to 6pm at Crescent Park located in the Riverside section of East Providence. This will be the 4th year this award-winning festival dubbed a “whirlwind of art, music and life” will take place. Dozens of artists are scheduled to be set up along the scenic waterfront across from the historic Looff Carousel, featuring a variety of goods such as painting, photography, sculpture, fiber art, and jewerly. The fesitval will also include a “Writer’s Row” made up of nearly 30 local authors set up to talk about and sell their publications.

In addition to the artists and authors, there will be a variety of live entertainment provided thoughout the day. Performers on the main stage include:
The Mohawks Community Theater Group, Scarlett, The Supermags and The Driftwoods, a Beach Boys tribute band.

Also appearing are Holly and The Sacred Flame dance troop, Marvelous Marvin's "Circus Arts Workshop", Storyteller Marc Kohler, and a special surprise appearance by the Big Nazo strolling performers.

Food trucks on hand will include Haven Brothers, Friskie Fries, and Binge BBQ.
This family-friendly event has something for all ages and is free and open to the public. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs in order to sit and enjoy the live music.
Parking will be available along Bullocks Point Avenue and at the former Oldaham Elementary School where a shuttlebus will be transporting patrons back and forth free of charge starting at noon. Handicap Parking will be in the lot at the top of the park across from the carousel.

East Providence Arts Council is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to creating a thriving arts community in East Providence through promoting arts programs, recognizing local artists, and advising the City Council on the needs of the artistic community.

What: “The Looff” : East Providence Art Festival, presented by the East Providence Arts Council
Cost: Free to attend
When: Saturday, August 11, 2018 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Rain Date August 12)
Where: Crescent Park, Riverside, RI
Who: Family-friendly


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