Rhode Island students stage walkouts to protest gun violence

Updated 9:53 am, Wednesday, March 14, 2018 PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Students at some Rhode Island schools have walked out of classes to demand action on gun violence. The Rhode Island students joined others around the nation in leaving class at 10 a.m. Wednesday for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed in a Florida school shooting last month. WPRI-TV reports that students in Cranston read the name of each victim in the Feb. 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, then observed a moment of silence. High school senior Charles Pisaturo says he believes action must be taken because thoughts and prayers "don't suffice anymore." Latest Houston & Texas News Now Playing: Now Playing 9AM Update Bus Crash Hospital Numbers Fox 26 Houston ‘Old adversaries’ congratulate UH’s Sampson Joseph Duarte, Houston Chronicle 8AM Bus Crash Partial Update Fox 26 Houston Man shot in south Houston abandoned building Houston Chronicle Charter Bus Crash Latest, 3-13 Fox 26 Houston Lisa recites Pi Fox 26 Houston FL Bus Crash Fox 26 Houston Police chase ATM robbers through SE Houston Metro Video Risk factors for men Fox 26 Houston Dangerous eating Fox 26 Houston Living with cancer Fox 26 Houston Risk factor for men Fox 26 Houston Bayou City Buzz - mega closet Fox 26 Houston Students, faculty, citizens attend vigil for band members injured in bus crash Fox 26 Houston 10 p.m. Mar. 13 FOXRAD Forecast Fox 26 Houston What's Killing You? - lead exposure Fox 26 Houston Organizers said more than 3,000 walkouts were planned across the U.S. and around the world. Students walked out of classes in Providence, Smithfield and other schools too. Continue Reading

Rhode Island museum denies Picasso painting was stolen by the Nazis

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island School of Design is denying the claim that a painting by Pablo Picasso at the museum was stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish art collector’s mansion in occupied France. The Providence Journal reports RISD said Monday research has shown while Picasso’s “Seated Woman with a Book” was in Alphonse Kann’s mansion, the painting was never looted by the Nazis. The museum says it bought the painting for $1,600 in 1951 from a gallery that had dealt with Kann and his estate on other artwork. The museum says while it is unclear how the gallery acquired the painting, it did pay the gallery a fair price. RISD says it has shared its research with Kann’s heirs. The Alphonse Kann Association was unable to be reached for comment. ___ Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com Close An essential guide to the city, emailed to you weekly Find out how to Boston when you sign up for Boston.com's culture and lifestyle newsletter. Thanks for signing up! Continue Reading

Rhode Island district seeks $1 from town for increased school budget

TIVERTON, R.I. — A Rhode Island school district is asking local taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets to fund next year’s school budget. But don’t expect outrage in Tiverton. The school committee wants a total of $1. The committee is proposing increasing the next fiscal year’s school budget by $800,000 over last year, but noted that it is getting an expected $340,000 in state aid and will withdraw almost $460,000 from its reserve fund. That leaves the town on the hook for $1, a minimum amount required by state law. School Committee member Deborah Pallasch tells The Newport Daily News that the board has never asked for just $1 before. A town referendum May 19 will allow registered voters to decide on the budget. ___ Information from: The Newport Daily News. Continue Reading

Swastika formed from human waste found in gender-neutral bathroom at Rhode Island School of Design

A swastika formed from human waste was found in a gender-neutral bathroom at one of the top art schools in the country. The anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered over the weekend in a dormitory at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. "This level of disrespect and vitriol is completely unacceptable and RISD Public Safety is investigating it as both an act of vandalism and potentially a crime of hate," Jaime Marland of the school said in a statement. RISD held a community meeting with those on the affected floor, and is urging anyone with information to come forward. "It's pretty shocking because I think everybody is wondering, you know, who it is," student Cooper Thompson told WJAR. "It's kind of disgusting, actually, and really sad that somebody would go to that length to kind of express their frustration or some kind of angst or mental disease," student Rory Hernandez told the station. Hernandez said it was more disturbing considering the location where the swastika was found. "That could be somebody's safe space," he told the station. "So I don't think that's right in any bathroom, especially a transgender bathroom." He also said he has noticed other ugly incidents on campus involving feces. "There have people using their own fecal matter in a harmful way in the bathrooms, in the showers, all over the bathroom," he told the station. With News Wire Services Continue Reading

Rhode Island school district bans father-daughter, mother-son events

A school district in Rhode Island has ended its traditional father-daughter and mother-son sanctioned events, saying they violate a state gender discrimination law. The move came after a single mother complained that her daughter had not been able to attend her father-daughter dance. The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to school officials on behalf of the mother, the Providence Journal reported. School attorneys looked into the matter and found that national Title IX legislation exempts activities like father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames. However, Rhode Island state law does not, the lawyers said. The school then moved to ban such events. “I truly believe that no one intended to hurt anyone’s feelings with this. That they wanted to be inclusive, but that they also like the traditional type of activities,” said Superintendent Judith Lundsten. But some local leaders feel the ban neither protects students who might face discrimination, nor students who would want to attend such events. "In the zeal to protect people who feel they are being disenfranchised, this policy has completely denied our children of one of the most cherished traditions in their school experience,” said Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. The Rhode Island ACLU told WPRI that Cranston school officials made the right move. “The school district recognized that in the 21st Century, public schools have no business fostering the notion that girls prefer to go to formal dances while boys prefer baseball games. This type of gender stereotyping only perpetuates outdated notions of “girl” and “boy” activities and is contrary to federal law,” Executive Director Steven Brown said. [email protected] Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island calls for tax on students at Brown University, all city colleges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The mayor of Providence wants to slap a $150-per-semester tax on the 25,000 full-time students at Brown University and three other private colleges in the city, saying they use resources and should help ease the burden on struggling taxpayers. Mayor David Cicilline (sis-ah-LEEN-ee) said the fee would raise between $6 million and $8 million a year for the city, which is facing a $17 million deficit. If enacted, it would apparently be the first time a U.S. city has directly taxed students just for being enrolled. The proposal is still in its early stages. But it has riled some students, who say it would unfairly saddle them with the city's financial woes and overlook their volunteer work and other contributions, including money spent in restaurants, bars and stores. "We want to support the city as best we can, but financially is not really what we can afford to give," said Heather Lee, president of the Brown Graduate Student Council. "We're more able to provide labor, we're more able to apply the things that we're learning in the classroom, than we are to write a $300 check." Cities often look for revenue from universities to compensate for their tax-exempt status, and many schools already make voluntary payments to local governments. Providence's four private schools — Brown, Providence College, Johnson & Wales University and the Rhode Island School of Design — agreed in 2003 to pay the city nearly $50 million over 20 years. The idea of a student head tax has been floated before in other cities, generally to start discussions about collecting money from universities in lieu of taxes. But Tony Pals, spokesman for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said he knows of no city that charges students a direct fee. "The bottom line is, a tax like this has never gone into effect," Pals said. "The timing is also unfortunate, given the significant amount of budget-cutting that institutions have Continue Reading

Michael Flynn faces legal peril in Washington. In his Rhode Island hometown, he’s revered.

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — They show up unannounced, with cash and checks to drop off at William Flynn's accounting firm on busy Aquidneck Avenue. "I was shocked and a little embarrassed," he said. "Some don't even know my brother, but they...wanted to do something for the family."And at a local wedding celebration earlier this month, a guest sought out Jack Flynn for a private moment. “I don’t have a lot of money," the wedding guest told him. “But I want you to know that I wrote a check for $100 to help your brother."Michael Flynn is one of the most vulnerable figures in special counsel Robert Mueller's widening inquiry into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. That investigation took a dramatic step forward this week, when former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and aide Rick Gates were charged with money laundering and conspiracy for activities that took place before they joined the campaign. Another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopolous, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts – Mueller's first public allegation that an aide to President Trump’s campaign sought to work with Russian officials to gather “dirt” on the Democratic nominee.Unlike Manafort – whom prosecutors allege spent more than $1 million from offshore accounts on clothes alone – and many other Trump associates caught in the investigation's grip, Flynn and his family are not wealthy. As he struggles with legal costs verging on seven figures, residents of the small community Flynn calls home are rallying to his side, even though this New England town hardly qualifies as Trump Country – it's a deep blue stronghold where even some of his own family have long identified as Democrats.The Flynns never occupied any of the ostentatious Newport mansions that overlook the most privileged coastline in Rhode Island. But the Continue Reading

Rhode Island Jewish religious school teacher arrested in statewide child porn sting: cops

A Rhode Island religious teacher was among 11 men busted in a statewide child porn sting, police said. Gary Kabler, director of education at Temple Habonim in Barrington, was arrested for possession and transfer of child pornography, Rhode Island State Police announced Tuesday. Officers spent three months undercover and found pornographic images and videos on the suspects’ computers. All 11 were trading child porn online, but not with each other, Capt. Christopher Dicomitis told the Daily News. Dicomitis said he wasn’t sure how many images each of the suspects had but noted, “Even if it’s just one image, it’s illegal." Kabler, a 51-year-old from East Providence, teaches religious school classes at the temple as its education head. By Wednesday, his photo and name had been deleted from the school’s website, WJAR reported. Donald Moore, a 67-year-old registered sex offender, was arrested alongside the teacher. The other nine suspects are: Keith Anderson, 39; Mao Lorn, 51; Matthew Corr, 25; Nicholas Jollimore, 29, Edward Garabedian, 66; John Anderson, 69; Nathaniel Wahl, 31; Joseph Phillips, 39; and Daniel Cruz, 30. Investigators do not believe any of the men inappropriately contacted children, police said.  ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH VIDEO HERE. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee announces 2016 White House bid seeking Democratic nomination

ARLINGTON, Va. - Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee entered the race for president Wednesday by calling for the U.S. to switch to the metric system, take an "open-minded approach" to drug trafficking and consider negotiating with Islamic State militants. With his announcement, Chafee became the biggest longshot among Hillary Rodham Clinton's Democratic rivals, who have a long way to go to avoid becoming historical footnotes in the 2016 campaign. He did so by casting himself as an anti-war candidate who opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but he quickly detoured into a list of policy proposals that are likely to be non-starters on the campaign trail. Among them was refusing to rule out talks with Islamic State militants, a violent extremist group that has tortured and beheaded prisoners and opposition fighters as it has overrun parts of Iraq and Syria. A U.S.-led coalition has launched airstrikes against the extremist group since last August, but Chafee pointed to what he said was the group's protection of antiquities in some of the territory they've taken as a reason to reconsider. ``It's early,'' he said. ``We're coming to grips with who these people are and what they want.'' Chafee, a former Republican turned independent who joined the Democratic Party two years ago, has made little effort to set up a competitive campaign operation, beyond a few visits and calls to activists in the early voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. His launch Wednesday was made during a subdued speech in suburban Washington before a small group that consisted mainly of reporters. ``We must deliberately and carefully extricate ourselves from expensive wars,'' Chafee told a half-full law school classroom at George Mason University. ``We need to be very smart in these voluble times overseas.'' Along with moving to the metric system, the policy prescriptions in his speech included ending capital punishment, allowing National Security Continue Reading

Rhode Island teachers allowed to observe Good Friday under court order after suing school department

A Rhode Island court ruled that teachers are allowed to take Good Friday off after a bitter battle with their school department. Teachers in Cranston may take the day off as long as they submit a request by Wednesday, according to a court order issued Friday. Earlier this month, the teachers union sued the district when about 200 teachers reported their schools denied their requests to take the holiday off because worshipers are not religiously obligated to attend church service during the work day, school officials said. Nearly 45% of Rhode Island’s population is Roman Catholic. Activists said the denied days off violated the teachers’ civil rights — especially because Jewish teachers who requested to take Rosh Hashanah off in the fall were give the time off with no questions, explained Liz Larkin, president of the Cranston Teachers' Alliance. "That's my big concern here, is equity," Larkin told the Associated Press. Under the court order, the Cranston school department cannot discipline the teachers or deduct their pay for taking the day off. Teachers are allowed to take two days off a year for religious observation, but the requests must be approved by the school department. Union officials toldthe Los Angeles Times that they were moving forward with the lawsuit despite the court victory in hopes that the suit will prevent the same situation from happening again.  Last week, school superintendent Judith Lundsten said teachers' contracts specify they may take a holiday if they are religiously obligated to attend service during the work day. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter marking the crucifixion of Jesus, has "no required services," Lundsten said. Catholics are “encouraged” to pray quietly on Good Friday, but church service is not required. Rosh Hashanah, on the other hand, does not allow work on the holiday, so the teachers’ requests were approved, Lundsten said. But the Continue Reading