Governor’s New Chief of Staff in Hot Water for Trump Tweet

Governor's New Chief of Staff in Hot Water for Trump Tweet

PROVIDENCE, RI — The governor’s new chief of staff is in hot water over a tweet he sent out during the presidential debate Sunday.

Brett Smiley has since apologized on Twitter, quoting First Lady Michelle Obama’s advice to “go high” when others go low.

Smiley, who lives on the East Side, ran for Providence mayor in 2014 but dropped out of the race and threw his support to Jorge Elorza.

Ultimately, Elorza was elected and tapped Smiley for chief operating officer.

He started with the governor’s office in September.

Rhode Island Republican leaders have criticized Smiley for the tweet. Last night, Gov. Gina Raimondo answered a reporter’s question about the matter. She said she told Smiley she was disappointed and asked him to delete the tweet from his account, which he has done.

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Apponaug Circulator Project changes up driving routines

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Traffic routines changed at the beginning of the week for drivers headed through the Apponaug Circulator.

The DOT stated that the Apponaug Circular Project will improve safety in the long run.

Three large changes took over the construction zone this week:

  • Veteran’s Memorial Drive Extension is a new one-way street for westbound traffic
  • Route 117 at Apponaug Four Corners will be changed to a one-way street, westbound traffic is not permitted
  • A section of Greenwich Avenue will now be open to northbound traffic

Drivers have mixed reviews of having to navigate through the orange cones that amount to a $71 million construction project.

“I’m hoping this wasn’t a waste a money.”

Don Houseman of Warwick isn’t pleased with the changes. “It just makes no sense at all. The lanes between Cafe Tiempo and Burger King are too narrow and people can’t seem to be able to keep their cars in the lanes. I’m hoping that’s temporary,” he said.

Tess Russo works at the Cafe Tiempo Coffee House that Houseman referenced. “I don’t mind the Apponaug project too much,” she said. “I think it will be a good thing once it’s all over. It will be nice not to have to stop at the traffic light and it’ll be a better flow.”

The DOT expects the entire project to be done by Fall of 2017.

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Person shot in face in Providence

A person was shot in the face Wednesday night in Providence.

NBC 10 News reported to the scene on Laban Street around 10:30 p.m.

Police, who were mum on details, told NBC 10 News that the victim was transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

Authorities are searching for the suspect at this time.

The shooting is under investigation.

Stay with NBC 10 News and for continuing coverage. Refresh this page for updates.

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Sudden Chill Brings Weather Advisories

Sudden Chill Brings Weather Advisories

Weather advisories peppered Massachusetts and Rhode Island Monday morning as a sudden chill descended on the region.

An overnight frost advisory has been called for much of New England, while a wind advisory has been called for the Cape and a freeze watch in Central and Western Mass.

The weather took a quick dip after Sunday’s rain, with many communities sitting in the low-to-mid 50s and dropping much lower into the evening.

The overnight frost advisory, in effect from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m., means to bring any plants you’ve still got out back inside. It’s in effect for Eastern, Southeastern and Northeastern Massachusetts, but not the coast, according to the National Weather Service. It’s also in effect in Southern and Northern Rhode Island.

The freeze watch, also in effect from late tonight into early Tuesday morning, blankets all of Central and most of Western Massachusetts.

The wind advisory, in effect until 2 p.m. Monday, is for Cape Cod and the Islands. Winds were up to 40 miles per hour on the Outer Cape and Nantucket.

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Shellfish harvesting closure continues in RI, MA

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management on Tuesday said that the precautionary shellfish harvesting closure for Narragansett Bay, Mt. Hope Bay, Kickemuit River, Sakonnet River and their tributaries will remain in effect until further notice.

According to a press release, water samples collected on Oct. 9 “still show high levels of phytoplankton in the Bay.” Authorities noted that the DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health will continue to monitor water quality and shellfish meats to determine when waters will re-opened to shellfishing.

“DEM regularly monitors local waters for the presence of phytoplankton that can produce harmful algae blooms,” DEM noted in the release, adding that the closures were enacted on Friday and Saturday morning.

Since the closure, water samples have been taken every other day.

“Until Bay samples indicate the bloom is declining, efforts to collect local shellfish for analysis to determine if the toxins are present in shellfish meats at levels of concern will be suspended,” DEM reported.

DEM went on to note that the toxin, known as domoic acid, is produced by the phytoplankton. The toxin is responsible for causing amnesiac shellfish poisoning in people. Symptoms include short and long-term memory loss, as well as other serious health effects.

“Samples collected on October 9 from four of the coastal salt ponds show that Pseudo-nitzschia cells were absent or present at very low levels,” DEM said. “The ponds sampled include Winnapaug Pond, Pt. Judith Pond, Quonochontaug Pond, and Ninigret Pond.”

Shellfish meats were also collected by DEM from Narragansett Bay and aquaculture areas in southern Rhode Island coastal ponds. The samples were transported to Maine for analysis, with test results confirming that no toxin was present.

“As a result, RIDOH has released the inventory of shellfish collected last week, which were being held by dealers since the ban was enacted on October 6,” DEM said.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts regulators said Tuesday that several fishing areas in the southern coast and Buzzards Bay areas are no longer open to shellfishing due to the toxic bloom.

The state Division of Marine Fisheries says it has determined that the areas are unsafe for digging, harvesting or collecting shellfish.

The Massachusetts closure applies to fishing areas in Bourne, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Falmouth, Marion, Mattapoisett, Westport, New Bedford, Gosnold and Lackeys Bay in Gosnold.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Radio station damaged in overnight crash


WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island radio station was badly damaged after being struck by a vehicle early Wednesday morning.

It happened just after midnight at the WNRI radio station on Diamond Hill Road.

Police say one person in the SUV was transported to Rhode Island hospital with minor injuries

No word if the station will be on the air Wednesday. Programming is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m.

Eyewitness News will have live updates from the scene beginning at 4:30 a.m. on WPRI-12 and FOX Providence.

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Providence officials unveil plan for 6/10 connector

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – With Gov. Gina Raimondo calling for the R.I. Department of Transportation to fast track plans for the reconstruction of the Route 6/10 connector, the Elorza administration on Monday released its own proposal aimed at connecting neighborhoods and spurring economic development while easing traffic in and out of the city.

The city’s plan would come in two phases, first focusing on the area that extends from Hartford Avenue to Broadway and later on the area between Tobey and Dean Streets. The initial project would include the construction of what officials call a “halo” structure that would connect Route 10 north to Route 6 west. Below the halo would be a free-flowing highway that leads into downtown.

In a briefing with reporters before the unveil, city officials said they are still trying to determine the cost for their proposal, but suggested the project would be cheaper than rebuilding the existing highway system. They acknowledged their plan would likely take longer to complete. The city is also in the process of conducting a traffic analysis for its proposal.

The city’s plan comes nearly a month after Raimondo announced she wants to move quickly to repair the existing bridges, effectively killing an idea to transform the 6/10 into a surface-level boulevard. The governor’s plan was widely criticized by community groups.

The city’s plan for the 6/10.

Elorza officials said they crafted their proposal following two public forums and many meetings with stakeholders throughout the city. They said their plan would add two miles of new bike trails while also reclaiming about 55 acres of land for economic development opportunities.

The city’s plan would include between eight and 10 opportunities to get onto the 6/10 compared to the seven that currently exist. There would be between seven and nine opportunities to exit the connector compared to the existing four.

The proposal laid out by the Elorza administration is likely to receive more public support than Raimondo’s vision, but city officials acknowledged they have no way of preventing the state from moving forward with its plan and no intention of interfering with the project.

Seven of the nine 6/10 bridges are currently classified as structurally deficient. Most were built in the 1950s, and RIDOT says they carry nearly 100,000 vehicles a day.

The biggest concern among the nine bridges, according to RIDOT officials, is the Huntington Avenue Viaduct bridge that goes over the Amtrak train tracks. Recent inspections by RIDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) showed an accelerating pace of deterioration there, they said, which led RIDOT to recommend moving forward immediately with replacing the 6/10 bridges as is.

The $400 million estimated cost to pay for the state’s 6/10 project was included inthe $4.7-billion RhodeWorks law passed earlier this year by the General Assembly. The measure calls for new tolls on trucks, set to start as soon as next year, and borrowing against federal aid to help fund bridge projects.

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