Shady businessman with contract

Politics This Week: State Vulnerability to the Virtual Con

By Justin Katz | March 20, 2023 |

John DePetro and Justin Katz examine the ways an excessive purview and incompetence leave Rhode Island politicians and bureaucrats vulnerable to scams and other bad decisions.

Woonsocket and Cumberland map

Divisiveness and falsehood taint even feel-good student stories.

By Justin Katz | June 15, 2022 |

Stories like this, by Kavontae Smalls in the Atlanta Black Star, should be a more prominent part of local news, giving us all an opportunity to acknowledge and admire the achievements of those with whom we share a corner of the world.  Woonsocket sophomore Mariam Kaba has been awarded a $25,000 scholarship and given $1 million to…

Writing on the wall

Fear of school shootings feels a lot like fear of Omicron.

By Justin Katz | December 16, 2021 |

The Omicron count has begun in Rhode Island!  One: The case was detected in a woman in her 20s who lives in Providence County. The individual recently returned to Rhode Island from New York and had previously completed their primary vaccination series. She did not receive a booster shot, according to the health department. Two:…

Homeless man "seeking human kindness"

Who thought it was a good idea to throw $36 million dollars at the government of Woonsocket?

By Justin Katz | November 17, 2021 |

With that question, I mean Woonsocket as representative of municipal governments generally. The city is in the midst of the process of figuring out how to spend the $36 million dollars the federal government will send its way as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  You’ll recall that the purpose of the act…

Image of Police Line tape.

What genre should a writer choose for the tale of Police Chief Ronald Landry?

By Justin Katz | September 24, 2021 |

It’s difficult to know whether to read this Lauren Clem story in the Valley Breeze as a comedy or outrage-driven drama. Ronald Landry worked his way up to the rank of captain in the Woonsocket police department, retiring in 2007.  At that point, presumably, he took his pension along with a promotion of chief just across…

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt's Facebook page

Wait… the people of Woonsocket are paying for Baldelli-Hunt’s First Amendment transgression?

By Justin Katz | September 2, 2021 |

The Valley Breeze reports the conclusion of a controversy in Woonsocket mentioned in this space a month ago. Democrat Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt has settled a lawsuit that the ACLU of Rhode Island brought against her for blocking people on a Facebook page that she was clearly using for official (which is to say, public) purposes. …

Mayor Leo Fontaine Surprises FOX’s Stuart Varney

By Monique Chartier | March 22, 2013 |

… earlier this week on Varney & Co by not vigorously defending the social program that made Woonsocket the subject of that Washington Post article. Don’t miss the part where Mayor Fontaine holds up a state application for food stamps and points out that the last page of it is a voter registration form. (H’mmm,…

Another Big Ask: Woonsocket to Meet With Retirees Monday

By Monique Chartier | February 23, 2013 |

In yesterday’s dead tree edition of the Woonsocket Call (on-line edition sometimes behind a paywall), Russ Olivo reported that, on Monday, Woonsocket will meet with the city’s 780 retirees. On the agenda is the fiscal necessity to shift all retirees to Medicare at age 65 and to abolish the pension COLA for the 250 retirees…

Duct Tape Time: Woonsocket School Committee Dumps Chair For “dwelling on financial matters”

By Monique Chartier | July 25, 2012 |

When he was about to share a particularly outrageous or egregious item, Glenn Beck used to admonish his listeners to wrap their heads in duct tape so that clean up would be easier when their heads exploded upon hearing the item. The Valley Breeze’s Sandy Phaneuf should have provided a similar preface to her just…

The Real Context for Woonsocket’s Supplemental Tax

By Carroll Andrew Morse | June 27, 2012 |

Woonsocket’s Mayor and City Council have proposed a 13% supplemental tax as an immediate solution to their city’s short-term fiscal crisis. They have also proposed building the supplemental amount into the city’s revenue baseline to help address longer term structural deficits. At the behest of the Woonsocket’s state representatives, the Rhode Island legislature rejected this…