AS Daily News Roundup: Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Table of Contents
Business
Striking union workers picket Verizon office over concessions
Economy and Finance
As Providence taxes grow, some businesses, and the people behind them, wither
R.I. economy continues slight growth in second quarter
Central Falls receiver repeats claim of power of city’s contracts
Car taxes a vehicle for frustration
Providence taxes breaking broker’s retirement plans
Some get by with belt-tightening
Education
Helping hands: Volunteers teach young children school basics
Regents to discuss mayoral academy in Tuesday session
Officials worry over role of seniority in tentative Providence teachers’ pact
Health and Wellness
Providence Business News: Accident releases sewage into Blackstone River
Providence Business News: Suicide-prevention program receives $480,000 grant
Providence Business News: Nursing, hospice agencies to merge
Providence Business News: Shaw’s labeling to identify healthy options
Providence Business News: Five Questions With: Martin E. Tursky
Politics and Government
Victory Day a tradition of solemn remembrance
Political Scene: R.I. lawmakers already off to the races in fundraising
Opinion
Editorial: Unhealthy pensions
Time to downsize federal student loans
What’s ‘unfortunate’ about Ruggerio mess
Letters to the Editor: Callous editorial ignores social costs / City’s loss of pride / Unintended consequences
Letter to the Editor: New England, Medicare and bio-tech

Business

Striking union workers picket Verizon office over concessions (A7)
By Richard Salit
A strike by 45,000 Verizon Communications employees in the Northeast, including about 850 in Rhode Island, continued Monday as union and company officials met in New York without resolving the labor dispute.

Economy and Finance

As Providence taxes grow, some businesses, and the people behind them, wither (A1)
By Alisha A. Pina
PROVIDENCE — Mercedes Mendez realized her dreams in Rhode Island. Despite her limited English, a pending divorce and two small children, the factory worker launched a travel agency 30 years ago. It prospered as the Hispanic population increased.

R.I. economy continues slight growth in second quarter (A1)
By Kate Bramson
Rhode Island has sustained its economic recovery for the second quarter of the year despite a significant slowdown in the U.S. economy in the first two quarters of 2011, according to the Rhode Island Current Economic Indicator, which increased 2.17 percent.

Central Falls receiver repeats claim of power of city’s contracts (A1)
By John Hill
The state receiver charged with reorganizing Central Falls’ finances reiterated, in a court filing Monday, his claim that last week’s bankruptcy filing gave him the power to rewrite the city’s union contracts even before the bankruptcy judge rules on the filing.

Car taxes a vehicle for frustration (A8)
By Alisha Pina
PROVIDENCE — Anthony Sionni can’t believe that his worn 2001 Ford Taurus — the state says it’s worth $3,850 — will generate a $171 car-tax bill this year. One side mirror is held in position with Gorilla Glue, its maroon paint is chipping and the odometer reads 174,801 miles.

Providence taxes breaking broker’s retirement plans (A8)
By Alisha Pina
PROVIDENCE — This real estate broker can’t invest in Providence anymore. It’s too expensive. Paul Zanecchia’s six houses, five purchased in the last two years, are projected to cost him $25,485 in property taxes this year, $1,207 more than last year. That includes 15-percent homestead exemptions, but doesn’t factor in what he pays for sewer, water, electric meter fees, maintenance, insurance, interest and mortgages.

Some get by with belt-tightening (A8)
By Alisha Pina
PROVIDENCE — The tree-lined Sharon Street could be dubbed Pleasantville, but the property owners aren’t impervious to the economic strain. A house across the street from Mark Garofalo’s bungalow is for sale. The sign reads “Reduced.” Another nearby is on the market and he says others farther down the road have been abandoned.

Education

Helping hands: Volunteers teach young children school basics (A1)
By Linda Borg
PROVIDENCE –– They sit in tiny seats at tiny desks. Some are chatty and some are shy. But they have one thing in common: they are all starting kindergarten later this month. A summer program run by a nonprofit organization called Inspiring Minds is trying to give these children the leg up they will need to succeed in kindergarten. 

Regents to discuss mayoral academy in Tuesday session (A3)
By Randal Edgar
The debate over a proposed “mayoral academy” charter school that would serve students from Cranston and Providence will return to the public sphere Tuesday when the state Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education gathers for an afternoon “work session.”

Officials worry over role of seniority in tentative Providence teachers’ pact (A6)
By Linda Borg
PROVIDENCE –– A top state education leader has raised significant questions about the role that seniority would play in a new teacher hiring system that the union’s president and then Supt. Tom Brady agreed to last fall.

Health and Wellness

Providence Business News: Accident releases sewage into Blackstone River
By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – About 920,000 gallons of partially treated sewage flowed into Blackstone River in Woonsocket from the site of the former Seville Dye mill on July 31, according to the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.

Providence Business News: Suicide-prevention program receives $480,000 grant
By Richard Asinof
WARWICK – The R.I. Youth Suicide Prevention Project has been awarded a three-year, $480,000 federal grant to implement suicide prevention programs in community organizations and public schools throughout the state, the R.I. Student Assistance Services announced on Aug. 3.

Providence Business News: Nursing, hospice agencies to merge 
By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The board of directors of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island and Visiting Nurse Service of Greater Rhode Island have voted to form a new affiliation, creating a new, nonprofit parent organization.

Providence Business News: Shaw’s labeling to identify healthy options
By Richard Asinof
WEST BRIDGWATER, Mass. – Shaw’s Supermarkets, in partnership with the Joslin Clinic in Boston, has launched a new program to help shoppers identify healthy-food options.

Providence Business News: Five Questions With: Martin E. Tursky
By Richard Asinof
Martin E. Tursky, the new president and CEO at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, has his work cut out for him. Effective Oct. 1, he will replaces Francis R. Dietz, who has served as Memorial’s president and CEO since 1966, the long-serving hospital executive in the nation.

Politics and Government

Victory Day a tradition of solemn remembrance (A4)
By John Hill
PAWTUCKET — For years, on the second Monday in August, you would have found James Brennan at the veterans memorial at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Exchange Street, speaking as part of the ceremonies marking the end of World War II and noting the passing of comrades from that and the nation’s other wars.

Political Scene: R.I. lawmakers already off to the races in fundraising (A5)
By Philip Marcelo and Randal Edgar
The next election is still 15 months away, but some leaders in the General Assembly are already raising money that could help them keep their seats, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Board of Elections.

Opinion

Editorial: Unhealthy pensions (B6)
It is sad that municipal retirees from bankrupt Central Falls face the prospect of sharp cuts in the pensions they worked for, and expected. But, at some point, reality intrudes: Pensions were promised that are simply unsustainable.

Time to downsize federal student loans (B6)
By Thomas D. Parker
WASHINGTON- I have spent much of my working life studying and promoting student loans. As a good liberal Democrat, I have spent years seeking to expand and then working for the old Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), which had its roots in Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Currently, I consult to a for-profit student-loan company.

What’s ‘unfortunate’ about Ruggerio mess (B7)
By Edward Achorn
When Lincoln Chafee was running for governor last fall, he went on and on about “corruption” and “cronyism” in Rhode Island. At the time, he was against them. “We can’t continue to have national attention on corruption,” he said in a TV ad, his voice dripping with contempt when he came to the last word.

Letters to the Editor: Callous editorial ignores social costs / City’s loss of pride / Unintended consequences (B7)
Letters unavailable online

Letter to the Editor: New England, Medicare and bio-tech (Online)
By Paul Pescatello
Many are relieved that a debt ceiling and deficit reform deal has been reached in Washington, but the potential negative impacts on jobs in the biotechnology industry in New England and the millions of residents who depend on its life-saving and life-extending products remain a real threat.
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