Local and state briefs for Nov. 5, 2013

Local and state briefs for Nov. 5, 2013


Nature Center to hold Green Tie Gala and Auction

STONINGTON — The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center will hold its annual Green Tie Gala and Auction at the Lake of Isles, 1 Clubhouse Drive, North Stonington, on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 6 to 10 p.m.

The event will honor Maggie Jones, executive director of the center for her 22 years for her environmental leadership and service, as well as her critical role in the successful Campaign to Save the Coogan Farm. Additionally, all the members of the Campaign to Save the Coogan Farm Committee will be honored as their accomplishments have insured a new chapter in Coogan Farm and nature center history.

The event includes a sit-down dinner, a silent auction and music by Rock and Soul Revue.

Tickets are available by calling 860-536-1216 or visit dpnc.org/gala/ticket_donation.

Comedy veteran coming to Granite Theatre

WESTERLY — The Renaissance City Theatre Company of the Granite Theatre will host Rhode Island comedy veteran Ace Aceto’s “Royal Flush” show at The Granite Theatre, 1 Granite St., on Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m.

The Royal Flush Comedy Show brings together The Ace, Ace Aceto; The King, Scott Higgins; The Queen, Mary Ellen Rinaldi; The Jack, Derrick Fonseca and The Joker, Jay Sutay.

Tickets for the show are $20 and available by calling 401-596-2341 or visit brownpapertickets.com/event/502310.

School bus boss pledges national checks on workers

EAST GREENWICH (AP) — A school bus company says it will have a private contractor conduct nationwide background checks of all drivers and bus monitors following the arrest of a monitor on child pornography charges.

The Providence Journal reports that Tony Murgo, president of Ocean State Transit, told parents Monday night that the monitor, Scott Sanford, of East Greenwich, was fired after his arrest and two members of his family have been suspended. He did not identify the relatives.

It was not known today if Sanford is represented by a lawyer. His phone number is not listed.

Murgo said Sanford had passed a criminal background check and a company screening.

Police say the 35-year-old Sanford was arrested as part of an investigation into suspects accused of sharing Internet images of child pornography.

Judge to resentence Texas gas company in R.I.

PROVIDENCE (AP) — A federal judge in Rhode Island is set to resentence a Texas gas company for an environmental crime, after he asked the environmental community for ideas for a punishment when his original $18 million penalty was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge William Smith has said he is limited to a sentence equivalent to $500,000 when he sentences Southern Union Co. today.

That’s significantly less than the original $6 million fine and $12 million in charitable contributions he imposed for its conviction for improperly storing mercury.

Environmental groups suggested the company be ordered to pay for mercury studies, a program to reduce food waste and other projects.

Federal prosecutors have urged a fine of $100,000 and a $400,000 community service payment to a public body.

Giordanos to settle nursing home claims for $1.2M

PROVIDENCE (AP) — A former nursing home executive convicted of embezzlement has agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle claims brought by the federal government, including a nearly $14 million judgment for diverting millions from nursing homes to himself and members of his family.

The Providence Journal reports Antonio L. Giordano and his family agreed to the settlement last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It must be approved by a judge.

Giordano was convicted of conspiracy and embezzlement for taking millions from his nursing homes — Mount St. Francis Health Center in Woonsocket and Coventry Health Center — even as they were defaulting on loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also owed money to the Internal Revenue Service.

He filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

HealthSource RI signs up over 4,600

PROVIDENCE (AP) — The state-run health insurance marketplace in Rhode Island has signed up 4,642 individuals and small businesses in its first five weeks of being in operation.

HealthSource RI reported enrollments from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2 on Monday. The number includes those who have paid already and those with payments pending.

HealthSource has not broken down the statistics by demographic or said which health plans are most popular.

The marketplace, also known as an exchange, also reported there have been just under 19,000 calls to the customer service center and nearly 1,800 walk-in visits. The website, healthsourceri.com, has had 101,135 unique visits.

About 11,600 individuals have created accounts.

Coverage begins on Jan. 1, the date on which most Americans are required to have insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Majority leader wants to nix board of licenses pay

PROVIDENCE (AP) — The Providence city council’s majority leader wants to eliminate pay for licensing board members over their decision not to revoke the license of a strip club authorities say illegally hired a 14-year-old and allowed prostitution.

Seth Yurdin said Monday he plans to introduce legislation at Thursday’s council meeting.

Yurdin recently called the board’s decision not to permanently revoke the license of Cheaters Gentlemen’s Club a “severe dereliction of duty.” The board instead suspended its license for 45 days and fined it $5,000.

The city wanted to revoke Cheaters’ licenses for good. Board Chairman Andrew Annaldo said the suspension and fine would send a forceful message and deter violations.

The club is appealing.

Yurdin says board members get $19,719 annually. The chairman gets $26,857.


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