State of the City: Heists and soup

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Soup-er.  Haven’t you heard that the easiest way of raising scholarship money is through a person’s stomach? Fall River Mayor William Flanagan has cooked up a scheme to raise money for a city scholarship fund by selling soup, WPRI reported. According to The Herald News (not affiliated with the BDH), his face will soon be featured prominently on “Mayor Flanagan’s Signature Kale with Chourico Sausage Soup,” coming soon to a grocery store near you.  All proceeds from soup sales will go to the Mayoral Scholarship Fund for local students. Souuuper.

Stick it to ’em. A Pawtucket man took the phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick” too far when he tried to rob the McCoy market armed with a large tree branch while allegedly mumbling “money, money,” the ProJo reported. Well, at least he wasn’t singing ABBA. The man attempted to burglarize the store, taking only a “locked donation box labeled ‘Friends of Syria,'” before he was captured and arrested by the police. Criminals sure are branching out with their weapons of choice these days.

Cold case…? The federal government recently offered immunity to anyone who has information about or was involved in the 199o art heist of $500 million worth of art, including pieces by Rembrandt, Degas, and Vermeer, WPRI reported. The paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in one of the largest art thefts in U.S. history. “We’re all optimistic that they will be returned,” a U.S. attorney said in a press conference. It’s been nearly 25 years, so the optimism seems a little empty.


State of the City: Spotlight on crime

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Hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife—a crime spree is devastating local businesses.

Beef thief. A supermarket thief is currently on the lam after stealing $320 in porterhouse steaks from a grocery store in Franklin, MA, WPRI reported. The store’s surveillance videos show a man leaving the store with 26 steaks. Is the thief hosting the world’s most epic barbeque, or does he just have the world’s worst black eye? Either way, the stakes have been raised in the meat theft game.

Dick’s hurting after stolen balls. A golf ball theft is chipping away at the profits of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Smithfield, RI. Last week, a woman made off with eight boxes or more than $380 worth of golf balls, WPRI reported. The woman is currently on RI’s list of Most Wanted criminals. Continue Reading


State of the City: Lawless cats

lol Poll. This just in: 94.2 percent of Rhode Islanders rated the state’s economy as “not so good” or “poor” in the Taubman Center’s February poll. Nobody saw that coming. Just like nobody anticipated Governor Chafee’s approval rating of 25.5 percent. But in more encouraging news, 60.4 percent of respondents from the same poll were in favor of same-sex marriage, citing “equal rights” and “personal choice” as reasons for their view. All in all, people did not express much confidence in the state government, with only 16.7 percent of those polled expressing “a great amount” or “a good amount” of confidence in the ability of state officials to “make the correct decisions for (Rhode Island’s) future.”

Cool cats. The International Cat Association is reconsidering hosting their annual cat convention in Providence in future years, due to a dispute with the state environmental police over cat health certificates. Police officers asked the cat organization to display health and rabies certificates during the recent pet show and some cat owners were so upset that they left the convention, the ProJo reported. Well ain’t that just the cat’s meow? They must really think they’re the cat’s pajamas to storm out like that.


State of the City: Nemo and the Toilet Bandit

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Blizzicane. Apparently, Nemo wasn’t “that bad” after all, especially compared to the historic blizzard of ’78. At least that’s what the weather authorities tell us, though RI residents still living without power or shoveling snow may disagree just a tiny bit. The storm ranked only a 3 on a 5-point scale of storm severity, according to federal storm-rating measurements. That means it was “major” but not “crippling” or “extreme,” the ProJo reported. Clearly they were not at the Ratty on Saturday night.

That makes good cents. Brown students graduate with the lowest average debt of all graduates receiving their degrees in Rhode Island. The dubious prize of highest debt in the state goes to Salve Regina University in Newport, where students graduate with an average debt of $43,237 – more than twice as much as Brown’s average debt, which is $20,455. Rhode Island graduates hold the nation’s 4th largest average debt per student, at $29,097, and 2/3 of students graduate college with at least some debt.

Society is clearly going down the drain. A Cranston man accused of “stealing toilet fixtures from fast-food restaurants” and other businesses was arraigned last Monday. The man allegedly stole “flushing units” and “automatic flushers” from various RI businesses, including several McDonald’s and Wendy’s restaurants. The question remains: what secret evil genius plan was he concocting with the toilet fixtures? World’s most epic game of toilet tag? Make-shift coat hangers? The world will never know.


State of the City: Sweet success

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Providence is recovering. We repeat, Providence is recovering. At least, that’s what Mayor Angel Taveras said multiple times in his State of the City address last Tuesday, and he’s got the numbers to prove it. Providence shrunk its $110 million structural deficit to a mere $4 million in just two years, with the help of a revamped pension plan and other spending cuts. Taveras thanked Johnson & Wales University for being the first tax-exempt institution to respond to his call for increased contributions to the city. There was also some love for Brown, which upped its commitment by $31.5 million over the next 11 years.

Is sugar the new tea? (Think 1773.) RI state legislators recently introduced a House bill that would tax sugar- and corn-syrup-sweetened drinks at $1.28 per gallon. The tax would apply to any “sugar-sweetened beverage, syrup, powder or other base product” sold in Rhode Island, including “soft drinks, sodas, sports drinks or energy drinks,” according to the text of the bill. (Base product? Does that mean any sweet thing that can be dissolved in water will be taxed?) Mixers are about to get a lot more expensive, (as is your 5 p.m. Monster Energy fix, though you might be wary of drinking those anyway). But don’t worry just yet, the “Center for Consumer Freedom” called the tax “misguided” in the ProJo.

Un-American wind. On Thursday, strong winds brought down the American flag on top of the State House. The wind was clearly a plot to blow away flags, umbrellas, and freshly-printed problem sets across the city – part of a larger scale conspiracy bent on destroying the fabric (get it, fabric?) of American lives.