Good evening and welcome to This Just In. I'm Mike McDermott, managing editor of The Providence Journal, with a prime-time version of the newsletter. Sorry we're later than usual, but, as you may have heard, sometimes things happen.
One thing we knew was going to happen today: the release of Gov. Dan McKee's budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1. McKee's $12.8-billion plan leans heavily on help from the American Recovery Plan Act, while eschewing (bless you) broad-based tax increases or fee hikes. It would spend $168 million on the troubled Eleanor Slater Hospital, provide down-payment assistance for would-be homeowners, and upgrade the Rhode Island Convention Center. It assumes legalization of recreational marijuana, but not until some time in 2023. Patrick Anderson and Katherine Gregg of our State House bureau have all the key details here.
It seems for years that we've been reading and hearing about people leaving Rhode Island for sunnier states. But according to United Van Lines, Rhode Island in 2021 ranked among the top 10 states for people moving in rather than moving out. Mark Patinkin spoke to some of the recent arrivals to see what motivated them to uproot their lives and move here.
And just when it seems like more people want to move here, it's getting harder to do so. The Rhode Island Association of Realtors says there was a "critical shortage" of homes for sale last month.
The Rhode Island Department of Health today reported nine more coronavirus-related deaths and 3,617 additional cases of COVID-19, along with 21,338 negative tests, for a 14.5% positive rate. That's the lowest positivity rate that the state has reported on any day so far in 2022. There were 532 COVID-positive patients in Rhode Island hospitals at last count, down from 547 reported yesterday, with 44 in intensive care. Rhode Island has reported an average of 3,990 new cases a day over the last seven days, down 23% from a week ago and down 4% from two weeks ago.
The Health Department will be contending with yet another key vacancy. Just a week after Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said she would resign, deputy Tom McCarthy sent in his resignation letter, which offered effusive praise for Alexander-Scott.
Authorities in Scotland have rearrested Nicholas Alahverdian, the onetime Rhode Island child-welfare activist who faked his own death in 2020, following a bail review hearing today. According to media reports from Scotland, Alahverdian had been living at an upscale Glasgow address with a woman who had been helping him. Earlier today, The Journal's Tom Mooney reported that Alahverdian had been the subject of four separate complaints filed by women with the Pawtucket police over a period of 11 months between 2010 and 2011.
Outgoing Congressman Jim Langevin spoke with The Journal's Patrick Anderson about the 22 years of history he's experienced on Capitol Hill, how seriously he considered running for governor of Rhode Island, and where we might see him next. Meanwhile, House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, whom Langevin had mentioned as a possible candidate to fill his seat, says he's not going to run for it. But more than one member of the General Assembly is considering it.
A doctor with offices in East Greenwich and Lincoln has had his license suspended after inspectors found expired medications that they said posed immediate risk to his patients.
Brown Dermatology has agreed to pay $31,000 to settle complaints that if violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide a deaf patient with a sign-language interpreter.
Today's mix of rain and snow didn't cause too much disruption, but for many Rhode Island residents, the thought of snow causes stress over where to park their vehicle. Here are some strategies for responding to parking bans in some cities and towns.
Have a great night. And remember, if you enjoy This Just In, please encourage a friend to sign up.
This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: This Just In: McKee's budget; people want to live here