Top News Stories - Thursday Morning 11/19


Coronavirus-Testing Issues Reported In Rhode Island

(Providence, RI) -- Problems are being reported with coronavirus-testing programs in Rhode Island. WPRI-TV reports it has received numerous complaints, including problems scheduling tests and long wait times for appointments. A National Guard official told Channel 12 it has been extremely busy at the Rhode Island Convention Center testing site.

State Ending School Mask Breaks

(Providence, RI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health is asking schools to stop allowing "mask breaks" in school. WPRI-TV reports the health department changed its guidance last week regarding scheduled breaks for students to be able to remove their masks for a brief period of time. 

Meanwhile, the state's deputy education commissioner is asking school district superintendents to reduce in-person learning in Rhode Island high schools to 25-percent at the end of this month. That will mostly limit building access to high-needs students. And the state now says organized school sports are to be held off until January.

New Budget Deficit Estimates Far Below Previous Projection

(Providence, RI) -- Different estimates of the state of Rhode Island's current-year budget deficit are being made public this week. Governor Raimondo's budget office estimated the deficit at 114-million dollars, but the fiscal advisor for the Rhode Island House of Representatives put the number at 275-million. Both figures are much lower than the 900-million-dollar deficit that was initially projected due to the economic impact of the coronavirus impact.

Attorney General, National Grid Urge Public Vigilance Against New Scams

(Providence, RI) -- Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha and National Grid are warning consumers to be on the lookout after increased reports of scam activity. The A.G.'s office says the most recent phone scam is an automated message alleging to be from National Grid which says the customer has a past-due balance. A service shutoff is then threatened. Neronha says scammers are trying to take advantage of more and more people staying home and answering the phone during the virus pandemic.

93-Year-Old RI Man's Lost Wedding Ring Found

(Westerly, RI) -- A man with a metal detector helps find a missing wedding ring in Rhode Island. According to a story from WHDH-TV in Boston, 93-year-old James Crowley of Westerly lost his ring while doing yard work. Crowley was married to his wife for 70 years. She died in 2014. Crowley's daughter put out the call for help, and metal detector hobbyist Ryan Ledbetter arrived and found the ring after a search.

photo: Getty Images