WARWICK, RI — Patriotic celebrations, an arrest shown live on TV, bug spraying, a doctor accused of selling pot to high schoolers, and another funding battle between the city and school department landed on this year’s list of top-read stories on Warwick Post.
Here’s a rundown of the Post’s most popular articles for 2019:
Our annual list of fireworks displays over the Fourth of July weekend landed in the top-read spot for the second year in a row.
Warwick scheduled its display for the following Sunday, July 7, at the Oakland Beach seawall.
Warwick Police reported the arrest of Dr. Charles M. Denier, 65, at Pilgrim High School on May 24 at about 11 a.m. after several students told the school resource officer that they had seen Denier selling marijuana in the parking lot.
Denier surrendered his license to practice medicine on May 30, and prosecutors added one count of illegal possession of a firearm and one count of video voyeurism to the case when it reached Superior Court. The gun and voyeurism charges stemmed from a search of Denier’s home by police as part of their investigation.
Denier remains free on bond until a pretrial hearing scheduled for Jan. 15.
After the R.I. Department of Health announced the state’s first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) since 2010, the Department of Environmental Management conducted aerial insecticide spraying in Warwick and several surrounding communities during September.
Frozen roadways made for treacherous driving during a cold snap in late January.
Road conditions got so bad that local police shut down a number of roads, including Rte. 37 from Warwick to Cranston.
Police also issued calls for drivers to stay off the roads as much as possible until the conditions improved.
After getting reports of black bear sightings in early June, the state DEM estimated that five to 10 black bears had taken up residence in Rhode Island, a change from their typical migration patterns.
Officials warned human residents to bring in their bird feeders and avoid leaving any food outside that may interest the bears.
After the original story landed on the Post‘s most-read list for 2018, the follow-up article to a high-speed chase that was broadcast on the LivePD television program — also tallied enough clicks to make our 2019 compilation.
Steven Rogers, 22, is serving a one-year suspended sentence and one year’s probation. He was also ordered to a six-month license suspension; the installation of an ignition interlock system in his vehicle; 30 hours of community service; attendance at substance abuse counseling; and more than $850 in fines and court fees. Charges for reckless driving and refusing to submit to a chemical test were dismissed.
It seems that every year, Warwick winds up in some kind of budget controversy involving the school department — and 2019 was no different. Mayor Joseph Solomon and the city council tried various ways not to meet the school’s budget request, triggering student demonstrations at City Hall and recriminations from both sides.
The school board approved a budget in June that cut some $7.7 million and eliminated school sports, further raising the stakes in the already-tense situation.
Near the end of July — and facing a deadline set by the Rhode Island Interscholastic Association for student athletes to qualify for competition — the city council approved an additional $3.9 million for schools, but not without trying to spin the result as something other than the clear loss it was for city officials and another black eye for the city as a whole.
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