ProJo: Saunderstown post office to be named for Army captain who died in Iraq

ProJo: Saunderstown post office to be named for Army captain who died in Iraq

By Journal Staff

President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill to rename a post office in Saunderstown after U.S. Army Capt. Matthew J. August, who was killed in Iraq in 2004.

The announcement was made by Sen. Jack Reed, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill. Rep. Jim Langevin sponsored the House version; the legislation was co-sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. David Cicilline.

August was 28 when his he was killed on Jan. 27, 2004. He was leading the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Infantry Division attached to the 82nd Airborne on a mission outside Baghdad when his convoy was ambushed and hit by improvised explosive devices and small-arms fire from insurgents.

August grew up in North Kingstown. graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1993, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1997.

During his career, he earned the Army Commendation Medal; Army Achievement Medal – with two oak leaves; the National Defense Service Medal; and the Army Service and Overseas Service ribbons. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Meritorious Service Medal; Iraqi Campaign and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medals; and Combat Action Badge.

A formal dedication ceremony for the Captain Matthew J. August Post Office, at 20 Ferry Rd., will be held at a date to be announced.

Westerly Sun: Connecticut, Rhode Island reaction to judge’s ruling on ACA

Westerly Sun: Connecticut, Rhode Island reaction to judge’s ruling on ACA

By the AP & Sun Staff

The head of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange tried to assure residents Saturday that a federal judge’s ruling will not affect their ability to sign up for and use 2019 plans offered through Access Health CT.

Chief Executive Officer James Michel’s comments came less than 24 hours after a North Texas judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

“Access Health CT is the official marketplace under the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut and we are committed to upholding the ACA and the support it provides to residents of our state,” he said in a written statement. “We will not let this news get in the way” of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of uninsured in the state.

While the decision by the Republican-appointed judge in Texas was sweeping, it has little immediate practical impact because the Affordable Care Act remains in place while the legal battle continues, possibly to the Supreme Court.

Access Health CT also announced Saturday that it is extending its open enrollment period for another month.

The deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1 was Saturday at midnight. However, the exchange announced Saturday afternoon that customers will now have until Jan. 15 to sign up for coverage that starts on Feb. 1. The extension was planned prior to the Texas court ruling.

Rhode Island officials reminded residents that their exchange, HealthSource RI, also remains open for business. Open enrollment is underway until Dec. 31, and individuals and families have until Dec. 23 to enroll for uninterrupted coverage starting Jan. 1, 2019.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor, a 2007 appointee of President George W. Bush, asserted that the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act is “invalid” as a result of last year’s tax cut bill, which knocked the constitutional foundation from under the law by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.

Before his appointment, O’Connor was a staff member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and as a judge he has issued similar decisions seeking to undermine Obama-era policies. In 2016, he blocked a directive that required public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. He also held that regulations issued pursuant to the ACA could have forced doctors to aid in abortion or gender transition procedures that did not conform with their religious beliefs or medical judgments.

In a tweet, President Donald Trump praised the judge’s decision. He told reporters Saturday that “on the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people.”

Democratic officials and lawmakers in Rhode Island and Connecticut criticized the ruling, with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. calling it a political stunt. Gov. Gina Raimondo said Saturday that “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Rhode Island has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, and HealthSource RI offers among the lowest premiums in the country. I will continue to stand up for access to affordable, high-quality healthcare for all Rhode Islanders and will take all steps necessary to protect the ACA.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., said: “While Republicans tried to repeal the ACA over 60 times during the eight years they spent in control of Congress, the incoming Democratic majority will fight to protect the law and ensure that quality, affordable health care remains accessible for all.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., accused “anti-health care zealots in the Republican Party” of “intentionally ripping health care away from the working poor” and increasing costs for seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
GoLocalProv: RIDOT to Expand Pell Bridge Project Following $20 Million Grant

GoLocalProv: RIDOT to Expand Pell Bridge Project Following $20 Million Grant

SOURCE: GoLocalProv News Team

The RIDOT has announced that they are expanding the Pell Bridge ramp project following a $20 million grant secured by Senator Jack Reed.

“We thank Senator Reed and the entire Rhode Island Congressional delegation [including Congressman Jim Langevin], U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and U.S. DOT for their efforts in providing additional funds for this project. It will allow us to do more work, and do it faster, and provide an improved roadway network for both Newport’s North End gateway and Pell Bridge gateway,” said RIDOT Director Peter Alviti Jr.

Governor Gina Raimondo added, “This federal grant will make a big impact on our efforts to increase the safety and efficiency of the Pell Bridge while opening up land for development. By reconfiguring the Pell ramps, we are creating space for new investment in science, technology, and innovation.”

Pell Bridge Project

The Pell Bridge Ramps Project will reconfigure the Pell Bridge ramps to provide quicker access to Newport town center and to relieve traffic backups on the bridge.

It also proposes a complete removal of the viaduct infrastructure over Admiral Kalbfus Road which will free up significant acreage of land for economic development in Newport.

With the new funds, the RIDOT is able to include a reconstruction of segments of J.T. Connell Highway in Newport and Coddington Highway in Newport and Middletown, which together serve as one of the main thoroughfares through Newport’s North End, and gateway to downtown Newport and the Naval Station Newport.

The total project area is approximately 50 acres, much of which is located in the Newport Resilience Innovation District.

The entire project is estimated to cost $66.1 million.

MeriTalk: New Bipartisan Bill to Authorize $10 Million for Cyber Education

MeriTalk: New Bipartisan Bill to Authorize $10 Million for Cyber Education

SOURCE: MeriTalk

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and Glenn Thompson, R-Penn., introduced the Cybersecurity Education Integration Act, a bill that would establish a grant program to develop career and technical education (CTE) classes that include cybersecurity fundamentals.

“Whether in our hospitals or our power grid, vital systems are increasingly being connected to the Internet,” said Langevin. “We need to offer better training for the workers who deal with these systems on a day-to-day basis, particularly in safety critical industries where lives can be put in jeopardy by malicious cyber actors.”

The bill includes $10 million to establish a competitive grant program run by the Department of Education to provide grants up to $500,000 to partnerships of educational institutions and employers that commit to include cybersecurity in career and technical education. Applicants would need to describe which sector of critical infrastructure their program plans to train for, the workforce needs of that sector, the work-based learning opportunities available to program participants, and how the program would lead to a recognized postsecondary credential, among other criteria.

“We must ensure we’re protecting sensitive data and critical infrastructure from bad actors, and this bill is one step in the right direction,” said Thompson. “By enabling our next generation of learners to have the most sophisticated and comprehensive educational programs out there, we will be better prepared to protect our most critical systems and assets.”

The bill also requires the Department of Education to consult with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to find the most pressing workforce needs in critical infrastructure.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce for further consideration.