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Metro Roundup, Feb. 26

Providence-Warwick has highest per capita donut ratio in the nation

The Providence-Warwick metro area has the highest doughnut per capita ratio of any metro area in the United States, according to a new ranking from BestPlaces.

With 23.25 shops per 100,000 people, Providence-Warwick was closely followed by Worcester and the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area, according to a Providence Journal article. Of the 10 cities with the highest donut density, seven are located in New England, the Journal reported.

Although much of the state’s donut saturation comes from the Dunkin’ Donuts chain, a number of local shops, such as Knead Donuts, PVDonuts and Allie’s Donuts have contributed to Rhode Island’s sweet reputation, according to the article.

State legislators to debate proposed menstrual product tax exemption

R.I. state lawmakers will debate a proposed tax exemption for feminine hygiene products for the fourth year in a row, according to  WPRI.  Known as the ‘tampon tax’, these changes were introduced into both the state’s house and senate in February.

Though Rhode Island has a tax exemption for items classified as “necessities,” menstrual products do not currently fall under this distinction.

“It’s one of those things where it’s not a luxury item, it’s a necessity,” Sen. Louis DiPalma, D-RI, told WPRI.

Though hearings on the proposal have not yet been scheduled, they are expected to begin in the next few months, DiPalma added.

Vineyard Wind, R.I. Fishermen’s Board reach compensation agreement

In a deal between Vineyard Wind and Rhode Island’s Fishermen’s Advisory Board, about $16.7 million will be dealt to the board as compensation for costs and direct impacts of Vineyard Wind’s new wind farm, according to the Providence Journal. The board unanimously voted on the newly revised deal, which includes $4.2 million in payments over 30 years and $12.5 million in a trust set up over the next five years.

Though the approval from the board was unanimous, many, if not all, spoke out on the unbalanced nature of the deal, leaning in favor of Vineyard Wind, the article reported. Vineyard Wind plans on laying out their turbines in a pattern that will go in opposition of historical agreements, which typically run east to west.

This new deal allowed for more flexibility in structure of the trust, despite being lower than the original offer of $30 million, according to the article.

“It’s not everything they wanted, but it’s something,” Grover Fugate, executive director of the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council, told the Journal.

If the board had rejected the offer, they would have run the risk of losing an appeal and moving forward with no compensation, he added.

Vineyard Wind now aims to gain approval from state coastal regulators as they deliberate over whether the 84-turbine farm is in line with the state’s coastal activities.

President of Bryant University apologizes for campus racial incident

President of Bryant University Ronald Machtley offered a public apology to student Quinton Law and community members following concerns over an alleged racist comment aimed toward Law, according to the Providence Journal. Machtley said he also hopes to improve how similar situations are handled in the future.

In a Feb. 4 Facebook post, Law wrote that someone had shouted a racial slur at him while walking home at night. “I just hope one day you realize how hurtful and ignorant your words can be,” he wrote.

Law added that after his Facebook post, many people have reached out in support, adding that they have not only experienced similar incidents, but have been punished for speaking about them, according to the Journal. Law said he was pressured to take down the post from administrators, prompting him to make a second post in response to being asked to take down the original post, the Journal reported.

Machtley met with outside legal counsel Joseph Whelan, Bryant Professor of Management Eileen Kwesiga and Bryant Vice President for Human Resources Tim Paige to review facts and procedures while also meeting with Law to apologize, the article reported.

Machtley “said it was most important that we handle this as a community,” Law said. “It was a lot of the things I was asking for, and I’m glad we got it.”

Law said that he would be collaborating with administrators and student leaders to orchestrate a school-wide conversation surrounding the issue. The university is also organizing a conversation with the campus community about bias, according to the article.


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