About James Merolla

City IT Shutdown Mystery Still Unresolved

By James Merolla | June 30, 2022

The city of Newport still hasn’t restored an IT shutdown that has lasted nearly a month, affecting citywide business, communication, emails, phones, meetings and even recordings. On June 10, after the IT crash, this missive was posted on the city website: “The city of Newport is advising residents that certain online services and functions will be temporarily unavailable while IT […]

Onward, Upward and Seaward

By James Merolla | June 30, 2022

Summer has flashed, like a bulb on a Pentax, But we write on, unabashed, and we use the best syntax. It has been three months since I last penned some couplets, With news about mergers, urgers, perjures and sublets, Short-term rentals, education fundamentals, A few salacious incidentals and the occasional transcontinentals. As officials broke ground on a new Rogers High, […]

Attorneys At Odds on Setting Salve Zoning Hearing

By James Merolla | June 30, 2022

Lawyers who have been arguing for and against building two new Salve Regina University dorms to house more than 400 students, a battle entering its fifth year, cannot even agree on the next date to hear the case. Samuel Goldblatt, chair of the Newport Zoning Board of Review, nearly threw up his hands at the board’s June 27 meeting when […]

Butts Hill Fort Plans, Land, Get Clearer

By James Merolla | June 30, 2022

Slowly, but surely, like the dream that impels it, the Butts Hills Fort, the most significant berm of land in Rhode Island during the Revolutionary War, is being shaped into something recognizable. High atop a hill at the end of a private road, under the shadow of a wind turbine, and bordering Portsmouth High, only a 4-by- 6-foot stone slab […]

Council Debates Food Truck, Single Owner Issue

By James Merolla | June 30, 2022

A Newport City Council approval on June 22 of the final mobile food truck application available prompted a discussion of who actually owns the trucks. After the application was approved for Wiener Wagon, Councilor Jamie Bova was concerned about sticking to the rule of only having one truck per owner. “I thought that the language in the ordinances we have […]

City Plagued by IT Issues

By James Merolla | June 23, 2022

Various Newport municipal meetings were cancelled during the week of June 20 due to IT issues. A technical glitch in the meeting recording systems is purportedly to blame. Meetings impacted included a special Newport Zoning Board meeting scheduled for June 20, an Historic District Commission meeting, set for June 21, and the regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Wednesday, June […]

New Team in Town: Semi-Pro Tomahawks

By James Merolla | June 23, 2022

The Aquidneck Island Tomahawks, a new nonprofit, semi-pro football team joining the New England Football League, is hoping to be ready to play next month. Organized by locals Lamont Scott, Christopher Suazo and Joel Ndumbalo, the Tomahawks are slowly piecing together a roster and learning as they go. They now have more than 20 players and hope to attract 40. […]

Emmanuel Nurse Heals with Meals

By James Merolla | June 23, 2022

Jackie Breen went from sudden coronary care to sudden culinary care. Twelve years ago, the longtime Newport Hospital nurse picked up a spoon and spatula to help the cook at Emmanuel Church. As she waited in her car on a cold winter’s night for that cook to come out of the supermarket with groceries, she was informed that the cook […]

Rogers High Grads Broadway Stars Again

By James Merolla | June 16, 2022

It was another banner year for Rogers High graduates, as a tradition that arose from the pandemic continued. The tradition began in 2020 when banners with the faces of graduates were displayed along Broadway as a way to celebrate the senior class. That continued last year when 170 posed in cap and gown for portraits with photographer Jen Carter. In […]

Firefighters Get New Deal, Small Raises

By James Merolla | June 02, 2022

The city of Newport and the firefighters union have adopted a new contract through fiscal year 2024 that will provide annual salary increases of 1.75 percent in each of the three fiscal years. The City Council unanimously accepted on May 25 the collectively bargained agreement between the city and the International Association of Firefighters, Local 1080, retroactive from July 1, […]