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BC-RI--Rhode Island News Digest, 1:30 pm, RI

December 19, 2018

Good afternoon. Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP Boston bureau at 617-357-8100 or 800-882-1407.

New England News Editor Bill Kole can be reached at 617-357-8100 or bkole@ap.org. New England Photo Editor Bill Sikes is reachable at 617-357-8106 or bsikes@ap.org.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

A reminder that this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Eastern.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES:

IMMIGRATION-CHILDREN’S SHELTERS

Decades after the U.S. stopped institutionalizing kids because large and crowded orphanages were causing lasting trauma, it is happening again. The federal government has placed most of the 14,300 migrant toddlers, children and teens in its care in detention centers and residential facilities packed with hundreds, or thousands, of children. As the year draws to a close, some 5,400 detained migrant children in the U.S. are sleeping in shelters with more than 1,000 other children. Some 9,800 are in facilities with 100-plus total kids, according to confidential government data obtained and cross-checked by The Associated Press. By Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza. SENT: 2,300 words, AP Photos.

With: IMMIGRATION-CHILDREN’S SHELTERS-ABRIDGED. SENT: 950 words.

With: IMMIGRATION-CHILDREN’S SHELTERS-MASSACHUSETTS

BOSTON _ Massachusetts has among the fewest unaccompanied immigrant children in state custody. Data obtained by The Associated Press shows the number of migrant children in Massachusetts custody has remained steady under President Donald Trump’s administration. By Philip Marcelo. SENT: 450 words.

IN BRIEF:

_ EVALUATING SCHOOLS: PROVIDENCE, R.I. _ Rhode Island has introduced a new evaluation system for schools that moves its focus away from standardized testing. The Rhode Island Department of Education debuted its online school rating system Wednesday. Schools are rated on a scale from one to five stars. The new rating system takes into account academic growth, graduation rates, absenteeism and other factors. SENT.

_ PENSION FUND: WARWICK, R.I. _ Rhode Island officials say annual taxpayer costs for state employee pensions are set to increase by about $75 million over the next three years. According to estimates approved by the state Retirement Board Tuesday, state and local governments have put $413 million into the pension fund to pay for retirement benefits in the year that ended June 30. That’s projected to rise to about $432 million this year, $460 million in fiscal 2020 and $488 million in fiscal 2021. SENT.

_ COLD CASES: PAWTUCKET, R.I. _ Rhode Island law enforcement agencies are using special playing cards that feature victims and missing people to try to help solve cold case investigations. The Pawtucket Police Department collaborated with the Department of Corrections to produce 5,000 cold case card decks. Each card features a photo, case details and information for reporting tips. Unsolved crimes that happened between 1947 and 2017 are featured. SENT.

_ WIND TURBINES DISPUTE: CRANSTON, R.I. _ Residents of Cranston are upset over new turbines in Johnston that now tower over their homes, but the mayor of Johnston says it’s none of their businesses because they don’t live in town. The turbines are on private land visible by homes in Cranston, although they are located on lots in Johnston. WPRI-TV reports Cranston residents voiced grievances to the Cranston City Council. They say the turbines are an eyesore and couldn’t negatively impact their property values. SENT.

_ METLIFE SETTLEMENT: BOSTON _ Secretary of State William Galvin says he’s ordering MetLife to pay $1 million and make payments to retirees after an investigation found that the company failed to make pension payments. Galvin said Wednesday his office entered into a consent order, requiring the fine and payments, with interest, to hundreds of Massachusetts retirees and beneficiaries who the life insurance company had wrongly designated as “presumed dead.” SENT.

_ PAWSOX STADIUM: WORCESTER, Mass. _ The Worcester City Council has approved a plan to expand its downtown urban revitalization area to include properties needed for a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Telegram & Gazette reports that the council voted Tuesday to amend its downtown revitalization area to add 25 parcels and 18 acres. The added parcels include seven properties targeted for a 10,000-seat stadium. SENT.

_ HEAD START PROGRAM: BOSTON _ A child development agency on Cape Cod is working to correct multiple problems with its Head Start preschool programs after a scathing federal report. The Cape Cod Times reports the U.S. Administration for Children and Families found issues with low morale, high staff turnover, growing debt, limited support for children’s behavioral issues and a failure to provide a nurturing environment for low-income children in Head Start, run by Cape Cod Child Development. SENT.

_ STUDENT PROTEST: BOSTON _ Students at an elementary school in Roxbury are protesting the dirty syringes being discarded around their school grounds. The Boston Globe reports that the Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School is located near several treatment facilities and needle exchange outlets. Students and parents held a protest Tuesday. They say students should be safe in school. SENT.

_ ENDANGERED WHALES: NANTUCKET, Mass. _ The federal government is using a pair of protective zones to try to assist large aggregations of rare whales off the East Coast. The zones are voluntary speed restriction zones designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. One is 26 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, where a group of 33 right whales were spotted on Dec. 15. The other is 12 miles southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, were four of the whales were seen on Dec. 14. SENT.

_ GIRL DIES: LAWRENCE, Mass. _ Police are investigating the death of an 11-year-old girl in Massachusetts. The Essex district attorney’s office says first responders were called to a home in Lawrence Saturday morning where they found Precious Wallaces. SENT.

SPORTS:

BKN--Suns-Celtics

The Phoenix Suns visit the Boston Celtics. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos.

____

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