News Digest

Posted 3/3/21

Fung joins Johnston-based law firm as partner Allan Fung, who left office in January after 12 years as Cranston's mayor, has joined Johnston-based law firm Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O'Gara LLC as a partner. "As I was talking to the leadership at the

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News Digest


Fung joins Johnston-based law firm as partner

Allan Fung, who left office in January after 12 years as Cranston’s mayor, has joined Johnston-based law firm Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC as a partner.

“As I was talking to the leadership at the firm, I knew it was the right move for me,” Fung said during a brief interview last week, calling his new employer an “excellent law firm with a lot of great lawyers.”

In a statement, he said: “I am thrilled to join the great team of attorneys at PLDO and look forward to working with such an excellent law firm that is committed to community, diversity and helping others achieve their goals – the same values that I am passionate about. Returning to practicing law in a thriving law firm where I can contribute to its continued growth is exciting, and I am delighted at the opportunities ahead.”

Fung said he will contribute to the firm’s work in “a number of areas,” including corporate practice and economic development projects. Before being elected mayor, he worked as a government relations counsel for MetLife, a special assistant attorney general and a litigator with the firm Mandell, Schwartz & Boisclair.

“I’m sure I’m going to be busy,” he said, adding that he was due to start work this week.

Gary R. Pannone, the firm’s managing principal, said in a statement: “Allan has served the Rhode Island community with distinction and is a dedicated public servant. We are excited to be part of the next chapter in his journey at PLDO and concentrate his time in the practice of law while he continues to assist individuals and corporate clients to achieve their respective goals. This is a great moment for PLDO and we are looking forward to having Allan become part of our team. His professionalism and leadership skills will be a tremendous addition to our firm and we are confident that he will have a significant impact with our lawyers, staff and clients.”

Asked about his political future, Fung – a two-time Republican nominee for governor – did not rule out another bid for elected officer.

“Right now, I’m looking forward to getting back to my roots of practicing law … It’s gratifying for me to have all the support that I was given during my time as mayor,” he said, adding: “More to come, and we’ll see what happens.”

‘Slow day’ at the polls for statewide special election

Roughly 2,000 Cranston voters had requested mail ballots or voted early by the arrival of Tuesday’s special statewide bond referenda election, according to Nick Lima, the city’s registrar and elections director.

A little more than 400 voters utilized the expanded early in-person voting option at City Hall over the past three weeks, Lima said, including “about 100 and change” on the last day of early voting Monday.

“We expected a very low turnout for early voting,” Lima said, with Canvassing Department staff serving as poll workers at City Hall.

Another 6,500 city residents requested mail ballots for the election, a figure Lima called “pretty significant.”

“With a special election like this, people who really cared about the ballot questions and wanted to vote for them, they probably voted by mail,” he said, noting that all voters received mail ballot applications and information regarding the bond questions.

On Tuesday, three polling places were open – the Scottish Rite Masonic Center on Broad Street, the Pastore Youth Center on Gansett Avenue and the Schofield Armory on New London Avenue. City voters had the option of choosing any of the polling places, since the ballot included no local races or questions and was identical for all voters. Lima said the city took a similar approach for the presidential primary in June of last year.

As of early Tuesday morning, Lima said there had been a “trickle of people” heading to the polls. He expected a “slow day” overall – a welcome respite after a marathon election season that began with the presidential primary and included the statewide primary in September and general election in November.

Lima and two members of the Board of Canvassers, Randall Jackvony and Quilcia Moronta, were on hand at the Pastore Youth Center as Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea made a visit Tuesday.

Gorbea said Election Day was going “really well,” aside from some issues across the state in which powerful wind gusts affected signage at polling locations.

Asked about the finishing up the fourth statewide election in less than a year, she said with a laugh: “We’re ready for a little bit of a break, right Nick?”

She added: “It was a great election cycle in that it tested us to think about how to do things in different ways. And thankfully, because of all the work that we’ve been doing over the years … we have been able to pivot during a pandemic and deliver an election system to the voters that they’ve really appreciated.”

Lane shift installed as work begins on Route 37, Natick Avenue intersection

A right lane shift for westbound traffic on Route 37 near the Natick Avenue intersection will be in place for roughly three months as work on safety improvements is completed, according to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

RIDOT announced the shift, which went into effect the night of Feb. 26, last week.

The announcement states that while the shift is in place, the agency “will construct a new section of Route 37 westbound that will include a curve in the roadway that will encourage drivers to reduce speed as they approach the end of the limited access highway and traffic signal at Natick Avenue.”

It continues: “This location has had a high number of crashes, most of them from people failing to reduce their speed and stop at the end of the highway. From January 2015 to February 2021 there were 38 run-off-the-road crashes (running through the light and the guardrail, onto private property) and 44 rear-end crashes at the light.”

According to RIDOT, the current work at the site is part of a $3 million project that will “make a number of safety improvements for Route 37 close to its intersection with Natick Avenue.” The improvements are part of the RhodeWorks program.

“The project includes a slight realignment of the ramp from I-295 southbound to Route 37, which also will feature a slight curve that will encourage drivers to slow down,” the announcement states. “A new signal with two left turning lanes onto Natick Avenue southbound and additional advance warning signs will be installed under this project.”

In continues: “RIDOT has taken a number of steps in past several years to improve safety at the end of Route 37 including adding signs with flashing beacons, setting grooves in the pavement, striping changes and lowering the speed limit. RIDOT expects to complete this latest project in early summer 2021.”

-- Daniel Kittredge


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