NEWS

Police: Death of woman walking dog ‘tragic accident’

Posted 3/31/21

Police: Death of woman walking dog 'tragic accident' No charges or citations will be filed after a woman walking her dog at the intersection of Aqueduct and Intervale roads was struck and killed by a vehicle last week, according to Cranston Police.

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NEWS

Police: Death of woman walking dog ‘tragic accident’

Posted

No charges or citations will be filed after a woman walking her dog at the intersection of Aqueduct and Intervale roads was struck and killed by a vehicle last week, according to Cranston Police.

Rhonda Lobuono, 58, died at the scene, Chief of Police Col. Michael Winquist said Monday. Officers responded to the incident around 5 p.m. on March 25.

According to the chief, the driver of the vehicle involved, described as a pickup truck, had seen Lobuono walking her dog as he approached a stop sign around the same time as another vehicle. The driver looked right to make visual contact with the other vehicle’s operator, at which point he was waved on.

The chief said as the driver proceeded at a slow rate of speed – not realizing the pedestrian had crossed into the roadway – he “felt a bump like he had hit something” and stopped the vehicle.

Winquist said the driver was “distraught” and remained at the scene. Officers determined there were “clearly no signs of alcohol [or] drug impairment,” and he described the situation as a “tragic accident.”

The chief said police used video from a nearby Ring doorbell camera in their investigation, and “that’s how we were able to piece a lot of this together.” He said it is unclear whether Lobuono’s dog might have pulled her into the path of the vehicle.

“We don’t know if that played a factor, the dog pulling her. But it was a bigger dog,” he said.

Winquist said there is no crosswalk at the location where the incident occurred. He noted that the intersection in question was redesigned a few years ago due to complaints from neighbors over speeding in the area. He also said police have performed monitoring of the area and “found that most drivers are in compliance with speed and the traffic control devices that are in place.”

“We’ll do a review of that intersection,” he said, adding: “From what we can tell, it’s not a heavily crossed area … We’ll take another look at [whether a crosswalk is appropriate].”

Hopkins order expands outdoor dining

Mayor Ken Hopkins last week signed an executive order meant to allow food establishments in the city to offer expanded outdoor dining.

“The food service businesses of Cranston, unfortunately, have been hard hit by the economic effects of COVID-19,” the mayor said in a statement. “They cannot sustain continued financial hardship. It is now time to afford them the opportunity to recover and put their misfortune of the past year behind them. The people of our city can once again safely enjoy the outdoor dining experience at our terrific restaurants and related establishments. I am proud to help them as a result of my executive order.”

The order is similar to one former Mayor Allan Fung signed in May 2020. It allows for dining establishments to receive a temporary license for expansion of their outdoor seating, provided they are in “good standing” with the city. The licenses are free and require only that the business file a form attesting it will adhere to public health guidelines.

Vaccination eligibility expands in Cranston ZIP codes

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility has expanded to include all people age 16 or older in eight of the state’s “hardest hit” ZIP codes – including three that include portions of Cranston.

Residents of the 02905, 02907 and 02909 – ZIP codes that largely cover Providence but include some Cranston neighborhoods – can register for vaccination through the state-run sites or the ongoing pharmacy program, the Department of Health announced Monday.

Registration for the state-run sites, including Sockaonsett Cross Road in Cranston, is available through vaccinateri.org or by calling 844-930-1779. Roughly 5,550 appointments became available Tuesday morning, and the state has typically made new appointments available twice a week. Registration for the pharmacy programs at CVS and Walgreens is ongoing and can be done through those chains’ respective websites.

The other ZIP codes included in the announcement are in Providence, North Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls.

“From the day I took office my top priority has been building our vaccination capacity and getting shots in arms in as many Rhode Islanders as quickly as possible,” Gov. Dan McKee said in a statement. “I’m pleased that our supply from the Federal government continues to increase and I encourage all Rhode Islanders to sign up for their shot as soon as they are eligible.”

During last week’s COVID-19 briefing, state leaders said they expect the state’s vaccine capacity and supply to continue to grow in the weeks ahead.

Starting April 5, officials plan to open eligibility to all Rhode Islanders between the ages of 50 and 59. Eligibility for those 40 to 49 would open “roughly a week after that,” Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott said. The goal is for all Rhode Islanders 16 and older to be eligible by April 19.

Officials last week also announced the launch of a “pre-registration” system for vaccination. The tool, available through portal.ri.gov or by calling 844-930-1779, will alert those who pre-register once an appointment at a state-run site is ready for them.

Thomas McCarthy, executive director of the state’s COVID-19 response, said there will be “some flexibility on the time, but the appointment will be for a set date and location.”

“No one will be left behind, and no one will be forgotten,” he said.

Hopkins to present budget; hearings schedule set

Mayor Ken Hopkins is scheduled to unveil his city budget plan for the coming year during an address to the City Council on April 1, while the council’s Finance Committee has announced the schedule of its hearings on the proposal.

The hearings – which divide various city departments into groups, and will be held over Zoom – begin Saturday, April 3, at 9 a.m. The budget proposals for the city’s finance, tax collection, building inspection, senior services, parks and recreation and canvassing departments are among those to be discussed during the initial session.

On Wednesday, April 7, at 6 p.m., the committee will review the budget plans for the Cranston Public Library, mayor’s office and other offices. On Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m., the committee will focus on the police, fire and Municipal Court budgets.

The next session, starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 12, will focus on the public works, sewer, planning and capital budget plans.

The Cranston Public Schools budget review will take place on Wednesday, April 21, at 6 p.m.

The current schedule calls for budget amendments to be considered during a special City Council meeting on Monday, April 26, starting at 5:30 p.m. Adoption of the budget is scheduled for Thursday, May 6.

The full schedule of hearings is available on the city’s website, www.cranstonri.gov.

Warwick Mall Showcase to permanently close

The Showcase Cinemas location at the Warwick Mall, which has been closed throughout the pandemic, will not reopen its doors.

WPRI and WLNE each reported that Domenic Schiavone, mall’s general manager, said the theater chain has decided not to renew its lease for the site when it expires at the end of April.

Schiavone also told the Providence Journal that the mall aims to replace the Showcase with another entertainment venue.

The Warwick Mall Showcase has been closed since last March, having opted not to reopen to moviegoers once pandemic-related restrictions allowed.

The chain’s other, original Warwick location, on Quaker Lane near the East Greenwich line, did reopen last summer and is not slated to close.

Online property records show the nearly 48,000-square-foot building currently occupied by the Warwick Mall Showcase is owned by Warwick Mall Owner LLC. Its valuation for 2020 is listed as roughly $6.3 million.

Showcase Cinemas is owned by Massachusetts-based National Amusements. -

- Daniel Kittredge

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