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6 New England governors urge painkiller reversal

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The six New England governors are urging the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to reverse the Food and Drug Administration's approval of a powerful new painkiller, Zohydro.

In a letter dated Thursday, the governors of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island tell Secretary Sylvia Burwell that the region is in the midst of an addiction crisis.

The drug Zohydro is an extended-release capsule that contains up to five times the amount of narcotic hydrocodone previously available in pills.

The letter says the drug's maker is preparing to seek approval for an abuse-deterrent formulation.

The governors say the likelihood of abuse of the current drug and the anticipated availability of an alternative are grounds to rescind the approval.

They say the states don't need another high-risk drug.


Letter to voters an issue in Providence mayor race

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence mayor candidate Jorge Elorza is blaming a former adviser for copying wording used by another politician and using it in a letter to city voters explaining Elorza's shoplifting arrest when he was 18.

Elorza's opponent in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, Michael Solomon, accused Elorza of plagiarism Thursday, while Elorza's campaign said Elorza would have immediately corrected the problem if he had known about it.

Elorza's campaign didn't identify the former adviser.

Language in Elorza's letter is nearly identical to wording in a letter by Central Falls Mayor James Diossa to constituents two years ago explaining his own shoplifting arrest as a teenager. GoLocalProv was the first to report about the similarities between the two letters.

Elorza's campaign said its former adviser also worked on Diossa's letter. Elorza and Diossa said the stealing incidents were youthful mistakes and they took full responsibility.


Year ends with $68M surplus; most already used

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state of Rhode Island ended the last fiscal year with a $68 million surplus, though $59 has already been used to close a hole in the General Assembly's current year spending plan.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Friday general revenue expenditures were $16.1 million less than budgeted for the year that ended June 30. Some $59 million of the surplus was already factored in to balance the fiscal 2015 budget enacted earlier this year.

The governor's office said this is the fourth year the state has closed with a surplus. It was $64.2 million in fiscal year 2011, $115.2 million in 2012 and $104.1 million in 2013.

Chafee says agency directors and employees deserve significant credit for spending less than provided for in the enacted budget.


Taveras holding annual 'Seniors Day' event

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is set to hold his annual "Seniors Day in the Park" event.

The event is scheduled to take place Saturday under a tent at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. His office says hundreds of seniors are expected to attend.

This year's event will feature a free barbecue lunch and live entertainment from The Frank Castle Group, magician Bruce Kalver and the troupe of oversized puppets and other creatures called Big Nazo.

The mayor says he admires the dedication many seniors in the city demonstrate, including through their volunteer work.

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