News Minute: Here is the latest Rhode Island news from The Associated Press at 5:40 p.m. EST
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - A Rhode Island woman whose home is one of about 7,000 without natural gas service to provide heat while temperatures plunge below freezing plans to stick it out in her house. Elizabeth Brooks says she and her husband are staying put despite pleas by Gov. Gina Raimondo for people affected by the loss of gas in Newport and Middletown to go someplace warm in the week it could take to restore service. National Grid turned off the gas due to potentially dangerous low pressure.
BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a wide-ranging traffic safety proposal that includes a ban on the use of handheld cellphones by drivers and stepped-up enforcement of seatbelt requirements. The bill sent to lawmakers Tuesday also would toughen some penalties for drunken driving and proposes new safeguards for bicyclists and pedestrians. Previous bills to prohibit motorists from holding cellphones have passed the Senate but were stopped in the House.
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) - New research indicates Rhode Island's coastal real estate market is already feeling the effect of climate change. According to a joint study by Columbia University and the First Street Foundation, home values in Rhode Island lost $44.7 million in appreciation between 2005 and 2017.
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority said it will extend bus service into Quonset Business Park as part of a pilot program. The program will begin on Jan. 22 and offer free rides through mid-April. WJAR-TV reports the pilot program consists of two nonstop, express trips from Kennedy Plaza in Providence to Quonset in North Kingstown in the morning and two express trips back to Providence in the afternoon.
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