R.I. man accused of killing man at rooming house

A Rhode Island man accused of beating, strangling and stabbing a resident of an Attleboro rooming house before setting a fire to cover his tracks has been ordered held without bail.

Matthew Gumkowski, whose last known address was in West Warwick, R.I., pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Attleboro District Court on Friday to charges of murder, arson and armed robbery.

Authorities say Gumkowski, 30, killed Joseph Kilrow, 50, in his third-floor room in the rooming house on July 10 before lighting a fire that was mostly extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system before firefighters arrived.

The suspect’s lawyer could not be reached for comment. 


Revere Beach among three posting bacteria warnings

Revere Beach and two other popular North Shore beaches are advised against swimming because of unusually high bacterial counts.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation says warning signs were posted Friday at Revere Beach, King’s Beach in Lynn and a portion of Nahant Beach.

Officials say routine water samples taken from the beaches showed bacteria counts that were three times the level of what is considered safe.

Officials said they weren’t sure what was causing the high levels or whether the problem was directly related to the current heat spell.


Judge: Council may convene; must pay own legal expenses

A Rhode Island Superior Court judge has ruled that the Central Falls City Council can convene to advise the state-appointed receiver overseeing the city’s troubled finances but must pay expenses related to the months-long legal battle.

Judge Michael Silverstein said in a ruling Friday that receiver Robert G. Flanders was within his authority to prevent the council from convening earlier this year by declining to make the City Clerk available to record the meeting. But he said newly enacted state legislation amending the receiver law gives the council the authority to meet to give Flanders advice on the city’s operation.

Silverstein also ruled that Mayor Charles Moreau and the council are responsible for paying their own legal expenses incurred during a protracted fight over the receiver law and what role the city’s elected officials can play in the city.

Those expenses are likely to be tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

Former governor Sundlun to lie in state at Rotunda

Former Rhode Island Gov. Bruce Sundlun will lie in state in the Rotunda of the State House.

The state police will escort his remains to the State House, where his body will be met by a state police Color Guard.

A funeral service will be held on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Temple Beth El in Providence.

Sundlun, who served two terms as Rhode Island’s governor from 1991 to 1995, died Thursday at his Jamestown home. He was 91.


Power company suspends work at wind project site

Green Mountain Power Corp. says it has suspended pre-construction work on its Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell after a surveyor cut 10 mature trees and a logger put fill on a wetland, in violation of state Public Service Board orders.

The electric company, which is building the $150 million wind project in Lowell along with Vermont Electric Cooperative, told state regulators Thursday about the tree cutting and ordered a halt to all work on the site.


Blind law student gets boost in bid for test accommodations

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a brief in support of a blind Vermont Law School student suing for special accommodations that would allow her to take a legal ethics exam.

Deanna Jones, 44, of Middlesex, is suing the National Conference of Bar Examiners, saying it isn’t providing the accommodations she needs to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination which all lawyers must take before they practice in Vermont and most other states.

The testing group has proposed having someone read the questions to her and some other accommodations but Jones wants permission to use special computer software she has used to help her read in law school.

In a brief filed Thursday, the Justice Department said the Americans with Disabilities Act requires not just reasonable accommodations to Jones but appropriate modifications or auxiliary aids so that the test can measure her aptitude and achievement.

The Justice Department filed the brief because it “views this as an important issue before the court and wanted to weigh in on it,” said U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin.

On Friday, a U.S. District Court judge heard arguments in Jones’ bid for a preliminary injunction to allow her to use the software. 

— From news service reports