PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Defendants in a Navy kickbacks case are sentenced, the Newport Jazz Festival expands and the president of the Rhode Island School of Design announces his departure. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island.
RISD PRESIDENT EXITS
John Maeda will leave the prestigious art and design school at the end of the year to take a position with a California venture capital firm. Maeda was named president at RISD in 2008 and oversaw the school as admissions went up and scholarship fundraising more than doubled.
NEWPORT JAZZ EXPANDS — AND DYLAN GUITAR SETS RECORD
The venerable music festival is adding a third day of music focusing on new talent to mark its 60th anniversary next summer. The festival is set to kick off Aug. 1 at Fort Adams State Park. The festival's sister event, the Newport Folk Festival, is scheduled for the previous weekend. On Friday, the guitar that Bob Dylan played when he famously went electric at the 1965 folk festival was auctioned for $965,000, the highest price ever paid for a guitar sold at auction.
NAVY KICKBACKS SENTENCING
The criminal case surrounding a long-running kickback scheme that cost the Navy $18 million drew to a close as the last three of six people convicted in the case were sentenced in federal court in Providence. A Navy contractor and a subcontractor were each sentenced to three years in prison, while a former contracting executive got nine months of home confinement. The scheme's mastermind is already serving a 10-year sentence. A whistleblower lawsuit in the case is still pending.
CHRISTMAS TREE ONCE MORE
The Rhode Island Statehouse is celebrating Christmas with a 17-foot-tall Christmas tree. Secretary of State Ralph Mollis formally lit the tree at a holiday celebration Thursday. The annual event had become a source of controversy after Gov. Lincoln Chafee referred to the tree as a holiday tree in a nod to the state's tradition of religious tolerance. Chafee, who was following the practice of past governors, reversed himself this year and called the tree a Christmas tree in invitations to the lighting event.
Voters in the small town of Exeter will head to the polls next Saturday to decide whether to recall four town council members who supported a change in the way the town issues concealed weapons permits. The council members had wanted state lawmakers to approve a law allowing the attorney general to issue the permits for the town, which doesn't have a police department. But gun rights supporters said that switch could make it harder to get a permit, and they succeeded in getting the recall on the ballot.