A Hummel Report Investigation
Heading into the homestretch of 2015, we have new developments on a handful of our Hummel Report investigations: from a moldy charter school in Providence and another twist in the saga at Wickford Junction Train Station to the latest on a troubled bar in Woonsocket. And what about those ugly Jersey Barriers lining the IWay Bridge? Why are they still there? Jim Hummel has the answers.
As we head into the homestretch on 2015 major developments on some of our investigations. We begin with a moldy charter school in Providence that two teachers say made them sick. Well after fighting them for months, the Providence School Department finally agreed and settled with the teaches in August..
The Academy for Career Exploration moved into this long-vacant Catholic school on short notice in the summer of 2014 - after the lease on its home for 15 years across town was not renewed.
The administration acknowledged there were mold problems prior to moving in and spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to fix them. But two teachers assigned to work in the basement said they were sickened by the working conditions almost immediately after school started; so badly they couldn’t come to work, eventually filing a lawsuit because the school denied their request for worker’s compensation. The teachers eventually ran out of sick and vacation time and went without pay the rest of the school year as the school department fought the claim. In August the school department’s lawyer did an about-face, awarding the two teachers back pay and a restoration of the sick time they had to take. They are now both working at other schools in the district.
Despite the negative publicity ACE has seen an increase in enrollment. Last week the school reported having 211 students. That’s up from 182 last year and 173 the year before. The two teachers still have a lawsuit pending against the church that is renting the building to ACE.
For two years Jersey barriers have lined the sides of the IWay Bridge in Providence, after inspectors found defective guardrails. Many of you asked us: why are the ugly barriers still there and what’s going on? So we went D.O.T. to try to some answers.
Lewis: ``It’s safe to operate now, it doesn’t affect the traffic, but we didn’t get what we paid for.’’
That was then -DOT Director Michael Lewis when we questioned him about four sets of Jersey barriers, which had been there nearly a year already after a routine inspection showed problems with the guardrails that line the nine-year-old bridge, the signature piece of the Route 195 relocation project.