Entries in Rhode Island (4)


Nation's Oldest General Store Shuts Down

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ADAMSVILLE, R.I.) -- When Gray's Store first opened its doors in Adamsville, R.I., George Washington was president.  But now as either the 44th president wins reelection or a 45th is chosen, the general store won't be around.

Unable to compete with larger stores anymore, Gray's opted to close down on Sunday after 224 years in business.

To say it was a good run would be an understatement; in 2007, it was proclaimed as the country's oldest continuously run general store.

Jonah Waite, who inherited the store in June after his father passed away from cancer, admitted it was cost prohibitive keeping Gray's Store open.

Waite, a 21-year-old senior at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, plans on leaving the family's retail legacy behind to pursue a career in sports journalism.  It'll be up to him to hold onto the property or try to sell it.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Powerball Winner Has Legal, Financial Experts for Guidance

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEWPORT, R.I.) -- Rhode Island's Louise White, the winner of the third largest Powerball jackpot ever, set up a trust to provide "distance" to her winnings and "avoid complications," her lawyers and financial planner say.

Greg Fater, a friend of the family in Newport, R.I., and one of her attorneys, said the "number one" reason to create the trust was for privacy because lottery winners in Rhode Island are not permitted to accept their prize anonymously.

All but five states -- Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio -- have laws that require the lottery to release the name and city of residence to anyone who asks, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

White's trust, the Rainbow Sherbert Trust, is named after the ice cream flavor that led her to the grocery store where she bought the winning ticket.  Fater said "sherbert" was the spelling of the ice cream at the Stop and Shop in Newport instead of the correct spelling, sherbet.

Danielle Mayoras, estate planning attorney and co-author of the book Trial & Heirs, said the trust would avoid people "coming out of the woodwork to get money from her."

White chose to accept the lump sum payment of $210 million, rather than the 30 annuity payments paid out over 29 years.  By choosing the lump sum, White surrenders the taxes immediately, paying about $52.5 million in federal taxes and $14.7 million in state taxes.

The Whites have remained private since White learned she won on Feb. 11.  Fater told ABC News that White called him the day after she learned she won.

In the press conference on Monday, White made one short statement and then left the room so her lawyers could answer general questions.

"I want to say that I'm very happy and I'm very proud.  This will make my family very happy," she said.  "We are truly blessed.  Thank you."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


$336M Powerball Winner Steps Forward

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(NEWPORT, R.I.) -- Louise White of Newport, R.I., stepped forward on Tuesday as the winner of the third largest Powerball lottery in the history of the game -- $336.4 million.

The winning ticket was sold from Stop & Shop at 250 Bellevue Ave. in Newport, which led to the largest jackpot ever won in the state, lottery officials said last month.

"I want to say that I'm very happy and I'm very proud.  This will make my family very happy," the 81-year-old said. "We are truly blessed.  Thank you."

White's lawyers called her a "vivacious octogenarian."

The funds will go to the "Rainbow Sherbert Trust," named after the ice cream that she purchased while buying the lottery ticket.

A spokeswoman for Stop & Shop had said before Tuesday's announcement that White's family is "frequent" and "valued" customers at the store.

"We're certainly excited to find out who the true winner is and we're also very pleased to be part of the history," Suzi Robinson said before the announcement.

The jackpot win is the first since the newly revamped $2 version of the PowerBall game debuted on Jan. 15, according to lottery officials.

White chose to accept the lump sum payment of $210 million, rather than the 30 annuity payments paid out over 29 years.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Did Most Desperate US Cities Fall into Bankruptcy?

Comstock/Thinkstock(VALLEJO, Calif.) -- The city of Vallejo, Calif., knows what it's like to go through desperate times -- a distinction it shares with similarly-blighted towns and counties around the U.S., including Central Falls, R.I., Harrisburg, Pa., Boise County, Idaho, and Jefferson County, Ala.

All these municipalities are either facing bankruptcy, have already declared it, or, like Vallejo, are now emerging from it painfully.

Few cities get so desperate as to seek bankruptcy protection.  Since 1937, when Chapter 9 filings first became an option for municipalities, there have been only 625 filings, says Chicago attorney James Spiotto, who has written books on the subject.  Only five communities this year have filed for bankruptcy, while six filed in 2010.

For some towns, bad times arrived slowly by a variety of roads.  For others, a single event tipped them into darkness.

The closing in the 1990s of a U.S. Navy base pulled the financial rug out from under Vallejo.

Boise was the victim of bad legal luck: A jury ruled in 2010 that the county had wrongly prohibited a developer from building a teen treatment center.  The developer won a $4 million judgment, which Boise has been hard-pressed to pay.

Harrisburg fell victim to the "incinerator from hell" -- a waste-to-energy incinerator whose renovation caused the town to go $310 million into debt, five times as much money as the city has in its general fund, according to the Stateline newspaper.  Pennsylvania in December declared the city -- its capital -- financially distressed.

Jefferson County in Alabama, home to Birmingham, has been suffering for three years from the collapse of a sewer bond refinancing.  As of mid-August, it stood poised to file the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, according to Bloomberg News.  It has since delayed filing to continue negotiating with its creditors.

Central Falls' economy declined over many years, starting in the 1970s, when local textile makers began moving plants overseas.  Some 1,400 jobs ultimately were lost, according to the National Council of Textile Organizations.  Crime increased to the point that Central Falls in 1986 was crowned the cocaine capital of New England by Rolling Stone magazine.

According to court papers, Central Falls ran out of money to pay its bills on Aug. 31.  It has a structural budget deficit of $5.6 million and an unfunded liability of about $80 million for retirement benefits and pensions.

To stave off bankruptcy, Central Falls now is trying to wrest back from its police and firemen some $2.5 million in promised pension benefits.  It has eliminated funding for its library, laid off staff, and has closed a community center.

All this pales, however, in comparison to what Vallejo has been through. Since filing for bankruptcy in 2008, the town has become overrun by crime and prostitution in the wake of budget cuts that have reduced the city's police force by almost half.  Prostitutes and pimps can be seeing plying their trade in the middle of residential areas.

In response, residents have taken matters into their own hands, instituting a neighborhood watch program, The Kentucky Street Watch Owls -- or, unofficially, the "Ho Patrol."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio