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The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is joining a challenge to a Bonnet Shores Fire District policy that bars residents from voting if they own less than $400 of property in the district.

The ACLU filed a friend of the court brief supporting a lawsuit that district residents brought in Washington County Superior Court in the matter. A hearing on the case is scheduled for Sept. 21.

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“They are superheroes and superstars, take your pick on how to refer to them,” Narragansett High School Principal Daniel Warner said when introducing the Class of 2021 at the school’s commencement.

The celebration marked the end of not only their high school years, but also the conclusion of a most difficult final year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s really great seeing everyone tonight,” Warner said. “The kids had it tough over the past year-and-a-half, but they persevered and struggled through and showed us a way forward.”

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HELP WANTED: Kitchen staff, maintainers, front desk assistants, bartenders, wait staff, kitchen workers, cooks. And the list goes on.

With 68,000 people receiving unemployment compensation and only 10% working, local hotels and motels are still struggling to find help as an avalanche of tourists is expected to fall on South County this summer.

And this comes as the state has sweetened the deal by allowing many who return to work to collect the federal unemployment benefits and earn more money before losing some portion of their state benefits. Still the problem exists for these and other businesses.

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Narragansett Chief of Police Sean Corrigan presented a plan that calls for increased patrols of Narragansett’s beach and pier areas this summer, two weeks after police from several departments broke up a large fight on the town’s beach.

The chief said most of the planning was in progress before May 23, when police arrested eight people, including three juveniles, after a fight broke out on the town beach.

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Seniors Andrew Simone and Patrick LaCroix are in the home stretch, near the finish line of an eventful four years at Narragansett High School.

Simone, 17, is the school’s Class of 2021 valedictorian while LaCroix, 18, is salutatorian for the Mariners class. They’d recently just attended a Top 10 ceremony, a banquet for seniors, where they’d each received a special plaque honoring their achievements.

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A day after a large contingent of police descended on Narragansett Town Beach to break up a big fight, town officials reassured the public that the beach is safe.

Eight people, all from outside of town, face charges following the Sunday afternoon melee, which drew a response from local police as well as departments in North and South Kingstown and the state police.

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With some adjusting of venues and carefully planned arrangements, the four high schools in The Independent’s coverage area, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett and The Prout School, will pull off what they couldn’t last year – in-person graduation ceremonies for their seniors.

The Prout School announced that it will hold its graduation on June 8 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, in Providence. The cathedral is the traditional graduation venue for the Catholic, co-educational high school off of Route 1 in Wakefield.

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The popular annual Calamari Festival in Narragansett appears to be a go for this year, after the Town Council pushed back against the original proposed date for the event: Sept. 11.

An on-the-fly suggestion from council member Patrick Murray at Monday’s meeting resulted in the festival moving to the following day, Sunday, Sept. 12. That means it won’t conflict with observances of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001.

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Each day is lived in the moment for Jim and Terryn Winfield. Their 10-year-old daughter has a rare form of cancer.

“I think we’ve had an unspoken thing from the beginning — that we’re just taking it one day at a time. All of us have said that a million times. We just have to literally focus on one day — even that gets overwhelming,” Terryn said about the condition of her daughter, Scotlyn.

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Local building permits required for many home renovation and construction projects show significant increases this April compared to the same time in the last two years, and in spite of a pandemic that recoiled jobs and lifestyles of many people.

“Business is great. People stayed home and used their money on their home. There has been no slowdown since the pandemic started,” said Buz Gileau, manager of the West Kingston-based Arnold Lumber also with outlets in Wakefield, Bristol and Westerly.

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Christian D’Agostino, executive chef and owner of Tavern on Main in Wakefield and East Greenwich, as well as the soon-to-open Coastal Cabin on Boston Neck Road in Narragansett, said a shortage of help is seriously affecting his businesses.

“A month ago I was literally getting zero applications, now I’m getting some,” he said, but is still having trouble finding waiters, waitresses and managers.

Like other business owners, he pointed to the extra federal unemployment bonus, but also a post-pandemic environment that finds many workers left the industry due to shutdowns and no work for the last year, they said.