PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The debate over whether to keep paying for the 38 Studios debacle continues, a circus accident in Providence makes international headlines and a Winter Olympian parts ways with her skating partner. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island:
38 STUDIOS DEFAULT
Lawmakers are still considering whether to pay back the 38 Studios bonds or walk away from the debt. A report released Friday by an independent analyst predicted a default would sink Rhode Island’s bond rating to junk status and could harm the overall business climate. SJ Advisors’ analysis said the most likely scenario with a default would have the state paying nearly $126 million more than the cost of the debt. Rhode Island still owes some $87 million under the deal that gave 38 Studios a $75 million state-backed loan.
The judge in the 38 Studios lawsuit is expected to hear Thursday from a lawyer for ex-House Speaker Gordon Fox, who was subpoenaed by defendant Wells Fargo in March for documents related to the bankrupt video game company. They include records related to his involvement in the loan guarantee program and any communications he had with 38 Studios founder and ex-Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. Fox resigned as speaker in March after federal raids on his Statehouse office and home. Fox’s lawyer wants to quash the subpoena, saying he doesn’t know the probe’s scope and citing his client’s constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
Seven acrobats with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus are still hospitalized after a clip snapped during a hair-hanging stunt last weekend, sending them plummeting to the ground. Investigators have not yet determined why it happened. Doctors say two of the acrobats have spinal cord injuries, and they may not know if they will walk again for one to two years. Acrobat Samantha Pitard was released from the hospital and told The Associated Press that all circus performers know the risks but do it anyway because they love to make people happy.
The fate of the toll on the new Sakonnet River Bridge is still up in the air. The 10-cent toll was due to increase May 16 to 50 cents for those with an in-state E-ZPass transponder and $3.75 for others, but that hike has been put off until June 12 to give lawmakers more time to pass legislation designed to fund bridge and road projects without the toll. The Senate was to vote Wednesday but is pushing it back to work out differences with the House and governor.
Rhode Island Olympian Marissa Castelli is looking for a new pairs figure skating partner after splitting from Simon Shnapir. The longtime partners were U.S. pairs champions twice and helped the United States win a bronze medal in the first Olympic team event in Sochi. They finished ninth at the Olympics. The Cranston native says she hopes to be back performing in front of a crowd soon.
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