At 7:30 PM, William Manzo Jr. and his wife Christine, owners of Federal Hill Pizza, will formally open their newest location at 1039 Chalkstone Avenue in the former Castle Theater. The restaurant serves an array of dishes which can also be found at their original location in Warren, RI. Chef Billy Manzo, a Master Pizzaiolo certified by Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli, and a graduate of the AVPN Pizzaiolo training course, has created a full-service menu with breakfast, lunch, dinner and drink items, including brick oven pizza, pasta, salads, gluten-free pizza, and more. The restaurant will be open from 6 AM – 11:30 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 6 AM-midnight Friday and Saturday.
Federal Hill Pizza is the first business to successfully take advantage of the Providence City Council’s Neighborhood Revitalization Act. This act passed in December of 2015 and helps small business owners lower their startup cost so they can grow their business in Providence. The developer, in turn, must also hire Providence residents, contractors, and minority populations. “Federal Hill Pizza is a great example of the City Council’s Neighborhood Tax Stabilization Program working for small businesses. I’m excited for the Manzo family and wish them the best in their new business venture. I encourage small business owners to look into the neighborhood TSA program to see how it can help them grow,” said Council President Luis Aponte.
By partnering with the City of Providence’s First Source program and Road Map to Recovery, Federal Hill Pizza is also able to employ skilled, job-ready candidates and provide further training. Councilwoman Ryan stated, “Chef Billy Manzo’s patience and willingness to go the extra mile and invest on our workforce, our neighborhoods and in the city of Providence will help revitalize our community’s business corridors.”The rehabilitation of the Castle Theater as well as the Manzo’s plans for many community oriented initiatives proves that they will become a central hub for the Ward 5 community and model for future businesses interested in taking advantage of the NRA project.
Chef Billy Manzo and Christine are also the co-founders of Chefs Feeding Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps raise the funds necessary for programming to ensure that children have enough food to eat and equip families with skills to create nutritious meals. Serving youth and promoting healthy eating habits has always been the focus of Federal Hill Brick Oven Pizza’s philanthropic efforts in collaboration with corporate sponsors. The Manzo’s greater commitment to promote social change initiatives will have a direct positive impact on the local community.
The grand opening on Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 is open to the community and will feature food, beverages, and music to celebrate.
City Councilors Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), Terrence M. Hassett (Ward 12), and David Salvatore (Ward 14) today issued a joint statement in response to a string of violent crimes and other violations that occurred over the weekend in the lower Eaton Street neighborhood, which has a high concentration of off-campus student housing:
“This past weekend was marked by a dangerous series of events that threatened the safety of hundreds of people, including students, residents, and public safety officials. As City Councilors, we will not tolerate such a breach of peace in our neighborhoods.
While college students are learning to navigate adulthood, they must be held accountable for their choices and conduct. Following this weekend’s alarming series of events, we call upon the colleges and universities involved to take swift action in addressing the dangerous party culture occurring off-campus. Landlords who violate housing codes and enable these kinds of behaviors must also be held to account.
We are committed to curtailing this behavior, and will convene a meeting with the schools, landlords, and public safety officials to continue our positive dialogue and take all necessary action to protect our neighborhoods.”
Providence youth accused of minor infractions may soon have their cases heard in a boardroom instead of a courtroom. The Providence City Council this month established a new Juvenile Hearing Board (JHB) to provide youth with community-based alternatives to incarceration. The panel’s seven members and alternates were recently appointed by the City Council. As a body, the board is comprised of experts and advocates uniquely qualified to review non-violent juvenile cases and determine appropriate sanctions. Cases will be forwarded to the board by the Providence Police Department.
“We want to direct children and families to much-needed resources instead of the state court system,” said City Council President Luis Aponte, who spearheaded the effort with a focus on best practices in juvenile justice. “Juvenile detention facilities are filled with kids whose behaviors could’ve been safely and effectively corrected in other settings. Prying kids from their families and communities often creates much more damage. It’s also costly, and doesn’t serve in the best interests of public safety.”
Across many sectors, JHBs are widely considered instrumental in juvenile justice reform. The formation of the Providence Juvenile Hearing Board has been endorsed by Chief Justice Michael B. Forte of Rhode Island Family Court, Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements, and Executive Director Tobey Ayers of Rhode Island for Community and Justice.
CHIEF JUSTICE MICHAEL B. FORTE, RHODE ISLAND FAMILY COURT:
“The Rhode Island Family Court encourages all communities to create juvenile hearing boards in order to keep children whenever possible out of the formal court system. We applaud the Providence City Council’s initiative and pledge to collaborate with the city’s board whenever requested.”
COLONEL HUGH T. CLEMENTS, JR., CHIEF OF POLICE, PROVIDENCE POLICE DEPARTMENT:
“In policing the capital city, we are constantly challenged with crime where juvenile offenders are involved. Our department’s community policing philosophy surpasses our everyday interactions with citizens and extends to identifying and deterring individuals who are entering the drug, gun or gang game at an early age. This Juvenile Hearing Board will serve as an essential resource to both the City of Providence and the Providence Police Department to afford our non-violent juvenile offenders with an opportunity to move beyond a life of crime and receive rehabilitative services, avoiding incarceration. We are grateful to the City Council and President Aponte for establishing this board and look forward to working with the newly appointed members in developing greater relations with our youth population.”
TOBY AYERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RHODE ISLAND FOR COMMUNITY AND JUSTICE:
“In an era of mass incarceration, our children’s futures and our state’s economic future depend on keeping juveniles off paths to prison. That’s exactly what the JHB will do. Our data from the 34 other Rhode Island JHBs shows that juveniles they see re-offend at very low rates, at a cost of virtually zero, compared to the high costs of sending a child to court—a win-win for children, families, Providence, and our society. We thank the Providence City Council, the Mayor and the Police Department for re-establishing the Juvenile Hearing Board in Providence. JHBs are a successful Rhode Island innovation we can all be proud of, and now Providence can be part of that success.”
The Order of the Sons of Italy of America (OSIA) Piave Lodge #364 of Providence today announced that Councilman Nicholas Narducci (Ward 4) has been selected as the recipient of the organization’s 2017 Merit Award. Narducci was chosen for his commitment to the City of Providence, dedication to his constituents, and contributions to the Italo-American community.
“Councilman Narducci is a great source of support to the Italian American community in Providence,” said Lodge President Gary DiSarro. “We are grateful for his service and we’re proud to name him this year’s recipient.”
“Coming from a large Italian American family, it is a great honor to be chosen for his award,” said Narducci.
The OSIA is the largest and oldest Italian heritage organization in the United States. Founded in 1905 as a mutual aid society for the early Italian immigrants, the OSIA is the leading service and advocacy organization for the nation’s estimated 26 million people of Italian descent. Its missions include encouraging the study of Italian language and culture in American schools; preserving Italian American traditions, culture, history, and heritage; and promoting closer cultural relations between the United States and Italy.
Narducci will be presented the award at the organization’s 42nd annual Saint Joseph’s Day Dinner on Sunday, March 19th.
The Providence City Council Committee on Finance tonight approved a contract with Taser International to supply the Providence Police Department with 250 body-worn cameras (BWCs) and accompanying equipment, training, and video storage at an approximate first-year cost of $292,000. The City of Providence acquired an “economy of scale,” according to Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi, by piggybacking on an existing contract with the City of San Antonio, Texas. The four-year contract can, however, be terminated at will by the City of Providence.
BWCs are widely credited for contributing to officer safety and providing a new level of transparency and accountability to policing operations. In a study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, researchers found that when officers in Rialto, California, began wearing body cameras, use of force by officers was reduced by 59 percent, and complaints against officers dropped 87 percent. Another report by Arizona State University revealed that the addition of body worn cameras in the Mesa Police Department yielded a 48 percent reduction in citizen complaints and a 75 percent decline in the use of force complaints. Similar results were reported in San Diego, California, where the use of pepper spray by officers wearing body cameras was reduced by 31 percent.
Overall, Providence police officers who have been trained to use the body cameras have reported positive results. During an eight-week pilot program, officers tested equipment from two suppliers and gave strong preference to the Taser brand, citing superior usability and reliability. Using the officers’ feedback and numerous case studies, the Providence Police Department developed formal policies regarding usage of the equipment and footage in advance of tonight’s vote.
“This technology will bring greater safety to the citizens in need of protection and the officers that do the protecting,” said Igliozzi. The Finance Committee’s thorough vetting of the contract yielded additional incentives from Taser International; the company, which also manufactures Taser guns, has agreed to include an additional 500 Taser cartridges at no cost to the city. “It was a good contract when it first came before the Finance Committee,” said Igliozzi. “It’s an even better contract now.”
If the contract is approved by the City Council, police officers will likely begin the implementation process within a few short months. The contract is expected to appear before the full City Council in early April.