The Rhode Island Red Awards

Our picks for the dumbest moments of 2017, from the great coupon heist to the DOT's highway renumbering project.

Rock Around Our Rollicking Little State


Illustrations by Michael Korfhage.

State reps passed a bill outlawing lollygagging drivers on I-95. Offending laggards could be fined $85 for driving too slow in the high speed lane.

Irate Cranston residents complained that Providence changed two-way streets to one-ways in nearby Roger Williams Park, without warning, causing traffic chaos. Providence Mayor Elorza countered there had been “significant outreach” ahead of the change.

Rhode Island
The feds found hundreds of highway signs out of compliance because they include the governor’s name. The signs also cost $100 more each than their original estimate.

Rhode Island
Some 500 Rhode Islanders received duplicate, identical state tax refund checks.

Two men were arrested for conspiring to steal $90,000 in Pampers from an Amazon truck that one of them had been driving from Pennsylvania to a Fall River distribution center. Police said the men then attempted to sell boxes of the diapers from an empty Smith Street storefront.

Biking fan Jeffrey Leary lined bike lanes with plungers, protesting what he said were cars parked in newly designated cycling lanes. “When you have a tough obstruction, a plunger is the way to fix it.”

“Cienki has been counseled not to make such statements in the future as they are not conducive to productive labor-management relationships.”
East Greenwich town manager Gayle Corrigan in response to a complaint about town council president Sue Cienki. During a June meeting, Cienki, who’s in a battle with the town fire department, threatened to cut off a firefighter’s genitals.

True Crime Blotter

(Because truth is stranger than that other thing…)

A Providence cop admitted breaking into a distribution center and stealing bundles of ProJo coupon fliers.

West Warwick police arrested a man after watching him try to break into a cruiser at 3 a.m. Apparently the perp didn’t notice the easy-to-recognize police decals on the car doors or the red and blue lights on the roof.

Providence police arrested a Dorchester man at 1:15 a.m. after he was caught scaling the hurricane barrier wearing only his underpants. He was also greeted by four Providence ladder trucks, a special hazards truck, a rescue
vehicle, the fire department’s Marine 1, and a crowd of thirty bystanders and TV crews.

Westerly police arrested a man caught stealing signs from the men’s and women’s bathroom doors at a convenience store.

Police in Florida arrested an East Greenwich man who’d lost his keys and stole a forklift, crashing it through the gates of a marina before fleeing in flip flops. He later said he needed something to drive. He also told
authorities he could fix the gates because he is “a genius.”

Police charged a Westerly man with DUI after he crashed his car into a hedge in front of an off-duty cop. Police later discovered a considerable amount of toilet paper stuffed in his shoes and socks. He refused to explain why it was there.

Warwick police say an unidentified “Sharpie Swindler” stole more than $100 in Sharpie paraphernalia from the Route 2 Hobby Lobby.


Illustrations by Michael Korfhage.

Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest

We’re confused already.
The DOT is renumbering all interstate exits starting with I-295. Exit 1 in West Warwick will become 1A, for example; at the far end, exit 11 in Cumberland will now be exit 22.

Welcome to the land of the lost.
According to Warwick police, the Apponaug Circulator, aka the Apponator, logged more than 100 accidents in six months following opening day. The DOT said the Apponator, five rotaries merging multiple roads, was supposed to solve longtime traffic woes.

The i’s don’t have it.
Two street signs in downtown Providence misspell “Westminister Street.” The correct spelling is Westminster. A city hall spokesperson said the signs have been there for several years.

He might want to keep closer tabs on that.
State rep Ramon Perez apologized after a screen-grabbed handout he gave to house committee members included pornographic browser tabs. Perez later told a reporter he’d received the handouts from a friend.

Marine mayhem, part one:
The Providence to Newport ferry banged into a small buoy the day after its official June launch, halting service for several days.

Marine mayhem, part two:
The Oliver Hazard Perry, a gazillion-pound tall ship, smashed into several boats docked in Newport harbor after losing power. Officials said its two propellers became entangled in a line used for docking.

We can’t wait to hear about the honeymoon!
North Smithfield police arrested a thirty-two-year-old groom at his wedding reception at the Pines restaurant after he got in an altercation with an employee, threatened to kill him, then smashed bottles and threw chairs around the premises.

A woman behind the wheel of an Original New England Frozen Lemonade truck sustained minor injuries after driving the van onto rocks at Oakland Beach.

Their invite got lost in the mail.
Two men in their thirties and an off-duty prison guard were arrested after trying to crash several graduation parties near Providence College. When party-goers refused to let them in, the crashers destroyed a porch railing and pulled down rain gutters before attempting to flee.

But aren’t turbines supposed to like the wind?
A wind turbine at Salty Brine beach fell over in gusty conditions, destroying its tower as well as a small beach pavilion it collapsed on.

Survey says…
According to, Providence is the twenty-ninth neatest city in the country.

At least she’ll smell great.
A Warren woman was arrested after shoplifting $800 in cologne from a North Attleboro Ulta store.

We never would have guessed.
According to Google, the most misspelled word in Rhode Island is “liar.”

“Honk if it stinks.”
A Tiverton man was issued a cease and desist order after he paved a road with unwashed clam shells resulting in a horrific stench and maggots.

License and registration, please.
Carl and Samuel Lovett pleaded no contest to five misdemeanors after they admitted they had practiced law without a license in Rhode Island for years.

Not another Twitter feud…
House speaker Nick Mattiello and the governor got into an online spat about his pet project — eliminating the car tax — vs. her pet project, free college tuition. “The governor is tone deaf on this issue and should start listening to the people,” he tweeted regarding the tax. “Ninety percent of Rhode Island high school students want to go to college,” a Raimondo official tweeted in response. “Only 65 percent do. Biggest reason they don’t? Cost.”


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