A chaotic campaign helped save Rhode Island’s House speaker in 2016. Now it threatens to end his political career

“I used to joke with people, ‘Are you sure you want to be seen with me? Because the speaker could be watching.’” Frias recalled in an interview last week.

Turns out, even that was true.

Last week’s criminal trial of former Mattiello campaign consultant Jeffrey T. Britt was meant to determine whether Britt laundered $1,000 to help pay for a postcard mailer designed to boost Mattiello during that 2016 campaign. But it also offered a rare glimpse into the win-at-all-costs culture of politics, as witness after witness detailed the strategies employed to help defeat Frias.

Those tactics included surveillance conducted on Frias by a semi-retired private investigator who was seeking a state job, a mail-ballot operation run by a veteran operative who had previous tours of political duty with some of the state’s most corrupt politicians, and the mailer that Britt orchestrated to try to convince a handful of Republicans to back the Democrat in the race.

In the end, Mattiello won the race by 85 votes, a razor-thin margin where almost any maneuver could have tipped the scales in the speaker’s favor.

Now, with early voting scheduled to begin Wednesday, Mattiello’s back is against the wall again as he faces a serious challenge from Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung, the Republican wife of Cranston’s popular mayor, who is eager to capitalize on the seedy details that came out during last week’s trial.

But Mattiello, who was never charged, testified that he knew nothing about the controversial mailer until it hit mailboxes in his district, and a key campaign aide described the mailer as “Jeff Britt’s project.”

The judge has said he won’t issue a ruling for five to seven weeks. So that means voters will render their decision first, in the Nov. 3 general election.

“I think it clearly crossed a line,” Providence College political science professor Adam Myers said of Mattiello’s campaign operation in 2016. “But the question is whether the public’s opinion of Rhode Island politics is already so jaded that coverage of the trial won’t change any minds.”

* * *

If it’s possible for the most powerful politician in the state to be an underdog in his own backyard, hindsight suggests that’s where Mattiello – the man whose rock-solid support within the Rhode Island House of Representatives gives him almost dictatorial power over any piece of legislation – was sitting four years ago.

House District 15 includes fewer than 11,000 registered voters, the majority of whom are unaffiliated but are considered far more conservative than residents of the rest of Cranston and almost every other city in the state. Mattiello frequently draws criticism from more liberal members of his party, but his political values – pro-business, pro-life, pro-National Rifle Association – are largely in line with the voters who have sent him back to the State House every two years since 2007.

But in 2016, simply being a conservative Democrat wasn’t going to be enough to guarantee Mattiello a victory. Cranston’s Republican Mayor, Allan W. Fung,

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Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: Cosmopolitan Cook: Princes’ Islands


Rachel Khoo attacks “pathetic” lack of female chefs on TV

“If I were really ugly and fat, I don’t think I’d have had the same chance,” says Khoo, who believes men and women on TV are treated differently

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How a little garden north of Seattle brought an island’s community together

Hat Island is a tiny island with a yearlong population of about 60 – and when COVID-19 was getting them down, they came together to create something amazing.

HAT ISLAND, Wash. — Hat Island is a tiny island about seven miles on the water from Everett. It’s a private island that feels worlds away, with about sixty yearlong residents. That feeling is magnified in our current, quarantined world – Hat Island has closed off to most visitors, making it even more distant than before. And the residents were starting to feel that.

“People were getting a little testy from the COVID isolation, and this gave people an outlet to get something done,” says Hat Island resident John Holte.

Thus, the Hat Island Volunteer Garden was born. A group of residents dreamed up the garden as a way to pull the community together and grow something for the island – literally. 

“It gave the community a beautiful focus to have a shared goal to see developing month after month,” says Merry Shropshire, one of the garden’s founders.

“Its’ just been a healing, growing thing I think everybody needed,” says Lori Christopher, another garden founder.

Pretty much everything about the garden, from the realistic dock to the driftwood signposts to the colorful sign, painted by Lori, was either donated, self-funded, or made by volunteers. 

While you can’t visit the Hat Island garden unless you live on Hat Island, you can help them continue their efforts to grow. In order to support the garden, volunteers sell tee-shirts, tote bags and their very own wine label online! Just email [email protected] to find out more.

The garden is truly a community effort. Even the plant sprouts were hand-grown by residents.

“Broccoli, cabbage, kale, beets, onions, all these starts began in their windowsills and under grow lights in their homes,” Shropshire says. “So it makes it especially wonderful that all of the fruits and vegetables you see were grown by islanders.”

Volunteers are the backbone of the garden. Residents sign up to water, weed and harvest every week.

“We have watering twice a day, and we have a list that’s always filled up with people willing to help,” Christopher says.

And when harvest day comes around every Saturday, those same dedicated volunteers collect and distribute the fruits and vegetables. It’s a bounty born from a strange, scary time, but the residents of Hat Island plan to continue growing and growing.

“It’s a place that we want to do the very best we can for,” says Christopher.

KING 5’s Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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Love Island’s Laura Whitmore and Iain Stirling reveal they’ve built a PUB in their back garden

They kept fans entertained over the summer, when they shared snaps of videos of their fun-filled times at home together during the COVID-19 lockdown.

And Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they’ve made their home all the more entertaining, as they’ve built a pub in their back garden.

Love Island host Laura, 35, took to Instagram on Saturday to share a snapshot of herself enjoying drinks with Iain, 32, and a small group of friends.

Home comforts: Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they've made their home all the more entertaining, as they've built a pub in their back garden

Home comforts: Laura Whitmore and her fiancé Iain Stirling have revealed that they’ve made their home all the more entertaining, as they’ve built a pub in their back garden

Wearing a striped sweater, the blonde beauty was seen cuddling her beloved pet pooch as the group enjoyed drinks and snacks.

Love Island narrator Iain took the snap, which showed their pals giving the thumbs up as they sat by the bar, which included a Guinness tap, glasses and bottle of liquor.

Captioning the image, Laura partially quoted classic sitcom Cheers, as she wrote: ‘Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came… The Snug EST 2020.’

Snug: The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar's location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance

Snug: The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar’s location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance

The Irish broadcaster also geotagged the new bar’s location as The Snug, while she shared another snap showing that the name had been placed above the double door entrance to the construction, which included bar stools.   

Laura has much to celebrate, as she’s set to begin filming Celebrity Juice alongside Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. 

The stars joined show host Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, for a celebratory night out on Thursday after they their new roles were publicly announced. 

The trio were also joined by Laura’s fiancé Iain, who was pictured arriving at the venue with footballer Robbie Keane after working together on Soccer Aid. 

Show: Laura has much to celebrate, as she's set to begin filming Celebrity Juice with Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. Pictured with Keith Lemon

Show: Laura has much to celebrate, as she’s set to begin filming Celebrity Juice with Emily Atack next week, after they were announced as new team captains. Pictured with Keith Lemon 

Celebrate: Keith, real name Leigh Francis, documented their celebratory drinks on Instagram

Celebrate: Keith, real name Leigh Francis, documented their celebratory drinks on Instagram 

The trio appeared in great spirits after it was announced that they would be making up the new team of Celebrity Juice.

Taking to Instagram, Laura, Emily and Keith documented their night out where they enjoyed celebratory Champagne and margarita cocktails.

Although Emily joked on Friday morning that she was feeling hungover as she shared a video of herself sipping water with a GIF of a cocktail with a red X next to it. 

It was recently announced that Emily and Laura would be Holly Willouhgby’s replacements on Celebrity Juice, four months after she left her 12-year stint. 

Giddy: Presenter Laura and actress Emily appeared giddy in one fun video shared by Keith

Giddy: Presenter Laura and actress Emily appeared giddy in one fun video shared by Keith 

Cheers! Laura toasted her flute of Champagne

Fun: She took a swig as she celebrated the news

Cheers! Laura toasted her flute of Champagne and took

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Design Ideas for Kitchen Islands

Most timber frame homes are custom built to suit the homeowner’s preference as to how many bedrooms they need, how the kitchen should be designed, and more. If you are in the planning stage of building your own timber frame house here are some kitchen island designs to help you plan your perfect kitchen. Kitchen islands can expand your workspace, give your kitchen its own personality, and come in a variety of design options.

Big island

Today more people are entertaining and eating at home so a large kitchen island would be very helpful to have around. It can be built so that it can be a workspace and a place for the children to do their homework and eat breakfast. Some can even be built long and lean so there can be as many as eight seats or more and more space around the perimeter. How long would depend on the space available.

Peaks and valleys

Today, many people have multi-level kitchen islands. This design is great at hiding the meal prep mess. The art of disguise is not the only reason to choose this design for your timber frame homes. You can also incorporate a variety of surface materials like a butcher-block area for chopping the vegetables, granite top for putting hot pans on, or marble that is good for rolling out pie dough. The various surfaces and heights add dimension and function to the design of your kitchen,

Island hopping

If you are a homeowner that finds one kitchen island not enough you can always have two islands built if you have the room to do so. With island hopping, or dual islands, can have specialized storage areas and designated work zones.

Away from it all

This is another increasingly popular style of kitchen islands for your new timber frame home. Designers are calling it “the unfitted look.” Basically, it looks like a piece of furniture, not a component that belongs in the kitchen. You can give this kitchen-cabinet component different counter surface, turned leg, along with other detailing for furniture-style components. It is often accentuated by putting it on a colorful area rug.

Jagged coastline

This kitchen counter design offers you a variety of designs such as indefinable, crescent shaped, or wavy. If it suits your kitchen, budget, and taste, builds the kitchen counter that want. With a unique design, it will be the toast of internet.

Above and beyond

In a timber frame home, you do not have to stop the height of your creation level at your waist. With the right home design and proper planning, you could even build a set of cabinets above with glass doors so everyone can see your variable collections.…

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