Tuesday, May 28, 2024

About NRI NOW

Northern Rhode Island News On the Web was founded in 2018 by North Smithfield-based journalist Sandy Hall.

Aiming to bring a new source of information to the region, Hall launched the website with news focused on the town of Burrillville. She has since expanded, adding coverage in North Smithfield and Glocester, and using experience in both conventional and online media to bring light to local issues – with the help of other local writers and experts in their fields.

NRI NOW is not a blog. It’s a news website by and for residents of northern Rhode Island. We cover human interest stories, as well as local government, politics and crime.

Your local newspaper, online; NRI NOW is primarily supported by local advertising.

Send your news tips and feedback to sandy@nrinow.news.

Editor: Sandy Hall

Sandy Hall is the founder, publisher, and editor of Northern Rhode Island News On the Web. A reporter for nearly two decades with experience in both print and online news, Hall started her career in journalism in 2006 as a freelancer. In 2009, she was the founding editor of Woonsocket Patch, a hyper-local news project funded by AOL. In 2011, she was hired by The Valley Breeze, where she spent six years as the lead reporter for the weekly Woonsocket/Blackstone/North Smithfield edition. A SUNY Albany graduate with a degree in political science, Hall also completed graduate-level coursework in journalism at Northeastern University. 

Formerly Sandy Seoane, Hall was recently married.

Contributor: K. Iacobbo

 An award-winning writer, award-nominated screenwriter and filmmaker, and long-time freelance journalist, K. Iacobbo wrote her first play, teleplay, and short story before the age of ten. She is the winner of The Animal Print magazine short story contest, and a winner of a Newport Life magazine writing contest. Iacobbo has worked as a columnist for the New England Employment Review, and a freelancer for The Pawtucket Times and various speciality periodicals. Her films – co-produced with her spouse – have been broadcast on Rhode Island PBS, and screened or nominated at film festivals such as the Hoboken International Film Festival, one of the ten largest in the world. The author notes she’s known for unique and edgy story ideas, and superb research.

Contributor: Karleen Kozaczka

North Smithfield native Karleen Kozaczka is a journalist with experience working as both a full-time reporter and contributor to publications in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Kozaczka graduated from North Smithfield High School, and went on attend Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., where she received her bachelor’s in print journalism. She also earned a master’s degree in publishing and writing from Boston-based Emerson College.

She was a staff reporter for the Daily News of Newburyport, and has been published in The Boston Globe and Providence Monthly.

Kozaczka currently lives in Pawtucket with her partner, Tommy, their five-year-old son and, “Red,” their shelter dog from the RISPCA.

Contributor: Dick Martin

Dick Martin of Glocester is an award-winning writer whose works have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Smithfield Times Magazine, The Observer, Providence Journal and Woonsocket Call. He has penned both columns and news articles and has published two books: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sanity – a collection of short stories and award winning columns – and Mae – a creative nonfiction account of his late mother’s life.

Additionally, Martin has been an award-winning high school English teacher, who has been recognized by the National Education Association for his contributions to education. He was a teacher at Burrillville High School from 1971 to 2000, leading the English Department for much of his career, before moving on to Killingly High School, where he created school news magazine The Redline, which earned numerous awards from the Scholastic Press Association.

Martin was the only teacher in school history to receive the Burrillville High School Teacher of the Year award twice, with recognition in 1993 and 2000. He served as the Rhode Island director of the Journalism in Education Association from 1993 to 1998, and was recipient of the National Education Association of Rhode Island Media Award in 1996, the same year he was recognized as Glocester Citizen of the Year.

Contributor: Russ Olivo

Russ Olivo spent 40 years as a reporter at The Call of Woonsocket. He previously freelanced for a number of Rhode Island-based news publications. Olivo spent most of his adult life in Burrillville and Lincoln and contributes primarily to the NRI NOW police beat.  

Contributor: Betty Mencucci

Betty Mencucci is the president of the Burrillville Historic & Preservation Society and author of the Burrillville Then & Now feature, which looks at how different areas of the town developed in comparison to how they look today.
A well-known and active member of the Burrillville community, Mencucci’s work as a beekeeper, expert in gravestone restoration, author and more has also been covered in numerous feature stories.

Contributor: Jim Weicherding

Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. His work includes collaboration with groups such as the Governor’s Office on Highway Safety, the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association and the Rhode Island Fire Chief’s Association, along with Rhode Island Safe Kids Coalition, Rhode Island Safe Communities and Hasbro Children’s Hospital Injury-Prevention Division.
A talented artist who is also involved in the local car show circuit, Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children.

Contributor: Cathren Housley


Cathren Housley has been writing for Motif Magazine in Rhode Island since 2015. She began with the feature Advice From the Trenches, then added alt health, films, gallery shows, human interest, and current events to her roster of topics.

A Rhode Island School of Design graduate, Housley says she comes to this eclectic range by way of a multidisciplinary career that was a mix of songwriting, children’s books, illustration, award winning cable TV production, and large scale grant funded installations. In 2017, her animated short, The Land of the SkyFighter, was accepted into the RI International Film Festival.

Contributor: Joe Gallant


Joe Gallant is the host of WNRI Radio’s The Joe Show. Gallant keeps an eye on the local and national sports scene in Rhode Side Sports NOW and National Sports Spotlight NOW. Readers can hear Gallant live on WNRI Radio 99.9fm/1380am, every Monday and Friday from 9:30-11 a.m.

Jim Weicherding is a Burrillville resident, and the founder and creator of an award-winning traffic safety effort Seasons of Safety. His work includes collaboration with groups such as the Governor’s Office on Highway Safety, the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association and the Rhode Island Fire Chief’s Association, along with Rhode Island Safe Kids Coalition, Rhode Island Safe Communities and Hasbro Children’s Hospital Injury-Prevention Division.
A talented artist who is also involved in the local car show circuit, Weicherding contributes kids’ coloring cartoons, which can be printed and used to help parents discuss safety issues with their children.

Contributor: Brian Choquet


Brian Choquet has spent the last three years working as a multimedia journalist covering all aspects of rural and small-suburban communities for publications across Massachusetts, including The Bellingham Bulletin, DigBoston and Amherst Wire. A 2020 graduate from UMass Amherst, Choquet says he fell into journalism after realizing his love for both writing and telling the stories of those around him. Choquet recently moved to Providence and says he is excited to bring more local coverage to northern Rhode Island.

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