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July 13, 2006
Financial details of CVS clinic deal reported
MinuteClinic, a fast-growing Minneapolis company that delivers basic health care out of retail outlets, is expected to gain even more steam now that it has been purchased by national drugstore chain CVS Corp. of Woonsocket.
CVS Corp. announced the purchase today of the Minnesota company with 83 walk-in clinics in 10 states, including 66 in CVS stores. CVS didn't disclose terms, but the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that the deal was expected to be for $170 million in cash.
Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic still plans to triple its number of locations to 250 by the end of the year and said its earlier forecast of 450 to 500 locations by the end of 2007 would be revised upward.
CVS Corp.'s purchase of MinuteClinic comes a little more than a month after the company closed on the purchase of 700 Albertson's drugstores, giving the chain 6,100 stores in 42 states.
None of the Minneapolis company's clinics will close or move as a result of the deal.
Read more in today's Journal.
-- The Associated Press and Journal staff writer Paul Grimaldi
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:03 PM
Update: Some lane closures tonight for repaving on Route 146 south / Photo
LINCOLN – Although Route 146 south remains open after today's accident, the state Department of Transportation will be closing some lanes beginning at 8 p.m. when crews start repaving the roadway, according to a DOT statement.
Taller vehicles must follow height restrictions because of damage to an overpass in the vicinity of the accident, just south of Route 116. Southbound vehicles taller than 13 feet, 6 inches, must travel in the left lane, the DOT reports.
Throughout the afternoon, the roadway alternated between full and partial closures as cleanup crews moved a load of steel girders that spilled on the highway in a vehicle accident. The DOT now reports that the accident is fully cleared.
The state Department of Transportation announced the road was closed at Interstate 295 around 2:15 p.m. and that there could be short closures of Route 146 south as crews worked to position heavy equipment. One lane re-opened, but just after 4 p.m., all southbound lanes were closed again.
During the cleanup, the DOT recommended that motorists detour around the accident to help relieve traffic pressures. Traffic appears to be flowing well on traffic cameras on the DOT web site.
-- With reports from Journal staff writers Cynthia Needham and John Hill
Earlier today, a state trooper directs traffic around a pile of steel trusses on Route 146 in Lincoln.
-- Journal photo Bill Murphy
Posted by Kate Bramson at 6:55 PM
"Trading Spaces" TV crew in Johnston today
JOHNSTON – The popular TV show “Trading Spaces” today wrapped up two days of filming in Johnston and moves on to Warwick Saturday in a three-community swing through New England.
The Learning Channel show has neighbors trade spaces with each other to renovate a portion of their homes. In Johnston, one family redid their neighbors' kitchen and the other family created a playroom for their neighbors’ children.
Earlier this week, the TV crew was in Dartmouth, Mass.
The local episodes are supposed to air this fall.
Read more about the Johnston swap in tomorrow’s Journal.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Cynthia Needham
Posted by Kate Bramson at 6:45 PM
Federal grant to help ensure clean RI beaches
The federal government wants to help ensure that Rhode Island’s beaches are clean and healthy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced this afternoon that it will give a grant to the state health department tomorrow morning to pay for coastal beach monitoring. The agency has not disclosed the grant amount.
Governor Carcieri will be joined at the Narragansett Beach ceremony by local environmental leaders and a regional EPA administrator.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 5:56 PM
Photo / 15 year old pleads innocent to murder
Phearin Rot in Superior Court today.
--- Journal photo Andrew Dickerman
PROVIDENCE – The second-youngest murder defendant in Rhode Island in more than a century pled not guilty today to three charges when he was arraigned in Superior Court.
Phearin Rot, 15, the former Nathanael Greene Middle School student charged with the June 2005 slaying of Jamont Richardson over a $10-debt for hair braiding, appeared before Judge Jeffrey A. Lanphear, according to Michael J. Healey, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office.
The Providence County Grand Jury indicted Rot last week on charges of murder, discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, death resulting, and carrying a pistol without a license. He had also been charged with murder conspiracy, but the grand jury did not return an indictment on that count, Healey said.
Rot’s private defense lawyer, Steve DiLibero, requested a status conference in two weeks, possibly to argue for bail to be set for Rot. That court date was set for July 27.
Rot is now held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions, Healey said.
Additionally, a pre-trial conference has been set for Aug. 15 before Judge Robert D. Krause.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:28 PM
Cranston designer on QVC tonight
Jennifer Kirk, of Cranston, is scheduled to appear on a live broadcast on the shopping network QVC tonight.
QVC set up a remote studio for the three-hour broadcast at Kirk's waterfront Victorian in Edgewood.
The broadcast will feature new jewelry designs and home decor items. QVC's Patti Reilly, a native Rhode Islander, was scheduled to host the show.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:08 PM
John Brown House concert canceled
Due to bad weather and wet grounds, tonight's concert by the Preservation Hall Rhythm and Blues Band on the grounds of the John Brown House has been canceled and rescheduled to Thursday, Aug. 17.
The announcement came from Ed Coates, president of the Rhode Island Rhythm and Blues Preservation Society. The band is an arm of the society.
Posted by at 2:58 PM
Carcieri, Lynch disappointed by casino decision
PROVIDENCE – Governor Carcieri and Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch said today that they are disappointed that the Rhode Island Supreme Court declined to provide an advisory opinion on the casino refendum.
Meanwhile, the Narragansetts’ Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas cautiously hailed the court’s decision as a victory for the tribe.
"There's people who don't want to see this on the ballot,” Thomas said. “We're sure they're going to try other tactics.”
Passage of the constitutional amendment Nov. 7 would help clear the way for Harrah's to build a casino in West Warwick, a proposal that the governor opposes.
In a July 10 letter to the court, Carcieri asked, among other questions, whether the proposed constitutional amendment to allow a Harrah's-Narragansetts casino would "inappropriately give the town of West Warwick and the potential casino operators a Constitutional right -- the right to own and operate a casino -- that it denies to all other communities and citizens."
Carcieri, a Republican, and Lynch, a Democrat, stood together last week in announcing Carcieri’s request for an opinion from the court. This afternoon, they said the court’s decision will leave “a huge constitutional cloud over the casino referendum.”
“As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, Rhode Islanders will vote on this tremendously important question with no way to know whether it will withstand constitutional scrutiny,” Carcieri and Lynch said in their written statement. “Even worse, their vote may be overturned by the courts after-the-fact.”
Read more in our full story at projo.com.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Elizabeth Gudrais, projo.com staff writer Kate Bramson and the Associated Press
Posted by Kate Bramson at 2:50 PM
Narragansett chief puts casino opponents "on notice"
Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas says he's confident voters will approve a change to the state’s constitution that would allow the Harrah’s-Narragansett Indian casino to be built in West Warwick.
At a press conference today, Thomas said the casino deal will bring the tribe “benefits and opportunities we have only dreamed of,” millions of dollars that will help the Narragansetts relieve poverty and improve healthcare.
Thomas also said he would not allow casino detractors to attack the credibility or integrity of the tribe.
“I want to put our opponents on notice,” he said. “Attacks on this project, attacks on our effort to establish a tribal casino, attacks on our supporters or our partner will be considered a direct attack on the Narragansett Indian tribe.”
Thomas said the casino would reduce property taxes for Rhode Islanders by a projected $144 million a year.
The tribe on Tuesday released a summary of its contract with the Las Vegas financial backer, Harrah's, which would run the casino in West Warwick if it is approved by voters in November.
The tribe has declined to release the full contract.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 2:43 PM
Easton's Bay closed to shellfish harvesting
Easton’s Bay in Newport and Middletown is closed to shellfish harvesting until further notice because of the raw sewage overflow from a leaking sewer main in Middletown.
The sewer main has been replaced, but the Department of Environmental Management announced its decision to ban shellfish harvesting beginning at noon today because the agency must now collect water samples to test for fecal coliform bacteria levels.
The areas will reopen when conditions are acceptable, the DEM said in a statement.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 1:00 PM
Cranston police identify man run over by fire truck
A New Hampshire man is in serious condition today after he was run over by a ladder truck inside a fire station in Cranston yesterday afternoon, the police said today.
The police identified the man as David Norton, 34, and said his last known address was in Manchester, N.H.
The man was apparently lying underneath the truck when it left Station 3, on 1384 Cranston St., at 4:34 p.m. to respond to an emergency call at the Adult Correctional Institutions' minimum-security building, the police said.
The driver of the ladder truck drove away without realizing the man was there, the police said. Norton was found lying on the floor minutes later by firefighters from Engine 3, the police said.
Norton is being treated at Rhode Island Hospital.
The police have not said what the man was doing at the station. They said the state police Commercial Enforcement Unit is assisting them with their investigation.
-- Journal staff writer Zachary R. Mider
Posted by Kate Bramson at 12:50 PM
Judge assigned to Yashar case
PROVIDENCE -- A lawsuit seeking to reduce former Traffic Tribunal Judge Marjorie R. Yashar's pension was assigned today to Superior Court Judge Judith Colenback Savage.
Lawyers for Yashar and the state met privately for about 20 minutes with Superior Court Presiding Justice Joseph F. Rodgers Jr. this morning. Rodgers and the lawyers then came out of his chambers and told a reporter waiting in the hallway that Savage would handle the case. At no point was anything said on the record in open court.
Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch and state General Treasurer Paul J. Tavares -- who heads the retirement system -- went to court in April seeking to reduce Yashar's pension.
Read the latest story about Yashar in today's Journal.
-- Journal staff writer Scott Mayerowitz
Posted by Steve Peoples at 12:08 PM
Kickboxer indicted for murder
The Statewide Grand Jury has indicted Malbon D. Bolden Jr., 44, for the beating and murder of Maria Sample at a Warwick hotel in March.
Bolden, a kickboxer from Baltimore, was in Rhode Island with Sample, also 44, for a tournament.
He is being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 11:28 AM
Safety Board posts report on Block Island crash
The National Transportation Safety Board has found no mechanical problems with the private plane that crashed on Block Island July 5 killing three.
The preliminary report on file today did quote a witness as saying that it was raining hard, with lightning, when he heard the plane crash into a stand of trees.
The safety board examined the flight control mechanisms, the propeller, the engine and the fuel system without finding any evidence that would explain the accident.
At about noon July 5, White Plains, N.Y., surgeon William P. Homan, his wife, Valerie, and mother, Betty, boarded Homan's Piper Cherokee Arrow and took off for New York from Block Island Airport.
Around 12:15 p.m., the single-engine, four-seater crashed through the trees, landing about a half-mile from the runway, according to an inspector with the National Transportation Safety Board's northeast regional office.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 11:07 AM
National autism conference under way in Providence
PROVIDENCE -- The Autism Society of America continues its 37th National Conference at the Rhode Island Convention Center this morning.
The conference, "Lighting the Way to Hope," offers a variety of workshops and speakers that focus on increasing public awareness about autism and the day-to-day issues faced by those affected.
The conference runs through Saturday.
The Autism Society of America has more than 120,000 members across the country.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 10:34 AM
Nurses to protest work conditions at Women & Infants
PROVIDENCE -- Nurses and other hospital staff plan to protest later today over what they call unsafe work conditions at Women & Infants Hospital.
"The hospital continues to rely on mandatory overtime as a regular staffing tool, a practice that is unsafe for patients and unfair for workers," reads an announcement released by the New England Health Care Employees Union.
Nurses and others plan to distribute fliers calling for better staffing levels outside the Dudley Street hospital today. There will also be a press conference with union officials at 4 p.m.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 8:05 AM
Drug maker buys Smithfield plant; 80 new jobs planned
SMITHFIELD -- Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. said this morning that it has purchased the former Dow Chemical facility in Smithfield and plans to employ at least 80 people at the drug manufacturing plant.
The price was not disclosed.
The Connecticut-based company will produce Soliris, a drug for treating a genetic blood disorder, at the 55,000-square-foot plant. The company plans to retrofit the facility, which will start producing the biotechnology drug in 2008, according to a company statement released this morning.
Dow Chemical pulled out of the Smithfield facility in 2004 and put the drug manufacturing plant up for sale, as it changed its business plans. Earlier this decade, Dow had planned to build a $100-million drug-making plant next to the existing facility.
Alexion, (ALXN:Nasdaq) is a publicly traded bio-technology company founded by scientists at Yale University in 1992 and is preparing to manufacture its first drug. The 250 person company is still waiting for final approvals from government regulators in the U.S. and Europe for Soliris, according to the company's Web site.
Alexion will remain headquartered in Connecticut. The company lost $27.2 million in the first quarter of 2006 and reported $768,000 in revenue.
-- Journal staff writer Andrea L. Stape
Posted by Steve Peoples at 7:38 AM
Carcieri to sign property tax relief bill
PROVIDENCE -- Governor Carcieri plans to sign legislation this morning that would cap increases on local property tax and school budgets.
The bill would gradually lower the maximum annual increase to a community's tax levy from the current 5.5 percent to 4 percent, starting in fiscal 2008 and reaching 4 percent in 2013. The same limits would be applied to school budgets.
This morning's signing is scheduled for 10:30 at the State House.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 7:09 AM
More humidity and thunderstorms today, hotter tomorrow
PROVIDENCE -- Like the weather for much of this week, today's forecast calls for humid conditions with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service.
The chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
But the wet weather will depart late tonight as forecasters predict hot, sunny conditions through the end of the weekend. Tomorrow's high should touch 90, while Saturday's temperatures are expected to rise to the mid 90s.
For more weather and updates, see projo.com/weather.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 7:00 AM