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July 26, 2006
Photo: These Portuguese men-of-war are out of action
Journal photo / Andrew Dickerman
Captured: Portuguese men-of-war in a bucket. The smaller one was found washed up today at Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett, while the larger one, still alive, was discovered in the water a few feet off shore. Swimming was restricted at the beach today, while some other South County beaches -- where the creatures have stung several people in recent days -- lifted swimming bans.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 6:21 PM
Towed boat catches fire on Rt. 95 in Warwick
WARWICK -- A boat being towed by a car caught fire on Route 95 South at Exit 13, the airport connector, at about 5:50 p.m., according to a traffic alert from the state Department of Transportation.
All south-bound lanes were temporarily blocked. The left and center lanes had re-opened by 6:10 p.m., but traffic was moving extremely slowly through the area.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 6:10 PM
Photo: Red Sox lose in Oakland
Oakland slugger Frank Thomas slams the first of his two home runs today.
The Red Sox' bats, which had produced 28 runs in the last three games, were held in check this afternoon by Oakland pitcher Dan Haren. The Athletics won today's game, 5-1, to avoid a Boston sweep.
The Red Sox finished their West Coast swing with a 3-3 record, and will now return to Fenway to face the Los Angeles Angels in a series that begins Friday.
Frank Thomas hit two home runs, both of them off Red Sox starter Kyle Snyder, to pace the Oakland offense.
Boston managed just four hits. Haren went seven innings for the A's, giving up the Red Sox' only run. Kiko Calero and Huston Street each pitched a perfect inning to close out the game.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 6:08 PM
TV reporter Taricani lends support to Mass. shield law
BOSTON -- Rhode Island television reporter Jim Taricani appeared before Massachusetts lawmakers today, urging them to pass a shield law protecting the use of unnamed sources.
Taricani, who was sentenced to home confinement in 2004 for refusing to reveal an anonymous source, said sometimes the only way for a reporter to get information that's vital to the public is through anonymous sources.
The WJAR-TV reporter served four months for refusing to say who gave him a videotape related to an FBI investigation into former Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. and corruption at Providence City Hall.
Taricani was one of about a dozen reporters and lawyers at a public hearing before a legislative committee today considering a shield law in Massachusetts.
The bill would protect reporters from having to reveal unnamed sources, except in cases where terrorism is involved or when there's an imminent public threat.
Thirty-two states -- including Rhode Island -- have similar laws. Opponents say a shield law would make it more difficult to prosecute criminals.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Steve Peoples at 5:27 PM
Share ideas for Providence's future tonight
PROVIDENCE -- Local officials are holding a planning workshop tonight, open to city residents who are interested in helping steer growth and development in Providence neighborhoods.
The workshop, "Providence Tomorrow: Our City, Our Neighborhoods, Our Future," will offer detailed information about changes in the city's comprehensive plan, including shifts in demographics, economic trends and current development projects.
Attendees will be asked to participate in a brainstorming session, sharing ideas about the city's future.
The workshop, which starts at 6 p.m., at the Roger Williams Park Casino, will include an ice cream social and a free raffle with door prizes.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 5:26 PM
Derderian defense subpoenas state officials
PROVIDENCE -- Lawyers for Station nightclub co-owner Michael Derderian have subpoenaed two state officials with intimate knowledge of Rhode Island fire inspections and building codes.
According to a statement released by the court this afternoon, chief of inspections for the state fire marshal's office, William Howe, and state Building Code Commissioner Daniel DeDentro have been ordered to appear in court on Sept. 5, the first day of Derderian's trial.
Michael Derderian and his brother Jeffrey Derderian, the nightclub's other owner, each are charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter, 2 for each of the 100 people who died in the 2003 fire.
Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr., who is presiding over both cases, ruled last month that the Derderian defense team can access detailed training information about former West Warwick Fire Marshal Denis Larocque.
The Derderians want "copies of any and all itineraries, syllabi, records, reports, or written materials of any kind relative to training received by Denis Larocque," according to a motion approved by Darigan.
The prosecution team last week issued 257 subpoenas for potential witnesses, the majority of which are survivors of the fire. Several police and fire officials, including Larocque, are also on the list.
-- Steve Peoples, projo.com staff writer
Posted by Steve Peoples at 3:48 PM
PawSox win; Red Sox about to get started
The Pawtucket Red Sox got off to an early lead and held on to beat the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-5, in a matinee game today at Toledo. First baseman Jeff Bailey paced the PawSox attack with three hits, two runs scored and two RBI. Catcher Corky Miller contributed a solo home run.
Abe Alvarez started for Pawtucket and pitched four scoreless innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Staked to a 5-0 lead, Alvarez surrendered three runs in the inning on two homers by the Mud Hens, who are the Triple A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.
Toledo drew to within 6-5 by scoring two runs in the eighth inning off Pawtucket reliever Barry Hertzler. But Javier Lopez got the final six outs of the game to pick up his 15th save. Alvarez got the win to move his record to 6-7.
The win moved Pawtucket to 53-51 on the season, 6 1/2 games behind first-place Rochester.
Out in Oakland, the Boston Red Sox are set to start their series finale with the Athletics. Dan Haren will toe the mound for Oakland at 3:35, with Kyle Snyder going for Boston.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 3:28 PM
Providence celebrates Liberian independence
PROVIDENCE -- Members of the city's Liberian community will gather at City Hall this afternoon to celebrate the 159th anniversary of Liberian independence.
Mayor David N. Cicilline will host a ceremony that will feature performances by Mama Africa Cultural Troupe and the Liberian Community Association’s Choir.
There are approximately 15,000 Liberians living in Providence, according to Cicilline's office.
Today's celebration begins at 5:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 2:44 PM
R.I. cancer researchers get $665,000
PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island Hospital researchers have been awarded a five-year grant of $665,000 from the National Institutes of Health to continue research into how a particular type of bacteria leads to stomach cancer.
Steven Moss, a gastroenterologist and researcher in the COBRE Center for Cancer Research Development at the hospital, said their main focus is how Helicobacter pylori bacteria (known as H. pylori) causes cancer.
Most people who become infected with the bacteria, which lives in the stomach, are infected as young children. People probably contract the bacteria through the water supply, but that’s not certain, Moss said.
The bacteria can be detected through a blood test, a stool sample or an endoscopy, Moss said. About one-third of the patients who undergo endoscopy at Rhode Island Hospital have H. pylori, according to Moss.
“It’s very frustrating because by the time we diagnose someone with gastric cancer, there’s very little we can do about it,” Moss said in a news release.
“Most patients are going to die within five years, so it would be nice to prevent it. It’s one of the few cancers in which we can clearly identify a cause that could be preventable.”
With funding from another grant, Moss is also working on a vaccine to combat H. pylori, he said.
-- Kate Bramson, projo.com staff writer
Posted by Kate Bramson at 2:33 PM
Motiva to reopen terminal for deliveries in 6 to 8 weeks
Motiva Enterprises said this afternoon that it plans to reopen its Providence terminal in six to eight weeks after a fire last week forced its closure.
The fire occurred during a severe thunder storm while a tanker was offloading gasoline. The fire may have been sparked by lightning, according to fire officials.
The company said it has thoroughly inpected its storage tanks, associated piping and truck loading facilities and found they were unaffected by the fire.
The company said it will begin receiving petroleum shipments through a smaller north berth, which sustained "minimal" damage in the fire.
That berth has historically been used to off-load oil products from ocean-going barges.
The fire heavily damaged the south pier, prompting the terminal's closure since Tuesday evening.
Motiva also said it was was committed to fully rebuilding the south berth for tanker shipments.
Gov. Carcieri plans to tour the Motiva terminal today to seek information about the status of repairs and to determine what, if any, impacts the recent fire might have on energy supplies this winter.
Carcieri's office said that Motiva will not allow members of the media to accompany Carcieri to the foot of the pier for safety reasons.
Motiva's Providence terminal is one of two major ports of entry for gasoline used in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. The other is the ExxonMobil terminal in East Providence.
Posted by Tim Barmann at 2:20 PM
State high court upholds Washington's gay marriage ban
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state Supreme Court upheld Washington's ban on gay marriage today, saying lawmakers have the power to restrict marriage to unions between a man and woman.
The 5-4 decision leaves Massachusetts as the only state to grant full marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. It was the latest in a series of significant court rulings favoring gay marriage opponents.
Read the full Associated Press story.
Posted by Jack Perry at 1:47 PM
New England mail lost in truck accident
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Some Rhode Island-bound certified mail from central New York was lost in last month's flooding.
The US Postal Service reports that two of its trucks plunged into a chasm that opened across Interstate 88 in New York during late June's torrential rains.
Both drivers were killed and mail being transported in one of the vehicles was lost.
Postal officials say the lost mail was sent June 27 and 28 from zip codes that include the Syracuse and Binghamton areas. The mail was heading to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
The postal service says people who may have mailed letters on those days should contact whoever the letters were being sent to.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Steve Peoples at 12:43 PM
Health Dept. reminds: 'Don't play with wild animals'
With summer upon us, the state Health Department is starting to see more rabies activity.
While that’s typical for this time of year, it’s still a good chance to remind people about the dangers of touching wild animals, spokeswoman Maria E. Wah-Fitta said today.
“Don’t play with wild animals,” Wah-Fitta said. “They’re cute, but don’t pet them.”
So far this year, the Health Department has tested 189 animals for rabies and has found 14 of them to be positive. It’s an average year, according to state epidemiologists, Wah-Fitta said.
Raccoons lead the rabid pack, with 11 testing positive. The other three rabid animals this year are one bat, one fox and one skunk, Wah-Fitta said.
So far this year, 110 people have been treated with the rabies vaccination, a series of multiple shots given over a 28-day period. The Health Department normally treats about 200 people each year, Wah-Fitta said.
Last year, the Health Department tested 373 animals and found 29 positive for rabies. The rabid animals included 10 skunks, 9 raccoons, 6 bats, 2 cats and 2 foxes.
Now is also the time of year that many bats living in the attics of older homes find their way into people’s living quarters. The Health Department urges anyone who wakes up and finds a bat in their home to trap the bat and have it tested for rabies.
If the bat cannot be trapped and tested, anyone who was asleep while the bat was in the house should be vaccinated against the deadly rabies, according to the department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 12:42 PM
Woman pleads guilty to selling fake immigration papers
PROVIDENCE -- A Providence woman has pleaded guilty to charges related to the illegal sale of fake immigration documents, according to an announcement released this morning by the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Julia Pansoy-Calel, 51, admitted to selling counterfit resident alien cards, or green cards, and fake Social Security cards for $125 a set. Federal agents worked with the Providence police to arrest Pansoy-Calel in May.
She pleaded guilty to four counts of transferring identification documents for unlawful use and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15. Pansoy-Calel is being held in lieu of bail.
Posted by Steve Peoples at 12:32 PM
Update: Men-of-war sightings continue in S. County
SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- A half dozen Portuguese men-of-war were spotted at Roger Wheeler State Beach this morning, prompting lifeguards to limit swimming there, the third state beach with a waist-deep swimming restriction today.
Department of Environmental Management spokeswoman Gail Mastrati said that a 10-year-old Connecticut boy was stung at Wheeler yesterday afternoon, the second reported incident yesterday. At least seven swimmers have been stung at Rhode Island beaches since Saturday.
Swimming restrictions at state beaches in Westerly and South Kingstown remain in place this afternoon as lifeguards and beach staff patrol the water from kayaks.
Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly and East Matunuck State Beach in South Kingstown will again enforce the waist-deep swimming restrictions that have been in place all week, according to Mastrati.
Yesterday afternoon, a 15-year-old girl was stung by a man-of-war while swimming at East Matunuck and at least two of the polyps were spotted at Misquamicut.
Read more about the beach closures from today’s Journal.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 12:31 PM
Hasbro to make Monopoly with debit cards, no cash
PAWTUCKET -- If you're passing Go and want to collect $200, better bring a debit card.
A British version of the classic Monopoly board game released this week substitutes a debit card for the stacks of play money long hoarded by children worldwide.
Cheating just got a little tougher.
Pawtucket-based Hasbro makes the game. Company officials in the United Kingdom say they introduced the debit card so the game will better reflect real life. They say an increasing number of consumers prefer swiping a card to carrying cash.
The company is considering making a similar change in the U.S.
In the new British version of Monopoly Here and Now, players type amounts into a palm-sized scanner and swipe their debit cards to seal the deal.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Steve Peoples at 7:25 AM
Hot and humid, but no rain in today's forecast
PROVIDENCE – Looks like we’ve got another hot and sticky day.
Expect a high around 85 and a humidity level of 88 percent. It should be partly cloudy.
That’s better than the rain that was predicted earlier this week for today, isn’t it?
Enjoy today since the next three days could bring rain and thunderstorms.
Get the latest conditions and forecasts from projo.com.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 7:03 AM