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September 1, 2006
R.I. Senate race topic of Sunday ABC news show
Could control of the Senate hinge on Rhode Island's Senate race?
That's the question that George Stephanopoulos hopes to answer this Sunday morning when he features U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee and Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey on his program, ABC News This Week.
The show is scheduled to air at 9 a.m. on Channel 6 on Cox cable.
Stephanopoulos visited Rhode Island this week to interview the candidates.
"With the primary more than a week away, will the moderate incumbent be able to hold onto his seat?" writes Stephanopoulos on the show's Web site. "Or, will he be cast aside by his own party the way Connecticut's Joe Lieberman was just one month ago?"
-- projo.com staff writer Steve Peoples
Posted by Steve Peoples at 7:03 PM
Sox' Lester diagnosed with 'treatable' form of cancer
BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox rookie left-hander Jon Lester has a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma and will start treatment in the coming week, the team announced Friday.
Enlarged lymph nodes were identified when Lester, 22, was tested to determine the cause of back pain that sent him to the disabled list on Monday.
Manager Terry Francona visited Lester on Thursday morning and several players commented later that day, before the diagnosis was announced.
Pitcher Curt Schilling referred to the melanoma his wife dealt with several years ago.
''Having been in a situation where cancer was an operative word, it's an incredibly scary thing,'' Schilling said Thursday. ''You're talking about a kid at the beginning of his life.''
Lester is 7-2 with a 4.76 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.
Posted by Art at 6:31 PM
Holiday weekend weather forecast: Nasty / Photo
Journal photo / Frieda Squires
Marita Wilmot of Newport ties her shoes as the boat, Impetuous, gets ready to head out of Goat Island Marina today for the first day of competition in the Farr 40 Pre-Worlds Regatta. Thirty-eight boats from 11 countries will compete next week for the Rolex Farr 40 World Championship in Newport.
PROVIDENCE -- The National Weather Service isn't dressing up its forecast for this Labor Day weekend.
It's going to be "nasty," according to a special weather statement issued this afternoon.
As much as 2 inches of rain is expected to fall Saturday and Sunday. Wind gusts may reach 40 mph.
And seas will range from 10 to 13 feet, creating dangerous conditions for boaters on what is typically one of the busiest boating holiday weekends of the year.
The weather service has also posted a high surf advisory, warning swimmers to stay out of the water along Rhode Island's southern beaches.
"Be prepared for less than suitable weather for most outdoor activities in our area this weekend," warns the weather service. "Improving weather conditions are expected
Get the latest weather forecasts from projo.com ...
Posted by Steve Peoples at 6:19 PM
Funeral held for 3rd victim of Central Falls shooting
PAWTUCKET -- About 250 people attended Elizabeth "Betty" Orellana's funeral today, the Central Falls mother of five who was shot to death two weeks ago inside her apartment.
Friends, family and supporters came to today's Mass at St. Anthony Church, a stucco building on Lawn Avenue. Orellana’s surviving daughters, a 15-year-old, 16-year-old twins and a 17-year-old, wore black slacks and black T-shirts that said "RIP Mommy."
Orellana, 37, of Central Falls, her 20-year-old daughter and a friend were shot in the head in the violent episode. She died in the hospital last Friday, the last of the three to die. Orellana's ex-boyfirend Adelino Duarte, 38, has been charged with three counts of murder and is being held at the Adult Correctional Institutions pending a bail hearing Sept. 7.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Tatiana Pina
Posted by Steve Peoples at 5:28 PM
Red Sox change Saturday and Sunday starting times
Because of the storm that is expected to hit the area late Saturday afternoon and last until mid-day Sunday, the Red Sox have changed the starting times of both of this weekend's games:
-- Saturday's game, which was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m., will now start at 1:05 p.m.
-- Sunday's game, which was originally scheduled for 2:05 p.m., will now start at 4:05 p.m.
Posted by Art at 5:10 PM
Update: Middletown teachers vote to approve 3-year contract
MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown teachers voted this afternoon to ratify a new three-year deal, clearing the way for classes to begin as scheduled on Wednesday.
Betty Hughes, president of the NEA Middletown, said the tentative deal reached by negotiators at 2:30 this morning was overwhelmingly approved by voice vote at around 3 p.m.
“I think we’ve tried to meet the needs of the school department and the needs of our members,” Hughes said of the contract, declining to provide any details before the School Committee officially votes to approve the deal early next week.
Today's vote means teachers will report to school as scheduled on Tuesday, Hughes said, allowing classes to begin Wednesday.
The union, which represents 238 teachers, and the school committee talked for more than 12 hours yesterday.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Michael McKinney
Posted by Steve Peoples at 3:27 PM
Forecast changes high school football schedule
The Injury Fund High School Football Tournament at Warwick Vets, which was scheduled to be played Saturday night, has been moved up to Saturday morning because of the rain that is forecast for later in the day Saturday.
The new schedule: Hendricken vs. Toll Gate at 10:30 a.m. and Pilgrim vs. Warwick Vets at 11:30 a.m.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 2:38 PM
Carcieri orders flags at half-staff for soldier killed in Iraq
PROVIDENCE -- Governor Carcieri has ordered state flags flown at half-staff in honor of Army Sgt. Moises Jazmin of Providence, who was killed in Iraq.
Jazmin, 25, of Houston Street, was among four soldiers killed by an explosion during combat oprations in Taji, Iraq, Sunday, according to the Department of Defense.
“This is terribly sad day for the family of Sgt. Moises Jazmin and for all Rhode Islanders,” Carcieri said in a statement this afternoon. “As a community, we are thankful for the sacrifices that soldiers like Sgt. Jazmin make in fighting for our state and our nation. Like the other Rhode Island soldiers who lost their lives since 9/11, Sgt. Jazmin was a patriot and a hero and he will be missed.”
"The thoughts and prayers of my wife, Sue, and I are with Sgt. Jazmin’s family and friends,” Carcieri said.
Flags will remain at half-staff until Sgt. Jazmin’s burial, according to the governor's office.
Jazmin is the 10th Rhode Islander killed in Iraq since the start of the war in 2003.
Posted by Jack Perry at 2:27 PM
Photo: Tiger can't snatch this birdie
Tiger Woods reacts as his chip shot for birdie passes the cup this afternoon on the third hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament at the TPC of Boston in Norton, Mass. Woods was one under par through five holes this afternoon.
Posted by Jack Perry at 2:23 PM
Norwood Auto Group dealers sold
The Norwood Auto Group of Warwick has been sold to Balise Motor Sales of West Springfield, Mass., operator of 23 auto dealerships in Southern New England.
Balise has purchased the Norwood dealerships, auto body shop and real estate located on Post Road in Warwick.
The name of the Post Road operation will be changed Balise, the company said in a statement announcing the deal with Norwood Auto Group.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed.
Posted by at 1:24 PM
Gang members sentenced in packed federal courtroom
PROVIDENCE -- Two gang members were sentenced to prison today for their part in a planting a bomb in Cranston last year that blew up in a woman's face.
The U.S. Attorney's Office will hold a press conference today at 3 p.m. to discuss the sentence and the scene this morning at the hearing.
According to Thomas Connell, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney.
Apparently, the courtroom was full of gang members as federal Judge William E. Smith imposed a sentence.
Bobby Soundara, 20, of 13 Richter St., Providence, previously admitted throwing a pipe bomb through the window of a rival gang member. Vanhhatdy Souvaunaxab, 19, of Providence's Wanskuck neighborhood, admitted building the pipe bomb and three others like it. He used fireworks from New Hampshire, a discarded metal pipe, and a hot-glue gun.
Their apparent target, Samnang Tep, was not home. His mother, Tha-Sean Tep, 46, picked up the bomb right before it exploded. She lost an eye.
The authorities say Samnang Tep is a member of the Young Bloods gang. He denies it.
Soundara was sentenced to 10 years in prison today; Souvaunaxab received seven and a half years. The two men had pleaded guilty to possession of a pipe bomb and malicious damage to a building resulting in personal injury.
The judge and prosecutor used the opportunity to reach out to the gang members, Connell said.
More details to come...
-- projo.com staff writer Steve Peoples
Posted by Steve Peoples at 1:18 PM
Anti-Laffey ad that angered immigrant groups off air
A controversial television advertisement attacking Cranston Mayor Stephen P. Laffey, the Republican challenger for U.S. Senate in Rhode Island, that drew the ire of immigrant rights groups is off the air.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee said today he contacted an aide to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which aired the ad on his behalf, and asked them to take if off the air.
But Chafee acknowledged that he couldn't say for sure whether the committee pulled it because of his complaint or whether it was already scheduled to stop running.
The committee has said that the ad had run its course, the Chafee campaign said later today.
Members of local immigrant advocacy groups complained that the advertisement was misleading and mean-spirited. They said it linked Hispanic people to the threat of terrorism.
The ad claimed that the city of Cranston's acceptance of Mexican identification cards can threaten American security. Chafee's opponent in this month's Republican primary is Laffey.
Chafee told a group that the ad was taken off the air when they showed up at his Providence office this morning to protest his failure to act.
The ad is not posted on the NRSC's Web page for Chafee video ads. It can, however, be seen here on youtube.com, a service where anyone can post and share videos.
For more background, read yesterday's column on the issue by Journal political columnist M. Charles Bakst.
-- With reports from Bakst and Journal staff writer Karen Lee Ziner.
Posted by Jack Perry at 1:05 PM
Buyout of Lincoln Park owner completed
A management-led buyout of Kerzner International Ltd., part owner of Lincoln Park, has been completed, the company announced today.
An investor group led by chairman and founder Sol Kerzner and his son, chief executive officer Butch Kerzner, paid $81 a share to buy the company from existing shareholders. The $3.2 billion sale means Kerzner International will be privately held and no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Along with the Kerzners, the buyers include Providence Equity Partners of Providence.
Kerzner International is a 37.5-percent owner of BLB Investors LLC, owner of the Lincoln Park video slots venue.
Posted by at 12:14 PM
Update: Providence soldier killed in Iraq
An Army sergeant from Providence was among four soldiers killed by an explosion in Iraq Sunday, the U.S. Department of Defense announced today.
Sgt. Moises Jazmin, 25, and the other three soldiers died when an improvised explosive device detonated near their Bradley Vehicle during combat operations in Taji, Iraq, the Department of Defense said.
Jazmin, of Houston Street, is the 10th Rhode Islander killed since the start of the war in Iraq.
Yesenia Moreira, who was married to one of Jazmin's brothers, said Jazmin was the youngest son in a close-knit family of eight brothers and sisters. She recalled him as a doting uncle to his nieces.
Extra: Post a tribute to Sgt. Jazmin, on projo.com's Tribute to the Troops
-- With staff and wire reports
Moreira said the last time Jazmin was back from duty in August, the first thing he did was visit her family and take her two daughters, ages 11 and 12, out bowling. He also showered her daughters with personalized gifts, such as army hats that had their names on them.
Although Moreira is divorced from Jazmin's brother, she said the family is very close and her daughters are still very attached to their uncle. She said her girls aren't taking his death well.
"Yesterday, one was still crying," Moreira said. "They try to use going back to school as a distraction, but it's hard on them."
All four of the soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.
Posted by Jack Perry at 12:01 PM
Middletown teachers reach tentative contract
MIDDLETOWN -- Middletown teachers say they have reached a tentative contract agreement making it look likely that school will be able to open on schedule Tuesday.
The union, which represents 238 teachers, and the school committee talked for more than 12 hours yesterday.
Betty Hughes, president of the NEA Middletown said union leaders and representatives of the school committee he said the union reached an agreement around 2:30 this morning.
Hughes said a radification meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today.
-- Michael McKinney, Journal staff writer
Posted by Peter Phipps at 10:00 AM
State police targeting drunken drivers over Labor Day
The Rhode Island State Police say they will increase patrols for drunken or other dangerous drivers over Labor Day weekend.
The state police say they will use funding from the federal Office on Highway Safety to add patrols for speeders, aggressive drivers and impaired drivers as part of a national effort to improve highway safety, especially during holidays.
Highways across the country this weekend will be busier than last year, despite higher gas prices, according to AAA Southern New England.
AAA estimates that 35.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this holiday, a 1.2-percent increase from the 34.8 million who traveled last year.
About 29.6 million travelers -- representing 84 percent of all holiday travelers -- expect to go by motor vehicle, just over the 29.1 million who drove a year ago, AAA said.
Some 5 million of those auto travelers are expected to come from the New England and mid-Atlantic states.
Air travel should drop slightly, AAA said. Some 3.9 million nationwide plan to travel by airplane, down from the 4 million who flew a year ago.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:58 AM
One Big Dig tunnel may open this weekend
The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority hopes to open a single lane in one connector tunnel linking Interstate 90 eastbound with Logan Airport as soon as this weekend.
The state has decided long-term fixes of Big Dig tunnels and ramps will take so long to complete that it will use shoring towers to allow at least some traffic to pass through some areas as the work continues.
The connector tunnel and several ramps have remained closed after four three-ton concrete ceiling panels in the connector tunnel fell and crushed a car on July 10, killing 39-year-old Milena Del Valle.
Under the plan, the reopened lane will go as far as Exit 25, where cars will use local streets and then get on the already-reopened Ramp A to access the Ted Williams Tunnel.
--- Associated Press
Posted by Peter Phipps at 7:26 AM
No agreement at Memorial Hospital: Nurses strike looms
Representatives of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and the union that represents the hospital's 284 nurses could not reach an agreement on a contract during a 12-hour mediation session that ended early this morning, the hospital announced today.
Union members have said they will walk out at 7 a.m. tomorrow if they can't reach an agreement.
The talks ended at about 5 this morning, according to Dyana Koelsch, a spokeswoman for the hospital.
"As far as I know at this point," no more talks are scheduled, Koelsch said this morning.
Union members will vote today on whether to strike, Christopher Callaci, union field representative, said earlier this week.
A federal mediator has held three sessions over the past 10 days to try to reach a deal, according to Koelsch.
Mandatory overtime shifts have been the primary sticking point. Koelsch said the hospital needs that authority to ensure there's enough staff in case of emergencies.
But, she said, the hospital has taken steps to reduce the likelihood that nurses will be forced to work overtime. For example, she said, it has offered extra pay for nurses who volunteer to work overtime, and it has offered to buy back unused sick days.
Other issues include coverage for domestic partners and the deductibles that employees have to pay when they receive health care outside Memorial's preferred provider network.
Hospital Administrators say they are disappointed that an agreement hasn't been reached, and they're continuing with a "downsizing plan," which includes reducing the number of patients, in anticipation of the possible strike.
There are about 50 overnight patients at the hospital now, down from about 120 before the 10-day strike notice was issued, Koelsch said.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM
Ernesto could water down Labor Day weekend
The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement this morning, warning that the remnants of Tropical Storm Ernesto could dampen Labor Day plans for southern New Englanders.
Ernesto, currently battering the Carolinas, is weakening, but it could bring heavy rain and gusty southest winds to the region early this weekend, according to the special weather statement.
The storm should also kick up surf on the south coast.
Before that, today should be mostly cloudy with a high of 71 degrees.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM