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September 28, 2006
Station fire sentencing: Counting up victim impact statements
WARWICK -- At least 28 requests to read victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing tomorrow for the co-owners of The Station nightclub have been submitted before today's deadline.
The statements are due to precede the expected pleas of no contest by brothers Michael and Jeffrey Derderian to involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the disastrous fire at the West Warwick club in February 2003 that killed 100 people.
The fire, and the resulting case, has drawn national attention, and the new Kent County Courthouse is expected to be packed tomorrow with press and spectators.
But before the Derderians submit their change of pleas, and Judge Francis J. Darigan Jr. hands down their sentences, family and friends of victims have their opportunity to be heard. Most will actually speak in court. Others have submitted written statements.
The court anticipates completing the hearing tomorrow. While the court day normally ends around 4 p.m., it is possible that Darigan will go later. If necessary, the hearing will continue to Tuesday.
Word of the plea agreement was leaked last week, inciting a controversy over the proposed sentences for the brothers.
Michael A. Derderian, 45, is to serve 4 years in prison followed by 3 years of probation and an 11-year suspended sentence. Jeffrey Derderian, 39, is to receive a 10-year suspended sentence, 3 years of probation and 500 hours of community service.
Projo.com will provide continuous, live reports of the event, starting after 7 a.m. tomorrow and until proceedings end for the day. Coverage will include blog updates from the courthouse, a live video stream, photos and more.
The proceedings are also expected to be broadcast by Court TV (Channel 71 on Cox Cable), and local outlets.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Paul Edward Parker
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 7:05 PM
Photo: Hyatt hotel on Goat Island sold
Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski
Two privately held real-estate companies said today that they have purchased the Hyatt Regency hotel on Goat Island in Newport for an undisclosed sum. The 264-room hotel, known for its views of Narragansett Bay and the Pell Bridge, will retain the Hyatt banner but be managed by the Davidson Hotel Co., of Memphis, Tenn., Davidson joined with Amstar Group of Denver to buy the hotel. Read more in tomorrow's Business news on projo.com and in The Journal ...
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Paul Grimaldi
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 6:49 PM
Testimony ends in Roger Williams hospital trial
After nearly three weeks, testimony has concluded in the Roger Williams Medical Center corruption trial.
The defense rested this afternoon at 2:30. Chief U.S. District Judge Ernest C. Torres gave jurors tomorrow off and told them to be back in court Monday morning for closing arguments.
The defense called three witnesses today before resting.
Jennifer DeLuca, who oversaw marketing and public relations for the Village at Elmhurst, testified that she dealt frequently with John Celona in her efforts to publicize the assisted-living center, including appearances by Village personnel on the North Providence senator’s cable-access television show.
The prosecution charges that Celona was hired as a consultant to the Village at Elmhurst, a Roger Williams affiliate, to conceal his true duties as an illicit political operative for defendants Robert A. Urciuoli, Frances P. Driscoll and Peter J. Sangermano Jr.
In her cross-examination of DeLuca, Asst. U.S. Atty. Dulce Donovan tried to show that many of Celona’s activities with the Village were in his role as a politician, not a consultant.
None of the defendants chose to testify. But Sangermano’s wife and business partner in the Village, Diane Sangermano, did take the stand briefly, to say that she had told DeLuca and DeLuca’s predecessor that Celona was being paid to help promote the Village.
-- Mike Stanton, Journal staff writer
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:51 PM
Bill Clinton, Obama are coming to R.I.
Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton are coming to Rhode Island to campaign and raise money for the Democrats.
Obama will be here Oct.12 to campain for Democratic Senate candidate Sheldon Whitehouse.
Obama will speak at the Rhode Island College Recreational Center between 5:30 and 7:30 at a $50 per-person fund-raiser.
After that event, Obama will head to the Providence East Side home of Democratic Party activists Jack and Sara McConnell for a $1,000 per person event to benefit the Democratic party and the Whitehouse campaign.
On Oct. 16, former President Bill Clinton will be the featured speaker at the Democratic Party's annual Hope Dinner. Clinton will give the keynote speech. The cost of the dinner is $100 per person, with proceeds earmarked for the Democratic Party's voter turnout campaign.
-- Scott MacKay, Journal politics writer
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:44 PM
Guard brigade returning Sunday after year's deployment in Iraq
Ninety-three members of the 43rd Military Police Brigade, Rhode Island National Guard, will return to Rhode Island Sunday after being deployed in Iraq for 12 months.
The unit is scheduled to land at Quonset State Airport at 11 a.m. Its members have been "demobilizing" at Fort Dix, N.J.
During its deployment, the 43rd MP Bridage assumed command of more than 6,000 active duty National Guard and Army Reserve troops. Its primary mission included care and custody of detainees and oversight of facilities, operating from Camp Victory in Baghdad.
"The 43rd MP Brigade, under the command of Brigadier General Kevin McBride, has completed an historic tour of duty in Iraq. The joint, combined, and multinational command has established a new high standard in detainee operations . . . I commend them for their outstanding performance," Maj. Gen. Robert T. Bray, adjutant general of Rhode Island, said, announcing the homecoming.
The Rhode island National Guard currently has 210 members deployed overseas.
The public is invited to attend the homecoming.
Posted by maria caporizzo at 4:21 PM
Arrest made in Fall River, Mass. slaying
FALL RIVER, Mass. _ A 29-year-old Fall River man was arrested today and charged with murdering a city man Monday outside Building 277 of the Sunset Hill housing development.
David T. Miller, of 316 Sunset Hill, is slated to be arraigned in Fall River District Court this afternoon. The police said in a statement that the incident was not related to drug or gang activity.
Officers went to the housing development, in the city’s South End, Monday for a report of shots fired around 9:30 p.m. They found the victim, James Cadet, a 23-year-old Fall River man, on the ground with at least one gunshot wound. A Fire Department rescue team pronounced him dead on scene.
Fall River and Massachusetts State Police investigated the slaying. In the police statement, Fall River Chief John M. Souza praised the officers who worked on the case.
_ Michael P. McKinney
Journal Staff Writer
Posted by Pam Cotter at 3:58 PM
$10,000 winning PowerBall ticket sold in Providence
Although last night's $15 million PowerBall jackpot was won by a player in Kansas, Rhode Island had a $10,000 winner of its own, according to Rhode Island Lottery.
The ticket, purchased at Fernandez Liquors, 332 Elmood Ave., Providence, matched four numbers and the PowerBall number.
The standard payout of this type of win is $10,000. However, if this player had opted to purchase the Power Play feature for an additional $1 on the wager, his or her $10,000 prize would have tripled, lottery officials said.
During the past month, Rhode Island has sold an unusually high number of $10,000 winning PowerBall tickets, officials said. In just seven draws, there have been eight $10,000 winners. Three of these eight $10,000 tickets remain unclaimed, including last night's winner.
The other unclaimed winning tickets were purchased at Park Avenue Shell, 1315 Park Ave., Cranston, on Saturday, and Annex Diner, 80 River St., Woonsocket, on Sept. 13.
Saturday's estimated PowerBall jackpot is $15 million.
Posted by Pam Cotter at 3:12 PM
Conference addresses children of troops
Every school district in Rhode Island likely has one or more children whose parents are deployed in the country’s war on terror with the National Guard or Reserve.
Not all of those parents are serving in Iraq or Afghanistan right now, said Keith Martin, of the Military Child Education Coalition, who is in Rhode Island training educators and social service providers this week on the unique stressors that military children face.
But they all can be called to duty over there.
And as the war continues, the military is calling up individuals and small groups, a change in the years since Sept. 11, 2001, Martin said. That means children now fit in a category the military calls “onesies or twosies” – meaning a few children in this school district and a few children in that school district are affected.
“It’s more likely that they’re isolated and anonymous,” said Martin, who came to Providence to help educators understand how to work with the children of deployed military personnel.
Fifteen of Rhode Island’s 35 school districts sent guidance counselors, school nurses, teachers and others to this week’s two-day conference, which ends this afternoon. Given such participation, Martin said it’s safe to say that every district has children whose parents are deployed. Some may not even realize it.
“They need to be aware both that there are children in their district and that these children can be and often are significantly impacted by the stress and strain of potential or actual deployment,” Martin said of educators throughout the state.
-- projo.com staff writer Kate Bramson
At the height of deployments after Sept. 11, 2001, the Rhode Island National Guard had 1,000 troops deployed – leaving probably 1,500 children home without at least one parent, according to Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Denis Riel.
As of today, the 210 Rhode Island Guard members deployed probably leave 500 children at home with an absent parent, Riel said.
For the children whose parents are at war, routine is very important, Martin said. Firmness is very important.
“Of course, tinged with the understanding that every child is unique, that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to how a child is going to react or respond to the pressures and strains of deployment,” he said. “And those kinds of things can manifest themselves in psychological, physical, sociological, academic and emotional problems.”
The seminar also offered educators places to go for help in dealing with the stresses on their military children, Martin said.
Here in Rhode Island, the National Guard Child and Youth Program works much the same as it does in every state throughout the country, said Laura Paton, the state youth coordinator. Their mission is to support the emotional, social and academic needs of the children of National Guard members.
Paton works out of the Family Assistance Center at 705 New London Ave. in Cranston, a place where she said teachers are welcome to come in and talk about ways to work with their military students.
Some Web sites that offer help for military families:
Posted by Kate Bramson at 2:57 PM
Judge turns Bevilacqua's court costs into $40,000 fine
PROVIDENCE -- Joseph A. Bevilacqua Jr., a prominent defense lawyer serving a federal sentence for lying about what he knew about the leaked undercover videotape used in Operation Plunder Dome, got some goods news in court today.
Bevilacqua saw the amount of money he must pay for his crimes reduced to $40,000 from the $152,247 that U.S. District Judge Mary M. Lisi originally imposed in September 2005.
At that time the larger figure was based on the costs associated with the investigation and prosecution in his case. But the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in May ruled that while Lisi had the power to fine Bevilacqua, she did not have the authority to order him to reimburse the government for going after him.
To correct that judicial wrong, Lisi ordered Bevilacqua back in court and then accepted the prosecutor’s request that he be fined $40,000 -- the maximum allowed under the federal guidelines range.
Lisi had also sentenced Bevilacqua to 18 months in prison. He's currently serving his sentence in a Boston halfway house, which he leaves daily to go to work at a hunting and fishing store in North Kingstown.
-- Journal staff writer Tom Mooney
Bevilacqua, who is also the son of the late Rhode Island Supreme Court chief justice, pleaded guilty to perjury and contempt of court for lying about his role in handing an undercover FBI videotape to Jim Taricani, an investigative reporter for Channel 10 (WJAR).
The tape showed Frank Corrente, a top aide to then-Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr., taking a bribe, and it was key evidence at the Operation Plunder Dome corruption trials that put Corrente and Cianci behind bars.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 1:01 PM
Police ID Lincoln shooting victim
LINCOLN -- The police have identified the man found shot in the head Tuesday night on a road near the Pawtucket town line as John Cancel, 33, of 39 Jenks Avenue, Central Falls.
Police Chief Robert T. Kells said Cancel was still on life-support at Rhode Island Hospital after he was apparently shoved form a vehicle on Cobble Hill Road at about 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The local police are trying to locate a blue/green Plymouth Voyager van that was seen in the area around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. A witness who was walking home from Lincoln Park around that time told the police he heard was he thought sounded like fireworks, Kells said. The witness then found Cancel, with a gunshot wound to the head, lying on the ground on Cobble Hill Road near its intersection with Route 246, Old Louisquisset Pike.
The police yesterday were operating on the theory that Cancel was shot in the van and then pushed out of the vehicle, which is believed to have headed north on Route 246, Kells said.
-- Journal staff writer John Hill
Posted by Jack Perry at 10:21 AM
Meals on Wheels marks a milestone
PROVIDENCE -- Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island is poised to deliver its 14 millionth meal today to a 79-year-old Providence resident who has received home-delivered meals for five years.
Operating since 1969, Meals on Wheels serves approximately 3,000 meals a day. About 38 percent of those who receive meals live alone, and 22 percent live in poverty, according to the nonprofit agency.
Today the two candidates for governor will join Sandy Centazzo, the president and CEO of Meals on Wheels of Rhode Island, to mark the milestone.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 8:22 AM
Partly cloudy today with rain likely tonight
PROVIDENCE – Today could be the end of these chilly mornings that turn quickly into beautiful sunny days.
So get out there and enjoy it if you can.
We’ll have patchy fog before 9 a.m. and then partly cloudy weather with a high near 72.
But then, rain is moving into the region tonight and expected off and on over the next few days, with heavy rain in the forecast for tomorrow.
Check back with us for weather updates throughout the day.
Posted by Kate Bramson at 7:10 AM
Demolition continues at old Jamestown Bridge
Traffic will slow along the Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge around noon today as demolition continues on the old Jamestown Bridge.
Workers will blow up two pier segments from what remains of the Jamestown Bridge.
The state police will conduct a rolling block by moving slowly across the nearby Jamestown-Verrazzano Bridge to temporarily clear it of traffic during the detonations.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM