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December 24, 2007
7to7 taking a break for the Christmas holiday
We'll be celebrating Christmas tomorrow and not publishing our usual updates to the 7to7 news blog.
But that doesn't mean that projo.com is completely off for the day.
We'll be offering surveys and more photo uploads, sports blog updates, and our continually updating feeds of national, world and sports news from the Associated Press.
On Wednesday, 7to7 will be back on the job at -- 7 a.m.
Until then, happy holidays!
Posted by Karen Bordeleau at 6:31 PM
Two teens arrested in connection with bus fires
MIDDLETOWN — The police have arrested two teenagers and charged each with two felony counts of arson after two school buses were set ablaze late yesterday afternoon. One bus was badly damaged.
Bradley Petersen, 18, of 2345 West Main Rd, Portsmouth, was released on $2,500 personal recognizance by a justice of the peace, and a 17-year-old Middletown boy, whose name was not released because of his age, was released to his parents after being charged.
The fire occurred just before 5 p.m. at the Gaudet Middle School on Aquidneck Avenue, where the Laidlaw Transit Co. parks its Middletown buses. Witnesses spotted the flames, drove into the parking lot, and saw two males flee in a vehicle as the fire engines began to arrive.
The police tracked the registration to the Portsmouth address, where they found Petersen. That led to the arrest of the Middletown youth as well, the police said.
Posted by Karen Bordeleau at 4:00 PM
More ways to give
If you're looking for more ways to give this holiday season, see who needs help -- be it money, donation, or volunteers.
See a list of opportunities to give.
And if your nonprofit organization is seeking holiday donations or volunteers, or if it has services or goods to offer the needy, we will publish your request once during the holiday season, as space permits.
The complete list of holiday giving and donations will be posted on our Web site.
To be included in either list, send your information, including a name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "Holiday Giving" in the subject field.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 3:30 PM
Channel 10 seeks to air Pats/Giants game on Dec. 29
The president and general manager of WJAR NBC 10 has written a letter to the NFL commissioner offering to air the Dec. 29th Patriots’ game against the New York Giants to make it available to all Rhode Island fans.
The game is presently scheduled to be shown only on the NFL Network in Rhode Island. As currently scheduled, Boston and New Hampshire will be the only New England areas to see the game on free, over-the-air television. Rhode Islanders and other fans across New England will only be able to view the game if they are paid subscribers to the NFL Network.
According to a news release, NBC 10 said that the Providence Designated Market
Area, with coverage in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, meets the definition of a home team television station. Traditionally, the NFL has considered stations within 75 miles of the team’s stadium to be home team TV stations; NBC10 is 33 miles from Foxboro.
Lisa Churchville, president and general manager of NBC 10, sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell offering to clear the station’s Saturday prime time schedule in order to air the New England Patriot’s and New York Giants final regular season game. The Dec. 29th game has the potential to culminate in the Patriots having the first undefeated regular season in the NFL since 1972.
“Please consider making this final game available on free, over-the-air television across New England to ensure that the region’s Patriots’ fans will be able to watch this historic game. We know that fans in our state would appreciate the NFL allowing them to enjoy the same access as fans in Boston,” Churchville said.
Posted by Karen Bordeleau at 3:06 PM
Do you really feel like cooking? Didn't think so
Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you don’t have to eat.
A handful of restaurants will be open tonight and tomorrow. Of course, call first to make sure there’s room for you.
In Federal Hill, Blue Grotto, 210 Atwells Ave, (401)-272-9030 will be offering the Feast of the Seven Fishes today from noon to 9 p.m. in addition to the regular dinner menu.
On Thayer Street, Andreas Restaurant, 268 Thayer St., (401) 331-7879, will be open today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Christmas Day from 5 p.m. to midnight with full dinner menu and specials and drinks until 1 a.m. http://andreasri.com/.
In Wayland Square, Red Stripe, 465 Angell St., (401) 437-6950, will serve the regular dinner menu from 4 to 9 p.m. today.
For more restaurants in the city and across the state that will be open today and tomorrow, visit projo.com's food section.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:45 PM
Westerly DMV set to reopen
The Westerly branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles is set to re-open this Friday. The branch was closed last Thursday after the roof and ceiling began leaking.
According to a statement released by the DMV today, the owners of the building have worked with the DMV since Dec. 20 to repair the damage.
The Westerly DMV will return to its regular hours: Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. back at its original location, 62 Franklin Street in the Ocean Plaza.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:41 PM
Clear skies, finally, to view the starry, starry night
This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a close-up of the red planet Mars when it was closest to the Hubble Space Telescope - just 55 million miles (88 million kilometers) away taken with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Mars was closest to Earth on Dec. 18, at 11:45 p.m. Universal Time (6:45 p.m. EST). Mars and Earth have a "close encounter" about every 26 months. These periodic encounters are due to the differences in the two planets' orbits.
Cloudy, nasty weather robbed us of a chance to see the Gemenid meteor shower at its peak; Mars at its brightest; and just the all-around crisp, clear skies that are ideal for seeing what’s going on in the winter skies.
Things get better tonight.
Expect clear skies and plenty to see, most notably, Mars is at opposition – directly on the other side of the Earth from the sun. Almost like a full moon -- which occurs when the moon is opposite the sun – Mars should be bright.
Not as bright as the moon, of course, but it will be hard to miss; an unmistakably steady, red light that rises in the east at about 5 p.m. Look for it high in the eastern sky, just above the moon, at about 10 p.m.
Find out exactly what you can see at night, no matter where you are, using this online, interactive star chart. It's super easy and very cool.
Also tonight, Sirius, the brightest star in the sky in the constellation Canis Major, should be particularly showy if you can find it just as it rises, low in the southeast sky just before 9 p.m.
The lower it is, the more it appears to twinkle – the twinkling is caused by the light refracting through disturbances in the atmosphere, and the closer to the horizon a light source is, the more atmosphere it traverses to reach our eye.
Christmas morning, Venus will rise between 5 and 5:30 in the morning in the southeast. In the west, the moon will have made it to the middle of the western sky, and Mars will be slightly below it, setting around sunrise, at 7 a.m.
Still looking for a last minute gift? Everything looks better through binoculars.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:35 PM
URI hoop team ranked 25th in AP poll
SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- The Rhode Island men's basketball team has cracked The Associated Press poll for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Rams are ranked Number 25 in the poll released today. Rhode Island was last ranked during the first week of the 1998-99 season.
The Rams have opened the year at 11-1, their best start since the 1991-92 season. They have racked up wins against Providence, Syracuse, South Florida and Alabama-Birmingham.
The team's lone loss was against Boston College.
Coach Jim Baron says the ranking is a big deal for the school considering how far the program has come in the last few years, when they typically finished near the bottom of the Atlantic 10 Conference.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 2:19 PM
Body found in Cranston still unidentified
The police say there is no new information in the death of a man found behind a fast food restaurant on Sockanosset Crossroads.
The police found the body after following up on a phone call received at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The man’s body was in a wooded area, behind 35 Sockanosset Crossroads.
The man has not been identified; the Cranston police and state medical examiner’s office are investigating the death.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Amanda Milkovitz
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:51 PM
Caroline Kennedy remembers Santa letter to her dad
NEW YORK -- Over the years, Caroline Kennedy sometimes wondered about a third-grader who wrote to her father, President Kennedy, worried that Russian bomb tests at the North Pole would kill Santa Claus.
Kennedy finally got to meet her during a segment of ABC's "Good Morning America" that aired today about Kennedy's recent best-selling book, "A Family Christmas," which includes the letter from an 8-year-old Michelle Rochon.
That girl, now Michelle Rochon Phillips, recounted what prompted her to write the October 1961 letter. She said she sat down to write the letter after hearing her parents talking at the dinner table about nuclear testing at the North Pole.
"I thought well, Santa Claus," she said, according to a transcript of the interview. "And so I ran, sat down at the footstool and wrote the letter."
Then a Marine City, Mich., third-grader, she wrote: "Please stop the Russians from bombing the North Pole because they will kill Santa Claus."
The president wrote back, and closed his note by saying, "You must not worry about Santa Claus, I talked with him yesterday and he is fine." He added, "He will be making his rounds this Christmas."
Caroline Kennedy said that for her father, as one of nine siblings, "Christmas was huge" and he appreciated the girl's fears. She said the letters capture how the anxiety of the Cold War and nuclear testing permeated everyday life.
"There's just so much about Christmas, and I think the history of Christmas and how it intersects with American history, George Washington, all the way up to President Kennedy," she said. "I think this is kind of the human side of Christmas, and how it's kind of become also a patriotic holiday and it's all wrapped up together."
Phillips, of Pensacola, Fla., told ABC's Claire Shipman that she wasn't trying to make a statement about nuclear testing when she wrote the letter.
"I was just worried about Santa Claus," Phillips said. "Worried about my Christmas."
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 11:12 AM
Still soliciting signatures for presidential primary
There are just two days left for presidential hopefuls to get their names on the ballot in time for the March 4 Rhode Island presidential primary.
Candidates need 1,000 signatures by 4 p.m. Wednesday. See how close they are to their goal on the Secretary of State's Web site.
So far, just Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani and Barack Obama have collected more than 1,000 signatures – and only Obama has more then 1,000 certified signatures.
The Republicans competing in Rhode Island are Hugh Cort, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Alan Keyes, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo-- who has dropped out of the race -- and Fred Thompson.
The Democrats are Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Ray Stebbins and Rosemary Turner.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:38 AM
Gas prices drop a penny
Gas prices in Rhode Island dropped a penny last week, according to AAA Southern New England.
The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline here is $3.069 at the self-service pump, according to AAA's weekly survey.
Prices have remained relatively steady for the past five weeks.
Still, drivers can find a wide variety of prices if they're willing to shop around. AAA found a 20-cent price range, from $2.999 per gallon to $3.199 per gallon, in its survey.
The average price here is nine cents above the national average of $2.979.
Rhode Islanders were paying just $2.429 per gallon a year ago.
Posted by Jack Perry at 10:33 AM
Regular bus schedule today; holiday schedule tomorrow
If you’re planning to take a bus or trolley today, have no fear, all services are running on a regular schedule.
But tomorrow, services run on an abbreviated holiday schedule.
Check the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority’s Web site to find what that means for your bus or trolley route.
The holiday schedule will also be in effect on New Year's Day, Jan. 1.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:30 AM
Holiday travel? Prepare to hurry up and wait
Yes, it’s sunny and clear and the snow is melting in Rhode Island, but around the country, a winter storm is being blamed for at least 11 deaths, thousands are without power and travel has ground to a halt.
More than 60 flights out of Minneapolis-St. Paul were delayed or canceled Sunday, and arriving flights were being delayed by up to three hours.
And 300 flights were canceled at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
A handful of flights departing from Rhode Island and Boston airports have been canceled this morning. Check the T.F. Green and Logan International Airport Web sites for the latest information.
Nearly 9 million people are expected to fly this holiday season, according to AAA; if you’re one of them, be sure to arrive early, but be prepared to wait.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson, with reports from The Associated Press
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:56 AM
Early morning fire in Portsmouth
Officials in Portsmouth are at the Mobil Xtra Mart on West Main Road this morning investigating an early morning fire.
According to the fire department, the two-alarm fire began just after 2 a.m. today.
There is no word on a cause, the fire chief is at the scene -- 1568 West Main Road -- investigating.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:03 AM
Ex-friends go to court over Yankee swap lottery ticket
BOSTON -- What was supposed to be a festive New England Christmas tradition has turned sour for two former friends who are taking their fight over a $200,000 winning lottery ticket to court.
Brenda White, 55, of Plaistow, N.H., won the $200,000 on a Massachusetts State Lottery $5 scratch ticket appropriately called "Bah Hum Bucks" during a Yankee swap party on Dec. 15 in Haverhill.
In a Yankee swap, participants have the option of either keeping a gift they choose, or swapping for a gift selected by someone who preceded them.
White swapped for the lottery ticket originally selected by Franco Sapia, 39, of Derry, N.H.
Before scratching the ticket, she promised to split any winnings with Sapia, according to a complaint Sapia filed in Essex Superior Court. She didn't, and Sapia is claiming half the jackpot in his lawsuit, saying there were several witnesses to the promise.
A judge has agreed to freeze the jackpot until the matter is resolved.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:02 AM
Clear sunny skies ahead
Mild, sunny, breezy ... what a change. The National Weather Service is forecasting a high temperature near 46 degrees. We'll have clear skies and a west wind up to 18 mph.
Tonight the temperature drops just below freezing. The skies should remain clear, and winds will die down to about 9 mph.
We're not going to see a white Christmas. What we get may be even better -- temperatures in the mid 40s, clear, sunny skies and mild west winds between 6 and 9 mph.
For more weather and regular updates, see projo.com/weather.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
Today's front page
Today's front page features the story of a Providence family celebrating their baby's first Christmas after he and his mother nearly died because of complications during her pregnancy.
There's also news of another win by the Patriots.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM