« January 2, 2008 |
| January 4, 2008 »
January 3, 2008
Tonight: 5 degrees, and now the meteors show up
We're talking a predicted low of 5 degrees tonight. So people really should stay inside.
Which is too bad for stargazers, who have the chance of catching the optimum sight of a meteor shower tonight. Peak viewing time in the United States is 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. -- tonight into tomorrow -- when the Quadrantids shower is expected high in the northern hemisphere.
The meteor shower's name, which may conjure a faux-science word from an abandoned script of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, came about because the meteors appear to come from abandoned constellation Quadrans Muralis, according to a summary on NASA's Web site.
NASA's Web site, in a summary, also offers this advice:
"To view the Quadrantids, dress warmly and find a dark area with a clear view of the sky. Use a tree or pole to block the light from the moon.
"Look towards the north. While the Quadrantids can be seen anywhere in the sky, they will appear to be coming from the area between Draco, Hercules and Boötes. Estimates call for between 50 to 130 meteors per hour."
For those living in these parts, dress warmly is the understatement of the year, and we're only on Jan. 3. NASA may not have had in mind cold of this kind, so stargazers will want to want to gaze from indoors, nursing a cup or three of cocoa.
Things are expected to warm up, relatively speaking, over the next few days, to a balmy high of 51 degrees expected Monday.
Tomorrow's temperature will shoot up ... to a high of 32 degrees and a low tomorrow night of 18 degrees, the latter a more than three-fold increase from tonight's low!
Yeah, that's still too cold.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 7:05 PM
Police probing harassment of Chief Esserman, family
PROVIDENCE -- City police acknowledged today they are investigating harassment of Police Chief Dean M. Esserman and his family and related “bilking” of area businesses.
Deputy Police Chief Paul J. Kennedy acknowledged the investigation but would say nothing about the nature of the harassment, the identity of the businesses or how the businesses may have been taken advantage of.
“We are conducting a criminal investigation into the harassment of the colonel and the colonel’s family, as well as the bilking of several businesses in the area” by an individual, Kennedy said. The alleged harassment began a week ago, he said.
Esserman and his wife, the former Gilda Hernandez, who is a former detective in the New York City Transit Police, reside on the East Side with their two young children. They also have an older son who attends law school.
“When we’re done (with the probe), then we’ll have more to say,” Kennedy said. Until then, he said, the police must “tread carefully” because the allegations are “serious.”
Asked why the police are being so reticent, Kennedy replied, “I’m concerned about putting together a criminal case that will stick. … This investigation is far from being completed.”
-- Journal staff writer Gregory Smith
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:34 PM
Update: Teen shot in Providence critically hurt / Photo
Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski
Police gather at the scene of the shooting in front of Yang's restaurant at Broad Street and Adelaide.
PROVIDENCE -- An unidentified 18-year-old local man was shot and critically injured in South Providence this afternoon by a youth with whom he recently fought, the police said.
A 16-year-old male suspect, also from Providence, was apprehended quickly and identified by a witness, said Deputy Police Chief Paul J. Kennedy. The suspect was being held for interrogation at police headquarters.
“We believe the two had an altercation several days prior to this,” Kennedy said. The police are unsure what led up to the physical altercation, but Kennedy ruled out gang activity.
The police withheld the names of both the alleged shooter and the victim.
Officers were called to the vicinity of Yang’s, an Asian restaurant at 924 Broad St., at about 1:45 p.m., and they found the victim outside. He was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, where he was undergoing surgery in the late afternoon, according to Kennedy.
The shooting occurred, according to witnesses, when the suspect knocked on the window of Yang’s -- the 18-year-old was inside -- and gestured for the other young man to come outside. When he did, the suspect pulled out a handgun and shot him, Kennedy said.
-- Journal staff writer Gregory Smith
At the scene the police obtained a description of the suspect and a possible first name, and a search ensued. Officers caught the suspect, who was familiar to them, in the vicinity of a house at 23 Rodman St., in South Providence. He was then brought to another location for what the police call “a show-up,” and Kennedy said a witness identified him as the shooter.
Witnesses said the shooter had been toting his handgun in a beige bag, and the deputy chief said the weapon has not been recovered.
Kennedy would not say how many times the victim was shot or where in his body he was shot.
“We’re still questioning people” and want to withhold certain details to make sure witness accounts are not tainted by publicity, he said.
The incident represents the second shooting of a person in 2008 in Rhode Island’s capital city. A man was wounded in the leg or legs in a previously undisclosed shooting on New Year’s Day, Kennedy acknowledged.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:34 PM
Update: Power back on at CCRI Warwick campus
Power is back on at Community College of Rhode Island's Warwick campus, and the campus will be open on a normal schedule tomorrow, said Kristen Cyr, a public relations officer for the college.
The campus was closed today because of an electrical outage. A coil in the campus's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system froze and broke, creating a water problem that automatically shut down the electrical system.
Employees should report to the campus tomorrow as normal. While students are on break, Cyr said some are coming to the campus for such things as registering for courses and paying bills. The operating hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:29 PM
Judge wants show-cause hearing on B.I. marina appeal
In what seems to be a positive development for Champlin’s Marina, Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel has directed lawyers litigating the Block Island marina’s controversial expansion plans to “show cause” why she should not grant an appeal of a state decision that denied its expansion.
Vogel said the hearing would be held in light of a recent Supreme Court opinion that found another state agency, the state Department of Human Services, was not following state law in its conduct of administrative hearings. That decision established standards requiring that all evidence in a hearing must be on the record and available to all parties.
Vogel said “undisputed evidence” shows that during the two years of hearings by the Coastal Resources Management Council for the Champlin’s case, council members communicated off the record with each other and with CRMC staff, particularly over an alternative, compromise expansion plan drawn up by CRMC staff.
Lawyers in the case are expected to make their arguments to Vogel in two weeks.
The Champlin’s case has been the biggest and most controversial issue heard by CRMC in a decade.
-- Journal environment writer Peter B. Lord
Extra: Read the unrelated R.I. Supreme Court decision Judge Netti Vogel is considering as she prepares her decision in this case
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 5:27 PM
Judge orders Barrington teen held in Bristol park crash
PROVIDENCE -- A clearly frustrated judge sent a Barrington teenager to the state Training School today until a hearing on Monday, noting the boy is charged with fleeing authorities at Colt State Park before slamming his car into a seawall and pinning a pedestrian.
His arrest is the latest in what is becoming a pattern of alcohol-related incidents involving Barrington teenagers.
Family Court Chief Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. said he believes in sending juveniles to the Training School for up to five days, pending a probable cause hearing, when they are accused of eluding police officers. “I believe in respecting authority,” he said.
The attorney general’s office had recommended placing the teen on “strict home confinement” that would include “Robocuff,” a voice-recognition system which would place calls to his home to ensure he remains there.
But Jeremiah accused state prosecutors of using a “double standard,” saying that a day earlier they had recommended holding another youth at the Training School in a recent unrelated case that did not involve injuries.
William Devine, a lawyer representing the teenager, argued that the boy should not be held at the Training School, saying the teen has no prior record and a supportive family. Also, Devine said the police had released the boy and had not brought him into Family Court on an emergency petition.
But Jeremiah said, “Just because the police department is stupid, doesn’t mean I’m going to be stupid.”
Family Court judges can hold juveniles at the Training School for up to five days if they conclude that they pose a danger to themselves or the community, and Jeremiah concluded this teen posed a danger to the community.
-- Journal staff writer Edward Fitzpatrick
PDF: Read a transcript of today’s Family Court proceeding / Editor’s note: The Journal has redacted the defendant’s name because he is a juvenile.
As the boy’s parents looked, the boy was handcuffed behind his back and led from the courtroom.
After the hearing, another lawyer representing the teen, Mark W. Dana, said, “The family remains concerned about the alleged victim’s well-being.”
The 17-year-old, who has not been identified by authorities, is accused of fleeing when a Department of Environmental Management officer approached his car at Colt State Park in Bristol on Saturday, Dec. 30, at about 8:15 p.m., when the park was closed.
The teen drove over the grass and slammed into a seawall along Poppasquash Road, injuring a 51-year-old man who had been walking home, prosecutors said.
The police said the youth, who was alone, failed a field sobriety test. Five full cans of beer and one empty beer can were recovered from the car, along with some marijuana.
The boy is being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol; driving while intoxicated, bodily injury resulting; underage possession of alcohol; possession of marijuana, and driving while in possession of a controlled substance.
Yesterday, Ryan Greenberg, of Barrington, pleaded not guilty to four charges, including second-degree murder, in the boating death of Patrick Murphy on the Barrington River July 17.
His Superior Court arraignment came after a statewide grand jury indicted the 17-year-old, adding the murder charge to previous allegations of operating a boat to endanger, death resulting; underage possession of alcohol; and refusing to take a breath test after he failed a field sobriety test.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:34 PM
Update: Outage closes CCRI's Warwick campus
WARWICK -- Work is under way to repair an electrical outage that closed Community College of Rhode Island's Warwick campus today.
A decision whether to open or close the campus tomorrow is expected within the next couple of hours, according Kristen Cyr, a public relations officer for the college.
A coil in the campus's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system froze and broke, creating a water problem that automatically shut down the electrical system.
To find out if the campus will re-open tomorrow, call the school's closure line: (401) 825-2344 or visit the school's Web site.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:23 PM
Update: Teen shot in Providence / Photo
Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski
Police gather at the scene of a shooting in front of Yangs restaurant at Broad Street and Adelaide.
PROVIDENCE -- An 18-year-old has been taken to Rhode Island Hospital this afternoon after being shot twice, according to James Taylor, chief of communications for the Providence Fire Department.
The shooting took place at about 1:40 this afternoon near Broad Street and Adelaide Avenue.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 4:07 PM
Traffic: Right lane of Rte. 6 west blocked at Troy St.
PROVIDENCE -- An accident is blocking the right lane on Route 6 west at Troy Street in Providence, the state Transportation Management Center advised shortly after 3:30 p.m.
Check for updates at the TMC's Web site.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 3:38 PM
Bill Belichick is NFL Coach of the Year
Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots was named the National Football League's Coach of the Year after leading his team to an undefeated regular season.
The Patriots were 16-0, making Belichick the first coach to lead his team through the season without a loss since Don Shula did it with Miami in 1972.
The perfect record earned the Patriots' coach 29 of the 50 votes from a nationwide media panel in balloting conducted by the Associated Press.
The season started with the NFL fining Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 plus the loss of a first-round pick in this year's draft after the team was caught videotaping New York Jets coaches on the sidelines Sept. 9.
Green Bay's Mike McCarthy was second in the balloting, receiving 15 votes for leading the Packers to a 13-3 record and the National Football Conference North Division title.
Dallas' Wade Phillips and Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio each received two votes, while Indianapolis' Tony Dungy and Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden got one apiece.
Belichick won the award in 2003 after leading New England to a 14-2 regular-season record, winning its final 12 games before claiming the second of three Super Bowl titles.
Posted by Mike McDermott at 2:53 PM
Reporter's query: Do you work more than one job?
For a story on people who hold multiple jobs, ProJo Jobs writer Andy Smith would like to hear from people who have two, three or even more jobs.
You can reach him at 401-277-7485 or email@example.com.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 1:46 PM
Bill would allow lt. governor to fill in if governor is away
A bill introduced in the General Assembly by Democratic lawmakers would ask voters to amend the state constitution to let the lieutenant governor fill in for the governor when the governor is away.
The proposed legislation comes in the aftermath of storm-induced traffic that paralyzed the state several weeks ago while Governor Carcieri was in the Middle East and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts was in the state. The Journal has reported that Roberts received praise and criticism for attempting but failing to take charge while the governor was out of the country.
"In case of vacancy in the office of governor or of the governor's inability to serve, impeachment, or absence from the state, the lieutenant governor shall fill the office of governor, and exercise the powers and authority appertaining thereto, until a governor is qualified to act, or until the office is filled at the next election," the legislation in part reads.
The bill also states that if the governor and lieutenant governor are vacant for various reasons -- from an absence to a death, to impeachment or resignation -- the speaker of the house would fill in for the governor's duties.
Currently, the lieutenant governor assumes power only if the governor dies, resigns, is impeached or becomes incapacitated.
The bill, introduced yesterday, has been referred to the House Separation of Powers Committee.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney and the Associated Press
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:15 PM
KB Toys closing R.I. stores
KB Toys is closing its three stores in Rhode Island, which are located at the Garden City Shopping Center in Cranston, Providence Place Mall in Providence and Narragansett Park Plaza in Rumford.
The stores are running sales and employees say they will shut their doors by the end of January.
Read more in projo.com's Biz Blog.
Posted by Jack Perry at 1:02 PM
Providence Place IMAX sale announced
National Amusements Inc., based in Dedham, Mass., has formally announced its acquisition of the Feinstein IMAX Theatre at the Providence Place Mall.
The Providence Journal reported the sale in the Biz Blog yesterday and in today's paper.
In a statement released today by National Amusements, the privately held company said it was an "opportune time" for the purchase "since the movie industry is offering more and more large format film options for moviegoers to enjoy."
Read more from the Biz Blog.
-- Journal staff writer Benjamin Gedan
Posted by Jack Perry at 12:50 PM
Coast Guard: Conditions ripe for capsizings/ Photo
Journal photo / Steve Szydlowski
Ice forms today on the railings at the boat launch at Colt State Park in Bristol.
On the roads, there’s slipping and sliding. In the water, there’s capsizing.
The Coast Guard is warning mariners that the low temperatures put boats at increased risk for capsizing as ice built up above a boat’s water line moves its center of gravity.
Cutters are patrolling the state’s harbors and are on call, ready to respond to calls within two hours of notification, according to a statement released by the Coast Guard today.
“Our apprehension level is higher at this time of year," Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Johnson, a search and rescue coordinator, said in the statement. "We're much more aggressive with our response when the possibility of icing conditions is present.”
The Coast Guard makes several recommendations to boaters looking to minimize ice build up:
• Maintain radio communication with other vessels and shore regularly
• Keep lifesaving equipment clear of ice and ready for use
• Boats can steam downwind to reduce the speed of ice formation
• Stow as much gear as possible below deck to limit surfaces ice can form on
• Keep freezing ports clear of ice to allow rapid drainage of water
• Remove as much ice accumulation as is safe for current weather conditions
What's in store for mariners? Get the latest marine forecast.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:34 PM
House panel, GOP caucus to focus on cost-cutting
PROVIDENCE -- The Democrat-led House Finance Committee meets at 2 p.m. today on Republican Governor Carcieri's layoff proposals, on the third day of a legislative session that leading lawmakers say will be consumed with shoring up a gaping budget hole.
The committee is scheduled to meet in Room 35 at the State House. The hearing will be broadcast live on Capitol TV -- Channel 15 for Cox Cable and Full Channel viewers and Channel 34 for Verizon subscribers.
Meanwhile, the House Republican caucus will hold a 3:30 p.m. news conference to outline a six-point plan they say aims to reduce spending.
According to Joe Kasegian, a publicist for the House Republican caucus, included in the proposal are 10 percent cuts in the fiscal 2009 budget for all departments, 5 percent cuts in the current year for all departments, fully carrying out the separation of powers, finding "real property tax relief," freeing schools from unfunded mandates, and having all state lawmakers pay 10 percent of their healthcare costs.
Your Turn: How would you solve the state's budget problems?
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 12:21 PM
Electrical outage closes CCRI's Warwick campus
The Community College of Rhode Island's Warwick campus is closed today, according to a report on its Web site.
An electrical outage is to blame.
To find out if the campus will re-open tomorrow, call the school's closure line: 401-825-2344 or visit the school's Web site.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:11 PM
Bristol woman accused of hosting teen drinking party
BRISTOL -- A 47-year-old woman has been charged under the state’s social host law after being accused of holding an underage drinking party at her home on New Year’s Eve at which she allegedly poured drinks for some of the minors who attended.
Jessica Thomas, of 5 Easterbrooks Ave., faces a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in prison if convicted of the misdemeanor charge of allowing minors to drink in her house. She is set to be arraigned in District Court, Providence, Jan. 9.
Twenty-two juveniles between the ages of 14 and 18 attended the party at which police found three pipes used to smoke marijuana and a variety of alcohol, including eight bottles of liquor, a bottle of wine, 48 unopened cans of beer and 30 empty beer cans and bottles, according to Lt. Nick Guercia.
Police responded to her Cape Cod-style house at 9:30 p.m. after receiving an anonymous phone call about a loud party in the area, Guercia said. Juveniles were coming and going through the front door when the police arrived. Immediately after entering the house, the officers smelled marijuana.
They found Thomas in the kitchen with about half-dozen teenagers. Most of the other partygoers were in the basement. Thomas’s teenage son was at the party, and Guercia said it appeared to be a New Year’s celebration.
-- Journal staff writer Alex Kuffner
Posted by Mike McKinney at 11:59 AM
College hoops chat today at noon
Providence Journal sportswriter Kevin McNamara, in Milwaukee for tonight's Providence College-Marquette men's basketball game, will answer questions from readers today at noon.
Send in your questions now: go to projo.com/chat, click launch chat, choose a display name (you do not need a password), enter the college hoops chat room and begin typing.
Remember not to hit enter or click send until you have finished your thought; questions will display as Kevin answers them at noon. A transcript will be posted later on the PC sports page.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 11:27 AM
Black Rep. shuts doors temporarily
The Providence Black Repertory Company hopes to reopen within a week after part of the ceiling collapsed above the company's Xxodus Café.
According to a statement, a layer of sheet rock and attached duct work fell last Thursday, damaging equipment and part of the stage and forcing the theater to close for repairs, cleanup and safety inspections.
“Rest assured that we take the safety of our patrons very seriously,” Donald King, the artistic, executive director said in a statement, “and this incident in no way reflects negligence on our part.”
King says the theater says is working with insurance agents, structural engineers and contractors to get the theater reopened and ensure that the building is safe and adheres to code.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 11:06 AM
Boat show sails into Providence
The Providence Boat show begins at noon today and continues through Sunday at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
The event involves 220 exhibitors and 300 boats in a 140,000-square foot exhibition space. There will also be vendors selling boating accessories. In addition, there will be daily demonstrations and seminars: from bass fishing to using ethanol in marine motors.
Tickets are $12 ($10 online, www.providenceboatshow.com) and free for those younger than 12. For more information, call (401) 846-1115.
Read more from today's Lifebeat section.
Posted by Jack Perry at 10:48 AM
AAA keeps busy helping drivers start cars in the cold
If your car “almost” didn’t start, or you needed a jump to get going this morning, you’re not alone.
Temperatures were in the single digits for the first time this winter, and AAA is averaging about 900 calls per hour this morning.
Think of it as a chance to identify the weak batteries before they’re dead.
“If your battery barely made it today, or we had to come get you started, it’s a good time to make sure that that battery is strong enough to make it through the winter,” David Raposa, spokesman for AAA said this morning.
Make sure your dead batteries are disposed of properly – i.e. not in the trash can. The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation in Johnston takes the batteries for a $6 fee. Or better yet, take dead batteries to a scrap yard to be recycled – and make a few dollars.
Another tip: “There is always that great benefit of slowing down in any adverse condition.”
Intersections can be especially troublesome in the winter, according to Raposa. Roads are most slippery just when ice begins to melt, he said. The constant heat from idling cars ensures that icy intersections are among the more slippery spots on local roads.
So keep an eye open at stop signs, as well as shady areas that don’t look like they get a lot of sun.
“People need to be cognizant,” Raposa said, “That snow covered roads are not the only winter conditions they’ll need to react to.”
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:39 AM
Photo: A cold wait at the bus stop
Journal photo/ Mary Murphy
Jeremy Hernandez, left, a senior at Hope High School, waits in the cold for the RIPTA bus to school at Kennedy Plaza this morning with other Hope students. The temperature in the Providence area this morning is 5 degrees, but the wind makes it feel like 16 degrees below zero.
Posted by Jack Perry at 9:08 AM
Traffic Alert: Third accident on 95
If you take Route 95 through the city, you may want to look for an alternate route this morning.
A third accident has shut down the left lane on Route 95 southbound at Exit 23/Route 146 North/Charles Street.
To see how traffic is shaping up, see the Transportation Management Center's traffic cameras online.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:42 AM
Traffic Alert: Second accident on Route 95
Another accident on Route 95 is interfering with the morning commute.
The left lane on 95 southbound at Exit 21/Atwells Ave. is closed after an accident just
before 8:25 this morning.
See traffic the latest conditions online on the Transportation Management Center's traffic cameras.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:28 AM
General Assembly, day three
PROVIDENCE – It’s day three for state legislators, and on the calendar for today is a resolution to create a commission to review a proposal.
That proposal, however, is one that could bring two-thirds of the state’s hospital services under the control of one $2 billion corporation: a merger of Lifespan and Care New England.
Read the resolution in .pdf format.
Today, the House Finance Committee is expected to focus on the governor's layoff proposal in a session predicted to be consumed with a mounting budget deficit.
To peruse the legislature's activity, check out this link, and check the committee calendars here.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:13 AM
A stopped garbage truck on Route 95 northbound has traffic slowed to a crawl.
The truck has broken down at Exit 22B/US West toward Route 10/Hartford Conn, has
For up-to-date traffic information, visit the Transportation Management Center's Web site.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:21 AM
Rhode Island joins states' suit on greenhouse gas limits
PROVIDENCE -- California and other states, including Rhode Island, are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for denying the Golden State's first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs.
The lawsuit challenges the Bush administration's conclusion that states have no business setting emission standards.
Rhode Island and eleven other states have adopted California's standards. A spokesman for Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch says he plans to join the lawsuit because California's proposed rule are critical to curbing pollution.
EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson previously denied a request from California to enforce the rules, saying it would result in a patchwork of state regulations.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Mike McKinney at 7:02 AM
Bundle up, it's cold outside
It may feel like record-breaking cold, but, believe it or not, it isn't.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a high temperature in the mid teens, but with wind chill, it should feel more like 9 degrees below zero. On this day in 1981, however, the high temperature was just 1 measly degree. So it could be worse.
Winds from the north are gusting as high as 28 mph., causing the biting, below-zero feeling, but clear skies will at least keep it sunny.
Tonight the temperature drops to about 6 degrees, as the winds shift from north to southwest at about 7 mph.
More sun tomorrow with a high temperature in the mid 30s and winds gusting as high as 22 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 a story reporting that many Rhode Island high schools are struggling to meet state standards.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM