« January 14, 2008 |
| January 16, 2008 »
January 15, 2008
Tonight: Wyclef Jean plays at Lupo's, Idol returns to Fox
After weather canceled the show last night, Wyclef Jean plays tonight at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence.
The show starts at 9 p.m. at the venue at 79 Washington St. All tickets for the original date will be honored tonight.
For more of tonight's shows around the state, check out projo.com's listings.
Want to take a peak of some of tomorrow's performers? American Idol returns tonight for its seventh season -- ! -- with a two-hour show starting at 8 p.m. that continues tomorrow night.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:56 PM
23 of Caprio's staff to lose week's pay in budget move
PROVIDENCE -- State Treasurer Frank Caprio's managers will lose a week of pay as part of his effort to address the state's budget crisis.
Caprio says 23 nonunion employees will forfeit approximately $50,000. The furloughs will be scheduled over the next 18 months.
Rhode Island is facing a $600 million budget deficit spread between the fiscal year ending in June and the one following. Caprio tells WJAR-TV that his budget plan is a symbolic step since it won't solve the state's financial problems.
He hopes other state agencies will take similar steps.
Last year, Governor Carcieri proposed furlough days for state workers, but he later abandoned the plan amid intense opposition.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:54 PM
Calling hours, funeral for Roomful of Blues trumpeter set
Visiting hours for those who wish to pay respects to the family of for Bob Enos, the trumpeter from Roomful of Blues who died last week, will be Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. and the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Highway (Route 28), Wareham, Mass.
The funeral will be held on Friday at 9 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Patrick's Church, 82 High St., Wareham at 10 a.m. Interment will be in St. Patrick's Cemetery, Wareham.
-- Journal pop music writer Rick Massimo
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:45 PM
Actor Gere to star at State House event tomorrow
PROVIDENCE -- The Rhode Island Film and Television Office announced that actor Richard Gere, who is starring with Joan Allen in a movie that will be filmed entirely in Rhode Island, is due to take the stage at the State House tomorrow.
Gere, who is also the movie's producer, is expected in the State House rotunda at 2 p.m. as part of an official welcome for the filming of Hachiko: A Dog Story, which will be directed by Academy Award nominee Lasse Hallstrom, who did Cider House Rules, Chocolat and The Hoax.
The film and television office said in a news release that the new movie is based on a true story of a professor who adopts an abandoned dog who becomes his best friend, "a relationship that changes both of their lives as they form an unbreakable bond."
Governor Carcieri's schedule indicates the governor is expected to attend.
Movie producers, Vicki Shigekuni Wong and Bill Johnson, are also expected.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:53 PM
Governor to announce bill aimed at easing local taxes
PROVIDENCE -- Governor Carcieri and new Department of Revenue director Gary Sasse will announce legislation tomorrow "designed to implement reforms in cities and towns necessary to bring relief to local taxpayers," the governor's office said this evening.
The “Municipal Fiscal Responsibility Act" has seven provisions that will "reduce taxpayer costs at the city and town level, while ensuring greater accountability," the news release said.
The statement did not provide details about how, but said the news conference tomorrow will be at 10:30 a.m. in the State House's State Room.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:46 PM
Ethics panel to prosecute former E. Providence mayor
PROVIDENCE -- Stepping into a partisan battle over East Providence’s election apparatus, the state Ethics Commission today voted to prosecute the city’s former mayor, Joseph S. Larisa Jr., for violating the state’s ethics code in representing a local official before the city council.
Larisa signed on as the unpaid lawyer to defend Thomas Riley, the sole Republican member of the East Providence Canvassing Authority, in a disciplinary hearing stemming in part from a reference to "swapping spit" in an e-mail Riley sent to another authority member, a Democrat.
The complaint against Larisa, a Republican, was filed by John F. Conley, the head of East Providence’s Democratic party. It accused Larisa of violating the state’s "revolving door" law, which forbids former officials from representing themselves or anyone else before the agency they belonged to for a year after leaving the position. Its purpose is to keep public officials from abusing their influence immediately after they leave office.
Larisa said today that the ban shouldn’t apply to him because he represented Riley for free, but the commission decided otherwise.
"They don’t think free public service is an exception to the ’revolving door’ ban. I think it is," Larisa said.
Larisa lost to current Mayor Isadore Ramos Jr. during a disputed election and recount in 2006 for the single at-large seat on the East Providence City Council, and Ramos was sworn in to replace him in December. Seven months later, Larisa represented Riley before the council, which was considering disciplining Riley.
-- projo.com staff writer Bruce Landis
The dispute that put Riley before the City Council grew out of a years-long dispute over the conduct of the city Canvassing Authority, its handling of the city’s voter rolls, its meeting times, access to its records and other issues. The immediate cause was a series of e-mail messages Riley sent to authority chairwoman Dorothy O’Gara, a Democrat. One said that O’Gara should "spend less time swapping spit and holding hands" with canvassing clerk MaryAnn Callahan and more time studying state election law.
Just what that meant came up at the council session where Larisa represented Riley. "Swapping spit" is a slang reference to kissing, and applying it to two women offered further rude implications that council members took note of. Riley, on the other hand, says he was only referring to a game where boys sealed a deal by spitting on their hands and shaking on it.
The council gave Riley a written reprimand.
The next step in Larisa’s case is a trial-like hearing before the commission, with the commission staff presenting the prosecution case and the defendant’s lawyer presenting his side. The other choice, one that prominent public officials have almost universally chosen instead of letting the prosecution play out, has been negotiating a settlement, normally accompanied by a sizable fine, with the commission.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:40 PM
House panel to air bills banning drivers from 'texting'
The House Corporations Committee is slated to hold a hearing today on bills that would prohibit people from sending text messages while driving.
One bill is sponsored by Rep. Joanne M. Giannini, D-Providence, and the other bill is sponsored by Rep. Joseph McNamara, D-Warwick.
A survey last year by AAA and Seventeen magazine found that 46 percent of drivers 16- and 17 years old said they text-message while driving, according to a New York Times article. Several states already have a ban on such messaging.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:07 PM
Former URI development official dies in Mass. crash
Robert Turcotte, who spearheaded the money-raising that built University of Rhode Island's Ryan Center, was struck and killed Sunday evening by a tractor-trailer on Route 128 in Massachusetts.
Turcotte, 44, who grew up in Woonsocket and was living in Holliston, Mass., had pulled his 2003 Dodge Durango into the breakdown lane on Route 128 south in Weston, a Boston suburb, and got out, a state police news release said.
Photo courtesy of URI
He was struck "while standing in the vicinity of the white fog line separating the breakdown lane and the right travel lane" by a tractor trailer driven by James Glovacki, 55, of Greenfield, Mass., according to the police.
Police responded at about 5:50 p.m. Turcotte was declared dead at the scene. Glovacki was uninjured.
Turcotte had been associate vice president for development at URI, leaving in 2000. After being hired in the late 1990s, Turcotte led a staff that brought in the large early donations for what would become the Ryan Center -- six- and seven-figure gifts -- in what ultimately became a $15 million campaign, the largest for a URI building and one that exceeded goals, said Paul Witham, associate vice president at URI.
Events such as Rams men's basketball games -- a team that's made the Associated Press's top-25 polls for weeks running now -- had been held in the old Keaney Gymnasium. The Ryan Center, which opened in fall 2002, doubled capacity for fans and now plays host to entertainment events such as rock concerts.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Witham said Turcotte put in place procedures and protocols that were the foundation for the fund-raising that continued.
In an interview today, Witham said he had talked with Turcotte about five weeks ago. Turcotte spoke of his wife, son and daughter.
Witham remembered Turcotte saying his son was playing hockey, doing skills on the ice that Turcotte said he couldn't do when he was the same age, Witham recalled. And Turcotte spoke of his parents, who had moved to Cumberland.
"I'm in shock," said Witham, who'd been out for a couple of days and was walking in this morning when he heard what had happened. "He was a very well-liked guy," Witham added, who was known to stay in touch with URI colleagues over the years.
The crash is under investigation with help from State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:00 PM
Photo: Don't dump on the Pats
Journal photo / Bob Breidenbach
A front-end loader dumps snows over the rail on the top level of the walkways at Gillette Stadium, as workers clear the remains of Monday's storm in preparation for the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargeers on Sunday. The long-range weather forecast for Foxboro calls for light snow on Thursday night, followed by freezing rain on Friday. Sunday is expected to be mostly cloudy, brisk and cold, in the 20s.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 4:37 PM
Providence store penalized for selling beer to minors
PROVIDENCE -- A Smith Hill liquor store was fined $1,000 and ordered to close for 5 days after its owner was nabbed selling a six-pack of beer to a minor.
The board's vice chairman, State Rep. Gordon D. Fox, D-Providence, said Shawn Merilan, owner of SNM Liquors, showed a “a total lack of any understanding” of how to screen minors at his store.
This was Merilan's third offense.
In late November, he sold a six-pack of beer to a 20-year-old student who was working with the Providence police. The sting operation was initiated by the Barrington police after the department learned that a teenage driver who was involved in a fatal crash had consumed alcohol that two teenagers bought at SNM.
On Nov. 5, 16-year-old Jonathan Converse of Barrington died when the car he was riding in, driven by 17-year-old Michael Silveira, went off the road and struck a tree.
In addition to the fine, SNM Liquors was ordered to close for 5 consecutive days, beginning Jan. 31. Fox today said he wanted to ensure that the closure included a weekend, typically a lucrative day for business.
Merilan was not at today's hearing. He can appeal the ruling or the penalty to the State Department of Business Regulation within 10 days.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson, with reports from Journal staff writer Gregory Smith
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:45 PM
Caution: Falling snow
projo.com photo/Brandie M. Jefferson
Yesterday's snow brought the fear of slipping and falling. Today's mild temperatures bring the threat of falling chunks of melting slush. Caution tape lines the Alice Building on Union Street, where throughout the day, snow dropped from the building's roof.
Tonight, it could rain and then the temperature could drop into the low 20s. That combination could create another risk: ice on the sidewalks and roads.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:39 PM
Man apparently hangs himself in Woonsocket jail cell
WOONSOCKET -- A Boyden Street man apparently used his own shirt to hang himself inside a jail cell here last night.
The state police are investigating with assistance from the Woonsocket police.
Robert Dumont, who had been arrested at about 10 p.m. on breaking-and-entering charges, was found hanging at about 10:45 p.m. after an officer went to check on him.
Deputy Chief Richard Dubois said today that Dumont, who lived in an apartment building at 63 Boyden St., was arrested after he had allegedly broken into another apartment in the building.
When officers arrived, Dumont acted belligerantly and may have been drinking, according to the police. The police used pepper spray to try to subdue Dumont, but it appeared to have no effect, the police said. Several officers had to restrain Dumont to get him into a police cruiser.
At the police station, two police dispatchers monitor cells and another officer processes prisoners and checks on prisoners hourly, according to the police. One of the dispatchers had seen Dumont standing near the door. The dispatcher noticed that Dumont had been in the same position for a time. The dispatcher had the officer go check on Dumont, and the officer found Dumont hanging at about 10:45 p.m
Dumont's shirt was tied to a cross bar on the cell door, the police said.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with reports from Journal staff writer Tatiana Pina
Posted by Mike McKinney at 2:20 PM
Photo: This winning scene lights up the night
Journal photo / Kris Craig
Last night, before the 7to7 blog closed up shop, we were able to tell you who won the annual Scenes of Rhode Island competition. Today, we can show you. It's the watercolor titled "WaterFire 2007" by Deane S. Lawrence, of Providence. Lawrence receives a $1,000 prize, and limited edition posters of his work will be made.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 1:45 PM
Firefighters respond to two fires in Cranston
CRANSTON -- Firefighters have responded to two fires, one on Spectacle Street and the other at 7 Council Rock Road, the fire dispatch said.
Further information was not available.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:19 PM
Former doc sentenced for steroids in R.I. and now N.Y.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A former doctor was sentenced to prison for 3 to 6 years on charges stemming from Albany County prosecutors' multistate investigation into illegal sales of steroids and other drugs.
Ana Santi, 69, pleaded guilty in March to a single felony count of criminal diversion of prescription medications as part of a plea agreement. She was sentenced Monday by Judge Stephen Herrick, a court clerk said.
In November, she was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence to two years in federal prison for writing illegal prescriptions for a New Jersey-based business.
In New York State, a 13-count count indictment in January charged the Queens resident with signing prescriptions for Internet customers of a Florida-based health clinic without ever seeing them, signing prescriptions without a valid medical license and forging the name of another doctor.
Santi's New York license to practice medicine was revoked in 1999.
So far, 11 people have pleaded guilty in Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares' probe into Internet sales of prescription drugs. It is illegal in New York for doctors to write prescriptions for patients they don't see in person.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:17 PM
Organic fertilizer plant to be built at Central Landfill
A Boston-based company today announced it is executing a lease to build a 40,000-square-foot organic fertilizer plant on the grounds of the Central Landfill property in Johnston, which is run by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.
In a news release, Converted Organics said it is executing a lease option, the second such contract to build a plant. The first is for one under construction in Woodbridge, N.J.
"The option to lease the Rhode Island property for development of Converted Organics' second facility represents a significant milestone for our company," Ed Gildea, president and chief executive officer of Converted Organics, said in the statement. "Converted Organics is now exceptionally well-positioned at the cross-roads of three significant global economic trends: The explosive growth in organic farming, the critical need for sustainable solid waste recycling solutions, and the overwhelming demand for green technology investment opportunities."
The plant will be used for processing of organic materials such as food waste into liquid and solid fertilizer for retail, turf management and agribusiness markets, the company stated. It will process, at full capacity, up to 200 tons per day, or 60,000 tons annually.
Material that would otherwise be put in the landfill will be diverted to the fertilizer product plant, which Converted Organics anticipates will be running in 2009.
The company said the new plant will increase the recycling rate within Rhode Island and the landfill's life by eliminating 10 to 15 percent of waste now deposited there. The company asserted the plant will help "in preventing associated increases in greenhouse gas emissions."
"We are excited that our partnership with RIRRC will not only will help Converted Organics satisfy the significant demand for our products, but also bring multiple new jobs to the Johnston community," Gildea stated.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:07 PM
Photo: And the walls are a-tumblin' down
Journal photo / Andrew Dickerman
Demolition continues today on the old food and produce market in Providence, after a judge's ruling yesterday opened the door for a Johnston developer to send in the backhoes. Read more about Carpionato Properties' latest action involving the building, and reaction to it, and see a gallery of photos, past and present.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 12:54 PM
Civil rights roundtable tonight to mark MLK's birthday
PROVIDENCE -- Martin Luther King Jr. Day may not be until Monday, but the slain civil rights leader would have been 79 years old today.
To commemorate his birthday, a coalition of community groups from the state are meeting tonight for a civil rights round table where discussion will focus, not on the 1960s, but on civil rights issues facing Rhode Islanders today.
The executive director of the Newport County Chamber of Commerce, Keith Stokes, will be the keynote speaker. A descendant of Newport's early African-American and Jewish families, Stokes is set to speak about immigration in the context of the nation’s history.
State politicians, activists, lawyers, and law enforcement representatives will be on hand to talk about issues as wide ranging as rights for people with disabilities to racial profiling.
Representatives from the General Assembly, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Public Defenders Office and other groups will be on hand.
After the presentations comes the party. Gospel, jazz, food and drinks will close the event, set to begin at 5:30 this evening at the newly re-opened Providence Black Repertory Theater, 276 Westminster St. in Providence.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:17 PM
Live college basketball chat today at noon
Journal sportswriter Kevin McNamara will answer questions from readers on the local college basketball scene today at noon.
To participate, 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 your question.
Remember not to hit enter or click send until you have finished your thought; questions will display as Kevin answers them.
A transcript of the chat will be posted later today on projo.com.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 11:57 AM
Pawtucket shelter gets heating help from Kennedy effort
U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy joins his cousin Joseph Patrick Kennedy II, a former Massachusetts congressman, today to present a check for heating assistance at a Pawtucket shelter.
Citizens Energy, run by Joseph Kennedy, provides heating oil to families living in poverty and shelters. Today the organization will present the New Hope Shelter with a check to help cover electricity and natural gas costs.
New Hope caters to families in Central Falls and Pawtucket. Last year almost 50 families spent time at the shelter.
Citizens Energy was founded in 1979. Its biggest crude oil supplier is CITGO, the national oil company of Venezuela.
The announcement is scheduled for 11:30 at the New Hope Shelter, 4 Branch St., Pawtucket.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 11:23 AM
National Grid taking to the air for South County wiring
A helicopter used by National Grid, the state's dominant electricity distributer, is scheduled to begin today the restringing of wires in East Greenwich and North Kingstown as part of its $25 million Southern Rhode Island Transmission Project.
The helicopter will fly about 150 feet above the ground and be used to install pulling ropes which will be placed in rollers attached to the poles. The ropes will be tied to the wires, and both will be pulled through the rollers to complete the wire installation. The job is expected to take three to five days.
National Grid is using the helicopter to avoid any damage that heavy equipment might cause the environmentally-sensitive areas along the right of way where the work is being done. The flights are scheduled to start in an area near the intersection of Routes 2 and 4. A staging area for take-offs and landings will be established on the north side of Old Baptist Road.
Overall, the project will replace 13.5 miles of existing 115 kilovolt transmission lines, adding about 12.3 miles of new lines along an existing right of way. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2008, also includes a new substation and upgrades to an existing substation.
-- Journal staff writer John Kostrzewa
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 11:18 AM
Newport police offer driving classes for seniors
The Newport police department is offering a series of classes for seniors who are looking to sharpen their driving skills.
At “Driving Through Their Ages,” seniors will have access to medical and auto specialists, and a chance to ask questions and practice driving skills.
The seven classes are free for seniors, and will be held on Wednesday evenings, from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. at the Newport Police Station assembly room, beginning Feb. 20.
Be sure to bring a valid drivers license and a registered vehicle. Class size is limited to 20.
For more information, call Officer Parsonage at 845-5864 or Officer Piermont at 845-5865.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:09 AM
Tomorrow's topic: School violence
State troopers who were among the first to respond to the Virginia Tech shooting will join Rhode Island officials tomorrow to discuss school violence.
The conference on school shooting and school violence, sponsored by Governor Carcieri and state police superintendent Col. Brendan Doherty, is set to take place at Bryant University in Smithfield.
The April 16th shooting at Virginia Tech left 33 people dead and prompted school officials across the country to reexamine security and safety measures on campus.
U.S. Attorney Robert Corrente, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, and other state and local officials are scheduled to speak on best practices, team response, civil liability, and other issues surrounding school violence.
The conference, which is partially funded by the Target Corporation, is set to begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow at the Bryant University Grand Hall of the George E. Bello Center.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:40 AM
Photo: Sun rising over West Greenwich
projo.com photo/ Beth Heaney
The sun begins to emerge from behind the trees and clouds near Nooseneck Hill Road in West Greenwich at about 7:30 this morning. The region could get more snow today. The National Weather Service says snow showers are possible after noon.
Posted by Jack Perry at 8:34 AM
Some post offices extend hours for passports
Attention jet-setters: the Post Office is extending hours for passport services this weekend to help speed up the application process.
The Barrington Post Office at 200 Middle Highway will have extended hours this Saturday. Photo services and postal workers will accept applications until 3 p.m.
Applicants will need to bring a completed application, proof of citizenship, proof of identity, two passport pictures and payment -- $97 for adults 16 and older, and $82 for children.
To download applications and find out which forms of identification are accepted at the USPS passport Web site.
Click below to see which Massachusetts locations will also keep extended hours.
The following Massachusetts Post Office locations will stay open until 3 p.m. this Saturday to offer passport services:
8 East Main St., Avon
169 Broad St., Bridgewater
120 Commercial St., Brockton
16 Thomas Patten Drive, Randolph
108 First Parish Road, Scituate
31 Porter St., Stoughton
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:13 AM
Former councilman in court on teen sex charge
A former Central Falls councilman is set to appear in court today after the police say they found him in a car, partially dressed, with a 15-year-old in the back seat.
Luis Gil, who resigned as a Central Falls councilman, was arrested Nov. 12. He faces additional charges after an investigation following his arrest.
Gil and the boy are alleged to have met in August while the boy waited for a RIPTA bus in Pawtucket, according to state police Capt. Stephen Lynch. Gil allegedly approached the boy, but the boy declined to go with him and got on the bus, Lynch said.
Gil followed the bus until the boy got off, and agreed to to with the councilman, Lynch said. They drove to Lincoln Woods in Lincoln, where they allegedly engaged twice in consensual sex, Lynch said.
They later went to the former rectory of the Notre Dame Church, which is privately owned, where they had consensual sex a third time, according to Lynch.
Gil faces four charges of third-degree sexual assault, which involves a defendant older than 18 who engages in sexual penetration with someone between 14 and under 16.
He is set for a pre-arraignment conference today in District Court, Providence.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:19 AM
Sen. Reed heading to Iraq today
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed will travel to Iraq today for his 11th visit there since 2003, his office announced.
The Rhode Island Democrat, a West Point graduate and Armed Services Committee senior member, is slated to meet with American commanders and Rhode Island soldiers serving there before returning to the United State on Jan. 19.
The U.S. military last week launched Operation Phantom Phoenix, an offensive aimed at "cracking down on al Qaeda-aligned terrorists and other insurgents in Iraq," Reed's office said.
Reed served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an infantry platoon leader.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael McKinney
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:02 AM
More snow possible
The snow is gone, for now, but there's a chance of more, after noon. Meanwhile, we'll see cloudy skies, a mild west wind and a high temperature near 36 degrees.
More snow may fall tonight, before 9 p.m. Clouds should clear later, as the temperature drops to the low 20s.
Tomorrow, look for sunny skies, and a high temperature near 37 degrees.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
Today's front page
Today's front page features a story on yesterday's snowstorm and the state's reaction to it following the problems of the December storm that crippled traffic and stranded Providence students on buses.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM