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January 16, 2008
Tonight: Acoustic rock, jazz in Newport, and rap
From acoustic outlaws to rappers, the music scene is varied tonight.
The Acoustic Outlaws play acoustic rock at Olives, 108 North Main St., Providence. 751-1200. 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. No cover.
Cadence Green, Doggie Hi! Yippee and Chris Robertson play rock at AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence. 831-9327. 9 p.m. $6. All ages.
Loaded Dice and DJ Swing Daddy play swing at The C.V. Club, 329 Grosvenor Ave., East Providence. 434-9612. 7 to 11 p.m. Dance lesson, 7:15 pm. $7 (special events $8-$10).
Dick Lupino, Joe Esposito and Yvonne Monnett play jazz at Sardella's Restaurant, 30 Memorial Blvd., Newport. 849-6312. 7 to 9:30 pm.
Wu-Tang Clan perform rap at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, 79 Washington St., Providence. 331-5876, 272-5876, www.etix.com. 9 p.m. $35 advance; $40 day of show; $45 reserved.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:50 PM
R.I. will get about $4.5 million in heating assistance
The Bush administration has agreed to release $450 million in emergency heating assistance, which will bring badly-needed money to Rhode Island and other cold-weather states.
Rhode Island will receive about $4.5 million, just as the state was about to run out of federal money provided through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget released the money in response to a request by Sen. Jack Reed, and 36 of his Senate colleagues, in a letter sent to President Bush on Dec. 21, Reed’s office said.
“With temperatures dropping and energy prices rising, this release of LIHEAP contingency funds is sorely needed,” Reed said in a statement. “This emergency funding will help thousands of working families and seniors in Rhode Island keep their heat turned on this winter,” said Reed, who serves as the chairman of the Northeast-Midwest Coalition, a bipartisan group of senators that lobbies for policies that enhance the region’s economy and environment.
“It’s welcome news,” said Matteo P. Guglielmetti, a state official who runs the heating assistance program for Rhode Island. He said the additional money comes at a time when the state Office of Energy Resources was about to notify the community action program agencies to tell those now applying for help that they could not guarantee that any more grants could be made.
-- Journal staff writer Timothy C. Barmann
LIHEAP is a grant program in which the federal government provides money to states to pass on to people who are having trouble paying their utility bills. The government allocates a certain amount of money to fund the program, and it also sets aside a contingency fund, controlled by the president, who can release the additional money at his discretion.
There is still about $136 million left in the president’s emergency contingency fund.
Rhode Island’s share of the initial grant was about $13.5 million. That would have been enough to help only about 25,000 people, Guglielmetti said. Now, counting the contingency funds, Rhode Island will receive a total of about $18 million. That will allow the state to help an additional 4,000 families, he said. Some families may now be able to receive a second grant or a second emergency delivery of 100 gallons of heating oil, he said. LIHEAP money has already been used to pay for 3,000 such deliveries, Guglielmetti said.
Last year, the state distributed $19.5 million in LIHEAP money to about 30,000 households. About $6 million of that was carried over from the previous year.
Heating costs for those that use oil is at an all-time high mainly because of the high cost of crude oil. The average price of home heating oil in Rhode Island on Monday was $3.359 a gallon, down 7 cents from its all-time high reached last week. The average price is 41 percent higher than it was a year ago.
A typical customer that uses 666 gallons of heating oil will pay about $2,187 for heat this heating season, which is $435 or about 25 percent more than last year’s heating season, according to calculations by The Journal.
Rates for natural gas in Rhode Island have actually declined slightly compared to last winter, but they remain near their historic highs. A typical customer that uses a total of 922 therms of gas in a year (the same amount of energy in 666 gallons of heating oil) will pay $1,408 this year, which is $15, or 1 percent less than last winter.
Because the state anticipated that less money would be available this year, it cut the average amount of grants to enable more people to receive at least some assistance, Guglielmetti said.
The average grant this year was about $350, compared to about $450 last year.
Guglielmetti said that a low-income household that has run out of oil may get help through the state’s emergency heating assistance hotline. The number is (401) 574-9003.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:30 PM
Plan would exempt some small businesses from fire code
PROVIDENCE -- Small, “non-hazardous” businesses of 2,500 square feet or less would be exempt from the state’s uniform fire code, under proposed regulations developed by the state Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review and Fire Marshal Frank Sylvester.
Sylvester, Fire Board Chairman Rene Coutu, and Tom Coffey, the board’s executive director, outlined the proposals before the Senate Committee on Housing and Municipal Government today.
Some fire alarm installation deadlines would also be extended by the new regulations, and full-alarmed performance theaters that seat fewer than 500 would be allowed to operate without a full sprinkler system -- if the theaters provided double the normal exit capacity and sprinkler coverage over the stage.
The board has been refining the extensive new regulations for months, and plans to present them and take comments at a public hearing Feb. 11. The regulations could be in effect as soon as March 1, said Coffey.
Last summer, a bill that would have eased the fire code’s effects on businesses passed the Rhode Island House in the last hours of the legislative session, but died in the Senate. Leadership in the Senate said the bill came too late to review.
After the bill failed to pass, its architects -- Rep. Joseph Trillo, R-Warwick, and former Rep. Peter T. Ginaitt, D-Warwick -- and Governor Carcieri urged the Fire Board to enact many of the bill’s proposals through regulations.
The proposed changes in the bill had come from hearings conducted by the House Oversight Commission to Study the Ramifications of the Fire Safety Code, an advisory committee led last year by Ginaitt and Trillo.
The panel had been charged with studying the effects of the 2003 fire code. That code, which was approved in the months after The Station nightclub burned down on Feb. 20, 2003, killing 100 people and injuring another 200, adopted national standards, removed grandfather protection that had shielded older buildings from newer codes, and added special requirements for nightclubs and other places where people gather.
Many business owners complained that the new code required too many expensive changes to their properties, and they turned to the legislature for relief.
Coffey said the proposed regulations drew heavily from the bill that failed last year.
-- Journal staff writer Mark Arsenault
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:25 PM
Two men held without bail after home invasion
SOUTH KINGSTOWN -- Two men from Westerly and East Providence are being held without bail following the home invasion and robbery of an elderly couple Tuesday afternoon in Stonington, Conn..
Gregory Whiting, 45, and Edward Northup, 37, were arrested Tuesday and charged with a host of offenses after police pursuit through Stonington and along the coast in Westerly. They have not been charged with the home invasion, though police expected to secure an arrest warrant for one of the suspects tonight, said Stonington Capt. Jerry Desmond.
Whiting and Northup appeared today before Judge William C. Clifton in District Court, Wakefield, where they were arraigned on some of the charges related to the chase. Whiting was also charged with first-degree robbery for allegedly robbing a 7-Eleven convenience store on Route 1 in Westerly with another man early Monday morning.
Washington County Superior Court Judge Stephen Nugent then ordered them held without bail as probation violators.
-- Journal staff writer Katie Mulvaney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:40 PM
Governor has a plan to close the $150 million deficit
Governor Carcieri tomorrow will forward the General Assembly his fiscal 2008 supplemental budget plan, which he said will rely mainly on spending cuts in eight areas, to shore up a projected $151 million hole in the current year's state budget.
This fiscal year ends in June. A news release from the governor's office today did not elaborate on the eight areas for which the Carcieri administration will proposed spending reductions.
“With less than six months left in the current fiscal year, we are required to take some difficult steps to quickly resolve a projected $151 million budget shortfall,” Carcieri said in the statement.
Carcieri said his staff has already reached out to Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to talk about the options and some of the plans his office is considering.
“Based on those meetings, I believe that the General Assembly recognizes the severity of the budget problem and is willing to work with my administration to craft a solution," Carcieri stated.
Carcieri said the shortfall mainly came about because of a fall-off in state revenues such as taxes and lottery proceeds and in projected caseloads in some state financed programs.
The Governor’s plan to resolve this shortfall, which he presents tomorrow, will rely largely on spending reductions in eight specific areas.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:23 PM
Update: Michael Derderian to be paroled in October 2009
PROVIDENCE -- Michael Derderian, who pleaded no contest in the 100 Station nightclub fire deaths, will be released on parole in October 2009, about three-quarters of the way into his four-year sentence, the state Parole Board decided today.
Though the club co-owner was eligible for parole consideration after serving a third of his sentence, the board decided Derderian will be paroled after serving 37 months "with appropriate counseling."
Last week, 19 people -- some of them parents holding photos of their children, who were concert-goers lost in the blaze -- told the board they opposed Derderian getting early release.
Derderian became eligible for parole after serving 16 months. He began serving time on Sept. 29, 2006, after he and his brother, Jeffrey, pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jeffrey Derderian did not have to serve prison time under his plea agreement; he was sentenced to community service.
"The board took into consideration the testimony of the victims, both opposed and in favor of his release, the impact this crime has had on the community, his overall institutional adjustment as well as his low risk to reoffend and minimal risk to public safety," said an e-mailed statement issued on behalf of the board. "Due to the enormity of the loss and trauma suffered by many, the Board deliberately did not set another parole reconsideration date, but voted to release Mr. Derderain close to the expiration of his sentence.
One member of the board dissented. Lt. Thomas Verdi, a veteran of the Providence Police Department, supported Derderian finishing his sentence without parole.
It was not clear at this writing how many parole board members voted on Derderian's parole, and whether any were absent. The board was continuing to meet today on other parole matters.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with Journal archival reports
On Feb. 20, 2003, Daniel Biechele, who was tour manager for hard-rock band Great White, set off pyrotechnics that set afire flammable foam the Derderians had put on the walls of the West Warwick club as soundproofing. The building burned to the ground in minutes.
Biechele is slated to be put on parole in March after serving part of a four-year sentence. He pleaded guilty to illegally lighting the pyrotechnics.
More than 460 people were in the club the night of Feb. 20, far more than any of the allowable capacities for the building set out in town documents. It was one of the worst nightclub fires in the nation's history.
Extra: Full coverage of The Station fire and its aftermath .
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:46 PM
Photo: Gere takes the stage at the State House
Journal photo / Sandor Bodo
Actor Richard Gere addresses the crowd at State House today as he takes part in the official welcome for Hachiko: A Dog Story, which will be filmed entirely in Rhode Island. Gere will star in the movie, which he's also producing.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 4:12 PM
Should abused children have to testify in open court?
PROVIDENCE -- A federal judge today expressed serious concerns about whether foster children would have to "endure the rigors and, maybe, traumatic experience" of testifying in open court.
A class action brought by the state's child advocate alleges graphic incidents of child abuse.
U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux made no ruling, but scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday at 11 a.m. to review whether state Child Advocate Jametta O. Alston and interested parties have authority to represent the best interests of the foster children named in the suit that asserts the state Department of Children, Youth and Families failed to protect may children in its custody.
"Who has made the decision that that's in their best interest?" Lagueux said.
The developments came during an afternoon hearing. Lawyers from state Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch's office who represent the state's defense and the state Department of Children, Youth and Families appeared. Lawyers also appeared for plaintiffs the child advocates office and for Children's Rights, a national organization that is an advocate for abused and neglected children.
Alston said the child advocate has no plans to call children to testify but could not guarantee they would not be called. The defense could call them to testify to dispute some of the charges.
Lawyers for the state argue federal court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case, that it should be dismissed and is essentially a matter for Family Court.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with reports from Steve Peoples of the Journal State House Bureau
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:03 PM
Photo: A sweeping view of the Marble House
Journal photo / Frieda Squires
Rob Marvelle, caretaker at Marble House, and Pat Stetson, assistant caretaker, wax and buff the Gold Room floor at the Gilded Age mansion in Newport today. The Marble House is one of several owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County. The staffers have to take the furniture out of the room and have it back in place for weekend house tours. Find out more about the mansions and winter visiting hours.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 3:11 PM
CNN's Lou Dobbs to speak at Roger Williams University
Salman Rushdie. Gary Bauer. Bob Geldof. Lou Dobbs.
The group doesn't have much in common, but that's the point.
All have been invited to speak at Roger Williams University; Dobbs rounds out the group on Jan. 31, when he's slated to speak to students and the public as part of the school's Civil Discourse lecture series.
“Civil Discourse is designed to bring to campus as many points of view as possible,” University President Roy J. Nirschel said in a statement.
"... Whether they agree with him or not, Lou Dobbs will certainly energize our students.”
A Harvard graduate, Dobbs is an award-winning journalist who has worked with CNN since 1980.
He left the news network in 1999 to start Space.com, an astronomy Web site, and returned to CNN in 2001. He now hosts the Lou Dobbs Financial Report and Lou Dobbs Tonight, a popular show which has been criticized for presenting unclear or false items during its discussions on immigration.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 2:56 PM
Broken boiler = Half day for Westerly students
WESTERLY — A lack of pressure in a boiler’s fuel line resulted in chilly classrooms today at Westerly Middle School and early dismissal at 11:30 a.m.
School Supt. Thomas DiPaola said the problem was discovered at 6:30 a.m. DiPaola said he, Middle School Principal Dennis Curran and staff members from building, transportation and food service agonized over whether to send students home early.
DiPaola said they had to allow time for a repair crew to work after shutting off all the heat, but they also had to consider student safety and parental inconvenience in an early dismissal, and they didn’t want to incur a make-up day at the end of the year.
“We went as long as we could,” he said, allowing all students to eat lunch before leaving between 11:30 and 11:40 a.m. Because they spent at least half a day in school, it counted as an educational day. He said parents were notified by NIT Group’s Connect-Ed automated phone system, and that they would be notified again about classes tomorrow as soon as possible.
Information about school closings are posted on the district’s Web site.
DiPaola said the new Middle School at 10 Sandy Hill Rd. has good insulation and that no classroom got colder than 60 degrees.
-- Journal staff writer Donita Naylor
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:49 PM
Pawtucket man is indicted on molestation charges
A Pawtucket man has been indicted on charges of molesting a victim or victims 14 years old or younger in Pawtucket.
Lloyd Harrison, 43, of 70 Englewood Ave., 2nd Floor, is named in the Providence County Grand Jury indictment on two counts of second-degree child molestation and one count of first-degree child molestation, Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch's office said in a news release today. The indictment was handed up yesterday.
Harrison allegedly committed two acts of second- degree child molestation and one of first-degree child molestation between July 1 and Sept. 28 of last year.
Harrison is scheduled to be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court on Jan. 30.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:52 PM
Cicilline to meet with Federal Hill residents
Federal Hill residents get a chance to meet with the mayor tomorrow at the Mayor's Night Out get-together.
The monthly events take place in different Providence neighborhoods. Mayor David Cicilline will be on hand along with municipal department heads to answer questions and hear residents’ concerns.
Individuals or groups can have up to 10 minutes to meet with the officials, but meetings are on a first-come first-serve basis, so people seeking a meeting should be sure to show up on time.
Mayor’s night out starts at 5 p.m. and will be held at the Federal Hill House, 9 Courtland St.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 1:44 PM
Update: Carcieri plan would up retirement age
Governor Carcieri this morning proposed a set of sweeping reforms aimed at bringing property tax relief to Rhode Island communities.
The plan calls for all cities and towns that are not keeping up with contributions to their self-administered pension plans move all new employees to the state Municipal Employees Retirement System. It would also institute a minimum retirement age of 59 for nonvested municipal workers in the state’s system to make them consistent with teachers and state employees.
The proposal further calls for extending the property tax cap that now applies to all cities and towns to local fire districts, thus capping the amount these districts are allowed to raise taxes in communities that depend on fire districts.
It also recommends fixing state payments to towns and cities for properties exempt from the tax rolls.
To help eliminate the guess work that can go into local financial planning, the proposal would also allow municipalities the option of delaying the start of their fiscal year to October. That move would give cities and towns time to consider the enacted state budget – and specifically the local aid packages – before having to pass their own budgets for the coming year.
Carcieri’s proposal would also require that all new collective bargaining agreements be filed with the state – either with the Division of Property Valuation and Municipal Finance or the Department of Education – within a month of reaching a final labor agreement. It’s a proposal that Carcieri calls “a giant leap forward toward open government.”
Finally, the proposed legislation calls for a study of property tax classifications and exemption plans in cities and towns across the state with the goal of streamlining the offerings and making property taxes more equitable throughout the state.
In a joint press conference with Gary Sasse, the director of the newly created Department of Revenue, the governor called the proposals “pieces of a mosaic” that will help get local spending under control at a time when the state is trying to reign in its own spending in face of a growing deficit.
“We won’t [be able] to address the state’s problems if cities and towns are in a weak fiscal position,” Sasse said.
Each of the above proposals – submitted as one legislative bill – would need General Assembly approval. House Republicans said they intend to submit the legislation sometime this week.
-- Journal State House reporter Cynthia Needham
Posted by Jack Perry at 1:02 PM
Senate committee slated to get update on fire codes
The Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee this afternoon is slated to get a status update on revisions to state fire code regulations from the state fire marshal and the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review.
The 2 p.m. meeting will be in the State House's Room 313.
State Fire Marshal Frank Sylvester, Fire Code Board Chairman Rene R. Coutu and Fire Code Board Executive Director Thomas B. Coffey are scheduled to testify.
The hearing is open to the public and it will be taped by Capitol TV for later airing on channel 15, for Cox Communications and Full Channel subscribers, and on channel 34 for Verizon subscribers.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 12:42 PM
Who's Providence's top dog? Kennel club has answer
Who's top dog in Providence?
Not the mayor. Not even the former mayor-turned-radio-show-host.
This Lab lives up to his name.
In 2007, it was the Labrador retriever, the most popular American Kennel Club registered breed in Providence last year, the American Kennel Club announced today.
The club announced national and city findings for breeds registered during 2007 and used the news release to promote the AKA/Eukanuba National Championship dog competition on Feb. 2.
Second goes to the German shepherd. For third, there was a tie among the beagle, golden retriever and Yorkshire terrier. (However, they are listed as third, fourth and fifth, respectively).
The boxer came in sixth. And the dog that makes hearts melt because it has a smooshed face that appears to be melting: seventh goes to the pug. The kennel club notes this marks the third year in a row the pug has cracked Providence's top 10.
The poodle came in eighth. The bulldog was ninth in a tie with the Doberman pinscher.
"The intelligent, athletic Doberman pinscher experience a surge in popularity in Rhode Island's capital city, and now sits tight among Providence's top 10 dogs," the kennel club release said.
The kennel club news release says that despite ranking fifth in Providence last year, the dachsund didn't make the top 10 this year. However, the breed was seventh nationally this year, according to the club's findings.
“Providence residents may live in a small state, but they choose big dogs as their pets,” Lisa Peterson, American Kennel Club spokeswoman, said in the statement. “Half of the city’s top 10 breeds are large dogs, and although the small Shih Tzu and dachshunds have scampered up to high positions on the nation’s Top 10, those breeds still don’t make the cut in Providence.”
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 11:55 AM
2 R.I. men to be arraigned in home invasion, chase
WESTERLY – Two Rhode Island men are due in court this morning after they allegedly broke into a Connecticut home and assaulted the occupants before leading the police on a chase that ended in Westerly.
Edward G. Northup, 37, of Westerly, and Gregory L. Whiting, 45, of East Providence, are scheduled to be arraigned on a host of charges, including disorderly conduct, obstruction of police officers, assault, and vandalism.
They also face fugitive charges for allegedly breaking into an elderly couple’s home in Stonington, Ct., yesterday.
The Stonington police say Northup and Whiting assaulted the couple, and stole money and valuables, before leading police on a chase that ended with the suspects’ arrests in Westerly.
The police said they received a call from a man who lives in the lower Pawcatuck section of Stonington at 4:25 p.m., stating that his house had been broken into and he and his wife had been assaulted.
After the call went out over police radio, an officer patrolling near Pawcatuck spotted a car matching the description, and the suspects led the police on a chase through downtown Pawtcatuck and into Westerly, the Stonington police said.
The chase ended when the suspects’ car crashed into a yard on Pearl Street in Westerly, and the two men were soon arrested.
The police said that the female victim was seriously injured and was taken to Westerly Hospital for treatment. The male victim did not need medical attention.
The police were not releasing the names of the victims, and did not release the address of the alleged home invasion or the amount of money said to be taken.
The investigation continues with assistance from detectives from both departments.
The men are to be arraigned in Fourth District Court, Wakefield.
-- With reports from Journal staff writer Daniel Barbarisi
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:40 AM
Providence honoring 2 for commitment to civil rights
Two former state politicians will be honored tonight at the 5th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hall of Fame ceremony.
Julius C. Michaelson and Joseph E. Newsome will be recognized for their commitment to nonviolence and the community of the slain civil rights leader who would have been 79 years old yesterday.
Michaelson was a state legislator for 12 years and served as state attorney general in the 1970s when he acted as an advocate for fair housing, consumer protection, pollution control, conservation, open public meetings and collective bargaining.
Newsome is also a former state legislator, and headed the South Providence Development Corporation, the headquarters for which he turned into a model for energy efficient development.
This is the third annual Hall of Fame Ceremony; a tradition started by Mayor David Cicilline on the 40th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington. Inductees will have their names engraved in a permanent plaque in City Hall.
The ceremony is set to begin tonight at 7 at the Rhode Island Convention Center Rotunda.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:05 AM
Mass. to count bald eagles
BELCHERTOWN, Mass. -- Wildlife officials and volunteers will be fanning out along Massachusetts waterways in search of bald eagles.
The annual count of the once-endangered birds is being conducted today as part of the nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey.
Among the sites being surveyed are the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, the Merrimack River in Newburyport and two adjacent ponds in Lakeville.
A year ago, observers spotted at least 47 bald eagles in Massachusetts. The state's all-time high came in 2005, when 75 were counted.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 9:55 AM
Judge: Government had no right to seize JFK sailboat
BOSTON -- A federal judge has ruled that the government had no right to seize and auction a sailboat once owned by John F. Kennedy.
The 22-foot sailboat was taken in 2004 by the government, which alleged a convicted marijuana dealer used drug-related profits to set up the purchase of the boat around 1996 by several investors.
But Judge William Young says the government failed to prove drug money was used to buy and refurbish the boat.
He ordered the government to pay $125,000 to one of the boat's co-owners, Dr. Kerry Scott Lane.
The government says it will appeal, and so does Lane. He says the boat is much more valuable and he should have been awarded more.
Kennedy raced the sloop as a teenager. He sold it in 1942, right before he shipped out to the Pacific in World War II.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 9:42 AM
Last day to register to vote in Mass. presidential primary
If you're a Massachusetts resident looking to vote in the Feb. 5 presidential primary, and you have not yet registered to vote, today's your last chance to do so.
You may register in person at your local city or town hall. Or you can download a registration form and mail it in, as long as it carries today's postmark.
Download a registration form by clicking here. It's a generic form, with details about Massachusetts registration (and all other states) attached. You'll need to mail it to this address: Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division, Room 1705, One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108.
Heads up: You'll also need to provide identification to register, and a copy of a suitable type if you mail in a form.
Online submission of voter registration is not available.
For more information about voting in Massachusetts, visit the secretary of state's Elections Division Web site. Of you may call the Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 8:40 AM
Traffic Alert: Hydraulic fluid spill causing jam on Rte. 6
PROVIDENCE -- City trucks were on their way to Route 6 and Hartford Avenue where a leaky truck was causing a backup on the eastbound part of the highway.
The truck broke a hydraulic line, according to James Taylor, chief of communications for the Providence fire department. Sand trucks were called out to try to soak up the fluid.
-- projo.com Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:24 AM
Carcieri, Sasse to unveil bill to ease local tax burden
PROVIDENCE -- Governor Carcieri and his choice for the new director of the Department of Revenue, Gary Sasse, are scheduled to announce legislation today "designed to implement reforms in cities and towns necessary to bring relief to local taxpayers," the governor's office said last night.
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 will be at 10:30 a.m. in the State House's State Room.
Sasse's nomination is headed to the full Senate for approval next Wednesday. At a Senate panel hearing yesterday, several legislators asked him if he intended to delve into how much “bang for the buck” Rhode Island is getting from its much-ballyhooed tax credit for television and movie productions.
A little over a year ago, in a Journal story exploring the impact of the film tax credits, Sasse, then head of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a business-backed research group, said: “We are concerned that the film tax credit is not creating permanent jobs and investment in Rhode Island.”
The question came as actor Richard Gere heads to the State House today for a press conference on his new movie, "Hachiko: A Dog Story", to be filmed entirely in Rhode Island.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 8:13 AM
Actor Richard Gere to appear at State House
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 today.
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.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael McKinney
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:10 AM
Parole board to decide on Derderian's parole today
PROVIDENCE -- A week ago, furious relatives of some of the 100 people killed by The Station nightclub fire implored the state parole board to keep one of the club owners behind bars.
Now, Michael Derderian gets a chance to tell the board why he should be freed less than halfway into his four-year prison sentence.
Derderian, a co-owner of The Station nightclub, was scheduled to meet in prison today with the parole board, which will announce later in the day whether he'll be released early from jail.
He's eligible for parole after serving 16 months of his sentence, which he began in September 2006 after he and his brother, Jeffrey, pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jeffrey Derderian was spared jail time under his plea agreement.
The Feb. 20, 2003, fire at the West Warwick club began when the rock band Great White set off pyrotechnics that ignited highly flammable foam that the Derderians installed as soundproofing on the club's walls. Besides the 100 people killed, more than 200 others were injured.
Former Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele is also serving a four-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegally lighting the pyrotechnics. But he's due out on parole in March and had the backing of many victims' relatives when he became eligible last fall.
In contrast, nearly 20 victims' relatives and survivors told the parole board last week that Derderian should be forced to serve out his entire prison term.
They said he had not shown adequate remorse and had shirked his responsibility as a nightclub owner to keep his patrons safe. Besides the foam, prosecutors say the club was often overcrowded, hosted other bands that used pyrotechnics and had other dangerous conditions.
Parole board chairwoman Lisa Holley has said that the while the board takes into account input from victims' relatives, it also considers factors such as the inmate's remorse, acceptance of responsibility and plans for life after prison.
Derderian's lawyer, Kathleen Hagerty, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:02 AM
A brisk start and then a high of 38 degrees
It's cold out there. Very cold. But with the National Weather Service forecasting a high temperature near 38 degrees, we're just about at the average temperature of 37.
We can expect sunny skies again today, and gusty winds as high as 23 mph.
Tonight the temperature drops to the mid-teens and lower winds to about 9 mph.
Clouds are set to return tomorrow, and temperatures should be the same, reaching about 36 degrees.
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 about the 100th anniversary celebration of the federal courthouse building in Providence, which will include a visit from U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM