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January 25, 2008
Weekend: Heavy metal, white lace and promises
Still firming up weekend plans for this weekend? (We pretty much know what most of you have in mind for next weekend).
The 2008 Northeast International Auto Show is at the Rhode Island Convention Center tomorrow and Sunday. More than two dozen manufacturers are at the show, displaying their 2008 models, a collection of hybrid vehicles and pre-production 2009 vehicles.
The Convention Center is at 1 Sabin St., Providence. Today’s hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; tomorrow, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children age 7 through 12. For more information, visit: www.motortrendautoshows.com.
Looking for something a little less metallic?
Try the Grand Bridal Show, Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet, 60 Rhodes Place, Cranston, also tomorrow and Sunday.
Exhibitors, fashions shows (1 and 4 pm). Sat 11 am-5 pm, Sun 10 am-5 pm. $15 advance, $20 at the door. For more information, call 785-4333, or go to www.thegrandbridalshow.com.
See what else is going on around our area by visiting projo.com's calendars page.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 7:00 PM
Riverpoint Lace Works sold, saving jobs
Journal file photo / Kathy Borchers
The Riverpoint Lace Works mill, in West Warwick.
An investment group has purchased the Riverpoint Lace Works in West Warwick, preserving more than 50 manufacturing jobs.
In November, the business filed for state receivership, a form of bankruptcy, raising the possibility that its equipment could be sold for scrap to pay back creditors.
Instead, the Palmisciano-Ponte Investment Group bid $300,000 to buy the company and continue operating it, Peter Palmisciano Jr. said during a press conference tonight.
"We saw an opportunity," Palmisciano said. "We feel we can walk in and help businesses turn around."
Posted by Benjamin N. Gedan at 6:58 PM
Sen. Badeau of Woonsocket dies of cancer at 71
Longtime state Sen. Roger R. Badeau, who had pancreatic cancer, died today at his Woonsocket home. He was 71.
Friends and colleagues of the Democratic senator mourned his loss, saying he had the ability to bring together labor and business leaders for a common objective.
Badeau had served in the Senate since 1985. He represented District 20, in Cumberland and Woonsocket. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor since 1992 and a member of the Senate Housing and Municipal Government Committee.
This afternooon, Governor Carcieri ordered Rhode Island state flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor the senator.
"Senator Badeau was a dedicated and respected public servant. We were proud to call him a colleague, and even more proud to call him a friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lucille, his children, Marc and Renee and his entire family,” said Senate President Joseph A. Montalbano in a written statement.
The senator helped to bring Rhode Island out of a crisis in its workers' compensation system in 1990. More recently, he pushed successful legislation to allow Rhode Islanders access to less expensive Canadian pharmaceuticals, as well as legislation repealing one of the last remaining blue laws, allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays, according to the Senate press office.
-- Journal staff writer Tatiana Pina
Badeau was a member of the former House District 66 Committee. He served as vice chairman of the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Board of Directors for over a decade. He was a member of the Workers Compensation Advisory Commission since 1995, and the Unemployment Insurance Board. He served as board director of the Woonsocket Energy and Hydro Board from 1978 to 1982.
He was involved in numerous civic and social organizations, including the Italian Workingmen’s Club; Circle Laurier, Inc.; Club Par-X; the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge 850; St. Joseph’s Veterans Association; and as president of St. Joseph’s Parish Council.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 6:39 PM
Update: Not fire, but chemical reaction, at Intake Center
CRANSTON -- What officials initially thought was a fire turned out to be a smoky chemical reaction in a laundry room this afternoon at the Intake Center at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Prison officials evacuated inmates, staff and visitors after the reaction involving chlorine bleach occurred around 3:05 p.m.
Tracey Z. Poole, a spokeswoman for the ACI, said there were no injuries.
Poole said Cranston firefighters encountered thick smoke and strong odors. And Cranston fire officials said the department dispatched its hazardous materials team to help contain the problem.
Poole said the ACI, on the advice of the hazardous material team, will move about 60 inmates with cells above the laundry room to vacant cells in another part of the building.
It was unclear, by 6 p.m., what had caused the chemical reaction.
Poole said there was no reason to expect foul play.
Male prisoners stay in the Intake Center until they have been sentenced and classified. The building also includes a visitors’ area.
-- Journal staff writer David Scharfenberg
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 6:28 PM
Update: 184 seek to be convention delegates from R.I.
More than 180 Rhode Island residents are vying for a chance to cast the state’s official votes for president at the presidential conventions.
The Secretary of State’s Office has certified that 184 residents have collected the 150 signatures needed to get their name on the March 4 primary ballot.
Leading the way are candidates seeking to serve as delegates for Mike Huckabee, with 41 certified who want to cast their vote for the Republican at the September convention in St. Paul, Minn.
As for Democrats, Hillary Clinton led with 31 looking for a seat at the Democratic presidential convention in Denver this August, including former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino. Also in the Democratic aisle, former Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty is vying for Barack Obama, and Governor Carcieri for Mitt Romney.
On the Republican side, other notable candidates for delegate spots are Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian for Rudolph Guiliani and House Minority Leader Bob Watson for John McCain.
On Feb. 1, Secretary of State Ralph Mollis holds a lottery at the State House to determine the order that the names will appear on the ballot.
On March 4, Democratic voters will elect 13 delegates and 4 alternates to their convention. Republicans will elect 17 delegates and 17 alternates.
In all, the Republicans will have 20 delegates and Democrats will have 32. The difference is made up by rules related to demographic make up that aim to ensure fair representation at the parties’ conventions.
There are also some delegate appointments mandated by job title. For example, Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline is a delegate by virtue of his being the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors -- a post to which he was elected at the group's winter meeting this week.
See all the names and numbers of potential delegates on the secretary of state’s Web site.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 5:51 PM
Update: 2 young Warwick women die in crash / Photos
Journal photo / Bill Murphy
Lisa Kornwitz of East Greenwich walks away from the scene of the accident on Ives Road that took the lives of her daughter's friends. By this afternoon, mementoes such as flowers and stuffed animals had been placed at the tree their car struck. The tree is a half-mile west of victim Heather Drew's home.
Two young women are dead after a single-car accident late last night on a dangerous stretch of road near the entrance to Goddard Park in Warwick.
The police identified the victims this morning as Kelly Ann Richer, 22, of 111 Potowomut Road, Warwick, and Heather Drew, 18, of 217 Ives Road, Warwick.
Both women lived near the accident scene, and the police believe Richer, heading east on Ives Road, was driving Drew home when the Chevrolet Cavalier they were traveling in went off the road and struck a tree.
"We've had quite a number of fatal accidents there over the years," Police Lt. Kenneth LaForce said this morning.
It was the first fatal accident of the year in Warwick.
The investigation is ongoing, but according to Maj. Joseph Tavares, it seems that excessive speed was a factor and that the two were not wearing seatbelts.
And at this point in the investigation, police have not ruled out drinking: "We haven't confirmed it," Tavares said, "we have not ruled it out."
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson and Journal staff writer Barbara Polichetti
Journal photo / Bill Murphy
The accident scene this morning near Goddard Park.
At about 11:43 last night, the police were dispatched to the accident and found the car off the eastbound side of Ives Road. The car was facing west.
The police believe Richer was driving east on Ives Road when she swerved to avoid going off the road to her right, according to the police.
The police believe the car then crossed the center line, to its left, and spun 180 degrees before traveling backwards off the road and hitting a tree off the eastbound side of the road.
The car hit the tree on the driver's side, causing extensive damage to the left side and rear of the car.
Both women were taken to Kent Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
Richer's boyfriend was driving home when he came upon the accident scene, Warwick Police Chief Col. Stephen McCartney said at a press conference.
After talking to the boyfriend, the police are looking into whether the women had been drinking, according to McCartney. They are awaiting toxicology tests.
Richer was planning to move from her residence today, and the police believe Drew had been helping her pack.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 4:50 PM
Oster bribery, conspiracy trial to begin Monday
PROVIDENCE — Former Lincoln town administrator Jonathan F. Oster’s trial on bribery and conspiracy charges will begin Monday. Lawyers for the state and the defendant agreed on the makeup of the jury this afternoon.
Asst. Atty. Gen. William Ferland and defense lawyer C. Leonard O’Brien culled out 15 potential jurors, including at least three Lincoln residents, during today’s morning session with Associate Justice Gilbert V. Indeglia. The process had begun Wednesday with jurors filling out questionnaires and the followed with the lawyers questioning randomly selected jurors on specifics yesterday. The questions usually centered on the potential juror’s attitudes toward the police, whether they would hold it against a defendant if he didn’t testify on his own behalf and their feelings about tape-recorded evidence.
The 12-woman, four man panel — twelve jurors and four alternates — was ordered to ignore news accounts and not discuss the case with anyone.
Oster is facing two counts of bribery and two counts of conspiracy dating back to his 2000-2002 tenure in office. The case was delayed for several years while pre-trial disputes over evidence, some of it gathered for the first time under the state’s wiretapping laws, were appealed to the state Supreme Court.
That appeal resulted in many of the tapes being thrown out because of they were not stored in accordance with state law and the judge’s orders.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:04 PM
Reporter's query: Are you living in a house divided?
Are you living in a house divided, a die-hard Patriots fan living with a family member who is rooting for the Giants?
If so, can you laugh about it, or will you be watching the Super Bowl on separate TVs — maybe even in separate places?. Send your stories — please be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number — to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll publish the best of the bunch the the day before the Big Game.
Posted by Karen Bordeleau at 4:00 PM
Ice buildup doomed New Bedford fishing vessel
An official investigation into the sinking last year of a New Bedford fishing vessel has affirmed what many fishermen and officials believed from the start: Lady of Grace probably sank because of ice buildup.
The ship sank on Jan. 26, 2007 12 miles south of Hyannis, Mass. The four people on board died.
During the investigation, Coast Guard officials spoke with other crews that were on the water at the time, and referred to weather data to reconstruct weather conditions.
Naval Architects at the Coast Guard center in Washington, D.C., also aided in the investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the fishermen who died," Capt. Raymond Perry, commander of Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, said in a statement.
"While these experienced New Bedford fishermen lost their lives, we hope that their legacy and the lessons learned from the investigation will help keep similar tragedies from happening."
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:58 PM
Cicilline is new president of Democratic mayors group
Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline has been elected president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, it was announced today.
“It is truly an honor to be elected to lead the nation’s Democratic mayors at such a critical time in our history,” said Cicilline in a press release. “As we prepare to elect the next president of the United States, it’s important that candidates focus on the issues impacting America’s families such healthcare, education, energy and jobs. I pledge to work harder than ever in partnership with other mayors and Congressional leaders to advance the priorities of America’s cities.”
Cicilline, who held the position of vice president of the organization for the past year, succeeds former Shirley Franklin, the mayor of Atlanta.
He was elected to the post by mayors from throughout the country.
NCDM is described as providing a forum for Democratic mayors to develop, recommend and promote public policies in support of America’s cities.
It also acts as a liaison between the United States Conference of Mayors, Congressional leadership and leaders at all levels of government.
Cicilline is now in Washington, D.C., at the winter meeting of the Conference of Mayors, his office said.
Yesterday, the Conference of Mayors presented Cicilline with the Outstanding Achievement Award for Public/Private Partnerships.
The award is made in recognition of Cicilline's leadership with the Hospitality Resource Partnership he established a year ago to help deal with issues created by late-night crowds and rowdiness in the city's downtown.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 2:55 PM
Pats' Brady a no-show again at early practice / Photo
Journal photo / Gretchen Ertl
Belichick, seen on the screen of a television camera, waves goodbye as he concludes his morning news conference.
FOXBORO, Mass. -- For the second consecutive day, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn't in the locker room or at practice when reporters and cameramen were allowed inside today.
During the 45-minute period in the locker room, several cameramen lingered near his locker, but he didn't show up. Nor was he there for the first 12 minutes of practice that the media was allowed to watch.
Asked if he could say whether Brady would practice today, New England coach Bill Belichick said, "not now. We'll see."
Brady was photographed in New York on Monday wearing a protective boot on his right foot. He took it off later in the day and hasn't been photographed wearing it since. He reportedly has a minor high ankle sprain that isn't expected to keep him out of the Super Bowl against the New York Giants on Feb. 3.
Brady wasn't seen during the first 15 minutes of yesterday's workout to which media were admitted, nor in the locker room.
As Belichick was asked today to compare the current trip to the Super Bowl to the other three the team has played in, vice president of media relations Stacey James said, "final question."
One reporter tried to squeeze in another, asking if Belichick could say what Brady did or didn't do yesterday, the Patriots first day of practice after a three-day break.
"Was that the last question?" Belichick said with a smile, turning toward James.
"That was the last question," James replied.
With that, Belichick walked from the podium and out of the room.
-- The Associated Press
Extra: Get the full transcript of Belichick's press conference today and keep up with the latest Patriots developments via projo.com's PatsBlog.
Posted by Jack Perry at 2:08 PM
Cumberland High briefly under lockdown
CUMBERLAND -- A lockdown followed by a pulled fire alarm have kept Cumberland High School busy today.
This morning, the school resource officer received information about an "incident" that was going to take place at the school, according to police.
At 11:15, the school was put on "lockdown," according to Lt. Michael Duda, which meant students had to stay in their classrooms.
The lockdown lasted until noon, Duda said, when the regular class schedule resumed. Meanwhile, police interviewed several students who were said to have been involved in the "incident." No details are available on what that means.
Things were heading back to normal, when, at about 1 p.m., the fire alarm was pulled.
Rescue and fire crews were responding to the school.
-- Journal staff writer Philip Marcelo
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 1:42 PM
Johnston finance director leaving the position
JOHNSTON — Finance Director Stephen Woerner has resigned and will be replaced by Woonsocket’s acting finance director, Robert Strom, Mayor Joseph M. Polisena said today.
Woerner, who has been one of the leaders of Johnston’s financial recovery effort, is leaving to pursue another “business opportunity,” said Polisena. The mayor didn't elaborate. who did not
“I held onto him as long as I could,” Polisena said. “It’s a loss. It really is.”
Polisena said that the town’s finances are in much better order than they were when he took office a year ago. Strom will take office by Feb. 18, he said.
Councilman Ernest F. Pitochelli said Mayor Joseph M. Polisena called him today with the news.
The mayor reported that the town would have a new finance director on Feb. 18, Pitochelli said.
He said that he and the mayor did not discuss the reason for Woerner's departure.
-- Journal staff writer Mark Reynolds
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:07 PM
Charlestown parcel added to roster of protected lands
The state has added more than 40 acres to its list of protected open spaces in Rhode Island.
The newest area is a 43-acre wooded property near the drainage basin of Worden's Pond in Charlestown.
The state bought a $363,000 conservation easement on he property, paid for by a federal grant and $61,000 in open space funds.
The property is adjacent to another parcel of land that is protected by the federal forest legacy program, the South Kingstown Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy. It will remain available for scientific study and occasional access by conservation groups as well as for other educational purposes.
The land will remain privately owned by Larry Webster, who will also manage it with the help of a forest management plan approved by the state Department of Environmental Management.
The state has more than 2,000 acres of forest land that is protected from development and non-forest uses.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:03 PM
Update: Suspect in wife's murder waives extradition
Murder suspect David Swain waived extradition this morning to Tortola, but it could be several weeks before he returns to the Caribbean island to face the charge.
Jeffrey Denner, one of Swain's attorneys, says the former Jamestown Town Council member, has "nothing to hide" and is anxious to return to the Caribbean, clear his name and get on with his life.
However, it could be several months, if not more, before Swain, a 51-year-old scuba shop owner, faces a jury. Swain, who is charged with killing his wife during a scuba vacation in 1999, won't likely face a trial until the fall, said Denner.
Denner said the wheels of justice move just as slowly in Tortola. Even though they have fewer cases than courts here, they also have fewer court workers.
Swain is being held without bail at Donald W. Wyatt Federal Detention Center in Central Falls.
Swain feels resolute and confident that he'll be found innocent, said Denner, but he also feels regret -- regret that he didn't use an attorney during his civil case, which led to a wrongful death finding.
Denner said Swain didn't believe that a civil finding against him would lead to a criminal prosecution.
Read a previous story.
-- Journal staff writer Tom Mooney
Posted by Jack Perry at 11:18 AM
House fire in progress in Warwick
Fire crews are at the scene of a fire in progress at a Warwick residence.
Fire officials say the fire is at 460 Greenbush Road, a two-story wooden building that was occupied at the time the call came in. It's unknown if there are any injuries.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:30 AM
Be a tourist in your own state
There’s no place like home. That’s what Governor Carcieri and his wife, Sue Carcieri, are saying as they prepare for Tour Rhode Island.
The event is a one-day chance for residents to see what it is that brings millions of visitors to Rhode Island every year.
For one day – Saturday, May 3 – there will be 24 tours running through the state, from open spaces to museums and galleries.
More details about the tours will be released at a conference at 2 p.m. today in the State House.
The Carcieris will be joined by Saul Kaplan, director for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, David DePetrillo, director of the Rhode Island Tourism Division, and other tourism industry heads.
Andrew Schiff, the executive director of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank will also be on hand. Throughout the day, “local tourists” will be asked to donate food for the Food Bank.
Tickets are $30 for all admissions, transportation and lunch. The only place to buy tickets will be to call AAA Southern New England at (877)-874-7845.
A portion of the proceeds will go to Tourism Cares, an industry organization that donates to charities and works to preserve historic sites.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:14 AM
Update: Power returned to 4,000 in northwest R.I.
Power has been returned to about 4,000 customers in the northwest part of the state after a morning blackout.
David Graves, spokesman for National Grid, says a burned wire near the Scituate substation caused the outage just before 7 a.m. to residents in Foster, Glocester and Scituate.
By about 7:40 power was restored to about 3,200 customers. The remaining customers were able to turn the lights back on by 9:05.
The company is still looking into the cause of the outage.
Elementary and regional schools in Foster and Gloucester were closed because of the outage, and the the schedule at North Foster Day Care has been delayed.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:50 AM
Year over for Year Up
A program aimed at getting teenagers and young adults an opportunity to get some education and job training beyond high school is celebrating its most recent graduating class today.
Twenty-two graduates of Year Up Providence, the regional chapter of the national Year Up program, will be on hand today at the Westin to celebrate graduation.
The graduates will be joined by House Speaker William J. Murphy, D-West Warwick, House Majority Leader Gordon Fox, D-Providence, Providence Police Chief Col. Dean Esserman, and maybe Mayor David Cicilline, who was invited.
After completing the one-year program, 60 percent of this year’s graduating class has already secured work in the information technology field with companies that include Bank of America, Citizen’s Bank, Collette Vacations and Lifespan.
The graduates are meeting today at the Westin Providence hotel at 11:30 a.m.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:31 AM
Man charged in scuba death faces extradition hearing
PROVIDENCE -- A man charged with killing his wife while scuba diving in the British Virgin Islands will be back in court.
David Swain, a former Jamestown town council member, is scheduled for an extradition hearing in federal court in Providence today. That could result in Swain being sent back to the British Virgin Island to stand trial on a murder charge.
He has the option of waiving extradition, which could speed up his return to the Caribbean.
Authorities there charged him last year in the 1999 death of his wife, Shelley Tyre.
He has maintained his innocence, but a jury in 2006 found his responsible for her death and ordered him to pay damages to her parents. A lawyer for the Tyres say Swain was pursuing a relationship with another woman and killed Tyre for money.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:02 AM
Chilly and then a chance of snow tomorrow night
Hold in there, the temperature won't stay in the teens all day. The National Weather Service is forecasting a high temperature near 30 degrees with clear, sunny skies and a west wind between 9 and 13 mph.
It's back down to the teens tonight, with a low temperature of 16 degrees and a milder west wind.
Tomorrow looks the same, with a high of about 31 degrees and mostly sunny skies with a mild north wind.
We may see some snow late tomorrow night, with a low temperature near 20.
Sunday, look for more snow -- there's a 30 percent chance of precipitation -- and a high temperature in the mid 30s. Sunday night may bring more snow, when the temperature dips to the mid 20s.
Monday looks good for now, with a high temperature in the mid 30s and clear, sunny skies.
For weather updates throughout the weekend, check projo.com's weather page.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
Today's front page
Today's front page asks readers what they'd do with the tax rebate approved by leading lawmakers in Washington yesterday.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM