« April 17, 2008 |
| April 21, 2008 »
April 18, 2008
This weekend: From indoors to outdoors
Lisa Schneckenburger, a folk singer who plays fiddle, will be joined by guitarist Keith Murphy, accordionist Jeremiah McLane and Corey DiMario, who plays double bass, for a performance and CD release party at 8.
The event will be at the Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St., Cumberland. Tickets are $12.
For information, go to www.riverfolk.org or call (401) 725-9272.
See what else is happening tonight and this weekend on the entertainment scene here.
While Earth Day is officially on Tuesday, many groups and communities are holding related events, from cleanups to festivals.
Click here for a list of activities around our area.
And no matter what you do, enjoy the spring sun!
Posted by Mike McKinney at 7:00 PM
Update: Police probing Bristol brush fire's cause / Photo
Journal photo / Frieda Squires
Bob Hughes and his dog look over the fire damage to the wetlands along the East Bay Bike Path today.
BRISTOL -- The smell of smoke hung in the air, and blackened land and charred trees marked an area west of the East Bay Bike Path that had been bordered by dense fields of scrub and reeds.
A brush fire had spread through the area yesterday, damaging a board walk to the Narragansett Bay owned by the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
Firefighters were dousing hot spots early this morning, but a half-mile section of the bike path that had been blocked off was reopened today.
And Earth Day activities and events at the Audubon’s Environmental Education Center will be held as planned tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The brush fire was reported yesterday at about 4 p.m. near Hanley Farm Road, in neighboring Warren, and spread south toward the East Bay Bike Path and Narragansett Bay, burning wooded areas and marshland near the North Farm residential development and the Audubon’s educational center.
Burning phragmites, an invasive reed that grows in marsh or water areas, were responsible for the thick black smoke that could be seen for miles against clear skies.
The Warren police are asking anyone with information on how the fire might have started to call (401) 245-1311.
“There was a witness that stated that while they were out in the vicinity, they heard three juveniles saying something along the lines of, ‘I’m not getting caught for this, let’s get out of here,’” Warren Police Lt. Joseph Loiselle said today. “Then we got a call from somebody along Blount Shipyard who observed some jet skis leaving the area of the fire shortly before the fire was reported.”
-- Journal staff writers Meaghan Wims and Alex Kuffner
This afternoon, workers from the state Department of Environmental Management, which helps manage the bike path, replaced portions of the log fence on either side of the path that were burned by the flames.
The Audubon Society is still trying to assess the extent of damage to its boardwalk, which cost $1 million to build in 2000 and crosses over the bike path to a salt marsh along the Bay. Fundraising will likely be needed to pay for the repairs.
“We lost a big chunk of it right in the middle and there was heavy damage at the end,” said Jeff Hall, the society’s director of advancement. “The Fire Department said that even though the deck looked fine, there’s a lot of charred, burned places underneath. It’s going to be a significant expense.”
“We’re just thankful no one was on the boardwalk and no one got hurt,” Hall added.
The fire, he said, was mostly contained to the west side of the bike path, and although it leveled a significant amount of phragmites, those reeds are invasive and the Audubon staff isn’t bemoaning the loss.
“They’ll come back strong,” Hall said.
Since it’s only the start of nesting season, not much wildlife was in the area at the time of the brush fire, Hall said.
“There may have been some frogs or turtles that couldn’t get out of the way,” Hall said. “Even after the fire, the birds were back flying over the trees and roosting for the night. If there was a time of year for it to happen, it’s better earlier in the season than later. A lot of marsh will grow back. It will be bright, vivid green.”
He continued, “We’ll use the fire as a lesson to explain how nature bounces back. Fires have been part of the environment forever. It was a quick, hot fire, and burned a lot of groundcover, but the trees near the bike path will be back. It would have gotten a lot nastier if it had gone up into North Farm and hopped the bike path. The habitat acted as a barrier.”
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:32 PM
Hopes for osprey license plate delivery dashed
A facsimile of the new plate, when it was unveiled last October.
Some Rhode Islanders' hopes of picking up new license plates bearing the image of an osprey have been, um, dashed. But only for a week.
The plates were due to be available tomorrow at Earth Day events held by the Audubon Society and Save The Bay.
But officials from the two organizations learned today that plates produced for their initiative apparently need a dash between letters and numbers to conform to state format.
The design of the plates shows a nesting osprey at left and the slogan "conservation through education." From each $40 plate purchase, half is going to environmental education programs at Audubon Society and Save The Bay.
Lawrence J.F. Taft, executive director of the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, said he, Save The Bay and DMV officials learned of the problem this morning when they were set to to present the first plate to Jill Victo, a teacher at Forest Park Elementary School in North Kingstown.
A Division of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman could not be reached for comment late this afternoon. Correctional Industries oversees license plate production at the Adult Correctional Institute in Cranston, according to a previous Journal report on the new plates.
Those who had ordered their plates and expected to get them tomorrow at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island's Environmental Education Center in Bristol, and at Save The Bay Exploration Center, Easton's Beach Rotunda, Newport, will have to wait just over a week.
Those pickups have been postponed to Sunday, April 27, at Audubon Society of Rhode Island headquarters, 12 Sanderson Road, Smithfield, and at Save The Bay Headquarters, 100 Save The Bay Drive, Providence.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
People can also pick up plates as scheduled on Saturday, April 26, at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island Environmental Education Center, 1401 Hope St., Bristol, and at Save The Bay Exploration Center, Easton's Beach Rotunda, 175 Memorial Drive, Newport.
If someone can't make those dates, plates will be available at the Pawtucket Division of Motor Vehicles' plate desk, 100 Main St., during normal business hours beginning April 28.
The four pick-up dates at different Rhode Island locations are for the more than 1,200 people who made orders during an order period that ended in March, said Taft.
Taft said that people can still order the plates, which they will be able to pick up at the Division of Motor Vehicle office in Pawtucket.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:10 PM
Butler Hospital nurses ratify 3-year contract
Butler Hospital's unionized staff today ratified a new three-year contract that includes annual pay raises and limits the use of "travel" nurses, whose use is a nettlesome factor for the psychiatric center's employees.
Members of the union representing nearly 300 nurses, mental-health workers and other employees had voted earlier in the week to strike if their contract demands were not met. The members of District 1199, the New England Health Care Employees Union/SEIU picketed the hospital earlier in the week to call attention to the contract issues that remained unresolved to that point. The nurses had been working under an extension of a three-year contract since March 31.
But just before midnight Wednesday, union negotiators reached an agreement with management that will keep staff members working. Staff members voted throughout the day today, ultimately approving a new three-year contract, according to a hospital statement.
The new contract includes annual pay raises of 4 percent, 4.25 percent and 4 percent, respectively, limits the use of contracted staff ans excludes mental-health workers from having to work mandatory overtime. The new contract maintains the union members' current health-care coverage.
Hospital management says the use of travel nurses, who work on contracts through temporary staffing agencies, is rare but necessary.
The 117-bed private pyschiatric and substance abuse treatment facility has used travel nurses in the past, according to a hospital spokeswoman. About 2 percent of the nursing shifts are filled by the temporary workers.
-- Journal staff writer Paul Grimaldi
Posted by Paul Grimaldi at 5:36 PM
Annual rabies clinic this Sunday in Coventry
COVENTRY — The Coventry Animal Control Department will host its annual rabies clinic, this time with the help of local veterinarian Ryan Loiselle from Salmon River Vet Service to dispense vaccine and examine animals.
The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, at the Coventry Highway Garage, the town’s pound, behind Town Hall offices at 1670 Flat River Rd.
A rabies shot will cost $10, said Carolyn Lacombe, the town’s animal control supervisor.
All dogs must be on a lease and cats in carriers. People are asked to park in the Town Hall parking lot. The clinic is open to everyone.
The Town Clerk’s Office will also be open if anyone wants to get a dog license.
Lacombe said it’s important for pet owners to get their animals vaccinated or licensed, so that the town can keep track of the pet’s rabies status. It also prevents the need to quarantine an animal in the event it has come in contact with a rabid animal.
“If there is an outbreak of rabies in the area, we can notify people,” Lacombe said.
Starting next month, animal control officers will be going door-to-door to check for unlicensed dogs and owners could be fined up to $250, she said.
Call (401) 822-9106 for more information.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 5:05 PM
Update: Suspended Johnston police officer resigns
JOHNSTON -- A Johnston police officer who was suspended with pay after an incident that raised questions about his behavior, has resigned, town officials said today.
In a news release today, Major Joseph Polisena requested the state Attorney General's office and the state police to investigate unspecified allegations of improper conduct.
"Although the officer has resigned, these are very serious allegations that should be reviewed by the highest law enforcement agencies in the state of Rhode Island," the mayor's statement said.
He added that "this will ensure the public of the integrity and independence of any conclusions reached regarding the conduct of this officer."
Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini would not identify the officer, saying that is because the town has asked the state Attorney General's office and the state police to review the findings of a Johnston police investigation of what happened.
Nor would the chief say what the officer is being investigated for.
"We want to make sure this is a thorough investigation. We're taking it very seriously," Tamburini said.
"I am relieved he's off the force," Tamburini said. "He has tarnished the badge and forfeited his right to wear the Johnston police uniform."
Earlier today, Tamburini declined to identify the officer by name or comment any further on the nature of the allegations or the incident, citing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with reports from Journal staff writer Mark Reynolds
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:07 PM
Study: Foreclosure rate here to be slightly above average
A study by the Pew Charitable Trusts released this week projects that an average of one in 31 homeowners in Rhode Island who took out high-cost mortgages during the real-estate boom will lose their homes to foreclosure, most of them by the end of next year.
Rhode Island’s projected foreclosure rate exceeds the national average of 1 in 33 homeowners, and is higher than any other New England state, according to the study, “Defaulting on the Dream: States Respond to America’s Foreclosure Crisis.’’
Massachusetts’ projected foreclosure rate is forecast at 1 in 48 homeowners. The state with highest projected foreclosure rate — 1 in 11 homeowners— is Nevada.
The projections are for 2007-2011, but the foreclosure are expected “primarily” to occur this year and next year, the study said, when rates on the loans are set to adjust upwards. (The forecasts are for “actual homes lost,” not late payments or foreclosures started but not completed.)
Posted by Peter Phipps at 4:05 PM
Another round of lane, ramp closings for Iway project
Perhaps you've been out of the loop and off the roads while on spring vacation this week.
But anyone who drives through the Providence metro area at night should take notice of upcoming highway closings for construction work.
Weather permitting, lane and ramp closings on Route 95 will begin Sunday night for work on the Route 195 interchange relocation project known as the Iway.
The roadwork involves installing what are called stay-in-place forms, which help create an area for poured concrete to solidify into what will be the ramp taking drivers from Route 95 south to Route 195 east.
Route 95 north between Exit 18 -- Thurbers Avenue -- and Exit 20 will be affected Sunday and Monday nights, and Route 95 south in the same area will be affected Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights.
It will begin with one lane closing at 8 p.m. From 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. three lanes are slated to close, with one lane open to traffic, the Department of Transportation said.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when work is on Route 95 south, the ramp from Route 195 west to Route 95 south will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.
Traffic on Route 195 west heading to Route 9 south will be directed to take Route 95 north to Exit 22B -- Routes 6/10 -- and to follow Route 10 south to Cranston, in order to continue on Route 95 South.
During Route 95 south lane and ramp closings, Exit 19 to Rhode Island, Women & Infants and Hasbro hospitals will stay open for Route 95 south traffic.
Traffic on Route 195 west heading to the hospital campus will be directed to take Exit 2 -- South Main Street -- then routed over the Point Street Bridge and onto Eddy Street to get to the hospitals.
For more information this coming week on highway restrictions around Rhode Island, see the DOT Web site's travel advisory page.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 3:04 PM
Sweet, sweet vinyl; fading but not forgotten
New records, used records, old records that have never been opened, records in piles without sleeves, records meticulously wrapped in cellophane, really bad LPs for a quarter each, ridiculously expensive 45s -- yes, some of us still get very excited about vinyl, lucky for us, tomorrow is Record Store Day.
In Rhode Island we've seen records shops close one after another, such as Luke's Record Exchange, but there are still a few around. If your allergies aren't too bad, you should stop by one of these dusty shops tomorrow and show your support for independent music and independent businesses.
Stores such as Round Again Records in Providence's East Side neighborhood are good if you're looking for an old Sam Cooke 45, and Music Box in Newport carries a variety of mainstream rock, pop and hip hop -- they've even printed up Record Store Day t-shirts and flyers.
There's also In Your Ear in Warren -- formerly known as Zingg Records, run by the owner of the former In Your Ear in Providence -- Looney Tunes, in South Kingstown, and a handful of other shops around the state.
One of the the better known record stores in the region, Armageddeon Shop, on Providence's West Side, is listed as a participant on the Record Store Day Web site.
The store -- which carries just about anything that could loosely be interpreted as "rock," "noise," "punk" or "metal" -- isn't planning anything special for the day, according to co-owner Ben Barnett.
"But if people want to buy some beers and come shop around," he said this afternoon, "that's cool."
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:07 PM
Join the Celtics bandwagon; test your knowledge
It's playoff time in Boston.
Join the Celtics bandwagon: See photo galleries of the starting five, catch up on team stats and test your knowledge with Providence Journal sports editor Ken Hamwey's Celtics quiz.
The Atlanta series opens Sunday night at the Garden.
Posted by Peter Phipps at 1:48 PM
Tonight: HSGameTime All-State girls basketball
Tonight at 6, you can find the 2008 HSGameTime Providence Journal All-State girls basketball team online at www.hsgametime.com/rhodeisland.
We asked each of our first-team selections to fill out a personal survey with questions including favorite TV show, favorite subject in school, and something people would be surprised to know about me.
The athletes' answers, as well as audio clips of the players talking about what inspired them this past season, will accompany their bios on their own personal pages.
Also, you will find full listings for second team, All-Class and All-Division selections. The All-State girls basketball page in The Providence Journal will run tomorrow.
Here is the full schedule for the All-State teams. The teams will be revealed at 6 p.m. each day online, and in the following day's newspaper.
Online now: Wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading
Tonight: Girls basketball
Tomorrow: Boys basketball
Tuesday: girls indoor track
Wednesday: boys indoor track
Thursday: girls swimming
Friday, April 25: boys swimming
Saturday, April 26: boys and girls hockey
Monday, April 28: independent stars
Posted by Mike McDermott at 1:36 PM
Update: Bristol Earth Day events on despite brush fire
Journal photo / Frieda Squires
Anne DiMonti, director at the Audubon Society Education Center, walks with Kristen Swanberg, senior director of education programs, today as they look at the fire damage to the boardwalk. About half of the quarter-mile boardwalk will have to be replaced.
BRISTOL Although police said this morning that there were still some hot spots where a fire burned part of the boardwalk in the Audubon's Wildlife Refuge yesterday , this weekend's Earth Day celebration -- including computer recycling and nature walks -- are still on as scheduled.
The fire moved toward Narragansett Bay -- not the Audubon's Education Center -- and was contained by the Bristol and Warren Fire Departments to an area between the McIntosh Wildlife Refuge between the bike path and the Bay.
The fire began somewhere opposite of Hanley Farm Road, in Warren, around 4 p.m., spreading south through Bristol. See an aerial shot of the region here.
Fire crews were on the scene this morning, extinguish the remaining hot spots.
For more on Earth Day, click here to find out more about the annual Audubon celebration and find a list of events in Bristol and beyond.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 1:15 PM
Pope visit: On camera at United Nations / Photo, video
Pope Benedict XVI walks past delegates, most eager to take his picture, inside the United Nations General Assembly Hall this morning at the United Nations in New York. The pope, on his first papal trip to the United States, told diplomats that respect for human rights was the key to solving many of the world's problems, while cautioning that international cooperation was threatened by "the decisions of a small number."
Video: Watch Pope Benedict XVI address the United Nations.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 12:36 PM
Bristol tries to crack down on underage drinking
Bristol officials announced today a three-point plan that includes increased communication and “party patrols” to help combat underage drinking.
Several months ago, Bristol and about a dozen other cities and towns, were awarded grants from the US Mental health Service Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
After months of investigation, the Bristol Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force decided to focus on underage drinking.
The task force today released a strategic plan that lays out a three-part approach:
Education: Substance abuse prevention at Kickemuit Middle School and Mount Hope High School
Communication: Combating pop-culture messages about drinking and letting kids and their parents know about the social host law.
Policy and Enforcement: Increasing police party patrols and compliance checks at liquor stores.
“It is imperative that we work together to deal with this public health and safety issue, Diane Mederos, Town Administrator, said in a statement.
“We’ve all seen the stories, we all know this is a problem, now it’s time for all of us to take this plan and use it to keep our children safe and healthy.”
In February, a 16-year-old Mt. Hope High School student died after a car crash. Witnesses said they saw the car’s driver, also a teenager, was taking shots at a party in Bristol before getting behind the wheel.
And in November, more than two dozen La Salle Academy students were suspended and pulled from the big Thanksgiving Day football game after the school investigated their conduct at a house party where alcohol and marijuana were being used.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:01 PM
Pope visit: Attention turns to New York and the UN
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a dramatic three days in which he put America's clergy sexual abuse scandal front and center, Pope Benedict XVI turned his attention today to the original purpose of his first U.S. visit as leader of the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope took an early morning flight from the nation's capital to New York City, where he will deliver an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Landing amid tight security, the pope was greeted by New York Cardinal Edward Egan and taken to a helicopter for the ride into Manhattan. Hundreds of people had gathered at a plaza outside the U.N., some brought banners saying "Wilkomen Pope Benedict XVI." One added the words "You Rock!"
The U.N. setting contrasted dramatically with the intimacy of a meeting yesterday, at which Benedict prayed with weeping victims of childhood sexual abuse by priests.
Video: Live video of the pope's appearance at the United Nations is expected to start momentarily.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 10:35 AM
Airport Road in Warwick slated for repairs this summer
Repairs on Airport Road in Warwick -- which is used by more than 30,000 vehicles every day –– are set to begin this summer.
Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian and Michael Lewis, the director of the RI Department of Transportation today announced that the project is set to begin in July.
“Airport Road is one of the City’s most heavily traveled streets, and has been in need of significant repairs for some time,” Avedisian said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate RIDOT’s commitment and perseverance in ensuring that this project remained a priority.”
The resurfacing project will cover about 1.5 miles of Airport Road from Post Road to Warwick Avenue. The roads will be resurfaced and concrete curbing, sidewalks, traffic signals, signage and striping will be added.
The project will also being the sidewalks into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Bids have recently been advertised and the bid opening date is next month –– if all goes well, the project bay be completed by summer 2009.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:59 AM
Today's front page
The pope made a surprising visit with victims who were sexually abuse by clergy members during his first trip to the United States. John E. Mulligan, at the Journal's Washington bureau, writes about the meetings on today's front page.
And Journal staff writer Jennifer D. Jordan talks to kids who feel let-down after being rejected by their colleges of choice, thanks to a record number of high school graduates.
Download a .PDF file of today's front page
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:02 AM
It's warm, it's sunny, it's dry -- it's Friday!
What a way to end the week.
High temperatures are expected to hit the mid 70s -- even 80 in some areas of the state. And the National Weather Service is forecasting clear, sunny skies and north east winds between 6 and 13 mph. Along the coast, ocean winds should hold temperatures in the 60s.
Skies should remain clear tonight with a not-too-low low temperature of about 46 degrees and mild east winds.
Tomorrow looks cooler, with a high temperature near 67 degrees, clear sunny skies and mild east winds.
A few clouds are expected tomorrow night, when the temperature drops to about 44 degrees with mild, east winds.
More sun on Sunday, with cooler temperatures climbing toward 60 and east winds between 7 and 13 mph.
Sunday night may bring rain late. Otherwise we'll see cloudy skies with lows in the mid-40s.
Monday may bring more rain during the day, with temperatures in the high 50s and clouds into the night.
To check on the ever-dynamic forecast over the weekend, see projo.com's weather page.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
State Police tells students: Make good decisions
As the school year enters it's final leg, some high school students aren't concerned with final exams yet, they've got prom to think about!
Law enforcement authorities in Rhode Island say they want teens to enjoy prom and graduation, but they're also concerned that kids act responsibly.
To that end, the State Police Superintendent Colonel Brendan Doherty, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Stephen McCartney, president of the State Police Chief's Association, and other advocates and insurance representatives are holding a press conference to share tips with parents and teens.
"Make Good Decisions" is set for 2:00 this afternoon at MetLife Auto and Home, in Warwick. The company is funding the program, which boasts a billboard on Route 95 South near Thurbers Avenue.
Parents and teens can also download a .PDF file the State Police prom safety brochure here.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 6:59 AM