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April 23, 2008
Tonight: Half-way through the week, but the music's playing
We're at the half-way point in the week, but you don't have to wait for it to end to hear some tunes in the clubs.
Fishing With Finnegan, The Jennifer Logue Band and Jordan Cannady play at AS220, 115 Empire St., Providence. 831-9327. 9:30 p.m. to 12:45 am. $6. All ages.
Surprise Me Mr. Davis and The Low Anthem play rock at Firehouse 13, 41 Central St., Providence. 270-1801, www.firehouse13.org. 9 p.m.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:55 PM
Central Falls police investigating a drive-by shooting
CENTRAL FALLS -- Police are investigating a drive-by shooting today in which someone in a gray SUV shot at a person riding on a bike while he passed in front of a tax service business at Dexter and Darling streets.
Neither the person on the bike or anyone else was hurt during the shooting which occurred at 12:55 p.m., said Central Falls Police Chief Joseph Moran.
Moran said the person riding the bike was the intended target. “It was not a random shooting,” he said. The person was lucky he was not hit, Moran said. He said he did not know if the victim and shooter know each other but police are investigating that and other aspects of the shooting.
The bullets hit the window of the business.
-- Journal staff writer Tatiana Pina
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:35 PM
R.I. House passes hurdle for future LNG plans
PROVIDENCE -- The House approved legislation requiring both General Assembly and a municipality to sign-off on any emergency response plan developed for transporting liquefied natural gas on Narragansett and, or Mount Hope bays.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Raymond E. Gallison Jr., passed 66 to 1. It goes next to the Senate.
Gallison, who opposes Weaver’s Cove Energy's proposal to build an LNG port in Fall River, Mass., in which LNG-carrying ships would traverse Rhode Island waters, said in a statement that he also wants to stop the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency from creating an emergency response plan for the Weaver Cove proposal.
State resources should not be committed to "advancing the proposal," the Gallison says.
Any emergency plan would have to be ratified by the General Assembly and the town or city council of each community along the route proposed for LNG tankers. In the current state of things, that would include Newport, Jamestown, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Bristol, and Warren. Gallison is a Bristol Democrat who represents his hometown and Portsmouth.
“Just about every state leader and municipal leaders in all the towns and cities along the bay are opposed to the use of the bay by dangerous LNG tankers. If Weaver’s Cove wants this project, it should be Weaver’s Cove’s responsibility to pay for the preparation of response plans for emergencies that its project could cause,” Gallison stated.
Gallison goes on to state that the legislation's vitality is not weakened by Weaver’s Cove recent statements that it would also seek an offshore berth for LNG tankers if it can not win approval for its Fall River location.
It would still see LNG tankers in the bays and so shoreline communities need to be protected, Gallison said. His statement noted a Government Accountability Office study that, according to Gallison, said liquefied natural gas can not be safely moved using tankers as they are vulnerable to terrorism.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:22 PM
Update: Settlement in Tiverton soil contamination suit
TIVERTON -- On the eve of a federal trial, lawyers have reached a potential settlement of the most complicated and extensive soil contamination case in Rhode Island.
About 100 homeowners have sought remediation of a total of 50 acres of property in North Tiverton for the last five and a half years, ever since a sewer construction crew came across soil tinged a cobalt blue – a marker of cyanide.
Jury selection in the trial was to start today.
But yesterday afternoon, U.S. Senior Judge Ernest C. Torres heard from lawyers for the homeowner plaintiffs and the defendant, the Texas-based utility Southern Union, that they had reached a “potential settlement,” according to Torres’ clerk, Ryan Jackson.
He said Torres received the news in a “sealed hearing” and declined further comment, except to say that the trial has been taken off the judge’s calendar.
Robert McConnell, a lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, described the deal hammered out by the lawyers as a “conditional settlement.”
McConnell said he expected “that the condition will be met and the case will be resolved,” but he declined any further comment.
Lead plaintiffs Gail and John Corvello said that they are “cautiously optimistic.”
Corvello is president of the Environmental Neighborhood Awareness Committee of Tiverton, ENACT, the grass-roots group that spearheaded the lawsuit.
They, too, said they were not allowed to talk about the case. John Corvello cautioned that there could be a “bump in the road” which would land them back in court.
“Everything is still up in the air,” Corvello said.
-- Journal staff writer Gina Macris
The state Department of Environmental Management has placed civil responsibility for cleaning up the contamination on Southern Union, the successor to the former Fall River Gas Co., which manufactured gas from coal in the early part of the 20th century.
Southern Union has vigorously denied any responsibility, contesting the case in exhaustive discovery proceedings on parallel tracks both in U.S. District Court and in an administrative appeal of a DEM order dating from January 2006 that the utility submit plans to remediate the soil.
The plaintiffs were prepared to present eyewitness testimony that wastes from the Fall River Gas Co. were dumped just over the city line in what was to become the Bay Street neighborhood of Tiverton.
In addition to cyanide, the contaminants include lead, arsenic, naphthalene, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are known carcinogens, according to DEM.
In a 2004 Journal profile of the issue, residents told of how they use plastic flowers as lawn decorations and how Corvello covered her backyard with $2,000 worth of foam tiles so children at her house-based daycare center could play outside.
The Journal reported this January that some 250 people in 100 houses in the Bay Street neighborhood have been unable to sell or refinance because of the toxic soil on their properties.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:50 PM
Parole denied for Barrington man jailed in driving deaths
The state Parole Board today denied parole for a Barrington man who is four years into his 12-year prison sentence in connection with a drag-racing crash that killed two Bristol passengers Steven J. Botelho, 19, and Justin M. Nunes, 17.
Brendan Lombardi was 19 when he was sentenced in Providence County Superior Court in April 2004, almost a year after the April 19, 2003, crash in which the police said Lombardi and Michael Cabral raced cars on Market Street and Metacom Avenue through Swansea, Bristol and Warren at upwards of 80 mph.
Shortly before 3 a.m., Lombardi's car went into a tree, and Botelho and Nunes were thrown from the car and killed.
A statement from the parole board said that to parole Lombardi "so soon" on his sentence "would depreciate the serious nature of the crime and the devastating impact the crime has had on so many individuals."
The statement also said the board, which met today on the matter, will reconsider Lombardi for parole in 18 months.
Lombardi, in an agreement reached with prosecutors, pleaded no contest to two counts of driving under the influence, death resulting; one count of DUI, serious injury resulting; two counts of reckless driving, death resulting; and one count of conspiracy to commit reckless driving.
For the reckless driving charges, he was sentenced to 10 years' probation, to be served after his release from the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston. He was also ordered to serve 200 hours of community service and seek alcohol and substance-abuse counseling while on probation.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with Journal archival reports
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:35 PM
Hot day to yield to dry, windy one and a fire watch
That sure feels like record-breaking heat out there for a day in April. And it may be.
The record for today's date, set 100 years ago, was a balmy 85 degrees.
At mid-afternoon today, the National Weather Service says we’ve reached a high of 84. And I, for one, have to believe that in at least one spot in the state, the temperature hit 85 degrees.
The temperature is set to drop a few degrees per day through the end of the week, when we may also see some rain.
But there's a hitch.
The National Weather Service has issued a "fire weather watch" for tomorrow morning through tomorrow afternoon. That means that that critical fire weather conditions are possible, the service says.
The watch area covers most of Rhode Island and Massachusetts except for their southern coasts. It also incluces northern Connecticut and southwest New Hampshire.
A cold front will cross the region overnight. Behind it, winds will shift to the northwest and increase to around 15 to 20 mph by tomorrow morning. Drier air will filter in, with relative humidities dropping down into the teens by late tomorrow morning.
Then, the topper. Wind gusts to near 25 mph are expected to develop, and possibly greater. The combination of gusty winds and low relative humidity may create the potential for dangerous fire weather conditions.
A week ago tomorrow, a large brush fire burned wetlands near the East Bay Bike Path, and several more fires broke out over the next couple of days.
- projo.com staff writer Brandie Jefferson, with projo.com staff reports
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 4:24 PM
Joyner-Kersee will speak at RWU commencement
BRISTOL -- Track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a three-time Olympic gold medalist who is considered one of the greatest female athletes of all time, will deliver the keynote speech at Roger Williams University’s graduation ceremony May 17.
Joyner-Kersee is the latest big name to speak at the university’s commencement, following the filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly last year and First Lady Laura Bush in 2006.
“For many of us, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is a household name as one of the greatest athletes of all time,” University President Roy J. Nirschel said in a statement. “But off the track, her commitment to advancing opportunities for girls in sports and enhancing the lives of children across the world makes her the perfect embodiment of the RWU core value of community service.”
Joyner-Kersee, 46, won two Olympic gold medals in the heptathlon and one in the long jump along with one silver and two bronzes. Her record in the heptathlon set during the 1988 Seoul Olympics still stands.
She’ll address Roger Williams’ more than 900 graduates at the commencement ceremony for bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients, which will be held on the Bristol campus, One Old Ferry Road, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 17.
The university will award her an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
At the School of Law’s commencement May 16, Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse will be the keynote speaker.
Greenhouse joined the New York Times in 1968 and became Supreme Court correspondent for the newspaper 10 years later. For her coverage of the country’s highest court, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1998. In other assignments, she also covered Congress and the New York state legislature.
She accepted a buyout from the Times earlier this year and will become a journalist-in-residence at Yale Law School next January.
Greenhouse will receive an honorary doctorate of laws at the law school’s ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m.
The university will also award honorary degrees to Richard L. Bready, chairman and CEO of Nortek, Inc. and chairman of the board of trustees at Roger Williams, Henry Rosovsky, an economist and the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser university professor emeritus at Harvard University, Howard G. Sutton, publisher of the Providence Journal.
The law school will award an honorary degree to the Honorable Phillip Rapoza, chief justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
-- Journal staff writer Alex Kuffner
Posted by Mike McKinney at 4:20 PM
DOT finishes one project early, gets ready for next
The Department of Transportation finished a project in Providence last night that was initially scheduled to be completed Thursday.
The project had closed the ramp from Route 195 westbound to Route 95 southbound as work continued on the relocation of Route 195.
There will be lane closures tonight, however. The left lane will be closed on the north and southbound sides of Route 95, between Exits 18/Thurbers Avenue to Exit 20/Route 195 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. tomorrow.
During that time, workers will install signs with information about the next phase of the Route 195 relocation: opening a temporary ramp from Point to Hoppin Streets to Route 195 eastbound.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 4:03 PM
Coventry man pleads guilty in bank fraud case
PROVIDENCE -- A Coventry man pleaded guilty in federal court today to bank fraud in which he used worthless checks and transfers to inflate accounts in an attempt to get $92,002 out of two banks.
Michael R. Robitaille, 25, entered the plea before Judge Mary M. Lisi in U.S. District Court in Providence, U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente's office said in a news release. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18. Maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine. The government did not agree to any sentencing recommendation in exchange for the plea. Robitaille is in state custody.
Prosecutor Peter F. Neronha said at the plea hearing the government could show that in May 2006 Robitaille opened a checking account at a Massachusetts branch of Commerce Bank Trust with a $25 cash deposit.
Over the next several weeks, Robitaille opened two checking accounts and a savings account at different Rhode Island branches of Domestic Bank, and a checking account and two savings accounts at BankRI. Depositing only $11 in real money, he inflated the accounts' value by depositing worthless checks drawn against previous accounts or by making fraudulent transfers between checking and savings accounts
Robitaille then several times withdrew cash or wrote checks to third parties against the various accounts at Domestic Bank and BankRI. Robitaille tried to get the $92,002 from Domestic Bank and BankRI, after depositing just a total of $26 in real money in the three banks. Domestic Bank and BankRI denied payment on most of the checks, losing a combined $22,985 between them, mostly to cash withdrawals.
In June 2006 -- a month or so after Robitaille began his scheme -- a Secret Service agent questioned him and, prosecutors say, Robitaille admitted the fraud.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 3:28 PM
Proposed commission would license ultimate fighting
PROVIDENCE -- Legislation scheduled to be heard in the House of Representatives today would create a commission to license the sport of mixed martial arts, also known as ultimate fighting.
The commission would also oversee matches through the state Department of Business Regulation’s division of racing and athletics, which supervises boxing and wrestling.
The House bill is sponsored by Rep. John J. McCauley Jr., D-Providence. It is one of many bills on the House calendar today.
Read Journal coverage of the mixed martial arts legislation.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 2:02 PM
Update: Makeshift firebombs tossed at fire station, church
Journal photo/ Bill Murphy
A sheet of plastic covers damage to the door of the Rumford Fire Station on North Broadway in East Providence this morning. A window at right remains broken.
EAST PROVIDENCE -- A Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of a city fire station in the Rumford section, sparking a brief fire, and a similar device was tossed on a nearby local church’s walkway late last night.
No one was hurt in either incident.
Fire Chief Joseph Klucznik confirmed a pane at the Greenwood Avenue entrance of the fire house at the corner of Greenwood and North Broadway was broken around 11:04 p.m. when someone threw the makeshift firebomb at it.
The on-duty firefighters were in the kitchen when an overhead sprinkler went off near the entrance. The internal alarm also sounded.
Klucznik said the sprinkler put out the brief fire a short time later. He said there was “limited” fire damage to the entrance as well as smoke and water damage to the surrounding area. The station, built in 2002, is the newest of the city’s fire houses.
Firefighters cleaned up the section after city police detectives and the state fire marshal’s office collected evidence. Witness statements from the shift’s firefighters are also being gathered.
Police Department Capt. Walter Barlow said a similar, but smaller device, was thrown onto a walkway in front of the Newman Congregational Church further up North Broadway. He said the only damage was a charred section of the concrete.
Barlow said the department is following leads, but have not arrested any suspects. The Providence police and other state agencies have also offered their help in the investigation.
-- Journal staff writer Alisha A. Pina
Klucznik said the Fire Department initially moved some of its engines to make sure all of the city was covered if there were a fire last night and early this morning because some at the Rumford station were being tied up for this incident.
When asked if the station was back to normal, the chief said, “As normal as the Fire Department can be given all the media, adjusters, police officers and sprinkler system people around. We’re trying to get used to the hectic lifestyle.”
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:48 PM
Former Pats' assistant will meet with NFL commissioner
NEW YORK -- Former Patriots assistant Matt Walsh will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on May 13 about New England's videotaping of opposing teams.
The league reached an agreement with Walsh today. The NFL had been negotiating for two months with Walsh, now an assistant golf pro in Hawaii, who has indicated he has further information regarding Spygate.
Goodell fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000, the team was fined $250,000 and was stripped of its first-round draft choice for taking video of New York Jets coaches on the sideline of the 2007 season opener. But the specter of what information Walsh might have has hung over the matter since the Super Bowl, when Walsh reportedly said he had other tapes.
The agreement with Walsh will allow him to "share with the NFL information about activities occurring during his employment with the club from 1997-2003," the league said in a statement.
Walsh also will be required to return any tapes and other items in his possession that belong to the Patriots.
-- The Associated Press
"Today, Mr. Walsh and the National Football League reached an agreement under which the NFL will provide legal indemnification and a release of claims against Mr. Walsh relating to his employment by the Patriots and the Patriots' videotaping operations," said Walsh's lawyer, Michael Levy of McKee Nelson LLP. "I am pleased that we now have an agreement that provides Mr. Walsh with appropriate legal protections. Mr. Walsh is looking forward to providing the NFL with the materials he has and telling the NFL what he knows."
Patriots spokesman Stacey James said the team has no immediate comment on the Walsh-Goodell meeting.
Walsh will be required to provide any documents he may have, including videotapes, relating to Spygate. He also will not be allowed to speak with any third parties before meeting with Goodell.
Last September, Belichick acknowledged using such videotapes on a regular basis, calling it a misinterpretation of the rule. Goodell issued his fines, then destroyed the tapes from the Patriots-Jets game, the first win in New England's unbeaten regular season, along with other materials submitted by the team. At the time, Goodell said he took the Patriots' word that those were the only tapes.
During Super Bowl week, however, there were reports of possible earlier videotaping by the Patriots, including the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl. Belichick vehemently denied the existence of any such tapes.
"I've never seen a tape of another team's practice. Ever!" Belichick said at last month's NFL owners meetings. "Certainly not that one.
"I think they've addressed everything they possibly can address. I've addressed so many questions so many times from so many people I don't know what else the league could ask."
He might find out once Walsh and Goodell meet.
Posted by Jack Perry at 1:47 PM
Police chief: Broad effort needed to fight teen drinking
Barrington Police Chief John LaCross thinks that if a person has alcohol in their bodies, then that person possesses alcohol.
But as it stands now, the police can only arrest an underage drinker if the person is holding alcohol, has it in a bag, or within arm’s reach.
“If you come across someone and they are intoxicated,” LaCross said of the current laws, “there’s no charge.”
LaCross, whose town has seen several tragic accidents involving teens and alcohol, said he has been working with Kathleen Sullivan, the town’s task force coordinator, researching consumption laws in some states that make it illegal for minors to have alcohol in their system. In some states, this means police can administer a blood alcohol content test to minors who are not behind the wheel.
“Clearly,” LaCross said this morning, “if you’re not 21, you shouldn’t be drunk.”
In the meantime, he said, aggressive patrol work is a good thing: last Saturday, eight teenagers were found drinking in the Brickyard Pond area of the town.
One of the teenagers arrested was Ryan Greenberg, the now-18-year-old who is awaiting a trial on a second-degree murder for the summer death of his friend, Patrick Murphy.
The teenagers were allegedly outside for hours, with three bottles of vodka and at least one –– maybe two –– 30-packs of beer, he said.
Patrolman Wesley McCoy Jr. “basically prevented another adverse event,” LaCross said of the officer who found the teenagers.
“Alcohol poisoning, or fighting, or a car crash; we know the negative consequences from underage drinking. But apparently,” he added, “the tragedies and deaths of their friends is not changing the culture the way it should.”
But neither, ultimately can the police, he said. “It has to start at home, with parents, the coaches, the community in general and the kids themselves.”
There are a lot of good kids, he said –– some that have made good decisions and some that have made bad decisions –– just as there are in any city or town across America.
Drinking is a national problem, LaCross said, and he thinks it needs a national solution; tighter regulations on advertising and portrayals in TV and film.
Teens, he said caught “into this culture of drinking because they’re inundated with these images: Super Bowl ads; movies that glamorize house parties when the parents aren’t home… it’s a tough battle.”
"We can't solve the problem," LaCross said. "The kids and the parents have to be a part of the solution."
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 1:42 PM
Tonight: HSGameTime boys indoor track
Tonight at 6, you can find the 2008 HSGameTime Providence Journal All-State boys indoor track 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 athletes 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-Division and Academic All-State selections. The All-State girls indoor track 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, girls basketball, boys basketball, girls indoor track
Tonight: boys indoor track
Tomorrow: girls swimming
Friday: boys swimming
Saturday: boys and girls hockey
Monday: independent stars
Posted by Mike McDermott at 12:51 PM
GoogleTransit and RIPTA get you where you want to go
Not using public transportation because it’s too confusing is no longer an excuse.
Today, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority announced that local bus and trolley schedules are now accessible through Google Maps.
The system, Google Transit, is also automatically available anytime a user enters directions into Google Maps. Along with driving directions, bus and trolley stops are shown, with upcoming departures.
Google Transit, according to RIPTA General Manager Alfred Moscola, is “incredibly easy to use, gives you all the information you need, and is perfect for the person who hasn’t used RIPTA’s bus system before.”
“It’s a great incentive to use transit in Rhode Island,” he added, “because it figures out the whole trip for you. It does all the work. With this tool, Google is providing a tremendous public service.”
According to Moscola’s statement, RIPTA provided the schedule information, and the service is provided free from Google.
See how the new map can help you get from the Providence Journal building to the Audubon Center in Bristol.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:12 PM
Residents of polluted Tiverton neighborhood settle suit
PROVIDENCE -- Lawyers for dozens of residents of a polluted Tiverton neighborhood say they have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against an energy company over contamination that turned the soil under their homes blue.
Terms of the settlement with Southern Union Co. are sealed and lawyers would not discuss details today. But Robert McConnell and Mark Reynolds, who represent the neighbors, tell The Associated Press they have reached a settlement that is contingent on several conditions.
Reynolds says the settlement involves money to the property owners as well as a pledge to clean up the contaminated properties.
A spokesman for Houston-based Southern Union did not immediately return a message left today.
Tests revealed the ground was contaminated with arsenic, cyanide, lead and other toxins.
About 150 residents of the Bay Street neighborhood had filed the lawsuit, which was scheduled to go to trial in U.S. District Court, Providence. Jury selection was to begin today and testimony was to start Monday.
Read a previous story.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Jack Perry at 11:58 AM
Brown student apprehended after 'pie' thrown at speaker
A Brown University student was apprehended by Brown University police last night after allegedly throwing a green pie container filled with what appeared to be green whipped cream at a New York Times columnist who had been invited to speak to students about energy.
Thomas Friedman ducked the pies, which were thrown by two people who rushed the stage just after he stepped to the microphone. He avoided the brunt of the contents, stepped off stage for a few minutes, and returned to deliver his speech.
“We are grateful that Mr. Friedman went on to deliver his lecture to a full audience, who gave him a standing ovation,” reads a statement from Vice President of Public Affairs Michael Chapman.
The two rushed the stage with the pies, and then threw fliers into the crowd which aired their criticisms of Friedman’s views on the free market and climate change.
"Freedom of speech is prized on a university campus,” Chapman said in his statement, “While Brown students are encouraged to express their opinions on any subject and in a variety of forums, the University does not tolerate such assaults against a speaker or disrupting the right of others to hear a speaker’s perspectives.”
The student was placed in the custody of the Department of Public Safety. The school in a statement said it will review the incident through a “non-academic disciplinary system,” and determine what to do from there.
The Brown statement doesn't say whether the other alleged pie thrower was apprehended. The event was open to students and the public.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:36 AM
As prom season starts, state police offer safety tips
Prom season is just around the corner, and in addition to dress-picking and arranging corsages, there are a few other things prom-goers should keep in mind.
According to the Rhode Island State Police's prom-safety tips, staying safe and sober is easy if students take a few precautions and parents stay involved.
Among the tips:
• Keep an eye on your date/driver to make sure he or she does not drink any alcohol. Alcohol slows reaction time and impairs vision, clear thinking, judgment, and coordination.
• There are more drunk drivers on the roads during the weekend. Keep a close eye on oncoming drivers, as impaired drivers tend to drive toward lights.
• Know where you are going before prom night and have directions to those places.
• After your red light turns green, wait a second before pulling into the intersection, just to be safe.
• Drive on well lit roads, and carry a phone if possible.
• Keep the radio volume turned low enough so your driver can concentrate on getting you to and from the fun.
Posted by Pam Cotter at 10:05 AM
Parole considers drag-racer's release
The parole board is considering the case of a man who was sentenced –– as a teenager, four years ago –– to spend 12 years in jail after a drag-racing crash ended in the death of two of his passengers.
Brendan Lombardi is now 23 years old, and has the chance to be released from jail.
Lombardi, formerly of Barrington, pleaded no contest to two counts of driving under the influence, death resulting; one count of DUI, serious injury resulting; two counts of reckless driving, death resulting; and one count of conspiracy to commit reckless driving.
In April of 2003, Lombardi and Michael C. Cabral were drag racing, prosecutors said, when Lombardi crashed into a tree. Steven J. Botelho, 19, and Justin M. Nunes, 17, were killed and David Arruda, 17, was critically injured. Cabral was also charged with reckless driving.
As part of his sentence, Lombardi will be on probation for 10 years after he is released from the Adult Correctional Institutions. He will also have to serve 200 hours of community service and attend alcohol and substance-abuse counseling.
Lombardi has spoken to teenagers in Barrington since his arrest about the dangers of driving under the influence. When he was arrested, the police say he had cocaine and alcohol in his system.
-- projo.com staff writer, with Journal archive reports
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 10:00 AM
Speaker brings "happyness" message to Rhode Island
He was broke at times, and even homeless, but Christopher Gardner went on to found a successful international brokerage firm, and serves on a number of charitable boards aimed at providing families with housing, food and opportunity.
Today, the man whose bestselling autobiography was made an award-winning film, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” is bringing his life story, and lessons learned, to Rhode Island. (The misspelling of happiness in the title is intentional).
Gardner is the featured speaker at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank’s 25th anniversary luncheon today, set for noon at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
Since 1982, the Food Bank has distributed food to hungry families around Rhode Island. So far this year, according to its Web site, the organization has seen requests for food increase 10 percent from last year’s monthly average.
Find out how to help, make a donation, or purchase a ticket for today’s luncheon, online.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:13 AM
EMC 1Q profit dips 14 percent, revenue up 17 percent
BOSTON -- EMC Corp.'s first-quarter profit dipped 14 percent on acquisition-related charges, but the data storage vendor managed to post a double-digit revenue gain amid a slow U.S. economy, beating Wall Street expectations.
Its shares rose more than 5 percent on premarket trading.
Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC said today that net income fell to $268.8 million, or 13 cents per share in the three months ended March 31. That's down from $312.6 million, or 15 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The latest quarter's performance was hurt by a $79 million non-cash charge to write off research and development operations from recent acquisitions. Without that charge and other one-time items including employee stock options costs, EMC's profit was $477.3 million, or 23 cents per share.
Revenue rose 17 percent to $3.47 billion, beating the $3.45 billion consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.
Despite a lagging U.S. economy that threatens to slow technology spending, EMC posted 14 percent revenue growth in North America, which accounted for 57 percent of total company revenue. Overseas, where EMC has consistently posted stronger growth, the revenue gain was 21 percent.
-- The Associated Press
EMC's biggest business area, storage systems, posted a 10 percent revenue gain, with software license and maintenance revenue rising 18 percent. Revenue from a segment that includes professional services and systems maintenance posted 30 percent revenue growth.
EMC shares rose 81 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $16.40 in premarket trading.
"EMC is off to a solid start to the year, and we remain on track to achieve the 2008 financial targets we set for the business at the beginning of the year," said Joe Tucci, chairman, president and chief executive of EMC, whose rivals include IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Network Appliance Inc.
EMC reported earnings a day after VMware Inc., a storage software maker in which EMC holds a majority ownership stake, said its first-quarter profit rose 5 percent, as corporate and international sales headed higher. VMware posted a 69 percent revenue gain on Tuesday, reflecting strong growth for VMware's virtualization software, which allows a computer to act like multiple machines, each with its own operating system and software.
EMC's stock broke out of a yearslong slump last year amid August's initial public offering of VMware, in which EMC sold a 10 percent stake. VMware's growth prospects sent EMC's shares briefly above $25 apiece in late October, but the stock has recently hovered around the $15 level - the same as about a year ago - amid a downturn in the broader economy, and after the emergence of new rivals to VMware.
EMC's first-quarter acquisition-related charges stem from the latest of a string of deals to expand beyond EMC's core business of supplying hardware that stores troves of data for large corporate customers. The latest deal, announced April 8, was EMC's $213 million purchase of Iomega Corp., which will expand EMC's offerings targeting small businesses and consumers.
Posted by Jack Perry at 9:05 AM
Photo: Fire station damaged by firebomb
Journal photo/ Bill Murphy
A sheet of plastic covers damage to the door of the Rumford Fire Station on North Broadway in East Providence. A window at right remains broken. According to the Associated Press, WJAR-TV is reporting that the a fire bomb was found late last night in the station. It landed in an area of the building that firefighters typically don't use, and the sprinkler system put out the fire. A similar device was found just a few blocks away, near the Newman Congregational Church, the Associated Press said. No one was hurt. Further information was not available from the police or fire departments this morning.
Posted by Jack Perry at 9:03 AM
Opponent could hear it from Celts' 'fair weather fans'
BOSTON -- Mike Bibby thought the Celtics' crowd was loud in the playoff opener. He should get an even bigger earful in Game 2 after slamming the fans.
Bibby called Boston's backers "fair weather" fans who jumped on the "bandwagon" when the Celtics grew from one of the NBA's worst teams last season into the one with the best record in the league this season.
"I wouldn't say it's the smartest comment," Kevin Garnett said yesterday.
Bibby heard it from the crowd Sunday night when the Celtics beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-81. He scored just five points on 2-for-10 shooting.
"It's good that they know I'm here," he said before practice yesterday on the same floor where he missed all those shots. "Fair weather fans if you ask me."
The Celtics drew decent home crowds last season despite their 24-58 record, the second-worst in franchise history. Bibby played in front of one of them Jan. 19 when he was with Sacramento, which won 96-91.
He scored 11 points in that game, Boston's sixth straight loss in an 18-game slide that is the worst in franchise history.
Sunday's crowd was "kind of loud at the beginning," Bibby said calmly, "but a lot of these fans might be bandwagon jumpers. They try to get on this now. Because I played here last year, too. I didn't see three-fourths of them so it might be that.
"I remember them having bags on their heads," he said. "Are they the ones that had bags on their heads last year? It's just a different look, but I guess that happens when you win."
Winning one game in the best-of-seven series that resumes Wednesday night will be tough for the Hawks.
Top-seeded Boston had 29 more wins than eighth-seeded Atlanta, the biggest discrepancy between first-round opponents since 1996.
And Bibby, a 10-year veteran with the most playoff experience of any Hawk, got outplayed by Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, who had 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds in his postseason debut.
Several Celtics said they didn't want to get into a verbal exchange with Bibby. Some of them, though, managed to slip in a few jabs.
"He said that?" center Kendrick Perkins said when told of Bibby's remarks. "I mean, coming off a 2-for-10 night shooting, he would say something like that. ... We've got the best fans in the world, so we don't expect other players from other teams to like our fans."
There are bandwagon fans in every sport, Paul Pierce said.
But Boston's fans "really showed up for us even a year ago. We sold out a lot of games and they were there for us, so the guy really doesn't know what he's talking about," Pierce said. "These guys have been there for us all year long and with Bibby's comments I hope they come even louder."
The Celtics expect Bibby, Joe Johnson and Josh Smith to be more aggressive Wednesday night after all shot poorly in the opener.
But they'll be facing the team that held opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in the NBA and the player, Garnett, who was named defensive player of the year Tuesday for the first time in his 13 seasons.
"They're going to make some adjustments. We make some adjustments," Garnett said. "If anything, this award comes right at the right time to be more defensive than ever."
The Hawks will be in front of their home crowd for Games 3 and 4. There's considerable doubt about their ability to avoid a sweep and return to Boston for a fifth game on April 30.
"It's a seven-game series, so now you have a chance to redeem yourself," Johnson said. "We've just got to relax."
The young Hawks may have gotten rid of the jitters from the first playoff game of most of their careers, although rookie center Al Horford was their best player in the opener.
"I remember my first game in the playoffs going against John Stockton," Bibby said. "I was nervous. I came out (and) threw the first pass away."
Garnett also was a different player early in his career. Now he knows when to avoid controversy and take it out on opponents on the court.
So he brushed off Bibby's shot at the fans.
"That's Mike speaking his mind," Garnett said. "If I was back in my younger days I probably would have said something, but I learned. Let your play do your talking."
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:07 AM
Cranston raises Armenian flag
Cranston residents can join that city’s mayor today in a ceremony to mark the 93rd anniversary of what is widely held to have been the beginning of a genocide that eventually killed 1.5 million Armenians in the former Ottoman Empire.
An opening ceremony will begin on the third floor of Cranston City Hall this evening at 6 p.m.
The event will then move outside to the front of City Hall where Mayor Michael Napolitano will raise an Armenian flag.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:02 AM
Not so fast, summer
Do we only get one week of spring?
Today should feel more like a summer day with high temperatures reaching the low 80s, with the National Weather Service forecasting some areas reaching the mid 80s. We'll still have clear, sunny skies and mild, west winds.
Clouds should roll in tonight, when the temperature drops to about 53 degrees.
Tomorrow we'll get back to spring, with highs in the high 70s with sun and northwest winds between 11 and 14 mph.
Check projo.com's weather page to find out when the rain is expected to fall.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
Today's front page
Today's front page features coverage of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's win in the Pennsylvania Democrat primary, and a report about a Barrington teen, facing a murder charge in a summer boating fatality, whose bail was revoked after the police say he was caught with alcohol.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM