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June 12, 2008
Tonight: Still time to catch Newport Gallery Night
If you head over to Newport, there's still time tonight to experience Newport Gallery Night, which runs from 5 to 8.
More than two dozen galleries participate in the free, self-guided tour of art, including pottery, paintings, glass, sculpture and more.
Parking is free at the Newport Visitors Information Center, 23 America’s Cup Ave., and at the Newport Art Museum, 76 Bellevue Ave. For a map and more information, visit www.newportgalleries.org.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 7:03 PM
Update: Suspect in custody in alleged kidnap-rape
A suspect has been arrested in Providence for allegedly kidnapping and raping a woman early Sunday evening, the police said.
The man identified by Warwick police as Saul Pizzaro-Aviles, 27, was taken into custody mid-afternoon without incident at 183 Linwood Ave., in Providence's West End, according to Providence police Capt. Hugh Clements. Various police, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and U.S. marshals were involved in the joint investigation, he said.
Clements said that Pizzaro-Aviles' immigration status was not known this evening, but may be by morning.
He declined to say what, if any relationship, Pizzaro-Aviles had to the Providence address where he was taken into custody.
Pizzaro-Aviles is being held at the Providence Public Safety Complex. His arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow morning in District Court, Providence, Clements said.
A Warwick warrant charges Pizzarro-Aviles with kidnapping and first-degree robbery while the Providence warrant charges him with first-degree sexual assault.
Police have said the incident began shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Super Stop & Shop in Warwick, near the West Warwick line in a plaza at Quaker Lane and Cowesett Road.
The police -- who released still images from the store surveillance video -- said a man entered the store at about 5:40 p.m. wearing a dark tank top, baggy jeans and dark sneakers. He had a white T-shirt over his left shoulder, the police said, and was believed to have changed into that shirt while in the store.
Shortly after going into the supermarket, he was seen leaving in the T-shirt bearing a “Coors Light” logo on the chest.
The police said the man walked up to a car in the parking lot where a woman was sitting in the passenger’s seat while she waited for her mother to buy groceries. He threatened her with a kitchen or steak knife, got behind the wheel and began driving, according to the police.
The man drove to Roger Williams Park, where he is accused of raping the woman. She was treated at Rhode Island Hospital.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney, with archival reports
Posted by Mike McKinney at 7:00 PM
Driver taken to hospital after East Providence crash
EAST PROVIDENCE -- A male driver has been taken by rescue to Rhode Island Hospital this evening following a car accident on Route 114, according to the Fire Department.
The car was heading south when it veered off the road into woods. The driver was thrown from the car.
The crash occurred at about 5 p.m.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 6:30 PM
Dig into the latest state budget proposal, item by item
Stories about the proposed state budget for FY 2009 passed by the House Finance Committee not enough for you?
Dig into the details by looking at the budget articles themselves -- all 39 of them.
Projo.com has compiled them all here.
You can also read about the budget proposal, and react to its provisions here.
Projo.com and The Providence Journal will continue coverage of the budget proposal and its plans to meet the state's massive deficit tomorrow.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 6:11 PM
Suspect in custody in alleged kidnap-rape
Authorities have in custody the suspect wanted in the alleged kidnap and rape of a woman early Sunday evening, according to Warwick police Lt. Jeffrey Enos.
Police said the woman was kidnapped from her car from a Quaker Lane Stop & Shop parking lot in Warwick and raped in Providence’s Roger Williams Park
The suspect is not in Warwick police custody, Enos said. It could not be determined at this time which department took him into custody, but Warwick and Providence police were the departments that had obtained arrest warrants for the man, identitified as Saul Pizzaro-Aviles, 27.
Yesterday Warwick Detective Capt. Michael Babula identified the suspect as Pizzarro-Aviles, whose last known address was in Providence. Babula said the Warwick warrant charges Pizzarro-Aviles with kidnapping and first-degree robbery, and the Providence warrant charges him with first-degree sexual assault.
Police said the incident began shortly after 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Super Stop & Shop. They released stills from a store security camera of a man leaving the store.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:37 PM
Photo: City Hall scene of 'Prince of Providence' promo
Journal photo / Kris Craig
Director Michael Corrente takes to steps of Providence City Hall Thursday to formally announce the making of his new film, The Prince of Providence, about the former mayor of Providence and "the man known as Buddy," Vincent A. Cianci Jr. Steven Feinberg of the R.I. Film and TV Office and Lynne McCormack from the state Department of Arts, Culture & Tourism were also there for the announcement. The film is based on the book by Journal investigative reporter Mike Stanton about Cianci, who was convicted of corruption. Read more about the project in today's Journal story.
Posted by Andrea Panciera at 5:24 PM
Ninigret Park Beach reopened for swimming
The state Department of Health today reopened to swimming Ninigret Park Beach in Charlestown after samples showed bacteria levels within acceptable limits.
Health officials closed it yesterday due to high bacteria levels.
But it closed Camp Grosvenor in North Kingstown to swimming due to bacteria levels.
Check on the status of beaches around the state.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 5:17 PM
Update: Making Kennedy Plaza a desirable destination
PROVIDENCE -- The city has announced a long list of regular activities for the greater Kennedy Plaza area this summer, in an effort to make the underutilized, downtown park into a true city square, and overcome the perception that the plaza is unsafe.
“This public space in the center of downtown has the potential to become a lively gathering space where families and visitors can enjoy the work of local artists, shop for unique items at the Marketplace Bazaar, enjoy live entertainment or simply sit at café-style tables and people-watch,” said Mayor David N. Cicilline. “I envision a public space as vibrant as New York’s Washington Square Park with the unique character of Providence.”
Regular events will include:
"Public Square Tuesdays": From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., area nonprofit agencies will set up kiosks providing information to the public on various topics from the arts to fitness and the environment.
"Market Bazaar Thursdays": From 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., vendors selling antiques, books, food and small crafts will set up shop along the Burnside Park sidewalk.
"Farmers' Market Fridays": Goods from Rhode Island farms will be on sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"Rhythm & Soul Sundays": Providence Black Repertory Company’s Afrosonic Collective will play from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring disc jockeys and drummers.
-- Journal staff writer Daniel Barbarisi
Through the summer, a string of major events is planned, including the Heineken Latino Celebration, July 6; the IndieArts Festival, July 19; Providence Roller Derby, July 25, and the Bolivian Festival, Aug. 17.
The slate of programs is the outgrowth of a February summit led by New York’s Project for Public Spaces, where interested Providence residents mixed with city officials to envision a livelier, well-utilized Kennedy Plaza.
The consensus was that if desirable activities were regularly held in the plaza, that would draw people and slowly overturn the perception that Kennedy Plaza is not a desirable destination. The plaza has been the site of numerous fights and robberies, borders the downtown bus depot, and was the scene of a broad-daylight shooting in March.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 3:50 PM
Sex offender faces 10 years for failing to register
A Woonsocket man today became the first person convicted in Rhode Island under a federal law for failing to register as a sex offender after moving here from another state.
Michael DiTomasso, 35, who moved to Woonsocket from Milford, Mass., last year, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Providence, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Robert Clark Corrente's office.
A two-year-old federal law requires sex offenders who move to register as sex offenders in the new state in which they live.
Prosecutor Milind M. Shah said at the plea hearing that the government could show DiTomasso pleaded guilty in 1995 in Worcester, Mass., to separate cases of rape and abuse of a child under 16 and indecent assault of a child under 14.
DiTomasso moved to Woonsocket in February 2007 and, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, had to register in Rhode Island as a sex offender.
In March 2007, Woonsocket police officer William Coupe informed DiTomasso he was required to register with the Woonsocket police. DiTomasso, who lived within walking distance of Woonsocket police headquarters, did not do so, and the police arrested him about a week later, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
Deputy U.S. marshals arrested him on a federal complaint in October under the federal law, enacted as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act. Adam Walsh, a boy who was abducted and murdered in 1981, was the son of John Walsh, who went on to host the television program America's Most Wanted.
DiTomasso is being detained pending a scheduled Oct. 24 sentencing. Maximum penalty is 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 3:08 PM
Bill requiring private employers to use E-Verify on hold
PROVIDENCE -- A bill that would require all private employers to use a federal electronic employment verification pilot program has been held for further study to resolve potential constitutional issues. But with the General Assembly session predicted to end next week, the clock is running out.
State Sen. Marc A. Cote, chief sponsor of the E-Verify bill, said he has asked the Senate Labor committee for more time to iron out the potential constitutional issues raised in Wednesday’s hearing.
The E-verify system allows for online screening to ensure that workers are legally eligible to work in this country. The bill calls for fines against any employer who fails to register or does not participate, but a question was raised on Wednesday as to “whether the employer would have access to due process.”
The Woonsocket Democrat, who is vice chairman of the Senate's Corporations Committee, said, “As each hour passes, it gets less and less likely” that the bill could be amended in time for consideration. But, he added, “I do not quit. I’m going to keep working on this.”
By an executive order Governor Carcieri issued in March to deal with immigration issues, state agencies and vendors began using the E-Verify system last month.
-- Journal staff writer Karen Lee Ziner
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:58 PM
Pine Street overpass closing tomorrow
Take one last drive on the Pine Street overpass over Route 95 –– it’s set to close tomorrow for good.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation is closing the bridge, and will later demolish it, as part of the Iway project. In a statement by the RIDOT today, the agency says it will begin building an extension to the northbound service road along Route 95 north, near the existing Route 195 interchange.
In the future, a new ramp will give drivers on Point Street access to Route 95 north.
In the meantime, motorists will need to follow detour signs directing them to the Broad Street overpass to get to the other side of Route 95.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:53 PM
Man accused of double murder waives bail hearing
A man whom police allege killed two women and then burned one of the victim’s apartments to cover his tracks informally waived his right to a bail hearing today and continues to be held at the Adult Correctional Institutions, according Beryl Kenyon, spokeswoman for the Attorney General.
In addition to the murder charges, Anthony J. Carter, 23, of Pawtucket, faces charges that he participated in at least six armed robberies with Raymond Clements last year. Clements was sentenced last year to serve 15 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions.
Carter was arraigned earlier this month after waiving his right to an extradition hearing. He was serving time in a Florida for a string of 10 armed robberies in that state.
The police say Carter killed Heather V. Jesus, 20, and her cousin, Amanda L. Sousa, 17, last June at Jesus’ apartment in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Providence.
The police allege that Carter and a conspirator set the apartment on fire to destroy evidence after the women were killed.
Carter's next court appearance is a pre-trial hearing, scheduled for June 26.
-- projo.com staff writer Brandie M. Jefferson, with Journal archive reports
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:49 PM
Update: Pona's conviction in witness killing overturned
PROVIDENCE — The state Supreme Court this morning overturned the conviction of Charles “Manny” Pona on charges that he conspired with others to have 15-year-old Jennifer Rivera gunned down just before she was to testify that she saw Pona running from the scene of another murder.
Pona (left), and Rivera
"The murder of Jennifer Rivera was especially repugnant,” Justice Francis X. Flaherty wrote in the high court decision. “It was a profound affront to the basic norms of civilized society.
Nonetheless, even those accused of despicable acts are entitled to a fair trial. In this instance, we have concluded that the defendant did not receive a fair trial, and we are convinced that it is our responsibility to that same civilized society to reverse for a new trial.”
So the Supreme Court vacated Pona’s convictions in the Rivera murder and sent the case back to Superior Court for a new trial.
Pona remains in prison for killing 17-year-old Hector Feliciano. The Supreme Court affirmed Pona’s conviction in that murder last year.
Read the court's opinion.
-- Journal staff writer Edward Fitzpatrick
The Supreme Court said the trial judge, the late Superior Court Judge William A. Dimitri Jr., should not have admitted evidence that related solely to Pona’s conviction for Feliciano’s murder, such as evidence that Pona’s pager was found at the scene of Feliciano’s murder.
Also, the court ruled Dimitri should not have admitted the entire audio tape of testimony that Rivera gave at a bail hearing. The recording allowed the jury “to hear the young victim’s ‘voice from the grave [as described by the prosecutor in closing] for hours on end,” and some of the recording “focused entirely on demonstrating to the jury that Pona already was a dangerous murderer,” Flaherty wrote.
While ruling on those grounds, the Supreme Court said, “We are convinced that the unanticipated testimony concerning Pona’s prior cocaine use, combined with an ineffective curative instruction, was error.”
“Although the shocking nature of this crime causes a tremor to the very core of our society,” Flaherty wrote, “it is no less important that those accused of such heinous acts receive a fair trial.”
Attorney General Patrick Lynch said in a statement this afternoon that Rivera's murder was an "assault on our justice system," and called the Supreme Court's decision "disappointing."
But, he added, "today's decision fills us with the resolve to retry the case in Superior Court and ensure that Pona is once and for all held accountable for his vicious, vengeful, and cowardly actions."
Posted by Jack Perry at 2:38 PM
Registration to fish in saltwater? NOAA seeks comments
Local recreational fishermen will tell you that one of the benefits to casting a line into saltwater is that you don't have to pay to get a license first.
That's unlike freshwater fishing, which requires a license, depending on your age, and is limited to a certain season.
Now, proposed changes in federal fishing regulations would make it mandatory by 2009 for some recreational saltwater fishermen in the Ocean State to register first with the federal government -- for a fee.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service is seeking comments until Aug. 11 on the proposed rules. NOAA says information from interviews of those registered to fish would help close a gap in data that could help better manage and possibly restore certain stocks of fish.
The proposal also applies to those who fish anywhere for species that spawn in freshwater but spend their lives in oceans, such as striped bass, shad and salmon.
Unlike Rhode Island, some states already require saltwater licenses, including Alaska and other states along the West Coast, the South Atlantic and the Gulf Coast. Hawaii and states from New Jersey to Maine do not.
Your turn: What's your take on the saltwater fishing license requirement?
According to Jim Balsiger, acting assistant administrator for the Fisheries Service, “by law, the registry fee taken by NOAA will offset the cost of issuing the registration. It cannot be specifically directed to fisheries management.”
Therefore, he suggested, states without licenses have an incentive to start offering them, and use the money to put toward local fisheries. Otherwise, anglers will pay the federal government directly, and no money will be returned to local fisheries.
The proposal would require registration before 2009. No fee would be implemented until 2011 when, according to the Fisheries Service, the fee will likely be between $15 and $25 per person.
Certain groups of anglers will be exempt, including those 16 and younger, and indigenous groups who fish for sustenance. Those who fish from licensed party, charter or guide boats would also be exempt. Persons who hold commercial fishing licenses or permits, and are legally fishing under them, would also be exempt from registration.
To read and comment on the proposal, go to: www.countmyfish.noaa.gov
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 2:00 PM
Entwistle breaks into tears as jury sees video of bodies
WOBURN, Mass. -- The British man accused of shooting to death his wife and infant daughter broke into tears during his trial as prosecutors showed jurors a videotape of the bodies.
Neil Entwistle covered his mouth and his eyes in court Thursday during the 20-minute tape. The video, taken by State Police investigators, showed his wife, Rachel, and their 9-month-old daughter Lillian Rose dead in the couple's bed in their rented home in Hopkinton.
Classical music still playing in the baby's nearby bedroom could be heard in the background.
Prosecutors allege Entwistle killed his wife and child in January 2006 because he was deep in debt and dissatisfied with his sex life. He was arrested weeks later at his parents home in England.
Get the latest from The Associated Press.
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:17 PM
Aretha Franklin will join Newport jazz fest lineup
NEWPORT -- Legendary singer Aretha Franklin will headline the Saturday show at this year's JVC Jazz Festival Newport, organizers announced today.
Franklin, who has won many Grammys and sang the iconic song "Respect," will perform Aug. 9 at Fort Adams State Park. She joins a lineup that includes Sonny Rollins, Chris Botti, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter.
The festival promises several on-stage collaborations including one featuring Charlie Haden, Bill Frisell and Ethan Iverson on the Saturday. Also that day, there will be an encore performance by a quartet of Dave Holland, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chris Potter, and Eric Harland -- they debuted at last year's Monterey Jazz Festival.
The festival opens Friday, Aug. 8, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 10. Tickets are at www.festivalnetwork.com or (877) 655-4TIX. Click for a full list of who's slated to perform when.
-- projo.com staff writer Michael P. McKinney
Posted by Mike McKinney at 1:11 PM
Search engine with R.I. link dispenses how-to advice
SAN FRANCISCO -- A new specialty search engine is trying to become the Internet's go-to spot for finding how-to advice.
Founded by Rhode Island entrepreneur Ted Ives, FindHow.com has assembled an index spanning nearly about 30,000 Web pages with written, photographic and video instructions on a wide variety of topics ranging from prosaic tasks like tying a tie to more exotic missions like inviting the Queen of England to a Super Bowl party.
Relying on a team of human editors, FindHow has sifted the information to discrete categories like "food and drink," "careers and work" and "wild and wacky" and emphasizes tips from well-established government and business sources. Ives also is trying to market FindHow as a "family-friendly" site in hopes of attracting a loyal following among librarians and students.
Ives believes FindHow's more organized format and emphasis on brands will help separate it from the horde of other Web sites that provide how-to information. The competition includes specialty services like eHow, Helpfulvideo, WonderHowTo, as well as all-purpose destinations like Internet search leader Google Inc. and its video-sharing subsidiary YouTube.
FindHow is starting out with about a $300,000 investment from Ives and a handful of other backers.
-- The Associated Press
Posted by Mike McKinney at 12:11 PM
Submarine named for Providence earns honors
Journal file photo/US Navy
The USS Providence returns to her home port at the Naval Submarine Base, New London, in Groton, Conn. in 2003. Ledge Light lighthouse can be seen in the background.
A Los Angeles class fast attack submarine is being honored today at a ceremony in Connecticut. And the name of the submarine: USS Providence.
The Arleigh Burke Trophy is awarded annually to two ships or aviation fleets that have achieved the most improvement over the previous year. This year, USS Providence becomes one of the few to receive the award.
Fast attack submarines are known for stealth, agility and firepower, according to a statement from the Naval Submarine Base in Connecticut. These submarines can deploy special force operations, disrupt or destroy military or other operations and can carry out early strikes at close proximity.
The USS Providence, based in Groton, Conn., last year spent 7 months traveling around the world, completing three missions in the Western Pacific. It was also awarded the Tactical Operations White “T” as part of the 2007 Battle Efficiency Award Program.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 12:02 PM
Kennedy Plaza, more than a place to catch the bus
The Providence Black Repertory Company is giving downtown Providence a taste of summer this afternoon when it previews a new series of events planned for this summer at Kennedy Plaza.
This afternoon, the Black Rep, Mayor David Cicilline and representatives of the Greater Kennedy Plaza Working Group -- a public/private partnership focused on improving the public space at the Plaza -- plan to announce an initiative designed to make the Plaza a place that people want to go to this summer.
At 1:30 today, the group will announce a schedule of summer activities scheduled to take place on the Plaza, including Rhythm & Soul, a live performance by the Black Rep.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:43 AM
West Warwick DMV closed today
Want to get that motorcycle registered in time for the weekend? Well you can’t do it today at the West Warwick DMV.
The Kent County Water Authority is doing work on site today, so the West Warwick branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles will be closed for the day.
If you’ve got a drivers test scheduled for today in West Warwick, you can try to take it at a different branch, or call 462-5700 to reschedule.
Branches are open today from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Pawtucket, at the Apex Plaaza; in Wakefield, on Tower Hill Road; and in Middletown, 73 Valley Street.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 9:26 AM
Updated Traffic Alert: 95 north in Warwick
An accident that blocked two lanes and had officials rerouting traffic has been cleared as of 8:15 a.m.
The accident was on the northbound side of Route 95 at Exit 10/Route117/ Warwick.
Traffic is still backed up, see how it's moving along on the Transportation Management Center's Web cameras. If this is along your commute, you may want to try to find an alternate route.
The West Warwick DMV is scheduled to re-open tomorrow.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 8:18 AM
Today in history: Nicole Brown Simpson killed
On this day in 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were slashed to death outside her Los Angeles home; her former husband, football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson, was later acquitted of the killings in a criminal trial, but held liable in a civil action.
Watch a video report about today in history.
Read more from today in history.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:02 AM
A perfect morning
There's not much to say -- it's beautiful outside.
At 6:30 a.m. it's sunny, breezy and about 70 degrees. The National Weather Service is forecasting a high temperature today near 83 degrees with sunny skies and that always-welcome (in the summer) north wind, keeping humidity low and generating a pleasant, mild breeze.
Tonight temperatures are set to drop to 53 degrees with skies remaining clear. We'll have a very slight southwest wind.
Tomorrow looks the same as today, high temperature hitting 82 degrees; clear, sunny skies; mild north winds.
See the good and the bad in this weekend's forecast at projo.com's weather page.
Posted by Brandie Jefferson at 7:01 AM
Today's front page: state budget unveiled
Today's front page features coverage of the $6.89-billion state budget package unveiled yesterday, which attempts to plug a huge budget deficit primarily through state employee savings, Medicaid cuts and the removal of thousands of people from state health and welfare rolls.
Download a copy of today's front page in .pdf format.
Posted by Jack Perry at 7:00 AM