Cranston Rhode Island School Superintendent Judith Lundsten Bends Over And Takes A Big One In The Behind From ACLU – Bans Traditional Father-Daughter And Mother-Son Activities

September 18, 2012

CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND – In a move that has taken some parents by surprise, the school department has announced that it is banning traditional “father-daughter” and “mother-son” activities, saying they violate state law.

Supt. Judith Lundsten said the move was triggered by a letter ifrom the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a single mom who had complained that her daughter had not been able to attend her father-daughter dance.

Lundsten said school attorneys found while federal Title IX legislation banning gender discrimination gives an exemption for “father-son” and “mother-daughter” events, Rhode Island law doesn’t.

The new ban was brought to light Monday by Sean Gately, a Republican running for the state Senate, who said if elected he will work to change the state law.

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Warwick Rhode Island Judge And Prosecutor Waste Court Time And Public Funds On Case Where Cockatoo Called Woman A Whore

September 7, 2012

WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND – A Rhode Island woman is being accused in court of teaching her pet cockatoo to swear at her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, the Providence Journal reports.

In court documents, the newspaper says, Kathleen Melker, of Warwick, R.I., claims she was within earshot of Willy, the neighbor’s cockatoo, when the pet repeatedly called her “whore.”

Melker also alleges that the neighbor, Lynne Taylor, has thrown rocks over the fence and threatened to drown Melker’s cat in what the Journal calls a year-long, acrimonious dispute.

Taylor — and Willy — are now being accused of violating the city’s animal-noise ordinance.

A judge has denied a bid by Taylor’s lawyer to dismiss the case by arguing that ordinance is vague and unconstitutonal, the newpaper says.

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Woonsocket Rhode Island Police Officer Patrick Cahill Arrested And Suspended After Brutal Attack On His Sister – Tough-Guy Strangled 9 Year Old Girl That Wanted To Go Outside

September 1, 2012

WOONSOCKET, RHODE ISLAND – An argument between a Woonsocket police officer and his 9-year-old sister led the 23-year-old man to choke his sibling at their father’s home.

That’s according to a police report on the incident that led to the arrest of officer Patrick Cahill.

Police released the report Wednesday, one day after Cahill was arrested and arraigned in District Court on a charge of felony assault. He was released on $5,000 personal recognizance.

According to a police report, the girl says she and her sister were watching television at Cahill’s father’s house with the officer when she asked to go outside.

The girl said Cahill began yelling at her and she ran upstairs and outside. Once outside, she tried to go into a car in the driveway to get away from Cahill because he was chasing her.

According to the police report, the girl said that Patrick grabbed her by the hair, and pulled her back inside the home. Once inside, the girl said she was thrown on the couch where Cahill put his hand around her throat and began to strangle her.

According to the police report, the girl said she was crying and when Cahill let go, she had trouble breathing.

Police said the girl was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

The Woonsocket Police Department says Cahill has been suspended without pay.

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Barrington Rhode Island Police Officer Sgt. Joseph Andreozzi Arrested After Threatening His Ex-Wife And Children

August 30, 2012

BARRINGTON, RHODE ISLAND – State police have arrested a Barrington police officer for engaging in threats to family members.

Sgt. Joseph Andreozzi, 45, pleaded not guilty in court Thursday to a charge of domestic disorderly conduct.

According to police, the officer and his ex-wife were having an argument over the phone at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when he verbally threatened her. She alerted Barrington police and left her home, where Andreozzi showed up a short time later, presumably to confront her.

There was no physical altercation to the knowledge of state police, who were called in for reasons of impartiality.

State troopers arrested Andreozzi at midnight when he arrived for his shift at the Barrington Police Department. He was transported to the Lincoln Barracks and held overnight.

A criminal complaint says that he “intentionally, knowingly, and recklessly engaged in threatening, violent, and tumultuous behavior.” One trooper added that the threats were extended to his two children, aged 13 and 14.

Sgt. Andreozzi was released following his arraignment, and he was ordered not to have contact with his ex-wife or children.

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Rhode Island State Prisoner Gets $1 Million Liver Transplant At Taxpayer Expense

August 7, 2012

CRANSTON, RHODE ISLAND – An inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions received a liver transplant at a Boston hospital last week, making him the first Rhode Island prisoner to undergo an organ transplant, a corrections spokeswoman said Monday.

The inmate is Jose Pacheco, 27, who is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence for robbery.

Liver transplant operation costs can top $1 million. The state will be required, by court precedent, to pay 40 percent of the expenses, with the remaining 60 percent covered by Medicare.

Pacheco was sentenced in June 2011 after pleading no contest to second-degree robbery, possession of stolen car parts and conspiracy. Since 2006, he has also been sentenced multiple times on assorted drug-possession charges, including possession of and intent to deliver cocaine.

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Suspended North Providence Rhode Island Police Chief John J. Whiting Claims He Didn’t Steal Stripper’s Cash

June 26, 2012

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – A suspended Rhode Island police chief testified at his trial Monday that he did not steal $714 from a stripper’s pocketbook after chasing a SUV in which she was riding during Tropical Storm Irene.

Testifying in his own defense, North Providence police Col. John J. Whiting gave a vastly different account of his exchange with a Pawtucket police officer who was investigating the Aug. 28 vehicle chase and foot pursuit in Pawtucket that involved the police chief.

Whiting, 58, of North Attleboro, has pleaded not guilty to larceny over $500 and solicitation to receive stolen property. Providence County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Procaccini dismissed a charge against him of criminal solicitation to obstruct justice. Whiting’s case is being decided by a judge instead of by a jury.

Pawtucket Officer John Brown testified last week that Whiting confessed to stealing the money. Brown said Whiting gave him the money with instructions to spend it in Las Vegas and not say anything about it.

Whiting testified he told Brown to take the money as seized evidence and was being sarcastic when he told him: “I don’t give a (expletive) if you go to Vegas.”

Giving his first public account of the events, Whiting described getting into a pursuit with a Ford Explorer while driving through Pawtucket on his way to work in North Providence. He said the SUV was trying to get around a downed tree when he tried to pass the vehicle, and someone instead threw an object at his SUV.

Whiting testified he then chased the vehicle until it turned down a dead-end street and struck a parked car.

The Explorer’s occupants ran away from the crash site, Whiting testified. Among them was 21-year-old Justina Cardoso, a former stripper who testified she left behind all her belongings, including her money.

Whiting said he went through the SUV looking for evidence that might indicate who was in the vehicle. He said he found money inside a zippered pouch that he took because no Pawtucket police had shown up yet.

During cross examination, Whiting testified he made a “conscious decision” to turn over the money to Brown, the Pawtucket officer who reported to the scene, at the conclusion of the investigation on the dead-end street where the chase ended.

“I had no intention of stealing the money. I didn’t steal the money,” Whiting said.

He added he did not have time during the investigation to tell Brown that he had the money.

“I have $714. How long does that take,” Assistant Attorney General Mark Trovato asked.

Before Brown left the crash scene to finish his work at the Pawtucket police station, Whiting testified that he asked Brown to meet him at a nearby parking lot.

“I was going to give him the money at that time and answer any other questions about the accident,” Whiting said.

When they arrived at the parking lot, Whiting testified he and Brown made small talk. Whiting, who served on the Pawtucket police force for nearly 30 years before becoming the North Providence police chief, is an acquaintance of Brown, who has been a Pawtucket police officer for 24 years.

Eventually, Whiting testified, Brown said he was going to the site where Whiting tried to pass the Explorer to look for the bottle that the police chief thought was thrown at his vehicle, and Whiting accompanies him.

Whiting said he then turned over the money to Brown, who asked: “What did you steal it or something?”

Whiting said he angrily told him no and that he’s “never stolen anything in my … life.”

Whiting also testified that Brown was mumbling and hesitant to take the money from him. He said he was having trouble understanding what Brown was saying to him.

Whiting acknowledged he failed to count out the money he was turning over to Brown. Still, he said he expected Brown to submit it as seized evidence.

“I admit I made a mistake by not counting out the money in front of him. That’s the only mistake I made,” Whiting said.

He is expected to continue his testimony on Tuesday.

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Broke: Rhode Island Taxpayers On The Hook For $112 Million After Former Governor Donald Carcieri Gave Company $75 Million In Loan Guarantees

May 28, 2012

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Rhode Island owns a video game company. That wasn’t supposed to happen.

Taxpayers in the small, financially stricken New England state are on the hook for tens of millions of dollars loaned out to the video game company 38 Studios. Founded by former Boston Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling, the company was supposed to bring jobs for skilled professionals to a state struggling to expand its workforce. But on Thursday, 38 Studios laid off its entire staff of roughly 400 employees with no pay. It also cancelled their health insurance.

For a lack of a better description, 38 Studios went out of business. Now Rhode Island is stuck with the tab of roughly $112 million in loan principal, interest and fees. There’s little chance taxpayers will make up even a quarter of their potential losses, according to industry experts.

The story of 38 Studios has everything: sports stars, political incompetence, government bailouts, taxpayer outrage and — the kicker — big-budget video games.

See also: Former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri Pissed Away $75 Million In Taxpayer Funds On Video Game Venture That Included Baseball Pitcher Who Liked Video Games But Had Never Made One

The storm began nearly two years ago, when the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, under political pressure from former Republican Governor Donald Carcieri, gave 38 Studios $75 million in loan guarantees as an incentive to relocate from Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

The goal was noble: Rhode Island suffers from the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation — 11.2% — and has struggled to attract companies, which often prefer its northern neighbor Massachusetts. The pitch to politicians and taxpayers was that a big video game venture would help catalyze a local technology hub.

But the deal was flawed from the start, experts say.

38 Studios was barely three years old and hadn’t shipped a single product. Further, 38 Studios’ big project was the development of what’s known as a “massive-multiplayer online role playing game,” better known as a MMORPG. That’s an extremely expensive genre with a very mixed track record of financial success.

“I think Rhode Island was star-struck by Curt Schilling,” says Alexander Sliwinski, news editor for the video game site Joystiq. “You didn’t see Rhode Island give Harmonix, Irrational, Turbine — all companies with established track records — $75 million to move.”
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Former Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri Pissed Away $75 Million In Taxpayer Funds On Video Game Venture That Included Baseball Pitcher Who Liked Video Games But Had Never Made One

May 18, 2012

RHODE ISLAND – In the final months of two mostly unmemorable terms in office, Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri boasted about his little state’s big splash – stealing former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and his nascent video game company from Massachusetts.

“This is a risk worth taking,’’ said Carcieri, a Republican, announcing the 2010 deal that lured Schilling’s company, 38 Studios, to Providence, and put Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook for up to $75 million in guaranteed loans to an athlete who liked video games but had never developed one.

“I think the governor had stars in his eyes, the whole idea of playing ball with a baseball player intrigued him and others,’’ said Republican state Representative Robert Watson, former Rhode Island House minority leader. “And I think they got blinded by that celebrity.’’

What Carcieri and supporters saw as the seed of a glittering new business sector for Providence, which has struggled for decades to replace jobs lost with the decline of its jewelry industry, now seems to be crashing down.

After missing a $1.1 million payment May 1 and a personal plea from Schilling for more public assistance this week, 38 Studios has said it does not not have enough money to pay its employees. On Wednesday, the state economic development official who oversaw the loan guarantees resigned abruptly. In a bizarre twist, at one point Thursday, company representatives hand-delivered a check to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, apparently to cover the late $1.1 million payment, but then later said the company had insufficient funds to cover it.

The precise cause of 38 Studios’ current trouble is unclear; its latest negotiations with the economic development agency are confidential. But what is clear is that Schilling steered the company through a feverish hiring spree and into a high pay-off – but high-risk – realm of the gaming industry that requires enormous start-up money.

“It’s a vibrant market, but it’s a fairly risky market,’’ said Barry Gilbert, vice president of Strategy Analytics, a Newton consulting firm that advised the Rhode Island agency during its negotiations with 38 Studios. “To be successful in the space requires superb timing, superb management, superb talent, and a good dose of luck.’’

The economic development agency’s board is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss any action the state could take to protect its investment.

In the beginning, Schilling’s company was aimed at Massachusetts, and his star power fueled it. He founded it on Aug. 28, 2006, as Green Monster Games LLC, a reference to the landmark left-field wall in Fenway Park, where Schilling became a legend after the 2004 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees. He later changed the name to 38 Studios LLC, a reference to his Red Sox jersey number. The company’s original office was in Maynard.

Schilling was not chief executive of the company. His title was founder, chairman, and executive visionary.

He had massive ambitions. The company promised each of its original 37 employees a bonus of $1 million if 38 Studios reached $1 billion in value, a huge stretch for a start-up. By comparison, Warner Bros. agreed to pay as much as $160 million for Turbine Inc., one of the Boston area’s largest established video game companies.

Schilling has long been interested in gaming. As a baseball player, he collaborated on “massively multiplayer online’’ games – called MMOs – with Sony Online Entertainment. His office in Maynard was filled with decorative swords, a sign of the fantasy world his new company planned to create. From its infancy, 38 Studios imagined it would elbow into a multibillion-dollar market filled with games such as Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft, which boasts millions of fans.

MMOs are hugely elaborate and expensive, with the potential to become either blockbusters or giant busts, analysts say.

Because the games are so expensive to produce, strong funding is critical. “It does take hugely deep pockets,’’ said Gilbert, the consultant. Schilling claimed he personally invested as much as $30 million in the venture. Schilling also personally guaranteed a $2.5 million line of credit that 38 Studios took out in 2010, which the company repaid with a portion of the proceeds it received from Rhode Island.

Schilling had originally hoped to launch the game’s first product in 2010. But he immediately hit trouble raising money. He shocked venture capitalists with an audacious pitch for $48 million – far more than gaming companies typically receive in an initial round of funding. In addition, Schilling was reportedly reluctant to give up much stock in exchange for funding. Flybridge Capital Partners and several other Boston area firms passed on 38 Studios.

“More than one VC who has met Schilling has come away with the impression that an investment would require quite a bit of ‘babysitting,’ ’’ noted a trade publication, Private Equity Week, at the time.

Schilling estimated he might need more than $100 million to complete the multiplayer game, code-named Copernicus.

In March 2010, Schilling finally found his cash cow. After Schilling met Carcieri at a fund-raiser, state officials began quietly talking to Schilling about relocating 38 Studios to Rhode Island.

In April, Democratic leadership in the Rhode Island House brought forth a supplemental budget that included $125 million in loan guarantees for job creation, Watson said.

“I had heard rumors that both the governor and House leadership were desperate to cut a deal with Schilling,’’ Watson said. “Nobody was admitting to anything at the time. Frankly, Keith Stokes [director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp.] and Governor Carcieri’s office were full of obfuscation, camouflage, and possibly outright lies.’’ Watson said he opposed the program as “a scandal waiting to happen.’’

When the proposal came back for more debate in May, Representative Laurence Ehrhardt, a North Kingstown Republican, was ready with an amendment that would cap at $10 million the loan guarantee available to any one company. Loan guarantees would mean the state would be obligated to pay if the company defaults.

As debate began on the House floor, Ehrhardt got a note that someone wanted to see him in the hall, he said. It was Stokes, the economic development director.

“He had learned of my amendment and made a personal request that I not submit it,’’ said Ehrhardt. Stokes never mentioned Schilling, suggesting only to Ehrhardt that the cap would “cause some difficulties with some negotiations they were having. But nothing more specific then that.’’

Under the terms of the loan, 38 Studios must pay $5.3 million in interest this year, and $12.7 million in interest and principal every year from 2013 to 2020.

Schilling’s company released its first effort earlier this year, a role-playing video game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It was well-reviewed and has sold about 1 million copies at about $60 each, according to market research company VGChartz.

Governor Lincoln Chafee, an independent, criticized the deal with 38 Studios as a candidate in 2010. He has been cool to Schilling’s request for more public assistance, though Chafee has said it is in the state’s interest to find a way to save the company.

Other opponents blasted the deal on Thursday, and warned against any more taxpayer dollars for Schilling’s company.

“We got hoodwinked; we got played,’’ Watson said. “How many millions of dollars does Curt Schilling have? He can’t write a check? It’s Rhode Island that is supposed to provide the money? I think not.’’

Stokes, who resigned late Wednesday, had little to say about the unraveling deal with Schilling, insisting the economic development agency’s negotiations with the company remain confidential. He would not directly address whether the agency gave proper oversight to the state’s investment in 38 Studios.

“I really can’t comment on the nature of the transaction,’’ he said. “I can give you my favorite William Faulkner quote, which is: ‘All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection.’’’

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Westerly Rhode Island Police Go Door To Door With Locksmiths Entering Homes Without Warrant

December 23, 2011

WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND – National Grid says technicians are continuing to work on a natural gas outage in Westerly and that some restorations will be made overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

70 technicians will be working through the overnight hours to turn gas back on, and starting at 5 a.m. Friday 200 technicians will again be going door to door to continue making restorations.

Main Street and Canal Street are among the areas affected. Not only are those streets filled with homeowners, but businesses are also impacted by the issue.

“It’s going to be devastating to be without heat or power for this holiday season. It’s our crunch, time,” said Molly Silva, a business owner.

If no one is home at the time, police officers along with a locksmith have been entering homes to shut the valves off.

“Thank God no snow, no frost, no freezing temperatures yet. We just hope for the best. Hopefully we can get some things going for Christmas. I have a meal to prepare, hopefully we are good to go by then,” said Westerly resident Mallory Carpenter.

Graves said the company hopes to relight pilots for all customers over the course of Friday and Saturday. Customers have been without gas since Wednesday when the company detected air in the distribution system.

Officials said this is not an easy fix, and expect the process at least a day or so. Right now, no homes are in danger.

National Grid is asking that anyone in that area who does not have natural gas to please call 1-800-640-1595.

Emergency shelter available for affected families

Due to the natural gas service interruption in parts of Westerly, the Westerly Police Department and the American Red Cross opened an emergency overnight shelter at 6:00 p.m. Thursday.

The Shelter, at the Westerly Senior Center, 39 State Street, will provide a meal and overnight accommodations for those families affected by the gas service interruption.

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Hispanic Rhode Island Congressmen Luis V. Gutierrez Proposes “Parole-In-Place” (Amnesty) For Illegal Alien Invaders

April 4, 2011

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – On Saturday, at an event in providence, Rhode Island, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) gave a speech to a crowd of hundreds of legal immigrants and illegal aliens in which he criticized the federal government over deportations.

The event was one in a series which Gutierrez has planned across the country to gather stories on how deportation are affecting illegal aliens, in an attempt to convince President Obama to limit removals to only those illegal aliens convicted of serious crimes.

The U.S. Congressman spoke to the group gathered at Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School almost entirely in Spanish.

With the DREAM Act defeated…Yet again, Gutierrez proposed amnesty by another name, this time something he calls a “parole-in-place” program which would allow illegal aliens who had their children in the U.S. to stay here with them. Under the Congressman’s proposal, illegal alien spouses of citizens would also qualify for the program.

Gutierrez told reporters that he plans to deliver written messages from illegal aliens to Obama to convince him to “use the discretion the law already confers on him” to establish a “parole-in-place” program.

Gutierrez also used the occasion to criticize the E-Verify and Secure Communities initiatives.

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