Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Liberian President visits Rhode Island

Newly elected Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf picked an interesting destination for her first visit to the United States: Providence. To the unitiated, the choice of Providence as a destination for a foreign leader before New York or Washington might seem perplexing, but to people in Providence, it's a no brainer. Rhode Island is home to somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 Liberian immigrants, more per capita than any other state in the union. Why Rhode Island? It's hard to say, but nobody can deny that the Liberian presence in Rhode Island is strong and noticeable.

The Providence Journal (registration, as always, required) has a summary of her excellency's visit to Rhode Island. According to the article, mayor David Cicilline presented President Johnson-Sirleaf with a zeppole in honor of St. Joseph's Day. I can only imagine how much that must have baffled her.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Saturday on the rocks

What's that? You thought I would spend a weekend not taking pictures of Rhode Island? Perish the thought. This weekend, it was Beavertail State Park in lovely Jamestown. The entire collection is, as always, available for viewing on my Flickr site.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

What can Brown do for you? Nothing.

It's rare that I agree with the ProJo's Charlie Bakst, but we are in harmony here: Matt Brown's Senate campaign is headed nowhere, fast. Brown, who found himself caught trying to circumvent campaign financing laws, has discovered that it takes more than reflexively opposing President Bush and scribbling in the Huffington Post to become the Democratic front runner, even in Rhode Island.

More Ocean State photos

This time, from lovely Watch Hill in Westerly, down in the southwesternmost corner of the state - in this case, literally. From the tip of this peninsula, we were able to see not only Connecticut, but Fishers Island, NY. I have, as always, put all of the photos up on Flickr for perusal.

I hope to continue gathering more photos this weekend - possibly from Glocester or Jamestown. I haven't decided which. Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A most unusual tourist

Rhode Island's lovely coastline is well known among terrestrial tourists, but in 1995, the Ocean State received a very unlikely vistor: a West Indian manatee named Chessie, who had travelled all the way from Florida to Point Judith in Narragansett. Read all about it here ...

Providence narrowly misses third murder

Originally uploaded by pixelrandy.

Yes, yes: I promised to find something else to blog about, but that can wait until I take new photos this weekend. The Providence Journal (registration required) reports that the third murder of the year was missed by a very narrow margin, after a 69 year old man put a .32 caliber semiautomatic pistol to the head of his apartment complex's janitor and pulled the trigger.

The would be killer, Robert Blais, was apparently upset that the building's cleaning contractor, 36 year old Joseph Perry of Pawtucket, had been throwing away crackers left outside Blais' doorway in the hall. Blais had apparently been saving the crackers to feed squirrels and birds, but Perry had been throwing them away, saying that he was obliged to throw out garbage left in the hallways. Why Blais had been keeping discarded food in his hallway instead of his apartment was not made clear. At some point, Blais had confronted Perry and told him not to throw out his garbage. Perry said that his contractual obligations obliged him to get rid of garbage in the hallways. Blais apparently took this news extremely hard.

After failing to resolve the argument rationally, Blais confronted Perry, pointed the gun at his stomach, and pulled the trigger. That little click must have been the loudest sound Joseph Perry ever heard. After a brief struggle with Blais, Perry wisely fled to the parking lot and contacted the police on his cellphone.

The police arrived to haul Blais off, doubtlessly very grateful that they didn't have to cope with the third homicide of 2006.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Providence homicide map

The Providence Journal has released a map (warning: PDF file) of the 22 murders that took place in Providence in 2005. It may be compared with a map of Providence's neighborhoods found here. Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman is apparently at wits end with the uptick in murders, and he's becoming anxious for solutions.

I was not surprised to see that most of these murders occurred west of Route 95, but I was surprised to see how many of these murders too place in Smith Hill and Wanskuck, and how few of them took place in Olneyville.

Next weekend, I promise - more pictures of Rhode Island and less focus on crime and urban blight in Providence. Really!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Joe Pantoliano comes to Providence

The Providence Journal (registration required) is reporting that CBS will be filming a pilot for a show called "Waterfront" in Providence. The series is set to star former "Sopranos" star Joe Pantoliano (pictured above in the yellow turtleneck) as the mayor of Providence (currently David Cicilline, pictured in the foreground to the right of Joe). Non-entity Billy Baldwin will be playing a role of some sort as well.

According to one report, Pantoliano's mayor will be "the wildly charismatic and ethically challenged mayor of Providence".

Time out, people. We already had him. Remember?

Perhaps this role should be reserved for Buddy Cianci when he gets out of jail sometime in 2007. What do you say, CBS?