November, 2012

Reed on the fence about filibuster changes, unlike Whitehouse

November 30th, 2012 at 6:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Mr. Smith doing his thing

A growing number of U.S. Senate Democrats including Sheldon Whitehouse are pushing hard for their caucus to approve changes to the filibuster early next year that would make it harder for Republicans to block legislation. But Whitehouse’s senior colleague, Jack Reed, still doesn’t sound convinced in this story by The Hill’s Alexander Bolton:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could be short on votes he needs to force changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, as nine Democratic senators sit on the fence about the proposed reforms. …

Two other senior Democrats, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) and Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), have yet to be persuaded. …

“I’m going to work my way through it,” said Reed. “It’s all part of the idea of how you effect change.

“I’m looking at everything,” he said.

Local observers probably won’t be surprised by this. While Reed sounded frustrated about Republicans’ heavy filibustering on “Newsmakers” in late 2010, he didn’t side with Whitehouse’s allies on the actual vote to change the rules two months later. This was my take at the time:

Some of the split can be chalked up to temperament; Reed is a cautious elder statesman type, and though a loyal Democrat, he’s not the most vocal partisan. Whitehouse, on the other hand, is a proud, loud liberal who’s glad to call out the other side.

However, their disagreement may also have something to do with when the two men joined the Senate.

Reed was elected in 1996 after serving in the House, and thus spent almost his entire first decade as a senator in the minority. (Democrats briefly controlled the chamber from mid-2001 through 2002.) He has a clear memory of what it was like to be out of power for an extended period of time, and what it meant to Senate Democrats to have the filibuster available to block Republican initiatives.

Whitehouse was elected in 2006 on a tidal wave of hostility toward the Bush administration, and unlike Reed, he has never served in the minority. So Whitehouse has only known the the frustration of watching Republicans block Democratic initiatives that had the support of a majority of senators, particularly over the last two years. He’s also served in an era when fewer senators cared about the chamber as an institution.

• Related: Reed, Whitehouse split on limiting the filibuster (Jan. 28, 2011)

(photo: Wikipedia)

Chafee picks Parsons despite ties to EDC credit-card scandal

November 30th, 2012 at 4:38 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Governor Chafee decided to tap veteran R.I. Economic Development Corporation staffer William Parsons as its new executive director despite Parsons’ involvement in a 1999 scandal over executive expense accounts.

Parsons was reprimanded and demoted from deputy director to associate director after he approved – perhaps inadvertently – the EDC’s purchase of a plane ticket to Disney World for the son of its legal counsel, who wound up resigning along with other top staff members, according to newspaper accounts.

Parsons was also criticized for taking a $300 cash advance off his EDC credit card, charging $19.77 at a Family Pet Center in North Providence and failing to reimburse the agency for $390 he spent to bring his wife on a trade mission to London.

Christine Hunsinger, a spokeswoman for Governor Chafee, said Friday the governor was aware of the expense irregularities but decided it wasn’t a reason to pass over Parsons, who has worked for the EDC and its forerunner since 1975, a year after former Gov. Philip Noel created it.

“Yes, there was an issue several years back and that was dealt with, and since that time his track record has been impeccable,” Hunsinger told “The governor is confident that Bill Parsons is the right person because of the institutional knowledge he has in 37 years of public service. EDC will move forward and under the governor’s direction will be a force in driving economic development in the state.”

Hunsinger declined to say how many others Chafee approached about taking the job. She also said the governor called Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed to inform her of the choice. Parsons’ appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

Vast majority in RI prefer ‘Christmas tree,’ poll showed last year

November 30th, 2012 at 1:36 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Clearly Lincoln Chafee doesn’t mind bucking public opinion.

With the governor going on national TV to make his second annual push to call the State House spruce a “holiday tree,” it’s worth taking another look at a Brown University survey question on the issue that was published last year.

The poll found an overwhelming 77% of Rhode Island voters said they would prefer the governor call it a “Christmas tree,” while just 11% preferred Chafee’s “holiday tree” formulation, 4% wanted something else and 8% didn’t know.

Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who is expected to challenge Chafee in 2014 if he runs for re-election, is more in line with the general public. “It’s a Christmas tree,” she told The Valley Breeze’s Ethan Shorey on Friday, adding: “That’s on the record.” Providence Mayor Angel Taveras also went with Christmas tree.

The telephone survey of 464 registered voters in Rhode Island was conducted Dec. 2-9, 2011, by Brown’s A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions and John Hazen White Public Opinion Laboratory. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

• Related: Analysis: On ‘Christmas’ trees and the public square in RI (Dec. 2, 2011)

Is it time to get rid of the federal flood insurance program?

November 30th, 2012 at 12:32 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

All 39 communities in Rhode Island participate in the federally funded National Flood Insurance Program, which Congress created in 1968 to deal with the lack of private insurance options available to homeowners in flood-prone areas.

The program has paid out tens of millions of dollars over the years, but in the wake of Sandy, some are asking about whether the program is a wise use of taxpayer money. They include economists Judith Kildow and Jason Scorse, who argue in a New York Times op-ed it’s time to end the program:

It’s no surprise that it can be very expensive to live near the ocean. But it may come as a surprise to American taxpayers that they are on the hook for at least $527 billion of vulnerable assets in the nation’s coastal flood plains. Those homes and businesses are insured by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

You read that right: $527 billion, which is just a portion of the program’s overall liability of $1.25 trillion, second only to Social Security in the liabilities on the government’s ledgers last year, according to government data. …

Homeowners and businesses should be responsible for purchasing their own flood insurance on the private market, if they can find it. If they can’t, then the market is telling them that where they live is too dangerous. If they choose to live in harm’s way, they should bear the cost of that risk — not the taxpayers.

And it’s not just the flood insurance program.

A lesser-known piece of legislation, the Stafford Act, authorizes the president to declare disaster areas and provide major federal funding for cleaning and rebuilding efforts. (For example, here is President Obama’s Stafford Act declaration for Rhode Island after Sandy.) “Lately,” The Times reported on Nov. 18, “scientists, budget-conscious lawmakers and advocacy groups across the political spectrum have argued that these subsidies waste money, put lives at risk and make no sense in an era of changing climate and rising seas.”

(photo: RIEMA)

Farm Fresh Fajitas

November 30th, 2012 at 11:19 am by under The Rhode Show

Happy Friday!!

I’m so excited, because my package aired today on “Eating Well.”
I made Farm Fresh Steak Fajitas, that were pasture-raised from Black Bird Farm, with Chef David Dadekian of Eat Drink Rhode Island.

He’s an excellent cook! I love how he breaks down the ingredients and procedure in simple language, so novice cooks can follow along!

Steak Fajitas is a great dish to make on a Friday or just about any-day, because it’s super quick & easy!

Below is the recipe.

Steak Fajitas

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
juice of 4 freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 4 tablespoons total)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 scallions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds skirt or flank steak
1 cup green pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup onion, thinly sliced
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
flour tortillas, grated cheese, lime wedges

Puree oil, soy sauce, juice, sugar, scallions, garlic, pepper flakes and cumim in a blender. Cut the steak into two to four pieces (making it manageable for your sauté pan). Combine marinade and skirt steak in a resealable bag and marinate overnight or at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Remove steak from marinade, drip-drying the meat as much as possible. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat cook the steak approximately 3-4 minutes each side. Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes. While the steak is resting, sauté peppers and onions until soft. Salt & pepper to taste.

Thinly slice the steak across the grain of the meat. Serve on warmed flour tortillas with peppers and onions. Other options are a light sprinkle of grated cheese and a wedge of lime.



Watch Governor Chafee debate ‘holiday trees’ with Bill O’Reilly

November 30th, 2012 at 9:32 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Friends of ‘thrill kill’ victim to speak out against parole bid

November 29th, 2012 at 6:12 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Several friends and family members of “thrill kill” victim Jeannette Descoteaux say they are organizing a push to make sure neither of her murderers get released from prison early.

Read the rest of this story »

Rhode Island house prices post biggest decline in the country

November 29th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The local housing market is still struggling.

Rhode Island home prices declined 3.5% in September from a year earlier, the largest drop in any state, according to real-estate data firm CoreLogic Inc. Prices rose 5% nationally, with 43 of the 50 states reporting increases, including a 2.5% uptick in Massachusetts.

Housing prices doubled in Rhode Island between the summer of 2000 and the winter of 2006, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency index. Prices have dropped 35% over the last six years and are now back to about the same level where they were in the summer of 2003.

A total of 11,832 homes were sold in Rhode Island during the 12 months through September, an increase of 10% from the previous year, according to CoreLogic. One in four of those were short sales, and there was a 9.9-month supply of distressed homes in the state.

Rhode Island continues to have more homeowners in trouble than most other states. CoreLogic said 7.5% of all mortgages in Rhode Island were at least 90 days delinquent in September, tied with Connecticut and topped only by Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, and New York.

Corelogic said 22.7% of Rhode Island homeowners had negative equity in September, meaning they owned more on their mortgage than their property was worth.

• Related: Watch Executive Suite with Gorbea, Marcantonio on RI housing (Oct. 29)

First Few Days of December: Mostly Mild

November 28th, 2012 at 10:58 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Saturday is December 1st and I do have below normal temperatures in the forecast for that day.  However, the next several days after that should be above normal.  So if you are a fan a temperaturs in the 50s, just wait a few days. 

Keep in mind, “normal” is essentially an average.  So while temps in the 50s are above normal, it’s not that unusual to get a few days in December that reach temperatures this mild. 

As for you snow lovers? There is a chance of a light/rain snow mix Friday night into Saturday, but it doesn’t look like much of a snow maker at this point.  Don’t worry, winter has not even officially started yet…we will have many more chances. -Pete Mangione

Curt Schilling on Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year

November 28th, 2012 at 5:35 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

He struck out as a businessman, but Curt Schilling still has a chance to land among baseball’s immortals.

Schilling is one of 24 players who are on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, ESPN reports. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will vote through next month, with the results announced Jan. 9.

And while Schilling may be persona non grata in Rhode Island because of the 38 Studios debacle, he’s got at least one local sportswriter in his corner – The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson:

The numbers Schilling compiled in his 20-season career — especially with his postseason exploits, particularly his memorable “Bloody Sox” start in 2004 — put him squarely in the middle of the in-or-out gray area.

Schilling won 216 games and compiled a 3.46 ERA in his career. His win total ranks him in a tie with Wilbur Cooper and Charlie Hough for 82nd all-time, and his ERA ranks him 391st all-time — on its face, certainly not Hall of Fame-caliber.

More relevant than his ERA, however, might be his adjusted ERA+ — a number that takes into consideration that Schilling pitched in the middle of the Steroid Era and its accompanying offensive inflation.

• Related: Schilling selling Mass. home for $3.5M after 38 Studios collapse (Oct. 2)

Why the early releases of Brissette, Woodmansee are different

November 28th, 2012 at 1:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


By Tim White

Since Target 12 broke the story on the pending release of convicted “thrill” killer Alfred Brissette, questions have emerged as to why a murderer was getting an early release, particularly in the wake of the Michael Woodmansee controversy.

It’s important to note the two cases are different in terms of how each inmate was awarded an early release from prison.

Woodmansee was convicted of killing 5-year-old Jason Foreman in South Kingstown in 1975. He completed his prison sentence at the Adult Correctional Institutions after earning more than 12 years of time off for good behavior. After outrage erupted over his release, Woodmansee agreed to voluntarily commit himself to the Eleanor Slater Hospital, a state psychiatric institution.

Brissette was convicted of killing Jeannette Descoteaux of Woonsocket in 1999. He and co-conspirator Marc Girard had been planning to kill a woman at random for months before they lured the 38-year-old to the woods of Burrillville and beating her to death with a lug wrench, shovel and their fists, according to prosecutors and investigators.


Parole Board backs off decision to release ‘thrill kill’ convict

November 28th, 2012 at 11:47 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Parole Board has backed off its decision to grant early release to a man convicted of a brutal 1999 “thrill kill” and will take another look at the case following a series of Target 12 investigative reports this week.

Read the rest of this story »

The Season Of Love

November 28th, 2012 at 10:38 am by under The Rhode Show

Early morning docks on the East Bay. A sneak peek!

No matter what kind of love (friend, family or romance), ’tis the season.

The latest SFAS assignment was to create a budget-concious Rhode Island adventure. After spending time with family for Thanksgiving and experiencing the charm of the season’s first snow, I planned a day to share with someone you love: A “date-on-a-dime!”

Rhode Island has those Grease-worthy summer nights (tell me more tell me more…) but winter is equally magical. The water is serene, the docks are quiet and the streets glisten with bows and twinkling lights. The colder temperatures are a perfect excuse to head indoors and cuddle up by a fire. And what would a day be without a feast!

Watch next Wednesday to see the day I planned for a total of $33! Whether you are a Mom with her children, two sisters or a couple (new and old!), spend a day away from the busy malls to share your love for one another and for Rhode Island’s simple treasures.


Columnist: TD Bank investors may not like Citizens acquisiton

November 28th, 2012 at 10:06 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Citizens-is-for-sale rumors have quieted down since Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Stephen Hester played down the possibility on Nov. 2, but business columnist David Milstead still offered this in The (Toronto) Globe and Mail:

Toronto-Dominion Bank, which has already bulked up its U.S. business, is said to be a logical buyer for RBS Citizens Bank, a massive franchise that would add considerable heft to its south-of-the-border foray.

Whether this will prove true — it is, after all, at the rumour and speculation stage — it prompts a couple of questions: One, is TD already too American for investors who like their Canadian banks to be Canadian? And, two, is eschewing TD on that basis actually a good idea for Canadian investors?

The answer to the first question is probably yes. The answer to the second is a little more complicated. …

If TD can pick up Citizens Bank at a bargain price, and ride the rebound of the U.S. banking sector, shareholders should see quite a bit of benefit. But Canadians who prefer the safer, slower Canadian banks would be well-advised to consider whether TD fits in with their portfolios anymore, Citizens Bank deal or no.

• Related: RBS CEO downplays Citizens sale likelihood, won’t rule it out (Nov. 2)

Chart: House prices still aren’t going up in RI, bucking US trend

November 28th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

What’s wrong with Rhode Island’s housing market?

A new chart making the rounds this week in the economics blogosphere raises the question. Amir Sufi, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, compared each state’s house price crash from 2006 to 2011 with its house price recovery over the last two years.

Basically a state is worse off the closer it gets to the bottom-left of the graph, which arguably gives Rhode Island the weakest housing market of all – the seventh-worst housing crash in the nation from 2006 to 2011, followed by the weakest recovery (in fact, a further decline) into this year:

(h/t: Wonkblog)

Minor Accumulations Tonight For Some…

November 27th, 2012 at 7:52 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

So far the most snow has been in  Northwest Rhode Island with 2 to 2.5 inches in Burrillville, Foster and Glocester….why? …because its colder in the higher elevations there. In other areas, the air is cold enough to snow for many hours, but the ground temperatures (especially the pavement) is too warm, so a lot of melting going on. Bottom line..snowing for many hours in some areas, but very little is sticking. Even though you see the number “3″ on the map below, that is mostly limited to the higher elevations of northwest RI. Most accumulations tonight will be on non paved surfaces like grass, shrubs and car tops.

‘Thrill kill’ murderer’s ex-wife wasn’t told he’s getting released

November 27th, 2012 at 4:47 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The ex-wife of a convicted murderer set to be released from prison decades early says she was never notified that the so-called “thrill” killer was up for parole.

Read the rest of this story »

NYT: 13% of Providence will be flooded if sea levels rise 25 feet

November 27th, 2012 at 3:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Parts of downtown Providence would be permanently flooded if the sea level rises 25 feet above its current level because of climate change, according to a New York Times analysis.

The newspaper used data from the journal Nature to estimate the impact on coastal and low-lying U.S. cities if sea levels rise by 5 feet, as is probable in 100 to 300 years; 12 feet, which is possible by around 2300 if carbon pollution isn’t reduced significantly; or 25 feet, which is possible in the coming centuries.

A 25-foot sea level increase would flood 13% of Providence, which would have a significant impact but would be far less severe than the amount of flooding in Miami (99% flooded), Cambridge (86%) or New York City (39%), according to the Times analysis.

A 5-foot sea level rise would lead to minor flooding in Providence along Narragansett Bay’s inlets, while a 12-foot increase would begin to flood downtown, the analysis found. An accompanying article examined how cities might try to adapt.

Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser suggested a paradox at work. “The world’s urban agglomerations are often particularly vulnerable to natural and man-made disaster, yet they are also especially well-suited to defend their space,” he wrote in a Bloomberg column.

Glaeser thinks officials in New York City and elsewhere should take proactive steps. “Sea walls may not be the answer, but any solution is sure to require huge public expenditures,” he wrote. “This highlights another central point about cities: They need strong, effective governments.”

• Related: No climatologist for RI to ask about the heat, unlike in 48 states (March 22)

Central Falls mayoral hopeful Diossa refuses to debate Moran

November 27th, 2012 at 11:52 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

So much for a new era of political openness in Central Falls.

City Councilman James Diossa, the 27-year-old who won an overwhelmingly victory in the Nov. 6 mayoral primary, is refusing to debate the opponent he faces in the Dec. 11 runoff election, former Central Falls Police Chief Joseph Moran.

Diossa and Moran are seeking to finish the term of former mayor Charles Moreau, who resigned due to corruption charges. Diossa spokesman Bill Fischer turned down an invitation to debate Moran on the Nov. 30 taping of WPRI 12′s Newsmakers.

“James has already participated in three debates with Colonel Moran,” Fischer told in an email, noting that Diossa and Moran took part in candidate forums prior to the primary. “Given the short window between the primary and the general in the special election, we are respectfully going to decline the invitation.”


RI is 1 of 3 states that offers musicals, plays a theater tax credit

November 27th, 2012 at 10:09 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Did you know this? Caryn Rousseau reports for the Associated Press (emphasis added):

The New York-bound musical “Kinky Boots” enjoyed a pre-Broadway run at a downtown Chicago theater this fall, but only after the state of Illinois lured producers with something that’s scarce these days — money.

The Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein production that’s based on a 2005 movie, along with a second musical, “Big Fish,” were the first to apply for a certificate making them eligible for a state theater tax credit. …

Producers say the credit — worth up to $500,000 per production or a cap of $2 million per year — was instrumental in their decision to bring the shows to Chicago instead of going straight to New York or previewing in Seattle, Toronto or San Francisco.

[Proponents] say the unique tax break brings Chicago something more than money — a show-business shine that generates buzz. Only Louisiana and Rhode Island have similar legislation, intended to bring shows to cities like New Orleans and Providence.

Rhode Island’s tax credit didn’t get much attention when it passed this year, but GoLocalProv did a story:

The state is expanding its film tax credit program to include musical and theatrical productions in a new law that will likely benefit just one local theater business ….

Under the new law, production companies whose shows have been or will be on Broadway can apply for tax credits to offset the costs of developing and rehearsing their shows in this state. But the law stipulates that those companies must use a venue with seating for 1,500 and where “live exclusive theatrical productions are, or are intended to be, exclusively presented.” …

Just two theater venues, out of about a dozen in the state, meet the criteria in the law: the Providence Performing Arts Center, or PPAC and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, which PPAC manages through a subsidiary company. …

The lead sponsor of the original Senate bill, Sen. Josh Miller said that’s because “adventurous” arena shows like the ones at the Dunkin Donuts Center don’t have the proven track record of economic development that Broadway shows at the PPAC do. (Miller’s bill, along with its House counterpart, eventually got absorbed into the House budget, which passed last week.)

Messy Travel This Evening and Tonight

November 27th, 2012 at 8:32 am by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

No major changes to the forecast this morning… This is not going to be a blockbuster storm;  however, enough wintry weather will fall to create some travel headaches this evening and tonight. Off and on light snow and rain are expected by late morning and afternoon, but with temperatures above freezing, the snow will have trouble sticking to the ground.   As night falls, temperatures drop and the intensity of the snow picks up… that will change.  And the combination of reduced visibility and some snow coated roads will lead to sloppy travel for the PM commute.

What to Expect

Most of the accumulating snow will fall between 7pm and 2am tonight… with most areas picking up around 1-3″ of snow.  The amounts will be less over the Cape and Islands and coastal MA where a wintry mix/rain will continue.

The snow will taper to lingering flurries and snow showers through dawn Wednesday.  Temperatures will drop to near 32 and some patchy black ice will be possible early Wednesday morning.

Moody’s: Election victory for Twin River is bad news for Conn.

November 27th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Wall Street thinks the election created more losers than winners for the local gaming industry.

The big winner, according to Moody’s Investors Service analyst Keith Foley, is Lincoln casino Twin River, which won voter approval to install table games as soon as next summer to get ahead of looming competition from Massachusetts and stay competitive against Connecticut’s Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun.

The losers include Newport Grand, which failed to get local voters’ permission to add table games; Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods, both of which depend on Rhode Island customers and are already losing revenue; and the regional gaming market in the Northeast, which will be further saturated.

“While certain casinos [including Twin River] stand to gain, the increase of gaming supply, in whatever form it takes, will not necessarily attract more gamblers,” Foley wrote in a research note. “Increased supply will increase pressure on existing operators in the Northeast, and possibly on the US gaming sector as a whole.” He said the sector needs a stronger recovery or an overall increase in gambling.

The picture is mixed for Massachusetts, which is expected to license up to three casinos and one slot facility by early next year. That expansion will likely “have a material negative impact on Twin River’s earnings and cash flow,” Foley said, but Rhode Island has gained “a first-mover advantage over Massachusetts,” where the earliest new casinos could open their doors is probably the first half of 2014.

Twin River’s revenue in the year ended Sept. 30 was $515 million, while Newport Grand’s was $55 million. Foley expects Twin River will gain market share over Newport Grand once table games begin.

• Related: Why RI is freaked about losing casino revenue, in two charts (June 12)

Updated Accumulationm Forecast…

November 26th, 2012 at 11:36 pm by under Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

Good Evening…

New data that I have been looking at last several hours suggests that we will need to increase the accumulation forecast slightly. Keep in mind that these are the final totals by LATE Tuesday Night. Snow will start mid morning Tuesday (after 8am)…it will mix with sleet and rain for a time along the coast. As colder takes over Tuesday night all locations will change to snow. One reason we have increased the snow totals is due to the storm intensifying as it pulls away Tuesday Night. This intensification creates a  2nd burst of slightly steadier snow Tuesday Night. The forecast is for generally 1-3 inches of snow…some computer model data even hints at isolated 4 inch amounts, but at this point, 4 inches is more the exception rather than the rule. Snow showers will linger into Wednesday morning, drier by Weds. Afternoon.                   Tony Petrarca



RI grants early release to inmate convicted of 1999 ‘thrill kill’

November 26th, 2012 at 5:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Woonsocket man convicted in the “thrill” killing of a woman at random has been granted parole and is set to be released from prison in December, decades early.

Read the rest of this story »

PBS ‘Need to Know’ examines ‘work-sharing’ program in RI

November 26th, 2012 at 4:59 pm by under Nesi's Notes

The PBS program “Need to Know” took a look at Rhode Island’s work-sharing program in its latest episode. Unfortunately the video embed isn’t working, but you can watch the segment on by clicking here.

Weak Storm Brings A Little Wintry Weather Tomorrow

November 26th, 2012 at 12:37 pm by under General Talk, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog

A weak storm system will pass well south and east of southern New England tomorrow, bringing some light snow… and possibly a wintry mix at the coast.  This will not be a major storm… however, it could create some traffic troubles during the evening commute.   The majority of the morning commute looks dry, with some light flurries developing after 7am.  The snow may pick up for a time late morning through early afternoon… it may mix with rain at times towards the coast.  Light snow and a wintry mix will continue into the evening and night before tapering off towards dawn on Wednesday.  The temperatures will be in the mid to upper 30s in the afternoon… so, while the snow is falling, it may have a tough time accumulating until after dark.  We are most concerned about some slippery travel and reduced visibility during the evening.

Here’s a look at the latest thinking in terms of snowfall accumulations:

Snow Accums Tuesday

There’s only going to be a narrow band of potential accumulating snow…. Keep in mind that it wouldn’t take much of a shift in the storm’s track further south to bring “just flurries” for RI/SE MA and keep any heavier/steadier precipitation over the ocean.

How Providence area residents earned their money in 2011

November 26th, 2012 at 12:34 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The Bureau of Economic Analysis is out today with its latest report on personal income in local areas, and the findings for the Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metropolitan area aren’t too bad.

Personal income in the Providence area rose to $43,192 in 2011, up from $41,343 per capita in 2010, and the annual growth rate quickened from 3.2% to 4.5%. At $43,192 per person, Providence-area personal income ranked 58th among the 366 U.S. metro areas and was slightly above the $41,560 national average. However, incomes grew more slowly last year in the Providence area (4.5%) than they did nationwide (5.2%).

For comparison’s sake, the highest per-capita personal income in the country last year was $78,504 in the area around Bridgeport, Conn. and the lowest was $21,620 around McAllen, Texas. The Boston area’s per-capita income was 7th-highest at $57,893, or $14,701 more than the Providence area’s.

Where did area residents earn their $43,192 each? Here’s total 2011 personal income paid by top industries:

  1. Health care and social assistance: $6.7 billion
  2. Manufacturing: $4.9 billion
  3. Local government: $3.8 billion
  4. Finance and insurance: $3.1 billion
  5. Professional, scientific and technical services: $2.9 billion
  6. Retail trade: $2.9 billion
  7. Construction: $2.3 billion
  8. State government: $1.8 billion

Taveras pushes Congress to back Obama on ‘fiscal cliff’ fix

November 26th, 2012 at 10:43 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Even Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is raising alarm bells about the fiscal cliff.

Taveras and other Democratic mayors from around the country are putting pressure on Congress to avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts currently set to take effect on Jan. 1. Providence got $305 million of its $700 million in revenue from federal and state sources in 2010-11.

“President Obama has put forth a detailed fiscal plan that creates jobs, invests in competitiveness and strengthens the middle class,” Taveras said in his statement. “I join mayors from across the country, as well as a majority of American citizens, urging Congress to compromise and tackle the challenges that are threatening cities like Providence.”

“Small and innovative businesses are the emerging businesses in Providence,” the mayor said. “Our middle class residents and small businesses cannot afford to go over the fiscal cliff to protect the wealthiest from paying a little bit more. I support President Obama’s efforts to work with Congress to get this done and move our cities and our country forward.”

• Related: Mayor Taveras spends Cinco de Mayo … at the White House (May 5, 2011)

Manufacturing jobs are down in RI; manufacturing output isn’t

November 26th, 2012 at 9:41 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Sunday’s Providence Journal had a lengthy article reminding Rhode Islanders that the state’s manufacturing sector hasn’t actually disappeared, contrary to what some may think, even though employment in the industry has fallen from 168,000 during World War II to about 40,000 last year.

It’s an important point, one that was also made here about a year ago when I posted this chart comparing the change in manufacturing employment with the change in manufacturing output since 1997:

Here’s more on manufacturing in Rhode Island:

Watch Executive Suite with Providence Yarn, brewer Foolproof

November 26th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site