One of those falsely accused in Boston attacks confirmed dead – probably for weeks!

Sunil Tripathi

The body of a man found in a Rhode Island river is a student mistakenly identified as one of the Boston bombers, medical officials confirm. Sunil ­Tripathi, 22, was identified by a forensic dental exam, but his cause of death has not been determined.

Members of a university rowing team found the body on Tuesday evening, a month after Tripathi went missing. He has been described as the other victim of the bombings after he was wrongly identified a suspect.

On Thursday, the Tripathi family said in a statement they felt “indescribable grief”, but were grateful for the outpouring of support.

Mr Tripathi, a Brown University student on leave, was last seen in his apartment in Providence on 16 March. His family had been searching for him with help from the FBI and Brown students…

On Monday social media website Reddit issued a public apology for its coverage of the Boston bombings after it wrongly named Tripathi and other people as suspects.

His sister, Sangeeta, told the BBC of her family’s anxiety at how fast “completely unsubstantiated claims were spreading”.

…media surrounded their family home after her brother was wrongly named.

Anyone expect the officially sleazy crowd of pretend-journalism from Fox News to the NY Post to do something as honorable as apologize to the folks they wrongly identified as suspects?

Pelicans blown astray by superstorm Sandy get a plane ride

They were housed in a tent in Rhode Island

Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy were flown in a private plane back to their natural habitat in Florida…

The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet, was found on the side of a road at Fishermen’s Memorial State Park on November 7, nine days after the storm made landfall in New Jersey, said Jennifer Brooks, clinic director at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.

The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died, she said.

The second pelican landed on a fishing boat about 120 miles south of Block Island the following day, she said. The crew of the boat, which provides fish to SeaWorld theme parks, fed the bird for several days before docking.

They were a little bit thin, they were a little beat up from the storm,” Brooks said of the birds. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates, Brooks said.

They were scheduled to be flown in containers similar to dog crates in a small private plane on Saturday to the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Florida, she said.

The cost of the flight — about $2,000 — will be covered by public donations, Brooks said.

Could be the easiest flight home they ever take. The return flight, that is.

I imagine being pushed up North by Sandy was just plain miserable.

Woman accused of teaching bird expletives aimed at her ex-hubby

An alleged cussing cockatoo is at the center of a heated neighborly dispute in which a Rhode Island woman is accused of training her bird to spew nasty expletives at her ex-husband and his girlfriend.

The foul-mouthed bird’s banter has become so bad the neighbors say they are leaving their waterfront home…

Lynne Taylor is due back in Warwick Municipal Court next week to fight allegations she violated a city animal noise ordinance when, according to Kathleen Melker and boyfriend Craig Fontaine, she taught the bird to continually hurl curse words at them.

The dispute has largely become a symbolic battle — the ordinance carries just a $15 fine.

Judges in superior and family courts have handed out restraining orders to people on both sides, even banning Melker’s cat, Pharaoh, from stepping onto Taylor’s property, said her lawyer, Stephen Peltier…

The statute reads if an individual is annoyed, that becomes a public nuisance. That is broad — based on case law,” Peltier said of the ordinance, adding his client denies teaching Willy such language…

Melker…says the dispute has forced her and Fontaine to put his $332,000 home on the market. “We’re done,” she said. “We have no quality of life.”

I have no idea how this former-couple ended up living next to each other. Certainly, you might presume a certain amount of risk comes with the context.

Trying to ban a cat from going where it wishes – outdoors – leaves me unimpressed with the judge, too.

Rhode Island nutballs go ballistic over Constitutional lawsuit

She is 16, the daughter of a firefighter and a nurse, a self-proclaimed nerd who loves Harry Potter and Facebook. But Jessica Ahlquist is also an outspoken atheist who has incensed this heavily Roman Catholic city with a successful lawsuit to get a prayer removed from the wall of her high school auditorium, where it has hung for 49 years.

A federal judge ruled this month that the prayer’s presence at Cranston High School West was unconstitutional, concluding that it violated the principle of government neutrality in religion. In the weeks since, residents have crowded school board meetings to demand an appeal, Jessica has received online threats and the police have escorted her at school, and Cranston, a dense city of 80,000 just south of Providence, has throbbed with raw emotion.

State Representative Peter G. Palumbo, a Democrat from Cranston, called Jessica “an evil little thing” on a popular talk radio show. Three separate florists refused to deliver her roses sent from a national atheist group. The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights.

“I was amazed,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the foundation, which is based in Wisconsin and has given Jessica $13,000 from support and scholarship funds. “We haven’t seen a case like this in a long time, with this level of revilement and ostracism and stigmatizing.”

The prayer, eight feet tall, is papered onto the wall in the Cranston West auditorium, near the stage. It has hung there since 1963, when a seventh grader wrote it as a sort of moral guide and that year’s graduating class presented it as a gift. It was a year after a landmark Supreme Court ruling barring organized prayer in public schools.

Which illustrates how backwards, for how long, the city of Cranston has persisted in denial.

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Rhode Island rounds out Northeast USA with civil rights for all

Less than a week after New York became the nation’s sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, Rhode Island state lawmakers on Wednesday voted in favor of a bill that permits civil unions between gay and lesbian couples.

The measure, which passed the state Senate by a count of 21-16, is widely seen as a compromise intended to provide same-sex couples with added rights and benefits, while also preventing an expanded legal definition of marriage.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, is expected to sign the bill into law, according to his spokesman, Michael Trainor.

…The law would take effect on July 1, making Rhode Island the fifth state in the union to allow civil unions between same-sex couples. Such unions are currently permitted in New Jersey and Illinois, and will be allowed in Delaware and Hawaii beginning January 1, 2012. Three West Coast states — California, Oregon and Washington — plus Nevada, also allow for “comprehensive domestic partnerships,” largely considered an equivalent to their civil union counterparts…

The legislation, which passed overwhelmingly in the state’s lower house on May 19, affords same-sex couples a host of new state tax breaks, health-care benefits and greater ease of inheritance…

The usual clot of religious nutballs and homophobes threw up their hands in a collective whine after passage.

There is a chance the law will have a sticking point over the predictable group of riders supposedly designed to protect religion-based institutions from lawsuit. This often extends all the way to defending hospitals owned by religious groups who refuse decision-making on medical services to civil union partners.

This may not seem like a big problem for our urban-dwelling readers; but, here in Santa Fe County the only for-real hospital is owned by flunkies for the Catholic Church. They’ve already removed a number of procedures formerly allowed – on the basis of ideology and superstition.

School: Little army men on patriotic hat pose weapons risk

Superintendent: “…find an alternative to a weapon.”

Christan Morales said her son just wanted to honor American troops when he wore a hat to school decorated with an American flag and small plastic Army figures.

But the school banned the hat because it ran afoul of the district’s zero-tolerance weapons policy. Why? The toy soldiers were carrying tiny guns…

Morales’ 8-year-old son, David, had been assigned to make a hat for the day when his second-grade class would meet their pen pals from another school. She and her son came up with an idea to add patriotic decorations to a camouflage hat.

“Nothing was being done to limit patriotism, creativity, other than find an alternative to a weapon,” [Superintendent Kenneth R. Di Pietro] said.

[Retired commander of the Rhode Island National Guard] Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio said he disagreed with the decision to ban the hat…

“The American soldier is armed. That’s why they’re called the armed forces,” he said. “If you’re going to portray it any other way, you miss the point.”

I remember as a kid buying little green army men by the bagfull. I guess that would be considered stashing weapons nowadays.

Let’s face it. Americans don’t get fed up with anything any more.

Nationwide outbreak of salmonella – one more time!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA, USDA…are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Montevideo.

Testing conducted by the Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa confirmed on Jan. 25, that this strain of salmonella is linked to the outbreak that has sickened 187 people in 39 states (one case in Iowa) since July 1, 2009. No deaths have been reported. Thirty-five people have been hospitalized.

On Jan. 23, Daniele International, of Pascoag, R.I., announced a recall of more than 1.2 million pounds of its ready-to-eat sausage products because of the possible salmonella contamination.

The Iowa Department of Public Health and public health officials in Plymouth County, Iowa, investigated the one case of Salmonella Montevideo in the state. They discovered leftover suspected sausage product frozen in the individual’s home and immediately sent the meat to the Hygienic Laboratory for testing. That patient has since recovered.

Using DNA fingerprinting, the laboratory confirmed that the meat product contained the same Salmonella Montevideo strain as the national outbreak, which also matched the salmonella isolate from the patient. The Hygienic Laboratory is the first lab in the nation to confirm this connection…

People with salmonella develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. Infants, elderly persons and those with weakened immunes systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

More information about the recalled products is available on the Food Safety and Inspection Service Web site. Go there and really scare yourself.

Living in tents, by the Rules, under a bridge in Rhode Island

The chief emerges from his tent to face the leaden morning light. It had been a rare, rough night in his homeless Brigadoon: a boozy brawl, the wielding of a knife taped to a stick. But the community handled it, he says with pride, his day’s first cigar already aglow.

By community he means 80 or so people living in tents on a spit of state land beside the dusky Providence River: Camp Runamuck, no certain address, downtown Providence.

Because the two men in the fight had violated the community’s written compact, they were escorted off the camp, away from the protection of an abandoned overpass. One was told we’ll discuss this in the morning; the other was voted off the island, his knife tossed into the river, his tent taken down.

The chief flicks his spent cigar into that same river. There is talk of rain tonight.

Behind him, the camp stirs. Other tent cities have sprung up recently around the country, but Rhode Island officials have never seen anything like this. A tea kettle sings…

The chief, John Freitas, is 55, with a gray beard touched by tobacco rust. He did prison time decades ago, worked for years as a factory supervisor, then became homeless for all the familiar, complicated reasons…

He and Ms. Kalil set up camp with another couple in early April. Word of it spread from the shelters to Kennedy Plaza downtown, where homeless people share the same empty Tim Hortons cup to pose as customers worthy of visiting that doughnut chain’s restroom. The camp became 10 people, then 15, then 25. No children allowed.

I was always considered the leader, the chief,” Mr. Freitas says. “I was the one consulted about ‘Where should I put my tent?’ ”…

The community also established a five-member leadership council and a compact that read in part: “No one person shall be greater than the will of the whole.”

RTFA. All I’ve put in place is a portion of how it begins.

Communal survival is generally more successful than solo – at least for greater numbers of people. In a time like ours, with growing numbers of homeless, the collective solutions hold more promise. This is just one of those tales – about human beings – in case you forgot.

Rhode Island could build North America’s first offshore wind farm

Near the Danish island of Samso
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

The governor of Rhode Island signed a final agreement yesterday with Deepwater Wind for a big offshore wind farm for the tiny state, announcing that construction is expected to start in late 2010. That puts the $1.5 billion, 400 MW project in line to be the first offshore wind farm constructed in North America, according to Gov. Donald Carcieri.

Although there are numerous offshore wind farms in Europe, offshore projects have met with repeated resistance in the U.S., either due to cost, or, in the case of Cape Wind in Massachusetts, vocal opposition to turbines from prominent residents, who fear that such development could ruin their ocean view.

Carcieri first announced a deal with Deepwater Wind back in September after putting out a request for proposals earlier in the year. Deepwater Wind, backed by First Wind, DE Shaw & Co. and Ospraie Management, has since made another deal for a big offshore wind project in New Jersey.

The Rhode Island project is likely to be a little late in meeting the governor’s original target of generating enough power to cover 15 percent of the state’s electricity needs by 2012. Phase One of the project, to go in state waters, is expected to be complete in late June 2012 and generate 20 MW of power. A timeline for Phase Two, which will go in federal waters, has yet to be released. Deepwater Wind will first need approval from the Minerals Management Service, part of the Department of the Interior, for a lease of submerged federal lands to build the larger wind farm.

Good for Rhode Island – the smallest of the forty-eight.

They picked a good time to build in the region. Most Green activists and just plain sensible people who look to green alternatives for a future – are fed up to their eyeballs with NIMBY’s like the Kennedys – and nutballs like Bush. Not a bad time to get started with change.

Catholic diocese pays $1.3 million to settle 4 abuse claims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence will pay $1.3 million to four men who said they were abused by priests, lawyers announced Friday. The settlements were reached in June and will go to the victims or their estates, said attorney.

“There is no amount of money that is going to make it right,” said Carl DeLuca, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “It is more an issue of validation. And in that sense they feel validated.”

Three men sued the diocese starting in 2003 alleging that priests abused them as children. Murphy said a fourth man contacted church authorities to report that he had been abused; he never filed a lawsuit and died before the settlement was reached.

Bishop Thomas Tobin and the Providence diocese did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

In 2002, the diocese reached a $14.25 million settlement with 37 alleged victims of sexual abuse in Rhode Island who filed lawsuits. The cases involved allegations against 11 priests and a nun.

These creeps rarely admit wrongdoing or ask forgiveness of the people whose childhood was distorted and stolen by criminal acts.