Rhode Island

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Photo Credit: The Associated Press

UPDATE 5:21 p.m. BOSTON (AP) — Two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 80 in a terrifying scene of shattered glass, billowing smoke, bloodstained pavement and severed limbs, authorities said.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 26.2-mile course.

At the White House, President Barack Obama vowed that those responsible will "feel the full weight of justice."

There was no word on the motive or who may have launched the attack, and police said no suspect was in custody. Authorities in Washington said there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

"They just started bringing people in with no limbs," said runner Tim Davey, of Richmond, Va. He said he and his wife, Lisa, tried to keep their children's eyes shielded from the gruesome scene inside a medical tent that had been set up to care for fatigued runners, but "they saw a lot."

"They just kept filling up with more and more casualties," Lisa Davey said. "Most everybody was conscious. They were very dazed."

The twin blasts at the race took place almost simultaneously and about 100 yards apart, tearing limbs off numerous people, knocking spectators and at least one runner off their feet, shattering windows and sending smoke rising over the street.

Some 23,000 runners took part in the race, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious marathons. One of Boston's biggest annual events, the race winds up near Copley Square, not far from the landmark Prudential Center and the Boston Public Library. It is held on Patriots Day, which commemorates the first battles of the American Revolution, at Concord and Lexington in 1775.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis asked people to stay indoors or go back to their hotel rooms and avoid crowds as bomb squads methodically checked parcels and bags left along the race route. He said investigators didn't know whether the bombs were planted in mailboxes or trash cans.

He said authorities had received "no specific intelligence that anything was going to happen" at the race.

The Federal Aviation Administration barred low-flying aircraft from within 3.5 miles of the site.

Obama was briefed on the explosions by Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco. Obama also told Mayor Tom Menino and Gov. Deval Patrick that his administration would provide whatever support was needed, the White House said.

"We still don't know who did this or why," Obama said, adding, "Make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of this."

A few miles away from the finish line and around the same time, a fire broke out at the John F. Kennedy Library. The police commissioner said it may have been caused by an incendiary device but didn't appear to be related to the bombings.

"There are people who are really, really bloody," said Laura McLean, a runner from Toronto, who was in the medical tent being treated for dehydration when she was pulled out to make room for victims.

About four hours into the race and two hours after the men's winner crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on the north side of Boylston Street, just before the photo bridge that marks the finish line. Another explosion could be heard a few seconds later.

By that point, more than 17,000 of the runners had finished the race, but thousands of others were farther back along the course.

The Boston Police Department said two people were killed. Hospitals reported at least 82 injured, at least eight of them critically.

A senior U.S. intelligence official said the two other explosive devices found nearby were being dismantled. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the findings publicly.

A woman who was a few feet from the second bomb, Brighid Wall, 35, of Duxbury, said that when it exploded, runners and spectators froze, unsure of what to do. Her husband threw their children to the ground, lay on top of them and another man lay on top of them and said, "Don't get up, don't get up."

After a minute or so without another explosion, Wall said, she and her family headed to a Starbucks and out the back door through an alley. Around them, the windows off the bars and restaurants were blown out.

She said she saw six to eight people bleeding profusely, including one man who was kneeling, dazed, with blood coming down his head. Another person was on the ground covered in blood and not moving.

"My ears are zinging. Their ears are zinging. It was so forceful. It knocked us to the ground."

Competitors and race volunteers were crying as they fled the chaos. Authorities went onto the course to carry away the injured while race stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site.

Roupen Bastajian, a 35-year-old state trooper from Smithfield, R.I., had just finished the race when they put the heat blanket wrap on him and he heard the blasts.

"I started running toward the blast. And there were people all over the floor," he said. "We started grabbing tourniquets and started tying legs. A lot of people amputated. ... At least 25 to 30 people have at least one leg missing, or an ankle missing, or two legs missing."

Smoke rose from the blasts, fluttering through the national flags lining the route. Blood stained the pavement in the popular shopping and tourist area known as the Back Bay.

Cherie Falgoust was waiting for her husband, who was running the race.

"I was expecting my husband any minute," she said. "I don't know what this building is ... it just blew. Just a big bomb, a loud boom, and then glass everywhere. Something hit my head. I don't know what it was. I just ducked."

Runners who had not finished the race were diverted straight down Commonwealth Avenue and into a family meeting area, according to an emergency plan that had been in place.

The Boston Marathon honored the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting with a special mile marker in Monday's race.

Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio previously said there was "special significance" to the fact that the race is 26.2 miles long and 26 people died at Sandy Hook Elementary school.


[Updated at 3:30 p.m. CST: 187 registered runners listed Austin, Texas, as their city of residence.]

Deb Hanley, left, and Frank McGuire dig about three feet of snow from around their car outside their home in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013. The Boston area received about two feet of snow from a winter storm. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

BOSTON — A howling storm across the Northeast left the New York-to-Boston corridor shrouded in 1 to 3 feet of snow Saturday, stranding motorists on highways overnight and piling up drifts so high that some homeowners couldn't get their doors open. More than 650,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity.

At least three deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the wind-whipped snowstorm, including that of a New York man killed when the tractor he was using to plow his driveway ran off the edge of the road.

More than 38 inches of snow fell in Milford, Conn., and an 82 mph gust was recorded in nearby Westport. Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire got at least 2 feet of snow, with more falling. Portland, Maine, received 29.3 inches, breaking the record set in 1979.

Roads in many places were impassable. Across much of New England, snowed-over cars looked like white blobs. Streets were mostly deserted save for snowplow crews and a few hardy souls walking dogs or venturing out to take pictures. In Boston's Financial District, the only sound was an army of snowblowers clearing sidewalks.

The digging-out went more smoothly in some places than in others.

A little more than 11 inches fell in New York, but the city "dodged a bullet" and was "in great shape," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, predicting streets would be cleared by the end of the day. The New York region's three major airports — LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark, N.J. — were up and running again by late morning after shutting down the evening before.

But hundreds of motorists abandoned their vehicles on New York's Long Island, which got 2½ feet of snow, and even snowplows were getting stuck. Emergency workers used snowmobiles to try to reach stranded motorists, some of whom spent the night in their cars.

Richard Ebbrecht, a chiropractor, left his office in Brooklyn at 3 p.m. on Friday and head for his home in Middle Island, N.Y., but got stuck six or seven times on the Long Island Expressway and other roads.

"There was a bunch of us Long Islanders. We were all helping each other, shoveling, pushing," he said. He finally gave up and settled in for the night in his car just two miles from his destination. At 8 a.m., when it was light out, he walked home.

"I could run my car and keep the heat on and listen to the radio a little bit," he said. "It was very icy under my car. That's why my car is still there."

Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut closed roads to all but essential traffic.

The Interstate 95 corridor from the New York metropolitan area to Boston, with a population of roughly 25 million, appeared to take the brunt of the storm. One of hardest-hit places was Connecticut, where even emergency responders found themselves stuck on highways all night. In Fairfield, police and firefighters could not come in to work, so the overnight shift stayed on.

Several state police cars were also stuck in deep snow in Maine, where stranded drivers were warned to expect long waits for tow trucks.

Nearly 22 inches of snow fell in Boston and more was expected, closing in on the 2003 record of 27.6 inches. The archdiocese in the heavily Roman Catholic city reminded parishioners that under church law, the requirement to attend Sunday Mass "does not apply when there is grave difficulty in fulfilling this obligation." Logan Airport was not expected to resume operations until late Saturday night.

Flooding fears along the Massachusetts coast led to the evacuation of two neighborhoods in Quincy, south of Boston, and of 20 to 30 people in oceanfront homes in Salisbury.

But around the New York metropolitan area, many victims of Superstorm Sandy were mercifully spared another round of flooding, property damage and power failures.

"I was very lucky and I never even lost power," said Susan Kelly of Bayville on Long Island. "We were dry as anything. My new roof was fantastic. Other than digging out, this storm was a nice storm." As for the shoveling, "I got two hours of exercise."

The Postal Service closed post offices and suspended mail delivery Saturday in New England.

"This is crazy. I mean it's just nuts," Eileen O'Brien said in blacked-out Sagamore Beach, Mass., as she cleared heavy snow from her deck for fear it might collapse.

As the pirate flag outside her door snapped and popped in gale-force winds Saturday, she said: "My thermostat keeps dropping. Right now it's 54 inside, and I don't have any wood. There's nothing I can do to keep warm except maybe start the grill and make some coffee."

In South Windsor, Conn., Bill Tsoronis used a snowblower to carve paths through huge snowdrifts in his neighborhood.

"I thought we might have 18 or 20 inches, but in some places it's up to my waist. It's more than I expected," he said. Still, he said the storm was not much more than a nuisance, since the neighborhood still had power, and he said he might gather with neighbors for cocktails later in the day.

His neighbor Mike Schroder said as he brushed snow off cars in his driveway that the storm lived up to the hype.

"This is finally one they got right," he said. He said the cleanup will take some time: 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

PAWTUCKET, R.I. — The Scottie dog has a new nemesis in Monopoly after fans voted in an online contest to add a cat token to the property trading game, replacing the iron, toy maker Hasbro Inc.
announced Wednesday.

The results were announced after the shoe, wheelbarrow and iron were neck and neck for elimination in the final hours of voting that sparked passionate efforts by fans to save their favorite tokens, and by businesses eager to capitalize on the publicity.

The Facebook vote closed just before midnight Tuesday, marking the first time that fans have had a say on which of the eight tokens to add and which one to toss. The pieces identify the players and have changed quite a lot since Parker Brothers bought the game from its original designer in 1935.

Rhode Island-based Hasbro announced the new piece Wednesday morning.

The cat beat out the robot, diamond ring, helicopter and guitar, getting 31 percent of votes for new tokens.

“I think there were a lot of cat lovers in the world that reached out and voted,” said Jonathan Berkowitz, vice president for Hasbro
gaming marketing.

The Scottie Dog was the most popular of the classic tokens, and received 29 percent of the vote, the company said. The iron got the fewest votes and was kicked to the curb.

Freshman Sheldon McClellan finishes an alley-oop from J’Covan Brown. After the play, Texas went on a 13-0 run to put away Rhode Island.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

After he put together the finest performance of his career, J’Covan Brown was asked what, exactly, had worked for him so well.

“Everything,” he said.

Sums that up pretty good.

And no play was more telling of such good fortune than the one that came midway through the second half, with Texas down 59-58. Brown raced towards his hoop with the ball and then tried to make a pass down the court. Instead the ball ricocheted off the shin of Rhode Island defender Jamal Wilson, who was guarding him, and shot right back to Brown. Brown grabbed it and, in a display of phenomenal basketball IQ, again lobbed the ball towards the basket — it made it there cleanly this time — where Sheldon McClellan grabbed it in the air and dunked it with two hands, drawing a foul in the process.

The Frank Erwin Center erupted and former Longhorn Kevin Durant, sitting courtside, stood up and walked a few steps onto the court, a silent nod of appreciation.

“I didn’t plan that at all,” Brown said. “I was trying to throw it and it [hit off him] and I caught it and said, ‘Oh, what am I going to do next?’ So I saw Sheldon and threw it up.”

McClellan made the free throw and Texas took a 62-59 lead and never looked back, going on a 13-0 run afterwards.

“It was tough going in the second half, and we were up-and-down and we needed a spark,” said senior Clint Chapman, who had seven points and eight rebounds. “That play was big.”

It delivered a spark, no doubt. But the bigger question: Did Brown plan such trickery?

“No, I’m not an And-1 player,” he said, before adding one last, resounding “No.”

So don’t expect many more off-the-sheezy passes from Brown. That’s all right, because the junior guard continues to do just about everything else for the Longhorns.

“Brown is just terrific,” said Rhode Island coach Jim Baron. “He’s a big-time guard who makes plays when you need them.”

And as for McClellan, well, he surprised his own head coach with his big-time finish.

“Sheldon, these dunks he has, I haven’t even seen them in practice,” said Texas coach Rick Barnes. “It’s like he’s a closet athlete.”

On a night when the Longhorns were plagued by defensive lapses that kept allowing the Rams back in the game, they needed to swing the momentum. The Immaculate Deflection did just that.

“I’ve never really seen anything like that,” Chapman said. “That’s one of those plays that probably ends up on Sportscenter’s Top 10. It’s really rare.

“You think you’ve seen everything and then that happens.”

Printed on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 as: 'Immaculate Deflection' saves game.

Junior J’Covan Brown shoots over a crowd of Rhode Island defenders. Brown scored a career-high 35 points against the Rams and also added six assists and six rebounds. 15 of Brown’s points came on three-pointers.

Photo Credit: Ryan Edwards | Daily Texan Staff

It came in bunches for Texas, but when it rained, it poured. And no, that isn’t a reference to the precipitation that fell yesterday in Austin.

J’Covan Brown scored a career-high 35 points and freshman Myck Kabongo added 18 of his own to help lead the Longhorns to a 100-90 win over Rhode Island in the second round of the TicketCity Legends Classic. The Longhorn freshmen notched 56 percent of the team’s points in a game where Texas relied heavily on a series of scoring streaks, especially a second half 13-0 run to propel Texas beyond the visitors.

Texas built up a 17-point lead in the first half with a methodical game plan. It utilized its quick guards to get the ball up and down the floor to set up big shots, and the undersized Longhorns even rebounded the ball well. Their 42 rebounds (14 offensive) came against a talented Rhode Island team, but this is one aspect of the game head coach Rick Barnes said he wanted more of.

Though he had six big rebounds to go along with his 11 points, two assists and a block, freshman forward Jonathan Holmes echoed this sentiment.

“I know I need to get better at rebounding and getting on the defensive boards. I just have to work hard out there,” Holmes said. “If you give up rebounds, you come out of the game. [Barnes] is hard on us about getting them, but he should be.”

At halftime, the Longhorns squandered their huge lead in a matter of six minutes. They went into the tunnel with a 46-43 lead, and then eventually lost that over the first seven minutes of the second half. It wasn’t until an accident-turned-highlight alley-oop from Brown to freshman Sheldon McClellan that Texas got the ball rolling again. The dunk sparked the 13-0 run, inspired the Longhorns to play physical man-to-man defense, and Texas never looked back.

“At the start of the second half we felt like we had to create some sort of defensive identity and that started with [man-to-man defense],” Barnes said. “Actually when we finally got back the control of the game, it was created on the defensive end.”

Brown further bolstered his role as the team’s leader after another commanding performance. He never lost poise, hitting 10 of 22 shots including five of 10 three-pointers. For the second game in a row, Brown reached or surpassed his previous career mark, but somehow he still wasn’t happy with the entirety of his performance.

“I was really upset with missing two free throws,” Brown said. “But today my teammates did a great job of screening and leaving me open for shots. I tried to [go the whole season] not missing any free throws, but that’s out the door now.”

Kabongo reached double figures in scoring for the first time in his career, netting most of them from the line. He was 12-17 from the line, but Rick Barnes was more pleased with how he handled the tempo of the physical game to draw the fouls.

“I thought Myck [Kabongo] did a good job. We thought this was going to be one of those feast or famine games for him,” Barnes said. “He wants to play full-throttle all the time.”

Though the crowd was sparse, a number of Texas alumni basketball players were in attendance, including locked-out NBA players Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers and superstar Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. They’ve worked out with the team off-and-on all summer, so their presence came as no surprise to the current Longhorns. In fact, instead of being star-struck, Brown threw a couple of fun jabs at the former Texas stars.

“Well we’ve been seeing [Durant and Thompson] a lot now. We are really just tired of seeing them. They need to go get a job.”

If Brown keeps playing the way he is, he may be joining their eventual line of work sooner rather than later.

Printed on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 as: Brown scores career-high 35, leads Horns to win

Men's Basketball Preview

J’Covan Brown shoots over a defender in Texas’ 82-46 win its season opener Sunday. The junior guard tied a career-high with 28 points.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Texas will try to get its second win of the young season in an afternoon showdown today against Rhode Island in the TicketCity Legends Classic.

The game will tip-off at 3 p.m., part of a 24-hour college basketball marathon that began Tuesday at midnight. 

Head coach Rick Barnes expects the Rams (0-1) to bring everything they’ve got to Austin.

“This game will be much different,” he said. “They’re big and they’re athletic, and they’re coming in to win.”

The Longhorns faced no problems schooling Boston on Sunday night, scoring 82 points and holding the Terriers to 46 points. Junior guard J’Covan Brown was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for his efforts in the blowout; the sharpshooter matched a career-high with 28 points and also had eight assists.

“J’Covan is crafty and very cerebral,” Barnes said. “He knows how to get open and set his man up as well.”

The game might be a good opportunity to see if anybody besides Brown can carry some of the scoring load. Freshman guard Julien Lewis showed some potential, making four three-pointers, and point guard Myck Kabongo did a good job managing the game.

“It was my first college game and I was taking strides to get better,” said Kabongo, who tallied seven assists and added six points.

Joining classmates Kabongo and Lewis in the starting lineup was Jonathan Holmes, a lanky freshman forward from San Antonio. Not only did the 6-foot-7 Holmes show nice prowess on the glass, but he also exhibited a rather unexpected shooting touch, making one 3-pointer as well as a mid-range jumper.

With the Longhorns trying to replace Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, Gary Johnson, Cory Joseph and Dogus Balbay they’ll have to get key contributions from Kabongo, Lewis and Holmes, as well as Sterling Gibbs, Sheldon McClellan and Jaylen Bond, the other three freshmen. Against Boston, Gibbs and McClellan both hit a 3-pointer, and Bond added the game’s highlight — a one-handed slam on a fast break.

“Their freshmen were as good as advertised,” said Boston’s first-year coach Joe Jones.

Rhode Island, which counts Lamar Odom and Cuttino Mobley as alumni, took George Mason to overtime Saturday before falling, 92-90. Its leading scorer is senior guard Jamal Wilson, who poured in 38 points. Texas will have to have a body — or multiple bodies — on him at all times.

“We have to keep fighting as a unit,” Brown said. 

Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Horns looking for scoring threats to support Brown

Judge allows forced medication of jailed Tucson shooting suspect

SAN DIEGO — A federal judge has ruled that prison officials can forcibly medicate the Tucson shooting rampage suspect with anti-psychotic drugs.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said he did not want to second guess doctors at a federal prison in Springfield, Mo.

Burns issued the decision Wednesday after Loughner’s attorneys filed an emergency request to prevent any forced medication of their client. Defense attorneys said Loughner had been forcibly medicated since June 21.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the January shooting that killed six people and injured 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
He has been at a federal prison facility in Missouri since May 28 after the judge concluded Loughner was mentally unfit to stand trial.


State Senate approves civil union, needs Rhode Island governor’s OK

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Rhode Island Senate has approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, a measure that Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he’s inclined to sign.

State senators voted 21-16 Wednesday evening to endorse the bill. The legislation, which already has passed the state House, allows gay couples to enter into civil unions that offer the same rights and benefits given to married couples under Rhode Island law.

It is now headed to Chafee’s desk for his signature.

Several gay marriage advocacy groups have urged Chafee to veto it because of what they call overly broad exemptions that would allow religious institutions to ignore rights given through civil unions. The measure would, for instance, let religious hospitals refuse a civil union spouse the right to make emergency medical decisions.­

News Briefly

The Harry Ransom Center announced Monday that it acquired the papers of playwright Spalding Gray, a Rhode Island native known for his knack for expressing universal themes through deeply personal monologues and other writings.

The collection includes more than 90 of Gray’s performance notebooks and more than 100 of his private journals. It also contains audio and video of his performances and hundreds of letters. Gray died in 2004 in New York City.

“In the Spalding Gray archive, the mind of a man has been transferred to paper,” said Helen Adair, performing arts librarian at the Ransom Center, in a statement. “In his journals and performance notebooks, he writes about sex, death, drugs and love with honesty and humor. His voice is clear, and he appears to have no filter. Everything is written down without shame. Like his performances, it is powerful because it is so personal.”

The UT community and general public will be able to access the archive once the Ransom Center processes and catalogues its contents.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — When Rhode Island became the 13th state to allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at public colleges, supporters heralded the move as one that would give students the kind of advanced education they need to succeed in the work force.

But students who are not here legally may still face a major obstacle even with the benefit of a college degree: Many have no immediate pathway to legal status and, under current federal immigration law, employers cannot legally hire them.

“I know of students who have graduated magna cum laude and top honors in their colleges, but right now they’re working minimum wage in restaurants,” said Antonio Albizures-Lopez, 20, who came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was one.

Albizures-Lopez, who is pursuing legal residency, says the best solution is passage of federal legislation, known as the DREAM Act, which provides a pathway to legal residency for college students.

The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, which oversees the state’s three public higher education institutions, unanimously approved in-state tuition for illegal immigrants last week, effective in the fall of 2012. The General Assembly had failed repeatedly to take action on legislation that’s been introduced year after year.

Eleven states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah and Washington — have laws allowing the children of illegal immigrants to receive in-state rates if they meet certain requirements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Oklahoma allows in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants under a state Board of Regents policy.