Rhode Island Red Awards
All the weird, bizarre and just plain dim-witted moments that have added a psychedelic glow to life in our fair state in 2008.
Illustration by Derek Stukulas
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This year’s Reds are dedicated to that poor, pathetic, unloved, unwanted and generally disrespected mess of tortured numbers…the state budget. Of course, no one would love you either, if you were in the hole by hundreds of millions of dollars and crashing to earth like an out of control spy satellite. While we ponder that harsh reality, however, it gives us time to think about all the other weird, bizarre and just plain dim-witted moments that have added a psychedelic glow to life in our fair state in 2008. So many examples, so little space—we hardly know where to start. All we can say is thanks Rhode Island; once again it’s been another memorable year!
True Crime Log
’Cause sometimes truth is stranger than, ya know, that other thing…
TRUE! Rescuers freed a woman who got her head stuck in a jail door at the Garrahy Judicial Complex. The woman, who was being moved to the ACI, apparently inserted her head in the space where prisoners normally put out their hands to be handcuffed. She didn’t suffer any serious head injuries, according to authorities, but did complain of chest pains.
TRUE! Part of T.F. Green Airport was evacuated after two hand grenades were spotted in screened luggage belonging to a Nevada passenger. Although the passenger told an airport official he had “two toy hand grenades” in his bags, he neglected to tell the airport screeners.
TRUE! Cheryl Ann Church, of East Providence, was arrested after police say she stole checks from a neighbor and then used them to withdraw $427 from a Citizens Bank branch in Barrington. Officials tracked down Church because she had cashed the checks using her Rhode Island identification card and video surveillance at the bank showed her using the drive-up window at the bank.
TRUE! A twenty-two-year-old man from East Providence was charged with driving southbound on the East Bay Bike Path at 1 a.m. in his blue Honda. When police asked Nicholas H. Heath how much he’d had to drink, Heath replied, “Not enough.” Following a breathalyzer, police disagreed, and also charged him with driving under the influence.
TRUE! North Providence resident Stanley Kobierowski set a state record for being the drunkest driver ever arrested after police gave him a breathalyzer in which he blew .489 and .491, among the highest levels ever for someone who didn’t wind up dead.
“My salary is not a big salary to me.”
Steve Kass responding to questions regarding his new job as R.I. Emergency Management spokesman despite his lack of experience in emergency management. The salary of $126,541 was $50,000 more than the executive director’s and nearly three times what Kass’s predecessor made, making him the highest paid employee in the agency.
“After reviewing the scope of his responsibilities at EMA, Steve Kass offered to take a pay reduction.”
Governor Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal shortly after Kass’s salary was cut from $126,541 to $66,919.
We feel safer already.
The R.I. Emergency Management Agency sent out detailed plans to state towns and local hazmat groups, urging them to prepare in the event that a U.S. spy satellite crashed to earth in Rhode Island. “While it is premature to think anything will land here in Rhode Island, it is not premature to plan for the possibility,” said Diana Arcand, the agency’s deputy director. Two days later, the spy satellite was obliterated by a Navy missile and a Pentagon official said the space junk, which had not survived entering the atmosphere, was unlikely to pose a problem.
Heads of State
Keeping tabs on our not-so-civil servants.
How can we miss you if you won’t go away?
Longtime Woonsocket Mayor Susan Menard announced in March that she would leave office June 15, eighteen months before her term expired. In May, she told a radio audience she’d decided to stay on until July 1. On October 7, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission decided there was probable cause to believe Mayor Menard had broken the state’s ethics code by leasing four motorcycles from her son-in-law’s business to the Woonsocket police department.
’Cause he was only corrupt part of the time.
The Providence Retirement Board voted seven to ﬁve to award former Mayor Buddy Cianci’s top lieutenant, Frank Corrente, $22,231 of his $70K city pension despite his four years in prison for racketeering. “A couple of those years [at the end] were bad years,” Corrente’s lawyer John Harwood said of his client’s period of city employment, but, “twenty-six out of twenty-nine is a good record.”
He needs the royal flush.
The state Ethics Commission filed a seven-count complaint against Warren Sewer Commission chairman Brian Remy, alleging he had failed to disclose thousands of dollars of income he had received for doing plumbing for the town since 2000. One of the jobs: installation of a new $1,312 hot water heater at Fire Station 5, a conflict since he is also the assistant ﬁre chief!
How can we vote for it?
We can’t even pronounce it.
Republican state rep Nicholas Gorham proposed rolling Exeter, West Greenwich, part of Coventry, Foster, Glocester and Scituate into one super-sized community called…the Town of Westconnaug. “I don’t want to dwell on the name too much,” Gorham responded after people mocked his idea. “I’m up for suggestions.”