Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: April 16, 2010

Michael Skakel, the Kennedy cousin convicted of murdering 15-year-old Martha Moxley in 1975, will be up for parole in three years and, though the Connecticut Supreme Court recently denied him parole this time around, the more lenient laws of the 1970s might make it possible for Skakel to leave prison. Skakel has a record of good behavior in prison, an official said, and his next parole hearing could happen within the next 18 months.

City officials are a little frustrated with Providence residents because they’re lollygagging on turning in their census forms. Only 53 percent have turned their forms in, below the national and state averages. It’s probably because they don’t have Thomas Forsberg sending them email reminders.

A North Providence man was arrested Thursday after he smashed his car into five others, tried to run over three of his neighbors, and smashed another’s kitchen window, according to police. Apparently the man was upset because someone took his parking space. Brown’s parking lottery doesn’t get as intense as this, does it?

Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: April 14, 2010

Rhode Island’s own world-champion boxer Vinny Paz was involved in a car accident on Route 95 Wednesday morning, though no one was injured. Paz was a passenger in a car struck by an alleged drunk driver.

A University of Rhode Island proposal to make changes to their student handbook is causing some controversy. The changes would put greater responsibility to report illegal drinking and drug use on the students, who in turn feel the handbook should focus more on their rights than on their duties to stay out of trouble.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended Gilbert V. Indeglia for nomination to the state’s Supreme Court as an associate justice on Tuesday. The Senate is expected to consider their final approval of Indeglia on Thursday; the House unanimously confirmed him Monday.

Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: April 12, 2010

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is being named by some news sites and pundits (like The Washington Post, Time magazine and HuffPo) on their long lists of prospects to replace the retiring John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court.

Steve Laffey, the former Cranston mayor, wants you to know that he is not planning to run for governor anytime soon. Apparently he decided the state of Rhode Island “was not ready” for this jelly his campaign yet.

Enrollment at the Community College of Rhode Island has boomed in this sour economy. Many students are adults who are out of work and are going back to school for either academic purposes or job training.

Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: April 9, 2010

Rhode Island lawmakers unveiled their plan to cover the state’s deficit on Thursday. The so-called supplemental budget includes cutting money from state school districts, communities and pension benefits, but it does not include any new taxes. The proposal still needs to go through the House and Senate, the former which is expected to vote on it Tuesday.

A $1,500 is being offered by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to anyone with information on a recent swan killing near the Point Street Bridge over the Providence River. The society’s president says they already have an eyewitness who saw two people near where the swan was nesting.

The University of Rhode Island formally instated its new president, David M. Dooley formerly of Montana State, on Thursday. Dooley criticized what he perceived was an epidemic of pessimism surrounding the state, saying the phrase “only in Rhode Island” wasn’t going to fly with him.

Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: April 7, 2010

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who has previously objected to expunging court records of people who plead guilty and receive lighter sentences, is now backing a bill that would remove from the public record cases where the defendant pleads no contest, receives a deferred sentence, and keeps their nose clean for five years. This change in opinion is the result of the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s decision to stop expunging case records even for less serious crimes.

The Navy has rejected the Narragansett Indian Tribe’s bid for 260 acres on Aquidneck Island, which the Narragansetts wanted to acquire for free instead of at the fair-market value the Navy is seeking.

Wheeler School Junior Seth Neel, who also happens to be studying advanced algebra at Brown, beat seven other Rhode Island kids in the American Mathematical Society competition and took home the grand prize of $3,000. He said he’ll either spend the money on summer math camp or give it to his parents.

Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: March 26, 2010

Rep. Peter Palumbo is supporting the introduction of a bill to the Rhode Island House that would require drug testing for people on welfare and their immediate adult family members. Recipients who test positive for illegal substances would lose the ability to receive welfare cash. Palumbo says the bill would save the state money, but some social welfare advocates say the measure is unconstitutional.

The Cranston School District, which last month cut funding for music and athletics and eliminated many high school sports teams, will be able to restore most of those sports programs thanks to a donation from the New England Laborers’/Cranston Public Schools Construction Career Academy, a public charter school. The sports coming back include tennis and the girls cooperative hockey team (a team consisting of players from both Cranston high schools) and exclude freshman baseball, basketball and football. Another residents’ group is hoping to find money to help save the music program as well.

Those NCAA visitors last week at both the Dunkin’ Donuts and Rhode Island Convention Centers brought the state more than 500 grand. Yet another reason to love arena food — the Dunkin’ Donuts Center sold over 4,000 hot dogs, just one of the ways the venue made money!