A Portsmouth man accused of mailing a hoax anthrax threat appeared in federal court in Providence Friday and was freed on $10,000 bail.

William Silvia, age 34, made no comment leaving the courthouse. He is accused of mailing a letter to a couple in Lincoln that contained talcum powder, but a note suggesting it was anthrax. Silvia faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, if convicted on the charge of sending a threatening communication through the mail.

Providence – Both sides expect tensions, when negotiations on a new contract for Providence teachers resume. Union leaders and Superintendent Diana Lam say the contract will determine the future of education reform in Providence.

Providence teachers overwhelmingly rejected a new three year contract that included 12.5 percent average raises over that time. They also took a vote of no confidence in School Superintendent Diana Lam. Effective immediately, teachers plan to accept no additional work as part of a work-to-rule strategy.

Charlestown is withdrawing from the Chariho Regional School district, as the result of an election yesterday. Residents voted overwhelmingly to leave the district, which also includes Richmond and Hopkinton. They approved two separate binding referenda. One called for removing grades kindergarten through 6 from the district. The other called for removing all grade levels from the district.

The federal government is bringing charges against a Portsmouth man who allegedly claimed that there was Anthrax in a letter he mailed to a Lincoln couple. A threat was included in the letter with a white powdery substance, according to federal prosecutors in Rhode Island.

William Sylvia is charged with one count of mailing a threatening communication. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The teachers' union votes this evening on the latest contract proposal from the Providence School Department. Union leaders, who have voiced concerns about the offer, have not yet decided whether to recommend ratification.

Members of the Providence Teachers Union executive board scheduled a 5p.m. meeting to decide what recommendation to make. A meeting of the entire membership was scheduled for 7pm.

Public health officials in Rhode Island were trying to allay concerns about bio-terrorism in the light of new Anthrax discoveries in Washington D.C. and New York City, as a local congressman called for clear protocols for first responders in cases of suspected bio-terrorism.

Providence – A high profile New York law firm is renewing its request to represent the mother of slain providence police officer, Sergeant Cornel Young, Jr. in her multi million dollar wrongful death lawsuit.

Leisa Young retained Johnnie Cochran in the lawsuit, which claims that inadequate training and supervision by Providence police contributed to her son?s death. Judge Robert Lovegreen denied a request from Cochran and three associates to practice in Rhode Island, saying he could not see why the case warranted more than two out-of state attorneys.

The Rhode Island Department of Health today was following up about a dozen reports of suspicious powders that came in over the weekend. None of the tests involve people who fear Anthrax contamination. A department administrator says the first lab results were expected this afternoon, but its not clear if word of negative tests would be released to the public.

    Providence – A local professor is heading to Italy this week to take in part in meetings about forming a new government in Afghanistan. Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady teaches Middle East politics at Providence College, but is also leader of the Afghan Social Democratic Party in exile.

    Ahady has been an advisor to the former King of Afghanistan. He plans to ask the king not to make too many concessions to the Northern Alliance in planning a new government.

    Providence – Providence will not, for now, drop an illegal weapons charge against an Amtrak passenger who says he carries a knife as a religious symbol. Sher Singh, who practices the Sikh religion, was taken off a train and arrested the day after the terrorist attacks.

    Singh?s lawyer, Mark Laroche claims police searched and arrested his client, because Sing wears a turban and has dark skin. The state?s concealed weapon law, says Laroche, violates Sikhs? right to practice their religion.

    Providence – The Coast Guard has lifted the restrictions it had imposed on the Port of Providence.

    The lifting coincides with the departure of a French cargo ship which the Coast Guard escorted out of Narragansett Bay at about 10 a.m. today.

    Coast Guard spokesman Lieutenant Joel Roberts said additional restrictions could be imposed again depending on circumstances.

    ?It will be different from ship to ship, port to port, vessel to vessel," he said.

    The Coast Guard established a security zone around the port and part of the Providence River on Monday afternoon.

    The Port of Providence is closed for security reasons.

    The closure coincides with the arrival of a French-registered cargo ship.

    "The reason the Port of Providence was closed was that we had our first cargo vessel call in the port since the invasion of Afghanistan and it was also the vessel's first United States port of call," said Coast guard spokesman Lieutenant Joel Roberts.

    He said the port and a portion of the Providence River are closed indefinitely.

    Following the attacks on terrorist camps in Afghanistan, Rhode Island is in a state of "heightened alert."

    Governor Almond has ordered an increased law-enforcement and National Guard presence at high-risk locations -- but Green State Airport was the only one he would name.

    Rhode island National Guard Major Michael McNamara says all guard facilities have been warned to increase their vigilance with security measures but there have been no reports of anything out of the ordinary.

    Rhode Islanders are reacting with mixed emotions to the beginning of military action against the perpetrators of last month?s terrorist attacks.

    While some posted signs of support on highway bridges or in stores windows yesterday while about 40 protesters gathered in front of the Federal Courthouse in Providence.

    ?The U.S. has no concept that there are reasons behind this and we have to explore those reasons and push for peace all over the world as opposed to making Afghanistan more of a breeding ground for fundamentalists who are pissed at our government,? one man said.