Denise Dowling

Boy Wonder

He’s a tech whiz, the anti-CEO and, at thirty-two, a self-made millionaire many times over. Now, Angus Davis aims to use his golden touch to revolutionize the way we shop, make Providence the Silicon Valley of the east and — in his spare time — fix the mess that is Rhode Island’s public school system.

In the early nineties, Angus Davis was one of the lucky kids with an Internet connection. “I was at his house with Jonathan DiOrio,” says Seth Fandetti, who attended Providence’s Moses Brown School with Davis. “Being two fourteen-year-old boys in a room with a computer, we tried to look up some questionable material. Angus walked in, saw us and said,…

Cease Fire

Strong-arming. Spitting. Federal boycotts. Incendiary radio ads. The Providence firefighters’ union and Mayor Cicilline were locked in a bitter brawl over a decade-old contract dispute. The fighting has finally ended, but will this epic showdown — one of the longest labor disputes in state history — bring other local unions to their knees?

"We kind of feel like Hell’s frozen over" That was the gut reaction from Paul Doughty, president of the Providence firefighters’ union, after a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the city was announced on March 22. The agreement was approved by a strong majority of the 360 union members who voted on April 7. According to the proposal, firefighters would…

Snow Bound

Beach weather is long gone, alas, and there are flakes in the air; still, that’s no reason to hibernate for the next three months. There are plenty of ways to spend a fun weekend close to home, and you don’t even have to hit the slopes. From dog sledding beneath a canopy of pine trees to snowshoeing by dusk to dining in a candlelit cabin, we’ve found a great New England winter destination for every personality.

Ideal for The Outdoor LoverRound Barn FarmWaitsfield, VermontYou know it’s Vermont when the postman used to deliver by bicycle. That neighborly feel is epitomized by the Round Barn Inn, where guests are welcome to a basket of slippers by the front door. Unlike those who like the anonymity of a big resort, Round Barn visitors want low-key luxury and personal…

Spoils of War

Because of its ties to the Nazi regime, an unremarkable painting that hung for years in a Rhode Island apartment is now at the center of a legal mess. Should it be returned to the estate of the Jewish-owned gallery forced by the Third Reich to liquidate its assets? Or does it belong to the Providence woman who claims — bill of sale in hand — that it is rightfully hers?

If it were sculpted shock by Damien Hirst, one might understand how a piece of art could ignite a legal maelstrom. But a painting that has come to symbolize an era of Nazi genocide depicts a serene scene. “Girl from the Sabine Mountains” portrays a maiden in traditional German peasant garb with a band of embroidery and headdress, resting with…

Speaking for the Dead

The New Bedford highway murders riveted Rhode Islanders for months in 1988 and 1989. Someone was killing young women and discarding their bodies by the side of the road, but no arrests were ever made. On the twentieth anniversary of this sensational cold case, a lead detective still lives with the most mysterious investigation of his career.

If it bleeds, it leads. For more than a year, one city bled as national news outlets from Dateline to Hard Copy to the New York Times covered the climbing body count that became known as the New Bedford highway murders. “In Search of a Killer,” one headline blared. “Suspect on TV Says He’s Not Serial Killer,” announced another.Between July…

Big Little Cheese

Four Shy Brothers who loved their quiet life on the family farm found a leap into cheese-making brought renewed hope and unaccustomed notoriety.

A warrior can be shy: Karl Santos is proof of that. When his family’s third-generation dairy farm was threatened with extinction, he went into fight mode. Fight became flight as he boarded a plane to Paris to rescue the farm—but we’ll get to that later.The family spread, Shy Brothers Farm, is in Westport, once the largest dairy town in Massachusetts….

Beginner’s Luck?

It may not be a chemical addiction, but nothing hooks compulsive gamblers like that first big win.

It has been four years, two months and five days since Tamara Freeman* gambled. Last night, she learned that her daughter’s ovarian cancer has returned. As she rides the dawn bus to her job as a nursing director in Providence, Freeman remembers her daughter’s last bout with chemo and wonders if it will be worse this time. Then she spies…

No Exit

For six years, a Tiverton neighborhood has been paralyzed. Since toxic soil was unearthed, hundreds of residents are not allowed to dig on their properties, they’re unable to move and the cleanup is stymied by legal battles.

Purgatory is a neighborhood in Tiverton.Not the Tiverton of summer homes and Bloody Marys aboard a yacht in the Sakonnet River but the side of town just south of the Fall River line, near Sip n’ Dip Donuts and Buddy’s Place diner. This neighborhood of proud ranch houses entered limbo in August 2002, after sewer construction crews unearthed cobalt blue…

The Perfect Wave

Noreasters, hail, hurricanes? Bring it! Summer surfing is for sissies, according to the diehards who’ve been hanging ten since the sixties.

Welcome to Rhode Island Now go home reads the bumper sticker on Peter Pan’s mudbrown ’94 Dodge Caravan. It reflects the territorialism of locals who’ve been surfing Narragansett since the sixties: “This is our backyard. We Christopher Columbus-ed these breaks, we named them, we fought for access rights. Some of you Massholes wouldn’t even know about these spots if it…

Free Buddy

He shed the toupee and thirty-five pounds. But after four-and-a-half years in jail, how has the former mayor of Providence changed on the inside? In his own words, Buddy reflects on prison, his career and the $64 million question.

I left Providence in a snowstorm. It was a poignant experience—I remember listening to Christmas carols playing at the skating rink across from the Biltmore hotel as I said my goodbyes and saw the city for the last time. It was almost surreal driving through the snow, thinking about the ups and downs of my career. I knew that I’d…