Ellen Liberman

Checking In on the Chief Innovation Officers

What ideas are they spurring at the city and state level?

Among Monica DiDonato’s weekly duties as an administrative assistant in the city of Providence’s Department of Inspections and Standards was sending official correspondence to the owners of abandoned properties. Though no one was there to receive them, each boarding notice was sent by regular and certified mail, which provides the sender proof of mailing and verification that it was received….

Examining Rhode Island's Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Laws

Six years after reform, what's changed?

Vicky began selling sex at sixteen, ushered into the profession by an escort service driver she met as a runaway. She went from being trafficked to running an escort service, and in her years as a sex worker, Vicky (a pseudonym) plied her trade from the streets to indoor locations, advertising on Craigslist and Backpage.com. But in November 2009, when…

A Look at Rhode Island's Animal Welfare System

The state has lots of resources, but critics say they don't work together.

On Thanksgiving weekend, Gil Fletcher and Martine Ireland lay a fancy feast for the neighborhood strays. The cottage on East Providence’s Grosvenor Avenue stands at the nexus of the owner’s kind heart and an adjacent school where cat owners often shed themselves of that title. Margaret Tainish and her daughter Elena try their best to feed the abandoned animals haunting…

Year 1: Governor Raimondo's Report Card

The governor is making headway on a hefty to-do list, with a few missteps along the way.

The Mohegan Bluffs afford a magnificent view of Montauk on a clear day and a treacherous passage to the beach below. Rising 150 feet above the Atlantic on Block Island’s south shore, the clay bluffs are under nature’s constant assault. So, Payne’s Stairway, 141 steps of weathered wood, ends not on the sand as depicted in a tourist map, but…

Episcopal Diocese Reckons With Rhode Island's Slaving Past

A new center and museum are planned in Providence to encourage community discussion.

From the “Welcome to Bristol” sign at the town line, and along Hope Street’s red-white-and-blue stripe to the postcard-perfect Federal-style homes at its center, Bristol wears its Colonial past proudly. But one September evening, about forty Bristolians gathered in St. Michael’s Episcopal Church to talk about a past the town is not so eager to tell — the great crime…

Can Tolling Trucks Help Fix RI's Roads and Bridges?

Governor Raimondo's plan calls for a maximum $30 one-way toll for truckers.

The trucking business is tough, with thin margins and fierce competition, but the Majkuts have prospered. Trucker Mark Majkut and his brothers founded their business twenty years ago with two trucks. Today M and G Trucking and Transportation in Pawtucket boasts a fleet of thirty trucks and forty-seven trailers hauling everything from machinery to mayonnaise to destinations as far away…

Tax Credits Spur Redevelopment of Rhode Island Mills

But some question if they are worth the investment.

In 1993, the town of West Warwick inherited the Royal Mill. By then, it was a mortared stone mausoleum, where the town’s industrial history was interred with discarded looms, broken glass and pigeon guano. The fourteen-acre complex of seven buildings had last been purchased in 1936 at auction for one dollar. It had been a spectacular fall. Perched on the…

Uber Drives Debate on For-Hire Transportation in Rhode Island

Ride-sharing companies have disrupted the transportation model and traditional cab services aren't happy about it.

In 2014, Rosanna Ortiz, CEO of StyleWeek Northeast, partnered with Uber, the ride-sharing juggernaut. It’s backed by $41 billion in investment cash and has been rolling over the taxi industry with a smartphone app and an army of part-time drivers in their own Jettas. StyleWeek patrons got a coupon code and free rides — for new users, up to $20…

Hasbro Helps With Summer Learning in Rhode Island

The program aims to address the academic slide during the summer months with activities that are a cross between school and camp.

Hands-on programs around the state are bridging the achievement gap, making sure students keep up their skills over summer break and have fun exploring outside the classroom.   Patrick and Eammon Ferry furl the heavy plastic covering over the ribs of the hoop house, where tender leaves of baby kale and broccoli poke through the black landscape fabric. The Ferry…

The Tipping Point

Should the minimum wage increase for servers?

Tipping goes back at least to the Middle Ages, but it arrived here after the Civil War, with wealthy Americans who wanted to burnish their social credentials with a well-placed coin. By the turn of the twentieth century, tipping was condemned as much as practiced, giving cause to groups such as the Society for the Prevention of Useless Giving. Six…