Ellen Liberman

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…

Strength in Numbers

Crunching the Numbers to Avoid Costly Mistakes

In 2007, a cash-strapped Governor Donald Carcieri and the General Assembly did a back-of-the envelope calculation and determined that the state could save $3.6 million if it prosecuted and incarcerated seventeen-year-old offenders as adults. The math was simple: $40,000 annual cost to house an adult offender versus $98,000 a year in the Training School. Nobody totaled up the long-term costs…

Guns Drawn On Campus Safety

URI is arming its campus police this spring in the wake of a false alarm. It’s the last large, four-year state public university to do so, but will it make the campus safer?

There were 350 witnesses to the events of April 4, 2013, but nobody knows what happened. According to news accounts, at 11:19, in Room 217 of the Chafee Social Science Center, a man standing outside the door, or perhaps somewhere in the lecture hall, said: “I’m a good guy and I have a gun,” or “You’re a nice guy! You’re…

The Rising Latino Tide

Hispanics have been elected to political office in Rhode Island in unprecedented numbers in recent years, but the community still faces daunting achievement gaps and unemployment.

In the mid-1990s, America had one of its periodic anti-immigrant seizures. As the Hispanic population swelled and dispersed, California banned, by referendum, illegal immigrants from accessing public benefits. In 1996, Congress passed legislation barring immigrants caught without proper documentation from returning for as long as a decade; giving asylum-seekers a year to apply; and deputizing local police as immigration officials….

Taking the High Road

Four years after medical marijuana was allowed in Rhode Island, some are pushing to make recreational pot legal, while others says it leads to harder drugs and crime.

From the outside, the Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center is more plain-Jane than Mary-Jane. The cedar-shingled, single-story building, once a carpentry shop, minds its own business on the edge of West Main Road amid other Portsmouth retail outlets. Along the length of the building, a large exhaust fan circulates the spicy, mossy air over a small forest of cannabis plants, an…

Reporter: Kickstarting Innovation

In the wake of the fallout from 38 Studios, the future of jobs in Rhode Island may be with smaller entrepreneurs who are finding the state a good place to launch their dreams.

For an object that is part twenty-first-century Swiss Army knife and part appendage, a smartphone can be maddeningly clumsy. It takes great photos. But you don’t know that your hand shook when you shot them until the images are loaded onto a computer. And that’s another thing: It’s always in your hand — except when you drop it. The smartphone’s…

Reporter: Force Under Fire

The shooting of an unarmed teenager in Missouri has sparked a national conversation about the use of excessive force by police.

Elmwood Avenue rarely sleeps, but the sharp cry of pain was enough to rouse John Prince’s curiosity. Outside, Prince saw a man in handcuffs as undercover Providence police officers prepared to transport him. In the heavily policed neighborhoods of South Providence, an arrest was hardly remarkable. But what Prince saw next disturbed him. A community organizer for Direct Action for…